• Published 4th Apr 2013
  • 2,398 Views, 98 Comments

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 Seventeen: Destruction

Chapter Seventeen

Destruction



Knock, knock, knock.

The last thing I’d expected today was somepony knocking at my door. ‘Today’ might not be an accurate time span; somepony knocking at my door might happen in a time span of ‘ever’. The only ponies who knew where I live are Cirrus and Turbulence, and both of them are in their rooms, probably already trying to sleep. There was also the fact that both of them have a key, and would come right in.

I tried not to think about who it might be, as I’m going to be surprised anyway. But actually it could only be Shining Light, or maybe even some researcher or doctor from the hospital, they would actually have my address. When I opened the door I found a young zebra mare. She took a step back from me; the typical zebra reaction to being this close to me.

“Miss Aideen.” She gave a respectful bow to me. Zebra etiquette for trying me to get me on her good side. But I could clearly see her struggling not to run away, that means she has to have an agenda for coming here. I also think she knows I would have that effect on her, I even think I recognize her from somewhere.

“Xanthrine, right?” I can’t believe I remembered that.

“You remember my name.” Xanthrine was quite surprised. “Yes, I... ahh...”

“Would you like to enter?” I phrased my offer so that she can still say she doesn’t want to. ‘Come on in’ would have sounded like an command.

It took her a while before she was able to mutter a confirmation. “Yes.”

I guided her into our dining room. “How did you find me?”

“I work in town hall.” Oh yeah. “I have access to real estate holdings.”

“Okay.” I wasn’t sure what else to say. My presence makes her nervous, so she wasn’t talking either. “So, I assume this is no courtesy late-night visit?”

“No, it’s not.” She paused only shortly before she finally found the courage to talk... and she was talking fast. “I know you are working for Shining Light as a campaign consultant. I know you paid for that vaccine and created a lie for him to gain popularity. And I know you are only doing this to bring down Jarvan for what he did to Quick Shot.” Jarvan? That has to be the name of the current mayor. “And I want to help.”

“You want to bring down your own boss? I believe there’s an easier way to stop working for him. Why don’t you just quit, rather than ‘help bringing him down’?”

She gulped. “I cannot help but feel responsible for Quick’s death,” That’s right, she was the one who didn’t trust me with the bomb, that’s why Quick Shot took it and still had it with him. “but it was his decision to kill him. Quitting wouldn’t help, I want him to never be able to decide something like that again.” Then she whispered barley understandable. “I want him to feel immeasurable pain.”

“That’s not why I do that. I mean, sure, it helped in my decision to help Shining Light.”

“You... won’t accept my help?”

“I believe you only want him hurt, and because you think I’m evil I’ll help you in hurting him. So yes, while I would appreciate your help, I don’t need it. The only way I could use someone in your position is rigging the election, but I think you could do that yourself, why come to me?”

“You will not try to get me to do evil?” She was truly confused.

“Dear god... Just what exactly is your problem? I know I have this ‘whatever’ on me, but you zebras are so ridiculous. Just what exactly is your feeling is telling you about me?” I’ve never heard a proper phrasing about it before, and was actually curious.

Xanthrine narrowed her eyes. “You claim you have no knowledge about... this.”

“You just gestured to all of me. Can you be more specific? I’m not a zebra; I think it is some kind of obvious to you, as you have a special kind of perception, but I’m not a zebra.”

“You have a... rancid power. You don’t eat something rotten with maggots crawling over it, pure basic instinct tells anyone to stay away from it, but you wallow in it, and it’s disturbing to observe."

“She’s hurting my feelings.” I heard Craft crying in a corner.

“So... ‘rancid’ not ‘evil’? It’s only bothering you because you can see this ‘rancidness’, it doesn’t affect me.”

“But it is going to corrupt you.”

“Hmm... ‘is going to’, but I am not yet, and I’m fighting it. I try hard to be a good pony.” Anger rose inside of me, I truly to be good, and I’m sick of zebras being so afraid of me although I know exactly why. “In case you haven’t noticed, but you did, you approached me on it, I gave away that vaccine for free. Yes, it was to serve my own goal, to get Shining Light some popularity, but it’s still a good thing. So if you continue to say I’m evil, or that I am surely going to become evil, and if the only reason you want to help me is to have a scapegoat to blame for whatever evil you want to be done to the mayor, then you can forget it.”

We stared at each other.

“But, if I’m evil, your decision to take the bomb away from me and give it to Quick Shot would have been justified. And, if I’m not, you have to face the fact that this one coincidence has lead to his death. But, no matter what, it is not your fault, so you need to stop blaming yourself.”

Then her facial muscles twitched and her eyes trailed off. “I guess I owe you an apology.”

“No you don’t, you listened to your instinct.” My anger had already cooled down. “Let’s leave that topic behind us and do business, okay?”

Xanthrine nodded. “Yes.”

“Now, would you be able to give my PipBuck access to Hufsteins citynet?”

Xanthrine and I conversed about what I want her to do for me, while I managed to tell her as little of my plan as possible. I don’t think she would disagree on one or two of those things, but I don’t want her to mess it up. And, although I doubt it, there was also the possibility that she was bluffing and still working for the mayor.

I had planned to come up with a way how I can connect to it, it was one of the things I need for the final plan to work perfectly, and now, with her nod, I’ve got thrown the solution to me. There have been too many coincidences working in my favor lately for me to still call them ‘coincidence’. I shouldn’t complain and take the blessings as they come, but it felt unnatural. Even her timing had been perfect , just when she left the Memorhedron had fully charged. Exactly the reason why I stayed up late in the first place.

> Memorhedron is fully charged and ready to use.
> Next memory in queue: Failure, part 3 – September 3, 1014
> Length: 0 hours 21 minutes 14 seconds.
> Load memory?
> Load

<-=======ʌʌɅ Ʌʌʌ=======->

Spellfield had his eyes closed, and I felt his facial muscles were in a frown. He didn’t feel very healthy, but when I think about it, he had to be around 60 years old. When he opened his eyes I identified the surroundings as Canterlot Castle. The view out of the window, down the mountain gave me a good sense of direction, and the position of the sun told me it’s early morning. (Why am I even paying attention to that?) I recognized the hallway as the one to Celestia’s private chambers when a spear got shoved into Spellfield’s face.

“Stop right there, zebra.” This does not sound good.

“Please state your business in the castle, Professor.” The second guard was a lot friendlier, but he also didn’t stop his partner from pointing a weapon at someone who had done nothing wrong.

“I’m here to see the princess.” Spellfield, of course, was able to keep his cool without problem. A sad thought occurred to me that he was already used to racism. “It’s of utmost importance that I speak to her.”

“We are not letting you anywhere near the princess!” The first guard had his voice raised, he’s already stating an anti-zebra philosophy, although the war had just begun.

The second guard cleared his throat. “Professor Spellfield, the princess said she wishes to not be disturbed.” He gestured the other guard to lower his weapon before he continued. “With recent political development I’m sure you’ll understand and... forgive my comrade’s behavior.”

“The princess will see me. I’d like to think she even cleared her schedule to see me.” Yeah, the war’s here, she failed, and he had known about it. And, by the way, clever move of not mentioning the other guards behavior. He hadn’t stated he forgave him which means he actually doesn’t, but can’t officially state so without another confrontation.

The first guard wanted to say something but the second stopped him with another gesture. “I’m not sure I understand, Professor,” I liked the second guard, he’s doing his job properly. “but you have to understand that I’m under orders and can’t let you pass.”

The door to Celestia’s room opened. “Spellfield,” Dramatic pause. “come on in.”

“Thanks, Celestia.” I bet he only said that to see the first guard’s expression of Spellfield being on a first name basis with the princess.

He stepped into Celestia’s chambers. It looked messier than I remembered it, but a month ago, or 40 years ago, there hasn’t been war. What might have been towers of paper yesterday, was now a sea of papers on the floor, carelessly pushed aside to have a walkway from the door to the desk and the bed. There were also papers in a crate, I assume she already worked through those, but there was no denying it; her room was a mess, and the mare inside was even a bigger one...

Celestia looked like she hadn’t taken care of herself in anyway. As an alicorn she might survive a week without sleep and food, but even her eternally flowing mane can get deflated and dirty. Her odor wasn’t alluring either. “I wish I could say it would be good to see you.”

“Yeah, I guess so. But, you have to know, you could have met with me anyday. You could have, for example, not dodged me every time I tried to talk to you.” He was clearly angry. “Let’s catch up, shall we? So, how have I been? I feel about as good as you look. Sarina was pregnant with a latecomer and got sick. Very emotional, you know. Take medicine and kill the unborn foal, or die yourself. There were complications. Stillbirth, and she took the medicine to late, and died too.”

Please stop talking. Celestia had the same running through her head, but wasn’t able too voice it. I’m not sure I could either.

“My oldest son, Ryde, quit his job. He had already had a hard time at work, but with an actual war going on, he made the smart choice before they find some reason to give him notice. Now he supports his own family as a clerk in a herb-shop. And, of course, he refuses my money; I raised a proud child. Quinn’s fiance broke up with her after living together for four years, ‘because she’s a zebra’. His name’s on the real estate documents. She’s pregnant.”

Celestia quenched her eyes close, still not able to tell him to stop.

“The twins...” Spellfield sighed, as if only now the hardest thing came. “They enlisted.” Practically means that they too are going to die soon. “And, lastly, Aideen. teenage mare, who lost her mother, and a unicorn in an all-zebra family, no way anything can go wrong there.”

I didn’t even notice him stop there. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around Spellfield having a daughter named Aideen, a unicorn. Spellfield has a unicorn daughter named Aideen... I already said I stopped believing in coincidence. Great! Now I have to break in into Colt’s Well’s server to get access to Stable Eights genealogical tree.

“Are you done?” Celestias voice was merely a whisper.

“Not quite, I want to present you this theory. Everytime you have shot me down at my tries to become adviser without any kind of explanation to the others in the royal advisory, might have strengthened, or even funded their believe that zebras can’t be trusted, after all ‘their princess doesn’t like them’. So the whole thing was a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of thing.” That’s quite evil, but I finally hear the anger in his words fade. “And now... look at you. What kind of target are you? I want to focus my rage on someone, and you’re... just...” He sighed, now he wasn’t able to continue himself.

“Spellfield... I’m... I’m so sorry.” Her dam finally broke; all the emotions she had kept repressing started flowing out of her in form of tears.

“Let’s just get you cleaned up, and then we talk about how we are going to continue.” He engulfed her into his magic and the whole room was ripped away.

--= =-= =--

Teleportation, ohmygodIwanttobeabletodothatsobad. Celestia was positioned in a bathtub; Spellfield has already taken the shower head and was testing the water. Is he going to bathe her?

“You... don’t...” She was hardly able to talk with her crying, so she caught herself a moment. “You don’t have to...” He is bathing her.

He interrupted her. “But I want to. I’ve done this for Quinn recently too. I’ve always loved bathing my children, I feel like it’s a very primal, caring act.” This is weird. “In ancient times equines used to lick each other;” This is all kinds of wrong. “it’s practically the same thing. And, I believe, what you need right now is some caring.”

“I... I tried so hard, but... they wouldn’t liste...” It was barely understandable what else she was muttering, I just hope it wasn’t of much importance what she was saying than the whole scenario that was shown to me.

I already figured out how the war could happen, even though Celestia was against it. The royal advisory was a group of ponies, each one an outstanding candidate in their field. It consists of a total of 73 ponies, mostly farmers, workers, and merchants, but also scholars, soldiers, and others. Although the title they receive is ‘adviser’, they pretty much run the government themselves with Celestia only functioning as a representative. It was how she had planned to make Equestria able to sustain itself.

Sure, there are good and honest ponies who do well too, but those usually aren’t into politics and decline the position if it’s offered to them. So, unfortunately, the advisers became outstanding in their field for more ‘ruthless’ methods. You know... exactly the kind of ponies you want to rule your country.

“Don’t stop.” I’ve tried to distract my mind so I couldn’t follow what was going on at the moment. “Let yourself cry.” Oh. “Let those tears out, but you should close your eyes for this.” He took some shampoo, and gently rubbed it into her mane. This was... actually nothing sexual; it was just an incredibly caring act. I could feel... jealousy. No, no, no. Nopony is ever going to treat me like that. I can freaking bathe myself!

Let’s focus on the memory. So Celestia, a mare who might have not had a relationship since the ancient times, is receiving endearment from Spellfield, a recently-made widower; and, as I know the story will go, they are going to work together for the next ten years or so, means that they have a secret to share. I can see where this is going, and it’s disturbing. Spellfield’s old and Celestia’s, like... ‘ancient’. He’s a normal pony, at the age of 60-ish, is he even working with his gear? Well, he recently lost his wife indirectly due to a pregnancy. Gosh, I do not want to think about anything like this, think about something else, think about something else, THINK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE! Nope, the image of old-pony-sex has burned itself into my brain.

Celestia seemed to catch herself. “Thank you, Spellfield.” Now she was a mixture between crying and laughing. I would sarcastically say she should make up her mind, but I had my own mental breakdowns just recently. “I’ve only been bathed by someone else once before.” What makes her come up with that? “Even lots of aristocrats didn’t bathe regularly back then, they just applied perfume and make-up. For my wedding though, they did all kinds of things to me. I remember how I was thinking that this is going to be my life from that point onward.”

“Tell me about it.” Spellfield was going in on her random ramble. Whatever made her start talking about it, this too was one of the things she might need to ‘get out of her system’.

“Axis Mundi... He was the most powerful being I’ve ever witnessed. But, before our wedding night, he was scared.” Celestia sighed, the memory seems to be still scary to her. But, ‘Axis Mundi’, I’ve heard that name before. And, with her description, if he is scared of something, it’s worth being scared of it. “When I told you this story the first time it wasn’t quite true.”

“You had your reasons, I’m sure.”

“His family.” Hm..? “He was afraid of his family.” Okay, well, many ponies have bad blood with their family. “‘We are not supposed to find love’, he said, and ‘you do not argue... ever.’ It was like a statement, as if he’s going to get killed if he goes through with it. Which he was, a few month later. I could hear him rambling in his sleep. Which was very unusual, because he usually didn’t sleep. He said it was a pony-thing to do, so he laid in bed with me and protected me the whole night. It was creepy at first,” I bet. “but then it became very nice.” What how?

“How so?” There he is again, practically saying what I was thinking, but he did it. of course, to keep her telling. That’s the reason for this memory to begin with, to get me to know this story. Not because of some romance that merely formed inside my own head.

She chuckled. “I had the most powerful being watch over me while I slept, anypony would feel secure, right?” Her smile faded. “But, that time... It was as if he was having a nightmare, he was talking in a language I didn’t understand, but I memorized the things he kept repeating. When I looked those words up I found that one meant ‘The End’, not as a thing but as a name. Like a grim reaper, this being is the one that will end everything at one point. But, it didn’t just kill him, it annihilated him.” Another sigh. “I told you he made me an alicorn and moved on, but in truth, that day another Marble had been created. A new world where I seemingly have always been an alicorn, and have ruled together with Selene the entire time. There has never been an Axis Mundi in the mind of anypony, it was his punishment for trying to find love.”

“A new Marble...” He lost himself in thoughts for a moment. “What about Selene? She seemed to have remembered the original Marble?”

“She only remembered vaguely. That thing inside of her, however, was able to.”

“That ‘thing’...” Craft’s immune to the change of fate. “Is it immune to the change of fate? Could we ask for its advice?”

Celestia looked up; her expression went from confusion, over disbelief, to an expression of... consideration.

The memory ended.

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

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

*** *** ***

Okay, this is not practice, I’ve got to ace it. Concentrate, aaaaaaand... I ripped my surroundings away from me and found myself in my target's home. I squee’d; Teleportation is so awesome.

“You know, I really should have let you dress up as a cat-burglar to do this.” Although I had expected Craft to show up the next time when it’s inconvenient, she startled me. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna kill anyone for that just now, after all I said it after you started your little B’n’E.”

“It’s not really B’n’E if I don’t really break or enter anything, is it? Nothing’s broken and I teleported in here, so practically the state of the world adjusted to my position.”

“That’s an interesting teleportation theory you have there. Think about it this way, maybe you make an exact copy of yourself everytime and kill the original you. The memory of the teleportation itself is only the first time your new senses are tested, that’s why it’s like a blur.” Well, that’s not disturbing at all.

“You’re shitting me.” I blinked. “Right?”

“Guess you’ll never know.” She disappeared.

“Not funny, Craft!” I shouted after her.

For only a blink she showed herself again. “Actually it is.”

I bristled with anger. She sure knows how to tease me. I just learned that trick... Keep calm, this is just because she knows how much I like it, and that’s why she wants to ruin it for me, I’m not actually dying every time... right? Right! … right. I couldn’t convince myself.

“Someone there?” What kind of security guard is that? Asking out loud if someone’s there. What do you expect, that I’ll answer and give away my position?

Not panicking is the key, I just have to move silently out of this ‘security guard’ who’s trampling around, making it not difficult for me to calculate his position, and therefore avoid him without problems. This shouldn’t be fun for me, after all, it’s morally wrong. First phase of my plan was only scouting, only when I’m sure where everything is I can proceed to phase two: teleporting out all valuables in one go.

‘What a douchebag.’ The thought kept going through my head while I strolled through his house-slash-mansion, ‘Do you know no restraint?’ He put his valuables partially on display. The interior designer would deserves a proper beating, but when I think about it, it has been Jarvan himself who decorated his home. He was that kind of guy who has to show off his wealth.

The password on his personal computer was ‘Jarvan’. There were no words, all I could do was slowly raising my foreleg to facehoof. Not like in the safe, the terminal unlocks, was anything important, say compromising documents or a relic even he thought was to valuable to simply put on display.

I closed the save again, knowing it’s exact interiors, and it not being warded against teleportation, it doesn’t need to be open for me to access it with my awesome new spell. This is all going too easy, but maybe that’s just what teleportation does, ‘making everything easy’ especially theft.

I know I could investigate the building for a little longer, but I already know what I need to. I’ll simply take the stuff he displays, because that’s the stuff he obviously wants people to see. Let’s check out where this guy sleeps... King sized bed. Well, I don’t know what else I expected. At least it wasn’t a four-poster bed or something.

“Chrm chrm.” I cleared my throat. Hmm... nope, didn’t work, he has a good sleep. Let’s see... is there something I can break? Yep, a little statue. Shatter. “Oops.” Yes, this seems to have done the trick; it woke him up.

Jarvan rolled around in his bed to look for the source of the noise. When he saw me he immediately shot up, but I teleported away before anything else could happen, just as planned.

--= =-= =--

Clap, clap, clap.

“Craft, why woul-” I’ve turned towards the clapping sound, but stopped mid-sentence.

The thing standing there in the light wasn’t Craft. It was huge, about twice the size of a regular pony, but it wasn’t bulky, it was thin, almost fragile. My eyes had troubles adjusting to the light of the streetlamps, and the creature was standing right between me and one of them, so I was only able to make out its silhouette. “For a mare running around, telling everybody she’s not evil, that was quite an evil move you just made there. Ts ts ts.” It had a male voice and was... rebuking me? Wasn’t he applauding a second earlier?

But, whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to mind my course of action. “You have the advantage, you seem to know who I am.”

“Ahh, where are my manners?” He snarled as if the thought of etiquette’s amusing in the situation. “The name’s Clint.” He rose an arm to lift a hat he’s wearing as an gesture of introduction.

“I’m Aideen.” But, as I already figured, he had known that. I could make him out better and better as the seconds passed. “Oh, you’re a breegull.”

“I’m a wyvern!” Clint flared up his wings to make himself bigger. I‘ve upset him, but finally can see him clearly.

Wyvern were a type of dragon with a pair of legs and wings, while at the end of the wing there was a claw, substituting as an hand. They had two big horns on their head. Unlike other dragons they had round pupils, and a thick, hard skin able to withstand a bullet at points. The word breegull comes from their resemblance to birds as their maws look somewhat like peaks.

Clint had sand colored skin, with the membrane of his wings being brown. He had hair on his head, and I assume the way he kept it was an individual trait like a mane was for ponies. His hair was... kinda fluffy. I liked the way it was sticking out under the head he had impaled with his horns. It would make him somewhat cute if it weren’t for the canines he deliberately showed off.

“Apologies. I’ve just...” What am I even trying to say? “I never met a wyvern, or a dragon in general. I mean, you guys are a rarity even in the east where you come from.”

“Yeah, well... This conversation isn’t going quite as well as I hoped.” He looked around to find a way to continue this conversation. “Let’s move away from the scene of the crime.”

“That would be a wise choice, wouldn’t it?” We started walking in no particular direction. “You thought I was asking how you were able to ‘catch’ me, right? Assuming something along me being impressed with you wits, but actually your just hoped that I pop back up where I disappeared from. You know who I am, so I doubt you ran into me by chance, but were following me, and judging by your equipment...” I looked at the pistol strapped to his belt and opened his vest with my magic.

“Hey.” I ignored his protest. Inside his vest were the two blades he could quickly strap onto his wings.

“...you’re a mercenary. But, luckily for me, whoever sent you is not on my bad side. I also believe you were only supposed to scout, and contacting me was your individual thing.”

“Uhm... yeah... This conversation’s not going at all how I planned...” He scratched his head.

“I supposed you don’t tell me who sent you?”

“Nnnnope.”

“And, it’s true, right? You shouldn’t have contacted me.”

“No, I was supposed to meet you at one point. I just figured... If the conversation would have gone as planned that I make a good impression.”

“So, you’re getting paid for philandering? Because I’m not really into... interspecies.”

“Yeah, I’ve gathered that. Your sexual preferences are equine males,” Well, I don’t make a secret of that. “You don’t care for wings, horns or stripes, and you look for them being well built, but I haven’t seen you actually perusing anyone. I figure you’d like them to also be smart, though under your league.” Okay, seems like he knows what he’s doing. “Like your brother, Ailill.”

I narrowed my eyes. “How would you know about my brother? You’re not affiliated with the Crimson Company.”

“I have my resources.” He smiled devilish, showing of his teeth again. He kinda failed at the attempt to catch me in process of stealing, but now he had some leverage against me.

Okay, let’s think about this, nobody in this town would know about it to be able to tell him. Hmm... think... THINK! I wanted to access Stable Eight's genealogical tree, he saw I have a PipBuck and could have been able to make the connection. He’s a merc, somewhere he could have picked up the relations to access those information...

“So anyway. I come in peace... let me take you to my leader.” He changed the quote from an old alien-scene play. Kinda fitting... somehow. “All the information I’m supposed to give you is that it’s supposed to ahh... ‘be a good opportunity for you’.”

“Tell you what: I let you stay at my place, you save money on a motel room until all of this is over, after that I’ll happily talk to whoever sent you.” With ‘all this’ I was referring to the campaign. “and in exchange I can tap into those resources of yours.”

“Haha...” He actually laughed, but was serious again the next second. “No. I can understand you want to know what I know about you, but... no.”

“It’s not about me, I’d like to know something about my own family; I only need to look up my ancestors.”

He was thinking for a moment. With ‘ancestors’ I probably wouldn’t mean my parents, even though it would seem obvious that I’d ask about them, because I still don’t know what exactly happened to them. Even so, the information alone would only have sentimental value to me, and he has no knowledge how much more money he has to spend on that motelroom, as he doesn’t know when I’m done. So is this exchange in his favor? Yes, it is. “Deal.”

*** *** ***

I’ve found one of my ancestors with the name of Aideen. But, unfortunately, I could neither confirm nor deny any of my suspicions. There’s so much weird surrounding here that I have to suspect there has been something rigged. First: she was born one and a half years after the Stable has closed, making it impossible for her to be Spellfield's daughter.

Her mother, Rosepedal, however, had the fitting age to be it. She was born in 998, making her a teenager when the war started, and Spellfield said ‘his teenage daughter’. As she was a unicorn in a zebra family, it could be that she went undercover, sotospeak and took another identity to protect herself, and as I came to know Spellfield, he would have approved of that plan, if he didn’t come up with it himself in the first place. It somehow all fit in place, but who would call their child after their own real name? That makes only little sense.

Another weird fact about this ‘Aideen’ was that she had a sister. Unlike every other pair of siblings in Stable Eight, the had been two fillies, and not a filly and a colt. Aideen took the profession of her father, ‘Nightgleam’, in maintenance, while her sister took up her mothers profession in the garden.

I also noticed that this ‘Aideen’ was the first pony to have a ‘weird’ name like that, but somehow she managed to bring through that most of her descendants were named in this manner, eventually most of the stable took up that way of naming their foals. I didn’t even think it was weird, only after I’ve left the stable and was confronted with other ponies I realized how unusual our name of naming foals was. It was how Zebras did it Giving names that don’t mean anything, but are only for the sake of defining a person. I like it better that way, so you don’t feel like you have to live up to the name your parents gave you.

I could only wonder what I’d be like if my Mom named me anything like Shining Light. That guy‘s kinda desperate to be a shining example. And what if I had been named after some inanimate thing, like Cirrus, Turbulence, or Foehn. It’s weird how we decide what’s weird by how common something is in a weird society. If it’s common it’s not weird, but nopony seems to ask what’s up with the society to begin with.

Come to think of it… why did Craft name herself Craft for me? She was called Theia for Selene, but she’s Craft for Aideen. Hmm… I don’t think it has to do with my personal preferences on naming ponies, but more what her name implies. I remember I made a pun once and called her to be ‘crafty’. She would definitively do something as important as naming something just for the sake of a pun, she has priorities like that.

It’s best not to think about things I can’t change and are meaningless like a name, after all it’s our actions that show who we truly are, and Crafts actions are those of a grade-A psychopath with zero decency for a living being. She once said she ‘liked me’, but I’m not totally sure what to make of it. I like her too, but I don’t think she actually has friendly feelings for me. Generally I doubt she even has the ability to have feelings for anypony. And with that shattered again the only relationship I’ve ever had.

I sighed… “Thanks.” I lifted the portable computer up and floated it back to its rightful owner, Clint. It wasn’t nearly an as sophisticated device as a PipBuck, but for those who don’t have a PipBuck it certainly is the best thing to carry around. Just when I thought that I don’t know what made me think that. They are two different device, created fore two different purposes, it’s not like you can properly compare them., and I’m just the type of pony to believe whatever they have is the superior thing…

“Found what you were after?” Clint took the PC and put it away in a small, bulletproof, metal box. I smiled at how the scary wyvern took loving care of the device, but when I think about it, he had to be very careful, PCs weren’t nearly as robust as PipBucks. There I am with that train of thought again…

“Ahh… Not… ‘exactly’. I found the string of information I was looking for, but it wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. I basically expected a yes or no to my question, but I got something else, and now I got more questions.”

“Any way I can help?”

“I don’t think so, unless you can dig up information on a mare that may or may not have changed her name and took another identity during the course of the war, while the only information I have about her are her name and the names of her family. I believe she lived in Canterlot, but after might have ended up in Colt’s Well to go into Stable Eight, but I don’t know that for a fact, I can only assume.

“Hm… Only if she got caught by the Ministry of Morale,” He really seemed to have ‘his resources’, “but then she should have been in jail, not in a Stable.”

“You know you don’t have to help me; I’ve already agreed on coming with you and meeting your employer after the new mayor has been chosen.” Clint just appeared before the election was over to give me a goal to achieve afterwards, and if it’s only meeting some mysterious guy who for some reason wants to meet me. I took it as a sign of fate, that I have a new thing to do, just before the first ended.

I believe I already know who Clint’s employer is. This ‘Watcher’, the guy who controls the sprite-bots and has access to an weird amount of information, especially if all he does is really just ‘watch’. Observing ponies if they think they are alone, or under themselves, can reveal a lot about their nature. But, somehow, I believe that groups of raiders would use the sprite-bots for target-practice, no, who am I kidding, they’ll destroy them not for sports but just for the fun of destroying things. Other observable groups like Crimson Company will shoot them on sight because of orders, and the Steelrangers probably won’t trust them much to begin with, because they know that they have been used for surveillance during the war.

“It’s more that I’d like to kill some time while you do your politics thingy.”

“Mhm…” I can sympathize with his situation, but there was nothing really I could do to help him. It’s well past midnight, so the election’s today, and the results will get announced in two days. “If all goes well we’ll be able to get going in three, maybe four days. If it goes bad… we’ll be long gone by tomorrow already, but now we sleep and wait for a police raid.”

Clint merely shrugged his shoulders as an answer.

*** *** ***

Ahh… I must say I love Hufstein's sophistication. Every terminal in reach of the Central Citynet broadcaster receives important news every time they deem something worthy of telling the fair people of this town. A PipBuck was, of course, able to catch that signal. The system’s easier to manage than the live radio system the Crimson Company uses in Colt’s Well, and ponies can still read their e-mail long after it has been sent. They don’t necessarily have to switch in right at news time to actually hear the news. Then again, the Crimson Company is more appealing for the lazy kind, and that makes out a lot of ponies.

About half an hour after the news went out somepony knocked at the door to my makeshift cell. Knock, knock, knock. “I’ve got good news for you, Miss Aideen.” His name was Silver Sterling, the lieutenant of the Hufstein Police Force, he was one of the officers who raided my home six hours ago. Cirrus and Turbulence acted their part perfectly, although they didn't know about the wyvern staying at our place. “You’re free to go.”

“Uhhmm… Thanks.” I stood up from the couch in his office. That was the second time I’ve convinced a police officer to let me stay in a cozy place when I should have been in a cell. “What gives me the pleasure of this release? I mean, I know I’m innocent, but how could you be sure so quickly?” I gave him a look meaning: ‘Impress me with your police work, strong stallion’, and he was more than happy to obey.

“Well, Jarvan made some mistakes in his work of framing you. Like the reason you convinced me you didn’t do it was that you’re too smart to, if you would actually rob somebody, that you would keep the most expensive stolen artifact on your nightstand.”

“I still get shivers if I think about that some creep had to be right next to me to place it while I slept… uah…” I was as good of an actress to actually shiver right now.

“Secondly, it was really the only item we could find in your house or carriage, everything else is nowhere to be found.”

“Oookay… But that still doesn’t really clear my name.”

“Now get this. His official statement and the newsarticle for this have been written a few days ago, we checked the timestamp. Means, he had them already prepared.” Or Xanthrine has changed the time on the terminal in his office for the time it was written, with help of a proper tutorial by me. “We hadn’t checked for a timestamp until the newspaper article had last weeks date on it.” He laughed, but I didn’t join him in it.

“He framed me officially in the newspaper on election day? Me, the campaign consultant of his biggest rival?” I believe I was able to deliver ‘shock’ properly. “We need to move, now!”

*** *** ***

It was a nice scene in front of town hall, everyone was waiting in line properly to cast their vote in a small booth for privacy. Good and honest towns folks, even though some were maybe not interested in the political process, were present to get the voting behind them, to continue on with their daily lives. I wonder how many have read the news today… Probably everyone, considering the bulletin board had a screen next to it showing the news, and those people had nothing better to do than gossip about it while waiting in line. Everything’s just going according to plan.

“What now?” My dear police officer had no continuation plan, we’ve arrived… and now?

“Wait here…”

I left him behind and maneuvered through the crowd towards where I’ve spotted Xanthrine. The perks of being tall is that I can somewhat overlook crowds like that. I still didn’t quite know what she looks like, but she was wearing the dress I ordered her to wear. I let her believe it only serves me to identify her in the crowd…

Maybe I am going evil, I couldn’t help but smile at how I’m going to end this plan. When she spotted me she went into hiding, like we’ve agreed to. She knows I was going to hold a small speech and frame Jarvan with how he framed me, and for a very specific reason she had to stay out of the picture.

Taking on her form with my disguise spell I climbed on top of a voting booth. “Everybody, stop the voting! I have to announce something important!” It didn’t take long until I felt like I had enough attention to actually start. “My name’s Xanthrine, I work for Jarvan, and… I cannot take this any longer. He did a lot of immoral things in his time as mayor, among them was that he sacrificed a good friend of mine. You know how the silver bugs aren’t a problem anymore? A stallion named Quick Shot dared to venture in the mine to plant a remote bomb, but the time he was in the hive Jarvan simply set it off. It was cruel, but nothing like what he did yesterday evening. He told me we were clearing out town hall to clean for whoever was his successor. I was naïve like that and believed him, but today I’ve learned that he framed a good pony with stealing all those things, and he might flee and get away with all of…”

Bang, bang

Shots were fired.

Looking where they came from wasn’t on my priority list at the moment, nor calming the scared crowd beyond me.

I simply looked down at my chest where two red stains grew bigger on the dress.

In disbelieve I stared at it, I lifted a hoof to touch the liquid to see what it felt like, but the moment I wasn’t supported by four legs anymore I let myself fall down the booth.

That hurt! I banged my head at something. Damn it. I almost gave away I wasn’t actually shot, but was just acting. According to the plan I was supposed to have an emotionless expression, like I was just in shock, not in actual pain, but I couldn’t help it, my face was deformed by real pain.

Turbulence was quickly by my side to fake-nurse me with some dyed water, the color of an healing potion. Thankfully most of the bystanders were in shock, so none of them tried to nurse me for real. He then proceeded to quickly carry me out of sight. So I can take on my real form again watch the show for myself. It was only a matter of time until they found all the evidence I’ve made for my frame-job, like the form Xanthrine gave him and he mindlessly signed to rent a cargo box at the harbor, or the workers at the harbor who actually saw me disguised as him checking it out.

*** *** ***

The following day I’ve met Xanthrine in front of town hall. “You did not tell me you were going to shoot me! I can’t believe you shot me…” She was almost hyperventilating now that she saw me. “He fired me, you know. Of course he fired me… why wouldn’t he?”

“Well, we didn’t shoot you in any sense…” I defended myself, but of course understood poor Xanthrine. “Look at it that way, now you’re a hero or something, halfway to a martyr.”

“I don’t want to be a hero, I want to be a normal secretary. Everyone is treating me… well… like a hero. Except for him of course.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

“Yes! Yes, it is! Do you want to know why? Because it might not have even worked, there were still lots of votes for him. Too close to call.” She was talking at a very high speed, making it hard for me to follow what she was saying. “And it’s a bad thing. Because it didn’t actually happen, and it’s part of an evil plan to frame someone. Congratulations, it worked well, but. I. Feel. Bad. Because of it, why don’t you understand that?” She looked at me for a while before she seemed to be enlightened. “Because you’re evil, of course! I can’t believe I… believed you when you said you weren’t evil.” Now she began mumbling and I lost all will to follow her, until she got loud again. “He’s fighting this, you know. You made him angry… With claw and teeth he’s going to fight this.”

“That’s right I will!” Speaking of the devil, Jarvan had burst out the door. He was… enraged, to keep his description short.

“Of course… You can fight it, but should you?”

“YES, I… what do you mean? What does she mean?” He turned the question immediately to Xanthrine, as I probably wouldn’t give him a satisfying answer.

“The votes are too close to call. I guessed that. You and your family before you has always won in a landslide, you can still win of course. But do you want to?” His eyes hushed around to try and think of something. “Let’s be honest. Ruling this fair town is going to be a pain in the ass from now on, because… you tried to kill her.”

“I didn’t try to kill anyone.”

“But you killed Quick Shot,” I countered, “cold blooded even. And that‘s probably only to piss me off. So congratulations, killing my friend is a great way of pissing someone off. In return I take your possessions from you, I take your reputation from you, and I‘ll take your job from you. But at least I don’t sink to your level and become a murderer. I use a more sophisticated method to destroy someone.”

“The death of this boy was a tragedy, but a decision I’ve had to make for the sake of the town. And,” He smiled. “everyone in here heard that now.” He looked around town hall, where some town employees have stopped in their work to listen to us. “you practically confessed that you set me up.”

“Oh, they are all your employees, what they say won’t matter much to the public now. The little lie I’ve created won’t hold long, I’ve known that, but the broad mass just had to believe it for the course of the election. There’s been much confusion since then, but now that I posted the results, it doesn’t matter. They’ll believe now that Shining Light won.”

“What do you mean?”

“I hacked into Citynet and posted the results of the election. I mean, I posted a few random numbers with Shining Light having the biggest number. So here’s a deal; you get your stuff back and in return you won’t post the real vote count. If you do it you also won’t have to govern this city anymore. A big part of town came to despise you, after all. What do you say?”

He stared at me with pure hate…




*** *** ***

Dear Princess Celestia. Today I’ve learned that there is no creature more heinous than a politician if he tries to save his own sorry behind. - March 15, 1025

I believe it’s true that we can find inspiration in the places we didn’t mean to find them. Then again, who would come from this one quote in a collection of Twilight Sparkle's Reports to Princess Celestia, to the… quite evil plan I’ve made out? March 1025 was when the Ministries just started and Twilight Sparkle had to deal with politics for the first time. I can only imagine in what situation she must have been, but there is no certainty that I’ll ever know for sure.




*** *** ***

Footnote: You have reached Level 13!

New Perk: Turning Heads: The chance of persuading someone who harbors ill-will against you from the beginning is 20% more likely.

Skill Note: Cooking has reached 50.

New Spell: Teleportation
Description: Instantly moves an object or yourself to an specific location.
Magical Drain: medium

Quest: Memories of the Future
[ ] Find out why the Memorhedron has planted on you.
[ ] Optional: Watch as much Memories in the Memorhedron as possible (9)

Quest complete: the new Boss 1: Hufstein
[X] Optional: Manipulate other candidates.
[ ] Failed: Help your candidate win the election.
[ ] Optional: Rig the election.
[ ] Failed: Win in a landslide.
[X] Establish your candidate as mayor.

Quest: Blind Date:
[ ] Arrive at Black Oak.
[ ] Meet Clints employer

Author's Note:

Meet Clint, our new breegull companion... I mean wyvern companion.

So I believe the chapter seems rushed, but actually it isn't
the last few scenes are a little bit scrambled, but I'd rather not write boring scenes inbetween because I don't enjoy writing nor reading boring scenes.
The point comes across that time passes between all scenes and is not immediately afterwards.
Generally Aideen spent a lot of time in Hufstein, around two month.

so anyway... the memory
Any of you think it is a wise choice to ask Craft to help avert the war?
and the question that came up: Is Aideen related to Spellfield? By now you should know me. I OBVIOUSLY try to fool you.
Axis Mundi got annihilated from the Marble? that shit's intense!

so, JC signing out, and as always Gaia Prevails!

PS: Craft is not an extraterrestrial parasite