Hope in a Hoofful of Scrap

by MiriOhki

Chapter IV: Day 5

Tuesday, May 5th 2020

It was comfortably warm when I started to worm my way to wakefulness, though the feel of warm fur against my back certainly helped. I smiled a bit as I nestled a bit closer to Sweetie Belle, sighing happily as I enjoyed waking up. A very shocking thing, to be sure, but very pleasant, to awaken contentedly instead of clawing my way to being awake with the enthusiasm of a post-hibernation bear.

Nothing particularly mattered to me at the moment, not my near-fugue state that put me out the previous night, nor the fact that I had hooves and a totally different gender than a week ago, one shared with the filly I found myself within a loving embrace. Just the fact that I was comfortable, felt wonderful, was in said embrace with said filly, and that the world outside may have not existed at all for all I cared, and it made for a rather nice morning. As an eye opened and saw the alarm clock and the fact that it was about 2PM, I only corrected myself in that it made for a nice afternoon.

A shiver rippled through me as I felt a nuzzle at my ears. “Sleep well, Apple?” Sweetie asked me as I mentally darned my quiescent hormones to a timeout in an uncomfortable chair. Pushing the reset button on puberty was just a tad annoying, but I couldn't dig up more than a mild annoyance with it.

“Very well, dear,” I replied, sighing happily. “I slept like a whole dang downed forest.”

Sweetie giggled a bit. “So I noticed. Congratulations, by the way.”

I paused in confusion. “Wha? For what?” I asked, tilting my head slightly.

She smiled and tapped a hoof against my leg, before pulling up the blanket to reveal the new decoration.

“Huh. Well if that don't beat all... When'd I get that?” I said, mystified. I had always wondered just what my mark would look like. They never showed it on the cartoon, so I guess they got that aspect right.

She blinked. “You were a bit out of it last night, dear,” Sweetie admitted. “You were building a ramp. And by the time you were done, you passed out with that on you.”

“Huh. Wow. Neat,” I said, my heart dancing and leaping in ecstacy, but my mind was too fascinated to let it hold sway. Or maybe it was just the filly I am doing the former, and the mare that I was being the latter.

“I thought you'd have been more excited,” Sweetie said, a tad disgruntled.

“Oh I am... I think it's just the disparity between my old biped form and this one that's keeping it just a bit abstracted at a moment. Or maybe it's just because I haven't woken up yet,” I confessed.

“Well how about brunch?” Sweetie asked, nuzzling the back of my head, before disentangling herself from me and hopping out of bed.

I smiled and hopped out of the bed as well, following her down the ramp. “Wow. Nice work.”

“Congratulating yourself?” Sweetie said with a grin. “Only took you an hour and a half.”

I paused. “Wow. I honestly don't remember doing it.” I tapped a hoof against it and chuckled, before following her down into the kitchen. I noticed Beth was nowhere to be found, and Moondancer was reading on the couch. “Heya, Moon. Sleep well?”

She raised her head and nodded. “Yeah. I still feel like I've been run over by a semi, but at least I'm better than I was.”

I nodded. “Where's Beth?” I asked. I almost imagined having to get the cops to pry her away from us.

“Oh, she went to go get some supplies and a few other things,” Moondancer explained.

“Ahh, Had to be something,” I said wryly, before moving to the kitchen, helping Sweetie as best as I could. “Hm. I swear, I'm gonna have to make some prosthetic hands,” I said wryly. “Should I make a prosthetic chainsaw too?”

Sweetie rolled her eyes. “Only if the tree out back starts to become overly amorous. You and your cheesy movies.”

I grinned. “Thank Celestia for 'flix,” I replied, before carrying a bowl on my back and one in my teeth out to the living room. I swing over to Moondancer, letting her take the one off my back, before setting mine on the lazyboy and hopping in, munching contentedly. “You know,” I said after finishing a mouthful, “This would be perfect if it wasn't for the whole mysterious metamorphosis into a non-society-friendly form.”

Moondancer chuckled a bit. “Just relaxing, putting together our own little herd?”

“Wouldn't we need a stallion for that?” Sweetie said dryly as she hopped onto the lazyboy next to me.

Evidently Sweetie worships the god of the spittake, as I lost it as she said that comment. “Ugh. You had to say that when I was eating,” I coughed out, shaking my head a bit.

Sweetie laughed and shook her head as she started to eat, amused at her little prank.

As I wiped my face with the back of one foreleg, giving Sweetie a mock-annoyed glare, Scootaloo meandered in from the basement, wings stretching out a bit clumsily. “Heya. Sleep well?” I asked her.

Scoot shook her head mutely as she shambled to the kitchen.

I frowned a bit before taking the last bite, then grabbed the bowl and moved to the kitchen. "You ok, Scoot?"

The pegasus glared at me, then shook her head. "No. Between changing, nightmares, and my brain playing tricks on me, not particularly."

I sat back and cocked my head, deciding to play the safer route. "What kind of nightmares?"

Scoot grabbed the remainder of the salad, not replying for a few moments, before sagging a bit. "I was like this, with a bunch of other ponies. We were all in front of some ugly lookin' critter. Looked like someone salvaged what was left in the bits bin."

"Bits bin?" I asked.

"Oh, forgot you're not a gamer. Whenever you get minis from some games, you get extra pieces, usually multiple types of weapons, armor pieces, stuff like that," Scootaloo explained. "Well, this guy looked like what was left in the bin after someone put a bunch of monsters together."

I froze as I stared at her, but she didn't notice as she continued to explain. "Anyway, the thing was taunting us after he broke a few of the guards. He then said he was growing tired of playing with us and was going to go find somepony more interesting. He started chanting something about a high score or something like that."

"Five score, divided by four," I said, unable to keep the tremble out of my voice, before rushing back to the living room, almost shouting, "Buck me!"

Blowing past everyone, I stormed up the ramp to my office, grabbed my laptop in my teeth carefully, then raced back before hopping into the lazyboy, tapping frantically at keys. Everyone was staring at me but I was too occupied with fighting the keyboard and touchpad. As Scootaloo was about to yell something at me, I turned it toward her. "Was this the thing you saw in the dream?" I asked shakily.

Scoot jerked back a bit. "Yeah. Close enough anyway."

I closed my eyes as Sweetie and Moondancer hissed upon seeing the picture. "Buck me sideways," I whispered.

I thought for a few moments, while Scootaloo stood confused and a bit uncomfortable, while Sweetie and Moondancer looked worried. "I've got a thought. Scoot, come into the kitchen for a second." I had a very bad feeling starting to build, but I had to know, and this was the only way to be sure.

"Ok, Scootaloo, I've got a couple questions. They're gonna sound a bit weird, but just try to answer them as best as you can, ok?"

Scoot nodded hesitantly. "Alright."

"Alright. Can you name some of your elementary school teachers?"

Scoot blinked at the strange question. "What does have to do with the living jigsaw puzzle?"

"I'll get to it, but please, answer the question."

She looked at me, then tilted her head. "Alright. I know 6th grade was Mr. Jackson. Real jackass there. 5th grade was two different teachers, Mrs. Andrews, who left on maternity leave, so the school year got finished by Mrs. Mathers." She paced, annoyed by the seeming non-sequiteur. "Before that was Mr. Michaels, Ms. Cheerilee, Mrs. Dam? Something like that."

But at that point, I stopped listening as my heart fell to my hooves. I didn't interrupt her, as I tried to think of a few more questions. Each one only reinforced my hypothesis.

"Ok, what is this? What's with all the questions?" Scootaloo said, exasperated.

"Back to the teachers for a moment. Can you describe Ms. Cheerilee?" I asked.

Scootaloo looked at me in annoyance. "Yeah. Really nice mare, purplish coat with pretty whi..." She went pale all of a sudden as what she said started to register.

I grabbed the laptop and brought up a wiki, showing a picture of a particular mare. "Like this?"

Scootaloo's hindquarters hit the floor as she stared in shock. "What the hell?" she asked.

Sweetie and Moondancer walked in, trying to figure out what I was doing. I closed the laptop and sighed. "Damnit. Well, that kinda narrows the options I guess. But the only ones left are sounding really grim."

Sweetie spoke up, "What are you talking about?"

I looked at her and sighed. "I had a theory. Until the last couple days, Scootaloo's never seen a single episode of the cartoon. So how in the hell is she dreaming of Discord? How did she have a teacher who looks and is named after a character from the cartoon? I mean we've all seen the show, so we could have just been playing along with the situation, and that some brony scientist or wizard or nutjob transformed us, and what we saw in the cartoon was just filling in the gaps." I started pacing in a circle. "But she's never seen it. Hell, we haven't even gotten to the episode where she shows up. Discord doesn't even show up until the second season. So how can she know? Only if she /is/ Scootaloo. My memories theoretically may have been fogged by fanon and misremembered episodes, but she doesn't have that problem. So about the only hypotheses I've got left are that we were either killed and reincarnated, or transformed. But both of those are based on the only premise that fits the facts. Despite our joking about it or anything else, we actually are what we are now. And always have been, despite a quarter century on two legs."

Scootaloo still looked rather pale, but asked, "How?"

"Discord," Moondancer replied bitterly. "Backstabbing bastard and chaos god." She gave a mocking little chuckle. "Shows up in the second season pilot, after you three woke him up. Celestia turned him into a statue ages before it starts, nearly tears Equestria apart before the Elements end up turning him back into a statue. He gets loose later, claiming he changed his ways. According to the finale, the treacherous little garden gnome backstabs Celestia, and the series ends with him finishing off the last of the Elements. S'why everyone thinks the ending was a bunch of crap. Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies."

I shook my head a little, as if something didn't quite sound right, but I didn't want to interrupt Moondancer's explanation.

Scootaloo sat back, shaking her head to get her coherency back. "I can imagine why that would piss some people off. It's kind of like that Battalion series last year. Got canned on a cliffhanger and the station almost got hit with a lawsuit." She paused, then frowned. "But why?"

"Who knows what that bastardized block of basalt does anything, except maybe just for the lulz," I said a bit heatedly, then paused, "Though spending a millenium in masonry confinement would probably piss me off a bit too. Decided to take it out on Celestia and everyone else who got in his way."

Sweetie stared at me for a moment, blinking. "Branching out into alliteration, love?"

I paused, then shrugged a bit. "It sounded good."

"At least she's not calling me things that don't exist anymore," Scootaloo muttered under her breath.

I gave Scoot a raspberry before sitting back. "Seriously, though, I can't think of what we can do about it right now. Except maybe try to find out if there's more than just us. There almost has to be."

Sweetie rested her head against my neck. "Maybe we should make more of those videos."

Moondancer looked at us. "What?'

I looked back at her. "We were thinking about making more videos, maybe get other pony-morphs' attention, let them know they're not alone."

Moondancer shrank a bit as she thought about the reply we made to her plea for help and replied in a slightly muted voice, "That's a good idea. I know I really appreciated what you did for me."

I chuckled a little, though the catch in my chest made it seem a bit forced. "Hey, happy to be of service."

Sweetie looked at me. "Alright, director, when do you want to start?"

I grinned a bit. "Tomorrow? We can think of what we want to do with these videos besides paint a big sign for others saying 'You are not alone'."

Scootaloo tilted her head a bit, then shrugged. "Advice? 'Ponyfication for dummies'?"

"That's actually a good idea," Sweetie replied. "Can get Beth's help in figuring how to take care of ourselves?"

"Well, we'll need to figure that out ourselves too. After all, we're not exactly your average horses," Moondancer replied.

I nodded and looked out into space thoughtfully. "I should probably turn the garage into a stage or something. Who knows, we could make this a professional thing," I said wryly. "Pony Morph Crusaders Productions. All proceeds go to sponsor all things Equestrian."

Moondancer tilted her head in amusment. "Four days and you want to start Ponywood? What the hell, why not. It gives us something constructive to do, and maybe it will help out somehow."

Sweetie chuckled a bit against my neck. "So Apple Bloom, movie mogul, and Sweetie Belle, military equipment magnate," she joked. "Ambitious, but why the hell not? Isn't what I ever considered when I was growing up, but maybe that's why I don't have my mark yet."

I grinned a little, before moving to hop off the lazyboy, heading out to the garage. "Guess I'd better get started."

Sweetie followed me. "I'd better help you. Otherwise you'll just work yourself unconscious again."

I blushed a little but didn't contradict her, as we started to muscle and magic the various bric-a-brac and nicknacks out of the way. "Do you have a camcorder or something, love?" I asked after we finished moving just about everything except the forge, which we came to the consensus that it was going to have to stay where it is. Heck, we could probably use the anvil as a camera stand for the time being.

“I've got a few things I was able to snag when AFN was trying to offload some old gear. Nothing spectacular, some of it can't even handle HD, but it should work for what we're going to do with it, I suppose. Think all we'd need is a composite or component adapter. We could probably get Beth to grab one for us,” Sweetie replied.

“I've got an old TV tuner card we can use,” I replied. “Grabbed it back when I was making...” I paused and blushed in embarrassment at the absurdity.

Sweetie smirked as she said dryly, “Porn?”

“Ugh. Please,” I protested. “No, PMVs. Just realizing how... well, kind of ironic it is. A Pony making PMVs? Just kinda weird.”

Scootaloo and Beth stepped into the garage. "Hey, you two," Beth said as she looked around. "What're you doing here?"

Sweetie smiled and looked at Beth. "We were thinking about making some videos to let others know. We can't be the only ones, after all."

Beth stifled a squee, causing Scootaloo to roll her eyes. "How can I help?" the veterinarian asked enthusiastically.

"I've got a bunch of camera gear and stuff in the storage facility by Ft. Carson. I was wondering if you'd be willing to go grab it for me?" Sweetie asked.

Beth grinned. "Certainly."

Sweetie gave her the address. "My keys are in my uniform. Apple's room," she said.

Beth blinked then blushed a bit, giggling. "Ooook..." She left before I could explain the situation, although, I guessed there wasn't really anything I could deny about it.

"I didn't think she was a AppleBelle shipper," I joked, causing Scoot to look at me confused, and Sweetie to blush.

I looked at Scoot. "How's going? Any better?"

Scootaloo nodded. "Yeah a bit. It just rattled me, that's all."

"Yeah, I'm trying not to think about it too much, but it's not working too well," I admitted. "I mean reincarnation... spooky thought."

"Why not transformed?" Scootaloo asked. "You said that's a possibility."

"That makes it worse," I said. "It means the last twenty five years never should have happened in the first place. Sure, except for a few things, I wouldn't miss them that much, but the ones that do matter..." I said, eyes wandering toward Sweetie Belle.

"You don't think we'd have gotten together before?" Sweetie asked, curious.

"I don't know. We were just fillies at the time. We never had the chance one way or another. I just hate the thought that we'd have to thank that Celestia-cursed lawn gnome," I explained, a little sheepish.

Scootaloo threw a foreleg over my shoulder and said, "Then think of it this way. Thank him, then blow his buckin' head off. You're golden."

I snorted softly and shook my head. "How about I blow his head off, then thank him. Just in case."

Scoot grinned. “Better safe than sorry,” she agreed. “So what's the plan?”

Sweetie paced a bit, ear twitching as she considered the options. “What would be the best option? Just a video saying 'we're here' and where to get a hold of us online if they have any news, theories, whatever?”

I frowned slightly as I weighed the options. “Probably not a bad idea. I could throw together a site and forum for those morphed to post, and take suggestions for potential episodes?”

Scoot nodded. “I like that idea. It won't have the kooks coming to swarm us or anything, but it'll at least get us out where others can see that there's more like them.”

“Precisely,” I agreed, smiling. “We won't need a whole lot at this point, but if you can work something up, Sweetie, I'll throw together a site.” I trotted back to grab my laptop and brought it back to the 'studio', as Sweetie and Scootaloo bounced ideas back and forth between the two of them.

Setting things up wasn't exactly easy, as I continued to condemn the developer of the modern QWERTY keyboard to a day shoveling out a barn or two for making them so unpony-friendly. But by the time Beth had returned with a bunch of miscellaneous camera gear and other useful little tools, I had managed to set up the official Pony Morph Crusaders site. “How's this look?” I said as I turned the laptop toward my fellow four-hoofers.

“Not bad so far. We can do some more work on it later, but I think Scootaloo and I have a rough script to work with. Think you can be a camerapo.. person?” Sweetie asked.

Beth laughed at the inadvertent slip of the tongue, but nodded. “Absolutely.”

I took a look at one of the cameras. “This one should work. Digital output so I can do the editing right on my laptop.”

Beth nodded. “Alright, let me make sure I know how to get this thing to work,” she said, picking up the device and doublechecking the controls. She nodded as she removed the lens cap, set up a tripod and aimed it toward the 'set'. She smiled in approval as the camera autofocused on the pair of ponies. “Great,” she said. “I think we're ready.”

I nodded and plugged the camera into the laptop, booting up the capture program. “Alright, director,” I joked, heading toward the set to look at the script Scootaloo and Sweetie bashed together, reading it over and nodding. “Yeah, I think this is gonna work.”

"Hello, everyone," Sweetie said as she looked into the camera. "No, you are not hallucinating, and this is not a prank. As of the last four days, my friends and I have been ponies."

Scootaloo looked a little nervous but spoke up. "This is the first in a series of videos to let people know that we are here, that if there is more of us out there, that they are not alone."

I chipped in, "And those new to the four-hoofed game, we're also going to share any tips to adjusting to life as a different species, care of our new bods, and any other news we can think of."

The recording continued as we introduced ourselves to the odd few who would see this video and not know who we were, just in case. We waved Beth in, and she offered to answer, or at least try to figure out any medical questions ponies submitted.

I then caught myself rambling about some of the adjustments I found myself having to make and a few tips on how to counter the lack of opposable thumbs.

"Well, we're about out of time," Sweetie said, "but please, anypony who wants to shout out or get in contact of others, don't hesitate to send a message to-"

I stepped forward and replied, "ponymorphcrusaders@pmc.net.us, or our site, PMCNet. And please, don't give up hope."

Scootaloo stepped to my left as Sweetie moved to my right, and we all said at the same time, "You are not alone."

Beth stopped the recording and smiled. "That was awesome," she said, her voice squeaking just a bit like a certain cerulean pegasus.

I grinned a bit and said, "I'll edit the video and post it. Hopefully somepony will see it." I smiled as I started the tedious work of checking the recording, cutting out some of the flubs and the like and encoding it to a compatible format. Sweetie curled up against me, chipping in occasional suggestions, while Scootaloo and Beth went to make dinner and talk about ideas for future videos.