I lug a box outside, expecting a sleek, black trailer, just like the ones that Hollywood stars use.
What I get is a giant mover’s truck.
“Uh...The fuck?” I mutter too myself, unsure of what to make of this strange turn of events.
A man in a black, orderly suit steps out, and walks over to me as he adjusts his tie in nervous energy.
“You’re Mr. Mactylan, correct?” He asks me with a light quiver in his voice. he nods, and gestures for me to give him the box. “L-Let me take care of that for you...”
I raise an eyebrow, my suspension of disbelief through the roof. “You’re an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigations?”
“Oh, y-yes, of course, sorry,” he says in one rapid spill of words. He produces a badge from his belt. “Agent Tratno, of the FBI,” he mumbles, gesturing for the box again. I shrug, and hand him the box of clothes, exchanging a glance with Charles, who’s been silently watching the exchange from next to me. Agent...Tratno, nods, and brings the box into the...Truck.
“Weird,” Charles mutters. “For a member of the FBI, he sure is skittish as hell...”
Tratno walks out, and wipes his hands on his pants. That’s when I notice that his palms are glistening with sweat.
“Anything else, sir?” He asks with a small gulp.
“Uh, yeah,” I hesitantly respond, “I have a few other things...And, of course, the-”
He raises a suddenly steady finger to his lips, and whispers, “not here” in a voice that is barely loud enough for me to hear over the sputtering of the engine behind him. As he lowers his hand, it returns to shaking, and I realize that his apparent panic is just some sort of act. Probably to lower suspicion.
Like I wouldn’t be suspicious of a moving man wearing a suit and an earpiece.
Anyway, I nod, and walk back inside to get my guitar, and box of art supplies. Without anything else, everything I own really fits into three boxes, total. The first box is my clothes, with a few books shoved in the bottom; the second box is my art supplies; and the third box consists of my PS3, my Wii, and my various board games. Oh, and, of course, my games for those two systems.
As I hand him my guitar and art supplies, I see that Charles is climbing into the back of the truck.
“Peter, you’ve got to see this!” He shouts. Agent Tratno grits his teeth in apparent irritation, and hastily walks over.
“Not so loud, Mr. Chuckledooken,” he hisses. I can just barely make out the words, but as soon as I hear Charles’ last name, I burst out in laughter.
“Your last name is Chuckledooken!?” I cry out incredulously. “What kinda weirdass name is that!?”
Charles rolls his eyes. “This is exactly why I never told you my last name. You’re a child.”
“I know,” I state with a shrug. “But maturity is accepting immaturity. I think. To be totally honest, I actually don’t care that much.”
Charles pinches the bridge of his nose, and helps Tratno bring the boxes and guitar case into the back of the truck. “Yeah, whatever. How about you get your video games? Oh, and your children?”
I instantly sober up. He means that I need to be more mature for my children, I immediately piece together. I nod, and go inside to pick up my box of video games.
However, when I see the game “Little Big Planet 2,” my only thought is:
Yeah, fuck that shit. I can be mature, but why would I want to be? I can not only be the ponies’ father, I can be their friend.
So, I walk outside, strutting with my box o’ games (as I have labeled it on the side with Sharpie) up to Tratno. He hands it off to Charles, and nods to me.
“Let’s get your, ah...Children,” he whispers. I nod in response, and we both enter the house, and go into my bedroom.
“Jesus...” He mutters to himself as soon as he sees them. “I knew that they were ponies, but I didn’t think they’d be...Unicorns, or...Pegasi, or...Whatever that thing is,” he says, pointing at Celestia and Luna.
“She’s not a thing,” I hiss in response. “And, besides, it’s not your concern. All you’ve got to do is make sure they’re safe.”
“Speaking of which, wait here,” he says, before leaving to get something.
While he’s gone, I gently wake each of the ponies.
“Heya, guys,” I coo. “It’s time to wake up.”
Rainbow Dash yawns as I wake her, and gives me a death stare. I poke her on the muzzle, and she flinches in surprise, and snaps at my finger with her teeth. I poke her again, and whisper, “no biting”. She rolls her eyes, and puts her head back down.
So, I tickle her wing.
With a yelp of surprise, Rainbow Dash begins to giggle, and rolls over onto her side to avoid my finger.
“Hey, everybody,” I whisper once Rainbow Dash has finally calmed down. “We’re moving today. Which means we’re leaving this place, forever.”
I have their attention now. They’re pretty damn smart, and can grasp concepts very easily.
However, this one is lost to them.
“I know that this place is your home, and this is where you’ve lived for the first day of your life, but it’s not a good place to live, okay?” I whisper, giving my knees a break as I sit. “We’ve got a fancy trailer, and we’re going to a big, open house, out in the West. It’ll be much better than here, trust me.”
The ponies still don’t understand, and this inability to understand finally pushes their intelligence over the tipping point.
Twilight begins to move her lips in an odd fashion, and I frown at her. “You okay, Twi’?” I ask. Of course, she doesn’t answer, and continues to move her lips, strange noises coming from her throat.
Now scared like holy hell, I hunch over her, and pick her up. “Twilight, just calm down, okay?” I plead, my heart hammering.
“Just calm down, Twilight,” I coo as I begin to rock her back and forth. “Just calm down, everything’s going to be okay...”
I recoil in shock. “Wh...What?”
Twilight shakes her head, and can’t suppress a victorious grin. “No. Why?”
I have to do a double take. “You...You can talk?” She nods, and I smile. “Well, look at you, little miss smarty pants! Already talking and you’re not even a day old! My little genius is what you are!”
She giggles, and I notice the resentful look on Trixie’s face. Once again, I can’t wait until they’re teenagers (God, kill me). Instead of continuing to praise Twilight, I place her down, next to Trixie, and explain to all the ponies why we’re moving.
“We have to move, because if we don’t, bad people will come and take you away,” I explain, careful to censor the more sensitive information from the young ponies. “And you don’t want that, do you?”
The ponies all shake their heads, and I reflect for a short moment on how old they really are.
Well, they can’t be babies, as Twilight just said her first word...Then again, the Baby Cakes said their first words within...What, within a day of being born? So, yeah, it seems as though ponies just mature at a faster rate than humans do...Oh, Jesus, this is going to be tough...To just have them grow up, almost immediately? I mean, granted, due to being raised by a human, they may mature just as fast as humans, but they’ll still be a bit more...Developed. Aw, what the hell am I thinking? They’re colorful ponies with magic. Logic has no place here.
I’m about to tickle all the ponies, as, well...Why not? I mean, really, do you actually need a reason to tickle a baby pony, let alone a human baby?
Anyway, I’m about to tickle them, when Agent Tratno walks back in. The first thing I hear is the clang of a cage door.
“No,” I state, before he even has a chance to tell me what to do. “I won’t put them in a cage.”
I look up, and see that he’s rolling his eyes. “Look, they’re animals, kid. Just shove them in.”
I stand, and kick the wireframe door of the cage closed. “Fuck your cage,” I growl, low enough so that the ponies won’t hear me. “They’re intelligent beings. I’ll carry them, by hand.”
Agent Tratno cracks his knuckles, and my palms are covered in sweat. “Look, shithead, if you don’t move, I’m just gonna move you, and shove the ponies in, and take them up to that house, with or without you. They’re not intelligent, they’re animals, and if they were intelligent, they’d be able to-”
He stops, and that small shine that you can see in everybody’s eyes disappears. I smile knowingly, and pat him on the shoulder. “Talk? They can. Twilight just said her first word. And, while you’re under her control, how about you go ahead and wait in the truck for me?”
He nods, picks up the cage, mumbles, “I was out of line, sorry,” and leaves. A few seconds later, he returns, and that shine has returned.
“I’m sorry, about the cage. It’s just...I’ve really been on edge, and seeing these...things isn’t exactly helping.”
I release a small *hmph.*
What, exactly, did you do to him, huh? Did you put words in his mouth?
The voice doesn’t respond to my question. Obviously, she’s not willing to reveal her secret.
“They’re not things, they’re intelligent ponies.”
He nods. “Oh, I believe you, it’s just...Strange.”
I nod in return, and he walks out of the house, leaving me to bring the ponies outside.
“Who?” Twilight immediately asks as I kneel back down by the drawer. I smile at her, and realize that, despite being able to speak, she’s not exactly able to talk. At least, not in concise sentences.
“He’s a good man,” I explain to all the ponies, “he just did a bad thing. He’s good, though.”
I smile, and the ponies smile in return. “So, are you guys ready to move? And leave this old, musty house? Forever?”
All of them nod, except for Fluttershy and Trixie. I know why Fluttershy isn’t willing; this is her comfort zone. But Trixie? Something’s got to be up.
“What’s the matter?” I coo as I reach over to pick her up. She flinches, and swats at my hand with a hoof. “Hey, don’t hit, it’s mean,” I scold. She looks up, and the fear in her eyes scares me.
“Trixie, are you afraid that I’m going to hit you? Still?”
The blue unicorn looks away, but makes a definite nod. I pick her up, and cradle her in my arms. “I’m not going to hit you, sweetie,” I coo to her. “You’re my daughter, and I love you. Why would I ever hit you?” I ask with a small smile as I kiss her on the cheek. “Now, let’s go see Uncle Charles,” I whisper as I stand. “I’ll be right back for you guys,” I declare as I leave the room. Trixie obviously doesn’t enjoy it, as she shuts her eyes tight and waits for me to hand her off to Charles. As soon as I do, she opens her eyes, and smiles up at him. I feel a stab of jealousy, but go back inside for the next pony.
Rainbow Dash seems to enjoy the ride much more. She’s absolutely fascinated by the sky, as she raises her hooves towards it, and makes poking motions. I smile, and kiss her on the forehead before handing her to Charles. I can’t help but notice the jealous glint in Trixie’s eyes.
I need to pay more attention to Trixie, I immediately decide. That’s why she doesn’t like me. I don’t pay enough attention to her. Or, at least, not as much as she would like...
I roll my shoulders, and leave to get the next pony.
Twilight takes a long time to get to the truck. Mainly because she keeps pointing at everything we pass, and I have to go over to it and let her examine it before we can move on. I have to stop to let her examine: A flower, a pebble, a window, a leaf, a shrub, and a piece of asphalt that had somehow been chipped off of the road. It isn’t that big, but it’s big enough to catch Twilight’s attention. I shake my head, knowing that she’ll immediately speak, and send Charles into hysterics.
Ugh, I can imagine it now: “Oh my God, you can talk!!” Charles is just gonna freak out...
I get the next pony, or, rather, ponies. Celestia and Luna won’t do anything apart, so I have to bring them together. Luna shies away from the sun’s rays, while Celestia basks in the short lived burst of sunshine, her ethereal mane blowing in the cosmic wind.
I wonder...Didn’t she get that ethereal mane by becoming the goddess of the sun? So, how exactly will she find her talent in this world? We have a solar system, and I’m pretty sure Christianity would be a tiny bit adverse to her...
I shrug, and hand both Luna and Celestia off to Charles. I then go back in for the next group of ponies.
Dear God, is this a struggle. Vinyl Scratch, Octavia, and Lyra won’t do anything apart, but they all want different things. Octavia wants to look at a flower, Vinyl Scratch wants to look inside the truck, and Lyra wants to escape, apparently. I end up having to sprint to the truck, for fear of Lyra just jumping out of my arms. Charles takes the three ponies very, very carefully, and I realize that I have no idea where he’s putting them.
“Where are you putting them?”
“A small play-pen,” he explains.
I raise an eyebrow, and, for the first time, examine the first few details of the truck that catch my eye. There’s a few cabinets on the right wall, and a small desk by the door. I decide to explore it as soon as I get all of the ponies inside. I go back inside, and bring out the next pony.
If Lyra is energetic, then Pinkie Pie is made of red matter. She’s literally vibrating in my arms, and it actually kind of hurts to hold her. She’s so excited at everything she sees that her facial expression is changing a million times a second, and so is the orientation of her back hooves. She keeps digging into my stomach, and I can’t help but sigh in relief as I hand her off to Charles.
Thank goodness that Applejack and Big Mac are less energetic. The two of them are actually rather indifferent to the outdoors, in all honesty. They just want to nap more. I hand them off to Charles, and he places them with the rest as I go back in to get one of the last ponies.
Rarity absolutely hates the outdoors. Well, she enjoys the fresh air, which I gather from her deep breath, but as soon as she sees dirt, she shuts her eyes tight, and waits for the bad image to fade. I raise an eyebrow as I hand her off to Charles, and she begins to pant.
“Don’t hold your breath next time,” I whisper, chuckling lightly before I go back in to get the next pony.
Fluttershy doesn’t want to leave. “Fluttershy, it’s going to be okay,” I coo to her as I hold her. We’ve only gone into the hallway of my house, and she’s already hyperventilating, and reaching for the drawer, and the grey pony that simply sits within, smiling despite herself.
“Fluttershy, I’m here. Don’t you trust me?”
She turns to me, and buries her face into my shirt. “Just be brave, Fluttershy. It’s all going to be alright. You’re going to be a-okay.”
She nods into my shirt, and I take that as a sign to leave. As soon as we leave the house, she calms down.
Why does she calm down?
Because, when I open the door, I happen to disturb a bee that had been sitting on a flower.
The bee lands on Fluttershy, and I freeze, willing the bee to leave.
If the bee stings her, she’ll never go outside again...
However, the bee wants to do anything but. Rather, it simply taps its antennae against Fluttershy’s coat, and walks around a bit, making small buzzing noises now and again.
After a few moments, the bee takes off, and I sigh in relief. Fluttershy waves to the small bug as it buzzes off, and I think I know what kind of stuffed animal I’ll buy her now...
“See? It isn’t that bad.”
Fluttershy looks up at me, and smiles. With a nod, she snuggles up to me, observing all the world has to offer.
I hand her off to Charles, and she smiles at me one last time before she’s placed with her friends.
I go back in for Derpy Hooves, and as I pick her up. She smiles just to the left of me, her working eye trained on me. I smile back, and I leave the house, when-
Derpy holds her hooves up to her eyes, and starts to whimper and whine in pain. I can only assume that her double vision has kicked in, so I sit down on the hard, concrete step, and cradle her gently, cooing comfort to her, trying my hardest to make the pain go away...
Finally, she removes her hooves, and she seems to be feeling better, even though she’s still sobbing.
Shushing her between sentences, I hold her against my body like a baby, and coo to her. “It’s going to be alright, Derpy. It’s going to be alright. We’ll have your eye fixed, I promise. It’s okay, daddy’s here, nothing’s going to hurt you...”
Finally, after a few minutes, and after repeating what I said over and over again, she calms down, and falls asleep in my arms. With a smile, I shut the door to my house, my home, and, with a small pang of fear in my gut, turn away from it, forever.
I step into the truck, and sit down next to the play pen, still cradling Derpy Hooves in my arms. I don’t bother to take my surroundings in yet, as I’m too busy thinking about the implications of her cock eye.
“We all ready?” Agent Tratno asks, holding a clipboard. I nod, and he steps in, and closes the door behind him. The lights on the roof of the interior flicker to life, and the clipboard is handed to me.
I read it over, and frown. “So, that’s all they want? Just...Regular checkups? For free? And oral examinations when they’re all able to talk? And the promise of their bodies being donated to museums, and to science? And the promise of taxpayer money? Okay, that one I’m not big on. I don’t want to take taxpayer’s money to support my children, I’m fully capable of it myself.”
Agent Tratno nods, and pulls out a pen to scratch out the small bit containing “taxpayer money will fund blah blah blahbbity blah.” I raise an eyebrow in surprise. “Really? That’s it? That’s all you need to do?”
“Well, no,” he responds as he pockets his pen. “But it’s a step in the right direction.”
I chuckle lightly, and return to the agreement. “I mean, this is all great...But what about U.S. Citizenship?”
“Read...” Agent Tratno turns the pages for me, and finally points at a small paragraph. “This.”
I clear my throat, and read aloud: “‘Once intelligence is proved, and they pass their oral exams of simple ideas and concepts, they will be permitted U.S. Citizenship. Due to being the only beings of their species on this world, blood samples will be taken on a regular basis, and used to create medicine for them.’ I’m pretty sure they can take human medicine, but, whatever, we’ll let the actual scientists take care of that, right? ‘Refer to...’ Yeah, no, I’m not referring to that. Well, this all seems good...”
Tratno hands me his pen with an amiable smile.
Whatever you did made him much more likable...
The voice doesn’t answer. I begin to wonder if I’ve been imagining things, but I instantly disregard that.
“So, will you sign?”
I take the pen, and read the agreement one last time, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, like that paragraph on citizenship.
“Yes,” I finally sigh. “I’ll sign it.”
As soon as I sign it, Tratno gets up, and knocks on the wall of the truck. With a shudder, the truck begins to move, and the ponies look up at me in panic.
“Don’t worry, guys, it’s just a truck,” I coo to them.
I sigh, as I wish I could believe it.
Instead, this is the beginning of a new life.
I’m departing my old life, and entering a new one. A life I don’t understand, and probably never will.
And the ponies are just beginning theirs. And it’s my job to make sure that those lives go smoothly, and in a happy fashion.
Boy, am I going to love this job.