• 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 4: Anthems To The Alicorns At Dusk

Transformed



Chapter 4: Anthems To The Alicorns At Dusk



Before he did anything else, Ravage tried to contact Cybertron. The radio room lights, unfortunately, continued to be unremarkable.

It didn’t take Ravage two hours to service all of his exposed systems like he thought it would, but he did perform maintenance on his heavily used hydraulics and other systems. The jet engines took the longest to clean, since they were precision instruments that were required to work hard and heavy for extended periods of time. He tested them within his base, and the power band looked okay – not even a sputter.

It was dawn, and Ravage realized that he had been up all night long. Not feeling the need to sleep in robot mode, he transformed into a stallion. The severe drowsiness that was expected was not present at all. In fact, he felt well rested! That little result supported his hypothesis that the tissue rests whenever he is in robot mode. Ravage smiled, almost evilly. Since his robotic components re-energized in pony mode, and his tissue regenerated in robot mode, he could potentially remain awake and alert for a very long period indeed. Perhaps many weeks!

Being a fan of completing one thing at a time, Ravage moved onto his next prioritized task. He looked at last night’s satellite imagery of the two bat ponies that came so close to his base. The stallion bot quickly came to the conclusion that it was that clearing that they were interested in, not his home. They activated the proximity alert when they appeared to be playing in flight, and ventured too close.

He turned on his subspace radio, a device normally left on all the time, and decided to leave port 32359 as it was, as well as the previously occupied memory clusters. You never know who might come knocking. Right after he turned it on, a message came through.

Incoming System Report: Celestia-1

Ravage rerouted the report to the big view screen, eager to see the findings. Instantly, a view of the star and its worlds appeared, along with the relevant magnetic fields. Especially in light of recent events, Ravage, who thought he’d seen it all, yet again was taken by surprise.

The Celestia star had a big, powerful magnetic field as was expected. The Moon had no magnetic field whatsoever as it was small, cold, and lifeless with its core too cooled off to produce any kind of magnetic energy. But the planet – it had a magnetic field alright. It was bigger than the entire Celestia system! In fact, it engulfed the star’s magnetic field, yet both fields had the star and both worlds within them.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” he spoke aloud.

Perhaps more profound was the Moon and star being not only equidistant from Celestia-1, but that they exerted the same gravitational influence. Ravage was tearing himself up inside, eager to experiment!

“Heh, this oughta’ be a snap,” he joked. He fired a small missile at the moon from the main satellite. This comprised his simple and elegant solution. Before it impacted, it would record and report the gravitational acceleration of that world.

Ravage hypothesized that the Moon might be the same mass as the Celestia star, somehow. Until he knew the gravitational acceleration, he wasn’t going to risk sending any satellites near that thing. “The stars will aid in her escape,” he recalled aloud. Under truly immense gravity, which Ravage suspected might be the reason for such a place to be a prison, then nothing should be able to escape it. The Decepticon looked forward to the new data, which he should have by the next morning.

The star in this system was only the size of a gas giant planet, in keeping with the weirdness. Ravage didn’t even want to think about it until he got the data back on the Moon.

Luna was in charge of the Moon too, how powerful was she really? The Royal Sisters operate the Sun and Moon through magic alone; perhaps it is magic itself that is doing all the work, and they were merely ‘pushing buttons’?

The Decepticon sat comfortably in his chair, proud of his robot mode not having used a drop of energon since he got here. He felt, perhaps, a little too comfortable. He knew that he should go outside, but the conditions of his study on this world have changed.

He cannot keep under the radar. Luna’s testimony did not inspire him to go out and explore either.

So far, his integration into pony society required little effort as the inhabitants accepted his pony form with open – legs. What then, would Ravage do if he up and walked into town? Why not stay safely inside his ship until he had to work again? “No. That’s a coward’s answer,” Ravage thought aloud.

He decided to perform another simple experiment: walk into town, buy a hay shake, then buy ‘groceries’, and come back to the ship. Then, record the results. Buying groceries was the only useful thing he could think of doing today. He certainly had the refrigeration capability, and he loved all the new dietary opportunities that presented themselves once he started earning bits.

But Cloudchaser and her troops would be looking for him, of this he was certain. In spite of this, he didn’t want to activate his satellite uplink until it was absolutely necessary, fearing that knowing the whereabouts of every pony might interfere with his integration. He had established that what Cloudchaser’s friends were doing may indeed have been a courtship ritual, or may turn into one. That must not happen!

Ravage exited his base, and headed for town.


=^.^=


Rarity and Sweetie Belle were returning from the train station, with the filly dragging a cart load of materials behind her. “Thanks for – letting me – help you – Rarity!” Sweetie Belle said between gasps. Fabric was heavy, and a cartload was a lot of work to move.

“Oh, you can’t possibly know how much I appreciate you,” Rarity chirped, head held high, her clean white coat shimmering in the morning light. “But remember our deal,” the mare sing songed, “I shall prepare us breakfast.”

This put a smile on the gasping filly. “Can we have apple puff pancake?”

“Why certainly.” Rarity cracked a smile at the suggestion. It had been a while since she’d indulged, so why not?

Just then, Rarity spotted Ravage out of the corner of her eye, immediately causing her to stop. With, an “OOMPH” and the sound of a shuddering cart, Sweetie Belle had stopped as well, colliding with her sister’s backside.

Rarity felt a need to interact with the handsome stallion, but gently. Rainbow Dash’s claim that he liked his personal space seemed to be true as he still appeared to be free of the town’s other mares. Unknown to the newcomer, Rarity noticed two other mares taking pretty good looks at him. “Sweetie Belle, would you mind waiting for fifteen minutes?”

“Fifteen minutes!” the younger replied angrily.

“It’s a lot to ask, I know. I promise I’ll make it up to you. Just please wait for me.”

Ravage was nearing his first destination. In fact, he had the satellite calculate the time it would take to get there. In less than sixty seconds, he would be ordering a hay shake. In less than three-hundred, he would be enjoying one. It made his mouth water. He could almost feel the texture of the hay bits as it rushed over his tongue –

“Yoo hoo!” a mare voice melodiously chimed in, directed at the pony bot.

Ravage halted, his expression frozen in a stint of being unimpressed. Decepticons did stop when interrupted by other Decepticons though. It was usually to discuss something relevant, something useful. Ravage had a feeling that this upcoming discussion would be neither. “Yes?”

“Good morning, Ravage,” Rarity spoke, beaming a smile at him.

Ravage had never used this greeting before so he tried it out. “Good morning.” He then returned the smile.

“Don’t you remember my name,” she asked coyly, fluttering her eyelashes. She silently chastised herself, remembering to avoid coming on too strongly.

“Rarity, yes?”

“Quite right, darling.” Rarity was stuck, but after a little thought she found an outlet. “A fine morning for a walk, isn’t it?”

“A fine morning for food too.” Ravage realized that he had somehow forgotten to eat breakfast. Perhaps the change in the routine had made him a little lax.

“If I may be so bold, Ravage, I was about to prepare breakfast for my sister and I. Would you care to join us both?” Rarity always knew that stallions and food went together like fashion and fabric. Her eyes widened, but just a bit in trying to keep with her more relaxed method of pursuit, and she waited for his answer. “I’m sure you’d just forgotten to make food for yourself. I know I tend to be lazy on Saturday mornings.”

“I don’t feel comfortable taking your food like that.” Ravage was on the look out for free things from mares, and this certainly sounded like it.

“Oh it’s no trouble at all, dear. Socializing with your fellow citizens whom you’ve only recently met takes quite a lot of effort, believe me. So, in aiding your ‘getting used’ to Ponyville, I offer you breakfast. Knowing your neighbors is important, Ravage.”

Ravage digested this. “So you want me to have breakfast with you and your sister, because it should improve our future associations?”

“And improve our communication,” Rarity added. Ravage’s ears perked up at this. Working with the Soundwave gave him a very high appreciation of communication skills. “Better communication, better living,” Rarity pressed, touching it off with a welcoming smile showing her teeth.

Ravage pondered the white mare’s words. While it may have been some sort of ploy, integration can only come about with communication. Since it was obvious that the Elements of Harmony simply won’t leave him be, he considered that it may be worthwhile to associate with them, even if it’s only at arm’s length.

“Alright,” the hungry Decepticon pony said with a nod.

“Excellent!” Rarity was pleased. “Follow me.” She had a definite bounce in her step, if her dancing locks were any indication. Rarity’s nose was up in victory as they approached the boutique.

“Sweetie Belle! We have a guest,” Rarity announced.

“Who is he?” Sweetie Belle was looking surprised and a little suspicious.

“Sweetie Belle, meet Ravage. Ravage, Sweetie Belle.” Rarity had all the grace of a diplomat on an important mission.

“Hel-lo?” Sweetie Belle’s botched etiquette didn’t bother Ravage, but Rarity was really trying hard to remain calm.

Ravage only nodded toward Rarity’s sister. He recognized mounting anger when he saw it.

“Ravage is new in town, Sweetie. We need to be welcoming. He shall be joining us for breakfast, so I ask that you chat with each other while I go prepare things. You don’t mind, do you, Ravage?”

“Uh, sure.” He had to deal with a lot of angry Transformers. It was time to see what angry ponies could do.

“Oh, so I have to haul your heavy stuff so I can eat, and Ravish just shows up and gets to eat for nothing!” Truth be told, that bothered Ravage as well. “You can get your own cart, cuz’ I’m done!”

“Sweetie Belle, calm down,” Rarity squawked, half angry, half embarrassed. Her eyes’ attention switched back and forth between her sister, and her guest.

Sweetie walked into another room, ensuring that her hooves made loud clacks on the floor as she did so, and slammed the door behind her.

The Decepticon stallion saw an opening. “What cart?”

Rarity was flustered now. “Ooooh, that filly!” she uttered, visibly pissed. Looking at the recently abused room door, “She’s supposed to bring both carts, and for that I will make her breakfast.”

“I’ll get the cart. Where is it?” Ravage wanted to meddle in the ponies’ contract, hoping to inflame the conflict. Two unicorns fighting each other might be entertaining. Decepticons were as opportunistic as they were territorial, and in offering to get the other package Ravage hoped to rouse suspicion.

“No Ravage, it’s Sweetie Belle’s responsibility.”

This time, the room door swung wide open. “I’ll show him! C’mon Ravish!” The little filly zipped to the front door with surprising speed.

“Ravage,” the pony bot corrected, maintaining his stoic stride as he went to the door and followed Sweetie Belle out of the boutique.

Rarity was left standing alone, her mouth opened, looking like a combination of spaced-out and surprised. There was nothing more to do except prepare breakfast.

Similar to what Pinkie Pie did earlier, Sweetie Belle was almost bouncing on her hooves, but only after they got out of the boutique. She eventually calmed down enough to talk. “Um, how do you know my sister?”

“I sat down for lunch with her and her friends yesterday,” Ravage said plainly.

“But today you’re in her place eating breakfast made by her. Eeeeenteresting,” the little filly said, suspecting that there was more than breakfast afoot.

A year ago, Ravage didn’t know what a foal was, and now he was talking to one. She was older and had more on the ball than the foals at Bo and Micah’s, but she was still a step down from an adult – though not very far.

Ravage wanted to see her cognition in action. He was disappointed that a fight didn’t break out between this foal and her sister – he had all kinds of instruments activated, ready to measure the ensuing tissue damage – but he soon realized that relying on comparisons between ponies and Decepticons would not get him any results.
“I’m new around here. Getting to know the locals is a good idea, don’t you think?”

“We all need to do that. Just, not in other pony’s homes,” insinuated Sweetie, trying to lure out some sort of confession from Ravage.

“I beg to differ. I was at Bo and Micah’s last night eating supper, and getting to know them and their friends.” Ravage sensed faulty cognition from the little foal. She seemed so sure of herself before, but remained somewhat unable to weave all of her thoughts and feelings into sentences. Like her body, her thinking had to grow from a newborn to an adult, and adult thinking just didn’t turn on like it did with Decepticons.

At that point, they came upon the other cart which Ravage easily pulled back to the boutique. All the while, Sweetie Belle was going on about the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ next plan, foolproof of course. Ravage enjoyed her zeal, even if he thought the plan was foolishness.

Rarity was elated to see Ravage return with the rest of her fabric bolts, even if it was supposed to be done entirely by her sister.

Ravage, to his credit, felt he had at least earned a breakfast, even if the cart weight was less than a quarter of what he was used to. While Decepticons enjoyed opportunities that got others to do their work for them, Ravage differed in that respect. He was built to infiltrate and observe, at least primarily. That kind of work was not something you got others to do for you.

They sat down. Ravage and Sweetie Belle both devoured their breakfasts. “This is amazing,” Ravage commented, never having tasted anything this good since he got here. And Micah was a good cook too!

Sweetie Belle added to the compliments, except that she didn’t swallow her food first. Rarity felt the enthusiasm though, and decided to ignore the mutilated language that left her sister’s mouth while she was still chewing.

Rarity had impressed Ravage. She was beaming instead of doing her usual cleanup. “I’m glad you both enjoyed it.” Rarity felt she needed to play into her ‘communication effort’ with him a little more. “If I may ask, what is it you do for work, Ravage?”

“Mix concrete.”

“Whaaaat?” a shocked unicorn responded.

“Don’t you think mixing concrete is a noble pursuit?” Ravage tried to hang onto the topic, as it was something he could answer questions easily in. “It makes buildings, roads, bridges–”

“Well, of course it does those things, but, your cutie mark – may I ask how you got it?” the puzzled mare asked.

Sweetie Belle also felt there was something amiss. “I thought you were some sort of scientist when I saw you.”

The Decepticon leaned toward Sweetie Belle with a rare mischievous look on his face. “Looks can be deceiving.” He had this fabrication ready to go too. “When I was a kid, I looked at a planet through a telescope. I found it quickly, and the image was clear. Next thing you know,” Ravage pointed to his cutie mark. Suddenly, Ravage thought of another experiment he needed to perform. Pony astronomical literature was rife with images of Saturn. The infiltrating Decepticon decided that he should probably verify that he really could find the ringed world with a telescope in the night sky like the textbooks indicated.

“Did you dream about outer space a lot?” Sweetie prodded.

“More than you know.”

“Darling, I’m sure I speak for us both when I say that we are perplexed at your current occupation. Should you not be an Astronomer?”

“Perhaps my mark isn’t a planet. Maybe it is a bean, with a shaft of wheat wrapped around it. I did have creamed wheat for breakfast, and baked beans for lunch that day.” Ravage decided that the topic had taken a turn for the sillier, and he was about to change the subject when suddenly a loud crash came from the front door.

Rainbow Dash was catching her breath after having burst into the breakfast scene. “Guys! You’re not gonna believe this – oh hey Ravage.” Rainbow’s composure was temporarily regained when she noticed the stallion. “Luna had, like, five-hundred night guards search for some stallion last night!”

“Sounds like a whole battalion,” Ravage commented, pretty certain of whom it was the guards were searching for.

“I heard it from Twilight.” Rainbow Dash didn’t want any ponies questioning the quality of her information.

“Goodness, what did this stallion do?” Rarity wasn’t aware of anything that could illicit such a strong reaction from Princess Luna.

“That’s the weird thing. The Princess called ‘em back while they were in the middle of it. Of course, she had to talk about it with Twilight. Now Twilight’s all confused.”

“She's Luna's confidant?” Ravage wondered if the Elements were being mobilized in order to apprehend the ‘stallion’.

“Twilight said that the princess just wants to see him again. Still doesn’t explain the dragnet.” Dash’s brow was all furrowed up, trying to figure out the lunacy.

The Princess of Friendship entered the still opened front door. “There you are, Rainbow. Oh! Hello Ravage.” She smiled cheerfully.

“Good morning.”

“Okay, so what does Luna want exactly?” Rainbow pushed, looking to Twilight for verification.

“She just wants to see him again.”

“And how do the guards figure in this?” Rarity asked.

“She – she didn’t really want to comment on that.” Twilight’s eyes rolled upward. The unicorn librarian really wanted to know what got Luna so upset enough to do such a thing in the first place.

“Did the princess at least give a description of who I could only imagine would be a dashing rogue?” Rarity’s face lit up. “Did she give his name?”

“Luna said she never got his name.”

Ravage cocked an eyebrow at this. Luna knew who he was without him even introducing himself, and she knew he was in Ponyville. A small, wry smile temporarily cracked his neutrality. 'She wants to play a game', he thought.

Twilight walked up to Ravage calmly, “You wouldn’t have happened to have seen a dishy brown stallion with a black mane and tail would you?”

“Every time I look in the mirror,” Ravage responded, maintaining neutrality.

“Riiight.” Twilight picked up a quill and parchment with her magic, and scribbled upon it. “Not – in – Ponyville.” With a bright glow of her horn the parchment vanished in a white hot light, as if it were vapourized.

Ravage got on all fours, preparing to leave. “Thank you for the meal, Rarity. Your cooking was brilliant.” He nodded in her direction.

Rarity pounced and hugged the Decepticon stallion, taking time to rub her head into his neck before regaining her composure. “It was pleasant having you over, Ravage,” she giddily spoke.

After saying goodbye to the rest of the Elements and Sweetie Belle, Ravage managed to leave without any problems. The mares did not beg him to stay, nor try to suggest how to spend his day. Perhaps he should seek the Elements out whenever he was in Ponyville. “And now for that hay shake.” Once again, Ravage had the satellite calculate the seconds to destination.


=^.^=


Ravage perused the market. It was an inefficient layout where typically only one item could be purchased per vendor. The breakfast and following hay shake had done well to sate his appetite, so he slowly walked by each vendor trying to decide what he wanted to haul back. Fruits, vegetables, glass jars of preserves, bread products, dairy products, sweets, what should he take? This was clearly something the stallion bot should have given more thought to. The only thing he had ever cooked was his pony meal, and that method was determined for him. He saw the carrots, and realizing that they can be eaten raw or cooked, he approached the vendor.

“Good afternoon, sir,” Carrot Top said cheerily. “Would you like to buy some carrots?” Carrot Top was attractive, and she had refined her bargaining posture into a tactical weapon. ‘Like the server, buy the carrots’ was what the mares said.

Ravage eyed her carrots carefully, observing that they came in large, mature sizes and very small sizes. “I’m thinking about it. I’m not sure how to cook these. They can be eaten raw, right?”

Carrot Top put a hoof over her mouth in surprise. A pony that didn’t know how to cook was atypical. Acting on instinct and wanting to make the sale, she spoke. “Well, you can put them in a little salted, boiled water and cook them on the range for ten minutes; you can roast them in oil and spices under tin foil for 30 minutes; they can be steamed.”

Ravage gave a look as if he had just stared into an infinite well. There was so much to know about these silly little roots! “Oil? Foil?”

“I suggest olive oil for the roasting. It works better with the spices.” Carrot Top went into detail, even pointing out vendors that sold spices, tin foil, and oils. It seemed that her assessment of Ravage’s cooking abilities was dead on.

The Decepticon pony felt emotionally drained for how much he lacked in what was supposed to be common knowledge, but was grateful for Carrot Top’s time and help. He purchased two pounds of carrots, putting a smile on the face of the vendor.

Before the undereducated pony bot could leave, Carrot Top leaned forward. “Hey, what’s your name?” Her smiling expression was a mix of confidence and the trouble making half-lidded eyes; her head was tilted to the side and down a bit. Ravage could almost feel hooks latch onto his spark, pulling him in towards her.

“Ravage,” he replied, almost interrogatively.

“Carrot Top.” She extended out one of her hooves, which Ravage then bumped. She brought both hooves to her mouth, trying to cover up a giggle. The vendor, looking sly now, turned her head to the side. “Would you – would you offer me your hoof now?”

This didn’t compute. The two had already hoof bumped, why would she want him to extend his hoof toward her? Since he could not think of an explanation of why not to, Ravage did as she asked and gave Carrot Top his hoof, which she gingerly took into both of her hooves.

Carrot Top’s eyes lit up, as she gripped his hoof more tightly. Was this a precursor to a change in behavior? Whatever it was, it made Ravage suspicious.

“Ravage,” she spoke dreamily, “would you be my special somep –”

Just then, a flood of mares rumbled through sweeping Ravage away. “Ravage!” several of them called out incoherently.

Before he could blink, the stallion bot was dragged several body lengths away from Carrot Top’s stand. Then he noticed a unicorn nuzzling him.

“We missed you!” Saffron was nuzzling him like it had been a year, even though it was only two days.

Ravage couldn’t process the event quickly enough. Looking about, Saffron, Pearl Bliss, Winter, Flitter, and Cloudchaser had apparently interfered with whatever Carrot Top was saying by forcibly pulling him away from her. Peering in the carrot vendor’s direction, he noticed that she was serving other customers as if nothing had happened. During a pause in their conversation, she looked and smiled right at him, giving him a wink before she returned to business. What just happened?

The Decepticon noticed how easily he was removed, and vowed not to underestimate the strength of these ponies. All five were clustered around him like iron fillings on a magnet, clinging to him, hugging him, and nuzzling him.

“You know what we need to do, right girls?” Cloudchaser asked.

Pearl Bliss gasped, and smiled broadly, “Ravage, do you want to play volleyball with us?” The other girls backed off, and all five were looking at Ravage, eager for his answer.

Ravage had felt this way before, back when he was asked to play hoofball, and even today when he was asked for his hoof. Peer pressure. Even Decepticons could not escape it. What was different was that these ponies were not even his peers. Now that he recognized what it was he was feeling in his less than two week old body, he would deal with it accordingly.

“I’ve never played volleyball,” he replied calmly.

“It’s easy!” Saffron half yelled.

“Why not just come to the beach with us and we can show you how,” Cloudchaser offered.

Ravage put a hoof to his chin and considered his options, this time ignoring the otherwise withering gaze of his five associate mares. He could get groceries as planned and go home and sit there, or continue the integration process. He felt fully in control now, and assumed he could leave whenever he wished.

The ‘sexy party’ was that evening though. It was a good bet that ‘volleyball’ was to segue into it, although it was barely noon. Ravage simply didn’t have enough data to make a judgment, and decided that pushing through and getting experience would be best.

“Alright. Where do we go?” the pony bot decided.

As with the previous day, Ravage’s response was handled with whooping and hoof bumping. “To the beach of course!” said Cloudchaser.


=^.^=


The rules were simple: keep the ball within the boundaries and never let it hit the ground. Violating these rules resulted either in loss of serve or a point. A special rule was that the ball could never be ‘carried’; only deflected.

Flitter served first. She, Winter, and Saffron played against Ravage, Cloudchaser, and Pearl Bliss. Cloudchaser was the first to receive and used both front hooves to deflect toward the front of their territory, which was half of the play area separated from the opposing territory by a tall net.

“Set me up, Ravage!” Pearl cried out. Ravage used his two front hooves, trying to copy what Cloud Chaser did, but the ball deflected way out of their play area. In spite of this, Pearl Bliss made a mad dash for it, diving with one leg stretched out, managing to get a hoof to connect. The impressive display was for naught as the ball was knocked further out of the play zone where it landed on the soft sand, stopping the play and earning Flitter’s squad a point.

“So you really haven’t played this,” his unicorn teammate deduced, kicking the ball back toward her friends. She kept smiling at him though.

“Maybe we should practice volleying with Ravage for a few minutes,” Winter suggested.

“I think that’s a good idea,” he said with sarcastic bite. Ravage began to realize how out of his element he really was. Starscream preprogrammed a lot of motor skills into his cerebellum, but all of them were basic, like walking and speech. Needless to say, volleyball was not one of them. He would have to learn and get better the ‘flesh creature way’, by improving himself with experience. Eventually, he may be able to use his database to aid the execution of complex motor skills such as this, but he didn’t know how useful it would be. Additionally, this kind of operation required considerable cooperation between teammates, none of whom Ravage’s database could help.

What drives ponies to kick balls around? The pony bot felt that their time could be better spent growing more food, or enhancing their infrastructure, or a myriad other productive things. Ravage fully expected that he would just have to tolerate a bunch of babbling mares for two hours and learn nothing. Even grocery shopping or bathing seemed more useful than this ‘sport’.

They had him press his forelegs together and deflect the volleyball up and down, and sometimes back and forth between the five mares. Surprisingly, it took considerable concentration. Ravage thought that he may want to analyse the sensory/motor neural pathways at a later time just to find out how much of his computing power is dedicated to what falsely masqueraded as a simple task.

“Bump it towards me, Ravage,” Flitter requested, even though she was largely facing away from the noob. He successfully volleyed the ball into her space, and she returned it by bouncing it off of her left flank.

“Plot bump?” joked Cloudchaser, noting that Ravage had managed to regain control over the ball.

“Giving Ravage ideas?” added Pearl. The girls all laughed. Ravage focused on volleying rather than what the joke could have been.

“Give it to me!” Winter looked as if she had something special planned, and the ball was deflected her way.

“Giving Ravage ideas?” Pearl repeated. All of them were on the ground, holding their stomachs, laughing. Winter joined in the laughing spree, but she did so when she was in the middle of a special rear-hooves bump, and used way too much force. She had sent the ball careening onto the top of a wide-brimmed hat of a pony lady who was relaxing on the sand.

Ravage saw the whole thing, and while he didn’t comprehend what ‘ideas’ he should be having, he did start snickering at the unfortunate situation of the rather irate pony lady. The laughter of the others was affecting him too, drawing out his snickering into full on laughter. The misfired volley, the squashed hat, the silly angry pony face, and the laughter of the mares all contributed to make Ravage laugh in a way he has never known before. After he calmed down, he still didn’t understand why he was laughing like that.

The five mares showed Ravage how to hold his front legs, how to use his hooves, and even special moves involving his back legs, spending about half an hour. In the pony game, any part of the body can be used to deflect the ball, though the limbs were favored, as the preferred trajectory was one with a high arc that could eventually be set and spiked into the opposing team’s territory. After a short rally, where consecutive ponies would volley the ball back and forth from Ravage, they felt they could continue.

“It’s still one-nothing for our team. Just thought I’d point that out,” Flitter prodded.

“And soon it will be fifteen-one!” Pearl Bliss told Flitter’s smirking face.

“Yeah, for us!”

This time there was something of a match. The stallion bot made lots of mistakes, but he also corrected a couple of mistakes made by his teammates. They managed to lose to Flitter’s team fifteen-ten.

Ravage was astounded by what he saw. At first there was no logic in playing what appeared to be an insipid ‘sport’, a waste of time. It quickly became apparent that each team’s players relied on each other, forcing them all to work hard, sometimes engaging in high risk maneuvers that lead to excellent plays as well as mistakes. They were developing skill sets, as well as strengthening their social bonds, Ravage concluded, and eye-hoof coordination and agility had endless applications outside of this crucible of mindless physical exertion. What was most revealing was that this procedure, this ‘game’, was as much work as mixing and hauling concrete was, but everybody was laughing and smiling the whole time.

And then Ravage had an epiphany, Is this fun? He chuckled more through playing the game too, though slowly gave way to a couple bouts of genuine laughter. The Decepticon had never laughed that way before. Oh he did laugh, but it was nearly always derisive. However, these were not Autobots trapped under a collapsed bulkhead, crying out for help, fire slowly melting their circuits. These were ponies kicking a ball around.

They switched up teams every time, and played a total of three games, with Ravage, Pearl Bliss, and Saffron winning the last game fifteen-thirteen. “I think it’s time for ice cream,” Cloudchaser suggested. In a few minutes, they had the net packed up. Ravage had very much enjoyed ice cream with Bo and Micah the previous evening. Judging by how the pace of cleaning up increased, the volleyball ponies also liked experiencing ice cream.


=^.^=


Princess Luna rose from her slumber. Her pitch black room came alive with light from magical lamps as soon as her horn glowed. The private chambers weren’t very large – they didn’t need to be. Like Twilight Sparkle, the alicorn mare was bookish. Shelves of books hid over half of her dark grey stone walls, the rest taken up by a multitude of maps, magic torches, and a few paintings. Her gigantic bed was accompanied by two relatively small end tables. There was an array of shelving which she used so store mundane things, including various small tools, ingredients for spells, hygiene products, among other trivial trappings of life. The room was also equipped with an en-suite, and a spacious walk-in wardrobe. A small laboratory occupied the alcove.

The Princess used her magic to tug a cord. In just a few minutes, a servant would stop by to ask what she wanted. In this case, it was food.

She had risen quite early, though a few missed hours of sleep would have little effect on the alicorn. She couldn’t stop thinking about a certain stallion that was on her mind. There was more than beauty to the attraction she felt for him, and the pondering Princess knew it. Ravage was – powerful – somehow. Luna realized this as soon as she saw him.

He wasn’t a changeling. Luna cast a spell that detected changling magic on her breastplate after the last invasion. There was also a secret team of ponies dedicated to ferret out any changelings that may still be hiding within Equestria’s borders.

The Princess of the Night held a hoof to his body when they first met. She felt his heat even through her metal shoe; she felt the telltale thumping of a pulse deep within his flank. His breath was like that of a pony, and he smelled like a pony, and if there was any magic beyond his natural earth pony magics, she would have sensed it. Come to think of it, Luna didn’t sense any magic from Ravage at all. Was that a good reason to feel secure?

Perhaps most bizarre of all was his dreamscape, as black as pitch. At a whim, he made it become cloud decks that could only exist in a dream. His lucidity was greater than any sleeping pony she had ever visited. This had slowly become worrying, since he might be able to recall everything that was said! Still, the vision of her regal self entangled in the embrace of Ravage was intoxicating.

Using her horn to recreate a shimmering, ethereal image of the elusive stallion, Princess Luna didn’t regret her decision. “I shall pursue you, mysterious one.” Her wry smile hinted at the images she had in her head regarding herself and Ravage. The stir the deceptive stallion created gave way to many potent dreams from the mares in Ponyville. As if that wasn’t enough, the sudden appearance at her, till then, private flying range, and then the fantastic ability to outwit five-hundred night guards blessed with the capability to see as well at night as any other pony could see by day, all indicated that he was no mere earth pony. The guards used motion detecting magic, heat detecting magic, pony detecting magic, and they still couldn’t find him. Was he dangerous? Perhaps, but what could he possibly do? There was not a single magical bone in his body, and yet he evaded Luna and her guards, and he did it at night. Ultimately, it was better to have the potentially dangerous stallion within the loving forelegs of the mighty Princess, than to have him with any other pony.

Luna glanced at Twilight’s message. ‘The stallion is not in Ponyville.’ The student of Celestia was having lunch with him the day before, but Luna withheld Ravage’s name from Twilight, as well as her guards. She did not want anypony to associate Ravage with herself just yet.

Luna activated a spell to summon one of her pony agents. She expected a response within the hour.


=^.^=


Applejack saw Ravage getting familiar with Cloudchaser and her buds when they visited the farmer’s produce stand and purchased some apples. He made it clear that he was playing Hoofball tomorrow with her, Rainbow Dash, and Aster. After some whispering amongst themselves, Pearl Bliss extended the party invitation to the Elements of Harmony.

Having helped Ravage purchase some groceries, the quintet waved good bye to their friend – as far as they were concerned, they were Ravage’s friends. They were eager to see him at the party that night, especially since they had told most of the invitees that he would be coming.

Applejack managed to enlist her sister, Applebloom, to watch over the stand for about an hour while the perturbed earth pony went to fetch Twilight Sparkle.

“No way are they gonna get our stallion,” Applejack vowed to Twilight, as they walked back to the market.

“Ravage can choose who he wants, Applejack. All we can do is put our best hoof forward.” Twilight wasn’t comfortable taking a passive stance while ponies outside of the herd occupied Ravage’s time. The pair had managed to run into Fluttershy on the way, and ask her to tell the other elements about the invitation.

As luck would have it, Applejack and Twilight found Cloudchaser and her squadron.

“Good afternoon,” Twilight greeted with a mellow smile, as both her and Applejack tried to keep a Poker face.

“Hey Twilight,” Cloudchaser replied confidently. “Are you guys coming to the party?”

“That’s your Libido Nocta party, right?” The curious unicorn needed to verify what it was they were getting into.

“Actually, it’s mine.” Pearl Bliss stepped toward the Element pair. “I’m aware of what you two and your friends have done for Ponyville and Equestria, and especially for Princess Luna. I assure you that you’re all very welcome in my house.” The unicorn hostess was quite serious. Twilight and Applejack responded with courteous nods and smiles. “You are aware of the rules, right?”

“Could you outline them for us, please?” asked Twilight.

“Well, I come from a lunar family so I learned to celebrate various aspects of life presided over by Princess Luna. Ya know, rejuvenation, dreams, stuff like that. My personal favorite is lust.” Pearl enjoyed watching Twilight and Applejack squirm on their hooves, prompting a couple of snickers from the hostess’ fellow mares. “As such, each guest, as well as myself, is required to submit their names to a lottery. After the moon rises, two names are pulled out, then again about every fifteen to twenty minutes. They have to go up onto the roof and basically make out for ten minutes.”

Applejack recoiled this. Twilight didn’t seem surprised.

Winter segregated herself from the pack, and approached Applejack. “Ravage is coming,” she said with a sly smile.

“If I came and m’ah name got picked, what if I refused?” the orchard farmer inquired.

“Then you will have offended Princess Luna,” Pearl responded, “not to mention a house-full of ponies.”

Twilight took charge. “I come from a lunar family too. Thanks for your invitation, Pearl. I’ll be sure to let all of my friends know.” The hard part, she knew, would be how to convince them to accept the rules.

“Twi, that party’s gonna be full ‘o mares!” Applejack wasn’t fine with the kissing a stranger even if it were a stallion drawn to go up with her.

“Wanna get some practice, Applejack?” Winter nodded over to a grove of bushes. “I mean, if you and I are chosen I have no intention of going easy on you.”

Applejack lunged forward, trying to get her angry hooves on Winter, but she was held fast at her tail with Twilight’s magic. “Consarnit Twilight, let me go!”

Winter wasn’t even phased. “Oh do let her go, Twilight. I do so love wrestling,” she said, assuming a defensive stance, an almost evil grin written on her face.

“Let’s go girls. We’ve got a lot to get ready.” Cloudchaser maneuvered her group away from the pissed off earth pony, and Twilight. Giving Applejack a naughty look before slinking away with her glorious tail swishing behind her, Winter followed the rest of her group.


=^.^=


The sun had worked its way into the beginning of the evening, and all six Elements had gathered up at the library, where Twilight apprised them of the situation. “I’m going,” she said without faltering.

“Me too!” declared Pinkie Pie. “A party’s a party, and besides, I get to do Ravage’s Welcome Party,” the pink mare described, rubbing her hooves together and looking as if she’s just hatched the ultimate plan.

“I’ll go too,” Fluttershy softly spoke, getting some puzzled looks from her friends. Fluttershy did not respond to their puzzlement.

“While I prefer stallions, it would only be ten minutes with who I hope will be a drunken mare. Regardless, it’s a chance to show Ravage we mean business,” Rarity rationalized, perking up as she did.

“Good job on the breakfast, Rare!” Rainbow Dash commended.

“Why thank you.” Rarity smiled, assuming a ladylike stance.

“And what do you think you would do if a mare kissed ‘ya, Rainbow?” Applejack earned some worried looks from her peers.

“I dunno. I’ve never really thought about it.” Rainbow Dash was relaxed, as if nothing was about to happen. This drew quite a lot of bewildered looks from her fellow Elements.

“Have you never dated?” Rarity asked.

“When I was a filly, yeah. Waste of time, if you ask me.” There were some gasps, and murmuring. “I wanted to wait till I was a Wonderbolt and then I’d pick somepony. I guess that means I kinda have to step up to the plate don’t I?”

“You’ve done a lot already, Dashie!” Pinkie complimented.

“Indeed. It was you who broached our first lunch with the handsome stallion,” Rarity added.

Twilight raised an eyebrow at Dash.

“I’m going too,” the Wonderbolt decided. “If I have to kiss a girl, I’ll kiss a girl. No biggie.”

All eyes were on Applejack, but Twilight moved in to end the staring quickly. “Applejack,” she waited until her friend was looking with her full attention, “Don’t go.”

“’Ah believe that is m’ah decision to make, Twi.”

“Applejack, please, just relax this evening,” Rarity requested, starting to follow the group out the library. The flustered farm mare followed, trying to figure out what was best for the group.


=^.^=


Ravage had been in his bath water for nearly an hour now. He spent the previous ninety minutes constructing a recirculating water heater and filtration unit, adding to the soothing feel of the tepid water.

There was still no signal from Cybertron, and the galactic satellite had yet to reach the home planet.

He was fully intent on avoiding this much lauded party, but his relaxation gave way to reconsideration. Just upsetting Luna, by herself, was nearly catastrophic. Upsetting the Elements of Harmony, as well as several other ponies, whom Ravage found out only today that Cloudchaser’s group told he was coming would also be a very bad idea. By default, avoidance would once again upset the Princess of the Night, whose party this was to glorify, and that would be a very, very bad idea.

By integrating into pony society, Ravage had hoped to make only a few necessary associations. But instead, and with very little input from himself, he had somehow made dozens. Ravage had to find a way to disable the ‘association machine’ without jeopardizing himself, or his mission, but how?

Thanks to hanging out with Cloudchaser’s group for much of the day, Ravage found out that mouth pressing had a common name, called ‘kissing’. That didn’t make it any less terrifying. Reluctantly, he stepped out from his warm bath water and prepared to make way for the party where ten minutes of excruciating torture awaited him.


=^.^=


“Twilight – Sparkle,” Pearl Bliss spoke, as she wrote down the purple mare’s name and encapsulated it within a small, yellow sphere. It was dropped into a bin with several other spheres, all of them the same gaudy yellow. “Welcome to the party!” The hostess had set up a booth on her front porch to handle the incoming guests. Her friends were helping with party operations inside.

“Thank you, Pearl.” Twilight smiled easily as she stepped into Pearl Bliss’ house. It was a spacious split level construct. The place was dim, with glow sticks providing at least half the light. Electronic music permeated the background. It looked like she even managed to book Vinyl Scratch as the DJ was controlling her instrumentation. In one corner, several bowls of food, including sweets, chips, petals, and cooked bits were available. In another corner, a spectrum of alcohols, sodas, juices, and even coffee awaited the eager party goer. Several large pillows and a couple of comfy couches occupied the walls. Two large, spacious areas were kept free of everything else except for wandering ponies. Needless to say, the place was clean.

Twilight walked up to the roof level, which was a common feature in such ‘lunar’ homes. A few other ponies had made their way up here as well, enjoying the evening breeze. It was really just a terrace built on top of a gable style roof, but it was great for star gazing. To think that this area was to be harboring so much naughtiness was hard to believe. It seemed so serene, so peaceful. Many ponies won’t even know each other, and yet, to impress Princess Luna, they were to become intimate with each other. In a flash, Twilight conjured up quite a steamy thought of a pony she would rather be with if she was getting intimate. That was assuming it wasn’t Ravage, of course.

The mare blushed.

More arrivals started filing in. Rarity, Fluttershy, Lyra, Carrot Top, Thunderlane, and many others seemed to come all at once. Pinkie Pie was in her character defining garb: flippers, a yellow ‘duck’ life saver, and fake mustache completed her ensemble.

“Attractive,” Pearl commented, trying very hard to prevent herself from bursting out laughing, writing down ‘Pinkie Pie’ as one of the entrants using her magic.

“Always come prepared,” the pink mare conspiratorially stated, sporting a faux serious look at the hostess.

And then, Ravage appeared.

“Hi Ravage,” Pearl greeted, her voice oozing with sex appeal.

“Good evening,” he politely greeted in return. He brought his machine guns tonight. If it all went south, he could at least deal massive damage to the core ponies of Equestria. Though his poker face was superb, he couldn’t feel anything but horrified as Pearl Bliss wrote his name on that damnable scrap of paper. If he couldn’t figure a way out of this he would eventually be forced into torture.

There was a lull in the inclusion of guests, and the sun was starting to set. Pearl was about to pack it in and join what sounded like a lively party inside. She couldn’t wait to join in the laughter and begin the intimate festivities, and it brought a smile to her face. It was about that time that life fed her an ‘exploding carrot’.

Applejack sheepishly approached the booth. Pearl was speechless. She could deny her entry of course, but it wouldn’t look good inviting her, and then not letting her in. The farmer sat down, holding her hat in her hooves.

“Uh, howdy,” was all Applejack could say, sounding breathless. She couldn’t even look Pearl Bliss in the eyes. It was not lost on the unicorn, however, as to how prepared the apple farmer was. Instead of a being held in with a tie, her mane was done up in a beautiful French braid, but there were wisps of her forelock that were allowed to flow out over her forehead and it looked absolutely stunning. She wore dazzling ruby red shoes. The full bloom of her tail was allowed to waft about freely – silky, gorgeous, thick, blonde tail hair. She wore make-up! Even a subtle light pink lipstick was used.

Pearl Bliss closed her then gaping mouth. “Well you sure impressed me,” she truthfully spoke. “Did your friends help you with that?” she said, gesturing toward the invitee.

“Oh no, this was from a couple of family members, stayin’ over for a few days.”

“Tell them, their work is damned impressive and that they should consider careers as make-up artists.” Pearl couldn’t believe how good Applejack looked.

“Thank you. ‘Ah will,” said Applejack, finally smiling.

“You’re here for the party, right?”

“Yes’m.”

“And you are of sound mind, and fully understand the rules?”

“Yes’m,” Applejack nodded. “Completely.”

Pearl Bliss put her hoof on her chin for a bit, and then waved Applejack in closer. The farmer complied. “Words cannot possibly describe the anger I will project onto you if you buck this up...

“‘Ah won’t Ms. Bliss, ‘Ah promise.” Applejack lowered her head, holding her hat over her heart.

Pearl looked upon Applejack for a moment. The Element of Honesty just gave her word, she realized. “Okay Applejack,” the hostess spoke as she wrote Applejack’s name into the lottery, “Go in and have a good time.” The farmer nodded, smiled, and whisked herself inside. Pearl smiled, happy for Applejack’s change of mind, and hoping whomever she got for a partner up on the roof wouldn’t be too hard on her. Applejack was fully hot. It would be even more difficult than ever for the guests to keep their hooves off of her. It made Pearl giggle.


=^.^=


It was a lively gather. Ponies from all over town – and from another part of the galaxy – all ate and drank and laughed and played. Ravage tried very hard to be sociable, but his need to keep personal details hidden was difficult to deal with. This weakness didn’t seem to bother the ponies who typically chalked it up to ‘introversion’, or ‘reclusive behavior’.

Feeling drained from the constant attention, he went up to the rooftop. He knew that the lottery would be starting soon as the moon was beginning to rise. The Decepticon didn’t feel the need to whip out a telescope and study the phenomenon as no remarkable results were acquired from the previous study. He also felt he really needed to mitigate any association with Princess Luna.

I can see you,’ Luna’s voice teasingly rang off in his head. Adrenalin kicking in, his body went into full military alert. There were no error messages, nothing to suggest which port she was using this time. His heart thumped heavily in his chest. He was afraid! A frightening thought occurred to him. What if he only needs to be exposed under the sky for Luna to detect him? The night had been his ally for eons, and now it was to become his enemy! And then, the awful sound of Luna’s giggling came into his mind. It was at this point that his fear turned to anger.

You want a piece of me? Come on!’ Ravage had again resorted to thinking in machine language until he wanted to speak to Luna directly. He started a full systems scan, trying to find out how she was doing this. He counted his ammunition. There were ponies on the roof, but he didn’t care. He was ready to open up fifty caliber automatic death upon the troublesome alicorn, and if that didn’t work there were heavier options he could consider.

Oh no, my dear earth pony, I want all of you!’ More giggling followed.

Ravage retreated to the party level. Luna’s voice appeared to have ceased, but then he saw the error message he was looking for. This time it was port 33,926, again through the subspace radio. He promptly shut down the port, and deleted everything in the memory clusters it was associated with, though not before verifying what kind of data was in them. He then came up with a notion: if he was within Luna’s line of sight, then her presence would be undetectable. She could even be reading his thoughts without him even knowing it; however, if he was out of her line of sight, then an error message would appear when she wanted to communicate. It was just a notion, not even a hypothesis, but he had a feeling that it would be tested anyways.

Error Port 29,772: Unauthorized Access

Incoming Audio Message: ‘Enjoying the party?

Yeah. Lots of nice ponies.

Ravage smiled, knowing he had his answer.

“Hey Ravage,” Twilight greeted, “You look distant. How are you feeling?” She was using her magic to hold a glass of wine while she spoke.

“Just fine, Twilight,” he replied truthfully, smiling as he did.

The music volume suddenly lowered. “Attention ponies, it’s that time!” Pearl Bliss announced, receiving raucous cheering for her effort. Using her magic, she levitated up a transparent barrel full of the yellow balls and put it on a table.

A brilliant ball of blue light floated in through a window, interrupting the proceedings, catching everypony’s attention. Among whispering ponies, it made its way to an empty spot on the floor, which was quite rare in a party this packed. Blue-white magical flames flashed, and a winged pony emerged, spreading her wings up to the heavens, nobly lifting her head high as she did. The light died out quickly, revealing an indigo furred alicorn. Every pony in the house bowed toward her mighty presence, even Ravage. This was unorthodox. Luna had never attended a Libido Nocta party.

“Pearl Bliss, may I join your party, please?” The alicorn looked toward Pearl, after everypony got up.

“Of course, Princess!”

“Please, call me Luna.” She smiled regally as she spoke. All the ponies were getting more comfortable with her around when she dropped another bombshell. “And please add me to the lottery.” The hush, followed by shock and surprise was perfectly understandable to the Princess. She giggled, and it had a calming effect. “I have worldly needs, just like any other pony.” Luna figured out how to break their reverie. “Vinyl! Music!”

“You got it, Luna!” Dance music once again thrummed through the party.

“Princess – Luna,” Pearl spoke as she wrote Princess Luna into the lottery.

“And we have to turn the music down, as it’s time to name our first two intimate ponies,” the hostess demanded. Vinyl reduced the volume. Using her magic, Pearl Bliss spun the drum and pulled out two random entries. “Rarity!” she yelled as she opened the first one.

Using all her will, Rarity prevented herself from flattening her ears. She was hoping for an uncoordinated, drunken mare, who was more likely to pass out from the change in blood pressure from walking the stairs than to kiss her lovingly. It was much too early in the party for that. “Looks like I’m up,” she said bravely, looking almost pleadingly to Fluttershy.

“It’ll be fine,” Fluttershy reassured.

“Thunderlane!”

“Oh, my goodness!” the surprised unicorn said. She couldn’t believe her luck!

Thunderlane was whispering to his friends when he realized his name had been called. “Oh hey, that’s me!”

On the rooftop, Rarity and Thunderlane were the only two ponies. There was only a dim, magical green light that was on for a couple of minutes before it either turned off automatically, or was turned off by the action of a kick.

Thunderlane had pulled out a sheet, which he tried to read from. “Your eyes are like oceans of beauty and your mane like its waves…”

Rarity didn’t need this. She promptly walked up to Thunderlane and swatted the stupid paper out of his hoof. She then wrapped her forelegs around his neck and started kissing him hungrily.

Applejack, who normally abhorred mathematics, did the math. One down, one to go, she thought as her chances to make-out with a stallion were reduced dramatically. Of course, she knew the odds going in, but whether it was leaving the wooing of Ravage to her friends, or having to kiss a stranger, she felt terrible either way.

Aside from the rooftop make-out sessions, the party proceeded splendidly. Ravage, along with every other pony, got to know a lot of ponies.

Luna, though keen to talk to Ravage, paced herself and talked to a lot of party-goers, particularly the Elements of Harmony. She noticed that he seemed angry with her. Perhaps he didn’t like telepathic communication?

A couple more pairings went by, but on the fourth pairing Pearl Bliss called “Winter!”

“That’s my cue!” she giddily declared as she reared up in delight.

“Fluttershy!”

‘Oh my’ was not heard by Rarity, who had been by her side when her friend’s name was called. Fluttershy just calmly walked toward the stairs and went up, with Winter following directly behind her. It was then that Rarity noticed Winter. She was gorgeous. Voluptuous and photogenic, she had actually done supermodel work, Rarity recalled, just like Fluttershy did.

Ravage had gotten comfortable being mostly a listener in the many conversations he was privy to. There were so many terms he had to know, he couldn’t remember that many without making entries in his database.

Luna started making her way to Ravage. The other ponies seemed to understand immediately, and backed away. “Ravage, may I have a word with you out front? If either of us is called, I can still hear Pearl.”

Ravage nodded, though he found himself wishing that Bo and Micah had invited him to one of their Saturday night gatherings instead. Also, he may have better hearing than even Luna. “Alright.”


=^.^=


Outside the air was delightfully cool, and helped the stallion bot keep calm. Ravage was actually feeling apprehensive, believing that Luna was capable of anything. He turned on his satellite surveillance, looking for night guards. Looks like Luna wasn’t alone, because there were at least two dozen within the town limits, mostly waiting atop buildings and clouds. “What can I do for you?” Ravage asked, while they stood near the middle of the street.

“What do you think of my night?” she opened.

Ravage wasn’t prepared for that question. “The night is my ally. I thrive in it.” He answered honestly, though he found Luna’s assertion of ownership over a sky that rightfully should have shone over the human world – and only the human world – to be somewhat of a false claim.

Luna chuckled, maintaining a weak smile. “Yes, I noticed you seem to slip away in it rather easily.”

“Equestria is a big place,” he countered.

“Well, enough about that. I want to talk about us.” Her tone was worryingly demanding. “I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to get to know you. While we may be sociable at parties like this one, I would really want to spend more ‘quality’ time with you.”

“And just what does this entail?” Ravage asked, cocking up an eyebrow suspiciously. Viewing the satellite data, he determined that the guards kept their distance.

“A date, Ravage.” Luna lidded her eyes.

Ravage knew what a date was. A date occurred when two or more ponies journeyed together for an evening or night so they could get to know each other better, but specifically so that they might know each other intimately. Bo and Micah indicated that they dated before the fell in love. Love, at least as he understood it, was another term that really bothered Ravage. Getting past all the slang, love meant affinity, like how little rocks in space have an affinity for a big asteroid. Ultimately, it meant a constant companion, but not just any companion. A loving companion knew everything about you, including your deepest secrets. Who, but ponies, would do that to themselves? Where’s the privacy? Ravage worked alone for much of his life, and he really, really liked his privacy.

Ravage shook his head, “I don’t think so.”

“Yes, you seem to like to be by yourself. Trust me, Ravage, there is more to life than being lonely. The privacy is not worth it.”

“And you came to this conclusion how?”

“Because I was trapped on the moon for a thousand years.”

Ravage could say a number of things, but he felt that all they would do is upset the Night Princess. “I have no words.” Ravage needed to worm his way out of this conversation. She wasn’t very smart, or at least didn’t appear to be. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

Luna’s features softened. “It’s alright, Ravage, but please, all I ask is one night from you. After that, you and you alone may decide if we should continue to see each other.”

“You’re persistent.” Ravage wondered how effective a matter-antimatter reaction would be on the Princess’ hide. Suddenly, his eyes lit up. He may have a solution! Luna’s eyes widened, readying herself to receive new information.

“First, you do you realize that you’re not the only mare that’s interested in me.” Ravage hated saying that, he really did. He didn’t want to believe the fiasco that was building up, but that was the torturous truth. He figured at least three mares had shown significant interest in him since he got here.

Luna laughed, giving way to a face on Ravage that was scrunched in confusion. She put her foreleg on her chest, to try to calm down. “My dear Ravage,” she burbled, trying to control a couple more chuckles, “I spied at least twelve mares leering at you this evening.” Ravage’s control over his features was exquisite. Although he felt oppositely, no shock appeared on his face. He wanted to give nothing away. “Especially that DJ!” Luna leaned in. “Better not stray too close, for she may not be able to control her pouncing instinct,” she said.

The Decepticon was pretty surprised at this. Why would there be a pouncing instinct in a herbivore?

“Ravage, date whoever you want to, just be sure to get a little naughty,” she said, somehow retaining her regal poise. Of course, the whole point of the party was to embrace naughtiness. “I only ask that at least one of those dates be with me.”

Ravage put a hoof to his chin, and pondered a dangerous plan. The mares would not leave him alone, especially after this night was finished. Eventually, one of them will follow him home, and that will be the end of his time in Equestria, and likely his life. He could rent a space in town, but he would still have to return to base often. That led to another useful notion: why was he even staying here? With zero contact from Cybertron, or Earth, he feared the worst for his comrades. What point was there to find out how magic worked? Who cares how it worked! Everyday, the proximity to these ponies elevated the risk to himself and this wayward mission. He needed to get away from them somehow. It was then that he remembered his cover story, and how actually living it out may be the only solution. But why stop there? Why retreat to rural Equestria when he could fly away to another world? Ravage loved this idea.

The first order of business was to control the association machine. He figured that if he dated Luna, and only Luna, the other mares would stop bothering him. The sheer force of her prominence should be enough to drive them off. Ravage felt that he may be able to engineer a date that would secure just that. Concurrently, in the time leading up to the date, he wouldn’t care if mares got close to him as this seemed to be allowed, but they would never request a date for fear of reprisal from Princess Luna. It would be like the matter-antimatter reaction: total annihilation! In addition, he could coast along as a temporary member of pony society. For a short interval – hopefully a couple of weeks – Ravage would make the preparations to leave this dangerous planet. Damn this mission to The Pit! There was no way to channel the ponies’ stupid magic into energon cubes. End of story!

“Okay Luna, you win. But we’ll do it my way. Okay?”

Luna squeed, tapping her front hooves together. It was most unbecoming of a Princess. “Oh thank you, Ravage! I promise I’ll show you sites you would not believe!”

“Actually, I’ll be paying.”

“We’ll see the – uh Wah!?” Luna’s face screwed up in disbelief.

“That’s right. I’ll afford what I can on my meager construction worker budget.” Ravage tried hard not to snicker, or do anything to let on that there was a master plan beneath all the posturing.

Luna was nonplussed. “Are you to say that we should date here? In Ponyville?”

“Sure, why not?”

Luna was searching for the words, “It’s just that,” her head shook back and forth, as if reading some invisible script, “There are so many fabulous places to see.”

“I like the rustic feel here. Don’t you?” Ravage held his hooves over his heart, as if his spirits were lifted up in admiration, “And it smells great.”

Now Luna’s face was absolutely contorted in puzzlement. “Uh, y-yeah – lovely cow smell,” she dead panned.

Ravage knew he was pushing it, acting all happy as he was, but it was so much fun! “Now, all we have to decide is when.” He put a hoof up to his chin again, slyly lidding his eyes, as if examining an object from afar.

“Huzzah! We could do this tomorrow!” Luna spoke excitedly, suddenly forgetting all the dubious details.

“Uh no, no. I was thinking the second Friday from now,” Ravage described. Luna’s mouth was agape. “Payday.”

Suddenly, Luna composed herself. She sighed and made a motion with her right front hoof, pushing her troubles away from her. Calm and composed once again, she answered, “Okay Ravage, it’s a date.” She then leaned in and hugged the Decepticon.

Ravage hugged back. Might as well keep up appearances, he thought. After the embrace, Ravage gestured toward the party. “Shall we go kiss some ponies?”

“After you,” Luna cheerfully replied, gesturing the same way.


=^.^=


Fluttershy and Winter descended from the roof level. Winter looked haggard with her mane twisted up in every direction, yet she glowed with satisfaction.

Rarity ran up to her friend. “Fluttershy, you have some mane out of place!” The butter coated pegasus tried to blow the wayward lock out of the way with a whoosh of breath, but it stubbornly remained hanging over her face. The dress maker whipped out a brush she had stashed nearby in case of emergency. Using her forelegs and the brush, Rarity managed to correct Fluttershy’s mane problem. During this, she noticed moisture was accreting on her foreleg. “Sweat?” the white unicorn asked. Fluttershy turned her head to the side, smiling and blushing.

“Pinkie Pie!”

“Yes!” The party mare yelped, as she quickly rushed up the stairs.

Pearl Bliss opened up another entrant. “And it looks like me! Back in ten minutes, friends.” The music returned to its previous volume and the party roared back to life.

The hostess cheerfully trotted upon the roof terrace, the green light reflecting off of her green mane and tail nicely. Strangely, Pinkie was nowhere to be seen.

“Hark! A mare in distress!”

Pearl Bliss was looking left and right, trying to zero in on what sounded like Pinkie Pie’s voice, which sounded surprisingly heroic for some reason.

“Fear not Pearl, for I, Mighty Mare, shall rescue you!”

Pearl found Pinkie. The zany pony was on the limb of a tree, holding onto a rope which was attached to points unknown. Somehow, she managed to change into a gaudy costume which had consisted of a yellow top, red cape, and a black mask for her eyes. “Here I come to save the day!” she sang out, swinging down the roof level and scooping up Pearl Bliss. Only having ‘flown’ a couple of body lengths more, Mighty Mare cradled Pearl safely in her forelegs.

The rescued mare giggled at the display, her cheeks blushing, bringing out her freckles. Holding her front hooves over her mouth, Pearl lidded her eyes, “Gosh, you’re cute.”

“She speaks in a southern accent!” demanded Mighty Mare.

“Oh! I mean – ‘Ah do declare, it is Mighty Mare!”

Pinkie just kept cradling her. In a rare moment of indecision, the party mare didn’t keep rolling along.

“And now that you’ve ‘saved’ me, whatcha gonna do with me?” the impressed white mare said, squirming a bit in Pinkie’s clutches. Pearl could swear she saw a bead of sweat form upon her would be rescuer’s brow. A grimace was slowly developing too, but that wasn’t a problem. The hostess knew what to do.

In a flash, Pearl reversed their positions and cradled Mighty Mare in her forelegs, causing the otherwise pink pony to squeak. “I want to thank you properly for saving me.” She leaned in and started kissing Pinkie Pie.

A few minutes later, the pair trotted back down, Pinkie still in her costume, sans the eye mask. Rainbow Dash and Twilight were looking at her with concern, for Pinkie was not as bouncy as she should have been. Before they could ask the fazed mare what the matter was, she pulled out her party cannon and set it off, sending confetti and streamers everywhere. The bang was so loud, Ravage was about to transform and go for his sidearm, but then saw it was just Pinkie being goofy again. She looked very relieved.

Covered in party paraphernalia, Rainbow and Twilight looked to their friend for some sort of clue. “Just wanted to get rid of some tension,” Pinkie said with a satisfied look on her face. “Back to the party!” she squeaked and then happily bounced away, humming as she did.

A few minutes later, Pearl pulled up another name. This time, the look on her face was truly evil in appearance. Vinyl turned down the music even more, and the guests were even quieter, anticipating the pony who could turn such a naughty expression on Pearl.

“rrrrrrRAVAGE!”

Ravage found out about a new body reaction that night: he gulped. He looked to the side and saw Luna looking at him through the corner of her eye, the side of her mouth turned up a bit. One of her metal shoes was supporting her chin. It was true that Luna hadn’t been picked yet, and that the number of possibilities had been wheedled down significantly.

Ravage caught on to what Luna was thinking, and possibly doing. Could she have altered the names inside the spheres? Her magical power was legendary, second only to Celestia’s. And that was it, Ravage felt defeated. He would have to kiss Princess Luna, the only mare he’d felt like drawing his weapons against. That was quite the sobering thought, because he would have to date her in less than two weeks!

“Flitter!”

Squeeing like a mad mare, Flitter ran about in circles before she flew up the stairs. Ravage actually smiled. He didn’t have to kiss Luna! The Princess of the Night, however, looked perplexed, as if something had gone wrong. Feh, alicorn nonsense, Ravage thought. His smile served him well, and the party guests cheered him on as he walked up the stairs.

He walked upon the terrace, into the green light. Flitter was anxiously waiting for him. She suddenly pounced, mashing her lips into his. Ravage felt as if she were trying to eat his face, especially with how Flitter’s teeth had gnashed into his lips a couple of times.

Flitter knew something was amiss when her tongue was pressing his immobile lips, and his face expressing surprise. “Is something wrong, Ravage?” The pegasus was very fearful that she’d done something to offend him. Then she had a thought. It seemed improbable, but she’d check anyways, “Ravage, have you kissed a mare before?”

Ravage lowered his head, looking at the ground. He knew there was no way he could hide the truth this time. “No, I’m afraid not.”

Flitter backed off a little. It just couldn’t be true, yet it explained so much! The amorous pegasus and her friends had come on to him many times that day, but he returned their advances by pretending like he had never even heard them. That actually seemed rude, but in fact it was because he didn’t know how to respond!

The concerned pegasus wanted to ask how Ravage could have possibly gotten himself in this predicament, but time was of the essence. She went directly for the root of the problem, “Would you like me to show you how?”

Ravage knew that ‘making-out’, a procedure that involved kissing, was a requirement. He feared that violating that rule would yield the same results as not even showing up at all. No good. “Okay, what do I do?”

Flitter smiled and giggled. She closed the distance between the two of them and wrapped her forelegs around his neck. “Grabbing your partner, like this, is better because you’ll get better contact.”

“For stability,” Ravage reasoned.

“Yes,” Flitter said, smiling. “You can still do small kisses without holding on, but making-out is more involved, as you will soon see,” she added foxily.

Ravage nodded.

“Okay, close your eyes and part your lips,” she ordered. Her partner complied. She grasped Ravage’s upper lip with hers, sliding on it like a rail as her head bobbed from side to side. “Upper lip.” She did the same thing with his lower lip, this time suckling it and tugging on, letting it snap out of her mouth with a ‘pop’. “That’s the lower lip. When one partner grabs one lip, the other partner grabs the other lip, and they kiss. Do you follow?”

“Yes.” Flitter’s soft lips had done more than just slide and suckle. They had set off electric sensations throughout is body, but there was more to it than that. This was not expected, and Ravage felt he needed to observe more. It was time for science!

Flitter leaned in slowly and took hold of Ravage’s upper lip, and Ravage, for the first time in his life, kissed as he took in her bottom lip. Like precision machine parts, their lips slid and suckled over each other. Flitter increased their intensity more quickly than Ravage could have predicted, accompanied with slurping, almost eating sounds, and increases in heart rate and respiration. Now he felt her tongue again, only this time his opened his jaw and allowed access. Flitter’s long pony tongue probed and slathered inside his mouth. Ravage responded, with his own tongue movement. The top and middle of her tongue was rougher than the rest.

Flitter wanted to shove more of her agile tongue into Ravage’s face, with her forelegs moving up to his neck and the base of his skull, forcing him toward her. She increased the intensity of her ministrations. Her breathing was deep, venting much of the volume of her lungs, like she’d been flying hard. The sweet smells Ravage had noticed came from different sources. Her breath smelled ‘minty’, and her tongue tasted sweet. Her coat had its own sweet scent, but it was being mixed with the scent of sweat. The pony bot had forgotten when the green light had gone out.

Just like that, Flitter pulled her face off of Ravage’s. She was maneuvering in the darkness, seemingly grabbing his torso in some manner. Before he knew it, he was thrown on his back, and the mare climbed on top. Such strength!

Flitter introduced different styles of kissing in rapid succession. First she plucked at Ravage’s lips, as well as his cheeks. Her mane draped over his face, introducing yet another sweet scent. The pegasus’ soft, thick mane buffeted his visage as she oscillated once again on his lips.

She pulled off with a pop again, and then moved on to the neck at his jaw line. Hungrily, she chewed and sucked at his neck. The effect was powerful, as Ravage let out a gasp – an involuntary reaction he had little control over! The silhouette of her body and fully extended wings blocked varying parts of the star field while she savagely ate into his neck muscle. He felt jets of hot breath exhale through her nostrils. The dark creature shifted and adjusted her weight as she devoured him. She would concentrate on a spot, almost certainly dealing tissue trauma, and then move onto the next area and destroy it. The gnashing of teeth on his neck did less damage than her suckling lips. Mercifully, she pulled her face off.

“Your turn. Put your legs on my neck,” she said, half out of breath. He complied. “Now, use your tongue. Don’t slobber, be subtle.”

Even under starlight, it was easy to determine that Flitter had turned her head to the side, exposing her neck. Interpreting her instructions, Ravage doled out his tongue, and used the tip of it to run down the side of Flitter’s neck. The effect was immediate, causing the pegasus to emit a high pitched sound. Slowly up and down her neck he went, always keeping his tongue-tip wet.

Those ears look interesting,’ he thought. Using his tongue, he probed the cartilage at the base of the ear.

Flitter practically screamed. “Ah!! Yes! Mmmm,” and other incoherent sounds were mumbled as the stallion bot explored her ear.

Deeming the venture successful, Ravage continued his work on the ear, moving to the inside, his tongue leading the way. Gently grabbing the tip with his teeth, he nibbled and sucked the ear tip until it came out with a pop. Then he nibbled, and sucked and gnashed the base of her ear. This got a violent spasming reaction, replete with moaning from Flitter.

“Yes! Just like that. Ah!!” Flitter was almost hyperventilating at this point, purposefully taking in more oxygen. Was she readying her body for a more physically demanding step that was to occur after making-out?

And then the red light came on.

“Nooooo- Indeed, Flitter was disappointed it had to end so quickly.

Ravage had observed that making-out was a naturally orchestrated mix of various kinds of kissing, combined with input from the other senses. He felt not only Flitter’s lips and tongue, but was also introduced to her many scents, her taste, her heat, her weight, her mane, and even her tail which swished against his back legs. What was particularly interesting was that there was virtually no input from his eyes. Could this have enhanced all the other senses?

The pair sauntered down the stairs. Flitter’s heavy blushing was met with approval from her friends, but a lot of ponies were giving concerned looks at Ravage’s neck.

“Whoah, Ravage,” Rainbow Dash started.

“You got – ravaged!” Twilight finished. She tried to turn her head away from the train wreck, but her eyes stayed glued to it.

“Princess Luna!” Pearl Bliss cried out.

The crowd cheered for their favorite princess. Nodding and smiling, Luna put a hoof up to ease the supportive ponies so Pearl could name her partner in mouth pressing.

Ravage felt his neck with a hoof. It really stung!

“Cloudchaser!”

The named mare put her hooves to her face and, like Flitter, and squeed with excitement. She couldn’t have Ravage, but Princess Luna more than made up for it. Maintaining her composure, she followed Luna up to the roof.

“Wow, Flitter and Cloudchaser really scored tonight!” Pinkie Pie observed, just before engulfing a stack of sweets in one bite.

Fluttershy approached Ravage with a medical bag in her teeth. She put it down to speak. “Please follow me, Ravage.”

The Decepticon stallion knew well what the red cross meant, and fully agreeing with Fluttershy’s intentions, followed her into the bathroom.

The mirror showed bleeding and bruises had formed in the wake of Flitter’s trail of destruction. In her zeal to enjoy him, she had bitten him at least twice. The suckling of her lips had produced very low, localized pressure causing the capillaries under his skin to rupture, forming bruises. Though is coat was a fairly dark colour, the bruising was still easily detectable, and constituted his first injury as a pony.

Fluttershy cleaned the mess with rubbing alcohol, causing Ravage to gasp involuntarily once again. After applying a couple of bandages, she rubbed each bruise with a metal spoon.

“Thank you,” Ravage said. His neck felt better, though he was foggy as to why Fluttershy chose to go out of her way to help him. Her element was kindness. So far, the best definition Ravage had for kindness was that it occurred when free labour was dispensed at random. What Fluttershy was doing certainly fit the definition, but he was still careful to follow pony communication protocols. In this case, he needed to verify that he appreciated her free labour by saying ‘thank you’.

Fluttershy finished packing her medical kit. She then spoke, “Ravage?”

“Yes?”

She was blushing, wearing a silly grin. “Well, if it’s alright with you,” Fluttershy began, but then she paused, pawing at the floor with her hoof. Ravage looked at her more closely, waiting for her to finish. “If you don’t mind, would you like to come over to my house for tea sometime?”

A loud knock sounded at the door. “Is anypony in there? We’re about to use the room.” Each of the three bedrooms in the lunar home had an en suite, in keeping practice with maximizing cleanliness. The en suites also served well the purpose of what the partying ponies were about to do with it.

Ravage and Fluttershy quickly exited the bedroom. Ravage noticed her looking at him, before he realized he hadn’t responded. He noted how Rarity’s breakfast was delicious, and how decent the lunch with all six Elements of Harmony turned out. He also noted that his time among Bo, Micah, Bright Rock, and the other construction workers had introduced him to the wonderful substance known as coffee. Perhaps tea at Fluttershy’s would also be pleasant. “Tea, you say?”

“Oh yes!” she gushed. “I have green tea, black tea, Earl grey. I’m sure you’ll love it.” The normally shy pegasus looked cool and collected.

This was an easy sell, since Ravage had warmed up to the Elements of Harmony. “Okay. When?”

“Tomorrow evening works for me,” she replied. “After you’re done hoofball?”

“Okay, but you’ll have to fetch me. I don’t know where you live.”

“Okay,” Fluttershy said sweetly. She up and hugged Ravage tightly.

Princess Luna and Cloud Chaser had just returned from the roof level, with the latter looking especially happy. The Princess made her way over to Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash.

“Have you gone yet, Twilight?” Luna asked. “We seem to be over halfway through those lottery balls.”

“No.” The nervous unicorn answered. “No, not yet.”

“Don’t sweat it, Twi. It’ll be fine,” Rainbow said, trying to comfort her friend.

“Rainbow Dash!” Pearl Bliss called out.

“Ah man, I haven’t gone yet, either!” the surprised pegasus realized.

“Don’t sweat it, Rainbow Dash,” Luna offered, smirking.

“Oh wait, here comes your partner, Rainbow,” Twilight teased, ‘elbowing’ her friend’s chest in jest.

“Twilight Sparkle!”

Both wordlessly looked at each other, and then at Luna, who only smiled back at them. With nothing more to do or say, they went up to the roof.

Rainbow Dash was smiling goofily at Twilight. “Well, this is awkward,” she said, nervously rubbing the back of her head. Twilight was blushing, looking away from her friend. “It’s alright, Twi. I’ll go easy on ya. It’s not even ten minutes.”

Twilight Sparkle faced Rainbow sheepishly. “Rainbow Dash,” she bleated, her ears pinned back. “I – uh, really don’t mind kissing you.” A toothy smile that Pinkie would be proud of followed her words.

It dawned on Rainbow what the librarian was getting at, shrinking her pupils to specks in the process. She shook off the fear and trepidation. “We can talk about that after, Twi. Let’s get to it.”

“Okay,” the studious pony said. “Just give me a few seconds.” With a flash of her magic, new appendages appeared out of the ether, and attached to the sides of her body.

“Your w – w – wings!” Rainbow loved Twilight’s wings. They were gorgeous, angelic structures, befitting of her status, and looked very similar to Princess Luna’s. The neophyte Princess was not well established, as finding her lands and responsibilities to govern took time. Twilight woke up one morning a unicorn, and came home an alicorn. Beautiful as they were, her wings were ungainly. Learning to fly as an adult had proven extremely difficult, not to mention they interfered with her sleeping positions. They were also a drain on her magical reserves, so being a new Princess, she brought them out sparingly until her magical power and flying skill increased enough so she could use them properly. Needless to say, she liked her relationship with Ponyville and therefore managed to train the inhabitants not to bow, or call her anything but Twilight.

With a sultry look, she inched her way closer to Rainbow Dash. “You don’t have to go easy on me, Rainbow,” she cooed, slowly shaking her head from side to side, always keeping her eyes on the prize. The alarmed pegasus had no words, and only watched Twilight get closer. The Princess ran the tips of her primaries against Rainbow Dash’s cheeks, nearly causing her to swoon. Nearly. Rainbow Dash was much too cool to swoon. Twilight anchored herself to her friend bringing forelegs around shoulders, her lips approaching the pegasus flier. “Ready?”

“Y- yeah,” Rainbow Dash stuttered. The green light went out. The soft, moist lips of Twilight Sparkle could be felt plucking her own. They would suckle and shift back and forth, with increasing intensity, eventually gorging themselves on the pegasus’ face. She felt Twilight’s wings folded around them both, as they were that large. Their dance continued this way until the red light came on.

A few minutes later, the two Elements descended the stairs, blushing and grimacing all at once.

This went on for the rest of the evening and into the night, with many ponies getting paired up. Applejack was starting to grow hopeful that Pearl Bliss was showing her mercy, that is, until the last two of the bright yellow spheres were removed from the drum. A drunken mare beside her was making a racket when the hostess called the first name. It was hard to see, but Applejack noticed a grey coated, blonde-maned pegasus flit up the stairs. Derpy? she thought. The exacerbated farmer was pretty sure she never saw Derpy at the party.

The last sphere was held aloft by Pearl Bliss, who took the opportunity to look directly at Applejack. The unicorn really had to work hard to turn off her naughty look, not wanting to upset her timid guest. She opened up the container. “Guess who?”

“Guess Who’s up? Ah, shucks, it looks like you lost m’ah name,” Applejack nervously countered.

“In the case of an odd number of ponies, the last one picked goes up with me. In this case we have an even number of ponies. Your partner is waiting for you, Applejack.”

The music was low and all eyes were on Applejack. Not wanting to upset anypony, she made her way to the stairs. She figured that if it really was Derpy, she’d just tie one of her shoes to her tail and lead her around, with Derpy trying to pounce the shoe like a cat. Time would be wasted, and Applejack would only give a peck on the cheek, since that would be all the time she had for.

The scheming mare walked upon the terrace, seeing a grey pegasus there. Her blonde mane seemed a shade darker than expected, and she wasn’t completely grey. Her coat had a hint of lavender in it. Her cutie mark was not an array of bubbles, but instead was composed of clouds partially blocking the sun. It was at this point that Applejack lost hope for squirming her way out of ‘making-out’ duty.

Her partner turned around, facing the farmer. She was very pretty, with her blonde locks conforming to a beautiful wave of mane. Her body was wiry, much like Rainbow Dash’s. “Hi,” she confidently spoke, advancing toward Applejack.

“Uh, howdy.” Applejack had no idea what to do.

“Looks like my luck hasn’t turned bad. You’re one of the prettiest mares I’ve seen in quite a while,” she said sincerely. “I’m Cloud Kicker.” She extended a hoof.

“Applejack.” She hoof bumped with the pegasus.

“I know who you are. I just want to thank you for keeping the peace in our little corner of the world.” She advanced closer, getting inside Applejack’s personal bubble.

Applejack gulped, “Yer welcome.” Beads of sweat started appearing on her forehead.

The light went out, and Cloud Kicker wrapped her forelegs around Applejack. She kissed her upper lip. “Don’t worry, I don’t bite – much.” She giggled, before carefully kissing the nervous earth pony.

Meanwhile, Ravage had escaped through the back door. Weaving through a couple of yards, he made his way to another street, completely devoid of ponies. The Decepticon was on high alert, and knowing that Luna’s minions were lurking, he activated his satellite display.

The guards were a lot more mobile this time and started to concentrate on the west side of town. Interesting, Ravage thought, so he proceeded east. Luna was really getting on his nerves. He can’t go home now! Unless he somehow finds water without them seeing him, he had no other plan of escape. Also, he really didn’t want to rely on putting his systems through that murky water too much.

Alert: Enemy squadron mobilizing.

Ravage walked north up a straight-away, getting farther from his base, but closer to water. He went over the terrain through daytime overhead photos. Their heat signatures indicated that they were flying away from the moon, heading north like he was. Their trajectory hinted at a fly-by, just observing, but then two of them came his way, assuming an intercept course. The last time that happened, his lack of knowledge of pony society eventually led him to that horrid party. He will not let that happen again.

He considered his options quickly. See what the guards want, or run and hide. They may just tell him to get inside, but since he was certain that Luna had a hoof in this, they could only have wanted one thing: detainment. He could fight them and win, but how could he do that without killing them? Again, without sufficient data known about this cursed land, Ravage resolved to hear them out.

Landing directly in front of him so he couldn’t press forward, just like Flitter and Cloud Chaser, one of them spoke, “Princess Luna demands that you return to the party,” the stallion spoke.

“Strange, I did not hear this request,” Ravage prodded.

“Command!” the mare belted out.

“Am I a prisoner?”

“No, but you soon will be.” She was getting irritated. In fact, both guards were.

“Prisoner or free pony, what difference does it make if Luna can make demands of me without supplying good reason?” Decepticons wouldn’t have even made small talk. Still, Ravage had a pretty good idea of how strong these ponies were – and he was much stronger.

Without warning, the bat ponies took off, grabbing Ravage’s front legs in the process. Ravage was expecting this, though he had not yet experienced the plight of being abducted by bat ponies and flying backwards. He swung up using his rear legs, and combining with the strength of his forelegs, forced two flying ponies together, preventing their wings from gaining any more altitude.

“You fool!” the stallion spoke as they started plummeting toward the street. “Release us or we’ll all crash!” he demanded even though they were only about three stories up.

“That’s the idea,” Ravage said in a creepy cheerful voice. Whatever balance he had from being a panther, he retained being a pony, as he managed to swing the guard ponies downward before colliding with the surface, causing all three to bounce and roll like a spilled drink. Having made sure to position his hooves under their rib cages before the impacted, Ravage forced out their precious air along with their consciousness.

Satellite imagery indicated that the other guards were turned around and headed his way. He noticed that the male guard was about his size with a dark blue coat, which was odd since the night guards seemed uniformly coloured. Then he noticed that his helmet had been knocked off. More than that, he was actually a pegasus.

Testing a hypothesis, Ravage put on the downed stallion’s helmet, and was amazed to see that his own fur had turned grey!

Thinking fast, the Decepticon removed the armor and heaved the stallion pursuer’s unconscious body over a hedge. He equipped himself with the metal shoes, chest plate, and the rest of the armor, and sat over the mare, checking her life signs, just in time for eight guards to show up. The unlucky stallion guard had spoken to Ravage before they tried to apprehend him, and that meant it was time to use Soundwave’s voice replication module! Oh, this was going to be delicious.

“Sir is she alright?” one of them ventured.

Ravage faced them directly, looking stern. He wanted to draw attention away from his body, which had neither pegasus wings, nor bat wings. “She’s going to be fine,” Ravage replied in a very close approximation of the stallion guard’s voice. It was about 95% accurate, since at least an hour of speech was needed to make it indistinguishable, but it seemed to work. “Take care of her injuries,” he ordered, pointing to the downed mare. “Ravage fled eastward. Go!”

“Yes sir!” the apparently subordinate stallion replied. A couple of them gave Ravage looks before they took off to the sky. They’d figure out what went wrong sooner than later, but Ravage was now on the west side of Ponyville, and close to the trail to his base. He galloped quickly out of town, and out of sight, heading into thick tree cover. The guard’s gear was discarded and buried under a pile of leaves and deadwood. Ravage feared that these magical items might be traced.

Having emerged on the proper trail he kept to the shadows. Using his satellite array to warn him of danger, Ravage proceeded homeward. With luck, Luna didn’t evade the satellites.

All he wanted to do was buy a hay shake, and get groceries. It turned out that these simple tasks could not be done without massive interference. Even after he had completed those tasks, some six hours later, he was forced, mostly on threat of upsetting Luna, to go to that party and press mouths with that infernal pegasus mare! And then, even after he had done his duty, Luna still would not let him go home! Thanks to his combat experience and superior technology, Ravage managed to get away from the night guards, but that was not going to last.

He feared that he was going to have it out with Luna, one way or the other.

Author's Note:

It's time to explain Twilight Sparkle!

When I started writing this, she was a unicorn. By the end of the third season, she was an alicorn. Not wanting to have to rewrite her completely, which I think would have detracted from her part in this story, I came up with the 'wings optional' capability. It means Twilight was an alicorn all along in the tale, but like Ravage she has the ability to transform. In fact, it could be said that her wings give her a 'vehicular mode', heheh.

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