• Published 9th Mar 2012
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Do Pegasi Dream of Flying Sheep? - boardgamebrony



Rainbow Dash awakens on a strange new world and searches for her friends amidst high technology.

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Chapter 3: Incursion

Rainbow Dash rested on the bed inside a custom room made for her in the Martian research facility. She glanced around at the decorations and noted how similar the surroundings were compared to her home back in Equestria. The bed and nightstand even mimicked the ones she had in her bedroom. Dash smiled as she tugged at the handle to the drawer. She frowned when she felt resistance. The handle snapped off and Dash reached under the table to find there was no drawer underneath, but an empty metal shell painted to look authentic. She sighed at the fake reproduction and went over to the window where a scene of clouds passed by. She moved closer and saw a flicker in the motion as the clouds repeated after a minute. Sixty seconds later and the scene cycled once more. “Isn’t anything in this room real?” Dash asked aloud.

“That is the question, isn’t it?” a voice said behind the pegasus. Rainbow turned and saw Lysa, the lab tech, standing with her arms around her ever-present tablet.

“You ever go anywhere without that thing?” Dash asked.

Lysa looked down at the handheld touchscreen in her arms and placed it at her side. “Forgot I had it. Look, Rainbow Dash, I need to talk to you about something very important.”

“Like where my friends are?”

“Yes…but first I think you should let me catch you up to speed on your current surroundings.”

Dash reached beyond the window and tapped a viewscreen which broke the cloud formations long enough to reveal a gray wall before resetting back to the serene exterior. “These tricks are pretty simple, Lysa. I’m happy you took the time to remake my house, but none of this fake stuff is fooling anypony. I mean, if you just worked a little harder, who knows what kind of amazing things you could create.”

“Yeah. I know,” Lysa said and looked away. “Dash, I need to talk to you about your friends.”

“Good. Where are they?”

“That’s the thing.” Lysa angled the computer tablet in front of Dash. “We’ve tracked all five of your friends to several different locations around the city of Syria Planum Alpha.”

“Sy-what?”

“It’s the name of the region of Mars we’re on. It’s one of the heaviest population centers on this planet. Besides the military base at Olympus Mons, there are no other major cities on the surface of Mars.”

“Uh huh. So…about my friends…”

“Yes, yes. Of course,” Lysa said as she tapped the screen. The surface of the planet zoomed in to Syria Planum, detailing a ring of raised formations labeled Noctis Labyrinthum around the city of Syria Planum Alpha. There were six beeping dots scattered around the city. “Each of your friends were given an implanted tracking chip so we could keep an eye on them should they leave the premises. And since this has happened every single time we woke one of them up, the chips give us a way to keep track of them. But your friends are fast and hard to follow. I assume it’s a pony trait.”

Rainbow Dash puffed up her chest. “Of course…but wait a minute,” she settled back. “Does that mean I have a chip in me too?”

“Yes.”

“Where is it?”

Lysa cleared her throat. “Under your skin.”

“Where exactly under my skin?”

Lysa gritted her teeth. “Right flank under your cutie mark.”

“You cut my flank?” Dash turned and stared at her cutie mark, spinning around in a circle as she did so. “Where’s the cut? I wanna see it!”

“You can’t. The procedure was very thorough. Anyway, look. If you want to find your friends, it will benefit both of us, because we need to make sure they’re safe and I’m know you want to do the same.” Lysa tapped on the screen as six labels fizzled and disappeared under the dots. “Wait a minute…what’s this?” Dash stopped spinning and looked at the screen. A dot was far away from the others, close to the edge of the Noctis Labyrinthum.

“Which one of my friends is that?” Dash asked.

“I don’t know. There should be a label and information under it, but it’s like someone is actively encoding the system.” She brought up a command prompt and started typing rapidly as a viewscreen popped up with another human face. “Ah, yes. Gio, I was just about to call…”

“Lysa, we have a black badge alert. Harrison brought an entire squad,” the face said. There were people running franticly behind him in the image.

“Oh no. How close?”

“They’re already downstairs at processing. I’m encoding the system right now, which should give us at least twenty-four hours before they hack it, but you need to get Dash out of here quickly!”

“Why is he here?” Lysa asked.

“Something about ‘confiscating company property.’”

“That jerk!” Dash said. “I’m not ANYONE’S property!”

“Is the roof blocked?” Lysa asked as she brought up a map of the facility. The image extended upwards above the screen as Dash’s eyes grew wide. The hologram displayed three floating vehicles hovering over the rooftop.

“Harrison has hover presence over us. If you wanna get out, you gotta find another way. Oh great, they’re at the door here,” Gio said as loud pounding boomed over the speakers. “Get Dash out! You know what they’ll do if they catch her,” Gio said as his image disappeared.

Lysa opened the door and saw two technicians rolling a cart nearby. One spoke up. “Lysa, you wanna get the pony out through the laundry bay?”

A few taps of her screen and she shook her head. “They got that exit tracked.”

“Whoa,” Dash said. “What about my tracking chip?”

“They can’t use it for twenty-four hours thanks to Gio. That gives you plenty of time to gather your friends while we come up with a plan.”

The other researcher looked up suddenly. “Hotel Lunae!”

“Hotel Luna?” Dash asked.

“No. Lunae. You can get to the roof of that hotel from the windows of the conference room on the 27th floor.” The three researchers and the pony sped off towards the stairs as an announcement boomed over the interoffice loudspeaker.

“Attention all employees. A lockdown of the facility is in effect. We ask that you please remain at your stations while members of the 8th Precinct meet with you and the staff. Should you have any questions, contact your floor manager.”

Dash, Lysa and the two tech scientists burst into the stairwell. Lysa held up her tablet and saw small forms exiting the hovercraft on the roof. “We’re gonna have company very soon,” she said as they started speeding up the stairs.

“Why do they want me so bad?” Dash asked.

“You’re no more than an experiment to them,” Lysa said. “They don’t believe you’re a pony, so they’re going to do everything they can to prove they were tricked by you and your friends. Including dissection.”

“DISSECTION?” Dash yelled. A door burst open upstairs as the sound of heavy footsteps echoed from the 39th floor. The steps were moving fast.

The lab techs opened the door to floor 27 as Lysa and Dash ran through. The two scientists followed behind and immediately punched a few numbers into the door before it sealed into place. “I hope this works,” Lysa said.

“I can fly. It’s no big deal…”

“But Dash…”

The elevator chimed. The group ducked into a room full of cubicles as Dash noticed a familiar voice speaking. “…and if we approach the lab from a few floors above, we’ll be able to meet the techheads before they try to move her out. You exit here and we’ll spread the next three officers across 28, 29 and 30. One on every possible floor till the roof team moves for backup. Got it?” Detective Harrison said.

Lysa pulled up her tablet and shifted quickly from floor 27 to 26 and below. There was an unidentified human form on each floor. The two techheads pulled out their own tablets and wrote out messages. Dash was astounded that their language seemed so familiar and didn’t know why she was having so much trouble with it before.

What should we do? one asked.

Conference room is down the hall, the other wrote.

Move Dash through cubicles. In through back conference room entrance, Lysa wrote.

Then what? the first techie asked.

Dash took the tablet from Lysa and pushed the edge of her muzzle against it. In less than ten seconds, there was a crude drawing of Dash flying out the window. Lysa shook her head.

Dash peered around the corner of a cubicle and saw the uniformed officer scanning the office through his blackened visor. The three humans moved into an empty cubicle and huddled down as Lysa drew a quick line around a holographic representation of the room. She tapped a button and wrapped a strap around Dash’s right foreleg. The blue pegasus looked at the tablet now adhered to her body. The human form on the holograph was moving towards her direction.

One techie held up the message, You gotta go!

We’ll stall him! the other tablet said.

Dash bolted around a corner next to the exterior windows and moved past several employees standing up in their cubicles as they looked at the approaching officer. Dash stopped as the human form on the tablet’s hologram turned in her direction. She crouched down behind a corner as the officer shouted out. “Hey, what are you three doing back there?”

“What?” Lysa’s voice asked. “I’m sorry if we don’t have time to stop working just because of your little visit.”

“Harrison wants to see you.”

“And he will when I’m done finishing this report with my assistants. Some of this stuff is very time sensitive.” The form on the tablet turned and walked to the back of the room.

Dash saw a door labeled CONFERENCE and pushed her nose against the edge. She pressed the handle down with her hoof as it clicked open and revealed an empty table on one end along with a couch and wall-sized monitor at the other. Large windows surrounded the perimeter and Dash could see the flashing signs of the Martian city paint the interior of the dark room in shades of neon. She stalked over to the window and saw the sign for Hotel Lunae bathe the conference room in a deep blue glow. The crescent moon design on the side of the building reminded her of a certain royal princess. She peered over the edge of the building and saw a glass roof overlooking a crystalline pool.

A flash of light filled Rainbow Dash’s vision as she staggered back. The hum of a hover car barely pierced the windows as a booming voice filled the night. “STOP RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!”

Dash ducked down and ran back to the entry door.

“She’s going for it!” There was a pop and a shatter as the window fell to pieces behind the blue pegasus. “Sonic Breaker engaged!” Dash crawled under the conference table and saw the officer on the tablet’s holomap run towards the conference room. Lysa’s form jumped him from behind as he wrestled with her and the two techies. Rainbow crawled towards the windows as they began to shatter one-by-one.

“What do you want with me?” Dash yelled, but the hum of the hover’s engine was so loud she could barely hear her own voice.

“Switching to shock rounds!” the gunner shouted as a red light traced the area in front of Dash. There was a shot and a blue cylinder stuck into the ground in front of her muzzle. It charged up. Dash kicked out a chair and flipped herself onto the top of the table as a blast rocked the area beneath it and sent blue lightning pulsing through the floor and into the rubber floor mats. A red light traced the wall and stopped on Dash’s forehead. There was a pop and Dash dropped down as the cylinder hit the area where her head stood only a split second before. The cylinder charged up.

Rainbow Dash gathered in everything in less than a second. She saw Hotel Lunae right underneath the hover and made note of hotel roof only thirty feet away. She bolted forward as the cylinder exploded earlier than she expected. The arc of lightning singed the edge of her wings as she leapt forward to find her flying muscles were non-responsive. In a flash of instinct, she grasped for the landing bars of the hover and caught them in mid-fall. The impact jarred the pegasus as she swung for a second before the vehicle began to spin in mid-air. The gunner looked down and pointed his rifle as Dash as the pegasus swung one hoof wildly. The hit knocked the weapon out of the officer’s hands and fell down to the street below. Dash saw the roof of the hotel nearby, but it was further than she expected and she could not make the jump on her own. She peered down and saw a glass-covered pool area. She saw no other way and let go.

The fall was a blank to Rainbow Dash. The impact, however, was not.

The pegasus crashed through the glass roof of the pool area and fell into the water below. She disappeared beneath the surface for a moment before rising up to catch a breath. Her left foreleg was in severe pain. Several hotel guests ran out of the pool and made their way across the lobby. Dash pulled herself out of the water and noticed the tablet screen was now blank. She ran across the lobby, past several terrified onlookers and out a back exit into the Martian night.

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