Chapter Nine
Terra Firma Headquarters, Vancouver, Earth, Sol System

Inez Simmons was a proud man who believed in the human race more than anything in the universe. He had watched as humanity had struggled against the Turians in the First Contact war. He had watched as the Asari had pulled humanity under their wing and washed away the war as if it had never occurred. He had watched politicians give more and more of humanities freedoms to the aliens at the gate. That was why he had created Terra Firma those twenty years ago, to make sure that humanity would always have a voice fighting for its best interests. Now, twenty years later, Terra Firma had the ear of every important human politician in the galaxy, from the Ambassador on the Citadel to the Prime Minister of the Systems Alliance itself.

It was why he spent so many long hours at his desk, ensuring that humanity prospered. It had affected his personal life, not that he had much of one anymore. He had lost his wife and child, and his friends had all drifted away. That didn't matter. What he was doing was far more important than any home life.

History would prove him right. He was sure of it.

Picking up his still steaming cup of coffee, Inez reminded himself of that fact as he picked up another datapad. History would prove him right. It was all worth it.

Inez looked up from his datapad when there was a knock at the door. "Enter," he said.

The door opened and Michael Basinger entered the room. Dressed in a smart suit, he had a deep frown set on his face and a paper folder clutched tightly in his arms, a rarity these days.

"Basinger!" Inez stood, meeting Michael with a smile. "Wonderful. Please tell me you have something to distract me from this bullshit."

Michael just frowned deeper and Inez's smile faltered.

"What is it?" Inez asked, a hint of hesitation in his voice.

Michael looked down at the folder in his hands, his knuckles white in anger. He held out the folder for Inez to take, his hands shaking at the rage coursing through him. "You're going to want to take a look at this, Mr. Simmons."

Inez watched Michael carefully, sitting up to grab the folder. Sitting back in his seat, he started to look it over. Michael just waited patiently for him to read the entire thing, resisting the urge to pace back and forth in anger.

As Inez flipped through page after page, he got angrier, his earlier jovial disposition quickly leaving him.

Finishing, he slammed the folder down, looking up at Michael with a glare.

"Is this a joke?" He watched Michael's face carefully, his eyes narrowed.

"No, sir." Michael shook his head, pursing his lips. He crossed his arms and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet.

"I..." Inez stood, a hand on his hip and a hand on his mouth, trying to think things through. Michael waited patiently for him to speak. "This can't be allowed to happen."

"Where did you get this?" He turned to face Michael, crossing his arms over his chest.

"One of our contacts in the Alliance caught it as it passed over their desk." Michael smiled, a grim look that would have sent a lesser man running in fear.

"Who's this Lieutenant Anderson?" Inez asked, opening the folder as he looked over the names listed on the pages.

"He's an N7," Michael explained, having looked everything up before he had brought it to Inez. "Served on the Hastings with the girls parents. He's a genuine, bonafide hero."

Inez paced his office, frowning, thoughts racing through his mind. He turned sharply, pointing a finger at Michael. "And this hero decided that it was a good idea to just let a bunch of ponies adopt a human?"

He slammed a fist down on his desk, ignoring when his coffee cup went flying to the ground. It shattered with a crash, but both men ignored it.

"This is why humanity needs us!" Inez went back to pacing, going off on one of his infamous rants. "It was bad enough when the damn Prime Minister decided we were going to be those stupid horses allies!"

"There is no way in hell that I'm allowing this to go any further!" Turning, he pointed a finger at Michael. "Next thing you know, humans'll be marrying ponies. I'll be dead before I ever let that happen!"

He took a deep breath, and a few minutes passed. His anger passed, settling into a quiet determination.

"Get Weber on the line. We need to talk. Details to work through." He turned back to Michael, looking him in the eyes.

Michael nodded, then left the room.

As soon as the door shut behind him, Inez slumped down into his chair behind his desk. Leaning down, he opened a drawer, pulled out a bottle of vodka, and poured a shot. With a grimace of anticipation, he downed it.

Turning in his chair, he looked out his window at Vancouver beyond.

History would prove him right, he was sure of it.


Prism and Firefly lay asleep on Prism's bed in his room on the ship, cuddled up as close to each other as they could possibly get. Prism had a small, happy smile on his face. On a small cot across the room, Rainbow was sleeping upside down, her legs sprawled out, snoring quietly.

There was a harsh knock at the door, waking Prism and Firefly.

With a grumble, Prism rolled out of bed and walked up to the door. Slapping the controls, he opened it to find Commander Easyglider, Anderson, and two men in fine suits waiting on the other side.

Prism snapped to attention and gave perfect salute. "Commander!"

"These gentlemen are here to see you, Prism." Easyglider saluted back, nodding grimly to Prism.

Prism turned his attention to the two men that Anderson was glaring daggers at. One of them opened a briefcase, pulling out a folder.

"I am here to inform a Rainbow Prism that the adoption of Riley Shepard is contested," the man said with a grim voice.

Prism's eyes widened in surprise. He turned to Anderson, who was visibly angry, restraining himself from doing anything stupid.

"The Terra Firma party is bringing the adoption before the Supreme Court," the second man spoke.

"Why?" Firefly joined Prism at the door, looking over the people before her with confusion.

"It's Terra Firma," Anderson said with a voice full of rage. "Human supremacists. They can't stand the idea of a pony couple adopting a human."

Firefly gasped, her eyes going wide.

"Alright." Easyglider glared at the lawyers. "You've delivered the message. Now get the hell off my ship before I have you thrown off!"

The men gave similar, condescending smirks then left the hall, escorted away by two other Wonderbolts. Easyglider grimaced, gave Prism and Firefly an apologetic look, then followed after them.

"What just happened?" Prism asked, turning to face Anderson.

"They showed up an hour ago, demanding to see you," Anderson said, rubbing the bridge of his nose with his hand. "They had everything in order and there wasn't anything I could do to make them go away."

"So..." Prism looked at Anderson, dropped his head and let out a deep sigh. "Because we're ponies, they don't want us to adopt Riley."

"Yeah," Anderson said with gritted teeth. Dropping his hands to his side, he took a deep breath. "Terra Firma has been a problem pretty much since Hall stumbled on the sphere. They only got worse after the First Contact war. They're very... conservative."

"And they would be so petty as to deny a girl a home just because it is with 'aliens'?" Firefly asked incredulously. She couldn't believe that there would be anyone cruel enough to want to do something so horrible.

Anderson gave a single nod before solemnly saying, "Yes."

"Is there anything we can do?" Prism asked, looking past what had just happened to the options that they could take. "That girl... Riley deserves a good home."

"She deserves to have somepony fight for her," Firefly said, biting her lip. She could feel a headache building behind her eyes, but ignored it. There were bigger things to deal with, and she would need to be at the top of her game to make sure that everything would go okay.

"It's going to the Supreme Court, which means that Terra Firma has ears in high places." Anderson sighed, shaking his head in frustration. "Our only hope is to have a better argument than they do."

"We have no desire to make Riley into a spectacle..." Prism bit his lip, his good wing fluttering in agitation. He dropped his head and gave a deep sigh of regret. "If this is truly what's best for her..."

Anderson shook his head, taking a seat on the floor. He leaned up against the wall for support. He looked tired and it brought him down to the ponies eye-level. "No, Rainbow Prism."

Prism looked him in the eye, waiting for him to say what he had to say.

"I've seen the way that you and Firefly are around her. You are what's best for her, and I don't want you to have any doubt about it. She's lost a mother, father, and sister. There's no need for her to lose her savior." Anderson spoke calmly, but firmly.

Prism and Firefly shared a glance, then a nod. They made up their minds. They would fight for Riley, because she deserved more than bit of normalcy in their life. They would stand between her and the ravening jaws of Terra Firma, and they would do it gladly. The poor girl deserved it.

"You're a good man, David." Firefly stepped forward and wrapped Anderson in a hug. "Riley is lucky to have you as a godfather."

Anderson gave her a small smile, hugging her back. "Maybe. She's luckier to have you."