• Published 19th May 2013
  • 2,314 Views, 94 Comments

Pony Und Panzer! - Diceman



Cutie Mark Crusaders pilot Silly weapons of war.

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Chapter VI: Late for an Important Date!

Chapter VI: Late for an Important Date!

Scootaloo opened her eyes as she felt a weird sensation in her belly. When she opened them she found herself in a mostly pitch black space with nothing more than a few clouds of floating purple dust in the distance.

"Where am I? The last place I remember I was..." Scootaloo rolled her eyes. "Apple Blooms guest bedroom." She was having another oddball dream it seemed but unlike her others this one seemed a tad on the empty side, usually her dreams at least reflected something she did in the day. She wondered why they were suddenly different.

Scootaloo floated around the void for a few more moments when something cloudy and white appeared in the distance.

"The correct usage is 'there', the other usage is possessive or a contraction of they are..."

The word possessive echoed through the void.

"Sweetie Belle?" Scootaloo said, which also echoed though the void. Suddenly Scootaloo found that she could walk as if there was solid ground beneath her. She began to trot along until she saw the blurry cloud in the distance. Scootaloo ran as fast as she could yelling.

"Sweetie Belle, hold up." She yelled.

Scootaloo chased after Sweetie Belle until something unnerved her, something like a little voice all around her. "Why did you let me...pass, Scootaloo?"

The image of Sweetie Belle appeared before her, her back turned to her. Scootaloo thought for a moment, what did she mean by pass? Was this some kind of race dream? Did she really let Sweetie Belle pass her up like she was an old pony?

"Stop being silly Sweets, you know I would never lose a race let alone let somepony as slow as you pass me up." Scootaloo said as she ran her hoof though her mane pridefully.

"That's not what I meant, Scootaloo." Sweetie Belle replied coldly.

Scootaloo walked up behind Sweetie Belle and put a hoof on her back. "What did you mean?"

Sweetie Belle turned around but her face wasn't there. Instead there were deep pupil-less sunken eyes, rotted ,scraggly mane hairs and bone where her face used to be. Scootaloo backed off in fight as the creature she once thought was Sweetie Belle spoke.

"Why did you let me DIE!?"

***

Scootaloo shot out of bed, her head colliding with the bottom bunk, making her tumble out of bed to the right, clutching her head in the process.

"Sonava..." Scootaloo rubbed her head vigorously as her eyes focused. Looking around the room she noticed her ruckus didn't wake Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle above her. Looking out the window she noticed that it was still plenty dark outside, though the moon was beginning to set into the hills behind the farm, a quick glance at the clock revealed why; it was almost six in the morning.

Scootaloo got out of bed and slowly opened the door into the hall, although the sweat on her hoof made it quite the challenge to grip the latch on the door. As she walked into the hallway she noticed that the hallway lights were already on and she could hear the sound of the shower going down the hall.

"Oh, I got friends in lower places."

She really needs to learn how to sing... Scootaloo thought as she listened in on Apple Jacks attempt at karaoke. "She could also try singing something not country for once too." Scootaloo looked over herself, her body was almost entirely drenched in sweat and her wings felt heavy and out of order.

If Apple Jack see's me like this then she will know I had another bad dream. Scootaloo thought back, even though Apple Jack said she could come to her with such problems she didn't want to make herself look like a coward in front of her. Help or no help having too many nightmares means you had too many fears, something she wouldn't admit to others;even if she was forced to admit them to herself.

The singing and the sound of the water in the shower falling suddenly stopped. "Uh-oh." Scootaloo looked for a place to hide, There was a towel closet nearby that she could hide in but what If Apple Jack needed a spare towel? She could hide in the little cupboard under the stairs but that's where AJ kept the canned tomatoes for breakfast.

Back to the Room I guess and Hope she forgets to wake up Apple Bloom on the way to the kitchen... Scootaloo tried to turn the latch with her hoof but it slipped right off. "Why do you have to be so sweaty?" She mumbled to herself as she tried again. The door leading to the bathroom at the end of the hall swung open, AJ putting a hoof outside the doorway when Scootaloo heard her say something.

"Silly me, almost fergot my hat." Apple Jack said as she turned around in the doorway, her tail sticking out into the hall.

Scootaloo grabbed the latch with her teeth and opened the door, quickly diving inside as her tail caught the handle to pull it closed behind her;loudly behind her.

"What was that?!" Apple Jack yelled.

Scootaloo could hear Apple Jack walking down the hall and stopping just outside the door to Apple Bloom's bedroom.

"Anypony awake in there?" Apple Jack said.

Please don't open the door, please don't.

"Pew, pew, pew, bang bang!" Sweetie Belle said in her sleep as she rolled over.

"Oh, just Sweetie talkin in her sleep again." Apple Jack walked away from the door and Scootaloo could hear her going down the stairs.

"Great save there Sweetie!" Scootaloo whispered.

Sweetie Belle just rolled over mumbling to herself. "I call hax Scoots, no pony gets a fifty-five hit juggle combo with Zangief..."

I owe Sweetie a few easy wins next time we play...but why didn't she open the door, normally she would be waking up Apple Bloom around now. Scootaloo scratched her mane for a moment but figured she shouldn't look a gift pony in the mouth. She slowly opened the door and looked around. The sun was already coming up over the horizon but she still couldn't figure why the house was so slow paced this morning.

Scootaloo suddenly heard something walk up behind her. She turned to find a droopy eyed Apple Bloom giving a hearty yawn.

"Why you up so early on a Sunday Scoots?" Apple Bloom asked as she stifled another yawn.

Oh, that explains why everypony is still asleep and not up at the crack of dawn.

"Oh, nothing in particular. I was just going to go take a shower." Scootaloo replied with a faked grin on her face.

"You..." Apple Bloom let out a colossal yawn. "You do that, Imma go back to sleep." Apple Bloom walked back to her bed when she turned to Scootaloo. "You make sure to leave big brother some hot water, he dun like cold wake up calls."

"No problem." Scootaloo waited until Apple Bloom was on the top bunk bed before closing the door slowly behind her.

"Actually, I really could use a shower. I smell like old beans." Scootaloo headed down the halls to the showers when she heard someone come up the stairs.

"I thought I heard somethin, what you doin up so early?" Apple Jack asked, a piecing stare across her face.

What's that word they use in all the cool movies for this kinda situation...shit was it? Scootaloo slowly looked back, she knew lying her way out of this would get her nowhere but at the same time she didn't want to set off any alarms. The last thing she needed was for her dream to be seen as a kind of premonition. Worst of all after she asked to help Applejack with the chores and vehicle selection in the afternoon.

Think quick...how does Rainbow Dash get away with it... Scootaloo folded her wings in and began to strut to the bathroom. "Oh you know AJ, gotta look my best for when team Apple beats those griffons into submission and all."

Apple Jack looked unfazed for a brief moment until her face softened into a smile. "Darn tootin we will. I'll get breakfast ready while you get a bath in." Apple Jack hurried back down the stairs, leaving Scootaloo to her thoughts.

That was easier than I thought it would be. I guess appealing to her competitive side helps.

Scootaloo walked into the bathroom and turned on the hot water. "Close call, last thing I want is kept out of the action becuase of some silly dream."

***

It was sometime after breakfast and the few spare chores that mostly consisted of feeding the pigs, cows and chickens that Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and the rest of the Apple family made it to town to turn in their registration paperwork and head out to the field just outside the Everfree Forrest to pick the vehicle they were to work on.

Oddly enough though the entire group stopped at Sugarcube Corner instead of going right to the town hall to turn in their registration.

"Sis what are we doin here? The town hall is that way." Apple Bloom asked.

"Yeah I heard that if you don't get to the selection early enough you get whatever leftovers they got." Babs Seed added.

"Well me and Big Mac decided we needed at least one more member, I figured I would treat everypony out to shakes while we wait for her." Apple Jack opened the door and let the fillies, granny Smith and her older brother inside before closing the door behind her.

Before Apple Jack could find a booth to accommodate everypony she found her self face to face with none other than Pinkie Pie.

"So, Apple Family and friends, Do you need a place to sit?" Pinkie Pike quickly pushed two booths together and tossed each member perfectly into the both as if they were all rag dolls. "So, can I take your order or get the menus?"

Apple Jack shook her head to get her bearing and then briefly glared at Pinkie Pie. "Menus if you would be so kind."

"Standard menus or the gingerbread ones?" Pinkie Pie asked.

The entire Apple family stared Pinkie Pies way, some of them holding back the urge to even ask. Babs Seed started to open her mouth when Sweetie Belle quickly shoved a hoof in it, shaking her head disapprovingly. However before Sweetie Belle could send Apple Jack the same disapproving stare, the mare had already opened her mouth.

"What in tarnation is a gingerbread menu?" Apple Jack asked.

"I'm glad you asked, not only can you order food from it but you can also eat the menu after you're done ordering. They also come in magically sealed water form, any fruit of your choice can be a menu." Pinkie Pie winked and then nudged Apple Jack on the foreleg.

"Fine, I guess we could do Apple menus if you would be so kind." Apple jack had barely gotten the words out of her mouth before Pinkie Pie left and returned with a stack of light yellow menus. She quickly tossed each pony at the table a menu, each one nearly fumbling it and dropping it on the ground.

"Uhhhh Pinkie, there's nothing on these, and how are we holding what looks like applesauce in our hooves without it gettin everywhere?" Apple Jack set the menu down, a bit too weird-ed out expression on her face.

"Oh, that part. Well the menus are held together magically and you need to take a bite for the Cinnamon words to appear. I'll demonstrate." Pinkie Pie Picked up one of the spare menus on the counter and took a little nibble off the edge, showing great restraint that she typically wasn't know for. A few second later, cinnamon began to swirl and form letters and prices.

"See? Now you give it a try."

The elder apple family members picked up their menus and gave little nibble on the edge, the fillies at the table following suit shortly after. After taking a bite, granny Smiths eyes lit up, then Big Mac's and finally Apple Jack's and Apple Blooms.

"Hey, Pinkie. This tastes really familiar. These wouldn't happen to be be made with Sweet Apple Acre's Golden Delicious Apples would they?"

"I was about to ask the same thing granny and I reckon Big Mac and Apple Bloom were too." Apple Jack said as the other members of the apple family;sans Babs Seed, nodded in unison.

"Of course silly, the cakes are the ones that have been buying up all your golden delicious apples as of late. They used them for this new menu and to work on their new apple fritter. It's even better than your apple fritters." Pinkie Pie said excitedly.

"Bullpoop!" Apple Jack slammed her foreleg on the table, making Big Mac and some of the fillies jump in surprise. "Taint no pony that makes better fritters then me!"

Pinkie Pie smiled. "Well, stubborn stubby pantaloons. If your Fritters are so much better then why don't you try ours and see how they match up." Pinkie Pie poked Apple Jack in the chest. "Or are you Scootaloo?"

"HEY, I'm right here ya know, and how do you even know that joke?" Scootaloo complained as she fluffed her wings out angrily.

"Easy." Pinkie Pie pulled out a crystal ball from her mane, startling Babs Seed but not so much as getting a second Blink from anypony else. "My ball allows me to search out all kinds of neat things at random. Like right now it's telling me that in the near future Big Mac will sleep with a girly girl doll."

Big Mac slumped down in his seat, his cheeks glowing so bright a red that they overpowered the color of his coat.

"Or that granny Smith likes the taste of chalk. Don't feel embarrassed granny, I take calcium carbonate to help settle my stomach sometimes too." Pinkie Pie said gleefully.

I think I'm ready to order Pinkie." Babs Seed said as she motioned Pinkie Pie over to her.

Pinkie Pie set the crystal ball on the table and began to jot down Babs order when her ball slowly rolled over to Scootaloo and settled in front of her. Curious Scootaloo touched the ball and the smoke inside it began to swirl. Scootaloo stared into the ball as the shapes inside it began to take form. Before she could get a good look at it though, Pinkie Pie Picked up the ball and slid it into her mane like it was a secret pocket but not before Scootaloo got a glimpse of the image.

It looked like a barren black and red wasteland, something like a desert but far more red than what she thought a desert could be. In the distance was a cliff that appeared to be on fire but she couldn't make out the details as to how, why or where this place was. She tried to figure out exactly where she had seen that cliff face before when Babs Seed broke her concentration.

"I'll have a banana shake and one of these egg muffin things sandwiched between two waffles, if that's okay with AJ that is." Babs Seed looked toward Apple Jack whom seemed not to notice her as she was still fuming from Pinkie Pie earlier insinuation of superior Apple fritters.

"Apple Jack?" Babs Seed said.

"Oh, what, sure. Everypony get what they want, tabs on me." Apple Jack replied as she looked over the menu again.

Pinkie Pie gleefully pulled a pen and notepad out of virtually nowhere and began to jot down each pony's order. After a few minutes of fierce jotting and a very large order of food from Big Mac, Pinkie Pie made her way to the end of the table where Apple Jack was taking one more glance over the menu.

"So have you decided on what you want or do you need more time?" Pinkie Pie asked.

Apple Jack looked Pinkie Pie in the eyes and then back at the menu. "I'll have an apple cinnamon shake, a egg muffin and one apple fritter, which by the way I still think isn't as good as my own."

Pinkie Pie jotted down the order and smiled at Apple Jack. "Don't worry, defeat isn't always a bad thing. Think of it as a growing experience."

Apple Jack jumped up on the table and shoved her face right into Pinkie Pie's. "You take that back, taint no apple fritters better than apple family fritters!"

"Then how about a friendly wager?" Pinkie Pie said, still smiling.

"Fine, Iffin my fritters are better by unanimous vote by every pony at these two booths then the entire meal is on the house." Apple Jack sat back down in her seat, a smug look on her face.

"Deal, but if our fritters are better you do all the dishes from the morning breakfast rush and the ones from your own meal. Also I get to wear your hat for the rest of the day." Pinkie Pie pointed at Apple Jacks prized stetson hat, a glimmer in her eyes.

"But, that's mah hat. I would feel naked without it." Apple Jack whined as she grabbed both edges of her hat with her hooves.

"As opposed too...being naked all the time? I mean the only Pony I ever see wearing clothes is Rarity. Last time I checked I never seen you in so much as shorts." Pinkie Pie pointed out gleefully.

"Fine but if she's got so much as a stain on er, I swear your paying the cleaning bill." Apple Jack declared.

"Okie dokie loki. Oh and honestly, you assign a gender to your hat? And ponies call me weird." Pinkie Pie walked away from the table, a fuming Apple Jack behind her. Pinkie Pie ignored her and walked though the double doors leading to the kitchen in the back, set her notepad on the counter.

"Okay, you and me need to talk mr author. You already did this iron chef trope earlier in the story. Stop being lazy and come up with some original conversations already." Pinkie Pie seemed to be talking to the cupboar-

"No, I'm not talking to a damned cupboard. I'm talking to you Diceman. You already used this trope in a earlier chapter and I am quite frankly not in the mood to play it out." Pinkie Pie seemed to be talking with some ethereal being that refused to answer her questions or concerns.

"Ok, that's it, I have had all I cans stand and I can't stands no more!" Pinkie Pie reached out into the air with her hoof, a rippling effect appearing around it and made a swift motion with her hoof as if she was swatting at a fly.

*Smack*

"Ow, what was that for?" A voice echoed though the kitchen from virtually every direction.

"So the author finally shows himself. You can write your Twilight and Chrysalis clop story well but you keep running out of ideas for this one. For shame, you are better than that. Also why are you writing me as moody and overly competitive? If I was any further out of character I would be Gilda by now." Pinkie Pie rolled her eyes.

"Well what do you want me to do about it? Writers block is a bitch to get around." The strange voice said.

"I want to you to go outside for a moment, you know that place with all the scary sunshine and people; get some fresh air and come back and do a time warp to fix this mess." Pinkie Pie stomped her front leg in protest and then pointed to the window in the kitchen. Outside said window was a few fillies playing, jumping rope, tag and the like. All under the glory of Celestia's sun.

"Oh and one more thing, stop being so florid with your scene depictions."

"But that's the sign of a decent author the last time I checked. It's all in books like Black Beauty and the like." The voice replied.

"Your point? You use it as fluff too much to pad your word count and make the chapters longer than they need to be. You are NOT Stephen King or J.K Rowling. You are a thirty something guy that writes short stories in his spare time for no other reason than being completely bored." Pinkie Pie said.

"That hurts Pinkie. It's not like you to be so mean." The voice said.

Pinkie Pie sighed and shook her head. "If it makes you feel any better, your stories are better than anything Stephenie Meyer or E. L. James have ever written."

There was a brief silence in the room before the voice began to speak again. "Not sure if you insulted me or not, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are not exactly high brow reading."

"Fine, you're better than John Sual." Pinkie Pie said, huffing in frustration.

"I'm better than Black Lightning? You know what, I'll take it. Be back in a few minutes." The voice replied cheerfully.

Pinkie Pie sat there, tapping her hoof and staring at the clock for a few minutes. After about ten minutes, Pinkie Pie heard footsteps of some kind and then the voice entered the room again. "Okay, had some tea. Had the neighbors bitch at me and checked the mail. Also is over a hundred and ten degrees outside."

"You whine too much, you know that?" Pinkie said.

"Anyways how do you want me to fix this?" The voice asked.

"Oh, that's easy. Do a cheesy time warp segment and act like none of this happened." Pinkie Pie suggested gleefully.

"Do I look like Tim Curry to you? I can't just do the time warp like he does. Besides I don't have a lawyer on hand to protect myself from the ensuing lawsuits if I did.

"Pfft like lawyers ever read fanfiction, even if they did Swiper the Fox would be a bigger target than you, comparatively speaking that is. Anywho stop complaining and get on with it already." Pinkie Pie said as she stomped her hoof.

"Fine." The voice replied.

***One incredibly cheesy time warp brought on by writers block later***

"I was kidding about our fritters being better by the way, AJ. I just wanted to see how you would react." Pinkie Pie said as she walked up to the double doors leading to the kitchen.

"Nah, I'm sorry for blowin up at ya. I'll still try them though, haven't had a fritter in..." Apple Jack starter to move her hoof up and down, mouthing a count as she did. "forty-two hours I think? Seems like forever doesn't it?" Apple Jack said as some of the fillies at the booth rolled their eyes.

"Okie dokie then, I'll have your order done in a few minutes." Pinkie Pie walked though the swing doors into the kitchen but seconds later Pinkie Pie walked out with a tray of food, shakes and the likes for the Apple family and the members of the CMC. Pinkie Pie walked up to the booth and began to distribute the food and drinks when Apple Jack stopped her.

"Wait a darn tootin minute, since when does it only take a few seconds to cook a fritter?" Apple Jack asked.

"What do you mean? I was in there for a good thirty or so minutes." Pinkie Pie replied as she distributed the fritters.

Suddenly the swing doors to the kitchen opened up and another Pinkie Pie stood there, perplexed. "Ummm other Pinkie Pie, did you get that order out of the way for me?"

The Apple family and CMC members glared accusingly at Pinkie Pie.

"Pinkie Pie...did you use that weird double mare pool thing again?" Apple Jack asked.

"Nope, I did the time warp again. She will be gone in a few minutes." Pinkie Pie replied nervously.

Pinkie Pie walked cautiously into the kitchen, grabbing her clone by her apron and pulling her though the doors with her. After a few feet in she sat the Pinkie Clone down and growled angrily.

"Seriously? You couldn't do a time warp without botching it?" Pinkie said angrily.

"I regret nothing! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!" A voice from nowhere replied.

"That's it, I'm deleting your other fanfics the second I find my way to you again..." Pinkie Pie said as she rubbed her hooves together.

Meanwhile in the lobby the Apple family were busy eating their meal, conversing among one another about Apple Jacks mystery fourth team member.

"So big sis, are ya gonna let us help ya with the machine you pick?" Apple Bloom asked.

Apple Jack took a bite of her apple fritter and chased it down with a sip of apple cinnamon shake before answering. "Of course, though I reckon none of you are old enough to be on the piloting team." Apple Jack noticed the sad faces of the fillies on the other side of the booth and quickly adjusted her wording of the situation. "I mean sure you can help me with testing, repairs, painting it and all but I don't want you gettin hurt. Unicorn magic or not, there's gonna be stuff flying around mighty fast and I don't need one of you girls losing an eye on my conscience."

Apple Bloom, Babs Seed and Sweetie Belle seemed content with this answer but Scootaloo was fidgeting in her seat.

"AJ, what if this mystery fourth member doesn't show up? Do you have any replacement plans?" Scootaloo leaned forward, hoping Apple Jack didn't have an answer to her inquiry.

"I see where you're gettin at ya little fireball but taint doin. If she doesn't show up then I'll just get a transfer from some other town. I'm sure Braeburn would love to help, or Bushel, cousin Turnip or any of the other dozens of members of the Apple family."

Scootaloo's ears folded back, prompting Apple Jack to console her.

"Don't you fret, a good team always needs a good set of mechanics and ponies to brainstorm, eight heads are better than one and all." Apple Jack said with a smile.

Scootaloo looked up and faked a smile in return, but deep inside she wanted something different, something she couldn't put her hoof on. Not being one to miss Scootaloo's fake smile, Apple Jack leaned forward and stared into Scootaloo's eyes.

"Ah know what you want, I seen that look in Rainbow Dash's eyes so many times." Apple Jack said as she sat back down.

"Which is?" Scootaloo asked cautiously.

"Competition of course. With the exception of Fluttershy, almost every single pegasi I have ever met always had the thirst for competition. Dunno why, but it's just something y'all do." Apple Jack took another sip of her shake, setting it down calmly. "You will have yer chance someday squirt but...uuhhh, yer parents won't allow you to enter that contest, yer too young is all."

Sweetie Belle raised her hoof to get Apple Jack's attention.

"What's up Sweetie Belle?" Apple Jack asked.

"Well we learned in biology class and history class that Pegasus have a very ancient evolutionary discrepancy in their behavior and biology, something all ponies have but much more pronounced." Sweetie Belle stopped after she noticed the odd stares from the elder Apple family members.

"What? What did I say wrong?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Nothing really little one, we just don't understand fancy talk is all." Granny Smith said.

"Try again, English this time iffin ya would be so kind." Apple Jack said as she scratched the back of her mane.

"Okay. Back way before we had the brain capacity to build anything more than small towns or communities we adhered to a very strict rules regarding whom could reproduce. In terms of Earth ponies it was the strongest stallion that had all the breeding rights to all the mares in the heard. Sometimes there would be three or more stallions, but only if they were nearly equal in strength. You follow me still?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Yeah, uhhh sure." Apple Jack said nervously as she stared out the window.

"In old unicorn society it was typically the mares that made the first move while the stallions were the passive group. This also works into later parts of Unicorn society such as most positions of power being held by a mare." Sweetie Belle took a sip of her shake before continuing.

"In terms of Pegasi however, the deal was equal. The entire race was the most warlike and becuase of this everypony fought as equals. Both sides held equal power in their societies and both sides fought to the bitter end if need be."

"And this explains Scootaloo's need for competition how?" Sweetie Belle stopped to see who interrupted her when she noticed it was Big Mac, something she never actually expected to get into the discussion short of a single word.

"Well Big Mac, after the settling of Equestria the Pegasi has no enemies to fight. There was enough food, plenty of water, sunshine and gems. They no longer had to deal with encroaching griffons or dragons of any kind. Some of the elder Pegasus noticed that the younger generations were butting heads with the other races due to not having anything to do. This is how the first Equestrian games occurred. They replaced their thirst for battle that had been bred into them for generations into a thirst to be the best, a thirst for competition." Sweetie Belle took another sip of her shake as she watched Apple Jack's, granny Smith's and Big Mac's mouths hang open.

"Well, its good to know y'all are keeping up with yer book learnin. Learn something new everyday I guess." Apple Jack said nervously as she took a bite of her fritter.

"What? Why is everypony staring at me?"

Apple Bloom whispered in Sweetie Belles ear. "Pstt, My big brother, sister and granny smith dropped outta school to take care of the farm and me shortly after I was born. Yer scaring them with yer smartness."

"Oh...sorry." Sweetie Belle whispered back.

Some time passed by silently as the group ate and drank their meals, Apple Bloom finally breaking the long silence after it had been an hour since they finished their meals.

"So when is this mystery mare gonna show up, sis?" Apple Bloom complained as she stared out the window.

"I dunno, but she better hurry up. Vehicle selection is today and I still have to drop off the last bit of registration stuff at the mayors office." Apple Jack replied as she sat back down.

"I hate to spoil it for ya AJ but the mayors office closes early on Sunday." Granny Smith stared up at a clock above the kitchen, which read three in the afternoon. "Actually I think they closed about two hours ago."

"Ah know that granny, I can still fill out the rest of the form after we get out vehicle registration out of the way and just drop it in the inbox on our way home." Apple Jack pulled the Registration form from underneath her hat and set it on the table.

Scootaloo, interested in what it looked like glanced over at the document. Oddly enough the members of the CMC were listed as mechanics in the list below the main crew but something was off. Instead of the crew and mechanics being listed under bold letters, they were hoof written into the document. Below the Names of the CMC was a blank spot where AJ had started to write the word 'alternates' above some lines but it seemed like her pencil tip broke off partway though.

Sweetie Belle nudged Scootaloo on the side and whispered. "That looks like the rental registration form my parents had to sign for a new house. It looks like it's been modified a bit, but most of the structure is the same."

Apple Bloom leaned over to whisper in Scootaloo's ear while Apple Jack was distracted, peering out the window for their late fourth crew member. "Hey, Iffin yer thinkin what I'm thinkin yer thinkin then go ahead and write us down too when she taint lookin."

Scootaloo looked over Apple Bloom's bow in her hair to see that both Babs Seed and Sweetie Belle were nodding in approval.

"Are you three sure about this? i mean it's bound to be dangerous." Scootaloo whispered back.

"My sister's just bein over protective is all. It's the chance of a lifetime and worst case scen-scenar..." Apple Bloom looked to Sweetie Belle for the word she was looking for.

"Scenario..." Sweetie Belle whispered while rolling her eyes.

"Yeah that, worst case scenario we get blow-ed up early on and just get to spend the rest of the summer doin normal kids stuff."

Babs Seed interjected. "But if we actually do well we would be heroes. That and everypony will underestimate us because we are kids n' all. We will have the element of surprise on our side, besides it's not like we can get in trouble as alternates. Apple Jack practically never gets sick. We could even Get our cutie marks doin this!"

The thought had crossed Scootaloo's mind. They never really tried anything like this, maybe their special talent was war? It certainly wouldn't be the first time a pony from Ponyville got a cutie mark cut out for battle.

"She's here!" Apple Jack sprung out of her seat followed by Big Mac and granny Smith. Sweetie Belle leaning over the seat curiously. As the Apple family waited at the door Pinkie Pie skipped out of the kitchen and set the bill on the table.

"Here's the bill, I need a signature and twenty bits please." Pinkie Pie smiled.

Apple Bloom picked up the bill automatically and began to sign her name with the pencil Pinkie Pie set next to the bill, seemingly knowing the drill by heart. "Pinkie, just add this to the Sweet Apple Acres tab, we will take it off the next delivery, oh and take yo9urself a three bit tip as usual." Apple Bloom set down the pencil and Scootaloo seized the initiative.

"Scoots, you sure you wanna do this?" Apple Bloom pleaded. "If we get busted we will be so grounded for the summer.

Scootaloo looked at the rest of the Apple family crowding the door and back to Apple Bloom. "History favors the bold Apple Bloom, besides with my stubby wings I'm always grounded." Scootaloo quickly moved over to the registration form and quickly erased the title 'Mechanics' from above the CMC members names. She quickly then wrote in the words 'Alternates' as quickly as she could, thanking Celestia under her breath that Apple Jacks poor penmanship was just as terrible and indiscernible as her own.

Scootaloo tossed the pencil back to Pinkie Pie whom seemed perplexed, one of her eyebrows raised.

"It's a secret to everypony Pinkie, promise me you wont tell?" Scootaloo said under her breath.

Pinkie Pie nodded and performed her signature cross her heart, cupcake in the eye motion.

"Ummm, I think the last crew member is my sister." Sweetie Belle said as she pointed out the window.

The other CMC members piled up on the back of the booth to get a look. There seemed to be something very purple with a large variety of feathers coming up over Apple Jack's head.

"Either that or it's a peacock." Apple Bloom said sarcastically.

The fillies stared at the adult ponies for awhile until they all came into Sugar Cube Corner, Apple Jack complaining loudly.
"I thought we agreed you were supposed to be here around noon, we are gonna be late with our vehicle selection becuase of you."

"I'm sorry darling but I got an order last night for my new headdresses. I would have been here earlier but I was up all night making them, one simply does not say no to Hoity Toity when he asks for you personally." Rarity said calmly.

"Oh well, I'm sure there's a few good ones left." Apple Jack walked up toward the table motioning the fillies to her. "I want to introduce Team Apple's fourth main crew member, Rarity."

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Babs Seed and Scootaloo just stood there, all of them unsure whether to welcome Rarity or question Apple Jack's sanity.

"Sis...are you sure you want Rarity on yer team? I mean I'm sure she's capable and all but this is probably going to be very dirty, icky and grimy." Apple Bloom said.

"Well, we needed a unicorn for emergency engine power and as a radio operator. Some of our teammates from other cities wouldn't understand not a word of our country jargon. Rarity is here to recharge the tank and translate stuff for us." Apple Jack said enthusiastically.

"That and we already agreed that I will be doing no major mechanical work. I would rather not get grease stains all over my coat, it just doesn't look very good on my coat and is such a pain to remove." Rarity said as she adjusted her oversized peacock feather hat.

"We can do all the social stuff later, we need to skedaddle down by Fluttershy's place to get our vehicle before the day is over." Apple Jack looked at Pinkie Pie and nodded, picking up her registration form. "I guess Apple Bloom added it to our tab right?"

"Yep, thank you for eating at Sugar Cube Corner." Pinkie Began to clean up the dishes at the table as the rest of the group headed out the door.

Scootaloo stopped and gave a wink at Pinkie Pie before darting out the door after the rest of the group.

Pinkie Pie stepped out the door and called after them. "See you all later, good luck with whatever vehicle you chose!"

***

After a grueling uphill trot led by Apple Jack everyone finally arrived at the designated field where they were to select their vehicle only to find a single royal guard with a clipboard and not a single vehicle to be found. Apple Jack approached the guard whom peered over his clipboard as the she got close.

"Apple Jack of team Apple I presume?" The guard said dryly.

"That's me. Sorry we are late, got held up with some stuff." Apple Jack said.

"Doesn't bother me a bit, as you can see we only have a couple choices left anyhow. Your tardiness has cost you a plethora of choices." The guard stated with a grin on his face.

Apple Jack and the others began looking around, but none of them could seem to spot the remaining choices the guard mentioned.

"I don't want to be a party pooper but I don't see the choices you are talking about." Apple Jack said as she checked behind a nearby rock.

The guard rolled his eyes and put his clipboard into his saddlebag. "Follow me, they are in a nearby field past those trees." The guard pointed to a shallow row of trees behind him which seemed to have a meadow on the other side. The group followed the guard through the brush to a clearing that had one vehicle in the center, the other one was being carried off in the distance by another group of Pegasi.

"Well, looks like your couple of choices is now only one. I guess the air guard was getting bored of selection duty as was packing up for the day." The guard pointed at the vehicle sitting in the meadow.

The group walked up to the vehicle, the guard trying to stifle a laugh as they came up to the front of the wooden machine.

"So, uhhh. What is this thing?" Apple Jack asked.

The vehicle in front of her was tall, a bit taller than ten feet high, had a somewhat boxy design, with a small domed turret on the top, three open flaps on the front, side and back sporting some kind of gun and a cylinder like structure on the right side with a very fair sized cannon sticking out of it.

"This, team Apple is the vehicle that you will be stuck with. It is called the M3 Lee."

"It kinda looks like a dump truck, like the ones in the city." Babs Seed commented as she sneered at the vehicle.

"My, it is quite...ugly. The one the others were carry away looked nice and sleek compared to this...fat thing." Rarity said with disdain in her voice.

"Well yes, the vehicle they were carrying away is the Jagd Panzer 4, a tank destroyer variety. It is being taken into storage and put on display for the next town choices. As for your vehicle shall I explain what you are getting into before you make your one and only option. I mean there still is time to withdraw if you don't want to be seen driving this...thing." The guard tried to stifle another laugh as he looked at the M3 Lee in front of him.

Apple Jack stepped forward, a determined look on her face. "Tell me what it is first, then I'll decide if it's worth our time or not."

The guard stepped back apprehensively and cleared his throat. "This Ms Jack is a M3 Lee, a medium weight combat tank. Weighing in at around eight short tons it has fifty-one millimeters of frontal armor made of northern pine and around thirty-eight millimeters of armor on the sides and back. The turret on top houses a thirty-seven millimeter gun that fires either appropriate caliber chocolate covered or caramel covered fruit of your design. It also has three smaller guns on the front, side and back that fire high velocity candy corn, although it will be rare to use them in battle situations due to how small they are."

"What's that big cannon sticking out of the front right side?" Apple Bloom asked.

"I was getting to that. This is a seventy-five millimeter Pineapple or Pie cannon. It also has an optional ninety millimeter cannon it can mount but I do not suggest using that one."

"Why not? Isn't bigger always better?" Big Mac asked.

"While generally speaking yes, but the gun has too much recoil for the vehicles frame. You would need to modify it to handle such a thing and with a bigger gun requires bigger ammo, and thus less shots. It also is equipped with a six hundred horse power, unicorn magic driven engine, allowing it to reach speeds far greater than it's size would lead you to believe." The guard said as he walked around the side of the M3 Lee.

"So...if its got so much good, why were you laughing at it earlier?" Apple Jack said as she huffed impatiently.

"Well, it has it's flaws. According to the armory journal-"

"Armory journal?" Apple Jack said.

"Yes, its a guide our top engineers have put together for all the vehicles, In a very short time mind you. The problem with this thing is it doesn't turn very well, is a large target and has comparatively weaker firepower than than most of the models we had today. For example that gun on top will not be useful on anything of equal size, it can still damage or disable smaller vehicles but not much else. The bigger weapon is too low to the ground and has a poor firing arc, meaning you have to turn the tank to fire. It's easily flanked as to say." The guard kicked the treads on the side.

"It also has poor ground pressure, making it terrible on snowy or muddy ground."

"So basically its the black sheep of the selection?" Apple Jack said.

"Yes and that putting it kindl-"

"We'll take it then. The Apples never say no to a challenge. If you listed all the problems with this thing then I guess we will have to find a way to fix them then." Apple Jack tapped the M3 Lee on the front hull. "Don't you worry none, we will get this hunka-wood in tip top fighting shape in no time."

The guard pulled out his clipboard and stared at Apple Jack for a moment before pulling a stamp out of his saddlebags and setting it at the top of his clipboard. "Oh well, I guess the enemy needs some easy targets. I'll need your registration if you would be so kind."

Apple Jack stepped forward and pulled the registration out of her hat, giving it to the guard with an angry glare on her face. The guard stamped the paper and then removed a pink slip off the bottom of it, handing it back to Apple Jack. He then walked up to the vehicle, pulled out a black marker and marked the front of the hull with a number ; 009.

Registration complete. This thing will be delivered to the southern test range just south of Ponyville. You will be sharing the range with the rest of your team as well as ponies from Appleloosa. You have full garage with a stock of replacement parts at your disposal as well as a fund of no more than a thousand bits for research and mechanical purposes. You will find a drivers guide inside the vehicle on the commanders seat, I wish the best of luck to you." The guard walked away, waving a hoof at some of the Pegasus in the air.

You will need it. The guard thought to himself.

***Some hours later***

"Aww sis, can't we just stay up all night? We are too excited to go to bed I mean we got so much to do tomorrow, I wanna get my tools together and go right now." Apple Bloom complained.

"Taint no arguing. You skedaddle into bed and get yerself some shuteye. The faster you go to sleep the sooner tomorrow will come." Apple Jack said as she picked up Apple Bloom and set her onto the top bunk of the bed. "I want you four to be up at the crack of dawn to help me with the chores and then we go down to the test range. Okay?"

"Okay" Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, Babs Seed and Sweetie Belle replied automatically.

"By the way scoots, yer parents know yer here right? Seems you been spending a awful lotta time here and not at home." Apple Jack asked.

Scootaloo rolled over and yawned, avoiding eye contact. "They are very busy ponies, they know where I'm at and that they can trust somepony like you. Everypony can trust you."

Apple Jack nodded. "Good ta hear, anyways, Gnight y'all."

Applejack closed the door to the room and Scootaloo rolled back over to stare at the light coming from under the door.

I hope she doesn't ever find out about that...they can never know.