Part 1: The Welcoming Committee
The year is, or rather, was 2168 and the human race has both terraformed and colonized Mars. The two planets operate as separate entities but are governed by an umbrella leadership called The Sol Alliance. I’m a Major in the Office of Sol Military Intelligence and work in the Experimental Technologies Division. I was working on a field assignment that took me to the northern Mars ice-cap. I was sent out to investigate why a research and development laboratory had gone dark just under three days ago. As I landed the small land skimmer the only thing I saw that was odd was the lack of people.
“Hello?” I called out.
I received two responses. The first one was a series of echoes. The second one, and by far the more important, was that of rouge security mechs activating and shouting “INTRUDER ALERT!" As the robots started firing their arm mounted rail guns I dove behind a thick, but short, guard wall on the flight deck. I was less than thrilled with the situation. Those mechs had three inches of armor everywhere except on their joints, and all I had were field fatigues and a standard issue P5 Anti-Personnel handgun to defend myself.
“And the day started out so well.” I grumbled to myself as I winced from some shrapnel scraping my cheek. I looked over my cover on the flight deck and noticed a fuel canister adjacent to the cluster of mechs. I ducked back down as soon as they locked onto my position and resumed fire. I hastily made my plan.
I really hope this works I thought to myself. As soon as the mechs ceased their barrage to let the MAC guns cool down I leapt from cover and, while charging, shot the canister. The machines were sent flying and I collapsed in pain. Both my ears were bleeding, most likely from the shockwave that the explosion caused, and I had several burns from the burning fuel. Thankfully the fire suppression systems were working and the fires were put out. I went to each mech and took their power cells. I also downloaded their security codes and video records to my PTA (Portable Tactical Assistant). After I made sure that each mech was deactivated I walked to the facility’s entrance.
As I walked in I learned where the people went; they were dead. I forced my stomach to settle after the sights and smells of three day old corpses. As much as it disgusted me, I selected a body that had several bullet holes in it and that wasn’t too soaked in blood and then analyzed it. After a few seconds my PTA spat out its conclusions.
“Subject appears to have died from several shots of an anti-personnel rifle.”
Well duh! I thought.
“Entry and exit wounds suggest the standard rifle favored by the rebel faction known as ‘The Judges’. Electrical burns of varying degree on subjects’ torso and hands. Unusual radiation detected on entire subject. WARNING: Levels do not currently pose threat, but exposure lasting more than 80 hours will most ikely cause serious damage to unshielded personnel.”
“Looks like I got some time.” With this new information I moved further into the complex.
Part 2: Someone To Talk To
On the outside of the facility there wasn’t any obvious damage, but as I moved inward I found evidence of scattered firefights and more dead scientists. From the way that they died, it appeared that the scientists were caught off guard but reacted fast.
"At least they died trying to stop whoever or whatever it was." I remarked. Using the information I got off one of the security mechs, I located the security office and armory. Once there, I downloaded a map of the facility, gained security clearance for the entire facility, acquired a suit of Variable Combat Conditions armor, an A7 Anti-Armor assault rifle, and various other things I thought would be useful. Upon leaving the room I activated the armors’ shielding and made my way to research lab floor 1.
“Mission Report 1,” I said as I started my first report, “I arrived at SA Lab Station: Chernobyl at 0600. I encountered armed resistance from faulty security droids. Video of conflict and PTA scans of said mechs are included. Inside the facility I discovered evidence of attack. PTA scans suggest possible rebel activity. PTA also shows signs of unusual radiation surrounding bodies. Scans have been added to file transfer. The lack of outside evidence suggests a rapid stealth assault with insider help. Further in, evidence of fire fights has been seen, but no enemy bodies. Coming up on the Mess Ha- Wait, here’s one now.” I cut the recording and knelt over to examine the body. The armor was unfamiliar to me, but the insignia on its shoulder confirmed the Judges involvement. I started scanning and found that the armor was experimental Sol Alliance tech.
“I’ll be damned. They really did have a mole, if not here, then at least at some armor manufacturer.” As I got up I noticed a quiet noise, almost like harried breathing. It was coming from inside the food closet the body had slumped in front of. As I opened the door I was surprised to find a living scientist inside.
Part 3: A Revelation
“DON’T KILL ME! PLEASE!” screamed the traumatized scientist.
“It’s ok; I’m Major Dovin from OSMI. You’re safe now.” I was trying to calm him down but he still seemed agitated. I put my gun down and, after double checking the radiation levels, removed my helmet. This soothed the man greatly.
“M-m-my name i-is Dr. John Malvry. I-I work here as head scientist for the Sparrow powered stealth armor.” He managed to say as I helped him out of the food closet.
“Is that the Sparrow armor?” I asked, cocking my head to the dead rebel.
“Yes, but I don’t know how they got it. We destroyed all the old armor sets." He glance at the wall full of bullet holes. "As terrible as this attack was, I’m glad that the armor the stole worked so well.” I raised an eyebrow at that.
“Was it not tested already?”
“No, we only just finished the first non-prototype generation yesterday. The ones they used were prototypes; ones that we thought were destroyed.” John replied.
“Do you know why they attacked?” As much as I was interested in this new armor, I still needed answers.
“It might have to do with what the third floor was cooking up. Floor 3 was the classified lab section. The three floors don’t converse much except on our days off, but I heard rumors of a gateway,” he supplied, “a gateway to another world.”
“What, like to Earth?”
“No, one to another dimension.”
I was astounded. Even though I lived in an age of marvelous scientific feats, things like different dimension were still science fiction. I shouldn’t have been too surprised though; I had seen tech reports of transportation, light-based weaponry, even of genetic manipulation to make super-humans.
“Well, first thing’s first.” I said, coming out of my reverie. “Get into that Sparrow armor. There’s radiation that will kill you if you’re exposed to it too long.”
“But that armor has a body in it! It’s even got bullet holes in it.” protested the doctor.
After I explained to him that the shielding would protect him even with the holes and after he made me remove the corpse did Dr. Malvry comply. After I replaced my helmet, I walked up beside him.
“Do you know of any useful tech I could use on this floor?” I asked.
“I think I could upgrade that armor of yours if we can get to my work station.”
“Lead the way then.”
Part 4: A New Objective
We walked for about ten minutes to get to the doctors lab.
“This room is secured from radiation. You can remove your helmet.” He informed me. “Now then, let’s see. I can improve the shields with some Sparrow tech, install an Invis mod to the camouflage skin, and install a life detection scan to your HUD.”
“The new scan is self-explanatory, but what does the Invis do?” I requested, thoroughly confused.
“The standard camouflage skin just mimics the average color surrounding it. The new Invis technology makes the user completely invisible from the front and back but doesn’t do anything to alter the sides.” John said with a touch of pride. “Mr. Dovin, I know that you’re here to check the entire station, but I implore you; go straight to the third floor! The second one was about some sort of new element that glowed in the presence of someone with fatal cancer.”
“Why is that-” I started to ask but was cut off.
“We aren’t entirely about military technologies you know.” Dr. Malvry said as he raised his voice. It seemed that the subject of working for the military was a sensitive area that I wanted to steer clear of.
“Sorry, I was just a little curious.” I said while raising my hands as if to push the conversation back on track.
“Well, if you were curious, you should have been a scientist." After that he sighed and then resumed. "As I was saying; floor 2 is of little to no importance currently. Go directly to the third floor. Once there, maybe you can get some answers. And with the answers, maybe you can fix this mess too. Just be sure to shoot every last one of those rebels; they killed my friends.” he said.
“All right, I'll do that." I said, partly to appease him, but mainly because it was good advice. After an hour or so he was done with the modifications and I had washed the blood out of my ears and applied general first aid to my burns.
"You get out of here though. I don’t want anyone else to die.” I called over my shoulder as I jogged to the elevator in the hallway outside.
Part 5: Point Of Contact
As I waited for the elevator to take me to the appropriate floor I completed another mission report and sent it to HQ. At the ‘ding’ sound of the elevator I activated the Invis cloak and readied my weapon. I was glad I did. As the doors opened up, I saw no less than ten fully armed Judge Rebels aiming portable turrets at the doors. Upon seeing an obviously empty room the rebels exclaimed various things summarized by the phrase: What the!?
“The system must have fried and sent the elevator on accident.” One said after they all regained their composure. Apparently finding this a suitable explanation, the rebel that was in charge told her men to stand down and ‘carry on’ as she walked away.
Well, that was close, I thought. I carefully and quietly moved around the clueless guards and followed the commander. I gathered that she was the highest ranking officer there, seeing as every rebel soldier she passed saluted her. She eventually came to a stop in an empty room that, if I was any judge, was the former SA commanders’ office.
“You do know that I knew you were there the entire time right?” she said as she turned around. She couldn’t have been addressing anyone but me so I cut the cloak.
“If you knew was there, why didn’t you shoot me?” I asked.
“Because, we're on the same team. I’m an Infiltrator for OSMI.” She said with a smirk. It made sense I suppose. There was a division of Intelligence that worked on infiltrating groups of importance. If she was an Infiltrator then she was an ally.
“Care to fill me in on why the Judges have attacked and captured a R&D lab?”
“My ‘superiors’ heard of a discovery that offered a whole new dimension to control, so they sent me and roughly five hundred troops to go get it.” She replied.
“Where are they then? I only saw one rebel casualty and there isn’t enough room for them all to be on this one floor. Is this ‘gateway’ operational?”
“Yes, it’s working. The troops have gone into the portal; which the science team here dubbed: Contact. The only problem is that they have neither reported in nor returned.”
“Do you know about the radiation?” I inquired. I started to get a bad feeling that I would be following them.
“Yes; it’s being given off in small, but cumulative, amounts by Contact. Well?”
“Well what?” I asked, becoming confused.
“You ready to go investigate why the rebels have disappeared in this new world? You would be breaking OSMI protocol if you didn’t.” She supplied.
“If that’s the case, why haven’t you? Wait, let me guess. Infiltration protocols take priority if following standard procedures jeopardize an Infiltrators’ mission.”
“Wow, that’s almost word-for-word to the actual mandate.” She admitted, thoroughly impressed.
“Well, I do-” I would have finished the conversation but we were interrupted by a Judge rebel. Judging from the rank strips on his arm it was her second in command; he came to the office to speak with her. However, upon seeing me he slammed his fist on the alarm next to the doorway. That was the last thing he did since the ‘rebel commander’ shot him in the head with her side-arm.
“C’mon, we got to go, NOW!” she bellowed as we started running down a flight of steps to the portal.
I was in no hurry to disagree. I pulled my rifle up and activated my armors shielding. We started pounding our way down the hall to the blast door; we shot any rebel we saw. When we entered the main room, I gasped. The walls were coated with a rainbow of colors being emitted from what I could only assume was Contact. Contact turned out to be a bubble of color stretching down a particle accelerator. I would have kept staring but a barrage of bullets broke up my thoughts. After we returned fire, the two of us dashed to the gateway.
“Before we jump, I have to know.” I asked, “What’s your name?”
“The name’s Major Anna Wenters; pleased to meet ya!”
That was the last thing I heard before I jumped. the last thing that I saw before blacking out was a whole lot of sinister looking trees and several horses running away.
Part 6: A New World
The first thing I was aware of when I came too, was that the colors around me seemed more vibrant than usual.
I guess that that’s normal here. Who says that another dimension has to follow our rules? I’m just glad that I’m alive. That’s when I remembered Anna.
“Anna? Anna!” I called out franticly. I saw her two yards away from me, just beginning to wake up.
“You ok?” I asked.
“Well, I’m as ok as far as I can tell.” Anna replied. After she looked around and we both got up, she said,
“I think it fair for you to tell me your name now, since we didn’t die.”
“I guess you’re right.” I chuckled. “I’m Major Chad Dovin. I work in the ET division. Hmm, I wonder if we’ll find any E.T.’s here.”
“Maybe, but if we do we better hope that they’re friendly.” She laughed at my joke, which was nice seeing as nobody laughed at them.
“We better get moving. I don’t want to be hear when the remaining rebels show up.” I said as I checked my suits’ systems.
“All systems within allowed parameters.” Good, my PTA still works. “Radiation levels back to normal. ALERT: Unidentified life signs approaching from the Southwest. Evasion is advised.”
“All right, it doesn’t look too different from our world so let’s head into those trees. Once we’re hidden up high we can make some plans.” said Anna.
“Ok, I’ll just go scout ahea-ARGH!!” I cried out as I suddenly dropped to all fours as an immense wave of pain racked my entire being. It felt like being shot point-blank by a cannon and then being twisted by a taffy machine. By her screams, I guessed that Anna was suffering a similar fate. Before I blacked out again, I could see several of those horses approaching me.
Part 7: Honored Guests
I woke up later that night in a cold sweat. It was a dark as dark could get, so I couldn’t see even my hand two inches from my face. I was apparently screaming too for a voice from behind a barred door asked if I was ok.
“Yes, I’m fine. Thank you. I just had an odd dream.” I replied back, thinking that the last twelve hours were just a nightmare.
“Really? Why don’t you tell me about it.” the mysterious voice responded. So I told him, for the voice was definitely male, of the last few hours.
“After we jumped I have vague ideas of being lifted by a lavender aura and having, of all things, small horses, ponies really, of different colors taking care of me and the lady that jumped with me.”
“You have interesting dreams.” the man replied.
“I know, their so vivid. I would call them memories if they weren’t so absurd.” I laughed at the thought.
“Umm, well I have to tell you... Good evening Ms. Sparkle!” he said, obviously reacting to a visitor.
A new voice, a feminine one, asked, “Is he awake?”
“Yes Ma’am. I’ve been talking to him for the past half hour.” responded what I could only assume was a guard.
I started to have a scary thought. What if, what if it’s all true?!
A door opened and a light came on. I was able to analyze my surroundings. The room looked to be a cube, with me on a chair in the center. There was a reflective wall which was obviously a one-way mirror. The only other thing in the room was the person who walked in. I’ve gone insane. I’m still at the lab facility. I was captured and have been exposed to the radiation enough to alter my perceptions. THIS CANNOT BE REAL! I did my best to hide my fearful, turbulent thoughts, but obviously didn’t do well enough.
“Don't worry, you’re perfectly safe. You just got a little knocked around from the transit and transformation.” said the light purple unicorn in front of me.
“You aren’t real!” I shouted at her. “I’m asleep! I’m back home on Earth sleeping in my bed! You are a pony; not just that, you are a unicorn. Unicorns do not; I repeat, DO NOT exist!” ‘Ms. Sparkle’, for she was the only other her besides the colt that walked in with her, took this in stride.
“I know you’re frightened, but please, be civilized about it.” I was taken aback. A horse just asked me to behave.
Calming down I said, “Ok, I’m sorry about that. I really wasn’t expecting… this.” Only then did her words sink in. “Transit and transformation?” I asked.
“Yes, you successfully transited from your universe to this one. As for transformation... take a look for yourself.” With this he used what I assumed was magic to lift a full body mirror over to me. I had to bite my lip to avoid crying out in terror again. I was a pony as well. Not just a pony either; I was a pegasus! I had a light grey coat with hazel-green eyes. My mane was dark orange, almost brown, with red tips; it was a loose and shaggy sort of spikey. My tail was similar but a little wavy, like fire exhaust. I also noticed a picture on my flanks. It was a wrench and a mallet crossing in front of a shield made out of a microchip.
“What’s with the insignia on my sides? Is it some sort of an I.D.?” I asked.
“No, it’s your cutie mark.” Upon seeing my confusion she elaborated. “It represents what your special talent in life is. It is not representative of the only thing you can do but it shows what you have a knack for. I’d hazard a guess that yours has something to do with technology.”
“Probably, I was a military officer and inventor back home.” I explained.
With my reference to my past a realization came on her face. “I just realized, I still don’t know your name.”
“I’m Major Chad Dovin, Sol Alliance Army, Fourth Intelligence Company, Experimental Technologies Division, service number 00348-76705-CD.” I didn’t want to sound too friendly so I stated my entire title.
“Well Major Dovin, welcome to Equestria. We are happy to host two esteemed emissaries from another world. I am Twilight Sparkle, personal protégé of Princess Celestia.” I winced at the mention of royalty.Please tell me that I didn't just act like that in front of a royals' personal student. “If you would like to follow me please, I will take you to Major Wenters.”