Friendship is Magic: The Covenant War

Synapse: 10 Years before the Battle of Reach, the Human-Covenant War rages out of control, with neither side gaining the upper hand. When a damaged Covenant Carrier, crash lands on Equestria, Ponykind finds itself drawn into the war when the Covenant attack, forcing them into an uneasy alliance with the Covenant's sworn enemy: Humanity

Chapter I

Invasion

Location: Covenant Super Carrier Fist of Enlightenment, in high orbit over unknown world, Earth Year 2542.

The massive armored bipedal stood on the battle scared bridge of the carrier, gazing out into the stars, he was Sangheili, a member of a proud warrior race, the pride of the Covenant, the fist of the Prophets, the Arbiter, yet there was something in his yellow eyes that sent chills down even the most loyal and devoted Covenant. Many had recalled the 17th Arbiter, Ripa Moramee and his ruthless nature that had led to the disaster on the Shield World, this Arbiter was a monster pure and simple, a creature who was highly intelligent, but cared little for life, often executing his own troops for simple amusement, in his twisted mind the Prophets represented the old order, why should they seek transcendence when they could be Gods themselves? It was that twisted belief that led him to do the unthinkable: an attempted coup in the heart of High Charity itself, no one could understand why the Prophets stayed their hands, maybe they saw potential in the renegade, or respect for someone who had openly defied them, or simply they couldn't lose a soldier of his caliber, no one in the Covenant wanted to admit it but the war had been taking its toll, veteran units and ships were being wiped out faster than they could be replaced, a fact made all the worse when the Humans attacked the Second Fleet of Glorious Asscention's shipyards, when most of the fleet was in port for refitting and rest, and destroyed nearly 2/3rds of the fleet before retreating to parts unknown.

In the years since the war with Humanity had begun the Arbiter had developed a deep respect for his foe, he enjoyed playing their mind games, giving them false hope of victory before glassing their worlds with his fleet, often with his own forces still on the planet, tactics which served to enrage his brother Thel Vandamee, the shipmaster of the Arbiter's flagship.

To say Thel was hostel towards his superior would've been an understatement, even though the Arbiter was his brother he hated him and the two were barely on speaking terms, to him the Arbiter's actions brought dishonor not just to their clan but to all Sangheili, feelings that reverberated around the carrier, not just towards the Arbiter, but to the war as a whole. Thel had overheard numerous conversations that indicated the Sangheili's faith in the Covenant was nearing meltdown, stories of Human children picking up the weapons of their dead parents and shooting back at attacking Covenant forces, Humans attacking Covenant troops with little more than sticks and stones, actions that would've made any Sangheili Clan Chief explode with pride, then there was the fact the Prophets were showing more and more favoritism towards their rivals the Jiralhanae, with the latest insult being commissioning a battalion of Jiralhanae Honor Guards, he'd heard the rumors that the Sangheili Councilors might be whiling to offer Humanity a separate cease-fire, for having proven themselves worthy adversaries, though to speak such talk openly was grounds for being branded a heretic.

The Arbiter groaned as he paced the damaged bridge, how had it been possible, how did the Humans catch him off guard like that, all he remembered of the battle a few days ago was his flagship and a pair of cruisers had met up with a group of replenishment ships to refuel and rearm before rejoining the First Fleet of Holy Thunder, everything had been routine but it was at that moment a Human Cruiser the sensors had identified as a Valiant Class Super Heavy Cruiser emerged from slip space, catching them off guard, the Covenant immediately went to battle stations and tried to disengage the supply ships, but weren't fast enough, the Humans knew just where and how to hit the group. MAC Guns and Missiles targeted the replenishment ships, as the replenishment ships had no shields to allow for easier transfer of supplies and fuel. Fighters were deployed to counter the few Banshees the Covenant forces had been able to scramble but it was too late. The MAC Rounds and Missiles found their targets, the replenishment ships erupted into balls of fire, while still connected to the carrier and its cruiser escorts. The fuel, ammunition all was strewn about the transport tubes and decks, erupted, causing uncontrollable fires and mass confusion. In the space of a few moments both cruisers were torn apart as the fires reached their core reactors. The Fist of Enlightenment fared better than its escorts, but the damage had been done, half of the ship's engines were off line, as well as communications systems, most of the weapon systems were damaged or destroyed, and the shielding system was completely destroyed.

The order to withdrawal went against every fiber of the Arbiter's being, but his ship was in no shape to face the cruiser, not without back up, but surrender was heresy. With the jumpdrive damaged, they had no choice, a blind jump.

"How much longer till repairs are completed," The Arbiter roared.

"Completed," Thel replied, angrily, "sir we're lucky the ship is still in one piece, and I doubt..."

"I care not for your opinions Shipmaster," the Arbiter roared, trying to maintain his composure "is there any chance of raising the First Fleet." Thel simply sighed.

"Communications are damaged beyond the ability of the repair crews," Thel said, he suddenly pointed to the planet in front of them, "however the scanners are still working, and indicate this planet maybe sufficient enough for us to land on and set up a distress beacon, but there's something else."

"Enlighten me," the Arbiter inquired.

"Scans show life forms," Thel added, "Neither Human nor any member of the Covenant." A smile that sent chills down his brother's spine, crept over the Arbiter's face.

"Begin emergency decent," the Arbiter ordered, "order all hands to battle stations."

"Sir is that necessary," Thel inquired, with a concerned look.

"Do you have a problem with my orders Shipmaster?" the Arbiter snapped, Thel angrily backed down, and issued the proper orders, to defy the Arbiter was to defy the will of the Hierarchs.

Location: Canterlot, Equestria, night of the Grand Galloping Gala, Year of Celestia 1078 (Earth Year 2542)

Twilight Sparkle, simply sighed, it had been little more than a year since Discord had been re-imprisoned. Unlike her other friends who were enjoying the far more lively Gala Princess Celestia had ordered to celebrate Discord's fall from power, the lavender unicorn simply gazed out the window at the night sky, all in Equestria seemed contempt with the way things had been for the last thousand years, peace, harmony all seemed well. Yet deep down Twilight longed for something more, she wondered if anything lay beyond the stars Princess Luna raised at night, she wondered about the possibility that there were other worlds beyond Equestria, other civilizations then just Ponies.

"You seemed troubled my faithful student," a familiar, almost motherly voice said from behind, Twilight turned to find a large white Alicorn standing behind her.

"Princess Celestia," Twilight said, in shock, "I didn't hear you come up."

"Still gazing at the night sky," Celestia replied, smiling.

"Yeah," Twilight sighed, "I don't know why, lately I just feel like all the Magic and Knowledge we Ponies have gathered, it's like we've become stagnant, no Pony every asks what lies beyond Equestria, what could be out there amongst the stars." Celestia couldn't help but smile, Twilight had always been eager to learn, but there were times when learning could prove dangerous.

"Sometimes Twilight," Celestia said, "its best we never find the answers." As Twilight pondered what Celestia meant, the palace suddenly began to shake, as fast as their hooves could carry them the Unicorn and Alicorn raced outside, there slowly descending from the sky, with streaks of green and blue flames emerging damage to its otherwise perfectly smooth purple hull, was a massive starship, a ship that easily dwarfed all of Canterlot. As the ship passed over head, it was clear that it would crash somewhere between Manehatten and Philydelphia. As the massive ship passed over, the crowd of Ponies immediately broke into chaotic conversation about what to do.

"Everyone," Princess Celestia said, "Please remain calm, now is not the time to panic."

"But Princess some weirdo ship thing just appeared out of nowhere," an orange Earth Pony added.

"Yeah I say we give those aliens the boot," a blue Pegasus with rainbow colored hair added.

"Applejack, Rainbow Dash," Celestia replied, coldly, "we don't know anything about these visitors and you saw that the ship was damaged, for all we know they could be in need of help."

"Oh and if they're friendly," a bright pink Earth Pony said, happily, "we can invite them to Ponyville for a great big welcome to Equestria Party."

"Bbbb," a yellow Pegasus whimpered, as she hid under a table, "but what if they're not friendly." Princess Celestia's face grew cold.

"All I can say is hope Pinkie is right," the Princess replied, as she turned to Twilight, with a look of dread to her face, "I want you and your friends to return to Ponyville. You are the barriers of the Elements of Harmony, if things don't end well we can't afford to lose the six of you."

"But what are you going to do Princess," Twilight inquired, with a hint of fear to her voice.

"I'm taking the 300 Stallions of my personal Royal Guard Regiment," Celestia said, "and will go to meet with these visitors," she sighed, as she turned to face the crowd, she was about to do something that hadn't been done in Equestria for millennia, "Stallions and Mares, as of this moment I am ordering the immediate mobilization of the Equestrian Royal Army, until my return I am leaving my sister, Princess Luna in charge of day to day operations in Equestria." The room was silent, the last time the army had been mobilized for a potential battle it was to fight the Great War against Discord's Alliance of Chaos under Queen Shinning Sun, but that was millennia ago, before the Elements of Harmony were forged by Starswirl the Bearded himself, since then the army was little more than a security force more suited for the parade ground then anything, their armor hadn't been updated since the Great War, and they armed with little more than bows and arrows, and spears, the same weapons their ancestors carried against Discord's armies during the war.

Location: Crash site of the Fist of Enlightenment, between Philydelphia and Manehatten, Year of Celestia 1078 (Earth Year 2542), the next day

From his command post on the bridge, the Arbiter gazed out over the landscape, in the distance he could make out one city, and the sensors that were still working told him another wasn't far behind, the carrier had been at battle stations throughout the night, expecting to encounter Human Militia or Military at any moment, but throughout the night all he'd seen from his view port had been small animals and occasionally creatures that resembled the animals Humans called Horses, Pegasus and Unicorns, still he wasn't whiling to let his guard down, he'd already been ambushed once, and it had cost him his escorts and supplies, he wasn't about to let it happen again. For most of the night more detailed reports of the damage to the engines had been coming in, and the more the Arbiter heard, the angrier he became: the fuel lines had been severed in the attack and much of the fuel had been consumed by fire or used up in the jump, meaning all the engines were now inoperable. However it was the report from Thel, who'd spent the night taking inventory of the equipment they had that survived the Human attack that he was waiting for the most.

"It seems the Gods favor us," Thel said, as he emerged back onto the bridge, "Bays AR-120-AR-130 are completely destroyed, and all equipment and personnel were lost in the blast, however most of our other bays, including the bays that house our Wraths and Phantoms were undamaged by the blast."

"What about the ship's weapons," the Arbiter inquired.

"We lost all but one of the Energy Projectors in the blast, the remaining one is so badly damaged that it can only be fired once, and at partial strength," Thel added, "All Plasma Torpedo tubes are reported out of action, but by the grace of the Gods, most of our turrets survived the blast."

"Have we detected any enemy presence," the Arbiter inquired.

"The few sensors we were able to get working haven't detected any Humans," Thel replied, "just these strange creatures," the next phrase was the hardest thing for Thel to say, "we also detected fragments of Holy Relics beneath the city, it's possible these creatures destroyed the Relics when they built it." For the Arbiter, this was the news he'd been waiting for. This was his chance, he would lay the foundations of a new Covenant on this world, one where the Covenant itself, not some rusted relics from a forgotten age, would be worshipped as the true Gods. Yet there had always been one problem that prevented him from carrying out his true plans, the same problem that had plagued him when he attempted to seize power on High Charity years ago: the devotion of his soldiers to the Prophets and their outdated religion, but now, now he had the excuse.

"In form all hands to prepare for battle," the Arbiter said, coldly. Thel could only hang his head low, these were defenseless creatures, who had not attacked the Covenant nor had they allied themselves with the enemy, yet like the Humans they had destroyed sacred relics, heresy in its purest forms, Covenant law was clear and to the point, examples had to be made.

Far below the Covenant carrier, more and more ponies had begun to gather, the ship covered the entire area between Philydelphia and Manehatten, from their vantage points, the Ponies could see the gaping holes in the side of the ship, murmurs about what could've happened to cause that much damage were spreading like wild fire. It was only when Princess Celestia's Royal Procession arrived, did silence finally fall over the field. The 300 Royal Guardsponies took up positions around their princess who was now clad in bright gold armor. The horns of the Unicorns began to glow a variety of colors, waiting for the Aliens to make a move, suddenly Celestia raised her hoof and told them to stand down. She wasn't here to provoke a war. Slowly the Alicorn Princess began to flap her wings and slowly rose into the sky.

"I am Princess Celestia," Celestia shouted at the bridge, "Ruler of the Kingdom of Equestria. I wish to know why you have come." There was no response.

"They can't be this naive," the Arbiter grumbled, the plan was simple fire the remaining Energy Projector at the command post, and in the confusion land ground troops to secure the cities and area around the downed carrier. Expecting the command post to be hidden, like the Humans always did, squads of SpecOps troops were just now finishing preparations for deployment to locate the command post, and yet here was the enemy leader in plain sight, with just some gold plated body armor. The soldiers she had brought with her weren't any more impressive, spears and bows and arrows, true Humans fought with those kinds of weapons but only in acts of desperation, never as the primary weapon.

"It seems the Gods continue to favor us," the Arbiter said, "prepare to fire, instruct all dropships and Phantoms to prepare for launch." Thel replied with a hesitant "yes sir," trying hard to hide his disgust, once the order had been given, Thel made his way off the bridge, he had no desire to watch the slaughter that was about to unfold, the Humans, regardless of what crime the Hierarchs said they had committed, had proven time and again to be warriors equal to the best of the Covenant, a worthy enemy who'd proven themselves worthy of joining the Covenant. But these creatures, what chance did they have? What honor was there in what they were about to do? He wanted to run back to the bridge and stop the Arbiter, but to do so would only invite the Hierarchs wrath, and the announcement these creatures had desecrated Holy Relics cemented the crew's loyalty behind the Arbiter.

Princess Celestia remained fixated on the bridge of the carrier, she'd repeated her statement at least four more times, and each time was met with silence.

"Please understand," Celestia said, "we are a peaceful world, and we mean you no harm we only wish to talk." This time she was answered with a loud groan from inside the ship, a large amount of energy had begun to gather in the front of the ship, the last thing any of the ponies saw of their beloved Princess was the bright flash as the Energy Cannon fired at her from almost point blank range, the only thing that broke the silence was the sound of Celestia's melted crown landing on the ground, slowly one of the Guardsponies picked it up, it was still hot, but it couldn't be left here, it would be needed later, to prove that what had happened here wasn't just a nightmare. The Ponies that had gathered were either too scared or too in shock at what they had just seen, Princess Celestia, the most powerful Alicorn of all had been killed in a few seconds, but it was the message that followed that sent chills down their spines.

"Your destruction and enslavement is the will of the gods, and we, the warriors of the Covenant are their instruments." The sides of the ship suddenly lit up with bursts of plasma and laser beams, sending the Ponies that had gathered into a full panic, one by one the plasma bursts found their marks, one pony at times an entire family wiped out in a single shot, and it only became worse, smaller ships began to emerge from the larger vessel: Banshees, Phantoms, Drop Ships took the air, beginning strafing runs on the scattered ponies, and clearing landing zones, one by one the Drop Ships landed, allowing their troops to disembark, for the first time the Ponies had a clear look at the Aliens who called themselves the Covenant. They were a mix of different species, some looking almost bird like, others no bigger than a pony, but most terrifying of all were the 7 foot armored bipeds who seemed to be commanding the invasion forces.

General Leonegihus had managed to round up the few Royal Guardponies that had survived the strafing runs and the bombardment, with Celestia dead the Guardsponies she had brought with her were scattered amongst the panic stricken civilians, the small group wasn't much about a dozen evenly split amongst spearponies and archers, it wasn't much but from their hiding point in the crevice where they had gathered, they could tell the enemy was beginning to land more than just troops , they were landing ground vehicles. The ground vehicles had no wheels, instead relying on a bright blue light from underneath to provide lift and movement. The moment the vehicles touched the ground, they joined the advancing ground troops in attacking the confused and panic stricken ponies, the larger ones unleashing huge balls of plasma energy that consumed any pony it touched, or set fire to the surrounding woodlands.

"Stallions of the Royal Guard," Leoneigihus said, coldly, "tis been many centuries since our spears and arrows have tasted the blood of an enemy, yet today we face an enemy unlike anything ever seen in Equestria, I shall not lie to ye when I say we shall never see home again, but somepony must make the stand, slow the enemy down even if only for a few seconds, for it will be a few seconds the Ponies in Manehatten and Philydelphia didn't have before. Remember what you have seen here today, remember the loss of our Princess, the deaths of our people, make this Covenant pay dearly for every Pony they have slain today." The Guardsponies remained silent as they waited for the enemy force closest to them to come within range of their arrows, it was a scouting party, one Sangheili Commander, a Kig-Yar sniper, and at least 4 Unggoy out in front, once he was sure the enemy was in range, Leoneigihus ordered the archers to fire. They let loose a stream of arrows, which found their marks, but to their shock the arrows simply bounced off the armor the Aliens wore, the only successful hit had been to the arm of the Kig-Yar, who simply broke the arrow off, ignoring the wound.

"OPEN FIRE FOOLS," the Sangheili shouted, pointing at the crevice. Plasma and Laser fire suddenly rained down upon the Guardsponies, the few who weren't able to duck behind cover were killed almost instantly. Slowly one archer drew a bead on the Sangheili in the one spot where his armor didn't cover him, a narrow portion of his abdomen, it was a long shot but if he could take out the Sangheili maybe he could force the scouting party to pull back. Breathing in the archer took the shot, but what he saw sent chills down his spine, the arrow hit perfectly but stopped and fell to the ground a few inches from its target.

"Sir," the Archer shouted, "those big ones have somekind of spell protecting..." Before he could finish the Sangheili fired a single burst from his Plasma rifle, striking the archer in the back. By now the scouts had been joined by even more Covenant forces, and had surrounded the crevice. Leoneighous steered himself and his fellow guardsponies, this was it. His final word to the Ponies under his command was simple: "Attack." No Guardspony was able to get in range of the Covenant warriors before they were cut down by Plasma and laser fire. The Sangheili simply grunted as he motioned for his troops to follow him back into the smoke.

Location: UNSC Midway, entering unknown Star System, Earth Year 2542

For Admiral William McAffee, Operation: Revenge was a large gamble but one that could help turn the tide of the war, the mission was simple: Capture a Covenant CSO class Super Carrier and above all it's navigational computer, with the goal of locating one of the Covenant's capital worlds, and with luck capture one of the Covenant's leaders and force a surrender. ONI had been informed by local intelligence that a CSO class carrier and two CSS class battlecruisers had been spotted in the Avalon system, refitting and rearming, the perfect opportunity to ambush the Covenant. Their heavy ships were always shielded by their smaller replenishment ships weren't, if they caught them midway through resupply they stood a chance, and it was only luck that they did. The two battlecruisers, all of the supply ships, and the few fighters that had managed to launch were destroyed and the carrier severely damaged.

"So far our luck seems to be holding," McAffee grumbled, under his breath, he was a career Navy man, who'd seen his fair share of action from putting down Insurrections to battles with the Covenant, he was roughly 50 years old, with his black hair showing signs of graying, yet he always looked out for his ship and her crew, something that had earned him a great deal of respect, and over the years he'd proven to be one of the UNSC's most gifted guerilla warfare tractions, choosing to pick off stragglers and hitting Covenant Supply routes and bases, rather than confront an entire Covenant Fleet head on, weakening them just enough for the main fleet to stand a chance against an actual Covenant Fleet.

Yet the war had taken its toll on him, like it had on many for nearly 20 years it had been the same, Covenant killed Humans and Humans killed Covenant, entire worlds wiped out in the blink of an eye, and for what? no one knew, remembered or cared why the war had begun or why the Covenant had attacked Harvest to begin with, all they knew was that there was no end in sight, many were beginning to believe the war would never end, some Humans wondered about their enemies, for all the hatred they felt for the Covenant as a whole for what they had done to Humanity, they couldn't help but wonder about the individuals, did they have friends or family who were being told their child or husband died in battle, did they know fear or love. Those questions had come up in McAffee's mind when the Covenant raided Orion VI, he found himself standing over a dead Elite, in the Elite's armor he found a small hologram, showing the Elite he'd killed and what he could only assume was his wife and two children, two children who would never know their father. After that he promised himself that once the war was over he'd leave the service, retire back to New Avalon and never set foot on a starship again.

Many of the Marines and ODST Troopers on the Midway were itching to spill Covenant blood, some were from planets that the Covenant had already glassed or occupied and were eager for payback, or fresh from boot camp, they would play their part when they stormed the carrier, but the key to the plan was Delta Squad, the six SPARTAN II class Supersoldiers, Humans biomechanically and biochemically augmented to absolute perfection, led by Lt. Alex-201. Needless to say many of the Marines and ODST Troopers held the SPARTANs in low regard, viewing them as freaks or the UNSC's pet projects, common saying was "the SPARTINS win because they cheat, Marines win for real". It was nothing new; all military branches had rivalries between each other, the only reason McAffee let much of the talk slide was because the soldiers and crew needed something to laugh about, to take their minds off how badly the war was going, as long as it remained just talk.

"Any sign of the carrier Elita," McAffee inquired, a blue female hologram suddenly materialized on the pedestal next to him.

"Negative," Elita replied, "don't forget Admiral, they made a blind jump, it was only luck I was able to even get a lock on to their jump coordinates before they entered Slipspace."

"Any signs of other Covenant ships," McAffee inquired.

"Negative," Elita replied, "I'm picking up no additional slipspace ruptures."

"What about location," McAffee asked, gazing at the large planet in front of him, "any idea where we are?"

"Once again negative," Elita said, "This system is on no known UNSC Star Charts."

"If the carrier had been damaged," McAffee inquired, "is it possible the enemy could've landed on this planet for repairs or to send out a distress call."

"Analyzing the planet's atmospheric composition," Elita said, "Composition is identical to Earth and all terriformed planets, and you might find this hard to believe it's inhabited, but the life sign readings aren't indicative of any of the Covenant's member races."

"With everything Humanity has been through in this war that doesn't surprise me," McAffee replied, "great if the Covenant landed a neutral party may make our operations difficult."

"Sir," one of the technicians shouted, "heat sensors are detecting large fires in the northern part of the planet as well as large amounts of Plasma."

"What kind of Plasma Ensign," McAffee inquired.

"Covenant weapons grade plasma sir," the Ensign replied. That was all the confirmation McAffee needed.

"Elita scan the surface again," McAffee ordered, "locate that carrier."

"Scanning," Elita replied, "location identified, it's between two large cities in the north, right where the Ensign reported those large fires burning, seems the natives aren't well liked by the Covies anymore then we are."

"Lock in a landing zone," McAffee said, "make sure it's as far from the carrier as possible."

"Isn't that a bit risky," Elita inquired.

"All we know is the carrier is damaged, we don't know if it's weapon systems have been knocked out or are still operational I'm not taking the risk of having my ship blown to bits," McAffee added, "and we don't know how far the Covenant have spread, if we land far enough away we just might be able to take the enemy by surprise." Elita simply sighed.

"Landing zone identified," Elita said, "there's a large forest near a small settlement that will provide the Midway with enough cover to hide us from any roving Covenant patrol craft, as for their sensors that's another story."

"It's a risk we have to take, prepare for landing," McAffee ordered, "the moment we're down have the Marines and ODSTs deploy squads around the ship. Delta Squad will secure the entrance to the ship."

"Yes sir," Elita replied.

Location: Royal Palace, Canterlot, Year of Luna 0001 (Earth Year 2542)

The Midnight blue Alicorn paced the throne room, waiting for any news, good or bad from her sister. Luna was far younger then Celestia, mostly due to her years of imprisonment, by Alicorn years she was only about 16 where as her sister was nearly 30. Her imprisonment, she'd never quite forgiven Celestia for betraying her, and sealing her in the moon, she remembered how the hate that festered in her heart, watching her sister control her beloved night, of seeing all of the Ponies laugh and play, enjoying the company of friends and loved ones while she was so alone trapped for a thousand years watching Equestria go by without her. The only reason she'd refused to end that terrible night so long ago was to try and talk to her sister, to bring her grievances to Celestia's attention, but Celestia wouldn't hear of it, and banished her to the moon for a thousand years as punishment for defying her, all because she wanted to ask if she could spend time amongst the other Ponies like Celestia. Even though the legend all Ponies knew said she'd become Nightmare Moon out of envy for her sister, she knew it was far different, the demon known as Nightmare Moon had been born in the heart of a pony who had known nothing but loneliness, a pony who was punished for simply wanting to have friends and did the only thing she could think of to bring her grievances to her sister's attention, a pony who's heart became filled with anger and betrayal as she watched her sister take control of her beloved night, feelings that finally consumed her, and turned her into a Pony who's only desire was revenge on all Ponies for the what they had done to her.

Luna's thoughts were broken by the sounds of Guardspony storming into the throne room, behind them stood a familiar figure, Shinning Armor, Captain of the Palace Guard Division, the look on his face was one of shock, panic and seriousness.

"Hurry," Shinning Armor shouted, as the Guardsponies took up positions throughout the throne room, "the Queen must be protected at all cost." Queen? Luna thought, Equestria hadn't had a Queen for centuries, not since their mother had ruled and decreed that only then when there was only one of the two sisters left would Equestria again have a Queen, all to prevent a power struggle.

"CAPTAIN," Luna shouted, "WHAT TIS THE MEANING OF THIS INTRUSION?"

"Forgive me highness," Shinning Armor said, bowing. "But we just got word from Princess Celestia's expedition," Luna could make out a tear forming in his eye, "only two have returned." Luna felt her heart sink, something was seriously wrong, why had Shinning Armor referred to her as the Queen and not a Princess, why had only two of Celestia's guardsponies returned?

"WHAT HATH HAPPENED?" Luna said, stomping her hoof. Shinning Armor could barely hold back his tears as he produced Celestia's melted crown. It was at that moment Luna felt her heart sink, it wasn't possible, it was then she looked at her Cutie Mark, it had changed, no longer was it just a crescent moon, the moon was now surrounded by rays of sunlight.

"The survivors said she tried to speak with the Aliens," Shinning Armor said, holding back his tears, "when they opened fire on her and all the Ponies that had gathered around the ship." Luna felt her heart sink even more.

"WHAT DIS THOU SAY?" Luna inquired.

"A large number of other Ponies had gathered," Shinning Armor said, "to watch the Princess try to talk to the Aliens when the Aliens opened fire."

"How many?" Luna inquired.

"Unknown," Shinning Armor added, "all the survivors said was all of the Guardsponies with the Princess were wiped out, including General Leoneighus and the Aliens were landing ground troops and were rapidly advancing on both Manehatten and Philydelphia." It was then Luna cut him off.

"Dis thou say ground troops," Luna inquired.

"Yes my queen," Shinning Armor replied. Luna looked out the window, it would be time for the Hearth's Warming Eve Pagenets soon, all of her subjects were going about their daily business unaware a war had just begun, except for the poor ponies trapped in Manehatten and Philydelphia.

"Did the guardsponies sayeth anything else," Luna inquired.

"They just kept repeating Covenant," Shinning Armor replied. Luna sighed, most of the Ponies still didn't trust her, or believed she was still plotting against her sister.

"Hath thou informed thy sister yet," Luna inquired.

"No my Queen," Shinning Armor replied, nervously, "I felt it would be better if you informed her, seeing as how I've been organizing a counter attack." Luna cut him off, with Leoneighus dead, Shinning Armor, as Captain of the Guard was next in line to take command of the army.

"I know thy is now in command of the army," Luna replied, "But there will be no counter-attack. Thy said it thyself, these Covenant took down Celestia and nearly all of her escort without any effort, until we know more about this new enemy, I am ordering the army to set up defensive lines around the occupied zone, and to slow or halt any attempts by the enemy to move deeper into Equestria." Shinning Armor tried to protest, but Luna wouldn't have it, loosing Manehatten and Philydelphia bore heavily on her heart, but she was now the Queen of Equestria, she needed to think of Equestria as a whole. War was a forgotten thing in Equestria, even the Great War against the Alliance of Chaos was but a footnote, and it would take time to dust off the old tomes of military thought and tactics, and from what Luna had heard they were outdated long before this Covenant had arrived, to send the army against an enemy wielding the kind of power the Covenant seemed to have, even with Magic, was suicide. For now defense was the only chance, for now.

"I ADMIRE THY BRAVERY CAPTAIN BUT TIS SUICIDE TO ATTACK IF THE ENEMY POSSESSES THE KIND OF POWER REPORTED," Luna shouted. Shinning Armor reluctantly agreed.

"Very well highness," Shinning Armor said, clenching his teeth, "I'll have my underlings draw up plans for defense lines," Luna once again cut him off.

"Don't worry about thy sister General," Luna said, Shinning Armor's face showed an expression of both joy and sorrow at this promotion, "I shall in form thy sister of what has transpired." No sooner had Luna finished speaking the palace began to vibrate, it was sound that was all too familiar, The Guardsponies had all ducked beneath the windows, only resuming their posts when the Queen approached the window, gazing out it confirmed what she had suspected, it was another spaceship, only this one was grey, and bristling with weapons, unlike the other which showed no signs of its military intent, there was no doubt in any ponies mind that this ship was one thing: a warship. But what sent chills down Luna's spine was where the unknown ship was heading: it was heading right for Ponyville.

"General," Luna said, "deploy the Guard units in Canterlot to keep order."

"My Queen what about," Luna once again cut him off.

"We can only hope the enemy hasn't called in reinforcements," Luna replied, as she made her way to her throne.

Location: Ponyville Library, a few hours later, Year of Luna 0001 (Earth Year 2542)

The five Ponies gathered outside of Twilght's room, the letter from Princess, or rather, Queen Luna, had been devistating. Equestria was under attack from an Alien Army and worst of all Celestia, the pony that had been like a mother to her, was dead, the first casualty of this war. For the past few hours, Twilight had been hold up in her room, crying harder then she'd ever cried before, not that any of her friends could blame her. The only other pony that had taken the news hard was Applejack, for the past hour she'd been pacing back and forth, all she could think of was her family who lived in Manehatten.

"Applejack darling," Rarity said, "you must calmdown, that pacing isn't helping poor Twilight cope."

"Calm down," Applejack said, with a hint of anger to her voice, "CALM DOWN MA FAMILY'S TRAPPED IN MANEHATTEN SURROUNDED BY ALIENS WHO ARE DOING CELESTIA KNOWS WHAT TO THEM AND YOU ALL ARE TELLING ME TO CALM DOWN."

"Girls please," Twilight said, emerging from her room, her eyes completely red because of all the crying she'd done. "Don't fight, at least not now." Twilight slowly walked past her friends, not even one of Pinkie's jokes could cheer her up, with Luna now in charge what would become of her, would Luna take her on as her own student, or would she simply let her go, payback for her humiliation as Nightmare Moon.

"I know this is a difficult time Twilight," a small purple dragon said, "but I doubt Luna will get rid of you, after all you did help her out last Nightmare Night," the tone of his voice became more serious, "besides she's our Queen now, and she's ordered us to locate that second spaceship."

"Oh maybe these Aliens are the friendly ones," Pinkie Pie said, happily.

"Bbbut what if they're also Covenant," Fluttershy added. Twilight didn't say anything, she was still lost in thought about what to do, all she knew for sure was that her brother had begun organizing a defense against the Covenant.

The six friends could hear the sounds of ponies scurrying about outside, either in shock or panic as news of the invasion and Princess Celestia's death began breaking all across Equestria, the next scroll Spike produced contained only more bad news.

"Uh Dash," Spike said, nervously, "you might want to step outside."

"Spike this is me we're talking about," Rainbow replied, "I can handle some bad news." Spike sighed.

"Latest news says Cloudsdale, Las Pegasus and Appleloosa all were victims of Covenant air attacks a few hours ago." Rainbow felt her heart sink, Cloudsdale, her home, had been attacked.

"Any news on my sister," Rainbow inquired.

"Rainbow Derpy came back from Cloudsdale last week," Spike said.

"Oh right," Rainbow replied, she had to admit there were times she was embarrassed to be related to Ponyville's resident klutz, but Derpy was still her little sister, regardless, and she'd promised their parents she'd keep an eye on her.

"Anyway," Rainbow added, "I say we find that other ship and kick these Aliens out of Equestria."

stay tuned for chapter II: First Encounters