• Published 20th Oct 2013
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The Demon Lord - Eagle



"All held the finite and infinite as unrelated. None could foresee that the history of the two would become one."

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The Search

September 23rd, 2005
Somewhere in Delarus

Most of the buildings had been damaged to one degree or another; some were barely standing. The square held a statue of a woman, also damaged from the fighting, holding what looked like a spear with the other arm rising into the air, its hand missing. The only other feature was an ISAF flag flying overhead, its blue background providing the only real color.

For Rainbow, it was scary. Damage to the biggest cities in Equestria had been bad, but not this bad. This had been a war between two modern, competent nations. Would this be what their war turned the land into?

Shaking away the thoughts, she landed in the square, looking around. All of the buildings seemed to be deserted, and the area was peacefully quiet save for the birds flying overhead. She was worried that her target had already departed; until she heard something from a nearby building. Running inside to check, she noticed it was the same building the interview with the mercenary had taken place.

“The hell?” she heard.

Looking over to her right, she saw the human she was looking for. Larry ‘Solo Wing Pixy’ Foulke; he looked the same he did during the interview. This time, he was standing over to the side, a backpack slung around one shoulder, and his Kalashnikov rifle slung over the other. He looked like he was about to leave.

“Oh, you’re one of those new aliens that just popped up; the horse ones, right?” he asked. “I’ve heard about you guys, but I haven’t seen one till now.”

“Well, it’s actually ponies, not horses,” Rainbow corrected him. “And, are you Larry Foulke?”

The human’s eyebrows moved up in surprise.

“Yea, and you are?”

“Rainbow Dash,” she said.

She probably would’ve added ‘fastest flier in Equestria’, but she understood that there was no time for boasting. Not to mention it would probably drive Pixy away from her offer. And if she failed at that, there probably wouldn’t be an Equeastria left, making her title meaningless.

“Well, it’s good to meet you,” he said. “I’d ask why you’re here, but I’m assuming you’re looking for me.”

“Yes,” she said. “You’re a mercenary, right?”

“Ah, I know where this is going,” he said. “You’re in need of my services, right? I read the papers; seen this situation a dozen times.”

Rainbow was surprised at first, but realized it was also his job; it was like somepony asking her to perform her regular weather duties.

“Would you? I mean, could we hire you?” she asked.

“I’m not too sure, your situation is set and done. I’ve seen bad times but…well, you’ve got no one.”

“You’re losing him, Rainbow!” she thought. “Uh, what could I offer to convince him? Wait, does he know about our currency?”

“Sorry, but-”

“The pay will be very good,” she cut in. “Our currency is pure gold, and we’ve got plenty of it. Trust me; you’ll be set for life.”

Pixy thought it over for a second.

“Well, I’ve heard the ‘set for life’ bait before, but as long as it’s good, I suppose I’ll accept.”

“Yes!” Rainbow mentally shouted.

“But don’t expect too much; there isn’t much a lone grunt can do on the frontline,” he warned.

“We don’t want you for soldiering,” she said. “We want to hire you to fly for us.”

“Fly!?” he said, jumping a bit in an even greater surprise. “Uh…sorry, but I’m not really into flying-”

“I know you were an Ace in a war a decade ago!” she shot back.

“How…how the hell do you know about that?”

“The documentary the Osean reporter did, we saw it.”

“Guess I’m the big movies star now, huh?” he said. “Look, kid; I just don’t fly anymore. I’m not going into details; and if you did see that doc., then I shouldn’t have to.”

“Why not!?” she yelled. “I mean, you’re still good, aren’t you?”

“It’s been a while, so I wouldn’t know,” he replied. “My wings got cut and that was that; decided to just continue by being a grunt-for-hire. End of story, and the bad guys like me don’t get a happy ending to ours.”

“Well…what about…uh!” Rainbow grunted in frustration. “What if…what if we found your old wingman?”

Pixy’s eyes widened at this.

“You sure that wasn’t supposed to be a threat?” he asked ironically. “Firstly, you can’t find him; no one’s really seen him since the Belkan War ended. Second, if you do find him, he’d probably accept just to finish me off.”

“But you apologized in the documentary, didn’t you?”

“How do I know if he even saw that?” Pixy asked accusingly. “How do I know if he’s even alive anymore? Do you have any idea what the two of us went through!?”

“I know you went through enough together to form a tight friendship,” Rainbow said. “I don’t know how things work in this world, but Equestrians always believe that a friendship can never be broken, no matter what happens.”

Rainbow really hoped she was right about this; but, she didn’t see why not. Discord had turned her and the others against Twilight once, and they were still the best of friends. Even though Pixy and Cipher’s fight had been more…brutal, he was still sorry. She just hoped his wingman was the forgiving type.

“We went through a lot together,” Pixy admitted.

“Look dude, whether he forgives you or not, we still want you. You’ll get paid good and everything! At least agree to fly over to Canterlot to consider it. I mean what have you got to lose?”

Foulke continued to stand there, first staring at her, then at the ground. There were so many ways this could turn out. Would he be able to fly and fight well enough to save these aliens? Would his pay be substantial either way? Was he the only human they had?

And what about Cipher? What would he do if his old squadron mate did appear? What would he say; ‘sorry for nearly killing you and nuking the world clean’? Would he just kill him and not even listen?

All these ideas were stirring, but the last thought that ran through is head shook him the most. What if Cipher did come, did agree, and he somehow did forgive him? What would life be like then? He had to admit that the pony was right; Cipher was more than just a business partner, he was a friend.

“Yea, he was my friend, wasn’t he?” he said silently. “Buddy...”

“Alright,” he said. “I’ll see about catching a flight there tomorrow.”

That same time
Directus, Ustio

Spitfire had flown over the city a few times, and then actually landed in it, drawing a large number of eyes while she did so. It wasn’t until she asked a police officer that she learned that the address was an elaborate estate outside of town. It seemed quite beautiful, with a large iron fence surrounding the large, green property. Flying down to the doorstep and ringing the bell, she wondered how a mercenary could live this kind of luxury.

“Hello?”

A young man, probably in his early thirties, answered the door.

“Uh, who are you?”

“Patrick James Beckett?” she asked.

“That’s me,” he replied. “Is there…something I can help you with miss…”

“Spitfire,” she finished.

“Ok, and how can I help you?” he asked.

“Patrick, who is it, dear?” a female’s voice called from the house.

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing. I’ll be back in in a minute, just got to talk to someone.”

“Your wife?” Spitfire asked.

“Yep,” he replied happily. “C’mon, let’s take a little walk around the pond.”

As the human walked out and led the way, Spitfire began to think more and more. She wasn’t at all happy about having to hire some humans to fight for them, but she also understood how important it was. She also didn’t think that this was what a mercenary would be like; living in a nice place with his wife.

“So, what made a pony come all this way to see me?”

She was surprised that he got the name right the first time.

“It’s about your military service,” she explained. “Specifically, during the Belkan War.”

“What?”

“You served in the Ustio Air Force under contract as a mercenary, right?” she questioned, “the 6th Air Division.”

“Yea, I did,” he said. “Why, you wanna interview me? I’m not too big about telling strangers about what happened; nearly got killed, y’know.”

“I’m not asking for an interview, I’m asking if I could hire you.”

“Hire me?”

It struck her how oblivious he was.

“As a mercenary,” she explained. “The Equestrian government would like you to fly for us.”

“Sorry, but I’m not a mercenary anymore,” he explained, stopping on the pond’s edge. “After my little brush with death, I moved out here. My family is already pretty rich, and I’m making a little on the side teaching polo.”

“That’s not good,” Spitfire thought. “Pay wasn’t going to be a factor here.”

“Well…what could I offer you to change your mind?” she asked quickly.

“Nothing,” he replied. “I’ve got my own life, a pretty good one. There’s no reason for me to risk it.”

“Not one thing?” she asked.

“Nope, sorry.”

Spitfire was a little angry at first; not at him or herself, but at fate. It just didn’t seem fair that she had come after a mercenary that didn’t want to be paid. She needed to accomplish this, but how? She was smarter than to start threatening him, and she couldn’t bribe him.

There was only one option now; beg. Spitfire had to admit that the entire war had driven her to the brink of collapse, and it hurt. Maybe if she turned off the official feeling and let him see that, maybe the human would change his mind.

“Please,” she asked. “We’re going to lose everything. I’ve seen friends dying, homes being destroyed, and our ponies all falling under the Sphinx.”

This seemed to draw his attention, and he watched her with a concerned look.

“I know that you don’t need money, and you won’t lose anything by staying here. But, our whole reason for coming to this world was to find help; any help. Please, we need your help, or everything is going to be lost.”

Patrick bit his lip and looked at her. Her eyes had grown big; to an almost scary size. She looked like she was about to break down and cry, contrasting her official, tough nature that had been shown at first.

Still, he knew about that all too well. Even though he was Osean, he had seen Ustio conquered and occupied; and he had fought for its independence. In turn, he had a sense of home and happiness here. Maybe that’s why he chose to move here, to fully take in what he had fought for.

“What exactly do you think I can do?” he asked. “Do you have anyone else fighting for you?”

“We are trying to track down your former wingman,” she answered.

“I’m still in touch with the rest of Crow Squadron.”

“No, your second unit; the 66th Air Force Unit.”

“Galm?” he asked, surprised. “And by wingman…”

“Yes, we’re trying to get in contact with your former flight leader.”

“Cipher?” he asked. “You really found Cipher?”

“Yes, that’s him,” she said. “We do have a good lead on him. One of my teammates should be looking for him right now.”

“I’ll be damned. Ok, I’m up for it!”

“Really!?” Spitfire jumped, betraying her happiness.

“Yea, I’d love to go flying again, be honest. My girl isn’t going to be thrilled, but I think she’ll understand.”

“Thank you so much!” she squeed, a little surprised that she did.

“And let me ask the rest of Crow Team; they’re still in the business. I bet they’d be willing to help,” he said. “Where do you want us to be?”

“Our capital, Canterlot; there’s a small strip that should be able to hold planes. It’s not much, but it should do.”

“Alright, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Patrick,” she said, preparing to take off.

She had to admit that this was far different than she had expected. She didn’t have to bribe some warmongering fool; she had to open up to a married, happy young man. At first, she thought all humans were selfish, but not anymore. She just hoped the others were like this.

“Hey,” he called to her, “just call me PJ.”

That same time
Allenfort Air Force Base

Soarin was rather tired from his long flight, but he didn’t stop to rest. He had no clue what this guy’s name was, what he looked like, or anything. The good news was that Celestia had gotten him a meeting with the base’s commander; that was what he was waiting for now, watching as the MP in front of the door checked his ID.

He passed the time nervously. He had no idea if this Erusian was really here, and he couldn’t waste time. At this point, every second counted. Still, he waited patiently, tapping his hoof on the floor.

“Alright,” he said, opening the door. “Sir, your appointment is here.”

Soarin was greeted by an elderly man in a blue uniform, sitting at a desk.

“Ah yes, you’re the um…” he tried to remember, snapping his fingers.

“A pony, sir.”

“Yes, yes, of course. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Actually, sir, the only reason I came was to ask about a mercenary stationed here,” Soarin explained, trying to sound formal. “My Princess already called ahead of me.”

“Oh yes, the Erusian,” the man said, sitting up.

“Yes, sir! You know where he is?”

“Well, the mercenary barracks is building J, across the runway; can’t miss it,” he explained. “But if you want to meet that ace, you’d better hurry; most of the mercenaries are getting ready to leave now.”

“Thank you, sir!” he said.

Not bothering to walk, he flew through the door and out of the building. Hovering over the runway, he saw a structure with large black ‘J’. He also saw some pilots beginning to walk out, which worried him.

“Hey dude, you seen an Erusian mercenary in here?” he asked one of the pilots at the door.

“No, sorry.”

He quickly flew inside, gaining some attention, but not enough to stop the men from continuing their packing.

“Hey, any of you guys know an Erusian mercenary?” he asked a group chatting in a circle, who replied by shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders. “Ugh, what about you? Did you know this guy?”

“An Eursian?” the pilot replied. “I didn’t think we had any.”

The next pilot he asked was lying on his back in his bunk.

“Have you seen him, man?” Soarin asked.

“Seen who?” the pilot asked.

“An Erusian mercenary that’s based here.”

“I do remember one telling me he was Erusian,” the pilot said, opening his eyes. “He just walked out, flies an F-15. You might still catch him.”

“Thanks, dude!” he said, flying outside again.

It took some time to remember what they looked like, but he finally found the only F-15 parked on the runway. He also saw a single pilot walking towards it, already in his flight suit. It looked like the plane was ready to take off as soon as needed.

“Hey you!” he yelled, landing behind him. “You, stop!”

The pilot continued; and only then did Soarin realize that he couldn’t hear over the sound of the F-15’s engines.

“Hey!” he continued to yell.

As the pilot reached his plane and ran his hand along the nose of the Eagle affectionately; turning his head slightly from it, he saw the pony yelling at him.

“Heeeey!” Soarin yelled, waving his whooves in the air.

The pilot assumed the pony was calling to him, so he called for the crew to stop the plane’s engine while he walked up to the pony.

“H-hey,” Soarin panted, out of breath.

The pilot simply nodded in response.

“Y-you…you Cipher?” Soarin asked, getting straight to the point.

The pilot grinned a little; smiling like he hadn’t been called that name in a long time.

“Yes.”

Author's Note:

We'll be getting into combat next chapter, so read back up on your Ace Combat logic:
-90 missiles and infinite guns
-Plane can take a ton of punishment
-Everyone uses the same radio frequency

Note that the links in this story will only be to music unless said otherwise; clicking on them isn't required.