He seems to be satisfied with these answers, and does not otherwise bother her on the way back. Unless she wants to talk. Presumably about vampires.>>169689>>169700
When they meet back up with the group, talking starts again. August takes the radio set off of his back and gives it to one of the soldiers, but keeps the bag, his weapons, and the light. The one that Posey can discern is the leader starts asking questions. Where did the bag come from? August answers that he got it out of the truck, and encountered remnants that he believes came from Plivy two decades ago and added those to the bag. No, he didn't thoroughly examine the contents. What was it? It was a cart of items that Plivy was transporting. Anyways...
One of them asks about a plane and is concerned it may be military. August replies that he did hear a plane, but it can't be military, as obviously visibility is too low to do anything at night. The plane must have been either a mail plane, or a crop duster.
They state that they are doing this at night in part to avoid the military, and also to get out of there before they are noticed.
Though the leader is not skeptical of Posey's presence, other ponies are, and a debate breaks out amongst them. Two are definitely skeptical while a third is on the edge, but three of them and August are not, including their evident leader.
There's a question as to whether Posey could be an infiltrator or informant for the Fascists. No, August says, he knows that she cannot be. Well how would he know? He says that she's been vetted and he knows what is going on. But then, how do they know that she's not a changeling? After all, there are warnings everywhere about the random mares you meet being Changelings? Well, he insists that he knows
she's not a Changeling. How? By having sex with her? Well, yes. And she was great at it. So now you like her? No, her botany is useful. And how can we trust that you know a Changeling when you see one after the whole Hydra fiasco?
This starts a separate argument about "Hydra." Posey hears enough to details are spoken for Posey to piece together the story:
Back during the war, the fact that New Mareland was building up a fleet of mostly captured vessels was known; what wasn't known was the destination. Then a set of documents were stumbled by Equestrian agents upon that revealed a plan by New Mareland to invade the east coast of Equestria en masse: "Operation Hydra." Or so it was until multiple sources came forward stating that the discovered documents were actually planted Changeling misinformation. The Changelings were planning an offensive in the west along the front line, and a naval invasion around Las Pegasus to try to flank the Equestrians. If many of the Equestrian troops, ships, and planes were moved to the east coast, that would help things greatly. Meanwhile, the New Mareland State was intending an invasion of Aquelia, or maybe Nova Griffonia, and could benefit from the misdirection as well, with New Mareland ships seeming to head to Equestria until they turned north. So it seemed that the Changeling trick had been discovered... until the New Mareland ships were already near the Equestrian shore. The original plan, Operation Hydra, was real and followed. It was the intelligence suggesting that this was misinformation, that was itself misinformation. August's role in this is that he was one of the agents that received some of the plans from an alleged reliable source. His failure in part lead to the downfall of Equestria. And on top of that, he could not find the spy that gave him the misinformation after the fact.
August has an answer. He claims he can identify infiltrators when he meets them in person, but his talents require field work. He was tasked by SMILE to handle documents. That misinformation came to him from a source allegedly in New Mareland (later found out to actually have been in Equestria) that he never met with or saw. He was, quite simply, placed in a task that does not suit him, and that's an equine resources failure on SMILE's part. Before then, and also since then, he says he has found multiple infiltrators.
He also claims that Hydra was a larger Equestrian failure. He was not the only one to be fooled and hoof over false information. He says that the Hydra misinformation was believed because the lie was more sensible than the fantastical truth. It was easier to believe that the chance documents encountered were a Changeling lie, then that the Changelings were willing to invite and help allies, that the old colonials would be so bold as to attack Equestria, the strongest nation ever to exist, and that anyone
would try to pack so many soldiers on captured freighters and ship them across the ocean in a contested landing. The lie just made more sense than the truth.
It circles back to talking about Posey, and August makes his arguments. If she were trying to tip off their location to the military, she would have moved away to make a phone call, or speak to someone else. Instead, she's barely left my/August's side. Well did you have constant
surveillance on her? Well, no, but she seems to have not left. August seems unsure of that, but the questions continue. Well maybe she's in it for the long haul. After all, the one major spy that we did
find had been at it more than a decade. Well, if that is so, we can take her on. Or if she runs off, we can runaway more quickly. This argument is decisive, evidently. The fact that the two most senior members of the group are not skeptical of Posey means it's never a serious question, and perhaps is more just a waste of time as the group moves along.