• Published 28th May 2013
  • 5,653 Views, 346 Comments

Flu Season - The Fields of Ice



The flu, a simple annoying virus we catch every winter. Something we've come to see as common. However, this misconception will prove to be utterly false for all of Equestria, and maybe the world. For this is the story of the next great pandemic

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Chapter Two: Transmission

Day Seven
Infected: 18,364
Dead: 9,170

As the morning’s light began to creep over Spike’s bed, he slowly began to stir. The young dragon yawned slightly before stretching out his legs. As he did this, he accidentally brushed against the mare lying next to him. Almost immediately, she was catapulted into consciousness, causing her to, groggily, turn to face him.

Spike smiled slightly before laying a hand upon her snow white cheek. “You are such a light sleeper.”

Sweetie Belle smiled somewhat. “Yeah, but I’m not technically awake until I’ve had a few cups of coffee.”

The young dragon returned the smile before pressing his lips to hers. After a moment, Sweetie Belle broke the kiss with a slight giggle.

“Wow, looks like someone’s in a good mood today,” she said, a slight blush beginning to form.

Spike began to blush as well. “Well, I woke up next to you. Why wouldn’t I be happy?”

At those words, Sweetie Belle could no longer contain her laughter. “Nice try,” she giggled before quickly kissing him on the nose.

The purple dragon rolled his eyes. “Hey, can you blame me for trying?”

Still giggling, Sweetie Belle levitated her comb over to her and slid out from under the sheets. “Well, if you’re gonna try, try harder.”

Spike made a very amused expression before replying “Oh I’ve got the harder part down pat.”

The white unicorn, still combing her mane, took a moment to process what he had just said before she turned to Spike. “Oh you sick basterd.”

Immediately, spike burst into laughter upon seeing the half disgusted and half amused expression on her face.

Rolling her eyes, Sweetie Belle with back to combing her mane. “So, what are your plans for the day?”

“You mean besides the first one?”

Sweetie Belle shot Spike a quick glare, causing Spike to smile.

“Well, I was going to help Sunflower in the bookstore, but she said she wasn’t feeling well… Plus she has the keys. So I’m all yours today.”

The unicorn smiled. “Yeah, wish I could say the same, but I’ve-“Suddenly Sweetie Belle was cut off by the ringing of the phone. ‘Who the hay would be calling now?’ she thought.

Encasing it in a magical glow, Sweetie Belle lifted the phone to her ear. “Hello?”

“Hello.” replied an unfamiliar female voice. “Is this a Mrs. Sweetie Belle?”

“Uh, yes,” she answered in an unsure tone.

“Mrs. Sweetie Belle, I’m a doctor at Canterlot General Hospital and I’m very sorry to inform you that your brother in law, Fancy Pants, has passed away.”

Shocked, the young unicorn took a seat on her bed.

Spike, who was becoming increasingly worried asked “What is it?” Instantly, Sweetie Belle waved a dismissive hoof, silencing him.

“W-Well, what happened to him?”

“It appears that he had contracted a strain of influenza only found in Saddle Arabia. Also, your sister, Rarity, appears to be infected as well.”

Sweetie Belle raised a hoof over her mouth. “Is she okay?!” she exclaimed.

“Oh yes, her condition is stable and she is recovering rather well. It seems that she had a more mild reaction. However, she stated that we shouldn’t contact you until she deemed her condition well enough.”

“Wait, how long ago did this happen?”

“A little more than three days ago.”

“But can I go see her?”

“Oh of course, however you should know that she is in isolation and you will be asked to put on protective clothing.”

“Okay, thank you for telling me.”

Slowly, Sweetie Belle levitated the phone back onto the nightstand. However, Spike could see a slight trembling in her magical grip. Gently, he laid a hand onto her shoulder. In turn, she turned towards him.

“Sweetie, what is it?”

Sweetie Bell took a second to reply, still trying to process what she had just been told. “We have to go to Canterlot.”

----------

Sweetie Belle and Spike stood in horror as they watched nurses and doctors in white suits and respirator hoods encircle Rarity’s bed. It was so astounding that the two could barely hear anything the nurse was telling them.

“Mrs. Sweetie Belle? Mrs. Sweetie Belle?”

Snapping back into reality, she and Spike turned toward the pony next to them. She was wearing a white suit similar to the others, except she didn’t have a hooded respirator; instead she had a dust mask with the label “N95” inscribed on it.

“Uh, sorry,” replied Sweetie Belle.

“As I was saying, the hazmat team has a suit ready for you.”

The young unicorn nodded and her and Spike began to go over to a pony in one of the more protective suits. However, Spike was quickly stopped by the nurse.

“I’m sorry, but we don’t have any suits for dragons. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait out hear.”

Spike understood, but was still somewhat annoyed. It was then when Sweetie Belle turned to him. “I’ll be right back.”

Spike nodded before Sweetie Belle turned and began trotting down the hall. After a moment of walking, she came to a wall of glass with an automatic door at its center.

“Here you go,” said a colt with a muffled voice.

She turned to him and saw a pony in one of the higher grade hazmat suits holding out a similar suit. She took it and began sliding it on. Immediately, she didn’t like the sensation of wearing it. Adorning that suit felt as though someone had wrapped her entire body in one of those bibs you get at the dentist’s office.

“And you’re going to need this too.”

She looked to the stallion to see him now holding out one of the hooded respirators. She took it and slid it over her head. At about that time, she noticed the colt putting something around her waist.

“Uh, what exactly are you doing?”

“Oh,” he said holding up a black belt with a small box at its center. “Sorry, I forgot you’re not a regular. This is the part of the PAPR, that you’re currently wearing, that filters the air and blows it into the hood.”

Sweetie Belle raised an eyebrow as the colt strapped it around her waist. “PAPR?”

“Powered Air Purifying Respirator.”

“Oh.” Abruptly, there was a clicking noise.

“There you go.”

After the colt double checked a few things on the suit, the two entered the sealed room. Finally Sweetie Belle was allowed to see her sister.

Rarity smiled weakly the moment she saw Sweetie Belle enter the room. She of course returned the smile, but hers was somewhat faked, for now she could get a better look at the IVs running into her arm, as well as the several monitors and sensors hooked to her, all of which horrified her.

“Hey sis,” said Sweetie Belle as she laid her hoof onto Rarity’s.

“Hey Sweetie Belle,” she replied weakly.

“How you feeling?”

Rarity laughed. “Like shit, but they say I’m getting better. So don’t worry.”

Sweetie Belle laughed a little too, however her expression quickly took on a somber tone. “I heard about Fancy Pants. I’m so sorry.”

The oldest unicorn looked down briefly. “Thanks, sis. Now, I don’t want to sound mean or anything, but I really don’t want you to see me like this.”

Sweetie Belled nodded. “Of course,” she said before turning away. But before she left, she turned back to Rarity. “I love you, sis.”

“I love you too.”

----------

After arriving back in Manehatten, Sweetie belle decided to turn on the news to see if there was any new information on this flu. Not being one to really pay attention to news, Sweetie Belle hadn’t seen anything on television until today. But after her morning, she was hanging on to every word the news colt said.

“It is believed that this flu virus began somewhere in southern Saddle Arabia, where most of the infections and deaths are being reported. However, there have been reported cases in Canterlot, Manehatten, and Cloudsdale. As of yet there are no reported cases in the Crystal Empire. Stay tuned for more information on this developing story.”

Spike stood in the doorway to their living room for a moment, waiting to see if Sweetie Belle would even notice him. When she didn’t, he went over to her and took a seat next to her. As he laid a hand onto her shoulder, he asked “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she replied, without taking her eyes off of the screen.

Spike could instantly tell that Sweetie Bell was lying. So he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her into an embrace. It seemed as though that were the only way to get her eyes off of the television.

“Rarity’s going to be fine,” he assured her.

Sweetie Belle wrapped her hooves around Spike and closed her eyes. “I know, I’m just… I don’t know.”

Spike reached out a claw to the nearby remote and turned off the television. “Just don’t worry about it right now. Okay?”

The young unicorn looked down. “Okay.”

Noticing this, Spike gently lifted her head for what he was to say next. “Sweetie Belle, I love you.”

Sweetie Belle smiled. “I love you too.”

Slowly, the couple began to break the embrace, but Spike still kept one arm around her. Then all of a sudden, the phone began to ring. The young dragon quickly took it and lifted it to his ear.

“Hello?”

“Spike, it’s me.”

Upon recognizing that voice, Spike’s eyes lit up. “Twilight? Is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me. I’m sorry I haven’t called more often.”

“It’s okay. I understand, the princess business is a full time job and all.”

“Yeah… Spike, I heard about Fancy Pants. I’m really sorry.”

“Thanks, Twi.”

“But there’s something else I needed to talk to you about.”

Spike raised his brow. “What is it?”

“It’s just, you and me both know this flu is serious, but I tried to talk some sense into AJ, but she just keeps blowing me off. Celestia is implementing pandemic protocols and even making the royal guard wear protective masks. She’s not screwing around with this. I’m just worried about Applejack and Applebloom getting sick. So, do you think you could try to talk some sense into her?”

Spike was a little surprised by Twilight’s comment about Celestia’s actions, but simply replied “Of course, Twilight.”

“Thank you so much, Spike. Now I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay, bye.”

“Bye.”

Spike then hung up the phone and turned to Sweetie Belle.

“What was that about?” she asked, a slightly confused look upon her face.

Spike sighed. “I know now isn’t a good time, but I think we should go to Ponyville.”

Sweetie Belle tilted her head. “What? Why?”

“We need to go see Applejack and Applebloom.”

Upon hearing her friend’s name, Sweetie Belle instantly perked up. “Why? Are they sick?”

“No, but from how bad Twilight says this thing is that won’t last long.”

“Then we’ll go first thing tomorrow.”

----------

Day Eight
Infected: 64,362
Dead: 34,975

As the couple stepped off of the train to Ponyville, they felt a cool breeze brush against their faces. Soon, that same gentle breeze would harbor the key of untold devastation. Of course, at this point, no one knew just how bad things would really get.

“It feels good to be home again,” said Spike as he looked up and down the streets.

Sweetie Belle smiled. “Yeah, this place hasn’t really changed much, has it?”

“No not really. But hey, we’ve got to go see Applejack.”

“Right, let’s go.”

After a short time of walking, and the occasional flash back, Spike and Sweetie Belle reached Sweet Apple Acres. The farm almost looked just as it did when they were just teenagers. Even the old tire swing they had hung just before graduation didn’t seem to have aged a day.

However, when they reached the front porch, the sign that used to say “Sweet Apple Acres, Residence of Big Macintosh, Applebloom, Granny Smith and Applejack,” now only listed Big Macintosh and Applejack. They had immediately assumed what had happened to Granny Smith, but were clueless as to where Applebloom was.

Leisurely, Spike raised his hand and knocked on the door. He couldn’t be sure what Applejacks reaction might be since she hadn’t seen him is so long, but he assured himself that she would welcome them. After all it was Applejack. And sure enough, the moment the door opened, the orange mare grinned wildly and pulled the two into a tight embrace.

“Oh my goodness! Spike! Sweetie Belle! Where’ve y’all been? I haven’t seen you two since forever ago!” squealed the overjoyed cowpony.

“Hey AJ,” said Spike, returning the hug.

“I’ve missed you too,” added Sweetie Belle.

After a second more, Applejack broke the embrace and said “Come on inside now; wouldn’t want you to catch a cold.”

Upon hearing this, Spike and Sweetie Belle shot each other glances full of mixed emotions.

“So how’ve you two been since the wedding?”

Sweetie Belle smiled. “Oh we’re doing all right. Spike’s working at a bookstore and I have my singing.”

“Yeah, things in Manehatten are pretty nice,” said Spike as he took a seat on a nearby couch. However, a moment later, his face took on a more serious tone. “But AJ, there’s something we need to talk about.”

The cowpony looked to Spike, tilting her head marginally. “What is it? You two alright?”

“Oh no we’re fine, it’s just, Twilight’s worried about you. And so are we.”

Instantly Applejack’s expression turned to one of understanding. “Listen Spike, I'm really sorry about Fancy Pants, but I just don’t think this flu stuff will get me. I mean I’m in the prime of my life and my immune system is just fine.”

“Then you’re guaranteed to die,” interrupted Sweetie Belle, causing all eyes to fall upon her. Even Spike was a little surprised by her comment.

“Uh, what makes you say that sugar cube?” asked a shocked Applejack.

“AJ, this isn’t like the normal flu. It kills ponies who are healthy like you. What is does is simply turn your body against itself. The stronger you are the more likely your lungs are to split open. To be quite frank, your lungs just rip themselves apart until there’s so much blood and mucus in them that you drowned in your own bodily fluids. However, the weak aren’t able to rip their lungs apart, so they live. It’s pretty much reverse feather flu.”

Spike and Applejack just stared at Sweetie Belle, who was now sitting next to Spike. Both were unable to believe what she had just said. It’s not that the two of them saw her as stupid, they just didn’t see her as the type to know so much about this topic.

“Um Sweetie Belle,” began Spike, “How do you know all of this?”

“I saw it on the news. They were showing the hospitals in Canterlot filling up with the sick.” Sweetie Bell then seemed to turn a little green. “It was horrible.”

Spike laid a comforting hand onto her shoulder before looking back to Apple Jack. “Now will you listen to us?”

The orange mare nodded. “Of course.”

“Now, where is Applebloom,” asked Spike. “I thought surly she’d be around.”

“Oh no, she’s done moved to Fillydelphia. Said she needed to get a good job.”

The young dragon placed his claw onto his chin, considering his next words. “Well, when it hits there, you need to get her home. Some of the things Twi was telling me was downright freaky.”

Applejack smiled. “And what you were telling me wasn’t? Don’t you worry, I’ll see to it that she gets home.”

Spike returned the smile. “Thanks Applejack.” He then looked over to a nearby window and saw that the sun’s light was beginning to dim. “Well, we better catch the night train. It was nice seeing you Applejack.”

The orange pony raised her brow. “What? I ain’t making you leave at night. You can stay. Besides, I’ve done made a good supper.”

“Oh no it’s okay Applejack. We don’t-“

“Boy don’t make me hog tie your ass again. It ain’t right to send your guests out at night,” interrupted Applejack.

Instantly the two heard Sweetie Belle giggling beside them. Spike looked to her with an unamused expression. “What? I didn’t say anything,” she giggled.

Author's Note:

In this chapter I'm trying to show you how many people wouldn't take a pandemic seriously. Many would claim it's just another Swine Flu, but during an Avian Flu pandemic, this miss judgment could prove very fatal. So during a real major pandemic with a high mortality rate, I encourage you to take action to inform others of the danger.

I'm also explaining real medical devices used during a pandemic such as PAPR's and Tyvek suits. Now the first isolation wards would be much higher grade. Usually in parts of hospitals with a glass door sealing off an entire ward or individual rooms. However they would eventually be made of plastic sheeting as time progressed and patients kept coming. Then at some point, no one would care about isolation and simply fill every room. Even the halls would fill with patients.

And the respiratory distress I mentioned is very real. This is what kills most avian flu victims. It is quite a painful and horrible way to die.

Please let me know if you'd like anymore information on the topic.