• 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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8. The Battle of Pacifica

The rest of day heralded news of an approaching Dominion army. It would be there by midday tomorrow, and it was huge: two hundred thousand strong, with rumors of an extra fifty thousand elites and a secret weapon.

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It was seven in the morning. The sun shone brightly into the tent Crimson slept in as he groggily woke next to his Atlantean comrades Platinum Starlight and the Earth pony they all called Bats. The other two snapped to attention as Sarge pulled the flap open with his Unicorn magic.

“Wakey, wakey, rise and shine! All ya pretties are gonna getcha some dirt on those shiny uniforms! Report to the Square in TEN MINUTES!” Sarge bellowed.

“Someone’s gonna get a sore throat. He yells like he’s on the high seas,” Bats grumbled.

“Sarge used to be a sailor, Bats. If he hadn’t been in the Navy before now, he’d probably be a general.” Crimson replied as he put on his uniform and slung the single-shot rifle around his back, easily accessible with his right wing.

The three hurried to obey Sarge’s orders. More than once the friends had been at the wrong end of the sargeant’s obedience lecture, which typically included KP duty for the next week. They weren’t the best nor the most disciplined soldiers in the Atlantean Reserve Emergency Army, but they fought like hell. AREA was the only thing between the Dominion and conquering the nearby town of Pacifica. With dwindling supplies and troops, they could never hope to completely halt the Domination Army’s advance.

As the three sped into the training grounds, known as the Square, they saw that everypony in all AREA was there. They reported to Treetop, acting commander of the 2nd Coastal Regiment, and stood at attention while the wait began. After waiting thirty minutes while the last stragglers came in, Sarge came on stage. He had his ragged uniform with its impressive three medals and warrior’s prestige.

“This is bein’ relayed from the Queen herself. Apparently, we are to pull back the artillery, Logistics, and Medical today to ease possible retreats. That means no support. If the horn goes off, you do what it says, even if it says to turn tail and run. What you got now is what you’re stuck with. Alright shinies, ya got all day cut out fer ya. The 1st Midlands goes to the left flank…” and so it began. Crimson’s hopes that his regiment wouldn’t be called to do anything were crushed when Sarge yelled, “And the 2nd Coastal is to be transferred to the center. Don’t let us down, boys. Dismissed!”

The next few minutes were chaotic as everypony ran to grab their stuff before marching to the lines. Once inside the tent he shared with Platinum and Bats, Crimson sorted through his few items as the other two came in. He quickly shoved things he felt were nonessential, like his dress uniform, and packed more practical things, like ammo. But one thing was eluding him.

“Hey, has anyone seen my locket?”

“You mean the iron one with your sister and parents in it? Don’t know,” replied Platinum.

“It’s silver, dammit! And yes, I’m looking for that one.”

Bats picked it up from his trunk. “Sorry, thought it was mine. Here you go.” He gave Crimson the locket he so desired.

The red Pegasus wrapped it around his neck and let it hang from the shining chain. It was the one piece of home he always carried with him, and it was one that sparked constant reprimand from Sarge. But Crimson took the criticism without fear and never let the locket go. Besides, every soldier was obligated to remember those they protected.

A bugle horn sounded. “Well, that’s our signal. Let’s get to the Square and meet up with the others.” Platinum said.

When the entire regiment formed a column and moved out, they all began to sing. It was a horrible job, but the ponies sang their military anthem without much care to quality. They just did it with vigor, which was better than artsy, according to Sarge. Crimson joined in the merry crowd, hoping it would draw attention from his locket.

Where the old wind blows and na-ture crows
We stand in un-i-ty!
The kings of old, they all were told
Of every-thing they’ve done!

We all are grateful for those who fall
They serve to their last breath.
In spite of all, they have prevailed
So therefore we will too!

Oh, At-lan-tis, we all sing!
We sing for thee, we sing for thy
At-lan-tis, we will be
We’ll be there for our home!

And our fair princess, known as Queen,
She lives with pride and strength.
She calls upon our greatest foe
The Dominion, to seek a fight!

There’s nowhere that we’d rather be
The Army is our home!
Instead, we wish to fight as hard
So that our kids see we won’t stop
And always save the day!

Oh, At-lan-tis, we all sing!
We sing for thee, we sing for thy
At-lan-tis, we will be
We’ll be there for our home!

We fight all day, and in-to the night
Through blood and steel
On land and sea
Our home is what we all do make it
And the Army is our home!

As the ponies marched by the Atlantean flag flying proudly in the Square, they all saluted it with pride, dignity, and discipline. It was their home they were defending, and they all knew it. They fought for their homes, their families, and their friends, but most of all because they loved Queen Atlanta and would come to her aid at any given moment. But nopony knew just how hard they were going to fight. They were shinies, after all, and had yet to see combat.

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Crimson ducked down low behind the earthen mound as smoke erupted from the Dominion line. His steel helmet sat crooked slightly, leaning to his right ear. It was smattered with the blood of his comrades and a grazing wound across his left foreleg. His black mane and red fur stuck to him with all the sweat in the world. Beside him, Platinum and Bats had exchanged worried glances, also ducking.

“Those guys are so disciplined!” Bats exclaimed.

“We could hold them back if we had some fucking ARTILLERY right now!” Platinum replied. Both of them were in about the same shape as their friend.

Crimson looked up, inhaling heavily against the white gunsmoke. It blocked out the sun in many patches and barely did a thing in others. “When are we going to get out of here?” he asked the horrible world that was the battlefield itself.

To his left, an Earth pony fell to the ground. He didn’t even know the stallion’s name. All Crimson knew was that he hadn’t ducked in time and was impaled by a bullet. The stallion’s body felt limp and blood oozed slowly from a small hole in his head. Crimson pulled the spare ammo from the dead pony’s belt and tossed some to his friends. No sense in letting the stuff get wasted. They caught their share and hooked it to their own belts, which were slung on like a girth. Each had a silent “thank you” on their faces; ammunition was practically out across the line.

Bats peeked over the mound and dropped down instantly. “They’re too close. ‘Bout a hundred meters or so. I say we toss some boom-spheres.”

Crimson nodded and pulled a “boom-sphere” from his belt. It was a circular device reverse-engineered from the supplies in the metal ship currently sitting in Summercrest. The things were supposed to explode after three seconds if you pulled the pin. Crimson hoped they would. Being in command of this twenty-pony section of defense, he called, “Boom-spheres! Volley on my command!”

Everypony under his immediate command took a boom-sphere from their belts.

“Now!”

Twenty ponies simultaneously threw their spheres across the gap. They landed at varying distances in and around the Dominion line and exploded after their three seconds. Crimson stole a peek and sighed with relief. The enemy appeared to have been decimated. But his cheer died when more ranks of brown uniforms marched out of the cloud of smoke.

“Well, shit,” Platinum said. “Red, we’ve all got seven rounds and one boom-sphere each, then we’re out.some of the boys are dyin’ of thirst, too. Too bad Logistics took the water bottles with them.”

“If we get outta here, I’m tellin’ Treetop to get everypony a bottle and newer, bigger ammo boxes so this mess doesn’t happen again.” Crimson replied. He turned to see the Dominion lines reach and utterly annihilate the group next to them. The right flank of the 3rd Tideless was completely gone. “Sound the call! Pull back before they use enfilade fire!”

Platinum didn’t have to sound it. The twenty in the group filed up to make a capital “L” shape. Then they were joined by the twenty to their right in making a square. Farther down, the rest of the regiment made squares of about forty and slowly pulled out from behind the mounds. Unicorns cast collective shield spells that protected them from the hailstorm of bullets.

Bats was with them when he saw somepony from the 3rd Tideless struggle along, trying to keep from being run underhoof. He thought it was a stallion before her helmet came off and her slightly slimmer face was revealed. It was a Major, judging by her insignia. “Crimson! We need to go back!”

“What?”

“We gotta go to the Tideless! There’s a Major in there!”

“In times of crisis, the commanding officer of soldier is to preserve the lives of his or her own before going back! I cannot risk our lives!” the Pegasus called.

“Well, then, I’m goin’ alone!” Bats dove through the magic shield and behind a tree. He then fired his last shot before to more cover, closer to the Major. The half-thestral Earth pony kept going from cover to cover until he was next to the mare.

“Bats!” Crimson yelled. Against his own quote of the rulebook, he turned around and edged the square closer to the enemy. The shield was taking a heavy pounding.

“You shouldn’t have come,” the mare weakly told Bats.

“I don’t care. Come on!” Bats picked her up and carried her to a fairly thick tree. After a volley slammed into the tree, he did it again and again, getting closer to his friends with each cover-hop. Then he went a final time, making a break for the square with the mare on his back. A Dominion soldier hadn’t fired in the volley, waiting for the Atlantean to come out to where he was vulnerable. He fired, but the inaccurate weapon hit Bats’ leg instead of his head.

Bats did a faceplant as his foreleg gave out. The Major was catapulted over him and through the shield, just a meter away. Bats tried to get up and was met by a storm of bullets. He was struck again and again until he simply fell, blood exiting his already-dead body from two dozen holes.

Crimson stood in place for a full minute, transfixed by the horror of losing his childhood friend. It took Platinum’s cry that they were almost surrounded to arouse him. He whirled to see a fresh regiment of Dominion troops already moving to the second line, a hundred meters ahead.

“Full retreat! Get to the line!”

The forty ponies went into full gallop as they hurried to reach their allies before the enemy did. They were subject to fire from all directions the entire time. When they did arrive, they found an empty mound and pressed on, not pausing until the train station was in sight, its four steam engines running hot. Then Treetop’s group met them.

“Warrant Dawn! Damn, is it good to see you! We lost most of the officers, so whoever’s leading our boys here gets promoted. Get your boys to the train on the left. We regroup the regiment on board!” the Lieutenant called.

“Yes, sir!” Crimson hurried to the train, and when he boarded, he saw two other forty-pony groups from the 2nd Coastal come over the ridge, carrying the regimental flags as fast as possible. They were directed in the same manner as he was and met up on the train’s flatcars. Treetop’s forty arrived and the engine began turning the wheels.

As they got up to speed, zipping through the countryside on the second of the last trains to make it out, Treetop slammed his helmet on the wooden flatcar bed. “The Harmony-damned motherfuckers in the 6th Firestorm left us! They walked away from the second line and fucking left us!” Platinum caught the helmet with his weakening magic before it rolled off the train.

The Major Bats had died rescuing walked up to the Lieutenant with Crimson. “Sir.”

“Yes?” The irritated tone was heavy.

“Major Zucchini Muffin, Equestrian Royal Guard. I wanted to say that your ponies are the bravest - and most reckless - I have ever seen.”

Treetop raise an eyebrow. “Why the hell are you even here?”

“I’m a transfer from Princess Celestia’s school. Was transferred from your Guard school straight to the line when an opening came in the 3rd Tideless. I requested it for the experience.”

“Is this true, Warrant?” the pony asked Crimson.

“Yes, sir. Everything checks out. I was informed that our left was lead by a transfer with her name, rank, etcetera. She’s genuine.”

“Good. Well, Ms. Zucchini Muffin, you’ve had your experience.” Treetop’s eyes narrowed. “Wait a minute - why are you not with your regiment?”

“Sir, the Third Tideless is gone. One of your ponies came for me and carried me to Warrant Dawn’s square formation. He - he died in the attempt.” she replied. Her head dropped.

“Who, Warrant?”

“Bats, sir. We lost him.”

Treetop relaxed slightly. The tension had gone away and was replaced with loss. One of the goofballs - not to mention the only half-thestral they had - was gone. “Warrant, get me a full report.”

“Yes, sir.”

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Crimson gulped. “Treetop, I have the list.”

“Let’s see it.”

“Sir, we lost Bats, as you know. Also Spaniard, Challenger, Knifeblade, Swordedge, Backstabber, Golden Sands, Silver Lining, Eagleface, and Martian.” Tears welled up in Crimson’s eyes. “Those are the officers and significant - term used lightly - soldiers and NCOs. Total loss is more like seventy.”

Treetop sat down. His old friends were gone: the half-griffon Eagleface, Knifeblade, and Swordedge. Backstabber, Spaniard, and Challenger went way back. Golden Sands had just retired. Silver Lining and Martian were the regiment drill instructors. “I’ll tell Silvercrest when we meet up with the rest of AREA. dismissed.” He stared on, reflecting on the battle.

Author's Note:

Feedback appreciated (I should put that at the top of the description:moustache:).

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