Fallout Equeastria: Subject 00
Ch.6 Turning point
“Will you fight, or will surrender”
Jade, Shock, and Daisy walked down East 55, they had found some intact road signs that could be read, about a mile away from South Post. Caps and most of the merchants that had survived the attack had given them some supplies for helping them, most they had bought though. They had about 357 caps on them at least. They were lucky had had a lot of things to sell or it would have been lower. Most of what they had now was the minimal of what they needed aside from their ammo and medical supplies.
Jade’s was favoring her shoulder as they walked, the damage the merc had done to it was still healing even with 3 healing potions. The first had worked better than most she had used, but was still weak. The last barely helped. The rest of their potions were tucked away for emergencies.
She was really starting to wonder what was wrong with the potions here in Brooks she had asked Daisy if this was common. They mare replied she hadn’t noticed it before, but the healing potions started to change earlier this year, not that they had been. It was mostly due to the fact that South Post was rarely attacked.
“The Scavengers are the oldest group in Brooks,” Daisy explained, “and well respected by the gangs. What is surprising to many new to Brooks is that we were founded by Ghouls that had been in the city since before the bombs.”
“Really, so what are they a bunch of old corpses trying to rebuild the city?” Shock said mockingly.
“No, ass hole. They’re a mix of some of the best military officers, Zebra and pony, civilians, ministry workers, scientists, and even griffins. They survived the bombs and were smart enough to realize that their grudges killed their world, in sense.” Daisy looking towards the central towers.
“So what, a merchant group is headed by old vets, former ministry, and griffin mercs. Wow they sound so much more pleasant than Idealistic ghouls looking to rebuild the old world.” Shock said rolling his eyes.
“Would you Shut YOUR TRAP!” Daisy said look at Shock malice in her eyes. “Look, they’re not trying to rebuild anything, and they don’t want anything to do with the ‘glory’ of the old world. The way they see it, they fucked up and the only way to fix their mistake is to teach the young what they need know.”
“Really they came up with that before ponies started leaving the stable and they knew that there weren’t just ghouls left?” Shock said rolling his eyes.
“If you’d stop interrupting me I’d explained you piece of crap.” Daisy said her temper nearing its limit.
“Shock, maybe it would be a good idea not to piss off Daisy seeing as she is traveling with us.” Jade whispered to the pegasus.
“Fine.” Shock said looking away from the white unicorn.
“Thank you.” Daisy said taking a couple breathes to calm down. “They hadn’t started out with that idea at first, no. they banded together to fend off what the radiation, taint, and some other factor they still haven’t found, had created.”
“What, mutated animal…” Shock replied not really in a rude or mocking tone.
“No…well yes…it’s hard to explain. I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Big Bertha.” Shock and Jade nodded. “Well you know that she wasn’t always a giant hug predator that hunted everything that entered the Revo. She’s…well mutated would be the proper meaning, but it’s not what really happened to her.”
“What did?” Jade asked.
“She well evolved that way, naturally. I the eggheads of the scavengers in Central Post have found plants and animal that aren’t just mutated shadows of what had been, but that are entirely new species that evolved to thrive here. Imagine what was directly after the bombs with this rapid evolution and well the hostile environment…”
Shock and Jade stopped walking and looked around them. Realization clearing showing on their faces as they imaged what could have been there just after the bombs.
“So, these Ghouls had fought those?” Jade asked not really finishing the thought.
“Where’s the proof?” Shock demanded looking at Daisy barely convinced.
“I can’t really show any. Look that was about a short spanned after the bombs fell. For 3 year from what we non ghouls know, then the weaker predators started to die from starvation due to being too ineffective and or the larger stronger ones were gunned down, or most died to viruses that only could infect them. They way one of the old ghoul’s described it, it was like the city was making way for the ponies that would inherit it.” Daisy said shrugging.
“Really…sound like crap to me.” Shock said shaking his head. “I bet those farts are just pulling all of brooks leg and having a bid laugh.”
“I’m sure a caravan guard has heard the tales of the Stalkers of Brooks.” Daisy said getting Shock’s attention. The mare smiled knowingly. “They’re one of the few things to survive the mass extinction. They hunt in packs and are believed to be descendants to Timber Wolves. Their hard to really catch because while Timber Wolves just look like a wolf made out of wood…”
“Really?” Shock commented.
“Shock, I’ve been attacked by Timber Wolves when I had been on a camping trip with me filly scout group when I was younger.” Jade said looking toward the barely visible forest. “I was lucky that one of the patrol groups of the rangers of the park had been nearby.”
“Yes well, while their look to be made of wood, a Books Stalker, well sill looks like a wooden wolf but they can use a sort of camouflage.” Daisy finished as she took looked around for a bit.
Jade contemplated what Daisy said as they walked. She had seen Timber Wolves and those predators had freighting then. And if these Brooks Stalkers we really like what Daisy said…Jade gulped not wanting to encounter such an animal.
Jade stopped when she say a working walk or don’t walk signal performing its designed task even 200 years later. She looked around and notice and number an electronics and devices that still had power. She had noticed that many of the smaller buildings that didn’t need constant care to stand were intact, while towers were leaning or toppled. But that wasn’t what she was concerned about. It was the fact of power.
Jade looked at the area around them. She knew that Brooks had coal plants and a few mines. But the mines had been exhausted months before she went to the hospital, they was one of the few still running at that time of the war, only enough coal to power the city. Jade knew the coal plants couldn’t be the source so…there. Jade noticed a set of pips leading down into what looked like an air shaft.
“Jade?” Shock asked looking at her worried as he and Daisy noticed the mare had stopped.
“What are you looking at?” Daisy said trying to see for herself not really seeing the object.
“Those pipes, they’re thermal right?” Jade said walking over in the direction of the pipes in question.
“I think so?” Shock said lifting into the about a few feet and soared over. “Yea, they are. Seem to still work too. What’s up?”
“I was wondering what sort of power sources are within the city. I know about the coal plants down beyond the Jazel, but those can’t be working anymore without coal. So then there’s Thermal, Solar Hydro, or any other sources I can’t think of at the moment.” Jade said as she looked to the pipes seeing little rust or damage.
“Never really thought of where the power comes from, heard there’s this huge natural magical gem, or crystal, or pool, or something under the city between the Dizmy and Revo. No one has ever been clear, but during the last half the war this place was used to power the city.” Daisy said looking to the rivers which had swelled due to rain.
“Actually that had been used since before the war, but never for the whole city, certainly not on this scale and this much time at least.” Jade said looking to the rivers. “It was sort of….how should I put this…. A star trapped in the earth.”
“A star?” Shock said. “You’re kidding me right. Why not say the city as mouse and the Zebras had been the cat.”
“No really, I saw it. It wasn’t huge, more like the size of a pony and was as bright as the sun. No one had know how it got there or when, no civilization had settled in Black Out Valley until ponies came, so the only know Legends are from settlements around the valley.” Jade said looking to the huge black walls that created the valley.
“So wait the valley is a crater?” Daisy said looking to the size of the valley, “wouldn’t that stare have to be a least a few feet bigger than a pony to create an impact crater this size?”
Jade sat down looked to the valley. “Well it had landed a really long time ago. Most legends of the say that a light fell from the sky and cursed the land, most say the star had gifted it, as far as most could tell it caused some weird magic in the area.”
“Okay then so there’s a star powering the city.” Shock said rolling his eye still not believing it.
“There’s something. Ponies have been fighting over something in that region, even Alicorns and some of Red Eye’s slavers.” Daisy said shrugging.
“Wait, slavers?” Jade said looking to Daisy. “There are ponies selling ponies?”
“Um…yes?” Daisy and Shock said looking nervous not sure how the mare would take this fact.
“Okay, placing that on the list of things I hate of the wasteland.” Jade shook her head. “I mean what ponies looks at something like…THAT and say, ‘hey I want to be a part of that’.”
“Well Red Eye does it for a different reason.” Daisy said. “He uses the ponies to, how was it put, to build the foundation for a new equestrian.”
“Okay, I’m going to beat the shit out of that bastard if I ever met him.” Jade said feeling like she could melt metal with how angry she was.
“Um, Jade he works with the Goddess.” Shock said touching the mare on the shoulder trying to calm her down.
That cooled the motel lava to hard cold stone quickly. “Okay, well I didn’t mean we were going to go after him.” Jade said as she looked for any Alicorns. “Maybe we should get moving.”
They started down the road not really keeping an eye out for anything that might be trouble as they did. That might be why when a bullet hit the ground in front of Jade it took her a bit to realize it was from an old wreck cart tipped over with Shake and Take logo on it. Jade noticed that there were five red bars behind the cart and four in a ditch not too far off.
“Move!” Jade said rushing behind cover. She narrowly avoided another bullet as she ducted into a store. Daisy ran into the store with and practiced grace slide to the end of the store and hopped behind the counter and taking out her rifle. Shock tipped a table over out of Daisy line of site and duct behind it getting his battle saddle ready and some grenades.
Jade took out her .357 revolver that was given back to her earlier that day. She took a chance to look out the door just to duck back noticing the sniper looking out from the cart. She had to guess that neither Daisy nor the sniper could see each other because they didn’t fire. Jade looked to Shock who raised an eyebrow motioning to the door.
“Sniper…” Jade said not wanting to lose a hoof pointing to the cart.
“Where?” ask Daisy looking to green mare.
“The cart.” Jade answered.
“That’s my blind spot.” Daisy said annoyed.
“What the fuck I’m I supposed to do?” Jade asked knowing she’d be died if she tried firing.
Daisy looked to Shock explosives. “Know how to use one of those?”
“Pull the pin?” Jade asked.
“Yes and throw, unless you want to blow us up?” Shock added flatly looking disappointed.
“Hey, you’re the grenade expert.” Jade said defensively not really knowing much about the explosive weaponry.
“Look, you know the location of the sniper. Just use your telekinesis, pull the pin and toss it.” Daisy said before she fired her rifle. “Bulls eye.” she muttered. “They’re moving out of the ditch.”
Jade grabbed one of the grenades and carried it over to her. It was uneasy at first but she felt a voice whisper like a far off memory.
“Just imagine the rock floating, don’t force it to. Let your magic grasp it, then concentrate.”
“But I thought you said to not force it?”
“I did, but you can’t force the rock to float if you don’t imagine it. Concentrate on your magic not the rock and imagine the object your magic is around is weight less.”
“Look Mom I’m doing…”
“You lost your concentration. Now try it again you’re almost there.”
“Where did that come from?” Jade asked as she carried the grenade over to her without thinking about it confused by the whisper. She looked to the grenade and surprised by how easy it was carry not really concentrating on the object and on her magic. She grasped the pin in her mind and her magic did the same. She let go of the pin and not the grenade.
Peeking out from her cover noticing the sniper was scanning for Daisy who had dropped two more of their ambushers. Made she sure knew exactly where the pony was before she moved the grenade and pulled the pine and tossed it in that order as best she could. It sailed to its intended target but the mare holding the snipe hadn’t noticed looking in the wrong direction much to her bad luck.
The resulting explosion took out the sniper and another ambusher the other three had been shielded by some crates. The hole in the cart exposed one of them and Daisy took the chance to fire at the stallion before her realized what had happened. What remained of the stallion head covered the two mares and the interior of the cart behind the crates.
Jade looked to her pistol holding it steadier than before and looked out at the battle. There were three left, staying in cover with here number even, or she thought until a dog with and extra eye rushed out of the ditch and started barking as it ran towards them. One mare called out to the animal but didn’t leave cover. Jade was a bit perplexed by the site as the dog got within biting distance to her.
Shock gunned the mutated canine down and the mare that had called out ran of the cart with a pistol. The other mare followed, grabbing a gun off the ground with magic calling out to the mare. Daisy gunned down them both seconds next to each other. They hit the ground like sacks of potatoes as Jade walked out of cover confused.
She looked at the weapon their ambusher had been carrying and they had been in bad shape. Not only that but she didn’t see them as being really organized. The only one that had been good, as far as she could tell was the sniper and her rifle was the best out of the group. She then looked to the group themselves and noticed that the unicorn’s stomach was swollen with a foal. Most of the group wasn’t that young but the mare the unicorn had followed was the youngest.
She stared at the bodies in horror as she realized that they had just gunned down a pregnant mare and daughter. She knew they had been attack but…these ponies didn’t even stand a chance. Daisy had shot four of them down without trying and Shock killed a family pet. The only one at had been a real threat had been the sniper and the mare was barely at Daisy’s level.
“Hope we don’t find any more along the road.” Shock walking out talking to Daisy.
“Well, they shouldn’t be much trouble if they’re all this easy.” Daisy said taking ammo from the sniper.
“Well if Jade improves it’ll get even easier.” Shock said looking at the down the road. “Though if we run it to these so called ‘Brook Stalkers.”
“Shut your Trap.” Daisy said her annoyance returning.
Jade could believe it they didn’t even seem to notice... “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO?!” Jade yelled making the stallion jump and mare bash her head into a crate. “WE JUST….WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY THEY ATTACKED US!”
“What’s there to know?” Shock said coldly not really seeing his friends point. “They attack and we defend ourselves.”
“Yeah, but they should have picked their battles better.” Daisy said looking at the weapons. “They weren’t up to the task of taking us on. Well maybe if you two had left me at south post they might have.”
“you…YOU”RE KIDDING ME!” Jade said as she pointed to them. “LOOK AT YOURSEVES! YOU LOOK LIKE A PAIR MERCS! I HAVE AN ASSUALT RILFE ON MY BACK! THEY MUST HAVE BEEN SCARED THEM SHITLESS BY THE SITE OF US!”
“What makes you think that.” Daisy growled not liking being called a merc.
“LOOK AT THE FUCKING CORPES YOU MADE.” Jade growled back not lowering her voice. The mare did not really noticing anything until the she spotted the mare Jade was next to.
“Wait, we didn’t….they shot…” Daisy said realized what Jade was talking about.
“What are you two talking about?” Shock asked not really up to speed.
“We probably just killed a trade group, or family wandering the street.” Jade said finally lowering her voice but her anger hadn’t left her. “They shot at us because we’re walking down the street well armed and armored. They couldn’t have known who we were, they panicked and fired.”
“They could have been trying to get the bounty on your head!” Shock said defensively.
“DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A GROUP TRYING TO HUNT DOWN A MARE WHO TOOK DOWN A RAIDER DEN BY HER SELF!” Jade yelled at the top of her lungs. “BECAUSE NO ONE KNOWS I HAD FUCKING HELP! ALL THEY FUCKING KNOW IS THAT GEM TOOK DOWN THE WORST FUCKING DEN IN BROOKS!”
Shock looked away from Jade. Daisy looked in between the two of them uneasy about what was going on.
“Jade we didn’t know either.” Daisy said hoping to calm the mare down.
“We should have.” Jade snapped as she turned back on Daisy. “I mean, I barely know anything about this fucking world now and you two are more experienced than me. Aren’t you supposed to know how recognized if someone’s just scared and not attack you because they don’t know if you’re going to attacking them.” Jade paused waiting for answer that neither gave, both looking to the ground. “Well we fucking proved to them that they’re fears were fucking justified.”
After sometime of the three of them just sitting their daisy spoke up. “Jade we made a mistake. No one’s perfect.”
“We have to do better than this then.” Jade said look to the mare. “We can’t just kill every pony that shoots at us. We can’t repeat this.” Jade finally felt her angry slip away and began to cry for ponies she hadn’t even known.
It was a few hours after the encounter when the rain started to pour. The three of them had decided to take shelter under an overpass. Daisy and Shock had shrugged off most of what had happened both knowing that it had happened many times before. But Jade was taking it hard. Stallion was worried for her as she had stay silent almost the whole walk.
He looked to Daisy with concern evident of his face. The mare looked back at him not really knowing what he wanted her to do. The mare looked at Jade then shrugged and started to search the area for anything useful. Shock glared at the mare then looked at Jade who was looking out at the rain. He sighed and walked next to her and sat down, watching the rain with her.
“I hate Brooks’s weather.” Shock said looking to the sky as lighting arched across the clouds.
“Well, thank you pegasie friends for that.” Daisy spoke up from where she was.
“We may have block out the sky, but we aren’t in control of the weather here.” Shock said heavily.
“What do you mean; the Enclave does shit for us.” Daisy said looking at Shock with distaste.
“Well, maybe here, but in other area we have to monitor the weather so it doesn’t harm our settlements.” Shock pointed to the lighting. “See the lighting. That could kill a pegasus the was sleeping unknowing the threat of the electrical discharge. We need to make sure that such things don’t happen which also effects the weather down here.”
“So you still work the weather?” Daisy said unbelieving.
“Yes, it’s mostly kept secret in the Enclave to not panic the citizens. I found out by chance by seeing a troop that was stopping a tornado forming.” Shock looking at the sky.
“What?” Daisy asked
“A strong funnels of air the spines at bone break speeds. They could destroy our settlements; wait their settlements and bases if one formed.” Shock said remembering his mark.
“Oh.” Daisy said before continuing her searching.
“Weather in Brooks is so bad because the Enclave doesn’t have a settlement here.” Shock said looking the AA cannon frowning. “They can get on out here with those cannons. So the weather is left unchecked.”
Jade was still staring out into the rain. She had only half heard what Shock and Daisy had said as she tried to kept running what had happened through her mind, trying to see if there had been any signs she had overlooked, anything that would have told her before they had…
Her train of thought was stopped when she felt a hoof on her shoulder. She turned to Shock who had his head titled to the side, concern showing on his face. He didn’t say anything just pulled her into a hug which she didn’t resist and hugged back.
“Jade we all make mistakes. This isn’t the worst that the Wasteland will throw at you.” Shock finally said after a few minutes. “You need to get up and dust yourself off. Daisy and I have seen this stuff many times. I’ve even made this mistake more times than I can count after Rain.”
“Shock, how can you just move on from slaughtering a family?” Jade asked.
“You can’t, you but feeling sorry for your self won’t bring them back, no dwelling on it. The best you can do is keep helping ponies in the hope it’ll make up for your mistakes. That you’ll earn the forgiveness of the ones you’ve wronged.” Shock said looking distant, as if he was speaking more to himself than her.
They left the overhang about two hours later once the rain had lightened up. Jade was feeling a little better now after what Shock had told her. She wasn’t sure if there was any way to make up for it but she was going to try. Shock was doing it already; she wasn’t too sure about Daisy.
Jade glanced at the mare as passed an old store Jade had been to a few time in the past. Daisy seemed cold to her…rigid. It was in the way she walked, she always had her guard up. The only time she had seen it down was on the South post’s roof. Jade figure it was from what happened to her, but Jade had a feeling it was something more too.
Jade looked back to the road and stopped dead in her tracks as she saw an apartment with an apple core on its door. Jade had been there more than once, mostly for behind the door activities. She knew it very well, but had forgotten it stood in the old apartments on E.55.
“Jade?” Daisy asked her and Shock noticing Jade had stopped.
“I…just notice someplace I want to check out… alone.” Jade said uneasy.
“Are you sure?” Shock asked worried.
“Y…yes, I…just need to…okay.” Jade said looking at the door. She had to look, see what had been going on in his life.
Daisy and Shock followed Jade to the door then sat down outside to stand guard and to try and prevent her from ending it if she decided to try, as much as she could tell. She walked in and noticed the damage from years of neglect. Apple Core’s belongs were all over the floor and pictures faded and destroyed. Jade walked through looking for something anything that would give her a clue to what had gone on his life.
Her hoof taped a white orb just next to a night stand in the bed room, the only thing that stood out in the room, and for that matter the apartment. Everything else was long gone. Not scavenged but destroyed by the elements that been let in though a broken window.
Jade pick up the orb with her magic and felt somewhat strange then….
Jade felt weird, like she wasn’t herself. She tried to look at herself and panicked as she realized she couldn’t move. She had no control over her body, even her eyes. Was this a trap by the goddess or an alicorn trying to kill her? Was it someone else trying to harm her?
Jade at first didn’t realize her vision, no the pony she was in, was moving. She was in another pony, it wasn’t her body. She felt for the sensory information being given to her and then felt something at her rear that wasn’t at all hers, and very male.
Jade saw a mirror ahead and did her best to get a view of herself.
She was in Apple Core. She was in the body of her ex and for that matter DEAD coltfriend. She began to panic trying to find a way to stop the spell or whatever was causing it. It was about then that she realized that she could leave and what she had picked up was just like the one she had found in the school. She was in one of apple cores memories. “Well it could be worst.” She thought to herself.
The stallion was walking down what looked like a large hall in an important building. The stallion slammed a set of double doors open at the end into a large office that seemed to fit the style of the Apple Family, a western style with portrays of the orchards. But unlike what Jade would have thought of member of the large apple famers this one seemed to be set up for larger business than just bucking trees and selling apples. It had file cabinets and papers almost everywhere.
Apple Core set his sight on one of the occupants of the office, Applejack. The other four, a Green stallion in a soldier’s uniform, a mare Jade recognized as an older Apple Bloom, another white mare Jade recognized as Sweetie Belle. The four looked shocked by Apple Core’s sudden entrance and stared at him forgetting what they had been discussing.
“Cousin, what are you doing here?” Apple Bloom asked standing up. “Aren’t you supposed be in Brooks Bend?”
“Apple Core?” Applejack asked shock still splayed on her face.
Core was angry. Jade could tell. The angriest she had ever seen him. He was shacking and his adrenalin was flowing. It seemed he was doing his best not to kill someone.
“What kind of fool do you take me for?” Apple Core said angry seething in his voice. The stallion seemed to stiffen then, eyeing Core with a trained eye for any trouble.
“Apple Bloom, I think it would be best if you and Sweetie Belle leave now. We’ll talk latter, okay.” Applejack said to her sister as her shock faded.
“Sister?” Apple Bloom asked as she looked to her sister.
“Leave now. I need to talk Apple Core.” Applejack said looking at her sister sternly.
“Alright, I hold you to talking latter Applejack.” Apple Bloom said as she walked out followed by Sweetie Belle.
Apple Core didn’t move from the door as he stared at the organ mare, ignoring stallion that was sitting tensely next to her. “This is family business, cousin. He should leave too.”
“I’ll leave when I fell like.” The stallion said with malice in his voice.
“Applesnack, will be staying present.” Applejack said as she started to organize the papers on her desk. “He is my body guard.”
“He’s more than that Cousin.” Apple Core said stepping forward. “Funny how you get to see someone you love, while one of your own family can’t even get a single bit of information of theirs other than ‘she’s being taken care of’.”
Applejack stiffened and paused in her organization. Applesnack looked confused then, looking between Apple Core and Applejack.
“I’ve haven’t seen Jade it 7 years. 7 FUCKING YEARS. I don’t get my letters answered, I don’t get calls, I don’t even know where she is or even if she’s alive. And one of my ‘cousins’ is a ministry mare. One of the ones that said she had to be taken to a hospital to be ‘cured’ of some disease.” Apple Core was half why into the office by now and yelling the loudest Jade had ever heard him.
“Apple Core, you have to understand her care isn’t under my ministry.” Applejack said as fear started to creep into her voice.
“Don’t give me that load of crap.” Apple Core said pointing a hoof to Applejack. “Your friends with the other ministry mare or were once. You could at least ask them to tell me something. Flutteryshy has bleeding heart for the sick and loved ones. She could at least give some information.”
“Core, I wish I could but…”
“Oh, of course you can’t because you to FUCKING busy with your own goddess damned problems.” Apple Core had stopped a few feet from Applejack’s desk. “I mean, it’s too much to ask to have one of your friends actually sit down with your cousin and give him some information on his mare friend.”
“APPLE CORE, WILL YOU LISTEN.” Applejack shouted. “I can’t do any of that, but I’ve tried. I have even gone to The Princes. I have no Idea myself on what is happing to Jade, and by Luna’s orders I can’t. Whatever it is Luna and the other Ministries are keeping me out of the loop. Even Fluttershy is keeping any information from me. And Golden Blood isn’t bugging. I can’t help you Core, but I’ve tried every route I could.” Applejack looked at core with an exhausted expression. “I haven’t been working on just recently ether. Ever since I was taken out of the loop on Jade I’ve been trying to figure out what had happened to her. She might not be officially part of family, but she is still a pony you love Core so I see her as a member of the apple family.”
Apple Core stood there staring at Applejack. Applsnack watched the mare with worry as she dug into her desk. “I’m sorry I can’t help you Core, but please believe me when I say I don’t like it just as much as you do.” Applejack said look back at her papers then to back to the stallion. “If I’m able to find anything I will inform you. I’ve doing digging that might get me in trouble but I think I have two routes to look into; maybe three, but I can’t do that now. There are some important projects that are going one and I’m needed to make sure that they’re completed. The mean time, please leave it to me.
Jade felt her sense return to her own body as she looked around the old bed room her and Apple Core had occupied so many times during high school. The stallion having lived here during the school year while spending his summers over on his family farm outside the city. She looked at the orb and took some solace she could.
She not all the Ministry Mares had been alright with what was going on. It even seemed they were keeping secrets from each other. From what she had heard those six had been the best of friends before the bombs. They were elements of harmony, one of Equestria’s last hopes against evil. But, she wondered would the elements have worked for them at the end of the war? Were they still friends?
Jade looked out the window toward the street below her. She in her imagination she remembered when she was first brought here. This side of Dizmy had mostly been undeveloped or was small housing, dirt or a few paved rounds, not many big businesses had seen the area as important as the inner city. The few suburbs like Bark Town had been swallowed by the city as more ponies came, either running from the war or coming to work on the military projects.
The city had tripled in size in the time she had grown up here growth Hoovington was almost jealous of. Not because Brooks Bend had grown fast, but by how it grew. The city hadn’t needed to burn down to be turn into a major center that turned out gear and equipment to help the war. Brooks wasn’t a city that had been the site of many projects they had sole claim over.
They helped with others, researching a component for Stable Tech that would go on your leg, a Pip-buck, as they were later called. They design runes or, made tech that could replace them. Jade had once had to operate a terminal that just ran on electricity, not magic. She had only heard of these projects from down the grape vine as the guards and scientists walked by off duty.
She sighed remembering how naive she had been to trust them so blindly. She didn’t even understand why she had. Was because of some drug? The experiments they preformed?
She shook her head know those weren’t the reasons way. She had believed ponies were still like they had been just before the war. But she didn’t know why but she had always been a trusting mare even with bullies. She trusted the doctors. She had question the nature of the disease, but the answer had always been avoided and she had thought it would have been answered later. She was such a fool to just blindly trust ponies.
She looked out the window into the city and forest on the cliffs beyond. She felt a tear run down her cheek and was shock to realized she had been tearing up she looked to the floor as the tear drop hitting a picture of Cherry Pie, Apple Core, Tea Leaf, and her when they had helped Apple Core on his family farm. She seized up on the sight of it, memories of that summer returning to her.
Her friends were gone, her family, but she still needed to carry on. She couldn’t just break keep breaking down whenever it got hard. She couldn’t just take the easy way out. Her friends and family had always been there for her, saving her from her problems. She couldn’t just keep be dependent on others.
Jade smiled as she spoke slowly, “And I’m going to help who ever I can. The wasteland isn’t going to be grave we ponies have to just lie down for. It’s time to start actually helping brooks.”
“I’m telling you, we shouldn’t have let go in there.” Daisy said looking at the door.
“What’s with the bleeding heart all of a sudden?” Shock asked. “I’m she she’s fine.”
“Do you really think that? She thought she had almost killed herself a few days ago?” Daisy said looking Shock straight in the eyes.
“That girl is made of stronger stuff. She’ll get through this.” Shock said before the door opened much to both their relief.
“Sorry, Jade. I was just really worried. You’ve been acting uneasy ever since the fight and…” Daisy said uneasy talking about the topic. “I just didn’t want to see you….after you saved me from doing it myself.”
“It’s okay,” Jade said hugging Daisy. “I just needed to find something in there. I don’t think I’ll be on the path any time soon.” Jade smiled and looked to Shock. “I found a Memory Orb in there. I had activated it by accident and saw one of Apple Core’s memories. I also found one at the school but didn’t know what it was.”
“You found Memory Orbs?” Shock said looking a little baffled.
“Yes, I guess there not common them?” Jade said breaking the embrace with Daisy.
“No, but I guess I never thought of finding some so easily, and one here of all places.” Shock said looking to the door.
“Life’s full of surprises.” Jade said smiling for the first time that day.
“Well hopefully they won’t be too many on the way to your old home.” Shock said smiling back. “I think I may start growing gray hairs if there are.”
“You’re not that old yet Shock.” Daisy said joining in.
They all laughed to the small joke as for a moment they forgot of the Wasteland that was around them. Jade knew this wasn’t just a fleeting moment. Friends were there for her, and she knew they worried. She had to be strong, even if she was changing, she could make sure she changed into someone who wasn’t a monster, who saved and help others.
The three walked away from apartment and toward East Oak. Jade wanted to see what had happened to her parents. To find the comfort of knowing if they had a quick end and not some torture like Apple Core.
She wanted to know how much her parent s had known about her during her time in the Black Out Facility. She was in the dark still after 8 years of being lied to and she hated it. She was going to find out what the ministry mares and the princesses had been doing to her and what she was. It was time to see how many secrets Brooks held and how dark there were.
They walked for an about two more hours until they finally reached East Oak. Before they turned down the road Jade ear twitched as the heard gun shots down West oak and. She turned to see a caravan being attack by a gang of ponies and losing. She looked to her home street and then the caravan. Daisy and Shock started down the road ignoring the caravan like it happened every day.
She looked between the two streets. Her friends were already walking down east oak and Jade really wanted to see what had happened to her home. She looked the caravan and a thought slipped into her mind. This is the wasteland why should she care?
No, she tossed that thought immediately and turned down the west oak. She wasn’t going to just walk away. She wasn’t going to let this happen. She was going to stop it.
Shock and Daisy looked back when they noticed Jade wasn’t with them and their mouths hung agape as they say Jade rush the battle. The two ran after her yelling for her to wait. But Jade wasn’t waiting. She pulled out her Iron Shore AR-33 and click off the safety. She was about a hundred feet away from the battle when the first ganger shouted. “Hey, we gots ourselves a lunatic.”
It was the last words he spoke a Jade let a hail of bullets that tore open his chest. The rest were still focused on the caravan who had lost 2 of its members by then. Jade turned on the next attacker who was carrying a pair of rifles similar to hers connected to a battle saddle. Jade dodge his first burst of fire as he noticed his companions fall but the second dug into her armor just barely damaging it as she fired at the stallion. It didn’t do much to him as it hit his left rifle but the gun stopped firing from damaged to the weapons.
It was then that a grenade went off in the middle of a cluster of Gangers. The resounding blast sent the message home to the rest that they weren’t facing just some crazy ponies, but crazy ponies who knew how to fight.
Jade dodge another burst of rounds as she came up close to the stallion. He tried knocking her out with a head butt, though it didn’t connect as she ducked and took out her knife. The stallion began to retreat to his allies as or gain distance, Jade didn’t care as she cut through his armor.
The stallion gave up with gaining distance and began kicking at her. Eventual his fore hooves made contact with her chest as he jumped off her to a distance a few feet away. Jade felt the wind knocked out of her as she regained her footing.
A heavy rifle round dug into one the more heavily armored ponies. Jade didn’t need to look to know Daisy was posted in one of the buildings near by shooting any pony that got in her cross hairs. The mare was a deadly shot and Jade knew that the unicorn had her back.
She noticed Shock to her left fighting off a pair of ganger that were trying to shoot at him down as he swooped and rose. He was killing the ganger with practiced ease, but Jade knew the stallion still needed help soon.
Jade put her knife away and took out Life and Reaper and started engaging the stallion who had been reloading. He and two others who had joined him happily turned their attention on her. Jade felt round eat at her armor and hide as she got up close to them using Life’s heaver pay load to target the battle saddles. She was happy her plan worked as she saw each saddle jam much to the distress of their owners.
Jade crippled the first stallion with cuts to the fore legs with the knife she took out replacing Life leave the smaller volcanic out. The next earned a shot to the right foreleg then a stab to the shoulder. The last Jade head butted bucked unconscious. She looked to Shock who was starting to lose ground against the group of gangers that was bearing down on him. Jade put her knife and pistol away in favor for her AR-33.
She flanked the group and start firing but unlike the last pair ganger these were waiting for her, smiling behind cover waiting, both knowing the explosives waiting for the oblivious foe.
She felt her entire left side shout with pain a small homemade mine went off under her hooves. Her vision blurred as she looked at Shock who seemed to push on the steam. Jade saw the heads of Gangers burst into bloody messes of brain matter and bone as heavy rounds went flying through the air.
She heard Shock Shout to the Caravan demanding some help for her. Jade was still dazed as she tried getting her barring through ringing ears and blurry vision. She hadn’t really heard Shock repeatedly yelling for help from the caravan as she kept as many of the gangers on him shooting from the sky.
It was about two minutes when a mare, a doctor from the looks of her got the courage to rush out from the caravan much on of the others protests. Daisy saw the movement and kept the path clear enough for the mare who had a caravan guard following her. They reached Jade about three minutes after the mine had exploded.
The mare pulled Jade up right and tilled her head back. She brought her the potion to her lips letting gravity do the work. Jade coughed and choked but eventually her body took over where mind was unable and she drank was amount of potion she could. Jade vision was starting to go black as she bleeding wounds closed and the potion restored what it could of her health.
Jade felt blood splatter her as the mare that had come to her aid was shot by a ganger, the guard trying to fend off another two. Watched as the mare who had just saved her life bleed to death Jade pulled out a potion while trying to fire at the ganger but she couldn’t focus on the two tasks at the same time. Saw the life fade from the mares eyes and the ganger reached them.
Jade didn’t pay attention to the ganger as she stared at the doctor. The event from earlier that day flashed back to her mind as she did. The mare had risked her life, gave it, to save her.
The ganger pointed the rifle she had used to kill the doctor at Jade’s head point blank. Jade look up the glee in the mares eyes enjoying the whole fight. The fact the she was happy to take another life scared Jade. She could comprehend how any pony would be able to…
Jade felt something in her snap as her vision blurred. Then Jade felt her magic grip the ganger in front and rip them apart bone by bone. She saw and heard the mare as she screamed in terror and begged for her life. Jade didn’t even bat an eye as the ganger blood spilled onto her. Finally the ganger’s cries ceased as she fell in to a heap of meat and bone. Jade turned and brought out her knife and rushed the next ganger.
She dodged the ganger’s own knife and pivoted to where she was facing the stallion at his side. She drove the knife into the buck’s throat with ease killing him easily. Jade felt a bullet nick her neck as the stallion slumped to the ground like a rag doll. Jade turned to the mare that had shot her and rushed the mare targeting for the mares throat but she dodged only to have her head blown away by Daisy. Jade didn’t really notice as she charged the next ganger logging her knife in the stallion’s eye. The blade broke from the handle as the stallion slumped and fell.
Jade tossed the broken weapon and turned to her next opponent but noticed no one was there. She felt her side was wet but she also felt numb as she felt the world tilt as she passed out.
Jade woke near a fire as ponies conversed or ate around it. She felt her armor had been removed and that her left side was mummified almost head to hoof. She looked around and noticed she was lying in the camp of the caravan she had saved, or for the most part save. They had lost three members to the battle, two while trying to help her by Shock’s behest.
She saw Daisy walk over to her. “Good evening hero.”
“Don’t feel much like one.” Jade groaned. “I got one of them killed trying to save me.”
“Well, you should be thankful then. This caravan is bring medical supplies to a hospital and had lost their guards and two others to radagators down the road. They thought they were done for until you rushed to help.” Daisy with a smile
“Without a plane I might add.” Shock said looking more serious than Jade had seen him since they met. “What the hell were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t.” Jade admitted as tried to move to an upright position. Daisy helping her, she continued, “I just knew I had to help and waiting to come up for a plan would take to long.”
“You’re an idiot.” Shock said walking away. Jade felt a pang of worry for her friend.
“Don’t worry, he’s just…” Daisy sighed. “You scared both of us back there Jade. You did the right thing, but he’s going to need a little bit of time to calm down.”
“You think so?” Jade asked. The shrug she got didn’t help ease her worry. She looked after her friend who was brooding on the other side of the camp. She sighed and looked to the caravan. They were hiding it but they were scared. Jade guessed if she and her friend left they would be almost defenseless. “Daisy, how far it that hospital?”
“Um, about a day.” She responded. “Why.”
“We’re going to help them get there. If they’re going to a hospital than their helping other ponies, and that hospital doesn’t get these supplies than it can’t help ponies.” Jade rationalized.
“Well the West Oak Hospital has just been taken over by the Red Cross, and their all about helping ponies and healing so yea, I guess.” Daisy said looking to the carts full of medical supplies. “I guess we could help once you’re ready to move.”
“What are you two talking about?” Shock asked getting the attention of the caravan on them as well.
“We’re going to help these ponies.” Jade said with a smile that rendered a brooding Shock speechless as he started at Jade. The Caravaneers almost immediately began to whisper something to each other glancing at her. “What?”
It was then she saw a yellow stallion with a red mane who appeared to be a little more interested in her than the others though his interests were of another sort.
“Don’t ‘What’ me, girl.” The stallion said loudly cracking his neck as he got up and walked over to her. Jade noticed this stallion was a little shorter than Shock which for earth ponies stood out as they were normally taller than pegasie. His mane was which gave him a little fiery look as he walked. His cutie mark was a red cross with pair of surgical tools, a scalpel and a pair of scissors. “My sister died because of you, and thus, I’m going with you.”
“I’m deeply sorry for you sister, but wh…” Jade began but was interrupted by the stallion.
“Don’t ‘why’ me.” He looked her straight in the eyes. “As you said, my sister made her choice. She lived by it, and she died by it. And now she’s dead and there is only you.”
“Just shut the fuck up and allow me to finish.”
There as something in his tone that made Jade remember equestrian military, and thus her response was:
“Sir, Yes, Sir!”
“Good. My sister decided that you should live and I’ll obey her last wish. Is that clear?”
“Sir, Yes S…”
“Just wait a darn Fucking second!” Daisy interrupted Jade. “Who in Tartarus are you?”
“The name’s Stitch, ma’am, and I’m one hundred present sure, that none of you chumps got enough skills to properly heal even a bullet wound, and I’m not talking about a simple scratch. I’m talking about rad poisoning, drug addiction, and worse things. That became evident when we were patching her up. I had to take out bullets that that were there long before that attack. So miss commander, let me make myself clear. I’m going with you whether you like me to or not. Only way to stop me is to kill me. So, and I with you, or stalking you, miss commander?”
Jade grinned, unexpectedly even to herself, “You’re in.”
New Perk: Finesse:Your attacks are smooth, graceful and precise. You have a higher chance to score a critical hit on an opponent in combat, equivalent to 4 extra points of Luck.
Quest perk added: Helpful Pony: You are pony who likes to help others, even at your own risk. You can now take action to help others in need more often. You have new dialogue options, allowing you to find out what is bothering NPCs.