Firefly: Whole New Verse

Lost in Transit

Unlike dinner last night, the galley was almost silent except for the scrape of spoons in bowls and an occasional muttered request for the sugar. Dash grimaced to herself. She could read the crew’s tension easily, especially in Fluttershy and Soarin’s nervously twitching wings. Dash forced herself to sit and eat quietly instead of hovering around the room the way she wanted to, but she was just as anxious as the others to learn how Gilda’s spying had gone.

None of the passengers seemed to have noticed anything odd, at least. Glimmer stared at every bite of food before trying it. Toolbelt was already done and fiddling with something in her toolbox. Zecora serenely sipped from a mug of tea that she had brewed with leaves and spices from her luggage. The last of the fruit had disappeared in a hurry. The rest of breakfast was hot oatmeal flavored with a pitiful amount of sugar. Tranquility didn’t have a lot of the sweet stuff to go around. Breakfast was bland, but filling.

True to her word, Gilda hadn’t poked her beak out of bed this morning. Still, nobody had raised the alarm last night, and Gilda hadn’t come banging on anybody’s door, so nothing could have gone too wrong. Rarity wasn’t up yet either, but she was always a late riser, so that was no surprise.

Dash had wrestled with the temptation to go examine the cargo hold first thing after she woke up, but that might look suspicious if anybody saw her down there so early. With any luck, one of the passengers would ask to visit it after breakfast. If not, Dash could invent a reason. She had plenty of time.

It was Fluttershy’s turn to do the dishes this morning, and as she began to gather them, Glimmer cleared her throat to get Dash’s attention. The Captain gave it to her. “If it’s not too much trouble, can you have somebody escort me to the cargo hold?”

Dash buried her smile before it could show on her face. “Sure. In fact, I’ll head down with you.” Glimmer’s mouth tightened around its edges, though she didn’t actually frown. She had likely been hoping for someone else. This time Dash did smile. Too bad, she was coming along whether Her Highness appreciated her company or not.

The trip was short and silent. Until the door to the cargo hold opened, at least.

“DEAR CELESTIA!” Glimmer shouted. “P– MY EQUIPMENT!” In any other circumstance Dash would’ve said she was overreacting, but with the state of the cargo hold, the Captain had a hard time criticizing her. All six of the large crates she had brought on board had been smashed open as though somebody had gone nuts with a sledgehammer. There were pieces all over the floor; it would take somebody with a lot of time and an uncommon fondness for jigsaw puzzles to figure which part went to which crate.

Glimmer rushed over to one of them that contained a big freezer-looking machine that hummed quietly to itself. Glimmer tapped on its keyboard, and she didn’t seem to like what the readout told her.

“Just what is going on here, Captain?” she demanded, her ears flat against her skull, nostrils flared like she was about to charge. But for all her anger, Dash could see real fear in her eyes. She wasn’t just upset over poor luggage handling. Either she was terrified by the thought of something going missing, or she was terrified that someone had found out what she was carrying. Tartarus – it could be both, for all Dash knew.

Captain Dash shook her head, her expression growing grim. “I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this.” Starting with a certain griffin who didn’t show up for breakfast. Dash’s eyes blazed with anger. She had trusted Gilda to do the job right. Whatever those crates held was no excuse for this. It was not standard operating procedure to kick off a squabble in the middle of a job involving very expensive and illegal goods on board. And if Gilda couldn’t wrap her violent little mind around that, then maybe it was time that they reviewed the terms of her employment. “Stay here and make sure nobody messes with your stuff. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Glimmer’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, but she jerkily nodded. Dash turned away, feeling the mare’s eyes drilling into her the whole way to the door. The Captain had a familiar itch between her shoulder blades. Any unicorn strong enough to hold a glamour for hours in the black could also manage a fatal energy blast. Dash was careful to move at a normal pace, even if she felt like bolting. First rule in a fight: don’t let them see your fear. As the hatch shut solidly behind her, she paused and slumped against it as a huge load of tension eased off her wings.

That worry past, her anger returned with a vengeance. Dash stomped her way upstairs, the floor ringing beneath her hooves. Fluttershy took one glance at her and shot off to the engine room with a nervous squeak.

In the bridge ahead, Soarin and Applejack both leaned into view. After catching sight of Dash, they both moved back out of sight without comment. It wasn’t often that Dash got truly riled up, but there wasn’t anyone onboard that would stand in her way. Except Rarity, for some reason. She seemed to be the only one immune to Dash’s fury.

“Gilda!” Dash yelled, banging on the door loud enough to wake the dead. Or anybody soon to join their ranks. There was no answer. “I’m not playing around! Open this sunscorched door, or I’ll open it for you!” Still, there was no answer. Not even a noise from the other side. Dash snorted in anger. If that nag had drunk herself unconscious then she was about have a lot worse than a hangover coming.

A few taps and a password on the hall crystal screen ordered Gilda’s door to open. Dash stormed in. “Wake up you lazy, worthless, stupid–” Her rant died before she’d even finished warming up.

The room was full of guns, ammo and other tools of destruction, but not the tool Dash was looking for. Gilda wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the small room. Dash frowned and peeked under the bunk, her fiery anger fading into a smoldering coal bed. There was something wrong about this situation, but she couldn’t put her hoof on just what it was. Captain Dash searched the rest of the room, then checked it again. Still no sign of Gilda or anything to say where she had gone. Nothing was obviously missing, either. All the griffon’s clothes and weapons were right where they should be.

More confused and frustrated than ever, Dash stalked out of Gilda’s room, slamming the door behind her. Soarin and Applejack were watching from the bridge again, but this time they didn’t disappear when she met their eyes.

“That wasn’t much in the way of shoutin’, Captain,” Applejack said with a frown. She didn’t ask what was wrong, but she didn’t have to.

“Gilda isn’t in her room. Do either of you know where she is?”

Applejack and Soarin traded a puzzled look. “She’s not there?” Soarin asked. “That’s weird. I’ve been up here since way before breakfast, but I don’t remember hearing her.”

Dash snorted and fixed him and his wife with a glare. “And you weren’t ‘distracted’ by anything?”

Soarin turned red, but Applejack shook her head. “Not this morning, Captain. Not with passengers on the ship. In the meantime, though, I ain’t seen hide nor hair of ‘er, neither.”

Dash pondered that for a moment and shrugged. “All right, but that doesn’t tell me anything. Where else could she have spent the night?”

Soarin sucked in a sudden breath and turned back to his console. “What?” Rainbow Dash asked, but he stared at the display, then shook his head.

“Nothing. Both shuttles are still locked in place.” Soarin chuckled. “You could ask Rarity. Maybe Gilda felt like celebrating after whatever went down in the cargo hold, and she coughed up the money for a night with our Companion.”

The edges of Dash’s vision flashed red for a half a second, and she felt bile rising in the back of her throat. She choked it back, but couldn’t stop herself from scowling. “I don’t think Gilda rides that way, and even if she did, Rarity wouldn’t take her as a customer. Especially not in the middle of the night.” Dash came to a snap decision. “Applejack, I want you to head down to the cargo hold. Keep an eye on Glimmer and convince her that I’m trying to find whoever’s responsible, but don’t go mentioning how Gilda has disappeared on us, got it?”

“Sure thing,” Applejack replied.

“Soarin, you stay here. Watch the ship and keep an eye out for Gilda.”

“Aye aye, sir!” he exclaimed with mock seriousness. “Meanwhile, what will you be up to?”

“I’m going to check out the empty shuttle. If Gilda isn’t hiding in there, I’ll talk to Rarity and see if she heard anything last night. Or if she’s seen Gilda since the crew meeting.” Dash turned and stalked off. There was no real way to be silent with hooves and a metal floor, but this time Dash walked softly and only made a little noise. If Gilda was playing hide-and-seek, there was no sense in warning her that somebody was coming.

The door to the cargo hold’s catwalk opened quietly, and Dash ducked through. She froze and listened for a few moments, but only heard the normal ship sounds and some muffled noises from Glimmer below. That caught her attention. Glimmer was sobbing.

Captain Dash had lived through a brutal war, and she had heard a lot of crying in that time. The noise Glimmer was making didn’t come from fear or despair. Her muted cries were sorrow and rage so powerful and mixed together that they were almost one emotion. Dash had heard that sound from the throats of several species in the course of that bloody struggle, when they had lost someone they loved.

Dash had cried like that in the jagged rubble of a place she had once called home.

What could have been in those crates to produce a reaction like that? Dash had met a few thieves, in addition to being one herself from time to time, and none of them acted like that over a lost shipment. There was something else are work here, something bigger going on just out of sight. The thought chilled Dash’s fury, but she turned to continue looking for her missing crewmate.

The empty shuttle was just that: empty. Dash checked every single corner, and examined all the hiding places on it, even those that Gilda couldn’t possibly have fit in. Dash stalked out, her frustration beginning to grow again. Where could Gilda be hiding that nobody would have noticed her? The infirmary was mostly unused. Maybe she should check there if Rarity didn’t know anything.

Dash entered a code to lock the shuttle door, using a series of numbers that only she knew. Nobody was getting into that thing unless they had her permission or an arc welder. Dash hurried across the catwalk, glancing down as she moved. Glimmer had stopped crying and was talking to Applejack. Their voices were too low to catch, but neither one sounded hostile, so everything was good for the moment, at least.

The door to Rarity’s shuttle stood resolutely in her path, and Dash hesitated before knocking. Soarin’s stupid joke echoed in her head, and she couldn’t shake it out. Angry at herself, she pounded on the door. “Rise and shine, Rarity. I know you need your beauty rest, but this is important.”

There was no answer. No noise at all.

Dash’s throat tightened. She pounded on the door with enough force to make her hoof ache. “I’m not joking, you ditzy diva. Get your sunscorched rump out here, now!” Any conversation that had been going on in the hold down below ended. The sudden stillness only made the silence beyond the shuttle door worse. Rarity might have ignored her first attempt, but there was no way that second one would have gone without comment.

The screen next to Rarity’s door shouldn’t have let Dash in. So long as Rarity rented that shuttle, it was hers, and with it came the right to privacy, as she was fond of reminding a certain Captain. In theory, Dash agreed. Practically speaking, it didn’t stop her from having a back-up code hidden in the controls. Somewhere below and behind her, Applejack was calling her name with concern. Dash ignored it; that wasn’t important right now.

The door hissed as it unsealed, and Dash barged in without another word. The bed was empty and unmade. That wasn’t right. Rarity was fussy and precise and a real pain in the flank about having everything in order. She wouldn’t have just left it that way. Other than the messy sheets, the rest of the room was pristine. There was no blood or weapon damage anywhere; no evidence of a fight or even a brief struggle. Dash searched the room quickly and carefully without leaving a single corner unchecked. There was no sign of Rarity; not even a hint where she had gone.

Dash stood still and took a deep breath; it was very important that she maintain her cool in times of crisis. The crew needed and expected their Captain to keep a level head.

Three seconds later, her hooves slammed to the floor of the cargo hold, making Glimmer and Applejack jump back in surprise. Dash had no memory of moving, but that didn’t really seem to matter right now.

Applejack stared at her. “Did you just drop two stories without even usin’ your wings?”

Dash ignored that too. “What in the Nine Pits of Tartarus were you smuggling on MY SHIP?” Dash bellowed only a few inches from Glimmer’s face. Her cheeks were streaked and the fur matted from her earlier tears. The so-called ‘assistant professor’ took a step back, her horn reflexively flaring to life as her survival instincts kicked in.

Dash noticed, but didn’t care. “I asked you a question,” she growled.

“N-nothing!” Star Glimmer stammered. “Just some medicine, equipment, all of the stuff I needed to perform my experiments.” Her brow furrowed, and she frowned. “Why?”

“Because two members of my crew are missing!” Dash’s anger still burned bright, but a little bit of common sense was starting to leak into her head. It reminded her that she was yelling at a pony that might as well have a loaded gun pointed straight at her.

Whatever Glimmer had been expecting, it wasn’t that. “They what?” Her horn flashed brighter and Dash felt herself tugged forward by an inescapable pink aura. Now it was Glimmer’s face in hers, and the unicorn wasn’t much calmer. “Who?”

“Gilda and Rarity!” Dash blurted.

“Hmm… the unicorn and the griffon....” Glimmer said, frowning in concentration. Dash took the opportunity to smack the unicorn’s horn with a quick hoof strike. Glimmer yelped and the levitation field burst like a bubble, dropping Dash to the deck.

Glimmer gave Dash a brief glare as if annoyed by the interruption. Her glamour flickered and faded, revealing a long indigo mane drawn up into a flattened bun. She didn’t seem to notice. One or two locks of her hair sprang out of place as Glimmer absently removed her shades. The eyes underneath were purple, unfocused and staring off into space. Her shades tapped out an unconscious pattern against her temple as Glimmer began to ramble quietly. “Firefly class ship, small scale transport at least two decades old, likely more. Fully fueled, saw the power crystals on the way in. Both shuttles still here; they must have used a third ship. What type of ship? Maximum burn… maximum burn for this ship would be 0.54c assuming we have enough fuel, and my reserves can supplement. What lead do they have and how fast are they…?”

Star Glimmer suddenly stopped speaking. Her eyes closed, and she took a long, slow, shaky breath. When she opened her eyes again they were focused and hard. Beneath her inexperience and thin disguise, Dash saw a pony of powerful will and ability. “I will pay any price you can name if you can catch up with your former crewmates and help me retrieve my s– cargo. No questions asked.”

That would have been a tempting offer under other circumstances. It wasn’t often the ‘Verse handed you a chance to name your price like that. In this case, Dash just scowled. “Except that Rarity wouldn’t just leave. Whatever your cargo is worth, I guarantee she makes more in a month. Even if she felt like turning to thieving, which ain’t too likely, she wouldn’t start like this. Let me repeat myself: they’ve gone missing. Neither one is in their quarters, but all their belongings are.”

Applejack cleared her throat noisily. “Am I the only one who thinks the two of you are overreacting a mite? Yeah, there’s something odd ‘bout this whole thing, but that don’t mean everypony needs to fly off the handle. We ain’t checked everywhere on board yet, they could just be somewhere we ain’t expecting.” She gave Glimmer a reassuring pat on the shoulder and smiled. “And I’m certain that whatever has gone missin’ will turn up when we find where our two missing ponies have gone.”

She paused for a moment, rubbing her chin with one hoof. “Rarity might be spendin’ time with that zebra, Captain. Y’know, sketchin’ her and the like. Gilda might just hiding from you because she knows you’re angry.”

As always, Applejack made sense. She was a good second-in-command, and Dash had noticed that in the war, even though they were in different squads. Despite her good sense, this was one time when Dash feared that her friend was wrong. There was more going on here.

The Captain pointed a hoof to Glimmer and gestured to the broken crates. “We aren’t done here. I want answers about what you were carrying.”

Glimmer scowled, but nodded before turning away to examine the contents of those moonbanished crates.

Good enough for now. “AJ, I need you to head up to the bridge. Maybe I’m just being crazy, but tell Soarin to check if any hatches or airlocks have been opened since we hit the black.”

“Okay…” Applejack said, raising one of her eyebrows.

“And if he doesn’t find anything, have him check the air exchange system for any significant pressure changes,” Glimmer said in a monotone. “If somebody disguised their access, then the proof that the airlock was used will show up there.”

Dash and Applejack both stared at her, but Glimmer didn't turn around or say anything else. Applejack's eyes slid to her captain. Dash gave a curt nod, and AJ set off. After a moment's glance at her passenger, the Captain followed.

The doors to the medical room opened with a squeal. The place hadn’t seen much use lately. Dash didn’t usually take her crew into danger. Well, most of her crew managed not to get hurt on dangerous missions, which amounted to about the same thing. Even so, the few times they were hurt, it meant finding some doctor of flexible morals willing to patch them up quietly. Applejack and Fluttershy were the only ponies onboard who knew anything more than the most basic first aid. Combat medicine hadn’t been a big part of Dash’s training. In her squad, you either came back safe and sound or there wasn’t enough left for first aid to do any good.

Cabinets squeaked and drawers complained as she yanked them open. Dash searched thoroughly, for all the good it did her. It didn’t look like anybody had even visited this room since Fluttershy’s last ‘spring cleaning’. Dash snorted, her frustration beginning to mount again. She managed not to slam the doors as she left, but it was a near thing.

She also managed not to tear straight into the zebra’s room. “Zecora!” she barked, hammering a quick beat on the thin sliding door. “Open up in there.”

Dash heard nothing in reply. Cold coils of fear, began to creep up her spine. Was Zecora gone too? Had … whatever was happening already gotten her? The door slid open suddenly just as Dash was about the charge in.

“I am sorry for my slow reaction, my meditation blocks out distraction. You seem quite tense and rather nervous. Please tell me how can I be of service,” the zebra intoned, playful mischief lurking in her smile.

“First: don’t give me a heart attack,” Dash complained. “Second: have you seen Rarity or Gilda since last night? Nobody has seen them all morning and neither one is in their quarters.”

Zecora blinked, and for a few seconds looked quite stunned. A small part of Dash savored having turned the tables and caught the Sister off guard. The larger part of her was consumed in worry. Zecora’s expression was all she needed to know her answer.

“No, all morning long neither one did I see. But this ship isn’t large. Where could they be?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out.” Dash scowled. “C’mon, I’m heading back to the bridge to organize a search party, and I need every pair of eyes I can get my hooves on.”

Zecora nodded in agreement and slid the door shut behind her. Dash peered into the room before the door was closed. Nobody in there that she could see, and the small room offered little in the way of hiding places. Not that she had thought Zecora was lying to her, but it was smart to check.

Dash moved towards the stairs, Zecora following closely behind. The captain’s head whirled, trying to understand what was happening. None of it made sense. Gilda might have disappeared because of something she had found or because she was afraid Dash would be mad about the mess in the cargo hold. But how was Rarity involved? It all came back to what Glimmer was storing in those crates. Dash had seen pill bottles and other bits of doctor’s equipment. Enough stuff to outfit a small clinic. None of which really fit in with her claim of being a ‘researcher’.

...Unless that research was dedicated to something not so harmless as ‘natural magic phenomenon’. What had she been keeping in that freezer? What kind of drugs were mixed in with all those ordinary looking medicines? Was there a drug that could make somebody go crazy and just start hiding from everyone? Like a fear drug, or something? Was everybody onboard an unwitting guinea pig for some crazy experiment Star Glimmer was running? She had been on the run from something. Maybe the consequences of her illegal tests were catching up to her, and the authorities were looking to lock up a mad scientist.

Dash bit her lip hard enough to taste blood. There was no sense letting her imagination run away with her. Either Glimmer was one of the best actresses on the Outer Rim, or she had a personal stake in this. She wasn’t cold enough to be experimenting on them. Even if she was, why start on the ship instead of waiting to set up base on an unsuspecting world?

That didn’t mean she wasn’t a suspect. She had been awfully protective of those crates. She could have been sneaking around the cargo hold last night.

Realization suddenly jolted Dash like the mother of all thunderclouds. The cargo hold was what linked both disappearances. Gilda had been in there, and Rarity’s shuttle was directly connected to it. Somebody hadn’t liked it when Gilda had come poking around, and the fight had probably shattered some of those crates. The rest of the crew was too far to hear anything, but Rarity would have woken up and investigated. And she was bullheaded enough to yell at the ponies disturbing her sleep. The other pony wouldn’t want witnesses, so they’d grab Rarity, leaving her room undisturbed except for the unmade bed.

In that case, Glimmer was the likeliest suspect. She’d arrived in disguise, and acted suspicious as Tartarus. But if she was the one who had done it, why would she ask for somepony to take her there first thing after breakfast? And why had she been crying when Dash had gone to check the empty shuttle? If not her, though, then who?

Captain Dash suddenly became very aware of the zebra following her down the short hall to the bridge. She glanced back and met Zecora’s calm, inscrutable gaze. What did Dash really know about her? What proof did she have that she was really even a Solar Sister? Anybody could wear that jewelry and speak in rhyme. Was she interested in Glimmer’s secret cargo? Or maybe, Gilda wasn’t the intended victim. Rarity might have discovered something about the fake Sister during their discussion. Zecora could have gone back in the night to… silence Rarity, and when Gilda surprised her, they had fought and broken the crates.

Then there was that earth pony, Toolbelt. She had kept a low profile and never talked much about herself. And she always dragged that toolbox around. She wasn’t on a job, why wasn’t that thing left in her room or in the cargo hold?

Dash had too many questions and not enough answers, but she’d been careful not to ask herself one very important question. Were they still alive? In almost every explanation it seemed likely that the culprit had killed them. A dead body was much easier to hide than a live pony, especially on a ship this size. She had to assume that they weren’t dead for now. Otherwise…

Dash didn’t want to think about what that meant.

They reached the bridge, and Soarin frowned when he saw her. “Wow, somebody is looking grim. Zecora hasn’t seen Rarity?”

“I’m–” Zecora began.

“No, she hasn’t,” Dash interrupted, fixing Applejack with a glare. Applejack returned it in kind, and Dash shook her head. The suggestion had made sense; there was no use getting mad, because it hadn’t panned out. “What about the airlock? Anybody use that?”

Soarin looked between his wife and the Captain, then turned back to his screen without another comment. “Tight and secure, ma’am. Nobody has touched any airlock or exterior hatch since lift-off, and all suits are accounted for. I took a look through the air system reports, too, like that Glimmer girl suggested. No depressurization or repressurization anywhere onboard since we broke atmo, either. I did notice one thing, though. Either the oxygen storage tank has a slow leak or one of our algae growth beds has died. Our O2 levels are just a bit lower than they oughta be. Nothing serious, though.”

Fantastic. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. “We’ll deal with that later. For now, get on the comms and tell everyone to come to the bridge ASAP. No exceptions, no excuses. We’re going to have a ship-wide meeting about just what is really going on here.”

Soarin followed that order without question, and Dash threw herself into the co-pilot’s seat. Zecora settled into the corner, and Dash kept a wary eye on her. She hadn’t forgotten her suspicions.

Toolbelt wandered in a minute later, looking confused. “What’s going on? Is there something wrong?” She clutched her toolbox tightly, like a foal with a security blanket.

“My personal effects were broken into, several valuable items were stolen, and two crew members have gone missing,” Glimmer summarized from the short hallway. She hadn’t bothered restoring the glamour or her shades, and her scowl was something to behold. “Since this meeting is being called, I assume you didn’t find Gilda or Rarity.”

“You would be right,” Dash said. “According to my pilot, none of the hatches were opened, and he even checked the air systems like you suggested. Whatever happened to them, they’re still somewhere on my ship.”

Glimmer’s expression darkened further. “I don’t appreciate the tone of accusation in your voice, Captain.”

“I don’t appreciate when my crew goes missing!” Dash bellowed back, rising to hover above her chair. “Something weird is going on here, and it all comes back to whatever mysterious cargo you were carrying!” She glanced around the room, briefly locking eyes with Zecora and Toolbelt. “Not that I think you two are pure as the driven snow, either.”

“What?! I haven’t done anything!” Toolbelt declared indignantly.

“All I’m saying is that nothing like this ever happened before the three of you showed up. Now, let’s start with the contents of those crates. I got a pretty good look and they don’t seem much like the equipment of somebody studying ‘natural magic phenomenon’.” Of course, it didn’t look much like the belongings of a smuggler, either, but Dash didn’t mention that.

Glimmer turned red, and lost some of her bluster. “W-well, I’m studying the effects of those phenomena with a possible interest in using them medically.” She cleared her throat and made a rolling gesture. “Anyway, speaking of my equipment. I discovered that among the other missing items were a pressurized injector and every sedative compatible with that method of delivery.”

Silence greeted that announcement.

“Which means what?” Applejack asked.

Star Glimmer sighed. “Whoever broke into my baggage took a handheld device that would let them quickly and easily put ponies to sleep. And keep them asleep so long as the medicine held out.”

“And why would you need some kind of… sleep gun for your studies? What about the ‘other items’ that went missing along with the sleep gun? What were you keeping in the freezer? That was the first thing you checked on, and whatever you found is what made you angry,” Dash demanded, her volume rising with every sentence. “So, I’m going to ask you one last time and you’re going to be honest with me. What. Are. You. Carrying?”

Captain Dash leaned down, putting her face only inches away. Applejack stood behind Glimmer, a silent, powerful presence. Soarin moved closer on her right, and Toolbelt hemmed her in on the left. Beads of sweat rolled down Glimmer’s face. Dash could see the pressure working, reading the emotions behind those purple eyes. She was going to crack, Dash knew it.

“Please forgive me interrupting your interrogation, but aren’t we missing someone from our little congregation?”

Zecora’s voice cut through the mounting tension like a cool stream through the desert. She still sat in her corner, eyes closed, hind legs twisted into an uncomfortable-looking position. She was the picture of serenity.

Dash gave her a gimlet eye. Glimmer had been so close to spilling the beans. What the zebra had said hadn’t even sunk in.

“Isn’t that why we’re holding this meeting?” Soarin asked, giving a small snort. “You know, to discuss the disappearance of Gilda and Rarity?”

Applejack gasped, and her eyes went wide. “No, she’s right!”

Dash glanced around the room and it hit her. The blood in her veins turned ice cold and her stomach knotted itself into a cramped ball of pain. Oh sweet Harmony, no…

“Where’s Fluttershy?”

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