The meal was nearly finished except for the drinks, which would be the easy part. All she had to do was make up some tea from instant powder and mix in some apple juice to give it an almost cider-like tang. There were other options when it came to refreshment, but it seemed a faux pas to a horse not to have apples at every meal. Lack of molasses could be forgiven, but not apples: equine crack cocaine. While she stirred the powder into chilled water and measured a proper mix of green apple extract into the hallowed beverage, the conversation amongst her friends had already started without her.
At first the discussion seemed very much benign and almost commonplace. Gassan was making polite overtures to excuse himself from their secret club so he could go back to other pegasi cells that needed his expertise and subterfuge more than the four fake high school students that had taken up most of his time for the sake of mere friendship. He was itchy to go to Ireland, where that group of soft-spoken shamrocks were having their fair tail shake of difficulty trying to blend into the common populace. Where David, Pammy, Jake, and "Danny" had succeeded, the Irish pegasi's efforts had been more marginal. This was most likely due to that country's current climate of suspicion for domestic terrorism from the Irish Republican Army.
David was in agreement with him in spirit, but still didn't want to see Gassan go. After all, pegasi were very sociable friendly creatures and having such a small group of nice faces to interact with must surely shunt their interactions in some way or other. Jake thought it would be wiser to blend into the furry community at large and create an effective counter-culture that would eventually lend itself to humans being more amendable and willing to be transformed. This concept wasn't so strange, when they took note of most furs' fetish for transformation, so perhaps they might eventually seek out the pegasi colonizers instead of waiting unsuspectingly for operation Sandman.
Sandman. A chill worked up Night Rider's spine when she heard that word for the first time in this context. It was a strange usage of the word, and almost seemed interchangeable with a preplanned assassination attempt. No, it was their code word for the forceful transformation of the unwilling, it seemed. The pegasi would carefully case someone out and hang around with them as a kind of probation period while deciding their amenability and overall usefulness to the cause before proceeding. Night Rider was nearly done stirring ice and apple flavor into the pitcher of tea, but decided to linger in the kitchen to throw off their attention of her, at least, that was the impression she was going for.
Having never heard of this euphemism before, Night didn't know exactly why, but she had an instinct deep down that her friends might not want her to hear them discussing that word so wantonly and with such casualness as they were. Despite being a pegasi like them, it seemed like forbidden knowledge that she wasn't privy to. Maybe if she were actually in the dining room they might actually remember that she was there to hear, but since she was in the kitchen separated by a wall, it seemed to mask her presence from them. She kept stirring the pitcher of tea to keep up an illusion of being busy while eavesdropping on their chat. Normally this was something completely out of Night's character, but there was no doubt that this seemed very important to her for some uncanny reason.
Pammy was against it completely, as although things were stable in this region and Night had healed from her transformation trauma well, their colonizer cell was still relatively small due to the inability to find easy targets to assimilate in a timely manner. Unlike in third world nations where people went missing all the time without anyone around to care, America and other countries in the more developed sphere would immediately become suspicious and make a Sandman almost impossible as the first transformation after the sleeper drug injection was always so complex and a long time in recovery. By the time the target of their assimilation was strong enough to become human again to assuage the authorities, the police would most likely already find their place of refuge and get them in great trouble.
At the mention of "sleeper", she remembered the definition of that word, though not in this context. Dr. DiCaoz had taught them about sleeper viruses in Biology class several months ago, mainly in the concept of retroviruses that had the ability to change someone's DNA or RNA whenever anything randomly set them off. He defined them as a switch waiting for the right factors to flick it on. This sleeper drug that was being briefly discussed seemed to have similar properties, and by that logic, the pegasi could inject the whole of the world without their knowledge and would just need to await a perfect opportunity to turn it on. She was remembering now, though Night didn't want to. Danny did.
The green glow of the apple extract was hauntingly familiar as the sunrise shone through the kitchen window onto the bottle via slits in the closed blinds. Bright neon green and almost seemingly alive the way her hoof jostled it around in her paw. Almost immediately, he managed to clamp down on his panic as he remembered where he was and what had been done to him. For the moment, his alter ego of Night Rider was banished to the subconscious and his nightmares until he could think through the mess that he'd gotten into. If he walked into the dining area, would they notice that he wasn't like them anymore, or could he bluster his way through the quagmire of their social graces? In either case, they were expecting their drinks soon and to hesitate any longer would garner their unwanted attention almost immediately!
Written by FluffyPony on 11 July 2015