• 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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1. Something In The Water

The deep red Pegasus Crimson Dawn walked through the front door of his family home. He was about average height for a pony, average speed in the air, and average in just about everything else. An introvert, he had few friends, but trustworthy ones. But in a small town such as Summercrest, that was all he needed.

Summercrest was situated at the southeast continental corner, six hundred nautical miles due east of Nautinia, the capital and shining jewel of Atlantis. It was a quiet fishing town, but that’s what the townsponies preferred. As standard with district capitals, a naval base sat along the waterfront, but its ships were never ready for sail, sitting incomplete in the standard base drydock. They could be used for fast corvettes in theory, but Double NC (Nautinia Center of Naval Command) never authorized it. Speculation said the “top dogs” just didn’t receive the message, but conventional wisdom argued that they ignored it.

Crimson’s home was not a cloud-house, like many Pegasi, but a large wooden dwelling on the ground. Many members of his family were Unicorns or Earth ponies, so building a cloud didn’t make much sense. The house sat near the western edge of town, its added-on stone towers barely visible over the many “swamp oak” trees that inhabited the Summercrest Forest. Over the years, generations built more and added on, since the growing family almost never moved away from town. It currently encompassed eleven acres of land, surrounded by a small but self-sufficient farm. Many add-ons had been built as treehouses, extending the actual house to more like twenty acres. A human would’ve said the place resembled an Ewok village surrounded by a stone wall.

The cobblestone bottom floor had the dining hall, metalworking shop, kitchen, and the lower part of the extensive five-floor library rivaling the Canterlot Archives in volume. Living quarters for the family took up the upper floor and treehouse areas. The multipurpose building served as the library for the district and the courthouse when necessary. A five-acre storage shack sheltered by twenty swamp oaks served as the district surplus, used when disasters occurred or when a neighboring district had to call for more. Towers made from northern granite and local quartz had been a community Hearth’s Warming gift to the large family one year, and they stood proudly above the forest.

Leftover rock from the towers was given back to the town and used to upgrade the lighthouse and little-used harbor facilities. At night, one could stand at the top of the tallest tower and see the Summercrest Lighthouse, its Unicorn-magic flame shining brightly through even the worst of squalls.

An adequate shipbuilding industry had sprung up when the swamp oaks were discovered to be better for fishing boats that the standard-issue material, but it was nothing compared to Nautinia and others, which could pump out an entire combat-ready brig in three days.

Everything accounted for a quiet town in a quiet district. And that was what Crimson and his friends enjoyed, for the most part. Being the adventurous teens they were, Crimson, Platinum Starlight, Bats, and a few others tended to cause more than a little mischief. But everypony else said it was a phase, and a bunch a guys together tends to mess thing up.

The shiny metallic Unicorn Platinum Starlight met Crimson at their usual place by the newsstand. “Red, did you hear? That old Dominion’s gettin’ tired of us not bein’ in their borders!”

“Really? King Jagged Edge’s getting aggressive? There’s a reason I like Flawless Ice better. His head is much cooler.”

Bats Nightmane, an Earth pony from the harbormaster’s family, walked up. “I heard. We’re gonna have a war on! That actually sounds kind of fun.”

They were interrupted by Crimson’s multicolored-quartz sister, Crystal Shard. “Hey, guys! I found this big… thingamabob while up the lighthouse! It’s metal and off the coast! We should go check it out!”

“Guys? One last adventure before signing up for boot camp?” Crimson asked.

“You bet!” came the chorus of replies.

The group headed to Bats’ sailing boat he had yet to test over open water. It was made by hand, keeping the friends occupied on something besides romping around the woods for once. It had a strange triangular sail, a low-riding hull with high sides, and two crossbows mounted on either side to defend from the larger fish that might come looking for a snack.

“Her maiden voyage. What’re we callin’ her?” asked Platinum.

Bats stared at the sleek vessel floating by his family’s dock, thinking. “Juno. Juno Eclipse,” he finally replied.

They boarded the newly christened boat and cast off. Bats took the tiller, steering Juno Eclipse away from the many boats of the fishing fleet and out of the harbor. Glancing down, he saw the others nodding their appreciation at their own craftsmanship. The seals held well, the unfurled sail strained against the mast, and she was flying through the water, her bow slicing the sea apart like a hot knife on butter.

Once out of the sheltered waters of Lunar Crescent Bay, the choppy waves splashed up against the hull, with only the tallest coming over onto the deck. Platinum picked up a bucket with his magic and bailed them back out. The fairly unpredictable squalls of this part of the Celestial Sea were nowhere in sight as if some magical force had sucked them from the world. It was cause enough for the young crew to worry, but they really wanted to see the wreck Crystal Shard described.

It didn’t take long to notice the gray ship just sitting there in the shallows, her hull resting on a sandbar a few miles from shore. The proud number 35 was painted on her bow, barely seen with a ten-inch hole and warped steel right above it. On top, a large skeleton on a ship showed warped, blackened metal from fire and a soaked interior. Several large holes revealed twisted steel and broken machinery below the waterline. Crimson took off and flew to the deck.

“Woah! Look at these big bumps with tubes! That’s, like, sixteen inches in diameter! Wonder what’s in there. Hello?”

His call returned as a bunch of mixed-up echoes. “Cool.”

“By Celestia! This thing is huge!” cried Bats, who took his attention off the tiller just long enough to look.

“Make for that hole in there. The really big one,” Crystal said. She flew to the indicated hole and looked inside. “Did we bring torches? Wait, never mind; there’s a whatsit in here. But we might need a torch anyway to light it.” After a moment, she mumbled, “If it can be lit.”

Platinum lit a torch and levitated it to the mare. She gestured to what looked like an opening and he rammed it in. The thing suddenly made a bunch of noise and the entire ship lit up. Crimson cried his surprise from on the deck as the other end of the tube sprang to life.

“Park here and try not to scratch her, Bats. I’ll teleport us up once you do that.” Platinum then helped the Earth pony hauled the small anchor over the side and into the sandbar, held to Juno Eclipse with a thick rope. When all was well and done, his horn lit up and the two ended up on the rotting wooden deck. Crimson and Crystal flew over and landed.

“This place, Red. This place.”

“I know. Let’s go inside.”

All four walked through what was obviously a door meant for a really tall creature and found a ladder. They chose up and precariously walked, finally reaching the command room with sunlight streaming through its shattered windows. Crystal turned to her right and shrieked. Crimson whirled around and saw it too. Shudders shot through his entire body as he tried unsuccessfully to keep calm. There was a creature. Dead. Eaten by underwater animals looking for a meal. The rusty nameplate read: Johnson.

Bats came up with a mug that read: Captain - USS Indianapolis - CA-35. He asked where the ship could’ve come from. But none of the others were able to give him answer, so fixed were they on the bipedal skeleton.

“Do you think that guy owned the cup?” Platinum managed to say.

“Maybe. But he wasn’t next to it.”

“Crimson finally tore his eyes from the biped. “No. It isn’t his. That cup was next to the captain’s seat, yes?”

“Yes.”

“This guy looks like he was an ensign based on what’s left of his uniform. Also, that hat remnant on his head says ‘Gunno.’ I don’t know what it means, but sure doesn’t translate to ‘Captain.’”

“What should we do?” Platinum asked. All heads turned to Crimson.

Deep breath. “We go home. This place probably has more dead things in it, and I’ve had enough of that for one day. Bring the cup. We’ll show it to Bat’s father.”

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“How may I help you, Bats?” the harbormaster asked his son.

A gulp. “We found a metal thing off the coast. It’s stuck in the sandbar to the south.”

“Really? What have you colts - and mare - been doing?”

Crimson pulled the mug out of his bag. “We found this, sir. Along with-” he shuddered- “dead things.”

The harbormaster levitated the mug with his Unicorn magic. “Interesting. I can see that this is the captain’s - wait, USS? That don’t make sense.” He’d let his near-perfect Equestrian slip from the surprise. “I mean, there’s ENS for Equestrian vessels, ANS for ours, DNV for the Dominion, and HMNV for Griffonstone, but I’ve never seen a USS designation! You’ve found a ship from another country - one we never knew existed!”

Crystal Shard spoke up. “Here’s another thing I found.” She pulled a previously-soaked book, presumably a journal or log, and gave it to the harbormaster.

Opening it, he exclaimed, “Ho, ho, ho! USS Indianapolis (CA-35), United States Navy. Captain’s log. Oh, my.” He continued reading. “I can’t believe it! This tells of a war between two technologically advanced countries, with great battles, operations - sweet Celestia, a secret mission!” He straightened. “Thank you. I will have to personally bring this to Queen Atlanta’s attention. This Indianapolis will be used for something, I assure you!”

Author's Note:

Comment if you can tell me what Juno Eclipse is a reference to!

ENS = Equestrian Naval Ship
ANS = Atlantean Naval Ship
DNV = Domination Naval Vessel
HMNV = His Majesty's Naval Vessel
USS = United States Ship

USS Indianapolis was sunk by Japanese torpedo hits on her starboard bow in July 1945. Her honorable service will not be forgotten.

Feedback Appreciated!

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