• Published 15th Oct 2011
  • 4,427 Views, 44 Comments

Airborne - Fernin

A misnamed colt and a misplaced human Soldier find friendship despite the barriers between them.

  • ...

Chapter 8: Homeward Bound

Lieutenant Green sat up and winced. Did anybody get the number off that truck? He found himself looking at his hand, expecting it to be holding something... blue? It was empty. Okay. Where was he? The groggy lieutenant looked around. Hmm. Small room. One door, one window. Bed. Comfy bed.

The familiar lilting phrases of Dari filtered through the door. After a moment, someone rapped at the portal. A heavily accented voice called, “Hello? Awake, yes?”

Heart sinking, the lieutenant replied. “Yes. Bali.

“Aaah, you know some Dari! A salaam aleykum! Manda nabashen. Hob hasti?” A big—which is to say wide—Afghan burst through the door, wearing the uniform of the Afghan National Police. He clapped the shocked American’s hand in both of his own and shook it warmly, barely drawing a breath as he continued to bombard the confused lieutenant with a usual Afghan greeting salvo.

“Uh… Waleykum a salaam. You’re Afghan National Police?” Finally Lieutenant Green managed to extricate his hand. He shifted on the cot, wincing as he pulled sore muscles. What had he been doing? He hadn’t really been where his sleep-fogged memory was telling him he’d been, right..?

Bali, bali. Yes. Please get dressed! Your American friends will be here for you shortly! We call… We call OCC-P, and they call Americans, and Americans come here!” The policeman beamed.

Lieutenant Green nodded and stood unsteadily, trying to pull on his uniform. They’d left him his rifle and all his gear… probably not insurgents? And this one said that they’d called the provincial operation coordination center… “Uh… where did you find me?”

The policeman shrugged. “Very strange! Very strange. You in river, right on our patrol route! We fish you out! We call—”

“—The OCC-P, the OCC-P called the Americans, and the Americans are coming here. Right. Do you know when?” Lieutenant Green tightened the straps on his body armor and hooked in his rifle’s sling.

“Very soon! Very—Ah, there.” Afghan and American alike looked out the window as the rumble of big diesel engines filled the air. Lieutenant Green smiled and slid on his helmet. Here came the cavalry, and just in time. Much longer and this policeman would probably talk him to death.

* * *

Lieutenant Green had never thought he’d be so happy to hear the ever-present roar of jets from the Bagram Air Field runways. They sounded even louder here, in the passenger terminal. He looked up as the last four of his social security number were called. He echoed the numbers and called out, “Here! Green!”

Taking his place in the line, the lieutenant followed his fellow Soldiers out on to the hard runway of the airfield. The wide maw of the C-17’s cargo bay gaped invitingly as he scaled the ramp and took his seat in the cramped palletized seating at the center of the aircraft. Drat, he’d been hoping for a wall seat this time. Some guys had all the luck.

Mike looked to his left at the Air Force lieutenant colonel who took the seat next to him. Of course, the air crew was ever solicitous in the treatment of their fellow Airmen; the planeless pilot was already sipping on a cold Pepsi and digging through his boxed lunch. Boy, had Lieutenant Green joined the wrong service.

Lieutenant Green grinned at his fellow passenger. “Flying the friendly skies in someone else’s bird today, eh sir?”

The lieutenant colonel chuckled. “Yep… just glad to be getting home for some R&R. These six month rotations are a killer.”

Thanks for twisting the knife, sir. Lieutenant Green groped for more banalities, but what does an Army lieutenant say to someone twenty years and several ranks his senior? He looked down to comment on the flyer’s unit patch—and felt his jaw drop. It couldn’t be. He found his hand groping for the cargo pocket of his uniform and pulled out the strange book.

The book and, for some reason, a daisy-and-grass sandwich were all that remained of an adventure that was still hazy in Lieutenant Green’s mind. At least, it was hazy according to the story the debriefers had gotten. Mike had no intention of getting booted less than two years into his tour of service for being nutty as a fruitcake, thank you very much, and strange adventures with little horse people definitely qualified.

Skydancer’s little book was just where Lieutenant Green had left it. The writing was, sadly, still as unintelligible as before, but the pictures… Mike flipped to a few pages that the little blue colt had dog-eared and scrutinized the pictures, then stared at the colonel’s patch again. The body shapes were the same. He felt his throat tightening a bit. “Uh, sir… What unit patch is that? I don’t recognize it.”

The lieutenant colonel shrugged and looked down at the patch with its cheery blue pegasus lobbing an oversized bomb at the ground. “Oh, this? It’s not a real patch, just a little something we made up. Rainbow Dash. ‘Death from above! In ten. Seconds. Flat.’ Plus, my kids get a kick out of it, so there’s that. Why? Fan of the show?”

“N-no reason sir… Think we’ll lift off soon?” There were some things, Mike was sure, that he was better off not knowing. Or thinking about. Suddenly deeply, deeply regretting not sitting somewhere else, Lieutenant Green craned his neck to look out the back of the aircraft. He squinted. Was that..?

In the distance, off the end of the runway and outside the perimeter, specks of colored paper weaved and danced in the evening breeze. Lieutenant Green found a smile ghosting across his face as he watched the Afghan kites flutter in the wind. He turned around and buckled in, settling back in his seat and closing his eyes as he waited for the big troop transport to get airborne. “See you around, Skydancer.”

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Comments ( 34 )
#1 · Oct 15th, 2011 · · ·

Is there going to be a sequel?

Seems kinda open ended.

#2 · Oct 15th, 2011 · · ·

Not my cup of tea, but that was rather touching in a way. Plus, your writing was pretty good. 4.5/5 Keep writing if you so desire, and the best of luck to you and whatever you may write.

#3 · Oct 15th, 2011 · · ·


I don't know... I enjoyed the characters but haven't really come up with anything that would reasonably bring them back together. It's on my mind, however.

Thanks! : D

#7 · Oct 20th, 2011 · · ·

It was an emotional roller coaster. But still very good


Thanks! But sorry, it's complete so that's all there is. Unless I figure out what to do for a sequel :pinkiecrazy:

#9 · Nov 13th, 2011 · · ·

Very nice, maybe while hes at home it can go the other way around?

Top notch Story, I consider this one of the Best HiE fic's I've read, and I've read all of them on this site and EQD. Excellent job with the characters and superb job with the language barrier. Truly, well done.

Wow, that's quite some praise. Thank you! :pinkiehappy: ...Too bad EQD didn't agree, lol. :pinkiesad2:

Doing the bit with the language barrier made it quite fun to write; it was still an interesting challenge.

We shall see... :trixieshiftright:

Truly masterfull, an exeltent piece of writing if i do say so my self.:pinkiehappy:
everything was perfectly assembled, the dialoge was brilliantly done, the premace, Even the main location, witch was (as far as i know) never mentioned in the show felt vivvid and real. I practically could see the landscape it was so well done.

I would say this writing is at the level of a published book, I await your next masterpiece on baited breath.:moustache:

To quote Fluttershy: "It's... nice." Chapters 1-6 are excellent (I love reading first-contact sci-fi stories, and I think you handled the corresponding scenario here really well, even if I have to grumble a bit about the excessive quotation marks around foreign words), which makes chapter 7 that much more of a disappointment. Your interesting setting and believable characters deserve a better ending than the deus ex machina of Celestia just magicking everything back to normal, especially since chapter 6 ends on such a great set-up for a big dramatic confrontation.

Then again, this was the first time I enjoyed a human-in-Equestria story since "Arddun Lleuad". 4/5, and I'll be reading your other stories as well.

That was awesome! Very well done, and it kept my attention even with almost all original characters. You had Green's military terminology correct, even the subtle digs at the Air Force. I'm glad you kept the language barrier in place, and I liked the way Green reasoned (ok, I had a TBI, I'm not seeing things correctly, but I'm going to deal with it).

Sweet, well written and not too long. One of the few HiE stories that don't Mary-Sue it up. 5/5!

was great. 5/5

Awesome story, thanks so much for sharing with us! The part with making the kite was especially touching. Mike's return home was a bit abrupt (Celestia doesn't even bother introducing herself to him?).

AWESOME! You sir are a talented writer! great story! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Herpa Derpty derp Sir!
translates: Good show dear Sir

I *LOVED* how you've handled the language barrier. TOP NOTCH writing! I must say I agree with everypony else on the Celestia part - it was rushed and occurred far, far too soon. Overall: superb 200k word story that got brutally mutilated just where it started...

did you re-upload this? there's no way there can be this few views for such a high quality piece of fiction.

Thank you! No, I did not-- But I did upload it all at once, which as it turns out is a mistake when it comes to generating views. :derpytongue2:

Also it's a HiE and contains basically no characters from the show, both of which tend to drive down the views a bit. Nevertheless I had a lot of fun writing it, and I am glad that you liked it.


Dude, this ties for my favorite fan fiction, the level of professionalism, characterization and interaction is fantastic. and tell anyone to read it when I get the chance.

I even got the idea for the language barrier in my story from this one, Hope you don't mind that I copied that idea.:pinkiehappy:

P.S. The one you tied with is The conversion Bureau: Last Man Standing Another underrated masterpiece.

I remember this on FFNet a while back. Was pretty damn great.

Also, too many Macedonians, not enough Albanians.

Just marathoned through it, not bad. Thumbs up. :twilightsmile:

Excellent HiE story, I truly enjoyed it, especially loved the language barrier. A question though, when does it take place in Equestria? All through the story I felt it was waaay before the timeline of the series.

When does it take place? Click the link to find out!
Honestly since it doesn't involve Princess Luna or any of the show main characters, it could take place pretty much any time.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed it! Although I sort of cringe thinking about this story nowadays. I feel like I could have done a better job on the ending since it's sort of, "shoo! Shoo! Back to your proper places, everyone!" :facehoof: But rewriting things is for people who aren't me! :pinkiecrazy:

Clever. That's the word that kept coming to mind as I read this story. All kinds of clever.

The OCs were well developed, and your portrayal of the foals' trains of thought felt genuine. The story was clever (there's that word again), well-written, immersive, and interesting. The pacing was strong, though it sped up a bit more than I would have liked toward the end.

Speaking of the the ending, though... it did feel a bit stunted. Particularly the way it involved princess Deus ex Machina Celestia. It's a bit of a conundrum, that the transference into Equestria was just as unlikely and unexplained, yet read much better than the transference out. Not sure why, honestly.

Mostly, though, I felt like there would be so much more of an... adventure. The beginning felt like it was building up to something, then the story ended more like a one-shot or a slice-of-life, with the human character having seen no additional development beyond his initial characterization (which was great, by the way). The foals are another story... their development was fantastic.

Overall, this was a wonderful read. The story was very entertaining, and the characters were just wonderful. I can't stress that enough, really. It's certainly going in my favorites, and I would happily recommend it to anyone looking for a top-quality, mid-sized HiE to read.

Between this and Whip & Wing, you're quickly becoming one of my favorite authors on the site. It's no wonder you have so many followers.

I think Green underwent ultimate bronyfication. From oblivious to Equestria to Earth to Lieutenant Colonel Brony, he must be at least tempted...

This is excellent in almost every way. In my opinion, best human related story on this site.
It's great to finally see some more realistic human/pony interactions. A story where they can't understand each other and become friends right away, but that doesn't depict humans as hostile beings, only being able to destroy either. Instead, you let them be cautious at first, not being able to think what to make of the other, separated by a language barrier. Then you let them getting to know each other, develop a friendship despite being so fundamentally different and not being able to communicate with each other properly. In short, the characterization of all your main characters was fantastic. you handled them and their actions wonderfully. Having different viewpoints was a brilliant idea here, and made the story all the more interesting to read.
I especially liked the character development you gave the colt. Having a inferior complex and pondering what it means to be a earth pony is something I've always wanted to see in a story. Again, you handled this very well and made his conflict very believable.
This alone would have been enough to make this one of the best fanfictions on this site.
What really made me grow attached to the story were the bits and pieces you gave about Equestria's geography and history. Learning about the town and its surroundings was something I very much enjoyed, and the same is true about Bucephalus the Great. Taking into accord his name and where he was fighting (the Afghanistan/Middle East equivalent of Equestria), he kind of reminded me of Alexander the Great.
As 534573 said, the ending was the only thing that felt a bit rushed, but at least this story has some kind of conclusion. A lot of great and interesting stories stay incomplete forever.
I would like to thank you for writing and publishing this. I haven't enjoyed reading a story this much for a long time.

short an sweet! vunderbar ^^

A very nice read. I enjoyed it immensely.

so cute/cool! :pinkiehappy:

Wow, talk about flashbacks...

This was excellent

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