• Published 24th Sep 2016
  • 1,500 Views, 105 Comments

Rogue Sun - Jninja15

Sunset Shimmer begrudgingly joins the Cutie Mark Crusaders to find their deceased sisters in the wasteland that is now Equestria

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Chapter 8: The Midnight

Sunset, her car loaded up with passengers, was driving through desert grassland. She was very thankful that everyone was keeping quiet and not disturbing her. That is until a massive dust storm was spotted directly in front of them.

Apple Bloom, who sat in the front passenger seat, was the one to break the silence, “Uh, Sunset? That sandstorm ahead of us looks a might big. Don't cha’ think we should try to go around it?”

Sunset didn’t even acknowledge Apple Bloom as she pondered over how she was going to handle this dust storm ahead of her.

“No.” she finally said. “If we try to go around it, it’ll catch us anyway, and we may lose our way in the middle of it, but if we keep heading straight-like, the storm will pass over quickly, and it’ll be out of our way.”

Apple Bloom and the others didn’t question her decision as Sunset pressed down harder on the gas pedal, accelerating the car to meet the dust storm head-on.

They made contact with the edge of the storm. The car felt like it had suddenly been bogged down. It felt as though they were driving through sludge.

Some time passed with complete silence and no visibility before they were greeted by a large piece of lumber that grazed against the side of the car, scratching up some of the car's paint and taking out a side mirror. This caused Sunset to over-correct and careen them off a short, steep cliff. Consequently, this activated the dumbest safety features installed in a hovercraft or any other vehicle for that matter. An automatic shutdown for angry drivers.

Obviously, this “safety feature” did not help the driver calm her nerves. Instead, the driver jumped out of the car screaming long streams of profanity at it, all the while kicking at its disabled propulsion jets in the middle of a nasty dust storm, that was luckily dying down for the sake of her health. The old man wanted to cover the little ones’ ears from the profanities, but he just didn’t have enough hands.

Resigning his control over their fate, the man gets out of the car and asks Sunset what she plans to do next.

Sunset crossed her arms, still fuming about the automatic shutdown. “I don’t rightly know, but I’m fixin’ to leave this piece of gos se and walk the rest of the way on foot.” she put a hand to her face and dragged it down, raking her fingertips across her face, as she let out a breath of deep agitation. “I just hope we ain’t too far now.

The man looked past Sunset, the dust storm having nearly wholly settled. “We’re close, but it’s a little... higher than I’d like it.” he raised a hand to point to something behind her.

Sunset turned around and saw a triangular airship floating in the sky. She recognized it to be part of Twilight’s royal army. She turned back to the old man. “You said you was heading to a village.”

“I was, and we have,” he responded, motioning to look at the area around them.

Sunset looked perplexed, then she had a look around and noticed that there was rubble of several buildings around her and a worn out sign barely reading “Bakery.” She quickly realized that they had reached their destination. Only now that destination was utterly destroyed.

“But now, if you want your money,” he continued, fixing his gaze on the airship, “you’re going to have to help me find my man aboard that ship.”

Sunset grimaced, glancing back at the airship. “That- shouldn’t be too hard. If he’s a passenger.”

“He’s not.” he said, not breaking his gaze upon the airship, “By now he’s a prisoner on board, and we’re going to break him out.”

“Now hold on just one damned second!” Sunset yelled as she summoned a pistol, grabbed the man by the collar and pointed her gun underneath his chin. “I usually don’t ask questions about my clients' agendas, but now that you are dragging me into said agenda I want to know a few things: Who are you and who do you want on that ship?”

The man hardly looked phased by the gun pointed at him. He glanced at the firearm before looking at Sunset dead in the eyes as he sighed and answered her question. “My name is Shining Armor. I’m a member of the Rebel Alliance, and the man I'm looking for on board that vessel has crucial information that can help us take down Twilight’s empire.”

Sunset was slightly taken aback by this. She let out a short laugh, let him go and holstered her pistol.

“Well then,” she said, placing one hand on her hip. “If you told me that we were gonna break a man with such valuable information out of an Imperial prison you could have gotten me to do this job with only half of what you're currently paying me.”

Shining Armor blinked. “But- I only hired you to transport us.”

She shrugged. “Eh, I'd've joined you anyways. So, what’s the plan?”

“Well, the plan was that I was going to sneak on board with some of my men-” he glanced at the ruins around them, “But I assume that they are all dead now. So I'm going need to rely on you and those three girls to help me."

"Woah Woah Woah! Me AND those three!?" Sunset objected, pointing at the Crusaders. "They're kids. They're gonna to get in the way and get themselves killed. And I would very much like to keep them living right now."

Shining looked at the kids she was referring to. "They look to me like the kind of children that would follow someone into danger if it looked exciting enough." he turned back to Sunset. "So if we don't bring them, they will follow us anyway and make things even more complicated, but if we bring them along and make them part of the plan, I believe they will be helpful."

Sunset looked like she had been slapped across the face with a live fish, glancing back and forth between him and the Crusaders. She then finally stared at the Crusaders for a couple seconds, remembering back to when they broke into her house, then she finally conceded.

"Alright, you win. But you're paying me a couple hundred extra bits, and the orange one with the wings is stayin' right by my side. Dǒng ma?"

He gave a curious look at her but then shook away his curiosity. "OK then. Bring them out so we can discuss the plan."

The Crusaders looked out the window of the car, watching the old man talk to Sunset Shimmer. The old man made them promise to stay in the car no matter what happened. So when Sunset pulled a gun on the man, they got extremely anxious but, true to their word, they stayed in the car.

"What do you think they're talking about?" Scootaloo asked the others, her head resting on her crossed arms, as she was leaning on the door.

They see Sunset point to them with a dubious look on her face.

"Ah'm gonna take a wild guess and say it's us." Apple Bloom said, half standing in front of Scootaloo, leaning against the back of the front seat, her bow touching the roof of the car. "Apparently it's not a happy subject."

"What does that woman have against us?" Sweetie Belle growled, sitting in the middle seat, behind Scootaloo, her arms crossed.

"Oh Gee, I don't know," Apple Bloom said sarcastically, looking at Sweetie Belle, "We broke into her house, attacked her on our way out, and almost stole her car."

"I mean besides that."

Apple Bloom rolled her eyes and returned her gaze to outside, seeing Sunset walking up to them.

Scootaloo lifted herself off the door so that she didn't fall when Sunset opened the door.

"Alright. Come out you three. We've got a job to do."

"What do you mean by ‘we’ and 'a job'?" Sweetie Belle asked, quirking an eyebrow at Sunset.

Sunset sighed. "I mean: You're part of my crew, and we're going to be breaking a man out of prison on a flying airship."

"I don't remember joining your 'crew.'" Sweetie Belle said as she used air quotes around the last word.

"Well, you're a part of it now. Now shut up, get out here, and pay attention."

A small hovercraft descended from the airship, heading towards the crater that used to be a town. When the craft landed, the hatch opened, and two men in heavy power armor walked out of the ship and started patrolling the area. Both men's power armor was colored blue, one lighter than the other, both had a big yellow square painted across the faces of their helmets.

"Why did you want to come down here again?" said the one with the lighter blue armor, his voice distorted electronically through his helmet.

The other’s voice was also distorted by his helmet, but he had a more chipper tone than his partner. "I want to get a souvenir," He walked out of the ship towards the reduced town.

"And why did you have to bring me?"

"Because I would have been lonely searching for a souvenir out here all by myself."

"Couldn't you have bothered Tucker for this instead?"

"He's not as fun as you are, Church. So, are you going to help me find a good souvenir in all this rubble, or not?"

The one in light blue armor sighed and muttered, “I hate you Caboose.” under his breath and followed after him.

Caboose brushed some rubble off a small jewelry box.

"Hey, Church! Look at what I found!" he opened it up and found only five bottle caps inside.

"That's the tenth box we've found with only, like, three bottle caps inside of it!" Church complained. "We even lockpicked a small safe and found like what seven caps?"

"Actually it was eight caps and a nightgown."

"Who would actually lock that kind of stuff up? I mean that's just ridiculous!"

He was about to say more, but something grabbed his attention, a small clattering of rubble, there was someone else here.

"Did you hear that?" Church asked.

"Hear what?"

"I'm not sure, but it's coming from over there." Church pointed to a wall that was miraculously still standing after the massive explosion that decimated the place earlier.

Both men approached the wall carefully, guns at the ready. Church was leading; after he turned to check behind the wall, a knife was plunged into Caboose's neck. He screamed loudly in pain as he was quickly dragged behind the wall from Church's current position. Church swiftly turned around and was blinded by a bright flash of light, his gun wrenched out of his hands and a knife now stuck in his throat.

Sunset cleaned off the last bit of blood that was staining the armor she was about to wear, Shining Armor already suited up in the dark blue suit, adjusting his helmet.

"Do you think this is really going to work?" asked Sweetie Belle, from the driver's seat of the hovercraft. "I mean, is this armor even the right size for you?"

Sunset took off her boots and slipped on the light blue armored pants. She swayed her hips, checking her range of motion. "Yep. I think so."

Sunset got a little help from Shining Armor with putting on the chest plate, but once she got it on, it fit her perfectly, especially considering her breasts. Once Shining Armor and Sunset Shimmer were all suited up they loaded up Sunset’s car to “impound” it and flew the transport craft up to the airship they learned to be named “The Midnight” and Empress Twilight’s personal flagship for her armada. After passing some lazily done security detail, Sunset and Shining swapped their armor for the more generic stark white color variant and suited up the Crusaders in junior officer uniforms and headed for a nearby control room.

When Starlight Glimmer had returned to The Midnight from Sunset’s safe house, she brought along a unique individual. This individual was identified as Trixie Lulamoon by Empress Twilight Sparkle. Trixie had once challenged the Empress to a magic duel sometime before she became an alicorn. Trixie was alive, but she had clearly seen better days, she had several large, bleeding gashes across her entire body and crude body piercings made from pieces of rusty metal on her lips and face. This was a clear sign that of an encounter with Reavers and, surprisingly, her psyche didn’t completely break down into utter insanity. The doctors say she may not be able to make a full psychological recovery, but she may recover enough to be able to function within normal society. Physically, though, Trixie would need to undergo major surgery. Her right eye, her entire left arm, and both feet had become infected beyond repair and thus would need to be surgically removed before the infection could spread any further.

As the Empress was guiding her apprentice to the detention center, they were discussing their plans for Lulamoon. Though the wannabe sorceress Trixie did defeat Twilight in their first magic duel with the help of the alicorn amulet, only to later be outsmarted into losing the talisman by the very stage magic she practiced, the Empress had no plans for retribution against the weak and pitiful Trixie. Recalling Trixie’s encounter with the alicorn amulet and her survival against a reaver encounter, a fate nopony survives even if one isn’t medically deceased, Twilight theorized that she may be able to find something of value within Trixie.

“Prepare to transport Miss Lulamoon to the Kamane-o offshore research outpost. I believe she’d be of use there.” Twilight commanded a passing medical officer as they made their way to the detention center.

“Why?” Starlight questioned, “Isn’t that the place where we create our soldiers? If all she needs are cybernetic replacements why can’t we do that here?”

Twilight didn’t break her pace or look at her apprentice as she spoke, “I don’t plan on merely replacing her lost limbs if it comes at no benefit to me. She survived a Reaver encounter, actually SURVIVED a reaver encounter. Stories say that even if you survive an encounter with the Reavers... you don’t.”

Starlight quirked an eyebrow. “I don’t see how this makes her any valuable.”

Twilight appeared unfazed as she continued to expand her speculation for keeping Trixie, “It appears that Trixie has gained a resistance to mind-altering magic - be it her personality, her experience with the alicorn amulet or a combination of the two - and you of all ponies should know about the reavers, because-” she suddenly froze in place and sucked in a deep breath as her eyes went wide.

Starlight stopped and did a double take as her master disappeared from her side only to find her several feet behind, staring off into space. “Master? Is everything alright?”

“I sense something... familiar. A presence. A presence I have not felt since-” a wicked grin spread across Twilight's face as she spontaneously burst into a pace that Starlight struggled to keep up with at a casual pace. Twilight looked like a predator on the hunt.

An imperial officer sat in his chair, staring at his console screen, being utterly bored out of his mind. He rapped his fingers on the table as he frequently shifted his focus of vision from what was on his screen to the reflection of the screen, seeing three other guys working behind him. He began to doze off when a buzzer sounded, signaling that someone was at the door, the only door, to this room - other than the bathroom. One officer that was already standing walked over to the door and opened it to reveal two soldiers in white armor and three female junior officers, one pegasus, one earth pony and one unicorn, standing behind them. The two soldiers entered the room wordlessly.

“Can I help you?” the officer who opened the door asked the two soldiers.

They said nothing as one of them pushed a button that closed the door behind them, leveled their guns at the officers and began shooting, quickly killing all four of them.

Sunset and Shining Armor removed their helmets after they let the disguised Crusaders in once they had cleared the room of possible hostiles, locking the door afterward.

“You know," said Shining Armor, "with all this gunfire, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole ship knew we were on here by now.” as he set his helmet and gun down on a nearby table and began taking off the rest of his armor. No one noticing a startled look on his face as he sucked in a deep breath.

“Bring them on. I’d prefer a straight fight.” Sunset said nonchalantly as she tossed a dead body laying on a console aside and began browsing the ship’s map for the detention center.

Shining glanced about, seeing no one noticed his... hiccup, he set about searching the computer for a way to shut down the outer defenses to allow for their escape, the Crusaders joining him.

“Found the detention center.” Scootaloo said aloud, “Only one prisoner,” she blanched, “and he’s scheduled for execution, immediately.”

“Well, glad we made it when we did,” Sunset said as she turned away from the computer screen and put on her helmet. “Where is it?”

Scootaloo traced a finger on the screen, counting the decks and finding the area labels. “Uh... deck 5, section D. Cell number: 05-25-77.”

“Alright. Squirt, you’re with me. Red, Marshmallow, you two are staying with him.”

Shining felt his gut wrench for some unknown reason but knew he had to convince Sunset to take the other two with her as well.

“No,” Shining spoke up, “They’re all going with you. They’re a team, and you don’t split up a team like this.”

Sunset glanced at Shining Armor, her face unreadable through the helmet. She groaned, “Fine, whatever. Just none of you get yourself killed out there. OK?”

All three girls nodded vigorously as the four of them went on their way to the detention center.

Shining Armor was left to himself as he found the core for the defense systems. Deck 13, section C. Ditching his armor, he left the control room sneaking about in his brown cloak.

When Sunset and the Crusaders reached deck 5 section C, the Crusaders had stacked themselves on top of each other in a totem pole fashion. Apple Bloom was at the bottom of the totem pole, being the strongest of the three, Scootaloo at the top, being the lightest. All the while Sweetie Belle cast an illusion spell to make the three of them appear to be one giant hairy humanoid creature that looked like it could rip your arms out of its sockets if you made it upset. To the relief of anyone who would see this creature, it appeared to be handcuffed.

“What is this... thing doing here?” said one of the four Imperial officers in the main room of the detention center, a pegasus woman of relatively high rank.

“Prisoner transfer.” Sunset responded, “Ordered here over an hour ago.”

The woman cocked her head. “I wasn’t notified of this. I’ll have to check this with my superiors.” she waved a hand, and two other men walked up to the hairy being.

Scootaloo let out a howl akin to a dog gargling water as Sweetie Belle made the illusion swing its arms wide, causing the men to flinch as Sunset yelled, “Look out! He’s loose!” and began firing at the officers. She quickly killed the two that were closest to the Crusaders, trying to escort them to a holding cell. The other two officers were behind consoles that they immediately used for cover once Sunset started firing at them. She managed to get one on the far side of the room as he peered up to take a shot at the Crusaders, while she flanked the last one and shot her down as she was cowering. All the while the Crusader had managed to split up and shoot down the security cameras with the guns salvaged from the first two dead officers before Sunset finished.

Once everything had quickly died down, Sunset ordered Sweetie Belle to go release the captive with Apple Bloom grabbing a rifle to cover her, as Scootaloo looked into locking out anyone else who wanted to get in, and Sunset covered the communication lines.

“Hello?” came the comm line. “Can anypony hear me?”

“Yeah, we can hear you,” Sunset said, pretending that everything was alright.

“We heard gunfire. Is everything ok?”

“Yeah, yeah, perfectly fine, just a malfunctioning rifle. We’re all ok... How are you?” she chuckled nervously to herself.

“We’re sending down a team to make sure everything is ok.”

“Uh, negative, negative. We have a, uh, radiation leak. Very large, very dangerous.”

“What? Who is this? What is your identification number?”

Sunset rolled her eyes. “Jiānguǒ dào zhè.” She backed up and fired a spray of bullets into the communications console, destroying it. “I never liked small talk anyways.” She turned down the hall where Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle went down, “Girls! We're gonna have company!”

The two of them got the message and quickened their pace. Seventy-five, 76, 77! As Apple Bloom kept a lookout, Sweetie Belle opened the door and saw an orange stallion with red hair and large silver-rimmed glasses laying down on his bed, staring at the ceiling with his hands behind his head.

Once he heard the door open, he turned his attention to Sweetie Belle and furrowed his brow.

“Aren’t you a little young to be visiting prisoners on your own?”

“What?” Sweetie Belle looked down at herself remembering the uniform she was wearing. “Oh, my uniform.” she took off the hat she had been wearing as part of her disguise. “My name is Sweetie Belle, and I’m here to rescue you.”

The man slowly sat up in his bed, not really buying what Sweetie Belle was saying. “You’re who-now?”

“Sweetie Belle. I’m here to rescue you. We’re here with Shining Armor.”

The man jumped up from his bed. “Shining Armor!? Where is he?”

“Come on.” Sweetie Belle quickly led him out of the room as Apple Bloom followed, continuing to look behind their backs in case anyone unfriendly showed up.

“Name’s Sunburst, by the way.” the man said as they jogged down the hall to the main room. “Nice to meet you Sweetie Belle.” he turned to Apple Bloom. “And you?”

“Ah’m Apple Bloom.” she responded.

“Nice to meet you too Apple Bloom.” Sunburst smiled.

Once Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and Sunburst reached the main room with Sunset and Scootaloo, Sunset and Sunburst locked eyes. Sunburst gave a surprised gasp while Sunset gave a hateful sneer.

“You?!” they both yelled at each other. “What are YOU doing here?”

Author's Note:

Alright! First new chapter I have finished since my little hiatus. It feels great to get the story moving after you felt stuck in the same place for so long. So, tell me what you think down in the comments, I'd love to hear whatever you have to say.