Welcome to Tatzlquestria

by Guardian Talon


By the time the train arrived at their stop, Dr. Petri was comfortable enough with tatzlponies that she didn't flinch when a guard used a tongue to help hitch up her luggage. She even giggled a little when she saw a small filly sneeze hard enough to fall on her tail, despite all the little tentacles that came shooting out.

They quickly went through town, gathering any last minute supplies, and left on one of the less used roads, until they came across a path going uphill.

Dr. Scope passed out the hazmat gear to the other 4 ponies before putting on his own. "The outpost is just up ahead. There should be space outside to set up the tents. We'll have to stay there for now."

Dr. Petri turned to the guards with them. "I know you have a job to do, but try to minimize contact until I have identified the means of infection."

They nodded to her and the group continued on. The outpost was just a short, wide tower on top of a hill overlooking the area. Five members of the local militia and a doctor, had quarantined themselves to the area once the doctor realized it was something new and she couldn't treat it.

As they approached, a pony standing at the door stood up a bit straighter and gave a weak salute. "It's good to see you fellas. Myself and Point are the only ones still standing. Even the Doc has trouble getting out of bed, and nothing gets her down."

One of the royal guards stepped forward. "I'll be taking over outpost operations from here." He pointed at the other two. "You two, go assist with the set up while I assess the situation."

Dr. Scope unhitched himself and got out a small bag of supplies. "I'll go talk to the local doctor and find out what she knows."

"Wait." Dr. Petri called out from a flat open area off to the side. She got out a case and tossed it on her back before making her way over. "See if you can get some samples. I'll have my lab set up soon enough."

To the Canterlot Medical Research Association - Pathogen Devision

Containment has failed. The team sent to investigate appears to have been infected before arrival. Before being incapacitated, Dr. Petri was able to determine that the pathogen is airborne and highly contagious with a short incubation period. She also found signs of magical properties but was unable to perform a detailed analysis.
Although debilitating, none of the patients conditions have deteriorated.

Accompanying this message is a sealed case containing samples for study. The outside was heavily sanitized, but I caution that our clean room may have been compromised.

As a final note. Although the sample size is too small, I feel the need to mention that of the eleven ponies here, the two tatzlponies have remained in reasonable health. We have been tending to those who are having difficulty on their own.

Dr. Scope

Princess Celestia finished reading her copy of the field report and took a calming breath. The team must have been infected in town before going to the outpost. Between the local mine and adventurers seeking fame and fortune in the uninhabited wasteland, that town saw it's share of traffic. She pulled out a map and started looking over the train routs and major roads.

Princess Celestia sniffled as she looked at the map. Every major settlement had been infected. Some smaller areas had, so far, remained clear, but all it took was a sick bird landing in a town to set things off there as well. The good news was that the outpost that was first to be infected had shown signs of recovering, and that tatzlponies did indeed have a resistance to the illness.

Princess Luna had barricaded herself in her room, surviving off her stockpile of snacks, leaving Celestia to run things in her current state. Fortunately she was only suffering from being tired, and a bad case of the sniffles. She finished signing off on recommendations for sending supplies and tatzlpony volunteers to where they were needed. She then ate half a cake in what could be called one large, messy, bite.

Princess Twilight sniffled as she triple checked the list of Ponyville volunteers. A knock at the door broke her train of thought. "Spike, can you get that?"

He got out of the fire and dusted off the ash as best he could before running across the stones that stopped his feet from scorching the wood. Opening the door, he found a very tired looking Rainbow Dash with a scroll in her mouth.

She spit the scroll out at his feet and groaned. "Express delivery."

He picked it up with a pair of tongs and brought it to Twilight who started reading it. "I'll make arrangements for the Ponyville volunteers and they should be on the train by tomorrow."

Dash huffed. "How did I end up the mailmare?"

Twilight pulled out a stack of papers and began filling in information. "Because communication is important and with the others being pulled away to take over other places, we need somepony who's fast and knows the area."

She shuffled over next to Twilight, her tail dragging on the floor. "Come on, Twilight. Haven't they found a way to fix this yet? Everypony is miserable."

She watched Spike throw another log on the fire and stretch out on it. She sniffled and turned to her friend. "I'm sorry Dash but they're still working on it." She smiled a little. "At least being tatzlpony means you have some resistance to it. That's a good thing, right?"

"Tell me about it." She glanced off to the side. "I took a run to Cloudsdale yesterday. Half the normal ponies I saw couldn't even hold their wings out straight. Forget trying to fly." She gave out a weak laugh. "Even Fluttershy can still fly." She leaned in close and opened her tired eyes as wide as she could. "By the way, if you visit her, stay away from the bear." She grimaced. "I saw him sneeze on her... Not pretty."

"I'll Keep that in mind." She went back to her work. "I might have some good news. There's a chance this won't last too much longer. I can't say for sure yet." She finished writing some letters and gave the stack to Dash with a scroll on top. "Can you run those around town and post that list at the train station, please?"

"I'm on it." She gave a quick salute and left with a little more energy in her step.