• Published 2nd Dec 2016
  • 793 Views, 121 Comments

Unhinged - SirNotAppearingInThisFic

A collection of short stories inspired by Magic cards generated by RoboFoME. No understanding of Magic is required to read these.

  • ...

Mass Squade Balloon [Slice of Life, Thriller?]

The familiar sound of a cannon blast splashed cold water on the Pi squad plans to take Sugarcube Corner – literally.

“Take cover!”
“Get down!”

After the shot landed, Scootaloo peeked out from her cover. Across the square around Sugarcube corner, she saw Diamond Tiara do the same.

“Did everypony make it?”, Tiara called across to them.

Next to Scootaloo, Apple Bloom groaned. “Snips and Snails are out. Looks like they tripped over each other.” Apple Bloom poked her head over the shrub row that they his behind and directed Tiara’s attention to their casualties.

Sweetie Belle started counting heads from behind her cover. So far as she could see, everypony else that they were responsible for was accounted for.

“Snips, Snails,” Tiara called. “Go to the graveyard and dry off. You know the rules.”

“Speaking of rules,” Sweetie Belle quietly remarked to the other two Crusaders while Snips and Snails grumbled about who-tripped-who on their way out, “unicorns and pegasi have restrictions, but why does Pinkie get to use her party cannon?”

“Yeah, that doesn’t seem fair,” Scootaloo agreed.

Apple Bloom shrugged. “I dunno, but now that you mention it, I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t anything sayin’ she couldn’t.”

Scootaloo frowned. “We need to regroup to come up with a better plan.”

Pinkie Pie’s cheerful voice came bellowing about as loudly as her cannon. “Fire in the hole!” Another cannon blast promptly sounded, sending any curious peekers cowering behind their cover once again. Several of the water balloons in the shot landed uncomfortably close to the Crusaders’ hiding spot.

“Silver Spoon!” Sweetie Belle whispered across the street between herself and where Silver Spoon had taken cover, “Can you signal to Tiara that we need to retreat?”

Silver Spoon nodded and disappeared from the Crusaders’ view to establish line-of-sight with Tiara.

A moment later, Silver Spoon called, “Fall back, guys! Rendezvous two streets down at the fountain!”

The Cutie Mark Crusaders quickly pulled out of the danger zone, followed by about half of their classmates. The other half would be following Tiara, the Pi squad acting captain. In only a couple of minutes, they had reached the fountain, and were met seconds later by Tiara’s half of the squad.

“Dinky, Zipporwhill,” Tiara said as soon as everypony had made it into the surrounding opening, “I want you two to stick together and take up a position here with about a dozen balloons. If anypony comes after us, give them all you’ve got and get to our next position as quickly as you can.”

Both of them nodded and started to scoop up balloons.

“Everypony else, head for the café. Lieutenants!” Tiara turned towards the Crusaders and nodded for them to walk with her as they started for the café. “Did any of you get a good look of what we’re up against?”

Apple Bloom chipped in, “A few rows of sandbags, a line of trenches, and I didn’t exactly see it, but apparently some artillery. They’re also flyin’ a bunch of banners with just the letter ‘e’ on them.”

“But how did they set all that up?” Scootaloo asked. “The battle started an hour ago!”

Sweetie Belle shrugged. “We know Pinkie Pie’s there, and that’s already enough of an explanation. She isn’t alone, though, and we should probably assume that they have traps set up.”

“Okay,” Tiara said, “So much for bravado. Our all-out attack plan is suicide now, especially since she’s apparently allowed to use her cannon. What do we have to work with?”

None of the Crusaders offered any response as they entered the café grounds and sat at a table amidst the other members of their squad.

“After a moment more, Scootaloo said, “Well, I have my scooter, but I don’t know how moving really fast is going to help exactly, and it’s in the other side of town.”

Sweetie Belle added, “We’d have to launch our water balloons with a lot of force to make it high enough and far enough to come down on anypony hidden behind the sandbags and in the trenches from even a slightly safe distance. Unfortunately, they might pop just by our launching them, not that Pinkie is having any trouble...”

The four of them were interrupted as Featherweight – the designated courier to the Pi squad – buzzed into the area. “Captain Tiara!”

“What’s the message?” Tiara asked.

“Starlight’s team is losing traction against Twilight’s forces outside the town hall and the market is in a deadlock. Some of Twilight’s forces have pulled back, and appeared to be headed in the direction of Sugarcube Corner. Starlight is worried that they’re going to push from there and flank them, which would be... well, bad.”

“So we’ve got to take Sugarcube Corner,” Tiara said, “if only to have a well-defended position to hold them off at.”

“Wait,” Apple Bloom interjected, “I’ve got a plan, but we’re gonna need Scootaloo’s Scooter A.S.A.P.”

“Scootaloo?” Tiara asked. “Think you can make it to your home and back without too much trouble?”

Scootaloo considered it. “Well, if Bulk is keeping them busy at the market, I think the bridges will be clear. Be back in… fifteen minutes?”

“Is that enough time?” Tiara asked Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom shrugged. “I dunno. That depends on how fast Twilight’s forces are gatherin’. More specifically when they’re gonna move out.”

Tiara nodded to Scootaloo. “Take Sunny and Peachy, just in case. They can keep up with you.”

“So what’s the plan?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“We’re gonna use her scooter to get a bunch o’ balloons movin’ up a ramp. Since I ain’t got an idea worth a moldy apple how Pinkie’s shootin’ balloons from her cannon without them poppin’, I figure our best bet’s to speed ‘em up a bit slower. We still gotta work out a proper release once they’re in the air, but since we haven’t used any of our balloons, we’ve got enough to do a lot of soaking if Scootaloo can build up speed with all that weight.”

Sweetie Belle grinned. “I think we can make this work.”

* * *

By the time Scootaloo had returned with her scooter, most of the Pi squad’s ammunition had been loaded into a wide cardboard box that they had scrounged from the vicinity. Several cords were tied to it so, when they were all pulled at once, their force would be distributed somewhat evenly, and low enough down that flipping the box over wasn’t a concern.

Tiara had positioned several ponies to attack and distract the defenders – especially Pinkie and her cannon – for the final stretch of Scootaloo’s charge. She had insisted that the several boards and single wagon that comprised their ramp be placed only when Scootaloo had gotten close, lest anypony on the other side figure out what they were planning soon enough to take cover from an aerial bombardment. Apple Bloom had approximated the optimal angle for the ramp to maximize distance without overstressing the balloons.

“They won’t exactly fly from here to Las Pegasus,” she had said, “but we should get about a hundred meters out of it if Scoots gets goin’ fast enough.”

While Tiara would have liked to spend more time preparing, Dinky and Zipporwhill had decided to return and report that there were definitely more of Twilight’s forces at Sugarcube Corner. “Okay everypony!” she called. “Final positions! Have that ramp ready! The rest of us will give Twilight’s forces something to think about. Scootaloo, whenever you’re ready... but don’t keep us waiting for long.”

Scootaloo nodded, and fastened her helmet. Their chosen street/runway curved smoothly to the left before opening towards Sugarcube Corner, and while Scootaloo was worried about the problems the inertia of a hundred or so balloons full of water might cause her as she made the turn, it would help keep her hidden until the end.

“When you pass the ramp, don’t worry about the ropes,” Sweetie Belle told Scootaloo before joining Tiara and the others. “They’re only tied to the box, and when they pull tight, the balloons will separate from the box and have more room to spread in the air.”

“Got it.” Scootaloo gave the ropes tied to her scooter a tug to see if they’d hold. She then turned to Apple Bloom, who stood ready with the strongest members of the squad to help pull or push the load to start her with as much of a boost as possible. “Let’s do this.”

Another cannon blast sounded from up ahead.

“Okay, team,” Apple Bloom called, “go!

Scootaloo buzzed her wings furiously, and to her surprise, even with the ropes taught, she was moving a reasonable speed within a couple of seconds. After another dozen seconds, Apple Bloom and her team were having trouble keeping up, and Scootaloo could feel a lot more strain on her ropes.

“Good Luck!” Apple Bloom cried. Scootaloo grunted as she started pulling the full weight herself. A cardboard box was no plow, but it left much to be desired for sliding across a dirt road. Coming up on the curve, she turned herself much tighter than she planned to end up moving. She tried not to let the euphoria get to her too much as she skidded right on course. As she pulled out of the curve, she saw the ramp team ahead, wagon in position and working to set the boards. There were only a hoof-ful of seconds before they’d find out whether the defenders or the wagon would be getting soaked.

The ramp team cleared well before Scootaloo got there, which she could only hope meant that they had smoothed the transition from ground to board to a satisfactory degree. As she get closer, she could see the commotion around Sugarcube Corner as water balloons were tossed in all directions. Scootaloo’s eyes went wide when she realized what she was in for: the ground was soaked.

She whizzed by the ramp and felt the tension of the ropes change direction. The payload was in the air, and she hadn’t heard the splashing of a hundred breaking balloons.

Fire in the hole!” Scootaloo cried. She swerved, and the roped jerked lightly as the box pulled away from the mass of airborne balloons. For a split second, it was almost beautiful; a hundred balloons of every color in the rainbow, spread out just enough to see the sky through the mass, flying smoothly through the air. After that split second, Scootaloo lost her footing on her scooter as a result of the jerk, and a split second later, she found herself sliding across a dozen meters of mud.

She skidded to a stop. She was positively covered in mud, which normally would have irritated her, but when she heard the Pi squad cheering behind her, she just grinned like a fool.

Author's Note:

RoboFoME card:

Mass Squade Balloon
Irration. It fights, disapplied gets +2/+2 until end of the top X cards in your graveyard from that creature

At they can't be activate abilities can seems, they didn’t work to Las Pegasus, all ability only if Sweetie Belle.

Trapsmith greater enchanted creatures you control this way its owner's right override of Cannon Blast deals combat damage to the Crusaders’ hand type. Draw a card into his or blockers.

"…and hate the bravado, and under 'E'!"
—Pinkie Pie

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