• Published 21st Dec 2013
  • 641 Views, 7 Comments

Dawn of the Harmony Corps - MarkOfKhorne



As the Second Changeling Invasion approaches, the Elements of Harmony discover new abilities that might bring upon a new age of truth, justice and the Equestrian way.

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Detours

Twilight's eyes burst open to the deafening pitch of metal grinding on rails. What in the world? she thought as she jumped up onto her hooves. Pressing her face to look through the window, the outside world was nothing but a black abyss devoid of the smallest source of light. Dread flooded her mind as she tried making sense of the situation. The train howled like a banshee as she could feel it accelerate into dangerous speeds, frightening her to the core.

In a panicked state, Twilight staggered to the front of her passenger car as the train continued picking up speed. She pulled on the door handle, desperately trying to pry the door open, but it would not budge. It was useless. All of the doors and windows were jammed closed, and she felt completely alone. Right as she began to abandon all hope, her memory kicked in, and she sprinted back to her seat in a flash to find her saddlebag sitting on the wooden bench. Digging through the vinyl sack, she found Luna's three gifts: the pen, the log, and the crystal. Twilight frantically arranged the objects to unlock the book, but in the split second that the pen made contact with the paper, the rising crescendo of screeching metal came to a quick halt. A long, thin line of dark ink streaked across the page as she flew forwards out of her seat. Time slowed down, and Twilight could hear every single crunch of crumbling wood as she drew closer to the wall. The thunderous crash of the collapsing train drowned out the sound of a meager thud, and Twilight tightly shut her eyes as she writhed in pain on the floor. The lights went out, and only her hysteric screams resonated throughout the twisted metal.

"I’m sorry, Princess Celestia,” she quietly whispered to herself. “I’m sorry, Princess Luna. I've failed both of you.” She laid motionless for moments, but to her, the minutes dragged on for hours. As she struggled to open her eyes, Twilight could see as dim rays illuminated the mangled mess of metal. She was lucky to be alive in the most literal sense of the word. The car had compacted around her, forming a cocoon-like opening. Although her body ached all over, she suffered no severe injury despite her pain. Nevertheless, she felt utterly weak and hurt from the impact against the wall. After several more moments, Twilight applied pressure onto her feeble legs, and she propped herself onto her hooves. As she continued to look around, she saw through the broken windows what looked like a terminal outside. Every hoofstep she took was heavy and sluggish, but with enough effort, she managed to limp out of the protective deathtrap.

"Goodness", she gasped as her eyes adjusted to her dark and dreary surroundings.

She stood in the middle of an abandoned train station, but everything from the rotten wood benches to the rundown ticketing counter was covered in a thick layer of dust. The ceiling had collapsed, but cobwebs shrouded the gap.The faded brick walls were bare, stripped of paint and jagged with rebar. Behind her was an unnatural fusion of wood and metal contorted into a giant tangled wreck. It would go without saying that the train was beyond repair. The sight sent shivers down her spine, and she did not want to spend another single second in that forsaken place.

She watched her step, taking her time as she agonizingly ascended a decrepit staircase. Reaching the top, she was dumbfounded. The sky was of a dark ashy hue, if she could see it, for large, dingy skyscrapers blocked the view. Their intimidating heights flanked either side of a wide, empty street, and Twilight suddenly felt very small. The road went on as far as she could see, but something felt familiar to her. As she carried on exploring this strange and bizarre place, it dawned on her.

The city from my dream! How can I be here of all places? Immediately, she stuck close to the buildings and scampered down the avenue. She remembered what had happened before, and she wasn't about to wait until that atrocious beast would find her as its next snack.

Trotting down the street, she heard the faint sound of moving gears further down along, and stopped dead in her tracks. Focusing her vision, she could see a plaza of sorts with a giant dome-like structure in the center. As she stood there for a few more seconds, light emanated from the machine, and it rotated on a pivot to form a massive searchlight. Thinking on her hooves, she leaped out of its field of view and entered the nearest empty building she could find. She closed the blinds posthaste and retreated to one of the corners of the room.

The ground shook as a deep and dark voice boomed, "LIFE-FORM DETECTED IN SECTOR 14. PROCEED WITH CAUTION. LETHAL FORCE UNAUTHORIZED. CAPTURE AND RETRIEVE ANOMALY TO MONOLITH, LEVEL 14."

Twilight shook in her hooves. "Lethal... force?" she mouthed to herself. They knew where she was, or at least, her general vicinity. The shrill sound of a thousand rotors buzzed throughout the dead silent city. They would close in on her location soon enough. Twilight, however, felt a surge of bravery flow through her. This time, she wasn't going out without a fight. Swarms of shadows zoomed past the window. Twilight's horn lit up, charging a spell to eradicate whatever enemy would come knocking on her door.

"HEAT SIGNATURE DETECTED," she heard on the other side of the door. The shadows nearly blotted out what little light could come in through the window. The blades of the rotors sliced the air, intimidatingly. Then, it was just silence. Although she didn't want to admit it, Twilight was scared, or at the very least, nervous. Her forehead was drenched in sweat, and her hooves continued to shake as she sat on the floor. However, the look of hard determination on her face demonstrated that she was ready. She waited for minutes. In the midst of the silence, her hearing had heightened, and she could once again hear the rotors outside. It sounded like the beating of a hummingbird's wings rather than thousands of blenders going off in her ear.

Suddenly, a flash of crimson light illuminated the room. Then, the booming voice returned. "LIFE-FORM LOCATED. DRONE FORMATION-ETA. STAND-BY FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTION."

They were waiting for her, but she wasn't going to let them stake her out. She mustered up the courage and strength to get onto her hooves. The light from the window got brighter and brighter, like something was approaching the door. A loud bang hit the door. Twilight took a stance, and quietly counted down, preparing her spell for battle. "Three..." she said, the light reaching blinding luminosity. "Two..." Another thump left a long fissure on the wooden door, and red light bled through it like a wound.

"One..." The door broke down, and a scarlet figure stood at the doorway. Twilight spent no time in releasing a beam of energy at it, yelling out an improvised battle-cry at the intruder. The attack was relentless, nearly sending the frame of the door flying out onto the street. For several seconds, the being was indistinguishable in the light, as if they became one.

Twilight smirked, knowing she had won. Her eyes closed as the beam faded out. She was spent, and she wanted to rest. Twilight panted in exhaustion, but as her eyes slowly opened, her jaw dropped.

The being was still there, and it looked unfazed. In her blurred vision, she could make out the fuzzy shape of a red stallion entirely made of energy. Its yellow "eyes" were lifeless, maintaining its cold demeanor. Twilight, however, was smart enough to know not to back down, and she held on an aggressive expression.

All of a sudden, several helmet-like creatures hovered into the room, and their golden metal shells reflected their leader's ruby light. Iron rods protruded from them, emitting arcs of electricity. The being gestured at her, and the drones drew closer towards her. Twilight just stared at them in a rage, and her horn lit up once more to protect herself. Tensions rose higher and higher, but just as they were within hoof's reach, a stallion's voice sounded from outside.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Guys, stand down," the stranger said as it dashed into the building. The mechanical creatures froze in place, immediately retreating to its side. "Barrage?!" it asked in disbelief. "What are you doing?! Who sent you to deal with this?" Two strange beings now stood before Twilight, both of them looking very similar to one another. The new stranger looked just like Barrage, only his figure was sharper, and he emitted a soft, amber light rather than his acquaintance's wrathful red.

"CORE DIRECTIVE," it blandly answered in its menacing voice, "CAPTURE AND RETRIEVE ANOMALY TO MONOLITH, LEVEL 14."

"Yes, right. Core directive and all that," the amber pony said, obviously annoyed. "Well, stand down. I've got this. Oh, um. I mean, CORE DIRECTIVE: RETURN DRONES TO MONOLITH DOCK FOR RECHARGING."

"ACKNOWLEDGED," it responded and disappeared. The deafening rotors from the "flying helmets" sounded off once more as they departed.

The pony grinned as the drones flew away, congratulating himself for a job well done. After ensuring that they were all gone, he felt like something was staring at him. Slowly turning around, he was startled to find that he wasn't alone in the room.

Twilight's jaw could not have dropped any lower. She was awestruck and bewildered, her eyes the size of dinner plates. The situation had obviously impacted her as she promptly began babbling incoherent sentences. The pony had a strong look of concern, and he could only watch as Twilight collapsed on the floor in a deranged fit of giggles.

"It's all just a bad dream," Twilight tittered, cradling herself in her hooves. "Yeppers. That's all it is. I'm just dreaming again. I mean, dream city, dreamscape, right? I just need to wake up now." Twilight tried softly slapping herself awake. "Just need to wake up... any second now. Wake up. Wake up! WAKE UP!" Tears began forming in her eyes as her attempts to wake herself were futile.

"Um..." the amber pony interrupted. "You know you're not dreaming, right?" He then jumped back as she turned towards him. Her frown only grew until she exploded.

"If I'm not dreaming, then I'm dead!!" she cried out as she bawled.

"No, no, no," he gently said, rushing to her side. "You're not dead, and you're not dreaming. I'm sorry if my 'nice friend' scared you. With a name like 'Barrage', you'd think we'd keep him in check, but alas, he does escape every once in awhile. Regardless, he's part of the family, and we love him all the same. Heh, heh, heh." He chuckled to himself. Twilight had stopped crying but she still frowned as a long, awkward silence fell upon the both of them.

"Right..." the pony said. "Anyway, I believe it's time to make our way to the Monolith. Up we go." He pushed Twilight up on her hooves and motioned her to follow him. The stallion was first to step through the doorway, but as Twilight followed, she didn't notice the step at the entrance and tripped forward. She fell through amber light, but she stopped before she could hit the pavement. She fell through the pony! However, he held onto her and helped her up.

"Very sorry. We don't keep the lights on that much. Let me fix that for you."

With the wave of a hoof, the bleak sky turned into a bright sunny day. The buildings were still a bit dingy, but the city as a whole became a lot more livelier, making Twilight feel calmer and more comfortable. Nonetheless, she was baffled at how the creature at her side could control the landscape like that.

"Now... do you want to take a stroll to the Monolith or ride the carriage?" the pony asked.

"Uhhhhhh..." Twilight dully responded. "Carriage, I guess?"

"Very well." The pony's eyes glowed white, and a hovering wagon barreled down the street. "Here we go... uh."

Twilight was dumbfounded again. However, she quickly snapped out of it and timidly asked the cheerful stallion, "Excuse me, I just wanted to know. Who are you?"

The pony had a confused look on his face, but immediately smacked himself upside the head. "Of course," he exclaimed. "How rude of me! I'm sorry. My name is Nexus, better than NX-5 any day. And this is the Core, my humble abode. My good friend and mentor, Lord Armistice, would like to see you in his private study, and that's where we're going right now."

"Okay..." Twilight responded, still confused but as much. "But... what am I doing here?"

"Oh, well that's simple," Nexus giddily answered. "Ahem. Twilight Sparkle from Equestria. Welcome to the Harmony Corps."