by Ryan Shine

First published

Ponies can change, even if you don't think they can. Past memories, experiences, and horrors can come back, and you may hurt those who you said you couldn't even imagine you could....

After his deployment, Ryan had fallen into a pit of depression. Memories, nightmares, stress, and lack of sleep are causing him to become some pony different.
Although, when a mare he's known for a while tries to help him cheer up a bit, he becomes much more than what he was at first...


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It's hot, humid, and I'm enjoying my new job. Being a weather pony was cool and all, but it just wasn't what I wanted. I began to work on a local farm here in Ponyville. I had just begun last week and I was beginning to enjoy it more and more. I worked on the farm with a couple other ponies, who I was starting to become good friends with. A orange coat, blonde mane, mare trotted down the path towards my direction.

"Almost wrapped up down here? It's getting late..." She gave a slight yawn. I finished the last tree with one last buck, "Yeah! All I got to do is load up the cart, and then take these delicacies up to the barn." I lifted the bucket onto my back and placed it in the cart. "You go on Home Ryan. I'll take this up to the barn." I shot her a questioning look, "You sure? It's kind of heavy..." I watched her try to pull the cart up the hill. I give it to her for trying, it was a heavy cart. "Why don't you let me take care of that..." I gave her a small grin. She looked at me and then gave a sigh, "Alright... You take this here cart on up there." She was breathing heavily. She unhooked herself from the cart, and I hopped on in front. I heaved it up the hill and took it into the barn.
I turn back and wave goodbye to her, "See ya AJ!" She waves back as I continue my way home. I pass by the post office and notice the mail mare headed my direction. "Hiya mister Ryan! How are you?" I nod my head, "Miss Ditzy, I'm doing fine. Thanks for asking! How are you?" I can't help but smile at the wall-eyed mare's enthusiasm, "I'm doing great! Today was such a wonderful day! Oh!" She rummages through her saddle bag, "I got some mail for you!" She hands me a medium sized box and a some letters. "Thanks Miss Ditzy, I appreciate it. I'll see you later!" I begin to trot off. "Bye mister Ryan!"

SLAM! The door shuts faster than I expected, "Oh. Need to remember I oiled that..." I plop down on the couch and place the letters on the coffee table. "Now let's see..." I open up the box, and pull out its contents. I hold the picture of me and Luna as I take out a sheet of paper,

'Dearest Ryan,

I'm glad we got to get together again. I'm sorry for being so late on all the scheduling, I've been stressed out with this constant war against the griffon kingdom, and I haven't much time to relax. It is good to spend time with an old friend. Hopefully I can find some more time to spend with my favorite friend. I'm hoping the new picture of us made it in one piece. I'll see you soon one day.

Your highness and dear friend,

Princess Luna'

I place the letter down and begun to stare at the picture. I was wearing the grey and blue scarf she made for me, as well as my favorite digital urban hat. She was wearing her favorite navy blue, violet, and black scarf. I was sitting on a park bench and she was leaning over my left shoulder, and we both had the happiest smiles we could muster up. I placed it over my fireplace along with a bunch of other photos of us.

She and I had a timeline. Every year, I would visit Canterlot and we would just have fun together. It didn't matter what we did, we were just glad to have friendship...

I sat back down and went through the rest of the letters, "Bills, bills, bills... Equestrian Forces..." I knew what was in the envelope. I didn't want to open it, I already had everything I wanted, but I knew it would be dishonorable...

'Major Ryan Shine,

This letter is a calling. Your service is required once again for a high class operation. Pack your bags and head for Fort Hoof. We will depart on the 13th of November, 1300 hours. We will brief you when you arrive. We are looking forward to seeing you soon.


Equestrian TAC 32nd Div. Frazier Squad'

I set the letter down on the table and sat on the couch. Everything seemed to go in slow motion for a few minutes... Or hours... It felt like hours...

Chapter 1

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Chapter 1
Jump Start

"You think you're some sort of soldier, don't you?"
"Yes sir!" I know I can do this... "You can't get through this first week! I bet you'll quit tomorrow..."

Low humming from the engines, soothing rumble from the slight turbulence, snugged into my slot on the plane. Best feeling before a Jump... "Hey, Skids! Time to prime up!" Jolted awake, I look around over to my right side. Volt and the rest of the squad are almost prepped. Great. We've arrived... "Ugh... Gimme a sec..." I slowly unbuckled myself, grabbed my M4 and combat saddle laying next to me, and slipped on my urban grey, digital baseball cap. I began to stretch my wings. "You guys ready to roll? Or do I have to take 'em all by myself?" Squints locked in a fresh mag on her L96 rifle, flipped open her lens protectors, and pulled the bolt back, quite loudly, and slammed a round in the chamber, "Cause I could..." She can be subtle... Sometimes...

I've spent 7 years of my life on the field. The time before that, I've spent dreaming about becoming what I am now. When I was a filly, my father had died during the changeling invasion. He had served 4 years as one of the royal guards, and taught me everything I could absorb as a kid. When he had died, I was determined to keep his up with his honor. A lot of ponies were grateful for his service, even higher authorities. After he had died, my mother and I had moved into Seaddle because of a teaching job she was offered. I lived there for the rest of my life... Well, except for when I enlisted...

Major Ryan Shine reporting for duty, call-sign "Skids", 32 Div. of the Equestrian TAC Force. Hand picked for combat. Best soldiers fighting, sneaking, and destroying against the Griffon insurgents. We fight on the front lines and behind the enemy's back. Our names strike fear into the names of our enemies, and cause other countries to slink back in fear. The only thing is... We don't technically exist....

Volts pulls out his rifle and slams a round from his magazine into the barrel, "ETA: 1 min. Weapons check boys!" I reach back and do the same. I hear the loud clank, "Check!" Squints pulls out his P226, pulls the slide back, and let's it load the .45 Round into the Chamber, "Check" I hear two more clanks behind me and simultaneous shouts behind me. Well, it's time...

The end of the plane opens up, revealing a large, thick layer of clouds. A red light flashes on signaling us to get ready. Volts gets close to the edge of the plane waving his hoof, telling us to line up. Volts took lead, I lined up behind him, Harp and Walker lined up behind me, and Squints came close behind. I hear a crackling in my earpiece, "Frazier one, radio check... Over." "Frazier two check..." And so on and so on...

The light switches from red to green, and we jump. Since I was a Pegasus, I didn't have to worry about a chute. I still carried one though because of the high altitudes we would jump at, but I managed to glide. I look up and see the rest of my squad deploy their chutes. I finally get to the ground and pull out my rifle.

"Frazier 4, Drop zone secure. ETA, over?" My communicator comes to life, "Frazier 1, 20 seconds. How's the view?" I can't help but smile at the sarcastic question, "Not as good as home, but at least we still have Luna's moon." "Hehe... Don't worry, Home is just around the corner..." My smile turns to a quiet chuckle as I scan the area. I hear 3 thuds behind me and after a bit, a hoof on my shoulder. "Faust, this is Frazier squad. We've dropped and landed. How copy?" We wait there for couple seconds until we get our clearance, "Good copy, proceed to the compound, locate the weapons, destroy them, and get out. Stay safe and get home safe..." "Rodger, Frazier out"

After Squints and Harp had split off, We had gotten a few clicks north of the compound when we heard engines rumbling. Volts motioned for us to find cover. I ducked behind a large, thick oak tree as my buddies dove into a small ditch nearby. A large convoy passes by... "Volts, I'm seeing four cargo trucks, three mounted vehicles, and two Hummers. Did we have any intel on another shipment?" We stood up and started to move towards the east wall of the compound. "That's a negative Harp. What do you see?" I hear a bit of rustling over the comms, "I spy with my little eye... A mansion? How did we not get pictures of this?" Volts gives a annoyed groan, "Listen we don't have time for-" All of a sudden we heard a whisp through the air and a hard thud behind us. We quickly lined into formation "Squints was that you?! Don't fire unless I give the order to fire!" I looked at where the thud had come from and I saw a dark brown colt, earth pony, lying dead. Squints had saved our backsides...

"Volts, it's good. Look..." I pointed to the corpse with a bullet between the eyes. He looked back and grunted, "Could've told us about it..." Walker walks over to the body, "Mercenaries... Sheesh, look at this!" We carefully trotted over to where he was. "Sweet Celestia... Where'd they get this equipment?! Look at this! G3A3, 1911, Semtex, these guys are loaded up!" My ears perk up as I hear a crunch sound behind me. I hear a loud bang and then... Blackness...

Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Everything is blurry. I try to open my eyes, but when I do... I can't see anything. All I feel is pain... Struggling to sit up, a wave of pain flows through my back. I fall back on something hard, metal... I strain to hear the faintest of sound, but all I hear is ringing and muffled voices.
The pain eventually dies down and I feel the rumbling of a engine on the hard, metallic surface beneath me... I relax, letting a peaceful feeling overtake my body and allow me to rest...


The slow beeping of a nearby heart monitor nearby is the only sound reverberating through the silent hospital room. I slowly wake up. I try to open my eyes, but I see nothing. I try to speak out and try to communicate to anybody near by, but all that comes out is a low groan. I hear a stir of movement to my right.
"R-Ryan...? Ryan!" I cringe a bit, cause of the headache, but mostly because of the mare with that voice...
"Princess Luna... Why..." In a hushed tone, "Don't call me that Ryan... You know that. You don't need to be so formal..." I rest my head against a Pillow. At least I think it was a pillow... "Where am I? Where's the rest of the squad?" "Your friends? Oh, they came by earlier... You're in the royal Canterlot hospital..." "But... I was just in..." She cut me off, "Ryan, that was 4 months ago..."
I sat up immediately, ignoring the pain flowing through my back. "4 months?! You mean I've been lying here for 4 months?!" "Ryan calm down!" I feel her hoof gently placed on my right shoulder. "Just... Calm down... You're in no condition to exert and stress yourself out..." Her voice calms be down and lay back. "So... What's up with my eyes...? Has anypony told you anything...?" She lets out a sigh. Oh boy... This'll be good. "Ryan... He... He said that your eyes were damaged. I don't remember what exactly he said, but you had a surgery to repair the damage from... Whatever happened to you..." My ears begin to twitch. Her voice is wavering, "I thought you were dead.... When they brought you home, they refused to let me see you and...." She begins to cry. I can feel her rest her head against my chest, her tears rolling down onto my fur. "I was so scared I would lose the only friend that loves me for who I am!" Okay, I've seen her cry and seen her hurt, but hearing her cry over me... It was too much. I've never broken down and cried, but my "eyes" were tearing up. I let a few tears roll down my partially bandaged face, "Don't worry Luna... I'm alive and here..."