To Test is Science!

by Crimson Star

First published

The sequel to "To Observe is Science!"

Ace and Pinkie are happily settling into their new lives, but sinister forces are conspiring against Equestria. As Ace struggles to maintain the trust of the ponies he's sworn to protect, he finds that he'll soon have to make some very difficult choices...

Bells-a-tollin'

View Online

Ace stood in front of the altar, adjusting his goggles, as he shifted from one foot to another. The goggles were the only thing that he wore from his lab; the rest of his outfit was his Equestrian military uniform. Blue slacks, white gloves, black boots, and a red military jacket with blue trim, and gold buttons. His goggles rested on his forehead, revealing the distress in his crystal blue eyes, and a ceremonial sword was strapped to his belt. He cleared his throat, trying to take his mind off his worries by completing mathematical formulas in his head.

Geo almost chuckled, standing next to Ace. He was wearing the same tux that he wore for his wedding with Twilight. He glanced in Ace's direction. "You know who you remind me of, Doc?" Geo asked, silently. "Me, at my wedding."

"I look that nervous, huh?" Ace asked, keeping his head foward. "Man, I must be shaking more than my macerator on a heavy load."

"Well, you shouldn't be." Geo said.

"I'm getting married, Geo." Ace said. "The groom's supposed to be nervous, isn't he?"

Geo shoook his head, silently chuckling. "Deja vu all over again." He muttered, finding the role reversal humorous. "I'll tell you what John told me. You're getting married to the girl of your dreams. She loves you, you love her, so get a hold of yourself."

Ace sighed. "You're right. I guess I'm just venturing into unknown territory, and shaking up my anticipation of the future." He took a moment to gaze and admire the decor. Pinkie decided on a candy theme for her wedding. Streamers and banners were all the color of sweets, and there were pieces of candy and chocolate hanging from threads. Ace had heard that she told Twilight she wanted to have 'the sweetest day ever.'

"Whatever comes your way, mate, I'm sure you'll handle it." Geo said, giving Ace a pat on the shoulder.

The wedding march started, and everyone turned to see the chapel doors swing open. Ace gawked at the beauty that came out behind the Cutie Mark Crusaders Flower Girls. Shewas dressed in a glamorous pink and brown dress, and small, blue and yellow hair clips dotted her mane, making her look like a beautiful sundae.

As Pinkie trotted up to the altar, a smile formed on Ace's face. "You look absolutely stunning." Ace complemented, making Pinkie grin.

"We'll have plenty time to chat after the wedding, Acey." Pinkie said, showing great restraint. She faced foward, paying attention to Princess Celestia, as she began the wedding vows.

"Men, fillies and gentlecolts." Celestia's voice echoed. "We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Pinkamena Diane Pie and Ace Sorou." Geo stepped foward, presenting the rings on a pillow. "Many have witnessed the commitment that you both display for each other through fair times and foul." The rings levitated over to Ace and Pinkie. "Your love for each other is clear, and your bond is strong." Ace balled his fists, barely able to contain himself. Pinkie's grin was wide, almost literally going from ear to ear. Celestia looked at the Pink mare. "Pinkie Pie, do you take this human, Ace Sorou, to be your husband?"

"OH YOU BETCHA!" Pinkie jumped up high, before putting her hooves over her muzzle. "Oops." She muttered, bashfully. "I mean, yes. I do."

Celestia smiled contentedly, and turned to Ace. "And do you, Doctor Sorou, take this Earth Pony, Pinkie Pie, to be your wife?"

"Oh, Yes I indeedy do!" Ace said with a snicker, the liveliness of his head adding emphasis to his words as a grin formed on his face.

"Then the vows exchanged, I now pronounce you mare, and man." Ace's ring slipped over his ring finger, and Pinkie's ring slid down her tail, stopping at the center. "May you both find everlasting love together."

As soon as Celestia finished speaking, Pinkie tackled Ace to the ground, and planted a big, long kiss on his lips. From the pews, the faces were hidden, but Ace's limbs shook vigorously throughout the kiss, and only went limp once the kiss was broken. One could easily envision the hearts floating up from out of sight, and popping above the couple. Geo shook his head. "Jeez, is that what me and Twilight look like?" He wondered aloud.

*****

The reception party was alive with music and dancing, all centered around Ace and Pinkie. When he was worn out, she would take him to the snack table, cuddling him for a reprieve lasting for an entire song, before pulling him back out onto the dance floor. John caught the pair in between dance sessions. "You okay, mate?" he asked Ace, who was out of breath.

"I'm fine." Ace responded, his arm wrapped around Pinkie, who had her arms around him. He grabbed a cup of punch from the table, and downed it in one gulp. "We'rejust making up for lost time. I haven't seen Pinkie all week."

"Tell me about it. You would not BeLIEVE how hard it was for me to not go find him!" Pinkie chimed, resting her jaw on Ace's shoulder. "I wanted to see him so bad before the wedding, I was running around in circles, going crazy!" Somehow, John could see that happening in a literal sense.

"Well, don't wear him out TOO badly." John warned. "You want him to have energy for you honeymoon, right?"

Pinkie gasped excitedly, and gave a little squee as she trotted in place on her chair. "That's right! We have a WHOLE honeymoon to look foward to, Acey!" She giggled, clapping her forehooves together, before wrapping her arms around Ace's shoulders. "Oh, we're gonna have so much fun in Los Pegasus!"

John blinked. "I thought Los Pegasus was for Pegasi only." He stated, scratching his head. "I mean, the entire city is built out of clouds, right?"

"The cloud section is." Ace replied, now breathing almost normally. "But Los Pegasus has a ground-based area for those who aren't Pegasi. Pinkie and I are going there."

Pinkie bounced in her seat with glee. "There's gonna be lotsa fun, and games, and shows, and-Ooh! I got asked to personally host a big party in one of the casinos! Since me and Acey are both national heroes, Los Pegasus is gonna give us a big, friendly welcome!"

"Well that's awful nice, Pinkie. Ah hope ya'll have a good time." Applejack said, having wandered up beside John during the conversation. "Beg yer pardon, but ah'm gonna hafta take John from ya'll. He owes me a 'might good hoedown."

"Sorry, guys." John groaned teasingly, as he rested a hand on Applejack. "I have a meeting with my boss. And she'll be quite upset if I don't show up for it." He gave a small chuckle, causing Applejack's eyes to roll.

"Well, there's one good thing about your boss being your marefriend." Ace smiled at John. "There's no question as to who's on top." The four of them laughed hard, and when Ace saw the red faces on Applejack and John, he brought a palm to his face. "And believe it or not, that sounded more innocent in my head." At that, the four of them went through another bout of laughter, before Applejack turned to John.

"You an' me on the dance floor, now." She ordered, her eyes giving him a stern look, but her smile betraying her good nature.

John said his goodbyes, groaning in jest. "Work, work, work. That's all I'm ever good for." He joked, following Applejack onto the dance floor, her tail tugging him by the wrist.

*****

The chapel bells rang, as Ace carried Pinkie out to the Sorou-mobile, which had been attached to a special fitting made for making long trips. Pinkie waved to the various wedding guests as Ace walked her to the Sorou-mobile, holding her wedding bouquet in one of her arms. Pinkie's eyes settled on her family. Clyde Pie smiled, nodding his head, as he comforted his wife, Bonnie, who was blowing her nose on a handkerchief shedding tears of joy. Inkie and Blinkie stood together, waving bye to their newlywed sibling, and their new brother-in-law. Ace had both hands on Pinkie, so as not to let her fall, but he nodded towards the Pies, who all seemed to approve of Pinkie's choice in a husband.

As Ace got into the Sorou-mobile, he turned to the Doc-bot, who had been guarding it. "Deebee-forty-seven, you have command of the forces while I'm away." He said. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do, and make sure Commander Graybeak has nothing to complain about in our unit."

DB-47 nodded. "Assuring Statement: Don't worry, Master. The base and all of it's staff are in good hands."

Ace smiled, giving a thumbs up, before he started getting ready to go. Suddenly, Pinkie let out a small gasp. "Oh, I almost forgot!" She said, before sitting on Ace's lap, and tossing the bouquet behind her. The newlyweds watched it go through the air, and towards a cascade of mares who fumbled to catch it. It bounced off several hooves, before coming to a rest on Applejack's back, who had decided not to participate, and was standing next to John. She looked back at it, then up at John. They shared a blush, and Applejack adjusted her hat.

Ace laughed. "The fates have spoken!" He announced, as the Sorou-mobile began hovering. "See you all later!" He shouted, as Pinkie waved down at the crowd.

"Byeeee~!" She squealed, as the cockpit on the Sorou-mobile's configuration closed. And in an instant, the machine sped off towards Los Pegasus, taking with it a very happy couple.

It seemed that nothing in the world could go wrong...

Honeymooners

View Online

"So that's what's going on, ma'am." A flustered Ace finished, speaking to the manager of the hotel. "I know you know who we are, but ultimately, we're just a couple on their honeymoon who likes to spend their time...roleplaying. I assure you, your security personnel got the incredibly wrong idea when they walked in on us." Ace chuckled nervously, his curly brown hair bouncing as his head moved.

The manager looked over the young newlyweds, regarding their attire. Pinkie had on an apron that had red paint stains all over it. There were various holsters on the apron for special knives, all of which were confiscated by the hotel at the moment. Ace had wrapped a fresh towel around him, as that's all he was able to grab in the rush. His body was splattered with fake blood, and a bandanna gag hung around his neck. Ace had one arm wrapped around an embarrassed Pinkie, who was looking down at the ground, and cuddling up to Ace as close as she could.

The manager's expression seemed passive, as if she dealt with something like this before. She sighed. "In that case, I apologize for the uproar, doctor." She explained. "Sometimes, I get a nosy client who likes to complain about all the other guests. So when I received a complaint that I might be housing a serial killer, well, what else was I gonna do?"

Ace's expression widened in surprise. "Something like this has happened before?" He asked, offering a comforting tug to Pinkie, who shared his expression.

The manager nodded. "Unfortunately, yes." She gave a small laugh. "I have to say, this is definitely one of the weirder activities we caught the guests doing." The mare reached into her a filing cabinet, and pulled out a few papers. "If you had told us that you were newlyweds when you got here, we would've been happy to give you a honeymoon suite. I'll upgrade you to a more private room, so that this won't happen again."

"Well, the thing is, uh..." Ace began, placing a hand behind his head.

"We don't have the money for such an expensive room." Pinkie admitted. "We set ourselves a budget, and couldn't afford a honeymoon suite."

The mare looked at the couple again. "I see." She then shrugged, and flashed them a smile. "Then consider it a gift, and the Cumulus Casino's way of apology for interrupting your...ahem...good times. You don't have to pay a single bit over what you're already paying."

"Really?" Ace asked, his surprised expression returning. "In that case, thank you."

Pinkie grinned wide. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" She said,bouncing giddily in her seat.

"It's no trouble at all." The manager insisted, as everyone present stood. "I'll send some ponies to help move your things to your new room immediately."

Ace shook his hand with the manager's hoof, as Pinkie resisted the urge to hug the pegasus. "Of course you'll know to keep this information to yourself as much as possible, right?"

The manager laughed joyously, as she waved her hoof. "Don't worry. What happens in Pegas, stays in Pegas." They exchanged their goodbyes, and the couple went back to their room to get ready to move.

*****

Midnight Glow led the five other ponies through Ghastly Gorge, on their way to a location only Midnight knew. Brazen Spite was quite annoyed with not being told anything, and her glare spoke as such. "Where are we going, Midnight?"

"We're going where the master wills us." Midnight said, strutting forward unerringly.

Spite still glowered at Midnight. "How do you know what the master wills, anyway?"

"Because, my simple winged lackey." Midnight replied, her snoot in the air. "Unicorns naturally have a better affinity towards magic. The master may not be able to contact you or the Earthies, but that's because Ignobility and I are simply worthy of the master's attention,whereas you are clearly not."

"Stuff the superior attitude, Midnight!" Spite demanded, as she looked around. "Why does the master want us to come here, anyway?"

"The master thinks that the Elements of Harmony stand more of a chance of ruining everything with their new human allies." Midnight replied, matter-of-factually. "As a result, we're going to fight fire with fire."

"There are more humans?" Gloomy Glob asked, glancing around. "Well, where are they?"

Suddenly, a group of humans dressed in black ops gear, complete with balaclavas and assault rifles, started popping out from the shadows, and rappelling down from the cliffs. They trained their weapons on the ponies, who suddenly got ready to fight. "Don't move!" One of the humans shouted.

The ponies looked ready to battle, except Midnight held out a hoof, signalling for them to stand down. Seeing that the ponies weren't going to attack, one of the other humans called back to the shadows. "Doutor, we have company!" He shouted, in a Portuguese accent.

Out from the shadows, a human of South American descent came. He had a well groomed black beard, matching slick backed hair, and wore a black suit. He adjusted his glasses, and smirked. There was something...menacing...about the way he looked. His brown eyes seemed to pierce through the ponies. "Ah, you must be the servants my associate told me about." He said, his accent Portuguese, though none of the ponies would know that.

Midnight looked at him with curiosity. "Your associate?" She asked, fairly certain it was who she thought.

"He calls himself the Lord of Ultimate Darkness." The man explained, eliciting a look of recognition on the faces of the ponies. The man smiled. "I can tell by your reactions that you recognize the title."

"So the master summoned you here to help us?" Midnight asked rhetorically, smirking deviously. "Are you familiar with the situation?"

The man nodded. "Indeed I am. In return for my services, your master promised me one thing. Tell me, are there any humans in this world, present company excluded?"

*****

Ace and Pinkie investigated their new room with glee. Where the old room was relatively large, this room was huge! It had pure white walls, and a deep red carpet and roof. The large bed was shaped like a heart, and shared the same red hue as the red in the room. The bathroom had a hot tub in place of a regular tub, and the kitchen was decked out in all the necessities of the average rich snob. It was wonderful.

As soon as the ponies who were assisting the couple in transporting their luggage left, the newlyweds wasted no time setting up their 'fun place.' Pinkie pushed out her knife cart, which the hotel graciously returned fully stocked, and with an added apology letter. Ace had thrown off his towel, and began messing with some ropes.

Ace sighed, as he bent down, and began to tie the ropes on the floor to his ankles. "I'm sorry, Pinks." He said solemnly.

"Sorry for what?" Pinkie asked, as she put on her apron.

"Two things." Ace said, as he finished tying the ropes around his ankles, and held another length of rope behind his back. "I didn't take into account prices for Honeymoon suites when I set our budget. I went with the lowest possible price for the casino."

"Well it all worked out in the end, didn't it? I mean, look at this awesome room!" Pinkie giggled, as she trotted over behind Ace. "Oh, we're going to have so much fun, here!"

Pinkie tied the rope around Ace's wrists, as he continued. "We got this room because we were caught doing things related to MY interests. I know you felt ashamed when we were being led off. I'm sorry I'm such an embarrassment." Ace looked down, sadly.

The pink mare's eyes narrowed, as she suddenly tackled Ace to the ground. "Ohhh no. Don't you start that, mister!" Pinkie said sternly, pinning him by his shoulders. "I knew when I married you that things like this were gonna happen. I knew you had unique interests when the ring slid on my tail. But I love you, Acey! You're worth it, and I can deal with it! Y'know why? You want to make me happy, and that makes me happy! You are who you are, and I love who you are! You don't have to apologize for anything, got it?"

Ace nodded, smiling up at her."Thanks, Pinks. I love you, too."

"I'm glad we got that sorted out, snookums." Pinkie got Ace in a deep kiss, then gazed into his eyes. "Remember. The safeword is 'Vanilla frosting.'"

Ace smiled coyly. "Isn't that two words, hun?"

Pinkie giggled, gagging Ace with the bandanna around his neck. "Oh, you!" She trotted over to a rope and pulled on it, causing Ace to hang upside down by the ankles. "Now then, let's have some fun!"

The human factor

View Online

A golden chariot appeared in the skies above Ponyville, capturing the attention of the citizens below. Twilight had written a letter to Princess Celestia, asking her advice on an urgent matter. The matter, she stated, were that visitors from another world, much like Geo, John, and Ace, were in Ponyville, saying that they had business with Equestria's ruler. Instead of sending a direct response, Princess Celestia assured Twilight that she would arrive soon to speak with the visitors. And as she landed, she saw the look of glee from Twilight's face. She trotted up to the Princess, smiling.

"Princess Celestia!" Twilight exclaimed. She knew the Princess was coming, but she still got excited whenever she saw her. Disregarding the fact Celestia was the Princess, Twilight secretly had looked upon her like a second mother just as much as she was her tutor. After bowing, Twilight immediately trotted up to the Princess.

"Twilight, my faithful student. It's so good to see you." Celestia greeted, with a warm smile. She looked at the five humans with whom Twilight was speaking, and cocked an eyebrow, as she regarded their garb. They looked like black military uniforms, and they were armed with weapons, but their body language and their relaxed expressions indicated that they weren't hostile. "Who are your friends?" Celestia asked.

"Uh, we just met." Twilight admitted, stepping out of the Princess' way. "They seem nice enough, and they had some questions for you. I think they're from Earth, the same place Geo's from." Twilight moved over to the Nurse-bot she was renting out from Ace, and took her foals. She didn't know why, but she felt like she needed to keep them close at the moment.

At the mention of Earth, the apparent leader of the group, a tall man with muscular build and a strange device attached to his neck stepped foward, giving a smile. "Greetings, Princess." He spoke, without moving his mouth. The sound came from a speaker on the device attached to the man's neck. "I am Colonel Artur Da Rocha. I am second commander of the mercenary unit, las Soldados Do Touro." He gave a respectful bow of his head.

Celestia returned the bow. "Greetings, Colonel. I trust my student has already told you, but I am Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria." Despite herself, she found her curious eyes drift to the Colonel's neck. "I am intrigued. You are speaking, yet your lips do not move. Are you using some form of telepathy?" She asked.

Da Rocha wagged a finger. "I see you've noticed. I assure you, I have no such power as telepathy. No, my voice was lost in an unfortunate accident. The sound of my voice has been replicated with the device you see, crafted by my commanding officer, and the leader of las SDT, Dr. Manglanosa. He is a genius inventor, and a brilliant man. And the reason why we are here."

Celestia's eyes sized up the man, trying to determine why a mercenary unit was interested in staying in Equestria. "And what is your reason for being here?" She asked.

"Our world is wracked with war." Da Rocha stated. "People fight one another for territory, money, or other frivilous means. Business for us is good, but the Doutor wants to bring the world to peace. He thinks it's high time the various nations of the world hung up their weapons, and lived without the evils of the world."

A respectful glint in Celestia's eye formed, but only for a moment. "An admirable goal, to be sure. But that still doesn't explain why you're here, or how you came to be here."

The colonel nodded. "As I said before, the Doutor is a brilliant man. He created a portal to another universe. This universe. He wants your promise of sanctuary, as well as construct a military compound here from which we can strike against our enemies. Of course, we would never dream of crossing into your borders without your permission, nor setting up our base in your territory without suitable...compensation." As he spoke, two of the soldiers came foward, hefting a large chest. They set it down in front of Princess Celestia, and opened it. Inside was a dizzyiing amount of gold bricks, all of which shone and glimmered before Celestia.

Despite the vast amount now in front of her, Celestia frowned. "I'll have you know I am quite opposed to my lands being used by a foreign military as a staging area for wars Equestria is not involved in."

Da Rocha smirked. "Quite. I assure you, we have no interest in involving your nation in any unnecessary wars." He explained. "As second-in-command of the SDT, I am authorized to negotiate a treaty between our group of mercenaries, and the nation of Equestria. We are willing not to launch attacks directly from our base which we would set up here, should you grant us such a priviledge. In exchange, we would protect you from threats not of Equestrian origin. If a nation comes through our portal wanting war with you, you will have our support."

Celestia smirked at this. "Well, I thank you for the offer, but I am quite confident in my own military." She stated.

Da Rocha gave a respectful and sweeping bow. "Of course, your majesty." He straightened himself, befire holding up a finger. "However, here is something for you to consider. In a war, if you had a force of...expendables...would you send them into combat before your own forces?"

The Princess scowled, giving her reason for refusal. "None of my citizens are expendable, Colonel." Her voice shot, icily.

The Colonel shook his head. "Of course not. But we are not your citizens."

Celestia cocked an eyebrow again. "You consider yourselves expendable?" She asked.

Da Rocha shrugged. "We're mercenaries, your majesty. We know the risks of combat, and it is all we're good at. We gladly fight for those who have the best offer. And we offer you the best deal for both of us."

Her eyes became almost sympathetic to the man. It seemed so sad, that all these people knew was war. But then, they seemed content with themselves. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to employ them, she thought. "In that case, thank you." The Princess nodded. "I think we can come to an agreement."
*****
The Sorou-Mobile was on it's way home. It hummed through the sky, as it peacefully sped towards Ponyville. Pinkie was in her husband's lap, snuggled up to his chest, still sleeping. For such an energetic pony, she had a tough time getting up so early in the morning, Ace thought, as he rubbed a hand along his wife's neck. He got a response in the form of a dreamy sigh. He looked out the dome of the windshield. It was still dark out, but small rays of the sun were still appearing over the horizon. Ace wondered if Luna was getting ready to go to bed, as Celestia was just waking up. He had ideas, but he wasn't certain, having spent most of his time in Ponyville.

Pinkie suddenly let out a mighty yawn, causing Ace to scratch her ear. She blinked wearily, smiling up at Ace. "Good morning." Ace said, looking down at her, as he engaged the autopilot.

Still looking tired, Pinkie climbed up to eye level with him. "Morning, sweetie!" She said cheerily, despite her frazzled mane and tired eyes.

The couple shared a kiss, before Ace moved her to the passenger's seat. A tray popped out beside Pinkie, holding a plate which had two buttered pancakes, an English muffin, and four hay bacon strips. "Coffee's in the cupholder. Extra sugar and cream, just the way you like it."

Pinkie giggled, as she took her coffee, and sipped it. "He cuddles AND cooks breakfast? Wow, you sure know how to treat a filly in the morning, dont'cha, Acey?" She teased.

"Only the best for my mare." Ace replied, retaking the controls. "Which is why I got the casino to help me cook it."

They shared a laugh, as Pinkie leaned her head on Ace's shoulder. The coffee began taking effect, as she sat up to watch things out the window. Her smile grew wider, and her hair sprang out, fixing itself into it's usual style. "I think that was, like, the best honeymoon I've ever been on!" She exclaimed, looking back at Ace. "Of course, it was the only honeymoon I've ever been on, but it was still the most super-fantastically-amazingiest time I ever had! it was like a non-stop party for two weeks!"

"I know. We're gonna have to go back there next year for our anniversary." Ace commented, before a realization struck him. "OR maybe we can switch things up, and go somewhere completely new. We did leave a bit of a mess, back there. I'm still wondering how they're gonna clean up all the confetti in our room." Ace smirked knowingly at Pinkie, who turned red, and bore an embarrassed smile.

"Heh...yeah." She replied, her ears flopping down in bashfulness. She turned her attention to the vehicle, letting her mind wander. But then, she struck up another conversation. "Ooh! There's something I've been meaning to ask! Can you make me a special mech attachment for the Sorou-Mobile? I wanna call it, 'The Power-Partier-Nine-Thousand-and-One!' I wanna be able to set up a party any time, anywhere, no matter how big the area!" She wrapped her arm around Ace, raising her hoof to the sky. "Imagine, Acey! Four fully automatic party cannons facing in all directions, on a floating platform that roars through the air! Only it's not a scary roar! No, the Pee-Pee-Nine-Thousand-One will be roaring out dubtrot, the perfect party music! And entire towns would fall to the might of an unstoppable party, going across the land, and engulfing the populace in a never-ending era of fun and laughter!" Pinkie looked over at Ace, who had cocked an eyebrow at her. Pinkie shirked away. "Uh, I mean..." She said, backing down.

Ace faced foward, and Pinkie let out a defeated sigh, resting her head on her arms. Ace glanced over at her, and spoke. "I'll have it up on the drawing board by tomorrow."

Pinkie let out a small gasp, and turned to face Ace. "Really?!"

Ace shrugged. "Why not? I have a surplus of materials. I'll just make some time to build it."

Pinkie immediately seized Ace in a hug, who desperately tried to maintain control of the craft. "Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!" She said, peppering his face with kisses. "You're the best, Acey!"

Ace laughed, trying to push Pinkie away. "Alright hun, alright. I'm kinda driving right now." Pinkie settled herself, before resigning to hug Ace's arm and rest her head on his shoulder as he drove. As the Sorou-Mobile hummed overhead, a curious glint caught his eye."Hey, what's that?" The Sorou-Mobile turned it's lights in the direction of the glint, and hovered over.

Pinkie and Ace saw a troubling sight. There was a small group of Earth Ponies, travelling by carriage, and being besieged by a larger group of what looked like bandits. Five in total, they were made up of two diamond dogs, a griffon, and two ponies. One unicorn, one pegasus. Each seemed to be armed aand armored with crude weapons. Before they came into full view, Ace saw one of the dogs whap one of the ponies. And after the lights settled, both the bandits and the travellers looked up in an awe inspired apprehension. "Acey, those ponies need help!" Pinkie exclaimed, turning to him.

Ace grinned. "Not to worry, my dear!" He said, tapping various keys on his console. "Now is the perfect opportunity to test out my latest bots! Duty calls!" He took a microphone from the console, and began to speak. "Attention! By the power vested in me by Princess Celestia of Equestria, I am placing you under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon! Lay down your weapons, get down on the ground, and put your hooves on your head! This is your only warning!" The unicorn scowled, and let loose a magic blast. The blast impacted the Sorou-Mobile, but did negligable damage to it in it's current configuration. Ace smirked. "Guess they wanna do things the hard way." Ace grinned, as he set a finger on a button.

A quartet of humanoid robots and a small, spherical robot deployed from the Sorou-mobile. The battle was fierce, but quick. The four humanoid robots demonstrated powers over gravity, using a device inside them to manipulate the areas around them in a crude form of telekinesis. It was a stalemate for a short while, the bandits not willing to surrender, and the bots unable to be damaged, until the sphere, which had run off earlier, had returned. Only it wasn't small anymore. It took the form of a large, formless goo, but it was entirely made of water. The water lashed out at the nearest bandit, which happened to be the unicorn. The unicorn struggled, panicked, as this bot seemed to try and drown him in it's goopy form. Soon enough, the unicorn passed out from a lack of oxygen, causing the rest of the bandits to surrender. Before the Unicorn died, however, the bot released him, withdrawing all of it's water to make sure he could breathe normally. Ace smiled. This test run went better than he hoped.

Past, Present, and Future

View Online

The Sorou-Mobile touched down on a landing pad Ace had installed next to Pinkie's room in sugarcube corner. Ace had the landing pad set up so that he could dismount from the Sorou-Mobile, and enter the door leading out to the roof. Ace had once asked Pinkie why she even had a door leading out to the roof. She explained that it was so that her pegasus friends could visit her. With that in mind, Ace constructed the landing pad so that the Sorou-Mobile would be out of the way, should a pegasus want to come in.

They touched down, and Pinkie jumped out onto the landing pad, followed by Ace. Ace looked down at all the ponies and humans that were down below, going about their daily lives. Some had noticed the couple's return, and waved up at them. They smiled, waving back down at them. Both were about to enter Sugarcube corner, when Pinkie gasped, and Ace did a double take. "Whoa, wait a minute..." He muttered, noticing the humans.

"OHMYGOSH! HOW MANY NEW FACES SHOWED UP WHILE WE WERE GONE?!" Pinkie exclaimed. "I'm gonna have to throw a load of parties! Let's see, how many is that? One, two, three, four, five..." She began counting off the humans, pointing a hoof at each one as she counted.

"These guys are coming out of the woodwork." Ace said, examining Ponyville from atop Sugarcube corner. These humans seemed to have come out of nowhere, and a look of intense concern crossed his face. The most alarming thing about the humans was what was attached to their belts; a holster for a gun. And what's more...

They were all armed.

*****

"Near as we can tell, they come from South America." John spoke, sitting with Ace at the table down below. All of Pinkie's closest friends showed up with their lovers to welcome the couple back, but Ace had been shooed out of Pinkie's room. Pinkie had decided to move in with Ace, and insisted on packing on her own. So Ace waited for Pinkie down below, and the other couples showed up soon after. "They're some mercenary unit that wants to bring the world to peace, or something like that."

"Fighting for peace?" Ace harrumphed, bringing his drink up to his lips. "As pointless as screwing for virginity, if you ask me."

Rainbow snickered, as Geo chimed in. "They're led by some guy named Manglanosa. I don't trust them, personally."

Twilight batted Geo's shoulder lightly. "Geo, come on. They worked out a deal with the Princess to be here, so they must not be all that bad."

Geo shrugged at Twilight. "I didn't say they were bad, I just said I didn't trust them."

Ace thought, considering all the new information. "How long have they been here?" He asked.

Rainbow put a hoof behind her head. "Uh, five days." She told him. "A lot has happened in the two weeks you were gone, Doc."

"Um, I'm sorry, but, uh, can we change the subject?" Fluttershy's voice came. Everyone turned to look at her. "That is, if you don't mind, I don't want to talk about these new humans. They're kind of...scary."

John cocked an eyebrow. "Scary?"

Fluttershy put up a hoof as she began speaking quickly. "Oh! I don't mean humans in general, just these humans. They wear black uniforms, and cover their faces in spooky masks. They look kind of like shadows that are, umm, disconnected, from the bodies they're supposed to go to."

"I must agree with Fluttershy." Rarity admitted. "These ruffians have no sense of class, and I would personally appreciate it if we had a happier subject to discuss. Like your honeymoon, darling!" Rarity looked over to Ace, batting her eyelashes. "Do tell, what all did you and Pinkie do together? I mean..." A coy smile enveloped her face. "Besides the obvious."

As thoughts of his discussion with the hotel manager entered his mind, Ace began blushing, tapping his fingers against the table, he was about to speak, when a high pitched, happy squeal was unleashed from Pinkie's room."Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee~!"

He let out a small sigh of relief, before saying, "Sorry, I gotta take this." Ace stood up, and moved to the front of the stairs. He got into a stance, looking as if he were preparing to play defense in a football game. Suddenly, a pink blur rushed down the stairs, and slammed into Ace. Ace landed on the floor, Pinkie hugging him tightly, as she gleefully rubbed her face against his.

"Acey! Guess what?! Guesswhatguesswhatguesswhatguesswhatguesswha~t?!" Pinkie bounced on Ace, a grin on her face.

Ace shrugged up at Pinkie from his position on the floor. "Uh, chicken butt?" He guessed.

Pinkie giggled, and gave a small snort. "Nope, but good guess!"

Ace sat up, thinking. Coming up with nothing, he merely said, "Alright, then what?"

"I have the most stupendously-awesome and wonderiffic news!" Pinkie said excitedly, catching everyone's attention. "You're never going to believe it! I'm so excited I can hardly wait! We're gonna have soooo much fun!"

Ace held a goofy smile, and laughed. "Well don't keep me in suspense, Pinks, tell me what it is!" All eyes were on Pinkie, waiting to hear this news.

Pinkie opened her mouth to speak, then stopped. She blinked, bringing a hoof up to her chin, before shrugging. "I dunno. I forgot." As several groans sounded from the table, no one noticed the coy smile forming on one side of Pinkie's mouth.

Ace adopted a stoic expression, and moved Pinkie off of him so that he could stand up, and sit back down on his chair. "Oh, well." He shrugged. "I'm just gonna have to..." He suddenly scooped up Pinkie in his arms, a yelp of surprise stemming from the pink pony's muzzle. "...cuddle you until you remember!" Ace finished.

Pinkie went through a fit of laughter, before snuggling up to Ace. "Any excuse, huh?" She asked.

Ace shrugged. "You can't really blame me. You're the most adorable and beautiful mare in Equestria." He complimented.

Pinkie's cheeks tinged red. "Oh, stop it. You're making me blush." She told him, as she resigned herself to being cuddled. "Acey, we're gonna need to visit the market at some point this week." She brought up, out of the blue.

Ace leaned back in the chair. "I'll do it a bit later. What do you need to pick up?"

Pinkie let out a chuckle. "We're gonna need diapers in about eleven months. I figured we should stock up, now." One by one, everyone at the table looked up at Pinkie and Ace in surprise.

Ace shrugged, not realizing what she was implying. "Ah, okay." He said, nonchalantly.

Pinkie rolled her eyes, and sighed, before she began counting. "Five...four...three...two...one..."

Ace suddenly shook his head in realization, and looked down at Pinkie. "Wait a minute, run that by me again?"

"Oh! That's right!" Pinkie exclaimed, twisting her body around in Ace's arms so that she was looking up at him. "THAT'S the wonderiffic news I was gonna tell you! You're gonna be a daddy!"

Ace stood, holding Pinkie in his arms. He looked at Pinkie with an emotionless expression. "Pinkie..." He gasped, as she looked at him, dreading that his reaction wasn't what she expected. Suddenly, he squeezed her in a big hug, shouting "THIS IS WONDERFUL!" Realizing what he was doing, Ace immediately let off. "Oh, I'm sorry, I mean, but, swiss cheese on a stick! This is...there are no words!" Pinkie smiled at Ace, as he looked around frantically. "That means you're gonna be a mommy, too! Oh, we've gotta prepare right away! We should-"

A hoof shot up to Ace's lips, and silenced him. "Don't worry about preparing, snookums. I just want to relax with you right now."

Ace nodded, and sat back down. "Alright, hun. But you know we're gonna have to throw a celebration later today."

"I like the way you think, sugar!" Pinkie exclaimed, before pecking him on the lips. "We're gonna have a big, fun get together for our new bundle of joy! I'm gonna invite everypony in Ponyville, and we're gonna have games, and music, and-"

"I would hate to interrupt such a blatant display of joy, but I need to speak to you." All at the table looked over to the doorway to Sugarcube corner. Four mercenaries were escorting a man in a black suit. He was cleanly kept, of Hispanic and Caucasian descent, and had slick, black hair with a well trimmed beard. He looked at Ace with unflinching brown eyes.

Ace looked up at the man, an annoyed expression on his face. "Can it wait? I'm kinda having a moment with my wife." He said indignantly.

The man shook his head. "Unfortunately, no. This is a matter that I've been trying to deal with ever since you created your portal, Dr. Sorou." He nodded towards one of the mercenaries, who took out a newspaper, and gave it to Ace.

"Why would my creation be of any concern to you?" Ace said, unfurling the newspaper. It was an article about...him. It seemed that back on Earth, Ace's invention, a portal to another planet, had made him famous for the greatest scientific discovery of mankind. There was all kinds of coverage for it, and it seemed like the press wanted to interview him, but the article stated that the portal, now being under military control, was off-limits. Ace folded up the paper, and put it on the table. "Alright. I'm famous on Earth. Big whoop. Do I know you?"

The man approached the table with a creepy smile. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Professor Doutor Henrique Manglanosa." His eyes began to glare at Ace. “And you stole my grandfather's work."

Ace cocked an eyebrow. "What? The Trans-Universal-Portal-Device?" He put Pinkie down in the chair next to him. "I developed all the theories and built the technology with my own two hands. I didn't have anything to base on, and I would never, EVER steal from another scientist." Ace folded his arms, and stuck his nose in the air, closing his eyes. "It's beneath me."

Wordlessly, Manglanosa reached over to one of his henchmen, who handed over a blue paper. With a flick of the wrist, Manglanosa unfurled the piece of paper, and handed it to Ace. "My grandfather developed these blueprints to a machine very similar to your own in the early nineteen-fourties. You can see for yourself that this machine is very much the predecessor to your own design. And thus, the idea belonged to my grandfather well before it belonged to you."

Ace rolled up the paper, and tossed it aside. His right hand shot to his wrist PDA, and after tapping a few buttons on it, a holographic projection of a copy of a patent license displayed over the table. "Yeah, well, the Swiss Patent Office says otherwise, bub. Your grandfather should've gotten the patent. But since he didn't, you're sorta ess-oh-ell." Ace shrugged, and the projection disappeared.

Manglanosa scowled at Ace. "Do you even know who my grandfather is?"

Ace waved off dismissively, looking over at something on the wall. "I don't know. And with the way you're acting towards me, I don't care."

Manglanosa collected himself, before smirking. "You should care. My grandfather was a very esteemed man, worthy of respect. His name was Dr. Josef Mengele."

"Josef Mengele?" Ace snapped his attention back at Dr. Manglanosa. "As in, THE Dr. Josef Mengele? As in, the Angel of Death of Auschwitz?" He asked, causing a stir from Geo and John.

Manglanosa nodded. "So, you've heard of him?"

"Yes, I have." Ace's expression darkened. "Why are you bringing him up? Do you believe as your grandfather did?"

Manglanosa adopted an arrogant expression. "My mercenary unit is entirely based around the teachings of the Fuhrer. Before he suffered from syphilis, he knew how to cure the world of it's ails. I intend to pick up where he left off. I let you know who my grandfather was, so you know to respect him, and by extension, me."

It was Ace's turn to scowl. "Sorry. But I don't respect mass murdering psychopaths." He stated.

Manglanosa bared his teeth at Ace. "Slanderer! He was a hero and a well regarded man!"

"He was a war criminal and a bloodthirsty sociopath!" Ace shouted, getting up to his feet. "The fact that he escaped justice at Nuremburg is an outrage! That monster deserved a punishment no mortal man can conceive!"

Manglanosa stepped foward, pointing an accusing finger at him. "You have no right to judge my family, Doutor! Your roots are far worse than mine!" Ace was taken aback. "Oh yes. I looked into your background. Your ties to organized crime. You wear a uniform of a peacekeeper for this land, yet you come from the American gangland. Your father helped form the Circle Eights, am I correct? One of the most notorious gangs in the southwestern United States. I would never stoop so low as to deal drugs, extort businesses, or smuggle illegal goods. That is what makes me a greater man than your father."

Applejack quickly knocked her hooves on the table, trying to get their attention. "Now hold on a sec. Ah think ya'll should cool 'yer cabooses, 'afore one o' ya'll says something he'll regret."

Ace held a hand up at Applejack. "AJ, I appreciate the gesture, but I'll handle this." He was breathing heavily, as a beat started forming in his head.
"I like how you think that you're better than my dad,
but trust me, amigo, you don't wanna see me mad.
You wanna step off, now. And maybe back away.
I warn you, if you don't, I'm gonna make you pay."

Dr. Manglanosa cocked his head curiously at Ace. "What was that? A rhyme? I beg your pardon, Doutor, but it was YOU who wanted to drag family history into this confrontation. Despite what history claims, my family had reputation! Prestige! Power!" Manglanosa snarled at Ace. "Your father was just scum off the streets, who died like a coward!"

Everyone thought Ace was gonna rip Manglanosa's throat out. Instead, he smiled, as the beat in his head started forming in real life. "Alright, you asked for it...

I'm about to turn left, so everybody duck!
If I smack you with my cock, well I don't give a fuck!
My name's Ace Sorou, I've got a P.H.D in pain!
And this fucker here wants to play this game?
Let me make this clear; This is MY town!
And upon this little bitch, I'm about to put the smack down!
Your little war whores ain't got shit on my bots!
And anything you make, will crumble 'gainst my onslaught!

You look like King Leonidas, the Greek!
I betcha, just like him, you drink a lotta skeet!
You're descended from Mengele? Big fuckin' deal!
The pain that monster caused is what I'll make you feel!
I ain't took shit off of any Nazi bitch!
If I had my way, he would be face down in a ditch!
News flash, moron! The Fuhrer is dead!
So you and all your skins can go give each other head!"

Everyone at the table stared at Ace in shock, their mouths hanging open. Dr. Manglanosa struggled to keep his composure. "Wha...You...What was that?! Did you just...rap at me?! These accusations are...How dare you, Doutor! I expected more professionalism out of you! You should show some respect for the Reich! Were you to say such things back during it's power, you would have disappeared! The return of a Nazi nation is coming, and you will not be nearly as offensive towards it when it arrives! But I digress, I came here to reclaim what belonged to my grandfather, not listen to your vexatious rhyming! You've stolen from my family, and I demand satisfaction!" Ace rolled his eyes.

"The inanity of your words, is grating on my ears!
The Reich's not coming back, does that drive you to tears?
My patience is decreasing, by hundreds of degrees!
Until I am forced to say, 'Bitch, please!'
My theories are my own, I don't care how you see 'em!
You and your beliefs belong in a museum!
So back the fuck up right now, Motherfucker!
Before I take my fist, and ram it straight up your pucker!"

As the music faded, a very angry Dr. Manglanosa began shouting at Ace. "How dare you be so crude, Doutor! Know this; I will not soon forgive this affront! You have made a powerful enemy today, an extremely unwise move! I WILL have my satisfaction, Doutor Sorou!" Manglanosa turned to leave with his entourage, the laughter of Geo, John, and Rainbow Dash following him. Ace sat back down, the rest of the ponies still gawking at him.

"Seems to me like we've learned something today." John said. "Don't piss off the Doctor."

"I heard that." Geo replied. "But you gotta admit, that was fucking brilliant."

"Hold on a minute." Twilight announced. "What was he talking about? You have a past in this 'Gangland?' Where is that? And why does it seem so looked down upon?"

Ace's expression went from angry, to sad. He didn't really want to talk about it, but if he refused right now, he'd probably come off as a jerk. That, and he felt he owed his friends an explanation. "...It's not a happy topic for me, Twilight. If you want me to talk about it, I would have to tell tell you my life's story."

"Well we've got some time." Twilight insisted. "We're your friends. I promise you, any unhappy memories that surface, we'll be here for you. Right, guys?" There was a pretty much unanimous clamor of agreement, and Pinkie moved back up to be with Ace.

"I wanna know more about you especially, Acey!" She said, hugging him. "I wanna know what to expect from our foal."

The mention of a foal brought a smile to Ace's lips, causing him to be happy again. "You guys..." He sighed. "Thanks." He shrugged, wrapping an arm around Pinkie. "Well, where should I begin? I was born to a military family. My dad was an ex-army paratrooper. Had the right stuff to make it in the Rangers, but he liked the guys in his unit. After his service was up, he settled down with my mom, who was in the Navy as a gunner's mate on a ship. I was born in a small town called 'Texarkana.' Nice place to come from, but you wouldn't wanna live there. I lived there for two years, just me, my dad, and my mom. Then suddenly, it was just me and my dad." The ponies listened, as did Geo, John, and Spike. "My mom's ship was attacked by terrorists. The ship went down, and half the crew died. I was two." Ace said glumly, causing Pinkie to hug him.

Geo looked down at his drink, and sat up in his chair. "What happened after that?"

Ace shrugged. "I started growing. We moved around a lot, sticking around Texas and Oklahoma. We were in New Mexico at one point, and eventually, we settled. My dad, God bless his soul, he loved me and took good care of me, but he fell in with the wrong people. Helped form a nasty gang called the 'Circle Eights.' They put on a legitimate face, but as with most gangs, beneath a lighthearted facade of brotherhood, they were committing some pretty heinous crimes. Burglary, extortion, drug trafficking, you name it. But my dad didn't want me to get involved with that life, however. He gave up on himself, but not on me.

"I started exhibiting a high intelligence at an early age." He continued. "I was an inquisitive tot. I asked questions about anything you could think of. I wanted to know how the universe worked, I wanted to know everything about everything, and most of all, I wanted to learn. So I started learning, teaching myself this and that, whatever caught my interest. Dad was proud of me for being so learned. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was already multiplying numbers, and reading Mark Twain."

"That advanced at such an early age?"John guffawed. "That's unbelievable."

Ace smiled at him. "What can I say? I'm a fast learner."

John shook his head. "No, that really is unbelievable. Mark Twain books at six?" Joh threw a hand up. "You have to be pulling our legs."

Ace gave John a deadpan stare. "...We currently live in a world filled with magical talking ponies, and you can't believe that I'm a well read toddler?"

John opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. Finally, he shrugged. "...Alright, fine. So, what was school life like?"

Ace looked up in rememberance. "Nothing I couldn't handle. I kept to myself, but whoever interacted with me, well, I treated them the same way they treated me. I made a lot of good friends, a few enemies, but I lost contact with all of them after..." Ace's voice trailed off. "Let's just say fate wasn't finished with me."

Ace sighed. "I was ten years old. My dad was out driving around, and I was at home, reading up on theories about spaceships to Mars, when a knock came at the door. I opened it up, and two policemen were standing there, holding their hats. They told me that my father had been killed, as a declaration of war between the Circle Eights and a rival gang. I didn't believe them. They were cops, I was the son of a gangster. They weren't to be trusted. I remember being angry at them, accusing them of making up stories just so I would have to go with them. I didn't have any other family, so if my dad was dead, that means I'd be going to a foster home. I started throwing punches, and...the rest is a blur. I think I was arrested.

"They dropped me off at foster care the next morning. I was in no mood to do anything except grumble angrily. I kept on thinking that this was all just a misunderstanding, that at any moment, my dad would walk through that door, and take me home, telling me that everything was okay. 'Dad will be here.' I told myself. 'Dad always comes back.' But that evening, I saw a news report of a gang leader murdered in a drive-by. They didn't name him, but the news showed my dad's car, riddled with bullet holes. It was then I knew that my dad, who had always been there to look after me, who always defended me, who was the most important thing in the world to me..."Ace had began tearing up as he recounted his early years, and now on the verge of tears, he looked like he couldn't continue his story. Just then, Pinkie's sympathetic muzzle brushed across his cheek. She snuggled into Ace's neck, and smiled up at him. Now calmed, Ace prompted himself to finish. "...I knew he wasn't coming. I knew my life had changed forever."

The whole table was silent. There was a pregnant pause in the conversation. Pinkie hugged Ace tightly, and comfortingly, before breaking off, and looking at him. "...Acey, If you're anything like your papa, then you're gonna be a good daddy for our foal. Your papa may have made some bad choices, but he sounds like he was a good guy. I think if he were here, he'd be smiling at you, knowing you turned out to have a good life. You have good friends, a job that doesn't involve anything illegal, AND a wife who loves you. You don't have to feel lonely anymore. We're all here, to do whatever we can."

Geo let out a "Hear, hear!" in agreement, holding his drink. John and the others nodded in agreement, mimicking Geo's action.

Ace smiled tearfully. "Thanks." He said, brushing his eyes with a hand. "If you guys don't mind, I'd like to end the story there, for now."

Rarity nodded, speaking for everyone else. "Of course, Darling. It certainly is a lot to take in. I would be most interested in hearing more at some point, but until then, you may keep your peace." The others handed out their agreements.

Afterwards, there was some cheery banter to help liven up the mood. Ace started feeling better, and by the time the promised Me-and-Acey-are-gonna-have-a-foal party came around, he felt good enough to make an appearance. Surprisingly, aside from Ace, Geo, and John, no other humans showed up to the party. Ace rationalized that Dr. Manglanosa was pretty ticked at him. When the party died down, and everyone started leaving, Ace helped Pinkie finish packing. Taking Gummy with them, Ace and Pinkie flew in the Sorou-Mobile to Ace's lab, where they spent the rest of the day getting Pinkie settled into her new home.

Your battlefields may vary

View Online

A/n: The opinions and views expressed in this chapter by Dr. Manglanosa do not represent the opinions and views of the author, but rather, is an attempt to accurately portray the view of the Neo-Nazi movement, as experienced in a discussion between the author and a member of the Neo-Nazi party, who shall remain anonymous. The author hopes that the opinions expressed is not read as anything other than an attempt at good storytelling, and wants you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions.

*****
Ace marched into the throne room, his Royal Army uniform adorning his body. Princess Celestia, surprised by his presence, turned away from her lover, Worthy Cause, to address her lieutenant. Ace took a knee in front of Celestia, immediately expressing his humility. "Your highness, I wish to discuss with you a matter of great importance." He said, his eyes gazing upon the floor.

A prehensile wisp from Celestia's hair snaked it's way over to Ace's chin. Celestia raised Ace's head to look at her, and with a hoof, signalled for him to rise. Ace got to his feet. "What seems to be the problem, Lieutenant?" She asked.

"The new mercenaries who have made their base near Ponyville." Ace stated. "They follow a belief that may endanger Ponyville, and all it's inhabitants."

Celestia's brow furrowed in concern. "What sort of belief?"

"They are Nazis, your majesty." Ace said, matter-of-factly. But seeing the look of confusion in Celestia's face, Ace went on to explain. "On my world, the Nazi party follow a creed of hate and intolerance, and believe in racial superiority. They have been known to 'purge' those they deem inferior to their race. Mostly the Jewish, black humans, and gypsies."

Worthy Cause let out a small gasp, and his expression became one of worry. Celestia studied Ace. "And you believe these mercenaries intend to spread this doctrine to Equestria, and carry out such a purge?" She inquired.

Ace nodded. "I do, your highness. While there may be no Jewish ponies or black skinned humans here, my wife is a gypsy. If they knew such a fact, then I would fear for her safety, and it is my duty to protect not just her, but all of Equestria."

"I see." Celestia said, raising an eyebrow, before closing her eyes. She looked as if she was considering her options, and a few minutes passed before her eyes shot open, and she reached a conclusion. She looked up at Ace. "Lieutenant, I will hold a public court to resolve this matter. There you will voice your concerns, and confront the accused."

Ace shook his head. "I beg your pardon, Princess, but the fact that they follow a Nazi doctrine should be grounds enough for exile from Equestria." He persisted.

"Be that as it may, Equestrian law prohibits me from sentencing a group of ponies, or in this case, humans, to such a fate simply for having different beliefs." Celestia stated, her tone taking an air of finality. "The purpose of the court will be to prove they have ill intent for the citizens of Equestria."

Begrudgingly, Ace saluted. "I understand, your highness."

Celestia nodded, dismissing him. "Very well. The accused shall be notified, and court shall be held tomorrow morning."

*****

That night, Ace had gotten together some evidence on Nazi history from his databanks on his computer. Thanks to a Trans-Universal-Transmitter, Ace had access to Earth's internet, and was able to find reliable sources for both sides of the issue. He spent his night researching, and discussing the Princess' court tomorrow.

"I'll invite Twilight and the gang." Pinkie declared. "I'm sure we'd love to see you verbally whomp that meanie-pants into submission." She said, as she walked off to bed.

Ace smiled. "Thanks, Pinks." He called. "Having you guys there tomorrow is gonna mean a lot. I could use your support."

Pinkie looked back, and gave Ace a smile. "G'night, snookums. Don't stay up too late." With that, she went to bed.

A few hours passed. Ace yawned, and looked down at his evidence. 'I gotta remember. These ponies have never heard of a Nazi before.' He thought. 'I have to make sure the extent of the danger they're in is recognized. I hope I gathered enough evidence.' His eyes glanced over to his bedroom, and the bed. He smiled, seeing Pinkie snuggled under the covers. Getting up, he moved to the door, and after passing through, pressed a button on the wall. The door slid shut. He undressed, and got in the covers beside Pinkie, wrapping an arm around her. 'I've done a lot of work, and I've got my ducks in a row.' He thought. 'History shows that I'll be the victor. What could possibly happen?'

*****

An explosion shook the lab, jolting Ace and Pinkie awake. Warning klaxons were heard, echoing from all around the base. The sounds were most likely carrying into Ponyville. Ace shot up, getting on a pair of pants and his PDA. Just then, a Doc-bot entered the room. Ace looked up at him. "What happened?!" He demanded.

"Urgent statement: A projectile has exploded near one of our structures, master." The Doc-bot replied. "Recommend alerting all forces."

Ace looked over at Pinkie, who was shivering under the covers. He turned back to the Doc-bot, pointing at him. "Take a unit, and get Pinkie to safety! If she gets hurt, I'll melt you down into scrap!"

"Acknowledgement: Yes, master." The Doc-bot went to fetch Pinkie, who nervously got out from under the covers to be escorted by the bot.

As Pinkie left, Ace grabbed a microphone next to his computer, and spoke, his voice echoing from every loudspeaker on the base. "This is HQ to all forces! We're under attack! Enemy position unknown! Assault teams, investigate all sectors! All other units, take defensive positions!"

Various bots of various classifications began filing out of the garage and factory, taking up positions all over the base. Doc-bots armed with several different types of energy weapons began scouting the immediate area for signs of infiltration or assault. Those bots that were guarding the lab and base moved to various chokepoints to help defend the area.

Ace sat in a seat surrounded by a control panel, with a large screen in front of it. It showed a map of the base from a bird's eye view, divided into several boxes with numbers, all of which were red. Little dots marking various units moved all over the screen. Four of those dots were going into Ponyville, towards Sugarcube Corner. 'Pinkie's escort.' Ace thought. Once he saw the dots enter Sugarcube Corner, Ace turned his attention to the Assault teams, systematically going through each sector, clearing all the possible hiding places for infiltrators and saboteurs.

The radio on Ace's PDA crackled to life. "Report: Assault Team Bravo, checking in. Sector two is all clear." The Doc-bot on the other end said.

The red square with the number two flashed, turned green, then disappeared. Ace took his microphone on his PDA. "Acknowledged."

Another report came in a few minutes later. "Assault Team: Echo." The voice boomed. "Sector Five: Clear."

Sector five turned green. "Confirmed."

Directly after that, a different report came. "Report: Assault Team Charlie, checking in. Master, we've discovered burn residue from an unidentified substance. It could be propellant for explosives."

As they spoke, a white dot appeared in their sector, marking off the area. "Acknowledged. Document it, and continue your search." Ace ordered.

It was then that Ace noticed that most of the units near the Ponyville side of the base were congregating in a line. Curious, he took his PDA mic, and contacted the nearest assault team. "Assault Team Foxtrot, this is HQ. Report your status."

The Doc-bot on the other end relayed a message. "Report: This is Assault Team Foxtrot. Master, some of the ponies have begun to get curious as to what happened. They seem intent on watching events unfold."

Ace cursed under his breath, before responding. "I'll handle them. Return to your investigation." Not waiting for a response, Ace grabbed the mic off his console, and spoke. His voice was heard on the loudspeakers throughout the base. "All citizens of Ponyville near the base, this is Dr. Ace Sorou. This area is not secure. You are not safe, here. Return to your homes at once, and barricade yourselves until I give the All Clear."

Upon hearing this, the various ponies gathered outside Ace's lab rushed home, locking themselves inside. Now with nothing to worry about from the local populace, Ace returned to monitoring the reports coming in from his assault teams. Soon enough, all sectors within his base were clear. But the enemy could still be in Ponyville. Ace had to make sure. He grabbed his microphone, and his voice sounded on the loudspeakers.

"This is HQ. The enemy may still be in the area. Assault teams, fan out, and search Ponyville. Patrol teams, stay in defensive positions. Combat teams, patrol the perimeter. All forces, exercise extreme caution."

The bots began to get to their ordered positions. Teams of Doc-bots patrolled the trails of Ponyville. Anypony looking out the windows might see a group of glowing red eyes, or the occasional blue scanning beam. An amalgam of different robots remained at the base, ready to fire at invaders at the drop of a hat. Soon enough, Ponyville was secure, as reports came in from the Assault teams, giving their sector a 'clear' status.

It was a good hour before the last report came in. All sectors were clear of any enemy activity. Ace sighed, concluding that this was just a 'sucker punch.' He picked up his microphone, and his voice boomed out of the speakers. "This is HQ. All clear, area secure. All units, return to your positions." Ace had taken the time to get dressed all the way, and decided now would be a good time to inspect the damage to the base, and find out exactly what happened.

*****

"The explosion at my base was no accident, Your Grace." Ace insisted. Dressed in his Royal Army uniform again, he stood across from Dr. Manglanosa in his black suit, wearing a Nazi band on his arm. It was here, in Celestia's court, that he would plead his case, and hopefully, this would be the last anyone would have to hear about Nazis in Equestria.

Celestia shook her head. "I do not dispute that, lieutenant. But you cannot go around accusing just anypony without reasonable suspicion." She stated. "What motive would Dr. Manglanosa have to order an attack on your base?"

"This was retaliation, Milady. Plain and simple." Ace replied. "Dr. Manglanosa had ample motive to attack my base. The last time we saw each other was at Sugarcube corner, where Manglanosa expressed a marked disdain for me. His exact words were 'Know this; I will not soon forgive this affront! You have made a powerful enemy today, an extremely unwise move! I WILL have my satisfaction, Doutor Sorou!' The night after this was said, my base was attacked. Not only does he have the motive, the timeframe fits, and his forces are the only ones with the kind of firepower to damage my structures. If this doesn't prove that these men have ill intent for Equestria's citizens, I don't know what does."

The Princess turned to Manglanosa. "Dr. Manglanosa, do you have anything to say in your defense?"

The doctor merely smiled. "Your Majesty, Dr. Sorou's logic is infallible. He would be right to suspect me of this, but he would be wrong in believing I was guilty. I do not retaliate over words. If I did, my forces would've been hunted down long ago. I can assure you, one quick call to my base, and all my records pertaining to mission briefings and personnel rosters in Equestria would be available for even public eyes to see. I'll even give you a full list of the weapons in my armory. All are present and accounted for, and none have been used in Equestria."

"Your Highness, I wish to bring up the possibility that this was a 'black op.'" Ace interjected.

All attentions turned to Ace. "A 'black op', lieutenant?" The Princess asked.

Ace sighed, and began to explain. "A 'black op', short for 'black operation', is a mission carried out in secret by officially enlisted personnel. All briefings are off-the-record, and all personnel documents list the involved participants as elsewhere during the time of the op. If this was indeed a black op, and it was committed by Manglanosa's forces, then the records he provides might be falsified."

"Your Highness," Manglanosa interjected, annoyance in his voice. "I ask that Doutor Sorou provide proof that my forces were there. After all, if my evidence can be falsified, then surely the Doutor has evidence that is more trustworthy."

"I do, Doctor." Ace replied, his voice dripping with confidence. "There is burn residue on the grass near the perimeter of my base. The angle and trajectory are aimed right at my damaged structures, and the burn pattern is consistent with an RPG."

Pinkie, who had been in the audience, spoke up in enthusiasm. "Role-Playing-Game? Does that mean they were playing wizards out there?" Her ears drooped. "Why didn't they invite me?"

Ace suppressed a chuckle, but smiled. "I understand there may be some confusion about the term." He said to the Princess, his voice still serious. "In this case, RPG means Rocket-Propelled-Grenade, an explosive device mounted to a rocket, which is launched at a target. The device explodes when it comes in contact with the target."

Princess Celestia cocked an eyebrow. "And you believe Manglanosa's forces used an RPG to attack you?"

Ace nodded. "I do." A hushed murmur went through the crowd.

Manglanosa harrumphed. "Well then, Your Highness. I wish to cast suspicion on another."

Ace looked toward his adversary, as the Princess spoke. "I'm listening."

Manglanosa strode to the center of the court, and addressed the entire audience. "I make the claim that there was another force in the area. Another army who was in the same location, who could possibly have attacked Dr. Sorou's base."

"And who does this other force belong to?" The Princess insisted.

Manglanosa smiled, as he spun around, and pointed an accusing finger. "None other than the man making the accusations, Dr. Sorou!" The crowd gasped, and Ace just stared at Manglanosa. "It's simple, Your Majesty." He explained. "Dr. Sorou holds great disdain for the Nazi movement. And so he ordered his own forces to attack his own base with their own weapons in order to concoct a scheme to frame me and my honest mercenaries." The doctor wagged his finger, tsking with his tongue. "For shame, Doutor. For shame."

Celestia turned to Ace, her expression neutral. "Lieutenant, is this true?"

Ace smirked, and shrugged. "I don't see how it could be, seeing as that is impossible." He declared. "After all, none of my weapons use something so primitive as projectiles."

Ace's glare shot daggers at Manglanosa, whose jaw dropped in disbelief. "What?!" Manglanosa exclaimed.

Ace went on to explain, taking the center court himself. "I have crafted heat rays, particle beams, plasma weapons, and I'm currently working on a weapon that can attack a target on a molecular level." Ace's smirking face regarded his opponent. "Dr. Manglanosa, what, pray tell, is in my arsenal that can replicate the burn patterns and residue of an RPG? Even if I had rockets, why would I use them when I clearly have more powerful weapons than that in my armory? What next, are you gonna accuse me of stealing your weapons in order to use them on my base? You said so yourself, all your weapons are accounted for, and haven't been used in Equestria."

Manglanosa, caught off guard, scowled, as sweat began to form on his brow. "The lieutenant brings up a good point, doctor." The Princess agreed. "There is no way his own forces could've attacked his base, even if he has the motive you described. He has no access to the weapon used in this attack."

"Uh...But..." Manglanosa struggled to find words, before a thought occurred to him. Straightening himself, Manglanosa smiled. "Hmph."

Ace looked on intently. "You're awfully confident all of a sudden." He noted.

Manglanosa turned to address the court. "How are we so certain it is a rocket that has been used in the attack?" He asked.

A confused expression crossed Ace's face. "The burn patterns are consistent with a blast from an RPG." He stated, looking over some documents he brought with him.

Manglanosa held up a finger to him. "Ah, but are there other things that can leave such a residue?"

Ace looked up at him skeptically. "The only energy weapon in my arsenal that can leave a burn pattern of any type are plasma weapons." He showed Manglanosa a picture. "And as you can see, the burn pattern for my plasma lancers is quite different then that of the weapon used in the attack."

Manglanosa ignored the picture, and began to pace as he spoke. "Even so, the burn pattern isn't from any RPG in my arsenal, either." He stated, taking the file with the evidence, and looking it over, before handing it back.

Ace looked at the file, then back at Manglanosa, then back at the file. "How can you make that claim?" He asked, looking up.

Manglanosa looked at Ace, smiling confidently. "Tell me, what substance was found in the burn residue?"

Ace hesitated. "...After constant analysis, the residue is still unidentified."

"Hmm." Manglanosa nodded, and then shrugged. "In that case, there is no way my forces committed the attack."

The Princess looked on attentively. "How so?" She asked.

Manglanosa pointed at Ace, his finger threatening to poke Ace's face. "You are from Earth, correct? And with your brilliant mind, you likely have the entire periodic table on file, yes?"

Annoyed, Ace pushed Manglanosa's finger out of the way. "Yes on both accounts. What's your point?" He asked.

Manglanosa shrugged, and resumed pacing. "It's strange that after constant analysis, the residue is still unidentified, when all of my weapons use conventional elements. Don't you think that your analysis would've detected iron, sulfur, or magnesium by now? Three common elements found in all explosives? A smart man such as yourself should know by now that if my weapons were involved, then your analysis would've shown something."

Ace scowled. "If that's the case, then I request a Canterlot forensics team to identify the substance." He said, addressing Celestia. "If the substance is of Equestrian origin, then Dr. Manglanosa is not responsible for the attack. But if it's from Earth, then he and his forces are the only ones who can be held responsible."

Manglanosa nodded. "I agree to this. Have a Canterlot forensics team identify the substance. And when it is revealed that it is not of Earth origin, my innocence will be proven." He stated.

Princess Celestia nodded towards one of the guards, who took the bag. "Then it shall be done. The substance will be identified by a Canterlot forensics team. In the meantime, we shall move on to why you were both originally summoned here." The two humans returned to their desks, as Celestia prepared to speak. "Dr. Sorou has expressed concern that your doctrine is one of hatred and murder. He cites that those who follow your belief have been known to kill groups of people simply because they deem those people inferior. The list includes but is not limited to people practicing Judaism, humans with dark skin complexions, and gypsies." At this last remark, Pinkie gasped, as her eyes widened, and her pupils narrowed. She frowned, her ears drooped, and she shrank back behind Twilight, scared that she might be seen.

Manglanosa remained stoic, facing the Princess. "The antisemitism expressed during the Reich is not part of the precepts my men and I follow. The Fuhrer wanted to create a master race, and a perfect world, nothing more."

Ace glared at Manglanosa. "And you think that killing six million people is the way to create a perfect world?"

Manglanosa looked at Ace passively, and looked back at Celestia. "You refer to the Holocaust. An event written into history by the victors of world war two."

Ace cocked an eyebrow. "Written in?"

Manglanosa shrugged. "To the victor go the spoils, Doutor. That includes the rights to the history books. Those who win can make the loser out to be whatever they please. They can claim that their enemy is anything they want them to be, including a cult of genocidal maniacs."

Ace gawked. "You unbelievable...! Are you implying that the Holocaust was just an enormous propaganda campaign to make us hate Nazis?!"

"That is exactly what I am saying, Doutor!" Manglanosa asserted forcibly. "The allies would have said anything to justify the invasion of Germany, especially the Americans! The only reason they joined the British attack was because they purposely mistook a non-aggression pact with the Japanese as an alliance with Nazi Germany!"

"You mother...!" Ace expressed, his face contorted in disbelief. "There are people still alive today that managed to escape the horrors your kind put them through! They live to tell the tale! And if that's not enough, Auschwitz, the prison camp your grandfather worked at-"

"Auschwitz was not a prison camp!" Manglanosa interrupted. "It was a laboratory! One that specialized in medical research!"

"By experimenting on human subjects!" Ace shouted. "It's now a museum dedicated to those that were killed in the Holocaust, made so that we can never forget the fallen!"

"PEACE!" Celestia called, the Royal Canterlot voice causing both humans to jump. Princess Celestia, seeing that she had their attention, spoke calmly, and collected. "This is obviously a very heated debate. As this court is to determine whether or not Manglanosa's forces are a threat to Equestria, I shall treat it as a debate between two intellectuals. Dr. Sorou, you support the notion that the Nazis are evil, and Dr. Manglanosa, you dispute the opinion. I shall moderate the debate. Dr. Manglanosa, you have the floor. What is the Nazi philosophy?"

Manglanosa spoke. "At it's core, Nazism is akin to social Darwinism. Those who can are in charge, and those who cannot are forgotten. Nazism has been around since 1925, when Adolf Hitler published his book, Mein Kampf, which translated to English means 'My Struggle.' In the book, he saw the weakness in political practices such as Democracy and Communism. Democracy was and still is prone to corruption, as political parties take control of what would otherwise be a great nation if it weren't for their own greed and oppression. Communism works in theory, but the idea that all are equal under the eyes of the state just creates a power vacuum, and asks for a corrupt man to take charge. In this way, Communism is more like Anarchy.

"Nazism, however, stresses patriotism, the removal of corruption, and a strong Fuhrerprinzip, or Leader Principle. This means that you must believe in your leader. Responsibility must be taken up the ranks, and authority must be handed down. The belief in Blut und Boden, Blood and Soil, means that your family and country must come first, and is represented by the red and black on our emblem. It is also important to support local culture, to remind yourself of your roots, and what you fight to protect. By following these concepts, there can be created a Herrenrasse, a Master Race. An Aryan race of perfection and beauty, unrivaled by any other. I cannot see any violence or turmoil caused by Nazism with concepts such as these. In fact, our central emblem, the Swastika, is really a symbol of peace, taken from Indian culture. If we are so hateful and intolerant, why then, do we use a symbol of peace from another culture as our emblem?"

Celestia turned to Ace. "Dr. Sorou, your response?"

Ace held up a finger, as if to think. "I noticed something about my opponent's explanation. He wanted to focus on the concepts that made it good, and ignore the ones that made it bad. I think in order to get the big picture, you'd have to take in everything there is to know. Nazism believes in an Aryan race, but what my opponent doesn't say is what to do with Non-Aryans. Mein Kampf stated that a nation is the highest creation of a race, and great nations were the creation of great races. The weakest nations, Hitler said, were those of impure or mongrel races, because they have divided, quarreling, and therefore weak cultures. Worst of all were seen to be the parasitic Untermensch, meaning Subhumans, and mainly consisted of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled and so-called anti-socials, all of whom were considered lebensunwertes Leben, or Lifeunworthy Life, due to their perceived deficiency and inferiority.

"According to Nazism, it is an obvious mistake to permit or encourage multilingualism and multiculturalism within a nation. Fundamental to the Nazi goal was the unification of all German-speaking peoples, 'unjustly' divided into different Nation States. Hitler claimed that if nations could not defend their territory, then they did not deserve it. According to Hitler, 'Slave races,' the Untermensch, were less-worthy to exist than 'Master Races.' In particular, if a Master Race should require room to live, what he called 'Lebensraum,' he thought such a race should have the right to displace the inferior indigenous races. In Mein Kampf, Hitler draws parallels between Lebensraum and the American ethnic cleansing and relocation policies towards the Native Americans, which he saw as key to the success of the United States. With beliefs such as these, it's impossible to see Nazis as anything but a group of bigots who want to rule the world with an iron fist, and crush anyone who opposes them."

Manglanosa spoke quickly. "I'd like to respond to this."

Celestia nodded. "Thirty seconds."

Manglanosa collected his thoughts. "There is a reason I failed to mention what my opponent just did. The Fuhrer started suffering from syphilis at an early age. By the time he wrote Mein Kampf, he was already suffering from mental turmoil. Don't get me wrong, the Fuhrer was a great man, but he was not infallible. Today's Nazi does not believe the Untermensch should be less worthy to exist, but rather exist so that they can one day become part of the Herrenrasse. While a fine guide book for creating a great nation, it's concepts for dealing with the Untermensch are over seventy years out-of-date. All who wish to be part of the Herrenrasse will have the opportunity to be indoctrinated, and all who don't will simply become those who cannot."

Ace turned to Celestia. "If I may?"

Celestia nodded. "Fifteen seconds."

Ace faced Manglanosa. "You're talking about stripping away a person's cultural identity, and essentially getting them to disregard their heritage. Some things are deep rooted, and not given up so easily. What happens if you encounter a devout Jew? Or even worse, what if you encounter a Black man? According to your beliefs, such a man cannot be considered part of the Herrenrasse."

Manglanosa smirked. "So long as the man's heart is Aryan, then such a man need not fear the Herrenrasse."

Ace scowled. 'Which means that so long as a Black man believes himself inferior, then he has nothing to fear from Nazis.'

"I believe that enough time has been allocated to this debate." Celestia said, turning to Manglanosa. "Now then, Dr. Manglanosa, I believe you wanted to bring up a relevant subject?"

"Indeed I did, Your Majesty." Manglanosa brought her a file, before turning to Ace, and smiling deviously. "I expected that Sorou would try to analyze the belief of the Nazi movement." He turned back to Celestia. "So, I suggest we turn our attention to organized crime. And what better criminal organization to discuss than the Circle Eights?" He returned to his desk, oozing confidence.

Ace studied Manglanosa. "...You planned this." He concluded.

Manglanosa shrugged. "Well, I was prepared." His attention focused on Celestia. "Your Majesty, I believe the statement on the first page will establish relevance to this tribunal."

Ace smiled, pulling out a file from a pack next to his desk. "Good thing I prepared, too." He said. Everyone stared at him with varying degrees of skepticism. "What? You expect me to not consider every factor when going into battle? That's no way to achieve victory."

Princess Celestia noticed his confidence, and decided to give an offer. "In that case, perhaps you would like to start us off. Dr. Manglanosa will support the notion that the Circle Eights are evil. Dr. Sorou will dispute the opinion. Dr. Sorou, you have the floor. What is the Circle Eights philosophy?"

Ace immediately started speaking, opening his file. "The Circle Eights believe in the 'Hood. Brotherhood, Sisterhood, and Neighborhood. One thing I will agree on with Nazism, Democracy is prone to corruption. It's why we have street gangs in the first place. Police decide not to patrol too often around one area. Sometimes it's because there's no crime there. But if there is crime there, then it's because the rich want their areas patrolled more, and make sure no one grabs their money. And it's because of that the criminals migrate to unpatrolled neighborhoods, and begin stealing, dealing, and killing. What's a man to do when this happens? Organize his friends and families to fight back, and protect their livelihoods. Thus, a street gang is born. My father helped organize the first part of the Circle Eights in the city of Logan-Nara Visa, New Mexico. And in eight short years, the Circle Eights expanded their territory to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado.

"I won't lie, when I was in, the Circle Eights were into some pretty shady stuff. They smuggled, they dealt, they kidnapped, and they became the kings and queens of the streets in the Midwest. Because my dad was an OG, I was treated like royalty. But all that things they did was because they were trying to control it. You can't stop crime, it's there no matter what kind of civilization you're in. But you can control crime, and that's why the Circle Eights exist. They believe that if you can control the streets, you can control all the illegal things that go on. When my dad was in, he tried his best to make sure that all the crime was kept to a minimum. And he wasn't the only one. Another OG, let's call him 'Hammer,' thought the same way. If you can't stop it, you can at least redirect it. It's because of that, you can't really call them evil. They do what's necessary to protect their homes and their families. A lesson I put into practice, even today. I have no regrets about my past, and I hope one day, there will be no crime in my nation, and no need for gangs like the Circle Eights."

Princess Celestia turned to Manglanosa. "Dr. Manglanosa, your response?"

Manglanosa took center court, pacing as he addressed everyone in the court, and not just Celestia. "My opponent makes a compelling argument. But he fails to realize something. The ends do not justify the means. It is possible to be rid of crime, despite what Doutor Sorou says. Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy during World War two, and ally to Nazi Germany, managed to drive the Italian mafia out of his country. In a similar vein, Fidel Castro of Cuba did the same with the Cartels. If you want to fight the criminal element of society, you need a firm grip over your country. The United States has had a war on crime ever since it's inception. This American even supports the notion that his former nation lacks the purity to oppose it, and thus, has bred it's own criminal elements. He wishes there to be no crime, and yet, he still opposes the idea of a Nazi regime.

"Listen to what he says, my friends. He freely admits to being the child of a Crime Lord. He wants the crime to stop, but has given up hope that it shall. So instead, he supports an increase in crime by fighting crime with crime. His solution, and the solution the Circle Eights put forth, is in fact, no solution at all. Can we really trust a man who openly supports such a criminal element? Can we really trust him to do what's right?" A murmur of concern went through the crowd.

Ace held a finger up. "Can I respond?"

Celestia nodded. "Of course. You have thirty seconds."

Ace paced, addressing the audience. "The proposition of establishing a tyrannical government in order to control crime is the prospect of trading one devil for another. Benjamin Franklin once said 'Those who sacrifice freedom to gain security lose both, and deserve neither.' I don't claim to know what the ideal government is, and I don't claim that the Circle Eights know how to run a country. But I do know right from wrong. After my father died, I grew up in foster care with the Circle Eights watching over me. None of 'em could adopt me because state law prohibited adoptions by felons, but one man in particular took an interest in my life. My dad's friend, 'Hammer.' I'll never forget his words. 'Always do what you feel is right in here.'" Ace placed a hand over his heart. "'Trust that thing in your chest. Because it'll never steer you wrong.' His words have rang true throughout my life, and they continue to do so, even now. So while my opponent promises that his cause would bring security, and be rid of crime, he is making a promise he cannot fulfill. And I daresay everypony in this room knows it." He thumped his chest. "Right here. Trust it. It'll never steer you wrong."

All the ponies in the room were moved by the speech, even if it was a bit short. Princess Celestia turned to Manglanosa. "Do you have a response, Doctor?" Manglanosa couldn't think of a counter for his speech, so he shook his head. Celestia nodded. "Very well. In that case, there's nothing left to do but take a recess, and wait for the forensics tests to come back from the lab." The Princess tapped her hoof, signalling the recess. Manglanosa went to exit, but not before wordlessly glaring at Ace. He left, as Pinkie and the others moved to be with Dr. Sorou.

Scientists are used to failure

View Online

"What a prick!" John exclaimed indignantly. "How can anyone say the holocaust never happened?"

The group had gathered in the courtyard where they could express their distaste for Manglanosa without the fear of annoying others. The humans' end of the conversation expressed their varying degrees of hate towards Dr. Manglanosa and Nazis in general. The ponies and dragon, however, merely thought his ideas were radical and, if nothing else, quite drastic. Having only heard of Nazi atrocities third-hand had earned disbelief from many a pony, and if it weren't for the fact that the Bearers of the Elements trusted the humans, they probably would've dismissed the stories as sick fantasy.

"I know, right?" Geo added, agreeing to John's distaste. "I just wanna go up and throttle that asswipe!"

"Geo!" Twilight gasped, shocked that he would say such a thing about anyone.

Geo shrugged. "What? I'm not actually gonna do it!" He said, before tilting his head down. "While there are witnesses..." He added, in a small mumble.

Ace had knelt down next to Pinkie, his concern for her evident in the way he clung to her, and offered her comforting pets along her mane. "What's worse is that he actually believes it. Or at least, he's insistent enough to give that impression." Ace sighed. "I'm just hope I made a strong enough case to Celestia."

Twilight gave Ace a reassuring look. "Celestia will give a fair judgement, of that I'm sure. If these 'Nazis' are half as bad as you claim, then it would be irresponsible for Celestia to keep them in Equestria. And Celestia is ANYTHING but irresponsible."

"...Maybe." Ace sighed, as his eyes fixated on a point, and he started to become lost in thought.

Pinkie looked up at her husband, recognizing the look. On a few occasions, Ace had gotten this look. Behind his eyes, he had been considering the worst case scenarios, and each thought drove him to depression. If left unchecked, Pinkie knew, he would become a glum gloomy gloom-pants for the rest of the day. And Pinkie didn't want that. Out of spontaneity, she quickly changed the subject. "Sooooo Hammer raised you?" She asked quickly.

Ace looked down at the pink mare, who gave his lips a lick. A small giggle elicited from the couple. Now considerably happier, Ace elaborated on his history. "Actually, it's more accurate to say that all the Circle Eights raised me. Hammer was the one in charge of the branch that stayed where I was. And like my dad, he was an OG."

A look of confusion crossed Rarity's face "Do forgive this question if it is rude, darling, but what, pray tell, is an OG?"

Twilight raised an eyebrow, before offering an idea. "Is it an abbreviation for something?" She asked.

"Orange Grass? Oatmeal Grains? Only Guy?" Pinkie started giving rapid fire guesses as the the possible meaning of the two letters.

"OG stands for Original Gangster, and is a title given to founding members of a street gang. When you hear a gangbanger talk about an OG, that's what they're referring to." Ace stated. At the end of his explanation, John snickered, prompting Ace to continue. "...And 'gangbanger' in this case refers to a member of a violent street gang, JOHN." Ace emphasized with annoyance.

Applejack whipped John's lower back with her tail, offering him a glare. John coughed, trying to rid himself of his laughter. "Right, Sorry." He apologized. But after a quick thought, John asked a question without thinking of the consequences. "So wait, if you were raised by an entire street gang, how'd you get all your degrees and such? I mean, no offense, but modern gangsters aren't exactly known to be very intelligent." Applejack gave him another whip, thinking that the question was a bit rude.

"You mean, 'how did I become a scientist?'" Ace shrugged. "I took an interest in science. Way back when, I couldn't put anything together, but I was a monster when it came to taking things apart. Anything I could get my hands on was taken apart, and organized on the table as if to analyze it. I mostly taught myself. I knew the inner workings of a sub-machine gun by the time I was twelve." Ace chuckled. "Needless to say, Hammer was pissed at me on more than one occasion." Ace made a face, and imitated a voice that sounded like a big angry black man. "The fuck you doin' to my gat you little honkey!?" He resumed chuckling, speaking in a normal voice. "The funniest part was that the big man never found me for the rest of the day, afterwards. 'Course I made up for it when I was older by learning to put together and improve whatever I took apart. He always had the choice to ignore and abandon me, but I think he took it upon himself to try and raise me as my dad intended."

Geo nodded. "Well I think I speak for all of us when I say we're glad he did. I can speak from experience when I say that following your heart is a good lesson to learn, and I'm glad he taught you that."

Ace looked around the courtyard, noticing "The recess is ending. We should get back in."

*****

"Has the forensics team finished their tests on the unknown substance?" Celestia asked, looking over to a unicorn who had entered with the evidence.

"We have, your highness." The pony replied, using her magic to unravel a scroll. "The results are as follows. 'The substance is melted grass, caused by a surge of evocational magic. With further analysis of the remnant aura, we should be able to determine who is responsible for the casting of the spell."

"What?!" Ace guffawed as the pony finished. "Melted grass?! Grass doesn't melt! It burns!" He attempted to reason.

Celestia was the one who gave the reply. "Melted grass is often the result of magic affecting it's surroundings on an atomic level. The grass isn't actually melted, just atomically restructured into paste."

Ace kicked himself for not considering magic as a candidate for the weapon used to attack him. He was in a land where magic was the norm, and he forgot to factor that in. "Does that mean it was a unicorn that attacked my base?" He asked for clarification.

Celestia hesitated before replying. "While unicorns are most commonly the ones to cast spells, there are other beings with magical abilities. Still, it is highly likely it was a unicorn who cast the spell that damaged your buildings."

Manglanosa's smug grin never left his face as he turned to Ace. "Oh, I'm so sorry, doutor. Looks like it was not my forces who attacked you, after all."

"As I've said before, other beings have magical abilities." Celestia reasoned. "Unicorns are born with magic, and other species have to learn it. It may still be possible for you to have attacked Ace's base."

Dr. Manglanosa's smile instantly disappeared, as he regarded Celestia, and paced, once again, to the center of the court. "I'm afraid that is a forgivable accusation, but I will not allow you all to remain ignorant. On the human Earth, there is no such thing as magic. None on our world know any spells, and those who say they know magic are really illusionists with cheap gimmicks."

Celestia, cocked an eyebrow, looking towards Ace. "Can you confirm this, Lieutenant?"

Ace chose his words carefully, his hesitation giving him a moment to gather his thoughts. "...Ma'am, I can only confirm that on our world, magic has always been revealed as nothing more than 'smoke and mirrors.' There is not enough conclusive evidence to support the existence of magic on our world. But while most magicians only use props and machines for prestidigitation, that's not to say that magical events and such cannot happen. Philosophically and logically, it is possible those who actually know magic practice in secret, so as to not scare those who would fear it."

"In other words, doutor," Came Manglanosa. "You have not seen any magic of human origin, but still believe it exists."

"Yes." Ace said without thinking. But he suddenly shook his head, as Manglanosa smiled. "Wait, I mean-"

Striking while the iron was hot, Manglanosa interrupted him. "Then you are a fool. How can a scientist such as yourself possibly give credence to the fact that humans can do magic? Are you going to accuse me of learning magic just to strike at your base? You would probably be impressed if I showed you the old coin trick. That makes your wild delusions that much less credible."

"That's enough, doctor." Celestia said, silencing Manglanosa. "Given the evidence presented to me, I feel I am ready to pass judgement." She turned to Ace, and gave him a sympathetic look, and proceeded to sigh heavily before speaking. "Doctor Sorou, I understand your plight. You're worried about the safety of others. Doctor Manglanosa, I understand that you have beliefs that others view as evil. Given the statements presented to me, I feel that there is no reason to exile Manglanosa or his mercenaries."

Shouts of disbelief came from the two humans in the peanut galley.
"What the fuck?! That can't be right!"
"You've got to be fucking joking!"

Ace pounded his fist on the desk before him. "Princess, please reconsider! Keeping them here in Equestria is asking for trouble! This man follows the same belief as his grandfather, a belief that led our world into the second World War! His very roots are evil, and don't belong in Equestria!"

"And you follow the same belief as your father, a belief which spawns killers, thieves, and criminals." Celestia countered. "He may be a devout Nazi, but you were raised by a crime lord, and indoctrinated as an honorary member of the Circle Eights. If I were to exile him and his forces, I would have to exile you for the same reasons. Your very roots are evil, and don't belong in Equestria."

The company of friends collectively gasped at Celestia's statement. They realized, if any of them wanted to rid Equestria of the Nazis, they'd have to send Ace with them. Celestia tried to ease the tension, and explain her judgement in greater detail. "I cannot judge someone based on their beliefs alone. Doctor Manglanosa has shown no ill intent for Equestria or her citizens. On the contrary, much like yourself, Lieutenant, they express a willingness to defend Equestria from those who would bring harm to her borders. There is no conclusive evidence that anypony is in danger, and I believe you are blowing this out of proportion. As a result, I judge that Manglanosa's forces will remain in Equestria."

Manglanosa gave a respectful bow. "Obrigado, your highness. I am glad to see that Equestria has such a wise ruler."

"THIS IS BULLSHIT!" Ace shouted, leaning over the desk in front of him towards the Princess. He would've kept his yap shut, but he couldn't stand Manglanosa smugly brown-nosing Celestia. So he said something, hopefully getting Celestia to change her mind. "Princess, with all due respect, you're making a mistake! The Nazis have been known to-"

"My judgement is final, Lieutenant." Celestia interrupted. "I have heard both sides of the issue."

"Please, princess, there's other facts you should know!" Ace persisted. "In the years leading up to World War Two-"

Celestia raised a hoof, interrupting him again. "Lieutenant, I know you disagree with me, but no matter what you say, my decision still stands."

Finally, Ace just snapped. He brought his fist down on the desk, shouting as loud as he can, "HE'S GONNA BETRAY YOU, YOU DUMB BITCH!"

The entire courtroom was silent for a long moment. Every unicorn, pegasus, and earth pony looked on, their jaws unhinged from their mouths. Even Geo and John had joined the others in gawking at Ace, everyone shocked and appalled at the words that came out of Ace's mouth. The scientist-officer himself had a rapid change of expression as he replayed what he had just said in his mind. Other than the 'oh shit' expression on his face, he was a perfect statue. Princess Celestia's expression didn't look angry at her aggressor, but onlookers could tell the recipient of such a harsh insult was none too pleased.

"My decision still stands, Lieutenant." Celestia repeated, bringing her hoof down. "Court is adjourned. Lieutenant, I wish to see you in private. Now." Celestia said firmly, as she slowly walked out of the court. All eyes turned to Ace, who straightened himself, and lowered his goggles over his face. Holding his head up high, and placing an arm behind his back, Ace mustered as much dignity as he could, and strolled out of court, with ponies backing away from him as if he had the plague. As he exited, he idly wondered how weather was like on the moon this time of year.

A smirk appeared on Dr. Manglanosa's face.

*****

Ace let Celestia lead him to another part of the castle, looking very cross the entire time. Ace wasn't paying attention to where in the castle 'In private' referred to, he was just worried about how he was gonna defuse the situation. They arrived at an unused meeting room soon enough, in a restricted part of the castle. When the door was shut, Celestia cast a spell that sealed the room from eavesdroppers. She sighed, her expression returning to neutral as she regarded Ace. "Lieutenant, I-"

Ace spoke quickly, not letting Celestia finish her first statement. "There is no excuse for my actions, Princess. What I said was out of line, and I will gladly accept whatever punishment you deem necessary." He gulped, standing straight at attention, staring at nothing but the wall behind Celestia.

Celestia walked over next to Ace, and brought a reassuring wing down to comfort him. "I was going to say I can sympathise with your passion, and I am not offended." She said.

Ace relaxed, comforted by Celestia's feathers. "...Oh." He said, slowly catching his breath, as he drew his attention to Celestia's face.

Celestia continued calmly. "I realize that Dr. Manglanosa and his forces aren't exactly the most trustworthy folk, but then, how would it look if I just went and banished you as soon as you came here? The bearers and I couldn't trust you at the time, and given the circumstances, we had every reason to banish you from Equestria. But I decided to give you a chance, and you turned out to be the valiant protector, and have filled one of the bearer's hearts with love. Despite your criminal background, and your hostile nature when angered, you have earned your place here. Don't you believe that the same benefit of the doubt should be extended to others, so that they may earn their place here, as well?"

Ace could see what was going on, and he did agree. But he struggled to find words to try and make a point. "...I can appreciate this point of view, Your Highness. But I don't think Manglanosa and I are...cut from the same cloth. I mean, yes, street gangs at their core are detestable, and so is Nazism. But..." He trailed off, not knowing what else to say.

Princess Celestia rested a hoof on his shoulder, taking advantage of his silence. “Lieutenant, I'm concerned that your personal attachment to this situation is clouding your judgement." She stated, bringing her neck down to hug Ace. "Your wife's gypsy practices aren't exactly in keeping with Manglanosa's beliefs. But I promise you, no harm will come to her."

Ace felt very reassured by all this, especially the hug. He had to admit, he wasn't expecting this. So his wife was safe, Celestia assured him. "What about our foal?" He asked, as Celestia broke the hug.

The Princess looked up. "Oh?" She asked, her eyebrows raising in surprise. "Is she pregnant?"

Ace shrugged sheepishly. "I thought she told you already, Milady. I just received the news the other day, myself."

Celestia gave him a reassuring smile. "Then in that case, I can assure you that your entire family is safe. I ask that you have faith, and trust me. Try to think of it from my point of view, Lieutenant. After all, the Nazis haven't expressed any ill-intent for Equestria." Her expression turned more serious. "Understand?" She asked.

Ace cocked an eyebrow. It seemed like Celestia was hinting at something. Then it hit him. She wanted him to find some conclusive evidence. She was hinting that she didn't want them here, either, but for whatever reason, she couldn't just declare the Nazis banished. Of course, it was only a theory brought on by the Princess' expression, but Ace nodded, knowingly. "Yes, princess. I understand."

"Good." Celestia smiled, before wrapping up the meeting. "Keep your nose clean, Lieutenant. Don't let me catch you wrongfully antagonizing the mercenaries, or I'll take you up on your earlier offer. Dismissed."

Ace saluted, and Celestia returned the salute. With great dignity and purpose, Ace left the meeting room, and returned to the main hall, where he found his friends waiting for him. They would've asked how it went right there, but Ace looked too lost in thought to speak. So the group silently made their way to the train station, where a group of bots had been gathered. Ace's escort to Canterlot. They weren't needed while in the capital, being that there were hundreds of Royal Guard there, but now that they were departing, the bots got in formation, flying around the train car Ace and his friends were staying in for the trip back.

*****

The train trip back was long. And so far, completely silent. All eyes were on Ace, who was still thinking deeply. The subject was so sensitive right now, nopony was going to dare break the silence. That is, until Rainbow's curiosity got the better of her.

"So what's your punishment?" She blurted out.

Twilight gasped. "Rainbow!" She chastised, thinking that the question was both insensitive and offensive.

Ace held up a hand. "It's alright." He stated with a sigh. "I got let off with a warning. She was a lot more understanding then I would've been."

The group let out a breath they seemed to collectively been holding. "Well, that's good, right?" Geo asked.

"You bet that's good." Ace said forcibly. "I have no aspirations to become the next lunar colonist."

The mood seemed to lighten a little with this statement."Did you get her to revise her decision?" Twilight asked, taking advantage of the broken silence.

Ace shook his head. "No. She says there's a distinct lack of evidence pointing to Nazi hostility. And if I try and do something, it's gonna reflect badly on me."

Twilight felt hurt by this. She had earlier told Ace to trust Celestia to make a good decision, but when she gave a decision that was contrary to what everyone expected, she felt that she had given some bad advice. "I'm sorry, doctor." She said, disheartened. Geo offered her a hug.

"Don't worry." Ace said, trying to reassure the saddened unicorn. "I'm not angry about it. I'll figure something out. In the meantime, I'll go back to working on my bots and keeping Ponyville safe."

Thinking that this wasn't a good subject to talk about, Geo tried to take the reins. "Speaking of bots, doc. I can't help but notice a few new ones you developed. Care to tell us about them?" He looked out the window to see some humanoid robots flying out the window. They all had smooth surfaces, and two beady eyes set in an otherwise featureless face. They had upper torsos, but not lower ones.

Ace followed Geo's gaze. "The ones flying next to the train? They're Float-bots. They're gravity manipulation robots designed to be mass produced. As such, they have basic A.I., and only crude G-manipulators. I made one that was far more advanced, but too resource heavy to even consider mass producing. As such, my prototype, the Grav-bot, has been promoted to the de-facto leader of the unit, since it's far more powerful, able to manipulate gravity in such a way that it can lift entire buildings off the ground. I even put a prototype portal generator on him."

"When you're talking about Grav-bot, do you mean that squid thing?" John pointed out the window at a robot that was a perfect replica of a twelve foot long squid, flying through the air as a normal squid swims through water.

Ace nodded with a smile. "Yep."

"What about that small ball?" Fluttershy asked, pointing at a small sphere flying with the others. The thing was so tiny, it could fit in the palm of your hand.

"That's Hydro-bot." Ace explained. "I created him to put out fires."

"He doesn't look like he can do much to them." Rainbow said, skeptically.

"That's 'cause he needs a water source to fill up on." Ace shrugged. "He creates energy fields that absorb liquid, making him take on a goo-like appearance. He then manipulates the fields in such a way as to make either a high pressure water hose, or a number of water tentacles. He can fly around all he likes, too, with his hover device."

"Do you ever stop creating bots?" Geo asked, feigning annoyance.

Ace just stared at him for a moment, creating an awkward silence. His expression told him 'You did NOT just ask that.' Ace shook his head. "...Geo, you might as well ask me not to breathe. My life's work is to create the best bots I can, and use them to improve life for ponies everywhere. And my latest bot may be my most groundbreaking, too." Ace showed his PDA, which he tapped a few keys on. A 3d turntable of a perfect humanoid with heavy armor appeared. The armor as flat and smooth, but had long spikes on the shoulders, back of the head, and down the spine. "I purposely installed my new Dark-bot with no abilities, because I theorize that his power source will be all the abilities he needs."

Geo cocked his eyebrows. "And what's his power source?"

The image of Dark-bot disappeared. "Remember that raid I pulled off on the Diamond Dog mines?" The party collectively nodded. "I acquired a magic gem there from Chief Whatshisname, I forgot the jerk. Anyway, I'm using that gem both as Dark-bot's main source of power and his memory core by utilizing holographic memory. When he's completed, he's gonna be my most intelligent bot I've ever created."

"Are you so sure that's a good thing?" Geo asked, concern in his voice. "I saw what that gem did to his second-in-command. I think the thing's evil."'

Ace shrugged. "Hey, this is a prime opportunity to try and blend science and magic. How often do you come across a magic gem? Besides, it's a prototype. It probably won't even work."

Geo seemed reassured, as he relaxed with Twilight. "Well I'd still keep an eye on it, doc. Who knows what kind of trouble that gem could cause?"

"I'm more worried about what kind of trouble Manglanosa can cause." Ace replied. "I'm sure he's up to no good, but my hands are tied. If I so much as step towards his property with hostile intent, I'll be in deep with the Princess."

John tried to steer the direction away from the disappointing subject. "Sorry to hear that, man. But hey, look on the bright side."

"What bright side?" Ace asked.

John struggled for an answer, prompting Applejack to take the initiative. "Well ah reckon ya'll have an excuse to hang out with your friends, now. Ya'll been spendin' yer free time in the lab too much, doc. Ah swear, yer underground more often than a skittish rabbit. Don't ya reckon you should go out with yer pals once in a while?"

"Yeah, Ace." Rainbow said. "As soon as you finish one experiment, you've been too preoccupied with the next. I don't mean to sound sappy, but I'm kinda starting to miss you."

"You can't raise a finger against the Nazis without bringing down some kind of Hell, anyway, so I imagine your schedule's been freed up." Geo added, logically.

Ace rubbed the back of his head. "Well, I dunno. I mean, I had a pretty large breakthrough in my black hole research the other day. And I wanted to upgrade Slender-bot when we got back..."

"Aw, come on, Acey! They're right! I mean, the lab's a fun place to be, don't get me wrong, but you've been studying and researching WAAAAAAY too much. You should hang out with everypony, Ace!" Ace was about to speak, but Pinkie brought a hoof up to his mouth. "No. I know what you're gonna say, and no. Don't make me play the 'I'm-your-wife-now-do-it' card, 'cause you know I will. This is for your own good." A series of grunts and moans struggled to find their way out of Ace's mouth, trying to form a sentence. Pinkie merely narrowed her eyes, and spoke in a serious tone. "Just nod your head 'yes' to my question. Are you gonna hang out with us, or not?" Ace nodded. Pinkie beamed, bringing her hoof down. "Good! We're gonna have SOOOO much fun!" She exclaimed happily, snuggling up to Ace, and resting on his chest and stomach. She sighed contentedly, her head using Ace's shoulder as a pillow.

John and Geo exchanged an amused expression."Wow. Pussy whipped." John muttered, prompting both of them to burst out laughing. The ponies, having never heard such an expression, merely looked at the two as if they were crazy.

Ace nodded, as he rolled his eyes in a 'The shit I put up with' manner. "Yeah, yeah. Yuck it up." He said. "Alright. So what do you guys have planned when we get back?"

*****

Dr. Manglanosa was hard at work in his lab, mixing together a batch of chemicals. His experiments seemed to be mutating rats into various monstrosities, if the bodies being lined up on the autopsy tables were any indication. However, he evidently wasn't having very much success with the end product. A soldier marched into the laboratory, and saluted Manglanosa. "Doutor, I bring a report from our associates. They tell us that they are encountering no resistance, and are encouraging us to keep up the good work."

"Bom, muito bom." Manglanosa responded with a smile. "Tell our partners that phase one of the operation was a success. Phase two will be commencing, soon." The soldier saluted, leaving the lab.

Manglanosa proceeded to take another rat from a cage, and hold it down. The rat struggled to get away, as a needle sunk into it's stomach. A bright green liquid was injected, and the needle removed. Manglanosa tossed the rat towards the wall, prompting the guards in his lab to aim their weapons at it. The rat immediately began growing, it's muscles bursting out from it's skin, and it's skeleton developing horrific features, protruding spikes and claws. The rat grew to the size of a pony, snarling aggressively, and lashing out at the doctor, who took a few cautious steps back. The soldiers watched as the rat let out a pained yell, and fell to the ground, dead. Manglanosa frowned.

"Bah. Another failure." Manglanosa said, waving some of the guards over to put the creature in with the others. He took up a voice recorder, and spoke into it. "Day seventy-two. Subject thirty-four is a failure. The subject lasted at least twenty percent longer than the previous subjects, before succumbing to the agony brought on by rapid bodily change. The addition of the previously successful regeneration serum may be taking effects, and could explain the increase." He proceeded to go back to the drawing board, trying to glean some new perspective on his formula.

Recruitment

View Online

Ace nodded in agreement. “Yeah, let me just-“ Suddenly, Ace was interrupted by falling rocks, followed by a glow of red mist that disappeared as soon as he saw it. The rumbling shook him, and Doctor Sorou was suddenly glad that he installed seat belts in the Sorou-mobile. He bent his head down, praying for his-

"Rewind." Ace said. The image on Ace's screen moved back. "Stop. Play."

Ace was interrupted by falling rocks, followed by a glow of red mist that disappeared as soon as he saw it. The rumbling shook him, and-

"Rewind." Ace commanded. "Stop. Play."

-falling rocks, followed by a glow of red mist-

"Pause." The image froze. Ace stood from his chair, moving towards the screen. He analyzed the red mist that had formed around the cockpit of the Rockidile. He found it curious. It looked vaguely familiar, as if he's seen something like it before, but he couldn't think of where. Something about the red mist was ringing all kinds of alarms. He stared at the image. "Screenshot." He said, causing the computer to take a shot of the image currently on-screen, which was immediately saved to file. "Slow-mo play."

Ace watched the red mist disappear. He couldn't watch it while it was happening, but now that he had seen it from the cockpit camera's point of view, he could easily note that the mist moved off as if it were somehow...alive. "Curious." He stated. "Very curious."

"What's curious?" Pinkie's voice asked.

"Gah!" Ace stumbled back, falling into his chair, as he saw where the pink pony had appeared. "Pinks, where'd you come from?"

Pinkie giggled. "From the kitchen, silly!" She explained, forgetting the monitor as she smiled over at him. As she trotted up to him, Ace noticed she was holding a tray on her back, which held an unfrosted cake. "This is a first pass for a new cake mix I'm making." She presented the cake and Ace noticed a fork was placed next to it. "I wanna hear what you think."

Ace sighed, relaxing as he took the fork. He sliced off a small bite, and took it in. The texture was light and fluffy. The taste was sweet, but not overly sweet. Still, the cake felt like it was soaking up his spittle. "It's a little dry, Pinks." He said, chewing his piece.

Pinkie nodded. "Yeah, I thought so, too. But then I thought I was being overly critical of myself. Y'know, it's like when you have bias on yourself just because you made something? You think it's good, but everypony else says 'blech' or maybe it's the opposite, and you think it's terrible, but everypony loves it! That's why I wanted your opinion! If you like it, then it has to be good! But you said it was a little dry, and I thought it was a little dry! So that must mean I wasn't just being hard on myself! This also means I'll need to increase the amount of water I'm using."

"Half a cup more." Ace said idly, his attention returning to the monitor.

"I think I'll need about half a cup more." Pinkie thought to herself, before turning back to Ace. "I always get the best ideas when I'm around you, snookums." She climbed up into his chair, took both of his cheeks in her hooves, and planted a big sloppy kiss on his lips in a true Looney Tunes style. "Love ya, Acey."

"Love you too, Pinks." He replied, hugging the mare. He cocked his eyebrow, staring into his wife's face, and reading her expression. "But something tells me that you're not just here for the cake test."

Pinkie rolled her eyes. "Well, duh~! You're spending too much time in the lab, again! Once I get this recipe right, you and me are going out to spend time with everypony!" She informed him.

Ace chucked nervously. "Right. What I said on the train a few days ago." He recalled. 'Well, at least I got Dark-bot's body done.' He thought.

"Exactly! Rainbow and Spark have invited us to hang out with them at the swimming hole!" Pinkie exclaimed, beaming. "It's gonna be so~o much fun!"

"I can't wait, Pinks." Ace said with a smile.

"Of course you can't!" Pinkie came back, looking over his body. "So get dressed into your swimsuit!" She told him, slightly miffed that he wasn't dressed already.

Ace held up a finger that told Pinkie to wait a second, before setting her down on the ground. Calmly, Ace stood up, and got his fingers into his shirt collar. In one swift motion, Ace suddenly brought his hands down ripping off his shirt, and causing a short squeal to come from Pinkie. Before she could say anything else, Ace put his thumbs through his belt, and ripped off his pants, throwing the two halves to the ground, and revealing a green speedo underneath. Adjusting his goggles, Ace threw back his lab coat, displaying the lean body he got from countless hours of moving heavy machinery and playing laser tag. His boots glistened in the light, as he posed heroically in front of Pinkie. "Better?" He asked.

Pinkie found herself blushing furiously at this overly erotic display, breathing heavily. "Wowee zowee..." She said with a goofy grin, staring further south on Ace's body than she intended to. She shook her head furiously, snapping herself out of her trance. "Uh, I mean, y-yes. You look..." She licked her lips. "...Ready." Clearing her throat, Pinkie went back to the kitchen. "A-anyway, you should, um, stay in that outfit, y'know, for when we're ready to go. I'm just gonna try one last mixture, a-and then it's time to visit our friends, 'kay?" Pinkie galloped off, feeling as if her Estrus cycle hit her like a freight train. Of course, she knew that wasn't possible. Ace had already got her pregnant.

Ace chuckled, as he sat back down to examine the still image of the video. He could at least get a little work done before he and Pinkie left.

*****

Ace carried a beach chair and an umbrella, following Pinkie out to the swimming hole. Pinkie had carried a picnic basket for everyone, and trotted happily, plotting her revenge on Ace for making her so hot and bothered earlier. The couple crested the last hill separating them and the swimming hole, discovering Rainbow Dash, who was laying back on a beach chair, and Spark Plug, who was lazily floating through the water on his back. What they didn't expect to see was Geo and Twilight already there, Geo playing with his foals, and Twilight contentedly reading a book nearby.

"Hay, guyz!" Ace called, giving a wave as Pinkie trotted up. Everyone looked over to see the pair coming, and out of reaction, waved at them. But when Geo saw what Ace was wearing, he stifled a laugh.

"Doc..." He said, barely containing his laughter. "...Do you really need to wear something like that?"

Ace looked down at his current outfit. He was still in his lab boots, coat, and goggles, but the only other thing on was his speedo. "What's wrong with it?" He asked.

"What's wrong with it?" Geo guffawed, finally bursting out laughing. "You look like a male stripper!" He repllied.

A mischievous grin formed on his face. "Well, I suppose I am a bit overdressed for swimming, huh?" He asked, getting out an MP3 player with built in speakers from his pocket. "Let me just...take this off." He said, pressing a button on the MP3 player, setting it down, and beginning to dance.

His pelvic thrusts began heading towards Geo, who yelled in terror as Ace began stripping in front of him. "Nooo! My poor not-so-virgin eyes!" He exclaimed, trying to scramble away from Ace amidst an uproar of laughter from Spark, Pinkie, and Rainbow. Twilight, red faced from embarrassment at the display, and covering the eyes of her foals, concentrated some magic towards Ace, picking him up off the ground.

"Doctor, I'm going to ask you to quit traumatizing my husband." She said, the purple mist of her magic aura levitating the laughing man upside down in front of her.

Ace brought his hands up behind his head, still upside down. "What's wrong, Twi?" He began thrusting at her, still gripped in her magic aura. "Afraid I'll make your husband play for the other team?" This earned a chorus of laughter from everyone, even Geo.

Still good natured, but annoyed, Twilight shook her head. "No, I'm quite confident in his life choices. But there are foals in the area, and I would rather they not be subjected to such a display."

Ace laughed, crossing his arms. "Alright, Twilight. I'll stop." He said, looking over to the lake. Now in only his speedo, Ace gave Twilight a cheeky grin. "Hey, since you have me in your magical grasp, can you do me a favor and toss me in the lake?"

Twilight let out an exhasperated sigh, and wordlessly launched Ace towards the lake causing the young scientist to let out a goofy yell1 before splashing down in the center. Suddenly, right behind him, the pink mare calling herself Ace's wife launched from a rope hanging from a nearby tree. "Wait for me Aceyyy~!" With another splash, Pinkie got wet for the second time today.

*****

The swim was nice, and peaceful, with everyone getting along well. Ace had gotten onto shore and began drying himself off, when a BIRD swooped down from the air. Ace blinked, holding out a finger for the Bird to perch on. "Hey, Caroline." He said, as soon as the BIRD landed. "What's up?" The BIRD siuddenly lifted one of it's mechanical wings, as if to point in a direction. Ace looked over, and saw a large mass of ponies coming over the hill. Cautiously, Ace went over to his lab coat, and threw it on, fearing that this developing situatuin could turn ugly at any given moment. It looked like a fraction of Ponyville had formed a lynch mob, with the way they were behaving. Wondering what could've gotten the ponies so riled up, Ace confronted the mob.

"Fillies. Gentlecolts." He announced, as the crowd of ponies gathered. "May I inquire as to the nature of your gathering?"

One pony stepped foward, a brown Earth Pony stallion with tired eyes, and a bag of money for a cutie mark. "Allow me to explain, Doctor." The pony said. "I'm Filthy Rich, owner of Rich's Barnyard Bargains. A few of us have gotten together with a petition, here." Mr. Rich reached into his saddlebag, and produced a scroll, which he promptly handed to Ace. Ace took the scroll, and began reading it.

Geo and all the ponies gathered around Ace, curious as to what this mob wanted. After reading a bit, Ace looked up at the crowd. "A vote of no confidence?" He asked.

"We don't think you're doin' enough to protect Ponyville." Mr. Rich explained. "It's nothing personal, it's just that-" Mr. Rich was suddenly cut off.

"How can we trust you to defend us when you can't even defend yourself?!" One irate pony shouted from the crowd, before another pony pulled her down, and put a hoof over her mouth.

Mr. Rich sighed. "Despite the outburst, that's pretty much how we feel." He informed. "Especially since you got back from Canterlot, it seems that you're doin' nothin' but horsin' around with pals." Ace rolled his eyes. They HAD to pick the day he put in for vacation time with his superiors. Ace wondered if Manglanosa had a hand in this. The ponies shrunk back, trying hard not to feel guilty about putting Ace in this situation. "We have a mercenary base allied with Equestria nearby. With your base being attacked, and you doing nothin' to find the ones responsible, we think that your garrison should be someplace other than Ponyville." The others gasped, Pinkie clinging to Ace.

Geo stepped forward. "Now wait just a minute-" Ace held up a hand, silencing Geo, before he began chuckling. His chuckles turned into laughter. Maniacal laughter that was more than a little scary, at least to the lynch mob. "Doc, what's so funny?" Geo asked.

Ace settled down, bringing a hand up to his still chuckling mouth. "I assume you're all signers of the petition?" Ace asked. As one, they all shouted "Yes!" To which Ace nodded, still confidently smirking. "Well, first off, all ya'll are barking up the wrong tree." He stated. "Any requests for my transfer must go through my division leader, Commander Graybeak. I'm part of the Seventh Capital Division guarding Canterlot and the surrounding area." He said, taking the PDA from his coat pocket, and hooking it up to his BIRD. "My D.L. decides where I'm garrisoned. I have next to no say in the matter." A smirk appeared on his face, as he inspected his PDA. "Secondly, even if you did go to him, he couldn't do anything. Caroline here scanned your crowd earlier, and put your numbers at less than twenty percent of Ponyville's population. If you want anything done to me, you'd need at least fifty-one percent, and I know you can't get that, since I saved half of Ponyville's current population from being slaves to Diamond Dogs." Ace shrugged, adopting an expression liken to a troll face. "I'm sorry, but you're sort of...stuck with me."

An uproar came from the crowd, who jeered and booed at Ace. Twilight, Rainbow, and the others were now sharing his confidence, and Pinkie hugged him, happy to know his station in Ponyville was secure. But Mr. Rich wasn't finished. "In that case, we have another demand. A second petition." He pulled out another scroll, his announcement of a second petition settling everypony down. Ace read the scroll, seeing that there were at least three times as many signatures on this one. As he read the contents, Mr. Rich informed him. "We demand that you actually do something in regards to whom attacked your base, and stop wasting time with your friends."

A unanimous "Yeah!" sounded from the ponies in the mob, all very cross. Ace sighed, bringing a palm to his face. "Look, I understand that you're all scared. And believe me, steps are being taken to ascertain the identity of whoever attacked my base, and bring them to justice. However, you're talking to the wrong person in regards to the investigation. I'm not on the case."

"That's the problem, Doctor!" A highly annoyed Mr. Rich said. "We want you on the case!"

"And believe me, I want to be on the case." Ace announced calmly. "However, Princess Celestia herself has forbidden me from taking the case, saying that I'm too personally attached, and my judgement may not be clear."

"A likely story!" A pony shouted from the crowd, causing the rest to boo and jeer at Ace again. Mr. Rich took a moment to settle the ponies down, before turning back to Ace. "Well, why would you have a personal attachment to the case?"

"You mean, besides the fact my own creations were damaged and my lovely wife was put in harm's way?" Ace dead-panned. He left out the part that the prime suspect, Dr. Manglanosa, had some bad blood with him. It was a sensitive subject that somone could take advantage of.

Mr. Rich nodded, before turning to the petition that Ace was holding. "Well, we've already taken a copy of that petition to Mayor Mare. If what you've said is true, Then you won't be able to assist the investigation. She gave me a message. If for any reason you couldn't help the investigation, then she said she'll bring somepony else in to help." Mr. Rich turned to the mob. "We've done all we can, everypony! Let's go home." Despite the protests, the crowd disbanded back to Ponyville.

As Ace watched the crowd leave, he thought about the message. He and Mayor Mare had gotten along well, so she wasn't telling him that to spite him. But lately, she had been trying to befriend the mercenaries, reasoning that it would be politically sound to try and be the middle ground between two factions that might not be on the best terms. She wanted to give him this message as a warning. She was gonna ask the mercenaies for help, and she wanted him to know.

"Dear God." Ace muttered, the realization apparent on his face. "Lord knows what kind of lies that maniac will turn up with. Mayor Mare doesn't know 'em like other humans do." The ponies all looked at Ace. Geo gawked.

"Manglanosa will find a way to get you in trouble, Doc." Geo said. "What are you gonna do?"

"Let me worry about that, Geo." Ace said, already formulating his next move. He knelt down, facing Pinkie, and gave her a kiss. "Pinks, you have fun. I gotta get back to work." He told her.

Pinkie looked glum. "Aww, Acey." She said with a pout, giving him big, puppy-dog eyes. "Do you really have to go?"

Ace, as much as he didn't want to resist Pinkie's attempts to keep him here, nodded. "I'm afraid so. This is a chess game, and it's time for me to make a move."

Pinkie nodded, and tackled Ace in a big hug, smooching his face, before letting him up. "Well I hope you win, Snookums." She said, understanding him. Ruffling her mane and grabbing his things, Ace smiled, silently promising to win, for her sake. He left to get dressed, and get ready for what he had to do.

*****

Ace wandered the vast orchard of Sweet Apple Acres, looking for John. The reds and greens of the various apples gave a sense of peace Ace rarely found. But Ace had no time for this peace. If he was gonna drive the Nazis out of Equestria, he needed John's help. He found John,having just knocked down a cascade of apples from a nearby tree. Instead of kicking them like a pony, the Apples had John make use of a large sledgehammer that delivered a crushing amount of weight. He was now picking up the apples, placing them in the baskets next to the trees.

“John, you got a minute?" Ace asked, walking up to him.

John looked up from his work, and read Ace's expression. He nodded, understanding the doctor was serious about something. "Of course, Ace. What is it?"

Ace sighed, cocking his head to the side. "This is very important, so I'll be brief. How well did emm-eye-six train you? What's the most severe mission you could've been sent on?" He asked.

John cocked an eyebrow. "I'm trained in information gathering, infiltration, disguise, and urban sneaking, all in hostile territory."

"And how many languages do you speak?" Ace continued.

John wondered what Ace was getting at, and why he was suddenly so interested in John's past. "I can read and write most European languages, but I'm mostly skilled in Spanish and Portugese."

"You seem like the perfect guy for the job, then." Ace nodded. "You know that camp that the Nazis have set up near Ghastly Gorge?"

"I've seen it." John replied. "Why? You want me to pull a double-oh-seven?"

"Preferably with less killing. I need evidence that they're up to no good. They're Nazis, and I prefer that their fascist doctrine of hate doesn't take root in Equestria." Ace replied, his expression darkening grimly. "But Princess Celestia was very adamant about me staying away from them. She insists that I'm not giving them a chance to prove they've changed."

John shook his head. "I see what you're going through, Ace." John told the doctor, as the latter began pacing, resting a fist on the back of his lab coat. "And I sympathize, I really do. I don't want the Nazis here any more than you do, but the ponies of Equestria have never dealt with the hate mongers before. Look at it from their point of view, Doc. Ponies have seen the best mankind has to offer through you, me and Geo. They've come to the general conclusion that humans, while naturally violent, are predisposed for good. Which is why Celestia thinks you're overreacting about getting them out of Equestria ASAP."

"Which is why I need your help getting evidence." Ace insisted. "If I can prove they have bad intentions for this world, then Celestia will force them to leave."

"You're really on about this, aren't ya, Doc?" John asked, his expression intense.

"I have no intention to sit back and watch those goosesteppers worm their way into everypony's heart, only to turn around and betray them later." Ace declared with a passion, as he continued to pace around John. "I will do whatever is necessary to protect Equestria, Ponyville, and everyone living here."

John sighed. "Well, I'm sorry to say this, Doc, but I can't help you."

The doctor stopped, and whirled around to face John. "What?!" He exclaimed, a look of disbelief formed on his face.

John relaxed, leaning against an apple tree."One," He began, displaying a finger with his list. "I haven't played the spy game in a long time. My skills are more than a bit rusty. Two, Applejack won't like it one bit if her fiancee just up and leaves. And she's going to refuse to let me go if I tell her where I'm going. And she could give reason three, I could die. If I'm caught, there's no telling what those psychopaths will do to me. If I go, I might never come back."

Ace scowled, holding out his hand, and began listing his counterargument. "One, You're plenty good at the spy game. As seriously as both of us play laser tag every weekend, you're more than capable of holding your own in an infiltration setting. I have one helluva time trying to find you, no matter what map we play. Two, I'll handle Applejack, so she won't worry. I'll simply tell her that I asked you to go out of town to run an important errand, and that's an absolute truth. You'd be out of town in Dr. Manglanosa's camp. The errand would be to pick up some evidence for me. And three, please, John. You're the only one who can do this. If you succeed, it could mean that we won't have to worry about Manglanosa OR his Nazis anymore. But if we simply ignore it, they could set into motion a plan that would spell out doom for Ponyville's citizens. Do you really think you could live with yourself if you let a threat come into town, and hurt the ones you love? I couldn't. That's why I'm doing something."

John scowled, this time. He didn't take too kindly at the guilt trip Ace tried to send him on. "Well, if you're so insistent on sending in a spy, why don't you go in yourself? You're obviously just as good as me at laser tag. I'm pretty sure you could hold your own in an infiltration scenario."

Ace threw his hands up in exhasperation. "The Nazis will recognize me! Their leader has some personal beef with me! If I go in and get captured, it'll cause an international incident and create a lot of tension between Equestria and Manglanosa's forces! But if you go in, not only do you stand a better chance of success with your emm-eye-six training, but if you're captured, you'll be seen as a private citizen with no affiliation to the Equestrian government."

"So you don't have to come in and rescue me?" John spat, glaring at Ace.

Ace began an explanation. "John, listen-"

"No, you listen!" John cut Ace off, pointing a threatening finger at him. "I'm not some tool for people to use! I'm not an expendable asset!" John advanced on Ace as he spoke, causing the doctor to stumble back, and fall over an inconveniently placed basket of apples. "I worked hard to live down my past, and I'm not going to risk everything just because you want to kick somebody out!" John breathed, his face red, and his fists balled. He quickly calmed himself down, before turning to head back to the barn. "We're done here, Doctor. Stay off Sweet Apple Acres for a while."

Ace got up, and dusted himself off. "Alright, John." He said, grabbing an envelope from the inside of his lab coat. "I didn't want to do this, but you leave me no choice." He announced. John turned back to Ace, his eyebrow cocked in curiosity. Ace unfolded the paper, and began reading it, as a sly smile formed on his face. "Whether you want to or not, you ARE going to infiltrate that camp for me." He declared.

"How do you figure?" John wheeled around, his glare returning as he looked at Ace.

Ace began quickly reading aloud from the paper. "I, John Adams, understand that, by entering the laboratory of Dr. Ace Sorou, I forfeit the right and/or privilege to take legal action against Dr. Sorou in the event of bodily harm, lost limbs, transformation, change in mental health, or any combination of the above as a result of drinking chemicals and/or being shot by plasma energy, light energy, particle energy, atomic energy, gravitational anomalies, or any combination of the above. I further note that I will not press charges if I somehow turn in to a goat, pony, chicken, lion, tree, minotaur, dictionary, or any other vegetable, mineral, or animal that I am not meant to be. I sign this legally binding contract and/or enter Dr. Ace Sorou’s laboratory under my own volition without any outside influence affecting my judgement, be it coercion, blackmail, drugs, alcohol, or other. By entering Dr. Ace Sorou’s laboratory, I will keep all activities within the laboratory a closely guarded secret, and will not tell anyone who has not signed a similar contract with Dr. Sorou about anything going on in the laboratory. My signature below is my agreement that I have read and understood all of the above." Ace showed the paper to John. "Look at the bottom. That's your signature, isn't it?"

John took a look at the paper, and nodded. "Yeah. What of it?"

Ace quickly folded the paper back up, placed it back in his lab coat, and spoke. "Remember a while back when you were first discovered to be an emm-eye-six agent?" He asked. "You knowingly told your superiors about what I was doing in my lab, after you signed this agreement. And what does the second to last line of our LEGALLY BINDING contract say?"

John inhaled sharply, a mixture of fear and rage on his face. "You...you wouldn't..."

Ace pressed on, as he resumed pacing. "I could've brought this up at any time, but I chose not to, smply because you're my friend. But you've forced my hand." Ace turned a threatening look at John. "If you don't infiltrate the Nazi camp and bring me what I'm looking for, then I'll sue you for every cent you have for revealing my secrets to your superiors."

"You can't be serious!" John outraged. "Ace, we're not in any English territory, now! That contract can't be legal!"

Ace took the contract back out, and looked it over with a smirk. "Nope." He said. "Doesn't specify a location other than my laboratory. I'd say it's legally binding." Ace looked back up at John, his expression getting serious. "I've studied Equestrian law, John. If I showed this to a court, they'd rule in my favor. I'd take everything you have away. Your home, your money, your business..."

"But...I'm getting married to Applejack, now!" John said, as he realized the full extent of what was at stake. "If you did that...We'd lose the farm!"

"Compensation for the breach of contract." Ace confirmed. "I'm sorry to put you in this situation, but I said I'd do whatever is necessary to protect Equestria. And if that means sending my friend up shit creek without a paddle, well then, happy sailing."

John's eyes were ablaze with hatred directed at Ace. "You're an incredible asshole." He told him.

"I know." Ace said, solemnly. "Look, John. You're my pal, and I seriously didn't want to put you through this. But put yourself in my shoes for a second. You're charged with protecting your home from all threats, and a genocidal cult of hatred is making camp near your home. You can't get any assistance from your superiors, your community is giving you trust issues and won't back you, and you can't directly act on the cult or else it makes you look bad. What would you do?" John considered the options, but before he could respond, Ace continued. "I don't consider you a tool or an expendable asset, John." He assured him, grabbing him by the shoulders. "I consider you a friend. And I'm not asking you to do something I wouldn't do myself. But where you are responsible for one family, I'm responsible for a whole town full of families, AND the image of a nation. I can't go in there guns blazing, 'cause it'll make Celestia look bad if I do. And if I'm caught sneaking around, she'll look even worse. So please, do this one thing for me, and I'll call us even. Hell, I'll even pay you for your services. Alright?"

John listened to Ace, and his explanation. The more he listened, the more he understood why Ace was asking him to return to the spy games. He was calm, now, and it suddenly seemed like what the Doc was asking wasn't that big a deal. "Alright, Ace." He nodded. "I think I can go undercover one more time."

Ace smiled, patting his shoulders. "Once more, unto the breach!" He said, giving a jovial fist. "Meet me at my lab in eight hours. And don't worry about Applejack. I'll handle her."

Monsters

View Online

Ace regarded his bot with pride, as a father would look on a promising son. The machine was his child, but not in the same sense as the being currently growing inside his wife's belly. Ace loved it as if it was, all the same. He loved all his creations, there was no doubt about it. He counted on their love and loyalty that he programmed into them. Now more than ever, he needed Slender-bot at the ready. "Slender-bot, you've been selected for this mission because you possess the ability to instantaneously travel great distances, and are programmed to be stealthy when the situation calls for it." He told him. "As a member of my Loyal Guard, I'm assigning you the task of acquiring our trump cards. CABAL has determined that Manglanosa lived in Brazil. I need you to go there, and collect the packages."

Using his PDA, Ace brought up a schematic of the positronic brain he built for Slender-bot. It could only be described as layers upon layers of high-capacity computer chips forming the shape of an actual human brain, all working in conjunction with each other. "I've upgraded you with a new ability. My research into magic has granted me knowledge on how to manipulate theta waves. Using this new research, I've given you the ability to telepathically delve into a person's mind, and modify or erase their memory as you see fit." Ace had been cautious about this. He also installed a subroutine that made sure the ability would not activate, should he be the target. He trusted his bots, but he wanted to verify that they could be trusted.

The schematic changed to a map of the area surrounding Ponyville. "You'll need this ability in this mission. Use my portal to go back to Earth." A red dot flashed on the map, indicating the location of Ace's portal. "Be careful. I don't know what kind of effects the change in natural and physical laws will have on you, but preliminary theories state that you should still be functional after you go through. Remember; your loyalties on this mission don't lie with Equestria. They lie with me. Good luck."

*****

John descended the stairs to Ace's lab. He didn't know what to expect, and he felt that Ace might think he was a stereotypical 'Licensed to kill' super agent. Then again, with the threat of blackmail hanging over his head, John didn't have much choice in the matter, and had to pull this off, despite Ace's possible misconceptions about secret agents. "Alright, Doctor. How do you want me to do this? I'm going in without backup, right?" He asked, remembering the stereotypical format they have in movies.

"Wrong." Ace corrected with a smile, spinning around. "You'll have backup, but I'll get to that in a minute." Ace pointed his finger to the ground, indicating that John should stand there. In between them, a table popped out from a hidden compartment in the floor, and a holographic, three-dimensional map appeared. "This is a layout of the Nazi camp as seen from above. Up-to-the-minute information on guard movements is being streamed directly to my computer." Red blobs were moving on the map, quite possibly indicating guards. "The biggest gap in their defenses is here." Ace pointed along the Southern facing fence. "At any point in time, there are fewest guards along this fence. A Mine-bot managed to make a small opening going under their fence. That's your entryway. Once you're inside, procure a uniform from this structure." Ace pointed at a building on the map, which flashed red. "They shouldn't recognize you, since you've gone out off your way to prevent yourself from being noticed whenever their men come into town."

John was pretty impressed with the display thus far, but when Ace revealed this little tidbit, John let his surprise cross his face. He chuckled, holding a hand behind his head. "You noticed that, huh?"

"I know someone sticking to the shadows when I see it. Learned it from the Oblivion map we played on." Ace snapped his fingers, and the map disappeared back into the floor. Ace then gave John a PDA with a two-dimensional copy of the same map. "Anyway, movement within the camp should be relatively unhindered. I've marked off the most likely places the Nazis have secret information stored. Check those locations, get whatever info you can, and leave before you're discovered."

John blinked. This was actually a pretty solid plan, and he had to admit, more well thought out than some of the plans his superiors came up with. "So that's it? Sneak in, grab the intel, and get out? That seems like cake."

Ace grinned. "I'll be making it even easier for you. Come on." Ace led John down a flight of stairs into a small, featureless room. Ace merely snapped his fingers, and a part of the wall slid into the floor. Inside this secret room was a testing lab, where targets were set up, and various computers were running simulations on several different devices. Ace led John to a table, which had an assortment of trinkets, and turned to him. "John, are you a fan of James Bond?"

'Eeyup.' John thought, shrugging. 'Ace thinks I do what spies do in movies.' "I've seen a few movies." He admitted.

Ace smirked, picking something up off the table. "Well he's gonna wish he were you. Check this out." He handed the trinket to John.

John inspected the object in his hand, before cocking an eyebrow at Ace. "It's a wristwatch."

Ace nodded, holding up both his pointer fingers toward him. "It tells the time, yes, but that's not all it does." Ace reached over, and began demonstrating how to use the item. "By clicking these two buttons on the side, you activate a cutting laser hot enough to melt through an inch of steel. The beam only has enough power for two minutes of continuous fire, so use it sparingly." Ace smiled at John, taking a pair of sunglasses off the table and putting them on. "Next up are these sunglasses. The left lens is actually a high definition digital camera. If for any reason you can't actually grab the information, just press this button here, and it immediately saves the image you're looking at. You're gonna love the right lens. Close your eyes." Ace said, as he reached up to the right lens, and pressed a button. "Alright, now open them."

John opened his eyes, to see...himself wearing a pair of sunglasses!? He jumped back in surprise. "What the-?!"

Ace laughed at his reaction, before pointing to the shades. "Impressive, huh? If you're discovered inside the facility, and you need a quick disguise, use it. The right lens scans the facial features of any person you come across, and projects a holographic copy of their face over yours. The image stays on for as long as you're wearing the glasses, so don't take 'em off." Ace took off the shades, and John's face on his body flickered away.

John took the glasses, and smiled. "Wicked." He said, noticing a pen on the table. John nodded towards the pen. "What's that?" He asked.

Ace looked down, and grinned. "I'm glad you asked." He reached down, and picked up the pen. "If you're in really deep, and you need to blow your way out, this is the next best thing. Rather than making things explode, I thought I'd make them implode, instead. This is the singularity pen. It generates a short lived black hole that absorbs everything within ten feet. I made it to last for six to eight seconds." He handed the pen to John. "It's on a five second fuse, so click the top, toss it, and run."

Ace concluded by taking what looked like a GPS off the table, and showing it to John. "Finally, we have this. This is a mix between a radar, sonar, motion tracker, heartbeat sensor, and heat sensor. This electronic mapper will give you a real-time map of your surrounding area up to fifteen meters, and mark any life-forms within it's range with red dots. It can't tell the difference between friend or foe, but given where you're going, there's not gonna be any friends to worry about."

Ace began leading John out of the lab. "All other equipment is On-Site Procurement. Once you have the intel, contact me on this." Ace took out a bluetooth headset. "It's a secure, frequency-hopping communicator that links directly to my PDA. I'll be going by the codename 'Surgeon.' Your codename is 'Blueskull.' If I need to contact you, the earpiece will directly stimulate your eardrum so that you hear a small, rapid beep. No one but you will be able to hear it. After you get the information, I'll order a distraction. I have a new type of bot in Ghastly Gorge. He'll cause an landslide right underneath the camp. Use the ensuing chaos to escape the camp. Any questions?"

John was visibly impressed. This plan was surprisingly well thought out. He tried to think of any parts he wasn't clear on, but it all seemed straightforward. "None come to mind, Doc. I think you've covered anything."

Ace nodded, taking John by the shoulders. "Good. One other thing. You are not an expendable asset. If you're captured, I will do everything in my power to rescue you." He assured him. "Understood?"

John smiled at this. Seemed like he was wrong about Ace. He nodded. "Thanks, Doc. I won't let you down."

Ace patted his shoulder, letting him go. "Good. Now get moving. Let me know once you get to the mission area. And good luck."

*****

A bright red flash in Manglanosa's lab startled several guards into raising their weapons. They pointed their weapons at the offender, who turned out to be a unicorn with a blue coat and a set of goggles. "Manglanosa." She spoke. "The Master wishes for me to speak with you."

Manglanosa almost slammed his chemical compound on the table before him, as he growled in frustration. "Can't you see I'm in the middle of an important TEST?!" He shouted, spinning to meet the unicorn's eyes with his own, as the mercenaries lowered their weapons. "What is so important that your master simply cannot schedule an appointment?!"

The unicorn wasted no time asserting her authority. "I think I should remind you that it's only because of my Master's help that you were able to complete your Grandfather's creation, and that if you anger him, your place in Equestria is easily taken away." She informed him. Manglanosa, for his part, settled down, knowing he currently held no cards. Smugly grinning at her own superiority, Midnight Glow continued. "Now then, is there someplace more private we can go?"

Manglanosa harrumphed. "My laboratory is the extent of privacy on this base, Ms. Glow. All of my most trusted and most skilled mercenaries guard this place, and we are behind several layers of security. Were it not for your accursed Teleportation spell, not even you would find it so easy to get in."

"Well maybe you shouldn't have shown me this location, otherwise, I wouldn't be able to come in whenever I please." She mockingly chastised, before her expression turned more serious. "I abhor this place, so I'll make this short, and get to the point. The Master wants you to cause more direct trouble for the Bearers of Harmony. He wants you to hurt them, and he doesn't care how, so long as our true plans remain unhindered."

Manglanosa smirked. "Your Master is in luck. I was approached the mayor of the local town recently. She asked me to investigate the attack on Sorou's laboratory, since Sorou himself is forbidden to do so. I can use such a position to our mutual benefit."

"See that you do." Midnight announced, stepping closer to the table, before she noticed the rats. There were dozens of them in cages, and also what looked like a recently used fire pit right next to them. The chemicals on the table also looked strange. Being the Element of Bigotry, the polar opposite of the Element of Magic, she unknowingly shared many similar qualities to her harmonious counterpart, including her lust for knowledge. She felt the need to satisfy her curiosity, if only to sleep at night. "Doctor, the Master also wishes to know what you are doing her in the lab."

Manglanosa gave a smile. If there was one thing he took pride in, it was his scientific endeavors. "I'm delving into secrets man was not meant to know." He said, waving Midnight closer as he returned to work. "This serum, when completed, will create the perfect predator. The subject retains their knowledge and consciousness, as well as grows exponentially." He pointed at one of his mercenaries, and spoke. "Trazer um." The mercenary marched over to one of the cages with rats, and brought it over. Manglanosa took some of the serum, and prepared an injection. "When completed, the serum will give my mercenaries an edge in combat no other army has." Manglanosa reached inside the cage with a gloved hand, and took the rat out. He injected it, and proceeded to toss it at the opposite wall.

The rat grew, becoming bigger, and lashing out, as muscles burst from the flesh, giving it a sinewy torso and limbs. Midnight looked on with interest as the jaw of the rat became something more like a skeletal beak, and it's flesh tore as spines started jutting out fro it's back. It flexed it's hands, and gave out a tremendous roar. The creature's red eyes settled on one of the mercenaries, as the pony sized monster suddenly pounced, ripping out the man's chest. "Alarme! Alarme!" Another mercenary spoke as he opened fire. Manglanosa remained calm, and made his way over to a strange weapon on the wall.

The bullets impacted the creature, who looked up, and swiped at the man, it's wounds rapidly closing. The mercenary held up his gun to block, but the razor sharp claws and the immense strength behind them tore through the weapon. Stumbling, and falling onto his back, the mercenary brought out his sidearm, unloading an entire clip into the monster. The monster shook off the temporary pain, and opened it's maw, snarling as it closed in on the man.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning streamed towards the rat-creature, causing it intense pain, as it fell to the ground, letting out a high-pitched squeal. Manglanosa closed in on the creature, continuing to mercilessly zap the being with the weapon in his hand. For about a minute, the creature's screams turned to whines, before they stopped altogether. Manglanosa grinned, lowering his weapon. "Ah, a success!" He announced, raising his protective goggles from his face. "I'm glad you were present for this, Midnight! You can rest easy knowing that the torment of Bearers of Harmony lies in my hands."

"I'm glad to see that." Midnight replied, visibly impressed. "The master will be most pleased." Her horn began to glow red, and with a loud crack, she disappeared, teleporting back to her base of operations.

Manglanosa quickly ordered his troops to give the brave soldier a proper burial, and put the rat corpse on one of his autopsy tables. He then grabbed his tape recorder, and happily gave a report. "Day eighty. Subject fifty-five was a complete success. The subject appears to have been stable, and conventional weapons were unable to stop it. A more contained trial will be necessary, but if all bodes well, human testing may begin tomorrow." He lowered his recorder, before a thought crossed his mind, and he spoke into it again. "Note to self: add 'Tesla Rifle' to the list of inventions Sorou stole from my grandfather."

Gotta catch 'em all

View Online

Ace sat at the pub table with Spike and Spark Plug. A triple date, the girls called it. It was starting to feel more like a get together. The girls got up to get some more drinks, letting the guys hang back and chat. Ace turned to Spark with a smile. "So how's Rainbow doing, Spark?"

Spark returned the smile, shrugging. "She's good. We recently had a chat about everypony getting married. We kicked around the idea, but she wasn't too comfortable with it. She wanted to guarantee her entry into the Wonderbolts, first."

"Same with me and Rarity." Spike cut in. "Rarity wants to marry, but we both think I'm too young. I guess you're stuck with me in waiting for your filly to come around."

Spark shifted uncomfortably. "Should we really discuss this with the girls getting the drinks?" He asked. "We're kinda getting a bit personal."

Ace cocked an eyebrow at Spark, smiling. "Oh, you think they're not discussing us over there, Spark?" He laughed, indicating the three mares at the bar. "Oh, relax. I'm sure Rainbow has plenty of interesting stories to tell about you."

Spark shrunk down in his seat. "That's what I'm afraid of."

*****

Rainbow laughed alongside her friends. The story she was telling seemed quite enthralling. "Wait, wait, it gets better! He was trying to fix the lightning conductor, right? Well it turned out the conductor still had a charge! So when he tapped it with his wrench, there was a big bolt of electricity..." Rainbow stifled a laugh. "...And when the smoke cleared, he looked like a giant puffball!"

The girls burst out in a bout of laughter. They settled some, before Pinkie spoke, still giggling at the story. "But he was alright, right?"

Rainbow snickered. "Oh, yeah. He gets zapped so much, he's immune to it, by now!"

Rarity gasped, impressed with Spark Plug’s willingness to continue his job, given the circumstances. "Gracious. That sounds like a dangerous line of work."

Rainbow shrugged, waving a dismissive hoof. "Nah, Spark's tough enough to handle it." She said, turning to look at the subject of conversation with a smile. Her smile quickly became a look of worry, as she saw an entourage of mercenaries approaching Ace. "Speaking of dangerous work, Pinkie, you might wanna look over at the table."

*****

Ace looked up at his visitors with a coy grin. "Gentlemen." He spoke, as he stood. “How tall is the grass growing, today? Would you say it’s...” He suddenly stood at attention, and held his hand out in a Nazi salute. “...this high?”

Colonel Da Rocha, the mercenary that seemed to lead the group, gave Ace a deadpan look. "Quaint, doutor. Very quaint." His voice sounded from the speaker on his neck.

Ace shrugged. "Are you lost, guys? The rally's over in Buttfuck, Nowhere.” He indicated a random direction, before folding his arms. “What are you doing here?"

Before anyone could answer, a young mercenary responded to Ace. "Us, going to a gay rally? Only in your dreams."

"Oh, we got a live one." Ace beamed, letting out a chuckle. "If I was dreaming about your ugly mug, I'd be screaming from the night terrors. Seriously, does your wife make you wear a paper bag when you have sex? Or have you ever gotten laid?"

The mercenary harrumphed, straightening himself. "As a matter of fact, I do have a wife. And unlike yours, she is a lovely specimen of perfection. Of course, comparing anything on two legs to your wife would not be fair game, seeing as you bed with what belongs in a glue factory."

Ace’s smile turned into a frown. "I expected better from a bunch of jerkoffs who hold themselves in such high regard.” He said, taking a seat. “You here to trade blows? Let me know when you can hit something besides the other cocks in your circlejerk." He dismissed them simply by extending his middle finger, and displaying it towards the Nazis.

The young merc was about to respond, until Da Rocha laid a large hand on his shoulder. "We are hardly here for you, doutor. We're here as part of the investigation into who attacked your base."

Ace looked up, resting his arms on the top of the booth’s chair. "That's nice. You already have the reports from my base, so why aren't you out there looking for whoever did it? You don't need anything else from me."

Da Rocha’s neck speaker sounded as he wagged a finger. "You are presumptuous, doutor Sorou. As I said, we're not here for you. We're here for your friend." As he spoke, the two mercenaries with Da Rocha grabbed Spark Plug, putting a ring on his horn that seemed to prevent him from using magic.

Ace immediately shot out of his seat in the time it took for Rainbow to fly up into Da Rocha’s face. "Hey, what's the big idea?!"

Da Rocha ignored Rainbow, using his large hand to push her out of the way. "Spark Plug, you are under arrest for attacking the Ponyville Royal Garrison.” He announced, as the other mares arrived. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law."

"WHAT?! Sparky can't have done it!" Pinkie protested.

Ace slammed his hands down on the table in front of him. "You don't have any evidence against him! You're just doing this to piss me off!" He accused.

Da Rocha allowed himself a smirk. "Oh? Do you have any evidence saying that it was not him that attacked your base?"

“I...erm...” Ace was at a loss for words. By any account, the law was against him. He quickly looked for support from the other ponies.

Rainbow spoke up quickly, trying to help Ace. "He was with me the whole night of the attack! I was spending some time with him at his place!"

"Can anyone besides yourself collaborate your story?" Da Rocha asked.

Rainbow shook her head. "No, we were alone! Who else would there be?!"

"Then without an airtight alibi, he is the prime suspect." Da Rocha turned to the other mercenaries. "Take him away."

"Not if I have anything to say about it!" Rainbow was about to shoot forward, but Ace’s arms caught her by the chest. Rainbow struggled in Ace’s grasp, trying desperately to free herself and save Spark Plug. "Let me go! I'm not letting them take Spark away from me!"

“Don’t do anything stupid, Rainbow!” Ace demanded. "Believe me, I wanna help him just as much as you do! But we can't do anything, right now! Getting yourself thrown in jail won't help Spark!" His words carried with them too much logic, and Rainbow stopped struggling, tears forming in her eyes. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing we can do."

Da Rocha and his mercenaries took Spark Plug, who struggled to try and get away. Rainbow and the others could only watch helplessly as their friend was taken from them, tears forming in Rainbow’s eyes.

Rainbow sniffed, trying to maintain her composure. She looked up at Dr. Sorou with pleading eyes. "What's gonna happen to him?"

Ace sighed, shaking his head. "I don't know. But I promise you, no matter what happens, I'll make sure Spark is safe." As Pinkie and Rarity did their best to try and comfort Rainbow, Ace went to a corner of the tavern that was relatively secure. He tapped a few buttons on his PDA, bringing out his microphone. “Blueskull, this is Surgeon. Do you copy?”

*****

That night, there was an explosion outside Ace’s base, just like there was a week ago. An alarm sounded in the night, as the order came over the loudspeaker. "This is HQ to all forces! We're under attack! Enemy position unknown! Assault teams, investigate all sectors! All other units, take defensive positions!"

The base was a flurry of activity, as Ace sat at the command console for his bots. Every single one appeared as a red blip on his computer’s map screen. Nothing was cause for concern yet, all the teams were in their designated positions. He risked a glance over at Sugarcube corner, and cocked an eyebrow. There weren’t any units there. He looked along the route going to Sugarcube corner. Again, no red blips. Worried, he reached for his individual radio. "Guard Unit Alpha, status report." He spoke into it. Silence greeted him. He spoke again. "What's going on? Respond!" He waited a few seconds. No response. Worried by this development, Ace started relaying an order to the closest available unit. "Communications with Guard Unit Alpha have ceased! Assault Team Delta, carry out a search immediately!"

Ace watched eight blips on his map head to Sugarcube Corner. He prayed that his worst fear hadn’t been realized, but as the bots stopped only a block away from the objective’s destination, he knew what the report was before it came in. "Report: We're under attack! Four bots down!" Crackled his radio.

Ace gritted his teeth, silently cursing, before speaking into the microphone on his PDA. "Understood! Sending reinforcements! Fan out, and secure the perimeter! Eliminate all intruders, and secure Guard Unit Alpha's objective!" He knew it would be pointless to give that order. The perpetrators had plenty of time to get away. But he felt he should, anyway, on the off chance that she might be still in the area.

*****

A number of ponies had shown up, Ace having given the all clear. The bots had formed a police line around the four other bots that had been taken down. Ace himself was investigating the cause of the bot’s destruction, running scans of each unit from his PDA. The ponies were too noisy. Their clamoring was distracting Ace from his thoughts, and he couldn’t concentrate. He looked over at Hydro-bot, giving a wordless order. Hydro-bot floated up above the ponies, and emitted a high pitched squeal. The ponies all stopped chattering, and looked up. “Doctor Sorou is busy determining the perpetrator behind this attack.” Hydro-bot said, a feminine electronic voice stated. “Return to your homes, and an official statement will be given as soon as one is prepared.”

Rainbow tried to go up to Ace, being the only pony who stayed behind, but one of the bots blocked her. “Statement: This is a crime scene. No one is allowed on the premises until the investigation is complete.”

“She’s an exception, deebee-twenty-seven.” Ace said, standing. “Let her in.”

Rainbow flew over, looking at the wrecked bots, and seeing a solemn look on Ace’s face. "What happened, Doc?" She asked.

Ace glared down at the bots, never facing Rainbow. "They took Pinkie." He stated.

Rainbow did a double take. "What?! Who?!"

"It was Manglanosa." Ace concluded.

Rainbow looked at him skeptically. "Not that I don't believe you, but how can you be sure?"

"I'm pretty sure." Ace said, going up to one of the downed Doc-bots, and indicating the bullet holes in his torso and head. "Unless a pony can use a submachine gun to grease a robot."

Rainbow came to the same conclusion Ace did. The only ones who could’ve possibly done this were Dr. Manglanosa’s forces. She also realized the course of action Ace had intended to take. "When do we get them back?" She asked.

"No sense in wasting time. Let's go." Ace tapped a few buttons on his PDA, and from his base arose legions of bots, ready for combat against any enemy. A Doc-bot brought him his Royal Guard armor, and helped him don it. Floating down from the sky was his Sorou-mobile, on standby. Ace boarded his Sorou-mobile, and led an incredible number of bots toward Dr. Manglanosa’s camp. Rainbow flew next to Ace, intending to see this through. Thousands of bots of various models marched toward Ghastly Gorge, all led by Ace’s unique bots. The war was on.

All it takes...

View Online

Ace sat inside the Sorou-mobile, overlooking the mercenaries’ camp from a high plateau. Rainbow Dash waited impatiently next to him. The pegasus looked over at Ace. “Ugh, Doc, what are we waiting for? We know Spark and Pinkie are down there, so why not just move in and take ‘em down?”

“Patience, Rainbow.” Replied Ace, holding up a hand. “These things take time. No battle plan has ever been successful when the commander’s gone off half-cocked. My forces are moving into position as we speak. As soon as I get the message-” His PDA beeped, prompting Ace to check it. ”Speak of the devil. Let me make an important call real quick, and then, the attack will commence.” He smirked in confidence, before tapping a few buttons. Ace brought out his microphone on the PDA, and spoke into it. “Surgeon to Blueskull, come in. do you read me?”

A voice crackled over the comm. “Loud and clear, Surgeon. I read you five-by-five.”

“Blueskull, you have new orders. Return to base, the mission’s been scrubbed.”

“Alright, I'll get out once I save Spark. I'm not leaving him behind!” Came the reply.

Ace sighed, before speaking again. “Do what you have to, Blueskull, but be advised, the machines are on approach to wipe that base off the map.”

“Understood, I'll stay out of their way. I just hope they realise that I'm not the enemy...”

“Good luck, Blueskull.” Ace cut communications.

Rainbow looked at Ace with a cocked eyebrow. “Was that John?”

Ace smiled, nodding. “No, that was secret agent Blueskull. He’s gonna do everything in his power to bring Spark back.” He pressed a finger up to his lips.

Rainbow crossed her arms, catching on. “He’d better, for both their sakes.” She replied. “I’d hate to get Applejack’s fiancee in trouble.”

Ace frowned. “You have no concept of innuendo, do you?” He sighed, and waved a hand forward. A moment later, an entire column of Tread-bots appeared on the plateau, their battering rams reforming into oversized particle beams. The cannons rotated, targeting various gun emplacements and security towers. As one, the particle cannons opened fire, destroying or heavily damaging their targets in the first salvo. Alarms all over the the mercenary base blared, and the mercs started getting their weapons together.

“Doc, they’re grabbing their weapons.” Rainbow said, watching the battle unfold.

“I know, Rainbow. They’re trying to organize a defense.” Ace smirked. “They won’t be able to, though.” Ace tapped a button on his PDA, and suddenly, inside the camp, dozens of Mine-bots shot out of the ground, immediately opening fire on the mercenaries. The ones with weapons try to return fire, only to be wounded in the onslaught. To make matters worse for the mercs, several Float-bots suddenly appear out of a portal that opens in the sky, followed by the squidlike robotic form of Grav-bot. The gravity around the mercs becomes so great, that all they can do is lay down. The mercs in the immediate area around the entrance and barracks are subdued, and Ace pounded a fist into his palm in triumph. “Victory already, Rainbow.” He announced. “Let me get something, then my main force will move in.” The Sorou-mobile floated off towards a group of bots, and landed in a donut shaped machine. The machine hooked up to the Sorou-mobile, and immediately began floating, as two huge mechanical hands floated up with it. “Loyal Guard, report!”

Pyro-bot, Hydro-bot, and a third bot appeared. The third one looked much like a bot that Ace had previously shown the ponies. These bots reported alongside several other robots, ones who looked like their mass-produced models except were colored red. “We’re moving in.” Ace announced from the seat of his machine. “Secure the prisoners. With any luck, we won’t encounter much resistance.” Ace turned to the new bot. “Dark-bot, you sure you’re ready?”

“I’m ready as I will ever be, Father.” Replied the bot in a dark, metallic voice.

Ace nodded. “Alright.” His machine faced Manglanosa’s camp, and he waved forward. “All forces, move in!” Led by his Loyal Guard, Ace’s legion of machines entered Manglanosa’s camp, encountering little resistance. Rainbow Dash flies up over the prisoners, looking for John or Spark Plug. Suddenly, in the distance, someone shouts “I’m not a merc!” Rainbow looks over, and see John dressed in a mercenary’s uniform, holding up his weapon in a non threatening manner. With him was the unicorn Spark Plug, walking out of one of the structures.

“Spark!” Rainbow Dash tackled the unicorn, giving him the biggest hug she can muster. “I’m glad you’re safe.” She muttered, rubbing her cheek up against his.

Spark Plug smiled. “Did you miss me, Rainbow?” He asked, hugging her back.

John clears his throat, catching the attention of the two ponies. “You can celebrate later, let's just get the fuck out of here!”

Before anyone could respond, the report of a cannon sounded, and the sound of an artillery round broke the air. “Incoming!” Shouted Ace, as a massive hand went up to shield the cockpit of his machine.

Several tanks began pouring out of the garage, as a large explosion rocked Ace’s machine. Several more cannons erupted, and several explosions spelt the end for dozens of unfortunate bots. “Return fire!” Ace ordered, as the ponies and John took cover behind Ace’s bots. The mercs who got taken prisoner took their opportunity to escape their captors, and take up weapons. They opened fire on Ace’s forces, retreating behind their lines.

“Cabal, Where are these reinforcements coming from?” Ace asked, his computer doing rapid calculations.

“Sensors indicate a large complex underneath the base.” A deep voice replied. “Likelihood that both Manglanosa and your wife are somewhere underground is favorable. The corridors are perfect for ambush. Exercise extreme caution.”

“That settles it.” Ace said, as a cutting laser lanced out from his machine, and melted a Leopard I in half, before setting off the gas in the tank in an explosion. “Mine-bots! Begin assaulting the underground complex!” He ordered. The spider-like drones began making their way through the dirt, tunneling straight into the halls.

Choppers were heard hovering overhead, prompting Ace to look up. “Gunships!” He shouted, seeing a flight of Hinds take off from some underground port. The bots barely had time to prepare, as rockets bombarded their position, devastating their forces. “Fall back!” Ace shouted. “Get into more defensible positions!” The bots began running, but they didn’t give much ground, opting to take cover behind the ruins of various mercenary structures.

“We’ve got to keep them busy!” Ace told his Loyal Guard through his radio. “Grav-bot, take your unit, and destroy those choppers! Pyro-bot, Keep those tanks busy until Grav-bot’s unit can join you! Hydro-bot, your unit will render whatever assistance it can to Pyro-bot’s unit!” The machine Ace was piloting landed, and Ace wordlessly instructed a Doc-bot to take the controls. “Dark-bot, you and your unit are coming with me!” He said, pulling out a pair of plasma pistols. “We’re going to get Pinkie back!”

As Ace and Dark-bot descended into the complex through one of the holes dug by his Mine-bots, the attack on Manglanosa’s mercenaries began. The Float-bots charged towards the ‘Copters through one of Grav-bot’s portals, taking the pilots totally by surprise. Pyro-bot and several Tread-bots led an armored assault against the Leopards, attempting to outflank them. Hydro-bot and dozens of Doc-bots ran ground support, guarding the bulky Tread-bots from antitank units. The battle raged on, leaving two ponies and a human huddled behind a Unicorn’s shield, in an attempt to stave off the stray fire.

*****

In a stark contrast to the battle outside, the inside of Manglanosa’s complex was eerily silent. The rumbling of explosions occasionally made it’s presence known, but all in all, it was quiet.

Ace entered a large chamber, and was immediately greeted by the sight of dozens of Mine-bots wrecked and destroyed. Robotic carnage littered the floor, causing him to go on alert. “Be on the ready.” Ace ordered to the bots accompanying him. “Cabal said that it’s easy to get ambushed down here.”

“Query: Master, that should work both ways, should it not?” Asked one of the Doc-bots.

“Yeah, but we don’t have a map to this complex.” Ace replied. “We don’t know what’s-” A shriek echoed through the halls, putting the entire unit on high alert. “Stick together!” Ace exclaimed. “Whatever it is, it’s coming this way.

Suddenly, a horde of rat-like monsters bursted from the halls, snarling, and lashing out at Ace and his robots. Ace wasted no time, letting loose with his plasma pistols, and prompting the rest of his bots to open fire.

Against standard bullets, the creatures might have stood a chance. But with the various heat rays, particle cannons, and plasma lancers forming the bulk of fire coming from Ace’s califax, the creatures were utterly annihilated. Smoldering corpses filled the room, and by the time Ace ordered his unit to hold their fire, the smell of cooked rat weighed heavily in the air. Ace blinked, his attention focused on the rat corpses. “Deebee-ninety-six, scan it.”

As the bot begins to scan the remains of the rat, a hail of gunfire erupts from a dark corridor, instantly peppering the Doc-bot, and taking it offline. “Take cover!” Shouts Ace, as he dives behind a steel crate. The other bots took cover, as the hail of fire ricocheted off their surroundings. The gunfire stopped, and something large, and heavy walked through the door. It looked human, but it was enormous! It could only be described as a horribly mutated man, with only anger in his eyes.


“Take it down!” Ace ordered, firing his pistols in rapid succession. The bigger man obviously still had his intelligence, because he was smart enough to take cover. Manglanosa’s monster hid behind a section of wall that was rapidly disappearing from the onslaught of particle beams and plasma weapons, but as the bots moved in to press their advantage, the monster-man unleashed his attack. He swung a massive fist covered in chitinous armor out from his hiding spot, knocking the heads off several of the bots that got too close. Tanking the fire, he charged into the other bots, making short work of each and every one of them. “Fire! Fire!” Ace shouted, trying to take him down, but seeing that he was continually regenerating his wounds. “Don’t let up!” The monster took notice of Ace amidst the carnage, and leveled it’s fifty caliber machine gun at him. Ace’s life flashed before his eyes, as the monstrous man snarled a smile.

Suddenly, the man was enveloped in a blue mist, to which he shouted in surprise. The mist formed a robotic hand aimed at the monster-man’s face. From the hand, a blast of magic shot forth, utterly annihilating the creature’s head. Dark-bot landed, fully reformed from the mist, and confirmed that his opponent was dead with a few more blasts. The monster didn’t get back up, and all regeneration seemed to had stopped. Ace caught his breath, placing a hand over his heart to confirm it was still beating, as he walked over to Dark-bot. “How did you know magic would work?” He asked.

“I didn’t.” Dark-bot replied. “But I made an educated guess, thinking Dr. Manglanosa made no attempt to research it.” Ace smiled, and was about to reply, when more shots rang out, forcing everyone to take cover. Ace looked, and saw an entire squad of the monster-men coming. He cursed his luck, and got ready to fight, when suddenly, Dark-bot put up a shield, deflecting the bullets. “Father, I’ll hold them off! Go! Find your lover! Save her!” Ace nodded towards him in thanks. Signaling his remaining Doc-bots to follow, Ace runs off, deeper into the complex.

*****

Manglanosa sat at the control room, an annoyed expression on his face. The high pitched voice coming from the pink mare wrapped in ropes next to him did nothing to alleviate this feeling. “...And when she got back down, it was like, ‘woo, woo, woo, woo, woo’ but then she ran into a well washed window. Poor Rainbow Dash broke her leg, but the doctors fixed her right up. They say if she comes in again, she gets a free sundae. Y’know, why don’t they call it a Saturday?”

“SILENCE!” A red-faced Manglanosa shouted, at his wits end with this mare.

“Isn’t it ironic to shout the word ‘silence?’” Pinkie asked in reply.

“Would! You! Please! Shut! Up!” Manglanosa shouted. “How does doutor Sorou get any work done with your vexatious voice!? If you don’t keep those incessant sounds to yourself, I will be forced to put a bullet through your head!”

Pinkie frowned angrily at Manglanosa. “You’re just a big, mean, grumpy pants! I’m not afraid of you! My Acey’s coming for me! And when he gets here, he’s gonna whoop your butt faster than you can say-”

“There you are, Manglanosa!” Ace’s voice rang out from behind. Manglanosa and his soldiers turned around, aiming their weapons at a company of Doc-bots led by Ace. Ace and his bots trained their weapons on Manglanosa and his soldiers.

Pinkie shrugs. “I was gonna say ‘Oh no! Acey! You’re too strong for me to resist,’ but that works, too!” But as she speaks, Manglanosa grabs her, and holds a gun to her head.

“Surrender, doutor! I have your lover!” Manglanosa demanded. Pinkie merely rolled her eyes.

“Well, I’ve got the strangest feeling of Deja vu.” Ace says, as his PDA beeps. Ace took a moment to look at it, and smiled, tapping a few buttons. “Luckily, I've come prepared. I've learned my lesson from the last time I had to deal with a hostage situation.” As he spoke, Slender-bot teleported in, holding two people in his tendrils. “Back from your mission, Slendy?” He asked, the appearance of the bot startling more than a few enemy soldiers.

Manglanosa gasped. “Sofia! Daniel!” He shouted.

The woman and boy in Slender-bot’s grasp looked up at the sound of Manglanosa’s voice. They struggled more, to no avail. “Henrique!” Pleaded the woman. “Save us!”

“Here’s what’s gonna go down.” Ace said, interrupting any more interaction between the two. “You’re going to give me back my wife. What remains of your forces will leave Equestria, and never return. Then, and only then, your wife and son will be returned to you.” Ace smiled at Manglanosa, as if daring him to say ‘no.’ “Unless you wanna find out what happens if you refuse.”

Manglanosa cursed, growling silently in anger. But as he was about to respond, a red beam is shot from a hallway, and a large explosion overtakes the control center, sending the roof to come crashing down. Ace is thrown forward over the railings of his elevated position at the entrance. He comes close to hitting the ground, as black tentacles grasp him, causing him to stop, but not before conking his head, causing him to black out.

Ace wakes up, still in Manglanosa’s control room. He can barely make out the shouts and orders of Manglanosa’s troops, but it sounded like they’re retreating. As the stars clear from his eyes, he looks up to see Slender-bot, trying to ensure his safety. “Where’s...Pinkie?” he muttered, still trying to piece the world together. Slender-bot looks to Ace’s side. Ace follows his gaze, and gasps. “No...” He muttered.

Right beside him was the motionless form of Pinkie Pie. There was a piece of metal sticking out of her neck.

...is one bad day

View Online

Ace felt tears stream from his eyes, as Slender-bot helped him to his knees. Ace attempted to sigh out his sadness, hearing Manglanosa shouting orders in Portuguese. That didn’t matter right now. Not to Ace. His whole world had been turned upside down. Pinkie was dead. Their child was dead.

And it’s all Manglanosa’s fault.

To his right, Ace saw a pistol dropped by one of the mercenaries. He took it in his hand, and checked it for ammo. Seeing that it was loaded, he stood, a burning hatred in his eyes. Ace turned to leave, what was left of his robots following. As he left, he saw a man whose legs were trapped under the rubble. Trying desperately to get out, the mercenary looked up at Ace, his eyes begging him for mercy.

A single gunshot echoed out from the control station.

*****

A shell from a tank cannon exploded, creating a ball of fire around it’s target. However, when the smoke cleared, the magic shield Spark Plug had cast was still up. He seemed to be straining to deflect the amount of stray gunfire away from himself, John, and Rainbow.

“But we can’t leave them!” Rainbow argued, a shocked expression looking at John.

John shook his head. “I’m not saying we should, but Ace is the only one who has any idea what the fuck he’s doing here!” A grenade went off right next to the shield, the explosion sending a shockwave over the shield. “Look, Rainbow, we can’t stay here, or else we’re gonna get killed!”

“Hate to disagree with you, angel, but John’s right!” Spark Plug chimed in. “It won’t do Pinkie or Ace any good to get us killed!”

As if to drive his point home, another round from a Leopard I collided against his shield. Spark Plug was sweating bullets now, as he struggled to maintain his shield. Rainbow gritted her teeth, before she folded. “Fine! We’ll find somewhere to hide, but I’m not leaving this base until I know both of them are safe!”

John nodded, looking around for a place to hide. He spots what looks like the entrance to a bunker, heading into the ground. John waved a hand towards the door, gaining the attention of the ponies. “Over there! Follow me and for fuck sake Spark, don't drop that damn shield or we're all dead!”

The trio arrive at the entrance. It was a security door that had been smashed open. They didn’t give any second thoughts to the state of the door, being more concerned with the gunfire outside, so they descended down into the depths of the bunker. What they found seemed like a cross between a morgue and a holding cell for animals. Cages were stacked up to the ceiling against one wall, and in the center of the room, there were autopsy tables with leather straps attached to the sides. The entire room was dark, save for the light from the lamps dangling over the tables. The gunfire echoed from outside, but seemed so far away in this room. “This place gives me the creeps...” John said, a shiver running through his spine.

Spark looked over at a pair of beady red eyes in the shadows. He wondered if one of Dr. Sorou’s bots made it down here, so he cautiously walked over to it. As he got close, the eyes leaped toward him. Instinctively, Spark threw up a shield, deflecting the lunge of a pony sized creature.It looked like a rat, but was clearly monstrous in form, snarling and lashing out at the trio. “And with good reason!” John shouted, raising the gun he was still carrying.

The monster leaped at John, who jumped out of the creature’s way, rolling to his knees. He pulled the trigger of his SMG, unleashing a hail of bullets down upon the creature. The bullets peppered it all over it’s head and back, but John could only watch as the wounds began to close. “Damn it all to hell!” Shouted John. “And I thought Ace was a crackpot at times!”

As John blocked another pounce from the creature, throwing it over his head, the monster’s back claws raked over his SMG, cutting it to shreds. John got to his feet, looking for a new weapon as the creature recovered. On the wall, there was a long pole with metal prongs at the end. The switch along the pole clinched it. He rushed for the pole, grabbing it just as the monster faced him. John ducked just as the monster leaped toward him. He backed away, pointing this strange weapon at the rat monster. “You don't scare me you overgrown rodent!” He shouted. “I've faced losing everything and everyone I love!”

John stabbed at the creature, pressing the switch as he did. The rat monster yelped in pain as an electrical spark surged through it. Suddenly, a bolt of electricity lanced towards the creature, blasting it back. Spark Plug galloped over next to John, his horn lighting up.

“Thought you could use some help.” Spark explains, his horn giving a small crackle of electricity.

John smirks. “Now I know why they call you Spark Plug.”

Spark gave John a deadpan stare. “Shut it. I got enough of that in school.” They both faced the rat creature, as Rainbow joined them. The monster snarled at the trio, as both parties prepared for a clash. “Let’s take this thing down.” Spark said, before the groups charged at each other, both ready to do what it takes to win.

*****

An enormous metal fist propels forward, only to be caught by a massive hand covered in chitinous scales. Pyro-bot tries to force his hand forward, but Da Rocha’s enhanced strength is doing a good job of holding him off. Da Rocha had obviously got a hold of Dr. Manglanosa’s serum, and used it on himself. That put him on an equal level with Pyro-bot, the machine easily going toe-to-toe with the monstrosity. “Designation: Abomination.” Pyro-bot taunted, as he caught Da Rocha’s counter punch in his free hand. “Conclusion: Exterminate.”

Da Rocha grins, as the speaker on his neck sounds. “Of course a simple machine like yourself would mistake an Aryan for an Abomination.” He says, headbutting Pyro-bot, and knocking him back. “It just goes to show how faulty your master programmed you.”

Pyro-bot didn’t respond, except by opening a secret compartment on his chest. The barrel of a weapon appears, and from it, a huge gout of flame erupts, spewing fire at Da Rocha. Da Rocha stops, and jumps out of the way at the last possible second, the flames singeing his skin. Da Rocha looks up, smiling. “You think you have me beat with your weapons?” He narrowed his eyes at the bot. “Do you want to hear a secret?”

Suddenly, Da Rocha opened his mouth, and a cone of sonic energy blasted forth from it, launching Pyro-bot through the air, and sending him through the wall of a concrete structure. “Doutor Sorou’s robô are just as pathetic as he is.” Da Rocha said, sauntering over to Pyro-bot, who was recovering from the attack. “Machines were made to support humanity, not replace them. Which is why my mercenaries will best your master in the end.”

As Da Rocha raised his fist up to finish Pyro-bot, a watery tentacle lashed out, and smacked Da Rocha a good distance away from Pyro-bot. Da Rocha got up, and looked over at his assailant. He saw the form of a watery goo with a small device in the center. Hydro-bot had come to aid her partner. Hydro-bot sprouted more tentacles from it’s central form, as Pyro-bot’s cannons armed themselves.

"Two-on-one?” Da Rocha harrumphed, wiping his face. “I suppose now it's a fair fight." He mocked, getting up.

*****

Ace stormed into a large chamber, finding a group of mercenaries who had just been captured by a unit of Doc-bots. These men were defeated, unwilling to continue fighting, especially seeing as the surprise attack had devastated their company the worst. When the bots demanded they throw down their weapons, they were quick to comply. One of the Doc-bots came up to Ace, saluting. “Report: Master, we’ve captured a number of mercenaries. They surrendered in exchange for their lives. Query: Where should we transport the prisoners?" The bot asked.

Ace looked down at the men grimly. "What prisoners?" He asked.

The Doc-bot cocked his head. "Confused Explanation: The prisoners here in this room, Master. The ones we just finished reporting."

Ace looked back up at the Doc-bot, anger painted on his face. "You need your photoreceptors checked, Deebee-forty seven. The only thing I see in this room is a pile of corpses."

As the Doc-bot processed this information, the mercenaries began to panic and tried to escape, but they were cut off by the other vigilant bots in the room, subduing them. The Doc-bot’s eyes flickered for a moment. "Donning realization: Oh, I see, Master.” It said, a darker tone taking over it’s voice. “Joyous exclamation: I believe we've all awaited the day when you would come around! One pile of dead meatbags, coming up!"

As one, the bots began executing the mercenaries, ending their lives without a second’s worth of consideration. Ace looked on with a grim and enraged expression, lowering his goggles to cover his eyes. As the last man fell, Ace turned to leave, calling out for every bot to hear. "Deebee-forty seven, find Manglanosa’s family, and bring them to me alive. If you acquire any more prisoners..." Ace turned back, and stated two words in a cold, emotionless tone. "...Kill them." Ace left in silence, feeling nothing for what just transpired.

*****
John sat atop a burnt corpse of a rat, as he dressed a wound on his arm. It must not have been that bad, as he was smiling. “Rentokil, eat your hearts out.” He joked to the other ponies, sharing a laugh with them. As the laughter died down, they looked around the chamber nervously.

“To be honest, I’d rather face those mercenaries than whatever else is in here.” Rainbow admitted, rubbing a hoof behind her head.

“Well, maybe it’s safer out there, anyway.” Spark offered, tilting his ears up to catch more sound. “I think the bots are winning. The sounds of gunfire are dying down.”

John stood up, as if to make a big announcement. “I think I speak for all of us when I say...” He paused for dramatic effect, before pointing at the door. “Let's get the fuck out of this place.” The two ponies nod, and get ready to head out.

*****

Pyro-bot shot out his particle beam, creating a trench to try and trip the charging Da Rocha. The colonel jumped over the new hole in the ground, drawing out a large Anti-materiel rifle, and aiming it at Pyro-bot as if it were a pistol. He fired off three rounds, destroying Pyro-bot’s particle beam and heat ray, and causing him to take a knee. “Damage: Significant.” It stated. “Retreat: Necessary.” As he said this, Pyro-bot stepped back, as a field of water covered his escape.

Hydro-bot was next. She attempted to trip Da Rocha as well, flooding the area around his feet so as to cause unexpected drag and mud. Da Rocha slowed to compensate for the change in terrain, and targeted the small sphere with his rifle. He fired several times and reloaded, but the bullets kept missing. Not only was there a large layer of water between him and the small bot, but the size of Hydro-bot made her next to impossible to hit. Hydro-bot then splashed her water over him, and attempted to drown the mercenary. This turned out to be an error, however. She had to close the distance between herself and Da Rocha, which meant that as soon as he was close enough, he was able to fire his rifle as the steel sphere without any hinderance to accuracy. The shot grazed the small bot, but it damaged her enough to make her drop the field that contained the water. As sparks shot out from the damaged area, the bot began speaking in a feminine tone. “Defenses damaged. Halting combat and returning to base.” Da Rocha smirked, watching the diminutive bot fly off. He turned around, ready to assist his soldiers further.

Suddenly, an unseen force lifted Da Rocha up in the air, pinning his arms and legs to his body. He struggled to free himself, but found that this force was too powerful to resist. The squid-like machine, Grav-bot, appeared in front of him. The several eyes on Grav-bot looked Da Rocha over, as John and the ponies came out. “Advanced technology detected.” A decidedly male voice spoke from Grav-bot. A blue scanning beam went over the Colonel soon after he spoke.

“Let me go, you mindless machine!” Da Rocha demanded, as the beam finished scanning him.

“Technology archived.” Grav-bot replied, before Da Rocha’s limbs shot out in an X. “Eliminating Target.” There were popping sounds heard from the man’s body, as his limbs were stretched to their limit, and his neck was stretched as well. Da Rocha couldn’t say anything, but the agony on his face was apparent. Da Rocha tried to scream out another attack, but his voice was too late, as his head and limbs were ripped from him, the torso falling to the floor.

The group of friends gawked at what they just saw, unable to grasp what happened at first. It was the most gruesome thing any of them had ever seen. Still in shock, John turned to the ponies, and shrugged, trying to rationalize the bot’s actions. “It's not pretty, but since is war ever glorious?”

*****

Manglanosa scanned the base, seeing his forces dropping left and right. Ace’s bots were more than a match for the mercenaries individually, and the bots currently held a numerical advantage. The battle was lost. “Som do retiro.” Manglanosa said calmly to the soldier beside him. The soldier nodded, taking his radio. “Todas as forças. Retirada. Retirada. Estamos deixando.” As soon as he said this, Manglanosa’s men began running, some covering their escape, before running themselves. They did a leapfrog retreat, trying to put some distance between them and the bots. Manglanosa begins leaving along with the last of his mercenaries.

Ace stepped outside into the morning sun, seeing Manglanosa’s men retreating. He scowled. He wasn’t about to let Manglanosa leave. Ace tapped a few buttons on his PDA, issuing silent orders to one particular robot.

As the mercenaries ran, the ground began to move, and shake. Some stumbled and fell, Manglanosa included, as the shaking got worse. Suddenly, out from the ground, a huge machine shot. It was big, bigger than most houses. In fact, it was bigger as Ponyville town hall when it shot out of the ground. The bot fell, squashing part of the mercenary forces, and cutting Manglanosa off from the rest of his mercenaries, along with a small detachment.

The bot that cut him off held the shape of a worm with thin legs sticking out it’s side. It seemed to extend forever out of the hole in the ground, and could easily be mistaken for a bullet train. Several small guns on the side of the bot aimed down on the mercenaries as Ace’s other forces moved to surround Manglanosa. The Doctor sighed, throwing down his weapon, and putting his hands over his head. His mercenaries followed suit.

He wasn’t expecting what Ace was about to do.

A deal between devils

View Online

The massive bot in front of Manglanosa seemed impenetrable. Gunfire was heard bouncing off the armor plating of the bot, but it wasn’t moving, except for it’s turrets to return fire at it’s aggressors. Ace stepped out from the large group of bots, all of which had their weapons aimed at Manglanosa and his surrendering soldiers. John and the ponies managed to catch up to Ace, witnessing his fuming expression as their friend regarded Manglanosa."Forgetting something, doctor?" Ace spoke, venom dripping from his voice.

Manglanosa looked up at Ace, only to see that the Doc-bots had his family, kneeling in front of them, tears streaming down their faces. They stood next to Ace, weapons at the ready. Feeling that he had no other choice, Manglanosa spoke, trying to appeal to Ace’s humanity. "I offer you my unconditional surrender, doutor. I throw myself at your mercy." He spoke, solemnly.

Ace held up a finger, and slowly brought it down until it was pointing at Manglanosa. “Everyone but you.”

Suddenly, the bots raised their weapons, and as one, opened fire on the surrendering troops, much to the shock of the humans and ponies. Soon, everyone but Manglanosa lay dead, holes drilled into their bodies by various energy weapons. Manglanosa gasped, looking up at Ace with fear in his eyes. "You expect mercy from me?” Ace said, taking a step forward. “You expect me to let you live after everything you've done?!" He shouted.

John attempted to intervene, walking up to put a hand on Ace’s shoulder. “Come on Doc, he may be a twisted psycho but even he doesn't deserve this. Let Celestia decide what to do with him.”

Angrily, Ace smacked John’s hand away, pointing a finger at his face. “No! He’s caused too much damage!” He exclaimed, before turning back to Manglanosa, and drawing his pistol. “I’m ending this, now!”

Rainbow Dash attempted to interject as well, flying in front of Ace. "Ace, stop! You're going too far! What would Pinkie say?" She tried to reason.

Ace paused in his tracks, glaring at Rainbow. "Pinkie?" He said, as Rainbow began backing away from the enraged man. "PINKIE?! What does it matter?! She wouldn't say anything! Pinkie's DEAD!"

Everyone was shocked by those words. Rainbow raised her hooves up to her mouth, covering her gasp. Spark gritted his teeth, his face frozen in disbelief. John’s face went from shock to anger rather quickly, as he glared at Manglanosa. “Forget what I said earlier, slit the bastard's throat and send him straight to Hell!” He demanded.

“John, shut up!” Rainbow interjected, trying to be a voice of reason, despite her frustration. She turned to Ace, who was still seething. “Ace, I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through, right now. But I know you’re upset. Okay? I’m upset, too! But we shouldn’t be the ones who takes out our frustrations on him!”

“Why are you defending him?!” Ace spat. “He’s a nazi!”

Rainbow puts her hooves up in a calming manner. “I’m just saying, maybe his punishment should be decided by someone who is more suited! I mean, you don’t wanna get in trouble for taking justice into your own hooves-I mean, hands, do you?”

"I've got nothing to lose!” Ace replied, pointing at Manglanosa. “This man, this monster, has taken everything away from me! I watched my wife and my child die in front of me!" Ace looks down, tears forming behind his goggles. "Pinkie's dead. Our foal died with her." His expression turned to one of rage, as he looked up at Rainbow, gesturing at Manglanosa. "But she wouldn't be dead if it weren't for the fact that this asshole took her in the first place! I'd be bringing him to face Celestia's judgement, and Pinkie would be safe at home in my lab if it weren't for him! Now I'm gonna make him feel my pain!"

Ace waved his hand forward, and the bots brought Manglanosa’s family forward. Ace turned to look at his rival. "You're gonna watch your wife die.” He declared. “You're gonna watch your son die. And as you mourn them, seeing their corpses bathed in blood, then you have my permission to die."

Ace took his pistol, getting ready to use it. But as he aimed it at Manglanosa’s wife, Manglanosa shouted five words that gave Ace pause.

"I can bring her back!"

Ace stopped, his gun frozen against the woman’s head. His gaze turned to Manglanosa, and for a moment, all he did was stare. Then, he spoke. "You have my undivided attention."

Manglanosa spoke quickly, desperate to change his fate. "I've perfected a regeneration serum. My serum has been documented to bring back the dead in strong enough doses, and if the body is less than four hours old, then she should return with no mental damage."

Ace’s gun never left the woman’s head. "’Should’ is a very dangerous word. What's the catch?" He asked, skeptically.

Manglanosa sighed, before hesitantly replying. "There's no guarantee it will work. Some subjects come back violent, deranged, and unreasonable. In fact, ninety percent of my test subjects have come back in such a state. But if there's even the slightest chance to bring your wife back from the grave, you would take it, yes?"


Ace was statuesque. All eyes had turned to him, as he contemplated this. On the one hand, he could bring Pinkie to life. On the other hand, chances are she’d be some sort of psycho upon rejuvenation. Then there was the matter that Manglanosa might be bluffing, but that was shot down by the fact that he saw those monsters he fought during the battle regenerating. “Won’t she turn monstrous?” He asked.

Manglanosa quickly shook his head. “My regeneration serum is an entirely different chemical from the supercreature mutagen. She won’t mutate in the slightest, doutor.”

Ace clicked his tongue in contemplation, before lowering his gun, causing a sigh of relief from the ponies. But, he held up a finger in warning to Manglanosa. “If you’re not on the level, or if this doesn’t work, I’m going through with my original course of action. Call off your men.” Manglanosa nodded, taking a radio off of one of his dead troops. Ace turned back to his bots. “Get Pinkie’s body. Bring it to Manglanosa’s lab.” The bots nodded, and began moving off.

*****
Ace and Manglanosa descended into the lab, followed by John, and the ponies. Most of the equipment was damaged in the attack, but it was easy to scrounge up enough equipment to get a part of the lab functioning again. Ace made doubly sure any electronics and machines were working at full capacity, and by the time they were set up, Pinkie’s body had been brought in, and laid down on one of the undamaged autopsy tables.

Ace watched as Manglanosa took a green liquid, and loaded a syringe with it. He turned to Ace, and indicated Pinkie. “Remove the shard.” He ordered. “The wound won’t close with that metal in the way.”

Ace nodded, and grabbed the piece of metal, taking it from Pinkie’s neck. He reached toward one of the bots with him. “Hand me Charlie’s wreckage.” The Doc-bot nodded, and a Mine-bot’s debris was handed to him. “I need to make sure there’s no residual metals.” Ace reasoned, as he disassembled the wreckage, mumbling “Sorry, buddy. But this is the only chance I’ll have to save my wife.” He began linking together wires, and wrapping it around a steel bar from Charlie’s insides. “I need to make sure this goes off without a hitch.” Soon, Ace had an electromagnet he whipped up from the innards of his Mine-bot.

Ace moved the magnet over Pinkie’s neck wound, and activated it. Several smaller shards of metal flew out, latching to the magnet, and it became clear that there wasn’t any more in the wound. For good measure, he brought the magnet over Pinkie’s other wounds, and made sure they were clear. As soon as he was satisfied, he brought the magnet away, and nodded towards Manglanosa. Manglanosa returned the nod, before injecting Pinkie with the regeneration serum right into the heart.

At first, nothing seemed to happen. But then, the smaller wounds on Pinkie’s body began to disappear. From there, the larger wounds disappeared as well, and after that, the big hole in Pinkie’s neck closed, and sealed itself, as if nothing happened to her in the first place. Ace and his friends watched on in amazement, keeping their proverbial fingers crossed.

There was a twitch. Ace’s attention immediately shot towards Pinkie’s hoof. She wiggled her fetlock! Ace looked at Pinkie’s face, and saw her eyes flutter open. She was alive! Ace could only stare in disbelief, as Pinkie Pie sat up, and looked over at her husband. He knew they weren’t out of the woods yet, though. He got ready to defend himself, in case the serum made Pinkie feral. “Pinks?” He asked. “How do you feel?”

The pink pony regarded Ace without expression, as she looked down at his feet, then back up to his face. There was an awkward moment where Pinkie just stared. Suddenly, she lunged at Ace, tackling him to the ground.

Ace panicked, and began struggling against the death grip of the pony’s bear hug. But then, he heard something. It was a sound, coming from Pinkie. She sounded like she was...sniffling. “Oh, Acey.” Her voice rang, like a heavenly choir. “I thought I was done for. I didn’t wanna leave you.”

The others of the group smiled, as Manglanosa let out a breath he had been holding. There was a sniffle from the other human in the room. “I-I-I'm crying?” He said, in disbelief. “... Now I've seen everything.”

As Pinkie shared the embrace with Ace, she felt something odd in her stomach. “Um...Acey?” She began. “I feel funny.”

Ace pulled back, looking at Pinkie with concern in her face. For only a few seconds, the entire room was silent. Then, Rainbow gasped. “Pinkie! You’re growing!” She exclaimed, pointing a hoof at Pinkie’s barrel. All attention looked down, and Ace was shocked to see her belly expanding. His face contorted with anger all over again.

“MANGLANOSA!” He shouted, spinning to face the scientist, and whipping out his pistol. “What is the meaning of this?!”

Manglanosa panicked, his hands shooting up in surrender. “Doutor Sorou, I-I am not sure! This has never happened in any of my trials!” He pleaded.

“Well, then fix it!” Ace demanded, waving the pistol at him. Manglanosa quickly moved towards Pinkie, examining her rapidly growing stomach, as she began to moan in pain. “Ohh...” She cried. “I feel like I ate too many cookies...so achey...” Manglanosa hurriedly put on a stethoscope, and pressed the disc up to Pinkie’s stomach. As he listened, he inhaled sharply.

“Mãe de Deus!” He exclaimed. “Of course!” He quickly spun around facing Ace. “When we met, you said she was pregnant, correct?”

Ace lowered his pistol slightly, confusion crossing his face. “Yeah? What does that have to do with-”

“It has everything to do with it!” Manglanosa interrupted. “Don’t you see?! My regeneration serum has affected not just your wife, but your...child, as well! Only now, your child is growing exponentially! What should take months is only going to take a matter of minutes! We haven’t much time!”

“Much time for what?!” Ace shouted, lowering the pistol.

“Your wife is about to go into labor!” Manglanosa announced.

Without a second thought, Ace was by Pinkie’s side, holding her arm for comfort. It was a good few minutes before the birth began. But minutes felt like hours, as Pinkie’s screams echoed through the ruined lab. An eternity passed, as people shouted things like “hang in there, Pinkie!” “C’mon, push!” and “We’re here, Pinkie! You can do this!”

Finally, Pinkie’s screams stopped, replaced by her slow breaths, and the softer screams of a newborn foal. Ace caught Pinkie, and held her reassuringly. Manglanosa looked up at Ace, who looked at him, and then at his foal. Manglanosa gave a nervous smile, handing the foal to Pinkie. “Congratulations.” He said. “It’s a....horse.”

“It’s a filly.” Pinkie smiled, holding the tiny pink foal in her arms.

Ace looked at the foal in confusion. The hair was definitely his, and the coat was definitely hers, but, as he noted, “It’s a pegasus.”

Pinkie giggled, the sound calming the foal, as she nursed her hoof. “Just like Granny Pie!” She said. The couple cuddled together, happy to enjoy the moment.

Epilogue

View Online

The group watched as the last of Manglanosa’s forces left through the portal. The portal closed, as the last soldier went through. Ace’s thoughts drifted back to the battle, how everything seemed to take a turn for the worst. When he lost Pinkie, he didn’t let Manglanosa’s forces have any mercy. When Pinkie came back to life…

Ace took a look at the Taurus in his hand, as it dawned on him. How far he was willing to go because he was robbed of his family. How far he had gone, because Pinkie had died. He killed many people. True, they were nazis, but they were still people, with families, and friends. They had lives outside of their jobs, and now, they have none.

The pistol in his hand dropped to the ground. "...What have I done?" Ace spoke, as he stared off into space in shock. As all eyes focused on him, Ace looked over to Pinkie, tears welling up in his eyes. "Pinks...I've done things...I...I don't deserve to live with you in my lab." Ace fell to his knees, bawling his eyes out. "I don't deserve to live at all!" He shouted.

Pinkie suddenly wrapped Ace up in a hug, not knowing what to do about his outburst. She began shushing him, as their foal cuddled closer to them both. “Acey, why would you say things like that about yourself? Tell me what happened.”

Ace began confessing the shocking events of the battle in intricate detail. Pinkie and the group listened closely to Ace’s story, as he recounted his sins. At one point, he had to stop and breathe because of the difficulty he had processing the fact that he was able to be so cruel. When he finished, he was kneeling, and looking down at the ground in a mix of sorrow and guilt. “That’s who your husband is, Pinkie.” He said. “That’s what kind of monster I am.”

For a moment, the group was stunned. In the time it took for the battle to take place, he had played Judge, Jury, and Executioner for dozens of unarmed prisoners. Any way you look at it, he would be a criminal. Pinkie looked at Ace, strolled over, and kissed his forehead. Surprised, Ace looked up at Pinkie. “Pinkie?” He asked.

“It doesn't matter, Acey.” Pinkie said with a comforting smile. "The fact that you feel bad about it is proof that you regret it. And if you regret it, then you're gonna make up for it."

Ace remained unconvinced. "But I've done so much…” He said, gritting his teeth. “I can't be forgiven for so much, can I?"

Pinkie grimaced, and her ears folded back. "I admit, it's a lot to forgive…” She began, causing Ace’s shoulders to slump. “But as long as you work at making things right, then you can be forgiven for it.” Ace looked up at Pinkie’s smile, a hopeful expression on his face. She then took her hoof, and poked Ace in the chest. “You gotta forgive yourself, too. But I forgive you, so that's a start."

Ace shook his head, trying to process this. "No. No, I'm a villain, Pinkie. I'm not sure I can be forgiven. When you died, I...I just snapped. I couldn't stand the thought of living without you. I'm afraid if you're ever gone, I'll turn into that monster again, and...I might hurt someone who doesn't deserve it." Tears began to stream from Ace’s eyes again.

Pinkie suddenly caught Ace in another hug. She stroked her muzzle against the side of her face, and calmly said "That's why me and Chocolate will be there. We'll stick around to make sure that never happens again."

Ace sniffled. "Promise?"

Pinkie looked at Ace comfortingly, before raising her hoof in preparation to go through the motions. "Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." Another word was not said. Ace grasped Pinkie in a hug, and their foal giggled between them.

***

Deep in the ruins of an ancient structure, six ponies stood, encircling a pit. They all spoke a dark chant in an ancient language, except Midnight, who seemed to be speaking an incantation. With every word, a mist of dark energies in the pit writhed and lashed out, getting more and more frantic. Midnight’s words grew in intensity, and a bolt of lightning shot from her horn into the pit, charging the black mist with magical power. The chant ended, and a low rumble shook the ancient locale. A mist shot upwards, taking the form of a pony-like alicorn spirit with red eyes, and a disembodied voice shouted out. “I...am...free!”

At once, all six ponies bow down, and speak as one. “All hail the return of Equestria’s true master!”

The spirit turns it’s attention to Midnight, and the voice speaks again. “You have served me well. Now you must continue your service, and help me regain my power! Tell Manglanosa that he is no longer needed.”

Midnight rises. “Manglanosa’s men have been forced to leave Equestria, master. The human has failed his task.” She said, unflinching.

The spirit seemed to look off in the distance, narrowing it’s eyes. “It does not matter. The human has served his purpose. Now, all the pieces are in place. I will extend my influence, and use these newcomers to regain my full power!”

Midnight voiced a concern, tentatively taking a step towards her master. “What of the Elements? They will try to stop you, master.”

The spirit turned its attention back to Midnight. “They will be of no concern. Now that the ritual is complete, not even the Rainbow of Light will be able to banish me again. I will have my revenge! All shall fear me, and no one, not even the so-called Element of Harmony, nor their human pets will be able to stop me!”

***

Life resumed as normal. Ace recovered from his ordeal, but still overwhelmed with shock, behaved a bit differently. He became more aloof, more serious. But living with Pinkie and their new foal, Chocolate, gave him all the comfort he needed. So long as he had his family, he could not foresee any bad happening.

The princess was informed of only parts of the battle for Ghastly Gorge, as it came to be known. As far as anyone was concerned, Ace was a war hero, who succeeded in saving Pinkie’s life again (and earning the respect of Ponyville, who absolutely loved the mare,) and driving a hidden threat from Equestria. No one knew the truth of that battle. It was an absolute secret, shared by two humans, and three ponies. They all became closer, hanging out more and more often.

On the outside, the Sorou family lived happily ever after. But every night, Ace would wake up in a cold sweat, haunted by the day he became a monster, and fearful of the day when it happens again. It was only Pinkie’s comforting attention preventing it, reassuring Ace that he would never become that monster again.