• Published 15th Jan 2015
  • 11,578 Views, 1,348 Comments

Unity - Kieva Lynn



Ponyville, Equestria. Fallow Meadows, Indiana. Two towns torn from thier worlds and deposited together on a third. Can Human and Pony work together? They'd better hope so, because they're not alone...

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Chapter Five

Unity
Chapter Five

The Crusaders looked with fear at the creatures that had joined them under the fallen tree. One was clearly a dog, the other... "What is it?" Sweetie Belle whispered.

"I think it's one of the things from the other town." Apple Bloom replied. "Big sis says they seem friendly enough... And I think maybe it was trying to save us."

"Fat lot of good that did then." Scootaloo complained.

"It still tried." Apple Bloom countered.

"Yeah, I guess... Maybe we should try to talk to it?"

"They don't know Equish." Apple Bloom answered.

Sweetie Belle said "But we can't just sit here." She took a single step forward and reached out with a forehoof. "Hello!"

The creature stared at them, not answering. It's dog however was more forward. Bounding forward, it began to sniff at Sweetie's offered hoof, then wagged it's tail and started licking. Sweetie laughed, which only encouraged the dog, who had clearly decided it liked her.

It was about then that the hungry creatures began ramming the tree again, determined to crash through to their quarry. Man, dog, and ponies stared, and the dog began to growl, then bark angrily. Looking back and forth between her friends, Scootaloo said "I hope one of you has a plan, 'cause I got nothin'." The looks on their faces answered her question for her...

xx

Staring down the gigantic predators, Bert's mind was in overdrive as he sought a way out of this predicament. His initial concerns still applied: The guns he had lacked the kick for a sure-thing kill shot on such large targets. An elephant gun would work, but he hadn't expected to need that much force. Ramming the barrel of the rifle into one's mouth as it lunged was an option, but he didn't even know if these things kept their brains in their heads or not.

"Time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted." Bert quoted to himself. He considered everything he had available, the gear he had bought, Shadow, the terrain, even the three fillies. And as he thought, a plan began to form. It wasn't a perfect plan. For one thing it would require him to use himself as bait while the ponies and Shadow got away. Then again, once he was on his own he could take bigger risks, have a better chance of also getting clear. He looked over at the ponies. They were staring, eyes wide, towards the raging beasts. How to communicate his plan to them so they'd know what to do?

Getting an idea from his high school football team days, Bert searched his pack for the pen and paper he had bought along, and after finding them clapped his hands once to get the ponies' attention. He waved them in closer, and though they were clearly still unsure of him they did slowly step up.

As they gathered in, the pegasus' stomach rumbled. Chuckling, Bert found a granola bar and tossed it to her. She seemed confused as to what she was being given, but smiled widely once she managed to rip the end of the foil off. Bert grinned himself when she broke it in three and shared with her friends.

Making sure their attention was on the paper, Bert began to draw. First a square (He motioned to himself) then a circle (Point at Shadow) two 'X's (motion towards the creatures) and finally three triangles. Before Bert could point to the fillies, the yellow one motioned towards the triangles and then herself and the others.

"Good. You get it so far." Bert said. He nodded, and continued drawing, adding in the tree trunk and other nearby features. Confirming with a look that they were still following, he drew a series of arrows from the positions of himself and them. "Now... What were your words for numbers...?" Bert pointed to the arrows in sequence, numbering them for the ponies as he went.

Yellow and Orange were clearly following his plan and agreeing with it, nodding and discussing something excitedly. But the other...

The unicorn motioned towards Bert, then towards the creatures. "Quo? Virra lo gubby, thac!" As she said the last word, she pantomimed the creature's jaws snapping shut.

"I hoped they wouldn't see that far ahead." Bert thought to himself. He smiled and held up the rifle. "Uhm...Bang bang?"

Yellow looked at the gun quizzically, then grabbed Bert's pen and drew out a crude depiction of what looked like a cannon. Bert nodded yes, and all three fillies' eyes opened wider.

Above their heads, a cracking sound announced that the tree trunk wasn't going to take much more pounding before it gave way. "Now." Bert said, shouldering his pack and saying to Shadow "Guard." while pointing at the ponies. The dog understood, staying close to them. Holding up three fingers, Bert counted down, then ran for it on zero, the creatures giving chase...

xx

As soon as Bert and the creatures were gone, Scootaloo took point and the Crusaders ran in the opposite direction, back towards Ponyville. "I sure hope he knows what he's doing!" Sweetie Belle exclaimed.

"Me too!" Apple Bloom agreed. "I'd hate for anypony to get hurt savin' us!"

"I'm not worried. He's got that little cannon remember?" Scootaloo said. "Betcha he'll get in the clear and blast 'em!"

Apple Bloom shook her head. " I dunno... If he was so sure of himself, why'd he send the dog with us?"

Scootaloo skidded to a halt, staring at Shadow. "Hey yeah! But... Aw no, I don't want him getting eaten!"

"Look let's just get back to town!" Sweetie Belle said. "We'll tell the guard, they'll send somepony out to help!"

"It'll be too late by then!"

"Maybe, but it's all for nothing if we stay out here and get gobbled up by something too!"

Suddenly Scootaloo gasped. "Look!" She said, pointing up to a familiar prismatic streak in the sky. She shouted "Rainbow Dash! Down here!"

With a loud fluttering of wings, Rainbow landed before the Crusaders. "What are you thinking doing out here!?" She demanded. "No wait, tell me later, let's get you back to town first."

"No wait! We can't go yet!" Sweetie Belle said.

Rainbow gave the unicorn a puzzled look. "What? Why?"

Gesturing to each other and the dog, all three fillies talked over each other as they explained how the alien had saved them from certain doom. Sorting out the story, Rainbow shushed them and asked "So he's still out there being chased down?"

"He saved us and they're gonna eat him!" Sweetie Belle wailed.

A determined look spread over Rainbow's face. "Oh buck no they're not... No creature saves my biggest fan and gets eaten for it!" She looked down at the Crusaders. "Stay here, hide. I'll be right back." Before anypony could answer, Rainbow was gone in a flash of rainbow light...

xx

Bert ran headlong through the trees, hunters close behind. As he ran, he took note of a detail that would be very helpful to know in the future, assuming he survived this; when these creatures were in pursuit mode, they focused their sonar more tightly on the intended prey. He could actually feel the intense waves of sound reflecting off of his body.

Luck was with the survivalist. As he leapt over a large rock formation he caught sight of something he could use. Changing course, Bert pushed himself for all he was worth in one last sprint, jumping down into a narrow fissure in the ground just as the creatures would have reached him. They now stood directly overhead, aiming their sonar down into the hole but unable to fit in to reach him.

Both creatures snarled and growled and roared in frustration. They pawed at the ground, but the sides of the fissure were solid rock, not soil they could dig up. After several minutes, both seemed to give up and wander away. Bert was relieved, until he realized they were going back the way they had come from. Going back after Shadow and the young ponies.

He quickly climbed up, out of the fissure, and got their attention before diving back in. Again, quicker this time, they turned to go back after the others. "Damn. Fast learners." Bert cursed. Then something unexpected happened...

xx

Rainbow Dash heard the alien before she saw him. He was yelling something in that odd language they spoke. Looking down, she saw him standing next to a hole, waving his forelimbs and screaming. Then she saw the predators. "Sweet Faust, that's what had the girls cornered?" She wondered. "No wonder they needed help. But why is he yelling at them like-" The thought was cut off short as Rainbow figured it out.

She flew down, fast enough to create a clap of wind from her passage, stopping a few feet above the forest floor, with the predators between her and the alien. There she hovered, forelegs crossed, planning to stare the beasts down. Of course, stare downs can be difficult when... "No eyes!?" Rainbow exclaimed. "Well that's not fair!"

The creatures rushed forward as the alien waved his limbs and shouted louder. Rainbow tried to evade them by just flying up out of range, but they proved to be phenomenally good jumpers; before she could get high enough to be in the clear, she was knocked to the ground. Looking up, seeing both looming over her, the pegasus whispered what she expected to be her last prayer.

Then there was a loud cracking noise, similar to a cannon shot but higher-pitched. The beasts reared back and shrieked, stepping away from Rainbow as they did so. Another crack, and they stepped further away. Getting back to her feet, Rainbow saw the alien, holding one of those portable cannons they had, firing a third shot. Oddly, he hadn't fired towards the creatures, yet they still roared in pain.

Now, Rainbow Dash might not be the smartest pony out there; Certainly not on 'egghead' level... But she wasn't dumb. "No eyes... big ears... Loud sounds hurt them!" She exclaimed. Then she grinned. "You guys want loud sound? I'll give you loud sound..." She rocketed high into the sky, near her maximum altitude, then sped straight down as fast as she could...

xx

Bert was surprised when the pegasus suddenly flew away. She had apparently been trying to help him, and the sudden departure left two options. "Either she lost her nerve after taking the hit, or she's got a plan." He thought. He hoped it was the latter, though he could hardly blame her if it was the former.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!

A tremendous crash, as of rolling thunder or a sonic boom rumbled through the forests, vibrating everything. leaves and branches fell from trees, the rifle fumbled from Bert's hands, and the creatures screamed in pain and terror. Having had enough, they turned and fled, off in a direction opposite where Bert had left the fillies.

"The hell...!?" Bert shouted. He looked up to see a brilliant display of colors fading away and the pegasus descending towards him. "Was that you...?" He wondered.

But there was little time to contemplate, as the pony landed in front of Bert and motioned for him to follow her. Having no better ideas, he grabbed up his rifle and followed, finding a few minutes later that they were going to where Shadow and the fillies were waiting.

Elated to see it's master, the dog ran to Bert, tail wagging, tongue lolling out to lick his hands, and Bert was also surprised to be jumped and tightly hugged by the little unicorn as well. After freeing himself from her grip, Bert motioned to them and started to walk back towards where he knew the pony's town was. He stopped when the adult pegasus shouted something.

Bert watched, as she needed a moment to think in order to figure out how to convey her message. She motioned to the orange filly, then to herself. Then she motioned to the other two, and back towards Fallow Meadows.

"You're saying... Their parents or something are at our town right now?" Bert guessed. He nodded. "Alright then, Fallow Meadows it is." He started towards the human town, and the ponies followed close behind...

XXXX

Back in Fallow Meadows a search team had formed up, armed and ready to push into the dark forests in the hopes of find both the missing ponies and Bert, whose taped message had been found when Tucker sent a deputy to fetch him. Included in the group were Tucker himself, two deputies, a pair of senior boys from the high school, and Bethany Stanz who had insisted on returning the favor that had been done during Herbert's heart attack.

Through careful use of the few words they knew, humans and ponies had decided to break into three groups, each containing one pony and two humans. But as they were moving out, a voice called to them from the forest edge. Into view came Bert, Shadow, and four ponies.

"Shoulda known." Tucker chuckled to himself, while the three ponies that had already been with them ran to the others. Even without knowing the language, the tone of relief in their voices was unmistakable. As Bert walked to him, Tucker said "Long story, I'm guessing?"

"Kids being kids." Bert answered. "But we do need to talk. I've gotten a good look, almost too close in one case, at some of the stuff that's living out there... And we might have a serious problem on our hands..."

xx

While Bert relayed what he had seen, seven ponies had a reunion which started out as happy relief and turned into three fillies being grounded for weeks. "You could've been killed!" Applejack said, "What were y'all thinking!?"

"Yes Sweetie Belle... Please explain what possessed the three of you to do such a dangerous thing?" Rarity agreed.

Sweetie Belle explained "We realized that the sun and moons here move, which means there must be an alien alicorn or something controlling them! We went to find her."

"I'll explain this to you someday girls, but it doesn't actually work that way normally... Eqqus is a unique world, most planets the sun and moon move on their own."

"Say what!?" Applejack asked.

"One thing at a time dear... Punishments first."

"It was actually my idea. Please don't punish them." Scootaloo said

"Sorry squirt. Your idea or not, they still went along with it."

"Exactly." Rarity agreed.

Twilight said "I'm so glad you're all okay! Now don't ever do that again!"

"We won't." The Crusaders promised.

Rainbow said "I'm tempted to make you make that a Pinkie Promise."

"No reason to go quite that far." Applejack disagreed. "Now let's get you back home to start your groundings."

"Hold up a moment!" Twilight asked. "Before that, I'd like to hear about this. What happened, what all did you see?"

The Crusaders began to tell their tale, Twilight listening earnestly...

xx

"...And that's about the size of it." Bert concluded. "There are some very big, very dangerous animals out there."

"And some freaky mushrooms too." Roger sighed. "This place gets more and more strange every day."

Tucker nodded. "True enough. Although, it's the 'no eyes' thing that gets my attention. I mean, think about it: Our equine neighbors do have eyes."

"Yeah, it's more evidence that they don't belong here." Bert agreed.

Listening from the sidelines, Bethany Stanz asked "So what are we supposed to do? I mean, if we're going to survive here we'll need to farm some land, but if it's that dangerous out there..."

"We've got enough material to build a defensive wall around the town itself." Roger said.

"Isn't that a bit medieval?" Bethany asked.

"Squeaky wheel and grease. It's what we need to do." Roger countered. "Still doesn't solve the farming issue though."

Bert said "Clear some forests around the edges of town. Plant in shooting range of the top of the wall. It'll work if we do it right."

Standing next to Roger, Florence said "We could convert areas inside the town to crops too; the big fields around the school and in the park for example."

"Yeah, that's good." Tucker said. "Bert, can I assume you've got seed stores in that compound of yours?"

"Of course. Corn, wheat, soy, beans, you name it."

"Good, so-" Tucker was interrupted by the sound of loud excited yelling. He looked to see the Purple pony rushing towards them...

xx

"He did what!?!" Twilight exclaimed. "Oh! Oh! Oh I'm so... How did I not think of that!?"

"Y'all have been busy." Applejack said. "...Think of what?"

"Oh it's perfect! It'll work! It has to work!" Twilight babbled. "Paper! I need some big sheets of paper! Right now!" She looked around frantically, setting eyes on one of the female locals. Rushing up to her, Twilight dropped a piece of paper on the ground, tapped it, then motioned wide with her hooves. Seeming to get the message, the creature ran into a storefront and emerged moments later with a large artist's sketchbook.

Twilight smiled in thanks, then took the sketchbook in her magic and ran towards the group of creatures she had been working with the most...

xx

As Tucker and company watched, Purple opened the sketchbook, produced a quill and ink from her bags, and started drawing. "Looks like the kids told her about my idea." Bert said. They waited as Purple drew, and looked closely when she turned the page to face them.

Depicted were nine smaller images in three rows of three. The pony clearly wasn't an artist, but the drawings were at least good enough to tell what they were supposed to be. The first row depicted two ponies. One spoke in the first panel, the other in the second, and the third panel showed them both smiling and shaking or bumping hooves. The second row was identical to the first, save that it showed two humans instead. The third row showed one human and one pony. The human spoke, then the pony, but the third panel showed both frowning and spreading their arms/forelegs in confusion.

"So, yeah... We can't talk to each other." Roger said. "We get that already."

"Hang on I think she's going somewhere with this..." Tucker said. He nodded for the pony to continue.

Flipping to a new page, Purple began to draw again. It took only a couple of minutes before she presented them with a new set of images. This time, the first three images were the same as the last row on the first page. From there, a fourth panel showed a glow around the pony's horn and also around the human's head. Panel five depicted speech balloons from both human and pony, and panel six showed both smiling and shaking hands/hooves.

"Mister Gumbal..." Bethany whispered, "Is she saying what I think she's saying here?"

"Yeah... Yeah, I think you're right..." Bert answered.

With a raised eyebrow, Roger asked "Care to fill the rest of us in?"

Bethany answered "She's saying that the thing she tried to do with Carl Harner the first day, that glowing around the head thing... She's saying that we'd be able to understand each other if she was able to finish doing it."

"Now hold on, how is that even possible?" Tucker asked.

Bert shrugged. "How is any of this possible? The real question is, do we let her do it, and if so who will it be?"

"Me." Florence said, surprising everyone. "I'll do it."

This was not a plan Roger liked. "Now hold on Flo, we've not even decided to do it or not, and-"

"And nothing. We need to be able to talk to each other. So we have to risk it. And since it is a risk, it can't be you or Bert or the Sheriff. Me though, I'm just a waitress. Besides, Herbert's been my friend for twenty years. I owe them for helping to save his life."

"Her logic's sound Rog." Bert said.

"Right. So let's get this over with." Florence stepped forward, bent down to her knees, and nodded to the pony, who nodded back before closing her eyes.

"I'm sure glad Carl left after you told him off." Bert said as the pony's horn began to glow. "He'd be shooting right about now."

The glow around the pony's horn peaked, and a similar glow ebbed and flowed around Flo's head. After the first minute Tucker said "Flo? Can you hear me? How do you feel?"

"I feel just fine actually." Florence answered. "There's no unusual sensation at all."

The glow continued another full minute, and then the pony fell to her knees and all was silent...

xx

"Twi!? Twi you okay?" Applejack asked, worry in her expression.

Twilight's eyes fluttered open. "Ugh... I'm okay A.J... That's not an easy spell is all."

As Twilight rose back to her feet, Rarity said "Well don't keep us in suspense darling! Did it work?"

"Let's find out..."

xx

After it was over, Roger helped Florence back to her feet. The group watched as the purple pony recovered for herself, then stood and looked up at them. The pony smiled to Florence, cast a quick gaze around at everyone present, then opened her mouth and said "That should be sufficient. Can you understand me?"

"Holy crap it worked." Roger whispered.

"But how, I mean..." Sheriff Tucker focused his attention on the pony. "Um, yes... Yes, we understand you. Are you understanding us?"

"I am! The spell worked!" The pony practically squee'd. "I mean I knew it would work, but I've never actually had to use it myself before!"

"Wait, 'Spell?' You mean like magic?" Bethany asked.

"Oh, well that's kind of complicated for a full explanation, but it's what we call it." The pony said. "Oh! My name is Twilight Sparkle, student of her majesty Princess Celestia!" She offered a hoof.

Bending down, John Tucker said "I'm Sheriff Tucker. The fellow in the camouflage in Bert Gumbal, that's Roger, Bethany, and the lady who agreed to help you is Florence... Um, the hoof, do you bump or shake?"

"Either works." Twilight smiled.

After they had shook, Tucker asked "So, can your friends understand us now too?"

"Not yet." Twilight answered. "Right now, all I've done is copy the language information from Florence's mind to mine. I can cast another spell that will transfer it to my friends, and with the help of other unicorns I could cast a blanket spell that would enable all of us, human and pony, in both towns to communicate." She looked at Florence. "But, since the information came from your mind, magic etiquette requires me to have your permission before using it."

"That's fine, of course... We all need to be able to talk to each other. But, I am concerned about one thing..."

Bert said "I'm wondering the same thing, I think. If this spell of yours can do what you just did, what other knowledge could you take from someone's mind?"

"What!? I would never..." Twilight fell silent for a moment, then said "Actually, I guess it is a fair question from your point of view..."

"Thanks for understanding."

Twilight nodded. "Sure... But to answer, it's not a concern. The spell can transfer linguistic knowledge, and theoretically pure book data on basic subjects. But personal memories, skills, plans, and what I suspect you're concerned about, tactical data, is beyond it's abilities. And even if I could do such a thing, as I said, I would never actually..."

"Okay, we'll take your word for it." Tucker smiled.

Smiling back, Twilight said "Okay, give me just a moment and I'll cast the spell on my friends." She turned to face the other ponies, horn lighting up as she did. The glow lasted for a shorter period this time.

"Is that it?" The rainbow-maned pony asked.

"I think so. I understood you perfectly." Bert answered.

At this everyone, human and pony, began to talk over each other, eager for open communication. They were all cut off by a loud whistle from Twilight. "Before we begin," She said, "A warning. The translation matrix works by making direct connections between languages. This means it's usually very accurate, but it can be fouled up by words used in 'slang' form, or by words that don't have direct equivalents in the other language. In other words, to both humans and ponies, if somepony uses a word that comes across as unintelligible, or intelligible but doesn't make sense in context, please say something."

"In that case I already have a question." Roger said. "'Somepony...?'"

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