• Published 25th May 2012
  • 12,571 Views, 884 Comments

In the Darkness, The Lone Blades Light the Way - New Lunar Eclipse

An Elite Ultra and his squad are stranded in Equestria. How do they get back to the Blessed Path? Do they want to, when a symbol of their religion tells them otherwise?

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Chapter Two: First Contact

* Italics signify that it is being spoken in the species’ native language, or in the universal language of the Covenant, and that this is the closest possible translation.

The Elite Ultra was lying on the ground, his large eight-foot tall body facing the heavens. The sounds of his surroundings slowly brought him back to his senses as they resonated through his helmet's speakers. The crackling of flames as the Phantom was burning, the chattering of his squad mates, and the hum of his armor recharging its shields all came through to him, though the sounds were muffled as if he were shell-shocked. He opened his eyes, slowly looking through his HUD at his surroundings. He first saw the night sky in all its glory. Constellations that he didn't recognize were strewn about perfectly, not unlike an artist's canvas. He rotated his head, first to make sure nothing was broken and then to look around at his immediate vicinity. Towering trees took up most of his vision, save for a few shrubs and weird blue flowers.

The bluish-purple fire of the Phantom illuminated his armor, dancing around happily thanks to the fuel it was receiving. The forest he observed reminded him of the ancient forests on Sanghelios by his Keep, both lush and green while at the same time dark and forbidding. He got up slowly due to a painful throb of protest in his head. He started testing his limbs to make sure they were in working order, and then the rest of his body. Everything was functional, save for his right ankle, which must have been injured and subsequently treated. He turned around to face what remained of his squad, whose members were looking at him and waiting for his orders and guidance. A quick head count revealed that only a single Kig-Yar, one Unggoy, and one of his brothers remained. He stood up tall, despite his headache's protests, and mandated:

*”Activate your cloaking. I do not want any natives to find us until proven friendly. Leave the bodies where they lay.” He thought for a moment before adding, *"if they are human let them into the camp, then kill them in a crossfire."

The Unggoy and Kig-Yar nodded, the grunt becoming invisible as the Kig-Yar jumped into the nearest tree. The Minor looked at the higher ranking Elite and stretched his jaws in hesitant acceptance before slowly blending in to his surroundings. The Ultra did so as well, taking into account his hurt ankle. The group showed up as yellow dots on his seventy-five yard motion sensor. He spoke into the radio that connected all of their comms to each other.

*”Head into the forest and make a perimeter, but do not engage anything.”

The Elite watched his sensor as the yellow dots slowly moved away, careful to not give away their positions through unnecessary movement. They waited for hours but nothing came, save for a few animals which made great meals for the Kig-Yar and the two Elites. The Ultra had been forbidden to uncloak with a death sentence, but he was in command and could override it. It was time for a change of plans. Hoping to lure any potential enemies into a false sense of bravado, the Ultra allowed his cloak to drop to half power, leaving most of his body concealed but allowing the lights on his armor to glow ominously.

The large Elite sat at the crash site, sifting through what was left and taking anything of value such as weapons and ammo...until he heard the crackling of the radio. He listened closely to the chatter of the single speaker.

*“Any..... out there? ...Life.... not human.... unknown aff... not human....... no honor..... save the..... ship... injured.... tell... death honorable.”

The comm turned to static. The most the Ultra could decipher was that there had been another survivor, and that there was sentient life around. The life wasn’t human, and had no known side in the war. There was no honor to be gained by killing them because of this. The one talking wanted whoever was able to listen to save the ship if possible. He was also gravely injured, and wanted others to know his death was honorable.

He stood up and looked at his radar. He still saw the yellow dots of his squad, but then there was suddenly red. At least ten red dots were all converging onto his location. Onto him. He half-turned his cloak on, allowing only the lights of his armor to be visible. The red dots remained on the outside of the small clearing, a collection of glowing yellow eyes being the only indication they were there. He grabbed the hilt of his energy sword and waited.

As the ten pairs of yellow eyes stared directly at him, he slowly lifted the hilt up and held it in front of himself. He was so focused on the eyes that he did not notice the three white dots on his radar slowly creeping up behind him.
The six mares and baby dragon on the hill were not the only ones watching the meteor shower that night. On the complete opposite side of Sweet Apple Acres, and closer to the forest, were three small fillies in a club house. They had watched the entire ordeal with awe and fascination. As the flaming ball hit the forest, one idea entered their minds, and as one they belted out their newest objective:

“Cutie Mark Crusaders Meteorite Recovery! Yay!!”

They promptly ran into the forest in the direction of the purple lights, completely disregarding any supplies they may need or any danger they may face.
“What’re those glowing lights over there?” The Elite heard a soft English-speaking voice behind him. Thinking it to be a human, he immediately activated his energy sword with a soft sizzle. He turned around, expecting a primitive assault rifle to be aimed at his head, but found only three small equines. His radar was suddenly engulfed by the red dots moving towards him, closing in fast. He turned back around to find a different quadruped jumping through the air and landing on his chest with a powerful thud, knocking the wind out of the Elite as he fell to the ground.

The Elite gasped for air while the creature tried to bite at him, only being stopped a couple inches from his target. The predator let out a wail of frustration that was cut short by a blade bisecting it. The energy in the sword caught its carapace on fire, and it exploded into brilliant golden flames. The other creatures were appalled at this and took a few steps away. The now uncloaked Ultra got off the ground, swinging his energy sword to his side. He bellowed a battle cry as he charged. Three of the wolves howled and charged to him as well. The first two jumped at the same time, prompting the Elite to swing his sword upwards, catching one of them and causing it to burst into flames. The other crashed into the Elite again, but he was prepared. His wrist sprouted a smaller blade and he sunk it into the creature's neck. He let loose a small chuckle as he pulled it out, watching the subsequent flames with satisfaction.

The last one had circled around him and pounced towards the three fillies, clearly eager for an easier target. The Elite kicked his foot out and hit it in mid air, sending it flying into a tree. He slowly walked towards it and sunk his energy sword into its body. He turned and approached the rest of the group, as did the other cloaked elite from behind, wrist blade engaged. Both swung their swords in unison, causing all but three to erupt into violent balls of flame in just a couple of seconds. Two more were taken out by a sudden blast of highly concentrated plasma from the Unggoy and an instantaneous stream from the Kig-Yar’s Focus Rifle, prompting the final adversary to run away, whining pathetically.

The uncloaked Elite looked back to the three equines, who were now quivering in terror. How did the large monster just kill ten Timberwolves on his own, with most being farther away than the weapon he carried could reach? What was with all those funny lights and noises? How could this creature, who towers so high above them, turn invisible? Could he possibly be the infamous Slenderpony? Why was it on two legs and not four? How...

The Elite looked to his invisible comrades, and spoke in a language the trio couldn’t understand. “Fou loush auskeion finoulso.” Behind him, two more forms appeared. One was a small creature with a curved triangular bump protruding from its back. It was orange, much like the color of Apple Bloom’s sister, Applejack. The other looked just like the first eight-foot tall bipedal creature, but colored a deep crimson with another sword-like weapon supposedly deployed from its wrist. Its face was not covered up, and all four jaws were visible, each bristling with very sharp teeth. Its eyes were a pitch black, and shone maliciously in the purple fire of the crashed Phantom.

There was a sudden rustling in the trees behind the fillies, and a dark form suddenly landed on the ground in front of them, but behind the first monster. It turned around, both of its wrists glowing with light bluish-white orbs. It was strangely bird-like, the crest of feathers on its head a dark black with a sheen of magenta. The monsters each lowered their weapons, the blades sizzling out of existence. The smaller two kept theirs out, looking at their surroundings and watching, listening. They kept an even closer eye on the small fillies.

“Akoon shkichts valkonis?” The big Elite, the one whose face wasn’t showing, spoke in the strange tongue of his.

“Who did th’ what now?” Apple Bloom said, being the first to regain her composure enough to speak.

The biped looked away, as if contemplating what to do. It finally spoke again, “is English the only language you can speak?” Its unnatural throaty voice made them wish it didn't speak, and they shuddered in fright.

“Ah don’t see us speakin’ whatever th’ hay ya said before. But Ah’ve never heard of English, is that th’ same as Equuish?” Apple Bloom replied, steadily regaining her composure.
The Elite was taken aback by the ‘Equuish’ comment, but decided to ignore it. “I see.” The lights where its eyes were blinked on and off once. “Though this may be blunt and too early to ask…have you heard of the Holy War? The Great Journey?”

“Th’ who and what now?”
The Ultra did not understand. How did these little equines not know about the galactic war that was going on? The blasphemy that the Humans committed, desecrating all Forerunner technology and trying to impede the Great Journey? Did they honestly not know who the Covenant were, what it was made out of? The Great Journey itself? Maybe...

The elite Minor spoke. “Do you have honor, *Ninshin?^”

“Ah guess...”

“Do you...have anyone else that we can talk to?” the Ultra inquired.

“O’ course we do! There’s mah sister Applejack and her friends!”

The Ultra looked back to his squad. *”Turn on your cloaks. Kig-Yar, take to the roofs of any buildings there are. Do not be spotted. I see this one has wings, so there must be others. One has a horn. Do not make assumptions, but stay on your guard, all of you. Let’s go.”

“Do you have a name? What was that you just spoke?” the small white one asked.

“Ultra. That will suffice for now.” The Elite blew off the last question with an air of nonchalance. “Lead, and we will follow. We walk beside you, but you may not see us,” he said as they all slowly disappeared into their surroundings once again. The Kig-Yar jumped into the air and landed on a large branch. It turned to look at the three, waiting for the young fillies to show him the way.

Edited by Shanenator (now the new co-writer / editor/ commander in chief!)

Author’s notes: Ninshin in Sangheili is along the lines of worm, maggot, welp.

New chapter (6) should be out in a matter of days, if all goes according to plan.