The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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The pegasus of exceptional size, Storm Blitz, paced back and forth in the room, waiting. Tonight was going to be the night. The night that everything changed. Tonight, rebirth would happen. Storm Blitz would go into a room as one creature, and come out as another.

But he had a few worries.

“My large friend, be calm,” Mask said in a low reassuring voice. “Everything will be fine. Fever Cure turned out okay, Deus is better than he has ever been, and Moonie has recovered to become his usual erudite and well spoken self after having a dog moment. You have nothing to worry about.”

“I’m not worried about that.” The voice that came out of Storm Blitz didn’t belong to a pegasus of his mass and size. It was small, quiet, and soft.

“Then perhaps you should talk to me. I have become your friend, have I not?” Mask looked at the big pegasus with a calm, almost sleepy looking expression.

Storm Blitz looked at Mask, his expression troubled. The corner of his mouth trembled and the hulking pegasus gazed at the much smaller unicorn. “Ponies just assume that I feel bad about what I did. Bucky was the first and only pony to commend me for what I did. And that confuses me. I must confess, it troubles me that he found my actions commendable. I don’t know how to feel about it.”

The unicorn blinked. “It concerns you that you found a like minded spirit?”

“I dunno. I don’t feel bad about what I did… don’t get me wrong, but I know I did something pretty awful and I guess it bothers me that there is another pony that thinks that what I did was a good thing,” Storm Blitz replied.

“Bucky is not like other ponies. I only know a little, but I would imagine his experiences have coloured his perception of justice.” Mask paused and looked up at his large friend. “Just what did you do anyway? I mean, I have a general idea. I know there was some violence… but what happened?”

Storm Blitz hunched over. “There was a rape.”

“I know that.” Mask nodded.

“A group of my fellow cadets went out for a night of rest and relaxation. I don’t know everything that happened, but there was a rape. She was a teenage filly… but she looked a lot younger. I saw her. I saw her and her messed up face at the trial and it broke my heart. They kicked the stuffing out of her because she bit one of them. She bit his dick when he stuffed it in her mouth. After that, it became rape and revenge.” Storm Blitz fell silent.

“They would not release the details of what happened to the public. Said that it was too disturbing.” Mask closed his eyes and shook his head. After a moment, he looked at Storm Blitz.

“What was disturbing, and what the public doesn’t know, is that every single one of the cadets involved got what amounts to a wing slap. There was all this talk about ‘colts will be colts’ and that this whole thing wouldn’t have happened if the filly hadn’t snuck into that nightclub and she was asking for it and she got what she wanted… each one of the cadets got off light.” Storm Blitz was trembling now and the sounds of his feathers ruffling filled the room.

“It happens. It’s awful, and it happens.” Mask began to pace back and forth, his eyes never leaving Storm Blitz.

The big pegasus trembled and his barrel began to heave. “I decided that there was no justice in the world except for the justice we make for ourselves. If the Command was not going to punish them, I figured that somepony was going to have to make sure they suffered.”

“So… you acted as a vigilante?” Mask asked.

“I waited for just the right moment… and when I had the right opportunity, I started beating them. All of them. I broke their legs so they couldn’t get away. I kicked them, I crushed them, a few of them had their spines crushed. I shattered their pelvises. A couple of them suffered ruptured testicles. I beat them, and I beat them, and I kept beating them, I beat them until they were all unrecognisable piles of meat and bone… but there was one thing I didn’t do…”

“And what was that?” Mask’s eyes were sad and his expression was mournful.

“I didn’t kill them. I beat each and every one of them to within an inch of their death, right up to the point where my precog sense told me that they were going to die if I kept going. I took their lives away from them. I took away everything they had, just like what they took away from her. And then I turned myself in. Command said that what I did to my fellow guard was monstrous. I told them that what they did to the public trust was worse than anything I did. I got court martialed, tossed out of the guard, and wound up in prison. Word had it that they wanted to execute me for what I did. I ended up here.”

“Sounds as though you belong here,” Mask said in unwavering, self assured, and steady voice. “If it is any consolation at all, I think you did the right thing. Sometimes, justice is not the banging of a judge’s gavel, but the meaty thump of a pony being beaten. If there is a spirit of justice, I do believe that it used you as an instrument of its will.”

A writhing mass of black shadow coalesced and took form. “Sometimes the justice that comes out of the darkness and shadow is the most meaningful form of justice available.”

“Lord of Winter… how do you do?” Mask bowed his head.

Storm Blitz stood silent, watching as Bucky materialised, his eyes narrowed and his expression blank. The big pegasus glanced at Mask, then back at Bucky.

“I heard the two of you talking when I was outside the door. Interesting conversation. Very interesting. So… how would you two like to bring a little more justice into the world?” Bucky asked.

“I would like that a great deal,” Mask replied. The unicorn looked up at his pegasus companion. “Ready?”

The pegasus nodded, but said nothing in reply.

 

 

The big pegasus almost seemed shy as he moved onto the platform and stood beside the smaller unicorn. His wings fluttered; he was careful not to bump into Mask and disturb him. He took a deep breath and took a look around, but had no idea what anything around him was. Crystals, conduits, cables, crystalline fibres, large machines, and there was a control booth that kept Twilight Sparkle safe. As he looked around, his eyes lingered upon Luna.

“This doesn’t hurt in the slightest. Every single subject so far has reported that it is quite pleasurable… so you have nothing to worry about.” Twilight’s voice crackled over the intercom and she smiled from inside the booth.

“Wait, I have a question,” Storm Blitz asked.

“Speak,” Luna replied in an excited fillyish squeak.

“What comes after? I mean, the war will end someday, right? What becomes of us?” Storm Blitz looked down at Luna, his expression filled with worry. “That is, assuming we survive.”

“That depends on you.” Bucky looked up from where he was sitting. “The world will always need protectors. Warriors. Defenders. Even if it is not mirror travelers, there will always be something that threatens peace. But there are options. Luna is working on long term conditioning that she says will allow reintegration back into society. She uses it on her Myrmidons and it allows them a somewhat peaceful life when they retire. Killers face troubled futures. This is the burden we bear.”

“I just had to know that there was something beyond the war… thank you.” Storm Blitz bowed his head. “I’m ready.”

“Commence transformation!” Luna cried.

The room went dark as Twilight Sparkle threw the switch.

 

 

With each thrum of the machinery, Storm Blitz seemed to increase in mass, growing bulkier and bulkier. Static electricity danced along his wings, his mane, and his tail. He closed his eyes, shook his head for a moment, and when he opened his eyes once more, they were slitted.

Beside Storm Blitz, Mask underwent the change. The unicorn’s legs lengthened a bit, making him taller, but he did not gain bulk or mass. His tan pelt darkened, becoming sootier in appearance. His horn lengthened somewhat, also becoming thicker and wider at the base.

“Picking up some weird readings from Storm Blitz,” Twilight said over the intercom.

“Bad readings?” Luna asked.

“I dunno… spikes of electrical power… he’s building up quite a charge. I dunno if it is bad, but if he discharges, it could be dangerous,” Twilight replied.

Luna, her face filled with concerned, looked over at Bucky and then back at Storm Blitz. She could see the electrical arcs coursing over his pelt. She could feel the static in the air. The scent of ozone was strong.

“Kill the power,” Luna commanded.

With a whirring thrum, the machinery went silent.

 

 

“I didn’t want to do it, but I placed Storm Blitz in the observation wing,” Twilight Sparkle said to Luna in a low voice. “He’s being drained and the electricity is being channeled away safely. I’m not sure what is going on, but he’s become highly electrical.”

“How is Mask?” Luna asked, looking concerned.

“He’s fine. Eating,” Twilight replied. “Luna, I have received troubling reports from your Lunar Guard about Baltimare. Is this a good time to talk?”

“As good a time as any,” Luna replied.

“I suspect that something is up with the pharmaceutical companies in Baltimare. One in particular. The dreams of some of the ponies that work there are troubling. We’ve been focusing on them after the sewer lurker incident. One of the high level researchers keeps dreaming about changelings.” Twilight Sparkle scowled and her face looked troubled.

“Oh my… that is troubling.” Luna blinked and sat back in her chair.

“Should I go pay them a visit?” Bucky asked.

“No, not yet,” Twilight replied. She sat up straighter and folded her front hooves together. “Going to keep investigating their dreams and gather as much information as possible. Once I know more, I’m thinking about sending Fever Cure to do a bit of spying. He’s a medical doctor, he knows a great deal about pharmacology, and I do believe that he might be able to slip in unnoticed.”

“Unnoticed?” Luna’s face split into a half smile. “Why unnoticed?”

“I don’t want them destroying evidence if they get wind of an investigation. I know they’re up to something, the dream network suggests illicit activity, and it is my desire to catch them in the act.” Twilight leaned forward and looked at Luna, then Bucky. “If it becomes necessary, Bucky, I will send you to infiltrate, but I think this might be a good test of Fever Cure’s abilities. Now that Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks are back, they can get in on the investigation too.”

“Abduction?” Bucky asked, his talons drumming upon the table.

“If we have a good target that we know for certain knows stuff, we’ll snatch him, take everything he has, and mind wipe him of the experience before sending him back to work.” Twilight Sparkle shook her head. “I’m tired of investigating and working and slaving away to make society better and getting nothing in return. This time, I am getting results. We need to prove guilt and get as much dirt as possible on everypony implicit in these crimes. I intend to come down hard on everypony involved if I can. I want to do as much damage to the corporate structure as possible to set an example.”

“I’ll assemble the best infiltrators we have and have them monitor the dream network. Who is our suspect?” Bucky asked.

“Endovelicus Pharmacological Research Labs,” Twilight Sparkle replied. “They pride themselves on public safety and proclaim themselves the guardians of good public health.”

“Let me guess… formerly owned by House Avarice?” Bucky asked.

“Yes. Through House Bitters, actually.” Twilight Sparkle flashed Bucky a wry grin. “They make the most successful Shivers medication available, a number of mood altering drugs, psychiatric medicines, and have highly successful product lines that are both alchemical and chemical. There are a shocking amount of ponies that want nothing to do with alchemical medicines and prefer a chemical non-magical approach to medicine. I was surprised at learning this.”

“Bucky, I want you to stay out of this. This is too close to home for you. Am I clear?” Luna leveled her stare at Bucky and waited for his reply.

“Yes… I understand.” Bucky bowed his head.

Turning to look at Twilight Sparkle, Luna said, “Uncover every secret. Leave no metaphorical stone unturned. Collect as much evidence as possible. If we are going to trim away corruption, we need to attack the root, otherwise it will grow back. Be very careful with your investigations.”

“Yes, of course… I understand how important all of this is.” Twilight nodded her head and her expression became serious. “This is how we begin the process of real change… I know what is at stake here.”

Manere in tenebris,” Bucky said, raising his hoof up in salute.

Ex umbra in solem,” Twilight replied.

“Both of you have come such a long way… I feel so proud.” Luna smiled and looked contented. “I am ready to go home. I miss Erebus. Are we done for the night?”

 

 

 

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