by Max Barry

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by The Royal Protectorate of Twilights Citadel. . 24 reads.


Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

Chapter 2

"Issuing Orders"

It was a sharply bright day, and Celestia was out and trying to murder me with this heat. Looking up, I silently cursed her as I stood with the heavy packs on my withers and down telling me to give up and become one with the sand below me.

There were grunts all around, the logistics section was alive with chatter and movement. Every month or so, everything was required to be checked again to maintain equipment reliability. And that meant lining up out in the burning heat as you waited your turn before reaching the office where the Logis checked over everything.

Behind me, was another Private. The woman had that same tired look I probably had. Being in line since seven in the morning, too late as a lot of them had arrived since six. And only now, with the sun at noon, was I within the shade of the logi office. Another shout from the office, and the line shuffled forward. The door to the office swung open as another soldier walked in.

I sighed, at the very least I was in the shade now. My eyes had no idea where to roam, and roam across the base. There was a Scimitar parked near the office, it’s autocannon trained to the sky as a stallion and a griffon stood around it. Discussing something as they conducted an inspection. Another sighed escaped my lips as I felt more of my time evaporating into the thin air due to the endless march of bureaucracy. That was a thing some of the syndicalists noted, it had to be cut down lest we lose too much time to it.

But yet, the MineLegoEquestrians kept it. Seemingly intent on keeping the millenia-old institution like a bunch of religious fanatics. It reminded me a bit of the techpriests from an old table top franchise I had seen some friends play back in university. It was horrifyingly similar with how the bureaucrats held themselves, and what horrified me more was that I understood such fanaticism on some level. With how large the Empire was, bureaucracy was definitely needed, and if such a link were to be cut, I didn’t know what might happen other than pure chaos.

A shudder ran through my spine as the thought passed. A door swinging open grounded my thoughts from bureaucrats fusing themselves with paperwork, and saw a griffon leave the office. A smile of relief as he turned to me and gestured to me to enter.

As he walked off, I gathered some strength before I walked in, using a hindhoof to close the door behind me.

The room was no less hot than the outside. I could spot the AC shut off, and the lights glaringly bright. The room felt generic, uninspiring and void of much character if not for the things scattered around.. There was a desk opposite the door, and there were several crates placed in groups around the room. Some of the contents you can spot, like carbines whose barrels were poking out of the boxes.

Taking my eyes away from the background, I focused on the bureaucrat tasked with the inspection before recognising the face. Lance Corporal Medical Atlas. He still wore the standard military wear, a helmet on his head and the such. A small beat up laptop was placed to the right of him as I notice him looking at him. A raised eyebrow on his face as my eyes made contact with his lifeless gold ones.

I gulped. The situation reminded me of being called to the headmaster’s office. And the way Medical sat wasn’t helping.

“Come on Private Pen, we don’t have all day,” Medical said, snapping me out of my thoughts. “Please stand before the desk, and please pay attention.”

Medical shook his head as I took several steps forward. I held back a sneer at his condescending tone. Straightening my posture I saluted him.

“Private Stylus Pen, Designation 047942802189, Task Outpost Sierra Tango Delta Sierra!”

I noticed Medical gave a nod at such, he looked over me with a sceptial gaze. Darting up and down, to my rifle slung on my side, to my saddlebags, and to the armour adorning my body. There was a difference in the way he acted in comparison to Sergeant Fettra. Now more clearer than ever. Whenever Fettra was at the very least… alive in the way he did so, Medical seemed to look at it as if he was a computer, analyzing data. Not in any natural way, those gold eyes made contact with me every now and then, but I can’t see much life behind them. As if a front for a robot.

“Hand me over your rifle, protocol dictates I need to check it,” He said, turning to the computer to type something in before looking at me expectantly. “Well?”

“Sorry sir,” I unslung the rifle and handed him it as my wings twitched a bit. I swore I could hear a sneer under the deafening silence he extroduted.

“Please pay attention, Private,” Medical said, and I felt my ears fold backwards. Silence soon settled back in as he inspected my gun. Making occasional breaks to type something. I looked at him with worry. I rather not get discharged for unprofessional behaviour. That ruined any attempts at me getting a job in the future.

“Weren’t you the one who wrote the ‘To Not Be Ruled Manifesto’?” Medical said, pausing for a moment to look at me. Tilted head and all that. It took me a moment to process the question before nodding.

“Y-yeah, but that’s just a silly little manifesto I wrote, not that important,” I said, nervously with an added chuckle at the end. Good going Stylus, that would definitely convince him to like you more now! I berated.

“Well it was an interesting thing, a unique way of interpreting history honestly,” Medical shrugged, looking down the barrel of the carbine, with the magazine detached. “Interesting take that liberty is the underlying basis of all states. Though I think service is the more accurate basis for a government, don’t you think?”

“I… well I don’t think service would be a reason for the creation of a state that no person have power to tear down, sir,” I said, biting down on my tongue, unwilling to let more words spill out lest he hated more for it, since I lacked the data to know whether or not he was a syndicalist or not. I saw Medical raise an eyebrow.

“At ease, Private, I know you’re an anarchist,” He said nonchalantly even as I prepared for a berating or something for following such a radical ideology, but somehow it never came, he just kept talking. “You're entitled to your own opinions as so I. And it’d be inappropriate to discuss the finer details of the social contract that keeps this nation running during an inspection. Do you agree?”

“I-I suppose so, sir,”

He nodded as he returned my rifle. “Eighteen hundred hours, your outpost, I’ll be there.”

“I… pard-” Before I could possibly interject, he spoke up again.

“Private Stylus Pen, Designation 047942802189, Tasked at outpost Sierra Tango Delta Sierra as of zero six hours of February twenty-fifth. Retasked at outpost Delta Alpha Tango Echo! Understood?”

“Understood sir!” I gave a salute, and he saluted back from his seat.


And with that, I quickly shuffled out of the room. I gestured for the next soldier to get in before walking away. My mind slowly catching up on what the Lance Corporal had just said. He wasn’t as cold as I expected and was certainly more knowledgeable than I expected. I quietly walked over to the mess hall, before stopping in my tracks.

Eighteen hundred hours, your outpost, I’ll be there.

Retasked at outpost Delta Alpha Tango Echo

Did... did he just asked me out on a date?

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