• Published 25th Jan 2018
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XCOM: Ranger - Wanderer D



Sunset Shimmer escapes Equestria... with unforeseen consequences.

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Chapter 139: Younger

Ranger

Chapter 139: Younger

By Wanderer D

"Alright everyone," Rainbow Dash shouted, "we're coming up to the old base! Sunset, some dude named Vikass replied to the signal. He said defenses had been deactivated and that they'd be waiting for you in the Sanctuary."

"Got it! Thanks, Dash!" Sunset said, turning to face the others.

"So, Vikass is one of the Thin Men?" Ember asked.

"Yes, he is one of three that helped take care of me while I healed," Annette responded.

Ember chuckled, smirking at Lily. "Do you remember when we were kids, and Thin Men were the boogie men?"

Lily didn't look that amused. "Yes. I also remember my dad giving Galahad quite a long talk about it."

"Aww, you were scared," Ember teased, "no reason to not remember it fondly. Why, it was thanks to the Thin Men in Galahad's stories that the first time we slept together even happened at all."

Lily's eyes went wide. "Fei Yeung! I'm warning you!"

"Wait, you slept together?" Sunset asked.

"More than once?"

"Hisss?"

Dragon team shifted uncomfortably when reminded of the Viper.

"Um… it wasn't like that!" Lily said, shaking her head and waving her hands. "I was just…"

"Sooo cuddly!" Ember said, in a dreamy tone, fluttering her eyelids. "Oh, how I remember how you crawled into my bed at one in the morning and shook me awake. "Yújìn, Yújìn I'm scawed, pwease hold me?""

Lily's face had gone red and she was covering her face with both hands, opening the fingers a little to glare at the woman sitting across from her.

"Of course, I couldn't say no to such an adowable request, so we cuddled in for the night, and well, I won't go into all the torrid details, but Lily would crawl into my bed often after that night. For years."

"I was five! You were six! We were friends! I was scared! You were tough! There's nothing torrid about that!" Lily retorted, still covering her face.

"Aww, don't worry, Xiǎohuā, I won't tell anyone you kept doing that until you were fourteen."

Lily Shen curled up with a thin, high-pitched whine as everyone burst out laughing.

Ember stretched back, crossing her arms across her chest with a smug look. "Oh, did I say that aloud? Oops."

When the laughter quieted down a little, Sunset looked up at Annette. "In all seriousness, you think we can count on Vikass and the others for help?"

Annette sighed. "I suppose they would, but I would rather not. They are the last of their kind on Earth, and our allies. They might be our best way to also convince other races to join against the Elders. Remember, the fight now is for Earth, but the Elder's touch extends across galaxies."

She looked around the room, locking eyes with Angel, Sunset and the others. "Perhaps the only way we can all truly coexist is united against a common enemy, but if it is to eventually go beyond that, we will need those like them, like Angel here and the Skirmishers, who chose conscience over dominion, or like Sunset, who chose loyalty and friendship."

"We're here!" Rainbow Dash announced, breaking up the heavy silence that followed Annette's words, before talking into the radio. "Avenger, this is Firebrand, we have reached the destination. Dropping off the package."

"Roger that, Firebrand, fly safe."

Watching as they approached the base, Sunset couldn't help but shudder a little, despite the banter from earlier. She and Jane had almost died there, after all, and she had done… things which she couldn't really explain to this day.

Across from her, she could see Jane glancing out as well, lost in thought. Even though medical tests had been performed on her and found nothing, they knew that her power had affected Jane during the field medical emergency.

After all, Jane now fully understood the Viper language, and it was possible others. To what extent had the drug cocktails, constant magical replenishment, adrenaline and exhaustion affected her spellwork and thus her friend?

The old base held many mysteries still, old and new. She just hoped that when they managed to fully understand them all, it would be positive.

With her usual flair and mastery, Rainbow Dash landed the Skyranger outside the base, and started lowering the ramp. Before everyone was out, she leaned on the door to the cockpit. "Hey, Sunset… Jane."

The pair blinked and put down their equipment while Ember and Lily watched curiously.

"I know it's going to be tough, whatever happened… but if Sweetie Belle is here… something must've happened to Scoots and Apple Bloom… I'm sorry to ask, especially with everything that might go wrong but—"

"Hey," Sunset interrupted, taking hold of Rainbow's shoulder. "We'll look for them. I promise."

Rainbow Dash nodded, looking down and licking her lips. "I hid from them for the longest time… I drank my ass into oblivion when remembering them… thinking about facing 'Bloom made me sick to the stomach. But…" She hesitated, trailing off as her eyes filled a little with warmth. "Twilight let me talk to Applejack… your… her Applejack and she told me I shouldn't run… I should take care of her little sister and Scootaloo. And dammit, that brat Sweetie as well.

"It shook me, y'know? For all that time, they were here on their own, living on, making it out there… I guess at the cost of working for ADVENT but with Rarity being part of it and the rest of us gone? I-I guess I can't really blame them… sure, it's not what I would have expected or wanted but they were really just kids, right?"

Sunset squeezed Rainbow's shoulder, and Jane spoke up, "Dash, you were away, and they are still good people. Some of the best we've met. Did I tell you Scootaloo also likes Sectoid Sweat?"

Rainbow Dash laughed, even if it sounded a bit pained. "Yeah, yeah, you did. You waited until I had a mouthful of it before saying it though."

Jane smirked. "Did the same thing to her."

Rainbow's laugh wasn't forced, she patted Jane on the back and shook her head, grinning. "You know what? I think those three will be alright. Bring them home okay? Don't let them stay here longer."

"We'll bring them with," Sunset said. "Just make sure you let the Commander know we're getting a couple of Engineers and a Communications specialist. She'll love that."

Rainbow Dash nodded. "Will do." She straightened out and gave Sunset a friendly punch on the shoulder before heading into the cockpit. "You lot should get out, there's a lot to do."

"Roger that, Firebrand."

As they walked out of the Skyranger, Ember gave Sunset a look. "You know rescuing them specifically is not part of the mission parameters."

Sunset nodded. "Are you going to let that stop us?"

Ember bit her lip, and motioned for the others to join the rest of both teams while she stayed behind and within some relative distance from them, alongside Sunset.

Once they were relatively alone, she turned to face her. "Sunset, I know you like taking a lot of chances, but we're talking about a whole city. Potentially filled with ADVENT or worse."

Sunset sighed. "Yeah, I know." She turned to watch the Skyranger take off before answering. "The thing is, they really could be a boon for XCOM… and if they're alive, they're likely to be together. The woman on the communication from Julian had a striking resemblance to Apple Bloom… chances are, once we get to him, we'll find her."

"Well, that accounts for one, but what about the other?"

Sunset grimaced. "We'll have to ask Sweetie… if she's within the AO, we can figure out if we can attempt a rescue. If not…"

"We're leaving." Ember locked eyes with Sunset, who's shoulders eventually sagged as she nodded warily.

"Yeah."

"You understand it's not personal—"

"Ember, I know, don't worry, and I'm not upset at you or at the scope of the operation. I'm hoping we can get them all, but I won't risk our teams unnecessarily to do a city-wide search. Scootaloo is smart, if we shake things up, she'll find a way to escape and get in contact with us, just like Sweetie."

Ember nodded, smirking. "You know, my team still remembers our arguments, back when we were younger."

"Two years ago doesn't really qualify as "younger"," Sunset pointed out. Yet, she smiled at the memories. "Guess you never told them about all the times that we escaped camp to go drinking with Jane and the others and planned the fights to make it look realistic?" Sunset asked as they started to walk back.

"Wait, you were acting?" Ember asked, blinking.

"Uh, yeah, I never meant any of that… why?" Sunset's eyes narrowed. "You mean you weren't?!"

Ember smiled.

Sunset shook her head, punching her on the shoulder. "Jerk."

o.0.o End Chapter 139 o.0.o

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