Because I couldn’t keep my stupid mouth on topic last menight, I’m back to finish talking about my trip. I’ll try to be less of a worthless pony tonight. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to talk about tomorrow. I’ll bring my laptop and record the whole thing, so it’ll all be saved. It’s so much easier to record things than to type them up later.
That’s assuming I come back. Cloudy Skies is terrified for me. She thinks it’s a trap, she’s sure I shouldn’t go. Moriah thinks so too. Oliver and Joseph think this is our first real chance of making a meaningful alliance with a technical power. Our only chance not to slip back into the middle ages. Maybe they’re right about that, I don’t know. Against my better judgment, I’m going to side with them for once and go. I don’t care how awful being around those ships felt last time. I won’t be controlled by pony instincts.
I am HUMAN, damnit. Tail and mane doesn’t change that. Being even smaller doesn’t change that. Being transformed doesn’t change that.
I’ve been toying with a theory the last few weeks, ever since I saw the airship. I wonder if maybe what we’re seeing is the planet itself, striking back at humanity for all we’ve done to her. Some sort of planetary immune system we never anticipated. We polluted the seas, ate most of what wasn’t us, and dumped toxic gas into the air. Is this how Gaia gets her revenge?
You may take Cloudy Skies, you might even take Oliver, but you will not take me! No transformation can erase my spirit! Taking my family, my tribe, my nation… that won’t do it either.
Another theory: maybe this is some sort of alien experiment. The others are the control group, while ponies like me and maybe Moriah too are the ones they really use to test the limits of the human spirit. Maybe, like in Dark City, this whole world is some simulation meant to discover the nature of the human soul.
That would make the HPI the experimenters, right? Or maybe they’re exactly what they sound like. Human Preservation Initiative. Maybe the USA saw this coming, and the HPI is their answer. Tomorrow I’ll know. The others will not come with me; I insist on it. I’ve said it before, and I think it’s even more true now: I’m the most expendable pony we have. Even out of the gene pool, even at a slower rate of replacement without me (not much slower, I wasn’t going to help anyway), I still add the least. General competence can be replaced.
That’s tomorrow’s adventure, though. I wanted to get last week’s down before I forgot the details. At least if I die tomorrow (or get dragged off for dissection in some alien lab), my last acts won’t depend on Moriah to be remembered the right way. TO BE REMEMBERED, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH (terrible musical by the way).
Moriah was out, and it was late. I was still pretty alert, since I hadn’t done much to help with the flight over. Mostly that was the computer and my hornless unicorn friend. Still, with it getting dark soon I didn’t want to get too far. I hopped out through the hole (really missing Huan), with my P90 and nothing else. Stupid Moriah had ruined my one good outfit and my shoes didn’t fit anymore. I had some shorts, but they fell off when I tried to put them on, so that was out. It was time for my first (and only) adventure as Lonely Day the ordinary pony!
I might be small, and I might be naked, but I was also armed. Good thing I’ve been practicing, because honest to god as I made my way towards one of those stationary carts a freakin’ cheetah came out from behind a boarding ramp and sprinted towards me at sixty miles an hour.
Instinct screamed to run. I saw those teeth and those claws, now decidedly bigger than me. But I didn’t run. It wasn’t because I was thinking rationally, really. I didn’t know that I didn’t stand a chance in hell to out-pace a cheetah. I just knew that I’d kept the gun within reach because I intended to use it. Drop into a sitting position, raise gun, insert Velcro glove, wait until cat gets close, pull trigger.
My P90 was loaded with a full clip of hollow-point rounds. I’m sure you can guess what won. You wouldn’t believe the stopping power such a baby gun can have with antipersonnel rounds. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I was too scared to really think. Instead of taking maybe one shot to discourage the predator, I blew the whole clip. Turned that cheetah into hamburger. So maybe calling the p90 a "baby gun" was a little premature on my part. I guess I just thought bigger guns would be more powerful? Whatever. I'll apologize to the next Belgian I meet for making fun of their gun.
Never-mind the absurdity of seeing an African Savannah predator creeping through the runways of the Portland Airport. Now there was one fewer. No silencer on the gun either, and the thing was so loud I felt like it might burst my eardrums.
Did a hasty conversion to get the little propane cart pony-operable (the pedals on those things are actually short enough to reach if I sit upright on the floor, look over the wheel, and turn it using my teeth). Tastes like nasty rubber. Spent the night driving around to the tiny private hangers, looking for a learjet similar to the one we had flown in on.
Couldn’t find one, but I did find a two-prop thing with controls that looked pretty close to what Moriah had been flying the day she crashed. It would have to do. Actually took the rest of the day to find the keys. Had to kick open several buildings, search through by flashlight, etc. Didn’t fancy the idea of hotwiring planes like cars. Way more dangerous (and I’ve never done it before).
I didn’t want to move Moriah yet, even though I was pretty sure she hadn’t taken any neck injuries. But if the alternative was a freakin’ lion finding its way into our plane, we wouldn’t have much choice. Well, we spent one night there. Moved her out of the cockpit and locked it, then went around from the ramp. Maybe something could break in, but it would have to be a species with
opposable thumbs human-level intelligence. Raised the ramp again, and used a kick to bend the knob into the shut position.
Heard all sorts of animals that first night (and every night we spent there). I didn’t sleep well, particularly when I felt the plane briefly shake or something clawing at the cockpit door. Ultimately the metal proved better than whatever paws were trying to force their way in, because we slept safely.
My predicament had not reversed itself that morning by magic (hah, get it!), and I could barely reach the shower to use the controls that next morning. Didn’t let it stop me, and spent an extra hour shampooing and conditioning my mane and tail just for spite. Convert all my mass into hair and see if I don’t still take care of it (don’t think they work this way).
Oh, that reminds me. Oliver did a thing today. Took measurements and samples of me. Kinda embarrassing
even if I don’t really mind spending time with him. He did his medical magic to see what had happened to me. He couldn’t be sure since he hadn’t measured anything before, but it seemed to him as though my biological age was that of a late adolescent, a pony past puberty by just a few of whatever amount of time passes for years. He said that he thinks if I were human I’d be sixteen. If that’s true, than Moriah’s “attack” reversed seven of my years.
Are ponies immortal? Did Moriah’s magic make me actually, physically younger? Or am I still really 23 and my body just looks like I’m 16? Still useful, even if I’d probably have waited until my thirties or forties to start with vanity spells. Joseph said he doesn’t see himself ever being able to do a spell like that. He said it was a miracle it didn’t kill one of us, and Moriah should never ever do magic again without him there. She promised not to. Hopefully she keeps that promise.
Could’ve been worse I guess. Could’ve been 14 years instead of 7. It’d be so freakin’ great to go through puberty all over again, horsey style. Basically nothing in common this time around, so that would be fantastic.
One disgusting land-mine avoided, even though it would’ve confirmed if I’m really younger or just look younger. Oliver says if I really care there are ways to tell if it’s my real biological age or not, like using the length of… telomeres? Is that what they’re called? I trust him. I said I wanted to know, he told me he’d work on it.
That was today though, and I’m trying to talk about the time I was gone. Zoom back, and I cleaned unconscious Moriah, then got her onto the new plane with our food and stuff. Figured out how to get the refueling truck to work, because I’m a mechanical boss, and I topped it up (not with jet fuel!).
We didn’t just come down to hang around the airport, though. I wanted to drive to my mom’s house and see if she was okay. I didn’t get to do that until the third day, when Moriah was awake. She was hurting like a mother, but she’d stopped bleeding by then and didn’t seem to be dying. I left her locked in the plane, since I knew she’d just slow me down.
Traveling through that city was like some kind of African safari. Okay maybe not, but I did see tons and tons of animals. Elephants browsing through the trees around golf courses. Flocks of zebras and antelopes. Big predators lazing around in the sun. Lots of animals stopped to look at the car I’d found (an airport security sedan with the keys still in the ignition, hadn’t been far from the hanger).
Got to say, I miss traveling alone with Huan. He was the one to have with me on my solo adventures, and I wished then I hadn’t left him to keep an eye on Sky. I’ll take him next time. It’s not like she’s in danger when she stays behind in our safe little base, but I sure as heck was!
I’ve already talked about the outcome. My family wasn’t there, nor was anybody else. There were some signs in a few stores I passed of activity, but I had no way of knowing which were caused by ponies and which by animals. I left laminated flyers wherever I saw it. I figured that, worst case, nobody would find them. It wasn’t as though the pride of lions I had seen would be able to read the directions and follow them back to California (I hope not).
I searched around in a widening circle from my mom’s house, but I didn’t find much. Eventually I gave up, and grabbed several family pictures off the walls, along with a big plastic crate of keepsakes from my childhood. Video and pictures of a life that’s gone. Left a flier on every bed in the house, along with a note I’m sure as hell not printing in here because it was for my mom and nobody else.
I hope she’ll see it one day. Laminated it, just like the directions, so it should do pretty well in the house. I wouldn’t be coming back to search, though. They weren’t here, and I’d left directions for them if they ever came back. I had to accept that Mom and Jennifer are gone now.
I’m sorry Mom. I hope you’re not mad that I’m letting go. I know you weren’t perfect, but… you gave me everything. I was a pretty terrible kid. Thank you for everything. And… wherever you are… keep an eye on Jennifer for me. I love you.
Didn’t find anybody. Wouldn’t be safe to be out in the open there anyway. Get eaten alive. Way worse than stray dogs.
Made it back, I scavenged food. Used my tools to convert the plane. Eventually Moriah felt better and she flew us home. Flight took FOREVER without jet engines. I was too sad to be furious with Moriah for shrinking me. Besides, she’d almost died. She was still in pretty awful pain. She got her punishment I think. Who knows, maybe we’ll find out she made me seven years younger. Could… always use a longer life, right? I’m Jenny’s age. We could’ve had a birthday together. Sweet sixteens! Besties!
Sorry I can’t make you my signature BBQ ribs. We don’t have any pigs, and I think it’d be inconsiderate to ask for the ribs while they were still using them.
Addendum: Sky came in late at night with a surprise she’d been working out: a new outfit! Not from scratch, like the last one, just alterations on human clothes. I feel like she’s dressing me up a little with the leather and the jacket; like a little blue Indiana Jones. Stupid Moriah; I should’ve shared a room with Cloudy Skies. No matter what happened it would be awesome to be around her.
She’s not a very good liar. Sky had a note or something with her, and she looked upset. She didn’t actually show me, though. Said she’d changed her mind and “didn’t need help after all”. Gave me a hug like I was a little kid and ran off. Watch it, Pegasus! I’m still stronger and faster than you are! Being shorter don’t change that.
I hope she’ll do it again sometime.
Please god let me live through this.