• 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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20. The Best Laid Plans

Farmer Bruener Has Some Ponies
The Best Laid Plans

“I'm not good at future planning. I don't plan at all. I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow. I don't have a day planner and I don't have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future.”
Heath Ledger

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: 7:02 A.M. Central Standard Time, Monday June 22, 2015
Location: Outside the Bruener Farm, Randolph Kansas
- - - - ⧖ - - - -

It was certainly The Star Spangled Banner.

The notes were in the right place, and played with all the energy the performers could muster, so the song could scarcely be anything else. It also had probably been played on electric guitar before, but not this way since Woodstock, by what many would consider to be hairy aliens also.

It was also so beautiful that Nick could not keep the tears out of his eyes, despite being at attention. Thankfully, he managed to wipe a hand across his face after the last howling notes of the anthem died out across the Bruener farm and scattered applause began. The stage where the day’s activities were about to start had been rigged up with lights and speakers overnight, and two earth ponies were unplugging their electric guitars in front of the projection screen.

Since this was the last day all of humanity would have with their alien visitors (except Granny Smith, who was expected to be out of the hospital in a week or two, and be quietly portaled home then), the natural tendency of Federal and State authorities was to have the kind of send-off that would send the aliens fleeing back to their home dimension, never to come back. The US State Department was taking itself entirely too seriously, and had scheduled going-away speeches and presentations from just about every UN nation, which Nick figured would rapidly go to heck if somebody did not have their thumb on the cut-off switch when the bloviating bureaucrats inevitably went over their time slots.

Due to the festivities, the press pool had been dramatically upscaled, and Nick could pick out the veterans in the group by their salutes during the flag raising. Apparently, Equestrian flag code was similar to the United States, because the royal guards were also drawn up into formation at attention, but not saluting the raising of a foreign flag. Protocol always gave Nick a headache, but due to extensive Army training he knew when to do what, where. If the Equestrians ran their flag up the pole, he would be standing at attention while they saluted.

“Thank you, Fender and Gibson,” said Spike from the center of the stage, in front of where the two earth ponies were putting away their instruments. “That was… interesting. Now, we’ve got a tight schedule this morning, so we’ll get started with the Assistant Secretary of State who will say a few words, and then the rest of our scheduled speakers. Is everything working correctly for the television cameras?”

Off to one side, a pair of cameramen gave thumbs’ up to the dragon on stage.

“Looks like they’re ready. Here you go, Mister Franz.”

In the audience, General Hackmore gave Nick a brief nudge, and spoke up once they had walked far enough away from the ongoing gathering of humans and ponies to speak privately. The general was in full dress blues with every unit citation, crest, and ribbon in precise alignment, leaving Nick feeling more than a little undressed in his simple ACUs and his helmet still sitting on top of Four-One somewhere. He was wearing his patrol cap, however, not just because he had to, but the hot Kansas sun was fierce against his dark bald head.

“Lt. Comena, did you happen to find time to watch the YouTube video of our Equestrian guests in the hospital over the last few days?”

“No, sir. I’ve been a little busy, what with our surprise deployment.” Then, since a General bestowing a question directly upon a lowly Lieutenant was more than a little odd, he added, “I suppose Mister Bruener’s daughter sent me a video of Goose taking some of the children for a horsey-back ride. Was there something else I should know, sir?”

“Probably,” hedged the general. “They livestreamed most of their evenings. The… batpony in the group seems to have admitted to your… relative state of undress during your rescue of the… Well, the whole bunch in KU Med was gossiping like teenagers most of the night, and Miss Bruener and Widget were egging Cadet Goose about it. A few million people have watched the video, and—”

“Million?” asked Nick with his eyes growing wider.

“Including the President,” continued General Hackmore. “The Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Secretary of Defense. Most of the National Security Council. I think it’s safe to assume everybody you see in the next few days has a… rather inappropriate view of your relationship with our Equestrian guests. I know better, of course, or I would have yanked you out of your position by now, which only would make the rumors worse.” The general made a face. “Thankfully, the activities of Cloudkicker and a few of our less than discreet military members have not become public, and we intend on keeping it that way. With that in mind, when Widget and Goose return from KU Med, we’re setting up a short meet-and-greet on camera to show the two of you acting in a totally professional manner before the Equestrians go home. I’m afraid if we just locked you in Four-One, the rumor mill would grind out no end of nasty little stories for the next few decades, so this is the best we can do.”

“Understood, sir.” Frankly, Nick did not totally understand, because his mind was still struggling with the concept that millions of people had the impression that he was in a… relationship with an alien horse.

“Very well.” General Hackmore checked his SMPED. “I for one will be glad to see the last of their tails vanish into their return portal this afternoon. For a nickel, I’d retire tomorrow and let my replacement deal with ten years of paperwork that are sure to be sitting on my desk, but I’m fairly sure they’d stop up the retirement forms until the day I die. So, what is the rest of your morning schedule like, Lieutenant?”

“I’m actually off-duty until noon,” said Nick almost automatically. “Spaz is… I mean Sergeant Spasowski is taking care of the platoon while I help Kansas Search and Rescue Dogs with a little demonstration to keep the kids busy for the morning. They’re going to practice finding lost ponies,” he added. “It sounded like something the kids would like, and keeps their teacher from dragging the whole bunch to some educational landmark in the middle of this traffic nightmare, then having them miss the first portal home.”

“Excellent.” The general began poking buttons on his SMPED to bring up the first of what Nick assumed was an infinite series of emails. “Carry on, Lieutenant.”

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: bright sun up grass cool rabbit chasing time after horrible noise
Location: other home in yard with pony-dog and bird-pony
- - - - ⧖ - - - -

poppy was good dog. when warm-bitch-canopener-koni took poppy to play, she always say poppy-good-dog or poppy-bad-dog depending on how she feel. taking to play in big field with other good-dogs was always fun, only this time had many good-ponies who ran around and shouted and played back. it was a very good time, and poppy-good-dog met wonderful bird-pony who said poppy-really-good-dog and made his tail thump thump thump. bird-pony was happy, and tell poppy-good-dog what a good boy he was.

cool breeze bright sun up in sky time even better when poppy meet dog-pony who played just like real dog, only smell like pony bitch and sniff back when sniffed. new dog-pony called good-screwy by bird-pony and made friends with all other dog-dogs with sniffing, even though bird-pony look at her funny.

then came best time of big field play time when people take smelly plastic things that smell a little like people and hide them for good-poppy to find. it made tail thump and run around barking with other good-dogs chase squirrels and bark more time.

only bad thing was bird-pony not happy. she bring good-screwy over to good-dog-poppy. have all small pony run around and hide. talk to good-dog-poppy and good-screwy. say very important. not run. not bark. not chase squirrels. not fun. small ponies in danger and only good-dog-poppy and good-screwy can find.

good-dog-poppy try to tell bird-pony fun. run around. bark like always do. make warm-bitch-canopener-koni chase. shout in people barking. walkies for people so they not pant hard when walking. bird-pony say…


make good-poppy sit. stay. take good-screwy as bird-pony look for small ponies. bird-pony dumb. not want to play. good-screwy dumber. not sniff ground right. walk right past small pony hiding, then come back and find. small pony pet good-screwy. get treat made out of liver!

bird-pony comes over and calls for good-poppy. says good-screwy not able to find other small ponies. need good-poppy. small ponies need good-poppy. not run. not bark. not chase squirrels.

find first small pony easy. good-poppy show good-screwy how to sniff. good-screwy show how to spot broken branches where small ponies hide. good-screwy smart even if can not sniff well. find all small ponies. get more liver treats! can hardly wait to show warm-bitch-canopener-koni how to play finding game right.

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: 9:15 A.M. Central Standard Time, Monday June 22, 2015
Location: Outside the Bruener Farm, Randolph Kansas
- - - - ⧖ - - - -

As director of Kansas Search and Rescue Dogs, Sheila had seen a lot of exercises with search teams, some of which had Koni and Poppy. This was the first time she had ever seen Poppy actually find one of the subjects, let alone the final exercise where he and the other… dog had worked together like the best trained searchers she had ever seen in over two decades at the job. No hiding pony was safe, even when the Terrible Trio demanded that Zipporwhill let the two… dogs find them over and over again.

Actually, watching a talking young pegasus have Poppy of all dogs actually find subjects was the second most strange thing of the morning. ‘Screwloose’ was most certainly at the very top of the list, as a pony who seemed to think of herself as a dog, right up to the point of running alongside Poppy, and ‘barking’ at the subjects once they had been found. Shelia almost was convinced that the pony really thought of herself as a dog, except for the surreptitious way she would take the liver-flavored treat from Zipporwhill, and then pass it over to Poppy whenever she thought nobody was watching.

“I’ve got to talk to Koni when she’s done in Kansas City with her ponysitting job,” she murmured. “The first time that dumb dog has the short-circuit in his head close, and she’s missing all the excitement.”

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: 9:41 A.M. Monday June 22, 2015
Location: Kansas University Medical Center, Third floor… Second floor… Atrium…
- - - - ⧖ - - - -

Karla Anacostia had only thought she was afraid when she walked in on their alien visitors… was it only three days ago? It seemed to have been months, and yet her heart was beating faster than when she had inadvertently drawn her gun on an injured teenaged girl who happened to have hooves and a spiral horn on her head.

And now she was alone in an elevator with a monster that could have stepped right out of a horror movie, although it was difficult to determine which of them was the more frightened.

“You’re nuts,” muttered Goose Down as her expansive wings twitched at her sides, driving sharp gusts through the tight confines of the elevator. “And trust me, I know nuts. I’ve met Pinkie Pie. I’ve survived working with Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

“There’s a thin line between genius and insanity,” said Karla just as quick as she could before the idea escaped. “Like rappelling down a mountain, sometimes you just need to step forward and embrace it so you can find out which one it is.”

She keyed the microphone and spoke as clearly as she could. “Agent Anacostia with our guest stepping out of the elevator on the atrium now.” Then the chime binged, the elevator doors opened, and Karla had the distinct pleasure of seeing the backsides of a few dozen journalists all leaning over the rail of the atrium, focusing their cameras on the lobby downstairs where they expected the FBI to be escorting a bright pink unicorn out of the building. For one brief moment, she wanted so much to walk right up to them with Goose at her side, but the shock would probably knock one or more of them over the rail into the seething mass of the Fourth Estate downstairs, and that… No, not a good idea. Satisfying, but not good.

She settled for a firm, “Gentlemen and ladies,” as they stepped out of the elevator. “Could you please move to one side or the other? We have an announcement that I’d like to make to the press downstairs.”

Thankfully, none of the reporters fell, although they did crowd in too close as Karla stepped forward, and only a few sharp pokes with the edge of Goose’s wings gave her enough space to stand at the rail without feeling as if she were going to be pushed off the edge too.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the press,” she called out over the roar of reporters and flashing of cameras on the floor below her. Well, not so much over as under. Quite possibly, even the reporters sharing the atrium floor with her would not have heard her either due to the background noise. It gave Karla a moment to look out across the open area, taking note of the signs hanging from the roof that could be problems in the upcoming exhibition. Two or three more attempts at getting attention left her just as unheard, so she put two fingers in her mouth and just blew as hard as she could, making a whistle that could have peeled paint.

“You could have warned me,” said Goose into the sepulchral silence that followed, leading to a wave of giggles and laughter among the press gathered below. The batpony’s reflective visor was up to show her big golden eyes with razor-thin pupils, and both of her dark ears had been flattened against her skull, but at least the nervous pony was not twitching any more, and Karla turned to the press arranged below before the noise could start up again.

“As I was saying,” she shouted, “due to some crowd control issues, we will not be bringing Widget out this morning, but—”

It took two whistles this time to get the press to be quiet, the second with Goose having walked up beside her, putting both forehooves on the rail, and looking down at them. The flashbulb barrage started immediately, and Goose dropped the tinted eyepieces down on her helmet in response. There had been an argument about if she should wear her sombrero to the announcement, and after several encouragements by the nurses and supportive doctors, the huge dark hat had been rolled up and put into Widget’s luggage. It did leave the dark pony guard looking suitably official-impressive instead of odd, so it seemed to have been a good idea so far.

“Anyway, since you won’t be seeing Widget leave,” she shouted, “we thought it would be a good idea for Goose to give you a sample of Equestrian life to take to your readers. So if you will get your cameras ready, please, and give us a little space. Cadet Goose Down, if you please?”

It was impossible to see Goose’s expression with the dark visor down and her jaw set in a sincere ‘Royal Guard’ pose, but the assembled press below gave out an astonished gasp when the batpony extended her gigantic wings and paused there on the railing.

Karla could not help herself. She lowered her voice to a gravely register and called, “I’m Batman!”

The reporters all thought it was funny, at least. From the sharp voice in Karla’s ear, Agent Hallman was not amused.

“Agent Anacostia, what in God’s name do you think you’re doing! Where is the patient! You were supposed to bring her to the elevator so—”

A simple twist of the fingers made the volume knob of her radio give off a brief click. Karla gave a short glance downstairs where FBI agents were packed in around the elevator doors, smiled to herself, and swung one leg over the pony’s flanks just as Goose stepped forward…

And glided.

For one brief moment, Karla was afraid she had peed herself. Spelunking, rappelling, flying in an airplane, they were all pressing forward into the unknown, but she had never looked down from a horse’s back nearly this far before. Both hands curled up in Goose’s short mane by instinct, sliding under the thin armor plates that protected her neck and giving a little pressure to one side so Goose would start on a long circle around the open area. Her feet managed to find purchase on small nubs of metal near the back of the batpony’s armor, although she did not want to clutch onto Goose’s barrel nearly as hard as she was afraid she was going to, because there just was not all that much there to squeeze. Goose was unmistakably a child-size ride, although her sedate glide around the atrium was almost walking-speed even with Karla’s weight added to her own. What was even more exciting was that their glide path rose ever so slightly while Karla guided her aerial mount in a long, wide circle, slaloming around the edge of the enormous space, then a figure-eight for variety.

As much as she wanted to wave at the reporters below, it most certainly would not make the FBI look very good to have one of their agents fall to their death while pulling this kind of stunt, so Karla kept her focus on guiding. Using gentle pressure as if she were in control of some strange airplane-equine hybrid, they swooped down across the crowd of reporters, swept up into a wide turn, then repeated the pass going the other way. It seemed like only seconds had gone by, but it had to have been a few minutes while Karla’s phone buzzed with incoming phone calls from anirate Agent Hallman, then gave out a familiar two-toned chirp of Clair’s text.

“And that’s our cue, Goose. One last pass toward the doors… A little lower… Apply some flaps or whatever you do to slow down. Extend landing gear.” One hoof nearly clipped a tall reporter as they descended in the direction of the big glass exit doors, which seemed to be growing larger too rapidly for Karla’s nerves, and not helped by the possibility of a crash and having several pounds of glass picked out of her skin.

“Brake!” she commanded just an instant before Goose’s hooves hit the hospital tile floors with a clatter and she began to retract her wings. Karla had to hop a few times on the dismount, which would probably cost her points from the Russian judge, but managed to catch up with Goose right when she reached the double doors and put one hand on her neck while running. “There’s the car! Run!”

“Trying!” gasped Goose, who was managing fairly well at the awkward task of getting all that wing surface put away during her dash. Still, her wings remained bent slightly at awkward angles when she bolted into the open back door of the Taurus, followed almost immediately by Karla.

“Go!” she gasped quite redundantly as Clair let off the brake and moved smoothly forward, leaving the three passengers in the back seat to untangle themselves while their escape from the hospital press proceeded without further incident.

Well, until they reached the Cheesecake Factory.

- - Ω - -

“What do you mean you had your eyes closed the entire time!”

The stop had been the obvious solution for multiple problems. Karla had to contact Hallman to inform him about the status of their trip to Kauffman Stadium (en route, arrival soon), get the mess of Goose’s wings and Widget’s scattered souvenirs all straightened out (mostly shoved into the trunk with a Goose-sized cavity for the trembling batpony), and to switch drivers (Federal Management Regulation 102-34 strictly forbids non-governmental employees from driving GSA vehicles). Plus, Karla had to pee. Badly.

The objective had been a quick stop in the parking lot. Both ponies had been out the doors before the car had stopped completely, and were ordering at the counter by the time Karla and Claire had swapped keys, so the brief stop had turned into a pony refueling visit in the amount of time it took Karla to make a bathroom stop.

Form 502 notes: Unicorns seem to run on vanilla and strawberry, while batponies appear to function on a diet of pure chocolate.

“I didn’t want to close my eyes, but I was so afraid. I thought it would be easier since you were on my back, and I could tell when we were getting next to a wall by the way you tensed up.” Goose dropped nose-first into her chocolate-chip cheesecake and did not stop until she was licking the plate with her abnormally long tongue.

“I wish I could have seen it.” Widget’s eyes were wide open and sparkling with mischief. “We could have gotten a moving picture of it to send to your coltfriend.”

“Widge!” Goose Down hunched her shoulders and gave her fellow pony a weak glare, but Karla could see the tension fade out of her trembling wings, and she finally got those huge membranes tucked up on her back and stationary. “Just for that, give me your plastic card.”

“What?” Widget held onto the Visa debit card and floated it up above the reach of Goose’s snapping teeth. “Miss Anacostia gave us each one.”

“And you can buy the next piece of cheesecake with yours,” said Goose, taking another snap at the floating card.

“Order it to go,” said Karla as firmly as she could. There were not very many other fascinated customers at this time of the morning, and the Cheesecake Factory employees had taken two talking pony customers with remarkable aplomb, but there was a schedule to think of. “I told the other agents that we would be at Kauffman Stadium shortly, and if we’re late, they’re going to worry.”

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: 11:16 A.M. Monday June 22, 2015
Location: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Missouri
- - - - ⧖ - - - -

Leon was late to work, and he didn’t care. It was a chump job anyway, and only paid minimum wage, even if he got into Royals home games for free. Besides, this was an optional day. Some foreign VIP was getting a special visit with all of the team there to greet them and some of the fans up in the stands to cheer. Not even an exhibition game, so barely worth collecting his ‘showing up’ money.

The city bus had dropped him off in front of the stadium like a normal day, only everybody had already gone inside, and he could hear the organ honking away. He was walking through the VIP parking area when something interesting and lucrative caught his eyes.

Late model Taurus, windows rolled down, GSA plates so there’s no optional equipment like alarm systems. This cow is getting rustled.

His eyes flickered up to the security cameras, and in particular the broken one covering this area. Then back down to the car. Easing his cell phone out, Leon took a look around while dialing. It only took a few minutes to get Edgar notified and a meeting spot agreed upon, behind the closed IGA store where the cops would not notice for the short time it would take to strip the Taurus bare. And a ten percent cut of the stripping would pay one heck of a lot more than the fifty bucks or so he would have earned for showing up and playing parking monkey for the Royals.

One casual stroll later, Leon peeked in through the open windows of the big car and noted the absence of any large police dogs, and likewise no obvious cop equipment like radios or guns. Cop equipment would have been pure gravy, although a dog would have been an instant deal-breaker, much as if Leon could not hot-wire the car.

Thankfully, it was an American car.

“And come to Uncle Leon,” he whispered as he slid into the cloth driver’s seat and closed the door after himself. Leather seats would have been so much better, and raised the amount of cash this was going to earn him, but meh. Leon already had his knife in hand to slide under the dashboard and begin a little electronic surgery, when the ‘ding-ding’ noise soaked in through his head.

“Dang,” he murmured. He thumbed the gravity blade open anyway and poked the keys dangling from the ignition. “Who the fuck leaves their car with the keys in it any more.”

“My friend,” said a low and entirely too sexy voice right next to Leon’s ear, complete with a short burst of warm breath down his cheek.

Leon turned his head ever so slowly and met the golden gaze of the most terrifying monster he had ever seen. What was worse, the creature was smiling, with a line of sharp, white teeth.

“That’s a very nice knife,” she breathed. “May I see it?”

Author's Note:

Trunk Pegasus, by Suburban Auto Group.

(After all, Goose was not about to go into the hot stadium in the middle of the day, so they left her sleep in the dark trunk with the windows rolled down and one of the seats folded forward to give her a breeze.)

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