by That 1 Guy

Chapter 35: Bridal Shores

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Author's Notes:

Sorry for the wait and relatively short length of the chapter. I WILL get this story done. I promise.

Clockwork and Colonel Bright Side stood across from one another in the resistance's makeshift war room. In truth, it was nothing more than a hastily refurbished supply closet, but it did the job. A single flickering light bulb desperately clung to the ceiling by a scant few wires, illuminating a dirty and damaged map of the city known as Bridal Shores. The ocean lay off to the west, the rest of Equestria far inland to the east. Various markings denoted where certain buildings no longer stood, which ones were occupied by hostiles, where pockets of friendly resistance were entrenched, and a hundred other situations. Bright Side ran a hoof through his mane, the appendage coming away with sweat, dirt, and blood. "Well, mister special forces, no doubt you know how bad the situation is."

Clockwork’s eyes remained focused on the map. "Something tells me I don't know the half of it. Tell me Colonel, how bad is it? Really?"

Bright Side fell into a violent coughing fit, some red fleeing his mouth before he could regain his composure. "It was bad right from the start. This morning, crack o' dawn, two griffon battleships and one dreadnaught plowed through the city’s perimeter defenses. One fell to our anti-air emplacements. The second took them out before falling itself. The third one, the dreadnaught, it reduced our tallest buildings to rubble and parked itself over the hospital before-"

"Excuse me for interrupting, Colonel, but when I got here I didn't see any zeppelins sans my own."

Bright Side seemed to focus on something in the distance. Clockwork recognized the look. "It disappeared a little while ago, just after destroying our radio tower. Speaking of which. How in Tartarus did you get here? I thought this city’s communication array was destroyed?"

"It was, but that doesn't mean we didn't know what was going on before then. I took it upon myself to come here and help." Clockwork explained. "I'm sorry, but I'm your reinforcements. Everyone else figured it a lost cause, especially my C.O."

". . . Fuck." Bright Side cursed. "We're not even putting up a fight anymore, just a. . . a death struggle. That’s what it’s called, right?"

"Have you told the soldiers downstairs?"

"No.” Bright Side laughed weakly. “I have to live up to my namesake."

"Hmm. . ." Clockwork pressed a hoof to his chin. "Colonel, have you recently seen a mare with a yellow coat, orange mane, and blue eyes?"

Bright Side tilted his head in confusion. "Nopony by that description. Why?"

"Never mind." Clockwork dismissed the inquiry with a flap of his wings. "What can you tell me about our current forces?"

"We've got two hundred soldiers left, give or take. All of ‘em wounded and none willing to fight."

"What about the griffons? Did they have any support on the ground during the invasion?"

Bright Side shook his head. "I've only had to deal with the feathered fuckers, no diamond dogs or changelings to speak of. Our best estimates place the current enemy force at around five hundred give or take another hundred. Celestia knows how many are still on board that dreadnaught."

“Does the enemy have a base of operations?”

"The only place I can think of is the hospital. It also functions as a medicinal and mechanical research facility. The beaked bastards seemed damned intent on keeping it intact and under their control."

"Does the place have an exterior PA system?"

"Maybe. Why?"

"What about the city proper?"

"Definitely. How do you think the guys farther inside the city were alerted to the invasion?"

Clockwork straightened his posture and began to make his way out of the room. "Colonel. Ready every able bodied soldier you can and gather them in the biggest room you've got. If you have a megaphone, chalk board, and chalk, I'll need it all."


"Because," Clockwork looked behind him, that terrible glint in his eye returned in full force. "We're taking back the city."

While waiting for Bright Side’s confirmation, the pegasus let his mind drift back to a little while earlier. It was just after he had explained the basic plan to the masses. As it was, the zebra and buffalo squads had their own leadership, and both were less than pleased with Clockwork’s plan.

Hardly any of the zebras Clockwork had picked were of the jungle and plains tribes the pegasus was more familiar with. Many of them claimed they were from the more stable coastal villages, and judging by the richly-hued colors of their stripes, their claims were not entirely lies. Many of them were large enough to lead Clockwork to wonder if Zebrican traders had given more to the Saddle Arabians than just golden trinkets and pottery. Their supposed leader reminded the engineer of Sallaq, that desert zebra from long ago. Judging by the response Clockwork got when he openly questioned if any of the striped stallions knew the equine cyclops, he was no better off than when Clockwork last saw him.

All in all, the striped leader had said, they were just awaiting orders. Unfortunately, it was his troops’ general belief that the war in general was not theirs to fight. However, he had also said that if what they were about to do got them on a zeppelin home, he and his team would support the operation in full.. Clockwork accepted this, if reluctantly.

The bison who were now under Clockwork’s hastily established command were proving to be difficult to deal with as well, because next to all of them were unfamiliar with equuish. Apparently, the dozen members of the ragtag team were part of the Stonehorn tribe. Raised farther south towards the badland mountain range than any other officially recognized tribe. The team’s general lack of intelligence was more than enough to reflect the tribe’s namesake tenfold. Sturdy, stubborn, and a pain in the flank.

The head bison trudged forward until he was in full view of the pegasus. “My people are brave, hardy, but we do not harbor fools. You? You are a fool. I will not, nor will any of my brothers, die for a fool.”

Clockwork smirked. “You wouldn’t be dying for me. Who’s your chief?”


“I said.” Clockwork repeated. “Who. Is your. Chieftain?”

“Chieftess.” the bison corrected his adversary.

“Who is she?”

“Chieftess Strongheart, that’s who!”

“Who was her predecessor?”

“Her father, Chief Thunderhooves.”

“Were you there the day he died?”

“No. Honestly, I don’t think he’s dead.”

“Sorry to burst your bubble, fatso, but the big guy’s dead, burnt, and buried. I watched it happen.”

The bison stood there awestruck, as did the eleven others behind him.

“That means I was there when he fought, and what a fight it was. You know what it took to bring that magnificent bastard down?!”

The bison shook their heads “no” in unison.

“It took the power of a god just to tear half of his face off! And you know what happened next? The chief kept fighting! He ran his opponent over and hurled him through the sky, then he trampled over two hundred feet of enemy bodies to take out the local changeling queen! He killed hundreds of monsters that day, and died of his own free will after sustaining the loss of half his face, swords were stuck in him until he was a walking pincushion, and bullets had riddled him until he looked like swiss cheese!”

The bison, and the zebras, looked at Clockwork with some disbelief, but mostly awe.

Clockwork laughed in respect at the old bison’s sacrifice. “He fought and died for every bison that has lived, died, and will ever be born! It took the combined might of a thousand soldiers and a god to bring down one buffalo! Are you seriously worried about getting put down by a few bullets?!”

The buffalo slowly turned around to look at his brethren. “Dunno, are we?”

Every bison gave the same reply, repeated one last time by their de facto spokestallion in equuish. “HELL NO!”

A crack of lightning tore Clockwork from his recollections and dropped him face first into the present. Clockwork lay on his stomach at the top of a gentle hill. The rain stung, the mud in his coat made the pegasus’ insides turn, but Clockwork ignored the unease. He’d been through far worse than this.

“Everyone’s in position.” Bright Side’s voice rang from Clockwork’s shoulder. “Waiting on your go.”

Clockwork let out a sigh and focused on his target. In the distance, partially obscured by the rain, was Bridal Shores Medical Center. Even with his vision impaired by the weather, Clockwork could make out a few griffon soldiers patrolling the roof, no heavy weapons as far as he could tell. There were no forces on the ground, and that would work to his advantage.

The plan was a 3 stage effort, and gaining access to the hospital was stage 1. On Clockwork’s signal, his bison team would charge forward, turrets strapped to their backs and fired remotely from a bit they would bite down on. No matter the soldier, a direct frontal assault was suicide, so this would act as a distraction while a his zebra team, carrying every last explosive the local alliance had minus grenades, would sneak over to whichever side of the base was least defended and plant a charge on the wall. At the moment, it seemed like the east side would be his makeshift point of entry. After detonation, both teams would retreat and regroup with the resistance proper. From there, well. . . he'd improvise until stage 3.

Clockwork had dwelled on the plan for long enough, and after making sure he had everything on him that he would need, he withdrew a bulky pistol from his jacket and aimed skyward. With little effort, the trigger was pulled and a scarlet flare rocketed into the cloudy grey yonder. As expected, a war cry over the radio signalled the bison beginning their assault, and the sound of .50 caliber turrets practically melting their barrels followed.

As expected, the apparently suicidal action caught the scuzzies’ attention, and as soon as they began to return fire, the zebras confirmed that they were in fact going for the east wall. After a solid copy from Clockwork, the pegasus watched his plan unfold. Albeit, it was hastily thought out and likely filled with more holes than a cheese grater, but he had no doubt it would work.

Sure enough, a burst of static came over the stallion’s radio, informing him that the charge was set and ready to detonate at his command. Clockwork almost gave the order from afar, but thought against the action and stretched his wings. In an instant, the pegasus was aloft, trying not to make himself too easy a target as he darted for his soon to be entryway into the hospital. The constant lightning, thunder, and gunfire drowned out his malicious giggling, but the pegasus succeeded in regaining his composure once he reached the zebra team.

“Thought I’d do it myself.” he explained. “No need to risk your lives any more than necessary.” the pegasus checked his radio. “Bison team. Zebra team has achieved primary objectives, thus so have you. Both teams regroup at the city center. I’ll take it from here.”

After a brief “yessir!” from all those involved in the assault, both teams made themselves scarce. The griffons appeared to be running themselves mad after failing to kill even a single enemy, but Clockwork stifled his laughter. He took shelter behind his prosthetic and readied the detonator.

Time for stage 2.

A single, metallic click screamed through time and space, simultaneously ringing in the ears of everyone and no one. In an immeasurably scant moment, the click was lost to the ages, replaced by a powerful explosion.

Clockwork waited for the rubble to settle before inspecting his underlings' hoofiwork. A large hole, big enough for three bison to enter shoulder to shoulder, had been made for his convenient entry. On the far end of the improvised door were several dead griffons, even more soon-to-be dead ones, all of them present in what appeared to be the boiler room.


Without hesitation, the stallion picked his way through the chaos until he made it inside. The griffons that hadn't been outright liquefied by the explosion had managed to regain their bearings, but they wouldn't be around long enough to celebrate it. Clockwork cut them all down as a lawnmower would do to a patch of grass, until their was almost nothing left. Heheheheheeeeee!

Truly, Clockwork had been expecting a little more resistance from the Empire after all its boasting. At this rate, Clockwork would easily make it to where he needed to be in no time!

The pegasus ceased his advance as he felt a bullet graze his ear, followed by several desperate sword strikes that barely reached his chest. Two griffons blocked the way to his objective, a set of twin doors that likely led to a room of significant importance. These two winged freaks had managed to touch him; their deaths would be special.

Clockwork drew his pistol and fired at a nearby bronze pipe, causing a jet of steam to burst forth and raze both enemies' faces with boiling water vapor. Both failed warriors shrieked in pain and fell to the ground. Emergency systems kicked in, diverting the steam to an undamaged pathway. This left the pipe scalding hot, something the griffon stupid enough to get back up would soon learn.

Without even thinking, the stallion wrenched a section of the pipe from the wall with his bare hoof. The new weapon in his grasp and ignoring the pain, he refocused on the griffon in front of him and charged forward.

Joyous memories burst forth of Clockwork's second confirmed kill so long ago. The pegasus' muzzle contracted into a toothy grin as he swung the pipe around and hit the griffon square in the chest, undoubtedly crushing his ribs and stopping his heart. The griffon fell to his knees as blood spilt from his beak. Still, Clockwork had to be sure.

The stallion lifted the pipe above himself as though it were an executioner's blade, aimed it at the griffon's neck, and let it come down. In an instant, the griffon collapsed to the floor, body limp and neck shattered. With his target undeniably dead, the stallion tossed his bloodied pipe aside and continued on his way.

It wasn't much longer before Clockwork had reduced the twin doors to splinters. Though he certainly wasn't expecting what lay within.

Normally, when an entrance is barred in wartime, there is something of value behind it. Those things can include gold, medical equipment, wounded personnel, and weapons.

However, behind those two doors was nothing of the sort. Clockwork could see no gold, all medical equipment appeared to have been ripped from the walls, there were no wounded griffons, and all available weapons were pointed directly at him. Yet, the most surprising thing in the room was what the griffons seemed to be guarding. At least a hundred equines, quite likely more, rested on the floor in various states of consciousness. Since when did the Supremacy start taking prisoners?!

Clockwork had little time to ponder the question as his focus was brought back to the guns that were beginning to fire at him. Almost by instinct, the pegasus dipped into a low crouch and angled his prosthetic outward. The bullets stopped coming as fast as they had started, and Clockwork looked out from behind his impromptu shield to find every griffon dead from their own ricocheted bullets and not a single pony harmed.

Strangely enough, Clockwork did not shout at the masses if everypony was alright, if anyone needed medical care or that they needed to leave immediately. Instead, he called out for a certain mare, one he had shoved to the back of his mind without even realizing it.

"Charger! Are you in here?!"

Nopony responded, the only sounds being the steady drumming of rain and occasional thunder. Nopony mumbled or questioned the pegasus for what felt like hours, and then one stood up.

Clockwork's heart skipped a beat. At first, he thought it was Charger, but as the earth pony drew closer, Clockwork realized that it was somepony else entirely. Distant memories flashed before Clockwork's eyes, which widened as the stallion realized that he'd seen this pony before.

It was long ago, back when Clockwork had just graduated from basic and was needed for an important matter in Canterlot. The pegasus had gone to tell the mare he loved goodbye and good luck, and moments before she had seen him, Charger was conversing with this stallion.

He bore a striking resemblance to the mare, though noticeably damaged by age and war. His coat was a faded yellow, his mane a bland orange, but his eyes glowed with a familiar blue flame. A shredded white lab coat was draped over his tall form, and his cutie mark was an image of a cracked light bulb.

He spoke.

"You're looking for my daughter?"

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