Edited by uSea
CHAPTER 10: Identity
In the desert you can remember your name, 'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.
DAY 9 - TIME approximately 2:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Sun City Downtown, Big 52 SC Branch
“Fuck this headache, I can't sleep...” Henrietta rubbed her sorry head. Puppy was a good aim and had a fair bit of strength when it came to throwing things, and now the young griffon was paying the toll of Puppy’s skill. The day had been a hard one with a lot of work, dismantling the buildings in the outer belt and bringing the materials to the residential area. If the young griffon hadn't had that wound she would have been asleep like everyone else.
“Next time I see that yellow devil I'm going to spank her so bad that her rump could be used as a landing signal during foggy nights.” By the way, what was the foal doing in Sun City? The whole place was a trap, with that hypnotic buzz that could bend your will and-
Henri's eyes widened in sudden realization as she muttered to herself, “Wait a single eggfucking second... the buzz is gone... the damn buzz is gone, I can think clearly! I’ve got to get out of here!” The half eagle stood up, spreading her wings ready to take flight, but froze in place as soon as she noticed the other griffins; there were five of them in the room: two were the Talons that she tried to lose by diving into this fucking place, while the other three had the Talons tattoos but wore no armor and didn’t appear to be armed.
“At last it's payback time...” A cruel grin appeared on Henri's beak while she unsheathed her bowie knife and stepped toward the first sleeping griffon. She was one of the unarmored ones, deeply sleeping because of the day's hard work. The young half-eagle moved slowly and silently, like a serpent in the grass, approaching her victim from behind, ready to grasp her beak and slit her throat; very slowly she leaned over her victim's head and... then the vengeance craving griffon noticed the eggs.
“Oh fuck, please no...” The fire in Henrietta's eyes died as she looked at the two eggs that the griffon was hugging in her sleep. Rage became hesitation and the griffon's resolve shattered: killing a mother in her sleep was beyond any hunger for revenge she had... but the other four, on the other claw...
The other four what? Two were just victims of the place, one of them could have been the father of those eggs, besides they were totally unarmed and possibly didn't have anything against her... and the two that chased her inside Sun City were sleeping hard enough that she was going to be miles away when they realized that she was gone. What was the point in killing them like this?
“Not fair, I’m no backstabber...” Henrietta turned on her tail and headed for the door, but stopped as she noticed a spot of pink in a corner of the room. Willy Fail, Stinky Mail or a name like that... Puppy's doll. Hell, she had almost forgotten about the doll, “Oh fuck, Puppy!” Stupid feather head, she had almost forgotten about the foal!
DAY 9 - TIME approximately 2:30 A.M. - LOCATION: Sun City Downtown, Big 52 SC Branch
Sitting in the red shadows of the control room, Puppy was still confused: she had no idea about who could be that mare's voice that visited her before mister Voice came back, but she wasn't sure if this newcomer was a pretty pony. Even thinking about that scary mare talking in her head was enough to send shivers down her back and to make her hope that she wasn't going to return any time soon.
Luckily enough, Puppy was now in good company again and this meant that whatever problems the mare's voice could create they would be far enough away to let Puppy think about more pressing matters. First things first, finding her a name, since miss Voice was already taken...
“Ah, she's a she, so miss is okay, and she is... ah... scary? Scary Voice? Sounds wrong...” Puppy frowned, this was going to be a hard nut to crack... “Head Voice? Meh... Nightmare Voice? Too long... I know! Creepy Voice, because she is creepy! Yay!”
The HUD on the helmet tinged, informing Puppy that the mission 'shaping nightmares' was successfully accomplished. Yes, Puppysmiles was just this good and nothing could stop her, not even finding names for things. Okay, maybe something long to read could still be a mighty foe... and if she had to count things that were more than her hooves... and even opening pickle jars, that had always been an impossible feat... but everything else was just easy game, right! Go Puppy!
Now that the cheering was done it was time to undertake part two of her master plan: finding Henri and getting out of here as quick as a pony at the Running of the Leaves. “Okie dokie, mister Voice where's Henri?”
“Henrietta Firebright set as primary target.” The arrow on the compass integrated in Puppy's helmet disappeared and reappeared pointing to the filly's left, displaying a distance in meters that rapidly diminished until it reached a single digit.
“Yay! It's adventure ti-”
BLAM! CRASH! BLAM!
One of the windows exploded, and with a flutter of wings a young griffon wielding a pair of .45 pistols blitzed inside the room through a cloud of glass and zipping bullets. “Hold on Puppy I'm here!” The griffon tumbled across the floor trying to identify any possible hostile target, fired twice at the lights in the ceiling, which plunged the room into darkness and jumped behind a desk, before upturning it to use as an improvised barrier, all in the space of just a few seconds.
A smile grew across Puppy’s muzzle as she watched the show; wow, this was so cool! Henry was totally the best pony, she was like that griffon in that movie, Liòn: the Professional... the young filly stomped her hooves on the floor, cheering her friend's performance. “Wohoo! Go Henry, you rock! Way to go!” A couple of bullets narrowly missed Puppy’s helmet before the young gunslinger recognized her friend.
“Lie flat on the floor Puppy, I'm taking care of them! Leave this little pony alone, you brain eaters!”
“Wut?” The filly tilted her head with a curious expression.
Noticing that nopony was firing back and that there was no movement in the room, a thought suddenly struck her: could it be that the filly wasn't actually in danger? Henrietta smiled in embarrassment as she stopped acting like a special forces pony and took a decent look around; putting away her guns, the griffon stroked back the feathers on her forehead and assumed a cool demeanor. “Hey Puppy, still all in one piece?”
The filly checked her legs and tail, then smiled and nodded to her friend. “Yup, I forgot nothing! Is Silky Tail alright?”
“Your doll? Sure, want it back?” Henrietta grabbed the pink plushie and waved it; Puppy shook her head.
“Nopey mopey, she is fine with you. I asked her to keep an eye on you and she warned me that you were in danger, so I came here but at the beginning you were all grumpy and scolded me then you flied away and didn't want to talk with me anymore, so I waited for the night because I had this super duper mega plan but before I had to say to the mayor that his town was ugly but then the mayor wasn't a mayor but a stoopid voice that told me bad things but I was smarter and he said he was sorry and now he's gone away, so I'm smarter than Blue Voice.”
Henrietta rose a claw. “Wait wait wait! I see you moving your muzzle but all I hear is blah blah blah: all of this makes no sense and we are in a hurry. Everyone is sleeping right now, but very soon someone will wake up and realize that the buzz is gone. This place is filled with enclave pegasi, talon griffins and ponies from at least two different tribes and they are all sitting on a fortified source of pure water and fresh food.”
Puppy tilted her head in confusion. “Uh, okie dokie?”
The griffon facepalmed. “Alright, simple version: in a couple of hours Tranquility Lane will become War Zone: Sun City and we have to get our tails out of here before that happens, capeesh?”
“War zone? Like when ponies are mean with each other?” asked Puppy with some degree of doubt.
“Yes, exactly, each group will want to take that place for themselves. Now, leave behind everything heavy you have in your bags because we need to fly away very fast.”
Puppy frowned. “But why they have to argue? Ponies are pretty and nice, they shouldn't be mean...” The little foal explained her theory about pony behavior as if it was something so simple that it was impossible for it being some other way.
Henrietta opened her beak to reply that an entire world had turned into a wasteland as legacy of pony kindness, but trying to explain such a concept to Puppy was harder than teaching an anvil how to swim and, even more important, it needed time that they didn't have. “Yeah, exactly, but we have to go away right now anyway, because you have to find your mom, right?”
Puppy nodded vigorously. “Yush! I have to go to a peggysus fly place named Blue Idontknow but miss Happy told me that now it's called Something Manner... ah, I don't remember the name very well but there's an arrow on the compass so I can't miss it!”
Henrietta sighed. “Let me guess, it's south.” The griffon pointed a direction with her claw.
Puppy stared in surprise at her friend. “Woah, how did you know that? Are you a wizard?”
“Yeah, sure, I'm best magician in Equestria. The Great and Powerful Henri... now please dump everything you don't need or you'll lose the flight.” The griffon paused for a moment, noticing something new in her friend, “Say, since when you have a blue streak in your mane?”
A thin line of blue ran trough Puppy's blond mane starting from her forehead, just above her right eye and ending at three quarters down her neck; the line was made of a couple of shades of blue, in a similar way to that mare from the Ministry of Magic, Twilight Snarkle or something like that.
DAY 9 - TIME approximately 3:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Sun City Downtown, Big 52 SC Branch
Puppy risked opening one eye and looked down. The world rushed away into the night, large skyscrapers zipped past below her and dark deserted roads trailed off into the distance under her nose, way too far under her nose to be comfortable with.
“ARE WE THERE YET?” The filly grabbed Henrietta's neck tight enough to choke her.
“Ack! Gasp! Loosen those hooves pony, you're going to make both of us crash!” At first it just seemed natural to the griffon to fly away with Puppy: The foal was really small and, once she threw away all those useless scraps, she was lighter than a military backpack. Problems came when Puppy discovered that she hated flying. “Just close your eyes and pretend your having a regular piggyback ride or sing something!”
Puppy already had her eyes sealed tighter than a Stable door but it didn't seem to help at all, seeing all the houses from above and seeing the roofs run and run away in a crazy spinning of colors already scared her hard enough; this wasn't like looking down from a tower; towers didn't go around, and they had floors! She liked floors, they were so... so... flat, and floory! “Please please please I will behave! Put me down pleeeease!”
“Oh c'mon are you a scaredy pony? Have some faith in your friends!” With a stroke of her wings Henrietta gained a little altitude, flying between two skyscrapers and soaring past downtown, high above the residential area of Sun City. The fresh night air tasted of dust and old, but the south winds carried a new scent: the sea; it was a good night to fly. “Just relax and enjoy the trip, sing something!”
Singing something, yes that always helped Puppy, she just had to sing a song and everything would be better! The filly cleared her throat and tried singing the first thing that came to her mind.
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty dumpty had a great OH PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE PUT ME DOWN NAO!”
The filly was dancing the pony pokey on Henri's back, but a griffon's constitution is one of a predator: happy to fly with an adult pony struggling in her claws and still capable of gaining altitude in the meantime. “Stop it, I'm not letting you fall! Yeow! Don't pluck me, have you the slightest idea of how long those plumes take to grow back!?” Sick of being pestered by the panicking pony, the young flier bumped Puppysmiles off her back and caught the falling filly with her frontal talons. “Alright, at least this way you don't risk falling! Hold on, we'll land as soon as we're out of the ruins!”
“Don't wet your suit, it's a couple kilometers at most, we gotta put some distance between us and this place before it blows up!” The half eagle accelerated, pushing herself harder so that the trip would be as short as possible, but carrying a howling banshee in the night sky was going to wake some sleeping ponies; Henrietta could only pray to her lucky star that nopony would poke their head out a window and look for the source, or that they wouldn’t care enough.
DAY 9 - TIME approximately 3:30 A.M. - LOCATION: Serpent Desert, Big 52 SC Branch
“I wasn't scared at all, you know... I was just, ah, cautious. I mean, with all those identical roofs and the wind you could, ah, lose yourself and it's much better seeing the names of the streets when you don't know where you are going.” Now that she had all of her hooves on solid ground again, Puppy was desperately trying to regain her macho appeal, but the effort was a little wasted by Henrietta literally rolling on the road laughing.
“Priceless! You're priceless, Puppy!” The griffon gasped as she tried to inhale, wiped a tear from her eye and burst into another laugh, “How did you scream? Eeeep! Do it again, do it again please!”
The filly in yellow pouted, sat down and sighed. “Hey it wasn't me the one that got lost in a city... I've seen chickens smarter than y-” BLAM!
Puppy looked down at the hole in her suit, right where her heart should be. “Hey! There are already enough bullybots doing that!”
Henrietta got up and waved her gun in a dismissive manner; she still hadn’t stopped smiling, even when she shot Puppy. “Aw, don't complain, you got torn apart by a manticore and still stand there, how could you get hurt by bullet or two?” BLAM! BLAM!
Another couple of shots pierced Puppy, once in a leg and again in her chest. “Stop it! This stoopid suit starts saying absurdities and mumbo-jumbos every time this happens!” A thin tread of pink poured from the holes made by the griffon's gun.
“Okay, okay, but you stop calling me a chicken.” Henrietta yawned and put away her pistols, “Just for your information, normal ponies die when they are shot, even ghouls... so don't try this yourself on other ponies, okay?”
Puppy nodded, a bit confused, then tilted her head. “But I am a normal pony! I am a pony!”
“Hey, hey, I didn't say otherwise... woah, are we a little upset today? Want me to sing you a lullaby?” Henri asked with a mocking tone.
The foal nodded vigorously. “Sure! I lovelovelove lullabies! Can we sing Hush now quiet now?”
The griffon facepalmed; what was the point of trying to provoke this foal if she couldn't even tell when she was being mocked? “You're a lost cause, Puppy... ”
“Hush now, quiet now it's time to rest your sleepy head
Hush now quiet now it's time to go to beeed!”
Henri sighed and started walking south. “Why, dad, why do I owe my life to this idiot twice?” The girl smiled and turned her head toward the little pony, “Hey, jump on your red racer, I'll fly above you: we have a lot of ground to cover if you want to get to Rust Manor by tomorrow.”
DAY 9 - TIME approximately 10:30 P.M. - LOCATION: Serpent Desert, Big 52 SC Branch
A small campfire cast the shadows of Puppy and Henrietta over the sand dunes. The two travelers were sitting next to the little source of light and heat; Henri was eating something from a tin can but from the faces she made it wasn't exactly griffon food. The clouds above the desert helped the place to maintain its temperature even during the night, but the half eagle was still wearing a plaid on her shoulders.
“So, Puppy, this Blue Voice told you that you are a robot?” Henri's expression was hard to read, like if she was trying to keep a poker face until the filly finished telling the whole story.
“Yes, and he seemed double super sure of this... I almost fell for it too, but then arrived Creepy Voice that told me that it was impossible because... ah... I didn't understand that part, but it seemed quite okay when she said it.” Puppy nodded wisely, as if this was everything that she needed to know.
The griffon shrugged. “So, a computer tells you that you're some sort of crazy machine but a hallucination says otherwise... I think you just got dazed by the EMP grenade because of the backlash on your suit's circuitry and you had a dream.” Henrietta yawned before continuing, “But I don't think you are a robot, Puppy... robots explode when shot... besides, robots are intelligent.”
The foal frowned. “So, what do you think I am?”
The half lion stretched her hind legs and crouched on her improvised couch. “You? You are bad news, that's all I need to know... but I like you, so you can hang with me and be cool like big ‘sis Henri.”
Puppy trotted over to her companion and met Henrietta’s gaze; the filly's eyes were two large glowing pink lights in the darkness of the night. “Yes but... I am a pony, right? I mean, it doesn't matter if I don't eat or drink or never need to potty, right? I'm a pony...”
She seems worried, this robot thing is actually scaring her... oh, fuck, why me? Henri was completely exhausted and she didn't need a foal with an existential crisis at the moment: all that she wanted was just some sleep. The griffon patted the filly on the helmet, yawning. “You can be whatever you want, Puppy. You are a good pony and good ponies are the most rare variety in Equestria nowadays. As long as you think that you should be a pony, then you'll be a pony. Now go to sleep, please.”
The little foal smiled and tried nudging Henry through the helmet. “Thank you Henri, you are my very best chicken friend!” Crouching next to the half eagle, the little pony sighed and waited, she wasn't sleepy at all...
“HEY! What did you mean by I'm not a robot because they are intelligent!?” Puppy poked Henri in a flank, but the griffon just snickered and turned on her other side.
The little pony kept whining and poking her friend to try and make her talk, but the griffon began to snore loudly, leaving a frustrated Puppy complaining in front of a dying fire.
DAY 10 - TIME approximately 1:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Serpent Desert, Big 52 SC Branch
It was still dark and Puppy couldn't sleep; the foal wasn't tired at all, but Henri didn't want to be disturbed, so the little filly did the most logical thing she could think of: sightseeing the desert by night, just because wise Puppy is wise.
So far this place had deluded a lot of Puppy's expectations, after all those movies with the cowponies and the buffaloes she was quite sure that a desert should be so crowded with skulls, arrows, tents and such that you couldn't even find a place to put you own hooves; after the days spent in the 'real' desert the filly had the slightest suspicion that all the buffaloes must have gone away for some sort of holiday, but she hoped to find at least a lizard in a place called Serpent Desert; all she had seen so far were a couple of carts half buried in the sand and a large parasprite with long teeth that was building something similar to a nest, but when she approached it, the parasprite flew away avoiding her.
“Warning. Hostile detected. Analyzing. Mutated parasprite, Parador variety. Threat level: deadly.”
“Aw, why is every pretty fluffy animal in this place so shy? I just want to make friends!” said the two-hundred-year-old monster to the mutated, murderous offspring of Mother Nature and Father Taint.
“Hey Puppy, it's been a while; you travel a lot, don't you?” said a metallic voice, which interrupted the little exploration of miss adventure; the filly smiled broadly and turned to her friend.
“Mister Questioner! Where have you been?”
“It's Watcher, I watch things, Watcher...”
Puppy nodded, still smiling. “Okie dokie mister Questioner, can I watch things too?”
From the speakers of the Spritebot came a soft and metallic chuckle. “Puppy, Puppy never changes... how are you? I've heard that you had a little adventure in Tunnel Town and now I find you south of Sun City...”
“Yush! I met a lot of nice and pretty ponies! There was this chicken called Henri and then Asso and Sweet Flower, Happy, Jamie and a lot of other friends!”
“Wow, you are quite lucky to have so many friends, aren't you? And say, have you been in Sun City?” The voice was trying hard to maintain a neutral tone, but it seemed very curious.
Puppy frowned. “Yeah, it was like a super duper box with streamers and mighty fine wrappings but with oatmeal inside... everypony was grumpy, they didn't want to talk with me or to play with me and their mayor was a stoopid voice that told me bad things.”
“Bad things like what? Would you like to talk about that?” Watcher's tone seemed worried, now.
Puppy looked away. “He told me That I wasn't a pony but a robot, then I used that big teapot that puts robots to sleep and I was hit too... everypony keeps telling me that I am no robot, but why I-”
“Tut, tut, Puppy. Don't fret your little head, if there is a thing that I'm completely sure it is that you are not a robot, that voice probably read some data from a sensor scanning you but it was a machine and couldn't see beyond your appearance. You are a pretty pony, okay? Now smile to me and show me that everything is alright.”
Puppy nodded and smiled a little.
“Very well; now, zombie ponies in a nice city... did you find anything like a buzz or a humming sound all over the place?”
“Nopey mopey, but Henri told me that the buzz was gone and that all the pretty ponies were going to wake up and being not-so-pretty.”
“Oh, so at last the interference is gone; I can finally take a look inside the place then... let me guess, you stopped it?”
Puppy frowned. “No, I just went there because I was told that Henri was in danger... but she wasn't, she just acted like a stoopid chicken flying around and not paying attention to me, like every other pony in the town... so I went to this Voice Mayor and we had this big argument, he wanted to be smarter than me so I took the blue teapot and-”
“Ah, excuse me, what is a blue teapot?”
The filly sighed, helmethoofing. “Why I have to explain everything to everypony? It's a teapot, round and shiny with a blue pointy head. I found it inside a rusted cart in that place in the swamp.”
“Alright, so you detonated an EMP shock shell in front of a supercomputer... yes, you stopped the interference. And what about the new look?”
Puppy tilted the head trying to look at her mane. “You mean the blue line? I don't know, it appeared when I woke up the other day after speaking with Cre-”
“Hey Puppy, who's there? Hold on I'm coming!” Henrietta's voice interrupted the little pony.
“Sorry little one I've got to go, you can tell me this story another time!” Without even waiting for an answer, the spritebot made a noise like static and began playing some patriotic music.
The griffon landed on the dune's top checking the surroundings, with a gun in both her talons; as soon as she decided that there was no immediate danger, the gunslinger girl put away the weapons and scolded Puppy: “Bad pony! Stop playing around with the spritebots and come back to the camp!”
Puppy waved a hoof at the floating robot as if left and trotted back to her feathery friend. “I wasn't playing, I was telling him my interesting adventures!”
“Yeah, sure, now let's get back to sleep: tomorrow will be a long day.” The griffon rubbed Puppy on the helmet and they went back to their camp.
Half an hour later, a scared parador could finally go back building its nest in peace.
Good morning fillies and gentlecolts! This is Lonesome Pony and you're listening to Radio 52! Find a radio better than us and I'll personally give you a treat! Who, DJ PON-3? Please, I've heard he's a she! Really! And during clear nights she transform herself into a giant three headed diamond dog! No kidding, just go to Tenpony tower during a clear night and you'll see! But L.P. There hasn't been a clear night, or day, since the spells fell! Not my problem, my little ponies, you just stay tuned on Radio 52 and stop blabbering about cross dressing radio DJs!
Now, back to work: it's news time! Yesterday morning Sun City woke up from a nineteen year long sleep; I don't have any details, but it seems that during the night somepony assaulted the central tower of the town, stopping whatever device was controlling the minds of everypony in the city! Yes my little ponies, you heard me correctly! Nopony ever came back from Sun City because the whole place was under the effect of a giant mind control device! This is crazy!
And guess what the pretty residents did the very same moment they realized that the mind control was gone? You guessed it! They started shooting each other for the control of the town! If you are going to cross Serpent Desert take a long detour, following Green Route East or take the Chasm Trail but stay away from Sun City until things settle down! I repeat: stay away from Sun City and avoid Red Route if possible.
Now, for the ones who like a little gossip, who's the responsible for the change of administration in the city? Do I really need to say the name? Yes my little ponies, our little resident hero saved you from a never ending sleep so that you could freely and willingly WASTE YOUR LIFE KILLING EACH OTHER! Don't you even feel ashamed? I... I don't want to talk about this, take some music while I look for answers in an empty bottle.
What we've got here is failure to communicate: some ponies you just can't reach...
The voice of the DJ was replaced by music.
Look at you young colts fighting
Look at your fillies crying
Look at your young colts dying
The way they've always done before
DAY 10 - TIME approximately 10:30 A.M. - LOCATION: Rust Manor, Big 52 SC Branch
Rust Manor seemed exactly what it said on the tin: somepony built a large, reinforced barricade made up of huge air wagon carcasses, forming a ring a hundred meters in diameter around what was originally the offspring of a bunker and an air traffic control tower. The whole structure was once coated in thick reinforced steel plates, now all the metal was rusted and the large tower seemed a monument to the concept of neglect itself; nonetheless the little town was a lively trading post, with several caravans stationed outside of the northern gates and half a dozen town guards scanning the surroundings from a crown of guard towers built on top of the wall.
Henrietta called for Puppy to try and get her to stop when they were a couple of kilometers from the town, where the low hills became a flat plain peppered with craters. During the war the air field was heavily attacked with conventional weapons, flattening every structure except the fortified control tower; the open terrain gave a sniper a long line of sight, which made it easy to care of any possible nuisance.
“Wait for me, red bolt!” The griffon landed in front of the filly, making her brake in a cloud of dust.
“Woah, look where you are landing! I was running there before you!”
“Yeah, sure, whatever. I need you to listen carefully, fishbowl head, I have to leave you again, but this place is safe so you won't find troubles.”
Puppy's eyes grew large and teary while the filly was already starting to pout. “But- but why? I don't want you to go away!”
“Yeah, I know, I'm cool and without me you are quite clueless, but those guys that were after me in Sun city had a whole day behind their wings, so it's possible that they're waiting for me here; I don't want you to get involved in my troubles.”
“Ah, if the bad chickens are after you we can explain them that you are a good girl and you will behave and say that you are sorry for whatever you did so they will let you be, can we?”
Henrietta sighed patting Puppy on the helmet. “The story is a little more complicated than that, involving things like me having shot a couple of theirs and them wanting my head, so... no, I don't think we can just say that we are sorry, especially since I'm not sorry. They killed my father.”
“Oh,” Puppy lowered her eyes, trying hard to think of something else, “but you can't just bully those that bully you; I mean, they are not bullybots, they are pretty kitties! You can't bully kitties!”
Henrietta snickered. “Yeah, pretty kitties... this is why I'm not going into town, if I avoid them, there will be no need for me to kick their sorry butts and they won't be able to bully me.” The griffon shrugged. “And this ends the topic: take care, Puppy, I'm sure we'll meet again.” Without even waiting for a reply, Henrietta jumped into the air and with a couple of strokes from her wings she was already out of range for the eventual stone throw from Puppy.
The filly galloped after her friend for a few hundred meters, calling desperately for her before stopping and sighing. “Aw, this is not fair... she didn't even hug me goodbye...” The foal raised her head to the sky, screaming, “Silky Tail, take care of her! She's in your hooves nao!”
DAY 10 - TIME approximately 11:00 A.M. - LOCATION: Rust Manor, Big 52 SC Branch
The sniper had been keeping the yellow dot in her sight since she surpassed the last hill, but the unicorn mare was uncertain of what she was looking at; the guard put a hoof on an interphone. “Last Stand here, I have a contact at one, one, eight, six, south; it seems a pony in a yellow suit, could be that ghost from the radio, fits the description pretty well... are ghosts welcome here?”
The speaker replied in a storm of statics and electric whistles. “Keep an eye on the target and see what it does; call again if you notice any hostile behavior, otherwise let it approach the gates.”
“Roger, roger.” The mare went back to her position.
In the meantime Puppy reached the first caravans, drawing the attention of almost every hired guard in the area outside the walls; a lot of ponies were whispering to each other and a couple of them reached for their weapons. The little filly didn't even notice their reactions; her mother was somewhere inside the big town and this was all that she needed to know. “Hi, I'm Puppysmiles! Have you seen my mom? Mister Voice told me she is here!”
All the ponies in the area looked at the filly, then one of them sighed. “Oh, it's just Lonesome's Ghost.” The guards put away their weapons and a couple of merchant that stopped chatting at Puppy's appearance went back to their business, but nopony replied to her question.
“Uh, I guess that's a no?” The filly was confused, her status changed from center of attention to completely ignored, this couldn't be right, “Aw, when you want something done, you have to do it yourself... okie dokie mister Voice, where now?”
“Analyzing. Loading local maps: Blue Feathers Air Field. Matching failed. Loading backup data. Finding points of interest. Points located: one - Control Tower. Control Tower set as next way point.” The arrow moved on the compass.
“Oh, inside the town, alright!” Puppy trotted merrily toward the gates but was stopped almost immediately by an old stallion wearing a mercenary armor and a dusty hat; somehow the eyes of this pony held something familiar, as if the little pony already seen them somewhere before.
“Hey mom, why that pony has only three legs?”
“He's a war hero Puppy, please don't bother him: he's very tired”
“Yeah, tired of giving my leg for a fucking useless war against fucking enemies I don't even care about because of a fucking goddess that puts a bunch of coal in front of a pony’s life!”
“Tee-hee, the pretty pony says strange words!”
“No Puppy! Forget that word, it's a bad word! And you, you should be ashamed of using such a language in front of a foal!”
“Fuck off, bitch...”
“Let's go away, Puppy, come with me.”
“But mom, I wanted to-”
“Yeah, pink rat, trot after your mom! There's nothing to see here...”
Puppy blinked, lost in her memories; when she came back from her personal world the old pony with the angry eyes was still standing there, so the filly stared back at him and tilted her head. “Hi... have you seen my mom?”
The mercenary spat on ground. “Are you deaf or what?”
The foal sat down, looking confused at her interlocutor. “Ah, sorry I didn't hear the question... why are you angry? Did I do something wrong?”
The pony snickered. “I asked you if you think that you are a hero or what.”
Puppy smiled, this was easy. “Oh, I'm Space Captain Andromeda! With my space suit and my super fast ride I run all around the cosmos and meet a lot of new friends! Wanna play with me? I have a rocket too, look!” The filly rose a hoof stating, “Rocket!” A rocket toy floated in front of the filly.
The old stallion raised an eyebrow. “Are you trying to make a fool of me? Do you know who I am? You better pick your foes and lower your ears, you fucking load of shit!”
Puppy giggled, weird words always made her giggle. “Tee-hee, mister old pretty pony says strange words! Can I play too? I'm good at inventing words, like, ah, scootalicious! Or bananaphone!”
The small crowd of curious ponies started laughing. The little filly not only didn't seem any impressed by that old mercenary, and she was laughing at him, too... sooner or later somepony's blood was going to stain the dirt.
Last Stand put again a hoof on the interphone from her guarding post. “Last Stand here, there could be trouble outside of the northern gate: the yellow pony is getting into a fight with a mercenary.”
“We are sending a couple of guards; wait for instructions and hold fire unless one of ours is attacked.”
In the meantime the old pony grabbed puppy by a leg and lifted her from the ground, looking into her eyes with a menacing face. “So you think you can laugh of me? You think I won’t touch you just because a fucking pony in a radio program talks about you? Think again!”
“Hey, lemme go! I have to find my mom! I didn't do anything to you, meanie face! Put me down!” The foal was struggling but she couldn't break free, “If my mom was here she’d show you! lemme go, lemme goooooo!”
Somehow the whining of the little pony killed the mood, the small crowd looked away in embarrassment and even the old mercenary wasn't really sure of what he was supposed to do now. This filly wasn't some stuck up hero walking triumphantly trough the city gates or some sort of knight in shining armor thinking that he had Luna knows what kind of holy mission... this was just a... “Fuck, Lonesome Pony must have gone very far with his tequila to call this critter a hero...”
In the meantime, since everything else didn't work, Puppy started crying, wailing and whining. Even the last ponies that had hoped to see some action went away in front of that murderous act against dignity.
The mercenary put the foal down, sighing. “Go away, I don't pick fights with foals.” He gave a quick spank to Puppy's behind to empathize the order and the filly galloped away, still crying.
Somehow, he knew that he was a bad pony and that he should feel bad, and somewhere inside the weathered mercenary a little pony actually did feel bad, but it was just for a fraction of a second.
Footnote: Level up! (9)
New perk added: Whining Presence - You can whine your way out of almost every situation. During certain encounters you gain special dialogue options that let you avoid combat, but you’ll lose reputation.
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 Errantindy for the help with the English and some coherence in the plot