• Published 4th Mar 2012
  • 13,589 Views, 959 Comments

Of Steam Gears and Wings - RavensDagger



The CMC go against the Empire that is ruling over Equestria. A la Dieselpunk.

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Setting Traps and Saving Spectrums

“Sir, the ship is visible on screen three,” said a unicorn dressed in the regalia of an officer, a large grey headset wrapped around his head.

Bunnyhelm glanced at the large screen. On it, four large icons were slowly converging towards him, growing larger and larger by the second.

Two of the ships were Interdiction-Class patrol ships, long bodies ending in sharp blade-like protrusions as they cut through the air, their six engines puffing out black smoke in the otherwise clear blue sky.

Those weren’t too attention grabbing, though the Obedience-Class destroyer that hovered between them was.

The massive ship carried weapons that could fire shells the size of a full grown pony. They lined the sides of the ship in two rows of three, all pointing to the front of the Obedience-Class. Enormous, smoke-spewing engines billowed dark fumes that waved and twisted in the air, almost obscuring the fourth ship.

“Officer, zoom in on the target.” Bunnyhelm said, his voice loud and impactful in the command room, louder even than the powerful rumbling of the Sol Scorcher’s engines.

The officer nodded, leaning forward to guide a comm-pony to the delicate task. Meanwhile, Bunnyhelm’s eyes wandered around the room.

White paint covered every surface that didn’t contain a knob, button or lever. Screens covered every wall and even parts of the ceiling, images from the outside of the Sol Scorcher were displayed on them: from the idyllic white-clouded skies to the massive fleet of warships that accompanied them.

Bunnyhelm loved it; every inch of this place emanated power. His hoof ran along the rough floor adoringly. From here, he could order the destruction of entire empires... Cities and countries would shake and quiver at the approach of this ship and its fleet. Slowly, the gentlestallion’s face creased into a sardonic smile.

He was interrupted by the officer. Trotting forward, the lord looked at the screen. On it was a clear image of a blue ship wielding enormous cannons. On the ship’s side, in an elegant scroll, was the name ‘Furtif.

“Archives mark it as a smuggler, sir...” The officer’s eyebrow rose as he stared at the list that flew by the screen impressively, the faint glow of the screen reflecting off his eyes. “Eighteen counts of vandalism, fourteen of disregarding a stop order, twelve counts of destroying Imperial equipment using deadly force... and sixty three counts of smuggling... none of them charged.” The unicorn officer slowly turned towards Bunnyhelm.

“Perfect! I want a printed version of this.” asked Bunnyhelm.

A voice behind Bunnyhelm spoke up, soft as a whisper and incredibly calm, almost sad. “I have it already, sir.” Inky Scribeswell walked around Bunnyhelm, tossing a plain white envelope onto the console.

Bunnyhelm picked it up with a sweep of his magic and held it aloft. A slow smile crept along his face as his eyes wandered down the page.

A few minutes ticked by, Bunnyhelm reading the file while the other ponies in the room worked intensely to keep the massive ship steady in the air.

“Sir,” interrupted the officer. “Admiral Trixie demands permission to fire at transport ship Furtif.”

Bunnyhelm puffed air out of his nose, slowly lowering the envelope until it landed on the console once more. “She wants to do what, exactly?” His piercing eyes stared at the officer until he blanched.

“She wants to fire at the transport, sir... With the Powerful...”

“Who told her that the transport was coming?”

The officer squirmed a little, beads of sweat beginning to peek out from beneath his cap. “I did, sir...”

“I don’t recall ordering you to do that...”

The unicorn gulped, eyes looking down in shame. “I'm sorry, sir...”

Bunnyhelm sighed, shaking his head from side to side as he did so. “It’s fine, reverse the order to fire at the ship. Open the Sol Scorcher’s fourth hangar and ready it for grappling procedures. We’re taking the Furtif in for an inspection.” Bunnyhelm then faced his secretary. “Where’s Miss Trixie stationed?”

Without even glancing at the many folders that filled his saddlebags, Inky answered. “As of zero, five, zero, one, she is in command of the flagship Great.”

The noble pony turned around, beginning to walk out of the command room under the surprised look of a dozen soldiers. “Oh, make sure that the boarding party is composed of new recruits... It’s good practice.”

“Ye--yes, Sir!” the officer called out, saluting.

With that, Bunnyhelm walked away, his hoofsteps loud in the suddenly quiet room. The exit door opened with a mechanical hiss that was emulated by the relief-filled sighs of many. With quieter steps Inky followed, his heavy saddlebags slapping against his sides as he trudged along.

The two stallions trotted through the wide and empty corridors of the massive ship. Bunnyhelm took the lead as both of them made their way towards the back of the ship. “Is my personal transport ready?” he finally asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes, Sir,” Inky responded in a quiet voice. “All preparations are complete.”

Bunnyhelm slowed to a stop near a junction in the passageway. The signs above him offered a comprehensive directory to the ship. Some pointed to the crew's quarters, while others pointed to the hangar areas and even to the brig and privy. “Good, make sure this area of the ship is cleared of personnel.” The lord turned down one of the hallways, this one marked ‘Hangar Three’, before looking back. “I have an important little meeting to attend; I’ll be back in a few.”

Inky stood in the corridor, watching as Bunnyhelm trotted away. With a swish, the blue secretary turned around and started walking down another hallway, head low in thought.

Bunnyhelm’s contented hums filled the hallway as he walked along, gaining himself nervous glances from uniformed ponies of all ranks. He sniffed at the air, smiling longingly as the scent of oil and grime filled the corridor.

Soon, he arrived at a heavy metallic door, held open by large and powerful hydraulic arms. Beyond that door, an entire world stretched out, completely different than the clean and pristine hallways of the ship.

Pegasi in mechanic’s garb zipped about as cranes shifted on the spot. Huge mechanical arms flexed and rotated in preparation for the upcoming events. Nearby, an entire squadron of soldiers in thick armour shifted from hoof to hoof self-consciously under the curious stares of many a maintenance worker.

Drills and impact tools hammered and spun, creating a cacophony that made the screams and hollered orders of the ponies sound like mere whispers, quickly lost under the torrential drone. Bunnyhelm smiled, his heart giddy as he watched the chaotic effectiveness of it all.

“Mister Chronos?” said a little voice from beside him. Turning, Bunnyhelm looked at the familiar form of a buffalo, the dirty clothes of a mechanic hastily covering her gangly features.

Keen Eyes shifted uncomfortably under his hungry stare, then looked away and towards the assembled ponies below them.

“Is everything ready?” he asked.

The small buffalo nodded demurely. “Yes, Sir, everything’s fine and going according to plan.”

A slow smile creeped along his face. “Brilliant.” Suddenly, he turned around, creating a light breeze of wind as he did so. “I’ll be where I can watch the show... Don’t disappoint me, Keen Eyes.”

Keen Eyes averted her gaze, looking away shamefully as her face reddened. “I won’t. Oh Celestia, I won’t.”


Heavy hoofsteps faded, becoming distant echoes before they were finally drowned out by the sound of the Sparkle Generator’s constant hum. The inside of the Furtif was usually clean. Now, it was spotless as over a dozen ponies in Imperial garb had scoured the ship from one end to the other.

“Is it clear?” one of the corridor’s white walls whispered.

“I think so...” said the panel right next to it. Suddenly it glowed brightly, popping and hissing as it moved aside. Out of it tumbled the form of a red mare, eyes roving around in search of trouble as a huge monkey wrench hovered menacingly by her side. “It’s clear guys.” said Wrenches, a note of relief evident in her voice.

Another panel hissed aside. A small earth pony with a mechanical limb rolled out, his heavy leg awkwardly clanging against the floor, sending him sprawling against the corridor’s opposite wall.

Arnaquer stepped out, sighing as he levitated Kami Kaze back onto four hooves. “Be quieter, s’il vous plaît,” he hissed.

“Guys...” squeaked a suffocated voice. All three ponies stopped and turned towards the wall that spoke first. “Guys, I’m stuck...” Scootaloo said lamely, a few dull thuds ringing out as she banged the wall.

Kami Kaze walked calmly towards the wall, his expression a controlled mixture of worry and suppressed laughter. “You’re stuck?”

“Kami, if you don’t help me outta here, I swear on Celestia’s horny head that I’ll punt you to the moon!”

Arnaquer sighed, rubbing a hoof against his temples. “M’a etre vieux jeune...”

Kami Kaze grunted as he shifted his weight against the wall, until finally it popped, a rush of warm air escaping as an orange blur flew out. Scootaloo leaned against another wall, panting lightly with her eyes closed.

“Were... were you afraid?” asked Kami Kaze, almost goading her.

Scootaloo glared at him, a thin smile badly disguised. “No, I wasn’t. I was just... concerned.”

Kami Kaze opened his mouth to speak, but Arnaquer interrupted him. “Kami, go to the garage, make sure everything is fine.” The earth pony sighed, turning as he trudged out of the corridor.

“So,” continued Scootaloo. “Who’s she?” the pegasus asked, pointing a hoof towards the back of the group.

Three pairs of eyes turned to look at a small brown form in an ill-fitting Imperial mechanic’s outfit. The buffalo squeaked, backpedaling quickly before her limbs were wrapped in a magical glow.

“Hmm, seems like we have found ourselves an intrus.” Arnaquer moved forward, measured paces ringing off the metallic floor as he slowly trotted around the squirming buffalo. “I would ask you what you are doing here... but evidently that would be a waste of my precious time.”

“Pl-please don’t hurt me!” she cried, redoubling her efforts to free herself.

Arnaquer stopped his pacing in front of her, a sardonic smile adorning his face. “Inquietez vous pas, sa va fa--”

“Wait, since when do the Imps hire buffalo?” Scootaloo interrupted, eyeing the buffalo female suspiciously. “Aren’t they supposed to be super xenophobic or something?”

Arnaquer glared at the orange pegasus. “I was going to scare her... it’s amusing... and yes, they are xenophobes, they don’t even like the French!”

“Small wonder why,” muttered Scootaloo under her breath.

Wrenches groaned. “Will you idiots make up your minds? We’re stuck in the most powerful ship ever, surrounded by trained Imperial guards, possibly members of Blueblood’s own, our ship is in a huge hangar that is crawling with Imps and--” A loud, thunder-like boom resonated throughout the ship. “And the bay doors are closed... Now would you please tie her up so we can start doing something, anything?”

Everypony stared at Wrenches as she panted, having run out of breath from her loud rant. The buffalo female squeaked, earning her a cold glare from three ponies.

“Young lady...” asked Arnaquer, suddenly stoic. “Do you happen to have information about this... ship?”

“Um, this one here? Or the Sol Scorcher?” she asked, gulping under his unmoving and uncaring expression.

“Le Scorcher.”

“Um, well... It’s really big... And it has a lot of guns and weapons and soldier ponies. Not to mention hundreds of mechanics and service ponie--”

“C’mon Arny, she’s useless. Just chuck her out a window and let’s get out of here!” pleaded Scootaloo, nervously hopping from one hoof to another. Kami Kaze placed a reassuring hoof on her shoulder.

“Attend, there are things I wish to know,” he turned towards the buffalo. “Tell me, are there places you’re not allowed to go?”

“Um, yeah, I guess. Like the main deck and the armoury... And recently the brig...”

“The brig? What’s there?”

The young buffalo’s eyes widened. “Oh, one of the champions of Equestria! Apparently Emperor Blueblood defeated her in a huge dogfight!” She began gushing as everypony present suddenly gave her their rapt attention. “It was the rainbow-maned one, you know Rainbow Da--”

Scootaloo jumped over Arnaquer, landing with a loud thud in front of the buffalo. “Blueblood beat Rainbow in a dogfight?! Bullshit! What happened to her! Tell me what happened!” The orange pegasus’ wings extended as she screamed, almost in a fury, at the little buffalo.

“I-I don’t know, the-they brought her to the brig...” The buffalo tried to backpedal vainly against the force of Arnaquer’s magic. Tears stained her eyes as Scootaloo stared at her angrily.

“I’m going to go save her!” Scootaloo announced boldly.

“Okay, but make it quick, me and the buffalo will go unclose the ship’s hangar.” Arnaquer stepped forward, flipping the buffalo upside down with a small burst of his magic before dangling her a few hoofsteps into the air.

Wrenches replaced her. “Um, Arny? Are you sure?” The mare looked at him, brows furrowed. “I mean, the ship is crawling with Imps...”

Arnaquer did a half turn. “Don’t worry. Go, find Miss Dash and bring her back... You’ll be fine, I swear...”

“And what if you’re wrong?”

“Then you won’t be able to punish me for it!”

Kami Kaze trotted in, looked at the commotion, then began backpedaling.

“How’s the cargo?” asked Arnaquer, diverting his eyes from Wrenches.

“It’s... fine... what the hay is going on?”


“Are you guys sure about this?” asked Scootaloo, inching forward to peak out of the doorway.

“No, but Arnaquer wouldn’t let us do this if it were dangerous,” whispered Wrenches as she leaned over the mare, her warm breath splashing against her neck.

“I don’t know what the fuss is about. I told you, there’s nopony here!” Bold as day, Kami Kaze walked forward, mechanical limb hissing as he moved into the light that poured into the ship.

The three ponies were at the Furtif’s exit, the large doorway completely open while the ship’s ramp was deployed, leading to a walkway below them.

“See, nopony there!” Kami Kaze smiled towards Scootaloo before disappearing around the corner.

“Hey, wait up!” she yelled, hooves clacking against the ground’s copper grating as she followed him out.

A few seconds later, she bumped straight into Kami Kaze. He had stopped at the bottom of the ramp.

"Hey what's the holdup?" Scootaloo said, pushing past him. Then, she too stopped in her tracks as she saw what lay ahead.

“Guys?” asked Wrenches as she too walked out. “Guys, what are you... Oh.”

Their minds failed to describe, to comprehend, the massive size of the the hangar. Parked on either side of the Furtif were three Interdiction-class Imperial ships, all solidly anchored by hundreds of walkways that filled the cavernous insides of the Sol Scorcher.

The quiet, punctuated only by the wind that circulated through the hangar and by the rhythmic pulse of its Sparkle Generator, sent shivers down the spines of the three ponies. All of them bent their shoulders down at the huge emptiness around them.

Scootaloo was the first to break the silence. “Now what?” she whispered, moving forward slowly while searching the enormous room with her eyes. Her wings beat nervously as she turned towards the others.

“I think we should get going...” Kami Kaze tore his eyes away from the hangar and focused on the ground ahead of his hooves. “Come on, she said that the brig wasn’t too far.”

The three ponies began walking, their hoofsteps clacking against the metal grating and echoing throughout the cavernous hold. Scootaloo’s coat rustled as she stalked forward, Kami Kaze and Wrenches right behind her.

“It’s so quiet,” whispered Kami Kaze, his usual fearless attitude gone as he slumped his shoulders forward.

Scootaloo gulped before answering. “Yeah, quiet.” Suddenly, her attention was grabbed by a nearby cart: a small motorized vehicle with a tiny engine at the front, and a large box at the back. “How far was the brig again?”

“All the way across,” said Wrenches, her eyes fixed on their objective. A thin, narrow walkway led from the Furtif’s exit all the way to an enormous archway where more vehicles were parked. There, hundreds of stenciled signs pointed in a thousand directions, all coloured in different shades.

“Right, how about we take that cart?” The pegasus pointed towards the machine nonchalantly.

Kami Kaze gave her a nervous smile, rubbing his sweaty forehead with his good limb. “Scootaloo, do you know what those things are?”

Scootaloo looked at the vehicle's cargo, long shiny metallic tubes that ended in a conical point, all of them as tall and thick as she. “No, what are they?”

“Bullets. Big, huge bullets.”

Scootaloo laughed nervously. “So we trot?”

“We trot.”

The three resumed their slow pace, shivering as a light breeze played in the air around them. Within moments they had reached the entrance, its colossal metal doors wide open and almost inviting, were it not for the somber air of quiet danger that permeated the location.

“So, in through there?” asked Scootaloo, a nervous tremor in her voice.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.” Kami Kaze placed his organic hoof on the mare’s shoulder, looking into her eye.

“Right,” she said with renewed vigor. “Let’s go save Rainbow Dash...! Which way do we go in?” She looked from one passageway to the next.

“I haven’t got a clue!”

Wrenches sighed. “Idiots, I swear if I were to die you’d all die along with me!” Grumbling under her breath she took the lead, briefly glancing towards the signs that dotted the walls before picking one of the corridors.

The hallway she picked was long and narrow, built to limit the access of anypony stupid enough to break out of the brig. Their shoulders relaxed as they trotted down the corridor, the walls reassuring them as the echo of their hoofsteps mixed with the pulsing of the ship’s engines.

“How far is it?” asked Scootaloo, huffing miserably after they had crossed the third bisecting corridor.

Wrenches didn't answer, instead taking took a sharp turn into the next hallway, leading them right to a thick door with the word ‘Brig’ painted above it. “Oh,” said Scootaloo. “Should we just go in?” Stepping up to the door that was slightly ajar, a thin beam of light spilling out of it and into the corridor.

“This is way too easy,” muttered Kami Kaze, his head low as his eyes glanced around the barren and spotlessly clean area.

Wrenches sighed for the hundredth time. “Just get in!” she said, pushing Scootaloo’s rump until she finally conceded and tumbled into the room.

The pegasus mare looked around at the grey arches that made up the ceiling. They all dipped down towards a central console: a huge semi-circle of screens, buttons and levers that was covered by hundreds of labels. Fresh coffee stains were on the table.

“I’m assuming this is the jail control... thing?” she said as she flew over and into the console's semi circle. Behind her, the jail’s lights flickered as they illuminated the long corridor of cells, each one glowing faintly as the magical doors buzzed. The mare looked over the controls, eyes wandering from one panel to another, searching frantically for a particular button. “Gah, which one is Dash’s cell?!”

“This one, you moron!” screamed a voice from deeper within the corridor of cells.

All three ponies glanced at each other. “Oh, for Celestia’s sake, you’re the worst bunch of rescuers I’ve ever had!”

“Is-is that you Miss Dash?” asked Scootaloo, a clear note of hope ringing through her voice as it echoed down the hallway.

“Yes, it’s me. Now open the bloody cell!” The mare’s voice screamed in a high pitched whine.

Scootaloo and Kami Kaze stared at each other. Scootaloo shruggedbefore beginning to trot down the corridor, her hoofsteps quiet as she glanced from cell to cell. “Miss Dash?” she asked uncertainly.

The orange mare trotted in front of the last cell, eyes widening as she looked within. Rainbow Dash sat in the middle of it, legs crossed and a look of fierce determination and annoyance on her face. Suddenly, the older mare’s eyes flashed in recognition. “Scootaloo?” she asked, rising up on the spot, one eyebrow raised in confusion. “What the hay are you doing here?”

The orange pegasus smiled, her eyes tracing up and down her idol’s body. She was worse for wear. Small brown singes marked her otherwise multi-hued mane, while bruises and scratches covered her coat. And yet, she was alive.

“Well, what are you waiting for, kid? Get me out!” snapped the mare.

Scootaloo jumped back to reality, a hoof reaching out and striking the nearby panel until the magical shield that made up the cell’s exit wavered and disappeared with a hiss.

Rainbow Dash rushed out, her wings popping to their full lengths as she brushed by an overly happy Scootaloo. “Let’s get out of here!” she half-yelled, half-ordered.

“Whoa,” said Wrenches, lifting a hoof and signaling for calm, her eyes lidded over in a look of pure annoyance. “Calm down, we’ve got things under control.”

Rainbow Dash tilted her head to one side, her own expression one of arrogance and irritation as her brow furrowed and her stance changed. Her wingtips gave a light touch to the corridor walls as the mare’s wings splayed out defensively. “Who’re you guys?” she asked, her voice thick with mistrust.

“Look, Miss Dash, we don’t have the time to climb your ego, so shut up and let’s go!” screamed Wrenches, one of her ratchets floated alongside her.

“Who do you think you are?! Do yo--” The rainbow maned pegasus froze mid-sentence, her eyes locked on something behind Wrenches.

The room seemed to chill over as all eyes looked behind her.

A lone stallion stood there, mouth agape and eyes wide as he looked at them all. “Are-are you supposed to be here?” he squeaked, a hoof absently rising towards the comm-unit on his uniform.

“So, you guys have a ship?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Yup.”

“Is it fast?”

“Very.”

“Let’s go.”


Arnaquer stood behind the buffalo, his horn’s glow reflecting off the tight walls of the service corridor as it floated a heavy gun behind her head.

“Y-you don’t need the gun,” squeaked the female meekly.

Arnaquer poked her roughly. “Oh, please, the others are gone, you can stop your act.”

Keen Eyes trudged on, grumbling under her breath until she reached a spot in the corridor that had a large door on its side. “It’s here,” she said in a quasi-whisper before pointing towards one of the doors.

“Alloz-si, open it,” he ordered, his voice gruff as she walked over to the door and pushed it open. Immediately, they could hear the mutterings and beepings of well over a dozen computers that lined the walls. Keen Eyes turned around, her eyes locking with his until he shook his head towards the door, telling her to go in.

Arnaquer followed the female buffalo into the large, open room. A huge glass pane decorated an entire wall, giving everypony an impressive view of the hangar and all the ships that were anchored within; including the Furtif.

Keen Eyes stood meekly in the centre of the room, Arnaquer’s gun pressing lightly against the back of her head as his own head searched the room.

“So, what is Bunnyhelm up to?” he asked as he trotted over to one of the large consoles adorned with hundreds of dials, screens and levers. The lights flickered as the engines gave another strong pulse.

“I--I don’t know--” The gun smacked her behind the head lightly, but strong enough that an audible thud was heard.

“Don’t lie to me,” he said, a hint of menace barely disguised within his voice as he kept walking across the room. He stopped at one of the consoles. “Look how convenient. Somepony left a book containing all the clearance codes, and the radio is on the right channel to send them.”

He entered the commands, pulled on a lever, then gently pressed the machine`s ‘off’ button. “What does he want?” he asked again.

“I-I told you, I do-don’t know what you--”

Boom!

Arnaquer removed his hoof from the now broken screen of the command station. Pieces of glass fell off his fur and hit the ground with tiny tinkles. “Enough, I’m leaving. Give Bunnyhelm my regards.”

With heavy hoof-falls, the stallion walked out, the gun still hanging at the back of her wide-eyed face until he passed the threshold of the doorway.

With a whizz, the weapon whisked away and after Arnaquer, just as her eyes glazed over into a bored stare.

A minute went by, then two, the sounds of his hoof-step`s echo slowly fading.

“Now, that was interesting, wasn’t it?” said a smooth and calm voice as a white and red unicorn walked in. “Can’t fool Arnie, huh?”

“No, sir. He’s very wise.” she said, a hoof rising in salute as Bunnyhelm trotted past her, coming to a rest in front of the massive glass panel. He looked down, towards the opening on the side of the Furtif.

There, Arnaquer was walking up his ship’s ramp, a bored expression on his face as he ignored the soldiers that milled around. His body disappeared into the ship just as the ramp began to raise.

A long, low sigh escaped Bunnyhelm. “Don’t you love it, when your adversary is as smart as you are?”


That last part, those two hundred words or so? Insanely fun to write.

Editors:

Cheezesauce


Proofreaders:

Cpl Hooves

Frederick the Saiyan


Mr.Chicken501@Gmail.com Email / Paypal

*Cough*

I have the urge to play Bioshock. Oh lord, when I play or read something, I tend to emulate it in my writing afterwards. Scary possibilities.

PS:

Cpl Hooves has informed me that a buffalo female’s proper name is “cow”. Not sure why I told you this.

PPS:

Just as I am about to post this, I get this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSqZZHhQa_I

By some fellow called Wandering Artist...

I got fan art!

*the author proceeded to have an aneurysm*

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