On the Side

by DocDelray

Chapter 8: POV

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Holo-recording entry one

In a bright flash, the image of Rainbow Dash came to life as she stared with wide-eyed curiosity into the lens. She poked the side of the recording device while leaning in close until her left eye took up the majority of the picture. “Are you sure this thing is working, Cap?”

“Is the red light on the side lit?” A voice from outside the shot asked.

She examined the area in front of her for a moment before answering. “Yeah, it’s lit.”

“Then it should be recordin’.” He replied with a chuckle. “Now back up ad’ika, ya’re gonna have nothin’ but a close up shot sittin’ that close.”

Blue fur tinted red as Dash quickly sat back on her haunches, bringing her full image into view. “Okay, so, all I gotta do is hit that button there any time I wanna record something, then?”

“Aye,” Kad assured her as he stepped into the picture before mussing her mane. “Now you’re getting’ the hang’a it.”

End recording

Holo-recoring entry two

Rainbow Dash stood before the camera once again, looking more than a little bored. “Okay, so, Twilight seems to think I need to start talking to somepony about what I’ve been going through since Canterlot.”

Rolling her eyes, she sat back on her haunches with an annoyed sigh. “She seems to think I’m holding back something since all that chaos, just because I didn’t have a good cry or somber moment when the fighting stopped. It’s not my fault I’m a tougher pony than most.”

She tapped her hoof against her crossed forelimb. “She was going on about how I should try and write some kinda journal about how I’m doing. Honestly, I think this whole thing is just a big waste of time. Ever since she went an’ met those Jedi guys she’s been acting really weird.”

“So, at first she was all, “You should start writing a journal about your thoughts and feelings Rainbow Dash,”” she said in her best Twilight impression, “but that would be lame. So I’m gonna do something that’s obviously cooler than that. I’m gonna make use of my new toy here an’ record that kinda junk. Not like anypony else is EVER gonna see this stuff, but if they do, at least now I’ll have proof that there is nothing wrong with me.”

Leaning into the camera she stared dead into the lens. “There is nothing wrong with me.”

End recording

Holo-recording entry three

Rainbow Dash shifted uncomfortably in front of the camera. “Okay, so, something kinda, maybe, sorta happened today.”

With a groan she forced herself to settle down. “So, Twilight an’ I were going through the marketplace this afternoon, ya know, go and pay AJ a visit at ‘er stand. Well, while we were walkin’ along, something caught me by surprise.”

She bit down on her lip and her brow furrowed in contemplation. “It was a blaster. Some… some idiot, was showing a bunch of teens how his blaster worked. Scaring half to town to death! I mean, it’s only been a month since Deathwatch attacked and he thinks it’s a good idea to fire a FREAKING BLASTER near the markets.”

Taking a deep breath, she fought to control the frustration that had been growing in her voice. “But that’s only the start of it.” Worry and unease began to drip from her words. “See, while everypony else was grabbing dirt or flinching in confusion, Twilight an’ I took the nearest piece of cover we could find. Heh, it was like a switch got flipped back on for both of us. Making ourselves smaller targets, scanning the area for any signs of trouble or where the shot came from, all the stuff that Kad an’ the others taught us to do.”

Dash’s eyes became a bit distant as she shot a glance at the item strapped to her front left leg. “While Twilight was looking around for the target, I’d already drawn my vibro-knife. I was ready to kill somepony, especially if it was Deathwatch back for another round. It wasn’t until that red haze was gone that I realized the look that Twilight and so many other ponies were giving me.”

She paused a moment as she stared down at sheathed knife strapped to her forelimb. “It’s weird. Ever since that last big fight, I haven’t been able to go anywhere without this knife here.” She raised her hoof to give the camera a better look at the weapon. “When it’s not with me, I feel kind of on edge, like I’m in the middle of an open field and I just know somepony is about to do something to me.”

Unsheathing the blade, she took a moment to examine it, turning it over in her hoof. “I really like this blade; heck I love this knife. Not just because it’s a well-made knife, not that I would know the difference. I love this weapon because I earned it.”

With a deep, calming breath she returned the blade to its sheath. “Kad showed up on the scene, furious of course and tore the soldier a new one and everypony went back to minding their own business. But Twilight was still staring at me.”

“I don’t know why I’m telling anypony about this. Just thought I’d get it off my chest, I guess…”

End recording

Holo-recording entry four

Dash forced a weak smile as she sat before the camera. “Okay, so, I was watching my last recording, think I might’ve been a tad bit too dramatic.”

“I think I’ll probably go back and delete that one.” She said with an embarrassed blush.

End recording

Holo-recording entry five

“Hey, me again,” She started out as the recording kicked in. “So, I sat in on one of Kad’s lessons for the Squirt an’ his kid. I still can’t believe a Pegasus pony like Scootaloo can use that weird magic of theirs.”

Rainbow Dash practically beamed as she went on. “I always knew that kid was gonna go on to some pretty big things. But being one of those Knight guys, from what I’ve heard that’s one heck of an important job.”

“From what I’ve been told by the other Mandos, Mandalorian Knights are these magic users that protect their worlds and people.” She recalled, scratching her chin in thought. “They can all use that magic they keep calling the Force and they’re supposed to be some kind of group of super soldiers. And the Squirt’s gonna be one. That is so exciting!”

“She’s getting really good at it, too. I was nearly floored when I saw her lift a stone without touching it!” She declared with pride. “Well, at least, I would’ve been floored if my jaw wasn’t already in the way.”

“Kad’s boy, Casus, he isn’t that bad either.” She added. “He can be a bit of a little punk, but he’s an alright kid. He doesn’t hesitate to help Scoots when she can’t figure something out that he’s already gotten. They make a good team.”

“Casus is pretty lucky, he couldn’t have asked for a better group’a kids to fall in with than Scootaloo an’ ‘er gang.” A wry smile slipped across her face. “Hey, all they need is two more and they could be the next Elements of Harmony.”

End recording

Holo-recording entry six

Dash stared into the camera, a deadpan look on her face. “So… it’s been a while since we talked. I guess I just didn’t have anything important to say. Well, until now anyways.”

The recording shook a bit as she picked up the device and transferred it to a new location. Her bed was now in plain view as well as a small collection of objects that sat on the mattress. Climbing onto it, Dash adjusted her posture and location to get the picture just right.

“Okay, so, something showed up in the mail today that I honestly wasn’t expecting.” She said lifting a piece of parchment off the bed. “Something I’ve waited and hoped for my entire life.”

Moving a bit closer she showed off the seal adorned on the letterhead. “It’s a recruitment letter, from the Wonderbolts.” She said before sitting back on the mattress. “This is something I’ve dreamed of getting for years, a chance to be one of the greatest fliers in all of Equestria, maybe all of the world. Only a hoofful of Pegasi ever get glanced at, let alone get a chance to try out, even fewer than that become Wonderbolts. I should be jumping up and down for joy, flying circles around Ponyville singing at the top of my lungs and then living it up at Sugarcube Corner with all my friends to celebrate. So why do I feel so empty about this?”

Setting the letter aside, she lifted up a small flat metal case. Positioning it for the camera, she showed an insignia pin of polished metal. “See, somepony else asked me to join their team. Kad gave me this after the fight in Canterlot, he told me he wanted me to join his squad.”

She took a moment to contemplate the simple piece of metal in her hooves. “Mandalorian Knights take on some the worst threats to their people and their worlds. They only recruit the best to back them up, they have to. The Cap wouldn’t just give this to me so he could be nice, he really believes in me an’ what I can do.”

“What makes this whole thing stink is I know why I got that letter from the Wonderbolts.” She growled while her eyes brimmed with tears. “I know what happened to them at Canterlot, how they were among some of the first on the scene when Teth invaded Canterlot. They were decimated, the best fliers in all of Equestria and only three of them survived. I bet the only reason they even picked up my last application was so they could fill the empty slots!”

She paused for a time, surprised by her own outburst. Leaning in close, she had her hoof hovering over the button to end the recording. “I’ve got some thinking to do.”

End recording

Holo-recording seven

Rainbow Dash nervously rubbed the back of her neck as she shifted in front of the camera with a light grey jumpsuit on. Sitting on the ground behind her was a thickly packed duffle bag. “Uhm, okay, so, uh, I might have made a bit of a snap decision last night. Not sure if it was the right thing to do yet bu-”

“Final boarding for shuttle thirty seven to Concordia,” A voice boomed from overhead.

Dash winced in annoyance. “Horseapples, that’s my flight!” She said in a slight panic before scooping up the duffle bag and cutting off the recording.

End recording

Holo-recording eight

Dash sat on her duffle bag as she fiddled with the camera to get it sitting just right. “Okay, so, like I was trying to say a few minutes ago. I, uh, might have made a somewhat, sorta, kinda, small life-changing choice last night.”

Running a hoof in her mane, she looked off-camera as she fought to find a way to explain things. “Well, the simplest way to put it, I’m joining the Cap’s team.” She said with a wide smile. “See, I talked to Kad, and he said that all I had to do was go through some basic training with the Neo Protectors and he’d take me on as his conscript.”

Her smile began to waver a bit. “Also, I uh, might have left without telling anypony where I was going beyond Fluttershy and the Cap. I was afraid that if I told somepony that they’d try and stop me.” Sighing, she finally returned her gaze to the camera. “I need to do this. I can’t explain why, but I need this.”

End recording

Holo-recording nine

A tired and disheveled Rainbow Dash plopped herself down in front of the camera. Her mane had clearly been cut short, her face and uniform had been stained with sweat and dirt. She sat in front of the camera for a minute as she struggled to get her breath back under control.

“Okay so, tip number one, do NOT take a Drill Instructor up on his challenge when he asks the group if anypony thinks they can take him.” Dash said between breaths. “Secondly, pushups are hard with a fully grown and armored human on your back. Every inch of my body is in pain right now and in the back of my head I want to just run back to the safety of Ponyville. But ya know what I say to all of that?” A wry grin slipped across her muzzle. “Bring it Mando-boys, Rainbow Dash can take anything you can throw at ‘er.”

End recording

Holo-recording ten

Dash sat in front of the camera with still wet mane and fur, a towel hung around her shoulders and a simple white tank top and grey shorts adorned her. “So, I’m starting to really get into the routine around here.”

“I won’t lie, things are pretty tough here, they push us hard, and I mean really hard. Right about now, every muscle in my body is aching, but that’s what it takes to be the best. Right now, we’re all, what was that word again… evaar’verd, new warriors. Some of ‘em call us shinies, either way it all means the same thing.”

“It’s a little hard bein’ one of the only ponies in my squad, they want us to get used to working with everypony else.” She continued. “But, there is one upside to it all. Take a guess who we got as our squad leader.”

A wide, excited smile pulled at the corners of her lips. “Freaking Spitfire,” She squealed. A small collection of annoyed voices off camera chastised her for waking them up, bringing a bright red glow to her cheeks. “Sorry guys.” Dash called out to them.

Lowering her head a bit she dropped to a whisper. “Yeah, I know, Spitfire herself, THE Captain of the Wonderbolts. Well, I guess former Captain, now. But still, one of Equestria’s best fliers is in charge of our team, this is sooooooooooooo cool.”

“Dash, go to bed or I will beat you unconscious!” A gruff feminine voice yelled at her.

“Yes Squad Lead.” She quickly chirped. Leaning in close to the camera she squealed in a low whisper. “You hear that? So cool.”

End recording

Holo-recording eleven

Rainbow Dash adjusted the camera until she was satisfied that it was set up in a good spot. “So, I’ve noticed something of a trend with the other ponies around this place. Most of the time when we hit up the mess hall, they all seem to congregate to one section to eat together. Probably that old herd mentality thing we all got deep down. Just about everypony seems to do this on instinct.”

A touch of red entered the mare’s cheeks looking rather embarrassed. “And I probably would’ve done the same thing if not for Spitfire.”

“There I was, on my way towards the little corner of the room where all the other Equestrians were sitting when I heard someone call me out. I looked over my shoulder and there was Spitfire with our entire squad motioning me over to their table.”

A sheepish grin inched across her face. “Is it weird that I felt like I was back in high school and being called over to the cool kid’s table? ‘Cause that is exactly how it felt.”

“At first I was sure she was talking to somepony else. Yeah I know, like there’s really another Rainbow Dash. So I go over there, take a seat and all eyes are on me. To make things even worse, no one is talking, either. I was ready to just get back up and head over to the pony table. Then, out of nowhere one of my squadmates slaps me on the back and tells me I did a good job today at the shooting range.”

A wide smile tugged at the edges of her lips. “Just like that, everypony at the table starts talking and laughing like as if I’d been sitting there the entire time.”

“I don’t think I’m going to miss sitting at that table in the corner of the room anymore.”

End recording

Holo-recording twelve

Dash held the camera up in front of her with a devious grin on her face. “I’m Rainbow Dash, and this is Narl’s new wake up call.”

The image shook a bit when she shifted the recording away from herself and aimed it forwards. As quietly as she could, the Pegasus made her way through the barracks where the majority of her comrades were already sitting up in their bunks in eager anticipation. Stealthily, she slipped up alongside one bed in particular.

Snickering to herself she focused in on the sleeping human sprawled out on the small mattress. He was pale skinned with a fairly moderate build that seemed to suit most of his species. Deep brown hair covered the top of his head while a dull white tank top and shorts covered the rest of his body. The man slept soundly as his would-be attacker loomed over him, completely oblivious of might be coming.

Still trying hard not to burst into laughter, she lifted a canister marked sneezing powder into view. She skillfully poured a healthy dose of the offensive dust into the young soldier’s upturned palm. With that in place, her wing gently moved to brush along the front of his nose. His face twitched as the feather tickled him. Without any thought, his hand swiftly flew to his face in hopes of smashing whatever insect was pestering him. What he got instead was a face full of novelty sneezing powder.

His eyes shot open in shock as he was quickly wracked with a fit of sneezing. Once dark brown eyes had quickly become red, tears swelled up at their edges. Sitting upright in his bed, the human continued to sneeze uncontrollably, over and over again. Soon he noticed the chortling Pegasus beside him and the entirety of the barracks having a good laugh as well.

As the fits finally died down, he shot a murderous glare towards host of this video prank. “Freakin’… c’mon, Dash, really!?”

End Transmission

Holo-recording Thirteen

Dash held the camera up in the air with a wide smile on her face. In the background were the excited voices of her squad mates. “Hey there, Dash here with some awesome news.” She brought the camera a bit closer with an even wider grin. “Final exam is in two days and we get the next twenty four hours off-duty!” At this the rest of the room cheered and hollered after being reminded.

She gave the camera a swing around the barracks showing off the rest of her fellow warriors in training as they went about suiting up in civilian garb. “Thanks to the efforts of our beloved leader, Spitfire,” Dash stopped a moment on the Pegasus in question for a moment to give emphasis, “we all got a night pass to go into town and live it up.”

Dash brought the camera back around to herself with a playful grin. “I haven’t had a drop of anything harder than caf for the past six months-“

“Ullic makes it pretty damned strong though.” One of her comrades called out off screen, prompting her to roll her eyes.

“Anyways, this is gonna be freaking awesome, a chance to finally stretch my wings and let loose.” She said with a snicker. “Party time, baby!”

End recording

Holo-recording fourteen

A disheveled Rainbow Dash sat in front of the camera, heavy bags hung under her bloodshot eyes and her mane hung bedraggled about her head. “Okay, so… uh, kinda partied a bit toooooo hard last night.”

She groaned as she tried to rub the sleep from her eyes. “Oh Celestia… where to begin…”

Dash sat back in her seat, her face scrunched up in thought. “Well, I think things really went to hell when I had that third shot of Corellian whiskey.”

“According to the rumor mill and a police report, I got a bit carried away after getting plastered.” She recounted with a groan. “Let’s see, apparently I sexually assaulted the bus boy. Made a public nuisance of myself and tried to pick a fight with a speeder full of large, burly men. Won the fight from what I hear. Uuuuuuuuuh, kinda sorta stole that speeder after winning the fight, took it on a slight joy ride across town which ended in me crashing it into a lake. Blacked out and woke up in a hotel room with that bus boy from earlier cuffed to the headboard… naked…”

With a pained groan, Dash began rubbing her temples furiously. “Ooooooh Celestia, I really hope he wasn’t as young as he looked. I don’t know how to gauge Human age by looks and I really don’t need something like THAT added to my suddenly growing record…”

“That wasn’t the most awkward part of this morning though, oh no.” She grumbled. “No, the award for that goes to the weirdo with the bushy mustache that come out of the bathroom soaking wet and asking me if the kid was ready for round 4.” Burying her face in her hooves she let out an embarrassed groan. “I got my clothes and flew out the window as quickly as I could. I am soooo sorry for leaving you like that, random bus boy.”

Leaning forwards she looked in the camera lens, the bags under her eyes had become very visible now. “I really need to get a massive mug of caf to deal with all of this…”

End recording

Holo-recording fifteen

Dash stared into the lens of the camera, a look of determination and rage on her face. “They told us what our final exam is; we’re being dropped onto the frontlines of some world that’s being contested.”

She paused for a moment as the words were turned over in her head. “I’m not worried, I’m not scared. The shinies, the ones who haven’t seen real combat yet, they are. I can feel it. Me, I’m looking forward to it.” Rainbow Dash snarled leaning closer to the camera. “You wanna know why? Because we’re gonna be facing Deathwatch.”

A gleam began to shine in her eyes as her mouth twisted into a hungry grin. “I’m gonna make every last one of those hut’uun aruetii pay for what they started. Not just for what they did to Ponyville or Canterlot, but for all the others they hurt with their civil war.”

End recording

Holo-recordings taken from helmet cam #3325: Private Rainbow Dash, assigned to Misfit Squad

As the recording came to life, the image of a number of humanoids and a handful of ponies all clad in full body armor. They had all been packed into the belly of a dropship, the craft shuddering occasionally with turbulence. The image shifted about to find the reflective metallic side of a conduit cover. The pony in control of the camera was clad in a form-fitting suit of dull green armor and a body sleeve that still showed a touch of her feminine curves. Her face was concealed by a full covering helmet brought together with the legendary T visor made famous by Mandalorian armor. The pony’s body was concealed from head to hoof by this protective shell, save for a bright, rainbow-streaked tail.

“Celestia, I make this look so good.” Rainbow Dash commented just low enough not to be heard by those around her.

“Ten minutes till drop.” A voice overhead rang out across the speakers.

“You heard the man, Misfits!” All eyes including Dash’s POV shifted to a mare clad in blue and gold armor. “Check that gear and get ready to hit the ground running.”

Every single being around her began giving their equipment a quick once over, Dash being no exception. She gave the retractable blasters mounted on her forelimbs a quick test to make sure they would function on their optic commands, another quick sift through the menus told her how much ammo each one held. A quick flick of her foreleg brought a sliding blade out of hiding on one of her hoof-mounted gauntlets. Checking her sides, the armor that rested over where her wings should be shifted to her back, letting her wings slip out from their hiding place and flex a bit. As she finished her final checks, the dropship was suddenly wracked with a momentary, violent shudder.

“Got heavy fire coming from the dropzone.” The pilot informed them. “You lot are gonna have to grab the skies.”

On either side of the dropship, the doors cracked and slid open, bringing with it the rush of wind and the loud rumble of the engines. A deeply alien orange sky greeted Dash, punctuated intermediately by bursts of black smoke. In the distance she could see other dropships weaving through the anti aircraft fire as well. Streaks of red tore into the back of one of the vessels, igniting it in a violent explosion before it fell to the ground.

Shifting her POV outside the ship, Rainbow Dash found a pair of star fighters trying to pick their way through the dropships. “Fierfek,” she snarled. “This is already off to a great start.”

As she complained, a stray blaster bolt struck the side of her ship, causing her to lose balance. Cursing loudly, Dash found herself tumbling out of the doors into the open sky. The sounds of rushing air and exploding sky around her drowned out the gruff female voice yelling at her over the comlink. With a few flaps of her wings, Dash was able to regain her balance and take control of her freefall. She had little time to do much else before she found herself on the nose of the attacking fighter.

Not wasting any time, the blaster mounted on her forelimb gauntlet slid forward before being leveled with the extremely surprised looking pilot. The traitor at the controls uselessly raised his arms in a feeble defense against the hail of blaster bolts she let loose through his canopy. The body went limp against the stick, sending the fighter into a steep dive that Rainbow Dash rode towards the ground. Her wings spread wide before she launched herself off the vessel, using its speed to propel herself forwards over the blackened, gnarled branches of the forest below her. The sound of an explosion could be heard off camera coupled with her own shouts of elation as she continued to zoom along just out of reach of the wilderness.

“Whoooooooooooooo!” She cried out over the rumbling air. “That was freaking awesome!”

“Rainbow Dash, respond blast it!” Spitfire’s voice rang in her ears. “If you aren’t dead Private, I’m gonna make you wish you were if you do not respond.”

“I’m still kicking boss!” Dash responded while trying unsuccessfully to keep her tone neutral.

“Good, then get your flank to point Theta.” Her voice carried a restrained tone of relief with it. “Try not to get into anymore trouble while you’re at it, will ya?”

*video skip: 0:13:38 since mission start*

Dash ducked and glided her way through and around the clawed grasps of the twisted growths that one had to assume were an example of trees on this planet. Her HUD fed the Pegasus warrior a constantly updated tactical read out of her surroundings and the progress of her comrades. A flashing marker far off in the distance guided her movements as she cut the fastest route she could through the safe cover of the thick trees. Even with the weight of her armor and gear, the young flyer-turned-fighter was able to move at an alarming pace as the distance indicator ticked down.

“Narl, sharpshooter on the ridge!” The voices of her comrades continued to filter in through her comlink and drive her all the further towards her destination.

“I got’em.” Her comrade commented with a chuckle.

“Anypony else feel those tremors?” A softer male voice questioned. “They’re making my fur stand on end.”

“Spread out and stay close to cover.” Spitfire ordered them. “Whatever that is, I don’t want it catching us bunched up.”

“Oh osik…” The voice was breathless and full of dread. “Heavy walker incoming!”

“Cover, get to cover!” Spitfire yelled out over the com. “Somepony patch me through to the Nightmare, I want a firing solution on that thing!”

“No good,” another teammate replied, “the ion cannon fire is too intense for any of the ships to get near the planet and our fly boys are wrapped up with the local air support!”

“Not all of our flyers.” Rainbow Dash growled to herself before picking her speed up.

As the trees cleared away, Dash’s POV was filled with the sight a massive, hulking metal beast. It lumbered on four long legs towering over the landscape. A weapon-filled head drifted back and forth on a thick, stubby neck as barrages of powerful blaster bolts pelted the ground around her fleeing comrades.

“Oh Celestia, this has gotta be one my dumbest ideas…” She grumbled to herself.

“Private Dash, what the hay are you doing!?” Spitfire yelled at her over the com as she went into a steep climb.

“Providing much-needed aerial support.” Rainbow Dash replied.

Aiming herself downwards, the armored Pegasus went into a sharp dive. The rushing air around her body drowned out the words that Spitfire shouted at her. Her speed began to climb faster and faster as she rocketed towards the ground. Her dive began to slowly pull up to aim her right at the metal juggernaut that was terrorizing her squad, the image shuddering with her armor from the turbulence.

“Please work, please work, please work,” Rainbow Dash chanted to herself as she glided towards the legs of the armored monstrosity.

As she passed between the front two legs of that walker, the world around her seemed to break. There was an explosion of light and a deafening roar before her speed drastically increased tenfold. She soared between the legs of the metal monster before zipping up into the clouds again, the sounds of cheering drawing her attention towards the ground where a rainbow trail and the still-expanding corona of her latest offense against the sound barrier. The front legs of the walker bent outwards at awkward angles as it toppled forwards into the ground.

“That was too freaking awesome!” She cheered herself on before coming back around towards her squad.

As she touched down, the fearless flyer was quickly embraced by her comrades who swarmed her with cheers and praises. Through the crowd, the blue and gold clad mare pushed forwards to find the daredevil and pulled her visor to visor.

“Private Dash,” Spitfire snarled, “you ever do that again and I will shoot you myself!” There was an angry silence between them before she lightly head-butted the other mare. “But you saved our flanks Dash, good on ya.”

Before anyone else could sing her praises a blaster bolt barely missed her as it singed past Dash’s cheek. “Oh right, we’re still on a battlefield guys.” One female Mandalorian sarcastically pointed out.

*video skip: 1:40:26 since mission start*

“Incoming Deathwatch!” A male voice called out over the comlink.

“Misfits, we need to hold this point until our main force catches up!” Spitfire’s voice sternly reminded her team through the coms.

Through a hail of chaos, Dash’s helmet cam bounced and jostled as she and several others rushed to take cover behind a thick wall of dirt. Bolts of crimson and gold energy filled the air around them, striking the ground around them and kicking up thick clouds of dirt. Hugging the earthen wall tightly, Dash looked to the comrades to her left and right as they all nodded silent confirmations. All at once they brought their weapons to bear and unleashed a volley of kinetic energy upon the enemies down range from them.

“C’mon, you wanna get some!” She shouted over the sounds of her forelimb mounted weapon. “Line up boys, I got something for everypony!”

From the distance a burning ball of energy came screaming out of the debris cloud. “Oh osik, INCOMING! Hit the deck!” Dash shouted before taking cover as quickly as she could before everything became a tumbling world of chaos.

*video damaged: skipping ahead 2.5 seconds*

The image had become grainy as Dash’s view had become dominated with dirt and grime. “Riesa, Hallven, status….” Dash coughed out as she forced herself to pull up from the ground on shaky hooves. Several of her attempts to stand were quickly met with her legs giving way and her body slamming into the ground again.

“Riesa, Hallven?!”

Lifting herself up from the dirt, Rainbow managed to catch sight of a figure in full body black and blue armor. She could clearly see the deep red insignia of the Deathwatch’s mark adorning the humanoid’s shoulder. Dash was also able to make out the craftsmanship of the enemy warrior’s rifle butt as it cracked against her visor.

*video damaged: skipping ahead 1.14 seconds*

The video tumbled and rolled about for a moment till it came to a stop upside down. Still recording, it captured the image of a new, helmetless Rainbow Dash locked with her attacker. Her forelimbs were wrapped around his rifle as she struggled to wrench it from his grip. Rainbow Dash’s back legs kicked out to rip the weapon from his hands and knock him back a few steps. Not taking this lightly, his fist quickly connected with the side of her face.

Her attacker lunged forwards with another blow, this time however she was ready to face him. Rainbow’s forelimb quickly grabbed hold of his arm and braced against her. With the limb hyper extended, her free hoof quickly smashed into his elbow with a sickening crack and pained howl. He stumbled away from her, holding his arm that now bent at a horribly awkward angle. Dash, unfortunately, clearly had no intentions of letting him retreat.

The blade mounted in her gauntlet sprang forwards just before she did with a defiant yell. Tackling him off screen, her limb lifted up at a downwards angle before plunging downwards. This motion repeated itself several times as flecks of crimson splattered the ground and began coating her hoof.

Rainbow Dash’s assault was brought to a sudden and violent halt as another trooper tackled her. The pair rolled back into view of the helmet-cam with Rainbow finding herself on her back with this fresh Deathwatch trooper over top of her. His arms rained a volley of blows down on the Pegasus as she brought her forelimbs up to absorb the majority of them and guard her face.

Snarling in frustration, she swung her gauntlet mounted blade at her attacker only to have the attack miss. The Deathwatch trooper sitting atop her stomach used her own momentum to slam the weapon into a thick chunk of stone. A loud clang rang out as the blade struck the rock, shattering it and disarming the Pegasus.

Dash’s wings flared outwards in a flash of sky blue plumage at a small gap between the blows. With her foe distracted, Rainbow Dash quickly drew the dagger hooked to her side and jammed into his now-open side. As the body over her went limp, she forced him off of her before trying to pull herself back onto her hooves.

Hobbling back to her helmet, the battered and bruised flier lifted the discarded piece of armor up and returned it to her head. Proper point of view restored, she franticly looked about until she found a pair of humanoids in scorched armor laying some distance away from her. Forcing herself to limp towards them, the closer she drew she began to notice the faint signs of life from both of them.

“I need a medic over here!” She shouted over her comlink before bringing herself beside them.

Several bolts of energy zipped past her head from the far distance, forcing her to hold close to her wounded comrades. Her hoof looped around into the closest one’s hand letting them squeeze it tightly. “Hold on, alright, help’s coming, you’re gonna be okay.” She repeated over and over again as the wounded trooper held tightly onto her forelimb grumbling in pain. “You’re gonna be okay.” She kept reminding them.

*video skip: 3:48:25 since mission start*

The image shook with every labored step the Pegasus took. The recording was now at the rather strange angle of being pressed to her side. From the corners of the recording, one could make out the tell tale signs of sky blue plumage keeping the helmet cam steady beside her. Every step still came accompanied with a pained grunt as she limped her way through the opening of a tent into the waning daylight.

All around her, armored males and females of various races and genetic designs went about their tasks. Overhead the engines of dropships and transport vessels roared and drowned out the voices of her fellow Mandalorians. She paid very little attention to all activity around her though, moving in a tired haze through the crowds.

“Private Rainbow Dash, front and center.” The voice brought her to a halt as a spark of realization glimmered in her eyes.

A wide smile stretched across her face as she wheeled around to find the one speaker to her. Kad Skirata, clad in scarred and dented dark blue and gold Mandalorian armor, bearing a few personal additions of a kama skirt and shoulder armor. Dash crashed herself into the Mandalorian Knight, wrapping her forelimbs around him in a tight hug that nearly knocked him off his feet.

Kad pried the mare’s limbs off him muttering in Mando’a. “C’mon Private, knock that off. I’m your superior officer.” He grumbled as he forced her away. “But it’s good ta see ya again, kiddo.”

Rainbow Dash beamed with pride at her superior’s words. “Sorry ‘bout that, Cap.”

“Ya know that ain’t my rank anymore.”

“Yeah, but it’s a good nickname, rolls off the tongue.”

Kad shook his head, chuckling to himself before looking the Pegasus up and down. “Look at you, Dash, from takin’ licks from that hydra to a Mando’verd.” He stated proudly before mussing her mane. “A warrior of Mandalore, an’ more importantly, I’m proud ta call ya my little sister, my vod’ika.”

*end of helmet-cam recording*

Next Chapter: A New Path Estimated time remaining: 14 Minutes
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