• Published 10th Apr 2019
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Farmer Bruener Has Some Ponies - Georg



When a disaster causes Princess Twilight Sparkle to evacuate most of Ponyville, the inhabitants find themselves in a much different place than expected. The people of Kansas are a little surprised about it too.

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17. Sunday Night Movies

Farmer Bruener Has Some Ponies
Sunday Night Movies

"He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life."
Victor Hugo

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: 11:30 P.M. Central Standard Time, Sunday June 21, 2015
Location: The Bruener Farm, Randolph Kansas
- - - - ⧖ - - - -

The last night of the alien invasion, and Nick had just gotten off work. In theory, the Army’s tanks were supposed to be firing away at tentacled monsters from the time they emerged from their saucer until they fled back into the stars, but that never seemed to go well for the soldiers, and Nick preferred this kind of invasion.

“Thank you, lovely lady.” Nick took the can of soda that Lyra floated over to him and returned her smile without even breaking stride. He had gotten used to pony magic faster than he ever had expected, from the way the earth ponies had ‘landscaped’ Four-One into the surrounding greenery with such ease to the small cloud ‘sunshade’ the pegasi had left over the tank, which cut down the Kansas heat by an appreciable margin. The rest of his crew had headed back to the fort for the night so they would be fresh during tomorrow’s pony sendoff, but his pickup was still parked with the rest of the RVs, so he could always sack out in the tent there or snag a cot in the Army’s temporary quarters for the night.

For now, he wanted to see what had been going on all evening.

Movie night for the ponies had started before it got dark when the pegasi had shaped a cloud-sunshade over the shiny tin building they were using as an outdoor projection screen. Nick had watched the activity from the tank, but still had problems getting his mind wrapped around the ability of the flying ponies to just grab a cloud and shape it like a clown making a balloon animal. Still, it made an impressive outdoor movie theatre, which was ‘remodeled’ after the sun went down so the pegasi had their own bleacher section.

The criteria for selecting the movies had been backwards from what Nick expected, mostly because of removing movies that the human hosts did not think quite appropriate. After all, they were aliens, but actually showing Alien to the peaceful ponies…

The same could be said of the entire horror genre, most war movies, anything that used over a hundred rounds of ammunition at once, and… dirty movies.

The Mating Habits of the Common Hollywood Starlet normally start with a pizza delivery, for which she cannot pay…

The result had been eclectic, to say the least. Disney mostly, with Mary Poppins in the lead, and Frozen right behind, followed by Man of Steel for some strange reason. Then Secretariat if any of the early-rising ponies were still awake, although all Nick knew about the movie was that it involved a race horse.

He had intended on just walking around the outskirts of the outdoor trot-in theatre and community gathering space to take a look before heading to bed. After all, he had been on-duty at Four-One when Mary Poppins had played, and that had been about as close as he wanted to get to a song-and-dance number. A fortuitous glance into the darkness spotted the faint green glow of a military chemlight, and a little bit of navigation brought him to an empty lawn chair next to his ex-military buddy.

“Hey, Kota. You make a darling father figure.” Nick snickered a little while settling down into the empty chair, then held his open soda can over for the immobilized Marine to get a drink. The little infant princess had obviously fallen asleep on Dakota’s chest while nursing a bottle and was sprawled out like some boneless pony, all of her legs dangling down his sides while making a little drool puddle on his neck. Kota sucked down most of the soda and passed the can back with a finger held to his lips and a quiet whisper that barely rose over the sound of the ongoing destruction of Krypton on screen.

“Just got her to sleep a few minutes ago. We were dancing around during the end of Frozen, and I think it finally tired her out. Did you get a chance to let Crystal interview you for the Chronicle like you promised?”

“What, is she here?” Nick peered around the screen-lit audience for Crystal’s telltale blonde hair. For a moment he thought he spotted the bimbo, but it was just one of the pegasi who had curled up nearby with a sleeping unicorn foal at her side. “Whew. Don’t spook me like that, man.”

“She’s harmless.” Dakota gave a brief shrug, careful not to disturb his sleeping guest. “Unless she thinks some big handsome Army tanker would be good in the sack. Just watch out if invites you back to my RV for your interview.”

“Like I haven’t got enough troubles with weird women. Bruener’s daughter is trying to set me up with Goose. That big-winged batpony who’s up in KU Med with the crippled kid,” he added at Dakota’s puzzled look. “Bumped into her when I was playing—” Nick paused, obviously self-censoring “—big hero rescuing Twist. She’s been texting me, and I swear she’s going to send dirty horse pictures next. That Bruener kid is in hog heaven with those two ponies, but I can’t blame her. Ava and Zora would be too.”

Nick shook his head, then drained the can. “Your girls would sure get a kick out of being here, that’s for sure. They’re what now, six?”

“Nine and seven.” Kota patted the infant pony on the back. “I get to see them about twice a year, more now that their mother is starting to get interested in me again.”

After a quick glance around at the rest of the ponies scattered across the farmyard’s grass, who were trying to make sense of the opening scenes of The Man of Steel, Nick lowered his voice. “Man, ditch the bitch already. She cut you cold during the divorce. Timing it when you’re overseas and she’s pregnant with your second so you get screwed in the courts? You ain’t gonna find no woman worse.”

Clover stirred, nuzzled down into Kota’s chest again, and murmured, “Bitch.”

“I swear it’s a universal constant across the multiverse,” whispered Kota. “You can’t get a baby to say what you want, but they’ll repeat a profanity in an instant.”

“Excuse me. Pardon me. Whoops, didn’t see you sitting there.” A familiar scroungy green pony picked his way through the movie audience, then settled down in front of the two humans in with a thump as his rump hit the chemlight-lit blanket spread over the grass. “Good thing you had that light. Mister Henderson. Lieutenant Comena. I see you got Clover to sleep.”

“And I see you’re watching Superman,” said Nick, giving the screen an absent wave of his empty can. “I know they wanted a movie that related to Kansas somehow, but do they know how violent it is?”

“Blood and guts violence or just a lot of punching and gunfire?” asked Lucky almost immediately.

“Well… Punching and explosions,” admitted Nick. “The messiest part was the birth at the beginning. I don’t remember any other blood, and they didn’t use any of the tanks the way they should have,” he added with a grumble.

“Ah, that should be fine,” said Lucky, straightening up on the blanket in the grass and making an obscure gesture that brought the unicorn soft-drink pony around again, with her floating a soda over for each of them. “Ponyville is used to explosions. Or at least since my wife came to town.”

There was a mutual respectful silence between the three males as Krypton met its fate on screen, then Kota raised his can in an off-hand toast. “To your wonderful wife, and her little mistake that gave our world a brief peek at your unique people, without which we would be far poorer. And to the safe return of her daughter and husband, who have been well-guarded during their visit by both of our armed forces.”

“To the safe return of all of us,” said Lucky before a long drink. “And to a thick sheaf of photographs that I can show to Clover when she’s older.”

“I emailed them to Walmart for pickup tomorrow before your departure, Your Highness.” Kota took another sip.

“Was wondering how long it’d take you,” said Nick. “Being an unobservant Marine and all.”

“What? I was the one who found them hitchhiking back to the farm my first night here,” said Kota. “I should have known then. That masculine physique. His noble brow. That square chin. And that was just me looking in the rear-view mirror.” He patted the little pony sleeping on his chest. “Honestly, I caught on because there hasn’t been a minute without one of your Equestrian Royal Guard within eyesight, including that plainclothes… or plain naked pair. The green unicorn and the tan earth pony with the strange voice,” he clarified. “I swear they’re in about half of my photos whenever you’re around.”

“Technically, they’re in some secret agency I’ve never heard of, not the Royal Guard,” said Lucky. He leaned back and rested his head on the diaper bag. “I’m looking forward to going back home and seeing the wife also. I’ve been so busy here that I haven’t had time to relax and enjoy it. Then just when I’m getting two seconds to myself, I start to feel guilty that Twilight isn’t here.”

“Had that feeling in Paris once,” admitted Kota. “Walking around the tourist area all by myself after covering a story. Made me so homesick I called my ex-wife. International rates.” He stopped talking and petted the tiny alicorn’s mane for a while. Nick wanted to say something sympathetic, but he had never been married before despite a few close shaves, unlike Dakota who managed to get completely fleeced and sheared.

“My oldest daughter picked up the phone,” Dakota eventually admitted in a very low voice. “She must have been seven at the time, and barely recognized my voice. I told her about Paris, and the lights, and how I could see the Eiffel Tower from where I was calling. Then her mother took the phone away from her.”

Kota sniffled at that, and briefly wiped his nose on his shoulder. “She told me the check was late and hung up.”

“Cold, man,” said Nick.

“It was.” Kota petted the sleeping alicorn some more. “Things got better. Ava got her own phone last year. I’m not supposed to call her, but we text whenever her mother’s not around. She’s getting to be so tall, and such a good big sister to Zora.” It took a little work to get his phone out without dislodging the sleeping Clover, but eventually he extracted his phone and flipped it to a picture of two adorable little girls posing for a selfie.

“They’re sure cuties,” admitted Lucky, leaning forward to get a good look in the reflected light of the movie screen. “The wife and I spent so much time and effort getting our little Clover that I don’t know what I’d do if I were kept away from her.”

“Your wife must be going crazy with you trapped a dimension away and with your daughter to boot,” said Nick.

“I have Spike to write back and forth, and I promised to bring her a stack of books when I get home.” Lucky nosed around in his saddlebag and came out with a flat object, roughly tablet-sized. “Got this from one of our visitors. I suppose I’ll have to find somewhere to plug the Kindle in at the castle. Speaking of gifts, Mister Henderson, may I borrow your phone for a moment?”

The green pony was lit by the reflections from the projected movie, holding his hoof out until Kota passed the phone over. “It needs charging,” admitted Dakota.

“It has enough battery for this.” Lucky had pulled a stylus out of his vest and was poking and swiping away on the phone like a teenage human, only with the short stick in his teeth. “There,” he declared, holding the phone in the crook of his leg and out in front of himself. “Hello Ava and Zora. My name is Lucky, and I’m a friend of your father. This is Lieutenant Comena,” he added, panning the cell phone’s camera over. “He’s another friend I made here. And this is your father, who you already know. That little cutie on his chest is my daughter, Clover. She’s very special to me just like you are to your father, and she trusts your father so much that she fell asleep on him this evening.”

Clover took that moment to give out a tiny yawn, stretched her wings, and nuzzled down into Kota’s shirt, looking just absolutely adorable from the end of her stubby horn to the tip of her tail.

Keeping the camera on Dakota, who smiled and waved back, Lucky continued. “Our arrival on Earth has caused a big disturbance and gotten a lot of people far too excited, so only residents of this town have been permitted to stay around us for the last few days. Thankfully, your father owns a house here, and he has been helping all of the ponies from our town stay out of trouble.”

There was a crash somewhere in the background, the movie was replaced by a bright white light, and three familiar voices chorused, “We didn’t do it!”

“Sometimes, that’s a lot more work than other times,” admitted Lucky. “Anyway, all of the people of the town have been very nice to us, particularly your father. That is why I’m making this recording, so you two fillies will have something to remember us by after we have gone back to our home. Then when you get older, you can follow in your father’s hoofprints and make friends wherever you go, all over the world. Thank you for sharing him with us, and I hope our brief time here helps your world make more friends also. Good night.”

Lucky nipped the stylus out of his vest again and poked the phone. “There, and sent,” he said while hoofing it back over to Kota. “It’s not much, but—”

“It’s wonderful,” said Kota. It was difficult to understand him because of the tears trickling down his cheeks and his suppressed snuffling. He almost made a move to get up, only to stop when Clover gave out a brief snort in her sleep. Turning his head to Nick, he jerked his head in the direction of Lucky and said, “Hug him for me, would’ja bro?”

Hugging a pony was not a part of the informal Bro Code, but Nick lowered himself to the task with little reluctance. Lucky’s coat was both softer than he expected, and thicker with more rigid hairs, giving the hugged pony a resilient attribute much like some sort of living plush animal, so it was not that bad.

Until he spotted Kota taking their picture.

“That’ll make Stars and Stripes,” said Dakota, tucking his phone away. “If you don’t give Crystal that interview you promised.”

- - Ω - -

Tomorrow was going to be a busy day, so Dakota should have headed off to the RV for at least some sleep. Even though the ponies were supposed to be departing in the early afternoon, the morning would be filled with organizational tasks, both pony and people. He found himself staying behind to talk with Lucky when Crystal took Nick away for his delayed interview.

There were several exceedingly good reasons to stay up late after all, first of which was Clover’s enthusiastic embrace of a people mattress for comfortable sleeping, complete with a tiny teakettle snore. Lucky shared a quiet fatherly fist-bump with Kota when she started up, and told him about Twilight’s similar nighttime noises, which blended into a mother-daughter duet during some nights where he would just lay there for upwards of an hour or more, just to listen. Oh, and Spike snored too, so sometimes the nighttime chorus would be a trio.

It was remarkable how an alien could be just so plain friendly, and Dakota found himself exchanging stories and laughing about their past until after the end of the midnight movie while everypony else headed off to their own beds. Kota could easily see how the modest pony taught their young how to cope with the undoubtedly stressful times of youth, because he was just so comfortable to be around without all the power games or word-twisting of adults. The pony children trusted him with their own world-ending disasters such as being disliked by other ponies, or having lost something that a bigger pony would be upset about, because he would soothe their concerns and suggest a solution without any of the condescending or posing that adults tended to use far too often on children. He was a piece that fit perfectly into the four-legged puzzle of the strange alien townsfolk, just the same as Lyra and Bon Bon seemed never to be more than a step away from each other, or the mayor moved instinctively to any other representative of authority, or even Spike acted as the perfect assistant to whoever needed his services.

He was carrying the sleeping Clover in the crook of his elbow as they walked back to the Bruener house for her last bottle of formula before bedtime when an idea came to mind, and he had to ask.

“Have you and your wife thought about having any more children?”

There was no immediate answer forthcoming, so Kota continued, “I mean since the two of you are apart so often. In our world, military deployments scrap more marriages than anything. And your wife goes all over your world, doing friendship things.”

Lucky stopped walking and stood in the house’s pool of yellow porchlight for a time, just nodding his head. “We’ve thought about it,” he admitted. “She’s just so busy with the rest of the girls, saving all of Equestria every week or two. Sometimes I feel like a single parent, but she’s needed by so many, and when they call, she answers. I wouldn’t have her any other way.” He looked up at Clover, who had stirred with a faint smacking of tiny lips. “Of course we still have time together. That’s pretty obvious. I may be a teacher, but she’s taught me to appreciate every minute of every day, with or without her, and that’s a lesson I really needed when we met. So if we have more wonderful foals like this one—” he shrugged with a smile “—I think we can handle it. Ponyville’s insurance rates may rise, but that’s fine. And speaking of insurance.”

There were several gold-clad pony guards strolling down the road in the direction of the farmhouse, laughing and talking among themselves but keeping their voices low. A few of the Army Rangers were among them, but after spotting the house, they waved and headed back to their vehicles, presumably return to Ft. Riley. Dakota had been getting used to the varied colors of the ponies, but it was blatantly obvious this bunch had been playing paintball, and on the receiving end to boot. The yellowest of them under the paint splotches, a unicorn named Bug Light if Dakota remembered correctly, drew up in front of Lucky and saluted with a grin.

“Sir, we have met the enemy, and plastered him.”

“You mean painted, right Corporal?” Lucky turned slightly to one side and regarded the enigmatic Specialist Grace, whose dark green coat and darker armor was nearly obscured by colorful splotches. “So how did your scouting of the human military go, Specialist Grace?”

Grace looked at Dakota, then back at Lucky, who nodded. “We have nothing to hide from our hosts, Grace.”

“Very well.” The colorful unicorn set her lips in a thin line that only reinforced her unspoken opinion that Dakota was not to be trusted with the intelligence summary she was about to deliver. “As you ordered, I spent the entire day with our human military hosts in an attempt to make friends. Which I… did.”

She paused at that point, and did not continue until each of the gold-armored guards had stepped forward and passed Lucky some coins. To a polka-dotted pony, they seemed quite happy with losing their wager, and even the dark bat-winged mare had lost most of her normal Resting Bitch Face while passing over her coins. Once Lucky had secured his winnings, he gave a nod, and Grace continued.

“The human soldiers are not quite as aggressive and conquest-oriented as I originally expected. Should they be ordered to lethally engage Equestrian forces without due cause on our part, there is a substantial possibility they will refuse the order, or otherwise interfere on our behalf. On the other hoof, if we were to provide a threat, they would respond…” The unicorn paused, as if she were looking for a word in her vast collection.

“No greater friend,” said Dakota impulsively, “no worse enemy. When we went into Iraq to help them rebuild and fight the terrorists that wanted to run the place, our general said that we were to be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone we met if we had to. We were there to help.” He hefted Clover a little higher on his shoulder and patted her on the back, since she had started to wriggle. “We really tried,” he added after a moment.

“In conclusion, I cannot begrudge humans their positive qualities, despite their propensity to violence,” admitted Grace. “I’ll have a full report for you and Their Highnesses once we return.”

“A couple of them kept apologizing to Grace whenever they shot her,” said one of the pegasus twins.

“That didn’t keep them from shooting her,” admitted the other. “The game is quite educational. We’re going to take back a dozen paintball guns and a barrel of the little plastic balls.”

“Not just for shooting Iceberg,” said the first pegasus guard again, who shot the paint-splotched unicorn a sideways glance then shut up.

“Anyway,” continued Grace, seemingly unperturbed. “Lieutenant Colonel DeJoya took up a collection among his soldiers, and is going to buy out Walmart of something called nerfs as a present for Their Highnesses.”

Lucky spent a moment resting his hoof on his forehead before taking a deep breath, but Grace beat him to the words.

“Little foam darts with suction cups on them,” she explained. “Less messy than paintballs. Human children play with them. I suspect their introduction to the Royal Sisters will cause the staff to curse our names frequently over the next few weeks.”

“We suggested it,” chorused the pegasus twins. Both armored pegasi nodded briskly, with matching grins.

“Oy.” Turning back to Grace, Lucky dug his Kindle out of his saddlebag and passed it over to the painted mare. “Very well. Once you get cleaned up, could you please load books onto this for me? Just whatever you find that looks interesting. Mister Bruener says it’s tied into their computer in the house. But first, I want your whole squad—” the tired stallion waved one hoof at the Royal Guards “—to get shot again.”

“Pardon?” Grace regarded the otherwise plain stallion with one raised eyebrow.

“Ladies and gentlecolts, you have participated in the first interdimensional armed forces competition in the history of the Royal Guard, and from those smiling faces — excepting Optio Pumpernickel’s frown over there — you have all upheld the honor of our princesses. And that needs a photograph to take back to Our Dread Sovereigns as a symbol of your victory.”

“Oh,” said Dakota, who had become entranced by the interplay between the ordinary pony he had been chatting so casually with and the relaxed deadliness of the armored guards, who most reminded him of a group of SEALS he had once met in a bar. “Let me get my camera, and you can all line up by the porch so I can get the light on you.”

“I’ll hold Clover,” sounded a voice around Dakota’s right elbow. The elusive dark pegasus that he had been trying to get photographed for his entire visit just lurked there, radiating that frustrating You Are Only Alive Because I Have Decided Not To Kill You aura that seemed so natural.

All of you,” said Lucky. “I can hold my own daughter. Plus, it will keep her out of Kota’s camera bag.”

While all of the grinning paint-speckled guards lined up for their shots, with the nocturnal pegasi in front, Dakota considered his role as staff photographer for alien royal guards. It was nothing like caging desk duty from his fellow Marines, filling out after action reports and documenting battles with his camera. Somehow he could not see these experienced ponies hunched over typewriters or standing around in front of doors for hours in dress uniforms, despite their claims. And what they had been through in the last few years baffled him to no end. ‘Celestia’s Speed Bumps’ constantly went through his mind whenever they told about their experiences, because they had never actually stopped any of the threats they had been set against, just slowed them down.

For the second round of photographs, even the other guards got into the picture, including the neon-colored pegasus, the ever-grouchy Hardhooves, and the middle-aged unicorn mare who looked more like she should be wearing an apron than dark armor. Despite what certain generals in the Pentagon surely must be thinking, this was most certainly not any kind of invasion force, but if they were hiring, Dakota certainly would have considered putting in an application. That is if he could still have bacon a few times a week, instead of living on grass.

Once the guards were dismissed to get cleaned up, Dakota took one last moment to shake hooves with the scruffy green stallion. “It will probably be busy tomorrow morning, so if I don’t see you again, it was a joy having you and your friends here for as long as we had.”

“It hasn’t been too bad from this end either,” admitted Lucky. “Other than Cloud Kicker sneaking off with some of your humans to do a little extradimensional hanky-panky, Lyra collecting all those little plastic dolls, having to leave Big Mac to watch Granny Smith in the hospital for a few weeks, and somebody getting my little darling hooked on—” He paused, then mouthed the word ‘bacon’ with great care.

Kota chuckled and checked his phone, which had just chirped. “I’m going to head off and upload these photos— Or not,” he added. “Crystal’s interview with Nick is going to run long, it seems. Until morning in the RV, if I’m reading this right.”

“Come on up to Claire’s room,” said Lucky, turning for the farmhouse. “You can use the house’s computer network and sleep in her bed. This time I’ll sleep on the floor in the doggie bed Mister Bruener bought so Clover doesn’t go wandering around the house in the middle of the night.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Kota stifled a yawn while following the scruffy pony. It felt more than a little odd to be taking advantage of an alien prince’s hospitality, but the other option involved a long walk to Randolph in the dark so he could find his unfurnished house, which he had not even seen yet.

A bed was far better.

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