by Requiem17

First published

After making an emergency slipspace exit Spartan II Ale finds himself the last survivor of UNSC Enduring Ember. Ale becomes the defender of Equestria. But there are dark forces rising. Can Ale defend our beloved ponies?

After a slipspace accident, Ale, a Spartan II, is the last survivor of the UNSC Enduring Ember. Lost, injured, and confused, the displaced soldier must come to terms with his new reality or risk falling into a terrifying isolation. All is not as it seems however, the super soldier having gained the attention of a threat that can rival even his strength and tactical wisdom. Will Ale choose a war that is not his to fight, or will he turn a blind eye as he struggles to find his peace?

For the most part this story takes place before season four, but it's been so long since I actually wrote this that things may slip through the cracks during the rewrite. I apologize in advance for this.

Book one of three.
Proofread by The dragon hunter

This is my first story so constructive criticism is appreciated. Enjoy!

(This story is undergoing a rewrite. Chapters marked with a * are new and vastly improved! The old version will still be kept however, so beware!)

Halo elements belong to Bungie, Microsoft, and 343 Industries. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic belongs to Hasbro.

Warning! Spoilers in comments!

A Productive Day*

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Celestia’s star shined brightly down upon the land of Equestria, its licking heat driving away the cool grasp of night. The star’s life sustaining light warmed the fertile soil and tempted the local wildlife out of their slumber. The nation’s inhabitants, ponies of all sizes, shapes, and types, greeted the warm and sunny day with a fervorous joy. The ponies went about their daily activities with an upbeat tempo in their motions, excitement pouring off of them in anticipation of the scheduled event in their beloved capital city.

Months of planning had been spent in preparation for the Gala, the final few days leading up to the ball having been used to ship in and assemble the items necessary for the celebration to go off without a hitch. Even now, the kitchen’s ovens in the Royal Castle were roaring hot as not only the nation’s top chefs, but those from around the globe tediously tended to their tasks, creating the finest culinary works. Public workers were on the clock 24/7, cleaning up the city and decorating the streets with flowers, banners, and other celebratory fashions.

The castle’s staff hurriedly unpacked the new shipments and rushed about the smooth granite flooring, desperately trying to meet their deadline in four days. In the middle of the semi-organized chaos stood one solid figure. The purple alicorn held a commanding yet approachable presence as she oversaw the Gala’s preparations. A small purple dragon with green spikes stood next to her, checklist in talon. The two were in sync with each other as they directed the flow of ponies, assisting by keeping everypony on schedule and minimizing accidents.

The purple alicorn, known as Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, stepped clear as a large refrigerated crate was pushed past, several unicorns carefully maneuvering their package through the bustling foyer. Twilight spied a stray towel on the floor in front of them, a slippery danger on the slick floor if one of the cargo ponies stepped on it. Shooting a quick burst of magic, the towel was moved out of the way seconds before disaster.

‘Twilight Sparkle, savior of ice ponies everywhere.’ Twilight indulged in her inner humor for a brief moment longer before turning to her dragon assistant. “Spike, update on the checklist?”

The faithful dragon’s eyes quickly scrawled across the paper from top to bottom, biting his tongue in careful consideration. “We’re on schedule Twilight.” He watched as the large crate disappeared down a hallway before marking the list with a quill, “One ice pony, check.”

Twilight smiled and rubbed her hoof on Spike’s head, “That’s my number one assistant! Keep this up and this will be the best Gala yet!”

Spike pulled away from Twilight’s hoof and straightened his head spike. “The other Galas weren’t so bad.”

Twilight froze, one of her pupils shrinking while her eye twitched. A small curl popped into existence on her mane. “‘Not, so, bad’?” She turned her horrifying gaze onto Spike, the small drake backpedaling as the crazed mare revealed her inner beast.

Spike started sweating bullets as he lifted a hesitant claw. “Uh, Twilight? Remember what Princess Cadance said?”

A glint of intelligence sparked in Twilight’s eyes, the mare’s demeanor returning to normal as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath and held a foreleg to her chest. She released her air and the pent up stress inside of her with it. “Thanks Spike, I can get a little carried away at times.”

Spike chuckled nervously as he wiped his brows in relief, “Heh-heh, no problem Twilight. It happens to the best of us.”

Twilight nodded in agreement, “Well said Spike. Now, we’ll have to place the rope barriers-,” Twilight paused as she opened her eyes and noticed the surrounding ponies staring at her, having witnessed the earlier spectacle. Her eyes darted back and forth before a nervous energy built up inside of her. “Uh, carry on,” she waved a hoof at them.

Spike stepped up next to Twilight as the crowd of ponies began working again, reaching up to pat her comfortingly on the side. “Relax Twilight. Nothing’s going to go wrong. You have multiple failsafes in place, the Guard on standby, and everything timed to the last second!” He put his arm down before returning to his checklist. “Honestly, anything short of Celestia herself calling it off couldn’t stop this from happening.”

Twilight ran her magic through her mane to comb the curls out of it before sighing. “You’re right Spike. I have nothing to worry about.” She took a step forward before a stray thought ran across her mind. “Wait… You said that only Celestia herself could stop the Gala.”

Spike’s muzzle scrunched up in confusion. “Yeah? What about it?” He looked up in time to see the gears turning in Twilight’s head. He lifted an eyebrow, “I don’t think Celestia would call off the Grand Galloping Gala, Twilight.”

The alicorn perked up. “That’s the thing Spike! She normally wouldn’t, but what if she did!?” She gasped, “What if the real Celestia was kidnapped and an imposter crashed the Gala!?”

Spike groaned in frustration. “You’re not serious Twi?”

Twilight lifted Spike in her magic and held him in front of her, face to face. “No! Don’t you see Spike? It happened with Cadance, it could happen with Celestia!” The curls she had combed out less than a minute ago regained their foothold, proudly displaying their victory. Twilight’s breathing quickened with worry. “It could have already happened! Come on Spike! We have to go check up on Celestia!” Spike yelped as Twilight took off at a full gallop, weaving recklessly between the staff ponies.

Twilight would indeed soon realize how silly she was, but not without consequence. Startling the Solar Empress while she was hard at work writing up new documents never did end well for the flammable material. However, even with all of this happening, the day still continued on normally for the citizens of Equestria. As far as they were concerned, nothing could go wrong. After all, what would dare interrupt the well oiled plans of Equestria’s most notorious planner and expect to get away unscathed?


“Going hot!” A large blast rippled out from the entrance of the small warehouse, a small shower of debris raining down on top of the Marines as they rushed through the threshold. The sharp reports of gunfire immediately greeted them, forcing the UNSC soldiers to take cover and return fire. A shrill whirring pierced the loud atmosphere as an Insurgent spun up an AIE-486H HMG, the anti-infantry gatling gun releasing a loud roar as it spewed metal death into the cover the Marines were hiding behind.

The two forces exchanged fire in a fervent dash, adrenaline fueling their actions. Screams of agony and yells of distress filled the ears of the fighting men as bullets met their targets, burrowing into the unfortunate souls who were caught out in the open. The Rebels seemed to have an ironclad defense as more soldiers came to their aid with fresh supplies and renewed moral. However, the tactical and material superiority of the Marines proved its worth as they continued to push forward.

A sharp whizzing noise smacked into the Rebel manning the heavy machine gun, an echoing crack following soon after as the man slumped across his quieting weapon. Desperation rippled through the Rebels at the loss of their main means of suppression against their enemy. A few Insurgents made a mad dash to reclaim the weapon, all falling under the relative accuracy of the UNSC platoon.

The Marines pushed further, forcing the Rebels deeper into the building. The Marines slowed their pace as the Rebels retreated down long corridors in the office portion of the warehouse. Putting suppressive fire on the corners of doors and hallway intersections, the Marines systematically stacked up on one door after another, tossing flashingbangs in before clearing it of any hostiles. A particularly nasty surprise was a battle crazed Rebel holding an M41 SSR, the battle lust induced soldier aiming his rocket launcher at the door, willing to end his life if it meant he took a few UNSC Marines with him.

The window in the room shattered, the Rebel dropping as a fine mist erupted from his chest. A two man sniper team stood up from the roof of the building across the alley, moving on as they searched for more targets. The UNSC forces weren’t without casualties of their own however, several soldiers having already been patched up by a medic, while the more severely injured were moved out of immediate danger on stretchers. The few who had given everything for their brothers, the UNSC, and it’s citizens, were tagged for pick up and covered in tarps, their combat brothers only having the time to briefly pay their respects before continuing the fight.

The Marines pushed the last dozen or so remaining Rebels onto the roof of the warehouse. The Insurgents prepared to make a final stand as they took cover behind large AC units, the Marines preparing to take casualties as there was only open rooftop between the roof access and the Insurgents. Rallying together and drawing strength from one another, the soldiers moved.

Before a single shot was fired, a Falcon crested the edge of the roof, broadsiding the Insurgent position. The loud chops of the rotors and the loud roar of the VTOL engines beneath them caught the attention of the Rebels. They didn’t have time to stare however as the M247H HMG burst into action. The men screamed as they were gunned down by the UH-144’s side mounted gun. The gun continued to bark loudly for a few more seconds, bucking lightly in the hands of its operator.

The last of the Rebels fell after attempting to make a rush back into the building, the combined accuracy of the gun’s targeting system and that of the gunner’s HUD laying destruction to their bodies. The gun quieted and the bird’s rotors tilted forward, power dumping into its engines as it began to gain altitude while moving forward. It circled a dozen meters above the roof as the Marines flooded onto its surface. The Falcon provided overwatch while the Marines searched the bodies for intel.

The soldiers were almost finished checking the bodies, a stray Marine on the perimeter pausing to look up at the Falcon. He performed a two fingered salute, watching the gunner. “Thanks for the assist, Spartan.” The Spartan turned his cyan visor towards the Marine, nodding in response.

The first lieutenant leading the platoon twirled his fingers in the air. “We’re done here, let’s move out!” The Marines followed his command as they filtered back into the roof access, needing to continue pushing down the block.

The Falcon moved out over the street, more Marines kicking down the doors of other buildings to clear them of any Insurgents. The ariel view the Falcon offered showed the entire east side of town being locked down and systematically searched for Rebel troops and ammunition caches.

The Spartan watched as a few other Pelicans came in from the direction of the FOB, several landing where the injured needed exfil while others were prioritized by different fireteams, the air ordnance proving to be very useful against any retreating Insurgents.

Knowing that he had orders, the Spartan turned on his comms. “Pilot, head towards Marian’s Square. I’ll be getting off there.”

“Acknowledged.” The Falcon performed one last loop before moving out towards the Spartan’s objective, the system’s star glinting dully off of the Spartans dull steel gray and maroon armor. There was work to be done and he was only just getting started.


The half-ton armored Spartan moved down the brightly lit hall of the aged cruiser, stepping aside to let a large cart pass by, the engineers shying away from the genetically augmented super soldier. He continued on his way however, having long since gotten used to the social isolation someone of his station experienced. He was the obedient soldier, the big gun, the last resort. He was an angel of death, a soldier so perfect that everything in his way crumbled to ash and dust.

People just couldn’t relate to such a creation, hence the lack of healthy social contact.

The Spartan II moved with a purpose, heading towards the bridge to be debriefed by the captain. He, along with most of the soldiers who had originally departed the ship over a week ago, had just returned from ground operations in the city of Brighton. They had originally arrived in system as an escort to a supply ship, as was the normal for the obsolete vessel. However, the planet Sedra was a known Insurrectionist hotspot. The UNSC was nowhere near full strength even two years after the Human-Covenant War and were only able to divert a few ships from the slowly restrengthening fleet to try and stem the Rebel activity.

As a result the UNSC Pyxis, Echoing Thunder, and Masquerade had asked for assistance in a search and destroy operation in Brighton. The Ember, having been given a temporary break until High Comm gave them new tasking, obliged.

The Spartan’s mind was crystal clear, his consciousness always battle sharp. Very rarely did anything muddy his thoughts as years of back breaking training, brainwashing, and constant battle stress tended to beat out anything that could potentially be distracting. This hyper awareness allowed him to take in his surroundings in a heartbeat; the gray steel of the hallway was clean of most dirt and grime, technicians, engineers, and soldiers walked towards their destinations, usually talking to one another in neutral or jovial tones, an occasional laugh echoing towards him. The air was cool and clean as the scrubbers performed their job flawlessly. For an old ship, it was very well maintained as most of the crew members on it had served aboard it their entire lives, the ship essentially an extension of themselves.

The Spartan turned at an intersection, having no need to read the signs giving directions to the Bridge. Two Marines stood guard on either side of a large blast door, standing at attention. They saluted the approaching Spartan, the super soldier nodding in turn as the doors slid open to permit him entry. A few ensigns looked up from their terminals before returning to their work. A large bearded man dressed in a grayed officer's uniform turned as he heard the footsteps of the heavy Spartan.

Noticing the new arrival, a small smile broke out on the captain’s face. “Ah, prompt in your arrival, as usual Petty Officer.”

The Spartan snapped to attention and gave a crisp salute. “Captain Sanders.”

“Ah, ah, ah!” The captain waved off his salute. “Why do you insist in following protocol so stiffly Ale? You’ve served with us for two years now, you’re practically family.” The captain turned towards his command console, reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a small tin of mints and fished one out, pausing in his actions briefly to offer Ale one. The Spartan shook his head and Sanders shrugged before placing it in his mouth and putting the tin away.

The captain began reading lines of text on the brightly lit screen, checking up on any directives from High Comm. “How did everything go down there in Brighton?”

“The mission went according to plan sir. We encountered firm resistance, but everybody performed their jobs professionally.”

The captain grunted in agreement. “Good. Very good.” He leaned away from the terminal and cracked his back, releasing a sigh of relief. “So, did you get to stretch you legs and kick some sorry Innie ass?”

Ale blinked, having long since learned that the captain was very informal about most things. Despite his lack of following guidelines, the captain had proven himself an effective leader many times over the two years he had known him. Not only did he accomplish his objectives, but he did so in a manner that preserved many of the lives aboard. Thus, the crew held a lot of respect for the family man.

“Yes sir,” Ale responded after a brief pause.

The captain nodded before moving towards a locker in the room. “It does some good, getting the boys planetside and letting them burn off the energy they get while cooped up in here.” He began inputting a code into the keypad on the locker, “They can get a tad bit restless.”

Ale mentally agreed, knowing that he secretly enjoyed running rampant for a few days. Spartan or not, he was still human.

With a small beep, the lock turned green and Sanders opened the locker. He ignored the magnum, its magazines, and the scattered M228 12.7mmx40mm rounds rolling around the bottom of the locker and instead swept aside an extra pair of officer fatigues. He spotted what he was looking for and grabbed a small box, closing the locker after he withdrew the package. He turned towards Ale in a contemplative manner. “You know, something has always puzzled me. Everytime I call you up here or encounter you elsewhere, you’re always in full battle dress.”

The Spartan turned his head slightly as he thought about the captain’s unasked question. Ale didn’t rightly know why he never took off his armor. It used to be because it was an absolute hassle to take the heavy and cumbersome powered assault armor off, but his current suit, the Mark VII, had been designed to be taken off and put on more easily. He had never bothered using the new addition in the armor bay; they had build a device that was supposed to assist in taking his armor off in a much more efficient manner than by hand. The fact that he didn’t use it only added to some of the crews annoyance of Ale, certain members having not been entirely happy with removing some of their own personal equipment to make room for it.

The captain watched in fascination as the Spartan, a soldier with inhuman reflexes and a quick mind, had to think over his rather simple inquiry. Meanwhile, Ale had finally come to the conclusion that he hadn’t a single clue as to why.

‘Perhaps… it’s because I’ve been in it so long I can’t picture being out of it. I’ve become so attached to it that it’s become a second skin to me. It’s an extension of my body.’ With that rather startling revelation and a small newfound concern that he may have become a little more reliant on his armor than he should be, the Spartan finally answered his question.

“As an integral part of this ship’s security, it is within the best interests of the crew and their safety that I be prepared for any situation at any time.”

Captain Sanders stared at Ale for a few moments before slowly nodding. “Alright, if that’s what you want.” He shook his head, “On to more celebratory matters.” He stepped towards Ale, holding the box out to him. “High Comm, after having reviewed your service over the past two years in the defense of this ship, the UNSC and her colonies have seen fit to reward you with a promotion.” Ale took the box carefully, opening it. “Congratulations Chief Petty Officer.”

Sure enough, inside the polished wooden box sitting on a velvet lining was a golden insignia detailed by three chevrons topped by a rocker and the UNSC Eagle displayed proudly above it all. The captain cleared his throat, “Now, normally I would pin that onto your uniform for you personally as my own way of congratulating hard workers on this ship, but seeing as you are in some of the best armor known to man...”

Ale stood still, dragging on the silence for a few seconds. He finally gave an awkward nod, much to the relief of the captain, before he closed the lid. He straightened his stance with a dull metal click of his armored boots before giving a stiff salute. “Thank you sir.”

The captain humored Ale and saluted back. After finishing the salute, the captain rubbed his beard. “Well, you’re dismissed soldier. You have a few days of R&R before we head out on our next delivery. In the meantime, we’ll be in a high orbit above Sedra’s moon.” He waved Ale off, “You have a good rest Spartan, you deserved it.”

Ale tucked the box under his right arm before turning towards the door. “Captain,” he said respectfully as he exited. Ale moved at a fairly sedate pace back towards his room, his mind slowly depressing into a slightly more relaxed state. He breathed deeply to help release some of the built up stress he had endured over the past week. It didn’t do a whole lot of good, but Spartans were known to suppress any and all emotion that would interfere with their combat performance. Something Ale really enjoyed was sleeping. Mind you, he wasn’t lazy, but he certainly appreciated the benefits of sleep.

Now, many soldiers didn’t enjoy sleeping. The main reason for this was because they feared that which plagued them in their daily lives would come to visit them when they were in no position to fight back, completely helpless to their living nightmares. Ale had plenty of those to contend with, but he had taken steps to learn how to beat these away. He was very studious and he enjoyed learning. It was only natural that he would eventually read up on methods of confronting his fears, even if they were buried under an iron will in his waking world.

The Spartan didn’t have to walk far before he reached his quarters. Being the only Spartan on board, he had no need of sharing a bunk room. This was a luxury that most soldiers did not have. His room however, wasn't that glamorous. It was furnished for a utilitarian lifestyle, said contents of the room consisting of a single bed, writing desk, personal computer, locker, and a small bathroom with an even smaller shower.

Ale moved over to his locker and opened it. There were special charging stations built into the locker for his preferred weapons. His weapons, unlike his armor which was standard issue for updated Spartans and the Spartan IVs, were experimental. His request to use them in live fire scenarios, which were conveniently real tests during his missions, had been approved as he had both the proper training and education to wield them. He carried what looked like an MA5D Assault Rifle, a pair of M7/Caseless Submachine Guns placed seamlessly into grooves on his thigh armor, and finally an M6C Magnum. However, each of these weapons were instead dubbed the EX9M4, EX13M9, and the EX27M2.

These weapons were designed to implement the dependability of human weaponry with the lethal ability of Covenant weaponry. Other than a few small changes in their outward appearance, designed that way to make them less distinguishable to any thieves or rebels, the main change was the munitions. Specifically, that the weapon didn’t really have any munitions to begin with.

The magic happened in a specially created magazine that was inserted into the magazine port of the weapon. The magazine glowed an unearthly blue as plasma roiled and stayed hot under it’s super condensed conditions. When discharged, it fired high energy bolts that, for all intensive purposes, simulated the effects of plasma rounds. When the super condensed plasma ran out of energy, Ale would simply place it in a charging station built onto his armor. The MJOLNIR MVII’s fusion-plasma hybrid power system would recharge the magazine within an hour.

Walking around in a nuclear reactor, while intimidating at first, certainly had it’s benefits. Needless to say, Ale could be in the field with no further supply on his suit’s fuel source for a few hundred years before the power in his suit, and ultimately his ammunition, would run out.

Science lesson aside, Ale placed the box underneath his dress blues before closing the locker door. He moved over to his computer terminal and made sure that there were no further updates awaiting him. Satisfied, the super soldier moved over to his bed and sat down. Ale quietly mulled over a few stray thoughts, isolating himself in the silence. Knowing that he wasn’t supposed to be needed for another two days, he quickly made a game plan on his activities during the duration.

‘Strength training, combat simulator, equipment check, research, repeat,’ he mentally tasked. With that done, Ale rotated and placed his legs up on the bed before lying down, having found the undersuit, hydrostatic gel, and surprisingly, the polymerized lithium nibocene layer to be rather comfortable padding. Plus, you get used to sleeping in your armor in the field.

Mentally commanding the lights in his room to turn off using his neural interface, Ale closed his eyes and quickly drifted to sleep.


The high stress activities of the day had come to a standstill as the sun fell and the moon rose. A cool breeze rolled through the city of Canterlot, the citizens cuddling deeper into their beds before drifting off to sleep. A light was still on however in one of the castle’s towers. The Princess of Friendship’s compulsive nature to oversee everything had kept her up well into the night. Only the insistence of her assistant had finally driven her into the guest bed chambers.

Spike was preparing his basket for bed, stopping to stretch widely while releasing a loud yawn. He smacked his slips before crawling into the basket. Twilight stood a few feet away from him and held a scroll in front of her. She was reading over it carefully before a small frown creased across her face. She began mindlessly pacing while studying the status of the Gala preparations. Her hooves clicked on the polished marble, preventing Spike from falling asleep. He tossed and turned for a minute before he finally let out an irritated huff.

“Twilight,” he muttered groggily. When he didn’t receive a reply, Spike groaned before taking a deep breath. “TWILIGHT!”

The pacing mare shrieked before jumping a few meters into the air, her horn blazing as she reflexively reacted to the loud noise. Her mind caught up with her body and she let out a relieved sigh. She glided back to the floor and turned towards Spike as he shuffled back into his bed. “Sorry Spike, I’m just nervous.” She rubbed her mane in embarrassment.

Spike stayed quiet for a few seconds before he was able to process a reply. “You still have three days Twilight.” And with that, he fell promptly asleep, his quiet snores in synch with the rise and fall of his blanket.

Twilight nodded before quietly walking towards her luggage. Using her magic, Twilight rummaged around before she pulled out a baby blue silk night gown with a triumphant hum. She pulled it over her head, enjoying the smooth kiss of the silk against her fur. Feeling fatigue creeping into her, Twilight turned off the lights with little effort and climbed into bed. She released her own quiet yawn before closing her eyes. “Goodnight Spike,” she murmured before she too succumbed to Luna’s realm.

Donuts and Lost Ships*

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The air was filled with a cacophony of noise, only bits and pieces being identifiable. One could only catch small parts of scattered conversation, porter’s whistle calls, hissing steam, and loud wails of train horns. The Canterlot train station was busy 24/7, loading and offloading passengers and cargo from all over the nation. Twilight could list a whole slew of facts about train travel and the logistics involving it, but she was currently preoccupied by staring at one of the many time zone clocks on the wall of the ticket office. She traced the periodic movement of the second hand as it ticked round and round, never blinking her drying eyes. Time almost seemed slower than normal as it was wont to happen when focusing on such things. She had apparently never learned the supernatural reasoning that watching for water to boil caused it to never boil, a fact that every foal knew.

She had almost confirmed her paranoial belief that the second hand was half a second off when Spike, who had been lounging on her back in boredom while pony watching, suddenly gasped in excitement. “Twilight! They’re here!” He jumped to his feet, only an inch or so taller than Twilight when standing on her withers. “Hey guys! Over here!” he shouted as loud as he could, waving his small arms to the group departing the train. His movement on her back and his loud shouting was surprisingly enough to rouse Twilight out of her trance. She drug her gaze away from the clock and looked in the direction Spike was waving in.

She was having a hard time seeing through the crowd of ponies as her friends had stepped off the higher level of the train and onto the station platform, but the bright and unique colors of her flying friend hovering above the crowd was easy to spot. “Rainbow!” Twilight called. When her friend failed to respond, Twilight began working her way through the crowd, but her pace was heavily impeded. Wanting to catch them before they got too far, she used her magic to poke the rainbow colored pegasus on her shoulder, causing her friend to look in her general direction. Her sharp eyes quickly scanned the crowd and brightened when she spotted Spike, followed quickly by Twilight. Her mouth opened as she said something, but it was inaudible through the noise of the station. She turned her head back and dropped down into the crowd.

Twilight kept moving towards her general location before Rainbow made another appearance in the air, moving slowly towards Twilight. With only a few more meters, the pegasus became impatient and quickly cruised the rest of the way over to Twilight, landing nimbly before giving Twilight a quick, strong hug. “Hi Twilight!” She moved her head to the side to look at Spike and gave him a quick noogy on the head. “‘Sup Spike? Been keeping her out of trouble?”

Spike nodded, “She’s been focused solely on the preparations for the Gala. I only had to prevent disaster a few times so far.”

Rainbow smirked, “Good job little buddy. As promised, one Wonder Ponies comic, first edition.” She passed a sleeved comic book to the baby dragon, giving a genuine smile as the drake took the comic in unsuppressed glee.

Twilight looked between the two. “Really?”

“What?” Rainbow asked in defense.

“I used to live in Canterlot, surely you have some faith in me?” Rainbow proceeded to raise an eyebrow, causing Twilight to sigh in defeat. This didn’t last for long as it was then the rest of her friends made an appearance. She quickly brightened back up. “Girls!”

“Twilight!” The group rushed in, all giving hugs to the purple mare and her drake.

After they had finished, Twilight took a small step back. “How was the trip?”

“It was simply marvelous darling,” Rarity spoke up as she looked upwards a bit, quickly blinking her glittering eyes. “I’m so glad we invested in first class tickets this year. It was a nice change of pace to sit in the luxury car with ponies waiting on your every hoof. And the food was surprisingly fancy might I add. Oh, and don’t even get me started on th-”

“Ah think what Rarity is trying to say is that the trip was comfortable and enjoyable,” Applejack interrupted by putting a hoof on Rarity’s mouth.

Rarity brushed her hoof away with magic before tossing her mane. “Yes, well, a mare can choose to describe every glorious event if they so desire. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a story polished and gleaming if one so desired.”

“Uh-huh, if ya say so Rares.”

“Well I don’t know about all the things Rarity said, but the one thing she was totally right about was the delicious scones, pies, and cupcakes!” Pinkie took a huge inhalation of air as she became overly excited. “And there was this hugenormous triple stacked chocolate ice cream cone with some kind of amazing golden custard drizzled on top that a pony was wearing on her head but when I asked if I could have some she gave me this really weird look so I figured she was confused as to why she wouldn’t be willing to share such a large and tasty treat with others so I went to take a bite but for some reason I think some of her mane got stuck in it because all I could taste was mane and then she started freaking out probably because she was embarrassed or something but when I-”

For the second time within a minute, Applejack played interference with a hoof to the mouth, muffling the rest of Pinkie's sinfully long run on sentence. “Ah think she gets it sugarcube. And what did we learn about eating other ponies fancy mane doo’s?”

“‘Tha nouth tho ith,” Pinkie said, her mouth now consuming Applejack’s hoof as the farmpony had neglected to pull away.

“Ach!” The orange mare pulled her now slobber covered hoof back from Pinkie, shaking the drool onto the ground. “Land’s sake,” she mumbled.

“Uh, guys?” Rainbow called to attention. “I hate to interrupt our little pow-wow here, but I think we need to leave. Fluttershy has had her fill of this place.” Sure enough, the girls looked past the rainbow pastel pony and noticed Fluttershy lying down on the stone floor of the station with her head covered by her hooves.

“Oh, alright, let’s go. We can find some peace and quiet at the castle, maybe even pick up some donuts on the way,” Twilight stated, beginning to lead the way.

The group followed after, leaving the quivering yellow pony behind. That is, until Rainbow Dash swooped back, gripped her fellow pegasus’ pink tail, and started dragging her after their friends. “C’mon Flutters, let’s get you out of here.”

“So, Twilight, how have the preparations been coming along?” Rarity asked before taking a guilty sip of her secret pleasure drink. That is, not before looking around quickly for any onlooking famous ponies before taking a sip of her steaming cup of coffee, if the sugar, milk, and whip cream beverage could even be prideful enough to be labeled as such.

Twilight finished the donut she had been chewing before replying, “Things have been going pretty well. All deliveries have been on time and we’ve had the pony power needed this year. I’ve projected that we should be finished and ready to go within the end of the day, early morning at the latest.”

“‘Reckon this one will go better than last year?” Applejack asked. “Not that last year was bad,” she corrected after the looks she had received from her surrounding mares. “It was just a might bit... exciting.”

“As long as Pinkie behaves herself,” Rainbow started, “we should be ok.” She looked at the pink mare in question. “No offense Pinkie, but you are quite the attention grabber.”

The pink mare pulled her head out of a massive pile of donuts, her cheeks bulging with packed confectionery. She made what seemed to be an impossible and very, very painful swallow before tilting her head to the side and knocking a stray donut out of her ear. “What was that ‘Dashie? I was listening carefully for the ingredients to Joe’s secret recipe.”

Rainbow shook her head, gesturing for her to continue before turning her attention back to Twilight. The purple mare smiled before picking up another donut in her magical grip. “Actually, I came up with some rather clever ideas this year. I know that last year we tried to do the things we wanted, and we all saw how that turned out, so I figured that we could try to do the same again this year, only I’ve taken the liberty of combining everything together in what I hope to be a success.”

“Sounds ambitious Twilight. But uhm, how exactly will you incorporate animals into the gala this year?” Fluttershy took a small nibble on her plain donut out of nervousness or suppressed excitement for Twilight’s answer.

“I’m glad you asked Fluttershy. There are a few big things like the addition of fish in the palace fountains, both indoor and outdoor, and the magical wards that keep birds away from perches that allow them to potentially, ahem, grace somepony with a new paintjob to their hat have been removed and instead will force them to leave if they need to take care of business. This allows them to get a lot closer to the guests.” Twilight tapped her chin. “I even think there’s a monkey that will play an organ grinder outside. Celestia thought it would be nice to add some more ethnic flavor to this year’s Gala.”

“Interesting,” Rarity stated. “I can certainly see and appreciate her choice. Having the same kind of ponies and culture, especially that of Canterlot, can be quite dull and unexciting at times.” She quickly looked around as her eyes widened. “Not that there’s anything wrong with the culture or ponies here, it’s just that the locals here can be a bit, well….”

“Snobbish, or a real pain in the flank. Maybe both. Actually, let’s just say always both,” Rainbow finished, taking a swig of a soft drink.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right Rainbow Dash, although I would have used different words,” Rarity replied. Dash just shrugged.

“Hopefully that won't be a problem this year.” Twilight brushed one of her bangs out of the way before leaning over the table, talking quietly. “Don't tell anybody about this, but after the changeling attack, there's been a bigger concern over infiltrators.”

“Meh, I don't think we'll be seeing those bug faces anytime soon,” Rainbow yawned, surprisingly keeping her tone down. “Especially not so soon after we kicked their flanks. If we haven't gotten rid of them for good, they'll still need time to gain their strength.”

Twilight mused over her friend's words, seeing where her reasoning was coming from. Dash’s family had history in the guard and she had learned a thing or two from them. Plus, she was a Wonderbolt reservist, and contrary to popular belief the Wonderbolts were more than just glorified showponies. They were both veterans and active guards from all branches.

However, there hadn't been any true combat in hundreds of years. The changelings were really the only threat Equestria had encountered throughout that time. Nonetheless, Twilight believed in preparation and had done her homework, even if it was fairly grisly.

“Think of this Rainbow, the changelings don't need an invasion force.” In response to Rainbow’s imploring look, she continued. “All you need is one drone to pull off something as dark and dirty as an assassination attempt.”

The girls’ eyes widened. Applejack coughed. “That's uh, quite the thought Twilight.” She took off her hat and scratched her mane. “Ah sure hope you're wrong about that.”

“Me too Applejack,” Twilight nodded. “But the rest of the world, while adopting many of our beliefs and cultural customs, still have plenty of violence, none of which we see here anymore. The griffon’s civil war was a very bloody conflict, and that only happened a little over a century and a half ago.” Twilight sighed and drank a little bit of her milkshake through a straw. She pulled away and glanced at Spike, the drake still engrossed in his reading. “It's something that can't be ruled out.”

“Well, they'll have wards for changelings in disguise, right?” Twilight nodded at Rainbow's question.

“I don't think I really…” Fluttershy started before her voice faded out of the audible spectrum.

“What was that dear?” Rarity asked before taking her own dainty bites of the donut.

“I uhm, I don't think I really want to go if there's going to be… changelings.” Fluttershy almost sank under the table. “T-they’re so scary.”

“Not to worry Flutters!” Rainbow lifted out of her seat a bit to flex her muscles. “I got your back girl, nothing will touch you.”

Twilight motioned for her friend to calm down and to take a seat. She turned her gaze back to her shy friend. “I wouldn't think anything of it Fluttershy. The Guard is already taking precautions. We should have a fun filled and changeling free gala.” Twilight's eyes suddenly sparkled a bit. “Actually, there's going to be a whole manner of new creatures you've probably never met before Fluttershy. There's going to be zebras, which you've already met Zecora, but there'll be many other things like minotaurs, yaks, griffons, a few diamond dogs, and even an adult dragon!”

Twilight smiled in happiness. “I'll finally get to share the power of friendship with others and hopefully cause some new found relationships. I'll get to study what kind of bounds we cross and how we adapt to different cultures.” Twilight quited down for just a brief second before her eyes suddenly took on a sharp and focused look. “Notebooks… I'm going to need notebooks to record my observations. Hmm, and maybe I can get some brain wave scanners.”

“Heh heh,” Applejack chuckled nervously. “Uhm, Twi? Why don't you just let the relationships git a happenin’ without your… uh, interference?”

Twilight broke out of her muse and pouted. “But this could be a golden opportunity!”

It was at this moment that Spike produced a tremendous burp, green flame spouting from his muzzle. The dragon reacted without thought and caught the new scroll that had materialized out of his dragonfire. He quickly read the sender before passing it over into Twilight's magic. “It's from Princess Celestia.”

Twilight's mouth was in a perfect ‘o’ shape before she opened the scroll and began reading. It only took her a few moments to burn through the letters contents before she set it down.

“We're invited to dinner tonight with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.” Twilight smiled. “This will be nice, getting a chance to talk with the princesses before the inevitable of no free time during the gala.”

Rarity smiled very brightly in response. “And this will give me the perfect opportunity to wear some of the dresses that didn't make the final cut for use at the gala.”

Twilight giggled a bit. “I'm pretty sure it's going to be more of an informal event Rarity.” She polished off the last donut on her plate. “You don't have to wear anything.”

“Oh, but I shall! I must always look my best around royalty! You never know who will be watching.”

Twilight quirked her head. “Fair enough, but speaking of dresses, I didn't see any luggage with you this time.”

Rarity lifted her head proudly. “Why, I had it mailed here earlier as to save both Spike and I the trouble of carrying it around.” The white mare looked at Spike. “I didn't want to overwork my little Spikey-wikey after he has been working so hard already. Why, that would just be so uncouth to do!”

“Ah, it's nothing Rarity,” Spike replied, looking up from his comic. “I would have helped carry it, no problem.”

“Aw,” she responded, pinching Spike’s cheek with her magic. “And that is why you're my special little dragon.”

The baby dragon blushed before drifting off into his own fantasy. Twilight rolled her eyes before pulling out the bits necessary to pay for their food and drink. “Well girls, let's get going.”

Pinkie’s head suddenly launched out of her massive pile of donuts. “Whaaaammmpff?!”


The air almost vibrated with the sound of the heavy metal playing from the room's speakers, underlined by the sharp clanks and bangs of actual metal striking on metal. It was very difficult to hear any kind of conversation throughout the room unless you stood next to your partner and talked at a much higher volume. Luckily, or rather sadly, depending on how you looked at it, Ale did not need to worry about others hearing him. The very rarely unarmored Spartan II was occupied by keeping his breathing regulated while pushing the weighted bar up into the air before bringing it back down. He breathed out when pushing up and took a calm breath in when letting the bar come back down.

He noted with indifference the stares he was drawing from the other crew members in the weight room as he lifted the equivalent of a small car over and over, never drifting from the rhythm he had set. The metal bar he used was already bent from previous use, although it wasn't going to last forever if he kept up this pace, small white stress lines crisscrossing across the smooth yet heavily stressed metal.

The stares could probably also be attributed to the fact he was currently armorless, a rare sight for most of the crew aboard the ship. Nonetheless, Ale paid them no mind and continued his routine. The Spartan had spent the last few free days doing exactly as he had planned, keeping strict to his schedule. He had however also decided to take a brief leave of his armor, both to ensure he himself was still in good shape and to get some freedom from it. Although he did still feel a bit… exposed without it.

Wrapping up his planned workout, Ale set the weighted bar on the rack before sitting upright. He took a moment to himself before stooping a bit to grab a nearby towel on the floor. He brought the clean and dry towel to his face and wiped off the accumulated sweat, dapping at his forehead. Ale made a few quick swipes over his bare torso before making a binshot throw with the now used towel into the appropriate bin. The chiseled human finally stood up and gave a few quick stretches before cleaning up the equipment he had used and securing the attached weights to their holders.

Finishing this, he grabbed his shirt and started walking for the exit, pulling the gray military undershirt over his head. He passed his fellow soldiers without a word and stepped into one of the many hallways in the ship. Ale’s next destination was the armory, where his set of MJOLNIR armor awaited him in its rack.

Ale passed through the hallways quickly enough, noting nothing of particular importance happening, other than a few more stares than usual due to his armorless form. Subconsciously following his mental map, Ale entered the armory and found his armor safe and sound where he had left it. A couple Marines stopped suiting up and grabbing arms from the nearby weapon lockers for their daily battle simulations to watch the Spartan. Ale made his way over to a secure locker near the armor rig and began to strip down to his boxer briefs before grabbing the rather heavy undersuit to his armor from the locker. He opened a flawless seam located along the back of the black material and slipped his legs into it, squirming his way into it. Once it was snug around them, he pulled the heavy suit up the rest of his torso and inserted his arms into their proper places. He reached behind his back and pressed the seam closed, the break in material designed to press right back into place at a nanofiber level, keeping it tight and strong. The reactor imbedded in the metal armored spine of one side of the seam allowed power to once again flow through the crystalline circuitry of the suit, giving the suit it's true strength and speed.

Satisfied, Ale stepped into the armor rig and grabbed the handholds, triggering the machine to spin into action. Various hydraulic arms carried the shaped reactive titanium plates into place around the Spartan, pneumatic bolt guns securing the pieces together. It took a little less than a minute for the Spartan to be completely covered in the legendary armor of mankind's greatest soldiers, with the exception of the helmet. Ale chose to grab it from the machine before it had a chance to secure it into place, instead tucking it under his arm as he stepped off the rig with two loud metal thumps.

Nodding to the Marines, Ale walked along the metal floors, setting a thumping rhythm echoing around the room as he moved. His next objective was to talk to the captain and figure out what their next mission was. He secured his helmet to the magnetic lock on his thigh located just above one of his hidden experimental SMGs. He walked down the corridors to the bridge with a fair bit of unintended swagger. Nobody really noticed too much as it came with the territory of higher rank and skillsets.

Staying clear of the occasional maintenance cart, Ale passed the blast doors of the bridge and found his way to the captain’s chair. Finding it empty, Ale turned to ask one of the orderlies where he could find captain Sanders before the gravely yet friendly voice of the captain spoke up behind him.

“Chief Petty Officer, it's wonderful to see you again,” Ale heard as he turned to face the man addressing him. “And without hiding behind a pane of glass might I add.” The captain smiled and reached for a handshake, one Ale took in stride despite the captain's lighthearted jab. “What can I do for you Spartan?”

“Sir, just looking for intel on any mission updates.” Ale broke the handshake and stood to attention, awaiting his captain’s reply.

The aging man absentmindedly scratched his chin, “Well, we have something a bit more interesting.” He stepped towards a situation holo screen, waving Ale over. The Spartan obeyed and watched the captain fiddle with a few of the digital buttons. “This isn’t one of our normal runs,” Sanders spoke with a bit of an uncomfortable tone. He finished his jabbing and pulled up a 3-D model of a solar system. The captain passed a hand through the holo image. “This is an unmarked system. It’s just a bunch of numbers and letters. However, some unlucky bastard during the war was followed after following the Cole Protocol to his random slipspace coordinate. They were lucky enough to have only been followed by a small corvette, but both ships ended up destroying each other.”

Sanders frowned a bit before rubbing his face in frustration. “We’re only just now learning about this after some UNSC analysts stumbled across some of the old battle logs from a Covenant archive.”

“What of drift? Surely one or both of those ships would have been pulled in by one of these planets and destroyed or flung further out into space?”

“Regardless, ONI want’s us to take a look, and we will abide,” the captain replied.

“Something tells me that there was something special about this ship, Captain.” Ale nodded towards the system. “Why else would they send a military ship of this size for a simple cleanup?”

Sanders paused to take a breath. “They didn’t give too much information, but one of their spooks was on that ship. I think he or she may have something they don’t want the Covenant or any civilian to know about.” The man shook his head. “You’re no stranger to black ops, so I don’t need to say anymore. Just expect to be there in two days time.”

Ale nodded his affirmation. “Understood sir.”

“Good, now off with you. I’m a very busy man and having a half ton of metal following me around will only prove distracting.” The captain winked before walking to his chair, leaving Ale alone.

The Spartan didn’t need to be told twice, already turning and fulfilling the desire of the captain. Already he had the next few days planned out, following a not-so-shockingly similar routine to his previous one. He wasn’t going to let a few days travel time stop him from ensuring he was green for the mission. All he knew was that whatever the spooks wanted, they would have it soon enough.

“C’mon Twilight, you’re the one that didn’t want to run late!” Rainbow said as she urged Twilight along the hallway.

Twilight kept her current pace and glanced up to Rainbow Dash. “As much as I hate being late, I’m not going to run to get there.” She raised her head high with her eyes closed. “I learned my lesson once as a filly and I won’t be repeating it.” She decided to keep the details of her little ‘accident’ to herself.

“I have to agree with Twilight. We are guests in the home of royalty and we should not disrespect them so as to running through it.” The white mare blinked. “Besides, we’re not late so much as we are… fashionably late.”

Both Applejack and Rainbow rolled their eyes. “Let’s just keep going. That train ride wore me out,” Rainbow yawned. “I could really go to sleep right now.”

“An’ yet you napped the whole way here RD,” Applejack stated with one corner of her lips turned downward.

“Hey,” Dash turned towards her, flying sideways. “It takes a lot of energy to maintain ‘this’,” she gestured up and down her body.

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Ya could walk, save ya some flappin’ effort.”

“But- I, whatever.” The blue pegasus returned to her normal flying state, deciding she was too tired to try and explain her reasoning.

“I for one don’t understand how she can sleep on the train. It’s so… noisy, and fast. Especially fast.” The girls looked at their soft spoken friend, Fluttershy maintaining her light steps despite the attention turning to her.

“She is all speed Fluttershy,” Pinkie said. She took a few steps before her eyes suddenly brightened as she gasped. “What if going on really fast things act as a charger for her flying energy?! The faster it is the better the charge. Wait! What would happen if she moved really fast on an already fast moving object?! Would she be able to maintain the energy forever or would she go double the speed?! Wait! What if-”

“Pinkie, I think you’re overthinking it.” Twilight rubbed her head. “I know it’s hurting my brain.”

Pinkie started pronking. “But girls! This could be a serious discovery! Imagine how fast she could deliver orders for Sugarcube Corner! We would be unstoppable!”

Applejack stared at Pinkie in a bewildered amazement. “Ya know Pinkie, sometimes you are downright scary.”

“Uhm, I think we’re here,” Fluttershy interrupted, pointing to a pair of immaculate doors. The large doors were decorated with a carved image of ponies gathered around a large table full of food. Two guards in golden armor stood at attention to either side of the doors, watching the group of mares approach.

Twilight cleared her throat in preparation of announcing who they were and what they were here for when one of the guards interrupted her. “Welcome Twilight and friends,” he spoke in a gruff voice. “The princesses are expecting you.” The unicorn guard opened one of the doors with his magic while his fellow guard did the same for the other. “Have a nice evening miss.”

“Uh, thank you,” Twilight responded with an awkward smile before stepping through. Rarity and Applejack reciprocated their thanks to the guards as well before they all filed inside, the doors closing behind them. Inside, a moderately sized round table was set up in the much larger room, perfectly sized for a group their size, plus a few more. There were many dishes piled on the table, all still fresh and waiting to be served. But, more importantly, two ponies sat next to each other and were talking quietly before looking up to their visitors. Large smiles broke out on their muzzles before the white alicorn greeted, “Twilight Sparkle! Welcome!”

“Princess!” Twilight shouted in glee before rushing away from her friends to greet her old mentor and now fellow princess. Celestia rose from her chair and bent her head down, allowing Twilight to nuzzle her. The contact was brief before the two broke apart, Twilight looking up at Celestia with adoration before her ears suddenly flattened a bit. “Sorry we’re behind schedule Princess. I got a little distracted with a few things on the way here.”

Celestia smiled before shaking her head, glancing up as the rest of her student’s friends reached the table. “It is nothing to be sorry over, my faithful student. It gave Luna and I some time to talk with one another.” She glanced back at her sister, whom gave a friendly smile to both Twilight and the others. “But rest assured, you need not stress over the gala. Everything is almost ready and everything will be fine.”

Twilight, having been comforted by these words, found that she could indeed relax a bit and breathe easier. Straightening a bit, she stepped away and settled down into the chair next to Celestia’s, her friends settling in alongside her and around the table, ending with Rainbow Dash sitting next to princess Luna. The group of ponies all looked around before Celestia nodded towards the food. “Dig in everypony, I’m sure your trip took a bit out of you.”

Rainbow smiled evilly before rising a bit straighter in her seat, her forelegs spread wide in preparation. “You got that right princess.” She then proceeded to rapidly pile a random assortment of food upon her plate. Everypony else gave quiet ‘thank yous’ before serving themselves. Spike was delighted to find an assortment of foods that matched more closely to his dietary needs.

Twilight made sure she had chewed and swallowed her first few bites before turning her attention to the two royal sisters. “Princess Luna, how has the Night Court been coming along? I haven’t had much time to speak with you during my stay.”

The lunar princess waved her off with a foreleg before clearing her throat. “It has been going well, thank you for asking Twilight Sparkle.” She smiled in understanding before continuing, “And I take no offense to the lack of socializing between you and I. I understand that planning for the Gala is something important to you.” She shrugged before turning her attention to her own dinner. “Besides, it is a bit inconvenient that we are awake and asleep at different times, but such is my duty.”

“Have you made any new friends?” Fluttershy timidly asked, nervously playing with her mane. “Not that I didn’t think you could, but I, uhm…”

“Do not worry dear Fluttershy. And yes, I have befriended a few of the castle’s staff.” She twiddled her hooves a little bit. “It is a bit hard however to seek out conversation with other ponies I’m not in contact with on a daily basis. I rarely leave the halls of this castle.”

“I keep trying to get her to check out one of the clubs my little ponies seem to love to frequent, but she won’t go without an escort,” Celestia informed. She turned and looked at her sister. “Maybe you can find an opportunity with Twilight and her friends. I’m aware that going with a few guards isn’t exactly approachable for other ponies.”

Luna looked a bit glum, but nodded nonetheless. “I will try.”

Celestia smiled and turned to look back at her visitors. “Are you all excited for this year’s Gala? I know Twilight has put a lot more effort into ensuring that this one be the best one yet.” All of the girls nodded in differing levels of excitement, with the exception of Pinkie, whom was now buried under a pile of a sweet salad, her tail wagging back and forth from outside of it.

“Ah just don’t want her plum tucking herself out before it even starts,” Applejack commented, adjusting her stenson that she had sat on the table a bit.

Celestia nodded in agreement. “We’re taking a more lax approach this year. Better preparations have been made in an effort to try and reduce any kind of issues this year. If all goes as planned, everypony should enjoy a fun and exciting night. We have a few events planned out this year, including fireworks, a small street display, plenty of live music, a water fountain show, and even a miniature dancing competition.”

Twilight nodded in agreement. “There’s a few other things, but I thought it would be better if we had more variety in what we did. That way, we can attempt to cater to more ponies interests.”

“Sounds like it’s going to be a great year!” Rarity commented. “Certainly better than last year, I’m sure. No offense Twilight,” the white fashionista added when she received a slight stare from the purple mare. “Will there be any celebrities of other species here tomorrow night?”

“There will be a few ambassadors from varying empires around the world, as expected, but there will be other political figures, media icons, and even a few successful entrepreneurs.” Luna looked to Rarity. “I’m sure you’ll recognize a few.”

“I’m not so much interested in all that governmental and Hoofenwood stuff as much as I am looking forward to talking to the Wonderbolts!” Rainbow squeezed out from around her crammed mouth. “It’s been a few months since I last spoke to Spitfire or any other of her teammates.”

Celestia smiled, “And I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to see you Rainbow Dash. You’ve certainly left a lasting impression.” Her pink eyes turned to Fluttershy’s direction before she leaned a bit towards her. “And as for you Fluttershy, I would like to speak to you after you are finished with dinner. There is a spot in the gardens I think you’ll greatly enjoy that I can give you directions for if you’re interested.”

Fluttershy brightened considerably and her eyes flashed in excitement. However, she still kept her voice at it’s normal level of quietness. “I’d love too!”

Twilight opened her mouth to add further to the conversation, before movement beneath her muzzle caught her attention. Looking down, the only thing left on her plate was a single baby tomato, said tomato was rolling back and forth a bit. She stared at it in bewilderment before a long pink tongue quickly latched onto it and hauled it back from whence it came.

“Wow, did you see that!?” Spike exclaimed. Twilight looked around before she noticed that everypony’s plate was empty, including all the dishes located in the center of the table. She followed the gaze of her friends and zeroed in on Pinkie.

The successful baker was currently lounging in her seat with a physically impossible distending in her belly. The mare seemed happy and satisfied as she patted her gut before letting loose a belting burp. “Ah, that hit the spot.”

“That had to have been at least 6 feet in distance,” Spike said in awe.

Rainbow was the only one who seemed unimpressed. In fact, she seemed a bit ticked off that her food had been stolen, this being confirmed when she sighed in frustration. “Pinkie, was that really necessary? I was going to eat that.”

“Shhh… I’m monitoring controlled nuclear fission in my stomach. Call back when I’m not in danger of going critical.”

Rainbow stared at her blankly for a few seconds before turning to look at the princesses. Both princesses were stunned themselves. Luna was the first to break out of her shock. “I uh, I haven’t seen anything quite like that in hundreds of years, and it’s quite frankly disturbing when it’s coming from a pony.”

Celestia finally regained her own control before shaking her head, clearing her throat. “I will have more brought out. For now,” she eyed the now slumbering Pinkie. “Let’s just leave her be. I think she could use the rest.”

All present at the table had a quiet laugh before continuing to chat about lost time between themselves and the expectations of the upcoming and highly anticipated gala. Much was said, but they all came to agreement that it was going to be the best gala yet. It didn’t seem like there much room for anything to go wrong and everypony would be happy. They had much to look forward to and were ready to go to sleep by the time they had finished eating to rest up in preparation for their big day. Everything was going to be fine and if anything were to happen there were many failsafes in place.

Hell, it wouldn’t take anything short of a complete government uprising or a small war to stop the anticipated night from happening. And everypony laughed at the ridiculousness of such a thing happening. The band of friends dispersed to their rooms and fell to their peaceful dreams, where everything bowed to their every desire and pleasure. Tomorrow was going to be a big day, and they needed to be prepared for anything to happen. Nothing could stop them now. Together, they were the greatest force in Equestria, possibly even the world. They were too big to fail. This was too big to fail.

The night passed on, enshrouding the world in a peaceful darkness and keeping it safe from the fires of the burning star. Tomorrow would be a new day, one that would be openly welcomed by many. But until that time, now was the time for silence, and silence did reign.

The Most Well Laid Plans...*

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Today was the day, or rather night, as the huge crowds of excited Equestrians filled the cobblestone streets of the capital city of Canterlot. Huge street parties were being thrown for those who were unfortunate enough to have not made the guest list, but this did not deter their energy in any way. Bright and colorful spotlights cut through the dusk while warring music could be heard through the air. However, none of this could compare to the majesty that was Canterlot Castle, the stone palace dominating all its competitors with massive and dazzling arrays of lights. It was the envy of all who bore witness to its majesty.

Twilight and her friends were fortunate enough to be located right in the middle of it all, having all gone their separate ways to mingle and meet with others, experiencing their own preferences in the party. Twilight was currently sitting with both princesses in a booth, the princesses having decided that instead of greeting each pony one by one before allowing them passage into the castle, it would be much more efficient to have several lines that allowed them quicker and easier access into the castle, kind of like a hoofball game. While this was less personal, the diarchs would instead go out and about and move amongst the crowds, greeting ponies on a much larger scale while streamlining the time it had previously taken. This also allowed more time for the princesses to speak with ponies of interest if needed.

Regardless, Twilight was enjoying every moment she had the rulers to herself, getting to learn a little bit more about the daily ongoings of the nation and of the ponies who cared for it.

So far, the party was going without a hitch. Ambassadors of all kinds were enjoying themselves without the added stress of politics, having been invited without any need of diplomacy. A few dozen of the more tempered and down to earth elitists were also in attendance. They mingled with the foreigners in a friendly manner and caused no foreseen issues. Finally, many commoners who had connections or were exceptional in their actions happily frolicked in the festive atmosphere. All of these creatures of Equis, while having a good time, were still a bit separated in their own comfort zones, at least until they weren’t.

An unidentified equine object was briefly spotted flashing through all the different groups of ponies and others, unnoticably herding all of them closer together in order to get to know one another better. These reports have been classified top secret however, and those who’ve mentioned it regularly receive randomly placed ‘Discord in a Can’ for the rest of their natural born lives, forever tormenting them for their betrayal of crown kept secrets.

Twilight took a quick sip of the glass of punch in front of her, enjoying the sweet yet tangy taste of the red liquid. She set the glass down before Celestia caught her eye, the purple mare sensing an impending question. The princess smiled pleasantly. “So, Twilight, I know you’ve been busy the past few days ensuring this would be one of the best galas yet, but did you make any downtime for yourself?”

Twilight’s eyes upturned and squinted slightly while her lips perked a bit as she rubbed a hoof along her chin, her expression thoughtful. “Well, I was pretty busy,” she looked at Celestia, “but I did go check out the auditorium, went for a walk down Mane Street, sat around the fountains a bit, and a few other odd things.” She shrugged. “That’s about it really, other than when I went and greeted my friends at the station.”

“My friend, have you not truly taken some time to yourself? Or does ensuring the stage lights are in working order, the street repaired and decorated, and the fountains cleaned count as personal time?” Luna asked, looking at Twilight in a questioning manner.

Twilight felt slight anxiety at disappointing or worrying the princesses in any way, the tightening in her gut signalling her stress. “W-well,” she started a bit nervously, “I was feeling a bit worked up and figured I might as well go and check on things personally.” She shook her head a bit, “I assure you I was just fine with it princess. I’ll have plenty of time to myself after tonight.” She hoped her answer would sate them, but judging by the look shared between the leaders of the nation, they were not.

Celestia leaned forward a bit. “While that is appreciated and above and beyond your desired duties, this ongoing trend of your complete immersion in your work is a bit disconcerting. Even now you choose to stay here with us when there are many souls here for you to get to know.”

Twilight flattened her ears, looking down at the table, although not in an entirely reprimanded manner, as she could feel the concern emanating from the one who was almost like a second mother to her. She still spoke her reasoning, “I just didn’t want to cut corners in anyway princess. I didn’t feel relaxed until I was able to clear my mind of such things. I just don’t want anything to go wrong, nopony likes when things go wrong. So I’d rather get it perfect on the first try.” Twilight felt a bit of release, sharing her reasoning for why she threw her entirety into what she did.

Celestia frowned, “Not everypony can be satisfied Twilight, and certainly nopony is perfect, not even us contrary to what many may think. You of all ponies should know that not all expectations can be met,” she leaned back. “Just look at all the things you have learned and experienced with your friends. There is much more to life than efficiency and work. Sometimes you have to get your hooves dirty and enjoy the mess of life.”

“You are an exceptional pony with exceptional talents, but it is important to try new things and let others go,” Luna added her own two bits. “An example would be what Celestia told you last night, I am trying to ‘let my mane down’ as you ponies call it and seek new ponies to befriend. I can’t stay in the shadows forever. And you shouldn’t have to stay held in such a high expectation.”

Twilight looked down at the table, letting her mind run freely. Many thoughts, questions, and concerns flew around in a whirlwind of chaos, causing Twilight to wrinkle her brow. However, with a single epiphany, the rampaging storm halted and she finally had some clarity. This is exactly what they were talking about. Why was she so worried about the very advice they had given her? There was no reason to even have confusion in her mind. She just had to… let her mane down? ‘Well, maybe not quite that yet.’

Twilight eventually nodded before looking up, meeting the gaze of both princesses. “Ok.”

Celestia raised her eyebrows, blinking her eyes a few times. “That’s it?”

“Well,” Twilight shrugged, “there’s not really much to say. If it’s as simple as you make it sound, then it should be a piece of cake.” Before Celestia could add her concern that she may be taking it like a test, Twilight added, “And I mean to take it easy, princess. Now that you mention it, I can kind of see where my actions take me, if the day before yesterday says anything.” She looked away in a bit of embarrassment. “Sorry about that by the way.”

Celestia smirked before shaking her head, “It is not a problem Twilight. I needed to blow some cobwebs out of this ol’ thing anyway.” She tapped her horn for show. “It’s not often I get to use some of the more destructive spells. I can get a bit rusty only lifting paperwork around all day.” Luna proceeded to mumble something unintelligible with a small smile before taking a sip of her punch. If one was listening close enough, at the speed with which Celestia turned her head towards her sister resulted in what sounded like a muted snap of the sound barrier breaking. “What was that, oh dear sister of mine?”

Luna’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates and a rather forced smile gripped her muzzle as she set her glass down. “Oh, uh, t-that this wine is quite fascinating if I say so myself. It’s quite, strange, but in a good way.” She continued to smile oddly before making to look as if she was signalling a waiter.

“Oh, well that is rather odd Lulu, seeing as that’s actually punch you’re drinking.” The deadpan Celestia was giving her sister could have made even the most edgy of teenagers weep in envy.

“Ah, right.”

Celestia rolled her eyes before looking back to Twilight. “Anyways, I’m glad to hear that Twilight. So, now that you’ve thought about it, what are you going to do about it my little pony?”

Twilight looked around the expansive room of partying ponies, a small yet confident smile forming. “I’m sure I can think of a few ideas.”

The white princess gave an encouraging nod. “I think you have the right idea. Oh, and before I forget,” she leaned in very close towards Twilight, “if you should find yourself in the company of a nice stallion, or mare, don’t be afraid to say hello, hmm?” The cheshire grin on the princess could not have been any bigger, her pearly whites almost reflecting the furiously blushing Twilight.

The purple mare gave a brief squeak before she attempted clearing her throat. “Urm, uh, I GOTTA GO TO THE MARES ROOM!” All that was left of her departure was her brief after image.

Celestia nodded, having accomplished yet another job well done. The snirking of her sister caused her to look at her yet again. Luna gave the table a few small hits with her hoof as she struggled to hold in her amusement. She gave one last chuckle before commenting, “Good one sister. She’s too uptight and needs that sort of pestering.” She grabbed her glass to help aleve the dryness in her throat.

Celestia, in a show of unprincessley manner, placed her foreleg on the table and bent it to allow her to rest her head on it, all the while watching her sister drink. “Oh? Is that so? Well, in that case, maybe there are more ponies I can help with some provocation of their own?”

Luna, only having been back in Equestria for a few short years, had still been a princess for centuries before her imprisonment, and knew a trap when she could see one. She paused in her drink, looking warily at her sister from the corner of her eye. “Aye, perhaps they do. Are you going to go and help them?”

Celestia looked at the ceiling, “Well, I am rather good at this, as you’ve so kindly pointed out, so I’ll get started right away.” She lifted away from her hoof, coughing into it. “So, Luna,” the dark mare’s pupils turned to pinpricks and her ears suddenly flattened against her head. “I was curious about something I saw the other day. You see, I was walking through the garden the other day, past one of the more hidden mausoleums, when I spotted a Lunar Guard walking out.”

Luna set her drink down and pinched her lips tightly together. “And what about it? My Lunar Guard are responsible for investigating any suspicious activity they see. He may have simply heard something and went to make sure there was no intruder. But these are common happenstances sister, and if you’ll excuse me, I really must be g-,”

She was cut off as Celestia suddenly scooted right next to her and grabbed the other princess around her withers. “That’s exactly right! I thought the exact same thing, and judging by the guard’s reaction when he saw me, there wasn’t anything to report and we both went our separate ways. But! I had only moved another dozen feet or so when, low and behold, who else should come stumbling out of the same place?” Luna’s stomach dropped and dread filled every ounce of her being, her eyes pleading with Celestia. The white mare paid no mind and tilted her head in thought. “The pony was hard to make out at first, seeing as they were covered in dust and cobwebs, and I almost called the Lunar Guard back to explain himself, when I realized that the pony was about two feet taller than most others, had both wings and a horn, and wore a tiara of a princess, meaning they were an alicorn.” Luna began to squirm and whine in desperation to get away from her awful, horrible, witch of a sister. “Now, by process of elimination, seeing as Cadance is in the far north, Twilight was far too immersed in her work, and I’m the third of the four alicorns, that leaves…” she dramatically tapped her chin before her eyes sparkled in mock realization, her gaze locking onto her sister. “It was you in that mausoleum by yourself with that handsome stallion!"

Luna shook her head. “Sister please! It’s a misunderstanding! You don’t know what happened! I was in there looking fo-,”

“For a little bit of company of course! Don’t worry Lulu, I understand and can keep a secret. We all indulge in ourselves once in awhile eh?” She bumped her sister with her hoof. Luna merely covered her eyes with her hooves, trying to pretend she wasn’t there. Celestia dropped her act and smiled in sisterly love, before giving her a good solid hug. “Love ya Lu, have some fun tonight alright?” Celestia gave her a quick caring kiss right above her hoof covered eyes and proceeded to slip out of the booth, walking away with a smile.

Luna huffed before removing her hooves, watching Celestia walk away. She grabbed her punch before speaking loud enough for her departing sister to hear, “The wind startled me ok!?” When the white mare only laughed and disappeared into the crowd, Luna grumbled and slammed her punch down in one go before putting it on the table, crossing her legs in frustration as she pouted by herself. “I shouldn’t have opened that tomb. Stupid dust. Who neglected that place for so long anyway?” Luna continued to ponder over the deteriorating condition of the castle’s more hidden places while regretting that she had alerted a guard to her presence there, more so that her sister had seen them. Bah, it did not matter. She eventually shook her head and layed her head back against the comfortable booth. Nothing too interesting was due to happen yet, but later on in the evening there would be plenty of excitement, and she was looking forward to it. As for now, she was content in just letting the world pass her by.


“Attention crew! We’ll be exiting slipspace in under two minutes. Expect no enemy combatants. Recon, be ready to launch on our go. Salvage teams will follow after initial reports. Further orders to come as the situation updates. Standby…”

Ale moved his armored head straight from its tilted position before taking the last step up the metal ramp of a Pelican. The troop bay had a full complement of combat engineers with a few ODST’s acting as security, the soldiers quieting down as the half ton of metal shuffled inside. Ale carried his full assortment of experimental technology, with the addition of a M392 DMR. If there was going to be any kind of combat in space, the Spartan would trust in the mid to long range capability of the designated marksman rifle. Ale moved next to an empty seat and placed one hand on the head rest, securing the weapon in a clamp next to it. Turning around, he took a seat and laid his head back, looking towards the ceiling. The troops surrounding him finished having their looks and proceeded to continue their conversations, wrapping up any preparations for the mission.

The Spartan ignored the two troopers who slightly hesitated before sitting to either side of him, not bothered by them at all. The only acknowledgement he gave them was a look to the one on his right, followed by a slight nod to the one on his left, putting them at ease. Not many on the ship knew him, none at all personally. Throughout his two year service aboard the Ember the Spartan had not once seen any reason whatsoever to grow closer to any of these men and women. Not to say he didn’t care about them, as he was still somewhat human under all that metal, but when one had seen how fast the Covenant could chew through even the most battle hardened of troopers, it was easier to keep your distance.

The pressure alarm went off in the hangar, warning the deck crew and all else inside that the room would soon be empty of all atmosphere. Ale watched the crew scramble to either leave or put on vacuum suits before his field of vision was cut off by the Pelican closing its loading ramp, the metal gantry locking into place with a few loud clanks. The troop bay fell into blackness, broken only by the scattered digital lights of weapons, armor, and equipment, before it lit up again in dim red lighting. The dark wouldn’t have troubled the troopers or Ale, seeing as they all had some form of VISR installed in their helmets. Any light was appreciated though as it provided an instinctual sort of comfort or security.

Ale kept quiet and to himself, mentally ticking down the time until the ship exited slipspace and arrived at its destination. He was calm and relaxed, having very little concern over his assigned task. A salvage mission that wasn’t in a combat zone should be a walk in the park. Even with the dangers the wrecks of ships posed was fairly minimal, and the team of troopers and he himself were more than equipped and trained to handle a situation like this. The soldiers knew this too, as the lax way they talked with one another showed that they were unconcerned, more so when they had the backup of a Spartan with them.

Sending the Spartan on a salvage run may seem like a waste of an asset, but other than the obvious concern over securing any sensitive data they may encounter, it was rather nice for him to do something other than his normal routine. Besides, if there came a need for a human crowbar, Ale just so happened to posses the enhanced strength required. Tearing things apart wasn’t anything new.

Through the metal of the Pelican, Ale could feel the vibrations of the ship as it ruptured back into real time, leaving behind the vortex of slipspace behind them. He tuned in to the command channel, ensuring he himself was not broadcasting as to not interfere with the comms, and listened to the current ongoings of the mission.

“...-ay is clear. You are go for launch.”

Ale could only hear a few muffled thumps from the vibrations caused by the release of the Broadswords from their maintenance harnesses. Silence followed after, no sounds other than those generated inside of the Pelican being heard due to the vacuum of space in the open hangar.

Ember, we are green across the board. Moving towards last reported location. ETA at full burn seven minutes. Preliminary scans show no sign of Tempest, as expected. We’ll boost scanners and follow the assumed path of a wreck, over.”

The Spartan listened to the ship’s confirmation before falling into silence, having become quite acquainted to it over the years. The troopers had other ideas of their own and began talking to pass the time, a few pulling out odd trinkets or pictures to look at and show to their buddies. Ale pulled up a systems report on his HUD and browsed over the status of his armor. Confirming that everything was as it should be, he dismissed the report, rapid movement to his right immediately catching his attention.

“Fuck!” a trooper shouted as he dropped a spherical object, accidentally launching it across the floor in his fumbling attempts to catch it. The Spartan moved his foot quickly, pinning the glass looking orb to the metal floor. The troop bay quickly fell silent as all looked on at the Spartan. That was a lot of weight to put onto glass, and the trooper who had dropped it looked like he knew it too. Stretching forward and between his legs, Ale lifted his foot to the side and grabbed the orb, having taken care in how much weight he had put on it in stopping it. The glass sphere piqued Ale’s interest and he held it up to his visor, using the red light of the bay to inspect it.

His eyes widened in surprise as he found a 3D photo embedded into the glass. Looking closer, it looked like the picture was created by staining the glass as it was formed, which was very complex and expensive to do. The image itself consisted of a woman, a man, and two children, a boy and girl. A classic family. Ale noted that they were all genuinely smiling, a beach in the background. The glass looked a bit scratched, but otherwise was in great condition and undoubtedly very strong due to it’s shape and density.

Ale looked up to the man who was watching him like a hawk, concern and wariness drawn on his face. He held it up, the man catching on quickly and holding up his hands in front of chest. The Spartan tossed the glass picture carefully and with unerring accuracy, the man catching it with no problems.

“Beautiful family you got there,” Ale stated truthfully. “They waiting for you?”

The man nodded, “Yes sir, they’re in Abilene, Texas.”

“United Republic, good place to be.” Ale tilted his head towards the sphere the soldier held. “Keep a closer eye on that, I might not be around to catch it again.”

“Thank you sir,” he responded. The Spartan watched him tuck the odd picture into a secure place in his suit, keeping it close to him. Ale looked away and resumed his current television broadcasting, “How Many Rivets are in the Ceiling?”. The picture distracted him however, his mind mulling over the happiness and bonding of the family. Such a thing was alien to him, and he could not relate to his fellow humans in such a way. His thoughts drifted into dangerous territory as he mulled over what that would be like, although it was difficult for him to come up with ideas. One thing he did know was that he was open minded and was curious. However, given his current situation, there wasn’t a lot of time to bond with others, much less actually nurture a friendship. The only family he ever had was mostly gone, something he didn’t try to think about often.

Ember, we’ve found signs of debris. No eyes on wreck yet, but debris drift suggests Tempest could be in a mild elliptical orbit around the local gas giant. We’re adjusting course to take a peek on the other side. How copy?”

“Affirmative Phorcides, salvage team is on standby awaiting your confirmation.”

The troopers and Ale only had to wait a minute or two more when Ale heard the comms open again.

“Uh, Ember, we’re seeing increased debris nearing the far side of the planet. We’re getting larger and larger chunks, Covenant debris as well. There’s more than enough wreckage for one ship. We’ve likely found what remains of Tempest and her pursuer.”

“Roger that. Keep looking around, we’re just entering orbit and will catch up in about 15 minutes. See if you can locate anything of interest.”

“Solid copy Ember. Positioning for a swee-”.

The comms went to static for a moment before cutting out completely. Ale blinked and waited a few seconds before he turned his head, looking towards the cockpit of the Pelican. “Pilot,” the Spartan spoke over the local channel in the squad. The pilot leaned sideways and looked over his shoulder at Ale, his head completely encased in dark glass and metal. “Are you still receiving?”

The pilot shook his head with a nonverbal response before disappearing back into the flight seat. Ale ran a quick diagnostics on his radio, knowing it should still be in working order given that he had been able to speak to the pilot. The command channel winked, alerting Ale that someone was currently transmitting on it. He used his eyes and neural implant to open the channel.

Phorcides, we’ve lost your signal. Please check if you’re transmitting. Acknowledge, over.” As the seconds passed and the Ember repeatedly failed to receive a response, Ale felt his gut drop and energy began to flood his body, a natural response when there was danger, and the unknown was the epitome of danger. Ale’s instinct was talking, and the Spartan had learned long ago to follow it, saving his life and the lives of others countless times.

The comms went live as a transmission from command came through. “Salvage team, be aware, we’ve lost contact with recon team Phorcides. It could be interference from the planet’s extreme magnetic field. Stay on standby.”

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” a trooper stated in the squad’s channel.

A nearby ODST slugged the man in the shoulder, followed by a quick smack to his helmet. “What did you go and say that for!? Now there’s going to be trouble!”

The man shrugged. “Just saying.”

The squad leader made a sharp gesture across his throat, telling them to knock it off. They all settled down and waited in the silence, the air filled with a tension so tangible you could almost physically feel it. The excuse command had given for their lack of contact did little to comfort them, given that it wasn’t the first time they had heard it, and almost every time it had resulted in combat.

Time passed and Ale kept track on his mission clock, knowing that the last position of the recon team’s transmission couldn’t be far off. The Spartan wasn’t particularly worried and was only tense due to his body preparing for the worse. His mind calm, Ale knew that out of the many possible scenarios, the ship would more than likely be able to handle it, seeing as there wasn’t too much of a threat from the scattered remnants of the Covenant, pirates, or even the occasional ship that the Rebels have either captured or retrofitted into a makeshift destroyer. Nonetheless, it wasn’t smart to get cocky, and Ale did not get comfortable.

The command channel went live again. “Debris in sight and we have yet to receive a reply from recon. Let’s move into TAC CON Bravo; start warming up weapon systems and prep a strike squad to see if we can find our lost recon picket. Salvage team, stand down and wait for disembark. Until we receive word from Phorcides, yo-”, static came through the channel as a voice stuck in ambiguosity spoke through the interference. After a second, command attempted to hail the transmission. “Come again, is that you Phorcides?”

Scattered radio frequency modulations buzzed the feed rapidly before a voice finally came through. “-ecking the frequency. Do you read me Ember? This is Phorcides, over.”

“Roger, what’s your situation?”

“We’re all still here. We encountered brief strong magnetic interference in the area while initiating a further scan of the area. We’ve located the bridge and what little still remains intact of the Tempest, along with a heavily damaged and inoperable Covenant SDV-Class Heavy Corvette. Local radiation scans show that Havok V nukes have been detonated, coinciding with the level of damage done to the cruiser. It looks like Tempest detonated them at extreme close range, probably in a final effort to deny the Covenant the ship. No other information forthcoming.”

“Roger, wait one. Crew, belay previous order. Standby.” Ale was a bit surprised that the ship had used nukes that close to their enemy, but it wasn’t that uncommon if the Covenant had disabled the ship’s ability to run and desired to board. The crew had more than likely decided to take their lives into their own hands and detonated the nukes, taking their own lives along with those of the Covenant. Or their captain had decided for them. That wasn’t uncommon either. Either way, Ale was relieved that Phorcides was fine.

“Alright Phorcides, we’d like you to identify possible entrances to what remains of the bridge for salvage before returning to the hangar. We’re encountering some of the heavier debris and are navigating our way to you, over.”

The recon picket acknowledged before the comms went dead again. It went without saying that the troopers were to stay put, seeing as everything was fine and they would still have a job to do.

“Well that was interesting,” one of the engineers said, rolling his shoulders and shifting his tactical gear.

“You’re telling me. Poor bastards really. At least they got a final jab at those fuckers.”

Two years was not even marginally long enough for the hatred between the races to cool down, given one of them had the blood of billions on their hands, while the other had been inconceivably stubborn for three decades, brought about the end of their mighty coalition and the initiator of the current civil war between one of its species. This conflict and mutual revulsion of the other would not be going away anytime soon, if ever.

Ale tapped his leg armor in a rare display of character, going unnoticed by both him and the soldiers. He glanced over the larger equipment strapped down in the center of the Pelican as he waited for the progression of their mission, looking for any deficiencies in its bonds. Sitting still in a cramped space wasn’t anything new, and while the Spartan was content, Ale did admit to himself that this was a bit boring. Boring was good though, as it generally meant there was less shooting and explosions, meaning there was no danger to his life or the lives of others. That was never a fun thing.

Ember, we’re making our way back to you. Sending possible entry points, over.”

“Acknowledged, we’re receiving. Scavenge, prepare to disembark. Launch in two minutes.” The command channel continued to issue orders to various other stations and crew, Ale ignoring the radio chatter that didn’t relate to them as the Pelican’s engines began to spin up, producing a high hum in the pressurized troop bay. Various metallic thumps and other digital tones accompanied the base noise as the pilot prepared for departure. The troopers fell quiet and ensured they were strapped down to their seats before going over final equipment checks on themselves and their buddies. Ale placed his helmeted head against the slightly padded headrest, feeling the transport vibrate. He closed his eyes exhaled, taking it easy.

His mouth twitched when the radio traffic suddenly increased, more urgent tones beginning to flood the channel. The soldiers were looking at each other in confusion, attempting to figure out what the problem was and comparing what they heard with each other, most of it being randomly placed assumptions or guesses. Ale’s mind went into overdrive as he attempted to sort through the mass communication his transceiver was picking up. He didn’t have to wait long before the bridge cut everyone’s comm traffic and started broadcasting.

“Crew, be advised, multiple slipspace ruptures detected. Hostile contact imminent! Go to TAC CON Alpha Two. All crew man their stations. Further orders to come. Standby.”

Ale immediately began to free himself from his seat, as did the rest of the troopers. The soldiers began grabbing their weapons they had previously stowed, swapping out their equipment as needed in case of enemy boarders. The Spartan let the DMR he had brought along be, finding his current loadout to be more suited for the situation. The hum of the Pelican’s engines quieted and the pilot stepped out of their seat, grasping a handhold as he switched to external speakers. “Phorcides has just cleared the hangar! Keep your suits sealed until the vac alarm goes quiet! I’m opening the ramp now. Good luck!”

Ale and the troopers lined up in two lines as the pilot released the walkway, atmosphere rapidly erupting from the broken seal before everything went dead quiet, with the exception of Ale’s own breathing inside his helmet. The ramp opened, revealing flashing yellow lights and revolving red lights. The deck crew were running around, some guiding the final Broadsword from the recon picket into its berth. The ramp had yet to hit the floor before the Pelican’s inhabitants began pouring out, hustling to their own assigned destinations. Air vapor began rushing in from the vents as Ale jogged across the hangar, dodging the scrambling crew and the various machines. Muffled sound started to sharpen into existence before the loud sound of machinery and alarms dominated the hanger. Ale made it to the edge of the hanger just as the yellow lights stopped flashing and the vacuum alarm quit, only to be replaced by that of the combat alarm. The door turned green and Ale slipped through before it had opened entirely, moving through the crowded hallways. The bridge was Ale’s intended destination and where he would most likely be needed most.

All the while Ale maintained his cool. He did not let whatever was going on trouble him greatly. The crew and the ship would work their way through it. They had done it before and they would do it again. All they had to do was follow their orders and pray for the favor of God, the universe, or whatever they believed in.

Preferably not the RNG god. If the crew relied on those odds, Ale would be deeply disturbed and his faith in them shaken.

The crowded hallways were one obstacle in Ale’s journey, the enemy ships more than likely being his next hurdle. With any luck, that would be all he had to focus on overcoming today. He had overpaid his fair share to the defense of humanity and his fight to continue existing alive many times over. Surely fate could toss him a bone on this one? Afterall, it’s not like he had given the universe or any deity in charge any reason to hate him. No, he’ll come out of this hunkey dorey with just another added tale to his long list of classified stories that would never see the light of day or grace the ears of anyone willing to listen. He was a Spartan, and Spartans never died.


It Just Isn't My Day

View Online

*Spartan Ale report to the bridge.*

Ale abruptly looked up at the sound of the loudspeakers, stopping his current task of polishing his cyan blue face plate. He stood up while tossing the rag aside and walked towards the exit of his quarters. The door slid open revealing a brightly lit hallway. He stepped out and began heading towards the command deck, the ship gently rumbling while he walked. As he slipped his helmet on, he opened a channel to Captain Sanders. "What seems to be the problem sir?" The bottom left corner of his HUD lit up as the camera feed to the bridge flickered to life. The grizzled captain was hunched over behind the communications lieutenant, peering at the console.

At the sound of his voice Sanders straightened and replied, “We got a distress call from a nearby cargo ship. She is reporting engine malfunctions and requires assistance." Ale relaxed. He may be a Spartan but that doesn't mean he wants to go looking for a fight, especially after the long grueling years with the Covenant. "I'm taking precautions and having everyone manning their stations. I haven't lost a staff member since the treaty and I don't intend on losing one now."

Ale acknowledged and cut the feed. He continued walking and began to think about his current situation. It's been two years since the Ark Event. The Covenant had split into factions and have been fighting each other in an epic power game. This was good news for the UNSC. The faction loyal to the Arbiter was slowly winning with the assistance of the scattered human forces. The Sangheili would dominate space battles while the humans were very successful in ground skirmishes. With the Covenant no longer a threat, humanity had begun to colonize again on the glass fields of fallen planets.

Ale was then transferred from the defense of Earth to a post aboard a brand new standard battle class frigate, the Enduring Ember. It wasn't impressive or all that pretty to look at but it got the job done. The Ember was assigned to escort colony and cargo ships to their destinations. It was a quiet task most of the time due to most hostiles being discouraged by the escort. On occasion there would be a small force of ex-Covenant forces who would attempt to board the ships. They didn’t last long when Ale was around. When the ships did reach their destinations the Ember would then patrol the system while waiting for their next directive. This is what they were currently doing, or at least that's what Ale was told.

ONI wasn’t known for their honesty. There is so much red tape surrounding them that a Covenant glassing couldn’t reach through it. Of course Ale knew all too well what ONI can do. He wasn't just any old Spartan II. He was a special branch that was even kept secret from the Spartan IIs original creator, Dr. Cathrine Halsey.

Ale mentally shook his thoughts away as he was rapidly approaching the command deck. The staff of the ship was running back and forth across the hallway to their respective posts as Sanders had ordered, keeping well clear of the seven foot tall, half ton Spartan. Ale reached the end of the hallway; the blast doors slid open revealing the command room. The room was filled with screens with staff monitoring them constantly. Captain Sanders was standing next to his chair clearly expecting Ale. "Reporting as ordered sir."

"Good. We are just about to initiate the drives," he said as he turned towards the lieutenant at the navigation console. "After we jump I want the power from the secondary drives to be rerouted from the MAC to the main slip space engines. I want to be hot even after we jump."

"Yes sir, engines are spinning up."

"This will be a relatively short jump. ETA 15 minutes," Sanders said.

"Sir, we're ready to jump on your command."

"Let’s go boys, those civvies won't help themselves." At this the lieutenant initiated the drives. The ship stopped rumbling and seemed to coast in utter silence. No matter how many times Ale witnessed the tearing of space in front of him it still made him queasy. The swirling blackness held many unknowns. It didn’t help that mankind has navigated slip space for almost two centuries and accidents still happened. The last accident was two decades ago. A science vessel appeared at its desired destination on time, which is rare in itself since most vessels experience some sort of time flux while traveling in slip space, with no crew to speak of. They just vanished. These thoughts didn't help Ale control his flopping stomach as he felt the ship accelerate into the maw in front of him.


"Prepare to exit slip space,” Sanders announced. Ale stood at attention to the right of the captains’ chair. He felt the ship decelerate and witnessed the stars come into focus. "Scan for the cargo ship." Ale watched on in silence.

The lieutenant manning the weapons console replied, “Sir, the ship isn't here."

"What do you mean?"

The lieutenant looked nervous, “Their beacon isn't registering on the radar. It's like they were never here." Captain Sanders looked so red Ale thought he was going to boil away.

"What do you mean they’re not there?!" The captain was studying his tactical pad intently. Ale looked forward into space and noticed the stars shimmer unnaturally. He was about to speak up when the ships AI interrupted.

"Nine contacts sir, 1500 kilometers straight ahead," her feminine voice did nothing to stop a feeling of dread roll along Ales spine.

"Fuck! Get us the hell out of here!" Sanders yelled in rage. Ale sucked in a breath as three Covenant cruisers and six frigates came into view. He knew this was a heavyweight fight that they couldn’t hope to fight against.

"Where do you want us to go sir?"

"Anywhere but here lieutenant! Go to Earth if you have to!"

Ale felt the ship accelerate and once more witnessed the gaping hole of slip space in front of him. "Sir, slip space drives are 5% from redlining."

"Just give me every ounce of speed we got!" Sanders yelled.

"Yes sir." Ale let out the breath he had been holding as they entered slip space. "ETA one hour until destination sir." Sanders sighed and began to sit down, only to be violently thrown from his chair as the ship shuddered heavily.

"What the hell was that!" Sanders screamed as he wiped the blood from a gash on his forehead.

"Sir! One of the cruisers slipped in behind us before the tear closed! We've been hit by a plasma torpedo!"

"I thought slip space messed up their guidance system,” Sanders exclaimed as he climbed back into his seat.

The lieutenant manning the weapons console yelled, "They're using something else sir! It's like nothing I've ever seen!"

The ship shuddered again. "Sir, low level decks venting atmosphere! Multiple reports are coming in! We can't take this beating much longer!"

"This bucket won’t hold together for much longer people! Does anyone have an idea?”

A Spartans training required many different subjects. They needed to be smart and creative, not just brute strength. As a result Ale was a jack of all trades. He was fascinated by slip space as he was terrified of it. His interest in it had caused him to study theoretical physics and slip space applications in his free time. Ale spoke up, "Sir, we can perform an emergency slip space exit. It's dangerous but it's better than being blown the hell out of." Sanders turned towards the navigation lieutenant.

"Can we do that?" Sanders question gave the lieutenant a look of worry on his face.

"It will damage the drives and there are other unknown outcomes sir." Just then the ship took another impact. "Sir! Engines are redlining and there are reports of heavy damage to the lower decks! They're trying to nail the engines!" Sanders had a cool look as he looked at the lieutenant.

"Do as Ale says."

"Aye aye sir." The lieutenant touched a few controls. "Exiting slip space no…" The ship suddenly lurched downward into what looked like a bubble below the current of slip space. The ship jerked causing Ale to stumble. A bright flash appeared that not even Ales' face plate could polarize to.

Ale then knew blackness.


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Ale regained consciousness slowly. The first thing he registered was the pounding in his head, the muted alarm of the ship providing the rhythm. He slowly opened his eyes, only to see the dark gloom of the room with some of the consoles occasionally sparking. He strained to sit upright, groaning with the effort. The red emergency lighting came on and Ale gasped in surprise. It wasn't in what he saw; it was the lack of what he should be seeing. Ale slowly stood up and peeked over the captains’ balcony. The floor was littered with debris and piles of ash. He backed up and took a closer look around. ‘Where did all the staff go?’ Ale thought. He walked over to a console and pulled up the crew log. Not a single IFF tag was shown to be aboard. ‘This doesn’t make any sense.’ Ale called out to the ships 'dumb' AI. "What happened?"

The AIs’ avatar flickered to life on a holopad. Her chosen form was a slim woman in civilian clothing. "There was a massive radiation burst as we fell into an unknown slip space anomaly. Unfortunately, the blast was potent enough to dissolve all living tissue." Ale started at this.

"I'm still here,” he countered.

"Your recent armor upgrades were constructed in such a way that the molecules curve outwards. This was intended to resist plasma rounds at a much greater level then your past armor. It seems to have resisted the radiation in an unforeseen way. If you wish I..."

"Yeah, yeah I don't need a lecture on this. The point is I survived and no one else did. I assume the Covenant weren't able to follow us?"

"That is correct."

‘Alright Ale, pull yourself together.’ Ale took a few calming breaths before he asked, "So where are we?" The AI remained silent for a few seconds.

"I do not know."

Ale closed his eyes and hissed slowly through his teeth, "What is that supposed to mean?"

"There are no known star systems that I can observe." Ale shook his head.

"So what you’re telling me is that we could be anywhere? In a different galaxy for that matter?"

The AI replied, "I would say it's safe to assume that."

Ale stood stock still as he processed this. He shook his head and tapped a few controls to see his surroundings. The external camera feed showed that the system he was in consisted of an Earth like yellow sun and three planets. Two of them were gas giants and were far away from the sun and one of them was rocky and was in what was dubbed as 'the Goldilocks Zone'. This planet had a moon and looked to have water. He was about to dismiss this until he looked closer. Ale couldn't believe his eyes. "What the hell!?" The sun was orbiting the planet. Ale had seen lots of things that didn't make sense, but he didn't think that even the forerunners could pull this off.

Ales headache wasn’t helping him process this so he soon got over it as he had other objectives at the moment. He took stock of his armor and its equipment. All of his equipment was unique as he didn't posses any ballistic weaponry. His assault rifle was magnetized to his back. It was sleek in design and had a special type of magazine. Within the magazine there was super condensed plasma that glowed an electrifying blue. The plasma recharged itself thus enabling the user to have unlimited ammo. All of his weapons possessed this technology. Ale didn't question how this worked. He was a soldier, not an egg head. There was also a secondary trigger on the assault rifle that shot a round of charged electricity that would stun his enemies if he wanted them alive. He had a pistol on his hip and a pair of SMGs that fit within grooves on each thigh. They were well hidden.

Satisfied that he was still in one piece he began to turn towards the console to see the state of the engines. "Sir, there are two intruders aboard the sub level decks."

"Intruders?" Ale wasn't sure what to think of this. "Can you pull up a video feed of them?"

"The lower decks sustained too much damage. All systems are non operational."

"Can you tell me what deck they're on?" Ale asked.

"They are on sub level D." Ale turned and walked out of the command room.

He found a service ladder a few meters into the hallway. He climbed down four levels and stepped into a dark hallway. He took a step and winced when it made a dull thud. He then took lighter steps and was satisfied that he was quiet enough. ‘You’d think that with all the fancy upgrades they would at least put noise suppressors in the feet,’ Ale thought. As he approached an intersection he heard voices. They sounded feminine in nature. Ale placed his back against the wall and slowly peeked around the corner and almost gasped at what he saw.

There were two horses observing a wall mounted defibrillator. One was black and had a mane that was starry like the night while the other was white with a multi hued mane. ‘This isn’t possible,’ Ale thought. He double checked and confirmed that there was no atmosphere in this deck. As Ale looked closer he noticed that they both had horns and wings that looked like they couldn't lift their bodies off the ground.

Ale knew of the myths about unicorns and pegasi but he didn't know what they were called when mixed. He would have thought he was crazy or that he hit his head too hard if it wasn’t for his vitals confirming that he was fine. ‘Well they’re not Covenant. First Contact protocol still hasn’t been updated since Harvest,’ Ale thought. ‘Better just observe them.’

He was so lost in thought that the sudden spotlight that flashed at him caught him off guard. He looked up and saw the horses staring at him. The spotlight was emanating from the white ones horn. ‘What!?’ Ale immediately pulled back around the corner and began sprinting, abandoning stealth for speed as he thundered down the hallway. He heard a voice but couldn't make out what it was saying. Ale placed a marker to the relatively undamaged hangar on his HUD. As he neared the elevator shaft the spotlight was on him again. He knew he didn't have much time before they caught up to him.

Ale put his fingers in the crease and wrenched the elevator doors apart. He slipped through and let the doors slam shut behind him. Ale dropped down six levels with a heavy thud, denting the ground beneath him. He began to wrench the bottom doors apart when he heard a loud bang. He looked up to see that the horse things had somehow pulled the doors completely out of the shaft. Ale quickly slipped through the bottom doors as the spotlight shined down the elevator shaft. He sprinted down the hallway and onto the balcony that surrounded the hangar on three sides. Right in front of him he saw a Sabre fighter hanging in its launching harness.

Ale made a running leap across the gap and landed on the wing of the fighter. He climbed into the cockpit and hit the start up sequence. Ale was focused on strapping himself in and was just about to reach for the harness release when he looked up to see the two horses flying a few meters away in front of him. ‘That’s impossible!’ Ale thought. The white horse seemed to be speaking and was slowly approaching. Ale wasn't having any of that. He pulled the release lever causing him to drop a few meters; punching the thrusters he blew past under the horses and out of the hangar.

The blackness of space surrounded Ale as he headed straight for the planet at full burn, leaving the impossible horses behind.

Discovery (Part Two)

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Princess Luna was staring up at her night sky. She could name every single celestial object within sight. Even beyond. Her time on the moon had taught her many things. Unfortunately her ‘other’ as she liked to call it had not released her anger and scorn, returning with a vengeance. But that’s all in the past now. She began her reformation by befriending her sisters’ protégé. She even broke her medieval speech. Luna looked down and observed her sister stepping into the center of the garden. Celestias' horn began to light up as she focused on the steadily brightening horizon. Luna was glad that her sister had welcomed her back in open hooves. She wouldn’t have made it this far without her guidance and support.

She yawned loudly. Contrary to what most believed, her job of dream walking actually requires her to be awake. Tired from a long night she turned and began walking from her balcony towards her room. Out of the corner of her eye she witnessed a bright flash. Luna turned and stared at the spot in the night sky where the flash had originated from. Curious, she levitated her telescope from her room. She didn’t feel any different objects in her domain. Nonetheless her night sky and what lies beyond is her charge. She steadied the telescope and lined it up.

At first all she could see was a large green and black blur. She steadily focused in with practiced ease and saw what looked to be a rectangular hunk of metal. It looked to have deep gashes and scorch marks along the bottom and back of the object. She looked closer and noticed a white blur along the side. She had just focused closer when the image suddenly faded as the night sky gave way to day. Lunas jaw was slacked at what she had glimpsed.

She jerked back, knocking the telescope over as she raised her wings for flight. With a leap she shot towards her sister with alarm at what she had seen. It had unmistakably been writing.

Crash Landing

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Ale let out a long sigh. "What the fuck just happened?" He closed his eyes and tried to think clearly. 'I'm the last survivor in an unknown galaxy with magical horses flying through space..... Yep! I'm most certainly dead.' Ale eased the Sabre into a safe approach trajectory. He still had a few hundred kilometers till he reached atmosphere. He thought back to the white horse that had seemed to be speaking to him. 'It was speaking and didn't look threatening.' Ale thought it was ironic that he was judging whether or not a horse was threatening. But he remembered how the four inch titanium elevator doors were ripped like they were aluminum. This caused good reason to fear what this 'magic' could do.

The radar sounded off loudly. Ale looked down and saw two bogeys rapidly approaching from the rear. He flicked the rear cameras on and saw the two horses rapidly gaining on him. "Shit!" Ale grabbed the controls and put the engines into afterburn, accelerating the fighter rapidly. The white horses' horn began to emanate a yellow glow as it attempted, as near as Ale could tell, to surround the ship. Ale felt the fighter starting to decelerate. "Fuck no!" He wrenched the ship upwards and rolled to the side pushing the nose to face perpendicularly with the planet.

Flames licked across the reinforced canopy as the nose cone began to heat up. Ale knew the fighter was more than capable to handle the extreme G's and heat. So when the ship shuddered he was caught completely by surprise. He looked to the right wing and swore under his breath. There was a sizable dent in one of the metal plates. He winced when he remembered his heavy leap onto the fighter. The panel was turning white as it was super heated and blew open. Not a second later the fuel within the wing ignited, blowing the wing clear off and tossing Ale around like a rag doll. Ale checked the altimeter and confirmed he was about halfway within the atmosphere.

While most of the time a Spartan can survive a crash landing from orbit by locking up their armor and only sustaining minor to semi-major injury, there still is a chance of major injury or death. However falling in a fiery space craft is more dangerous. With that in mind Ale popped the canopy off and jumped out in the spread eagle formation. He had an increased air drag and slowed down enough to let the doomed fighter speed past him. Ale cranked up the pressure in his suits gel layer and prepared his armor lock. The ground was rapidly approaching, flaring greatly with the impact of the fighter. Ale followed soon after.


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Luna witnessed the craft become engulfed in flame as it sped into the atmosphere. The craft suddenly lurched as a large chunk ripped off the side. Luna and her sister still followed rapidly, protected in a magical orb. They saw a clear piece break off from the craft and watched as the alien jumped out, spreading its limbs out to slow its descent. The craft sped underneath the alien and continued its plummet towards the ground.

Celestia spoke up, "I won't be able to stop it! It’s going to hit the ground!" Luna looked on in horror as the craft exploded upon the ground, the alien impacting just north of it in a huge crater. Luna felt dread that she just inadvertently killed the alien.


Twilight awoke with a start. She winced as the glare of the morning sun shone through her window, flooding the room with light. With a groan she raised herself out of bed and swung off of the side. Her hooves clapped the ground loudly, waking her personal assistant suddenly.

"Sorry Spike. You can sleep in."

"Thanks Twilight."

Twilight walked over to the bathroom while using her magic to grab her brush. As she brushed her mane she also grabbed her tooth brush. After her morning rituals were complete she headed downstairs towards the sitting room in the library. She settled on the couch with one of her favorite books, ‘Star Swirls Magic Theory Volume V’. She had of course read the other four as a bedtime story the night before. She heard a light thump outside her door. With a lazy groan she got up and opened the door to find the newspaper. As she grabbed it she noticed a bright streak in the sky east of Ponyville. As she watched a loud concussion wave blasted throughout the streets, breaking windows in various places. The streak split in two and soon impacted the ground a few miles away. The shock wave through the ground jolted Twilight out of her stupor and she teleported towards the commotion.


Rainbow Dash was basking in the morning warmth as she relaxed on a perfectly molded cloud. She knew work would start in an hour and figured she could take a quick nap. ‘I’ll be able to finish busting those clouds in ten seconds flat,’ she though with a smug smirk adorned across her face. She settled down and enjoyed the perfect quiet of the morning. She just about slipped into sleep when a loud concussion ripped through the air. Her cloud dissipated out from under her and she plummeted a few meters before stabilizing herself. "Who the hay did that!?" Rainbow yelled. She looked around violently. Upon seeing no pony she rubbed the back of her head in confusion. It was just then that she noticed a bright white streak racing across the sky.

She watched in shock as the streak split in two and soon after impacted against the ground. She began to fly as fast as she could towards the crash site.


"The guards will be here shortly."

Luna looked up as Celestia spoke. They slowly descended to the ground, keeping clear of the roiling heat from the crash. They began to tread towards the secondary crater, stepping around molten pieces of metal and glass when they heard a loud pop behind them.

"What the hay is that?!"

Luna heard the voice of Celestias student proclaim loudly. She turned and saw Twilight trotting up to them.

Celestia glanced at Luna."Twilight, you must calm down,” Celestia assured her.

Twilight observed the smoldering wreckage and commented, "What is that?"

Just then Rainbow Dash swooped in. "Looks like a space ship!"

Twilight turned to RD with an annoyed look on her face. "Rainbow, aliens don't exist."

"I'm afraid Rainbow Dash is actually correct,” quipped Princess Celestia.

Twilight looked shocked at her teacher’s words. "What do you mean?"

"Take a look for yourself, but stay back."

The group walked over to the secondary crater and peaked in. What Luna saw astonished her. The alien looked to be in one piece. Its carapace looked scratched and worn in some places but was still intact. Its insect-like hexagonal eyes faced the sky as it was lying on its back with what Luna deducted to be arms, judging by its bipedal stature and fingers resembling that of a minotaur, lying along its sides.

RD spoke up, "Is it dead?"

"It has to be! Nothing could survive that fall!" Twilight exclaimed.

Princess Luna looked over towards Twilight and noticed the pegasi of the Royal Guard was approaching. They landed in silence and approached Princess Celestia. They looked antsy at the sight of the burning wreckage.

"I want you all to create a perimeter. Keep out any pony who approaches,” Celestia commanded.

"Yes your highness."

The group then heard a groan and turned slowly towards the crater.


Ale felt pain, and lots of it. Crashing into the ground isn't exactly recommended by the tacticians unless you were in a drop pod. Ale heard voices but couldn't make them out. He slowly opened his eyes and groaned. His HUD flickered to life allowing him to see if his armor sustained any damage. It was then he realized the voices had stopped. He slowly sat up and looked to his right. He saw the two horses from before and two smaller ones. One of them was lavender and had a horn as well as a pair of wings. The hovering cyan one was a pegasus and it had a rainbow colored mane and tail. Ale sat still as he observed them.

"I guess it's not dead."

'Did I just hear it right?' Ale looked at the rainbow one. He shuffled to his feet and took a step back.

The white one stepped forward and proclaimed, "You have no reason to fear us. We want to help."

Ale hesitated. He was in a bad position. He could potentially piss of these super magical, mythological creatures on some god forsaken rock with no extraction, or he could ally with them and seek a way to contact the UNSC. He breathed slowly and was about to reply when he saw a golden armored pegasus walk up next to the white one. Four others followed close behind. Ale began to shift his weight as he made up his mind to run, not intending on being captured.

Seeing that the alien was going to run Twilight put up a shield around the crater site, trapping the alien inside.

Ale turned and began to run at the edge of the purple dome. He let out a yell as he made contact, not sure if he was going to plow into the dome or pass through it. His question was answered as he passed through the dome like it was just an illusion, his stomach lurching at the strange feeling he got when he passed through. He heard the purple horse gasp as he accelerated to a speed of 30 kilometers per hour. Ale ran towards a forest in the distance, turning up soil with each step.

Ale was fairly certain the horses wouldn't be able to catch him. What he forgot to factor in was the pegasi. His radar showed a rapidly approaching contact. Ale peeked over his shoulder and saw the armored pegasi falling behind, but the rainbow one was accelerating in front of the pack. Ale waited till she was just about to reach him before whipping around, throwing out his arm in front of him and to the side, catching and forcing her into the dirt with her own momentum. Meanwhile the guards had caught up and surrounded him.

Ale focused and charged his shield towards his hands. Time slowed for the adrenaline induced super soldier as the first guard charged. Ale sidestepped him and swiped his hand at him, electrocuting the horse. It was non-lethal. Ale felt a hard rap on his back, his over shield not being damaged in the slightest, and turned to see another guard gripping his hoof painfully.


Two down, three to go. Two of them pounced from either side and Ale threw his hands out sideways stopping both of their charges. They dropped to the ground twitching slightly. Ale then brought his head down upon what he assumed to be the leaders face with a solid crack. The horse dropped with a bloody muzzle. Ale looked up to see the other forces arriving along with their two leaders. Ale turned and sprinted the rest of the way into the dense forest.


Luna was flying towards the battle along with her sister, Twilight, and the rest of the Royal Guard. She watched the alien dispatch her soldiers with practiced ease, ending with a head butt to her general. The alien looked up and ran towards the forest. As Luna approached the guards her sister began scanning the fallen.

"They're alive. They all seem to have been shocked and the general has a broken muzzle. Leave it be!" Celestia commanded as the rest of the force had begun to give chase. They returned and Celestia looked at Luna. "I don't think it wanted to kill them. With the ease it defeated them I would think it could have easily killed them if it wanted."

Luna agreed. She looked into the forest and turned towards Twilight at the sound of her voice.

"You okay Rainbow Dash?"

Rainbow Dash shook the dirt off her coat and shook her head clear. "Yeah, it just dazed me a bit. It's not gonna get away either!" Rainbow took to the sky and launched herself over the forest canopy.

"Rainbow!" Twilight yelled. She hung her head and Celestia lowered her wing over Twilight in an attempt to comfort her.

"She'll be fine,” Celestia said. She glanced at Luna. She hoped she was right.


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Ale found himself at the edge of a massive bog. He had run almost 6 miles through super dense foliage. He sat down on a nearby log and placed his head in his hands. 'What’s going on? I gotta be crazy.' Ale wasn't sure if he was mad or sad. Spartans aren't known for expressing their feelings. They even show psychopathic tendencies. Ale just followed orders. He NEEDED orders. "What do I do?" he asked.


"You will be humanities last hope," Petty Officer Kale said. "The glue that holds Earth and her colonies together. You will be the best of the best."

Ale looked around at the other 13 kids with him. Their body guards eyeing them coldly. He shuddered in fear, tears crawling down his face. He had been walking home from school when they came for him. They pulled up in a van and stuck a syringe in his neck that knocked him out cold. He awoke to find himself bruised and in a dark cargo bay. He silently stood up and saw his planet out of a window before being yanked back. Now he had an uncertain future. One that Ale found bleak at best.


Tuning back into reality, Ale looked up to see a rainbow forming in the sky. He found it oddly calming. That is until it turned and a screaming bullet smashed into him, driving him back an impressive few dozen meters in to the swamp. Ale sucked in a painful breath and was immediately met with a hoof to the face, his over shield flaring brightly. Rapid strikes rang around his body. This didn't harm Ale but it certainly became an annoying hindrance. With his heightened reflexes he struck out knocking his attacker against a tree. Ale followed up by pinning it to the tree. It was the cyan pegasus that he had knocked into the ground.

She gave a strong head butt to Ale, dazing him a bit. He reacted with a swift punch to the gut causing her to cease struggling in his grasp. Ale turned on his external mic and asked, "Where am I?"

"Go buck yourself!"

Ale sighed and punched her again, asking her more forcefully, "WHERE AM I?!"

She gulped in more air and answered shakily, "E... Equestria."

"Who are you? And more importantly what are you?"

"My names Rainbow Dash and I'm a pony." She was visibly shaking. She glanced down at the knife strapped to his chest and asked shakily, "Are you going to kill me?"

Ale replied smugly, "Only if you give me a reason to." She looked as if she was going to retort until a look of fear entered her eyes. Ale was going to reassure her as he didn't see a reason to harm her until he heard dripping behind him. He turned around to see a massively scaled beast with four heads staring down at them. Ale released his captive and reached for his side arm only to have it knocked from his grasp by a massive tail.

Ale saw a head shoot towards him. He braced and swung with all his might connecting with the head and throwing it over its back, hanging loosely. The other three heads shrieked in pain. Overcome with anger they then launched themselves at the same time. Ale dodged to the best of his ability but still had his arm bitten. The pressure was enough to finish off the over shield. Luckily the teeth didn't land in any of his armor gaps. The head screamed as its teeth were broken. It lurched back and stumbled a few steps.

Ale had enough of this and reached behind him for his assault rifle.


Rainbow Dash was slumped against the tree frozen with fear. She watched the alien grab something from its hip only to have it knocked at her. A head then lurched at the alien. She closed her eyes fearing what she would see. When she heard a solid bone crunching sound she opened her eyes to see the alien perfectly unharmed. She saw one head was hanging behind the hydra. The other three flung themselves forward.

She watched the alien jump sideways but knew he wasn't quick enough. The weird yellow glow she had encountered earlier flared and sparked across his armor. The head that had bit his foreleg released him screaming in pain. She then saw the alien pull something off of his back and watched as it shot three blue flashes into the hydra. The screaming stopped and it fell over backwards into the swamp. Rainbow watched in awe as the alien put his weapon back on his back and turn around. He looked straight at her. Rainbow started to fear what he would do next when she saw the princesses flying towards them. The alien looked and saw them as well. He started sprinting for the forest only to turn around at the edge. He gave her a slight nod before disappearing into the blackness.

"Are you okay Rainbow Dash?!" exclaimed Celestia.

Rainbow attempted to shake off her fear but still answered weakly, "I...I'm fine."

Luna called to Celestia and reported, "The hydra is dead. There are scorch marks here in its abdomen. It must have used powerful magic."

"He,” Rainbow corrected.

Celestia looked at her clearly confused. "He spoke to you?"

"Yeah. He asked where he was, what my name was, and what I was. He also dropped that thing."

They all looked at Ales sidearm. Luna picked it up cautiously in her magic and inspected it. "It looks like it's some sort of weapon sister."

Celestia helped Rainbow to her hooves. "Let us leave sister. We'll try to find him tomorrow."

"Are you okay?" Twilight asked.

Rainbow stared at Twilight and responded solemnly, "He saved my life."

Twilight swore she saw her blush slightly. She followed them as they took to the sky and flew towards Ponyville. Neither one of them noticed a faint blue flash from the aliens helmet at the edge of the forest as he watched them leave.


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Ale walked through the dense forest, always on his toes. His radar had long since been turned off because of all the wildlife setting it off. His main focus was shelter due to the rapidly darkening sky. Ale didn't want to be caught out in the open after his fight with what he deemed to be a hydra. If those existed who knows what else was out there. He took a step through a wall of ferns and found himself to be in a clearing. On the other side was a small cave. Ale approached and stopped at the entrance. He observed it carefully and found it to be uninhabited. Ale sat back against the wall with his rifle laid across his lap. His stomach growled in hunger. Ale promised he would find food in the morning as he closed his eyes and drifted into an uneasy sleep.


Luna was in her chambers having already raised the moon. Night court had been cancelled for the night due to the recent events. She sat down on her balcony and closed her eyes, viewing the mental landscape of all dreams in her head. Everything looked normal with everypony happy in their sweet, fun dreams. Luna began to sift through them, observing the different imaginations of her beloved subjects. Her attention was drawn to another dreamscape forming above the other. Luna shifted over to it knowing this odd ball to be a nightmare. She stopped and was puzzled by the feeling of this dream. It did not register as a ponies dream, nor did it feel like any other species she had encountered before. Instead it felt alien.

Luna’s eyes widened when she realized where this dream had come from. She pushed herself forward, a bit tentative. She reeled back with the power of this dream. It would not allow easy access. "I am the princess of the night! Overlord of dreams! I will gain access!" With that she burst forth, barring her way through with brute force.

She found herself hovering above the alien. His carapace looked different, but his cyan eye was still the same. She looked around and saw other aliens that had the same stature. They were dressed in green camouflage. She could see their faces and found them to be very similar to that of a pony minus the size of the eyes and lack of muzzle. Luna looked back at her alien and realized that he didn’t have a carapace, but instead was wearing a full suit of armor. She was interrupted from her musings as the group began running towards a ledge. She noticed the exertion on each of their faces as they continued running.

She also heard a huge commotion on the other side. When they reached the ledge she was shocked at what she saw. There were other species of aliens fighting her aliens. She noticed how his and her group ran up behind them and began firing metal projectiles at these other creatures. They in turn fired back blue and green blobs that scorched the air around them. She watched in horror as one of his comrades took a pink spike into his abdomen and exploded in a flash of blood.

One of her aliens yelled out, "Ale I want that LZ cleared now!"

'So that's what his name is,’ Luna thought. Ale in turn jumped out of cover and charged full blown into the aliens. She watched him dispatch the huge reptilian looking creature in seconds flat. He then turned and finished off the little ones that were screaming in fear. Luna noticed that Ale hadn't even started breathing hard. Ales comrades came out of hiding and grouped up.

"That's how it's done!" yelled the leader.

A loud roar approached and Luna saw a huge metal bird come down from the sky and land next to them.

"Bravo team will be joining up for extraction shortly!"

Ale stood at attention and watched the hill side silently. A device crackled and spoke, "We’re coming over! Hold your fire!" A second group of Ales comrades came over the hill top and began running down towards them. Just then the rear guard screamed and was tackled to the ground by a leather balloon looking creature. The others turned around and began firing frantically as a large group of these followed. Bigger ones showed up and began attacking 'Bravo' group. Ale reflexively fired and began ushering his team into the pelican.

The pelican began taking off and Ale stepped on. He saw one of the little ones jump aboard and attack his fellow soldier. The soldier screamed and Ale reached out and crushed the bulbous form. The soldier was lying on the ground shaking. His limbs growing a weird substance on them.

"He's been infected!" yelled one of the soldiers. He went to kick him off the back before Ale stopped him.

"Stop!" Ale looked down at his form and said quietly, "Let me."

Instead of pushing him out the back of the steadily rising pelican Ale aimed a tubular looking weapon at the man. "I'm sorry." The weapon reported loudly, spraying meaty chunks around the bay.

Luna turned green over her shock. Judging from what Ale said she knew what he did must have been an act of mercy. She watched him grab a silver chain with two metal plates from the form and pushed the gruesome mess out the back. He clutched them tightly before handing them off to the leader.

Luna sensed a torrent of emotion from Ale. Anger, sadness, and surprisingly shame and regret pooled off of him. His stoic stance suggested nothing to everyone else. Luna felt bad and knew Ale was fighting his emotions. She figured it was time to release him from this dream. After all she did want some answers.


Ale hated this dream. He hated all these dreams. The soldiers he lost when he could have prevented it. The flood didn't help either. He looked out the back of the pelican as he rose. Suddenly all sound stopped. The picture froze around him. ‘That’s odd,’ Ale thought. Everything then faded as Ale stood in a never ending white landscape. He turned to see the black horse from before standing a few meters away from him. The creature looked at him silently with curious eyes. Ale sensed a lot of power emanating from it. It then spoke.

"I am Princess Luna, ruler of the night, overseer of dreams. I have come to have an audience with you."

Ale stood stock still as he replied warily, "What do you want?"

She looked at him clearly amused, "Many things. Would you not after an alien showed up in space, survived a crash landing, and was still able to defeat my guards, much less a hydra?"

Ale thought about this and answered, "I would want to know if it were a threat."

"Precisely. Now Ale, what exactly are you?"

"Now princess, I expect I will be able to ask a question after you ask me. I'm not exactly happy about what's going on. Sound fair?"

The princess looked smugly, "But of course."

"To answer your question I'm a human being. Now, what kind of horse are you?"

"I am not a horse!" Luna snapped. "I am a pony. An alicorn to be more exact. Where are you from?"

"That's classified,” Ale responded.

Luna glared at him clearly mad at him for withholding information. She was about to demand he tell her until Ale spoke up.

"But for sake of diplomacy I can tell you that the human race originated from a planet called Earth. What's an alicorn?"

Luna started at this, surprised at his change of choice. "An alicorn is a mix between a unicorn and a pegasus. Originated? You live on other planets?"

"We have 105 colonies, ranging from planets, moons, asteroids, and a few other celestial bodies. I noticed that the cyan pony only had wings. She's just a pegasus then? Are there just unicorns as well?"

"There are many species here. But the citizens of Equestria consist of unicorns, pegasi, earth ponies, and three alicorns like myself. How do you travel from colony to colony?"

"Slip space drives. Don't ask, it's complicated. How do pegasi fly? Their wings are too small to provide enough air resistance to get off the ground."

Luna looked at him puzzled, "Magic of course."

"Magic?" Ale looked away. He was clearly confused.

Luna looked over his reaction and asked, "Do you know what magic is?"

Ale looked up and replied, "I know what it is but it doesn't exist where I come from."

Luna looked shocked. She couldn't imagine a place without magic. She was interrupted by a sense telling her that night was almost complete and that he would wake up soon. She looked up and exclaimed, "I wish to meet you in person. I need to know that you're not a threat to me or my little ponies. Will you surrender yourself and come in peacefully? I promise you'll be safe."

Ale thought long and hard about this. He has no idea what other dangers there are in this world. He didn't know what 'magic' could do. He decided that Luna’s proposition was better than wandering around. He looked up at Luna who was watching him expectantly.

"Fine. Where do you want me to go?"

Luna looked at him gleefully and replied, "Go to the edge of the forest where you... defended yourself. There will be guards there to escort you to Canterlot. You will give up your weapons and anything else of danger to us. Is this clear?"

Ale remained silent. A Spartan never, NEVER gives up their weapons. His silence was beginning to make Luna uneasy when he finally replied, "Fine." He then added sheepishly, "Sorry about the guards. Are they okay?"

Luna smirked and replied, "They're just fine. Although the general won't be able to speak for a while with his broken muzzle and all."

Ale hung his head in shame. Sure he was just defending himself and he could have easily killed them if he wanted to, but now after Luna extended a hand-er-hoof towards him, offering to help, he still felt bad about his actions.

Seeing this Luna said, "Don't worry. You didn't kill them and you've shown us that we need to be more prepared. I must go now. The moon will not lower itself. Goodbye Ale."

With that she disappeared and Ale awoke. He looked around and saw the early morning sunrise through the cave entrance. He stood up with a groan, cracking his back and stretching. He put his rifle on his back and began walking out of the cave in the direction of the crash site. He thought about his dream with princess Luna and hoped she kept her word. He just stepped out of the clearing into the forest when he stopped in his tracks.

'Did she say lower the moon?'


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Ale was almost at the edge of the forest. His radar had been turned on and he was on full alert. The princess may have promised he would be safe but his past experiences and training told him otherwise. The ferns began to thin out allowing daylight to filter in brighter. Ale crouched and listened intently. He heard voices, five of them. He got on his belly and crawled under the ferns, allowing him to see the guards on the plain. They were unicorns. They were probably there to restrain him if he attempted to do anything wrong. He decided there were no other guards in the area. He whistled to let them know he was coming out. They jumped to attention and held their spears at a slight angle, just in case.

Ale stood and walked out. They gasped with wide eyes as they saw the full height of him. Ale approached slowly and stopped ten feet away. The leader regained his senses and stepped forward.

"You are to surrender yourself and any weapons you posses. We will then escort you to Canterlot where the princesses are awaiting your presence."

Ale stood silent, unnerving the guards. Every part of his being and training screamed at him not to give up his weapons. His life line. Ale sighed and gave in. He reached behind him and pulled his rifle off his back, holding it out towards the guard. The guard grabbed it in his aura and began lifting it away when Ale interrupted, "Careful with that. We don't want it going off now do we?" The guard looked nervous, oblivious to the grin behind Ales silent visor. He then handed over his combat knife from his chest. The guards gaped at the size of his knife, putting their spears to shame.

"Your armor as well. We are aware that that is not your true form."

At this Ale stared at him. He responded with a firm, "No. Princess Luna said nothing about my armor and I will not take it off."

The guard glared daggers at him and said, "You will take off you armor."

"Non-negotiable,” Ale said solidly. The guard was going to retort when Ale replied, "If you want you can try to take it off. You'd first have to knock me out. That's highly unlikely and even then it takes a whole technician crew to take it off." Ale knew he could take it off himself but even he struggled for half an hour to take it off.

The guard said through narrowed eyes, "Fine, but if you try anything..." Ale smiled behind his helmet with the guards unfinished threat. He'd like to see them try anything. "Do you have any more weapons in your possession?"

Ale looked down at the pony and shook his head. The pony snorted and put the weapons in his saddle bag. "Let us go then." With that they formed around the Spartan and began walking. Ale brushed his SMGs ensuring they were still locked away into his thigh armor, grinning to himself. They should know better than to trust an alien. Much less a soldier. He was a little surprised that they didn't frisk him, not they would be able to get past his over shield. Ale was interrupted from his thoughts when they rounded a corner in the road and he saw a topless, white carriage. There were four pegasi strapped into harnesses with two others guarding it. They looked at Ale warily as he approached.

Ale lifted his leg slowly and took a cautious step onto the carriage. It leaned towards him, groaning slightly. He put all his weight and heard some quiet snapping. He stepped in and sat down, rocking the carriage violently. The five unicorns stepped in, two sat down on either side of him while the other three sat across from him. The lead unicorn let out a loud whistle, signaling the pegasi to take off. They strained against their harnesses, slowly accelerating. Ale chuckled silently to himself as he watched. The other two pegasi flew next to their comrades and helped pull. The carriage moved faster and became airborne. They wobbled slightly as they took to the air, flying towards a distant mountainside castle.


Ales grin had long since left his face as he gripped the sides in terror as the carriage shook violently with the six pegasi sweating profusely as they approached the castle gardens. The carriage landed with a loud thud. The pegasi threw themselves to the ground, groaning and panting from their trip. The unicorns got off and looked at Ale expectantly. Ale slowly released the guard rail leaving crushed metal from his sheer strength. He stood up, revealing his backsides impression in the seat as well. He went to take a step off only to break through the bottom of the carriage.

Ale looked up to see the guards bowing before princess Luna. He looked at her awkwardly before stepping out from the hole and onto the ground. "I can pay for that,” he said.

Luna looked amused as she replied, "I'm sure Tia was going to get another carriage. Come, my sister is expecting us. Guards, you may leave to your posts." The guards looked like they were against it but nodded stiffly before walking away. Ale followed Luna through the gardens towards the castle. Luna glanced at Ale before asking, "Why are you wearing your armor? I asked the guards to police all weapons and your armor."

Ale looked at her and replied gruffly, "You didn't say anything about my armor and I wouldn't remove it for anything."

Luna looked at him slightly annoyed."What is your attachment for?"

Ale looked forward, "It's saved me countless times. It's like a second skin to me."

Luna nodded, dropping the subject. Ales foot falls were echoing in the endless hallways. They approached a set of oak doors. Ale was surprised at their size; they were big even by a Spartans standards. After all, he did stand a solid foot above Lunas head. Luna opened the doors with her magic and stepped in. Ale saw the white pony sitting in her throne. "Tia was it?" he asked Luna.

"Princess Celestia to you Ale." He looked up at the white pony who had spoken.

"She heard that?" Ale whispered to himself.

"Indeed,” Celestia replied with a slight grin.

'Damn. Bat hearing too.'

Ale looked to the princess and waited silently as Luna walked up and stood next to her sister. They stood in silence, the princesses staring at his emotionless cyan face plate while he stared at their regal masks. Finally Celestia broke the silence, "So Ale, I see that if you aren't willing to start I will. My sister has already informed me that you are a soldier among other things. So to start off why are you here?"

Ale knew he was going to be drilled for information. He wouldn't give up just any information mind you. He prepared for the long haul."I'm here by accident. I did not intend to be here and didn't even know this place existed."

Celestia seemed slightly relieved before continuing on, "How did you get here?"

"We were making an emergency slip space exit when we slipped into what looked to be a separate current of slip space itself."

"And this is what damaged your ship?"


Celestia narrowed her eyes at his change in voice."What damaged your ship?"

"A covenant carrier followed us and fired plasma torpedoes at us."

"What is this covenant?"

"A mix of alien races that are hell bent on destroying all of humanity. Well that was before the end of the war."

Celestia looked shocked. Ale asked, "Are you familiar with the term genocide princess?"

"Yes, but we have not seen it in a long time. We haven't seen war in thousands of years."

Ale nodded at this. He figured as much from a bunch of colorful ponies.

"Why were they killing your kind?

"That princess is the million dollar question. Other than some sort of religious ‘Great Journey’ they spoke so fondly of there is another reason behind it that I am unaware of."

"How many more of you are there?"

Ale tensed slightly, "Please clarify princess."'Smooth dodge!'

"Humans of course,” Celsetia was no fool and saw through his evasive response. 'He's hiding something.'

"Well I don't know exactly but before the war humanity was in the higher double digit billions."

Celestia was in awe. 'Tens of billions!? We barely number in the millions. Before the war?' "And after the war?"

Ale stood silent for a few seconds. This made Celestia nervous. He answered with no emotion, "Earths population was estimated to be around 200 million. 16 billion are thought to have survived the war."

Celestia felt slight tears forming. Luna was dead silent. The princess of the sun regained herself and stuttered slightly, "I...I'm sorry."

Ale only nodded. Celestia had enough of this for one day. She felt the urge of night approaching. She looked to the soldier, only seeing a silent metal statue. She spoke, "Night is approaching. A guard will take you to the kitchen as I'm sure your starving. You will then be led to your room for the night. We will continue this discussion tomorrow."

Ale nodded and followed a nearby guard out through the doors. Celestia wiped the forming tears off her face and looked at Luna in slight horror. Luna simply nodded in understanding as they began to walk outside to attend their royal duties.


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Ale followed the guard through the vast corridors in an uncomfortable silence, the clip of the guards hooves and the dull thuds caused by a half a ton Covenant killing machine echoed eerily through the hall. They soon arrived into a massive kitchen. The guard simply waved his hoof forward gesturing to the kitchen tables and their contents.

"You may have what you like. Oh, you can't have the chocolate cake. Princess Celestia would kill me!"

Ale smirked and walked towards the platters of food. He turned and saw the guard watching him. "Do you mind?" The guard huffed and walked out while shutting the doors behind him. Ale checked his radar and when satisfied that there were no witnesses he took off his helmet. 'Integrity keeps your enemies on their toes,' he thought with a knowing grin. He began strolling next to the tables and wasn't surprised when there wasn't any meat. He picked up a bowl and began making a salad since he saw no way around it. As Ale was about to sit down he noticed a big steel door across the room.

"Oh god, please let it be what I hope it to be!” Ale opened the latch and began sending up a silent prayer for the meat locker he had found. As he browsed he felt a little disappointed in the variety. Not that there wasn't a lot of meat but most of it was alien to him. Ale was happy with the chicken he found and began to prepare it. He tossed it in the archaic stove and began eating his salad as an appetizer.


"That wasn't funny!"

Ale looked to the guard silently through his visor. He was being escorted to his room while the guard scolded him for his actions.

"The maid was already surprised and wary when she saw the chicken bones but looking at her and saying, 'You look pretty good', is NOT okay!"

Ale chuckled, further angering the guard. They walked into a guest room. He was surprised that the bed was big enough for him. He turned towards the guard and jabbed a thumb at the bed. "You don't have ponies that big around here do you?"

The guard looked annoyed as he walked out, "One of the maids performed a spell that increased the bed to your size."

'Right, magic.' Ale closed the doors and extinguished the candles. He carefully sat on the bed, remembering his carriage incident. The bed held without protest and Ale lied down. He wished he could feel the comfort of the bed. A Spartans armor may be temperature regulated and have a bunch of other gizmos but it wasn't a five star hotel. Ale glanced at his radar and saw two guards were outside his door and two were near his window outside. He let out a breath and slipped into slumber.


Princess Luna once more observed the silk of the dreamscape her subjects offered. She didn't have to wait long for the mysterious secondary silk to appear. She could immediately tell it was a nightmare by the turbulent currents flowing throughout it. She took a deep breath and stepped forward.


Ale knew this dream. He HATED this dream with every fiber of his being. Ale was running and fast! Three marines were struggling to keep up but wouldn't stop. The screaming behind them made sure of that. They rounded a corner and were relieved to see daylight. They ran up and out of the forerunner construct sealing the entrance behind them. They took a breather while Ale called in a pelican. He walked forward a few hundred meters away from the marines to toss a flare, marking the LZ. The captain radioed in.

"As soon as we get you up here we're blowing this place to high heaven with the charges you set. I'll mark this planet off limits until the parasite can be cleansed properly. How many did you lose?"

"Two sir." Ale wasn't happy he lost two good soldiers, but three alive is better than none. He began to admire the alien beauty of this planet. It reminded him of home before it was turned to ash. The rolling green hills surrounding a crystal blue lake, a river lazily flowing into it. The sky held a perfect ambiance, untouched with pollution. It was hard to imagine that such a peaceful place could harbor terrible, terrible things. The growing whine of an incoming pelican shook him out of his thoughts. Ale was about to command the marines when he heard a panicked yell erupt from them.

Ale heard gunfire as he began to turn. The marines were backed up against the wall firing desperately at the flood forms that had surrounded them. The pelican pulled up beside Ale and the sergeant yelled at him to hop aboard.

"You did your job! Let’s get the hell out of here before they get us!"

Ale began running away from the sergeant clearly disgusted at his cowardice. 'They didn't abandon me.' He approached the back of the flood forms and jumped over while firing at them. He landed next to the two marines still up and attempted to hold back the overwhelming flood. The pelican began to move forward towards them until Ale heard the sergeant over the comm.

"Stop! Leave them! They're toast!"

"Sir?" the pilot responded confused.

Ale was interrupted when a 'tank' form leaped at him. He fired a tri of shots, ripping its torso apart. A scream next to him signaled the end of another one of the marines. It was just Ale and the lone marine against the endless tides. Ale kept cool headed, his mind in overdrive as he attempted to create a plan even as his last clip began to empty.

The marine glanced at Ale with a knowing look and yelled, "I can hold them off! It was an honor sir!"

Ale looked at the marine and nodded. The last round left the chamber of Ales weapon and he immediately lurched forward smashing through the flood forms. He sprinted for the pelican and jumped into the back with a loud explosion going off behind him. Ale knew the marine wouldn't let them get him. The pelican shot into the sky. He sat down next to the unconscious sergeant knowing what had happened to him. His head lowered as he mentally beat himself up.

'Why did I leave them at the entrance? They could have made a run for it if I had acted as bait. Any of the other Spartans would have saved them.' Ale stopped counting how many he had lost. He didn't exactly have a small casualty sheet. Ale would have terrible dreams even worse than this one. Ale found he could tolerate losses easier by distancing himself. The jerking of the pelican was his only companion as they accelerated into space.


Princess Luna looked down at the Spartan sadly. She had observed in horror at the things that had attacked him. She felt every emotion Ale was feeling. She had the power to do that when her subjects entered her realm. She wanted to comfort him but thought better of it. She shouldn't reveal herself not knowing the consequences of how Ale would react. So she left Ale to his thoughts as she exited the dream.


Ale began to wake up, his training never letting him sleep in. He sat up and watched the sunrise come in through the drapes. He didn't have to wait long for his radar to show him that someone was approaching. There was a light knock to which Ale responded with two taps of his foot. The door remained motionless as the visitor wasn't sure what this meant. The door then opened slowly revealing the guard from before.

"Good you're awake." He stepped aside allowing a maid pushing a cart to come through. She left the cart in the middle of the room and left mumbling a, "good morning." The guard looked at Ale and said, "After breakfast I will escort you to the princess."

Ale nodded and stood. He approached the cart and opened the lid to find a large serving of pancakes. How they knew he would like pancakes Ale didn't know. He looked up and cleared his throat. The guard looked annoyed and left the room slamming the doors slightly.

Ale finished the pancakes with a ravenous speed and began walking with the guard. He was surprised they didn't go to the throne room and instead were in Celestias’ room, the sun theme obviously giving it away. The guard left, telling Ale the princesses would be with him shortly. He didn't have to wait long as Celestia and Luna landed on a balcony. They stepped into the room.

Luna spoke up, "Did you enjoy your breakfast?"

Ale looked at her and replied, "Yes. Although I don't know how you knew I liked pancakes."

Celestia looked at Luna and chuckled. Ale was completely confused as to what went on. Celestia then turned towards him and Ale could see the seriousness returning to her face.

"Now Ale, as much as I would like to trust you I know you've been hiding things. I expect you to answer truthfully."

This made Ale nervous. The princesses sat down on a pair of cushions and gestured for him to do the same. Ale sat and looked at them cautiously.

"Now Ale, why did you become a soldier?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

Celestia looked annoyed. "Did the war start before you joined your military?"

Ale was trapped and he knew it. He figured they would know if he lied. 'Fuck it.' "No."

"That's better. Now why did you join?"

"Because,” Ale smirked.

"Ale we’re not going to be immature about this. You wouldn't like what I can do."

Ale simply smiled, "Do your worst."

Celestia smiled and turned to Luna."Sister, I asked the guard last night what Ale had eaten. He told me he had eaten a variety of things but was surprised when Ale had demanded one thing we did not have. Ale asked for a banana."

Ale had no idea what was wrong but from the look on Luna’s face he didn't like it. Luna looked at him with a white fire in her eyes and all hell broke loose.


Ale was in pain. Among the various things that had happened and were broken around the room Ale managed to be wedged in the wall. He shifted and fell out of the cracked wall. How Luna was able to toss him around like a rag doll was a mystery to him.

"Now are you ready to answer truthfully?"

"That’s classified. Oh, and fuck you!"

"No need for bad language! But if you're not willing to speak I can go get Luna again."

Ale looked and blurted, "There'll be no need for that!"

"Good. Now answer my question."

Ale stood up and hoped to all things that are holy that ONI would never hear of this."I joined because I was forced to."

Celestia nodded."So you were conscripted?"

“In a way.”

Celestia narrowed her eyes. “At what age?”

Ale stood silently, fighting himself, the truth.



“What was that?”

“ I was drafted when I was five! Happy now!"

Celestia looked horrified."Why so young?"

"The UNSC needed better soldiers to protect her colonies and their interests. The Insurrectionists were performing increasingly lethal terroristic acts. The UNSC weren't good enough to stop it by themselves. The Insurrectionists were human, please don't interrupt me. They trained us with the best of the best. We went under major surgical procedures making us stronger, faster, and smarter. Good thing they did to. Only a few years later the Covenant arrived. Does that answer your questions princess?"

Celestia was in shock. She stood there mumbling unintelligent things until she asked slowly, "How many of you are there?"

Ale replied, "There were 70 some Spartan IIs drafted as kids. When the Covenant arrived there were about 30 or so. Where I came from there were 14 of us in all. There were hundreds of Spartan IIIs during the war. Finally there are dozens of Spartan IVs."

Celestia took this all in."That will be all for now. Thank you for being truthful with me."

Ale simply nodded and left, still seething in anger, sadness, and regret. "If I ever get back I'll probably be put to death."


Ale went through the rest of the day with little trouble. The princesses were clearly distraught with the information they just gained. Ale simply avoided them and strolled throughout the castle, admiring its size and beauty. He was in the gardens now admiring the night sky. He sat next to a pond and peered at his reflection, the cyan face plate starring back. He looked intimidating. His armor was scuffed, the sheer size of him scared most civvies back home, and the expressionless helmet topped it off.

He was interrupted from his thoughts by the princess of the night. She approached him cautiously and Ale held up a hand, "Don't come near me."

Luna looked hurt and replied, "I'm sorry for what happened earlier. My sister and I didn't know how to get around you. We needed to trust you. Plus it doesn't help that you like bananas."

"First of all princess your sister made that up and you could have gained my trust by waiting for me to reply in my own time."

Luna thought about this and replied, "I'm sorry I attacked you. I shouldn't have listened to Tia. And you're right. We should have waited for you to tell us your story in your own time."

Ale sighed and accepted with a nod. Encouraged she stepped up to him and sat down with him. Ale looked down at her and replied with a chuckle, "It takes a lot to throw around a Spartan like that. For that you've earned some respect."

Luna looked at him with a smile, "You really were heavy though! How much do you weigh?"

"Half a ton."

Luna looked at him confused."That should not have been difficult for me. That reminds me, how did you break through Twilights shield?"

"Is Twilight that purple alicorn that was at the crash site?" Luna nodded and Ale continued, "I just passed through the shield. It felt like it was just an illusion. Kind of like a bubble shield."

Luna looked forward and thought about this."Did you feel anything?"

"I felt nauseous but that was about it."

"It's as I thought. Humans must be resistant to magic, or your armor at least is."

"You're not going to get me out of my armor if that's what you're implying princess."

Luna blushed but nodded in acceptance. Ale looked up in awe at the night sky. Luna noticed this and responded, "Do you like it?"

"Very much so. I may fight on the ground but I've always had a calling for space. Ever since I was lit..."

Luna responded quickly, "We don't have to talk about it if you don't wish to."

Ale looked down, "Thanks." Luna blinked warmly and was about to get up when Ale said, "How did you know I liked pancakes?"

Luna smiled and said, "Why, it's my favorite."

Ale nodded."I haven't had pancakes in forever. The government doesn't exactly give funding towards good food."

"How does your government work?" Luna asked.

Ale smiled and prepared for an... interesting conversation. They spoke well into the night ranging in many topics. Human culture, technology, education, and heavily on music since Luna showed a heavy interest in it. She explained that she was banished for a thousand years and music hadn't changed much although a certain pony in a town called Ponyville was revolutionizing it. Ale was extremely puzzled as to how Luna lived for so long, much less on the moon.

The early signs of dawn were approaching and Ale stood up to leave. He stared at the beautiful sunrise, admiring the different blends of color on an unpolluted sky. Ale un-polarized his face plate so he could admire the full beauty of it. Luna meanwhile turned and gawked as she could clearly see his face. Ale had deep aqua eyes with a slight purple tint around his pupil. This was caused from the augmentations. His dark brown hair hung just below his eyebrows. His nose was straight and his mouth was firm. His cheeks looked soft were it not for the deep lines on them as if he frowned too much. Overall Luna found him to be extremely handsome.

Ale noticed this and looked down at her. His deep eyes were aged with what she knew to have seen many things, things she couldn't imagine. His gaze was friendly enough and the way they seemed to peer into her soul made her heart beat slightly faster. Ale winked and polarized his face plate before walking away towards the castle, leaving a flustered princess behind.


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"Good morning Ale."

"Morning Princess Celestia." Ale walked into Celestias' chambers, shocked at how quick the damage had been repaired."You said you wanted to speak with me?"

"Yes. I'll get right to the point." Celestia had a serious look,"I need to know that you will not hurt my little ponies. Will you be willing to live in Equestria peacefully if I can't return you home?"

Ale was a bit surprised at how blunt the seemingly tactical and calculating princess had benn, but replied nonetheless. "Princess, I promise I won't hurt any of your citizens in any way or shape... most of the time."

Celestia’s face contorted into an angered shock. She was about to question him when Ale raised his hand at her.

"You can't expect me to not defend myself when I'm being threatened or anybody else for that matter."

As he said this Celestia calmed down and seemed to be pleased with the last few words he said."I'm glad that you said that. Now since that's over with I have a proposition for you that should suit your.... specific skill set." Ale stood silently, digesting this information. "How would you like to become one of Luna’s Night Guard? They're shorthooved and could use the help."

Ale grinned as he came to a quick conclusion. "Sure," Celestia looked giddy with excitement until Ale continued, "but only if I can get my weapons back. That's all I demand." Celestia looked wary at his demand but knew with the recent threats against the crown that they could use all the help they could get.

"Fine, but I expect a demonstration later today. You claim to not have magic but the hydra looked like it was killed with a concentrated form of it." Ale nodded. "One of my sun guards will show you the ropes today before you are sworn in. Is this understood?" Again Ale nodded. "Good, dismissed."

Ale turned and began following the same guard from before. As they exited the room Ale glanced down and asked, "So what's up with you being put on babysitting duty?"

The guard looked at Ale with a glare before replying, "It's none of your business."

Ale nodded, grinning to himself knowing he had hit a weak spot. He figured he should buddy up since he was being treated fairly well by this pony, especially since he was an alien. "Look I don't like this situation anymore then you do. So let’s start over. What's your name?"

The guard looked cautiously at Ale, "Morning Mist."

"My names Ale. Nice to meet you formally. Good?"


'Clever', Ale thought. Morning led him outside and to a coliseum looking arena. "This is where we train and duel. Princess Celestia has also arranged your demonstration to be held here. Come on, I'll show you your post for tonight." They walked around the outskirts of the castle walls and stopped, facing towards the forest that was down the slope. "You will be here from sunset to sunrise, got it?"

"Okay." Morning and Ale began walking back towards the castle entrance. The guard looked a little more relaxed when they entered the courtyard. "Something wrong?"

The guard looked at Ale and leaned towards him, "There have been reports of strange shadows and noises at night. Everyone's on edge especially after the failed invasion of Canterlot."


Morning looked exasperated as he quickly explained. "So be wary of anypony." Ale was quiet as he took this in. The guard then told him to get ready for the demonstration in a few hours.


"Are you ready?" Morning asked as he knocked on Ales door.

"Coming." Ale stood and placed his helmet on. He had burned his free time by removing his armor and polishing it. It was tedious work but payed off by the glow his armor gave off. He opened the door and was led to the arena where the princesses sat expectantly. There were targets set up on the other end of the field.

"Here are your weapons as promised,” Celestia said as she stepped away from a table revealing his weapons. Ale walked over and examined his rifle with hunger. He picked up his pistol and clipped it on his hip. He then slid his combat knife home with a satisfied grunt. He then picked up his rifle and crooned over it. "So Celestia," She looked annoyed that he hadn't used her formal title, "how far did you tinker with it?"

Celestia looked hurt, "We did no such thing!"

"Oh give me a break!" Ale looked at her. Celestia hung her head with a slight frown.

"When we attempted to disassemble your weapon it fired and wounded a researcher."

Ale grunted before replying, "I told them to be careful. Curiosity killed the cat." Ale then turned towards the targets and raised his rifle, "You may want to cover your ears."

Ale brightened when the weapon reported four times, hitting four targets in the dead center. Ale then pulled the secondary trigger and launched an electrified bolt at the last target. Ale then walked over as the targets started to bloom up in fire since they were made of hay and saw four scorch marks on the arenas wall. He turned and smirked at the faces of all who witnessed. Morning however shook out of his trance and yelled, "So what it went through hay! I'd like to see how it does against armor."

Ale grinned wildly as he aimed at a nearby stack of armor and reduced them to molten slag. He turned and saw the scorn on Mornings face and walked over to the princesses. Ale snapped his fingers to get their attention.

Celestia looked to him and stuttered with her proceedings, "N..Now then Ale, do you accept the role and responsibility of a guard for the citizens of Equestria?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Luna." Celestia stepped away to be replaced with princess Luna.

"Kneel." Ale hesitated as he thought about his actions. While he was sworn to defend humanity to his last breath he didn’t have much hope that the UNSC will find him. They would investigate the Embers disappearance and finding no evidence of a slip space exit will assume that all hands were lost. With this thought in mind Ale decided he had better make the most of what seemed to be his permanent stay. He then kneeled in front of Luna.

"Do you Ale, swear to defend Equestria and its subjects with your life?" Ale nodded. "Will you risk your life in the defense of your fellow soldiers?" Ale nodded again. "Will you die in order to protect me?" Luna asked seriously with a glint of hope in her eyes.

Ale verbally answered, "Yes princess."

Luna looked relieved and touched her horn to each of Ales shoulders. "Rise, guard of the night." Ale stood and bowed his head. Luna looked at Ale, "You need a symbol to show others that you are a guard. May I adjust your armor?"

Ale hesitated before replying, "Only if it doesn't physically change it." Luna nodded and her horn lit up. After a few seconds her horn stopped and she inspected his right shoulder blade, nodding in satisfaction.

"Do you approve?"

Ale looked at his shoulder. Among his steel colored armor with a red detail there sat a purple shield. Overlaying the shield there was a large white crescent moon with a smaller lavender crescent moon on the inside of it. Ale looked at Lunas flank and saw why his new emblem worked out. Luna cleared her throat to get his attention. She gave him a look that made Ale look away with embarrassment. After a few awkward moments Luna spoke up, "You are dismissed. Prepare for your post tonight."Ale stood straight and snapped a crisp salute before walking off. Before he rounded the corner Ale smacked his head making Luna giggle. Remembering her sister Luna turned to see a look of amusement on Celsetias face.


'God it's beautiful tonight,’ Ale thought. He stood at his post and watched the night sky slowly pass by. He monitored his radar through the corner of his eye and watched the two bogies which he knew to be two shadow guards. He assumed they were ordered to spy on him to make sure he kept his word. Shifting his sight back to the sky he observed the stars. He was pondering the thought of his ship when he saw movement in the forest. Ale stood perfectly still, knowing that if he moved they would probably see him as well. He watched for any more movement.

His radar blipped as two more bogies came within range which was the edge of the forest. Ale watched the shadows move slowly across the ferns. Ale raised his rifle slowly causing them to stop. Four green eyes opened and stared back at him unnerving Ale. The shadows slowly retreated back into the forest from whence they came. Ale held his rifle steady for a few moments before lowering it. He didn't know what existed in this world and couldn't help but think of horrors like the Flood. He returned his gaze to the sky and lost himself in the calming sparkling of the night.


Ale woke with a start, rising from his bed. He checked the time. 3:00 P.M. Ale stood and walked out of his room. Last night had resumed without anymore incidents. He had returned to his room at dawn. Ale now made his way through the hallways and into one of the court yards. He walked to the barracks of the night guard. He entered and approached his mail box. He pulled out his paperwork and began to file the incident of last night. Ale ignored the glares of a few passing guards and finished his work quickly, placing it in the outbox. As he began to walk out he heard concerned whispering from a group of guards. He turned up the hearing sensitivity on his armor and heard every word.

"Where are Morning and Sharp? They didn't punch out last night."

"Do you think something could have happened to them?"

"We should go check and see if they're okay."

"Where were they seen last?"

"They were to patrol the cliff side."

Ale heard enough and walked out of the barracks. He jogged towards the cliffs on the South East side of the castle. As he rounded the corner he carefully inspected the ground. He could see their tracks and followed them on wards. He soon came across a small area of scuffed dirt. The tracks disappeared within the turned up dirt. Ale saw the turned up dirt touch the edge of the cliff. Ale pulled out his rifle and slowly approached the edge. The tension built up within him until he felt like he was wound up like steel cables. He slowly peeked over the edge and gagged. Along the steep cliff side bloody body parts and other matter littered the area. Ale turned and struggled to hold the contents of his stomach.

The guards from before approached him, clearly seeing that he was in distress. "What's wrong?" Ale simply pointed to the edge. The guards leaned over. Ale heard two ponies start puking and one started to sob loudly. They returned to the barracks and reported in their findings. The captain became suspicious that Ale had found the remains and questioned the two spies that were assigned to watch him. After Ale was proven innocent via his alibi he walked back into his room. Ale lied down in his bed and rested, trying to forget the gruesome site he saw. He slipped into a surprisingly peaceful sleep.


'This is bullshit,’ Ale thought. The guard captain had insisted that Ale be put on post within the outer walls of the castle. Apparently he still wasn't convinced of Ales innocence. Ale kicked a pebble and looked up at the balcony above his head. He knew he was standing below Princess Luna’s bedroom. He looked forward and flicked his rifles safety on and off, attempting to fight off boredom. The sun was going to rise in an hour and Ale looked forward to sleep, his dreams had become much more calm.

Ale jerked when he saw a shadow on the ground fly over him. He looked up to see the empty night sky. His radar remained silent. He was about to investigate when he heard a muffled yell and violent scuffling. Ale ran at the wall of the balcony and leaped, pulverizing the stone upon contact and leaping to the other wall. After another push Ale gained enough height to land on the balcony. He stepped in and turned to his left. Princess Luna was being held on her hind hooves with her back against her assaulter. She had some sort of metal cylinder around her horn. A knife was in front of her throat and she pleaded to Ale with her eyes.

The creature holding her had the same green eyes Ale had seen in the forest. The hoof holding the knife looked to have holes in it. "Put. Her. Down. Slowly.” The creature laughed, panicking Luna as the knife wiggled slightly on her throat.

"And if I don't?" it responded in a raspy voice. "You wouldn't risk your precious princess now would you?" The creature began to dig his knife slightly, coaxing a gasp of fear from Luna. Ale didn't have a clear shot. He kept his cool and proceeded with his last option. Ale moved his finger down to the secondary trigger and tapped it twice. Seeing this Luna blinked at him. He nodded and pulled the trigger. The bolt clipped Luna’s shoulder and impacted upon the creature dropping them both. The doors burst forth revealing Celestia. As she ran towards Luna, Ale walked over to the creature and upon seeing the creature dead felt fear and dread well up in him.

'Non-Lethal... to humans.' Ale swiftly turned to Luna and dropped down next to her. Celestia’s horn was glowing as she attempted to revive her sister. After a few moments Celestia stopped and looked at Ale with teary eyes that held hate for him. Ale swiftly put his rifle on his back and charged his shields at his hands. With a makeshift defibrillator he shocked Luna. She didn't respond. Ale tried again and again. After a dozen tries Celestia stopped him.


Ale felt himself being lifted. Celestia was enraged and he felt a force begin to crush him. 'Is she trying to kill me!?' Ale felt a huge amount of force upon him. His shield alarm began to blare as it began to drain rapidly. He tensed his muscles and fought back. The force weakened and Ale saw Celestia was struggling with him. Ale continued and with a final jerk freed himself. Celestia dropped to the floor, gasping for air. Ale looked at the prone form of Luna. He pooled his over shield and all his suits power output onto his palms. With a roar he slammed Luna in the chest jolting her form into taking a breath.

Luna shivered and was gasping for breath. Celestia crooned over her sister. She looked up at Ale and commanded, "Leave us!"

Ale promptly turned and left without a sound. She was obviously still pissed at him and Ale feared the consequences. He returned to his room and decided he would need all the rest he could get for the events coming tomorrow. Ale dreamed fitfully of nightmares of Celestia’s wrath.


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Ale woke up, his bed torn apart from his fight with the nightmares. ‘I wonder if Celestia’s going to kill me today.’ He sat up and watched the sunrise through his window. He jerked when he heard a soft knocking on his door. "Come in." Ale tensed as princess Celestia walked in. She stood a good distance from Ale as they observed each other. Ale broke the silence, "Is Luna okay?"

Celestia responded, "She's a little shaken up but fine. She wanted me to thank you for what you did." Celestia hesitated, "I also wanted to apologize for my actions last night. I was blinded by fear that my sister was dead and that you did it." Ale simply grunted. "Luna told me that there wasn't much you could do. I'm begging you please forgive me!"

Ale stood still, relishing in Celestias guilt. After a few moments he had enough of his fun and responded, "I accept your apology. I didn't know it would kill Luna either. Those bolts are non-lethal to humans. I should have thought better before acting." They stood there in an awkward silence. Ale spoke up, "What was that thing anyway?"

"Do you know what a changeling is?"

"I heard about them and I know about their failed invasion. I didn't know what they were though since Morning..."

Celestia looked up and had a look of sorrow on her face. Ale stood and nodded stiffly. Celestia had a look of understanding on her face and turned to leave. "I have to prepare for my students return tomorrow morning. You're free of your duties tonight. Do what you like."

Ale thought about their conversation and convinced himself that Celestia had forgiven him for his actions. After a few minutes Ale began walking down the hallway. He had seen a library the second night he was here and intended to learn as much as he could about Equestria. It wouldn't hurt to learn about these changelings as well. He stopped by a pair of maids. They didn't have a look of fear on their faces like they normally did when he walked past. Instead they seemed in awe of him. Ale expected them to be mad or disgusted from his actions last night. Ale asked them for directions to the library.

Ale saw a massive set of doors as he followed the maids’ directions. He opened them and gaped in awe. The library was MASSIVE. The shelves were easily three stories high and packed with books in all sorts of shape and condition. He browsed through and picked out books relating to geography, government, history, and other tomes. He began to speed read the small stack of books he had acquired. They were fairly simple to understand since most of their content matched the laws of humanity. Ale studied books about magic in confusion for hours. He was almost done and ready to head to bed when he finally found a book about changelings.

Ale did not like what he read. 'Their food source is any type of love. To get close to their intended victims they will change their form to a loved one. Then depending on the changelings appetite or desire to feed the victim can continue to live on unknowing of their fate or they can be drained rapidly resulting in death.' Ale closed the book and returned it to its rightful spot. Ale began to walk back to his bedroom, his mind reeling with all the information he had read. Ale reached his room and collapsed into his bed.


Luna got out of bed, wincing at the throbbing pain in her shoulder. Celestia was able to heal her injuries but Luna could still feel the dull pain. She trotted through the hallways towards Ales room. She knew he was asleep before she got out of bed. She knocked on the door gently. She heard slight shuffling and the door opened revealing the tall armored Spartan.

"Good morning Princess Luna."

"Good morning Ale. May I come in?"

Ale nodded and stepped aside allowing Luna to walk in. Ale shut the door and spoke, "Princess, I…"

"Tia explained everything. You do not have to apologize. I should be thanking you." She turned and faced Ale.

"It was my duty to protect you. You shouldn't have to thank me." Luna sighed knowing she wasn't going to win an argument with the stubborn soldier. They stood there in silence, Ale feeling a slight sense of déjà vu. Ale cleared his throat, "I should probably go check with the captain to see when my next shift is." He stepped past her and hastily walked down the hall leaving Luna to her thoughts.

Ale walked outside and opened his filters letting the crisp fresh air flood into his helmet. ‘This is much better than the recycled shit.’ Ale walked through the gardens, heading towards the barracks when voices caught his attention. He turned to his right and saw a group of ponies walking out of the castle into the gardens. He recognized the purple alicorn and the rainbow maned pegasus from his first day here. They saw him and stopped talking. The others gaped in awe at the massive super soldier while the purple one looked enraged. She walked briskly across the grass with the others in tow.

"Who do you think you are attacking Princess Luna!" the purple one yelled. The others weren't sure what to do, conflicting emotions racing across their faces.

"Twilight! Celestia said he was defending her from a changeling assassin!" the rainbow one jumped to his defense. The orange one gave her a look of shock.

She replied in a southern accent, "Since when do ya defend aliens Rainbow?"

"Since they saved my flank!" she retorted. They began arguing with each other when Twilight spoke up.

"You still haven't answered my question!" she yelled, causing the others to shut up.

Ale slowly dropped to a knee, his face level with Twilight, unnerving her. "I was sworn to defend her and I succeeded. I didn't have any other option. I don't exactly have magic you know." He stood and waited for her response.

Twilight reasoned his response and nodded glumly. The others seemed to calm down and Ale held out his hand to her. "My name's Ale." Twilight looked up and 'gripped?' his hand.

"Twilight. These are my friends Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Rarity."

Ale was intrigued at how quickly these ponies would forgive and forget. He noted these rapid mood changes. "Nice to meet you all."

Twilight looked at Ale, "So Celestia told us a little bit about yourself. She tasked me to learn more about you... at your discretion of course."

‘Why does she scare me?’

"Oh don't worry about that. Twilight may have a mad scientist lab in her basement but she won't dissect you." Ale looked at Pinkie.

"How did you…"

"Don't ask. It's just Pinkie being Pinkie,” replied Applejack.

"Okay then. Moving on." Ale walked towards the barracks with the others following him. Ale reached the barracks and browsed through a sheet hanging on the wall showing shifts and their respective positions.

A deep voice interrupted them, "The princess has informed me that you are hereby off duty until further notice. You are to accompany Twilight Sparkle to Ponyville." Ale looked at the royal guard who had spoken.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"She did not say. She wishes that you get acquainted with the populace."

Ale turned this information slowly through his head. ‘What's she up to?’ Realization dawned on him and he began to clench his fists. Twilight noticed this and looked up to him.

"Is something wrong?"

"I have to go,” Ale replied bluntly. He began to stiffly walk towards the castle gaining speed as his anger drove him on. He stormed through the hallways and opened the doors to the throne room. Celestia had a cool look on her face as Ale approached her. Ale blurted out, "You intend on keeping me here!? I took the job because you said you needed help and it turned out it was the right thing to do, but trying to hold me here?"

Celestia frowned, "I have no means of returning you from whence you came. If you know a way, please do tell."

Ale fumed in his armor. He was smart enough to not punch her in her royal face. He opted to return to his room and think about his options. Ale thudded down the halls and slammed his door in frustration. He sat on his bed for what could have been minutes or hours. Ale was about to lose hope until a thought hit him. He smacked his head in stupidity, "Of course! The Ember!" He stood and opened his door to find Luna standing on the other side.

"Ale! Are you okay?"

"I'm better than okay! I'm going home!" Ale replied gleefully. He then realized he didn't have a means of transport.

"How? Tia told me she couldn't get you home."

Ale hung his head, "I was going to go back to my ship, but I can't get there."

Luna smirked, bobbing his chest. "Stupid. Magic remember? Hold still."

Ale looked at her in confusion. "What are..." Ale felt a tugging on every fiber of his being. As he began to voice his concern there was a bright flash that blinded Ale. He regained his eyesight to find himself in a dark metal room. He looked around and knew he was standing in a briefing room aboard the Ember. He looked at Luna, "A little warning next time?"

She smiled and gestured with her hoof, "Lead the way."

Ale stepped forward and the doors slid apart. He walked down the hallway towards the command deck. Luna was drinking in her surroundings as she didn’t have much time to browse last time. He entered the bridge and immediately approached the navigation console. Luna watched as Ale pushed a serious of buttons on a display. Ale was happy to find that the slip space engines were at 27% operating capacity. They could still work. He turned to Luna, "The engines are working!" Luna smiled, hiding her true emotions.

"So this is goodbye?"

Ale turned back to the console as he input the coordinates for Earth, clueless to Lunas feelings. "Yep! Thanks for getting me here! You should get away from here while I jump."

Luna was hurt at his bluntness for her goodbye. She teleported well outside of the ship and watched in glum sadness.

Ale grew excited as he watched the engines power up for the jump. When they finally became charged he reached for the execute command. He stopped and hesitated. He thought about everything the ponies had done for him even if there were bumps along the way. They weren't lying either when they said they needed his help. He pondered over this before he steeled himself with the resolve of his duty.

With happiness he pushed the button. There was a loud whirring noise and then silence. Ale looked up and saw that he hadn't moved. ‘What?’


Luna cried silently, conflicting emotions burning through her. She couldn't tell if she should be happy that Ale was returning to his home or sad that he had ignored her feelings. She heard the ship whine loudly and closed her eyes. When the whining stopped she looked up and was surprised to see the ship still there. She knew something was wrong and approached the ship. She found her way back to the command deck and found Ale sitting against the wall. At the sound of her hoof falls Ale looked up. They stared at each other for a few moments before Ale lowered his head, shaking it sadly.


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Ale stared at the floor he was sitting on. When the ship failed to jump he checked the necessary operating systems and discovered that the main line from the slip space generator to the engines was severed. Ale didn't have the necessary tools or knowledge to fix it. AIs aren't exactly input with this knowledge as well.

The sound of hooves woke Ale up from his stupor. He looked up and saw Luna looking at him with sadness. After a few moments he looked back down shaking his head. He expected Luna to offer words of comfort or something to that degree. Instead she walked over and sat down next to him, leaning on him with her head on his chest. Ale looked into her eyes and saw an unknown emotion in them. He wasn't sure whether or not he was comfortable with this so he just sat there. He raised his hand and caressed her mane. She seemed to enjoy this as she closed her eyes and relaxed.

After a few minutes Luna opened her eyes and asked softly, "What do you intend to do now?"

Ale thought for a few moments before replying, "Well there isn't any slip space capable vehicles aboard so I guess I'm stuck here. I'm mad at Celestia but I will take her up on her offer."

Luna smiled and began to stand up. "Are you ready to go?"

"Actually there are a few things I need to grab. Where is this Ponyville I'm supposed to go to?"

"It's West of Canterlot by the large forest that you had hidden in."

"Perfect." Ale stood and walked over to the AI hologram. When the AI appeared Ale said, "Set the ship in geocentric orbit over this position."

"Yes sir."

Ale motioned for Luna to follow him as he walked out. He headed for the hangar. When he arrived he was disappointed to find all the vehicles trashed or overturned. He snooped around looking for anything salvageable when he approached another storage bay tucked in the side of the hangar. The panel next to the door required a key card for access. "What kind of goodies are hidden behind here?"

Ale looked at Luna, "You might want to stand back." Luna looked confused but did as Ale asked. He nodded and walked away from the door as well. He reached the other side and braced his feet against the ground in a runners stance. After a few deep breaths he ran forward, denting the metal grating under his thunderous approach. He braced his shoulder as he rammed into the door with more strength than a speeding Warthog. The door groaned as it broke from its clamps and fell inwards with a loud clang. Ale turned to see a shocked Luna. Ale smiled to himself and flicked his helmet lights on to see in the gloom. He was awed at what he saw.

The ship had been stocked with a few prototype vehicles that Ale had only heard about. Ale had eavesdropped on a group of engineers and learned that these vehicles used a technology similar to Ales weapons to power them. They basically had an unlimited amount of fuel is what Ale had gotten out of it. Once more he was a soldier, not an egg head. There was a Broadsword, Pelican, and a warthog in special clamps meant only for transport, not actual use. He browsed them and discovered that they possessed a glowing blue engine core like his weapon magazines only a lot larger. He clapped his hands in giddy excitement before turning to Luna who had broken out of her awe.

"Want to go for a ride?"

"S… Sure."

"Good." Ale approached the Broadsword and gripped its locking clamps. He broke them with ease and rolled the Broadsword out of the storage bay into the main hangar. He carefully jumped up onto it remembering what had happened last time and opened the canopy. "Hop into this back seat here." Luna complied with a nervous excitement, struggling to sit upright like a human. Ale strapped her in which helped her sit correctly. He hopped into the pilots seat and strapped himself into his harness. He began the start up sequence and was surprised to find the engine noise to be almost exactly the same as the typical Broadsword engine.

He shrugged and took control of the plane. He slowly exited the hangar for Lunas sake and began to slowly accelerate. "Ready Luna?"

Luna replied with a nervous, "Yes."

Ale smiled evilly and replied, "Hang on!" He punched it forward, listening to Lunas' scream of surprise. She calmed down but was marveling at the speed of the machine and looked out at her night sky. Ale approached the planet at a smoother trajectory than last time and only met slight turbulence. He saw the majestic castle of Canterlot far below him on the mountainside. He noticed a very small town to the West and asked Luna if that was Ponyville.

"Yes. Princess Twilight and her friends should be there. When we get there head for the big oak tree near the middle of town."

Ale grinned as he decided to surprise them with his entrance.


Rainbow Dash collapsed on her bed, tired after their return journey from Canterlot. She began to slip into a peaceful slumber when a distant whining caught her attention. She slowly got up, frustrated at whoever was making that noise. As she stepped outside the noise became louder. She looked around and saw a distant spot rapidly becoming larger.

"What the hay?" It was almost upon her. She blinked and it had already passed. She winced when the sonic boom reached her sensitive ears. "It's not getting away that easy!" She exclaimed. She took to the sky and began to chase it down.


Ale had seen Rainbow Dash as he passed a floating cloud house. Ponyville was still a good distance away. Ale was about to slow down when a rainbow appeared beside him. He looked over and saw Rainbow Dash smirking at him as she flew at Mach 1 speeds beside him. She struggled to point at Ponyville and Ale understood that she wanted to race. He nodded and she began to pull ahead of him.

Ale turned his body slightly, "Hold on Luna!" He wasn't sure if she would be able to withstand the G's they were about to experience. Ale opened the throttle slightly more catching up to Rainbow Dash rapidly. Seeing this she pulled up into a loop. Ale followed with a good weight settling in his stomach, his augmented body and pressure gel in his suit allowing him to tolerate the G’s. They then went into a barrel roll and performed a series of ariel stunts. Meanwhile Luna was turning green with the different weights moving rapidly throughout her body, her supernatural abilities and magic protecting her from passing out.

Rainbow soon became tired and headed to Ponyville. She landed next to the library and waited for Ale to land beside her. Dust blew all over the place as Ale dropped the Broadsword onto its landing gear, the engine winding down. He popped the canopy to find Luna kissing the ground with vigor. He chuckled and walked over to the panting cyan mare.

"Good race kid. I didn't expect a pegasus to be able to surpass the sound barrier."

She looked at him insulted and gasped out, "I'll have you know I'm the fastest pegasus in Equestria! I'm the only one to have performed a sonic rainboom!" She calmed down a bit as she caught her breath, "You’re not so bad yourself."

Ale scoffed, "I let you win. I can go much faster than that."

Rainbow brashly replied, "I'd like to see you prove it."

Ale chuckled and looked at Princess Luna who was still looking green. "After I perform a flyby can you teleport me back up to the Ember? I only need to grab one more thing." Luna nodded weakly. Ale turned and hopped back up into the jet. It soon roared to life, blasting dust at the crowd of ponies who had come to see the strange machine and to glimpse the alien they had heard rumors about. Ale lifted into the sky and shot away.

Rainbow didn't have to wait long. She heard the all to familiar sound of an object breaking the sound barrier. She looked expectantly in the direction Ale had gone. Her smile disappeared when she saw Ales ship moving much faster than she had ever seen before. She blinked and he had already passed the town by. The ensuing boom shook the ground and shattered every single window that hadn't been previously broken. Some ponies had fallen over from the impact of the waves. Rainbow dragged herself away from the ground, gaping in disbelief as she heard three more distant booms emanating from the craft. She watched the horizon and soon saw Ales machine slow down and approach the ground again.

As Ale hopped out the rest of the ponies came to their senses. They forgot their anger about their windows when they saw the sheer size of the alien in front of them. Ale looked around and noticed the windows. "I can pay for that."

Luna shook her head, "Do not worry. The royal treasury will take care of it. Just try not to do it again. Ale nodded and pointed a finger up. Luna understood this and said goodbye to Rainbow Dash. Her horn lit up and Ale felt his body being pulled in all directions. He resisted this and Luna began to look a bit strained. "Ale, don't resist. You’re resistant to magic and I need you to cooperate to allow me to teleport you. Ale relaxed and a bright light enveloped him.

He opened his eyes and looked around at the hangar he had shown up in. Ale walked back to the specialized Pelican and Warthog. He broke their clamps and wheeled the pelican onto the main floor. He went back to the Warthog and was disappointed that it wouldn't start. He shrugged and figured he could fix it.

He pushed it over and clamped it to the pelican. Ale walked to the armory and loaded a duffle bag with a shotgun, battle rifle, and a DMR. He crammed as much ammunition into the bag as he could. He then found a rocket launcher and a sniper rifle. He placed these into their respective cases and carried these out to the pelican.

After scrounging through the ship Ale had collected enough MREs to last him a few months. He also had an engineering kit and some medical cases. He took these and a few other miscellaneous things and loaded them up into the Pelican. Satisfied that he had everything he would need he climbed into the pilots seat and took off towards the planet.


Ale landed next to the Broadsword and stepped out of the cargo bay to find Twilight waiting for him.

"Princess Celestia has asked that you stay with me until we can find a place of your own." She looked past him and saw the equipment inside of the Pelican. Her eyes lit up with excitement. "Are you going to let me study that? It could propel pony technology decades, probably centuries!"

Ale replied, "You may not. That equipment is dangerous and pony kind doesn't have a need for it."

Twilight looked a bit crestfallen but then looked a bit angry. "What do you have in there?"

Ale could tell she was a brownnoser and that she wouldn't stop until she found out. ‘Better that I tell her instead of her harming herself or others.’ "I have MREs, medkits, some tools, and weapons."

Her angered look became stern, "What do you need weapons for? And what are MREs?"

Ale sighed, a bit impatient, "The weapons are for my protection along with the ponies protection. Don't deny me my weapons otherwise I'll become difficult to live with. MREs are Meals Ready to Eat."

Twilight pouted a bit at the first part but brightened up at the last part. "Can you at least tell me and show me what you eat?"

Ale shrugged figuring there was no harm in this. "Sure."

Twilight nodded, happy that he had given some ground. "Now your, uhh, 'toys' can go into the shed behind the library. Ale nodded and began hauling his equipment to the shed. As he rounded the corner he discovered that her 'shed' was more like a large garage. He opened the door and discovered it to be virtually empty.

Twilight spoke behind him, "I haven't had much use for it. So you can do what you like with it." Ale smiled, happy with this arrangement. He turned towards Twilight.

"Can I knock out a part of this wall? I'd like to turn it into a garage and a workshop."

Twilight nodded. "You can borrow some tools from Applejack. She lives over in the apple orchard east of town. That reminds me, we're going to have to find you a job."

Ale nodded and walked back over to the Pelican. He locked everything up. "What are you doing?" Twilight asked.

"Making sure nobody..."

"Nopony,” a pink blur had said as she zipped by at impossible speeds.

"How did..."

"Again don't ask. It's just Pinkie being Pinkie,” Twilight said.

Ale shook his head, "Anyways nopony will tamper with my stuff. I really don't want them to explode or anything."

Twilight paled a bit but nodded.

Ale clapped his hands and began walking towards the distant apple trees. "Later Twilight. I shouldn't be long."


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Ale breathed in deeply, letting the cool spring air roll through his helmet. It's been a while since he'd smelled something untouched from pollution or hadn't gone through some sort of sterilization process. Along with the pure air the crunch of gravel filled his senses. Ale viewed the lush green grass through his HUD. A thought ran through his mind that surprised him. ‘Am I at peace? Could I come to terms with this place?’ There were many pros to this world. He wasn't losing men, his steps didn't have the sound of crunching glass and ash, and best of all there wasn't any factions of Covenant on his tail. Ale was lost in thought and didn't notice the change of landscape. A loud crack along with something hitting his head made Ale instinctively jump to the side, taking cover behind a large apple tree, his magnum pulled out.

Ale peeked around the corner, recognizing the orange mare he had met at the castle as Applejack. She was picking up a few stray apples and placing them in wooden buckets, oblivious that she had bucked an apple on the super soldiers head. Ale relaxed and clipped his weapon to its magnetic clamp. He stepped around the tree, his sheer size making him extremely noticeable. Applejack jumped and when she realized it was Ale took a deep breath to calm her nerves.

"It ain't nice to sneak up on a pony like that Ale."

"I'll keep that in mind."

Applejack looked him over, "What can ah do for ya?"

"Twilight said you had some tools I could borrow?"

"Ah reckon ah do. Ah just gotta take these here buckets to the barn." She began to place them in the back of a nearby wagon. When she put the last bucket in she was surprised when the wagon began to roll forward. She ran around to the front to stop it only to find Ale pulling it with ease. She looked at him with a bit of awe. "Ah'm mighty grateful that you're pulling the cart but how do ya do it without breaking a sweat? That's a big load of apples in there."

Ale looked to her and smirked behind his helmet as he raised his hand and tapped his chest harness. "A ton and some of the UNSCs best powered armor available."

Applejack looked a bit shocked. "A ton? How do ya wear that around?"

Now Ale might have given information to the princesses but he wasn't too keen on sharing his story with civilians. His smirk was replaced with a grim line as he looked forward. "That's classified."

Applejack could hear his change of tone and found it better to not press this. They came to the barn and Applejack directed Ale to where the wagon should be put, the tension of their earlier conversation forgotten. "Thanks again for the help. Come on over to the tool shed and we'll see what we can find for ya."

They strolled over to a neat shed just a little ways across from the barn. She began to unlock a massive padlock that was on the door. When she finished Ale looked to her with a raised eyebrow, then he remembered his helmet and simply gestured to the lock with his hand. Applejack understood his gesture and replied with a frown, "You'd be surprised at how many ponies would steal the equipment in here. Ah had a problem with diamond dogs not too long ago. These are expensive tools after all."

Ale had read about diamond dogs when he was in the library. He didn't think much about them since they didn't prove to be a threat or a great importance within the workings of Equestria. He nodded in understanding and walked in after Applejack. He may be a super soldier and not an average human but the contents inside was still enough to make him giddy with excitement. Every man loves his tools. He picked out the ones necessary to his cause and thanked Applejack as he began walking back to town.

He made it back to the library and dropped his tools off. He checked his equipment and found it to be untouched. Ale smiled as his warning, albeit a bit exaggerated, had kept Twilight and any other nosy pony well clear of it. He walked up to the door and knocked gently. He heard muffled voices and then the sound of scraping 'claws?' approach the door. It swung inward to reveal a purple and green dragon that was slightly taller than Ales' knees. Once more he had read about dragons but had not expected this.

It spoke, "So you're the alien everyone's talking about. You don't look all that scary to me." His tone of voice and his smile convinced Ale he didn't mean any harm in those words.

"Is Twilight in?" His radar had told him there were two beings in the house before he had approached the door.

"No. She went to the market and told me to tell you to head over to Sugar Cube Corner." Ale was going to voice his observations about the inhabitants of the house when a yellow blur beat him to it.

"Who's that Spike?" a young female voice spoke.

Spike glanced over his shoulder, "It's just the alien Applebloom." They heard an excited squeak.

Ale blinked and took a step back to find a young filly who must have been Applebloom peering into his face plate from atop his head.

"Hey mister, why is your skin so hard and why don't you blink?"

Ale chuckled gently as he reached over his head and gently grabbed and set the filly down. "It's my armor that's why."

"Why don't you take it off?"

Ale decided to skirt the answer since he knew these ponies had never experienced war in their lifetime other than the princesses. "It's like a super tough space suit. I can't breathe your air for long so I have to wear this."

That seemed to satisfy the fillies curiosity. She looked at Spike while shoving a book in her saddlebag. "I found the book I was looking for. Thanks for helping me."

"No problem,” Spike replied.

She turned back to the super soldier, "Are you gonna stick around? My friends are dying to meet you!"

Ale nodded and she 'squeed?' with joy as she raced away. Ale tilted his head slightly at Spike.

Spike smiled and simply replied, "Fillies."

Ale grinned and nodded. He waved goodbye and began walking towards the hustling market place. The ponies gave him a wide berth as he passed through the crowd, most had looks of fear or awe, others anger. He didn't know if this was from shattering every single window in town or just the very presence of himself. Either way he still ignored them and made his way to what seemed to be a structure built from gingerbread. He opened the door and found Twilight sitting at a booth with the rest of the ponies from the castle other than Applejack.

Twilight noticed him, (How could anybody mi- anyPONY- Right, right Pinkie. Anypony miss him?) and waved him over. He sat down with the seat only giving slight groaning sounds. The mares giggled a bit. Ale smiled slightly and looked over to Twilight, "Do you know where I can get some wood? I'm going to need it to make some counter space."

Twilight nodded and replied, "It's about two blocks away from the city hall. It's a huge warehouse and lumber yard. You can't miss it." Ale nodded. "Oh and you're going to need these." She handed him a weighty sack that had the unmistakable jingly noise of change. "The princesses have given me an allowance to give to you. They're called bits." Ale thanked her and made to get up when Pinkie interrupted his getaway.

"Aren't you gonna stay and have some food?"

Ale carefully replied, "I can't eat certain things plus you don't want to watch me eat."

Twilight looked confused as she was told about Ales endeavors in the Canterlot castles kitchen and knew full well that even though he ate meat he still ate leafy greens as well as fruit. She was about to voice her observations when Ale gave her a slight elbow. She winced and swallowed her voice. Her friends looked a bit confused before Ale spoke up, "Well I got to go. It was nice seeing you guy- er mares?" With that awkward statement Ale made his escape.

"Well that was strange,” Rainbow Dash giggled out. The other mares smiled except for Rarity who had a look of horror on her face.

Twilight noticed this, "What's wrong Rarity?"

She looked at her and scoffed like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Why his armor of course! Did you see how drab it was?"

All the other mares rolled their eyes.


Ale walked swiftly towards the large metal building that was the warehouse. He had denied eating because that required his helmet to be taken off. There was still only one pony who had seen his true identity. He shook these strange thoughts and feelings from his head as he approached the building. Behind it he could see the massive lumber yard. He entered the doors and walked over to the receptions desk. The mare behind it was reading a magazine, obviously bored. Ale tapped the table gently to get her attention. She set her magazine down and gasped at Ale. The next second all that remained of her was a dust cloud shaped like her.

Ale shook his head, annoyed at this worlds sense of physics. He pondered on what to do when the staff door swung open loudly. A well muscled stallion walked through with the receptions mare cowering behind him. The stallion saw Ale immediately and walked over to him with a bit of awe in his eyes. He then asked warily with a gruff and gravelly voice, strained from years of shouting commands over the loud sounds of machinery, "What can I do for you?"

Ale replied, "I'm here to buy some lumber." He then quickly added, "And I didn't mean to scare your employee."

The stallion looked a bit relieved at his words and turned to the mare. "It's okay. You can return to the desk now." She nodded and walked a fair distance around Ale to return to her desk still a bit shaken and untrustworthy of the alien. The stallion watched this and turned to Ale, "Sorry about that. Now you said you wanted some lumber?" Ale nodded and the stallion smiled. "Well then by all means follow me."

The stallion and Ale walked throughout the lumberyard, Ale pointing out what he needed and how much with the stallion taking note of his requests. They returned to the office where the stallion tallied up the expenses. "That'll be 325 bits please." Ale hefted the sack from a clip on his 'space diaper' as the techies liked to call it. He counted them out with ease and gave them to the contractor. "Thank you for your business. Now I'll take you to the loading doors where we have a wagon that can transport the materials for you."

Ale walked with him to the loading area and saw his shipment being strapped together before they were to place it on a nearby wagon. Ale sized it up to be around 300 pounds and knew he could carry it with ease. He voiced his thoughts and the contractor looked incredulous. "That has to weigh an upwards of 300 pounds!" Ale nodded. The stallion could sense his air of confidence and narrowed his eyes. "I'd like to see you try."

Ale smirked and walked over to the stack of wood. He crouched and slipped his dexterous fingers underneath the pile and slipped his hands under. He picked it up and hefted it onto his right shoulder. He waved his left hand at a few workers who were gawking at him. Ale walked down the ramp and had almost passed the gate when he heard a shout.

"Wait!" Ale stood and turned carefully to prevent his over sized cargo from whacking a poor pony in the head. The contractor ran out to him. "Alright I'm impressed. How much can you lift?"

Ale pondered this. They had tested him and he knew that with determination he could lift a weight similar to that of a Scorpion. He had heard stories of some Spartans lifting more when they were pumped full of adrenaline. He shrugged and replied, "A couple tons for sure."

The contractor looked flabbergasted. He stuttered out, "Do you need a job? I could sure use a pony- er whatever you are. The pays good!" he added quickly. Ale thought about this. He was on leave from the Lunar Guard until further notice. He could only do so much with his equipment back at the library. He figured it wouldn't hurt.

"Sure, but I'm only on temporary leave from the Lunar Guard so I'll have to go back when they request me."

The stallion once more looked lost for words. He regained his senses and said, "The Lunar Guard heh? Son you got some story around yourself."

"You have no idea."

The stallion smiled, "Can you start tomorrow morning? It is an all day shift just so we can get you acquainted with the workings of the warehouse." Ale nodded. "Great. See you at 7:30 sharp." The stallion turned and walked away. Ale began walking back to the library. He was happy that he had found something to pass the time before Luna would call him back. Ale smiled at the thought of her and entertained the thought of when they were to next meet. A strange feeling washed over him. Sure she would just be briefing him but- ‘What am I doing?’ Ale smacked his head with his free hand, shaking those thoughts from his head. He had no idea where they kept coming from or why Luna seemed to pop up in his mind. He shook the foreign emotions out of him as he walked back to the library.

'Club' Night

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Ale admired the glow of the impossibly fast lowering of the moon. He watched it disappear below the horizon only to be replaced by the sun. He shook his head, thinking he'd never get used to 'magic'. Ale stepped out of the garage he had built within a few hours yesterday. Applejack had stopped by right when he finished. She sat, dumbfounded at his speed as Ale handed her tools back to her. His Warthog had been rolled into the garage as he yet had time to fix it. The two 'birds' as Ale liked to call them sat outside. Ale was certain nobody would tamper with them, shoot, nopony probably knew how to open them much less operate them.

He took a deep breath of the crisp morning air as he began to follow a small crowd of workers headed towards the warehouse. They whispered intently, glancing back at Ale with awe and disbelief. ‘Guess word of my 'impressive' feat spread out yesterday.’ No sooner had he thought that when a mare and stallion approached him with friendly smiles. The stallion fumbled a bit with his speech as he tried to say something intelligent. The mare rolled her eyes and took the lead.

"Hey there! My names Steel Resolve and this here's my friend Buzz Saw. We just wanted to welcome you to Ponyville!" The stallion, giving up on speaking, nodded rapidly. Ale quirked an eyebrow as he looked at the stallion. The mare, seeing Ales' expressionless cyan face plate focused on the stallion, said, "Oh don't mind him. He had bet you wouldn't be able to lift that wood yesterday. When you proved him wrong he was afraid he might have offended you."

Ale replied, "Why would I be offended if I didn't know he had made a bet in the first place?"

The mare rolled her eyes, "That's what I tried to tell him but he was convinced that you could read his thoughts or something."

Ale chuckled and held out his hand towards the stallion. "I promise I can't read your thoughts or anyponys for that matter and don't worry about offending me. If I was in your situation I probably would have done the same."

The stallion eased up and shook Ales' hand with a smile. Ale nodded and proceeded to shake the mares hand. She glanced over her shoulder, "We better hurry up and punch in at the warehouse. Wouldn't want to be late for your first day now would you?" Ale nodded and followed them to the staff entrance. The mare handed Ale a card. "This is your key card. By the way, I'm supposed to show you the ropes around here." Ale nodded again. The mare looked at him intently, "Don't talk much do you?" Ale remained silent, drawing a bit of a huff from the mare. "Well, follow me. The boss thinks you can be put to good use moving crates to and from the loading dock considering your strength."


Ale followed Steels' instructions throughout the day. Everypony had been impressed at his speed and strength with which he had moved the products around the warehouse. Steel had even managed to draw Ale out of his silence every now and then. Ale had finished within a few hours and had been assigned to help Steel and Buzz with whatever tasks they had. With the super soldiers help they had finished ahead of schedule and now sat in the break room. Buzz and Steel talked with each other excitedly, getting Ales two cents every now and then. Finally the whistle signaling the end of the day screamed loudly over the sound of machinery. Ale stood and punched out with Steel and Buzz. He began walking towards home when Steel called loudly out to him.

"Hey Ale! Buzz and I were wondering if you would like to go out tonight in celebration of your new job."

Ale hesitated but then decided it would be good to introduce himself to more of Ponyvilles population. Plus he hadn't been on shore leave in like, ever. "Sure thing Steel. When and where?"

"There's a nightclub a few blocks away from here. It's called 'The Spinning Disk'. Sounds lame I know but it's the best DJ club in town. The one and only DJPon3 owns the place. It'll be a blast!" Ale nodded. Steel jumped a bit and exclaimed, "Great! See you at seven!"

Ale waved and began walking home. He smiled at the ponies behavior. He didn't know what to expect but his only concern at the moment was going home and polishing his armor up a bit.


Ale walked through the night air towards a building glowing with neon lights of every color. He saw Steel and Buzz standing outside and waved at them. They waved back and proceeded to lead Ale into the club. She led them over to an empty booth near the DJ stand. Ale grinned at the sounds coming from the speakers. He honestly thought the music was a 'cute' form of what techno was to humans. Not saying it was bad or anything just simplified and tempered down from what he normally heard from the ODSTs. The ponies in the club however thought it was the best music they had ever heard and were romping on the multicolored dance floor. His companions ordered a few drinks while Ale simply waved his hand.

"Come on Ale! Lighten up a little."

Ale smirked, "Believe it or not a Spartan can't get drunk."

Buzz spoke up, "What!?"

Once more Ale wasn't going to part with any information that he had told the princesses. "Our species can't get drunk."

Steel seemed a bit crestfallen which puzzled Ale a bit. He was interrupted from his musings when a white mare wearing goggles approached them. Buzz and Steel looked like they were going to die with excitement. Ale simply observed the mare.

"Hey there. My names Vinyl Scratch. I'm the DJ and owner of this fine establishment and I just wanted to welcome Ponyvilles resident alien personally."

Ale smiled and bowed his head slightly replying simply ,"My name’s Ale. Nice to meet you."

Vinyl smiled and nodded towards his companions. She turned and began walking away. "Hope you enjoy yourself!"

Ale and his companions talked and laughed for a few hours, Ale watching as Buzz and Steel steadily became tipsy. Ale, noticing the time, stood and said his goodbyes. He turned and began walking towards the exit when two stallions approached him. When Ale noticed the surrounding ponies begin to step away from them warily he tensed up. The lead pony spoke.

"What are you doing here!? You're not welcome here."

Ale sighed. "Listen, I don't want any trouble. I was just leaving." Buzz appeared next to him.

"Yeah well don't show your face... or whatever that is around here again. Got it freak?"

Ale began to walk towards the exit again, ignoring the ponys jabs when a voice stopped him cold.

"Don't call him a freak! He can go wherever he wants. The DJ personally welcomed him here!"

"I can call him what I want,” the stallion sneered. "What are you, his coltfriend?"

Buzz, his mind not in the best condition, lurched forward and attempted to punch the stallion. His face met the end of the stallions hoof and he toppled to the ground. Steel pushed through the crowd and knelt next to Buzz. The stallion watched Steel help Buzz up. "What? Is that filth bucking you both?" His companion laughed. The stallion then spat on Buzz and Steel.

Ale felt adrenaline course through his veins as his body moved on its own accord. The next few seconds revealed the lead stallion bruised and bleeding while implanted into the ceiling. His comrade slowly backed away from the enraged Spartan. The crowd simply watched in fear, shocked at the speed with which the Spartan had moved. Ale glanced at Steel and Buzz, seeing that they were okay he handed a large sack of bits to Vinyl who had come over to break up the confrontation.

"For the damage." Before Vinyl could reply Ale had already cloaked himself, eliciting a gasp from the crowd as the armored Spartan had simply vanished. Ale carefully stepped around the crowd and made his way out. He headed towards Twilights and hoped he wouldn't be arrested. He knew they wouldn't be able to stop him but as far as Ale was concerned he didn't want to make enemies with the inhabitants of the planet. It would be too much of a hassle and he had made an oath. His mind drifted from the oath he made towards Luna. Ale was concerned about her. He was certain the assassins' employer wasn't done. Ale once again shook his head. ‘Why do I keep thinking about her?’

He reached Twilights and entered. Spike and Twilight jumped when the door opened by itself and Ales voice greeted them. The puzzled look on their voices reminded Ale that he was cloaked. They jumped again when Ale revealed himself.

"I thought you said you didn't have magic?"

"Twilight. My species is space faring and centuries ahead of yours. Are you honestly surprised?"

Twilight grumbled a bit but nodded. Ale sat down and told Twilight of the day’s events. When Ale expressed his concern of the fight Twilight smiled. "Don't worry about it. You were defending your friends and those two have been causing trouble for a while now."

Ale nodded in relief. He said goodnight to his hosts and headed up to bed. He settled into his bed and drifted off into oddly comfortable dreams.


Ale woke up with a smile plastered on his face. ‘That was the best sleep I've gotten in a while.’ He stood and made his way downstairs, his morning needs taken care of by his suit. He found Spike in the kitchen, making what looked to be a salad of some sorts.

Spike looked up and grinned, "Good morning. I'm making some salad for us. I kept out the stuff that you can't eat."

Ale cringed at Spikes offer. ‘I swear to god if I have to eat another salad I'm going to barf.’ "No thanks Spike. I've been meaning to show Twilight my MREs anyway."

Spike nodded in understanding and got back to work. Ale went into the pantry and grabbed an MRE he had stored there. In big black letters it read, 'Bean Burrito'. ‘One of the better ones,’ Ale though glumly. He still would prefer indigestion over a salad any day.

"Oh is that the food thing you were going to show me?" Ale turned to see Twilight sitting, clapping her forehooves together.

"Alright Twilight come over here." Twilight rapidly sat next to Ale as he prepared the MRE. "Now than, there are a few different MREs to choose from. They are freeze dried to maintain freshness. They are packed with all the necessary nutrition a grunt needs in the field. Oh, and the most important thing you need to know is that they all taste like shit."

Twilight flinched a bit at Ales choice of words. She scanned his food using her magic and recoiled. "You can't eat that! I sensed materials in there bad for your health."

Ale smiled. "Oh but you see, every marine needs his daily dose of preservatives. Where would mankind be without it?"

Twilight rolled her eyes and let Ale finish prepping the MRE. Ale then took it out to the garage with him and ate the contents in privacy.


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Vinyl Scratch was steadily walking towards the library where she knew Ale lived. She wasn’t angry at him for the events of last night. In fact, she wanted to apologize for Ale being treated that way in her club. She said hello to the few ponies she passed every now and then, relishing the midmorning air. It wasn’t long until she felt a peculiar thing. There was electricity flowing through the air that Vinyl could only feel. She knew it well and closed her eyes to focus.


Her sensitive fur and well trained hearing picked up vibrations through the air. She began to step forward, her eyes closed and relying on her other senses to guide her. The vibrations soon picked up into a beat as she began to hear more clearly.

She opened her eyes and sped up her pace as she headed towards the music. It was unlike anything she had ever heard, unknown emotions running through her. Her body was shaking in exhilaration. She found herself nearing the library as her body was on autopilot. She ran around the corner and walked past the two flying machines. The sound was fairly loud at this point, but it only drove the DJ onward. She slowly peeked her head into the garage opening and spotted another machine in the middle of the room. She stepped around the green beast and saw two armored legs lying out from beneath it.


Ale carefully replaced the faulty wire in one of the nodes under the hog. He reached beside him and picked up the covering, watching a set of white hooves approach. He lined up the plate and clamped it down firmly. Ale then shuffled out from underneath the warthog to find the friendly mare who owned the club from last night staring down at him in utter excitement. She was banging her head to the beat of the music Ale had been playing from his helmet. The song soon ended as Ale got up and brushed his armor. The DJ soon regained a hold of herself and beamed up at the soldier.

“That was bucking amazing! How come you didn’t tell me you were into music?”

Ale smiled at the exuberant mare. “You never asked.”

She giggled slightly. “Is that what all your music sounds like?”

“No. There are many types of music where I’m from. I just like techno and club music better. I even dabble in some orchestral music as well.”

“Well that was amazing! Hey, do you think you could come over some time? I would love to record some of your songs. And Tavie would love to hear some of your classical music as well.”

“No problem.” Ale was curious to see some of her equipment closer. He was still confused at how this world had such advanced technology but was like the renaissance age of Earth. He shrugged his thoughts as the mare started speaking again.

“Anyways, the real reason I came over was to apologize for what those creeps did last night. I can assure you they won’t be coming back anytime soon.”

Ales posture slouched a little as he replied, “You don’t need to apologize. It should be me for my actions last night. I should have kept a level head. I…”

“Stop right there mister. You were and still are welcome there. Those guys had been unruly there for quite a while and it was about time someone showed them there place. Albeit you may have gone a bit far in the pummeling area but they received the message nonetheless. Besides, you payed for the damages and you are more than welcome to help me out with my music.”

Ale brightened and nodded in agreement. Vinyl smiled and glanced at the warthog. “Say, what were you doing anyway?”

Ale smiled, gesturing at the vehicle. “That, is a specialized variant of the M12 Force Application Vehicle, Warthog for short. It’s got a M41 chain gun with 12.7X99mm armor-piercing rounds. The M41 LAAG can be interchanged with the M12A1 LAAV, (Light Anti-Armor Vehicle) or commonly known as a gauss cannon. Essentially, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of this thing. It can also drive over almost all terrain at its top speed of 78 MPH. It’s cumbersome to handle and is easy to role but most marines are able to learn how to handle it quickly.”

Vinyl was a little lost but smirked as she replied, “Nice intro and description but you still didn’t tell me what you were doing.”

Ales smile dropped as he gave himself a hardy face palm. Vinyl giggled and listened as Ale spoke, “I was replacing some faulty wiring. It wasn’t starting but it should now.”

Ale climbed up the 36-inch step clearance and settled in. He reached for the key and when turned was met with a satisfying rumble as the engine started. He glanced over to Vinyl. “Care to go for a ride?” Vinyl nodded and Ale reached down and picked her up, bringing her across as he placed her in the passenger seat. He buckled her and himself in. “Ladies and gentleman, please keep your hands and hooves within the vehicle at all times. Please enjoy the ride.”

Ale gently pressed down on the gas pedal and was satisfied as the hog responded immediately. He slowly pulled out of the garage and quickly sped up to a moderate speed down the street. Ponies looked out of their houses in awe as the grumbling monster drove itself. Ale glanced in his rearview mirror to see a familiar purple horse. Twilight’s eye was twitching in irritation, probably because he didn’t show her the machine. She began to walk towards them, slowly speeding up into a jog.

Ale glanced at Vinyl and said, “Want to see how fast it can really go?”

“Hay yeah!”

Ale grinned as he slammed the accelerator down. The warthog jumped forward and accelerated through town. Ale pulled the handbrake and skidded smoothly around a corner, grinning as Vinyl screamed in joy. He gunned down a side street and soon reached the warehouse entrance. He waved as he blew past the astonished guard. The hog zigzagged through the stacks of lumber; a billowing dust cloud choked the air behind it. He rounded a corner and Vinyl tensed as a wagon backed out in front of them. Ale smoothly reacted with an almost perpendicular drift to the wagon. The worker gawking as the high speed vehicle barely missed him. Ale yanked the wheel and straightened the vehicle as he sped up. He set his sights on a dirt pile along the fence as he steered directly toward it. The vehicle took the rapid incline in stride as they jumped clear of the fence, landing with a surprisingly smooth bump.

Ale grinned as the vehicles shocks took the impact perfectly. He glanced over to see Vinyl hyperventilating, her grin quickly reassuring Ale that she was fine. With a nod Ales’ foot turned to lead with joyful laughing filling his ears.


Twilight was irritated. No, she was absolutely irate. Her thoughts toiled over the different ways she could punish Ale, a maniacal grin a mile wide stretching across her face. Spike looked on in fear from the other side of the room. Her posture, actions, and especially her face reminded him of the time she didn’t have a friendship report for the princess. His musings were interrupted when a dull roar soon approached, announcing the arrival of Ales’ machine. Twilight stood and walked out as Ale stopped outside with a little bounce.

The single occupant stepped out covered in mud along with the rest of the warthog. Ale hesitated however as he caught the look on Twilights face. They stood there for a few uneasy seconds until Spike spoke up.

“Where’s Vinyl?”

“What kind of gentleman would I be if I didn’t drop off my guest at her house, especially when she’s covered in mud?”

Spike sported a knowing grin, but it soon dissolved as Twilight began to giggle a bit. The hairs on the back of Ales’ neck stood at the unnatural tone she emitted.

“That’s funny. I recall a certain gentleman staying over at my house and using my hospitality. He then goes and shows his machines to somepony else before I do?” She giggled a bit before she broke out into uproarious laughter. Ale began reaching for his assault rifle intent on defending himself if he had to when a loud clang rang out. Ale saw Spike retract a pan he had used to bash Twilight with, rendering her unconscious.

“Sorry about that. She can get that way sometimes. Just some advice for the future, show her your stuff before somepony else.”

“Noted.” Spike nodded and began dragging Twilight back into the library, Ale grabbing a hose to wash the vehicle and himself off before it dried.


Ale strolled through town in his freshly polished armor as he headed towards work. He looked down and smirked at the skid marks he had created earlier from his little joyride with Vinyl. It didn’t take him long to arrive at the warehouse, the guard smiling at him as he entered. Ale had just punched in when the commanding voice of his boss called out to him from his office. Ale cringed at this and slowly turned around. The stallion in question beckoned him over. Ale straightened and calmly walked over to him.

“Shut the door please.” Ale complied. The stallion walked around his desk and sat down in a black plush chair. He tweaked a plaque reading, 'Hard Wood, CEO.' Ale stifling a laugh at his name. Wood, as Ale decided would be better to call him, leaned forward with a stoic face. Ale mentally prepared himself for a berating, expecting a good ribbing for his little show that morning.

Wood took in a breath and spoke, “Relax kid. I’m just messing with you.” Ale let out the breath he had been holding in surprise, his exhale audible through his helmet. The stallion grinned, “Sorry for scaring you. Gotta make a show to the rest of the workers. Now then, I’d like to discuss the events of this morning.”

Ale prepared a defense when the stallion continued, “I have to say I was surprised when the morning shift had described a self powered carriage rampaging through the yards. My disbelief being broken when I saw it in town later today. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when you had something to do with it.”

Ale nodded, prompting the stallion to continue. “I would like to make a proposition for you. Can that machine of yours haul around heavy weight?”

“More than I can move if it’s on a trailer sir.”

The stallion nodded. “Our normal delivery crew is late and they haven’t sent word about their whereabouts. They’re probably drunk in Canterlot right now. This brings me to my next question. Can you use your machine to transport a order for us?”

“Just point me in the right direction.”

“Excellent. The delivery is to be made in Canterlot tomorrow morning. It shouldn’t take too long to get there if the reports about how fast your machine is. Say, how fast can it go?”

“It has a top speed of 78 MPH on most terrain.”

The stallion whistled. “Damn, not even chariot races go that fast. It should only take you a little over an hour to get there at those speeds.” The stallion stood, gesturing Ale to do the same. “While you’re there see if you can ‘convince’ the normal crew to get back here soon. I’d like to have a little chat with them. After that, enjoy yourself. Your single day of work has put us far ahead of schedule.”

Ale nodded and began to open the door, “Oh, and don’t tell anypony else of what transpired in here. I got a reputation to uphold.” Ale chuckled and the stallion raised his voice for appearance. “Now get the hell out of my office and back to work!”

Ale shuffled out and glanced around, his coworkers giving him smiles of sympathy. Ale smiled and walked towards the exit. He had a ride to get.

The Nights Love

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The sky was in transition between day and night, the air had a slight chill to it. The green grass swayed peacefully in the gentle night breeze. A distant roar suddenly broke the serene silence, increasing in intensity. A distant green blur breached the horizon, accelerating rapidly towards a distant mountain city. Ale glanced in the mirrors, checking that the trailer was still there. He had modified a wagon with a stronger axel and introduced a suspension system to ponies. He also had replaced the wooden wheels with a very rough version of gas pocket tires; Twilight having a tough time creating them to Ales instructions, so that the wagon could ride over rough terrain at high speeds.

The sun was halfway down the horizon, Ales faceplate polarizing, allowing him to see. He reached to the dash and flicked the floodlights on. The warthog continued on, racing across the smooth plain, steadily gaining altitude as the plain sloped upwards toward the mountain. Canterlot was only a few miles away now, Ale clocking his total travel time at 45 minutes. His boss had estimated the time to be a little over an hour due to the assumption that Ale would be taking the road to Canterlot. The warthog however was built for off road terrain, Ale taking full advantage of this.

Ale had been thinking about different ways to spend his free time when Luna popped up in his mind. Ale attempted to think of something else but his mind always circled back to her. Thinking of nothing else he decided that it wouldn’t hurt to see her. It might even put his mind at rest. He slowed down as he approached the castle wall. A whole company of guards had clustered up at the gate, wide eyed as Ale pulled up.

Ale stopped and asked a nearby guard, “Where are the Canterlot construction yards?”

“Down in the West District.”

Ale nodded his thanks and drove into the city. The ponies in the streets quickly made room for the bright, growling monster. Some even screaming and running like all of tarturus was on their tail. Some ponies looked upon him in disgust, shooting their noses to the air. Ale grunted, ‘Rich snobs.’

It didn’t take Ale long to find the docks at the construction yard. He filled out the paperwork and helped unload the wagon quickly. Leaving the trailer there, Ale drove towards the castle intent on clearing his mind once and for all.


Luna walked out of her room having just awoken to her majestic night. She didn’t have Night Court tonight, a relief that Luna always appreciated greatly. She walked down the hall and headed to the gardens. She was greeted with a pleasant view as she stepped through a doorway and out into the garden. A rare breed of night blooming flowers dominated her path, their purple and silver hues glittering ever so gently. She made her way along a path to a grassy knoll. She sighed in content as she lied down in the smooth grass, relishing in the cool night breeze. She looked to the stars and admired her work, having made the extra effort due to her time being freed up. Closing her eyes, she viewed the dreamscape in search of the now familiar aura of Ales subconscious. She had taken it upon herself to over watch for the past few nights of Ales stay to calm his nightmares.

After a while of searching she failed to find his dreams, knowing that he was usually asleep by now.

“That’s odd,” she huffed. She took a breath and began to search her subjects dreams. She was surprised to find a cluster of nightmares right in the city of Canterlot itself. Sifting through them she was shocked to see they all were very similar. A loud rumbling sound echoed around the dreamers mind, a dark form emerging from a black mist. Several bright white lights flashed from the front while two sharp looking tusks jutted out from the bottom. It seemed to move on strange wheels and began to chase the dreamer. Panicking, the dreamer tripped and slid several feet. The dreamer looked up and watched as the monster pulled alongside. A very familiar shape stood up, only it was covered in black metal that gleamed in the moonlight. Its bright red eye seemed to cover its entire face as it jumped down from the machine. It reached towards the dreamer and…

Luna quickly banished all these dreams and replaced them with comforting suggestions, allowing the dreamer to mold their own world. Satisfied, Luna once again searched for Ales dream signature. She found it odd that several ponies were dreaming the same thing. Her musings were interrupted when she heard a low rumbling. Her eyes shot open at the incredibly familiar sound from the dreams she had just witnessed. She stood up and looked in the direction it was coming from. A moments concentration told her it was on the far side of the gardens and on the other side of the wall.

Luna opened her wings and took flight over the gardens. Flying over the battlements she saw the machine from the nightmares moving along the wall heading towards the main gate. She smiled when she saw Ale driving the peculiar contraption and flew in front of it to land at the gate.


Ale smiled as he saw the lunar princess fly over head and land at his desired destination. ‘Well that solves the problem of finding her.’ Ale pulled up to the gate and stopped, turning off the lights and the engine as he stepped out. Luna stepped forward to meet him.

“This is an unexpected surprise,” she said. “What brings you here?”

Seeing no one around Ale pulled off his helmet. Luna smiled as she saw his admittedly handsome face and striking eyes as he began to speak. “My boss wanted me to deliver some materials. I just finished so I have some free time. I don’t know much about this place so I figured I would stop by to say hello.” Ale noticed she wasn’t wearing her royal regalia. “I’m a little surprised to see you out here. Don’t you have Night Court?”

Shaken out of her stupor she replied, “I have the night off.”

Ale looked thoughtful. He smiled as an idea occurred. “Well in that case, would you like to go for a ride? I can promise you the last pony enjoyed it immensely.” Ale however did not plan on going quite as fast as he had previously.

Luna glanced at the machine. “What is it?”

Deciding to take the shorter description Ale replied simply, “It’s a warthog. It’s like a car, a self powered carriage if you will, only it’s been retrofitted drastically to fit the needs of combat.” Satisfied with the description Luna nodded. “Follow me please.” Ale led her around to the passenger side. He aided her into the vehicle and stepped back around to climb into the driver’s seat. “No need to buckle up like the jet Luna. We won’t be going a fraction as fast as we were before.”

Luna nodded with a smile. “So where are we going?”

Ale mentally facepalmed at his lack of a plan. “I kinda didn’t think about that. Any suggestions?” Ale said as he started up the growling warthog.

Luna put her hoove to her chin while adopting a thoughtful face. “Well, there are many attractions here but not many are available at this time of night. All I can think of are the many nightclubs.”

Ale tilted his head. “You don’t strike me as the party type of gal – er – mare. Besides, aren’t royalty supposed to host balls, not party with drunk commoners?” Ale asked with a sadistic smirk.

Luna rolled her eyes in irritation. “I’ll have you know I enjoy the occasional party riff with loud music and terrible dancing.”

Ale laughed. “Okay, let’s drive around and see if we can find an interesting club.” Luna nodded. Ale put his helmet on and began driving away from the castle.

They sat in silence as they drove past dark stores, the street lamps passing them by. Luna was overjoyed with Ales surprise visit. ‘This is wonderful! A night out in town in good company. It’s an amazing coincidence that he arrived when he did. It’s been a while since I’ve been out mingling with the night life’ She glanced at Ale, his current focus occupied on scouting out the city for any clubs. An inner voice spoke to her.

‘Is that the only reason you’re glad to see him? You’re thoughts have been heavily occupied on him even before he rescued you.’

Luna pondered this. She had been thinking of Ale a lot. Every time she would find herself smiling and her heartbeat escalated ever so slightly. She was confused. What made him attractive to her?

‘Perhaps it’s because he treats you like a friend instead of a ruler. He doesn’t grovel in fear of your judgment and attempt to exploit you for power or status.’

Luna bit her lip in nervousness. It was frustrating when her subjects would fear her due to the tales of Nightmare Moon. It also disgusted her when nobles would attempt to woo her and shower her in affection to achieve their ambitions. Sometimes she wished she wasn’t royalty. She just wanted to meet somepony who would appreciate her as she was. A pang of loneliness shot through her. It had been a long, long time since somepony had struck her heart. Even then she was just a young mare and it didn’t last long due to her status and the nobles of the courts disapproval.

Her heart fluttered as she yet again thought of Ale. ‘Am… Am I in love?’ Again she glanced at Ale. ‘Does he feel the same way about me?’ Doubt ran through her. ‘How could he? He’s a different species altogether! He’s only known me for a little while and from what he’s told me a soldier like him has never been in a relationship, much less with royalty. He’s been trained since a child to fight.’ Luna frowned at her predicament.

‘He said it’s never happened, but why does it have to stay that way? There’s always a chance! Don’t give up!’

Luna smiled as a new determination swept through her. She would try. She had to try.

Meanwhile, Ale had been driving for a few minutes now and was nearing the edge of the city. Luna may not have known but Ale had noticed her glances at him. His faceplate hid his eyes as he witnessed a torrent of emotions race across her face. ‘What’s got her worked up?’ Ale was about to voice his concern when he noticed bright colorful lights a fair distance away from the city. He zoomed in and saw a party in full swing on an outdoor dance floor. A stage was set up and neon lights lit up the sky.

“Does that party over there look good Luna?”

She looked up, her excellent alicorn eyes easily scouting the party from the few miles distance. She smiled and nodded. “It’ll do.” Her horn lit up and she suddenly shrank in size, her wings disappearing as she turned into a dark coated unicorn. Her cutie mark turned into a white star with a nebula surrounding it.

Ale would have been astonished had he not already given up understanding magic. “Why’d you do that?”

Luna looked at him. “If I were to show up in my normal form they would tip toe around me and try to service me. I do not wish to spoil their fun and I want to partake in the party.”

Ale nodded. He could understand why that could be irritating to her when she wanted to try and have fun. He was just beginning to approach the party, the ponies stopping to look at the loud machine. A white unicorn burst out of the crowd and ran to them.


“Vinyl? What are you doing here?”

“Well duh. It’s a party. One that I’m hosting as well.”

Ale was slightly confused. “I left you at your house in Ponyville. How did you get here so quickly?”

Vinyl put on a mock offended face. “I am a prodigious DJ known throughout Equestria. I have contacts. A team of pegasi brought me here in a carriage.”

Ale visibly shuddered as he remembered his experience. Luna smirked, she too had remembered.

“So who’s your friend there Ale?” Vinyl asked.


“My name’s Bright Nebula. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Vinyl smiled. “Any friend of Ales a friend of mine. Say, haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”

“I’ve been to a few of your parties. You probably saw me there.”

Vinyl nodded. She then turned to Ale. “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have any of that music on you would you? It would make this party a blast.”

Ale shook himself out of his amazement at how smooth Luna had played her alias. “Yeah. I would have to sync it up through the hog though so that everyone could hear it.”

“Okay. Just pull up along the stage. I’ll see you there.”

Vinyl then departed and merged back into the thriving wave of ponies, having long since turned their attention away from the alien and back to the party at hand. Ale carefully drove around the massive crowd and waited for Vinyl to part the crowd in front of the stage to make room for him. He pulled in and parked, turning the lights and engine off but leaving the battery on to power the speakers on the hog. Why a military vehicle had speakers that would make a professional recording studio cry was a complete mystery to him.

Ale and Luna hopped out, Vinyl walking up to Ale. Ale began to sync a random playlist to the hog. “Let’s start out with a bit of a heavy hitter,” Ale smirked. These ponies will have never heard something like this he was sure.

The sound immediately caught everyponys attention. The sound was completely foreign to them. Vinyl looked like she was going to explode in excitement as she focused on the song. The ponies however became floored with the music and began to excitedly dance. Ale laughed at how goofy they looked. He glanced over to see Luna looking a bit nervously at the crowd, chewing her lip as she contemplated on whether or not to join the crowd.

Ale turned to Vinyl and snapped his fingers in her face to get her attention. “I’m sorry I can’t hang out much tonight. I have a guest to entertain.”

Vinyl smiled and winked slyly at Ale as she turned and left into the crowd, her intent clear at Ales statement. Ale turned and saw a heavily blushing Luna. She apparently had seen and understood as well. Ale smiled and chuckled good naturally, crouching down to Lunas magically decreased level. “Let’s dance!”

Luna and Ale merged into the crowd. When they reached their desired spot Luna seemed a bit hesitant at first. However the music seemed to get through to her and she soon began dancing in joy at the crazy sounds. Ale smiled. He glanced around and became painfully aware at how visible he was, being a seven foot tall armored super soldier/alien will do that to you in a crowd of four foot tall colorful equines, and grimaced at how some ponies were giving him funny looks at the undoubtedly strange way he was ‘dancing’. It was more of an awkward shuffle that did not go unnoticed by Luna. She giggled at him.

“Is that how humans dance?”

“No. I just haven’t danced much. Not once.”

“Well why not dance like the human youth would?”

Ale instantly decided that would not be a good idea. Instead he thought about how the down to earth and more mature but yet still have a good time adults would dance. He settled for a subtle bouncing routine with his arms raised to chest level while attempting to keep in time with the beat. While the current song may not have been the perfect match for Ales chosen dance it is safe to say that Ale had chosen a very safe and universal dance.

Luna smiled and began to dance again. The surrounding ponies seemed to enjoy the new music immensely and everypony danced to their hearts content. The song reached its end. Vinyl yelled from the stage.


The crowd roared back their praise. With that Vinyl pointed her hoof back at Ale, signaling the start of the next song.

With that Ale and Luna danced along with the crowd. Ale felt like the whole world would be able to hear them. Neon lights flashed, the music roared, the energy in the air was contagious and set everyponys blood on a blissful fire. Several songs later Ale noticed Luna looking a little tired. He quickly navigated the crowd away from her and up to the stage.

“Hey Vinyl. Lu – er – Bright is kind of tired and I was wondering if there was a private area we could rest.”

“Vinyl nodded and gestured behind her. “There’s some booths back there. I’ll make sure nopony disturbs you.” She winked again.

Ale shook his head, “Thanks.” He turned around and searched the sea of ponies for Luna. He spotted her and made his way over to her. A stallion was talking to her and Luna looked slightly annoyed. Ale cleared his throat loudly to be heard over the music. “Is there a problem?”

The stallion turned around and started to tell him to get lost until he saw the massive alien behind him. His ears flattened and he looked very nervous. “No sir. Sorry sir.” With that the stallion left. Ale was relieved that the stallion had stood down instead of forcing Ales hand like the past one. Luna looked grateful. Ale nodded and motioned for her to follow. He led her through the crowd and past the stage towards secluded booths. They were all empty, the ponies to happy with the new music to rest. Nonetheless Ale and Luna took the corner most booth. They stepped up a large step and settled themselves down with a sigh. Ale had grabbed some drinks along the way and handed Luna one.

A new song started up but was slightly dulled behind the thick wall.

Luna took a deep swig of her drink, coughing slightly. Ale smirked and pulled off his helmet, taking a smaller drink then Luna. Her fur looked slightly damp no doubt due to her hard dancing. She was breathing a little hard and looked at Ale with a smile.

“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re not tired at all huh?”

Ale mock pondered her question. “A super soldier who’s been conditioned since he was a kid and can fall from space and still live being winded by dancing? Why, that would shame the UNSC.”

Luna laughed, her melodic voice soothing Ale. They soon began chatting while Luna caught her breath.

“Thanks for taking me out. It’s nice to get out of the castle every now and then.”

“Anytime. If you’d like we can go for a nice moonlight ride?”

Luna smiled. “I’d like that.”

“You ready to go?”

Luna nodded. Ale stood up and walked down the step. He turned around only to find Luna tripping on a slight seam on the step. She smashed into Ale, her momentum driving the unbalanced Spartan to the ground. Ale opened his eyes and stared into the teal orbs of Luna, their lips were mashed together. Both their eyes widened in shock. Ale felt her soft lips against his, finding them to be quite human like. Luna on the other hand was both panicking and in a world of bliss. While it hadn’t happened how she wanted it to or they hadn’t even decided to kiss she still had a small voice cheering in victory.

After a moment they pulled apart, Lunas’ breathe washing over Ale. They locked eyes and their faces were blushing heavily. Luna watched a series of different emotions run across Ales face, confusion and surprise being the dominant ones. A silent gasp roused them from their staring contest. Ale looked over to find Vinyl staring at him in shock. It soon however developed into a devilish grin.

“It’s not what it looks like!”

“That’s what they all say. And then the next thing you know they’re having foals.” Ale and Luna both paled. “I’ll leave you too alone.” With that she left.

Ale and Luna faced each other again. Luna cleared her throat. “I guess I should get off of you now.”

“Yeah,” Ale replied nervously.

They stood up, and awkward silence enveloping them. After a few moments Ale broke the silence, “I guess we should go for that ride now.” Luna nodded, Ale put his helmet on, and they walked out onto the stage. “Vinyl, we’ll be leaving now. Thanks for the party.”

“Anytime! Don’t have too much fun you two.”

They blushed again, Ale thankful that his helmet hid his. They climbed down and got in the hog just as another song started up.

Ale carefully navigated out of the crowd and began driving down the mountainside, intent on keeping his promise of a ride. They rode in silence, Ale nervous and unprepared about what happened while Luna fidgeted, happy that she had a good time and unintentionally kissed him, but worried that he may reject her or even cut off their friendship altogether. Ale sped along the plain until he found a copse of trees surrounding a small lake. He stopped and turned off the hog, Luna dropping her disguise.

They were content with the starry reflection in the lake, the moon shining brightly from above. Ale pulled off his helmet, not making eye contact with Luna. Luna kept glancing at Ale, biting her lip nervously. Ale found it kind of cute. Luna couldn’t stand it any longer and broke the serene calmness.

“Ale, are you okay?”

Ale took a deep breath and replied quietly, the words forming smoothly in his mind, “I don’t know.” He looked her in the eye. “I’ve never been in a relationship nor do I know much about one. I’m also a little hesitant.” Luna felt fear roll into her gut as she listened. “I’ll be blunt. You’re a pony, I’m a human. I’m pretty sure it would be against the law if horses and ponies still existed where I’m from.”

Luna felt tears slowly build up in her eyes. “However,” Lunas’ ears perked up, “You are a sapient creature. I don’t know how mankind would judge that even though they would probably never even know much less do anything about it.” Luna brightened. Ale sighed, “Luna you’ve been on my mind a lot. At first I didn’t know why. But then when I began to feel overjoyed and warm when I thought of or see you. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that… that I might just have feelings for you. Maybe even love you.”

Luna listened intently, joy slowly starting to bubble to the surface. Ales eyes were staring deeply into hers, Luna almost losing herself in his gaze. “I’m scared though.”

Luna jolted up. “About what?”

“Twilight told me about your banishment. She went into incredible detail about it, repeating things that Celestia had confided with her. I’m afraid because what if that happens again?”

Luna became confused as well as a bit angry. “Why would that happen?”

“Luna, you’re immortal. I’m not. I don’t want to cause you grief. I can’t imagine the kind of pain you would have to go through.”

Luna shook her head. “No! That won’t happen! I’ve left my anger behind. Ale, you treat me like no other has. You have no hidden agendas and are willing to sacrifice yourself for others. I’ve been watching over your dreams and have been thinking more about you as well. I have never felt this way before. I love the way you make me feel and I want to love you. I do love you.”

Ale felt his defiance slipping. His whole life had hardened him, the war making him cold hearted. All these factors made Ale a merciless killer and yet he felt something real and very much alive for this mare next to him. It overpowered his stone defense and washed through him, warming him to the core. Ale still tried to fight it with one last thing.

“What about when I die?”

Luna smiled sadly. “That doesn’t matter. I love you here and now and will continue to do so till the end and beyond. I just want to spend my life with you.”

Ale felt a single tear roll down his face. Luna leaned in and hugged him. They stayed embraced together for an immeasurable amount of time. The night wind gently caressed them. They slowly broke apart, Ale smiling gently at Luna.

“Alright. I’ll give it a chance Luna. I still am a bit uncomfortable about the difference in species.”

“Understandable.” Luna smirked, “However you still won’t get any breaks on your duty.” Ale laughed, bringing Luna to do the same. After they calmed down Luna spoke. “Thanks again Ale. I had a great time and I look forward to our next meeting.”

“Me too.” Ale looked out to the lake, then glanced up at the sky. “It really is something.” Luna nodded. With a content sigh Ale said, “Let’s get back. I’m sure you’re as tired as I am.”

Luna nodded again and settled in as Ale started up the hog. She soon drifted off to sleep as Ale headed back to Canterlot, the moon shining an unnatural brightness. Ale smiled as he glanced at Luna, happy that they had started a new relationship, one that Ale had never experienced before. He felt tired as well and even a little sick, a slight pain in his chest. He dismissed this as fatigue and continued to drive on.


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AN: So there's a little confusion about Ales magic resistance and how it works. Let me explain. Ale himself is resistant to magic. This means that with enough training and will power he can stop the most powerful spells affecting him. This means magic that affects him personally, like teleporting or mind control. He can allow it to happen if he so wishes. An example would be when Luna tried to teleport him to the ship. The first time he didn't know so it happened with little struggle. The second time he resisted, stopping it from actually happening until he let in. Now his armor is a different story. It resists magic that is physical like levitation or scanning. This he has no control over. If the magic is strong enough it will penetrate. A good example of this is when Celestia picked him up. While his weight isn't a problem to her, his armor was resisting it thus making it harder to do. When Ale thrashed against her magic it broke her hold. I hope this makes sense to the people who weren't understanding this. Enjoy.


Ale jerked awake, tossing his blankets aside. He clutched his chest tightly. “What the hell!?” Ale gasped as the pain slowly began to dissipate and he caught his breath. Ale shook his head and looked at the clock on the wall. 7:00 A.M. He slipped out of bed wearing only his bodysuit. Ale figured if a bed was available he might as well use it without donning his armor. He went to the corner of his room where his armor was stacked neatly and began systematically putting it back on.

His task finished Ale checked his vitals. Text appeared on his HUD reading that he was green and clear. Ale double checked just to make sure. Never in his lifetime had he just woken up to pain that intense without something being wrong. He shrugged, blaming on the stress of his situation and the excitement of last night.

He opened his door and walked downstairs to find Spike already making breakfast. “Morning Spike.”

“Hey Ale. I made eggs this time if that’s all right.”

Ale smiled, “That’s very much appreciated. I may be an omnivore but being my stature and eating just greens will make any Spartan crabby in a hurry.” Spike smiled as he began to dish out on three plates. Ale looked around and noticed a lacking participant. “Where’s Twilight?”

“Well after she woke up and I explained what happened she felt really bad. So, she spent all day yesterday with the girls planning something I guess. She got back really late and went right to bed. I think she’s still there.”

“Want me to go wake her up?”

“I got it. She’ll appreciate breakfast in bed.”

Ale nodded. Spike gave him his plate of eggs and began to walk upstairs towards Twilights room with her breakfast. Ale pulled off his helmet and downed his eggs as fast as possible. He wiped his mouth and pulled his helmet back on right as Spike came back down.

“Wow! You eat faster than I do.”

Ale smirked. “Eating on the battlefield will do that to you.” Spike suddenly looked sullen. Ale straightened and asked in concern, “Is something wrong?”

Spike looked at Ale. “I’m sorry. It’s just that you keep fitting in so well here that I forget that you’re actually some sort of super soldier. I can’t even imagine some of the things you’ve seen.”

Ale blinked slowly, “That’s surprisingly mature for such a young one to say. You should consider yourself lucky you don’t know what I know.” Ale sighed, “Listen, forget about all that. It’s all in the past and we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

“But what about your kind? Don’t they need you?”

Ale breathed slowly and replied carefully. “I’ve sworn to fight for mankind until my last breath. It’s my duty to protect and serve the UNSC and her interests. Unfortunately, my ship is in disrepair to the point that I can’t even fix it. I have no way of reaching or contacting home so I’m stuck here. While I am an important asset to the UNSC, they have the manpower and resources available to them to continue on without me. There’s nothing the princesses or I can do to change that.”

Spike seemed to be thinking deeply. “So, you’re expendable?”Ale stiffened at that word. Spike instantly regretted saying that and flinched. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean…”

“Spike it’s alright.” Ale stood and walked to the wall. “You need to understand that a soldier fights to protect his beliefs and his nations ideals. Every soldier knows that they may not return from the front lines. The UNSC were fighting for our very survival.” Ale looked at Spike. “No human life is expendable. We all fought to buy time for the rest of mankind. The UNSC acknowledged every sacrifice and cherished it until they succeeded in the end. Those who fell will never be forgotten.”

“Wow. So mankind really struggled huh?”

“You have no idea. Luckily we had many heroes that inspired the rest of us to live on and make the Covenant pay in blood for every single inch of ground they took.”

Spike suddenly looked interested. “Heroes? Who were they?”

“That’s a very broad question Spike. There are many heroes and not enough time to tell their stories.”

Spike looked thoughtful until Ale thought he saw a literal light bulb appear above his head. “Well is there someone who stood out above the rest of them?”

Ale smiled, as there was only one true candidate who fit that bill. “There was a Spartan who went by ‘The Master Chief’. He was a hardass if there ever was one. He wasn’t the strongest, fastest, or the smartest of the Spartans, but he had one thing that no one had. Luck.”

“Whoa.” Spike had an awestruck look on his face. “What are some of the things he did?”

“Take a seat. We may be here a while.”

Ale and Spike continued to talk about the legend that is Chief for almost an hour, Spike eating every word that Ale spoke.

“He then jumped his hog into the hangar of the ‘Dawn’. The Chiefs AI made the ship head towards the portal back to Earth before it collapsed. The Ark was destroyed and the Covenant defeated. Only remnants of the Covenant still fight but they are steadily losing towards the combined forces of the humans and their allies.”

Spike frowned a bit. “But what happened to the Chief?”

Ale’s smile dropped as he remembered the day all of mankind received the report. “Only half of the ship made it back through the portal. The Arbiter was safe but the Chief was missing, the Arbiter confirming that Chief was on the other half.”

Spike looked worried. “So, he’s dead?”

“I’m afraid I don’t really know Spike. Technically Spartans never die due to ONI protocols. They list all Spartans as MIA, missing in action, in order to give the illusion that Spartans never die, giving the public hope.” Ale leaned in. “I can personally tell you Spike, we’re not invincible. I’ve seen fellow comrades fall.” Ale relaxed and smiled. “That’s all very hush hush Spike. If ONI comes knocking deny everything.”

Spike’s face straightened and he nodded furiously. Ale laughed and was interrupted when a purple mare walked in.

“You’re not telling super death secrets to my number one assistant are you? I don’t want him being dragged away in the middle of the night.”

“Morning to you too Twilight.”

Twilight approached Ale and gave him a sheepish smile as she rubbed the back of her neck. “Listen Ale, about yesterday. I…”

“Ah, ah, ah. No need for that. I completely understand. You’re forgiven and I have learned a very important lesson.”

Twilight looked confused. “And what would that be?”

“Always show the bat crap insane pony the cool gadget before anypony else.”

Twilight frowned as Spike and Ale began laughing. Ale calmed down and breathlessly said, “In all seriousness Twilight, I’m sorry I didn’t show you cool stuff. I won’t do it again.”

Twilight smiled. “That’s okay. I admit I went a little overboard.”

Spike burst up, “A little!?”

Twilight glared at him. “As I was saying. I would like to make it up to you. Would you accompany me to Sweet Apple Acres today?”

Ale thought carefully about his work schedule. “Okay. But I need to be back by 1:00. Does that work?”

“Perfect! Let’s head over there now.”


Ale and Twilight were walking up the dirt road that led to the Apple families farmhouse. “So what do you need me for?”

“Oh, AJ needed my help with some financing. I figured instead of being cooped up in the library all day you would like to accompany me.”

“So this is just a social visit?”


“Uh huh.” Ale knew better than to trust her sketchy answer, especially when Spike had told him she was up to something. They approached the farmhouse and stepped up onto the deck. Twilight knocked and the door was swiftly opened.

“Hiya Twilight! You’re right on time. Howdy Ale.”

“Good morning Applejack. Is everything prepared?”

“Yes it is. Before ya’ll come in, Ale could you do me a favor?” Ale nodded. “I left ma hat in the barn. Could ya get it for me?”

Ale knew something was up. He replied slowly, “Sure.”

“Thank ya kindly. Come on in Twilight.”

Ale watched as they disappeared into the house. He turned around and started heading to the barn when an audible pop sounded from inside the house. ‘Why does that sound so familiar?’ Ale approached the barn and opened the door. It was dark but Ale immediately saw the contents of the room with his HUD. There were decorations, food, and party streamers everywhere. There could only be one reason this was set up.


‘Speak of the devils.’ Five mares popped out when the lights lit up. Ale noticed that Rarity was missing. A pink blur however, ruined his musings as Pinkie shot to him and started bouncing.

“Wereyousurprised! Huhhuhhuh!?”

“Calm down Pinkie. I can hardly understand you. Yes, I was surprised. What’s all this for though?” Pinkie took a deep breath, Ale stopping her with a finger pressed against her lips. “Slower this time okay?”

Pinkie nodded and he released. “Well you see I never did give you a proper welcome with you being so busy all the time. I also wanted to thank you for saving Princess Luna! So thanks!”

Ale nodded and sure enough, there was a large banner overhead that read, ‘Welcome to Ponyville!/Thanks for saving Princess Lu.’ Ale laughed at the incomplete name. They didn’t have enough room and had to cut it short. Pinkie dashed back to a phonograph and held the needle in the air. “Let’s get this party started!”

With that she dropped the needle and music poured from the speaker. Ale simply observed while he watched the mares go about their business. Fluttershy and Applejack had walked over towards one wall and were talking. Rainbow Dash was stuffing her face in treats, while Pinkie and Twilight were dancing. Actually, Ale wasn’t sure if he should call whatever Twilight was doing dancing. It looked more like a rabid dog trying to attack imaginary specters.

Ale walked over to RD and tapped her on the shoulder, interrupting her murder spree on the sweets. “Where’s Rarity? Wouldn’t she be here too?”

RD shrugged. We talked to her yesterday while planning this. She’s probably just late getting here with all the work she’s gotten lately.”

Ale nodded and was about to respond until RD suddenly took to the sky. “Watch out!”

Ale attempted to turn to only be smashed by an immense force, smashing him into the wall. Ale blinked away his spotty vision and groaned in pain as he dropped from the wall. He looked at the wall to see a comic imprint of his body. He heard a gasp and turned around. Pinkie stood behind him and was spluttering out what Ale assumed was an apology.

Ale held out his hand to stop her. “What was that?”

AJ spoke up from the other side of the room. “Pinkie gets a might wild while she’s dancing. She smashed into you there.”

Pinkies hair deflated a bit as she looked at the ground. “I’m really sorry Ale.”

Ale chuckled silently. “It’s all right Pinkie. I can take a hit and you didn’t mean it. Just try to watch out in the future okay?” Pinkie brightened and nodded furiously. “Good. Now back out there and party.”

Pinkie squeed and jumped back onto the dance floor. Ale stood up and shuffled around the wild dancers over to Applejack. “She sure can pack a punch. How does she do that?”

“Well, ya see Ale, earth ponies are really strong. Our magic connection to the earth allows us to do that.”

Ale nodded. ‘Note to self. Don’t piss off AJ.’

The party lasted for a few more hours, the ponies and single human dancing, playing games, and generally having a good time. Ale soon had to leave for work though and said his goodbyes as he headed out. He arrived right on time and punched in. His work day consisted of moving heavy crates around to the proper gates for delivery and pick up. Ale talked to his fellow co-workers during break and was interrupted when a small white filly burst in the room. She looked like she had run herself ragged and was in tears.

Spotting Ale she rushed over to him. “Please sir! You have to help me!”

“Whoa whoa whoa! Slow down. What’s your name?”

“My names Sweetie Belle. I’m Rarity’s little sister. She said if I ever needed help I could come to you.”

“Okay. What’s wrong?”

“They took my sister! You have to stop them!”

“Alright calm down. Who took her?”

Sweetie Belle took in deep breaths as she relaxed a bit. “The diamond dogs. They took her once before and now they got her again.”

Ale remembered reading about diamond dogs in the Canterlot library. They were lowlifes. Spending their days digging in the dirt for gems. Sweetie Belle began tugging Ales arm in an effort to get him moving. Ale complied and punched out on his way through the door.

“How do you know diamond dogs took her?”

“She told me she needed gems for one of her dresses and would be right back. When she didn’t return I went to the field where she always goes and saw a piece of her mane in the dirt.”

“You said she was taken before. What did they want her for?”

“Rarity uses magic to find gems. So the dogs make her find gems for them.”

Ale nodded as he believed the story to be credible. Ale noticed that they were approaching a desolate field of dirt and rock. There were holes everywhere, some looking to be entry points deep underground. This looked to be the place to Ale. He looked down at Sweetie Belle.

“Go round up the others. I’ll be fine by myself.”

She nodded as she headed back towards town. Ale pulled his rifle from his back and turned towards the dark maw in front of him. He stepped forwards and soon disappeared in the black tunnels. While Ales suit filtered out the air, he could still tell that the air was damp and hot. This unnerved Ale. It was eerily familiar to the conditions he had experienced when fighting the flood. He kept his finger hot on the trigger as he swept the darkness with his helmet lights.

Ale soon found this to be extremely boring as he would find a branch in the tunnel and take one way only to reach a dead end, resulting in him having to walk all the way back and try the different route. He did this for around twenty minutes until he started to hear a commotion down one of the tunnels. As he got closer he heard the incessant whining of Rarity. He rounded the corner and watched as a large dog shoved a rag in Raritys mouth, effectively shutting her up.

The dog then spoke in a high, scratchy voice. “You’re whining can no longer bug us. You will find gems for us pony. We won’t be so forgiving for disobedience this time.” The dog made a very suggestive gesture towards Rarity that made her eyes widen in fear. Having enough of this Ale stepped out of the darkness before Rarity could be hurt or touched by the filthy mongrels.

“That won’t be necessary as you’ll release her. Now.”

The dogs spun around quickly and backed up at the presence of Ale. Rarity looked extremely grateful. “Who are you and what are you doing here!” the lead dog yelled.

“That’s none of your concern. What you should be worried about is what I’ll do to you if you don’t let her go peacefully.”

The dog began laughing. Ale sighed and placed his rifle behind his back as he waited, these dogs would hardly give him reason to use it. The dog finally calmed down and wiped a tear from his face. “You? Stop us? Ha! We’ll see about that.”

With a loud howl dozens of dogs in medieval armor ran in from surrounding tunnels. They got between him and Rarity, slowly stepping forward. Ale chuckled as he clapped and started bouncing on his feet, pulling his arms up in a boxer’s stance. The dogs looked a little worried at his confidence, but with the lead dog yelling at them to attack they soon got over their fears. Ale smiled as he stepped forward and swiftly punched the first dog, sending him flying back into his comrades.

These were simple hooligans to Ale, so he would keep fatalities to zero. He quickly waded through the mass of dogs, laughing at their attempts to penetrate his armor. His over shield barley moving. To keep things interesting, Ale just ran through the group of dogs while spinning, sending dogs flying left and right as the super soldier tornado ripped through their defenses. The dogs were losing their comrades quickly and were beginning to run away in fear, astounded that the creature didn’t seem to be trying. The trickle of dogs retreating soon turned into a full torrent of armored bodies, pushing to get through the tunnels and away from the monster.

Ale turned and found Rarity missing. He quickly pulsed his promethean vision, face palming as he realized he could have used it right in the beginning. He found Rarity soon enough, the lead dog carrying her away. Ale charged down the tunnels after them. He ran into the light as he stepped out onto the surface and saw the lead dog turning back towards him, five mares blocking his initial escape.

Before the dog could reach up to Rarity, Ale pulled out his rifle and shot the ground in front of the dog. The dog yelped as he felt the heat from the plasma wash over him, astonished as the ground in front of him turned to glass.

“Touch her and the next one melts your brain.”

The dog started shaking and looked like he was going to piss himself. Ale slowly approached, picking Rarity off of his back and setting her on the ground. The dog was face to face to Ales cyan faceplate, staring at his own reflection. “Go. Now.” The dog nodded and hurried back into the tunnels. Ale pulled out Raritys gag and stood up.

The other mares ran to Rarity and started questioning her. She pushed passed them and looked at Ale. “Thank you so much Ale! Who knows what those brutes would have made me do. Turn me into a miner for them. Pah! I will do no such thing.”

Ale smiled and struck a heroic pose as he scratched, ‘Saving a damsel in distress,’ off his bucket list. His heroic feelings soon wore off though as he noticed Rarity give him a strange look.

“Is something wrong Rarity?”

“Oh there’s nothing wrong, however,” she said as she jumped up into Ales arms. “How will I ever repay you?”

The other mares were looking at Rarity in shock, clearly understanding her motives. Ale shook his head and simply dropped Rarity onto the ground in a cloud of dust. The gang nervously chuckled at Ales response.

To everyone’s relieve, Ale soon spoke up. “Let’s go. Those dogs won’t be bugging anypony for a while now after the experience they just got.” They all nodded and began walking back to Ponyville, chatting excitedly along the way. Ale was glad he finally got to beat something up that actually deserved it as they walked along. His thoughts were interrupted as the pain from that morning started up again, hampering his movement.

The mares noticed Ale falling behind as they turned around, observing Ale crossing the bridge towards them. “Is everything okay Ale?”

Ale nodded, gasping as pain stronger than before shot through him. He had just stepped off the bridge when it finally reached its peak, Ale collapsing as he blacked out.

“Ale!” The mares quickly ran over to him, trying to get him to respond.

“Do something Twilight!”

Twilight desperately ran her magic over his armor, trying to figure out how to take it off. Failing that she tried to yank off his helmet, only to find that some sort of latching mechanism kept it on firmly. Panicking, she yelled, “I can’t! His suit doesn’t have any obvious latches or straps!”

RD spoke up. “What do you expect?! He’s a soldier from space! Can you at least tell if he’s alive?”

Twilight tried scanning his body, failing her task as his armor repelled the magic. She began to cry as she ran out of ideas. She turned to the group. “Meet me at the library!”

Twilight then lit up her horn and teleported Ale and herself to the library. With a pop they arrived in the middle of the floor.

“Spike! I need to send a letter!”


View Online

A very large cart was being wheeled down a large corridor. The steel wheels screeched harshly under the immense weight bearing down on them. A white sheet covered the top and draped down along the sides, rippling with movement. A squad of the best solar guards available were escorting the cart to the sun princess herself. Their expressions were grim and they feared the reaction of their princess when their package was revealed. They rounded a corner and approached a set of large oak doors; the entrance to the throne room.

The sentries opened the doors and let them pass. Celestia looked up from a scroll that she had been reading intently, her face turning grim when she spotted the cart. When they finally reached the foot of the stairs leading up to the sun goddess they bowed deeply.

“Everypony leave, except you Major Dawn.” The ponies respectfully bowed once again and hurried out of the chamber. When the dull thud of the doors echoed she let out a loud breath. “Major, report.”

“Your highness, it is with a heavy heart that I bring you ill fated news. I came here as soon as I heard. I’m afraid the subject did not survive the procedure.” The Major pulled out a large handkerchief and passed it to Celestia. She blinked slowly and nodded, gesturing for him to leave. He bowed and left as quickly as he had arrived, leaving the princess to her thoughts.

Celestia sighed deeply, trying to hold back the tears that were stinging her eyes. She glanced over to the scroll she had been reading and after a moments broke out into a large grin. She always found a way to look at the bright side of things. She ripped off the sheet of the cart and levitated the handkerchief around her neck. She smiled, thrusting her muzzle forward, devouring the contents like a cannibal.

She was delighted when the taste of strawberries flooded her hungry maw, tempting her to eat faster. Her disappointment over the massive cake being smashed before delivery was soon forgotten, drowned out by the feelings of bliss that rolled through her. She was about halfway done when the large doors opened suddenly. Celestia quickly ripped off her makeshift bib and casted an invisibility spell over the cake. She was surprised when Luna walked into the room, reason being she was usually asleep during this time of day.

“L… Lulu, what a pleasant surprise! What are you doing up at this time of day? Is something wrong?”

Luna had a peculiar look on her face before she responded, “Nothing’s wrong. I just wasn’t able to sleep. I guess I’m just feeling a little strange. Anyways, I came here to see what my big sister was up to.” Luna looked at Celestia expectantly, a slight smirk slowly worming onto her face.

Celestia looked around rapidly as she tried to think up of an excuse. “Well uh, day court has been slow today. No unusual occurrences. I was just reading a friendship report from Twilight. She’s excited with how rapidly Ale has been adapting to his surroundings. He had a slight scuffle with some bar ponies but other than that he’s been making friends at work and Ponyville seems to be accepting him.”

“Well that’s good to hear. Ale surprised me with a visit last night. He took me out and about Canterlot.”

Celestia gave out a quiet sigh of relief that Luna seemed oblivious to her snack cart. She was however puzzled that she had heard nothing of Ales visit from any of the guards. Luna sensed her impending question and beat her to it.

“I took care of all the complaints and reports of a ‘monster’ rampaging throughout the city. I didn’t want your sleep to be disturbed.” Once again a slow smirk began to creep up on Luna’s face and made Celestia nervous. “Oh, and sister. You got a little something on you muzzle.”

Celestia was filled with dread as she slowly lifted her hoof to her face, wincing as she felt some left over frosting. Luna began bubbling with laughter at the embarrassed look on her sisters face. Celestia knew her face was lit up like a Christmas tre- (Hey Req! Nopony knows what a Christmas tree is other than me! You need to fix that plot hole right now! After all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint your readers now would you?)

*The sound of a facepalm echoes around you*

Celestia knew her face was as scarlet as a tomato. She shamefully removed the active cloak from the cart, revealing a cake that had looked like an enraged cat had shredded it apart. Luna laughed even harder, border lining dangerously close to the Royal Canterlot Voice. Celestia started laughing as well and they soon calmed down, bursting into occasional giggles. They both sighed in relief, enjoying the moment of respite from their hampering duties.

Luna spoke up, “Sister there is something I must tell you. I-“ Her eyes widened while her pupils shrank to pinpoints. Her breathing became ragged as she crumpled to the floor. Celestia immediately pushed aside the cart and ran over to her sister. Luna was on the ground trembling violently, her face stuck in a hard grimace. Luna suddenly broke out of her stupor and stood up, leaning against Celestia.

“Luna! What’s wr-“

“Ale.” Luna whispered. “We need to get to Ale.”

Celestia began to voice her concern when a green flash appeared in front of her, revealing a scroll from Twilight. She was about to dismiss it until she realized that Twilight probably knew something about Ale. She quickly unrolled it and read it alongside her sister. It was messy and written in big, bold letters.


Celestia quickly looked to Luna and nodded. They disappeared in a bright flash.


Celestia blinked away the spots from her vision, gasping in surprise as she caught sight of her student. Twilight was hunched over the large armored figure of Ale, her mane disheveled and her wings ruffled violently. The fur on her face was damp as if she was crying, this fact proved by her sobbing and her blood shot eyes turning towards her.

“You have to help him!” Twilight cried. “I can’t tell if he’s okay or not! Please do something!” Luna flashed to Ales side as she examined him intently. Twilight spoke up, “I tried to take off his armor but it doesn’t have any discernible ways of coming off. I then attempted to scan him but his armor is stopping me.”

The door to the library burst forth, revealing the rest of Twilights friends. The flooded in and crowded around Ale, trying desperately to wake him up. Celestia took in a deep breath and unleashed the Royal Canterlot Voice to be heard over their clamboring.


A hush fell over the mares as they backed off, allowing room for the royal sisters to tend to Ale. Luna attempted to scan him but stumbled back in pain, clearly not over from her earlier episode. She turned to Celestia and begged her with her eyes. Celestia stepped over to her and placed a wing comfortingly on her back. With a nod she pulled mana into her horn and attempted to scan Ale. She was surprised to meet a very heavy wall of resistance, but pushed harder, intent on breaking through. With a burst of pure magic from the embodiment of the sun itself, she breached the armor.

She immediately went about his body in her mind’s eye. She scanned him from his feet to his head, finding nothing wrong physically with him. In fact she felt embarrassed as she sensed how well toned his physique was, blushing as she ‘accidentally’ scanned over a particular spot. She mentally shook herself. She scanned him again as confusion began building within her.

‘What’s wrong with him? There’s nothing wrong with him.’ She focused intently on his whole body, desperately trying to find a discrepancy.


For a brief moment she sensed a current of magic running within him. This confused her even more, Ale claiming that humans didn’t have magic. She prodded the magic and was met by an incredible barrier, stronger than any she had ever felt before. ‘Something’s definitely wrong.’

She was panting with exertion, her magic straining to keep the connection through his armor open. Summoning all her strength, she forced her way into the magic. Almost instantly, she was violently thrown from Ale and smashed into a wall. The others were blown back as well, the resulting shockwave blasting out the glass of the library. Celestia was in a haze, trying to focus her mind. In the brief moment she had witnessed something, something that she was desperately trying to recall. The others picked each other up and out of the rubble, quickly hurrying over to Celestia.

With their help Celestia stood up, shaking ever so slightly. She tuned out the others as she searched her memories as far back as she could remember. The magic she had felt was undeniably the most powerful she had ever witnessed. It was so strong and pure. It didn’t seem to be harming Ale, instead it had just put him into a comatose. Celestia opened her eyes to find a pair of teal orbs gazing into her. The sound of Luna’s voice reached her.

“Sister! Are you okay? Did you find out what was wrong?”

She was about to respond when she felt a pulse of magic emanating from Luna as well as Ale. A visible violet and golden light sparked in Luna’s eyes. A memory from far beyond Luna’s time came crashing into Celestia’s conscience. Her eyes widened in shock.

“Luna! What were you going to tell me in the court room this morning?”

Her sister looked baffled at her request. “This isn’t really the appropriate time to-.” The death glare Celestia gave her sister could have made all the creatures of Tartarus flee in fear. Luna cowed away from her sister as she collected her words.

“Well, I was going to say that I was feeling really strange ever since last night and I was unable to figure out what was wrong. I was going to ask you for your help.”

“Was this after you and Ale were in contact?”

Luna thought for a moment before nodding, “Yeah. I think I started feeling it after...” Luna’s face broke out into a blush as she swept her gaze across all of those present in the room. Celestia nodded her head, gesturing for her to continue. “It was after Ale and I ha…” Luna had whispered quietly enough to put Fluttershy to shame, whom was currently blushing madly as she attempted to hide behind her mane, apparently used to hearing whispers.

Celestia sighed. “Spit it out already.”

“It was after Ale and I had kissed and admitted our feelings towards each other.”

Celestia was clearly expecting a very similar answer as she responded, “And do you love him?”

Luna straightened and brought her head up, staring Celestia straight in the eye. “Yes.”

Celestia had a genuinely small smile plastered across her face. “It’s as I thought then. Do not worry, Ale is fine.” Luna and the others looked completely shell shocked in confusion. They began bursting out with questions, speaking louder as they attempted to be heard over the other, Twilight going as far as to breaking out a quill and scroll while scribbling down a question and response sheet.

Celestia calmed them down and looked Luna in the eye. “This conversation is for Luna and Luna only. If you all would be kind enough to leave it would be greatly appreciated.” Twilight looked extremely crestfallen but nodded glumly as she moved out with the others. When the door shut Celestia casted a spell that created a dome around them, preventing anypony from hearing their discussion.

“Luna, did mom and dad ever explain love between alicorns to you?”

Luna shook her head. “No. They only told me about how they met. Nothing about other alicorns.”

“There were many alicorns before any of the other species on this planet existed except dragons. As time went by the other races began to appear while alicorns began declining in numbers. This was caused by many reasons such as an unnatural death, transcendence, or simply leaving the planet. This was becoming a major issue as our numbers began dropping below a thousand. Nature gave us a solution however. In order to preserve our race we were gifted with an incredible ability. Whenever an alicorn fell truly in love our gift would ensure that they would be together as long as possible.”

Luna recoiled in shock. “Sister, surely you don’t mean…”

Celestia smiled sweetly. “Luna, you don’t ever have to worry about time taking Ale away from you. He’s immortal.”


Ale’s first thought was pain. Lots of pain. He was enshrouded in blackness and slowly began regaining his senses. He felt the comforting weight of his armor on his body. ‘That’s good,’ Ale thought. He could also hear a delightful humming, putting his worries to rest. He slowly opened his eyes to find himself in his room. The sun was gently shining into his room. Ale felt a presence to the left of him and, ignoring the pain, turned his head towards it. He found the source of the humming to be Princess Luna. She was lying next to Ale and had her eyes shut as she slowly swayed her head, her starry ether mane was flowing behind her.

After a minute she opened her eyes halfway and looked at Ale, smiling as she saw him watching her. She stopped humming and gently set her hoof on his chest.

“How are you feeling?”

“Like I just fell from space while getting run over by a scorpion,” Ale chuckled, coughing as his lungs burned. “What happened to me?”

Luna gently set her head on his chest as she replied, “A very special thing has happened. May I talk to you without looking through your visor?”

Ale nodded as maneuvered his right hand up to his neck, slipping his fingers under his chin and breaking the seal to pull his helmet off. He set it to the side and waited patiently for Luna to begin. She smiled softly as she looked deeply into his eyes, noticing a certain brightness to them.

“The pain you are feeling is temporary. This process normally isn’t painful but my sister and I have agreed that it hurts you because of your non-magical origins.”

Ale blinked before he asked, “What process?”

“Celestia tells me that it is an old alicorn survival technique. As you know alicorns are immortal, so if we were to take on a mortal lover you can see where the issue lies.”

Ale nodded as his face became grim.

“So we were gifted with an ability. This ability takes hold when an alicorn and a mortal fall in love. It bonds our souls together, sharing my immortality with you, allowing us to live and love each other till the end of time.” Luna looked up at Ale expectantly.

Ale was simply dumbfounded. He processed what he was just told over and over again. He sat there pondering this new information for a while. His face was stoic while his eyes betrayed his deep thinking. Luna’s smile dropped as she began to worry.

“Ale? What’s wrong?”

Shaken, Ale looked into Luna’s worried eyes and spoke quietly, “I’m sorry Luna. I just don’t know what to think.”

Luna recoiled as if she was slapped. “Are… are you not happy? With this gift we could be together forever.” Her face suddenly became extremely sullen. “Do you not love me?”

It was Ale’s turn to do a double take. He reached his arm up and cupped Luna’s cheek while absentmindedly rubbing his thumb along her jaw line. “Luna, I promised you I would give you a chance. I do love you, but this gift. You must understand that this ‘gift’ has been pushed upon me so soon after our talk.”

Luna stared at him in confusion as she unknowingly pushed further into his hand. “Do you not like this gift?”

“Luna. Humanity has several different views on immortality. Some wish to be immortal for their own reasons, but most others see it as a curse. They don’t want to suffer through war, corruption, and watch as their current and future loved ones die as time passes by. Some people say that immortality would make them go insane. To live forever is a concept that I would personally say the human brain is not meant to understand.”

“And what of you? How do you see it?”

Ale thought for a few moments before he gathered his response. “Luna, I don’t know if I want to live forever with the things I have witnessed. I was born, raised, and participated in never ending wars. I’m afraid that I may go mad. I’ve also accepted death and that it’s inevitable. Being human and especially being in my line of work have prepared me for death. I could have died at anytime.”

Luna was frowning as he explained this, nodding nonetheless in understanding. She mentally prepared herself for Ale’s response as she looked away. “Ale. I can’t take it back.”

The silence stretched on for a few minutes, Luna and Ale breathing deeply as they were thinking. Ale sighed, Luna readying for his anger or rejection.

“I guess I don’t really have much of a choice then do I?”

Luna cringed at his words. “I know that this was forced upon you, but I’m begging you. Please understand that I didn’t know that this was going to happen and that I wish you didn’t feel as if you had no choice. I want you to want to be with me for eternity.”

Ale nodded, but Luna could tell that she hadn’t helped the situation. She attempted to salvage the situation one last time.

“All those things you said, about living with your mistakes and memories. I too have the same problem. I had to ponder over them for a thousand years in solitude, barely clinging on to my sanity. When the Elements of Harmony reunited me with my sister I was overjoyed. But I soon fell back into depression. I shunned myself from the world, refusing to make contact with anypony else. I was an absolute wreck until my sister, Twilight, and her friends stepped in and helped me through my time of need. I wasn’t alone anymore. You don’t have to be either.”

Ale was silent; his eyes had closed as she explained. Luna felt a tear crawl down her face, matting her fur. She shakily stood up as she prepared to leave, turning her head to Ale as she spoke to him. “I’m sorry. I truly am.”

She was about to leave before a strong set of arms grasped her around the waist and pulled her back to Ale. She gasped as he set her back down along the bed next to him. She looked at Ale and saw his face was grim. She opened her mouth to speak when suddenly; Ale cupped her face and kissed her. Her eyes widened in shock as she felt the passion emanating from his soul through their bond. She soon relaxed and closed her eyes, melting into the kiss. After a minute they broke apart, Luna trailing after him a bit as she reluctantly opened her eyes.

They were breathing quickly as they tried to regain their breath. Ale had a pleasant smile on his face which soon caught Luna as well.

“You’re not mad anymore?”

Ale smiled wider as he replied, “How could I stay mad at somepony as cute as you?” Luna playfully swatted him with her tail eliciting a chuckle from Ale. He relaxed as he continued, “In all seriousness though, thank you. I understand you didn’t intend for this and I appreciate that you’re willing to help me through this.”

Luna smiled sweetly, “And I will continue to do so forever, whenever you need me.”

Luna leaned in and caught his lips with her own, Ale willingly responding in turn. It was short lived however as a giggling sounded from the door way. They broke apart quickly as Luna looked over her back, blushing madly as she saw her sister standing in the doorway. She stepped off and found that Ale already had his helmet on and was sitting up, saving him from torment at his own blush.

Celestia spoke up. “Sorry to interrupt sister, but we must be on our way. We have a country to run after all.”

“Of course sister.” Luna turned around and bashfully talked to Ale. “We’ll talk soon okay?”

Ale silently nodded. Luna turned and walked past her sister, disappearing around the corner. Celestia eyed Ale carefully.

“I’m glad to see you’re alright. How are you feeling?”

Ale grimaced as he clutched his chest. “My torso still hurts. But other than that I’m fine.”

Celestia nodded sagely. “Your bond with Luna isn’t quite complete yet. It’ll stop hurting after it is complete. Now, speaking of Luna I’m going to say this once and only once. You hurt her and I will toss you into the sun. Do I make myself clear?”

Ale gulped audibly as he nodded.

“Good. Just stay in bed till you feel better. We don‘t want you to aggravate the pain anymore than we have to. Your boss has been informed that you are on sick leave. In the meantime Twilight will help you with whatever you need okay?”

Ale nodded again.

Celestia tilted her head. “You certainly aren’t as vocal as our last meeting. Did something change?”

Ale shrugged, making Celestia giggle knowingly.

She turned to leave before she added over her shoulder, “Oh and one more thing. I’ll catch you without your helmet on one of these days.”

Ale grinned as he accepted her challenge. “We’ll see.”

Celestia laughed as she closed the door behind her. Ale sighed as he looked around. Today had been a long day and he most certainly had his fair share of it. He lied down and thought over the events that had occurred. He mentally shrugged as he felt sleep tugging at him, embracing it with open arms.

He was almost gone before he heard his door open again. He opened his eyes and turned towards the door to find Twilight standing there. She looked like she had stood in a rainstorm while being beat with tree branches. She looked at Ale with bloodshot eyes, prompting Ale to sit up straight.

“Twilight? What’s wrong?”

She breathed deeply for a few seconds before responding, “I thought you were dead.”

Ale grimaced as he gestured for her to come over. She complied and Ale, against his training and manly pride, hugged her. She sniffled quietly as Ale rubbed her back slowly, calming her down.

“I’m sorry Twilight. I’ll try to the best of my abilities not to die. Is there anything I can do to make up for it?”

Twilight slowly stood back from Ale and wiped her eyes with a hoof. She looked at him hopefully as she said, “Well, you could tell me more about mandkind.”

Ale smiled thoughtfully as he replied, “Sure. What do you want to know?”

Twilight smiled widely as several large books, quills, and inkpots floated into existence as she squealed, “Everything!”

*You feel a shiver run along your spine*


View Online

Ale stepped outside into the fresh morning air, stretching his limbs with audible pops satisfactorily. Shrugging his arms forward while shaking his head he began walking towards work. It had been two days since his Earth – er, Equis shattering news. Ale still wasn’t quite sure how he felt about his newly gained immortality. While he did have a strong argument Luna did make a good point. Plus there wasn’t much he could do about it anyway since it’s irreversible. However, if he somehow, someway was able to make it back to the UNSC he was worried that they would enlist him to a never ending service to the military. This was pushed back to the back of his mind since it was unlikely that would happen, much less actual contact.

On a better note Ale had enjoyed his time off, restless though he was. A lifetime of military service with most of it spent on or behind enemy lines made him extremely attentive. Being in the same wooden room for an extended time became boring real fast. After Twilights relentless onslaught of questions had finished, with many questions rejected due to classification protocols, Ale had fallen asleep. He was awoken the next day by a certain cyan pony crashing through his window. After ensuring she was okay and assuring that her apology was unneeded, Rainbow had enlightened him about her dreams about being a Wonderbolt. Upon questioning what a Wonderbolt was Rainbow went on a lengthy tangent about their history. As far as Ale could gather the Wonderbolts were founded when they needed an air force to counter the threat of an ancient griffon war. Now they sounded like they were purely for recreational purposes. Twilight had chased her out soon after, irritated that she had to repair yet another hole in her house.

The large warehouse came into view and Ale nodded at the guard. He was more than surprised when the guard bowed to him.

“Excuse me, but may I ask why you’re doing that?”

“News has spread down throughout all military, guard, and public peacekeepers that you are now Princess Luna’s royal consort. You are ranked as a high profile subject.”

“Uhh… okay?” Ale quickly continued walking, attempting to leave the awkward atmosphere behind. ‘Royal consort? I wasn’t informed of this. Luna’s got a lot of explaining to do.’

Ale punched in as he walked through the staff entrance of the warehouse. Workers were bustling about, their tasks on their minds. Ale checked his mailbox and read his assignment. As per usual his boss had him moving various items around the warehouse. This didn’t bother Ale since it was relatively easy for him to do. Throughout the day his fellow co-workers had visited him briefly here and there; glad to see that he was better from his mysterious ailment, Ale thankful that nopony knew the specifics of what had happened.

It was a little after midday when he finally finished his work and was able to leave. Ale was walking towards the library when he noticed ponies moving through the streets towards the town center. Curious, Ale began walking in the same direction. There was a large crowd of ponies surrounding a wagon, jeering at whoever was pulling it. Ale spotted the mane six at the back of the crowd and moved over to them.

“What’s going on?”

AJ turned around, “It’s that no good Trixie. She’s back in town and nopony is happy about it.”


Rainbow Dash answered, “And the last two times she was here she caused a mess and humiliated us. She almost took over the town last time.”

Ale, being far taller than the surrounding ponies observed the accused blue mare. She was trudging along with her head down, attempting to navigate through the mob. Ale could see that the fur on her face was matted, an obvious sign that she had or was crying. The mob was hurling insults at her, Ale hearing words like ‘whorse’ and ‘harlot’. Some were going as far as throwing food at her.

Ale was shocked that the seemingly peaceful backwater town had turned into a hate filled mob. He looked towards the mane six, most of them watching with rapt attention. AJ and Rainbow were smirking, Rarity looked a bit conflicted, Pinkie’s mane was deflated while Fluttershy was predictably hiding behind her mane. Twilight on the other hand looked disgusted. However, nopony seemed to make any move to stop the crowds tirade. Ale sighed as he figured he might as well do the right thing.

With surprising swiftness and agility for someone as heavy and big as Ale, he phased through the crowd and faced them.

“That’s enough!” The crowd fell silent, Ale’s presence infallible to miss. “You can all go home now. Everything is under control.”

A few in the crowd called out things such as, “She shouldn’t be here,” and, “She should be banished.” This riled up the crowd again, sounding as if they were baying for her blood. Failing to grab their attention again Ale pulled out his sidearm and fired a single blue bolt into the air. They fell silent quickly, fearing the unknown capabilities of his strange weapons.

“Leave.” With the simple command the mob broke up and began returning to their business, not before shooting glares at Trixie and Ale. The mane six walked to him, Twilight thanking him for his intervention. Remembering Trixie, Ale turned around finding the blue mare looking at him with fear filled eyes. He stepped forward to introduce himself when a half burned bird landing right in front of him halted his words. Other than a small gasp from Fluttershy an awkward silence settled over the group. Unsure of what to do Ale settled for drawing his hand back to him and instead giving Trixie a little wave.

Trixie, already overcome with grief of being rejected everywhere she went and encountering crowds similar to the one she had just endured started trembling, the alien finally breaking her mental barricade. She fell to the ground and began sobbing. Twilight stepped forward intent on helping Trixie, giving Ale an annoyed look. Ale simply shrugged. The other five mares passed him, Fluttershy glaring at him when she noticed Ale subtly pushing the bird under the wagon with his foot.

Ale simply leaned against the wagon while the others talked with Trixie. Her story consisted her being mistreated everywhere she went. Rainbow Dash and AJ lost their angry looks and instead looked to her with sympathy. Ale zoned out for awhile, imagining himself eating a nice 72 oz steak, laughing mentally as he pictured the looks his new friends would give him if they witnessed his daydream. He was brought back to earth when he heard them exchanging apologies, seemingly finishing their conversation. Trixie looked at Ale and smiled hesitantly.

It soon disappeared when she looked around and asked, “Where did the bird go?” Ale looked away while placing his hands in imaginary pockets, whistling nonchalantly. The mares gave him suspicious glares but didn’t press the issue.

Twilight turned to Trixie, “Where will you be staying?”

“I was going to take my wagon to Whitetail Woods and camp out there. I don’t have the funds to stay in a motel. Don’t worry though, I’ve done it plenty of times.”

Pinkie jumped up, “Don’t forget about the party later!” Trixie nodded, the mane six and Ale turned and walked away.

After a minute or two of silence Ale asked, “Everything go well?”

“For the most part. Trixie apologized to us and we to her,” Twilight responded. “Pinkie is throwing a party later today to officially welcome her to Ponyville. You’re invited as well.”

“That’s good.”

Twilight looked up to him, “Thanks, for dispersing the crowd. I don’t think Trixie could have taken much more.”

“No problem. By the way, you could have stopped the crowd yourself.”

Twilight looked a bit confused. “How? They didn’t listen to me before when Zecora first came to town.”

“…Really? Twilight, you’re a princess.”

Realization dawned on Twilight causing her to face-hoof, prompting giggles from her friends. Ale simply shook his head.


Ale arrived at Sugarcube Corner at the appointed time of the party. He was carrying a vegetable pizza, having made it when he learned that ponykind had yet to discover the universe altering presence of pizza. Faint music could be heard, signaling that the party had already started. He stepped inside and glanced around. A moderate amount of ponies were attending and were currently milling around. Ale looked at a banner and smiled inwardly as Pinkie had once again combined two parties in one.

‘Get Well Ale/Welcome Trixie’

His musings were interrupted when the pink devil herself showed up.

“What’s up Sparty?”

Ale looked at her in confusion. “How did you… you know what, never mind.”

Pinkie tried to stifle her giggles with a hoof. “So what do you have there?” Pinkie was pointing at the box in Ales hand.

Ale opened the box, presenting the pizza to Pinkie while saying, “I give you, heaven.”

Pinkie tentatively took a slice and bit into it. After a few moments of chewing her eyes widened to the size of saucers while her mouth hung agape. Ale snapped his fingers, hoping to break her out of her stupor. When she didn’t respond Ale got desperate. He wasn’t sure if breaking this seemingly impossible pony would damage the universe. So with renewed vigor he began poking her. It then escalated to a slap.

Meanwhile Twilight had been enjoying her discussion about magic with Trixie. She had excused herself to get more punch when she saw Ale lifting said punch over Pinkies head. With a flick of his wrist the punch drenched Pinkie. After a few moments of no response Ale dropped and shattered the punch bowl on Pinkies head. Twilight rushed over to Ale.

“What are you doing!?”

Ale spoke quickly, “I don’t know what happened! She just froze up.”

Twilight shook her head. “Ale, there’s only one way to break Pinkie out of this state.” Twilight then picked up a cupcake and smashed it into Pinkies face. Ale watched in annoyance as Pinkie slowly blinked her eyes. She licked her lips, seemingly gaining life as the sweet frosting brought her back to the living. She looked at Ale and inhaled.


Ale clamped Pinkies mouth shut, feeling a sense of déjà vu. After a moment he released Pinkie. She inhaled deeply and started to speak until Ale lifted a finger. She was still releasing sound, lowering her tone as Ale slowly dragged his finger down in front of her. She stopped when Ale drew back his hand.

“Now Pinkie, what is it you wanted to say at half the speed and volume please.”

Pinkie looked at Twilight. “Twilight, you have to try the food Ale brought. It’s indescribable.”

Twilight looked at the food Ale was holding. She lifted a slice with her magic and took a bite. She closed her eyes and almost moaned out, “Oh Celestia…”


The next few moments resulted in Twilight sharing some of the food with her friends. Since Ale had only brought one pizza a replication spell was used. However, the horrors of a replication spell wielded by a very powerful and quite frankly disoriented alicorn newly addicted to cheesy goodness proved too much for Ale. He fought his way out of the now indoor cheese trap and collapsed outside. He stood up, struggling against the copious amounts of cheese stuck to him. With trudging steps he wandered through the town, using his promethean vision to navigate to the nearest lake.


Ale sat down against a tree, his armor clean of cheese. He began staring into the nights reflection in the lake. The gentle ripples warping the stars gave a pleasant feeling to Ale. He leaned over and picked up a smooth stone, gently skipping it several times over the waters surface, disrupting the serene picture. A few moments later another stone skipped out, far outdoing Ales rock. He looked over in mild surprise, only to find Luna standing nearby.

“Mind if I join you?”

“Not at all.”

Luna walked over and settled on her belly next to Ale. They both were content to observe the night in peace. Ales voice echoed lightly across the water. “Are you still jealous of your sisters sun?”

Luna closed her eyes gently, pondering his question. Her teal orbs opened while she responded, “No. More ponies may revere the day but there are many ponies that enjoy the wonders of night in this day and age. Many take time in nights solitude to think and wonder. The time of dreams inspire them to improve themselves and the world. Romance and passion also roam rampantly under the cover of darkness.”

Luna sighed deeply, smiling at her subjects new found love in the night. She soon looked over to Ale. “How are you feeling?”

Ale tapped his chest. “A little pain here and there with a smidge of fatigue.”

Luna nodded, “It will pass in time.” She looked out over the lake. “There is another reason why I have sought you out. I need your assistance in a weeks time. My sister and I are visiting the Crystal Empire to meet with our niece, Princess Cadence. We are to negotiate with the griffon king about recent border skirmishes along the boundaries of the Crystal Empire.”

Ale nodded in understanding. “So I’m going along as a deterrent against invasion as well as a bodyguard I presume?” Luna nodded. Ale stood up and stretched, cracking his back loudly. “Well then, I better prepare.”

Luna stood and faced him. “We will arrive via carriage and pick you up. It’s a two days flight to the empire.”

Ale shuddered at the memory of the horrid things. “Wait, how about I pick you and your sister up along with however many guards in my pelican? I estimate the two day flight will be shortened to a little over three hours.”

Luna looked thoughtful. “I agree. I will send further instructions when we are ready.” She then looked nervous as she circled her hoof in the dirt. “You know, it would be much easier if you stayed at the castle.”

Ale smirked under his helmet as he responded, “Are you inviting me to bed so soon? We haven’t even been on a proper date.”

Luna blushed madly as she stuttered gibberish. Ale chuckled as he pulled his helmet off and cupped her face, kissing her right cheek gently while effectively haltering her speech impediment. A minute later he pulled back to see Luna smiling. She leaned forward slowly, attempting to prompt a kiss from Ale. He complied as he slowly leaned forward towards her, the beautiful teal orbs closing as they neared. With a devious grin that would unease Discord Ale pulled back suddenly and pushed Luna into the lake with a loud splash.

The cold water shocked Luna as she shakily stood up in the relatively shallow water. She turned towards Ale only to find him laughing madly as he ran from her. While irritated at his actions she smirked evilly as she called out, “Don’t think you’ve gotten away with this! I’ll get you back… soon.”

Ale chuckled at her warning as she disappeared from view. He soon however stopped when a realization struck home. A cold sweat broke out over him as he remembered a very important feature of the night princess.

She was the ruler of dreams.

Half a Ton of Diplomacy

View Online

The pelican flying above the snow covered plain was carrying very valuable cargo. Ale was currently being annoyed by Twilights incessant questions about how the vehicle worked. He was currently pondering if the cockpit would look nice with a new red paint detail. A distant gleam on the horizon caught his attention.

“I think we’re here.”

Twilight stopped studying the dials in the cockpit and looked out the windshield.

“That’s the Crystal Empire alright. I’m shocked that we got here so quickly!” She looked at Ale expectantly, but he simply ignored her. He knew she was fishing and he wasn’t biting.

Ale flew above the outer city walls, causing mass panic below as the ponies thought that Sombra had returned. Ale couldn’t help but smirk at their reaction, wishing he had a tractor beam to pick up cows with. Celestia pushed into the already super crowded cockpit and pointed to a clearing by a massive crystal spire.

“Over there. You can leave your machine there after we have landed.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Ale gently set down the bird and turned off the systems. He watched as a crowd of crystalline soldiers came pouring out from the castle. He ignored this and pushed the ramp release, startling the soldiers enough that one of the newer recruits fell over. Ale stood and exited the cockpit into the cargo hold. The three princesses and their detachment of ten guards exited. He watched as a unicorn adorned in a red officer’s jacket greeted the princesses, going as far as to hug Twilight. While they were conversing, Ale checked that all the equipment within the pelican was stored away. He had just finished when Luna called out to him.

“Ale? Is everything alright? We would like you to meet somepony.”

Ale stepped out from the shadows of the cargo hold, the pelican bouncing up slightly with its heavy occupant removed. The unicorns eyes widened in shock, before they narrowed and his face scrunched up in disgust.

“Ale this is Shining Armor. Shining, this is Ale.”

Ale held his hand out in a friendly manner, only to drop it after a few moments of inaction from Shining. The stallion refused to acknowledge Ales handshake and instead sniffed loudly.

“A pleasure I’m sure,” the disdain not only dripped, but flowed from his voice.

Ale was shocked that he was being so racist. He didn’t even know who he was. While Ale would normally ignore this from his superiors or anybody for that matter, he was not going to give any respect to this pompous unicorn.

He turned to Luna and replied bluntly, “I don’t like him.”

The unicorn recoiled in anger. “You better learn to respect your superiors monster.”


The unicorn nodded while smirking.

“You’re a colorful horse that talks and can wield magic. You’re the embodiment of a little girls imagination.”

Ale smiled as the unicorn began to turn red in rage. The princesses and their guards looked unsure of what to do, especially since they knew the power of Ale. Shinings guards however looked like they were about to spill blood, their leaders face showing the same intent.

“Why you li-“

“That’s quite enough!”

Both crowds spun around and watched as a pink alicorn walked through a doorway. Her species and her air of authority convinced Ale that she was the other ruler. She glared at Shining causing him to cower under her gaze.

She turned to Ale and bowed her head slightly, “Please forgive my husbands actions. He didn’t know that you are Luna’s rescuer as well as lover.”

Shining and his guards looked shocked while Luna and Celestia looked calm. Ale wasn’t sure if he should be confused or embarrassed. He was however thankful for her intervention.

“It’s fine. We all make mistakes.”

“Indeed. Come, I expect you’re tired from your journey and would like to rest. We have a meal prepared.”

Twilight ran out towards her, Cadence just noticing her since the guards height hid her. They performed a weird greeting that would have made government officials vomit due to the amount of unprofessionalism. Twilight then went on a tangent about Ale and how his machines could advance pony technology into the space age while they walked towards the spire. Shining sulked alongside Celestia who was doing her best to comfort him.

Ale leaned towards Luna. “How come she knew about us but he didn’t?”

Luna smiled knowingly as she responded, “Her special talent is love. She can feel it in others and inspire two ponies to fall in love.” Ale nodded, not surprised given how strange this world was.

They continued walking until they reached a massive dining hall. Everything was made out of crystal and was shining brilliantly. Ale was certain he would get a headache if he looked upon it with his own eyes. Cadence ushered them to their seats and gestured waiters along the wall to serve them.

She looked at Ale and asked, “Forgive me since I don’t know about your eating habits but what would you like? I’m certain the royal chefs have whatever you desire.”

Ale thought about the steak he had imagined the other day. He wasn’t going to request that however since he was certain that the ponies would be disgusted. After all, he was in the presence of royalty.

“I’m fine thank you.”

Cadence looked at Ale sternly like a mother would a child. “I’ll have none of that. Surely there must be something you desire?”


Cadence’s eyes narrowed dangerously, “I will force you to eat if I have to. And trust me when I say that you would much rather prefer to feed yourself.”

Ale began sweating under her gaze, surprised that she could get such a reaction from him. Ale decided he would take her advice and gambled his metaphorical dice.

“Do you happen to have steak?”

While Twilight, Shining, and the waiters looked disgusted, Luna merely had a curious look on her face. Celestia and Cadence looked surprisingly calm and nodded, “We do. Do you have a preference as to how it’s prepared?”

Ale was, the least to say, shocked at how smoothly she had accepted that. His mind soon caught up with him however.

“Er… medium rare?”

Cadence smiled and nodded at a waiter, the earth pony disappearing behind a door. She observed Ales armored form, noticing how tense he was.

“Is something wrong?”

“Well, I guess I’m just a little surprised that you’re taking this in stride.”

It was Cadences turn to look confused. “Why wouldn’t I be? We have had many diplomats that eat meat. Besides, the meat isn’t from sentient creatures. While there are intelligent wild and farm animals they do have their unintelligent counterparts. The steak you ordered is actually from Griffonia.”


Cadence nodded, setting Ale at ease. The other occupants of the table began conversing with one another, the topics ranging from politics to how their personal lives were going. Ale put forth his two cents every now and then but was content on learning more about Equestria’s government and getting to know the other ponies better. Their banter was soon interrupted by waiters arriving with salads, soups, and sandwiches. Ales attention was drawn towards a large covered silver platter. The waiter set it down gently in front of Ale, whipping off the lid to reveal exactly what Ale had been daydreaming about.

The steak was perfect in every shape and form. The grain of the meat was perfect with little to no fat in it. Juices poured out of it and pooled in the plate with trace amounts of red in it. Ales sense of smell was overloaded in joy at the smell of fresh seasonings. Ale felt a string of saliva attempt to leave his open mouth, prompting him to suck it back in lest the inside of his helmet become a mess.

Meanwhile, Cadence watched in amusement at Ales silence as he stared down at the steak. She became confused however, when Ale stood up and grasped either side of the platter. He picked it up and stared at the group sitting at the table.



“Uhh… you don’t want to see this.”

And with that he moved swiftly towards the door before stopping again. He gave a pointed look towards Celestia and moved two fingers to his visor, turning them around and performing the same gesture at her. He then bolted out of the room, screaming and loud clattering emanating from the hallway.

Luna looked at Celestia in confusion, Celestia simply smiled knowingly.

Twilight spoke up, “Ooookaaay. Now that that’s over with shall we eat?”

The others quickly nodded and began eating, falling back into conversation. Cadence questioned Luna privately as the others continued chatting.

“So, how’s it going?”

Luna looked confused. “How’s what going?”

“You know, Ale. You guys doing okay? Anything you want to tell me?”

Luna, failing to catch on, blundered a response. “W-well, we only just recently got together. We haven’t really gone on a date yet. With both of us being so busy we haven’t talked much either.”

Cadence gave an exasperated sigh. “That’s not what I meant. Do you need me to spell it out for you?”

Luna scrunched her face in confusion, “What do you mean?”

“Have you and Ale, you know, done it?”

Luna’s face turned a fluorescent red as she became extremely flustered. “N-n-no! Why would we? We only just admitted our feelings for each other. We’re not even married. I’m not even sure Ale would be comfortable with that.”

Cadence brought Luna closer to her with a hoof. “Listen Luna. I don’t know how relationships work back where Ales from, but it’s an inevitable part of loving somepony and should be expected to happen at one point. Plus, you’re an immortal goddess who’s lived for thousands of years. You’ve probably mastered the art of seduction and bedded many stallions before.”

Luna just got redder and redder as Cadence talked. She eventually began hiding behind her ethereal mane in such a fashion that it would have made even Fluttershy proud. Upon noticing this, Cadence paused and looked at her closely. Her eyes suddenly widened upon realization.

“Wait, you’ve never… you’re a…”

Luna nodded meekly, causing Cadence to gawk in surprise. “B-b-but how?”

Luna spoke quietly, “No stallion has ever really made me feel loved. They always looked to improve their station in the world. As to intercourse, I never really felt comfortable with it and I wanted to save it for somepony I really loved.”

Cadence was stunned. She would have never thought this would be possible in a million years. She knew that even Celestia had participated in the ‘dirty’ in her lifetime. Celestia was the one who had given Cadence advice about Shining. Also, there’s a reason Celestia has been known as Molestia. Cadence shook her head and smiled as a plan hatched in her head. It would be relatively simple.

Luna became frightened at Cadences smile as she could see the gears turning in her head. She was shocked that Cadence was talking about this in such a public place, much less so casually. Ale in the meantime, had just walked back in looking like nothing had ever happened. He saw Cadence smiling evilly towards him and a heavily blushing Luna.

“Uhh… am I interrupting something?”

Cadence continued smiling at him, unnerving him further. Celestia sighed, knowing exactly what was running through Cadences head judging by her looks alone. She decided that she should break this up before things became awkward.

“Cadence. We’re all very tired and would appreciate being shown to our rooms.”

Cadence shook her head as if she was in a trance. “Oh, but of course. Follow me.”

The group walked through the halls until they reached a stretch that had doors lined on either side. Cadence opened one of them and gestured for Celestia to enter.

“I hope the room is to your satisfaction.”

The room was relatively simple. There was a large extravagant bed placed towards the back wall. Pink drapes covered the window to a large balcony with other pieces of artwork scattered over the room. There was a door to what Ale presumed was a bathroom on one wall while there was a decent writing desk on the other. All in all it seemed to be a very nice room.

“It’s just fine Cadence, thank you,” Celestia replied. She stepped in before turning around. “Good night Luna. Ale.” She nodded before shutting the door with her golden magic. Cadence walked to the other door and opened it.

“Here’s your room Luna and Ale.”

Both Luna and Ale stopped and looked at each other awkwardly. They stood in relative silence before Luna spoke up.

“You go in Ale. I will have Cadence take me to another room.”

Ale shook his head. “No. I will go to another room. I don’t want to intrude.”

Luna began to insist on him staying before Cadence interrupted. “Ale, would you please go inside? I must have words with Luna.”

Ale looked hesitant, but after an encouraging nod from Luna he relented. Cadence shut the door and looked at Luna sternly.

“Luna, what are you doing? Why are you fighting this?”

“Cadence, we’re not ready for this step. You must understand.”

Cadence huffed. “I must say I really do not. You should be in there jumping his bones, making him yours.” Luna flushed, but did not respond. Cadence leaned in and whispered in a cheeky tone, “You know, I’ve always wondered what bagging a predator would be like. Just imagine, their sharp pointy teeth brushing against you. Don’t even get me started on how his fingers must be like.” Both Cadence and Luna shivered.

To Luna’s credit she still refused to budge. When Cadence noticed this she just snorted. “Fine. But couples are meant to spend time together and this is the perfect time for you to catch up.” With that, Cadence shoved Luna into the room before shutting the door, clicks ensuing as she locked the door.

Luna stared at the door for a full minute before slowly turning around. Ale had his helmet off and was looking at her with an incredulous expression. They stood there and stared at each other for a while. Ale silently observed as Luna circled a hoof on the floor. With a sigh, Ale spoke up.

“So, I’m assuming Cadence isn’t letting either one of us out?” Luna shook her head. Ale nodded and gestured towards the bed. “Well, why don’t we make the best of this and get some sleep? We’re going to need it for the meeting tomorrow.

Luna nodded and stripped off her royal regalia. She hopped up into the bed and lied down comfortably. She watched as Ale looked at the bed before glancing to her. Deciding to be the initiator she spoke.

“Don’t worry Ale. I don’t bite.” Ale nodded while placing his helmet on the nightstand. He approached the bed before Luna interrupted him. “If you think I’m going to share the bed with a cold metal giant you’re sorely mistaken. Take it off.”

Ale recoiled a bit. “W-what?”

“You heard me. Take off the armor.”

“Luna, I’m not sure-“

Luna explosively sighed. “Ale, you’ll sleep better without that hulking thing on. I’ll sleep better without it on you.”

Ale leaned side to side as he debated what to do. While she did make a good point he wasn’t really comfortable with taking his armor off. Deciding it wasn’t worth it he began the grueling process of peeling off his armor. Luna smiled happily as she watched him make his decision. Her smile disappeared as time began dragging on, Ales armor proving to be far more complicated then she thought.

Ale had just finished taking off his chest harness when a purple glow encased him. He watched as Luna’s magic probed his armor, clicks sounding out as she began pulling it off of him far quicker than he could. Luna was sweating with exertion as his armor was resisting her magic. With two loud clicks, Ale pulled his feet out of his armored ‘boots.’ His armor floated over to a corner of the room before Luna began observing Ales form.

He was wearing a black over suit that seemed to be scaled in nature. She had no doubt that it was very strong. She smiled faintly as she admired his sculpted form and his surprisingly attractive muscle tone. She stopped staring when she noticed Ale was smirking at her with a knowing look. Luna blushed while looking away. She felt the bed shift as Ale slid in next to her, lying flat on his back.

Taking a chance, Luna slid closer to Ale and placed one of her hooves on his chest. She was reassured when Ale put his arm around her. With a happy sigh she turned off the lights, rapidly falling asleep.


Ale woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed. It had been a while since he had last slept without his armor on. He felt a warm breath on his face. He looked down and saw that Luna was practically on top of him. She was sprawled out on his chest with her face inches away from his. Ale smiled gently at this, waiting patiently for her to wake up. He began stroking her mane, receiving a happy groan while he did so.

Ale began thinking about his current relationship with Luna. This was the first night he had spent with her and he wasn’t sure how he felt. He hadn’t known of any Spartans that fell in love. This didn’t encourage him. Ale closed his eyes and let his thoughts roam rampantly. His mind began creating a list of pros and cons to this relationship. After realizing that he was viewing this like a tactical situation Ale banished his thoughts. He knew that a soldier’s mindset was ill suited for this situation. With a silent sigh he simply cleared his mind and let his emotions do the thinking. Almost immediately, a rapid warmth flowed through him. With this as his confirmation he smiled. He opened his eyes to find Luna’s teal ones staring right back. Acting on impulse, Ale leaned forward and gave her a light kiss. Luna’s eyes were lit up with surprise. He pulled back and smiled.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning to you too. Did something happen while I was sleeping?”

Ale smiled. “No. I just realized how glad I am I met you.”

Luna smiled, “Me too.”

They lied there in peace until a light knocking ensued from the door. Before either could respond, the door unlocked and Cadence walked in. Upon seeing Luna on top of Ale with their faces very close to each other Cadence smiled.

“I’m not interrupting anything am I?”

“No!” they both responded rapidly.

Cadence giggled. “Uh huh. Sure.” She was pleasantly surprised at how handsome Ales facial features were. She also noticed that he wasn’t in his armor anymore, furthering her smile as certain implications ran through her head. Upon seeing Cadences gaze Luna came to the same conclusion. She quickly leapt off of Ale, jerking him up with her. She then slammed his armor into place around him, wincing as Ale let out a loud groan.

“Luna… don’t do that again.”

Ale went and picked up his helmet, gesturing for Cadence to lead. The three of them left the room and began heading down the hallway towards breakfast.

Meanwhile Celestia huffed in annoyance as she peeked out from her hiding spot in the hallway, disappointed that Ale had put on his helmet before exiting his room, further denying her a chance to see his face.


After a very good breakfast, Ale once again excusing himself to eat sausage links and ham, Ale and the royal leaders were standing outside of the crystal tower. The mares were quietly discussing tactics for the negotiations while Ale stood deathly still, his armored figure very imposing to those that wished the princesses and prince harm. He simply ignored the dirty looks Shining shot him every now and then.

A dark speck was arriving rapidly on the horizon, prompting Ale to announce its presence. The mares studied it intently as a carriage being flown by two armored griffons approached. Four armored escorts also accompanied the carriage. With a gentle bump the carriage landed I front of the mares. The door opened, revealing a very pompous looking male griffon with a waist the size of a barrel. Scratch that, the size of two barrels when Ale got the full view. The griffon in question was adorned in medals and carried a ceremonial sword. He bowed before the mares and nodded at Ale subtly, a curious look in his eyes.

Princess Cadence greeted him. “Prince Sharp Talon. Welcome to the Crystal Empire. I trust you had a safe journey?”

“Indeed,” his deep baritone voice echoed. “However, may we speak in a more private place? I’m anxious to get the meeting underway.”

“But of course. Right this way,” Cadence responded. They navigated the halls quickly, arriving in a sizable room filled with chairs next to a large table. The griffon escorts stood outside of the doors as they shut, surprising Ale that they would just trust their leader to be fine, especially in the presence of an alien. The griffon turned around and frowned at Celestia.

“Where is the banquet? I expect there to be food after a long journey.”

Celestia smirked, “Because you look like you could lay off the sweets for once.”

Ale instantly tensed, expecting a conflict to erupt. He was baffled when the griffon smiled widely, embracing Celestia in a bone crushing hug. The griffon lost his powerful air and instead exerted a very friendly appearance.

“It has been far too long Cel.”

“I agree. Please, take a seat.”

They parted and everypony sat down. The griffon looked at Ale curiously.

“And who might you be?”

“Ale, Princess Luna’s personal guard.”

The griffon looked between Ale and Luna, a small smile worming onto his face.

“I see. He must be an excellent guard in order to become Luna’s consort. Now then, I…”

He was interrupted when Luna spluttered out, “H-h-how did you know that?!”

The griffon smiled, “Because you just told me.”

Ale smirked at the griffons cleverness, knowing a few Spartans to have been just like that. His musings were interrupted when Celestia spoke.

“How are things at home Sharp Talon?”

The old griffon sighed. “Not well Celly. I’m afraid the recent attacks on your border are being caused by an insurrection.”

Twilight spoke, “Have you talked to them? Maybe it’s all just a misunderstanding.”

The griffon eyed Twilight, “Your inexperience shows. If you are indeed Celestia’s prized pupil than you must know about Equestrias dark past. They are vicious and won’t stop at anything to achieve their goals.”

Celestia spoke up nervously, “Uhh… actually, we kind of erased all records of our history and replaced it with a publically accepted false hood. Most ponies didn’t want to remember the past and prefer our peaceful society.”

“… you can’t be serious?”


“Well then on with the problem at hand. The insurrection is gaining more power daily. Most griffons are being forced into it or are promised spoils of war.”

Celestia looked worried. “Is your guard enough to stop them?”

“Unfortunately, no. Many of them are from my guard. How they were corrupted, I’ll never know. While my remaining guards have the skill and training, the insurrection has the numbers. We’re currently outnumbered five to one. I do have military forces rallying to end it. It should be a swift victory with their expertise.”

“Where are the rebels currently?” Luna asked.

The griffon frowned further. “That is another reason I have arrived with such haste. They were last seen amassing near the border of the Crystal Empire. We lost their position in the recent snow storm and currently have no idea where they are.”

“This is unfortunate indeed. Cadence, do you have soldiers prepared for a possible siege?” Celestia asked.

Cadence shook her head. “No, the soonest we’ll be able to rally and supply the troops would be in two days.”

Ale’s HUD lit up as a report came in from the pelican. He had programmed it to report any possible external tampering. Excusing himself, he stood up and walked out onto a balcony. He looked down below to see two unicorn guards probing the machine. Ale glanced around, finding a small rock on the edge of the balcony. He scooped it up and with precision a Spartan could only posses, chucked the rock, hitting one of the unicorns straight on the horn. The unicorn squealed in agony as he registered the pain coming from his sensitive horn. They both looked up, seeing a very large figure shaking a finger at them. With a cloud dust the only evidence of their presence, they disappeared.

Ale shook his head before looking out to the horizon. In the distance he saw a dark line. He magnified his cyan visor to get a closer look. He found a very large army of powerful and armed griffons approaching the city at a steady march. Ale quickly turned around and informed the leaders.

“What!?” they all replied. They swiftly walked out onto the balcony and confirmed for themselves that there was indeed a rapidly approaching army.

“Cadence! We need all your available troops assembled!” Celestia cried.

Cadence swiftly left to sound the alarm while Celestia and Sharp Talon quickly began discussing evacuation protocols. Twilight just stood there since she was pretty much useless in this situation. Luna simply watched Ale with slight confusion. He was standing in a very relaxed position and seemed to be studying the enemy with a nonchalant manner.

“Ale? What is it?”

Ale looked to the leaders and spoke, “Have your forces escort the civilians towards the Crystal Tower. I will go out and face them.”

“Are you crazy!” they all shouted. “You’ll be killed!”

The leaders couldn’t see Ales deadpan look.

“… Seriously? Guys, I’m a half ton space warrior that has fought foes hundreds of times worse. I’ve survived glassings, the flood, especially the flood, and only recently did you see me fall from space!”

The mares looked at each other worriedly while Shining and Sharp Talon looked confused.

“What’s a glassing?” Shining asked.

Ale waved his hand at him, “Oh, just a beam of super heated plasma that turns the surface of a planet to molten glass.”

The two males paled at this revelation. Celestia sent a telepathic message to Cadence to relay Ales orders. Soon enough, guards rushed about while directing civilians. The approaching army was almost at the city gates. Ale turned towards his friends and Shining.

“You’re welcome to watch the epic butt kicking ensue, but I must ask that you don’t interfere. I don’t want to accidentally hurt any of you.”

Shining spoke up angrily, “I will not be protected by an alien. I will blast the enemy away and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

Ale smiled as he pulled out a short silvery cylinder that had a hole through the center. He grabbed a small ledge on the side and pulled.


Within ten seconds Shining found himself bound and gagged by the mysterious stuff. It was sticky on one side and after a minute of struggling proved to be very strong indeed. He attempted to use his magic but found that wrapped in the same material, preventing him from using it.

Ale smiled smugly at his handiwork, receiving a glare from Twilight. He turned to Celestia.

“If the enemy doesn’t back down I may be forced to use lethal force. I may be awesome, but not quite awesome enough to non-lethally take out the whole army.”

Celestia nodded. Luna just hugged him.

“Please be careful.”

“No worries! After all, what could possibly g-“

Ale stopped midsentence as he stepped back, finding that the balcony had ended and plummeted to the ground. Quick like a cat, he twisted in mid air and landed in a crouch, crushing the stone beneath him. He smacked himself in the head when he realized he had tested the universe with his statement. He quickly stood up and sprinted down the street towards the wall.

Ale arrived relatively quickly and scaled the wall. He grasped the ledge and vaulted over, landing on the other side. He looked up to find the griffon army not more than 100 meters away from him. They simply stood there and stared at him in confusion.

Ale turned on his external speakers.

“Leave now and you won’t be harmed!”

The griffons shuffled at his loud mechanical voice. Many looked upon him in fear. Soon enough their ranks split and a well decorated griffon stepped out.

“W know not what you are creature, but we will not give in to your demands. We have no quarrel with you and suggest you leave the premises with haste if you don’t want to be killed.”

“I’m afraid that’s not an option.”

“Then suffer the Equestrians fate.”

With a very slight nod, Ales attention was brought to a brief gleam in the sky. With lightning fast reflexes, Ale stepped to the side and flashed out his hand. After a second the griffons stared in awe as they saw Ale clutching a crossbow bolt. The leader soon broke out of his stupor and screeched. Ale glanced back into the sky as he saw a dozen more griffons equipped with crossbows pop out of the clouds. Ale simply pulled out his magnum and returned fire. The blue bolts of plasma quickly dispatched the air born griffons, some bolts had struck him only to be deflected by his over shield, even then his armor was more than enough to stop them.

Ale looked down as his radar beeped a warning. The leader had retreated and ordered his first wave of troops to attack him. With the little time Ale had before they reached him he decided to play some tunes.

Ale charged head on with the griffons. He punched the first griffon, cracking his beak and spraying blood everywhere. Yanking the pike from the griffon, Ale twirled it around expertly, knocking griffons left and right. Some of the griffons thrusted their swords at him at the same time, figuring that he could only parry so many of them. Ale simply ducked and let them stab each other. They stood there for a second with shock and pain in their eyes before falling over. Ale quickly stepped over them and returned to his onslaught.

Out of the four dozen griffons in the first wave only three stood. All three of them bum rushed him. Ale held the pike in one hand while drawing his combat knife in the other. Time slowed down as adrenaline rushed through him. He was now in what they called ‘SPARTAN Time.’ With everything in slow motion, Ale lashed out his leg, contacting the first griffons head and effectively decapitating him. He lunged through the blood that was still slowly falling through the air and swung his combat knife backwards. His head turned as the second griffon was now flipping upside down in the air with two of his legs cleanly sliced. With a flick of his wrist, Ale held his knife backwards and slammed the griffon to the ground with his knife stuck down to the hilt in the griffons chest.

Time caught back up to him as he turned and witnessed the last griffon desperately trying to fly away. Ale hefted the pike and threw it like a javelin, spearing the terrified griffon. The pike carried the griffon all the way along its flight path until it slammed into the cities wooded gate, pinning the dying griffon to the door.

Ale noticed he had a small crowd watching him from the wall. The mares and Sharp Talon were watching with wide eyes at the destruction below them. Ale caught a glimpse of Shining lying on the ground, still bounded by the duck tape. Ale turned around and yelled.

“Had enough!?”

The dead griffons comrades shrieked in anger. A horn blew from behind their lines and prompted the very large army to press on with the attack. A few hundred griffons began charging across the grass towards him. Ale, deciding that a full on charge by hundreds of hostiles was a bit too much for his assault rifle to handle, felt the grooves of his SMG’s on his thigh armor. It had been far too long since he last used them.

A neural command swiftly unlatched them and Ale hefted them up into both hands. He also began charging across the field. As he neared he opened fire and concentrated his fire on a small section of troops in front of him. The plasma burned through their shields and melted their armor, cutting down the griffons in front of Ale. He simply tunneled his way through the ranks as griffons screamed left and right. Blood was spraying everywhere as many of the falling griffons accidentally stabbed their living brethren with their sharp weapons.

Ale stopped somewhere in the middle of the horde and began systematically picking them off instead of just randomly shooting. Swinging his arms around, Ale couldn’t help but wish he could see how awesome he looked. He pictured himself looking like a character from an old 21st century movie he had seen a couple of ODSTs watching.

‘What was it called? Oh yeah! Matrix I believe.’

The griffons, realizing that it was becoming increasingly difficult to charge over the wall of dead bodies between them and the alien, changed tactics. They all took flight and created a swarming half sphere that roiled towards him. Ale quickly noticed their plan and slammed one of his SMGs back into place. He pulled out a frag grenade he had pulled from the Pelican before priming and tossing it up into the cloud of griffons.


Luna watched as Ale swiftly destroyed their army. He had pulled out two unknown weaponry that she had never seen from his thighs and was currently holding off the charging griffons that surrounded him. She wasn’t sure if she should be mad that he had kept secret weapons from them when they requested his surrender of arms or be disturbed and frightened at his fighting prowess. She grimaced as she watched piles of bodies build up, the griffons tripping in the shredded bodies of the fallen. While she understood war and was no stranger to death from her experiences in a pre Equestria world filled with horrific things, she still couldn’t help but feel sick at the number of bodies and with how easily Ale distributed it.

Her attention was drawn towards Ale as the griffons began flying towards him, encasing him in a half sphere. She lost sight of Ale and knew he couldn't fight them off from all angles like that. She spread her wings to disobey Ales order until a bright flash and loud boom reached her. She stared as the griffon sphere simply turned into a red mist. She looked on in shock as almost half of the army was gone.

The griffons stopped charging, realizing that their efforts were futile. Ale held one of his destructive weapons in his hands. He too stopped firing. They simply stood in silence eyeing each other. Luna thought that the battle was over until two very large and heavily armored griffons stepped forward. They both carried heavy looking war hammers and stood on their hind legs to look more menacing, their wings spread out to help them keep their balance. Luna smirked at their stupidity; surely Ales weaponry would be more than enough to take them down. She noticed black scarring on their talons and looked closer.

Her eyes widened she recognized the black scarring to actually be a very old, practically extinct form of black magic. The runes were protectorate charms that defended the wearer from magic. It was also known for stopping physical attacks. The two griffons placed their hammers on their shoulders as they pulled out one potion bottle each. The bottle was filled with a boiling black liquid.

The two griffons pulled the corks off and downed the liquid as fast as they could. They immediately dropped the bottles and screeched in pain. Their bodies began to increase in size violently, loud cracks from their bones being broken audible. Their skin ripped and was shredded to pies as their muscles grew. Black hexagonal plating grew over their bodies, effectively creating a very powerful exoskeleton. Luna found them to look very similar to changelings. This thought only brought dread to her as she watched the mutations smirk evilly with a fang filled maw and pick up their magically larger war hammers.


Ale watched with dread as the now mutated abominations rose. The transformation reminded him of the horrific alien parasite he had barely survived several times. He shook his head as he prepared for their inevitable charge. He was caught off guard as one of them summoned a black aura in its mutated talon. It rapidly turned into a light consuming black ball that was soon racing towards Ale. Ale braced himself with a foot behind him as he took the black sphere head on. The magic passed over him with a few crackles of black lightning. Ale was pleasantly surprised as only one noticeable change had happened. His external speakers had turned on and a random song that was absolutely appropriate blared loudly across the field.

With a roar of frustration one of the beasts charged him. Ale ran at it as fast as he could. They met halfway and the beast swung at him with its hammer. Ale side stepped it and let it slam into the earth. He ran up the handle of the hammer towards the hunched over animal. He leapt and with a mid air twisting summersault landed on its neck, neatly placing his feet on each shoulder. He crossed his now duel wielding SMGs and unloaded a torrent of blue fire at the crease between its head and neck. Ale quickly learned that it did little to no damage to its magical armor and only served to irate the monster. It roared and shook like a dog. Ale landed on his back with a huff.

The other monster took this opportunity to swing his hammer towards Ales prone form. Ale rolled out of the way just in time as a shower of dirt rained down on him. He stood up and turned to find the other war hammer speeding towards him in a swinging arch. Ale dropped his SMGs and opened his hands in front of him. He caught the hammers handle and was pushed backwards a few meters, his feet digging a trench. He yanked the hammer towards him, pulling the monster as well. Ale delivered an unmerciful uppercut with all his bodily and armor assisted might, the beast screaming as it and the hammer flew away from him.

Unfortunately, a Spartan can’t react quite fast enough all the time. The other hammer crashed into his side and launched him into the cities wall. The monster laughed cruelly as a massive hole was created. Ale meanwhile, groaned from his position on the ground.

‘That fucking hurt!’

Ale checked his systems and found everything to be green. His over shields were drained almost completely but his armor checked out fine. Kinetic force still pushed him through the wall however and Ale still suffered some injury. He pulled himself up and walked through the rubble and back out onto the field, stumbling slightly. The monster stopped laughing and roared in anger that the defiant Spartan still stood. Ale coughed up some blood into the bottom of his visor and glared hatefully at the monster.

“I’ll give that one to you. But,” Ale activated his thruster pack and was suddenly in front of the monster. He grabbed the hammer and pulled it away from the shocked monster like taking candy away from a baby.

“It’s my turn.”

The monster, breaking out of its stupor caused by the impossibly fast moving alien, registered its words and looked down to find its own hammer hooked around its front talon.

Ale pulled the hammer up causing the monster to stand up straight before flipping the hammer up in front of himself. He jumped and kicked the end of the hammers handle thus thrusting it into the abdomen of the monster. It huffed as it fell back a few meters and landed on its backside. The hammer however had done little to no damage. Before the monster could get back up, Ale ran at it and delivered another flying kick to the same area. The sheer awesomeness of a determined, battle hardened, angry Spartan finally cracked the black armor of the creature.

Or, it could have been caused simply by the force of a rapidly accelerating mass that weighed half a ton colliding with it. Ale would disagree with physics on the latter and prefer that the former be written in history books.

The creature roared in shock and pain as the cracks spider webbed from Ales power kick. Ale, remembering its ‘brother’ turned around to find a very pissed off mutant racing at him. Its face was cracked and dripping black blood from Ales earlier punch. Ale leapt from his position, causing the downed monster to yelp in agony as its abdomen cracked a bit further from Ales exit. Ale leap was at its apex as he began to fall towards the charging creature. The monster opened its mouth with glee, intent on crunching him. Ales thruster pack fired for a millisecond, veering him slightly to the side of the creatures maw.

Ale made contact by grabbing the side of its mouth and swinging upwards, the monster head being dragged along with Ales weighted momentum and almost causing it to trip. The Spartan landed on his rear and was straddling his neck facing forward. He reached forward and hooked his fingers over the edge of its mouth. He pulled back hard, almost breaking the creatures neck while doing so. The creature, practically immobilized in this position, shrieked in pain at its smashed face being treated so roughly. Ale ignored this and, with his other hand, reached behind him for his assault rifle. He leaned forward while pulling the creatures head back further, gazing down its throat. Ale brought his gun to position and fired the plasma down its gullet.

The creature screamed in pain as its insides were melted form the super heated material. It shuddered one last time before falling to its belly, motionless. Ale released its head and placed his assault rifle on his back. A large shadow on the ground caught his attention. He looked up and watched as a tooth filled orifice engulfed him.


Luna screamed as she watched Ale disappear. She immediately began sobbing as the loss of her lover hit her. She felt the comforting presence of her sisters wing on her back, Celestia whispering consoling words to her. Luna, not particularly paying attention to the fact that her soul bond was still intact and not shattered to pieces, began seething in fury. She looked up with slitted eyes at the laughing monster, her blazing teal orbs filled with hatred. However, before she could react the monster began screaming. It hunched over in pain and howled in agony. Everyone stared on in confusion.

A sharp cracking sound was heard as Luna spied a very large grey knife puncturing out from the cracks in its abdomen. She watched as the knife was jerked around violently before an armored figure burst forth in a sea of green gore from the massive hole in the monster. Said monster simply stared down in shock as it could clearly see all of its organs and the empty cavern within itself. It didn’t make a sound as it collapsed backwards.

Ale turned, his armor sparking as the over shield was taxed out from its punishment, towards the army of griffons. After a few seconds Ale stuck up both of his middle digits at the army, the gesture confusing everyone. The griffons then began retreating as they abandoned their posts. Luna watched as their leader screamed at them to return. With most of his army ignoring him and already in flight he turned around to find a very pissed Spartan looking back at him.

The griffon trembled as it too began to retreat. If Luna could have seen Ales face she would have found a very morbid grin as Ale calmly walked over to one of the dead monsters and, with a curse, struggled to break a tooth off. After succeeding he pulled out his pistol and shoved the tooth into the barrel. Ale aimed and fired, the tooth’s magical resistance to physical and magical forces allowing it to survive mostly intact from the super heated plasma. The crude projectile flew towards it target, trailing molten pieces of itself in a glowing arch. It struck the griffon and caused it to crash land with a scream.

Ale walked over to the griffon and looked down at it. The griffon had been struck in the spine and was paralyzed. It tried to speak but found that it couldn’t. Ale considered killing him for causing his armor to be coated in a rapidly drying green sludge until Celestia flew over.

“That’s quite enough. Sharp Talons forces will take care of the rest.” She looked down towards the griffon. “As for you, the dungeons will suit you adequately. You will not have the privilege of being healed by magic in the case of an attempted escape.”

Ale paused, genuinely frightened at Celestias new found harshness. He watched as Celestia teleported away with her charge. He turned around to find Sharp Talon staring at him with awe, Twilight was green, Shining looked ashamed, Luna was concerned, and most peculiarly of all, Cadence was fanning herself while turning red.


That in itself creeped Ale out and he tried to ignore it. He walked towards them, Luna rushing out to greet him. She was about to embrace him before he stopped her with a raised hand.

“Clean first, hug later.”


Ale, Twilight, Luna, and Celestia were standing by the back of the Pelican. Sharp Talon had left after thanking Ale for his heroism that will forever be sung about in barter songs. Meanwhile the crystal ponies were cleaning up the mess Ale had left behind, Ale himself had been busy scraping clean his own armor. It had especially taken him a long time to clean out his own blood from the bottom of his helmet.The guards in the back of his bird whispered, irritated that they haven’t left yet.

Shining and Cadence walked out from the spire to see them off. Upon seeing Shining Armor, Ale played a short segment of a song that he felt was appropriate with describing Shinings current attitude.

(Not necessary to listen to the whole thing or even at all)

Twilight smacked him, prompting a chuckling Ale to turn it off. Cadence and her husband approached.

“Thanks for coming Aunties. I wish it was under better circumstances.”

“It was no problem. We’ll have to visit again soon.”

“That would be fantastic,” she replied while eyeing Ale suggestively, prompting glares from Shining and Luna. Realizing she was being glared at she cleared her throat. “Urmm… Shining has something to say to you Ale.”

Shining simply stood defiantly, glaring straight ahead. Cadence huffed and nudged him. When he didn’t respond she smacked him with her hoof.

“Ow! That hurt!”

“Served you right! Maybe you should listen to me the first time.”

“But Cadey…”

Cadence lifted her hoof again, Shining receiving the message clearly. He looked towards Ale and mumbled.

“What was that?” Cadence asked.

“I’m… I’m sorry monst- I mean Ale.”

Cadence was about to rebuke him for not continuing before Ale interrupted her.

“No, it’s fine. Someponies will never change and in time he may get to befriend me even. Thanks for having us over.”

Cadence nodded and waved goodbye. The other mares walked into the Pelican with Ale. Luna leaned over to him and whispered.

“If you ever come back without my supervision, I’ll know about it.”

Ale shivered in fright at the prospect of being on the receiving end of Luna’s punishment.

Ha Ha Ha, Nope!

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‘How do I get myself into these situations?’

Ale sighed as he shuffled down the road with Rainbow Dash. She was jumping alongside him, occasionally flying upside down and around him, all the while talking nonstop about some silly competition she and Applejack had every year.

‘What’d she call it? The leaf run?’

“I can’t wait to see AJ’s face when I take the ‘Running of the Leaves’ trophy home today!”

‘Ah, that’s what it was called.’

Ale wasn’t quite sure what this was all about. From what he could tell it was some sort of race involving leaves. Rainbow Dash had convinced him when he arrived yesterday to join in her competition. Ale didn’t have work today and figured that he might as well join in. The sun glinted dully off of his recently polished armor, the scratches and scuffs gone after the Mark VII’s nanobots took care of the damage.

Ale tuned out RD as they walked along the road to a grassy hill not too far away. He could see bleachers and tents set up with runners lining up for their numbers at a registration booth. Ale spotted Applejack at the starting line stretching her legs out with a grunt. RD raced above the lines occupants, snatched her pre-registered number, and landed alongside AJ. They both smiled determinedly at each other as they started their pre-race warm up.

Ale smiled at their friendship as he stood in the rapidly moving line. He watched the mare handing out assigned numbers, surprised at the current number. ‘114’ He didn’t even know there was that many ponies here. He counted the ponies in front of him and came upon another realization. He was going to receive the number, ‘117’.

Ale turned around and was disappointed not to find another pony behind him. He faced forward in time to see that he was up. He approached the smiling mare.

“Nice to see you here. Are you here to race?” she asked with a friendly tone.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Alright, name please.”


The mare scribbled on a clipboard and nodded, “Alright. Your number is 117 and you just line up at the start line.”

Ale cleared his throat, shifting his feet. “Actually ma’am, may I please have a different number?”

The mare looked at him confusedly, “Why? Is there something wrong with the one you have?”

“No… It’s just that it’s a very special number that I don’t think I have the right to wear.”

The mare smiled and nodded in understanding. “Alright, since there’s nopony behind you and I have a blank card here, is there a specific number you would like that nopony already has?”

Ale didn’t even need to think as he replied instinctively, “02-05 please.”

“That’s an odd pairing,” the mare commented as she handed it over. She smiled as he walked away. “Good luck!”

Ale waved at her and began strapping the number to him. He reminisced on the meaning of his number, the first two digits stating that he was a part of the secret cell of alternate Spartan II’s with the last two digits being his Spartan number. Nobody really knew what the first two digits stood for anyway, unless you were a part of the group.

“Fancy number you got there Ale.”

Ale smiled as he looked towards AJ. She smirked at him as she continued, “Don’t think it’s gonna save you from ma flank kicking in this race.”

Ale shook his head as he chuckled to himself. He looked left and right as ponies started lining up along the starting line. He watched as a pink hot air balloon rose into the sky. A familiar pink pony and purple dragon were riding up with microphones.

“Welcome everypony to the ‘Running of the Leaves’! My name’s Pinkie and I’ll be your host along with my co-host, Spike!”

Spike began rattling off the list of ponies at the line, before he was suddenly interrupted by Pinkie slapping the lengthy list out of his claws for the sake of time. Spike smiled sheepishly before straightening up and regaining his thoughts.

“Alright everypony! On your mark,”

Ale crouched low to the ground with one hand stretched out onto the ground.

“Get set,”

He lifted his head up and slowed his breathing, preparing to show the ponies the true meaning of speed.


Time slowed as Ale’s muscles contracted within milliseconds of his command, the other racers still on the line registering his voice. Ale’s leg extended with his opposite arm thrusting forward, sand beginning to spray from the foot he launched on. He straighten partially as he accelerated to 30 mph. Within three steps Ale’s sense of time regained normalcy and he realized he was already a good two dozen meters in front of the line. He glanced quickly behind him to see that all the racers were staring at him in shock. RD and AJ seemed to regain their senses as they quickly began running.

Ale simply smiled as he knew there was absolutely no hope for them to catch up. Ale wasn’t even breathing hard yet. He focused his senses forward and continued running. He entered the woods as leaves began falling rapidly to his own vibrations alone. Ale was leaving a trail of dust behind him, his thundering footsteps his only companion capable of keeping up with him. The scenery around him sparked distant memories. His now heavier breathing along with the jolt of his armor was very familiar. He looked up into the rapidly moving tree canopy and observed the chaos of reds, oranges, and yellows, a memory thrusting itself forward…


“-Static-ort over.”

*System* Resetting Receiver – Analyzing Frequencies… - Uplink Complete

“Spartan 02-05! Report, over.”

Ale monitored the frequency as he sprinted through a forest towards his objective, autumn colored leaves thrown up behind him.

“Spartan 05 on deck.”

“This is Sword Base. Are you nearing the rally point?”

Ale neared a steep decline that gave way to a field that was interrupted by a massive city of steel and glass. New Alexandria.

“Copy. I’m two klicks from the space port.”

“Acknowledged. A team of ODST’s are currently defending the area from Covenant forces. You are to reinforce them until NOBLE Six can get the missile platforms up and running.”

“Good copy.”

Ale had already entered the city and slowed down. It wouldn’t be smart to run right into a pack of Brutes or even worse, a Hunter pair. His assault rifle was raised as he moved swiftly through the streets, keeping close to the sides of the buildings to reduce the chances of him being spotted by a Banshee or Phantom drop ship. Ale was about to round a corner when he spotted movement on his radar. He flattened himself against the concrete wall of the building and gently peeked around the corner.

The radar was clear, making Ale wary at the lack of anybody in front of him. He stepped out with his rifle up and walked forward, sweeping his weapon side to side. A sudden movement to the right inside of the building made Ale react swiftly. He leaped through the broken window and pointed his gun at the nearest target. He quickly let up on the trigger as a civilian male gasped and held up his hands.

“Don’t shoot!”

Ale lowered his weapon and asked, “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at the evac center.”

The man stuttered, “W-we tried! But one of those Covenant flying machines made us duck in here.”


Ale’s radar lit up with an additional three contacts, a woman and two children standing up from some rubble. The woman looked weary while the little girl and boy looked weary and tired. However, their gaze lit up with wonder when they looked up at the imposing figure of an armored Spartan, both children only hearing legends about their invincibility against the alien monsters.

Ale, while calm headed, still cringed as his mission just got a lot harder. A few civilians needing escort were difficult enough, but toss in children and it increases tenfold.

“Alright, I’ll take you to the evac center, but you must listen to my every command if you want to make it there alive.”

The man nodded his head as he whispered to the children, urging them to follow the Spartan. Ale turned and scanned the street, satisfied that there weren’t any enemies. He motioned for them to follow as he began walking quickly along. The group walked through the rubble in the street as they passed burned out vehicles. Meanwhile, Ale continued to scan the sky and intersections for any patrols.

Ale felt a small sense of relief as he realized they were making good time towards his objective. He hadn’t so much as just made that thought when he heard a low whine a block over. His time fighting the Covenant had solidified every single noise the Covenant war machine made, this particular sound sending a ball of fear for the safety of his civilians into his stomach.

“Quickly! Into the store!”

He pushed the group into the busted store front and motioned for them to stay down. He peeked through some rubble and watched as a Wraith with a full escort of 20 Grunts, 10 Jackals, 5 Elites, and a Hunter pair walk into the intersection just a few dozen meters away from them. Ale watched them and was disappointed to see them stop. They looked like they were taking a break from marching and intended to stay there a while.

Ale checked his mission clock and winced, he was running out of time and he knew that the space port evacs would be leaving soon. With a quick glance at the street he made his decision. Looking over his group of refugees he could see their fear. With a strong but low voice he pointed at a manhole in the street.

“Listen, I’m going to draw their fire while you four jump into the sewers. Is that understood?”

The group nodded hesitantly, Ale unsure as to how he could help ensure them. He crushed these thoughts; it wasn’t his responsibility to comfort them, only to save them as best as he could.


Ale didn’t even wait for them to acknowledge before sprinting out into the street. He heard a cry of alarm as the group spotted him. Green and blue plasma rounds began flying around him as he rolled behind a chunk of the ripped up street. He leaned out of cover and pulled the trigger of his weapon. The assault rifle roared as he lobbed suppressing fire down the street, casings were flying out of the ejection port as grunts were ripped apart.

“Go, go, go!”

He watched out of the corner of his eye as the civilians ran to the manhole and lifted up the cover. They quickly jumped down as some of the enemy soldiers began firing at them as well. With a little over half of his magazine gone, Ale burned up the rest as he ran for the manhole as well. He slid into the hole just as a plasma mortar vaporized the ground. Ale landed and looked up to see the group looking at him.

“Hurry, we have to move.”

Ale pointed in a direction for them to go, watching as they began running that way. Ale followed after them for 15 meters before turning around. He ducked into the corner of an intersection as he waited patiently. He didn’t wait long as a grunt yelled before smashing into the ground below the manhole entrance, a clean snap echoing through the sewers. The dead grunt was smashed under the weight of an elite who decided to follow after. Ale held his fire as the elite searched the gloom with his beady reptilian eyes. Five jackals followed after and Ale decided now was the time. He primed a grenade and tossed it into the middle of the group. The group screamed as the grenade detonated, ripping apart the jackals and spraying their body parts everywhere while the elite suffered a grievous wound.

Ale turned around and sprinted to catch up to the civilians, his grenade having bought them time as the rest of the enemy squad would no doubt hesitate before repeating the same maneuver. Ale ran past several intersections before catching up to the group. They looked relieved to see the Spartan after hearing the screaming and explosion. They continued moving for a few minutes, the silence only broken by their footsteps and Ale’s armor clanking.

Ale decided that it was time to head back up as they were nearing the space port. He motioned to them to climb up a ladder when a chittering sound halted them. Ale looked down the dark tunnel, relying on his night vision to navigate them to reduce the chance of them being spotted by his helmet lights. He couldn’t see anything with the range of his vision but watched the far greater distance of his radar instead. A low buzzing grew rapidly and Ale’s radar showed a massive red cloud heading towards them.

“Up! Now!”

Ale’s rifle kicked in his hands as hot lead began dropping alien bugs from a large horde of drones. There was no way he was going to be able to stop them like this. The women and children were already up the ladder. Before the man was able to climb a section of the sewer wall broke away, revealing more drones as they came from behind. The man screamed as he was whisked away off of the ladder and ripped apart in the horde of bugs. Ale’s magazine ran empty as he too became swarmed. His over shield was dropping rapidly as his Mark VI took a beating. Ale punched and ran through the horde to the ladder and began climbing.

The drones were too large to fly up the manhole but could crawl up one at a time. He looked past four drones to see the children and women desperately attempting to open the cover. Ale climbed rapidly up the ladder and pulled out his combat knife. He jabbed his knife into the back of the first drone and ripped down, effectively cutting it in half and letting it fall down past him. Ale killed the two after it using similar methods before a scream caught his attention. The drone had just grabbed the girls’ ankle, its claws no doubt hurting her badly. Swifter than lightning, Ale was directly under it and he cut off the offending grasper. The bug screeched in pain before being silenced with a swift stab to its head. It fell, knocking down some of the other bugs that were climbing up the hole after them.

Ale tossed up his knife to the woman who caught it with surprising dexterity.

“Use that to pry the manhole open!”

She nodded grimly as she began her assigned task. Ale looked down and pulled out his magnum, shooting only when necessary to help save his ammo. Light flooded the hole as the woman was able to get the cover off. She climbed out and helped the children out after her. Ale followed and stood above the hole. He dropped his last grenade down the hole and pushed the civilians away. They jumped into a building as a fountain of green goo and body bits flew out of the hole. The sewer, already damaged with a blown out wall, collapsed when the grenade detonated. The street crumbled a few feet down, smashing any trapped bugs and providing safety from any pursuit.

Ale looked over the group and saw tear trails on the children. The woman’s eyes were sad but she had a very stern face. She held out the knife to Ale, prompting him to speak.

“You’re very good with that knife.”

A small smile graced her face as she replied, “Ex-Colonial Marine.” (No, not Aliens. It’s the disbanded CMA for those of you who didn’t know or remember.)

Ale nodded in understanding. He motioned for them to keep moving. They walked a few more blocks before finally reaching their destination. Ale motioned for them to stop as he observed the street. It was littered with Covenant bodies, but no marines were to be seen. Ale pinged any surrounding IFF tags and saw that the ODST squad had taken a very strong defensible position. He saw a camouflaged turret positioned behind some rubble with a nice part of the space port hanging over its position.

“Sword Base, this is Spartan 05. I have reached objective over.”

“Copy, mission parameters are still in effect. Sword out.”


Receiving a hand signal from one of the ODST’s, Ales group began moving across the street. A sudden rumbling stopped them as they watched one of the evac ships leaving the port. Ale knew something was wrong since the Covenant ship was still in the skies. Dread paralyzed Ale as he realized there was a lack of missiles to hold the ship back as it moved over the evac. A bright flash from the purple alien ship struck the evac, Ale turning off his radio as screams filled the frequency.

Knowing that they were still out in the open Ale turned around and gestured for the civilians to follow. The woman held back the children and glared at the Spartan.

“There’s no way we’re getting on those death cans!”

“Ma’am, the missile platforms will be up and running any second now. We have to leave.”

She opened her mouth to argue before a silver flash burst through her head. Ales magnum was already in the air as he shot the Jackal sniper. Ale had already scooped up the children by the time both bodies hit the ground and turned, plasma rounds splashing up against his shield. Ale ran under the turrets field of view as it began unloading its payload against the pushing enemy squad.

The children were crying as Ale hustled past the fighting ODST’s and up a loading ramp towards one of the surviving evacs. He placed them within the bay as another civilian began herding them away. Ale watched them as the door began closing. Just before the doors slid shut Ale saw both of the children look at him. The sheer amount of sadness and anger made Ale take a step back. He could still feel their terrible gaze through the steel. He wasn’t sure if they were mad at him or their parents murderers, but he still felt a foreign emotion. He pondered upon it before it struck him.


He had never felt guilty before. His mission was to destroy or stop the enemy in any possible way with the upmost effectiveness. So far, he had succeeded every one of them. Sure he lost people, but the mission came first. This time was different however, he had never seen children look that way before and it shook him to the core.

Screaming from the front of the port dragged his attention back to reality. Shrugging his arms, he turned and ran back down the ramp, drawing his assault rifle out and slamming a new magazine into it with a click. He approached the ODST’s, analyzing their situation. The chain gunner was down, the weapon mangled and melted beyond recognition. Several other ODST’s were lined up along a wall, either hurt or gone from this plane of existence.

“Noble Six! We need to send the transports!” one of the ship captains yelled through the radio.

Ale needed to buy them as much time as he could. He expertly began shooting the Covenant invaders. He watched as they fell under his might, two more Covenant soldiers taking the place of every one he killed. As the ODST’s began falling one by one Ale policed their ammo and weapons in an effort to hold back the Covenant just for a little while longer.

“Missile platforms are running!”

“Thank god!”

“Look at that bastard burn!”

Ale glanced up while fighting to see the Covenant ship retreating back into the city, trailing purple and white flames in its wake.

“Transport’s away!”

Ale retreated along with the surviving ODST’s as the transports left. He continued firing as they walked out onto the runway. Two Falcons came rushing in to pick up the soldiers, the gunners laying suppressing fire to hold back the tide of enemies. Ale and the ODST’s stepped onto their evacs and watched as they flew up towards their next objective. He listened to radio chatter reporting glassings beginning not too far away from New Alexandria.

Ale remembered the children he had saved. A thought that made him question its origin came into his mind.

“Did I save them?”

What if he had actually damned them? Ale thought back to similar situations where he was tasked with escorting civilians. Have any of them survived? What if he had only delayed their inevitable deaths? These thoughts did not make sense to Ale. He wasn’t trained to think this way. He remembered the first glassing he had ever witnessed. Civilian evacs had been flying into the air. A beam of plasma struck them and they lurched downwards, burning as they fell. The beam continued to move on as it turned the doomed city into a pile of molten glass and metal.

Ale felt something fill him; it reinvigorated his body and surprised him with its potency. He had a new mission, one that some would claim he had been doing all along. He would make the Covenant pay, not just for him anymore or because he was following the command of his superiors, but because the loss of life and shattered families he had witnessed. His memories demanded, no, screamed that he avenge them for what the Covenant took.

He promised himself at that moment that he would do everything in his power to fulfill the demands, anything to protect the innocent and save lives. He looked into the glow of the setting sun and lost himself in its depths…


“Look out!”

Ale twisted his body sideways as he avoided the screaming fillies in front of him. He smashed into the ground and slid a good twenty meters. He heaved air as he realized he had lost himself to his thoughts while running and almost smeared somepony doing it. He stood up briskly and turned around. Ale recognized the infamous Cutie Mark Crusaders as they climbed back onto their scooter.

“Are you okay mister alien?”

Ale chuckled quietly, “I’m fine, but you can call me Ale.”

Applebloom looked up at him, “Okay Mr. Ale.”

Ale mentally face palmed. Scootaloo spoke up, “What are you doing out here Ale?”

“Running in that race of yours.”

The three looked confused before addressing him. “Out here in the Everfree forest?”

Ale looked around and realized that he was indeed on the trail that led through the ‘dark’ forest. However, another thought broke out.

“I might ask you the same thing.”

The three quickly looked away guiltily. They shuffled their hooves as they thought quietly.

“We just wanted to get our cutie marks. Honest!”

Ale mused to himself, letting them stew in their own fear of what his actions may be.

“I really should scold you myself, but I think it would be more appropriate if your family members were the one to do it.”

The three looked like a big bucket of dread had been dumped on them as they looked up at him with pleading eyes.

“P-please! Don’t tell them about this! We’ll take your punishment!” Scootaloo blurted out.

“Yeah!” the other two agreed.

“Hmm… I don’t know…”


Ale smirked as he figured out a way to make them take the earlier option instead.

“Alright. I would say a little physical exercise is just enough punishment.”

The three looked at him wearily. “Okay, what did you have in mind?”


Ale fell forwards onto his hands and began doing pushups. When he looked up he saw Applebloom and Scootaloo copying him rep for rep. Sweetie Belle looked like she wouldn’t even try.

‘One down, two to go.’

Ale pushed off the ground with his feet and performed a handstand. He then began doing pushups with his whole body straight up into the air. The other two just stared at him in awe. They looked at him glumly and spoke.

“…Fine, we’ll take the other punishment.”

Ale smirked as he came back down to the ground and stood up. He looked at them before his radar reported movement behind the girls. He watched as several pairs of green eyes looked his way.

“Girls, go home. Now.”

They looked confused but with Ales incessant gesturing piled back up onto the scooter and left swiftly. Several of the eyes made to follow but Ale regained their attention with a threatening side step. With all eyes focused on him he pulled out a cylindrical object from his hip. It pulsed softly with a red glow. He heard growling emit from the bushes as (wood?) wolves stepped out. Ale almost began laughing hysterically at ironic situation.


Ale was also very happy with his choice of weaponry, glad that he had intended burning the underbrush with his incendiary grenade anyway. He tossed the napalm filled object and watched it detonate over the animals. They screamed in pain as they were being burned by an inextinguishable liquid fire. Ale turned around and continued walking back to town as if nothing had ever happened.


Ale walked back towards the finish line, observing the massive crowd cheer loudly. Twilight broke through the crowd and approached him.

“Ale! Where have you been? You’re in last place!”

“Sorry. I got a bit lost.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow at him. “You? Lost?”

Ale did have to admit that sounded pretty stupid, but was relieved when Twilight shook her head and dropped the subject. She gestured for him to follow her as she walked back to the crowd. Ale followed, brushing as gently as he could past the sea of moving colors. He saw AJ and RD hefting a trophy between them, indicating that they both had taken first place. RD paled a bit when she saw Ale. She nodded at AJ as she approached Ale.

“Hey Ale. Are you okay?”

“What do you mean?” Ale asked with clear confusion.

Rainbow rubbed her leg with her other hoof as she replied, “Well, I may or may not have changed a sign when I saw how fast you were moving and that you were going to win hooves down.”

Ale rubbed his chin playfully as he replied, “So, what you’re telling me is that you cheated and flew past me to change a sign, thus making me run into the Everfree forest and securing your place at first?”

“… Plausible deniability.”

Ale just tossed his hands up into the air at her response. He chuckled as he began walking away.

“Don’t worry about it Rainbow. I’ll just have to beat you at something else some other time.”

His enhanced hearing made him smile at her response, “Bring it on.”

Ale walked into town as he figured he had some time left in the day to fulfill a promise. He approached a house that seemed to literally bounce with vibration. Ale swore he could see the air vibrating with the DJ’s beats. Ale, figuring that she wouldn’t be able to hear him if he knocked, just let himself in. A grey mare with earplugs looked up at him in surprise as he stepped in.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, the mares mane blowing all over the place with the much louder beats blaring through the house. Ale spun an imaginary disk in hopes of communicating his desire to see Vinyl. The mare nodded with an irritated frown as she pointed down the hall. Ale nodded respectively towards her and walked down the hall. He approached the door that was bulging slightly and grabbed the door handle. Ale literally began vibrating himself when he made contact with the door. He pushed it open and was almost blown back into the hallway.

‘Thank god I have a sealed environment; otherwise I think my ears would be bleeding before my brain followed it out.’

Ale looked at the white mare that was facing away from him. She was bobbing her head with the beat with a pair of headphones on, headphones which Ale noticed weren’t even plugged in. Deciding to be especially cruel, Ale snuck behind her and plugged in her headphones.


Ale fell to the floor laughing as Vinyl leaped into the air, slamming the power switch on her music board. She looked behind her and glared at Ale.


Ale decided to play with her some more. “WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU?”

Vinyl ground her teeth in irritation, no doubt having experienced this prank before. Ale calmed down, breathing deeply as he stood up.

“Ha, ha. Hoh boy, I’m sorry Vinyl. I couldn’t resist.”

Vinyl just shook her head, a small smile gracing her face.

“It’s alright. Just don’t do that again. It really hurts.”

“Only if you’re more careful and considerate of the ponies around you.”

“Yeah, I bet Octavia isn’t too happy?”


“I figured. Anyways, what can I do for you?”

“I actually stopped by to show you some of my music like you asked me to.”

A voice from the door interrupted them. “You invited an alien over to share his otherworldly music and didn’t tell me?”

Vinyl looked a little scared as she smiled nervously. Ale looked between the two and laughed internally.

Vinyl spoke up. “Octavia, this is Ale. Ale, this is my marefriend Octavia.”

Ale was a little surprised that there were same gender relationships here, but now that he thought about it he could see it making sense due to the massive skewing in the gender ratio.

“Nice to meet you.”

“You as well. Anyways, you have some music you were going to share with Vinyl?” Ale nodded. “May I partake in this experience?”

“No problem. So Vinyl, what should I play?”

With a glance at Octavia, Vinyl decided that she should attempt to make her happy.

“Do you have music called orchestral or something like that?”

“I’m sure I have some here somewhere…”

Ale searched through his playlists and found some excellent choices.

(Not necessary to listen to. There’s going to be a spam of music.)

Octavia looked like she had been sent to heaven, her eyes closed in silent appreciation. Vinyl tapped Ale impatiently, prompting a chuckle from Ale as he selected music more to her choice.

(Once again, same warning. Only it really is spam time now.)

(Flashback was actually the first song I listened to in this genre.)

Vinyl was drooling on the ground with the different kinds of music flowing through her. Octavia seemed to have liked the rock a bit more than the keyboard. Ale decided he was going to play music that would make them both hopefully happy.

(One more time!)

Ale was smiling when he saw both mares swaying against each other, enjoying the harmony of the combined music genres. When they opened their eyes it unnerved Ale, a lot. They looked upon him with half lidded eyes, walking towards him sultrily.

“Wow Ale. I’ve never heard anything so… sensual,” Octavia said, approaching ever closer to the slowly backing up Spartan.

Ale was sweating with fear. He was a master tactician who could find a way out through every situation… except for this one. They never trained him for this.

“N-now ladies, let’s not make any hasty decisions here. I’m sure we could come to an understanding.”

Vinyl smiled, “Oh, there’ll be plenty of agreements we could come to I’m sure.”

If it was any other situation Ale probably would have laughed at her sentence, but Ale was sure Vinyl was well aware of what she said.

“Yes, just relax Ale. We got it all under control.”

Ale felt the wall behind him, desperate for a way out without hurting them. He saw his chance and went for it.

“Ha ha ha… Nope!”


Hard Wood was currently out walking, enjoying the nice fall day when a nearby window shattered. He watched in confusion as his employee, Ale, rolled onto the ground. He stood up and saw Hard Wood. He gave a hesitant wave towards his employer before grabbing a cloth bag filled with bits and tossing it back towards the house. Hard Wood winced when he heard another window shatter, watching as Ale slapped a hand to his helmet and dragged it down. Ale turned around and began walking away, suddenly disappearing as he did so.

Here Be Dragons

View Online

Ale woke up to the sun shining gently into his room. With a grunt he rolled off of the bed and onto his feet. He stretched for a few moments before heading downstairs. As he reached the bottom of the stairs he saw Twilight hunched over her writing desk with piles of books strewn around her. Her mane was knotted and her fur looked rugged; she obviously had a long night of studying. Ale decided he would eat another one of his limited MRE’s outside in the Pelican. The grass was glistening with a wet dew that had yet to vaporize away from the sun.

Ale had just finished his meal of ham and scrambled eggs when a blue mist floated in front of him. He slipped on his helmet as a scroll materialized from the mist, Ale catching it in his hand as it fell. He broke the seal that no doubt belonged to Luna judging from the crescent moon decal. He unfurled it and began reading.

Dear beloved,

I would have delivered this message personally if matters in the court hadn’t arisen. We have need of you at a desert town called Dodge Junction. There are recent reports of a rogue dragon causing problems there. We know not as to why the dragon has gone on a rampage. Our guards are ill suited for this situation and we ask that you please resolve it as peacefully as you can. We are confident that if things turn south that you will be more than capable of handling it. We ask that you depart post haste.

With love,


Ale set the letter down as he pondered the message.

“A dragon aye? Well, I guess I better prep my trusty steed,” Ale declared out loud as he patted the Pelican lovingly. He stood and walked back to the library to leave Twilight a note. He walked in to find her drooling on the desk, smudging the ink from the heavy writing she had performed the night prior. He quickly found a piece of parchment and a quill with an ink pot. After breaking three quills and cursing at the ponies lack of a ball point pen, Ale had left a message detailing that he was on a mission from the princesses and that he expected to be back by tomorrow at the latest.

He closed the library door as he left, snickering at leaving the note impaled on Twilights horn. He walked up the ramp of the pelican, closing the bay door behind him, and climbed into the pilots seat. He tapped a few commands and listened as the Pelican fired up. He checked the systems and found them to be green, prompting him to lift off the ground. As he circled the Pelican into the correct heading he saw a most peculiar sight. There was a hole where his Pelican had been sitting. He saw plastic shovels and even a spoon among other random junk at the bottom of the hole. He shook his head as this reeked of the doing of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

He turned the Pelican south and settled back for a long flight towards the desert, the gently increasing force of acceleration a pleasant feeling to Ale.


The sun was about halfway in the sky when Ale approached a small wooden town that looked like it had come straight from an old western film. Once again, many of the ponies were running around in terror at the roaring monster that descended from the sky. He landed in the middle of the town by a well, throwing up dust everywhere. When he felt the hull shudder with contact he began powering down the systems and locking the controls. He stood up and opened the ramp door. It settled on the ground with a gentle thump, tossing a brief spout of dust into the cargo hold.

Ale stepped forward slowly, promoting an air of tension amongst the observing ponies. The thumps from his feet stopped when he stepped off of the metal ramp and onto the dirt road. He looked to his right, spotting what he presumed to be the sheriff standing a few meters away. He walked towards him until he was a few feet away, towering over the pony. The sheriff looked up towards him fearfully, both exerting silence.

Ale smiled as he thought up of the cheesiest sci-fi line he could think of.

“Take me to your leader.”




A tumbleweed rolled through the streets between the crowd of ponies and the alien monstrosity. Ale sighed as he gave up.

“I really need to work on my doom bringing skills of mass panic.”

He glanced at the now confused sheriff before holding out his hand.

“Hi, my name’s Ale. I’m a Lunar Guard and I was sent out here to address a dragon problem?”

The sheriff shook his head as he tentatively held out his hoof to shake Ales hand.

“Sheriff Cherry. I ain’t ever seen one of your kind in the guard before.”

“Yeah, I’m not from around here. Anyways, you needed some help?”

The sheriff nodded. “You betcha. Just two days ago our cherry fields were attacked by a dragon. We need to stop it before we lose our whole harvest and lose the town.”

“I see. How big is the dragon?”

“I uh… I actually don’t know.”

“Okay, what color is the dragon?”

“I don’t know that either.”

“… So, do you know anything about the dragon?”


“Has anypony seen the dragon?”

“Uhh, no?”

Ale just stared at the sheriff before asking him one more question.

“Is the dragon made up?”

The stallion looked extremely offended, yelling in reply, “Of course it’s not made up! How else would our fields be on fire like they are?”

“Maybe it’s something other than an imaginary dragon.”

“Listen mister, I-“

“Yes yes, I know. You’ve probably served as the town’s sheriff for 35 or so years and you always get your man. Does that sound about right?”

“Well I-“ The stallion continued to splutter on before Ale spotted his deputy, an intelligent looking mare who eyed them with a shake of her head. Ale walked past the blubbering stallion before approaching the mare.

“Excuse me; do you know exactly what’s going on here?”

The mare looked up at him with a genuine smile as she responded, “No, but I do know that there is a dragon cave nearby.”

“And where might that be?”

The mare pointed to a distant mountain chain. Ale thanked her and walked back to his Pelican, firing it back up and shooting across the sky towards the desert mountains.


Ale saw the smoke long before he saw the actual cave entrance. The Pelican swooped in low as he hovered in front of the entrance. His radar was reading clear but Ale decided to manually check before heading out on foot. He turned on the Pelicans floodlights… only to turn them immediately off and jerk the Pelican to the side as a massive blue dragon barreled out. Ale barely missed it, his eyes widening as he was close enough to have seen its massive reptilian eye fill up his view port.

The dragon circled around and blew fire at him. Ale dived down and pushed the Pelicans nose up towards the dragon. He unleashed the full might of the Pelicans Vulcan cannon against the dragons tough hide. It roared in fury as it dived and slashed the top of the Pelican. The systems read minimal damage but Ale wasn’t going to let it hit him again if he could help it.

He swung the pelican around and gave pursuit to the fleeing dragon. They weaved between the mountain spires and squeezed through canyons, the Pelican hitting the sides every now and then due to the narrow passage ways. They flew out of the canyons and the dragon disappeared around a cliff side. Ale barreled around the corner, noticing too late that the dragon was perched on said corner. It lashed out and clipped the right side wing, causing Ales Pelican to spin towards the point of contact while lurching backwards and towards the ground. Ale nudged the missile release on accident while struggling to maintain the bird. The missile struck right below the dragon and caused a landslide. Ale braced for impact as the Pelican slid onto the ground backwards, the bird suffering little damage on the soft sand. Ale checked the systems and saw that the right engine had a cracked casing. It was going anywhere until that was repaired; luckily it was a simple repair that Ale just happened to have the parts for. He had bigger problems in the dust cloud in front of him however.

Ale was able to maneuver the left engine forward and gave a brief burst of power, clearing the dust to reveal a struggling dragon with a wing pinned under a boulder. Ale quickly got out of the Pelican and approached the dragon wearily.

“Listen, I can help you. All we need to do is calm down an-“

He jumped up as a large tail swept under his feet. He continued to dodge the dragons tail thrusts and smashes. Ale grabbed the dragons tail and stopped it from pushing him back. The dragon smiled evilly as it pulled its tail forward, catching Ale off guard and making him stumble forward. The dragon swiftly moved its head forward with its strong jaws open wide.

Thus, Ale met his tragic end when the dragons stomach burned hot enough to turn Ale into a pile of molten metal, shattering his soul bond with Luna. Her sadness and anger were so great that she fell into madness and became the feared nightmare she once was, overpowering her sister rapidly and conquering the elements, thrusting Equestria into an age of tyrannical rule.

Or so it would have been if Ale hadn’t tripped on a rock. He landed face first as the dragons head barely missed him. He rolled onto his back in time to have a massive clawed foot pin him to the ground. Ale looked the dragon in the eye as it began diving for the kill shot. He noticed a very faint green glow in the depths of its dark pupils; Ale concluding that there might be more to the dragon than he thought. He pulled out his combat knife and jabbed it between two armored plates on one of the dragons’ toes. It lifted its foot off of him in pain and roared in fury. It lunged one more time at Ale. Ale reared back his fist and delivered a nasty haymaker to the dragons snout.

While it did seem to have stopped the dragon, it didn’t look like it had damaged it all that much. Ale saw a bright green flash in the dragons eyes before it disappeared all together. The blue dragon shook its head before groaning in pain. Ale was surprised that the dragon was actually female, judging from the tone of its pained moans.

She looked down at Ale, her eyes widening in realization. She stuttered in fear, “Y-you’re the Armored Guardian! Please, I didn’t mean to hurt anypony I swear!”

She held up a claw to her snout, crimson rivers began flowing between her claws as she gazed upon Ale in fear.

Ale, still weary that this might be a trick, spoke up.

“Don’t give me a reason to hurt you and I won’t.”

She nodded rapidly in understanding.

“Are you alright?”

She lifted her talons away from her face to reveal that the blood had already dried up.

“I’ll be fine.” She turned to look at her wing. “My wing is broken though and I can’t move it.”

“May I?”

The dragon nodded and watched as Ale approached the boulder. Knowing that half a ton of weight on an already damaged wing would hurt a heck of a lot, he gingerly worked his way around to the boulder.

“This is going to hurt. On the count of three I’ll roll it off. Ready?”

The dragon nodded as she closed her eyes hard, waiting for the Spartan to act.

“One,” Ale pushed quickly, rolling the stone of her wing as she shrieked in pain.

“I thought you said on three!”

Ale simply shrugged, prompting a scowl from the dragon. She attempted to shift her wing and fold it onto her back before she roared in agony. Ale winced as he saw tears streaming down her face.

“Give me a minute,” Ale said as he ran to the Pelican. He rooted around the bay of the Pelican before finding the largest med kit he could. On his way out he stumbled across a loose strap that had fallen from its storage place. Thinking creatively, Ale grabbed two of them and headed back to the dragon.

She watched through blurry eyes as Ale opened a white case that had the ‘universal’ symbol for health on it. He picked up an object that looked similar to the one that was clipped to his right thigh. She watched as he picked up another cylinder that could fit inside of what must be the tool. He glanced at her before diving back into the case and grabbing six more of the smaller cylinders.

Ale walked over to the dragon and spoke, “I have painkillers if you’d like them.”

The dragon nodded her consent.

“Alright, you’ll feel a slight pinch… more like seven.”

With that he pressed the needle gun in between her armored skin and gave her a shot. He did that six more times, figuring that an animal her size could handle all of the painkillers. After a moment she sized with relief. Ale asked her if he could secure her wing to her back and set it properly so that she didn’t drag it everywhere while damaging it more. She agreed and Ale secured her wing with the two cargo straps. Satisfied with his work he stepped back from her.

“My name’s Ale. What’s yours?”


Ale nodded, all the while thinking about his next question, remembering her eyes after he had hit her.

“Well Zephyr, would you like to explain why you attacked and almost killed me?”

“I… I don’t know. I knew what I was doing but I couldn’t think clearly. It’s like I lost all control of myself.”

Ale nodded slowly. He could see mind control or some weird magical thing being responsible. He couldn’t believe how easily he was accepting all this magical stuff, but after hanging around Twilight you’ve practically seen everything involving magic.

“Do you think you were being controlled?”

The dragon looked at him in surprise.

“I don’t know how that would be possible. Dragons are naturally resistant to magic. It would have to be very powerful or we’d have to be tricked somehow.”

“Well, has anypony attempted to trick you?”

“I haven’t seen anypony in a long while.”

Ale thought carefully about what could have happened.

‘She said she had to be tricked or something had to be very powerful. Let’s see…’ Ale quietly pondered the situation, unnerving the dragon slightly as all she could see was a ram rod straight, expressionless, armored, and very deadly being. She had heard from other dragons about his recent escapade in the Crystal Empire against the rebel griffon army.

Meanwhile, Ale came to a conclusion.

“May I search your cave for any evidence of anything?”

“You may, although you’ll beat me there since I’ll have to walk.”

“Ha, same here,” Ale said as he pointed a thumb at the lightly smoking machine.

The dragon grimaced, “Sorry about that.”

“No worries. It wasn’t your fault. Let’s get walking.”

The unlikely duo steadily walked towards Zephyrs cave. The dragoness limped along while Ale had to speed walk to keep up with the dragons large steps.

It didn’t take them long to reach the cave. Ale stepped in first with his helmet lights lit up, searching the massive piles of gem for anything out of the ordinary. Ale saw two contacts on his radar currently hiding behind a large spire.

“So Zephyr, you said you don’t get visitors often?” Ale walked casually in the general vicinity of the two potential hostiles.

“No. The last visitors were two centuries ago. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, not for any particular reason,” Ale hefted his rifle as he leapt around the corner. “Other than that you may have a couple of thieves instead.”

“Please don’t hurt us!”

Two unicorns that looked to be brothers were standing in front of Ale, fearful about what the alien might do having discovered them.

“What are you doing here?” Ale asked.

“W-we were just after the gems.”

Ale stepped up to one of the gem piles and examined one of the gems. He could see a faint green glow embedded in it.

“Gems don’t glow green naturally. What’s wrong with them?”

The two stallions remained silent as they glanced at each other.

Ale stepped forward threateningly, “What did you do to them?”

One of the stallions spluttered out a response, “W-we enchanted them. It allowed us to manipulate the dragon. We only intended for it to leave so that we could have the gems.”

It!” Zephyr seethed in anger. “It has a name!”

“Easy,” Ale said. He looked towards the stallions.

“You almost got me killed. Did you intend for that to happen?”

The two stallions looked ashamed of themselves, telling Ale everything he needed to know.

“You’re lucky I’m not going to let Zephyr have her way with you here.” The two stallions looked extremely grateful until Ale continued, “However, I will report what occurred here. You can expect swift justice from Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. What are your names, and if you lie I’ll know about it.”

The two stallions looked fearful at what there punishment may be. So, in hopes of lessening their punishment by cooperating, replied truthfully.

“Flim and Flam.”

Ale watched them closely and nodded when they didn’t show signs of lying.

“Alright. Now if you would be as kind as to un-enchant these gems and leave this place to never return, I may not have to come back for you.”

The two stallions nodded and lit up their horns. Green auras from the gems coalesced into one form and disappeared into the air. They nodded to Ale and glanced fearfully at Zephyr as they trotted out of the cave. Ale looked up at Zephyr and saw her smiling appreciatively at Ale.

“Thank you Armored Guardian. I am forever in you debt.”

Ale looked at her curiously, “You called me that before. Why?”

“It’s what we dragons call you. You fell from the heavens, protected the deity of the night, and fight for justice and honor. If I may be as bold to ask, but may I see your face?”

Ale smirked as he reveled in his shroud of mystery.

“Maybe another time.”

“Ah,” she nodded in understanding.

“Well, I better get going. It was nice meeting you, even through the given circumstances, and I hope we cross paths again.”

“Likewise. You may visit my cave anytime.”

“Thanks, I’ll spread word of your innocence. You shouldn’t have any more trouble.”

“Goodbye, Guardian Ale.”

Ale left the cave and jogged back to his Pelican. He saw that the engine had stopped smoking, but he still needed to repair the casing. He rolled up his imaginary sleeves as he got to work, the sun steadily reaching the horizon in the background.


Flim and Flam were trudging through the desert as the chilly night descended upon them. They glowered angrily at their loss of a massive fortune and the interference of the alien freak. They were halfway to the settlement of Dodge Junction but still had a good hours trek to go. They heard a whine and looked up. They watched that strange flying machine fly overhead, a continuous bright white light accompanied by a flashing red and green light illuminating the machine. It continued flying in the general direction of Canterlot and Ponyville, steadily getting smaller.

“That stupid alien wrecked everything!” Flim exclaimed angrily.

“Don’t you worry brother. We’ll make him pay for what he did. He’ll be sorry he ever crossed us.”

“I think you’ll find that you’re going to be the ones that are sorry.”

Flim and Flam whipped around towards the voice that had spoken, confused and scared when they didn’t find anything.

“Over here.”

Flam turned around again and backed up against his brother.

“Flim, light up the area.”

His brother didn’t respond, Flam assuming that he was scared speechless.


Flam turned towards where he was touching his brothers body and screamed when the body that he thought was his brother lunged at him with a flash of teeth.

Ale continued flying on, the screams drowned out from the whine of his Pelican, oblivious to the bright green flash in the middle of the desert.

Rainbows, Sonic Booms, and Malicious Intents

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“All ya have ta do is aim fer the knots in the wood of the tree.”

Ale eyed the apple tree carefully, wondering whether or not this was a good idea. Earlier that day AJ had asked Twilight for help in the orchards. Ale, being the gentleman he is, volunteered to take her place instead. AJ had taken Ale to her farm and was currently instructing him in the art of applebucking.

“Are you sure AJ? I think I might hit it too hard.”

“Don’t ya worry. Ah purposely selected the strongest tree in the field. Just so ya could get a feel fer it.”

“If you say so.”

Ale took a step back from the tree as he shook out his arms briefly. He breathed in before throwing out his right fist with the speed of a runaway freight train. His armored gauntlet made contact with a solid crack, a shudder resonating throughout the ground. The immediate area surrounding his fist shattered into a million pieces resulting in the top half of the tree falling over. Ale slowly turned around to find AJ staring at him in disbelief. Ale lifted his hands, palms facing upwards, as he stared at them in silent contemplation.

“I probably should have mentioned that I’ve punched through grade A titanium battle armor in certain situations.”

AJ’s mouth still hung open as she seemed to still be registering what just happened.

“You know, you should close your mouth, especially in a place swarming with birds.”

She still didn’t respond.

“AJ? Hello?”

Ale seriously considered bringing her to the hospital before a distant shout caught his attention.

“Hey Ale!”

A rainbow blur flashed in front of Ale as RD came to a stop. She stood there heaving in breath as though she had just flown a few hundred miles nonstop. She breathed in deeply before calming down slightly. She looked over at AJ and pointed to her.

“What happened to her?”

“I guess she couldn’t handle that I just snapped one of her trees in half.”

RD nodded in understanding, taking the information in stride. She opened one of her wings and pulled out a letter.

“You have to read this!”

Ale opened the letter and read it carefully before lifting up his head in surprise.

“You’re being recruited into the Wonderbolts?”

RD looked elated when she heard it spoken; confirming that it wasn’t a dream.

“Yes! Do you remember when you were sick and I told you about my training with them?” Ale nodded. “Well, they finally accepted me! My dreams are coming true!”

“That’s nice RD. So, when are you leaving?”

“I’m going to grab some stuff right now and leave as soon as I can.”

An idea popped into Ale’s head when she told him she wanted to leave as soon as possible.

“Well, would you like me to give you a ride?”

RD’s eyes opened in suppressed excitement.

“The fast one?”

Ale chuckled out loud. “Well they’re both fast. But yes, we would take the Broadsword.”

RD flew straight up into the air, whooping in excitement. She soon fluttered back down in embarrassment as she cleared her throat.

“I mean, sounds cool.”

Ale simply shook his head before glancing over to the still frozen Applejack.

“Will she be okay?”

“Yeah, she’ll be fine. Let’s go.”

RD began flying towards town leaving Ale behind. He glanced between AJ and town before shrugging. He turned towards town and began jogging.


Ale was standing next to the Broadsword when he spotted Rainbow flying towards him. She waved as she approached; Ale reciprocated her greeting.

“You ready to go?” Ale asked.

“You know it! So, do I just jump into the backseat there?”

“Yep. Tuck your saddlebags beneath my seat okay?”

RD nodded as she flew up into the cockpit. Ale climbed up some footholds and watched her settle in. He reached over and helped her buckle into the awkward seat. After he finished he moved over and climbed into his seat. After securing himself Ale sealed the canopy and began the start up sequence.

“Where do I need to head towards Rainbow?”

“Well, the facility is near Cloudsdale. So head northeast.”

Ale opened the vertical thrusters, allowing the Broadsword to rise into the air. He nudged the thrusters towards the specified heading and slammed the throttle home; the Broadsword rocketed forward with Dash giving an ‘uncool’ squeal of excitement.


Ale headed towards a very large cloud that seemed to have an island stuck on top of it. He once again shook off the complete absurdness of it to prevent a complete brain meltdown. As he approached he was surprised to see the pegasi on the cloud acting with complete normalcy. So far everywhere else Ale went with one of his machines the local ponies would freak out. Here however, they were lining up in neat lines as a yellow mare walked along the front of them. Ale landed the Broadsword on the runway and began powering down the engines. He heard Dash tapping on the canopy with impatience. Ale chuckled as he pressed the release and let RD fly up and out of the cockpit.

“C’mon Ale! There’s somepony I want you to meet!”

Ale climbed out and jumped onto the solid ground. He walked around the front where he had seen Rainbow land earlier. He rounded the corner to find Dash saluting to the yellow pony from earlier. The mare acknowledged Dash with a quick salute before turning towards Ale.

“Welcome to the Wonderbolts training facility. My name is Captain Spitfire.”

Ale reflexively stood at attention, saluting the captain as he replied, “CPO, Ale 02-05.”

Spitfire waved a hoof at him. “There’s no need for that. I may outrank you but I’ve heard stories about you. You’ve probably had more combat experience than the whole Royal Guard.”

Ale stood at parade rest as he responded, “You have no idea ma’am.”

Spitfire looked over to Rainbow Dash. “Well then, are you ready to be a part of my team?”

“Yes ma’am!”

“Go get your uniform from the locker room. A locker has already been marked for you.”

RD saluted smartly before running off towards one of the buildings. Ale chuckled slightly.

“She sure is excited huh?”

Spitfire smirked as she looked in the same direction. “Every one of my recruits reacts the same way. I have high expectations from her.” Spitfire looked up at Ale. “Don’t tell her I said this but she will be unknowingly competing for my second in command. With that said, I’m confident she’ll be the winner.”

Ale nodded, silently cheering Rainbow in his head. The yellow mare looked at the Broadsword behind Ale.

“So, how fast does that go?”

“Hmm… Well, I could tell you, or I could lie and deny my knowledge of the craft and instead take it for a spin as an excuse to find out its speed and to potentially show off my technological prowess.”

“… Stallions,” Spitfire murmured.

Ale smiled widely as he turned around and jumped into the Broadsword. He strapped himself in and began flicking switches; a slow whine beginning to build up. Spitfire stood back alongside the other ponies that were still lined up. Ale lifted off the ‘ground’ and gently began flying a safe distance away from the base while circling back around. When he was sure he had their attention he throttled rapidly and began running through an air show that was sure to make their jaws drop.


Ale eased up his air speed as he finished his on-the-fly routine. He banked hard enough to allow a visual between him and Spitfire. He saw said mare and a familiar rainbow maned mare waving at him. Ale lifted his hand and gave them a slight shake of his hand. He then turned towards Ponyville, rocking his wings side to side as a final salute. Ale decided to warm up his engines one last time and raced towards his home.

Time flew by as the crystal blue sky with a smattering of white fluffy clouds passed overhead while the rough green and brown terrain blurred beneath him. The Broadsword's radar picked up the beacon he had placed in Ponyville; signifying the time to slow down. Ale had learned earlier that the radar was able to pick up objects the size of pegasi, thus allowing him to travel rapidly through the skies without having any fatal collisions.

He was soon able to see the town and smiled at how peaceful it looked. It didn’t have any marks of war present and the occupants were happy. Ale slowed down to a crawl as he approached the giant tree housing the library. The leaves shook violently as he lowered himself towards the ground. After the feeling the bump of the landing gear making contact he powered down the war machine and opened the canopy. He was about to jump out when a pink blur toppled him out of the machine and onto the ground.

“Ale! Have you seen Trixie?! She was supposed to stop by SugarCube Corner earlier today to help me with something.”

Ale stared up at Pinkie in bewilderment, mostly curious as to why she tackled him for such a trivial problem.

“Uhh, no Pinkie. I haven’t seen her. Have you tried the library? She may be talking to Twilight about magic or something.”

Pinkie continued to stare at him with a panicked expression for a few moments longer before donning a look of realization.

She giggled a bit as she lifted a hoof to her chin.

“Oh yeah…”

Ale sighed before pushing her off and standing up. Pinkie shot into the library where a loud scream followed by a crashing sound emanated. Ale walked into the library to find Pinkie and Rarity in a tangled mess. Pinkie shot up and zipped around the library, most likely still searching for Trixie. Rarity put a hoof to her forehead and groaned as she picked herself off the floor. She looked up at Ale and gasped in horror. Ale was about to question her when instead he found her standing on her hind legs and staring intently into Ales visor.

“Rarity, what’s wrong?”

Her eyes furrowed as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Why my mane of course! Pinkie ruined it and your helmet is the only reflective surface available at the moment.”

Ale shrugged. ‘Mares.’

“Is Twilight around?” Ale asked.

Rarity stepped down as she finished touching up her mane.

“No. I believe she went with Fluttershy to talk to Zecora.”

Pinkie zipped between them as she looked down at the ground with a crestfallen expression.

“I can’t find Trixie.”

Rarity smiled at Pinkie as she lifted her face up with a hoof.

“Are you sure you looked everywhere?”

Pinkie nodded. “She’s not in Ponyville.”

Rarity was about to reassure her until a dreadful thought flashed through her mind.

“What… what if the Diamond Dogs took her?”

Ale looked away in thought before shrugging.

“Can’t hurt to pay them a visit and ensure that they heeded my warning.”

Pinkie nodded rapidly causing her oversized camouflaged army helmet to slide down her face; Ale seriously wondering where she got an item hundreds of years old from his own world. Rarity nodded a bit more hesitantly before standing with a determined expression.

“Well then,” Ale hefted his assault rifle, “…let’s go.”

Ales pace, while fast and leaving two haggard ponies struggling to keep up, had them standing in front of the Diamond Dog hole in no time. Ale immediately could tell something was wrong though. His first clue being the stench that wafted from the hole. He inspected the dirt and found it to be torn up violently as if a whole army had tore through here. Turning around, he found the two ponies to be turning green as they struggled to keep the contents of their stomachs in. They didn’t seem like they realized what the smell actually was; Ales suspicions confirmed when Rarity spoke.

“What is that dreadful smell?”

“… Bog water,” Ale lied.

The two ponies nodded, still clenching their muzzles in disgust.

“You two should leave. In fact, have Twilight wait for me when she returns.”

They looked like they were about to argue until Ale pointed back the way they had come. They nodded obediently and began to make their way back home. Ale turned around and activated his helmet lights. Unlike the girls he knew exactly what made that smell. Being a soldier and around as much death as he had one soon learns the different sounds and smells of the battlefield.

Ale navigated the darkness until he rounded a corner and the tunnel widened into a cavern. There he found the source of the stench. Piles upon piles of dead Diamond Dogs were strewn about the cavern. Ales helmet lights weaved back and forth across the cavern. As he was moving he thought he saw a shadow dart across the wall, his lights illuminating a dark shape. Ale confirmed this contact by the brief red blip that had shown up on his radar. He swiftly ran around a pile of dogs and brought his rifle to bear.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He checked his radar and cautiously walked around the area only to find nothing. While he was a Spartan and had no fear he couldn’t help but be unnerved at the situation being eerily similar to that of the Flood. He performed one last sweep before retreating and leaving the cave.

After his lights had completely left the cavern a flash of green illuminated the cavern. A black figure stared after the bipedal figure closed its eyes briefly. Its horn lit up as it connected to its superior.

‘… Understood. We will accelerate ahead of schedule.”

Lost Chapter I - Flying Fortress

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Ale sat in his room, roiling in anger. He wasn’t necessarily raging about his lack of a ride home as much as he was mad at the ease of which Celestia judged that he should become a part of their society.

‘She’s a manipulative one.’

Ale heard a knock on his door and decided to ignore it. After a full minute had passed more knocks rang out, prompting an exasperated sigh from Ale. He stood up and opened the door to be greeted by Princess Luna.

“Ale! Are you okay?”

Ale stood in the room, swaying side to side ever so slightly. Luna let out a breath before looking at Ale with understanding eyes. “Listen Ale, I may not know what it’s like to be surrounded by those you don’t know or fully trust, but I do know what it’s like to be alone and without hope. My time on the moon has taught me that.”

Ale looked at her in confusion. “The moon? What do yo-“ Ale smacked himself at his stupidly when a thought raced through his head. “The Ember! I have to get to the Ember!”

It was Luna’s turn to look at him in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“Luna, the ‘Enduring Ember’ is the ship I came in on. I have to get to it so I can travel back to UNSC controlled space.” Another realization ran through his head that caused him to lose his upbeat attitude. “I can’t get there though. I don’t have a vehicle here to get me out of atmosphere and you don’t even have a space program yet.”

Luna smiled and bopped him on the chest before gesturing to her horn. “Magic remember?”

Ale looked at her in confusion. “What d-“ Luna’s horn lit up and engulfed them both. Ale felt an incredible discomfort as he stopped breathing and was surrounded by blackness. He heaved in a deep breath of air as he stumbled forward a bit on the metal grating.

‘Wait, metal?’

Ale looked up and found himself in a metal hallway. He instantly recognized it as the Ember. It also helped that he could see a decal on the corner of an intersection sporting the UNSC emblem along with the ships name printed beneath it. He turned around to find Luna shaking off the effects of teleporting such a vast distance.

“Next time, warn me when you’re going to do that.”

Luna smirked playfully. “No promises.”

Ale shook his head, his small grin hiding beneath his visor. “Let’s go. Command deck is this way.”

They navigated through the ship; the hallways for the most part undamaged in anyway and still pressurized. Ale avoided the lower decks as they had sustained most, if not, all of the damage from the Covenant assault and the unstable slip space de-entry. Ale saw the steel doors to the bridge and typed in a code on a small panel next to the door. They slid open and allowed entry to the Spartan and alicorn of the night. Ale walked up to the A.I. holopad and addressed it out loud.

“Cassandra, are you operative?”

The holopad flickered to life as the A.I. designated ‘Cassandra’ showed herself. “All A.I. operations are active sir.”

“Excellent, how extensive is the damage to the ship?”

“Sub-decks D and E have sustained heavy damage and are void of atmosphere and power. There are large breaches in the lower hull. However, the low level landing thrusters are mostly intact and still have power directed from the bridge. Engines and all navigating thrusters are still active. The MAC and its secondary drives are still functional. Primary slip space drive is at 27% operating capacity.”

Ale smiled happily at the news. “Well then, set course for Earth and let us be on our way.”

“I’m afraid that’s not possible sir.”

“What do you mean?”

“The coupling between the engines and the drives are damaged.”

Ale stared at the A.I. in disbelief. “Well, can I fix it?”

“I only have basic knowledge on maintenance and repair regulations. The ship lacks the necessary parts for such a repair and there are no tech crews on deck.”

Ale became unnervingly quiet as he thought carefully about his situation. He himself lacked the knowledge necessary to fix such a complex coupling and the A.I. even told him that they lacked the correct parts. He sighed as he came up with the only option available to him.

“Drop a beacon. What do we have in the hangar for transport?”

“Scanning… Most of the vehicles in the hangar have been destroyed from the Covenant attack and the violent slip space de-entry, but according to my scans there are prototypes locked in the cargo portion of the hangar.”

Ale nodded and turned around to find Luna looking at him with a small frown. “I’m sorry that you are unable to return home.”

Ale nodded before gesturing for her to follow. He led them down to the hangar and looked around. There were piles of debris everywhere. The broken and burned skeletons of the many fine UNSC war machines were scattered about. Ale cringed at the site of a disabled Scorpion lodged into the hangars control room. He only hoped that the occupants had died from the radiation blast before the tank smashed them. He looked to the far side of the room and spotted the doors to the secured cargo hold. Ale approached it and found that he needed a secure keycard to get in. He had heard rumors earlier about the machines in this room and knew that only two key cards existed to enter this room; the captain and chief engineer being the holder of these cards.

He turned to Luna. “Stand back okay?” Luna nodded while Ale walked to the other side of the room. He faced the doors and crouched in a sprinters starting stance. He breathed deeply before running at the reinforced door with all his strength. With a yell he collided with the doors and broke it right off its hinges. He turned around to find a shocked Luna. He smiled as he turned on his helmet lights and browsed the room. A Pelican, Sabre, and Warthog were locked securely in their loading clamps. Ale walked up to the Sabre and took a hold of its wheel locks. With a sharp jerk he broke them easily. Ale gripped the front landing gear and rolled the Sabre out of the room.

“What is that?”

“It’s our ride out of here since I don’t quite feel like teleporting again.”

“It wasn’t that bad was it?”

Ale remained silent as he visually confirmed the condition of the plane. He climbed up the side and pulled the external canopy release lever. With a hiss the glass covering slid back.

“Luna, I need you to ride in the back seat alright?”

Luna glided up to him and sat down in the alien seat. Ale helped her strap in before instructing her on the things she shouldn’t touch. He then strapped himself into the pilot’s seat and closed the canopy. After making sure that all systems were green and good to go he commanded the hanger doors to open remotely and watched as the atmosphere vented out. With a dull roar the Sabre lifted off the deck and was maneuvered out of the ship. Ale pushed the throttle to full and accelerated towards the planet.

As they neared the planet Luna became nervous.

“Ale, we can’t enter the planet’s atmosphere like this. Should I put up a shield?”

“There’ll be no need.”

Luna looked on in confusion. “But you crashed yourself after burning up after re-entry.”

“The Sabre I crashed in was damaged and I was performing a steep re-entry angle, thus causing the explosion that destroyed my bird. This one is perfectly intact and can perform the same steep angle of re-entry just fine. I am taking us on a safer approach vector though, so we should be just fine.”

Luna nodded and watched as the machine began to breach the atmosphere. All the front edges of the machine began to heat up and turn red, flames beginning to lick up past the canopy. Luna was astonished when the red heat stayed just that, red. The material must have been incredibly heat resistant if it wasn’t even turning white yet. This thought soon passed however as the Sabre finally began to cool down as it flew in the ice cold air. Ale steered the plane through the crystal blue skies and headed towards the distant mountain castle. As they approached Luna noticed that they were traveling much too fast to make a safe landing and voiced her concern.

“We need to slow down!”

Ale seemed unconcerned as he asked, “Tell me, what is Celestia doing at this time of day?”

Luna answered through her fear clenched teeth, “She’s usually having her afternoon tea.”

Ale smiled cruelly as he hit the afterburners and accelerated much faster…


Celestia was having a stressful day. She remembered watching Ale storm off and hoped that Luna had calmed him down. Come to think of it, she hadn’t seen either of them in a while. After the incident with the Spartan Celestia had opened day court and listened to a particularly dull squabble between a few nobles. She sat through their arguments and was disgusted at their attempts of furthing their fortune and power.

‘Some things never change.’

Celestia just finished her sandwich and wiped her muzzle with a gold enshrouded napkin. She then lifted her tea up and began to drink from it when she spotted a black speck high in the atmosphere from the balcony. She stopped drinking and her eyes widened when it rapidly became larger at an impossible speed right towards her. The object flew by in the blink of an eye. There was a two second pause of dead quiet before a HUGE roar screamed past, causing all of the glass in her room to shatter including the tea cup she was holding. Her ears were pressed as flat as possible against her head, barely surviving the sound without exploding and caused Celestia to become incredibly disoriented.

She quickly cast a spell to get her bearings and noticed that she had spilt hot tea on herself. Ignoring the pain, she galloped over to the balcony and saw the craft banking far off in the distance. Fearing for her subject’s safety she cast her senses out to observe the object. She was slightly confused when she sensed Ale and Luna riding in a machine.

‘Is he attacking? What is Luna doing with him?’

She watched in concern as the machine started coming back for another pass. She was about to grab a hold of the machine to stop it and question the occupants before she saw panels all along the craft flare out, causing it to slow down drastically and almost stop by the castle. It was slowly moving forward and began to lower itself. Wheels popped out beneath it as it neared the ground, the guards that had rushed out blinded by the powerful winds it was creating beneath it. With a bump the machine landed and the loud sound of its engines began to wind down. After a minute it became quiet and the rectangular glass dome on the front of it slid forward. Ale climbed out of his seat and unbuckled Luna before turning around and facing a wall of spears.

Celestia quickly jumped off the balcony and glided down.

“Stand down! Everything is alright. Return to your posts.”

Many of the guards responded instantly to her command and left while a few lingered until Celestia’s glare sent them running. She turned towards the ones responsible for interrupting her break.

“Luna, Ale. There better be a good explanation for this.”

Luna came to Ales defence. “Sister, Ale suggested that I take him back to his ship so tht he may return home. He learned that his ship was broken and simply asked that we take his own method of transportation back to Equis.”

Celestia nodded, happy that she had gotten straight to the point. There was however one more thing to address as she turned her gaze to Ale.

“And the reason for breaking my tea set that I’ve had since I was a filly?”

Ales hands were clasped together as he twiddled his thumbs. “I may or may not have decided to exact revenge for getting Luna to toss me around by flying past your castle at very high rates of speed.”

Celestia burned him with her gaze for a little while longer before smiling slightly and shaking her head. “I may have deserved that then. Very well, I’ll let you slide past this time.”

Ale breathed in relief before Luna spoke up. “It’s not as if you could repair your tea set perfectly with magic sister.”

Celestia’s smile disappeared as she scowled at Luna. “I didn’t necessarily want him to know that. If he didn’t know that I had the power to do that it may have prevented future incidents in the future.”

Luna’s eyes widened in realization as Ale began to chuckle quietly while rubbing his hands together. His actions were stopped just as quickly however when Celestia fixed her steel gaze on him. He laughed nervously before coughing into a fist.

Celestia nodded; satisfied that she had gotten her point across to Ale. She was about to leave before Ale interrupted her.

“In all seriousness though, I have a request.”

Celestia perked her ears towards him as she faced him. “I’m listening.”

“I would like a place to land the ‘Ember’. It needs to be fairly large, clear, and flat. The airspace also needs to be clear so that no accidents happen while it is landing.”

Celestia thought carefully about his request. She responded slowly, “Why do you want your ship?”

“Well, I’m more comfortable to call it my home than anywhere else. It also helps that it has all the food and equipment I need.”

“Very well, but it will be under supervision at all times. I don’t expect you to share any technology, especially since it’s all military in nature and I’ve already had one scientist get hurt.”

“I wasn’t going to anyway.” Ale shut his lips after Celestia shot him a ‘be quiet’ glare.

“The skies will be clear tomorrow after I tell the guard to keep all pegasi grounded. You should land in the plains between here and Ponyville. Now if there are no further inquiries I am leaving to finish my tea.”

She turned around and began walking towards the door, smiling slightly as she saw Ale do a victory fist pump in the corner of her eye.



Celestia watched as a flying carriage approached the castle flanked by armed griffons. She stood by the main entrance to the castle with a few guards of her own as the carriage landed. After a few moments the door opened and five griffons stepped out. Four of them were dressed in short blue vests with two red lines running down their bodies. They sported a decal that pictured a closed book with a quill crossing over it. These were the signs of the griffon ambassadors’ assistants. The final griffon was dressed in flowing red robe with gold and blue spirals all along the robe. He had a decal that showed an open book with a wreath crown positioned above it. This was, of course, the ambassador himself.

“Good morning ambassador Tawny Feather. I hope your trip was pleasant.”

The griffon looked upon Celestia with contempt before replying, “Let’s not waste breath with pleasantries. I’m here for one reason and one reason only and I wish to get this over with.”

Celestia calmly blinked before nodding. “Very well. If you would please follow me we can begin as soon as possible.”

Celestia led them through the numerous hallways to a decently sized meeting room with a huge balcony that sported an impressive view of Equestria. The massive Everfree Forest, Cloudsdale, and the distant titans that were the Equestrian Mountain Range and border between the ponies and griffons were all visible.

“Will this do?” Celestia asked.

“It will work just fine.” With that said they sat down at the ancient oak table.

Celestia took it upon herself to start the meeting. “So ambassador, what is it that you wished to discuss with me?”

“The king has requested more land from Equestria. Particularly the area the Crystal Empire resides in.”

Celestia figured this would happen. Relations with the griffons had always been shaky at best and with the emergence of the Empire bordering so close to their territory it would only have been a matter of time before they requested this.

“I’m afraid the Crystal Empire is going to stay under our control and will continue to do so. As it stands, the empire is not in your territory.” The griffon looked as if he was going to explode in anger as Celestia continued. “In regards to your request of more land Equestria will not change its current boundaries. However, you are more than welcome to claim any of the uncharted territories.”

The griffon slammed his clenched talon into the table. “You know that only leaves the frozen wastes of the north and the changeling infested badlands!”

Celestia coolly sipped from her tea. “You very well know that this is untrue. You already have a colony across the Eastern Sea and have been very successful over there. You can expand as much as you want on the new continent.”

“The Griffon Empire is running low on resources and needs more sources closer to home! The land you currently own at the base of the mountains would be enough to supply this need.”

‘Now they’re demanding land from Equestria directly? Can they not make up their minds?’

“The mines in your mountains are plentiful judging from the trade rates that are currently occurring. I know for a fact that your small tracts of farm land are producing bountifully and are sustaining your population just fine due to the fact that I blessed that land myself. Now, is there anything else I can help you with?”

“You wench! We will take the land forcibly and crush any resistance! Since you are refusing to give into our demands we will punish you by taking over your whole country!”

Celestia stood and walked towards the balcony. The griffons began spouting threat after threat towards her and screamed at her disrespect for her guests. She simply scanned the sky and pulsed her magic far away through the atmosphere. She smiled when she sensed that a certain object had long since moved from its original position.

(Skip to 1:30 for full effect, some of you may recognize where this is from so cookie for you!)

The clouds high in the atmosphere shifted as a dark shape moved through them. A large shadow swept across the land as the clouds burst forth. The huge metal form of the ‘Ember’ moved rapidly through the sky. Parts of it were still red and steaming from re-entry as it began to move towards the earth. A shimmer could be seen rippling out from it and a large gust of wind smashed into the castle, causing the curtains and Celestia’s mane to billow behind her. She turned around and smiled at the griffons shocked faces as they watched the battle scarred alien ship settle towards the ground.

“Oh, I should probably mention that Equestria has made contact and befriended a space faring race known as Humans. Their main attributes are their tall height, silent integrity, fierce determination, technological prowess, and most importantly, their passion for fighting in what they believe to be just and right.”

The griffons donned a look of fear as they realized what this could possibly mean. Celestia simply turned back around as the griffons began spluttering apologies and begging for mercy. She raised her tea cup and took a relaxing sip of tea.

Two Dawns

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A quiet beeping woke Ale from his slumber. He opened his eyes and was greeted by his blue HUD sporting a gently flashing light dictating the time. With a neural command Ale turned off his alarm and shifted out of bed. After he had reported his findings to Twilight yesterday he had set an alarm due to an extra early shift at work this morning. He carefully tread on the ground as he walked through the library towards the front door; his armored mass moving surprisingly fast and quiet, honed by years of training and combat. He reached the door and exited into the cold night air.

He walked through town towards the lumber yard and observed the quiet peacefulness the night gave off. While everything seemed perfectly fine Ale still felt like something was off. He knew very well that he should trust this feeling since it has served him well after years of battle. He continued to head towards his destination with caution, checking his surroundings every now and then. Ale reached the fenced lumber yard with no incident and checked in at the guard house. He politely waved off the night crew as they left for their homes.

After punching in, Ale looked over his work itinerary and followed it to the letter. He continued working as the day shift came in some time later, surprised at how much work was already accomplished by the alien. His work day was surprisingly drab with only a few things here and there requiring special attention; meaning he cleaned a toppled crate filled with adult magazines that was rather unexpected by Ale and assisting in the repair of a wagon.

It was midday by the time he finished and clocked out. As soon as Ale stepped outside he felt the same feeling he had earlier that morning only a lot stronger. He looked up and down, side to side, even going as far as to switching through his different vision types through his HUD and pinged his radar multiple times. Ale even sent a neural command to the ‘Ember’ to sweep the surrounding space for any slip-space signatures. After Cassandra reported a clean sweep did Ale begin to move, startling the ponies that had been staring at the seemingly disoriented Spartan. Ale did not shrug off the strange feeling, knowing full well that doing so could be a huge mistake and instead placed it in the back of his mind.

Ale continued walking through town until he reached the library. He was about to walk in when the door opened, revealing Twilight and the rest of the mane 6.

“Hi Ale!” Twilight said. “We were just on our way for our weekly picnic. Care to join us?”

Ale shrugged as he replied, “Sure. Where are we going?”

“To the park. We always sit on this grassy knoll under the shade of a tree.”

“C’mon Twilight! You could have just said the park. We don’t have all day!” Rainbow said.

Twilight placed her forehoof on her head in exasperation as she replied, “Let’s just go.”

Ale stepped aside and let them pass. He turned with them and began following them to their meeting spot in the park.

“So Rainbow, why aren’t you out training right now?”

“The Wonderbolts, in celebration of my recruitment, decided to celebrate it here in Ponyville.” As Dash said this Ale noticed a few blue and gold streaks performing aerial stunts in the sky above him.

“Let me guess, Pinkie’s in charge of the party?”

The pink menace, as Ale had started calling her, jumped up and down rapidly as she exclaimed, “Yeppers!”

The group entered the park and soon reached the grassy hill that Twilight had described. Twilight used her magic to set up the red and white checkered blanket and opened the picnic basket to place all the food out. She looked towards Ale and smiled.

“I should probably mention that Luna sent a message last night Ale.” With this said she levitated a gold ticket towards Ale.

He plucked it from the air and studied it curiously. “What’s this for?”

Rarity gasped, “Why, it’s only the most important event of the year! The Grand Galloping Gala!”

Ale’s visor hid his confused expression, but AJ picked up on his predicament by the lack of response or enthusiasm.

“It’s where groups uh nobles get together and have themselves a rooten tooten hoedown.”

Ale nodded in understanding at AJ’s down to earth description. Rarity huffed a bit.

“Yes well, while AJ’s description was a bit unrefined it is a fancy party none the least. This reminds me,” She began quivering with excitement, “you must need some sort of suit. Would you be interested in letting me create a fabulous suit for you?”

Even her irresistible puppy eyes were no match for the will of one who has seen as much death and horror as Ale. Seeing her tactic wasn’t working she began quivering her lower lip and blinked her eyes rapidly as if she was going to cry. She perked up slightly when she saw Ale inhale a breath.


She let loose an exasperated sigh. “You’re no fun!”

Ale chuckled gently before Twilight cleared her throat. “Anyways, Luna invited you to attend the gala with her. It occurs in three days.”

Ale smiled at the chance to spend more time with the dark alicorn. “Count me in,” he replied.

The group settled into conversation as they began eating, Ale simply watching as he still refused to remove his helmet and wasn’t particularly hungry at the moment. After half an hour or so the ponies finished up and began packing up their picnic.

“Are you sure you don’t want anything? I’m sure there is something left for you.” Fluttershy asked.

Ale shook his head and waved at her gently. “I’m fine, but thanks for asking.”

Rainbow Dash spoke up, “Well, I better make sure to tell Spitfire that the party will start soon.”

“I have to write a report to Celestia about our attendance to the gala this year.”

“My animals are waiting for me to feed them as well.”

“And I must simply finish my masterpiece!”

“I have to finish collecting apples if I want to meet my criteria for catering at the gala.”

“And I have to finish setting up Dash’s party!”

Ale nodded and began to say goodbye before he was struck paralyzed with a feeling of dread. He immediately whipped towards the Everfree and studied it carefully.

“Ale? What’s wrong?” Twilight asked.

Ale stood stock still as he felt his gut drop out and waves of adrenaline rolling down his body. His armor enhanced hearing began picking up sound coming from deep within the dark forest.

“Ale?” Twilight asked again.


Twilight and the girls looked extremely confused. “What? Ale, what’s happening?”

Ale looked towards the colorful ponies that he had come to know and befriend and spoke with a terrifyingly familiar professional tone.

“Go to the library and lock the door. Barricade all the openings and don’t come out, no matter what you hear. Warn anybody you see along the way to stay inside and hide.”

Twilight looked like she was going to argue before Ale’s hearing alerted him to the buzzing sound becoming much, much larger. With a massive stomp, Ale frightened the girls.

“Promise me you won’t open the door!” The buzzing was clearly audible now and the girl’s eyes widened in fear. “Go! Tell Celestia as soon as possible!”

The girls began running towards Ponyville. Ale turned towards the forest as he saw a massive black hoard charge out. Ale estimated an 800 meter distance between him and the hoard. He rapidly grabbed his rifle from his back and began firing into the line, holding his ground against the oncoming swarm. Ale felt dread as he watched more and more changelings pour out from the forest to fill the gaps of their fallen comrades. They were rapidly approaching in a much, much larger swarm than Ale originally anticipated.

Without a second’s hesitation he turned around and began sprinting back towards Ponyville as fast as he could, leaving the changelings in the dust. Ale knew that the changelings would kill, the guard he had briefly known when he first came to the castle being living, well used to be living, proof. As he ran Ale thought over his options as to how he could most successfully defend Ponyville. Ale was no fool and knew that this was not a good situation. He was used to reinforcements when counter-attacking, not solo defending an entire position filled with innocent, defenseless civilians from a Flood like strategy. It was obvious to say that this was not going to end well.

Ale crested a ridge and saw Ponyville rapidly approaching. He was frustrated when he saw many ponies standing outside and near the edge of town when they heard the report of Ale’s rifle, ignoring the mane 6’s attempts to get them indoors.

“Run! Run goddamn it!” The ponies still seemed unfazed and in desperation, Ale raised his rifle and fired short bursts of hot plasma at their hooves, clearly getting the message across as they dispersed. Ale was almost there when he glanced behind his shoulder and saw that the changelings had already crested the hill and were beginning to fire green bolts of magic at the town. Ale took a few bolts himself, his over shield thankfully taking the assault in stride. Ale flew into town and saw most of the ponies slamming their doors and windows shut, barricading their homes as best as they could. He knew that getting the changelings to cluster up at a choke point would be his best option when fighting in an urban area like this by himself.

He soon reached the library and immediately headed for the garage, the screams of ponies beginning to ring out as the changelings reached the town and began their assault. Ale practically sheared the metal lid off a long green case stored next to the garage. He pulled out the LAAG that he had dismounted from the Warthog and hefted it up into a firing position. He moved at a fast jog as he headed for the area of first contact. He came around the corner of a house and saw the changelings rushing up the street towards him like a dark shadow. Ale spun up the LAAG and began lobbing 12.7X99mm armor- piercing rounds at them. The insects began dropping rapidly under the unending stream of hot lead ripping through their bodies. The roar of the gun and the screams of the enemy were dulled significantly through Ale’s sealed environment. Ale held his ground and braced himself against the powerful recoil of the chain gun.

The swarm had slowed down dramatically and struggled to push towards him. Body parts flew everywhere, green arcs chasing said parts; a fine green mist flying out after red gold streaks. Ale watched carefully as the changelings began splitting up and taking to the air to flank him. Ale began pedaling rapidly backwards as he spread his fire as best as he could. Ale noticed the gun barrel beginning to turn red and steam, his ammo counter also dropping rapidly. Knowing that the gun would become un-operational if he kept up his current rate of fire Ale dropped the massive gun and pulled out his SMG’s. He continued firing as he fled into an alley way to take cover, his over shield beginning to beep loudly as it dropped dangerously low due to the overwhelming amount of magical attacks it had endured. He barreled between the two buildings and turned another corner. Ale frowned when he hit a dead end and turned around. A black mass slammed into him and drove him back against the wall.

Unfortunately for the changeling, Ale was a lot more heavy and stable then it predicted and at the speed it was traveling physics took over. The bug disappeared in a fine green mist as Ale’s over shield proved to be much stronger than its exoskeleton. Ale looked up to see that a group of changelings had chased him. They gave little warning before charging him while firing their magic. Ale dodged to the best of his ability in such a small place but he still took hits. His shields finally became taxed beyond their limit and fell. The magic bolts, while failing to penetrate his armor, still gave a lot of force. Ale felt the hard hits and powered through it, more concerned about their sharp horns and fangs that could potentially break through his under suit and injure him. They came within striking distance as Ale began deflecting their hoof strikes in a blur. The changelings were no match for the Spartans super human reflexes and fell quickly to his onslaught.

Ale activated his jet pack and flew up to the roof. He was met with an unexpected surprise as pegasi in familiar blue and gold outfits were flying through the air, dodging green missiles and cutting through swarms of flying changelings with what looked to be wing blades. While it was a relief that he had some outside help he could still see that many of them were wounded and one would drop out of the sky here and there. Ale was about to help relieve some pressure off of them when he saw a fire maned pegasus fly rapidly through the sky, burning many changelings with some sort of enchanted wing blade set. Satisfied that the pegasi could handle themselves, Ale jumped down into the middle of a street and immediately took cover.

Black forms were flying everywhere and Ale heard many ponies crying out in fear. Ale saw a large group of changelings heading down the street towards his position. Thinking quickly he leaped through a storefront window that had already been shattered and was met with a gruesome site. Three mangled corpses of what once was a small family were scattered about the front room with blood splatters everywhere. Ale felt sickened that something so violent could happen to something so innocent. He looked out of the window he was currently crouching behind and saw the changeling group passing him. With a new sense of duty, Ale climbed quickly out of the window and opened fire on their undefended rear. They screamed and attempted to fight back but were simply mowed down by Ale’s SMG’s, the silent Spartan efficiently killing them and disappearing. He moved around the town as quickly and quietly as possible, killing many groups with guerilla tactics. Ale found himself in the housing area and, hurrying to keep those that sought shelter there safe, cleared the area of most hostiles. When he reached downtown he felt a sense of dread.

Swarms of changelings were still attacking and many buildings were on fire. Ale watched as a door was torn down and a few changelings rushed in. Hearing screaming, Ale abandoned stealth and rushed forward, watching as a few ponies rushed out of the house and were chased by laughing insects. Ale pulled out his magnum and fired as he rushed at them, dropping the ones that were flying. The other changelings stopped their pursuit and instead ran at Ale. With swift bashes with his magnum and a follow up with his combat knife, the black beings were on the ground bleeding out or already dead. His actions caught the attention of the swarm however and they began chasing him. Ale turned swiftly and barreled through a burning building, the fire damaged structure collapsing at the loss of more support on top of a mass of changelings. Ale continued running as he came out through the other side, his shields taking an absolute beating. A large green flash slammed at his feet and cratered the ground, sending Ale flying through the air. He landed on his chest with a huff and attempted to stand only to be tackled by a massive force.

Ale struggled against the force of a hundred changelings pushing on his body, his shields failing impossibly fast. Ale brought his elbow back and knocked a few changelings off of him to give him enough room to roll on his back, his magnum already out as he fired rapidly into the crowd that was less than an arm’s reach away. He was immediately engulfed again and struggled with all his might. His visor turned red and began beeping as his shield depleted and exposed Ale to the brunt of the changeling attack. He felt their punches and magic strikes right away. Ale shifted his head in time to avoid being impaled in the neck by a black horn. He was surprisingly quiet as he squirmed under them, wincing when he felt sharp fangs bite through his under suit in his lower left forearm. Knowing that this was incredibly dangerous Ale activated his thruster pack and blew out from the black mass, toasting a few of them on his way out. Ale slammed head first into a building and now knew why that was dangerous as he was stunned from the strong impact with no protection from his over shield, his armor and body taking the brunt of the impact.

He quickly regained his bearings as he jumped up onto his feet and brought his rifle to bear. The swarm was closing in on him fast and Ale prepared for a repeat performance before a rainbow blur wiped all the changelings off their hooves. Ale immediately fired on the knocked down bugs and crushed a few of them with his armored boots while running through them. After killing them he quickly scanned the sky for the blur knowing full well who that was. Changelings were still flying through the air but were noticeably smaller in number. A cyan flash caught his attention as he began chasing it down, firing on the black bugs that dared get in his way as he sprinted. When the pegasus attempted to take a corner Ale leapt into a flying tackle and took them both to the ground that would make many football fans cheer.

“Oof! Let me go!”

The pegasus whom Ale now confirmed was Dash began bucking and squirming violently. Ale kneeled over her and turned her around on her back so that she could see his visor. She immediately calmed down but scowled angrily at Ale.

“What are you doing!? Let me go back out there!”

“I told you to stay in the library!”

“Yeah well you need me more out here then inside cowering! Besides, I’m a part of the Wonderbolts and they need me!”

“Listen Dash, I’m sure Spitfire would agree with me that in this situation the elements need to be protected at all costs! The girls need you!”

Dash was about to argue when she grimaced in pain. Ale searched her over and found one of her wings to be burned badly.

“Now look at what you’ve done to yourself!”

She looked a bit ashamed before Ale interrupted her. “Get up. I need you to walk and head towards the library.”

She nodded and they both quickly got up from the cover Ale had tackled her into. Ale ran alongside the quadruped as he fired at changelings with his specialized assault rifle. They ran past rubble and dead changelings everywhere, occasionally passing by the corpse of a pony. Rainbow looked terrified as she saw what the insects were doing when she wasn’t traveling at blurring speeds. Ale kept her on track however with the report of his rifle ringing in her ears. Ale checked his vitals while running and was happy to find that the wound on his arm was superficial really. A Spartans healing capability would take care of it in no time. Ale soon saw a purple bubble encasing the library and was shocked to see the number of changelings trying to break it down. There was easily twice the number that had tackled him earlier. Knowing that he probably couldn’t take on twice the number that had already injured him earlier and with an injured civilian with him he resorted to asking for Dash’s help.

“Rainbow, can you get a raincloud over their heads quickly without getting spotted?”

She saluted him as she grinned. “You got it!”

She grimaced as she powered rapidly into the air, easily outrunning any changeling that wanted to chase her. She quickly brought a cloud laden with water high above the library and began manipulating it to rain heavily. The second the water began making contact with the changelings and covered the purple dome, Ale pulled the secondary trigger on his rifle, sending a bolt of electricity into the hoard of bugs. They instantly began dropping silently as powerful yellow bolts leapt all over them. Ale smiled a bit as it reminded him a bit of a giant bug zapper. This was short lived however when he saw RD falling towards him, spiraling out of control. Ale reflexively clipped his gun to his back and threw out his arms, barely catching her as he crouched with the impact, helping disperse some of her momentum. She was breathing heavily and was unconscious, Ale knowing that the strain of her injury probably put her into shock. He quickly ran through the bubble shield as both his armor and human self negated almost completely the effects of the dome.

He opened the door with one hand and was promptly smacked in the face with a frying pan. Spike immediately began apologizing as Ale simply shrugged it off since his shield had long since come back online. He was however a bit irritated when Pinkie fired her confetti cannon at him, covering him and RD in streamers. Twilight and the girls rushed up to him and drilled him with questions, Twilights horn alight and visible strain on her face.

“She’s fine. But I told you all to stay here. I expect there to be no further accidents. The changelings are being driven back but do not come out until I say so.”

Ale turned to leave and continue the fight until a yellow hoof reached out and grabbed his arm.

“Are you okay?”

“It’s just a skin wound.”

“What about the others? Are they okay?”

Ale remained quiet and watched as their faces fell with tears building in their eyes, Flutters sporting the thousand yard stare. Ale nodded at the others to comfort her and to keep RD safe as he turned and left. He quickly ran out into the green gore that covered the streets and looked around. He couldn’t spot a changeling in the sky or on the ground fighting in the immediate area. He heard fighting towards the side of town where they had first attacked and swiftly ran to the Hog parked nearby. He jumped into the driver’s seat and started it up. He put his ‘lead’ foot to good use and sped quickly through the streets, crushing the dead bugs under the legendary machines wheels. Ale admittedly had a tough time driving with all the debris and bodies in the road, the hog wanting to roll every second as it bumped violently and side swiped buildings as it struggled to retain traction. Ale turned on the windshield wipers to wipe the green gore off the windshield as he neared the edge of town, said town being empty of hostiles as they were all dead or had retreated. He reached the edge of town and saw a fight still occurring in the fields between Ponyville and the Everfree forest.

He throttled through the creek, washing the hog as he sprayed across the channel and drove up the opposite bank. Many of the Wonderbolts were still fighting the numerically superior enemy, many of them heavily wounded but determined to protect their fellow brothers and sisters. A large group of bugs made a thick sloppy rank line as they began firing magic at the blue uniformed pegasi. The attack was devastating as many of them could not avoid the solid wall of green magic. Ale took this chance to throttle heavily right towards the bugs. They didn’t even have time to react as the three metric ton machine rammed into them with its high beams on and horn blowing loudly. The hog shuddered violently at the combined mass of insects it smashed into. The machine also began rolling violently and Ale gripped the roll cage above him with one hand. The hog finished its roll and, as designed, landed on its wheels. Ale slammed the gas down and pressed L2 (Just kidding) engaged the rear axle power steering and performed a 180 donut. He straightened the wheel and held his rifle in his left hand as he began firing on the retreating stragglers. He chased the running ones down, running them over as he fired at the ones that took to the air. After a full minute his rifle fell silent as it silently smoked, the whole front of it turned red with its almost non-stop firing and in danger of melting with anymore use.

Ale whipped the hog around and floored it back to Ponyville, Spitfire yelling at him to check on the elements as she checked her fallen teammates. Ale was relieved to see that the changelings were truly gone as he didn’t encounter a single one while sliding through the streets. He slammed on the breaks however when he saw six familiar ponies walking out from the damaged DJ club. Ale leaned out of the hog and shouted.

“What are you doing!? I thought I made it clear that you had to stay in the library until I said so.”

Twilight looked at him as she replied, “We heard the fighting stop and wanted to check on the other ponies. We came here since the club is a good place to take shelter. We found survivors in here but they’re hurt!”

Ale nodded, still disappointed that they had disobeyed him but none the less jumping out of the hog and rushing to the back of it, pulling out a med kit. He started to stand up straight when a thought struck him. He stood up and looked at them as they stood in front of the club beckoning him to them urgently. He studied them carefully and noted a few things.

‘No signs of crying, no rugged fur, Fluttershy would never leave someone who was hurt, Dash looks fine,’ and probably the most important thing to notice, ‘their cutie marks are backward.’

Ale flicked his HUD view to see in a slower frame rate and revealed six changelings. Ale, acting as if nothing was wrong approached them with the kit.

“Quick! In here!”

Ale followed them in and immediately saw a massive group of changelings in the club, no doubt currently disguised.

Ale handed the kit to ‘Fluttershy’ and spoke up. “I forgot! I have more med kits in the back of the hog! I’ll go grab them real quick!”

He turned and was immediately pounced on by ‘Twilight’, ‘Applejack’, ‘Pinkie’, and ‘Rainbow Dash’. Ale swiftly killed them with his combat knife that he had already unsheathed and sprinted out of the club, performing a flying somersault to land feet first on the back of the hog. He gripped the maneuvering handles of the currently mounted LAAV, or gauss cannon, and turned it towards the club. He aimed right inside the open door where a few disguised changelings were already beginning to flood out of. ‘Fluttershy’ leapt at him from the ground and opened her fang filled mouth, her head promptly exploding as a MAC round fired through her opened maw and into the open doorway. Ale apparently hit something important as the whole club collapsed to the ground, killing all of its occupants in a massive crunching sound.

Ale dismounted and climbed back into the driver’s seat. He made his way over to the library and was relieved to still see the purple dome in place. He left the engine running as he climbed out and headed back into the library, this time ducking beneath the frying pan and pinching the lit fuse on Pinkies’ cannon. He looked around and saw Fluttershy conversing quietly with Rarity and Applejack. Pinkie was helping RD to her hooves and Twilight looked like she was about to break from the stress the shield was putting on her.

“It’s safe now. I wouldn’t suggest going outside but do as you wish.”

Twilight let out a relieved sigh as her shield collapsed. The others gathered up with each other and Ale stepped outside. The others followed soon after and gasped at the sight. A few buildings were still on fire while others were completely burned down. Some looked like they had even exploded. What was more disturbing was the massive amounts of green blood on the ground with hundreds upon hundreds of dead bodies littering the town. It didn’t help that you could see colored coats here and there that were streaked with red blood. Ale’s Warthog was damaged badly with multiple dents and ripped off armor in some places. One side of the front axle was bent making the machine lean to the left slightly when driving. The windshield was cracked and one headlight smashed out. It still rumbled proudly though as the true might of UNSC engineering endured. However, the sight of Ale brought more concern for the girls. His armor was scuffed and scratched everywhere with some parts scraped and dented slightly. Nothing looked melted however which was surprising since changeling magic was notorious for being super heated. His visor was smattered with green blood and, the most pressing matter for them, was his lower left arm which was streaked with red blood.

“Ale? Are you alright?” Twilight asked.

“I already told you, I’m fine.”

They were going to press the matter when a distant clinking dragged their attention. They looked into the sky, Ale already having pulled his weapon out. He put it away however when he spotted the tell tale gold armor of the Royal Guard. A very large detachment consisting of 50 plus pegasi approached the blood soaked streets of Ponyville. They landed with slight squishing noises and looked around in horror. Ale stepped forward.

“Who’s in charge?”

A pegasus clad in gold armor with a red stripe shook his head as he stepped forward. “T-that would be me sir,” he replied shakily.

“Are you all that the princess sent?”

“She has sent a detachment of unicorns and earth ponies but it will be a while until they get here.” The guard looked around once more before asking, “What in the name of Celestia happened here?”

Ale looked towards him with his head slightly angled at him. “The reaper of innocent lives and the destroyer of nations. War.”

The pony looked shocked as he wiped a foreleg across its muzzle, leaving a bloody streak.

“Find Captain Spitfire. She will tell you everything you need to know. Get these streets cleared and help those injured. Burn the remains.”

Ale turned to leave before the obvious rookie interrupted him. “Wait! Where are you going?”


The pony looked nervous as he looked around. “What if they come back?”

Ale actually scoffed at him. “Listen, I highly doubt they’ll come back after seeing what a single soldier was capable of doing. If they do come back you better hope your training pays off. It is your responsibility to defend your fellows. Find Spitfire.”

Ale walked to the ever rumbling Warthog and climbed in. Applejack rushed over to him before he could leave.

“Just where do ya think you’re going?”

“I must speak with Celestia in person.”

“You have ta stay! We need ya!”

“AJ… Look around you. I can’t let this happen again. I must speak with Celestia.” Ale gestured behind her with his hand. AJ turned around and saw exactly what Ale was referring to in a new light. All the destruction strewn about frightened her. But she realized that it would have been much worse without the Wonderbolts timely arrival and Ale. She pictured the same scene only in Manehatten where she had once been before. She recoiled at the sheer thought of such destruction and death.

“Your friends need you AJ. We both know that you’re checked into reality more than the others. That’s why you’re still standing with a straight mind. That’s why you need to be the one to help your friends.”

She looked over her five friends and widened her eyes in worry. Fluttershy was curled into the tightest quivering ball she had ever seen sobbing loudly. Rarity was on the ground knocked out cold and Rainbow was streaming tears quietly. Pinkie was standing next to the body of a fallen pony and was shaking the corpse gently, desperately asking if they were okay and that they would come by later to celebrate their victory. She began to shake the body harder before giving up, studying her gore covered hoof while rocking back and forth on her haunches, whimpering quietly. Twilight’s reaction was the most heartbreaking. She stared at the ground, her ears sagging while her wings hung limply in the green mud. Her proud and determined demeanor was gone and was instead replaced with an empty, hollow feeling.

“Go, your friends need you.”

AJ began walking away before looking back. Her eyes were sad as she stared at Ale. “Please, be careful. You need to come back, for our sake.”

Ale nodded before revving the engine. The Spartan began carefully driving down the street, avoiding survivors and reaching the edge of town quickly. As soon as he was clear he accelerated as fast as he could, slowing down slightly when the hog began shaking too violently when pushed too fast due to its damage. Ale vied for a silent ride as he was in no mood for entertainment. The late afternoon sun shone brightly upon the land, it’s brilliance out of place in such a perverse situation.


Celestia trotted back and forth on her balcony, her student’s letter worrying her greatly. An attack on such a peaceful town by the changelings was devastating. She had sent as many guards as she could spare in hopes of countering the threat. Her pacing was interrupted by the dull whine of a very familiar machine. She looked out over her courtyard as the noise approached, the gatehouse opening to permit the entry of the vehicle. She wished she didn’t recognize the vehicle as it came into view. Her eyes widened at the sight, the bright green streaks clashing violently with the dull green, grey, and black armor. The machine looked to be in terrible condition, the occupant hidden behind the impenetrable white spider webbing of the glass windshield.

The machine stopped and its rumbling ceased. Celestia sat down in shock at the implications of such damage to the seemingly unstoppable space warrior’s vehicle. The Spartan jumped out and looked up at Celestia. With a shake of his head at the sad sight of such a powerful being Ale activated his jetpack and flew up to her, landing beside her with a dull gentle thump. He watched as Celestia looked at him.

“How many?”

Ale sighed gently as he sat down next to her. “Hundreds, if not lower thousands. We succeeded in driving them off however.”

“And the ponies?”

“Unknown number of casualties. The town’s destroyed and many of the Wonderbolts were killed.”

Celestia shook her head desperately, refusing to believe what Ale had said. She knew he was right though judging by the visible damage on him. She quivered as she began crying gently. She blamed herself. ‘I could have done something to save those that she resided over. I’m the goddess of the sun! If only I had paid more attention.’

Ale watched as she suffered silently. He guessed she was probably feeling the same way he had after New Alexandria. Ale felt the need to give her something that was unavailable to him during his time as a Spartan. He leaned over and hugged her gently, whispering comforting words. Celestia wrapped him tightly in her forelegs and continued to cry into his battle hardened armor. She hiccupped as Ale rubbed her back soothingly.

“It’s going to be alright,” Ale said as he finally pulled away from her. She sniffled as she nodded. She stood up shakily, supported by Ale as he helped her regain her bearings.

“W-what do I do?”

“You will rest and help those that have suffered when you’re more presentable,” Ale said as he began to lead her towards her bed.

“And what will you do?”

Celestia felt like Ale was staring back at her dead in the eyes through his silent cyan visor. “Ensure the safety of those I have befriended.”

She saw her eyes widen in her reflection as she registered the meaning of his words.

“Y-you can’t! We need you here!”

“Who said I wasn’t coming back?”

Celestia huffed at him. “You will be careful won’t you? I have a sister to look after and a promise to uphold if you fail.”

Ale found himself smiling slightly at her remark even in such circumstances. “Don’t worry. I don’t plan on visiting the sun any time soon.”

Celestia nodded as she lied back down on her bed, nodding at the door. “You will have a guide accompany you when you return to your machine. He will direct you to the last known location of the changeling hive.”

Ale nodded thankfully in her direction as he exited the doors and closed them gently behind himself, the late evening light still shining in through her majestic windows.


Ale walked down the corridors as he headed back towards the courtyard. He reached the main hallway that led to where his hog was waiting when the doors at the end exploded inwards. The night princess had a wild look in her eye as she stormed in, calling Ale’s name loudly. She spotted the Spartan and teleported quickly to him. She stood on her hind legs as she embraced Ale, the human reciprocating the gesture. She was shaking violently as she cried out.

“When I saw the Warthog I-I thought you were hurt! The guard explained everything and I’m so happy you’re alright!”

Ale continued to hug her tightly as she continued crying. “I’m okay. I’m okay. It’ll take a lot more than a bunch of parasites to take me down. I should know; I’ve had plenty of experience with them.”

Luna’s shaking slowed down as she started to calm down. She looked up, revealing her grief stricken face. The fur below her large eyes was matted and damp, her eyes puffy from crying. She glanced down and Ale winced when she froze, her eyes locked on a slight red blood streak on the left side of his thigh armor. She pushed back while still holding him in place as she got a good look at his arm. The sight of his damaged armor and bloodied arm started her shaking right back up again. Her horn lit up as she attempted to heal it, only to fail her task as his natural resistance and the stress of the situation proved to be too taxing.

Ale quickly pulled her in another tight embrace as he assured her he was fine. “Luna, calm down. It’s superficial and I’ll live another day.”

She still continued to shake, prompting Ale to take drastic measures. He yanked his helmet off with his undamaged arm and pulled her face upwards. He quickly locked lips with her, successfully ceasing her shaking as her brain registered the intimate contact. They stayed that way as long as possible, Ale stroking her back as he comforted her. When neither could hold their breath any longer they broke their kiss and stared at each other, huffing slightly to regain their breath.

Luna was the first to speak. “Thank you.” Ale smiled gently as his eyes softened. Luna collapsed against his chest as she took comfort in his breathing and strong grasp. She felt dread however, as she heard the next words leave his mouth.

“Luna, I need to leave.”

She pulled back from him in confusion. “What do you mean? Where do you have to go?”

Ale sighed as he replied, “I have to go and make sure the changelings don’t hurt anypony like this ever again.”

Luna looked at him in fear. “Surely you don’t mean-“

“That’s exactly what I mean,” Ale interrupted.

“But, but you can’t! You won’t survive an assault on the hive!”

Luna felt fear when she saw the look of pure determination on his face. “I have no choice. It’s them or more innocent lives. I didn’t have a choice against the Covenant and I don’t have a choice now.”

“Please. We can wait and call our forces together. There’s no need to risk your life after you’ve done so much. Ale, the bonding between our souls is almost complete. The changelings will feel the bond when it is complete and fear you as it is the most powerful magic in existence. It will solidify resistance to mind manipulation magic and the changelings are very good at it. Wait until you have a better defense.”

Ale replied without hesitation, “There’s no time. If we wait they can retreat and strike again before we are prepared. My whole life has been an occupational hazard and it’s no different now.”

Luna felt tears building up again as she knew there was no way she could stop him. “O-okay. Just, please be careful. You better be back for the gala.”

Ale pulled his helmet back on. “I’ll come back. I promise.”

“Don’t make a girl a promise you can’t keep,” Luna said.

The Spartan nodded as he began walking back to his hog, oblivious to the silent tears that crawled down Luna’s face.

(I’m really sorry about quoting from Halo but there are some killer and fairly emotional lines that are too good to give up. Also there is more to the soul bonding then meets the eye. Carry on.)


Ale headed outside and saw a pony guard inspecting the hog. He approached and coughed, the guard jumping as he spun around.

“Sorry that it’s not in the best of condition but if it runs that’s all that matters.”

The guard cleared his throat. “Yes well, I believe introductions are in order. I’m Lieutenant Quick Scroll. I was assigned to be your guide and to follow your orders sir.”

“CPO Ale.” They both nodded at each other and Ale gestured to the hog. “Well then, let’s go for a ride.”

The two soldiers climbed into the hog. Ale turned it on and put it into gear. They swiftly sped through the gate house and drove through the streets. Ale maneuvered the war machine out of the city and on to the moonlit plains. Ale’s new navigator pointed out to the desert, Ale following his command and steered towards the distant dunes. Ale turned on some music to help pass the time.

They both sat back and listened to the music as Ale kept driving. Ale was reminded of the hopelessness mankind felt as they were pushed back from colony after colony due to the Covenants ruthless genocide. He felt similar with the situation between the changelings and the ponies. Ale however felt conflicted at his current role in this conflict. Wasn’t he about to perform genocide just like the Covenant?

‘No. This is nothing like the Covenant. They were out to destroy us because they thought we were an affront to their gods. They were blindly following the instructions of the lying Prophets.’

This was different. He was protecting that which he knows is right and just. Ale knew in his heart that his duty required him to defend those who cannot defend themselves from the evil that lurks everywhere. With a new sense of finality Ale stepped on the gas a bit harder, pushing the hog faster while maintaining stability from the damage the hog suffered. The desert stretched farther than he could see, the Spartan knowing he was entering the area known as the badlands. The noise of the Warthog echoed out across the dead land as the brilliant shine of the moon continued to light their path.


Ale slowed the hog down as Quick Scroll began pointing to a distant mound in the ground. Ale cautiously drove closer, sticking to the shadows with his lights off as he searched for an area to hide the Warthog. He found an ancient riverbed that was deep enough to shield the hog from view of the hive. He stopped the vehicle and turned it off.

Quick Scroll looked at him and nodded. “How do you intend on destroying the hive? We can’t take them on by ourselves.”

Ale jumped out, Quick Scroll following his lead. “Tactical detonation.”

“You have an explosive big enough for that?”

Ale sighed as he walked towards the front of the hog. “Yes. Unfortunately, it’s going to cost us our ride.”

Ale patted the beaten hog lovingly as he opened the engine access. Quick Scroll nodded as he watched Ale separate the glowing blue core from the machine. The core was a long hexagonal shape that was armored along its edges. It was supported by metal webbing. He pulled out a small rectangular plate that had a small screen with glowing red letters. Ale placed this on the core and typed in commands. The device read, ‘REMOTE DETONATION’, before being replaced with a pulsing, ‘ARMED’. Ale pulled his rifle off his back before magnetically clamping the core onto his back. He turned to look at Quick Scroll.

“Let’s go and be quiet.”

Quick Scroll followed Ale as the Spartan walked cautiously forward, his rifle up and painfully aware of the gently glowing blue light emanating from his back. They made good progress as they neared the mound, said mound turning out to be a massive hill that rose from the center of a huge crater. Ale pulsed his promethean vision and came up with a clean reading. Ale kept wary however as the flood was also good at hiding from sensor equipment.

Ale held his rifle with one hand as he vaulted over the edge and crouched, riding the sloping cliff face on his feet while leaning back and using his free hand as a mean of balance. He reached the bottom quickly in a small shower of pebbles that tumbled quietly. After ensuring that he had not yet been discovered Ale looked back up the cliff face to find Quick Scroll. He became extremely cautious when he did not see the pony and began looking along the cliff face. He was interrupted when a noise to his right pushed Ale into action quickly. Within a second Ale had his combat knife out and pressed against the throat of the now pinned noise maker. A second later Ale had his knife sheathed and stood up. Quick Scroll was lying on the sand, gulping breath fearfully as he struggled to maintain control of his bladder. Ale helped the poor bastard up and shook him down.

“Where were you? How did you get down here?” Ale whispered.

Quick Scroll steadied his breathing as he glared at Ale. “I traveled down an erosion path,” he whispered back.

Ale nodded and held his hands up apologetically. “Don’t sneak up on me like that.” The stallion nodded and Ale motioned for him to be quiet as they observed the hive. Ale could see a tunnel in the side of it by the ground and assumed that was the entrance if the tracks leading in and out of it were anything to go by. They approached the tunnel, Ale switching to night vision so that he could navigate in the dark. He swept his rifle side to side, making sure that there would be no surprises jumping out at him. The tunnels were no longer made out of sandstone but instead were made from a hard, smooth, black surface. It was also fairly damp and was frighteningly similar to the conditions he had seen in a 20th century movie. They continued moving deeper into the tunnels, Ale surprised at the stallion’s ability to maneuver in the dark. It was either the large eyes or maybe the glowing of the core on Ale’s back that helped Ale figured.

He was beginning to get concerned that they had yet to encounter any resistance and that maybe this was a trap until the tunnel opened along one wall and curved along the wall of a massive cavern. Ale crouched and motioned for Quick Scroll to do the same. They approached the walled edge carefully and peered over it. In the center of the room a large glowing green orb illuminated the room, helping disguise the glow from the core on Ale’s back. In front of the orb a throne made of the same substance that constructed the tunnels sat. The largest changeling Ale had ever seen sat on the throne. Judging from its slender form and crown Ale guessed that it was a female and thus a queen; which made perfect sense if they’re insect like. The platform that the throne and orb sat on was surrounded by hundreds of changelings.

Every changeling in the room had their eyes closed including the queen. Ale decided to monopolize on this opportunity as he pulled the core from his back and replaced his rifle. He set it down and checked it to make sure the explosive on the core was set. He began linking up the explosive to his neural interface so that he could mentally detonate once he was clear until a quiet clinking sound caught his attention. He looked down to his left hip in time to see Quick Scrolls hoof recede from him, his over shield having allowed access to Quick Scroll due to him being marked as a friendly. Ale turned to look at him. His eyes widened in surprise as Quick Scroll was enveloped in green flames, revealing a changeling with two red stripes running horizontally along both his shoulders marking him as a specialized unit. The changeling smiled evilly as its horn lit up and a green bubble surrounded himself. Ale realized what the changeling had just done and began to reach for his grenade pouch. Ale was far too late as it detonated, the force breaking the over shield instantly as it came from within the shield. Ale flew off the ledge in a shower of rock and dust as he fell down the wall.

He hit the ground with a loud thud, his prone form being battered by falling debris. Ale’s HUD was flashing red violently and had a single crack running down the middle of it. Ale didn’t feel or hear anything as the adrenaline pumping throughout his body was numbing everything. Ale fought against the blackness that pooled along the edges of his vision and attempted to push himself up. He got to his hands but when he tried to get on his knees his left leg refused to respond, causing Ale to fall back down. A mental command had already been sent and brought up his bio and armor reading. The left side of his waist armor had a large crack running through it and his body suit was breached. The reactor thankfully wasn’t damaged but it was majorly taxed out and needed time to recharge, his armor abilities being temporarily unavailable. His bio readout stated his thigh had a large amount of shrapnel buried in it with a large part of his quad muscle severed. With some insane amount of luck no arteries had been damaged and he only had some minor internal bleeding. His leg would be fine after he doctored it up.

He was already trying to get back up and had gotten to his hands when a crushing blow hit him in the side causing him to collapse. He wheezed as he tried to suck in air and tried to look towards his assailant only to be kicked in the face. His head was ringing, but his hearing did begin to return. Loud screeching and hooves stomping greeted his ears. He coughed up blood and tried to get up again. This time he was allowed to get to his hand before a voice called out.


The noise instantly died in the room except for Ale’s wheezing. He looked up and saw the queen’s surprisingly bright green eyes stare at him.

“Bring him forward.”

A dozen changelings had to use their magic to pick Ale up a foot off the floor as they floated him over to the throne. They were struggling to hold him up as their magic began to give out, prompting them to drop him in front of the throne. Ale coughed again and rose to his knees painfully, his left side flaring in a pain so great it almost knocked him unconscious. The queen was staring at him with a very self satisfied look.

“Well, I have to say that your reputation gave me the impression that you were a giant unstoppable alien monster.” She smiled as she looked over his shoulder. “I’m rather disappointed that it was this easy to stop you.” Ale watched as the core and his weapons were levitated over to her side and set down.

“What *cough* can I say? I’m only human.” Ale shifted as he took stock of his weaponry, frowning when he found that they had picked him clean. They must have known what they were doing. He decided to stall for time as he thought up a plan. “You’re Chrysalis I presume?”

The queen looked at him thoughtfully. “And you are the metal giant they call Ale.”

The two stared at each other for a while longer, Chrysalis studying the alien creature with interest while Ale was searching for a plan to defeat the insects. The explosive charge on the core was mangled, no doubt the red marked changeling the one responsible. He shifted his helmet to gaze upon the special changeling, Chrysalis watching his actions with interest.

“I can sense you anger, and I must say it tastes absolutely divine.”

Ale looked at her in confusion, Chrysalis getting the message as she was able to sense his emotions.

“Contrary to popular belief changelings can eat most emotions. Love is just preferred due to its power. Unfortunately, those emotions must be directed at the changeling in order for them to eat. Being the queen has its perks however, as I am linked to my subjects thus allowing me to see, taste, hear, smell, and touch as they do.”

She inhaled deeply before continuing.

“I have an offer for you, human.” She walked towards Ale with a piercing gaze. “Join me. Together we can rule Equestria and nothing can stop us.” Her eyes flashed with disgust as she added, “I’ll even let you keep your pet princess and her naïve sister, provided that they have their powers removed of course. Can’t have them causing anymore trouble now can we.”

Ale watched her before looking towards the marked changeling again. “I’ll tell you what’s going to happen,” Ale said. “I’m going to stab him or her in the eye and kill all of you. I’ll even return home in time to keep a promise.”

Chrysalis chuckled as she shook her head. “You’re sorely mistaken. You’re in no position of power here and your bomb has been destroyed. Consider your options. You can die or accept my offer.” She looked at Ale with a disturbing sultry gaze. “I’ll even allow you to be my consort.”

Ale had listened to her every word and while he was disturbed at her offer he was distracted as her words sparked an idea. He pulled up a schematic of the ‘Ember’ on his HUD, the blue image flickering a bit at the middle where the crack ran down. Ale watched as his command was received and the secondary drives began warming up, the MAC gun highlighted red on the image as a progress bar began filling up at a decent speed as power was diverted to the massive weapon. Ale suddenly felt as if a second pair of eyes was viewing the same thing he was. He felt a strange tingling in his chest. He didn’t know if Chrysalis was doing something and looked at her to see her waiting patiently for his answer.

‘No, she’s not doing that. Well if she’s not then who is?’

He began to feel as if his body was being tugged. He instantly remembered that this was exactly what he felt when Luna had teleported him to the ‘Ember’.

‘Wait, Luna?’ As soon as he thought this he felt a comforting presence and smelled the particular scent of Luna, a slight crisp mint filling his senses. He realized that Luna must be using their soul bond in such a way that she was watching him and attempting to teleport him out of there. Ale sighed as he realized that he couldn’t leave, not with the ‘Ember’ tracking his signal. It pained him to know that Luna knew what he was up to and that she would watch him die. Through his own eyes nonetheless.

‘I have to do this Luna. I’m sorry that I won’t be keeping my promise.’

He could almost feel the desperation in Luna’s attempts to teleport him as if she could feel his sense of finalism. Ale actually began sweating in an effort to dampen her attempts at teleporting him, her magic strengthening as she tried to save him.

“Well? I’m waiting.”

Ale looked up at her and smiled with bloody teeth, his visor hiding his wide smile.

“Fuck you.”

Chrysalis recoiled with anger. “You insolent fo-“

Ale lunged forward as best he could from his knees towards his weapon pile. He landed on the back of his shoulders as he completed a forward somersault, grabbing his combat knife in the progress. With blurring speed he lodged his knife in the eye of the red changeling up to its hilt, the changeling opening his jaw in shock; his body teetering for a second before falling over with a dull thud. Before Ale could react a black hoof smashed him in the face, cracking his visor further as a mess of white lines spider-webbed in a circle around the point of contact. Ale hit the ground on his back and received a few hard blows to his gut. The blows stopped raining down and Ale struggled to his elbows, seeing the queen back up from her attack with a very angry expression.

“*Cough cough* I’m sorry. Was he *cough* your favorite henchman?” Ale watched as the blue schematic in the corner of his visor changed the red highlighted MAC cannon to a rapidly pulsing green. He felt Luna’s magic strike him harder and knew it was time.

“Fool! I’m going to take pleasure in watching you die.” The surrounding hoard of changelings began hissing as they approached. Ale began chuckling, his voice getting louder and louder as he burst out into laughter. The changelings looked a bit confused as they hesitated. Chrysalis looked extremely pissed as she frothed at the mouth.

“What is the meaning of this?!”

Ale calmed down as he breathed deeply before shaking his head. “Die? Didn’t you know? Spartans never die.” Her look of confusion was lost to a bright white flash.


Luna cried out as she saw through Ale’s eyes the glowing green weapon on the blue image of his ship turn yellow, her fears being confirmed when text on the bottom read, ‘MAC ROUND AWAY’. With Ale still resisting her, horn still lit, coat sweating with exertion, and fatigue clawing at her body she galloped to the closest balcony and looked out over the desert. The dawn was rising slowly on the horizon, the badlands still embraced by shadows. She watched a white streak fall blinkingly fast towards the ground and closed her eyes as it flashed brightly when it made contact, the explosion creating a second dawn with the sheer intensity of the light. Luna dropped to the ground and screamed as an agonizing pain ripped through her body. It was much worse than the time she and Ale began linking up. She screamed until she almost blacked out with lack of oxygen. She felt hollow, as if a part of her very being had been ripped out.

She weakly tried searching for her connection to Ale and found nothing but pain. Her heart twinged as she began crying at the loss of her loved one. She continued sobbing loudly into the stone floor, a puddle of her tears soaking her coat and mane as it had stopped flowing. The sound of a ponies hooves softly treading on stone approached her. Luna felt a warm wing embrace her and looked up into the magenta eyes of her sister looking at her with sadness.

Luna choked out, “He- he’s gone.” Celestia nodded and wrapped her sister tighter as she attempted to comfort her sister as best as she could. She looked up and saw that the light had disappeared from Ale’s weapon, a massive layer of airborne dust mixing with the gentle hues of the dawn sky.


The metal cooling vents of the glowing blue drive closed as the engine came back down to a stable temperature. The blue engine turned a duller color as it continued to cool down to a standby state. The lights along the power lines leading to the MAC dimmed after a new MAC round was automatically loaded into the massive gun. All operational devices that were not necessary in the operation of the ship turned off and waited to be turned on again. With her task complete and her orders fulfilled, the A.I. Cassandra disappeared from her projector. The command room darkened and the functional screens flicked off all but one. It pulsed gently, blue text lighting on and off.









‘I really need to quit waking up like this.’

Ale slowly opened his eyes, his vision black. He closed his eyes and tried to remember what happened. The schematic had turned yellow, reporting the MAC’s activation. He remembered telling the queen something, her face turning into confusion. Time had slowed down as he saw the ceiling begin to split, a blinding white light beginning to peak in. The queen’s horn had lit up with a green aura. Ale remembered reacting with possibly the fastest speed a Spartan had ever accomplished. His combat knife had somehow found its way into his hand as he lunged forward and planted it into the front leg of the queen. His other hand had also grasped her horn. There was a bright green flash that was excruciating to his body. He had literally felt his soul scream at the pain as it must have had a negative effect on it. Perhaps her magic was the cause of it?

Ale opened his eyes again and found his vision returning. He saw dust raining down on him in a dawn sky. He rested a moment before attempting to lift his head. Ale regretted this immediately as he was struck with much more pain and felt nauseous. He closed his eyes and rested for longer.

After he felt his headache recede he struggled to his feet, his body taxed far enough that he was unable to even gasp in pain. He stumbled for a bit until he propped himself on a nearby rock. He looked around and found that he was a good mile out from the crater that used to be the hive. He looked around and was surprised to find the bodies of a few changelings, the one he had personally killed among them.

‘How did they get there?’

Ale was distracted as he also found his weapons lying around. After he policed them, his combat knife still missing however, and returned them to their respected places he explored a bit more. He found the core to the hog buried partway in the sand behind another rock. It was dented but looked no worse for wear. He marked it on his radar for later retrieval and began scouting around, limping painfully as his left leg was still heavily injured. He soon sat down and addressed the problem. He pulled out a portable can of biofoam and applied it in the crease of his hip armor. As best as Ale could figure he theorized that the queen had attempted to use some sort of teleportation spell. Grabbing her horn had probably disrupted it in a way and caused several other objects to be taken along as well. After the biofoam set he stood up and was much more stable and in less pain. A glimmering nearby caught his attention as he looked over. His knife was lying in the sand a short distance away. He walked over to it and picked it up. It was covered in green blood, the surrounding area surrounded in blood as well. Ale stood and looked out towards the distant mountains as the blood trail led in that direction.

Ale pulled out his assault rifle and began walking; he had an insect to exterminate.


2 Days Later…

Luna walked slowly through the halls of her castle, her head low and steps dragging. She was clothed in a very nice dress, one that she had asked a friend of Twilights to help create. Unfortunately, she was in no mood to enjoy it. The gala she had just come from was subdued, the ponies still recovering from the recent attack on Ponyville. Even the nobles were quiet. The elements never even showed up, no doubt still grieving over the loss of the Spartan. Luna looked ragged, her nights sleepless as she had spent the past two nights sending out scouting teams to the destroyed hive. The report was always the same every time. No survivors. Any tracks that may have been made would have been covered by the falling dust a long time ago. The only thing they were able to find was the trashed Warthog. Luna shed tears as she continued walking. Her soul still burned with pain and she wondered if she would ever get used to it.

The doors to her bed chambers approached; her guards standing stoically on either side. She opened the door and closed it gently behind her. Her room was pitch black, the shadows attempting to comfort her as they embraced her. She dragged herself over to the balcony and stared out at the horizon. With her eyes sagging with tiredness she pulled power into her horn and began raising the moon. It was halfway over the horizon before Luna quit, the given momentum enough to guide it across the sky. She turned around and stopped as she was met with a peculiar sight. It took her a few moments as she stared dumbly at the object before gasping in shock, her brain finally registered it.

A steel grey helmet with a red stripe running along the back sat on her bed, the moonlight reflecting brilliantly off of the cyan visor. She saw a dark figure in the corner of her room and watched as the moonlight travelled down the wall. It slowly revealed the tall armored Spartan crossing his arms as he leaned against the wall. Luna’s eyes widened as she stared at Ale. He smiled gently at her and uncrossed his arms as he stood at his full height. He slowly crossed the room and kneeled down in front of Luna. She tentatively touched him with a hoof before smiling, tears of relief crawling down her face as she felt the pain from her soul disappear, an amazing feeling of connectivity between them flooding throughout her as she assumed their bond had finally completed; making them one. She brought her hoof up to Ale’s face and caressed it smoothly. He opened his mouth to speak before a painful swipe from Luna made him recoil in surprise.

“What was that for?!” Ale asked as he rubbed his jaw.

“For being late,” Luna responded. Ale was about to reply before his lips were captured by Luna’s. They both melted into the kiss for a few long seconds before Luna pulled back. “That’s for coming back.”

Ale smiled cheekily, “Hey, I really didn’t want to see the sun.”

Luna swatted him playfully before suddenly embracing him. Ale returned the hug at her height and held her tightly. They stayed this way for quite a while, silently living the moment.

“I love you,” Luna mumbled from Ale’s shoulder. Ale squeezed her tighter before replying.

“I love you too,” Ale replied, his eyes opening as they lit up with a fleeting green flash.


View Online



Ale looked himself over in the bedrooms mirror nervously. He pulled at the collar of his black dress jacket uncomfortably. It wasn’t that the suit was irritating him, Rarity proving to be an excellent seamstress with how amazing the suit felt on Ale, but instead was sweating bullets as he thought his situation over and how it had occurred so fast. He remembered the night he came back to Canterlot after he had returned from the hive. The night princess was so happy to see him and they had simply stayed in each other’s company, refusing to let the other out of their sight. The rest of Equestria was also surprised when the thought dead alien returned from the massive explosion they had seen in the distance. Celestia surprised Ale with how much she seemed to care about his return and learned that she had made him a national hero while he was gone.

Things had calmed down after that and he moved into the castle where he could be closer to Luna. He still had a different room however as he was still uncomfortable with the notion of a relationship. He never had much social contact before crashing into Equestria after all.

His thoughts were interrupted by a series of knocks on the door. “Coming,” Ale called. He looked towards the corner of his room and stared at his pile of armor, feeling naked and vulnerable without it on. With a deep breath he strolled over to the door and opened it. A rainbow blur tackled him to the ground, Ale letting out a huff of air. He stared up into a pair of magenta eyes that were uncomfortably close to his face.

“Huh, so that’s what you look like.”

“Rainbow, you’re sitting on me.”

Rainbow sported a playful smile. “What? You don’t like mares sitting on you?”

“… Only when they weigh as much as you.”

Dash’s smile broke as she huffed at him. “Are you calling me fat!?”

Ale suddenly realized that might not have been the best thing to say as he saw Rainbows eyes glint with murder.

“Uh, well… you see… I mean that…” Ale struggled to come up with an appeasing answer as he knew he had to dig out of the very deep hole he had just created for himself. It didn’t help that Dash had started to growl lowly and one of her hooves was unnervingly close to a very sensitive part.

“You… you have really nice hair today?”

Rainbow snorted loudly before leaning away from him a bit. She looked cross eyed at her hair before huffing again. “Nice save. But you’re lucky this time.”

Ale sighed in relief before he heard the clip clop of a ponies hooves on the marble hallways leading to his room. He turned his head to see Rarity step into the doorway.

“I hope you don’t mind my intrusion but I-“ She stopped when she saw Ale lying on the floor with Rainbow straddling him. Her eyes were a bit wide before narrowing. “Now Ale, while I am completely familiar with the customs of a wedding I am still disappointed that you would still participate in the activities a bachelor would, much less on the actual day of the wedding and with one of your closest friends!”

Ale shook his head. “Rarity, it’s not what it looks like.”

“It’s exactly what it looks like,” Rainbow said while smirking playfully at Ale. Ale rolled his eyes as he pushed RD off of him and stood up, brushing his suit off as he checked it for any damage.

“You’re a pervert you know that?”

Rainbow pushed him a bit with her hoof. “You know you like it.” Ale tossed his hands into the air before turning to Rarity. She was smiling, no doubt knowing that it was a misunderstanding.

“What did you want to tell me?”

“Everypony is ready for you and the ceremony is about to begin.”

Ale nodded, watching as the two mares stepped out of his room and waited for him patiently. Letting out a breath Ale shook his arms a bit before standing tall and breathing deeply. He stepped forward and walked with the two mares, the girls patting him comfortingly on his legs. The sounds of hooves and his shoes kept them company as they walked towards the back courtyard where the ceremony was being held. Two guards opened the large wood doors that led outside, Ale temporarily blinded by the bright sunset. When his vision returned he saw a modest crowd made up of nobles and some residents from Ponyville watching him with a mixture of awe, curiosity, and suppressed excitement. He breathed deeply again as he willed his nerves away and stepped forward. He had just cleared the doorway before a loud sound erupted from a stage a small distance away from the gathering and almost caused Ale to jump a mile high into the sky due to his heightened nerves anyways.

Ale looked towards a familiar white unicorn with a blue mane. She waved at him as she hollered, “I got your back!”

Ale smiled and pointed to her in a bro like acknowledgement before continuing his walk forward, picturing himself walking in an epic slow motion. The ponies gawked at him, furthering his false belief that he looked as awesome as he thought. Pinkie didn’t have the heart to tell him that he could never hope to look as good as those who starred in Hollywood movies. No matter, his thoughts still proved to calm him as he approached Celestia at the altar. She was wearing her normal regalia and had an honest smile. Ale stood next to her and observed her eyeing him up, a wink being his confirmation that she liked what she could see. Ale mentally face palmed, well aware when Luna pointed out to him that many mares actually found his form attractive. No doubt his actual form retaining the same effects as he was well sculpted. He felt a nudge on his leg and looked down. Spike, his best ‘man’, was smiling widely up at him while nudging him with his arm.

Yeah, Twilight wasn’t too happy about Spike picking up some things from Ale. The Spartan on the other hand only smiled as he knew Spike would eventually grow up and Twilight would no longer be responsible for his well being.

Celestia glanced over to Vinyl and nodded at her. The DJ noticeably calmed down and switched off the music that Ale had given to her previously. She then put on a much more familiar song. A second after it began playing the doors to the castle that Ale had walked through opened. A familiar orange pegasus with a purple mane walked out, throwing flower pedals along the path to the altar. Following her was a pony that took Ales breath away. Luna was wearing a pure white dress that flowed with her body, rippling gently in a non-existent breeze. The edges seemed to disappear in thin air only to reappear, like a specter. A short train followed her; it was also acting as if it didn’t exist as Ale noticed a distinct lack of dragging sounds. The dress was held together by a large circular clip that sported her cutie mark on her chest. Her face was uncovered with a silver leaf crown perched on her head. Her eyes captured Ales, the sapphire depths pulling Ales very being in as he drowned in her gaze. She made her way to the altar and stood across from Ale. She looked at Ale with a very large smile.

Celestia looked at both of them with a very large smile. “Are you ready?” Both Ale and Luna nodded. “Very well.”

“We gather her today to unite two beings in holy matrimony. The charming, wise, and loyal care taker of the night, Princess Luna,” Celestia swayed her head towards Luna before continuing. “And the watchful, noble, and heroic guardian of Equestria, Spartan II 02-05 Chief Petty Officer and Shadow Guard of the Lunar Guard Corps, Ale. Quite a lengthy title.”

The crowd giggled at Celestia’s comment. “Let us get on with the vows. As always, lady’s first.”

Luna stepped forward and looked straight into Ale’s eyes. “While I have wedded many couples in my lifetime I must admit that I never thought I’d be the one to be wedded. Many have tried to capture my affection, all failing as they did not love me for the right reasons. I despaired, saddened at the prospect of never finding one to be complete with. I fell into darkness and suffered greatly while creating great grief among my beloved subjects.”

She smiled wider as her voice cracked slightly. “But then you came, a great warrior from distant lands, suffering just as much as I. At first you were a simple curiosity, a passing oddity. But then, as I got to know you I was surprised greatly. You treated me not like royalty, but as one of the ponies, giving the same amount of respect and friendship as you received. Sure, we had some rough patches but every time we overcame them I found myself growing closer and closer to you. Finally I saw you one day and knew that you were the one. The one that I could share my life with and spend every waking hour with. I can only hope that I can give you the same as which I desire. I love you.”

Faint sniffles could be heard from the crowd as her sentimental words breached their defenses. Ale gently smiled at her, rubbing her cheek briefly as he acknowledged her words. When he took his hand back she levitated a silver ring that seemed to glow a deep blue ever so slightly. Luna slipped the finger on his left ring finger as Ale had told her that was a custom in human weddings. She stepped back, signaling Ale to take his place. With another deep breath of many that day he stepped forward and began speaking.

“I have to agree with you when I say that I never thought I would be standing in this situation. I wish I could say that I know what I’m doing but I have never witnessed a wedding before.”

Ale cleared his throat as he realized he should probably move along. “I remember the first time I saw you. It was in a dark hallway in a non-operational ship. I was checking for intruders when the greatest surprise of my life appeared. Two horse things were in the ship with me. In zero vacuum with no environment suits and still breathing. At first you frightened me. My training dictating that you were danger and that I needed to evade. After which you eventually demanded my cooperation and surrender. After a rough few days of questioning I gained a new found respect for you. This only increased after the attempted assassination. I found myself eventually opening up to you. That is when you finally did something that no other person that I know of did. You cracked open the cold hard exterior of a super soldier and allowed him to feel new experiences. Friendship, trust, love. You introduced me to a new world of emotion. A particular foreign sensation kept bugging me every time I came in contact with you. It took me a while to figure it out but I eventually found out that it was love. I was nervous, afraid of a relationship when you started to return the feelings. But after sharing many experiences with you I can say for certain now that I love you. I promise to do everything in my power and beyond to protect you and love you for eternity.”

Ale shuffled on his feet nervously as he hoped he had said something correctly. He saw many of the crowd crying quietly in tears of happiness. His soon to be wife was smiling gently at him with a hint of water in her eyes. Spike handed a silver bracelet with a rare purple mythril detail to Ale. He slipped it on Luna's left leg, smiling at Luna all the while. Ale nodded at Celestia, prompting her to continue on with the ceremony.

“Please step forward.” The elegant and silver tongued lady of the night stepped alongside the silent and just armored guardian. Two different beings with an interesting clash of personalities. “Are there any who oppose the bonding of this man and mare?”

An obnoxious voice that Ale remembered from a DJ club a long time ago booed out. Ale watched with a morbid fascination as Luna’s eye twitched and her horn lit up for a very brief second. A moment later a flower pot crashed onto the stallions head, knocking him clean out. A royal guard swiftly appeared next to him and dragged him out, all the while shooting the crowd an apologetic glance. Ale gulped as he realized what he may have just gotten into. Celestia shook her head and continued.

“Do you Luna, take Ale to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and cherish, in sickness and in health, for the rest of your life?”

She locked eyes with Ale. “I do.”

“Do you Ale, take Luna to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and cherish, in sickness and in health, for the rest of your life?”

Ale returned her gaze and smiled. “I do.”

“You may now kiss the bride.”

Ale leaned down as Luna reached up. They met halfway in a mind blowing kiss, Ale literally shocked at the sheer amount of emotion he could feel flowing to him through Luna. Just then the sun finally lowered rapidly and the moon rose to take its place, the satellite brighter than ever. The crowd cheered loudly as they watched the couple kiss, sealing their marriage. The new couple broke apart, Ale’s mind desperately searching for something to say.

“Oo-rah!” ‘The boys in green will never forgive me for using that.’

Luna smiled before dragging him in for another kiss. A thundering sobbing sounded throughout the air causing Ale to stop the kiss and search for the source. He was shocked to see a familiar blue dragon perched upon a cloud above the gathering. Huge tear drops fell from the sky, soaking ponies in puddles of water. Fluttershy flew up to Zephyr and began speaking with her in soothing tones. Ale turned his attention back to Luna, the pair smiling at each other. Music began spilling forth from the DJ stand, ponies beginning to dance to the strange music.

Ale and Luna held hand and hoof as they went down to the stage to dance. They held each other close as they danced together, time flying past as they enjoyed the celebration. Ale saw Cadence and Shining Armor approach them, still dancing along the way. With mutual consent, Cadence and Luna swapped places, the pink alicorn leading Ale away.

“Oh I’m so happy for you! How do you feel?”

“Amazing. Nothing like I've ever felt before.”

Cadence nodded, smiling widely. “That’s good. So, looking forward to tonight?”

Ale cocked his head to the side. “What do you mean?”

Cadence gave him a look of disbelief, before studying him closely. After a moment she responded. “Are you sure you don’t know what I mean?” When Ale didn't respond as he was still thinking Cadence’s eyes widened. “Wait, you mean to say that you guys still haven’t done it yet? I thought I talked to Luna already.” A new look of determination appeared on her face.

“Wait, what do you mean ‘it’?” Before Ale could receive an answer her horn flashed and she disappeared, only to be replaced by an extremely confused Shining Armor. The two stood there uncomfortably close to each other before Ale coughed. “Yeah, uh, I’m going to go get some punch now.”

“Yeah, I was just going to get some cake as well.” The two stood there for a few more seconds before Ale responded.

“Well then, I’ll get right on that.”

“Yeah, same here.”

With that, the two split ways and vowed to pretend that never happened.

After a while Ale, Luna, and anypony else that was invited to this specific event sat down at a long table filled with food. Celestia sat at the head while Ale and Luna sat to her right. Conversation filled the air as the clinking of silverware rang out. A loud clinking filled the air as Celestia tapped her fork to her wine glass. Everypony stopped talking and watched her intently as she readied her speech.

“I would just like a moment to say a few things. Luna, Ale, I’m so happy for you two. You both have found someone who cares greatly for the other. Don’t ever let anything stop you two from sharing your love.” She began tearing up a bit. “I’m just so happy that you have something that I have yet to obtain, and I cherish you both and give you my blessing.” With that she raised her glass. “To love.”

“To love,” the crowd replied before taking a sip of their drinks. They continued dining until they could no longer cram themselves with the delicious food. Luna and Ale once again went back to the dance floor. The party went well into the night, the stream of ponies leaving growing larger and larger before eventually everyone had left, exhausted from the party. Ale walked up to Vinyl while Luna talked with Celestia.

“Hey Vinyl, thanks for coming out.”

She waved him off. “No problem. I’m just surprised that just about everyone left. It’s not that late, at least not what I’m used to when partying down at the club.”

“Well, I think everypony are a bit tired from such a huge event. The marriage of one of the princesses and an alien is a big deal.”

“I guess you’re right. Well then, I’ll see you later. Stop by Ponyville some time okay? The new club is just about finished.”

“Will do.” Ale turned around and began walking away before Vinyl called out to him.

“Oh and good luck! You’re going to need it!”

Ale stared at her confusedly. “Okay?”

He left the giggling mare behind and approached Celestia and Luna.

“Okay! You don’t need to remind me. I’m not a filly anymore.” Luna looked over and saw Ale. Her cheeks lit up in a massive blush as she hid her face and coughed.

Ale looked at Celestia in confusion. “Uh, is there something wrong?”

“Not at all. I was just leaving for bed.” Celestia turned before talking back to him as she walked away. “Try to keep it down though, okay?”

She disappeared into the palace before Ale could respond. He looked towards Luna and asked, “What is everyone going on about?”

Luna shook her head with a nervous smile. “Oh, nothing.”

Ale shrugged, already giving up on understanding these weird ponies. He did however feel as if he was missing something incredibly obvious as he walked with Luna back towards their rooms. They eventually reached their rooms; Ale’s being directly across from Luna’s. Ale looked at Luna and watched as she seemed to struggle to say something.

“Uh, is there something wrong?”

Luna fidgeted further, Ale seriously considering that she might be having a seizure before she replied with a heavy breath as she hung her head.

“No, nothing’s wrong.”

Ale wiggled his fingers uncertainly. “Well, uh, good night then.”

Luna simply nodded as he walked into his room and shut the door gently behind him. He immediately went straight to his armor and stripped down to his birthday suit. He put on his body suit before placing his armor on rapidly, the process taking a little less than five minutes as Twilight had attached magical anti-grav generators allowing an easier and faster prep time. The second he placed his helmet on he felt a lot more comfortable. His armor was like his second skin to him and he felt safe, invincible really. His musings were interrupted when he heard a solid knock on his door. Wondering who it was he strolled over to the door and opened it.

Luna stood there with a firm look as if she had finally made up her mind about something. “What’s wrong?” Ale asked.

“Nothing. I just need you to come to my room if you please. I have something important for you.”


Ale followed her out into the hallway and into her room, the doors slamming behind him firmly and the loud sound of obnoxious locking filling the air. Ale felt as if he was in a lot of trouble. He had no idea.

Meanwhile the previously unnoticed guard standing out in the hallway next to Luna’s room was staring straight ahead, shivering uncomfortably here and there. A gold flash appeared and he looked down to see a wrapped package along with a note that simply read, ‘Celestia’.

The guard opened the package and sighed with relief as he placed a large pair of ear muffs over his head, smiling happily at the lack of noise.


An Unknown Amount Of Time Later…

The guard opened his eyes as he felt a slight breeze go past. He looked to the side to see the armored form of Ale sneaking past him, gently closing the door behind him. The guard removed his ear muffs just as Ale noticed him. Ale stared at him for a second before moving a finger up to his visor.


The guard nodded, keeping silent as he watched Ale continue tip toeing to his room. He had almost made it before the doors he was guarding opened wide with a loud creak. Ale stopped dead in his tracks as he prayed that she hadn’t noticed him yet. The universe decided to screw with him however as a voice rang out.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Ale shuddered before looking back at the guard. “Help me,” he whispered.

“Help?” The voice laughed. “Nothing can help you now.”

A dark aura wrapped around Ale’s ankles and yanked him to the floor. He was dragged across the hallway, his fingers digging trenches into the marble.

“NOOOO!!!” Ale screamed as he was dragged into the darkness, the last thing the guard seeing before the doors slammed shut was a pair of cyan reptilian eyes. The guard shuddered before miming a cross on his chest, praying for the poor alien.

He placed the ear muffs back on his head and looked through a window, admiring the late night sky as the moon shuffled ever closer to the horizon. Near by the moon, he spotted a moving speck of light that most had come to know as the ship the warrior, savior of Equestria, and Armored Guardian had arrived on.


Here's the sequel, A Guardian's Sacrifice.