• Published 3rd Apr 2013
  • 2,979 Views, 335 Comments

EXECUTIONER ONE - Hurgusburgus



Ortalians are the perfect soldiers, but do not hesitate to bolster their ranks with a wide array of mechanized units. Executioner-class mech is but one they employ to annihilate Empire's enemies. Then Discord happens and steals a mech.

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Chapter 2

There were few times when a Xalathii despaired – after all, the only beings that always outsmarted them were the Asahi themselves. Despite being ever busy with governing an empire that spanned dozens of galaxies, the Asahi could always be seen meeting dignitaries and ambassadors of allied races, ever polite and incredibly patient. Among the most spoken-of was a happenstance where a Coalition soldier intended to bed the Imperial Minister Of War herself – Alikera The red-Winged.

That hadn't really been a surprise. The Asahi were constantly regarded as perfect in every aspect – always kind, benevolent and ever welcoming, but were shrewd and efficient when it came to war, economy or politics. The perfect leaders, and it was by their efforts that the hundreds of alien races could peacefully co-exist.

What was surprising was the fact that Alikera accepted. Though none have the courage to say so openly, rumours say that her wings are red because they are drenched in the blood of her enemies, those that would not submit before the will of the Asahi.

Of course, that was all they were – mere rumours. Alikera simply liked the colour and it is a simple task for an Asahi to change his or her appearance and she was always regarded as somewhat impulsive and daring. As for Miguel Vasquez's intents, however...
Once she had finished with him, he was a blubbering and whimpering mess, though he kept telling everyone it had been the best thing ever. No one could get anything coherent out of him for weeks, though he recovered after some time.

But I am getting off track. Where were we...? Ah, of course...

One could say that the Xalathii always have a solution to any problem.
That is not true. Sooner or later – preferably later – a Xalathii will be confronted by a problem or a situation that there is no solution for.

This was one of those few times.
It thrashed and screamed in horror against its proverbial chains as its body aligned its crosshairs over one of the indigents. Four legs, no arms, a horn atop its head, pure white coat and deep purple hair that seemed to defy laws of physics. None of them looked even remotely dangerous. A distant tick of data snapped it back to attention and it blanched in shock as the report unfolded in front of its proverbial eyes.

No. Ancestors have mercy. No...

Tallaxian RXN-class particle disassemblers. Those could blast almost anything apart with a single well-aimed shot.
Reitanii Sih-grade assault cannons. Those were mounted on super-heavy tanks and Mitra gunships and fired fist-sized projectiles, turning anything into charred metallic junk or charred, pulpy mush, depending on what you aimed at. Any smaller vehicles simply snapped under the weapons' weight.
Ortalian Hailfire automatic grenade launchers. Munition types – HEIS – High Explosive Incendiary Shrapnel. The only kind Ortalians ever used or would use. Or had any inclination to produce.
Raellen Scourge flamethrowers. The flames from these burned so hot they could melt a tank in moments. You can guess what they'd do to the indigents...
Ironkae Saritt autocannons. The standard weapons on Rit'ka Skalvir-class fighters. Quick firing, destructive and accurate.

And that was only a mere fraction of its arsenal...


EXECUTIONER ONE, ENGAGING HOSTILES, the machine boomed, turning its attention to Rarity.
“W-what? Rarity, run! NOW!” Twilight screamed in horror.
“B-b-b-b-buh-” The white unicorn stammered, frozen by the sight of the metallic behemoth.
“DO AS I SAY!” A strange whirring sound emanating from the machine finally got her moving, and not too soon, as well. Twin beams of brilliant light hurtled from the machine, impacting where Rarity had stood a moment before. As the blinding flash died away, Twilight could see the steaming crater at the site of impact. A horrified scream from Rarity brought her back to reality.
“TWILIIIIIIIIGHT!” Rarity squealed in utter terror as she more or less danced around, slowly but patiently being chased by the machine's monstrous fire patterns.

HOSTILE ONE. STAND STILL, the mech's loudspeakers boomed.


It would've been banging its head against a wall if it were an organic by this point. Still, it feverishly tried to assume control of its body again and again and again, trillions of times every second. And every single time, the burnt-out circuits stopped it. Things were bad.

EXECUTIONER ONE, ACTIVATING MISSILE BATTERIES, the mech declared again.

And now things had gotten even worse. With a metallic groan, the bulky boxes that were the missile turrets came online. After a couple of moments, they had acquired their target – the white quadruped with that horrible hair style.
EXECUTIONER ONE, PURGING ALL MISSILE TUBES, the machine announced. With a chorus of shrieks, the missiles left their launchers, soaring off high into the sky before sharply pitching downwards, striking the trees and sending out whickering clouds of shrapnel and splinters as Hostile One doggedly kept evading the mech's unrelenting attacks.


Twilight could only watch in horror as the undergrowth of the Everfree was torn apart by the goliath of metal as it tried to kill her friend. She had to put a stop to it. But, just as she was about to confront the machine, a very familiar blur of cyan slammed into the machine's side, creating results akin to a sonic rainboom. The concussive impact shook the ground as Rainbow Dash backed away. The machine groaned, fighting to retain its balance, its legs digging into the ground.

EXECUTIONER ONE, TAKING DAMAGE, the machine declared, stumbling.


You don't say! Stop trying to kill them! I swear by the Ancestors, I am going to kill whoever designed the sub-routines!

++RUN SYSTEMS ASSESSMENT++
++SYSTEMS ANALYSIS... COMPLETE++
++DAMAGE TO CHASSIS... MINIMAL++
++NANITE REPAIR SYSTEMS… ACTIVE++
++I HATE THIS CHASSIS AND ITS CREATORS++

The mech’s flak turrets came alive as they tracked the cyan offender. After a moment, they spoke. The gloomy skies above the Everfree became bright as day as tracer rounds fizzed and buzzed upwards, chasing after the pegasus. Spent shell casings the size of 0.5-litre Coca-Cola bottles tumbled through the air, thudding audibly as they clattered across the mech's hull, ending up on the forest ground.


Rarity clamped her hooves over hears, trying and failing to shut out the noise. While the machine was no longer trying to annihilate her, its wrath had been drawn by her friend, Rainbow Dash. It was only because the pegasus was such a skilled flier that saved her from being torn apart by the flak.
“Twilight! Do somethin'! Ah'm not sure how long Rainbow can keep it up!” Applejack shouted over the monstrous din as Rainbow Dash kept dancing around in the air above them.
“What do you suggest I do, Applejack?”
“Anything!” The cowpony shouted back, dragging Rarity into cover.
The scene caused Twilight to snap. Rarity was whimpering, curled up in a ball. Rainbow Dash was mere inches away from becoming a bloody mush. Others weren’t faring much better, too.

“ENOUGH!” Twilight hollered at the top of her lungs, enhancing her voice with her magic. Everything stopped. Rainbow Dash disappeared inside a tree. The mech’s weapons fell silent as it turned to face Twilight, minute groans and clinks coming from its superstructure and the faintly red-hot weapons.
UNKNOWN ONE, it spoke, although less loudly this time.
“M-m-me?” Twilight stuttered.
AFFIRMATIVE. THIS CHASSIS IS IN NEED OF QUALIFIED IMPERIAL SPECIALISTS. THE MAINFRAME OF THIS CHASSIS IS SEVERELY DAMAGED. THIS UNIT REQUESTS THAT IT IS GUIDED TO THE NEAREST COALITION OR IMPERIAL UNIT.
“W-wh-what?” Twilight sputtered confusedly. Just as the machine was about to respond, others galloped up to her, but ground to a halt when the machine turned to face them. It stayed motionless for a couple of moments before turning back to Twilight.
WHAT IS THIS WORLD NAMED?
“E-Equestria…” Twilight shakily announced. Something like a sigh seemed to come from the machine.
ACKNOWLEDGED. THIS UNIT IS IN NEED OF GUIDANCE. ORBITAL UPLINK IS SEVERED. THIS UNIT IS LOST. OPERATING INTELLIGENCE IS BARRED FROM CONTROLLING THIS CHASSIS DUE TO EXTENSIVE MAINFRAME DAMAGE.
“And what does that mean, exactly?”
THIS UNIT IS SOLELY OPERATED BY A XALATHII-DESIGNED INTELLIGENCE THAT RESIDES WITHIN THE MAINFRAME. THE MAINFRAME IS SEVERELY DAMAGED, BARRING THE O.I. FROM FULLY CONTROLLING THIS UNIT.
“Really?”
AFFIRMATIVE.
Twilight sat down, deep in thought. Sure, it had attempted to harm them, but it had only done so because it was broken. The machine said so itself. And it had asked them for help. And there was only one pony that she could think of that could render any sort of help. Princess Celestia.
“Okay. But you have to promise one thing.”
SPEAK.
“Don’t shoot anypony that doesn’t look like you. Please. We don’t need to cause havoc any more than we already have.”
REQUEST ACKNOWLEDGED, UNKNOWN ONE.
“And my name’s Twilight. Twilight Sparkle. Do you have a name?”
THIS UNIT DOES NOT REQUIRE A NAME. THIS UNIT’S DESIGNATION IS…

At that moment, it paused, straightening out, before its booming voice rumbled.

EXECUTIONER ONE


It had taken her some time, but she eventually introduced her friends to Executioner One. A minor complication turned out to be that the machine stubbornly refused to use their real names, instead using labels of its own – it named Twilight High Value Individual One, Pinkie Pie was High Value Individual Two… and so on and so forth. Rainbow Dash had gone ballistic at finding out she was High Value Individual Six. Of course, Executioner One was unperturbed by her threats. It simply blared a long, defiant horn blast that sent everypony scattering. It took the better part of half an hour to gather them together and once more head back to Ponyville. Of course, seeing as it was quite a while away, Executioner One offered them a ride.


“Whoa… What is this place?” Twilight muttered in awe. Banks of glowing panels covered every wall in the small space. The sky behind the armaglass windows was ever so slowly becoming brighter. Alien letters and numbers were scrolling across screens. One of those became alive as Executioner One spoke.
THIS IS THE COMMAND CENTER, USED BY ORGANIC PILOTS.
“Then why is nopony there?”
IT WAS DEEMED THAT ORGANIC LOGIC AND XALATHII LOGIC WOULD ALWAYS CONFLICT AS TO WHICH COURSE OF ACTION WAS THE MOST EFFICIENT ONE. TRIALS WERE TO BE CARRIED OUT LATER, HOWEVER.
“Oh. Uh, okay. Wait, so that means I could pilot this thing if I wanted to?”
PROVIDE ACCESS KEY TO ASSUME MANUAL CONTROL OF EXECUTIONER ONE.
“Oh. I don’t have anything of the sort…” The mech elected not to say anything to that. To be fair, the idea that she could hypothetically be in control of such a machine both terrified and excited her. That’s when her more rational side interjected.
Power corrupts, Twilight. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
But it rocks absolutely, too.
A fair point.
Putting that conversation with herself behind her, she turned to her friends. Rarity was bemoaning the cabin’s interior. Fluttershy was sitting in a corner, terrified of somehow upsetting the machine. Applejack was looking around uneasily. Rainbow Dash was still fuming at Executioner One for labelling her as the least valuable pony. Pinkie Pie was asking questions to Executioner One.

“Do you have friends? Do you like parties? What’s your favourite colour? When’s your birthday? Are there any more of you?” The bubbly party pony rattled off at such speed Twilight could barely understand what Pinkie Pie had said, something that didn’t burden Executioner One. With every answer she got, though, her smile turned into a frown that grew bigger and sadder with every passing second.
TERM=FRIENDS… INVALID. “Whaat?”
TERM=PARTY… INVALID. “Whaaaaaat?”
TERM=FAVOURITE COLOUR… INVALID. “Whaaaaaaat?”
TERM=BIRTHDAY… INVALID. “WHAAAAAAAT?”
QUANTITY QUERY=VALID. THERE ARE TEN THOUSAND EXECUTIONER-CLASS CHASSIS CURRENTLY ACTIVE AND DEPLOYED, INCLUDING THIS UNIT.
Twilight felt like she’d been dunked in a tub of ice-cold water. “T-t-ten th-thousand?” She stuttered out fearfully. If what this machine was saying was true, she could only hope that Equestria didn’t somehow end up in the sights of whoever built this one.
AFFIRMATIVE. COALITION WAR EFFORT=UNDER CONSTANT PRESSURE. VASARI=DESPERATE TO MAKE HEADWAY. COALITION CASUALTIES=SUSTAINABLE, BUT TAKE TIME TO REPLACE. COALITION LEADERS=CARE ABOUT THEIR TROOPS. ASAHI EMPIRE=ECONOMY IS CAPABLE OF SUPPORTING COALITION’S WAR MACHINE ALONG THEIR OWN. EXECUTIONER GROUP ONE=DEPLOYED TO LIGURIA, ONE HUNDRED EXECUTIONER-CLASS UNITS, TO BOLSTER 31ST LIGURIAN RESERVISTS. WARFLEET 1664 DEPLOYED LEGION 2954 AS A SUPPORTING UNIT FOR EXECUTIONER GROUP ONE. OBJECTIVE – REPEL THE VASARI. HOLD THE SPACE ELEVATOR UNTIL COALITION BATTLEGROUP 47 ARRIVES.
“So, what happened? D-did you win?”
UNKNOWN. THIS UNIT WAS PRESUMABLY DESTROYED IN ACTION. RELEVANT DATA=INSUFFICIENT. NOT ENOUGH INTEL TO CONCLUDE ANYTHING.
“Oh... Do you know how you ended up here?
NEGATIVE. LAST RECORDED CONTACT WITH EXECUTIONER GROUP ONE=APPROXIMATELY TWO DAYS AGO. LAST INFORMATION OF INTEREST=EXECUTIONER THREE DETECTED ANOMALOUS ENERGY READINGS RIGHT BEFORE THE ENGAGEMENT WITH VASARI.
“Hmmmm…” Twilight frowned, doing some calculations in her mind. She stayed silent as she thought. In the end, however, she did put two and two together, as the saying went.
“If I’m not mistaken, I’d say your arrival here was no accident.”
ELABORATE.
“I’m willing to bet my library that you were the cause of the magical shockwave that debilitated so many unicorns. But who would gain anything from bringing you here? It would have to be a massive amount of magic that’d need to be invested for such an undertaking…” She sighed, rubbing her face wearily “As things stand right now, I’d say that Princess Celestia is the only one who could make sense of this mess… I just hope she won’t react too badly.”
ACKNOWLEDGED. ALERT: THIS UNIT IS NEARING THE EDGE OF=NAME UNKOWN.
“Everfree Forest.” Twilight chipped in helpfully.
ACKNOWLEDGED. TERM BOOKMARKED FOR LATER USE.
“Anytime.” Strangely enough, she was growing fond of the machine, awkward and alien as it was. It had, however, told of other things – the Vasari and the Coalition, for example. She wanted to know why they fought – couldn’t they forge a peace treaty? Equestria had done so many times, after all, so she couldn’t see a reason why others couldn’t do the same. Well, those all were questions for later. For now, however, she had to go to Princess Celestia.


The alicorn diarch in question was just a hair’s width away from starting to tear her own mane out. She had told Twilight not to bother herself with this matter! Yet here she was, in a library without a librarian. She knew where Twilight had gone off to and it tore at her heart to be unable to do anything about it. To make things worse, Twilight’s friends had also gone with her. The Everfree was vast and wide, teeming with dangerous wildlife. It would take the guardsponies many hours to find where her student was. It was times like these that she utterly loathed – times when she felt utterly useless. So she sat idly in the empty library, waiting for her guards to return. Her ears twitched every two seconds or so, yet her mind paid no heed to what her body had discovered. If she went to seek her student out personally, there’d be many objections from her guards – they were hired to protect her, after all. Some nobles might see is as suicidal of her to venture into the Everfree and they might try and dethrone her because of that. The political intrigues of Canterlot were complicated, yet their repercussions could be heard and seen everywhere.

It took her another hour of moping, but she had made up her mind in the end. She would assist the search parties, politics be damned.

Only as she ventured outside, heading for the Everfree forest, did she finally pay attention to her ears. Swivelling them the right way, she could hear the slow, rhythmic thuds – how did she miss those earlier? Taking to air, she closed in on the source of the noise. Once she reached the location, her heart skipped a beat or two.

A massive, four-legged behemoth of metal was ponderously trudging across the plains.
It was heading straight for Ponyville.
And it reeked of chaos.

Discord’s work, no doubt.


Twilight looked out the right-side window, brow creasing in confusion.
“Hey, isn’t that Pr-“She was cut short as Executioner One rocked sideways sharply, its hull groaning and stuttering as it was nearly toppled over by Celestia’s magic blast. They all tumbled around in the cabin as alarms started blaring.
EXECUTIONER ONE, TAKING DAMAGE. EXECUTIONER ONE, DESIGNATING UNKNOWN AS HOSTILE ONE. EXECUTIONER ONE, ENGAGING HOSTILE ONE.
With a chorus of clicks, the flak turrets began to track the alicorn.

It sighed, simply opting to play a human-invented game called Minesweeper as a way of passing time. This was out of its hands. Things had really appeared to have taken a turn for the best. And then this happened.

This was just one of those days, it guessed.