• 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 6: Luna Free

Transformed



Chapter 6: Luna Free



Three Months Ago:

At Megatron’s command, hundreds of Decepticons massed near the Engineering laboratory. Walking alone in front of the gathering, the Decepticon leader described the situation. “Fellow Decepticons, for some time now, we have been studying a planet thousands of light years from Cybertron. It has come to my attention that this world has vast potential for energy generation; however, we have reached the limit of our remote exploration capabilities. In order to continue our study, we need to have a Decepticon volunteer to have his spark, mind and memories transferred to a new body and infiltrate the society of quadrupeds that dominate a part of that world known as Equestria.”

Starscream nervously fidgeted off to the side. What Megatron was saying sounded crazy, and yet it was all true. Surely, he would have to endure more slights and disrespect for having taken his fellow warriors in this direction even if it did mean new energy, let alone a means to vanquish the Autobots.

“Who shall volunteer himself for a new body? You will assume the likeness of an Equestrian. Your mission will be to go to Equestria, hide within its populace, and determine how to create and quantify pony telekinesis using Decepticon science. If possible, you will learn to convert the energy of this telekinesis into energon.” Megatron walked around the front of all the Decepticons in front of him. Not surprisingly, everybody was still.

And then the unthinkable happened. “I will volunteer.” Shockwave stepped forward. This caused quite the stir, metal parts clanking and voices in varying degrees of shock contributed to the din of disbelief. Shockwave was long considered the only Decepticon strong enough, by himself, to defeat Megatron. And now he was volunteering to become a pony! “I shall let logic guide me to our common goals, that we may all benefit from the energy produced.”

Megatron chortled, “Shockwave, you may not. You are the Guardian of Cybertron in my absence. Your job is here.”

“What?” Starscream challenged. “He volunteered!”

Megatron ignored Starscream. “Anybody else?”

Silence on Cybertron was like the dead. There is little wind, no animals, and seldom was heard even the whir of machines as the planet was so depleted in energy.

“Very well then. I shall select a volunteer,” Megatron said, sneering directly at Starscream, his eyes aglow with red.

“No, no! You need me here! I’m the one leading the investigation!” pleaded Starscream.

“I know, Starscream. You have extensive knowledge of the ponies. You’re the perfect choice.”

Megatron approached menacingly, with Scrapper and his Constructicons ready to make the grab, slowly encircling the beleaguered robot. Starscream was on his knees now. “Please, no! Use Ravage. He’s already a quadruped!” he groveled.

Megatron thought about this, and decided that he could have done with a little more amusement. “Very well, Starscream. We shall ask him. Soundwave, eject Ravage.”

“Ravage. Transform!” Soundwave spoke in his trademark monotone. He opened up the cassette door, and Ravage flew out, transforming from a cassette to a panther. He snarled and growled like a very angry panther indeed.

Megatron required more civilized discourse. “Ravage, resume normal communication.”

The snarling and hissing stopped. “As you command, Megatron.” Ravage spoke in a baritone voice, but even this had a bite to it, cutting the air cleanly, leaving no doubt what was said. He sounded like the seasoned assassin he was.

“Ravage, did you hear everything that was just said? Have you been following the investigation on Celestia-1?” Megatron asked.

“Yes and yes.”

“Then you know what Starscream wants you to do.” Megatron slowly developed an evil grin. The more the silence passed by, the more evil it got. “What say you, Ravage?”

More silence.

“Well Starscream, it looks like I’m going to have to select a…”

“I’ll do it.”

“Volunte – what?” Megatron, shocked, whirled around to face Ravage directly.

“I said I’ll do it,” Ravage repeated. Whispering and low voice murmuring afflicted the assembled Decepticons’ order and calm.

Soundwave lowered his head. Such a deadly Decepticon at his beck and call was going to be sorely missed.

Ravage, on the other hand, was only too glad to get out of there. Mostly, he was used as Soundwave’s body guard, and this, he felt, was a waste of his talents. He was good at espionage. He was good at assassination. He was good at blending into the background. This new mission promised at least two of those things. It’s not that he didn’t like Soundwave, he just felt underused.

“Very well, Ravage. You have made your choice,” Megatron admitted. “Starscream, perform the manipulations that you need to, and build our Decepticon-pony agent.”

“Yes, Megatron. Right away.”

An atmosphere of relief rolled over the Decepticon ranks. They were going to send an agent to Equestria and it was going to be Ravage. Ravage! Most agreed that there was no better choice for the work to be done.

Starscream began his list of wants and needs. “Scrapper, your team needs to design a new transformation system. The current cog and gearbox system is too loud and too heavy to carry inside a pony. You will also transfer Ravages spark and self into his new body.”

“Understood,” Scrapper replied. “Do you have the basic layout for Ravage’s new body?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. I have the transformation blueprints for the paneling. I just need to replace the cog and gearbox.”

“And I suppose you know how to grow and attach the tissue?” Scrapper inquired.

“Oh yes. Ravage will have blood, skin, fur, everything he needs. He’ll feel warm to the touch, and he’ll even be able to get energy from digesting food.” Starscream had been working in this field for millennia even before the war, and he was rather excited that he was going to help build something that would be unimaginably deceptive.


=^.^=


Pouring concrete into yet another mold, Ravage wondered if Starscream or Shockwave would have opened fire on the ponies by now. He started snickering when he thought of what Shockwave might have done when Princess Luna tried to assume control over his life, and in the name of ‘love’ of all abstract things. ‘Die wretched pony filth!’ could have been some of the more choice words he might have used. Who knows if the machine guns can even affect an alicorn that can move worlds?

The pest princess tried to enter his mind again last night. Simply turning off the subspace radio and turning it on again ten minutes later was enough to take care of that, thankfully. However, Ravage did enjoy actually sleeping properly every now and then. He had no control over his dreams in that state, and Luna could do whatever she wanted. This had to stop!

“Lunch time, ponies!” Bright Rock cried out, and not a moment too soon, as the familiar hunger pangs had bothered Ravage all morning.

In the company of Bo, Micah, and a couple of burly stallions, he ate his lunch by an ever growing concrete wall, since it was so effective at blocking the sun. Why can’t it rain when they’re trying to work? It would remove the salty, itchy sweat while simultaneously cooling everpony down. Yet for some reason, ponies just can’t stand to be in the rain. At least he had a couple of fruits to go with his pony meal.

“Should I ask about Pearl Bliss’ party?” Bo really wanted to know how Ravage would handle such a party. With his resistance to joining herds, she wondered why he wanted to put himself in direct contact with so many potential herd mates.

“Sure,” the Decepticon said.

“I hear that you kissed Flitter?”

Anything to do with love, unconventional action, and stupidity became gossip. Ravage hated gossip. He hated anything that pried into his privacy. “Yes.” No more info was offered.

“And Princess Luna asked you out?” the red headed mare pressed. Everypony stopped chewing at that statement and looked Ravage’s way.

“It’s funny how I never discussed either conversation with anypony, and yet somehow my coworkers know about it,” Ravage said sourly.

“I know right!” Micah added. “But that’s what happens in small towns. Anything interesting becomes town talk.”

One of the other stallions, an older gentlepony by the name of Rock Crusher, leaned in to speak. “You are actually dating Princess Luna?”

“Yes,” Ravage answered simply, nodding at the grizzled worker.

“Okay, just asking.” He went back to eating his sandwich.

“You’re gonna be a busy pony,” Bo said in a warning tone.

Ravage suspected that Rainbow Dash’s reaction to his date declaration with Luna forewarned trouble. Could the pegasus have started spreading the information as soon as she learned it? If so, then he will have to refrain from sharing any knowledge about himself with her.

Suddenly, a message from his battle network in the top left of his view, in orange letters.

Source material located: 451B.C179.9425

“That doesn’t bother you?” Bo asked a little confused. She was expecting some sort of cynical response by now.

Ravage correlated the coordinates to a map. ‘It’s right here in Ponyville! Six-hundred meters, due west.’ The Decepticon stallion certainly didn’t have to go far to get the aluminum he needed. “What bothers me is sheer speed that the news traveled, and that it has become a source of amusement.”

“Why go out with Princess Luna at all then?” Rock Crusher challenged. “That’s pretty high profile. I guess I shouldn’t tell my daughter that you’re available for dating,” he determined.

“Wait – what? I just – WHAT?” Ravage couldn’t believe the reach and effects that going on a date with Luna was having.

“Sure, why not? You’re young, hard working, smart.” Rock Crusher was cutting up his carrots as if there wasn’t a disturbance.

Ravage scrambled through his database trying to figure out what to say if somepony asked him his age. Eight-million-plus wouldn’t work at all as a response. He also realized he had to actually support his decision to date Princess Luna, even if it killed him on the inside. “Well, Luna is – loooong,” he tried describing, parting his forelegs to demonstrate length.

And thus, the small assembly of ponies doubled over in laughter. Except for Ravage. He had just made a fool of himself, and there was no getting out of it.

“Ya like long horns do ya?” teased Die Cast, the other older pony. “I hope ya don’t mind me tellin’ m’ah daughter about yer lookin’ for a mare. She’s got blessed horn length.”

Bo was wiping a tear out her eye. Her hooves were previously occupied with holding her stomach. “Did you mean ‘slim’, Ravage?”

Indeed, that’s what Ravage meant to say. “I think that would better describe Luna, yes.”

Die Cast poked the embarrassed Decepticon on the shoulder. “Yer still into horns, right?”

After that bout of foolishness, Ravage tried his best to deflect questions away from him, and answer any questions that got by as vaguely as possible. Eventually, other conversation topics had taken over. There was no doubt about it; he was never going to hear the end of the jokes made involving him and Luna’s horn. He could try to isolate himself, but that would only draw more attention. Sticking by Bo and Micah’s side was his best defense, for they have been most supportive. Fortunately, most of the rest of the day would be filled with hard work, not chatter.


=^.^=


Aster scanned the skies with her eyepiece, and found Rainbow Dash just beyond the Whitetail Woods, exactly where she should be. The officer-to-be took off with a shot, and Aster put her goggles on. Soon, a Sonic Rainboom appeared right where she expected it.

Rainbow Dash slowed down right after she broke the sound barrier, unlike most other times she performed the feat. While she preferred to enjoy the thrill of supersonic speed, Aster needed her to do something a little different today.

Her frame strained and her muscles felt like they were on fire while attempting to repeat the supersonic event without stopping. Breaking the sound barrier was never easy, but it was starting to feel like practicing before she had won the Best Young Flyer competition. A second Mach cone started forming, but Rainbow’s body felt like a lead weight. Unable to push through, the magical ether betrayed the exhausted pegasus, forming an elastic barrier of resistance within the cone and flinging her in the opposite direction. Tumbling out of control, she plummeted toward to branches of the Whitetail Woods, but just before impact, Aster intercepted her.

“Just so you know,” Rainbow vented between laboured breaths, “I could have handled the crash.” She took time to gulp in more oxygen, “It wouldn’t have been the first time.”

“Aw Rainbow, think about the trees!” Aster retorted. She could feel how weak the stunt made her young friend, as the normally stalwart forelegs could only grasp feebly at her body. The trainer had to take great care, and ensured extra support around the neck and head. Upon landing, she tried to let Dash stand on all four legs, as dignity was so important to her. “How are you feeling?”

Well on her way to catching her breath, Dash responded, “Used.”

“Beg your pardon?”

“I talked to Twilight about what we’ve been doing. She thought it might have been research, but found it odd that you haven’t been taking any notes.” Rainbow had become suspicious after talking to her unicorn friend.

Aster caught herself before showing any reaction. She completely missed the possibility of Twilight Sparkle getting involved, and sensed that a change in conduct was imminent. The big mare lowered her head, unable to deflect the inevitable answer. “No. No, I haven’t been.”

“May I ask why? I mean, I’m awesome enough to time my sonic rainbooms,” she chuckled, “but why do I need to do more than one? The way you were talking this morning, you made it sound like I should be able to just go ahead and do two of them.” The junior Wonderbolt had rarely considered doing two consecutive sonic rainbooms, since just one took incredible effort.

Like Ravage, Aster also had honed the techniques of keeping her emotional state under control. She regarded her former student, who she was, how far she’d come. Even if the Elements were brought into the fold and told the truth about what was really going on, Aster herself was largely kept in the dark. Could the truth be trusted with the likes of Pinkie Pie, and Rarity? She didn’t know them like Rainbow did, but neither she nor her associates were going to take any chances. Aster looked away from the determined Element of Loyalty, put a hoof to her chin and pondered a compromise.

“First of all, I want to say that your officer application is being processed. You should be able to start training in less than two months.” Aster’s expression was neutral, and it made Rainbow Dash all the more apprehensive.

Oh, Rainbow was happy to hear that she was well on her way to becoming an officer. Finally! But this was overwhelmed by the sinister aura that radiated from the Advanced Flight Mechanics teacher, her friend! It felt awful, and registered on her face as puzzlement with a shot of confusion mixed in.

“For the other thing, we need you to come to Canterlot. I’ll make the arrangements.” The normally playful language, including the lilt in her voice, was replaced with precise, almost mechanized discourse.

“What is this about, Aster!”

“We need you. In about two weeks, but you won’t be ready.”

“Who needs me? What…” Rainbow was about to say more when Aster had raised a hoof to her face; a request for listening.

“Rainbow, the truth is too volatile to be spoken of outside of a magically secured area. What I can say is that we need you to be able to do two consecutive sonic rainbooms less than a second apart, and at a precise location.” Dash’s incredulous face remained. “What’s involved is big, Rainbow. Please understand.”

“You can’t make me do that ya know,” rebelled the suspicious pony.

“I know. But let us try to convince you. Come to Canterlot with me. All expenses paid. It would be for an evening, but you can stay overnight. It would have to be done soon.”

“When did you plan on telling me what you really wanted, Aster?” Rainbow felt used alright. She had held Aster in such high regard too.

“This morning.”

“What? Are you serious?”

Aster needed to be convincing. “Rainbow, you read the messages yourself. First, we needed you to time your sonic rainbooms, and now we need two of them on top of each other. But before we continue, I need you to swear secrecy, okay? Nothing we speak about from here on in should be heard by any other pony’s ears.”

“Yeah, yeah. I promise I won’t say anything.” Flight maneuvers tended to be kept a secret until they were ready for the world anyways. “Can I see this morning’s message?” Rainbow Dash asked. Aster produced it. Reading aloud, “Top Secret. Final phase of operation will be in less than two weeks. Rainbow Dash is to produce two consecutive rainbooms within one second of each other and train as much as possible. When necessary, magical assistance will be applied.” The junior Wonderbolt flipped the page around, looking for more. “That’s all there is.” Rainbow did not deviate from her original line of thinking. “Why do you need me to do this?”

“I don’t know why they need you to do this, but I can assure you it wouldn’t be done without very good reason,” Aster replied with straight forward narrative.

“Who are they?” Dash demanded.

“My organization.” Aster noticed that this didn’t satisfy Rainbow Dash, who was sitting on her haunches with her forelegs crossed. “Equestria has many organizations that specialize in protecting her people. Military, police, fire brigades – they’re all there to protect ponies. So do we, but at the underground level, and in complete secrecy.”

“And they are called?”

“We’re nameless, and few ponies know we even exist. That’s the way it has to be. The less attention we draw to ourselves, the more effective we are.

Rainbow Dash covered her eyes with a hoof in disgust, “Ugh! I don’t believe this. Am I still under contract? I can’t become an officer in the Wonderbolts unless I keep training with you, right?”

“Yes,” the secretive mare replied, lowering her head. “Sorry.”

Rainbow clapped the bottom of one hoof onto the side of the other, “I knew I should have stayed in school,” she said to herself angrily, eyes narrowed.

“Rainbow, take a look.” Aster gestured to a nearby field that had some foals playing on it, kicking around an ever present ball. “Have you ever asked yourself how it is they can carry on without a care in the world?”

“Uh, because they’re foals?”

“Because they have nothing to fear. The military and police can’t keep all the crazies out – but we can. And we do!”

The irritated Wonderbolt looked at what was just a typical, everyday field, shaking her head at how Aster’s organization could possibly take credit for the boring scene.

Aster continued, “Armies fight armies.”

A young pegasus filly managed to kick the ball away from a throng of foals.

“Police maintain order.”

An earth pony colt, possibly her teammate, kicked the ball between a space delineated by two sticks shoved into the ground. His friends cheered, and many hoof bumps were exchanged.

“But when an enemy acts alone, whether guided or unguided, with intent to hurt our fellow ponies, who stops him?” Aster looked toward her former student, hoping she got the point.

“Lemme guess, your ‘organization’?” Rainbow scoffed.

“You’ll notice that when that filly kicked the ball, she didn’t set off a magical ward, blowing her leg off.”

“What?!” If Rainbow Dash wasn’t disgusted before, she was now.

“Like I asked before, who keeps the crazies out?” Aster had maintained an uncharacteristic stoicism. “A few centuries ago, violence like that was much more commonplace, but our efforts helped stop it.”

“Yeah, I gotta go now.” With a whoosh of air, Rainbow Dash took off. This didn’t surprise the educator one bit, though.

“By the way!” she yelled at the receding pegasus, “We think there may be a threat in Ponyville!” She was confident that she’ll be seeing Rainbow Dash again, and soon. Hopefully, she will have digested the new information.


=^.^=


After work, Ravage traveled to the aluminum source. He couldn’t help but admire what the ponies had done with it. Upon radio emission verification, it turned out to be the frame for one of the more popular statues in Ponyville.

While not gleaming alabaster, the porous rock that made up the likeness of Princess Celestia rearing up on her hind legs was impressive to look at. However, her gentle smile and adorable eyes removed any feelings of intimidation. This was most unexpected. In fact, those eyes – those big, clear eyes seemed almost alive. Ravage scanned the statue again. It was just rock.

Two birds came swooping in, set on landing on the statue. Just before they could land something repelled them, something invisible. It was then that he noticed how free of bird droppings that statue was. All of the town’s ornamentation was clean, and Ravage suspected that magic was somehow involved in this. Still, could it repel Decepticons?

Ravage extended a foreleg and carefully managed to touch the statue’s hind leg without issue. It was then he made an important realization, making his brow furrow and the corners of his lips curled up in an evil sneer. ‘I get to steal something.’ He programmed the satellite to do an in depth scan as he began pondering the logistics of how to get the aluminum out of Ponyville and into his metallurgical processing facility.

“She’s gorgeous, isn’t she?”

Ravage snapped back to reality, doing an about face in trying to address the familiar voice that was speaking to him.

Flitter immediately rubbed her muzzle against his, crinkling the flexible tissue of both. Ravage was totally unprepared for the act, and remained speechless.

“So whatcha doing looking at a statue of Celestia? Aren’t you hungry?” Flitter was upbeat, happy to have run into her kissing partner unopposed.

Ravage sat on his haunches and felt his stomach, “Yes I am.” He couldn’t believe how easily he forgot about the hunger pangs during his scheming.

“Got any big plans for this evening?” she queried. ‘I have too much work to do’ was not an excuse she wanted to hear.

“I have to be at the library for seven, but I need to eat and bathe first,” he replied plainly.

Flitter avoided letting the info get her down, hoping there were other evenings she could get from the busy stallion. “Wanna go out with me on Friday?” With her head tilted gently like her smile, she awaited his response.

Ravage was certain that Flitter knew about his coming date with Luna and, for reasons known only to the locals, this made her feel comfortable enough to ask him out. He remembered Bo’s warning, about how he was going to get busy, but even though he knew that giving in to pony cultural norms felt threatening, he had to soldier on. He was a Decepticon spy, and the great reckoning would come when he finally updated his technology, and acquired sufficient energon to escape to another world.

Flitter would not be the last mare to ask him out. He sensed that the Elements of Harmony would follow, as they had followed him into Pearl Bliss’ lair. Though the breakfast at Rarity’s had gone without incident, Rainbow Dash supplied evidence indicating that Rarity was indeed interested in Ravage, and so was the rest of her group. Just handling Luna expended a great deal of energy, how could he even pretend to make time for six mares? And that didn’t even include Flitter, and whoever else would make a date request. How was he supposed to get any work done?

The potentially aggressive mare was waiting for his response. Her calm and cool demeanor did not fool Ravage. He wanted to repel any and all date requests as they came along and he felt it was pretty clear that he wanted to be left alone, but that did not seem to resonate in this kind of society. “Sorry, but no. My funds cannot support another date.” He felt this was a valid reason, yet he somehow knew this wouldn’t stop Flitter.

She giggled, a first reaction that was not good for talking to Ravage. “I’ll be paying, silly! You just come along for the ride. So what do ya say?”

Putting his hoof to his chin, Ravage pondered. He had to say no again? If he did go on a date, would there be any good to come of it? His supporting, public reasons would be that he had a good rapport with her, and that they had fun. Privately, Flitter could yield more insight on Equestria. On the bad side, it would be largely a waste of time, of this he was certain. Of course, playing volleyball turned out to not be a waste of time like he thought it would, and the same could be said of Hoofball. He would happily play either sport again. Still, there was the other thing to consider.

Thanks to his listening to the conversations at work, he was pretty sure that the Equestrian reproductive processes had mostly been abandoned for use in actually reproducing, and for some reason the ponies would rather repeat these processes over and over again. Why? How could that be fun? He found the act of reproduction viscerally revolting, and yet it was apparent that many mares wanted to use those procedures on himself! From the limited data he had, he suspected that there were high odds that feigning reproduction was the secret objective of most dates. The worst implication was that if he wanted to maintain his cover, he couldn’t say anything disrespectful toward these acts. To preserve his sanity, his only chance was denial.

He decided to accept her offer, since it would provide excellent support for his cover. Besides, if it came to a physical confrontation, he would win, assuming no unicorns interfered. As insurance, and knowing that her four friends might be lurking nearby, he turned on his satellite display.

“Okay, what might we be doing?” Ravage agreed.

Flitter’s face erupted in a wide mouthed gasp, and she hopped as if she were surprised at the positive response. “Alright!” She ran up and glomped the Decepticon stallion, nuzzling her face into his neck while emitting, ‘cute’ sounds. “So, eight o’ clock this Friday, sweetie?”

“Uh, sure.” Ravage had learned to roll up his eyes, as if recalling a story, while making these kinds of decisions. Also, it felt natural to do so.

“Meet me at this statue?”

Assuming it is still here by then,’ “Okay.” He smiled warmly, looking forward to building his black matter detector.

Flitter kissed his cheek – not an unexpected reaction – and turned to head away. “See ya on Friday, sexy,” she winked. Ravage turned about and headed to his base.


=^.^=


Ravage had to trot home. He also vowed to use his satellite and compass every time he was on his way home from now on. He took a short bath, which really irritated him since he preferred to relax for quite a while. Devouring his supper instead of relaxing while eating also pissed him off. The result of his sacrifice of down time was that he made the library on time.

Upon knocking on the door, he needed to wait only few seconds for Spike to answer.

“Uh, Ravage was it?” Spike asked, pointing an inquisitive claw at the stallion.

“Correct. Is Twilight around?”

Coming’ could be heard from within the bowels of the building which also doubled as a very old oak tree, somehow still alive and healthy. There seemed to be more than four hooves trouncing the place too.

Ravage was a little surprised to see Rainbow Dash emerge. She stopped and looked at him with a smirk on her face before shaking her head. “Good luck. You’ll need it,” she quipped before flying off at her typical great speed.

The Decepticon pony saw the door open magically, followed by Twilight Sparkle walking up to the entrance with her horn aglow. He noticed ethereal vapour dissolving on her sides where wings would normally be, but took it to be some sort of magical process that the unicorn usually performs, and assumed it was of no consequence.

“Welcome to the Library,” she cheerfully spoke, showing Ravage inside. The interior was surprisingly roomy. Shelves carved out of the very tree itself held the books in oval recesses. The two ponies set up shop on a table with the necessary books and implements on a table off to the side, sitting on their haunches.

“Ravage, you don’t know how happy it makes me to be able to teach you magic, especially since you’re an earth pony,” the Element of magic chirped. “Ready for your first lesson?”

“Prepared,” he replied simply.

“Okay. All ponies possess magic in some form or another. Earth ponies use it to grow and acquire food better than the other phenotypes and it also gives them great strength and endurance. Pegasi are enabled to perform flight and manipulate clouds. Unicorns are born with the ability to use magic directly. It is the magic of unicorns that I want to focus our lessons with, Ravage. It is the most explored, researched, and developed of the pony magics, by far. Is that alright with you?”

“Affirmative,” Ravage said, smiling. Twilight returned the smile, enjoying his unorthodox vocabulary.

“Magic manipulation is not possible through emotion, but with thought,” she went on.

“Oh?”

“That’s right, but it’s not thinking in the sense of words formed in the mind, but with the formation of spells. Like a sentence, a spell is made of components that have different functions, analogous to nouns and verbs, but it takes the form of a feeling – not an emotion, remember! A unicorn can feel for all of the components of magic, and she can do this any day, any time. It’s like a sixth sense. The components themselves are actually things like target, direction, power, and so on.” She looked to Ravage, who seemed to be engrossed in her lecture.

“Go on.”

“It is in understanding which magical components to feel for and how to assemble them that allows a spell to be prepared. Like language, unicorn magic can be learned, understood and,” she opened an entry level unicorn spell book, its lines formed by symbols representing magical components, “written down.” The symbols did not have any bearing on the pony language spoken daily. In fact the symbols could not be spoken, only written down, although each one undoubtedly had a designation. Ponies never bothered with speaking incantations, since it was always faster to activate their Magic directly.

Suddenly, Ravage’s eyes came alive with the thrill of discovery. ‘So that’s why the magical text was impossible to decipher! You literally have to be a unicorn who can feel for each symbol as a magical component!’ Even Soundwave could not deduce the magical code. The only way to understand it was to actually talk to a unicorn who knew how to teach it. ‘Starscream was right!

More importantly than that, Ravage realized that ponies were not mental pushovers either, the unicorns in particular. Decepticons, humans, pegasi, and pretty much all other sapient life forms could think and feel. Unicorns had a third tier of mental acuity: they can sense and manipulate magic directly, and Twilight Sparkle was describing exactly how!

Twilight’s eyes narrowed as her lips drew into a proud smirk, “Cool, huh?”

“Extremely!” Ravage hadn’t been this excited since the last battle with the Autobots, and he certainly had never been this excited about learning. But he still wondered, “So why not use normal language to describe magical components? Why use symbols?”

“Because the symbols are drawn like how a component feels.” Twilight noticed a funny look from Ravage, making her chuckle. “And you can write down Magically enchanted words, but I’ll get to that later.”

Twilight had always dreamed of teaching such an eager student, and an earth pony at that. It filled her pride and she felt encouraged, continuing the lesson. “There are four classes of magic, each with their own symbol sets. They are the first, second, third and fourth thaumic fields. I’m not gonna lie, most ponies only get taught about the third and fourth thaumic fields. Only the princesses are well versed in the first and second. Now, as I am Celestia’s student, I have been privy to a little bit of knowledge from the first and second fields,” she said, placing her hoof on her chest in a respectful gesture.

Ravage was gazing at Twilight, entranced and hanging onto every word. Twilight suddenly became concerned. “Uh Ravage?”

“Hmm?”

“Aren’t you going to write any of this down? I mean, there are over forty symbols in the fourth thaumic field alone. You can’t remember all that!” She levitated a quill and ink well toward him, with the feathered end getting close to his mouth. “Say awww.” The smiling unicorn enjoyed this kind of teasing very much.

“Say what – ummlpch…” Twilight shoved a feather into Ravage’s mouth. It was then that he made another horrible realization: he can’t write! He could read and speak the pony language, but he had never attempted to write it, and now he had to use his mouth! Knowing the spelling and grammar, and knowing what the letters looked like, he leaned forward while securing the parchment with his hooves. To say this was awkward was an understatement. It was also useless! Ravage’s mind was contained in his metaprocessor, a digital construct; memorizing details was something Decepticons never had a problem with, except in rare cases where their brains were purposely powered down in order to authenticate a disguise. For now though, he had no choice but to pretend to know how to write. Using the pony language, he tried to write a list of the magical fields with sufficient space beside them to write brief descriptions.

Grrrmph,’ Twilight growled after just a few minutes, which was actually a lot longer than it should have taken for Ravage to do his meager scribbling. “I swear pony penmanship has gone down the tubes since I was a filly.” She yanked the quill from Ravage’s mouth with her magic and started preparing the notes herself. “I’ll do it for you. I’m faster anyways, but you need to learn how to write properly, especially when you need to finish a quiz or exam.”

Ravage did a double-take (his first one!), “I’m being examined?”

“Of course,” the pony educator primly replied. “How else are you going to commit my teachings to memory?”

Ravage’s brow furrowed in disbelief.

“Ravage, you may think you’re the most capable of ponies, but don’t fool yourself. You need to learn to write properly, and you need to take notes. Pretending like you can memorize everything without effort will lead to disappointment.” Twilight quickly wrote down a summary of what was said so far. “I’ll help you, but now you not only need to learn magic, you need to learn to write properly as well. That way I can focus on teaching.”

Oh, great.

“You can handle it, Ravage. I have faith in you,” Twilight said, being supportive. “Let’s continue, shall we? First, I’ll make a list of the component symbols used in both the third and fourth thaumic fields.”


=^.^=


Ravage learned a great deal. Magic turned out to be a discipline understood almost entirely by ponies, and it was well researched. Included in the discussion of Magic were its origins. Like technological civilizations, ponies came upon their magical abilities slowly, through trial and error. They could access all four thaumic fields, but with the advent of the princesses, were restricted to useful knowledge for only the third and fourth fields. As Twilight continued lecturing, it was easy to see why.

It became clear very early in lecture that each thaumic field had a counterpart in physics: the four principle forces to be exact. Levitation and cloud-walking spells altered gravity, and refrigeration spells that kept food cool altered electromagnetism. Stasis spells altered both. The first and second thaumic fields, which the chipper teacher gave no details on, almost certainly represented the strong and weak nuclear forces, that is, Magic can operate even at subatomic levels. The very thought of it was frightening until Twilight explained that a spell’s power is only as powerful as the unicorn casting it, though magical power, or ‘mana’, can be increased as an individual practices more and more, or by several ponies working in concert. It was rather relieving for Ravage to figure out that a pony should not be able to ‘reach out and nuke someone’. Fissile material or the proper proportions of hydrogen isotopes for fusion still had to be present in the target. Otherwise, the yield from an attack spell would have to be well within her mana.

One of the most interesting dynamics was the ley lines. It was the ley lines through which every thaumic field is connected to every pony. To Ravage, this sounded like a network of conduits, ones which were mobile and stayed permanently connected to each pony, and every living that was influenced by Magic. How this was done, the overwhelmed Decepticon could not even guess.

By necessity, Magic was taught to unicorns by other unicorns. Oh, pegasi and earth ponies would be told in brief what it was about, and what it could do, but it was the unicorns that got the details. Twilight had long felt that other pony races were being cheated of knowledge, and so she was more than a little keen when Ravage showed interest in the subject.

Twilight made many demonstrations. During one of them, the pony bot looked up with concern at the six eggs floating above his head. “Are you sure this is necessary, Twilight?”

“Of course! I’m trying to show that power is proportional. I lifted up one egg using a certain amount of power from the fourth thaumic field, now I’m showing you that precisely six times the power can neutrally levitate six eggs.” She spoke with gusto, passionate about her craft.

“Yes but, wouldn’t it be better to do it over a bowl?” Ravage had little experience with raw eggs, but he knew they were rather fragile.

Twilight looked offended. “And remove the element of disaster? Ravage, I’m surprised at you. Learning to stay focused in the face of a potential mess is crucial to learning Magic.”

Still looking at those six eggs, all he could do was nod and smile. “Okay.”

The unicorn magician took Ravage’s calm demeanor to be a lack of conviction. Could he really doubt her abilities? “Okay fine, I’ll get a bowl,” she said dryly. The eggs were skillfully maintained in levitation while Twilight got a bowl from the kitchen, levitating beside her, and keeping pace. “Hmm, while we’re at it,” a whisk teleported beside the bowl, “why not make an omelet!” The enthusiastic mare dropped all six eggs into the bowl and started rhythmically beating them with the whisk. It took only a few seconds for her to realize her mistake, heralded by her lop-sided frown of disappointment.

“You forgot to break open the eggs again, didn’t you!?” Spike yelled from another room, followed by hysterical laughter.

“Did you use the first or second thaumic field to teleport the mixing device?” Ravage queried as if nothing was wrong.

Ravage was curious as to how ponies were such strict herbivores, and yet had no qualms about eating the unborn young of birds. After dumping the mixture in the garbage, the lesson continued.

How unicorns trained each other was special as well. Educators would assemble Magical components in the proper sequence during their lectures. Unicorn students didn’t need to see anything, since they could feel it just fine. Of course, like all disciplines, many notes still had to be taken.

Another interesting tidbit that Twilight hit upon was the charging of written words with Magic. Like advanced programming languages, the Magical word could be mapped back to the components from which they came. Thus, writing down a spell could be made vastly more efficient with the Magical word. Effectively, this made the Magical text like a lecturer, with all the components prearranged properly. ‘Levitate’, at least the way ponies spell it, could be charged with the necessary components, which the unicorn reader need only assemble for herself. Assuming she had sufficiently developed her skills, the spell should work just fine.

The final aspect of pony Magic was the princesses. Super powerful, they led all of pony civilization in Equestria. It was this small group that Ravage feared. He now knew that they had working knowledge of the first and second thaumic fields. Could they be using it to move the heavens? Control over the sun and moon sounded more like a fourth thaumic field spell was needed, but their power would have to be immense! So immense as to not believed, in fact, Ravage did not believe it. There had to be another explanation.

Twilight’s lesson continued into the night, and both ponies didn’t notice the sun setting. “Well that’s it. Boy it sure is late!” she quipped. “Did you want to go to the dam tomorrow? I’d love to see how much of your magical knowledge you can put into describing how the dam generates power for Ponyville.”

Ravage could not have hoped for a better suggestion. “Certainly! Will there still be magic lessons tomorrow?”

Twilight laughed, “You’re a machine, Ravage! Of course we can make that happen. I was thinking that we might continue on Wednesday so you can digest all those details, but yeah! We’ll learn more about Magic tomorrow.”

Ravage was taken aback by being referred to as a ‘machine’, but he quickly recovered. He thought and felt as other sapient life forms did, but the metal body he possessed for most of his life would certainly give the appearance of a mere machine upon first glance. Besides, it was a compliment from Twilight that meant ‘tireless’.

The Decepticon stallion turned on his satellite display, and ordered the battle network to search for Princess Luna. As soon as he got outside, she could spot him. “I finish up work for five. Then I have to go home to clean up and eat. Then I could…”

“Actually, you can shower and eat here if you like,” Twilight interrupted. “Then we could have more time for the dam and Magic lessons.” The little unicorn looked like she was about to start bouncing on her hooves, she was so excited.

“Really?”

“Yes! C’mon, it’s not like I’m offering the keys to the Kingdom or anything. I like having you as a – well, I like having you around.” The smiling unicorn was about to say ‘guest’, but remembered that her friends had a stake in this stallion. She could easily see why too. The same pony who could learn hoofball so quickly was also an exceptional student, smashing through the earth pony/unicorn barrier and voraciously learning Magic theory. Twilight truly enjoyed having him around. More than a couple of her friends have entertained suggestions of what he might like on a date. She started blushing at the thought.

“Twilight, is something wrong?” Ravage queried, noticing Twilight’s change in behaviour. ‘Oh no, not again.

“Just be here for five tomorrow, Ravage. Can you do that?” She spoke normally, but her eyes betrayed what she was feeling.

“I shall,” he replied, opening the door to leave. “Good night, Twilight.”

“Good night.” She sighed a happy sigh. Was her fledgling herd to be rewarded at last for their patience? A six-mare herd would not be easy to service, and they only wanted one stallion. The wistful mare felt that if any stallion could fill that gap, it looked like it might be Ravage. It was time for action. Twilight decided to gather her fellow Elements on the morrow, and determine whether to pursue the stallion who very recently came to town.

It was the easiest walking home Ravage experienced since he got there. The raven androids detected Luna in her tower during a fly-by. She was reading a book. No other ponies tried to follow him and he made it to his base in good time.

Against his better judgment, he turned off his subspace radio, essentially cutting him off from his satellite network. He made sure that any alerts were forwarded to his ship’s computer, and that a very loud alarm would sound, waking him up. Still, it didn’t feel right to have to lower his defenses just so he could sleep.


=^.^=


The next day started out with quite a good downpour from a light thundershower which receded into continuous rain. Although ponies disliked the rain, it didn’t stop them from performing their daily duties.

Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack showed up at the library late in the morning, happy to get out of the rain, joining Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Twilight Sparkle. Twilight levitated some towels and dried them off.

“Spike is at the Crusaders’ club house,” Applejack indicated. “Can ‘Ah assume then, that this is adult talk? ‘Bout Ravage?”

“You assume correctly, Applejack. Come around the table, girls.” Having been motioned to their places by Twilight, the six sat around a small, round table. “Perfect timing on the rain, Dash,” she complimented to the pony sitting beside her.

“Eh, it was on the schedule.”

*ahem* “I asked you all to come this morning to talk about our herd’s status. The last time we had herd discussion it was when we first declared it. That was – what – four months ago?” A couple of nods and affirmatives followed Twilight’s question. “For the sake of Equestria, we decided that it would be wise to go a step beyond the Magic of Friendship and form a herd. Please note, the other Princesses emphatically feel that we under no obligation to support the Elements by herding, and that we may live our lives and pursue our dreams as we wish. I, however, still feel that our herd will be mutually beneficial to ourselves, as well as our nation. Would all ponies who feel as I do please raise their hooves.” Six hooves went up in the air. “Good. Now, down to business.”

Rarity added, “The Elements of Harmony need to be kept together, no matter how far we travel, or what direction life takes us. As herds are an intimate grouping, it’s the best choice.” A chorus of feminine agreement followed her statement.

“Anypony see any nice stallions, lately?” Applejack asked.

“Ravage is in Ponyville,” a smiling Fluttershy pointed out.

“And he’s dating. Princess – Luna!” Pinkie squealed, holding her hooves to her cheeks, looking wishfully up to the ceiling.

“He’s sure as sugar popular too.” Applejack felt that Ravage was okay, and yearned for more information on him. “Every day ‘Ah talk to more than a couple ‘o mares who hold him in high regard.”

“I’m one of those ponies, Applejack,” Twilight started, “and I’m sure there are more than a couple of mares in this room that reflect my interest. However, to be fair I have to ask, are there any other stallions that may have turned a head or two in here?” A moment of silence passed. “Rarity, you seemed to get along well with Thunderlane.”

“Oh he is a darling pegasus, Twilight, but somewhat lacking in the intellect department.” Rarity’s grimace was a little confusing to her friends, but she didn’t want to let on that her interest in the short cropped stallion was mainly lustful. “Besides, I hear he was asked out by one of the other mares from the party.” Silence returned to the group.

“Any other stallions?” Twilight pressed. “C’mon they’re not that rare.”

Applejack thought hard about it. “Quantity ain’t exactly on our side, Twi. And when you take a good look, neither is quality.”

“There’s a lot ‘o jerks out there,” Rainbow added.

“Oh my,” muttered as she Fluttershy lowered herself so just her eyes peered above the table, “Mean colts often turn into mean stallions.”

“What about the guards, Twilight?” Pinkie asked. “There’s gotta be a least one who isn’t already taken.”

“Yes!” Rarity’s smile returned as if she had just discovered a mountain of gemstones. “The Equestrian Guard trains only the finest ponies.”

Twilight lowered her head. “Nope.” The group unilaterally frowned at the negative answer. “I checked.” Her friends didn’t doubt for a second that Twilight used her Princess status to look over the guard manifest. “The stallion guards all have families, herds, or wives of their own.”

“Um, Ravage is in Ponyville,” Fluttershy repeated.

Twilight and her friends’ attitudes had perked up at the mention of his name. Rarity was about to mention the nobles when she remembered one of her painful experiences at the Grand Galloping Gala, thus quashing the idea.

“Okay, it’s time to talk about Ravage then,” Twilight decided. She could hear a faint cheer coming from Fluttershy. “Let’s sum up the pros and cons, shall we? Pro: he’s a great student.” The unicorn was smiling proudly at how easily Ravage, an earth pony, absorbed the entry level lesson on magic.

Applejack sounded off. “Con: he doesn’t laugh. Ponies that don’t laugh are devious. That’s been m’ah experience.”

“Doesn’t laugh?!” Pinkie Pie cried out, as if in pain. “Is he K-razy?”

“Princess Luna doesn’t laugh much either, Pinkie,” Twilight countered. She put a hoof to her chin. “She is kinda devious though.”

Rainbow figured that Ravage was probably tough, but not devoid of laughter. “Actually, Flitter and Cloudchaser both said that Ravage was laughing pretty hard when they played volleyball with him.”

“He’s kind to animals and foals,” Fluttershy said. It quickly silenced all of the Elements, as none had thought of a retort.

“Hmm. That’s a pretty big one,” Twilight agreed. For a few moments, nopony spoke.

Rarity contributed her experience. “He was quite helpful when he was over for breakfast last Saturday, and I hear tell that he’s never late for work.”

“I haven’t seen flanks that nice on any other stallion in Ponyville. Isn’t that right, Twilight?” Rainbow Dash teased, nudging the unicorn on her shoulder. “Of course, not as nice as yours truly,” the cocky mare boasted, referring to herself by hoof.

Twilight leaned in and kissed Rainbow Dash on the cheek, causing her to blush. “Thank you for pointing that out, Rainbow, but let’s move beyond physical attributes shall we? Rugged good looks and big muscles are common among stallions.”

“’Ah heard he’s hard workin’. Construction worker?” Applejack wanted to verify what she’s been told about him.

“Certainly yes, Applejack,” Rarity chimed in. “He pours concrete all day long! The poor dear. He seems very intelligent; it’s hard to believe he’s not designing those buildings. Moving blocks just can’t be his forte. Look at his cutie mark when he passes by. It just doesn’t make sense.”

“Ahhhh,” Pinkie Pie said conspiratorially, poking her head into the middle of the assembly, “but the one who arranges the blocks builds the nation.” Her peers gave her funny looks.

“We all have histories, Rarity. Our backgrounds say a lot about who we are.” Twilight’s friends nodded in agreement. “Does anypony know of Ravage’s background?”

For a few moments there was silence, but then Fluttershy spoke up. “I don’t think he likes to talk about it. He was telling me about how he and his friends were constantly fighting other groups.” This got some concerned stares from the other Elements. “I think he had a rough foalhood.”

Rarity focused her eyes ponderously. “That could explain why his attributes and current occupation are mismatched.”

“Aw c’mon, Rarity. He just got into town last week,” Applejack countered. “He can’t just waltz in and be the district engineer for Ponyville. He’s gotta start somewhere.”

“But a more prepared stallion would start at a more respectable level,” Twilight responded. “So, we have a looker who’s smart, tough, and yet he’s also kind. He’s organized to a fault, and seldom laughs. I can relate,” said Twilight, indicating to herself with a foreleg. “He’s apparently had a rough time growing up; from rural Equestria, was it?” Fluttershy nodded in response. “Does anypony know why Ravage is in Ponyville?”

“Probably work,” Rainbow suspected.

“Yes, but why here.” Twilight wanted to press her point. “He can pour concrete in Baltimare. That’s where the construction boom is.”

“His appearance does seem sudden.” Rarity didn’t want to be delayed from going after Ravage, so it pained her to do such scrutiny, even if it was necessary.

“New ponies come here all the time, Rarity,” Pinkie Pie happily countered. “And more come in than go out. Yay!” The energetic mare was practically bouncing, loving how her little town was getting bigger and bigger.

Rainbow Dash was getting antsy. “It looks like we’ll have to answer that one later, Twi. He hasn’t been here that long,” she said, wanting to finish up with this silly meeting and take to the skies so she can clear up the rain and practice.

“True. I’m sure we’ll find out eventually,” Twilight admitted. Satisfied that enough background information was revealed, Twilight moved onto the next step. “Okay ponies, do we want to get a little closer to our potential stallion mate?” A mixture of ‘yes’, and ‘yeah’ and no negative responses were heard.

Applejack spoke, supporting the decision, “If by ‘get a little closer’ you mean datin’ then ‘Ahm all for it.”

“An evening with Ravage,” Fluttershy mused, privately entertaining visions of herself cuddled up beside him.

Pinkie Pie gasped, “Do you think he likes chocolate cherry fritters dipped in caramel with peanuts and sprinkles?” she rapid fired, explaining one of hundreds of ways to drown their potential love interest in sugar.

“Ravage has a date with Flitter on Friday, and then Princess Luna the next Friday,” Rainbow Dash indicated.

“Is Cloudchaser’s group a herd as well, Rainbow Dash?” Rarity queried.

Twilight snugged Rainbow Dash, rubbing her cheek into the pegasus’ neck. The junior Wonderbolt kept her nerves in check, and tried to explain, “I don’t think so. I think Flitter and Cloudchaser got a deal going on with Pearl Bliss, Winter, and Saffron.”

The amorous unicorn snapped back to attention, but still held onto Dash. “They’re always one step ahead of us. How? Didn’t we see him first?”

“Ponies, they’re on a mission,” Pinkie spoke, assuming a sneaky expression. “While we’ve been going about our daily lives randomly interacting with Ravage, Flitter and Cloudchaser have made it a priority to see him every day.” The pink mare’s face suddenly became angry. “They threw a party for him before we could.” Then she became disappointed. “I haven’t even thrown him a Pinkie Pie Party!” she screamed, forelegs flailing in the library air. “I’ve thrown parties – for every – pony. Everypony that moves to town has partied with me, even Cranky Doodle! Eventually. But NOOOoooo, not Ravage.”

Realization suddenly hit Applejack. “Four savvy hoofball players, my left flank!” she angrily responded.

“Chill, Applejack. That was a good game.” Rainbow didn’t see Flitter and Cloudchaser around Ravage as a bad thing. If anything, she felt they kept the other mares away, reducing competition.

Twilight took it all in. “Okay girls, our original strategy was to let him get used to us on his own time table. It appears we may have to revise our plan.”

“Other ponies seem to have no trouble occupying Ravage’s time,” Rarity pointed out.

“I think we should spend more time with him.” Fluttershy had wanted to suggest this since the beginning.

Pinkie Pie stuck her neck over the middle of the table. “Oh! Oh! We could have a picnic! Or see a movie!” and with a mighty gasp, “We could make cupcakes!” she sing-songed.

“Whatever we do should be done soon,” Applejack figured.

“It’s time to bring our A-game,” Rainbow Dash said, making a gesture of slamming one front hoof upon the other.

“I think we are all in agreement,” Twilight determined. “Get closer to Ravage. Schedule dates with him if you can. I don’t think we need to show how strong we are, but it might help.”

“Don’t hold back, girls,” Applejack demanded. “If he’s right for us, then we gotta get him!” A strong and simultaneous agreement from her fellow Elements followed.

“Just one more thing,” Pinkie interjected. “We’re a herd, right? So that means we can get a little saucy with each other, right?”

Twilight caught on to what her pink friend was saying, but tried to be cautious with her response. “Yee-ess.”

“So, that means I can kiss Dashie?” she asked in a high pitched voice, and her tail wagging hard enough to shake up the body it was attached to.

A blushing blue pegasus tried to calm her down. “Whoah, Pinkie. Let’s not be too hast…” was a she could get in before Pinkie tackled her to the ground, kissing her on the mouth, and then leaving a trail of kisses on her cheeks.

Eventually, and with the help of the other mares at the meeting, the ‘pink machine’ was calmed down. With renewed vigor and a semblance of a plan, the Elements now had a target stallion to explore: Ravage.


=^.^=


Ravage had prepared specifically to not to have to go back to his base, and headed straight for the library after work. Twilight showed him to the bathroom and left him alone to bathe. The blessing of rain made him feel cleaner and more comfortable than the normally sweltering days.

“Use the red shampoo,” she spoke from behind the doorway. “I think it will suit you.”

Ravage had bathed at Bo and Micah’s. Though Twilight’s facilities appeared different, the procedure was, thankfully, exactly the same: wash the fur. ‘Cherry Spice’s Mane and Body’ shampoo it was called and the bottle seemed new and immaculate. Upon drying down, he noticed a small difference: a scent of some kind. To date, the soaps he had used so far had been the solid bars he had brought from Cybertron (literally scientifically formulated), which he also used for his mane, and the liquid from the unicorn engineers’ home. Both smelled like soap, but this substance was a little different. It carried an unidentified smell which became permeated into his mane and coat upon washing.

Twilight waited by the exit, and Ravage walked up. Before he could finish his approach, the unicorn darted into him, and drove her muzzle into the mane on his neck, and took a deep whiff. A sigh and a lazy expression of satisfaction followed her ‘cleanliness test’. The puzzled Decepticon could not form the words, nor comprehend why Twilight did that.

“Whoops! Eheh,” she chuckled. “Let’s go to the dam, shall we?”

“Agreed,” he said stoically.

Walking to the dam was an experience in of itself. Twilight chattered on, reviewing details of the third and fourth thaumic fields, often asking questions, testing Ravage. She seemed oblivious to the great many heads were turned toward the pair. Ravage found their curiosity most disturbing, as experience had taught him to avoid drawing attention to himself. If this was how it was going to be with Twilight, what would Princess Luna’s presence do?


=^.^=


Bo and Micah sat down for dinner when a knock at the front door interrupted them. Ever the social pony, Bo answered it.

“Hello?”

In front of Bo stood a shapely, peach coloured unicorn mare with a poppy red mane and tail. “Hi,” she responded confidently, her golden earrings and necklace as animated as her mane with her bubbly response. A cherry inside a wine glass was her cutie mark. “I’m Cherry Lush, and I’m looking for Ravage. Does he live here?”

Cherry’s forwardness took Bo by surprise, “Er, Ravage?”

“Yes, I’ve come to ask him for a date,” she pressed, her winning smile and shiny teeth making her the picture of stardom.

“Do I know you?”

The mysterious new mare wasn’t phased. “Haha, no you don’t know me. I’m from out of town.”

“Word travels fast,” Bo replied sardonically. “No, he doesn’t live here.”

“Oh, I see,” Cherry Lush said, putting a hoof to her chin, as if pondering her next move. “Well then, thank you for your time then. Ta-ta!” As abruptly as she came, the new mare was gone, gracefully walking away. Perhaps she was classier than she was letting on?

Bo closed the door behind her. “Well that was awkward.”


=^.^=


About fifteen minutes later, Ravage and Twilight arrived at the power plant. There were few workers. The place was a lump of concrete designed to build a reservoir and control the flow of water, but that’s where the similarities to the dams found on Earth ended.

“They produce mana?” Ravage suggested.

“Right you are!” Twilight happily credited. “The energy produced takes advantage of deflection spells. If you can imagine a pony shoving you, then you get pushed back a bit. A deflection spell can disperse the energy, or it can channel it. Which kind of spell do you think is being used in the dam?”

“Channeling?”

“Right again! Okay, I’m going to set up an experiment,” Twilight said as her horn lit up. Soon her body took on an ethereal glow. “Ravage, I want you to use your head to try to shove my neck. Not too hard!”

The Decepticon did just that. Trying to push Twilight was like trying to push a force field. Nothing happened but be deflected back by his own momentum. Interestingly, the deflection field made little warping sounds that echoed for a second or so. The harder he pushed, the louder the sounds.

Twilight giggled. “Okay, now for the good part: the channeling spell.” Twilight’s horn glowed once again, and though her body did not change her ethereal appearance. “Try pushing me again.” Her smile had a hint of mischief this time.

Ravage’s curiosity was certainly peaked. He pushed Twilight just as he did before, but the warping sounds were absent. Yet, every time he did it he heard a thud from the side. Bumping Twilight again, he could see a rock leap up into the air – not even a foreleg length. ‘Push-thud-push-thud-push-thud’ he bumped. The rock leapt thrice. The Decepticon bumped Twilight particularly hard, resulting in the unicorn having to shift her weight a bit, and the rock leapt to chin height.

“Not so hard,” she said, chuckling. Her horn glowed once again. “Gently this time, Ravage,” the unicorn suggested.

Tired of using his head, he decided to use his flank instead. It was just not appealing to mash her face with it, so he gently shoved it against Twilight’s flank, unwittingly causing their cutie marks to rub against each other. The mare actually gave, as if there was no spell this time.

Ravage came up with only one determination. “Nothing happened.” Twilight was eerily silent. He looked to see what was wrong and saw what he had come to describe the look of mischief on Twilight.

Twilight chortled. “My dear student, are you suggesting we get closer?” Oh, she couldn’t believe this was happening. First Rainbow Dash hooks up with her, and maybe now Ravage? Like her prismatic love interest, Twilight also had early teen flings only to abandon them in order to be able to concentrate on her life’s goals. Now opportunity had come knocking, and as Dash had pointed out so many times before, she had to keep cool. Ponies were more likely to fall for other ponies that had everything under control. “And yes, I turned off my deflection magic, as a control for our experiment.”

Twilight had liked Rainbow for a long time, and the pretty earth pony only recently, and now there was a very real chance she could have them both! Her friends would be pleased, as they would get to share in the intimacy, and with representation from both genders. If everything fell into place, that is. The unicorn approached Ravage briskly and gave him a peck on the cheek. “I like you too,” she said smiling, enjoying the cute surprised look on his face.

So that’s what that means,’ Ravage realized. Cloudchaser was the first to rub his flank, and he didn’t know what she was doing. Several ponies rubbed his flank at Pearl Bliss’ party. After some thought, he realized that those were deliberate, like Cloudchaser’s. They all were indicating that they liked him. At the time, he found it odd that they could be so uncoordinated as they walked by him, even if the party was packed, but that’s because they weren’t being clumsy at all.

Twilight giggled, “Okay, let’s get back to the study.”

After about ten minutes of exposition, Ravage found out that the falling water was turned ninety degrees three times during its journey to the three small gates at the bottom of the dam, and inside of increasingly larger bores. At the sharp angles were enchantments designed the channel the energy of the water, presumably to the conical structures atop the exit gates. Most of the gravitational energy was converted into magical energy, and it radiated outward from those towers – a wireless power grid! At the beginning of its journey, the water was a raging torrent, but by the time it had reached the gates, it was calm. Conducting the power transfer were the mysterious ley lines. The devices they powered were also magical, but this didn’t stop Ravage from deducing how to yield energon from the dam. It made him smile.


=^.^=


Ravage and Twilight approached the library. “I’m really looking forward to the next lesson,” the Decepticon stallion said. “Those experiments were fascinating.”

Twilight chuckled. “I’m glad you thought so, Ravage. You have considerable learning aptitude. If you were born a unicorn, you’d almost certainly be able to master magic, maybe even teach at the university level.”

“You overestimate me, Twilight.” Ravage opened the library door. “While I’m not able to write any functional spells,” he spoke while walking inside the darkened building. “I was wondering though, how to mix the third and fourth thaumic fields…”

“SURPRISE!!!”

In an instant, several neon lights illuminated the space as ponies jumped up from behind furniture and areas not easily seen by the stallion bot. An explosion of confetti and balloons mixed with the commotion as streamers shook and rattled against the sudden activity.

Ravage looked to Twilight for answers and she appeared just as shocked as he was. Music started playing, though this time it appeared to be coming from a simple phonograph. It didn’t take long to notice that the guests consisted exclusively of the Elements of Harmony and himself. “A party?”

“Of course it’s a party, silly!” Pinkie Pie chirped as she engulfed a piece of cake in one bite. “It’s your Welcome to Ponyville Party!”

The shock of disbelief did not disappear from Ravage’s face.

“Try an apple fritter,” Applejack suggested, hoofing over a plateful of the tasty treats.

Ravage was expecting to eat right when he and Twilight came back from the dam, but then he was supposed to learn more about Magic. Ultimately, he was very hungry, and the smell of the snacks piqued his appetite. The stallion bot tried one out, consuming half of it in one bite. His eyes lit up in delight at the gooey, sugary taste. “Impressive,” he said after swallowing. A smile crept onto his face. This may not be a Magic lesson, but it sure tasted good! He quickly ate the rest of the fritter.

Applejack gestured to a table full of food. “Sugar cube, there’s more where that came from.”

“And don’t forget to try some cupcakes!” reminded Pinkie, the glowing rings that hung about her neck and lower legs clattered with her gesture.

Twilight walked Ravage over to the food table. “Well, I hope you don’t mind partying with my friends tonight.”

“Not at all.” At first he did mind, but then Ravage smelled the delicious party food and all the drinks too. He started to stack an assortment of treats onto a plate. Twilight walked over to Rainbow Dash when he felt a hoof tap his side. This time he didn’t respond as if he were being attacked, but calmly looked to find Fluttershy had wanted his attention.

“Good evening, Ravage,” she greeted as if she knew him like a pony within her circle of friends, who were busy conversing with each other.

“Greetings,” he said stoically. He was definitely smiling though, looking forward to the snacks he had collected.

“It’s nice to see you in a good mood,” the yellow pegasus said, also smiling. “How was work?”

“Excellent,” he said, surprising his speaking partner a little bit. “It rained all morning, so working conditions were far more comfortable.”

“Oh, so you like the rain,” Fluttershy ascertained. This only added to Ravage’s mystique – a pony who enjoyed the rain – so rare!

“Like you like animals,” he quipped. He really did enjoy the heavenly precipitation, even if it felt a little cold at times. It was a sensation denied by his Decepticon body armor, and he was looking forward to encountering rain again.

Fluttershy thought back to that day they were having tea. She thought about how comfortable she had come to be around him. She didn’t expect it, but even her animal friends wanted to partake in his company. It felt right. Her heart fluttered once again as she framed him in the center of her peaceful, yet wild setting. That’s what he was: a pony who endured a brutal growing up, but he survived, and found harmony. Experience and patience were etched in his face and confidence underpinned every word he spoke and it made Fluttershy’s heart wriggle a little more. She blushed, yet she didn’t hide behind her mane. She was smiling widely at the Decepticon stallion when, without thinking, the enamoured pegasus up and hugged him, rubbing her head into his neck. Ravage felt alarmed at first, but he quickly calmed down, feeling that there had been plenty of signs that pointed to Fluttershy inevitably acting this way. She slunk her muzzle close to his ear. “I’m glad you’re here,” she whispered.

He felt her breath, warm and moist, and his fine hairs stood straight up, starting a wave of sensation that propagated down his spinal construct. He grimaced, shivering against the innocent, but deceptively powerful act. “And how was your day?” he asked, essentially returning Fluttershy’s own question.

“Oh my, where do I begin?” Fluttershy was still hugging Ravage while she mentally put the pieces of her day together. “Well, I had to wake up early and pick up food for my animals at the train station. Three cartloads was a lot to move,” she lamented. “But it’s okay, since I can be of help to all creatures that need it.”

“I’d help, but I have work in the mornings.” Ravage’s place of work functioned like a sanctuary. There, he had level-headed friends and was well respected by his coworkers. But here, in this library, he could see that Fluttershy had started marching, driving herself inexorably closer to him. The Decepticon spy, for all his ability to adapt, felt it was paramount to avoid intimacy with the ponies. There were many parts of intimate life he found disgusting, many more that were intolerable, and all of it was needless. Most dangerous of all was the sharing of intimate knowledge, and the ponies often pestered him for personal details. Thus, the closer the mares got to him, the less safe he was.

A couple of other ponies looked in their direction, but generally paid them no mind. Fluttershy had taken to rubbing her head into Ravage’s shoulder. “And what else did you do?” he asked.

“The girls and I met up here for a meeting,” Fluttershy began, but then she caught herself before she divulged anymore details.

“Oh, what about?” Ravage planned on using small talk to bore the pegasus mare. What he didn’t count on was the look of surprise on her face. ‘Strange,’ he thought.

“Uh, I have to ask Pinkie something,” Fluttershy said with a grimace. She bolted over to where Pinkie and Rarity were lounging. Ravage started in on his snack pile, certain he hadn’t seen the last of the star-crossed pony.

Fluttershy did not hide behind her mane and start crying when faced with the potentially embarrassing predicament. She wouldn’t have done so if one of her friends was in need, and that was because her friends, like her animal associates, mattered.

Ravage mattered.

The flustered pegasus ran up to Pinkie Pie, “Um, can we start some games, Pinkie?”

“We could play Pin the Tail on the Pony!” the indomitable party girl shouted, eager to start.

“It looked like you were making progress with Ravage,” Rarity winked. “Are you sure you want to give that up for games?”

“I was telling him about what I was doing with my morning,” Fluttershy explained, “I had mentioned we had a meeting!”

Rarity had been nodding, acknowledging her friend’s words, but then her face suddenly screwed up in alarm. Turning to her pink friend, “Games, Pinkie,” she requested.

Minutes later, Ravage found himself being spun around and blind folded. He could have used his infrared, the sensing units of which were special plates hidden in his forehead, but he figured it was better to play the pony way: stumbling about until the target was reached. It was better to be a little embarrassed, than explaining how he could just walk up and pin the tail on the pony as if it were broad daylight. Ultimately it turned out to be fun watching everybody make fools of themselves. He even laughed at times. A mixture of party games and eating were going on for about an hour. Fluttershy had returned to Ravage several times, sometimes to chat, sometimes to snuggle, and sometimes to partner up during a game.

He lost interest in what Fluttershy’s meeting was all about. Since he felt it didn’t affect him, he didn’t need to know.

After another hour and some more food ingestion and drinking, group dancing was encouraged.

“You don’t know how to dance?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Ravage was expressionless. “No, I’ve never danced before.” Until this moment, he never even considered that he might be the one to pollute the scene with random gyrations of the body. A brief glance indicated that Twilight seemed to be doing a good job of that.

“All you have to do is let your body move to the beat,” Pinkie interjected. Her head, midsection and torso oscillated to the rhythm of the music, with her legs dictating changes in movement, as well as providing balance to the otherwise unbalancing forces of dancing.

Ravage put his hoof to his chin and pondered while observing Pinkie Pie. Thanks to his time on Earth, especially disguised as a musical device, he had come to know human music in a way most Decepticons would never know; he even appreciated some of it. The pony music was constructed using the same rules so Ravage could find the beat as easily as any pony could. Allowing himself to be absorbed into yet another cultural norm he did as Pinkie did and started dancing. The range of motion was far more restricted compared to what the bipedal humans could do, but that was the price paid for increased stability and locomotion.

Pinkie exaggerated her movements, matching them close to Ravage’s own. “That’s it, Ravage! Keep going!”

“You’re a natural!” complemented Applejack.

Ravage tried to move his, until then stationary legs, only to trip up. He let out a grunt of frustration as he landed on his jaw.

The farmer could not hide her lament. “Then again, maybe not.”

Ravage seemed unphased as he walked up to Fluttershy, standing by the drink table. “Did you want to collide with the floor as well?” he asked. He thought his inability to dance would serve to push her away. Unexpectedly, she caught a gleam in her eyes, not the frown of disappointment.

Fluttershy gasped as her face lit up, “Yes! Oh yes, I would love to dance with you!” she gushed. The pegasus quickly flanked the confused pony bot. “But please let me show you how you can keep your balance.” Once again, Ravage’s actions had yielded the opposite expected reaction, though he did find Fluttershy’s knowledge of pony leg dynamics to be useful. In a few minutes he was able to train up to a very subdued level of dancing. Like the sports and writing, practice was required.

Soon, all seven ponies were dancing, with Elements of Harmony delighted to have Ravage among them. Fluttershy in particular was only too happy to dance around her favourite new pony.

The Decepticon stallion didn’t care much for the music selection. He remembered that the stuff he warmed up to on Earth had a lot more screaming and hollering, and with a beat twice as fast, and sometimes four times as fast as the current song being played. He remembered it was angry music that had caught his attention. He could even remember some of the lyrics.

“Time to put on some new music!” Pinkie belted out as she cart-wheeled toward the phonograph. The new material was even slower than anything that had been played that evening. Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle had interlocked their forelegs while they slowly danced on their hind legs. It was a very intimate dance. The other ponies did not engage in such a dance, that is, until Ravage felt a familiar hoof tap on his side.

He turned toward Fluttershy, who was sitting on her haunches. She held out her forelegs toward Ravage, her face looking hopeful. Clearly, he was chosen as the last intimate candidate. He could have refused, but that would have dropped his status considerably, perhaps inhibiting his mission, as well as his escape plan. He had rarely been this deep under cover, and it would take only one incident to blow it wide open. He would rather accelerate his plans as a false citizen of Equestria, rather than spend forever piecing together scraps in hiding. Besides, these were no random ponies; these were the Elements of Harmony!

Erring on the side of caution, he accepted Fluttershy’s invitation, and the two began their slow waltz. They swayed to and fro, mimicking the actions of Dash and Twilight, while the other ponies occupied the periphery. Again, Ravage could hear mewling sounds from Fluttershy. He imagined that she was a turret mounted plasma cannon and he was scouring an arid landscape for Autobots. His daydreaming brought him relief, and he kept up the vivid imagery as he shuffled through the highly wasteful process.

At the end of the night the ponies were relaxing. The opened windows did little to mitigate the ever increasing heat and humidity, though the guests acted as if nothing was wrong. He felt Fluttershy nuzzling into his neck once again. Her flowery fragrance managed to overpower the sweat, but barely. He could hear and feel the pleased sounds against his fur. Fluttershy had stuck to Ravage just as Laserbeak had once stuck to Soundwave. The other ponies kept their distance, but kept smiling at them.

Ravage’s stomach heaved and ached under the pressure of feasting so much. Fluttershy’s weight added to the sleepy metabolic state, and the Decepticon realized he had to get moving. He stood straight up, and his doe-eyed companion stood with him.

The stallion bot addressed the group. “Thank you all, that was the best Magic lesson to date.” He received a few chuckles.

Pinkie Pie ran up and glomped him. “I’m glad you enjoyed it, Ravage.” The Decepticon struggled once again, as the pink power plant applied her death hug. The rest of the mares thought it was a good idea to join in, resulting in an asphyxiating, constricting, multiple hooves concentration hug! Ravage felt they didn’t even need their Elements, as they could kill by crushing.


=^.^=


After saying their goodbyes, Ravage and Fluttershy were the first ponies out the door. The pegasus mare quickly maneuvered to his side. “Ravage?” she asked. “Could you please walk me home?” Her voice was syrupy, and only a little tired even after an evening of partying.

“Sure,” he answered in his typical straight forward fashion. Fluttershy smiled and kept close to her new friend.

Ravage wasted no time in turning on his detection instrumentation. One concerning thing was that his raven androids did not detect Luna in her tower. If she wasn’t busy with anything but her nightly duties, then she could see him. He strongly suspected he was going to need the river to cover his tracks, but he needed to gather data on his possible energon source first.

On the plus side, his stomach had never been this full, and the high hydrocarbon content of the party food could easily be turned into extra jet fuel. On the bad side, his study of Magic had been seriously interrupted. The date with Luna was only ten days off, and he needed to be as prepared as possible.

Well over two-hundred meters from the library, Ravage’s compass finally swung of its own accord. ‘By the pit, Twilight’s powerful!’ he mused. With the Magic lessons lending considerable perspective, Ravage knew that some unicorns were more powerful than others, but Twilight Sparkle was in a class all her own, many stations above her counterparts. He reminded himself again not to mess with her.

The cool night breeze was most welcoming, since ponies functioned as space heaters whenever there was an indoor gathering. Their eyes took time adjusting to the low light as they trudged in the darkness. Ravage would have switched to infrared, but the illumination from moon solved that.

“Thanks for walking with me. The night is so scary.” Fluttershy’s voice shivered as she spoke of the night.

“Oh? I love it.”

“You do? Really?” Fluttershy was not that amazed. Ravage was made of stern stuff, so it didn’t surprise her that he could handle the night, but loving the night was something she didn’t expect.

“Why do you fear it?” The stallion bot was pretty sure that little had changed in town except the illumination level.

“Because there are creatures, predatory creatures, that come out, and you can’t see them, and you can get lost, and it’s cold, and, and it’s so scary,” she emphatically described. Fluttershy would be a lot more frightened if it weren’t for the fact she was walking with a friend, but she was pretty sure that she properly outlined the reasons for staying inside when the sun sets.

“It’s also a lot calmer. I like the serenity.” Ravage also liked to be able hide in it, just like the predators in his companion’s description, but he wasn’t going to tell her that. “If I could, I would live at night, but everything around here operates on a daytime schedule. Pity that.”

Now Fluttershy was rightly surprised. A pony who prefers to be in the rain, and the night? What kind of stallion was he? ‘An interesting one, that’s what!’ she thought. Ravage definitely stood apart from the other stallions, and she liked it. She liked him.

While plotting a course to the dam, the pair came upon Fluttershy’s house, crossing over her little bridge. The moonlight-bathed mare operated some sort of pedal with one of her forelegs. With a click, and a flash of light, a wall-mounted lamp turned on casting a warm, yellow light off the two ponies and their surroundings. She turned to the terracotta pony. “Thanks again for walking me home. It’s nice to be warm.” She stared into his stunning silver eyes, “And cozy.” A conservative smile appeared on his face. “And there’s lots of food.” Ravage tilted his head a bit. “And there’s tea.” She saw a tail flick from his backside. “And, and it’s very quiet. When you’re sleeping.”

“It sounds like you’re well prepared,” Ravage interjected. He had work to do, and he didn’t want to hang around.

“Oh! Uh, yes.” Her mind scrambled, trying to think of what to say next.

“Goodnight, Fluttershy.” Ravage held up a foreleg, as if to wave goodbye.

“Goodnight. Ravage.” Fluttershy was grimacing, as he turned around and left like nothing ever happened.

But something did happen. Fluttershy’s heart was screaming for Ravage as much as she wanted to scream at herself. In frustration, she struck the floor with enough force to make the windows rattle. “I have to be more assertive,” she scolded herself, before she started walking to her bedroom.

Ravage was intent on looping around to the northwestern part of town, so he could end up at the base of the dam. There was a big problem though. If his battle network didn’t locate Luna, he may have to count on her finding him, otherwise she might actually see him go into the river and never come back out.

At the base of the dam, Ravage was far enough away from Ponyville’s unicorns. He had to be out of their range otherwise their energy could mask Luna’s approach. Ravage continued watching his compass. He surmised that when it stopped pointing directly at Canterlot, then it would be pointing to Luna on the fly. How far the Princess of the Night would have to be away from Celestia was anybody’s guess, but he intended to find out. Once he got a reading he could use, he could coordinate with his satellite network, and his androids to pinpoint her location.

With no sign of Luna, he crept into the river, swam deeply, and transformed. After adjusting for oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other physiological parameters he swam beneath the transmission towers. She could have seen him through some other means besides line-of-sight, but he decided to take the risk. There were no messages from her on his subspace radio, her favourite method of contact. With the aid of energon-powered antigravity devices that were built into his frame, Ravage swam up into the east penstock. He took measurements, like bore width, concrete strength, and even the otherwise overwhelming current flow, among others. After a little more exploration, it turned out that the other penstocks had the same dimensions. ‘Where is Luna?’ he thought, disturbed that she could just be tracking his movements and saying nothing. The only thing he could trust was his compass, which hadn’t changed since he got to the dam.

Suddenly, his compass swung sharply to the front of the dam, to a place over the water. ‘Twilight? No, she can’t fly,’ he thought.

Error Port 39,222: Unauthorized Access

Incoming Audio Message:Raaavage – Raaaavaaage…

Oh slag,’ Ravage lamented.

Is that a curse word from Froggy Bottom Bog?’ Luna’s voice asked in his mind. ‘Strange, I have not heard it. Also, while I realize Twilight can hardly fly at all, you’ve just got to give her some time.

Hardly – fly?’ he responded, confused. Ravage applied his machine language tactic between the dialogue.

Luna laughed, ‘You should see her, Ravage. She’s like a filly!’ Ravage didn’t dare respond for he knew he traipsed into unknown territory. ‘It looks like Rainbow Dash will lend a wing, the way those two are carrying on.

Ravage realized that the last three days had been peaceful, Luna-free days – and he was starting to miss them already. Now she was right… Outside. The dam! She probably teleported! Ravage reviewed his options within the concrete confines of the penstock until he could figure out a way to get away from her.

Luna continued to fly over the water at the dam’s base. ‘Ravage, you know it’s not safe to swim inside the dam itself. At least, I hope that’s not what you’ve been doing. In fact, you shouldn’t be swimming alone, especially at night,’ she preached. Though short range, her pony sensing magic was thrumming strongly, especially since it was tuned to find Ravage. Tired of looking for the elusive stallion, a pony she desired since that fateful Friday night, she decided to make it interesting. ‘Oh, I get it. You want to play hide-and-seek with me. Very well, I’ll play, but know this: if I find you I get to keep you. How does that sound?’ She giggled, a little more evilly that time.

Keep me?

That’s right, my cunning little pony. When a ruling Princess of Equestria says something, she may make it law, even after the fact.

I thought we’d discussed this. We agreed to go on our date first,’ he reasoned. He also figured that it was high time he got out of there. She could babble in his mind all she wanted, but her formidable presence forced Ravage to be on edge, and avoid doing even simple tasks, like say, turning off his subspace radio. Though late, the satellite infrared came in, showing Princess Luna flying in a stationary position over the water.

Luna laughed heartily, ‘Yes, we will do that, but there’s still ten days to go.’ His turbines screamed as the Decepticon punched through a grate at the top of the dam where the water flow was greatest. Continuing underwater, he started to head up river. He viewed an electronic map of the surrounding region. The river he was currently in would not take him to his homeward trail, so he must come out of the water if he wanted to go home. ‘Ah, so you’re on top, are you?

>‘How does she know!?’< he thought in machine language.

Luna started patrolling the water upstream, looking for Ravage. She had yearned for him all weekend, and into the week. She couldn’t stop thinking about him, he was so special!

The previous evening, Luna disguised herself and tried dating a Canterlot pony in the hopes that she could shake off her thoughts about Ravage. Oh, he was good looking, and had good life prospects, but he was sooo boring! She could predict his movements like reading from a manual, including his ‘humour’. But Ravage, he was interesting, and so full of surprises! And he stood up to her! That was a trait she liked the most; being treated fairly while completely bypassing the oppressive class structure. Ravage was the only stallion that could do this. Soon, she would harvest him from the Equestrian firmament and take him home. The Princess couldn’t wait! ‘Where are you, my foxy little pony?’ she spoke telepathically while patrolling overhead. Then, she got an idea and scooted over the tree tops on the river bank.

Ravage stopped swimming at about three-hundred meters from the dam, since it was taking way too much energy. Corroborating the infrared signature his satellites detected up in the trees, he knew she was trying to ambush him. Ravage figured he could talk to her anytime, though. All he had to do was think it. ‘Luna? Luna, are you there?’ No response. He couldn’t tell her he knew where she was hiding, as that would give away too much information on his abilities.

The big problem was how Luna managed to find him so quickly. What if he had gone home? It seemed that his great ally, the night, had betrayed him and joined forces with Luna. Ravage started the task of problem solving. If he swam upstream and emerged, would she be able to find him? The short answer was yes, just as she had found him even though she was either in or close to Canterlot when he started swimming. The confluence of this river with the waterway that took him home from the copper mine was more than fifty kilometers south of the base. He couldn’t risk Luna getting curious about his swimming ability since she was so close.

He was trapped. He had no choice now but to face Luna directly. Transforming to pony mode, he held his breath as he carefully crawled toward the reeds and shallow water, fighting the current. But then a fallen birch tree struck him on his side, dislodging him and sending him careening toward the concrete dam. He hauled himself on top of the trunk, trying to catch his breath as the river churned below him. He was about to submerge and transform to robot mode when suddenly…

“I got you!” Ravage felt himself scooped up from the river when a pair of dark blue – and very strong – forelegs had gripped him tightly, even as they adjusted and improved their grip. Water that slicked off of Ravage’s exposed coat was freezing against the sheer winds while they rose higher and higher into the night sky.

Princess Luna had just ‘saved’ Ravage. Or so she thought. The Decepticon Earth pony felt he was always in control, but that didn’t matter as he had just fallen into a debacle whereupon he had to be ‘rescued’ and now he had to act accordingly! “Are you alright?” she asked, having cleared over four kilometers in under a minute, and they were still accelerating. The Princess didn’t just go to shore with Ravage; that would be too easy. Release her prize as soon as she caught him? She thought not. With the blackened shape of mountain in front, it was very clear where they were headed.

“I’m fine,” he reluctantly squeezed out. And now, he had no other choice but to say, “Thanks.”

Princess Luna snugged his head, but didn’t like the way his hind legs were dangling in the wind. “Ravage, please put your forelegs around my neck.” He complied, finding her foreleg-under-foreleg hold to be most embarrassing, if not a little uncomfortable. Securing his backside with one foreleg, and his shoulders with the other, Luna felt truly heroic having saved the stallion her heart desired from a terrible fate.

Ravage said nothing for fifteen minutes. He had considered transforming and shooting her with his fusion pistol, but felt it would probably have no effect, as well as be the cause of his certain death. A shot from the gamma laser may have destroyed her, but it would have destroyed himself as well. As his options ran out, his fearfulness increased.

The lights of Canterlot drew closer and closer, but not just any part of Canterlot. The castle where the princesses resided loomed closer. Ravage’s heart raced in fear. Why in the world Luna chose him amongst what should have been the total stallion population of Equestria, against whose numbers the stallion shortage meant nothing, was unbelievable.

Luna had chosen a specific tower to fly to: her tower. Ravage knew it from the investigation, as his heart continued its relentless pace while blood was diverted from his stomach. For all his long life, he couldn’t remember how long it was since he’d been this scared.

>‘I am going to die tonight.’<

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