• Published 20th Nov 2013
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FoE: Snippet Story - Windrunner

Set at various points in the Fallout: Equestria universe. Each chapter is intended to be a unique story unto itself. So many references, both ludicrously obscure and blatantly obvious. Even the title. No, not that. You will never figure them all out.

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Eight floors under the ground within the very bottom level of the Stable-Tec auxiliary status & research center stood one of the most handsome, most self-absorbed, and vain unicorn stallions in all the wide wide world of Equestria. Everything about him was perfect, or so he thought. He remained motionless in a blazing white suit of power armor that seemed to gleam even in the dim lights of the underground structure. Emblazoned in gold relief atop a left-to-right crest of black and white alicorns facing one another surrounded by a wing motif was a name-plate stating 'Magnificent'. He would have asked how she kept her mane flowing like that, except he was in trouble. Again. His secret was out.

One of them anyway, which is why he wore the armor. He might as well be out with it. Magnificent removed his helmet to reveal piercing amber eyes and a lustrous golden mane trailing behind him like a waterfall. A large, striking figure indeed, except compared to her. Princess Luna herself was glaring straight at him with a look of utter disdain.

"General, you are hereby...wait, do you smell like vanilla & strawberries?" she said in her stately mannered way.

"Oh that, it's just from my new line of mane and tail care products." he responded quietly, his voice holding a deep almost musical tone.

"Your new li.." she stopped abruptly. The team of technicians and scientists sitting at their respective terminals gave furtive looks of concern between one another.

"Ahem, how you ever managed to rise to the rank of general is beyond my comprehension. Your recent actions put an entire company at risk." She looked him over coldly in that way only she seemed able to manage.

"You gave an order that left them without support and many smaller squads cut off from help. This coupled with your abuse of privilege has led to your sentence which will now be carried out." She practically spat the words at him.

"General, your sentence would normally have been dishonorable discharge; however, in view of your heretofore heroically conducted service and knowledge of several key strategic assets, I command you instead enter this prototype hypno-stasis pod for a period of seven months. Hopefully you will emerge a better pony. Prepare thyself." Little could they have suspected the war would last only another five. He stared at the bulky tube-like contraption with its multitudes of cables only a moment then resolutely stepped towards it.

"As loathe I am to take such a commodity away from battle I am told you do not need to remove that ridiculous armor you so selfishly directed resources towards. Nopony else would don it anyway associated as it is with such disrepute. You will not be aware of it or anything else." Luna motioned the technicians to open the pod door. One hit a switch as it hissed open ominously, the curved door swinging wide to the left.

"But I'm supposed to attend a book signing tonight for my new book, 'The Incredibly Extremely Superawsomazing Adventures of Magnificent'! It's even being made into a comic strip," he pouted, putting on a face as closely imitating a crying puppy that he could muster while laying back his ears. He looked truly pathetic.

This only served to increase the princess' ire towards him, her expression a grim contrast to his. He gave up the effort to garner sympathy immediately. It would not pay to anger her further.

"Your personal popularity with the public has been taken into account, and influenced our decision." She looked towards the awkward apparatus. Off to the sides the technicians went about whatever business it was that kept their attention. Were the rooms not separated nothing but a great cacophony would have been heard what-with the endless clicking and beeping of various devices and machines of purpose that most ponies outside of the ministries could not possibly understand or even begin to comprehend.

A slight pulsing in the walls gave out seemingly random hisses and overall impression was that many hidden things were going on. He strode past the princess and in passing merely said:

"Right or wrong, this is what you must do." Her hard glare seemed to soften for an instant and looked nearly to be in tears as she responded so barely audibly only he noticed it.

"I..am sorry." Nearly immediately, the edge returned to her gaze as she pointed a hoof at the strange machine. He turned and backed into the device, setting his helmet to the side.

He thought at least the last thing he would see for months before the door closed was something beautiful. He would never say it to either of the princesses but figured most felt she and her sister were indeed gorgeous. He sat watching the door swing and slide shut with a clunk. A small motorized armature plugged into the armors diagnostic connector as another slowly moved in to inject some arcane chemical brew into his neck. He gazed out the small windowed slot unflinching as the machine came to life. A beam of softly flickering light projected over his face. He felt what he thought was a chill run down his spine, then the darkness took him.

Dreams came and went, visions of war, pain, and sadness, then verdant lush fields of green, forests and peace. For however long this continued, small impressions of feelings such as loyalty and friendship intruded almost unnaturally. Suddenly a brilliant flash impressed itself upon him.

"Something is wrong." He found himself thinking, and thinking in this state was not usual or so he assumed. Over countless days he occasionally thought he heard a noise or saw an anguished looking pony face pressed to the slot looking in at him but this was not possible.

The light took him again and again to dreams, working at him in whatever mysterious way it was designed to. At times he thought he'd come around only to see dimly flickering light or shadows and fall into dreams once more, though he also imagined this to be impossible.

"I cannot be aware, I must be dreaming, must be..must be." Consciousness did somehow seem to come and go to him. One time in a quick fleeting flash he thought he saw a tan pony hammering on the pod with a large wrench only to be whisked away to dreams yet again.

"Surely only an odd fantasy concocted by a mind locked in solitude." He imagined, but thinking that made him feel somehow cold.

"I cannot be feeling anything..no I am..no..." A strange shaking sensation brought him to slow groggy awareness only to find pitch black awaiting him. He really did feel extremely cold. His eyes seemed very unfocused. He went to lift an armored hoof only to feel horrible pain shoot throughout his body, as he yelped at the unexpected sensation the suit's automatic systems administered a small dose of painkillers.

"Whoa Nelly, that stuff works fast!" he blurted out, it seemed to echo hollowly in the chamber. He gently rubbed his aching head a moment in the pitch, his faculties slowly returning to him. He took note of a small red dot of light above him.

"Hello, anypony there?" nothing responded to his query. For the moment he only knew he was hurting, still in the pod and something was terrifically amiss. He gently felt around for his helmet and finding it gingerly slipped it down over his head and horn. When the helmet connected to the suit with a hiss, floating gauges and messages glimmered and settled into his vision.

Flashing warnings he never seen before told him the armors power matrix was only at 22% and that he should seek medical attention for slight muscle atrophy. One brightly colored notice caught his attention at once, an indicator marked 'Minor Brain Damage'.

"What!?" his now muffled speech sounding almost unfamiliar to himself.

"Easy now," he thought. "Maybe I am still dreaming? ...feels real enough." He collected himself and and reached up once again more slowly and cautiously, pressing at the pod door. It did not budge.

"Oh Celestia, what is happening here?." His heart was pounding. He turned on the suits magically infused headlamp finding himself only able to see his reflection in the doors small slot.

"Hello there, handsome as ever..oh wait." He peered into the glass. Having some light did comfort him a little. In the limited space he slowly stretched and worked his muscles gently until they did not feel quite as stiff. He activated the suits comm system and spoke.

"All channels: Any allied pony forces please respond." His message was greeted with a strangely terrifying static.

"Must be the walls of this thing." He thought to himself.

"But why is nopony getting me out of this contraption?" A small degree of panic began to creep over him as he considered what to do. Confined as he was he hit at the door heavily but it merely resulted in the clanging of metal on metal. After wearying of this he tried to calm himself. In his frustration he checked the suits weapon status, bringing up a load-out list which read:

Launcher 1: 6 Creeper Bypass Projectiles.

Launcher 2: M.I.C.: 10 S. Compaction Casings.

Weapon 1: SMG: 200 Standard. 200 AP. 200 Incendiary.

Weapon 2: AutDefGun: 30 standard defense. 30 E.M.P.

The suit itself & the two launchers he secretly commissioned the creation of himself and knew they would be of no use in this situation, any of the others if fired in this space could ricochet back. Firing the smaller guns would be useless and using either of the launchers would probably result in killing himself.

"I have to think..I will not let a tin can hold a beautiful fellow like myself, what should I do?" He shut his eyes tightly a moment then called up the suits diagnostics. The pod connector was still attached and should give him any info it had.

"This cannot be working right." He spoke to himself more to steady his nerves than anything else.

The display indicated the surrounding structure was under attack, but only showed one threat in a direction that should be impossible. He could only think that maybe some sort of Zebra attack was underway. He needed out. The suit did have a physical strength burst mode, but using it would drain the power reserves a further 5%. He might be unable to recharge it for some time if battle was joined. It should have been drawing power from the connector. A connection must have been severed somewhere in the center. He realized inside the door were two hinges which he might be able to pry off, which turned out to be slow tedious work. He chipped and pulled at the hefty hinges which took well over an hour.

Finally the heavy hinges gave way with a satisfying ping, the door falling off in the dark sending puffs of dust flying.

"Dust?" Surely the technicians would never have let it become so dirty in here. Now he knew something was very off. Feeling warmer just being able to move, he pulled off the connector. Stepping out of the pod slow and aching he panned the headlamp around to be startled at what he saw. Three unusually well-preserved technicians corpses lay amidst strewn debris, one lay back against a frizzing terminal clutching a large pipe wrench to him, occasionally twitching from the sparks. Floating gauges indicated the air outside the pod to be toxic with some unknown element.

Fortunately, he'd needed his helmet on before opening the door. The bodies looked nearly mummified. How long could they have possibly been here?, he wondered. The other two seemed to have been fighting each other, were those bite marks on one? The skull of the other seemed to be crushed, probably with the wrench. What could have driven ponies to perform such brutality on one another? Though it looked like a fight took place, all three seemed starved. The one with the wrench he recognized, he really had not dreamed that. The poor fellow was at some point thrown back to be impaled on a jagged edge of the sparking terminal, probably bucked right in the chest from the look of him.

It was sheer happenstance he still held the wrench to him. Magnificent pulled the body from the terminal so that it might finally lay still. He felt nausea at the effort. He could tell he'd been in the pod longer than expected, but just how long passed? He looked to the rooms door. The automatic systems sealed it for whatever reason and some great force acted on it, warping it inwards. Pressing the open switch it ground but would not budge. The center still displayed some power, but it should have plenty. The research center held at its core one of the most advanced prototypes of the spark reactor line. Red emergency lighting flickered off and on lending a further sense of urgency to his predicament.

He opened a manual plate to the side and magically started cranking a spinner bar around. He found it was very slow going as it forced the door open along its track, eventually just enough for him to pass into the hallway. Fortunately it warped in the middle and not along the edges or it may never have opened. As thick as the centers doors were, even the launchers would never have blown through it. The scene was much the same in the hall. The building's great reinforced construction warped at various points from some impossibly tremendous impact above. Occasional emergency lights still flickered dimly here and there. Whatever powered the lights was either damaged or close to out of power itself.

His next thought was that he should try to get to surface level as quick as possible, but the elevator here fell to the bottom for some reason. This left only the stairwells, which could be dangerous not only due to the damage but could be difficult to maneuver on and leave him exposed each time he turned a corner. The suit listed no friendlies at all, only the same far-off single threat as before. It must be a mistake. The direction of its position placed it where it just could not be. He trotted down the hall passing other jammed doors. He found himself wondering if similar incidents to the pod room occurred or if any ponies were trapped in the other rooms, but brushed such a horrible thought aside for now.

Even in a low-power state the suit should be able to tell if even a single friendly pony was around, or alive. He made his way to the first set of stairs. It seemed clear, so he made his way upwards cautiously. There was still no sign of any other pony. The scale of the damage shocked him. Two floors up he could not continue further, as a great pile of debris blocked his progress. He went back to the unexplored floor hoping another stairwell or undamaged elevator would be open somewhere. The suit was not designed for stealth. Each hoof-step echoed dully in the long corridors. If anything was around -- friend or foe -- it would surely have heard him coming. As before, all doors were sealed.

He found himself more curious now, but thought better of wasting time prying doors open. This situation felt worse the more time went by while he looked for a way up. Seeking another set of stairs was taking far longer than he expected. Didn't anypony ever put signs up or anything? The suit's nav system was not much use in here. Inside a building it could only give a general direction out. In this instance it was locked on the broken main elevator, making it less than useless. Advanced as it was there were still problematic issues. Turning at a junction, he caught sight of another stairwell, a fallen steel support partially blocking the way.

With some effort it shifted out of his way allowing him to continue up 4 more floors, where the stairs just ended at this level. Who made the layout of this place? It was absolutely confusing and not marked at all. How did anypony ever find their way around? He found himself thinking such things as the shimmering emergency lights continued to fade off and on along his path. Without the suit's headlamp, it would have been a much slower and surely more terrifying journey in the dark, as he never did get the hang of the light spell. Whenever he tried it he only blinded himself more than lit anything up. Finding a way out was taking far longer than he imagined.

This fact began to play on his mind as he aimlessly searched the seemingly endless halls and corridors. The damage seemed to be worse on this floor, impeding his progress even further. Though intact the walls here looked charred like some great fire roared through the floor. Again all the doors were sealed, giving no clue what happened. At some point he realized he was very hungry. Some food storage lockers were located throughout the facility, but he'd been in such a hurry he didn't notice the sensation beginning to burn in his gut. He would have to eat something soon. The suit did carry a small supply of water in an internal lining he could pull from a straw that connected up through the helmet.

Taking just a few sips did wonders. It tasted stale, but the suit filters kept it palatable. Working his way through the floor was tedious. Steel and rubble laid everywhere, forcing every step to be taken cautiously. The armor was so heavy each step through debris necessitated being carefully chosen to avoid toppling over. Finding a clear path was becoming more time consuming with every effort. There was no normal way to ascend to the next floor. Finally, he decided there was no choice but to try forcing open some of the side doors. Due to the same warping each door required to be forcibly cranked open, the strain of using so much magic just to slide the doors this way was taking a toll.

He never exerted so much magical effort in his whole life. The first two doors he opened were impassable. Structural supports and wiring hung down completely blocking both rooms. The third was no better thanks to some strange liquid pouring from two stories above that ate away through the ceiling and several floors below, leaving no floor at all. He could not go up or down through here. Pointing the headlamp up he could make out nothing above. Another three doors nearly exhausted him from the effort. One lead to an entirely empty room meaning his effort there was utterly wasted. Mounting frustration began to torment his thoughts.

Ponies could be in need of his help, yet here he was being held up by some metal and a chemical waterfall. What happened anyway, was some kind of bomb set off in the building? It would have been a huge blast to warp the very frame of a building, especially one mostly underground. He could only imagine the carnage that might await him above. Why had nopony awakened him?, and why had the three in the room with him seemingly gone insane? Why did the bodies seem so old? What was that strange toxic element in the air down there? Answers to these questions would have to wait. His only priority right now was to get outside and assist if possible. That was if he could even find a way outside.

This infernal maze of steel was getting on his nerves. Again and again doors lead absolutely nowhere or were blocked behind by structural damage, a feeling of hopeless futility settling in on him. His wanderings through the barren place had still not yielded an encounter with another pony, where did they all go? This place positively bustled with the comings and goings of scientific and engineering inclined alike. His next thought was that should the emergency lights fail he would have only the suit to rely on. Even in less dire circumstances this would be far from ideal, as it was he dare not remove the helmet.

The suit's power was unlikely to run out if he was cautious, but the very idea of it being the sole reliable thing was a frightening prospect. He engaged a still functional terminal in the hallway, bringing up a floor list. Two floors below was the reactor level.

"Perhaps if I go there I can get some of the main lights on at least, I can hardly see my glorious reflection." He muttered. Having been through here already, it was not so troublesome to find a way back to the open stairs. He headed back down into the depths of the stairwell.

Slowly he approached the level 6 door to find it already slightly ajar, a sign above read: Caution at all times, Spark Reactor containment room panels must not be circumvented. Pulling open the door revealed more of the same dark hallways. Arrows engraved in the walls actually gave directions for once.

"Control Room sounds promising." He spoke again to reassure himself. He took a moment to lean against the wall. His muscles still hurt some despite the drugs. He felt jittery, probably a side effect of the powerful painkiller. Once rested he continued on towards the control room.

This door was at the very end of a long hall at the very outside edge of the structure, and required clearance to open. Fortunately his rank gave such access. The button panel accepted his personal code, for once a door opened without trouble. As the door opened the suit registered a small but tolerable magical radiation signature, what greeted him further inside was horror. Red streaks lined the walls and ceiling, two pony skeletons charred nearly beyond recognition lay in unnatural positions over the control panels. A second threat indicator popped up on the display too late for him to react as a sudden impact from the side sent the armored unicorn splaying atop a broken monitor, he scrambled to his hooves only to turn and find some green abomination howling at him.

Was that a pony?, giving no time to think it made an odd gesture as it loosed some sort of energy blast directly at his front, enough to knock him over, as it hit the rad counter spiked for an instant. Going to get up again it leapt atop his back striking at him like some wild beast, hitting so hard he thought it might actually break through. Without the suits protection his spine would surely have been shattered by the assault. He pushed backwards slamming the violent creature into some type of machinery against the wall multiple times, then ran for the door as it let go. It was not about to let him do so. The terrible creature ran after him, but this time the suit's experimental close quarters automatic defense gun finally got an angle, firing a round backwards directly into its skull which set loose a vile spray. The horrid thing was still coming.

Magnificent leveled a wild buck at, sending the awful thing onto its back. It lay still, the threat indicator subsided from his vision.

"What in the princesses names!?" His heart pounding, he slowly moved closer to inspect the hideous thing, keeping weapons trained on it in case it was somehow still alive. Was it even a living thing at all? This was surely what happened to the two ponies in this room, but where did it come from? What was it? It looked like a pony. One thing was certain, this awful thing was not natural. Some Zebra trickery? That seemed unlikely.

Finally able to think a moment his eyes widened in shocked recognition, portions of a ruined Stable-Tec uniform still clung to its hindquarters. This monster was at one time a pony, the feeling of dread this discovery instilled was overwhelming. Did he just kill a fellow pony, or save him from a fate worse than death? Some time passed before he could bring himself to move again. On the opposite side of the room was an unusual door , partially open. The position of the door was against the outer wall, making little sense. A marking indicated: Emergency Access Platform.

"Maybe a way out?, oh thank my well-toned haunches." Had to pep talk himself after all.

He went to step through, then halted. The threat indicator which made no sense before now did. The direction lined up precisely in front of him as a strangely solid bar. He glared at the door, then pulled it open. A long wide corridor stretched out before him, at the end a separate access elevator. In the dark ahead six more of the things that were once ponies turned towards him, one stood in the elevator itself.

"Not again.." He said as he locked the SMG on target. Never having used the internal S.A.T.S system before, he found engaging it was awkward for him.

Time seemed to slow as he executed a short burst from the automatic, tearing through the first of the hideous caricatures of living things in front. It fell back with a dull thud. The burst ended, leaving him in serious trouble. Normally he would have fired the special second launcher at a group of targets such as this, except for the fact his spell compaction launcher was yet to be field tested. In this confined space it would also back-blast potentially destroying the elevator, possibly his only way out. All five remaining of the strange transmogrified green ponies were screeching. Running towards him down the hall, they moved with unnatural speed. Just seeing them approach made him feel weak in the legs.

Panic setting in he began backing up while firing between targets. The things simply did not care, did they have no feelings at all? Each was taking multiple shots, none even slowing down. Finally the second fell dead. This left four of the crazed foul things heading straight for him. Flashing bullets continued to fly in the dark, tearing through flesh and bone.

"No, stay away from me. I'm too handsome to die!" He yelled while continuing to spray bullets down the corridor, some ricocheting wildly. One of the creatures started to make that gesture like the first before. Recognizing the motion he unloaded a full 25 rounds at it in an effort to stop more clearly magical radioactive energy being hurled at him.

Spent shell casings clattered onto the floor. The noise of firing was nearly deafening. At last it seemed to engulf itself in flames while collapsing. Another of the creatures threw itself at him just as he stepped back through the door, slamming it mostly shut just as the thing jumped at him. He was shoved backwards. These former ponies were possessed of incredible physical strength. Having only an instant to react he rammed the door back into its head several times until it crumpled, the body now jammed in the doorway. S.A.T.S. was taking forever to reset, at least it felt like it was in this situation. The last two were rapidly approaching. Now there was something more substantial between the unicorn and his oncoming attackers.

He knew they would jump at him given the least chance. To avoid this he would have to act quickly. He ran out the other door just as the two maniacal things slammed their way into the room. It would be safe enough to use the second launcher here. He had the suit chamber a spell compaction round, they were supposed to have a 2 second delay. He fired the launcher, quickly trying to shut the door. A dull roaring sound engulfed the area behind it, he had not quite been fast enough. Slightly open as it was the blast knocked the heavy door straight off its hinges into him sending the unicorn reeling. The concussive force was such that he blacked out.

Magnificent lay there groaning. Slowly his eyes fluttered open. His armor was intact but charred in places. A new indicator marked: Minor Concussion was displayed. Several minutes passed while he was out. All hostile indicators had subsided. Getting to his hooves was a terrific effort. Finally getting back up he glanced towards the control room. Several strange small purple fires were dancing scattered amongst the wreckage of terminals and equipment. In the room one of the creatures actually incinerated into a pile of ashes, the other lay smoldering beside it. The blast was much larger than he expected. Making his way past the mess, he slowly limped down the corridor to the elevator.

This was a separate shaft from the rest of the building entirely, it must have been built in case the main entrances were unavailable. Now it was likely his only possibility of escape. The elevator appeared to have a spark battery attached to the side panel, meaning it was independent of the failing reactor. He was wary of this, what awaited on the surface? Hopefully no more of those monstrosities.

"I really need a soothing cup of chamomile tea. My exquisitely cared for mane is probably a mess too." He spoke despondently as he hit the button, the elevator doors shuddered closed.

It was clear the elevator was not used in a very long time from the sound of far off machinery, as grinding seized metal grated while it rose. So much so he was beginning to fear it would fall, making his entire misadventure pointless. Fortunately it simply continued to rise. Eventually it rose to surface level. The surface doors slid open with a great hiss, sparks shooting from the tracks. Magnificent stepped out to survey his surroundings.

"Ohh, no...."


What awaits our hero on the surface? Will he ever get a cup of chamomile tea? Is he a hero at all? More questions await as we now turn our eyes to, a series of insignificant events.

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