• Published 4th Mar 2012
  • 13,638 Views, 959 Comments

Of Steam Gears and Wings - RavensDagger

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

  • ...

A Tombstone

Scootaloo squeezed her hoof on the trigger again and again, desperately stabbing the little red button. Nothing happened.

In front of her, the four squadrons of Requisitions remained on their downward sweep, moving at an exhilarating pace towards Sweetie Belle and her Thunderbolt. “Come on!” the orange pegasus screamed at her inanimate controls. “Sweetie’s going to die!”

Frustrated, she flicked on her comm unit. “Wrenches, what the hay did you do to my guns!?”

She waited, impatiently counting down the seconds as she swished past and through clouds, the Expedite growling along with her.

Finally, Wrenches’ voice screeched through her speakers. “What’s wrong with the guns?”

“ ‘What’s wrong with the guns?’ They’re not firing! Click click, no bang bang!”

“Have you tried holding down the trigger?” Wrenches asked after sighing.

“Hol-- Are you kidding me?”

The Requisitors were quickly approaching the Thunderbolt. As they did so, Scootaloo could clearly see the rear gunners aligning their heavy weapons. Hurry up, hurry up, her mind screamed desperately. Tears began to appear at the edges of her eyes.

A stream of red blurred past her side, followed milliseconds later by the constant and very loud drone of a machine gun. The bullets riddled the back of one of the biplanes, wrinkling it into an abstract form before the cabin’s windows splashed red.

The smoking craft spun out, trailing smoke and flames as it shot through the nearest cloud and out of sight. Kami Kaze’s Divine Wind pulled up alongside her, the three-legged pony within twisting around to give her a goofy smile.

Her radio gargled again and Wrenches’ voice spoke through it. “Okay, aim at an enemy, hold down the trigger, then sit back and watch.”

Grumbling to herself, Scootaloo played with the rudder, adjusting the front end of Expedite until her crosshair smoothly slid over the shivering back of the Requisitor. The trigger slid back, clicking slightly as it met the far end and snapped into place.

Counting impatiently, Scootaloo waited. Exactly as she reached the five second mark, she felt her mane starting to tug upwards. “What th--”

Two brilliant red beams shot out of the Expedite, making the small craft rumble as they pierced through the sky, and into the nearest Requisitor.

The air sizzled, zapping sporadically as electric bolts spread across the metal frame of the biplane. The beam didn’t stop as the plane began to dive, instead continuing to cut through it until it finally split the vehicle in half. The two pieces of the burning wreck exploded as the beam collided with the plane’s fuel reserves. Parts littered the skies like fireworks, sending fumes and flames everywhere.

The beam travelled onwards and into another Requisitor, this one on the outer edge of the forward-most formation. The two ponies within visibly cringed when the blade sliced a pair of wings clean off. The plane tumbled, side over side.

Yet another craft, this one only a few hundred paces ahead, began to fly edgeways, its pilot desperately trying to veer away from the deadly beam to no avail. They were being pulled in, like shards of metal to a magnet, as the biplane crashed into the beam, vaporizing its mid-section.

Gently, Scootaloo let go of the trigger and watched the beam fade away into nothingness.

“What the hay was that?” Scootaloo asked into the comm-unit, voice edged with both hysteria and awe.

Wrenches answered, “It’s an arcana cannon. Just hold for a few seconds, try not to hit your allies, and don’t forget to let it cool for a bit after every shot. I didn’t install the overcharge-stopping doohickey.”

The orange pegasus smiled. This I like, she thought, pressing the trigger lightly. Her eyes alighted on the remaining nine Requisitors like a hawk on a helpless bunny. She smiled malevolently.

With a screech, Kami Kaze spoke over the comm. “Um, Wrenches, I like that you found the time to, um, improve Scoot’s plane, but did you really have to give her a laser cannon? Really?”

“You’re just jealous!” the pegasus retorted as she pushed her craft towards his. Playfully, Kami Kaze ducked under her and reappeared on the Expedite’s other side, a trail of grey smoke following the maneuver.

“I asked her for those months ago!”

Arnaquer was heard over the radio, his gruff voice calm, yet hinting at the heavy possibility of punishment. “Arretez! You two get to work. The Thunderbolt must reach us soon. Miss Dash is becoming irate.”

“Right, save your bickering for later Kami; we have a job to do.” Scootaloo looked out ahead of her. Of the dozen Requisitors that had been flying after the Thunderbolt, only nine remained. From within the cockpits, she could see the pilots squirming around, trying to see what had happened to their vanguard. “Kami, can you take care of the ones nearest Sweetie? I'll take out the rest, then pull around.”

Kami Kaze sighed through the speakers. “Got it,” he said as his small gun-heavy craft pulled ahead. Scootaloo watched the once-sleek vehicle move forward, all twelve of its cannons twisting to pick out an unfortunate enemy. Every other inch of the craft, it seemed, was covered in either a fresh bullet hole, scorch marks, or metallic patches.

Shaking her head, she returned her gaze to the nearest Requisitor, the last remaining member of the rear flight. Loosening the throttle and opening the air-brakes a little, Scootaloo jumped forwards in the cockpit, held in place by her straps.

The biplane raced ahead, seemingly intent upon catching up with its allies, when her cross-hair aligned with it. “I'm sorry,” she whispered as she squeezed down the trigger. She counted eighteen seconds before the Expedite bucked and her vision was filled with the multi-hued glare of the beam.

One of the ponies within the biplane, the gunner, had time to jump out and tug at his parachute's cord before the converging beams bisected the craft.

As she jammed a hoof on the rudder and adjusted her ailerons, her craft swung around and faced the rest of the Requisitors.

Kami Kaze's Divine Wind was playfully spinning and weaving around the lumbering craft, spewing round after round every time he came around. They didn't stand a chance, she realized. The three-hoofed pony might have been crazy, suicidal even, but he had no fear and many years of real experience.

Two planes from the nearest flight were occupied trying to stave off Kami's hungry assault. Six planes remained, all of them within minutes of reaching Sweetie Belle. Scootaloo looked around her and through the thick cloud of exhaust coming from the Expedite. Barely visible were the four Moths, slowly beelining towards the Thunderbolt.

“All right, you can do this Scootaloo,” she pep-talked herself. “Worst case scenario, you mess up real bad, Sweetie dies, and so do all the rebels. Right, can't mess up.” She jammed the throttle and pulled up, piercing through the clouds to alight in the centre of a ray of sunlight. She could feel the soft warmth prickling against her fur as she angled herself and barrelled off towards the Thunderbolt.

After what she suspected was far enough, she yanked the yoke forwards and dived below the clouds. The two remaining formations of Requisitors were right there, all still in neat rows, just waiting to be picked off.

Her ship rumbling as the air raced by, Scootaloo began to compress her trigger, counting down once more as she did so. Exactly on the eighteenth second, her cross-hair alighted on the forward-most Requisitor.

“Good bye.”

Pipsqueak watched in awe as the Expedite fired beam after beam into the seemingly helpless Requisitors. Scootaloo’s craft dived into the the tattered formation of Imperial planes, deftly avoiding their fire before returning it with her own deadly beams.

He returned his awed gaze to the inside of his Vanquisher’s cockpit. Sleek lines met his sight, each one curving around the complex controls in a fashion that led the eye towards the important things: the yoke, throttle, and weapon controls.

His hooves lightly stroked the knobs and yoke as he took a deep breath. This isn’t my thing, he thought. He’d never been in a fight before, let alone one of this scale. His hooves shook against the controls and he closed his eyes, trying to concentrate.

Behind and below him, another Requisitor met its end, exploding in a ball of flame and shrapnel that vibrated the air around him. He cringed, closing his eyes once more and wishing he were far away.

His radio crackled. “-ipsqueak?” Sweetie Belle said. Opening his eyes, the earth pony flicked on his microphone and spoke in a too-loud voice.

“Yes, Ma’am?”

“Ma’am? Anyway, join up with the rest of Lambda squadron, you’re lagging behind. Oh, and keep your radio on.”

Pipsqueak blushed as he noticed that three of the ships in formation around the Thunderbolt had pulled up and were veering around. “Yes, Ma’am. On my way, Ma’am.” He pulled back on his yoke, feeling a slight jolt as his sleek fighter lifted. Within seconds, the agile craft had oversteered him through and past the exhaust of his allies.

“This is Lambda Three. How you doing back there new kid?”

Are they talking to me? “Um, not bad, Three... I think.”

The pilots of the three planes in front of him laughed. One after another, they shook their tail end in a show of companionship. “C’mon Four, catch up or you’ll miss all the action, ” Three said.

Pipsqueak obliged, fumbling with the throttle until his plane slid into the formation. On the side of each plane was a number painted in a hasty scrawl. Three’s plane hovered beside his, cutting the wind with its sharp fore-blade.

Pipsqueak looked ahead and into a wall of cloud. Beyond it, he could just barely make out the huge shapes of Imperial warships in the distance. Turning to the left a little, he could make out the equally large group of Rebellion ships. The rebels looked like a rag-tag group with their odd patchwork of ships, their less-than-tight formation, and their slow, lumbering advance. Between the two groups, the occasional flash of light arced across the sky, exploding as they crashed into the ground below.

They flew forward in silence, only broken by the odd crackle on the comm and the sharp pop of a faraway detonation. Finally, Pipsqueak broke the silence. “Um, what’s our mission, exactly?”

Two ponies groaned over the comm. Three once again answered him with the patience of a mother. “We’re going after those Moths. Sweetie lost sight of them and they could easily wreck our planes... Actually, we were supposed to go after those four flights of Requisitors, but that little red plane--”

“Oh, the Expedite?”

“The what?” another voice asked. Two’s plane shifted a little, tightening the distance by a few meters.

“The Expedite; it’s Scootaloo’s plane. Um, she’s Sweetie’s best friend; well, one of them. She was on the Crusader with me.”

“So,” the same voice began, this time with a grudging respect. “You were on the same crew as that dangerous thing and Miss Sweetie Belle? Damn kid, you must be good.”

Pipsqueak fumbled with his words again, both wanting to deny it and and basking in the temporary glory.

“Moths, Five o'clock!” Two screamed. Both his and One’s Vanquishers pulled up and turned around, cutting the air above Pipsqueak’s plane as they twisted back.

Huh, it’s started? Pipsqueak blinked back in surprise before turning around in the cockpit to look behind him. A few hundred meters back, not too far from the Thunderbolt, four massive round planes were lumbering along. Pipsqueak gulped when he saw the enormous array of weapons poking out of the ships.

“C’mon, Four,” Three said. He turned towards the Vanquisher beside his and looked into the cockpit.

A sweet, round-faced mare smiled back at him and winked before pulling back on her yoke. Blushing for no apparent reason, Pipsqueak followed.

One and Two were already halfway there, the rear props of their planes spinning wildly as they arched across the sky and towards the Moths. The four heavy fighters began to turn around slowly to meet the sleeker fighters.

Alright, I can do this, Pipsqueak told himself as he watched One and Two disengage and fire in one smooth maneuver.

Bullets pinged against the armoured sides of two Moths, but the planes kept turning as if completely unfazed. “Whoa, these suckers are tough. But they’re slow. Stay in behind them and keep firing.”

“See you when it’s done, kid!” Three yelled as she charged ahead, guns blazing.

Seconds later, Pipsqueak was in the fray, his own target buzzing below him. Crap, I have to get around! He jammed a hoof on his rudder and slammed into the the side of his cockpit, losing sight of the Moth once more.

Desperately, he pulled up, pointing the sharp nose of his craft into the sun and jamming the throttle as deep as it could go. Maybe if I get far enough and turn around-- His thoughts were cut short as a literal wall of bullets rent the air not a meter off his side. He weaved around, avoiding burst after burst as he tried to stave off panic.

With a huge yank, he ripped his yoke back and almost puked when his stomach climbed into his throat. The Moth was in front of him, every one of its dozen or so guns flashing wildly as they spewed a swarm of ammo towards him.

Dents started appearing on his wing and on the body of his craft as bullets dug into the Vanquisher’s feeble armour. I can’t die; I need to see Apple Bloom! He pulled the trigger.

His Vanquisher burped, sending a mass of steel crashing into the front of the Moth. Nothing happened. Again and again he pulled on the trigger, firing burst after burst of useless bullets.

Just like that, the two planes flew by each other, the wind shivering between them as they passed. Oh, Goddess, I’m alive? He panted hard, blinking away the sweat that was trickling down his forehead.

Okay, I’m more agile. If I can avoid him, I might win. He gulped as he began turning around to face the enemy once more. Seeing that the Moth was only halfway through its own turn, Pipsqueak afforded himself a smile, which disappeared as a stray line of bullets from another fight blew by. Right, concentrate. Aiming down his crosshairs, he guessed where the plane would be in a few seconds and fired.

He was awarded when a line of smoke began to trail out of the Moth’s side. Still, the plane kept turning to face him. He cringed, expecting another head-to-head, but was surprised to see two plates fly off the front end with a puff of smoke. What the hay is tha--

Hundreds of rockets filled the sky in front of the fat fighter, each and every square meter filling with one or two of the deadly devices.

Oh, it has rockets. Cool.

Without any thought, and acting purely on instinct, Pipsqueak flipped onto his side and pulled up, jamming his hoof onto the throttle. He cringed as the missiles grew larger and larger. He could feel the air vibrating around his Vanquisher. His hind legs slapped the rudder controls. He tore back at the yoke and kept pressure on his throttle, and in a tenth of a second, the missiles were by him.

Turning his craft once more, Pipsqueak’s whiter-than-white face looked up and at the Moth. Two gaping black holes were opened at its front as it was starting to pull up.

He blew past it himself, still flying under the acceleration of his quick avoidance maneuvers. Again, he played with his controls and turned around slowly. Oh goddess, not again.

The Moth, too, had turned around as was facing him once more. Twisting a little, and hoping that a second wave wouldn’t arrive, the earth pony aimed his crosshair into one of the holes and fired.

A few flashes of light sparked uselessly within the box. Screaming madly, both in anger and desperation, Pipsqueak squeezed the trigger down again and again, sending his own tiny and seemingly ineffective shots into the gaping holes.

Something within the Moth sparked and ignited under Pipsqueak’s stunned stare. The tiny explosive jolt was followed by a dozen more, each one spreading further into the plane.

With startling suddenness, the entire bottom half of the Moth exploded, raining the sky with chunks of shrapnel as the massive plane began to tumble towards the ground below in a slow spiral.

I-- I did it!? Pipsqueak slapped his comm unit on. “Hey guys, I did it! I got one!” he excitedly screamed.

Three’s voice was the only one to say anything. “I could use some help down here, real bad!” she said, her voice quivering.

Pipsqueak rolled his plane onto its side and looked below.

Three’s plane seemed to hang in midair, not moving, as the mare within looked up. Pleading magenta eyes gazed into his own, grabbing his attention and holding it despite the huge distance.

Time froze as a Moth, damaged and puffing smoke, aligned itself along Three’s side and fired. He could hear the distant popping as the bullets arced across the sky and bit into Three’s tail.

The Vanquisher jerked, bullet after bullet ripping across it, while Three, stuck within, screamed a silent cry for help. The wave of destruction traveled from the back to the front, rending and ripping the thin metal of the once-sleek fighter. Finally, it reached the cabin, crushing the glass of the cockpit with booming finality before moving on.

Three died in a tiny, almost nondescript fashion as her plane simply stopped flying, it became just another mangled mess that fell like a brick through cloud and sky.

“No,” Pipsqueak whispered in horror as the mare he had hardly just met, disappeared from life forever.

Pipsqueak’s gaze returned to the Moth, whom started to veer away, one of its sides still smoking violently. He pitched his plane down and started to loop around and towards the Moth, cutting down on his throttle as he did so.

Two voices argued over the comm, One and Two, but he ignored them, focusing solely on the plane ahead.

Carefully and methodically, he aligned himself with the fighter’s three-propped rear and adjusted his crosshairs until they fit right over the Moth.

He fired. Burst after burst dented and dinged the massive plane, hardly doing anything but make it go faster. Its pilot weaved, skipping from side to side and rolling erratically in a desperate attempt to get Pipsqueak off his tail. But with unnerving precision, the earth pony followed, firing every time the Moth entered his sights.

Thirty seconds into the battle, one of the Moth’s props ripped apart, all three blades flinging themselves across the sky. Pipsqueak kept firing, heedless of the world around him, or of the urgent screams over the radio.

Another burst, and another part of the enemy craft fell apart. Pipsqueak grimaced as he avoided the stray parts. Dammit, just die!

The Moth caught fire, flames licking the side of the plane before they flickered in the wind. His Vanquisher fired again, and the Moth rocked as small explosions dotted its side. Got you, you sick bastard.

Pipsqueak turned his attention to his weapons display, idly noting that he was halfway through his supply of bullets. He found a small tab labeled ‘rocket’ and flicked it, smiling malevolently as he felt and heard the clicking of the Vanquisher’s hull opening. A red tab lit up on his trigger.

Gently adjusting his pitch and yaw, Pipsqueak closed one eye, judging the distance between him and the Moth. “Goodbye,” he said as he squeezed the trigger.

A rocket, tiny yet dangerous, whooshed forwards and kept a straight line. The Moth’s pilot never saw the flying explosive until it made contact with the tail of his plane.

The detonation of both plane and explosive deafened Pipsqueak and lit the sky with a fireworks display of sparks and plane bits.

Pipsqueak leaned back, his head resting on his seat as he let out a tension-removing breath. “I won,” he whispered.

He opened his eyes and looked around him. The sense of victory vanished immediately, to be replaced by both shock and fear.

The bulk of the Imperial fleet was there, only a few hundred meters ahead of him. Everywhere he looked, his vision was filled with massive airships and, more disturbingly, fighter planes.

He clicked on his radio. “Help?”

“Transmission incoming!” one of the tech-ponies screamed. All the other ponies who had been anxiously awaiting that very call got to work: running about, jabbing, pressing, and working all the complex machines that dotted the Communications Room.

Apple Bloom watched with a sort of awed detachment as they did their tasks with a single-minded determination. This is war? she wondered. There were no explosions, no death screams, no glorious heroes or malevolent villains. Just normal ponies trying to be brave while hiding their fearful glances.

“Um, excuse me, um, Miss Apple,” a voice at her side asked. Turning, she stared up at a long limbed and buck-toothed pony. He slowly pulled out a thick folder and hoofed it her way. “These are the plans we received from the Thunderbolt. Could you bring them to the viewing room, please?”

Apple Bloom smiled at the shy colt. “Sure thing; I’ll get it over there in no time.”

The exit of the room was another fiasco with ponies walking in and out, all funneled through the tight metal archway. She stared at the crowd, the weight of the important document seeming to double as she felt the responsibility weigh on her shoulders.

A smile crossed her lips as she backpedaled. With thundering hoofsteps, the cream mare charged forward and leaped, flying over the heads of the preoccupied ponies below.

She landed gracefully on the brass grating of the huge hallway that bisected the Moon, the same one in which she found Sweetie the day before. The one where Pipsqueak had kissed her. Her face’s colour deepened as she made her way up the ship.

From beyond the thick metallic walls, she could hear the hum of the ship’s engines and its massive sparkle generators. Perhaps more ominous though, was the constant popping of distant cannons.

The rebellion wasn’t much of an army, she realized as her gaze travelled over shaking stallions and trembling mares. They were normal ponies that were going to war. Her mind started counting absently, picking out the parts that were most likely to go first, as if she were tinkering with one of the Crusader’s engines. She stopped herself with a firm nod. These were living ponies, not part of some machine. She hoped her sister thought the same way.

Eventually, Apple Bloom reached the viewing room, the large amphitheater that took up a sizable chunk of the ship. She stood in the entrance, dazzled by the flickering display of ships in dozens of colours moving towards each other.

“Watch out!” a voice screamed from somewhere in the corridor behind her.

On the displays, the largest ship by far fired a single thin beam that passed below the Moon.

In reality, a cascading rumble sounded through the ship, deafening all but the loudest sounds as the Moon seemed to twist in midair, its fore dropping suddenly. Apple Bloom fell onto her stomach, hooves grabbing onto anything in reach as she started skidding backwards.

Mares and stallions both screamed and shouted. Damage reports were ordered, given, and promptly lost as the ship lurched once more, suddenly righting itself.

Groaning at the loss of orientation, Apple Bloom shook herself and walked over to the View Room, her steps much more cautious. Peeking into the room, she looked beyond the holograms of warships and aircrafts to Princess Luna, whom stood poised in the centre of the room. Ponies were running to her and reading short, one line reports as she paid rapt attention to the movement of the ships.

Apple Bloom overheard one of the ponies as he approached. “Main shield hit by the outer edge of the Sol Scorchers blast. Light destroyer Silver Streak lost,” he said in an emotionless, clipped voice before turning and running away.

On the display, a small green ship winked away, disappearing as a marker flashed below it. “Rescue teams on that location,” the princess ordered, her voice carrying no doubt that her words would be followed.

“We’ll take care of them, ma’am,” Applejack, who was sitting at Luna’s side, said. “My ponies on the ground can be there within the hour and get them to Fluttershy’s ponies right quick.”

“No, keep your formations. We’ll see to them later.” The Princess looked back and at a group of ponies near yet another communications unit. “How long until it recharges?”

“We-we don’t know, your Majesty. The link isn’t up yet.”

The Princess hummed to herself and looked back at the images.

The rebellion was forming up, just as she had ordered the day before. Two thick wedges of ships approached one another, as if they were going to collide on the third, and largest, formation. Amid the green and red ships, little flashes of yellow light arced across the room, plotting the trajectory of every shot fired.

“They’re still gauging their distances,” Luna predicted. “As soon as we are within range, they will start their counter maneuvers.”

Apple Bloom sensed the gravity of the situation, but, remembering the urgency of her mission, settled for a tiny, awkward cough. “Um, s’cuse me, your Majesty,” she said, noting that the next pony in the long line of note-readers glared at her.

The princess looked down at her, but her eyes were still glazed over. She had yet to really register Apple Bloom’s presence. “I, uh, have the Sol Scorcher plans,” the earth pony continued.

Luna snapped to attention and focused on the pile on her back. With a slight glow of her horn, the princess grabbed the sheets and held them aloft in front of herself, scanning the pages attentively. A frown creased the princess’ forehead before she returned to staring at her holograms.

Apple Bloom idly stroked the floor, waiting for something, anything, to happen. Finally, after minutes of boring waiting and listening in on the continual stream of announcer ponies, she decided to wander around the room.

The images that floated about kept twitching as the positions of the ships were moved and accurate reports assessed. Her eyes wandered around the room and rested on the busiest corner where ponies were receiving their reports.

Slowly, she approached and stood nearby, ears perked as she listened to the incoming traffic. “Freedom’s falling behind formation, engine trouble,” one of the ponies said in an emotionless and calm voice.

“Imperial Interdiction Class is smoking.”

Silver Streak’s rescue team’s ETA is five minutes.”

Thunderbolt sent four of its fighters after a quarter squadron of Moths. Thunderbolt is still transmitting,” an orange mare said as she sat with headphones on, pressing various buttons.

Apple Bloom got up and snuck a little closer, listening intently to the mare. A minute passed before she spoke again. “Team Labda has engaged Moths.”

“Unit Three was lost.” The mare ticked on a tally mark.

Apple Bloom stepped forward, closing the distance between the two. “Um, ‘scuse me ma’am, but can I hear those reports?”

The orange mare turned around, staring at Apple Bloom indignantly. “Shush, we’re working here,” she hissed.

Apple Bloom reddened. “No, I won’t leave. I want to know what’s going on!” The attention of a few other ponies shifted from their work to the two mares.

“Well you can’t have it, little Miss.”

“Why not?” Apple Bloom stomped forward.

The mare stepped out of her station, aware of the growing number of eyes on her. “Because, you don’t have any authority to--”

Thinking fast, Apple Bloom shoved a hoof into the mare’s mouth. “No authority?” she exclaimed as indignantly as possible. “Do you not know who I am? I’m Apple Bloom. From the Apple family. You know, the ones feeding half of Equestria?” Her hoof moved from the mouth and poked the mare’s chest before Apple Bloom pointed towards where her sister and the Princess stood. “See that? That’s my sister standing beside the Princess. If I wanted, I could go there and make sure you’re never hired by anypony, ever, again.”

Slowly, with wide eyes and shivering hooves, the mare removed her headphones and passed them to Apple Bloom. She slapped them onto her head and walked over to the console. There were a dozen switches, one row of which were labeled Thunderbolt and had a section marked with Lambda one through six.

She flicked the first. Heavy breathing met her ears. Not Pipsqueak.

She flicked the second. This time it was the cackle of a seemingly mad pony. “Got ya, I got ya!”

Apple Bloom shook her head and skipped to four, after a sad pause over three. Pipsqueak’s panting came in loud and clear over the headphones. “Help!” he screamed in desperation.

With startling rapidity, Apple Bloom ran past the gathered ponies and out of the room under the surprised stares of everypony gathered.

The walls of the hallway became a blur as she barreled down them. I need to save Pipsqueak! I need to save him, she kept repeating to herself. The entrance to the hangar

came and went, and she found herself in the Moon’s massive deck. Hundreds of crafts could be held here, from fighters to light bombers and even some of the smaller airships. Unfortunately, the hangar was empty but for a single ship tucked in the far corner.

Without hesitation, Apple Bloom raced across the cavernous room under the watchful eyes of the deck-workers. She inspected the cobbled-together craft as she galloped, realizing with horror that each and every inch of the thing was covered in eight dents or thin rusty metal.

Its cockpit was mounted on one side of the body in such a fashion that the pilot couldn’t see the other side. The body itself was one long, cigar shaped tube with a propellor at both ends. A single cannon jutted out of the bottom, its long rusted shaft as long as the plane itself.

Apple Bloom reached the plane, ripped open the cockpit, and hopped in, cursing as one of the bench’s broken springs dug into her backside. Slamming the door, she unhappily noted that one of the hinges was missing and that there was no trace of an airtight seal. Gulping, she fumbled around the at-least-somewhat familiar console and found the ignition.

No pony had bothered to remove the key.

Nevermind that, she thought, I need to get to Pipsqueak. She turned the ignition, and was hardly surprised to hear nothing. “Oh, c’mon!” she screamed as she punched the dash.

A knock resounded through the plane, emanating from the weathered old stallion tapping on the cockpit window. “Uh, Miss, this plane d’un’t work,” he said before giving her a toothy smile.

She reddened. “I don’t have time for this. Pipsqueak’s dying, and I need to save him, and I never told him that I liked him, too.” She began sobbing and punching the console.

“I’m sorry Misses; the Tombstone’s been sitting here f’er years, but maybe if y’all step out an--”

Her hoof struck one of the many buttons on the dash. An alarm rang through the little plane and, moments later, the huge engine ignited, the distinct sound of an eighteen cylinder engine rattling the Tombstone’s cockpit.

Both the forward and back propellers started spinning with wild abandon.

Smiling to herself, Apple Bloom tweaked the controls and powered on the plane’s antiquated Sparkle Generator and pushed the craft forwards and out of the hangar. “I’m coming, Pip!”

“She’s g’un die.”

Fun fun fun!

Edited by:
Cpl Hooves
Your Antagonist
Frederick the Saiyan
Staple Cactus

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