94FM- Murphy's Law

May 17th, 2020
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  1. 94FM- Murphy's Law
  3. >Oh it's that wonderful time, Come on Eileen gracing the waves.
  4. >Anon's little radio station in the sky has blown up!
  5. >Literally, if your continued jokes about the windbags at the weather factory that spooled up the clouds to make the studio expansions are to be believed.
  6. "It's Friday morning in Equestria, and you know what that means Fillies and Gentlecolts, it's time for THE DAILY DISH!"
  7. >The enthusiasm just has never ended and even if you've got more than enough bits to live lavishly for the rest of your life, radio work is such a joy that you don't really want to.
  8. >The biggest name in Equestria that isn't actually a star, talent, villain, Princess or very important pony.
  9. >And it's not even because you're a being from another dimension!
  10. >A smug little pat on the back thankfully goes unnoticed by the other person in the studio, the ever expressive Vinyl Scratch.
  11. >She doesn't talk much, but man does that mare make music.
  12. >Bringing her and her fledgling radio studio under your wing, so to speak, was one of the best business moves you've ever made.
  13. >A small tap on the glass of the studio booth makes you look up and a frown to cross your face.
  14. >Glaring at you are two quite expressive purple eyes on a gray bodied earth mare who is decidedly not amused with your little moment of celebration.
  15. >If only Vinyl didn't come with her +1, one Octavia Melody.
  16. >Amazing studio manager and classy mare she may be, but she's a taskmaster and very much the 'straight mare' when you want to do something fun.
  17. >Whatever, now's not the time to think about it, you're on air.
  18. >Your faithful audience, read, ninety percent of Equestrians and members of the Crystal Empire that own radios, are waiting for their favorite Human
  19. >Being the only human aside anyway...
  20. "As you all know, My Little Listeners, we've officially moved the Daily Dish to be more of a Weekly Dish, if only so we can keep the gossip fresh and to spread the airtime to some of our new class acts! Those phone lines are open, so lets find out what we're serving up today!"
  21. >Only... huh, that's odd.
  22. >You blink in surprise, glancing down at the phone.
  23. >Nothing.
  24. >You frown, rubbing your chin as you glance up at Octavia.
  25. >The mare blinks, and looks at Vinyl, dragging your gaze with her.
  26. >She's actually pulled her shades down, ruby red eyes gazing directly at your phone and looking as confused as you and Octavia before looking up at you both and providing a very magnanimous shrug.
  27. "Uhhhh... huh. Slow day, Equestria?"
  28. >You blink again as suddenly a massive blast of static rips through your headset, making your rip it off your ears in pain.
  29. "@#$@!"
  30. >You clasp your hands over your mouth, staring wide eyed at your mic, which you know was on, and glance up at Octavia.
  31. >Good mare, she got both hooves on the mute button and is letting out a slow sigh of relieve.
  32. >Cursing isn't something that you want to do on the radio, alternate pastel pony universe or not.
  33. >You growl, glaring at the head set before you stand up out of your chair.
  34. "Vinyl? Put us on musical/commercial break."
  35. >The electric-maned mare quickly jumps to do just that, and lets out a squeaky little gasp and points at one of the many crystals that provides signal notifications.
  36. >It's dead, completely blacked out.
  37. >You're off air.
  38. >Wait.
  39. >YOU'RE OFF AIR.
  40. "The FUCK?"
  41. >Octavia and Vinyl jump at your roar, Octavia halfway through the door into the studio booth.
  42. >"Anon! Language!"
  43. "I'm sorry, but there's no way we just popped a circuit breaker, we just installed that system!"
  44. >You glare at the crystal before taking the phone off the hook yourself, Vinyl looking at the crystal in bewilderment and idly tapping it with a hoof.
  45. >"Vinyl don't touch that, it might be a open circuit."
  46. >You hear the raspberry being blown by Vinyl at Octavia as you pull the phone up to your ear.
  47. >No tone.
  48. >You huff and put the phone back on the receiver and flick your hands down your tie.
  49. "Alright, phone's dead too. Come on, lets go figure out what the heck is going on."
  50. >Vinyl looks up at you and nods as Octavia frowns.
  51. >"Anon, that's rather rushed decision making. I'm sure everything is fine, we'd have been notified otherwise."
  52. "Tavi, in case you didn't notice, the phone line is dead. The crystal array that runs our radios is dead. We got juice, but no signal. That tells me that something is going on, and whatever it is wasn't able to give us notice."
  53. >The mare now looks incredibly nervous even as Vinyl reseats her shades over her eyes, idly pawing at the clouds under her hooves.
  54. >"A-all the more reason to stay here and wait! Surely if something is wrong we'd know."
  55. >You resist the urge to sigh and focus instead at properly readjusting your tie and brushing down your suit.
  56. >Gotta uphold standards after-all.
  57. >Octavia and Vinyl are great, they really are, but Octavia's level-headdedness sometimes is a real downer.
  58. "We're not going far, just peeking out our front door. Come on."
  59. >You resist the urge to stomp as you step out of the studio booth, Octavia and Vinyl scurrying to follow, the almost chest-high ponies easily keeping pace with your long strides as you powerwalk to the studio's front doors.
  60. >The studio booth, sound booth, and guest room/booth are all a part of your little sky mansion.
  61. >A little over 2500sqft of home, and ain't life grand?
  62. >You quickly get through your living room to your front doors, not even considering looking out the window.
  63. >You really should have looked out the window.
  64. >As you whip open the front door, you come to a shocked halt, Octavia and Vinyl walking right into the back of your legs and knocking you flat on your face as they fail to account for your dramatic pause.
  65. >Pulling your head out of the clouds, you get ready to snark at the two mares before you notice the slack-jawed look on their faces.
  66. >You turn your head and look for yourself, and feel the blood drain from your face.
  67. >Well, shit.
  69. >Damn, you we joking about the blowhards earlier but this takes the cake.
  70. >You quickly duck back inside, so glad that slamming cloud doors doesn't exactly make a huge amount of sound, but also cursing that said cloud doors also don't have LOCKS.
  71. >Curse Equestria friendliness!
  72. "Ok, ok, so magic stealing red bull fucking centaur motherfucker is getting ready to fuck up Cloudsdale and we don't have any juice cuz he ate it all, cool, cool."
  73. >You're amazed at your ability to sum up situations before you catch a hoof across the jaw courtesy of Octavia.
  74. >Bless the little mare, she stopped you from having a minor blowout without you even getting into the wild crazy zone.
  75. >"Not the time Anon, we have to get to your balloon!"
  76. >Right, GTFO sounds like a good idea.
  77. "Downstairs, hurry!"
  78. >The two mares are already galloping all out, sprinting down the staircase that leads to the bottom of the cloud you live on and your 'hanger'.
  79. >You don't spend a huge amount of time down there, personally.
  80. >Not since you had that incident with the banana peel and almost having your safety line snap.
  81. >No time for safety lines this time though, as you sprint down the stairs and walk into the spacious area that holds your hot air balloon and basket and a little shoving-off point that'll let you drop into the open air.
  82. >Vinyl's pumping out magic as she frantically gets the hot air balloon set up as you and Octavia scramble to assist however you can, you in particular lighting up the burner and getting it positioned to start filling the envelope.
  83. >As you're setting up, you're straining your ears to hear any sound.
  84. >Funny thing about cloud houses- they're basically soundproofed.
  85. >Something about the way construction and housing clouds are made and the magic involved.
  86. >It's why you set up your studio in Cloudsdale in the first place.
  87. >Soundproofing is basically free, it's literally part of construction!
  88. >But right now, in an emergency, where even here at a opening you can only barely hear the cries of terror and what sounds like magical blasts?
  89. >Yeah, no, not a good thing.
  90. >Finally, after what feels like a small eternity, the balloon is set up and you jump on board, Vinyl and Octavia diving in after you as you carefully give air to the envelope and shove off, literally bumping the side of the basket to tip you all into the open air.
  91. >There's that lovely sinking feeling of 'oh crap we're gonna fall'.
  92. >But thankfully physics hasn't be lost, just magic, so the three of you are soon in air under Cloudsdale.
  93. >Vinyl lets out a relieved sounding little sigh, your mostly-mute friend slumping to the bottom of the basket, Octavia sinking down a moment after.
  94. >"Thank Celestia, I thought we were goners."
  95. >You also sigh in relief before your cliche alarm starts ringing and you ping up.
  96. "Wait, wait, what did you just say?!"
  97. >Octavia and Vinyl both look at you in alarm.
  98. >"Wh... t-that I thought we were going to be in serious danger? We've escaped."
  99. >You groan as the mares give you bewildered stares as you palm your face.
  100. "Tavi... darling... sweetie... you just blatantly called out fate and murphy to their faces."
  101. >This earns you confused blinks.
  102. >"Murphy? Is that another human Anon?"
  103. "No, but that's besides the point. Murphy's law is a human saying."
  104. >Just as you start your explanation, a burst of green light lances up from below you and your little basket, making all three of you shift away from it and making you glance over the side, causing you to gulp.
  105. >The buzzing of insect wings can be heard as you glance down at the mass of a changeling hoard currently circling behind you, eyes locked to your basket.
  106. "Anything that can go wrong... will."
  107. ---Back from the Commercial break---
  108. "Nope."
  109. >Vinyl and Octavia blink before dragging their attention away from the changelings.
  110. >"Anon, you can't just say 'nope' and expect our current situation to change."
  111. >You gesture around to emphasis your point as you speak up.
  112. "I am absolutely going to expect we can say 'Nope' and change our current situation."
  113. >You pull out your phone, and begin scrolling through songs, glancing at Vinyl.
  114. "Alright Pon-3, you got those speaker upgrades installed that you wanted right?"
  115. >Here's the thing about Hot Air Balloons- not only are they great for getting around, but they can carry a lot of weight.
  116. >Magic hot air balloons? Forget it, you can carry basically anything if you feel like it.
  117. >And when you are a radio studio, your main form of transportation back to the ground is also a major form of advertisements.
  118. >And when you have speakers powerful enough to wash a whole town in music and draw the eye from up in the air...
  119. >The white and blue electric mare blinks, jaw dropping for a moment as she flicks her shades up to look at you as if asking if you're really gonna do what she thinks you're planning.
  120. >You grin manically, pulling out a particularly heavy duty pair of sound cancelling headphones, and two more, one for each pony, and slap them on your head and theirs.
  121. >Her eyes shine and her grin matches yours as her shades settle back on and you note the green blasts are starting to get more accurate as you plug your phone into your baskets extensive speaker system and crank the juice all the way to max.
  122. >Octavia lets out a little whimper and crouches down in the center of the basket, hooves gripping the headset like a lifeline.
  123. >You point one finger up at the envelope and laugh wildly as you stare at the song you've selected to blow a hole to the ground, or at least disrupt the changeling flight patterns enough to maybe get away.
  124. "It's nothin' special it's just MAH BASS CANNON!"
  125. >Vinyl'sbasscannon.exe engaged
  126. >For a single, glorious moment, all is quiet but the voice actor whom imagined what Vinyl would sound like.
  127. >The mute herself quite liked the voice and one told you via note that your video is what she though she'd sound like.
  128. >This moment of contemplation is all the time you had to prepare yourself as the world turns to WUB.
  129. >Blasting, heavy, overboosted BASS fills the sky as Vinyl works her magic, literally, to equalize and mess with the speaker settings and to really amp up the volume and sound as changelings start getting knocked around by the sheer, undying, all consuming SOUND.
  130. >You bang your head and throw the horns as you let air out of the envelope to speed your decent to punch through while the changelings are disoriented.
  131. >Shapeshifters are thrown away or even slapped silly by soundwaves and the basket itself as you plow through the formation, ducking under them and even blowing smaller clouds apart as you go.
  132. >The BASS lives on as you switch to another dubstep song, to keep the changelings at bay.
  133. >Dubstep Dishwasher, eat your heart out.
  134. >The disorder and chaos caused by the slamming beats allow a quick escape even as you look back to watch for any followers or stragglers, keeping an eye up on Cloudsdale.
  135. >Sure enough, big red and horny is mucking about the show, and things aren't looking good.
  136. >You motion for Vinyl to drop the volume a bit only to be caught off guard when she shakes her head and lets her horn spark up real bright, before a blue-tinted bubble surrounds the openings to the basket and the floor.
  137. >Suddenly, you can't hear the WUBS anymore and you blink as she motions for you to take your headset off.
  138. >Octavia has shakily gotten to her hooves and is slowly starting to calm down, all composure completely broken even as she takes her headset off.
  139. >You take off yours, marveling at the fact that you can't hear anything.
  140. "A soundproofing spell? Or a sound-shield?"
  141. >Octavia speaks up as Vinyl lays down, closing her eyes in concentration even as her ears perk up to listen.
  142. >"Sound shielding, though I suppose proofing works as well, she used it at concerts and performances so she wouldn't have to wear headsets all the time."
  143. >Octavia looks at Vinyl fondly before she whirls on you, fire in her eyes.
  145. >Yep, she's mad.
  146. >You quickly hold up both hands to ward off the angry Earth Pony- she's already strong enough but she's a -musician-.
  147. >Those muscles are meant for holding up a seriously heavy instrument and holding posture for hours on end while performing and you have very little doubt that she'd easily break something important if she hit you.
  148. "Ok, in my defense, this was already a bad situation and if any of us get drained of magic by the big magic eating centaur currently rampaging around Cloudsdale we'd fall through?"
  149. >That draws Octavia up short, making her hold her hoof up before planting it back down with a glare and a huff.
  150. >"It was still incredibly reckless Anon!"
  151. "We're kinda in a situation where recklessness is called for Tavi, now is not the time to lecture me, now is the time to figure out where the buck we're going in a hurry so we can get a call for help out."
  152. >This draws both mares focus back to you as you slump against the edge of the basket, feeling the vibrations from the speakers running through the frame.
  153. "Right now we're cut off. Our studio equipment was all drained, so the red bull must have gotten the powergrid and drained that first. The basket has it's own crystals, but if we're gonna pump a signal strong enough to hit anyone important, we're gonna need a lot more juice, or all of the power we've got left, which means the message is going to be short, which means we need to know exactly what that message is going to say and THINGS ARE NOT EXACTLY GREAT RIGHT NOW!"
  154. >You pant after your little rant, groaning and holding your head in your hands.
  155. "We've got not a lot of options here, but most important is getting the word out."
  156. >You stand up straight and walk to the 'back' of the basket, looking at Cloudsdale and the changeling horde which is mostly ignoring you now, with a small swarm, maybe fifteen to twenty-ish bugs following outside of WUB range?
  157. "They picked a damn good time for a invasion. We're in the midlands between Las Pegasus and Apploosa right now, and we're too far out for a quick reaction force from Canterlot or the Princess's personal hitsquad from Ponyville."
  158. >Octavia slaps your leg.
  159. >"Anon!"
  160. "What? I love the girls Tavi, you know I do, but Twiggles and her friends are Celestia's clean up crew."
  161. >The mare pouts while Vinyl silently sniggers behind a hoof, and you refocus your attention at the task at hand.
  162. "Look, we've got two options- we could try to make a break for Las Pegasus. If we get there first, they've got a really powerful radio tower and we can call for help and maybe have the Guard help us hold the hoard off. Or we can break for Appleoosa. Their tower isn't great but we can hitch the balloon to a train and get a tow to Ponyville before we spam the message out."
  163. >The three of you stare at one another in silence as you lay out what you see as the only options.
  164. >Going to ground wouldn't help at all, the changelings are following and you'll run out of power eventually.
  165. >Can't stay in the air forever- similar problem with a added side of possibly falling to your demise if the changelings decide they don't particularly care for prisoners and just want to prevent you from getting the word out.
  166. >It's time to make a decision, and it doesn't really look like you've got any good options now...
  168. [The Las Pegasus Run]
  169. >Right.
  170. >Time to recap.
  171. >You glance over your shoulder as you keep a weary eye on the changelings following your hot air balloon.
  172. >The escape from your studio in Cloudsdale was, to say the very least, inspired.
  173. >But now that you've had a chance to breath (at least so long as the speakers hold up), you're currently taking stock of the situation.
  174. >Unfortunately, you're out of reverse uno cards and telling Tirek 'ur mum gay' to his face probably aren't going to solve this situation.
  175. >Changelings and the Red Bull working together, currently capturing and draining the magic of the Pegasi of Cloudsdale.
  176. >Your home.
  177. >Your frown deepens and you share a kindred moment with Rainbow Dash in your head.
  178. >You might not be an Equestria native, but you're outta CLOUDSDALE damn it.
  179. >But unlike rainbow sprinkles when she was conked out on chaos juice, you're well aware that sometimes you've got to cut and run.
  180. >At that means that for now, you gotta leave Cloudsdale hanging.
  181. >It hurts, and you mentally pray to Faust or whatever powers that be in this universe that this is just an Episode.
  182. >Season Finale even.
  183. >Just don't let this shit be some grimdark writefaggotry.
  184. >Getting sidetracked, FOCUS Anon!
  185. >You glare at the changelings who glare hatefully back at you, one of them trying to duck closer to hiss only to catch a facefull of WUBs and get blasted back.
  186. >Heh, dumbass.
  187. >Still, you're flying at just below cloud-level, which is something like two-thousand feet above the ground.
  188. >Octavia is meditating, taking deep breaths and trying to not think about her Cello
  189. >"DOUBLE BASS!"
  190. >You wince as she yells at you before going back to breathing with a noticeable tic in her brow.
  191. >Right, Double Bass.
  192. >How she always knows you messed it up you don't understand...
  193. >Anyway, Vinyl is bobbing to the music, keeping an eye on the various levels and playing with the equalizer to keep up the soundwaves to keep the 'lings off of the balloon and basket.
  194. >You're honestly surprised they stopped taking pot-shots at the basket, but your current running theory is they want you alive.
  195. >Which is good.
  196. >And also absolutely horrifying to contemplate.
  197. >You pace back and forth a moment, worrying your lower lip and readjusting your tie.
  198. >Your suit is rumpled and you're not happy about it.
  199. >How are you supposed to be presentable if your tie won't flatten out?
  201. >Oh wait, nevermind, you've always got Towels stored in your basket.
  202. >You pull your towel out and let out a sigh.
  203. >Thanks Pinkie, you really know how to teach someone to have towels stowed around in case of towel emergencies.
  204. >You look around hopefully, seeing if the pink pronker showed up like she usually does when someone's making a reference to the fourth wall or one of her gags from the show.
  205. >Unfortunately, no such luck.
  206. >Either she's unavailable right now, or things are worse than you think they are.
  207. >Maybe they hit Ponyville and Canterlot first?
  208. >You frown harder before sighing and shaking your head.
  209. >Nope, no time for that.
  210. >You look ahead where the balloon is traveling.
  211. >Magical steering is bullshit, but the fact that it works is all you need.
  212. >Between you and the girls, Appleoosa was ruled out.
  213. >Even if you could get there in a hurry, there's no guarantees that a train was in station, and the small fighting force of changelings was more than enough to seriously hurt somepony.
  214. >No, the guard presence in Las Pegasus would be better, if only to help clear the Changelings off of your tail so you can set up a broadcast over the Radio.
  215. >Thankfully, it looks like you were closer to Las Pegasus then you thought.
  216. >You glance over at Vinyl, and draw her attention with a subtle hand wave, not wanting to disturb Octavia from trying to settle her nerves.
  217. >She flicks her shades up and tilts her head at you, letting you see that she's paying attention.
  218. >You gesture to the radio equipment in the basket, motioning checking the channels with one hand.
  219. >She nods and abandoned the equalizer for a moment after setting the current song to replay in order to not have to adjust the levels for maximum WUBS and starts fiddling with the broadcasting/receiving equipment, holding the headset for it to her ear with magic.
  220. >You bite your lip as you glance out at Las Pegasus.
  221. >It's getting dark and the city is lighting up, making a easy to track beacon, but you're still a good hour out even with magic giving you every burst of speed available.
  222. >Vinyl suddenly jolts upright, startling Octavia and waving you over urgently.
  223. >She's undoing the mic from it's cradle as you quickly shift over and take the headset from her.
  224. >"-dentified aircraft, you're currently entering Las Pegasus airspace from heading *muffled equuish*, identify yourself. We've had no registered flight plans and we note that you're currently in noise violation."
  225. >You let out a sigh of relief.
  226. >That's the Las Pegasus Guard's air traffic control tower, though you hear a lot of voices in the background which is telling you it's a busy night.
  227. >With all the lights of Las Pegasus, air travel being so common for a third of the Equestrian Population, and personal aircraft becoming more popular, flying being the preferred method to getting to and from Las Pegasus, the Air Traffic Control Tower was established fairly quickly.
  228. >There's one in all the major cities, run by the Equestrian Royal Guard, with a full compliment of established rescue flights.
  229. >Rescue flights being a party of four-to-five pegasi who's sole job it was to either snag ponies from the sky or guide aircraft around turbulent airstreams, or prevent collisions.
  230. >You quickly thumb the mic and speak back.
  231. "ATC this is Anon Anonymous and the 94FM Some Hits Some Times hot air balloon, registry zero-zero-zero-zero-seven. We are currently in an emergency situation and we are requesting cleared airways."
  232. >The chatter falls dead silent in the wake of your emergency call, and a few moments later a gruff voice hits your ears.
  233. >"This is Lt. Wall, what's your status and state of emergency?"
  234. "Lt, we're currently being chased by a flight of Changelings, about twenty strong, and the-"
  235. >You're cut off by a bolt of green energy lancing past your face and bulls-eyeing your towel from your shoulder.
  236. >Noooo! Your Hoopy Frood!
  237. "Shit!"
  238. >over the headset you hear some panicked ponies as somepony is barking for a squadron of pegasi to get in the bucking air -yesterday- before you get back to explaining, ducking lower as Vinyl gasps and Octavia cries out in shock before they scramble for cover and Vinyl snarls in anger.
  239. >So much for 'alive.'
  240. "Cloudsdale is under attack! Myself and two others just escaped from Cloudsdale airspace about forty-five minutes ago, Tirek the Red Bull and a Changeling swarm were rampaging and we only made it out because my personal balloon sits under my studio."
  241. >Strange how calm and steady your voice is.
  242. >Must be from doing this radio gig for so long.
  243. >The guardsman on the other side of the line growls a curse under his breath before speaking up clearly.
  244. >"That explains a lot. The Radio Tower went silent a few hours ago and we haven't had the time to get over there and have a look at it. We've been stuck on shortwave this entire time."
  245. >You freeze and Vinyl and Octavia give you worried looks as Vinyl shifts a bit to try to figure out where the next shot is going to come from, her horn sparking a bit as she preps a shield spell.
  246. >Another shot lances out and this time smacks the envelope of your hot air balloon, making it wobble worryingly but thankfully not piercing through.
  247. >Yet.
  248. >Magic Resistant or not, that was going to be trouble.
  249. >If the Changelings shot you down before you could get to the radio tower...
  250. >Damn it, why didn't you introduce Equestria to firearms again?!
  251. >Or, you know, buy a crossbow.
  252. >Or something.
  253. >Being a sitting duck in the sky is not fun!
  254. >You thumb the mic again and speed up your talking a bit.
  255. "We're trying to get to the radio tower so we can hook our equipment up and get a broadcast out! We're currently an hour out at rough estimate, but I think these bugs just decided to get more aggressive about taking us down!"
  256. >"Hang on son, the Guards on it's way, keep that radio of yours on hand!"
  257. >There's a rush of wings flapping over the radio before it falls silent, and a few moments later a female voice picks up.
  258. >"This is Lance Corporal Gusty, I'll be your contact point while Lt. is with the combat flight. It'll be ok Mr. Anonymous, we're coming!"
  259. >You peek up from your ducked positions and note the changelings are arguing among themselves, one of them with their horn glowing.
  260. >Must have been the one to shoot at you.
  261. >Another one is tapping them in the chest and gesticulating wildly with their other hoof.
  262. >The one with the glowing horn scoffs and turns, whipping their head back before firing off another potshot.
  263. >This one thankfully goes wide.
  264. >Looks like there's some disagreements over taking you dead or alive.
  265. >"Um... M-mr. Anonymous? I uh, I just want to say that I love your show. I was so disappointing when I didn't hear the Daily Dish this morning."
  266. >You blink and give a little fist pump to yourself.
  267. >Aww yeah, famous all around Equestria.
  268. "No worries darlin', we'll just have to have a extra long Dish once all this is wrapped up! Maybe get the famous Las Pegasus Guard on air and do a interview with our brave mares and stallions."
  269. >You can basically hear her flustering in the background and a glance over to Vinyl shows her winking at you with a big grin while Octavia is palming her face and sighing.
  270. >You can almost hear her muttering 'what is my life' to herself over and over as she shakes her head.
  271. >For now, all you can do is duck and hope those flyboys and girls are half as fast as Rainbow Dash...
  272. >Another lance of light skims past the ropes of the basket and over your head.
  273. >It's been a few minutes now, and it appears the argument has been settled.
  274. >Unfortunately, it's -not- in favor of taking you, Vinyl, and Octavia alive.
  275. >You carefully shift so not to rock the basket too much as you try to keep the changelings from having a clean shot on you or the girls.
  276. >Saving your own skin might come first, but these two have done a lot of good for you.
  277. >... Ok, Vinyl does.
  278. >Tavi is just there, but Vinyl likes Octavia so you might as well keep her around.
  279. >A last minute shift keeps you from catching a bolt of energy in the side as it impacts the side of the basket.
  280. >Clever bugs.
  281. >They have done something that few villains in a 3D environment have done.
  282. >Use that space to actually launch attacks from angles and to use their maneuverability to get line of sight.
  283. >I have the high ground indeed.
  284. "We could really use a fucking hand right now!"
  285. >"How about a hoof?"
  286. >You blink in surprise as you clearly hear a pony call out.
  287. >How they're able to hear you over the WUBS, through Vinyl's sound-shield, and able to talk back?
  288. >Heck if you know.
  289. >But you can hear the music kicking into gear as the squadron of Pegasi blast past the balloon, lancing towards the Changelings who are all caught flat... winged? by the sudden combatants.
  290. >Dangerzone.mp4
  291. >You shift to your feet to watch the ensuing dogfight and can't help but grin victoriously as the pegasi basically rip the changelings apart.
  292. >The bugs might have magic, but they're not anywhere near as fast or as sturdy as the pegasi guard are, and if you were a sitting duck, then they were crippled pidgeons.
  293. >And the Pegasi were very hungry hawks.
  294. >In short order, most of the Changelings are grounded.
  295. >Possibly permanently, though you haven't really seen anyone or anything die in this universe as of yet...
  296. >The few changelings left split off and make a break for it.
  297. >Several Guards peel off from the rest of the formation to chase, a warcry slipping from them as they dive.
  298. >The hawk comparison returns to your mind as you watch them go.
  299. >A pegasi stallion waves his hoof, motioning to his ears.
  300. >Vinyl had stood up and was watching over the side and grins and nods at him, turning down the speakers but leaving the music playing with a bob of her head as she lets go of her magic and sinks down, letting out a tired huff.
  301. >You smile at her before the stallion approaches the basket, backwinging in front of you to hover smoothly in front of the basket.
  302. >"So! I heard there was a particular only-human-in-equestria who wanted to interview the best damn branch of the Equestrian Royal Guard around these parts and I just had to visit for myself."
  303. >The Guard puffs up his chest and you can't help but smirk.
  304. >These ponies are just too damn cute.
  305. >Lethal combatants or not, they're all silly ponies.
  306. "You heard right. Anon Anonymous, at your service, and I thank you and your guard for being at ours. Lt. Wall?"
  307. >"Dead on, Call me Cloud Wall. Glad to see you and your friends here are fine Mr. Anonymous. What was that about having radio equipment?"
  308. >The stallion looks hopeful even as his guard shifts their flying formation, taking on something more defensive looking as two unhook some sturdy looking rope and hook it up to the front of your basket to act as a tow crew.
  309. >Good service.
  310. "My Balloon works as a portable studio when we're traveling to events and allows me to broadcast just about anywhere, but it's short range. I've got the parts to make repairs to just about any kind of radio but we need more juice."
  311. >The stallion frowns, looking worried.
  312. >"Damnedest timing. Like I said, our tower went out not too long ago and we haven't been able to get a single wing over to it to see what's up."
  313. >He taps his collar, letting you see the radio strapped to his neck.
  314. >Good to see that Shining Armor and the Princesses took your advice.
  315. >"Short-wave has been working fine, we're able to keep personal communication up, but we were mid-call with Canterlot when the connection dropped."
  316. >"Canterlot, but then somepony might have figured out something was wrong!"
  317. >That was Octavia chiming in, looking hopeful only to droop when Wall shakes his head.
  318. >"Unfortunately said call was just a standard check in, and the report was mostly done at that time. Our tower has been on the fritz and this isn't the first time we had a call drop."
  319. >The armored stallion lands inside the basket, frowning heavily.
  320. >"Of course now with you three and confirmed changelings in the area, I'm starting to wonder if we've actually been having trouble at all."
  321. >You groan and pinch the bridge of your nose.
  322. "You suspect changeling infiltrators."
  323. >"Smart being."
  324. >Vinyl lets out a groaning sound and flops to her side, obviously not pleased with the news.
  325. >"You and me both Sister."
  326. >The Guardsstallion huffs and nods his head, looking at the pegasi flying formation.
  327. >"I can vouch for everypony currently with us, and most of the ones back at the ATC. We've got changeling sappers installed and those can put a hard stop to any changeling trying to infiltrate here, but the Radio Tower is a completely different question."
  328. >The stallion turns to you and tilts his head.
  329. >"I'm honestly surprised you didn't try to make a break for Appleoosa. Wouldn't a big population center like this be the last place you'd want to do during a Changeling invasion? To many ponies to have to guess on."
  330. >You hold up a finger and pause.
  331. >Fuck.
  332. >The man's got a point.
  333. >You honestly didn't consider that at all.
  334. >Ok, no worries, fake it till you make it.
  335. "It's the radio tower- we have to get a message out somehow, and even if we made it to Appleoosa, which judging by how the 'lings were trying to shoot us out of the sky or us directly, might not have happened, it still wouldn't change the fact that we didn't have a way to get a message out."
  336. >The guard nods in understanding.
  337. >"Oh, yeah, that makes sense.
  338. "That, and we wouldn't have time to wait around for a train to show up."
  339. >Now he looks confused.
  340. >"A train?"
  341. "We could hook the balloon to it like a blimp-train and get pulled towards Ponyville. They've got a quality radio tower there and it would be easy to get the message out."
  342. >The guard frowns.
  343. >"I get it, but you wouldn't know if a train was there or not, or if it was ready to go, or even going the right way."
  344. >You now see why this stallion is an officer.
  345. "You're following pretty solidly."
  346. >He grins before he puts a hoof to his collar.
  347. >"Gusty, this is Lt.- we've got the emergency under control, we're enroute to the ATC. How copy?"
  348. >Your radio speaks up as he's talking and you can hear Gusty's response over it.
  349. >"Loud and clear Sir, all flights are currently grounded to clear path for the emergency."
  350. >"Good girl, keep 'em that way. Wall out."
  351. >He drops his hoof and nods.
  352. >"Should be a shorter trip with the tow. We'll get you to the Guards Base and figure out a plan from there."
  353. >You let out a relieved sigh and sit down, Vinyl and Octavia smiling at the Lt.
  354. "Thank you Cloud Wall."
  355. >The stallion's smile droops a bit and he takes on a more serious expression.
  356. >"Don't thank me yet, thank me once we get a line to the Princess and turn these bugs back and out of Equestria again."
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