Equestria Girls: Beast Hunters (MLP, Mild AU)

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Darkryt, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Darkryt

    Darkryt Combiner Enthusiast

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    Hello. Can anyone hear this transmission? My name is Autobot Ratchet of Team Prime. four million years ago, I was part of a war that destroyed my home planet, Cybertron. Six years ago, that war had come to a small planet called Earth, where it continued into a stalemate. Three years ago, the balance of power shifted with the unexpected arrival of alien unicorns and pegasi from an undiscovered planet called "Equestria" not listed on any known interstellar database.

    With the help of these . . . Ponies, we were able to slay Megatron, and several other high-ranking Decepticons, and bring the war to an end.

    Now, after all that time, The Autobots and Ponies need to come together to save us both from an unexpected enemy . . .


    The very humans we once swore to protect.


    EQUESTRIA GIRLS:
    BEAST HUNTERS
    Written By Darkryt Orbinautz

    Featuring the voices of . . .

    Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
    Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle and Twlya Sparks,
    Peter Mensah as Predaking
    David Sobolov as Shockwave, Depth Charge,
    Gregg Burger as Grimlock
    Ashleigh Ball as Applejack and Rainbow Dash
    Tabitha St. Germaine as Rarity and Princess Luna
    Nicole Oliver as Princess Celestia
    Andrea Libman as Fluttershy, Flurrie, and Pinkie Pie
    Andrew Francis as Shining Armor
    Michael Ironside as Commander Magnum
    Rebecca Shoichet as Sunset Shimmer
    Neil Ross as Ultra Magnus


    Based on the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Transformers Prime: Cartoon shows by Hasbro Studios. ​


    Today was August 14th, 2013. The time was 3:54 PM

    Theodore Galloway was sitting in his office in The White House, the central stronghold of the US government.

    Theodore was a scrawny, reedy sort of man. He was short, and he wore very large, distracting glasses that helped detract from his almost always gritted teeth. His nose was large for a man his size, but not nearly as large as his ego. He had short, well-groomed brown hair on his head, and like any government official worth his salt, he always wore a fine suit.

    Theodore was browsing through the various laws and legislatures of his own country, trying to determine the best way to lawfully subvert them to his own ends.

    He heard a deafening blast come from the sky outside. The acoustics suggested it had been just above the signature dome of The White House.

    He was sure it was nothing to worry about.

    Recently, a woman -(well, unicorn) by the name of Twilight Sparkle had recently made a threat on the government – his government – to release criminals known as "the Autobots" and repeal their status as criminals.

    Naturally, given that his ability to temporarily displace the true President came from his ability to get the Autobots blacklisted to begin with, this is something Galloway wouldn't be willing to do.

    He wasn't worried, though. He had made a deal with Fearswoop, the leader of The Forged to protect his country. He had Shining Armor, Twilight Sparkle's military brother, and his Crystal Ponies. on his side. He doubted Twilight could muster the will to challenge a settlement her own brother was protecting.

    Galloway heard another blast go off. Then there was a knock on the door.

    "Come in." Galloway granted permission.

    It was a brilliant white unicorn, Shining Armor, clad in armor. . .and his wife, Princess Cadence, a beautifully pink unicorn with wings in a dress.

    "What seems to be the problem?" Galloway asked, folding his papers against his desk and locking his fingers together.

    "It's, uh." Shining Armor stammered. "It's Twiley, Mister President. She's here."

    "And?"

    "And she wasn't kidding. She's got everything pounding on us out there."

    "Everything?" Galloway questioned.

    "Yeah." Shining said with a sad nod of his head. "She's got Autobots, Canterlot Guards, Predacons, the Army Rangers. . .they're really giving us the run-around."

    "Call Fearswoop." Galloway commanded.

    "Yes, sir." Shining Armor saluted and turned around and started pressing his hoof against an intercom placed on the wall. "Fearswoop. Come in, Fearswoop."

    There was a worryingly long silence before there was a static buzz, followed by a reply. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't the reply they were hoping for.

    "I'm sorry, Captain." Came a young, but wizened voice. "Fearswoop can't answer the phone right now!"

    Shining Armor blinked blankly. "Well, slag." He turned towards Galloway. "Mister President, it is my professional opinion as Captain of Celestia's Royal Guard. . .

    that we're pretty much fragged."

    ***​
    Outside, Twilight Sparkle, a lavender unicorn mare, was walking alongside two other unicorn girls towards The White House. The blue pony on her left was in a cloak, while the yellow on her right was in a hooded cowl. Twilight herself was in a segmented white armor plating, carefully laid out over her body except in for her thighs and face. A stylized symbol of a red, stoic face with two wings extending from it.

    There was an enormous line of defense composed of tanks, drones, and snipers that were in front of the the magical force field guarding The White House, but it meant nothing to her. Her armor was superior in numbers, in variety, in weapons, and in training. There was nothing Shining Armor, Fearswoop, or Galloway could do that would successfully prevent her strike force from pushing forward.

    Twilight's armor rattled as she moved, but it was barely audible over the din of exploding glass and steel.

    A girl, an odd girl in a school uniform with candy-green skin, stepped in front of Twilight, between her and the tanks.

    "Hello." Twilight greeted her coldly.

    "You can't do this!" The girl said to her. "The humans- WE humans have the same Constitutional rights as you do!"

    Twilight gave her a particularly furious glare. "That's funny, Heartstrings. Galloway didn't seem too particularly concerned about protecting our Constitutional rights."

    Heartstrings stood strong, crossing her arms. "I'm not budging."

    "That's nice." Twilight said, trotting around Heartstrings. Heartstrings scoffed and raised her hand, meaning to say something, but the yellow unicorn trotted up and clocked Heartstings in the face. Heartstrings dropped to the ground.

    "Good work, Susan." Twilight coldly complimented.

    On Twilight's ear, there was a circular, spiky earpiece. A leftover tech from when she was running with the wrong crowd: she mostly kept it as a souvenir, but it was still functional. "Predaking, Demolition Team is up."

    Over the roar and cackle of the burning wrecks there were U.S tanks, mechanical beasts flew out of the flames, humungous wings spread wide. One was a serpentine, quadrupedal black dragon with orange over its wings. One was a dragon with alternating blues for colors, with wings like icicles and horns on its head. The last one was green and grey, built like a bear with an eagle's head and wings.

    All three beasts swerved around the air, narrowly avoiding the mortar fire of the determined US tanks below. One good pilot was able to get a lucky shot on the blue, but the dragon did a barrel roll and shook it off.

    Roaring ferociously, the three beasts rose up into the air and stretched their toothy maws wide. An orange light formed from their the base of their throats and traveled upwards, eventually exiting their mouths in the form of humongous fireballs, though though the blue dragon's fire was blue instead of orange. The fireballs hit the forcefield forcefully, and it changed to a lighter hue. A sure sign it had been weakened by the dragons' fire, but it had yet to fall.

    Twilight's horn began glowing light, and cast off a blinding flash. When it was gone, she, Susan, and the blue unicorn were behind the tanks and in front of the barrier.

    Twilight raised her hoof towards Susan. "Dark Energon infusion."

    Neither Susan or the blue unicorn did anything, only looking ahead at the force field in front of them.

    Twilight grunted at Susan. "I SAID Dark Energon infusion!"

    "Oh!" Susan exclaimed, reaching into her cowl and pulling out a medical syringe full of a thick, purple fluid. She fumbled with it her hooves before Twilight took the syringe. Twilight stabbed it through the gap in her armor straight into her thigh. The effects were immediate. The whites of Twilight's eyes turned purple, filling up like a liquid being poured in.

    Eyes flaring up with dark power, Twilight cast out a lightning bolt from her horn that struck the forcefield. The contrasting magical energies flashed and thundered, but the forcefield eventually gave way and fell in half before disappearing into thin air. It was like watching someone take a whip to warm butter. Twilight activated her earpiece again.

    "Neutralization Squad, you're up."

    Shining Armor and Cadence were both roughly shoved out into the room, where the Rangers whom were shoving them stepped, continuing to poke and prod at Shining's and Cadence's rumps until they were comfortably out of the way for the arrival of a third party.

    Twilight Sparkle had arrived.

    "Twilight Sparkle." Galloway hissed, banging his fist against the desk. The coffee mug on the desk gave a little shake. "So!" Galloway made a gesture through the air, "you've finally come crawling to me."

    "Crawling?" Twilight repeated, aghast at his arrogance. "Please, Theodore, don't flatter yourself. I barged my way in."

    "It's Galloway!"

    "Twiley, you're not really going through with this, are you?" Shining approached his sister.

    "Yes, yes I am." Twilight hissed at him.

    Shining held his gaze on her and stood up tall. "I'm sorry, Twiley, but if you go through with this, you'll have to go through me!"

    Twilight squinted at him with a look that was almost contemptuous.

    Twilight stomped her hoof in an approximation of a clap. In the blink of an eye, Agent William Fowler and Captain William Lennox (no relation) were in the room, pointing a handgun and a rifle at Shining, respectively.

    Shining Armor took a few horrified steps back. "What? No . . . no, Twiley, you wouldn't shoot me!"

    "You're absolutely right, B.B.F.F.F! I would never shoot you! You're my big brother, and I love you."

    "And at the same time, its my duty as a royal guard to protect Galloway." Shining Armor sharply retorted. "I guess we're at an impasse, huh?" He added smugly.

    "Yes." Twilight said.

    Twilight turned to Lennox and cocked her head at Shining Armor. Lennox refocused the aim of his gun on Shining's horn and pulled the trigger, but instead of a bullet coming out, a small stream of electricity did. The electricity connected to Shining's horn, sending him sprawling onto his side.

    "Thankfully, I thought of a workaround." Twilight gloated, briskly stepping over her brother's spazzing body.

    "So you're here." Galloway said, resting his fingers on the desk.

    "That's right." Twilight said arrogantly, a deliberate, faux-hubris oozing from her every word, meaning to make herself as insufferable to Galloway as possible. "I'm here. I'm right here, in your throne room, and there's nothing you can do about it." Twilight got to Galloway's desk and reared up, slamming her hooves down on the wood with a hard thunk sound emitting from it.

    Twilight's expression seemed to soften, and the tension in her muscles lessened ever so slightly as she took her hooves off the desk. Twilight trotted around the desk and got uncomfortably close to Galloway's side, brushing her neck over his shoulder, leaning in to look at his computer screen.

    She raised her hoof and forcefully slammed a button on the keyboard.

    "Watch it! You'll break it!" Galloway exclaimed.

    Twilight gave him a warning glare to remind him who was in power here. Galloway got the hint.

    "Now. . ." Twilight said, putting on a much more pleasant face now that she was sure she had Galloway's full cooperation. "What are are my demands?"

    Twilight teased Galloway by brushing her chin with her hoof in a gesture of uncertainty, but Galloway knew she was just taking the time to draw this out longer than it needed to be. Solely for the sake of torturing him.

    "Why are you dragging this out, Princess Sparkle?"

    Sparkle gave him a furious glare. "That's COMMANDER SPARKLE!" She screamed at him, going out of her way to spray her disgusting space-horse slobber all over his face. "And YOU certainly didn't seem to mind dragging us out as you stripped away our every inalienable right!"

    Galloway leered. "As aliens, inalienable rights don't apply to you."

    Twilight narrowed her eyes at him and glared. "Mister President, your cooperation is completely trivial to whether or not I achieve my goals."

    Twilight struck his cheek with her hoof, slamming his head so hard it fell into the edge of his desk. Galloway pushed himself up, blood leaking from his lips.

    "So I strongly suggest you cooperate. Now," Twilight said pleasantly, faked table manners returning, "how about we start with repealing Optimus Prime's terrorist status?"


    Date: 5 Months Ago, March 16.

    Planet: Cybertron

    Time: 10: 47 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

    City: Nova Cronum Ruins

    ***

    Time Turner walked out onto the empty street, seamlessly blending into the marching, mixed crowd. More than once, he had to apologize for accidentally scraping a Vehicon's boot with the blunt edge of his horseshoe. He wasn't at all nervous about the meeting, or how so many different people with so many different viewpoints would be gathered together under one roof. . .or lack thereof.

    Time Turner was a Pony. An Equestrian Pony, meaning he had come from a planet called Equestria, a whole, lively planet full of ponies just like him. Ponies that could do things, "boring non-talky Earth horses" couldn't. Ponies that talked, performed magic spells as part of their daily lives, and most bizarrely, could throw up. (Earth-horses couldn't do that)

    These Ponies had developed their own society, architecture, and even a monarchy headed by the beautiful Princess Celestia and her royal family.

    Today, Time Turner was one of the many going into the lecture leading up to the first peace talk between the Autobots, Shockwave's New Decepticons, the United States, and Celestia herself.

    Now, they were going into the peace talk itself: that wasn't due til the end of the week. They were going to a lecture, meant to inform the uninitiated about what the peace talk was about, and why it was so significant to everyone.

    At least, that was the way that charming Optimus Prime fellow put it. This other bloke, Wheeljack, put it in simpler terms:

    "Basically, if you've been living under a rock for the last two months, this'll help get you up to speed."

    Apparently, a bunch of ponies helped end a 4 millennium long war for the Autobots. So, as the famous pony Rainbow Dash put it:

    "This is a REALLY BIG DEAL and you hoomans, like, TOTALLY NEED TO SLAGGING CARE ABOUT THIS!"

    They were then helpfully informed that "slagging" was a Cybertronian expletive by a very cranky, disappointed sounding white Cybertronian with a red crest on his head.

    The Cybertronians. . .themselves an alien lifeforms to both humans and Ponies. Though some of the higher-minded Cybertronians were quick to point that to them, the Ponies and humans were the aliens.

    The Cybertronians were by far the most varied and complex of the three species involved. At least the Ponies and humans were mammals. The Cybertroians were robots – living robots, living technology with the ability to transform into all manners of vehicles and beasts. Name it, there's probably been at least one recorded instance of Cybertronian who transformed into.

    At least one.

    The Cybertronians could vary wildly in the build of their bodies. Oh sure, the same could be said of hoomans and ponies, technically, because there were Asian humans and "black" (those were a puzzler. To a Cybertronian's optics and a Pony's eyes, the people being called "black" were actually "brown", and sometimes not even dark enough to be that)

    For ponies, they came in any color from bright red, to white, to light cyan to pink to white again. But they least had consistences between them. They had faces, two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two ears, and for the ponies, tails. They also had these bizarre markings on their haunches called Cutie Marks that varied from individual to individual.

    Meanwhile, the Cybertronians came all manners of different sizes and build. Such was the case with being living robots; they had greater versatility in how their bodies they could be while still being functional. Some had a faceplate covering their mouths, some had visors masking their optics. Some went so far as to have both. Some were small, others "average" sized, (or as average as possible with that kind of variety). Some were tall and large. Yet others were gigantic and towering. Some almost human looking, others like insects or dinosaurs. Being able to transform, they sometimes had bits and pieces of their alternative modes hanging off various parts of their body - colloquially known as "kibble."

    The Vehicons, in particular, looked as though their arms were made entirely out of side panels, and their shoulders ended in either square blocks with wheels or wings that pointed upwards. They each had a silver bucket for their heads, blank except for the red visor serving as their eyes, and wide, flat chests with heavy thick "boots" for feet.

    Time Turner, as he walked next to humans who barely came up to his chest, and Cybertronians that he barely reached up the ankle of, wasn't worried at all. The fact the Cybertronians were just now rolling off the effects of a war that lasted for millennium and was so epic, it consumed not just their world, but several other worlds in its wake did not bother him in the slightest.

    "Hey! You! Get back on there!" A gruff, rumbling voice shouted.

    Time Turner stopped and looked up at the roof tops. Standing guard from the roofs of buildings were a Vehicon, painted silver and black – some sort of new "elite" Vehicon "general" according to the press release. They were chasing down some sort of insect creature, one like a pony, but not. Whereas a pony had fur, this thing had a hard carapace, fangs, and it had both a short horn and a pair of bug-like wings, with heartless blue eyes.

    The Vehicon Generals quickly subdued it. One converted his arm, which broke apart and shifted into a black, triangular barrel, and shot it with a red laser. The laser electrocuted the creature, bringing it to a stop. The other General stomped it down to squeeze the air out of it.

    With the creature defeated, the Vehicons picked up and walked back towards what seemed to be a a huge, green, rectangular satellite array with a grid pattern running through it. On the array were hundreds of the same creature, bound by wall shackles to the array. Cords ending in jumper cables were clamped firmly on the horns of the insectoid horse-things, sucking out and redirecting their power.

    The Vehicon generals began fidgeting with the creature in their claws, eventually reattaching to the brutal harness of the array.

    Time Turner frowned.

    The creatures were known as Changelings. They came from Equestria, and they were blood-sucking parasites. With magical abilities, they shifted into the forms of family members and took their place, feeding off their family's love for them. It was vicious and cruel, but as far Time Turner cared, stringing them up en masse and using them as batteries was crueler.

    "Changeling Batteries", that's what they were called. Changeling Batteries. That's what Lord Shockwave called them in interviews.

    To sweeten the deal between Equestrians and Cybertronians, Shockwave had the oh-so-brilliant idea of using the Changelings' magic to power the dead world of Cybertron.

    Cybertron was in itself mechanical. A mechanical world for mechanical beings, and because of the damage the war did, it completely shut down, and was unable to host life anymore. Even mechanical life they had been suited to its environment. But seeing the Changelings' magical ability to shapeshift, and their parasitic nature meant they offered no value to Equestrian society, Shockwave figured it be an all right thing to tie them up by their horns and forcefully suck the magic out of them to fuel Cybertron's dead cells.

    He was right. . .it had been a good idea. With a ruthlessness that the Decepticons had been known for, squads had been dispatched to Equestria to hunt down, neutralize, and bring back Changelings to be used in the Batteries. Through a series of wires, the Batteries delivered power to Cybertron's innermost cells and brought the planet back to a state of habitability.

    It was a good deal; the Equestrians got rid of a pest, and the Cybertronians got a power supply strong enough for their entire planet.

    It didn't settle right with Time Turner, though. He didn't like the idea of an entire species being reduced to the purpose of a battery, no matter how parasitic and detrimental. By what right did the Cybertronians become arbiters of the fate of an entire species? It was something he intended to bring up at the lecture.

    "Ah," Time Turner remarked to himself when the crowd he was following stopped. "We must be here."

    Time Turner looked at the door the crowd had stopped in front of. It was shaped like a trapezoid, made of grey, worn steel, and split down the middle like an elevator door. Being scaled for Cybertronians, it could have fitted several dozen Ponies or humans at once, but for a Cybertronian, it wasn't that impressive.

    "Wow!" A unicorn pony exclaimed at the door's sheer size.

    "Huh?" A stray Autobot murmured, confused by the pony's awe. To him, the door was nothing special.

    The crowd proceeded into the door, where they were greeted by an expansive, cool-grey metallic hallway. Alongside the corners of the hallway were glowing green lines, electronic conduits. Normally they would be blue, but under the influence of the Changeling Batteries, they were the noxious green color of the parasites' magic.

    The crowd proceed to walk into the hall. They were several doors in the hall, but eventually they met up with an Autobot standing guard. He was colored a flat, matte white, with the wings of an air plane fanned from his shoulders, with what seemed to the glass cockpit of a fighter jet embedded vertically in his chest. His face was silver, with blue eyes, a nose, a mouth. (which the raised question of why a robot needed a nose. . .) Aside from the obvious jet parts hanging off him and his size, he looked almost human.

    "G'day." He greeted them in a slightly Australian-accented voice, raising his hand at them. "Name's Jetfire. The lecture's right this way." Jetfire gestured his hand towards the door he was guarding. "Go right on in, mates. Sorry 'bout the accent; been on Nebulous for a spell. If you have any questions after the lecture, please redirect them to me, all right? Go on in."

    Everyone in the crowd nodded, and then went into the door. On the other side of the door was a truly massive lecture hall, just like one in a high school, except fit to house dozens of the largest of Cybertronians, with a number of stepladders thrown to give the smaller organics somewhere to sit. Dozens of half-circle silver tables were laid out next to the stairs.

    "Yes, yes, enter!" Called a tall, bulky Autobot, standing on the platform where a teacher would be. His chest was a perfect square, and there was an intimidating cannon hinged onto his right shoulder. He was mostly red, with some clean applications of blue and black paint on his body. His face looked mostly normal, except for a translucent eyepiece that fell over his right eye, and black, military helmet that encircled his face.

    "Take your seat, please." he bade them, pointing to the tables.

    The crowd went up the stairs and began migrating into packs, taking up the seats. The empty chairs were filled with waiting, crossed, anxious hands, hooves, and servos.

    "Hello." The Autobot on the stand greeted them, pushing a button on a keypad pressed into his podium. A blue hologram of a screen unfurled from the console, showing various streams of data meaningless to non-scientific minds. "My name is Perceptor. I have been instructed by my superiors to give an abbreviated lecture of the Autobot-Decepticon Great War to you, from its onset to its recent end, so that you will understand the significance of the meetings to be held within the week."

    "Now," Perceptor said, pushing various buttons within the console. "I know I have a tendency to ramble, so I have brought in some of the heroes of the century – possibly all centuries, as far as I'm concerned. Please welcome," Perceptor gestured towards the door as six ponies trotted into the door.

    "Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkimenia Diane Pie."

    Five ponies stepped into the room. A lavender, purple-haired unicorn with a stripe of pink down her hair, and a six-pointed star on her haunch, with eyes as purple as her hair, which was cut into bangs. This was Twilight Sparkle.

    Pinkie Pie was a bubblegum pink, wingless, hornless pony with curly hair like cotton candy and balloons on her flank, and blue eyes like the sky.

    Fluttershy was a butter yellow pegasus with light pink hair in an elegant style, and some of the biggest green eyes ever seen on an organic being.

    Applejack was an orange pony with her blonde hair tied back into a ponytail, wearing a Stetson, with freckles over her cheeks and apples on her haunches. Rarity was a white unicorn with dark, dark purple hair and striking diamond eyes, with her hair in a curling coiffure, and finally, Rainbow Dash a dark cyan pegasus with messy hair colored like a rainbow and reddish-purple eyes.

    Each pony climbed the ladder for them on the teacher platform. The entire crowd burst out into applause. Some enthusiastic, some uncertain, some just applauding to be polite.

    One pony in the crowd let out a whistle and waved, calling Twilight's name. "Twilight! Hey! Twilight, you remember me!? Moondancer!? From Canterlot!?"

    The other five ponies glared at the Twilight, who blushed sheepishly.

    Twilight cleared her throat, tapping the microphone with her hoof. "Hello, everypony!" The microphone amplified her voice, making it loud enough for the entire crowd to hear clearly, even from the back of the room.

    There was some murmuring in the crowd, mostly by the humans.

    "I see you muttering!" Twilight snapped through the microphone. "Unfortunately, this lecture is about the end of the Great War. If you wish to attend a lecture about differences in human, Cybertronian, and pony vernacular, there are other lectures for that available. Ahem." Twilight cleared her throat again.

    "I don't know your reason for being here today." Twilight continued. "Maybe you don't know what's been going on for the past few months. In the case of some Auto- Cybertronians in the crowd," Twilight corrected herself. There were some Cybertronians in the audience clearly from the Decepticon side of the fence, but she understood that she continued to use the Decepticons as a label, this new peace would never last. "You've probably been to the edge of space and come back, and have no idea what's changed since you been gone, right?"

    There was some affirmative muttering from the crowd.

    "Okay!" Twilight declared. She turned towards Perceptor. "Take it away, Professor!"

    "You flatter me, dear." Perceptor stoically commented before pushing a series of input commands into the console.

    The holographic screen of date flicked in and out of existence, before shifting into an orbital view of-

    "Cybertron." Perceptor said. "The very planet on which we now stand. . .as it was some four million years ago."

    The view of Cybetron showed as a gleaming, shining landscape in the shape of a planet, covered in blue, glowing lines of alien energy.

    "Our society was ruled by a caste system, one that became corrupt and dysfunctional." Perceptor explained. "Over time, one mech, one man, if you will, decided he would end the corruption – through force, if necessary. This mech's name was Megatron."

    Even among the uninitiated, a shadow of fear swept over the room.

    "Megatron challenged the cruel Senate which had enforced this caste system on us, along with his friendly rival, Orion Pax. Pax and Megatron, though friendly, had conflicting views on the best approach to revolutionize society for the better. Their different values came into a head when they jointly confronted the Senate and its stagnation. In the course of their hearing -"

    "Time!" Twilight Sparkle interrupted. "Perceptor, an abbreviated history, remember?"

    "Oh. Yes. Right." Perceptor nervously adjusted his monocle. "Thank you, Miss Sparkle. Ahem. Suffice to say, Megatron was able to gather followings enough to plunge Cybertron into a civil war which utterly destroyed it."

    Perceptor pushed a button, and the blue glowing lines on the hologram of Cybertron began slowly going out, one by one. . .

    The ponies in the room gasped. The lines were a direct indicator of Cybertron's health and status as a planet; no lines meant there was no power. . .and no power meant there was no life.

    "Our world ended, but sadly, our war did not. We spread across the stars in search of a new home, but alas, our conflict continued, carrying countless casualties in its wake."

    Perceptor pressed a button again. The hologram changed into a fleet of Cybertronian space-faring vessels, floating aimlessly across a starry backdrop. The hologram showed several of those vessels exploding without warning or reason.

    "As demonstrated, our numbers dwindled, on both sides. The war continued for year after year after bloody year. . .but then one day, by sheer chance, by the slimmest margin of fate. . . the kind of decision only gods could possibly have any influence over-!"

    "Perceptor!" Twilight snapped again.

    "Right, right, apologies, apologies. . .not even sure why I said that, I don't believe in gods. . .Ahem!" Perceptor snapped to attention and hit the button on the console again. This time, it switched to a view of a forward swept Cybertron starship, covered in edges and jags and spikes and things. The hologram projector showed the starship exploding, its wreckage falling through space until it the atmosphere of a planet below. . .a planet that looked pink and brown, like it was covered in candy and chocolate.

    "By sheer chance, an Autobot ambush trap was able to down the Decepticon aerial command vessel, the Nemesis, their flagship. It fell on Equestria. And On Equestria. . ." Perceptor said, his voice raising slightly. "Megatron went to work doing what he did best; enslaving, conquering, overthrowing authority and causing anarchy! But these ponies – the very ponies I have with us now, in fact! - rose up and defeated Megatron! Megatron and his forces repaired their broken ship and retreated back to the stars. . ."

    The hologram changed again, this time to some horrific chimera creature, like a cross between a serpent and a donkey, with an antler on its head and a fang in its snout, with red irises inside yellow eyes.

    "But in the chaos, an Equestria prisoner, named Discord, escaped on the Nemesis. Princess Celestia, the matriarch of Equestria, uncomfortable with the idea of Discord loose on the cosmos, dispatched these same ponies into space to apprehend him. This had the unintended side effect of getting these ponies involved in the Autobot-Decepticon Great War, as it was being carried on Earth, in secret, where Optimus Prime and Megatron themselves were personally leading the factions." Perceptor elaborated.

    "Now, a bunch of things happened after that." Perceptor said, with the projector flashing between various events and happenings, from Fluttershy running from some green, horrible demonic Decepticon, to what seemed to be Twilight Sparkle being killed by an ax to the neck and being resurrected by stabbing a violet crystal into the hole in her chest.

    In real time, Twilight seemed to blush at the whole affair.

    "Quite a lot of things. You can ask these ponies for elaboration of specific events."

    A human in the audience raised their hand.

    "Yes, good sir?" Perceptor asked.

    "Um, yes." The human stuttered. "Why can't you tell us more?"

    "Abbreviated history." Perceptor answered in a echo of Twilight's earlier reminder. "Ultimately, the ponies provided an unlikely advantage and even more unlikely catalyst for the end of the war. Optimus Prime finally ended Megatron's. . .life, and the rest of the Decepticons caused soon followed."

    The hologram, rather than show the brutal maiming of Megatron, the hologram showed a Decepticon insignia, which slowly crumbled away into a dust.

    Several Decepticons in the room began to shift uncomfortably, nervously twiddling their fingers and awkwardly turning their heads and faking coughs.

    "In the process, the secret war ceased to be secret, and the human public became aware of the presence of robot and pony aliens in their midst. Oh, but that wasn't the end of the story, oh no!" Perceptor added.

    Time Turner rubbed his hooves together. The moment he was waiting for was drawing near. . .

    "Shockwave, stationed on the dead Cybertron. . ." The hologram shifted into a Decepticon. A large, bulky purple Decepticon with a single red, crystalline optic for a face, a cannon for an arm, and a large, prominent window-like protrusion on his chest. "Ran some hypothetical simulations and transported himself to Equestria, where he reasoned with the Princess to give him unrestricted access to the Changeling creatures living there. From there, Shockwave was able to extrapolate the Changeling's natural energies into powering Cybertron's dead Energon deposits, thus bringing the planet back to life. Cybertron, rejuvenated by Shockwave's. . . dark science, sent out a signal, and all the Autobots and Decepticons spread across space slowly but surely began to trickle their way back home. . .which brings us to today, where the Earthen, Equestrian, and Cybetronian governments are in peace talks about what to do moving forward."

    Time Turner raised his hoof.

    "Yes, sir?" Perceptor said, noticing right away.

    "Yes, I have a question." Time Turner said with a bit of a growl. "Under what right do the Cybertronians have to harness the Changelings in such a brutal manner?"

    Perceptor's eyebrows shot up. "I'm. . . not sure what you mean."

    "Why does Shockwave get to decide what happens to the Changelings!?" Time Turner demanded. "They're sentient! They have rights!"

    Time Turner presumably would have continued on after that, but there was a static feedback from a microphone being adjusted.

    All eyes turned to Twilight Sparkle.

    "The Changelings are violent, rabid, and uncontrollable." Twilight explained. "Their only goal is literally to connive, back stab, and manipulate."

    "Perhaps, but where in any of that does that mean Shockwave can decide their future?"

    "They contribute nothing to Equestrian society, or any society!" Twilight responded furiously.

    Perceptor narrowed his eyes, reflecting on what the Changelings had done. He didn't really know the specifics of why Twilight was so vehemently against them, or why Celestia reluctantly agreed to let them be harnessed, but he did know that when he left Cybetron that long four million years ago. . . it had been dead. Unable to produce Energon, the life source of all Cybertronian beings. That Cybertron's sparkling cities had been tarnished and rusted, and its beautiful landscapes crushed under the rubble and ruin of broken houses. And he knew when he returned, Shockwave's harnessing of the Changelings changed all that; landscapes were terraformed, rusted was removed, and homes were rebuilt. He only knew that much, and nothing more.

    "MH-HMM!" Perceptor cleared his throat forcefully.

    "I'm sorry, Time Turner, and Twilight Sparkle, but the ethics of using Changelings in this manner is not the topic of this lecture."

    "I think you're avoiding the question!" Time Turner accused, leveling his hoof at Perceptor. Perceptor merely stared back at Time Turner with a blank, stony expression.

    There was another screech of feedback.

    "Perceptor is . . . right." Rarity said. She bit her lip. "While it is a very . . . sensitive issue, its not the topic of this lecture."

    Time Turner pouted and huffed, but he dropped back into his seat without a word.

    "Perhaps you'd like to make a complaint to Optimus Prime or Celestia." Perceptor suggested. "They are very compassionate beings, and I'm sure you they will hear you out. Now, if you have any more questions, ask Jetfire on your way out. I must take a recess before I give this exact lecture again to others."

    The crowd began getting out of their seats, slowly leaving the room. Perceptor began rewinding the hologram projector back to its start.

    The ponies, watching the crowd leave, began to get a little queasy in their stomachs. Fluttershy especially. All six of them climbed down from their pedestals, Fluttershy looking queasy.

    "Fluttershy?" Twilight noticed. "What's wrong?"

    "Oh, it's . . . nothing." Fluttershy fibbed, turning her head away.

    "Hey." Twilight put her hoof around Fluttershy's neck. "Come on, Fluttershy. If something's worrying you, you need to tell us about. We're your friends."

    "Oh, all right. . .when, um, Time Turner spoke up about the Changeling Batteries, you seemed pretty intent on keeping them there, Twilight." Fluttershy recounted.

    "Yeah?" Twilight said, encouraging Fluttershy to go on.

    "Well, it's just . . . are you sure its right to keep them there?" Fluttershy asked. "I mean, they do have feelings."

    "Fluttershy." Twilight's voice hardened. "Give me one good reason why the Changelings should be let off their leash."

    "Umm . . . freedom is the right of all sentient beings?"

    "Yeah!" Twilight huffed. "A freedom which the Changelings abuse to cause disorder and chaos! Maybe you forgot about the time they almost took over Canterlot?"

    "No, but . . ."

    "But what!?" Twilight demanded.

    Fluttershy whimpered and backed away. Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity all glared disapprovingly at Twilight.

    Twilight sighed and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Fluttershy, it's just. . . I can't think of any reason why we wouldn't the Changelings to stay where they are. It keeps us safe from them, and it gives the Auto-the Cybertronians their home back. It's really a win-win situation."

    "Okay . . ." Fluttershy mumbled. "I guess you're right. . ."

    Twilight rolled her eyes. She could tell Fluttershy was still having strong doubts, but she didn't want to press the issue any more. "Come on. Let's all go get some lunch."
    [hr]
    Outside the lecture hall building, Time Turner broke away from the pack and went over to the side to reflect on what happened inside the hall. That Twilight fellow seemed very against the idea of Changeling rights, almost to the point of violence.

    Time Turner could only stop and stare at the blank slate wall of the city walls, wondering what happened to make Twilight so bitter against the Changeling creatures. They were actually kind of cute to Time Turner, in a way. But Time Turner was known to friends for his eccentricity, so that may not be the best grounds to fight his case on.

    Time Turner sighed and looked up at the Battery giving power to this city block. Row upon row of gagged bug-pony, with cords strapped to their horns and gags in their mouths, having the power sucked out of them to keep a city alive. . . it just wasn't right.

    "Hello." A soft voice called to Time Turner. He turned around and his eyes widened, as a very tall pony with very longs was approaching him. A beautiful, alabaster white mare with a gravity-defying mane, dressed with gold plating over her hooves and chest, a shiny crown on her head, just before her very long, very long horn. Her large wings were tucked at her sides.

    "Princess Celestia!" Time Turner exclaimed, his first response being to bow at the Princess' hooves. "What are you doing here?"

    "Oh, I was just taking a walk." Celestia replied noncommittally, but Time Turner felt like there was more to it than that. She adjusted her head, appearing quite interested in the Battery. "What are you looking at, Mister. . .?"

    "Time Turner. And what I'm looking at is this Changeling Battery here!" Time Turner flailed his hooves at it.

    "What about it?" Celestia asked kindly.

    "It's disgusting!" Time Turner spat. "No one – NO ONE has the right to decide that a species to is be chained up and used like that! Not you, not Optimus Prime, not Shockwave, no one!"

    Celestia stared at him for a long time, turning completely silent. She had been a bit perky when she arrived, but now her lips were skewing downward in solemnity.

    Time Turner pursed his lips. He felt a little bad that he made Celestia, the kind, caring and happy Princess of the Ponies, sad. He felt like he had a good point about the Changelings, but he didn't mean to upset anybody with it. At least, not like this.

    "Time Turner. . ." Celestia said stonily. "Picture if you will. . .your planet is dead, you've been out on the edge of the space. The furthest, most distant corners of the galaxy, when one day, you pick up a signal. The signal says very little. Its only words are "Come home." And you know what it means: it means your dead planet lives again. You don't why, or who, or how, just that it was dead when you left, and these creatures-" Celestia gestured her hoof to the Battery. "These parasites, these dissenters, these puny insects weren't here when you left. Now they are when you come back. And these tiny creatures mean nothing to you. You've never seen them before. You don't know what they are. You just know your planet was dead and they weren't here, but now they are, and its alive."

    Time Turner raised up defiantly, glaring at the Princess with his teeth bared. He did not like how she was undervaluing the Changelings' lives, talking about them as though they were dirt. "What are you trying to get at, Princess?"

    Princess Celestia briefly closed her eyes, before coming towards Time Turner and cupping his chin.

    "I'm trying to get you to understand how the Cybertronians feel about this. Tell me, Time Turner, do you think I advocated the indentured servitude of an entire species? Did you think it was my idea to turn the Changelings over to Shockwave, and that I was ruthlessly culling them from my kingdom so I could have some sort of "perfect world?""

    Time Turner looked down, feeling embarrassed by Celestia's spot-on assessment of his opinions. "Well. . ." He nervously scuffed his hoof. "Yes, actually, I mean. . . I've seen it happen before."

    Celestia cocked her eyebrow.

    "Eeer. . .I mean, I've read about it before." Time Turner nervously stuttered.

    Celestia leered at him. "I get the feeling there's something you're not telling me, Time Turner."

    "Eerr, no! Not at all! . . . okay, yes, but its a secret of mine."

    "Very well." Celestia said. "I shall respect your privacy." She looked up at the Battery.

    The grid of the satellite dish pulsed in green light. An electric flash spewed out from the machine, and the Changelings gave a jerk as they were either electrocuted, or forced to surrender even more power because of a sudden increase in demand. Time Turner wasn't sure which.

    After the machine's activity died down, Time Turner gave Celestia another glare. Celestia looked away ashamedly.

    "That's right. You should feel ashamed of yourself for allowing this!" Time Turner shouted, pointing his hoof.

    Celestia gave him an unamused glare. "Mister Time Turner, please don't push your luck. If you have a good point about the Changelings, I will listen, but if your only intent is to cast accusations. . . I have no business here."

    "Right, right . . . sorry, Your Majesty." Time Turner muttered.

    "Thank you. Now, I will ask you again, Time Turner. Imagine your world in ruins, and you have to leave for another. Then you get an invitation back to your home, and its been resurrected by tiny vermin that are no better than rats to you. Yes. . . rats running in their little exercise wheels."

    Time Turner looked at the ground, thinking over Celestia's words. He heaved a great big sigh before turning to the expectant looking Celestia.

    "How does Optimus Prime feel about this, then?" Time Turner asked.

    Celestia stared blankly, blinking slowly. She looked over her shoulder, before coming close to Time Turner and whispering in his ear.

    "The same way I do." Celestia whispered. She pulled away and bade him good day. "Good bye, Mister Time Turner. Have a nice day." Celestia walked off. Time Turner raised his hoof to call after her, but decided against it at the last minute.

    "Hmm." Time Turner gave the Changeling Battery one last look, before walking away as well.

    March 23rd, 11: 33 AM, Cybertron, Praxus Ruins.

    The week ended. For Perceptor, it was a very long week, as he had to be the one constant giving lectures from morning until evening, over and over again, from day to day. Sometimes he had help, having Twilight Sparkle and her friends join in, or Twilight and none of her friends, or even Optimus Prime or Princess Celestia themselves. But they got to change shifts. Perceptor did not. So he had to give lecture after lecture. . . but it was over now!

    In Praxus, a Cybertronian city renown for its political debates before Cybertron's destruction, the parties for the first intergalactic treaty were getting ready to meet. The Equestrian Matriarchy, The Autobot High Command, the United States Government, and Shockwave's New Decepticons. They were all in their own quarters of the city, getting ready to meet in the stadium at the city's epicenter.

    In the shared quarters where the Ponies and Autobots were preparing, Twilight Sparkle and her friends were helping themselves to some punch from a punch bowl that a catering pony had been kind enough to provide.

    Fluttershy held her cup in her hooves, her eyes lazily laying on the edge of the cup. Despite her best efforts to hide her uncertainty, Twilight was still able to pick up on it.

    Twilight sighed. "What is it, Fluttershy?"

    "Oh. . .just. . .still thinking about the Changelings." Fluttershy muttered.

    Twilight grunted in frustration. "Uuugh! This again? Fluttershy, let me ask you something: should we have let Discord live?"

    Fluttershy turned her head away.

    "Oh – oh, don't tell me!" Twilight exclaimed. "You do think maybe we should have let Discord live, and not have. . . off-lined him when we had the chance!? Fluttershy, he nearly broke us up. He nearly kept us from defeating Megatron the first time. He nearly broke up the Autobots. Now that's he. . . one with the All Spark, he can't hurt anypony anymore, ever. The same principle applies to the Changeling Batteries."

    "So. . ." Applejack drawled. "Yer sayin' we should kill all the Changelings tah keep 'em from hurtin' anypony?"

    Twilight did a spit-take with her punch. "W-what!? No! That's not what I'm saying at all!"

    "Sure sounds like wut yet sayin', Sugarcube." Applejack said timidly.

    "W-well, its, it's not!" Twilight stuttered, struggling for a defense. "What. . .what I mean by that is. . ."

    "LOOK ALIVE, PEOPLE!" A green, bulky Autobot with orange decals, charging into the room.

    Whew! Twilight thought. Saved by the bell.

    Twilight had been told the green Autobot was something called a "Roadbuster unit", sort of an Autobot answer to the Vehcions. "Princesses and Autobot High Command inbound!"

    The Roadbuster moved aside as Princess Celestia, as well two other Princesses and a white stallion, accompanied by four tall, muscular Autobots, strided into the room. All the Ponies and Autobots in the room cleared a pathway, going over the sides of the room, and bowing to their respective leaders.

    "Hello, everypony!" Celestia shouted warmly to the bowing crowds.

    The four Autobots there included Optimus Prime himself, the Supreme Commander of all the Autobots. Even the leaders of the Autobot subdivisions had to answer to him to variable extents.

    There was also Ultra Magnus, Optimus' brother and leader of the Wreckers. Also present was Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots. Then there was a new face there that Twilight and friends had never met before.

    Each Autobot commander, while distinct in appearance from each other, had certain similarities in their build. They each had wide chests with their respective symbols in the dead center, broad shoulders with various features, and strong-looking legs. All that put together combined to give them each an impression of power.

    Optimus Prime was a red, white, (silver, really) and blue mech with smokestacks over his back, window "kibble" on his chest, and wheels in his legs. His face was worn and aged. Panels extended from his shoulders, adding to his appearance of raw power. Ultra Magnus was a darker blue and lighter red with his color ratio inverted to Optimus, whose face was much more youthful, though still slightly wrinkly. Grimlock was a borderline-colossal grey robot with a gold chest and slight hunch. Grimlock's head design was all black, except for the red visor that still showed he had a face. The last one seemed like someone had put Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime into a blender and spat the results back out. He had Prime's body-type, but Magnus' colors, Magnus' face, but Optimus' weariness.

    "Autobots, if I could have your attention." Optimus Prime spoke, his deep voice reverberating with authority.

    A few Ponies whinnied in the crowd, to Twilight's displeasure. To most of them, it seemed like Optimus was dismissing them for not being Autobots. Twilight knew he really meant that he was recognizing them as Autobots.

    "I would like to introduce Commander of the Elite Guard, Magnum." Optimus gestured to the new face. Grimlock made a rude noise. Optimus barely batted an optic.

    "I felt the need to introduce Magnum first as he has been on very reaches of our solar system, so it would be understandable that few of you recognize him. Regardless, he is a very capable and proven commander. I would please advise you give as much respect as you would give myself, Ultra Magnus, or Grimlock."

    A few Ponies and Autobots exchanged some mutters.

    "Gossiping will not be tolerated under my watch!" Magnum snapped. His voice was stern and authoritative, like Optimus, but it lacked Optimus' warmer qualities. Still, it didn't seem Magnum was a bad sort. . . he just didn't how to make his voice soften.

    "As you may know," Optimus went on, "we are on the precipice of a new age. An age where Autobot and Decepticon cast aside their differences and stand united under one single banner. The banner of Cybertronian. Today, a new Deception Lord for a new time agrees to meet us not on neutral ground, but on equal ground. Today, Autobots, marks a new day in interstellar relations with our invaluable allies, Celestia's Kingdom and its. . ." Optimus glanced in the direction of Twilight and friends, "humble servants."

    Twilight and Fluttershy blushed. Rarity and Rainbow held their heads up high. Pinkie just smiled, while Applejack brought her hat over her chest.

    "As well our invaluable humans allies, including Jack Darby, Rafael Esquivel, Agent Fowler, and Miko Nakadai."

    Over at the corner, a trio of humans smiled and waved at the crowd. There was a fourth one, a black-brown one with short, black hair in a grey suit, stuffing his face with the contemplation cake. He felt eyes upon and lifted his head up. Promptly embarrassed, he swallowed what cake what in his mouth, wiped his hands on the tablecloth, and licked the frosting off his chin. He chuckled and grinned nervously.

    Meanwhile, more than a few Autobots were visibly bristling at the idea of sharing their flag with Decepticons. Optimus either didn't notice or ignored it, as he continued his speech.

    "Today, my fellow Autobots, everything we have fought and bled and died for comes to pass." Optimus concluded.

    At the thought of the dead Autobots, lost in the war, Twilight and her friends frowned.

    Magnum cleared his throat. "Optimus Prime, sir, would a moment of silence be improper?"

    "Not at all." Optimus turned to the crowd and gestured his hand. "Please."

    Everyone, regardless of species, respectfully bowed their heads in acknowledgment of their fallen brethren for a good few minutes.

    "Thank you." Optimus said, signifying the moment was over. "Now. . . please allow us the honor of socializing before the meeting begins."

    The leaders began dispersing and scattering around the room, going up to various patrons of the room. Twilight turned back to her punch, quietly sipping her punch while ruminating on what Applejack said at Perceptor's lecture.

    "Hey, Twiley!"

    Twilight skewered her eyes shut and coughed a little bit of her punch, then rounding on the stallion approaching her.

    "Can't a fembot enjoy her punch in peace!?"

    Shining Armor's cerulean eyes stared at her blankly. Twilight sighed and rubbed her forehead. "I'm sorry, B.B.B.F.F. You startled me."

    "O. . . kay." Shining Armor said uncertainly. He looked at Twilight oddly.

    "What?" Twilight frowned, looking at him softly. "What's wrong?"

    "I'm sorry." Shining Armor said, shaking his head. He put his hoof on Twilight's chin, his eyes turning misty. "Your shoulders. . . your body posture. . . it's just like one of the Guard under my command. And I . . . I just don't like seeing you as a soldier."

    Twilight looked away, not sure what she could say. "W-well, I'm sorry, B.B.B.F.F, but when you spend your time fighting Decepticons, with the Autobots you learn how to do things. How to take orders, how to take point. . . how to give orders. You learn how to be an Autobot."

    "Mm." Shining nodded and looked at her thoroughly. He pulled her into a tight hug, then left.

    "Hmm." Twilight furrowed her brow. She could tell Shining Armor was upset by this, but what was she supposed to do? Just spontaneously stop being an Autobot? She couldn't do that.

    I mean, I already filed the paperwork. . . I guess I could ask for a resignation. . .

    "Hello, my faithful student!" Princess Celestia greeted, snapping Twilight out of her reverie while the bustle of the leaders socializing continued in the background. Twilight was Celestia's personal protege in the field of unicorn magic, so they had a very close relationship.

    "Hello, Princess. It's nice to see you."

    Celestia frowned. "What's wrong?"

    "Nothing's wrong." Twilight said, turning away from her beloved mentor.

    "Twilight Sparkle," Celestia said warmly, but forcefully. "I have known and taught you over a decade of your life at least. I know all your tells and when you're hiding something. Now, tell me what's wrong."

    For what must have been the third time today, Twilight sighed. "It's the Changelings. The Changeling Batteries. Fluttershy's a little upset about it, and I- I said the wrong thing in response, so. . ."

    Celestia's face began to scrunch up. She actually looked almost annoyed. "Twilight Sparkle, I have already gone over this extensively with Time Turner, and I wish to speak of it no further. The Changelings being where they are is the best for thing for all of us."

    Celestia began to walk away, but as she did, she lowered her lips to Twilight's ear.

    "For now."

    That left Twilight with a chill up her spine, making her shiver. Before she could begin to ponder (and worry) about it, Pinkie Pie's voice broke her out of her trance.

    "Twilight! The meeting is starting soon! We need to give the presentation!"

    "Right!" Twilight exclaimed, throwing her punch glass to the floor, where it shattered. She and her friends were in charge of handling a short little thing to break the ice for the big meeting today. "Scrap! How could I forget that!? Let's go!"

    The girls all galloped out of the room as fast they could.

    The Praxus stadium was like a human baseball, except for a few things. One, it was scaled for Cybertronians. Two, rather than a playing field, there was a very large silver circle that was hollow on the inside, like a dry pool. This circle acted as a table for the meeting political parties. Three, there was a huge television screen mounted on the east wall of the stadium to display anything required.

    There were four entrances, with four dividers separating the factions. For today, each entrance had a flag mounted to the side for the faction that was going to be coming through. On the east side, a pink flag with a six-pointed star represented Celestia's Kingdom. On the north side, a black flag with a the Decepticon insignia – a triangular purple face with angry eyes and an indented forehead - on it heralded the New Decepticons. On the south side, a more detailed flag showing red and white stripes and a blue box full of white, regular stars showed the U.S. Finally, the west side had the symbol of the Autobots – a red, rounded neutral face - over a gold background.

    Twilight, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow, and Pinkie poured out of the east entrance, running as fast they could. They swerved around and bolted up the stairs to the audiences' seats up to the display screen, and then spread around the corners of the screen. Pinkie and Rainbow Dash went to the right side, fiddling around with the wires, while Fluttershy and Applejack did the same to the other. Twilight and Rarity used their magic to access the more internal parts of the machine.

    Time flew by, and before the pony group knew it, both the audience and authorities for the meeting were pouring through the doors and taking their seats. On one side of the circle, Optimus, Magnum, Ultra Magnus, and Grimlock went in and took their seat. On another, Shockwave and two other Decepticons – Barricade and Blackout, entered on the Decepticon side.

    Barricade was an average, speedy police car Decepticon with ruby red optics, and red and blue light bar over his shoulders, with a thorny, silver face. Why Barricade thought turning into a police car was funny was something beyond the understanding of his fellow 'Cons. Blackout was a very large Decepticon with six helicopter blades folded over his back, his chest the spherical cockpit of his helicopter mode. Two Gatling guns were permanently attached to each of his forearms, which ended in black sickle-like claws. His face was like a grasshopper.

    Celestia, Luna and Cadence stepped from their designed door, and a bunch of human officials in suits did the same, including the President. . . who was totally surrounded by all sides by bodyguards, preventing him from being visible.

    They all climbed up to their respective platforms, while the audience seats quickly began filling up with Cybertronians, humans, ponies.

    A very thin golden Autobot with wings on his shoulders, an orange, blonde-haired pony, and a white, wrinkled female human with blond hair in a ponytail stepped in, all together in one party, each carrying folding chairs for their size. They climbed over the table and set the chairs down. These were Metalhawk, Inspector Harshwhinny, and Director Charlotte Mearing. They were here to act as mediators for the meeting.

    Soon enough, the entire stadium was filled with an interstellar-diverse audience.

    Princess Celestia, seeing there were no more seats even if a last-minute guest were to show up, tapped her microphone and began her announcement.

    "Hello, everypony!" She shouted, the microphone echoing her voice all over the stadium. "Thank you all for coming here today to visit this momentous occasion, for all our races. I apologize for any who were unable to attend for whatever reason, such as being sick. They should get more chances though, as while this is our first meeting, I hope it will not be our last."

    Celestia's eyes flickered over everyone around the circlet table, full of hope.

    "That said, my faithful student and her friends have prepared a presentation on the screen. You know, to raise everyone's spirits. If you will turn your attention to that big, television-looking thing on the corner. . ." Celestia gestured her hoof to the display.

    Rainbow Dash flew up to the top of the screen's edge and looked down at Twilight for approval. Twilight raised an affirmative hoof, so Rainbow Dash pressed a button.

    The screen flared to life, showing an pixelated version of a pink firecracker exploding. The sparkles of the firecracker fell to the ground, before lifting up and twisting around to form the flag of Celestia's kingdom. It remained there for a few minutes before shrinking and moving into the upper-right corner of the screen. Letters forming the words "FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC" in pink then appeared next to it. A piano chime also played.

    Next, energetic red bars and lines began traveling up and down, all over the screen. They eventually settled down and came together to form the Autobot symbol, which also shrunk into the corner. Like with Celestia's banner, text then appeared. This time it read "FREEDOM IS THE RIGHT OF ALL SENTIENT BEINGS." in matching red. The Autobot symbol then shrunk as well, going under Celestia's flag. A brief guitar line played.

    Similar shows were made for the Decepticon and American flags. For the Decepticon flag, it simply showed their banner spinning around dramatically, before some metal music played. Its text read "SOMETIMES DECEPTION IS NEEDED IN ORDER TO SEE THE TRUTH." in purple. Metal music played.

    The American flag was represented by lots of red and blue fireworks exploded, before a blip appeared in the background and gave the illusion of coming closer to the screen until the flag was in full view. It shrunk and took its place as well, white text reading "LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS." The National Anthem played, but only for the first few notes.

    "Well, that's done." Celestia said. "Shall we begin? Who wants to go first?"

    A scrawny human male with a short, well-groomed tuft of reddish-brown hair and large glasses rose his hand.

    "Yes, Mister. . .?"

    "Galloway." The man answered. "I'd like to start with a few questions."

    "As you wish."

    "First, why did Team Prime feel it necessary to keep their presence on our planet hidden for as long as they did?" Galloway asked, giving an accusing look at Optimus.

    Optimus seemed saddened by Galloway's suspicion. "For two reasons. We felt it would be best to hide in secret, then gradually ease the knowledge of our presence into the public eye. We thought we were to introduce ourselves at all once would be overwhelming. We also felt were our presence exposed, the Decepticons would have no reason to hesitate in killing your kind in massive numbers."

    "How can we be sure that you won't kill us when you have the chance?" Galloway snapped.

    Optimus blinked wearily, while Celestia got on a worrying grimace. Barricade guffawed.

    "We have done nothing to suggest we mean you harm." Optimus said, almost sounding depressed.

    "Aside from hiding in our midst for six years." Galloway leered. Optimus bit his lip. "How can we be sure you won't turn on us?" Galloway went on.

    A sudden whine of feedback brought all eyes to Luna. "Mayhap we request that the Autobots be given a chance to speak their minds?"

    Celestia spoke into her microphone. "I would like to make it known my sister, Luna, uses the royal "we" in her speech and her opinions and requests should not be taken as representing the majority of my party."

    "Acknowledged." The President said amicably.

    Taking the opportunity Luna had afforded their side, Magnum spoke up immediately. "Yes. I am Magnum. My main concern is what legislatures will need to be passed in order to minimize the amount of opportunities the merging of our cultures will no doubt give the criminal underworld."

    Galloway's, Luna's, and others' eyebrows raised up.

    "That's. . . a surprisingly good concern." Galloway muttered.

    "And just what doth thou mean by that!?" Luna shouted, slamming her hooves on the circlet.

    "Princess Luna," Metalhawk spoke in a neutral voice, "you are being overly aggressive."

    Luna scoffed. "We art being overly-aggressive!? Galloway hath taken a pot-shot at the Autobots every chance he's been given!"

    "Galloway's concerns are legitimate, and he expressed them in an appropriate manner." Mearing said.

    Luna was clearly about to launch into a tirade about Mearing giving Galloway more leeway due to them both being humans, but Celestia gave her sister a warning glare. Luna huffed and sat back down.

    The next person to speak was Shockwave. "Magnum raises a good point. We should discuss what new laws will need to be passed."

    "As well," Ultra Magnus interjected, "We'll need something to mediate the differences in our cultural values so they don't cause a conflict."

    "Humans are biased and prejudiced beings against their own religions." Blackout snarled. "How are they possibly going to tolerate the Ponies' and ours!?"

    Shockwave held out his hand for Blackout to stop. "Blackout, would you like to take a recess?"

    "No." Blackout answered literally, not catching Shockwave's double-meaning.

    Shockwave turned to Blackout, his single mono-eye glaring daggers.

    "That was not a suggestion, Blackout."

    The two powerful Decepticons stood there in silence for a little while, each wondering how the other was going to react. Blackout bowed to Shockwave, and turned to leave. Shockwave kept his eye on him, at least until Blackout sat down in front OF the stands with his arms crossed.

    "I apologize for Blackout's behavior." Shockwave said. "He, like many Decepticons, is still. . . adjusting. Now, I believe we were on the topic of passing new laws? We'll need to start drafting. . ."

    Some time later, the meeting concluded, and the audience flocked out of the stadium out to the tile floor surrounding it, with a request by their various leaders to mingle. Get to know each other, learn about their cultures, so they could see them as "people" and not "aliens."

    Twilight's first priority, however, was to meet with Princess Celestia and Optimus Prime – whom was very good friends with – and see what they thought about the meeting. She was able to find Princess Celestia, Luna, Optimus, and Magnum meeting in a circle.

    "Optimus! Princess Celestia!" Twilight shouted for their attention, skidding to a halt in front of them. "So, how the meeting go? I know there were the microphones, but I couldn't hear much all the way at the back. . ."

    "Oh, you know. . ." Celestia waved her hoof. "A few steps forward, a few steps back. . ."

    "That Galloway figure is, quite possibly, the most pompous human we have met." Luna griped. "And while that's not many, we are strongly skeptical that any future human we meet will exceed his arrogance!"

    Twilight pouted, turning towards Optimus.

    "Galloway is merely concerned for the welfare of his fellow human begins." Optimus said, but he sounded disheartened.

    "What happened?" Twilight inquired.

    "Galloway does not trust the Autobots!" Luna snapped. "Despite the fact they've had several opportunities to kill the humans which they have never taken! Grah!" Luna turned away, starting to calm down slightly.

    "Our apologies. We just dislike heroes not being recognized for their achievements. . ." Luna's snake-like green eyes flicked back and forth between Optimus and Twilight.

    Twilight looked to Optimus again, who sighed wearily.

    "Galloway does not trust us because we hid amongst the humans for as long as we did. They were not prepared for Megatron to reveal our presence when he did. . . and in a way, neither were we." Optimus said. "Even in death, the consequences on Megatron's actions take a heavy toll on us all."

    Twilight trotted forward, putting her hoof on Optimus' black foot, or pede. "You'll find a way through it."

    "Thank you, Twilight Sparkle." Optimus' perpetually-remorseful expression did not go away, but it did brighten slightly.

    Elsewhere, Rainbow Dash was socializing more successfully and less glumly with a human jet pilot. Apparently part of an organization called "The Blue Angels", very similar to the Wonderbolts of Equestria. They even used the same team colors – blue with yellow thunderbolt patterns. They were laughing a joke Rainbow Dash made when she familiar footsteps.

    Rainbow whipped her hear around to see Dreadwing sneaking around, looking like he didn't want to be seen, before he slipped into an alleyway and disappeared.

    "Hey," Dash said to the Blue Angel pilot, "can I get back to you? I just saw my wingmech slip into a corner."

    "No problem." The pilot assured her.

    "Thanks, man. I'll come back." Rainbow Dash turned around, flapped her wings, and bolted into the corner Dreadwing had disappeared to.

    Dreadwing was a Decepticon Seeker, a type of specialized Decepticon flier that turned into a jet. They shared traits of their kibble, always having two wings sticking out their backs, afterburners in the bottoms of their pedes, and their cockpits forming their chest. Dreadwing in particularly had the same colors as the Blue Angels and Wonderbolts, although his thunderbolts were more straight lines, and his gold was more of a bronze. Dreadwing was a bulky mech, with a diamond-shaped samurai helm-looking head and fearsome carmine eyes.

    Dreadwing was the Decepticon Second-in-Command, a prestigious rank in Cybertronian customs, at the time of Megatron's demise. By the laws of Cybetron, Megatron's death meant Dreadwing was in charge of the faction. But Dreadwing had been a loyal and fervent solider, and seeing his master Megatron fall robbed him of his fighting spirit. So he flew to Cybertron and gave his position to Shockwave. Later, having nothing better to do, he came to Equestria and signed up for the Wonderbolts, and was appointed Rainbow's flight partner.

    Despite his Deception background, Rainbow Dash found Dreadwing an invaluable partner. He was loyal, eager to please, and knew his place. Hence why she was worried when he disappeared. She would have hated it if Dreadwing was going back to old 'Con hideouts.

    Rainbow Dash hugged the alleyway, then slowly wormed her way inside, eventually able to see Dreadwing and Blackout standing, having a conversation. Rainbow Dash wormed a little further inside so she could eavesdrop.

    "Are you sure you won't reconsider?" Blackout pleaded. Dash found it funny to hear such a deep, strong voice be reduced to begging. "Shockwave will surely lead us to ruin."

    "I am sure, and while I may have doubts about his intentions, I have faith in his leadership." Dreadwing answered, arms crossed. "I am happy with Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts, and I will not leave them to come back to your savage ways."

    "Are you certain you're happy?" Blackout asked in a worried voice.

    Dreadwing fell silent.

    "Dreadwing, please." Blackout continued to plead. "If the Funderbalts-"

    "Wonderbolts."

    "-the Wonderbolts are not treating you fairly," Dreadwing scoffed at the notion, "then please come back to us. Our fellow Decepticons are getting antsy around all this talk of peace. . ."

    "That is only because they have lost sight of what peace means."

    "Surely you could talk some sense into them? They respect you."

    "Good for them." Dreadwing deadpanned.

    Blackout sighed and bowed his head, recognizing that he wasn't going to change Dreadwing's mind. "If you ever change your mind, you know where to find me. . ." Blackout turned and walked away, his footsteps making a tromping noise.

    Dash frowned, disliking the idea of Dreadwing's former partners trying to lure him back into the fold.

    "Is there a problem, Captain?" Dreadwing addressed Rainbow Dash, turning his head towards her. Dash felt like she'd been caught red-handed.

    "No." Dash instinctively fibbed. "Maybe. Yes. You're not gonna go back to them, are you?"

    "No, no. . ." Dreadwing assured her, walking towards her and picking her up in his silver claw, lifting her up to his face. "Megatron was a symbol of the Deception cause. I always thought of Megatron as invincible. And as long we had Megatron, the Deception cause would progress." Dreadwing gazed at the sky. "Now, with him dead. . . that symbol is dead to me, and the cause with it."

    Rainbow Dash let out a deep breath. "Okay. . . that's-that's good to hear. I'm gonna go back to the square now, all right?"

    Rainbow Dash flapped her wings and flew out of Dreadwing's palm, then reunited with Twilight in the square. By not watching her flight path and crashing straight into the unicorn, of course.

    "Rainbow Dash!"

    "Heh-heh. Sorry." Dash got up off her friend, then helped Twilight to her hooves.

    "You need to be more careful!" Twilight scolded. "It's fine when it's me, but what if you rammed into an Autobot's shoulder!? You'd have broken something!"

    "Rainbow Dash this, Rainbow Dash that." Dash mocked in a whiny voice. "What are you, my mother?"

    Twilight lowered her eyelids and huffed.

    "Well, well, well." A deep, but posh voice said, the echo of iron footsteps approaching. Rainbow Dash and Twilight looked up to see two Decepticons approaching them.

    One was relatively small, dwarfed by his companion. He had a pronounced hunch, wings off his back like a Seeker that ended in curved blades, and slender black limbs that ended in claws for his hand and high-heels for his feet. His face was long, with high jawbones and an impressive chin, with an a fin pointing from the center of his grey, skull-like helmet. His chest was small, and most of his body was green and black, save for touches of gold here and there.

    The other was much bulkier. He had a broad wide chest that seemed designed to interface with something, a round head with a triangular face was both visor-and-faceplate combo, and seemingly an entire cement mixer for his right arm. There was an antennae curved around the side of his head. His legs were stout and ended in treadmill-like platforms. His colors were a dull yellow and stony green.

    "So, these are the Executioner Six Ponies." The bulkier one said.

    ""Executioner Six?"" Rainbow Dash questioned. "What is that supposed to mean!?"

    "You know," the smaller one said, waving his claw. He sounded much more meek than his friend. "Executioners. . . you were at the New York Massacre, they were six of you, and you were in the forefront of Optimus Prime's executioners. . . hence, Executioner Six." He nervously twiddled his fingers. "Perhaps the "Mane Six" would be friendlier?"

    "Mane Six?" His friend questioned.

    "You know, they're ponies, they're six of them. . . the Mane Six!"

    "That. . . is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've ever heard." His friend quipped.

    "Who are you, anyway?" Dash demanded.

    "Apologies." The yellow one said. "I am Heavy Load, and this is my fellow student, Fractyl."

    "Student?" Twilight asked.

    "Yes. We're proteges of Thundercracker, the famed Seeker chemist."

    "Sounds. . . very vaguely familiar." Twilight muttered. "What are you doing here?"

    "Discussing the benefits and disadvantages of opening relations with your kind and the humans." Heavy Load answered, giving Fractyl a glare. "I think the humans offer us an opportunity, and your kind. . . you pose a threat to us all. Fractyl disagrees." Heavy Load added much more quietly, "the hippie."

    "W-w-well," Fractyl stuttered, "I think we have nothing to fear as long as we keep an open mind and a clear head."

    "That's very gracious from a Decepticon." Twilight complimented, causing Fractyl to smile nervously. "What's this I hear about an opportunity?"

    "Ah, yes." Heavy Load hissed, and Twilight could tell he'd been dying to get to this point. "The humans. . . they're small. They're fragile. They're egotistical. They think they're bigger and better than the rest, and they can do anything. If they ever got . . . out of hand, a simple show of force would put them back in line. Your kind, on the other hand. . . you're humble, you're strong, and this is the clincher – you're magical. A fight between a human and a Decepticon could end in a stalemate, were the human well-equipped enough. A fight between a unicorn and a Decepticon, however. . . no matter which way you dice it, the 'Con is on the ground before he even had time to draw his weapon."

    "That's not true!" Twilight defended.

    "Oh, really?" Heavy Load growled. "Think for me, Twilight Sparkle: how many Vehicons did you kill during the massacre? One? Ten? A thousand? And more to the point, how fast did you kill them? What did you kill them with?"

    Twilight's jaw dropped, as she realized Heavy Load may have a point. "That-that's different!" She scrambled for a defense. "Vehicons aren't real people!"

    "Tch. You would think that, wouldn't you, Autobot?" Heavy Load scoffed, stinging Twilight deeply. She was always thought being considered an Autobot was something to be proud of. "Whatever excuse it takes to maintain the moral high ground, eh, Fractyl?" It was clear from Fractyl's face he didn't want to be involved in this. "Humans . . . are gullible. You Ponies . . . could easily be invulnerable, if you tried."

    "I heard one of the human negotiators talk about something called checks and balances. . ." Fractyl muttered. "M-maybe if we use that system-"

    Heavy Load went on, ignoring him. "I'll make a challenge to you, Twilight Sparkle. A few solar cycles from now, we'll be having a funeral for all the Vehicons killed that day. Come if you dare, and see the results of your gruesome handiwork."

    Before Twilight or Rainbow Dash could say anything, a light-blue Seeker-type robot with a sqaure helmet and silver chest began approaching them.

    "Heavy Load, Fractyl." The Seeker-bot said, his voice somewhat British and sounding like a current of electricity was running through it. "There are you. What are you up to?"

    "Just. . . discussing things with our new pony friends, Master." Heavy Load answered.

    "Well, that's nice." The blue bot said, and Twilight realized this had to be Thundercracker. "Try to wrap things up. I've heard that the authorities plan on shutting everything down soon. I can't wait. . . I hate these large events. . ." Thundercracker turned around and walked off. Heavy Load followed. Fractyl exchanged uncertain glances between Twilight and his master, before joining up with his fellows.

    "Well, that guy was a jerk." Dash concluded, before she saw Twilight's head was lowered to the ground. "Twilight? What's wrong?"

    "He had a point." Twilight said, to Dash's surprise. "Compared to humans, we are powerful. And if I had to look at every Vehicon I shot with my magic, I . . . wouldn't be able to tell one from the next."

    "C'mon, Twilight." Rainbow Dash said, putting a hoof on Twilight's shoulder. "Don't talk like that. He's just trying to get to you."

    "Well, consider me as having been gotten to!" Twilight yelped. "We have magic. We can kill them very easily. . ."

    "But we won't, right?" Dash asked. "The war's over, right? No more killing, right?"

    Twilight raised her head, looking at Heavy Load's shrinking shadow. "I wish I could believe that, Rainbow Dash. But I don't think it's going to be as simple as just "war's over, let's live happily ever after!" No. . . there's rebuilding to do, friendships to forge between species, trust to build. . ."

    Twilight, head still held low, trotted away from the crowd of mingling species, while the Changeling Batteries providing power above flashed suddenly, like they were rubbing in her sorrowful mood.

    [hr]

    Afternoon, the next day. . .

    Autobot Outpost Omega One, stationed near Jasper, Nevada, was the Autobot's first and foremost outpost on Earth. Re-purposed from a human base constructed during a conflict called the Cold War, Omega One was the main base of operations for Optimus' team, Team Prime. The majority of events happened in the main lobby, equipped with a computer hooked up to satellite scanners, but there was also a storage vault, lab, and private quarters for all the Autobots. The lobby had a computer station, manned by Ratchet, a terminal for a portal network called a "GroundBridge", and several railed platforms and other miniscule stuff meant for the usage of the humans.

    Today, Team Prime, and Twilight's friends were relaxing at the base's lobby in between "large events" like Thundercracker had complained about. There was a lot to do, so they enjoyed their downtime when they could.

    Pinkie lay her back on a table initially meant for giving the human trio somewhere to eat their lunch, kicking her front hooves forward in her boredom. "Bored!" Pinkie complained.

    "Well, we can't spend every microt of every solar cycle focusing on your entertainment needs, now can we?" Ratchet, the Autobot's medic and arguably Second-in-Command, complained. Ratchet was a short, stocky mech, with a large backpack of kibble hanging over the back of his cowl, wheels in his broad arms, and fenders folded into his knees. His face was grey and statue-like, while two horns spouted from the top of his helmet. He had a reputation for being a grouch.

    "Hey, I've got an idea." Raf said, pushing aside the laptop that normally held his attention. "How about a quick story?"

    "I do like stories. . ." Fluttershy said quietly.

    "Sounds as good as anything." Rainbow Dash complained.

    "Oh! Fun!" Pinkie cheered.

    Twilight, Applejack, and Rarity all expressed their approval, Rarity with a particularly keen interest in Raf.

    The six Ponies gathered around Raf's chair and sat down, crossing their front hooves as they waited for their little storyteller to begin his tale.

    Unfortunately, having so many big, round, adorable eyes (Ponies' eyes were rather large) on him at once caused Raf to panic, and rather than think through whatever he was saying, he just said the first thing that came to mind.

    "Uh. . ." Raf bolted out of his chair and started swinging his arms around like a chimpanzee. "Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall – Humpty Dumpty had a great big fall – and all the king's horses and all the king's men – couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again."

    The Ponies stared at him, dumbfounded. Fluttershy began to tear up.

    "They-they couldn't put him back together?" Fluttershy squeaked, at the edge of breaking down.

    "That was a terrible story!" Pinkie complained. "And worse than that, you made Fluttershy cry!" Pinkie grabbed Fluttershy and pulled her close, while the other Ponies gave Raf a glare.

    "Uhhh . . ." Raf groaned, dumbfounded. Thinking fast, he pulled his laptop and typed something in, then turned its screen toward them. It was showing a video of a monkey in a red top hat and pinstripe suit, chattering and dancing away under a spotlight.

    Fluttershy gasped. "That's horrible! Whoever dressed that poor monkey up and forced him to dance should be punished!" Fluttershy stood up and marched towards the table, angrily glaring at Raf's laptop.

    Raf could do naught but sigh. Jack came over and put a hand on his shoulder. "Hey." Jack encouraged him. "At least she stopped crying."

    Taking a look over their shoulders, Jack and Raf saw the other ponies had mixed reactions to the video. Twilight and Applejack were confused, Dash was amused, Pinkie was laughing hysterically, while Rarity seemed be feigning laughter for Raf's sake.

    "Rarity, I appreciate you trying to spare my feelings, but please don't lie to me." Raf asked.

    "Very well." Rarity said with a head flick. "I shall endeavor not to do that to my little admirer." Rarity stood up and walked over to Raf, affectionately running her hoof through his hair before abruptly trotting off to find something else to do.

    Raf frowned, while Miko came over and gave Rarity a look. "Yo, Raf-man! What was that all about?"

    "Well . . ." Raf clicked his tongue. "When the Ponies first got here, I told Rarity I thought she was pretty. She. . . decided that meant I had a crush on her, and it's been awkward ever since."

    "You have a crush on Rarity?" Miko quipped.

    "I won't judge you, Raf, but I think that might be illegal." Jack added.

    "No, no, no." Raf insisted. "I think she's pretty like a pretty horse, not a woman. She . . . doesn't seem to get that."

    "So why not tell her the truth? Explain it to her?" Jack asked.

    "I don't want to hurt her feelings. . ." Raf muttered. "I mean, can you imagine it?" Raf put his hands to his cheek and made a bad impression. ""Oh, Rafael! However could you compare me to one of those drab Earth-horses!? I am so wounded! You wouldn't know beauty if it bit you on the Cutie Mark!" . . . or something like that."

    "I get what you're saying." Jack assured him. "But trust me. When it comes to women, it's better to come clean."

    "I JUST TOLD you that I think she's a pretty like a horse! Like watching a majestic swan!"

    "Oh, how cute!" Rarity squealed, reappearing with a glass that had a lime wedge, a little umbrella, and pineapple juice in her hoof. "He's writing poetry about me!" Rarity bent over and gave Rafael a smooch.

    Rarity left again, while Raf's eye started to twitch.

    "The sooner you explain, the sooner embarrassing instants like this will be over." Jack said.

    Raf sighed and was about to relent when he felt something poke his shoulder. He turned around to see what appeared to be an upright, anthropomorphic green and purple iguana with green scales forming a Mohawk on its head, green eyes, and a pointed tail.

    "You making googly eyes at my girl, pal?" The iguana-thing growled, raising its fists at Raf. Raf narrowed his eyes, and was about to give in to an obvious desire to slug the reptile when Miko intervened.

    "Hey, Doc-bot!" Miko yelped. "We got an reptile thing here!"

    "Wha-?" Ratchet turned away from his computer console to look at the reptile. "Oh, him. That's Spike."

    "Spike?" Miko asked.

    "Yes, Spike." Twilight said, coming around and putting a hoof on his shoulder. "He's my assistant at the Ponyville Library. He's a baby dragon."

    "A baby dragon!?" Miko exclaimed, obviously bursting with excitement at the idea of meeting a dragon. She scanned Spike up and down. "Eh. He's not as impressive as Bob."

    Spike took offense. "What do you mean, not as impressive as Bob? I'll bet you have ten times more muscle than Bob!" Spike took a pose, trying to flex his muscles.

    "Yeeeaaa – no." Twilight and Miko both droned.

    Twilight then noticed how Raf and Spike looked ready to get into a scrap. "Huh?"

    "Hey!" Jack interjected, trying to avoid a conflict. "Ratchet, could you give Spike a tour of the base?"

    "When did I become the dragon-keeper?" Ratchet grumbled, but Jack pointed at Raf's slightly-raised fists. Ratchet got the hint. "Oh, um, of course! If you will follow me, Spike?" Ratchet said, putting on a friendly face and gesturing towards the door. Spike gave Raf one last filthy glare before following.

    "Arrg." Raf groaned, putting his hands over his head.

    Jack whistled innocently.

    "Fine!" Raf snapped. "I will come clean to Rarity, when I see her! Hm!" Raf began to stomp out of the room while an adult male with a thin mustache, a short comb-over, and somewhat protruding belly marched into the room with a black tuxedo suit on it.

    "General Bryce." Twilight said, saluting. "What are you doing here?"

    "I'm looking for Bill."

    "Bill?"

    "Er, Agent Fowler." Bryce explained. "Have you seen him?"

    "Yeah, he's right over there." Twilight pointed to the black male in the other side of the room dressed in a grey suit, with a long neck-tie, playing a video game console. The console bleeped, the sound effects of an 8-bit explosion playing.

    "Aw, consarn it!" Fowler sworn, throwing the controller to the ground and sinking into his chair. "Lost again!"

    "Ahem." Twilight cleared her throat. "Agent Fowler? You have a visitor."

    "Huh?" Fowler turned and immediately jumped upon seeing Bryce. "General Bryce!" Fowler exclaimed, rushing over while trying to regain his composure after losing the game again. "What a surprise! I didn't expect to see you here."

    "That makes two of us, Bill." Bryce said, meeting Fowler halfway. "Bad news, Bill."

    "What?" Fowler frowned. "Is Galloway harping on the Autobots again?"

    "No, no. . . ol' Franklin's kicked the bucket."

    "Oh, no!" Fowler exclaimed. "Not old Frankie! He was one of the best of them back in the Rangers! What happened?"

    "I'm told he died peacefully, in his sleep. I just found about it myself, actually." Bryce explained. "The funeral's been and gone, but his wife asked if could the old gang back together to give some prayers at the church."

    "I'll be right there, sir." Fowler saluted.

    "Church?" Twilight questioned. "What's a church?"

    Bryce and Fowler looked to each other, neither of them wanting to be the one to have to explain the concept of a church to the alien unicorn.

    "A church is . . . safe house, of a sorts." Fowler explained. "Look, I'll explain more later. Right now, I'm going to go with Bryce, get my old Army pals, and get together and pray for old Frankie's soul. . . bless his heart, poor Frankie . . ."

    "At least it was peacefully." Bryce comforted, patting Fowler on the back. The two walked out of the room, their hands on the others' back.

    Twilight watched them go, before looking up at the Autobots' digital clock and seeing she was about to late for a meeting. "Oh, scrap it all! That's twice in one week! Later, everypony!"

    Twilight ran towards the door, only to collide into Fluttershy mid-way.

    "Ow! Oh. Sorry, Fluttershy, but I'm late!"

    "It's okay. . ." Fluttershy muttered. "I'm late, too."

    "Mmh." Twilight pursed her lips, wondering if she could help Fluttershy with whatever was clearly bothering her before she was too late for her meeting. But then Twilight remembered she was the group leader, so if she decided to take a few minutes off . . .

    "What's wrong?"

    "Oh, nothing." Fluttershy fibbed. "I'm just supposed to go to Downtown City today, and go see these rival pets shops and try to decide which one is 'better' . . . apparently a C.E.O thinks my 'seal of approval' will be good for his business."

    "O . . . kay." Twilight muttered, not entirely sure why a C.E.O would think that. Fluttershy was very good at handling and taking care of animals, but she never imagined that a human would try to capitalize on that. "Why is this a problem?"

    "What if I have to give one of them a bad score!?" Fluttershy squealed. "I mean, the animals come first, but if I give one store a better rating, the other will start to hate me! Oh!" Fluttershy dropped to the ground, covering her eyes. "I don't think I could live with that!"

    Twilight brought the tip of her tail to her chin, wondering what to do. "Why don't you take Rainbow Dash with you? I'm pretty sure she's free this afternoon."

    Fluttershy nervously lifted one hoof up. "Oh, you think so? Yes . . . that would, um, probably help."

    "Awesome. Now, I apologize, Fluttershy, but I am terrible late for a meeting with my support group!"

    "Oh my. I didn't mean to hold you up. . . " Fluttershy mumbled as she scooted out of Twilight's way. Twilight went off galloping. It was only after she was gone did Fluttershy wonder. . .

    "Wait, support group? Support group for what?"
    [hr]

    Raf nervously scooted around the hallways of the base, hugging the walls tightly so he could move without being detected.

    He was very lucky, as he was fortunate to find Rarity in a room alone without somepony finding him and asking him what he was doing.

    Rarity was sitting down on the floor, obviously taking a moment to just chill and relax.

    Raf took in a deep breath. "Hey, Rarity?"

    "Hmm?" Rarity said, turning towards him. "Oh. Yes, Rafael?"

    "I . . . need to explain something to you." Raf said. "May I come in?"

    Rarity's diamond eyes brimmed with concern. "Of course, darling. Whatever is the matter?" Raf came in and sat down next to her, and she gave an affectionate nuzzle. "Does it have to do with your crush on li'l ol' me?"

    Raf sighed. "That's just it. I – don't have a crush on you, Rarity. I never did."

    "Whaat!?" Rarity recoiled. "But- when we first met, you said I was pretty! And you're always helping me out with little things, like when Sweetie Belle makes a mess of my clothes or-"

    "I know, I know." Raf assured her, raising his hands to calm her down. "But . . . I do all those things just to be nice, because I think you're pretty."

    Rarity stared. "I'm confused. I thought you just said you didn't have a crush on me?"

    "I don't! But, see, when an Earth-horse is . . . " Raf struggled for a good word. "well-kept, it starts to look pretty. And I- I think you look pretty in that sense, not in a romantic sense. Rarity. . ."

    Raf put his hand over her hoof. "I look at you, and I don't see a potential girlfriend. I see a majestic, beautiful, intelligent animal. I see a noble and brilliant creature that, up until a few years ago, I thought was a myth! I see nature at its finest, and I want to take care of it, the way Fluttershy takes care of all her pets. That's why I do all those nice things for you; I want to take care of you. Like a ranch hand."

    "Ooh!" Rarity squealed, putting a hoof over her mouth while her eyes quavered. "Rafael . . . that-that was beautiful."

    "Heh. Thanks, I guess." Raf smirked.

    ". . . you're sure you don't have a crush on me, darling? Because that was really quite poetic-"

    Raf put his hand over his face. "YES!" Raf shrieked. "For Primus' sake, Rarity, yes! I am sure I do not have a crush on you!"

    Raf looked to the door.

    "But, uh, while we're talking about it, could you pass that to Spike?"

    "Spike? Funny, I didn't think you two had met. Don't worry, I will. . . though I'm not entirely sure why."

    "Just do it as a favor for me, okay?"

    "Okay." Rarity smiled and gave Raf a big hug.

    [hr]

    On Equestria, a large green circle the size of a house materialized before a pink treehouse. The green circle was like a 3D painting, with pink and darker green sparkles of energy swirling around its center as the celestial energies of its making worked to tear through silly notions of "physics" and "location."

    This was a Cybertronian technology known as the Bridge system, which came in both "Space Bridge" (two words) and "GroundBridge" (one word) varieties. With the Space Bridge tech, interstellar trips that would take days on end to complete could be done with a few seconds.

    Twilight stepped out of Space Bridge and rushed inside the treehouse, the portal disappearing behind her.

    Twilight Sparkle went inside the tree – a library which she managed and lived in. The interior was decorated in a fine, bright shade of pink, while large wooden bookshelves winded around the multistory building.

    Shining Armor and a dark blue azure unicorn girl were waiting for her, around a cyan circular carpet with black thin rings on it. Above them a light-blue banner reading "TERRORPONY SUPPORT GROUP" in purple letters was set up. The unicorn girl was wearing a purple hat and cloak embroidered with stars.

    "Hey, Twiley!" Shining Armor greeted. "We were starting to get worried about you. You're never late. What gives?"

    "Oh, got a little held up giving Fluttershy some advice." Twilight answered, turning to the blue unicorn. "Good to see you, Trixie."

    "It is . . . good to see you too, Twilight Sparkle."

    "So, what's on the agenda today?" Twilight asked, pulling a seat for herself. Shining Armor and Trixie nervously fiddled their hooves.

    "Oh, this again?" Twilight huffed. "Really? Come on, ponies! Tell us what you're afraid of. That's what we're here for." Twilight grabbed Shining's and Trixie hoof. "Come on. It's okay. It's called a support group, after all."

    "Mm." The other two still didn't look convinced.

    There was something the three of them had in common – and it wasn't just the fact they were unicorns. No, they were also a new breed – a new species called "Terrorpony", after "Terrorcon", their progenitor in a sense. They had all been infused with Dark Energon.

    Dark Energon was a strange and terrible substance, originating from Cybertron and its living, physical Anti-God, Unicron. Dark Energon was formed from the fossilized, crystallized very blood of the Chaos-Bringing demon master. It had effects when introduced to a Cybertronian's and Pony's biology. It turned living Cybertronians into violent, savage fighters, addicted to a process called symbiosis and to physical pain. It turned dead Cybertronians into monstrous Terrorcons – zombie Cybertronians, for all intents and purposes. It poisoned living humans the way radiation poisoned them. (its effects on dead humans have yet to be tested) But it had a very strange effect on Ponies, in that it had the exact same effects on them as it did on Cybertronians.

    Twilight, Shining Armor, and Trixie had been turned into Terrorponies through one set of circumstances or another. Funnily enough, Starscream – a Decepticon second only to Megatron himself in depravity and vileness – had been involved in all of their, er, transformations.

    First, during the first time she came to Earth, Starscream lied to and convinced Twilight that the Autobots were merciless crusaders, and that she would have to take up Dark Energon to defeat them. In the process of mistakenly fighting the "evil" Autobots, Twilight was killed in the field of battle, but an accident let her revive herself with the D.E's little-understood power.

    Second, after the misunderstanding was cleared up, Twilight came back to Equestria. Starscream followed, and ambushed Shining Armor one rainy night in the street. Twilight didn't hesitate to use her mastery over the Dark Energon to bring him back.

    Third, Trixie actually threw her lot in with Starscream, not aware of the depths of his delusion. Starscream himself took up usage of the dark substance, and in a moment of rage, emanated a wave of energy that infused Dark Energon into every compatible being in its radius – including Trixie at the time. Trixie was perhaps the odd one out of the support group, as she never actually died. . .

    Not currently present was Fluttershy, who was not a Terrorpony. However, she was cyber-coverted into a half-Insecticon (a type of insectioid, Cybertronian lifeform) half-pony hybrid creature during a mistaken, but well-meaning attempt by an Insecticon Queen to "adopt" her as a Princess for her hive.

    Twilight started the support group so that everypony had somepony to turn when the urge for symbiosis became too great to ignore, and everypony had a person to talk about being an undead sin against the natural order of the universe.

    Things like that tended to be a wee bit traumatizing.

    After talking about out a little bit, Twilight concluded the group meeting for the day. Trixie hurriedly waved goodbye and rushed out the door, leaving Twilight and Shining Armor alone.

    "There she goes . . ." Shining Armor muttered. "What's up with her?"

    "Oh, she only just recently "re-formed."" Twilight answered. "She's still getting used to having friends and ponies that actually care about her." It was true; prior to recently, Trixie had been an arrogant stage magician whose ego and glory were more important than friends, but the event with Starscream had taught a lesson in humility, and Twilight was the only to approach her about being infused with Dark Energon. Trixie was eternally grateful to Twilight for that, but she was still adjusting.

    "So . . . I guess it's just us, then." Shining Armor commented.

    "Yup!" Twilight agreed, before deciding Shining had a hidden meaning in his voice. "What do you want to talk about, B.B.B.F.F?"

    Shining Armor rubbed the back of his head nervously. "It's just . . . you've been spending a lot of time with the Autobots recently."

    Twilight gasped. "Whaat!? Have not!"

    "Yes, you have." Shining Armor insisted. "Cadence and I are starting to miss you, and you've been using their lingo in your speech a lot. . . could you come visit her and I sometime?"

    "Shining Armor, if you wanted me to visit you and Cadence, all you had to do was ask! There's no need to blow a gasket."

    "Twiley . . ." Shining said sadly.

    "Ooh," Twilight groaned, "would you get that damn wrench out of your afterburner- . . ." Twilight abruptly stopped as she realized she was proving Shining's point. "Oh . . ."

    Shining Armor looked horrified. "Twiley! Mom and Dad raised us not to that word!"

    "Pfft. It's just a word."

    "Twiley!" Shining Armor exclaimed again.

    Twilight gave Shining a sympathetic look. "B.B.B.F.F, I'm sorry, but I'm not the little filly I used to be. War . . . does that to Ponies."

    Twilight turned and trotted towards the door, opening it with her magic. "I would think you would understand that, wouldn't you?"

    Shining looked away.

    "Oh . . . that's right. . . you've haven't been in a real war, have you?"

    The two siblings stood there in awkward silence for a moment, neither of them wanting to be the first to pick up on that sentence.

    "Well, um," Twilight spoke after a while, "I have some errands to run." Twilight stepped and began edging the door to shut. "Feel free to make yourself at home. . ." Twilight closed the door, leaving Shining Armor alone.

    Shining closed his eyes, turning his head to the floor. He sighed, raising his head back up to look at the door.

    "What happened to that filly that I used to know?" Shining wondered.
    [hr]
    Back on Earth, Fluttershy was still reeling and freezing up at the prospect of having to rate a store. "Eeeeh." She was currently flying, stuck in mid-air in the lobby while waiting for Rainbow Dash.

    Ratchet and Spike came back through the door.

    "Well, this has been fun, Ratchet!" Spike exclaimed happily.

    "Yes. . ." Ratchet gritted, trying very hard to not let his irritation with Spike show through. The incessant dragon had shared with Ratchet no end of questions that even a first-cycle protoform should have known. "Fun."

    "Well, I'm ready to head back now." Spike said. "Twilight's probably gone crazy without me."

    "Oh, I'm sure she's gone something without you." Ratchet quipped dryly, and mirthlessly, pulling down the lever for their Space Bridge. (formerly a GroundBridge, but they were since able to upgrade)

    Spike waddled through the coppery arch where the Bridge formed, disappearing into the portal. It was only after it closed and he was gone that Ratchet noticed Fluttershy's frozen form hanging in mid-air.

    "Fluttershy?" Ratchet asked, trotting over to the pegasus and placing his hand underneath her. He knew as soon she regain her senses, she would sink like a rock and hit the floor, so that was the least he could do.

    "Fluttershy!

    "EEH!" Fluttershy squealed, dropping down to her back on Ratchet's hand, as he had predicted, and bleating like a lamb. "I surrender!"

    "Fluttershy, it's okay." Ratchet assured her, waving his free arm. "It's just me."

    "Oh . . . okay."

    "What's wrong, girl?"

    "Oh, Ratchet!" Fluttershy wailed. "It's horrible! I have to go to a pet store and critic the owners and the place where they keep the pets and the store setting, and I was waiting for Rainbow Dash to come over and help me but I was waiting so long I froze up in mid-air and then you came in and sent Spike through the Space Bridge and-"

    "I know what happened after that, Fluttershy." Ratchet told her, doing his best to fight his old-age impulse sarcasm and comfort her, rather than mock her. "Hmm. . ." Fluttershy noticed his gaze shift.

    "Is something wrong, Ratchet?"

    "Oh . . . just thought now might be a good time to bring something up." Ratchet said.. "I mean, obviously it's not a great time, since you're worrying about the pet store and all, but . . . I don't see a better one happening any time soon, so. . . "

    "Okay . . ." Fluttershy lifted her wings and gently floated out of Ratchet's hand. "What is it?"

    Ratchet opened his mouth, but no words came out. He sighed and buried his head into his hand.

    "Ratchet?"

    "It's - " Ratchet stuttered. "Fluttershy, this is very difficult for me to say. We've been friends a long time now, haven't we?"

    Fluttershy gasped, putting her hooves over her mouth. Was Ratchet about to . . .?"

    "Fluttershy, w-would you . . ."

    Ratchet reached up and wrapped both his hands around the tip of her hoof as best he could.

    "Ratchet?" Fluttershy squeaked, hyperventilation. "Y-y-y-you're not proposing to me, are you!?" Fluttershy took in deep breaths, not ready for that big a commitment. "We've only known each other so long!"

    "Fluttershy . . ." Ratchet said, unamused.

    "What about the legal papers!?"

    "Fluttershy . . ."

    "What would the children look like like!?"

    "Fluttershy . . ."

    "I guess we could adopt . . ."

    "Fluttershy!" Ratchet snapped, taking his hands off so he could make an angry gesture of tossing his arms in the air. Fluttershy whimpered and fluttered slightly away from him.

    "Uuuh . . ." Ratchet rubbed his forehead in embarrassment. "No, Fluttershy, I am not trying to propose to you. I'm trying to ask . . . we've been friends for so long, I'm trying to ask . . ."

    Ratchet put his hands around her hoof again.

    "Could we be . . . family?" Ratchet spoke softly, and Fluttershy knew this was something special to him. Ratchet didn't lower his voice for just anypony.

    "I'm . . . not sure what you mean." Fluttershy mumbled.

    Ratchet shook his head. "Never mind, then."

    "Oh, and Ratchet?"

    "Yes?"

    "Are you sure this isn't a proposal?"

    "YES! For Primus' sake, Fluttershy, yes, I am sure this is not a proposal!"

    Ratchet and Fluttershy stared at each other for a minute, and then . . .

    "Fluttershy, I am getting the strangest sense of deja vu."

    "I know what you mean!"

    A flapping beat of steady, confident wings caught their attention as Rainbow Dash flew into the room.

    "Rainbow Dash!" Fluttershy exclaimed. "You're here!"

    "Yeah, yeah." Dash muttered. "You ready to head to Downtown?"

    "Oh, yes!" Fluttershy answered, flying towards her friend.

    "Let's go." Rainbow Dash ducked, swerved, and flew out the room. Fluttershy didn't follow her, though. Instead, she looked over at Ratchet, who was stoically looking over his monitor, that monitor that he was always mooning over, all by his lonesome.

    Fluttershy flew after Rainbow Dash, that image burning in her mind . . . if only he someone he could rely on for company . . . like . . .

    Fluttershy had an "Ah-ha!" moment, but decided it could wait. She flew after Rainbow Dash.

    [hr]

    Downtown City was a bustling, sprawling metropolis of a city. Fluttershy was glad that Rainbow Dash was with her. She might've overwhelmed by all the cars, transit vehicles, and shining towers the humans called "skyscapers" - which Fluttershy found distasteful. Who could be so heartless as to start scraping the sky!?

    The sky has feelings too!

    Eventually, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy found an apartment building, painted an odd mix of purple and pink, with a circular blue sign reading the something-something Pet Shop.

    "That it?"

    "That's it!"

    The two of them swooped downwards and landed at the shop's entrance. Fluttershy cleared her throat and knocked tentatively on the door.

    "Hello?" a teenaged girl human answered. She had a long, slender build, blue eyes, and long brown hair. She was wearing very thin lipstick and a simple plain blue shirt. She looked oddly at the two pegasus before smacking her forehead. "Oh, right! Which of you is Fluttershy?"

    "T-t-that would b-be me. . ." Fluttershy stuttered, her shy demeanor shining through in the presence of this new girl she hadn't met.

    "Well, come on in!" the girl gestured. "Name's Blythe. The owner is right now, but I pretty much run the place anyway, so no harm, no foul."

    "Uh-huh . . ." Fluttershy nodded, not really paying attention as she and Rainbow Dash stepped in the door.

    The first thing Fluttershy noticed was that the store was . . . well-packed. Pet food and toys fit for anything from dogs to cats to octopi to dogs again was stocked on the shelve. Rubber bones, plastic bones, canned food, bagged food, fish bowls . . .

    Fluttershy was pretty sure that this store was going to end up with her thumbs-up. Ignoring her lack of thumbs, of course. She felt something tugged her front leg, and looked down to see a dog pawing at her legs for her attention.

    "What the!?" Blythe exclaimed. "I'm so sorry, she must have gotten out of the daycamp. Here, I'll just-"

    "No, it's fine." Fluttershy assured her, scooping the dog up into her leg. "She's cute." Fluttershy gave the dog an affectionate nuzzle on the nose. "Oh, you're just a little love-bug, aren't you?"

    The dog panted, barked positively, then rolled onto its back. Fluttershy giggled.

    "Well," Fluttershy said, turning to Blythe, "Blythe, I think I can safely say I'll give your store a big -"

    There was a knock on the door.

    "Excuse me." Blythe said, as the knocking grew more intense. Almost angry, even. Before Blythe could even reach the door, the glass shattered.

    "Whoops." A thick, Brooklyn-accented voice said. "Apologies. Guess I overestimated the strength of the glass. I guess I'll just let myself in?"

    The door swung open to reveal one of the strangest Decepticons Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had ever seen. He – and it was definitely a he – stood tall, with a bulky chest designed for taking a hit, emblazoned with an "X" right in a prime target spot. It was like a human drawing a target around his heart. The Decepticon's feet were made from the articulate claws of a mine-removing vehicle. He had a purple visor topped with green, crystal goggles, and a small, wide face. By far the strangest thing, was that he was small enough to actually fit in the pet store. Fluttershy had never known the Decepticons to be one for downsizing. His colors were grey, brown, and creamy-yellow.

    "Sorry about the glass, again." He said, causally strolling in. His feet crushed the glass underneath him. To him, being metal, it wasn't a concern. But it was going to be a pain for Blythe to clean up later. "Name's Dropshot."

    "Hello, um, Dropshot." Fluttershy mumbled, while Blythe and Rainbow Dash tensed up. Dash was ready for a fight, clearly. "What are you, um, doing here? . . . and why are you so small?"

    "I'll answer those questions in no particular order. I'm small because I'm a special type of Decepticon – a Micromaster, downsized into a pint-sized body for whatever purposes a small body might be good for."

    Dash snorted. ""Good for"? I thought bigger was better?"

    "Not if, say, you were trying to slip a spy unseen into an enemy encampment." Dropshot countered. "Anyways, I'm here on the lookout for you two!"

    "Yeah?" Dash growled, her tail flicking. "What for, ya little-"

    "Oh, don't be like that." Dropshot chided. "I just wanted to have a chat with some of the heroes of the century! You DID end a 4-million year interstellar war, did you not?"

    "Well . . . yeah." Dash muttered, rubbing her chin with her tail, mollified by his stroking of her ego.

    "And may I say, you, Fluttershy . . . are an exquisitely beautiful mare?"

    "Oh!" Fluttershy blushed. "Um, thank you, I guess."

    Dash became suspicious again. "What are you really here for?"

    "I just wanted to talk." Dropshot said. He looked around. "I was also hoping to meet some of the young ones. You know, the young ones are always the cutest part of a species. Shame I don't see any of them."

    "Hmm." Dash muttered.

    "I'd also like to add that Shockwave is totally, genuinely interested in peace, and has absolutely no ulterior motive behind his actions." Dropshot said stiltedly.

    "All right . . ." Dash drawled, giving Dropshot an accusing eye. "Come on, Fluttershy. We still need to visit that other pet shop, right?"

    "Right." Fluttershy gave the dog one last nuzzle before following Rainbow Dash out the door, careful not to step on the glass. Dropshot followed Dash out, leaving Blythe to clean up his mess, but Dropshot made sure to respect Dash's personal space and kept his distance.

    "Hmph." Dash huffed at him, glaring over his shoulder.

    Dropshot was tempted to transform and hide in traffic, but that would actually be more suspicious. "Don't mind me, just a missile carrier truck the size of a mailbox hiding in traffic!" He might say.

    Then he turned around, and noticed an orange pegasus filly trotting towards him and the store, followed by a white unicorn and yellow Earth pony.

    Dropshot chuckled. This is what he had been waiting for.

    [hr]

    Elsewhere, Fowler, Bryce, and their other old military buddies stepped through a church door. Fowler, being the last one in, took the time to close it.

    The inside of the church was soothing. Mostly white marble throughout, with a pinkish-red carpet leading from the door up to the steps where the pastor stood behind a wooden podium. Stained glass of indiscriminate shapes replaced the normal windows, causing an illusion of pink, yellow, and more colors of lights to shine in through the door.

    "Uh, Bill?" Bryce said. "We may have a problem."

    "Oh?" Fowler asked. Bryce directed his attention to the center of the floor, where someone was kneeling in a black, all-covering cloak. Fowler secretly cursed the fact they had to leave their weapons out.

    "I'll take it from here, General." Fowler saluted, rolled up his sleeves, and approached the cloak-wearing stranger.

    "All right punk, you listen here." Fowler warned him. "If you think you're going to cause trouble in a church on my watch, you got another thing coming-!"

    Fowler reached at the cloak and pulled it down, revealing . . . a familiar white unicorn.

    "Agent Fowler?" Rarity asked, turning her head around. "What are you doing here?"

    "What am I doing here!?" Fowler screeched, bewildered that a- a unicorn would be in his church! "What are you doing here!?"

    The pastor looked up from his podium, and Fowler felt the need to wave while putting on a faux-innocent smile. While he was it, Fowler turned and raised his hand at his army buddies to let them they were A-okay here. "We're good, guys! Now," Fowler turned back to Rarity, "seriously, what are you doing here!?"

    "Well, I . . ." Rarity muttered. "I heard that human churches offer forgiveness for sins, so I was hoping to acquire some of that for my own."

    ""Acquire"?" Fowler sighed and pinched his forehead. "Rarity, you don't just "acquire" forgiveness from the church." Fowler paused. "Wait, what sins?"

    Rarity's demeanor changed instantly. Like flicking a light switch. "I'd . . . rather not say." Rarity patted at the ground next to her. "Although you're welcome to join me, if you like."

    Fowler pouted, before relenting and sitting next to her. He brought his hands together, and he and Rarity closed their eyes while the rest of Bill's army buddies took their places on either side of her, praying for their old friend's safe passage.

    [hr]
    Ratchet was still in the base, monitoring the computer, ostensibly waiting for something to happen. But in all honesty, after the all conflict on Earth, Ratchet was quite content to just sit there and stare at that blank, green screen.

    Ratchet heard a scuffling noise and whipped around. "Who's there!?" He just barely made out the tip of a pink tail leaving the room.

    "Fluttershy?" Ratchet asked. "Oh, I hope I didn't scare her . . . especially after earlier today." He stepped forward and was about to call Fluttershy's name when he noticed a gift box on the table.

    "What's this?" Ratchet asked, stepping forward. It was a present box, like the kind humans gave each other. It was green and cardboard, with a red ribbon tying it.

    Ratchet slid his finger into the ribbon and yanked, untying it. He lifted the lid on the box and let out a quiet gasp what was inside.

    Contemplatively, Ratchet put the lid back on the box. He turned towards the exit.

    "I don't know if you can still hear me, Fluttershy, but if you can . . . it's lovely."

    Ratchet heard hooves stop, then start back up again. Ratchet chuckled.

    "That's my girl. Always so skittish . . ." Ratchet reflected as he took the lid off again and removed it contents.

    Ratchet looked around the room, and, deciding just above the door was the best place to put it, affixed the contents firmly there.

    It was a frame. An intricate, mahogany frame with a glass casing. In the frame were various picture of Twilight, Optimus, Applejack, Pinkie, Dash, Rarity, Fowler, Arcee, Bulkhead, Ratchet, and Bumblebee. Jack, Miko, and Raf, cobbled together. They had obviously been taken not from one picture, but from several pictures from several unrelated occasions. At least two had been placed so it looked like Twilight was sitting on the hood of Optimus' alternate mode.

    On the bottom edge of the frame, there was text in a slot. It was elegant, curvy, and loopy. It read words that made Ratchet smile.

    It read

    Our Family.

    [hr]

    Back on Cybertron, Blackout was out moping before a statue of Megatron's likeness. He felt depressed. Shockwave was moving towards "peace" with the Autobots and Ponies, not to mention the "hoomans" or whatever. Dreadwing had left their ranks. Megatron was dead. What was a Decepticon loyalist to do?

    Blackout sighed. He got a tingle up his spine. Blackout was amongst the greatest of Decepticon warriors, equipped with powerful Gatlings that could blow a hole in even the toughest material, a rotorslash weapon, and of course his sheer bulk. He was no slowpoke, either. Seeking out a fight with Blackout was akin to deliberately getting a rhinoceros to charge. And being such a powerful warrior, Blackout had his fair share of scraps. And thanks to those scraps, Blackout had developed a sort of sixth sense when someone or something with hostile intent was approaching him.

    "Who's there!?" Blackout shouted, turning around and pointing his Gatlings.

    "Easy, easy! I'm . . . a benefactor. Name's Dropshot."

    Blackout looked left, then right.

    "Down here, big guy."

    Blackout looked down and snorted at the tiny mockery of a Decepticon at his pedes. He had three Ponies around him. One orange, with wings and purple eyes and hair. One was white, with swirly pink -purple hair, green eyes, a horn. The last was yellow, like the inside of an apple, with red hair in a bowtie. That one had yellow eyes.

    "Who are you?" Blackout demanded.

    Dropshot snapped his fingers. "Name's Dropshot. You're Blackout, right? I've heard good things about you, friend!"

    "You and I are not "friends."" Blackout corrected him.

    "Okay, acquaintance." Dropshot corrected. "Anyways, point is, you miss Megatron. Right? Am I wrong?"

    "No . . ." Black out admitted, rubbing his elbows sorely. "You are right, but . . . why do you ask?" Blackout pointed his weapon and stomped forward.

    "You're dissatisfied with Shockwave, right?" Dropshot prodded further. "Well, what if I told you that I could help you bring the 'Cons back to their former glory? And what if I told you . . ." Dropshot brought the three fillies in front of him, and only now did Blackout noticed their eyes were dull and glassy. Like they had been drugged.

    Blackout looked at the seemingly-drugged fillies, then to Dropshot. He stroked his chin. Taking some time to think it over, Blackout knelt down to his new tiny companions.

    "I'd say I'm listening . . ."
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  2. Darkryt

    Darkryt Combiner Enthusiast

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    This story is a reboot of a story titled "Equestria Girls: Infiltration" as well as "My Little Pony: Infiltration", which were themselves continuation of a story entitled "Friendship is Magic: Prime", which I won't be posting here because I uploaded to Fimfiction and all I got for it was a few extra thumbs down.

    I will post some links for you, however.

    Since this story is a custom expanded universe, this first chapter is a little heavy on the exposition, but it should get you up to speed. At least enough that events in later chapters requiring this background knowledge make enough sense.

    Upcoming chapters should be a little less . . . wordy, and somewhat more eventful.

    As should be obvious, this fic is more than a little bit canon divergent, so that's why I put an "AU" tag. Some characters have also been changed by traumatic experiences.

    Hope you like it!

    Anyways: the links

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7931454/1/Friendship-Is-Magic-Prime-Act-1 - The Decepticon Occupation mentioned.

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8014677/1/Friendship-Is-Magic-Prime-Act-II - Discord's first encounter with Team Prime

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8157409/1/Friendship-Is-Magic-Prime-Act-III - A bunch of stuff.

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8976287/1/On-New-Wings - Post-Act III, when Dreadwing joined the Wonderbolts. (Personally, I think this could have been better. But it's still canon to my 'verse.)

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9282355/1/Thunderwing - a brief spot that jumps on the "Doctor Whooves" Bandwagon, because all the cool kids make Doctor Who/Whooves into their Pony crossovers, right? Also kind of terrible, but again, still canon.