Fallout Equestria: Memories Best Left Buried

by CivilWarPony

Part One: A Rumor And Echoes

Part One: A Rumor and Echoes

Airborne sits on a cloud high above the city of New Cloudsdale watching the sun rise in the distance, it had been five years since the events that made him a hero in the eyes of many ponies. By having a hoof in finding Rainbow Dash and ending the both collective threats of a renewed Grand Pegasus Enclave offensive and effectively dealing with the Red Remnant, he had become an unintended symbol of the hope of possibility that Equestria could resemble the world that it once was before it was destroyed by the hatred that gave fuel to the magical fires that scorched the land. Sighing he leans forward over the edge of the cloud he was sitting on and pushes himself off of it.

He rockets down through the soupy mixture of clouds and shivers as pellets of water spatter into his face. His wings pulled tight against his side, listening to the howling of the wind in his ears as he picks up momentum. Then as he breaks through the cloud cover he snaps opens his wings and is jerked upwards breaking off his descent. He glides down towards the main campus quadrangle the New Wonderbolt Academy, carefully choosing a spot where he will land that will attract the least amount of attention. He softly flaps his wings a few times before landing behind the Administrative building. He hears somepony chuckle from behind him, whirling around he comes muzzle to muzzle with Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow smirks and says, "If you didn't want to be noticed you shouldn't have sped down through the clouds like that you know. I could hear you breaking through the clouds like a clap of thunder from all the way in my office."

Folding his wings to his side Airborne replies, "Well maybe I wouldn't attract so much attention if you or Fluttershy keep sending me on these missions that make me look like something I am not."

Rainbow Dash cocks her head and says, "What you are Airborne, is a hero whether you like it or not. Besides I figured a descendent of Lightning Dust would enjoy having this much admiration from so many ponies. Besides you cannot deny that you don't enjoy the extra adventure every now and again. Getting to poke amongst the ruins of Old Equestria is something of a habit of yours is it not Airborne?"

Airborne snorts and doesn't reply, his pride slightly offended. He thinks, "Rainbow Dash knows me better than myself it would seem. Also doesn't help that Starshine keeps her informed of all of my activities." Airborne then sits on his haunches and says, "So, you must have sought me out for a reason other than to criticize my supposed habits. What do you want from me? Another suicide mission that elevates my status from hero to god to more bright-eyed new recruits?"

Rainbow says, "Hey it wasn't my idea to find you in the first place okay, it was Starshine's and secondly I have just got back from a debriefing with one of our scouting patrols that I believe you will find very interesting. Normally I wouldn't say anything to you until I had passed along the information to Spitfire so she could analyze the facts for herself then she could decide what the appropriate response would be. Contrary to whatever beliefs you have about me sending you on more fantastic missions I have been trying to give you a break. Nopony and I mean nopony has done so much in such a short amount of time as you Airborne. I figured you could use a rest but it would seem that I need your particular abilities yet again."

Airborne rolls his eyes and says, "So you haven't been keeping me around and giving me the soft details just to spare me from further missions where I might get myself killed or was it because you wanted to keep Soarin around so he wouldn't have to go on these missions as well." Rainbow Dash's face turns bright red and she nervously paws at the ground with her forehoof. Airborne laughs at her reaction and then says, "So, what was so interesting about this scout debrief that you decided to tell me all about it?"

Rainbow quickly composes herself and says, "As you are aware we have been sending patrols into the badlands regions near the borders of what used to be Mustangia. Nopony has been heard from Mustangia since the war ended but by all reports whole streams of ponies have been coming across what used to be Equestria's southern border. These refugees have been saying things that don't seem to make any sense. First some of them say that Discord has been spotted in Mustangia then other reports say Nightmare Moon has been seen roaming the badlands causing destruction wherever she goes. None of these reports can be accurate but if they are then we need to find out the truth of these matters before we face another threat that makes taking down the Red Remnant look like foal's play."

Airborne's ears swivel forward and his widen with surprise. He replies, "How is that possible? Princess Luna died during the War, Littlepip found her remains and cremated them. How is it possible that she still yet lives? Also nopony has heard from Discord in two hundred years and now of all times he chooses to reveal himself. None of what you just said makes any sense."

Rainbow nods and says, "I know but we cannot afford to ignore this. I knew Discord before the War, even when he was supposedly reformed I never truly believed that. I knew one day that he might slip back into his old ways and cause chaos to spread throughout Equestria again. We cannot let that happen. The peace we have tried to maintain across Equestria is a fragile one at best. The rebuilding has gone a lot more smoothly since we defeated the Red Remnant five years ago and our patrols with the Talons has ensured that the most hardened raider gangs have stayed clear of the trade caravans and settlements. But we have still have so much to do in order to restore Equestria to its former glory. Somepony like Discord could throw a serious wrench into our plans and that is something he is more than happy to do with his quirky sense of humor. I need you and Starshine to leave immediately. You will rendezvous with a team that is already on its way to the edge of the badlands. I think you will be surprised by a few familiar faces in the team once you meet up with them."

Airborne asks, "Why? Who is among them?" Rainbow winks and says, "Wait and see Airborne. Until then you have your orders meetup with Starshine at the departure station in thirty minutes. She will fill you in on the rest of what you need to do." With that statement Rainbow trots off leaving Airborne pondering over what he just heard. Thirty minutes later Airborne had gathered his gear and headed towards the departure station. The station itself was a modest building at the edge of the New Wonderbolt Academy campus. It was where various Pegasi patrols would check in before heading out on patrol and check back in when they returned. Also it doubled as an extra security measure for New Cloudsdale as any and all air traffic going to and from the city had to pass through the departure building. If anypony tried to sneak in illicit materials such as drugs from the Wasteland below. A few times some of the new recruits had brought back a bomb hidden away in their saddlebags that a raider had placed in their pack while they weren't paying attention. A new recruit out on their first mission now posed the greatest threat to New Cloudsdale.

Rookie mistakes were often expected amongst raw recruits being forced to take up their respective flight schedules over the Equestrian Wasteland but sometimes these mistakes were made carelessly and somepony out of their own stupidity would get themselves hurt as a result. Airborne notices Starshine awaiting near the front entrance with his weapons she had taken from the armory. His trusty assault rifle named The All Equestrian that was a gift from its former owner Soarin and his two Firewing Fourty-Fives named Gust and Thunder respectively. He also had a revolver given to him by Rainbow Dash herself that he rarely used as he preferred his two automatic sidearms to get any job done but this time he brought along the weapon. Rainbow had named the revolver Lucky Star and it had seem a lot of service during the War but Airborne had maintained the weapon so that it would function if he needed it and something told him that if he was going up against Discord he would need all the firepower he could get his hooves on.

Starshine seeing Airborne approach happily raises her forehoof and waves to him. She smiles as he gets closer then says, "So, you ready to go on another adventure into the wild blue yonder?" Airborne replies, "I think you mean the wild brown yonder. The badlands aren't exactly known for their beauty." Starshine shakes her head and says, "Fine so I gathered up all of our usual supplies, plus some extra ammo and medkits given how many times we seem to attract trouble whenever we go on these excursions. It is a wonder at all that we have come back from any of them given no matter what we do you always seem to be taking fire from somepony Airborne." She laughs loudly as Airborne becomes embarrassed and hides his face in the folds of his wings.

Starshine trots over to Airborne and nuzzles him underneath his chin. She smiles as Airborne removes his face from the folds of his wings and she says, "I know we haven't been able to spend any time together lately. Ever since we were married things have been so hectic these past few years. Between all the missions Rainbow Dash sends you on and the details Fluttershy assigns me to, I feel like we have never really been able to start our own lives. But after this mission Airborne, let's take a long extended vacation away from New Cloudsdale. Maybe we can visit the spa and grab something to eat at Tenpony Tower in Manehattan. Either way we are getting away from here for awhile." Airborne smiles and kisses her cheek saying, "I couldn't agree more, but let's wait until after our mission is over. I am sure Rainbow Dash wouldn't mind granting us leave from New Cloudsdale for a few weeks."

They both turn and walk up the stairs into the departure building. Inside Airborne asks, "So, Rainbow Dash said we are going to be meeting up with someponies down below on the surface. She said I might recognize a few, do you know what she meant by that?" Starshine stops and says, "Well she meant that we will be meeting up with both Fractured Heart and Celestial down on Equestria's surface. Also Sunrise will be joining us as well, she stayed behind to wait for us so its important that we get to the badlands as soon as possible otherwise I fear Fractured might melt in the intense heat. Crystal Empire ponies aren't exactly used to the heat you know."

Airborne smiles and stamps his hooves excitedly saying, "It has been awhile since I have seen either one of them. I wonder what they have been up to in all this time. Its strange to think that Fractured Heart will becoming along with us into the badlands. It will be interesting to see his reaction to seeing so much sand compared to the Crystal Empires vast frozen wastes." Starshine nods in approval pulls out a small piece of paper as they approach the security station. The guard takes one look at the piece of paper and waves them on through. They pass through the security scanners that use unicorn magic to detect various concealed items before exiting out the rear of the building.

Ahead another guard waits for them at the edge of the large cloud that the city of New Cloudsdale rests upon. He nods at their approach and says, "You are all clear to proceed. Fair winds on your journey Airborne and Starshine." Airborne gallops towards the edge and jumps off spreading his wings as he flies down towards the surface of Equestria with Starshine following close behind him. Airborne thinks, "It's going to be great to see Celestial and Fractured again. Let's hope that the goddesses are watching over us on this mission. I really want to come back from this with everypony in one piece." After a few hours of flying the surface of the badlands emerges through the cloud cover below them.

The vast landscape is covered in reddish brown sand that stretches for miles occasionally the landscape is interrupted by sandstone buttes that jut out of the ground like tall pillars. The chaotic appearance of the badlands was a fitting place to start their search for the God of Chaos himself. The air was hot and humid, it seemed to stick to Airborne's insides sapping his strength as they made their way towards the rendezvous point. In the distance a green flare is shot up into the air marking the location where they would meet up with the rest of the team. Wheeling down towards the ground Airborne lands to see Sunrise, Fractured, and Celestial waiting for them.

Celestial quick races over to him and hugs him tightly. Airborne notices a mechanical whirring that emanates from her throat as a female voice with a tinny sound speaks, "I am so glad to see you again Airborne. It feels like it has been ages since we last met." Airborne tries to adjust to hearing Celestial's voice for the first time. She lets go of him and says, "Like my new voice? Fluttershy's techs have some Old Equestria medical tech that they found while scavenging amongst the ruins of a hospital. Apparently they found this replacement tongue and voice box for somepony long ago. Now I can speak to you for the first time. Its kinda weird isn't it?" Airborne shakes his head trying to find the right words to say to Celestial. Starshine lands behind Airborne and says, "Yeah, sorry I should have said something about this before we left New Cloudsdale. Celestial had passed along a note that I received from Rainbow Dash before we left saying that she had a new voice and wanted it to remain a secret that she didn't want you to know Airborne. Apparently she wanted to surprise you with it and I would say that it worked!" Starshine and Celestial laugh loudly as Fractured approaches from behind them.

He raises his left forehoof up to Airborne for a hoof-bump, Airborne quickly shakes his head and hoof-bumps Fractured saying, "It's good to see you again Fractured. What are you doing all the way down here?" Fractured replies, "Well after you defeated the Enclave I went back to the Crystal Empire and had the bodies of Princess Cadence and Shining Armor properly buried in a tomb we built for them. Afterwards I sent about cleaning up the Crystal City and rebuilding it. We are going to try and make the city liveable again for anypony who comes there. A month ago Fluttershy contacted me saying she needed my help on mission that she said you were going to be involved with. How could I say no after all that we had been through together also I feel like I owe you ever since I took you captive in the Crystal Empire. Call my appearance here as a way to repay you for the things that I have done."

Airborne replies, "You don't owe me anything Fractured. As far as I am concerned I owe you for saving my flank back in the Crystal Empire. So consider us even from now on okay." Fractured nods and pulls out a large trench knife from his utility barding saying, "We found this while combing through the ruins of the Crystal Place. I think it belonged to Shining Armor during the War, his cutie mark is on one side of the handle while Princess Cadence's is on the other side. I think they would want you to have it." Airborne carefully takes the knife and attaches it to his combat barding. He thanks Fractured and smiles as Sunrise pulls him into a hug.

Sunrise says, "So, are you ready to go? We are already behind schedule?" Airborne, Starshine, and Fractured collectively nod and then Sunrise says, "So, lets go!" They trot into the badlands towards the border of the former country of Mustangia to find out the what Discord has to do with Nightmare Moon's appearance. Elsewhere in the badlands a lone figure stands on clifftop overlooking a small valley watching a plume of black smoke rise in the distance. The figures face is hidden behind a cloak, the only revealing feature of the figures face is a horn that pokes out from beneath the cloak. The figure makes their way down the cliff side and walks towards the burnt out husks of a wagon circle.

Above the carrion crows circle ready to feed on the scattered bodies of a dozen ponies that lie among the remains of the wagons. Walking over to a couple of the bodies, the figure sees that it is a mother and foal. The mother attempting to shelter her foal from Death with one final embrace. What this pony could see however was something that no mortal pony in Equestria could ever see and that was the other figures wandering aimless among the burnt wagons and scattered personal effects. They were not solid figures, they appeared transparent in the fierce sunlight. Sitting next to the bodies of the mother and foal were the disembodied spirits of the same mother and foal. The mother's spirit stared fearfully at their former remains while still shielding the spirit of her foal in Death. The figure knew that Sleipnir's servants would be along shortly to escort the spirits of these ponies to the other side.

But these ponies were the reason why this figure was here. There was still a pony clinging to Life, and this figure knew they still had a job to do. Eventually the figure found the pony they had been looking for, the pony was a cream colored female Earth pony. Her cutie mark was hidden by the dried blood that clung to her flanks. She weakly opened her eyes as the figure approached. She said, "Who's there? I cannot see you properly. What do you want?" The figure spoke, "Don't worry I am a friend. I just came here to see if everypony was alright."

The voice that the spoke to this pony was distinctly male but it spoke with some authority like this pony had long ago possessed a position of power. As the figure got closer the female Earth pony could see that the figure was wearing a cloak. She started to panic and her heart began to race. The figure could sense the pony's distress and pulled back the hood of his cloak saying, "Don't worry I am not going to hurt you." The male Unicorn settles next to the female Earth pony and wraps his arm over her shoulder saying, "What is your name?" The female replied, "My name is Peach Cobbler. I was on my way to Equestria to join my husband when we were attacked by somepony. Everything happened so fast that I didn't get a good look at the pony that did this. When I awoke everypony was dead." Peach's eyes start to fill with tears as she gazes down to her wounded side, she then gazes back at the strange Unicorn saying, "I don't want to die here.I want to be with my husband." The strange Unicorn pulls Peach closer to him feeling that the moment is almost upon her. Peach looks up into the Unicorn's face and asks weakly, "Who are you?" The Unicorn replies, "I have no name."

Peach's eyes roll into her head and the Unicorn can feel the life fading from Peach's body. In the moment he feels everything that everything Peach Cobbler feels. Her fear and uncertainty as well as her regret that she will not be able to see her husband again. The Unicorn then performs his job, the reason he had come to this desolate spot in the Equestrian Wasteland. His hooves glow with a white aura as he gently reaches into Peach's body to separate her soul from her dying body. This was a task he was all to familiar with, he had lost count how many times he had performed this task over the centuries. It was always the same though, he would feel in the moment of a ponies death every single thing that they were feeling from their emotions to the pain they felt. It was a way to make him empathize with the recently deceased. Peach Cobbler's soul stood up and stepped out of her dead body like a snake shedding its skin.

When Peach Cobbler opened her eyes she turned to look at the strange Unicorn who appeared differently than he did before. His face was pale and his eyes were icy blue in color. He seemed to glow with a strange aura and she asked her voice sounding like a whisper, "What are you?"

The Unicorn replies, "What I am doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that you must move on." The Unicorn approaches Peach Cobbler's soul and says, "Go now, be at peace." Peach Cobbler's soul disappears in a flash of white light as she moves on. The Unicorn turns around and closes the eyelids on Peach Cobbler's now lifeless body. Using his Unicorn magic he digs a grave and levitates Peach's body into it then covers the body with layers of dirt. He then does the same for the rest of the of the ponies who were killed in the attack. By now Sleipnir's servants were already performing their task by escorting the spirits of the recently deceased to the other side. He hid his presence from them, not wanting them to mistake him for a dying pony. The Unicorn with no name walks away from the wreckage of the caravan and into the desert determined not to leave a trace of himself on the landscape for Sleipnir or anyone else watching to sense his presence. Preferring to remain another nameless ghost in this destroyed world that has no place for him.