• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,975 Views, 412 Comments

One Mare's Worth - Equestria Buck Yeah



When Rainbow Dash's speed during a new trick turns out to be too much for her own good, she comes to realize how important she really is when she finds herself in a war-torn version of her old home.

  • ...
8
 412
 3,975

Chapter 20

There was a knock on the door to Commander Derpy's quarters. She turned at the sudden intrusive noise.

"Come in."

Rainbow pulled open the metal door and closed it behind her. She saluted the wall-eyed pegasus as naturally as the others in the base. Derpy was pleasantly surprised that Rainbow was adjusting so quickly.

"At ease, Rainbow. What can I do for you?"

"Hey, Commander. I needed to talk to you about something that's been kind of bothering me since Baltimare, and I figured you were the only one who could give me some kind of answer."

"Is it about your first kills? Trust me, it's not easy on anypony."

"No, no, it's not that. There was.. something weird there. I've never seen anything like it before. Would have never imagined something like it could even exist."

Derpy cocked her head. The two of them had seen plenty of magic in their time, so it was difficult to grasp what unusual phenomenon could have her fellow pegasus so bothered. She motioned to the pillow on the ground by her desk as she sat on her bed.

"Please, have a seat. Talk to me. Why do you think only I would have the answer? We have a lot of talented and knowledgeable staff here," the grey mare asked.

"Well, you said the Doctor had that time machine thing. I'm assuming you went with him from time to time, wherever it was, right?"

"All the time, yes. We saw some interesting things, needless to say," Derpy smirked.

"Did you ever see anything that looked like a glowing crack in the wall or something that looked like it shouldn't have been there?" Rainbow asked nervously.

Derpy froze. It was plain as day on her face that she was perfectly aware of what her friend spoke of. Once the initial shock wore off, she half-closed her eyes and frowned.

"Twice before, yes. The first time was in the TARDIS, on one of its computer screens, on the day we figured you must have disappeared. I found another one a few days after I sent you and the Party Crashers to Baltimare in the war room, on the wall," Derpy explained.

"What are they? What do they do?"

"I asked the Doctor that when it first happened. He had this horrified look on his face. I think he knew what it was, but he didn't tell me. All he said was to stay away from them as best I can if others should appear," Derpy said with a sigh. "Great. Just what I need. More stuff on my plate, and I don't even know what to do about this."

Rainbow's ears slumped and her eyes fell to the ground. "I-I'm sorry, Commander. I wouldn't have said anything if I knew it was going to upset you like this."

"No, no, Rainbow," Derpy assured her, "it's a good thing you mentioned this. If these things are popping up in other places, we need to be careful. I'll have to warn the others. Is there anything else you need?"

"That's all, Commander. Thanks for your time," Rainbow said with a salute.

"I can always make time for you, soldier. Dismissed."

-----

Four months had passed since Rainbow's first mission with the Party Crashers. She and the group had been instructed to interrupt three more of Celestia's operations during that time, each one of them as successful as they typically were. After Rainbow had spoken to Loo in the recovery room, they seemed to develop a grudging respect for one another, though it was obvious to Pinkie, Belle, and A.B. that there was still a touch of resentment in her eyes. Fortunately, she never let it bother them on the battlefield.

Much to the group's surprise, Rainbow and Loo ended up gelling together quite well. Sometimes, they moved and operated together as if they were just one pony. Rainbow's big mouth and chromatic mane were distracting on the ground, and Loo was a wrecking machine from the skies. The others were happy that they no longer had to worry about keeping both eyes on the young pegasus at all times as Commander Derpy had instructed.

Rainbow had become more accustomed to fighting and slaying their enemies, and had found that she enjoyed using AR-15s as her primary weapon, during her second assignment, which took them to Mareami. Thanks to the Princess' neglect of her celestial duties, what should have been warm sunny skies overhead were overcast and cold with hardly any sunbeams visible, given how far east the city was.

After returning from their third mission together in the freezing heights of Coltorado, Rainbow found herself with a few young fans. She almost felt like she was back home again. The foals found her multicolored hair, as well as her cool attitude, appropriately enough, awesome. A part of her wished she could still fly and perform some tricks for them, but then she remembered that a trick is what got her and the rest of the world in the current situation in the first place. However, if she was able to help them forget about the insanity going on in Equestria, even for a few minutes, Rainbow was happy.

When the Party Crashers got wind that she had yet another little fan club, they couldn't help but giggle. Even Pinkie uncharacteristically joined in and had a laugh. Loo rolled her eyes and grinned, remembering her own fascination as a youth. Something about Rainbow struck Loo as surprising, however. The blue mare wasn't as acting as egocentric as she used to. At least, not according to Loo's memories. Though Rainbow retained a little cockiness, she remained much more grounded than before.

During her down time, Rainbow did almost nothing but work on her wings. She was able to visit Dr. Neurocell regularly like he instructed, and as time went on, he was happy with the results. After four months, Rainbow was able to completely lift, lower and outstretch her wings, though not at a speed that would allow her to fly just yet. When the pegasus was able to flap her wings in a full cycle, she cried tears of joy. The last time she felt such jubilation was when she got her cutie mark.

However, when she wouldn't be focusing her energy on her metal appendages, she would be thinking deeply. She had only been on four missions so far, but on every one, she would inevitably find another bright crack. She found one on the floor, another on a wall, and the most recent one seemed to be floating in midair. The others came across them as well, but Rainbow made it a point to tell them to stay away, as per what Commander Derpy suggested. Rainbow had no idea why they were there or what they did, but if Derpy was agitated by their presence, then there had to be something serious behind them.

-----

Two unicorns stallions, a pegasus mare, and a young earth pony colt entered the base through their hidden front door. After a brief scan of the skies, the colt closed the door behind him. They trotted briskly down the illuminated tunnel and were greeted by the warm faces of their comrades. Silver Spoon was glancing over the radio with Vinyl's guidance. They had been going over some unusual activity and wanted to be sure there were enemies nearby.

Boldly, the young colt galloped up to the lieutenant upon seeing her. His worried expression spoke before his lips could once the officer saw him.

"Lieutenant Spoon," the young pony said with a salute, "we need to see Commander Derpy right away."

-----

Silver Spoon and the scouting unit marched into the war room, where Derpy was examining a map of Equestria, trying to determine her army's next move.

"Commander, our northeastern scouts have returned. They say they have urgent news," Lieutenant Spoon said.

"Thank you, Silver Spoon," Derpy said, dismissing her. "What's going on, soldiers?"

"We stumbled upon something in Neighagra Falls. Something big," the colt said.

"Neighagra Falls? We haven't had reports of anything in that area before," Derpy stated.

"No ma'am, not the area. In the falls. We followed some troops to the falls and watched them duck into a cave hidden behind the water. We snuck our way in and found a large network of caves, and in the largest area was a manufacturing plant," the young pony explained. "It was huge! They had enough room to build about three or four planes, and there were a lot of workers there."

"We staked out the place from the forests outside once we discovered what was going on, Commander," the pegasus stepped in. "From what we could determine, based on how far along their most constructed jet was and how soon after we found it that it took for it to leave the base from an exit port a few clicks to the east, taking into account how many ponies we saw down there, it probably takes them maybe four to six weeks for them to put one together. We wouldn't be surprised if they had workers active twenty-four hours a day."

Derpy gritted her teeth and stomped into the ground. "Dammit! We took out Detrot years ago when it was the biggest plant they had. Were we wrong all along? This one's well hidden, is expansive underground, and that giant river could easily provide them with all the hydroelectricity they could ever need! And they're in an ideal spot for any raw goods they could need too!"

The rebels had taken out hundreds of jets over the years. Derpy and the other commanding officers knew that it had to have taken a lot of time and materials to build so many. Coordinated strikes were constantly being done on various plants around Equestria in an effort to slow the creating of weapons, supplies and vehicles. As time went on, it never appeared that their attacks made a noticeable impact.

"Ma'am, the one jet we saw leave the stronghold headed in a southeasterly direction, toward Manehattan. Sources indicated that they have an air base near the city, but considering how fortified the area is, we've yet to stage an attack there," the pegasus scout stated.

Derpy faced the large Equestrian map and tapped where Neighagra Falls was and then on Manehattan. With a studying glance, she looked farther south to Fillydelphia, where General Armor and his troops were stationed, dragging her hoof as she went. Then she moved to Baltimare, then Trotlanta, and finally Mareami.

"Every single one of those cities we know has or had an air field. There's gotta be a connection, but what? These locations just don't look random," the Commander thought out loud.

The scouts watched Derpy remove red push pins and attach them to the major points along the east coast. Once she finished marking the map with Celestia's cities, she marked her own bases with yellow pins. With a hum, she replaced Fillydelphia's yellow push pin with a red one and stepped back. Derpy scanned from east to west a few times before a realization slowly formed. Most of her bases were in a direct path of Celestia's.

"Son of a bitch! It's a good thing we were able to break up her operations. If we hadn't, we'd be lined up like sitting ducks. Each one of these bases," she pointed up and down the east coast, "could wipe out a huge chunk of our forces. It explains why she's fought so hard to get Fillydelphia back all these years! If she got her hooves on it, and if all the bases we've destroyed were functioning, all they'd have to do is fly west and shoot at everything in the way! Ugh, she's known this entire time and she was just setting up for one big attack!"

Derpy sneered at the floor, trying to suppress her anger, not only at Celestia, but at herself. She could have seen this scenario coming. Celestia always had a flair for the dramatic. If she had any weakness, that was it.

"I have no idea if she knows where this location is or not. I don't believe she does, because if I was in her horseshoes, I'd send my best squad the moment I knew where the enemy's commanding officer was. It's the only reason I think we're still safe," the commander said to herself.

The scouts looked on dutifully as Derpy formulated a last second plan. After a moment, she turned to them, her chin held high.

"You've all done exceptionally well. If we get through this, you'll all be recognized and rewarded for your achievements. You four may have just turned the entire war in our favor," Derpy said with a proud grin.

Beaming with pride, they puffed their chests up and saluted their commander.

"Is there anything else we can do for you, ma'am?" one unicorn asked.

"Not at the moment. Good job, soldiers. I have some work to do. Dismissed."

With that, the four heroes turned and left the gray mare alone. She turned back to the map and eyed a path from Ghastly Gorge to Fillydelphia and then to Neighagra Falls. The falls were farther than Shining Armor's center of operations, but time was against them either way. They would have to strike hard and fast.

She turned to leave the war room, taking one last look at where a familiar glowing crack once occupied the wall. The light was not present at the moment, but the fracture itself leered ominously back at the pegasus. After a moment of staring, the commander vacated the area and headed to the main control room.

Derpy found the communications panel and picked up the microphone, flicking it on.

"Party Crashers, report to the control room immediately," she called out over the loud speakers.

A few minutes later, Pinkie, Rainbow, and the trio of terror arrived, all coming to a halt with a proud salute.

"You wanted to see us, Commander?" Pinkie asked.

"Yes. At ease, ladies. I have some big news for you. Our scouts found another little manufacturing plant in the northeast. It's extremely well hidden. In fact, we were completely unaware of it until now. I want you to go break it," Derpy instructed.

"Is that all? No problem, Commander!" A.B. piped up.

"It's not going to be as easy as it sounds," she said grimly. "Apparently, Celestia has set up a rather large underground network behind Neighagra Falls. They've been constructing jets and who knows what else in secret, and our reports indicate that there's a lot of enemies there. Could be more than you're used to."

The former Crusaders looked at each other and smiled coyly. At least it would be a fun mission to them.

"We got it covered, ma'am. When did you want us to head out?" Loo asked.

Derpy looked at the clock on the communications panel. 5:23 PM.

"0800 tomorrow morning. Go ahead and get yourselves ready. I estimate it should take you maybe two weeks to get up there. You've got ten days each way. We're going to need you back here as fast as possible. If this really is as massive a plant as our scouts say, then we're going to need to be ready for the next, and hopefully last, stage of our attack," Derpy said with authority.

"What do you mean 'last stage'?" Pinkie asked.

The Commander took a deep breath and grinned. "If you're successful, once you return, we're attacking Canterlot."

Everypony in the area that heard her turned and gawked. Even the normally headstrong and unshakable Party Crashers jumped in surprise at first. The shock quickly vanished with the appearance of three excited, almost malicious smiles. It had been nearly twenty years since an attack against the capital city was an option, but Pinkie remembered that day vividly. She was not as thrilled as her companions at the idea.

"Commander, you remember what happened that day, don't you? Your plot almost sounds like what was planned out step by step back then. How do you know she won't be expecting an attack?" the pink mare asked.

"I remember all too well, Pinkie. We just have to hope the element of surprise is on our side this time around. We've annihilated every other major plant we've discovered, and up till this point, it seemed that their production just never took a hit. After what the scouts said, I wouldn't be surprised if this is where a majority of her weapons and attack planes came from.

"Be smart, and more importantly, be safe. I'm depending on you now more than I ever have before. Don't let me down," Derpy said with a salute.

The five mares returned the gesture and turned around, ready to begin their initial preparations.

"Not you, Rainbow Dash."

They stopped suddenly and craned their necks backward.

"Huh? I don't understand," the light blue mare said.

"If this is indeed the beginning of the end of this nightmare, I want you to stay here for now. Like I said, there's going to be more troops there than you're used to, and I want you to be safe until we're ready to invade Canterlot," Derpy explained.

"You've handled yourself well on the battlefield so far, but I want you completely ready for our assault," the gray mare continued. "That means I want you to be able to fly if time allows, just in case. You're almost there. I've been keeping an eye on your exercises, and I must say the amount of progress you've made in such a short time is nothing short of astounding. And from you, expected. I want you to stay here and finish your training."

"But, they could need me, and I– "

"I know you can handle yourself out there, but I've made my decision. Your friends will be alright. They were doing what they do for quite some time before you returned," Derpy said with a smirk.

The group looked amongst each other with a touch of melancholy. They had grown even stronger over the past few months, and while they were hesitant to have Rainbow join up with them, she had become a welcome addition to their team. But, orders were orders.

"If that's what you need, Commander, you got it," Pinkie nodded.

"It is. I'll see you all off in the morning. Dismissed."

When the Party Crashers were out of sight, Derpy tapped her chin and returned to the war room. She found a quill and parchment and laid the paper on the table in the middle of the room. There was one other thing that needed to be done. If they were to attacking Canterlot in the foreseeable future, she was going to need all the ponypower she could get.

"I will say one thing about Spike," she said to herself as she began to write, "I miss his ability to get letters wherever you needed them quickly."

After a few minutes of spelling out an order, she folded up the sheet and carried it between her teeth back to the communications area in the control room. Setting the paper down on the panel, she picked the microphone back up, buzzing it to life once more.

"Speeding Bullet, report to the control room," Derpy said into the mic.

A moment later, a light green pegasus stallion, small for being middle aged, with faint amber hair trotted up to the commander. His expression was one of utmost determination. He knew that whenever he was called upon, it was an urgent task.

"Yes, Commander?"

"Get some supplies. I need you to take this note to General Shining Armor in Fillydelphia as fast as your wings can take you. How quickly do you think you can make it there?" Derpy demanded, waving the instructs before him.

The small pegasus thought briefly. "Five, maybe six days at the most."

"Cut it to four if you can, and I need you to leave immediately. This is about as urgent as it gets." The Commander took the note in her hoof and extended it to Speeding Bullet.

With a slight step to attention and a puff of his chest, he took the note from Derpy.

"Is there anything else, ma'am?"

"That'll be all. Get going."

With a confident nod, Speeding Bullet dashed off into the depths of the base for weapons and sustenance. Barely twenty minutes later, he stepped out of the main entrance and flew off into the sky, saddlebags over his waist and note on his person. He had a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to do it.

-----

Three days had passed since Commander Derpy said goodbye to the Party Crashers. She silently hoped their success would be swift and final, as well as Speeding Bullet's mission. As much as she wanted to go after the Princess immediately, they weren't ready. Her supply station needed to be crippled. Planes, weapons, ammunition, whatever they made at Neighagra Falls was finite in number. What it needed to be was nonexistent. The closer to that, the better.

Since Pinkie and the others left, Derpy had kept close to Rainbow. She oversaw her exercises and spoke to the doctors who had been working with her. Rainbow was well ahead of her originally projected schedule. Even temporarily handicapped, the cyan mare was going to push herself beyond her means. It made the gray pegasus smile. A part of her had always admired how much larger than life Rainbow always seemed to be long ago, and she was doing it again.

Once Dr. Neurocell had finished examining Rainbow and rating her progress, he left the pegasi for the recovery room. There were three ponies laid out peacefully in their beds, resting after being treated for various injuries. While the troops come and go, invading enemy territory and returning after the results, both good or bad, there were always mares and stallions that needed fixing up.

The most recent group of wounded soldiers had returned roughly ten days prior from a failed assault on Los Pegasus. More than half of the troops were killed during the fighting, mainly due to the sudden appearance of numerous fighter jets stationed in the nearby, but undiscovered, desert base under Colonel Trixie's command. Despite the extent of their injuries, it appeared that they would make a full recovery.

At the far end of the room, Cadance sat vigilantly overlooking her sister-in-law. There had been little change in her condition in a long time. Dr. Neurocell walked over and examined Twilight as he routinely did, flashing a light in her eyes, checking her vitals and searching for any flux in her magical energies. Everything appeared as it usually did. With a pat on Cadance's shoulder, the doctor took his leave. The former princess nodded her thanks and returned her gaze to the lavender unicorn.

Nearly an hour later, there was a weak groan. Cadance gasped.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!