• Published 29th Jun 2013
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Fallout Equestria: Tales of Chicacolt - volrathxp

Tales from a broken city told in episodic format.

  • ...

Chapter 7: Wasteland Rugrats, Part I

Fallout Equestria: Tales of Chicacolt

Chapter 7: Wasteland Rugrats, Part I

Cutie Mark Crusaders Forever! Yay!

The Equestrian Wasteland is a harsh and unforgiving place, but among the shadows of the final war tiny pockets of innocence can be found. The laughter of a foal is one such pocket of innocence. In the ruins of Chicacolt, two young ponies will find their way.

This is the tale of Starry Night and Lightning Chaser, foals to Patch and Steeljack. They will find out that while the Wasteland can be a terrible place that there are still ponies that are good and innocent.


Darkness descended over the city, and for a time it began to peacefully slumber. The slumber was unfortunately, interrupted by the sound of snoring. It was coming from a room deep within the town of Theater, seat of the Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Mafia. Inside the room, two young ponies lay sleeping.

“Chaser,” a voice hissed in the darkness. “Turn over or something. Your snoring is too loud.”

No response. The voice sighed.

“Fine. I'm going to have to wake you up myself then,” it said. Hoof steps made their way closer to the snoring pony. “WAKE UP!”

“Huh... wha?!”

The snoring stopped, replaced by the sounds of a highly confused colt. Lightning Chaser fell backwards out of his bed,due to his sister having pushed him out of it. The colt was deep grey in color, but had a dark navy mane that spiked up into the air. He stared indignantly at his sister, Starry Night.

“Seriously, Star? I was sleeping,” he said.

“No, you were snoring. You're going to wake the whole town. And that would make Mom very cranky with you. And you know how she gets when she's cranky with you,” Starry Night replied. “Besides... it's late and I need to get my beauty sleep.” The dark green filly grinned, using her magic to primp her curled black mane. A blaze of blue arced through her mane and tail.

“More like your ugly sleep,” Lightning muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” Star said, raising an eyebrow.

The gray pegasus colt grinned sheepishly. “Oh, nothing Sis. Nothing at all! I'll try to be quieter, alright?”

Starry Night rolled her eyes. “Oh, alright. Let's just get some sleep then. Or Mom really will be cranky with us.”


The two ponies fell back to their beds, sleeping soundly. Lightning Chaser cracked his eyes open a few minutes later.



“You awake?”

“Yeah. What's up?”

“What do you think tomorrow's gonna be like?” Lightning asked softly.

Starry Night scoffed in response. “You're worried? It's just a routine scouting mission. They don't take kids like us on really important stuff.”

“I know... I just... I want to make Mom proud, you know?” Lightning replied.

“Listen, it'll be totally fine. Just you wait and see. Besides, if anything goes wrong, I'll protect you,” Starry said, snickering.

Lightning's face turned beet red in the darkness. “Will not! I'll be the one protecting you! Just because you're a few seconds older than me doesn't mean I'm the weakling!”

“Jeez, Lightning. Relax. I was only joking,” Starry replied. “Now can we get some sleep? We both have a very big day tomorrow.”

“Right... Night, Sis.”

“Night, Bro.”


“Alright folks, here's the scoops. Today we're going on what will basically amount to a pretty large and boring trip across the city,” Apple Danish said as he addressed the assembled ponies before him. The cream-colored unicorn stood on a small platform with a crudely drawn map of Chicacolt on the wall behind him.

Lightning Chaser and Starry Night looked on in excitement. This was going to be their first real working assignment. They grinned at each other. Maybe they'd even get their cutie marks!

“Our target destination is the farthest reaches of MMMM territory, where Donut Don and the Sprinkle Seven have their donut factory. Our boss, Gluttony, wants us to reinforce the supply lines along that route,” Danish said. “We've been having issues with the Lotus Triad hitting those supply lines, so it will be up to us to make sure those ponies have what they need to defend our settlements. Because of this, I will personally be overseeing this operation.”

“Should we be expecting combat then, sir?” one of the other ponies, a unicorn by the name of Bright Spark, asked.

“Honestly, I sincerely doubt it,” Danish replied. “Regardless, you will all be outfitted appropriately.”

“H-h-how long will we be gone?” Lightning said, raising his hoof.

“Ah, Lightning. We'll be home in time for dinner, don't you worry about that,” Danish said. “Now then, boyos and girlos, let's get your gear on and let's get cracking.”

The stallion pointed over to the quartermaster, who stood off to the side next to a table loaded with provisions. Lightning and Starry made their way over to the table, each grabbing a set of barding. When it came to their weapons, Lightning Chaser was given a twin set of rifles attached to a battle saddle, while Starry Night was outfitted with a combat shotgun and a package of apple grenades.

“Wow, these are really neat!” Lightning said, slipping on his barding and battle saddle.

Starry snorted. “Just remember what Mom told you about those things.”

“I know, I know. Don't point my wings at ponies I don't want to shoot,” Lightning replied, rolling his eyes.

“Alright folks, let's get this show on the road!” Danish called out. “Bright Spark, Starry Night, Ruby Red, you three will be in the rear. You're our magical support. Lightning Chaser, Storm Runner. You two are our wing support. You'll be able to see if anything is coming. Chocolate Mocha, Coconut Cream Pie, and Red Velvet, you're up front with me. You'll be helping with first response and guarding the caravan with the supplies. Let's move out!”

The assembled caravan made their way out to the entrance of Theater, where two ponies waited. Lightning's eyes lit up as he spied his mother, accompanied by the pegasus security chief Lilith. Patch grinned widely as the sight of her two children.

“Mom!” Lightning shouted. He bounced up to where Patch and Lilith were standing.

“Lightning,” Patch said, smiling. “And Starry. You two got an early start this morning, I barely missed you, it seems.”

“Sorry, Mom,” Lightning said. “Star wanted to get going super early.”

“It's our first mission,” Starry said, rolling her eyes as she came up to the group. “It's kind of a big deal.”

“It's alright. You two be good for Danish,” Patch replied. “Remember, he's in charge and you have to listen to him.”

“We know, Mom,” Starry said, her voice cracking just a tiny bit. Out of the corner of her eyes she spotted Lilith and Danish.

“How long are you going to be gone?” the black pegasus asked.

“Just the day. It won't take us long to get down to Sprinkles and back,” Danish said. “Which means we should probably get moving. We're burning daylight as it stands.” The cream-colored stallion reached in and pecked Lilith on the cheek. “Hold down the fort for us.”

“You got it,” Lilith replied, a grin emerging on her face. She glanced over at Starry and Lightning. “You two be careful out there, alright?”

“We will, Auntie Lilith,” Lightning said. “Come on Star, we'd better get going.”

Patch smiled widely, pulling the two younger ponies in for a hug. Starry and Lightning returned the embrace before returning to their places around the caravan. Danish shouted for the caravan ponies to start moving.

Before long the settlement of Theater was off in the distance. The guards and caravan ponies had settled into a comfortable walking rhythm as they navigated the streets of the ancient city. They had yet to reach the edge of MMMM territory, but already they had noticed that the streets were a lot quieter than usual.

“You guys think this is the way it's gonna be the entire trip?” Ruby Red asked as they walked. The red mare looked apprehensive.

All of the ponies in the guard crew were roughly the same age, so Starry Night had known most of them for a long time. Ruby was a bit of a worry-wart when it came to trying new things. She consistently fretted over every little job.

“I'm sure that this is probably going to be fairly boring, like Danish said,” Bright Spark interjected. The yellowish unicorn smiled. “Lighten up, Red. There isn't much to worry about in these parts of the city.”

“There's the Hellraisers,” Ruby replied. “They could attack us.”

Starry Night scoffed. “They stick to their own at Filly's Pier. You know that.”

“What about the Lotus Triad?” Ruby said. “They still exist even after what happened to them.”

“True, but they know better than to mess with us,” Spark said. “Not with the Ministry Mare on our side.”

“Who's the Ministry Mare?” a voice from above said. The other pegasus of the group, Storm Runner, was flying within earshot of the three mares. The colt looked curious.

“You don't know about her?” Spark said.

Storm Runner shook his head. “I mean, Mom's always told me she protects the city, but never much more than that.”

“Shit, I thought living in Theater you'd have at least seen her once, as much time as she spends hanging around with Starry's mom,” Spark replied.

Starry Night's face went red at the mention of her mother.

“Wait, you know the Ministry Mare?” Ruby Red said, turning to the green unicorn. “Seriously?”

“Y-y-yeah, I do,” Starry said. “She's... she's sort of my godmom.”

“Wait, how in the heck did you get an immortal goddess to be your godmom?” Spark interjected. “Even I didn't know that one.”

“She... she was there when Lightning and I were born,” Starry said. “Her name is Radiant Star. She's an alicorn. My Mom and Dad traveled with her before we were born.”

“An alicorn?” Storm Runner said. “You mean one of those big winged and horned ponies I always read about in my books? Like the old Princesses of Equestria?”

Starry nodded. “I guess so. I dunno, she doesn't act much like a Princess. She's pretty cool. Her and Mom always talk about their journey together a lot.”

“Wow,” Ruby chimed in. “Geez, I wish I had a godmom like that.”

“Cut the chatter back there,” Danish said out of nowhere, silencing the younger ponies. “We're coming up on the border out of MMMM territory, so keep a sharp eye out.”

Starry Night faced forward. After claiming the Cowpones' territory in the wake of the gang's destruction at the hooves of the Ministry Mare, the MMMM had constructed a wall that cordoned off their main territory from the rest of the city. A large metal gate sat in the middle, flanked by two watch towers. Several guards stood watch from them, waving the caravan through.

Within seconds they'd passed through the border and out onto the supply route through the city. Starry Night shuddered at the wind, glad for the barding that they'd been given before setting off on the mission. It never ceased to amaze her how large Chicacolt really was. Off in the distance, closer to the center of the city, the young mare could see Filly's Tower. The monolithic structure loomed over the ruined metropolis.

“From here on out, maintain complete silence unless absolutely necessary,” Danish called back.

And so, the caravan plodded forward slowly. An hour passed and the group had made their way several miles along the route. Lightning Chaser flapped his wings lazily, even yawning at the sheer boredom of the mission. In short, guarding things was extremely boring and tedious to the young pegasus.

His eyes wandered up to the ruined skyscrapers that littered the road they were traveling down. Long before the end of the war, those had been businesses and even apartment buildings. Now, they were husks, devoid of life. A flicker of light caught Lightning's eyes. The colt knew that sometimes squatters would hunker down in these older buildings for protection. He thought that maybe he'd seen a camp fire of some sort up in one of them.

Lightning strained his eyes at the light. What is that? He thought. He flapped a little higher. Storm Runner followed next to him.

“What is it?” the other pegasus asked quietly.

“I... I don't know,” Lightning said, turning to Storm. “There's something up --”


The sound rocked the air around the caravan as something passed through Storm Runner's head, reducing it to the consistency of mush. The pegasus dropped out of the sky immediately. Lightning blinked as blood splattered onto his face from the blast.

“Take cover!” Danish shouted. “Lightning! Get down here!”

Lightning halted in mid-air. Storm Runner! He just... he just... no! He thought, his mind frantically trying to find an answer as to the fate of his friend. The colt suddenly felt jerked to the side as another bullet ripped through the air to the right of him. A soft green glow surrounded him.

“Come on, Lightning!” Starry Night called out.

The grey pegasus blinked again and let himself drop down to the ground, where his sister yanked him by magic towards one of the nearby buildings. Gunfire rained down from the skies as the group struggled to make their way.

Starry Night grimaced, her combat shotgun practically useless for this kind of attack. Beside her, Bright Spark attempted to return fire in the direction the attacks were coming from, but didn't seem to hit much of anything with her revolvers. Ruby Red hid beneath the other two unicorns, trying to stay out of the way.

The earth ponies protecting the caravan and its drivers were moving the caravan supplies to the side of the building where they hopefully wouldn't be seen. As they did so, another bullet ripped through the air, killing Chocolate Mocha and one of the caravan ponies. The rest of them fled inside the building. After them came Danish, hobbling along on a bad leg injury.

Once inside what appeared to be a lobby for an old bank building, Lightning Chaser realized that Storm Runner wasn't with them. He knew what had happened, but he hadn't gone back for his body.

“Where... where's Storm?” he asked without thinking. He stopped as he said the words and looked down at his hooves.

“Kid, this ain't exactly easy to say, but Storm's out there, dead,” Danish said, wincing. “And we will be too if we go back out too quick. There's a mess of snipers up there in those buildings somewhere. We're gonna have to wait them out.”

“Wait them out? They just killed Storm!” Lightning growled angrily. He stomped a hoof for emphasis. “We've gotta go after them!”

“He's right! They also got Mocha!” Coconut Cream Pie chimed in. “We should take the fight to them!”

“There's nothing we can do from here, Lightning, Coconut,” Starry Night said. “Captain Danish is right. He's in charge, and we have to do what he says. That's what he said, remember?”

“Besides... I can't go anywhere right yet,” Danish said. He winced again, motioning to his leg injury. One of the bullets had torn through the unicorn's right front leg and was bleeding heavily.

Red Velvet appeared next to the cream-colored stallion's side with a medical kit and a health potion. “What can I do to help, sir?”

“The potion, and bandages. It'll help but it'll still need time to set in,” Danish replied.

Red Velvet nodded and began to work, bandaging up Danish's injured leg.

Meanwhile, Lightning paced in front of the doors. The smoked glass showed just enough of the outside world. The sounds of gunfire died down. The young pegasus sighed as his sister came up next to him.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

Lightning shook his head. “He was right in front of me... and they just... he just... I was supposed to be watching his back.”

“It's not your fault, Lightning.” Starry Night replied. “It happened. Mom told us that. We have to trust in her lessons now, and listen to Captain Danish.”

“Always so by the book, Star? I just... I want to go out there so badly, and kill whoever killed Storm!” Lightning shouted.

Starry Night sighed. “If we did that, then we'd be no better than them. Mom taught us that much at least. We need to keep a cool head here, bro.”

“I... I know...” Lightning said. “I just...”

“I know.”


A half hour passed with nothing happening outside the ruined bank. Danish had managed to get to his hooves shakily, his injury slowly but surely healing. There was no time to lose. They had to get out of the there before they got pinned down even further.

“Red Velvet, you're in charge of the medical effort. Make sure everypony is in fit shape to keep moving,” Danish said. “Bright Spark, Ruby Red, guard the door for at least another hour. We have to hope that they've abandoned the prospect of finding us, or that we've found an exit somewhere else. Is the caravan itself intact?”

“As best as it could have been, sir,” one of the caravan ponies said. “Stashed around the side of the building, but if we're not getting out of here any time soon... we might as well write it off.”

“I'll keep that in mind, thank you,” the cream-colored unicorn replied. “Cream Pie, do what you can to help Red Velvet. Lightning and Starry, you two take a breather. You'll be filling in for Spark and Ruby once their shift is up in an hour. We'll see where we're at then.”

Lightning and Starry sat near the caravan ponies, watching as the rest of the crew went to work. Red Velvet turned her attention to those ponies with minor scrapes and cuts, making sure that everypony was in tip top shape. Bright Spark and Ruby Red stood near the doors, having yanked over a makeshift barrier made out of wooden desks. Lightning grimaced, drawing a concerned look from his sister.

“What's wrong?” she asked.

“I just... we should be doing more,” Lightning said. “But we have to sit out and do nothing? Just feels like we're being coddled, Star.”

“Danish knows what he's doing, Lightning. Let him make the decisions,” Starry replied. She placed a hoof on her brother's shoulder. “We'll get to Sprinkles and contact Mom and Aunt Lilith. They'll come and help us.”

“And what about Storm Runner? Or Chocolate Mocha?” Lightning spat. “Nopony helped them. Nopony even cared.”

“That's unfair,” Starry said, frowning. “We all miss Mocha and Storm. They were comrades, friends even. But we can't let their deaths stop us from surviving. We have to keep moving on.”

Lightning grunted in response, turning away from his sister. What does she know, huh? he thought. She doesn't care that I messed up, that I didn't keep Storm's back. That I froze when Mocha was killed.

“Sir, there appears to be some activity outside,” Bright Spark said suddenly. She held up her revolvers, a stern expression on her face. All activity ceased.

Danish jerked his head up towards the glass doors. Several forms dropped out of the sky in front of the building. His eyes narrowed as they coalesced into armor wearing creatures with large feathery wings and hawklike features. Griffons? Talons? I thought they protected ponies... he thought.

“Attention ponies currently inside of this building,” a voice came from beyond the doors. “You will surrender, or you will be killed. The unicorn Apple Danish, you are to present your weapons and come along willfully. If you resist, or if you do not present yourself within ten minutes, everypony inside will be exterminated.”

“Shit...” Danish said under his breath. He stood up. “You guys stay right here, alright? I'll deal with this.”

“But, sir, they'll kill you,” Spark said.

Several heads nodded in agreement.

“They can try,” Danish said. “Takes a lot more than a few bullets to stop me. If I come back alive from this, remind me to tell you about the time I stormed Colter Field.”

The unicorn stepped towards the doors carefully, pushing one of them aside. The griffons standing outside regarded him curiously. Their armor seemed reminiscent of Talon armor, but had a flair of Enclave touch to them as well. They were extremely well armed.

Danish looked up and realized they were completely surrounded. The leader of the group, a jet black griffon with white plumage, looked down at the unicorn.

“Are you Apple Danish?” he said stoically.

“I am.”

“Surrender your arms and come with us,” the griffon said. “Those inside will not be harmed.”

“I thought you Talons were the good guys,” Danish coughed. “Didn't realize you were just plain 'ol mercs.”

“Oh, you thought we were Talons?” the griffon replied, raising an eyebrow. “That's kind of funny, really. Talons are pathetic goody two-shoes. No, we're just your average bounty hunters, and you my friend... you have quite a large bounty on your head.”

“What am I up to now?” Danish countered, throwing the griffon merc off guard. “Seven hundred caps? Eight hundred? Just want to be sure you're getting your money's worth before you die.” He tossed the griffon a sharp grin.

“You're surrounded and any stupid move you make will result in the deaths of your caravan inside the building,” the griffon replied. “Rest assured, I will give them no mercy if you make me.”

Danish frowned. The griffon had him there alright. He couldn't do anything without getting those kids killed. He cursed his luck. This was supposed to be just a simple training mission, and he'd already lost two of his own. He couldn't afford to lose any more, especially Patch's kids. She'd kill him if he wasn't already dead first.

“Fine,” he finally said, lifting his carbine and laying it on the ground in front of the griffon. He thrust out his forehooves. “I'm yours.”


“They're... they're putting hoof cuffs on him!” Bright Spark shouted, her eyes wide with fear. “And they're starting to clear out!”

“What?!” Lightning Chaser said. The pegasus rushed to the doors. “They can't... Why did he just let them take him?”

“Because we're here,” Starry Night replied solemnly. “It was either him or us, and he chose to sacrifice himself to save our lives.”

“That's... that's not fair,” Lightning said angrily. “We have to save him... we have to stop those guys from taking him!”

“Against that much firepower, are you insane?” Bright Spark snapped. “You'd be dead before you got twenty feet away. There's nothing we can do. We have to get the caravan to Sprinkles and then call Theater for help.”

Lightning fumed, turning away from the unicorn. There had to be a way! He blinked, an idea forming in his mind.

“What if... what if we did both?” he said. “What if some of us followed them and led reinforcements to their location? I mean, they've gotta stop at some point to rest.”

“That is extremely dangerous, and you know it, Bro,” Starry said. “If you were to get caught...”

“I'm aware of the consequences, Sis,” Lightning sternly replied. “But we don't have time for this. The longer we spend arguing about this, the more time they have to get away.”

“I agree with Lightning,” Coconut Cream Pie said. The young mare narrowed her gaze at Starry Night. “We can't let this group of mercs have Captain Danish. He's a leader for the MMMM. Second only to the Big Boss.”

“And if it gets you all killed in the process? How do you think that will make Danish feel? How do you think that will make our Mother feel?” Starry argued.

“Mom... Mom would want us to do our best,” Lightning replied. “She'd want us to fight. Come on, Star. You know this is the right thing to do.”

Starry Night looked away and grimaced. Memories of her Mother's lessons on safety, on proper gun usage, on surviving in the Wastes all flooded back into her mind. She sighed deeply, remembering several important lessons on friendship in the Wasteland.

“Friendship is important to surviving, so be sure to surround yourself with lots of friends!”

“You never leave a friend hanging when they need you the most...”

“Fine. I'll go along with this,” Starry finally said. “How are we doing this?”

“You're seriously going to go through with this?” Bright Spark asked.

“Lightning is right. We can't let Danish be captured. Even from a purely informational standpoint, he knows way too much about the MMMM. If he was to be tortured for information, the MMMM would be at a disadvantage. We could be potentially brought down,” Starry said.

“Fine, then I'm going with you,” Bright Spark replied.

“Me too,” Coconut Cream Pie said. “Or have any of you forgotten that I'm the only one here with a PipBuck?” The young earth mare pointed to her right leg.

Starry Night rolled her eyes. “Alright then. Four it is.”
“Alright,” Lightning said, grinning. “Let's get going.”

“Hold it, Bro,” Starry replied. “We've got one important thing to take care of first.” She turned to the other assembled ponies. “Ruby, you need to help the rest of the caravan get down to Sprinkles. Stick to the route. Once you're there, contact Patch and Lilith in Theater and have them track Cream Pie's PipBuck tag.”

“Right,” Ruby Red said.

“The rest of us, we're heading after those griffons. Did you see which way they went, Spark?” Starry asked.

“South, toward the gang zone,” Spark replied.

“Great,” Starry said. “Well, we'd better get a move on before we lose their trail.”


“So, we've lost their trail,” Bright Spark said flatly.

The four ponies had journeyed out of the ruined bank, bidding good bye to their friends before heading off in the direction that the griffons had gone off in. However, Chicacolt is unforgiving to the unprepared, and soon the four young ponies found themselves in an even greater predicament – getting lost.

“I don't know why, but I can't figure out where they were headed!” Coconut Cream Pie replied. She shook her PipBuck, growling. “Why can't this thing find them?!”

“Because they're griffons, duh,” Lightning Chaser added. “They can kind of you know... fly.”

“I should still be able to pick up on the frequency waves emitted by their armor's builtin PipBucks,” Cream Pie said.

“Unless they don't actually have PipBucks,” Starry pointed out. “In which case, that means we're lost. I certainly don't recognize this part of the city.” She frowned.

“I don't either,” Bright Spark said grimly. “That doesn't mean we stay here, though. Keep moving. We know they started off in this direction at least.”

The wind started to pick up as they continued forward, chilling the four to the bone. Bright Spark took the opportunity to cast a heating charm over them in order to keep warm, but it only worked so well against the city's powerful winds. They still had no visual sighting on the griffons.

Coconut Cream Pie began to fiddle with her PipBuck's map functions to try and get some idea where they were at. All the PipBuck knew was that they were in the gang zone, a fact that all of the young ponies knew was a very bad thing. They were in a no mare's land, where the raiders and thugs lived. Almost on accident, Cream Pie managed to turn on her PipBuck's radio. The sounds of rocking music filled the air.

“Shit!” she yelped.

“Pie! Turn that thing off! Do you want to give away our position?!” Starry exclaimed. The green mare trotted up to where Cream Pie was attempting to silence the radio.

“I'm trying! I don't know how it turned itself on!” she cried out. The music on the radio suddenly died down. “There we go, damn. Do you think anypony heard that?”

A few seconds in silence gave way to a loud and brash voice roaring from the PipBuck's speaker instead.


That's right kiddies it is that time again, the time for the Morning Moo Madhouse only on Radio Chicacolt. And you know what that means! It means it's time for your host with the most, the bull with the skills to pay the bills, the ONE, the ONLY, the MINOOOOTAAAAUUUUR!!!

That's right kids, it is I, the Minotaur, your friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) eye in the sky with all the news on what is going down in the town. He look, I'm a poet and I didn't know it!

“Turn it off, turn it off!” Starry shouted.

“It's off, I swear! The radio isn't showing as on at all!” Cream Pie replied vehemently. “It must be some sort of... directed transmission.”

“Well it's going to give away our position to every raider and asshole within five miles, so shut it off!” Bright Spark yelled.

Now don't you fret kiddies, because out here in the Wasteland, you'll find help in the most unusual of places. Now don't tell anypony else out there, but a little mutated birdie told me that a group of ex-Talons are in the process of transporting some very important cargo towards O'Mare Airport! That's right, a group of GRIFFONS transporting CARGO to O'MARE AIRPORT! I wonder what it could be!

“Wait, he's trying to tell us something!” Lightning said. “It's about Danish! They took him to O'Mare Airport!”

Now for you kiddies in the gang zone, listen up. War is hell out there, so stay together and keep each other safe. And remember, not everybody out there is bad. Talk first, shoot questions later. Or something like that.

And with that, it's time for the part of the show I love the most! The dead silence!

The radio cut out entirely, bathing the group of ponies in exactly what the Minotaur had described. Nopony spoke for several long moments.

“Cream,” Starry said finally. “Can you pull up a route to O'Mare on that thing?”

“Already on it,” Cream Pie replied. “Looks like we're not far away. It's about an hour's walk southwest.”

“Good. Let's get going then,” Starry said as she started to move forward. She stopped when she realized that Bright Spark wasn't following. “What?”

“You really don't know anything about this city do you?” Spark asked. “O'Mare is a death sentence. If they took him there...”

“What do you mean?” Lightning said.

“It's a slaving operation,” Bright Spark said. “Ran by the Cult of Iron Will. They probably took Danish to be sold as a slave.”

“All the more reason to go there and save him!” Lightning protested.

Bright Spark sighed. “We'll never get him out of there if they've already sold him to the Cult. We've wasted so much time, it will be impossible to get in there and get him out without being captured ourselves.”

“Then we get a message back to Theater,” Starry Night said definitively. “Let Lilith and Mom know what's going on. Get Gluttony involved.”

“And when do you think you'll be doing that?” a new voice said from behind the ponies.

The four young fillies and colt jumped at the sound, turning to meet the crazed eyes of a bluish green earth pony stallion standing just across the rubble on the street from them. He wore barding that appeared to be made out of some crude hide, most likely brahmin. Blood was splattered all over the stallion's body, mane, and tail. Most of it was fresh. A spiked club hung at the stallion's side.

“Oh, I'm sorry, did I scare you four? I must have been a little too loud,” the stallion babbled. “I'll be quieter next time.”

“I'm... I'm hopeful that there won't be a next time,” Starry Night said shakily. “We were just leaving.”

“You know, I saw you four out here and said to myself, 'you know, Basher. Those are some friendly looking ponies right there', and then it turns out that you ain't so friendly at all,” the stallion continued on almost as if he hadn't even heard Starry reply. “Ponies like you really piss me off. Makes me just want to... to... to rip your insides out and stomp on them! Yeah!”

“Well, I'm very sorry,” Starry said, taking a step back towards the group. “We'll just get out of your mane then.”

“Oh I don't think so,” the stallion replied. “Four little pups out in the middle of nowhere? You're what we like to call in these parts 'fresh meat'.” The stallion started to chortle loudly. “Get it! Because you're young, and I'm going to bash you into little meat patties. And then... I'm going to eat you.”

“Back away, slowly,” Bright Spark whispered. “We need to get out of here. I'll hold him off and join you.”

“What? You can't,” Starry Night muttered. “It's suicide. He's crazy.”

“Yes, but I'm armed with a ranged weapon, and he's not,” Spark said. “I've got the upper hoof. Basic Tactical 101, remember?”

Starry grimaced, remembering her Mother's lessons. “Fine.”

“This is crazy, why don't we just attack him? There's four of us, and one of him,” Lightning added.

“Yes... why don't you do that?” the stallion's voice said. It was close. The ponies turned and saw him standing right in between them. He grinned widely, a crazed thing of utter madness. “Yes... gonna bash you. Bash you good!”

“Basher,” a new voice said, interrupting the mad stallion. “Stop playing with your food, for fuck's sake. Stand down and get the fuck over here.”

The group's eyes drifted up to the street, where three raiders stood. One of them was a massive grey unicorn, while the other two were earth ponies. Basher nodded and slinked to his side.

“Four little fillies out all on their own,” he said, grinning.

“I'm not a filly,” Lightning Chaser snarled.

The unicorn chuckled. “Oh, is that so? You're not full grown yet, little filly. And you're in my town, so I would suggest that you shut the fuck up, or I'll let Basher eat you.”

Lightning whimpered, looking at his hooves.

“Leave him alone,” Starry Night said angrily. “We're not a threat to you, just let us go. We have to get back home.”

“Home? You are home, little filly. You're never gonna see your real home ever again. We in the Hellraisers know how to take care of good little fillies like you,” the unicorn replied. His horn glowed, bringing up pairs of hoof cuffs.

Shit... Starry Night thought. Her Mother had always warned her about the Hellraisers, and their propensity for younger ponies when it came to certain... activities. We've got to get out of here, get a message to Theater somehow... if only Cream Pie could send a message with her PipBuck, but we're way out of range for it's radio to work properly!

“Now then, let's all come along quietly. You can call me Master Rock Crusher from here on,” the unicorn said. He started to walk towards the four younger ponies.


A gunshot erupted through the air, startling everypony present. Bright Spark grunted, holding the smoking revolver in her magic as the gun fired, sending its payload of death right into the head of Basher. The crazed stallion hit the ground, blood pooling underneath his head. He didn't move.

“Everypony run!” Bright Spark shouted.

Starry Night felt her hooves starting to carry her next to her friends. The thunderous laugh of Rock Crusher resonated through her very bones as she hopped over a pile of rubble.

“Looks like Basher don't get to eat after all!” the unicorn howled. He turned to the two other raiders next to him. “You two, get after them. I want them fillies trussed up within the hour. You got it?”

“R-r-r-right, boss,” one of them replied.

The two raiders charged down the street, one of them equipped with an pistol and the other with a massive sharpened shovel.

“Keep running!” Bright Spark called back to the others. A bullet whizzed by her head. She growled under her breath. “Turn!”

The group turned the next corner, finding themselves suddenly at a dead end. Pieces of a nearby building lay overturned, blocking the road entirely.

“Shit!” Coconut Cream Pie yelled.

“Turn around!” Starry Night shouted.

The four ponies spun about and started forward, stopping dead in their tracks as the two raiders rounded the corner.

“Oh boy, we've got you now,” Gun Pony said, spitting out his pistol. “No more running. It's time you came with us.” He looked at Shovel Pony. “Go on, get 'em.”

Shovel Pony howled with glee. He started moving forward, his grin intensifying with every hoof step.

“We aren't coming with you, so just leave us alone!” Lightning Chaser roared, pinning his eyes close as he bit down on his battle saddle firing bit. Two sharp retorts issued forth from his side guns, followed by the loud clang of metal. Lightning reopened his eyes.

Both of the raiders were completely unharmed, except for the shovel that Shovel Pony had been carrying. It's head had a hole blown into it. The stallion spat it out and growled.

“That was my favorite one!” he snarled. “You're gonna pay for that!”

“I don't think so,” Bright Spark said, pulling her weapons into the air with her magic. The revolvers pointed directly at Shovel Pony's head. “Make one move, I dare you --”


Another gunshot ripped through the air. Bright Spark took a few steps back, her breaths suddenly staggered.

“Spark?” Starry Night said. “Spark!!!”

Several drops of blood hit the ground in front of the young unicorn mare. She grunted and fell to the ground, gurgling loudly. Her revolvers dropped as well, clanking loudly against the ground. Behind Shovel Pony, Gun Pony stood with a pistol in his mouth grip. It's barrel was smoking. He spat it out and grinned.

“Now now, can't have that happening, now can we? Sure, we lost a filly, but we've still got one unicorn, one pegasus, and one earth pony,” he said. He giggled. “Rock won't be disappointed about that.”

“Spark... no...” Starry Night said, tears flowing freely from her eyes. She dropped to the ground next to her fallen friend.

Shovel Pony moved in to cuff the young mare, when he was suddenly cut off by a flurry of feathers.

“Stay away from my sister!” Lightning Chaser roared. His front hoof came out, trying to punch the other pony in the face.

The raider took the blow without showing any sign of pain, and returned the favor by headbutting Lightning in the face. Lightning yelped as he fell to the ground next to Starry Night.

“Little fuck! I'm going to enjoy breaking you in, you fucking feather-fucker!” Shovel Pony snapped. “That fucking hurt!”

“No! Get away from them!” Coconut Cream Pie shouted. She lifted her own sidearm and slid into S.A.T.S. Selecting the pony's legs as her targets, she let the PipBuck do its thing and drop the spell. Her pistol took aim and fired, sending blast after blast into Shovel Pony's legs.

Shovel Pony roared in pain, dropping to the ground hard. Blood poured from his wounds. Coconut Cream Pie moved to re-activate S.A.T.S., but it wouldn't activate. She had used up her activations and had to wait for the function to refresh. She settled for taking a few potshots at Gun Pony, who dodged behind a grouping of rubble. Cream Pie took the opportunity to rush to Starry's side.

“Star, we've gotta move! Come on! There's nothing we can do for Spark now!” she cried out.

“But... but...” Starry said, sputtering.

“Come on, Sis!” Lightning yelled.

Cream Pie pulled Starry away from their friend's body, jarring the unicorn out of her stupor. The three ponies galloped past Gun Pony's hiding place while Cream Pie kept turning and firing to keep the stallion from popping up. A quick turn of the next corner had the group back onto an actual road again.

The three ponies ran hard, panting loudly as they reached the far end of the next block. When it became apparent that they weren't being followed, they slowed down to try and catch their breaths. Moving under the cover of an abandoned apartment building, they stopped to rest.

“C-C-Cream?” Starry uttered.

“Yeah?” Cream Pie replied.

“You know where we are, right? We've gotta get home... get back to Theater,” the unicorn said.

“What about Danish?” Lightning asked.

Starry's eyes widened. “What about Danish? We lost Bright Spark, I nearly lost both of you, and you have the gall to ask about Danish? He's probably dead, Lightning! We almost died too! We have to get home, get back to Mom.”

“No! You heard what Bright Spark said!” Lightning argued. “If they took him to O'Mare, then he's probably enslaved! There's still a chance we can save him!”

“Guys!!” Cream Pie interrupted, causing both Lightning and Starry to stop their argument. Cream Pie sighed. “We don't have time for this! I'm almost out of ammo, I'm sure that Lightning is too.”

Lightning checked his weapons and grimaced. “You're right. Sis, where's your shotgun?”

Starry blinked a few times.

“Umm... I think I dropped it back there,” she said, looking down at her hooves.

“Well, great. Just great,” Lightning said. “We're going to die out here.”

“We're not going to die out here,” Cream Pie snarled. “Stop it. Aren't you both the kids of the great Steeljack and Patch?”

“And now you bring that up,” Lightning said, sighing. “That's what everypony thinks of us. That because of our Mom and Dad that we're supposed to be like these Wasteland heroes. But we're not. We're just kids. I don't even know how to shoot well!”

Starry remained silent, still looking down at her hooves.

“I'm... I'm sorry,” Cream Pie said. “I didn't mean to...”

“No... it's fine. I just... We've been hearing all our life that our Dad was this great hero, but I don't even know what he did. Mom won't really tell us anything about what happened when they traveled with Auntie Star,” Lightning explained.

“I freaked,” Starry said suddenly, interrupting their conversation. “I freaked out. I watched Spark... I watched her die and I couldn't do anything but freak out...”

Cream Pie grimaced. She stood and sat next to Starry, pulling the unicorn into a hug.

“I know... I know... it's hard,” she said softly. “Spark was our friend... it was the natural thing to do...”

Lightning inched closer as well, joining in the group hug.

“I'm sorry, Sis. For... for yelling at you. I'm sorry,” he said.

“It's... it's okay,” Starry said after several long moments of silence. “I'm okay. But we need to keep moving before those raiders catch up to us and find us.”

“You're right,” Cream Pie said, standing. She brought up her PipBuck's mapping function and sighed. “Based on our current location we're about two hours from MMMM territory. We should do our best to get there before it gets dark.”

“Little fillies!” a voice called out in the distance, causing the three to freeze. Rock Crusher. He was out there, looking for them. “Come out, come out, little fillies! Rock Crusher wants to talk to you!”

“Shit,” Starry said, poking her head out of a nearby window.

Further down the road was the unicorn himself. Gun Pony stood to his left, while several other raiders ambled along behind them. They appeared to be checking into nearby buildings, probably looking for them.

“We need to get moving,” Cream Pie said. “Come on, I think there's a fire escape that will take us down the back of the building. They'll never see us.”

The three ponies made their way to the fire escape quickly and quietly. Rock Crusher's shouting grew louder and louder. As they shimmied down to ground level, the three came face to face with two wayward raiders that had been patrolling the side alleys.

“Hey, it's the fillies the boss is looking for!” one of them exclaimed. “Get them!”

“Run!” Starry yelled.

Cream Pie pulled up her weapon and fired. The earth filly missed her target, but gave the two raiders enough pause that they were able to gallop past them. Shouting erupted behind them as they bolted out into the street.

“Stop them!”

“Get back here!”

“You idiots, they're getting away!”

Several bullets whizzed past the three younger ponies. Lightning Chaser let out a yelp as one projectile grazed his flank and exploded. He dropped almost immediately, yelping in pain.

“Lightning!” Starry Night yelled, stopping dead in her tracks. Her horn glowed brightly, trying to help the pegasus stand. “Cream, help me get him up... come on Bro, you're gonna be alright...”

“Right,” Cream Pie said, putting her weight underneath Lightning's other side. The pegasus wasn't heavy, but the injury had turned him into dead weight. The earth filly grunted as she tried to help him along.

“Starry... Cream... leave... leave me,” Lightning tried to say. His eyes drooped to his flank where the bullet had grazed by. His flesh there was burnt raw from the heat of the blast. He grunted as he tried to move his right back leg, but found he couldn't.

“No, it's just a bad burn,” Starry replied. “We're not leaving you here. We can't. I can't.”

“Just... just go... it hurts... hurts a lot,” Lightning said. “I'll... hold them off.”

“You're not holding anything off,” Cream Pie said. “Not in your condition. You're coming with us.”

Hoof steps down the street said otherwise. The trio glanced up in fear as Rock Crusher stepped forward.

“There you are,” he said, grinning widely. His eyes were manic with fury. “I told you before, this is my town. My rules. You don't get nowhere in this town without my say so.” The stallion started to walk up to the three ponies.

“Leave. Us. ALONE!” Starry Night roared, her horn flaring to life. It reached out and grabbed a hold of a spear of rebar from a pile of nearby rubble.

Rock Crusher's eyes widened as the spear soared through the air at him. His own horn frantically glowed as well to try and slow down the projectile, but still it continued. The rebar spear slammed into the stallion's neck, going through bone to the other side. Blood spurted from his mouth. He stopped dead in his tracks, glaring down at the younger unicorn.


With a final flourish of his horn, Rock lifted his gun and fired. The shot went wide of his intended target, instead puncturing through Starry's front leg. The younger mare's magic died out as she fell to the ground, panting and crying in pain.

“Starry!!” Cream Pie shouted. She turned to face the unicorn raider, lifting her pistol into her mouth grip. “You... you're gonna pay for that!!”

Rock Crusher's horn sputtered and failed, dropping his gun to the ground with a clatter. The unicorn stumbled forward and dropped. Blood pooled underneath the stallion's neck. He didn't move.

“Those fucking fillies killed the boss!”

“Gut them! Gut them like the fish they are!”


Coconut Cream Pie gulped loudly, tears streaming down her face. Both of her friends were down, and she was nearly out of ammo. Was this how her story was going to end? She lifted her PipBuck and cried out in rage.

The world exploded. Or rather, the building above the raiders did. Chunks of rubble and concrete rained down on the raiders, burying them. Those who didn't get hit tried to run away, only to meet a bloody end as several more bullets flew through the air. Those that didn't die pulled out their own weapons and started firing back.

Coconut Cream Pie blinked. What... what just happened? She thought.

“Kid! Get your friends and get back here!” a voice shouted from behind her.

The young earth mare turned, seeing several well armed ponies in what appeared to be power armor. Those in the MMMM had always been told about the Steel Rangers and their quest for old world technology. She glanced down at the PipBuck on her leg and hesitated.

“Hurry up, kid!” the mare at the head of the group yelled. “Your friends need you!”

Cream Pie grimaced. The mare was right about that at least. She just wasn't sure if she should trust the Rangers. It was better than the raiders, Cream Pie supposed. The Rangers wouldn't make them do... whatever the Hellraisers did.

“I need some help to get them there! They're hurt badly!” she called out.

“On it! Scotch, Cake, get out there!” the mare in the lead shouted.

Two Rangers, each one wearing full power armor rushed into the fray, laying down heavy fire at the raiders. They reached Cream Pie within seconds.

“Shit, she wasn't kidding. We're gonna need medics and some healing potions for these two,” one of the Rangers said. “Don't worry kid, they're going to be alright. We're here to help.”

The two Rangers each lifted Starry and Lightning and started to retreat back towards their side of the battlefield. Coconut Cream Pie followed closely in between the two, relying on the bulk of their power armor to shield her from any gunfire. They led the young mare past the front lines and into what appeared to be a camp of some sort.

They were... just camping here? Were we just near their camp when the raiders attacked? Is that why they shot at the raiders? Cream Pie thought, her mind going wild with questions. She didn't have nearly enough time to answer them before she and her friends were brought into a medical tent.

Quickly, both Starry and Lightning were placed on stretchers and treatment begun. Cream Pie was led to another bed nearby where a mare in red robes examined her.

“Are... are they going to...” Cream Pie started to say.

“They're going to be alright,” the mare said, glancing over the other two ponies. “They're unconscious from all the blood loss, but they'll be good as new within an hour or so. The Auto-Docs are very thorough.”

“W-W-Why did you save us?” Cream Pie asked.

The mare looked back her curiously. “I'm sorry, what was that?”

“I wanted... wanted to know why you saved us,” the filly replied.

“That's confusing. Why wouldn't we? You're kids. Those raiders were attacking you, and we were patrolling this area,” the mare replied. “That's what good ponies do.”

“Lost... lost another friend along the way,” Cream Pie said. “Raiders... killed her...”

The mare smiled softly. “I know... it's how we found your trail. I'm sorry about your friend. It must be really hard on you.”

“How did... how did you find us?” Cream Pie said.

“Well, it's a good thing you had that PipBuck on, we were able to track your radio signal,” the mare said. “Now you just sit tight and get some rest, alright? No more talking.”



“Is she awake?”

“I don't know, try poking her.”

“Ouch!” Coconut Cream Pie yelped as a hoof jabbed into her side. She cracked her eyes open and focused on the source of her pain, one pegasus named Lightning Chaser. Her hardened gaze melted at the sight of him. “You... you're alright!”

“Yep!” Lightning said brightly. He flapped his wings and turned around in a circle for good measure. “Never better!”

“Can it, Bro. The doctor said you shouldn't overexert yourself,” Starry Night said. The green mare had bandages wrapped around her leg where she'd been shot. “Are you alright, Cream?”

“I'm... I'm feeling a little better, yeah,” the earth mare said. She blinked, realizing that the floor they were standing on was not the ground, and it was also... “Moving? Why are we moving?”

“Mobile transport carrier,” a new voice said from outside the carrier. A head popped in, revealing the same mare that Coconut had seen at the head of the front lines during the battle. “We are currently en route to your home at Theater.”

“What? We're going home?” Starry piped up. “I thought we were just headed back to your base.”

“Kid, this is our base. When you're on a permanent patrol assignment like we are, well, you stay mobile,” the mare replied.

“Permanent patrol assignment?” Cream Pie said.

“Correct. Applejack's Rangers, Chicacolt contingent,” the mare said. “My name is Star Paladin Rasberry Crumb Cake, but you three can call me Berry. I'm in charge of this contingent. Our permanent assignment is patrol of the southern gang zone of the city.”

“Applejack's Rangers?” Starry said, raising an eyebrow. “Mom's told me about them before. You're not like other Steel Rangers.”

“Your Mom would be correct, little filly. We help ponies in need, when they need it. It's our duty to the ponies of the Wasteland, and our obligation to Applejack, the Ministry Mare of Technology,” Berry replied.

“I... I thought you were Steel Rangers when I first saw you. I was scared... thought that you'd abandon us to the raiders just to get my stupid PipBuck,” Cream Pie said.

“Rest assured, young one. The PipBuck belongs to you, and you alone,” Berry said. “But I must admit, you displayed impressive resolve in taking on those raiders, all of you. I'm truly sorry we were unable to help you in time to save your other friend.”

Starry Night looked down at her hooves. “Bright Spark,” she said softly. “Is she...?”

“We buried her, if that's what you want to know,” Berry said. “An unforgivable crime, taking the life of a young pony. Now... what were you three even doing out here in the first place?”

Starry grimaced, but spoke up, telling the older mare about their first assignment out of Theater and how their captain had gotten captured by griffon mercenaries. The mare nodded silently as Starry mentioned O'Mare Airport.

“What you three were doing was incredibly stupid,” Berry said after Starry had finished. “But at the same time, incredibly brave. I would offer my aid in attacking O'Mare to help your friend, but our peace with the Cult is tenuous at best. I may despise their practices, but they outnumber us.”

“Maybe when we get back to Theater, we could work something out?” Starry said.

Berry smiled. “Maybe. We'll see. We should be there soon.”


A half hour passed and the caravan of Applejack's Rangers stopped at the edge of the road leading up to Theater. An emissary from the Rangers made their way up to the guards and explained the situation.

Starry Night and Lightning Chaser watched with anticipation. After several long tense minutes of waiting, the doors to Theater opened and from them emerged several ponies that the siblings knew quite well.

Patch, their mother, stood at the forefront. Next to her strode their Aunt Lilith. On the other side, a large blue alicorn and a smaller green unicorn walked. Another mare, presumably Cream Pie's mother, walked with them as well. Cream Pie tore away from the group and went to her.

Star Paladin Berry led the three younger ponies up the walkway. As soon as they were in visual range, Patch started running towards the group. Tears filled her one good eye as she scooped up her two children.

“Star, Lightning! I thought... I thought you were gone! Are you okay?!” she cried out.

Lightning and Starry reached up and embraced their mother.

“We're... we're alright, Mom,” Starry said. “Star Paladin Berry saved us.”

“I see,” Patch said, glancing up at the Applejack's Ranger. “Thank you for saving my children. It's nice to know that you are out there patrolling the gang zone.”

“Yes,” the alicorn said. “Much better than the Steel Rangers that used to hang around these parts.”

“It was no problem,” Berry replied. “However... there is one small issue that warrants discussion.”

“And that is?” Lilith asked hesitantly. The black pegasus looked somber.

“The unicorn, Apple Danish,” Berry said.

Starry's eyes widened. “That's right, Danish! He's still out there! We know where he is!”

“Yeah, we have to go help him!” Lightning said.

“We am aware of what has happened to Apple Danish,” the alicorn interjected. “That is why I was called to Theater. Apple Danish is an invaluable member of the MMMM.”

“And you are?” Star Paladin Berry asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I am Radiant Star, of the Followers of the Apocalypse,” the alicorn said. “I am permanently assigned to protect the ponies of this city, especially the MMMM, when they have need of me.”

Star Paladin Berry grinned. “I've heard of you. The Ministry Mare herself. Never thought I'd run into you.”

“Mom, we have to help Danish! We want to help too!” Lightning exclaimed.

“Right. We want to help,” Starry chimed in as well.

“I don't know...” Patch said, grimacing. “It's going to be really dangerous...”

“If I may,” Berry said. “These young ponies held their own against a large group of Hellraisers, and even took down a prominent member by the name of Rock Crusher. They deserve a chance to help this Danish of yours.”

“Besides, you don't know where they took him! We do!” Lightning said.

All eyes turned towards the two young ponies. Radiant Star raised an eyebrow.

“And where is that?”


O'Mare Airport


Apple Danish looked up at the sky as the rain started to fall. The cream-colored unicorn sighed and felt the bomb collar around his neck jingle a little. He returned to his work, lifting a pickaxe in his mouth. He struck the rock a few times, breaking it apart.

The unicorn glanced around at his fellow slaves. The griffons had earned a hefty sum turning him in, but the Cult had yet to really figure out who he was. Minotaurs were dumb like that. They'd tossed him in with the chaff, the common slaves. It would hopefully give the unicorn a better chance to escape.

The unicorn looked back up at the sky again.

“Hope those kids are okay,” he muttered to himself before going back to work.

Author's Note:

Wooowheee!  What a chapter.  I knew going into this one that it was going to be a more ambitious chapter of Tales, as it explicity deals with characters that were right out of “Fallout Equestria: Starlight”, and the decision to turn it into a two-parter came about after I realized that in order to keep the size down, I was not going to be able to resolve Starry and Lightning's rescue and Danish in under 10,000 words.  Since the goal of Tales is to keep size down as much as possible, it's a two-parter, with the story of Danish being told in the next chapter.

That being said, I really hope you guys enjoyed this chapter!  It was a lot of fun to write!

Please check out my Patreon account!  I could most certainly use some more pledges, so if you donate to the cause I will love you to death!

See you kids on the flip side!