• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,973 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 31

Princess Celestia watched as Shell Shock and his crew disappeared into the distance. She glanced in the direction of Ponyville, though she couldn't see it, frustrated at what had just transpired. A few dozen of her pilots were most likely dead and their planes in piles of metal scrap amidst the town. To make matters even worse, Spike, Rarity, even Twilight Sparkle all had returned and resumed showing her why they were always a feared force on the battlefield. Though she wasn't sure if they fighting had ended or not, she suspected that she already knew the result.

Turning back to the castle, she marched into the command center. She hadn't seen Colonel Trixie since the day before and needed to speak with her. Her horn lit and the microphone found itself in front of the Princess.

"Trixie, report to the control room immediately. Those of you in my alpha unit also come see me. We need to talk."

Setting the mic down, she stepped outside and waited patiently in the front lobby. It wasn't long before the aging blue mare and the near one hundred stallions and mares in her elite squad arrived. They filed rank in front of her without saying a word. Celestia looked over her top troops and very quietly sighed. She remembered when her alpha unit took up more room than the lobby of her castle had. Now, her numbers were suffering.

The war had taken its toll on both sides pretty badly. In a way, she was almost glad Derpy was marching right to her doorstep. If things kept up the way they had been, she wouldn't have a kingdom left to rule over. If she could eliminate the leaders of the resistance, she'd be one large step closer to taking back total control of her land.

"Fillies and gentlecolts," Celestia began, "the enemy has been spotted in Ponyville. They're headed this way as we speak, provided our air force failed in their mission to destroy them." Trixie averted her eyes and bit her lip at the suggestion.

The Princess continued, "If that is the case, they will be following the train tracks here. Right now, Shell Shock is on his way to set a trap for them. If that should fail, I need you all ready to defend the entrance beyond the train station at all costs. Trixie, I will want you to lead the defense. If Commander Derpy's forces aren't tired from the fighting they just did, they will be once they start making their way here. It's a long walk from Ponyville to Canterlot.

"In the meantime, you will be preparing for battle. Get whatever you need and meet back here in one hour. I need to look over a few things before sending you out. Dismissed."

-----

As instructed, Celestia's alpha squad, along with Trixie, returned to the lobby and waited stoically for her return. They were decorated mostly the same: Chains or clips of ammunition strapped over their shoulders or holstered in a strap around their waist, assault rifles across their backs, others had grenade launchers. A hoofful of them brought binoculars. Since they were to be defending a small area, they decided against bringing hoofheld radios. A few minutes later, their alicorn leader approached the group.

"I need four pegasi volunteers," the Princess said bluntly. In an instant, several raised their hooves while others flew a few feet overhead. She made her selections, three mares and a stallion, and they flew to the front of the group.

"You will keep watch from the train station until the trap is sprung. If you can see that Shell Shock and the others will be able to make it back to you, wait for them to arrive and then return to the others. Get them some weapons if they make it back with you. If they don't make it, then retreat early. Understood?"

"Yes, ma'am!" they said in unison.

"Good. Move out." With that, the four departed out the front. "Now, you four," she pointed to four stallion earth ponies at the front of the pack, "you will come with me. If they are still somehow able to infiltrate the castle, I suspect I know where they intend to go."

"Where would that be, Your Majesty?" Trixie asked.

"To my prized possession. It's the only reason they have been able to sustain themselves this long. If that moron Blueblood hadn't allowed himself to be used by that witch, Rarity, they would have never gotten their hooves on the information I was able to get from it," Celestia explained, squinting angrily. "They may still want to repossess it and use any secrets it may still hold to try and undo everything I've worked so hard for. If they're able to get to it, we'll never be able to achieve peace. I can't let that happen. You all have your orders. Now, go."

Her elite squad, minus her new personal guard, filed out of the lobby. Once the last of the soldiers had left, she and the earth ponies climbed the staircase to her right and followed the hallway to another column of stairs. After escalating three more columns of stairs, they found themselves at the beginning of a long corridor. Nearly fifty feet in front of them was another hall to the right with a red carpet running along the floor. Ahead of them was a double door on the left, about ten paces past the carpet, leading to Celestia's seldom used bedroom.

She paused and glanced to her right at the massive, decorative set of double doors on the wall. On the other side and deeper in stood a blue metal box where a royal throne used to be. Celestia had spent many days and nights trying to force her way into the TARDIS with absolutely no results after The Doctor was rescued decades ago. All her magic couldn't even so much as scratch the exterior. At times, she almost regretted vaporizing him. But, she had all the time in the world. Sooner or later, it would crack. It had to.

Celestia took a deep breath and continued ahead, approaching the doors on their left. It glowed a sparkling gold and opened on its own. The torches lit by the Princess' will and they walked inside, leaving the doors ajar. Spiders and insects disappeared into the dark corners and cracks in the wall at the appearance of light.

Her large, decadent bed was in shambles and as unkempt as her mane. The throw rug beneath had fallen victim to age and several strands of thread had come loose, leaving small holes and tattered ends. A mirror laid beside her night stand on the floor in pieces. A bright royal red sofa with golden colored woodwork sat against the far wall, covered in a thick layer of dust. Silky pink and lavender curtains hung over the cracked glass doors leading to the balcony and were barely hanging onto their foundations.

As the alicorn and her guards walked through the disastrous room, the curtains came to life and slid to the side. The doors opened and exposed the balcony to them. Celestia stepped outside and the earth ponies turned around to face the hallway outside, prepared for any intruders. From her vantage point, the Princess could see Trixie and the elite forces stationed below, camped outside the dual rounded staircases that led inside. In the distance, she saw the train station and, beyond that, the final tunnel in the mountain that led to Canterlot. She hoped Shell Shock would be finished before long.

-----

A few hours had gone by before Derpy had encountered the first of the several tunnels in the mountain. As they approached, they hugged the walls tightly and held their breath. Undoubtedly, Celestia had plans for them. It was only a question of where.

The cross-eyed pegasus leaned against the mountainside and stealthily peeked into the darkness ahead of them. She lifted her machine gun up and fired off a few rounds into the tunnel. Once the echos died down, she looked again. There wasn't any indication of sound or movement. An idea came to her and she looked around on the ground for something flammable, but found nothing. She noticed a rock beside her and decided to shift the plan around slightly.

"Twilight!" Derpy hissed. "This rock here, pick it up and throw it in there, but don't drop your magic."

Nodding, the unicorn climbed off Rainbow Dash and wobbled over to the entrance of the tunnel. She levitated the stone and hurled it as hard as she could. The two mares watched intently as it landed on the tracks. The bright purple glow lit up the entire tunnel, but there was no sign of anything. Derpy put a hoof on Twilight's shoulder and nodded once, and her horn reverted to normal.

"I'm going to need you to do that before we go into each one of these, Twilight. Might as well be safe." The Commander turned to the others and spoke up. "Unicorns, I want you to light these tunnels up like the sun when we're going through them. Pegasi, Spike, I want you all flying overhead and scanning for any airborne threats while we walk through. If you don't see anything, wait for us at the exit. Rainbow, stay with me on the ground for Twilight."

"Understood. Come on up here, girl," she said, laying down and receiving her passenger.

"Let's go."

-----

Four grueling hours had gone by, but they were closing in on Canterlot nonetheless. Each entrance took several patient minutes to look over before they continued in, but they had been strangely lucky so far. However, it brought no comfort to their leader.

"Commander," Rainbow said as they entered yet another cavern, "I was thinking. I know Celestia's the reason we're fighting and all, and I know you said that TARDIS was in Canterlot."

"Mhm, in her throne room."

"Well, what was your plan? Did you want to go after Celestia first or take out the TARDIS like The Doctor wanted?"

"Celestia. Why?"

"It just seems that the TARDIS would be the more important target in my opinion."

"The TARDIS isn't going anywhere, Rainbow. Celestia is," Derpy said with a hint of authority.

"But we might be. That's the thing. What happens if we go into Canterlot, find Celestia, and we fail to take her out?"

"The TARDIS is practically impossible to get into, save for a few ponies."

"You mean like somepony who's carrying the Screwdriver? What would happen if we all die and she finds that thing on me? She's not stupid. She'd figure out what it could do eventually, and then she could get more information and use it against Equestria! Didn't you also tell me that it can travel through space and time?"

"Through space, yes. The Doctor made it forget how to travel through time."

"That's still more than Celestia should be allowed to do, though. If she's able to figure out how to make it travel around, no matter what kind of security it may have, we don't know if she would intend to spread her idea of peace around to other planets. She is immortal, after all. Even if it took her another thousand years, who's to say she wouldn't be able to eventually make the TARDIS do what she wants it to with her magic?"

"Rainbow does make a decent argument, Commander," Twilight chirped. "I'll admit that I don't know nearly as much as you do about the TARDIS, but I'm starting to think it may not be a bad idea to destroy it before finding Celestia, too. Even if she somehow escaped, we'd still eventually find her. The possibility of leaving the TARDIS with her is just bad."

Derpy rubbed her chin and squinted, deep in thought. Both strategies had their strong points. She stopped her march and played out in her mind what The Doctor would do and say. Most likely, he'd be looking at the bigger picture. Equestria was a wonderful place to live before Celestia declared war, but cities can be rebuilt. Entire planets was a different matter altogether, especially when they weren't your own.

The Doctor had told Derpy stories in the past of his adventures when he first arrived and they went off on some of their own. At times, his tales involved a situation where preventative measures that were taken had saved the lives of many more places and creatures than an immediate response would have. It was about the greater good. Now, before them stood the very real possibility of an immortal goddess eventually figuring out how to use a TARDIS as a worst case scenario.

The blonde mare wasn't about to let that happen.

"Change of plans, then. Party Crashers, Applejack, Rarity, get over here," she called out. They listened closely when they arrived. "If.. no, when.. we make it into Canterlot, Celestia is now our secondary target. The Doctor wanted us to destroy his TARDIS. Rainbow Dash here came up with the suggestion, and she's right. If we should fail, we have to make sure she's unable to use it. If she was ever able to, I can't imagine how far her notion of peace could reach. Hell, all of existence could be in danger if that were to happen."

"Commander," Shining Armor spoke up, "what would you need me to do once we arrive?"

"I'll have you and the others scour the city and clean things up while the Elements, the Party Crashes and myself head to Celestia's throne room. I'll have Spike go with you too. We may need the space in there and he takes up a lot of it. I'll let you tell him once we're there. The rest of us will have to be fast and I don't know if I'll be able to give the order."

"Understood."

"Alright. Thanks, Rainbow," Derpy said with a smile. They resumed their march and came up to the waiting pegasi and dragon at the end of the tunnel.

-----

Ninety-five minutes went by, and the rebels arrived at the opening to the final hole in the mountain. On the other side was a clear path to the train station and then Canterlot. They went through the routine they had gone through with the previous seven openings. A sparkling purple rock flew into the cavern, exposing no signs of trouble. After skimming the innards of the cave closely, the army advanced on foot and overhead as usual.

The last of the Derpy's ponies went inside. A sudden distinct lack of hoofsteps walking across gravel and wooden tracks tipped off Shell Shock's three friends. The pegasus just barely stuck his nose out from their hiding spot on the side of the mountain and saw no sign of anypony still approaching or directly overhead. He left the group, flapping quietly and landing as softly as a feather outside the tunnel. He peered inside and saw the multicolored bright glows coming from the horns of the many unicorns.

With a wicked smirk, he tapped his radio, "Shell Shock, be ready in ten," he whispered. He did not expect an answer back.

Derpy and her forces were about halfway through and saw their friends waiting on the far side. Twilight had been lazily scanning over the smoothed out walls as she thought about the inevitable fight only a stone's throw away. A sudden, stringy flash of light near the almost twenty foot ceiling caught her eye. She blinked, believing she was imagining things. She squinted hard and more singular bursts of light appeared. They almost appeared to be reflections, but she couldn't figure out what could be doing such a thing.

There was a faint crackle. Several specks of dust and gravel fell and landed on Rainbow's and Twilight's heads. The pegasus stopped and looked up, annoyed and confused. More dust fell and landed in her face, causing her to growl and wipe her eyes.

"Derpy, stop," Twilight said quickly. "Up top."

The Commander responded immediately and noticed a wiry sheen. She guided her gaze down one of the culprits she spotted and found numerous, round sticks jutting out from various points carved into the roof. Her body jolted and a gasp escaped.

"Fall in to me, now!"

A few seconds later, a chain of blasts brought the tunnel down on their heads.

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