• Published 8th Apr 2014
  • 8,428 Views, 688 Comments

The Outsiders - Arania



Twilight is accidentally catapulted into a world she never knew existed, and is forced to work with the inhabitants of this strange world to stop an inter-universal war.

  • ...
24
 688
 8,428

Angular Velocity

It was wet. Rain poured from the sky with such gusto that the resultant deluge made it difficult to breathe without inhaling water. The ground had long since surpassed the requirements for 'mud' and entered entirely new and unfamiliar levels of fluid saturation. On the plus side, at least, there weren't any bugs. For the lone pony huddling in a bush on the side of a hill overlooking Ponyville, the near-solid wall of water was challenge enough without having to contend with errant insects.

"Walleye, in position," she muttered into her radio, barely audible above the incessant pounding of the rain on her equipment. Her rifle, almost half again as long as she was, dug painfully into her withers as she wiped the optics clean for the fifth time in as many minutes. The magically-augmented eyepiece helped, but against weather this severe, there was only so much that could be done.

"Roger, Walleye. Am almost in position. Do you have eyes on?" Came the reply, tainted with static.

She shifted the rifle slightly, moving closer to the eyepiece. The image was blurred almost beyond recognition, the optics’ built-in magical image postprocessor doing what little it could to pick out actual targets amid the visual noise.

"Barely. I can hardly tell ponies apart with this Celestia-forsaken rain."

"Would you rather be down here?"

"Oh no, I'm perfectly fine right where I am."

"You'd better live up to your name, Walleye. We only get one shot at this."

"You get this right the first time, you don't even need me."

'Walleye', of course, wasn't the pony's actual name. Originally a joke among the original members of Team Fifteen, the name quickly grew into a badge of respect honouring it's owners' nigh-unmatched levels of skill. Once the word got out, ponies had quickly warmed to the otherwise-unusual name. It was a lot simpler and considerably less silly than her official Outsider designation, 'Hooves Foxtrot.'

"You both talk too much," came a new voice through the rain and wind.

"Oh, I see you’ve arrived,” Walleye shot back. “It’s about time.”

"Are you kidding? You said it was going to be raining, not be solid thunderheads from here to Canterlot!"

"Oh, is that going to be a problem for the mighty Rainboom?"

"Ye- No... Oh buck you all." Walleye could practically hear the glare through the radio. "You pull off one Sonic Rainboom and suddenly everyone expects you to walk on water."

"Actually, since clouds are water vapour, we do expect that."

"That you, Woon? Should've expected the smartflank answer to come outta you," Rainboom countered, tone obscured by the static.

"Don't call me Woon."

Walleye snorted despite herself. Luna Delta had very quickly earned the nickname 'Woona' soon after her arrival on the Exterior, owing to her small stature and otherwise unremarkable features. Unsurprisingly, she hated it, rapidly escalating to threats of violence against those who used it. It wasn't until three members of Team Five were 'mysteriously' tarred and feathered that the message got through, and ponies began to use either her official designation, or the enthusiastically-accepted replacement nickname, 'Lunatic'.

Everypony except Rainboom, however. She still took the chance to use the old name whenever she got the chance, damn the consequences.

"Oh, sorry, Woona."

"...Shaving cream, coat dye, or sharpie. Which one do you want this time?"

"Okay, enough bickering," Walleye interrupted, trying to reign in the two errant members of Team Fifteen. "This is the first opening we've had in months to get Theta."

"Yea, yea, I know." Lunatic replied begrudgingly. Walleye could barely spot her through the downpour, edging along the perimeter of the target building, clad in a skin-tight black camouflage suit.

"Rainboom, I need better visibility,” Walleye snapped. “Ideas?"

"Less rain, or more light?" Rainboom replied after a second's pause.

"Which is easier?"

"Well, light, obviously, but lightning is a bit finicky."

"Try it, let's see what we get."

"On it."

With a phenomenal crack, the sky lit up, throwing the entire town into sharp relief. For the briefest moment, Walleye had a perfect view of their target, a poofy-maned pink alicorn mare on the upper floor of a faux-gingerbread shophouse.

"Again." Walleye commanded.

Again, the sky flashed, sending ripples of thunder through the sleeping village.

"Alright, that's good. Shadows are a bit funky, though. Thought there were two ponies in there for a moment."

"Aaaaand?" Rainboom asked expectantly.

"It's Theta. Upper floor, alone. Unarmed from what I can see, but that doesn't count for much."

"You're sure it's just her?" Lunatic asked

"What's my name again?"

"Point taken. Am I clear to begin?"

"As long as you know what you're supposed to do."

"Get in, grab her, hit my beacon. No residual presence, zero body count. If she resists, occupy her until you can get a clear shot. Any unforeseen problems, I hit my beacon and we abort. Anything I've forgotten?"

"You're clear to proceed."

"Breaching now."

Lunatic's silhouette vanished as she slipped inside. Walleye gripped the rifle with a slightly nervous hoof, keeping the crosshairs centred on Theta's head. She drew her breath in and held it, steadying her wavering aim.

"I'm inside. Lower floor is empty. Proceeding to the upper level."

"Roger. Rainboom, another flash, if you please."

A hiss of static issued from the radio, obscuring any reply as Rainboom complied, sending another thunderclap and wave of light to illuminate the town. Walleye sighed with relief when she saw that their target was still in place.

"Theta is still in place. Lunatic, go for it."

"Moving up now."

Walleye frowned. Something wasn't quite right.

"Rain, could you give me light again?"

"What, again?" Rainboom whined. "I just gave you one."

"Please, just do it."

Walleye glued her eye to the eyepiece as the flash rippled through the clouds, once again giving her a near-perfect view of the lone mare, standing motionless in the room.

Motionless.

"I'm at the door. I can see her. I'm going for it."

"Luna! Don't! It's a-"

Sugarcube Corner exploded.

"-trap."

"What in Tartarus was that?" Rainboom screamed over the radio. "I heard that all the way up here!"

"Lunatic's down!" Walleye screamed, jerking the rifle back and forth trying to catch sight of any survivors. "The building bucking exploded. Theta knew we were coming."

"What? How?"

"I have no bucking idea! How would I know-" Walleye's words cut short as a beam of malevolent pink light erupted from the ruined structure, impacting not feet away from her.

"Horseapples!"

Walleye swung the rifle around, reaching her hoof inside the trigger guard as she centred the crosshairs on Theta's maniacally grinning face. Hours later, she would lament the fact that she did not have an appropriate snappy one-liner to throw out as she squeezed the trigger, sending a collimated twenty-five thaum beam of destructive magical energy towards the cackling pink alicorn.

Theta's horn ignited at the last second, deflecting the beam harmlessly into the clouds above the town.

"Celestia damn it!" Walleye swore, ducking sideways as another beam flew past her close enough for her to feel the tell-tale tingling on her coat from the backwash. Mud spattered everywhere as the beam impacted behind her. "I'm under fire! Rainboom! Extraction!"

"Hit your beacon!"

"I can't!" she yelled, slinging the rifle over her back while trying to avoid the near-constant barrage of pink beams, the sodden ground sucking at her hooves as she ran. "I can't get at it easily, and if I stop to hit it, I'm vapour."

"Should've gone for a better beacon. Like my awesome one!"

"Rain, help me!"

"Fiiiine."

As abruptly as it began, the barrage stopped, giving her a chance to look back at the wreckage of Sugarcube Corner. The entire area was engulfed in chaotic pink and blue discharges, arcing away from a point where two solid beams of light intersected.

"Did I miss something?" Lunatic's voice echoed over the radio, distorted by static.

"Lunatic! What happened?"

"No idea. First I was diving right at Theta, beacon in my hoof, and next thing I knew I was on the floor in the gateroom, holding a giant pony plushie."

"Clever..."

"Hey Walleye?"

"Lunatic?"

"Do you think you could do me a favour and shoot this psycho mare?"

The blunt request snapped Walleye out of her daze. With a single smooth motion, she swung the rifle off her back as she dropped to the ground, carefully lining the weapon up on the back of Theta's head.

"Say goodnight, Theta," Walleye quipped, smirking to herself as she squeezed the trigger.

The beam impacted mere hooflengths away from its mark, a sphere of semitransparent pink magic flaring into existence to protect its occupant. Walleye fired again, sending another beam slamming into Theta's personal shield, arcs of magical backwash earthing into the ground around her.

"Oh for Celestia's sake!" Walleye exclaimed, squeezing the trigger a further three times, only to have every shot slam into the shield ineffectually. "She's got a personal force field! I can't punch through that."

"Well what now?" Lunatic asked, her voice wavering with the strain of holding her attack.

"Abort. Mission failed. Hit your beacon and get out of there."

"Oh no. No way in Tartarus am I letting that madmare get away!"

"Lunatic! Don't be stupid, you can't take her on by yourself!" Walleye screamed into her microphone. "Hit your beacon! NOW!"

"If she gets away, how many ponies die? How long until she sells the secrets of the Exterior to somepony?"

"That's not our concern! Mission brief says we return to base if anything goes wrong!"

"To Tartarus with that! I'm going to send this mare where the sun don't shine."

The air around the rapidly-degenerating fight began to distort inwards, warping space into unnatural, arcane shapes.

"No. No, no, nononononononono!" Walleye panicked, running towards the rapidly-forming teleport event horizon, struggling against the quagmire.

"Anywhere in the Core Falls cells and Theta is as good as dead!"

"And what about you?"

Walleye dived for the closing horizon a second too late, the black-and-silver boundary completing an instant before she reached it. With an earsplitting crack, the bubble vanished, air rushing in to fill the void.

Moments later, a thunderous explosion tore through the night as her teammate rushed to her aid, a rainbow-tinged shockwave trailing in her wake. Walleye felt a brutal tug at her withers as Rainboom grabbed her before the world turned sideways and reformed.

"Identify!" The words drilled into her ears, pulling her attention away from her shock and towards the team of guards holding weapons on them.

"Hooves, Derpy. Foxtrot. Team One-Five," Walleye recited, ripping her beacon from her foreleg and dropping it to the floor of the gate. "Beacon Clear. No Contamination."

"Dash, Rainbow. Yankee. Team One-Five," Rainboom followed, dropping her own beacon to the floor, a decorative pin. "Beacon Clear. No Contamination. Apart from being drenched."

"Mission completed," Walleye continued. "Theta has been neutralized. One team member M.I.A."

The guards lowered their own weapons, allowing the survivors of Team Fifteen to strip out of their rain-soaked gear.

"What happened?" The lead guard asked, face screwed up in distaste as the rainwater slewed onto the formerly-pristine floor.

"It was an ambush. Theta knew we were coming," Walleye explained flatly. "Lunatic sacrificed herself to send Theta and herself to somewhere in the Core Falls."

Silence descended upon the room as everyone present processed the implications of what had been said.

"I just don't know what went wrong," Rainboom admitted as she stripped off the last of her gear.

"I do," Walleye stated. "We have a leak on the Exterior."