Around 4070 years before the Return of Luna, during the Age of Wonders, ace Amareican naval aviation pilot Dusk Skyshine leads his flight of jet fighter-bombers on a vital mission during the Nork War. Can he survive? Can he save his wounded best friend Dash Firehooves when Dashie's plane is hit by enemy flak? Thrilling air warfare, with Ponies!
Contains examples of:
- Anti-Air: The threat posed by the Norks to the US Navy fliers: from machineguns to light and heavy flak. This is a fantasy counterpart of the Korean War, so the enemy has no surface-to-air missiles.
- Cool Planes: The P-86's being flown by our heroes are clear Expies of the American F-86, used from the Korean War through the whole Cold War (mostly by US allies later, though). They are even called "Sabres," just like the F-86.
- Danger Deadpan: First played straight and then Subverted by Dusk as he begins to realize exactly how much trouble Dash is in. Culminating inTo Tambelon with your ship! Dusk shouted. Dashie, if you try to land now, youre going to crash anyway, and the US Naval Air Force will lose a P-86 Sabre and a Dash Firehooves. And the second one is less replaceable!"
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Rather obvious ones.
- Foregone Conclusion: If you've read Nightmares Are Tragic, you know that both Dusk and Dash survive but are wounded in action.
- Foreshadowing: As he makes his attack run, Dusk Skyshine has the following brief fantasy:He was pony no longer, but some impossible chimeric creature bringing death from above. The Sabre was his wings; its weapons his hell-spitting horn, and the Norks nothing but vermin to be trampled under his hooves.In other words, he's imagining himself to be an alicorn or ki-rin. Fast-forward 4070 years, and he's been reborn — as Princess Twilight Sparkle.
- A Friend in Need: When Dashie's plane is damaged and Dashie himself badly wounded, Dusk must guide him in to a landing.
- Prequel: To Nightmares Are Tragic, showing Dusk Skyshine and Dash Firehooves, two characters mentioned in connection with Moondreamer Finemare (an earlier life of Princess Luna's).
- Pun-Based Title: A "ki-rin" is an East Asian winged unicorn. Which is to say, an alicorn.
- Shout-Out: To James Michener's Korean War novel (later a movie) The Bridges At To-ko-ri. The last part of the story (where Dash is riding a damaged fighter down) is pretty much lifted from the book, though with a different outcome.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Dusk Skyshine, Dash Firehooves. But then this is normal for Ponies.
- War Fic: Of the "Thrilling Air Combat" variety.
- War Is Hell: Dusk Skyshine (who, remember, is a member of a less aggressive species than humanity) is utterly horrified by some of the things he sees, and has to do in battle, though he doesn't let it stop him from doing them. Here's an example of each:The stricken plane streaked on in its straight course. Pull up! Dusk mentally urged, but the Sabre did not deviate until its right wing, then its left suddenly separated, and the burning ballistic projectile that Dusk hoped now had no live pony aboard ended its trajectory to fireball against a small stand of trees on the hill. A moment later bigger explosions blew the stand to matchwood as the Sabres ordnance went off. If there had been life in that cockpit before, it was definitely no more....His hoof pressed the trigger. The Sabre staggered in midair as 120 rounds per second streaked forward, spraying the gun pit. The twin anti-aircraft guns crumpled in on themselves at the sheer weight of metal, the ponies crewing them flung back by the momentum of the steel-jacketed bullets tearing them to bloody rags no I am not seeing that and then the incendiaries found the stacked shells and the pit disappeared in a volcano of fire.