• Published 15th Jul 2012
  • 1,388 Views, 24 Comments

Dark Operations - satyrnidae

The continued adventures of Vampire Cherilee... 100 years later.

  • ...

Chapter 1

The streets of Fillydelphia were strangely calm as an equine figure glided through the darkened streets, flitting from shadow to shadow. Occasionally, the yellowish lights of a passing automobile would illuminate the figure in their glow: a magenta-colored mare with light green eyes, draped and hooded in a dark cloak, who would quickly dart to another concealed spot before anypony could recognize her.

That pony was Cheerilee. Plenty of ponies would know her as a schoolteacher at Fillydelphian High School, but none, save a select few, knew her for what she really was. Only that select few knew what she did every night. For a long, long time, she had served the Equestrian Royal Family in covert operations, aimed for the most part at dissolving organized crime cells. She'd had to kill ponies, but it didn't bother her too much. For a part of her, killing was natural. For the other part, she'd convinced herself that it was for the best.

After an hour of jumping between shadows, Cheerilee came up on a small alleyway on the far side of town. She cast a furtive glance to a watch strapped to her fetlock. "And only ten minutes late!" she said a bit too cheerily for the situation. "Not bad... now I just have to convince Iron that--"

"Convince Iron that what?"

Cheerilee winced internally, cursing herself for her lapse in attention. If the hulking shape that stood in front of her had been a hostile, she'd have been in deep manure right now. Not that it was easy to kill her in any sense of the word, but...

The schoolteacher lifted her green eyes to meet the shape's own. Beady black eyes stared over the large snout of a cow. Two curved horns graced its crown, and a large, powerful body perched itself upon the curved legs of a goat.

"Hello, Iron," Cheerilee greeted her partner. The minotaur grunted in return. The two of them had been working together for a month now, ever since Iron had been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"You're late," he grumbled.

"Tests don't grade themselves."

The minotaur snorted derisively, rolling his beady eyes. "Never mind, I'll have time to discuss this later. Right now, you and I have business to attend to."

"Tell me what you've learned."

The two walked out of the alleyway as casually as a minotaur and a cloaked pony could manage. "I located the mark's base of operations," the minotaur whispered hoarsely. "A townhouse located in lot 514 down Muzzle Avenue, just off of Mane Street." Cheerilee knew that house; her students occasionally professed that it was haunted. "Just up here," her partner informed her.

As the two approached the ramshackle house, Cheerilee took note of the building's sagging roof, collapsing door and window frames, and the many vines crawling up its sides. The building's perimeter was marked off with yellow caution tape and the entire place smelled of decay.

Cheerilee looked up at her partner questioningly. "You're sure that this is the right place?"

"Absolutely." The minotaur took a deep snort. "Can you smell it? Under the decay, there's a distinct smell of... sulfur."

"Great. So the princess's suspicions were correct."

"I believe so," the minotaur replied. He shuffled his hooves. "There is a complication. The building's been condemned. It's being torn down on Wednesday." Iron Chef leaned in close to his partner before continuing in another hoarse whisper. "I think that the mark will likely move his stock before then. This is our only shot at this, Cheerilee. We only have until sunrise."

The mark in question was a rather objectionable unicorn named Salt Peter. Mr. Peter headed an illegal explosives cartel that had been causing quite a bit of a... disturbance... as of late.

Cheerilee glanced at her watch. It read 3:30. "Two and a half hours to complete a job?"

"I'm not so sure about this. Maybe we should let the mark's gang move, then track them down later."

Sheer determination shone in Cheerilee's eyes. "That could take a month, maybe longer. I'm going in."

"How do you plan on doing that?" asked the minotaur with an incredulous tone. "With sunrise in less than two hours, and the mark concealed in a ramshackle building brimming with at least three dozen guards and Celestia-knows-how-many explosives?" He shook his head solemnly. "How does somepony- even somepony like you- overcome odds like that?"

A wide, hollow grin crossed Cheerilee's face, revealing a set of sharp fangs. "I'll improvise."

Deep within the recesses of the condemned building's basement, Cheerilee crouched behind some barrels, hiding herself from sight. The smell of sulfur hung heavily in the damp air. Slowly, she made her way across the room, avoiding the prying eyes of the guards. It was a simple matter to do so after how long she'd been in this business.

The basement had a strange sort of look to it. It was clear that Salt and his accomplices had expanded on it over their time here. Its rough walls bore signs of explosion damage. Apparently, the gang hadn't used conventional excavation methods.

Cheerilee ducked down a rough hallway, taking care not to disturb anything. A mistake at this point would jeopardize the entire mission, and she and Iron would have to wait to get Salt later. Cheerilee was not about to let that happen. As she turned around a bend, she could hear some voices filtering out of a back room.

"I dunno, boss. This new stuff is ridiculously volatile. We'll move it as fast as we can, but—"

A harsh voice cut off the first. "Listen here, Dirt. All I ask is that you get the packages loaded onto the truck before the Celestia-damned construction crew gets here to tear this place down! Is that too much to ask? Because, if it is, I could easily get somepony else to do it for you, if you catch my drift."

The one called Dirt caught his drift and swallowed audibly. "N-n-not necessary, Mr. Peter, sir. The cargo will be loaded before the crew gets here."

"Good." There was a slight pause. "Well, why are you still standing here? Move!" A sound of hooves scamperedly trotting away quickly followed the roughly barked command.

Cheerilee took this moment to peek around the corner towards the source of the voices. A dark brown Earth pony stallion quickly cantered out of a lit doorway into the dim room. This was presumably Dirt. Cheerilee's eyes followed him until he reached the edge of the room, then flitted back to the doorway just in time to see a second stallion step through.

"There you are,” Cheerilee mumbled to herself, stepping back into cover. The stallion had been unmistakable, from his mortar-and-pestle cutie mark to his grizzled grey mane and left eye patch. He looked for all of Equestria like a pony that had been on the receiving end of at least one explosive mishap, maybe even more than one. Cheerilee was sure that that was Salt Peter.

Suddenly, something shuffled behind her. Cheerilee whipped her head around to see a rather surprised unicorn mare, tripped over a crack in the floor. The two ponies stared at each other in surprise for a few seconds before Cheerilee reared up and smashed down on the unicorn's head, knocking her out cold. Somepony was bound to hear that, thought Cheerilee, turning back to the room.

Sure enough, the altercation had not gone unnoticed. "...Hm?" Salt questioned, before barking "Fan out! We aren't alone! There's an intruder here and I want them found!"

Perfect, thought Cheerilee as her cover was blown. She quickly evaluated her options. Option one was to continue with the mission at a faster pace and try to complete it without getting caught. Option two was to back out, get to safety, and get the mark at a later day. Option three... option three was to go all-out attack mode, incapacitate anything that got in her way, and get the mark.

Option three was to improvise.

She went with option three.

Cheerilee rushed out from hiding, ducking behind a row of barrels, raising a shout from one of Salt's guards. She spun around, angling herself away from the barrels, and bucked, sending one of them flying across the room. There was a scream, then an explosion. Shards of metal, wood, and concrete flew in every direction. Cheerilee wasted no time in leaping over the other barrels and into the fray. Any ponies that hadn't already been decommissioned by the blast were quickly incapacitated by her hooves and fangs. It didn't take long for her to cut a swathe through the disoriented crowd. She burst out just in time to see Salt duck into the back room.

Cheerilee kicked off into a quick gallop. She'd just burst through the door after him when a magically thrown knife stabbed into her right side, just between her ribs, slicing into one of her lungs. The impact was enough to bring her to a skidding stop. Wrapping it in a red glow, Salt slowly pulled the knife out of the schoolteacher with a sickening squelch.

"Like it?" he asked with a snide smile, turning the emerald-gilded blade around slowly in his ethereal grasp. "It's of the finest griffin make. I only use it for special business..." The knife rotated back to Cheerilee, "like taking care of would-be assassins like you." Keeping the knife angled towards her, Salt advanced on Cheerilee. "So, who sent you? Mayor Gruff? The Princesses?" The knife made its way to rest on Cheerilee's forehead, just between her eyes. "Tell me now, and I'll end your suffering for you."

Cheerilee cast her eyes downwards, and mumbled something inaudibly. Salt blinked. "What was that?"

"I said, 'Nothing can end my suffering.'" Cheerilee looked up at Salt, grinning. "But thanks for offering."

That was when Salt noticed her fangs. Giving a startled yell, he took a step back and swung the blade madly to no avail. Cheerilee rushed forwards, colliding with Salt and lashing out with her fangs. Both she and the crime lord tumbled backwards, colliding with the desk in the back of the room. A small glass vial filled with a clear liquid flew off the desk and into the air. Salt's eye widened as it watched the vial tumble towards the ground. He just had time to let out a strangled "No!" as the vampony sank her fangs into his neck, attempting to strangle him.

The vial hit the ground, and, as nitroglycerin tends to do when jostled, proceeded to explode into a million pieces.

Outside, from a nearby rooftop, Iron Chef watched as the entire house lit up like the Summer Sun festival.


The duo sat in the living room of Cheerilee's apartment. Iron Chef drank a mug of his own concoction, "Iron Milk", and Cheerilee drank from a small cup filled with a red liquid.

There was a prolonged silence before Iron Chef spoke up. "If I'd known that your version of 'improvisation' involved blowing the place up, I would've tried harder to change your mind."

Cheerilee chuckled, the action sending a slight stab of pain down her side. "That was the blip in an otherwise well-executed plan."

Iron Chef reluctantly agreed. "I suppose. I'm not the one who will have to deal with the questions of concerned fillies and colts tomorrow, after all."

That's true. "Well, at least we got him, huh?"

Again, Iron Chef nodded.

Celestia's sun started to peek over the horizon, and Iron Chef stretched. "Well, I should head home now. I have to prepare today's stock for my shop." The minotaur ran a small drink shop on the west side of town, specializing in stuff like his “Iron Milk" protein shakes. He put down his empty mug. "You're sure you're fine? You took quite a beating there."

"I'm fine," Cheerilee assured him, again ignoring the stab of pain that rippled down her side. "It takes more than that to put me down."

"If you say so," Iron said as he made his way out the door. "Goodbye, Cheerilee."

"Goodbye, Iron." As the door closed behind the minotaur, Cheerilee got up and walked over to a mirror. It was no wonder that Iron had been concerned; she looked terrible. Bits of shattered wood and concrete were tangled in her disheveled mane, parts of her coat were burnt and frayed, and her eyes were dark and clouded. The point where the knife had entered her lung gave another sharp pang. Strange, she mused, gingerly poking her side with a hoof. Usually, wounds like this heal up almost immediately. It's been almost an hour since I got this one, and it still feels like there's a knife digging into me... She grunted. It's probably nothing, she reassured herself, massaging her side. Now, let's get cleaned up. I have a class to teach.

A/N: Confused?
Read this blog post:
Steal These Stories
And these stories:
The Adventures of Vampire Cheerilee
The Night Shift

Special thanks to TotallyNotABrony.

Automobiles are explained in the next chapter. Bear with me.

Comments ( 24 )

Hm, enchanted knife, or one made out of a metal that weakens her? Or is she just getting old? Questions, questions...

:rainbowkiss: Glad to see someone picking this up! Don't forget to email him, he'll want to see this whenever he gets back.

I like it and it has a lot of promise. But do not under any circumstance punish your readers by requiring them to read suplimentary source material.

I'll stay tuned for next time.

Do continue. I shall observe.

Not bad. Just make sure you credit Totallynotabrony and even he would be proud.:derpytongue2:
love the pace and the plot so far. Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Oh, good. More Vampire Cheers for the masses.

Very good first chapter just don't make cheerilee too soft. I liked the first stories alot because of how ruthless cheerilee was. Considering that this is a hundred years later it feels as if she should have grown even more so because of getting more used to killing. I hate stories with too "nice" vampires.

I blogged about it and a whole bunch of people will probably come flooding in. Now get writing!

You call getting to read more vampire Cheerilee 'punishment?'

There must be something wrong with you.

Suggesting it is fine, but outright requiring someone to read supplementary source material is not only lazy writing, it's utterly shameless. Save for anthology works, there is literally no reason a setting can't stand on its own.

1206368 Well, this is a story based on another story. What you're saying is like trying to say that 'Children of the Jedi'


Is understandable without first knowing who Mara Jade- Luke Skywalker's wife- is, and how she became Luke's wife. I actually know, because while there are gaps between books I have read, I have read where Jade makes her first appearance, I have read where they begin their relationship, and I have read a few others detailing their lives.

Books you'd have to read to get a slightly better grasp on CotJ:

It's always good to have a background for something. :twilightangry2:

> Save for anthology works, there is literally no reason a setting can't stand on its own.
I'm pretty sure you don't mean "anthology", since an anthology is a collection of (mostly) unrelated short stories or poems. Usually, each piece in an anthology had been previously published on its own, too.

I think you mean "series", or similar. Which... Dark Operations is. It's currently the fifth story chronologically about totallynotabrony's Vampire Cheerliee, and the sixth story with her in it.

totallynotabrony wrote A Dream, where Cheerilee was turned (on accident) during the Changeling invasion of Canterlot. Then Cheerilee tries to learn how to deal with her vampirism in The Adventures of Vampire Cheerilee. She starts working for Luna in The Night Shift, and finally meets a real challenge (of several kinds) in Murder on the Mind. Luck of the Draw takes place 10 years later, and shows how Cheerliee has become accustomed to her new powers and the fact that she's a killer. And now we have Dark Operations by CenturionFox13 taking place 100 years in the future.

You're taking my words out of context. Look at my post again.

Anthologies take place in the same world, but have a tangential connection to each other at best. D.O. is a linear story with a defined series of events and characters that branch off of previous ideas, settings, characters, and traits. It is a sequel story, so should therefore acknowledge what came before it. Author's needs to establish settings and refresh people to those facts. D.O. doesn't. It automatically assumes readers know what they are getting into before they read.

Just because an author says it is a sequel and says I should read other works to understand what is going on, he or she has failed at telling their own story. It's a cheap tactic to use, especially if it's based after preexisting popular material. It's lazy writing, plane and simple.

While I won't argue that it's good for a story to be able to stand on its own, even if it's a sequel, I also disagree that it's required. If your intended audience is people who have read the previous stories in the series, you're able to develop the differences between your story and the previous ones more quickly, since you can assume a lot about what your readers know.

What you're asking is a lot like requiring every fimfiction writer to flesh out the Mane Six from ground zero. For a story on this site, you can safely assume that the reader knows what Twilight is like; you don't really need to spend three chapters developing her personality, and you don't really need to describe her appearance when she first shows up -- all of that assuming she appears and acts like she does in the show. If there are differences from canon, you can use canon as a starting point for your depiction of the character. The same can apply to a sequel, if you care more about the story being part of a series than being a standalone story.

Also, with regard to anthologies: many anthologies to not have stories that necessarily take place in the same world. As an example, The Twilight Zone is a TV anthology. The episodes are not connected in any way except for general theme. The only connection between the pieces of International Short Stories is that the stories are classics -- "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", "The Gold-Bug", "The Stolen Body", "A Piece of Bread", and "Zadig the Babylonian" are all in the anthology, and really have nothing to do with one another (the first two are both written by American authors and the last two are both French, but that's the extent of it).

That's not entirely correct. These ponies react in certain patterns and way. For instance, if the Mane 6 come across a mud puddle, Rarity would avoid it at all costs while Pinkie might end up playing in it. That one scene, without saying a word, clues you in on their personality traits. Rarity is self conscious and uppity while Pinkie is playful.

These ponies act and react in certain manners and one always needs to set ground rules. Does a person need to start from the ground up? Of course not, but they need to have A start. Now take D.O. How did Cherilee become a vampire? Did she want to? Was it forced on her? Does she like drinking blood? Why does she work for the crown? How long? Why doesn't she stay teaching in Ponyville? What's with her shift in personality traits? Why is she comfortable with killing?

The other stories explain those questions, where here it just points to other stories and tells you to read them. Why should I care where Cherilee as a character is going if I don't know where she started from. Even if it's something small like a dream, a photo, a phone call, SOMETHING needs to occur to fill in people what has happened to her. There is nothing but a complete void explaining Cherilee's character here. She's a vampire that works for the crown. How? Why? When? These need to be answered.

I understand where you're coming from, but I'd also like to point out that this story only has one chapter so far. If I had come across this story without reading the others, I would assume it was written in medias res, and give it a chance to build itself up to where it began. The questions you're asking don't necessarily need to be answered before the story's plot begins.

Which is why I only gave him a warning.

I like it and it has a lot of promise. But do not under any circumstance punish your readers by requiring them to read suplimentary source material.

I'll stay tuned for next time.

gonna call it now, that knife was made of silver.

25th of June was the last update, today is the 24th of September. If you are going to try writing one of my favorite series then could you at least update once in awhile :applejackunsure:

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