• Published 19th Mar 2016
  • 438 Views, 3 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - The Interview - Incendiary Lemons



Historian isn't a common job in the wastes, but that never stopped Ancient Chronicles. And when he gets the chance to interview a former Enclave officer, he takes it.

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The Interview

The sun was slipping under the horizon as two ponies, an earth pony mare and a unicorn stallion, slipped into Dusty’s Hotel and Bar, their clothing dirty from many days of travel. The ground floor was fairly sparse; with several tables, a dart board, and an old jukebox that was playing a soft melody. The few ponies in the room were gathered by the bar at the back wall, relaxing after the day's work. The pair made their way to the bar through the small crowd that had gathered. “You the owner?” the purple mare asked the Mr. Handy unit behind the counter.

“Yep, I am. Name's Dusty. First thing I heard after booting up was a pony saying, ‘you’re dusty,’ so I took it on as my name. Now, are you looking for a room or some drinks?” the robot responded, two eyes on the mare and the other on the glass it was cleaning.

“A room, although some wine sounds good right about now.” The mare took a seat on one of the bar stools.

“Rough day travelling, eh?”

“You have no idea.”

“Probably not,” Dusty responded, then swiveled one of its eyes to the orange stallion, “You?”

“I'm rooming with her.”

“Can I get you anything to drink?”

"A water, please."

"You don't want something alcoholic?"

“No, I don't drink.”

“If that’s what you want. Weapons stay holstered while at the bar and while drinking, please. I will charge you for any damage you do to the place. Celestia knows that brawls happen too often as it is.” Dusty pulled a bottle of wine from under the counter and poured it into the glass. "Five caps a glass or twenty for the bottle. Cheaper to buy the bottle in the long run."

"I'll take the bottle."

"Ok, the room will be thirty caps for the two of you."

"Barkeeper!" came a slurred call from a green pegasus sitting a two or three stools down, "I want some more." The pony was slumped over the bar, his wings hanging limp by his side, and was dressed in an Enclave officers coat. The mare stiffened slightly when she noticed him, her companion simply cocked an eyebrow.

"Oh, stow it, Hopper. You've had enough." Dusty said.

"I've got the caps."

"Fine." Dusty grumbled, then took the mug and filled it, "You keep drinking like this and you'll die of liver failure before long."

"Don't care, my life is shot to Tartarus as it is."

The unicorn floated a holotape recorder and an old notebook out of his saddlebag and took a seat next to Hopper, "Excuse me, Hopper, was it?" The pegasus nodded, "Good. I don't mean to bother you, but you look like you can help me."

"How's that?" Hopper slurred, looking at the stallion over the rim of his mug with bloodshot eyes.

"You see, I collect stories, doesn't matter who tells them, I'll listen. I have collected quite a few truly strange ones in the ten years I've been doing it. And, well, I was wondering if you would tell me yours."

Hopper thought for a moment, then asked, "Who're you, again?"

"I'm Ancient Chronicles and this-" he motioned to the mare, who snorted and rolled her eyes. "-is Tourniquet, my current traveling companion."

"Lieutenant Commander Cloud Hopper, serial number eight-oh-six, six-eighty-four, five-seventy-five. Former executive officer of the Cirrus."

"The Cirrus?"

"A Raptor." Hopper took a draft of bear, laid his head on his arm, and looked at his cap. "Best fucking job I ever had, then that damnable horn-head had to clear the skies and start a civil war. You don't know how hard it is to fire on civilians."

"Didn't seem to stop you at Friendship City." Tourniquet muttered.

Hopper pushed himself up slightly, almost falling off the stool, and pointed a hoof at her, "Hey, I wasn't there. The Cirrus wasn't stationed there."

"Where was it? If you don't mind me asking." Chronicles asked.

"Neighvarro," Hopper settled back into a comfortable position, "Command is going to have my ass for telling ground-pounders that," he took a drink, "Oh, wait, command doesn't exist anymore. Fucking brilliant."

"So you were there when Littlepip attacked?"

"Yeah, great fucking mess that was. You know, Raptors were supposed to be designed to take out dragons, so of course it's a dragon that kicks our collective asses to hell and back."

Chronicles rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah, I imagine that the irony is fairly painful."

"You have no fucking idea."

"What were you doing when the attack started?"

"Why do we care, Chron?" Tourniquet asked, "He's a fucking Enclave. Nopony cares."

"I do. I've interviewed gryphons, zebras, ponies, heck, even a dragon, but not one of them before. History is usually written by the victors, but I need to have an accurate view, and that means I need to know all sides. We haven't heard their side of the story yet, and if there's one thing you’ve learned while traveling with me, it’s that every story has multiple sides."

"Like a bit." Hopper muttered.

"More like dice, but that works as a simple explanation, yes."

"They're still fucking monsters," Tourniquet muttered.

"Maybe so, maybe not, but impartiality is important for historians."

"Well excuse me for not giving a fuck." Tourniquet turned back to her wine.

"Perhaps we should start at the beginning, What was life like above the clouds?"

"Nice, real nice. Especially compared to down here. Didn't have to kill anypony to live, didn't have to worry about where your next meal was coming from. Peaceful, orderly, none of the vigilantism that's so common down here. Crime was practically nonexistent. Didn't have to worry about getting some sort of deadly disease from every scratch."

"Bull," Tourniquet said.

Hopper looked thoughtful, "STDs were really common though. But we were able to control the symptoms of most of them."

"You said that food was plentiful, what was it like?" Chronicles asked.

"Bit bland, but it was alright. Better than any of the two-hundred year old crap down here. The bean-counters were always worrying that the crops wouldn't support many more, so the numbers of foals a family could have was limited."

"Really?" Chronicles asked, shock and confusion evident in his voice.

"Yep, I think it was two to a family unless they had permission for more. Never really cared much for kids, get in the way of my career. Why?"

Chronicles shook his head, still slightly confused, "I'm the youngest of twelve, three brothers and eight sisters."

Hopper stared wide eyed at Chronicles, "Holy mother of Luna, how did your parents get permission for that?'

"They didn't need to."

"They don't limit kids down here?"

"No, and even if they did, it would have been hard to enforce for the most part."

"Twelve kids, no wonder the surface had gone to hell. Impossible to feed everypony," Hopper muttered to himself.

"Hey, Chron, I'm headed to our room. Can't stand to be near that basterd any longer," Tourniquet said, depositing the caps for the wine and room on the bar, "I'll probably be sleeping by the time you're finished with your interview." With that, she got down and trotted off to the room, muttering under her breath, "Fucking Enclave bastard."

Hopper watched her go, then asked, "What's her problem?"

"She lost several friends in the Enclave attacks on Friendship City. Some of them she had known since she was a foal."

"Damn."

"Yeah, she's not a big fan of the Enclave, or pegasi in general."

"I can see why," Hopper said, then looked at Chronicles, "You're real pretty, want to get a room later?"

"I'm sorry, what?"

"You know, get to know each other better? Spend some time spanking flanks?" Hopper made an obscene gesture with his hooves as he gazed expectantly at Chronicles.

A strangling sound came from Chronicles as he choked on some water and struggled to find his tongue for a while, "Um, m-my barn door doesn't swing that way," he finally managed to stammer, cheeks blazing.

"Aw."

"Ahem, anyway. Why don't you describe your life above the clouds."

Hopper smiled slightly as he remembered the past, "I was born in New Cloudsdale, and spent my first sixteen years of my life there. Started school at four, and did well enough to get accepted to officers school when I enlisted." Hopper chuckled, "I was an absolute terror, I know that I'm the reason at least one of my teachers quit."

"Really" Chronicles asked.

"Yep, got called into the principal's office and congratulated the day after she left, seems he didn't like the old hag either." Hopper took a drink, then continued, "First shot of whisky I'd ever had, it was awesome. Kept up my grades, though, something my family was proud of."

"You said that you started school at four, what did you learn about?"

"History, science, magic, art, math. Had an absolutely dull play that my class did once about the history of the Grand Pegasus Enclave, I got stuck as the Caesar."

"Did everypony attend school?"

"Yep, it was mandatory. Had to go, get your basic knowledge. Then you decided what your career would be, there was lots of pressure to continue on in your families hoofsteps, of course. Not like down here, where three quarters of the ponies can't even spell their own fucking names." An exaggeration, thought Chronicles, although he had met plenty of ponies who were illiterate. "My family were farmers, I chose to enlist. Proudest day in my father's life, even think I saw a tear."

"What was daily life like then?"

"Eh, wake up, go to school, goof off afterwards, do as little homework as possible. Occasionally got in trouble for things I did, sometimes for things that I didn't."

"That hardly sounds fair."

"I had a reputation. Kept the bullies off my back, and impressed my commanding officers."

"What sort of things did you do?"

"Eh, mostly stuff with wonderglue, sticking pony's butts to their seats, glueing their saddlebags shut. That sort of stuff."

Chronicles chuckled, "Sounds like fun."

"Oh, yeah. The best part was when they chased me."

"Heh, well, down here that stuff would probably get you shot."

"Yeah, one of the reasons that we were better," Hopper looked smug.

Chronicles gave a short cough, "Anyway, continue?"

"After I enlisted, I had to go through basic, just like anypony else. I took some flak for being from a farming community, but I earned their respect eventually."

"What was basic?"

"Basic training, learning how to shoot, simple tactics, how to use the power armor, that sort of stuff."

"You didn't know how to use a gun?"

"Nope, neither did most of the class."

"Why not?"

"Never had handled one before. My family wasn't military or police, so we didn't have easy access to them. Unlike this hell-hole, everypony and their dog are armed down here."

"Why weren't you armed?"

"Well, for one, we didn't have any wandering bands of psychos going around trying to kill everything they found."

"You have a point. What was life like on a Raptor?"

"It was slightly boring, actually. Same routine day in and out, Every so often there would be a drill or war game that livened things up."

"War game?"

"Practice battles, done to keep our fighting skills sharp. Not that it helped any."

"I see, what else did you do to pass the time?"

"A couple of the Raptors at Neighvarro started a cloud-ball league."

"Cloud-ball?"

"Hoofball with a ball made out of cloud, basically."

"Sounds interesting. What were you doing when Littlepip attacked Neighvarro?"

"Getting my wing checked in the sick bay, had sprained it the day before in a cloud-ball game." Hopper sipped his drink, "I'm leaving medical when all of a sudden alarms are going off and everything was slipping into chaos. I rush to my post and what do I see but a fucking dragon and a bunch of gryphons attacking the most heavily fortified Enclave base. We do our best to defend the S.P.P. installation but they manage to get that fucking horn-head through the shield that had stopped us for two hundred years. That thing even withstood a barrage from one of our Thunderheads." Hopper chuckled, "We took one of the dragon's eyes though, payback for the damage and casualties."

"What were you thinking as the attack unfolded?"

"First off, I was cursing that fucking Stable mare, if it hadn't been for her, I would have been promoted and given my own Raptor. But no, she had to stir up trouble, between that and her pet dashite, command was going crazy, shuffling around assignments for cloud-ships and their crew." Hopper took a swig of his drink. "At the same time, I was slightly glad for the opportunity to strut my stuff. If I did all the right stuff during the attack, my promotion application would look better to command."

"And how did you do?"

"After the battle I reserved a commendation for valiant action, not quite what I wanted, but it was still something. Would have got me promoted if it hadn't been for the civil war that kicked off after that horn-headed ground-pounder took our clouds."

"Why was there a civil war?"

"Because the fucker took our clouds away and the civilians saw the ponies below and got a sudden boost of sympathy. Even though half the ponies down here would rather kill you than look at you."

"There are many who would say that it was wrong for the Enclave to keep the clouds shut for so long."

Hopper glared at Chronicles, "It was a matter of national security, if you knew an area had all sorts of dangers that would put your ponies at risk, radiation, monsters, sicknesses; would you have done anything different?"

Chronicles scratched his chin, "I suppose not, although I would have tried to help those in that area. At the very least I would have created some sort of volunteer program."

"Yeah, well you would have been stupid. The civvies took one look at the ground and had a rush of shit-for-brains and revolted."

"What did the Enclave do?"

"Tried to stop the uprising, we were moved to New Cloudsdale to pacify the civvies, but the Cirrus was taken after a few weeks. I was a prisoner for the rest of the fucking war."

"Which side won?" Chronicles asked, and earned a sour look from Hopper.

"The rebels fucking won, spent two years in a makeshift prison camp while the fuckers used our Raptor and the power armor they stole to fight the government. One morning I was told that the New Pegasus Coalition, that's what they called themselves, had finished off the Enclave and that they had reached an agreement with the NCR. Said they were merging and that 'high value prisoners of war' were being traded for food. Apparently I wasn't high value enough, so they just dropped me off on the ground after magically clipping my wings, still haven't grown back." Hopper held up a wing, the primaries all ended at half the length they were supposed to be, Chronicles cringed. It was hard to imagine a worse punishment for a pegasus.

Dusty floated over, "Bar's closing in five minutes, as much as I like paying customers, I still need to clean."

"Alright, I'll finish up," Chronicles said, then turned back to Hopper, "To condense the rest of the interview, what is your view of Littlepip?"

"Fuck her with the largest cannon you can find and fire it."

"What is your view of the Day of Rainbows and Sunshine?"

"The death of my nation and way of life."

Chronicles turned off the recorder and slipped both it and the notebook into his saddle bag, "Thank you, Hopper. I'm glad you were willing to take the time to talk with me."

"Glad to have somepony listen for once."

"Yes, well, good night." Chronicles got down from the stool and was starting to his room when he felt Hopper's hoof on his shoulder.

"There's something that I've been meaning to do since they crippled me, but never could manage," Hopper said, not making eye contact, "I think I can now, thanks."

"Your welcome, I think." Chronicles slowly made his way to the room, pausing at the door to the hall to take one last glance at Hopper. The Pegasus was straightening his coat and snugging his cap on his head like he was headed back to duty. Chronicles shook his head and continued on, there were still so many unanswered questions, he would have to see about finding other former members of the Enclave. The interview needed to be transcribed, and the notes needed organization. But that was later, it was late and sleep would have to do. He reached the room to find the Tourniquet fast asleep on one of the beds, her gear haphazardly strewn about and the lantern still light. Chronicles quietly removed his saddlebags and barding and arranged them neatly at the foot of the empty bed, then climbed into it. He half registered the sound of hooves passing the door as he recited his nightly plea for Luna's protection and guidance. When he was finished, he reached over to extinguish the lamp, and as he did, the sound of a magic weapon blast came from a few rooms down. Chronicles lay awake the rest of the night, unable to sleep in the silence.

Comments ( 3 )

Well, that was interesting, I like your idea of talking about the events of the Day of Sunshine and Rainbows and its aftermath from the perspective of an Enclave soldier, very nice.

What a rather dark, but expected, ending. Still, it has a resonating effect, just as haunting as Chronicles felt.

The perspective of Enclave characters in these FOE side stories is so often misinterpreted, providing indoctrinated soldiers way too much understanding and insight of the organization's faults. Hopper is an instance of the perspective done justice. He is naive and patriotic, even a little racist, but he has enough depth to seem just like any other pony and complain of the minor issues.

The interview itself is well-constructed, allowing personalities and idiosyncrasies to shine without forcing them in with exposition or ostentatious gestures. I especially enjoyed the way Hopper gradually opened up more and more into the interview and the way it was communicated through greater liveliness in both dialogue and action.

One of the only faults I really have with the story is the unrealistic way Hopper is able to hold his drink and speak with such clarity. The bartender even thinks the guy has had too much to drink, and yet Hopper recites his whole life story with amazing eloquence. Suddenly, he is no longer drunk when the interview starts.

Wonderful one-shot, in all. With a fully realized potential and thoughtful characterization, this story is a perfect fit into the Fallout: Equestria world.

7062497 Thanks! I probably should have made Hopper drinker, slurring his speach and such. The only half-defense that I have is that alcohol effects different people different ways, but that's more of a cop-out than a defense.

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