"Men. We need to be alert. Aware. Attentive. We need to leave." Skipper was pacing on the floor of the Celestia's guest room. The benches were overflowing with gold and pastel pillows. The entire room was done in shades of white. The walls easily gave way to large windows. A very large and soft bed took up most of the center of the room. It would normally be very comfortable and most guests would find it ideal. Except the current inhabitants slept in cement indentations in a wall. They were soldiers, they didn't need luxury. The other three penguins stood at attention, stared at their Skipper, and tried their hardest to stifle giggles. They knew why Skipper wanted to leave. "Men, when was the last time you saw me surrounded by these mammals? And females? And" The disgusting word appeared to elude him for a minute. "PINK!"
"The time you thought you were a girl." his soldiers said in unison, before finally breaking down in laughter.
Slap. They stopped laughing as Skipper hit them.
"You know well that was a faulty DNA test! And Marlene is the only female I trust." He paced a bit more. "Now, how do we get out!"
"You can't get out until after the party, silly. It would be rude otherwise." Pinkie Pie found herself trussed up and on her back in only a few seconds. "I'm sorry for interrupting. I just wanted to meet the throw upy penguin again!"
"You mean Rico?" Private asked. Pinkie Pie nodded.
"Well, you can't have him." Skipper explained. He strode over to the pony. "Who are you? What do you want?"
"I told you I-" She was cut off as someone knocked on the penguin's door. Skipper glanced at Rico who threw up a large blanket. Kowalski and Private used it to cover Pinkie Pie.
"Sorry." Private whispered to her.
"Enter!" Skipper called out as the other three stood in front of the vaguely pony shaped cloth in the middle of the room.
"Have you seen Pinkie Pie? Oh, I never introduced myself did I? I'm Twilight Sparkle." Skipper instantly began to laugh.
"No, really, what's your name?" he finally gasped out.
"Twilight Sparkle!" the purple unicorn growled. "Have you seen Pinkie Pie?"
"I'm under here!" Pinkie shouted out from beneath the cloth. "Wow, this would make a great table cloth at Sugar Cube Corners." It was yanked off of her by the unicorns.
"You kidnapped her!" Rainbow Dash yelled at Skipper.
"No, we defended ourselves!" Skipper argued back. He slid up so he was just in front of her hooves. "She appeared in our barracks!" Rainbow Dash landed in front of him with a thump.
"She's harmless!... Mostly." Rainbow Dash admitted. "You attacked her! And insulted Twilght!"
"And I'll do more if you keep that up. You can not berate my men, Rainbow Hair."
"Rainbow Hair? I'll show you rainbow hair you-"
"Darling, why are you yelling at the penguin? He doesn't know your name." Rarity cut inbetween the two.
"It's Rainbow Dash." Skipper growled. "You are Rarity, the tan one is Applejack, the yellow one is Fluttershy, and the purple unicorn is Twilight Sparkle."
"We listened to what you called each other." Private explained.
"But we..." Twilight cut herself off. "You were there, weren't you." She got down close to Private. "You were in the library!"
"And the main hall with Applejack, the side halls with Rarity and Pinkie Pie, and obviously Rainbow Dash found us in another side hall." Kowalski said as he ran over his notes. "What is with those cutie marks?" He turned his notebook over, revealing each cutie mark.
"They are a symbol that appears on each foal's flank when they figure out what their special talent is." Twilight began to slip into lecture mode.
"Cut the egg head jibber jabber," Skipper ordered. "Just get this pink thing out of our barracks! The sooner we get some shut-eye the sooner we get to leave this dimension."
"Well, that's partly why we're here." Twilight knelt down in front of the penguins.
"I thought it was to find your pink … comrade." Skipper spat the last word out.
"Pinkie Pie is out friend." said Rainbow Dash. "And I don't like your attitude." She gave her wings a flap and spread them out.. Skipper brought his flippers up.
"Um, excuse me, Skipper." Private stepped between them. "But wouldn't it be better to work with the... er..." Private turned to them. "What do we call you?"
"Ponies. We are ponies." Celestia walked into the room, her flowing mane half hiding her sister behind her. The other ponies retreated further into the room and bowed. Private began to bow too, but stopped when Skipper glared at him.
"And we don't have time for this." Skipper began to argue back. "We're due back at-" He cut himself off.
"Which is why I'm sending you to Ponyville after the party. It will be quicker for you to fix your machine at the library that functions as Twilight's house" Celestia said with a smile. Skipper tried to stare her down. "And that is an order."
"Don't worry, little penguins, you are going to stay with me." Fluttershy said softly as she ushered them to the party. "I have a lake in my backyard and I can make the softest beds for you to sleep in. And if you get hurt I can heal you. That's what my talent is, I have a special talent with animals."
"And you get... butterflies?" Kowalski asked. "Fascinating."
"Well, butterflies are what saved me after I fell from the cloud in-"
"Rainbow Cloud City?" Private asked a tad too loudly. Fluttershy stopped for a second.
"No, there isn't a city by that name. Most Pegasi, that's what I am you know, live in Cloudsdale."
"Oh." Private said very softly.
"Well, we're here." Fluttershy said with a smile. She nudged the door open to reveal...
Confetti and streamers littered the room. From what they could tell, the room was about the same size as the room they entered in earlier and well light with candles. The walls were painted in pastel colors and the room itself was filled with many small circular tables.... except for the large on in the center that held all the food. The windows were hung with curtains, and one window was open to reveal a pathway outside that led to a garden of some sort.
"See! I said I would throw a party!" Pinkie pounced in front of the the penguins and Fluttershy. Fluttershy gave a small squeak and tried to hid behind Kowalski. "Now, Rico... can you help me? I can't find my-" She practically dragged Rico off.
"And that's our Pinkie." The remaining three penguins turned to see Twilight walk up to them. "Fluttershy, are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine now. Pinkie just scared me." Fluttershy wandered off slowly.
"Your name was Kowalski, right?" Twilight knelt in front of Kowalski.
"Yes, it is. Is your name really Twilight?"
"Yes. Were you really curious about our cutie marks?"
"I, er..." Kowalski was suddenly fascinated by Twlight's horn. "Wait a second, you're a UNICORN!" Skipper groaned and his head hit his flipper.
"Yes, Kowalski, she's a unicorn."
"But, but, but... unicorns aren't supposed to exist!" Kowalski finally stuttered out.
"Kowalski." Private spoke up. "This IS a different dimension, right? So then might unicorns exist?"
"Good hypothesis." Kowalski muttered. "Or, er, I really should just be accepting this as fact, shouldn't I?"He turned towards Twilight. "So, do you have access to a miniature cold fusion reactor?"
"Well, no." she said. "But I do have a lab in the basement of my library! If you know how to make it, maybe we can remake it?"
"If his boss will let him out of his sight." Rainbow Dash landed on the floor. She glared at Skipper.
"Listen, civilian, your friend surprised us. We were well within our rights to capture her. I didn't even let Rico blow her up!"
"In what universe is it okay to blow ponies up?!" Private left the two arguing. He quietly left the hall and went outside. His beak dropped. The sky was strewn with stars and the moon gave a brilliant light onto the ground below.
"Dost thou like it?" Private glanced behind his back to see Luna slowly walking up to him.
"I...I... I have never seen so many stars! It's gorgeous!" he said.
"Really? Dost thou... not come out at night?" Luna asked. She walked ahead so that she could rest on the edge of a small hill. She looked up at the night sky. Private slid up next to her.
"No, I do. But... Manhattan has so many lights that they block out the stars. I like them, but I can't see them unless I leave Manhattan. And I can't leave everyone like that." He sat down and looked up too.
"Thou mentioned Lunacorns when thee first arrived."
"Oh, yes. The Lunacorns are a show on the telly. It's an educational TV show about imagination, good citizenship and proper grooming. Friendship and empathy come up often too." Private felt Luna move over slightly so he could rest on her body. "I like it. Kowalski tolerates it. Rico and Skipper would rather watch Ninja wrestling which is on at the same time."
"Oh. What is...T.V?." Luna asked slowly.
"Oh, I wouldn't know how to explain it. Kowalski would be a better person to ask," Private said. "These stars are beautiful."
"I made them."
"I made them. I am the princess of the night. It is my job to raise the moon and create the stars every night. My sister's job is to raise the sun."
"Wow... The Lunacorns never mentioned that." Private whispered. "So, what else does everyone do?"
"We try to work in harmony. The Pegasi are responsible for the weather, the Earth Ponies for the food and the Unicorns for the shops. But while that is how things tend to go, it is not uncommon for someone to do something unusual. Fluttershy, for example, works with the animals, Applejack also runs the family business, and Twilight runs the library which isn't technically a shop."
"What is it you do?"
"Oh, well... I try to help other animals. Sometimes. But I'm not sure how much I can talk about it."
"I can-" But they were interrupted by an argument spilling onto the grass. Private instantly got up and began to slide over while Luna cantered. They arrived to find Skipper and Rainbow Dash arguing - still- while the other ponies and penguins spilled out.
"Hey!" Pinkie got between them. "This is a party. We don't fight at parties." Skipper glared at Pinkie Pie and prepared to jump either her or Rainbow Dash, but the other three penguins quickly tackled him.
"Skipper, we're guests." Private said softly.
"Private's right. Guests don't fight their hosts. Not unless the guests are undercover," Kowalski tried to explain.
"And we're not undercover. Right, Skipper?" Private put in. Rico nodded quickly behind Private.
"No." Skipper groaned underneath them. "But she displays no respect!"
"You need to earn it." Rainbow Dash called back. She gave a grin. "You can fly right? Wanna race?"
"Um, Rainbow Dash." Twilight whispered. "Penguins can't fly."
"What? They're birds, of course they can fly."
"Rainbow Dash? They're aquatic birds. They swim instead of fly."
"Well that's stupid." Rainbow Dash snorted.
"And that's the way Mama Nature made us. Do you have a problem with Mama Nature?" Skipper threatened as he slipped out from underneath the other penguins.
"Nope. I just have a problem with bullies who insult my friends!"
"And I have a problem with mammals who threaten my crew!"
"I wasn't threatening your crew." Pinkie said cheerfullly. "But I can see how you could think that. I did just show up and you are trained for surprises." Her answer did nothing for Skipper and Rainbow Dash, who continued to glare daggers at each other. "Why don't we get back to the party? We still have cake."
"It's ten o'clock. It's time for my men and I to hit the hay."
"No buts, Private. I am your commanding officer, and we need to keep ourselves rested if we're going to have a chance of surviving here." Skipper turned to go, but was cut off by a large, white, hoof.
"Skipper, I think it would be better to bow to tradition here. We ARE guests. And this seems like a decent party." Kowalski whispered. Skipper glared, but relented.
"Go, get the pie." he muttered. Rico ran off with a cry of "PIE!" while Pinkie bounced off after him. Kowalski went back to his notebook and returned to talking to Twilight. Private and Luna watched as Skipper and Rainbow Dash brought up the rear by entering the room at the same time. Skipper slid underneath Rainbow Dash as she galloped in.
"My princess, shall we go in?" Private offered a wing, before he realized that she was too big.
"Thou art much more respectful than thy compatriots."
"I'm British. We know how to treat royalty."
"So, you see, by the use of the quantum entanglement spell in conjuction with the piping we may have a chance to reconstruct your machine!" Twilight happily rambled as Kowalski took notes.
"But would the magic match up well with electricity?"
"We, don't have constrained electricity." Twilight admitted. She watched the penguin in fascination. He scribbled drawings as quickly as he could onto the notebook he carried.
"Well, that might not be a problem. If we can somehow set it up under a thunderstorm-" he gave a smile.
"Not a problem." Twilight said with a grin. Kowalski looked at her in shock. "Then Pegasi don't control the weather where you come from?"
"Nope. No one does." Kowalski replied.
"So, I told her that if she wanted pie, she needed to talk to Madame Flour!" Pinkie lay on the floor and smiled at the scarred penguin who altered between laughing and making incomprehensible babbling noises. "I know! I would want to have some of that awesome cake too! I couldn't make it though. When we get back home, I can bake you a cake! Or we can have Mr. and Mrs. Cake bake you a cake. Then we get to babysit the twins!" Rico said something that sounded like 'Babysit?" "Yep, babysit! The Cakes have twins and since I live with them I get to take care of them!" Pinkie got up. "Come on, Rico, we need to go out and get our candy on!"
"If you don't like me, why are you following me!" Rainbow Dash snarled at the penguin who called himself Skipper.
"Because I don't back down from a challenge." Skipper replied. He cracked his flippers. "And you, Rainbow Hair are quite a challenge." He glimpsed Rarity over Rainbow Dash's shoulder and immediately hid inbetween Rainbow Dash's wings.
"And you don't want Rarity to put a bowtie on you?" Rainow Dash grinned.
"Yeah, that too." Skipper admitted. He shook out his feathers, jumped, and landed on the table. "Anyway, civilian, what is your duty?"
"My duty is to organize the -" Rainbow Dash stopped as Rarity fled back across the floor.
"Hide me." Rarity whispered. She looked over her shoulder in sheer terror. Rainbow Dash groaned. It took every ounce of her self control to keep her from clobbering the white unicorn walking towards her.
"I heard there was a party here. I see it is something more... common." Prince Blueblood sneered. Rainbow Dash tensed. "And we seem to have guests." He looked down at Skipper who wore a neutral expression. Rainbow Dash noticed the other penguins had stopped whatever they were doing to watch their leader. "And what, pray tell, are you?"
"I am a penguin. And you are?" Skipper crossed his flippers.
"I am Prince Blueblood. I came here to be entertained. Apparently there is nopony here worth my time." He turned to go, but as he did so, he deliberately whipped his tail so the cake flew off the table and landed on Fluttershy. Skipper leaped off the table and landed on Blueblood's back. With a determined expression, he took hold of Blueblood's mane and tugged so Blueblood's head jerked back.
"Ooff." Blueblood groaned. "Get your common hooves off my body!"
"Did your mama ever teach you manners?" The other three penguins abandoned their ponies and slid over in front of Blueblood. Skipper let go of the main and ran up and over Blueblood so he landed in front of his crew. The four instantly switched into an defense pose, each ready to switch to attack at a moment's notice. "Apologize now!"
"And why should I?" Blueblood taunted. "They are just common fillies who ruined the last Grand Galloping Gala." Skipper pushed himself upwards and headbutted Blueblood.
"Listen. They are females and are to be respected as such. I may not like them giving me orders, but I will NOT stand by while you insult them. Especially for being women."
"Wait a minute." Rainbow Dash snorted. "You insulted us for being female!"
"No, I did NOT. I have an issue with you for trying to usurp my chain of command while being female. But just because you are female doesn't mean you are unworthy. Just, in the wrong place." Skipper explained as a cold breeze whipped through the room, causing the candles to flicker.
"If that is really what you think, I fail to see what your issue is-" Blueblood sniffed.
"The point is, Pinkie Pie decided to throw this party. And you threw cake on the person who will be letting us stay at her house. That paints you as a bully. And I hate bullies." Everyone but Rico got into a battlestance. Rico vomited up numchucks instead. Blueblood snorted and left.
"Mine sister, perhaps we should send them to Ponyville now?" Luna whispered. Celestia nodded.
"At the very least, we can figure out what to do with them." Celestia muttered back. "They aren't fitting into Equestria well, are they?"
"Just one is not. The others seem fine." Luna said. "But we should hurry it along." A cold wind blew into the room and extinguished the candles.
The penguins explored the train that would take them to Ponyville. They were quite comfortable with trains - one of their main modes of transportation WAS the MTA subway after all- but the comfortable equine based chairs were rather unusual.
"Twilight, what is Ponyville?" Kowalski asked as he looked out of the window. Private had finished exploring and was moping since Luna could not come with them. Skipper was outright ignoring the ponies, but was spending his time coming up with counter measures for any attacks. Rico was busy chatting with Pinkie... somehow. Fluttershy was discussing something with Rarity, while Applejack and Rainbow Dash were playing some sort of game to pass the time.
"It's the town where we live." Twilight explained. "It should come into focus soon."
"Oh, and what's it like in your... town." Kowalski wasn't sure when he had last seen a town. Twilight seemed to glow with happiness. She rambled on and on about her favorite place to live. Canterlot was nice, but Ponyville was where not only the rest of her friends lived, but the rest of the people she had grown to known. There was Lyra, and the Doctor, and the clumsy pony with odd eyes who refused to state her name... There were hills overflowing with green, Zecora who was always willing to explain things, businesses where the owners actually knew the customers by name, and her home.
"I'm sure you'll like it, Kowalski." Twilight said with a grin. "I live in a library. I bet you have never seen so many books!" She glanced at him, he looked a little disappointed.
"Twilight, I can't read." he admitted. "Don't you dare doubt my mind, but I'll need you to read the items out for me. I can examine the diagrams though!" He gave a very odd grin. "Diagrams about time and space! Oh, such wonderful things... Do you have a space program?"
"No, I don't think so." Twilight mused. "LOOK!" She pointed with her hoof as a smile grew across her face. "Ponyville is in sight!" The other ponies and penguins came over to look out the window.
"That's our home." Applejack said with a proud smile.
"I can see my boutique!" Rarity said with a smile.
"And Sugar Cube Corner!" Pinkie added.
"And my house!" Rainbow Dash said proudly. "What? Everyone else got to say something."
Skipper had only one thing to say.
"Not more pink." he groaned.