SCP 2000-1 and SCP 2000-2

by TheWritingWorkshop

Tick Tock, Pony Clock

Dr. Collins entered her office and shut the door in an exasperated huff. She sighed deeply and slumped heavily against it, as if her weight alone could keep out all the craziness her occupation brought into her life. Of course it couldn’t, she knew. That would defy the very laws of physics, unless she was made out of dark matter or something.

Her tired feet dragged across the spacious office and she dropped heavily into her desk chair—the level 4 access card she always carried was thrown lazily onto the wooden desk. More care should probably be taken with the little plastic thing—it had taken her years of hard work to earn it, after all.

For all it was worth... Dr. Collins thought dejectedly. As interesting as her job had once been to her, it had become tedious over time. Even in a place as insane as Site-19, bureaucracy was still bureaucracy. And 'The Foundation' was built on bureaucracy...

She kicked off her short-heeled shoes and rubbed her feet, going over all the mishaps of the day in her mind.

SCP-070 had gotten out of it’s cell again, then made its way to the staff lunchroom after hours where it proceeded to destroy a vending machine and gorge itself on snack food. The Native American man portion of the Special Containment Procedure had slept through the whole event and had woken up clueless. The rusty iron wings emerging from his back had a very peculiar mind of their own, and were as always, hungry.

After that incident, one of the class-D personnel accidentally came into contact with SCP-113, undergoing a painful transformation that left him a woman. While he- or, she... was very fortunate to survive the process with only minimal scarring of the skin, he/she would unfortunately be stuck as a woman. That is, unless she felt like risking another exposure to the red, gender-swapping substance. This would also risk more scarring, the possible loss of genitals and a 75% chance of instant death. Needless to say, the employee in question opted to remain a woman.

And rounding out the list, SCP-196 had removed it’s satellite tracking anklet and made his preordained escape; somehow vanishing from the high-security facility without a trace.

And it was only noon.

Dr. Collins rubbed her eyes and reached into her mini refrigerator, pulling out the sandwich she had prepared in the early hours of the morning. To anyone on the planet who didn’t know about the Foundation (or had been administered an amnesiac after finding out) this would seem like the most exciting job in the world. But to her, it just meant a ton of paperwork.

The break-room had to be cleaned and the vending machine replaced. The sharp arrows attached to SCP-070’s wings had done ample damage to the hallways between it’s cell and the dining area, and would require repair and repainting. Paperwork.

An incident report and full physical would have to be run on the now-female employee. Not to mention a termination report, if deemed necessary. More paperwork.

SCP-196 would have to be found ASAP, before getting the chance to travel back to the 1960’s to attack Site-17 and meet his death. The team covertly monitoring SCP-196’s younger self had to be notified of the escape and tighten their watch. That meant starting a manhunt, reallocating agents, alerting the higher-ups, and updating the case file. And oh yes, even more paperwork.

Having a level four security clearance meant that most of this paperwork would go through her. Somehow, it always went through her. Maybe everyone thought she liked doing paperwork? That would explain a lot, actually...

Dr. Collins took a bite of her sandwich and recoiled at it’s blandness with confusion. Lifting the top layer of bread, she remembered that due to working overtime all week, she had not had time to buy groceries. Meaning, it was lettuce and mayo all the way, until she did.

I suppose I could go to the break-room... she thought. It was still open, despite the aforementioned debacle from the night before. Site-17 may have access to the endless pizza dispensing SCP-458, but the food here was quite good too... however, eating there meant socializing with the other employees. Dr. Collins didn’t consider herself particularly antisocial, but sitting with her co-workers everyday for lunch never appealed to her. They just went on and on and on about SCP-this and SCP-that. Was it too much to ask for a normal conversation? She felt like she could barely remember what a normal conversation was anymore.

So Dr. Collins ate in her office, alone. Usually with her shoes off. It was just more comfy that way.

She continued to eat her meager lunch in silence, pretending not to see  the mountain of paper already filling up her IN box. She'd likely end up working late again... and eating the same crummy lunch tomorrow. She sighed again, pushing away realization and thinking about puppies instead.

She was immediately pulled from the adorable daydream by a shrill beep from her pocket. Acting on reflex rather than actual interest, she pulled out her work cell and unlocked the screen with one hand, the other still grasping the disappointing meal.

It was a message from Dr. Strong. She knew he was experimenting with SCP-1244, having approved the paperwork herself last week. She also knew the device had been acting strange... that is to say, stranger than usual. SCP-1244, the so-called “universal stopwatch” could predict events up to 60 seconds into the future when the button on top was pushed. It would wind back and begin counting down, reaching zero as the event occurred. What would happen had proven impossible to accurately decipher. Not due to lack of trying, of course.

However, the last time one of Dr. Strong’s research assistants clicked the button, it rewound itself for much longer than any other recorded test, predicting an event 24 hours into the future.

That had been yesterday, at 12:35 pm. Dr. Collins recalled suddenly.

Sure enough, this was what the text message pertained to.

“Dr. Collins, where r u ?! Object 1244 is about 2 finish counting down1!” The message read.

She checked her watch. 12:28.

With a roll of her eyes and a final sigh, Dr. Collins tossed her barely touched sandwich into the trash bin and let her colleague know she was on the way. Retrieving her shoes and ID card, she began to sprint down the never ending labyrinth hallways that made up the massive building, cursing to herself internally.

I bet nothing even happens when the stupid thing hits zero anyway. She thought. The items stored at Site-19 all seemed to share a cruel sense of ironic humor. Either that or they could kill you.

Or both.

It wouldn't be the first time SCP-1244 counted down to zero and nothing happened. Not right away, in any case. They didn’t even know the maximum range of 1244. For all they knew, it could predict events happening halfway around the world. Or maybe even halfway around another world.

26-F.... 26-G.... 27-A... Finally! Breathless, Dr. Collins arrived at testing room 27-B and glanced at the time. 12:34.

God, I hope my watch isn’t slow...

She entered the room. Men and women in lab-coats moved about excitedly, checking monitoring equipment and making notes on their reports. Dr. Strong himself was in the center of the chaos, looking back and forth between his wristwatch and SCP-1244.

Pulling out the pen and notepad she had on her at all times, Dr. Collins approached the balding man.

“Good afternoon, Dr. Strong. How is the test proceeding?” She asked, putting on the professional voice and manner that was expected of her.

“Ahh! Dr. Collins, at last.” He said, sparing her only a momentary glance before returning his attention to the aberrant stopwatch. “And not a moment too soon! Do you have any idea how much extra paperwork this experiment would require without a level 4 to verify the results?”

Yes. As a matter of fact, she did.

She flashed an insincere smile. “How long do we have, Doctor?”

He looked back at the item and his eyes shot wide open. “30 seconds!” He shouted, turning to address the team, “30 seconds people!.. 25! Get in position, quickly now.”

There was a flurry of movement as the other doctors of varying security clearance placed themselves around the device, several with rolling camcorders.

“20!” Dr. Strong announced. An eerie hush fell, broken only by the melodic ticking that filled the now silent room.


All eyes were locked on SCP-1244 now. Except for the pair belonging to  Dr. Collins. Her own gaze languidly scanned the room, counting the number of personnel and cameras present—for the report she'd have to file later, of course.

“10... 9... 8...” Dr. Strong was beaming with excitement and grinning wildly. ”7... 6.. 5.. 4..”

Poor fool... This better be worth it... The thought breezed through Dr. Collins' mind lazily, the clock still ticking.




Dr. Strong finished his countdown, the ticking ceased along with him. All was quiet again, and several seconds passed with...nothing happening.

Of course. Mused Collins. Waste of my damn time...

Low whispering soon replaced the silence.

“Now, now! Everyone, please remain focused!” Dr. Strong ordered. “Just because nothing observable has happened yet, doesn’t mean nothing happened! Dr. Phelp, contact O5-9 and-”

Dr. Collins stopped listening. She put her pen away and moved to leave the once again bustling test space.

“Dr. Collins!” Her steadfast associate called, “Leaving so soon?”

She met the aging scientist with a dead-panned expression, “I’m afraid so Dr. Strong. I’ve got a pile of paperwork that requires my attention. Please, inform me of any new data as it presents itself, any...useful, data. Good day.”

She left the room before he could respond, and began the long walk back to her office. She was sure something had happened when the stopwatch hit zero, something always did. But the chances of it actually being significant where just as high as it being a bird crapping on Site-19’s roof. SCP-1244 was known for this sort of behavior.

It figures. Her finger nails clicked on the concrete hallway wall as she walked. You’d think the other scientists would know not to get their hopes up by now.

She walked slowly back to her office on sore feet, eager to remove her shoes and sit down in her chair. At the same time, several hundred miles to the south east of the Foundation research facility, across a small brook and through a patch of thin forest, a pair of golden eyes shot open with a start.

“Oww...what the- what in the name of Celestia just happened?”

It was some time before she could manage the strength to sit up. Her legs almost felt like they weren't really there, all jelly-like and flimsy. Groaning, she cradled her head in the mint green hooves that matched her coat's color.

Lyra’s eyes searched the surrounding area in an attempt to get her bearings. The attempt was futile. Where the bucking buck am I? A single hoof brushed back her mane to scratch at her head wonderingly.

There were pine trees everywhere, Lyra couldn't recall the last time she'd seen a pine tree. They weren't very common around Ponyville.

...Am I not in Ponyville right now? The surrounding flora struck no chords with her, and the ground was ill tended and wild as well. A wilderness? But, this isn't the Everfree... Huh, just where am I?

Her eyes searched her vicinity, it was daylight out, maybe late afternoon... The only familiar thing in the area though, was her! The lyre shaped cutie mark on her side looked really out of place in the grey surroundings. Where ever it was, it was a little chilly. Everything but the pine trees were stark and bare.

With a grunt of effort, Lyra rolled onto her hooves. Her legs creaked and popped in several places. "Wow, I must've been out a while...” She hopped up onto her hind legs deftly and popped her back, then, folded her forelegs behind her neck. “Feels like I’ve been put through a cherry sorter, I'm stiff as a board." They took hold of her head in both hooves, and cracked her neck sharply. "Oooh yeah, much better."

She settled down on all fours and looked around. "Mmmm, nope I don't recognize a thing." With a snort she started walking. Where to exactly wasn't really important, lost as she was, but going elsewhere would eventually take her somewhere, and anywhere was better than somewhere could have directions to Ponyville!

She furrowed her brow from the funny, fuzzy feeling she was getting. It was on the edge of her mind. At first, Lyra had thought it might be a headache coming on. Something about this forest felt really, really weird... As though it were missing something. She sniffed and tasted the air. She thought she could detect an acrid smell hanging in it. "Blech, I wonder if it's because there are no ponies here to care for the area. I've never heard of anything smelling quite this rotten..."

Lyra continued to walk through the tangled trees and undergrowth of the strange forest. The calming gurgles of a nearby stream made their way to her outstretched ears. The sounds were soothing, even in the unfamiliar area. She picked up a steady trot, grinning to herself as she exited into the clearing. The sun was grayed out by clouds overhead—which looked very wild and high up—and she spotted fish hopping about playfully in the water.

"Ooh, peaceful." A painful moan rolled over the swift foamy waters towards her. That didn't last long. From the far side of the creek, Lyra looked around for the moan's source. When she heard nothing, she approached the water to take a drink. I must've imagined it. Who in their right mind would even be out here? Her muzzle had just reached the clear water, and she heard it again. The water could wait, she began to gallop up its length towards the noise. "Hello? Is somepony there? Are you hurt?" She shouted.

Running while calling out made Lyra pant, and the cold air burned her throat too. "Hellooooo." Why won't they answer me? Her eyes panned the forest floor and the huge rocks that lined the sides of the river. All of a sudden, she could hear quiet sobbing from across the stream. "I'm coming! Just hang on!"

The river wasn't very deep, she splashed in at a calm spot and pony-paddled across the foamy liquid. Rocks met her halfway, and she climbed up onto them, then used a downed tree to cross the remaining span of water. "Who's there, hello?"

A gasp came from over a hill in response. Lyra stopped to listen, but nothing followed. Is she hiding? The voice had been female, she was sure of it. Why would anypony hide from somepony offering help? She decided to creep forward, maybe they were just sad and needed cheering up! I could actually use a little cheering up myself...and some hot coffee, oh that'd be great right now. I would settle for cocoa though, given the circumstances. Oh, what if it's Bonbon? Lyra's tongue poked out the side of her mouth as she concentrated on the last thing she could recall, she thought she may have been with her roommate in the store before waking up...

So how'd I get here? Lyra wondered as she continued onto the far bank.

Despite her best efforts to stay quiet, her measured steps were crunching in the dry leaves and pine needles covering the ground. The climb up the muddy hill was difficult and noisy, her hooves made sucking noises in the muddy embankment as she finally crested the slope. Her tussled white and green mane flipped back and forth as she looked around for the source of the mysterious noises.

A tree limb whistled towards her face. "AAAH!" Lyra ducked on instinct, and the limb soared harmlessly over her head. "Hey!" The attack had been pretty slow and uncoordinated, but had caught her completely off guard. "What's the big idea?" A figure stood awkwardly beside the tree next to her, on her hind hooves, strangely enough. The mare gripped a thick stick between her front legs. Lyra cocked her head at an angle and scrutinized her assailant accusingly. Why is she just standing there with that stupid look on her face? "Hellooo, Equestria to crazy saddle. Why. did. you. attack. me." She finally said.

Lyra waved a hoof at the other pony. The offending mare squeaked in response and nearly fell over, one of her hooves flung out to hold onto the tree and she dropped the stick. Her colors were unfamiliar to the mint mare, Lyra didn't know who this was. They were red and yellow, kind of like that stallion that worked at Sweet Apple Acres with his younger sister's mane color.

The next few moments were strange and awkward. The other mare stood there dumbly, she shook her head and blinked, looking at Lyra with what seemed like confused disbelief. "Hey, are you alright?" The other pony slumped down against the tree and into the muck, her red wings dipping into the watery sludge. The mint unicorn's eyes settled on the muddy ground beside them, looking just as thoroughly confused, if not quite as inexplicably shocked.

Lyra tried a different approach. "Uuuhm, well, what's your name then?" This one seemed to get her attention at least, not at first. But soon her gaze was locked with Lyra's.

"I-...I don't know." The weird pony finally spoke.

Lyra resisted the urge to plonk down onto the muddy soil as well. Instead, she spotted a nearby trunk and moved towards it. "You don't know? Are you saying you have amniglia?"

"You mean amnesia..." She responded dourly.

"Right, that's what I said, amnezeeah." Lyra stuck her tongue out of her mouth and rolled her eyes up as she said it, then smiled at her new acquaintance. It slowly shrunk under the open mouthed looked of what might just be irritation, that she got in return. Yeesh, tough crowd. The light reddish pegasus leaned forward in the mud to rest her head in her hooves, and made a familiar, painful sounding groan. "Headache?" Lyra asked quaintly, sitting on the tree stump to keep from getting any muckier.

"Yeah, it's a bad one too..." One big brown eye peaked at Lyra from under a hoof. It flickered over her for a second, then settled on her horn, squinting. "What are you?" She asked in a fanciful tone.

Lyra deadpanned at the pegasus. Wow, she has amoeba bad. Er... Amnesia, right. Her hoof scratched under her chin in thought as she watched the other pony intently. "Well, I'm hungry, and my name is Lyra! Nice to meet you." She would have hung a hoof in front of her for a friendly shake, but the other pony still sat in the muck and was a ways off from Lyra's comfy seat.  

"...Swell, nice to meet you too I guess, Lyra." Her eyes lowered slowly to the stick she'd dropped. "I'm...really sorry for attacking you, actually, I was scared I-..." She trailed off for a moment, and Lyra cocked her head questioningly. "I'm not sure why. A-anyway, I was asking what you were."

Outwardly, Lyra giggled. Never heard of a pony attacking somepony because they were scared. "I know thaaat, I'm a pony, more specifically a unicorn. It's just silly for another pony to forget what a Unicorn is, I guess, amnesia or not. I'm sorry for messin' with yah. But! We're even now, see?" She gave her a cool grin and drew her hoof across her front, gesturing towards herself. "I don't know about you, but I really am hungry. You wouldn't happen to have a snack on you actually, would you?" Lyra's searching muzzle peered around the tree and the pony. Maybe she had a saddlebag?

The other pony leaned back against the tree and went limp, but smiled tiredly at Lyra's rambling. "Hey... You don't look so good, are you gonna be okay?" Lyra hopped off the stump, trotting over the the other pony and inspecting her for injury, despite her weak protests. "You aren't sick, I don't think, anyway..." Her patient winced and made a strange noise. Lyra spotted what was probably the cause of her grief.

A hoof pushed Lyra back roughly, catching her by surprise. "H- Sorry..." She stammered. The other pony scowled up at her as she tried to explain.

"I was just trying to help... You have a gash on your head, it looks pretty bad." Lyra settled back onto all fours in front of Red. Her mint tail swished absently, despite Lyra's attempt not to show irritation.

"I don't even know who you are." Her eyes clenched shut and she climbed up off the tree’s side, wavering as she did so. "I don't know where I am either! Why do you even want to help me? No one ever wants to help me." The last part of the sentence sounded strange and tugged at something. I don’t think they do anyway...

Lyra's head tilted again at the mare before answering her. "Unless I'm completely missing my guess here, we're both ponies who are quite clearly lost. Isn't it natural we help each other out, hm? And If we have to help each other out, we should be friends!" Her smile was reserved and calm. Poor thing, she must have been through a lot. Lyra decided.

The other pony stared at her for a moment, then shook her head from side to side. She regretted it immediately, Lyra guessed, as she made another pain filled face and fell back against the tree's side.

"Hey... There's a stream just down there, lets go wash that off and get you a drink, it might help." Lyra gave her a concerned look, then smiled again. "Maybe we can dunk yah in there too, you're a mucky mess right now, Rusty."

The mud on the stranger dripped in clumps off her flanks and legs. "Yeah...yeah that sounds good, I guess. Thanks." She pushed off her impromptu support and stood on very unsteady seeming hooves.

She was strangely reserved and stand offish. Actually... Huh, she kinda reminds me of Bonbon when we first met, albeit more grumpy. I guess under the circumstances though...

Lyra half trotted, half skipped down the embankment to the water. She turned around to see the other pony following slowly. She was watching Lyra intently in between glances at the ground and mud slope as she made her way down. Pegasi really were terrible with the ground, even compared to unicorns.

"Ta-dah! Here we are." The mint unicorn swatted some water into the air for demonstration, then took a deep drink. She peeked with one eye, Red was still just watchin' her all weird like. Lyra looked up to give her an uneasy smile. "Is there something in my mane? Or am I just a lot prettier than I thought I was?"

Heh, that got her. Rusty couldn't really get any redder, but she thought she might have under that garish coat. The mint unicorn suppressed a laugh as her new friend broke eye contact by quickly diving her head towards the stream with her eyes shut. She all but tripped just trying to dip her head into the water to avoid looking at Lyra's leer.

The stranger visibly relaxed, her shoulders sinking a little once her drink was acquired. The red pegasus was obviously on edge, which was fair. Most ponies who woke up in a scary wild forest with no memories would be, she guessed. Lyra had always been somewhat laid back about things, much to Bonbon's chagrin.

Mmmhm, I wonder if she's worried about me? Probably not yet... Honestly though, where the buck am I? Lyra's gaze took her all around the forest and the clear blue sky that hung above the tree's pointy pine branches. Eventually, it settled on the odd pony again, whose wings still hung limply and her side. "Hey Rusty, are your wings alright? They, for lack of a better word, dead."

The red pony finally emerged out of the water, obviously as parched as Lyra had been. She craned her head around to check out her wings. They stirred slightly, weakly. "I don't know, I... Well, they don't hurt or anything." The red pony scrunched up her face with effort, and the wings lifted up out of the water, dropping clumps of mud as they went. The poor thing's plumage was ruined, the unicorn noted. "Rusty? Really?"

Lyra looked back at her questioningly, her golden eyes unfocusing from the dripping wings. "Hm?" She responded innocently.

"You keep calling me Rusty..." The red pegasus reinforced. She had a really high pitched yet soft voice, it was pretty funny to listen to, actually. Lyra stared a moment longer at the pegasus, before bursting into laughter. The muddy red pony scowled, confused by the reaction.

The equally mud ridden unicorn (from her fetlocks and down anyway) pranced away from her new friend and into the stream merrily.

"Well, yeah! Lookit your coat silly filly, it's the color of rust! Seems like a great name if you ask me, especially if we can't think of your real one. Kinda cute too. We could call you Red, instead, I guess...! Hah, I rhymed there and didn’t even mean to... Very vibrant color your fur, by the way, it's lovely. Not a very a common shade either..."

Lyra raised an eyebrow and smirked playfully. "Not in mares, anyway... You are a mare right, not just like, super androgynous?" The target of her faux predatory scrutiny squeaked and hunkered back, leaning away from her. "Naaah, I didn't think so, it’s a shame, Stallions that cute are as rare as they come, am I right girl?"

Lyra giggled before splashing further down into the stream to begin paddling around in the calmer section of water. The current tugged at her, but it felt very nice on her coat. Hm, She thought. I should get out more, this is great! She returned her attention to the nervous looking pegasus, uneasily eying the water, and her. “So, what’ll it be? Rusty or Red?”

The red mare considered her options, then furrowed her brow and responded despondently.

“I...don’t like either much, to be honest. I want my real name...but, I guess you can call me Red, for now...” The pegasus’ wings twitched as she stood by the embankment, and answered her flatly.

“Rusty it is then!” Lyra declared proudly, before falling backward in the water, and leaving a glowering Red alone in the shallows. After a moment, she popped back up out of the water smiling, and shook her head to get the water off. “Come on in already, it feels great, I mean it!” Her hooves parted her short mane away from her eyes, her smile never faltering.

Red rolled her own eyes, then took a few agonizingly slow and timid steps into the stream, flinching as the chilly water coursed around her legs. Lyra watched her take one five inch step after another until FINALLY she was in up to her stifles.

"Thata girl, you scared of water or something?" Lyra said encouragingly. Red gave her a startled look that quickly turned into a frown. "Hey, it's okay, lots of pegasi are, you guys can swim great with practice, but most don't bother to learn. The skies are your true home. You remember anything about your home or where you came from?"

"I can't remember anything, actually..." Bits of dirt clouded around her in the calmer flow of water near the bank. The distant stare she wore joined the mud and sank into the current in front of her along with it. "Just, I don't know, everything feels wrong."

"You're probably really disoriented, Rusty. I'm not a nurse pony or a doctor, but I know head injuries can be really bad. Don't worry though! I'm here and I'll make sure you're safe and don’t drown! Kay?" Lyra grinned from her backstroke through the stream's water, before flipping around and making her way back to the shore. Red gave her an awkward smile in return as she paddled past her.

"Th-thanks, I guess, Lyra was it?" Her head turned to watch the mint unicorn as she climbed onto the bank.

"Yep! That's me, Ponyville's one and only. Well, these days any who, I moved there from Canterlot, not that that's a big deal... I can't tell you how much more I enjoy the rural to the urban. It’s way more relaxing."

"Ponyville? Seriously?" Red stretched her neck out towards her and put on a pained look from the name. Just saying it made her feel silly.

"Ah huh." Lyra took a moment, deciphering the blatant sarcasm. "It's not as lame as a lot of you pegasi seem to think, you know. Sure it's an Earth Pony settlement, but it's super cool for a quiet place!"

"Oh... Actually I just thought the name itself was, lame, as you put it. Not very creative anyway.  I...doubt I’ve ever been there." The pony picked up one of her hooves and scrubbed at the front of her coat with it, frowning at the lax results she got trying to remove the mud.

Lyra quirked her eyebrows and stared up at the sky mischievously. "Huh, never really thought of it like that before, yeah I guess you're right it's pretty unoriginal. Any who Rusty! Let's get out of here shall we? Unless you need to rest, I want to get home before dark, myself, hopefully we aren't to far awa- Oh hey! Since you don't remember anything you should totally stay over at my place! We could have a slumber party, eee hee! Ihaven'thadoneofthosethingsinages."

‘Rusty’ as Lyra had so colorfully seemed to have named her, stared incredulously at the hyperactive, and gumdrop of a pony. Seriously she looks like a piece of candy or a pa- darnit, what’s that word...pattern? No...pastry, right, that ridiculous hair could be the icing atop a pastry. Her thoughts were difficult to grasp and her head throbbed. Admittedly, the cool water surrounding her had helped a lot, but words and feelings still escaped her. Nothing really made sense, focusing was difficult and parts of her vision were blurry. The water felt good though... Now that she was in it, she didn’t want to get out.

Lyra was still busy clapping her hooves together from the idea of a slumber party.

A slumber party, really, is she twelve? Actually... The thought made Red curious about the mint colored spitfire. “How old are you? If you don't mind me asking.” Red pulled one of her wings in front of her, and inspected it carefully. Seeing just how much mud was caked into the feathers, she began paddling them beside herself to get it off, churning the stream as she did so.

The other pony opened her eyes and rejoined the real world from her reverie concerning a slumber get-together. “Hm? Oh, I’m eighteen summer solticeseses young!” She declared proudly. “You? Oh, right you don’t remember probably, huh.” The pegasus nodded absently to Lyra, who was now busying herself with shaking the water from her coat. The spray from the pony reached out to Red and slapped her across the face.

After holding up a hoof to stop the stray shots, she glared up at the unicorn from her spot in the forest creek. “Really?” Lyra stretched absently and sat in a patch of weak sunlight peeking through the clouds, yawning an apology.

Red pushed the water out of the way with her hooves as she moved to join the energetic unicorn. As she approached, Lyra's luminous eye's met hers. She must have taken their eye contact as an invitation to start talking once more, because she grinned and began to do just that.  “So, what do you remember?” She asked calmly.

The urge to strangle the hyperactive nag had been growing inside of Red...but the new calm Lyra had shown immediately melted the violent desire. Red found herself answering the question. “...Not much, I really can’t even picture anything. I try to think of words or something that can remind me of...who I am or where I come from. But I get nothing, the only things that make any sense are what I say out loud.” Lyra’s mouth ‘ooo’ed in interest as Red finished speaking.

Surprisingly, the pegasus found herself smiling wanly at the child-like pony’s demeanor. She was pretty endearing, when she wasn’t hurling out a landslide of quips and babbling on while Red was nursing her headache... Huh. Red realized, My headache is gone. That's good news, at least.

“Well,” Lyra said, still using a tone and a voice which almost passed for normal. “I’m sure it will come back to you, Rusty.” The smile she gave her was warm and comforting. “So, wanna get the hay out of Dodge Station? We’re still wet, but we’ll dry off while we walk...and we don’t know how far we have to go anyway. At least, I don’t.” She gave Red a pitying look before looking out into the forest.

The idea of staying out in the wilderness for the night certainly doesn’t appeal to me. Red took the final steps out of the river, and water dripped from her haunches to her flanks in dripples and drops, causing her to frown.

“Well, I think I remember not liking to get wet...” Red said tiredly, she managed a chuckle at her own remark. Lyra held a hoof over her mouth and suppressed a laugh of her own.

“Yeah, heh, the 'wet mane' look doesn't really suit you...” She flipped her own, two tone mane and scratched a hoof behind her ear absently. “Alright, well, my best guess is we’re somewhere north west of Ponyville, near the Unicorn Mountain range. It’s the place closest to Ponyville with this many pine trees.” Her gaze swept briefly across them. She couldn't see any mountains, but the tall trees were obscuring her vision.

Behind Lyra, her new companion flapped her wings powerfully, and made a squeaking sound before spreading her hooves wide around herself, to keep from falling and clung to the ground. She panted loudly, in obvious shocked surprise.

“Whoa, you okay? Did you try to fly and sprain a wing?” Red cut her off Lyra, gasping.

“N-no, I’m fine...I just, tried to get the water off and suddenly I-I was...lifting off the scared me. Uhm.” She looked over at her still outstretched wings in awe. I hadn’t tried to lift off in the least. The crestfallen pegasus looked up at Lyra fearfully. “I don’t think I know how to use them, anymore...”

Lyra raised one eyebrow and gave Red a skeptical look, but added a concerned tone and smile to it. “Oookay then, I guess we can count out a pony eye view of the area...” Wow, she’s forgotten how to apples. “Well,” She started again. “it’s alright, we should get going though, it looks like it’s well past noon already. I’m really sorry you’ve forgotten...that’s pretty serious for a pegasus, Red. Don’t try to fly no matter how much you get the urge, it won’t do for you to hurt yourself out here.” The look of concern Lyra gave her was a somber one, it both did and didn't suit her face...

After another brief sip from the stream, and a reassuring nod to the awkward pegasus, Lyra began to lead the way southeast, towards where she guessed Ponyville was. I think this is south east... She thought. The sun was only a faint glow behind the gray clouds, after all, making it anypony's guess. They walked in silence for the most part, except for when Lyra tried to ask the mare a question to help jog her memory.

Suddenly, her new friend's stomach growled loudly beside her. After a moment, and two shocked looks betwixt them later, Lyra’s joined the fray to make a regular choir of gurgling. They traded sheepish glances and looked away from one another.

“I guess we’re pretty hungry, huh.” Red pawed the dirt ground with a hollow laugh.

The unicorn sighed and sat down. “I want to know why we’re out here... Aw, pony feathers, this stinks. I’m even hungrier now, too!” She huffed and puffed while looking around herself for something, anything to eat. The area was either entirely barren or looked to be in the midst of autumn. “I mean, there’s not even any decent looking grass around here...”

“G-grass? Eew.” The pegasus lifted a foreleg and stuck her tongue out at the thought of having to eat it.

“Hey, it’s not my first choice either, but there isn’t exactly a restaurant around here that I can see. Would you rather starve? First chance I get I’m diving into a patch of wildflowers... Assuming they look safe, anyway.” Lyra had heard some funny stories about weird flowers over the last couple years in Ponyville. It would be best to err on the side of caution...

Red was giving the dirt ground around her an awfully hard stare. She must be starved. Thought Lyra.

The mint unicorn took a big whiff of the air, hoping to get the scent of something that spoke of civilization. The smell of cooking bread would simply be too much to hope for, but maybe she’d be able to detect wood smoke. Oh, hey I smell something... Yeah! Wait, what is that? Ew, wish I hadn’'s that gross smell from before? Her nose wrinkled in response, and the Red walked up to her, curious.

“What’s wrong?” She asked plainly.

“Guh, take a big whiff and see for yourself, or smell rather... I was just trying to find something helpful and, guh.” Lyra’s friend tilted her head and blinked, then looked around herself before taking a hesitant whiff at the air. Her eyes stayed shut, and her mouth took on a surprised look.

“Wow, it’s like I can smell everything around me. Why do you smell like pancakes? Or was that muffins...” Red gave Lyra a smirk, who laughed in return before answering.

“Hey, you’re pretty good, especially considering I just dove into a river twice. You’re close too, it was waffles. But no, I meant that weird sulphury, heavy, rocky, twingy...kinda smelly smell... You smell it don’t you? It’s awful.” Lyra gave the direction she thought it was coming from a twisted look of disgust, indicating its origin to Red.

Her friend took another couple more sniffs. “Hm, it smells like a road, freshly paved.”

Lyra gave her a skeptical look. “A road? I’ve never smelled a road like this before...hey! Where’re you going?” Red looked back at her from atop a low rise she had nimbly scaled, smiling confidently.

“Oh, uhm well, to the road! It’s gotta lead somewhere right?” And with that, the blonde maned pony bounded forward through dead bushes and under brush alike, leaving Lyra there in her dust.

I guess she's feeling better... She thought, grinning excitedly.

“Well, I’m sure as hay not staying here!” Lyra’s horn lit up with magic and she began pushing branches aside, cutting through the foliage to catch up to Red. Before long, she was astride the other pony, the two of them racing up and down small hills and hopping over fallen tree trunks. Lyra shot her wink and stuck out her tongue, then pulled ahead of the pegasus.

“Hey!” Red called after the unicorn. She wasn’t as fast as Lyra on hoof, apparently. I bet if I could fly right now I’d leave her way behind... She quickened her pace to catch the pony who had taken the lead from her unfairly...and had been glowing for some reason.

Lyra was clearing an easily traversed path as she went. Eventually, she came to a strange, but somewhat familiar sight, as the smell reached its strongest. Her hooves skidded her to a halt on a patch of dirt, as barren as anywhere else she'd seen. Before her was quite the sight.

“What the buck is a pegasus landing strip doing here...?” Behind Lyra, came the sound of her companion crashing through the bushes. Red’s panting alerted the unicorn to her slow approach from the tree line. She turned around haughtily, grinning at having just trounced the other mare in a hoof race. Rusty had a head start, too! “HaHAH!” She laughed jeeringly at Red, who fell in a heap in response. “You must be a city filly, Rusty. That race was disgraceful, I didn’t even break a sweat.” Her muzzle came closer to the collapsed pony’s, mockingly. “I’m not exactly a very fast runner myself, either, yah know.”

The pegasus pointed a hoof up at her while struggling to catch her breath on the ground. “You-! You cheated, I saw you pant moving stuff with pant something. I dunno...dunno what.” Lyra nodded knowingly at her attempt to try and claim using her magic was cheating, it was the usual fare for sore pony losers. If it wasn’t an earth pony claiming wings were unfair it was a pegasus claiming a unicorn’s magic was unfair, or a unicorn claiming that earth ponies were just too strong and quick! Wait... Lyra stopped and thought... “Something? You meant my magic, right?” Lyra helped Red up to her hooves.

“Magic?” Red asked, her face a collage of confusion. Lyra groaned in response.

“You really creamed your head good Red, yes, unicorns have magic. Wow, I’m gonna have to re-teach you everything, huh... Anyway, all ponies have some form of magic. Buuut, unicorns can use it more directly, why, I know somepony who's so good with it, it's her special tale-” Lyra’s expression froze in a shocked state, and her eyes drifted down to Red’s rump.

The other pony followed the look, putting on one of her own, except more confused and indignant. “Lyra? Hey, stop looking at my butt like that, wha-”

“Where is it!?” The mint unicorn’s hooves flew up and grabbed Red’s cheeks roughly, pulling her up to stand on all four hooves without warning. She immediately released Red and circled around behind the pegasus, her tail flashing wildly to and fro.

“Wha- Where’s what!?” Red asked, concerned by Lyra's panic. She didn’t even have time to react before Lyra was already several spaces away from her once again and staring back at her in wide eyed shock.

“YOUR CUTIE MARK!?” Lyra stood fluidly onto her two rear hooves and flung her front legs out to emphasize the rogue mark’s absence. “You-! Never mind how old I am, how old are you!? How can you not have a cutie mark!? How did I not notice it... The mud! Are you like, a filly? But you look older than me! What the- WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A CUTIE MARK RUSTY!?” Lyra shook her head and did a double, then a triple take at Red’s flank. It was blank, as the day she had been born.

“Lyra, calm down I don’t understand! What’s a cutie mark?” Red was still getting over the revelation of magic, and now the only contact she had with the world or its validation was losing her noggin over something called a ‘cutie mark’!? This is going to be a very long day... Red thought, morosely.

“You don’t know what a-” Lyra plunked her butt down on the hard tarmac clearing. “Of course you don’t...” She sighed and pressed a hoof up to her head, staying like that for a moment.

Red watched the green tinted pony while frowning, before shifting her gaze to her own flank. It was just a plain red, but it looked fine, why did it need an image on it? Was that some kind of ritual that ponies went through? She looked over at Lyra’s own side, a little golden harp thing sat there. Since meeting the mint colored unicorn, she hadn’t really had the chance to ask her about it, it was hardly the weirdest thing about her...

        “Sooo, like what you see?” Red’s eyes popped up to meet Lyra’s own, shocked.

       “Guh, stop that!” The pegasus cringed back. Apparently Lyra had gotten over her shock and was back to her old self.

        “Stop what?” Lyra grinned back, innocently.

       “That! Being weird.” Red leaned forward and jabbed a hoof at the grinning unicorn’s chest. She turned and began walking down the empty road, away from the irritating spaz.

        “Hah, I’m just being me, sorry I don’t wanna make you uncomfortable...or do I?” Lyra lowered one eyebrow as far as it would go and switched her grin from incredibly amused to wolfish in just a second. "Hey, wait up!"

       Red rolled her eyes and flapped her wings once, hopping further ahead of her antagonist. She kept walking down the road as Lyra cantered up behind her. “Aw come, on it’s funny! No use fretting over something you can't remember anyway... I'm sure it'll come back to you.” Red grunted her final response on the matter back to her. Yeesh. Lyra thought. Even Bonbon started laughing eventually, I wonder why Red’s such a serious pants pony?
Lyra settled for changing the subject, she didn’t want to walk to wherever it was they were going in silence. “Okay, so like, you don’t have a cutie mark. That’s fine, but what’s your special talent then?”

        “My whaty wha?” Red wearily looked over with a confused tint to her eyes.

        “You know,” Lyra looked skyward and gestured a circle in the air with a hoof. “what makes you different from most everypony else? Everypony has a special talent, and everypony has a cutie mark from being good at that ONE thing! Like mine, I’m a natural at composing beautiful ballads and playing the lyre. And so, tahdah!” She gave her own rump a little shake and smiled proudly.

     Red returned the gesture to her walking partner with a sidelong frown. “Is that why you’re named Lyra, then?”

        “HAH! Nooo, that was just a crazy, crazy one in a million coincidence! I’m sure there’s no connection.” The mint unicorn merrily began humming as the two strode down the wide black surface, the dull sun glinting off of the yellow stripes down it's middle.

        Red answered her friend's incredibly lax explanation with all the enthusiasm she could muster. “...Right. I...guess I don’t have a special talent then, I just can’t remember, Lyra.”

Lyra opened her mouth to speak, but it clicked shut again as they walked, the unicorn was left speechless by the very thought... It didn’t seem like a topic she should talk much about with Red, unless she wanted to. “So, this road is pretty weird, huh?” She asked instead. “It looks like a runway for pegasus, I wonder what it’s doing on the ground, and in the middle of nowhere...or why it’s so big.”

        Red spared it a glance. “Looks like any old road to me.”

        Lyra frowned down at the road, then at the other pony. “I dunno where you’re from Rusty, but I’ve never seen a road like this before, it doesn’t have any bricks, or cobblestones, or planks... I think I might have heard about some new type of road being put in at Manehattan though...for the city streets...yeah... Hey, maybe you’re from there!? You can’t run for hay, either! Just like a city pony, this is great Rusty, we might be on the trail to figuring out who you are already!” Lyra began bouncing as they walked, grinning ear to ear at the fruitful churning of her mind’s gears.

        “You think so?” Red was already trying to process what she’d said, the name did sound a little familiar...Manehattan... “Huh, well it’s a start, right?” She managed a weak smile.

        Lyra nodded, still grinning, her head shaking up and down like a tambourine at a festival.