Luna appeared in her bedroom in the Canterlot Palace in a flash of light.
Fighting had gone on for several more hours, both in space and on the ground, but it was nearly over now. The end was in sight.
Every Ascended ship in orbit of Equestria, from the smallest Oculi to the largest of dreadnoughts, had been destroyed or had fled the field. Some were now clouds of debris, others were drifting hulks, and more than a few lay broken upon her celestial body, something she wasNOT happy about. Necessary it may have been, but it would take her years to clean the hulks off her Moon, something that she was not looking forward to. But, Equestria was safe, the Ascended had retreated, and her stars informed her that no more ships had come through the relay.
She had kept abreast of the situation on the ground as well, and was gladdened to see that her trust in Commander Shepard had not been misplaced. Shepard had carved through their enemies like a knife through butter, destroying the Ascended general with relative ease before assisting in the cleanup of the rest of the cybernetic monstrosities in the area. With their direction gone, the remaining slaves were being pushed back at a rapid pace on all fronts. Many areas were now nearly free of the vermin.
“Ganon,” she called out.
A illusionary pony appeared near the door, dipping his head respectfully to her. Black coated, with a fiery orange mane and golden eyes, the well built earth pony stallion Arcane Intelligence was Luna’s personal assistant. Celestia preferred using ponies as her assistants, and had often badgered her about her decision to use an AI, saying it would be a more personal touch to have a flesh and blood assistant, but Luna found that the knowledge and utility of an AI assistant with access to Canterlot’s computers outweighed the public appearance benefits of a real pony.
“Princess,” he greeted smoothly.
“Has Shepard's team arrived at the palace?” she asked, heading to her private wash chambers. While one would be hard pressed to say that she had just spent the last twenty hours fighting nearly non-stop, she was not, in her opinion, ready to receive visitors. Not that she thought that Shepard, who wore armor when not in combat, would mind, but Luna would mind. If she was to be representing the Diararchy, she would do so at her best.
“They have, my Princess,” Ganon informed her through the door. “They are currently awaiting you in the palace foyer. I have taken the liberty of having a variety of refreshments sent to them while they wait.”
“Excellent,” she replied. Luna looked longingly at the bath before removing her armor and stepping into the shower. Mindful that she was on a clock, she was quick to cleanse herself, and was out of the shower in under five minutes. Upon stepping out, she was met with a number of maids, summoned by Ganon no doubt, who quickly set to work with brush, makeup, clippers, and other beauty products. Ten minutes later, Luna stepped out of the washroom looking every inch the regal sovereign of a nation.
Slipping on her royal adornments, Luna paused to check herself in the mirror. Satisfied, she stepped out of her suite and headed towards the throne room, Ganon quick to fall into step just slightly behind her.
“Has my sister been informed of our victory and our guests?”
“Yes. However, she has informed us that she intends to remain in the Badlands until we are certain there are no more Ascended coming. She says that she has full confidence in your diplomatic abilities.”
The butterflies returned in full force to her stomach, but she forced them down. She was both flattered at the confidence and mildly annoyed that her sister would leave such important negotiations to her alone when it should have been both of them; Luna had no doubt that her sister was staying out at her shield station more out of the desire to let Luna handle the negotiations than she was concerned about further attack.
“Very well,” she replied. “I assume that Doctor Mind is still safe?”
“Yes, the Royal Guard evacuated her and her work prior to her laboratory being overrun in Ponyville. She is currently in the palace, and has continued to refine her work.”
“Excellent. Please inform Doctor Mind that I request her presence in the throne room in half an hour, that should give me sufficient time to greet our guests. I feel that our anti-Indoctrination research could prove valuable in securing their assistance.”
She paused for a moment, thinking.
“Additionally, please inform our allied ambassadors that we are entertaining friendly alien guests. I do not wish for them to intrude upon our initial discussion, but invite them all to dinner and begin preparations for such a banquet. I do not know if Shepard can afford to stay so long but they must be informed, with or without Shepard’s presence.”
“You know the griffons and yaks both will consider this an insult, your highness.”
Luna rolled her eyes. “Yes, yes. And I know the minotaurs will have sharp words with us as well. But we have all agreed to the terms of the alliance, and thus they can all be assured that we both speak for them and speak in their best interests. I shall deal with them later as needed.”
Ganon’s eyes narrowed. “Do not blame me when you cannot be rid of them so easily.”
“Of course not,” Luna replied.
Luna’s magic opened the side doors, allowing them into the throne room. She was quick to trot up to the thrones and to take hers, settling herself upon the cushion. Ganon took a seat below the dias and to her left, ready to provide any input or perform any service she requested.
Casting one last look at her sister’s empty throne, Luna nodded to the door guard, and began Equestria’s first steps into the galactic community.
Equestria Military Assets: 100
While unable to contribute to combat or muster a fleet, Equestria nonetheless offers an important contribution to the war effort: the eventual de-indoctrination of any individual that has not been augmented by Reaper cybernetics. It will take time and extensive study to provide a cure for each species, but the knowledge that such a cure is now possible has bolstered morale across the galaxy.
Well, there it is. I hope you enjoyed the short story.
I've posted some additional blogs to fill in a bit more background, and to show some of the miscellaneous thoughts that I wrote down about this story and its predecessor. For those looking for information on the nature and portrayal of Celestia and Luna, head over here.For additional universe background information and other miscellaneous thoughts, go here.
Final note: there was a lot of vitriol in the comments of the last story. Please keep this one civil, there is no need for personal insults. I will start warning people and deleting posts if it gets out of control again.