"Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food." ~Austin O'Malley
"Twilight!" Rainbow Dash burst through the second story window of the Ponyville library.
"Twilight!" She landed in a huff, folding her wings and knocking a few books off a shelf.
Twilight Sparkle looked up from the open book on her desk, a displeased scowl on her face. She levitated the books back into their rightful, alphabetized positions.
"Sorry!” Rainbow Dash panted. "But I need your help, it's really important!"
"I really hope this is important, Dash," her horn glowing as she lifted a glass of orange juice up to her mouth.
"If it's another trick, it'll have to wait until later."
"No, it's nothing like that. There's, there's-"
"Twilight!" Applejack busted through the front door, Rarity in suit. "Dash is ‘bout to get herself kil-" she stopped.
"Oh, heh heh, howdy there, sugarcube."
"Rainbow Dash, what in Equestria is going on?" Twilight asked.
Rainbow took a deep breath.
"Okay, I was showing Applejack and Rarity this new trick I was working on," she explained. "When this lightning bolt struck the Everfree forest."
"There's not a cloud in the sky," Twilight closed her book, obviously more interested in what was going on now.
"I know!" Rainbow Dash cried. As Ponyville's weather-pony, it was very significant whenever a weather-related anomaly occurred.
"A few minutes later, there was more noise coming from the forest," Rarity interjected. "And then dear Rainbow Dash flew off to see what it was."
"So, what was all that there commotion, anyhow?" Applejack looked at Rainbow Dash.
"I-I," Dash stuttered. "Listen, we don't have very much time. I don't know what it is, but it's hurt! He asked for my help, so I flew here as fast as I could."
"He?" Rarity imagined a colt in distress, and seeing herself nurse it back to health in a romantic fantasy.
"No!" Dash squashed Rarity's daydream. "It's not a pony, I don't know what it is."
"Is it dangerous?" Twilight stood out of her chair. Rainbow Dash thought back to the crash site. It seemed to have a weapon of some sort, and it killed a manticore. Obviously in self-defense. But that means that yes, it was indeed dangerous. But Rainbow Dash didn't want to risk her friends not wanting to help because they may be afraid of that creature.
"No," Rainbow Dash lied. "No, he's perfectly harmless. Now he's going to bleed to death if we don't go help him!"
"Alright, alright!" Twilight shushed Rainbow Dash. "Go get Fluttershy. She tends to injured animals, see if she's got some medical supplies. Applejack, Rarity, come with me. Meet us at Everfree Forest."
"Alright, see you there, but hurry!" Rainbow Dash, in a frantic state of mind, darted out the window.
A cool breeze blew through the forest, the smell of blood and injury wafting up from a clearing. The rider drifted in and out of consciousness. He was able to see where he originally landed, a dried, brown stain where his precious blood had been spilled. In his spot, next to his bike, a new puddle of rusty, living fluid was forming.
He spent his time while he was deliriously conscious studying a face, frozen in pain for all eternity, of the predator that almost made him its meal. The rider’s vision was not focused, making it hard to point out key features around him.
His situation still wasn't looking any better, but it wouldn’t be much longer now. He had bled too much, he should have spent his energy trying to stop the bleeding, not lifting up his bike.
Surprisingly, he wasn't any longer afraid of death. In fact, he was accepting it. For some reason, he found himself thinking extremely positively. It was nice, knowing he was finally about to get away from everything, and just have some peace.
He thought of his past. Growing up. Going to school. Getting drunk with his friends. Getting arrested. Visiting his mother at the hospital. Visiting his father… at the state penitentiary. There were some things he tried not to think about, but burned in the front of his head like a hot ember.
They still echoed in his mind, even on the verge of death. It truly was something he’d carry to the grave.
He tried not to think about that, focusing on more positive events in his life.
The rider sighed, closing his eyes. He must have been hallucinating when he saw that flying miniature horse. But the manticore was still present, there was no hallucinating that. Maybe when they found his body, he'd be credited with discovering a new species named after him.
His eyes rolled back into his head, unable to breathe for a moment, and then his lungs resumed pumping oxygen into his bloodstream, each breath more strained than the last. His airways felt constricted with blood, he was sick of blood at this point. He could taste it, smell it, feel it, and now he breathed it. Just how much did he have inside him? How much longer was it going to take before he would just bleed to death?
His Glock 23 was still in his hand. He stared down at it, dark thoughts coming to mind. The rider contemplated putting the muzzle to his head and ending his suffering quick and painlessly.
He had no idea what lay beyond death. What if you get damned for all eternity just for committing suicide? What if you get a suite at the Marriott if you just die a natural death?
The young biker watched the clouds rolling overhead. He'd wait it out. He'd die with dignity, no matter how much it hurt. He would peacefully bear whatever pain was left and die a good old fashioned, natural death. For now, he closed his eyes and tried to wait for death calmly. The rider listened to the birds calling, the wind blowing, the leaves falling, the hooves upon hard dirt...
Maybe he wasn't hallucinating earlier.
"It's just up ahead!" Rainbow Dash led on. All five ponies were able to smell the scorched earth from where the lightning struck. It had created a clearing, knocking down several trees and burning everything around it in an instant.
And there, huddled up against a strange, two-wheeled contraption, lay a motionless body.
Fluttershy let out a yelp of fear, and ducked behind Applejack and Twilight. "Look!"
Not even ten feet from whatever came out of the lightning bolt, was the corpse of a full-grown manticore. Its face looked like it had caved in several places. Splatters of fresh and dried blood caked the ground.
"It ain't alive no more," Applejack drew closer to it and sniffed. "Hoo-wee, that's for sure."
Fluttershy remained a nervous wreck. She had never been around this much blood, death, and suffering before.
"Twilight, he's not moving!" Rainbow Dash flew just above the rider.
"Fluttershy," Twilight turned around. "I don't know any healing spells I could use on this, um, never mind." She looked towards the rider.
"You need to patch him up. Rarity and I will carry him back to Nurse Redheart. But you need to be brave."
Fluttershy squeezed her eyes shut and nodded. Twilight stepped around the blood and scorch marks on the ground, making her way over to the injured creature Rainbow Dash was so bent on saving.
It was big. Bigger than any pony, but not Big Macintosh. It lay motionless on the ground, clutching a black, metal object that ergonomically fit its hand.
There was a large gash on its chest that ripped through its jacket, it was literally drenched in it's own blood. Still, it very weakly breathed in and out. Twilight slowly bent down and looked right into where the rider's eyes should be, his mirror visor reflecting only her gaze. She gently tapped him with her hoof.
There was no response.
She tapped him again, softy shaking his head.
"Hey, can you hear me?"
The rider drifted back into consciousness.
"Hey!" A gentle, female voice echoed. "Can you hear me? Are you okay?"
He opened his eyes. Vivid purple ones returned his gaze.
There was not enough blood in his veins for him to stay awake, let alone stay alive, for much longer. The rider murmured incoherently before losing consciousness and drifting back off.
"Twilight, what do you want us to do?" Rarity raised an eyebrow. Twilight and her friends anxiously stood around the dying biker. She took a moment to form a plan in her head.
"Fluttershy, stop the bleeding. Everypony else, keep an eye out for more monsters. I don't want to get snuck up on."
Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash nodded, keeping watch as the yellow pegasus tended to the biker's wounds.
"Oh goodness, this is really bad," Fluttershy pressed bandages into the biker's worst wounds, applying pressure and stopping the bleeding. The rider's breathing became more stable, but still constricted.
"I've done what I can," she wiped blood from her hooves.
"Rarity, help me carry this guy and his stuff out of here," Twilight nodded.
Rarity approached the rider’s vehicle. It had been damaged in the crash, and several areas were as badly burned as the rider himself. A peculiar, winged symbol was branded onto each side of the gas tank. Some of it had been scraped off in the crash, but in bold, white lettering, it unmistakably read "Honda."
Two horns began to glow as they worked together to gently levitate the rider and his strange, metal steed. Applejack picked up the black tool, giving it a cursory examination. She shrugged and put it in her saddlebags.
"We don't have much time, hurry up!" Rainbow Dash cried.
"Rainbow Dash, if you could just be a dear," Rarity struggled to keep the biker and his street machine aloft. "We kind of need to concentrate."
Rainbow Dash kept quiet and allowed the two unicorns to do their work. It was dark by the time they reached Nurse Redheart's clinic, but she saw him just the same as any other pony. They left the two-wheeled monster outside, leaning up against a wall, completely oblivious of the kickstand. Carefully, Rarity and Twilight levitated the rider into the infirmary. The mattresses were much too small for him, so they had to extend the length by using another bed frame.
Twilight set him down on the two infirmary beds. The rider exhibited not a sign of life, except for a faint breath every now and then. She undid the strap that kept his helmet on, and slowly slid it off his head.
He looked young. His face was not covered by hair or fur. Well, not completely. He had a short stubble of facial hair on his chin and the top of its head. His skin was slightly tanned, and he had chiseled features. The rider's eyes remained shut, several dried trails of blood led from open wounds on his face.
The five ponies, and Nurse Readheart, gathered around the alien creature. "So, eh heh heh," Nurse Readheart scratched the back of her head.
"What is it?"
"We don't know," Rainbow Dash sighed. The rider was in a deep, blood-loss induced sleep.
"I've only practiced medicine on ponies, but I'll do my best," said Nurse Redheart.
"Could I have some help removing the armor he's wearing?"
Twilight nodded, and softly lifted the rider up in the air. Fluttershy crouched in the corner, watching in fear and curiosity. She had never seen anything hurt that badly before.
Rarity hurriedly unzipped the jacket. She and applejack worked together to remove it while Twilight carefully kept him aloft. Out of a side pocket, a small, metal object fell with a clang.
"What was that?" Fluttershy pricked up her ears as she walked over to the source of the noise.
She picked it up with her mouth and set it on the table for everypony to see.
It was a small, heart shaped medal, attached to a piece of purple ribbon with a pin on the back. It had been stained in the biker's blood and was slightly burnt as well. The medal itself had a golden outline, with the silhouette of one of the same creatures as the biker, sporting an interesting hairstyle, against a purple background.
Even Nurse Redheart looked at it in awe. It caught Rarity's eye.
"Ooh, that's a stylish pendant. I wonder where he got it?"
"Girls, Ah really don't think it's respectful ta' be goin through this thing's stuff," Applejack chimed in.
"Oh, just a second, I just want to get a good look at it," said Rarity as she picked it up with her magic. When she turned it over, she noticed an engraved description. Rarity quickly read the engraving, her expression suddenly looking very puzzled, even guilty.
The unicorn looked at the unconscious beast on twin hospital beds. Occasionally, he would twitch, but he hadn't said a word since they'd found him. Perhaps there was more to him than meets the eye.
"What did it say, Rarity?" Fluttershy asked. She looked at the medal, then the five faces eyeing her closely.
"Um," Rarity levitated the medal back into the creature’s jacket, zipping it up in a pocket. "I really do think Applejack is right, perhaps it is a bit rude to be snooping around his things while he's incapacitated."
"In-ca-pa-sa-what, now?" Rainbow Dash snorted.
"Hmph. Never mind."
Fluttershy and Nurse Readheart removed his black T-Shirt, ripped and bloodstained identically to his jacket. Across the creature's chest were the bandages they had affixed earlier. Nurse Readheart noticed a peculiar round scar on his right shoulder, there even appeared to be stitch marks around it. Based on her medical experience, they looked relatively fresh. The stitch marks couldn’t have been more than a year old. She shrugged it off and continued bandaging his wounds and burns.
Twilight removed his gloves, and set them next to the jacket lying up against the wall. She almost tried to sneak a peak at what the inscription said, but figured it wouldn't be worth it, she didn't want her friends to think she was nosy. She'd find out eventually.
The boots the rider wore were designed for racing. A lip of hard rubber and kevlar rose above the ankle almost halfway up the biker's knee. They were difficult to pull off, especially when they were trying not to hurt him. Rainbow Dash and Applejack tugged each boot off as Twilight held the rider in place. After a little bit of elbow grease, they both slipped off.
"Blech." Rainbow Dash stuck her tongue out. "Smells worse than that manticore."
With all the creature’s protective gear off, a tall, alien biped was laying in a deep sleep. Its major wounds were bandaged, but there was still a lot of skin exposed. The creature had smooth, slightly tanned skin. No fur, no scales. Just skin. It was just odd to those not quite used to seeing anything like it.
"Now, it's getting quite late," Nurse Redheart motioned to the doors. "I'll keep an eye on him, and I'll let you know what happens, when it does."
The five ponies parted ways for the evening. Twilight was still trying to figure out what the creature was. He seemed to have a lot of advanced technology on him, as well as that two-wheeled carriage. Celestia was on a several day leave to Fillydelphia, it would be days before she could be contacted regarding creature they had just brought to town. For now, she would try to identify it on her own. There were already several books in her mind that may hold the answer.
Rarity was dwelling on what the medal in the biker's pocket symbolized. Applejack was still a bit paranoid. As she walked back to the farm, she contemplated the dead manticore, and how the rider had managed to fend it off, even while severely injured. Could something like that be dangerous? Of course, for all she knew, it could have been the manticore that caused some of his injuries.
Fluttershy was losing her marbles after all the blood and torment she’d seen today. She had never seen anything so badly hurt, the pain and suffering that creature felt must have been unbearable! And while Fluttershy would never hurt a fly, it appeared as though he defended himself from a manticore, successfully, too. It made her very nervous of the day that creature would wake up, if it wakes up.
Rainbow dash flew though the night sky. She wasn't ready to turn in; she had too much on her mind. Seeing the blood-soaked rider drop to the ground, begging for help, begging to stay alive.
Only time would hold the answers. They saved him, brought him to town, treated his wounds, now all that was left was for him to wake up.