Not too terribly much happened today, which is a nice change. I’ll use the extra time to catch up on the things I missed in yesterday’s entry, then hit up the main points.
Just glanced back, seems I left off talking about when I first saw Joe’s magic.
If my mane wasn’t already green, it probably would’ve turned green with envy. I already had plenty of reason to be jealous of this guy. Now he’s going and manifesting freaking magic right in front of me, David Blaine-ing it up in somebody’s empty backyard.
I wonder how much he can lift. I wonder how fine-tuned the force is. This probably explains the strange damage to everything, all the broken glass and missing paving stones and hydrants ripped out of the ground. Pretty strong talent.
So maybe I didn’t like the reason that Joe decided to come back with me, but I wasn’t about to argue with him. We need every person. I went with him to his home base, a tiny house with a generator running in the front and no sign of damage (one of the only ones on the block not screwed up somehow). Everything he wanted to bring was computer related somehow.
Unlike Sky, he had no compunctions about his life before and didn’t try to hide anything from me. Told me he’d been some kind of important software developer (called it a Systems Architect or something, whatever), for an important tech company on the other side of the country. He had come south to help with the launch of a new product, and was living out of a hotel for another week before he flew back.
Well, obviously that plan never came to fruition. Wasn’t there a book about migrant workers like that? No, I think that was a different book. Whatever. Joe the pony had a similar story to Sky and me: left alone, didn’t know what to do or where to go. Scavenged for what he needed and kept alive however he could. More hospitable to life of all kinds where the ground wasn’t always made of concrete, and by the sound of it more of the hostile animals moved this way across the city. Guess that might explain a little of why he was so much more afraid to travel and had such a harder time going out without having to fight a little to stay safe.
You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff he said he did (me neither). The house wasn’t his, and the only thing he seemed to care about bringing was an extremely expensive-looking laptop and a duffel bag filled with portable hard drives. Yeah, you heard that right. A duffel-bag full. What’s in it?
Apparently the sum total of human knowledge. Or… maybe just a few tiny (but important) parts of the internet. Wikipedia, webMD, business directories and databases full of classic literature. While I was trying to get in touch with other human survivors (shut up, we are), he’d been milking the internet for all it was worth. Before there were animals getting in the way, he broke into every house he could and ran some sort of thing from a thing and did… he explained it in exhausting detail, but it went a little over my head.
Honestly, I don’t really care how he did it. What matters most for us is that he could. Of course, you might want to know (as I did) how a quadruped with gigantic fingernails at the end of each arm instead of hands managed to use a keyboard and accomplish any of these things. Personally, I thought that this indicated he was deceiving me about the things he’d done, but of course I’d misjudged.
He proceeded to demonstrate his “magic” telekinesis could also do precision work, like pressing the keys on a keyboard.
Why couldn’t I have woke up able to do that? Why couldn’t Sky? If we could do things like that, rebuilding a civilization would be far easier. Being able to manipulate things in the human way, essentially keeping our hands, would’ve made this awful transformation at least slightly more tolerable.
Is it fair that I’ve got this tiny pot of boiling rage for Joe right now? Okay, rage is probably too strong a word, and it’s not for Joseph. He isn’t the one that left me a useless, weak, small, helpless…
He didn’t do that. It’s not his fault he can still do things the way a proper being of a proper intelligent race can.
Granted, I don’t know if I would trade Joe’s “magic” if it also came with his complete lack of practical skills. Can you believe he’s never learned to drive a car? Almost thirty years old, and he still relies on taxies to get anywhere. Not only that, but he appears to have subsisted for these two weeks entirely on instant pancakes. I found a dozen empty boxes in the kitchen (he hadn’t taken out the trash, yuck!), all of the same brand. This one’s less his fault, but I could tell from the smell of the place he hadn’t showered since the Event. Stallions apparently get quite an odor if you let them fester.
Fester is not a word you should ever have to use about a person. Just… not. I don’t think there’s a single context where someone festering in any way is a good thing.
Joseph showed me his near-complete backup of the english Wikipedia pages, and it was incredible. Then he proceeded to explain to me that there was no way we could get across town, because the animals would all eat us. I would have to stay and live with him, since he could keep me safe with his “magic.”
I think he’s probably way smarter than me, bordering on the point where you lose the ability to function as a regular person in society. I explained we wouldn’t have to walk across town, no matter how dangerous it was, because there were two of us and we could drive (though I was going to make him take a nice long dip in a pool first).
He protested that he didn’t know how to drive, and I told him he’d only have to sit there and press the pedals lightly when I said so. He could fit everything he wanted into the car, and we could be there in minutes. Everybody wins.
He’s extremely stubborn, but he caved in the end. Guess my threat of leaving him behind if he wouldn’t come motivated him after all. Seems like even those people who pretend not to care about social contact really crave it after all.
I shoved him through the doorway and into the pool to get clean (no desire to be around for that) while I loaded his crap into a pickup truck nearby, one with the most spacious cab I could find. He was still damp when he made it back, but smelling like soap and chlorine was way better than the alternative.
Can’t say I liked how close we had to get to do the actual driving, to say nothing of how nervous and tentative a driver Joseph was. I say driver, but it was more like “accelerator! More, more… good… less, less…” for twenty minutes or so. Huan rode in the passenger seat, sticking his head out the window and having the time of his life. Pretty sure that’s some kind of dog genetic imperative.
Got back safely, made some introductions, all that fun stuff. Still tons of unanswered questions about Joseph, but after being around me for so long he was starting to shut down and I feared pressing him would do damage. Sky and I helped get his crap into the basement bedroom even though he has that stupid unfair cheating magic stuff and could’ve done it easier himself. We had to hold bags in our freaking mouths and carry them between us, but you didn’t see him helping, did you? Too lazy for my shirt.
Actually, nobody wears shirts anymore. After yesterday, I’m considering moving shirts up the order in priority.
I wonder if we’ll find enough people to fill up this house and start having to share bedrooms, or branch out to other houses. That’d be pretty awesome. Maybe the next one I find will have laser vision, or an extra set of arms coming out of their neck. Maybe they’ll have a skunk tail, or bat wings.
How does he know how to use that magic stuff, anyway? You’d think there would be a huge learning curve. Took me weeks to learn how to drive stick without grinding the transmission every now and then, and that’s got one lever and a pedal. The amount of power Joseph can manifest with that stupid horn boggles the mind.
Today came, Cloudy Skies did the breakfast thing for everybody, and Joe Glow just ate the pancakes, nevermind that she’d done plates of fresh crepes with the last of our strawberries and cream she’d whipped herself.
Got to admire the dexterity of a meal cooked with somebody’s freakin mouth. Well, a little hooves. You stay this way long enough, and you start learning little tricks. Ways to bend and grip things that hold them in place.
Of course, we wouldn’t have to if this stupid disaster had been a little more egalitarian with its cheating powers.
I don’t even want to think about how it must work, or the implications the mere existence of such an ability has for our understanding of reality. The Event and all the missing people is hard enough. Still, of all the people to get a power like that, did it have to be the one with no practical skills whatsoever?
Joe was incredibly awkward when around both of us, barely speaking ten words during the whole meal and staring openly at Sky more than once. Well duh. I’ve tried to get her to wear clothes around me. Joe’s got a few ugly pairs of shorts, so I can only assume (like me) he actually wants to feel human still.
I wanted to know about his powers, about how maybe he knew them and could teach us, but all he said was that he didn’t think he could and the way he knew it all was complicated and he didn’t want to talk about it right then.
When that was done, he went back in his bedroom, and didn’t come out until late afternoon. He spent most of the day setting up computers and rearranging furniture, or at least that’s what Sky says he did.
Some time ago I wished that I could find other survivors, even if they were the worst jerks in existence. I would like to redact that wish, and re-file under the wish “find someone with practical survival skills and maybe some plumbing, or electrical experience”. We’re probably going to need more solar if Joe runs his crap night and day.
It appears the question “can ponies control their schedules enough to stay up at strange hours and sleep during the day” is answered with a resounding “yes”. Way to go, Joseph, revolutionizing the new field of four-legged science.
Whatever. He has strength and precision. Tomorrow he can go get a gas generator and hook it into the grid. Well, probably he’ll go get it and make me hook it into the grid, since of course he wouldn’t possibly know anything useful like how to actually install a generator. Back at his old place, he actually used daisy-chains of extension cords to get power to the computers and video game consoles.
Yes, he was playing video games. Yes, he brought the consoles with him.
No, I’m not going to strangle him. That wouldn’t be very neighborly. Besides, strangling him would be strangling hope. Pretty sad state the world’s in.
Still, least I’m not alone. I do prefer this to nobody. Eccentric, strange, but also someone going through some of the same things. Maybe one day we’ll have our own colony after all.
Our own herd.
It’s hard to tell from his spotty responses, but I think Joe knows something about the strange markings I saw in the street the other day. I think he may’ve been studying them, or… causing them, or… something. Maybe they’re a clue about why this happened.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll pester him enough to actually get an answer.