Kastela Viva, Ponygul
December 22, 2022
Rainbow Dash swigged out of her glass of whiskey. A pegasus pony named Fax sat down beside her, and ordered a steak.
"So... You must be Rainbow Dash?"
"Whose askin'?" the rainbow-maned mare replied, drunkenly.
"Fax McCulmulus, Inter-Equestrian BOW Containment Agency." The red pegasus replied.
Rainbow glared at him. "Ah'm retired." She motioned to the bartender, a purple stallion. "More whiskey."
"Don't ya think you've had enough?"
"Now, you listen here. You're here... to serve me drinks, and look pretty."
The bartender was pissed, grabbing her by the neck and staring at her. She simply glared at him.
"Get the tartarus outta my bar."
Fax interrupted. "Nah, it's cool. She's drunk, that's all. I'll take her home."
The bartender nodded at him and let the cyan pegasus go. She followed him to a table nearby.
"Rainbow. I know you retired. But we need you. You're a legend. The mare who took out Montiere! Who stopped an entire virus from spreading and causing a world-wide disaster, who survived the Ponyvi-"
"Yeah, I know what I did. Like Ah said. Ah'm retired. Ya don't know what tis like, do ya? To see yer friends die in front a ya, to make one big buckin mistake that costs ya an entire unit." Rainbow hiccupped. "I ain't no legend. I ain't nopony you should be lookin' up ta."
Fax stood up in anger. "Not as you are now, no! Self-pitying, sitting in a bar in who-knows-where?! Buck no! Refusing to help somepony and save lives because of one thing nopony could have ever predicted. You don't even recognize me, do ya? I was there, Dash! That time your unit went down; I was there! Can't you remember a damn thing? Look into my eyes, Rainbow. Or should I say, Colonel Dash..."
The memories began flooding back into Dash's eyes...
Aratath Village, Saddle Arabia
July 24, 2018
Colonel Rainbow Dash stared down a line of stallions and mares donned in camoflauge. The royal guard wore armor and carried spears; the IEBCA wore camo and carried guns. There was a reason for that. Spears didn't do a damn thing during the Ponyville Incident.
A line of "Hu-ah!"s sounded.
"Men, you know why you're here, do you not?!"
"And you know what we're here for, do you not?!"
"Good. Our objective is 15 kilometers south of here, in the villa of Temagogue. We're to go in, exterminate the infected, contain the outbreak, and get out. Understood?!"
"Alright! We leave at 0600 hours! Get to your duties, soldiers!"
Rainbow turned, followed by Captain Fax McCulmulus. A voice disturbed her from behind.
"Ma'am? I-I have these files for you, ma'am..." a light blue pegasus mare handed her the folder.
"Thank you." She replied. "Hey... what's your name?"
Caught off guard, the other mare answered. "Gentle... Gentle Storm, ma'am.... Private rank.... Seri-"
"I don't need all that. Just tell me why you're here, kid." Rainbow smiled.
"T-to serve my country, ma'am. L-like you!"
Rainbow chuckled. "You're a good kid, private. Go back to what you were doing."
The radio buzzed beside Fax, who picked up.
"Delta Team, this is Mission HQ, over."
"Roger that Mission HQ, this is Captain Fax McCulmulus of Delta Team, what are your orders, over?"
"You've received the signal, Delta Team. Prepare to move out, over."
"Roger that." Fax put the radio down. "Colonel Dash! We've got the signal!"
Rainbow nodded, picking up a rifle and loading it. "Alright, team! Load up and move out!"
The ponies grabbed their guns, getting into the armored vehicles that were specially created for military excercise. The vehicles began driving, heading south and exiting the village. Rainbow sat in the passenger seat as Fax drove. In her hoof, she held a small golden locket; the pictures inside of her and an orange filly with a purple mane.
"Ra-rainbow... Dash..." Scootaloo stared up at Dash weakly. Dash held the filly in her arms, tears coming into her eyes.
"It'll be okay, Scoots! Just stay awake for me, please! 'Cause... 'cause we're gonna get outta here, and I'm gonna adopt ya... It'll be official, just like you always wanted, but you gotta stay awake!"
"Of course! You'll always be my little sister!"
"D-dash..." Scootaloo's breath left her body, and she closed her eyes, succumbing to the gunshot wound.
"DAMMIT!" Rainbow broke down. Sobbing, she cursed her former idol. Spitfire had been working for them all along, and now, because of her, Scoots was dead. "Spitfire... I'll kill you. If it's the last thing I do, I'll kill you!"
"Family member?" Fax asked, motioning to her locket. "You don't talk about your family or friends much."
"I'd rather not talk about it. Let's just say she used to be, and leave it at that."
"I see." Fax didn't bother her about it. He already knew, just by instinct. He knew his colonel had survived the infamous Ponyville Incident. And it wasn't something she enjoyed talking about; he knew she had lost a lot from it.
They stopped. They weren't there yet? Why were they stopped?
A soldier came up to the window of their vehicle. He knocked on the window.
"Colonel Dash! I think we've found something you may want to see, Ma'am!"
She got out of the vehicle, following the stallion close behind. In front of them lay a dead pony wearing an all too familiar jacket. Rainbow bent down, examining the red and white saddle logo adorning it.
"The Saddle Corporation..."
Fax came up beside her. "You think they're involved?"
Rainbow shook her head. "That's impossible. Their assets were froze by Celestia herself after the Ponyville Incident... They've been bankrupt for over 10 years. Snow, Star, Minuette! Stay in this area! Investigate and find out if anything is going on. Contact me at 0900 hours!"
The two stallions and the mare gave Dash the unanimous "Yes Ma'am!" and moved their vehicle off the road. The rest got back into their own vehicles, and kept moving. The village was just up ahead, a single left turn away.
"Delta Team, this is Mission HQ. Your objective is to evacuate any uninfected civilians and destroy all of the BOW's in the vicinity, over."
"Roger that." Dash answered the radio.
They got to the village, parking their vehicles. Getting out, the soldiers shouldered their rifles and moved toward the center of the village.
"Uha ithē hō! Sabha nū khatama!"
The soldiers put up their guns, when one of the infected ponies came up on the roof, aiming something big at them.
"Launcher at three o' clock!"
An explosion was heard as the soldiers jumped out of the way. The vehicle behind Dash and Fax exploding into a fiery mess.
"Take cover!" Dash yelled, aiming her gun at the stallion on the roof as more of the Dahiśata flooded from the town center, yelling orders to each other. She fired before the stallion had the chance to reload, putting a hole in his head. "Get to the center!"
They rushed through a nearby gate into the village's streets.
And it closed behind them, blocking them in with no choice but to move forward. Suddenly, a massive, hulking beast - a hairless gigantic minotaur - came from the other side, marching towards them, something jutting out of its back.
"Holy shit..." Fax commented.
The minotaur roared.
"That thing is fucking huge! We'll need backup!"
Dash pulled out a radio, running into one of the buildings. "Mission HQ! This is Delta Team! We got a Code-3-5-9-7! I repeat: 3-9-5-7!"
"Roger that, Delta Team! Reporting a massive BOW! Sending in Echo Team with heavy-gun-vehicle, ETA 10 minutes! Can you hold it off until then?"
"We can most certainly try, but get that tank here! We got infected surroundin' us here!"
The minotaur marched towards the group, hooves shaking the ground violently as it approached. The other Dahiśata fired at the group, getting shot down one-by-one.
"Get into the buildings and up to roofs! Don't fly there, you'll get shot down!"
Delta team split apart, each going to different buildings and making their way to the roofs of the buildings. Dash reloaded, shooting down infected as she made her way up.
"I could use a little help over here!" Fax's voice echoed to her. She turned around to see Fax struggling with an infected, trying to shove it off. Odd, spider-like legs were coming out of its horrifyingly deformed mouth, rows of buzzing yellow teeth threatening to carve into his face..
She ran up and bucked it, its head coming off from the speed and force she put into the kick.
The minotaur punched their building, shaking them as a wall came down, leaving them face-to-face with the massive Dahiśata.
Dash shot it in the eye, causing it to pull back and clutch its face... leaving the jutting massive parasite open for attack.
"Hello Ugly!" Rainbow pulled out her buck knife, and hopped on top of it while it was distracted, grabbing the parasite. She stabbed it as many times as she could before it attempted to shake her off. She hopped off into the building she was in beforehand as Fax kept firing at it. "We gotta get down the street and away from this thing! To another rooftop, go!"
The two jumped down from the 3rd story, using their wings to steady their fall. The other members of Delta got the idea, and began running down the street to the buildings on the other side. The minotaur, surprisingly, was not far behind.
"Mission HQ, Goddammit! How long is that tank gonna take?!!"
"Delta Team, continue holding position. Echo team guns will arrive in 4 minutes!"
"Hurry the fuck up!" She yelled at the rest of the team. "Shoot the parasite on its back!"
Bullets went off into the parasite, but the minotaur was seemingly unaffected. They made another rush down the street, but the minotaur followed too closely, knocking down buildings.
"Shit!" Fax yelled. "There went that plan!"
Suddenly the gates busted open, and an explosion flung the giant minotaur over a building. A smoke trail led to a tank that had parked directly behind them, as a blue stallion emerged from the cockpit.
"Delta Team! Are we late?"
Dash and the rest kept firing. She yelled back to them.
"No. You're right on time! Delta Team! Advance! Move forward!" The Dahiśata began pulling back as the tank began mowing them down, eventually pulling into a full on retreat. The team could finally stop and take a rest.
A few soldiers began celebrating.
"Ye-heah! We did it!"
Dash turned. "Don't celebrate yet. Our mission is not done. This is only the beginning... but take a rest, men. You've earned it!"
She sat by a nearby wall, and began looking at her locket again.
Written by Senjumaru Shutara