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The Rise of Captain Equestria Pt. 1

by Trail-Grazer

My grandfather says he can barely remember a time before the fighting. For nearly one thousand years, Equestria had seen its longest period of peace and harmony throughout the land, and our world was not only surviving but thriving. Or, at least, those are the stories we were told as foals. For so long, ancient myths and history told us of a tyrant that would inevitably bring our destruction. The Nightmonger, the Harbinger of Darkness, the Black Omega: these were but a few of the names we knew them by, but we grew to know her as the Mare in the Moon, Nightmare Moon. For all that time, we had spent learning about her hoping to avoid the ill0suited fate she promised us upon her arrival, little did we know we were mistaken... One day, a bright, shining, kingdom of crystal rose from the far north. For one night, its lights illuminated the sky and brought hope to Equestria, but that was not meant to last. Come the dawn, the kingdom's wondrous illumination had grown dark and menacing, and from its capitol came armies of menacing warriors, soldiers of darkness who quickly invaded and conquered our home, one town at a time. For so long we had spent preparing for the return of Nightmare Moon, we had done nothing to prepare for the true evil that would bring our world to its knees: King Sombra, a ruthless tyrant who ruled everything with an iron hoof, and the more poor souls he enslaved as he succeeded, including my own mother when I was too young to remember... All seems lost, but in our darkest hour, there may be one who can still push back the darkness and reignite the hope and light that once illuminated our home. This is the story of that stallion, the one who would grow to be Captain Equestria...

Present Day, Canterlot

The sun had begun to set on an already dark and grim-filled world. In the capital city of Canterlot, great walls and barricades had been erected to safeguard its residents. The once thriving city of elegant and regal splendor had evolved into a stronghold, where only Equestria’s greatest military fighters and leaders would call their home as their world continued to be torn asunder by the wrath of war. As hundreds of guards fortified the walls and soldiers trained and prepared for the oncoming onslaught inside, one pony among them could be seen running through the barracks as he tightly held a scroll within his teeth. Upon first glance, this young stallion might not have seemed like much, just a skinny young pegasus running as a messenger back-and-forth during a time of crisis. Though his role may have seemed minimal at the time, he would soon learn to find that the part he would play in ending this war would be greater than he could ever imagine. The pegasus burst through the doors of the throne room, where large tables and maps outlaying their world had been set up, and world leaders had gathered desperately attempting to find a way to push back the ever-growing forces of Sombra. Many different ponies of various stations, looked to the door as he ran in, out of breath.
“Apologies for the interruption, your highness,” he said, struggling to compose himself. “But, I have brought news from the outer front!” From the very back near the thrones, Princess Celestia, in all her luminous glory turned her head to the young stallion and gestured for him to come near. “It’s from my gran-I mean, General Wind Rider of the 107th brigade.”
“Thank you, my little pony,” she replied as she levitated the scroll from him. As she read through the scroll, her jaw slowly clenched and she gently began crumpling the paper, much to the fear of her fellow council members. “I fear Ponyville… Has fallen.” The other leaders all gasped in horror as Princess Celestia took out a small board piece with the insignia of Sombra’s dark Crystal Empire and placed it on the board where Ponyville stood. “It’s as my dreams have foretold. Within days, King Sombra’s forces will be at our gates, and when the regime falls…. I cannot sugar coat this, gentlecolts. It’s the beginning of the end…” Everypony began to scramble to try and formulate a plan, desperately trying to figure out something that could turn the tide. Meanwhile, the young messenger colt saw as they all began to panic, and did nothing but stand still there, holding tight a locket around his neck.
“Princess!” Suddenly, a purple mare with blue hair and a lab coat entered the room, grabbing everypony’s attention. Her mere presence silenced the formerly chaotic jabbering of the council as they all watched her walk up to their Princess, waiting for her to share her news.
“Twilight, my most faithful pupil,” Celestia said. “I do not wish to put pressure on you, my dear, but I hope you have come with good news. Ponyville has been taken, and I fear Canterlot shall soon come next.”
“Well, as luck would have it, Princess,” she said, straightening her glasses. “I have. As you know, I have been pouring in as much of my time as possible, trying to get Project Shazam operational.”
“Yes, and as such you have had several drawbacks with the serum’s stability,” interrupted the Princess, turning her head in sorrow. “I’m sorry Twilight, but with how bleak things have become, I think it may be time for you to divert your work to a more…”
“It’s ready,” Twilight’s interjection stunned the council, and even the Princess herself. Everypony suddenly became greatly excited, all but the messenger colt who had not yet left after delivering his message.
“What’s project Shazam?” he whispered to one of the council members.
“A new chance for us all!” he excitedly whispered back. “Project Shazam was supposedly some science project to create a serum that would not only make our troops stronger and faster, but immune to the mind control of King Sombra! If this works, we may have…”
“Shush!” interrupted the official sitting next to them. “What are you doing?! That’s classified information, and you are sharing it with an insignificant mail-runner!” The two gossiping stallions both went silent and refrained from saying anything else. Meanwhile, the Princess and Twilight were continuing to discuss the news.
“Are you certain, Twilight?!” she said, trying to confirm her hopes. “You have had so many drawbacks, are you absolutely sure it’s finally ready?!” Twilight only smirked a bit as she took off her glasses to clean.
“Indeed, Princess. After all my setbacks, I have finally managed to piece together a working version of the serum.” This was tremendous news, after all the hardships they’d suffered, this was a new hope for the united forces of Equestria.
“Then this,” the Princess began. “This changes everything! Council of Equestria! My prized pupil has given us new hope! Project Shazam was but a daydream for so long, but now that it is operational, our world may yet have a chance to end the bloodshed and bring peace back to our lands!” However, just as the other council members began to celebrate, Twilight awkwardly tapped Celestia on the shoulder, a little afraid of what she had to say.
“Um, there is just one, tiny, itty-bitty, minuscule, kind of not so bad, but rather important detail… Uh, Princess,” Celestia raised a brow as everypony awkwardly looked back to her, making Twilight scratch the back of her neck nervously. “I’m afraid in my research, I found the serum is simply… Impossible to replicate for everypony…”
“What do you mean, Ms. Twilight?” asked one of the generals.
“Well, it seems the key element to stabilizing the serum is not in the formula itself, but in the one, it is used on,” everypony began to share glances, confused by what she was trying to say. “What that basically means is, that there are a few requirements that the subject must meet in order to be able to undergo the chance it provides. So, even with the right candidates, I’m afraid the serum can’t just produce an entire army as we’d previously speculated.” Everypony’s eyes went from renewed hope to renewed sadness at this news, which made Twilight feel very guilty for having come with the news at all. “I’m very sorry, Princess. I’m afraid it was the best I could accomplish under these conditions.” Everypony only stood there in silence for a moment, grieving at what had just happened.
“That does it!” bellowed a large earth pony with many medals on his uniform, effectively breaking the silence. “There is no more time for debate! Princess, in light of these events, I strongly recommend we give thorough consideration to our more… Undesirable solutions, to turn the tide of this war!” Everypony hesitated for a moment, shocked to hear this, but the young stallion only remained all the more confused.
“Undesirable? What does that mean?” he whispered to Twilight. The lead science director only bowed her head and clenched her hooves, unnerved by what he was suggesting. He looked to the Princess for a moment and watched her wince as she seemed to actually be considering it. Which was all the confirmation the messenger colt needed to hear.
“No! No, you can’t do that!” his sudden shout caught everypony by surprise, and made the general form a large frown on his face for the impudence he was now witnessing.
“Excuse me, son?!” he replied, menacingly, but the stallion didn’t even flinch.
“You can’t!” he repeated. “I don’t know what it is you’re suggesting, but if it’s so bad it makes you all react this way there’s no way you can do it! Twilight says there’s still a chance, I say we-“
“How dare you!” the general interjected, slamming his hoof on the council table. “You are a letter-runner, not a soldier! You have not been out on the field! You can’t begin to understand the gravity of the situation!” The letter stallion winced back at that remark for a second.
“I don’t know?” he began. “I run messages like this every day. I have ever since I was a colt, and every day I have to deliver so much bad news. Word about villages that have been taken, families that will never be reunited, loved ones who… Who will never come home…” He began to tightly clasp the locket around his neck again as he briefly paused. “Believe me, I understand better than you know just how much this war has made us have to sacrifice. But, our values should be the one thing that we don’t give up, even if it means we may have a slimmer chance to win! They’re what separate us from Sombra, and any of his loyal followers!” His words began to ring true with everyone, even bringing a bit of life back into the eyes of the Princess. “So, if there’s any way to win this without crossing the wrong line, our best bet is to put our trust in Twilight. Whatever hurdles that means we have to overcome, I-know-we-can!” Everypony began to share whispers and intrigue from his speech, and with a deep breath, everything Celestia was so unsure of became clear to her, bringing a smile back to her face.
“That’s enough!” the general exclaimed, slamming his hoof down again. “You are in the presence of real leaders and soldiers! In this council, we decide what is best for our country! You have far overstepped your-“
“General Cannonfire, that’s enough!” Celestia shouted, stomping her hoof down in disgust.
“B-but, Princess, this colt has far overstepped his-“
“In this council, we discuss what is best, but I am the one who is burdened with the responsibility to choose what is best for our country!” exclaimed, which filled the room with great intimidation. "And, it is with all the love for Equestria that I say… He’s right…” Everypony began to whisper in surprise by her words, but the general only grew mad.
“B-But princess!”
“Equestria has spent too long fighting a war in a tyrant’s nonsensical quest for power!” she explained. “If Equestria is to have any hope of bringing back a time when its ponies could live, then we need to make the decisions that are best for everypony. So, if that means deciding what is best for our citizens, and those stuck fighting on the enemy side right now… Then so be it!” With that decision, one-by-one, everyone in the room began to agree with the Princess, leaving General Cannonfire there feeling humiliated and angry at the young colt who he felt was not even meant to be there. “What is your name, my little pony?” The pegasus flinched for a moment, nervously before answering.
“Um, F-Flash, your majesty,” he awkwardly replied. “Flash Sentry.” The Princess stepped over to him, which intimidated him for a moment before she gave a soft, warm, smile which made all of the tension melt away. “Thank you Flash. In this dire time we face, there are moments when I am unsure of what course to take. Your wise council has given me new perspective.” Flash was awestruck by what she had said, but all the same was honored she would take it so seriously. They both exchanged a small bow before she turned back to her council to announce their next plans. “We shall begin work to execute Project Shazam immediately! Generals, round up your best soldiers! Twilight, you begin running through documents and doing whatever inspections you must to find suitable candidates for the program. Find as many eligible ponies as possible.” Twilight gave her a stern nod as the Princess raised her wings. “We have suffered great hardships, but know this: this is the day it all begins to turn around! This is the day Equestria truly begins to fight back! Do you hear me?!”
“Ma’am, yes Ma’am!” everypony stood in attention as Celestia gave a salute to all her loyal generals.
“Dismissed!” everypony quickly reciprocated the salute before walking out of the room to execute their new mission. Flash waited until all the council ponies left before following them into the hallway, to show them respect. Just before the doors closed behind him as they walked out, they were wedged open one last time by one more pony.
“Hey, wait up!” Flash looked behind him to see Twilight running after him. “Hi, Flash, it-it is Flash, right?” Flash gave a quick nod as she caught up. “I just wanted to say thank you.”
“For what?” he said, cocking an eyebrow.
"For supporting me," she said as they continued to walk. "The truth is, no pony has really believed in the Project... Or me, for that matter."
"What about the princess?" he said, a little surprised by that.
"Well, except for her, I should say," she explained, letting Flash understand. "But, what you said in there, how important it was for everyone to trust my work, and give it a try. That really meant a lot to me." Twilight brushed her hair back behind her ears and blushed a little, which made Flash blush a little as well.
"It was nothing, really," he humbly replied. "Honestly, all I did was say what I thought my grandfather would've said if he were here."
"Your grandfather is a smart pony," Twilight replied.
"Yeah, he's always been there for me," Flash began to get a little lost in though the more he talked. "He's taught me a lot of right and wrong, and that's taken me a long way. Even when I was a kid, if this war ever got scary or uncertain, he always knew exactly what to say to take the fear away, or at least help me overcome it." Just then, Flash grew a little sad and stopped for a second. "Now, I'm just trying my best to... To make him proud." Twilight looked at him with concern before putting her hoof on his shoulder and giving him a warm smile.
"I'm sure he'd be very proud if he were here right now." Flash shed a small tear as he happily returned the smile.
"Thanks, that means a lot," Flash wiped his eye before composing himself again. "Well, I'd better be off. I'm sure the postmaster has collected more messages for me to deliver in all this time. I'd better not keep him waiting any longer than I already have." Flash gave Twilight a tip of his brow in thanks before running off.
"If he scolds you, just tell him the Princess was in need of your advice!" Twilight shouted to him, making him guffaw a little.
"Heh, yeah, I'm sure he'll buy that one!" Twilight giggled a little as he ran out of sight, and began to scratch her chin in thought.
"You are something, Flash Sentry." she said to herself. "Maybe we don't need an army. Maybe... Maybe we just need a hero." Twilight stood there for a moment, thinking to herself, before walking off, cetain she could help turn this war around, and had an inkling of just how to do it.