Fallout Equeastria: Subject 00
Ch.10 Stable Singer
“I want to sing”
Jade walked through a garden with her mother. She looked up to her and she smiled down. Jade didn’t notice that her mother was blurred, but she knew it was her mother. She looked up to the moon and saw the mare on the face of the moon. She lifted her hoof to the moon.
“Mommy, who’s that?” she asked her mother.
“That’s Luna. You see her don’t you?” her mother said pointing to the moon too.
“Yes. Why she sad?” Jade said bewildered.
“She believes that no pony likes her night.” Her mother explained. “She was so full of sadness that she became a different mare.”
“Who?” Jade asked.
“A mare called Nightmare Moon.” Her mother said as she pointed to the stars. “She was convinced by wicked beings among the singing lights, stars as many ponies call them, to fight with our sister to bring eternal night.”
“Why would the singing…stars do that?” Jade asked.
“Only a few did, but I don’t know why they wanted such a thing.” Her mother said looking up to the twinkling sky. “Celestia had to use the Elements of Harmony to seal Luna until ponies who could free her of the control of those wicked beings.”
“Mommy, what do Luna and Celestia do?” Jade asked.
“They guide the Sun and moon across the sky dear.” Her mother explained.
“And you?” She asked looking up to her mother.
“I look after many of the plants of the forests.” Jade’s mother said with a smile.
Jade woke for the weirdest dream she’s had to date. “What was that?”
She looked around the mega mart she and her friends had stayed in that night. It was looted and by the most part ruined. The left wall from the office was gone, most of the checkout sands stood as broken and reminders of time long past. Jade felt unnerved by it all, the abandonment of the city that met them everywhere they turned, only bones to remind them that once this city was alive. That she herself once was a member of it.
Jade looked to her friends each asleep except Shock who had taken the second shift of the night. He still looked uneasy. The events of yesterday had really shaken him. She wondered what he was thinking about, his partner from Hoovington. She didn’t think it was her place to ask, or the time to.
“Jade what are we doing?” Shock asked her looking back.
“Going to see that pony Boomer had mention.” Jade answered.
“No, why are we doing all this.” Shock said waving a hoof at around him. “Why are we putting ourselves in danger?”
Jade looked at him. She knew he must be remembering what had happened to him. “Shock, you don’t have to come with me.”
“I know. But why are you doing this?” He asked.
“Because…” Jade answered.
“Because…” Shock pushed.
“Because, I have to know what happened to my family and friends. Find out if my memories are really mine, who I am. Shock I don’t know if I’m actually Jade or some grown Lab subject.” Jade said tears starting to fall down her cheeks. “I’ve don’t know if I’m going insane or if these memories or dreams I’m having are real.”
Shock was surprised by her answer. “Jade…Sorry, I…I didn’t know.”
“No, it’s not your fault.” Jade said whipping away her tears. “I…can you not tell the others. I just don’t want them to worry about me.”
“Jade…” Shock began but nodded. “I’m still coming with you, Jade. You’re my friend.”
“Thank you.” Jade said and hugged the stallion. He stiffened for a second the hugged back.
“Don’t think this means I’m into mares though.” Shock said jokingly.
“You know I wouldn’t.” Jade said back. They broke the embrace and Jade walked to the door of the mega mart. She looked to her Pip-buck and noticed that it had marked Listen’s place on her map. “How does it know that?” She said still trying to understand the weird machine on her leg.
Boomer woke with a loud yawn and stretched. It was around then that singing was heard not too far from the mart. Jade felt stunned by the beauty of the voice. Jade looked to Boomer and Shock who in turn looked to her in confusion.
They walked to the source and saw a pegasus mare who was just out of her teens. She was singing to a couple of children who were mesmerized by the song. Jade stood still as the song ended. The mare who had sung was a beauty all her own and Jade couldn’t stop looking at her. As she turned Jade took note of every detail of the mare, and like many of the Wasteland they evidence of hardship was present on her. Dirt and dust coated and stained her dew white fur, her red mane was just barely kept, and she seemed a little malnourished. The unicorn colt was in a similar condition, his brown fur stained dark near his hooves; his face stained here and there, his yellow mane and tail dirtied. Filly earth pony with a Blue coated and green mane seemed a little cleaner, but that was it. Neither of the two had their cutie marks while the mare’s was two rose flowers that seemed to from a musical note.
“Oh, I guess I had a bigger audience than I thought.” She said with soft smile. “Names Roseleaf, and the colt is Barnwell, and the filly is Lilly.” Roseleaf explained.
“I’m Jade and these are my friends, Shock and Boomer. Stitch and Daisy are asleep at the moment.” Jade explained.
Roseleaf’s smile grew. “So that’s who’s behind you.”
Jade looked back to see the awed faces of her friends. “Well, yes.”
“So where are you heading?” Roseleaf asked.
“To Listener’s Hideout.” Boomer explained.
“At the Great Auditorium?” Roseleaf asked. Boomer nodded some of the awe fading. “I’m heading there too.”
“Seems kinda pointless if there will be no audience.” Shock commented looking at the colt and filly who seemed to get angry.
“I know, but it’s been a dream of my family for so long. My ancestors had dreamed of singing there before the war and bombs. I just want to finally fulfill that dream.” Roseleaf said as she looked to the sky. “A stage that had been created by the great alicorn Everfree. Not many know the legend behind the stage.”
“An alicorn named Everfree?” Daisy asked.
“Yes, the alicorn that had created the garden that is grew to be the Everfree Forest. Most of the reason the Forest is the way it is, is because its gardener had left it to grow that way. She cares for the plants of the forests that others leave alone.” Roseleaf said as she looked back at them. “She’s nurtures young forests and helps them thrive. Older ones she guides.”
“Wait I thought Luna and Celestia were the only Goddesses?” Stitch asked.
“That’s where so many ponies are wrong. If you remember that Captain of Celestia’s Guard was married to an alicorn named Cadence. She was the niece to both Princess Luna and Celestia. Nether where her mother, so her mother was another younger sibling to the two rulers.” Roseleaf said. “There’s a reason the castle the goddess of the sun and moon was called The Castle of the Twin Alicorn Sisters. They were twins, yes Celestia was older, but they were born on the same day.”
Jade sat there a little awed by this revelation. She hadn’t really thought much of how closely related they princesses had been. She guessed no pony had.
“Wait but they looked so…” Daisy began.
“That is because they’re not identical twins. Many ponies of science would tell you Celestia thousand years older because the sun is older than the moon. But,” Roseleaf looked up to the sky again, “the Sun and moon still move even without their guidance. Is it so hard to believe they did so without Luna and Celestia before?”
Jade looked to her friends and say them in deep thought. Shock was the first one to come to a realization. “Celestia and Luna learned their talent of moving them the same way I learned by talent.”
“Yes, by accident. I’ve read some pony tails that describe the day the princesses were born. That would mean that Ponies had come before the royalty we placed at the head of our dead world.” Roseleaf said with a smile. “I mean, we didn’t always have them ruling us. And Discord wasn’t our tyrant from the beginning of our time on this world, so we ruled ourselves a very long time ago.”
“So, wait, what, how… many Alicorns are there that are like Celestia and Luna?” Boomer asked.
“Don’t know. What I do know is that with the Goddess and her alicorns around, those that were born like Celestia and Luna aren’t so keen of being around other ponies.” Roseleaf said with a shrug. “But also I know is that some of them are alive. One I know for sure is Everfree, Celestia and Luna’s youngest sister, though she isn’t the mother of Cadence.”
Jade looked at her map and knew if they didn’t encounter a gang or get attacked they could make good time. “Hey seeing as we’re heading in the same direction you three can join us.”
“Really, well, sure why not. We’ve had a hard time avoiding the gangs and that, so having an escort would be good for a change.” Roseleaf said ecstatically.
“By the way, how do you know so much about Alicorns?” Shock asked.
“Well I had been taught it in my Stable. The Collection in the Library was mostly on historical legends, myths and history many ponies over looked before the bombs. They were Copies that the Ministry of Image couldn’t get the hooves on and were in good conditions. I pretty much grew up with that knowledge all my life as did many from Stable 48.” Roseleaf explained.
“Oh,” Shock said his curiosity sated.
“We should get our gear and get moving.” Jade said walking back to the mega mart. Jade grabbed what she needed and her friends did the same. “Boomer what’s the quickest route to Listeners Hideout?”
“Straight ahead, but I should warn you he’s not exactly sane.” Boomer said walking next to Jade as they started down the road.
“Great.” Shock stated.
“Look he’s a great source for information when he’s not in the past.” Boomer said to the stallion.
“Okay, Sorry.” Shock apologized.
“We don’t need to bicker all the way there alright.” Daisy said to the two of them.
“You’re one to talk.” Shock talk back to Daisy.
“Shock shut up right now or I’ll shove the barrel of my gun up your…” Daisy said then thought for a bit. “No, wait you might like that wouldn’t you?”
“Why you little…” Shock began.
“Will two morons STOP!” Stitch yelled shaking his head.
Jade giggled a little at they were acting. She couldn’t figure out why Shock and Daisy didn’t get along. It wasn’t that like they hated each other, they just bickered. Stitch didn’t seem to mind keeping them from getting really bad though so she doubted they’d start hoofing it out.
Jade looked to the surroundings. Just like the other side there were crumbling buildings, bones and so many other things. The markets and restaurants were mostly in ruins so it wasn’t like they were going to get anything from them. She wondered how many things of note in the way of something interesting along their path would really come up.
“I wish the chart hadn’t been blown up we could us it right now.” Stitch said yawning a little.
“Well it isn’t, we’ll just have to bear with the cards we’ve been dealt.” Jade said looking to the stallion.
“Okay, but I’m just saying it would be easier.” Stitch confessed.
“We know.” Daisy said rolling her eyes as Shock mumbled something around the line of being grateful the cart from Tartarus was gone.
They continued until Jade spotted a couple of red bars on her E.F.S. She stopped her friend as she watched them move away. They weren’t big by the looks of the markers but she wasn’t sure if they weren’t dangerous at all either. They left soon enough and Jade gave out the all clear before they walked pass. She wondered if she was being too jumpy, though jumpy is better than dead she thought.
Not long after that they came to a sign that was rectangular and had pony skull and crossed bones. Under it was another sign that read Danger Mines. She looked to Shock who read it and shook his head.
“Great, is there another way around?” Stitch said looking around. But the sighs were repeated over and over until they reached the edge of the path. The rubble from the buildings prevented them from going around.
“On that note, why, the fuck, are there signs…” Daisy asked.
“Gangs setup the fields, they fall. The New gang doesn’t want to take time disarming all the mines left by the old one and set up signs to warn their members.” Boomer explained.
“Oh…” Daisy stated looking around. “So whose territory is this?”
“Don’t know. Changed recently, should be on our toes.” Boomer looking around, “With all the magical gear on this side of the Dizmy, who knows what weapons these gangs might be carrying.”
Jade looked around the field and noticed a path left with bones scattered across it. She nudged Shock and pointed. He looked where she was pointing and nodded. Shock glanced from the path to Boomer then back and raised an eyebrow to Jade. She looked in between their option and about few ways they could proceed. One have either Daisy or Stitch go across the path and risk losing either or both of them which in the long run was a bad idea. They’d lose their medical pony and their sharp shooter either way if they had them go. She could go and risk her life which was risky as she hadn’t only skimmed the mine chapter in the “Wasteland Survival Guide” and they had no healing potions. She wouldn’t be able to come back from the dead if took a miss step. Shock could go, he knew more about explosives than any of them, he had asked to read the mine course in the book and studied for about two hours. But if he got something wrong then that lessened their chances of getting across safely. Then there was Boomer.
“Boomer,” Jade spoke up,” how well can you regenerate?”
The grey furred and deep blue mane unicorn sighed and said, “I die and come back to life. I wasn’t really kidding about the ‘encountering a Zebra Shaman’ thing. I can’t die, but I can sure as hell feel pain.” Boomer looked to the field. “You are planning on me walking across and clear a path now?”
“I’ll talk you through on how to disarm them once you reach one that we need out of the way.” Shock explained.
“And I’m the only one that can live through being blown up and be crippled for the rest of life.” Boomer said flatly.
“Boomer, it isn’t like that,” Jade began but knew she was lying and so did Boomer. “Sorry, it’s just we don’t have any potions on hand and if Shock makes a mistake….”
“Yeah, I get it. We’re in no position to risk someone important right now.” Boomer said in disgust.
“Boomer, I didn’t mean…” Jade said but Boomer was avidly ignoring her now.
“You know why not have the stallion carrying the grenade launcher shoot those into the field and widen the fucking path.” She said staring Shock down. “I don’t like dying, so hows about you just clear our path and then I check for anything you fucking missed.”
Daisy and Stitch looked to Shock and Jade. The two looked at each other and Jade smacked her head with her hoof for forgetting Shock’s weapon. Shock shook his head and loaded a grenade and started firing into the mines. After a few minutes a path had been cleared that was wide enough for single pony to not be at risk of touching a mine. Boomer nodded the started to look over the path until she found one that had not been taken care of by Shock grenades.
Shock nodded and began explained the steps to Boomer had she used her magic to disarm it. When it didn’t explode like Shock suggested it might he told Boomer to slowly open it and look at the way it had been built. Boomer explained the pieces of shrapnel around the explosive and trigger in the middle. Shock nodded and asked her to bring it over.
“Shrapnel Mines, messy, but effective to get around armor,” Shock said as he looked at the mine, “These maybe the main Mine used here, or the only one. Their easy to make so there’s a high probability that they’re the main.”
“So, this is only one type of mine?” Daisy said, “I thought mines were all the same?”
“Most ponies think that, yes, and most use Shrapnel Mines when using a mine. That’s when you put bottle caps in a lunch box and set explosives with it. But there are other types, like Fragmentation which uses explosive compound to burn their target and blast off limbs if the target is close enough, the shrapnel from the casing to cut into the target. This would sever veins or arteries causing death by the target bleeding out, or instant death if the target was hit in vital area.”
“That one sounds bad.” Stitch said looking at the mine field. “I’m guessing that mine only throws Shrapnel?”
“Yes, the explosive is too weak to cause serous damage by burning you so you might live through it. And it has a less likely chance of blowing one of your limbs off.” Shock then looked at the field. “There’s also the Spike Mines.”
“Okay, do I want to know?” Jade asked.
“Yes, if you want to know how they work and in the case you end up the victim of one and want to probably live through it.” Shock said looking at Jade. “Now the Spike Mines use exactly what the name implies. These act like Shrapnel Mines but have a higher kill rate. The spikes can cause deep and more deadly wounds then the other two, also has a higher instant death rate. Then there’s the Flame Mines that hit you with compress fuel, the fuel won’t go out like a normal fire, so it will keep burning till its fuel source i.e. you are gone.”
“I hope none of those are in there.” Boomer said looking at the field.
“Last there’s the Magical Mines, which act just like the magical grenades and weaponry.” Shock finished closing the mine and putting in his bag. “It is hard to find material for the Flame, and Magical Mines, so it would be safe to assume that neither of those is in that field. But the Fragmentation, Spike and Shrapnel are more likely held with in.”
“Great, so it’s still bad then.” Boomer said as she walked to the path and started disarming the mines she found that shocks grenades had missed. She was about half way when one of them beeped as she trigged a proximity wire and set spikes flying out in every direction. Fifteen of them hit her in the face to which she fell limp onto mine that exploded and took her head clean off. Jade and the other watched in horror as a mixture of pink and blue magic started to spread out from her body and reconstruct her head, slowly growing new bones, muscles, nerves, organs. Soon her fur and mane grew back and she looked around. “Fuck that hurt.” She said as got back up and continued. Soon enough the path was clear and she stood on the other side.
Jade was the first to walk across, slowly making sure Boomer hadn’t missed one. Roseleaf crossed next nervous about the mines she passing. Then Barnwell and Lilly cross together with Shock close behind watching the ground. They made it about half way beeping was heard and Shock rushed up to the two and lifting into the air as he soared over the field. The mine went off just as Shock got the colt and filly out of harm’s way. He, however, was hit by some of the mines shrapnel, and tumbled with the young ponies in his grasp.
Shock winced as Jade and Boomer got to him. His wounds weren’t bad; his right side had been hit pretty hard by the shrapnel. Jade pulled out a bandage and stared wrapping his wounds. Boomer nudged Jade before she could finish and motioned to the mine field.
She looked back noticed some creeping out from the side of the mine field. She gapped as burned ghoul walked out of the rubble of the building. It was a feral like the ones she had encountered back at the high school, and looked hungry. Jade looked around noticed more creeping out of the wood work of the rubble each burned or missing a limb.
“Fuck, ferals, the hell did these pukes come from.” Boomer said as she started playing music from her cannons.
Jade looked to Stitch and Daisy who were firing at the own problems as ferals started to rush them. For the most part the Ghouls were avoiding the mine field. Jade looked at Shock and the three unarmed ponies and groaned.
She took out Life and Reaper and started firing into the group of ghouls that had made it over to their side. Jade noticed Stitch and Daisy were making their way across the field, but their progress was slow from having to watch the ground and fight off ghouls on both sides. Jade looked back to Shock and others noticing Boomer doing her best to keep the ghouls off the colt and filly.
Jade turned in surprise as a ghoul rushed her snarling as it went for her throat. Jade cursed herself for being careless and fired at the ghoul with Life until collapsed. She turned to another and fired Reaper few time before dealing a killing blow with Life. Another fell before the pistols where empty. She reloaded them before turning on a ghoul that had gotten close to Shock. The stallion stared at the dead corps then the pistol Jade tossed at him.
“The grenade launcher isn’t good at close range.” Jade said before firing two ghouls that were rushing her.
“Right…” Shock said before griping the .357 pistol in his mouth and started firing.
“Can you walk?” Jade asked holstering her pistol and taking out her shotgun and firing on ghoul using both rounds before reloading. Shock nodded and stood up wincing at the pain in his leg. Jade motioned him to get back with Boomer and the stallion didn’t argue. Jade turned to Daisy and Stitch who were bogged down by a group but didn’t really seem to need help.
Jade looked to Boomer and the other as she started toward them trying to not get her throat ripped out. Shock had taken to the air firing the pistol getting the ghouls attention before Boomer hit them with a sound attack. Jade noticed the Rose Leaf was paralyzed behind the Wraith, but that wasn’t all that she noticed. A group of raiders were nosing around a building and that the filly and colt were missing.
Jade ran for the group of raiders aiming for one that was entering the building. Shock landed in front of her before she could fire and tackled her to the ground.
“Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
“Barnwell and Lilly are in that building.” Jade said trying to struggle out of her friend grip. Rose rushed up to the looking at the building in fear Boomer next to her. It was about then that Daisy and Shock were able to regroup with them.
“What’s going on?” Stitch asked.
“Those kids got themselves in trouble.” Shock said motioning to the Raiders that were now being attacked by the ghouls as well. Before firing on a ghoul, Daisy and Stitch kept most of them off the others.
“Fuck, now were fighting raid…” Daisy didn’t finish as the sound of the raider calling to her fellows. A few more of the raiders entered the building.
“We have to move!” Jade yelled trying to get out from under Shock.
“Do you think that will help?!” Shock yelled. “They’d just use them as hostages and put them in more danger.”
Before Jade could give a counter argument Boomer rushed the raiders. The grey mare rammed into a ghoul knocking it down before bashing its skull in. She turned on the spot and brought an angled hoof across another ghouls head ripping it open. She head butted another driving her horn into the ghoul’s skull.
Jade gapped at the scene as the unicorn seemed to dance in the undead horde. It wasn’t long until the Raiders also say it and started firing on the mare. Boomer turned to the closest one. The stallion was as Boomer rushed the unicorn. The raider brought out a crude sword and swung at the blood stained mare but Boomer, much to Jade surprise, jumped out of the blade’s path and landed on the stallion on all fours with a sickening church.
Boomer punched at ghoul that had rushed her and it fell with almost no evidence of a wound. The unicorn turned to another raider firing on her and charged and grabbed the mare with her bare hooves and ripper her in two before throwing half the poor mare at the other raiders. The other half Boomer used to bash a pair of ghouls that were about to jump her. The mare then turned to another ghoul and snapped its neck in one clean motion.
Boomer turned back to the two ghouls she had tried to jump her and stumped the heads in. She didn’t stop, turning to the raiders again as they started firing on. The look in her eyes made Jade’s blood freeze. They were full of glee. Boomer was enjoying ripping them a part.
The mare rushed the three raiders and hit each with a blur of hoof work until each coughed up blood and fell. A ghoul rushed her just before she back flipped and landed on its head standing on her rear hooves. She turned and looked to another raider and started charging him back on four hooves before twirled on one front leg sending both her rear hoof into the stallion’s side before she flipped and landed on his stand on just her front hooves. She let her weight of her rear leg fall onto the stallion’s spines finally killing him.
A raider fired a rocket at Boomer, but the mare roll out of its path and charged the mare before she could reload and head butted the mare. A stallion with a shotgun barely had time to fire blowing Boomer’s leg off before she killed him by ripping his throat out with her teeth. Her leg grew back, the mare ignoring the pain, as she bucked a ghoul into a wall. The monster died on impact as did any other that had been caught in its path.
Boomer turned to the last of the raiders and charged them. The raider didn’t bother fighting instead trying to run. Boomer got to them before they could get far and killed them. She then turned back onto the ghouls until the only ones left in area were Jade and others.
Boomer turned to them, her shades gone, lost in the fight. Her eyes were a sickly yellow that seemed to glow ever so slightly. She was dripping with blood and staring at the last kill breathing hard as she trembled. She didn’t seem like she was going to kill them Daisy aimed her rifle at mare uneasily.
It was about then that raiders that had survived exited with a beaten Barnwell and Lilly. They started moving away from the building when Boomer turned and started walking towards them. A mare put a pistol to Barnwell head.
“Tell her to stand down or we’ll kill these two!” a stallion said holding a rifle with his magic up to Lilly head.
Jade looked to Boomer who had stopped but didn’t seem to really registering what the stallion had.
“Boomer Stand Down!” Jade yelled holding her shotgun and aimed at Boomer. The mare turned but she this had the look in her eye, but she didn’t move though. Jade hoped that meant the mare fighting to control herself. The Raider took this as a sign to leave but tripped something at the end of the path.
“What was that!?” one of the raiders yelled catching the attention of the group.
Jade wondered what they were talking about when series of explosive went off causing the ground under the Raiders to give out. Jade just stared in disbelief at the scene as the raider and fillies fell into a subway tunnel with crumbling earth and concrete. Rose ran past the group toward the hole in the earth as she started calling out for the young ponies.
Jade was close behind and began to search the rubble. There was no sign of them until Jade noticed Boomer walking out a hole with a blanket. The unicorn seemed calmer, but Jade wasn’t really focusing on that. She was focusing more on the blood soaked blanket wrapped around two prone forms.
“Rose…I’m…” Boomer said looking to the mare. Roseleaf just shook her head as she stared at the blanket.
“A fucking trap? Who the fucking puts A Trap like this AT THE OF A PATH WITH A MINE FIELD!” Shock yelled kicking a piece of rubble.
“Someone wanting to make sure that no one comes out of the path alive.” Daisy said in some disbelief.
“Jade we should get moving.” Stitch suggested nudging the mare. “There’s going to be a gang or something coming to investigate just like the Raiders did. We need to move.”
Jade nodded slowly though she felt numb to anything at that moment. She walked out of the hole and out of the rubble. It was Boomer who snapped out of it by speaking, the grey mare taking the lead.
“We should all find a place to rest.” Boomer said as she looked back at Jade. “Don’t you think?”
Jade looked at the blooded mare then nodded. “Any suggestions?”
“There’s a small settlement not far from here, or at lets if they’ve hadn’t angered any of the gangs.” Boomer said looking north.
“Right, let’s try there then.” Jade agreed as she walked up to Boomer.
They walked for an hour or so until they came up on small walled off segment of the street. The two earth ponies guarding the gate were about to raise their firearms when one of them looked at Boomer. He nudged his companion and she looked at Boomer as well. The turned to each other and lowered their guard a little.
“You a Wraith?” The guard asked in a slight accent.
“Yeah.” Boomer said starting him down.
“We were told that Wraiths were allowed in no questions asked.” The female guard said a hint of fear in her voice.
“But the others will have to….” the male started but stopped as Boomer graved him by the collar of his armor. Jade was about to pull her pistols on her when she started speaking.
“Look, they’re with me. And unless you want to see me pissed off you had better leave them alone, IS. THAT. CLEAR?” Boomer said the last word with a snarl as she stared the guard straight in the eye. The smell urine made it to Jades nose as the guard pissed himself.
“Y…yes Ma-ma.” He said as he looked to the mare who sent the signal to open the gate.
Boomer dropped the guard and walked in first, glaring at any ponies who looked their way. Jade didn’t like this but didn’t think then was the right time to speak out as they walked to a building with a makeshift sign that said, “Hoofleft’s Motel” that stood near the gate. Boomer walked up to the counter and asked for a room for six. When the stallion she was talking to said he only could provide a room for four and one for two, Boomer passed him some caps and took the keys.
“We’ll have to sleep in separate rooms.” Boomer said giving a key to Stitch. “You and Shock will have to sleep in smaller room while us mares take the bigger room.”
“Hey, why I do get stuck with feathers, my barn door doesn’t sing that way.” Stitch exclaimed.
“You’re not my type.” Shock said rolling his eyes annoyance at the nickname showing.
“Because, right now one of the mares here just lost two close friends and there’s going to be a lot a mushy talk you big strong stallion might not like to hear.” Boomer said glaring at Stitch. “And one of us isn’t that comfortable about sleeping in close courters with stallions. So shut your traps, and deal with it.”
Boomer started walking down the hall towards the room she had rented followed Roseleaf and Daisy. Jade looked at Shock and Stitch apologetically before she walked off after the other three. They reached their room at the end of the hall and Boomer unlocked the door. Jade noticed the Shock and Stitches room was on the end, so they really weren’t close to each other.
Boomer walked in and laid the bloody blanket that held the remains of Barnwell and Lilly down in a corner of the room. Then she walked over to a mattress and lied down.
Jade looked at the room. It wasn’t well furnished, two full sized mattresses on the floor, a table in a corner and cracked window. The walls were damaged and the roof looked leaky. All in all it was better than most places they had stayed in the Wasteland. And for once they didn’t need a fire for light.
Jade looked to Boomer and decided she should really know what happened at the gate, but it wasn’t all that was on her mind, considering what had happened before Barnwell’s and Lilly’s deaths.“Boomer?”
“Hmm.” The mare said looking to Jade.
“What was that all about at the gate?” she said sitting down. She noticed the floor was slightly wet, but bared it.
“Seems the Wraith’s name is spreading, I needed to play the part. And I may have just saved us some caps.” Boomer explained with a straight face. “If you don’t like how I operate you can ask me leave.”
“Boomer, I don’t want you to leave.” Jade said sincerely, though a part of her was afraid of the grey mare. “I was just surprised.”
“That’s okay.” Boomer said shrugging it off. “I might warn you that I actually act like that a lot.”
“I’m fine it is as long as you don’t bully others too much.” Jade explained hoping the mare was talking about what happened at the gate.
“Fair enough.” Boomer accepted.
Jade looked to Roseleaf who was just staring off into space. She hadn’t said a word since they left the mine field and it started to worry her. “Roseleaf?” The mare looked up. “Um, how…how did you meet Barnwell and Lilly?”
The mare just stared at her for a while, but eventually she spoke up. “We were in Stable 4… 48 together. We were the only ones to survive an attack by these cannibals…”
“Raiders.” Boomer corrected.
“Um…Raider. We had just barely escaped when we realized we were outside.” Roseleaf said looking at the floor.
“I remember my first time. I thought I was going to fall into the sky.” Daisy said sympathetically.
“Yeah, same for us. We ran into a caravan not long after that, luckily for us they were friendly and took us in for while.” Roseleaf said with a small smile. “There was also this cute stallion with them, but children didn’t feel comfortable with. So we went our separate ways. We ended up in a town not long after and got some supplies and a map.”
“So you looked up Brooks Bend and decided to come to the stage your family always wanted to sing on then?” Boomer said in disappointment.
“Well, yes. We hadn’t known how dangerous it was here.” Roseleaf admitted.
“Most don’t” Daisy explained. “Stable 27 is in the city, so I was born here.”
“Well, you’re here now.” Boomer said sighing looking at the blanket. “We should give them a proper burial in the morning. For now let’s just get some rest.” Boomer said rolling over. Daisy nodded in agreement and laid down on one of the mattresses. Roseleaf laid down on the floor not really intent on a mattress.
Jade looked out the window and sighed and walked out of the room and into the main lobby. Shock was there looking out at the darkening streets. He seemed just as troubled as he as she walked next to him.
“What a day.” Shock said exhaustion visible in his voice.
“Yeah, started out so well then…” Jade couldn’t finish her thought as she looked out to the street with her friend.
“Then shit hit the fan.” Shock continued. “I should have noticed that mine sooner. I mean, I know I didn’t, but…”
“Shock, there was nothing either of us could have done. We had tried our best and failed.” Jade said looking to the stallion.
“I know but I still feel like I should have been able to do something, anything to save them.” Shock explained looking the roof of the lobby with desperate eye.
“I feel the same.” Jade said as say Lilly’s face before she had died.
“Good evening Children!” Jade and Shock jumped as the stallion at counter turned on a radio near him. “That was Sweetie Belle reminding us not to give hope in these desperate times. And I’m DJPon3 here with some Late News for you folks in The Brooks. Seems Gem’s not so keen on slavery like most of our recent heroines of the Wasteland, and wow she really made an impression on those Blood Gate folks. She literally ran into their compound and signal hoofedly blasted half their compound sky high and set the rest on fire. She also saved most of the slaves kept there. And I got first had reports from those slaves. Wow, I wonder what she would do if she ever went Fillydelphia. I wouldn’t want to Red eye if he got her piss off.”
Jade blinked at the radio in little confusion. “Didn’t you guys help me? And wasn’t I captured too? Boomer was the one to save us. And I didn’t even try to save many of them. Most, Daisy and I shot to put them out of their misery and… I only saved one of them. I” Shock just shrugged.
“Now that’s not all children. You know of the NGZs in the Brooks, well it seems Gem entered one and survived. I never been to Brooks as you all know, but a former resident of Tenepony and stallion who had met Gem has been sending me letters every so often. In one of them he explained the NGZs as places all residents of Brooks recognized a No Go Zones, places you don’t go near because of the high number of and I emphases this, KNOW death rate. If these places are like what the owner of The Old Stone says they are we may need to start looking into Brook a lot and the good old Ditzy Doo needs to add things to her book.”
“Okay how the hell did he know that?” Jade asked.
“I don’t know.” Shock admitted.
“For those who keep comparing Brooks to Hoovinton I think we may need to stop. That city is starting to seem like a death trap in its own right. But you can make a living there you may be just golden. And Gem Hope you keep up the great work, stay lovely now. And on to other news of this late hour the Gangs Wars of Brooks and the rising Wraiths…”
Jade tuned out the rest as she shook her head. “Well that’s just great.”
“What?” Shock asked.
“That DJ is making me out to be some sort invincible hero.” Jade explained.
“What’s bad about that?” Shock asked.
“Shock, I fuck up a lot more than it seems. I mean you and Stitch had to save us in that rape house. If it wasn’t for Boomer we may have been dead. I WALKED into Dead Shot Port, almost die only for you to save my ass, almost got us both killed twice there. And not to mention going into those towers and nearly getting us all killed. And know there’s Barnwell and Lilly to add to the list.” Jade said throwing her hooves in the air.
“Not to mention running in head first into a raid and saving a whole caravan.” Shock said worry on his.
“Yeah, and getting Stitch’s sister killed saving me because I was too stupid to look out for a mine.” Jade said disdainfully. “I don’t know why he does just leave and let me get killed because I do something stupid.”
“Jade…” Shock began but Jade continued.
“I don’t think I even deserve any of you as friends. Oh, and I’m also stupid and blind enough to believe doctors for 8 or so years of my life when they lied to me the whole time. Fuck I’m such a gullible moron. I mean look at me, I don’t even know what the fuck I am and I’m letting you all follow me into this death trap of a city.” Jade yelled as tears rolled down her cheeks as she berating herself in front of her friend. “I mean look at you. You took fucking pity on me and showed me some of the basics about wasteland survival because I couldn’t. You a fucking brilliant pony and you’re following me around. How fucking ironic is it.”
“Jade, you’re not like that.” Shock said grabbing Jade to get her attention.
“Oh, and what am I like then?” Jade asked. Shock didn’t answer. “You fucking think the same thing.”
“No I don’t.” Shock exclaimed. “Jade the reason I’m following you is because you’re my friend.”
“Some friend I’ve been.” Jade said interrupting.
“No, Jade, you’ve been more of a friend to me than most have my entire life. The pony to really care for me in the Enclave was Shinning Rain and he tried to kill me because he believed his father. I’ve been stabbed in the back more times than I can count in the wasteland and the only pony I’ve really trusted to not kill me if I turn my back is you. Do you really think I’m just going to leave you alone in here and get yourself killed I wasn’t there to help?” Jade looked at him but didn’t answer. “I’m not leaving my first friend in six year just because it would be safer for me. Jade trust me when I say you’re my friend, you might make a stupid decision sometimes, but hell, I’ve had my far share. I’ve got your back okay.”
“Well I guess it’s not my fault who you choose to have as friend than.” Jade said with a small smile. “Sorry, Shock. It’s just…I don’t know…I really don’t know what to do.”
“Jade, trust me when I say we rarely do in this life.” Shock said hugging her. Jade returned it knowing that at least she had one true friend at her side.
“So where is it you’re taking us?” Shock asked as he picked at his breakfast. They were pack to stale preserved food found all over the wasteland, and they weren’t really enthusiastic about it.
“It’s called Safe Heaven. It’s a pretty safe place to stop at.” Boomer answered.
“Oh, well, would be nice to get some rest after the last few days we’ve had. Really I don’t think I’ve done that much since the days I was wondering the Wasteland.” Daisy said shaking her head.
“Too bad it’s not on happier circumstances.” Stitch brought up before placing some cake in his mouth.
Everyone paused for a moment and looked at the doctor before the continued eating. Jade looked out the window to the street. Most ponies in the town were armed with some sort of weapon. It told her a lot about how scared they were of an attack. The walls were thick but a good explosive could open it up and she could guess they weren’t going to be hard to find in Brook.
“Jade, hey what’s up?” Shock asked getting the mares attention. “You’ve been staring off for the past five minutes.”
“Sorry, was just wondering about something.” Jade said looking back at the ponies she had decided to travel.
“Well, what was it?” Stitch asked looking interested.
“Just, how much things have changed. I mean yeah the world I left was at war, but at least form the time I was actually a citizen and not a science experiment the city was peaceful.” Jade said reflecting on the changes and her own.
“Really, well we might be able to get the world like that someday.” Boomer said looking out. “I hope we do actually, a world where the young don’t have to fear everyday and families can live a relatively can free life.” She chuckled a little. “I hope I’ll be gone though. A world like that doesn’t need me around.”
Everyone looked at Boomer, but couldn’t really think of anything to say. They finished their meals then set out to the settlement Boomer had suggested they go to