• Published 16th Jul 2013
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Transformed - the flying spaghetti monster



A new stallion shows up in Ponyville, garnering a lot of attention from the mares. But watch out, he is not what he seems!

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Chapter 2: Vermin

Transformed



Chapter 2: Vermin



Ravage woke up sixty minutes before the sunrise via his internal alarm system, and prepared his equipment. He disliked how disobedient his tissue body was. It wanted to fall asleep at the most inopportune moments, and then it wouldn’t rise on command. As if that weren’t enough, the daily needs to eat for it, remove the awful waste, and clean it were most annoying. It was definitely a high maintenance item. In fact, it was easier speaking the pony language than it was listening to his body’s unspoken needs.

The day’s plan was to observe Princess Celestia as she raised the Sun. ‘The Sun’ was how the humans referred to their star as well. What made things more perplexing, was that the star field on Celestia-1 was exactly the same as it was on Earth. Even in orbit, Ravage didn’t see the real star field. How could this random star system have the night sky of a planet thousands of light years away superimposed on it like that? He had trouble believing that Princess Luna did that, but there was no other better explanation.

He left his base in a groggy, semi-alert state, his saddle bags loaded with observation equipment, and some of the crummy diet. He was hungry, and planned to shove down as much of it as he could when he reached the tallest part of the ridge where he would watch the sunrise.

In front of him, blocking his route to the peak, a group of timberwolves had come out of nowhere, growling and snarling. With a yawn he turned on his battle computer and began receiving satellite information on his surroundings. There were four wolves, and they are all in front of him. This could have been a good chance to test one of his ground based cruise missiles, or the main satellite’s gamma laser, but the Decepticon pony was getting short on time. The eastern sky wouldn’t hold the darkness for long.

Being moved out of the way from the weapon bay doors, his saddle bags dropped down using an electronic pulley system. The doors opened and a pair of missile racks, Ravage’s choice of defense today, revealed themselves. A missile launched out from its holding chamber from a still tired Ravage and struck the ground in front of the wolves, causing all of them to yelp in fear and turn tail, running for their lives from the scalding debris.

Ravage face hoofed, blaming his lack of aim on his persnickety, tired body. “Vermin!” he exclaimed. “Next time I won’t miss.”

The now fully awake stallion made way for his observation post. Upon arrival, he set up his equipment and tried ramming down some of the supposed ‘food’ he was required to eat. On the outside, his instrumentation looked like a simple telescope on a tripod. On the inside, it was packed with sophisticated Deception sensory equipment.

Suddenly, a brilliant light appeared on the horizon. It must be Celestia! His telescope did indeed have mighty Celestia in its view finder with the sky getting bluer and bluer. Ravage took as many measurements as he could. His instruments’ detectors were collecting data on every kind of electromagnetic or particle emission. The Equestrian leader easily had the widest wingspan as well as longest horn of any pony. In fact, she was so morphologically different from the norm, one might suspect a different species altogether, or maybe it was a combination of age and magic. Whatever it was, she was majestic, and the Sun followed her into the sky.

Ravage noted, however, that there was predawn light even before the Sun Princess was in the sky. Had Celestia’s efforts merely primed the star’s orbit around Celestia-1? Did the amount of sunlight vary daily as it did on other worlds with any kind of tilt? It was very clear that this world had seasons, which would suggest a planetary tilt and a regular yearly orbit, but how did that work on this world? Magic? With the existence of magic verified, it was the current explanation. Ravage also noted that the ponies had a yearly calendar, but what could justify it? It was then that Ravage activated the display for his internal compass: it was following Celestia.

When he first landed, the Decepticon noticed his compass pointing north, through Canterlot no less, and had assumed that it was pointing to the yet-to-be-established magnetic north. Now, with this exciting new data, he began to understand the physical implications of magic. What he found odd was that the ponies themselves possessed compasses, but they seemed to work properly. Perhaps there was a ‘magical north’?

Princess Celestia flew back to Canterlot, and Ravage’s compass followed. Astounding! Even if he never managed to figure out how pony compasses actually work, at least he had the technology that could find Celestia anytime he wanted to.

Having made the discovery, Ravage decided to celebrate with breakfast – at least what could pass as breakfast as he ate the horrid pony diet. Afterward, he walked back to base, and collapsed into his makeshift bed for another few hours.


=^.^=


Ravage was still kicking himself for his stupidity. How could water and heat make that much of a difference to the palate? Having realized that neither the water, nor the heat and incubation period were added to his pony diet, Ravage tried them out and this time he got excellent results, having actually prepared a tasty breakfast for once.

How could he have actually thought his dry diet would be better for him? Since the water to diet ratio was about one to one, Ravage figured he could save on eating time, while doubling nutritional value, rather than add valueless water into the mix. Once again, his body’s quirky needs intervened, forcing him to ‘cook’ properly. In all the eons of his existence he had never cooked, not even once. In fact, until recently, he had never drunk a glass of water in his life either. Energon and regular maintenance had been all he needed.

If he could not perform even the simple task of proper food preparation, how could he even pretend to be able to actually associate with the ponies, particularly the Elements of Harmony? At least his ability to grasp utensils the earth pony way was improving.

About an hour later Ravage was in Ponyville again, looking for work. It was almost to the hour since the previous day that he had showed up on the main strip. The pony bot noticed his compass going crazy, pointing at the nearest unicorn, but typically spinning around aimlessly.

Hmm, looks like unicorn magic has a proximity effect, he guessed. Indeed, it seemed that the only way to overwhelm Princess Celestia’s magic was to be two-hundred thousand times closer than she was. Ravage vowed to study this magic’s signal strength sometime. He casually wondered if its intensity was inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source, like light was.

He chanced asking a local vendor, a seller of daisy flowers, about possible job opportunities. “Excuse me?” he asked. This phrase was typically used when strangers addressed each other. On Cybertron, Decepticons would simply state their business regardless of whether they knew each other or not.

The vendor clerk was – you guessed it – a mare called Daisy. In spite of being one of his secret admirers, among many secret admirers, she reacted quite well to Ravage’s line of conversation. “Would you like to buy some daisies?” she asked, keeping her excitement under control.

“Actually, I’m looking for a job. Would you know where I could look?”

“Oh! Oh my…” Daisy took a few seconds to think. “Well, I don’t know off-hand but you could check town hall. They might know better.”

“Okay, thanks.”

She decided to offer him a freebie anyways, just as a courtesy. She placed a daisy on her hoof, preparing to chuck it. “Would you like one for the road?”

Before Ravage could say anything, she already made the pass. He caught it, by the stem and sideways, in his mouth.

“Oooooo!” she swooned, nearly doubling over, but then realized that her celebration was premature when the stallion started eating it.

Ravage was enjoying the taste of the petals, and then swallowed. 'This is crazy, he thought'. “Um, that was delicious! Thanks again for your help.”

Daisy was all twisted up in emotion. The hot new stallion liked her flowers! She managed a provocative half-lidded stare, as he nodded and walked off.

The secretive stallion put two and two together. I think she was trying to start a courtship ritual! Ravage wanted nothing to do with courtships, or relationships of any kind. As observed during the data gathering, they tended to lead to ritualized mouth pressing, and then inefficient data exchange would occur. The very thought of it sickened him. He decided that he would have to be cautious whenever a mare tried to give him free stuff. Not only that, but he ate a flower – a freaking flower! And he liked it! Still, he pressed on.

Regardless, he wasn’t really in a bad mood. His body was finally well rested and the pleasant weather had the effect of, well, helping him keep happy. Besides, the daisy mare had given him a lead.

Upon completing his risk/benefit analysis, Ravage determined that what he did need were friendships, at least as far as using your friends for their abilities and resources was concerned. These would increase his knowledge base and hopefully help him get around the mystery of telekinesis. The trick was to avoid the Elements of Harmony. Ironically, the mare that could tell him the most about magic was also the mare he really needed to keep away from, lest she expose him using her talent for deductive reasoning. As for Rainbow Dash, he was still stumped on why she would randomly land beside him like she did. She evidently wanted to expend time and effort in order to facilitate his understanding of Ponyville. What did she want in return?

After a brief walk, Ravage entered town hall. He made for the reception desk, as there appeared to be a pony that might help him. “Excuse me, do you know where I could get a job in Ponyville?” he queried.

“I’m not sure,” the dark-maned grey mare replied. “Just look around, I’m sure you’ll find one.” She was staring at her hoof for imperfections.

Well, that was useless. The Decepticon picked a random direction and walked around town looking for areas that may be in need of an extra set of hooves.

During his walk, his Battle Computer posted an alert, and an orange box enclosed itself around two pegasi. They were flying fast and in formation! He zoomed in, and it turned out that they were looking at him. Both were mares, as is typical of any random population sampling in this place. They had light purple coats. One had a green mane, and one had a silvery-blue mane. He instructed one of the smaller satellites to track those two. They could be trouble.

Walking into an area of town he’d never been in before, Ravage came across a large, mostly excavated area. It was a construction site. Since the Decepticon was continuously recording everything he saw, he was eager to hear Scrapper’s comments on these images later. They seemed very busy, and appeared to be working hard. After about forty-five minutes, they settled down and began eating and drinking. Ravage approached the herd.

This group had a proportionately large number of stallions in it. The mares were also considerably larger than average.

“Can I help you?” asked the foremare.

“I’m looking for work. Would you need the extra help?” Ravage suggested. It was completely beneath him, asking for work like this, but it was a necessary discomfort in order to support his cover.

The foremare and her right hoof ponies eyed Ravage, looking up and down his body. She looked at them and they gave her a nod. She rubbed her chin in deliberation. “I’ll tell ya what,” she begun, in a surprisingly gravelly voice, “Since our mixer pony skipped town, you can try out her position today. Fifteen bits an hour. Trial period. This afternoon only. You in?”

Ravage loved this discourse, and smiled in approval. It wasn’t so much the success at having landed a job, if only temporarily, as much as it was the quick and decisive conversation.

“I’ll do my best,” he responded, still smiling.

The foremare smiled back, enjoying at how the stallion didn’t melt into a puddle of sycophantic goo, constantly thanking her for the opportunity. She extended her hoof, “Name’s Bright Rock.”

“Ravage.” He met her hoof with his own and closed the deal.

“Ravage?” Her response was met with a couple of chuckles from her coworkers. She sometimes met ponies whom requested being addressed by names that are less flowery than the ones their parents gave them. It looks like this calm, collected stallion was one of those that didn’t like his real name. “Okay, Ravage. If things work out, I’m going to be giving you a bank draft that you can deposit or cash at a bank of your choice, not bits. If this keeps working out, you’ll get another on Friday, and then every two weeks after that. These drafts will say ‘Ravage’ as the receiver on them. You okay with that?”

“That will be just fine,” the pony bot responded politely. He noticed some frowning at this politeness. Could it have been excessive?

That afternoon, the foremare started Ravage out hauling rocks in a cart. His doing such a menial task so quickly and easily earned him some respect. His dropping rocks on the ground due to hitting other rocks too fast got his coworkers mad at him, but in the end he felt he made a positive impact. The Decepticon’s hydraulic systems were the key to his success, even though his muscles were actually quite strong. He made a mental note to keep these particular mechanical systems well maintained.

One thing that the construction ponies found odd what how Ravage moved the cart: he was pushing it, walking on his two hind legs as he did, and with a nimbleness that they previously would have thought implausible. A few rocks dropped due to his use of excessive force going over the bumps, but his movement was otherwise quick and clean.

The two pegasi that had been spying on him came back to his position twice more that afternoon, always looking at him. Other than that, they were pushing clouds around. He had the satellite stop tracking them, since it seemed to be a waste of time. As a precaution, he had four song bird androids patrol the area watching for suspicious activity. If they wanted trouble, Ravage was more than willing to give it. He quite enjoyed the notion that although he appeared to be a simple, defenseless pony, he and his collective armaments could deliver a blow like Megatron’s fist.

Most of the information the Decepticons knew of pony culture came from androids, sent long before Ravage set foot on the the planet. They were disguised as rattlesnakes, and various kinds of bird.

At the end of the day, he departed the job site, more hungry and thirsty than he’d ever been since he got here. He would remember to bring his own water and food supply to the job site the next day, which is what his coworkers did. His foremare expressed something resembling gratitude when she said ‘Okay Ravage, you’ll do well not to drop all your junk all over the place next time. Other than that, not bad. See ya tomorrow.’ He assumed he’d be doing something on the order of ‘mixing’ the next morning, since that was indicated by his job title.

He made as direct a route as he could for the base. He needed food. Now. This time, it wasn’t going to be easy. There were three unidentified unicorns following him, keeping far enough away for their hoofsteps not to be heard. Not only that, but his favorite purple pegasi were back, stalking him from he skies. Did they know about his deception? They were all mares, but that could just be a skewing effect from the mostly female population. He was on the road out of town, but all five kept tailing him, with the pegasi doing lazy circles over the buildings before crossing over his main trajectory.

Ignoring his stomach’s pleas for food, he devised a plan to see his opponents face to face. Using the last city block, at least what was perceivably the last chunk of town surrounded by four streets, he made a loop with his new direction heading back into town. The unicorns were easy to track with his compass, especially since they kept together. Almost magnetically, they followed the Decepticon agent around each road. This was becoming tiresome. He wanted to go home and he didn’t want company.

Back on the main road out, Ravage reversed his course, intent on running into these unicorns. As he was about to make a turn onto one of the block roads, he could see the pegasi in the sky, arms flailing. It was fun to watch his satellite fed overhead motion tracking display as the unicorns seemed to be in full retreat. He rounded the corner, and they were out of sight. In fact, they were hiding behind various fences and barrels and such – the sight of a swishing tail confirmed this.

Ravage turned around and carefully resumed his homeward course, paying close attention to the data the song bird androids and satellites were giving him. The pegasi buggered off, and the unicorns headed back into town. Ravage was finally able to go home without risking his base’s position.

He ate a substantial amount of pony meal, and then spent the rest of the evening cleaning his body and documenting his research, preparing to break radio silence. It was long after the period described by Starscream, so why not? He found it unusual, however, that the Decepticons had made no attempt to contact him. He cleaned up in pony form, but the rest he did in robot mode, since working the instrumentation required fingers. Before he contacted Cybertron, he wanted to organize his data first. It would be only a day or two more.

As the sun set, he realized his didn’t feel any of the oppressive tiredness while he was in robot mode, so he transformed. He immediately felt tired, including the heavy eyelids! Is the body capable of sleeping while in robot mode? He decided to experiment later on, since he didn’t want to ruin the integration process. After a couple of wide yawns he settled into his bedding (made from the finest packing materials from Cybertron). It wasn’t very warm though, so he kept the cabin temperature higher to compensate.

The next morning, Ravage was on his way to work for eight o’clock. He was fully refreshed. Could the use of his robot mode preceding the sleep phase have helped his tissue’s regeneration?

Soon after he had left the forest, his relatively happy disposition was disturbed, once again, as those pesky purple pegasi made passes over his position. This time they were intercepted by Rainbow Dash. After some probably work related talk, the two headed off to push more clouds. That was the good news. The bad news was that if they continued to follow the Decepticon’s movements, they will inevitably deduce the location of the trail that leads to his base – and then possibly find his base! Ravage knew that must not be allowed to happen, and pondered ways to deal with the problem.

Rainbow Dash didn’t seem to share in her comrades’ zeal to monitor Ravage. The stallion bot replayed some of the video from the exchange, zooming in on Rainbow. She did look at him, but only once. Her face was wearing a prideful smile. She didn’t repeatedly fly over him either. Perhaps she was respecting his space?

So far, he was not happy about being here, even if he was integrating into pony society as planned. It didn’t help that it took nearly an hour to walk all the way to work. He desperately wanted to transform and fly, taking only a few minutes, but that was not an option.

To make matters worse, and in spite of trying to keep as low a profile as possible, ponies seemed attracted to him, especially the females that dominated the nation.

His morning consisted of mixing concrete and moving it in a wheelbarrow. He did this quickly and easily, and without spilling anything. The net effect was to get his coworkers to stop talking about his ‘clumsiness’, which can be considered a step up in this rather brutal, heavy line of work.

And along came coffee time! This time, Ravage was prepared. Instead of saddlebags, he brought two keg-like structures, one filled with water, and one filled with his cooked pony meal. They were actually containers for radioactive waste, designed to capture emissions and slowly turn it into energon. They hadn’t been used yet. The fact that they used insulation for a yet-to-be-filled liquid nitrogen envelope made them excellent for keeping food hot or cold.

As to the real radioactive waste, Ravage wouldn’t have to deal with any spent fuel rods for at least another year. Besides which he might get creative, perhaps putting them in the pony’s water supply. Entertainment would ensue as cancers spiked and some pretty interesting deformations of their foals occurred. Alternatively, he could just bury it in concrete.

Ravage stared into space for a few minutes, enjoying his yummy meal. Instead of being here, he could have been shooting Autobots in the face. Following the orders of stiff-backed, lumpy ponies to move concrete and rocks around just didn’t suit the over eight million year old scourge of peace and life itself.

“Ya alright, Ravage?” said Bright Rock, waving a hoof into his face.

“Oh! Um, yeah. Yeah, I’m fine,” he lied.

“You seem contemplative.”

“Yeah, I was wondering. Will the next gamma burst from the super massive black hole at the center of the galaxy be intense enough to reach our planet and damage our atmosphere?” Actually, this was a valid query, since the Celestia system was a full galactic arm in closer to the hub relative to Earth and Cybertron. Ravage only wanted to distract his coworkers from his real thoughts, but nevertheless pondered the notion with a hoof supporting his chin. Bright Rock and a couple of others were slack jawed. The Decepticon was feeling apathetic, still wishing he was elsewhere.

Ravage was about to end their mental pain with a quick quip, something on the order of ‘haha, I’m just messin’ with ya.’ But then the two unicorn engineers shifted positions and sat right beside Ravage. “Actually, we really would like to hear about that!” They both looked more eager than they should be. The rest of the team grumbled.

Honestly, the pony bot just wanted to eat his sugary meal, so he silenced both sides of the intellectual fence. “Just messin’ with ya. We’re well within the Sun’s magnetic field so any charged particles created by the wave would be deflected away.”

“The Sun has a magnetic field?” asked the female engineer.

Uh oh. Empowering the ponies with solid knowledge of the universe that they didn’t learn for themselves? Blasphemy! At least he didn’t mention the not-so-deflected gamma rays.

And who else would be interested in this conversation but the two purple pegasi mares come to spy on Ravage. Again. The weather ponies and construction workers, indeed, most of Ponyville, seem to have had similarly structured work days.

“Um, maybe you can talk about something relevant, Ravage?” the foremare requested.

“Concrete is heavy.”

“Ya got that right!” Bright Rock happily interjected. “Why, this stuff here? It’s got fifty percent granite components in the aggregate. When it hardens, it does not move. No way, no how!”

Bright Rock went on about the wondrous substance that was concrete. Ravage started looking for the nearest pole. He needed to bang his head against it.

The rest of the morning went technically well. Nobody talked negatively to Ravage. A couple of construction ponies asked his opinion on domestic matters such as Mayor Mare’s effectiveness, hard hat quality, and – the opposite sex. Ravage was able to easily deflect every topic unless it was anything involving relationships. What was worse was that it was the most discussed item.

‘Got any kids?’ “I ate them.” ‘You married?’ “Nope” ‘Got a girlfriend?’ “Nope.” And after some shocked silence, ‘Boyfriend?’ “Nope.” It’s hard to believe that any work got done, but it did because Ravage never stopped mixing and hauling the precious concrete.

Mercifully, lunch came. Ravage had eaten his fill at coffee time, because he wanted to go to the beach to see Rainbow Dash perform. How convenient her timing was, practicing at lunch time. Also, some young mares seemed to gather at the construction site. All wore the same style of clothing: white shirts with green collars and bands around the sleeves. And they were all unicorns. He could swear they were giggling at him. Was hauling concrete so funny?

And the dynamic duo of purple pegasus ponies flew overhead. Yet again.

The engineers approached the departing earth pony bot. “Say, do you mind if we join you?” said the stallion of the pair.

What is this? Why am I constantly attracting unicorns! Ravage was upset by his abject inability to keep his head low. At least no unicorns attacked him – yet. He didn’t trust any of these ponies, but he trusted unicorns least of all, especially after yesterday’s tailing incident.

“Sure,” he conceded, not really caring. In this society, ponies could follow him around whether he wanted them to or not. Besides, these particular unicorns haven’t upset him. This might even be productive. Perhaps these unicorns may speak of inherent weaknesses.

Ravage looked towards the group of three unicorns. They responded with a chorus of giggles.

“Yeah, I think they like you,” spoke the mare. “I’m Bo, and this is Micah.” The other pony gave a hoof wave.

“And I’m Ravage,” he said dryly. The unicorns laughed along. He didn’t understand why they were laughing. The silly way some ponies talked had been a source of entertainment during the research phase of the operation, but Ravage spoke quite plainly. Perhaps he spoke too plainly?

Bo and Micah were both light grey unicorns, though Bo was a shade darker. She had a right angled squaring triangle and ruler for her cutie mark, and her companion had a square root symbol. Bo’s mane and tail were poppy red, while Micah’s were a dark shade of grey.

“So, where are we headed?” Bo and Micah seemed happy to let Ravage lead them to wherever.

“The beach. I want to see Rainbow Dash do those aerial stunts of hers.”

“Ah, our budding Wonderbolt!” Micah seemed more excited now.

“Indeed so,” said Bo. “She represents Cloudsdale, but she also represents Ponyville.”

“More Ponyville, I think,” Micah added.

“So, anyways, as to the reason we wanted to go with you,” began Bo, changing the subject. The unicorns took up flanking positions beside Ravage. “You seem – smart. Really smart. Why are you working construction? Not that there aren’t smart ponies in construction, but it seems a little shocking to see you doing grunt work.”

Ravage couldn’t agree more, even if he avoided showing so. He paid attention to the sky as it started to become streaked with Dash’s rainbow trails. She appeared to be on some sort of sky bound obstacle course. The three construction workers watched the show in the sky as they walked ever closer to it.

“It’s the only work I could get,” he replied, mostly paying attention to Rainbow’s flying.

The unicorns were flabbergasted. That simply can’t be the full range of his abilities, especially with his type of cutie mark. The answer to their line of inquiry was mechanical and digital design and implementation, a basic ability of all Decepticons, tempered with four million years of combat experience – and another four million locked in stasis. During the combat part of his life, he’d learned a million ways to fight Autobots. Of course, he was not going to tell his unicorn companions this.

“Oh wow! The Fantastic Filly Flash!” Micah proclaimed.

Ravage assumed that was the name of the complex, and very specific, maneuver that was just done. Rainbow Dash continued her show, her flight path having resembled rainbow ribbons.

“So where are ya from?” Bo asked.

The pony visitor had this lie prepared, and it seemed that the time had come to test it. “Rural Equestria, north of Froggy Bottom Bog.” The Decepticons had noted that the ponies had a wood processing installation there.

“You’re a lumberjack?” Micah showed a little surprise in asking this.

Ravage recognized the term ‘lumberjack’ as one who acquires felled trees as their occupation. “A close approximation,” he responded clinically.

Bo gave the Decepticon’s body a good look, smiling. “Well, that explains the muscles.” However, it wasn’t enough to explain the brains, she felt.

“I couldn’t get any better than math muscles,” Micah added. Bo chuckled at this.

The three continued idle chatter as Rainbow Dash dished out a couple more tricks. She began spinning a large cloud around. Was it about to be destroyed?

Now it was Micah’s turn to ask Ravage a personal question. “What part of town are you staying in?”

The cloud was rapidly spinning now. Suddenly it was pierced by a rainbow trail, and it exploded into a fantastic ball of light and rain, with the primary colours of the rainbow. Ravage was, again, gawking at the sight. He had three raven androids stand by, clocking Rainbow Dash’s speed. There was no doubt about it, she had gone supersonic. Again, there were no propulsion systems visible and her body emitted no particles or light during the process. The corollary was that it could have only been magic that made her capable of doing this, this impossible thing.

It was by magic that the unicorns were able to perform telekinetic feats, and it was by magic that Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna were able to move heavenly bodies. The beautiful thing was that Ravage, and Ravage alone, was the only interstellar visitor able to study it through a scientific eye. He had the most sophisticated technology available to do it with too. Assuming his cover held, the secrets of magic would soon join the realm of proven scientific principles, and his mission would be completed.

“West side.”

“Huh? Oh! Oh, I gotcha.” Micah sheepishly replied, having been transfixed by the sight himself.

Unfortunately, all Ravage had to show for his time here was a compass that pointed to the nearest unicorn which – which was pointing almost directly behind him! The armature was vibrating, shivering in place, yet Bo and Micah were right beside him. Alarmed, he held his head up, and looked behind him, seeing the source of the disturbance.

“Oh Hieeee,” Twilight Sparkle sputtered, blushing grievously. She was about ten body lengths away. “Uh, how did you know I was here?”

“Oh, hi Twilight,” Bo greeted. Micah gave a nod. Both had puzzled expressions.

“My tail,” Ravage swished it, “is very sensitive.” It wasn’t the best lie, but it was the best he could do on short notice.

Twilight gasped in delight, “Your tail can detect electrical impulses? Like a shark!?”

“Uh, what?” Ravage knew nothing of sharks, even though he had seen many back on Earth. He would have to consult the ‘critter’ database later.

Twilight lunged at Ravage, rearing up and planting her hooves on both sides of his backside.

Ravage had no words, only slack-jawed surprise.

Twilight’s horn started lighting up. Ravage didn’t even think of his machine guns hidden between her hooves (he liked to change weapon systems after bathing), as he was still trying to figure out what the excited unicorn magician was doing. “Okay, swish your tail so I can measure the charge!” she demanded, looking all to keen, toothy grinned and inappropriate for her regal fiber, clasping at Ravage’s behind with increasing pressure.

“Swwwaaahh..!” Bo yanked Twilight off of Ravage with her magic.

“C’mon,” implied Micah, somewhat forcibly, tipping his head in a direction away from Twilight. Ravage started following Micah away from the weirdness.

“Oh, I’m sorry! Did I freak him out?” said the disappointed unicorn.

“Not yet, but maybe if you can calm down just a bit. Hey! Why don’t we get a couple of hay shakes? My treat!” Bo did her best to get Twilight’s attention elsewhere, and off of Ravage.

Rainbow Dash saw the whole thing and landed beside her friend and Bo. “What was that all about?” she asked, exasperated.

“Sorry…” was all Twilight said, her ears pinned back. “He has such a beautiful - cutie mark - and he caught me staring, and…”

“You were just looking at his cutie mark?” Bo had trouble believing that was all that Twilight was looking at.

“And he has nice, well…”

“He has nice flanks, we get that. But if he thinks we’re invading his space, there’s no way he’ll warm up to us. I think he might be a bit of a recluse too.” The junior Wonderbolt was thinking of going over to Ravage and try to smooth things over.

“Wait, you guys are interested in that stallion?”

“He was staring at Rainbow yesterday,” Twilight added.

Bo looked over to Rainbow Dash, half smirking, “Really now?”

“That’s what Aster and Pinkie said. I did get to talk with him a bit. He’s actually pretty cool,” the pegasus explained.

“And today he wanted to go to the beach to watch you perform,” said Bo conspiratorially.

Twilight perked up at hearing that. “We still have a chance!”

Rainbow snickered, “Of course we do. All ya gotta do is respect his space, Twi.”

Twilight fired up her powerful mind. The task was simple. What could she do to help ensure Ravage’s union with their herd? Many solutions presented themselves; one in particular seemed to be most promising. “If he’s a recluse like me, then he might enjoy reading and studying.” Her eyes widened, liking this possibility very much.

“Atta’ girl, Twi,” Rainbow spoke, supporting her friend’s resolve.

At the same time, Ravage and Micah were putting distance between themselves and the purple unicorn. “Okay, what was that?” asked Ravage, likening their current social status to an act of fission.

“When Twilight gets a crazy face, you gotta get away. This is the voice of experience talking here,” Micah assured. “That and the inappropriate touching.”

'Oh, that was inappropriate?' he thought. Via Soundwave, he’d seen numerous ‘hooves on flank’ maneuvers on video during the study, but until now didn’t realize that they were accomplished in areas not easily seen by the public. He shall have to remember this information.

It was then that Ravage decided that unicorns were probably non-threatening. Twilight’s assault was nothing more than scientific curiosity. He tried to reconcile her impromptu test with Micah’s declaration of ‘inappropriate touching’. Ravage didn’t care about what Twilight just did, even though there was every indication he should have. His cover was not blown, and he was not damaged. Not only that, but these engineer ponies both acted in his best interest. Ravage also concluded that it would be beneficial to forge stronger communications with those two ponies.

“Do you like hay fries?” asked Ravage’s stallion friend.

“Uh, yeah?” The Decepticon assumed it was a kind of food, and that Micah wanted to get some. Food costs money. He was intending on supporting his dietary needs with the pony meal and delayed purchasing any food until he had assured an income of bits. “I don’t have any bits. I’ll be fine with my pony diet.”

“That stuff in your thermos? The oatmeal?” Micah gave a cock-eyed expression that hinted at confusion.

“Yes.”

“I’ll get you some hay fries if you like. Consider it a gift! You’re the new guy on the team, and frankly, I’m happy to have you with us. It’s nice to know an intellectual pony. As for Twilight, I hope you can forgive her unusual behavior. She's actually quite an amazing pony.” Micah spoke his mind, knowing that Twilight wasn’t short on remarkable attributes. He and Bo were thrilled about having Ravage around ever since his ‘black hole’ statement. The earth ponybot was also very hard working on top of it, and had yet to show an inkling of exhaustion. He was cool!

It occurred to Ravage that these ponies celebrated the new, as well as annual occasions, and this would explain the onset of Micah’s sudden interest in hay fries. Ravage’s being referred to as an intellectual felt odd though. The maximum degree of his processing would only be explored when he figured out the bombing schedule for Equestria. Shockwave, now he was an intellectual. Megatron and Soundwave, both were very smart, very committed. Starscream trumped them all though. He designed the very body that was infiltrating Equestria even as Micah was offering it free food.

“Sure. Thank you,” Ravage replied. A genuine smile graced his face, in spite of his evil thoughts. This spontaneous smile was spawned by the very real emotional response to Micah’s gracious offer. The spy recognized the unusual connection and resolved to try to understand it later.

Ravage and Micah finished lunch and chatted on the way back to work. Ravage was the one to actually start a discussion on the Elements of Harmony, since he was able to answer most of the common questions. When the conversation drifted the Decepticon let Micah take the lead while he mostly listened. The topic eventually got around to talking about work and life when Bo caught up with the two, and that was when it was verified that Micah and Bo were mates. They offered Ravage to come over for supper, but he declined saying that he had a lot of work for to do, which was very true.

Ravage went on to finish his day at the construction site, seemingly earning more respect from his fellow workers. On the walk home he assembled his plans, making sure to remember that there was only one more day in the ‘week’, and there was no work on the two day ‘weekend’.

The spy was to break radio silence this night, since his update was prepared for transmission. Whatever reason that Cybertron had to not contact him thus far would have to be ignored. Tomorrow afternoon Ravage would process his bank drafts into bits, establishing a ‘cash flow’. Finally, either tomorrow night, or Saturday night would be used to study Princess Luna. The Decepticons had observed that she seems to fly out to the south and east from Canterlot, apparently in a sparsely populated area in order to raise the moon. He needed to check the train schedules and see if he might be able to intercept her for study. Unfortunately, the quick and easy act of flying himself out was out of the question.

The purple pegasi were executing yet another flyby, but his time their trajectories were slower, and lower. There were moving to intercept! Ravage wasn’t too concerned, as all of these ponies seemed docile. They landed a few feet directly in front of the pony bot, effectively forcing him to stop. The two Ponyville sentinels had deigned to reveal themselves at last.

“Hey sexy,” one of them spoke, looking entirely too mischievous. She had a spiky, silvery electric blue mane.

Ravage barely managed to suppress a frown, and kept his emotions under control. He suspected that the design of his body was flawed and this mare just proved it. It was meant to help him be socially acceptable, not desirable. If this infiltration procedure was repeated, the flaw would have to be corrected. He decided to include this revelation in his update.

“Good afternoon,” the stallion replied plainly. This made the two mares giggle.

“Polite and sexy!” said the other mare, whom had green hair and a bow tying it at the back of her head.

“I’m Cloudchaser.”

“I’m Flitter,” both mares offered their hooves, which Ravage shook in greeting.

“My name is Ravage.” Similar to what happened at the construction site, this resulted in giggling. It was a strange way to express laughter. No Decepticon did that. As far as he knew, no Autobot did that either.

“Don’t you mean ‘Ravish’?” Flitter joked.

“Uh, yeahhh…” Ravage decided that he could substitute ‘Ravish’ as a ‘fake-real’ name, of some sort, but only if necessary. The two mares kept looking at him expectantly. “Can I help you?”

“Oh yes you can,” the confident Cloudchaser cooed. She walked toward his backside, sliding up against his body like a cat. She made sure that her cutie mark rubbed up against his, and finished the maneuver by contacting Ravage’s cutie mark with her silky tail as she turned back around. “I can think of quite a few ways, actually.”

More giggling came from the green-haired pony. “Actually, we were wondering if you wanted to go to a party.”

'What’s a party?' What felt more dangerous was that his compass swung sharply, pointing behind him. It appeared almost like a repeat of yesterday, only this time the pegasi were engaging him directly. He started to walk forward. Flitter and Cloudchaser took up flanking positions. “A party?” Ravage spoke, suddenly regretting it.

“Yeah, we’re gonna have a sexy party,” Cloudchaser described. “And well, we were just flying by and saw you looking all alone. So, being good ponies, Flitter and I decided to ask ya.” The silvery-maned mare couldn’t fib her way out of a paper bag. It made Ravage die a little inside. She could at least try to tell a lie properly! His disappointment turned into apprehension when the satellite’s thermal imaging reported three unicorns bearing down on his position from behind.

It’s a trap!’ Ravage picked up his pace, but the sound of hooves indicated that they were galloping. In just a few seconds they caught up with the group.

“Oh hi, girls!” one of them greeted. “Oh my, did you make a new friend?” asked another. “You do plan on sharing, right?” That third comment worried Ravage. Flitter and Cloudchaser drew in closer to the confused stallion bot, often rubbing against him.

The pegasi tried to swerve him onto a road on his left, but Ravage pressed forward. So far, he had concluded that ponies were tame enough to not have to worry about starting a fight with them, but this act of aggression was unexpected. It had been barely over forty-eight hours since first contact and they were trying to drive him into areas he didn’t want to go. Another thing that was worrying was that the unicorns hadn’t introduced themselves yet. “Um hello, I’m Ravage.”

“Don’t you remember us?” a dark green-maned mare asked. Ravage looked and immediately recognized them.

“In fact I do.” Ravage verified his findings by looking at the other two. “Where are your clothes?”

Giggles from all five ponies assaulted Ravage’s ears. This kind of laughter was too commonplace, and frankly, it was starting to wear on him. “We’ll wear clothes if you want us to,” one of the unicorns commented, followed by laughter from all the mares. Ravage wasn’t laughing. He was confused and wondered what their motivations could possibly be. He ruled out courtship, since all five seemed to be eager to be with him. The air around him became full of those sweet smelling fragrances again, which is something that happened when there were large groups of mares together. Were they secreting them?

“Pearl Bliss,” the dark green-maned mare finally admitted. Her coat was white and her mane had a short-yet-bouncy look about, it and this was reflected in her tail as well. She wasn’t within hoof-shaking range - blocked by Cloudchaser in fact - so Ravage nodded and smiled at her.

“Saffron,” acknowledged a light orange mare with a pink mane. She was walking right beside Flitter. She had a fairly straight mane, with a yellow streak swirling through it. Her tail was the same way.

The other unicorn chuckled before introducing herself. “I’m Winter,” She said with a sultry voice and a smile. As one would predict, she had a white coat, a flowing, ice blue mane with white streaks, and an equally flamboyant tail.

Their cutie marks were a ring of black pearls, a purple flower, and a light blue snowflake.

Ravage kept on the road that would take him home, but the mares wouldn’t leave his side. It might have been smarter to accept Bo and Micah’s invitation, as the bothered Decepticon had no idea how to get rid of all these ponies without resorting to more ‘forceful’ tactics. Again the pegasi tried to drive him left, and again Ravage pressed forward.

“Uh say, the party’s over that way,” Flitter said. She indicated the leftward direction with a shake of her head.

“Ah, so that’s what you wanted. I cannot do the party tonight. I have too much to do.” Ravage remembered some conversation he overheard regarding parties, about the typical times such things are held, though he wasn’t exactly sure what they were aside from being some sort of gathering. “Besides, Friday or Saturday night works better for me. I don’t work on the following mornings.” Indeed, Bright Rock indicated that there was to be no work this weekend. Ravage noticed that nopony was responding to his words. He checked both sides for reaction. As it turned out, all of them were looking at him predatorily.

“Saturday at my place!” Pearl Bliss declared. She used her magic to write the address on a piece of paper, and then stuff it between two of Ravage’s keg straps so it could not fall out. “Seven o’clock. We can do the starlight thing a couple of hours after we start.”

The mares suddenly became excited, and talked about food to bring, other ponies to bring, alcohol to bring, and other paraphernalia. Ravage, just a few seconds later, realized that the first use of unicorn magic on his person had just occurred. He noted that zero damage was done.

They made plans while walking a few blocks more, and making quite a few references to the ‘flanks’ of various ponies. They indicated that Ravage’s own flanks were ‘a gift from Celestia’. He deduced that was probably what Twilight was staring at back at the beach. The downside of this valuable new information was that Ravage risked being sensitized to ponies looking at him. He decided that since he did not care for the whole flank thing anyway that he should go back to ignoring it. The only purpose of the muscle group was flexion of the leg.

Ravage was approaching the edge of town, and his stomach was complaining fiercely, desperately needing food. However, his pony entourage would not leave. They just kept talking and talking. The pony bot suspected that even if he did have something to say, he wouldn’t be able to get a word in.

“Hey Ravage,” Cloudchaser suddenly queried, “got a girlfriend?” All other conversation was instantly halted.

Ravage knew exactly what a girlfriend was, and he couldn’t figure out a lie to sate them. Cloudchaser and her minions had been spying on him ever since he started exploring Ponyville, and he knew that only because the satellite detected the formation flying. There were definitely other mares interested in him. There was no way he could convince them of a make believe marefriend. He could try to make them believe that he had one out of town, but then they’d begin asking questions about his life before Ponyville. Avoidance was the best way to handle that particular set of questions and that wasn’t about to change now.

The mares watched Ravage closely. They saw his face respond to his internal thought processes. The lack of a quick answer made them ever more hopeful. Their eyes grew bigger and bigger while their mouths grew wider and wider. The Decepticon had no choice but to reveal his true status. “No.”

“Yeah, as if we didn’t already figure that out.” Pearl Bliss’s response was accompanied by laughter.

“If you did, she’d totally barricade you away from everypony else,” added Saffron.

Cloudchaser took the lead. “I think he should remain girlfriendless. I mean, how else would we be able to party?” A chorus of feminine approval supported the pegasus’ statement.

Ravage didn’t like having his status determined for him. He didn’t like feeling hungry and tired either. He had to get out! Hardly even noticing he had stopped, he cradled his abdomen, as if hoping his stomach would fill itself. The small plate of hay fries didn’t do what a keg full of pony meal would have done.

“Awww, he’s so hungry!” Pearl Bliss was holding the sides of her face as if she were looking at a litter of kittens.

“Perhaps we should leave him be?” suggested Winter.

“Yeah, you go eat, Ravage. We’ll catch up with you tomorrow. Let’s go, girls!” Cloudchaser mercifully put and end to Ravage’s suffering by using her own strong status to round up the other mares and make their exit. She knew that if he wanted to ‘party’ with them tonight, he would have allowed himself to be steered left, like she wanted. Also, a hungry, tired stallion just wouldn’t be any fun, not at least as far as Cloudchaser was concerned. She preferred her partners to share in the work.

They each said their goodbyes, but not without adding their own personal touch. Flitter winked at him, while Pearl Bliss blew a kiss at him. Winter applied her brand of provocative tail swishing.

At last, Ravage could get back to the base.


=^.^=


After having tanked up on food and water, and cleaning up his body, Ravage transformed into robot mode and attempted to contact with Cybertron. It was not going very well.

“Ravage to Shockwave…” The Decepticon pony’s plea for communication was not being answered this night.

“Ravage to Shockwave….” He had been at it for the rest of the evening following his clean up period. A pity it was, for he had gotten used to the hot, sudsy bath water. In fact, it was something Ravage looked forward to. It seemed his good mood was spoiled once again by the unexpected.

“Come in Shockwave…” Static filled the dimly lit radio room. The lights of the instrument clusters did not change, for there was nothing to stimulate them.

“Cybertron, do you read?”

Ravage checked the communications systems of his satellites. They were all working. He tried using different satellites to relay the subspace signal. Nothing. This was downright peculiar. He wanted to blame Starscream for not allowing him to establish contact as soon as he got here, but that was just hindsight. Besides, Starscream was at war. Shockwave could have easily received a signal, had Ravage decided to disobey.

More than two hours passed. He had become really frustrated with the lack of contact, but now he was slowly becoming scared. Had the Autobots reversed their fortunes? Had they taken control of Cybertron? In such a scenario, all communications with Ravage would have been cut off.

The concerned Decepticon came up with a plan to redirect a galactic satellite back to Cybertron. There were many available and they were all designed with stealth in mind. Their optics would be able to reveal everything that occurred on the surface as long as they got to within fifty radii of the planet.

To do this, Ravage redirected one of the minor satellites orbiting Celestia-1 to fly well outside of the dwarf star’s orbit around the planet. His plan was two fold. He would be able to send a galactic satellite back to Cybertron, and he needed to reduce the star’s gravitational and electromagnetic influences by having the small satellite get far enough away. He would also be able to acquire valuable data on the magnetic fields of the worlds and star in this system too. Since his compass is always pointing to the most powerful unicorn, relatively speaking, it was important to ground the coming study of their magic by first understanding the relationships of this system’s magnetic fields.

It would take nearly a day for the satellite to get far enough to perform the redirection operation. It would then swing around and study the magnetic fields. In another seven days, at least, the nearest galactic satellite should meander back to within observation range of his home world.

Ravage tried contacting Earth, attempting to reach Motormaster, or even Ramjet. Again, there was nothing but static. Indeed, most puzzling. Optimus Prime was a mighty leader, but there was no way that the Decepticons could have been routed from both worlds. Was there?

“Come in Cybertron, do you read?”

Ravage’s radio room was awash in static.

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