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



Sunset Shimmer escapes Equestria... with unforeseen consequences.

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Chapter 140: Transmitting

Ranger

Chapter 140: Transmitting

By Wanderer D

A Day Earlier

Sweetie dragged Jenny by the hand through the underbrush of the forest. They were more stumbling than running, exhausted, crying… blindly following hope rather than a planned route.

"Must reach Peavine Peak…" Sweetie kept muttering over and over. Jenny had stopped struggling to escape and go back to search for her parents. They stopped, breathing hard, and she saw Jenny look behind her.

"J-jenny," she gasped, kneeling down and taking both of the girl's hands in her own. "I know you want to go back, but we need to keep moving. They know where we're supposed to meet. Your parents… Scootaloo, they won't go in the exact same way we ran, but they are going to the same place. If we want to see them again, we can't just turn back, we need to go where they are going."

Jenny sniffled, nodding. The poor girl's face was red and covered in tears, dirt and sweat. She had a small patch of dried blood on the side of her temple, reaching into her hair. Sweetie looked into her eyes, finding them alert, if somewhat tired.

"Okay, come on… we need to keep going, my best friend is with your parents, and trust me, she knows how to take care of herself. She'll make sure to do her best to help them."

They started moving. This time, Jenny was not resisting. Either the hope of seeing her parents again pushed her forward, or she had given up.

Sweetie hoped it was the former.

Their flight continued, slower, but not much less desperate. Pushing through bushes, climbing up small ravines, wading through a river… it was a challenge, both physical and mental. But Sweetie knew, if they were caught… they were dead.

"I'm just glad I never gave up the cardio," she muttered. For a moment, her thoughts drifted back to the sudden attack they had suffered. The sudden light… the explosion. The ringing, grabbing blindly the first hand she caught and running, without paying attention, as fast as she could.

"Miss Sweetie?" Jenny asked, collapsing on her knees. "Where are we?"

"I—" Sweetie looked around. It was late. They were deep in the forest. She couldn't look above the trees or find the mountain by sight. "I… I need to, um," she fumbled, digging into her pants to find the compass. She fished it out and held it up, hands trembling.

They were… heading in the right direction.

Of all the miracles. Of everything that had gone wrong. This one thing had gone well.

"We're close by, Jenny, if we keep going this way, we should reach it soon."

Jenny smiled tiredly, but her smile faded slowly as her eyes opened in alarm.

Turning in place, Sweetie gasped at the tall man pointing a gun at her. "N-no…"

She felt something brush her mind, and she turned, feeling the will of whatever was entering her mind. She spotted it. A sectoid… but not one of the ones she was used to. This one was shorter. It spoke to her in her mind, and although she fought, she was too tired, too vulnerable. Already Jenny slumbered next to her.

Sweetie shook her head, she had to fight, if she fell asleep… sleep it just felt… like such a long time since she had taken a nap… she needed to… rest.

"Wake up!"

The command brought her out of her sleep in an instant. She was wide awake and alert as she scrambled to her feet and stepped back, turning around to take in her location.

She was in some sort of large cave. Far up, she could see where the rock rounded, but there were several lights, and structures made of metal. Strange flowers and fruits grew around the makeshift houses, and there was a distant hum, like that of a generator.

Close by, Jenny lay asleep, under a blanket, on top of an old sofa that looked like it was at least a couple of decades old.

"She wakes," a voice said, making her turn to see a tall humanoid, arms crossed. Something clicked in her mind at the image, and she realized she was looking at one of the infamous Thin Men, who had been part of the first invasion. But, what were they doing here?

"Perhaps now," the same Thin Man who had spoken continued, "you can tell me why we don't just kill her."

"Peace, Sashssa," another Thin Man said, "Fiss said that she wasn't our enemy."

Sashssa barked a laugh. It didn't sound remotely amused. "You know who she is? She's the ADVENT slave we see on the transmissions, preaching the lies of the Elders!"

"A slave is not the same as an ally," Vikass said softly, "as you well know."

Sashssa's body language changed. From aloof-looking, he had suddenly turned menacing, leaning forward, stance wide swaying slightly, almost like a cobra.

"He's right!" Sweetie said suddenly, "Please, hear me out… I don't support the Elders… I've just… I've let myself be caught… they hold so much over me… I don't want to lose my precious friends and family! If I could I would just leave! Please!"

Sashssa hissed at her in annoyance, but he slowly stood up tall again. "Fine. Prove it."

"Prove it?" Sweetie asked softly. "Um…"

Sashssa shook his head in annoyance. "Prove you're not on their side."

"I um, I-I know people from XCOM!" Sweetie blurted out, before she realized that XCOM used to hunt down and kill these guys.

Sashssa and Vikass both stood stock-still. "Do you think this is why Fiss—"

"Who?" Sashssa interrupted Vikass, glaring at Sweetie. "Who do you know?"

"S-Sunset Shimmer!" Sweetie said, timidly looking down, hoping she hadn't just done something tremendously stupid. "A-and Jane—"

"Jane Kelly." Vikass nodded, tilting his head and looking at Sashssa.

"It's a lie," the other Thin Man said. "Those two are famous. She's even called Sunset the Blood Witch on the transmissions and Jane is on half the wanted posters. She's as much their enemy as ours."

"Please," Sweetie begged, taking a shaking step forward. "Please, if you know them… they stayed with us… with me and Scootaloo and Apple Bloom while they were in New Appaloosa."

"I still think we should kill them."

"You two, still bickering."

Sweetie gulped as a third Thin Man walked up to them. "I heard what she said, it is easily verifiable. Open a channel to XCOM."

Sweetie's eyes widened. "You're… friends with them?"

"No."

"Acquaintances."

"Some of them, yes."

The three Thin men glared at one another, before the last one to arrive shook his head. "In any case, we are in relatively good terms with them. If you are indeed their friend, we would be helping our allies. If you are not, XCOM would still probably be interested in one of the most famous of ADVENT's celebrities."

He motioned with his hand. "This way. I have a device ready to transmit your message."

She followed the alien as he led her to where an antenna relay waited. It wasn't the newest technology, but it was definitely high quality. "How did you get all of this?"

"That's a secret." The thin man smiled, and she realized she hadn't even asked his name.

"I'm sorry, um… what should I call you? I heard the other two were Vikass and Sashssa?"

"I am Thass," he identified himself, motioning with his hand to have her sit down. "But right now, you have a simple mission to perform."

Sweetie nodded, trying for a moment to make sure her hair was fixed, before stopping and chuckling. "How silly." She shook her head and took a deep breath, looking at the camera in the transmisor. "Is it set to go straight to them?"

"Through the secure channel we were assigned, yes," Thass replied, just as Vikass and Sassha walked up to them.

Sweetie nodded, and turned it on. She swallowed. "XCOM, if you can hear me, we need assistance in New Appaloosa. Something terrible has happened. People are dead or dying. Please, we need help." She coughed, cleaning her face with the back of her sleeve.

"I repeat, this is a message for XCOM: New Appaloosa has been taken over. Please. Please help. Only two of us managed to escape." She could feel the tears flooding her eyes. She tried to fight it. "The city is completely quarantined. There's hundreds of civilians in there." She looked on the verge of tears. "Sunset. Jane. Please, if you're there, if you can hear me. We need you."

Sweetie broke down and sobbed.

o.0.o End Chapter 140 o.0.o

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