Another Life

by Ironwolves21

Chapter Thirteen

The mud squelched loudly under Riot’s boots, splashing the muck up onto his nearly ruined fatigues. The stallion grunted, readjusting his heavy rig. The assault rig set-up dug into his side, and the feed belts ripped at his fur when he fired.

He had a million things to complain about in the humid, sickly stink of the jungle, but he stayed silent. Nopony in the squad complained, mostly because they would only complain about the same thing, and it would give away their position.

Riot cast a look over his shoulder at the squad behind him. The six other ponies slogged through the mud with him, each looking irate and dangerous. All but one pony of course. Mumbles trudged through the mud, head bobbing side to side as he listened to a beat only he could hear. His machine gun bounced to and fro as he walked, along with the open front of his fatigues. The muddy red bandana on his head was a joke; one that both he and Riot would poke fun at.

The large unicorn chuckled despite himself, taking his eyes off the trail for a second as he held a hoof up. “Hold up. Two minute break. Get some water in you and check your gear. This humidity isn’t doing any of us any good.”

The squad breathed a sigh of relief, standing easy as they fanned out.

Mumbles trotted up, pulling out a small map. Riot nodded, sitting down on a fallen tree. He adjusted his patrol cap, letting the weight of the rig rest on the soggy wood. The yellow stallion plopped down next to him, holding the map up in his magic.

A yellow hoof pointed at a point on the map. “I think we’re here sir. The target should be around here.” He slid his hoof across a short span of paper, which translated to about four clicks.

Riot nodded, pointing at another spot. “If he kept his sense of direction, he’ll be about here. If not we could be here for awhile.” Riot scanned the map as Mumbles nodded. He pointed at a squiggly line. “What’s this mark? Ridge or valley?”

“Ridge sir.”

They both shared a huff of annoyance. “Fuckin’ hills.”

Somepony coughed from the squad, causing Riot to look up. The other six were standing ready, weapons checked and double checked. The grey stallion smiled through the mask of sweat and muck. He quickly checked the chambers and the linked sight of his assault rig, then stood up. “Everypony on me. Lightning and Glass, you guys are on the rear. Everypony keep your eyes sharp and your ears sharper.”

The group nodded, and quickly fell in behind the Captain.

The trek through the jungle took what seemed like forever, and the journey was fraught with peril and deep mud holes. They eventually found their way to the ridge, and from there they had full view of the small valley and clearing.

The clearing seemed almost alive with activity, all focused on a solitary burning wreckage of a new Royal Equestrian Jet. Riot hadn’t seen much of the new jets, and only knew that they were a recent invention. What every soldier on the ground knew though, was that they were a bigger target to hit with flak, and the pegasi pilots in them often died.

Riot sighed, then pulled out a small monocular. He scanned the clearing for trouble. When his sights fell on the scavengers, his heart fell into his stomach. “Wehrmacht SS Hyenas.” He spat at the word.

Mumbles sidled up next to him, taking in the view with his own set of binoculars. “Wehrmacht? Didn’t we crush them years ago?”

“Guess this is where the SS slunk off to. Explains why the Jungle Dogs got so aggressive so quick.”

Something moved at the edge of the field, drawing his attention. Riot motioned for his squad to hug the ground. He squinted, focusing past the groups of guards and piles of salvaged tech. A bright pink pony was being led away in cuffs; no doubt to one of the SS’s nightmare camps. The pilot stumbled, obviously injured. One of the guards kicked the pony savagely.

Riot put away his monocular and motioned for a bush to move. The bush moved up to his side, and the heavily camouflaged face of Trueshot met his. “Sir?”

“Cover fire on the valley on my signal, Cherry’s got your back. Tango squad, move up.” He stood up, running low down the ridgeline trail. Mumbles quickly followed behind him as the rest of the squad broke off.

He could hear the screams for help and mercy.

Riot finally got to the valley floor and immediately hit the ground running. He came to a sliding stop behind a large tree, motioning to Mumbles as he peaked around the trees edge. The hyenas had come to taking turns kicking the downed buck- scratch that. The mare screamed out as one of the larger hyenas booted her savagely in the stomach.

His features hardened, and he made eye contact with the rest of the squad. They all motioned with their enfields and nodded. He breathed out, before taking the firing bit into his mouth. There wasn’t much room for his shotguns with a friendly right there. He looked up at the ridge line and waited for the glint of the snipers scope to become visible. He nodded, running a hoof across his neck.


The largest hyenas head snapped to the side as a large chunk of his forehead passed through the back of his skull. A spray of blood went up as the hyenas back arched; his body falling back overtop of the mare. A burst of fire rang out, carving down the other two dogs. The scavengers dove for cover, and swiftly started returning fire.

Riot stood, galloping into the edge of the clearing with a low profile. He had faith that Trueshot would kill anything before it put him down.Shots whizzed over top of him, both friendly and hostile. Riot finished his gallop to the downed pilot and easily wrenched the body off her with his magic and hooves. As he finally reached the mare, he threw up a low shield, protecting the both of them from incoming fire. After a few moments of sustained fire, the hyenas pulled back from the clearing; their scrap left behind.

The mare clutched at his uniform much like the remains of her flight suit clutched to her form. He pulled her up, carrying her out of the clearing. “Mumbles! Comp B on the fuel tank of the jet!” A clump of the high explosives went from Riots vest to Mumbles’ hooves.

The yellow stallion nodded, running past with the clump of explosives. Riot turned his head back towards the tree line, ordering the squad back towards himself as the scavengers started to regroup. After a few seconds of running, they heard a crump, then a loud explosion as the remaining jet fuel went off, destroying what was left of the twisted monstrosity that had once been a flying machine.

Riot breathed a sigh of relief, slowing down at a small clearing. He set the pilot down onto a patch of ground, then did a quick recount of his squad. “Where’s the Corporal?”

The squad shrugged, looking about just as the yellow stallion skidded into the clearing. He grinned sheepishly as he looked back at the valley behind them. “Forgot my helmet. Had to go back.”

The Captain shook his head, before looking at his radio pony. “Ping, radio command and tell them we’ve got the package, and are en-route to the evac.” The pony nodded, and started fiddling with the radio-set. Riot looked at the pilot, who was still clinging to his sweaty fatigues. “You alright?”

She coughed, and looked to the large grey unicorn. “I’m fine, just give me a real gun.” The mare tossed her E-16 rifle to the ground, and gave it a sharp kick. “The things they give pilots are toys.” The sharp kick, while not very strong, had still shattered the thing’s stock. The fact she had been allowed to keep it by the guards was testament to its reputation.

Riot chuckled, looking at Mumbles. The lemon unicorn pulled back a bit. “W-What?”

“I know you’ve got extras. Hoof em over.”

The stallion sighed, pulling out a collapsed carbine out of his pack. “It’s no fair, whenever there’s a carbine emergency, I never get to use them.” He passed the weapon to the pilot, who blinked, then grinned happily over the stamped steel receiver and solid wood stock.

She ran her face over the action of the rifle, giving it a gentle nuzzle. “It’s been too long since I’ve gotten to shoot a rifle made of good ol’ steel and wood.”

Riot nodded, ignoring Mumbles’ words. “Trueshot and Cherry should have been down here by now.” He frowned, looking up at the ridge.

A ponie came galloping through the forest; Cherry, who was cursing and swearing as she ran. Riot stood up, trotting to her. The mare shook her head, just as the shot rang out. “We’ve been compromised! RUN!”

Another shot rang out, and the ridgeline exploded.

Riot winced as he turned, waving his squad into action. “MOVE!”

Ignoring the exhaustion from the trek, and the heat of the jungle, the squad broke into a heavy gallop. Ignoring fallen trees and shrubbery, they weaved through the jungles tiny trails. Rifle cracks could be heard, and sprays of mud went up around them.

Riot squeezed his eyes shut as a mortar round came down near him. Shrapnel and mud sprayed out, cutting him and forcing him back. Riot hoped that they would either outrun the hyenas, or reach the evac point.

Another mortar round came down, closer to them this time, but still not bringing anypony down. He could hear baying in the distance, and more gunfire. Riot stole a glance over his shoulder, taking quick note of the squad.

After a few more minutes of frantic running and being shelled, the squad burst into a clearing, which had been marked for extraction. Riot smacked his magical beacon, and prayed that the air force was actually listening. “Dig in!”

Riot dove into a ditch, readying his assault rig as the others dove down next to him. A pair of dogs burst through the tree line, and were quickly mowed down by rifle fire. The rest of the dogs dug down at the treeline, more than happy to sling slugs back at them. Riots rig barked back, riddling the thick trees with steel core slugs. Despite their best efforts, the hyenas were firmly entrenched within the trees.

That was what Fireball was there for. He pulled the trigger of his flamethrower, arcing the shot upwards. The magically propelled gout of death landed in the trees, instantly setting them ablaze. The stallion aimed a bit further down, then squeezed off a burst, dousing the front-most hyenas.

Their howls of pain were quickly overcome by the sound of rotating blades coming over the jungle roof. A pair of pegasi driven helicopters blew past, quickly circling around to allow their gunners to open fire. Riot spat out the trigger of his rig, then looked to Mumbles as he neared the end of his belt.


The yellow stallion barely nodded, keeping his eyes on the treeline as Riot pulled out a fresh box of ammunition from his friends vest.



The hueys touched down, their door gunners spewing rounds into the forest. Riot slapped the top of the machine gun, then tapped the back of the yellow bucks helmet. Mumbles nodded, pulling back the charging handle and biting down again. The E-60 Barked back to life, spitting death into the forest.

Riot pointed to the Hueys. “Everypony onboard! NOW!”

The squad quickly obliged, moving one by one as the others covered the retreat. Riot patted the pink pegasi on the shoulder as Mumbles stood up, firing as he sat down on the running boards of the helicopter. The mare looked up from her sights, then nodded. He saw out of the corner of his eye, a pony shaped bush booking it out of the treeline and into one of the helicopters.

The two galloped the short distance, practically jumping into the helicopter. Riot stuck his head out the door, quickly scanning the ditch. He patted the pilots shoulder. “WE’RE CLEAR!” He had to scream over the noise the machine made so he could be heard by the helmet wearing pilot.

The helicopter lurched into the air, and it’s twin quickly followed. The door gunners continued their fire, just up until the clearing was no longer in sight.

Riot let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. His eyes went around the helicopters interior, taking note of the three other ponies he shared it with, other than the gunner. He had Fireball, Ping, and Kratonis. He chuckled, patting Fireball on the shoulder as he sat down next to him and clipped on his drop harness. “Hell of a day huh?”

The stallion was about to answer as a glowing streak reached out and swatted the helicopter out of the air. Riot yelled out as he was lifted out of his seat by the G force; the only thing holding him in was his drop harness, which clung to the helicopters roof. Somepony screamed just as the machine plowed through the forest canopy and into the wet ground below.


That’s all he could see, was black. Black…..but he could hear gunfire.


Riot groaned in pain, his hooves pulling at what he hoped was his lanyard. The thing gave out with a loud metallic Ping, allowing the rest of his hanging body to fall into the black mud. Riot lifted his face out of the muddy water and gave his head a shake. “Sound....Sound off!”

“I am here Comrade Captain!” Kratonis pulled the helicopters twisted door open, then offered a hoof to the muddy grey stallion. Riot took it, letting the monster pony pull him out. Rifles rounds pinged off the helo’s shell.

Riot coughed; giving his head a shake to dislodge more mud. “Get me a weapon, we gotta hold out till our boys circle around”

Kratonis shook his head. “We have been surrounded. Our comrades have fled.”.The stallion clapped Riot on his shoulder. “I am glad you survived comrade captain! It would be a shame to lose your life in such a weak way. Now we may die together in glorious battle!”

The captain nodded, pulling one of the rifles from his twisted rig. “Welp, let’s get going. We’ve got a reputation to uphold.”

“Of course Captain. It was an honour.”

Riot pulled himself out of the wreckage, and up behind the hastily erected barricade. Fireball’s head was missing the top half, and one of the pilots lay dead several metres away. Muzzle flashes spiked up from the trees, and Riot responded in kind. Ping screamed in pain as a stray round buried itself into his flank.

Pings radio crackled to life, and REA chatter filled its speakers. Riot dove for the radio, roughly jerking the wounded Ping in the process. “Command, this is Captain Riot with the 31st Rangers! I request immediate medevac on my position! We are surrounded and have wounded! I repeat, we require immediate-”

“Captain, we already know about your situation. Unfortunately, we can not call off the Wonderbolts at this point. The napalm strike is a go. May Celestia protect you.” Riots muzzle jerked at the operator's words. He wanted to rip into the smug little bastard; tear him to pieces; shit on his grave. He would have, if the radio hadn’t been shot out from under him. The captain cursed loudly, before firing off the last of his rifles ammo into the trees.

A small cylinder bounced up and over their cover, promptly exploding into a bright flash of light; blinding the remaining defenders. Riot roared in defiance, kicking out at the paws he felt wrapping around him, constricting his movements. After a few moments of struggling, a rifle butt was introduced to his muzzle, and the world went black again.

Riot came too moments later; his hooves tied beneath him and a null ring slipped over his horn. His chest heaved, his breath being stolen by a savage kick to the stomach.

“Dirty pony!” The hyena snarled as it booted Riot again.

“HALT!” A commanding voice sounded out, causing the soldier to stop his attack, and for Riot to open his eyes.

A large hyena, dressed in the regalia of a SS Overseer stepped forward. Riots eyes flitted about, gauging the situation.

Kratonis and Ping were still living, at the least. They both were bound how Riot assumed he was.

The overseer walked up to one of the hyena soldiers, who quickly saluted. “Mein Aufseher Dietz! We have captured these REA soldiers, what are your orders?”

The hyena narrowed his eyes for a moment, before smiling. “Why, it’s so nice of you to ask Unteroffizier Franzlich. Why, we’ll kill those too weak to survive, and send the survivors to Verdammung for the good doctor!” The hyena smiled broadly, showing off his teeth.

The hyena stepped forward, but in the background, jet engines filled the valley. Riot’s captors cocked their heads, and watched as a trio of sky blue jets dropped their payload off in the distance. The Wonderbolts had not only missed their mark by kilometres, they had just damned Riot and his squad to a Wehrmacht labour camp.

Dietz merely shook his head, and drew his pistol. He walked up to one of the helo gunners, who was nodding in and out of consciousness. “Too veak.” BLAM He trotted forward, focusing on Ping, who was shaking like a leaf due to blood loss. “Too small.” BLAM Riot clenched his teeth together, the snarling voice in his head demanding revenge. The overseer looked over at Riot and smiled. “What? Are you angered by your loses?” The commander leaned in, his demented grin exposing his fangs. “You are going to die at mien doctors paws little pony.”

Riot shuddered, his muzzle contorting at his fiery rage. ”I’m gonna rip your guts out and hang you from the trees you filthy mongrel.” The paws on Riots skull kept him down though, despite his words. Shiv’s familiar voice filled his mind.

We’ll get what we want. You’re going to have to listen to me though.

Riot scowled.

The overseer’s eyes widened, and one of the guards rifle butted Riot in the cheek; splitting one of his molars down the center. Dietz stood tall, a smug look crossing his muzzle. “Take them to Verdammung.The doctor will be overjoyed to have new subjects.”.”


Flashes of a blazing fire flooded his mind; scenes of Verdammung filling his waking mind. It ended with Dietz gripping his ratty fatigues, his guts spilling into the cold mud as Riot twisted the knife with rage.

Riot cracked his eyes open, then promptly rolled over to avoid the glaring sun. He let out a groan as the motel bed creaked under him.

Funny, he could swear that he could still smell the sweat and fire, the fuel and death. He snorted, quickly losing the smells. The stallion groaned again, getting up slowly and walking to the bathroom. He trotted in, closing the small mirror as he cracked open the taps and splashed water on his face.

Riot looked up at the mirror, and almost managed a smile. He didn’t look half bad for a stallion who had nightmares every night. Riot sighed, rubbing his cheek. He hadn’t gotten to see Hunter last weekend, the poor colt had gotten sick, and Aurora apparently had taken out a restraining order against him. Riot shook his head again, trotting back out into the room.

He was glad that Hearth's Warming was nearly there, she wouldn’t be able to keep the colt away from him long with such a big holiday looming. That and he had Vinyls party, which might have been tonight or tomorrow, he couldn’t remember which.

He peeked out the window, but pulled back as he stared into a wall of snow. He had been snowed in. “Dammit...” Turning towards his Duffel, Riot pulled out his boots and winter clothes. After a moment, he was completely dressed and ready. A hard push on the door didn’t open it, but after a few minutes of digging with his magic, Riot was free of the black mold prison.

Trotting out onto the street, Riot looked about, considering his options. A new restaurant had opened during his time in the hospital, but he hadn’t tried it yet. The thought of warm soup seemed like a great idea with the current temperature. With that in mind, he set off towards the new place.

Riot trotted down the snow strewn streets, listening to his steps crunch softly into the fresh snow. He looked around, hoping to see somepony he knew. He didn’t see anypony. Letting out a quiet sigh, he finally spotted the sign for the restaurant. He played a small tune in his own head, whistling complacently.

He pushed his way through the snow crowded door, and into the store. Stamping his hooves into the doormat, He looked at the waitress, who smiled kindly back at him. “Table for one sir?”

Riot nodded, looking around. He stopped, quickly holding up a hoof. “I’m joining her, actually. She’s family.”

The waitress looked over at the grey mare, whose muzzle was hidden under a paper. She smiled again, grabbing a menu with her wing. “Follow me please.” He nodded, following her to the booth. They both noticed the fact that the grey mare was sleeping soundly under the paper.

Riot chuckled, taking the menu from the waitress as he held a hoof to his lips. He sat down in the booth near silently. He slowly pulled the paper off Keplers face and smirked. Looking at the waitress, he smirked. “One ice water and two coffees.”

She grimaced, then nodded, quickly returning with his order. Riot took the water, lifting it up slowly. He let a single drip hit Keplers horn.

“WAAUHZZAAT!!?!?!?” She bolted up, perching herself on the top of the booths seat. “WHAZZAFUCKMAN!?!?”

Riot clutched his gut, belly laughing loudly. The waitress covered her mouth to suppress a giggle as the grey unicorn mare let out a low squeal of contempt. “You! You...You-”

“Me! Yes me.” Riot smirked, pushing a coffee towards the sleep deprived mare.

She glared at him, but slowly got down from the seat. “You’re...A dick.” She wrapped a hoof around the coffee and took a sip, murmuring happily afterwards. “But a nice dick.”

He shrugged, taking another sip of his coffee. “I try Kep.” He coughed roughly, still laughing. Shaking his head, he took another sip. “So what’s up? You wouldn’t leave your bed just to pass out here.”

Taking a deep swig of the coffee, Kepler laid her head down on the newspaper. “Sunny was...Up. All night last night. I didn’t get a wink of sleep, and he wanted to try new recipes this morning...I...I had to get away.” She shuddered. “Paprika and Kiwi’s DON’T work together...”

Riot cringed in sympathy. “I knew the cook thing would only go so far before he went mad scientist on us. You want an omelet?” She nodded slowly, face still buried in the newspaper. He waved over the waitress, and quickly made his order. She smiled, fluttering away.

Riot peeked at the newspaper, or at least what he could see around Keplers fiery mane. Nothing sparked his interest, so he made idle time poking fun at Kepler. Much to his younger sisters relief, the food was quick to show up.

Kepler sat up, looking groggily at the food, then promptly levitated the plate in front of her mouth and just shoveled the whole thing back. Riot smiled, taking bites out of his food as she burped, letting her head bounce off the table again.

“So. Is the party thing tonight?”

Kepler groaned unhappily. “Tonight....Fuck.” her face plunged back down to the table, bouncing as it hit.

The stallion smirked, finishing off the last bit of food. He sighed, patting Kepler on the head. “Would you like a place to sleep?” The solemn nod was all he needed. The spare motel key was placed into her hoof. “Room four.”

“Thanks Ashie...I needs sleeps...” She looked up at him, smiling as he got up. “You want me to pay for breakfast?”

Riot shook his head. “No no, I got it.” He placed a few bits onto the table as a tip. “Go on, get some sleep.” Kepler nodded, getting up slowly from the booth. She quickly hugged Riot, snuggling into his shoulder.

“Thanks Ashie...You’re the bestest brother evers.” She yawned widely, then stumbled towards the door.

Shaking his head as the grey mare past through the door, Riot trotted up to the counter. The waitress fluttered over, smiling still. “Wow, you guys eat fast! That’ll be eleven bits please.”

He nodded, passing the bits out of his jacket pocket. “Yeah, the three of us fought over a lot of food, it comes with the territory.”

She giggled happily, wings fluttering. “Oh trust me, I know.” She nodded to him, smile still on her lips. Riot said his goodbye and trotted out the front door.

Once out onto the maine street, Riot found himself at a loss. He didn’t exactly have much planned for that day, but the night was probably going to be chock full of party related doom. Riot sighed, deciding to take a walk down main street to clear his head.

His walk proved....surprisingly uneventful. It seemed like most ponies were huddled up around a warm fire or coffee, while he was out trudging through the snow looking for purpose. Riot huffed, looking about lazily. He could see the top of Vinyls home, and the hospital. The mere thought of returning to that horrible, sterile place sent a shiver up his spine.

Of course, he could always just pop in and see Redheart....

For once, he was actually torn between mares. He could go see Vinyl, but she could be busy doing her own thing, or be out with some other stallion. Of course, she was still very neurotic. Redheart was more likely to be there, but much less likely to be free. That and she was sane. Normal.

Riot stood there for a moment, pondering his options. He sighed quietly, trotting towards the hospital. Worst come to worst, he could always just invite Redheart to the party.

After a short walk, Riot came to a halt outside the front doors of the hospital. He steeled himself, then walked inside. The doors swished to the side, and a warm gust of air hit his muzzle. He snorted, stomping his hooves on the mat, ridding them of the clumps of snow that clung to him.

The receptionist looked up from her gossip magazine, but didn’t say anything as Riot trotted up. “Hey, is Nurse Redheart in today?”

She nodded, then swung her rolling chair over to the intercom. “Nurse Redheart to the front desk, Nurse Redheart to the front desk.” She let go of the intercom mic, then went back to her magazine.

Riot frowned inwardly. Despite everything he missed the intern that had run the desk when he was there. She at least smiled.

A few minutes passed with him standing there, waiting. He checked the clock on the wall, then shook his head. The urge to light a cigarette struck him, but he managed to push it off. In part, he supposed he should be thankful for the coma. He probably wouldn’t have been able to quit otherwise.

Sighing, Riot looked at the receptionist, who was muzzle deep in her magazine. It was like she had fooled herself into thinking that she could taste the drama. He chuckled at the thought, then tapped the desk. “Which way to the break room? She’s prolly sleeping.”

The mare grunted in annoyance, then pointed her hoof off to the right. “Over there, third door on the left hoof side.”

He nodded his hollow thanks, then started towards the room. He easily reached the room, then cracked open the door. Riot scanned the room, finding it empty. He was just about to leave when the sound of soft snoring drew his attention. He opened the door, then trotted in.

Riot looked around the room, still not seeing anypony. The linen closet snored again, bringing a small smile to his lips. Riot trotted up to it, opening the doors quietly.

Redheart lay inside, curled up into a snoozing ball. He sighed, putting a hoof on her shoulder. He gave her a soft shake; practically whispering as he spoke. “Hey, Redheart.”

She snapped awake, the back of her head smacking the side of the closet with a yelp. “Whaddayouwant...” She said, holding her head with her hooves, without looking at him yet.

He cringed, putting a hoof on her head. “Sorry Red, I was just looking for you. You alright?”

She looked over at him, opening her eyes. “Riot! It’s you! I wasn’t expecting you. I uh....I’ve been really busy lately....Not enough sleep.” The mare wasn’t lying, there were deep bags under her eyes, and she could barely stay standing without swaying.

“I...I can tell.” He sat her down on one of the couches. “I was just coming by to invite you to Vinyls Hearth Warming party, but if you’re too tired...”

The white mare smiled at him, steadying herself with a hoof. “I.....That really does sound fun. But I have no idea if I have to be working. I do want to come, I really do.” She frowned, looking to the grey stallion, rubbing her eyes of sleep.

Riot nodded. “Course, we’re starting around two hours after the club usually opens. Don’t think we’re actually ‘open’ today.” He mimed air quotes to punctuate his sentence. “I think It’s invite only.” He smiled at her, then looked over at the coffee machine. “Would you like me to make you some coffee?”

She sighed. “That thing’s been broken for years.” The mare tried to stand, but crashed back to her rear with an ‘oof’. “I doubt I’ll be able to come, the doctors have me all tied up.”

“Well, to be honest...I don’t really want to go alone.” Riot shrugged lightly, trotting over to the machine. “We could...I don’t know, maybe get dinner after? Or I could just walk you home or something.” He pulled the machine outwards, and started looking over the casing.

The exhausted mare bit her lip, making slow circles in the couch with her hoof. “Well.......I dunno.....I mean, you’re a nice stallion and all, but....” She said, looking off the side, a frown forming on her features. “Doctor Mirian sent me a message a few days ago, he want’s me to start a behavioural report on you. I wasn’t supposed to tell you, but I fi-figure I’d get better cooperation from you this way.”

Riot frowned, but didn’t say anything. There was a loud ‘click’ and the machine came to life. “Somepony unplugged it.” Riot chuckled, pulling out the old filter, replacing it with a new one and fresh grinds. “There! Works like a charm.”

She blinked, staring at the stallion. “Y-you p-plugged it in!? That’s it!? I’ve been sitting in this office for four years dying of exhaustion because somepony unplugged the coffeemaker?!” The mare growled, standing, and trying to flip over her desk, only managing to fall on her ass.

Riot chuckled louder, trotting over to the floored mare. “The wire may have been pulled out a bit.” He wrapped his hooves around her waist, lifting her back up to the couch. “Maybe you should take the day off and get some rest?”

She sighed again. “I...I can’t...I have work to do, I need to work. Patients to help....Money to....” She yawned, weakening in his hooves. The mare shook her head wildly to wake herself up. “P-ponies to make, ponies to.....Money to....S-save.” She fell dead asleep in Riot’s embrace, her head falling peacefully back to the couch.

“Those ponies will still be there tomorrow.” He laid her down on the couch; bringing over a blanket with his magic from the linen closet. He draped it over the mare, tucking it under her. Riot looked down at her; placing a hoof on her side. “I’ll see you later. Sleep well.” He smiled as she murmured in her sleep, the weight of the day finally taking her away.

Riot stood, walking to the door as the coffee machine bubbled and churned away in the corner. He didn’t say anything to the receptionist on his way out, and he didn’t speak to anypony else in the hospital.

He had a lot of thinking to do.

“Behavioural report! FEH! That ‘doctor’ sounds like one of those wehrmacht ‘scientists’ conducting one of their damn experiments.” He spat as he walked up the stairs to his room.

Riot treaded up to his motel room, jingling his spare set of keys. He finally reached room four. The key slid into the lock, and the door creaked open. Riot trotted inside, stomping his hooves clean onto the mat. He looked up at the bed, fully expecting Kepler to be passed out on top of it.

The bed was made.

He cocked his head to the side, walking up to the night stand. His other key sat there, next to the small picture that was still propped up against the lamp. He grabbed the key, easily sliding it onto the keychain.

He plopped down onto the bed, wondering if an afternoon nap would make the party easier to deal with.

The thought of just sleeping the day away made him scowl. He had done enough of that in the hospital, and his military mind hated the very thought of wasting the day. His eyes fluttered, and his mind threatened to do a multitude of horrible things if he were to fall asleep.

Sleep came quickly to the large stallion.