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


911. 911

Lifting his head, Bucky eyed the ship that was coming in to dock. The farm was getting crowded with airships. Several pegasi flew from the ships, but he knew that they were not pegasi, but something else. The sun lingered on one horizon and the promise of darkness lurked upon the other. Bucky looked around, feeling pleased with himself. Not too far away, Gossamer was speaking with Sentinel and Diamond Tiara. The little pink filly was doing most of the talking and doing an admirable job of keeping track of facts, figures, and all of the things that Sentinel should know, but didn’t. Bucky thought it was a good test of their working adult relationship; Diamond Tiara would be the powerful mare standing beside Sentinel that kept everything running.

The pegasi who were not pegasi drew closer. Bucky sat down in the cool, inviting grass, resting his backside, and took a sip of a refreshing, piney gin and tonic. Some distance away, Odin was playing a mandolin or something very much like it and it filled the air with beauty. As he listened to the music, he thought about his brave griffons going south and the courageous ponies that accompanied them.

The flock of pegasi landed and one approached, a mare. She walked with her head low and a mentally aware astute observer might notice that she did not take the same care when folding her wings as a real pegasus. Bucky noticed. There was always room for improvement.


“Ugh, must you call me that?” Bucky whined as he turned his petulant stare upon the not-pegasus that stood before him.

“Yes.” The pegasus mare shook her head. “As you have requested, Sire, several medical drones and a contingent of drones well suited for foal rearing have been gathered and are ready to go to the Shetlands. There is also the special drone that was discussed.”

Bucky’s grey eye narrowed and he nodded.

“Also, one hundred and twenty six earth ponies that were rescued have been gathered. These are the earth ponies that show the most promise of becoming functional members of society the soonest. They are hale, hearty, have been vaccinated, given check ups, and are doing the best. They still cannot go out into the sun, however. It hurts them.”

“Aye.” Bucky tossed his head back as he swallowed a gulp of his gin and tonic. “The sun is a cruel mistress.” Bucky chuckled at his own joke and looked a little disappointed when the drone speaking to him had no response. One eyebrow raised and he became serious again. “What about you? Are you ready to go, Overmind?”

“I am ready to obey any and all commands you give me, Sire. My function is to command other drones—”

“And to do so firmly but gently,” Bucky added.

“My job is to command other drones according to your parameters,” the drone said, correcting herself. “I am to answer to Keg Smasher himself and nopony else, other than you, Sire. My other parameters are still active, as per your commands. Allow no harm to come to a foal. Protect helpless ponies at all costs. Keep myself in equine form so the ponies around me are comfortable. Also, protect Keg Smasher from any threats or potential acts of reprisal from the ones you call mirror travelers. Long have we battled with the mirror travelers. We know them from feeling alone. I will do my duty.”

“Very good.” Bucky nodded his head.


“Yes?” Bucky took another sip of his drink, never once taking his eyes off of the not-pegasus speaking to him.

“I have given it much thought—your request that I think of a name for myself as an exercise in independent thought. As an overmind, I do have stronger thought processes than the lesser drones in my command who have been mentally restricted.”

Bucky waited.

“I shall call myself ‘Watcher’ and be content.”

Grinning, Bucky nodded. “Very well, Watcher. I approve. You shall watch. Your name serves your function. I am pleased.” Bucky eyed the not-pegasus. The illusion was very good, but the changeling in pegasus form did not speak pegasus. None of the body language was present. No pegasus would be this servile and submissive. None of the right ear movements. None of the right wing movements. The legs were kept relaxed, knees somewhat bent. The tail was kept low. There was no sign of pegasus pride. It was disturbing, unnerving, and it bothered Bucky that he could spot the differences, but for whatever reason, many other ponies had been fooled by this. All of the signs seemed so obvious.

“Watcher, let the earth ponies off of the ship for a while. Keep them rounded up in a herd and let them roam about the grass. Let them graze if they desire. I’ll have food set out for them. But let them enjoy the night.” Bucky took a drink but there was nothing in his glass. He heaved a sigh and with a snap of his talons, the glass vanished.

Watcher bowed her head. “As you command, Sire.”

“Also, I wish to speak to the special medical drone…”



Darkness settled upon the land and the first few stars twinkled in the night sky. There was music, laughter, and a good time to be had. Fireflies flitted about. There was much singing, rejoicing, and celebrating among the griffons. Bucky, who had a drink once more, looked at the somewhat smaller unicorn mare sitting beside him.

“So you can fix the shivers?” Bucky asked.

“I can indeed,” the not-unicorn replied. “But there are things you need to know. There are issues.”

“Issues?” Bucky felt a prickle of worry.

“The cure is a series of injections directly into the spine. Each injection causes the nervous system to break down and be regrown. Whole clusters of nerves dissolve and regrow, along with the thaumaturgical system.”

“And what does that mean, exactly?” Bucky asked.

The smaller unicorn mare turned to look directly at Bucky. “The treatment causes the magical system to short out for a while, with each injection. There is also paralysis that comes in spells, and all that comes with that. With each regrowth of the central nervous system, there is markable improvement. But the cure doesn’t restore the body.”

“I don’t understand,” Bucky replied, “what do you mean it doesn’t restore the body? I thought this was a cure.”

“The body is fixed, but not restored.”

“What?” The ice cubes in Bucky’s glass clinked.

“Restoration would be the body returning to its natural state,” the changeling began, “and the natural state of your bodies is pathetic, for most of you. When this treatment is done, the nervous system will be in peak condition, allowing for almost supernatural reflexes, speed, and reaction times. All of the inherent weakness of the equine central nervous system will be removed and many improvements will be added. Queen Chrysalis made vast improvements to the equine design. The thaumaturgical system will also be upgraded and will be far more integrated with the nervous system, allowing for even greater reflexive magic.”

“I see.” Bucky’s eyes narrowed. This wasn’t a cure, this was a rebuild. This wouldn’t just remove the disease, the condition, it would completely rebuild the weak, flawed body that produced the condition, the disease, in the first place. He sighed and began to worry what Celestia might think of this cure.

Sparkler in her current form was a juggernaut. Her magic as a type three was strong, so very strong, and she was in peak physical condition. Curing her shivers would mean another upgrade; better nerves, stronger magic, the juggernaut would become, well, whatever an upgraded juggernaut was. Sparkler would become a terror made of living stone. Bucky was not discouraged by this, but he did wonder if Sparkler would accept the cure. As for other shivers sufferers, well… Bucky wasn’t quite sure what to think or say. A lot of ponies would go from having a disability to being outright exceptional.

“Tomorrow, I shall have you sent to Canterlot and I want you to tell Princess Celestia all about this. I want you to teach Tourmaline how to produce this cure. I ask that you allow yourself to be studied so that we can begin to understand how this cure works. You will be respected and treated kindly, I assure you. It has already been made known that anypony mistreating my bugs will get a visit from me in the dead of the night, and nopony wants that.”

“Why?” the drone asked. “You seem quite pleasant. I would enjoy your nocturnal company.”

Bucky began chuckling and he shook his head. “Oh, I am quite pleasant, right up to the point when I am not and then nopony wants to be around me. I am the Night Terror, Herald of the Princess of the Night, the Bogeypony that serves the Nightmare.”

“But you seem very pleasant, very congenial.”

“Oh, I can be,” Bucky agreed, his head bobbing. “Right up to the point where the screaming starts.” Bucky gave the drone a toothy grin and continued to laugh as he held his drink in his talons.

“You serve a function,” the drone said in a low voice. “You scare ponies back into good behaviour. You exist as the unknown threat that lurks in the dark. You and your Black Cloaks. You know, we changelings could help you in your task. We too, can lurk in the dark and we could scare ponies back into good behaviour. Should you command us to do so, we would be ideal for the job, Sire.”

Hearing the drone speak, Bucky had an idea. Bucky had the most wonderful idea. He grinned, the corners of his mouth curling up in an obscene display of maniacal glee. There were far too few Black Cloaks, but Bucky had plenty of changelings at his command. A crazed giggle escaped from Bucky’s lips and in the back of his mind, he began to prepare a proposal for Twilight, all while cackling a low, menacing cackle.

“Sire, I take back what I said, you are not pleasant, but creepy. I am afraid, Sire…”



The moon climbed ever higher. There were different songs now, yowling, the griffons had very peculiar songs of love. Bucky sat in the grass, watching over a herd of earth ponies, who quietly grazed in the moonlight, eating the tender spring grass. A lone mare moved near Bucky, laid down, and then began to tear out shoots of green clover nestled in the grass.

Bucky felt a warm body brush up against him and he knew without looking that it was Bon Bon. She sat down beside him, wiggled her backside to get comfortable, and then leaned up against him. Bucky leaned back against her and he heard her sigh.

“You did good,” Bon Bon whispered to her husband. “Saving all these earth ponies. You did real good.”

“I know,” Bucky replied.

“What is to be done with them?” Bon Bon asked.

“These ponies are going to the Shetlands. They have instincts even if they lack intelligence. They will help to look after foals and repopulate the isles.” Bucky snaked his right foreleg over Bon Bon’s broad withers and then rubbed his ear against her cheek, marking her.

“You and your thing for earth ponies.” Bon Bon turned her head and her lips brushed up against Bucky’s withered cheek. “Does helping us make the guilt subside?”

“Yes,” Bucky replied with unabashed honesty. “I still have a lot of guilt and I can’t seem to shake it.”

“Bucky,” Bon Bon said in a soft, affectionate whisper. “You’ve made a lot of earth ponies very, very happy. Me for one, and Berry, and little Piña… Piña adores you and she calls you ‘Daddy.’ You have to shake this guilt of yours.”

“I can’t,” Bucky replied, closing his eyes and shaking his head. “I have to make things right. I have to make things better. My family did so much harm—”

“And you’ve done so much right.” Bon Bon placed a hoof beneath Bucky’s chin and lifted his head. When he opened his eyes, she looked into them, her piercing gaze burrowing into his soul. She could see the pain in his eyes and she felt his muscles quivering against her. She leaned her head forward a bit, kissed him, and continued to look into his eyes.

“I love you so much, Bon Bon. Sometimes I worry that I don’t give you enough of my time. You spend so much time working, you are the rock that everypony depends upon.” Bucky blinked, wanting to avert his eyes, but he found that he could not tear his gaze away. “You saved me. You helped me to understand myself. In the beginning, you gave me a sense of worth. Everything I am now is because of you and the others.”

“You and I have a lot in common,” Bon Bon said in an agreeable whisper. “We both work too hard. We both are perfectionists. We both have a lot of anger.” Bon Bon rubbed her hoof against Bucky’s chin and she felt him melting against her. “We’re both ponies shaped by our pasts and trying to sort everything out.”

Bon Bon leaned in for another kiss, this one a bit more substantial than a peck. She closed her eyes and kneaded her lips against Bucky’s, doing her very best to express her affection, her love, her devotion, all without words.

And with the way that she was being kissed, she could tell that Bucky was doing the same.



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