Editing by: uSea
CHAPTER 4: Vola mio mini pony.
Do you know you're all my very best friends?
DAY 4 - TIME approximately 3:15 P.M. - LOCATION: The Glow, Salt Cube City
“That's impossible: ghouls are super stoopid zombies that eat ponies! You are ugly but mighty fine ponies, you can't be ghouls! If you're not telling me where the ghouls are I'm going to look for them on my own! BLEH!” Puppysmiles stuck out her tongue.
Soft Air and Peach Blossom exchanged a rapid glance, then Peach spoke. “We have no reason to lie to you, Puppy: we are ghouls, not every ghoul is a mindless pony eater.”
“But they told me-”
“But you listen only to what you want to hear! Gee, you are a pain in the flank, did anypony ever tell you that?” Peach sighed in relief, at last she let that go. It wasn't nice, but the foal seemed something more than simply spoiled: she was completely selective about any information she received. “Wake up, ghost! This is not some... Magical Land! this is Equestria, the worst sinkhole ever!”
Puppy stepped back, afraid of the decomposing pony that was scolding her, or maybe scared by the truth in her words. “B-b-but-”
Peach stomped a hoof on the ground. “Stop playing the innocent foal! You're a monster like us! Stop pretending! Now!”
The little filly backpedaled, falling on her haunches and trying to hide her face with her hooves. “Please! Please stop! I'll behave!”
“I don't want you to behave! I want you to WAKE UP!” The ghoul mare stomped a hoof on the ground to empasise her last two words.
Soft Air put a hoof on Peach's shoulder. “Please calm down, I don't think she's pretending; don't let your anger drive you.”
The ghoul mare shoved away Air's hoof. “She's two hundred years old, how can she be this naive? Is she a retard? I think she's just playing with us, I think that we should”
Peach was interrupted by a long eerie wail. For a moment her mind rushed back to her foalhood, to that very day when she closed herself in the cellar by mistake and nopony came looking for her until night had fallen. She recalled the fear of being forgotten, the loneliness, every single creak from the barrels. Peach almost lost her voice calling for help but it was the fair day and nopony heard her. With an overwhelming sense of guilt she realised that Puppy wasn't playing with them.
All the ghouls turned their attention to the filly in yellow; her long howl had something supernatural: it was the stuff of nightmares made audible and struck hard on everypony in the camp. Maybe this happened because they were used seeing a ghoul’s rage but this was the first time in decades that they had heard a foal's cry. Even Sand Box hesitated for a moment before walking to Puppy and hugging her.
“What... what the hell is she doing? That sound...” Peach staggered, trying to stand on her hooves.
“I think that you made her cry,” Soft Air Answered flatly. “Well, now I guess that it will be easier to make her accept the fact that we are the bad guys, right? Mission accomplished...”
“Oh for pete's sake, can you make her stop?” Complained a pony with an orange helmet on his head. “I can't hear my thoughts!”
Sand Box continued to hold the foal as her sobs gradualy lessened, growing quieter and quieter until they could barely hear her whispering half-spoken apologies. “Now, now, I'm sure you are a good pony. You just miss your mom and this is ok,” the ghoul leader rubbed Puppy's shoulders, “everypony has a bad day here and there. Peach Blossom was quite upset but now you will say that you're sorry and she will forgive you; just please, pay attention to her when she is explaining something important, okay?”
Puppy nodded slowly and tried to establish eye contact with Sand Box, finding some relief in his elderly eyes. The foal turned to the ghoul mare and lowered her head. “I... I'm sorry I didn't believe you, missus Peach Blossom... I know that you are a ghoul now, I was wrong.”
This made Peach feel even more guilty, but she had to play along; at least this way the conversation was going somewhere. “Oh, it's alright little one. Just pay some more attention when the older ponies try to teach you something.” She paused, what now? “Uh, I think I remember something about you wanting us to go away from this place? Why?”
Did I already say that Puppy was easily distracted?
The filly in yellow scratched her helmet thinking about this brand new question, but she couldn't seem to find a proper answer. “I think... this is because those pretty ponies promised me a piggy ride on a two headed cow if I came here, took a look around and go back and tell. They were also speaking of how great it would be if the ghouls were totally gone.” Puppysmiles paused for a moment, trying to remember the rest of the story. “Oh, right, so I said that I was going to deal with the meanie ghouls but they told no. I replied that I was big enough to shoo a ghoul away whatever it was and they made me promise to just come here and take a look... but I crossed my hooves so that promise doesn't count.” The filly smiled widely, clearly proud of herself. “I was smarter than them!”
Soft Air snickered. “Oh sweet Celestia, this filly is hilarious. Can we keep her?”
Sand Box sighed. “This is... a strange coincidence. Peach, please go and find Dr. Get Well: I need to speak with her quite urgently. Soft Air, can you keep an eye on this little prodigy for a while? Go to my office and grab that pink toy for our little guest.”
DAY 4 - TIME approximately 4:00 P.M. - LOCATION: The Glow, Salt Cube City
Puppy loved her new Pinkie Pie plushie, hugging it tightly when she wasn’t showing it to everypony she met. Too bad that it was mostly Soft Air. “See? She is super cool, way better that that killing pinkbot! I bet she's super soft!” The filly in yellow poked the plush with a hoof. “Aw stoopid space suit! I want to kiss her but I can't! I’m calling her Silky Tail!”
Soft Air knocked on Puppy's helmet. “Hey space pony, look at what I got here.” The ghoul held out a holotape for Puppy to see, “Guess what is this?”
Puppy tilted her head. “Uh, a... black... thing? I know I know! It's some stuff that does other stuff!”
“Wow, I couldn't explain it better. Okay little miss scholar, come here and let me connect it to your suit.” The ghoul Took Puppy's left hoof and opened a small socket on her wrist, then slotted the tape inside.
“Backup copy initiated. Reading. Warning. System working in emergency mode. Reproduction is impossible. Backup copy finished. The file will be opened as soon as the system will be running on normal mode.”
“Hi mister Voice!” Puppy waited for a moment but she got no answer. “See what I mean? I don't even know what I did to him but he's keeping a grudge since we arrived here.”
“Oh, don't worry, it's just the salt cube. It interferes with smaller talismans and their circuitry.” Soft Air watched the smiling foal for a moment: she was totally listening to everything and probably understanding nothing. The ghoul sighed. “It makes mister Voice sleepy. He'll wake up when you two leave the Glow.”
Puppy nodded. “Don't tell this to anypony but I feel a little lonely sometimes... I don't mean that I have no friends, but in the last few days I walked a lot and everypony had something else to do and nopony really wanted to stay with me, so...” Puppy lowered her eyes. “Mister Voice is a bit stoopid and he uses fancy words and he's grumpy, but he never leaves me... I hope he's not angry.”
Soft Air was going to say something but he was interrupted by the sound of two ponies arguing with each other.
“We don't have that much time! The cascade is accelerating, can't you see it yourself? It's turning cyan already!” This was Sand Box’s voice.
“I'm not blind, but I'm beginning to think that you're going crazy! We need at least a couple days, it's not just... open the roof, inflate the balloons and goodbye impending doom! I need time to initialize the system, reprogram the autopilot and lay the course. Two days, maybe thirty hours not sleeping at all.” This voice came from a mare, seemingly quite old.
“It will release in seven, eight hours at best as soon as we start moving it and if we wait it could be even too late to try anything.”
“Now I wonder why this came out all of a sudden. That damn cube was here even before the Dome was built and you give me a seven hours warning before apocalypse?”
Puppy turned her head toward the voices. “What's going on?”
“I have no idea, little one.” Soft Air frowned; this was bad news, but there was no point in explaining the situation to Puppy: bets were that she didn't even understand it and if she did, it could only make her panic. “Hey, do you want to see the gift shop in the northern hall?”
DAY 4 - TIME approximately 4:45 P.M. - LOCATION: The Glow, Salt Cube City
“...And this is how Equestria was made,” concluded Puppy.
“Ah, yeah, that was an amazing story but I asked you who is this Questioner you were talking about.”
“Oh, that story! Nay, it's boring. What about that time that I ate a butterfly?”
Soft Air lowered his head, sighed and muttered, “I was running down the street when I saw a super duper mighty pretty....”
At the same time Puppy started talking while jumping all around. “I was running down the street when I saw a super duper mighty pretty....”
DAY 4 - TIME approximately 5:15 P.M. - LOCATION: The Glow, Salt Cube City
Sand Box poked his head inside the gift shop, spotted Puppy and Soft Air and sighed in relief. “Oh, here you are. You shouldn't wander this far from the Glow, there could be ferals in the area.”
Soft Air chuckled. “Oh don't fret about that: little miss miracle here solved that problem.”
Sand Box tilted his head. “You mean... she was attacked by feral ghouls?”
“Eyup: four at once, it seems; I'd say that this little filly can fend for herself.”
“I hope so,” sighed Sand Box, “because I desperately need her help.”
“Hi mister Ugly Pony Boss!” Puppy jumped in front of the ghoul leader sporting a broad smile, “I like this place! I had a great idea! I can say to the ponies of the other town that all the ghoulie are gone so they will never ever bother you! Then we find some nice dress and you'll disguise as... uhm... something not ugly and change your names, like in madame Le Flour and such! Isn't that a great idea? Oh, yeah, and we'll need a trombone!”
Sand Box cocked his head, then a sad smile spread across his decomposing face. “Oh, I'd love to try that one, really, but I came here to inform you that we are going away: we leave the Glow.”
Puppy's ear flattened. “You're going AWAY!? B-b-but you can't go away! This is your home, you are not meanie, why are you going away?” The filly was already hyperventilating, “Wait a moment, I have another idea! We can try to give the other ponies a super nice present and trow them a party so they'll know that you're not evil! It could work, it must work!”
Sand Box sighed and put a hoof on Puppy's helmet. “Don't fret your pretty head, my little pony: this is not your fault; it's just something that needs to be done, but I need your help.”
“Sand Box, could you please explain to me what's going on? I overheard you and Get Well talking about the FFO. Has this something to do with that cascade you were mumbling about when we arrived?”
Sand Box adjusted his glasses. “Indeed. We already knew that the cube is not stable: during the years it absorbed and released the radiation from the megaspell following a cyclic pattern; As I already explained, during the last months this cycle accelerated. I think that the cube reached a point of non return and in less than five hours it's going to release.”
Soft Air's expression darkened. “Well, this is not leaving exactly a lot of time. So, what now? I reckon that the Friend Force One still needs more than a little work. Are you sure about this release thing? What will be released, any idea?” The ghoul already knew the answer, but he still had the hope of being wrong.
“I'm not sure about that. Could be the biggest mag pulse ever or the original balefire that was embedded into the zebra's warhead: when the missile hit the Dome the cube absorbed the matrix of the spell. The problem is that we are speaking of a huge chunk of pure salt that wasn't designed for some anti-megaspell defense; its behavior is highly unpredictable at best, a death sentence for Salt Cube City at worst.”
Puppy tried to follow the discussion but it was too technical for her: they used all sorts of fancy words mixed up with other terms that she wasn't even sure that were real words; so she decided to go and sightsee some other places of the Dome by herself.
Soft Air put a hoof on Puppy's helmet, pinning her on the place before she got away. “Well then, but the FFO navigation system needs calibration and the autopilot is not working.”
“True. In fact I won't depend on those systems: I’m fly the airship myself.”
“Are you kidding me? It's suicide! Moreover, you can't fly that behemoth on your own, it requires at least somepony in the engine section and a lot of work around the hydrogen tanks.” Soft Air looked for a moment at Puppy, then a shade of fear appeared on his face. “Are... are you going to ask her to...”
“No, don't worry, she's just my ticket out of here: MK VI suits artificial intelligence talismans were a sub product of the P7 project. She'll be able to operate the control room just by stepping inside it and this will buy us time.” Sand Box hesitated, “Did you really think that I could take her with me?”
“Listen, we could simply evacuate the area and let the Cube blow those bastards in Apple Tower; we don't owe them anything, they even shoot us on sight if we try to leave the Dome. Let's hit the tunnels and let them taste this muffin.”
Sand Box looked straight into Soft Air's eyes. “You can do whatever you want. I'm asking Puppy to open the roof and give me clearance for the take off. I don't know how far I'll get, but I refuse to be responsible for the death of another single foal. In those towers there aren't just the ponies you hate, Air: you are forgetting the foaling mares and the young ones: do they deserve your hate, too?”
Puppy was still trying to move, pushing with her helmeted head stubbornly but without avail against Soft's hoof. “Lemme go! I wanna play outside!”
Soft Air looked at Puppy: so naive, she wasn't even aware of the horror she was already living. Even telling her to run as far as possible could have been useless; she was freedom itself and if a megaspell was really going to detonate... “I can work the engines, just tell me what to do.”
Sand Box nodded. “I knew I could count on you; Peach is coming too, and Dr. Get Well is already aboard working on the commands. The others are preparing the cube for transportation, now I need to teach Puppy her part, this may take a while.” The ghoul leader looked at the filly in yellow, “Hey, little one, want to explore a new place?”
DAY 4 - TIME approximately 6:30 P.M. - LOCATION: The Glow, Salt Cube City
“One more time, sunshine.”
“But mommy, I repeated it one gazillion times!”
“Just once, this is a super special secret magic spell. You have to say it without mistakes or it will not work. One more time for mommy, please?”
“Uh, can I have muffins then?”
“It's almost lunch time, but you can have muffins if you'll eat all the alfalfa.”
“That's not fair! You always give me too much of it!”
“And you'll get even a super double hug.”
“Uh... okie dokie. When I'm in front of the large round door I have to put the hoof on the green button.”
“Then the genie will ask me the Eye dentification cow. And I must say. Uh... a hint, mommy?”
“Oh I know you remember it, just wait a moment and think again. Mommy knows that you are a smart pretty pony.”
“Please state your identification code.”
“Uh... FT... 0... 0... 1... 6... 5... RD... C... 1... G... A”
“Right! See? It's easy, I knew you can do it, and then what happens?”
“Uh... the genie asks the other word... the pass code...”
“Please, state your pass code for this ID.”
“Yes, and you must say...”
“Hi, I'm Puppysmiles!”
“ID accepted. First class field technician Rainy Days. Access to the control room granted. Warning. There are three thousands, six hundreds and ninety eight error messages to process.”
“And remember, if you hear the loud honks you must run to the secret place I told you and use the magic words. Don't wait for me, understood?”
“I love you Puppy, now come here and get your hug...”
This wasn't exactly the place where mommy told Puppy to run, but the other day when there were the honks she didn't want to go underground when everypony else was playing outside... Oh well, this door asked for the magic words and they worked; maybe this was a double super special secret magic spell? Go figure.
Behind the doors there was a large room with blinking panels. The far wall was actually a clear sheet of glass, covered in a spiderweb of cracks, and the whole room was illuminated by a couple of flickering lights in the ceiling. When Puppy stepped into the control room the door closed behind her.
“Warning. Mild radiation detected. Threat level: negligible. Activating all systems.”
“Mister Voice you are back! It was about time...”
“All systems are working properly. Detected an attempt of opening a communication bridge. Checking source. Source confirmed: Ministry of Morale structure ID 00201- Salt Cube Dome Control Room. Comparing protocol. Warning. This suit system version is outdated. Updating, please wait.”
“Wow, you sure chat a lot. Did you miss me? I missed you a lot! I found those ghoulie ponies we were looking for, but they were not evil! Instead they were nice, just a bit ugly... And Peach scolded me, but I was a bit meanie with them so I said I was sorry and then it was all right! Then mister Soft Air gave me a-”
A sudden ringing noise interrupted Puppy. She derped for a moment before launching herself in search of whatever made that funny noise. After some jumping and skipping, the filly found a red telephone just in front of a dusty desk. Puppy picked up the receiver, “Hallo? Mom's not here and I'm too little so I can't take a note. Can you call at dinner, pretty please?” The universe d'awed.
A familiar voice came from the phone: “Puppy it's me, Sand Box. Good, you are in the control room; I reckon that my hacking tool worked. Here we need still some time to finish replenishing the battery boxes and pumping the hydrogen. It is very important that you stay in the room. ”
Puppy looked for a moment at the weird transmitter that Sand Box had given her before they parted. “Oh right, the thingy! I didn't use that, I forgot!”
“But how did you... doesn't matter, now please listen carefully to me: I'm going to hang up the phone, but I'll call you back when we are ready. Wait there and don't touch anything until I call back, okay?”
“Okie dokie loki! Bye bye!” Puppy put down the receiver and started looking around. The whole place was dusty and grey, quite a sad room that reminded Puppy of that stoopid place with the humongous round door; only this one was little and with a lot of desks and screens, mostly broken.
Suddenly a line of red lights appeared on the big desk in front of the damaged window; other red lights came to life on almost every desk and a couple of screens started flickering with a green light. Puppy sat on her rump, a bit disoriented. “Hey I didn't touch anything! Cross my heart!”
“Update complete. P7 lite client version properly installed. Rebooting system.” The whole suit went dark and Puppy again felt that sensation of immobility just like the day she awoke in Canterlot, but this time it lasted for less than a couple seconds.
“Uh, I feel funny...”
In front of Puppy's face the HUD of the helmet flashed with a pink light that occupied her whole vision. In the middle of the pink square there were seven balloons tied together, then the logo disappeared leaving the usual interface with the compass on top and the other useless things down left and right. What really surprised Puppy was the voice: it wasn't mister Voice, but a different one; a feminine voice that was quite high pitched and very friendly.
“Hi there miss Days! We have a little bit of a situation here, all the screens are gone for good and we miss... uh.... 100% of the personnel. They haven’t been to work for... woah, that's a lot of time! The bigwigs should seriously consider a little turnover here... Oh but don't worry! I can operate everything just fine from your personal console!”
"Who are you? Where's mister Voice?”
“I'm Pinkie Seven! Your best friendly pony-machine interface! I'm programmed to not try taking over the world nor become a judging god machine! I'm pretty nice, aren’t I?”
Puppy scratched her helmet for a moment. “Do you know miss pinkbot?”
“Why yes! Our top of the line entertaining prototype! It's being tested at... no wait, the test ended a couple days ago, let's see the results... well, it seems that the party was so great that it made you simply die! No wait, it's intended literally... doesn't sound that good... well, let's never speak again of the pinkbot project, okie dokie?”
“But it hurt a lot of pretty ponies...”
“Data deleted. I'm sorry I don't know what you are talking about. Now, what was the other thing?”
“Uh... the pinkbot?” tried Puppy.
“Never heard of it. Something else?”
“Ah... yeah, something about a... flying... something...” Puppy tapped her helmet trying to remember. “Where is mister Voice? I think I like him better.”
“You... you don't like me? You don't want to be my friend? But why, I'm trying so hard! I waited here for, like, two hundred years! Please don't send me back to the mainframe! It's dark and lonely and I can count only the machine cycles down there! PLEEEEASE!”
“Uh... if you’re sure you’re not going to foalnap somepony...”
“No way, there must be a rule against that in my program, don't worry. No foalnapping, no mass extermination, no moral judgment. Just your average little helping pony routine, don't worry! And... say, I know this is not going to help our relationship, but the security protocol is annoying me with a little detail.”
Puppy giggled. “Tee-hee, miss Voice uses fancy words!”
“Yes, sometimes I do that... say, are you first class field technician Rainy Days? Because your console here says that your name is Puppysmiles.”
“Silly Voice! I'm Puppysmiles!”
“Oh... great, just what I needed: a breach. Two centuries in a dusty talisman and the first time I can have some fun it's an intruder.” The voice paused for a moment, “Miss Puppysmiles, your presence is not authorized. I must ask you to leave and you have no idea of how much this hurts me.”
“B-but... mister Sand Box said that I must be here or the Friend ship will not fly! Can I stay just a little more? Pretty please? Puppy please?”
“If you want to stay you need an authorization from the chief of the staff or from a military with at least the grade of colonel. I really really REALLY want you to stay but my hooves are tied! If I only had something to work with, I don't know, a logical paradox or some funny program loop... Oh, wait. What's your relation with the head technician?”
“Oh, she's my mom! Do you know where she is?”
“Oh but this fixes everything! Let's see, yes, I can move this here and that there and... voila! Today it's the bring your daughter at work day! Are you happy?”
“Uh... I still want my mom.”
“Hey, look at this, it's even in your mission logbook! You are really fond of your mom aren't you?”
“Well, duh, she's my mom!” Puppysmiles deadpanned.
“Listen here! We can make a- oh wait, call incoming on the emergency line.”
The voice of Sand Box replaced the one of the artificial intelligence. “Hey Puppy we have done here, are you ready?”
“Hi mister Boss! Sure I am, this miss Voice chats a lot!”
“Great, now listen carefully: there are a couple of ponies that want to say goodbye. Please behave and do not take too much time because we are running a bit late.”
The voice of Sand Box was replaced by Peach Blossom. “Hey, little one... are you there?”
“Hi miss peach!”
“Good, I'm so happy to hear you. I wanted to say that I'm sorry, I didn't have to scold you. Peace?”
“Uh.... okie dokie?”
The ghoul mare sighed in relief. “Thank Celestia, I couldn't do this with that weight on me. Please remember this, Puppy: Equestria is an unforgiving place, you have to treasure your friends because they will be very few. I... I regret that we didn't have time to know better each other, but I know that you are going to be safe, so I have no regrets.”
“Are you going away? I can come and visit you when you arrive, okay? We will trow a party!”
Peach took some moment before talking again. “Yes... yes Puppy, if we will meet again one day, we will ‘trow’ a super party... sorry I have to go.”
The phone went mute for some moment before another voice started talking. “Hey Puppy, Soft Air here. Please follow Sand's instructions very well, we’re all counting on you here!”
“Hi Soft! Mister Voice now is miss Voice! Isn't that funny?”
“What are you talking about? Aw, doesn't matter, I have to tell you something: I knew your mother. Now please don't panic, I have little time and you really need to listen.”
“You... why didn't you tell me that earlier!?”
“I... I wanted to do that but all this megaspell thing dropped on me before I could. I'm telling you now, so please listen: I was under her command, third class technician Soft Air of the Third Armored Company Steel Flanks. Do you remember that tape I gave to you?”
“Uh... the black stuff that does other stuff?” Puppy tried hard to remember.
“Yes, that one: it is the location of our field headquarters; it's located south of Salt Cube City, in the marshes. If you can find any clue about the chief it will be there. So, when you have finished in the control room just set the 165Th Brigade field Headquarters as primary objective and follow the pink arrow on the compass. Did you understand everything?”
“I.. yes, sure: go head quartet, find mom! Thank you mister Soft Air you are the best pony!”
“I think you misspelled Pinkie Pie,” P7 chimed in.
“Oh, and one last thing, Puppy: in your journey you are going to learn things that will hurt you. It's unavoidable, but I know that you are a brave pony so... please, don't forget these days and the days before the megaspells. Equestria now is a scorched dying land, but you know that it wasn't always like this. Don't let the wastelands scorch you heart, too; watching you I still can see the sun shining in the sky.”
“Uh... why is everypony saying sad things? You are only going for a little fly, it's not that we will never meet again; me and mommy are totally coming for a visit when you will find a new home.”
“I... You are incredible, Puppy. You make me miss my sister so much... Be safe and never forget to smile. Soft Air, closing.”
“Puppy, Sand Box here. Are you listening to me?” The elder ghoul’s voice interrupted the conversation.
“Ah... yes Boss... say, we are going meet again, right?”
The was a long pause, then the voice of the ghoul arrived calm and somehow very sad. “I'm sure that in the end we will meet again and we will be together, if you want this to happen. Never lose hope, Puppy.” There was another pause before the Ghoul Leader started talking again: “We need you to open the roof and give the green for the take off. Now, repeat what I say: activate Voice Console, Authorization code SB01, chief researcher. Pass code Agatha. Override priority list from one to eleven...”
DAY 4 - TIME approximately 7:30 P.M. - LOCATION: Downtown, Salt Cube City
Sage Brush was sitting at his window with his sniper rifle ready, guarding both the Big 52 heading south and the Dome outskirts. It had been a long shift but now the daylight was beginning to fade and within a hour the earth pony was going to put his cutie mark under a table. Hopefully with a good bowl of onion soup in front of him.
“I wonder why they sent that filly in the Dome all by herself... she's been inside since lunchtime. Poor soul, now we’re even sending kids to their deaths...” The pony spat down the window and activated the night vision of his rifle sights.
And in that very moment what was left of the eastern section of the Dome's roof began to collapse with the deafening sound of screeching metal.
“Luna rape my soul, what is going on there?” The guard looked down the scope to try and see what was happening.
After several minutes of observation, Sage was sure that the roof was not exactly collapsing, not completely at least: there were parts that simply fell down and there was a large amount of dust being thrown up, but he could clearly make out that the entire structure of the east wing was... rotating? The two hundred years old cover of the Dome was almost fused into a single block by rust, but now an incredible strength was simply tearing apart every metal plate that didn't want to move; that giant fossil from the bomb days was sliding on completely forgotten metal rails that in more often than not couldn't sustain the stress and cracked.
None the less, the roof was still moving. Slowly, and causing itself an irreparable amount of damage, but it moved. Now that the largest part of the debris was gone, Sage could see that there were two separate sections, similar to the doors of a cellar; the ‘doors’ were sliding in opposite directions, creating a rectangular opening that was as large as a town square.
The noise created quite a commotion in Downtown: everypony ran out of the tents to see what was going on and some mares simply fainted, screaming things like “The horror the horror!” and such. Sage was made of sterner stuff and kept his head calm while aiming his rifle towards the hole.
“Ok zombies, let's see what's going on in your rotten heads.”
A section of the roof stopped moving with the sudden sound of twisting metal and snapping cables. After less than a minute, the other half of the gigantic hatch finished opening, then the sky went pink as a thousand spotlights dotted the clouds. There was an explosion of blue and green smoke with a shower of confetti all around the Dome and then a high pitched voice started talking.
“Fillies and gentlecolts!” The voice came from the speakers of the dome: it sounded crackly and fuzzy but where one loudspeaker failed another fifty kept the pace. “Glory to our beloved and magnificent princesses Luna and Celestia! It's with immense honor that today I'm here to assist the launch of the newest and most incredible technological jump in the field of mass transportation! Thanks to the Friend Force One and her many sisters that will follow, Equestria will never seem so small to you!”
Boisterous music played loudly for a few seconds.
“And now let me introduce our guest of honor! The daughter of first class technician Rainy Days, Puppysmiles!”
“-and then I said: Oatmeal, are you CRAZY?” There was a long pause. “Uh, was that my voice?... LALALALALALA! Hey, it's fun! Goodbye ghoulie ponies have a nice trip! Send me a postcard!”
Sage brush raised both eyebrows. “What the hay is going on? First what Rainy who? Who's this Rainy Days? And what... is... that... thing?
From the opening in the Dome, an odd shape slowly emerged: it was like a balloon, but it was very elongated, like a gigantic corncob pointy at the ends and larger in the middle; the flying machine had four fins at the back and it was completely pink, save for a white oval on each side in which was written 'Friendship is Magic!'.
Sage rubbed his eyes and tried to pick his jaw back up off the floor. Now the airship was rising above the dome and slowly rotated itself; under the humongous pink balloon there was a structure similar to an air wagon but way larger. On what the guard pony decided was the rear side of the cabin, there were a couple of large propellers and other two were placed immediately under the two horizontal fins next to the tail of the balloon.
The thing began to gain speed, it avoided the Towers and headed south-east. Sage still looked in disbelief at the balloon flying away when the high pitched voice from the Dome spoke again. “Very well everypony, I guess that's all, remember to buy war bonds! This Show was brought to you by the Ministry of Morale, and remember, Pinkie Pie is not happy if you are not happy! So smile, because she's watching you FOREVER!”
The Balloon was already half a kilometer away when the lights from the Dome finally shut down and the music stopped. The roof tried uselessly to close again but this simply led to a new concert of bending metal, snapping cables and falling debris.
“Holy mare... she... they... they are gone... the ghouls simply jumped on that... thing and... they flew away?” The guard scratched his head, “Why didn't they do that before!? Where did they get that ridiculous air thing? Friendship is Magic? This place is going crazy.”
Almost half an hour later the ponies had already gone back to bed and the Airship was just a point in the distance, ten kilometers away; it wasn't moving very fast if compared with an air wagon, but it was way bigger. The sound of hoofsteps from the stairs should have alerted Sage Brush, but he was still looking at the balloon flying away.
A mare with a combat saddle knocked on the wall before entering the room where Sage was stationed. “Shift time. Hi mate, was it exciting?”
The guard turned to face his comrade. “They... just flew away! In a gigantic balloon! I... I don't get it, why did they fly away!?”
The mare tilted the head while looking outside. “Hey, now that the light is gone don't you feel that something is missing?”
“Yeah, the ghouls and another third of the roof from the Dome.”
“No, that's not what I mean. Look better. Where is the glowing light?”
“Oh buck me, you are right! The Dome is not glowing! It's... dark and... ghostly... and scary...”
“So... they went away for real... tomorrow morning with some light we have got to go there and check the radiation.”
“Do you think that-” Suddenly the world became blindingly white. It was so strong that even with his eyes closed Sage could see it. He waited for the light to go away for what it seemed an eternity until...
It was the loudest sound ever: something halfway between the sound of a thunder and the whistle of a tornado, only louder. Driven by his instinct, the guard grabbed his friend and tried to gain shelter behind a wall.
Immediately after the sound came the rumble. At first it was nearly impossible to percieve, but in a matter of seconds it became an earthquake and with it arrived a solid wall of dust that hit Downtown, flattening most of the tents in the market but barely scratching the heavier structures.
“Wh-what was that?” Sage rubbed his eyes, trying to open them.
“I don't know... the ghoul’s flying machine exploded? It seemed something like a gigantic spell going...” The mare realized what this implied. “Oh fuck. A megaspell. They had a damn megaspell on that flying thing!”
Footnote: Level up! (3)
New perk added: Intense training - Charisma (7 -> 8) now you are 14.28% cooler
This fanfiction is based on Fallout Equestria by Kkat; a familiarity with the source material may aid your understanding.
You can read Fallout Equestria by Kkat on Equestria Daily
If you enjoy Fallout Equestria Side Stories you will want to check the Fallout Equestria Side Stories post on Equestria Daily and the Fallout Equestria Side Stories thread on Ponychan
The Ponychan group is also a hatching ground that you can join if you want to share your experience, writing or comments with us.
Additional thanks to Anonsamurai and Llama Llumps for reviewing and a big help with some basics in English I completely missed.