• 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.

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Chapter 30

Derpy landed back at her troops in an instant.

"Multiple jets headed this way! Scramble!"

The large group of ponies darted between the buildings and down the streets looking for a quick spot to hide and prepare. The Party Crashers followed Pinkie to Sugarcube Corner and up the stairs into her old room. A.B. spun and bucked the boards off from in front of the windows, splintering them to pieces. After pushing the remaining pieces off, one by one, they stepped out onto the crooked roof and readied themselves for an attack from the far side of the second story.

Shining Armor and several of his troops ran ahead to Ponyville's old market square. He and three others galloped on and ducked behind the decrepit Town Hall while a pair of his earth ponies hid below the cracked and moldy stone statue in the center of town.

Applejack and Commander Derpy, along with half a dozen others, sprinted in the direction of Golden Oaks Library. Halfway there, however, the sound of overhead fire halted them in their tracks. Quickly, they slammed their backs against the wall of the closest building and held their breath as the first of the jets flew by. Barely a second later, four more in a pack zipped past them as the swarm invaded.

Half of the fleet banked left and the other right, intent on covering as much of the city as their numbers would allow. A pilot that headed right spotted a group of four of the enemy below running between a pair of homes and fired a missile in their direction. It plowed through the fragile wall of the closer building and exploded, the blast smashing them into its neighboring residence and the shrapnel tearing into their flesh. They died instantly.

First blood was drawn.

-----

Repeated bouts of gunfire echoed loudly outside while three mares and a dragon looked toward the roof of Carousel Boutique with unsure and nervous looks.

"OK, something's going on out there, and I'm not going to just sit on my flank and do nothing! That sounded like an explosion, and things don't just blow up for no reason!" Rainbow snarled.

"It sounds like that bunch of planes flying around out there again," Rarity remarked. "I just can't believe they'd send an entire fleet just to look for the two of you."

"Me either. How would they have even known we were here if they were after only Rainbow and I?" Twilight wondered and shrugged. "They saw us duck into the Everfree Forest but we didn't see anypony overheard when we came out."

"Rainbow, there's a hole in the roof upstairs in Rarity's old room," Spike said. "Why don't you go check it out? Just be careful. Don't want to be spotted."

"Right," she said, bolting off as fast as her wings could take her. She returned less than a minute later. "There's a bunch of them. Could be the ones who followed us. They're tearing up Ponyville!"

Twilight's brow furrowed as she tried to piece together the reason for the planes' reappearance. It suddenly came to her and she gasped.

"Commander!"

"What do you mean?"

"It has to be the rest of the resistance! They're probably in town now and are under attack!"

"What can we do to help?" Rainbow asked.

The wheels turned in Twilight's head and a confident smile slowly formed. "Spike," she said with authority, "I need you to nail me and Rarity."

Rainbow's wings popped up in surprise while Rarity and Spike shared a confused glance. Their faces went a bright shade of crimson. Twilight noticed their perplexity and barely held back facehoofing.

"Operation: Joystick, Rarity? You remember?"

"Ooh!" she and Spike said together as the unicorn breathed a sigh of relief. "We've still got what we need in one of the dressing rooms for that. Let me go get them," the dragon said, the redness finally fading away. Sounds of plastics hitting the floor and klinks of metal spoke up from behind the double doors. Once he found what he was looking for, Spike lumbered out with several horseshoes in one hand and a hammer in the other.

A purple glow lifted them from his grasp. Twilight squinted with focus as they floated in the air in front of them. Rarity took hold of four for herself. Sparks and small bursts of electricity flew off the shoes as they casted the same spell.

"You better grab a couple radios too, get them hooked up to our frequency, just in case," the lavender mare said, addressing Spike. With a simple nod, he headed into the leftmost dressing room and searched.

"OK, what in the hay is 'Operation: Joystick'?" Rainbow asked, as bewildered as ever.

-----

Panels of wood and plaster flew off Town Hall over Shining Armor's head. A pair of planes dashed by and he and his friends fired in retaliation. A few sparks flew from the jets, but not enough damage seemed to have been done. They turned back around for another pass and took careful aim.

General Armor's pink force field appeared around his small squad as deflected the bullets shot at them, but the missile that collided with his barrier proved to be just too much. He was knocked to his flank, shaken, but otherwise alright. His bubble had shattered and they were suddenly very vulnerable.

As he stood, his troops opened fire again as a twin trail of bullets ran along the ground in front of them. The General and two of his pegasi comrades jumped out of the way as the others were torn to shreds. He growled at the enemy as they raced past. With their cover gone, he waved at the pair to follow him. Giving themselves some cover fire, they hurried into the thick heart of Ponyville. The two earth ponies shooting at various jets from near the statue joined them.

-----

A.B. reloaded a rocket launcher that Pinkie had pulled out of nowhere and aimed it at an oncoming jet. A faint blue aura encircled the projectile as it was sent away. It followed its target, guided by Belle's magic. After a short chase, the rocket crashed into the plane's nose and detonated. The pilot was blown apart and the war machine crashed into one of the many abandoned homes.

Pinkie hoisted her PC 9000 onto her shoulder with a loud grunt and blasted another jet that got too close out of the sky. The pegasus that sprang from the cockpit was promptly shot and killed by Loo. After pulling a grenade from her vest and lobbing it past another nearby plane, missing just barely, she said, "We're getting killed out here! There's too many of them!"

"Then we're going to make them remember us!" the pink pony cried out, firing the cannon again.

Belle swung her head back and forth, searching for more fighter planes to attack, when she spotted something quickly from the corner of her eye. She did a double take and her froze her gaze, facing east.

"Look!" she yelled joyously.

Her three friends spun around and saw a familiar purple sight carrying two mares wearing flying goggles below him and a third flying beside him.

"It's Spike 'n Rarity!" A.B. shouted.

Pinkie confidently smirked at the sight. "Thanks, Twi," she said under her breath.

As Spike entered the fray, he turned to Rainbow, "Get with the others and do what you can from the ground. We'll handle them up here."

"I'll go meet up with the Party Crashers, see what I can do."

"Good. Go!"

As the blue pegasus broke away, Rarity and Twilight scanned over the separated packs of jets while Spike dodged occasional gunfire. It had been a while since he had been in the middle of such a large skirmish. His blood was pumping furiously, and he could almost feel his senses sharpening. A subtle change of direction a plane took from behind him didn't go unnoticed. It almost felt like he could see the bullets racing toward him as they were fired.

"Over there!" Rarity exclaimed, pointing to a small group of planes to the southwest. "That'll do nicely."

With a nod and a flexing of his metal wings, Spike dove toward the pack, making sure to stay above them. As they rapidly approached, the dragon kept his eyes on the two jets farthest to the back.

"Get ready, and.. " Twilight anticipated, "now!"

By her command, Spike released the unicorns, one after the other, and they fell quickly toward the enemy fighters, their legs extended out. Not sure of what he was doing, the pilots made no effort to get out of the way as they watched the behemoth drop two of his closest friends into their path.

With two sets of loud clangs, Rarity and Twilight landed on top of their respective planes hooves first. The pilots looked behind themselves as best they could and saw nothing from their vantage point. They turned to each other and saw the unicorns sticking to the roofs of their rides.

"She's on top of you!"

"Yours too! Shake 'em off!"

Rarity suddenly found herself spinning around repeatedly as her escort barrel rolled. She fought back the slight nausea and focused on her task, moving one slow hoofstep at a time toward the nose of the plane. Though it was a bit difficult lifting each hoof off the metal thanks to Twilight's magnetism spell, she was able to maintain a brisk pace and approached the front as fast as she could.

Twilight found herself in a predicament as the pilot she was trying to get to was banking back and forth as hard as he could trying to shake her off. She wasn't going to slide off, but she also was having an exceptionally hard time trying to move. She cursed at herself for not being given enough time to recovery physically. If she could walk without trouble, it wouldn't have been a problem. Her horn came alive, and it wrapped its magic around her hooves. With a strong tug, her left hind leg popped off, allowing her to take half a step, before gluing itself back to the metal. Little by little, she pushed her way forward.

After a few minutes of fighting against the terrible winds and twirling of metal, Twilight and Rarity found themselves looking through the amber panels of glass that housed the cockpits. Focusing their magic, they grabbed hold of the pilots' forelimbs and forced them to do their bidding. The first thing they did was straighten the planes out.

Panicking, the pilots struggled against their masters to no avail and called out over their headsets for help. Before they knew it, they were being forced to pull their jets alongside each other. Their controllers glanced at each other from a distance and grinned knowingly. The pilots did their bidding and the pair turned to the left hard, charging full speed at a group of fellow planes.

Pulling the jets slightly and aiming ahead, a pair of missiles suddenly flew from under their wings. They flew into the group and decimated two of the targets, sending the metal scrap careening to the ground and throwing the others slightly out of control. They managed to stabilize their flight patterns and their leader into his mic.

"68! 71! What in Celestia's name are you doing?!" the group's leader yelled.

"It's not us! It's these two on our roofs!"

"We can't control it! Take evasive action!"

"Roger–aah!" he screamed as a large purple menace pounced on top of his nose and smashed through the glass, turning the pilot into paste. Spike grabbed what was left of the pegasus and threw it viciously at the cockpit of the plane in front of him. The stallion's remains splattered all over the glass, obscuring the pilot's vision. The sudden collision with her teammate's body caused her to lose just enough control and bump into another jet.

As the chain reaction took place, Spike took to the air and dove down hard with his claws extended and wings folded completely in, ramming his body through the meat of the plane. It split in two and fell to the ground. The plane's pilot ejected before the front half could blow only to hit by the full force of another metal monster. Before she could even think, her body was shattered and she tumbled like a rag doll.

The powerful dragon swooped down and snatched up the back of the destroyed fighter jet. Grunting, he spun around and hurled it at an approaching enemy. With a loud crunch, it embedded itself through the underbelly, knocking the jet's systems completely offline. Not wanting to make the same mistake his comrade made, the stallion waited until he was low before bailing out. The dead machine demolished an old store below. Thinking he was safe for the moment, the pilot flew on into a nearby alley, where he found Applejack, Derpy and a few of their friends. In an instant, they turned and ended him.

Satisfied with disrupting the first of the groups of flying enemies, Spike climbed into the sky and went off to the next batch, letting Twilight and Rarity unload their mounted miniguns into the squad in front of them. Despite trying to regain control and shake the unicorn pair, it didn't take long to rip through the last of them and send the planes plummeting to the earth. With nearly a third of the original fleet now destroyed, Rarity looked to Twilight and then toward Spike, nodding to follow him. Twilight agreed and they chased after their scaly friend.

As Spike caught up with his next victims, Shining Armor and several of his troops had found a safe spot on Stirrup Street beside a two-story home. A quick glance into the road showed the General bodies of fallen companions. Squinting, he slowly turned his head, scanning for the sounds of approaching enemies from overhead. For the moment, the nearby area seemed quiet. As quiet as a war zone was going to be, at least.

General Armor took three steps away from the wall and looked at the rooftop. There didn't appear to be any holes from their side. Taking one last look around for enemy fighters, he turned to the pegasi who survived their initial, deadly encounter with Celestia's air force.

"You two get me up to the roof. I've got an idea."

He stood up on his hind legs as the pegasi each wrapped a forelimb around their necks. Straining slighty, thanks to Shining Armor's girth, they flapped hard and got into the air. They set him down gently on the thatched roof once they reached their intended destination. Not wanting the roof to collapse, Shining Armor slowly, carefully laid down with his friends following his lead. He crept forward and reached the pinnacle, peeking straight ahead overtop as his comrades watched their flanks.

They spotted Spike clawing at a jet to the north and the pair of magical hijackers following not far behind him, shooting others out of the sky. From the south, a second group of attack planes were circling around and were heading in their general direction. Shining Armor was shown that they were approaching and twisted his neck, cracking it.

"Hold onto me. This is probably going to throw me for a loop and I don't feel like falling off of this thing," he instructed.

They nodded, grabbing onto his limbs and shoulders tightly. He waited patiently for the airliners to get close. When they were in range, he hoisted himself up and raised his horn at them. It glowed, and a dark pink beam of magic shot out, culminating into a point and extending itself outward into a wall. The first four of the eight jets zipped by before it was completed. The next pair barely managed to avoid crashing, but the final two slammed head first into the barrier.

The impact blew Shining Armor back hard, and his supporters went with him, tumbling off the roof. The pegasi held on as tight as they could and flapped aggressively, desperately trying to slow the fall. It was just enough, and the earth ponies and unicorns below were able to catch them, albeit rather roughly, landing hard on their flanks and backs. The group rolled off each other and gave General Shining Armor some room. Aside from a few scrapes and a new, throbbing headache, he was otherwise alright.

Atop Sugarcube Corner, the Party Crashers were having limited success, aside from Pinkie with the PC 9000. At such high speeds, even managing to hit a jet with a few rounds was proving rather difficult, and they had used up the few rockets they brought with them.

Frustrated at the low kill count, Loo snorted angrily. An idea came to her and she slid the strap covered in grenades from her torso.

"Belle, hop on," she commanded.

Not questioning her, the unicorn climbed aboard. Throwing caution to the wind, Loo bolted into the sky as Belle held on tightly. They charged head first into a group of oncoming enemies, and Belle erected a light blue cocoon around them. Loo held up the grenades for Belle and pointed at them.

"You think you can keep this open?" she asked.

"You mean spread out like a circle? Yeah, wh.. ooh! I see what you're up to. No problem!"

The strap floated on its own, dashing alongside the pair as the jets quickly closed in. Sparks flew and bullets ricocheted off their shield. Concentrating, Belle quickly removed the pins from the grenades and mounted the strap onto the nose of the first plane that rushed by. They pressed forward, narrowly avoiding the following fighters and exited the group from behind. The orange mare stopped suddenly, turned around and hovered. A few seconds later, the grenades exploded together, leaving a noseless plane plummeting to the ground. His comrades climbed out of the way, almost getting lost through the smoke bellowing from the wreckage.

Loo and Belle gave each other a celebratory hoofbump and rejoined the Party Crashers.

"Not a bad move, Loo," Rainbow said, "but what if you need some grenades later?"

"Meh, I'll deal with it then. Still got a few more of these maggots to take down."

-----

From the highest spire's balcony in the Royal City, Celestia observed the battle through her telescope. As one jet after another fell to her enemies, the sneer on her face grew. She watched a large purple dragon's fire slowly melt through the metal skin like a hot knife through butter. A white unicorn with a purple mane and tail was somehow standing on the roof of another as it raced around and shot at its own. She gritted her teeth hard when he saw another jet being ridden by an all-too-familiar lavender pony with a flaring set of stars for a cutie mark.

The Princess, frustrated, lifted her face from the telescope and sighed. She already knew how things were going to turn out in Ponyville. She opened her large, off-white wings and glided down to the front entrance of the castle. The guards outside knelt as she entered as well as the ones inside as she passed.

Ignoring the numerous gestures of respect as she went, Celestia made a beeline for the control room and found herself at the communications desk. She levitated the microphone to her regal lips.

"Shell Shock, this is your Princess. Proceed with Defense Plan: Delta as instructed. I need you to begin immediately. Meet me outside the castle gates as soon as possible with everything you need," she instructed over the loudspeakers.

-----

Fifteen minutes had gone by, and Shell Shock and his crew approached Celestia from the rear. On the backs of the pegasus and the unicorn underling were saddlebags filled with sticks of dynamite and a large roll of thin copper wire. Shell Shock himself hovered a plunger beside his head, and his own saddlebag had various digging tools inside. The earth pony of their group also had with him pickaxes, shovels, and hammers with chisels. Strapped to each of their shoulders was a walkie-talkie.

"Ah, you're here. Excellent. You all know what Defense Plan: Delta entails. I want you to set it up in the tunnel closest to Canterlot," Celestia said.

The four stallions shared a curious glance. "Begging your pardon, Your Highness," Shell Shock replied, "but why so close to the Royal City? Why not further out?"

"Any further out and you may be spotted. Plus, Derpy has been marching her troops for the better part of a day, and are currently fighting, and winning," she scowled and looked away in disgust, "against a fleet of attack planes. It's a long march from Ponyville to this location following the tracks. They'll be tired and weary and unable to react in time before they're all destroyed. Even if they somehow survive, Colonel Trixie and my troops be standing ready outside the gates fresh. There will be nowhere they can go."

"An excellent strategy, Your Majesty," Shell Shock said, grinning menacingly. The Princess reciprocated. "Anything else you need for us to do?"

"Yes." She dragged a hoof through the dirt, drawing a picture of a mountain with two holes for tunnels on the sides. "You'll need to carve out a small alcove underneath the tracks on this side of the mountain and wait until Derpy is in position. Shell Shock, I want you to be the only one in the alcove," she addressed him, tapping on the ground where she wanted her orders carried out.

"On the far side of the tunnel here," she drew an X on the opposite side, "I'll need you to cut another small hole for the rest of you to hide in. Don't dig this one directly under the tracks, though. You may be spotted that way. Dig a few paces out of their line of sight.

"Once you hear the last of Derpy's troops enter the tunnel, sneak out and give Shell Shock the signal when you've seen that they've gotten far enough inside. Do what you can to get out of there as quickly and quietly as possible at that point and return here. Are there any other questions?"

The stallions shook their heads. Celestia cocked her head proudly and unconsciously displayed her wings.

"Good. Get started immediately. Every second counts."

Shell Shock and the others saluted quickly and galloped off as quickly as their legs would take them.

-----

Rarity fired the last of her captive's missiles at the last of their enemies in the air. Nothing but flames and scrap were left upon impact. She and Twilight flew up alongside each other. Remembering what they had done in times past during Operation: Joystick, Rarity motioned at Twilight, shooting her hoof upwards twice, meeting the imaginary lines to at a common point. Spike knew what to expect as well and hovered below them. Twilight nodded and the two unicorns banked their jets far, far away from each other.

They kept an eye on each other as they circled around and began ascending at a sharp angle. Still manipulating the pilots, they flipped the jets upside down and forced the ejector seats to activate, shooting the pilots out rapidly toward the ground. Spike charged at the enemies as they tried to adjust themselves, slashing his powerful claws through their flesh. He shook the entrails off his hands as best he could. He wouldn't want to get blood on his angel's exquisite coat.

The two jets raced toward each other. Twilight and Rarity watched intently as the distance between them closed. Simultaneously, the glows from their horns intensified, causing their hooves to emit small sparks of electricity. Suddenly, their magnetic grips were released and they went into freefall. Four seconds later, the planes collided in midair with a violent explosion.

Avoiding the mangled metal crashing to the earth, Spike snatched up Twilight and zipped over to his love, catching her with kid gloves. The three squeezed each other tightly, overjoyed that they were together again and kicking flank like nothing had ever changed.

They flew over Ponyville, greeted by cheers and whoops where they went. Spike and Rarity nuzzled their heads together and looked into each other's watering eyes. Despite everything they did after Twilight had been shot, Derpy's army was thrilled to see them fighting by their side again, and it made their hearts beat with joy. A moment later, they were joined in the air by a rainbow-maned pegasus.

"So that's the kind of thing you guys used to do out here, eh?"

Twilight giggled. "More or less."

Rainbow Dash smirked and slowly nodded her head, thoroughly impressed. She gripped her radio and pushed the button, "Commander, where do you want us all to meet up now that it's over?"

A brief moment passed. "Everypony meet up by Town Hall."

-----

Derpy and her forces sat together by the old government building, exhausted. Twilight was looking over Shining Armor, who hadn't be hurt because of his stunt. Applejack had received a moderate scrape across her side, but was otherwise fine. The Party Crashers were unharmed. Spike and Rarity stood beside the Commander, who was skimming over her remaining troops. She didn't do an exact head count, but she could see that she had easily lost a quarter of her ponies. She closed her eyes and grimaced, upset that her numbers had dwindled, but grateful they could still press forward.

Sighly deeply, Derpy turned her wobbly golden eyes to the two old newcomers at her side. Embarrassed and remorseful, they averted their gazes away from their former commanding officer, fearing the worst now that she was in front of them. Biting his lip, Spike instinctively grabbed onto his tail and twisted it.

Feeling the weight of Derpy's stare, they eventually found the courage to look back at her. After a quick glance at Twilight, the blonde pegasus faced the pair and finally spoke.

"Seems you guys haven't lost your touch."

The lovers cracked nervous, quivering smiles which disappeared as quickly as they formed.

"Thanks for saving our flanks out there." She saluted the pair, as did the rest of her army after her.

The white mare felt tears forming. She didn't feel any of their gratitude was deserved. "Derpy," Rarity said, pausing to let her eyes fall, "a.. a-about what happened.. w-w-we– "

"I'll worry about it later. But first, we have a mission to see through. Interested in tagging along?"

Spike and Rarity shared a relieved glance with each other and then found Twilight in the crowd, beaming at them with pride. A single tear ran down her ivory cheek.

"Yes. Yes, we would."

A thankful nod and coy grin later, Derpy craned her head and inspected her troops. It was obvious they were tired and probably sore. They had been in two battles in a little under three days, but they were far from done.

"Alright, fillies and gentlecolts. I hate to do this, but break time's over. We've still got a castle to storm. Rainbow, you still carrying Twilight?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"OK then. Move out, everypony!"

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