• Published 10th Apr 2019
  • 3,620 Views, 1,546 Comments

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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7. Communication Issues

Farmer Bruener Has Some Ponies
Communication Issues

“With more than 50 years as a journalist, I have at least had the opportunity to blow more stories, make more mistakes than maybe anybody in television.”
Dan Rather

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Time: 9:35 A.M. Central Standard Time, June 19, 2015
Bruener Farm, Randolph Kansas
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By the time Jon made his way back to the house, it was buzzing with activity. Ponies were everywhere. It was understandable since he had pointed them in this direction to get a glass of water or use the bathroom, but with hundreds of the colorful quadrupeds around the farm, it was getting a little surreal. And less than a step into his house, it got surreal-er.

“Mister Bruener!” A tall man with a short-cut mop of curly hair sprang up from the kitchen table and advanced with his hand held out in front of him. “Governor Brown. We just got in a few minutes ago, and the mayor has been filling us in on the situation.”

Jon shook the proffered hand, of course, but could not see Randolph’s mayor anywhere in the room. There was a grey-haired older mare who was shuffling through some papers, and since only a politician could possibly get dropped naked on an alien planet and immediately find paper to shuffle, he turned and nodded with a polite, “Madam Mayor.”

“Mayor Mare,” she said with a terse nod in return. “Specialist Grace,” she continued, nodding at an emerald-green unicorn mare with a short-cropped mane beside her. “And Spike the dragon,” she finished, looking down at the end of the table where—

Jon blinked. Admittedly, he had been overexposed to a torrent of winged, horned, and bare ponies in a multitude of colors over the last two hours, but this was most certainly not a pony. For starters, it was bipedal and using a clawed hand to hold a ‘Bruener Seeds - For all your planting needs’ pen while scratching away on a piece of paper. The pale purple shade of his skin was not unusual, in recent context, but the pebbled tint to it indicated he was covered in scales, of all things, and the thin green frills on his head made him look adorable, quite unlike Smaug.

“Just about done… and there,” said the dragon, finishing off the line with a flourish and passing the paper over to the unicorn, who examined it briefly and passed it on to Jon. “A complete census of the Equestrians who we’ve been able to find so far. Complete, as far as we know, but we’ll have to send it back to Princess Twilight for validation against any ponies missing there to make sure we haven’t lost one.”

The paper looked like hash, with scribbled dashes and symbols that he could not make heads or tails out of, and neither could the governor when Jon passed it over.

“Translation spell,” said the unicorn, who had one of his seed company pens held in her magic and was scribing away on another sheet of blank paper. “Starswirl the Bearded incorporated a dimensional compensation section to all of his portal spells. It gives the portal traveler an image of the destination linguistic capacity and incorporates it into the subconscious language center of the brain. I’m making a translated list for you now,” Grace added. “Unless you want me to cast the translation spell on you, so you can read it before we send it on.”

“Um… I’ll pass. My brain has been battered enough today. Just a minute.” He stepped into the cramped room next door where his office lurked and ran a few quick copies on the printer. “Here you go, Governor Brown. Mayor. Spare copies for you. Um… Governor?”

“Oh!” The governor looked up from the page of incomprehensible scribblings. “Yes?”

Jon wanted to ask what he was doing there, but then again, if Jon was the governor and heard about a herd of extradimensional ponies visiting just an hour’s drive away, and had the Kansas Highway Patrol as a bodyguard…

“How was the trip down from Topeka?” he asked instead.

“Fast.” The governor grinned. “The Highway Patrol wanted to make this trip pedal to the metal and lights flashing, but we just nudged the speed limit a little so we could do some work on the way here. My aide is in the other room on the phone, trying to keep the state from falling apart while I’m out and about. There’s a few patrol officers up by Highway 24 directing traffic with the Ft. Riley MPs, and the last ambulance left about ten minutes before you showed up here. All we have left for emergency personnel are RCPD and some of the fire trucks. I’m supposed to liaison with the Army base commander when he arrives, but there’s been some problem with communication. He should be here shortly.”

The pony mayor had a pensive expression of worry while she tapped on several pieces of paper in front of her. “Governor Brown assures me that our citizens are being well cared for and they will be returned as soon as they’re ready to travel, which is good. Princess Twilight will have the return portal up soon, and I want to make sure everypony here gets through it as soon as possible, even if she has to make a second casting later to get everyponyelse home safely.”

“What about the…” Jon tried to think of how best to phrase what the ponies had been telling him about a ‘swarm of shadow creatures which had taken over Ponyville’ in a way that would not make him sound crazy.

The mayor shook her head. “There were four princesses in our town for the Raising of the Sun ceremony. Even if the shadow monsters were resistant to magic, they were certainly overmatched. Their taking us hostage was an act of desperation. By now they’ve been defeated, so we’ll be back home and dealing with repairing the damage shortly.”

“Since the original portals—” Governor Brown paused with a peculiar expression, as if the governor of a state was unused to saying ‘portals’ in his official capacity, but he picked up quickly “—showed up here, Specialist Grace speculated that any return portal will show up here too, since it would be easier to anchor in this location. If everything goes as expected, they’ll be gone by noon except for a few of the ponies who had been more severely injured. Those, we’ll have to watch over for a while, but they should be able to be picked up in a week or two without incident.”

Jon rubbed his stubbly chin. Getting out to the field early this morning had been more important than shaving or showering, and after having been splattered with blood, all he really wanted to do was take a shower. “If so, the human crazies won’t have enough time to get all worked up about an alien invasion, and the lookie-loos won’t get here until it’s all over. I’ll still have to charge for tours of the alien landing site and chase nuts out of my milo fields for a few years, I suppose. Still, you’re all welcome to stay here as long as you need to.”

“I’m more worried about finding enough bathrooms,” said the pony mayor. “Three in this house and one next door with over a hundred mares.”

“We should be good there for the short term,” said Jon. “I called Pastor May and he’s got a few friends from our RV club bringing their units over, in addition to however many porta-potties Riley County Emergency Management brings. How many ponies are we talking about for the next few hours?”

“Two hundred and forty three,” said Grace without looking up from her writing for a moment, although she backtracked somewhat immediately after. “That’s a grand total, of course, including the two griffons, the changeling, and discounting the duplicated report we had of Sweetie Belle.”

“And me,” said Spike.

“And Spike.” Grace looked up from her writing, used her magic to lift the census out of Jon’s hands, and passed it to the dragon.

Governor Brown spoke up while Spike was rolling the paper up and tying with a piece of red ribbon. “Between Randolph, Ft. Riley, and Manhattan Emergency Management, we should have plenty of restroom facilities and cots, in the worst case. The Randolph mayor is coordinating with the local churches, and most of the younger ponies are are over at the Methodist vacation bible school.” The governor paused and pinched the bridge of his nose. “That’s going to drive the atheists crazy, but it was the closest spot with facilities for the thirty or forty little ones and parents.”

Jon nodded, then passed a look between the two ponies and the dragon. “So how often do you visit other dimensions?”

“Actually, if you don’t count fighting that Tantabus monster in the Dreamscape, it’s the first one for me,” said the pony mayor.

“Second,” said Grace, still writing. “Graduate school. Minor accident during finals.”

Spike the dragon was looking up at the ceiling, counting on his claws. “Do you count time-related paradox desolate worlds split off from the main timeline when a unicorn bent on vengeance goes back in time repeatedly to prevent a series of events which are the only way to save Equestria? If so, I think twenty-three, although at least I’m not a dog in this world.”

“He’s Princess Twilight Sparkle’s assistant,” said Grace before Jon could ask.

“Her number one assistant,” corrected Spike.

“I…” Jon paused, then shook his head and turned for the bedroom. “Let me get a shower and shaved.”

- - - - ⧖ - - - -
Time: 10:05 A.M. Central Standard Time, June 19, 2015
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After he had grabbed some clean clothes and returned from the ‘mud-room’ shower in the basement (passing several ponies waiting in line), the oddity of the situation had not changed much. The Army had arrived, in the persona of General Hackmore with an additional SUV of MPs and a sense of military frustration that Jon had gotten quite used to during his four years in the service several ages ago.

After a brief introduction around the table, Jon excused himself to get a cold soda for each of the ponies and people gathered around his dining room table, and a beer for himself. He, at least, was not on-duty, and needed it.

“What took you so long?” quipped Jon once a hole opened up in the ongoing conversation, and he had taken a first swig of his beer. “In the movies, the Army has tanks at the scene of the alien landing in about five minutes, followed by men in dark suits and politicians.”

“I’ll have you know one of my best tank commanders was at the landing,” said the general with a bit of a smug smile. “Fished one of the little ponies out of a pond and has been out with the sorting and recovery effort for two hours now. Had the little thing practically land in his arms.” A twinge of pain wiped out the general’s smile. “Captain Rietz tells me the pony hit by the swather is going to be fine. They’ll be medevaced to KU Med along with Missus Apple, for surgery, but it doesn’t sound life-threatening. You did a good job stabilizing her and calling for an ambulance.”

“Army training, sir. I was in 21st TSC, 1st Armored in Germany back in the late 70’s. We… um… had a lot of traffic accidents.”

“Good answer, too. Army’s changed a lot since then. We’ve got all these newfangled gizmos.” He held up what looked like a blackberry with a color screen, only with a cable and a fat external battery. “Didn’t take mine today since I was golfing and my second had things under control. Then I get news that your guests—” he nodded to the ponies at the table, who nodded back “—had landed. Half-hour later, I’m on the way here when I get a call on my unsecured phone requiring me to go back to Ft. Riley to get my SMEPED.” He rattled off the familiar acronym as Smeeped, which made Jon chuckle.

“Let me guess. The battery was flat.”

“As a stone. No place to charge it inside the vault. So I steal a charging cord from one of the tech weenies and a battery pack from their video games, and check my ultra-secure have-to-have-a-SCIF-before-reading message.”

“Let me guess again,” said Jon. “Something on the order of ‘Treat the situation carefully and avoid conflict’ I would presume. Oh, and ‘Take no action without authorization’ is a must.”

“Close, but too long.” General Hackmore cleared his throat. “Paraphrased, it was ‘Await further instructions.’”

Jon chuckled. The governor had a short coughing fit into his fist and turned a little pink. The jade-green unicorn writing on a sheet of paper merely looked up with an expression of bored indifference.

“So, had this been some sort of alien invasion, your world’s guards would be just as ineffective as ours, until whatever princess you have here fights back?”

“No princesses here,” said Hackmore, deflecting the question as expertly as Jon could have expected from a military commander with an armored division of several thousand men including artillery and helicopters just a few minutes away. “Excluding a few D.C. residents with delusions of nobility.”

“Then who raises your sun?” asked the unicorn.

The general started to reply, hesitated, then very carefully repeated, “Raises our sun?”

Grace nodded, although her expression tightened into something approaching caution. “In Equestria, Princess Celestia raises the sun every morning to bring on the day, and Princess Luna raises the moon at night. Seriously,” she added at Hackmore’s blank stare. “Are you telling me that your world’s sun raises itself?”

Ten minutes later after several short YouTube videos had been shown, the dense cluster of ponies around the table all had a look about them as if they had been dropped into a shark tank by accident. To make matters worse, the dragon took that moment to belch, complete with green flames, smoke, and a rolled-up scroll. While Jon took the battery out of the beeping smoke detector, Spike unrolled the missive and began to read.

“Spike. No ‘Dearest’ or anything.” He sighed and continued reading. “Unclassified dimensional beings… Huh, I thought they were shadow monsters. Oh, well, they were beaten. A paragraph on that. Here we go. Received your letter and checked against the attendance list. It appears we have all ponies and griffons accounted for. And your number one assistant,” Spike added. “Anyway, blah, blah, return portal may be delayed, differences in the long and complex blah something about time differences between here and there, and she doesn’t want to goof it up in front of Princess Celestia. She doesn’t really say that, but it’s pretty much a given. And… three days here in your world, it looks like, if she’s guessing the time factor correctly. Cool. Not much time to see the sights, but it’ll have to do.”

“No, by tomorrow, K-77 will be backed up to the Nebraska border,” said General Hackmore. “We’ll have to helicopter everything in and out.”

“Do you think having RCPD put up about ten miles of ‘No Parking’ signs would help?” said Captain Rietz, who had been remarkably quiet until now.

“And fifty tow trucks,” said the general. “Or one Hercules, if it could squash the cars and stack them like pancakes.” He shook his head. “I suppose not. Signs will have to do.”

Samantha Rietz typed with her thumbs on her phone while talking. “I’ll get the signs started going up today, and put a dozen tow trucks from the area on duty. That should take care of most of the rubberneckers.” She started to say something else, but after a quick look at the nervous ponies, held it back.

“Security,” said Grace in her stead. “If the townsponies don’t feel secure, things will get out of control, fast. The pegasi will scatter to the five winds, and what’s left will run around in circles and panic.”

“It’s not that bad,” objected Mayor Mare, only to pause and admit, “Well, yes.”

“It’s bad enough the Army’s moving in. I don’t want to turn your farm into an armed camp, Mister Bruener.” General Hackmore considered his quiet SMEPED, but Jon removed a framed map of the farm from the wall and put it down in the middle of the dining room table before he could say any more.

“You don’t have to bring down the whole division, sir. Just enough to show the flag and keep the civilians back for a few days. I’d take a platoon of M1s and put one here, here… Give me that bowl of candy, please. Okay, the M1s are Lifesavers, M3s are wedding mints, and MPs in Humvees are these red things that nobody likes. There’s only one highway entrance to this area, so park an M1 at the top of the hill on the utility road for intimidation factor, out of sight from the highway so people don’t rubberneck and rear end each other. One at the bottom of the hill by the farmhouse to handle anything that gets by. Duplicate that on the dirt road by the pasture where the RVs are parked, and spot sentry posts on these high points. Make sure to pick vehicles with new paint jobs, because the press is going to be all over, and the least we can do is give the Army some PR.”

Samantha craned her head over the map and got out some pennies. “We’ll probably have to put up a temporary traffic signal at the Randolph main street turnoff, since there are so many ponies in town now. We’ll put traffic control points at the three highway exits that we can swap between MPs and RCPD as needed, and restrict access to residents and invited guests. That should handle traffic in town. Now for your house, we’re going to have to shut off access to the Tuttle Creek off-road vehicle area.”

“No argument here,” said Jon. “Those guys pulling trailers go blasting by the house too fast as is. Do you think we can get that gravel road paved to cut down on the dust?”

“That’s not my area,” said the police officer, “and it would take the Second Coming of Christ to get the highway department’s asphalt machines out here on this short a notice. Anyway, the dirt back road between your farm and the town is going to be a security nightmare, so I’ll cut off vehicle traffic except for emergency vehicles and ponies. Thank God you don’t live on the highway. We can put a RCPD checkpoint at the highway entrance to your farm to chase off unauthorized vehicles and send them down the service road toward town. General, if you can put one of your MP units over here in this draw, you can catch the trespassers who get turned away at the checkpoint and decide to try sneaking in anyway. You bust ‘em, we’ll cuff ‘em.”

“You mentioned helicopters, General Hackmore.” Grace floated several buttons over the map. “Is there any way you can keep them from flying over the farm? Our pegasi may not be familiar with your kind of aerial craft, and may be injured.”

“As governor, I can designate an emergency no-fly zone for endangered species through KDWP,” said Governor Brown. “It may not stop people from flying over, but we can fine them until their ears bleed.”

There was a brief pause, and four people produced cell phones to take a quick picture of the colorful map, the general using both his personal phone and his SMEPED.

After they all spent some time clicking away in silence on their phones and considering the map, Governor Brown checked his phone and said, “Looks like WIBW will be here in less than an hour. Mayor Mare, did you want to restrict the press contact to a pool of just two or three vehicles? Otherwise, you could have a hundred of them out here. One at a time is about all anybody should have to deal with, and WIBW has the satellite equipment to use for any other news agencies. They’ll share if they have to. They’ll whine about it like little children, but they’ll share.”

“One vehicle should be enough, although if you need to bring in one of those satellites for the newspapers, we can park it somewhere, I suppose.” The pony mayor adjusted her white collar and tie, which had gotten a few grass stains and wrinkles on it, but still looked fairly good. “Our news reporters always get so many things wrong. I swear half the morning paper is made up of corrections and the other half made up.”

“Hm…” Governor Brown checked his phone again. “We really should call local radio first since KMAN has a call-in show running right now, but if you’re up to doing a bigger radio interview before WIBW gets here, I may have a way of getting your story out unfiltered before the national news media goes crazy.”

Author's Note:

Editor comments
Mitch H: DC residents suffering from delusions of nobility?
Me: Oh, they don't suffer.
Tek: What they won't stampede in whatever directions?
Me: They do circles to stay on camera :)
Tek: hmm I wonder if they could create some crop circles that way.

Pony: what we were hungry, and that wheat was tasty, what you mean we made
some weird symbol

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