by The Multiversal Federal Empire of MineLegotia and Equestria. . 27 reads.

En Passant

En Passant
Or Pone starts shipping characters.

FOB Chechnya, Somewhere in Jocospor
13:06 JCT - 12/5/2389 ALB

"We hitting Crestellion?" The question said, Lt. General Mandra looked up from her papers to look up at Forward, who was nursing a flask of what was probably regulation violating alcohol. The sounds of gunfire - particularly big gunfire, otherwise known as artillery fire - could be heard in the background as the two were hunkered down in their foxhole of a FOB. Having a FOB in a designated bunch of vehicles usually was a bad idea in the MineLegoEquestrians’ experience, so digging a foxhole and calling it a FOB and surround it with a dozen of the same tended to be their go-to way to building FOBs.

"Negative, we're shelling them for now," She responded, yawning and leaning back a bit. She was still dressed like any soldier would apart from the headgear which was a general's hat. MineLegoEquestrian Paranoia meant she was regulated to keep wearing the heavy armour in the possibility the worst-case scenario happened, which was to say was low, but not low enough to warrant complete disregard for her safety.

"Our advance has stalled as the air force is slowly pushing the Traditionalists out," Mandra stated, flicking a datapad at Forward. "So we're digging in several kilometres from Crestellion and firing several batteries at them. No doubt there'll be a decent amount of civilian casualties. Let's hope the ethics committee doesn't get us for it, it is a warzone after all."

"So what're our plans then for now? Sweep southwards up against the mountains or dig in here?" Forward asked, picking up the aforementioned datapad and swiping through some of the files. Between them was a smaller version of the map several days ago. Pencil marks and silly strings were scattered in various positions across the board, making it look like a conspiracy theorist’s pinboard than a military plan.

"We'll dig in here, for now, I heard their entire people got condemned from the Confederation," Mandra took a swig from her flask which she stored in her jacket. "Not their fault that the Confederation's secretary of defence was incompetent."

"Incompetence from the government to the military, good lord,” Forward shook his head as he handed the datapad back to Mandra. Taking another swig he sat down opposite her, in comparison to Mandra, he had a helmet on. His uncle had it and wanted to have something handed down to him, so Forward had reluctantly accepted a thirty old helmet. It looked out of place with its faded camouflage, but it was certainly more comfortable than the modern sets, so he kept it when he could. “This is what you get from being a dictatorship without actually hearing the people, no?”

“Arguably so, but can you blame them? They’ve never had the concept of ‘harmony’ as we MineLegoEquestrians had,” Mantra countered, the taste of alcohol filling her mouth once more as she looked over the map. “You can’t blame them for not having something they’ve never known existed.”

“So you’re saying they’re backwards tribes like the Saddle Arabians?” Forward raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t mean it like that,” Mandra looked up and gave a tired look, one that danced on the edge of disgruntled. “Nations with a closed perspective won’t know and won’t want to see newer perspectives until said perspectives hit them in the face. Until then it's a matter of if they choose to adapt or die. The Confederation is facing that situation.”

"So just like Saddle Arabia,”

Forward, I hold no ill will to your people’s for f*cks sake,” Now the look was a glare, the native-born Equestrian glared at the Saddle Arabian. “You know my parents didn’t mean to shell your goddamn village.”

“They killed my parents, and called us savages, Mandra,” Forward retorted, “and goddammit it, they burned it to the ground. My home was gone, Mandra, by your people. I joined this military because I wanted to show we Saddle Arabians aren’t backwards tribes from the 6th Century like some of your people claim.”

“Your people still had widow burning,” Mandra fired back, slamming a hoof on the makeshift table. “No one had any social mobility and had to follow their elders. No one was free. Do you call that harmony? The natural state of affairs? That’s backwardness, and you know it.”

“I won’t have you insult my people like that,” Forward growled. “You have your worldview, I have mine. Let’s keep it separate and not try to force each other to follow one or another.”

“Fine,” Mandra grumbled, leaning back on to her chair whilst crossing her hooves. The two stayed in the silence looking away from each other as if they were an old couple having another fight. There was still the sound of artillery fire in the background, but the mood was obviously worse than before, but this uncomfortable silence was soon accompanied by the sound of someone walking closer to their FOB. A healthy sense of paranoia soon meant both of them were reaching for their sidearms before seeing a pink pony poke her head into the FOB.

“Jeez, is this a romance sitcom or real life?” Brigadier Flurry Heart commented, looking around the FOB from the small entrance, before shuffling a bit and entering the FOB. Mandra and Forward both let out a sigh of relief at seeing her. It was a common thing for semi-royalty to be in the military, and Flurry Heart II, being the descendant of the descendant of Princess Cadance followed the tradition set up by the MineLegoEquestrians of the Imperial Family.

“What? No, we’re not romantically attracted to each other goddammit,” Mandra said, crossing her hooves even harder, but you can just see the very very faint shade of red on her cheeks as if she was seriously considering the thought of being romantically involved with Forward. And considering the author’s reputation for fluff, she is because the author said so. Forward noted it was cute and had to focus on the harsh reality of war to get his mind off the things.

“Alright, alright, sure you two lovebirds,” Flurry chuckled, walking over to their map and looking over it. “So what’s our plan again?”

“Digging in and bombing Crestellion until we get proper air cover,” Forward explained, taking another swig of alcohol. “Hopefully we’d be able to hold off any attack from the traditionalists until we push into Crestellion. And then it’d be the horrors of CQBs, possibly every house a fort or so. No idea how well prepared they are, but it is potentially that bad.”

“High casualty rates are then expected, no?” Flurry asked, looking at Forward.

“Certainly, and with civilians to contend with too. It’d be better with bypassing the city entirely and sieging it than fighting in it,” Forward noted, “Hopefully they surrender soon.”

“Hopefully, hopefully so,” Mandra commented, “Got any suggestions? Because we’re gonna be waiting here for the next few days.”

“Well maybe you two should make up because I heard that argument three dozen meters down,” Flurry said, looking at both of them with a step back. Forward sighed and turned at Mandra.

“Fine, sorry, you’re not your parents I guess,” He said with a defeated sigh, shooting a glare at the pegasus standing off to the left of him. "And also seeing insults when there aren't any."

“Yes, sorry for insulting your culture and all that,” Mandra said. Rubbing his hooves together. Flurry chuckled and clapped her hooves together.

“Now hug!” She exclaimed with a laugh of chocolate and sandwiches, somehow. Crystallians were weird like that, and Forward awkwardly looked at Mandra who sighed. The two awkwardly looked at each other, before sighing and hugging each other, patting each other. Mandra felt a sudden jump in heartbeats as Forward held her close, and he too felt a feeling of warmth meanwhile. Both of them held each other before pulling back.

Mandra coughed, “Umm… yes, I’m going to go now…”

“Y-yeah, I’m leaving too,” Forward nodded.

The two awkwardly climbed out the small foxhole, bumping into each other before leaving the hole properly. Flurry chuckling to herself as she watched both of them walk out. She did have learned a lot regarding the skills of matchmaking from her grandmother, and she chuckled. She was going to have fun with this.