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A flash to the right!

By Garda
Created: 9th February 2021 11:15:10 AM

  1. >"Good afternoon, everypony! You're watching the weather report and forecast!"
  2. >Smiling green-coated mare in a business-style jacket appeared before the province map with your city, North Marefield, in the very center of it.
  3. >"Not much to say today, though. Seventh Company of Pegasi Weather Service have rerouted the cold front further north, so the meeting point of cold and warm fronts will be here, about fourty miles to the north-east from us."
  4. >"You can expect temperatures rising to 84 degrees Marenheit with tiny south-western wind - one to two miles per hour - for the next six days, so there will be a warm and nice Midsummer Week."
  5. >Her voice is slowly lulling you to sleep. Your eyes are closing, first the left one, then the right...
  6. >...until the noise from the TV completely disappears, changing to a quiet tone.
  7. >You open up your eyes only to see that the whole screen is now black.
  8. >Maybe some technical difficulties at the TV station, who knows.
  9. >Nothing happens for thirty seconds or so - then, a strange noise, similar to rustling or rubbing a piece of metal against glass, is heard. Damn, it almost sounds like it can pierce your brain.
  10. >Hopefully, these screeches end, and some text appears on the screen, saying "NATIONAL ALERT SYSTEM" and a "STAND BY" line beneath it.
  11. >National alert system? What can happen?
  12. >You have to hope that it's just a test, like the one commenced six months or so ago.
  13. >Then...mechanical voice starts to speak. Its soulless manner and mispronounciations are something that frighten you a bit. Can't they even change the speaking mechanism to something sounding more...pony-like?
  14. >"We apologize for the interruption. A matter of national security is currently underway."
  15. >"The following message is being transmitted at the request of the Government of Equestria"
  16. >Matter of national security? Transmitted at the request of the Government? By the name of Celestia, this is definitely the thing you should listen to!
  17. >"This cable station has interrupted its regular programming to participate in the activation of the National Alert System. Please listen to this message."
  18. >"All broadcast stations and cable systems shall transmit this message."
  19. >"This is NMKS-TV. We will continue to serve the North Marefield area."
  20. >"We ask you to refrain from using your telephone. Telephone lines are to be kept open for emergency use."
  21. >"All residents of cities with population exceeding 250 thousand or living near military installations, power plants and major factories are now under the mandatory evacuation order. Local authorities will assist you."
  22. >"Evacuation routes for your immediate area will be relayed once this message is over. Keep your TV set or radio receiver on - valuable information will be transmitted."
  23. >Mandatory evacuation for all major cities? What even is happening, Sombra returned or the Nightmare Moon has risen again?
  24. >The situation at the front has been stable - but maybe there was a grand offensive and Reds are now pushing to the south?
  25. >No, it's not possible - then the warning would be issued only for the cities up north like Fillydelphia, not for the ones in the south too.
  26. >Anyway, you have to listen closely.
  27. >But a small thought has crawled in your mind - how lucky are you to live in a small town with some 20,000 residents and nothing of importance around!
  28. >"Due to the severity of the current situation, the Government of Equestria has issued certain orders regarding several spheres of life, so please be advised."
  29. >"All Mass Transit services, including railways, buses and subway will discontinue their services at the next stop. All civil airline flights currently in air will be diverted to the nearest airports or airfields."
  30. >"Civil services at the national, provincial and local levels will be discontinued for an indefinite period of time."
  31. >"If you're travelling and you are in less than five minutes to the destination, continue your journey. If not, then drive to the nearest sturdy building; if none are present within 10 minutes of driving, pull to the side of the road and leave the radio on."
  32. >"If you are under the evacuation order and you have relatives at school, at work or in hospital, please don't go after them. Employers and local social service providers have evacuation plans in effect."
  33. >This one really did make you shudder. Your parents live in Coltington, far south, so you can only hope that they will be okay.
  34. >"All police, National Guard, CDF, Army, Navy and Air Force reservists have been recalled to duty and are to report at their designated gathering points."
  35. >"Martial law has been enacted in provinces of Mare East and Capital. All citizens are asked to obey the uniformed personnel and to show their identification when required."
  36. >"This is a strike warning. To repeat, this is a strike warning, effective for all of Equestria until further notice. Please stand by for instructions..."
  37. >A strike warning? Finally they've said something useful. First you'll listen until the end of this message and then some stuff needs to be gathered. It's nice to remember that you've prepared an emergency kit in case of things like that.
  38. >A lone siren goes off on the street, then it's accompanied by a dozen or so of other ones, set all around the city.
  39. >"For all citizens in cities not subjected to the evacuation: your local CDF detachments will set up evacuation points if possible, but if you wish to evacuate, please do it by your own means to prevent overloading of transport."
  40. >"Two and a half minutes ago the Early Warning System detected the launch of circa 200 ballistic missiles from the northern mountains. The Soviet Republic of Stalliongrad is the suspected perpetrator."
  41. >"If you're evacuating, please shut down water and electricity supply, heating and air ventilation. Bring with yourself your passport, a small sum of money and an amount of food and water that's enough for you to last 7 to 14 days. Blankets, flashlights, batteries and radios are recommended items. If you're evacuating by yourself and you do have a firearm, bring it."
  42. >"Don't panic. The Government and local authorities are working to minimize the amount of damage."
  43. >"This was the message from the National Alert System. We will now return to your broadcast station's programming - it'll contain more area-specific instructions."
  44. >Several clicks are heard, and while the station is readjusting its equipment, you jump from the couch, sprinting towards your fireproof safe.
  45. >Two dozens of 100-bit notes wrapped in paper, a verified copy of your passport and a PC-8 pistol with a couple of mags and a small box of ammo - literally a basic survival kit. You still have to grab your saddlebags and fill them with tinned food.
  46. >Your small weapon of choice was probably the best one you can get with situation like this. You can't bring a rifle to the bus, after all - but the PC-8, manufactured at the Royal Arsenal in Canterlot, is a decent pistol among others.
  47. >Chambered for .35 Royal rimfire cartridge and holding twelve rounds, each with
  48. >You open a section in your fridge and telekinetically grab tins and some cans of purified water. Heck, there's almost everything you eat - classic applesauce, dehydrated oats, fruits and some other stuff. Radio, some batteries, a portable heater and a small bottle of fuel goes along and you're all set.
  49. >The TV said something about the bus stop on Third Solar St. being the gathering point for voluntary evacuation before you shut down the electricity supply, so you have to hurry. Who knows, maybe this thing they talked about in CD programmes, the "fallout", can move closer to the city.
  50. >Next second after closing the door behind you feel the wave of warm air splashed against you. It's searingly hot; last time you went to work there was seventy degrees Marenheit at most.
  51. >There's almost no one at the street - mostly because they know that North Marefield is one of the most unlikely cities to be hit.
  52. >As you slowly approach the bus stop that already has four buses parked next to it, you're greeted by a CDF private armed with CA-5 carbine.
  53. >This is a pretty decent weapon, as you can "rightfully" claim from your experience with it on a local shooting range, but it's semi-automatic after all - little wonder it was given out to some Civil Defense freshpony.
  54. >"Good morning, sir. Evacuating?"
  55. "Yes, I guess so."
  56. >"In my opinion, this whole thing makes no sense."
  57. >"Who will even bother to attack North Marefield?" he chuckled. "I doubt Reds know that we here do even exist."
  58. >"But it's an order, after all. Your identification?"
  59. >A couple of seconds, a simple telekinesis - and your passport is opened before his eyes.
  60. >"A-ha, Greymane. Nice photo, by the way! You can come in."
  61. >The evacuation bus was basically the same one you have been taking to work for the last five years or so, but with standard route plate taken off. It was already half-full with evacuating ponies; no one seemed even slightly distressed.
  62. >Several minutes went by, all seats were taken, and driver slowly pulled to the main road. As the engine hummed on softly, you slowly drifted to sleep...
  63. >...until a jump on a speed bump almost sent you flying upwards from the seat. You checked the watch - it was about ten minutes since you boarded the bus, so probably you were some 15 kilometres away from the city.
  64. >It almost looked like you were on a regular bus from North Marefield to some town like Grassderry - everypony was chatting about little things like the prices of electricity or the growth of apples.
  65. >There wasn't much for you to do, so you started to gaze at the plain that was lying to the right. A city you've departed from was hidden somewhere behind it.
  66. >Suddenly, a bright something flashed in the sky, right under the cloud, and started to descend, leaving a red-hot burning trail behind it.
  67. >No, it can't be!
  68. >You jumped up from your seat, grabbed the saddlebag you've put next to you and ran towards the front door, opening it via an emergency exit handle.
  69. >Ignoring the driver's shouting, you bolt to the ditch on the side of the road and jump in it.
  70. >Only seconds later, an even brighter flash at the place where the "object" has landed almost overlaps the Sun. You close your eyes and feel a wave of hot air against them.
  71. >The next second you've curled at the bottom of the ditch, praying to Celestia and Luna that the shockwave won't hurt you.
  72. >With a deafening roar a hella lot of debris flies over your "shelter" and after climbing out you watch in horror how the wave throws buses into the air like they're made from paper.
  73. "Celestia, save their souls."
  74. >As the shockwave slowly dissipated about a mile away, you glanced at the cars. It's pretty much pointless to search for survivors here - nopony could've survived the impact.
  75. >And you could have been at the same place as those poor ones if you haven't noticed a bomb that was falling towards the city.
  76. >Oh, yeah.
  77. >Probably it hit North Marefield.
  78. >But why would they need to waste a warhead on a small city like yours? It doesn't - or it's more appropriate to say didn't - have something worth destroying; no factories, no power plants, not even a single airstrip.
  79. >It has probably taken a beating; and most of your fellow countryponies didn't even realize that before they were reduced to vapor and ash.
  80. >This brings another question, though.
  81. >And you can afford to scream it out loud - no one is around anyway.
  82. "WHY THE HELL IT IS HAPPENING?!"
  83. >You've been faithfully watching all of the TV programmes dedicated to the current war.
  84. >And there was absolutely no information regarding the fact that Reds have developed a nuclear weapon!
  85. >Maybe even the lads from the Govt. didn't know about that?
  86. >Too late to do anything about that. City is in ruins and you have to get to the evacuation gathering point.
  87. >There's only one road between North Marefield and Grassderry; this little hamlet is probably the one where evacuating ponies are being sent.
  88.  
  89. >....
  90. >....
  91. >....
  92. >You can't even remember the last time you've been walking for so long.
  93. >Of course you went to park from time to time on weekends, but four hours, really?
  94. >And the sun literally showering you with repeated blasts of heat wasn't helping either. You've already emptied one of the water cans and were getting more thirsty by the minute.
  95. >Then a rambling noise, coming from Grassderry's direction, has drawn your attention.
  96. >In a thick cloud of dust and exhaust a black silhouette could be seen; you stop to concentrate your eyesight.
  97. >It's definitely a vehicle. But how crazy must a pony be to drive a car amidst all this chaos and destruction?
  98. >As the driving thing approaches, you can distinguish that it is in fact a military APC; MV32A, to be precise.
  99. >You've seen a couple of "Military Review" programmes on TV dedicated to this one - it serves as a backbone of all regular rifle divisions. MV32A slightly resembles a box (this shape allows it to transport up to 10 soldiers) and can defend itself with a A-30 Mk III machine gun, chambered for .55 cartridge.
  100. >Not as good as the PAT-3 assault transport, but good nonetheless.
  101. >APC stops near you and a middle-aged unicorn stallion in dirty black jacket opens the hatch and climbs out of the carrier.
  102. >"You lost there?" he asks with a noticeable smirk.
  103. "Kind of. I was evacuating when my bus got thrown around with a shockwave."
  104. >"Ah yeah, they've bombed North Marefield - for some reason."
  105. "What about the evacuation point?"
  106. >"I'm afraid it was dismantled when we were here - half an hour ago."
  107. >"They must've sent the evacuating ones to somewhere else."
  108. >"But I guess I can take you to our temporary camp - colonel had said something about refugees arriving from here and there."
  109. >This is definitely better than spending one more hour reaching almost empty Grassderry. The CDF is where the military is, right?
  110. "Thank you for your offer!"
  111. >With this, you walk into the opened rear door and into the compartment.
  112. >It reeks of T-Fuel and motor oil; two metal benches are attached to the sides, currently occupied by only two soldiers.
  113. >You instinctively lower your head to not nosebump into some sort of contraption that's hanging from the ceiling; five seconds and you're already sitting on the bench.
  114. >One of the soldiers, a fairly young
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