• Published 4th Apr 2013
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Fallout: Equestria - Gaia Prevails - John Colt



The Wastelands! Where everyone is his special kind of crazy. I can, however, claim that I'm special! Nightmare freaking Moon wants me to be her new host. Umm... fun stuff...

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Chapter Sixteen: Disease

Charter Sixteen

Disease



A week has passed since I told Shining Light I’d help him win the election. A week of reading through books relating to running a campaign and mass psychology, and spreadsheets about the cities budget and how it’s spent. A week of... boredom. I always thought I was a good study, but this was so... hard to grasp. I don’t see the connections as clear as I could see how two ingredients form a specific taste, or how the flow of magic results in a specific spell. The whole thing was too unrewarding; I had a bad headache, and this felt like it was going nowhere.

I needed a distraction, and thankfully one was presented to me in form of another memory. It took a week, but the memorhedron’s charge is full now. When it is in the Gaia Prevails facility at Mt. Mustang it charges rapidly, the only way that makes sense would be if it loads the information from a server and can only contain one memory at a time. However I still have no idea how memorymagic works to begin with or how a memory can even stored as a computer file, like it is handled with this device. The more I think about it, the more impressive it gets.

> Memorhedron is fully charged and ready to use.
> Next memory in queue: Failure, part 2 - August 3, 1003
> Length: 0 hours 3 minutes 14 seconds.
> Load memory?
> Load

<-=======ʌʌɅ Ʌʌʌ=======->

The feeling of Spellfield overcame me once again, but he somehow felt different. He felt good, well... he hadn’t had a headache but there was also a weight lifted off my chest. The hallway he was walking along was Canterlot Castle, I’ve seen it a few times now and can differ it from Celestia’s School for gifted unicorns. The easiest thing to tell one from another is the floor, the castle has stone tiles and carpets, the school has wooden parquet.

Spellfield pushed open the door to a very big room, I recognized it as the room where Princess Celestia had crowned Twilight Sparkle in the other memory. Celestia herself was standing at the end of the room atop a few steps to be able to oversee a nonexistent crowd. She looked like she was ready to give that speech I’ve already heard her hold, but, obviously, she wasn’t. Actually, neither of them talked until Spellfield had reached her and positioned himself right next to her.

“You know...” Celestia broke the silence. “I have had my speech ready, and now I’m never going to use it.” Her tone was very sad, but I couldn’t blame her. This was the one milestone that differs our timeline from the one without the war, and they failed.

“You know...” Spellfield began the same way she did. “I still have the memory where you saw what you said. We could have created a paradox if we simply have used that speech.” He attempted to sound eager, as if a paradox was something he’d like to cause to have something interesting to observe, but there was also the sadness of having failed in his voice.

“It wouldn’t have been a paradox, I believe,” Celestia went in on avoiding the subject they decided to meet. “after all, we have acquired a real speech, created by a real version of me in a real marble.” A marble? “Everything is just as real as this one, if not even more real...” What? “but let’s focus at the matter at hoof now.”

He nodded. “Yes, let’s go down to business, what does the future hold now? I take it you have once again skipped forward? Have you made saved the memory of it? Is the war still avoidable, Princess?”

“Indeed it is, but through politics, I’d like to release you of all the burden I have already laid on you.” This wasn’t what I had been expecting, neither did Spellfield, I felt it from the change of facial muscles. “I have taken an essential part of your life; literally more than half your life, and I’ve decided to not bother you any further.”

“You want to throw me out? After everything I did?” He was enraged, rightfully so. Celestia made him sacrifice practically his entire life and now she wants to get rid of him? “No. You’re gonna make me a darn counselor for this government, I mean, practically I am already.” He stared at her that she actually backed off a little.

“No.” She said with determination. “It had been more of a rhetorical statement. You are not gonna be a counselor.” No, this wasn’t determination, it was her being convinced in her superiority, she was talking down to him, like she was... royalty. “This is my final word.”

The memory changed.

*** *** ***

Spellfield was lying on a firm surface with his eyes closed. Something kept pressing on his back until I realized it had to be a massage.

“You’re all tensed up.” I recognized Sarina's voice. Unlike names and faces I could remember voices easily. “I have already noticed your unhappy expression you were trying to hide when you came home.”

“Bad day.” He moaned out. The massage felt really good, but unfortunately she stopped, which made him open his eyes.

She stopped her massage for a second. “Was it about Bright Skies?” I couldn’t place her tone, but there was something in it... How did she know?

“Yeah, actually...” He moaned again when she hit an especially tense spot. “How did you know?”

“She’s the only one who gets you emotional.” It’s like she was accusing him of an affair.

“Sarina, I’m not having an affair.”

“I know, but you have to understand that I’m jealous of the young, attractive mare, who is as educated as you, if she spends so much time with you. So tell me, what happened?” There’s no was he’s going to tell her, he’s only going to be as vague as possible. How would she understand anyway?

“We were working on the same project for about 26 years. I never told you it’s a continuing thing.”

“26 years?” Yeah, that’s an insane amount of time, especially if you consider they failed in the end.

“I know it sounds like a lot, but it was more of a side project, with mostly waiting and scrapping ideas. It was a very peculiar project,” He sighed “and then it failed. But this ‘failure’ wasn’t my fault, not hers either; it seemed like it just wouldn’t be. But the essential part is that it failed, and there is no need for us to meet anymore...”

“You are still friends, you can still meet her.”

“She made it very clear she wanted me out of her life.”

“Oh..." Sarina kept on massaging him for a time, and while I didn’t feel his emotions, I felt his tensions, or rather the relief of tensions. “Maybe she was just temporarily upset about this ‘failure’, you’re still friends.” She wasn’t there...

“You weren’t there.” I wish he’d stop saying what I was thinking. “But it’s okay, I guess. Change is the only thing constant in life. Actually, I’m somewhat glad to be released from being on call from her. She was a horrible boss. That mare knows no please and thank you.”

“Hmm... ‘that mare’, differentiating yourself by objectifying the subject, nice move there.” Sarina might not be as educated as Spellfield, but she was definitively intelligent. “You should sleep a night over it. It’ll work out, my dear,” She leaned onto him to give a lover's embrace. “it always does.” Better hope she’s right.

“Better hope you’re right.” Oh, come on!

I felt myself rooting for them although I already knew what is going to happen. Zebras, probably well respected, in the middle of Canterlot... Once the war is going and the propaganda starts everypony will reject them...

The memory ended.

<-=======vvV Vvv=======->

> Save position in queue.
> Memorhedron is charging. 0%
> Not ready for use.

I was thrown back into my body again. My muscles tensed up, a weight was dropped onto me, and my head started torturing me. I was covered in cold sweat and every little breeze from the window was freezing while I felt hot in between. No way I had felt this bad before I entered the memory. My stomach rebelled... I need to get to the bathroom... quick.

Standing up proved to have been a bad idea, my head managed to hurt even more, and my vision turned black from poor circulation. Thankfully I know where the bathroom is and I can navigate blindly to the bathroom.

“Found something interesting?” I couldn’t make out who was talking. Not emptying my stomach here and now was higher on my list of what to concentrate on, followed by not collapsing and reaching a toilet. “Aideen? You practically jumped up after that memory. Have you come up with something?”

No, but something will be coming up if I’d open my mouth to answer. I reached the door of the living room before they spoke again. “Aideen?” I turned my head to see Turbulence was right next to me, he startled me. “You don’t look so good...” I don’t feel so good either.

Leaving the room I slowly made my way to the bathroom. I had to make a turn into the door through the wall I was currently supporting myself against. A turn. Okay. It’s easy, I can do this. I pushed myself from the wall to properly navigate arount the turn, lost balance, and found myself on the floor.

“Aideen!” Turbulence rushed to my aid.

I was in the right mind to throw up in direction of the bathroom onto the stone floor, throw-up would be much harder to clean on the decayed parquet. I kept chucking up, even when nothing came out anymore, it’s funny how my priority shifted to not making a mess.

Turbulence was calling for Cirrus, I could hear them talk, but wasn’t able to comprehend completely what they were saying. Something about me not wanting to be touched, before they felt my forehead for temperature. Then Turbulence carried me on his back to my bed, I was afraid I’d mess up his coat or something and was uncomfortable of him being so close.

I was sick... I have been for a while apparently, the memory where my mind got a healthy body simulated triggered by crash when it was taken away. And now I was carried by Turbulence... he felt strong, but he wasn’t the pony I need right now. I needed the one I could always count on; I need my brother, but I’m probably never going to see him again... I miss him so much... I want to go home.

*** *** ***

Diseases were something pure, something simple, divide and conquer. They leave nothing behind, just like war-raging ponies, but unlike ponies they have no emotions, they ‘shouldn’t know better’. Diseases cannot be cruel, only ponies can.

My PipBuck’s medical program couldn’t recognize what was wrong with me, so I found myself in a bed of Hufsteins hospital. The experts were able to identify the virus as a mutated string of some feather disease only pegasi could catch once a lifetime. This sounds good but the, if you don’t get over it, you’ll die. And in most cases those who don’t receive the vaccine will die.

It was day four after I broke down, and I just now began to feel better, apparently I was lucky and survived the disease. Yes, lucky... Like being lucky that there is a properly stored 200 year old vaccine for the unmutated strain. Unfortunately it was as good as useless for me, and to make the whole thing worse: I wasn’t the only one who has been hospitalized with it. New patients keep coming in, and, as expected, most died after a few days.

I can’t help but feel guilty. The only way this virus could have spread was from Cirrus or Turbulence. While I wasn’t the first one to get hospitalized, I was the one who had the most contact to both of them to have a possibility to catch it. It might be paranoid but I also think I was the one who mutated it, after all, what the doctors think was patient zero was one rather touchy merchant, I remember her clearly.

The door to my room opened, but due to the position I lay in I couldn’t see who came in. “Good morning.” A female voice... wait I recognize that voice. “How are you today, Aideen, my favorite patient?” It was my voice. My real voice, how I sounded on a recording.

I lifted myself up to see ‘me’ wearing a kinky nurse outfit. “Craft...” I said with my best evil tone.

“What is it my dear?”

“Why are you... me? And...” It was hard for me to say it. “why are you dressed like that?”

She sighed. “Well, I never got you to dress up when you nursed our pretty, pretty pegasi.” My blanked got engulfed in her magic and was lifted up; she came closer with an thermometer. “Let’s check your temperature.”

“Ohnononono.” I retreated as best as I could on the bed. “You’re not gonna...”

“I’m only teasing you.” She was using my voice in a slutty way I hope I will never use myself. Thankfully she was really only teasing me, as she made the thermometer disappear, indicating it has never existed to begin with. “But admit it, you like this.” Wiggling my rump she showed off just how tight of a uniform I really wore.

“What? No.”

“You can’t lie to me. You liked the tight grip the Enclave uniform had on you when Cirrus sex’d you up to pass as a police mare to solve that murder. You can’t lie to me, I’m fully aware of your brain chemistry. I know what happens to you when someone checks you out, how sublime you feel when you know exactly that this stallion likes what he sees.” She nudged my nose. “Little Aideen is actually a pervert. Dress-up, sure, with roleplay maybe? And that ‘liking to be stared at’, that’s exhibitionistic behaviour... I also see that you can’t stop staring at yourself dressed up like that, wondering what this uniform might feel like and what gazes you might catch.”

I didn’t answer, how could I possibly respond?

Craft sighed, she looked truly worried about me. “But you deny yourself your sexual drive while, at the same time, you are so desperate to be loved, to have someone care for you, to be held... But you are so paranoid. ‘How could anyone love me?’” She took a cartoonish tone, to symbolize she was mimicking my voice, although she has it already. “And ‘What if all they see in me is my appearance?’, ‘How could anypony like my personality?’, but most importantly: ‘How could I trust anypony if they say they like me, because nopony could possibly like me, because I don’t even like myself!’. Does that sum it up?”

It sounded somewhat right what she was saying. The only pony I know who I trust to like me was my brother. And what a shining example he was of a brother, I have no proof he ever tried to save me from my fate in the Company. I was the one who loved him unconditionally, but... dear god, now I’m questioning the only relationship I’ve ever had.

“Aideen,” The smile on her face vanished. “Next time I tell you to do something you are going to do it, okay? Because now I had to change a virus to get you in a hospital to see inspiration for a sexy nurse outfit.”

“You... YOU did that?”

“Oh, Aideen, watch your blood pressure. But to answer your question: yes, I did that.”

“Wha...” I had troubles believing it. “Why? Ponies are dying! You...”

She cut me off. “Didn’t you listen? To see you in a nurse outfit.” As if it’s the simplest thing in the world. “You should know, I don’t really care much about ponies.”

The door opened and a real nurse came in. “Good Morning, Miss.” Then she saw me retreated to the back of my bed where I had remained when Craft came at me with the thermometer. “Uhm...” She continued her routine-speech of early morning patient visits, and placed my breakfast on the nightstand. “How are you feeling today? Slept well?”

“Feel a lot better, and yeah, surprisingly I did. Symptoms I still show are the headache, and some nausea, but I’m fairly certain I can stomach my breakfast, thank you.”

“Ahh, it’s so good to hear that you are doing better, I...”

“How many have died so far?”

“I... I’m sorry, I’m not supposed to give any such information. You have to understand I...”

“Please.” Aideen puppydog-eyes.

She sighed and looked around to see nopony’s there to see her breaking the rules. “Thirty-seven deaths. That’s of those who came into the hospital. Most Zebras are a little bit narrow-minded. They trust their own remedies mostly.”

“So about twice that, let’s say sixty...”

“Please, Miss Aideen...”

“How much came through?”

“Counting you, and two others who are out of the woods... nine.”

“That’s about an eighty percent death rate... and it’s just starting...” I shot Craft an evil glare, she returned with an happy smile. “But I understand the original version of that virus, the pegasus-one, can only be obtained once in a lifetime, right? Doesn’t that mean you would be able to make a vaccine from my antibodies?”

“Well... Miss, I’m not a doctor.” She was talking slowly, I could practically hear the gears in her head rattle. “But I...”

I interrupted her. “Take as much of my blood as I don’t need, any you guys get all the funding for making a vaccine. Both, a Remedy and an Immunization.”

“I- I get a doctor...”

*** *** ***

“Dear folks of Hufstein! Dear bereaved! And dear doctors, without whom we wouldn’t have gathered here today. I believe you are all well aware of the virus plaguing our beautiful city since two weeks ago. It has caused the death of almost two-hundred members of our society and some traveling merchants will never return home. Our city is a city of families, and we all mourn equally for the untimely taking of one of our brothers and sisters.” Shining Light told me he was incapable of holding a speech, but it seems that if it had been written by someone else (me) he felt safer.

“In this time of distress we have to stand united and have to give each other hope. As many of you already know, a cure for this virus has been found two days ago, and there will be no more casualties. But hope is not about having the knowledge of a tragedy going away soon, it is about it’s uncertainty. Three days ago we had no knowledge about how long this virus was free to rage through our city; no, we had to hope!” He was actually pretty good at this.

“I want to talk about a pony who gave me hope. She was one of the first ponies to got infected with the virus, and she fought it the best she could. She even made it out of the woods, figuratively, but when she heard how bad it has gotten for everyone else she did something incredibly selfless. Her body was producing anti-bodies and she ordered the doctors to extract them to make the vaccine.” He looked over to me, waiting for me to give him a sign that it’s okay to tell the lie I have readied for him. I nodded.

“She paid with her own money for all the research, but the torment her body went through to make the vaccine possible grew increasingly weaker. When she got the news about the vaccine being complete her smile was on of the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and then she passed away.” For the right effect he paused shortly. “She knew that I ran for mayor and that I was able to arrange a speech where folks actually listen to me. Truly believing in the goodness in the hearts of somepony she hardly knew, in her will she gave everything she owned to me, including the rights for the vaccine. So I decided to do the only thing I can do in this situation: I’ll distribute the vaccine away for free.”

He gave them a hero, and the cure, he received thunderous applause.

*** *** ***

It’s what Craft had been planning, I’m just playing along. How fucked up am I to have realized that she wanted the vaccine as a promotional gag for our candidate? I thought about not doing it, but I don’t really want to disappoint her. She made a plan where 200 people died to get back at me for not wearing a nurse outfit, and at the same time moved along her own plans of gaining allies, not to mention getting me under her hoof that I will do what she says in the future.

Cirrus and I were wearing a not-sexy, yet reasonably attractive nurse outfit. We had helped giving immunization shots to the people of Hufstein. We have already spent enough money on the vaccine itself, we can’t afford to pay ponies to give out the shots then too. We weren’t broke yet, but we reached a point where we had to watch our spending.

“I find it kinda hard to believe you dressed up like that, Aideen.”

What am I supposed to answer to that. ‘Because Craft meant dress-up is my kink.’, or ‘I only do so because Craft killed 200 people because I didn’t do it last time?’, no, those weren’t good answers. I haven’t even told Cirrus and Turbulence that Craft was the one to mutate the virus, and I even knew why. I didn’t want them to know what Craft’s truly capable of, both in power and in disrespect for life. Can I argue I protect them from the knowledge of how evil she is, or that I protect myself because somewhere I thought that Craft’s plan was rather ingenious.

Shining’s ratings have skyrocketed because of it. I’m the only one who knows how it really happened, and although it has been horrible how it was achieved, I can’t help but feel... happy? Happy for Craft that her plan has worked perfectly, because I came to realize, that, no matter how fucked up it sounds, Craft is my friend. And my only friend at that. Cirrus and Turbulence are more... companions than anything else, but I wouldn’t call them friends.

I played with the thought of giving them my house so they can settle down here in Hufstein, though I feel like I owe it to them that they can travel with me, not to mention I probably still need them for the plans with Foehn.

“Aideen?” Cirrus waved her hoof to get my attention. “You’re in thought again.” That was her way of asking if I’m talking to Craft.

“Yeah, sorry.” I shook my head in an attempt to clear it. “I was just thinking on how to continue. Sure, this gives a lot of publicity, and some popularity too, but there are still other candidates who are more likely to win, especially the current mayor.”

“Okay, so what do you plan to do about it?”

“Well, I can’t seem to get anywhere with normal measures...” I smiled. “Yeah, I have an idea.”




*** *** ***

Footnote: Level progress: 50%

Quest: Memories of the Future
[ ] Find out why the Memorhedron has planted on you.
[ ] Optional: Watch as much Memories in the Memorhedron as possible (8)

Quest: the new Boss 1: Hufstein
[X] Get a candidate for Mayor on your side
[X] Help your candidate gain publicity.
[X] Help your candidate gain popularity.
[ ] Optional: Manipulate other candidates.
[ ] Help your candidate win the election.
[ ] Optional: Rig the election.
[ ] Optional: Win in a landslide.

Author's Note:

blargh
so busy...
so unmotivated...

have a chapter anyway