Farmer Bruener Has Some Ponies

by Georg

2. Riley County Emaregency Response

Farmer Bruener Has Some Ponies
Riley County Emaregency Response

"Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing."
Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (1760)

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Time: 7:58 A.M. Central Standard Time, June 19, 2015
Highway 77, Northbound out of Manhattan
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If asked, Steve would never admit that sounding the siren on the ambulance was the best part of the job. That and the ability to drive just as fast as practical on the highway without worrying about getting another ticket. The big engine in the ambulance really did not counter the heavy contents enough to get up to the same speeds he could in his Mustang convertible, but it was about the only fun part about being a paramedic and having to deal with auto crashes, household accidents, and the occasional messy suicide. Still, it was better than his four years doing much the same job in the military. At least nobody left bombs under bodies in Kansas.

"Turn right at the next exit onto the utility road, then another right onto a gravel road," said Dave, his fellow paramedic from the passenger seat where he was securely buckled in and clutching his phone as if it would save him from a collision. The GPS onboard the ambulance was good, but once you got off the highway, it was handy to have a backup. "About three quarters of a mile, we’ll want to turn south into a hay field and look for a swather. You know what a swather is, right Steve?"

Since he was busy braking in anticipation of the sharp corner, Steve did not respond in the profane and profound manner he wanted to, but instead grunted as he hit the gas after the swaying S-curve and barreled down the gravel road in a cloud of dust with the barbed-wire fences on both sides of the road passing in a blur. Injured little kids were the worst, particularly farming accidents. He had grown up on a farm in North Carolina, so he was fully aware of just how many sharp edges and uncaring power take-off shafts there were on the equipment, as well as how dangerous it was to drive at the speed he was going down the gravel road. He slowed down, but just a little.

"Dispatcher said it sounded bad," said Dave. "I hope the kid doesn’t lose a foot."

"I’ve seen worse." Steve slowed down a little as the indicated corner came up, although he was a little distracted by the sight of circling hawks or vultures above the hay meadow that appeared to be his destination. It was even more distracting as he pulled into the open gate in the barbed wire fence and stopped, because a small grey horse ran up to the window and tapped on the glass with one hoof.

"Are you the ambulance?"

It was a horse. A small horse, but still quite certainly a horse, even though it was dressed in golden armor in the Roman style of lorica segmentata with articulated plates and a one-piece galea helmet bearing a rather mussed blue fuzzy frill. Really, Steve could have handled the talking, as a lifetime of talking cartoon animals had somewhat hardened his mind to the concept, but armor was something he really had not considered. He had a full set of display armor from his days in the Society for Creative Anachronism, so he knew what the difference was between costumes and real armor, so even if somebody had decided to dress a little horse up in an outfit as a prank, he would be able to tell the difference.

And as he looked around, he realized nobody could possibly be carrying out a prank on this scale.

There were hundreds of ponies scattered out across the field, in a dazzling array of colors, making it look more like some twisted Easter egg hunt than a hay meadow. Not all of the ponies were lying in the green grass like eggs waiting to be found either. What he had originally thought were hawks were actually flying ponies, wheeling around the sky in a large open circle, whose purpose became obvious as there was a somewhat weak flicker in the sky accompanied with a loud popping noise, and yet another colorful equine appeared at least a hundred feet up. Two of the flying ponies immediately swooped to intercept the falling pony before Steve became aware of the prodding of one golden-armored hoof to his chest through the open window of the ambulance, which he had rolled down out of habit.

"Hey!" The same armored hoof tapped Steve on the side of the face in a mild slap that brought him abruptly back to earth, or at least able to look at the armored pony without his mind going off into a corner and babbling to itself for a few hours.

"Accident!" said Steve before his brain could catch back up with what he was seeing. "Paramedics. Kid hit by farm equipment. Yes, this is the ambulance," he finished as a set of flashing lights in the rear view mirror caught his attention. "That’s probably the police."

"Good!" snapped the armored pony. "Your patient is over there by the big metal wagon. Do you have additional medical supplies for our injured?"

"Y-yes," stammered Steve.

“Excellent! I’ll dispatch one of the civilians to assist. Now move it! Move! Move!”

His foot hit the gas pedal without asking permission from his brain, and the ambulance lurched forward out into the bumpy hay meadow. There had been a pony-free path cleared between the gate and the swather, which was a very good thing as Steve was not too certain of his ability to drive at the moment. He barely remembered to set the parking brake when he pulled the ambulance up next to the swather and dashed over to a large bare-chested man who was holding onto one leg of the patient.

Who was a pony.

As was the blood-splattered mostly-white pony to her side.

"Blood pressure is dropping, and we’re having problems controlling the bleeding without supplies," said the white pony while she shifted to one side to provide space for Steve, who had grabbed for a tourniquet out of reflex immediately after seeing all of the blood.

"Dave!" he bellowed while wrapping one pink leg with the plastic band and moving it down the hairy leg to get it closer to the bloody wound concealed by the blood-soaked shirt the man was holding. "Open as many Celox packs as you can lay your hands on! Do you know what his blood type is?"

"P-negative," said the nurse, as Steve’s brain had conveniently pigeonholed the pony into that human category as not to cause any additional mental strain on a mind that just wanted to stand there and stare.

"Crap," he muttered while fixing the tourniquet right above the bloody injury and giving it a firm yank. "I know we don’t have that kind of blood at the hospital."

"A-am I going to die?" sobbed a very female voice from the little pony, who had not quit hanging onto the farmer with her good forehoof while bawling her lungs out. "It hurts! It hurts so much!"

It was no wonder her leg hurt so much, with as little Steve had seen under the blood when he had applied the tourniquet. He slapped the coagulant packs on the jagged wound and applied pressure while trying not to swear. The swather’s steel cutter bar had nearly severed the little pony’s leg, with a deep chunk cut out of the bone and the odd pinkish stringy look of cut tendons and muscles that made Steve’s leg ache with sympathetic pain. Even if she survived the blood loss, she was likely to lose the leg, although he would kill the first person who suggested that she was just a horse to be shot and put out of her misery.

"Not a chance, missy," said Steve with as much of a smile as he could muster while he worked. "Ten minutes from now, you’re going to be in a big hospital full of nice doctors who will all be fussing over you like you’re the new Princess of England. Now let’s give you a little something for the pain."

He paused with the morphine injector in one hand before plunging it into what he could best estimate as the right spot and giving her a partial dose. It seemed to be exactly the right decision in hindsight after he finished with the emergency pressure bandage over the coagulant when the little pony finally began to relax slightly and muffled her anguished wails to a quiet whimpering.

Congratulations, Steve. You’ve just been promoted to Extraterrestrial Veterinarian for taking a wild-assed guess that our medicines aren’t toxic to colorful little alien horses.

"We found Doctor Stable," called out a voice in the distance. "He fell into a gully and twisted his ankle, but he’s headed this way."

"Dispatch, this is Riley County EMS-5," said Dave into the radio behind him. "We’ve got a mass casualty event with over a hundred victims, mostly blunt trauma and fractures, possibly some fatalities. This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill. We’re going to need at least a dozen ambulances at our location. Notify KSU Vet Med and clear Manhattan Memorial Emergency to receive a large number of… um… unusual patients."

Author Notes

In real life, the two hospitals in Manhattan have been consolidated, with the older one sold/given away to K-State and the new one renamed Via Christi (formerly Mercy Regional Health Center). I’m keeping the Memorial name for the story in order to keep away from the hospital’s legal department. The Society for Creative Anachronism has a fairly large presence on the K-State campus, and has some of the most wonderful people as members. K-State Veterinary Medicine is one of the top-ranked vet schools in the country. The road between the pony landing area and the hospital is mostly K-77, which is fairly straight and in good repair, but only two lanes, which will cause problems later in the story.

For those of you who have used Google Maps to identify where the ponies landed, you will notice the sprawling metropolis of Randolph, KS (Pop. 163) right next door. It will come into play later. Tuttle was created primarily for flood control, but they added recreation as a selling point.

By the way, if you really want to see somebody looking confused, go to your local emergency management agency and ask just what their process would be for a few hundred aliens dropped into a field just outside of town. Make sure you tell them you’re an author, though. They’ll still think you’re crazy, but won’t lock you up. (You know, there has been a police car parked outside for the last few weeks. Naaa, probably a coincidence.)