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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    "Unnecessary," Scope repeated. "but beneficial. What truly matters is not technology, but skill.

    "Take our waiter, Sunshine, give him all the technology possible and put him on the field with the Wonderbolts. Will he perform as a Wonderbolt? Non. He has not their skill.

    "What makes us the best of the best is not that we are trusted with the best technology, but that we are skilled at using the technology. Technology is but a tool, it is not the soldier."

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    "You sound like my psychiatrist," Rose says with an amused little smile. Her face slowly returns to neutral as she looks at her own cybernetic hoof. "Not that you don't have a point. I'm not thrilled at the idea of drones trying to replace the city guard."
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    "Right?" Brazen snorts. "Not that drones don't have their uses but I'd much rather hand out battlesuits or similar heavy equipment than outright place ponies."

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Love nods along with Scope to Brazen. There were too many unanswered questions for her taste. She didn't like being unknowingly chauffeured around. She got enough of that at work.

    She couldn't help it - her face waded up in disapproval at Scope's position. Calming herself, she says, "Skill's important. I agree. Without Rose's knowledge her tools would let's just say: be less effective. Still, I can hardly imagine her skill would be noteworthy without her tools. I'd take a good surgeon with modern tools over the best with outdated equipment."

    "Heck, I wouldn't even be here without this." She puts a hoof on her chest. "This drone allows me to function. I would be infirm without it. The best are only the best with their tools. I don't think you can separate them so easily."

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    After less than two minutes of playing, the band is booed from the stage, much to the relief of everypony involved. Next up is a bright-eyed colt in a sailor's shirt who might be just a little young to be in a place like this who gives a rip-roaring rendition of "My Last Night in Baltimare". This song is much better received and, by the end of it, a lot of tables are ordering another round of cider and other drinks.

    A nearby screen (a nearly ubiquitous invention that replaced the old televisions) suddenly switches from the sports channel to a 'Breaking News' segment. The sound is impossible to hear over the cacophony, but the scrolling text below reads "Royal Stream canceled. Fans in an uproar. Is this an early sign of some crisis?" The gist of it seems to be that Princess Luna canceled her nightly gaming stream without giving a reason why except that, "Something important hath come up," and ponies are wondering what it could be.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Rose found herself nodding in agreement with Love, but she still had some agreement with Scope. Really, both ponies had their strong points which weren't necessarily exclusive with one--

    The change on the screen has Rose curious. "I admit I don't watch much of Princess Luna's game stream. How bad a sitch is it if she cancels?"
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  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    Quote Originally Posted by Elbeyon View Post
    "Heck, I wouldn't even be here without this." She puts a hoof on her chest. "This drone allows me to function. I would be infirm without it. The best are only the best with their tools. I don't think you can separate them so easily."
    "Ah, but if you will allow me to play Sombra's advocate--" The point was lost as a hubbub swept the restaurant.

    Scope tilted his head to better serve the interrupting screen. He frowned. First Rainbow Dash and now Princess Luna? It could just be coincidence. But he'd bet otherwise. He hated coincidence.

    Sniper Scope turned to Rose and admitted: "I am not quite certain. To be entirely honest, I know so little that I am not fully certain how she manages to stream her games of a night and still protect citizens from her dreams."

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Both thesis laid to bare. A sensor of familiarity was present. She's had a lot of dinners fade into morning coffee talking tech, but her mind wasn't in gear yet. She gave a longing glance toward the kitchen. Her stomach about to cause a fit and rebel against her brain. A couple mindful encouraging nods is all she managed toward Scope before the news interrupted their dinner.

    Love pulled her AR up and started hitting the big social media sites. "It's real bad. Luna NEVER cancels her streams unless her presence is specifically required."

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    "So this must be something serious..." Rose looks around the place to see what kind of reactions other ponies are giving.
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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    The social media sites are already abuzz with rumors and worry. In the modern age, the only thing that moves faster than light is paranoia. Some ponies are already predicting the fall of Equestria, the return of Sombra, another corvid invasion, or any number of doomsday scenarios. The patrons of Sweet Peaches aren't too riled up yet. A little concerned, perhaps, and warily watching the news. And to the credit of the staff, they move about with the same dedication as before. Sunshine brings the round of cider (and water) and a few minutes later comes back with the food. It arrives just in time for another news flash to light up on all the screens this time.

    "Applejack reported missing." A picture of a small, brown-coated colt who doesn't even have his cutie mark yet appears onscreen next to the orange mare. "Relative Apple Pie, who lives with her, called the police two hours ago when she wasn't home in time for dinner."

    The social media sites light up like a tree at Hearth's Warming.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Brazen's upbeat attitude gradually darkens as news of one pony's disappearance after the other comes up on the news. "This certainly don't seem right. How many bits you want to bet we'll get recalled from leave early?" He taps a hoof absentmindedly. "Hmmm... Maybe our after dinner visit will end up being business rather than pleasure... Get some info on the potential situation."

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    "Well, no soldier won a battle on an empty stomach!" Rose lifts her hayburger with her levitation magic and chows down without delay. Mmmm.
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  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    "Now would be a very, very good time to get in front of this situation. Start suppressing the news of other royals' locations or produce an Element of Harmony to calm the masses." Scope informed some non-existent companions from the public relations ministry.

    He shook his head, pushed the hayburger aside and picked at the salad. There was no reason not to indulge in the fruit of his purchases, after all. One could never be certain when such indulgences could be again had.

    He turned to Brazen and said: "I hesitate to assume that much of this situation, although it may be probable. Would you care to enlighten us with what you know?"

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    "Well it was going to be a surprise... But the person that I got the tickets from and were going to pay a visit to after we eat is a Wonderbolt. Given the news at the moment I figured we could inquire about Rainbow Dash while we were there since she wasn't at the display."

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    "Wiff Wonerbot?" Rose mumbles between bites of her burger. She takes a swig of the cider and then starts on the oat salad.
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  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Love moves the fruit bowl closer to her. She puts an apple spinning on a hoof and starts mowing it down like corn on the cob. Finishing in quick order, she asks as she prepares the next apple. "Do you think this will be our first job? We really haven't done much yet... besides training." Her voice more matter of fact than intimidated.

  17. - Top - End - #47
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    PaladinGuy

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    "Potentially. Let us remember that we have little data upon which to base our calculation. There are many situations which may warrant the full attention of our rulers and would not require our talents."

    Out of habit, Sniper Scope quickly scanning the room for threats. Then he turned his attention back to his salad. Surprisingly, it wasn't bad.

    "Be that as it may, there is a reason I am not taking Brazen's bet. And you have my apologies, Brazen, I did not intend to ruin your surprise."

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    The news reports keep piling in, coming in no particular order and without rhyme or reason, making them very hard to interpret. After a few minutes, a changeling newspony comes on and begins trying to put them in order. He straightens his green tie (the perfect match for his gleaming carapace) and clears his throat. "Good evening, Canterlot!" he says with a beaming smile, "We at Newsbiz make it our first priority to present the news as accurately and fairly as possible. Therefore, allow me to clarify the current situation."

    "Captain Rainbow Dash of the Wonderbolts took a scheduled leave of absence from all military and athletic duties today. Applejack boarded a train to Canterlot this morning and arrived at the palace before noon. Dame Rarity also scheduled today as a day off from her normal duties and business ventures. Our correspondent in Ponyville reports that Fluttershy has not yet returned home and took the same train as Applejack. Pinkie Pie also scheduled today as a day off, but did not appear at a party she was supposed to host this evening. And Princess Twilight's whereabouts are, as always, classified."

    "A number of theories have been advanced about the how and why behind this seeming disappearance. It would seem that this was a planned event, but that something is preventing our heroes from returning. We can only--Hold on. Mares and gentlecolts, we have received word that Princess Celestia will be addressing the nation in a few minutes. Please standby while we establish contact."

    A few minutes turns out to be ten seconds later. The first member of the Equestrian diarchy appears onscreen, a warm smile on her face like a dearly beloved mother or grandmother. She looks directly at the camera with eyes so filled with wisdom and compassion that, even across the digital vacuum, they command respect and the utmost attention. And as always, her royal regalia is polished to perfection. Not a mote of dust ever finds a home there nor is a single hair of her coat or mane out of place.

    "My dear little ponies," she says, "There is no cause to panic. The Elements of Harmony are on a mission to preemptively resolve a minor issue that might, if left unchecked, have one day threatened Equestria. The mission is a simple one, but as you can tell, it is taking more time than we initially thought. Rest assured that there is no reason to panic. We are all safe and the Elements will return in a couple of days once the situation is resolved. Again, please do not panic. I will address you again when the appropriate time comes, but for now go back to your homes and spend a nice, quiet evening with your families. Our best ponies are on the case."

    A chime sounds on all four members of the EDF's comms. A simple message from Commander Wildcat. "This is it, colts. Time to shine. Come to HQ. You'll receive briefing there."
    Last edited by Miltonian; 2017-06-27 at 09:57 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    Rose makes a visible pout, cheeks still puffed with food. She swallows and gulps down another bit from her mug. "Well, it was fun while it lasted."
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  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Love lunges at an apple and rips half of it off with her teeth and guzzles it down. A few parts of the sweet collect around her mouth. "Yeah. Sorry Brazen. We might not get to meet your friend at all. Another loss avoided." She mockingly crackles with her hooves up in front of her. "I was about to take a losing bet."

    "I'll call up a car." A bit stick lands on the table to pay for her meal.

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    Ah, the universe did so love proving him wrong. Sniper Scope chose to reflect upon that fact rather than the wondrous display of fine dining being set before him. His mother had always said that nothing was more disgusting than watching others eat... he just wished that the universe didn't have to keep proving her right.

    He quietly began packaging the remains of his meal, the spare hayburger, and any other sundry items upon which he could place his hooves.

    A frown briefly passed over his face as a bit stick hit the table... Best not to make an issue of it. He signaled their waiter with one hoof, while the other dipped into his pocket to retrieve necessary coinage to pay for the rest of the meal.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Rose follows suit to pay for her meal. "On the bright side, seems like we'll still be meeting a wonderbolt anyway."
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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    Sunshine nimbly scoops up the payment and returns with receipts. "Thank you, come again!" he says, more by habit than anything. The food was good, though, and most of the music. Sweet Peaches was exactly as advertised and nothing more.

    A cab swings by in short order. Fitting four ponies in is going to be a bit tight, but it's manageable. They are designed to fit up to three griffons, after all. The driver is an old diamond dog with jowls that sag low over his mouth and a muzzle that has gone from dark brown to snow-white. "Where to?" he says in a gruff, no-nonsense voice.

    Most cars don't need drivers anymore, at least inside the city. The Canterlot Network, which links together all electronic devices in the city, can safely plot a course through the densest parts of traffic. However, sometimes there is a malfunction. Other times, there is an opportunity. For both cases, having a good driver ready and willing to take over is well worth the extra cost.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Brazen chows down as the news continues to ramble onward, finishing his last bite just as their comms chime. "Cwaalled iit." He mutters through a mouthful of food before finally swallowing. "We could always say we were farther away than we expected... Naw he probably has us bugged one way or another..." As the others pack up his sends off another text dejectedly and brings up the rear on the way out. To the driver he relays the coordinates for them to get back to base, whether that was directly there or at a pick up point as appropriate for regulations.

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    Rose squishes herself in the back seat, attempting not to take up much space even though she's full of food.
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  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    It wasn't the easiest of fits, especially due to his wings. But Sniper Scope was no stranger to confined spaces. He shrank himself into his seat as much as possible with the pile of leftovers squarely in his lap.

    "It won't be long now, soon we shall be on the field as we were meant to be."

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    The moment the cab pulls up at the gate, the guard whisks Harrier Squad inside and they are practically shoved inside one of the new VTOL Rainboom Transports, the latest VTOL to come from Canterlot Aeronautics. Before they are even strapped in, the craft takes off and speeds them up to the very top of Mt. Avalon, where the entrance to a secure military bunker descends into the depths below the city. Numerous security checks, a long elevator ride, and a few minutes to get into their uniforms later, they are ushered into the most secure room in Equestria: Celestia’s personal war-room.

    The moment the door opens, a loud argument comes to a screeching halt. All eyes turn to look at them, eyes that belong to the most powerful military ponies in all Equestria. The guard captian of the Royal Guard, a neocorn mare named Tower Shield, sits across from General War Monger of the Lunar Guard. Aides to both bustle and move around the room at will. Commander Wildcat sits towards the end of table, near the door, and is the lowest-ranked pony sitting at the table. Captain Red Tape, his aide, nods in greeting. The commander says nothing, but gives the four new arrivals a stiff nod and a glare for those who look at him too long. He subtly thrusts his head towards the far side of the room, where the most important ponies in the room stands.

    There are five seats at the head of the table. In the center sits Princess Celestia. Several empty cups of coffee lay piled on the table in front of her, but she still looks more tired than regal. To her right is Luna, who looks annoyed and anxious. On her left is Cadence, who looks like she might have been crying at one point but is now the picture of cool calm. On Cadence’s left is Flurry Heart, who is leaning her head on a hoof and idly stacking sugar cubes on top of each other.

    On Luna’s right is an empty seat, where Twilight Sparkle would normally sit. It’s a fair guess that this is not some small situation that got a little out of hand.

    General War Monger breaks the silence. “Who’re these ponies and how did they get in here?” the batpony says, eyes narrowing and baring his fangs.

    Commander WIldcat clears his throat. “Commanders, princesses, allow me to introduce my proposal to solve our problem. Meet Harrier Squad, the first combat-ready unit of the EDF. Harrier Squad! Stand at attention and sound off!

    Celestia winces at his raised voice and puts a hoof to her head. “Not so loud please, Commander.” She looks over the four ponies and smiles. “Please do tell us your names. I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you all in person before.”

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest: The Sun Always Rises

    To be this close to those in power was... interesting. Perhaps that was the best, or only, word to describe it. Sniper Scope felt a vague twinge of dark interest at seeing the less than perfect side of these royals. It was a far cry from the romanticized picture they always presented to the rest of the world.

    He snapped to attention and gave a salute.

    "Sniper Scope, your highness." He hesitated for a moment. Reason' s demand that he keep silent crumbled beneath the might of his ego. "I am probably the greatest sniper in the world."

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    "Rose Croix, your highness," she followed, also in salute. "Combat field surgeon."
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  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Love gives a stiff salute. "Partial "Love" Charge! Computer specialist!"

    Perfectly professional. There were no flaws in her presentation. Expect:

    On her chest in AR a few lines of text explode into fireworks, "Particle Love Charge!
    MoonMistress! I'm your biggest fan!
    "

    Her eyes dart center and toward Luna repeatedly as she checks the Alicorn's attention.

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