• Published 5th Feb 2021
  • 1,820 Views, 87 Comments

Hostile History - Jest

Sunset Shimmer's is happy for the first time in a long time. She's accepted, has wonderful friends, and a life many would envy. Or is it all an illusion forced upon her by the very people she trusted? Only time will tell.

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Chapter 7

Sunset Shimmer slumped into the back of a police van which rumbled down the road towards parts unknown. The windows were completely black, making it impossible to tell exactly where they were going. All she could say for certain was that they’d been driving for at least two hours, sometimes cruising along a freeway and sometimes winding through strange backroads.

They’re going in circles on purpose, trying to confuse us. We might not even be that far from Canterlot. Sunset realized. Either that, or they were leaving the only part of the human world Sunset Shimmer even remotely understood. The further from it they got, the less she would be able to pretend she was one of them.

They’d been stripped of everything but their clothes—no phones, no wallets, not even their shoes.

The trip had begun with Applejack muttering darkly about an unreasonable arrest and violation of her constitutional rights. But as soon as she started muttering about how it was probably their duty to resist a violation of their rights, Twilight pointed to a spot on the wall.

“Between the metal seams is a voice recorder. We shouldn’t talk,” Twilight had informed them.

“Maybe not about serious stuff,” Pinkie remarked. “But, we can still talk about other things! Like how awesome spring break is gonna be in a few weeks!”

“Spring break that we’ll be… enjoying from prison?” Rarity asked. “Not that I wouldn’t want to celebrate. That cruise the school has planned sounds positively delightful. But the further we go, the less likely that seems.”

“It ain’t right,” Applejack muttered again. “We’re minors. There are… things. Legal things. I dunno how they work, but I know there are things. They can’t just shove us into a hole forever. Don’t give in. Our parents will find out, and they can help us.”

“It doesn’t seem like we’re, uh with…” Fluttershy whispered. “Those weren’t regular police. This isn’t a regular police car. And the county jail is right next to the animal shelter. It’s… three blocks from the theater.”

“I know that!” Applejack groaned, shoving herself up against the wall.

Fortunately for Applejack, they weren’t pony-ed up anymore, so there would be no accidents with her super strength that might end with the rest of them getting shot. Or the van getting toppled over.

At least Sunset herself didn’t need to look anything like a pony to keep using her powers. But that didn’t matter; her powers couldn’t actually help them in this situation. She couldn’t read the emotions of a truck, nor would that help them anyway.

“I’ve read about tactics like this, actually,” Twilight announced, sitting up a little straighter. “It’s the kind of thing they’d do to suspects who are uncooperative or they don’t like. A federal agency has much more flexibility about where they send us. Their rules are different, but I don’t think it’s that different with the public/private thing. There’s a limit to how long they can hold us without charging us for a crime.”

Something banged on the front of the truck, in the driver’s compartment.

“That’s enough!” shouted a gruff voice. “We haven’t given you permission to talk!”

Applejack spun in her seat, glaring at the wall. There were tiny metal holes open in it now behind plexiglass, and a set of angry eyes glaring out from within.

“What are you going to do, climb back here and brutalize six highschool girls you arrested in front of a hundred people? I know my rights!” Applejack shouted.

“You don’t have a fuckin’ clue,” the soldier retorted. “You aren’t going to jail, kids and if you ever want to see the sun again you had better fix that attitude.”

The door smashed closed.

Applejack muttered something about being tread on, but Sunset stopped listening. At that point the truth was clear to her: they weren’t going to be just released. Sunset wanted to escape, but… you couldn’t escape from the authorities. They were supposed to be the good guys. If the human country was bad, how could Sunset fight?

They’re insects, spat the voice in her mind.

The vision she’d experienced earlier returned once again, playing over and over again at the back of her mind. It wasn’t just how vivid and disturbing it had been that bothered her, but it came with implications that were down right unsettling.

Did the dragon only come to show me the message? Maybe if I’d let it reach me the first time when it was that boar, it wouldn’t have killed those people. Sunset Shimmer thought.

She still didn’t know for certain that those people were dead. But she’d seen bloody bodies in the theater, and hadn’t seen those people escaping before the building collapsed. It wasn’t much of a stretch to assume that at least a few of them had perished in the aftermath of the battle.

I’m not mind-controlled. They’re wrong. Even if one of the Elements was involved… I’m better off this way. Sunset Shimmer declared.

She glanced to one side, to where her friends handcuffed in the van along with her. I have friends. Even the school is starting to forgive me. What did old Sunset Shimmer have that I don’t currently have?

Confidence. Self-respect. Power. Stated the voice.

Sunset couldn’t shake the thought that the old her wouldn’t have ended up handcuffed in an unmarked van traveling from who knows where.

I wouldn’t have to go all the way back to what I was. I understand the point of friendship now. Maybe I could take that power for all of them, not just me. Sunset Shimmer thought to herself.

Or maybe I should just go home. She considered.

More than anything else, Sunset wanted to talk to Princess Twilight. She could hope that her friend’s response would be waiting in the magical journal, which would be glowing and shaking so she would notice it on the shelf. But just because she wanted that to be the case, didn’t mean it was true.

Eventually, the vehicle tilted forwards and they began to descend towards something, slowing driving down as they went in many long circles. Then they stopped completely. The soldiers got out, and again the six girls were left in silence.

Metal clicked and rumbled as the lock on the far side jostled. Sunset tensed, but it wasn’t like she could actually do anything. Despite her bold words, even Applejack hadn’t made any effort to actually break free.

The door swung open, and Foxtrot was waiting on the other side, arms folded in front of him.

Half a dozen soldiers were behind him, dressed as none Sunset had ever seen before. They wore strangely padded uniforms, with helmets that narrowed to red slits, and carried guns she’d likewise never seen. Thick tubes connected them to heavy backpacks, and whenever they took a breath, vapor hissed from their helmets.

“Oooh, we’re in one of those movies!” Pinkie Pie stood up, or she tried to. Her arm jerked against the handcuffs, and she ended up half-standing, half-crouching. “Yes, commander, we will happily protect the Earth from aliens! We will battle the kaiju to our dying breaths!”

Foxtrot met her eyes, completely stupefied for several long moments. Sunset was sure she saw at least one of the soldiers’ heads move—were they laughing in those huge helmets? She couldn’t tell as she couldn’t even see a face through the glass.

But Foxtrot wasn’t amused.

“I’m afraid I meant every word I said in Canterlot. You all have proven yourselves to be dangerous, compromised individuals. Your presence and interference have created a serious hazard to the American citizens living in that city and as a result, I’ve been authorized by the State Department and the Department of Defense to quarantine all seven of you here until further notice,” Foxtrot stated evenly.

He raised a hand, silencing Applejack before she could even start.

“No, you will not be receiving legal counsel. No you won’t be given a call home. But you do have a choice,” he stepped to one side, letting Sunset and the others see what was behind them.

They were obviously deep underground—the walls were concrete, and thick parking pillars held everything up. The entire area looked almost like a parking garage only a thousand times more secure.

Foxtrot gestured to the two large doorways behind him, one that was well lit and open, and another that was completely dark.

“Your first choice is to cooperate with us. We’ll want to know everything you know about your abilities. Where they came from, how you use them, and how they might be removed,” Foxtrot continued.

“And… I don’t mean to be rude dear, but I’ve been locked in an un-air-conditioned van for several hours, and I’m not feeling terribly polite. So, why exactly would we want to do that?” Rarity questioned. “You’ve just said we’re going to be kept here indefinitely, without our legal rights. Why would we do anything you say when it wouldn't matter anyway?”

On either side of him, Sunset saw the soldiers tense. None of them were pointing their guns into the van, so they hadn’t gone so far as to reach the level of “evil organization taking over the country from the inside” quite yet. But how far away were they, really?

“Because if you cooperate, you go there. Our best accommodations. We’ll bring you the foods you like, give you freedom to move around, play, uh… whatever that game is you kids are playing on your phones these days. You’ll be able to do anything but leave, or contact anyone outside this facility,” Foxtrot exclaimed.

“Or we go the other way,” Twilight Sparkle supplied, folding her arms, expression smug. “Where you’re not sure we’ll get food, where there are cockroaches everywhere, and we’ll probably be tortured or something. Are you really gonna do the good-bad cop thing all by yourself?”

Sunset turned, eyes widening. Damn you’re hot when you’re angry. Sunset thought, silently realizing she had never seen the pony Twilight act that brave. She wasn’t even sure the princess could.

Foxtrot didn’t look amused. For a few seconds Sunset imagined him ordering Twilight beaten or something. But he only shook his head curtly.

“No. The other way is just regular jail. Separate cells, legally mandated three squares. At least until I have reason to believe that you are no longer a threat to anyone. I also suspect you’re all American citizens, who have been exposed or twisted to… something you don’t understand. My ultimate hope is to send you home safely, and quickly if possible,” Foxtrot exclaimed.

But as he said it, his eyes lingered on Sunset. There were unspoken words behind that glare. It was as if he were telling the girl that he knew she was different.

“Do you feel cooperative, girls?” Applejack asked. “I might’ve felt a mite friendlier to all this if they’d asked for what we knew, instead of hauling us out here for no good reason.”

Foxtrot clucked his tongue once. “I thought you were the one who didn’t lie, Applejack. We did ask politely. In your school, don’t you remember? Each of you was interviewed. Each of you resisted in your own particular ways. Now over a dozen people are dead, and I’m no longer amused.”

“They’re going to keep attacking,” Sunset called, raising her voice a little. “Those monsters out there. We didn’t bring them, we fought them. All locking us away does is take away the help from people who need it.”

“I don’t take kindly to threats,” Foxtrot muttered, turning slightly away. “Very well. This one decided not to be cooperative. Cavalry, take her to block three.”

Sunset jerked into a sitting position, pulling suddenly away. But one of the soldiers was already moving, locking their weapon into a plastic bracket over their shoulder and climbing up into the back of the truck.

“I wasn’t threatening you! I’m just explaining how you’ll know we’re innocent!” Sunset yelled.

“Really now?” Foxtrot didn’t stop the soldier as he advanced.

“Yes!” Sunset shouted while trying to retreat further from the guard, but she was already as far back as she could go and was unable to move any further thanks to the restraints.

“Because it sounded like you just admitted to orchestrating all this. Conspiracy doesn’t require you to be out there causing it, Sunset,” Foxtrot declared.

“Never talk to the goddamn police!” Applejack yelled, glaring at her. “How many times did I say that on the drive over, Sunset. Wait for your goshdarn attorney.”

“And that’s another one who isn’t cooperating.” Foxtrot hesitated, then turned away. “I think we’ll give them each a week to think about this. See if they’re feeling more cooperative after some time sitting alone eating porridge. Bring them in. Different isolation blocks.”

He walked away, vanishing down the lit hallway. But Sunset wasn’t watching him much longer, because the first soldier had finally reached her.

“Do not resist,” he ordered, his voice strangely distorted by the oversized helmet. “If you cooperate, you will not be harmed. Otherwise, I may be forced to neutralize you to protect this facility.”

“I won’t,” Sunset Shimmer murmured, slumping forward onto her knees. “I’ll do what you say.”

“That’s good,” the soldier replied. “I really don’t want to have to shoot somebody’s daughter.”

He fumbled with the lock for a few seconds, and the handcuff fell free. “Walk slowly from the van, keeping your hands above your head at all times.”

Sunset spared one last, desperate glance towards her friends before she was led away.

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