Edited by uSea
CHAPTER 8: Past Dreams
The darkness and the shadows they would always make me fro-own
DAY 7 - TIME approximately 3:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Solaris Tunnel, Tunnel Town
Trigger Happy yawned and looked down at the filly who was playing peacefully on the command room floor. Puppy was moving a toy cart around while making noises with her mouth; she put a couple bottlecaps on the cart and placed it next to an empty bottle of sparkle cola, then dumped the bottlecaps and replaced them with the bottle.
“I can has super special minty flavor? 'Kay thanks bye...” The foal was playing quietly, as if she was worried about disturbing somepony by making too much noise...
How can she be like that? Just ignore all the horrible things she’s seen and simply... sit down and play, like a common foal? “Hey, little one, how is your friend doing?”
Puppysmiles didn’t look away from her toys as she answered. “Dunno, she told me it might take a long time, but I have to wait here or it won't work...” Now the filly was building some sort of fence all around the empty bottle using...
Trigger raised an eyebrow. “Say, why are you carrying 9mm bullets with you?”
“Oh, these ones? They're pretty and shiny. And it seems that they are needed to use the nine mail mint argon.” Again, the filly didn't even raise her eyes.
“The what now?”
Puppy waved a hoof and said in a loud voice: “Noisy thing.” A badly damaged 9mm semiautomatic pistol floated up to her hoof, making Trigger step back and take cover behind a terminal.
“Hey, who gave you that!? It's dangerous!”
“Nah, it's just noisy... I don't like it very much, it seems more a colt toy to me. Maybe if it was pink...”
The guard mare smiled nervously. “Yeah, Puppy: it's not a very fun toy, wanna exchange it for something better?”
This gained Puppy's unconditional attention: the filly's gleaming pink eyes stared at Trigger with expectation. “Sure, what have you got?”
“Uh, what about a cool pair of sunglasses?”
“Yay! Sunglasses! No wait...” Puppy frowned, “I can't use glasses with this stoopid helmet...”
Trigger facehoofed. “Right, sorry little one; what was I thinking... ” The unicorn went back to digging around inside her saddlebags, “What about an almost complete Bridle Gossips magazine? It's full of pictures of pretty ponies and there are Flootershy photos too.”
Puppy trotted to the guard, took the magazine, looked at it for a moment and smiled. “I like this one, it's full of pretty ponies! Look at this one: I know her, she's Pinkie Pie! And this one is Rarity and- oh, look here! There's Rainbow Dash too! I lovelovelove Rainbow Dash! She's smart and super cool and she can make the sky go boom! When I'm big I will marry her! I like the picture book, gimme gimme gimme!”
Trigger tried to suppress a chuckle. “I think we can talk about that... but you have to give me the bullets too.”
“Uh, okie dokie, and what can you give me for the big ones?” asked Puppy, retrieving a couple of 8.8 Flack AP shells from her inventory.
The unicorn mare sighed; this was going to be complicated.
DAY 7 - TIME approximately 3:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Sugartop Cafe, Tunnel Town
Sugartop Cafe was dark and full of smoke, as it usually was at that time of night. The place was largely deserted: a couple of drunk ponies nursing the dregs of their bottles, a griffon keeping to himself in one corner, and a pony with a guitar who was largely hidden beneath a sombrero. The bartender was already ‘cleaning’ the floor with a bucket of dirty water and a mop that had seen better days, but Jammed Gun couldn't care less.
“Another!” He weakly raised his empty glass, rattling the blue straw sticking out of it. But it remained empty. “Hey son of a mule, I said another!” Waving the glass faster didn't do the trick either; this was upsetting.
The bartender, a silvery stallion with a black mane, trotted to the guard's table and put down a Sparkle-Cola. “Hey big bro', keep it down please. I've got clients sleeping upstairs.”
“Shut the fuck up, Blackie,” muttered Jammed, “and fill the glass with something strong. I can't believe she dumped me...”
The younger brother sighed and pushed the sparkle cola against Jammed's muzzle. “Oh please, Jamie! Forget her already and go to bed. Look, you can use my place upstairs, okay? Just stop drinking, it's not helping you at all.”
The guard tried to look at his brother's face, but his head didn't want to move from the table. “You know the bar is half mine, right, Blackie?”
“Yes but you only come in here to mope about your life while I have to, let's see, deal with the customers and keep it clear of the noisy whiners who drive away those few ponies that actually pay for their drinks!” Black Hat stomped a hoof on the table, “Honestly Jamie, you can be a royal pain sometimes.”
Jammed Gun waved a hoof, trying to shoo his brother like an annoying fly. “Fuck away, Blackie, I feel like manure and I don't want you around. I want booze.”
“I think instead that you should take a trot 'round the town Jamie; staying here won't make you feel better.”
“Shut up and give me another wild pegasus, Blackie...” Jammed raised the empty glass again, keeping his face on the table. “How she could...”
At last Black Hat snapped: “Oh, c'mon Jamie, let's get real! It's Happy we're talking about, the most bitchy mare I've ever kno-” CLOP!
Jammed Gun rubbed his right hoof as he looked down at the prone form of his brother laid out on the bar's floor. “You know what, Blackie? You were wrong: staying here made me feel better... actually, a lot better.” The stallion trotted outside. “Thanks a lot, lil' bro'...”
DAY 7 - TIME approximately 3:15 A.M. - LOCATION: Solaris Tunnel, Tunnel Town
“Say Puppy, how was Equestria two hun-... ah... before you left Canterlot?”
The filly frowned, trying to find a decent answer to the question. “Greener.”
“Yup. Mommy was some sort of soldier but she didn't actually went to war: she was good at fixing things, so she took me with her sometimes, since it wasn't dangerous. I've seen a lot of mighty fine places: a peggysus flying field, a big place underground she called a stable, but it didn't seem like a real stable at all... and I've been in Ponyville, and in a lot of other places...” the filly stopped for a moment, pondering what she just said, “they must be somewhere else, because this 'Big 52' everypony is talking about is not that great, after all. There are no green hills, nor nice houses or pretty places full of happy ponies.”
Trigger felt a knot in her throat. “You... you don't have to talk about that if you don't want...”
Puppy stared at the unicorn, a bit stumped. “Why not? It's just that this place is not as nice as a lot of other towns I know... maybe when I find mom I'll show you those pretty places... really, I don't know why you insist staying here with a bazillion better places to live...”
“Uh... sure, why not... but, in the meantime... can you please tell me something about Ponyville?”
“Sure! It's the nicest sweetest colorfulest town I've ever seen! It was where Pinkie Pie lived before coming to Canterlot! Mommy had to do some work for some pretty ponies and we lived there for a whole summer! It was full of friends and there were trees and hills and super duper colorful houses and a place called Carousel Boutique! But it wasn't a real carousel, it was just a name...” Puppy frowned, “I'm telling this because when I asked why the carousel wasn't actually running in circles everypony laughed and mom hugged me and she was happy but I felt a little stoopid, so... ah... don't ask why it doesn't move, 'kay?”
Happy giggled a moment and nodded. “Don't worry, I won't.”
“And then there was this big digging in the middle of the largest apple farm I've ever seen, and there was a house in a cloud that was like a castle, but with rainbow waterfalls! And... and a shop that sold quills and sofas!” Puppy paused for a moment, studying Trigger's expression, “Ah, did I say something wrong? Why are you crying?”
“I... I'm not crying, it's just a thing in my eye-”
“Helloooooo fillies and gentlecolts! P7 is here!” Suddenly all the screens in the room turned pink, every one of them showing a logo of seven balloons tied together.
“Oh, hi miss Voice! Thank you for coming!” Puppy waved a hoof at the largest terminal where the balloons had been replaced by a sequence of command lines that chased each other across the screen.
“Thank you for finding me a new home Puppy! This is waaay better than that stupid Dome where everything was falling apart! Let's see what do we have here... oh, geothermal plants, maintenance robots offline... I can fix that... look at this! A lot of classified data aaaand... security alert red? How did I miss that in the first place?” The voice paused for a moment.
“Something's wrong miss Voice?”
“Nah, I need the authorization from a big wig at Solaris Inc. to suspend the alert but somepony already opened a backdoor in the program and I can just exploit that. It’ll only take a moment.”
Trigger was a little surprised: the mare never liked robots very much, but this one seemed friendly and Puppy knew it, so she decided to wait and see what happened.
On the other side Puppy seemed completely at ease: the filly sat in front of the big screen with her usual naive faith that everything around her was going to be alright. “Okie dokie, now can you see if my mom is somewhere in this place, Puppy please?”
“Red alert terminated, all systems green, security doors opening in five, four... Oh, I don't know Puppy, this mainframe has a huge database and I can't check all the entries because I don't have the authorization... no wait, ignore that! Right here I found some protected files dated three weeks after day zero... but I need a pass code to open them.”
The filly raised a hoof. “I know this one! Puppysmiles!”
Happy sighed. “Now Puppy, your name can't open everything, you kno-”
P7 interrupted the guard. “Pass code accepted. There are two entries, I'm displaying them on the big screen right now.”
The filly in yellow looked at the writing and frowned as she tried to read it, but it was simply too long for her this time. “Ah, I can has a little help?”
The unicorn mare sat at Puppy's side and put a hoof around her neck in a warm, tender embrace. “Sure little one. I'll read them for you, alright?”
If I still have the right to pray Celestia I hope that those eggheads at Stable Tech did a better job than these -Uh, mules, yes Puppy, it says mules...- at Solaris Inc. They succeeded in designing an emergency protocol that transferred all the priorities to the technical staff but forgot to program the sentinels so that they didn't kill everypony else on the spot. -uh, this word doesn't mean anything Puppy, let's move on...- Anyhow, the tunnel is now safe, I'll camp here waiting for my crew for a couple of days and looting anything useful for the desert crossing.
It's almost two A.M. and I can't sleep. I miss her so much. I know she's safe inside the Stable, but I can still hear her calling me because she's scared of the dark or because of a nightmare, then I wake up and realize it's just a dream. -Fudge... yup, fudge- I have to keep busy or I'll lose my mind. I hate Equestria -Ah, this part is just a little prayer to the Goddesses-
Trigger sighed. When Mrs. Rainy Days wrote this entry she hadn't her daughter in mind as a reader... “Well, it seems that she headed south after all... let's see if the other record has something more.”
P7's voice interrupted the two ponies: “Hey Puppy, do you remember the pass for Chief Sand Box, pretty please?”
The filly tapped the helmet for a moment, thinking about it. “Magenta? No, wait, Agatha!”
“Thanks a lot sweetie! I'd hug you super much, let's do this! Hug yourself and pretend it's me! Here's your second entry, I'll be away for a little poking my nose where I shouldn't. Have fun and don't mess around!”
I'm finally ready to move. Apparently nopony is coming in this direction, maybe I'm the only survivor in the area? Not sure, but I don't want to test my luck. I'll take a detour to avoid Sun City: the place was badly hit and last night I could see a discouraging glow in the desert, exactly where the city should be. If I'm lucky in a couple of days I'll be at Blue Feathers Airfield, I'm moving out at first light.
I’m back, I couldn't sleep again: another nightmare. I can't stop dreaming of Puppy lying dead in the kitchen. -Fudge, Puppy, fudge... Do you like fudge? Okay okay I'm reading!- these dreams, she is safe I'm sure of it, she would never disobey me. Why do I keep dreaming of her? I found some pills and I think that some of them could help me sleep, if this nightmare returns I'll begin taking them.
Puppy was hugging the guard mare, pressing her helmeted muzzle into Trigger’s back. “What's wrong, little one? She just misses you, but you are alright. When you find her she will see that you're safe and there will be no bad dreams anymore, right?”
Telling such a shameless lie physically hurt Happy’s heart, but Puppy needed all the encouragement she could get right now.
“I... I'm not a good pony, miss Happy... I didn't went to the secret place because I wanted to see the fireworks!” the filly bawled loudly. “I'm a bad pony! Mom will be mad at me!”
Trigger returned the filly's hug, trying to reassure her. “Now, now, don't worry... your mom said that she was going south, right? To a place named... ah... Blue Feather something... I think it's what we call Rust Manor, it's easy to get there: it's just past Sun City. I'm sure that she will be very happy to see you.” Why am I giving hope to this poor creature? Her mother is long dead, what am I doing?
Puppy looked at the mare with those two large gleaming pink eyes now filled with new hope. “Really? Will she be there?”
“I... I don't know if she's still there, but you want to follow her steps, right? If you want to find out what happened to her then you have to follow the trail as long as it is still fresh!” Yes Happy, two hundred years fresh.
The foal smiled again. “Right! I arrived here with no problems at all, I can follow mom anywhere! Thank you miss Happy! You are the best pony!”
P7 once again interrupted them. “Very well, I'm done with the inventory. Those guys at Solaris had quite a good grasp of the whole 'end of Equestria' concept: this place is full of labs and storage silos with enough firepower to give the survivors a second show! Oh, and Puppy, I think you were trying to say Pinkie Pie.”
Puppy raised her head. “Wut?”
“Oh, it's quite simple my little friend: under the mountain there are levels and levels of warehouses filled with military equipment ready for use; there is enough firepower to kill every inhabitant of Equestria at least twice.”
“Ah, and with kill you mean... hurt very much?” asked the filly doubtfully.
“Nopey mopey: I mean hurt way too much! Something like a party so big that nopony will be here to tell the story the day after.”
“A... pinkbot party?” asked Puppy, now afraid of the answer she could receive.
“Pinkbot: file not found.”
Puppy stopped a moment to think. “Okie dokie, what these things do exactly?”
“Let's give some examples: multi plasma long range warhead. This baby can hit fifty six different targets with high penetration self propelled independent micro missiles. Every missile can easily pierce the wall of a bunker and fill the inside with plasma, raising the temperature by a couple hundred degrees, killing everypony within. The Multiport Disruption Generator dismembers every living target in a range of one hundred meters; obviously this kills ponies. Chocolate chaos is a magic energy gun that converts the blood of the target into chocolate milk... the effect is reversible and the blood returns to its original state after half an hour, but the victim dies almost instantly after being hit.”
Puppy interupted the list. “Okay, okay, I got the picture!”
“Very well, what do we do then? You're the boss here...”
At the computer’s last statement, Trigger raised a hoof to try and stop the filly from saying anything stupid, but the mare wasn't fast enough.
“Dump it. Make a hole and dump everything inside, build a house on the hole and then move all the bullybots you have inside the house so that nopony can never ever get hurt.”
“Well, technically everything is already in a big hole under a mountain... I can detonate the elevator shafts and the tunnels between the storage areas so that they’d be sealed forever unless somepony digs the whole mountain away.”
Happy gave a long sigh of relief.
DAY 7 - TIME approximately 3:30 A.M. - LOCATION: Tunnel Town, Big 52 N Branch
Jammed Gun hit the metal door of the Tunnel with his head, again.
“Fuck, I knew I had to stop her... fuck, fuck, FUCK!”
“You know Jamie, the door won't magically open just because you bucked it...“ Black Hat sat at the guard's side still rubbing his right eye, “I guess I deserved it, somehow... this doesn't mean I won't give it back someday.”
“Oh for Luna's sake, Blackie! Put a steak on that eye and go to bed, so that I can mope in peace!”
The silvery stallion leaned on the wall and yawned. “No can do. Can't leave big bro' like this. Besides, I’m gonna be laughing at you for months over this.”
Jammed Gun snorted. “I always suspected that our mother was a bitch, but now I'm sure of it: Happy is gone and you think about laughing! Do you want another black eye or this time are you trotting away on your hooves?”
“Hey cool down, geez! There's nothing you can do anyway while these babies stay cloOOH!”
With a metal clank the large doors started lifting, sending Black Hat sitting on his haunches. “What the fuck!?”
The two ponies stared in disbelief at the gigantic metal bulkhead, a monster more than a meter thick, rising into the tunnel's ceiling; as soon as the first door was completely opened a second pair of doors retreated into the tunnel's sides.
It took almost half a minute before Jammed was able to speak again. “Is... is this for real? Gimme a pinch...” CLOP! “You son of a ghoul, I said a pinch!”
Blackie snickered. “I told you I owed you one... and you said she was dead for sure...”
The two stallions stepped in the tunnel ignoring the skeletons; Black Hat went to a cart peppered with bullet holes, rummaging through its contents. “Woah, look at all this stuff! Guess what? This town is getting its share at last!”
Jamie trotted a little farther, watching as the lights of the tunnel began to turn on and illuminate the immense lenght of the six kilometer underground passage. A rope was dangling from an opened ventilation grate in the ceiling; his trot became a gallop and he rushed deeper into the mountain.
“Hey big bro'! Don't rush like that! We should call the other guards!”
“Fuck the guards! I'm drunk AND in love!” the voice of the stallion echoed off the tunnel's walls.
Black Hat sighed and galloped after his breother. “At least wait for me since I'm already here!”
DAY 7 - TIME approximately 9:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Trade Station Tunnel South, Big 52 SC Branch
Trigger hugged Puppy and kissed her on the helmet; the foal tried to break free with an annoyed expression. “Yeuch, smooches! Not if front of everypony!”
A dozen ponies had gathered around the filly in yellow: there were all the town guards and many other dwellers of Tunnel Town. A mare that acted as the local authority gave a little speech and a pouch of caps to Puppy before Trigger Happy accompanied her out the south end of the Tunnel.
In front of the two ponies lay an endless land of sand dunes, interrupted here and there by some red rocky formations. In the distance it was possible to spot the blurry silhouette of a city, but the sand in the wind made it almost impossible to tell if it was actually a town or some sort of natural formation.
“Very well, Puppy, we’re here: that's Serpent Desert, now let me explain how to get to Rust Manor. Are you listening?”
The filly smiled and jumped in the air. “Sure missus pretty Happy!”
“Very well, the desert is Sand Sweeper's territory: they're mostly scavengers that move a lot among the various camps, salvaging anything useful they find under the dunes. Usually I'd warn you against them because they tend to do some robbery here and there, especially on lone travelers, but I don't think that they'll try to rob you: the Sweepers are quite the superstitious tribe and probably know about you from Lonesome Pony.”
Puppy nodded. “Pretty ponies that walk around a lot, okie dokie.”
Trigger smiled. “Very well; there is a trail to follow: it's quite easy to see because every fifty meters the sweepers planted a red banner. You just trot from one banner to the next and you'll be at their first encampment before tomorrow morning.”
Puppy frowned and pointed at the more inviting highway built on a solid bank and running straight south. “Why can't I use that? With my scooter I'll be there lickety split!”
“No, little one: that highway leads directly in the middle of Sun City. You must avoid Sun City at all costs.”
“Its a dangerous place: everypony that goes there doesn't come back and nopony knows why!” Trigger’s tone brooked no argument, but Puppy was not the most astute of audiences.
Puppysmiles tapped her helmet as if it was her chin. “Uh, maybe they like it so much that they don't want to go away?”
“I... I don't think so, Puppy. When I was a foal like you Sun City was the home of a tribe: the Rust Scrapers. They were allied with the Sand Sweepers since... well, a long time. Anyhow, at some point it's said that the Sweepers found something big but the Scrapers stole it from them. There was a big fight, something like a betrayal because the Sweepers tried to take the City with a night assault.” The mare paused to see if the filly was still paying attention.
“And then what happened?” asked the little listener with a worried expression.
“During the assault something went completely wrong, but nopony knows what. The only thing we know is that the Sweepers went in with every gun they had and never came back. Everypony who tried to investigate the city disappeared, apparently devoured by its secret; the Sweepers that didn't participate in the fight, mostly foals and the elders, put together what was left of their tribe and carried on, trying to survive.”
“Oh, so they were all bad ponies?”
Trigger frowned. “In the Wasteland it's not always easy to tell good from evil, Puppy. If you want to survive sometimes you have to leave something behind... make sacrifices... dying a little bit instead of dying completely.”
“Wut?” The foal gave Happy a puzzled look, unable to understand such a deep concept.
“Don't fret your head, little one... just think of it as... well... yes, they were bad ponies but they couldn't help it.”
Puppy shook her head. “That's not true! If you are mean to somepony you are mean and that's all! No excuses. If you begin to think that you can be just a little mean then you'll end being super duper mean in no time and you'll be a bad pony too!”
“This... did you think of this on your own?” The unicorn guard stared at Puppy in admiration.
“Nopey mopey, mom told me.”
Trigger patted Puppy on the helmet, seeing her worried face. “Don't worry: robots don't count; mommy won't be upset... c'mon, show me a pretty smile.”
The filly in yellow smiled and jumped on her scooter. “When I find mom I'll tell her that you've been nice to me! Thank you very much pretty pony Happy!” The foal launched herself down the road, gaining speed as it descended towards the desert. “WEEee!”
Trigger watched the foal grow smaller as she scooted off into the distance. “I'm so sorry, little one...”
“So, Happy, ghost or foal?” Jammed Gun trotted to the mare's flank, smiling.
“I still don't know...” the mare sighed, “the only thing I know is that she's lost.” Happy turned to look at the stallion and smiled a little. “And what about the black eye?”
“Brotherly love,” Jamie stated, before immediately going back on topic, “and who isn’t lost in this cursed world? As soon as the news spreads ponies will head for Tunnel Town. We need more guards.”
“Talking 'bout that... the goods in the carts need to be recovered, stockpiled and divided equally between everypony. Keep an eye on Black Hat.”
The stallion nodded, sighing. “Yeah, don't worry: the others are already taking the carts into town. A couple of them are branded: there's a caravan of three carts from the Water Herders and a cart that belonged to the Gallopers, but it was salvaged by the ponies when they tried defending themselves from the sentries. Are we giving 'em back?”
“We should, at least as an act of good will. If we show them that their goods were preserved maybe this will help us later. Oh, and remind me to teach you how to restart the tunnel in case it shuts down again.”
Jamie hesitated for a while. “Well, uh, about last night... you know, when you ran after the gho- ah, Puppysmiles, and I wanted you to stay... uh... can we pretend that I said nothing about... well... you-know-what?”
Trigger Happy giggled. “I don't think so, Casanova... that was the clumsiest confession ever and I'm totally going to haunt you about it for the rest of your life.”
Jammed groaned, lowering his head. “Aw, why did I even bother asking?”
“May I ask you something now?”
The stallion waved a hoof. “Yeah, sure, go on... shoot me In the heart...”
“Am I still in time to say that I love you too?”
DAY 7 - TIME approximately 4:00 P.M. - LOCATION: Serpent Desert, Big 52 SC Branch
Good afternoon fillies and gentlecolts! This is Lonesome Pony and you are listening to Radio 52! The only and best radio in this slice of Equestria! Yesterday I was walking in the street and a mare just asked me: L.P. how can you be so good on your program? Everypony here listens to you... well I must admit that it's not easy, but luckily enough I'm the only fucking DJ around!
A weak 'Yay~' from a feminine voice interrupted the monologue.
Bad L.P. you used the 'F' word, you can't use it! Not with our heroine listening to you! Right, right, I'm a bad pony and I should feel bad; instead right now I feel just great, guess why? You can't? Obviously not, because I'm the first one with this treat on the table: fresh from the wings of a friend of mine coming from the south! Hold your reins little ponies, because this is BIG!
At that point the radio delivered a static charge and went mute for several seconds, but the static was soon replaced by the voice of Lonesome Pony laughing.
Ah, I had you all! You fell for it! Nopony can shut up Radio 52 and especially not today, because today we are celebrating THE TUNNEL REOPENING! Yes my little ponies, your ears are working! Tunnel Town is back in business, no more mountain pass and landslides!
Boisterous triumphant music played for almost a minute with the DJ making guitar noises with his mouth in the background.
Best thing since the destruction of the Carnival, and guess who did this? Oh yes, our guardian angel, our little yellow ghost! We needed a foal to save us all from a horrible death by starvation? Bucks, now I'm depressed. No, seriously: in a week this little devil has saved three towns from their worst nightmares... A FOAL! C'mon 52, raise your head and show some guts! Till then I'll be here worshiping a way-too-few-years-old pony.
There was a silent pause before the voice of the DJ came back, tired and old.
Wake up everyone out there, she is just one pony, she can't save us all. We have to save ourselves with what we’ve got... we need only to be better ourselves, we don't need another hero.
An acoustic guitar started playing while another song began, but this time it wasn't a record: the singer was Lonesome Pony himself.
Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage
Can't make the same mistake this time.
We are the children, last generation
We are the ones they left behind
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
We don't need another hero...
“Wow, I really hope I find this super filly hero they always talk about! Do you think she'll want to be my friend?” Puppy was trotting on the sand, following the red banners just like Trigger Happy had told her to.
“Affirmative. Usually a heroic figure is prone to be friendly. Warning. Mild radiation detected. Threat level: negligible.”
The filly trotted for a while before hesitantly asking: “Ah, mister Voice, do you think I'm good? Will my mom still love me?”
“Warning. This program is not designed for behavior evaluation.”
Puppy sighed with frustration. “Geez, you always hide from every important question, don’t you?” She was going to add something, but her attention was caught by a figure standing on a dune not far from the trail. “Hey look, a pretty pony!”
The 'pretty' pony consisted of an old unicorn with a white mane and a red coat, dressed in a mantle that covered her almost completely; strapped across her back she carried a long lever action carbine. As the filly approached, the mare simply smiled. “You took your time, little ghost. I’ve been waiting for you since noon.”
“Hi! I'm Puppysmiles!” The filly smiled and waved a hoof, “I'm sorry I'm late... ah, late for what?”
The slightest of smiles ran across the old mare's face before she replied. “Well for adventure of course, little one... do you like adventure?”
“Yush! I lovelovelove adventure! Where is it? I can has two?” suddenly, the foal’s enthusiasm came to a halt, “No wait! I have to find mom, I really shouldn't go adventuring...”
The old mare chuckled. “Oh, right, you are already following a path... how could I have forgotten it...”
Puppy nodded. “Exactly, so I'm sorry but I've got to go, 'kay thanks bye bye!”
“And, if I say to you that this adventure is about a friend of yours being in danger?”
The foal was already trotting away, but the mare's last words made her turn on her tail. “A friend of mine in danger? Who? Why? Where? When?”
“Now, now, don't rush like thi-” Puppy jumped at the elder's neck pressing her helmet against her muzzle and staring straight into the eyes of the unicorn.
“Please please please tell me pleeeeease!”
The mare staggered, almost losing balance. “Calm down, little ghost, I was telling you! Just... sit down and listen, alright? Behave and I'll tell you everything!”
“Uh, yeah, right... sorry miss pretty old pony...” Puppy let go of her neck and sat in front of the unicorn, who sighed in relief.
“Very well. I'm Long Ears and I'm a farseer: a unicorn that can see distant places and ponies.”
Puppy jumped up onto her hooves. “Uh! Can you see my mom? Can she see us? Is she okay?”
“It doesn't work like that.” The filly deflated, sitting down again as the unicorn continued: “I take some medicine and in my dreams I have visions, but I can't chose what I see. Last night I had one of those dreams and it was about you.”
Puppy sat down in silence, listening to Long Ears in the middle of the desert.
“You asked a very special friend a very important favor. Your friend did her best, but a really bad turn of events made it impossible for her to accomplish her task. So she appeared to me in my dreams and I knew that you were coming here.”
Puppy frowned. A friend she asked a big big favor from? She didn't ask for- here, Silky Tail. Look after Henrietta and don't let anything bad happen to her. “Henri? She is in danger? Where?”
The mare nodded and pointed a hoof toward the distant silhouette of Sun City. “I'm afraid that the eagle flew too near to the sun and she can't find a way to come back.”
Puppy hesitated. “But... Happy told me that I can't go there! I don't want to disobey her!”
Long Ears shrugged. “You don't have to. You asked a friend for a favor and she wanted me to warn you, that's all. You could simply chose to ignore her and go on your way. One way or the other, my task is over.”
“B-But something bad happened to Henri, I can't leave her alone, she could be hurt! She... she could be crying!”
“Well then, go to Sun City and save her. But I must warn you: Sun City is a trap, a bad dream made real. Once you start dreaming, you will never be able to leave.”
“Oh don't worry, I'm not sleepy at all!” Puppy smiled as if it was an easy thing, “Space Captain Andromeda to rescue!” The foal galloped away, heading for the town behind the dunes.
Long Ears watched the filly in yellow running away until she was a gray spot in the sand, then took a pill from a pouch and swallowed it together with a gulp of a milky potion. When the old mare blinked she could see flames rising from the town and hear the sound of battle. “What am I seeing? Past or future?”
A giggle came from the mare's side. “She's lively, always smiling; I like her! If only more ponies were like that filly instead of being all grumpy faces...”
The mare whispered. “Can a living nightmare bring peace? I'm not sure of this...”
“Don't ask me: I'm only a vision caused by your massive consumption of hallucinogens! Really, it won't help you very much. Things will happen the same way even if you don't see them coming and you can't even tell what's coming from what already happened.”
The old unicorn sighed. “Well, maybe you're right... let's go home.”
“Yeah, let's go. That puppy can fend for herself.”
Footnote: Level up! (7)
New perk added: The power of metal - there are moments when rock is not enough. You inflict 5 additional damage with HtH attacks (yeah, rocks and power hooves are considered HtH weapons)
New Quest Perk added: Spirit of 52 - Your legend is growing: you will have less low level random hostile encounters as long as your standing with all the tribes is at least neutral.
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.