• Published 8th Oct 2012
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Fallout Equestria: Viva Las Pegasus - S3rb4n



A story of rise and fall set up in the post-apocalyptic city of New Pegasus

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Chapter 19: Send Me An Angel

ACT V: DUSK

Chapter 19: Send Me An Angel

“Good evening, mares and gentlecolts, and welcome to another entire hour of music and entertainment at the station that brings you all you need to make your way through the day! Yes, you are listening to New Pegasus Radio, and I am your host, Mister New Pegasus! This last piece is recent, and yet, it has become an instant classic; it’s the faceoff between Swinging Voice and Dino Maretino at the Grand Auditorium! These two crooners are talent ponyfied, and I am surprised that they haven’t yet been summoned away from our city; I guess that the regular audience that fills their shows is a powerful anchor, don’t you think?

Let’s move on to the news, but first, let me make an important announcement, or so it is for me, at least. Today is my last day speaking to you through the waves, bringing you the news and the entertainment. I have gotten old and it’s become time for me to move on in order to make way for younger and readier voices, such as the one of your upcoming host, Miss New Pegasus. I have had a wonderful time with a magnificent team that has allowed me to make a job out of my passion. I’ve been many years behind this microphone, and I’ve seen quite a lot of things happen, but the best memory I will ever take with me is that of having been able to share them with all of you. Thanks from the depths of my heart.

Now, back to the news. The City’s industrial district of Sunset Hills is now working at full speed after the protocolary inauguration hosted by the Spokespony of the City Board, Desert Rose and the Chief of Development of New Pegasus, Ampera Von Ohm. The speech of the surprisingly young and equally capable mare focused on the need for progress in dire times like the ones we live in. Our industry, she said, is what will make us able to maintain our independence and our comparative advantage against incoming forces like those of the New Equestrian Republic, and our welfare, she added, is what keeps making Wastelanders come and join the community.

Looking back at how the City has grown in the last few years, I must admit I am frankly surprised at how proficiently this administration has managed to assign the scarce resources in order to optimize the welfare of the citizens. The industrial areas have been rebuilt, many housing projects have come to fruition and the overall level of the urban environment is more similar to those old Pre-War pictures than to the Wasteland. Even with the presence of the Republic, New Pegasus has thrived like it hadn’t in decades.

Speaking of the Republic, grim news arrive from the Coltorado front, mares and gentlecolts. It seems like the forces of the Tsardom have managed to break NER lines and have prompted a strategic retreat into Neighvada. According to official statements, the Republican Army is standing guard at the far side of Hoofer Dam and is ready to resist and hold the facility until a counteroffensive can be arranged. Despite all the trouble they have been through, the NER High Command states that the morale of its soldiers remains high and that they believe that their technological superiority will be the key for a long-run victory.

The following question is… what is this Tsardom that has forced the once victorious armies of the New Equestrian Republic to fall back from as far as Hayowa to Neighvada? Who leads them, and what is their purpose? What will happen to the City of New Pegasus if the Republic is flushed out of the Territory, and how will the City Board react to a possible Tsardom takeover? So far, none of these questions have found a valid answer, but this station will keep posing them until we can get the information we all are searching for.

For now, let’s stop it there, and move on to some more music! This is a piece I hold dear, for it’s one of those that marks an age, in this case, the rebirth of the world after the fall of ponykind. Yes, I am getting sentimental, but it’s my last day on air, so cut me some slack. For all of you to enjoy, here is some Velvet Remedy, and remember, you are listening to New Pegasus Radio, and I am your host, Mister New Pegasus, speaking, this time more than ever, directly to your souls…”

“Are you ready for the interview, mister Farsight?” The young mare smiled and looked at me in the eyes.

“Of course.” I nodded. “Ask away.”

The mare gave me a kind grin and began searching through her papers, while I looked calmly at her. She was fairly young, but considering that she was going to be the new anchorpony of the local radio station, that mare had to be a good journalist; or at least she had to possess the tenacity to pry the information out of the ponies she interviewed. She had a natural charm, although she wasn’t amazingly beautiful. She was cute, petite and dressed discretely; but there was something that made you like her and feel compelled to spill your guts. It could be her hazel eyes and her orange fur, or it could be her gracious way of moving around, but there sure was something disarming about her.

Still, I had tried to avoid giving an interview for a very long time, because I feared that too much public presence might turn my rule into a cult of my personality, and frankly, I didn’t like the idea too much. First of all, there were ponies around me whose help had been critical for my success, and reducing them to mere sideshows would be offensive, to say the least. There were many enemies looming around outside, I didn’t want to make more at home. Secondly, being the governor of a booming city such as New Pegasus required quite an effort and left little time to faff about in things such as interviews. However, Dee and Rose had already been interviewed by that mare, so keeping to the shadows was beginning to feel odd and antisocial.

“We’re ready to go, mister Farsight.”

“Call me Farsight, please. Avoid the ‘mister’, it makes me feel uncomfortable.”

The mare put a little holotape recording device on the table, a small piece of Pre-War arcano-technology that had kept on functioning by Celestia knows what reason. She ordered the heap of papers and moved to a comfortable position, while I took a final glance out of my office window and smiled, enjoying the view of a lit-up city that grew ever bigger. With a deep sigh of satisfaction, I looked back at the mare and got ready to answer.

“Perfect. Good evening to our dear listeners, this is Miss New Pegasus with another interview to an important pony in town. This time, I am here at the top of the Horseshoe Spire with a certain blue stallion some of you might know. Farsight, good evening, and welcome to New Pegasus Radio. It’s great to have you here.”

“Thank you.” I replied. “I really appreciate the job New Pegasus Radio does to deliver information to all four corners of Neighvada.”

“Thanks for the compliment.” Miss New Pegasus laughed clearly. “Tell me, Farsight, how is your daily life nowadays?”

“My daily life? I guess it has become something of a routine. After all, governing a town is not as glamourous as one might think. Meetings that last almost all day, having to balance income and expenditure, dealing with the delegation of the NER… Usually, every day is nothing more than a combination of these factors, in a different order and proportion.”

“I understand. However, every now and then there is something special, isn’t it? For example, yesterday your fellow members of the City Board inaugurated the industrial district of Sunset Hills, am I right?”

“Most certainly.” I nodded. “Naturally, there are milestones that mark our path, but such an event like the one that took place yesterday has required almost three years of hard work and planning. It was a day to celebrate, but we should keep in mind that nothing would have been a reality if we hadn’t planned it with enough foresight.”

“Speaking of planning and celebrating… Today is the eighth anniversary of your rise to power, with that famous speech that started a wave of changes throughout the city. How do you remember that day?”

“Whew, it was like seeing a floodgate open.” I sighed. “All the effort and hard work I had put on the table until that day finally paid off. It was a bit of a self-appreciation moment, a tad egotistic if you ask me. Still, I had to face the people and tell them that we were there to guide them to a better future.”

“Did you expect such a warm reaction?”

“Honestly, I had no idea. However, looking at it with hindsight, I realize that what happened was the most probable outcome. After all, we had shooed the NER away from our gates and had ended the senseless battle between the Ferratura Family and Full House. The population was craving for somepony to come and set things straight once and for all, and that was what we were offering. For now, we are fulfilling that promise.”

“Then, your first decision was risky. You decided to break down the wall between Freedom Field and New Pegasus.”

“Yes, that was a promise of old.” I smiled calmly. “I come from Freedom Field, you know, and I’ve seen how life was out there when the barriers stood. There was so much potential in everything, in the ponies, in the businesses, in the infrastructure… However, it was there, lying underutilized, simply because some elements were ‘unwelcome’ for the society in New Pegasus. Things could easily have been solved by implementing a proper law enforcement and letting the good ponies deal with the bad ponies. That’s what happened, mostly, when Dee took over the control of Freedom Field, and then, I just made the symbolic choice of tearing down the walls.”

“And how was the reaction to such a decision?”

“It depends on who you ask, I guess. Obviously, the district of Freedom Field experienced an incredible boom in living quality, so the ponies living there were happy as a foal in Hearth Warming’s Day. Naturally, New Pegasus had to cope with the increase in needs of its poorer citizens, so there might have been some inhabitants who might have taken it badly. However, with time and proper management, we have achieved a certain equality between districts and I can say with an acceptable level of certainty that the population is happy with the reunion.”

“Besides, that has allowed the Strip to become almost twice as long as it was before; and the square where the gates stood is a meeting point for everypony in town.”

“You mean Union Square? Yes, that is something I take great pride of.” I couldn’t help to smile and take a quick look down the window. “That place had a certain symbolic value… it was a checkpoint of separation, a wall of shame. We needed to turn that into a memento of reunion and friendship, something quite lacking these days. That’s why we chose to rebuild the area as a public square and add a celebratory monument.”

“You mean the Obelisk?”

“Exactly.”

“May I ask you a personal question? Who are the ponies depicted on the Obelisk? And why a griffin on top?”

“It’s a reminder of those who fell during the conflicts that turned New Pegasus into what it is now. Folks whose contribution was necessary to understand what we are today.”

“And those are?”

“Well, you have Metronome, second in command of Dee Cleff, who helped organize the city of Freedom Field. Then there’s LaRoche and Snake Eater, faithful associates of Saddle Buckmare and Ampera Von Ohm, who died defending the population of New Pegasus and Freedom Field when the war started. Then, there’s Novalis Ferratura. Most of the progress that the city experienced in the past decades was his doing and his legacy, so it was fair to have him depicted there.”

“And the griffin?” Miss New Pegasus looked at me with an inquiring face. I tried to hide my feelings that, even if dimmed, were still there.

“That was Stuka Talonblade. She was originally a Talon mercenary, but life brought her to Freedom Field. She died when Golden Swallow tried to take over the city, the day of Dee Cleff’s wedding.”

“Yes, I remember that day.” The mare nodded. “Speaking of Dee Cleff and her husband, could you give me the inside scoop to her life?”

“I think you should ask her about that.” I shook my head. “She’s very careful about her privacy.”

“Fine, fine.” Miss New Pegasus smiled. “We’ll leave that for another show. The city has experimented a substantial growth over the years, how do you feel about it?”

“I think of it as a job well done.” I laughed. “This city couldn’t stand in stagnation anymore. The Wasteland has changed, and organized forces have substituted the chaos of before. Therefore, having a minimal security and some basic trading posts isn’t enough to endure in a world that is becoming more and more competitive. We needed to become strong on our own, and that is what we did.”

“That must have taken a lot of funding.”

“It has, obviously, but we found out that both Full House and the Ferraturas had managed to amass a significant amount of wealth; which we used to fund the development of industrial areas and housing projects.” I lied, since all those projects had been paid with the gold we had brought from Neighorleans. “Those improvements have helped the city to progress and we expect to see a return of investment pretty soon.”

“Speaking of facilities, another tough time was the recovery of Macintosh Airport for the City.”

“Most certainly. It wasn’t easy, since the New Equestrian Republic has shown to be pretty clingy when it comes to territories and properties. I had to lead a tough negotiation with Vice-President Heartstrings, but in the end we managed to find a satisfactory solution.”

“Which were the terms?”

“We paid a steep bill, but that was all.” Another lie. I had been Harpsong’s sex toy for a night in exchange for the Airport. Not that I disliked it, though.

“I see. How are relationships with the NER now, if I may ask?”

“We get along.” I waved a hoof. “After all, the Republic has much bigger problems to deal with than the ramblings of a single city in the middle of the desert. We have our cooperation agreements, and our meetings are always cordial, but that’s it. We don’t want more involvement.”

“Speaking of bigger problems, I suppose you mean the Tsardom.”

“Sadly, yes.”

“What do you know about this mysterious force?”

“Not much more than you, I’m afraid.” I shook my head. “We’re evaluating the risks it means to the well-being of our community, and I assure you that we’ll act consequently. Sadly, we don’t know if the current war between the Republic and the Tsardom was prompted by an attack of the NER or by the expansive behaviour of the Tsar. Still, the rumours make us think that the second option is the most probable one.”

“What do you intend to do about a possible invasion?”

“I can’t really answer to that question.” I shrugged. “There are many variables involved that may change what the optimal strategy is.”

“I understand.”

“Let me assure you, though, that the main priority of this government will be to preserve the safety and welfare of the Citizens of New Pegasus.”

“No doubt about that.” Miss New Pegasus smiled professionally. “One last question, what are the next plans for the City Board?”

“Our working line keeps being that of developing the city’s infrastructure, industry and trade in order to boost the economy of the local enterprises. However, the proximity of an armed conflict will surely make us reconsider what to devote our efforts to. I am sorry that I can’t be more precise, but this is a rather unstable moment in our recent history. We will have to wait and see what happens.”

“That is fairly logical. Well, Farsight, it has been a pleasure for me to spend this time chatting with you and knowing more about the status of the city and its government. This has been an interview by Miss New Pegasus for your favorite station, New Pegasus Radio!”

The mare fiddled with the recorder and put it back into her saddlebag, then she picked the papers and packed them together.

“Thanks for your time, Farsight.” She nodded and smiled. “There’s no need for you to move, I can find my way out. You know, I’ve heard rumours about you… they say you are a total ladykiller, and frankly, I am not interested. Goodbye.”

She turned around and left hastily, as if she thought that I was going to keep her hostage or something similar. When the elevator beeped signalling that it was descending, I laughed out loud at the absurdity of the entire situation.

*** *** ***

The last words of the mare left me thinking, though, even if they had been a little ridiculous. It was true that being a single stallion in a place of power had made me attractive to the opposite sex, but I hadn’t found any suitable companion in the last eight years. I had met many mares who had tried their luck with me, and I’ll be very honest, I had shared a bed with most of them; but I hadn’t met a single one who wasn’t there for money. All kinds of female ponies had tried to become my soulmate, from high-class New Pegasus citizens to lowborn Wastelanders who believed that their beauty or sympathy would make me choose them from the lot.

I don’t know why, but I didn’t find any that managed to spark any feelings in me. Some were beautiful, some were true goddesses in flesh, some others were funny or great conversation partners, but none of them was able to hit the spot that turned a mare into that special mare. I can’t say if I was clinging to the memories of Stuka or if I just saw through them and only found greed; but at one point I would always find an elegant way to forget about them and carry on alone.

One thing was certain, and that was that both Rose and Nadyr were worried about my situation. They would tell me again and again that I needed to find somepony to share my life with, that being lonely was going to eat me from the inside out, and that I spent too much time in my office looking at graphs, maps and tables. That there was more life beyond work, and that I had to try and enjoy what I had obtained. Then again, what could I do besides focusing on the city? Nadyr had his family, Rose was young and enjoyed the nightlife… me, on the other hoof, felt nothing special about anything else than my job.

I sighed and walked towards the computer, and began with my routinely check of the city. The last trade briefing showed an increase in off-Neighvada goods demand, and a new phenomenon was starting to pop up: tourism. Rich ponies of the other side of the Divide were starting to arrange caravans to come and gamble in New Pegasus. I began to think on ways of profiting from that demand, when the elevator beeped. I had installed a password-encrypted security system and had put a guard close to the terminal, to ensure that only those welcomed ponies were able to get into my office. In any case, I always had a small pistol nearby.

“I knew you’d be here, bro!” Nadyr yelled as a salute.

I turned around from the computer and saw my companion walk out of the elevator cabin, surrounded by a foal and a filly, both black with white curly manes. He was already becoming strong and heavy, and his red eyes glowed with avidity. She, on the other hoof, was thin and skinny but agile, and her green eyes showed a calm and kind spirit. With all their differences, they kept being twins, and like twins they behaved: resonating.

“Hi, uncle Farsight!” They screamed in unison.

“Woah, you two, keep it down!” Nadyr laughed.

“Don’t worry Nadyr.” I smiled. “It’s not like I’m going to be scared by a loud noise. Hi there, you two! How’s it going?”

“Awesome!” The young colt pranced. “Papa let me shoot a gun for the first time, and it was incredible!”

“Was it? How many targets did you hit, Harko?”

“Six out of seven!” Harko Cleff boasted. “Not bad for a first day, right?”

“Not bad at all!” I patted Harko on the head and turned my eyes to the young filly. She reminded me of Rose when I first met her. “How was your day, Atreid?”

Atreid Cleff sighed and looked around, seemingly tired.

“Not as good as Harko’s. What is it with you and guns? We are civilized ponies, and we still go like crazy when it comes to shooting!”

“Atreid, you should understand that this has always been a Wasteland, and that self-defense has been key to survival. Yes, we are trying to become civilized, but until we achieve that status of civilization we must be careful and not forget where we come from. For example, your father has taught me how to fight using my metal hindlegs. Still, if you prefer, you can stay with me and help me with the numbers.”

“All right.” Atreid hissed. “You’ve made your point clear. I’ll just go outside and take a long walk.”

“Atreid, please.” Nadyr groaned. “Don’t make such a fuss, would you? Uncle Farsight is just trying to be nice with you.”

“Fine, fine…” Atreid looked at me and tried to smile. “I’m sorry.”

“There is nothing to forgive.” I smiled back. “Now why don’t you two get comfortable over there? I need to discuss something with your father.”

“OK!” Both Atreid and Harko nodded and darted towards the living room.

“Teaching them to behave is being more painful that fighting a horde of Cazadorables.” Nadyr shook and puffed.

“It’s the age, I guess.” I shrugged. “You seem to be getting along quite well with Harko.”

“Mostly because we’re both male, and we like the same things. Although Harko seems to get quite a kick from shooting and overall destruction… and that worries me.”

“Keep an eye on him, but be patient. He’s just a colt. How about Atreid? Is she more fond of her mother?”

“I think their relationship has become a bit tense.” Nadyr sighed. “Dee is very strict and I believe that Atreid is one of those ponies that marches to her own drum.”

“I can sense the personalities clashing.” I laughed. “Maybe Rose should talk to her… a lower age difference can be what bridges them together.”

“Good thinking, bro. I’ll ask Rose to help me out with Atreid.” Nadyr gave me a pat on the back. “Now, what was that you wanted to talk about?”

“Well, there are some interesting data in the last trade briefing that… wait a second, what is this?”

I brought forth a prompt that had begun ticking in the computer screen. It was a radio network monitoring system, similar to the one I had seen in the Relay Wave station eight years ago. It had been always there, locating the different emitters and pinpointing where they were broadcasting from, as well as giving me a measure of the activity. One of the signals was supposed to be sent from above or below New Pegasus, but it had always been a very subtle signal that only transmitted a seemingly random clicking and clacking. It had made me suspicious before, but I had never paid too much attention to it.

At the moment, however, the signal’s intensity had boomed and activity was bubbling on the frequency, with a torrent of clicks and clacks flooding the waves. Whatever that signal was, it meant that something was going on either above or below us; and we needed to find out before it meant trouble for the city.

“That is some sort of radio signal…” Nadyr mumbled.

“It’s always been there, but it has shown no trace of activity in the last years. Only a basic pattern over static, so I thought it could be an automated system sending something like a distress signal that had never been turned off. However, this burst of data means that there is something else.”

“Where are they located?”

“Above or below the city. I have only a 2D representation, so the dot says it’s right on the middle of the Strip, and we both know that it can’t be.”

“Yes, but what could be below us… or above us?”

“I know about the Stable beneath New Pegasus, but I can tell you for certain that they had no broadcasting equipment. About what lies above, well… We don’t know what is beyond the cloud cover, but what could there actually be?”

“Nothing, probably…” Nadyr scratched his beard.

“Papa, uncle Farsight!” Harko called from the window. “Look up there!”

Nadyr’s son was pointing towards the cloud cover, where something was indeed happening. An unidentified object was falling from the skies at high speed, while other objects had begun a chase but were leaving it to fall to the ground. The radio of my PipBuck beeped and a guard’s voice could be heard over the noise of the streets.

“Farsight, sir, an unidentified flying body has been spotted directed towards us!”

“I know, I’m seeing it right now! Do you have a clear visual of it?”

“It’s still too far to make out what it is, sir, but it doesn’t appear to be too large! What are your orders?”

“Estimate the impact zone and clear it; also, keep me in the loop. I want to know what we are facing exactly.”

“Yes, sir!”

The radio faded to static and I turned my head to Nadyr. The half-zebra nodded and called Atreid and Harko to join us, while I pushed the button of the elevator.

“You two should get ready.” I warned the young ones. “This might get rough.”

“Don’t worry about us, uncle Farsight!” Harko smiled.

I nodded and pressed the elevator button, and while the cabin darted downward, I began to wonder what could be that strange object falling from the clouds. As far as we knew, there was nothing more beyond the clouds than the open sky. Of course, everypony knew that after Cloudsdale was destroyed in the War the pegasi decided to lock themselves beyond the cover, but there had been no trace of pegasi in New Pegasus in a long time. The cabin braked and the doors opened at the lower floor, and as soon as we got out of the elevator and the radio recovered reception, the voice of the guard called again.

“Farsight, sir, are you there?”

“Yes, yes, I was in the elevator. What is it?”

“The approximate landing zone is clear. We calculate that the object should reach the ground at Union Square.”

“Any idea of what the object is?”

“We’re still not sure, sir, but it looks like a pegasus in power armor!”

“A pegasus?”

“Yes, sir! We can’t really tell, because it moves quite fast, but it does look like a pony with wings. Do we attempt to shoot it down?”

“Is it falling freely?”

“Yes, it appears to be plummeting without control. Do we intercept?”

“No, let it fall to the ground, unless it tries something funny.” I warned. “Be careful, I would like to capture it alive. If there are actual pegasi up there, I need to know their intentions towards us.”

“Understood, sir! Over and out!”

We trotted out of the Casino and headed down the Strip towards Union Square. The entire city had suffered a transformation in the time of our government, with many buildings being recovered for both housing and economic purposes. When the Ferraturas were in charge, the city life gravitated around the Strip and only a few small cross-streets were worth treading. The rest were nothing more than dirty gutters where nothing ever happened. After our rise to power, the population had expanded and had filled the buildings that were abandoned, turning them into their homes, and the streets had been cleaned. Shops and small businesses had began to locate themselves in the formerly forsaken side streets of New Pegasus, and now the Strip was less of an only way through and more of a boulevard for ponies to enjoy walking up and down.

“Look!” Atreid shrieked. “It’s about to land!”

Mesmerized as I was by my thoughts, I hadn’t seen the object that was falling from the skies reach the ground. I only caught a glimpse of a black body with white wings plummeting down and the sound of metal smashing against concrete filled the air. Atreid let go a loud gasp and we galloped the remaining path until the crash site. The loud noise had attracted some ponies, but the city guards were already doing a fine job keeping the crowds away from the square.

“Farsight, sir!” The guard saluted. “Welcome! Nadyr, young ones, welcome too!”

“Rest now. What was it?”

“It’s a pegasus, heavily armored.” The guard thought about what to say. “Not an armor like anything we had seen before, though.”

“Is he alive?”

“It’s a mare, sir, and she is alive. Severely wounded, but alive.”

“May I take a look?”

“Certainly, sir!”

The guard walked to one side and I saw the body of a medium-sized mare clad in a sleek black power armor, that resembled the chitinous exoskeleton of a radscorpion. She had landed headfirst and was lying on her back, with one wing crushed under her body. The helmet had broken and revealed the face of a white mare with blue and red mane, trendily cut and combed to one side. Even if stained with blood, I swear to Celestia that I had never seen a face more beautiful than that. The proportions were perfect, the shape of the muzzle was soft and rounded, and the white fur gleamed like a diamond.

Even if I was no physician, it was obvious that the pegasus was heavily wounded, but she kept breathing dimly. I tried to force my brain to think a way of getting her to an inconspicuous place where we could heal her and interrogate her, but I was completely dumbfounded by her sight. I kept glaring at her armored body, which, even if covered in ornate black and gold plating, was flowy and curvy in a way that no painter of old could have imagined. It looked as if it had been modeled by the wind, eroded out of a stone, taking out the unnecessary bits and leaving only beauty behind.

“Sir, what are we supposed to do with the pegasus?” The head guard stood in front of me. “Should we take her under custody or…”

“No.” I replied quickly. “I’ll deal with her.”

“Understood, sir.” The guard saluted.

“Deal with her?” Nadyr came trotting from behind. “How are you going to deal with her exactly?”

“Well, to begin with, we’re taking her back to the Spire.” I said. “I want to interrogate her personally.”

“The way you looked at her, bro…” Nadyr shook his head. “Frankly, I have the feeling that interrogating her is the last priority in your list.”

“I admit that she’s… breathtaking.” I sighed. “Still, I can’t let that cloud my mind. For our own good, I simply can’t.”

“You’ve got your principles right, that’s for certain.” Nadyr smiled. “Come, I’ll help you out.”

I lifted the body of the pegasus using my magic, just to find out that she was far lighter than expected. Somehow, I believed that the armor she was wearing had to be heavy, but to my surprise, it was nimble and easy to handle. With some effort, I managed to lay the body of the unconscious mare on my companion’s back, who huffed when he felt the weight, but was able to cope with it and move.

“She’s not as heavy as I thought.” Nadyr smiled. “OK, let’s move.”

“Atreid, Harko!” I called. “We return to the Spire! Bring Rose and Ampera with you, please!”

“Understood, uncle Farsight!” The two Cleffs darted downstreet while we turned around and began our march to my headquarters.

“Bro…” Nadyr asked. “What do you think about this?”

“About the pegasus?” I flicked my ears. “Frankly, I am worried. It’s not the sudden appearance of a winged pony, let’s not forget that strange radio signal.”

“But it’s always been there, isn’t it?”

“I know. However, it went absolutely crazy the moment before this very mare fell from the skies. That tells me that there has to be activity above us.”

“Aren’t you jumping into conclusions too quickly?” Nadyr smiled.

“How can you say that?” I replied. “First you have an outburst of activity on a radio emitter right above town, and the moment after a pegasus falls from the clouds. What other conclusion could there be?”

“First of all, we have no idea of what the pegasi might have built over the clouds. Still, don’t you think that if they had been literally on top of us they would have been able to keep unnoticed for so long? Honestly, I seriously doubt it.”

“You’ve got your point, but what about the radio signal?”

“I guess it could be a repeater system, that’s all. The fact that you’re picking the signal up there doesn’t mean that it has to be broadcasted from that very place.”

“All right, you might have your point there.” I shook my head. “How do you explain the pegasus, then?”

“We don’t know what was happening before she fell. Maybe the activity we heard was a distress signal sent by her.”

“That could be.” I nodded. “Yes, that would be a simple explanation. Still, a distress signal because of what? Who or what could be putting her in danger?”

“I think the only one capable of answering that is our sleeping princess here.” Nadyr sighed.

“Yes, you are right.” I shrugged and huffed. “That being the case, let’s hurry and return to the Spire.”

“Following you, bro!”

I doubled the pace towards our base, with my head entangled in theories about where the downed pegasus had come from and which were her allegiances and interests above New Pegasus. One thing was certain: she was wearing a type of armor that proved that she was no Wastelander. The plate she was carrying had been carefully crafted and had engravings of what looked like pure gold, something fairly odd to find in the wastes (unless one knew where to look); besides, there was almost no trace of dust or grit on her, which meant that she hadn’t been in dirty environments such as ones we lived in.

Besides, I had noticed a certain resemblance between the gear of the pegasus and Ampera’s T-66B Champion Armor, that being the reason why I had summoned her to the Spire. The pegasus was wearing a sleeker attire, more agile and aerodynamic, but I had the feeling that there were a reasonable number of similarities between the two to ask. I had witnessed what the ex-Ranger was capable of doing with such a suit of armor, so I was dying to know what the capabilities of the pegasus were… in case we had to face an attack from above.

Things didn’t look easy for us, considering how close we were from the actual frontlines. The Tsardom had appeared in the East simply out of nowhere, and somehow it had managed to push forward with an unstoppable force, driving the formerly victorious armies of the NER right back into our backyard. I had been carefully assembling an army of roboponies, improved versions of those of Full House, in order to defend the city from an attack by the Republic because, in the end, I was certain that the New Equestrian Government would try to capture the city rather than pillage it or burn it down to ashes. With the Tsar’s armies looming around, the chances of getting caught in a crossfire were fairly worrisome, and no contingent of robots would be able to withstand the clash of two nations.

Now, the chance of a third faction coming in from above was a true nightmare. Who they were and what they were up to was a complete mystery, and our only lead was the pegasus who Nadyr was carrying on his back. If we didn’t manage to get the information we needed from her, we would be blind against a possible menace. Then again, if my companion was right, that menace could be only in my mind.

We walked into the elevator in a tense silence. I was too absorbed in my own thoughts, and Nadyr was starting to feel tired of carrying the unconscious pegasus. The trip was quick, as usual, and soon enough our unwelcomed guest was lying on my bed. I stood before her, looking at the shape of her body and at her angel-like face, while a strange feeling was beginning to grasp me from the inside.

“I’m done here.” Nadyr sighed. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to the lounge to get myself a long drink.”

“Sure, go ahead…” I replied absentmindedly.

What was that odd sensation in me? The pegasus made my body react in a way that no mare had done before… only with Stuka had I felt that way. However, Stuka made me feel good because of her warm heart and her kind feelings… it was true that it had begun as a sex-only relationship, but she had managed to get into my depths. For eight years, I had missed her, and I had tried to find in other mares a replacement for the void she left in me. Could this be the one?

I shook my head, reminding myself that I had to keep cool. I felt something different for that mare, that was undeniable, but I had no reason to expect her to feel the same way about me. Besides, there were other things to worry about, such as who she was, where she came from and what she was doing in our city. Once that was sorted out, I may be able to try and get to know her a little deeper.

“Bro, are you alright?” Nadyr had entered the room and stood beside me with a worried face. “You’ve been standing here ever since we arrived.”

“Uh… yes.” I nodded. “Yes, I’m fine, don’t worry. It’s just that…”

“You’re worried? I know, but judging from the way you were looking at that mare, I think that your mind was at a different stage.”

“Wha-?”

“Look, Farsight, I won’t judge you.” Nadyr gave me an almost fatherly pat on the back. “I know what you’ve been through, and I know how you miss her. For that matter, I am glad that you might have found somepony that really manages to fill that gap in you.”

“Yes, but-”

“If you really love her, I say you go for her like there’s no tomorrow.” Nadyr smiled. “I’ll back you up in whatever you may need, bro. However, don’t forget who you are and what you’re working for. The last thing we need now is a faux-pas surrounded by so many enemies. Hell, even I know that!”

I laughed. Nadyr had said the right words at the right time. He could be blunt and rough, but he was a true friend. I smiled at him and nodded in gratitude.

“Thank you so much, Nadyr. I really appreciate having you nearby.”

“You’re welcome, bro.”

The elevator bell chimed, echoing through all the Spire, and the metal doors slid open in the distance.

“Farsight? Nadyr?” Rose’s voice echoed on the room. “Are you here?”

“In the bedroom!” I called. “The guest is lying here.”

Rose and Ampera opened the bedroom door and walked inside. My companion was no filly anymore, and she had grown to be a mature and elegant mare. She wore her Wasteland gear no longer, having substituted it for a stylish red suit that went along with her mane, now carefully combed into a topknot and held together with a pair of long pins, one ended on a rose and one on a strand of lavender. She was no longer the sweet little being I had met in the wastes, nor was she the demonic personality that had implanted in her brain in Stable 173. She was something completely different, still a noble soul but with the power and the cunning to enforce her ways. Her magic had excelled in defense and healing, and her natural charisma made her a great negotiator. I felt very proud of her, of what she had become over the years… she was the proof that I had done things right with her.

Ampera, on the other hoof, kept being the same tough and imposing pony, with the very aura of military awe and respect that had rendered me useless the first time I had tried to negotiate with him. She showed some signs of aging, such as wrinkles around the eyes, but she kept fit and strong. It was good to have her on our side.

“Hi Farsight.” Rose waved a hoof when she entered the room. “This is the one? She’s caused quite a commotion, you know.”

“A pegasus falling from the sky is not something easily concealable.” I shrugged.

Rose took a step forward and began examining the wounded mare, while humming a tune and taking notes with a pen held by telekinesis. Every now and then she would whistle or grumble, but she kept analyzing the pegasus with extreme care.

“She’s pretty battered, but I won’t be able to know how far the damages go until we remove the armor.”

“Can we do that, Ampera?”

The former Steel Ranger took a step forward and took a look at the wounded pony, just to hiss in anger a second later. By the way she looked at our guest, she didn’t feel very comfortable alongside her.

“What is wrong?” I asked.

“That armor… that is Enclave gear!” Ampera roared.

“Enclave?” I felt puzzled. “What the hell is an ‘Enclave’?”

“The Grand Pegasus Enclave, to be more precise. It was a military government formed by the pegasi that fled after the fall of Cloudsdale, who claimed to be the righteous owners of Equestria. Really dangerous ponies that had top-notch technology, as you can see. This armor is far better than the ones of the Steel Rangers, much lighter and stronger than mine, for example. Still, what worries me is that they were defeated twenty years ago… but I’m seeing a pegasus clad in Enclave Power Armor right now!”

“Wait a minute… twenty years ago?” I smiled. “Don’t tell me it had something to do with the Light Bringer.”

“Make your guess.”

“OK, I’m assuming that is a yes. But, twenty years is a long time… she doesn’t seem to be twenty years old.”

“That is what worries me.” Ampera groaned. “What if they weren’t destroyed?”

“I suppose that some remnants would have to have outlived the main army. Small combat groups, detachments that couldn’t join the main army, explorers… They might have regrouped, but I doubt that they can muster great numbers. Still, whatever they are up to, if they even exist, is a mystery to us unless she lets us know; and to do that, we need to heal her properly. Can that armor be removed, Ampera?”

“Give me a minute.”

Ampera fiddled with the armor, looking for something to trigger, while we waited nervously to carry on. Suddenly, the gear of the pegasus emitted a purple burst of energy, making us leap back, startled.

“That was the spell matrix going down. It should have been smooth, but since the armor is damaged… Anyway, we can unlatch it now.”

We began to work hastily, carefully finding and undoing each connection between the plates of the damaged armor, to then remove each and every piece; revealing a broken and ripped black and gold jumpsuit over the gleaming white fur. Her body being stripped of her armor was something strangely arousing, and I had to concentrate on the rational part of my mind. Soon, her body was free of any restrains and Rose began using her magic to examine and heal her.

“Hmmm… the armor did a fine job indeed.” Rose mumbled. “She has a concussion and a broken wing, as well as some fissures in the forelegs and multiple muscular strains, but nothing too heavy. Her internal organs seem to be fine, but I would need to take her to a hospital to perform a complete exam. “I’ll fix her for now, but once she’s conscious she’ll have to be thoroughly checked.”

Rose’s horn glowed and parts of the pegasus’ body began to move on their own, as bones began to relocate and muscles reached their original length. Such processes had to be painful, but since she was unconscious, I assumed she wasn’t feeling anything. Wait, was I actually worried about her? I didn’t even know who she was or what she wanted, but she had already dug into me…

“Well, that’s all I can do for now.” Rose sighed. “She has to rest, so that all the fixes I did work properly. Once she’s back on her hooves, though, we should convince her to be examined.”

“Certainly.” I nodded. “I’ll stay here until she returns to the world of the living.”

“That’s swell, because it’s getting late and Dee is going to kill me if I don’t get Atreid and Harko back for dinner.” Nadyr smiled. “See you later, folks!”

The half-zebra turned around and strutted out of the bedroom, while Rose gave me a quick nod and followed him.

“I’ve got some reports to finish for the next meeting.” She smiled. “Although I have the feeling that the subject will have absolutely nothing to do with them.”

“You know me far too well.” I smiled.

“Well, nevermind. I’ll finish those anyway. Are you coming, Ampera?”

“Sure, I’ll follow you.” Ampera nodded, and the two mares left me alone with a sleeping pegasus that made my heartbeat lose control.

She was something totally alien to the world I had lived in. Pristine white, fiery red and deep blue, clean and tidy, put together in a body whose shapes were like the music of the spheres. Nothing was out of place in her, nothing was missing either. His face was graceful and cute, with a perfectly round muzzle that was just waiting to be booped by somepony. The neck descended in a perfect curve that had no bumps or irregularities until the very flank, as if a designer had devised her shape in a single stroke of a prodigious brush.

She was breathtaking, and seeing her lying on my bed, clothed only with a ripped flightsuit while her chest rose and fell was making me totally uncomfortable, so I galloped for the bathroom. I needed to let some steam off if I was to continue watching her for an undetermined time.

*** *** ***

I stood there for hours, looking at the pegasus with starry eyes, almost daydreaming of her beauty, while the night moved forward and a new day broke on the horizon. While gazing at my guest, I lost track of time and even of my daily needs. Despite all the hunger and the lack of sleep, I didn’t want to do anything more than to wait for her to wake up.

“Uhhhh…” She moaned, out of the blue. Even her voice was attractive, and something in me reacted in kind.

“Celestia, have mercy.” I sighed.

“Urgh… where am I?”

“You’re awake!” I almost pranced and trotted towards her. Her newly-opened eyes shone like amber… beautiful, beautiful amber.

“I… guess.” She was still confused. “Where am I? Who are you?”

“My name is Farsight. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Do you know who you are?”

“Of course I do… My name is Avro DeHavilland.”

Her accent reminisced that of Mixer, maybe a tad less clear than the one of the ghoul, but it was certainly there. Also, Avro DeHavilland… even her name was distinguished and beautiful.

“Miss DeHavilland, you won’t happen to come from Trottingham, will you?”

“Trottingham? You can’t be talking seriously… uhn. That city was destroyed long ago, and it’s not inhabitable yet.”

“I happened to meet a Trottingham ghoul, and your accent is similar. That’s why I asked.”

“Oh, well…” Avro sighed. “I am skyborn, but my family comes from Trottingham. That would explain the accent. Still, Farsight, if that is your real name, where am I?”

“You are in New Pegasus, milady, and you are safe now.”

“Really? This is New Pegasus?” She almost leapt off the bed. “Did I make it down here?”

“Well, you took a pretty bad hit in the landing, but yes, you’re alive and kicking, in the Spire of the Platinum Horseshoe.”

“Did you pick me up, Farsight?” She asked, looking at me with intention.

“Yes. You are my responsibility now, since I am the leader of New Pegasus. However, first I need to know what your intentions we-”

Avro had leapt from her lying position and held my hooves tightly, while she looked at me with gleaming eyes and a broad smile on her face. Could that be a side-effect of the recovery?

“Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She squeed. “I thought I was done for… and I didn’t know where to go! I knew that New Pegasus had to be around here so I dove for it… and you saved me!”

“I didn-”

“Come on, you!”

Avro pulled with a strength that I hadn’t even deemed possible and I fell onto my bed; and then, before I could even say a single word, she kissed me. I opposed no resistance to her tongue exploring the insides of my muzzle, and soon I was doing the very same thing, caressing her gorgeous body as we rolled on the bed. It was a moment of bliss, and the memories of Stuka began to be substituted by the very avalanche of feelings of that moment. Avro took a step back and looked at me with lustful eyes, her white wings outstretched and her hoof going for the low end of my…no.

“Avro, I don’t think this is even right.” I shook my head, my reason kicking my libido in the shins. “We don’t even know each other.”

“Who cares.” She whispered. “You and me, now. I’ll show you how we do it in the air.”

“But Avro…” I almost came with that last phrase. I really wanted to, but something inside me told me that I didn’t want that to be a sex-based relationship. I wanted something more.

“What is it?” She smiled lustfully.

“Avro, I don’t want to rush this… I think that you might be the mare of my dreams, and I want this to go seamlessly, and I don’t think that having sex the first time we meet is a good idea… I hope you understand. Besides, you’re still recovering from your injuries!”

Avro hummed and smiled. I thought she might feel bothered by my worries, but she took it in quite a sporty way.

“How sweet.” She giggled. “Any other stallion wouldn’t have even thought of it. You’re definitely different, and I like that. Don’t be mistaken, though. I don’t consider this a one night stand, as long as you don’t think of it like that. I’ll be honest with you: I think I will like you. Who knows, I might even love you, but for now, why don’t we just enjoy this moment of alone time?”

“If you put it that way…” I smiled. “Your reasoning is flawless, milady. Lead the way.”

“I love when stallions talk suave to me.”

Avro smiled and unzipped her broken flightsuit, while I did the same with my clothes. Then, I smiled as her angelic white wings embraced me and guided me to a heaven of pleasure. To even think that I had been about to say no!

*** *** ***

“Wow, Farsight, you have some experience in this, don’t you?” Avro giggled, her foreleg stretched over my body.

“It’s not my first time, if that’s what you’re asking.” I smiled and turned around to give her a soft kiss.

“I assumed it wasn’t your first time, dummy. I meant with pegasi. How else did you know that my wings were my soft spot?”

“Oh, you mean that!” I laughed softly. “Well, it’s not my first time with a winged being, but it is with a pegasus.”

“Wait a minute, does that mean that you actually…?” Avro began to laugh uncontrollably. “You, and a griffin? HAHAHAHAHA!”

“What?” I asked. I didn’t know whether to laugh with her or to feel bemused. “What’s so laughable about it?”

“No, no, I meant no offence.” Avro regained control after a serious laughter. “It’s just that I never thought that a griffin and a pony would even want to share a bed, let alone… Wow, if you managed to get one of those hulks into your bed, you must be a true master. Although I do understand why she would, actually…”

“Well, she was a very sweet individual.” I smiled sadly. “She still means a lot to me.”

“Where is she, anyway?” Avro asked, a bit suspicious. Mentioning Stuka might not have been a good idea.

“She’s dead. She died eight years ago, during a riot.”

“I am sorry.” Avro hugged me. “Eight years of absence, that must be tough.”

“More or less. The truth is that I’ve been able to do a normal life, except when it came to finding a mare… I’ve had a lot of failed relationships over the last years.”

“And this?” Avro curled beside me, whispering in my ear. “Will this be another failure?”

“I swear to Celestia that I’ll do my best for it to be a success.” I kissed her in the muzzle, while I used my magic to caress her white wings. Avro replied with a gasp of pleasure and kissed me once again, while my hooves slid down her back and to her flank.

“I’ll do too… If you want to.” Avro winked. “You just need to find a mare that will make you feel happy and that will love you for what you are. I can try to be that mare.”

“But you don’t even know me, Avro, the same way that I almost don’t know you.”

“And yet here we are, naked and sweaty, looking at each other. You’ve showed me your biggest scar, your deepest source of pain; and you’ve done it because you wanted. That tells me that, whatever you act as, you’re a good pony in the very deep, and that’s the only thing that matters for me. I don’t know if we’re a perfect match, but I really want to try.”

“I want to try too… Maybe I was too scared to commit myself. Still, you’ve been kind to me and what’s more important, you’ve been sincere in your feelings. For the first time in many years, I feel like I could live with you indefinitely.”

“You can be so sweet…” Avro kissed my back and my flanks, and she winced at the sight of my Cutie Mark.

“What’s wrong?” I smiled. “It seems like you’ve seen a ghost or something.”

“Your Cutie Mark is a red eye?”

“Yes. It’s no big deal, to be honest.” I caressed her perfect back. “What about yours?”

Avro turned around nervously, and showed me her flank. Three concentrical circles, in blue, white and red formed a target. Beautiful and elegant, I really liked it.

“It’s beautiful, Avro. What makes you so nervous?”

“Nothing, nothing really.” Avro smiled. “This symbol brings a bad memory to us pegasi… Apparently, a pony named Red Eye was involved in our downfall twenty years ago. That’s what they told me.”

“You’re a part of the Enclave?” I asked.

“The Enclave?” Avro laughed. “Not any longer. It was destroyed twenty years ago, and while many of my kind decided to live in the Wasteland, some others, such as my parents, occupied settlements that had been abandoned in the Great Scramble.”

“The Great Scramble?”

“The battle that meant the end of the Enclave. My parents tried to find peace by keeping away from the rest of ponykind, probably driven by the feeling of guilt for what they had done in the past.”

“I am sorry to hear that.”

“You don’t have to, Farsight.” Avro smiled sadly. “We make choices, and those choices can be right or wrong. We pegasi chose wrong since the attack on Cloudsdale. It was time for Nature to bring some balance to the world.”

“If you say so…” I shrugged. “Why did you fly away, though?”

“Because things are not so perfect up there anymore… My parents are not there to keep me at bay, and we were beginning to repeat the mistakes of the past. I needed to get away and warn somepony before we faced another Great Scramble.”

“I see…” I looked at her in the eyes. “What did you expect to obtain here, though?”

“I don’t know, really. Maybe a chance to establish contact and to negotiate something. With enough backup, I don’t think that they would dare to attack.”

“They? Dare to attack?” I leapt from the bed. “When?”

“I don’t know.” Avro shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t!”

“I believe you.” I sighed. “Well, so much for a calm morning, I guess. Avro, you should get dressed. We need you to tell us all you know about your fellow ones up there and about what they’re planning to do.”

“Farsight, I should have told this before. I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right, Avro.” I hugged her to calm her down. “I haven’t asked either, and besides, you just snapped out of a coma. I can’t expect you to remember everything.”

“Thank you, Farsight.” She released herself and walked to her broken jumpsuit. “I guess that I will have to fit in this now.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll get you properly clothed later.” I smiled, while putting on my trousers and fiddling with my tie. “Now we must hurry. The sooner we get the information you have to give us, the better we will be.”

*** *** ***

The presence of Avro didn’t go unnoticed by the population of New Pegasus. The white winged mare turned everypony’s heads in the Strip, sparking faces of curiosity and surprise in the bystanders. She would reply with a smile or a wink of complicity, but I was trying to walk around unnoticed. Guess it was simply impossible, so I slowed my pace and turned at Avro.

“Tell me, Avro, what did you do up there? Before you flew away, I mean.”

“I worked as an engineer there.” She smiled. “I was in charge of our fleet’s propulsion systems.”

“Your fleet?” I gasped. “Are you serious? Your former friends have a war fleet up there?”

“No, no, it wasn’t a war fleet. It was a peace fleet.”

“A peace fleet?” I raised my brow in bewilderment. “Would you explain me what a peace fleet means?”

“You know that the cloud cover is receding, don’t you?”

“Judging from here, I don’t see any significant differences.”

“No, the Divide is a force that keeps the cloud cover together, I’m afraid. However, at the other side, a megaspell set off twenty years ago…”

“By the Light Bringer, I presume.”

“Exactly. As I was saying, a megaspell literally depleted the cloud cover, and the remaining areas began to become smaller and smaller minute by minute. If we wanted to remain isolated from the ground, we would have to live in floating platforms, that’s why we built a fleet, our voluntary exile.”

“And you worked there?”

“Yes, the Fleet wasn’t ready, and my job was to fix the engines and to develop a proper lift device that could withstand the massive size of the airships.”

“Could that fleet be used for other purposes?”

“You mean for military ones?” Avro asked. “I guess. I don’t really know much about the full design, that would be simply impossible. I have no idea of what the other workers were doing, so there could be a possibility.”

“Avro, I need you to tell me the truth.” I looked at her sternly. I loved her, but I needed her to be true for once. “What made you escape the clouds?”

The pegasus looked to one side and sighed.

“Look, Farsight, I was happy up there. Things were looking good for us and there was a great chance of finally living in peace without having to hide beyond the clouds. We knew that the ponies on the ground would see our ships, but we didn’t really care, as long as we had the possibility of going separate ways.”

“I am guessing that something went wrong.”

“Not all the pegasi shared the same view of the future. Some wanted to continue down the same path that had almost driven us to destruction, even if we were less and definitely not ready. However, they managed to get control of the structure of power, and began preparing themselves for war.”

“Against whom?”

“I don’t know. As soon as I found out, I tried to flee unnoticed and bring the news to the ground. If my brethren are getting ready to attack, I must try my best to stop them.”

“But you didn’t manage to get out unscathed.”

“No, they managed to track me down and they almost killed me. I was able to throw myself below the cloud cover before they could take a clear shot.”

“That’s when you landed here. I guess the sudden burst of activity in the radio was caused by your escape, am I right?”

“You were able to hear it?”

“Only clicks and clacks, but there were a lot of communications right before you fell.”

“I see. It’s encrypted, that’s why you couldn’t hear the actual words. Still, I am surprised that you managed to find our frequency.”

“I have my methods.” I smiled. We had already reached the Council Building, a small and anodyne construction on a side street. It had been built like that in a blatant demonstration that the City Board was completely submitted to the rule from the Casinos.

“Stop it, you!” Avro kissed me in the cheek and gave me a pat on the back. “We must relay that information to everypony around here.”

“No, we must decide what to do with that information, and that’s why I’ve summoned a meeting in the Council. Come, it’s your great moment.”

*** *** ***

The Council Hall was a large round chamber covered in blue wallpaper and wooden panels, giving it an old-time feel. The thick carpet on the floor muffled the sound of hooves walking around, and the large table in the middle of the room was covered in papers and folders. Glasses of water were located in front of each member of the Council, and a large screen showing a computerized representation of the map of Neighvada presided the meeting. On it, the forces of the NER and those of the Tsardom were represented in red and blue, while the City of New Pegasus and its surrounding territories glowed in a green light.

I smiled at the sight of the ponies that composed the council. Apart from me, Rose was the one with a more important position as a spokespony. Despite her young age, her natural wit and charisma had made her earn the respect of all those who had met her, and of course, that of the fellow Council members. She smiled back at me, always being kind and friendly, but she didn’t smile at Avro. I wondered what caused her to react so badly to the pegasus… maybe it was something of her past I didn’t know?

Standing at her side, Dee Cleff looked like a true authority on the room, like a wise mother to whom everypony would pay respect to. Signs of ageing were more patent on her than in anypony else, such as greying hair and some light wrinkles, but she wore them with pride. She kept dressing with class, wearing this time a loose white dress and a cream-toned jacket that went simply great with her fur. She bowed respectfully to the both of us, unlike my companion.

Nadyr was close to her wife, after having left Atreid and Harko in charge of a foalsitter. My companion acted the same way as always, being warm and friendly with a big smile in his face. His past had taught him to respect the different, there was no doubt about that. Ampera and Saddle were there too, looking at Avro with a lot of doubts in their faces. I knew that the former Ranger had a quarrel with the pegasi, and it was probable that she had shared it with his husband. Still, I would have to see how they would react to what the winged mare had to tell them.

“Mares and gentlecolts, welcome.” I greeted. “Let’s begin with this Council meeting, shall we?”

“You’ll have to tell us what is so urgent, Farsight.” Dee’s voice was stern, although her face let me know that she had a good disposition towards Avro.

“As you see, we have an unexpected guest.” I pointed towards the pegasus. “She has some valuable information to share with us, and we must decide what to do with it.”

“Speak up, then.” Saddle groaned.

“For sure I will.” Avro smiled boastfully. “Hi there. My name is Avro DeHavilland, and as you know, I come from the other side of the cloud cover. Before you ask, yes, there are pegasi living above the clouds. We…”

“You still live up there?” Ampera interrupted. “Is the Enclave still functioning?”

“The Enclave? Hell no, at least it wasn’t when I fled. We learnt from our mistakes, and we swore never to commit them again. However, we knew that many ponies would shun us for what we had done, so we decided to live in exile.”

“That sounds all very pretty, but how can you explain your power armor. It’s standard Enclave gear!”

“It’s because originally, my community was formed by Enclave fledglings, and we kept the schematics of their armors for our purpose. I am surprised that you know about our gear, since Neighvada was never involved in the dark plans of my ancestors.”

“I am… was a Steel Ranger, and my Chapter had to fight the likes of you.”

“Really?” Avro squeed. “A Steel Ranger? I have been dreaming of the day I would meet one of you! Tell me, what sort of spell matrix would you use for a heavy duty armor?”

“Uh… what?” Ampera was caught off guard by Avro’s question.

“Look, I have worked as an engineer for my entire life, trying to find arcano-mechanical replacements to unicorn magic. One of my last projects was to develop a matrix for a heavy duty armor meant for rough environment work, and I simply couldn’t find a proper spell matrix documentation. I tried the T-34 incantation matrix, but it wouldn’t hold the plates together.”

“That’s because the T-34 was a total flop.” Ampera shook her head. “We constantly banged our heads against the wall until we were able to develop the T-37.”

“The T-37…” Avro whistled. “I had no proper data of that, but I knew that it had to be the solution!”

“Ladies, this was not the reason of the meeting.” Nadyr coughed. “You can discuss this later, if you are interested.”

“Sure, sure.” Avro nodded. “We focused our energies on building a fleet of airships to act as our moving homes, since the cloud cover that had harbored our buildings was beginning to fall apart. However, some of my people didn’t think that it was a good idea to remain isolated from the rest of ponykind, and they wanted to reveal themselves.”

“I am guessing that they didn’t mean to come down peacefully, brandishing rainbows and sunbeams, right?” Rose spoke with evident disdain.

“Sadly, no. There was a revolt and the power changed hooves to those who wanted to walk down the same path that had led to our destruction. That’s why I flew away… I felt like I had to warn somepony about the plans of those above.”

“Why did you come to New Pegasus?” Dee asked.

“It was the closest settlement… and the biggest as well. I thought that maybe you could help me.”

“Tell me, Avro, why should we actually help you?” Rose said coldly. “If you haven’t noticed, we are a small city without a proper army or military technology, surrounded by two warring empires whose position towards ourselves we don’t fully know. A wrong move and we would be destroyed.”

“Rose, I think you’re not understanding what our guest wants from us.” Dee smiled. “I don’t think she’s asking us to fight for her, she just wants our influence to warn the world of a possible threat. We could use the diplomatic ties we have with the Republic to echo her message across the Wasteland. Besides, I doubt that the NER would like to wage a war on two fronts.”

“That is exactly what I need!” Avro pranced. “Thanks for being so understanding, miss…”

“Dee Cleff. Call me Dee, Avro.”

“I don’t see why the Republic would fight the pegasi either, Dee. They’re entangled in a conflict with the Tsardom, and besides, many pegasi are part of the NER army.” Rose shook her head. “I hardly see why it’s our responsibility to do it.”

“Somepony has to, Rose.” I replied sternly. “What happened to that of being kind and making justice?”

“Farsight, we have no proof of whether her words are true. We can’t go spreading lies around there based on the testimony of a single pegasus that we know almost nothing about.”

“I would agree with you, but I don’t see what she has to hide.” I replied. “Ponies do things according to plans, because they want to obtain something in exchange. Avro hasn’t asked for anything, and I believe that she won’t in the future. I trust her, Rose, and that should be something to be considered, since you know how I am in that matter. Don’t you trust me?”

“I do…” Rose sighed. “But I think that you might be growing a bit too overconfident in the matter. Remember what we are, and who we can be facing if we make a mistake. I don’t care if it’s Praline or the Tsar, or whoever the fuck is in charge up there; assuming there is a faction in the sky. Anyway, we won’t be able to win a war against either of them, so we need to think carefully and act humbly to keep our status; and frankly, I think that she has clouded your judgment.”

“Hey!” Avro yelled. “I haven’t done anything to him!”

“Haven’t you?” Rose smiled malevolently. “Why do I have the feeling that you two have already shared a bed?”

“Yes, we have.” I nodded. “Why do you think that it should be a problem, Rose?”

“Because you’re acting in a way that I have never seen you.” Rose squinted at Avro. “You trust her too much, and I don’t like that. We don’t know what she might be bringing behind her, and despite that, we open our doors to her and welcome her as a friend… or a lover!”

“Jealous, Rosie?” Nadyr smiled kindly. “You should be glad that good old Farsight has found his significant other. I think that Avro fits him like a glove, personally, and all those fears about an incoming war don’t necessarily imply that we are going to be the ones under fire. As far as we know, those pegasi could be knocking at the gates of New Canterlot right now!”

Right as Nadyr was saying those last words, an alarm began to ring and several new symbols appeared on the battlemap, coming from the north. By the way they advanced, they had to be either motorized or flying, and we found out that it was that last possibility when they crossed a river at full speed. Suddenly, the map went black and it was replaced by an incoming communication.

“Who is it?” I fumed. “Pass it through.”

The face of a tough-looking copper-colored stallion in a peaked cap with a red star on it appeared on the screen. His voice was dark and his accent was strange, with rolling ‘r’ sounds, and his expression was stern and almost evil. He brought no good news, that was certain.

“Leaders of New Pegasus.” He almost grunted. “This is Comrade Commander Ilyushin of the Communist Pegasus Front. We know that you are harboring an escaped traitor, and we demand that you return it to us. We will give you three days, and if she’s not with us after those 72 hours, our fleet will show no mercy. There will be no negotiation. Our conditions are final. Return miss DeHavilland to our control, or your population will suffer the consequences. Glory to the Red Front!”

#

Note: Reputation Change
Tsardom: Potential Target. The intentions of this mysterious faction towards New Pegasus remain unclear. However, their behaviour doesn’t leave much room for good expectations.
Communist Pegasus Front: Warned. They are showing their war machine off, but they are giving you a fair warning. Consider your reply carefully.

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