Elements of Order, Episode 1, Part 1, Section 2 (of 3)
The original posting of this got eaten by the Warp during the hacking. Might be a sign....
Elements of Order, Episode 1, Part 1, Section 2 (of 3)
The Thunderhawk’s engines took on a different timbre as it made its approach.
Inside the Thunderhawk’s cargo bay, Hesperos sulked. Spike coasted by on his anti-grav unit, reciting the alicorn lord’s latest message. “My dear Hesperos, there is more to a young librarian’s life than studying. So I’m sending you to supervise preparations for the Summer Solar Celebration in this year’s location, Ponyville.”
Hesperos’ glum face stared out from one of the armorcrys viewports. Clouds streamed past as the Thunderhawk descended, breaking through the cloud cover.
“And I have an even more essential task for you to complete—” the servo-skull hovered in close, “make some friends.”
Spike canted itself at a slight angle. “Look on the bright side, Hesperos, the alicorn lord arranged for you to stay in a librarium. Doesn’t that make you happy?”
“Yes,” Hesperos brightened up suddenly, turning away from the viewport, “yes, it does. You know why? Because I’m right. I’ll check on the preparations as fast as I can, then get to the librarium to find some proof of Nightmare Moon’s return.”
“And when will you make friends like the alicorn lord said?”
“He said to check on the preparations. I am his student and I will do my royal duty but the fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends.” As the ramp of the Thunderhawk descended, Hesperos popped into the cockpit. “Thank you, brothers.”
The pilot and co-pilot grunted acknowledgment.
“Maybe the marines in Ponyville have interesting things to talk about.” Spike canted himself, indicating an approaching Techmarine, “C’mon, Hesperos, just try.”
Hesperos looked from Spike to the Techmarine.
The Techmarine’s armor was a mix of prior Marks. The deep red paint had faded beneath Equestria’s sun to an oddly flat pink color. The Techmarine’s pauldron may have been red once as well and the cog-tooth trim a deep purple, but those days were long gone, the colors having faded to rose and fuchsia.
Hesperos was not familiar with the personal heraldry—three tethered airships, faded to two pale blue ones flanking a pale yellow one. He assayed a greeting, “Uh, hello?”
“Aaahh!” The Techmarine inexplicably rose up suddenly and shot over both Hesperos and Spike. How he was able to do this Hesperos was not even going to try and speculate.
“Well, that was interesting alright.” Hesperos walked off.
“Huh-ah.” Spike trailed after.
Spike held a scroll and quill, “Summer Solar Celebration Official Overseer’s Checklist. Number one: Banquet preparations. Sweet Apple Acres.”
Just as Hesperos and Spike entered through an archway from which a wooden sign swung, an enthusiastic yell startled them into stopping and each turned at the sound to watch a marine charging across the orchard field at full speed.
His tactical armor was a blur of burnt orange. Hesperos could just make out the personal heraldry on a fast-pumping arm; it was a trio of pumila fruit. Though his helmet had been mag-locked to his left cuisse, he was not bare-headed. He wore a grox-wrangler hat over his tied-back long blonde hair.
As the marine approached a tree ringed with buckets, he did not pause. Rather he leaned forward and planted his gauntlets into the ground. His body twisted and flipped into the air. His heavy armored boots slammed into the tree trunk, sending it shaking down to its roots. Red, yellow, and green apples shook, snapping their stems, and fell into the buckets; not a one fell onto the ground. The marine was already standing, his expression that of a job well done.
“Hah, let’s get this over with.” Hesperos’ head dipped briefly before he walked over. “Good afternoon, my name is Hesperos Zivon.” Hesperos grimaced as his gauntlet was taken into a strong grip and shook.
“Well, howdy-do, Brother Hesperos, a pleasure making your acquaintance. I’m Amasec. We here at Sweet Apple Acres sure do like making new friends.” Amasec continued to pump Hesperos’ arm up and down.
“F-f-friends?” Hesperos could not believe he was shaking from the handshake. “A-a-actually, I-i-i-uh—”
Amasec released Hesperos’ gauntlet and stepped back, “So, what can I do you for?” One grass-green eye winked conspiratorially.
Hesperos could not stop his arm from waving up and down—perhaps a servo or some other mechanism had malfunctioned during the greeting?
Spike floated over, extruded a prod, and delivered a mild electrical shock to Hesperos’ pauldron. The reactive armor seized. After a moment, Hesperos found he now had control once more. He glared at Spike as the servo-skull floated away, chuckling to itself.
“Ha-hem.” Hesperos tried to take back the initiative. “Well, I am in fact here to supervise preparation of the Summer Solar Celebration, and you’re in charge of the food?
“We sure as sugar are.” Amasec leaned forward conspiratorially, “would you care to sample some?”
“Well, as long as it doesn’t take too long….” Hesperos looked askance at the retreating back of Amasec.
With a long-handled metal spoon in hand, Amasec approached a triangle hanging by a frayed rope. Striking the sides of a triangle and sending it jangling, he caused an incredible din. Throwing his head back, he shouted, “Soup’s on, everybody!”
From between the trees, they came: aspirants, initiates, and other members of the Apple family. Each seemed to have some aspect of the pumila fruit incorporated into their own personal heraldry. Hesperos and Spike were caught unawares by the stampede and found themselves bodily picked up and carried aloft above a dust cloud.
As the dust cleared, Hesperos found himself at an outdoor table with Spike deposited on the table. The gazebo they were seated beneath was on the edge of the orchard. As Hesperos examined his surroundings, he realized that what he had taken for poles were in fact growing apple tree saplings, supporting the high roof and eaves of the gazebo.
Amasec popped up next to Spike on the long bench, “Now, why don’t I introduce y’all to the Apple family?”
Hesperos grinned sheepishly. “Thanks, but I really need to—”
“This here’s Apple Fritter—” Hesperos saw a blur of color and an apple fritter on a ceramic dish clattered onto the table.
“—Apple Bumpkin.” An initiate dropped a pair of caramel-glazed apples on sticks onto the table.
“Red Gala.” An aspirant had for whatever reason balanced a cupcake with pale green frosting and topped with an apple slice on his head; it too dropped onto the table.
“Red Delicious.” An initiate brought forth a glazed cake dessert with a miniature apple topping it.
Amasec continued the introductions. “Golden Delicious. Caramel Apple. Apple Strudel. Apple Brioche. Apple Crisp.” With each name, another member of the Apple family stepped forward to deposit an apple-based dish on the growing pile. Hesperos could no longer even see the gingham tablecloth.
“Big Macintosh.” A man, gigantic by even Astartes standards, standing apart from the others nodded acknowledgment; he held another cupcake, dwarfed in his hand. The man was of prodigious girth, Hesperos wondered if tactical dreadnought armor would even fit him.
“Apple Bloom.” When no dish clattered onto the table, Hesperos looked around, finally dropping his gaze toward a youth seated on the grass nearby. In his lap was a large triple-layer cake with green frosting and once more topped by an apple.
“And,” Amasec shoved an apple into Hesperos’ open mouth, “Granny Smith. Up an’ atta’am, Granny Smith. We got guests.”
To his horror, Hesperos realized that what he had mistaken for a shrine of an odd pale green stone on a nearby rise was in fact a venerable dreadnought. It snorted upon waking. “Wha—?” As it rocked back and forth, the creak of joints echoed in the air. “Soup’s on…?” To Hesperos’ dismay, it began to totter over.
“Why, I think you’re already part of the family.” Amasec draped an arm over Hesperos’ shoulders.
Hesperos spat out the apple. “Blaagh. Ah-ha-ha. Okay. Well, I can see the food situation is handled, so we’ll be on our way.” He tried to extricate himself from beneath Amasec’s arm.
“Aren’t you going to stay for brunch?” Apple Bloom looked up at Hesperos, disappointed and blinking away tears.
“Sorry, but we have an awful lot to do...”
Disappointment echoed around the clearing as heads dropped. Hesperos looked around realizing that he’d made a grave mistake. Even though it was ‘brunch,’ it was a meal, and meals held great importance and ceremony. Still, he knew he was going to regret this, “..fine.” His dour expression went unnoticed amid the cheering.
End of Part 2.
Preview of Part 3
“Food’s all taken care of.” Spike checked off that item on the list. “Next is weather.” The servo skull spun around to look back at a trailing Hesperos.
“Uh-uh. I ate too much pie.” Hesperos ambled along in obvious distress.
Last edited by Dicrel Seijin; 11-21-12 at 11:29 AM.
Reason: Added title.