• Published 13th Feb 2012
  • 13,793 Views, 103 Comments

Project Renaissance - Out of Service

Two men awaken from almost two thousand years of slumber and find the world they once knew radically changed. Together, they will lead a revolution against their alien surroundings in an attempt to remind the world of one thing: humanity is not dead.

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Chapter Four: Solace for Our Forefathers

Project Renaissance

Chapter Four: Solace for Our Forefathers

By Lucius Seneca & Stillmatic

Westin had a grip on the door frame. The pony that Ulysses had been carrying on his shoulder had awoken and had its back against the wall opposite the two men, a bright light emitting from the horn atop its head, wavering with the light of the tunnel. The facial features of the equine were somewhat obscure, but it was clear to see that it had a feeling of anxiety, even fear, perhaps inner turmoil. It turned its head between the two humans, as if it were planning on attacking one of them at any moment.

Nobody moved for a long, long second. The creature had spoken words and Ulysses and Westin knew that they hadn’t imagined it. At the same time, mere feet away, the exact same thoughts were racing through the mind of Pyrite. Her heart hammered in her chest as if it was about to burst out and roll about at her hooves. What was she doing here? What were these things in front of her? What had happened above the grotto? As Pyrite struggled to keep her spell up and her mind deciphering the occurrence of events, Ulysses gave a sharp tug on Westin’s shoulder and they turned before sprinting through the door, a bolt of kinetic energy slamming into the wall behind them.

Westin tumbled and bumped into a rusty oil drum, nearly knocking it over in his haste. Another arc of energy flew overhead, making his arm hair stand up momentarily. Pointing towards a nearby staircase, Ulysses gave a quick nudge to Westin, who grabbed a demolished toolbox and launched it back at their pursuer. The humans made their way up the stairs and barely got out of the way of the toolbox being hurled back at them. Wrenches and hammers rained from above, but they managed to avoid any serious damage.

"Man, fuck this shit!" Westin shouted over the crackling of concrete melting from a missed shot.

Ulysses tripped over the decayed remains of a skeleton and felt his forehead smack against the stairs as he fell, "Fuck!"

Climbing to his feet, Ulysses followed Westin, leaping up the last few steps as Pyrite chased them with haste, now asserted in the delusional idea that they would kill her if she let them get away. Sprinting faster than he had before, Westin dodged past a decrepit vending machine and threw himself through the door of what looked like an office. Ulysses was close behind, but a strong shockwave sent him hurdling through the plate glass window of the same office and into a set of lockers, knocking several down in his confused and shell-shocked state. Ulysses’ ears rang with a high pitched squealing and he struggled to regain his senses. Another explosion of sparks caused the nearby vending machine to topple over, blocking the door from the outside.

An explosion of white light caused both men to duck as Pyrite launched some type of concussive spell through the window, damaging the wall and setting several stacks of paper alight. Westin scrabbled to find some type of weapon or protection against the creature that was trying to kill him and Ulysses, his hands turning over and tossing miscellaneous items on the floor with superhuman speed. Ulysses spotted what looked like a hard plastic case several feet away and crawled along the floor as the vending machine rocked from the impacts, the wall beginning to crack and smolder around it. Prying the case open, Ulysses grabbed at the contents and, after a few seconds, slid the container towards Westin who grabbed at it with equal hurriedness.

Pyrite gritted her teeth at the exertion of using so many spells in such a short period and as she attempted to cast another bolt of energy, her head throbbed painfully in response. Realizing she bit off more than she could probably chew, the mare decided it would be best to make an escape as soon as possible and get some distance from whatever it was she attempted to attack. Pyrite turned fast and let her hooves carry her as fast as possible. Unfortunately for her, Westin had leaned out of the window as she did so, and the result was a pinch on her flank followed by a debilitating shock. She fell to the floor like a stone, convulsing and twitching as the electricity ran through her body. But that didn't stop her for long, and the innate magic within her quelled the shock abruptly. Pyrite forced her sore body to get back up, muscles aching as well now. She attempted to gather the energy for one last blast to confuse her enemies, but her horn wouldn't respond. Dread instantly overcame her.

Ulysses slammed his body into the vending machine and easily shouldered past the remains of the door, aiming his own taser at the confused, fearful Pyrite as she tried to summon her inner strength, "Don't fucking try it!"

Pyrite froze, unspeaking as she clenched her eyes tightly for a moment.

"What kind of fucking horse shoots shit like that?" Westin questioned, eager to blast her with the taser again.

"Get on the ground!" Ulysses yelled, "Now!"

Pyrite begrudgingly laid on her stomach and raised her hooves above her head. This was not going at all like she expected. Ulysses circled her, motioning for Westin to keep aim as he began to pull equipment off of her body. He kicked away the bag she was carrying and began searching for anything that might be of use. Coming out with nothing else, he backed up and raised his taser again.

Westin motioned his head towards her, scowling in irritation, "What the fuck are you supposed to be?" There was no response, "Start talking!"

Pyrite released a breath and clenched her eyes again, "An Equestrian."

Ulysses had a crazed look in his eye and some of his hair had been burnt near the back of his skull, “Horses don’t talk! Horses don’t have horns in their heads!” His eyes had taken on a crazed look, “You’re not real!”

Westin rebuked that instantly, "Then how can I see it too? Shit doesn't make sense."

On the floor, Pyrite gave up trying to cast any type of spell, and tried to appeal to her captors' merciful sides, "Please, don't kill me!"

"This shit cannot be happening. This thing is demonic as fuck, we gotta kill it now before it eats our souls and shit."

"No! No, wait! Please!" Pyrite was screaming now, her heart hammering harder than ever before, her eyes wide with fear.

Ulysses backed up. Her pleas sounded genuinely fearful, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up or I'll gut you right here!"

"Sweet Celestia, sweet Celestia, sweet Celestia!" Pyrite muttered, ears flattening back.

Westin placed his boot on the back of her next, "Stop that talking and shit! You aren't supposed to be doing that!"

Off to the side, Ulysses’ eyes had changed. There was a fire in them. His expressions relaxed into a type of half smile. Feeling something click in his brain, Ulysses shoved past Westin, lowering himself to his knees. Pyrite screamed in pain as fists began to pummel her face and chest, causing a spray of blood to burst from her nose. Ulysses paid no attention to the warm mist of blood that coated his face. His eyes had taken on a look of innate, sadistic joy as he made contact again and again, splitting his knuckles, soaking his hands in blood. Thrashing and trying to escape, Pyrite felt tears flowing freely down her face as fists continued to rain down upon her. There were fabulous bursts of light and Pyrite realized she could no longer feel the blows that were being inflicted upon her. Her head rolled under the strikes and she found herself staring vacantly at a perturbed Westin who watched the beating in a type of shocked dismay.

Westin cringed. Much to his credit and despite what the staff of the facility thought, he most definitely had a heart to him. There was always a difference between necessary and senseless violence, and experiencing both within his life left him with an intimate knowledge of when to not intervene. In this case, he would do the opposite. The large, pain-stricken and tear-filled eyes of the equine on the ground tickled at his sense of pity like nothing else. What he was seeing went beyond just inhumane and even though he know he had just been attacked by Pyrite, he had already secured her surrender. That should have been enough. He found himself both glaring at Ulysses and tightening his hand against the taser.

Westin lunged and wrestled Ulysses off the bleeding Pyrite, throwing the man across the floor before jumping on top of him. Ulysses grabbed Westin by the back of the neck and pulled his face nose-to-nose with the ebony man. Westin started at the realization that his partner had retained a hysteric, blood lusting look in his eyes. Thinking quickly, Westin pressed his own taser against Ulysses’ neck and held it there.

"You don't go psycho when you're near me, motherfucker. I don't have the time for your bullshit."

Westin pushed himself off Ulysses and turned to Pyrite. Behind him, Ulysses laid back on the tiles and laughed loudly, cackling innately as he tried to wipe the blood from his face with his already blood covered hands, smearing the red substance across his pale visage. His laughter turned from quiet giggling to full blown mirth which forced Ulysses to roll around as he felt his sides cramp.

"Your ass is really starting to aggravate me," Westin spat at Ulysses. He looked at Pyrite, assessing the damage, "Shit."

The darker human grabbed her by the waist and threw her over his shoulder. Shallow, raspy breaths strained out past his ear, making him regret not having stopped Ulysses sooner. It was obvious that the supposed serial murderer was bound to crack again, but Westin had at least hoped it wouldn't have come so soon after they realized the graveness of their situation. Still, he felt that he was obligated to at least do something to make things right. There wasn't much time to ever get any thorough knowledge on treating wounds in his end of Chicago, but thankfully his father, an EMT, had taught him a few things here and there. He only hoped that it would be enough to prevent any permanent damage.

Pushing past the door carefully, Westin set his patient down on a metal table situated by several chairs in the corner. A quick rummage through the lockers produced several, likely dated, medical kits. Better than nothing, he figured. It was definitely going to be an uphill battle to fix her up. Westin clicked his tongue and got to work.

Neither man spoke. Ulysses sat contently in a nearby chair, his head hung backwards as he stared idly at the ceiling. Westin stood a few feet away and hummed quietly to himself as he finished aiding the barely conscious Pyrite. She was in a state. Her eyes were blackened and swollen, her right cheek had swelled up badly. Judging by the lump that was now her nose, Ulysses had probably broken that, too. Occasionally, Pyrite would let out a soft moan as Westin patched her up, but other than that, she seemed far too disoriented to bother with expressing her pain.

Finally done, Westin looked over at his partner and asked the inevitable question: “Why’d you do it?”

Ulysses shrugged with indifference, “Because you let me.”

Westin raised a brow, "Too pussy to take responsibility, huh? They probably should've lobotomized your ass when they had a chance."

"It was fun." Ulysses cocked an eyebrow at Westin, "Lighten up, doc."

"Seeing shit like this happen," he pointed to Pyrite, "says a whole lot about how fucked up a person can be. Like Rodney King all over again."

Ulysses nodded in consideration, "Except Rodney King was drunk, human, and wasn't shooting some type of kinetic energy around."

"But the concept of accepting surrender is somehow some sort of fucking alien thing that has never even been heard of in that black hole of a head you got. That's some seriously classy shit."

Ulysses ignored Westin. The other man scoffed and took another look at Pyrite before sighing at the damage done. Suddenly, the lights above began to flicker, casting shadows and silhouettes across the tiled room. Ulysses leapt to his feet as a serious tremor rocked the room, causing the broken glass to jump and crack even more. Both men backed up against the nearest wall as they waited to see what would happen. There was another tremor, this one causing Westin to nearly slip and fall and then darkness filled the space. Silence reigned supreme for a long moment until Ulysses spoke up.

"What the hell was that?"

As if sensing their plight, red emergency lights began twirling about on the ceiling like circular ballerinas. Any trams and trains outside of the security office screeched to a halt and went dormant as the entirety of the station seemed to simply go offline from the tremor. The many consoles before the window crackled to life and displayed various warnings. Pyrite shifted around in her unconscious state, but remained where she was.

A computerized voice seemed to take over the intercom and blared, "Catskills Reactor offline. Conduct maintenance immediately. Backup generators require maintenance. Emergency reserve remaining: two hours and twenty-six minutes. Dispatch engineering crews as soon as possible."

It repeated itself from then on, never missing a single syllable. Westin looked back at Ulysses and then at the lockers. They hadn't actually looked through all of them just yet. The other human appeared to be thinking the same thing and they both foraged through the rusty containers for anything usable. If one thing was going to be necessary, it was going to be adequate light sources and any other supplies they could get their hands on. Neither of them felt it was necessary to look for the generators, let alone even attempt to fix whatever problems they were experiencing, so it was in their best interest to simply take what was available and leave the facility entirely.

Westin recovered a complete uniform, discarding his tattered jumpsuit and slipping into the fresh clothing. Behind him, Pyrite stirred, but neither man noticed. Ulysses recovered a large Mag-Lite flashlight and accompanying batteries that were nothing like he had ever seen before. They resembled tightened springs, condensed and wrapped snugly around some type of core. Ulysses slipped them into the flashlight and the room lit up with a bright bluish-white light. Westin handed his partner a holster for both the flashlight and the taser. Taking several seconds, the two escapees affixed some type of utility belt to themselves that fit comfortably around their waists.

Westin recovered a large Velcro pouch filled with glow-sticks and immediately attached it on the thigh of his pants, where a thick strip of Velcro loops had been integrated into the strange fabric. Finally, Ulysses uncovered a box of taser cartridges and passed several to Westin before keeping the rest. They too had a strange type of coil appearance. Behind the scavenging men, Pyrite had awoken and was watching with fear as she realized the beating she had received and everything leading up to it had been real and not a dream, as she had so hoped for.

Both of her captors had their backs turned and Pyrite figured she might have a chance to slip away undetected. After all, the only light was dim and weak judging by the flickering of it. Pyrite seized the opportunity and rolled to her left. It was only once she hit the ground that she realized she had been laying on a table. There was a loud smacking noise as she connected with the tiles and Ulysses turned instantly, noticing that Pyrite was now trying to get away. Of course, with her injuries and disorientation, she barely managed a crawl and the pale man took four long strides before grabbing her by the mane and dragging her back towards the locker.

"Oh goddess, oh goddess!" Pyrite whined, feebly trying to kick herself away from the human.

Westin's hands fiddled towards his taser, "You better stop this shit right now. I will tase your ass again and again if you keep pulling this sort of shit."

Ulysses gave Pyrite one last sharp tug before letting her go, “Fuck you. You can deal with whatever that is, then. Don’t forget it tried to kill us.”

"And you killed people that didn't even fuck with you. You're not any better." Westin kneeled down as Pyrite inched her way back, "Start talking."

"W-what?" Pyrite stuttered.

Ulysses leaned over Westin and fairly screamed, "Start fucking talking or I'll carve you up!"

"I-I-" Her ears splayed down as her tone became desperate, "Listen, I'm just a treasure hunter! I thought you two were bandits!"

Westin was a bit confused, "Nah, what I wanted to know is how the fuck you can even talk right now."

Pyrite mirrored the confused look, "Talk? What do you mean? All Equestrians can talk!"

Westin shuffled slightly, "What the hell's an Equestrian? That's sort of nerdy ass video game, right?"

Ulysses chimed in from the background, "Equestrians are equines, Westin." When Westin turned and exhibited a look of misunderstanding, Ulysses clarified, "Horses."

Pyrite meekly raised a hoof to correct him, "Ponies, actually. Horses are extinct because they couldn't adapt to the Ice Age."

"Ice Age was the shit," Westin added. "Mad good movie."

Ulysses nodded to agree, "That was top notch."

Westin got back to the matter at hand, "But I still don't understand how this Aquarian thing is talking to us. Shit doesn't make sense."

"It's Equestrian! What the hay are you two anyway?" Pyrite asked, her voice regaining some confidence.

"I'm black, he's a cracker," Westin replied with confidence.

Ulysses looked disgusted, "Let's go. We have everything we need. This cretin isn't worth our time."

"Nah, we need to figure this shit out."

Pyrite sat on her haunches, cringing at the pain, "Mind if I ask a question?" She did so regardless before they respond, "How long has this place existed under Froud Valley?"

Dumfounded by the question, Ulysses stared at Pyrite as if she was mentally deficient, "What?"

"If I had my map, I'd show you we're in a desert called Froud Valley. It's in the Deep South."

"What the fuck is it talking about?" Ulysses asked Westin.

Westin shrugged, "I think it's trying to tell us we're in Georgia or something."

"That's not what I'm saying at all, wherever that is! We're to the Deep South end of Equestria, the home country of ponies. This place is called Froud Valley and almost nopony goes here. Understand?"

"Mind your damn tongue." Ulysses hissed, "This is the United States."

Pyrite shook her head, "I've never heard of it. We're definitely in Equestria right now."

‎"If that shit is true, how come this place is still here?" Westin questioned, "Doesn't add up."

Ulysses felt his temper rising, "Just what the hell is going on? None of this makes sense!"

"Listen, I know this can't be easy for you," she paused as they glared at her, "-but! I'm sure that this is one big misunderstanding! I don't know how long you two have been here, but there's no place in the known world named the 'United States'. I should know, I've been around a lot."

"Okay." Ulysses looked like he was about to snap again, but he turned and pointed at an American flag pinned to the wall, faded with age, "That is the flag of the United States of America. That is where we are now. Whatever the fuck you're talking about is complete shit."

"Damn straight," Westin added.

Pyrite shook her head, “I don’t think you know where you are!”

"We're in a damn desert. Shit, what if we're in Saudi Arabia?"

"Saddle Arabia, you mean?"

Ulysses sighed impatiently, "We're not in Saudi Arabia. Let's go already."

Westin shrugged, "Got nothing else to get from here."

"Wait! I can-"

But Pyrite's word were for naught. The two humans passed her and exited the security office without as much as a glance. Stepping outside, they fished out their flashlights and walked through the mostly dark terminals and back towards the entrance they came through. Roving emergency lights creaked and spun slowly, giving a red illumination to the already disturbing environment that only an abandoned transit station could achieve. Eventually, Ulysses' light shined on a thick, burlap rucksack laying casually on the concrete floor.

He recognized it as the one he had strapped to the talking pony. And, with all things considered, it was entirely possible that it belonged to her. Westin crouched down and dug through it, retrieving a sheaf of charts and papers along with an empty canteen, several rusted cans, a bottle of what could have been whiskey, and clumps of damp sand. Ulysses kicked the empty bag away and knelt down to examine the map that Westin had spread out over the floor. Pyrite peeked out from the office and watched, too scared to bother telling them to get away from her stuff. She was in enough pain already.

Ulysses pointed at a section of the map, "Froud Valley? What the hell is that?”

Westin grabbed the whiskey and took a swig, "Where we are apparently. This shit looks too well-made to be fake."
"What do we do?" Ulysses pondered as he traced his finger across the waterlogged paper, "Camp Barrier."

Pyrite teetered her way over, wincing with each step, "I wouldn't go there. You're likely to get killed if you aren't an Equestrian."

"Yeah, I'd like to see those niggas try," grunted Westin, who took another drink. "Turn their brains into liquid before they can even lift their heads."

Staring daggers at Pyrite, Ulysses spoke, “What the hell are you, anyway? What was the deal with those blasts or whatever they were?”

Pyrite shrunk at the glare, "I-I'm a unicorn, from Canterlot. Those were concussion shots made through magic."

"Magic?" Ulysses pulled his taser out and brandished it at her, "I'll show you some fucking magic."

Westin pushed the taser down, "Yeah, that's some smart shit. Tasing the only other thing we've seen in the Middle East."

"But it is magic!" Pyrite retorted. "All unicorns can use magic, with some specialization depending on their talent. I just know some basic stuff, some combat spells, and other ones to help me search for things."

"Coming from the guy who tased it originally." Ulysses snapped.

Pyrite became visibly nervous. She wasn't worried so much about the darker colored one as she was of the pale creature, "Please! I swear it's true!"

"Whatever. I just wanna get the fuck out of here A.S.A.P. This place is creepy as hell," Westin replied, eyes looking around warily.

Pyrite recognized the opportunity, "I can take you two to Camp Barrier. There are...others like you!"

"Other what?"

"You know, uh, like you." Pyrite realized she still had no idea what creature was standing in front of her.

Ulysses gestured disbelievingly with his hands, "Humans? Stop stuttering, god damn it."

Westin sighed, "Let's dip then. Wherever this other place is, it's better than this damn graveyard."

"Are you serious? We don't even know what the fuck this thing is? How can we trust it?" Ulysses questioned.

Shrugging, Westin met Pyrite's eyes with coldness, "We can't."

Ulysses nodded and grabbed the pack, holding onto it just in case the equine near them might try anything with an item from inside. Pyrite meekly followed behind them and watched as Westin continued to empty her last bottle of whiskey. That was a severe disappointment, but she didn't want to create friction with the one being that actually prevented her from being beaten to death. She trailed them slowly out into a fungi-covered hallway and cursed herself over having gotten into this mess. Why couldn't life just be easier, at least once? Was that so much to ask of Celestia, or Luna, or whoever decided to make it so insufferable at times? Pyrite took a calming breath and set her straight.

It didn't matter. Regardless of what had already happened, she was going to make this work out in her benefit. She would make sure of that.

Author's Note:

Please note that I had to look this chapter over myself and did so hastily seeing as the chapter should have been published days ago. Apologies for any serious mistakes. Please understand that if there are a higher number of errors, that this is not a reflection of our consistency or usual work.

EDIT: Stillmatic here, for fucking once. Tidied up the chapter because Lucius was being a lazy fuck. Also, good news everyone! We've been put on that list I can't remember the name of on the front page thing!

Not bad. Only took us three tries, too. Catch you motherfuckers next time.

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