• Published 9th Jan 2017
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The Atlantean-Dominion War - The Atlantean



Crimson Dawn enlists in the Atlantean Reserve Emergency Army (AREA) to defend Atlantis from the Dominion of Apollo.

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17. Regroup (Meeting Princess Mirage)

Perplexus coasted down to float beside the large cargo dock inside Mount Emberforge. Her wooden hull had been busted slightly and her sails were torn, but she made it. The almost two thousand ponies stuffed inside like sardines in a can sighed with relief as the flying frigate stopped moving and let her bay doors swing open. They practically tumbled out when the doors opened, the wood having moved to no longer support them. On deck, the gangplanks came in, easing the flow of traffic a bit. Regiments, Medical, and Logistics slowly regrouped on the dock beside the airship.

The wounded were instantly carried to Emberforge Base’s medical division, which had more sophisticated equipment that couldn’t be easily moved. Gun crews waited for the crowd to clear the ship before transporting the four remaining pieces off. Meanwhile, the few officers left did a roll call to find out who had been lost during the battle. Among the Second Coastal’s losses were Northern Lights, Woodpecker, and the slim Cheese Wedge.

The Fourth Midlands, who’d defended to the 2nd Coastal’s direct left, was decimated. Out of the entire thousand two days before, only fifty had survived, with only two of them being officers. Nineteen out of six hundred from the Fifth Coastal still lived, and the 19th Cliffside now consisted of thirty ponies, most of them “walking wounded.” Seventeen tattered flags were held by their respective regiments, with as few as ten left under some of them. Most of the survivors originated from the 2nd Coastal and the 14th West Bank. What had been an army of thirty thousand was reduced to a fifteenth of its number.

Sarge saw the base commander striding toward the dock and waved. The commander waved back, and they were soon conversing about the situation.

“Sergeant Rolling Plains. We knew for sure you were dead as soon as the enemy guns opened up! They’ve surrounded us for the better part of a month, but wanted to destroy the army so they could just simply leave us and we wouldn’t be able to do a thing,” the commander said, tired.

“Thank you for your hospitality, General Nightingale.” Sarge replied, his voice hoarse. “We thought so, too. Where’s the bastard Continuum?”

“Not here. I believe he’s in Nautinia as of now. Why?”

“He sent us the orders that nearly killed us. Only pure luck got us out.”

“I hope I can sympathize. You see, Sergeant, Continuum has done… unusual things in the past. This kind of treachery may go farther back than either of us is able to reach.”

“I just want his head. And give the airship captain a medal. He deserves it.”

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“Colonel, who’s the stallion talking to Sarge?” Treetop asked.

“General Nightingale. He’s run this base for nigh on fifteen years, almost as long as I’ve been in AREA. I met him when I first signed up as a lieutenant, and let’s just say we got a little too friendly. But I still respect him, even if… yeah.” Silvercrest shook her head. “It’s fine. That was a long time ago. Besides, another stallion’s got my life now.”

Crimson, Platinum, and Southern Lights exchanged looks. They figured as much from her tone and the way she bounced around the subject. That Silvercrest had a few incidents in her past was common knowledge, but the specifics weren’t.

“Little Moon!” Nightingale called as he recognized her. His entire body was as black as lightning was bright. The white outline of a bird showed on his flank. “Good to see ya’gain!”

“We drop the subject, alright?” Silvercrest quietly asked the ponies gathered around her. They nodded, so she continued, much louder: “Yes, it is, sir!”

Nightingale came and wrapped his hooves around her. “It’s been, what, twelve years?”

“Thirteen. Plus seven months. Three days. Twenty hours. Forty-nine minutes. Thirty seconds. Exactly. So, howzabout we don’t talk about the past and just focus on the task at hand?”

“Sounds good, Little Moon.” His ears perked up. “Someone’s at the door. I need to see who it is. Hopefully, it isn’t another Dominion ass.”

“I’ll get the troops some room and board while you go on.”

“Sounds like a plan. Don’t let me down.”

“Since when have I ever?”

“That day you left me to lead your own regiment.”

Silvercrest laughed. “That wasn’t disappointing for me! You better get going.”

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Nightingale galloped to the thick rock double doors that were the entrance to his beloved base. “Who’s out there, lookout?”

“I can’t identify it. Some kind of black mare with holes in her, accompanied by a literal shitton - pardon the language, sir - of similar-looking things with her.”

“Any Dominion troops in the vicinity? Account for illusion spells and such.”

“No, sir. We ran them over seven times with a massive revelation spell.”

“Let in the one that’s knocking, and nopony else.”

“Yes, sir.”

Two teams of the strongest bodybuilders in the army jumped to their hooves and pulled against huge turning mechanisms. These in turn slowly spun gear systems that began to open the great doors after a minute. The rotational speed had been dramatically increased by the gears, allowing the hardworking ponies to even start moving the solid rock wall. As a crack appeared between the two doors, bright sunlight filtered by lingering smoke flooded in. Nightingale shielded his eyes for a few seconds.

Then a small, young voice called out: “Hello?”

“Dear Harmony, lookout, it’s a child! Let her in!” the general yelled.

Soon, the tall “filly” walked into the base. Her mauvish mane and tail matched her dark body quite well, as did the wings and eyes. She would’ve been considered a youngster if her head wasn’t a full two feet higher than Nightingale’s. The height added to the intimidation factor.

Her voice betrayed any intimidation, however. It was young and beautiful, like a songbird’s. “I am Princess Mirage of the Emberforge Valley Changelings. Our home was destroyed by your enemy yesterday, and it took us most of the rest of that time to regroup. If my subjects could come inside, we would greatly appreciate it, as we have nowhere else to go even if we wanted to.”

“We have Changelings here? I thought they only lived in Dom territory,” a soldier commented.

“Apparently.” his friend replied.

“Cut it, you two.” Nightingale’s order cut the air like a knife. “We may not be able to support all of your subjects, but we’ll try. Space is pretty limited since our troops are stuck here.”

“Thank you.” Mirage was hesitant to say that.

“Before you go,” Nightingale added, “I want to know why the hell we didn’t know you were here.”

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“So, you claim to be a Changeling. Can you prove it?” Sarge asked. He and the highest-ranking officers were sitting around a table sipping on refreshments while Mirage told her story. Dim torchlight lit up the room, but not by much. The rock walls practically absorbed light.

“Yes, I can.” Mirage transformed herself into a pony with a flash of green magic, then back into her natural form in the blink of an eye. “Is that good enough?”

Sarge wheezed. A bit of smoke had gotten into his lungs. “Yeah. Sure.”

Nightingale was the next to speak. “Every hive is controlled by a Queen. Where’s yours?”

“I wish I knew. Mother’s still alive; that much I do know. Otherwise, I’d be able to control all the members of the hive right now. My mother never actually used her telepathic link, but mine has not been active, so I’m more of an individual at the moment.” Mirage was determined to keep calm throughout the questioning.

“But you can still tell them what to do?” Silvercrest asked.

“Yes. Changeling magic is complicated; I’d prefer to leave it at that.”

“I got nothin’.”

“If your Queen is alive, she’s most likely a prisoner of the Dominion. With our army the state it’s in, we are in no position whatsoever to help you get her back. I’m sorry.” Nightingale said. “It just can’t be done. All we have is a couple thousand and four guns against the entire Western Domination Army - one hundred thousand strong.”

“No, there’s a possible way to do this,” Silvercrest mused. “The Changelings can disrupt them, and we move in with the main force.”

“Colonel, we are outnumbered by a factor of fifty.”

“When has that stopped us, General? As I recall, Captain Middle Road has defended against a sizable portion of their navy using a frigate, three corvettes, a bunch of fishing dinghies, and a half-wrecked alien warship. I also hear she’s converting a brig from the Summercrest Shipyards into a dirigible carrying plenty of guns. Shooting from high up increases your range, so that thing could pound the Doms without suffering a scratch.”

Mirage looked up from her hooves on the table. “In whose favor is this war going?”

“Theirs.” Sarge stated flatly. “If you can tilt the tide, it would be great.”

“I can. If we can drive them away from the hive, I can access some things the Dominion will want, but so will you.”

“What is it, exactly?” Nightingale asked, curious.

“Hovergas. We have entire storage areas of the stuff deep underground, created by my mother to hold it after Emberforge went out.”

“How much?”

“Enough for at least ten of your ‘flying frigates.’”

Silvercrest, Nightingale, Sarge, and the other officers dropped their cups. Sarge even spit his out like a mist. He then wiped his mouth with his hoof, eyes still wide.

“No single deposit has had enough for three in the past!” Silvercrest cried.

“How is this possible?” Nightingale was visibly running the likelihood of it in his head. “The odds are worse than surviving a head-on assault against a Dominion battle line using a single unarmed rowboat!”

“We’ve been collecting it for years.” Mirage replied. “Though I don’t know if my mother would allow me to give it up.”

“I have a proposition for you, Princess.” Sarge had gotten over his initial shock and had gone to business mode. “We take back your hive for you and rescue your Queen, and you give us some of the gas in return.”

“How much gas?”

“Enough for three ships. That’s all I got for now.”

“I could possibly do that.”

“So it’s settled.” Nightingale glanced at everyone there. “So, what’s the plan?”

Author's Note:

So, Emberforge Base itself isn't that important to the plotline yet, so I don't care about description. It's an underground base in a volcano. That's all you need to know right now.

Next time on TRSR: the Battle for the Hive/Second Battle of Emberforge Valley. Changelings and ponies, woo!

Feedback appreciated.

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