• Published 16th Jan 2015
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Fallout Equestria: Action Hero - Popcorn Chicken


The world of cinema may be long dead, but one young griffon strives to build a life taking clichés as gospel.

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Chapter 2: How to Hero

Chapter 2: How to Hero

Whoosh!

Slicing through the air was an all too familiar crimson crested Talon Commando. Her breakneck speed punctuated by twists and loop-de-loops as she evaded enemy fire with ease. A professional Wonderbolt would be envious of her skills.

Shzoooom!”

Any lesser flier would have blacked out as Indiana skidded to a near instant halt mid-air. She adjusted her trajectory and dived, hurtling towards the ground. A crew of motley, cannibalistic zebras (more fine products bearing the Ministry of Image seal) glared up at her, barring their bloody fangs and ill-intent. They stood crowded around a collection of colourful wooden blocks, film reel cases and a suspicious cardboard sign which read:

SEKRET ZEBRA BASE

NO GRIFFONS ALOUD

Suspicious indeed.

With her trusty pump-action shotgun clutched in her right talons, Indiana aimed haphazardly in their direction and opened fire.

P-tsh! Chick-CHICK!”

Argh! Noooo…!”

One cannibal zebra plummeted from a high-rise block, screaming until he hit the ground.

Indianna banked for a second strafing run but this time she had company. Tailing her was this horrifying amalgamation of zebra and bat. With its black eyes, feral snarl and demonic leather wings, this zebra looked more abominable than original.

RAAARRRGHHH!”

The monstrous creature slammed into Indiana forcing her out of the sky. They tumbled downwards in a cacophony of punches and talons, falling two feet before carefully crashing into the carpet. The surviving cannibal zebras rushed to kerfuffle, eager to join. Encircled on all sides things were looking grim for Indiana but luckily she had back up today. Another griffon flew through the air, similar in design but her highlights were a soft mauve instead of a sharp crimson.

Pewsh! Pewsh! Pewsh!” Gilda blared away with dual pistols sniping one zebra after the other with impeccable accuracy.

What kept you for so long!?” Indiana demanded as Gilda touched down on the carpet. I almost chipped a talon!

Pfft! Maybe you should…”

The tip of a gigantic talon touched the Talon symbol on the chest of Gilda’s armour and the toy griffon spoke.

“… Too cool!

Back it came tapping the symbol again.

“… Part Eagle. Part Lion. And all awesome!”

And again.

“… Watch your tailwind, dweeb! Gilda’s on the prowl!”

And again.

“… Ponies are lame!

Until…

“… Quit dork’n up the sky, stinky pie!”

If this was how griffons genuinely treated each other, it's no-wonder why ponies never wanted to be around them.

The line was still a little rough and the delivery a tad delayed but it was satisfactory enough for Gillet’s young imagination. Envisioning a new scenario, he started gathering his many toys, grabbing Gilda first. Just as he reached for the Indiana figure, another appendage touched it. A long, brown, dangly wire-width thing connected to…

Chkrl… Chrrkknn…”

… A giant mutated rad-roach! Its antennae brushed over Gillet’s talons and feathers, curiously probing the griffon twice its size. It may have not feared him but the same couldn’t be said for Gillet himself.

A hysterical scream bounced from wall to wall. Even penetrating past corridors of collapsed dirt. Gillet retreated from his room, running as if rad-roach was just inches from the brown tassel at the end of his tail.

First he ran to the Stable door, hoping to run to wherever his mother was and tell her to fix this. Much to his dismay, the rusty Stable door was locked firmly in place and he couldn’t reach the controls – which he didn’t know how to use anyway – despite all his jumping and wing fluttering.

Second was the utility storeroom but that’s where the hungry pony ghoul who ate griffons which stayed up past their bedtime lived so that was immediately out of the question.

Then under his bed came to mind… but that’s probably where it had come from! There might be a whole colony under there and their queen sent a scout in preparation for the invasion!

Gillet screamed again and ran to the only room left; the kitchen. Once inside he mashed his clenched talons against the door’s adjacent control panel until it slammed into place, but that wasn’t enough. Anything and everything the little griffon could carry or push was shoved against it; tables, chairs, stools and utensils were thrown to the barricade.

Hey! HEY!

Gillet tripped, tumbling into a ball of feathers and fur before barrelling into a cupboard door. “Mum!?” he immediately squawked not withholding the urgency in his tone.

The voice spoke again, sounding nothing like the sweet soothing tone of Glinnis. “D’you always go crying to your mum at the first sign of trouble?

“Who… Who’s there?”

Over here, dweeb.

On the kitchen bench sat his Gilda action figure. She stared listlessly off into the middle distance with the same smug expression she had always worn… but the voice had definitely come from that direction. Cautiously Gillet approached the bench, looking up to figure like any nestling would to one of their heroes. “Gilda…? But how? Are you real?”

Sure... whatever you want to believe kiddo.” she responded with the characteristic sass and snark that Gillet was familiar with, but these were lines he had never heard before. “Now, take a step back an’ have a good look. Something missin’?

Gillet backed away, sat down and watched, admiring Gilda in a new way. A small smile came to him and the fear of the rad-roach all but vanished. Next to the archive of pre-war action movies, the pair of LIMITED EDTION Talon Action Hero Figurines were his most prized possessions. It wasn’t his place to ask – and he really didn’t care either – but Glinnis had gone to great lengths to get them. Indiana was locked away in this very stable, secured in airtight state-of-the-art safe. It had taken days to crack, breaking enough feathers to leave a bald patch on Glinnis’ chest. Gilda however came from the very ruins of Cloudsdale itself… supposedly. Glinnis had bartered with the ghoul scavenger for hours, finally getting the price under a thousand caps. He even chucked in a free (abridged) autobiography, something Gillet would at least try to read.

For a long time Gillet did so much as look but admire. The flickering glow of the barely functional kitchen light illuminated Gilda as if she stood on the cliff edge with the sun setting behind her, an expensive set piece from the moves he cherished. It would look particularly more awesome if the zebra cannibal figures were piled underneath her or if…

Gillet slapped his talons to his cheeks as his irises shrunk to blades of grass. “Indiana!”

Finally! If I could hold my breath, I would have died!

“I left her in there with the rad-roach!”

Gillet scrambled upright and leapt at his own barricade, frantically tearing it down with the same fervour he had erecting it. Yet, once the doorway was clear he hesitated with his talons just inches from the controls.

What’s stopping you?

What was? Basic fear one would guess but really, this was a situation Gillet should be jumping for joy at! The hero he worshiped was in danger! All that he needed to do was barge into that room, slay the beast and rescue Indiana. The general premise was something he seen many times in a multitude of different movies. It always turned out best for the hero… but could Gillet be that hero?

“I’m… I’m scared…”

Scared of what? The cockroach?

Gillet nodded sheepishly.

Kid, it’s a cockroach. Just step on it.

“But it’s not just a cockroach! It’s a giant rad-roach, and it’s scary! With its… its b-big beady eyes an’... an’ rad-roach things!” Gillet placed two pointed talons aside his head and wiggled them around.

Gilda remained silent for a moment before sighing. “Why me? Why’d you grab me instead of Indiana,” she whined. “Alright, we’ll do this the hard way. Where are we?

“The… kitchen?”

Wrong bucko!” Gilda snapped. “Look harder! This ain’t no dorky kitchen for making lame-o cupcakes and cookies,” Gillet loved both of those things but chose to remain silent. “Y’know what I see? I see a Talon Mercenary armoury. In fact, I see a private armoury for only the best Talons!

“R-Really?” the little griffin’s eyes went as wide as frying pans. Coincidentally, all the kitchen’s frying pans vanished – much like every other mundane cooking utensil – and were replaced by various arms and armaments. “Only the best Talons?”

You betcha, kid. Talon Company Leader might as well have plucked you from the ranks, dropped you in Talon HQ and given you free reign in his private armoury.” Gillet lapped the room in seconds marvelling at the racks of weapons and firearms. It was like his dreams were suddenly coming true. “Don’t waste our time here. We roll out in five minutes!

“Yes ma’am!”

Then he did exactly that. There was just so much to choose from. His imagination was literally overwhelming him. Indecisiveness led to anxiety and then that started to tear away at Gillet’s inspiring illusions, bringing him back to reality.

“I don’t know what to choose!” he whined, tap-dancing on his talons and paws.

Go to the drawer over there and grab something!

“That drawer? But it’s just got forks and spo-”

Just do it!

Gillet obeyed and rushed to the kitchen cabinet. He climbed atop a stool, pulled the drawer out and retrieved a utensil at random

“Whatcha got?

“It’s a, uh-WOAH!” Gillet gasped. Grasped in his talons was a wicked, serrated combat knife nearly the size of his forearm! “This is so awesome!” he exclaimed admiring his own reflection in the polished blade. It was so real the gleam momentarily blinded him. “I’m gonna slice and dice that rad-roach!”

That’s the spirit! But we’re only getting started here. I know you got the reflexes of a pro but play it safe and take some body armour. Go check that locker over there.

“Yes ma’am!” Gillet saluted her, almost stabbing his eye with the combat knife.

What was once a pantry was now a locker belonging to a nameless mercenary. Inside was a full set of Talon Combat armour complete with sturdy reinforced chest plate, wing blades, spiked gauntlets – because just having talons wasn’t always enough – and a helmet. Most important of all though were the decals; flames adorned the armguards and on its chest was a Talon insignia. They were painted in a rich bronze, a colour Gillet had decided would be his signature tint, much like Gilda’s mauve and Indiana’s crimson.

Looking the part there kiddo.” Now armed and fully equipped, Gillet looked like he was capable of taking on the world. “Now, you ready to bust in there, stab that roach and save Indiana?

“Yeah!” Gillet replied still slashing his combat knife in the air.

Didn’t hear that! Louder!

“YEAH!”

YOU CALL YOURSELF A TALON!? LOUDER!

YEAH!

NOW GO AND BE A HERO! Hey! What’re you doing?!

YYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

No! Put me down!

Gillet stuffed Gilda head first into the pocket of his combat armour much to her muffled protests. The crazed griffon then ran through the rest of the Stable. Corners were leapt around, random objects pounced upon and a garbled battle-cry echoed throughout the metal halls. Punctuated only by a fresh intake of air occasionally. He went through five different rooms first – returning to the kitchen twice – before finally stumbling into his own.

Now, Gillet wasn’t clean or organized kid – like most foals and griffons his age – but his room now resembled the wasteland outside. Almost as if one of the cannibal zebras figures smuggled in a toy sized mega-spell and detonated it. A pile of Giga-Griffon comics (the original griffon super-hero) lay knocked over in a corner. The sheets to his bed were ripped, chewed and tossed on top of everything else. In the middle was the rad-roach, minding its own business while munching on a discarded packet of potato-crisps.

Didja find it?” Gilda asked. Only her backside had a clear view of Gillet’s room.

“Uh-huh.”

Well kill it!

“RRRAAAHHHH!”

The simple creature turned to the source of noise and caught a glimpse of luminescent steel aiming for its head. Gillets first swing struck an antennae and cut – not so much as cut but broke – it clean off. The appendage fell to the ground and twitched few times before falling still. A second equally uncoordinated swing later and the creature’s second feeler came away as well.

“Hah! If you scurry away now I’ll cut you a br-Oof!”

Hey, what’s going on!? I can see bugger all!

“It’s unhappy!”

Stop pissin’ it off with one-liners and squash it!

That wasn’t quite so easy now; devoid of its primary senses the rad-roach frenzied. Hurling itself forward into Gillet’s chest and knocking him over before rampaging through the room creating an even larger mess. Gillet tried a few more swings but every time he just managed to nick a leg or part of its sturdy exoskeleton.

“What do I do now?! It’s going super-fast!”

Try harder!

The rad-roach slammed into a cupboard; resulting concussion calming it. Slowly the giant insect rose back onto its spindly legs and turned vaguely towards Gillet’s voice.

“It’s… It’s gonna charge!”

Stand your ground and stab it!

It rushed blindly forwards skittering from side to side, stuttering on debris but staying on course. Just as its slimy pincers neared Gillet, he slipped aside letting the rad-roach slam into his bed. He brought the combat knife down in a stabbing motion using both talons, slamming the blade down onto the back of the rad-roach. Yet, it sunk only a few inches deep and that alone was not enough to kill the beast.

Is it dead?” Gilda chimed in.

“No, but I got an idea!”

What?! No, dude! Its right there isn’t it? Just stab it some more!

Gillet’s downward stab had stunned the rad-roach for now. At the moment it floundered on the ground, sputtering and chittering but it wasn’t moving anywhere anytime. Gillet scrambled atop his bed and started jumping up and down, propelling himself high and high with each spring of the mattress.

Kid, what are you doing?

“It’s going to be awesome! Just watch!”

Gillet was getting to that age where walking and running weren’t enough. Often when his mother was out and about he would practice flying in his room. Well… not flying exactly, but launching himself from the bed and seeing if he could make it to a pile of pillows stacked the corner. What he had planned now though involved falling more than flying. When he reached the maximum height the bed springs would push him, he jumped forward.

DEATH FROM ABOVE!

WHAT!?

Time seemed to slow for Gillet as he travelled downwards. Many sounds were heard including him again yelling, Gilda screaming obscenities and the rad-roach chittering but that all that went silent after a wet, messy crunch. Insect bits went everywhere; legs bounced off walls, loins and the abdomen splattered outwards in a disgusting slime green pattern. Gillet laid there for a moment before everything caught up to him. A veritable rush of emotions and euphoria swept through the triumphant nestling, satisfaction and accomplishment reigned above all else.

First things first; he needed to immortalize this moment. Gillet retrieved the combat knife, a good half of the blade buried in a chunk of the rad-roach. Next, he found the creature’s head.

Pushing off from the ground with his forearms, Gillet reared up on his hind legs whilst still dripping gooey mucus from the front of his combat armour, wings and limbs. It didn’t need to be cleaned for he believed it added to the scene. Then he thrust the combat knife upwards with the rad-roach’s head impaled on the end.

FIRST BLOOD!” Gillet shouted to no-one in particular but he felt like he was addressing the entirety of the wasteland. Maybe even warning it.

Gillet stood perfectly still for some time, his mind imprinting this moment and what preceded frame by frame. Gilda was still grumbling in his pocket, either agitated she didn’t see what happened or that Gillet ignored everything she told him.

A sweet, familiar voice sounded down the hallway. This one he definitely knew. “Gillet, did you make that mess in the kitchen? You’ll have to clean that up…” Glinnis rounded the entrance to his room, there she paused and observed the carnage beforehand. “… Great Egg, Gillet! What happened to your room!?”

Gillet waved the combat knife around with the head still impaled on it. “There was a rad-roach! But don’t worry, mum. I got it!”

WE got it.”

“Me an’ Gilda got it!”

“That I can see. Oh!” Glinnis stepped forward into the room, her talons treading aside another griffon action figure. “But it looks like he got Indiana first.”

In the chaos of the confrontation, it appears that Indiana had unfortunately been trampled on. Glinnis picked her up delicately but the damage was obvious; one of her wings clung to the frame by a tiny bit of bent plastic and the right forearm was missing altogether.

Gotta expect casualties sometimes kiddo,” Gilda said in a slightly softer tone. “And get me outta here! It’s fulla roach guts!

“I’m sure we can fix this. Bit of wonderglue here and there or we can even turn her into a cyber-griffon! Won’t that be fun?” Gillet’s response was an angry huff. “Sweetie? Why are you making that face?”

Gillet glared, trembled and scowled. He stared straight ahead, his feathers flattened close to his body and crest laid down over his head. “I was g-gonna save her!” he grumbled, quivering jaw becoming an unhappy pout. “I was gonna b-be the hero!” Gillet threw his combat knife on the ground. Momentarily it shimmered before transforming back into a butterknife.

“Sweetie…” cooed Glinnis, striding forward over the mess. “You are right you know. Heroes do save whomever is in trouble.” Her talons closed around the combat helmet. It reverted back to a saucepan as she lifted it off Gillet’s head. “They’ll throw themselves in harms just to do what’s right...” She undid the clasps on his Talon Combat Armour letting it flop to the ground like a rubber apron it really was. “… whether it’s saving damsels and princesses or telling jokes to lighten the mood.” Off next were spiked gauntlets; in reality just a pair of oven mitts with Gillet’s talons poking through them. “But you know the most important part of being a hero?” She closed her wings and arms around Gillet, bringing him into her warm, motherly embrace. “It’s realizing they can’t always do that.”

That was it; the dam burst. The River breached its banks and the waterfall flowed freely with a monsoon feeding it. Gillet latched onto his mother and burrowed into her soft feathered chest. A long, sad wail and few unintelligible words were all that he could manage.

“Shh, sweetie. It’s alright. You tried your best, that’s all that matters. You’re still my hero.” Glinnis closed her forearms and then wings around her son and held him gently until sobbing slowed to the occasional sniffle. “Come on. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

As Gillet and Glinnis left the room, an action figure with a vibrant crimson crest chuckled softly.

What are you laughing at, cyber-griffon,” came Gilda’s scathing voice, the body of her action figure buried under a bug-splattered apron.

Nothin’… Nothin’ at all …” Indiana replied, her missing and broken limbs hardly a concern to her. “So how’d the lil’ tyke do?

He killed the thing didn’t he,” Gilda said. “Little guys’ got heart I guess. Might make an alright Talon one day.