Level 2:Experimenting with Magic
“These tests are to increase your fighting ability, we have no idea what the side effects may be. You might never be able to fly again,” the Science Pony was talking to me like I hadn’t understood what I signed up for
“I know the risks, but to help protect Equestria and my family I’m willing to take that risk,” I didn’t really care that the possibility of never flying again was one of the risks.
We were walking through the pristine Iron Hooves base on the way to the stable, and had just left the building that had my quarters. I was wearing my armor, the segmented goggles always did bug me a bit, today it seemed was no different.
As we walked up the road that ran through the middle of the base I could see other ponies some under my command training. I stopped for a moment to speak with them, “ok, listen up everyone, while I’m in The Vault you take your orders from Lieutenant Iron Thorn. You are to at least try to work together with his squad till I return,” most of them seemed to take the news well, except for the youngest member of my squad.
“But sir I joined up to work under you, not under someone else,” she seemed to almost be a fifth leg for me, little Cloudy Melody.
“Cloudy Melody, did you not agree to follow my orders when you joined my squad? If that is the case then you should be able to work with Lieutenant Iron Thorn’s squad till I return,” I reached forward an armored hoof and ruffled her mane with a smile, “do you really think I would abandon my squad?”
She blushed after I said that, I would have thought she had a crush on me, I did know her from somewhere, but the world seemed to be slipping away. What was that loud banging sound?
I woke with a start the banging seeming to come from the door I had barricaded. The ponies from yesterday apparently were not alone I decided to stay silent until they left, I don’t think I’m ready for another fight so soon. Then I herd something strange, sounded like muffled screaming, had they gotten a captive?
Not wanting to alert them to my presence I tried to use the levitation spell I was supposed to have access to, all I managed to do was give myself a headache. More screams this time louder, and what sounded like running hooves through the hallway, the pounding on my door stopped soon after as whoever was on the other side screamed and I guessed they started running as well. Soon after what sounded like sentry bots could be herd from the other side of the door, leaving The Vault probably activated the security protocols of the base.
Figuring that I wouldn’t be getting back to sleep again anytime soon I decided to see if anything had changed in my quarters. No sooner had I checked under my bed then I found something that triggered a memory from just before when my dream took place, I had stored a special sword from far away in my safe. The only problem was my safe had a key lock, and I didn’t have the key.
I had hoped to have more time before needing to try using magic again, but with a lack of a key and security active in the halls, I didn’t want to waste this opportunity to check the safe. Looking around I managed to find a box of about 10 bobby-pins in one of the end table drawers, and a screwdriver in my saddlebags. Looking further in my saddlebags I found that there was also a full PipBuck maintenance kit in the bottom of the right one, and a magazine on locks.
After reading through the magazine I had a better idea of how to go about unlocking the safe. For the second time today I tried using telekinesis, this time with a bit more success than the first time. I managed to levitate the screwdriver and a bobby-pin long enough to get the safe unlocked(after breaking 3 of them) before I started to get a headache this time. Inside the safe was my sword, a note detailing it, and a DataCore. I loaded the DataCore into my Pip-Buck first and found out it was a picture of my family. I decided to make a printed copy as soon as I possibly could.
The sounds of security outside my door could still be herd, if it weren't for those ponies’ sense of decorating and possible backup this might have been an ok spot to set up shop. But as things were I didn’t want to make a home out of a place where I might get ambushed stepping out the front door. Not to mention wanting to find my family or at least find out they were safe.
While I listened to the security robots taking care of the intruders I worked on getting control over what was currently my only spell, levitating light things at first like the bobby-pin box, or the note about my sword. After a few minutes of practicing I held the note steady in front of me to read it:
“Dash’s Lightning” Note to Silver Aura
We built the sword to your specifications including the arcano-bolt generator in the handle was difficult to say the least. We were able to build it but the electric charge will need time to recharge after 15 minutes of continuous use. This is due to the small size of the generator so please keep this in mind if you plan to use the blade in difficult combat. The sword’s name is also as you specified, I believe your CO may be flattered by the show of respect in naming the blade after her. However naming this blade such might cause someponies to think you a fool. The design on the base of the blade was also done as you specified. This is one of our finest blades and one of a kind, as the blade was a personal commission you do hold all responsibility should there be trouble over the blade’s creation. We do not know why you chose to go with the generator instead of simply using a electrical enchantment on the blade, but we used the generator even though an enchantment might have been more effective.
(author’s note:the blade is essentially a Katana Shocksword)
After reading the note I lifted up the blade to inspect it. There was a slight curve to the 23 inch blade, with the cutiemark of Rainbow Dash etched into the base of the blade itself(large enough to be visible but small enough so as not to compromise the integrity of the blade), the handle had a woven grip with a diamond pattern on the side for comfort in the mouth, a switch was near the top of the handle for turning the generator on and off, the bottom end of the handle could be removed with the right tools to perform maintenance on the generator itself. The blade was magnificent in many ways, but in trying out the switch I found that the generator had long died out; if I were to use the blade effectively in battle then some parts would need to be replaced.
I had commissioned this blade according to the note, a blade to show not only respect for ,but also loyalty to, my CO. I wanted to make sure to Keep this blade in good condition, so I slid it back into the sheath and placed the sheath with sword, at my side after putting on my saddlebags. I drew out the dagger from before and made sure it was still in good shape, I didn’t want to use Dash’s Lightning till after getting it’s generator working again. The blade itself had been in good condition, no moisture got into the safe so the blade was untouched by the elements.
After I had checked all my gear and every nook and cranny of my old quarters I listened for the security bots outside the room. It seemed they had returned to patrol mode meaning it was safe for me to leave the room without getting caught in the crossfire, if any. Moving the desk away from the door was just as difficult as putting it in front of the door was. After I moved it I was hesitant to open the door at first, but after reassuring myself and getting my 32. pistol ready I opened the door to see one of the security bots.
It had 4 legs and looked like a robotic version of a pony. “PRESENT IDENTIFICATION” it said in a robotic version of a mare’s voice.
“ummm, my name is Lieutenant Silver Aura”to which it responded with several beeps followed by a “WELCOME BACK SIR” before it moved on to continue it’s patrol. I was relieved that saying my name had worked, the robots must have had some kind of voice recognition system.
Making my way down the hallway I stopped when I saw a door to my left with the name “Commander Skyhoof” in very faded letters next to the door. Floating out the key I unlocked and opened the door to find that half the room beyond had collapsed into the floor below. The room was very much like my own quarters the only difference was that the safe was located in the wall instead of the floor, and it was in plain sight. I carefully navigated my way across the half collapsed floor till I was about 2 feet away from the safe, the floor under the safe had been on the side that collapsed, so that left me with only one way to reach the safe.
Floating out the key again I attempted to unlock the safe, not easy from almost a 90 degree angle. It took me several tries to get the key in the lock, but once I did it opened with a click. Inside the safe were some moldy old books, and 2 bottles of Sunrise Sarsaparilla. I put the Sarsaparilla into my saddlebags and left the books where they were. The base seemed quiet until I left Commander Skyhoof’s quarters.
Right as I got out of the room I was confronted with 2 Security Bots, who then proceeded to tell me I had broken in to a senior officer’s room, and refused to believe me(probably from programming) when I told them I didn’t break in I used the key. Things got pretty loud after that as I ducked back into the room as they readied their weapons.
‘Is every day going to be like this?’ I fired off all 5 shots I had in the 32. and quickly tried to reload. I was low on ammo and needed to get to the armory if I was going to get more. Blasts of magical energy weapons flew into the room, I was lucky to be behind the desk in the room as I shot more bullets at the robots. I herd the sound of several of my bullets hitting one of the bots, after which the amount of lasers being sent into the room was cut in half as the robot I hit started to attack it’s fellow security bot.
As the sound of laser fire died down I peeked out from my hiding spot to see that the robots had destroyed one another. In the place of the robots was 2 smoldering heaps of scrap, I drew closer to them remembering to reload the gun, I only had maybe 10 shots left. When I reached the fallen security bots I checked them for any components I might be able to salvage and use in repairing Dash’s Lightning’s micro generator. Unfortunately most of the parts I was able to salvage were too large to use, I only managed to salvage one of the probable 6 replacement parts I needed.
Carefully making my way through the hallways now I was able to get to the entrance without being detected, now there was only one problem. Three more of the security bots were in front of the doors. Floating out the 32. again I activated S.A.T.S. aiming for the targeting sensor on the middle bot. I lined up 3 shots hoping I would only need one, pulling the trigger. I missed, the first shot went past the middle bot and into the leg of the next one over. The second shot struck home taking out the targeting sensor and sending the bot into a frenzy firring off it’s weapons at the other 2 which then fired back at the middle one managing to take out 2 of them total with that move.
The last robot managed to find me and start firring at me. With the lack of S.A.T.S. I decided to just shoot in the direction of the bot in hopes of disabling it. I did manage to kill it, but not before wasting all but 2 bullets. The 32. caliber gun was not in very good condition anymore. I worried that the next shot might cause it to backfire.
After taking time to scavenge parts from the 3 fallen robots I had a second part I would need to repair the Dash’s Lightning. Flapping my wings quietly I was able to hover about 2 inches off the ground, but my wings were not up for much else at this time. My time in the stasis pod did not do my wings well, they were still somewhat stiff as well. Keeping off the ground let me pass by several more security bots on my way to the armory undetected. Most of them seemed to respond to sounds like the sounds my hooves would make on the floor had I not been hovering(albeit poorly).
Reaching the armory proved to be less of a problem than getting into the armory. The door was locked and Commander Skyhoof’s key didn’t work on this door. My only option was to try to pick the lock like I had done with my own safe. It took only 2 bobby-pins to get into the armory, but once I was in I was greeted with a welcome sight, there was still several assault rifles in the room as well as a good amount of ammo for them and 60 more 32. rounds.
Finding a assault rifle in good condition was a bit harder than expected, but I already knew how to break down a assault rifle for the best parts and use them to repair another. I managed to get one good condition assault rifle to sling over my back, I took all the ammo from the armory, even the 308. rounds for a sniper rifle, never know when different kinds of ammo will come in handy, even just to give it to a squad member.
Leaving the armory was just as stress inducing as sneaking in was. by the time I was finally outside again my face was covered in sweat from trying to keep my hooves off the floor. I was going to need some time for my wings to fully recover from my stay in The Vault. If I was going to leave the base I was going to need to know where I was going, that meant one of two things; either I follow the road to the nearest settlement, or I brave more Security Bots to find a map with some town markers on it.
The map of my PipBuck was useful but, not so much without proper markers on it. Looking at my PipBuck’s map it looked like there was a town or forest a little ways south of the base.
Taking another look around the base I found the old data center and decided to take a look inside. Locked, well, locked doors never seemed to stop me before. Taking out the screwdriver and one of my last 5 bobby-pins I set to work on the door, I only used the one bobby-pin this time, once inside I noticed there was still a good deal of power running to the building. Maybe I hadn’t been gone for very long after all, what I had thought had been a year might actually have been more like 3 months.
As I made my way to the main terminal of the data center I noticed that something seemed off. Even after a year there should have been some science ponies at the very least in here. Memories of working at the base were flooding back as the aftereffect of being in stasis for a long time wore off slowly. I still had large gaps in my memories but the base seemed familiar now. When I reached the terminal and started to access the data I herd a voice I hadn’t herd since the day I entered The Vault.
“Long time no see sir,” the voice was strange, I couldn’t place why, but it sounded off. “Looks like you finally came through on that promise”
“Cloudy Melody!? Where are you?” I was looking in every direction I could but couldn’t see her.
“I’m in the basement, in the secret stasis pod. Let me tell you, being stuck able to see everything around the base for 200 years is not fun,” she spoke like it was every day she did stuff like this, and what did she mean 200 years?
“Wha, two... two-hundred... I...I’ve been... for 200? What do you mean 200 years!?”
“Calm down sir, yes 200 years. when you went into The Vault I started doing some snooping around the base. Before you tell me off let me finish my story,” she had no idea how much I wanted to tell her off for disobeying orders, “I found out about this stasis pod and snuck in here got in the pod and when I did, hoo boy that pod was crazy. I set it to wake me when you were supposed to return from The Vault, but instead of waking me it just connected me to the mainframe of the base, or what was left of it. Outside was bathed in radiation so the pod had used a fail-safe that conflicted with my preset exit date for the pod, so I’ve been conscious all this time while my body remained perfectly safe down below. The science ponies apparently had tried to get me out of the pod on multiple occasions, but I reset the password so they wouldn’t be able to get in. And since nobody on this base ever took the time to get to know me it wasn’t hard to make the password something they would never guess.” The speakers did not do her voice justice, it sounded like what would be best described as Pinkie Pie with about half the softness of Fluttershy, a sound that would have been very pleasing to the ears had it not been for the static overtone from the speakers.
I facehooved and asked, “is the password ‘Silver Aura is awesome’? And also why did you disobey my orders and try to follow me into stasis!?”
She gasped, or whatever the closest sound to a gasp could be from a computer speaker, ”How did you know? I set that password so long ago and after you left. Oh, and by the way, I didn’t ‘try’ to follow you, I did follow you. Anyway the only way I can get out of this pod is if you disconnect me from the system then disengage the stasis systems manually. Before you ask, having access to the entire mainframe can reveal quite a lot of the technical details on these things.”
I was still in shock over the amount of time that had passed, and she was asking me to let her out of a stasis pod like it was the most natural thing in the world. ”Before I get you out, can you tell me why I found these on everypony I met in the main building?” I brought out the 50 bottle caps I took from the dead ponies from earlier, I figured I wouldn’t need anymore than that to find out why they seemed to be collecting them.
“oh those, that’s what ponies use for money now, at least that’s what I saw those ponies giving each other in exchange for ammo and weapons. I was able to hear some ponies on the edge of the base talking about raiders when they mentioned the base, I think those ponies you met were the raiders”
“Ok, so, what about the security bots turning on me after I went through Commander Skyhoof’s room?” It seemed strange that they turned on me now that I knew she was in control.
“well you know how I have access to the mainframe?” and without waiting for my response she continued, ”well, the mainframe and security center lost connection to each other when the bombs fell.”
That cleared that up, “so, and I’m trying to stay calm now, it has been 200 years since I entered The Vault, there are raiders, security bots shot at me because you didn’t have access to the security center, and not to mention I need to get you out of stasis. Did I miss anything?” I was panicking inside from all of this information all at once.
“Well, there’s also bottle caps being used for money but other than that I think you got everything,” I stared at the terminal with a unamused face and in response she just laughed saying, “what, you asked, now can you please get me out of this stasis pod? Here I’ll open the basement hatch,” I herd a click and a hiss in the corner of the room as a passage in the wall opened up revealing stairs leading down below the base.
Following the stairs down deep under the base I found the room where Cloudy Melody was, the room looked almost untouched, there was a row of data banks along the left and right walls. In the middle of the room was a stasis pod very much unlike mine was, this one looked more like a virtual reality pod that was altered to serve as a stasis pod as well, I could understand now why I needed to disconnect her from the mainframe first. Moving slowly toward the pod I was amazed how well this room held up over the years.
When I reached the terminal I asked “anything you want to say before I begin?”
No response, I guessed that there were no speakers in here for her to use to talk to me. I set to work disconnecting her from the mainframe, so far so good, no errors or warnings. When the terminal told me the disconnect was complete I began the manual emergency release system. When I told it to do this the pod hissed as it unlocked the emergency latches and a handle extended from the side of the pod. Grabbing the handle in my mouth I began to lift and tug until the pod was open and I was looking upon Cloudy Melody again.
She yawned and stretched, she looked like she had when I entered The Vault. Seeing her I sighed in relief, she was a Unicorn, about 2 years younger than myself (21 when I entered The Vault), her mane was curly in the back and spiked in the front, her tail looked to be slightly spiky toward the top and went into a gentle curl near the bottom. Her mane and tail were a light ginger color, her coat a gentle lavender, with a cutiemark of 3 musical notes peeking out from behind a cloud, and her eyes were cherry red.
If I hadn’t known it had been 200 years I might not have noticed any of this. But a lot can change in 200 years, even if I only just found out it had been that long.
New Perk:Diagnostic Mind(1):With this perk it becomes easier to diagnose errors in machinery or injuries, for each rank you gain a permanent boost of 5 to Science and Medicine