Space Journey

Sep 1st, 2013
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  1. >Day Space Journey in the Neutral Zone.
  2. >Applebloom has you pinned down.
  3. >She kicks your blaster out of reach.
  4. >”You won’t need that, Anon,” she chuckles.
  5. >You grit your teeth at her.
  6. >”The way Sweetie Belle talked about you I figured you’d put up more of a fight.”
  7. “You got a lucky hit. Don’t start bragging just yet.”
  8. >You punch her and she flies across the room.
  9. >Her biopod’s gravity systems are turned to low.
  10. >No doubt that helps grow the apple trees.
  11. >You get up to grab your blaster, but you’re still dizzy from when she bashed your head against the floor.
  12. >When you turn to face her she’s already recomposed herself.
  13. >You pull the blaster’s trigger, but it doesn’t fire.
  14. >Instead Applebloom shoots you from across the room.
  15. >Your nerves spring to life and it feels like a thousand needles piercing you.
  16. “Agghhh!”
  17. >Unable to resist, you fall to the ground.
  18. >She crouches down and jumps into the air.
  19. >Her dash quickly returns you to your previous position.
  20. >This time her blaster is pressed against your stomach.
  21. ”You won. Just make it quick.”
  22. >”That would be too easy, Anon.”
  23. >She presses her muzzle against your neck.
  24. >You feel her nostrils flare and she deeply inhales your scent.
  25. >”Maybe Sweetie was right.”
  26. ”Right about what?”
  27. She smirks at you.
  28. >”Take off your clothes.”
  29. ”No.”
  30. >She presses the blaster into your gut.
  31. >”Ah wasn’t asking.”
  32. >She wobbles the blaster and you hear a distinct clicking sound.
  33. >It’s not set to stun anymore.
  34. >You’re fucked.
  35. >Applebloom whistles and two servebots grab your arms.
  36. >Though they are small, they easily lift you off the ground.
  37. >She takes a step back to admire her prize.
  38. 1/11
  39. >Her hooves move toward your belt.
  40. >Your pants fall to the ground.
  41. >The conditioned air assaults your lower extremities.
  42. >”I figured you’d be bigger.”
  43. ”It’s cold in here.”
  44. >”We can fix that… follow me.”
  45. >Applebloom trots ahead and the serve-bots drag you behind.
  46. >You close your eyes and think of the past.
  47. >How did this happen?
  48. >
  49. >
  50. >You had a name once, but you don’t remember it anymore.
  51. >When you came here, you were an outcast.
  52. >Accepted by neither pony nor griffon.
  53. >You started to refer to yourself as Anon Ymous.
  54. >A fittingly ironic name for a person who could never truly be anonymous.
  55. >When the war between the Equestrian Empire and the Griffon Kingdom came to an end a few years ago, they established a neutral zone.
  56. >Here you were able to make a name for yourself.
  57. >No one cares about where you came from, or what you did before.
  58. >It was a fresh start.
  59. >
  60. >”Anon, wake up. We’re approaching Fair Haven,” Gilda says.
  61. >You struggle to open your heavy eyes and you see it in the distance.
  62. >Fair Haven is a dilapidated barge, but to freelancers like yourself, it’s an oasis.
  63. >It’s constantly moving.
  64. >Only people with the correct keycard can locate it.
  65. >Gilda doesn’t need that though.
  66. >She is a talented navigator.
  67. ”Great. I’m getting pretty thirsty.”
  68. >”Just don’t blow all your credits on synthol again.”
  69. >Synthol is a machine made alchohol.
  70. >It’s raw and untamed.
  71. >Nothing like Applebloom’s cider.
  72. “That was only once.”
  73. >”We were stranded for seven days. You could have at least bought some anti-matter first.”
  74. >Her console beeps, and she types in the access code.
  75. >It chirps high notes to indicate that the code was accepted.
  76. “Are you ever going to forget about that?”
  77. >She turns to look at you.
  78. >Her eyes tell you all you need to know.
  79. >She will never forget.
  80. >”Welcome to Fair Haven,” the robotic voice says. “Please initiate automatic docking.”
  81. 2/11
  82. >You flip a few switches and release the controls.
  83. ”Confirmed. Auto-pilot engaged.”
  84. >Your ship guides itself into the loading dock.
  85. “So I make a mistake now and then.”
  86. >”More like all the time.”
  87. >Gilda ignores you and opens the cargo hatch.
  88. “Wait a second.”
  89. >She stops and turns to face you.
  90. ”If I’m so bad, then why do you stick around? Obviously I have no redeeming qualities.”
  91. >”Not this again,” Gilda groans.
  92. “No, it’s bullshit that you’re always putting me down. I saved your life.”
  93. >It was a half-truth.
  94. >You won her in a game of bocce.
  95. >The idea of owning a slave didn’t appeal to you, so you set her free.
  96. >Now her main purpose in life is antagonizing you.
  97. >”Anon, without me you’d have frozen to death in space by now.”
  98. ”I got along just fine without you.”
  99. >”Alright, next time you get into trouble I’m just going to sit back and laugh.”
  100. >It can be difficult to read Gilda's facial expressions.
  101. >A beak doesn't lend itself to minute changes.
  102. >She doesn’t wait for you to respond and exits the ship.
  103. >You shouldn’t have said that.
  104. >Gilda can be a bitch, but she’s always helpful.
  105. >You’ve spent too much time in cramped quarters.
  106. >Some synthol and entertainment will get you back to normal.
  107. >You press a few buttons to seal the ship before exiting.
  108. >A claw stops you.
  109. >Gilda points at some ships on the other side of the docks.
  110. >Fuck.
  111. >”They’re here.”
  112. >Sure enough you see the ships of the Crisis Making Club, or CMC for short.
  113. >Applebloom handles their cider operation from a hidden biopod.
  114. >She flies a red Juniper class fighter, but her piloting skills leave something to be desired.
  115. >Scootaloo is unmatched in personal combat.
  116. >Her cyborg limbs can attack from any angle and her broken wings can propel her at over 40 km/h.
  117. 3/11
  118. >She favors an orange heavy fighter.
  119. >It’s the same class as yours.
  120. >Sweetie Belle is the brains of the organization.
  121. >Many ponies have met their end against her Gideon class fighter.
  122. >It’s top of the line, and was probably illegally procured.
  123. >She commands the CMC from a Cerberus class frigate named “Jinx”.
  124. >It’s a sixth rate ship, so no freelancer would dare attack it.
  125. >How she was able to capture two modern military grade ships you will never know.
  126. >They are your only true rivals in this desolate corner of space.
  127. >And Sweetie will stop at nothing to have you.
  128. >”We can go back.”
  129. “No. We will have to deal with them eventually.”
  130. >Gilda nods, and you follow her to the bar.
  131. >
  132. >When you walk in the bar you see the Starlets.
  133. >You fought with them over some cargo last month.
  134. >Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon lead them.
  135. >They don’t look happy to see you.
  136. >There are other gangs and unaffiliated griffons and ponies, but they ignore you.
  137. >As you sit down, Scootaloo spots you.
  138. >She taps the others, and then Applebloom waves to the bartender.
  139. >Gustav promptly places two drinks for you and Gilda.
  140. >It’s cider.
  141. >You know he wouldn’t poison you, but it’s a gift from you enemy, so you can’t accept.
  142. >You know its clean and crisp.
  143. >Nothing like synthol.
  144. >”You can’t refuse the CMC, Anon,” Gustav says as he pushes the drinks toward you again.
  145. “Sure I can.”
  146. >”Do it for me. I don’t want any trouble.”
  147. >Gilda gives you the slightest nod, and you sip the drink.
  148. >Once they see that you have accepted their generosity, they make their way over.
  149. >Scootaloo’s robotic limbs clack loudly on the steel grate flooring.
  150. >You stop them before they can speak.
  151. 4/11
  152. “Thank you for the drink. I appreciate it. However, I am not in the mood to deal with you right now.”
  153. >”You should make time for us, Anon,” Scootaloo says half-threatening.
  154. “I already know what you want.”
  155. >”Yeah, back off,” Gilda adds.
  156. >”Have I really gotten that predictable?” Sweetie smirks.
  157. >You slam the rest of the drink, and place it upside down on the counter.
  158. ”Alright, let me tell you what’s going to happen.”
  159. >You point at their seats.
  160. ”All three of you are going to sit back down, and leave us alone for the rest of the night.”
  161. >”Not today, Anon. I’ve gotten tired of waiting.”
  162. “Yeah?”
  163. >”Anon, think about it. We could rule the neutral zone together. We’ll even find a place for your friend.”
  164. “The last time you made me an offer, I ended up naked and alone. If that machine didn’t crush Scootaloo’s legs I would still be in locked in that brig. No deal.”
  165. >Scootaloo’s face twists at your reference.
  166. >”You are testing my patience, Anon,” Sweetie puts a hoof to her chin. “I promise that you will be at my side as an equal this time.”
  167. >Sweetie Belle might run the most powerful gang in the neutral zone, but she will never have you.
  168. >You grab your glass and smash it on the table.
  169. ”I said I’m not fucking joining you!”
  170. >Sweetie nods at the others and they jump to face you.
  171. >Gilda leaps from her stool and tackles Scootaloo.
  172. >You swipe your broken glass at Applebloom who barely moves out of range.
  173. >A flying roundhouse from Scootaloo sends Gilda to the ground.
  174. >Sweetie uses her magic to levitate you.
  175. >
  176. >BOOM!
  177. >Gustav brandishes matching scatter pistols.
  178. >They’re antiques, but they can be very persuasive.
  179. >He points the guns at both you and Sweetie.
  180. >”No one fights in Fair Haven.”
  181. >Sweetie frowns and lowers her magic.
  182. >The others back off as well.
  183. >The rest of the night passes uneventfully.
  184. 5/11
  185. >
  186. >When you wake, you instantly know something is wrong.
  187. >Call it intuition.
  188. >Hell call it whatever you like.
  189. >Something is wrong.
  190. >The note at the side of your table confirms.
  191. >You snap on the lights and grab the paper.
  192. >It reads: “Anon, We have Gilda. We’ll let her go if you agree to our deal. You know where to meet us.”
  193. >No coordinates are given.
  194. >Strange that they took her and not you.
  195. >Sweete probably wants you to 'freely' join her.
  196. >Though stealing your friend is coercive.
  197. >Maybe in her mind it's just a business transaction.
  198. >Gilda was your navigator.
  199. >There is no way you can get through the asteroid field without her.
  200. >With her gone, you can live a more peaceful life.
  201. >No one will berate you for miniscule transgressions.
  202. >You crush the note.
  203. >Without her you won’t be able to make a living.
  204. >You lay there calculating your chances.
  205. >
  206. >When you arrive at the bar, you see the Stargazers sitting at a booth.
  207. >You quickly make your way over.
  208. “I need your help.”
  209. >Diamond turns toward you slowly.
  210. “What makes you think that we would ever help you? It took two weeks to repair my ship.”
  211. >You don’t have time for this.
  212. “That was business, and so is this. I’m not going to waste your time with negotiations.”
  213. >You throw a chit on the table.
  214. “Here’s all the earnings from the cargo deal you tried to steal from me. All I need is one of your ships, and a navigator.”
  215. >Silver grabs the chit and scans it.
  216. >She nods at Diamond.
  217. >”It’s all there.”
  218. >”This is about that scuffle you had last night?"
  219. "Yeah."
  220. >You spend the next few minutes explaining what happened.
  221. >Diamond was skeptical at first.
  222. >She doesn't want to give up a ship.
  223. >Sweetie and the other's know your fighter's signatures.
  224. >It would be impossible to sneak up without a different fighter.
  225. 6/11
  226. >”I’ll do it,” Silver offers. “But if anything goes wrong I’m going to leave you behind.”
  227. “That’s fair enough.”
  228. >”But, you should make them wait.”
  229. ”Why?”
  230. >”Right now they are probably huddled together at their frigate. If you wait a few days they will have to attend to their own affairs. You might even get lucky and catch one of them alone.”
  231. ”They’ll kill Gilda.”
  232. >”They wouldn’t destroy their bargaining chip, Anon.”
  233. >
  234. >The next five days are the longest you’ve ever known.
  235. >You spend your time drinking.
  236. >Expecting a call that never comes.
  237. >”You ready?” Silver asks.
  238. “As I’ll ever be.”
  239. >You do a final check on the fusion bomb Diamond provided you.
  240. >Turns out she also has a score to settle with the CMC.
  241. >”We’ll head for the biopod first. If Applebloom isn’t there you might have a chance at blowing it up.”
  242. >
  243. >Silver expertly navigates the asteroid field.
  244. >Only the smallest debris touched her ship.
  245. >Soon enough the biopod is visible.
  246. >Unlike a proper ship it doesn’t have shielding.
  247. >You don your spacesuit and head to the exit.
  248. >”Go easy on the thrusters. You only have 20 seconds of fuel,” Silver says through the intercom.
  249. ”Are you sure this is going to work?”
  250. >It takes a moment before the intercom replies.
  251. >”No.”
  252. "Hell of a pep talk, Silver."
  253. >”Alright, I’m opening up the hatch.”
  254. >The door opens before you can respond and you are sucked out.
  255. >Silver’s tractor beam grabs you and guides you toward the biopod.
  256. >You never felt comfortable in space.
  257. >Unlike land, the slightest mistake will cost you your life.
  258. >The tractor beam jerks you back suddenly to lose speed.
  259. >Silver gently releases.
  260. >She puts you close to the biopod, but you still have to use your thrusters to glide onto an access port.
  261. >Again, biopods were not designed to be defended, so it opens easily.
  262. 7/11
  263. >Unfortunately, a claxon springs to life.
  264. >It silences itself after a moment, but if anyone is here they would know of the intrusion.
  265. “I’m in,” you say into your transponder.
  266. >”Just remember. If anything goes wrong I’m going to abandon you. The Stargazers aren’t at war with the CMC.”
  267. “I know.”
  268. >When you exit the airlock you are assaulted by the beauty of the biopod.
  269. >You remove your helmet to get a better look.
  270. >Apple trees are aligned perfectly in the artificial soil.
  271. >It almost looks like an orchard.
  272. >You place the fusion bomb in a service duct.
  273. >It doesn’t need to be placed anywhere in particular.
  274. >Any catastrophic failure in the hull will be enough to destroy the biopod.
  275. >Still, it should at least be hidden.
  276. >You place the trigger in your suit pocket and continue.
  277. >It’s unlikely that Gilda will be on board, but you have to at least try to find her.
  278. >Servebots make way for you as you walk through the orchard.
  279. >”Hello, Anon,” a voice says in the distance.
  280. >You turn toward the sound.
  281. >It’s Applebloom.
  282. >She has a blaster pointed toward you.
  283. ”Where’s Gilda?”
  284. >”She’s safe, no thanks to you.”
  285. >So now it's your fault that they took her?
  286. ”Applebloom. We were friends once. Remember?”
  287. >”That was a long time ago.”
  288. ”We can still be friends."
  289. >You hand moves by itself toward your holster.
  290. >”And we will be, once yah join us.”
  291. ”That’s not going to happen. Is Gilda here?”
  292. >”What makes you think I’m going to tell you that?”
  293. “I just figured I’d ask.”
  294. >”Enough talking,” Applebloom says as she raises her blaster. “Drop your weapon.”
  295. >You jump to the side as you grab your blaster.
  296. >The sudden movement causes her to fire, but she misses.
  297. >You fire toward her.
  298. >She is able to dive out of the way.
  299. >Shrubbery provides some easy cover for Applebloom.
  300. >You fire several times.
  301. 8/11
  302. >You hear a clicking sound and turn.
  303. >Applebloom blasts you.
  304. >Your spacesuit dissipates most of the force, but a flying drop kick easily brings you to the ground.
  305. >She has you pinned down.
  306. >Her hooves smash your head against the steel flooring.
  307. >
  308. >You wake from your daze.
  309. >You’re spread eagle in what you assume is her quarters.
  310. >Unlike the rest of the ship, the gravity in this room is normal.
  311. >You move a hand to your head.
  312. >Warm liquid lets you know that you have a good sized gash.
  313. >Your space suit is haphazardly thrown on the ground.
  314. >The detonator should still be in its pocket.
  315. >A hoof smacks you back into the present.
  316. >”You’d better get hard real quick, Anon. Or I'll get my friends to make you.”
  317. >Good.
  318. >She hasn't alerted the others of your presence.
  319. >Applebloom is lying on top of you.
  320. >She is trying to bring your limp member to life.
  321. >Her technique is poor at best.
  322. >Sweetie Belle always makes you hard.
  323. >In that dirty brig she used her magic to have her way with you.
  324. >A servebot beside Applebloom holds a blaster up to you.
  325. ”I don’t work well under pressure. Tell the servebot to leave the room.”
  326. >She smirks at this.
  327. >”You know that isn’t going to happen.”
  328. >She returns to her ministrations.
  329. "Wait."
  330. >She looks at you.
  331. "I prefer being on top."
  332. >Applebloom smiles at this.
  333. >She shifts her weight and rolls beside you.
  334. >"See? This isn't so bad."
  335. >Your hand moves on its own and touches her supple barrel.
  336. >She coos in approval.
  337. >Your other arm wiggles underneath her.
  338. >It's been a while since you've been with a woman.
  339. >You could ravage her here and now, and then blow up the ship.
  340. >That would be ice cold.
  341. >The perfect revenge.
  342. >Suddenly this idea becomes more intriguing.
  343. "You know, Applebloom. I always preferred you."
  344. >"Really?"
  345. "Yeah."
  346. >You lightly kiss her.
  347. >A hoof makes you hold it longer than you intended.
  348. "Tell the servebot to leave so we can have some privacy."
  349. 9/11
  350. >"You're trying to trick me."
  351. >She saw right through your plan.
  352. >You have to admit it was flimsy at best.
  353. >She stops you before you can say anything else.
  354. >"We both know that as soon as we're done, we're going to fight."
  355. >She pulls you in closer.
  356. >"You're going to try to kill me, and I'm going to try to stun you for my friends."
  357. >Her lips touch yours.
  358. >"That's what makes this so interesting," her voice lowers slightly. "The danger."
  359. >A hoof brushes your face.
  360. >"Let's just enjoy this."
  361. >Her eyes let you know her intentions.
  362. >This girl is twisted.
  363. >Maybe she is your favorite...
  364. >
  365. >When you finish, she doesn't make good on her promise to blast you.
  366. >She probably thought you would wait a bit longer.
  367. >But Silver is still outside and could have left by now.
  368. >You don't have time to waste.
  369. >Your arms embrace her, and roll her on top of you.
  370. "Where's Gilda?"
  371. >Applebloom sighs before responding.
  372. >She knows what will happen next.
  373. >"She's in Sweetie's ship."
  374. >That's all you needed to know.
  375. >Playtime is over.
  376. >You jerk her off the bed.
  377. >Your arm is wrapped around her neck.
  378. >The other keeps her close and supports her weight.
  379. >The servebot doesn’t fire.
  380. >”Let me go!”
  381. >You two slowly make your way toward your space suit.
  382. >You crouch down to grab the detonator.
  383. >The motion is quick, and Applebloom isn't able to capitalize on your weakened grip.
  384. >You brandish the detonator for her.
  385. “I’m going to fucking blow this place unless you get that servebot out of here.”
  386. >She waves at it, and it leaves.
  387. >“You won’t get out of here alive.”
  388. “Sure I will. We’re going to get into the same escape pod,” you lie.
  389. >In your arms she is forced to show you the way.
  390. >Armed servebots follow, but you are careful to keep Applebloom between you.
  391. >One tries to circle around you.
  392. "Tell them to get back."
  393. 10/11
  394. >"Do it."
  395. >They comply.
  396. >"The others are going to look for me. You will never be safe unless you join us."
  397. "I wouldn't be safe with you either. Sweetie wants me for herself. I'm not a slave."
  398. >When you arrive you activate the escape sequence.
  399. >As the door closes you kick Applebloom back into the biopod.
  400. >She yells at you through the small window, but in the vastness of space she makes no sound.
  401. >The pod jerks suddenly as it launches itself.
  402. >You depress your transponder.
  403. "Silver, I'm in the pod."
  404. >"Alright."
  405. >You feel the pod being pulled by Silver’s tractor beam.
  406. >A bright flash lets you know that a second escape pod was activated.
  407. >You can’t blow up the biopod without getting caught in the explosion, so you let it go.
  408. >Applebloom will live to fight another day.
  409. >
  410. >”You’re naked.”
  411. “Yeah.”
  412. >Silver looks away.
  413. >You grab a towel to cover yourself.
  414. >Another towel soaks the blood from your head wound.
  415. "Follow the other escape pod."
  416. >"It went the opposite direction. We'd be blown to bits."
  417. >Just your luck.
  418. >A few minutes pass.
  419. >You take this time to don a spare utility suit.
  420. >"We should be out of range by now."
  421. >You nod and her and pull raise the detonator.
  422. >It makes a satisfying click.
  423. >A monitor illuminates brightly before fading to black.
  424. >Silver sets the ship to return to Fair Haven.
  425. >"Gilda wasn’t there?"
  426. "No, just Applebloom.”
  427. >You sit down and turn off the auto-pilot.
  428. >"You smell like her," she says with the slightest bit of jelousy.
  429. >You ignore her.
  430. “Let's find their frigate."
  431. >Silver shakes her head.
  432. >"That wasn’t part of the deal, Anon. This ship wouldn't stand a chance. You'd need a fleet of fighters."
  433. >She disables your co-pilot controls, and returns to a course toward Fair Haven.
  434. >She's right.
  435. >You hope Gilda can hold out.
  436. “Then we’ll get a fleet.”
  437. fin
  438. 11/11
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