• Published 8th May 2013
  • 795 Views, 14 Comments

Hope in a Hoofful of Scrap - MiriOhki

Two young lovers reunite after a long seperation. And they may be the only thing keeping one another sane when a bizarre transformation takes place (Five Score, Divided By Four Side Story)

  • ...

Chapter III: Day 4

Monday, May 4th 2020

"Sam, is that you?" Jack asked Sandy.

"No, that's my girlfriend Sandy. I'm Sam," I replied, making room for Jack to step into the house. "Sandy, this is Jack."

Sandy lifted a hoof in reflex, before pausing. "That doesn't work, does it?"

Jack paused, then hoofbumped. "Sam..." He paused, fumbling for words, before asking rather lamely, "Can I have some water?"

I paused, then headed to the kitchen. When I returned, I saw Sandy magically draping a blanket over Jack as he curled up on the couch. I set a bowl of water on the couch next to him before curling up in the beanbag chair, Sandy slipping in next to me.

"Sam," Jack said after a drink, fumbling for words. "I'm sorry. I've wanted to say that for so long, but I didn't know how. I shouldn't have invaded your privacy. I shouldn't have called you-"

I interrupted, "A little faggot wannabe?" The words came out softer than I really meant but still hit Jack hard as he nodded.

"Yeah. I shouldn't have said it. I shouldn't have even thought it. I just... panicked," he said, ashamed.

"Jack, if you called me that today, I'd probably just laughed and told you to piss off. But I was very sensitive about it back again and you pushed the wrong buttons," I admitted.

"Doesn't look like an issue now," he said, looking at Sandy.

"Actually I never minded his bisexuality," Sandy replied. "I was the first one she ever told."

Jack paused. "She? You... you mean you changed sexes too?"

I nodded. "Yeah."

Jack looked down, and paused, before sticking his hoof in his mouth once more, "Got what you wanted?"

I glared at him. "Sure. Turning into a bisexual underage filly was my dream ever since I was a little boy."

Jack flinched. "Sorry. You've got a point. Jack, 0, Mouth 3."

I sighed and leaned a bit into Sandy, before deciding to change the subject. "Anyway, I'm sure you're wondering just what you turned into. You'd never believe me if I didn't show you. Hell, I don't even believe it, and it's happening to me. Sandy, you got the remote somewhere?"

Sandy magicked over the remote and turned on the blu-ray player, starting the first episode.

Jack didn't say a single word until the first disc was finished. "So we're cartoons come to life?"

"I don't think so, Scootaloo. If we took that at face value, I'd say sure. But what gets me is that there are inconsistancies. It's more like this was a dramatization of events, not a recording of it," Sandy commented, with neither her nor Jack noting the slip of the tongue.

"You're right, Sweetie," I murmered as I tapped my chin with one hoof. "Now that I think of it, that'd make sense. That or someone tried to fill in the blanks from second hand reports or filler.

"Can you not use that word?" Jack said.

I blinked in confusion. "Filler?"

"No, Blanks. Just feels wrong," Jack replied, frowning a bit.

"Yeah, I can understand that," I replied. "We haven't gotten there yet but evidently we all started some club because none of us have cutie marks-"

"Cutie marks? Ugh." Jack looked a bit annoyed.

I shrugged and got up to switch discs. "Do you want to get some sleep or keep going?"

Sandy looked at the clock. "It's 2AM, we probably should get some sleep, work out more tomorrow."

Jack nodded and bit the blanket, pulling it a bit closer as he quickly passed out on the couch. Sandy and I worked our way to my room and helped each other onto my bed, me giving her a foot up and she lifting me magically, before we curled up against each other under the blankets. Sleep came quickly to us as well.

I carefully dislodged myself from Sandy, not wanting to wake her up, as I worked my way down the stairs to hear the voice of Kevin Murphy coming from the living room. “...then I'll ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest. But I'm not an alien!”

I chuckled a bit. MLP was my secret vice, but MST3K and Rifftrax were my public one. Hearing the laugh after that comment from the voice of Tom Servo put a smile on my face. At least Jack was feeling better, from the sound of it. I entered the living room, seeing Jack watching the movie. I came around and hopped onto the couch next to Jack, turning to watch it with him. It may not make up completely for several years of hard feelings, but shared transmogrification and bonding over mocking bad movies does go a long way toward it at least.

Sandy came down the stairs to hear the both of us yodelling along with Mike and the Bots to an overly dramatic orchestral score, “Normal view, Normal view, Normal view, NORMAL VIEW!!!!!” as we both burst out laughing hard, almost falling off the couch.

Sandy grinned as she hit pause. “Come on, you two jokers, let's get breakfast and get to work.”

I laughed a bit and nodded. “Ok, dear,” I replied as I hopped off of the couch. I paused a moment as I looked at the package I abandoned last night, grabbing it as Sandy started to throw together another salad.

“What is that, anyway?” Sandy asked as she brought the bowls over a moment later.

“A little birthday present I got for myself. A bit pricy, but I've always liked them for notebooks,” I said as I unearthed a Macbook Pro.

“And appropriate,” Sandy said teasingly. “An Apple for Apple Bloom?”

Jack chuckled a bit. “She's got a point.”

I paused for a moment, and looked at the white bitten apple logo on the back of the screen. “Got a point there, I guess.” I smiled then plugged in the power cable, setting the notebook aside to charge up while we enjoyed breakfast. “I was thinking we can keep looking for any hints. I don't know but if this happened to anypony at the same time, we might not have seen anything yet just because everyone was still panicking and flailing about yet.”

Sandy nodded and spoke after finishing a bite of her meal. “Makes sense.”

Jack looked at the two of them. “So how long have you two known each other?”

Sandy explained, “Since high school. Our parents were both stationed on Okinawa, and we met in school. And I should have dragged that lug over there with me when I left for college.”

“Yes, dear, you're right, dear,” I said, mock-forlornly, before smiling and finishing off my meal. “You hop on Homebase 1 and I'll try out the laptop?”

Jack shook his head. “You and your toys. Alright.” He grabbed the beanbag chair and started to drag it along as we went back up to the office.

Sandy hopped into my desk chair as I plugged the laptop back in and began to set it up. “So where should we look?” she asked.

“Well, I'd check the MLP fan forums.. as soon as I get this setup, I'll try out a couple theories. Almost done.,” I murmered as I tapped with the back of a pair of pens. Still slower than molasses, but at least I wasn't typing as badly as Jack was earlier.

Jack plopped into the beanbag chair, tail flicking a bit in boredom. "Hm. Maybe I can watch more of the show?" he offered.

I nodded and set the laptop aside before heading off to grab the box. I returned and blinked as both Jack and Sandy stared in horror at the desktop monitor. I turned toward the monitor and joined them in the horror.

On the screen was a young unicorn filly with a sapphire mane and navy blue fur. Covering half of her face including her right eye was some gauze bandages. Her expression was filled with misery. "If there's anypony out there, please.. help me. I can't be alone.. I can't be the only one."

My vision blurred with tears and a red hot rage as the pitiful plea continued. "If anyone in the Springs can help me.. please." The last word was a weak whisper as the video stopped.

"No. That ain't happenin'," I snarled, staring at the miserable-looking pony. "Buck that noise.."

Sandy and Jack both looked at me with shock as I tapped at my keyboard. What I was doing was stupid, but I couldn't let that filly go through the hurting anymore. "Sam," Jack said hesitantly, "What are you doing?"

I didn't respond, before tapping a key, staring at the camera built into the laptop just above the screen. "If you get this message, you can tell that you're not the only one this is happening to," I said, my voice quavering a little. "You are not alone. Send me a PM, and we'll help you out. Just be careful and hold on." I blinked away a few tears and repeated, "You are not alone."

I clicked the 'post a video reply' button as Sandy stared at me for a moment, before nodding. "Nobody gets left behind," she said and I smiled weakly. If anyone would understand what I was thinking, it was a soldier.

We waited, with me pacing, concentrating on the click of my hooves on the hardwood floor, until a message finally appeared. "whr?" I quickly tapped out a reply for our address.

"B thr 15 min. Thnk U"

I blinked away a few tears. "Sandy, can you make some tea and get some blankets? I'll get the first aid kit."

Jack said, "I'll get the blankets," and rushed off as I went to the bathroom, very glad I left the kit in the bottom cabinets.

I put the first aid kit on the coffee table and opened the door, sitting back, my tail twitching with agitation. Jack arrived a few minutes later, putting the blankets on the couch and spitting a few times. "Ugh. Tastes nasty." He moved to sit down next to me. "You're taking this a bit hard," he noted.

"Buck the hell yes," I muttered, my tail still lashing a bit. "I've never had a lot of friends, so I'm used to being alone. But she didn't seem to have any friends. Imagine what she's going through?"

"It might be worse than that," Sandy said. "Those injuries looked rather fresh. I can think of a few scenarios, and none of them pretty."

My ears flattened in fury as a few ideas came to mind, but my train of thought got derailed as we heard a tapping at the screen door. I rushed over quickly and opened it for the darkfurred unicorn. She limped in, a backpack draped over her. I took it from her and moved to her side to steady her, one back foot kicking to shut the door behind us. I steered her toward the rug, letting her lay down. "You're ok now," I said a bit shakily as I set the backpack aside.

Sandy brought over a bowl of tea while Jack moved to cover her with the blanket. "I'm Ap-,er Sam. That's Jack, and that's Sandy," I said, pointing to them respectively.

"I'm Moond.." the unicorn faltered, then replied, "Andrea. Sorry, I must be more tired than I thought," She said sheepishly.

"You don't have to apologize, Andrea. You're safe, and you're not alone," Sandy replied as she magicked the first aid kit over to her. "Let me take a look at that eye, if it's alright?"

Andrea flinched, but nodded weakly as Sandy began to undo the bandages. We all gasped as we saw what lay beneath. "Who did this to you?" Sandy said with barely suppressed anger at the ruin beneath.

"Ex-boyfriend," Andrea replied. "I left him because he was a drunk. He came by last night and started yelling and hitting me with a beer bottle. I don't think he broke anything, but there isn't a lot that doesn't hurt right now."

Sandy nodded as she did her best to clean up the wounds. "I wish we could find a doc, or I guess a vet would make more sense."

I sat down. "Is there a veterinarian/patient privilege?" I said somewhat bemusedly.

Andrea laughed and winced a bit at the pain. The laugh, however, turned into soft sobs. I moved to lay next to her, letting her lean into me as she cried.

"Sam, I don't think we have much of a choice. Maybe I can call in a favor from a friend," Sandy offered.

"Do what you need to, dear," I replied, doing my best to comfort the injured filly.

Jack sighed and sat back. "What do we do now?" He asked, still trying to get a handle on everything that has happened in the last couple of days.

"Well I reckon we oughtta figure out whether it's worth hidin' or not," I replied. "I mean, sure we may be impersonating an extraterrestrial life here but it's not exactly like we're little green men planning to probe people's recta, either.”

Jack turned a little green at that concept. “Thank you for ramming that delightful image into my brain, Apple Bloom.”

I couldn't help but grin. “You're welcome, Scoot.”

Sandy sat back, the phone suspended next to her ear. “Yeah, Beth, can you hear me? Yeah, it's Sandy. Yes I know I sound wrong. Yes, it's me.” She paused, then blushed deeply. “You passed out the third time I did the sw-” She laughed at the desperate reply on the other end, and I couldn't help but raise a curious and amused eyebrow. “Yes, I need your professional help. No I don't have a pet. It's for a friend.” She nodded and gave my address. “Alright, just bring what you need for equine trauma. It's a surprise that's gonna blow your socks off, but make it quick, please.” She nodded and hung up the phone.

“Any bets?” Jack commented. “Faint? Scream? Yell for a one-way trip to Groom Lake?”

I looked at Sandy and gave a somewhat naughty grin. “Is she the one who taught you the thing you did to me last night?” Sandy blushed but gave her own matching expression. “50 bucks on squee.”

Jack's ears flattened. “Too much information, mare.”

I laughed but explained, “Sandy told me about Elizabeth a few years ago. Besides being... adventurous,” I said teasingly with a glance at Sandy, “She's also a vet and a pegasister par excellence. Remember Fluttershy and Spike in that first episode?” Jack ahhhed. “Bingo. I'll go wake up Andrea and let her know help's on her way.” I worked my way down the stairs, muttering to myself about equine incompatibility, before moving to carefully nuzzle at her shoulder. “Andrea? We've got someone coming to help you out on the way.”

Andrea winced a bit but nodded. “Thanks, Apple Bloom. Is it going to be safe though?” She asked a bit nervously.

“Yeah, she's a friend of Sweetie's and a got a serious brony-on, It should work out,” I explained.

Andrea relaxed as Jack and Sandy came down the stairs. I plopped down onto the lazyboy in the corner near the window, looking through the small gap in the curtains. “Seriously, though, I'm thinking secrecy may be counterproductive. I don't think we want to go broadcast on 60 Minutes II or anything, but maybe we should start videos on the usual brony haunts. Considering, we're duplicates of names rather low on the totem pole, we can't be the only ones this is happening to. Any twisted mind who'd do this to people wouldn't be doing no-name ponies before copying, say, the Mane Six or something. And that's if this is a deliberate action. I mean sure, we got airtime, but Andy got namedropped, what, two? Three times? If this was inflicted on us intentionally, there's either a lot of us out there, or someone's got some very skewed priorities for a mad scientist, magician, whatever.”

Sandy took up the thread. “On the other hoof, if this was a natural.. well, paranatural event, I guess, why us? Why so thorough? I mean I'm remembering things that weren't in the show as if they happened only a few months ago. Why do I remember helping my sister out with a special project? I'm an only child, for Celestia's sake! But I swear, I can remember helping my big sister put together a ball gown for Princess Luna. And botching it all to hell at that,” She said with embarrassment, before shaking her head.

“Sure ain't kiddin',” I replied. “I've got a younger sister and brother, but I can tell you about bein' 'lowed to help with last year's Applebuckin' for the first time. AJ was so proud of me...” I paused, shivering as I tried to blink back a tear. “Hell, I can even tell you I'd never tasted a sweeter cider than after that first day's work.”

Andrea looked at me in confusion. “But they never had any of that in the show,” she said, troubled at the conclusions she was drawing from it.

Jack looked just as troubled. “I think that's just the point, Moondancer. The memories are too perfect, despite them never showing up on that cartoon. I can tell you things that happened, and I haven't seen an episode of it until last night. So what, are we becoming these characters?”

I shook my head. “I dunno. Maybe, but something doesn't quite sound right. Like there's more to it and we're just not seeing it.” There was a knock at the door, and I looked through the gap in the curtain. “Show time.”

Sandy grinned as she stood at the side of the doorway, just out of sight, as she magicked the door open. “Come on in,” she called out.

A tall skinny brunette walked in, carrying an armload of supplies, looking confused. “Where in the hell are you hiding the ho... oh my...”

A shrill screech of total fangirlish ecstacy caused all four of us to flatten our ears, and it was only her professionalism that kept her from dropping her supplies, putting them down on the end table before kneeling down and staring at the incarnation of her obsession. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod...” she chanted in a manner that sounded rather familiar.

I couldn't help but give Scootaloo a smug smirk. “Pay up.”

“Go buck yourself,” Scoot muttered back. Sandy and Andrea snorted in a bit of laughter at both the veterinarian’s total kiddygasm and the comments between the two of us.

“Beth, can you get a hold of yourself for a moment?” Sandy said with a hint of amused exasperation.

Beth paused, staring in shock. “Sandy? Is that you?”

“For the time being, yes,” she said, “But get it together, you've got a patient.”

Beth looked up and gasped as she rushed to Andrea's side, almost bowling the three of us over. It was rather fascinating to see her go from starstruck squeeing to concerned medical professionalism in the blink of an eye.

Since neither Scootaloo nor I knew anything about equine anatomy, we went back to my office, relaxing a bit. "Well, she seemed like a consummate professional," Scoot snarked as the pegasus plopped down on the beanbag chair.

"Oh yah. Real All Buisness type," I said wryly, before looking at Scoot. "So how are you coping? Being changed and all."

"Kinda freaked out, to be honest, mostly because it does feel right. Being a.. um.. filly," Scoot replied. "You're the one who had gender issues, yet I find myself being far more comfortable than I should be like this."

"So you can handle being a mare?" I ask, a little probingly.

Scoot lowered her head. "If I have to. Just a lot to take in."

"Don't worry, you're not alone in the Former Y-Chrom Bearer's Club at least," I said wryly. "So should we keep looking?" I asked as I grabbed my laptop.

"Probably a good idea. The womenfolk are probably going to be a while," Scoot said dryly before moving to climb onto my computer chair. I took the beanbag chair once more, fumbling with a pair of pens once more to start searching the bronysphere again.

"Huh. Interesting," I murmured to myself when I checked my email. "1500 hits so far. Maybe we got somepony's attention."

Scoot hopped off the chair and came around to look at the screen. "Interesting indeed. It doesn't mean much but it's a start. Should we look at the comments?"

"Sure, why not?" I clicked the link to the video I made, immediately pausing it, for my own rationality if nothing else.

"Garbage, porn link, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam."

Scoot yelled in a whiny voice, "I don't like spam!"

Grinning at what I started, I continued, "Oh hush dear, don't make a fuss. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam spam and spam!"

Scoot laughed. "All we need are the horned vikings."

I grinned and got back to searching files, occasionally pushing my mane back. "Maybe that's why I wore that huge ass bow.." I muttered between my teeth as I fought a valiant fight against a keyboard that was not meant for hooves.

An hour passed, and Sweetie trotted into the room. "Hey, you two. Beth said Moondancer's going to be ok."

I sagged a bit in relief. "That's great, dear," I said as I surrendered the current bout with the macbook to start toward the stairs. "You gonna be ok?" I asked Sweetie as I worked my way down the stairs.

"Yeah, I think I will. Even though I'm a little surprised that the vet's answer to the Hippocratic Oath seems to have a loophole when dealing with humans. Or at least that's what Beth's assuring me," She replied a little wryly.

"Even if it doesn't, Pondscum isn't an animal," I said through what felt like a rather vicious grin. Or perhaps it would be more vicious on something less... well, adorable, I guess.

I finished climbing down and turned a corner to look into the eyes of a fanatic. "Uh.. Hi?"

Beth giggled. "So what's your name?"

"I'm Apple Bloom," I said without even thinking of my name. My old name? It was kind of hard to think of myself as Sam anymore.

Beth, on the other hand, looked kind of concerned about how quickly the name of the pony I was impersonating came to my lips.

Sweetie frowned a bit, also concerned. "I think it's getting worse, Beth. Sam and Jack are having the same problem I am, by the sound of it." I noticed that she hesitated on our hominid names, as if struggling to say them and not our proper names.

Proper? This was getting more and more troubling. But before I could say anything, Beth sat down, looking at the two of us. "Are you having any problems remembering anything?" She asked.

"The opposite, actually," I spoke up. "I'm remembering just fine. The problem is, I'm remembering things from my human time, and remembering things that can't be possible. And the latter seem the more vivid, more real, while the human stuff I remember, but I'm struggling to see why some of it's even relevant."

Beth looked very worried about that idea. "That's horrifying," she murmured, shuddering as she imagined the concept.

"It should be, but the disturbing thing is that it isn't really," Sweetie replied. "Bloom's right. Being this way feels right, but I'm not forgetting being human, just... not caring that I'm not anymore."

I started to meander off toward the garage, the other two following me, as I talked, not quite realizing what I was doing as I concentrated more on the conversation than my actions. "For me it's more... I don't know. More of a feeling like I'm being put back together after being assembled wrong for a long time.”

I made my way into the garage, looking around without really looking for anything in particular. For the most part, it was filled with either stuff I had inherited from my grandparents, or failed hobbies (in that they either couldn't keep my interest or were too expensive to bother with).

In hindsight, I think I tried convincing myself I just came down to pace and think. Really. And if you believe that, I've got the deed to a bridge in Manehatten I'll sell ya, really cheap.

So many failed hobbies, so much useless junk. I meandered through the piles, having lost my train of conversation, not even hearing the foot and hoofsteps behind me. I paused, however, when I saw the only thing in here that wasn't a whimsical purchase or salvage from some garage or estate sale. I moved over and yanked a sheet with my teeth, revealing a positively ancient toolbox, and an honest-to-Celestia forge and anvil.

My great great... great? grandfather was a blacksmith in Old Colorado City around the turn of the century; the 20th, not the 21st. He had handed down his forge to my grandfather, but my father's path lead to soldiery, not smithing, so it spent time in a storage facility. I got it out of storage, mostly because I got tired of paying the rental, and read up on it, but never bothered with it.

“Apple Bloom?” Sweetie asked me, nuzzling my shoulder a bit to get my attention. “Everything ok?”

I blinked a bit, then in a nonsequiteur, even to myself, I blurted out, “A ramp.”

Everyone else looked at me in confusion. I probably would have looked at myself in confusion, were it not a bit difficult to do, but my mouth ran off without me. “I'm getting tired of fighting those stairs. How about we put a ramp up instead?” By we, I really meant I, but my mouth kept going on me. “And it'd help Moondancer too.” And before I could get a response, I grabbed a tape measure in my teeth and scooted past them to go measure the stairway.

I couldn't quite tell what I was doing, precisely, but I knew it felt right somehow. But more importantly, it'd keep me from busting my face on the floor from falling down the damn stairs every day. It was going to be a bit steep but far more quadruped-friendly than the stairs would be. I saw everyone else out of the corner of my eye, but for the life of me, I couldn't wrench my attention away from the measurements.

I finished measuring up the stairwell, before galloping back to the garage. Hm. There was some plywood I had leftover from some repairs that I was too lazy to bring back but not enough... Wait. I looked at an el-cheapo dresser and assessed it. I figured I could dismantle it and scavenge some of the parts. Can always paint over it at a later date. And it's not exactly like I could get much use out of a dresser anymore. I grabbed an electric screwdriver, and a claw hammer, and started to work breaking up the furniture. The hammer was surprisingly easy to use, though as with the package the other day, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how.

But the screwdriver stymied me. Not for the first time since my metamorphosis did I vocally curse the lack of digits. To hell with it. I fumbled with the cursed device only long enough to get the head of the screws out before yanking them out with the claw hammer, getting a bit of satisfaction in defeating the obstinate pieces of hardware.

Shuttling back and forth between garage and hallway, I got the collection of lumber, a pail of nails and a saw assembled. I hummed to myself as I began to craft, feeling a peculiar sort of bemused contentment by erecting the counter to the thrice-damned deathtraps the contractors built to keep me from the comfort of my bedroom and office.

I shook off some sawdust, swaying just a bit as I looked on with accomplishment at my victory over the never-to-be-sufficiently-condemned stairs. It was only a touch to my flank that made me realize two things: My compatriots had been watching me in astonishment the whole time, and that whole time was a rather considerable chunk at that, as moonlight came in a window.

I blinked a bit owlishly as I turned toward the touch, seeing Sweetie staring in shock at my butt. "Did I sit on something?" I asked exhaustedly before assessing the ramp.

It wasn't pretty, but without a sander and some paint, pretty wasn't going to be in the equation. The roughness actually would be a bit of a blessing, for our hooves to get better purchase on the ramp. I'd still want to paint it, but maybe just a spray paint or the like. Carpet could work, but would be a bitch to clean, I imagined, so thought a rough, painted surface would be sufficient.

I felt a more firm poke at my leg and turned toward Sweetie, swaying unsteadily. "What?"

"That!" Sweetie replied, shocked but with a sound of happiness.

I almost grumbled, wondering what I'd have to clean off, before freezing as the heretofore unblemished horizon of my flank was now emblazoned with a Triangle square with a hammer and saw crossed under it like the Jolly Roger of Contractors.

I blinked again, swaying a bit as I tried to focus on that spot, before looking to the other side of my hindquarters, seeing the mark repeated on the Starboard as well.

"Yay. Go me," I said with punchdrunk cheer, before I tipped over on my side, blacking out before I hit the ground.

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