Fallout Equestria: Foreshadow
Chapter 3: Conflict
“The power of books is not to retell information, it’s to reteach it.”
As I trotted into the medical offices of the small town, I noticed a few things. One, this place was not really that medically safe, as there was rust all over the scrap metal of the shack. Two, the instruments they had were most definitely primitive, even for our technologically disabled times. Several items that were better suited as weapons than tools for saving lives were strewn across a table, near a bed side. And finally three, Splints was a damn stitched up mess. The unicorn had stiches across his face and down his chest, his white coat clashing with the black lace of the stiches. His robustly red mane swung a bit as he turned to see who had come in. “And, who might you be?” He asked, the voice having a slight accent that I could quite place. He set down a small clipboard and trotted to me, looking me up and down. “Young earth pony, similar in age to many scavengers I see. Hole in left ear left by most likely a .38 pistol, and wasn’t repaired in time by a healing potion. Eyesight might be addled, due to glasses, though this is just an assumption on the doctor’s part. Eyes filled with confusion on the doctor’s speech patterns most likely.” He smiled a bit as I stepped back, the last part ringing very much true. He spoke much like one would speak to a tape recorder on examining an animal or a book.
“Umm, my name is Page, Page Turner. I assume you are Splints?” I ask curiously, reaching into my saddle bags as he gives a nod.
“The one and only! So, Page… Name rings a bell.” He looks to his clipboard. “Not a patient, Doctor considers other options. If this Page is not a patient, and the Doctor is the only medic in this town, Mr. Turner must be from outside of the town.” He looks back at me. “Attire suggests a mildly intelligent stallion, perhaps a hacker, or a scavenger. Saddle bags seem filled with square or rectangular shapes. Unless Mr. Turner carries cases within his bags, these could be, perhaps books?” Splints gave a wide smile. “Ah, you must be the librarian hermit that Fauna is so fond of. I’m a bit embarrassed that I didn’t recognize the name!”
I pull the Medical Journal of Pony and Equine Species out. “I brought a book for you.” I set it down on the desk, chuckling. “But it’s fine, I’ve come to not expect ponies to recognize me; after all I am as you mentioned a hermit.” I feel a small ping of regret in my heart from admitting that fact.
“Ah yes! A readable medical journal, a rare sight nowadays, this will become useful for my practices.” Splints gave me a quick up and down look, his eyes squinting as if I was something on interest. “You didn’t come here to just deliver a book, did you?” He asks.
“Umm no, I came here because I’m staying in the town for a few days and wanted to help out in here, I have some mild skills in medicine, so I thought you might want an assistant.” I smiled at him that squinted look still never leaving the good doctors face.
“Negative, I’m fine here by myself. I don’t get overwhelmed often, unless a scavenge goes bad, which hasn’t happened in a month or so, so we’re all fine. Your services aren’t needed right now.” He moves to sit behind the desk he had set the clipboard on, adding to that with the book. “But I do thank you for the book, I will make sure to study it thoroughly.”
I sighed a bit, turning my back on Splints. “Alright, have a nice day then.” I said, waving my hoof. I left behind the Medical building without another word.
I felt disheartened as I explored the town, which didn’t take long considering how small it was. My eyesight gazed out into the wasteland, and to the far city that the tops of the buildings could just barely be seen by. My mind sank into a depression about my own usefulness. My thoughts clouded with darkness as I sat, leaning against what could be someone’s home. I continued my staring, thinking of how I wish I wasn’t as afraid as I always am. If I could have just made some sort of remark to that mare in the streets yesterday, then I wouldn’t have had to have Fauna risk her hide to save mine.
“What’s up Page?” I heard the small voice of the filly that had just plagued my thoughts, my head snapping up with my ears to see Fauna standing next to me. “You look really down, what happened with that job my dad tried to offer you?” She asked, sitting down.
I gave a long and tired sigh before smiling at her. “I told him it just wasn’t my kind of work. He wanted me to fight some robots.” I told her, feeling her lean against me.
“But didn’t you make those robots do th-“
“Mambo, yes. But I don’t have the device I used for it. That thing might belong to some junkie now.” I smiled and pet her mane lightly. “But I’m more down about the fact I can’t help out with anything.”
“What are you talking about? You’re really smart! I’m sure there’s something you can do!” The filly giggles.
“Well not for Splints. He took the book I had lent him and basically told me I could not help him. It just felt a bit useless to even bother asking. He just said thanks for the book and told me to leave.” I vented my anger.
“Well at least he enjoyed the book right? Won’t that help him a lot? I mean, it’s really rare to find books that you can read in the wasteland. You must be really lucky to find and have so many.” She pointed out to me.
“Well, I just have a passion I suppose” I gave what she said a few thoughts. “So, I gave Splints something to help him with his goal, to help ponies right?” I asked Fauna.
“Well yeah! Splints is a good doctor, but he can’t know everything right? In fact, I’m almost sure that if he reads that book for even a second, He’ll know a lot more and will be an even better doctor!” The filly gives me a hug. “You’re a good pony Page. You’re not a fighter, you’re a giver. You may hide in an underground library for most of your days, but when nice ponies need your help, you always give them more than they can take. Did you forget what you gave my dad and me after he knocked you out and almost killed you?” She asked, reaching into her saddles bags. “Books, Page, you gave us books. You even told me that I was a smart filly for hacking into your computers. You told me I could get smarter by reading, and that smart ponies become strong ponies.” She pulls out a book that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and one that made me a bit teary eyed. Terminals for the Terminally Dumb, a how to book on how to fix, or in some cases, hack into terminals, and the book I had given Fauna after our first meeting.
“You kept that old thing?” I asked, chuckling as I wiped some tears from my eyes.
“Still read it, I’ve finished it five times and somehow whenever I pick it up again, I still learn something new every time. Books teach Page, and I thought you would know that the most. They teach things that we don’t know.” Fauna gives me the books that I had given her oh so long ago. “I want you to know you do a lot, even when you think you don’t. “ She stands up and starts to trot away. “I’ll be making lunch, if you want some, go ahead and come back home.” She smiles and waves. “See you.”
I returned her wave with a lighter heart now, inspired a bit by Fauna. Inspiration is almost my life blood, I cannot write without it, or come up with some of my most creative ideas. I gave what she said a thought and nodded to myself, trotting around, the idea in my head forming at greater and greater heights. Finally after maybe 15 minutes of pacing and muttering to myself I smiled, I had the perfect plan.
“That is the most stupid plan I have ever heard of! Not to mention, reckless and dangerous!” Fauna began to scold me after I came to her with my idea. “Going around and showing ponies the knowledge of the old world? That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard you say!” She sighed, looking at me, noticing what determination I had in my eyes.
“But Fauna, you told me I couldn’t stay trapped up in my library, and you were right! I have to get out, I can’t just stockpile all those books for some idiot to use them as toilet paper sometime later, I have to get out and show ponies how to use them to make themselves smarter! They need to learn so they can be stronger.” I explained my voice full of cheer and excite from my plan. “I need to go out, travel to places that aren’t doing so well, and show them that books could help them! The words of the old world can help save the ponies of the new one.”
“But the old world made this new one! And I don’t know about you, but I think this one sucks!” Fauna sighed.
“What’s wrong with you anyways? I tell you I want to go out and stop being a hermit, which is what you’ve been telling me to do for the last year. Then you blow up and act like I’m crazy!” I returned her sigh, mine filled with annoyance.
“Because it is Page! You’d be going out into the world that I’ve been taught is so dangerous, we have to send half the town out just to get supplies from! And you want to stroll up to towns just like that? You’re going to get yourself killed!”
“I won’t. I’m smart enough to hide when I see danger. I learn from all my mistakes.” I move my hoof to the hole in my ear. “I learned from this one not to get too cocky from my plans.” I moved it to point at my cheek. “And I learned from this one that I need to think out those plans more.”
“Then think out this one more! Just give it a second thought, you’ll be heading out into places filled with raiders, and manticores, and night stalkers, and-“
“Good ponies that need help and ponies that will help whenever they can.” I smile. “I might not have thought too long, but with this plan, you can’t think too long on it. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“Trust me Page; those ponies don’t need you to help them.” She gives a small humph before looking at me.
“Yes they do Fauna.” I simply replied.
“How do you know!?”
“Because, I used to be a pony that needed help, just like my parents did, but they didn’t get any, I did.” I give a small smile. “I got help to survive from a village, after…” I give it a thought and shake my head. “Never mind, the point is I can’t leave ponies that could need help without it! I wouldn’t be alive if someone else didn’t think like that, and they did, so I need to follow in their hoofsteps and help others. Even if it’s in as dumb as a way as giving knowledge of the old world is.”
Fauna gives a small look at me, all the anger or contempt from my decision erasing from her face after just those few words. She gave a small nod. “I don’t like it, but I can’t stop you can I?” She asks, to which I gave a small shake of my head. “Well then, where are you going to go?” She smiles.
“Back to my library, I’m going to pack some different books to take with me, just some random topics that may or may not come in handy to share. Then, I’ll set off for anywhere I can go, one of my traders that come along mentions a settlement to the west of my library. I think he called the town Stonebrook.” I said, looking to Fauna as I blinked, noticing a look in her eye.
“So then, when are we leaving?” She asks with a small smile. I shook my head as she said this, looking at her sternly.
“No, you’re not going to come along; it’ll be much too dangerous for a filly.” I said looking at her.
“Oh yeah, too dangerous for the filly who saved you from a raider not what, a day ago?” She asked smirking at me. I frowned at her and sighed.
“That was different, you saved me, but what will happen when the situation is reversed? I don’t think… I might be able to save you. I’m not the bravest; I was almost pissing myself from the sight of the raider. You saved me, and I’m gonna say thanks for that, but you have no idea how bad it can be. Especially for a foal, it’s one of the reasons I went into my library after all. So no. I will not allow you to even think of coming with me while I travel.” I said looking her in the eyes with a look that said I was never more serious about anything else in my life.
Fauna gave a defeated look to me and I knew she had come around to my side of the argument. She looked down to her hooves in disappointment. “Sorry Page, I just. I enjoy being around you a lot. And this place is getting kinda boring, so maybe if I went with you it’d be more fun.” She gives me a weak smile and I lightly placed my hoof on her head, petting her mane.
“Don’t worry about it. But hey, how about this.” I smile wistfully at her. “I don’t really want to say good bye more than you do, so how about you come with me to my library for me stocking? I mean, at least we can spend a bit more time together.” I gave her a chuckle. “That sound good?”
Fauna gave a hopeful and joyful gasp at the suggestion and nodded, hugging me tightly, a bit too tightly as I started to struggle for breath. “Yesyesyesyesyes! It sound super-duper great!” She giggled as she started to let go of me. “I just gotta pack a bit of food for the short trip okay?” She rushes around the home to get packed as I smiled at her, nodding in agreement with her task before starting to trot out. Soon she was ready to go on out with me, I gave her a small smile before she jumped a bit, smiling widely, a smile only a foal can do right. “Ready!” She said joyfully. We then made our way out of her village and back towards my library.
Quiet. It was eerily so quiet once we arrived back at my home that I was on guard. I had never heard it this quiet before, usually I could hear gunshots in the far distance of the closer roar of a manticore. I moved towards the small area where I enter my library and noticed that the terminal was blown up. I looked back to Fauna. “Stay here, hide.” I told her, not waiting for an answer as I moved in and crouched low, moving through the familiar tunnels of my home. I moved in the shadows, the faint wind of the outside bristling my mane as I noticed the turrets I had set up to guard my home were exploded and all that was left was some scrap metal and their place holders. I let out a small, quiet sigh of anger. I keep moving, traversing the halls with a swiftness that could only come from knowing this place like the bottom of my hoof, which with how many times I turned the pages of a book, I knew very well.
As I heard a sound from behind me I turned, readying Inktip in my mouth as I pushed against the wall, hoping I wasn’t noticed by the invaders. Then I lets go of my weapon with a sigh as I saw Fauna, smiling at me. “You’re not very sneaky.” She said in a hushed whisper.
“What are you doing here?” I replied in an equally hushed tone. “I told you to stay back!” I raised my voice lightly at that, to which Fauna put her hoof up to her mouth and made a small shushing noise.
“I thought you could use back up.” She smiles at me, her eyes glinting in the dim lights of the hall. I knew she was trouble sometimes, but this might be getting a bit ridiculous. I sighed and nodded, moving to the wall and starting to trot on again, knowing full well there was no way I was going to rid myself of that filly.
The sound of voices put both me and Fauna back on edge as we hadn’t heard anything for a good few minutes. I trotted slowly to the corner in front of us, which would lead to the entrance of my library itself and listened to the conversation.
“So wow this fucking place! It’s like some weirdo retard decided to take all those fucking useless books and put them in one place.” A female gruff voice then laughed. “So then, why the fuck we come here again?”
“That’s the third time you’ve asked you fucking idiot.” A voice that was gravelly replied. It was male however as it was much much deeper than the females voice. “We’re here because Blastzone came around here like a week ago and hasn’t been back. Boss is getting pissed at her.”
“But I thought she was the boss?” Another male voice, this one with a certain hinge to it, the tone making it sound like the pony behind the voice could just go crazy at any moment. This was reinforced with a hyena like giggle after the question. “Hehehe, yeah fucking right. She was always a bitch. One I would have liked to cut right into!”
“Can it fucko. We have a job to do. Then when we find the bitch we can gut her and take turns fucking the entrails.” The gravelly voice replied, adding a laugh to the already laughter filled room of the raiders. I was more or less scared for my life… we had faced a raider not but a day ago right? Images of the raider’s bloody pulp from my grenade filled my mind and I balked lightly at the thought, struggling to stay quiet. I looked back from the cover as I heard movement. “Well, somepony was fucking living here, so Blastzone was right.” The mare said, whom I’ve barely gotten a look at, but from what I could tell she was wearing the normal raider décor and armor of spikes, blood, and gore. Her flank was adorned with a cutiemark, one of a skull being crushed by a rifle butt. Her fur around the mark was a bright, almost urine colored yellow. “I think the pony might have left. We still had to take fucking care of that stupid ass turret thing.” She adds on, a sound coming from her mouth that I had to assume was her hawking up a loogey. I inhaled deeply through my nose, trying to calm myself down and was assaulted with unfamiliar smells. The iron-like smell of blood in the air around them, even if they had no other victims here except for my turrets, the smell of sweat and unwashed was all over them, worse than if it had been on me. I don’t take showers often, as I don’t have access to them, but if I were to use one, I’d try to make sure I’d get everything. Otherwise, the rain does fine, but these raiders almost seem like they purposely ignore and avoid even the rain to stay dirty.
“Well, the others are looking around where Blastzone was hanging out. So they might find the whore.” The crazy voice started to say. “Hehehe, hopefully She’ll be dead~!” He sounded all too happy about one of his comrades possibly being dead, which she was. Did raiders consider each other comrades? My attention was snapped back by the next words, which made me shiver in terror.
“Let’s just look around here and then burn those stupid books back there. Who the hell can even read?” Gravel Voice laughed. This not only scared me, it enraged me. But I couldn’t take on 3 raiders by myself! I almost got killed from one with just a pistol! I don’t even know what weapons these ponies have. I want to save my books, but at the same time, I realize my life is more important. I was just about to decide to move back and leave the raiders, maybe ambush them outside, when I heard a click of plastic on metal. I then saw something sail through the air in front of me, a grenade. I turned my head over to Fauna, who had held a pin in her magical grip, the light green magic shining faintly in the dark as I then heard the aftermath of her brash and if I might say very stupid decision.
“What?” Crazy Voice said, and then the sounds of scrambling and terror filled the room the raiders were occupying. The sounds of diving for cover, shouts to get the fuck out and such had then been replaced by an awkward silence where normally the loud Boom of a grenade would have been. She had used one of my timed grenades again, and set it to a very bad time. I gave her a worried and exasperated look that explained my own dismay at this situation. She just gave me a scared and worried shrug back as we heard the raiders’ starting to leave their cover.
“It’s a dud.” Urine Mare said as she looked over the grenade I presumed, I was too busy trying to become one with the matter of the steel wall behind me. “WHO THE FUCK THREW THIS?!” She yelled down the hall. At that moment I felt like I should do one of three things, one, and piss myself. Two, piss myself and run. Three, Piss myself, run, and take Fauna with me. I almost elected the third when I heard the sounds of something that can only be called the sound of ripping death. I moved quickly to grab up Fauna, who was cowering beside me and start running down the tunnels, bullets starting to move past my flank and dive into the steel of the ground under me, bouncing off it and almost hitting me on the ricochet.
I panted as my mind started to slow the events around me so I could think better, which was very hard with deadly force being used on me and my friend. My mind came up with maps of the location I had researched when I had found so many years ago, and which way to run to allow me to double back and lose them. The map played like a chess game in my mind as I imagined all possibilities and did my best course of actions.
Left, left, right, upstairs, right, down a flight, then run through a small office area. The plan was working as I could barely hear the raiders behind me anymore, though, trouble struck once I found myself falling, and face first by tripping over a garbage can that had rolled its way from where I had put it almost a month ago. Come to think of it, on the way down, I had time to mull over my plan and I had forgot to include one detail, the raiders got here first. They must have scavenged and messed with many of my items before hoof. In retrospect, the trash that was in the other rooms should have tipped me off to this, but I was too worried on my own life and Fauna’s to care about minute details, but you know what they say, Discords in the Details.
My tumble sent a surprised Fauna off my back and into the hallway in front of me. As I felt pain spike up my front fore hooves from hitting the trashcan, I heard the raiders behind me, shouting my location out to each other, no doubt ready to kill me and use my body for party favors. I looked to Fauna who was sprawled out as well, but she could and did recover much faster than I did. I gave her a small shoo with my hoof and she went running. Alright, new plan time, and not a moment to waste. Before I could even get a good smell of the raiders, I moved my hind legs and bucked the trashcan down the straight shot to the doorway behind me, a great clattering sound as the remains of soda bottles and metal cans in the giant metal can went soaring back. As I started to run, not even bothering to look back, I heard the surprised yelp of one of them, I think Crazy, as I ran. No sooner had I turned a corner had I felt a gunshot blaze right through the hairs in my tail, singeing them from the heat and force of the bullet. Now without a filly to be around me, but still to worry about, I had to make a new plan. As is, it would be near impossible to get to Fauna and get to the exit without any major injuries. This left one option I really did not want to do. I let out a small sigh as I dug through my packs every short moment of rest I got, and uncovered my very own happy creations, more of the timed grenades, in multiple forms. But even better was a remote detonator I had rigged up for each type of grenade.
I ran down the halls, dropping flash bang grenades under my hooves as I felt bullets sting into my flanks, the hot searing pain of a piece of metal pushing and penetrating my skin felt well, obviously not good. I couldn’t keep this from stopping me, I needed some way to distract them and get close enough to use my Inktip. I looked back as I set the last flash bang, diving into a room as I saw what might have been a cowponies hat on the lead raider in front of the group. I shut my eyes and pressed the detonator with my teeth hard enough to where I heard a crack and a small thought of fright at perhaps breaking my shiny toy entered my mind. But this thought was pushed out as I heard the raiders scream in pain from the very bright light and loud sound of the flash bang, which actually while not blinding me, sent my ears ringing. I moved quickly and went back out, seeing the raiders in all their spiky and death filled glory. I moved with my Inktip out, smashing it quickly into the first raider’s temple, cursing as I saw it had gotten stuck. I had no choice but to leave it as I heard, although through muffled ears, what some of the raiders were saying. Now most of this was nonsense that I didn’t care about, but then something caught me enough to make the temporary deafness all bearable.
“That fucking village will burn!” Crazy had said, and I felt my bones shiver and shake, my own blood chilling. I backed away and went into one of the rooms I had gone in earlier and as the deaf nature of my ears left, I found the courage to yell back. “What Village?!” I said, earning a laugh, from Gravel. Before I registered what he spoke, the idea of a pony being able to take a dagger to the temple, survive, and then laugh at said pony who stuffed a dagger there, turned my bladder almost three sizes smaller.
“The one we saw hoof prints leading to. We know all the villages near this fucking part of the city. We’re going to burn it right now! We’ve been planning that attack for weeks!” He said. I felt something inside of me break and something else try to hold it together with duct tape. The something that broke was the dam I was welling my anger in, and the something else was my common sense and logic trying to stop me from doing something stupid. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out to well. I threw out several regular grenades to the group of three. I heard them curse and run, but one seemed to remain, Gravel. “Nice try Pon-“Was all he got out before hot shrapnel exploded in his face, tearing through the weak raider armor and pulling his muscle from his bone. When I went out there, I received a sense of déjà vu from the sight of the blood and viscera all over the hall, but I saw no sight of Inktip, which was lodged in this raider’s head last time I saw. I felt a bit of sadness from losing my weapon before I heard the other raiders coming back and suddenly, even with all the rage an idea popped into my head. All my timed grenades run on a similar frequency to my remote charges. If I was right, and I hoped to the Goddesses I was, and then the raiders might have picked up the ‘dud’ grenade they saw at first when Fauna threw it at them. As I saw Urine and Crazy turn to see me, clean in the otherwise filthy with blood hall where the remains of their comrade once stood, I smiled at them.
“Bye Bye.” I said as I gripped down on the trigger for my frag remote charges, and it seemed my luck paid off, as Crazy’s saddlebags exploded in a terrifying display of blood and bullets, some shots from the ammo in his back actually hitting me, but only grazing. I cringed in pain, but then in disgust as I saw the two raider’s bodies. Crazy’s was split in half from the explosion, hind legs near the wall behind him and his front half looking like it almost was trying to crawl away. Urine wasn’t as unlucky, but she was at least in the good grace to die. Her right flank was torn completely down to the bone, and it was a half miracle that it managed to stay attached, but it was still rather disgusting.
I looked around, quickly as I could to see if Fauna was around, and I was half relieved and half terrified to see that the filly wasn’t. I then rushed past the dead raiders, looking around. “Fauna!” I yelled, looking all about for her. “It’s safe!” I tried to assure the filly. Just when I had started to freak out, the filly moved up and tapped my flank, making my cringe from the grazing my hindquarters had received. I looked back and sighed with relief. “Oh thank the Goddesses.” I said, picking her up and pulling her into a hug.
“I’m fine Page… did you take care of those Raiders?” She asked, to which I nodded. “Yeah, we don’t have to worry about them.” I said, until a dark and unsettling fact surfaced its way back into my thoughts. “We need to go. Now!” I said, picking up the filly and rushing back out of my home.
Smoke, terrible smoke filled the air as I looked at the remainder of Fauna’s village, which was nothing but a pyre to the ponies that were killed there now. Foals, mares, stallions, It didn’t matter who was killed and who survived. My mind was blank as I looked down, seeing the tears of my filly companion drop to the dry ground. Numerous times I had to hold her back from just rushing in there, her yelling names of her loved ones, her father, and her friends. My eyes stung, whether it was from the smoke in the air, or from the terrible sight before me, I knew that I had to leave, and I was taking Fauna with me.
Footnote: Level Up
Lack Of Fucks: You gain the ability to ignore 10 points of penalties to skill rolls from a chosen source for a turn. For every rank of Lack of Fucks you take. Each use must be on a different turn. This perk has an unlimited number of ranks -- you can lack as many fucks as you want to spend perks on
Author’s Notes: I am so sorry this took so long to write. I finally finished it though! Thanks to inspiration from many different ponies! See y’all for Chapter 4!
Also while I was gone I got a couple commissions, as you’ll see from the title card and this here.