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



Sunset Shimmer escapes Equestria... with unforeseen consequences.

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Chapter 235: Chance

Ranger

Chapter 235: Chance

By Wanderer D

"Dash! Don't do it!"

Rainbow Dash ran down the hallways in the Avenger, her mind focused completely on reaching her goal. She could hear the others chasing after her, but she ignored them. They weren't quick enough to catch her on the ground, and they wouldn't be quick enough to do so in the air.

"Damn, she's fast!" Estella groaned, wheezing as she fell behind Deadwood. "Where the hell is she going?!"

"Heading for the hangar," he called back, "that would be my guess!"

"Is she really planning to just fly East?" Elena asked.

"You were paying attention to what she was saying?!"

"Before you started your petty—"

"Ladies!" Deadwood shouted, "less arguing and more running! We need to stop her before she takes off! She will end up in a lot of trouble if she does, old XCOM or not!"

"Where do you think she's thinking of going?!" Estella managed to gasp out as she followed down the stairs. "I'm so glad I kept with my cardio…"

The hangar was just ahead. With the Avenger landed, there was little chance that they'd be able to stop her at all. The ship itself lacked proper defenses, so it was just a matter of being fast.

She dashed into the hangar, her fist slamming on the emergency button that would open the hatch above the Avenger, and immediately the whole room lit up with yellow and red lights, the siren blaring its warning.

Rainbow Dash could hear the shouts of her friends in the distance, but she had more than enough time now. She purposefully strode to the Skyranger, brushing by the lockers and grabbing her helmet and a gun.

She was not going to let anyone stop her. There was not going to be a repeat of Applejack's fate. Not with Apple Bloom or Scootaloo or Sweetie… not with Ember or Shen. She'd known all of them since they were kids.

She was not staying.

She got to the Skyranger and lowered the ramp just as the others ran into the hangar, Estella gasping for air and doubling over as she tried to regain her breath.

"Not another step, Lieutenant!" Deadwood called out.

"I could shoot her in the leg…" Elena muttered. "She doesn't need that to pilot, right?"

"Come on, Dash," Jane called, ignoring Elena, "this is stupid. And trust me, I know stupid!"

Next to them, Estella wheezed, raising her hand as if to say something before bringing it down to her knee again as she gasped for breath, shaking her head to indicate that she had no thoughts to share at the moment.

Dash had turned to face them. "I'm not putting up with this again! I can't! I'm losing family every time! Every fucking time! They- they die! Or they turn evil! Or they—" she looked at Jane, who bit her lip and looked away.

"Don't you get it?!" Rainbow Dash shouted, slamming the fist on the side of the Skyranger. "Everyone here, alien, or-or human, or mix… I fly you over to your deaths! eventually I lose all of you! And I can't do anything but watch! I can't do anything but evac the ones that live while I leave the bodies of my decades-long friends behind! I can't do that again… not this time… I can't keep leaving the bodies of my family behind…" she took her helmet from the rack without even looking. "Not the Crusaders. I can't spit on Applejack's memory—or Canterlot High's memory like that."

"So you thought you'd leave on an unauthorized trip to an area under enemy control to get them back, even if it's just nothing but bodies and being dismissed from XCOM as a recompense."

Rainbow Dash nodded, not turning to face the origin of the voice until she realized that it was coming from right behind her, and it belonged to someone she had not anticipated facing. She slowly twirled around, mouth hanging open as she stared at Chrysalis, who was casually leaning back on one of the Skyranger's seats.

The Commander wiggled her fingers in greeting.

"Gah!" Rainbow backpedaled down the ramp, almost falling as she got away from the apparition. "How the hell did you get in there?!"

"I'm the Commander."

"That's not an explanation!"

Chrysalis shrugged. "Lieutenant, I spend my days building knowledge and analyzing data to anticipate my opponents as best as I can. Sometimes information is lacking about their powers and capabilities and thus I don't have much to go with other than experience and intuition when confronted by an unknown enemy. But you? You're a known factor to me. It wasn't even a guess that you'd head over to the Skyranger in some bone-headed attempt to fly over to where we last saw our friends in some misguided attempt to rescue them, if they still lived."

Rainbow Dash growled and opened her mouth, but Chrysalis interrupted her.

"This isn't Independence Day, Rainbow Dash. It's not that easy to fly out of my base without my knowledge."

"I'm not old enough to understand that reference."

"I also know that other than shooting, or knocking you out and arresting you, there's not stopping you from going there." Chrysalis said, her eyes narrowing dangerously. "But you're not leaving the Avenger like this, do you understand me?"

Rainbow Dash balled her fists and looked down. "You know how I feel."

"I do," Chrysalis said, "That's why we're all going."

Rainbow Dash blinked. "What?"

"We're all going. Right now. But, you cannot land and search. We'll do a flyby, that's as far as I'm willing to go, Lieutenant. If anyone's alive down there, they should be able to signal us."

"Isn't this too much of an emotional response?" Elena asked, already sitting down. "Putting more people in danger for a lost cause?" She glanced briefly at Jane, who was staring at the Commander with a bewildered expression.

"It is very stupid," Chrysalis said,"but Charles once asked us how far we were willing to go, and how much were we willing to forget to win a war. Would it be so much that our own humanity would be lost?"

Chrysalis took a deep breath. "I'm choosing to not give up hope quite yet. And I hope that it pays off. We've all lost too much… we might as well give this whole thing once more chance and remind ourselves that success or not, we are still human enough to believe."

Jane shook her head and went over to grab her weapons, while Estella nervously sat next to Chrysalis. "You're going to get us all killed."

Chrysalis simply smiled.

o.0.o End Chapter 235 o.0.o

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