• Published 29th Jul 2013
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Homefront - Pyramusandthisbe117



A soldier from the frontlines of the Equestrian Civil War returns home to uncertain peace

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Chapter 4

As the train slowly chugged along, both myself and Autumn learned quite a bit about our newfound acquaintances. Twilight was a pupil of Princess Celestia herself and worked in close conjunction with her at times and Rainbow was a new Wonderbolt in-training. Autumn seemed to hit it off well with both of them, though Twilight’s natural inquisitiveness annoyed me a bit. Otherwise, she seemed like a nice enough pony.

“So what are you all doing heading out to Ponyville?” asked Rainbow Dash. “Compared to Canterlot, I’m not sure that we have much to offer.”

Autumn dismissed the claim, “It’s a quaint town. It’d be nice for us to get out of the city at least. And besides, we shouldn’t be here too long. Have an errand to do there.” She anxiously tapped her hoof on the floor. Actually, I had no clue why we were going to Ponyville either. I’d have to remember to ask her once we got off the train.

“Hey!” piped up Twilight, “Why don’t you guys stop by the Ponyville library once you’re done? I think the girls would love to meet you two!”

I looked at Autumn who gave a nod of approval. “Sure. That sounds good. Say around 1800 hours?” Both Rainbow and Twilight cocked their heads in confusion. “I’m sorry, force of habit. 6 o’clock sound okay?” I turned to Autumn, “That should give us enough time to do our errands, right?”

Autumn pondered the time for a few seconds. “Yeah, that should be fine. We’ll probably be done sooner though, so we’ll plan for a hard time at 6, but we may be there a bit earlier if that’s okay.”

“Hey not a problem!” chirped Rainbow. “It’ll give me a chance to show you the local hotspots! I mean, both of you.” She quickly corrected herself.

Twilight giggled as Rainbow turned a slight shade of red. “And by the hotspots she means the bars and the clubs, all three of them.”

“Alright, could use a drink” I said with a grin, and to the dismay of Autumn. “How’s the crowds out here?”

“Aw they’re not bad. The bars are pretty quiet most of the time. Not too much trouble.” Awesome. Mental note, ‘go to Ponyville to drink.’

“Don’t worry, we’ll bring our own brand of trouble” said Autumn. Wasn’t sure if she was being sarcastic or not, but Rainbow seemed to get excited about that.

“YES!” she exclaimed. “The bars and clubs are so boring to go to with any of my friends!”

Twilight whipped her head around quickly, “Hey!” she cried out, taking offense at the comment.

Rainbow turned to her, “No offense Twi, but you guys for the most part, aren’t the type of ponies who would normally go to begin with.” Twilight scowled but conceded the point to Rainbow. I actually didn’t take Twilight for the drinking type either. Felt like a cup of tea with that mare would go a long way. “But I mean, you’re still invited.”

“We’ll see,” teasingly said Twilight. I looked at the clock in the car, eleven fifty-two. Should be arriving pretty soon at this point.

“Hey, Rainbow. I got to ask,” I began. “Why’d you wanna be a Wonderbolt?” Wasn’t a normal unit, after all.

“Why’d you wanna be a Ranger?” she asked me back.

“Hey now, I asked you first!”

“Doesn’t matter,” she replied.

I sighed in exasperation. “Joined for the title. And the challenge of it. Plus I wanted to blow shit up. Stupid reason, I know.”
“Well that’s pretty much why I joined too. Except I don’t get to blow stuff up.”

I nodded, fair enough. The train began to slow down, we were getting’ close to the Ponyville station. Autumn looked at Twilight, “Hey, where is the Ponyville library anyway?”

“Oh you can’t miss it, it’s the big tree near the center of town.” Twilight replied. “So we’ll see you two around six, right?”

“Yep” said Autumn and myself in unison.

The train came to a complete stop as the conductor’s voice came booming over the PA system. “Ponyville Station, Next stop, Dodge City!” Once again there was a mass rush to the doors as they opened. Fuckin’ big-ass crowds, I thought. As we all clambered out, I heard Rainbow trying to get my attention.

“See ya later, Coban!” she shouted over the hustle and bustle of the crowd. I raised my hoof in reply. I heard Autumn
giggling next to me.

“What’s so funny?” I asked her.

She began to laugh even harder as we walked along the platform. “Are you serious?” Autumn asked incredulously. “How could you not notice?!”

“Notice what?”

“She was totally into you!”

“Who?”

“Are you seriously that dense?!” Autumn was perplexed as was I. Who was she talking about? She sighed. “That Rainbow Dash is totally into you!”

Wait. What? Naw, really? No. Really? “Seriously?” I asked.

“Ugh!” Autumn groaned. “Trust me, Doc. I got a mare’s intuition about this sort of thing. She was into you.”

“But what makes you say that?” I insisted. “We were just talking!”

She rolled her eyes “Whatever, Doc.”

“Hey, so where we staying at?” I asked, desperately trying to change the subject.

Autumn flicked her tail at me in annoyance. “At the Ponyville Inn. It’s close by.” Thank Celestia, that train ride was exhausting with that Rainbow Dash character talkin’ my ear off. A nap was in order.

“So, double time?”

“Hell yeah.”

●●●

After checking in to the Inn with the crotchety old mare in the lobby and unpacking the small travel bags we brought, I was finally able to hop into the bed. Holy fuck, this bed was even more comfy than the one at Autumn’s apartment. Then again, I was pretty tired.

“Hey, Doc. I’m gonna head out for a little bit and take care of some personal stuff” piped up Autumn. “I’ll probably be back ‘round four to get ready for tonight. I’m thinking I can pull a few strings with my boss and make this sort of a weekend business trip. Got a few clients we have to finalize some contracts with here anyway.”

“Alright, sounds good” I slurred groggily from the bed. “I’m goin to sleep till you get back more than likely.”

“See ya, Doc” she said as the door shut behind her. Ah, peace and quiet. Perfect.

●●●

“Listen up, troopers! Thirty seconds! Brass check! Buddy check! Y’all know the drill”! shouted Sergeant Tailor over the roar of the Manticore’s dual engines. Ponies left and right were press checking their rifles and going over last second equipment adjustments. “Doc!” he shouted, staring me down. “If you can’t be safe…”

“Be deadly” I shouted back, press checking my own weapon. The Manticore jostled as it approached on its final descent.

The pilots began to speak over our comms, “Comin’ into a hot LZ. Get set to hop out quick!” A few stray rounds pinged off the airframe. The crewchief slid the door open with her magic and a flurry of dust flew into the open troop bay. “Touchdown! Go git ‘em!”

Rapidly, we all jumped out the Manticore and began setting up a perimeter. The incoming fire was starting to increase exponentially as the transport aircraft pulled away.

“Contacts! Hundred meters! My twelve!”

“Fucking hell! They’re everywhere!”

“Get that gun up! Ammo!”

Somepony struck me on the helmet. “Doc! Hostiles! On the ridgeline!” Spc. Strong shouted at me.

“Roger! I see ‘em! I see ‘em!” I cried back. I steadied myself in the midst of the chaos, controlling my breathing. Waiting for the right moment to squeeze. Now. The rifle bucked into my shoulder as the rounds met their target and the silhouette fell in a heap. Two more fell in the same manner as Strong fired a few bursts with his squad gun.

Sergeant Tailor crawled over to us “I need ACE!”

“All green here, Sarge!” we shouted back simultaneously. “Hey Sarge! Where the fuck is the rest of our platoon?” I asked.

“Shut up and keep firing!” was the brisk reply. Wilco. A mortar impacted close by. We could hear Sarge screaming into the radio. “Whiskey One Six! This is Whiskey One One Actual! We’re taking heavy fire! Requesting close air, over!” Another mortar whistled in as we all hit the deck.

The explosion ripped through our small perimeter. A voice called out as my ears rung, “Medic!”

I hit Strong on the shoulder, “There’s my cue! I’ll be back, dude!” I shouted as I hurried to the voice. One pony lay still on the ground, his hind legs gone and his face ripped to shreds. Private Boulder crouched above the body, trying to shield it from the dirt that was kicking up.

“Fuck!” I shouted. “Who is it?” I began to pull out my medical trauma kit. I looked over and realized that Boulder was just staring at the body now. “Boulder! Look at me! Who is it?!”

“They got Shadow, Doc. Fuckin’ got him” he said in a flat tone. Suddenly, Shadow’s forehoof kicked forward and he began shrieking in terrible pain. Shadow managed to push me off him in my shock.

“Damnit! Hold still, hold still!” I screamed as he tried to look at his wounds. “Fuckin’ shit! Boulder! Hold him down!” The Private pinned down Shadow’s forehoofs with his own. In the process of thrashing about, the wounded pony’s eye was starting to come out of its socket. Celestia, this op was already goin’ to shit. A stray round flew past my face, inches from my muzzle. Then another one, this time hitting its mark. “Give us a fuckin’ chance!” I shouted in vain as the blood and grey matter pooled out from the new hole in Shadow’s head.

Boulder looked sick, I didn’t blame him. I ripped the tags off of Shadow’s lifeless body and threw them to the Private. “Get to Sarge, tell ‘im we got one KIA! Then get back to your position!” At least the poor bastard ain’t alive no more. Better that than crippled I suppose.

Boulder nodded numbly and ran over to Sarge. I could hear the expletives being spewn about. Grabbing the ammo and rifle off Shadow, I threw a bodybag over his body. Didn’t want the other to see that shit. “Doc!” Strong was shouting. “Need a hand over here! Bastards are making a push!” Hurriedly making my way over to Strong, I could hear the chatter of his machinegun. “Fuckin’ assholes!” he was screaming.

I kicked his hoof and dropped to the prone. “Gimme targets, Strong. I need fuckin’ targets!”

“Two o’clock! Four Contacts, fifty meters!” came the reply. “I ain’t got a shot!” A few rounds snapped by our heads. Fuck these bastards were putting down close fire. “Cover me while I move!”

“Set!” I shouted as I brought myself to a crouch, rifle at the ready.

“Moving!” My rifle began barking as rounds flew out the barrel towards the general location of where we had last seen the hostiles. Strong scrambled to run over the berm to a better firing position. Shit, felt like an eternity for him to get to cover.

“Set!” I breathed a heavy a sigh of relief and dropped back behind cover, reloading my rifle. Strong’s machinegun began firing again and I clambered over the berm to get to his firing position when something knocked me flat on my ass. Fuckin’ hell, I thought. The world was spinning around me and I heard Strong shouting something to me. What the fuck happened? Everything seemed to be moving so slow and felt myself being dragged.

“Fuck! Get off me!” I started screaming as I was thrown to the ground.

“Celestia! How the hell are you alive?”

“What?!” I shouted. Who the fuck was talking to me?

“You dumb, motherfucker! You just got shot in the damn head!” Guess that would explain the throbbing in my head. Wait, what? I must’ve looked confused, cause whoever was talking started to repeat themselves. “You just got shot in the head, ya moron.” My surroundings had finally started to stop spinning as I looked up to see Strong standing over me, a look of concern on his face. “You there, Doc?”

“My head…” I mumbled.

Strong sighed heavily. “Just stay down, till the ringing stops!” He resumed firing. My head was throbbing in pain, fumbling I struggled to remove my helmet. Suddenly a loud rumble came from the other side of the berm. I looked to Strong who had stopped shooting and heard Sarge roar “Stallions! Prepare to defend yourselves!”

I scrambled to Strong’s side and saw an unreal sight unfold in front of us as a battalion size element of NLR regulars charged down the mountainside into the valley. “Holy shit…” I heard myself mumble.

Strong began hurriedly dragging out spare ammo out of his pack. “I ain’t dyin’ here. Not today.” The roar of the hoofsteps grew louder and louder with each passing second. As our squad braced for contact, everpony was tense; I could smell the fear. “Long live the Empire!” screamed Strong as he let held down the trigger of his squad gun. The moment he fired everypony began pouring rounds into the massed enemy, myself included. I could feel my vocal cords straining as I screamed in fear and with hate, that I might die that day for this stupid fuckin’ valley.

Sarge was still screaming into the radio, the desperation growing noticeably in his voice. “One Six! They’re right on top of us! Drop it right on us! Drop it right on us!” The first group of NLR troopers ran into our line. There was no more organization, everypony was fighting for their own lives.

Swinging my rifle, I caught an NLR trooper in the face with the butt of the gun and shot him as he fell. Strong was standing and firing from the hip, his ammo box dangerously low, but still dropping the bastards as they rushed him. I turned to see Boulder struggling with an NLR trooper when another came up and stabbed him in the neck.

“Boulder!” I cried out, rushing towards him firing in anger at the two NLR troopers. Then the world around me was lifted right before my eyes. I felt myself get thrown for quite a distance before slamming back into the ground. The earth rocked with explosions and the air was filled with smoke and burning flesh. My vision was obscured as dirt and rock was thrown into my face. Within seconds, the bombardment was over as quickly as it had started, moving into the mountainside.

I choked on the dirt free air as I struggled to breathe. Groaning, I pulled myself up. There was an eerie quiet that came from where our line had been just seconds ago. I felt a sharp pain in my leg and collapsed immediately. Looking down at my leg, I could see a deep cut on the calf. Aw fuck. “Sarge? Strong?! Anypony?!” I cried out as the rumble of Manticore dropships approached our position.

A few weak groans reached my ears. “Hello?” I called out, hoping to find the source. I barely noticed as the dropships touched down and our sister squads started pouring out, double tapping the enemy and searching for survivors.

“Hey!” called out an unfamiliar voice. “I got two of ours here!” Somepony tapped me on the head. “Don’t worry, brother. We’ve got it from here!”

“Strong!” I called out in a daze, “Sarge!” my head was ringing even worse now.

“Get those two on the dropship for immediate CASEVAC! Start triaging the rest of these guys!””

“Strong! Strong!”

Author's Note:

Holy hell. Back from the dead. Thanks for being so patient! :rainbowkiss:

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