The UNSC Archives:
Church looked from Washington, to Caboose, to Sarge – dumbfounded.
“You’re working for Carolina.”
“Well…” Washington leaned against the doorframe. “Kind-of. It’s complicated.”
“There’s nothing complicated about it.” Church snapped. “Don’t you remember what happened with her - and her AI’s?”
“Of course I do.” He replied. “But she seems okay… so far.”
“I’m sure she does.” Church shook his head. “You know you can’t trust her.”
Washington was quiet for a few seconds, putting the room into an uneasy silence.
“Well?” Church pressed.
Washington shrugged. “Church, this is our one shot to get to the Director. Without you-” He glanced at Caboose. “-They couldn’t convict him of anything. He’s done so much, to me… and to Carolina. With all of us here, we can take him down.”
Church shook his head. “It’ll never work. He’ll just slip away again. There won’t be enough evidence. Carolina wants to kill him.”
Washington lifted his gun, leaving the unspoken statement hanging in the air.
“Oh.” Church replied, before turning to Sarge and Caboose.
“And what did they tell you to get you into this?”
“Hey, I want to find this guy too.” Sarge barked. “Let’s see if this Director-guy can tell the difference between a real shotgun and one from a simu-whatsit when it’s jammed against his forehead.”
“And you, Caboose?”
“We’re throwing him a surprise party!” Caboose exclaimed cheerfully.
Church was about to reply, when Carolina returned from the fighting.
“I hope you guys are done swapping stories.” She reloaded her rifle. “Because we need to move. They’re coming in through the exit point. Caboose, toss me the memory unit.”
“Okay!” Caboose shouted. “I’m helping!”
He bent down and picked up the memory unit, throwing it underarm in Carolina's general direction…
Right through Church.
“Wait, Caboose, no!” Shouted Washington, diving forward.
The unit came into contact with Church’s hologram, and with a flash, he was sucked inside it.
“Oh no.” Caboose sighed dejectedly.
“Caboose!” Carolina shouted as the memory unit sailed across the room and collided with the wall.
Church was falling, spiralling down and down through an endless void, broken only by vertical strings of ones and zeroes flying past him.
“Oh no…” Sighed Caboos's voice, leaking in from the outside world.
He didn’t shout, or scream. This was all just coding, and he was in no real danger.
‘I don’t remember falling the last time I came in here.’ Church mused, his arms and legs tingling. ‘And I don’t remember this weird feeling.’
“Caboose!” Carolina’s voice shouted.
The tingling intensified, and church started to feel very uneasy.
‘Something must be wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t-“
His thoughts were interrupted by an ear-splitting crack, and the entire world shook violently.
Church hit something. It wasn’t very substantial – almost like glass – and it shattered under the force of his fall.
Now he was worried.
Church let out a shout as he emerged from the black void into a clear blue sky.
This wasn’t good.
“Oh FUCK!” Shouted church as he dropped - spiralling down to the ground, which was so far below that he couldn’t even see it. He was above the clouds.
Church dropped, still screaming, his mind a blur.
‘What’s happening? Why is this happening?’
“Holy Fuck! I’m going to Die!” Church shouted, even as his subconscious reminded him at he wasn’t even in a real body.
Church dropped through the clouds, giving him a clear view of the ground only a few seconds away.
“Fuuu-“ Church started to yell, before he was cut off by a sudden yank on his leg.
“Yeah! Gotcha!” Came a shout, as Church was yanked sideways, his fall stopped completely by the sudden catch.
What had caught him? Why had they talked? What could they possibly be using that could let them talk directly to him?
Church was hanging upside down, staring directly at the ground – which seemed to be comprised of rolling hills and a large town. That, however, could wait until he had figured out what had happened.
“What the hell-“ He twisted around in midair, trying to look at what had caught him.
“Hey!” Shouted his saviour as they started swooping down, drawing closer to the ground. “Don’t do that!”
“What?” Church continued struggling, twisting around awkwardly to try and get a look at-
-A horse. A blue horse, with a spiky rainbow coloured mane, and wings.
“What the fuck?” Church stared at the horse, wondering where its rider was – and why there was a horse, - and why the horse had wings. “Where… What the Fuck?!”
The horse turned its head to look at him. “What?” it exclaimed. “I just saved your life!”
“Holy shit!” Church shouted, squirming around. “A talking horse! What the fuck is going on here?!”
“Stop squirming! Hey!” The blue horse warned as Church squirmed frantically. “Don’t do that! We’re still too high! Don’t-“
Church came free, and he dropped.
He flailed his arms as he plummeted a good thirty meters to the ground, his panic interrupted by one thought.
‘What happened to my hands?’
Church hit the ground.
Church hazily swam back from the depths of unconsciousness – or whatever applied to AI’s. His head was thumping, and his entire body hurt.
“Is he going to be okay?” asked a female voice
“How should I know? I’m not a doctor.” Replied the voice of the strange blue horse.
He let out a little moan, barely loud enough to be heard by even himself.
“So he just fell from the sky?”
“Yeah. I was starting out on cloud patrol, and… this happened.”
“Hmm…” mused the newer voice
There was silence for a few seconds.
“A pony falling from the sky… I think Princess Celestia will want to hear about this.”
Church let out another moan, trying to put as much volume as he could into it. The result was barely any louder.
“Did you hear that?”
“Oh.” There was a brief silence. “How long do you think Applejack’s gonna take? This guy doesn’t look too good.”
Church’s throat hurt like hell, and he wasn’t really focussed on the conversation – his head was throbbing too hard - but he could recognise the familiar patterns of time wasting.
It was painful, a feeling akin to having his throat blended, but Church managed to let out an even louder groan, sounding almost like a wail.
“Ooooooh…” He rasped, dragging out his words. “Fuuuuuck…”
And that was all he could produce.
“Oh!” Exclaimed the newer voice, suddenly coming closer. “Hello? Can you hear me?”
Church let out another moan.
The voice was talking again, but Church couldn’t make out the words. His thinking was getting more sluggish.
With a little groan, he passed out again.
“…a little magic… …right up…”
Church moaned, cracking his eyes open.
“Hey, he’s waking up!” Said one voice.
The room fell silent as Church cringed away from the light flooding his eyes.
“Oww…” He groaned. “Turn the fucking lamp off.”
“Oh, right.” Said one of the voices, followed promptly by a click.
Church blinked twice as the light disappeared, revealing seven horses standing around his bed. One of them looked familiar.
“What…” He looked around, blinking again. “I… What? Why are there horses…” He looked around, realising that he was in a bed, with medical curtains on either side. “…in a fucking hospital?”
One of the horses – one dyed very close to orange – looked at a purple one.
“And why are they all so… fucking colourful?” Church continued.
“Uhh…” Started the orange horse. “Why’s he talkin’ like that?”
“I don’t know.” Said the purple one.
Church stared in shock at the two horses.
‘Holy shit, those things are talking.’
He opened his mouth to say the same thing, but all that rolled out was a flat: “Uhh…”
“But isn’t it obvious?” Another horse – a white one – spoke up. “He’s had a nasty fall. The poor dear’s brain is scrambled!”
‘Holy-fuck-holy-fuck-holy-fuck-holy-fuck.’ Church’s mind raced, staring at the three horses.
“What?” He spat the word out like it was poison. “What is going on here?”
“He’s funny!” Yet another of the horses chirped, this one wearing a pink coat.
Church closed his eyes. “What the fuck is going on here? You can’t actually be talking.”
“Why wouldn’t we be?” The purple one asked, a confused edge to her voice.
Church’s eyes opened again, and he pointed at the horse.
“Because horses don’t fucking tal-“ He started venomously, before trailing off.
He was pointing at the horse, but what he was pointing with was shocking.
He didn’t have any fingers – Hell, he didn’t even have a hand.
Church stared at the stump, realizing that it was in fact a hoof. A horse hoof.
The orange horse stepped a little closer to the bed. “Uhh… What were ya saying about ponies not talkin’?” She raised an eyebrow, her voice also tinged with confusion.
Church wasn’t listening. He was too busy staring at his hoof, tracing it back to his forearm, then his shoulder. None of it looked human, with all of it shaped like a horse’s front leg, covered in cobalt hair.
“I’m…” He whipped his head around, searching for a mirror. “I’m a…”
Church found a hand mirror, wedging it between his two hoofs and lifting it awkwardly to look at his face.
He was silent for five whole seconds, absorbing the sight.
A green-blue mane.
“I’m a fucking HORSE?!”
The UNSC Archives:
The Memory Unit lay on the floor, its small lights flickering and waning.
Simmons was crouched on the floor next to it, watching a readout scroll by on a field computer.
He looked up at the others.
“This thing is really beat up.” He reported grimly. “ It’s suffering from some major power fluctuations.”
“Damn it Caboose!” Sarge turned to the man in question. “Do ya’ know how much we went through to get him outta there?”
“Yes. I was there.” Caboose replied with nothing short of complete sincerity.
“No, Caboose. Do ya-“
“Give it a rest, Sarge.” Washington crouched down next to the unit. “He’s not going to understand.”
“This is ridiculous.” Carolina snapped. “We don’t have time for this. How long will it take to get him out again?”
“How should I kno-” Simmons cut himself short as Carolina’s glare was turned towards him. “I, uh… I mean… We should, uh, well - A couple of hours. I hope.”
The room was silent for a moment, everyone waiting for Carolina’s response.
She stared at Simmons for a few seconds, the scenario not helped by the fact that her helmet visor itself was constantly shaped like it was glaring.
“Then we’ll need to find somewhere safer to work on it.”
As if to emphasize her point, Grif shouted “Grenade!” from outside the door, followed shortly afterwards by an explosion.
Carolina looked around at the room at the collected soldiers, each one of them – save Caboose – standing in place nervously.
“He’s our last chance at finding the Director. Get him out of there, or…”
The rest went without saying.
Carolina turned and walked out to the barricade, leaving the rest of them with the Memory Unit.
The mirror slipped out from between Church’s hooves, falling to the ground and shattering.
Church himself ignored it, instead staring at his hooves, and then feeling his face.
“A horse. I’m a horse.” He tapped the side of his horse. “How am I a horse?”
“Well o’ course yer a pony.” The orange horse raised an eyebrow, which Church was sure horses didn’t have. “What else would you be?”
Her comment went unacknowledged, as Church continued talking to himself.
“And I’m talking. Horses don’t talk. People talk! Horses don’t fucking talk.”
Church continued staring at his hooves, while the purple horse turned to one of the others, this one wearing a white doctor’s coat over his actual light-amber one.
“Doctor Stables, is he okay?”
“Hmm…” The horse squinted at Church. “It looks like he might be suffering from Retrograde Amnesia. We’ll need to run a few checks. If he has a concussion, then it’s more than possible.”
Doctor Stables cautiously stepped up to the bed. “Excuse me, sir? Are you feeling alright?”
Church stopped looking at his hooves, and instead turned his attention to the unicorn standing next to him.
“What do you want? What the hell is going on here?” Church tried to clear his head, fighting against waves of pain.
“Please tell me this is a fucking prank.”
“This is no prank. You’ve had a nasty fall, and you’re in the hospital.” Stables spoke clearly and softly, giving off an air of comfort. “Do you remember your name?”
“A nasty fall?” Church briefly recalled hurtling towards the ground, and a blue horse-
“You!” He suddenly cried out, turning his attention to the blue horse with wings. “You were there! You caught me!”
“Yeah, and you kept squirm-“
“Yes.” Stables spoke again, drawing Church’s attention back to him. “This is Rainbow Dash. If it weren’t for her, you’d be dead now. Can you tell us why you were falling?”
“Why I was…” Church thought back to Caboose, and entering the memory unit. “I… I got sucked into the Memory Unit. Caboose…”
Stables glanced at Rainbow Dash, who shrugged.
“Okay, can you tell us your name?”
“My name?” Church asked uncomprehendingly, dragged out of his reverie.
“Yes. Do you remember it?”
“Stop talking like that.” Church snapped. “My name is Church.”
“Good.” Stables continued, still speaking like before. “So why did you say you were falling?”
Church looked at the seven horses, all of them wearing confused expressions.
“I…” He started, before changing his mind.
“I don’t remember.”
“You said something about a memory…” Stables gestured with his hoof, motioning for Church to continue.”
“I… uh… I did?” Church’s mind was racing. He was in the Memory unit, right? “I didn’t know what I was talking about.”
“Okay…” Stables frowned uncertainly, before backing away. “We’ll leave you alone for a little while. Let you gather your thoughts.”
Church looked away from the seven horses as they all filed out, trying to bury his face in the bed sheets.
But no matter how much he tried not to, Church kept opening his eyes, and looking at his hooves.
Stables closed the door behind them as they collected outside in the hall.
“So? Rainbow Dash took off and started hovering in the air. “What’s wrong with him?”
Doctor Stables looked back at the door to Church’s room. “As far as I an tell, nothing. We fixed up all his injuries with magic, and he isn’t showing many signs of Amnesia. Just a small amount of memory loss, and that’s to be expected from a fall from that height.”
“Wait, so he’s fine?” Twilight was perplexed.
“As far as I can tell.” Stables also looked confused. “He’s perfectly healthy.”
“He doesn’t think ponies can talk!” Rarity exclaimed. “That seems like a very serious problem to me.”
“We don’t have any way to treat that. By our standards, he’s fine…” Stables trailed off.
“What?” Applejack squinted at Doctor Stables.
“Well… I hate to tell you, but we aren’t allowed to keep healthy ponies at the hospital. If we can’t find a problem with him, he’ll have to leave.”
“But he clearly isn’t healthy!” Twilight exclaimed. “You can’t just kick him out!”
“I know that, Miss Sparkle.” Stables said in a half irritated, half defensive tone. “But the law is the la-“
A small device on his shirt beeped, and the voice of one of the many nurses came through.
“Doctor Stables, you’re needed in the ER.”
“Oh, I…” Stables looked at the six distressed ponies. “I’m sorry. This is important.” He turned and cantered down the hall, heading towards the Emergency Room.
“What are we gonna do yall?” Applejack said concernedly. “He doesn’t even remember that he’s a pony!”
“We can’t just let them shove him out on the streets. It wouldn’t be safe.” Twilight replied, looking to the others for support. “One of us will need to look after him.”
“Wait, what?” Rainbow set back down on the floor. “We don’t know him. He could be dangerous.”
“Come on, Rainbow Dash.” Rarity chided. “He doesn’t even know that he’s a pony. What harm could he possibly do?”
“A lot!” Rainbow exclaimed. “He fell from the sky, and he’s a unicorn!”
“I’m sure there’s a good explanation.” Twilight replied, placing one hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder to calm her. “You need to give him a chance.”
“I... I agree with the others.” Fluttershy said quietly. “He needs help…”
Rainbow looked at the other ponies, exasperated.
“Well, I guess it’s decided.” She huffed grumpily. The only one who hasn’t- wait, where is Pinkie?”
As if on cue, Pinkie came bouncing around the corner, holding a large stack of sweets on her back.
“Hey guys! She cried happily. “I found the snack machine!”
Church looked around his hospital room. It was small, with only his bed, a night stand, a wardrobe, and a wrap-around curtain for the bed.
“Okay… Okay…” Church had been saying that for the past thirty seconds. “This is the Memory Unit. It isn’t real. It isn’t fucking real…”
And at the same time, he realized that he couldn’t get out. He would have to wait until they could open up the unit again. How long that would take was a different matter.
“Why… Why is this a horse world?” He muttered. “Of all the places that I have to fucking play along with, it had to be a horse world.”
“A lot!” One of the horses outside exclaimed, giving Church a small fright, and immediately wasting all the effort that had gone into calming himself down.
"No, no-no-no." He started up again. "Horses aren't meant to talk. They don't have fucking eyebrows. This is fucking ridiculous!"
Church stared out the window. The sun was setting, casting long shadows over the rolling hills – which was his all he could see from his bed.
What time was it?
His head snapped around as the door opened to the hallway open, and six of the seven horses re-entered the room, one by one.
Despite everything he had just said to himself, Church immediately became agitated again. Why had the Memory Unit put him in a horse world?
“Where…” Church ground his teeth, trying to remain calm. “Where’s the doctor?”
“Doctor Stables had to go to the Emergency Room.” The purple horse replied uneasily. “He said that you don’t have anything wrong with you.”
“Uh…” Church hesitated. “What does that mean?”
“It means that ya gettin’ let out soon.” The Orange horse replied, also with an edge of unease. “Tomorrow, ah think.”
Church bit on his lip.
“Okay, so, just tell me. How are you talking?”
The white unicorn and the blue Pegasus shared a glance, both of them clearly worried.
“It’s just that…” The unicorn started out carefully. “Why wouldn’t we be? Everypony can speak.”
“Not where I come from.” Church retorted.
“Then why are you talking?” Challenged the Pegasus.
Before Church could respond, the pink horse popped up beside Church, her back laden with snacks and other food.
“Ooh! You’re funny!” She chortled through a mouthful of food. “Why wouldn’t we be talking? Oh! Do you wanna snack?” She turned side on, presenting church with a clear view of the food pile.
“Uhh… Sure.” Church picked out a packet labelled ‘Rice Wheels!’ in enthusiastic red letters. “Thanks… I guess.”
Then he noticed something on the pink horse – and image of three little balloons, down on her flank.
“What’s that thing?” He pointed at it.
“What thing?” The Pink one turned to stare at her side.
“That.” Church said, leaning forward and pointing specifically at the three balloons.
“Oh! That’s just my Cutie Mark!”
The room fell silent for a few seconds, each of the six horses staring at Church.
“You don’t know what a Cutie Mark is?” The dumbfounded purple unicorn asked.
“Uhh… No?” Church was equally confused. “We don’t have them where I come from.”
“Where do you come from?” Asked the pink horse. Still smiling broadly.
“It…” Church looked around the room. “It’s far away. I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Okey Dokey Loki!” Chirped the pink horse, dropping back down out of sight.
Church leaned over the edge of the bed, only to see that she had disappeared.
Church looked back up, to see that the pink horse was now at the back of the group of horses.
“I… How the fuck did you get over-
“Don’t ask.” The white unicorn cut him off.
Church stared at the collection of multicoloured horses, his brow creased in frustration and confusion.
“Whatever.” He looked down at his packet of Rice Wheels, lifting it up awkwardly between his hooves. “How do you open this without thumbs?”
“What are thumbs?” Asked the blue Pegasus.
Before Church could answer, the purple unicorn politely coughed.
“Why don't you just use your magic?”
Church’s lower eyelids came up in sheer confusion.
“Use my what?”
The horses once again stared at him in astonishment, although it was broken quickly by the orange one.
“Let me guess. You don’t have that where you come from.”
“Of course not!” Church exclaimed.
“But you’re a unicorn!” The orange horse interrupted.
“What the fuck does being a unicorn have to do with…” Church blinked twice. “Never mind.”
He tossed the packet aside, and started examining the horses closely.
“So... Why exactly are you here?”
“Oh my!” The white unicorn’s face morphed into an expression of shock. “We haven’t introduced ourselves! I’m Rarity.”
“Yes.” her head nodded in confirmation, before turning to the orange horse. “This is Applejack-“
“I remember someone saying your name.” Church blinked again, with his only thought being: ‘She sounds kinda like Sarge.’
Applejack opened her mouth to introduce herself, but was cut short by Rarity continuing the introductions.
“This-” She approached the blue Pegasus. “-is Rainbow Dash.”
“Hey.” Church and Rainbow both said disinterestedly at the same time.
Rarity continued on. “This enthusiastic Mare is Pinkie Pie.”
“Hello!” Pinkie beamed at Church.
“The Pink horse is named Pinkie Pie?”
“Excuse me.” Pinkie said, still acting cheerful. “But we’re ponies, not horses. There’s a difference.”
Rarity stepped to one side, exposing the creamy-yellow Pegasus that still hadn’t talked. “And this is Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy smiled weakly, giving a small wave, before quickly moving to stand behind Rarity again.
“Wow. The shy one is named Fluttershy.” Church shook his head. “You guys must fucking hate your parents.”
“And finally, this is Twilight Sparkle.” Rarity nodded at the purple unicorn that had being doing a fair share of the talking.
Church shrugged. “Hey.”
“Hello.” Twilight grinned weakly and waved her hoof.
“Is that it?” Church spoke flatly, clearly tired of the entire situation.
“Well…” Applejack thought it over. “Ya still haven’t prop’ly introduced yer’self.”
Church tensed up, glaring at Applejack, who took a step back.
Church broke off the glare.
“My name is Church.” He said, slumping in his bed and rolling over. “That’s it.”
The six ponies looked at each other.
“I suppose we’ll… come back tomorrow?”
“Sure.” Was Church’s only reply as he burrowed down into the blankets, trying to sleep.
He waited until he heard the sound of the door closing, and then slowly rolled onto his back again.
How long had he been in the unit so far? Almost a day, apparently, which made Church wonder why he hadn’t been dragged back out again. Then again, he didn’t even know if time was moving at the same pace.
He stared up at the ceiling, and then out the window, watching the last rays of the sun fade away.
“Argh. What-the-fuck-what-the-fuck-what-the-fuck." Church closed his eyes.
"This isn’t a good memory.” He sighed, looking around. “This isn’t anything.”
“Do you still think we should look after him?” Rainbow Dash asked, a smug expression on her face.
“Yes, Rainbow Dash, I do.” Twilight replied as they started walking down the hall.
“What?” Dash stepped in front of Twilight, a suspicious look on her face. “Why? He’s a jerk!”
“Can’t you see how sad he is?” Twilight looked back at the door. “He needs help.”
“She’s right.” Applejack stepped in. “He’s hurtin’. I wanna find out why.”
“Whatever. Do what you want.” Dash shrugged. “It’s not like he can stay with me anyway.”
Applejack nodded, before turning her attention to the other four. “So who will he stay with?”
“He can’t stay with me.” Rarity shrugged. “My house is far too cluttered, and Sweetie Belle would just annoy him.”
Fluttershy slowly backed out of the circle.
“Oh! He can stay with ME!” Pinkie hopped on the spot. “We can make all sorts of cupcakes!”
“Ah think you’d just confuse him.” Applejack said softly, remembering how confused church had been when Pinkie had offered him food. “So that leaves my place, and-”
“Twilight’s” Rainbow Rarity and Pinkie all spoke at the same time.
Applejack looked at them for a second, and then shrugged. “I suppose yer right. He doesn’t look like much o’ a farm pony anyway.”
“And he is a Unicorn, dearie.” Rarity added. “I think it’s for the best.”
“This is all assuming that he wants our help.” Twilight frowned. “He seems pretty antisocial.”
“Don’t worry Twilight!” Pinkie smiled broadly. “Nopony can pass up the opportunity to live in a tree!”
“Couldn’t we just put him up in a hotel?” Asked Rainbow, drawing hard looks from the others.
“Dear Princess Celestia.” Twilight started out as she always did. “Today has been very eventful, and while I do not have a lesson on friendship to report, I do have some interesting news.”
She paused, waiting until Spike had finished writing.
“Today we were all surprised when Rainbow dash returned from weather patrol to report that a unicorn had fallen from the sky. Thankfully, we were able to get him to the hospital and have his injuries healed.”
Twilight paused again, and then continued.
“We were all shocked when he awoke. He referred to us all as horses, and claimed that we shouldn’t be able to talk. He had no understanding of magic, despite being a unicorn, and couldn’t recognise a Cutie Mark. Even more surprising, was that he seemed to be shocked at his own reflection, not able to understand why he is a pony. He also refused to tell us where he came from, only saying that his name was Church.”
“Me and my friends are very concerned, but the doctors at the hospital say that he is perfectly healthy, and because of that he cannot stay. He will be discharged tomorrow morning. Because this is so worrying, I have volunteered to let him stay at the Ponyville Library with me, but I have no clue what to do after that. I was hoping that you could provide some guidance on the matter. Sincerely, your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.”
“Is that it?” Spike asked, putting down the quill.
“That’s it.” Twilight said, looking away as Spike incinerated the scroll, sending it on its way to Princess Celestia.
“So is there anything else about him that you didn’t mention?” Spike yawned.
“No. He really hasn’t told us anything else.”
“And we’re inviting hi to stay with us?”
“Well…” Twilight looked out the window. “He’s obviously confused. I can’t just let him go out there, without anyone to help him.
“Yeah, yeah.” Spike started walking up the stairs to the ‘loft’ bedroom. “Well, I know who to blame if he steals all my gems.”
As Spike made his way to bed, Twilight couldn’t help but feel he could be right. What was she doing, inviting a stranger to stay with them? He could really be dangerous. He could steal from them, even hurt them.
But then Twilight thought back to the scene in the hospital, and how distressed the stallion had been. She couldn’t imagine somepony as disoriented and confused as that being dangerous.
With a little sigh, she turned to go to bed, hoping that she wasn’t making a huge mistake.
Princess Celestia read the letter calmly, taking note of the Stallion’s name and odd behaviour.
“Never a normal day in Ponyville.” She murmured, smiling slightly. “How did they ever survive before Twilight arrived?”
The parchment rolled itself up, and floated off to one side, depositing itself in a small shelf dedicated to Twilight’s letters, even as another clean piece of parchment approached from the opposite direction, accompanied by an inkpot and quill.
The quill rose out of the pot, and started writing on the parchment, recording a carefully worded reply.
It took a couple of minutes, but eventually the inkpot and quill were gently lowered to the floor, the golden aura surrounding them disappearing.
Celestia looked over letter, making sure it was all sensible and legible.
She frowned, hoping that the note didn’t sound like she was disinterested, but then decided that Twilight would understand that she was simply busy.
And with that, she sent the message on its way.
Twilight was awoken by a sudden green flash, accompanied by a burp from Spike.
“Spike, was that-”
“Here.” Spike said sleepily, tossing the message onto her bed, and then continuing to snore within six seconds.
Twilight eased herself out of bed, lifting the message in her magical aura and trotting downstairs, magically turning on the light.
Excitedly, she unrolled the scroll, and started to read.
‘My Faithful Student:
Thank you for taking the time to alert me of these developments. The news of a unicorn actually ‘falling from the sky’, is indeed very alarming. I advise you to continue on your own best judgement, and please keep me informed. When I have a spare moment, I will try to stop by and provide some advice.
Sincerely, Princess Celestia.’
Twlight dropped the scroll, feeling vaguely disappointed. She had hoped that the princess would have some actual advice to give on the situation.
Then again, maybe things were very busy at Canterlot. From what she had heard, they were still cleaning up after the changeling invasion.
With a little sigh, Twilight put the letter down, and went back upstairs to sleep.
Church couldn’t sleep. It must have been after midnight, and yet he couldn’t fall asleep.
He was lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling.
“Horses, horses, horses.”
Repeating it didn’t make it any easier to accept.
Church couldn’t stop asking himself why the Memory unit would construct a world like this, and why he was still in here. What were the others doing?
With a little sigh, he rolled onto his side, staring out the window through a gap in the curtains.
What was he supposed to do while he waited for the unit to open? What if the unit never opened? What if something had happened to it, and the others couldn’t open it – or if something had happened to the others?
“Fuck.” Church swore under his breath, not at anything in particular. Not the world, or the horses, or himself, but just at… everything. Everything that had ever existed, just working as one giant machine to stop him from being happy.
“Fuck.” He swore again, suddenly wanting to be out of the bed, suddenly feeling like the bed sheets were plotting to strangle him.
With one heave, Church kicked the bed sheets off him, throwing the loose edges over the end of the bed.
He paused for a moment, staring at his horse body, suddenly missing his robot body more than he had ever thought possible.
Church was about to look away, when he noticed that there was no mark on his ‘flank’. Unlike the other six horses, his was completely bare.
He stared at his flank for a few seconds, wondering why he didn’t have anything, before shrugging it off as something that didn’t matter.
After the contemplation was over, Church finally started to wriggle himself to the edge of the bed.
“There is no fucking dignity in this.” He muttered, before rolling over and landing on his four legs.
Here was the hard part. How did horses walk? Was it one leg at the time, in a pattern, or did they lift say, the front right and back left at the same time? Church couldn’t even remember ever being around a horse before, let alone watch one walk. None of this was helped by the fact that his head was still suffering from the headache, which had receded to a very faint throb.
“Uh…” Church slowly twisted himself around on the spot, so that he had a clear space in front of him for walking – or falling. “Okay… How do I fucking do this?”
After much hesitation, he slowly took a deep breath, and simply told himself to walk.
Automatically, his left hind leg raised itself, followed by his left front leg, which was raised shortly before the first hoof hit the ground. This pattern repeated itself for the right side, and Church quickly realized that he was walking.
“Wait, what?” He raised both eyebrows as he slowly moved forwards. “That’s it? Really?”
Church looked down at his legs trying to pick out the pattern. “Wait, so-”
And just like that, he stumbled and then collapsed on the floor, face down, buttocks up.
“Fuck.” He grumbled, climbing back to his feet.
“Okay, don’t try and get the pattern.” Church muttered, starting out again.
It was impossible to not try and get the pattern.
Church dropped back onto the bed, rubbing his chin.
It had taken at lest eleven falls, each time landing on his chin, but Church had finally gotten the pattern.
He had no clue how to get the covers back on without fingers, but it wasn’t like the room was cold anyway.
Church looked down at his hooves, wondering why he knew how to walk. Learning to walk should have taken so much longer, and yet he had grasped it within thirty minutes.
“I…” He mumbled, suddenly feeling very sleepy. “I hate fucking everything.”
Church looked around slowly through heavy eyelids, sluggishly wondering how he could have been so alert just a few minutes ago. Sleep depravation was a powerful force.
He yawned, before closing his eyes, and falling asleep.
Church’s eyes opened wide as the sound of two pairs of footsteps reached his ears.
Instinctively, he reached out and groped for his sniper rifle, which only served to knock over the bedside lamp.
“Oh.” Church grunted, sitting up in bed as he remembered where he was.
The footsteps were getting louder, and church rolled off the bed - finally realizing that two pairs of feet – or hooves – meant that there was one horse outside.
He drew back his own curtains, giving him a startlingly beautiful view of the countryside bathed in the light of the morning sun, before sitting down on his bed, a movement which he had never seen a horse actually do.
Church only just had time to remember that just because there was a horse walking outside his door didn’t mean they were actually coming to see him, when the ‘hoofsteps’ stopped, and there was a polite knock on the door.
The door eased open, and a very tired looking Doctor Stables looked in.
“Ah, Mr… Church.” He smiled. “Good to see that you are awake. It’s time to check out.”
“Already?” Church looked down at his hooves as he stepped forwards, making sure he didn’t trip.
“We need this room for another patient – and it’s ten in the morning.” Stables paused. “Unless you feel that you need to stay?
Church raised an eyebrow. He had slept for at least nine hours, which would explain how fresh he felt.
He looked around the room taking a moment to consider the choice. “Uhh… No. I’m fine.”
Church mumbled an awkward and insincere ‘thanks’ at Doctor Stables, watching his hooves as he walked past.
Stables in question stopped to look at the room – the knocked over lamp, the thrown-off bed sheets.
“Yikes.” He muttered, turning and walking out of the room.
Church slowed down, allowing Stables to take the lead as they moved through the hospital, eventually arriving at the reception desk.
Once there, a receptionist horse politely pushed a pen over to him. “You just need to put down your signature.”
Church looked at his hooves, and then the pen.
Doctor stables subtly pointed at Church’s mouth.
The doctor shook his head.
Church sighed. “Fine then.”
After an awkward sequence of picking up the pen with his mouth, and slowly scribbling the word ‘Church’ on a sign in sheet – a signature that took up two writing spaces and looked like it had been drawn by a dyslexic preschooler – Doctor Stables lead Church away from the desk.
“Now, if you ever feel sick, or odd, or anything like that, don’t hesitate to come back. We’ll try to help however we can.”
“Thanks.” Church muttered sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “So what do I do now?”
“Well, that’s up to you. Do you have anywhere to go?”
“Well then that works out.” Stables replied as the entry door opened, and the purple unicorn from the previous day walked in. “Because Miss Sparkle here has offered to provide you with a room.”
Church looked from the doctor, to the approaching Twilight, before shrugging. If he was going to be here for a while, he’d rather spend it in a bed than on the street.
“Fuck it. Why not?”
“Great - remember…” Doctor Stables turned to leave. “Don’t be afraid to come back if you feel sick.”
Church nodded as Stables walked away, and then turned to Twilight as she arrived.
“Uhh… It’s Twilight, right?”
“Yeah.” The purple unicorn in question nodded. “And you’re church?” It wasn’t so much a question, as simply double checking.
He nodded. “The Doc-” Church paused, and then quickly decided to finish the word. “-tor said that you were going to rent me a room? I don’t think that’ll work, because I don’t have any money.”
Twilight shook her head. “No renting. You can just stay until you’re back on your hooves.”
Church cocked his head at the odd word substitution, but chose to ignore it.
“Uhh… Really? That sounds… too good to be true.”
“Why?” The unicorn’s smile faltered, but her entire stance reeked of sincerity.
Church paused again, struggling with the odd show of friendliness.
“I… It’s a long story. Can we just go?”
Twilight nodded, turning and walking to the door while church followed, staring at his hooves again.
She opened the door and walked through, only to hear a grunt as it sung shut in Church’s face.
“Fuck.” He grumbled, rubbing at his forehead as Twilight opened the door again.
“What happened?” She asked.
“I didn’t see the fucking door.” Church replied, stepping through the door while Twilight held it open.
“Why not?” Twilight stopped, watching Church as he walked. “And why are you staring at your hooves?”
“What? Oh.” Church looked up. “I haven’t quite got this whole ‘four leg’ thing down. If I walk without looking at my feet, then I get the pattern off, and I fall.”
“Wait, so you don’t know how to walk?” Twilight let the door swing shut, flabbergasted.
“What did I just fucking say?” Church snapped, Can we just go?”
“O-Okay.” Twilight watched the stallion walk away, her eyes filled with worry and confusion.
“You need to take point.” Church called back at her, stopping. “It’s not like I know where we’re going.”
“Uh – right.” Twilight replied, trotting up in front of Church. ‘Take point? What does that mean?’
Putting aside her doubts, she led him towards Ponyville - heading for the library.
Church glanced up from his walking, acknowledging the thatched roofs and market stalls. Hadn’t there been lights in the hospital? What were these horses doing with thatched roofs?
What was more interesting was watching the horses moving around, doing things that a human would do, like buying food – of which he noted there was no meat.
“What’s up with all the rabbit food?” Church asked, noting that his stomach was growling.
“What do you mean?”
“Well… never mind.” Church caught himself as he remembered that horses didn’t eat meat.
Even as he said it, Church realized that even the greens looked good – he hadn’t actually eaten in years – up until returning to the Epsilon Unit – and whenever he had been able to eat, ‘eating’ was simply the word that they had used for choking down MRE’s. Now that he was once again in a ‘real’ body, Church realised that he would need to eat regularly again.
“I, Uh…” Twilight was unsure how many exchanges Church had broken off in this matter. “…Okay then.”
She looked at Church for a second, once again wondering how wise this was, and wishing that she could have Celestia’s guidance.
“Well?” Church frowned, the hard glint in his eyes becoming a little bit harder.
“Uh, right this way.” Twilight replied, turning and continuing to walk up the street.
She had never met a pony like Church before. Everything about him emanated bitterness and anger – His face, his eyes, the way he spoke, even the way he carried himself. She doubted he had a friend in the world.
“Sooooo…” Twilight attempted to strike up a conversation. “Where did you say you were from?”
“I didn’t.” Church snapped, his voice laden with bitterness.
“Oh. So where are you from?” After a few seconds of silence, she looked over her should at Church, who was still staring at his hooves – his face impossible to see, let alone read.
Deciding to change the subject, Twilight switched to a different question.
“So why were you… falling from the sky?”
The only answer she got was a quiet sigh, followed by an even quieter; “I’m already regretting this.”
Perplexed at how unwilling the stallion was to talk, Twilight once again tried changing the subject,
“Sooooo… Church. That’s an interesting name. What’s your last name?”
The simple approach paid off, as Church curtly replied. “Church is my last name.”
“I see. Are you able to tell me your first name?”
Another sigh from Church, followed by a clipped and irritated response.
“Listen, Sparkle.” Church stopped walking – as did Twilight. “I’m really not in the mood for this kind of hor-” Church paused for a second. “This kind of Crap. Can you just… be quiet?”
The last two words weren’t really a question. It sounded more like Church was imploring her to shut up.
“Why? Can you at least tell me that?” Twilight asked, deciding to press her luck.
Church looked her in the eye – even delivering a hard gaze. “Seriously, I’m not in the fucking mood.”
Twilight nodded once, irritated that what little progress she had made had been stripped away.
“So how far to this house?” Church asked as they resumed walking.
“It’s just…” Twilight paused, dragging out the ‘u’ in ‘just’ as they rounded one last corner, coming into a slightly more open space than the street. “…Here.”
Church paused, looking around in confusion. All he could see was a tree-
“Oh.” He spoke in surprise, staring at the library with mild interest. “Well, that’s… interesting.”
“You live in a tree.” Church looked at the Ponyville Library, taking in as much detail as he could. “I wish I could have lived in something as interesting as that.”
“So what did you live in?” Twilight smiled uncertainly, hoping for a response.
Church’s face hardened. “I said no questions.” He looked at her accusingly, before walking towards the Library.
Twilight watched him walk towards the Library, and then sighed.
What had she gotten herself into?
The UNSC Archives:
“What the fuck happened back there?!” Carolina shouted, gesturing at the main entry to the archives.
“What do you think fucking happened?” Grif spat out, clutching his knee.
“You dropped it.” Carolina’s voice was laced with venom.
“I got shot!”
“You were walking! Why were you walking?!”
“Because I was tired, Einstein.” Grif retorted, apparently blind to the danger each word was placing him in.
“Carolina.” Washington stepped between them. “Calm down.”
"I’ve got first dibs.” He reminded her.
“Yeah!” Grif agreed readily. “Wait, wha-”
Washington turned, bringing up his knee, into Grif’s groin.
“Agh!” His victim cried out, cringing over and grasping at the injured region, even as Wash drew his leg back, and then used his foot to kick Grif in the leg.
Grif shouted again as he dropped to the ground, while Washington turned back to Carolina.
“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.” He muttered, before once again turning to Griff.
“You lost Epsilon. You need to go get it.”
“Go get it? Are you crazy?” Grif grunted, still grasping his codpiece, rolling from side to side on the ground.
“I hate to agree with him, but Grif’s right.” Simmons interjected. “There’s no way he can sneak back in there to get the unit. Fucking idiot.” He aimed the last two words at the orange soldier on the ground.
Carolina sighed, taking a step away.
“Okay then. Options?”
Church looked around as he entered the Library, trusting his legs to walk on their own for a little while.
“Huh. A Library.” Church couldn’t remember the last time he had actually read something.
“Yeah.” Twilight said, coming up to stand next to him. “I’m Ponyville’s Librarian.”
“Ponyville?” Church raised an eyebrow. “Your kidding, right?”
“Nope!” Twilight grinned – quickly stopping when Church didn’t return the smile.
He gave her a flat look. “Listen, can you just show me to my room?”
“What’s the rush?”
Church gave Twilight another flat look.
“I want to be alone.”
“Oh… Okay.” Any hint of cheerfulness in Twilight’s face disappeared. “Sure.”
She led him across the main room, up a staircase set flush with the wall.
“This is where I sleep.” She noted conversationally as they passed the ‘loft’ bedroom, and then carried on up the staircase, towards a door set up near the ceiling.
Twilight pushed the door open and motioned for Church to go inside.
He nodded, walking through the archway, into a room holding a large window – with a well sized telescope pointing through it.
Against the other wall was a double bed, taking up most of the space in the small room, with the only other furniture a wooden chair over by the telescope, and a dresser beside the bed. Why there was a dresser when no-one wore clothes, Church didn’t know.
“I know that it’s small-”
“It’s fine.” Church cut her off.
They were both quiet for a moment, before Twilight realized that Church was pointedly staring at her.
She gave a nervous chuckle. “Right. Alone.”
He nodded once, watching as she backed out and closed the door, before turning to the window, and taking a look out.
The view wasn’t spectacular – obscured by the telescope that took up a large amount of the window, but he could see a few of the buildings surrounding the library.
“Ponyville. A town filled with Ponies.” He muttered, shaking his head. Why would the Epsilon Unit EVER simulate a world like this? Wasn’t it meant to be for memories?
With a dejected sigh, Church flopped down onto the bed.
Twilight gave a little sigh as she descended back to the ground floor of the library to meet with spike as he emerged from the basement with a feather duster..
“Is he any friendlier?” Spike asked, starting to dust the shelves.
“Well, he certainly isn’t a talker.” Twilight looked exasperated. “At least he likes the room.”
“He hasn't said that he doesn't.” Twilight replied with an edge of annoyance. “As far as I can tell, that’s good.”
“He sounds like a jerk.” Spike muttered, wondering why he had bothered dusting for such an ungracious guest.
“Oh…” Twilight’s annoyance turned to confusion. “He’s just… disorientated – I think. Nopony can stay this bitter for long.”
Spike looked over his shoulder at Twilight, raising an eyebrow.
Ignoring him, Twilight started trotting to the door.
“I’m going to go talk to the girls. If Church comes out of his room, just… hide. Judging by the way he’s been reacting to everypony, I think seeing a dragon might drive him nuts.” She rolled her eyes jokingly, while Spike’s face turned to one of confusion and concern.
“Remind me again why we’re letting a pony that doesn’t know that he’s a pony stay here?”
Twilight shot him a flat look, before opening the front door and trotting out, leaving spike to his cleaning.
“Well if you ask me, it sounds enthralling.” Rarity mused, staring at the dress she was creating. “He sounds so troubled, and mysterious.” She turned to Twilight. “It would make a divine story.”
Twilight smiled weakly. What had she been thinking? Of course Rarity wasn’t the best pony to talk to about Church. “Well, he never says ‘please’ or ‘thanks’, and his language is a little… coarse.”
“Oh, I noticed back in the hospital.” Rarity’s smile briefly turned to a frown as she turned back to her dress levitated a spool of blue thread and a needle from across the room.
“Coarse language. Not exactly story book material, but it does add to the drama. Personally, I’m dying to find out more about this strange stallion and his mysterious past. We simply must have a get together at some point.”
Twilight smiled weakly. “I don’t think Church is the kind of pony that does that sort of thing.
“Nonsense.” Rarity tutted, carefully sewing a new square of fabric onto the dress and then calling a pair of scissors from across the room. “Who can’t resist a nice soiree?”
Twilight smile weakened even more as she decided that coming here was a bad idea.
“Well, thanks for the advice, Rarity.” She edged towards the door. “But I can see that you’re very busy. Maybe I’ll go talk to Applejack.”
“Yes, of course dear.” Rarity finally turned around. “I’ll talk to you later, after this order is finished.
“Right.” Twilight gave a nod, and then trotted out the front door.
Rarity turned back to her dress. “Hmm… ‘The Unicorn That fell From The Sky.’ That would make a wonderful story.”
Sweet Apple Acres:
“So wha’ do you think ‘bout ‘im?” Applejack asked,
“I don’t know.” Twilight replied, watching as Applejack moved closer to one tree and bucked it. “He doesn’t seem dangerous, but I don’t really know anything about him.”
“Well…” Applejack tugged at her hat as Twilight started picking up loose apples from the ground with her magic. “Ah don’t know much ‘bout… understandin’ ponies. Rarity always seemed to be better at that.”
Twilight scoffed quietly, drawing a curious glance from Applejack
“Sorry. I was just talking to Rarity. All she cared about was how ‘dramatic’ Church seems.”
“Yep. That’s Rarity for ya.” Applejack – with the help of twilight’s magic – started pushing the apple baskets to the next tree.
“And that’s why I came to you. Pinkie is… Pinkie, Dash is still against the entire thing, and Fluttershy…”
“Yep.” Applejack bucked the tree. “Sorry ah can’t be more help, but ah’m not really good with this sorta stuff. What’d the Princess say?”
Twilight frowned. “Uh… She said that she was busy, and that I should deal with this myself until she can check in.”
Applejack shrugged. “Ah guess we’ll just hafta wait.”
“I guess.” Twilight turned to look at Ponyville. ‘But what are we meant to do while we wait?’
Church cracked an eye open, surprised that he had actually fallen asleep, even if it had just been for a short while.
With an irritated sigh, he rolled onto the floor, once again wondering what the hell was going outside the unit.
He glanced out the window, confirming that the sun had only moved a short distance since he had fallen asleep.
Church needed something to do. Something interesting to keep himself preoccupied until he could leave.
Quietly, Church shifted over to the door, awkwardly grasping the handle with both of his front hoofs and pulling.
With a creak that made Church cringe, the door swung towards him, and he stepped out onto the small balcony with its view of the library bellow.
He slowly made his way down the stairs, taking the steps one at a time. Walking was confusing enough – but stairs were actually terrifying.
Over the course of two minutes, Church descended down to the ‘loft’ and then the ground floor.
Looking around, Church realised that he was in a library, and if there was any better time to learn about where he was, it was now.
“Well.” Church muttered, walking over to a large book marked with the word ‘Index’. “When I woke up today, I didn’t think I would be spending my day doing… this.”
Spike watched suspiciously as Church arrived at the bottom of the stairs.
“Well.” The cobalt Stallion spoke to himself. “When I woke up today, I didn’t think I would be spending my day doing… this.”
Spike wormed himself further under the table until he could only see church between the edge of the table and the floor.
Church himself slowly walked over to the Library Index, before awkwardly grasping the top and bottom of the cover and flipping it open.
Spike squinted as he watched church fumble with the index for a good five minutes, taking at least three tries to turn each page.
‘He can’t even use magic?’
Eventually, Church turned and walked across the room, peering intensely at a row of books.
“H… H… H…” He muttered, running his hoof along the spines of the books. “And… Of course. Nothing.”
Spike raised an eyebrow. What was church searching for?
Instead, Church moved slightly to the left, once again scanning the shelf.
“Okay then… so what about Hist- Oh.” Church took a step back, looking the shelf up and down. “That’s a lot.”
‘Ah!’ Spike gave a curious frown. So Church had decided to learn about history.
He watched – still suspicious – as Church trapped close ten books between his front hooves, and started carrying the over the stairs, balancing on his hind legs.
But that was as far as he got.
Church stopped at the foot of the stairs, half-placing half-dumping the books on the ground as he realised that he needed to carry them up two sets of stairs.
“Ugh.” Church placed one hoof to his head. “Fuck me.”
After about half a minute of pondering, Church finally lent down, picked up the topmost book in his mouth and started carrying it up the stairs.
“Wow.” Spike muttered to himself as he watched Church start what would be a long process of going up and down the stairs. “No magic at all.”
He waited until Church was nearly at the top, before sliding out of his hiding place and running to the door, slipping outside.
Spike couldn’t stay under that table for much longer – definitely not for how long it would take for Church to be finished – So he decided to go find Twilight and report Church’s odd behaviour.
Near Sweet Apple Acres:
Twilight sighed as she plodded along the road. What was she going to do? Church was already being antisocial – showing a high chance of being a complete pain – and none of her friends had any good advice.
“So how’s your coltfriend?”
Twilight looked to the left, to see Rainbow Dash floating lazily alongside her.
“Difficult.” She retorted. “Come on Dash. He’s just trying to adjust.”
“Adjust to what?” Rainbow frowned. “The guy’s a wacko!”
“No he isn’t.” Twilight sighed, dropping her head. “He’s just got amnesia.”
“You heard Doctor Stables. We all know he hasn’t.”
Twilight opened her mouth to respond, but had no actual comeback
Instead, she changed the subject. “You know, you could actually be helping, instead of just making trouble.”
“I’m not making trouble!” Rainbow defended herself. “Making trouble would be-”
Twilight shot her a sharp glare, cutting her off.
“Okay, fine. What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know.” Twilight sighed. “You could try talking to him. You did save his life, after all.”
“I don’t think he’s comfortable talking to me.”
Rainbow shrugged. “It sounds to me he doesn’t talk much anyway.”
“He doesn’t.” Twilight confirmed. “But he’s probably still at the Library. I don’t think he’s been planning to leave any time soon.”
Rainbow shrugged again. “I’ll give it a shot. No promises.”
Twilight watched as the blue Pegasus turned slightly and started flying away, even as Spike was approaching up the road.
“Spike!” She exclaimed. “Shouldn’t you be watching Church at the Library?”
“I was.” He replied, panting slightly as he came to a stop. “But I can’t just lie under a table all day.”
“He came out of his room?”
“Yeah.” Spike took a deep breath.
“You need to get out more.” Twilight smiled sheepishly at how tired Spike looked.
Ignoring the jab, Spike started talking. “He came downstairs and looked at the Index, and then started looking for something under ‘H’, but he couldn’t find it. So then he just got some books on history and took them back up to his room.”
Twilight put a hoof to her chin, wondering what else Church could be looking up under ‘H’. “Huh. Well, Rainbow’s on her way to talk to him right now. Maybe she’ll find out what he’s up to.”
Spike shrugged, as they started walking back towards Ponyville. “So I guess we need to stay out on the town for a while.”
Spike’s face lit up.
“Oh! Can we go see Pinkie? I want to see if she’s finished those ruby cupcakes!”
Twilight looked down at Spike, and then smiled.
“Sure Spike. Let’s go.”
Church turned a page, continuing to read.
He was irritated. Three of the books he had brought up were trash. ‘A Brief History of Manehattan/Trottingham/Cloudsdale,’ All of which had made their uselessness obvious on the first page.
On the other hand, he had six other books. One was ‘A Brief History of Ponyville’, while the other five were five volumes on the history of a country named ‘Equestria’ – which Ponyville and the three cities seemed to be a part of.
He was skimming through the first volume of the equestrian history, feeling very confused by the odd syntax and word substitutions. So far, Church had glossed over something involving chaos and discord, two princesses and a lot of filler about cities cropping up. Aside from the mention of war at the beginning, he was finding the volume drier then longest message he had ever received from command.
‘It was at this point, while the cities were developed, that new troubles started to arise from the east, as the Griffon Empire started to fortify it’s borders against the changelings.’
“Huh.” Church started to pay more attention. Here was something interest-
Church stopped, putting the book down.
He rolled off the bed, and walked over to the window, where the blue Pegasus from earlier was floating outside the glass, tapping on it.
“Uh… Hey?” He raised one eyebrow.
“Hey!” The Pegasus said with forced cheerfulness, her voice muffled by the window. “Do you remember me?”
Church paused. “…Yeah. I don’t normally forget things.”
The Pegasus – who he recalled to be named ‘Rainbow Dash’ - pointed one hoof at the telescope taking up most of the window. “Uh… Can I come in?”
Church hesitated. “Uh…” He looked at the Pegasus. “Eh.”
With a slight sigh, he placed one hoof against the telescope, and pushed, swivelling it So that the lens no longer blocked the window.
“Thanks.” Rainbow muttered as she flew in through the opening, setting down on the floor. “It’s Church, right?”
“Yes.” Church sat down on his bed, flipping over the book he had been reading. “What do you want?”
“I just want to talk.”
Church frowned. If remembering the vague outline of some guy going through high school and university had taught him anything, it had taught him that ‘I want to talk’ wasn’t a good sign.
It wasn’t a question.
“Uhh… Yeah!” Rainbow smiled uneasily. “You know, I kinda thought you’d be okay with talking to me… you know, because I saved your life and all.”
Church’s ear twitched in annoyance. He hated people having leverage over him.
“What?” His tone dropped to a venomous hiss almost instantly.
Slightly surprised but undaunted, Dash pressed on.
“I was just wondering what you were doing so high in the sky.”
Dash’s face lit up in a smirk for a quick second, before returning to normal. “I mean, how did you get there?”
“Doesn’t matter.” Church retorted, turning slightly away. “Why do you care?”
“I’m just curious.” Rainbow took a half step back, almost cringing away from the bitter aura Church was emanating.
“So, how do you like Ponyville?”
“What are you reading?”
“Do you have any friends?”
Rainbow flared, her short fuse lit by the brick-wall responses, even as Church turned to her, wondering what the next question could-
“Do you have any family?” She asked hot headedly, determined to drag some sort of answer out of the colt.
Church stopped dead, staring at Rainbow, a seething rage bubbling up inside him.
Rainbow raised an eyebrow, not sure what was happening.
His lips parted, revealing his teeth, which had been forced together so tight that Rainbow could barely make out what came next.
Author's Note In Comments.
The UNSC Archives:
“I’m telling you, I can’t do this!” Grif cried frantically.
“I don’t care if you can or can’t, you’re doing it.” Carolina shot back, jabbing Grif in the back with her rifle.
“This is a bad idea.” Simmons interjected. “He’s just going to get killed.”
“That’s the point.” Sarge replied smugly. “It’s my plan.”
“Well fuck that then!” Grif grew even more frantic, trying to back-pedal as Sarge pushed him towards the door. “I’m not going in there!”
“Too late.” Carolina spat, pushing Sarge to one side and giving Grif a single kick, propelling him through the doorway.
Grif tripped on the doorframe as he was propelled forwards, falling flat on his face.
“Fuck!” He cursed as Sarge slammed the door closed behind him. “Ow!”
“Good luck!” Called one of the others through the door.
“Fuck you!” He shouted back, before remembering that he was now in serious danger, and needed to keep his voice down.
Grif angrily dragged himself up off the floor.
“I’m gonna die.” He muttered under his breath, mentally cringing away from the task ahead of him.
Rainbow raised an eyebrow, somehow not picking up on Church’s tone.
“Uhh… I asked about your family. You know… Parents, brother, sister, wife?”
Church stood up, letting out a pained shout as one of his hind legs lashed out and knocked over the pile of books on his bed.
“Woah! Calm down” Rainbow took a startled step backwards as the enraged stallion reared up on his hind legs, letting out another pained shout.
“Church!” Rainbow shouted, noting for the first time that Church - while not as large as Big Macintosh - wasn't overly small either. If it came to blows, she was sure she could beat him – but it wouldn’t be easy.
“Church, that’s enough!”
The stallion himself dropped back to the ground, nostrils flaring, his eyes wild.
“That’s just fucking it!” He bellowed. “It’s NEVER enough! Every time I think I’m finally fucking happy, it gets snatched the fuck away!”
“Church!” Rainbow rose up on her hind legs, worried that it was about to come to blows. “What are you talking about?! Stop it!”
Church looked around him. “I hate this! This stupid world, this stupid body, and this stupid fucking unit!”
“What are you talking about?”
Not paying any attention, Church turned to the door of the room, his eyes still wild. “Fuck this.”
“What are you doing?” Rainbow demanded, keeping her distance.
Church turned his head to her, the fire in his eyes starting to fade. “I’m leaving. This place is a sick, fucking, joke.” He hissed the last part.
Before she could respond, Church slammed the door to his room open.
“Hey!” Rainbow shouted, taking chase. “Come back here!”
Church charged down the stairs, showing none of the timidity that had been present the last time he’d used them.
“Make me!” He shouted, right before something hit him from behind.
A single “AAHHH!” erupted from Church’s mouth as he was thrown down the few stairs, landing on his side at the bottom.
Rainbow was standing over him, a confused and angry expression on her face.
“What the clop is wrong with you? Are you crazy?”
Church looked her in the eye, his face portraying nothing but anger
“Don’t mention my family ever again.”
“Why not?” Rainbow’s gaze was focussed down to a suspicious glare.
Church stood up, his muzzle crinkled in an angry sneer.
“Why the fuck should I tell you?” He growled, before turning back to the door. “If Sparkle comes back, tell her I’ve gone for a walk.”
Almost as soon as he was out of the door, Church felt as if a massive weight had been lifted from his back. Being around that stupid horse made him feel oppressed.
With a little sigh, Church started walking away from the Library, already feeling a lot better.
“He sounds fun!” Pinkie grinned, rocking from side to side on her hoofs. “What’s he doing now?”
“I guess he’s still at the Library.” Twilight shrugged. “I should probably be getting back.”
“No way!” Spike protested through a mouthful of rubies. “I’m not done yet!”
Twilight gave a weak smile. “Well, Rainbow went off to check on Church a while ago, so I want to see how they’re getting along.”
“I bet that they aren’t.” Spike chipped in, before shovelling another cupcake into his mouth.
“Oh spike!” Pinkie’s grin grew wider as her swaying increased in speed. “Ponies don’t just fight each other because they can! That’d be silly!”
“Well this guy doesn’t seem to think he’s a pony.”
Twilight’s smile faded. “Now that I think about it, I really don’t think that Church and Dash will get along. I really think I should get back there.”
Pinkie’s grin turned into a pout. “What’s the hurry? I’m sure they-”
The trio’s heads – and the head of everypony else in the building – snapped around as the shout echoed through the streets.
Twilight's heart dropped.
The UNSC Archives:
“Oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit.” Grif muttered under his breath, pressing his back up against the wall.
“Not yet, but they’re still around. Proximity alarms haven’t picked up anything.”
Grif tensed up as the two soldiers approached. They were only a few meters from the corner.
“So remind me: This ‘Carolina’ She was… like… the best one, right?”
“Second best – I think.”
“Right, second best. So if she was second best out of them all, then why the hell did we split up to find them?”
Both of the men fell silent, and their footsteps stopped.
“Uhh… Maybe we should go get Jeffrey.”
“Yeah. Maybe we should.”
Grif listened in astonishment as the footsteps started again, receding back up the hall. It was like something from a terrible story.
Not wanting to test his luck by sticking around, Grif darted through the door that took up the wall of the three-way junction in the hall. He had no idea where the unit was – maybe it was back where he had dropped it. Maybe they had moved it.
By this point, Grif didn’t care. The others weren’t going to let him out until he had the memory unit.
As if on cue, Grif’s radio came to life.
“Grif, you still alive?” Simmons’ voice was laced with what sounded like worry.
“Yeah.” Grif panted the reply, stopping and bending over his knees. “I nearly got caught, but I’m good.”
“Where are you?[/I”
“Don’t know, don’t care. Just make sure there’s a Twinkie waiting for me when I get out there.”
“Uhh… Sure.” Simmons’ voice was uncertain – most likely because he didn’t want to remind Grif that they didn’t have any Twinkies.
Twilight approached the Library at a gallop, throwing the door open with her magic.
“What-” She stopped, seeing that Rainbow was pacing back and forth across the room, muttering angrily. “Rainbow! What happened?”
“What happened?!” Dash turned to look at Twilight. “That stupid colt went nuts and walked off! That’s what happened!”
Twilight stared at her. There had to be more to it than that, but she knew that Dash would never admit to doing something wrong – or maybe Church had done something worse and she just hadn’t mentioned it.
“I… Which way did he go?” She looked back at the door.
“That way.” Dash grumpily gestured in the general direction of up-town, where the town hall and square were located.
“Come on then! We need to find him before somepony gets hurt!”
“You do what you want.” Dash shook her head. “I don’t want anything to do with that nut-job. I’m going home.”
“And that’s final!” Rainbow nearly shouted, taking off and swooping over Twilight’s head and out the door.
Twilight watched in dismay as she flew off in the direction of her cloud home, and then turned to Pinkie and Spike as they arrived.
“Church has gone towards the town square. We need to find him.”
“Oh!” Pinkie bounced once on the spot. “It’ll be like a game of hide-and-seek! Let’s go!”
Ponyville Town Square:
Church looked around as he walked. This place seemed so… wrong. All the buildings looked like they had been coloured in with vivid pastels, and those thatched roofs were still bugging him.
His thoughts were in turmoil. That stupid Pegasus had really stirred them up with her questions.
Church couldn’t stop thinking about Tex. Where was she now? Was it possible that he had actually deleted her? What if this entire world was just her getting revenge for him trying to forget her?
He doubted it. Tex wouldn’t have a memory or a mind like this. Why this world existed at all was beyond him.
Church glanced over his shoulder in the direction of the Library. He didn’t want to go back there – at least, not yet. He couldn’t stay cooped up in there any longer.
He turned back to watch where he was going, seeing just too late that he was about to walk into somebody – a large red pony.
Church collided with the red pony’s side - or more accurately, the huge bag of apples hanging from his side – knocking over the precariously stacked pile.
“Oof!” They both grunted as Church took a step back.
The red pony swayed momentarily on the spot, compensating for the collision while Church looked around at the spilled apples “Whoops.”
“Careful partner.” A female voice spoke up, and the orange pony from the hospital – Applejack – entered his field of vision.
She looked down at the spilled apples, and then up at Church.
“Hey, yer that pony from the Hospital… Uhh… Monk?”
“Church.” Church deadpanned, looking down at the mess. “Uhh… Sorry about that fruit, I guess.” In reality, he was sorrier that he hadn’t eaten since he had arrived in this stupid world – and this body needed to eat.
“Right.” Applejack stopped down, grabbing an apple stem between her teeth and lifting it back up to the red pony. “Don’t worry. Apples is apples, right Big Mac?”
The red pony opened his mouth, before simply saying “Eeyup.”
“Uhh…” Church didn’t want to offer his help. He didn’t know these ponies.
His conscious was about to get the best of him, when a voice rang out.
“Oh Applejack! What happened?”
The apples spread around them were encased in a light green aura, and each one suddenly rose into the air, forming a pile in one of Big Mac’s saddlebags again.
Church watched disinterestedly. In this strange world, there wasn’t much that would surprise him.
A green unicorn walked over, her horn glowing. “Did you run into somepony?”
“Uhh… Yall could say that.” Applejack gave a weak smile. “Thanks very much Lyra.”
“No problem!” The Unicorn smiled, and then walked away.
“Well that was weird.” Church muttered. Who was ever that nice, just for the hell of it?
“Wha’s that partner?” Applejack turned back to Church.
“Nothing.” Church looked away.
“So what brings ya out of the library?” Applejack queried.
“The blue Pegasus.” Church replied shortly. “I can’t stand her.”
“Who, Rainbow? Ah know she can be a little difficult sometimes, but yah just need to take the good with the bad.”
Church pointedly increased the angle between his vision and Applejack. “Well, I’m not going back there. Not until she’s gone.”
“Well, y’all can come back to the farm with us. It’ll be a change o’ scenery, right Big Mac?”
Church glanced back around at the two as Big Mac opened his mouth and once again drawled an ‘Eeyup.’.
“No, that’s fi-” He was cut of by a slight groan from his stomach – extremely quiet, but still audible. “Uh, fi-”
“Nonsense.” Applejack stepped forward. “Just listen to that stomach. We’ll fix you up a right proper lunch!”
“I…” Church paused, thinking back to what he had thought of earlier. He could barely remember the last time he had eaten – and definitely not the last time he had eaten real food. “Wait, what kind of lunch?”
“A good ol’ fashioned Apple Family lunch!” Applejack’s face brightened. “With some hay, tulips, and apples – o’ course.”
Mentally, Church cringed from the idea of eating hay – even though the mention of it made his mouth water. Apples sounded good though.
“I… uhh…” Church paused, still hesitant.
They stood in silence for a couple of seconds, before Church’s stomach voiced it’s opinion.
“Well then, I s’pose that decides it.” Applejack waved with her hoof for Church to follow as she and Big Mac kept walking.
“Ah need t’ stay here in town and sell these here apples…” She spoke conversationally. “But Big Mac here can take you back to the farm, and Applebloom can fix ya up something to eat.”
“Uhh… Thanks, I guess.” Church frowned uneasily. He didn’t like charity. He didn’t like owing people. That gave others leverage – and if Tex had taught him anything, it was that letting someone have leverage against you was very very dangerous.
He waited patiently as Applejack and Big Mac – who was apparently her brother – set up shop at an empty store, displaying far more apples that Church had ever thought they would ever be able to sell.
“How much of this do you normally sell?”
“How much?” Applejack grinned sheepishly. “We normally need to bring in some more. Us Ponyville ponies love our apples.”
“Yeah…” Church watched as multiple ponies started converging on the stand. “I can see that.”
“Eeyup.” Applejack started handing out apples and taking small golden coins. “Things a’ about to get a little crazy here, so you an’ Big Mac should prob’ly get goin’.”
“Eeyup.” Big Mac nodded, starting to walk away.
Church hesitated, and then followed, quickly catching up to the slow-moving colt.
Sweet Apple Acres:
Church looked around at the apple trees.
There were so many of them – it was actually startling at how far the orchards stretched. From the top of the hill all he could see all the way to the horizon were rows and rows of apple trees.
“Wow.” He paused to take in the view. “That’s a lot of apples.”
“Eeyup.” The red pony replied, stopping momentarily so that Church wouldn’t fall behind.
Church admired the vista for a few more seconds. This world was oddly scenic – much nicer than the ugly stone walls of the countless box-end canyons he had had to put up with for the last ten years.
It was only when his stomach let out another growl that Church remembered where he was, shook his head, and kept walking.
Big Mac led him down the dirt road, approaching what looked like a garish red barn with a living space built into the top floor and on one side.
Church looked around as they walked towards the ‘house’. Only in a world populated by horses would the apple farmers live in their barn.
“So… Uh… You live here?” He coughed awkwardly.
“Really… uh… nice.” Church continued awkwardly. He was used to being around people who struggled to keep their mouths shut. Being around such a quiet stallion was an unexpected change – although he couldn’t say that any part of his day had been expected.
Church silenced himself as Big Mac approached a side-door that seemed to serve as the front door for the house part of the barn, and pushed it open, motioning for him to enter.
With a slight shrug, Church did exactly that, trotting into an old-fashioned living room.
There was a rocking chair in the corner, two old couches, and one armchair, alogn with a staircase set against one wall. The wallpaper was extremely old-fashioned – the kind that appeared in centuries-old films.
Big Mac followed him in, before stopping and motioning to one of the old couches in the room.
“Wait her, if’n ya please.”
Church awkwardly sat down, looking around as Big Mac turned and trotted up the staircase.
After a few seconds, he started to scrutinize the wallpaper. What year was this from? It looked like it could be from over 500 years ago – if the hazy memories he had inherited from the Director could be trusted.
Now bored, looked back around. Was there a book he could read, or-
“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS SANDWICH MAKERS! YEAH!” Church’s musing was interrupted by three shrill and loud voices – followed by a multi-coloured blur racing down the stairs, past him, and through a doorway into the homestead’s kitchen.
“What the fuck…” Church peered into the kitchen, only to see three fillies racing around with loaves of bread and different vegetables, somehow managing to disturb everything they touched.
“Yer lunch’ll be ready mighty quick.”
Church gave a little start in surprise, turning to see Big Mac standing being him.
“What… what are they… Do they always behave like that?”
The only reply he got was a sheepish grin - which did nothing to alleviate his confusion.
Church looked back inside the kitchen, which was rapidly turning into a disaster zone.
He had been promised ‘a good old fashioned Apple Family lunch’, but he was fairly sure that he wouldn’t be getting anything more than a pile of shredded bread.
With a little sigh, he turned back to Big Mac. “So… uh… you’re an apple farmer?”
Big Mac opened his mouth to reply, only to be cut off by an orange filly poking her head through the doorway.
“Done!” She grinned, as a light grey unicorn emerged from the kitchen, carrying out a plate and what looked like a sandwich on her back.
Church looked down at the ‘sandwich’, noting that there seemed to be a rip in the bread, through which he could see something that looked like a squashed tomato with carrot shavings on top.
“Uhh… Thanks?” He raised an eyebrow.
'Well, if I die, then I suppose I won't have to put up with eating any more - again.'
The UNSC Archives:
“Fuck!” Grif shouted, ducking instinctively as a bullet rebounded of the wall above his head.
Another gunshot rang out, which flew over Grif’s shoulder as he ran.
“Grif! Grif! What’s happening?” Simmons’ warbled in his ear. “Are you okay?”
“No I’m not fucking okay!” Grif shouted, stumbling slightly as he scrabbled around a corner. “They’re shooting at me!”
“Don’t drop the unit.” Carolina’s voice snapped. “I’m on my way.”
“Well hurry the fuck up!” Grif was panicking. He had less than a second before the pursuing soldiers would be able to shoot at him again. “These assholes aren’t going to keep missing!”
There was the sound of Sarge’s voice in the background, Grif couldn’t make it out - but then again, he didn’t really need to.
Ponyville Town Square:
“Okay, fan out.” Twilight spoke calmly, although her mind was frantic. “We need to find him.”
“Okie Dokie Lokie!” Pinkie giggled, skewing off on an angle and bouncing away into the crowd.
“Whatever.” Spike grumbled, moving off in the opposite direction.
Taking no notice of Spike’s irritation, Twilight kept galloping forwards, frantically scanning the crowd for Church.
She had a bad feeling that somepony was going to get hurt if the strange colt was allowed to roam unchecked.
She stopped and looked around frantically. How were they going to find Church?
"OOH!" Pinkie's shout echoed through the crowd. "I've never seen you around here! Twilight! Is this him?"
Twilight looked around in confusion. How was she meant to see-"
As if on cue, a rather startled looking green stallion was catapulted into the air, before dropping back out of sight.
"Pinkie! You know what he looks like! That isn't him!"
"Oh!" There was a pause of about three seconds, before Pinkie started singing.
"Welcome-Welcome-Welcome, a fine welcome to you..."
Twilight sighed. She should have known better than to think that Pinkie would be able to help.
Church looked down grimly at the plate resting on his ‘lap’, while the three fillies who had nearly destroyed a kitchen preparing it stood to his left, watching attentively.
“Aren’t ya gonna eat it, mister?” The olive coloured one asked.
“Yeah!” The orange Pegasus jumped once on the spot. “Then we might get our cutie marks!”
Church glanced at them, and then at Big Mac, whose face was stoic – save for a slight upward angle to the corners of his mouth.
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” He accused the large stallion, who merely shrugged.
“Ah though you’d knew whatcha were getting yerself into.” He drawled.
Church looked back down at the monstrosity on his plate, and then at the three fillies.
“I…” He gave one final glance at the meal. “Oh, what the hell. It can’t be any worse than MRE’s.”
“YAY!” The three fillies shouted, startling Church.
He furrowed his brow in irritation, and then quickly opened his mouth, wolfing down the entire sandwich in one bite. With any luck, it wouldn’t be in contact with his taste buds long enough for him to taste it.
The four other occupants of the room were silent as he chewed rapidly, and then violently spat the food out.
“Oh my GOD!!” Church shouted, standing up on his hind legs. “I was wrong! It’s worse!” The last word came out as a high pitched squeak. “It’s worse!”
He dropped back to all fours, as the unicorn filly dejectedly produced a glass of water, which Church took in his mouth, drinking the contents in one swig.
“Looks like we aren’t meant to be sandwich makers.” The olive filly mumbled dejectedly.
“Oh, come on, Apple Bloom!” The Pegasus hit her lightly on the shoulder. “Who wants a sandwich for a cutie mark anyway?”
“Girls, why don’t yall go clean up that mess ya made in the kitchen?” Big Mac finally spoke up, a faint expression of mirth on his face. “Ah’ll take care o’ our guest.”
Muttering to each other, the three fillies retreated back into the kitchen, almost instantly producing a ruckus that was almost on par with the noise they had created while preparing Church’s sandwich.
Church himself was busy looking at the glass of water wistfully. “Why did you let me eat that?”
Big Mac shrugged. “We ‘ave some hard cider in the basement if ya want some.”
He swung around on the spot, suddenly giving the red stallion all of his attention. “Wait, hard cider as in… alcohol?”
Church's face lit up.
“What the hell are you waiting for?!” He exclaimed. “Do you have any idea how much I need a drink right now?!”
Sweet Apple Acres:
Church cringed mentally at the storm of different sounds coming out of the kitchen. It sounded like the cleaning was more destructive than what had actually made the mess.
He looked around the lounge once again, bouncing slightly in place.
When was the last time he had had alcohol? Back before his deployment at Sidewinder... Which had actually been a Freelancer facility - where he had been tortured... Wait, so he had never had alcohol?
Church grimaced at the thought. Just another hazy memory that wasn't his - Another detail blurring the line between him and the Director.
The noise from the kitchen was – in a feat that Church had thought impossible - getting louder, and for some reason it was punctuated every few seconds with the braying of a donkey.
“What…” Church irritably climbed to his hooves, even as the noise stopped abruptly. “…The hell…”
He moved over to the doorway, and stared through.
“Okay, what the fuck?”
The kitchen was spotless – a few surfaces even glimmering with their cleanliness.
Standing in the middle of the room were the three fillies, each one carrying a proud smile.
“Seriously.” Church looked around in surprise. “How the fuck did you do that? And what happened to the donkey?”
“What donkey?” The orange Pegasus’ smile faded, and the three ponies looked around in confusion.
“I…” Church’s lower eyebrows came up in disbelief. “There is something really wrong with this place.”
“Really?” The olive coloured pony looked around again. “Seems fine t’ me.”
Church sighed. “Forget it.” He stepped into the kitchen, looking at the three fillies. “You’re… uh… Apple Bloom, right?”
“Yep!” The filly in question smiled proudly once more, before suddenly morphing into a squint of suspicion. “Hey. How’d ya know that?”
“You have the same accent as your sister.” Church replied flatly.
“Oh.” Apple Bloom shrugged. “Well this here is Sweetie Bell…” She nudged the confused looking unicorn. “And this is Scootaloo.”
“Umm… Hi?” Sweetie Bell waved awkwardly.
“Hey!” Scootaloo stepped forward, a ‘hardcore’ grin on her face. “You don’t have a cutie mark!”
“Huh?” Church glanced at his flank, and then at the fillies. “Oh, yeah. I haven’t been here that long.”
Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow. “But that don’t make a lick o’ sense! Yer a big stallion. How can ya not have yer cutie mark?”
“I just don’t.” Church frowned.
“Wait…" Sweetie bell looked at the other two fillies, a worried tone in her voice. "Then does that mean that we could get as old as him and never get our cutie marks?”
“I don’t know.” Church snapped irritably. “I didn’t even know what a ‘cutie mark’ was until yesterday. What makes them so freaking important?”
“What makes them important?” Sweetie Bell hollered incredulously. “Without a Cutie mark, yall never know why ya really are!”
“I know who I am.” Church shook his head violently. “And I don’t need some stupid picture on my ass to tell me.”
The three fillies stared at him, their mouths open in shock, before Scootaloo turned to the others.
“Come on, crusaders. This pony’s a nut-job.”
Church shook his head as the three fillies trotted past him, through the living room and out the front door.
“Kids.” He muttered, before sighing and returning to his seat.
“Man, I need a drink.” Church mumbled, wondering when Big Mac would return with the Cider.
As it turned out, he didn't need to wait long. The red stallion returned less than two minutes later, carrying a tray laden with a pyrimad of mugs stacked three-high on his back.
'Woah. How'd he stack them like that?' Church mused as he stared at the pile of drinks. "This is gonna be a good day."
"Eeyup." Big Mac replied, trotting past him into the kitchen, and then continuing through into a small dining room.
Church once again stood up, and followed him through.
The stallion expertly slid the tray off his back and onto the table, before stepping to the side and gesturing for Church to take a mug.
“See if it fits ya tastes.” He grinned.
Church briefly pondered why Big Mac would be so happy to share what he had worked hard for with a random stranger. What was up with this place? No-one behaved like they should – well, actually, that was already clear. Horses weren’t supposed to talk.
He stepped up to the table rearing up on his hind legs and grasping the top mug between his hooves.
As Church slowly eased himself back down, taking care not to spill the drink, he noticed Big Mac raise an eyebrow – although why he couldn’t tell. Maybe the colt had noticed his lack of a cutie mark.
Shrugging it off, Church awkwardly maneuvered the mug to his lips, and took a small swig.
He paused, savouring the tang of citrus, and the ‘burning’ presence of alcohol, before glancing at Big Mac.
“Uh… Thanks, I guess.” Church cringed internally at the sentiment. He wasn’t normally in a position that required thanking anybody. “I… really…”
He cut himself off. There was no need to tell Big Mac how much he needed this – and the stallion seemed to prefer silence anyway.
Noting that he had created a slight air of awkwardness, Church took another swig, this one much larger than the first.
“Oh man. That’s the stuff.”
Ponyville Town Square:
Twilight looked up at the sun. It was past midday, but no later than early afternoon. They still had four hours or so to find Church before Celestia dropped the sun below the horizon.
“Wait.” Twilight suddenly spoke to herself, before continuing the thought in her head.
‘I’ve only been searching for half an hour. I’m sure I can find him before that. Why am I thinking so long term?’
She looked around. The midday crowd that normally populated the square was thinning out, giving her longer lines of sight – although by now Church had probably moved to somewhere else in Ponyville.
“What am I thinking?” Twilight muttered to herself. “If he’s left the square, it could take me hours to find him!”
Her head whipped around frantically. This was her fault. She’d left Church at the library, and then she’d actually sent Rainbow Dash to talk to him. What was wrong with her? She was screwing up everything.
Continuing her furtive search, Twilight spotted Spike talking to Applejack at her stall. She knew better than to hope Spike had any leads – because if he did, then he would have come and told her immediately, but maybe Applejack would have some good advice.
With that in mind, Twilight hastily cantered over to the stall, a weak smile on her face.
“Hey Applejack. How’s business?”
Applejack turned to look at her. “Howdy, Twilight. Business is fine, thank ya kindly.” She smiled. “I was just talking to Spike here.”
“Oh yeah.” Twilight shifted from side to side. “You know that pony from the hospital? Well, I’ve kinda lo-”
“He’s at Sweet Apple Acres.” Spike cut in unscrupulously.
“-st him.” Twilight finished, before she registered what Spike had just said. “Wait, what? Spike!” She turned to look at him. “Why didn’t you come tell me?”
“Because I didn’t think it was important any-more!” Spike raised both of his hands, as if in defence.
“Why wouldn’t it be import-” Twilight was once again cut off, this time by Applejack.
“Hold ya horses there, Twilight” She placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “You’re worrying yaself over nothing. I sent Church back with Big Mac to get some food. Poor fella was starving.”
‘Right, I left him alone, I sent Rainbow to talk to him, and I forgot to feed him. Great.’ The thought coursed through her head. A small afterthought tried to add that Spike had also ran off and left him alone when he was supposed to be watching him, but she ignored it.
Twilight shook her head from side-to-side, even as Spike continued to defend himself.
“Yeah, that’s why it didn’t seem important. Church is fine.”
“I...” She looked down at her hooves. “I’ve been worrying myself silly over nothing.”
“Like always.” Spike muttered to Applejack, who gave a curt nod.
Sweet Apple Acres:
Church looked at his mug glumly – his third.
It was definitely hard cider. The buzz of alcohol was unmistakable, and yet Church wasn’t satisfied. It would take quite a few more before the alcohol could really take hold.
Big Mac was sitting next to him, his face sombre as he nursed his second mug. Church didn’t know the stallion, or understand how his mind worked, but it seemed readily apparent that Big Mac had something to forget as well.
Church looked back down at his mug again, drained it in one swig, and then retrieved another from what had been the pyramid, which was now missing its top cup, the middle four, and one from the base of nine.
Eight more cups for them to put way. This stuff was so light on the alcohol that Church still wasn’t sure that would be enough. He wasn’t even buzzed enough to transgress into the ‘sad/happy/angry’ phase. It had been so long that Church didn’t even know which kind he was.
“Thanks.” He mumbled to Big Mac, an ever so slight ‘tilt’ on his voice. “I haven’t had a drink in… So long…”
“Eeyup.” Big Mac drawled slowly, before draining half of what remained in his mug. “Ah reckon yall got some things ya need to fo’get.”
“’bservant.” Church noted. “You too, huh?”
“I don’t think this stuff’s gonna be enough. Do you?”
Church sipped at his mug. “How ‘bout this. We slow it down, finish of this stuff, and then head out for some real booze.”
Big Mac pursed his lips, looking pensive. “Bars won’t be open fer a while.”
“That’s why we slow it down.” Church took another sip.
“’kay then.” Big Mac took another drink, not mentioning that it was only Church that had to slow down.
Church nodded, looking down at his mug yet again.
He could really do with a nice plain beer.
Ponyville Town Square:
Twilight sighed as she stroked her mane with one hoof, smoothing a few stray hairs back down. “Ugh. This was a bad idea. What am I going to do?”
“Now why would ya say that?” Applejack smiled as another customer approached, two bits held in his magical aura.
“Because everything’s going wrong.” Twilight grimaced. “Church is so strange… he’s so angry, I mean, look at what happened with Rainbow!”
“Yer surprised that Rainbow and somepony didn’t get along?” Applejack gestured at one of the many apples adorning the stall, which her customer gladly took, depositing the two bits in its place.
“I didn’t think it would turn out like this.” Twilight gave another little sigh. “Maybe I should just send Church to Canterlot, and let the princess handle him.”
“Now hold up there.” Applejack placed her full attention on Twilight. “That aint fair, Twi. Church and Dash jus’ don’t get along. It happens. Ya can’t just give up and send him away jus' ‘cause he’s a little strange.”
Twilight looked away. “But… he dodges all my questions. He doesn’t talk.”
“And? That’s all part o’ the fun. Some ponies are jus’ like that. They’ve got stuff they jus’ don’t wanna talk about. Remember when ya first came to Ponyville? Yall were the only one ready t' give Zecora a chance. Same with Princess Luna. Why can'tcha do that again with Church?”
Twilight’s face showed that she still wasn’t convinced – eliciting an irritated sigh from Spike as Applejack continued.
“Listen. If it bothers ya that much, why don’tcha let ‘im stay over at the ranch for the night? Ya can think things over and come find ‘im in the mornin’.”
“Yeah. Sure.” Twilight sighed yet again. “I need time to clear my head anyway.”
She looked up at the sun as it steadily made it’s way through the sky, starting to dip low for the evening.
“Now ah’m sorry, Twi, but I gotta pack things up. It’s getting late.” Applejack continued, stepping back from her stall, which now had less than a dozen apples on display.
“Sure." Twilight turned to go. "I’ll see you in the morning, Applejack. Good luck with Church.”
“Ah’m sure he’ll be no trouble ‘tall.” Applejack replied confidently.
“Uh-huh.” Twilight gave Applejack deadpan look, followed by a forced smile. “Thanks for the advice, AJ. Come on Spike. Let’s go home.”
“Finally!” Spike exclaimed, oblivious to Twilight’s mood. “I’m hungry!”
Sweet Apple Acres:
Church sighed into his empty mug. There was only one more on the table, and without a doubt it was Big Mac’s. He had worked his way to the bottom of eight mugs, while big Mac was still moving through his fifth.
As if the red stallion had read Church’s mind, Big Mac wordlessly reached forward, pushing the mug towards Church.
Church looked from the mug, and then to Big Mac.
“Seriously.” He droned, his voice slightly slurred. “What is it with you pe… pe… po…” He paused. “Uhh… Ponies. Yeah." He cleared his throat. "What is it with you ponies? You keep doing shit for everyone else. Why?”
Big Mac shrugged. “Just ‘cause.” There was barely any slur to his voice. This cider was really light on the alcohol. It was a good thing ponies had large stomachs, or Church would have been bloated with how much he’d drunk.
“No… no… Not ‘just ‘cause’.” Church muttered. “I’m in the freaking military. My entire fucking job is to shoot at people.” He paused as Big Mac raised a confused eyebrow, but then foraged on. “And apparently, you ponies don’t even know what a gun is. I…” He stopped, looking at Big Mac.
“I just don’t get it. Why… Why help others? That’s not what we do. Humans aren’t… aren’t like that.”
“Hoo-mans?” The stallion replied.
“Ah, forget it.” Church pushed the mug back to Big Mac. “’Sun's going down anyway. Bars’ll be open soon.” He mumbled. “So why not give the whole ‘sharing’ thing a try? Never have before.”
Without questioning Church’s heel-face turn, Big Mac accepted the mug, quickly finishing of his fifth one to move onto the newcomer.
Church gave a little sigh, and stood up. “Listen, I’m gonna take a quick walk, you know. Just outside. ‘s that okay?”
“Cool.” He replied curtly. “When you’re done with that, you know, let’s hit the town. I’m ready for some fun for once.”
Big Mac had no reply as Church walked out of the room. He simply remained where he was, sipping at the Cider.
Church trotted back through the living room, presenting his shoulder the front door of the house/barn in order to push it open, only to have the door open just before he reached it.
“Woah, hold up there partner!” Applejack took a step back as Church nearly barged into her. “Whatcha doing leaving in such a hurry?”
“Huh?” Church stumbled to a stop. “Oh, I’m just going for a walk…” He smiled. “Before me and Big Mac go out and hit the town."
The very thought made Church happy. Finally, after years of monotony, he would be doing something fun.
“Hitting the town, eh?” Applejack raised an eyebrow. “We’ll see about that.”
Church smiled uneasily as the mare barged past him, walking through to the dinning room to talk with her brother.
“Hah.” He laughed weakly. ‘I wonder if Big Mac’s whipped by his sister.’
Leaving the two to what was probably going to be a very one sided argument, Church trotted out through the door.
The sun was dropping below the horizon, painting the sky a brilliant crimson. Of course, Church’s first thought was that he preferred the sky when it was blue.
“Just wha’ do you think yer doin’, Big Macintosh…” Applejack scowled. “Going out and ‘hittin’ the town’?”
Big Mac shrugged.
“Nah-uh.” The orange mare shook her head. “I’m not lettin’ you two leave until ya tell me why.”
“Church needs a drink.” The red stallion spoke simply.
“More than that.”
“He’s feelin’ down.”
“More than that.”
Big Mac sighed.
“He’s actin’ all sad, and he’s talkin’ about these things called ‘hoo-mans’.”
“So why are y’all goin’ out on the town?”
“’cause he really needs it.” Big Mac’s mask of neutrality twitched in a frown. He couldn’t understand why Applejack was being so stubborn.
“Really needs it?” Applejack peered at her brother, giving a little sigh as he returned the gaze.
The mare’s face fell as she observed nothing short of the straight truth in Big Mac’s gaze.
“That much? Maybe Twi does have her hooves full.”
“Maybe.” Big Mac grasped his mug, downing the last of the cider. “Kin we go then?”
“Just keep ‘im outta trouble.” Applejack frowned. “Ah mean it. Ya think ya can do that?”
“Eeyup.” Big Mac smiled as he stood up. It was time to go get a drink.
Walking out through the kitchen – and then the living room – Big Mac smiled broadly. He hadn’t had a proper beer in months. It wasn’t like Ponyville had a lively nightlife.
Church was just outside, only thirty feet from the barn with his gaze fixed firmly on the sky as the last vestiges of light faded.
The cobalt stallion looked down, breaking his apparent staring contest with the first star of the night as Big Mac approached.
“We good to go?”
“Then let’s go. I would kill for a beer right damn now.” Church motioned for the red stallion to take the lead.
Big Macintosh raised an eyebrow as they started walking. This pony kept talking about violence in such a casual way. Where was he from?
The Blue Parasprite:
“The Blue… Parasprite?” Church cocked an eyebrow, before looking at Big Mac.
“The Blue Parasprite.” He replied simply, walking towards the door.
“The first part’s great, but what the hell is a Parasprite?”
The Stallion’s only reply was to push the door open with his hoof, exposing a reasonably lit bar.
Church stepped through the door, surprised. His vague memories from the Director seemed to recall much seedier establishments, most of them obscured by low lighting. This bar, however, had fairly standard lighting, with clean tables and even a piano in the corner.
That didn’t really matter, though. All that mattered was that the place served booze.
“Fuck yeah!” Church exclaimed. “And just as I was loosing my buzz!”
The Blue Parasprite:
Church trotted over to the bar, sitting at one of the stools as Big Mac stopped to give a short hello to one of the other bar patrons.
The barkeep as he walked over, casually sliding a mug of beer to one of the other customers as he did so.
“What’ll it be?”
“Beer.” Church immediately exclaimed, barely able to contain his uncharacteristic enthusiasm.
“Any in particular?” The stallion reached under the bar-top, producing a large mug.
“Just any.” Church glanced over his shoulder briefly as Big Mac joined them. “So long as it’s beer.”
“Sure thing.” The keeper placed the mug under an old-fashioned beer tap, and filled it to the brim. “That’ll be three bits.”
“Yeah su-” Church faltered as he reached for the drink. “Wait, what the hell is a bit?”
“Put it on mah tab.” Big Mac cut in, saving an unwitting Church from what would have been a very unforgiving argument over why currency was referred to as ‘bits’.
“What… Oh.” Church arched an eyebrow at Big Mac, who merely shrugged. The amount of generosity these ponies had was insane.
“Uh… Thanks.” It was against his better judgement to accept the gift. It was another thing he owed these ponies, and Church didn’t like owing anyone.
Satisfied that he would be getting paid, the barcolt placed the mug in front of Church, who immediately chugged half of the glass.
“Oh my god.” Church gasped as the liquid seared his throat, plonking the mug back down on the bench. “That is awesome.”
Big Mac grunted in response, sitting down next to him and motioning for a beer.
Church picked up the mug again, pouring the remaining contents straight down his throat, before once again returning it to the bench and gesturing at the barcolt for another.
“Buzz restored.” He spoke cheerily. “Now let’s get this show on the road.”
“Eeyup.” Big Mac nodded as they were both provided with beer. Then , too Church’s surprise, he drained his entire mug.
“Lead by example, eh?” Church tossed back his own mug, before grinning. “I like it. Hey! Two more over here!”
“So…” Big Mac gave a little hiccup. “Wha’s on yer mind?”
Church looked down at mug number four. His ‘buzz’ had died pretty quickly, replaced by a melancholy glumness. The two had been content too drink in silence – although the red stallion had been moving at a far faster pace. He was already on mug five.
Big Mac didn’t change much when he was drunk – which he clearly was. Five mugs of beer tended to cause that – even if this beer was a little low in the alcohol content. Was that a thing here? Did everything only have 75% of the alcohol it should have?
“Well?” Big Mac pressed. On that note; He was a little different when he was drunk – slightly more talkative. Slightly.
“Ugh.” Church rolled his shoulders. “It’s just… this… this whole… thing…” He weakly tried to dodge the question, knowing full well that it wouldn’t work.
“Eeyup.” The red stallion drawled, somehow managing to fasten a point onto the word.
“I… uhh…” Church stopped to take another swig. Beer = Awesome. “I… well… I shouldn’t exactly… be here.”
“Really?” Mac’s voice didn’t change, but his body language showed interest.
“You know.” Church poked himself in the chest. “I shouldn’t be… a pony. A horse. Whatever.” He sighed. “And I shouldn’ be here… in… Ponyville.” He cringed mentally ever so slightly at the corny name.
“How so?” Big Mac took another drink. He really needed to slow down.
“I’d… rather…” Church looked around the booth that they had shifted to. “I don’t really want to, you know… talk about it.”
“Won’t git better wi’out talkin’ ‘bout it.” Mac took yet another drink, emptying out the glass.
“It’s not really som’ing that you can just talk ‘bout.” Church’s slurred speech had nothing on the red stallion’s. “Wha’bout you? You seem like you’re tryin’ to forget som’ing.”
“Jus’ mah parents.”
“Yeah.” Big Mac accepted another mug of beer from the barcolt, who was carrying a sympathetic frown on his face. “Nex’ week’s the ann’versary of when… Uhh…”
“Oh.” Church looked away, realising through his haze that he was treading on shaky ground. “How…?”
“Li’le Applebloom was only a couple month’s ol’.” Mac’s voice was strained. Church was sure that he would never have been this quick to talk about it if he hadn’t chugged five beers already. “An’ mah mom… she wa’so tired. Never really recovered from the birth.”
“Right…” Church frowned sympathetically, suddenly sliding his own beer over to Macintosh as the stallion downed the sixth mug. He was the one paying, after all “Here.”
Big Mac nodded. “So… one morn’, she jus’ di’n wake up. Dad could’n take I’. Had a hear’ attack two days later.”
“Uhh…” Church coughed as the farm pony tossed back the seventh mug. “I’m… sorry?”
“All ‘n th’ pas’.” Big Mac replied solemnly, his attempt to blow it off in no way convincing Church. The stallion’s eyes were red. He looked like he was about to cry.
‘Hell. Give him a few beers and you get his life story.’ The cyan unicorn looked down at his hooves. ‘And I’m just a glum drunk.’
It didn’t take Church long to realise that Big Mac had fallen asleep, slumping over the small pile of mugs in front of him. Work hard, rest hard.
He sighed, waving away the bartender as he approached with another drink. “No. Drunk enough I’m ‘tis.” He allowed the garbled phrase to flop out of his unresponsive mouth, more to illustrate the point than anything else.
Nevertheless, the barcolt still left the mug in front of him. “It’s already poured, just make it your last.”
How responsible of him.
And so Church sat there, staring at the red stallion that had paid for his booze and then almost cried to him over his lost parents. It was slightly comforting to know that this creepy place wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
He slowly reached out for the last mug. His vision was taking the final steps into seeing double, so making this his last was probably a good idea.
Rather than chug it, Church simply sipped at the mug, gazing at his own yellow reflection in the surface.
This had not been what he’d hoped for. He’d hoped to forget his problems, and look for some happiness in the bottom of each mug. Everything always looks better in your head.
Instead, he’d gotten buzzed, gotten drunk, gotten depressed, and then half assed a job of consoling the red mountain that was snoring across from him.
“Yall look mighty sad.”
Church gave a little start with surprise, his reaction time suffering considerably from the alcohol in his system.
He turned his attention to Applejack, who he could swear had materialised out of nothing.
With her was Twilight, who looked less than impressed, and for some reason, the other unicorn, Rarity.
He hesitated, before looking back down at the beer. “Yeah? So what?”
“Just wondering why.”
“I don’t need to tell everyone my life story.” Church took another sip of beer. “Everyone has things they want to forget.”
“Sure they do-” Applejack was cut off by a rather irritated Twilight.
“What are you doing here?” She snapped. Why, Church didn’t really know. He hadn’t actually done anything wrong.
“Weren’t you listening?” Church chuckled grimly. “Just trying to forget.”
“That’s my business.” Church replied curtly. “The no questions rule is still in place.”
“I don’t follow your rules. I follow the princesses’ rules, like everypony else.” Twilight bristled.
“Please, Sparkle.” Church frown deepened. “I’ve gone through a lot worse than some pissed off… Mare. I could seriously give a fuck about your damn rules.”
Twilight looked like she was ready to slap him, before she suddenly de-escalated, taking a step back and looking down.
“Sorry. I’m sure you’ve been through… something…”
Disarmed and surprised by the sudden change, Church simply looked at her in confusion.
‘Why are all these ponies so fucking nice?!’
“I say, darling.” Rarity looked at the assorted pile of mugs. “You’ve really had quite a lot.”
“And it still isn’t enough.” Church grumbled. “I think Big Mac got what he wanted, though.”
“Come on.” Applejack walked over to her brother and started to shake him awake. “Time to head home.”
“Ugh.” Church grunted as he stumbled through the door. “Big Mac is freaking heavy.”
“Eeeeeeeeeeyyyyyuuuuuuup.” The pony in question drawled out slowly.
It took both Church and Applejack to support the large stallion, who was far to intoxicated to stand up on his own four legs.
Through his own drunken haze, Church could still question how an animal with four legs would be unable to walk. There was no need for balance.
“What time is it?” Church grunted as they slowly made their way up the darkened street.
“Nearly midnight.” Twilight responded, her voice containing none of the harsh snap from earlier. By this point, Church was too drunk and too confused to really care.
“Late, huh?” Church grit his teeth as they continued walking. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
The five lapsed into silence as the slowly plodded through the darkened streets, before Church suddenly broke the silence.
“Man…” He slurred. “This place is pretty dark. No lights. Is it ever dangerous?”
“Not really.” Rarity answered. “Ponyville is a wonderfully docile place – save for Pinkie Pie, of course.”
Church still had no clue why Rarity was there. In fact, he couldn’t think of a single reason why she had come along.
“Why-” He began, before he was cut off by a large stallion stepping out in front of them, a strange horse shoe with an attached knife pointing at them.
Clearly, he thought that with the biggest pony present in a drunken stupor, he could pull something.
“Your bits.” He spat the words out. “Hand ‘em o-”
“Yeah.” Church didn’t wait for the mugger to finish. “No fuckin’ way.”
He stepped forwards, allowing Big Mac to drop to the ground, and raised one hoof.
The mugger raised an eyebrow. Ponies weren’t familiar with the concept of ‘punching’.
“Hey, get back.” He barked. “Back, or I’ll cut you!”
“Shu’ the fuck up.” Church brought the hoof back, and then slammed it into the colt’s face, dropping him to the ground.
“Yeah!” Church slurred, dropping his hoof just in time to stumble two steps to the left. “Don’ mess wi’ a soldier, bitch!”
He turned back to the three startled mares and one drunken stallion. The two unicorn’s horns had lit up, even though it was no longer necessary.
“Hah!” He laughed, mostly at the surprised look on their faces. “Docile my ass!”
The UNSC Archives:
Carolina’s gun swung around in an arc, spraying a steady stream of bullets into the room.
Two men dropped to the ground instantly, their visors shattered by the onslaught of bullets.
“Oh fuck!” Grif shouted as the bullet-storm flying above his head doubled in intensity, before stopping abruptly.
Slowly, he removed his hands from his head – despite the fact that they weren’t blocking any of the loud racket anyway – and got up from behind the crate.
Carolina was standing in the middle of the room, holding an assault riffle in each hand, looking at the collection of UNSC soldiers in the room – all of which were dead.
“Woah.” Grif picked up the Epsilon Unit, and whistled. “Holy Crap. How did you do that?”
Carolina turned to him, but didn’t say anything. The angry glare that was her visor conveyed the message well enough.
“Right.” Grif cringed away slightly, shifting the Epsilon Unit in front of his crotch. “Sorry.”
“Just get the unit.”
Twilight sat at the table, gazing blankly at the wall as her coffee slowly cooled down.
She whistled absently. For the most part, she was waiting for Church to wake up.
Today was ‘the day’. She was going to be nice and tolerant. She was going to bear everything Church did with a smile and a good attitude, and if that didn’t make him more receptive, then nothing would.
She whistled absently. How long could that stallion sleep in? Did alcohol have an effect on sleep patterns? She’d never been in a position to find out.
Spike waved a hand in front of Twilight’s face, jolting her from her reverie.
“Twilight, you okay?”
“Huh?” Twilight shook her head. “Yeah, why?”
“You were kinda… just staring off into space.” Spike raised an eyebrow. “Everything alright?”
“Just thinking.” Twilight replied with a grin. If she was going to be nice today, then why not be nice to everyone?
“Uhh… huh…” Spike frowned. “You didn’t add anything to that coffee, did you?”
“No Spike.” Twilight pursed her lips. “I’m just going to try and be extra nice today, and see if I can’t make a breakthrough with Church!”
“Righ…” Spike lifted up his feather-duster once again. “Good luck with that. I’ve got actual stuff to do.
The UNSC Archives:
“Come on!” Carolina barked. “Move it!”
“I’m moving, I’m moving!” Grif complained, Slowly jogging behind the Cyan soldier. “Damn!”
“I said, hurry up!” The Freelancer snapped. “Before more of them arrive!”
“Come on, Grif.” Simmons’ voice crackled over the radio. “The sooner you get out here, the sooner you can have some Oreos.”
Grif didn’t acknowledge the comment, but he did manage to speed up a little bit. “Can’t believe I’m always the one that has to go through this crap.”
“I’m sure Church is working just as hard to get out again.” Simmons assured him.
A lot of pain.
“Oh my god…” Church brought his hoof up to his head – which only served to cause more pain on contact. "Ow! Bitch!"
He rolled over in his bed, letting out a hoarse groan to match the springs in the mattress.
“Fuuuuuuuck…” The curse erupted from his lips. “Holy shit. Soooo… muuuuch… beeeeeeer…”
"Yeah." Panted Grif as he desperately tried to keep pace with Carolina. "I guess."
"Come on." Carolina repeated, now with slightly less bite to her voice. "We're nearly there."
"God you're pathetic." She muttered under her breath.