• Published 8th Aug 2013
  • 1,838 Views, 136 Comments

Machine And Might: Far Horizon Of Stars - Kriegor



War between people, war between worlds. It all happened, in its own way. What's left is a planet where species live together, a mix of harmony and chaos. A planet with an uncertain future. Welcome, to 'New Earth'.

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Waking Up From The Nightmare

Machine And Might: Far Horizon Of Stars

Waking Up From the Nightmare

Is it over?

Memories streamed into his consciousness, flooding his mind with images of the past. As vivid as a bullet cutting through flesh, pictures and sounds of the day that changed his life appeared. Hazy, far, almost ghostly, they seemed. The deep, metallic voice that repeated itself over and over inside his head for years, came back.

“ANY AND ALL GRYPHON TROOPS, SURRENDER NOW OR FACE IMMEDIATE ERADICATION! BY COMMAND OF THE EQUESTRIAN PRINCESSES, TROTTINGHAM WILL BE LIBERATED!”

No, no,” he thought. “Think of something happier...

The images shifted, colliding with one another into a swirling mass of colours. The spectacle went on for a few minutes, or what seemed likes days for him. It did not matter, he was dead. Or at least, so it seemed.

... you’re my favourite Princess!

His mind adjusted, the swiveling mess of shades and rainbows turning into a solid image once and for all; an event concluded by a single, softly muttered phrase coming from the dead one.

What brought me here?

-------------------------------------------------------------

The awakened one opened his eyes, groggily, to see through a visor. Through that visor, he could see that he was lying down on a floor composed purely of metallic tiles, some missing, revealing cables, information nodes and power conduits. His eyes, adjusting to the light and focusing further. The mechanical arm of his exosuit was in front of him, thankfully still attached.

Upon a closer look, he realized that he was in a massive, circular chamber. All around were sets of consoles, and on the walls, enormous, broken holoscreens caught his eye.

Bullet holes marked through every surface. He shrugged: it was the typical post-combat scenario.

Far steps, yet carrying weight behind them, sounded off behind him. He took an inaudible, sharp breath, his eyes then moving frantically, looking for his gauss rifle; yet it was nowhere to be found: probably on his back locks, but it would take too long. The steps got closer, louder.

Reacting quickly, he rolled away from where the steps were coming, grabbing a hold of his rail pistol and taking fast aim at the newly acquired target.

It was an odd position to be in, lying on your side, aiming your sidearm at a creature inside a mechanical, bipedal combat exosuit the size of Celestia, perhaps even bigger. Painted black, its legs were reverse-jointed, and the face was exposed, revealing a scarred changeling. A friendly one, nonetheless.

“Kent...” the awakened one muttered. The changeling in the other suit leaned down to offer his mechanical hand.

Wasting no time, he holstered his pistol, taking Kent’s hand and helping himself up. Once done, he reached behind his back, taking his rifle. “Sergeant... Glad to see you’re alive.” He glanced to the left, seeing three more exosuited figures dusting themselves off, figures which he barely recalled as his surviving squad, their suits the same as Kent’s, except painted blue. They then moved over to a still unconscious, blue Alicorn. “Luna...” he whispered to himself, then called out, “Prep to get her to a medbay!” He began to move towards the far end of the chamber, away from the entry, towards the main console. “Kent... Remind me of what happened, will you?”

“Eh, sure, Commander,” the changeling muttered, looking down, clearly having trouble remembering the past events himself. “GoldenTalon attacked, and-”

“I know that,” the Commander grunted, halfway over to the console. “Just tell me what knocked us out.”

“Some big, talking ball, sir,” Kent said as they reached the console. The Commander looked up at the main screen, thankfully undamaged. “It exploded and we shot at it... that’s as far as I remember.”

“We’ll figure it out...” He opened his visor, revealing the face of a pony stallion. He spoke again, this time directed to the console: “This is Commander Pipsqueak of New Earth’s Colonial Guard speaking. Requesting full access.”

“Analyzing...” the screen lit up, changing, the colours mixing for a second, then stopping, solidifying in the form of an eye. “ID chip analyzed. Processing request... Granted.” The eye took on a concerned expression. “As one of the last survivors of the Lunar Complex, and now Commanding Officer, we request for you to be discreet with your actions.” It then took a merry look. “Thank you!”

“All the bullshit they put in consoles nowadays...” Kent muttered. The Commander held his rifle with one hand, using his free, tri-fingered mechanical limb to type onto the console, bringing up several menus. He would lie if he said he knew or cared about what most of them meant. As always, classified. He had one objective in mind, as it was.

“This is strictly a last resort measure, Commander,” the console mentioned. Pipsqueak grunted, typing faster in an attempt to rush the process. “But due to the latest events, we understand...” The screen lit up with the familiar logo of the Colonial Guard; below it was a set of well known words.

Peace Through Unity...

The Commander was just about to sigh in relief as the face of a Human popped up in the screen. He and Kent stepped back in mere surprise, but soon brought brought their free hands up for a stiff and proud salute.

“This is Supreme Admiral Kira Feros speaking,” the woman said. Behind her, several other men and women could be seen working on consoles. A few Guardsmen walked by, rifles in hand. “If you are seeing or hearing this, it means that your call has been received.”

“Fucking...” Pipsqueak let his hand drop. “That also means it’s a pre-recorded message,” he sighed out. Kent mumbled to himself, doing the same.

“The fleet will arrive in the approximated time shown below. Keep strong, Guardsmen.” The feed cut off.

“Universes damnit!” Kent grunted out while the Commander grabbed a hold of his rifle with both hands. “Thirty seven hours!? High Command should’ve told us this...”

“Doesn’t matter,” Pipsqueak said, taking a step backwards, his eyes locked on the console. “We’ll pull through.” He turned around, his eyes now locking on the other three Guardsmen, knelt by the unconscious Luna. “The Guard always pulls through.” He began to walk over to them, rifle in hand.

Kent remained behind for a few seconds, grimacing, then rushed over to the Commander’s side.

-------------------------------------------------------------

He watched with care, a soft expression behind his visor, yet with a tight grip on his gauss rifle. The five Guardsmen continued looking down, observing Princess Luna’s soft breathing before standing up, unsure of what to do next. Coupled with that, his display showed her vital signs, stable, but incredibly low. It was a surprise that she was still alive.

The Commander sighed, looking at the four Guardsmen. “Private Mirror,” he let out, looking at a Gryphon hen with soft, pink feathers.

She looked up, somewhat startled. “Yes sir?”

“You alright?” Pipsqueak asked. “It’s been a tough ride, I know, but we need you at your best.” He took a step forward, his mechanical foot landing with a heavy thump, then looked at her from behind his visor. “Are you going to keep giving us your best?” The Gryphon nodded in a rather quick manner, her eyes bright, yet visibly uncomfortable. Pipsqueak motioned towards the unconscious Princess, who continued to breathe gently. “Be careful with her. Let’s go.”

Without looking back, he moved one of his legs forward to begin a slow, calm walk, the other four falling behind him after Private Mirror carefully wrapped her mechanical arms around Luna’s limp body. They all continued forth together, rifles ready in hand, towards the exit of the massive chamber. It soon took them into an open hallway, scarred due to combat and riddled with the bloodied, dismembered bodies of both Guardsmen and mercenaries.

Kent’s heavy steps signaled a rush over to the Commander, then, he ushered to him, “Sir! Where’s the android?”

Pipsqueak’s expression froze, the gears in his mind clicking. He continued walking through the hallway as if nothing had happened, leading the rest of his squad. “I... don’t know.” He tilted his head to the side, forcing himself to think of a solution. “We’ll track him down after we get Luna to the medbay.”

The Sergeant looked down worriedly, then nodded. “Copy, sir.”

Sighing, the Commander turned his head to the left, looking at the bloodied wall-panels lining the hallway. “I know how you feel, Kent.” He turned back to the changeling, who looked at him as well. Both of them shared worried looks, though Pipsqueak’s turned into a decided glare after a second or two. “It feels like everything’s gone to hell, doesn’t it? Well, it hasn’t. Get that into your head or stay behind.”

Kent’s expression turned into a frown. Pipsqueak could easily tell that the Sergeant was as decided to finish what was started as he himself was. One of the clear thoughts that his mind could form was the word, “Good.” He looked ahead, not ignoring his companion, but noticing that during the entire exchange, whether or not it was miniscule, the squad of surviving Lunar Guardsmen had already reached the elevator shaft.

The deep dents left by their fall were still there, on the bottom. He stopped at the edge between the hall and the shaft itself. A few bodies of exosuited, mangled mercenaries also accompanied and completed the dark display. Memories of himself, Luna, the M.A.C unit, and his squad falling at top speed down the shaft rised into his mind, at first hazy, then as vivid as the current situation.

The entire complex seemed to give a metallic groan for a moment, nothing out of the ordinary, but distinctive nevertheless. The Commander turned on his shoulderlamp, looking up into the shaft. Cables, left exposed by missing panels, sparked in an almost rhythmic manner. For a brief moment, everything was perfectly silent save for Pipsqueak’s own breathing, the sparks, and the deep groans of the Lunar Complex. It was broken only by a single question uttered by a single, nervous Gryphon.

“Orders, sir?”

Pipsqueak was immediately taken out of his thoughts, the sparks of a nearby set of cables falling atop his suit. He ignored them and so did his squad: there were more important things to pay attention to. “Are the elevators still working?” he quickly, bluntly asked, turning to the rest of his companions, the heavy steps of his exosuit accompanied by the groans of the facility which continued to sound off.

The changeling Sergeant blinked, then blinked again. Pipsqueak knew, there was no immediate way of knowing whether or not the elevators were working, but he prayed to the universes that at least one of them was. He watched as Kent took a step back, before turning, holding his rifle in one hand, yet with an iron grip, so it would seem.

As Kent made his way over to the elevator’s control panel, Pipsqueak turned his head to Mirror, finding that the Gryphon was looking down, staring at the Princess whose slumber seemed like it would have no end. He followed the hen’s gaze down, checking on the alicorn’s vital signs. Once again, stable, but barely. “She’ll be alright,” he said, prompting her to look up into his eyes.

She proceeded to mutter, “I just... most of us never thought we’d see Luna again, let alone hold her in this... state.”

The Commander let the focus of his eyes drift onto the floor, then back up as he regained confidence. “I know... But don’t worry, we’ll get her to a safe place...” His expression slowly turned into a frown. “Am I right or not?”

Private Mirror smiled, the confidence of the Commander seeping into her own being, something that showed in her eyes. “Yes sir!” she reaffirmed. Pipsqueak smiled behind his visor.

“Sir,” Kent cut in, all faces turning to him, watching him as he looked back at the Commander from all the way over the Elevator’s control panel. “Elevator’s arriving.”

After taking in what the changeling said, Pipsqueak nodded from inside his suit. “Got it,” he said, his shoulders shrugging as he turned around to face the elevator shaft. “Lock and load, we could have visitors.” He undid the safety on his rifle, so did the others. Already, the low growl of the magnetic accelerators that powered the elevator could be heard, a signal of its approach. A groan of the entire facility was all that was left to finish the entire display as he and his team, except for Mirror, aimed their rifles high, watching as the metallic box completed its descent.

Releasing a contained breath and lowering his rifle, Pipsqueak disposed less than a second to examine the entirety of the elevator. The windows, shattered, nothing but shards of glass laying on the floor and small pieces of glass still holding themselves in the fixtures. Dents on both the floor and the walls, even the ceiling, and coupled with bullet holes. Signals of fighting that took place inside, only accented by the dismembered corpse of a Guardsman still lying on the centre.

They all stared at the body for just a second, Pipsqueak included, before he called out, “Get that out of here.” The heavy thuds of everyone’s legs, the deep, metallic groans of the complex as the team finally crossed the line between the hallway and the elevator. Kent placed his rifle behind his back, the magnetic locks keeping it in place, then leaned down to grab a hold of the corpse. His mechanical hands got a firm hold of it, then the strength of his suit came into action as he dragged the body out of the box, leaving a trail of blood behind.

The Commander released a soft sigh, watching with worried eyes as Kent disposed of the body before walking back into the elevator. Pipsqueak looked down, all of his facial and head movements hidden from the rest of his squad thanks to his visor, then looked back up, at the two other Guardsmen, nor Kent, nor Mirror, as they whispered to each other. “Corporals...” he directed himself to the two. “Anything I should know?”

“No, sir...” one of them said, a pony mare, blue eyes, red mane, soft complexion.

“No, sir...” the other one repeated, almost at the same time, a pony stallion, blue eyes, red mane, accentuated complexion.

Both of them spoke at the same time, “Not really...” then looked at each other.

“Now’s the time to speak,” the Commander said to the twins, looking away from them and out the shattered, broken windows of the elevator as it began to ascend. For a single second, the only sounds were the constant groans of the complex, his own breathing, and the growl of the elevator’s magnetic accelerators as it boosted itself upwards. He added his voice to the orchestra, “What’s on your minds?” Kent and Mirror remained silent.

They shuffled uncomfortably, their armored feet thumping against the metallic floor of the elevator. They shared concerned glances, the stallion raised an eyebrow, the mare nodded, then they looked back at the Commander, the former speaking up, “Sir... We’ve been through alot this past day, right?” Pipsqueak gave them an affirming nod using his torso, yet unsure as to what they were getting at. “It’s just that... Is the worst of it... over?”

Pipsqueak huffed, shrugging his shoulders in a casual manner, still looking out into the elevator shaft, observing as they sped past broken power conduits and missing panels. “I’d lie if I told you that I knew.” He twisted his torso in a manner so he would be looking at the two. “But like I’ve told many before you: the Guard always pulls through, no matter what. Is that clear?”

“Heads up!” the Sergeant’s voice called out amongst the silence that had barely built up, accompanied by the fact that the elevator’s low growl began to lower its tone. “We’ve arrived at the Medical Center!”

The entire team except for Private Mirror took up arms. Several clicks could be heard, coming from the unfastened safeties of their gauss rifles. The Commander eyes and focus moved away from the outside of the elevator and onto the set of doors that would eventually separate them from the Medical Center.

Slowly, on the corner of his eye, he could see through the broken windows that the elevator moved slower through the shaft, to the point in which it was almost painful to focus on that detail. His eyes remained locked on the doors, the elevator stopping with a metallic clang. A spark coming from the doors. Nobody moved, not a single inch, as they were simply ready to engage an enemy that could or could not be there, and after another round of sparks, half of the set of doors opened.

Pipsqueak released the breath that was contained within himself, lowering his rifle. So did the others, though releasing audible sighs as they relaxed themselves. “More bodies?” asked Kent.

The Commander simply observed the Medical Center, the bloodied white tiles marked with burn marks and bullet holes, complete with the deceased bodies of those who were brought during the fighting for an attempt to save their lives. Cables and other forms of power conduits hung from the ceiling, sparking every once in awhile. Just like the rest of the complex, the area was dead.

After just a second of examining his surroundings, Pipsqueak saw it fit to motion with his arm for his squad to follow him once more. Without saying a word, they did as he directed, following him as he began a cautious walk towards a nearby door, a sign on top of it giving the direction of a life support chamber.

Surprisingly enough, the door to the chamber slid open with a slight hiss, no issues whatsoever. Without hesitation, the Commander stepped to the left, his feet landing with heavy thumps, and began directing his squad inside silently, and once they all walked inside, he followed suit.

The metallic feet of their suits landed upon a strange liquid. He looked down, a clear reflection of himself staring back at him. Afterwards, he adjusted his grip on his rifle, taking his focus off of himself and onto the rest of the chamber. Broken cryotubes, bodies lying atop medical tables with pools of blood surrounding them to add to the display.

“Incoming transmission...” his suit’s VI, a deep, metallic voice, spoke up. Pipsqueak and his squad shared glances, listening closely to what was about to come.

“... This is Regiment Twelve-One-Delta of New Earth’s Colonial Guard,” a female voice said through the radio. Pipsqueak released an audible sigh. “We’re responding to your backup call. Any and all survivors of the Lunar Regiment, please come in.”

The Commander nodded as the rest of his squad let go of contained breaths and sighs, sharing relaxed glances with one another. “This is Commander Pipsqueak of the Lunar Regiment speaking, do you copy?”

“Thank the Universes,” the Guardswoman said. “Commander, we’re pinging your location now. Backup should arrive in two minutes.”

“Make sure you send a full medical team,” Pipsqueak said, looking at Princess Luna, still held in Mirror’s arms, barely breathing. “We need evac on a mortally wounded, high value VIP... It’s Princess Luna.”

The Guardswoman remained silent for a second, leaving only the static of the radio for Pipsqueak to hear. “... Copy. Make that one minute.” Afterwards, the transmission cut off with a static ping, signalling the end of the exchange.

Pipsqueak looked over to his ragtag squad, smiling behind his visor. “Told you it’d get better.” Even though they could not see his expression, they returned the smile. “Now, come on, we have work to do.”

-------------------------------------------------------------

“Alright!” the Head Medic yelled out amidst the many Guardsmen. She seemed to look around the inside of the building, as if there was something hiding behind the many consoles spread evenly throughout it “Let’s go!”

Pipsqueak watched with concern as they took her away in a medical cart, an entire team of trained Combat Medics next to her, each one of them holding a piece of lift-support equipment as they rushed for the elevator along with the other Guardsmen. Bag of serum, emergency defibrillator, heart monitor, and more. But, nevertheless, he felt a sense of satisfaction deep within. After all, he had helped his favourite Princess.

The heavy thumps of a personal exosuit moving over to him brought him out of his thoughts. He twisted his torso to the right, his eyes engaging with the purely blue orbs of Sergeant Kent. “Commander,” said the scarred changeling.

“Yes?” Pipsqueak raised an eyebrow.

Kent’s stance stiffened. “Orders, sir?” After the question, Pipsqueak looked behind the Sergeant and over to the two Corporals and Private Mirror, who were also standing at attention.

His eyebrow lowered itself, expression turning into a decided frown. The Commander’s hand tightened around his gauss rifle. “We track down the M.A.C unit.”

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