"Twilight?" Timothy asked sleepily as he awoke from the girl's shoulder, "...Are... are you crying?"
Lisa sniffed, wiping her tears away with a sleeve as she left her friend's question unanswered.
"Seriously, Twi." the boy deadpanned, now fully awake as he placed his hand on Lisa's shoulder, "You rarely every cry. Did you have a bad dream?"
The girl nodded slowly, still visibly shaken from her experience.
Timothy paused for a moment to think, before turning his eyes back to meet with Lisa's. "Here." he began, pulling the girl in for a hug, "When I was little and had nightmares, you always let me sleep with you in your bed. It's only fair if I help you the same way."
Lisa nodded again, accepting the embrace of her friend. Deep within the confines of her mind, however, she was still replaying the nightmare over and over, having nothing else to take her mind elsewhere.
"So... what was your nightmare?" Timothy questioned, this time allowing the girl to lay on his shoulder, rather than the other way around. "I'm sure that it was probably a real doozy since you're... uh, crying and all."
The girl shook her head furiously. "Not now, Spike." she replied with a whimper, "Not now..."
The remainder of the trip was as uneventful as the rest. There was still the occasional animal that the driver would shout at with angry cries, the sky further darkened as the night grew longer, and save for Lisa, much of the bus's remained in their slumber.
Timothy had once again fallen asleep, snoring lightly as Lisa once more turned to gaze out the window. She couldn't quite tell how much time had passed anymore; she had no way of keeping track outside of counting the seconds herself. Time, however, was of little consequence at the moment.
For now, it was only Lisa, and the sky. The latter was bedazzled in all its beauty, thousands upon millions of twinkling stars piercing through the dark night sky. It reminded the girl of home. Equestria. Though with the thoughts of home, came yet again her memories of her nightmares. One by one, she mentally recounted each of her friends and their names.
Applejack, the honest farmpony who always put the truth above all else.
Rainbow Dash. A Wonderbolt reserve, loyal to her friends. She was just a bit on the lazy side, though.
Fluttershy, the most caring and kind pony she had ever met in her life.
Rarity was the only fashionista she knew of in Ponyville, and had near-limitless generosity to everyone around her.
Last but not least, Pinkie Pie. She was the joy of everyone's lives, and made it her personal duty to ensure the happiness of all, and sometimes even going as far as to put herself down to lift others up.
Lisa smiled quietly to herself as she finally let herself relax. It had been nothing more, and nothing less than a dream. A nightmare, just as she'd thought. She wasn't forgetting her friends, not when she knew them all so well... Still, however, there was still the gnawing thoughts at the back of her mind; thoughts that her nightmare could very well be a sign of things to come. Why did her friends fade away in the dream? Why hadn't she been able to recall past memories of herself even when she knew it was just a dream when it occurred?
Shaking her head, the girl pushed those thoughts from her mind with a goofy grin. It was silly to be so worried about a dream. After all, when she would reconnect to Equestria, everything would be right back to what they were before, right?
She turned from her window to peer out the windshield. There were no other vehicles around this late in the night, especially at this late of a time. A couple times earlier on, she'd seen the occasional freight truck pass by, rumbling along with all the intensity of a day's commute.
Just as before, Lisa had assumed that she somehow managed to fall into yet another dreamless sleep. Though her eyes were still closed, she could already feel the warmth of the morning sun on her skin, and her ears were filled with the excited chatter of the other volunteers, eagerly clamoring to the windows as the seemingly-endless plains began to become increasingly filled with architecture.
Soon, Lisa was able to see more people. Not inside of the bus, but rather outside, tending unkempt and fallow fields. These people appeared to be hit harder by the outage than the citizens of Snowbush, as many of them appeared to still be just as confused as she was when she'd first awoken.
The bus had finally come to a stop at the center of the city. Just like Snowbush, the place had another towering City Hall at its heart, surrounded by the familiar grid-like pattern of streets and passageways between buildings.
It was almost as if both cities had been built to the same design.
Lisa and Timothy, along with the rest of the volunteers, were greatly welcomed into the city, and for the majority of them, were then promptly shown their new offices within the City Hall. It was there where they finally learned of the name of the city they now occupied: Mountain View. It had been struck by the disconnection much later than Snowbush had been, and much of their population came from agricultural or industrial backgrounds in their simulations. Not one of them had any experience in leadership of any kind.
The first order of business presented to the volunteers was to organize the citizens of Mountain View into groups based on skills in order to keep the populace tame. Unlike Snowbush, the city hadn't received the same amount of attention as the former when their connection had dropped, and much of the population was still starving.
The girl and her assistant immediately set to work on creating a list of skills and how each would be utilized. The couple other Societal Management Officers had joined as well, peering curiously over the shoulders of Lisa and Timothy as they constructed their plans.
First off came the question of food. Where Snowbush had the advantage of receiving shipments of rations, Mountain View had nothing to rely on but its empty farmland. With winter approaching soon and no mention of reconnection as of yet for the city, it was quickly decided and agreed upon that utilizing the farmland would be a top priority.
"Hey... um, whatsyourname," Lisa began, turning to face one of the officers watching behind her back, "would you mind asking around for what would be the best veggies to grow at this time of the year?"
The officer nodded with a grunt. "The name's Chad." he answered gruffly, "I'll see what I can do."
The man lumbered out of the room, leaving the remaining three occupants to plan in silence.
With the girl's skillful crafting of the management plans and Chad out collecting information, the overall idea for what to do quickly formed into a viable means of operation. The man reported back to Lisa and Timothy every so often, while the other volunteer, a girl seemingly a few years younger than Lisa, took time to calm the still-rowdy citizens.
Eventually, it was ultimately decided to grow winter vegetables such as cabbages, beets, radishes, and others of the like. The problem of seeds was quickly handled by an old storeroom citizens had discovered near the fields, allowing the farming community to hastily sow the fields in preparation for the oncoming cold.
Lisa stood proudly at the worn doors of the storeroom along with the other volunteers from the bus, generously handing packets upon packets of seeds to each person who entered.
"TWIIIIILIIIIIGHT SPAAAAAARKLE!" a voice cheered loudly over the hustle and bustle of the other citizens, "I'D RECOGNIZE BOOK HORSE ANYWHERE!"
Lisa looked up just in time to find herself colliding with a very hyperactive girl. She was hardly alone anymore.