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The Universiad, a Spacebattler story.

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by gideon020, Oct 17, 2012.

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  1. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    Putting up something to try and kick my muse back into action. Maybe it'll be good, probably it'll be bad, but hopefully I can at least make this a decent attempt.

    EDIT: Here's the link to the Universiad Index:
    http://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/the-universiad-stories-index.239807/

    *******

    Chapter 1, Part 1: The Rain

    It was the rain that woke her up, and as it pattered down on her, a pair of eyes blearily opened and stared up at the dark sky.

    "Wha? This ain'..." The girl suddenly jerked upright then immediately collapsed on her side. Another few minutes of flailing around finally brought her hands into view and she stared at them in shock, "Hands...I've got hands..." She looked down and her fears were fully realised as she stared at the totally different body that she was apparently inhabiting.

    "Ah horseapples, this just ain't right." Carefully, slowly, the girl picked herself up and got to her feet with a degree of wobbling, "Woah, this is plain wierd. Okay, any moment now you'll wake up and it'll all be a dream. You're going to be back in your bed at the farm and you'll forget all about...where ever the heck this place is."

    Now that she was looking at surroundings with some attention, it was a dreary place, nothing but mountains and rain pelting down on dirt and more rock. There was some rather scraggly looking trees stubbornly clinging to life but on the whole, the place was lifeless. At least that was the initial thought, because no sooner had the girl formed that thought, a loud bang made her head whip towards the north as it echoed across the plains before it was joined by a series of sharp pops, like bursting balloons she thought, and the unmistakable snaking of a smoke into the air.

    Before she realised it she was already running in the direction of the sounds, hoping against hope, intent on finding out what was going on.

    ---

    "We got more coming over the ridge! Left side!" It was not a good day for the small group of soldiers defending the glowing artifact behind them as with a gut-wrenching symphony of gurgling moans and roars, a fresh horde of walking dead shambled steadily towards the hasty defences.

    "Shit. Snipers! Pick your targets carefully! All others, maintain fire discipline!" The leader snarled as he pulled a fresh drum for his SAW from a large pack strapped to the small of his back, a fresh one seemingly constructing out of nothing but light as the dumped clip vanished in a similar manner.

    "Whoever belayed my order for HMG's to be deployed on this mission is going to be receiving my boot up their ass for this fuck up!" The leader pressed a finger to his left ear, "Gideon zero-two-zero to Lightbringer!" The wind began to pick up as the rain turned from a light shower into a full-blown torrent as running boots churned the dusty ground into a layer of liquid mud and the roar of the falling water forced him to shout, "WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS? WE'VE GOT WOUNDED AND ONE-HUNDRED PLUS HOSTILES!"

    A blast of lightning came down and blasted a crater in the dirt as Gideon020 snarled and hefted his SAW, "DAMMIT! WE'RE ON OUR OWN PEOPLE! STORM'S FUCKING UP COMMUNICATIONS!"

    "SIR! UNKNOWN CONTACT COMING IN FROM THE SOUTH!" Gideon blinked and before his eyes, he saw a human figure approaching. So did the zombies unfortunately as the group began to change direction towards the lone prey. This was their chance.

    "FIRE FOR EFFECT! THIN THEIR NUMBERS! YOU TWO!" Gideon pointed towards two people in full bodysuits, "WITH ME!" Not waiting for a reply, he clambered over the sandbags and began rushing towards the running figure, firing at the zombies as he did so. The two glanced at each, before the female shrugged and followed after her leader, while the male stared and then face-palmed his faceplate, "Keelah...wait up!"

    ---

    The storm had gotten worse by the time she had reach the top of the steep hill, so she only caught a glimpse of the carnage, but it was enough to give her pause for several seconds before she pressed forward. Whoever these people were, they certainly needed help and she'd be fucked if she didn't at least try to help them!

    Fucked? That didn't sound right. She shook it off and kept running towards the sound, when suddenly a series of loud bangs sounded right in front of her and spots appeared in her vision from the flashes that accompanied them, and she tripped over her feet and pitched face first into the watery mud with a pained yelp. Then before she knew it, she was being lifted off the ground as a voice shouted over the roar of the downpour, "YOU ARE ONE FUCKING LUCKY BITCH! IF WE LIVE THROUGH THIS, YOU OWE ME ONE!"

    Then the banging sound started up again, and she winced as her ears began to ring from the noise while her rescuer shouted orders to two more people who had arrived, and they began heading back the way they came. It was then that a bolt of lightning chose that moment to strike the ground nearby, sending her flying once again into the mud, scattering the trio. As her ringing ears slowly cleared up to the sound of rain once more, she looked up and stared at the creature approaching her.
     
  2. Finagle007

    Finagle007 The perversity of Existence tends towards maximum.

    ... Did you just drop Applebloom into the middle of WWII?!
     
  3. The word "Keelah" and "Walking dead".
     
  4. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    Chapter 1, Part 2: The Rain

    "Dammit! If its not one thing its another! Sergeant, Railgun!" Gideon grabbed the offered weapon from the Quarian marine and brought it to his shoulder as he aimed at the Whopper lumbering towards the girl. The weapon span to life with a low whine as the charge indicator blinked and Gideon released the trigger. Seconds later there was a loud boom as the hypersonic projectile travelled the distance towards the target in the blink of an eye and blasted a massive crater in the giant's chest, knocking it backwards but not off its feet, as the girl lay there unmoving. "Oh for fuck's sake. GET AWAY FROM IT!" The girl turned her head to stare at Gideon, who in turn waved towards the barricades, hoping she would get the hint before he aimed at the Whopper once again, "Come on you fat bastard, I'll send you back to the Capcom design offices!" The indicator blinked again and the railgun spat fire once more.

    The second shot hit the Whopper's gut, then a third struck it, followed by a fourth hitting its shoulder and ripping one meaty arm off, but the damn thing still didn't fall dead as Gideon slammed a new fuse into the railgun, "Fuck, fuck fuck! Come on fatty...drop dead already!" The railgun came up again and once more boomed as the hastily aimed shot went low and smashed into the giant fat zombie's knee, blasting to pieces if a cloud of gore and bone, and it finally collapsed. Then, as if to mock Gideon's efforts, the giant began dragging itself forwards towards the girl as Gideon face-palmed with a growl, "Oh give me a fucking break!" Then his comm icon began blinking on his AR-HUD, prompting him to immediately press a finger to his ear, "Mayday, mayday, this is Gideon zero-two-zero calling Lightbringer, do you read me?"

    He was rewarded with the oh-so-sweet sound of a reply from the Pelican dropship flight that was bringing in the reinforcements and equipment to retrieve the beacon, "This is Lightbringer Actual. Storm's finally clearing up, we're heading for your position at full speed. Help's on the way buddy." Gideon smiled as he turned at the sound of jet engines and saw the silhouettes of Lightbringer on approach. He pressed a finger to his ear again.

    "Lightbringer, I need one of your gunships. We got a Whopper here that just won't die, marking target now. Hurry, we got someone in its sights." He turned and with a flick of a finger, made a marker appear on the Whopper as it approached the girl, "Be advised, danger close."

    "Roger that. Get your head down."

    -------

    She could only stare at the thing crawling towards her, mangled and maimed but still approaching with a hungry look in its eyes, and tried to force her body to move but she couldn't, her body was frozen and refused to even so much as twitch as it slapped a fat arm into the mud and pulled its massive bulk towards her, close enough that she could smell its breath; rancid and stinging her eyes with the scent of rotting meat. She closed her eyes, waiting for the end. She could feel the heat of its breath, scorching in comparison to the freezing rain pelting down on her. Then there was a loud scream and she realised that she was the one making that noise.

    Seconds passed, was she dead? She cracked open an eyelid and dared a glance around her. Nothing, there was nothing except for...

    She yelped and scrambled backwards from the sight before her. In front of her was the giant but it now reduced to a smoking pile of burnt flesh as with a roar a group of flying machines appeared and came in to land, one landing near a large object that held a bright blue glow at its center. It looked familiar, like something from...

    "You all right?" She jerked and looked up to see her rescuer from before, looking down at her with a small smile, "Fat bastards never die easily, we got lucky today. Here, let me give you a hand up." She took the offered appendage and carefully got to her feet once more as she studied him. He was dressed from the neck down in what looked like a suit of armour, but it was certainly different to the ones she had seen before at the castle. Then she realised something, "Thanks for the rescue. I owe you one, mister?" His smile got a little wider.

    "Name's Gideon Zero-Two-Zero. And how about you?" She blinked.

    "My name is..."

    ------

    It was the crack of dawn when a loud knocking woke up one of the residents of the small, but comfortable, home with a yawn and a grumble as he rolled out of his nice warm bed and made his way downstairs.

    "Come on already, can't a guy get some sleep?" He whined to himself as he crossed the floor of the main room, skirting around several piles of books more by instinct than actually seeing them while grumbling about the study habits of his housemate, and approached the door just as another set of insistent knocks turned into frantic, and loud, bangs as he winced, "I'm coming! I'm coming!" He yanked open the door and glared outside sleepily, "Whoisaah!" Whatever he was going to say was cut short as he was bowled over into a pile of books, the racket loud enough to wake the other occupant, who immediately came downstairs to investigate.

    "Nngh, too early. What's going on down here?" She stopped as a small shape plowed into her, babbling incomprehensibly with only sobs spacing out sections of grief, "Woah, woah. Slow down there. Come on, calm down and take a deep breath." As the sobs stopped, she looked down at the teary-eyed face, "What happened?"

    "She's gone!" She blinked, gone?

    "Who's gone?"

    The answer made her gasp as the child broke down into sobs once more.

    -------

    "Huh...interesting name." Gideon remarked as the girl shrugged in reply.

    "No more interestin' than having numbers as part of your name?" She glared at him for a moment, "If that's even yer real name." Gideon smiled sadly as he motioned for the girl to follow.

    "I took a vow a long time ago, along with a large number of others, to never give my real name until we were home once more. Sorry, but Gideon Zero-Two-Zero is as real a name as you'll get from me, and trust me, you don't want to try and force it out of me." The girl shrugged as she fell in step with him as they approached one of the Pelican dropships.

    "Fair enough I s'pose. Seems a wierd thing to do though." Gideon nodded.

    "These are strange times we live in. You'll see soon enough." He glanced to the East and smiled, "Ah, the sun's coming up." The pair stopped and paused as the first rays of dawn illuminated the world.

    -------

    Morning was well and truly underway as a small group approached a large farm on the outskirts of town and immediately entered the homely house at the end of the path as their guide led them to a door on the second floor.

    "I was coming to get her because I wanted some help before I went to school this morning, but when I opened the door..." She stopped and motioned at the door, prompting one of the group to open it with a creak and reveal the interior to a chorus of gasps.

    The room looked like something had exploded inside it, everything inside was incinerated or badly scorched, with the bed as the apparent epicenter of the incident. While the others reacted with shock, the one who gathered the group studied the room with a trained eye, noting various marks like the intensity of the scorch marks from the center outwards, the smooth countours of the destroyed wood, the occasional sparkling mote of light that drifted in the center but never left their slow orbit...

    "Its a spell." The group paused in their conversation as she studied the room further, "Something reached out and grabbed her, pulling her to her destination, and did it without alerting anyone else and without starting a fire that would burn the house down. The skill needed to do this...the power involved...Girls, make sure no-one comes into this room, I need to write a letter."

    She turned and left without answering any questions, whispering to herself, "Please be all right."

    -------

    Gideon turned from the sunrise and walked over to the leader of the reinforcements, leaving the girl with instructions to take a seat and wait for him while he took care of some arrangements for her, "Am I glad to see you. Did you bring everything you need for recovery?" The officer nodded.

    "Everything's here Gideon. Even some HMG's. Commissariat is dealing with the asshole who blocked your order for some when you deployed, this could have gotten a lot worse, and it could have cost us a beacon." Gideon nodded.

    "I want priority medivac for the wounded along with me and the girl." The Captain nodded before looking over at the girl, who was gratefully accepting some clothing from another soldier, and then returned his gaze to Gideon.

    "Did she really say that her name was...?" Gideon nodded as the Captain trailed off meaningfully.

    "I'm going to be sending the alert now. It looks like we've got a New Arrival." The Captain grimaced behind his balaclava as he swore.

    "Shit. You know there's a chance we could be going there you know?" Gideon nodded.

    "I know. Make the arrangements, the rest of the troops are under your command. I want the beacon on-board The Forum within the hour."

    "Got it. Take care of her Gideon, you know the rules regarding New Arrivals." Gideon rolled his eyes as he flipped the Captain off and received a laugh as he walked off. Once he was far enough, he pressed a finger to his ear.

    "Gideon Zero-Two-Zero to MILCOMM. Operation is a success, the beacon has been secured." There was a brief pause.

    "Roger that Zero-Two-Zero. Any casualties?" Gideon nodded despite knowing the operator wouldn't see the gesture.

    "Multiple wounded, some seriously, but no fatalities. I'm arranging priority medivac for the worst cases now." He paused for a moment, then exhaled, "MILCOMM. I want the Administrator and Moderators informed that we have a New Arrival."

    There was a long pause, then the operator came back online, all traces of her former humor gone, "Can you confirm a New Arrival?" Gideon simply made a gesture with his free hand and sent the image he had saved.

    "Her name is Applejack." There was another pause.

    "Understood Gideon Zero-Two-Zero. The Administrator and Moderators have been informed. Will you be sponsoring her for potential membership?"

    "Yes."

    "Do you understand the responsibilities that sponsorship entails?"

    "Yes."

    "Your sponsorship request has been logged. They want you and the New Arrival back on the Forum as soon as possible."

    "Understood MILCOMM. We're heading back." Gideon cut the link and sighed as he regarded one Applejack of Sweet Apple Acres.

    "When it rains, it pours, and its going to be one hell of a storm for you girl. Hope you're tough enough."

    Just then, the clouds chose that moment to start raining once more.
     
  5. Hmmm, interesting: so Spacebattles Creative Writing Forum is now an inter-dimensional warship, cruising the fictional dimensions, crewed by SBers and commanded by the Moderators ... insanity.

    I love it! More!
     
  6. Finagle007

    Finagle007 The perversity of Existence tends towards maximum.

    What is this dark magitech?!
     
  7. ...This will end in fire, tears and power-tripping, based on past experience.
     
  8. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    In the grim darkness of the Broken World, there is only Spacebattles! Keep watching this space for opportunities to help enrich The Universiad's backstory and even contribute side-stories!

    *******

    Chapter 2, Part 1: A Few Things You Should Know.

    Gideon glared at the datapad with a sigh; in a community like The Forum the news of a New Arrival always got the messenger lines tied up with speculation. Couldn't blame them, there had only ever been five in the long history of the Forum, ever since everyone first got stuck in the Broken World and just...sat around for two thousand years. Gideon finally gave up, it would be hours before he could get a message through to his office, and instead focused his attention on the girl of the hour as she fidgeted in the cargo hold of the Pelican. Applejack was taking the flight well, but that was more due to the fact that she wouldn't, indeed couldn't, stop staring at her hands and body now covered up in a field uniform that was the same drab arrangement of greys that was used as field camouflage in the Broken World before idly twisting her ponytail, heh the irony was amusing, around a finger in consternation. Finally, Gideon decided to speak up.

    "Hell of thing isn't it? One day you're going through your normal routine, walking around on four legs like a good a proper pony, and the next thing you know you wake looking like a shaved monkey. I bet your thinking how much of a freak you look." Applejack flinched and looked up at him.

    "I wasn't...! I mean..." She struggled to find words before slumping back in her seat, "...Maybe a little." Gideon couldn't help it and laughed as he shook his head.

    "You'll be fine. Hell, we might find a way to send you home without a fuss and this will be just something you can truly call a bad day." Applejack gave him a small smile at that.

    "You really think so?" Gideon gave a small shrug as he replied.

    "Possibly. Look, I can't say I know what you're feeling right now but it'll get better. You'll adapt to your new form, we'll try and find you a way home, and if all else fails..." Gideon sighed, "If it comes down to it, we'd be more than willing to welcome you to The Forum."

    Applejack blinked, "The Forum? What the heck is that?" Gideon pressed a finger to his ear.

    "Is Fleet in sight?"

    "Yes sir, we're about to make our entry pass now."

    "I want to give our New Arrival a good view, can you open the rear door?"

    "Understood. Opening rear door."

    There was a thump and Applejack turned with wide eyes as the rear cargo door of the Pelican-II dropship lowered and Gideon stood up, hand outstretched.

    "Don't worry, its perfectly safe, just don't let go and you'll be fine." Nodding at the reassurance, Applejack took Gideon's hand and stood up as well, carefully following him past the strapped down wounded before stopping just shy of the exit ramp itself as Gideon grabbed a hand-hold, "Look outside, you can see them coming into view now." Applejack carefully leaned out...and felt her jaw drop as she stared in wonder and shock.

    Basking in the glow of the sun were ships, because they certainly couldn't be anything else, thousands of them, arrayed in a great aerial formation that stretched as far as she could see. Some had graceful curves whlie others had harsh utilitarian lines but all of them were massive vessels that made the things she had seen in Canterlot seem absolutely insignificant by comparison. Then she saw it, the centrepiece of this grand formation. A massive white vessel that seemed made out of interconnecting blocks, lit only by the cold blue light at its centre, that dwarfed all the others and to the former pony's eyes seemed more like a floating mountain than a ship of any sort.

    "Beautiful isn't it? Over five thousand vessels, an armada capable of doing anything from exploration to warfare, and at the centre of it all is The Forum." Applejack turned to stare at Gideon in confusion as he smiled.

    "The Forum stands for two things. The flagship itself, and the group that started it all. It's also our destination. Come on, lets get strapped in for landing." Gideon carefully pulled Applejack away from the hatch and ordered the pilot, "Close the hatch!" On cue the door came back up and sealed with a bang and a hiss of hydraulic locks as Gideon secured Applejack into her seat and then secured himself.

    "Tell me somethin' about that thing you guys were defending. What's so important about it?" Gideon shifted to make himself comfortable.

    "Its known as a beacon. It provides coordinates to other beacons in other universes. Universes that we can access from here, the Broken Lands, and then proceed to search for and recover to find more coordinates. Each beacon is the key to finding our way home, and over time we were joined by others who wished to escape their homes and live with us in ours." Applejack blinked, remembering the massive fleet that she had just seen outside the dropship.

    "All those ships?" Gideon nodded and Applejack let out a low whistle, "Well ain't that a kick in the flank. You're telling you've got refugees following you?" Gideon immediately started laughing, hard, then paused at the expression on her face.

    "Oh, you're serious. Let me laugh harder then." And he did, long and loud before he finally came a stop and explained, "No-one's a refugee or follower or even so much as a slave. Everyone pulls their weight, you'll find that out soon, considering you'll be working here as well." He sniggered at the expression he received, "That's the way it is girl, you'll be fine though, as a New Arrival the Articles of Law dictate that I'm responsible for training and caring for you and I will. Trust me, you'll be fine."

    Applejack grimaced, "I ain't some filly needing a sitter." Gideon shook his head.

    "No, but you do require training and education. A lot of the work done in both Forum and Fleet is dangerous work for those who don't know what to do, and possibly fatal if they don't ask questions. Particularly the job I do and it isn't all about recovering beacons either."

    "What do you do anyway?" Applejack asked. Gideon leaned back as he answered.

    "I work for the OSR, the Office of Special Resources, it is the organisation responsible for maintaining all resources across the Fleet. We regulate everything from weaponry and ammunition to paper." Applejack blinked.

    "Paper?" Gideon nodded with a serious expression.

    "Don't want another Paper War occurring again. We also maintain the Fleet Economy but you'll find out more during training." He glanced to the side, "Looks like we're coming into land now." The craft jolted as the sound of the engines died down as Gideon smiled, "Right on time." Once the ramp lowered men and women in medical uniforms began taking the wounded away as the pair sat and waited patiently while removing their restraints. When the last patient had been taken off the dropship, Applejack followed Gideon outside the dropship and stared at the place she found herself in.

    A towering hanger complex surrounded her, aircraft and small ships leaving and entering from multiple entrances, all of it bathed in blue light while a cacophony of sound surrounded her from the roars of jet engines to the bass thrum of gravity drives but Applejack didn't know that as she stared for a moment longer before a shout from Gideon brought her out of her reverie with a shake of the head and she quickly ran to catch up with him.
     
  9. ...I was probably too harsh, sorry.
     
  10. Actually, I thought you were praising it ...
     
  11. Power-tripping leads to bad story.
     
  12. Simonbob

    Simonbob "Sigh...."

    Not too stupid yet.

    No technical errors, either.
     
  13. Flamester

    Flamester Lurker in the dark

    Well this is interesting. Glad to see SB is sticking together, with a giant freaking fleet too! Wonder how I'm doing over there, likely cynical and jaded to hell and back.
     
  14. Retsof

    Retsof Pocky?

    Indeed. Haven't the foggiest what I'd be doing either... actually, I might be helpful in some of the low-tech settings we doubtlessly wound up in, given my upbringing on a cattle-ranch...
     
  15. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    As a note, if anyone would like to be involved in the main plot, feel free to ask.
     
  16. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    All chapters are constantly monitored for excessive level of stupidity. I don't claim to be entirely successful, just that I hope I get enough of it removed.

    *******

    Chapter 2, Part 2: A Few Things You Should Know

    "Fascinating." Twilight Sparkle twitched at the comment from her long-time mentor and sovereign as Princess Celestia studied the motes of light in the ruin of Applejack's bedroom. The letter Twilight had sent didn't come with a reply. Instead, Celestia and Princess Luna simply teleported into the Library and ordered Twilight to bring them to her friend's room. As Celestia studied the motes, Luna's attention was on the circular scorch mark itself.

    "Indeed, it has been a long time since such a thing happened. We lost a lot of good ponies to these." Luna noted in agreement as she tapped the scorch marks, "I had thought the Broken Land's influence to be sealed, but it seems a being of great power has seen fit to take one of our little ponies for their own ends."

    Twilight gasped, "You mean Applejack was abducted? That's terrible, we have to do something! Is there any way we can help her?" To her shock, Princess Celestia shook her head sadly.

    "It is almost likely that we can open a gate that will open where Applejack was placed in the Broken Lands, but it has been hours and it is unlikely Applejack will be there. The Broken Lands are a terrible, hostile, place and it is likely she has perished. However..." She drifted off in thought and neither Twilight or her sister spoke lest they interrupted her train of thought. Celestia nodded as a conclusion came to her, "The Eye of The Mind spell. Its our best bet."

    Luna nodded, "Agreed! If we can see the circumstances that our subject is currently experiencing, then it allows us to plan our efforts more appropriately." Twilight looked between the two princesses, her expression becoming hopeful.

    "You mean we can find Applejack in these...Broken Lands?"

    Celestia nodded, "Yes. More importantly we will be able to see and hear everything that she says and has said to her. Twilight, please gather your friends and return to the Library, Luna and I will rejoin you shortly." As the violet pony ran off, Luna glanced at her sister.

    "You chose to conceal the one major possibility of what could happen to her in such a realm?" Celestia sighed sadly and nodded.

    "The thought had occurred to me of one of the Elements of Harmony being tainted by The Black Queen and her ilk, becoming a part of their deranged herds. But there is another possibility that I fear far more." Luna's eyes softened.

    "You speak of The Forum and their quest to return home. Come sister, they are not as bad as you believe." Celestia's head whipped around to send an icy glare at her sister.

    "They could have been saved! All of them! And instead they ordered the entire city wiped out! Hundreds of thousands dead because of their impatience!" Luna shook her head.

    "And once again I disagree. None could have been saved, the Forum knew that long before we did and still they tried to help you with your plan. If it failed, it was through no fault of their own." Silence met Luna's words and the princess of the night shook her head once more, "I shall be at the Library, there will surely be questions and I believe that it would be prudent to give those questions answers while you finish the spell." With that she turned and vanished, teleporting back to Ponyville while Celestia grit her teeth and began weaving the spell.

    -------

    "So what's the plan? I mean, I get that you have to train me and tell me about some important stuff, but what else apart from that?" Applejack just couldn't keep her head from swivelling around to stare at every new sight she saw, from the gravity lifts that lifted them effortlessly into the air to the people she saw working and talking. Some were other humans, but there were some that certainly weren't from a strange brown cyclops creature reading something from a nearby screen to a large armoured being with a lower jaw that split in two as it talked, it was all so much to take in she nearly missed Gideon's reply.

    "First off, we need to visit Medical to get your vitals on record. Then we'll head over to my office to take care of the paperwork needed to give you quarters, a bank account and a basic living allowance. Finally, you need a weapon." He held up a hand to forestall any protest, "It's the law, everyone carries a sidearm for personal defence reasons. We've got a good police force but bad things can happen and most people here are pre-disposed to solving any minor disputes with violence." Applejack frowned.

    "That doesn't seem very nice." Gideon chuckled.

    "We can be nice, but...well, you'll find out soon enough." He explained as they entered a clean, sterile smelling place, "Well, here we are." The nurse on duty looked up and smiled.

    "Welcome aboard, the doctor is expecting you Miss Applejack." Applejack blinked and turned to Gideon who nodded in the direction of the door.

    "I'll be waiting for you when you're done. Go on now." Applejack nodded and nervously stepped inside the doctor's office.

    -------

    "And that my esteemed subjects, is the truth of the Broken Lands." Celestia heard Luna finishing her story as she approached the door of the Ponyville Library and smiled softly to herself, Luna always was one for dramatic story-telling, probably told them the full gory details as well. Pushing open the door with telekinesis, Celestia was greeted with the sight of an enraptured audience while her faithful student was furiously writing down notes, and had probably been doing so for the entire story. A polite cough soon had their attention on her and before she knew it, she was bombarded with questions from none other than Pinkie Pie.

    "Ooh! Ooh! Princess, did you really take on a giant bone dragon over there and use it as a mount? Did you really set fire to a giant stone tree? Did you really race against a living storm?" Those were just the ones she could actually make out from the babble and it would have gone on further had Rainbow Dash not grabbed and restrained the pink pony long enough for Celestia to try and formulate an answer as she smiled at the group.

    "It's all true, our time wandering the Broken Lands was not an easy one, but it was one where we learned valuable lessons and made some good friends." She kept the smile up as Luna's eye slid a knowing look at her before continuing, "The spell is ready. For the sake of privacy in regards to Applejack, I am going to entrust Twilight with the viewing portal. Luna and I will create one back at Canterlot so that we may continue to monitor her from there but this one is just for you so that you can at least be with Applejack in spirit. Rest assured, we will find a way to bring her home." With that said, Celestia brought into existence a moderately sized portal, just large enough for the remaining five bearers of the Elements of Harmony to all watch comfortably as Ceelstia continued, "I wish we could stay longer, but we do still have a kingdom to run. Farewell." The group said their goodbyes and in a muted flash of light, the princesses were gone.

    "Ooh! Somethings coming up!" The five ponies all turned their attention as images slowly faded into view and they got a view of whatever Applejack was seeing.

    Apparently, it was someone laughing at her.

    -------

    "Tarnation, it ain't funny!" Applejack rubbed the back of her head where she swore she could feel a scar, no matter what that quack doctor said about there being no scar tissue formation, as Gideon leaned against a wall as they stood in an elevator on their way to Gideon's workplace. Since the Office of Special Resources controlled all the expendable goods, that was where she had to go in order to get a room, a bank account for when she got paying work, and a basic living allowance for the next few weeks. Still, Gideon had found the results of Applejack's doctor visit to be hilarious, since after a series of basic fitness tests to get a baseline of her health, the doctor then explained

    "On the contrary, its hilarious! I can't believe you fainted!" Applejack grimaced at remembering the reason she had blacked out.

    "S'not funny, you'd faint too at seeing the size of that needle." She grumbled as Gideon clapped her on the shoulder.

    "Actually I went pale as a sheet and I think one of the others screamed like a little girl when it was his turn. Besides, you're already seeing the benefits of the implants right?"

    Applejack nodded despite herself, she really could see the benefits as information flitted and vanished in her field of vision, and even though she knew it was really some fancy technology it was so far in advance of anything she knew back home in Ponyville that she bet if someone, and that still felt so strange to say or think, wasn't here to explain it she'd think it was magic of some kind. And maybe she felt a little embarrassed at having gone down so easily, she had faced off against Changelings, Discord and Nightmare Moon for Celestia's sake! She then pulled out a wrapped lollypop and after pulling the wrapper off, slipped it in her mouth and relaxed at the apple flavour as Gideon shook his head, prompting her to blush. So she liked apples, she was an Apple after all!

    A glance at her reflection made her frown, her long blonde hair was still dirty with mud along with her face and it didn't feel right that her hat was not there in its usual pride of place. She liked that hat! Applejack turned to Gideon with a sigh, "Any chance I can get cleaned up before we do anything else? And maybe some different clothes?" Gideon nodded.

    "Yeah, I've got enough ammo to buy you some clothes. Shopping district is the same level as the OSR and there's public shower facilities, so it'll be a quick trip regardless." The elevator came to a halt and the segmented doors opened in total silence to let the occupants hear and in particular smell the shopping district as Applejack's eyes widened and she instinctively licked her lips as Gideon chuckled again, "And maybe something for lunch as well." He motioned for Applejack to follow him as he walked into the crowds, the pony turned human following after him with wide eyes. She had thought the ship was full of clean lines and harsh blue lighting but this place was bathed in warm yellow lights as Gideon lead her to what seemed like an eating area and sat her down, "I'll go and order, anything in particular you want?"

    "A dandelion sandwich would be good right about now." Gideon blinked, and then shook his head.

    "Sorry Applejack, but human stomachs can only digest certain plants and dandelions aren't one of them unfortunately. Listen, I'll get you a salad and a drink, you just sit here and don't leave this spot okay? Shopping district is a maze at the best of times so its easy to get lost here." Applejack nodded and started looking around, marvelling at the various people she was seeing as her new implants helpfully supplied information on who and what they were.

    'Hmm, Turian, Quarian, Asari, how the heck do you pronounce that name? Oh, you can call them Hunters. Lessee, Grunt, Protoss?' Applejack cocked her head as the last came up over a mottled white creature dressed in robes that strode past and went down a street before shaking her head, 'This whole darn place is weird.'

    She turned her head and frowned as she noticed a woman being followed by a pair of mean-looking guys and Applejack felt her eyes narrow. They didn't look like they were going to be doing anything good and she was already walking towards the pair just as Gideon came back, "Applejack?" Gideon grimaced as he spotted the focus of the young woman's attention, "Shit." He placed the meal down and set the table on reserve as his hand went down to his side, "Not even a day and she's already walking into trouble." He pulled out his holstered Boltshot and checked the ammo level before following after Applejack.

    ------

    Applejack managed to catch up to them as they went down a small side-street and her instincts were correct, the pair were roughing the woman up and threatening her, one of them snatching a weapon out of the woman's grasp and tossing it away. Applejack strode towards them, "Hey! You two leave her alone!" The pair stopped and turned.

    "Yeah, show those bullies what you're made of Applejack!" Rainbow Dash cheered as the others watched with worried expressions, Fluttershy turning away from the impending violence, while Twilight's expression was studious as one thug simply smirked and then charged with a yell.

    For Applejack, time slowed to a fraction as she twisted slightly, brought her booted foot up, and then let loose with a kick that impacted right on the guy's chest. A loud crunch filled the air as the man went flying backwards, skidding on the ground to slam headfirst into a wall hard as Applejack blinked in confusion before staring at her leg, 'Did I do that?'

    "Aw yeah! Did you see that? Score one for Applejack!" Rainbow Dash was dancing it mid-air at the sight while Twilight simply made a note on a piece of parchment as Rarity leaned in close.

    "What are you writing Twilight dear?" Twilight looked up.

    "I was wondering something. Look at the other thug." Rarity grimaced.

    "I'd rather not, such tacky attire, but what is it?" Twilight narrowed her eyes in thought.

    "He's surprised. I don't think a human is supposed to be able to do that normally. I think Applejack retains most of the strength of an Earth Pony, particularly in her legs because of all apple-bucking." Rarity made a thoughtful hm in response as the thug made his move.

    "Fucking aug bitch! I'll cut those legs right off you!" He pulled out a very large knife that made Applejack gulp at the size of it; before a bang sounded behind her and the knife blade suddenly shattered into pieces as Applejack turn to see Gideon glaring at the thug, a strange weapon in his hands.

    "Office of Special Resources! Drop them before I drop you!" The thug dropped the useless knife handle as Gideon approached, "I know you're packing scum, drop it now!" The thug nodded and pulled out a small weapon and placed it on the ground as Gideon placed a finger to his ear, "Gideon here, I need an arrest team at my location immediately." He nodded at the response before holstering his weapon and approaching Applejack, "I thought I told you to stay in your seat." Applejack shook her head.

    "I couldn't just sit there and let somebody get hurt." Gideon grimaced as he sighed.

    "You have a good on your shoulders. But if you charge in like that again, it could result in you losing it. You got lucky it was just a mugging." At that moment the group watched through Applejack's eyes as uniformed people came around the corner and cuffed the two men before dragging one away while a medical team placed the other on a stretcher as Gideon tapped a device on his wrist, "Huh, says here you caved in the guy's chest with one kick. Guess all that apple-bucking is good for more than just the harvest." He motioned back to the entrance of teh side-street, "Come on, I ordered food and I'd rather get back to them while they're still warm." Applejack's stomach chose that time to speak up, prompting another blush.

    "Ah reckon I agree with you there."

    As they walked away, Twilight stood up, "Lets take a break for a moment, I'll get some cocoa ready."

    --------

    Applejack stepped out of the changing room feeling much better. It had taken some trial and error to figure out the strange shower controls but after getting all that mud and grime off, she felt like a new person before changing into her loaned uniform and exiting the public shower facility that was apparently used by nearby 'ultra-low rent housing' residents as Gideon smiled, "Well, you don't look too bad cleaned up but I bet you're getting tired of that uniform. Come on, lets get you some proper clothing." Applejack nodded and followed Gideon down the street towards a series of shop fronts, in particular one with a sign proclaiming 'Tailor Made' to all who passed. From the front, it didn't really seem all that impressive until Applejack passed through the doors.

    'Teach me to judge a book by its cover again.' The girl thought with a smile as she regarded the beautifully decorated store. It wasn't like Rarity's boutique but it felt comfortable all the same as Gideon met with a motherly-looking woman before waving her over, allowing Applejack to hear him speak to her, "And this is Applejack, i believe she could use your expert touch." The woman smiled as she regarded Applejack with a practiced eye.

    "She'll be a challenge, but I like those. Come along dear. Gideon, go ahead and get the paperwork ready, I'll have my son drop her off at your office when we're done here." Gideon nodded and turned to leave but Applejack turned as well.

    "Wait, you're leaving me here?" Gideon shrugged.

    "Paperwork is going to take about three hours, you'll be spending most of that getting a full wardrobe measured and sewn up for you. Trust me, it'll go by in a flash and Mrs. Carline is the best seamstress on the ship, so be polite and be sure to be clear about what you want. Mrs Carline, charge it all to my account. I'll see you at the office Applejack." With that Gideon walked back out into the street and vanished into the passing crowd.

    Applejack sighed, "Tarnation." Mrs Carline patted her arm.

    "I know you're a little skittish but you'll be fine. Now then, lets see about getting you out of that uniform so we can get your measurements?" Applejack glanced back at the door before following the woman into the back of the store.

    Meanwhile, Gideon strode into the entrance foyer of the Office of Special Resources, passing the lines near the service desks without so much as a glance at the complaining citizens, and stopped in front of a guard who passed a scanner over him that beeped, "All clean sir, go on through." Gideon nodded and walked in the OSR proper, passing administration staff and other field operatives, before he was stopped by a staff member, "Excuse me sir, I need your signature for this request." Gideon took the pad and scanned the contents with disinterest, then signed at the bottom.

    "Next time, make an appointment." He snarled before continuing towards the elevators and entered one that was free. Several seconds of waiting later found him walking out of the elevator into a room where several people where sitting around a table as he took a seat at its head. He tapped some keys on his wearable computer and brought up an AR window showing Applejack's face, "So...can anyone tell me how the fuck did a New Arrival from Equestria get here? I thought the Equestrian realities were sealed ever since Operation Silent Dirge?" One man shifted.

    "There were fluctuations during the initial deployment to secure the beacon, but they were consistent with the onset of an Ion Storm, so they were logged and ignored." Another spoke up.

    "To be fair, the seals Celestia put up were never a permanent thing, at least for us, it was inevitable that the Broken Lands would break them given time. What I'm more curious about is why a humanization? Why not keep her a pony?" Everyone glanced at one another save for Gideon who stared at the image.

    "Who can tell with New Arrivals? Can she be returned?" One of the people at the table, a woman, shook her head.

    "Ion Storm wiped out all traces of the portal on our end. If we're lucky, Celestia found the portal on hers and is preparing to pull her back." Gideon nodded with a grimace.

    "And if we have to keep her long enough that we make her an offer of Forum Membership? You all know I'm sponsoring her after all."

    One of the men placed a hand to his chin, "Let the Moderators make the offer then. If she agrees, Celestia will have to deal with the fact that one of her little ponies is a Forum Member." The others nodded in agreement as Gideon sighed.

    "Make the arrangements for getting her into OSR, I am not losing her to MILCOMM, FLEETSEC, The Commissariat or NAVCOMM. OSR found this New Arrival and OSR keeps this New Arrival, I do not want another incident like with Commander Ayanami. Understood?" At their nods, Gideon stood up as the image vanished, "I want your reports from your field operations on my desk by morning. This meeting of senior command operatives is over. Dismissed."

    Leaving the room, Gideon made his way down the plush hallway before stopping at the lone door at the end. There in gold-embossed letters on a plaque was the name 'Col. Gideon020, OSR Field Operations Director' and Gideon stared at the letters for a long few seconds before he sighed.

    "Twelve thousand fucking years, and they still can't find a reason to replace me. God-damn it all, I should be retired to advisory and training roles by now." Sighing again, he unlocked and opened the door and stepped into his office. Starting up the terminal, Gideon sat down and got to work bringing up the necessary files to give Applejack citizenship.

    Three hours later, the door opened and a worn out Applejack stumbled into the office, "I have never tried on so many clothes in my life. And that's saying something considering what I used to wear." Gideon smiled as he typed details into an electronic form.

    "Birthday suits usually are the most comfortable." He pointed to his right, "There's a couch over there. You're welcome to lie down and get some rest." There was a soft thump and before long, Gideon heard the sound of a person sleeping as he smiled, "Sweet dreams kid."

    He got back to his work as Applejack dreamed of home.
     
  17. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    Important Note: The Universiad has a long but rather empty backstory, and it has space for further contribution. If any one is interested, I'll be putting up a timeline and rules for contributing side-stories after Chapter 3.
     
  18. So Spacebattles and friends have been putzing around the Multi-verse for Millennia? I guess Immortality is one of the basic perks of entering the Broken Lands then? Not that you can't still die it seems...
     
  19. kilerog

    kilerog Unlicensed Practitioner

    So did Applejack not fully realize what she did to that mugger, cause she's being a little blase for somebody that probably just killed a man?
     
  20. Ginger Maniac

    Ginger Maniac Subject to Gravity

    If possible, I would like a cameo role as a warship AI, if those are things in this. Preferably a superdreadnought or battlecruiser, since those are my two favourite classes, but if you don't feel like giving Random SB'er #8372548 that much firepower, I'd be happy with a light cruiser, destroyer or corvette.

    EDIT: Unless there's an alpha-synth available. I will beg and plead as much as you want for one of those as my hull.

    General personality is 'cheerfully trigger-happy'.

    If there aren't any AIs, just slot me in wherever said personality type would fit.
     
  21. Hmmm, does it come with ancient Greek demigodess pre-installed?
     
    PhoenixFTW likes this.
  22. Ginger Maniac

    Ginger Maniac Subject to Gravity

    Oh gods I hope so. In Fury Born is one of my favourite books ever of all time and Ally, Tis and Megaira are brilliant and oh gods I'm starting to sound like Lilithium...
     
    PhoenixFTW likes this.
  23. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    Ponys can take some abuse, so Applejack is making assumptions about the punishment humans can take, plus I simply casually said it and then acted like it was no big deal.

    EDIT: Ginger, I'm going to need some further details.
     
  24. Ok, just tossing an idea, then:

    What about the spaceship security? Who's the members, what kind of firepower have they access to?

    That would probably be an interesting thing to explore.
     
  25. Retsof

    Retsof Pocky?

    Hm... If you need a cameo of a technician I'd volunteer. Perhaps you could even throw in a *adjusting wires on something broken*"Maybe if I... *bzrrrt* ... nope. Well then..."

    general personality: The nice guy, will hold open doors and such. Might go off on a tangent trying to explain somethingorother. Like to make people laugh/generally feel good, but some attempts at humor end with "I was trying to be funny, and failing miserably."

    Often ends up saying "Well, that didn't go how I planned."
    EDIT: Ah, forgot, tend to use a healthy amount of snark.
    EDIT: Hm... since the SBers are likely to be at or near the tops of their fields, I could some head of the maintenance wing or something, and just happen to be getting my hands dirty when you arrive.
     
    marcoasalazarm likes this.
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