by That 1 Guy

Chapter 34: Consequence

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Within the nation of Equestria, Stalliongrad lay but a stubborn husk of its former glory. For the first time in a thousand years, its defenses had failed the engineering metropolis. A fleet of zeppelins under the flag of the Griffon Empire and led by Warfather, had succeeded in damaging the city and disabling its mithril refining plant, but not without significant cost.

The entire fleet had been converted to flaming wrecks through the combined effort of several hundred thousand bullets and the tactical genius housed within Meteor Squad’s personal airship, known as Szary.

The frigate was barely maintaining lift of its own power, repair ponies of every conceivable relevant profession scurried across the heavily damaged aircraft to wherever their skills would be most valuable. Next to everything had been damaged, the outer hull especially, along with piping, guidance systems, various living quarters, but the morale of the crew was in the most disarray.
However, morale was something that Clockwork was in no short supply of. The pegasus was smirking with an almost vehement malice. The sheer ratio of allied lives lost versus enemies instantly placed the conflict in Equestria’s favor. Even Warfather and his lackeys had been sent scurrying, the one-eyed commander now missing his right talon in its entirely.

All in all, Stalliongrad remained under Alliance control, as did the behemoth Engine and all that it powered.

Clockwork had provided every last detail of his harrowing brushes with death to his commander while being wrapped from head to hoof in bandages by Szary’s paramedics, and now Clockwork stood amongst his comrades in arms, awaiting Long Shot’s return from a summoning by none other than Rear Admiral Shining Armor, the most powerful and influential mortal military official behind Twilight Sparkle.

Before Clockwork’s mind could go off on a tangent regarding the horned ponies of almost mythical magical prowess and endurance (it made no sense why either sibling had been made an alicorn yet), the stallion’s attention was brought to the door leading into Szary’s war room. Long Shot entered, his form blanketed in lacerations that he quite likely refused to have treated. If the pegasus remembered correctly, a nocturni’s healing factor was almost unreal. However, the millenia old warrior's true signs of exhaustion sat within his eyes. The twin golden orbs appeared to have dulled as their owner made his way to the war room’s table and practically collapsed into a chair. He motioned for the rest of his squad to do the same. Clockwork hesitated for a moment; the commander never sat down unless-

“Stalliongrad’s still under Alliance control, Meteor, and I have you all to thank for your valorous actions today. Truly, if we hadn’t been here when the scuzzies made the mistake of attacking, only Faust knows what could’ve happened.”

Clockwork shuddered at the lack of hope in Long Shot’s voice, replaced by something that he could only describe as cold and ruthless. Something was very wrong.

“I’m sorry to say, but there’s no time to celebrate facing down the impossible and making it our bitch. Reports are finally coming in and we've got a decent idea of what happened. The scuzzies' strategy wasn't all that well planned. Given this city's close position to enemy borders, the enemy fleet just gunned it until we were in range. Salvage teams are reporting that the fleet was minimally crewed, crew replaced by explosives and the like. As such, we’re recalculating our losses versus the enemy to see if this whole thing really was a net win for the Alliance. Not only that, but while we were working our flanks off to keep this city in one piece, two other cities have fallen in its place.”

It seemed like the whole world fell silent upon Long Shot’s words. There were no rampant hoofsteps outside, no faint mumblings from the team, not even the slightest hint that any one of them were still breathing.

“I’ve just received word from Rear Admiral Shining Armor that Marenobyl, Stalliongrad’s sister city, has fallen.”

Clockwork almost titled his head to one side. He didn’t recognize the name.

“Around the same time the assault on Stalliongrad began, several explosions went off within Marenobyl, and large amounts of the city’s foundation weakened to the point of structural collapse. Details are currently sketchy, but we’re damned sure that some odd hundred dogs led a suicide charge on the city, and the end result was the city’s main power plant becoming the centerpiece of a mass Tearcloud detonation. The gas has since faded, but the city is now nothing more than a bleached skeleton. Marenobyl provided large reserves of arcane energy for Stalliongrad, and with its loss, so went all that power. The Behemoth Engine may be powerful, but it isn’t a source of eternal energy. Without Marenobyl, Stalliongrad is now rationing power to the most important installations. Water treatment, keeping residential establishments heated, the usual.”

Clockwork’s heart skipped a beat. As far as he knew, this was Tearcloud’s first use in the war at large. He felt his sense of victory quickly fade.

“I’m sorry to say that the bad news doesn’t stop there. During the invasion of Stalliongrad and destruction of Marenobyl, the Alliance lost all communication with the coastal town of Bridal Shores. "

Clockwork glanced at Charger. At the moment, she appeared unfazed by the news regarding her birthplace and home of many years. He looked back at his commander. “If I might, Commander. Why attack Bridal Shores?"

Long Shot emitted a frustrated sigh. “The only tactical value that city held was a small research facility that prioritized in medicine. The place was a coastal town, a vacation city. Circumstances have our top strategists thinking that this is all part of some kind of shock and awe campaign. Worst part? We don't know if it's over or if the scuzzies are just getting started. Our last confirmed transmissions with forces on the ground said the Supremacy was determined to take the city, but they had yet to succeed."
Clockwork’s brow furrowed. “So what’s kept them at bay?”

"A couple hundred soldiers are still dug in deep. Spirit and familiarity with the terrain can do wonders."

"H-How long are they expected to last, commander?" Mganga inquired, her voice shaking.

"With luck, two days. Honestly, I’m amazed a city that small didn’t fall immediately."

“Is there any chance of reinforcements being provided?” Switcher-7 inquired as he twirled a small vial in one hoof.

"Negative. We've got enough problems as is. Sending them reinforcements is a fool's gamble."

"Meteor Squad is nothing but fools.” Clockwork chimed. “Why don't we go?"

"If the diagnostics I've been provided are accurate, we aren't going anywhere. Szary's taken enough of a beating to keep her out of the fight for two weeks minimum. Even so, a single frigate won’t last long against Celestia-knows-how-many zeppelins the griffons have parked above the city. We wouldn't have the benefit of dozens of anti-air emplacements to keep the pressure of her. Lastly, we're not gods, kid, we're just soldiers much like the rest the military. On our own, and in our current state, we can't turn the tide when the enemy numbers in the several hundreds."

Clockwork’s memories flashed back to Charnel, as well as his desires to acquaint her with a bloody end, and that was the last straw. He slammed his hooves into the table, eliciting a strained grimace from the pegasus and causing the table to tremble as though in fear. "So let me get this straight, commander. You're telling me, telling your squad, that the Alliance is going to let soldiers who can barely defend themselves die?! Are you serious?!"

"Reinforcements are unavailable and futile, the griffons have the advantage."

"Bull! Shit!" the winged stallion spat. "Long Shot, do you even remember what we've accomplished in a few short months?! What we managed to pull off just an hour ago?!"

"I have a perfect memory and I'm sorry. There's no way we can keep that city."

"Did the admiral even have the courtesy to tell the soldiers there of their eventual fate? Have you already told their families?!" the pegasus asked through gritted teeth.

"This conversation is over."

An tense, eerie silence followed, but it was quickly broken as sobbing was heard near the back of the room. Tears were streaming down Charger's face.

“Charger, are you alright?” Long Shot asked.

Amidst violent sobbing, Charger barely managed to provide an answer. “Bridal Shores. . . was my home, Commander. I. . . I was born and lived there for many years before moving to Ponyville. Last I heard. . . my father was stationed in. . . the medical facility you spoke of. I’m truly sorry, but I. . . I. . . I need to be alone!”

Charger sprinted out of the room, tears marking her path of retreat. The only thing that kept Clockwork from following was a stern command from his squad leader.

“I’m sorry, Clockwork. I can’t let you go to her. Not while we still have one last issue to discuss.”

Clockwork sat up a bit straighter. “And that issue would pertain to what, Commander?”

“Your conduct during the Siege.” With a brief flash of magic, Long Shot locked every door leading in or out of the War Room. “Even in the heat of battle, there are just some things that you don’t do. Ever.”

Clockwork remained silent, doing his best not to let his rage get the better of him. “And those things would be?”

“Plainly speaking, you mouthed off to Colonel-”

“She had it coming, sir.” Clockwork retorted.

“She was a bitch, but she had a point.” Long Shot growled. “Like I already said, we’re not all that different from the general rabble; we’re all mortal.”

“Including Charnel,” Clockwork added defiantly. “and she seemed to have forgotten that fact.”

“Speaking of which, in addition to mouthing off to her, and me, you also assaulted her and another officer, which is punishable by firing squad if the mares and stallions in charge of determining your actions just or unjust finds them the latter.” Long Shot explained in a hollow tone devoid of mercy.

Clockwork looked to the table for a moment. “So this is a tribunal then?”

“That is correct.” Mganga answered.

“So you three are my judge, jury, and executioner?”

“Though the wording is not exact, you are again correct in your observation.” Switcher replied, moving his seat so that he sat at Long Shot’s left. Mganga did the same, taking her place at Long Shot’s right side.

Clockwork grit his teeth behind closed lips. “What about-”

“Since Charger’s been emotionally compromised, as well as her bias towards you, she’d likely find in your favor regardless.” Long Shot interrupted.

“Hmph. You’d be damned surprised, Commander.”

“Enough.” the nocturni declared. “You’ve verbally disrespected several superior officers, attacked two, and if I remember from Wetwork and Haywire’s report, you went AWOL after killing a cybernetic rock wolf. Not only that, but you fought against Warfather, not even bothering to call for backup, thus risking your mind, life, the lives of others and the functionality of the mithril factory. Which, might I remind you, is the only damned one Equestria has. So, Clockwork, how do you stand?”

Clockwork thought long and hard, his memories of previous events flashing before him as he considered his options and possible fate. He glanced at each of his teammates. All three wore signs of war. Switcher’s carapace was cracked in several places, his silvery help dented and one of his fangs broken. Mganga seemed just as bad, her heavily bandaged body resting at an uneven angle. Long Shot was by far the worst, with countless cuts and bruises present across every inch of his figure. All three warriors all looked at the pegasus before them with quiet malice mixed with the faintest trace of fear.

In time, Clockwork answered. “What you say is correct, Commander, but circumstance alters situations drastically.”

Long Shot raised an eyebrow. “How so?”

“Charnel behaved with severe disorderly conduct, as did many of the other officers in the room. It is likely that overwhelming stress succeeded in distorting my moral compass, and when the rock wolf appeared, it all fell apart right then and there. In good faith, I hurried to the next most threatened area with the sole intention to protect our assets. I had no idea that Warfather would be present, and I tried my radio several times on the way to and inside the factory, garnering no response from anypony. Lastly, I forced Warfather to retreat by first denying him Carniferous’ favor as well as freeing his right talon from his body. After this, I responded to your summoning and hurried aboard without a moment’s hesitation.”

“How in Luna’s name did you keep Warfather from triggering Carniferous’ blessing?” Long Shot asked in disbelief.

“Truth be told, sir, I haven’t the slightest idea. Warfather said something about how Carniferous gives her blessing to whoever she considers the greatest warrior on the field. When the scuzzy cyclops tried to call on her power, nothing happened. I took advantage of his weakened state, and you know the rest.”

“Is there anything else you wish to add?”

“Nothing more, sir.”

“Very well.” Long Shot unlocked one of the room’s doors and gestured to it. “You are free to go, but are hereby confined to the ship until further notice. We’ll come find you when we reach a verdict.”

“Thank you, sir.” Clockwork rose and made his way out of the room, but left the door open the slightest bit and stayed within earshot. The voices were indistinguishable, but it didn’t matter.”

“So. . . what do you two think?”

“While drastic, his actions did result partially so in the defense of the city.”

“He is dangerous, but effective. Had his actions not lead you to demote everyone in the room, we would have lost the city. Warfather’s defeat is impressive as well. Imagine the damage that could’ve been done to this city if he was left without injury."

“The city’s already damaged enough as is. Who knows how long it’ll take this place to recover?”


The arguing went on for some time, and after realizing that the discussion was going nowhere fast, Clockwork decided to head to Charger’s room. He had to do something to comfort her, even if-


Clockwork’s body violently met that of another, and then the floor. He was about to apologize before realizing who he had run into. Haywire scrambled to hide a large sack of trinkets, papers, and tools, while Wetwork remained on the floor in a daze.

“Oh. . . umm. . . hello, Wetwork. Haywire.” Clockwork replied dumbly as he got to his hooves. Much to his surprise, Wetwork declined his offer of assistance. Haywire did her best to hide behind her coworker.

“Is something the matter?”

The unicorn looked to her earth pony ally, then back at her coltfriend with a heavy sigh. “Haywire and I have agreed that it would be best if we left Szary.”

“. . . say again?”

“We’re leaving, Clock.” Haywire confirmed.

“Oh. . . well, okay. . . I won’t try to stop you. Where. . . where are you heading?”

“About a hundred feet below us.” Wetwork answered.

“Wet and I want to help rebuild what was destroyed.” Haywire added.

“Okay then. When should I expect a letter?”

Wetwork replied with a single word, one of the most powerful. “Never.”

Clockwork replied with another word, again, one of the most powerful questions known to ponykind. “. . .What?”

Wetwork looked to the floor and pawed at the metal, resulting in the emission of small tapping sounds. “I thought it best if we ended the relationship.”

“. . . Why?”

“Sweet Celestia, are you really that stupid?! This, right here right now, is why!” the unicorn snapped. “I can’t take this anymore! We’re supposed to be together, but we barely see each other! Not only that, but you clearly have eyes for Charger and Charger only!”

Clockwork remained silent.

“I can’t take the stress of front-line combat! I’m paranoid every other fifteen minutes thinking that something’s going to shoot us out of the sky, or worse, that I’ll survive long enough to see you return home in a body bag!” the unicorn screamed with tears at the corner of her eyes. “I cared about you, Clockwork.”

“. . . Explain.”

“See? This is exactly what I’m talking about!” she exclaimed. “You’ve become less and less like yourself! You used to to be a charmingly awkward dork who cared for the lives of everypony and fired his gun only as a last resort! Now. . . now you’re just something else, something so terrible that even I can’t find the right word to describe it. Remember when you asked me once about my bloodshot eyes?”

“. . . No.”

Wetwork continued. “Well, you did ask once, and I said it was nothing. In truth, I was staying awake at night, dreading what was happening to the stallion I had grown to love, but only after what I saw today do I realize that he died.”

“After today?”

“Yes! You cut that damned rock wolf thing in half, while laughing!! You were laughing, at death caused by your hooves!”

“By my wing.” Clockwork flared out his appendage to correct the mare. It was still encrusted with tiny dried specks of sludge, and the ruby lacked any semblance of its original, breathtaking purity. “To save your lives.”

“No, you weren’t trying to save us. You cut that thing in half to satiate your morbid cravings, and then practically showered in whatever it had for blood! I’m sorry, but the Clockwork I know is dead, and without him I have no reason to stay. Goodbye.”

Clockwork stood paralyzed as both mares passed him, making their way out of his sight and out of his life for the rest of it. He wanted to cry, wondered if he should turn and try to convince them to stay. In the end though, the pegasus thought against it and continued on to his original destination.

Clockwork stood before the brass door that lead to Charger’s private quarters. Despite all his time aboard Meteor Squad’s vessel, he never once passed through this door. Where there should have been fear or anxiety (or both), there was only an emptiness as the stallion reached out to knock lightly on the intricately carved brass.

Tap. . . Tap. . . Tap. . .

“Hey. . . Charger.” Clockwork hollowly called. “You in there? Can I talk with you?”

Knock knock knock

“Charger? Hello?”

Knock Knock Kno-

Creeeeeeeak. . .

Reflexively, the pegasus stepped back at the entryway grinded open, leading into an unlit chamber. Upon closer inspection, the door had been left slightly ajar. Clockwork mused over whether or not he should shut the door and come back, but something made him decide otherwise. With a deep breath, he slowly made his way inside and flicked a nearby switch.

The room lit up in an instant, allowing Clockwork to finally have a look inside the forbidden palace. Much to his surprise, however, the room was even more plain than his. A simple mattress lay at the far end of the room, perpendicular to the window that replaced the cabin’s outermost wall. At the wall opposite to Charger’s bed, a workbench was bolted to the floor, flanked on one side by a moderately sized set of shelves. No posters hung in the room, no decorations of any kind to assert that this room actually belonged to anyone. Perhaps this was just a storage room?

. . . No. Clockwork was absolutely sure that these quarters belonged to Charger. He had watched her enter here dozens of times.

The pegasus jumped as a flash of lightning colored the room a blinding white, followed shortly thereafter by a harsh clap of thunder and the barely audible drizzle of rain. Clockwork found himself aiming his pistol at where the lightning had been a second before, his wing familiarly angled to act as a shield. After forcing himself to relax, something caught his eye. An ink well had spilt on the workbench, every few seconds another drip of black ichor would hit the lightly carpeted floor. Opposite the overturned inkwell, resting on Charger’s bed, was a scroll of parchment wrapped with a ribbon of scarlet. Every cell in Clockwork’s body screamed at him not to open the letter, not to invade her privacy and risk losing another friend. Yet his mind forced him to unfurl the message, and as his eyes flickered over the hastily scribbled calligraphic, he realized why his body did not wish to comply.

Hello Clockwork, if you are reading this, than I have left the ship and have been gone for some time. I could not just sit idly by and hope that my father is alive. I must discover his fate for myself. Do not worry about me, my weapons, reflexes, and training will keep me safe. It is likely that, given the odds, I will not return alive, so I must tell you this, what I wanted to tell you if we got a private moment alone in Stalliongrad. I know that you love me. I mean no offense, but you are not very good at hiding your feelings about me from me. You must know that I hid the truth from you too, once. The fire ruby I gave you, the one that channels your thoughts and allows you to control your prosthetic wing; I lied about its meaning. It was not a symbol of lasting friendship, but of affection. On her death bed, my mother told me to give it to the pony that I would love, and that pony is you. I love you Clockwork, with all of my heart and I always will. I am sorry that I could not tell you personally, but it appears I will be unable to do so given the circumstances. I must know what has happened to my father. Goodbye, my love.

There was no signature, no elegant golden C. In the signature’s place, there as only the stain of tears on parchment.

With another flash of lightning, something indescribably terrible happened inside of the young stallion. Whether it was the breaking of his heart of the complete and total shredding of his psyche, something tore.

Clockwork folded the letter with unnatural precision and shakily placed it inside one of his coat’s inner pockets. His bodily suddenly devolved into a violently shuddering mass, though he continued to stand. The fire ruby flashed red once. . . twice. . . three times. With the third flash, the thunder came, and Clockwork’s body snapped to attention, a cruel and sacrilegious grin twisted into being upon his muzzle. He started to giggle to himself, lightly at first, and then it quickly melted into the laugh of a half-dead psychopath with nothing left to lose.

Clockwork about-faced and made his way out of the room, quickening his pace until he went from an almost motionless stroll into a merciless gallop. It mattered not who blocked his path, as the stallion knocked them all aside with a vicious broadside from his prosthetic. Clockwork giggled again as he continued onwards. They were the bullets.

It wasn’t much longer before he reached the armory, and after fully stocking up and swatting aside a pair of guards sent to detain him, the pegasus bolted out of the room towards his second destination, the teleportation drive.

Admittedly, the room housing the arcane engine was never a pretty one, but to Clockwork, right at this moment, it was the beautiful key to achieving his goal. Thanks to the previous battle, the engine room had been cleared out to allow the machine to recharge without outside influence, and such a process would normally take two to three hours without any hiccups. However, Clockwork did not have three hours, much more like three minutes. On his first tour of the zeppelin, since he was technologically qualified, Clockwork had been instructed by the engineer in charge on how to operate the system in a last-ditch scenario. In his mind (or what was left of it), this scenario was quite last ditch, and given his updated knowledge of Equestria's geography, he knew exactly what button to press and which levers to pull.

In no time at all, Clockwork completed his task and rushed out of the room. He was met by three nuisances, more guards sent to detain him. Ammunition conservation was key, so Clockwork remained silent in an effort to bide him the time he needed. It seemed like forever before a familiar voice, Long Shot’s, came over the intercom.

“Clockwork. I know you’re listening to me, but I haven’t the slightest fucking clue of what’s gotten into you. If you have any sense left in-”

There was a pause, followed by a short muttering.

“Sir!” the voice sounded like it belonged to Nimbus. “Teleportation drive’s online and charging!”

“What?! Try the emergency shutdown!”

“I already did! It’s not responding to my commands!”

“Clockwork.” Long Shot’s voice returned to full volume. “I think I know what you’re planning, but if your actions cause the death of even a single member of this crew, I will personally put the bullet in your head.”

Clockwork scoffed at the windless threat. The commander knew of the militaristic value the pegasus held in both mind and body, and would not dare kill such an asset without both sisters’ permission. Even then, he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to kill one of-

The stallion’s rampant musings were cut off as a sickly sweet scent filled his nostrils and a violet fog filled his vision. Clockwork grinned. Time to go.

Without a moment’s hesitation, the pegasus leapt over the armed trio and flared out his wing, tearing through the floor and landing on Szary’s third level. In an instant, Clockwork regained his footing and broke into a dead gallop, relying on muscle memory instead of sight in order to get to the hangar bay.

Sure enough, just as the fog began to disperse, Clockwork finally made it to his third destination, and judging by the sounds of lightning, thunder, and a torrential downpour, Szary had reached her intended destination as well.

Bridal Shores.

Nopony reacted as Clockwork tore the override lever from it’s housing and the bay doors parted, revealing a deathly gray sky scarred by lightning bolts and occasional upwards gunfire. Breathing deep, Clockwork pushed his legs to their limits and ran for the sky as the purplish fog began to cover him again. Just as the floor began to disappear from underneath Clockwork’s hooves, the stallion tensed his muscles and jumped out of the departing aircraft. After making sure that he was indeed out of the airship, Clockwork turned around to make sure that Szary had departed safely. Just as expected, there wasn’t even the slightest sign that the dirigible had been present at all. Good, they were safe.

A flash of lighting and roar of thunder and wind brought Clockwork’s attention back to the present, and the winged stallion expertly shifted himself until he was gliding to the muddy floor below. He spied his first nest of prey and, after encasing himself in his wing the best he could, he fell.

It didn’t take long before the sounds of gunfire replaced that of rain, and it was only a moment longer before Clockwork crashed upon the ground in a manner similar to a mortar shell, sending a tidal wave of mud and gruel over his targets. After making sure nothing was broken (he couldn’t kill as quickly with a broken rib cage), the pegasus rose and looked about his immediate surroundings.

Eight griffons, all covered in wet earth, were hastily trying to wipe the muck out of their eyes.

With a smirk, Clockwork drew his pistol, but decided against the action and quickly holstered it again. He didn’t want to waste ammo if he could kill his enemies in a much better fashion. With lightning speed (though not nearly such precision), Clockwork cut through each griffon like a freshly sharpened blade through dirty chicken, though in reality he was doing just that. After rinsing the blood from his appendage and a few droplets from his muzzle, the soldier turned to face the city proper.

It was raining, hard, and thus Clockwork’s vision was obscured severely. It didn’t matter much, as the lightning illuminated every last centimeter of the city just enough for Clockwork to get a decent picture in his mind. It was a small city, barely worthy of the title, only a few tall buildings dotted its otherwise homely though desolated landscape. Any semblance of paradise was long gone, and the sound of a furious ocean was easily detectable, far off to the west. The sounds of gunfire came in a slow but constant stream, and all Clockwork had to do was follow the sound.

Truthfully, the scene was pathetic at best. Griffons stood idly by as Clockwork appeared before them and slaughtered them all without firing a single shot. There were no equines to speak of, and certainly none with a yellow coat and orangish mane. There wasn’t even a single hooven body amidst the muddy chaos of nature’s fury. Though in a short time, the land instead became ridden with the corpses of those that possessed talons, beaks, and swords. Clockwork laughed as he stopped to catch his breath. This many notches wouldn't fit on his gun. Not that it would matter, after all, mithril-

The pegasus spun around as something caught his eye. The glint of the barrel of rifle or the blade of a sword? No, it was the slamming of a door. A door that held griffon cowards. A door that Clockwork promptly reduced to splinters.

However, the pegasus froze as he looked over the inside of the building. It was a warehouse, but the primary thing it was housing was Alliance personnel. At first glance, there seemed to be multitudes of each kind of pony, at least two dozen zebras, there were even a few bison in the back of the room. Everyone had bandages of some sort wrapped around them, and many of them were still sporting untreated wounds.

Every mare and stallion that seemed capable of holding a gun was pointing theirs at him, but Clockwork could see the fear in their eyes. They were prepared to fire out of instinctual fear, but as what remained of their senses kicked in, they lowered their weapons. Clockwork remained in the doorway, his body wet and muddy, his mind half dumbstruck and half murderously insane.

The pegasus felt something hit his cheek, and he was readying to slit the assailant's throat before something in his mind told him not to. That slap must've allowed his common sense to recompose itself, and when the stallion recognized the insignia of Colonel present on the earth pony's shoulder, Clockwork snapped to attention. "Sir!"

The earth pony did not respond with the same gesture, whether out of contempt or physical inability, Clockwork never got the chance to find out. "You have sixty seconds to explain who you the fuck you are and what the fuck you're doing here before I render you a lifeless sack of organs."

"Clockwork. Technical specialist of High Risk Operations Team Meteor. I'm here to rescue you."

The Colonel remained silent for a long time, and only after wiping a stream of blood from his nose did he respond. "Follow me."

Next Chapter: Bridal Shores Estimated time remaining: 48 Minutes
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