Once Upon a Time...
Long ago there was a magical land named Equestria. It was an amazing place where everything was perfect. The sun always shone, crops always prospered and everypony was happy. This land was ruled by two immortal Alicorn Princesses: Celestia, the bringer of the sun, and Luna, the ruler of the moon. Under their care and wisdom, ponies grew numerous.
Too numerous. In a short time, the prosperous cities were overcrowded and when gleaming new metropolises were raised they filled up even more quickly. Equus, their planet, groaned under the weight of so many souls, unable to support such numbers forever. Content in their happy lives, the ponies didn’t even realize until it was too late.
Politicians proposed everything from regulating births to strict rationing and government control, but none of their plans would work quickly enough. There was too little time left. The situation seemed hopeless, but it was the dreamers, the ponies that many considered mad, who saved them all. They dreamed of worlds beyond their own, new planets full of promise. Many laughed at such fantasies, but the Princess of the Night listened. Alone she sailed into the void, protected by magic beyond that of any mortal pony.
She could not go far, as both she and her sister were bound to Equus, but her sight was keen and at the very edge of her vision she spied them: empty and waiting planets; worlds where more ponies could prosper. She returned triumphant, and every factory and forge in the land bent its efforts toward building vessels that could travel between the stars.
The task was not an easy one, but the ponies were hard workers and they gave this project their all. The Princesses used Alicorn magic, the strongest magic in all of Equestria, to lay the enchantments that powered each starcraft. Millions of ponies and a great assortment of other species boarded the ships, preparing themselves for the new lives that awaited them.
The farewell was tearful, for it would take nearly a century to complete the trip and none of the ponies sleeping in their great ships would ever be able to return to the world of their birth. But nonetheless, the brave pilgrims launched into the unknown, trusting their spells to guide them. It was much later, though it seemed like no time at all to the waking crews, that they had arrived. Colonization of the inner planets was swift, though eventually civilization reached the worlds of the Outer Rim as well.
And then war erupted between the Inner Worlds and the Outer Planets! Space battles with giant dreadnoughts shooting lasers! Pew pew pew! Pew pew pew! And the brave hero Shining Armor leading troops to victory amid cheering crowds! Yay, yay!
Twilight put down the book and frowned at her adopted younger sister. “Pinkie, if you want me to read you a bedtime story, please don’t interrupt. Though,” she said with a grumble, “you could have chosen something better than a romanticized history like this. I can’t believe they print such nonsense about the Princesses.”
Pinkie cocked her head curiously her bright curls springing all around. “Huh? What do you mean, Twilight? Everybody knows that Celestia and Luna were the only reason the colony ships were launched.”
Twilight nodded, her brow still furrowed. “I’m not denying that, I’m referring to how often ponies deify them. Equestria really was traditionally ruled by two Princesses. One held the Day Court and the other ruled at night. They’re referenced in historical texts going back centuries. But immortality is just a myth. As Prim Pen wrote, it’s most likely that whenever a pony ascends the throne, they take the name ‘Celestia’ or ‘Luna’ to continue that illusion. The Princess is dead, long live the Princess.”
“What about−” Pinkie tried to say, but her older sister was in full lecture mode now.
“And the story that both the Princesses are tied to Equus is just a clever explanation for why they can’t ever appear in the Confederation, protecting the mythos built around them from being disproven. In fact−”
“Oh really?” Pinkie asked, her eyebrows bouncing up and down almost as much as the rambunctious filly it was attached to. “And what about how they raised the sun and moon, defeated the lord of chaos, and all the other stories about them?”
Twilight snorted. “Legends grow up around all historical figures. Surely, you don’t believe that Gorge Washer weighed ten tons, ate steel for breakfast, and could shoot a pony from three thousand yards away?” Twilight asked. Pinkie giggled, which made her older sister sigh. “Maybe you do. I’m not trying to be mean, but you understand celestial mechanics even better than I do. Solar systems are heliocentric, not geocentric. Raising the sun is impossible.”
Pinkie’s pout said otherwise, and Twilight could practically hear the ingenious little wheels spinning in her head as Pinkie began to calculate how to form a system that could let Princess Celestia raise the sun.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather hear an article from Scientific Quarterly?” Twilight offered, shutting the book Pinkie had picked out.
Pinkie stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry, mathematics momentarily forgotten. “No way! Those are boring. Besides, their stories are skewed due to a need to capture interest among their subscribers. If you check the journals in which the original studies are published, you’ll find that very few are as conclusive as they are presented in SQ.”
Twilight rolled her eyes, “All right you little genius, would you like me to read you some abstracts from a journal? They certainly help me get to sleep.”
That caused a fit of giggling between the two sisters and the old book was set aside. After their laughter wound down, Pinkie’s mood turned somber and her normally poofy mane seemed to flatten. “Do you think Shining gets to read books before bed at Officer Candidate School?”
Twilight tried to continue smiling, but the reminder of their elder brother’s absence made her cheerful front difficult to maintain. “Maybe, but he has more important things to worry about.”
“But everybody says the war’s almost over. Won’t they let Shining go once that happens?”
Twilight sighed. “I hope so, but either way, you need to get to bed, little miss. We’ve both got school in the morning.”
Pinkie gave a short salute. “Okie dokie, Dr. Sparkle,” she said before wiggling herself back under the covers.
Twilight smiled and leaned down to nuzzle her sister, giving her a small kiss on one cheek. “I’m not a doctor just yet; I’ve still got to pass the licensing exam and complete my residency. But you know what? I’m certain that someday you’ll be something even greater than a plain, old doctor. Goodnight Pinkie. I love you.”
Pinkie yawned like the adorable little filly she was and snuggled deeper into her comfy bed. “Love you too.”
Twilight paused at the door and turned out the light. She would have liked to have gone to bed herself, but there was still too much to do. Ever since their parents had died in the line of duty, she had been the one in charge of the household. Shining was terrible with finances, and though Pinkie was more capable than her age would suggest, Twilight couldn’t bear forcing her sister to slog through that kind of paperwork.
With a sigh she set to work, sorting through bills and other junk. It looked like the usual fare, or so she thought until something caught her eye. At first she thought it was a brochure, but closer examination showed it to be an invitation, and a personalized one at that, for the entrance exam to a private school.
Blue Sun Academy? Twilight thought, trying to remember if she had ever heard the name before. The invitation touted various awards and accomplishments the school had achieved, claiming that the Academy was the place for gifted colts and fillies. The top ten percent of the testing class were even given a full scholarship.
Twilight stared at the small slip of paper for a long time. She knew that Pinkie wasn’t being properly challenged, even though she attended the best private school in New Canterlot. And there was only so much Twilight could do to keep her interested. This seemed to offer the perfect solution. Even though they were hardly hurting for money, the chance for Pinkie to get a full scholarship – Twilight was certain she’d be in the top one percent of any class, much less ten – was a nice incentive, too. The only hitch was that the school was off planet, and Pinkie would have to live there until she graduated. Twilight knew she couldn’t go without her sister for so long. She balled the letter up to toss it in the trash.
The garbage can was right next to her. It would have been easy to throw the paper away, but Twilight stopped. She was being selfish, wanting to keep Pinkie all to herself. They could still exchange letters, and this would give Pinkie the chance to finally spread her wings, so to speak.
Twilight carefully un-crumpled the invitation and began reading it again. Pinkie could decide for herself whether or not she wanted to go, and Twilight would support whatever decision her sister made. Nodding to herself, Twilight pulled out her organizer and marked the date of the test. Regardless of her own feelings, Pinkie deserved the benefits this school could offer her. Twilight had to do what was best for her little sister, after all.
The warehouse was old and dusty. The doors had been chained shut years ago with thick links and the locks had rusted shut. The few windows and ventilation ducts that existed were solidly boarded up. Other warehouses in the area were busy to one degree or another, but this one had been abandoned as long as anybody could remember.
Which was exactly why Patient Aim owned it.
The rail tunnels that had housed public transport before lev-trains made their appearance ran beneath the building. It had been easy to open a way into the warehouse above without disturbing its forgotten appearance, then move in his most valuable or illegal merchandise. Of course, it still needed guards, but they could enter and exit unseen just as easily as all the goods.
It would be, Pierce thought, the perfect gig. Handle the odd shipment showing up, and otherwise just make sure that nobody outside ever tries the doors or anything. Most days it was perfect, but today he had to work with Hoops.
“So which would you chose?”
“Neither,” Pierce replied, trying to read his cheap mystery novel in peace.
“That’s not a choice, Pokey!” Hoops was a large pegasus, hired more for his muscle than any brains or skills. Even with modern magitech, size and strength weren't bad qualities for a guard, if only for the intimidation factor.
“My name is Pierce. The last guy who called me ‘Pokey’ is in the hospital.” That pony had come down with Potomac Fever, but Pierce didn’t see any reason to share that fact with Hoops.
“Sheesh, fine. I still wanna hear your answer. Would you rather…” he paused making a production out of the question, “kill a family member or clean a public restroom with your tongue? You gotta choose, that’s the point of the game.”
“I’d kill the stallion trying to make me choose,” Pierce said.
His subtle hint missed the mark as Hoops shook his big, empty head. “Nah, bro. It’s, like, a magic spell that you can’t fight. You have to choose one of them. Which one?”
There were a variety of ways to keep yourself entertained on guard duty. Some guys brought readers and flipped through books, magazines, porn, whatever. Others brought vid players or game systems and whiled away their time on those. Pierce had even worked with a Diamond Dog that whittled stuff. Hoops was the only pony he knew that wanted to play this stupid game for hours on end.
“I don’t have to do jack. I do what I want, and right now, I want to read my book.”
“I’ll never call you ‘Pokey’, again.”
Pierce sighed, and counted to ten before replying. “Are we talking close family, or would extended count?”
That was when a small metallic ball landed with a ‘tink’ several feet away, bounced a couple times, and rolled towards them. By itself, it looked harmless, but both ponies had seen more than enough movies to recognize bad news when they saw it. Hoops shot straight up, getting away from whatever-it-was and scouting for the pony that had thrown it. Pierce brought his horn to life and trapped the tiny metal ball inside a shield spell. If it was just sleeping gas, he could easily keep it contained. Even if it was a grenade, that shield should protect him from the worst of the blast. Just to be on the safe side, he ducked behind a nearby crate, his eyes still locked on the innocent-looking ball.
A powerfully built shape dropped out of the rafters and clamped a damp rag over Hoops’ face, and a smaller, faster form dashed out of the shadows below to do the same to Pierce. Within seconds, both guards were unconscious, their radios undisturbed and hardly a peep made.
“I’m glad y’all finally got in position,” Applejack drawled as she stepped out from behind a crate at the other end of the warehouse. “I was about fed up with listenin’ to them.”
A rough chuckle came from above, where Gilda still had the sedative-soaked cloth clamped over Hoops’ mouth and nose. “Yeah, a question that easy should’ve been over in no time. Tartarus, I’d pay money to see a couple of my sisters bite the dust.”
Applejack’s expression turned sour, but the Captain cut off any further conversation by dropping Pierce to ground with a heavy thump.
“Stow it,” Rainbow Dash commanded. “I'm feeling too good to let your fighting ruin this. Between the three of us, and my awesome plan, this job was a cinch. Quick, quiet and clean. They won’t even know who did it.”
“Except that Patient is gonna know it was you,” Applejack said, ducking down to collect their decoy bomb. With a deft hoof she tucked it into one of the many pockets on her short combat vest.
“Because unlike these two, he ain't an idiot,” Applejack said as Gilda dropped Hoops unceremoniously to the ground right beside Pierce. “I’ve got nothing against the job − it’s a good piece of work, Captain – just don’t expect it to fool him.”
“Yeah, Patient’s one sharp son of a nag. No offense, boss, but I don’t see you putting one over on him,” Gilda added.
Dash shook her head. “You killjoys won't let a mare hold on to a smile for thirty seconds. All right, let’s get to work, then. Look around for the goods and keep an eye out for any other pretties. It doesn’t hurt to make a little profit on the side, just make sure it’s not anything heavy or easily tracked.” Gilda gave a mercenary grin at that, and Applejack nodded solemnly.
They went to work quickly and efficiently. Dash and Applejack searched the nearest of the surrounding crates. Gilda stripped the unconscious guards of weapons, snorting in disdain at most of them, until she found a large, serrated knife in one of the unicorn’s boots. “Hello, there. Real Military-grade Confed-enchanted steel? You are coming home with me, beautiful!” Somehow, she managed to find an empty sheath among the array of weaponry strapped to her crossed bandoliers. Dash could count two pistols, a rifle, three types of grenades, and at least two knives, not including the one Gilda just added. And that wasn’t counting whatever she might be carrying in her saddlebags.
“Here we go,” Dash murmured as a vacuum seal broke on one of the containers. Within were smaller cases, each one made of heavy plastic. Dash cupped one in a hoof, gently prying it open with the other. Five glass vials and their glimmering blue contents were securely padded inside. Dash felt her grin stretch from ear to ear. Bunny had hired them to steal twenty vials and there were eight cases. Math wasn’t one of Dash’s strong points, but she knew enough to calculate some serious profit sitting right in front of her.
Two of the cases disappeared into the deep pockets of her coat. Saddlebags may have been more practical, but the long duster had a coolness factor that justified a little inconvenience. Dash was about to call her crew over when her train of thought was derailed by the sound of a toilet flushing. Dash’s head snapped in the direction the noise had come from, the rest of her body frozen in place. Her peripheral vision told her that the same thing had happened to Applejack and Gilda, but most of her attention was focused on the door marked ‘Manure Hole’ in crude writing.
“Whew!” said a caramel colored earth pony as he left the restroom. “Sorry about that, guys. I’m never eating at that restaurant again!” Only after that crass statement did he notice his unconscious buddies. He froze just as movement was starting to return to Dash’s limbs.
“Hey buddy,” she said softly, trying not to spook him. “No need to be hasty. We aren’t looking to harm nobody.” A sentiment that would have been more believable if Gilda wasn’t not-very-covertly reaching for her new knife. “We already got what we came for, and trying to stop us now will just get you hurt.”
His eyes flicked from her to the alarm button only a few feet away and back to Captain Dash. She bit back a curse. Talking somepony down was not her forte. Her skills ran more towards haggling and intimidation, the first didn’t look to do much good here. The second…?
“You touch that button,” Dash said, her voice cold and merciless as the void, “and you won't live long enough to regret it. Got it?”
“Captain…” Applejack warned.
The stallion made his decision and lunged for the alarm. Dash raced forward even as Gilda grabbed her knife and threw it. The knife buried itself in the stallion’s shoulder, but it was too late. His other hoof had already pressed the button. He shrieked in pain as Dash body checked him, unable to halt her momentum.
“You sunscorched, moonbanished, brainless son of a nag!” Dash shouted. The stallion whimpered, clutching at the knife embedded in his shoulder. Dash turned away, hurrying to get things finished. “Applejack, with me. This crate’s got the goods and more besides. We ain’t got time to grab anything else, but at least we can finish the job.”
“What about this dweeb, Captain?” Gilda asked, jerking a thumb at the crippled stallion. “You want me to make good on your promise?”
Applejack frowned but didn’t say a word as she loaded her saddlebags with the precious cases. Dash thought about it for a moment but shook her head. “No, you girls were right, earlier. Patient is already going to figure it’s us. No need to kill one of his colts and get him more riled.”
Gilda frowned. She didn’t like to leave loose ends, but she didn’t argue. “Fine, but I ain’t leaving my new knife behind.” She bent over and yanked the blade out of the guard’s shoulder. He howled in pain until Gilda silenced him with a heavy blow to the head.
“Gilda…” Dash said warningly.
“I just sucker-punched him,” the griffin said as she cleaned the blood off of her new knife with a grimy rag. “It’ll be a bit until he comes to, but he’ll be fine. Mostly.”
Dash shook her head, but didn’t bother to argue. “Take point. AJ and I are weighed down with the goods, and we need eyes up front. The faster we get out of here, the better.” Gilda nodded, tucking the knife away and heading towards the corner of the building that they had quietly cut a hole in. Dash pulled the radio off her belt and turned it on as she followed. “Tranquility, do you read me?”
“Loud and clear, mon capitaine!” came the cheerful reply. Dash could imagine the goofy grin her pilot was probably wearing without the slightest trouble. “The job done?”
“In a manner of speaking,” she said. “We need to leave as soon as possible. Like, an hour ago.” Gilda gestured from outside giving the ‘all clear’ sign.
The joking tone stopped. “Is everything okay? Is Applejack okay?” Soarin asked, even as his wife slipped out of the warehouse.
“We’re all fine,” Dash said tersely. “But there was an extra guard and he managed to hit the alarm. Patient knows somebody is here, and he's likely to blame us. Tell me we’re good to go.” Dash squeezed through the hole and took to the sky. She wouldn’t win any races with the weight in her pockets, but she could still make good time. There wasn’t any point in being sneaky during this get-away anymore.
“The fuel and food are on board, Rarity’s shuttle is locked and loaded, we managed to book three passengers, and Fluttershy spent the last of our money on a new compression coil.”
Dash couldn’t stop herself from groaning even as she winged her way home. Gilda turned back for a moment, curiosity on her face, but Dash pointed insistently ahead. The griffin scowled but went back to watching for trouble. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. There’s a reason I left our money in your hooves and not hers.”
“Ah, cut me a break, captain. How can you say no when she gives you that look and says ‘please’? I am but a stallion and putty in her hooves,” Soarin said, somewhere between joking and complaining.
“If you aren’t careful, I’ll tell your wife you said that and then you’ll really have something to fear.” Soarin made a frightened noise that was in no way a joke. Still, it made Dash feel like laughing. “Ah, don’t worry, we’ve got everything Bunny wanted and more. Despite our mechanic’s best efforts, we won’t starve.”
“Whew. That’s a relief. Well, the ship will be warmed up and ready to go by the time you get here. I’ll make sure the passengers are tucked away in their quarters so nobody sees anything they shouldn’t.”
“Good. We’ll be coming in soon, so get on it.” Dash hooked the mouthpiece of the radio back on her belt, never missing a beat with her wings. She glanced downwards and tracked Applejack’s movement. Being ground bound meant fighting crowds. Applejack galloped without missing a stride out here, but the warehouse and industrial district wasn’t exactly crowded. Things could turn ugly once they hit the docks.
“Oh, scat,” Gilda cursed from ahead.
Or they could go wrong right now.
Dash put on a extra burst of speed and caught up with the griffin on point. Following her line of sight wasn’t hard. Neither was making out the sizable posse heading for the docks with Patient Aim at their head. The grizzled old earth stallion looked mad enough to spit nails. The one and only mercy was that he hadn’t seen them yet.
The rifle appeared in Gilda’s claws as though summoned by unicorn magic. She drew a quick bead and shot before Dash could so much as open her mouth. A mare to Patient’s right went down with a cry and a spray of blood. It didn’t look fatal, but at this distance it was hard to tell. Every head in the group snapped from their wounded comrade to the flying duo.
“Oops…” Gilda said. “Y’know, for a moment there I really thought that would work.” The pegasi in the group were already taking wing, unicorn horns were glowing, and Patient had unlimbered his massive gun. The SA Meteor .75 was a weapon more commonly mounted on small ships than handled by an individual. That didn’t stop Patient from shooting it with terrifying accuracy.
“If we survive this, I'm gonna kill you twice,” Dash promised Gilda. “RUN!” There was no hesitation as she obeyed that order. Applejack heard it too, and if she didn’t know the reason behind it, she could probably guess.
Dash twisted in midair, performing a roll that would have sent a less experienced flyer tumbling from the sky. Just in time, too, if the gigantic crack of Patient’s gun was any sign. She dove to get down into the space between buildings and out of any line of fire. It was safer than the open sky, but not by much. There were plenty of obstacles in the narrow alley, and Dash was moving at speeds that any lawkeeper worth his pay would call ‘unsafe’. She dodged another set of wires, ducking beneath a metalworker’s sign. Her coat whipped back and forth, the cases in her pockets fighting every sudden shift in direction. It had been custom-made not to interfere with her wings, but not with the pockets weighed down like this. Next time, she was wearing saddlebags on a job. Looking cool wasn’t worth taking a bullet or plowing into the ground like an overweight turkey.
Patient’s pegasi had a clear sky for flying, and they were making the most of it. A few had drawn weapons, but they didn’t fire. It was close to impossible to shoot straight while in flight, and none of them were willing to risk an innocent bystander getting hit. That would draw the lawkeepers like gems drew dragons. Much simpler to get close and take the shot at point-blank range.
There were only two small problems with that. One: Rainbow Dash and Gilda had a head start of at least a couple hundred yards. Two: She was Rainbow Dash, the fastest pegasus on the Outer Rim. In the distance she could see her ship powering up, engines flaring to life. “Pour it on!” she yelled, and followed her own command. Her coat dragged at her like a lead weight, but she wasn’t going through all this for nothing. Besides, it provided just enough of a handicap to make things interesting.
Gilda had already tucked her gun away and was flying like all of Tartarus was on her tail. Below, Applejack was somehow keeping up, her hooves flashing like orange lightning. She leapt from crate to crate, soaring over the dockside crowds like another pegasus.
“Open the airlock!” Dash shouted into her radio. She slammed it back without waiting to hear Soarin’s reply. Another crack of pony-made thunder split the sky and a bullet tore through the air only a few inches beneath her left wing. The crowd below screamed in fear and bellowed in anger. Half of them dropped to the ground, searching for cover, and the other half drew their own weapons.
Less than fifty yards now. Dash turned her speed up another notch, ignoring the pain from her wings. If she didn’t make that door, aching muscles would be the least of her worries. None of the pegasi could reach her now, but it was nothing but open air to the ship. No cover from Patient’s gun at all. Dash flung herself across the distance, almost immediately forced to twist and flare her wings to slow herself before she hit the back wall with bone-crushing force. Tendons stretched and screamed with the stress even as a bullet flashed so close by her face that she felt the wind of its passage.
Before she could even register that heart-stoppingly narrow miss, she was safe inside the airlock that led to her ship’s main hold. Dash still hit the back wall of the airlock – she hadn’t managed to bleed off that much speed – but the impact was manageable. Gilda slammed into the back door almost as hard only a second or two later. Dash turned and looked back out the door. Applejack wove between the remaining crowd like they were standing still. One or two of them panicked and took a shot at her, but none of them were carefully aimed, thank Harmony. One last leap, and she barreled into the airlock, her Stetson flying free as her hooves skidded to a stop just short of the back wall. Applejack’s hoof shot out and snatched it as Dash slammed the button to close the doors, and just in time. Across the docks, Dash could see the glint of Patient’s scope lining up another shot.
A moment of fear gripped her heart, but with a pneumatic hiss, the doors shut. Dash let out a deep sigh of relief, so glad this was all–
With a sound like a miniature gong, a small dent appeared in the metal of the airlock doors. It was perfectly centered on Dash’s heart. Suppressing a noise that was definitely a fierce warrior’s cry and not at all a yelp of terror, Dash grabbed for her radio. “Get us out of here, Soarin! I don’t want to hang around and see if Patient has a gun big enough to shoot through our hull.”
“Roger,” came the tinny reply. “We are going, going, gone!” He fitted action to words and the ship rumbled beneath their hooves as it rocketed toward the upper atmosphere and the black emptiness beyond.
“Hey, any job you can fly away from is a good one, right boss?” Gilda said, running her wings through some post-flight stretches.
“It might have been better if you hadn’t tried shooting at the best markspony on the entire sunscorched planet!” Dash bellowed, shoving her face right into Gilda’s beak. That was dangerous territory when one person had a sharp beak and the other only had flat teeth. Dash didn’t hesitate.
“C’mon, Captain,” Gilda complained. She held her ground, but wasn’t pushing back. “If I could have taken him out, the rest of the trip would have been easy flying. Besides, last I recall, you took a shot at him not too long ago.”
“Because I didn’t have a choice,” Dash snarled, but Gilda had a point. Life would’ve been simpler without an enemy like Patient. “Next time, you clear it with me before you ruin our chances of getting away clean.”
Gilda growled, but turned away and stalked off towards her room. “Whatever you say. Just don’t forget my share when Bunny pays us off.”
“What am I going to do with that nag?” Dash complained, once she was out of earshot.
Applejack raised an eyebrow. “I dunno about her, but what are we gonna do with the goods?” She shook her flank and the cases in her saddlebags clattered noisily.
“Right. Let’s get that handled, then we can meet these passengers of ours.” Applejack just nodded in reply and the two set to work secreting the valuable cases away in several nooks and crannies of the cargo bay that any lawkeeper or customs official would be surprised to discover. There were several new crates and containers in the hold, only a few of which seemed to belong to the ship. Whoever this ‘S. Glimmer’ was, she had certainly brought a lot of luggage with her.
“Captain,” Soarin said over the intercom. “We’ve got guests in the kitchen, and they are getting a mite antsy waiting for you.”
“On my way,” Dash reassured him.
“Are you sure about taking ponies on in the middle of a job?” Applejack asked. “I know it’s a bit late to change that now, but it still don’t seem like the best idea.”
Dash turned to her oldest friend and gave her a wide confident grin. “What are you talking about? All we have to do is convince this bunch that we’re normal, legitimate businessponies running an honest freight service. How hard could that be?”
Applejack merely raised an eyebrow.