I’m back, did you miss me? Guess Sky used up a few pages while I was gone. Probably a bit more liberal with what she wrote down, but whatever. If I’d wanted total control I would’ve told her not to write anything, or just taken the book with me. I could always paste entries over what she wrote if I really wanted, but I think I won’t. Having another voice will make my diary feel less lonely.
It would be pretty boring if I just went through every single thing that happened while I was gone, so I’ll pass on that. I think the most important question is why it took us so long and why we couldn’t stay in touch with the others back at home base while we were out there.
It’s all Moriah’s fault! Well, maybe not entirely her fault. It’s not her fault she lost her horn. Just like it’s not my fault I lost all kinds of things. Horn, tail, mane… pony parts are in weird places. Who designed us anyways? I feel like they should’ve given horns and wings to all ponies. Then we could all fly and we could all do magic, and we’d be a far superior species. I wouldn't be so sore about losing everything if I’d learned how to fly and do magic.
Mom, why isn’t life fair? You’d know. You always knew what to tell me when things sucked. You’d probably tell me not to be scared. You’d probably tell me that I can handle it. I want to hear your voice telling me I can. Tell me I can make it, please. I don’t know if I can.
Yeah, she wasn’t there. I guess that’s pretty obvious. I found the house, car still parked in the driveway. Nobody home. No sign of a struggle, no break-in, purse still inside. No sign she’d ever left.
God, my family’s gone. I guess the reason it took me this long to check… way more than the long distance and all the dangers we might run into on the way, was that so long as I didn’t go there, there was a chance. Mom and Jennifer were up there, they were okay. I would go to them one day and bring them back with me.
Why does this matter to me so much? I don’t think I was ever this emotional about anything before! It’s this damn body! Soft and fluffy and small and crying. Worse than a few days ago and every other time. Least there was nobody around but Sky or Moriah. No danger.
So you’re probably wondering why we were out of contact for so long. I know that’s what my friends wondered about when we finally landed in the Van Nuys Airport.
I wish I could say it was exciting. Like maybe we had a pitched dogfight in the air, but since we were just in a learjet I had to climb out onto the wings and punch ponies with my bare hooves. Or maybe say that we found a pony commune up there with hundreds and we’re going to join soon.
We didn’t, and we’re not. There is a little good news to report. There were signs of occupation in places, shops that’d been broken into and signs of vehicles tearing up grass and so-on. But that’s getting ahead of myself.
So first and foremost, we made great time in the air. Smooth ride all the way, and we’d already stocked the plane with fresh and storable foods. Autopilot did most of the work once we had our course and altitude. Moriah said she’d “never flown something so nice in her life” and that it “felt like cheating or something”.
She wouldn’t try the salad Oliver had made for us, even though he’d made it big enough for two. I wonder why I still remember that days and days later. Oh! Cuz’ this was the first time he’d ever put hay in a salad. Yeah, hay. Hay is for horses. I ate it.
It really wasn’t that bad. It really wasn’t anything, honestly. Sorta like eating lettuce. A little drier, a little more like grass. I didn’t dislike it though, which was probably my new anatomy talking. I can’t imagine many humans could’ve eaten that. I’d Google it, but, well… wasn’t the sort of thing Joseph saved. God do I miss Google. I wonder if we could find one of their server-farms somewhere and bring it all back.
ANYWAY — Moriah got into a pretty heated discussion after landing about magic. The details don’t really matter. She wanted to talk about lots of things. Maybe I thought she was moving a little too fast with Joseph. Maybe I thought lots of things. Maybe Moriah was going on and on about what happened to her, and I got incredibly sick of hearing it, as though those things never happened to anyone else.
Yeah, okay, I said some insensitive things. About her and magic and unicorn stuff. I’ll admit it. I wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been so incredibly awful!
She decided to prove me wrong with a little demonstration of magic, right there. Joseph had, after all, instructed her on how it worked… somehow? I wasn’t actually there for that. It was too depressing to learn how to do something I’d never be able to do.
As it turns out, Moriah can still do something like magic. It doesn’t seem to be very well controlled, though, or be very good for her. Thank God we were on the runway.
I don’t know exactly how to describe what she did except that it very much wasn’t levitation. She aimed her stump right at me and blasted with all her might. I happened to be holding the satellite transceiver in my saddlebag and the phone velcroed to my hoof at the time.
It burned all over. First the flash, so bright blue that I was momentarily blinded. When I came to, I watched the phone I’d been holding dissolve in front of my eyes. Case turned back into nurdles and then into petroleum sludge. Glass melted back into sand and flux, metals separated back into ore.
You have to understand, some of this I could only see afterwards, I didn’t fully comprehend it at the time. I didn’t, because my whole body was burning. I dropped to the ground without much resistance, contorting and screaming, though my eyes were still open. Facing the back wall, I watched my backpacks change back into cotton before my eyes, metal condensing into little nuggets as a plume of foul-smelling chemicals went up into the air. Of course I could barely smell it, since my head was below the thing. Probably for the best, it was probably chlorine or something.
It hurt so bad I don’t really remember much after that. Just that I thought maybe Moriah had killed me by accident. Turns out the truth was very nearly the opposite, though I didn’t know it at the time.
The first thing I noticed was rain on my face. Rain coming in through a perfectly round hole behind me. The body of the aircraft was gone, and nothing remained but a small pile of metal and sand on the ground. My clothes, more like a pile of cloth than anything at that point, fell off when I tried to stand.
There wasn’t really anything to be afraid of, though I felt pretty embarrassed at the time. Guess that proves I didn’t get hurt that bad.
Maybe not, but there was definitely some damage done. I didn’t know that yet though. I wanted to check on Moriah. I hadn’t actually seen or heard her after the “spell” happened, since I was so occupied with my own pain.
She was unconscious deeper in the plane, and she didn’t look good. Her horn, what was left of it, had cracked right open. A little puddle of blood was right there in front of her, and still seeping out where she’d cracked it open.
About crapped myself right there. Even though she’d “attacked” me with magic, I wasn’t just going to let a member of our little community lie there and bleed. The bleeding wasn’t bad, but I sure as heck wasn’t a doctor. How the heck was I supposed to force her horn to clot if it hadn’t already?
It wasn’t shattered (there wasn’t nearly enough horn left for that). I went to the medkit and found some clotting foam, blasting that crap into and onto her horn. It worked. Thank God it worked, I’m not sure what I would’ve done if it hadn’t. I’m not Oliver.
I didn’t hurt anymore, but something felt a little wrong. I guess I didn’t notice with the blood and the adrenaline, how things didn’t look quite right. I wasn’t really sure what happened, but I noticed when I went into the little bathroom to wash the blood off (still worked even with a hole in the fuselage, who knew?).
I’m not sure what I was afraid of. I guess that with pain as intense as I felt, I just knew something had to be wrong.
It is. Was. Will… whatever. I think her spell made me… smaller. Not by much! I think maybe three inches (though as a pony I’ve got few enough of those to lose). I think the weird thing I’d noticed was my mane, though: it was long again, just like my tail. I’m not really sure how a spell that made cotton fall apart would do that.
I’m glad I wasn’t wearing my shoes during that adventure… but even so, they’re useless now. My legs are smaller, and they don’t fit right anymore. Go up just high enough to stop my knees from bending right. Shorts feel loose too.
Whatever. After what happened to my body when this all started, losing a few inches isn’t the worst thing.
I’m afraid it might’ve done more. I feel more… God, I don’t know! Scared of stuff. Nervous being alone. Whatever, I’ve been ignoring instincts for long enough now, I can fight a little extra apprehension and loneliness.
I didn’t know enough to give Moriah any painkillers. The trauma kit had these pre-measured injections for serious injuries, but I felt like those are for humans and that much at once might kill her. Not to mention after seeing my reflection I was confused and way less decisive than I normally am.
Shut up, it got to me! It’s not my fault if it still does! You try being the shortest, weakest pony in your whole group, see if you like it. Biology is such an unfair jerk. I wish I’d known about all this before. I would’ve started a movement. Some protests or whatever. Against what? Where?
This might be my most eclectic entry to date. I think maybe I should delete all this and start over.
Screw it, I won’t delete any of it, but I’ll start over.
Got back from Oregon. The reason we hadn’t been able to talk with everypony — I seriously just said that. Every PONY — two words, Sky — was that Moriah destroyed the satellite communication gear AND the plane AND my saddlebags AND the clothes Sky sewed for me with her own hooves.
I liked that top you jerk.
She also seriously hurt herself, and either shrunk me somehow or made me younger, I’m not actually sure which. My voice is higher, but that might’ve happened if I was smaller too. Though… if there was a magic spell to just make things smaller, could I still breathe the same air? I think I saw this on Star Trek once…
Analyzing the physics of FREAKING UNICORN MAGIC aside, we were kinda screwed. The airplane probably would’ve been safe for us for several days if we were conservative with the heating and electricity, but now there was a huge hole in the side. A determined animal easily could’ve jumped a gap that size. A pony, even easier. Do you have any idea how far I can jump? Further than you can I bet, CLOUDY SKIES DIARY READER! Picture… uh… looker! Yeah!
I feel like my sleep deprivation might be influencing how emotional I feel right now. Maybe I shouldn’t write these when I’m tired. BUT I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN SO LONG! Sky doesn’t count, even if the bit about a meeting with a big, scary, threatening sounding group of ponies called the HPI is coming up soon.
Or, they’re probably not ponies. I guess if they were, they probably wouldn’t have needed so much convincing that we weren’t animals. Or been so shocked by it.
I like how I still say “they” even though we’ve only ever heard one guy talking.
Also, the code changed. It now says:
“8-22-7-0-16-12-5-9-19-8-0-9-1-6-14-5-19-5-0-9-6-8-24-10-9-20-8-6-26-9-0-22-3-23-16-23-8-3-0-9-8-11-23-16-8-22-0-10-9-24-16-19-19-9-2-8-6-7-1-2-7-9-24-15-5-6-9-3-5-1-12-26-9-1-6-12-9-3-5-20-8-3-7-10-9-19-8-0-1-6-14-5-19-5-0”. Big news on that front: Joseph’s finally cracked the stupid thing! Apparently it’s some kind of substitution cypher. According to him, the messages use as the cypher the location from which they’re sent, with alphabet number substitution something something whatever boring.
He thinks that the system would be much more secure if you relied on a GPS signal or something to calculate origin that way the receiver would need two signals instead of one, since each message seems to also include at the end the intended destination of whoever is sending them.
Whatever, I know you’re smarter than me. That wasn’t ever up for debate. Joseph gave me the breakdown of the previous messages, which talk about some pretty ominous stuff, but nothing we didn’t expect. “Preservation successful”. HPI. I see a connection.
The most recent message says they’re waiting outside of town and they’re going to contact us soon. But we already knew that, right? We’ve been talking with the HPI for some time now. Why would an organization with such advanced machines need to use such a silly code to communicate? Who would they be talking to if they’re the only ones?
It doesn’t quite add up, though I’m not sure how. Joseph thinks it’s obviously the HPI and I should just stop worrying.
Joseph, that jerk. You know what he said to me when I got back? Not; “Oh, Alex, it’s so great to see you. I’m so glad you’re safe!” He said, “Why are you a midget?” Because that’s exactly what I needed after my trip. Whatever, Oliver is still nice to me. He knows how much life sucks. Even if he doesn’t know what it’s like not to have a buttmark.
Yeah, I asked him about that. Guess I should’ve written it down when I did. He started with his, same as Moriah (so far as she knows). He played Monopoly with Sky and me… okay, so he was really bored during Monopoly, but he did make us some fresh popcorn. Sky can’t get enough of the stuff ever since I showed her what it tastes like. Tastes even better with the fresh-churned butter we have (also, the only butter we have).
I’m rambling on again, and I’ve just about run out of space for today’s entry. I guess I’ll talk about my days on the lam tomorrow. Just finish up by saying that I got in safe, Moriah’s okay again, though her headaches have gotten worse and she’s taking Excedrin as often as the safety limits allow now. Apparently she lost all memory of the conversation leading up to her attempt at magic, so she couldn’t tell me what she had meant to do or why she got so angry. Guess that’s for the best. The only ones who know how mean I was now are me and these pages.
Wouldn’t be a very good leader if I made ponies resent me. Wouldn’t be a very good leader if I was a tiny, weak, possibly younger pony without any powers. Oh wait. That’s me.
Oliver says there’s some medical stuff he can do to figure out if I’m biologically younger or not. He’ll probably do that tomorrow. Also Cloudy Skies signed us up to an in-person meeting with the HPI on the 27th, so that’s exciting.
Really Feeling It Man,
I used a mirror and tried to do a self-portrait. I think I'm getting better. I wish I didn't hate myself so much right now.