• Published 2nd May 2012
  • 5,276 Views, 250 Comments

Homebound - Retsamoreh

A space military captain, who believes that Equestria resides on the legendary, long-lost planet of Earth, attempts to save Twilight and her friends from an incoming invasion that threatens both Equestria and the galaxy while keeping them all sane.

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(5) Theatrics

-Canterlot Castle, Canterlot, Equestria.

-Seven hours after first contact.

-Throne room.


Truth be told, I hadn’t found the courage to ask about the anomaly after that. I’ll admit, I can stare down the enemy army like it’s nobody’s business, but this lady just put me off for some reason or another. Not in the bad, she’s-really-evil way, but in almost a motherly way, like I’d feel stupid for asking such an obvious question. So I let the conversation flow to other subjects, like who she was specifically thinking of sending on the ambassadorial tour of the galaxy. I was pretty surprised to learn that she was continuing her odd sort of wisdom streak by deciding to send ponies who had almost no experience in politics. A baker, a farmer, an athlete, and hell, she said she’d even be sending a fashion designer.

I was not having that pony ruin any of my clothes. Maybe the rest of the crew’s, but she’d be under orders to spare mine. My uniform is special. It’s an original Wing uniform. No extra pins, fancy add-ons, and it’s not made of new fabric. I’ve had it for twenty years. No touchy.

Interestingly enough, she was also calling in her personal student and her assistant. She’d shown me some old pictures that she’d kept in old, intricate wooden picture frames on one of the study’s shelves. And her assistant, the first non-pony being I’d seen at least a picture of since we arrived, looks pretty neat. Offhandedly, she’d said that they were the only ponies that could use “The Elements” and I assumed that was some sort of secret pony weapon-of-mass-destruction. I’d learn more on it later, I guess. Every gun counts.

While her ambassadors rode the train to Canterlot, we ended up on the subject of theater, and how acting skills often ran in par with politics. It was nice, finally speaking freely about such matters without wondering if the person behind you was going to stick a viro-blade into your back a few seconds afterwards. The two of us talked, and then we decided to set up something special for when Twilight and her friends arrived. Something dramatic; spectacular.

“Once more, again, I really hope you can forgive me for buzzing down, stealing your little ponies from you, then flying off into the unknown with them. Normally it takes weeks for little things like that to get settled. But, you know, the ship and...” I sighed, leaning against the far wall of the throne room. I had to practically shout just for my voice to reach over to the throne. I had asked why there were two princesses and one throne, but she only spouted some nonsense about how Luna ruled the night and she the day. It sounded a bit religious, but then again, our scanners showed the entire system was geocentric. A scientific impossibility I was sure that many of the Wing scientists would dig into. It was the only thing that gave me doubt about the planet being Terra, besides the fact that it couldn’t possibly be Terra in the first place.

“It is understandable that you are in a hurry, Captain Amber, and I have faith you will keep my subjects safe. You are leaving several of your own crew here when you leave, though, so I would have to say it’s a fair trade,” Celestia said from the other side, only for some mystical reason, she didn’t seem to be raising her voice at all, and yet I heart it as if she was right in front of me. Freaky.

We had talked a lot, and she showed great interest in her subjects. Keeping them safe, happy, at peace. It was all on her agenda. She would never put them in a dangerous situation.

I wasn’t like that. The only reason I had pulled a bunch of random cadets out of the Academy was because I needed a bunch of schulps ready to get killed before me, just in case things went awry. It wasn’t the worst policy a leader could have, all things considered. Most of the time, everyone had a VALK and was essentially safe during battle, even the lower ranks. My train of thought was interrupted by hoofsteps, and the echoes of faint voices coming through the doors.

“Well, girls, we’re here. The throne room is just down there.”

“We’ve been here before, darling. Besides, nopony could miss those doors.”

“Whaddya reckon the Princess needed us so urgently for? I mean, I’d go to the ends ‘ah Equestria if she needed me to, since I think Big Mac can handle the farm without me, but getting mysterious notes like this might get old if’n she keeps it up.”

“Whatever it is, it’s gotta be awesome! I mean, otherwise she wouldn’t have asked us to pack for a long trip, right? Right!”

“Eeee! I’m so exciting I think I might just explode!

“Please don’t, Pinkie. The Princess said she needed all of us.

Various voices drifted down the hallway. Female voices. Young voices. I could deal with younger ambassadors on my ship, as long as they didn’t mess with the airlock. Hoo boy, the airlock would have to be sealed tight. Totally off-limits for the ponies. Open airlocks mean dead ponies, and dead ponies are bad for business, and definitely bad in general.

“Um, where are the guards?” one of the voices said.

Funny, now that whoever-that-was just mentioned it, I hadn’t really paid attention to the robot-pony guards. Celestia had told me they were just called Royal Guards, both pegasus and unicorn. Pagasus; I was so close. I continued to listen, taking deep breaths as their hoofsteps came closer. The art of being silent was something I’d honed over the years, especially after all of the tense situations I’d been in throughout them.

“I’m sure they’re on break or something, Fluttershy. It’s almost time for lunch and even the guards need to eat.”

So what if robots didn’t eat? I’d call them what I want.

“Let’s make ourselves a bit more presentable, dears. Just a quick little touch up...“

According to our plan, I was to stand next to the large double doors. I would be a few feet to the left if you were entering the room. Celestia sat on her throne, mane still blowing in that stupid invisible breeze that she had purposefully ignored my question about, only offering a sly smile in response. The doors swung inwards, so I was unable to get a proper look at the newcomers until they swung shut once more, and the seven beings stepped to the middle of the room.

A lavender coated unicorn stepped towards the throne, tailed by what looked to be a purple lizard. Twilight Sparkle and Spike, I remembered. Celestia hadn’t said whether or not he had anything to do with the so called Elements, but he apparently acted as Twilight’s pet wireless device that she could use to keep in instantaneous contact with the Princesses. Celestia had shown me a demonstration when she sent the summons to her student. It wasn’t exactly a radio or data-pad call, but it was interesting nonetheless. I hadn’t asked how she did it; knowing would probably boggle my mind, advanced technology like that.

“We’re here, Princess Celestia.”

Good job stating the obvious, miss Sparkle. I can see why you’re Celestia’s personal student… no offense to Celestia. I’m sorry. That was mean of me.

“Welcome, Twilight. I’m sure you’re curious to know why I called you here on such short notice."

“Yea, what’s up with that?” said a cyan, flamboyant, loud pegasus that was hovering above the group. Her voice grated against my ears, and I resisted the urge to snort. “I mean, I’m all for saving Equestria for like… the third time now, but still!”

“It’s not like you got anything to do. I’ve got a farm to run ‘an a family to take care of,” the hat-wearing one said. It was a nice hat, and I think it fit her. I’d have to compliment it sometime. I used to wear a hat like that. Got blown to bits one time, though, and all the other hats just weren’t the same.

“Yes, I’m afraid that, while I’m not going to ask you to save Equestria, I am going to have to ask you a favor on its behalf. It’s a rather large thing to ask, and it will take some time to explain in full.”

“Anything, Princess. We’ve got your back! Lemme’ at ‘em, lemme’ at ‘em!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, punching a hoof in the air in a twist of hyperactivity I wasn’t prepared for, and II almost chuckled to myself. This was my cue, and I quietly stepped behind the group of mares, just between them and the doors.

“First. I’d like to introduce you to someone. You’ll be with him for the next few weeks. He’s a bit different, so please try to go easy on him,” Celestia said, smirking ever so slightly as she nodded at me. I put on my best welcoming smile, and patted down my uniform. I had changed out of my armor last night, and once more wore the dark grey and black jacket that was my uniform. The only other color was the gold wings on each shoulder, the four orange stars near my neckline, and the seal of the Wing next to them. It had served me well over the years. It was a relic.

The Wing’s symbol was simple. It was one color: gold. A large diamond, the gem, not the shape, shadowed by two outstretched eagle wings, and we stuck it wherever we could. On our ships, our uniforms, our official papers, our guns. The entire galaxy knew that symbol, even if they didn’t know the name behind it. It had stayed that way since the Wing was founded, and I doubted they’d forget us, even after we were long gone.

For a moment, the only sound in the room was my breathing and the soft patter as I smoothed out my jacket. The six ponies and dragon all turned to face me, their expressions turning to shock, fear, surprise, and… joy. That last one was Pinkie Pie.

“Oh?” Twilight asked.

“Uhh…” Applejack said.

“Eep…” Fluttershy squeaked.

“Uh, AWESOME!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, wiping the shock off her face and zipping in front of me in what felt like less than a nanosecond. I could feel something pink and probably very dangerous circling me, giving me scrutinizing looks. “What are you? I mean, I’ve seen minotaurs before, but nothing like you!”

“The real question is: who are you?” Pinkie asked, appearing in between Rainbow Dash and my face. I don’t want to know how she managed to just get there, with both hooves on my shoulders. “And more importantly, do you like cupcakes? And are you an alien? A robot? An alien robot from the planet Plutuiper?! Do your alien robots like cupcakes? Are there more of you? Because if there’s more, tell me now, so I don’t have to throw more than one ‘Welcome to Equestria, alien robots’ party! Actually, wait, no! Then I can throw even more parties!”

For the record, there is no such planet as Plutuiper. There was, but it got blown up.

I blinked, and discovered I had backed up into the doors. I looked at Celestia with my best puppy-dog-eyes, then back down to Pinkie, who had apparently jumped off my shoulders at one point.

“This is Captain Amber. Yes, I suppose you could call him an alien, because he’s not from Equestria nor our own world, but he’s here on a peace mission. He is not a robot, and I believe he said he was a- sorry, what was it again?”

“Human-V. I’m from the late planet Kaiden, and I’m here,” I stepped forward a little, fixing my disheveled uniform as I did. I looked right at Twilight, who Celestia had said was their groups little leader figure. How adorable. “I’m here to ask you all something. I-. Fluttershy? I’m no expert, Fluttershy, but you should probably take a breath. Breathing makes living a lot easier.”

There was a long pause as Fluttershy took a few deep breaths, looking from me to Celestia in a panic. She had ruined my dramatic speech by not breathing. How rude. Some people would shoot them on the spot after such an act. Good thing I wasn’t some people.

“It’s alright, little one. He won’t bite.”

“Much,” I smirked, giving the pegasus a sly wink. Judging by the slight look of confused horror that dawned on her face, that was the wrong move. Nix the jokes from now on. “I mean, um, omnivore. But still. A pleasure to meet you all.”

Twilight took a slow step forward, looking up at me in awe and fear, or some sort of weird mix of the two. A little dash of bravery could thrown in for good measure. She was good leader material, for sure. Her friends gathered around and behind her, giving me the same looks. Except for Pinkie Pie, she was just grinning manically. Note to self, don’t let that one near any of the weaponry on the ship, or the airlock. Definitely not the airlock.

“Um, hello there, Captain Amber…. You said ‘late’ planet Kaiden?”

“That is currently irrelevant,” I said as quickly as the words left her mouth. “As I said, I have something to ask you all.” I stepped back to the door, and dramatically spread my arms out. At least as dramatically as I could, which was to say, not much. I was never good at being dramatic, “Would you all like to see the galaxy?”

There was silence for a moment as all the ponies, and the dragon lizard thing, stared at me with open mouths. Rainbow Dash slowly plopped back on to the ground. Pinkie Pie giggled, and my smile wavered for just a moment. I took a deep breath, and did my best to save face.

“I’m asking if you’d like to join me on my ship, the Homebound, and leave Equestria for a few weeks. I’ve already spoken to Celestia about the specifics, and we’ve come to a few agreements about this. I’m allowed to bring at least nine ambassadors to represent Celestia, Luna, and all of Equestria on this tour, and she chose you seven. I, uh, I actually don’t have much time here, and we’ll be leaving this evening. I’m sure that will give you enough time to write letters to family and discuss these matters in private. I’ve got a lot to organize and prepare as well, and though I’d love to stay and get to know you all personally before the trip, I have to go take care of some things.” I nodded and gestured at Celestia, each of them turned to face the princess, and with one foot I opened the throne room door a crack.

“So I’ll leave you to ask Celestia any questions you’d like. She’s cleared her schedule, so feel free to take as much time as you’d, ah… of course, I am still leaving soon, so be quick in your decisions,” I said with a vicious, merciless grin at Celestia, and without another breath stepped outside. The door thudded shut and I spun on one heel, smiling bravely. There were not several muffled outcries of distressful tones coming from the throne room, because I made sure to ignore them all. I actually didn’t know if she had cleared her schedule to deal with them. Sorry, Celestia. Please don’t stab me with your horn.

There was a whole lot to do. Art had managed to set up a communications device with the help of TACT and his scanner module. Afterward, he had opted to take the dropship up to the Homebound. Dylan and Roland were on a learning spree with Luna, soaking in as much Equestrian knowledge as possible. Or at least, Dylan was. I’m sure Roland was busy telling heroic, completely fabricated tales from the Wing’s past antics; they better be fabricated, at least. Well, I’m sure that he was just bragging about them, really. No harm done.