• Published 16th Apr 2014
  • 1,728 Views, 35 Comments

Horizon - Nagmeister

Five kerbals go on an interstellar mission and run into a planet of colorful ponies.

  • ...

In the Castle

"Alright, we're basically over the target now, so let's land. Remember, don't leave the landing zone until I call for evac. Got it? We can't afford any sort of deviation from that rule," Jeb said into Rainbow Dash's ear. "Bill and Bob have Twilight ready to send a guard division in case we need some assistance, but until then STAY QUIET."

Rainbow Dash just rolled her eyes, saying "Fine, I'll be quiet..."

They broke through the cloud layer, revealing the white marble castle on the green forested hills. Red banners flew from the various towers on the few towers that dotted the walls, and a rather large group of what appeared to be soldiers were standing in the courtyard. "Alright, set down behind the thing, there's probably a back door somewhere." Jeb said. Rainbow Dash complied, setting down lightly on the ground behind the castle near a conspicuous wooden door. "Alright, go about five meters into the forest and DON'T MOVE." Jeb instructed as he made his way towards the door. It stuck out quite clearly from the stark white of the wall, and it was oddly unlocked. Jeb chalked it up to simple luck and continued opening it. It opened directly into a dark corridor, dimly lit by evenly-spaced torches. Jeb kept his radio earpiece on, watching down every indent and peering down every dark crack for any sort of indication that he'd been spotted. The door had closed, but Jeb assumed it was because of the wind. Eventually, there were no more torches and he had to turn on his flashlight. A few bats flew away when he shined the light towards them, but otherwise nothing happened. He eventually found a split, one side marked "Courtyard" and the other marked "Main Hall." Jeb decided to go towards the Main Hall first, in case there were still those ponies in the courtyard. He went down the corridor for what seemed like forever until he came to a door. Opening it slightly, he could hear the sound of voices and the clinking of glasses. He opened it further and looked out,
and saw he was on a sort of second floor. It was a wooden balcony overlooking the center of the main hall, with quite ornate oak railings. There were a few guards stationed at each corner, watching the balconies for intruders. Luckily, none of them saw him. He also saw quite a few ponies gathered around a long, rectangular wooden table. It was covered in a silky-looking tablecloth, with all sorts of exotic-looking food on it. At least fifty ponies were gathered around it, mostly old stallions. He slowly opened the door some more until he could just sneak through. There were very heavy curtains less than three meters to his left, and all he had to do was get to the curtain. Taking a deep breath, he dashed out of the door towards the curtain...

... and was immediately called out by a guard. "Shit!" he said quite audibly, before throwing stealth to the wind and drawing his taser. He ran across the wooden floor towards a heavy-looking iron door, but was intercepted by a guard who threw him to the ground, making him drop the taser.

"Stop right there, criminal scum!" said the guard as he pinned him. But, Jeb wasn't going to be defeated so easily. He drew his combat knife and stabbed it into the guard. Silently thanking his combat training from the War, he turned to the next guard who had been approaching him. He raised his knife and slowly went for the taser. The guard suddenly snapped to attention, however, and raised his spear. "You're under arrest, sir!" he said. Jeb nonchalantly sheathed the knife and took out his rifle. "Sir, what is that?" asked the guard. "Sir, please put that down," he said as Jeb raised the rifle and cocked it. "Sir, --"

The guard was silenced with a crack as the rifle went off. "Good girl," said Jeb as he walked over to his taser, picked it up, and put his rifle back on his back. He then walked to the door as the guards stared in equal parts awe and horror at the ease with which he dispatched those two guards, before raising their crossbows. The ponies dining had also taken notice of what was happening, as the conversations had all but stopped and they watched intently to see what had happened next.

One of them flew up and turned to Jeb. "You're outnumbered, beast. Surrender or you'll probably die." Jeb realized that he probably wasn't in a very good position, so he raised his arms in surrender. He did, however, slowly walk backwards, almost imperceptibly. The guards were cautiously closing in on both sides, crossbows raised, as Jeb inched towards the door. Eventually he reached it, and just as the guards were about to get to him to arrest him, he threw it open, dived in, and closed it before any of them could fathom what happened.

Jeb relaxed once he was convinced he was relatively safe, but he also knew he must keep moving. This looked like a maintenance corridor, so it must have other enterances, which were probably being sealed off already. There was a sign that Jeb saw, however, that was marked with "ARTEFACTS AND EXOTIC ITEMS. Jeb decided to follow the corridor the sign pointed to. As he walked, he heard the sound of metal boot on stone some ways behind him. "Shit," he said quietly.

"This way!" a voice said. "He can't have gotten far."

"Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap," said Jeb as he sprinted down the corridor. Without even caring to check where he was going, he shoved himself into a room and closed the door.

"Can I help you, sir?" said a voice. Jeb slowly turned to look, and saw a dark blue unicorn with grey hair. "My name's Dr. Freelance. I'm the head of the research division at this facility. Can me or my team help you?"

"Lock the doors, and any other exits. Some crazy ponies are trying to break in here, and they'll probably kill you all if they can." Jeb fibbed.

"Oh my. Dr. Starlight, please issue a Tier 1 lockdown order for this facility. Only me and anyone with me will be able to get in our out." said Freelance.

"Alright, sir." said Starlight.

The light-grey scientist flicked a lever, and suddenly the lights turned a dark red. Metal bars went down over each and every door, and the various items on display had some sort of metal casing put over them.

"Is there anything else you need from us, Mr..." Freelance asked, obviously inquiring for a name.

"Kerman. My name's Jebediah Kerman. Also, I'm looking for some antimatter..." asked Jeb.

"Antimatter?" asked Starlight.

"Oh right, you probably don't know that term. Umm, highly volatile, explodes if it touches literally anything?" said Jeb.

"Oh, that. Caused quite an incident in Sector 3. I can show it to you if you'd like." replied Freelance.

"Alright, take me to it." asked jeb.

"I'll come too, in order to make sure that anything bad doesn't happen." said Starligh

Freelance led Jeb to a door. As he approached, the metal bars raised and the door opened automatically. As Jeb walked away, the processes reversed. "This private research center has the forefront of Equestrian technology," explained the unicorn. "You'd be hard pressed to find anywhere anyone's ever heard of with superior tech."

"I can think of one rather easily," said Jeb under his breath.

"Hmm?" asked Starlight.

"Nothing, nothing..." said Jeb.

The rest of the walk was in relative silence. They passed various experiments, all in strange-looking vertical glass tubes. A strange purple liquid marked "Enhancement Potion." A small creature with various syringes sticking out of it and a look on its eyes that said, "Please kill me." A slab of metal inscribed, "Steel-Bronze Alloy Type A." Eventually, they reached the antimatter tank. Two tired-looking unicorns stood on either side, using their magic to levitate its contents. "This is the 'antimatter', or Exotic Explosive as the lab crew like to call it, that you were looking for, right?

A light blue crystal floated in the center of the tank, surrounded by the translucent bubble of magic. "So, this is where it went."

"What do you mean?" asked Freelance.

"Whoops, probably shouldn't have said that..." said Jeb.

"Well, what do you mean?" Starlight pressed.

Jeb sighed before explaining. "You see, I'm not exactly from this world..."

He gave the whole spiel about how he was one of five of his species on this planet, how they'd come from another planet for science, how he'd fought in the Unification War before, how he'd met with the ponies rather peacefully before, and ending with how the antimatter had been stolen from his spacecraft by a certain Discord.

"...Wow." was all that Freelance said, obviously impresssed.

"So, your crew was threatened by Discord?" said Starlight.

"Not threatened, just freaked the hell out and stolen from," said Jeb.

"That goes completely against the agreement he made after his reformation!" said Freelance. "I'll have to tell the authorities, and probably the owner of this establishment, about it."

Jeb saw his chance to escape with the antimatter. "When was the last time you've been to Canterlot?"

"Years ago, I haven't had the time or money since..." said Freelance.

"I've never been. Heard it's pretty good, but why do you ask?" said Starlight.

"Well, I just so happen to have some connections to the Princess. She'll probably take your complaints more seriously and have action taken more quickly. And," said Jeb, "just between the few of us, I have a thing in Canterlot. And that thing has quite a few things that you might like. So, if you want, we can go to get those things. All I need for you is a stealthy way out, and to get that antimatter. I have some connections that can take us to the city once we get out of here, but first we need to escape."

"Well, there's a few secret shafts for the scientists to use in case the guards turn on us again, and they all lead a few hundred meters outside." replied Freelance.

"Perfect, let's get going." Jeb was already getting ready to go.

"But don't we have projects to finish?" said Starlight.

"With the help of me and my crew, as well as our databases, you'll make daily advances you could only dream of making in a decade." bragged Jeb. "Also," he added, "you may have to put that piece of antimatter in this EM vacuum chamber." Jeb pulled out a quite bulky thing from his backpack. "Just open it up, hook it up to the glass tank, and put it into this."

Freelance went to go put the antimatter in the chamber as Jeb went towards the door. Suddenly, he hit an invisible wall. "Oh, fuck me." he said.

"Going somewhere?" an oddly familiar voice said. "I think you'd better have a little chat with me, first."

Suddenly, Jeb found himself in a glass room high above the planet.

"I decided we should go somewhere with a bit of privacy," said the speaker, who was still behind Jeb. "After the commotion you just caused, I simply couldn't resist being drawn to it." Suddenly, the speaker popped up in front of Jeb.

"Discord?" asked Jeb.

"Oh, so you actually know my name. Good on you. But you probably know I'm not here for idle chatter."

"What do you want, you... thing?"

"First, it's Draconequus. And second, I have a little... assignment for you. I know as well as you do that your people aren't very receptive to change."

"Oh Kerbol, what are you going to make me do...?"

"Nothing big, don't worry. All you need to do is to do something that shocks them. Do something stupid, kill something, get in some sort of weird inter-species relationship, I honestly don't care. Just do this and I'll leave you in peace... for now."

Jeb sighed. It wasn't as if he had a choice, anyway. "Fine."

"Perfect!" Discord snapped his fingers, and Jeb was right back where he was before, right when he was before. "Well, let's get going then," Freelance said as he removed the tube from the large glass container. It was now filled with the antimatter. Jeb and Starlight both nodded and the door opened, leading them to the outside.

Author's Note:

It's not dead! Not even close. Also, in case you're wondering, Starlight and Freelance *MAY* (uncertain) play into the plot later. Also, yes, Discord.