On the Shoulders of Giants

by Gunner59524

First published

Two heroes face their greatest challenge yet on a world far unlike any they've ever visited. Follow Commander Anthony Dubias and Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Thorne as they lead a loyal crew through the greatest depths of hell hidden in paradise.

Two heroes face their greatest challenge yet on a world far unlike any they've ever visited. Follow Commander Anthony Dubias and Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Thorne as they lead a loyal crew through the greatest depths of hell hidden in paradise.

Can you face the long dark of bloody war?

Titanfall is a trademark of EA and Respawn Entertainment. I do not claim ownership.
My Little Pony is a trademark of Hasbro Entertainment. I do not claim ownership.

Please note that the sex and gore tags are only a precaution. There will likely not be any actual sexual content other than references and/or jokes and the gore is well.... We got some imaginative people out there okay? Folks who can picture a scene vividly with no effort at all. We all know what happens when a living being is hit with a fully charged Arc Cannon or a Railgun in Titanfall.... that is if you've even played the game.

Everyone please keep in mind, to understand the events in this story you will need to have played Titanfall and watched MLP all the way from Season 1 to Season 3+.


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War. In the face of conflict and impossible odds, champions always rise. For throughout the ages, the crucible of war has always forged distinguished individuals capable of incredible feats. Now more than ever this is all too true. The Frontier Civil War has been the scar of the age, the fiery crucible in which champions are born to this day. Who are these Champions? They are Pilots, warriors of speed, agility, stealth, and accuracy, paired with their greatest weapon of all, enormous mechanical soldiers, loud and proud, deadly and devastating, the Titans. Our story follows two particular individuals. Frontier Veterans by the names of Anthony Dubias and Rebecca Thorne.

Our story begins.... with a manhunt....


[Suggested Listening]

My name is Anthony Dubias. I am a ship Commander and Titan Pilot of the Frontier Militia. I grew up on the Frontier ya know. My family and I were farmers, happy and content with our lives as we thrived. I won't deny that the first half of my childhood was amazing..... then the IMC returned after years of being preoccupied at the core worlds.... They tried to claim all that we had worked so hard to build ourselves, saying "This is our property because we brought you guys here" or some shit like that. There were no legal IMC claims out here.... They tried to take over, tried to steal all that we worked so hard to build..... executed a man just down the road for not giving up his product without pay..... My parents and baby sister were next though not before my dad put a shotgun blast in the IMC representative's chest..... Militia resistance came all too late to save em.... but they weren't too late to save me. I had hid that night until they showed up, and lo and behold, my uncle Ricardo was the Militia platoon leader that saved my ass, directly no less, he fought on the front line. I vowed vengeance on the IMC that day, fought and trained so hard.... My first time in a Titan I felt sooooo powerful. Now here I am, hunting a terrible threat on an unknown world. My ship high in orbit and the enemy ship nothing more than orbital debris, we had hunted this man for seventeen months and now we finally have him cornered in a jungle..... a jungle filled with dense fog....

Focus, that is what I knew. Me, my teammate, and my target are all that exist in this world right now. In my mind's eye everything else was an element of the field, a statistical number. Cover size, strength, and thickness. Number of available allies. Number of rounds for my titan's 40 mil. Man and machine melded together in the most deadly display known to humanity, I surged my Ogre forward through the trees. Damage to the titan's right arm was superficial but damage to the left leg left a noticable limp. Time to adjust strategy. Beside me, my partner stalked along in her Strider, Plasma Railgun at the ready. My comms crackled to life, breaking my focus just a bit.

"This guy is fast....." I heard Rebecca say, "Too fast. That can't be a normal Titan."

"Fast? What about stealthy? I've never seen Titans cloak before.... stay sharp...." I replied.

Our target, obviously, was the subject of our brief conversation. A brilliant mind of Russian and German descent by the name of Gerald Malcovitch. Hell of an inventor, but on the wrong side. His titan was a heavily modified Atlas with notable differences in the appearance of the legs and back. The beast was almost as fast as a Stryder, and it had a stealth module now too courtesy of it's own pilot. The emblem I had seen on his titan was a flaming black skull with some kind of demon tongue.... what is this guy a sadist? I preferred the Phoenix emblem myself, same as Rebecca. We were the Rising Flame me and my buddy. Rebecca.... the first person besides my uncle and cousins that I could call trustworthy.... that I could call a friend. In the back of my head I laughed even as we continued hunting. We certainly weren't compatible as a couple at the moment. The first time we met we were arguing like one on the battlefield though. Constantly getting in each other's way and stealing each other's kill marks, stuff like that. You wouldn't call us friends by a long shot that day.... but later that week, oh man that was hell. We had a conversation after we lost most of our platoon.... decided that working together was a far better idea.... how we survived to have that conversation well that was a miracle. In any case, we started communicating with each other, set up a private peer-to-peer channel even to help block out distractions. We became unstoppable. We became gods of the battlefield. We were reforged in the crucible of war. So many instances where one of us should have died but the other always came in the nick of time to save the first. Militia command noticed our unbelievable performance and teamed us up. Even gave us our own platoon and ship. A couple hundred strong, a quartet of other pilots under our command, and a carrier that had been "liberated" from an IMC shipyard that we named "Fyrebyrd". One proud team we were.

That was the day they gave us the mission to hunt this inventive psychopath that were now chasing through the woods.

The comms crackled again with a male, Russian accent coming through. He had hacked our comms....

"Awww do the two little birdies still want to play? Come on then. I'm waiting," he taunted.

I growled into the comm. "Malcovitch you'll die today!"

What can I say? My anger was warranted considering he was the one that murdered my parents..... yeah he was that "dignitary's" escort, you know the one that my dad shot before getting brutally murdered.

I saw the blur of movement and I rushed ahead, anger getting the better of me. I barely registered Rebecca yelling, "Anthony WAIT!" into the comms.

My Ogre stepped into a clearing by my command and came to a halt. My burst fire 40 mil was primed and ready. Yet I saw no sign of Malcovitch.... Until a cloaked giant fist came into contact with the left side of my Titan's chassis, sending my Ogre staggering for a second. I turned and fired on the recloaking form of Malcovitch's Atlas but it was too late. Scored one or two hits on the shield and he vanished back into the fog and trees.

Rebecca finally caught up. "Anthony what the hell are you THINKING!?" she screamed in her... not gonna lie... adorable French accent.

I sighed, trying to catch my breath and reign in the anger. "That bastard NEEDS to die," I growled.

"Look I know you're angry but rushing off like that isn't gonna help," She explained, "You gotta reign it in. He's trapped and running like a coward but he's still a real threat. Keep it together.... alright?"

I looked at the small window at the top right of my HUD where her face was on full display through the channel. Her expression was one of genuine concern. I nodded in response. Then the top left of the HUD lit up with Malcovitch's face. "Awwww, what an adorable couple," he taunted again.

I growled in anger but the look Rebecca gave me helped me reign it in.

We continued on, hunting. That's when we heard it. A jumpship engine.

I keyed the fleetcom to the Fyrebyrd. "Hey Lieutenant. We're hearing a jumpship down here. Did you deploy any?"

Our third in command, a brawny dark skinned man by the name of Karish responded. "Nah mon, all dropships are aboard and accounted for. The target must have his own on the surface," he said in his Jamaican accent.

I cursed under my breath. Rebecca and I rushed forth. If he escaped and got back to the IMC it would take months to catch him again.

"No no no no no...." I muttered as we came to the next clearing. An autopiloted Atlas was cloaking as Malcovitch waved at us nonchalantly.

"See ya later ya?" he said, mocking us. "I have places to be."

The hatch closed and we opened fire, doing our best to damage the jumpship. We broke the shields and did some damage but it was too late...... he had escaped.... then I remembered something.

Rebecca confirmed it. "His titan....." she said.

Before she could say anything further an arc blast struck her titan in the back, downing her shields.

"SHIT!" I got between her and the now decloaked assailant. Apparently Malcovitch had given his Atlas an AI upgrade as well. I aimed and fired a few bursts but some were dodged as the titan did one, two, three, FOUR dashes, each evading rounds while the shields blocked the rest as the Atlas closed the distance. I threw out a punch with my Ogre, forcing the Atlas back.

Rebecca had recovered by then and tackled the enemy Titan, giving me a moment to contact the Fyrebyrd. "Karish! Malcovitch is escaping!"

"I see it, one IMC jumpship made it's way out of atmosphere and is preparing to leave system. Fighters are pursuing and engaging. Looks damaged already, what did you do to it?"

"I'll tell ya later just....!" I was unable to respond when Karish cut me off. I had rejoined the furball when the Atlas had kicked Rebecca off by then. I stomped on the chassis and finished it off with the entirety of my Ogre's weight.

"Shit! IMC DESTROYER! HE MUST HAVE SENT A DISTRESS SIGNAL! Fighters are scoring hits on his jumpship but it looks like it's spinning up to jump mon! Sending a pickup to ya!"

"What about the Destroyer!?"

"We're engaging. Thing is pounding us but we're pounding back. Fighters launched and a couple bombas have already scored a hit on one of their engines."

Rebecca and I disembarked our titans to board the jumpship Karish had sent when we heard him curse loudly yet again. "What is it Karish!?"

"Malcovitch he.... he jumped his craft into the hangar of the destroya...."

"Is he dead!? PLEASE TELL ME HE DIED!" I screamed.

"Nah mon he survived it. He's got balls, I'll give him that," he growled, "Destroya jumped blind mon, get aboard, I got a fix on their trajectory. We managed to fuck em up good before they did too. Looks like they'll be ending up in unexplored space."

"Pilot, get us to the Fyrebyrd PRONTO!" Rebecca yelled into the jumpship cockpit.

"Aye ma'am."

Within minutes we were aboard. The Fyrebyrd jumped in hot pursuit.

Domestic Diplomacy

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It had been a long day in Canterlot, yet it was not even over. Celestia cantered along at a respectable pace as she returned to her throne room after a lengthy time going over propositions and requests in her private study. Most of it had been bullshit anyway.... requests for parades in some greedy noble's honor and for funding in rediculous studies in "how to make it easier to ignore the laughter of the children at the schools." Celestia sighed. Nobles these days.

Her thought process took an immediate change of course upon entering the throne room. A meeting was underway. Lately, things had been taking a turn for the worst on the diplomatic front. Gryphon's had been suffering an insurrection as of late and the Changelings, if the reports were accurate, were riling things up. Before her sat a male Gryphon, Ambassador Red Wing of the Gryphon Empire, a male Minotaur called Iron Hoof of the Minotaur Tribes, a female deer named Valiance of the United Deer Provinces, a female zebra named Shaman Terrana of the Zebra Nomads, and a male Earth Pony known as Representative High Wind of Saddle Arabia.

Celestia took a seat after taking a few seconds to make sure everypony was there. Her sister, Princess Luna, took a seat beside her. "Alright.... where do we stand?" she asked.

Red Wing was the first to speak. "Princess.... I'll be completely honest.... things are getting worse. The lines of division in my nation are clearer every day. More than that, it's an uneven split and not in the favor of the peaceful. Changeling presence is minimal but we believe they may still be instigators and/or allies to the Insurrection. The Rebels are executing civilians in the streets at times....."

Many cringed at the news....

"So in other words...." Celestia started.

Red Wing sighed. "All out war has broken out in our kingdom milady...."

Iron Hoof spoke up. "That isn't the worst of it. The more mercenary like of the Minotaur Tribes have taken payment from the Gryphon rebels, adding to their numbers. My people are implicated now. I wish to offer help to the rightful rulers of the Gryphon Empire but fighting our own people is a challenge upon our own codes of honor."

"Lunar Guard Spies have identified numerous leaders among the rebel faction, so we cannot discern who primary leadership is as of this moment," Luna explained.

"We can offer some technological aid to the Loyalists but my people want nothing further to do with conflict at the moment. Fear is prevalent amongst the Deer populace," Valiance added.

Shaman Terrana sighed. "Zebra efforts to mediate in peace talks were ineffective. The Rebels want total victory and total control. Of all the leaders spoken too, none will settle for anything less. We fear an attempt at world conquest may follow....."

High Wind stood. "We're willing to offer specialists and assassins to aid the Loyalists but the enemy has proven equally skilled at our chosen military tactics. Further action must be taken."

Celestia rubbed her temples with her hooves. "In short... it's a nightmare then....."

They all nodded in agreement.

"We cannot yet discern the correct course of action, my sister and I. We have received constant reports, but hearing you all confirm them is disconcerting. For now, I propose that all nations be prepared to defend against any form of attack the Rebels may throw out. A defense coalition may need to be formed. Valiance, can you spare some tanks along the many borders?"

Valiance nodded. "If all nations agree to this yes, but we cannot prevent free passage of civilian traffic. That will have to remain for all, including the Minotaurs. This may allow further mercenary aid for the Gryphon Rebels...."

"My people will see to hindering further mercenary activity, and we will agree to military defensive lines on our borders," Iron Hoof stated.

Everyone else readily agreed, most, if not all, fearing for the safety of their nations' citizens.

"If that is all," Celestia began, "then this meeting may be adjo...." she didn't get to finish.

With a bang the throne room doors burst open, a messenger from the war room staring with a mixture of fear and urgency on his face. "Princesses! An object has been spotted!"

"An.... object....?" Celestia asked.

"From beyond our atmosphere. Universities and observatories all over the nation spotted it and similar reports are already arriving from other nations as well. A massive object has broken our atmosphere and made violent landfall in the mountains of the Northern Gryphon Empire."

Luna cringed. "I had hoped that had been a small anomaly that would pass us by....."

"You knew of this?" Celestia asked.

"Yes I had sensed another object approaching the vicinity of our world a few hours ago but I figured it would be another object passing us by..... it did feel rather.... unnatural however... yet I passed it off as something of little concern," Luna explained.

Celestia sighed in a rather un-princess like fashion. "The landfall location is behind enemy lines, we cannot investigate on our own....."

The entire room shared looks of uncertainty and concern.

Red Wing sighed. "Things just got worse didn't they.....?"

Stand By For Titanfall

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Later the next evening, Luna awoke with a gasp. Something else had been detected.


[Suggested Listening]

With a sudden lurch, the ship left FTL state. I looked around hesitantly at the space that surrounded us.... then at the world beneath. "This is where they ended up....?" I asked uncertainly.

Rebecca nodded. "Whole crew confirmed it. This is where they left FTL....."

"Alright run scans of the planetary surface. Find them."

The bridge became a bustling mess of organized chaos. Probes were launched, fighters deployed into recon formations to take orbital images, the whole shebang.

Karish looked out upon the planet. "Is a beautiful world no....?"

I couldn't help smiling and nodding. "We'll do some sightseeing later if ya like. Let's get our quarry first."

The Chief Engineering Officer called up then. "Commander, we got a problem."

I sighed and keyed on my end of the link. "What is it Chief?"

"FTL drive is busted. Last two battles had three rounds pass through the drive chamber. Had to use EVA gear just to get in and patch the hull breaches. Got casualties down here..... Anyway, long story short, unless you fancy a few years drifting through space, we're without FTL for an indefinite amount of time."

I went wide eyed at the implications and suddenly burst out. "FUCK ME!!!!"

The rest of the crew looked at me uncertainly, having heard the report.... I sighed.

"Sir....?" one of the Junior Officers ventured. "D-does that mean we're trapped....?" she asked.

I looked out at all the faces around me. They were afraid, all of them, some sad, knowing what the answer already was. It broke my heart...... and I sighed yet again...... It took me a moment to regain my composure.

"Yeah.... yeah we are...." I said as I looked at her, "but.... mission hasn't changed kid." I turned to the crew again. "This man that we're after is a psychopath and an inventor all in one. He's a danger to the entirety of the Colonies. The whole Frontier is at risk while he lives. Do we stand a chance? Maybe, maybe not. Do we sit by and let this guy have a chance to escape this world and return to terrorizing our families!? FUCK NO!"

Things like "Yeah!" and "WOO!" and other various cheers could be heard building up.

"While we still breathe, the fight goes on!" I continued, feeling more and more pumped by the second. Emotions ranging from anger, to excitement, to pride welled up within me. "We were given a mission, and I'll be DAMNED if it isn't finished! So let's find this guy, and make him pay for his crimes against the free Frontier!"

The cheers had built to a crescendo around me. I could see inspiration overriding fear, determination overriding sorrow, the faces of my loyal crew as they once again felt ready to fight for what was right.

I looked to Rebecca and Karish. I just barely caught Karish taking his finger off the trigger for the ship wide intercom. I flashed him a grateful smile. Both he and Rebecca smiled back at me, proud of their leader and determined to finish what needed to be done.

I turned back to the rest of the crew and smirked, making sure to give Karish the signal to key the intercom again. "PREPARE FOR TITANFALL!!!!" I ordered, loud and proud. The ship reverberated with the cheers of the entire crew, and dare I say it, I though I felt the cheers coming from the fighter pilots too.


I looked around me. The titan bay was a mess of activity. Despite this I continued to arm myself. My Enhanced Parkour Kit was ready, so were my R-101C Carbine with HCOG holographic sights and extended magazine, my Wingman Revolver, and my Sidewinder AT MG. I checked my Satchel Charges, packed four just in case. I picked up an Active Radar Pulse Module and finally, my specially designed Guardian Chip that I flash copied and connected to any titan's I had deployed. I built this chip myself in my determination to become one of the best Pilots on the Frontier. Within was another amazing friend of mine, an AI named Jeeves. British badass. Has his 2PM afternoon tea everyday, hostile fire be damned. And he was a loyal protector. It wasn't easy getting the parts to build this chip and program him but when he was born, he and I became fast friends, and later he became fast friends with the crew.

Rebecca had a similar chip, this one however had an AI process named Vanessa. Also a badass, she was gentle yet fierce. She and Rebecca were inseparable. I looked at Rebecca's loadout. She had the same Anti titan weapon and sidearm as I did but her weapon of choice was the G2A4 Rifle with ACOG scope and competition hair trigger. She also chose a cloak and arc grenades, five in her case. She liked to be EXTRA prepared. She also made sure to grab the Stealth kit to further enhance her espionage abilities. She scares me sometimes.

We went to our console, yes we share a console, and began putting in the configuration for our Titans. We made idle conversation as we did. I preferred my Juggernaught loadout. It was configured around the H-KA02/a Ogre platform chassis. The tools of choice? One burst fire 40mm Cannon, the unguided auto reload rocket salvo, and a Vortex Shield capable of catching projectiles and sending them RIGHT back at the target. A brutal combination. I scare myself just as much as Rebecca does sometimes..... Rebecca went with a Plasma Railgun with extended mag, a Particle Shield, and her infamous modified cluster missile on her favorite Stryder Chassis, a loadout she liked to call the Velociraptor. For my Juggernaught I chose the Dash Quickcharge Module and the Auto Ejection system for a slight but helpful evasion boost and a safety precaution. Rebecca went with the Tactical Reactor and the "Big Punch" module which, surprisingly, allowed the flimsy Stryder to deliver a punch that could send an Ogre flying back a few yards and subsequently lay it out flat, something I experienced first hand during the first few days we knew each other.... those arguments went far okay?

"So.... what do you think we'll find down there....?" I heard Rebecca ask, attempting to make idle conversation no doubt. One of her many ways to keep me chilled out. She knows me too well, I get way too anxious without someone to talk to before a mission.

"No idea..... hopefully nothing like those monolithic creatures we've been finding on that one colony world.... forget what that one was called..... oh or those dragon things. Four wings and always ate our footsoldiers like they were nothin." I shivered. "I remember a pilot being carried away by one of those....."

"You and me both....." she replied, though to which part I don't know.... most likely everything I said.....

Then the alarm went off and Karish's voice came on over the intercom. "Hostile site found! It's a confirmed crash, and we're right above it," he explained to the crew as we boarded our Titans and pods. "Movement detected at the site, definitely human. Survivors. IMC presence confirmed. Target's presence unconfirmed but highly possible. Good luck everyone." The intercom cut off.

[Suggested Listening]

That's all I needed to hear. I closed the hatch on my titan and Rebecca did the same with hers. "Hey Jeeves, you up?" I asked once the systems powered up.

"Ready and willing sir. Welcome back," he replied.

"You too buddy."

"Don't forget me," I heard Vanessa say over the comms in here smooth voice.

"Course not Vanessa, you keep my partner safe ya hear?"

"Of course," the female AI replied. Rebecca simply chuckled at the exchanged and made a passing comment about us all being worry warts.

We were ready to drop. A countdown appeared on the screen. As soon as it hit zero, my stomach lurched. "TITANFALL!!!!" I heard one of the other pilots yell over the comms.

Seconds passed, almost felt like hours.... In that time I thought at an accelerated rate, making calculations and more as the drop continued.... then.... impact. And all hell broke loose. Rebecca and I took cover immediately and the grunts who deployed in pods near us followed our lead along with a few Spectre robotic automated footsoldiers. Enemy Titans were just down the path from us, and they knew we were here.

"Here we go...."

As if in sync, Rebecca and I dashed out into the field. She stayed behind me for just a moment as I put up my Vortex Shield, absorbing almost all of the enemy weapons fire. They never learn. The entire volume of bullets, shells, and rockets was sent back, destroying a single enemy titan in one Vortex Shield induced blow. In milliseconds, Rebecca dashed forward and set up her particle shield in front of us. Then she charged a shot. The enemy soldiers didn't see enough through the particle shield to dodge in time. The shot rang out and hit the other enemy titan head on, downing his shields to almost nothing. I dashed through the shield once more, my dash module charged by then, and delivered a punch to that titan, an Atlas. The destruction of the foe was close at hand and nine shots from my 40 mil to a critical point on it's armor guaranteed that.

With two titans down and our own armor only barely touched, we moved on, shooting hostile grunts and spectres that dared crossed our path. Our own footsoldiers made short work of anything we missed. On the other side of the field, our other four pilots were raising hell, distracting two enemy titans and in fact quickly dispatching both them and their pilots. The enemy was outgunned now.

Then came the tricky part.... The wreckage of the enemy destroyer was riddled but heavily intact, the superstructure holding true. They must have had some kind of ballsy helmsman and engineering crew because normally that wouldnt be the case. Regardless we found our way in and encountered three more titans. I repeated the process with my vortex shield from earlier and fired the mass of rounds back... but they missed the titans and instead obliterated a large group of spectres and grunts. No surprise there. We kept at it though, Rebecca putting up her particle shield and both of us moving to cover. From there, I fired my missile salvo and downed a Stryder's shields. Rebecca followed up with a charged round from her railgun and ended it. We took cover before the volume of return fire could down our shields completely. A close call. The enemy titans were advancing now. Two Ogres. We made a plan and executed, both of us dashing across to each other's cover and spooking the enemy pilots, causing them to pause and put up their particle shields. Nothing happened so they continued their advance, now on edge. Meanwhile, we were moving around. We found corridors to get behind them and opened fire with replenished barrages of fire. They turned to fire back but we reacted quick. Rebecca moved behind me and I put up my vortex shield once more. Again they never learn.

This time the barrage of fire from the vortex shield heavily damaged one of the enemy ogres and Rebecca fired a shot she had been charging as soon as I moved out of the way..... the enemy pilot nuclear ejected..... making the sacrifice play in this enclosed environment. I dashed back and barely made it behind cover in time. Rebecca was able to dash multiple times, getting into cover a bit sooner. The last Ogre must have supercharged it's core because it was still standing, the shield core being enough to defend from a nuclear ejection. It opened fire on us as soon as we were out of cover. With the distance between us now there was enough time to let some volume of fire enter the air before I put up my vortex shield. By now they learn and stop firing soon as they see it but the amount of rockets delayed the enemy pilot noticing the vortex shield. Quad Rocket.... what a dumbass. The enemy Ogre had no room to dodge and all missiles hit him head on. His titan was doomed now. I dashed in and rushed forward, grabbing both hands of the enemy titan and ripping them off. I then used those arms as bludgeons to finish the enemy titan off. It worked.

We entered the main hangar, which was a jumbled mess thanks to all the destruction from the crash..... nothing in sight.... until I spotted a large blur moving clear as day out of the other exit and back into broad daylight. "THERE!" I yelled, and we gave pursuit. "NOWHERE TO RUN THIS TIME MALCOVITCH!"

"Maintain control Anthony," I heard Rebecca say. "Don't lose yourself." She sounded alot like a wise mother.

I nodded and we continued, slow and cautious. "Karish coordinate a cleanup to get rid of the rest of these guys and then recall our own guys, and make it quick. We'll go after Malcovitch," I ordered into the comms.

"Yah mon I'm on it. Be safe out there," he replied.

"You know I will."

Not another word was spoken, and we left the crash site, heading into the dense mountain terrain.

Unknown Marks

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Canterlot observatory, usually a half populated and quiet place of knowledge, now a primary asset of the Equestrian Royal Sisters. Why? Let's call it a feeling. Luna, diarch of the night and the moon, had detected something ELSE of unknown origin in her night sky, and that time it had disturbed her slumber. Even now she stared at her night sky, searching the stars for the anomaly she still felt hanging somewhere up there....

"Where are you....?"

Celestia came in to check on her. "Lulu, dear sister, what ever are you doing?"

"Not now," she said, "Felt another anomaly, and this one stopped in orbit...."

"Another one!?" Celestia came over to her sister to get a closer look at what she was doing.

"Yes and I'm trying to spot it...."

Her next adjustment brought an unusual object.... or cluster of objects, into focus. Upon closer inspection, they appeared to be artificial in nature, along with being powered and active. Luna paled at the sight. "It.... couldn't be...."

"Dear sister what are you talking about? What could possibly warrant such a response?" Celestia wondered.

"See for yourself...." Luna moved aside to allow Celestia to look.... and after a moment she too paled (if that's even possible).

"Impossible....." she muttered.

"Yeah that's what I'm thinking. They are moving on their own, against the forces of celestial nature no less," Luna explained, "But what could they be here for?"

Celestia thought for a moment before realization dawned on her. "Please tell me spies managed to get close to the impact site in the Gryphon Empire."

"They should already be sending back a report about now. Why don't we go to my study. It might already be there," Luna suggested.


They made their way back to Luna's study and she began going through her received mail. "Ah, here we are." She pulled one in particular from the pile bearing the "Top Secret" mark and the emblem of the Lunar Guard.

She opened it and began reading it aloud.

"Dear Princess Luna. We had arrived close to the site shortly after your dispatch. However, we were forced to break off the mission before arriving. Upon coming close, we saw unusual structures and objects, some in motion, some not. It appeared to be a crashed ship at the distance we observed it from. A short period after our arrival at the observation point, we witnessed several objects either falling from the sky, or making a controlled flight in. Immediately after this happened we heard gunfire and combat in the distance, indicating active warfare. I can without a doubt say that none of the objects are of Gryphon origin. Some of the objects witnessed were, unbelievably enough, an advanced form of transportation or an advanced machine of war, some of which appeared to be large bipeds, as tall as a small house, wielding extraordinary weapons. They appeared to be fighting each other. It was deemed wise to leave the area after witnessing a lengthy amount of conflict. Please note, these objects appeared at around 0830 hours time yesterday."

Luna closed the letter slowly and looked to Celestia. "That time..... it's between the time I picked up the second anomaly and the time we spotted it. This is no coincidence. They included a picture and the destroyed ship looks extremely similar to the one currently in our orbit. A war has reached our world without either party knowing of the other until now."

"These two parties being.... the arrivals and the inhabitants of our world?" Celestia pondered.

The night princess's face darkened. "The very same."

"They've fired weapons in territory that is already declared an active warzone on a global scale and they have no idea....." Celestia sighed. "What could we do against such a force....?"

"I have a hunch," Luna began as she started back towards the observatory, her sister in tow. "These beings appear only to be interested in each other. A civil war perhaps? I can only make guesses. However they are bound to encounter the species of our world sooner or later."

"So we should likely reach out to one of them in peace....." The solar diarch guessed.

Luna nodded "Exactly. However I am unsure how. The Deer are far more practiced at technology than we dear sister. Perhaps we should employ their aid."

"Is magic not in the question?" Celestia received a headshake in response.

"For all we know, it is an unfamiliar concept for their culture. There may even be a language barrier. They seem to favor technology over magic as the anomaly holds no magical power. An approach using a method derived from the Deer's technology would be more prudent in my opinion."

"You may be right.... so many unknown factors though." Celestia let out the umpteenth sigh that week and even started to look exhausted.

Luna frowned sadly at the sight. "Perhaps you should get some rest dear sister. I'll bring it up with the Deer representative later. I'll inform the others as well if you wish."

"It would be better to keep them in the loop. We're working together here after all." Celestia answered.

"Very well then. Go get some sleep Celestia. Worry not of recent events." Luna comforted, "I shall inform you of any developments."

Celestia gave a tired smile and nuzzled her sister. "Thank you Lulu. I'll take your advice."

With that, the two shared a hug and the eldest sister made to return to her room. Meanwhile, Luna returned to the observatory and sent for the Deer representative.


It took about two hours, and Luna had taken a short nap in that time, but finally the Deer representative arrived at the observatory.

Valiance approached the Lunar diarch, who now seemed rested and intent on observing the activities of the craft. She had taken note of smaller craft returning to the large one directly from the planetary surface beneath it. This helped confirm her theory that the crash and the object she was currently scrutinizing were linked. Luna sensed Valiance's approach however and turned her attention to the Deer.

"Thank you for coming," she said, "We have a new development....."

She took the time to explain what she and her sister saw and what they discussed. She even allowed Valiance to look through the telescope at what was currently in orbit. Suffice it to say, the Deer representative took it in great stride... after some initial shock of course.

Valiance sighed. "My people guessed at many eventualities, this being one of them."

"This?" Luna looked at her, dumbfounded.

"Yes. Our universe is vast. Very vast. It was of course only a matter of time before other sentient life was encountered, however we expected it to be a few more centuries or millennium first. This early.... we may not be ready if they turn out to be hostile." Valiance turned to the diarch. "You still intend to attempt contact?"

Luna nodded. "It's either that or they inevitably find us before we act, and react far more unpredictably. If we reach out in peace, maybe they won't get violent. They might even explain their purpose here and even make their own offer of peace."

Valiance chuckled. "I can see some logic in that. No wonder you and Celestia are the unquestioned leaders of this nation."

Luna smiled happily at the compliment. "Why thank you dear friend.... oh uh no pun intended."

Valiance almost laughed, "It's quite alright. It's a common pun amongst my people."

Luna chuckled at the thought of that. A single pair of words turned into puns for a whole people named by one of those words? It was a rather silly concept.

Valiance turned serious again soon enough. "So when do we tell the rest of the ambassadors?"

"Immediately if you like.... uh though Celestia won't be attending." Luna sighed. "She's exhausted and I asked her to retire to her chambers for some rest. I worry about her..... she works far too hard....."

"I can understand the sentiment....." Valiance agreed. "But let's stay focused. We have a council to attend and information to give out do we not?"

Luna nodded. "Indeed we do."

With that they departed the observatory, their next course of action set before them.

First Contact Blunder

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It was now the dead of night. Anthony and Rebecca had been stalking through these mountains for over a day now, following tracks and signs, which were rather obvious in the case of a Titan. Atlases and Ogres were the heavier of the three Titan platforms and Malcovitch's upgrades made his Atlas all the heavier. Despite this, Malcovitch seemed able to work around this. His Atlas Titan's enhanced speed, stealth, and agility made it very possible for Malcovitch to even create confusing tracks and trails in the rocky, craggy terrain. Both Militia pilots were now more than exhausted..... Anthony found himself glad that he had brought extra water and rations for the two of them, along with some caffeinated drinks that he decided the crew should have access to. What upset him however, was that they seemed to have just about lost the hostile pilot.

"This guy....," Rebecca began, "He is really starting to piss me off. He's too evasive, too resourceful."

"He's an inventor and a pilot in one, what do you expect?" I retorted.

She could only sigh and silently agree. We continued along, attempting to find where the trail continued. This continued for a few more hours. With it being four in the morning, it was time to stop the search and make to rest. We decided to sleep in our Titans for the remainder of the night, the machines being the safest places for us at the moment. We put them on autopilot, allowing the AI's to take control.

I sighed and leaned back to unwrap another ration bar. "Jeeves... could you alert me if trouble pops up?"

"Of course. Would you like some water to go with that?" He activated the hatch to the storage compartment containing the water bottles.

I chuckled and nodded. "Sure would. Thanks for reminding me," I said as I grabbed one of the half full bottles.

"You're very welcome Sir Dubias. Get some rest. Vanessa and I will keep a lookout."

I nodded and opened a channel with Rebecca.

She smiled and made to speak first. "Guess the fun continues later huh?"

I nodded. "Looks like it. That guy is good at playing hide and seek I'll give him that. It's late though and we've been up for what, a day and a half?"

"Just about...." She yawned tiredly.

I had an angry look on my face by then.

"Hey," she started, "Don't be like that, we knew it would be a tough mission. Took us a year and a half to get this far. We won't let him get away this time."

"I can't help it. I feel like he's toying with us...." I muttered.

"He's a psychopath, whadya expect?" she laughed, "He's just like any other psycho terrorist. Put a bullet in him and it's all over. Come on, cheer up. It looks like he's more interested in running than hunting which gives us a chance to talk and rest." She looked around and a pang of regret crossed her features. "Besides, catching him in this terrain is next to impossible with the gear he has.... He's stuck on this world now. Distress beacon on that IMC Destroyer was disabled and knowing how their protocols work, no one will be coming to rescue him. There was no response in the communications logs, and those were intact and fully connected, though how is an absolute mystery to me."

"Ballsy crew," I answered simply.

"I will give them that," she muttered in response, "They did manage to keep the superstructure and some systems of their ship intact so I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised. Regardless it made it easier for us to cut them off."

"Don't forget that we're cut off too...." I retorted sadly.

"Right..... but we got an army and he now has nothing but his Titan. I doubt there is any way he can repair it if it takes heavy enough damage, and if it does, it'll be that much easier to hunt him."

"A fair point...." I replied, "But he still has an uncanny ability to hide and strike from the shadows."

"That's why you have me. You remember what my skill set is don't you?" she laughed.

"How can I forget," I retorted, laughing along with her, "When you're not out being a ghost, you're boasting about how awesome you are."

"Heeeey, I'm not ALWAYS like that."

"You are often enough."

We both shared a hearty laugh at that. After our conversation, we spent some time in silence, simply eating our food and sipping our water as we got lost in our thoughts. My thoughts turned to home.... and to how my life was before all this started. I tried my best to focus on all the good times, both before the IMC's return and after. There were a few, just enough to keep me positive.... most of the time. Birthdays and Christmas with Mom and Dad.... Halloween, Easter. Fun times I had at the local fair with my family and a few local friends I had. Meeting Rebecca and finding out how awesome a team we are. Going and getting a little tipsy with the crew after a great victory on the battlefield. So many good times, and I would cherish them all. If there's one good thing I can say about my life, it's that I have no regrets, and that made things a little easier to go on. That doesn't mean I don't remember the bad though.... the darker moments.... my family's death, my first kill, stuff like that.... being young and naive wasn't always a good thing. It had it's perks but it made me vulnerable. I remember the lessons those days taught me though, and they give me drive.

My thoughts were soon interrupted however, and I saw Rebecca's face change to an expression of mild surprise. Something was on the motion tracker and our AI's saw fit to notify us with a soft alarm.

"Talk to me Jeeves, what is it?" I asked.

"Unknown contacts, multiple, none as large as a Titan however," he replied. "Indigenous life forms perhaps. I suggest we investigate."

I nodded and looked to Rebecca. "I guess we have work to do."


Forest Talon never felt more alive. After the reports of strange sounds of combat and machines in the mountains had come in after the crash, he had been dispatched with his squad. His squad leader hid behind the boulder to his left and his other two squadmates hid along a larger boulder to his right.

The squad leader looked at him and gave him the signal to investigate but be stealthy. He stayed quiet and began advancing to the edge of the cliff, hunched down. What he saw below him shocked him. Two massive mechanical bipeds with large weapons akin to rifles, though one looked longer and boxier.

He waved his squad leader over, who, upon seeing the bipeds, was initially shocked, based on the expression he gave.

"King Blazewind would have a field day with tech like that," he whispered, "Not to mention the reward we would get for taking it down and bringing it to him....."

Talon froze. "How would we bring them down.....?"

"A surprise attack. Hit them from the rear. They're bound to have more weak points. Get your blades and rifles ready." He said as he looked back to the rest of the squad.... however he had failed to notice the gentle hydraulic sounds coming from the slimmer one noticing and looking up at them.

"Uh.... boss?" Talon spoke up.

"Shhh, keep your voice..... down...." he noticed too late that they were spotted, and he was looking face to face at the slimmer one.


I couldn't believe what I saw.... creatures straight out of mythology and Rebecca was the first to notice. She was aiming right at them though.

"You know," I hear her say, "You shouldn't whisper about ambushing a girl right next to her ear." I could hear the dark, humorous sarcasm in her voice.

Apparently she had picked up what they were saying thanks to the ability for her Titan to pick up on more acute noise in otherwise silent environments. But something else struck me as odd.

"Wait wait wait, they spoke Engli....?"

"RUUUUN!!!" I heard one of the gryphons yell and they began to take flight.

"OH NO YOU DON'T!!!" Rebecca fired her plasma railgun, picking one out of the sky. Judging by the fact that they were planning to attack in the first place, I took no issue with it. I took aim and fired, a burst from my cannon took down one more, another burst hit another. The last was almost out of range but Rebecca was already scoped in.


"Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit!"

Forest Talon's entire squad had just been obliterated just because the thin robot had the uncanny ability to hear whispering. His heart was pounding and he was flapping as fast and as hard as he could to get away. He heard a mechanical whining coming from behind him and he flapped even harder. His muscles ached already. He looked behind and saw the smaller one's boxy rifle glowing at the tip, as if ready to spew a superheated projectile. He immediately made to dive and dodge.


Just after the last gryphon dove, she fired, and missed. "FUCK!"

It was too late to take another shot. He was already out of sight, likely flying down the mountain to tell his comrades what had happened.

"That's no good...." I muttered. "Karish?" I called after keying on my long range comms.

"Mon we have been tracking you for ages. We saw what happened, what was that!?" He bellowed

"Easy Karish, they were whispering about attacking us. Rebecca's Titan picked it all up and AI cleaned up the noise no doubt. A little too quite even to whisper without being heard by us at that range."

"Well you let one get away. Orbital images show settlements throughout the region and he's flying towards one that looks like a lower tech military outpost," Karish explained. "He's in quite a hurry after that display."

"Fuck.... send a couple jumpships, we need a team to disassemble our Titans and bring em back with us," I ordered, sounding frustrated, "No use leaving em for the locals to find. First alien species we encounter and it's already gone fucking FUBAR."

"They're already on their way. And hey maybe it was just one nation. Don't judge the masses for the action of a few yeah?"

"Let's hope they have the same mindset...." I muttered.


(Two days later)

Celestia and Luna were in their dining room within the castle. Between them this time was a small portion of the long table, a cup of tea for each of them, and a Chess board. Celestia looked rather confident whereas Luna looked like she was halfway between having a heart attack and having a fucking fit. Ah the joys of sibling rivalry.

She caught something in her eye. Luna's king piece had only one escape route and one of her rooks were guarding it. The solar diarch still had two rooks and a bishop blocking all other escape routes. One thing Luna hadn't noticed yet was that Celestia's queen piece was in a perfect position to eliminate Luna's guarding rook. The eldest sister took the opportunity and closed the gap. "Checkmate," she said smugly.


Celestia could only giggle at her expense. "Better luck next time," she sang teasingly.

"I want a rematch!" Luna demanded and began resetting the board.

"Oh alright, one more." She made to help reset the board but they were interrupted (AGAIN!?).

Celestia looked to the dining room door, shocked to see a Guard rushing over urgently, holding up an envelope in his magic grasp. "Urgent message from the spy network. Communications intercept amongst the Gryphon Rebels."

Celestia took the letter and opened it to read.

"What does it say....?" Luna said after a short wait.

Celestia sighed. "It seems our otherworldly guests experienced an ambush attempt. A Gryphon Rebel scouting party had all but one team member annihilated and he reported what happened. His team had tried to ambush two very LARGE bipedal machines."

"Sounds exactly like one of the war machines described in the recon report earlier this week. At least we know they won't ally with the Gryphons....." Luna theorized.

Celestia sighed once more, "Here's hoping. We should go ahead and attempt contact with these aliens before things escalate further."

Luna nodded. "I'm way ahead of you. Valiance called for some engineers from her airship crew to help set up a long range communicator in the observatory at my request. She actually seems rather excited at the idea of first contact.... though I should probably inform her of what's happened."

"Then let's make haste to the observatory," Celestia said, concluding their conversation. They picked up their tea and left the dining room.

Opening The First Door

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To say I was pissed would be an understatement. Looking back on it all I had every reason to be. Our target had virtually vanished AGAIN, we were attacked by sentient locals unprovoked, AND one of those locals got away to blab about us. Gryphons too no less. I tried to take a deep breath to calm myself which caused a small smile to grace Rebecca's features. Yes she was following me, and the reason she was smiling was that I had taken many of her anger management lessons to heart. They help, ALOT. Deep breathing exercises especially. Meditation was something she taught shortly after. I was seriously considering taking a short break to do some of said meditation. In any case it helped and I managed to chill if only just a bit. I walked onto the bridge and looked at Karish.

"Talk to me man, what's happened since we left the surface?" I half asked half ordered.

Karish frowned. "Could be better. Orbital imagery shows no sign of Malcovitch or his Titan which indicates that his stealth module might be a longer lasting variant. We may need to find other ways to detect him. Thermal imaging is out of the question because of the vast amount of life on the planet. So many heat signatures and some larger than Titans."

"Whoa whoa whoa LARGER than Titans?" I stopped in my tracks.

Karish pulled up a thermal silhouette image. The shape was immediately recognized. "That looks almost draconic in shape."

"Because it is," Karish started as he put an image next to the first, this one taken with normal optics. I couldn't believe my eyes.... I was looking at a dragon, a fucking massive dragon. The full wing span looked around a fourth or a third of a kilometer. This beast was fucking HUGE.... easily big enough to turn a Titan into lunch if metal were in its diet....

"That's not the best part," Karish explained. "Multiple cultures, multiple cities and villages." He pulled up image after image after image. "We're looking at a diverse ecosystem with a partially advanced alien society right in the middle of it. Some of these images show possible industrial or digital age technology. We even spotted some tanks."

He wasn't kidding. Villages big and small were scattered across multiple continents and there was even a large vessel that looked like something from the late 20th century US Navy. Yes I remember some history teachings. Call me a bookworm all you want. Then I saw the tanks. They were unique, angular, and wide in shape.... the dust plumes in the images indicated that these tanks were FAST.

"These creatures have some advanced military...." I concluded.

"Not all of them but yes some do. Most of the regions still look to be industrial or pre-industrial, definitely a hodgepodge. Some railroad tracks are there too. Science division is having a field day," Karish finished.

"In other words we've truly encountered an alien species...." I sat in the captain's chair, looking somewhat shocked.

"Yes," Karish answered. "We also managed to spot structures that look vaguely like observatories or radar domes. It is unclear for now but one of those nations might have the ability to spot us up here. Carriers can't use optical cloak after all."

Rebecca chose that time to speak up. "Maybe we could find a remote location on the surface and hide there?"

One of the senior officers spoke up, sensors by the looks of him. "Uh.... thaaat may not be an option......"

"Explain," I ordered immediately.

"I've got some kind of radar pulse and a radio signal being shot our way periodically. Frequent, pretty noticeable. Coming from a very different local from the one you deployed at sir. I think someone is trying to contact us..... and I can almost guarantee they know where we are. Those radar pulses are pretty uniform. No randomized pattern. This is an artificial signal sir."

We all paled and looked at each other. The entire bridge went completely silent.


(About an hour prior)

Luna sighed and looked around. It seemed everything was prepared. She looked about the observatory which was now abuzz with activity, only the most trusted members of the council nations in the room to work on things. The entire council had attended as well. Valiance looked excited and at the same time scared as hell as the transmitter and radar powered up. Iron Hoof and Red Wing looked slightly apprehensive. Terrana and High Wind seemed to simply be waiting patiently, somewhat disbelieving at the moment.

Valiance soon ordered the room to quiet down once the communications screen and programming were fully set up as well. "Alright everypony. Today is a pretty historic day. I'm horrible with speeches sadly but I will say this. Remember to be strong, be brave, and try to be welcoming." Almost every head nodded and there were many audible affirmatives on the part of the crowd.

She powered up the radar and radio pulse and directed it at the alien vessel. "Here goes nothing....."

Thirty minutes passed as they periodically upped the power. Another thirty minutes and Celestia and Luna were starting to worry that they weren't getting through. Celestia was about to order a stop when a beeping was heard.

"I GOT SOMETHING!" one of the listeners exclaimed. "It's faint but.... yeah YEAH it's a signal!!! Patching it through to main audio."

The main screen was showing an audio diagnostic and signal diagnostic at that point

A voice was bleeding through the static. Male, somewhat young adult, that was all they could glean until..... "R...t.... Does anyo.... opy?"

Luna snickered at another slight pun she detected in there, and Valiance stuck her tongue out in response for a second. The transmission continued.

"..is is Frontier Militia Comma..... Anthony Dumont attempting to cont..... nknown entity, please respond...."

"Anthony Dumont?" Celestia pondered.

"Frontier Militia?" Luna added.

"This is Ambassador Valiance of the United Deer Provinces and the Council of United Nations to alien vessel," they heard their "deer" friend say into the microphone. "Does anyone copy?"

"Whoa.... didn't expect a response in a language I know...." came Anthony's response.

"Well I'll be, it worked far better than expected. Half expected to hit a language or culture barrier there." Valiance laughed.

"Right.... culture barrier.... Perhaps you would like to explain why me and my partner were attacked without provocation on your world?" Anthony retorted.

"Would you be referring to a squad of four gryphons trying and failing to ambush two large bipedal machines?" Valiance asked.

"The very same incident."

"You were in a region that was globally declared an active war zone barely a fortnight ago. There's a bit of a terrorist insurrection underway and that was one of their squads that attacked you. Spy networks picked it up."

"What are you doing?" Luna whispered to Valiance.

"What you wanna lie to them and possibly get attacked by big robots?" Valiance shot back, also whispering.

"I see your point...." and Luna backed off.

"Terrorist insurrection....?" Anthony asked after a minute, "What gave them that label?"

Celestia spoke up. "Without provocation, the Rebels we refer to have attacked undefended civilian population centers. They shot down all attempts at peace even. They were the first to strike out and so far those loyal to true Gryphon leaders have faced fierce resistance."

"I suppose there is a pretty huge difference between my Rebellion and the Gryphon Rebellion then.... wait that was a different voice who spoke, who was that?" Anthony replied.

"Princess Celestia, diarch of Equestria and Raiser of the Sun." the princess replied.

"Raiser of the Sun? Might need a little evidence before I believe THAT claim. Where I come from, the planets orbit suns and move based on the dictations of celestial physics.... uh no pun intended...." Anthony chuckled.

"I understand that. Our observatories picked up this major difference between our solar system and those surrounding us. In any case we are drifting off topic. You said you were part of a Rebellion of your own, what is the difference between you and the Gryphon rebels that you indicated?"

"How bout the guys who left us out in the Frontier for a few years deciding to come back after being gone so long and trying to take all we had worked so hard to build with little or no compensation for us colonists. Executed a man down the street from my own home when I was a kid just for not listening to these guys, same guys who call themselves the IMC. They call us terrorists but they struck first, claiming all that WE mined and harvested and all that WE worked so hard to build was theirs even though they made no effort to contribute other than telling us "go here and expand." You want more out of me in that regard, we're gonna have to meet face to face. Signal strength is starting to drop."

There were quite a few shocked faces at the revelation he gave. An alien war really did land on their shores. After a moment of silence, Celestia continued. "Alright then, are you able to trace this transmission?"

"We are, and we have orbital images of where the transmission is coming from by now. Big castle on the mountain side right?" Anthony again shocked everyone in the room.

"Y-yes, the very same," Celestia began to explain. "Come to the side closer to the mountain peaks and look for the Royal airship docks. If any of our own images are correct, you have vessels small enough to fit there."

"Spotted em. These images are pretty high rez. Got any way to make a docking berth stand out? Wanna land in the right place." Anthony was very thorough it seemed. Celestia was starting to like where this was going if only a little. Maybe negotiations could go in a more peaceful direction?

She explained. "We'll mark one of these docks with a vivid red border and illuminate it. Come in the dead of night. That should be in about nine or ten hours. It should somewhat hide your approach from the populace until we are ready to reveal your presence."

"Sound's good. I'll be there. I'll bring my partner too if that's alright. She's second in command on my ship," the commander clarified.

"Helloooooo," a second, pleasant, and somewhat bubbly female voice said through the channel.

"Yeah that's Rebecca Thorne," Anthony sighed.

"Theee one and only," they heard her say.

"Get off the mic!"

There was already some smirking and chuckling in the observatory at the sudden burst of antics. It was short lived but a pleasant surprise thankfully.

"A-anyway," Anthony cleared his throat, "We'll meet you in the indicated docking berth at the designated time."

"We'll be waiting for you," Celestia responded.

It was then that the transmission got cut.

The listener spoke up. "Lost it ma'am, radar is still showing them there but barely. However it looks like their ship is turning..... yeah they're turning towards us and are moving along the orbital plane now. Radar cross section is definitely growing. I'm starting to pick up other signals from the ship..... they're pinging our antenna.... huh.... must be a way to help them keep track. Either way, they're coming now and in contact range. I suggest we leave the antenna on."

Valiance spoke up. "I concur. I also suggest a team remain here to listen for further transmissions."

Celestia nodded. "Done and done. Let's make it happen."

The observatory telescope went into motion and an image of the alien vessel appeared on the main screen. Now they just had to wait.


"Huh.... that went well." I heard my partner say.

"Better than I could have hoped. At least the guys we killed were nothing more than terrorists..... but what the hell could have given birth to terrorists here....?" I wondered.

"Human history gives some possible answers," Karish began. "Perhaps religious zealotry, perhaps jealousy, perhaps a desire for world domination, the answer is unclear. Regardless we are stuck here and still have a psychopathic man to hunt down, striding about in a cloaked Atlas on the surface. If these creatures were able to reach out to and communicate with us, than perhaps we can employ their aid if we play our cards right."

"Hey I'm not a diplomat," I retorted.

"That you may not be, but being yourself may help in this situation. They said they had an insurrection to deal with and a growing one if our first encounter was anything to go by. They have organized outposts according to orbital imagery. You are a soldier and a commander. You have a military vessel under your command and a loyal crew who, I think at this point, can call one another friends or extended family at the very least. Offer our services, help them defeat the enemy, for all you know, that may even lead us to our quarry before we even have to ask for their aid. Also, be honest. Tell them the whole truth, why we are here, who the man we hunt is. If they found us, they certainly know about the crashed Destroyer too so explain that as well. You already started by giving a summary of who the Militia truly is."

I had to hand it to Karish. He was one wise man. It all made sense, and it seemed these creatures were more than willing to negotiate. Didn't mean I was gonna go to their front doorstep unprepared for a fight but I decided to loosen up and go on Karish's wisdom here..... pff no wonder racism died on Earth. All men made equal indeed.... same potential for wisdom, strength, ingenuity, and everything else under the sun. I liked to think Karish was one of the many examples of that on the FyreByrd. I shook those thoughts away for now though. Great as it is to remember how awesome my friends are and think about every way they are awesome, we still had a job and a plan. I nodded my thanks to Karish.

"I'll retire to my quarters for now then. I'll definitely think about your words though Karish." I looked at my Guardian chip and activated an interface on it. "Hey Jeeves."

"Yes sir?" A holographic representation of a British man in a formal suit sitting and having tea appeared above the chip from a small holographic display in the device. "How may I be of assistance?"

"If you could alert me when about eight and a half hours have passed that would be great. Make sure to alert the ship as well alright? Wanna have a jumpship ready to go and I wanna be punctual."

"Of course sir. Will you be jumping in or simply gliding in?" He asked.

"Gliding. I don't wanna freak any locals out yaknow?" I chuckled a bit.

"I completely understand," Jeeves chuckled as well, "I'll have our best pilot informed and prepared by the time we need to depart."

"Thanks buddy," I looked at Rebecca. "Try not to crash the ship while I'm gone alright?" I said in a playful jab.

"Oh come on I'm not THAT bad at flying." she retorted, somewhat amused.

"Tell that to the dignitary that threw up when you flew the rescue jumpship out," I snarked.


The whole bridge laughed, including Rebecca and I. I smiled and left the bridge, preparing my datapad for some work. I even decided to start on a short presentation I would give to our new contacts once we arrived.

New Places, Familiar Faces

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To say I was a little nervous was a slight bit of an understatement. Seven hours had passed since my initial conversation with Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and the other leaders I had spoken to over the impromptu radio chat. I was in my room, performing the meditation I so badly had been wanting to do. I love doing this. Heightening my senses and being able to pick up on the tiniest sounds, smells, and even memories that I otherwise would never be able to recall. Rebecca had said meditation even helped improve mental stability and neural reflex, something that had begun to show over the years.

Right now I was reliving a particular memory vividly. It was a dreamlike trance I was in as I remembered some really great times with Rebecca and my crew, one in particular on a battlefield, then at a bar, grabbing my attention. Shortly after becoming ship commander of the FyreByrd a mission we were on had gone sorely south. It was a rescue mission for a dignitary that supported the Militia cause from a city that had broken into riots even before fighting had broken out between Militia and IMC on the world. Hell we weren't even that far from Demeter at the time. Rebecca and I were on the run, our charge close behind. We had been cornered by a particularly notorious Ogre pilot. That was the first time we met the rest of our squad. The first we heard on the radio were the words: "Need a hand!?" Then we heard a second voice yell ",WAAAAAHOOOO!!!" as two militia Atlases, a Stryder, and an Ogre, all bearing Militia colors and the Dragon emblem, came bursting down the road. They had caught the IFF tags of Rebecca and I nearing the edge of the city and were charging headlong at the enemy pilot. They called themselves "Dovah Squad" claiming that the name was based out of an old, twenty first century videogame that they had found before joining up. Skyrim was it?

Either way, the friendly Ogre had tackled the enemy down from behind, having come from the opposite direction. The enemy Ogre stumbled out into the clear line of sight of the rest of Dovah Squad. The two Atlases raised their XO-16 Chainguns, both equipped with accelerators, and began peppering the enemy Titan while their Stryder zoomed around with it's dash module to flank with its Arc Cannon, upgraded with Capacitor, and it's multi-target missile system. The enemy Ogre barely had time to react before the combined firepower of unguided missiles from the Atlases, locked on missiles from the Stryder, and a cluster missile from the Dovah Squad Ogre left the enemy pilot without time to even eject. The Arc Cannon, chainguns, and a trio of shots from the friendly Ogre's burst fire 40 mil simply sealed the deal and made it completely overkill.... which Dovah Squad was notorious for.

By far one of the best ops ever in my opinion. Later, me, Rebecca, and the entirety of Dovah Squad had evacuated with the asset in a Goblin Jumpship and left the battle far behind, four Auto-Titans shooting any IMC dumbass that came too close. Not long after that, the six of us were sharing drinks at a pub only two planets away. Then we all got commissioned to work together on the Fyrebyrd as big goddamn heroes since, one, the Fyrebyrd still needed a filled out pilot team, and two, HIGHCOM saw how well we worked together, not to mention the reports on how well we got along, and three, Rebecca and I wouldn't stop badgering HIGHCOM about it. It made sense. A tight knit crew was an effective one after all, so HIGHCOM gave us the green light. Since then, we've been together for months.

Something out of a fairytale yeah, but it had happened. I see it as one of the best days of my life as my list of best friends jumped from one to five pretty fast, then six after meeting our Jamaican friend on the bridge. Rebecca and I were the closest yeah but.... damn it felt good to relive that memory. It was a happy one....

I came out of my meditation after that and felt much calmer. I stood with a smile and looked to the clock. Still one and a half hours till the nine hour mark. I pulled out my Guardian Chip.

"Hey Jeeves?" I said.

Jeeves appeared above the holoprojector with a smirk of his own. "Enjoy your escape from the now?" the AI chuckled.

I scoffed and shook my head with a goofy grin. "You know I always do. Do you know where Dovah Squad is?"

"One moment..... they're chatting in the mess hall, swapping tales."

I simply laughed out loud that time. "Sounds like them. Boisterous goofballs. Ah well, I hope they're having fun. Anyways, I think I'll go talk to them for a bit. Let Rebecca know will ya?"

"Of course sir," the British AI replied, "Consider the matter handled. Is there anything else?"

I shook my head. "Nah I think that's all for now. Thanks Jeeves."

"You're very welcome sir. I'll let you know when to be ready for the launch," the AI replied.

"Thanks buddy."

Jeeves nodded with a smile before his hologram vanished back into the chip.


It had been a brisk five minute walk from my chambers.... actually it was supposed to be. In reality, fifteen minutes had passed between the time I left my chambers and the time I arrived at the mess hall. I chuckled as to the reason why. The younger engineers had decided to play a prank involving a door and a water bucket on their senior officer. To his credit, Chief Engineer Bradly had taken the prank rather well. He hadn't even put the newbies on toilet duty. I had been about to but when I heard that it was really a harmless prank war, I let it slide. Since they were stuck orbiting a world beyond the fringes of known space, I figured they needed the little break. Besides, this wasn't a strict as fuck IMC Megacarrier. It was a standard Militia Carrier with a few uncommon upgrades and that was it. The crew here was practically family so they knew how to work well together and how to keep each other smiling. After clearing things up and helping to clean up the small mess of water, I had moved on, an even bigger smile on my face than the one I had when I had left my quarters.

Before me was the decent sized mess hall. It wasn't too big, but not too small either. It was a homely chamber with all the decor the crew had pulled together, and reminded me more of a cozy, out-in-the-country, coffee house. It certainly made the vessel feel a lot more like home. Command had been lenient about such a "small" break in regulations considering the many hells the crew had been through together and let them have the comfort. There was even an electric fireplace and a ventilation chute to filter away the smoke. Some crew members were sitting in modest couches reading books or calmly talking with one another around the fire. I looked around the mess hall further till I found who I was looking for. Squad Captain Natalie Graves, an American accented woman who piloted one of Dovah Squad's Atlases, sat with her team at the bar, eating simple noodles. Beside her, Lieutenant David Harper, the other Atlas Pilot, was laughing at a joke that their Stryder Pilot, Lieutenant Tracie Wilder, had apparently told. The team's Ogre pilot, a generally silent, gentle giant of a Russian called Lieutenant Victor Ivanov, simply sat and enjoyed his beefy meal with a satisfied smile. Often scoffing or lightly chuckling at one of Wilder's jokes. This was Dovah. These were the Dragons of the Fyrebyrd.

I chuckled and approached them as I heard the end of Wilder's latest joke.

"And she says 'Thank you sir, may I have another?'"

Harper was busting a gut now. "OH MY GOD WOOOOOW! You have got to be pulling my leg."

"Nnnnnoooope," the hyper female pilot replied with a giggle/snort that was actually kinda cute.

"You guys having fun?" I asked.

"You have no idea," Graves replied, shaking her head with a grin. "The tales Tracie pulls out of her ass are the best ever."

Tracie scoffed. "I did NOT pull those out of my ass you bitch."

Graves simply turned and stuck her tongue out at Tracie like a kid off the playground.

I couldn't help laughing. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you two were engaged or married."

"Didn't you hear!?" Tracie began, "We get married in seven days!" she joked.

"We do not!!!" Natalie jumped back a few feet.

Tracie was just giggling like a maniac while David busted a gut again and even Victor cracked an amused grin.

"Da," the Russian said in his deep voice, "I plan the reception."

Tracie just laughed harder at that.

At this point, I too was busting a gut. It took me a moment to regain my composure. "You guys are a card you know that!? No wonder I brought you aboard, the comic relief is amazing!"

"Naaaaaw, we all know you brought us aboard for more than that," Tracie hugged me with a near rib-cracking embrace. Certainly squeezed the breath out of me before she let go. "So what brings you here Annie?"

"Don't call me that," I deadpanned.



"How bout Greg?"

"Hell no."



And again the young pilot just started giggling her ass off. I simply couldn't stay mad (not that I was) and I, along with the rest of Dovah, started laughing my ass off once more. At this point we would be drawing a few stares from surrounding people but the rest of the crew was used to our antics, so they thought nothing of it. We eventually calmed down from our mirthful high.

"Seriously though, what brings you here Commander?" she asked curiously.

"A breath of fresh air with some friends for one thing, and to let you know I'll be leaving the ship in abooout.... wow not long actually. It's diplomacy now. We got sentient alien life here."

"Anthony, are you pulling our leeeegs?" Tracie asked playfully, the rest of the squad chuckling.

I remained businesslike in my expression though and Natalie figured it out. "You're serious....."

I nodded. "Contact was this afternoon. Rebecca and I are going down to negotiate, and maybe get some help for our mission to hunt down that bastard Malcovitch."

"Da, I can see the need for assistance with the equipment and skills he has.... did you know he figured out how to mine and smelt metal ore or scrap he finds in the field?" Victor said.

"Holy shit...." was all David could say. "Special equipment?"

"Da, and expanded storage for his Titan if the rumors are true..... all he'd need to do is find a big enough hole to hide in."

I sighed. "Yeah I wish I had known that a little sooner you know that? Rumor or not, I'd like to be as prepared as possible. If you're right, he may have the ability to repair his titan in the field too. Not to mention a Titan's fusion power core can last for at least five years before running out you know that?"

"I wouldn't put it past the fucker to have made his Titan able to stay powered for longer...." Tracie said, all serious now.

I nodded. "We'll cover all the bases and catch him, don't you worry. Then we'll find a way to adapt to whatever situation comes next."

The members of Dovah Squad all nodded in agreement. "We always do," Natalie replied with a smirk.

I chuckled. "In any case, I want you guys to look after the ship with Karish while we're gone and be ready to deploy on short notice in case we need you. Alright?"

Natalie smirked. "We got your back anytime Commander."

"You mean you've got his front straddled," Tracie joked suggestively.

Natalie and I both spluttered. "TRACIE!!!!" Natalie yelled out, and the younger female pilot giggled stupidly and ran off. Natalie gave chase while David just died laughing all over again. After a moment I smiled and shook my head with a chuckle.

"I'll talk to you guys later," I said.

David and Victor replied with "Laters" and "Da, good luck" respectively.

I turned on my heel and left for the hangar.


It was ten minutes past the nine hour mark now. Rebecca and I had our respective loadouts but had made sure to clean up a bit so we at least looked presentable. Cleaned and polished armor, and clean and untorn fabric underlay with basic cloth and straps. We looked far more presentable than the usual tattered look that was for sure. Our equipment was organized neatly on our belts, side arms holstered, and our rifles and Sidewinders slung neatly. Around us, technicians and Marvin assistant droids went about performing their duties. Rebecca and I looked to each other and nodded. We boarded the Crow dropship that had been prepared for us and the boarding ramp closed as the craft began to take off.

I looked to the pilot. "No jumps, just get us there in time and under cover of darkness."

The pilot, a tanned female of German decent, looked back and nodded. "I'll get you two down safe." she said.

I nodded and relaxed. Rebecca and I were going to a city that was perched on the side of a mountain in foreign alien territory. This was going to be one interesting day.


It was late evening in the small town of Ponyville. For one particular Alicorn Princess named Twilight Sparkle, it was one of the best nights to just read and study. She was at the comfort of her castle's forward balcony, sitting in a cozy recliner chair as she read. She continued to do so until something in the distance caught her eye, a glint of moonlight reflecting off of something moving fast.... very fast. She looked out and kept seeing the glint. She cantered over to her telescope to take a look. What she saw made her jaw practically drop. It was some kind of aircraft, though clearly not anything like the Deer could make. It moved faster than the most advanced aircraft the Deer could field even. It was soon barely audible as it began to pass by Ponyville. She watched it intently, tracking its course till she figured out where it was headed. A feeling of dread came over her as she saw it heading to Canterlot. "SPIIIIKE!!!!"


Celestia sighed as she waited for the aliens. It was late and she was rather tired. Her sister Luna however was practically a nocturnal mare.... and she seemed giddy with anticipation, much like one Deer Dignitary named Valiance. The other council members waited nearby as well, two of them indifferent, and two of them a little apprehensive.

While they waited, they were shocked to see a puff of smoke and green dragon fire pop up in front of Celestia and cough up a scroll. She caught the rolled up parchment in her magic with a curious expression. She opened it and read.

"Dear Princess Celestia,

I fear I must inform you of a strange object I witnessed heading towards Canterlot at speeds greater than that of the fastest aircraft the Deer can currently field. It had an odd, swept back wing structure and a rather bulky central frame. I couldn't make out many other details, but this foreign object is heading towards you with haste. I can only hope it is not a threat. Please respond quickly.

Your faithful student,

Twilight Sparkle"

Celestia looked at Luna, who had been reading the letter over her shoulder. Luna looked rather upset with herself. "CURSES! I forgot to inform Twilight! She's probably scared out of her wits now that she's seen the alien craft and will likely be upset that I told her nothing of it sooner....."

"Easy Lulu. We can just write a quick letter," Celestia comforted her.

Just then, mechanical whining and whistling could be heard in the distance, rapidly growing louder.

"Ooooor we could be interrupted before we get the chance," Luna snarked.

As the volume increased, they guessed what it was. An olive drab colored alien craft with a somewhat reflective cockpit canopy and matching Twilight's description appeared from the nighttime darkness before them, engines whining loudly as it slowed down and hovered to a stop next to the edge of the docking berth's boarding platform, the side folding upward to reveal two bipeds. They were armored and clothed almost fully sans the helmets they held at their sides. All objects attached to them were out of their hands at the moment, so anything that resembled a weapon was not in a ready position. One was slimmer than the other, its chest jutting out just a bit, with moderate length blonde hair, fair complexion, and hazel green eyes. The larger one didn't have the bump on its chest (gender based anatomical difference perhaps?) and was a slight bit taller with messy brown hair, blue eyes, and a fair but strong complexion. The two parties stared at each other after the alien beings stepped off of their aircraft, which hovered still behind them.

The other dignitaries behind Celestia and Luna had mixed expressions of suspicion, fear, surprise, and/or curiosity.

The two aliens in front of them held looks of curiosity and apprehension.

It felt like they stared at each other for hours, no one daring to breathe a word.

Celestia finally decided to break the ice and step forward, the aliens eyeing the scroll hovering next to her, though she paid it no mind.

"Greetings," she said, getting their attention. "I am Princess Celestia. On behalf of the races of Equis, we welcome you to our world, and to my home nation of Equestria."

Well.... This Isn't What I Expected At All

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I seriously couldn't believe my eyes. Now, I've seen some shit in my time. Titans getting stomped on by a monolith of a beast at an airfield being one of em. I've seen impossible space battles too. I've even seen Rebecca in the nude that one time..... Laugh all you want, ha ha ha, it was a slipup in the shower rooms during a space battle. We got ambushed by two IMC Destroyers and a Megacarrier. Oh right.... that was the impossible space battle.....

In any case, when we saw the aliens before us, we froze. One looked like a deer from Earth which was absolutely crazy, yet that one had expressive eyes and facial features like all the others. There was a fucking MINOTAUR which was incredible in and of itself. There was a Gryphon too, which was a little less shocking but still pretty surprising. There was a small, pastel colored horse, a zebra, and then the two beings in front of us that looked like crosses between a Pegasus and a Unicorn.

We sat there, two pilots and a group of mythological, impossible sentient creatures staring at each other.

One stepped forward then, large, white, multicolored and seemingly ethereal mane and tail, sun mark on its ass. We noticed what looked like a scroll floating beside it, encased in a gold aura that matched the aura around its horn. We took that a little more in stride but it still shocked us both. Telekinesis? What else could they do?

We jumped when it spoke.

"Greetings," she said. "I am Princess Celestia. On behalf of the races of Equis, we welcome you to our world, and to my home nation of Equestria."

It took us a moment to respond since we were still wrapping our heads around this CRAZY occurrence.

I finally wised up and took one step forward. The guards nearby tensed up, making me notice them. I took no further steps. I didn't want to provoke a potential ally. I decided a bow would be ideal. The big horse seemed to smile at the good manners. I stood straight and at attention.

"Hello Princess Celestia," I replied, "It's good to finally meet you. I am Commander Anthony Dubias of the Frontier Militia Carrier Fyrebyrd."

She offered a hoof, which surprised me. I reached out and grabbed it for a second and we shook.

"A pleasure Commander. Who is that behind you? Is this your friend Rebecca that you mentioned?"

I nodded in response.

"Hi there," Rebecca finally chirped. "Okay I gotta say it, you guys look AWESOME!"

I had to resist the urge to facepalm, but when Celestia and the darker one giggled in response, it became exponentially easier to keep my cool. They took it in stride, as a compliment even if the smiles were anything to go by.

"Thank you Rebecca," the darker one said. "Forgive me. We didn't exactly meet face to face till now. I am Princess Luna, sister to Celestia, and co ruler of Equestria."

I nodded respectfully. "A pleasure ma'am."

"Please don't call me 'ma'am' it makes me feel old," Luna smirked.

The Minotaur snickered. "There's some irony...."

"Oh hush Iron Hoof, you know what I mean. I may be a few thousand years old but I am still young by Alicorn standards," Luna snarked with a grin.

Rebecca and I blanched at this.

"A few thousand.... years....?" I hesitated. This didn't sound very real or possible. I found myself wondering if she was just pulling our leg.

"Yes," Celestia replied. "My sister and I have ruled and protected this nation for many thousands of years. We've experienced much."

I looked at her in absolute shock. "I uh.... ahem.... wow. Humans only live to be around one hundred years old on average....."

"As do most ponies and other beings on this planet you should know," Luna said.

"Are dragons on the list of multi millennial beings?" Rebecca asked.

Luna nodded, rather surprised. "You already know of the dragons?"

"We saw one in flight from orbit!" the Lieutenant Commander yelled. "It was too cool! I may be awesome but WOW that was WICKED!"

Celestia raised an eyebrow and giggled. "You remind me of another pony I know."

I managed a smile. "Princess, if it's okay, could we have our pilot land our ship a little further in?"

Celestia nodded. I waved over to the pilot who was looking at us through the cockpit canopy, barely visible through the partially polarized, bulletproof and vacuum sealed glass. The ship lifted up and carefully angled itself further into the dock until the pilot found a spot to put her down. The landing gear deployed and the vessel lowered itself gently till it touched down with a light thump sound. The engines began to power down.

"Fascinating," the Deer said, "Your species seems to have practically mastered VTOL flight."

I looked over at the Deer and smiled. "A few centuries of research and development will do that. Forgive me but I don't exactly know your name."

"AH," the Deer seemed to blush through her coat a bit. I judged it was a she based on voice. "I apologize," she said. "I'm Valiance, representative of the Deer Provinces."

"A pleasure. May I know the names of the others?" I asked.

The Minotaur stepped up. "Iron Hoof of the Minotaur Tribes at your service."

The Gryphon approached. "Ambassador Red Wing of.... what is left of the Gryphon Empire."

"A loyalist?" I tilted my head.

"I am loyal to our true king, not to the rabble that seeks to harm our citizens, so yes, a loyalist." Red Wing nodded.

I smiled and nodded out of respect.

The Zebra was next. "I am Shaman Terrana of the Zebra Nomads," she said.

The normal horse approached. "High Wind of Saddle Arabia at your service sir," he greeted.

"A pleasure to meet you all," I said amicably.

They all nodded respectfully.

Celestia smiled and approached. "Shall we take this inside?"

"Sure. We'll have our pilot stay with the ship," I looked to Rebecca, who smiled and went to the ship to let her know.

When Rebecca returned, Celestia gestured for the entire group to follow, and we entered the castle proper.

"I will have to take care of something before the meeting commences, if that is okay with you Commander," Celestia said.

"I have no objections," I replied.

"Very well. I have a letter to send. Lead them on Luna. I will be there shortly." Celestia continued down another hall to her study for a minute.

Meanwhile, in Ponyville.....

Twilight was pacing back and forth nervously. Since seeing the object, she and Spike had sent a letter to Celestia, gathered the others, and waited. Quite frankly, she was scared. When she explained what she saw to the others, they grew nervous as well, though by varying degrees.

Applejack stepped up. "Twi, it's gonna be just fine. The Princesses are probably just takin' care of things right now."

"Yeah, maybe it's just friendly aliens who wanna make new friends!" Pinkie blurted out.

The other mares and dragon in the room looked at her with varying expressions of concern, disbelief, and skepticism. Her suggestion seemed VERY unlikely. Though her well known and inherent ability to "break the fourth wall" left that disbelief and skepticism slightly diminished.

"What?" She said.

"I highly doubt aliens are involved my dear," Rarity answered uncertainly. "Perhaps it is just a new vehicle from the Deer."

"I saw markings on the craft," Twilight rebuffed. "I couldn't exactly make them out fully but I can definitely say that it was NOT the Deer."

"Could it be those insurrectionists in Gryphonia?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"They are fond of stealing technology to supplement their own...." Twilight contemplated... but then she shook her head, "But the markings didn't look like anything the Gryphons would use. The colors were way off too. The parts that were pronounced by the moonlight were olive drab or, more uncommonly, bright orange. The Gryphons prefer reds, browns, and blacks for their armor and vehicles. Not to mention the known markings of the Insurrection are more reminiscent of winged serpents. The parts of the markings I could see clearly, even for a second, had what I thought was some kind of skull. I couldn't see much else, even with the telescope. Not a Gryphon craft."

"Then who in Equestria or in the entire world fer that matter, could it even be?" Applejack asked skeptically.

"A rogue faction perhaps...?" Rarity suggested uncertainly.

Twilight sighed and sat down. "I don't know..... truly. I'm as confused as all of you."

Spike frowned. "Well maybe..." He was interrupted though, appearing to become mildly sick for just a moment, before he belched smoke and green flame, a scroll appearing in its midst. He then caught that scroll and sighed. "How in Equestria did I ever get used to that....?"

"I have no clue. Dragonfire has strange properties," Twilight giggled lightly, "So who is it from?"

"Princess Celestia," he answered and opened it up. He read through it for less than five seconds and his eyes were already bugging out of his head. He immediately gave the scroll to Twilight.

She began reading aloud.

"To my faithful student Twilight Sparkle,

You need not fear this object my faithful student, at least not yet. It landed in the royal docks per our request to the owners of the craft. They seem polite and friendly enough and I have yet to sense any deception from these aliens. Yes, I said aliens. Luna does detect traces of sorrow and anger though, leading us to believe that their past is not a clean one. Regardless, they are here with friendly intentions for now. Our otherworldly guests are now here in Canterlot Castle. They did come with some of their own armaments and equipment, giving the impression that they are actually soldiers. One had the manners and discipline of a soldier attending a formal event. He would be the one named Anthony Dubias. His second in command and close friend is one named Rebecca Thorne. While Rebecca was less disciplined, she was still extraordinarily good natured. She even went as far as to remind my sister and I of Rainbow Dash with her behavior, and I find myself giggling a bit as I write this part. Their behavior is eccentric, but friendly, and never once did they bring their military equipment to any state of readiness. I would like to request that you and your friends make your way to Canterlot, as soon as it is convenient, to meet them. Perhaps more insight may be gleaned from this extraordinary event. We must all be careful yes, but we must be as welcoming and passive as possible. Perhaps we may gain a new ally and friend in the coming days and weeks.


Princess Celestia"

Twilight looked up in shock and surprised silence prevailed for a few moments.... moments that felt like very tense hours


A few of the other girls giggled and smiled at their bubbly friend's enthusiasm, but Twilight was still hesitant. "Wait. She said they're soldiers. Why would soldiers from another world be here?"

Applejack shrugged. "Ah don't rightly know Twi. Maybe they stumbled on our world. Still rather shocked that Pinkie was right bout the alien thing. Either way, if the Princesses see them as passive and friendly for now, maybe the risk is worth the reward."

Rainbow Dash was grinning and now hovering with her wings above her chair. "I wonder what they're like. Celestia said one of the aliens reminded them of me. I wanna meet this "Rebecca" if that's true."

Fluttershy nodded as well, "Soldiers or not, they are still living beings. We should give them a chance at friendship as we have always done. We don't know what came before their arrival. For all we know, they're lost and stuck here."

Rarity nodded in agreement with the soft spoken Pegasus, "You make a very astute observation Fluttershy. It is not safe to assume that they mean harm right from the beginning. They have yet to even display any hostility if the letter the Princess sent is anything to go by. Their descriptions place these guests as amicable, friendly, polite, and a safe level of eccentric in one case. The Princess even made note of how they never once even laid a hoof on any of their more dangerous equipment. It may be crafty deception sure, but they may still be here with good intentions. I say we give them a chance. Besides, it would be nice to see what their attire may look like. I wonder if it is flashy or maybe a darker and less noticeable uniform attire. I suppose I'll have to find out."

Twilight looked at each of the girls and smiled. "And this is why I never make a decision without first hearing you girls out. Alright. We'll give em a chance."

Spike smiled at Twilight. "I'd say that's a great idea. Though lets not forget to be careful. We shouldn't make em mad yaknow?"

"You make a good point as always my number one assistant. We'll be careful," Twilight giggled and nuzzled her adopted little brother. She looked to the rest of the group. "Off to Canterlot then."

Cheers were heard all around.

The Rodeo Begins

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Okay so I know I said it before, but again, this is really a huge shocker to me. I mentioned that this meeting with aliens trumps all other crazy things I've seen and I meant it. Then we began to walk through the capital building of this "Equestria," and I couldn't deny their skills and creativity in terms of architecture and decor. They managed to build this on the side of a MOUNTAIN, okay? I saw that much when flying in on the Crow. Knowing this, being inside this structure is all the more enchanting. The halls and corridors were so damn tall, and it was almost like a maze. The windows were no small feature either, though as a Pilot I could see that as a potential security risk. Still it was damn impressive. Most of it seemed to be made of marble or bright, pristine, and well treated wood. Top that off with the red carpet, royal furnishings, chandeliers, and other decor and it really looked like the home of a benevolent leader. I still kept my guard up though. I didn't know fully weather or not I could trust these beings. I thought back to Karish's advice.

"You are a soldier and a commander. You have a military vessel under your command and a loyal crew who, I think at this point, can call one another friends or extended family at the very least. Offer our services, help them defeat the enemy, for all you know, that may even lead us to our quarry before we even have to ask for their aid. Also, be honest. Tell them the whole truth, why we are here, who the man we hunt is. If they found us, they certainly know about the crashed Destroyer too so explain that as well. You already started by giving a summary of who the Militia truly is."

I nodded to myself and made a decision. I would tell the truth, but I would take it slow.

As I thought about our situation, Rebecca was back at the rear of our procession being the social miracle she was. I couldn't help chuckling. She was an eccentric and fun loving woman, I won't deny that.

"Okay I gotta say it," she said.

They all looked at her.

"This is by far the coolest thing ever," she giggled.

Iron Hoof tilted his head, "Care to elaborate?"

"Well to us you all are each a different alien species," she explained, "So A, aliens are totally badass, which is another way to say awesome, and B, our little crew is the first of our race to encounter you all! Oh god I hope we make a good impression."

Red Wing chuckled. "So far you are. You seem excited and happy to be here and what you just said now indicates a desire to make friends out of us, rather than make enemies."

"Well yeah I guess. Though I'm not really good at politics, I love making new friends, so I hope that helps."

"Forgive me," Iron Hoof began, "But you're a soldier are you not? Wouldn't the leaders of your faction expect you to be more disciplined near them or leaders of a newly encountered race?"

I decided to speak up. "Militia Command gives us more free reign over our actions due to our service history. We may be unorthodox in comparison to the usual starship crew or battalion of soldiers, but we're effective acting on our own, without regulations or highly specific sets of orders to bog us down. They give us the mission, give a few basic rules, and we always act in a way that leads to a victory based on the basic set parameters, be it on the battlefield or in the areas of diplomacy. While we are more experienced with battlefield actions, we have made diplomats happy in the past, be it with rescues, friendly behavior, or good advice."

"Yup, plus being too disciplined makes me too intimidating and unsociable," Rebecca added. "I prefer to be a free and friendly spirit. It's led me to make great friends, and I've always been loyal to those I become friends with. I can gladly say that Anthony is one of those friends, along with every single human being in our ship's crew. While leaders tend to like to see discipline in soldiers, foreign or domestic, a soldier who is good at earning trust and making friends on the side is far more ideal than one who simply follows orders. Hell look at me now, I'm second in command on a starship with the entire crew being the best friends I've ever had. I'd say that's all the proof of concept I need."

Luna giggled a bit. "You and your crew value friendship and family then?"

"More than most starship crews and battalions yeah," I answered. "I wouldn't even be alive now if it wasn't for Rebecca and the others. You have no idea how many times they saved my life."

"Hey don't forget all the times you saved my bacon ol' chum," Rebecca giggled.

I rolled my eyes and laughed.

Iron Hoof smiled. "Normally I'd see such lack of discipline as a weakness, but you make it and your sense of camaraderie sound like your greatest strengths. For that, I must offer my respect."

I looked at Iron and gave a respectful smile and nod. "Nothing like a tightly knit team that works well together and can make each other happy all at the same time."

"Like a well oiled machine, but with waaaay more personality," Rebecca giggled.

The whole procession giggled, laughed, and/or smiled at that.

Luna stopped at a large set of oak wood double doors. Her horn lit up in a dark navy blue aura and the same aura appeared around the doors. Rebecca and I were both in awe. Luna used her mind to open those heavy ass doors? I was fucking astounded. I again found myself wondering what else they could do. I noted that only Celestia and Luna had shown this ability. Perhaps this was unique to their species. Speaking of Celestia, guess who was waiting for us inside the meeting room, on the other side of a large, round oaken table with comfy looking chairs all around it.

I blanched. "W-wait huh!? Didn't you turn down a hallway further behind us to write a letter? H-how are you here first?"

Celestia giggled and waved a hoof whimsically. "Magic."

Rebecca and I both showed confusion at this, even as we accepted invitations to sit. Luna sat next to her sister while everyone else sat in other seats around us. Rebecca and I were opposite the princesses.

Luna explained. "It's an inherent ability my sister and I have, along with all of our subjects here in Equestria, though the latent abilities vary between the many subspecies."

Celestia nodded. "In this case, I used the ability to teleport."

To demonstrate, she teleported to another side of the room, and then back, making our jaws drop.

After a slightly uncomfortable pause, Rebecca broke the ice.

"That.... has to be.... the COOLEST THING EVER!" She cheered, "Can every species on the planet do that?"

Celestia sighed sadly. "No, only our kind. While it is a great gift, it is a bit of a curse due to how some members of other species are rather jealous. Dragons are the only other species on this world known to have any natural access to magic. All other species have to access it indirectly with enchanted objects and artifacts."

My curiosity was piqued now. "I'm guessing your nation attempted creating some of these objects and trading to other nations to help share the ability?"

Celestia nodded. "We did our best to let all benefit from it, and still do."

I couldn't help smiling. "At least you guys are trying."

Celestia smiled and giggled in response, "We do the best we can."

"Makes believing your claim of being raiser of the sun more believable too just saying. Can you really do that?" I asked excitedly.

Celestia nodded once more. "My sister raises the moon as well. Together, we use our abilities to help keep things balanced and peaceful. Keeping the day and night going regularly is part of that task. It was like this since.... well since a long time ago. It's a part of history that's still sensitive to us. In any case, yes we can do it, and yes we use it for the benefit of all."

"Waaaaay better than the IMC then...." Rebecca muttered, though not quietly enough to go unheard.

There was a pungent pause as the sudden change in Rebecca's tone to somewhat angry and hateful was VERY unexpected.

"You mentioned these "IMC" folks before.... though details remained sparse," Valiance noted on the side.

"Indeed, and it seems you don't hold them in a very positive light," Terrana added.

I sighed, my demeanor already changing to something less positive. "You have no idea. I will say that they are the exact opposite of how you describe yourselves. And judging by how beautiful and peaceful this land has seemed ever since we flew in, I have to believe your claims. I can tell you right now, the IMC would try to find out a way to exploit this world like they have all the others on the Frontier.... and even bleed it dry...."

The princesses and dignitaries all grimaced at this.

"And don't get me started on their unfair treatment of the colonies in the Frontier," I continued, "They killed a man down the road from where I lived when I was just a kid simply for not giving them his product and business without fair compensation. They killed him and took it from him even though he and the rest of us colonists were the ones who built and harvested EVERYTHING in the Frontier, sans a few IMC outposts to watch over things. It started with unfair taxes, it ends with a war that they instigated and still goes on today! They're unfair, unjust dictators!"

I hadn't noticed that my voice had been rising the entire time, my hate and anger flaring noticeably.

"Anthony.... stop...." Rebecca put a hand on my shoulder and looked at me worriedly.

The princesses shared a quick glance, conveying their worry to each other.

I looked into Rebecca's eyes and my expression changed from an angry glare to a sad frown. She knew the subject always brought on pain. She knew how much I really hated the IMC.... Hell she knew exactly why I was like this.... I nodded and leaned back in the chair, taking a deep breath and calming down.

The other dignitaries seemed uncomfortably aware of the level of hate I had shown and their expressions, while they were practiced diplomats, still betrayed concern.... and a little bit of fear....

Celestia finally spoke up. "I'm going to assume that these other humans, the IMC, do not leave a good taste in your mouth so to speak."

Rebecca answered for me, giving me a break. "You don't know the half of it..... Anthony here has more reason than anyone else in our crew to hate the IMC.... I would rather not share the details though. It's up to him to trust you with what caused it." Her expression as she explained was one of genuine sorrow and no small amount of pain.

It made it hurt a little more that my pain, my rage, was causing my best friend to worry that much. I really do need to take her lessons more to heart than I already do....

Celestia frowned and looked at me with eyes that spoke of her own sorrow at Rebecca's words and an almost motherly concern. Luna's expression was no different.

My frown deepened and I looked away, feeling shame at letting myself show that side of me even a little bit.

"Perhaps...." Celestia began, "We should give you two a bit of a break. You and your craft's pilot are welcome to use some of the unused VIP quarters if you wish. I can have one of my guards show you the way."

Rebecca smiled sadly at her. "Thank you Princess... though if I know Cassandra, she's not gonna wanna part with her bird unless she's back on the ship." Rebecca keyed on her wrist radio, contacting our pilot. "Cassandra?"

"I'm here Rebecca, whats up?"

"Princesses are offering VIP rooms for us to rest up for the night. You wanna come in?" Rebecca asked.

Cassandra laughed. "Sorry ma'am, I'm happy stayin' with ol' Betsy. You get some rest though. I'll be here."

Rebecca giggled in response and replied, "Alright Cassie, try to get some sleep and we'll contact you in the morning."

"Will do ma'am. And as always, stay safe."

That was one of the things I loved about Rebecca. She knew all the quirks of all our crew or was quick to learn them. She even genuinely cared about each one, almost like a mother.

"You too." Rebecca turned off her wrist comms. "I guess we'll just take a VIP room for two, with two beds. That alright Anthony?"

I looked at her, smiling a little bit. My answer was a silent "Yeah."

Celestia nodded and looked to the doors be hind her. "Guards?" she called politely.

The door opened and a few guards in intricate golden armor that reminded me of ancient Rome stepped in.

Celestia smiled and gestured to Rebecca and I as she spoke. "Could one of you please escort our guests to one of the VIP rooms in the west wing? A room for two would be preferable, two beds."

One of the guards nodded. "Of course Princess," the mare, as told by her voice, replied. A pegasus if the wings were anything to go by. She approached us. "If you two would follow me please."

Rebecca and I stood and left the room, following our escort.


As soon as the doors closed, Celestia leaned back in her chair and sighed. The other dignitaries looked at her.

"Sister, are you alright....?" Luna looked at her elder sister with concern.

"I'm alright. Just tired," Celestia admitted, "Maybe a little worried about our new guests. Their Commander, Mr. Dubias..... his past clearly troubles him."

Terrana nodded in agreement with the others before speaking up. "Perhaps their coming to our world was not mere chance then?"

High Wind looked at Terrana with confusion. "What do you mean?"

The Zebra smiled. "Equestria is a land of friendship and healing, her history is ancient and her magic runs deep. His coming here may not be what he was willing, but we can only guess while they sleep."

Luna nodded. "If I were to hazard a guess, something brought them here whether they wanted it or not. The other object, the ship that crashed in Gryphonia. Perhaps they were chasing it."

"That would likely make those who crashed here IMC," Celestia added.

Iron Hoof nodded, "It would also explain the activity your spies detected at the crash site. Two groups were reported fighting after objects came down from the sky, likely from their ship. The Fyrebyrd if I remember right. Sounds like they named it after a Phoenix."

Red Wing tilted his head in thought, "I can see that as being the most logical conclusion.... but if they are still intact and the IMC presence here is not, what keeps them here? Their mission is complete yes? How come they did not leave, especially after being attacked by members of my own species?"

"We did contact them, and they do seem interested in diplomacy," Valiance added.

"I cannot help but feel that an ulterior motive is involved here, along with no small amount of misfortune. I did watch their ship through the telescope for a time after we first contacted them. Their ship has recently seen battle and is rather battered. Additionally, I can sense some nobility in them but I also sense that they did not, maybe could not, tell us everything," High Wind added. "It's difficult to read, but the signs are there. Their talk of the IMC almost made it unnoticeable under the numerous emotions portrayed during that part of the discussion. I can definitely tell that it still involves this IMC to some degree though."

"All that from reading their expressions and body language, and from getting a look at their ship?" Valiance asked skeptically, eyebrows raised.

"My dear, when you are a diplomat for a nation like mine, you quickly learn to be able to read the intricacies of the physical expressions of emotion among other things, or you soon fail and somepony else rapidly takes your place. I can almost guarantee that a mixture of fate, misfortune, and purpose led them to stay here. They are determined about something. They try to hide it but that glint, that fire, it is there in their eyes. I have no doubt they wish to make friends, but they have another reason or two for staying here. For now, I can only speculate about what it may be."

"Then for now we have reached a dead end," Celestia concluded. "Thank you for your insight High Wind, we will surely take it into account. For now, we must continue to focus on the affairs of our world while trying to help the Militia feel un-threatened, and even welcomed. I think we all can sense the turmoil in their hearts. We should try to help them, but we must tread carefully. In my detour, I took the liberty of contacting my pupil, Princess Twilight, and informed her and her friends of the situation. Before any of you say anything, she had already seen their small craft flying past Ponyville through her telescope. She stays up late for astronomy or other studies some nights and tonight happened to be one of those nights. Besides, we all know that she and her friends will very likely be able to aid our new guests in fighting the ghosts of their past."

Everyone in the room voiced their agreement.... all but one.

"Princess," Iron Hoof began, "I understand that they played a pivotal role in defending this nation and even this world, but do you really think they would be able to help with something like this?"

"You seem to underestimate them greatly if you have any doubt in their abilities," Luna said haughtily.

"Sister, calm yourself," Celestia ordered, though with a gentle voice.

Luna backed off, still looking livid that the Minotaur would even think of questioning the abilities of her friends.

Celestia then sighed. "Luna, I know you were defending your friends, but you must understand. The Minotaurs aren't as educated in the latest history of Equestria. They have been very focused on their own affairs as of late, especially given current circumstances. I'm surprised Red Wing there didn't voice his own skepticism."

Red Wing chuckled. "Princess, I am the Gryphon Ambassador to Equestria, of course I am versed in recent history in this land. I am fully aware of your pupil's capabilities and agree wholeheartedly that the expertise of she and her friends will be most beneficial given our current predicament. We must focus on a war that is brewing. Who better than the Princess of Friendship, and the Elements of Harmony, to help our alien guests learn to trust more than just the soldiers they serve with while we are distracted by war knocking on our doors?"

Iron Hoof nodded. "When you put it that way, I see no reason to object. I apologize for the misunderstanding Princess Luna."

She managed to smile again and replied with a respectful nod. "I accept your apology Iron Hoof, and it is quite alright. I suppose I did get ahead of myself and jump to conclusions."

Celestia giggled. "I'm glad to see that in times like these, we can all still move past our differences and remain friends."

"Agreed," Valiance giggled.


Meanwhile, in Gryphonia

Malcovitch piloted his modified Atlas along, seeking shelter in the mountains of this strange world. He had witnessed the Gryphons attacking his pursuers, though was too far out of range to really engage them. An Arc Cannon didn't exactly leave room for stealth once fired after all.

Here he was, days later, stranded and angry on a world he didn't know. Despite this, his mind continued to go through numerous possibilities.

"I'll spill their blood and have their HEADS for this...." he muttered to himself.

He suddenly heard a noise filter through the Titan's emulators and the voice of his AI, Sid, was heard right after once he stopped his Atlas.

"I am detecting the presence of unidentified sentients. Thermal signatures indicate they are not human but I am picking up segments of English speech."

Malcovitch stopped and listened.

"I can't believe it," one voice said as Malcovitch also noted the sounds of primarily idle vehicles, though none that he recognized.

"What," another said.

"Did you hear about what happened to that sod Forest Talon's squad?"

"Oh you mean about the giant robots crud? I don't believe a word of that rubbish. Now get back to work. I want this company moving."

"I wouldn't jump to conclusions Major.... check this here out. Sources indicate that an object, similar to one of those seen flying in on that big crash on the mountains, was also seen heading towards Canterlot in Equestria. Something big is going down."

That caught Malcovitch's attention. Were those Militia bastards really still here? Could they be trying to engage in diplomacy?


"Two can play at that game....." he muttered. He decided to listen further before rounding the corner. If he were to hazard a guess, there was a road just up ahead.

"Wait what?" the Major said.

"Yeah, something flew into Canterlot. Nothing like the Deer could ever make. Makes my feathers itch. Something is going down boss."

"Hmmm..... could this.... new faction.... be allied with the Equestrians?"

"If they aren't they could be trying to make an alliance..... Word is that the Emperor has ordered spies to Canterlot to learn more and eliminate any potential threat... if they can that is. Tech like that in the hooves of Equestrians or the Talons of the Loyalists? Dangerous stuff man. If Forest Talon's story is true, then they may have a hard time dealing with whatever this is."

"You can count on that much," Malcovitch said through the external speakers of his Titan as he decloaked and stepped out.



Malcovitch gave a chuckle that sent chills down the spines of every Gryphon in the area.

"Relax. I mean you no harm.... though I cannot say the same for the others of my kind who hunt me," the German/Russian said.

The Gryphons around him all looked confused for a moment.

"Others of your kind?" a Gryphon, and his voice allowed Malcovitch to place him as the Major, asked.

"Yah, they are my enemies.... and it seems they are trying to make allies of your enemies as well," the pilot replied.

"Oh that's just perfect...." the Major said sarcastically, "Do you have a name?"

"Malcovitch, Gerald Malcovitch."

"Well then Gerald. If you do not intend us harm, what do you intend for us?"

"An alliance proposal of my own of course."

Things were starting to look up for the IMC Inventor, and he shut off the external speakers so his ominous chuckle would go unheard by any but himself.

Wartime Nightmares

View Online

It was now morning in the land of Equestria. Birds chirped, a cool breeze blew by, the sky slowly grew brighter as the sun began rising beyond the horizon. It was quiet and..... peaceful. Peaceful.....

I sat up in the bed provided to me by our hosts and looked out the window. One foot on the floor, then the other. I stood up. I had ditched my armor by the wardrobe closer to my bed and kept the military fatigues underneath on. No boots, no helmet, none of that bulk. The agility harness was off too. God it felt good to be out of that and just get a good night's sleep. I stopped..... a good night's sleep? I haven't had that in.... a long time.... I could only speculate as to why this sudden change occurred. I sighed and walked to the balcony of our room. Rebecca was still fast asleep in the other bed, mumbling adorably to herself. That made me have to stifle a chuckle. I looked out over the city before me and took a deep breath of fresh, clean air. Today was gonna be alright.


Luna was in a bit of a rush. She trotted along at a brisk pace, heading to her sister's room. She had sent a telepathic signal of sorts to her sister that something was wrong, which was trivial due to the connection they shared. The guards flanking the door to Celestia's quarters saluted and knocked.

"Send her in," Celestia called calmly from the other side. The signal got to her it seemed.

The guards opened the door and Luna stepped in. The door then closed behind her and she stared at her sister.

Celestia looked at Luna and noticed immediately the concerned look on her face. "Lulu what's.....?"

"I saw their dreams Tia."

Celestia paused for a second, thinking about it before she realized who Luna was talking about. "Go on....."

"Rebecca's dreams were a little violent at first, showing examples of their technology and combat ability. They were clearly memories, and not pleasant ones. That quickly changed to a scene at a rather rustic bar though and she was having fun with her friends. I can't say that was too bad. Then I saw Anthony's dream."

Luna projected the memory on the wall after casting a soundproofing spell on the windows, walls, and doors.

Death, pain, fire, destruction. All around the image, bullets and rockets flew. Men and women, soldier and civilian alike, screamed and died. The breathing of a child was heard, giving the impression that the point of view was from a child's perspective. The child was running.... but from what. The child risked a look back, and a large mechanical biped in white and black colors was chasing. The canopy opened to reveal a pilot in the same colors. It was safe to assume by now that this guy was IMC. The laugh given off by the pilot was one that sent chills down the sisters' spines.

The child kept running, fast as he could, not daring to look back.... but he was tackled down... and the scream of pain was VERY audible, making Luna glad she soundproofed the room. The pilot stood above him..... helmet off now. Grizzled features, brown eyes, and a sick smile.

"Ooooh, trying to run from the truth ja?" the figure said, "There is no escaping the fate of you and your family...."

The figure raised his rifle at the child and there was a bang. Everything went white and the image changed. The breathing of a man. "Hello?" Anthony's voice.

"Anthony!" a little girl's voice cried. "MOM, DAD, ANTHONY HELP!!!!"

The point of view turned blurry as the now presumed Anthony began running towards the sound of the little girl's voice. "ANNA!"

They saw the figure from before, same sick smile, same features.... same rifle aimed at a little girl's head as she cowered.....

"NO!!!! ANNA!!!!"

A gunshot...... and the dream memory cut off...... frozen at the scene of the weapon flashing.... the figure's sick expression all the more pronounced.... and an innocent, little, brunette girl with blue pupils crying in fear as her life flashed before her eyes....

Luna looked to her sister. "At this point.... I had to terminate the dream and send him into a dreamless state. It was causing him pain.... it was a nightmare. Not only that, it was tied to his memories somehow. I'm not a mind reader though, only a dream-walker. I can't give any more information."

Celestia frowned sadly. "I can only speculate at its significance....."

Luna nodded. "I have reason to believe that the figure in white was responsible for a great tragedy in his life.... and if how Anthony responded to this 'Anna' being.... murdered... in the dream is any indicator.... this figure may have taken someone important from him....."

Celestia looked at her sister. "Perhaps this is why he reacted so badly to the mention of this 'IMC' they fight against....."

"Tia.... we must tread carefully. This dream is an indicator of how much of a volatile state our guests' Commander is truly in."

Celestia nodded grimly. "I know sister.... I know...."


A couple hours later, Rebecca and I were decked out in our gear again, and everyone was gathered in what I could only describe as a royal dining hall. Very ornate decor and everything. It was grand! Though it wasn't long before I noticed the silence. All that was mentioned was that a meeting would take place after breakfast and we were invited to dine with them for breakfast before it began. No small talk though.... did they still not completely trust us....? No, the look in their eyes spoke of something else: worry, concern, possibly fear. Rebecca and I sat and, thankfully enough, they had some meat options. We went for omelettes and hash browns. I won't deny the skills of the cooks here, cause it was absolutely delicious. Eventually, Celestia ordered the room sealed and soundproofed.

I looked concerned for a moment until she spoke again.

"If you do not mind, I would prefer we had our meeting here and now, in a less formal setting," she explained.

I nodded. "Very well Princess."

She sighed. "Oh where to begin..... right. Your original reason for coming here is something of an enigma to us at the moment Commander. We know of another ship that crashed on our planet's surface and we believe your reasons are tied to it. Anything else is pure guesswork."

The dignitaries looked at Rebecca and I with curious expressions, some with a bit of trepidation in them.

I froze. Not sure what to say. Rebecca tapped my shoulder then. I looked at her and she nodded.

"The truth," she said, "Remember what Karish said."

I sighed and nodded before looking back at them.

"Take your time," Luna said calmly.

I did just that, taking a few moments. Then I spoke, "Princesses. Representatives. It is true that our original reason for coming here was not diplomatic in nature, though diplomacy is something we would like to pursue at this juncture. We had no reason to believe you existed until a while after our arrival. We were pursuing someone, someone who is extremely dangerous."

I took a moment to pull out a holo projector and pulled up the file. A holographic image of Malcovitch appeared above the projector.

"This is Gerald Malcovitch. He is a brilliant inventor and a pilot of the IMC. He is also a psychopathic terrorist. Numerous titles befit him, and none are endearing. One that comes to mind is 'Child Murdurer.'"

This elicited gasps from most of the room's occupants.


Celestia and Luna shared a look and set up a telepathic connection

"THAT'S THE FIGURE FROM THE DREAM!" Luna yelled through the connection.

Celestia noted every feature of the hologram. The grizzled features, the eyes, the malicious grin..... it was all there.....

"Indeed it is. This goes deeper than we originally though sister..... and now our world is caught in the middle."

Luna looked fearful now.


I sighed and continued, making sure to reign in the rage this time.

"This man is responsible for the destruction of several civilian colony worlds, taking pay to assassinate politicians, executing innocent civilians.... and taking joy in each and every kill. He has also killed hundreds of Militia pilots and soldiers. And he is hiding somewhere on this planet. We attempted to apprehend him at the crash site as soon as we arrived at this world but he escaped. He has a robot like the ones you have been hearing of."

I changed the hologram setting to display the three Titan models.

"Titans are the fist of almost every attacking or defending force in our war right now. There are Stryders," he began highlighting each titan model as he named them, "Atlases, and Ogres. Gerald Malcovitch is in possession of a heavily modified Atlas capable of optical cloaking and long term, lone operations. It is also equipped with something we call an Artificial Intelligence, essentially making his Titan a machine with it's own level intelligence, and this one is modified to behave far more efficiently than most AI's. The Titan could operate on its own, or under the pilot's command, without the pilot actually being in the Titan thanks to AI's. Malcovitch is also a genius inventor who has the ability to repair and maintain his Titan and weaponry in the field efficiently. His cloaking module is how he escaped us. The module essentially allows anyone or anything equipped with it to turn virtually invisible, and it lets his Titan do it for hours at a time. This man is now on the loose on this world."

Silence prevailed as the gravity of it all sunk in. No one spoke for what felt like hours, when in reality it was only a minute or two.

Iron Hoof spoke next. "If I recall right, that ship went down in insurrectionist territory. He escaped into mountains that are essentially hostile to any non-insurrectionist. Is there really a reason to worry?"

Rebecca nodded. "This man could destroy an entire platoon in minutes with that Titan if he so chooses. I also wouldn't put it past him to accept an offer from the insurrectionists or even extend them an offer. There are numerous possibilities here."

Celestia sighed, "So we have a stealthy and deadly man on the loose who has the potential to turn a partly organized army of insurrectionists into an army to be truly feared."

I nodded sadly.

Red Wing's eye twitched and he glared at us. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU MAY HAVE BROUGHT DOWN ON US!?"

"Peace Ambassador," Celestia snapped.

"No! I refuse to play host to hairless apes that may have brought Tartarus itself down upon us!"


Everyone looked at me.

"Listen here pal, Malcovitch is a whole different level of unpredictable. You think we knew he would make a blind jump to your planet? WE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU EXISTED! It may very well be dangerous that we chased him here, but that's just it. It was a horrible accident. Now do you see us running from this? Do you see us trying to divert the blame ELSEWHERE!?"

Red Wing began to back off, partly out of fear, partly from understanding what was being said.

I continued. "We bear the blame for bringing him here, and rightfully so. That's why we're gonna stay and fight as hard as we can to minimize any damage he may cause! We aren't gonna run from this simply because some spluttering angry TURKEY blames us and got fucking ANGRY!"

My rant done, everyone in the room was looking at me in surprise, save for Rebecca, who was currently shaking her head out of disappointment at Red Wing. The Gryphon Ambassador was going through a mixture of emotions. Rage at being called out AND being called a turkey, fear of being mauled by an alien who's abilities he hasn't the first clue about, and guilt at calling them out the way he did. His race was always a proud one and he understood that but.... he also knew he crossed a line. 'Stupid,' he thought to himself, 'Emotional control is one of the most important lessons taught to any diplomat. Some Ambassador I turned out to be.'

Celestia displayed a worried grimace as she stared at her alien guests for a moment. "I sense truth in your words. Anger of your own yes, but truth as well." She looked to Red Wing, the grimace deepening. "Ambassador, I suggest you sit down and think about your actions here. Our guests could have reacted far more negatively to your outburst and they didn't. Be grateful for that."

Red Wing looked at the Princess, then back at the aliens, he noticed that they were wearing the same armor and weapons as they had when they arrived, and he gulped nervously. He nodded to Celestia as a sign that he understood, then sat down without another word.

"Now, we are all very aware of this threat thanks to the honesty of our guests," Celestia stated, "What remains now is determining what we are going to do about it."

"I may have an idea," Rebecca spoke up. "Anthony, we have a squad of four other pilots on the Fyrebyrd. Perhaps it's time to call em in?"

I lowered my head and my face took on a thoughtful expression. After a moment, I smiled. "I think I see where you're going with this. Pilots make great stealth operatives when they wanna be. We could deploy two or three pilots at random intervals to gather intel in enemy territory and keep everyone else on standby in case. We have a few hundred soldiers on that carrier that we could drop into the fight if need be." I looked at the Princesses. "What do you think?"

Celestia and Luna looked at each other, then at Red Wing.

Red Wing sighed. "You and your crew would risk your lives to solve this?"

"We'd risk our lives to help you end your whole god damn war," I answered, a determined fire in my eyes.

He saw it, and smiled. "I guess I really was too quick to judge. I'll contact our King and let him know. If he approves, then I will notify you immediately."

I smirked and nodded. "Make sure you tell him the whole truth hmm?"

Red Wing chuckled nervously. "He'd have my head if I didn't tell the whole truth and found out good sir... uh figuratively speaking. I'd likely lose my job and be thrown in jail for a year or two. I could definitely say goodbye to my career as a politician."

Rebecca giggled. "Yeah you better go update him then. The sooner the better anyhow."

"Right you are, if you will excuse me Princesses," He bowed to Celestia and Luna. They nodded their approval and he departed to make the call.

"Alright. If you guys don't mind. I think we have someone to introduce you to," Rebecca said. "Anthony, could you patch that holo-projector through to the Fyrebyrd? It's time to bring Karish in on this."

I chuckled and reconfigured the projector, then transferred control to Rebecca. "It's all yours. But give me a second though."

Rebecca nodded.

I turned to the Princesses. "Celestia, with all that is happening, it is clear that hiding our presence will not be an option. Our ship was damaged when we arrived here and we will have to set it down to carry out some serious repairs. We have lost all contact with the rest of the Militia and our FTL jump drive, the thing that lets our ship carry us between solar systems in short order, is possibly damaged beyond repair. Furthermore, this planet may start seeing our forces deploying all over it. You may need to announce our presence and attempt to placate the populace before we can begin landing and deploying."

The Princesses both smiled at this.

"Our little ponies are far more accepting than most," Luna chuckled.

"Your logic is sound though, so I shall call for a press conference within the week," Celestia added, "Now you said you have someone to introduce us to?"

I nodded and gestured for Rebecca to open the link.

The transmitter beeped for a moment as it tried to make the connection, then there was a response and the hologram of a dark skinned man appeared: Karish. "Anthony, Rebecca, is that you?"

"We're here buddy," I laughed. "Did ya miss us?"

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't starting to worry," Karish laughed in return. "I don't exactly have a visual of you though."

"DOH RIGHT!" I set up a small camera from all my gear and linked it up so he could see only me and Rebecca for now.

"There you are.... wow I'm already impressed just by the walls and windows behind you, where are you?"

"The capital of a place called Equestria," I answered. "We have some diplomats and leaders to introduce you to man. Then you're in for a long story."

"And boy is it a doozie," Rebecca giggled, "Get Dovah Squad too. They'll need to hear this."

Karish nodded and had a crew mate make the call for the pilot squad.

Anthony turned the camera and Karish went wide eyed when the dignitaries and Princesses came within his view. "WHOA!"

"Yeah, say hello to Princesses Celestia and Luna, Representative Valiance, Chieftain Iron Hoof, Shaman Terrana, and Representative High Wind," I said, introducing each of them. They all waved, nodded, or made another greeting as they were indicated. "Gryphon Ambassador Red Wing is taking care of something at the moment but I'll let you meet him later if he's alright with it."

"Anthony..... this is going to take a lot of explaining. As soon as Dovah gets to the bridge, you're going to tell us EVERYTHING."

"Don't worry, you'll hear it all."