• Published 22nd Dec 2019
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Halo Equestria: The Long War - Demon_Imp_Spartan



In late 2551, humanity discovers the planet Equis and the Equestrians. So do the Covenant. With no choice, the humans and Equestrians must band together in order to survive.

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4- Up All Night

4

[b]December 2nd, 2551

[b]Aboard UNSC Feeling Lucky, over Equis

Fleet Admiral Terrance Hood strode onto the bridge of the UNSC Feeling Lucky, having just awoken from cryo sleep.

Looking around, he saw a number of SPARTAN-II personnel waiting to be addressed. After Vice Admiral Danforth’s surprising communique informing the UNSC that he had stumbled upon an unknown planet full of human-like creatures that seemed willing to ally with them against the Covenant, the top brass had begun organizing an envoy to introduce humans.

That meant showing them the best of what they had to offer.

That meant showing them more SPARTANs.

There were eight gathered in the bridge of the Marathon-class heavy cruiser in front of Hood. Certainly, there were more arriving to this new planet on other UNSC ships carrying important admirals, fleet commanders, and directors. It wasn’t often that humanity got to show itself off to an unknowing party, and they were determined to make a good impression. Especially if it would gain them an ally in the process.

“Fleet Admiral on deck!” barked one of the SPARTANs, snapping to attention. Everyone else on the bridge did the same, jumping up from various terminals, projections, and maintenance.

“At ease,” said Hood with a small wave of his hand. He stepped forward and drew even with the SPARTANs, who had formed a small semi-circle in front of him. “It’s good to see you, Spartans. I’m glad this occasion isn’t one fraught with peril.”

The SPARTAN who had announced his arrival nodded. “Yes, sir. But I’m confused as to why we were all brought in. Aren’t there more pressing issues we should be deployed to help with?”

The man’s distinctive deep voice caused Hood to glance down at his chest plate, where he saw the number 117 painted, along with two blue bands around his upper arms.

“Ah, Master Chief,” Hood said, nodding respectfully. “To answer your question, the Security Committee has deemed it feasible to recall most SPARTANs for just one night in order to make a good impression. After that, it’ll be back to business as usual for most of you; though I’ll be interested to see what impact these newcomers have on our operations.”

“As long as they help more than they hinder, I guess there’s no problem,” said one of the other SPARTANs, a white 029 stenciled on his chest. “It’ll be good to kick back, at least for one night. Not like we get many chances, anyway.”

“Your comrade is right,” Hood said, looking at the Master Chief. “Though if you truly want something to do, try and learn as much as you can about these people. Their personalities, their names, their cultures. They’re almost a complete mystery to us right now, and I’m sure that High Command would like to know much more about them. Not to mention ONI.”

“Yes, sir,” the Chief nodded.

“Sir,” asked a third SPARTAN, this one with the number 087 on her chest. “Is it true what the reports said? About the far and the wings and the . . . Magic?” The woman’s clipped accent betrayed what seemed to be British heritage.

Hood let out a small huff of breath. “I really don’t know, Spartan. There’s only a few explanations; it’s true, the ground team was hallucinating as part of some mass hysteria, or they’re lying.”

“Li wouldn’t lie. He’s too honest.”

“Neither would anyone else who was on that planet so far. And I doubt they’re all experiencing mass hysteria, either.”

“Then I suppose we’ll find out just how true it is when we get down there,” the Master Chief said, very matter-of-factly.

“That we will,” Hood nodded. He glanced at the other officers and crew on the deck. There were no shipyards on the planet, so much of the crew would be staying on the ship to keep things in order while it stood by. Pelicans would be taking the SPARTANs, higher-ups, and a few select enlisted soldiers from the ships in orbit to the gala below.

All they were waiting on was for the other ships to confirm their arrival and for the all-clear signal from those already on the planet.

_ _ _

[b]Royal Palace, Cantra City, Equis

Twilight looked up into the dusky sky, searching for the ships that the humans had assured her would be arriving any minute.

It had been only a week since first contact had been established between the two species, and Twilight was already starting to warm up to their new guests. Many of the humans had returned to their ship in orbit in order to rest up and prepare for the arrival of other UNSC personnel.

The four SPARTANs, Staff Sergeant Stacker, and two members of his team had chosen to remain behind on Equis, until humanity had been properly introduced to the population. How exactly this was going to happen was a problem. That was, until Pinkie Pie had a brainwave.

“Why don’t we just invite them all to the gala?” she had said, bouncing slightly in anticipation. “I mean the princesses have been planning it for months now, and plenty of ponies are going to be there. The princesses can make a formal announcement and everypony will be talking about it after that, so even ponies who live to far away and can’t go will know about it.”

Twilight had taken this idea to Princess Celestia, who thought it was ‘a simply splendid idea.’

Now, Twilight stood just before the front doors of the palace in her gala dress; a long, sparkling blue number that came with a matching satin shawl. In front of her stretched a line of Equestrians so long it reached back past the main gates of the palace and into the street outside. She heard distinct murmurings among them as she waited for the princesses to arrive and let them inside.

“Do you think those creatures will be here?”

“What about the strange-looking things?”

“I hope not. They freak me out.”

“They are rather frightening.”

“Don’t sound to fond of meeting us, do they?” asked the SPARTAN called Carris-137. The tall woman was standing off to Twilight's left, behind the open palace doors so as not to be seen by the line of ponies. She still wore the imposing green armor with the odd name she had trouble pronouncing, and her arms were crossed over her chest. Her tone betrayed some doubts about whether or not introducing humanity so suddenly at this gala was a good idea. The public had already seen some of them, and rumors had no doubt spread.

Good and bad.

“I’m sure it’ll turn out okay,” Twilight assured her, glancing over but not turning her head in order to not attract attention to the fact that she was speaking with someone who couldn’t be seen. “Where are the other humans?”

Carris tipped her head to one side, not speaking for a few moments. Twilight recognized that the woman was speaking with someone else using the ‘radio’ in her helmet. She still found the concept amazing. That through a device so small one’s voice could be carried over great distances to speak with someone that could not be seen. And it was only one of the many technological marvels that the humans had introduced her to over the last week.

“Kirk and the Staff Sergeant have transmitted the all clear signal,” Carris said. “The first ships will be probably be arriving shortly.”

Even as she spoke, Twilight could hear the low whine of one of the UNSC’s ‘space craft’ as it flew overhead, emerging from behind the palace and shooting towards the city’s entrance. In the distance, she could see it disappear beneath the many towers, walls, and gates as it dropped off its passengers. Twilight's sister-in-law, Princess Cadence, would be waiting at the gates to welcome the first guests and show them to the palace. Two of the other SPARTANs, Li and Will, would wait to welcome those that arrived next, and so on until all the humans were present.

“It seems the first of our new guests have arrived,” said a serene voice from behind Twilight. She turned to look and found Princess Celestia striding toward her, resplendent in a stunning golden dress. Her crown of the same color and material for which it got its name, sat upon her head, with three multicolored jewels inlaid on its front. Princess Luna approached as well, wearing a flowing midnight blue dress and a crown of the same make.

“Yes, your majesty,” Twilight said, giving a short bow.

Beside her, Carris gave a crisp salute. “Yes, ma’am. High ranking UNSC personal are arrive on site as we speak.”

Twilight heard another drop ship fly overhead, as well as murmurings breaking out from the crowd outside.

“Sounds like the ponies are starting to get nervous,” Twilight said, glancing at the doors beside them.

“More nervous than they already were about these humans?” Princess Luna commented. “Is that possible?”

“Perhaps it is time we address that,” her sister said. “Come. You both as well.” She gestured at Twilight and Carris.

“Uh, me, ma’am?” Carris asked, cocking her helmeted head to one side.

“Yes, you as well,” Princess Celestia nodded. “You are a human and my subjects will be seeing plenty more of your kind. It is best they get well acquainted now.” And with that, she stepped out in front of the doors to address the crowd, Princess Luna just beside her.

Twilight looked up at the much taller Carris.

“Time to meet the people,” she said, putting on her best 'confidence-boosting' smile.

_ _ _

Cantra City, Equis

SPARTAN-III Andrew-B170 lay on the roof of a building that overlooked the Cantra Palace. He stared through the scope of an SRS 99 Anti-Matériel sniper rifle at the palace entrance as the two princesses, a girl, and a SPARTAN-II stepped out into the open. He enhanced the scope’s magnification from 4x to 10x, centering the recital between the two princesses.

He was not supposed to kill them, Command just wanted to know every bit of what was going on in that palace from an unbiased source. At least, that was what they said they wanted.

The communications link in Andrews brand new MJOLNIR Mark V helmet buzzed. The new suit really was something else. Better than the experimental SPI suits the SPARTAN-IIIs had originally been issued by far. Personal shield generator, improved radar, the ability to upgrade in the field through armor modifications, and extensive customization.

“Spartan B170, do you read?” It was the voice of Colonel James Ackerson of the UNSC.

“Yes sir. I’m in position.” He made sure his helmet was sealed before answering. Andrew doubted that anyone was around to hear him, but it was better not to take any chances.

“Good,” the colonel said. “I myself am almost on site. Keep an eye on everyone at that celebration. Especially the royalty. Get pictures of the faces of anyone that talks to them so we can add them to our database. When you can, listen in on their conversations. Use the lip-reading software in the helmet.”

“Yes sir.” Andrew stayed silent for a moment, but kept the link open. “If I may ask, sir; why was I selected for this mission? Aren’t there SPARTANs better equipped for a reconnaissance mission like this? I’m a vehicle specialist.”

Ackerson sighed. “Most of our Headhunters are busy pursuing targets or were too far away to be called in. Same with our other, uh, special teams. You were the best we could do on short notice.”

It was nice to know command has such unflagging confidence in his skillset.

“Yes sir,” he said, activating his helmet’s lip-read function.

The taller princess seemed to be in the middle of giving some kind of speech.

“. . . and I expect you all to welcome these new guests to our home,” she said, gesturing to the long line of aliens in front of her. “These humans came to our planet peacefully and intend to seek a formal alliance between our two species. I see no reason to deny them, as they can add much to our society and undoubtedly, we can add much to theirs. There is no reason to fear what we do not know.”

Andrew settled the scope directly on the princess' face and took a picture

_ _ _

Outside Cantra City, Equis



Dr. Catherine Halsey stepped out of the pelican drop ship’s troop bay and onto the dirt path that led right up to the gates of the city. It really was remarkable how much like Earth this planet appeared to be. Even some of the architecture was similar to that of twentieth century humanity, though in a more rustic sense.

As she approached the gates of the city, she saw nine figures waiting by the gates. The closer she got, the better she could make out who they were. One was Lord Terrance Hood; one of the top-ranking Fleet Admirals in the UNSC. The other eight were a handful of her own SPARTAN-IIs.

“Dr. Halsey,” Hood said, turning as he noticed her approach. “I’m surprised to see you here.”

Catherine gave a half-smile. “Yes,” she said. “I know a few officials were against my being here, but I submitted a personal request to ONI so that I could study this new species.”

Civilian consultants were not normally allowed to attend events such as these on newly discovered planets - not that anything on this scale had ever really happened before - but Catherine knew some ONI officials that she still had pull with. After all, she was the brain behind the hugely successful SPARTAN-II Program. She could not pass up an opportunity so see a marvel such as this. She wasn’t sure how she felt about the supposed ‘magic’ that some of these creatures had. Or if she truly believed in it. But she intended to find out.

She turned to the SPARTANs that were gathered with Hood.

“John,” she said, looking at one in particular. “It’s been too long.”

“It has,” came the gruff voice from inside the immense soldier’s helmet. “Last time I saw you, I was rescuing you from a Covenant ship.”

“And now we’re attending a welcome party for humanity on an alien planet,” Catherine said, wryly. “Times do change.”

John nodded.

“Yes, well, we had better not keep these new rulers waiting,” Terrance Hood intervened. He held out his arm for Catherine. “Shall we?”

She gave a small smile and accepted the older man’s arm, allowing him to lead her and her SPARTANs into the walls of the city. She rather liked Hood. He had always been courteous to her, whatever he knew or suspected about her work. Unlike the ever-arrogant James Ackerson and that ONI snoop Margaret Parangosky.

As the group passed into the city, another SPARTAN stepped up to the gate and stopped them.

“Hello, William.”

“Come on, ma’am. You know I don’t like my full name.”

He nodded at the other SPARTANs and gave a crisp salute to Terrance.

“At ease, Spartan,” he said, returning a nod.

“I’m here to escort you all to the palace,” Will informed the group. “If you’ll follow me, please.”

The group fell into step behind Will as he led them through the practically empty city streets. Looking in the windows of the surrounding buildings, Catherine saw almost no lights on and couldn’t catch even a glimpse of anyone in any of the houses or stores.

“Where are all the people?” asked Terrance.

Will glanced back. “Anybody who’s anybody in this country is going to be at the party tonight. Everyone else is apparently catching an early sleep because they know that the later it gets, the louder the city is going to be.”

“Are we the last to arrive?” one of the SPARTANs, Kelly, piped up.

“No,” Will replied. “Gold Team isn’t here yet, and there might be some more officials on the way. Li’s coming back to meet the next group at the gates. He just got done escorting Green Team, some ranking ODSTs, and Commander Jacob Keyes.”

Jacob Keyes. Another face she hadn’t seen in a while. Decades ago, the man had helped her handpick which children should be selected to participate in the SPARTAN-II Program. Later, they’d even had a daughter together.

Running into him again would be . . . interesting.

_ _ _

Twilight stood beside refreshments table, her hands folded in front of her. She watched as the ballroom slowly filled with humans. Some were dressed smartly in officer’s uniforms, others were clad in the armor given to SPARTANs, and others still that wore full body armor that she had not seen before.

Through the crowd, the SPARTANs stood out like sore thumbs, with their matte green armor and the fact that they towered over everyone else in the room.

“Hi, Twilight,” said a voice from just behind her.

She whirled around to see Princess Cadence standing there, radiant as ever, in a slim pink and gold dress.

“Cadence! It’s so good to see you!” Twilight threw her arms around the taller woman and drew her in for a close hug. “I haven’t seen you since we helped save the Crystal Empire! How is Shining doing?”

“Oh, he’s being a wonderful husband as usual,” Cadence assured her, pulling away. “He’s here tonight, all dressed in his royal guard uniform. I think he’s glad to be doing something that doesn’t involve council meetings or listening to bureaucrats for a change.”

“I’ll bet,” Twilight laughed, picturing her tall, strong brother sitting at a small table helping politicians run a city. He was much more suited to doing something active like guarding the royalty. “I heard you were helping to escort the humans to the palace. How was that?”

“They’re interesting beings, for sure,” Cadence told her, glancing around at the humans in the room around them. “Formal. Respectful. Disciplined. Though, we have only met soldiers, leaders, and scientists. I imagine that the everyday citizen is not much different than you and I.”

“Just without fur, tails, hooves, wings, snouts, Cutie Marks, and Magic,” Twilight quipped, smiling.

“Yes. Without all that.”

“Good evening, ladies,” said a voice from beside them. Both girls turned and to see an older woman wearing a long, white gown and chin-length graying hair.

“Hello, Miss . . .” Cadence prompted, giving a short curtsy.

“Halsey,” said the woman, nodding to both of them. “Dr. Catherine Halsey.”

“It’s good to meet you,” Cadence said, ever the gracious host. “I am Princess Cadence Sparkle of the Crystal Empire, and this is Princess Celestia’s prize student, Twilight Sparkle. She's the one who initially met with some of your soldiers when they came here.”

The doctor’s eyebrows raised. “You’re related?”

“By marriage,” Twilight explained.

“I just have a few questions I’d like to ask you,” Dr. Halsey said. “I’ve been hearing some rumors about you way of life, and I wanted to hear the facts from those who actually live here.”

“Oh, o-of course,” Twilight said, somewhat taken aback by the woman’s directness. “Ask away.”

“Excellent.” Dr. Halsey produced a small, metal pad seemingly from nowhere. She tapped it twice, and a blue screen lit up. She held the pad towards the mares. “Simply speak toward this data pad, and it will record what you say.”

“Oh-okay.”

“What is the difference between the peoples here?” asked the doctor, “Why do some get powers that others lack?”

Cadence answered. “That’s simply how it has always been; for Equestrians, at least. Some of us are born Unicorns and can control Magic. Some are born Pegasi and have wings. Some are born without either, but they make up for it with great natural strength. The Princesses, Celestia and Luna, have the powers of all three and are called Alicorns. They are able to raise and lower the moon and sun and have other special powers. I myself have been imbued with some of that power, as I am part of the royal family.”

"Raise and lower the moon and sun?" Halsey asked, her doubt spilling out of her mouth. "Are you certain about that? What about your planet's gravitational pull?"

"Oh, yes," Twilight jumped in, eager to defend the integrity of her mentor. "Princess Celestia and her sister have been around for hundreds of years. They've been using their Magic to raise and lower the sun and moon since before living memory. Princess Celestia is so powerful, she was able to do it herself for a while when . . ."

"When what, exactly?"

She wasn't sure if she should say what had happened to Princess Luna, but she saw no way of directly lying to Halsey, either. "When Princess Luna was banished to the moon after she became corrupted by Dark Magic," she admitted, though she hastily added, "but she's all better now! My friends and I managed to restore her to how she used to be."

"So the two princesses were in conflict for a time. Interesting . . ." Halsey leaned forward slightly. “How exactly does this . . . magic . . . work?” Something glinted in the woman’s eyes, and Twilight couldn’t tell if it was curiosity, doubt, or hunger.

Once again, Cadence answered. “Explaining the ins and outs of Magic and how exactly it works to someone who has never dealt with it before would be difficult to say the least. I must admit my knowledge on the subject is somewhat rusty, but there are certainly rules to how Magic works. It’s a rather lengthy discussion, and one that I think you would be better suited to having with someone like Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, or even Twilight here.”

“What? Me?” Twilight cut in. It was true that she had been studying under the princess for years now – ever since she was a child – but she never pictured herself as an expert on Magic. She knew the rules and laws that governed how most Magic worked, and had even invented some spells of her own, but she knew there was still plenty to learn on the subject.

The doctor glanced at her. Maybe some of her apprehension showed on her face, because the older woman looked about as unsure of Cadence's proposal as she did.

“Perhaps some other time,” she said. Turning back to Cadence, she continued. “What are some of the other species on this planet?”

Twilight suddenly felt the need to contribute something of value to the conversation. Maybe it was due to how dismissive Halsey seemed to be towards her, or it was just her natural chattiness when educational topics were being discussed. “Well, some of the soldiers have already met a timberwolf,” she supplied, “there’s also changelings, griffons, fairies, centaurs, chimeras, dragons, and plenty more.”

“Fascinating,” Halsey remarked. She looked at Twilight once more, though this time, her expression had changed. “You say you are a student of the princess'? I should very much like to study with you sometime. I want a firsthand look at your culture.”

“O-oh!” Twilight said, surprised. “I suppose I could check with the princess and see if that would be alright.” She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Twilight always got self-conscious when other ponies watched her in her studies. Then again, humans didn’t know anything about Magic, so even if she messed up, the doctor probably wouldn’t know she was being foolish. It all depended on what Princess Celestia had to say.

“Ah. Twilight, Cadence; there you are,” said a voice from behind the two mares.

They both turned around to see Princess Celestia herself approaching them, disengaging herself from a group of Canterlot socialites.

“Celestia,” Cadence said, bowing. “We were just talking about you.”

“Oh? What of me?”

“Uh, this doctor Halsey” Twilight said, gesturing back at Halsey before turning back toward her, “is interested in . . .”

She trailed off. Dr. Halsey had disappeared.

Someone else cleared their throat. “Excuse me, your majesty. I was hoping for a word.”

Twilight turned back to the princess and saw a man standing just beside them. He was of average build, with close-cropped brown hair and small, shrewd eyes. He wore what Silvia was starting to recognize as a human officer’s uniform and held a cider glass in one hand. He gave Princess Celestia a respectful, low bow.

The princess nodded at him. “I don’t believe we’ve met,” she said as he rose. “Your name is . . .?”

“Ackerson,” said the man. “Colonel James Ackerson. Very pleased to meet you, Princess Celestia.”

“And you as well, Colonel Ackerson. What is it you are so interested to talk to me about?”

Colonel Ackerson took a sip from his cider glass. “Your majesty, if you don’t mind me saying so, your people are woefully underprepared to face any of the Covenant forces.”

Twilight’s eyebrows shot up and she glanced toward the princess. She’d never heard anyone openly talk down upon the ponies Princess Celestia governed to her face. For her part, her face remained impassive, though Silvia noticed one corner of her mouth turn down.

“So I have been told,” she said cooly.

“Oh, I mean no offense,” the colonel said, correctly reading the Princess' tone. “I admit that many of our own forces are unprepared as well, even though our weapons and technology are far ahead of yours.”

“I see.”

“I have a proposal for you,” Ackerson told the princess, leaning forward slightly. “What if UNSC personnel trained some of your own soldiers in the use of some of our weapons and vehicles. We could even help you make ships and weapons of your own.”

The princess’ expression changed. Instead of annoyance, her features displayed a look of deep thought. “And what do you get in return?”

Ackerson waved away the notion as though it were absurd. “Oh, this is no offer like that,” he assured the princess. “I just want to make sure your people are as well-armed as possible. This is a dangerous time. Perhaps this new military force of yours could work with us to assist in ending the war. I’m sure your, uh, magic could do much for our own military. I just want to make sure our peoples can help each other.”

Princess Celestia was silent for a moment. Then, she gave a slow nod. “Yes,” she said. “I’m sure we can reach some sort of agreement. We’ll want to discuss this with my sister, Luna. She handles more of our military matters. Do follow me.”

The princess turned and began to walk off, beckoning for Colonel Ackerson to follow her. The colonel ginned, almost to himself, and began to follow her.

“I will catch up with you two later,” the princess said, looking over her shoulder at Twilight and Cadence. “Do enjoy the party.”

Author's Note:

Don't worry, the party isn't over quite yet. There's a couple more scenes that make up the next chapter.

Side note: Andrew B170 isn't some lame OC of mine. He, like - all the other spartans in the story - is canon. However, name and gender are never given, and it was never confirmed that he was pulled from Beta Company for special assignment. I'm just embellishing the lore a little bit. I do that here.

Also, if anyone is interested. I'm using Ambris' height charts for the heights and physical features of the main pony characters in the story. Just search him up on DeviantArt or google images.