A team from the Destiny is ambushed on a desert planet, as Sweetie Belle reveals her master plan.
Ponyville is a small and quiet town, with several small storefronts, each with their own quirky design. Jester’s Joke Junction was shaped like it was wearing a jester’s hat; Sugarcube Corner was built to look like a gingerbread house; and Strawberry’s Sarsaparilla Shoppe was topped with fruits and berries at the tips of the rooves… yes to the untrained eye, there would appear to be more than one roof. But one store that was relatively unassuming, one store that had little in the way of quirks to it, was the storefront of the local Blacksmith.
Identical to almost every other building in Ponyville, yet shorter. It was only two stories tall, with a thatched roof. The second floor was very small and was only used for storage, however the main floor was much more spacious and was much more presentable. It’s interior walls were a light orange colour and were adorned with all sorts of tools and equipment, like hammers and axes; and some more complex devices, like scooters and safety harnesses for mountain climbing. The shop was empty, save for one of its proprietors: A caramel-coloured pony appropriately named Caramel. He had a pencil in his mouth and was writing… something. Every word he wrote was well thought out and with purpose, and all were rendered moot when he vigorously scratched it all out.
Grabbing the paper in his mouth, he chewed it up and spat it into the wastepaper basket across the room. He then reached under the counter to grab another piece of paper and began writing again. After a while of focused writing he was interrupted by a ringing bell that signalled an opening door. He looked up, pencil still in mouth and noticed a familiar face looking at him.
“Applejack!” he exclaimed, dropping the pencil.
“Hey, Caramel!” the farm-pony replied. “Is it fixed yet?”
“Oh, yeah,” he said, walking to the middle of the wall on his left as Applejack walked to the counter. Hanging on the wall was a yoke he repaired earlier in the week. “I had to replace the pins at the top with a new steel we got. Hopefully they’ll last longer than the old ones.”
He pulled the yoke off the wall and let it drop on his neck, as he turned around he noticed Applejack reading the paper on the counter.
She read aloud: “I don’t know why you’re not there. I give you my love, but you don’t care. What is right? What is wrong? What is love?”
“Okay, it’s not great.”
“It’s not bad either,” Applejack replied. “Is this directed towards someone?” She asked with a sly smile.
“…perhaps,” he said as he walked back towards the counter.
“Have you talked to her?” she asked in a sympathetic tone.
“Not since our date two weeks ago,” Caramel replied. “You?”
“Last night, we went to the Townhoof.”
“She didn’t mention you.”
“Did you mention me?” he asked as he placed the yoke on the counter.
“No,” Applejack responded a bit perplexed.
Caramel sighed, “sorry, it’s just a bit frustrating. I thought we had a good time, and then I don’t hear from her for a two weeks. Normally I’d expect to get ready for our second date.”
“Why don’t you go see her?”
“I did!” he exclaimed, raising his forehooves for effect! “But she wasn’t there, or I’ll bet she was, and she’s avoiding me.”
“Now you’re just being paranoid.”
“Yeah, paranoid, not wrong.”
Applejack could tell that Caramel wasn’t just paranoid… he was scared, and who could blame him!? This was a pony that was burned by love way too many times. For instance: his last girlfriend dumped him on Hearts and Hooves Day, which everypony knew was the worst possible day to do it. It told Applejack she either intentionally hurt him, or simply didn’t care. Seriously, who does that!?
“This is your fault,” Caramel continued. “You fix it!”
“How is it my fault!?”
“You talked me into asking her out!”
“It’s something you wanted to do anyway!”
“Yeah, but I wouldn’t have actually done it because I’m a coward!”
Caramel had a crush on her best friend for years, and Applejack knew all about that for nearly as long as she’s been friends with Caramel. But, it was only recently that she told him to act on it.
“You know,” Applejack said pensively. “You two are perfect for each other.” A smile emerged on her face. “If you really want I’ll talk to her next chance I get.”
“Thanks,” he pressed a button on the register. “That’ll be 38 bits.”
“Golly!” she said. “What’s it made of, solid gold!?”
“HEY!” Caramel said, shocked at the insinuation. “We only use high-quality metals here.”
Several thousand light-years away, in the middle of a barren desert, all that stood was a simple ring, standing vertically and embedded in a pedestal. The pedestal had a ramp leading directly up to the middle of the ring. It was completely quiet and half of it was buried in sand. Until this moment.
The ring suddenly began to glow brightly and spun rapidly, knocking much of the sand off, until stopping just as suddenly as it began. An energy force came from the ring, rushing forward before settling into the Stargate’s silvery event horizon.
Very quickly, a small brown sphere emerged from the gate, and began moving around the landscape.
Eventually, it began speaking. “Nothing too interesting, sand as far as the eye can-wait.”
Off in the distance, a green patch was spotted.
“There’s some type of oasis over there. Might have food.” Of course only one side of the conversation could be heard. “Five… maybe ten minute walk.”
Less than a minute later, a group of six humans walked through the Stargate. Lieutenant Matthew Scott, Master Sergeant Ronald Greer, Airman Maurice Dunning, Doctor Elliot Boone, Doctor Dale Volker, and Doctor Rachel Inman.
Inman took a deep breath inward. “Much less humid than the last planet,” she commented. “Kinda nice.”
Dunning responded as he put on his military-issue shades, “If you say so.” He was not a fan of the heat.
All were wearing beige fatigues, provided by the military. It was designed to disperse the desert heat, and hide them, if need be.
“Eli!?” Scott yelled at the Kino. Off to the Stargate’s left.
“Huh!?” Eli said, before realizing his speakers weren’t that loud. He floated over to the team.
When he arrived, Scott asked a very crucial question. “Which way?”
“Oh!” He turned to look in the direction the gate was facing. “Just over that dune, you can’t miss it.”
The entire team followed Scott as he proceeded towards the very large sand dune, with Greer taking up the rear.
“Keep it open for a second,” Eli said, to no one on the planet, “I’m going to look around.”
The Kino began flying upward, to try to get a bird’s-eye view of the area.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the wormhole, Adam Brody and Colonel Young were at one of the two consoles at the rear of the gate room.
“Call me if anything happens,” Young said just before he left.
The corridors on the Destiny were not exactly cheery. Very dark earth tones, and in some areas, some type of mist leaked from some faulty components of the ship’s cooling system. Thankfully it wasn’t causing any major problems, and the coolant wasn’t toxic. So fixing those components was a low priority. But it was still depressing.
Young arrived at the Control Interface Room, where Rush, Park and Lieutenant James were all working. Well, Rush was working, Park and James were merely talking.
“So, there might be people?”
“Well, a civilization,” Park explained to James. “Maybe… possibly… actually, it’s unlikely. According to the database, ‘precursors of a civilization’ just means a civilization can develop, not that it would. Typically other forces would delay or cancel the development of a full-blown civilization as we might know it.”
“Well, I can only hope you’re wrong,” Colonel Young said, interrupting the conversation, causing James to stand at attention and acknowledge the presence of her commanding officer. “At ease Lieutenant,” Young said as he walked over to Doctor Rush, who was sitting in front of one of the consoles, writing in his notepad… his almost-full notepad.
“Anything new?” Young asked Rush.
Rush placed the notepad down on the console with a sigh. “No more than we had this morning,” he explained. “All we know is that we have a planet that is important to the mission and might have a civilization on it.”
“Yeah, what does that mean?” James asked. “‘Important to the mission’?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to find out since this morning,” Rush explained. “But there is nothing in this database. There might be something that was kept on the original seed ship, but unless we re-establish the link, we have no way of knowing.”
“Yeah,” Young responded. “We’re not going to do that. Regardless, if there is a civilization there, we’ll need to find a way to establish contact, and it’s unlikely they speak English-”
“Yeah, thought of that, and so far, no translators or anything on the ship either,” Rush explained. “So, I think Ms. Armstrong and I should be on the first team.”
“…and why’s that?”
“Well, she knows more alien languages than anyone else on this ship-”
“-and outside of Eli, who can’t really leave the ship, I’m the best mathematical mind we have.”
Young nodded before craning his neck to look at the two women across the room, he quickly remembered he would need to talk to get the attention of one of them. “Doctor Park?”
The blind scientist took a second to respond, “can’t really argue with that, Colonel.”
Colonel Young paused for a minute before continuing, “Alright, I’ll consider it.”
Just then, Brody’s voice came over the radio. “Colonel! We’re gonna need you back here, now!”
Apple Bloom eventually caught her breath. The trio had since moved into the clubhouse, and Sweetie Belle was just getting ready to tell the whole group, all two of them, what her plan was.
“Okay Sweetie Belle,” Scootaloo said. “We’re all ears, what is your ‘master plan’!?”
A very enthusiastic smile was on the young unicorn’s face as she got ready to tell her friends, “Okay, get ready!” They were ready. “We’re going to become… Cutie Mark Recruiters!!!” she ended with a flourish, raising her forehooves in the air.
Her friends were unimpressed. “What?” asked Apple Bloom.
“We’re going to recruit more ponies into the Cutie Mark Crusaders!”
Both her friends looked at her a bit dumbfounded.
“WHAT!?” Scootaloo asked, mouth agape.
“Well I can’t dumb it down any more than that!”
“NO!” Scootaloo yelled, a bit frustrated. She quickly regained her composure and continued, “Why?”
Sweetie smiled, as if she expected this. She began to explain. “Throughout pony history, young ponies have been where we stand now. Frustrated and perplexed about why they haven’t found their cutie marks.” Her voice began to crack as she got more and more excited. “And they’ve always stood alone, until we came around. We decided to do this together, but we won’t be the last to face this challenge. We should teach the next generation what we’ve learned, and help them do the same thing, together!” Her smile was wide and she was quite excited.
Her friends were not.
“So…” Apple Bloom began to explain, just to ensure she understood. “Your plan is to recruit more ponies-younger ponies-into the Cutie Mark Crusaders so they can find their cutie marks together and for us to teach them how to do it?”
Sweetie Belle nodded vigorously, her smile refusing to fade.
“Well, don’t take this the wrong way Sweetie Belle… but…”
Scootaloo interrupted, “-Why!? I mean seriously, how is that supposed to help us earn our cutie marks!?”
Sweetie Belle was incensed, “That’s not why!! I mean it might happen, we could earn teaching cutie marks-but that’s not why!!” She snuck between her two friends, turning so they all faced the same direction, so quickly the others didn’t notice until she was there. She grabbed them both in her hooves before continuing. “It’s for our legacy!” She said, holding out her right forehoof for dramatic effect.
“What?” Scootaloo asked, her face squished in Sweetie Belle’s foreleg.
“Our legacy! Something for everypony to remember us by!” Sweetie explained. “As the founders of the Cutie Mark Crusaders!!! This ensures it can go on without us!”
Both paused, before responding… with a laugh. “Oh Sweetie Belle,” Scootaloo said, slipping from the unicorn’s grasp. “We have our entire lives to worry about that kind of thing, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
“Yeah,” Apple Bloom elaborated, also slipping from her grasp. “Besides, all three of us are still blank-flanks, what can we teach them: How to fail at getting our cutie marks!?” Apple Bloom was still smiling even though that was something that she wouldn’t normally admit so readily to. But… if you can’t laugh at yourself… “Let’s wait until one of us get marked before we do something like this.”
Sweetie Belle wasn’t smiling anymore, she was quite saddened by this turn of events. “Oh… okay,” she turned to go outside, so she could mourn her plans in peace. “I’ll tell everypony, it’s all cancelled,” she said as she walked out the front door.
Both had already turned to see Sweetie Belle leave behind them. Neither really thought Sweetie Belle would have been so emotionally invested in the project, and they both clued in pretty quickly.
Scootaloo was the first to speak, “Well, now I feel like a right mule.”
Apple Bloom responded simply, “yep.”
As the six-member team crossed the desert planet, boredom set in. Someone had to break the almost eerie silence.
“So,” Dunning said pensively, “what do you think is on that planet?”
“What planet?” asked Doctor Boone.
“The one you found last night.”
He paused for thought, “could be anything at this point.”
“Well, we can guess.”
Awkward silence descended on the group, before Greer broke it. “Sunshine, sandy beaches, green alien women…”
That managed to get a chuckle out of almost everyone in attendance.
Scott was next to speak, “crystal clear lakes.”
“High mountain ranges, and someone selling telescopes,” said Volker.
“Chocolate,” said Doctor Inman.
“Chocolate?” asked Scott, a bit curious.
“Well, I hope,” she responded.
Dunning was one of the last to answer his own question, “coffee.”
“Now,” Greer said, “that’d be nice.”
As everyone laughed, Boone began to think what he’d want to see. But could not think of anything… except… “A way home.”
Everyone went silent.
Much higher above the ground, the Kino was floating, watching the team below. It was an exciting experience for Eli Wallace, because it didn’t feel like he was looking through a Kino, but as if he was actually there. Flying above everyone, it was almost surreal. Back when he was a flesh and blood human, Eli remembered having dreams of flying. It didn’t happen often, but whenever he managed to realize he was dreaming, he willed himself upwards. Essentially turning gravity off. It was fun, and something he missed.
The closest Eli manages to get to dreaming now are the simulated worlds he built. Close, but they don’t have the same feel of a dream.
All that was going through Eli’s head when he noticed an odd blur in the desert sands.
“Huh…” he said. To see if he could spot it again, he decided to pan horizontally. Then back again. He jiggered back and forth, trying to spot what caused the blur, when it came to him. “Brody!!!”
In the Destiny’s gate room, Adam Brody’s attention turned to the Kino. “Yeah?” He said calmly.
“Call them back!” the Kino said. “Call them back, now!”
“Just do it!” Brody picked up the radio, but before he could make the call, Eli interrupted him. “Wait! Tell them to be subtle about it.”
Scott and his team were continuing through the sandy desert when his radio came to life.
“Um… Lieutenant, you might want to make your way back right now,” went Brody’s voice.
“Sorry?” Scott responded, slightly confused.
“Eli thinks you should start heading back.”
Scott was suddenly very worried. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll… uh… we’ll start heading back.”
Scott turned around and was about to tell everyone head back to the gate when suddenly: THWACK! Greer was knocked down by an invisible force and his weapon went flying.
Scott readied his rifle, only to be similarly knocked down, along with Dunning. The three civilian members of the team reacted, Inman and Volker hit the deck, while Boone took out a pistol he brought with him, and pointed it at what he thought was one of the creatures, only to be knocked down with the others.
With a grown, Scott turned around to take a look at his surroundings, and saw his rifle float up in the air and aim at his head. He could see a shimmer in the air where the creature’s camouflage was imperfect. But it was then that he discovered that this wasn’t some native creature.
As the cloak deactivated, he saw a figure with blue, semi-transparent skin and glowing eyes; wearing a black, skin-tight suit. He recognised it easily from the descriptions given by the Colonel, Doctor Rush, and Chloe. It was the aliens that have been stalking them across at least three galaxies.
It was the Nakai.
Sweet Apple Acres was a very large orchard, spanning hundreds of square kilometres, and because of its large area, it contained many interesting landmarks. Such as the Honeycrisp hills; Zestar River; and, at the furthest edge of the property: Styre Gorge.
It was near Styre Gorge, where a young white unicorn was sitting. Her gaze looking over all that she saw below her. She sat on one side of the gorge, while on the other, far below her, was a dense forest. She looked at it, trying to see if she could spot some form of activity, but there was nothing, it was quiet. Not that she really cared. She was only watching the forest to distract herself from her own thoughts.
She distracted herself so well, she didn’t hear the hoofsteps behind her, until it was too late. A blob of yellow sat down beside her and spoke.
“You okay?” asked the friendly earth pony.
Sweetie Belle lied, “Yeah, I’m fine.” …badly. Her head was held low, and her voice was somber.
Apple Bloom couldn’t think of what to say, so she figured a bit of probing might yield some ideas.
“So… where’d you get that idea anyway?” she asked candidly.
“What idea?” Sweetie Belle asked, her interest and mood slightly elevated, as she looked at her friend.
“OH!” She explained. “Well I thought it was only a matter of time before we got our cutie marks, and I knew that the club should go on. So, I… I…”
Sweetie Belle was hiding something and Apple Bloom knew it. She remained silent, knowing Sweetie Belle hated awkward silences.
It took a few seconds before Sweetie Belle continued. She sighed, as her head drooped. “Do you know about my great-uncle Ambrosia?”
Apple Bloom shook her head. “No.”
“Well neither did I,” the unicorn explained. “He died last week.”
“Oh… um,” Apple Bloom was never good with this kind of thing. She didn’t know what to say last time, and she didn’t know what to say now. She remained silent, but for completely different reasons.
“I never knew him. So I tried to find some information about him. You know what I found!?”
“Um…” again, Apple Bloom did not know how to respond. At least not without making an ass of herself.
Now Apple Bloom was just confused. “Pardon?”
“I found nothing. Mom says he was always the quiet one. He didn’t do anything, he didn’t leave anything behind. The only sign we have that he ever existed is a few photos and a letter from the Baltimare Hospital, telling us he died of ponmonia.”
Apple Bloom was confused, “I’m sorry, but what does that have to do with-”
Sweetie Belle’s head snapped in Apple Bloom’s direction, startling the young earth pony. Sweetie explained, “I don’t want the same thing happening to me. I want to leave something behind.”
Apple Bloom realized it was exactly the same thing she said earlier, and even with a bit more added, it still didn’t explain everything. “Sweetie Belle, we already told you-”
“-we got plenty of time,” Sweetie Belle interjected. “I know, but…” It was hard for her to continue, but she said it anyway. “I’ll bet Scootaloo’s parents thought the same thing.”
Apple Bloom didn’t know what to say, but she didn’t need to say anything, because Sweetie Belle continued before she got a chance.
“Apple Bloom, our best friend could have died. If we didn’t try curling that day, she would have been with them, and she would’ve… she would’ve…” Sweetie Belle couldn’t continue, her eyes tearing up.
Apple Bloom grabbed her friend and held her in a tight embrace. It was now she finally understood. “So,” she asked, “when are we going to meet these rookies?”
Sweetie Belle backed up. “What?” She asked, perplexed, looking at her friend.
Apple Bloom explained, “you went through all that trouble, it would be bad if it was wasted.”
Her friend smiled wide.
“OKAY!” She exclaimed excitedly, wiping her eyes. “So far I have four committed and another three on the fence but I’m sure they’ll all sign up eventually, assuming they don’t get their marks before then.”
Apple Bloom followed her friend as she began trotting back to the clubhouse.
“I figure the best way we can initiate them is by getting them to demonstrate their commitment by showing some kind of attempt. We can either-”
“-Sweetie Belle?” Apple Bloom interrupted the young unicorn.
“Let’s not tell Scootaloo what we just talked about.”
“Well, I thought she’d be a part of the recruiting!” She asked, a bit perplexed.
“No, no, no, no, I mean… about why you want to do this.”
“Oh,” Sweetie Belle said, still a bit perplexed… until. “OOOOOH!! Okay, yeah, you’re right.”
The two proceeded towards the clubhouse, continuing to discuss their plans.
The Destiny was a large and odd ship. From above, it looked like a misshapen arrow. At the rear of the ship were the FTL drives, which went from one side of the ship to the other, and appeared as a glowing blue stripe. From the side the ship almost looked like a flat pancake, except for the rear, where a pyramid-like structure was located. This was the main living quarters of the crew, and in one quiet little corner, in a quiet little room, young Chloe Armstrong was resting after a long day… until…
“Chloe!!!” the image of Eli Wallace exclaimed.
She was sound asleep.
“Chloe!!!” he tried again. “Chloe-Chloe-Chloe-Chloe-Chloe-Chloe-Chloe!!!
She began to stir.
She reluctantly opened her eyes.
“Eli,” she said, only half-awake. “What is it?”
“We need you in the gate room!
“It’s your old friends, they ambushed the team on the planet.”
Chloe blinked a few times, before realizing exactly what that meant. She was fully awake now, and turned to sit on the side of the bed, covering herself with the blanket. “Eli…”
A second later he realized what she was trying to say. “Right,” he said, as his image faded into nothing.
“They just appeared out of nowhere,” Brody explained.
“How many?” asked Colonel Young.
“I count eight.”
“The bigger question is: How’d they find them?” Park asked.
“They’ve been waiting for us,” Rush answered. “They probably have teams at every gate they could find.”
“This is going to be a problem,” Young said the obvious.
Just then, Lieutenant James entered the gate room, fully suited up, with a small team backing her up, “Colonel.”
“Stand by, Lieutenant.”
“They’re holding hostages, Lieutenant.”
“We should start negotiating,” Brody said.
But Doctor Rush rebutted, “We already know what they want, and we’re not going to give it up.”
“Still,” Young explained. “It could buy us some time.”
Scott wasn’t worried, at least, not too much. He saw the Kino far above him, watching them, he suspected the Stargate was still open. The Colonel knew they were in trouble, and would likely send reinforcements thorough very soon. But he couldn’t rely on that. He began trying to think of a way they could get out of this.
He got to his feet and noticed his rifle was taken by the aliens.
One of them began talking… well, he made these clicking sounds that Scott presumed were language, so… He moved his pistol in a way that told Scott he and the other hostages should bunch together. They complied.
“Greer,” Scott whispered.
“You still have one of those charges?”
“Yes, sir.” Both men tried to avoid moving their lips too much, so their captors wouldn’t notice.
“I have a plan,” he explained. “But we’ll need a distraction.”
The Kino floated down, closer to the ground, and a clicking noise came from it.
“This is the Destiny,” Chloe said, through the Kino. “Release our people now!”
“Ah, yes, it is our servant,” said the Nakai leader.
“Yes, well, nevertheless, we will allow your people to evacuate the ship to this planet, and turn it over to us peacefully.”
“Chloe?” Colonel Young said.
Chloe responded in English, as opposed to the language of the Nakai, which the others just heard as a series of random clicks. “He said he’ll allow us to evacuate to the planet, and turn the ship over to them.”
The Colonel was swift in his decision. “That’s not happening. Keep ’em talking.”
“What should I say?”
“Doesn’t matter, think of something.”
Chloe went back to the console, and pressed the microphone button. “Why would we do that?”
“To save your people.”
“What assurances would we have of our safety.”
“None,” the alien replied. “Or, we can merely kill them now.” He pointed his pistol behind him.
He let the pistol fall.
“We’ll need time to get everyone together.”
“You begin sending people now.”
All Scott could hear was a series of clicks coming from one of their captors. He wasn’t sure what they were saying, but it didn’t matter. The plan was ready. He reached up behind him into his backpack, and grabbed what he needed, waiting for Greer’s signal.
Patience was something he needed right then, they all needed it.
A few seconds later, Greer said, “Sir.”
Scott reacted, “Three, two, one…” On zero, the plan was enacted. He pressed a button on the device in his hand and threw it right at the nearest enemy.
They fired at the charge, but it was futile. Three explosions surrounded the group, as they covered themselves. Scott turned and looked at the result. He saw three soldiers, all were knocked to the ground, but one took the brunt of the force, his skin burnt and he was not moving.
He rushed one of them while they were disoriented and took their weapon, quickly firing it at point-blank range. He spotted the other soldier who was just getting up, fired at him as well.
Scott then quickly took in his surroundings. The three civilians were already running towards the gate, and Greer was wrestling with one of the soldiers. Another two were on the ground with severe burns, and another, possibly unconscious alien was lying near Dunning, who had an alien standing over him, pointing his pistol at the Airman. Scott reacted firing on the alien, and running over to Dunning, helping him to his feet.
“Sorry, sir,” Dunning said.
“Don’t worry about it Airman, get to the gate!”
Scott aimed the stolen pistol at the two grappling soldiers, and when Greer managed to push the alien away, Scott didn’t hesitate to fire.
Greer looked at his commanding officer, “Thank you, sir.”
“Get our weapons.”
The two men then grabbed all four of the guns that the aliens confiscated, and began their trek back to the gate.
“Wait,” Scott said. Greer turned back, saw his commander looking at one of the dead alien bodies.
The team in the gate room watched the carnage over the Kino.
“Oh my god,” Chloe exclaimed.
“Shut it down,” the Colonel responded.
With a flash, the gate disengaged.
As the three civilians ran as fast as they could to the Stargate, they saw the wormhole shut down, allowing them to dial the gate back.
Volker reached into his pocket, grabbed the remote, and began dialing. He had to work off of memory to dial the exact address where the Destiny was located. They reached the gate and it began spinning. As each symbol locked in, they saw Airman Dunning just coming up over the sand dune. He was followed a few seconds later by Greer and Scott, who were carrying between them, an alien who was either unconscious or dead.
As the third symbol locked, the two finally arrived at the gate and Scott asked, “Everyone alright?”
“Yeah, we’re fine,” Inman said, just as an explosion rocked the ground next to them.
Scott looked up behind him and saw one of the aliens alive and aiming his pistol directly at them. The left side of his face was brown and burnt, and his suit seemed to be torn and possibly melted along the left. It appeared that side took the brunt of the blast.
Scott returned fire and the alien ducked behind the sand dune. “Volker!?” He yelled.
“Chevron five encoded!” He reported. Only two more symbols left, they needed to buy the necessary time to finish dialing.
But Greer noticed they didn’t have that time. He saw movement in the clouds. “Sir!” he said.
Scott looked towards the sergeant as he looked towards the sky. Following the man’s gaze, he saw what could only be a ship honing in on their position. Scott hoped that was their only backup. He continued firing on where he thought the alien was. When suddenly.
“Chevron seven locked!” Volker announced as the gate connected. But it was too late, the ship was fast, and it was already on top of them, it fired directly at the team, thankfully missing the gate and wormhole, as they dove out-of-the-way.
As the ship turned to begin another pass, most of the team fled into the Stargate, Volker and Boone carrying the dead alien through. But before he could get through, Scott was once again, under fire, he returned fire, but it didn’t help him.
The alien continued to fire at the human, refusing to let up. Until he was knocked in the head, landing in the sand he turned and saw the assailant, the sphere he was communicating with earlier. It hit him again and again, until he grabbed it, and threw it as far as he could, but it just flew back and hit him again.
Scott used this opportunity to dive through the gate. As he arrived in the very familiar metal room, he fell flat on his face. Getting up he noticed there were a few scorch marks along the floor. Apparently the alien’s aim was a bit better than they thought.
The gate shut down behind him, and he saw the ship’s Chief Medical Officer running down the main hall with a gurney, ready to treat any injuries.
“Lieutenant,” he was approached by Colonel Young.
Scott managed to get to his feet. “I’m fine sir,” he explained.
“What’s with the dead body?”
“I figured we should find out how they managed to hide out there, maybe find a countermeasure.”
The Colonel nodded, “Good work.”
The ship jumped to FTL.
It was a quiet night in Ponyville. The stars were bright and the sky was clear, and at Sweet Apple Acres, all the little ponies were getting ready to go to sleep. There were only two bathrooms for the whole family, which was certainly better than most households, and right now, one pony was taking full advantage of it.
Scootaloo was obsessed with oral hygiene. When she was much younger she had a terrible toothache and was almost paranoid about getting another one. She brushed as much as she could ensuring every little speck of food vanished from her mouth. She then pulled out the dental floss, wrapping it around each of her hooves and cleaning the tight space between her teeth. It took a lot of skill to do this without magic, but she learned, a long time ago.
Then there were the other parts of her mouth. She ran the tongue scraper across her tongue, with… well… you don’t want to know what came off. It satisfied Scootaloo to see the crap that she collected. It meant she was actually doing something. Though it did bug her that more ponies didn’t bother with this. One thing she dreaded when she got older was romance. To think that virtually every colt in town failed to clean their mouth as much as she did, and she might have to… well…
She shoved those thoughts out of her head and moved on to the final step. Before being interrupted by a knock at the door.
“What are you doing in there!? We’re just going to bed, not a night on the town!” Apple Bloom screamed at the door.
“Gimmie a minute! I’m almost done!” The young pegasus replied, before pouring the green liquid into her mouth. She began swishing and gargling the concoction over and over… until eventually her mouth started burning and she spit it out.
She smiled at the bathroom mirror, admiring her work. Shining white teeth with no imperfections. It was a masterpiece.
She then hopped off the stool she was standing on, and went out the door.
A yellow blur rushed past her and closed the door. Disorienting her for a second.
She then proceeded to the big bunk bed that was built for them, modified from Apple Bloom’s old bed. A quick hop and a flutter of her wings were enough to get her up there. She settled herself for a night of sleep.
As Scootaloo went to bed, she knew one thing was certain, she finally accepted her new life on the farm. After the accident she wasn’t sure she’d get used to anything ever again. But now, things felt natural to her. She welcomed the mundanity of it all, and was a bit afraid of it all changing again. At least now, she knew she could adapt.
Eventually, Scootaloo noticed the sound of the bathroom sink turning off right before a very sleepy Apple Bloom emerged from the bathroom. She trotted right to her bed, and jumped in to rest after a very long day. But her friend wasn’t having it.
“Hey, Apple Bloom,” said the orange pegasus.
A drowsy Apple Bloom responded. “What is it Scootaloo?”
“You asleep yet?”
Apple Bloom paused for a second to digest the idiocy of that statement. “Tryin’ to.”
“Oh… what do you really think of Sweetie Belle’s plan?”
“Really? I’m still not sure why she’d even bother.”
“You think we’ll forget about you?”
“No one’s allowed to do that!”
Apple Bloom giggled.
Scootaloo went quiet before asking her next question. “How’s Spike doing?”
“You sure are spending a lot of time with him.”
“If you say so.” Apple Bloom’s patience was wearing thin.
“I mean if he’s doing fine I don’t-
“Scootaloo!” Apple Bloom saw the top bunk shake just a bit.
Apple Bloom shut her eyes and began to relax… when…
“I mean the only explanation I can think of is-”
“Right! Sleep! Sorry! Night!”
The two finally began to rest to prepare for the day ahead, which they would need much rest for.
Caramel’s poem, What is Love, originally written by Dee Dee Halligan and Junior Torello.