Chapter 21 Good at Goodbyes

Part 1 Battle on the Bridge

I ran after the two stallions, keeping up as best I could. I knew I needed to cover them. I was supposed to protect them, help them fight raiders. It was hard work. It seemed like there was a new raider around each corner. They'd brought an army with them! My heart was pumping, and I could barely breath. My gun floated steadily in front of me, and I kept it aimed straight.

I was already depleted of AP, which translated to low energy. I felt funny, but I didn't know why. Questions pestered me inside my head, like am I doing this right? Am I helping them? Every time I shot and killed a raider, and saw their body drop to the road, it felt like a punch in the gut. But I had to keep remembering the Combat Zone, and how much anger I had felt in that high school lunchroom. I knew they were bad ponies.

Something in me couldn't hate them though. Maybe it could be possible to change them. It was too late now. It seemed like them making a camp on the bridge next to the Fort made everypony angry. So we had to fight.

Bam, bam, bam! Went the sound of each explosive bullet as I shot the combat shotgun. Chuck-click! Was the sound as I reloaded it. I didn't pay attention to the other sounds. There were so many of them.

Brushing over something hard and jagged on the ground, I stumbled. I fell forward, smashing hard on my face. I yelped out loud, flipping to my side. I lay there, staring at the sky for a moment. The sun had fully risen now. I didn't move and tried to breath normally. I was feeling really hot. My forehead had little beads of sweat, and they trickled down, playing chase with each other.

A bullet whizzed by overhead, I could hear it. I sat up, knowing I was in trouble. Time to go! I thought frantically. I retrieved my weapon, aiming behind and firing randomly as I ran away. I dodged past cars, trying to catch up to my companions.

That's when I got a crazy idea. I would have a way better vantage point if I climbed on top of the cars and took down raiders from up there. I decided to jump to the front to get to the roof of one truck, but instead of jumping that few feet, the aura I was using to carry my shotgun grew to hold me too, and I jumped straight to the roof.

"Whoa," I breathed. I had no clue how I did that.

I was shot at the moment I got up here. I yelled in surprise as I was grazed, then quickly entered SATS. I searched around for the pony shooting at me. The Targeting System located three raiders and Blitz and the Guardian a few rows away. My eyes widened. Ahead of them was a group of raiders, waiting for them. They couldn't see them and SATS said 0% chance to hit any of them.

"Aww, SATS-y, you aren't being very nice right now." I whined.

I began jumping from hoof to hoof, up and down on each of my four feet, like a prance in place. I was nervous. As soon as I left SATS, there probably wouldn't be time to save them. What should I do?!

0% chance…Glancing around, I spotted a rock. "Boulder!" I gasped.

Remember the trucks? The big booms? I was there. So cool…

"That was cool?" I asked him.

It was whatever. Said boulder.

Big booms. 0% chance. There was a gas tank in front of that raider! I targeted him. I released SATS. It was like the bullet travelled in slow motion. I watched it fly through the air, a bird without wings. The gentle ping off the gas tank. Then the fireball that I was waiting for.

It had been risky. Blitz and the Guardian were on the edges of the explosion and I saw them fly backward. "Ack!" I cried. I shot a few crazed glances around, tossed my last grenade at a couple of raiders, and after jumping straight of the car, ran as fast as I could toward where I'd seen my friends.

Cars had been toppled and a few were on their sides. Black marks decorated each of them, and I frowned. Where were they? "Uhhhh…"

"Blitzfire?!" I called. I would recognize his voice anywhere no matter what.

"Fuck OJ, was that you?" I finally spotted him laying on the ground a few feet away.

I smiled bright as the fireball I'd caused just now, "Eyup!"

Blitz tried to move, "Augh, fuck. Trapped…"

"Are you two ok?" came a shout as the Guardian galloped in our direction. He came with fire blazing a few feet behind him. The direction of the car I'd shot.

"I've taken worse. Just get me outa here," said Blitz.

The Guardian quickly moved to one side of the tipped car, gesturing me to the other. "That was good thinking by the way, Puppydog. I saw the group of raiders as soon as that explosion went off. Saved us a bit of trouble." we worked together to lift the car enough for Blitz to slide his leg out. I beamed the whole time, loving the praise. I was so glad the Guardian was finally happy.

"You're not bad with that revolver yourself, Ravager," the Guardian added.

Blitz stood shakily, giving a crooked grin, "Eh, specially modified. I've been up north."

"Ah, custom then."

"And old as tartarus." Blitz smiled at the Guardian and winked at me. I'm not sure, but I might be the only one that knew Blitz was over 200 years old. That's so cool! A secret, hehe.

The Guardian's next words changed the mood, and I'm not sure if it was in a good way or not.

"We've got company."

"Looks like that explosion did the trick for us," the Guardian elaborated.

"We certainly drew their attention," Blitz laughed.

I couldn't decide between a smile and a frown. I liked to smile though, so I stuck with that. I think I might have giggled too. "Um, who are we talking about?"

The Guardian said, "The raiders from the camp." at that, he grabbed a walkie talkie he had on him, speaking into it. "Cher, the troops ready?"

"zz-Yes, got 'em armed to the teeth.-zz" Came Cherry's voice from the little radio. I ogled the tiny box in the Guardian's hoof.

"Good, because there's basically an army. Field medics at the ready?"

"zz-Locked and loaded,-zz" said Lily's voice.

"Locked and loaded?" Blitz shot a questioning glance at the Guardian.

"Just because they're medics, doesn't mean they aren't trained in combat," he explained. "This is the wasteland after all."

"That actually makes perfect sense," said Blitzfire as he began to move off. "For once," he added.

"Whattaya mean for once?!" the Guardian gasped, but Blitz ignored him. I snickered, it was kinda funny.

We were heading around. The raiders were coming from directly ahead, and we were moving to come in from the back. The Guardian already said half the forces the Fort had sent were circling around under the bridge to come in behind. The rest were joining us. Then it would be a battle. We were protecting the Fort.

"We're protecting more than the Fort, Puppydog," said the Guardian.

"Huh?" I cocked my head.

He chuckled. "You were whispering under your breath and I'm pretty observant."

"Oh…" I blushed furiously.

"zz-In position. Status on the enemy camp?-zz"

The Guardian moved forward, staying low. He peered over the back of a car. I saw him narrow his eyes. "It's a doozy," he said into the radio. "Who's ready to party?" He clicked the button on his armor to activate his helmet as he said it. The light on his radio faded. And the front of his helmet lit up. It was pretty intimidating.

"zz-Did somepony say party?-zz" I heard Pumpkin Spice's voice from inside the helmet. It was muffled though.

"No Pumpkin…" the Guardian sighed, "Not that kind of party. What is she doing out here?"

"zz-I'm here to watch, duh silly! Didn't anypony else bring popcorn?!" there was a long pause, "Oh…no? Ok…Popcorn?-zz" I laughed, imagining her holding out a bucket of popcorn to an armored soldier carrying a gun.

"I'd love some popcorn," I licked my lips.

"Focus OJ," said the Guardian, his voice fuzzy through the helmet intercom. "You don't even know what popcorn is."

After a long pause, "What is popcorn?" I asked.

"Now is not the time," the Guardian told me.

"Oh, ok…" I mumbled.

"DOWN, GET DOWN!" Blitz started screaming. Me being stupid and not knowing what he meant started glancing around. Bullets started going off and I saw the Guardian jump straight over me. I watched him soar, imagining a bird, or a pegasus.

"zz-We have contact. Engaging, over…-zz"

"Eep!" I yelped. The Guardian was ahead of me, standing sideways, his head turned toward our attacker. He stood tall and proud, defiant. I gushed.

"Ok, that was close. OJ," he turned around to face me and I thought he was mad. That mask on his face looked pretty mad. I think the way Blitz brought himself up behind me, he thought he would be mad too. Static issued from the helmet speakers, the sound of a sigh, "You should watch your surroundings at all times." he said calmly.

"O-ok," I firmly nodded, gulping.

Behind the Guardian, ponies in armor appeared in the gaps between cars, moving up. "We've got 'em pinned!" one soldier called to his comrade.

The Guardian lifted a hoof to his helmet, "Does this mean our troops have circled around the other side of the bridge?"

A short period of silence and then, "zz-Yes sir. We've got fighting just under a quarter of a click west on the bridge, but we'll bring them to us. We'll have this battle underway within 5 minutes. Over.-zz"

"That's good," he looked at Blitz and I and spoke to us, "We need to get to the heart of that battle."

"We do?" I yipped.

"Don't worry," Blitz said to me as the Guardian shifted his focus from us back to his radio, "I know you've got a strong rebel heart beating in that beautiful chest of yours."

"...I'm moving in with two others, the Puppydog and an outside contact," the Guardian was speaking.

"R-really?" I glanced wide eyed at Blitzfire. I knew I was feeling something, but my heartbeat was hard to describe.

"There's no doubt," my coltfriend nudged me and I couldn't stop a smile.

"...Cover our flanks, yes. Thank you." the Guardian finally dropped his hoof. "Okay, we're heading in. This battle won't fight itself."

"You got that right," said Blitz. For some reason, he couldn't take his eyes off me when he said it. Something about it seemed sad, but he shot me a reassuring smile. How could I think anything different of it? He'd stick by my side through it all.

So we shot off, running through the cars. I fired my shotgun, Blitz his revolver and Buck an array of energy weapons. We kept dodging past each other, protecting each other from stray raiders. We found ourselves on what I would definitely call a battlefield. The cars were cleared here. The camp was a ways off, and on this open expanse of highway, with few places to hide, it was all out war.

It was okay though! I was by the Guardian's side the whole time. I knew I was safe with him. I smiled up at him, though I don't think he noticed. I faced the raiders, the ones who wanted so badly to attack the Fort. Why did they want to do that?

"I'm the Puppydog!" I screamed, don't ask me why, I'm really not entirely sure. I think Blitz shot me a weird look too.

Leaping, I ended up atop the Guardian's back. He made a loud oof as I landed. I shot a few times, but I still had momentum and I pushed off again. "A little much OJ?" he commented, but I think I heard a chuckle.

"Buck this!" I heard shouting. The bullets flying through the air were becoming less and less. "They got us trapped boys!"

"Yeah! Screw this, I'm out of here!"

Raiders began leaping to the street below from a chunk taken out of the side of the bridge. I was really confused, and I lowered my shotgun, taking a few steps in their direction. I heard somepony shout for me, but I was too concerned with what the raiders were doing. Wouldn't they hurt themselves? Why were they jumping? They shouldn't do that.

I ran to the cement side, a few feet from the broken area, watching them fall. I saw a nasty sight below. A few bodies, broken and twisted, blood making puddles. I stuck my tongue out. The good thing though, some of those raiders acted as cushions for the raiders after them. Some of them were making it down safely. Those ran off, shouting and looking back up at the bridge with huge eyes.

"They made it…" I breathed.

(Chapter 21 Part 2 set for 10/14/17 at 12:00AM CT

Well lookie here. We got a battle on our hooves! Lots of action right? Like the explosions? Straight from Applewood! XD

I wanted to bring this back around to some of the earlier stuff in this story, make sure it still related. I mentioned the trucks again, I brought back Boulder X3 Lol. I love OJs imagination.

Can't wait to finish Part 2. I'm in the middle of writing it and it's pretty good. I'm putting in some themes and morals, and then at the end I'll move the story along, to the next part. It'll be a shift.

Ok, love ya!)

Brohoof! /)