>>277977>Lifting both forelegs to shrug, 'Spiral' reaches out to, somehow audibly, tap the black sapphirine in front of it, bringing up a tiny 60 degree cone window.
''There was no damage to the projection system sir.">Unable to recognize this Moor cat's coloration or attitude, after a split-second you determine it wasn't Cloverdell, a friendly hybrid that searched the Fortress for attention giving humans.>Matching the base staff descriptions of Nibbles, what little you'd heard of her was the catbat had a a painfully serious military-like attitude and was reported to be easily angered.>Aided by the A.I.'s systems, Emerald barely wince upon deploying the holograph, yet recovers swiftly in examining the projections while Hodch bends a hoof upwards to poke at Nibbles' dangling wingtip.
"You mean the element things that made him split into fire, stone, ice? When Spiral was normal he never talked about them. After he 'split' the batpony one, acid I think, or poison, explained they were parts of the 'whole Spiral', but that he wasn't complete somehow and that was driving the weird purple and black unicorn insane. ..yes, I've seen Naliyna's hololith, kind of like a television mixed with a camera and a voice recorder. Couldn't use it, she said only Crystal ponies are able to."
"Forgive my interruption, again, but I know Spiral's habits and attitudes better than anyone except for Kraut and Hollow. It is impossible to imagine that he left without bringing along two to three saddlepacks worth of writing and research materials, or that he simply did not warn a single member of Razorback, genital puns not included, to simply 'go' somewhere."
"What if he was afraid, or embarrassed, or forced to?"
"Miss Emerald, I will not patronize you in your exhausted state. Should the circumstances not be clear enough by now it would take an alicorn, or worse, threatening to annihilate Razorback to 'force' Spiral into action. In his separated state he was capable of taking on perhaps five squads of the Tower Guard's finest, or a barely mature dragon. Trust me when I state this much: he was far more dangerous and unhinged before then.">Dedicating her energies into studying the projected images, most of which the A.I. was automatically altering or censoring, the woman frowns in partial disbelief.>Catching the open emotion, she stares down at the Crag Moors map while listening, then speaks up in a bright, sincere tone.
"I don't think he was around just for Kraut's benefit, Pare. He cared for all of us, spent a lot of nights with most every human and pony, even his his.alternate selves or whatever anyone would call them. Maybe the unicorn one did go crazy and he had to isolate it by force. Honestly he helped me get over a lot more than most ponies could. ..um, I don't mean that in an insulting way sorry, it's just that you haven been nice to most of us.">Casting a morbid glance up at Hodch, he waves a hoof disapprovingly before turning his eyes solely onto the final projected map with steadily increasing focus.
"Miss Emerald, I retired from the Starborn two years ago. Was less than three months into a rather comfortable teaching position at the Canterlot College of Magic. The night before Razorback arrived, Luna recalled me with a letter stating that I would be setting up a training system for Razorback, then the Destruction of Canterlot Palace happened before I could even meet you all. Whom would not be consistently infuriated at being forced to support the same idiot bipedal morons that nearly caused injury to their sworn and belowed sovereign alicorn? That is a facetious question so do not answer it. And keep your apologies, there is worse to focus on right now. However, I do expect you to understand this: I do not believe all humans are fully capable or willing to produce viable progeny with equines. Until that is disproven I will retain my private suspicions and continue to work against Razorback's self-created negative interests, whether individual or group based. Am I clear?">Eyes and jaw tight at the Nightblade's tactful scourging words, Emerald gives a solemly curt nod of acceptance.
"You are.">Lifting a hand to palm her neck, out of the stallion's sight she makes a slight, hate-filled throat-slitting motion.>Turning back to you with a flustered expression, both hands lift to circle in hopeless motions.
"I don't know what you want to hear or expect me to say. Rank just doesn't matter here and being in command is.. well, most team leaders bark some orders and take a squad off to go do something that makes us look better by helping somepony. Everyone orders around everyone at this point and no one complains unless that leader's trying to make them do shit like kill, steal, rape, blow up, or set somepony's house on fire that doesn't deserve it. I mean, I asked one of the elite squads eight, maybe ten hours ago to go rescue a Saddle Arabian diplmoat that was captured in Ewerup. They didn't even bother asking why I thought it was a good idea, just suited up and left with a couple marefriends."
"Emerald, you are far off topic though you did good in explaining circumstances known to you. The point is this: Razorback is a completely decentralized mercenary organization that has no overall leadership outside of cooperation or simply shouting orders to do this or that. Few Lunars dislike this same state of affairs. We prefer to hoofpick our squads from the most capable individuals and cadres available which makes our tasks much easier knowing that we can rely on teammares to watch our flanks.">Turning his head to up grin at you, 'Spiral' registers the deep purple stallion's next words as simultaneously honest, yet devious.
"I suspect that you have a certain friend
from the Vortex Plane-">Spoken with an unusually jealous tone while squinting humorously.
"And I am positive she would love to aid you on such a difficult mission. Of course I will accompany you, as would Miss Emerald here. That was not an offer, by the way."