• 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 5: The Dustheads and the Pegasus

According to the P.E.T. viewscreen on Rainbow Dash’s foreleg, it was now close to sunrise on the Martian hemisphere containing the city of Syria Planum Alpha. The tracking beacon for one of her friends was moving towards the landing zone ten blocks northeast of Dash’s current position in the slums near the northern edge of the city. The pegasus still couldn’t identify which tracking beacon was connected to which pony since one of the workers at TruCore had encoded the system as a countermeasure against the intrusion of Detective Harrison. The officer was no doubt still on the search for Rainbow Dash and the thought hastened the hooffalls of the blue pony as she made her way past the ramshackle housing of the homeless humans.

There was a beeping on the tablet. Rainbow Dash stopped and saw a call incoming from TruCore. Since her left foreleg ached due the fall she took only an hour before, she did move it if she could avoid it. She tapped the screen with her nose as a human face popped up.

“Rainbow Dash, thank goodness you’re alive! Lysa was so worried about you,” the male human said. He took off his sunglasses to reveal dark brown eyes.

“Who are you and where’s Lysa?” Dash asked as she huddled against a wall. She saw no movement around her and the stillness made her nervous.

“I’m Daniel Williams. I’m here to help you while Lysa is gone, but I don’t have much time. I’m talking to you from a cleaning supply room while Harrison interrogates the staff. I’m doing what I can to stay here until things cool down, but my communication will be sporadic until Harrison and his officers leave.”

Dash shook her head. “I don’t know you, Daniel. And you don’t know me. Unless Lysa says so, there’s no reason I should trust you.”

“You’re right. And I’m going to do what I can to gain that trust because we don’t have much time. In about twenty-two hours, the lock on the computer system will wear off and the officers of the 8th precinct will know the exact locations of you and your friends. Nothing will stop Harrison from rounding all of you up. You have until then to gather your friends together as Lysa comes up with a plan to help you escape Syria Planum Alpha.”

Dash watched the eyes of Daniel Williams very carefully. The blue pegasus was not a lie detector by any means, but she had seen dishonesty before and looked close for any indicators on the face of the human. His eyes were solid. His gaze was unbreaking. He seemed genuinely concerned about the pony and her situation, but Dash didn’t like his sudden appearance.

“You wanna help me?” Dash asked. “What can you do for me right now?”

“Tell me you’re location and I’ll tell you a safe haven nearby.”

“Not likely. Try again.”

“Guess you’re going to be paranoid for a while. All right, then. Within an hour’s walk of the TruCore building, there are many places you can find assistance.”

“How do you know I walked?” Dash asked and then immediately regretted the mention.

“The shuttle system, huh? Well, you could be anywhere then. I suggest you look for your friends in places they would naturally gravitate towards. Think of their personalities and the traits they exhibit the most in their daily lives.”

Dash was careful with her next words once she realized she had given away the thought she was using the shuttle system. “I don’t know, Daniel. You must have information on all of us. Why don’t you tell me what I should be looking for?”

The human nodded. “You should start by avoiding security checkpoints because it’s likely word has reached all corners of the city about your escape. As to your friends, I don’t know where they would be. In fact, I don’t understand why this citywide alert wasn’t activated once the first of your friends left TruCore. There must be something about you that made this more personal for Harrison and the 8th precinct. Be careful.” And with that, the image disappeared and Dash moaned in frustration.

She walked a few more blocks when something began to stir in the back of her mind. Dash looked around for any sign of trouble, but found nothing. She saw a space shuttle sitting on the launch pad three blocks away, though she didn’t understand how the term “space shuttle” was part of her mental vocabulary. She kept her eyes on the craft as she moved past the slums and into an industrial district with large buildings devoid of any windows or noticeable doors. It felt as though the pony was walking through a metallic canyon with cliffs trailing past the smog barrier above. Dash didn’t like to think about what the air quality must be doing to her body and pushed forward as the stirring in her head suddenly hit like a freight train. There was a flash, and the blue pegasus saw the interior of a railway car appear before her very eyes...

---

The transport from Noctis Labyrinthum had entered the city of Syria Planum Alpha and began to slow in speed as it settled into a loading dock next to a colossal space shuttle. The pony sat idle, staring out the window as she remained enclosed within a specialized mining suit. The dirt and grime on the glass of the shuttle viewports made it impossible for the pony to notice the paralyzed form of the blue pegasus standing in the street below. The humans in the cabin had already taken off their helmets and were chatting away when one man slapped the pony on the back and smiled at her.

“Hey, sweetheart. Don’t be so glum. I know you’re new to this whole thing, but us guys don’t hate on anyone who uses a form overlay. Holosuiters can be pretty entertaining on long trips through space. And we’re twenty minutes away from going to the moon! Can you believe it?”

The pony’s expression was hidden behind the reflective shade of her space helmet. She shook her head and lowered her shoulders. There was a strange sensation in the back of her mind and the image of another pony kept popping in. She turned towards the window and looked outside, but the windows of the shuttle were thick with dust from the labyrinth mines. It was hard to see anything at all.

---

Dash snapped out of her thoughts as she glanced up at the transport now stopped at a loading platform below the space shuttle. She spoke aloud. “Twenty minutes? The moon? No, no, no! But how…how did I see that?” Rainbow Dash began to run and felt the pain in her left foreleg flare up again. She pushed through it as it screamed at her to stop. She made it within half a block of the stairs to the platform before she grinded to a halt. The ache was now an intense agony which made it hard for her to walk. She looked at the trenchcoat given to her by the kind father and child from the train and remembered how well it fit the standing human. She stood up and tried walking on two legs. It was tricky, but not impossible, though she did not sprint and managed to jog at best. To Dash, she felt as if trying to run in her sleep.

There were stairs leading up the loading dock and Dash could see a checkpoint building with humans patrolling the base of the area. Dash remembered what Williams said about security and ducked into an alley. There were fences lining the way and the pegasus knew it would take too long to climb over all of them. She tested her wings again and found they were still spasming and would not lift her off the ground. Frustrated, she punched a door with her right hoof and saw it swing open into a warehouse. Red spinning lights went off over the entryway as she ducked inside and closed the door. The lights however, did not stop.

The surge in her mind spiked once again…

---

“Hey, what’s that over there?” the human said to the pony in the mining transport. The Equestrian peered down at the red lights spinning atop a warehouse next to the loading transport. A squad of four security guards ran up to the building and broke off into two pairs. One team motioned to the door closest to the shuttle platform as the other group made their way around. The pony peered out the window and kept her eyes on the scene below.

---

Dash jolted back to herself as she shook her head. “Four of them?” she said aloud.

A door burst open at the end of the warehouse as the pony pulled her trenchcoat closer to her body. It covered most of the blue and gave her some camouflage in the harsh light of the building. Her eyes perked up as she detected footsteps heading around the top metal catwalk looming over the area full of plastic storage boxes. The pegasus huddled into a corner next to a stack of crates with the words PLATFORM STORAGE UNIT A3. She tried to recall any memory which would give her an edge in the situation. Twilight Sparkle never faced anything like this. Rarity was against combat for the most part, and Applejack was always ready for a stand-up fight. Fluttershy would hide, but how? And what did Pinkie Pie do that time she was hiding in plain sight? She looked at the storage boxes and had an idea.

The footsteps were closer now as Dash worked furiously to assemble her plan into action. When the humans stopped right over her, they pointed flashlights down onto the area. From Dash’s vantage point, she could see the light hit the ground over the spare parts where she had emptied the box.

“See anything?” One human whispered.

“Quiet!” the other said and then whispered, “They’re stealing supplies. Look at what they left in a hurry.” Another door opened somewhere as the two pairs of footsteps moved across the catwalk and became quieter in the distance. Dash pushed herself up off the floor at a crawl and held the box over her body. She moved around a corner and kept her muzzle under the front tip of the storage container. There was a door on the catwalk above, but the only way up to it was by ladder. She had no idea where the humans were and even then didn’t know what she would do once she got outside. The pegasus had to clear the distance across open ground to reach the loading platform. She had no time to come up with a clear plan as she stopped near the ladder and stayed under the box.

She heard a radio outside. "What’s going on down there?”

A human voice answered right outside the closed entry door. “Lockdown of Unit A3. Security thinks it’s thieves trying to go for the shuttle supplies again.”

“You need anything from that warehouse for the mission?” the radio voice asked.

“Not according to the manifest of the Star Song. I’ll double-check just to make sure, but I’m not going in there if I don’t have to…”

Rainbow Dash’s tablet sputtered to life. The face of Daniel Williams came on again and this time there was text under his image: I hear your predicament and I have a way out. Think of this as an exercise in trust. Listen carefully, now…

The radio outside turned on again. “If there’s no need to go in there, tell your security escort to take you back to the loading bay immediately to prepare for launch.”

“Right. I’ll just…wait a minute,” said the voice of the manifest checker.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“There’s a last-minute addition to the log. Shoot and I have to find it in less than fifteen minutes AND get it on the ship? What is this: box number 1010?”

Dash peeked out from the box and spied the number near the lip of the storage case she was hiding under: 1010.

Better close it and upright it quick, Daniel’s message said. Rainbow Dash looked around quickly, saw no guards and flipped over the box as she closed the plastic flaps and curled up inside. She covered herself with the trenchcoat as best as she could.

The door to the warehouse opened as three pairs of footsteps walked in.

“Whoa…and here it is. Another employee must’ve put this here before they updated the log. Let’s see…the special instructions say the contents are classified. Well, Lobo can deal with it when it gets to his station. You guys stick with me as I get this on the dolly. Keep those rifles ready in case of trouble."

Dash felt herself being lifted up as her mind was shocked once again.

---

“Ten minutes till launch. Last minute cargo now entering storage hull. Crew must take their seats in the cryo area for sleep insertion,” a voice said over the space shuttle intercom. The spacesuit pony was one of the last ones still outside a cryo tube when the Captain of the Star Song stepped into the chamber and shook her head.

“Look, dusthead, we can’t wait for you to think about getting in there. You’ll have a half a year of cryo-sleep to dream of whatever you want. Get your suit off and step inside.” The pony shook her head. The Captain’s face turned mean as she searched for an expression beyond the reflective sun shield of the pony’s helmet. “I wasn’t asking.” The human stepped forward with powerful intention. “Take it off or I’m tearing it off and throwing you inside myself.”

Shaking hooves covered in space gloves made their way up to the head and fiddled with the safety clasps on the suit. They fumbled for almost half a minute as the Captain finally lost her nerve and grabbed them forcibly. “Give me that! What’s wrong with your hands? They issue you mittens instead?” She snapped off the straps while the last of the human miners fell asleep inside their cryo-tubes as the chambers locked them in. The helmet depressurized as the pony gasped in surprise at the sudden exhaust. The Captain took the head off and stared wide-eyed. “They didn’t tell me we had one of your kind on board! What are they trying to pull?”

The door opened behind the Captain and a blue pegasus stood in the entryway. Her mouth dropped at the sight before her.

“Rainbow Dash!” the pony said and smiled.

“Pinkie Pie?” Rainbow Dash asked.

The Captain’s hand went for a pistol on her hip as Dash lunged forward. There was a quick motion behind the human as she raised up a weapon in her hand only to see it was a banana. “Stop…what the? Where…?” Dash was about to impact the Captain when Pinkie jumped in the way.

“STOPPPPP!” Pinkie yelled.

Both the Captain and Rainbow Dash stared at the pink pony in confusion.

“Pinkie, I need to get you out of here, no matter what it takes!” Dash said as she tried to move around Pinkie Pie.

“No!” the pony said. “You cannot hurt the Captain! That is not friendship!”

“OH MY GOSH. Not now, Pinkie Pie!”

“YES NOW!” She shouted. Dash was stunned by the forceful response.

“You tried to attack me!” the Captain said in anger at Rainbow Dash.

“No, she tried to protect me,” Pinkie replied. “Captain, I was only here because I couldn’t find my friends for almost a month. I searched everywhere for them, and when I was about to give up hope, the Noctis Labyrinthum miners picked me up and helped me. I didn’t know where else to go, but now that Rainbow Dash is here, the rest of my friends must be too! I have to find them!”

“You can’t just halt an entire launch sequence because of your stupid decisions!” The Captain said. “We have nine minutes until dust-off and then we’ll be out of atmosphere and headed towards the moon. I should call security on both of you right now!” She said and started to move towards the exit.

“Wait,” Pinkie said and moved to block her.

“Get out of my way,” the Captain growled.

“Please wait…what if I could give you something you’ve always wanted?”

The Captain stopped. “You’re blowing hot air.”

“No, I’m not. I studied your file before I came aboard. I had more than enough time to know your background and though I knew I’d be friends with the rest of the miners before we got here, I wanted to impress you. I had one of my programmer friends make something for you, because I couldn’t stand the idea of working with someone who wasn’t my friend. Especially when I realized I could give you a dream you’ve had since you first wanted to be a star pilot. Please take it.” Pinkie pulled up her tablet as the image of a green grassy field filled the viewscreen. As Dash looked at it, she thought, Gosh, does everyone have one of these? Then Pinkie said “Yes, Dash. They do.” The pegasus stared wide-eyed at Pinkie’s apparent super-sense.

The Captain looked at the tablet. “You’ve got thirty seconds to impress me. One second after, I call security.” Pinkie linked the tablets together with lightning speed and tapped the screen no less than one hundred times in ten seconds. Dash stared dumbfounded, mouth-open, at the sheer speed of her friend’s hoof-dexterity. The Captain brought down a pair of goggles on her head and looked at her screen as her mouth went wide. For three seconds, she stood shocked. Then ten seconds went by. Then the full thirty second countdown had gone and Pinkie tapped the screen as the Captain slowly removed the goggles from her head. Tears were streaming down her face “No one else knows why I named this shuttle the Star Song. But…you do. Thank you, Pinkie Pie.” The Captain hugged the pink pony as Rainbow Dash stared at the scene with utter amazement.

Dash shook her head. “Wait, what was that? What could you have possibly shown her?”

“I’ll tell you later, Dash, but right now we gotta get out of here before the shuttle takes off!” Pinkie said.

The Captain grunted. “I’m gonna take some flak for noting that a miner had to leave due to unforeseen circumstances, but this program…I’ve never seen anything like this before. Pinkie, promise me you’ll give this to others once you get out there into the city. There’s so many people that need it.”

“No problem! I’ll do it!” Pinkie said with a salute.

“Thank you. I’ll call for removal of some cargo. Lobo knows me and even though he’s deck supervisor, he won’t look through my equipment unless I say so. Get in the box labeled ‘West End Colony Run’ and keep quiet. Platform crew will get it and ship it immediately to the western edge of Syria Planum Alpha. You should be there within the hour. And please don’t crush the data-discs in there. The miners wrote them for their families and friends here on Mars.”

Minutes later.

“Pinkie, your hoof is crushing my face.”

“Well your face is poking my hoof, Dash.”

“It’s cramped.”

“You smell like old cardboard and muddy gum drops.”

“What does that even mean?”

“Dash?”

“Yes, Pinkie?”

“I missed you.”

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