• Published 5th Aug 2013
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The Titan's Orb - Old Man Dusters

Callum lives a miserable life on Earth. But that is soon to change, as some unexpected visitors will change his life forever.

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Chapter Six: New Methods Of Transportation

I felt weightless, as though I were underwater, I couldn't hear a bloody thing, nor could I see anything. I went to look at my hands, only to find there was nothing there.
As a matter of fact, I appeared to be lacking a body entirely.

{What the hell is going on? Where am I?} I tried to say aloud, but the words only echoed in my mind as thought.

At last, I saw something in the distance, a black orb of sorts, no bigger than a tennis ball.
The shape was coming towards me at a rather alarming rate, growing bigger and bigger as it did so; within seconds it had grown to the size of a car, and it had begun to emit noise, just loud white noise, like a strong wind upon a mountain peak. The black ball was now the size of a large house, while I couldn't judge the distance, I was certain that it was about to hit me, and the worst part is that I couldn't close my eyes, I had to stare at this enormous object that was about to completely engulf and obliterate me; in my terror I tried to shout out.


The black object collided with me, the deafening noise stopped, and everything went black.

Consciousness slowly returned to me, (although I would have much preferred it hadn't).
Within seconds, a throbbing pain pulsated through my head and my skin got pins and needles all over, I also weirdly enough felt pins and needles in my tongue, which was certainly a new experience, a very unpleasant one at that.
I couldn't see a thing, nor could I hear anything, well, nothing besides a nauseating high pitched ringing, it was as if a flashbang grenade had gone off in my face.
After a few moments of lying there trying to regain my senses, I heard a faint voice over all the distortion.


I barely heard it, it was all muffled and echoic; I then felt a nudging against my arm. The voice spoke again, a little less muffled and more understandable this time, I was just able to make it out.

"Callum, can you hear me? Are you alright?"

The voice was female, gentle and formal in tone, I assumed it was Rarity. I squinted my eyes tightly and then re-opened them to see a big white fuzzy blob in front of me, I groaned as I felt a hoof nudge my arm. Without warning, a massive black blob pinned me down and I instantly had my face besieged by a huge, warm, wet tongue; I shook my head and blinked a few times to find it was Archer lapping at my face, I pushed his muzzle away with my hand.

"Get off me, ye filthy old parsnip." I groaned.

Blinking a few times to properly regain my vision, I found the girls surrounding me, with Rarity kneeling beside me; she gave a sigh of relief and put a foreleg around my neck, giving me a brief hug before standing up.

"Thank goodness you're alright, I tried to wake you but you didn't respond." She said as she assisted Fluttershy in pulling Archer away from me.

"What happened?" I asked.

"You blacked out, been out for a couple minutes." She replied.

"Why?" I asked, "Does that happen every time you use a Pullie Portal?"

Rarity shook her head, and amazingly Twilight had the kindness to explain.

"There have actually been a few cases of ponies blacking out when exposed to teleportation spells, oddly enough it's happened to earth ponies far more often than with unicorns and pegasi. It's an educated guess but I would presume that you're resistant to magic, studies have shown that ponies with magic resistance have similar reactions."

"I see..." I grumbled.

"Well, other than you hitting the ground like a sack of apples, the Pullie Portal is good to go."

Rolling my eyes, I gave my head a quick shake and then took the dog leads from Fluttershy and used the back gate to leave the garden and enter the local field beside the land; Twilight cast the invisibility spell onto Rarity and Flutters and warned that they would only have roughly half an hour before the spells wore off.

"Damn, that's weird..." I muttered.

Both Rarity and Fluttershy were now rendered completely incognito, they didn't even cast shadows, the only thing that could be seen was a faint distortion in the light where they stood, not too dissimilar from alien creature in the movie Predator.

"It doesn't last too long, so let's not dilly-dally." Rarity emitted from her new imperceptible form.

With that, we set off across the field and in the direction of Bruce's house.

I looked at Chilli and Archer, both of them had their tongues lolling out without a care in the world; they seemed absolutely fine with two invisible talking equine aliens trotting along beside them. Taking a look around, there were only a few farm buildings in the area with no house in sight.
Deciding to get a move-on, I beckoned the dogs by lightly tugging on their leads and my way through the field and toward a dense orchard. Archer lazily obeyed and plodded along behind me, barely wanting to exert the energy, Chilli on the other hand, excitedly pranced next to my leg as though she were on bloody Crufts.
As we emerged from the trees and into the next open field, the summer sun greeted us kindly, wrapping us in its warmth; the cooling breeze that accompanied the weather was a perfect balance, and we thoroughly enjoyed the trek. It didn't take us all that long to cross the fields and to the oaks beyond them, which is where the main road was found. A few houses could be seen just down the lane, I took my phone out of my pocket and examined the screenshot I'd taken from Google Maps, then looked at all the visible houses, and just in the distance I spotted Bruce's house.

"What an awfully wide path." Rarity hummed with curiosity.

Before I could say anything, the unicorn had stuck her head out of the trees was about to step out, not realising until the last moment that a car was hurtling down the road, and before she knew what was up, the vehicle whizzed by at about fifty miles an hour and almost took poor Rarity's head off, she yelped and jumped back, stumbling over onto her bottom, her invisibility was abruptly dispelled and I could see her again, her eyes wide with confused terror.

"Jeez, Rarity! Are you alright?" I asked, kneeling down to check if she was okay, which luckily she was.

"Wha... What in bloody Tartarus was that?" She panted, still getting over the scare.

"That my dear, was a car, and this is a road, not a path. And it's for reasons like this why we always look left and right before crossing a road, roads are specifically for cars, so they can get around with speed." I explained.

"Goodness, if I was any further out there, it would have hit me." She muttered, still shaking.

"That's why we don't cross roads without looking both ways first, cars never stop, especially at that speed, and especially not for invisible ponies!"

"Well, I will most certainly keep that in mind," Rarity sighed, calming down, "Twilight had told me about cars, but I've never seen one for myself, they're much faster than I thought, and bigger."

"Let's just hope that you never end up seeing one that close again while it's speeding on a main road, ey? The damn thing almost splattered you." I said, gulping.

She nodded in agreement, also giving a nervous gulp. This had caused a problem, with her invisibility dispelled, she'd have to remain here in the trees for cover; needless to say she was not happy about it, but obviously there was little one could do without Twilight's proficient magic.

"We'll be as quick as possible, keep your head low and for goodness sake, don't go back onto the road." I ordered.

"Yes sir." She sighed, plonking herself down beside the nearest oak tree.

Fluttershy and I approached the road, now prepared to cross. Due to her new firsthoof experience in cars, Flutters was right by my side; after checking that the coast was clear, we crossed the road. No cars came by and we were able to the other side with ease, the only problem I noticed was the clopping of Fluttershy's hooves on the hard pavement, thinking about it actually, this would prove as a huge disadvantage for any stealth operations later on in this quest.

"Hey Flutters, do you mind stepping a little quieter? Your hooves are a tad conspicuous." I asked.

"Oh goodness, I hadn't even thought of that, sorry!"

I felt a faint gust of wind, accompanied by smaller gusts every few seconds, indicating that she had taken to flapping her wings to remain slightly off the ground.

"Any better?"

"Much better." I praised.

We continued onward to Bruce's house, it was no more than a couple minutes away.

It wasn't too far to go, when Fluttershy brought up something completely out of the blue.

"Look, Callum, I would just like to apologise for you being subjected to Twilight's behaviour, I just don't know what's gotten into her. I can promise you that she truly isn't this sort of pony back in Equestria, it's like being around a complete stranger. But that's no excuse, so I'm really sorry for how she's acted towards you."

Smiling warmly in the general direction of Fluttershy's whereabouts, I dipped my head with gratitude.

"Thank you Fluttershy, that's really nice of you to say. But it's not your apology to make, you've got nothing to be sorry for, I've got no issues with you or the other girls. I don't know what Twilight's problem is, but just as long as she is civil, I can survive with her."

She gave a bothersome 'hmm' for an answer, as she didn't really know what to say. We continued walking in silence until we were a yard or two from the house.

"How do we know this is the place?" Rarity asked.

I took my phone out of my pocket and showed her the picture, she gave another hum of acknowledgement.

I walked up to the front door, and pressed the doorbell, quietly praying that Bruce would be the one to answer; I heard footsteps, and a lock click. The door swung open, and I was greeted by with that dullard's cheesy grin.

"Callum!" He yells, jumping forward and dive hugging me.

I almost squashed Chilli upon being tackled to the ground, whom had jumped out of the way, and I playfully swatted at Bruce's head until he released me from his over-friendly grasp.

"Damn it Bruce! I thought we agreed that glomping was for Skype, only!" I coughed.

He got up and brushed himself off, then watched me with a joyful expression as I got up.

"Yeah, but since when have I ever kept to a deal?" He smirked.

"Touché." I replied.

Bruce chuckled to himself and then tended to the dogs. He squatted down to greet Chilli and made a high pitched squeaking sound that I didn't think the human body was possible of making.

"Oh my gosh! She's so sweet! I love her! She's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"

Growing jealous, Archer lumbered forward and headbutted Bruce in the chest, demanding attention, to which he merrily received as Bruce gave his side a strong patting.

"Yes, hello big boy! Yes, I know you exist, you magnificent handsome beast!"

Fluttershy emitted a giggle, to which Bruce looked around with confusion, and then looked at me.

"Callum, did you know that you laugh like Fluttershy?"

Clearing my throat loudly, I told him that there must have been a frog in my throat and then raised my eyebrows towards Flutters to warn her not to make another sound.

"Well, Bruce, we should get inside, so we can talk."

He nodded and took the dog leads from me, then headed into the house; I followed him and beckoned Fluttershy to join me, and put a finger to my lips to order her to remain quiet.

Bruce's house was incredibly cosy from the second I walked in; my house had next to no insulation, and it was always cold, while it was like a sauna here! Bruce led us into the lounge, and the first thing I noticed were two massive dog baskets with a bone in each.

"Wow, talk about hospitality." I said, smiling.

"Well I want to make a good first impression." He grinned.

I was going to reply with a witty one-liner when there was a loud squawk, followed by a bright red parrot swooping into the room and landing on Bruce's shoulder, nibbling his ear.

"Oi, no nibbling!" Bruce laughed.

It bobbed up and down in amusement before fluttering over to its cage.

"I see you have a parrot now?"

"Four actually, I've decided that I really like birds." Bruce replied with his back turned to me.

"Oh as do I, bird are just so, so wonderful..." Fluttershy hummed merrily.

Whipping around to stare at me, Bruce squinted his eyes shut and examined me.

"Okay, that Fluttershy impression is creepily weird, do it again!" He demanded.

Shaking my head, I quickly escaped the request by stating that I needed to explain what was going on, Bruce dipped his head in understanding and zipped into the kitchen to make a cup of tea for us both.
This gave me the opportunity to turn to Fluttershy and scold her.

"What the devil are you doing, Flutters? Are you trying to give us away?"

"I'm really sorry, I just couldn't help it, he's so nice!"

"Yeah well, please try not to burst out again."

"Okay, sorry..." She whispered.

Bruce entered the room with two cups of tea, alongside some custard cream biscuits, which just so happened to be my favourite biscuits, (alongside Chocolate Digestives).

"The dogs seem to be at home already." He merrily stated, pointing to Chilli.

Chilli was in her new basket gnawing on the bone as though her life depended on it; Archer then saw the second bone, and curled up in the other basket and began to chew on his new treat.

Taking a seat and sighing heavily, I took a biscuit and dunked it into my tea, and then quickly popping it into my mouth before it broke apart in the mug.

"So Callum, spit it out already, what the bloody hell have you gotten yourself into?"

Rubbing the back of my neck, I tried to figure out how to best articulate this situation.

"Well, it's not easy to explain, so please bare with me okay?"

Nodding, Bruce munched on a custard cream while I thought up how best to describe the mad new situation that I had just willingly thrown my entire life away for.

"So... Well... I uh... Um... Look, there's no easy way to say it, I'm faking my death."

Raising his eyebrows, Bruce loudly slurped at his tea, before plonking his mug back down on the coffee table.

"For real? Why?"

"I've signed myself up for a certain task, something that requires me to leave my life behind and to disappear without a trace, it's something on a planetary scale of importance and I need to make sure nobody knows I'm still out there somewhere, you know?"

"To be honest with you, no, I don't know. Care to be a bit more specific?"

The parrot squawked loudly again for no apparent reason, causing Chilli to start barking at it, which in turn caused Fluttershy to emit a yelp of surprise, one of her wings accidentally hitting the parrot's cage and almost knocking it down; this caused her to jump backwards and bump her head on the doorframe, causing yet another yelp of shock and completely dispelling her invisibility. Needless to say, this was a shock for Bruce, whom stood bolt upright and stared at Fluttershy with eyes like saucers. The parrot meanwhile, was not entertained by the unfolding events and flew over to the window ledge, glaring at Chilli with ruffled feathers.

"So... Uh... How's that for specific?" I asked, sipping from my cup.

"Flu... Flut... Flutter.... Flutter-holy-shit-okay-bye-bye...." He mumbled, fainting.

Fluttershy hung her head in shame.


"Fuck sake..." I mumbled under my breath.

Archer (whom happened to be in reach of Bruce's face) decided it would be acceptable to plant his enormous tongue on Bruce's chin, and then to drag it upwards until it reached his forehead, enveloping his entire face in dog tongue.

"Mmmmmn, nada! Stinky breath! Stinky breath!" He shouted, swatting at Archer's muzzle.

Sitting bolt upright and wiping his face with a sleeve, he stared at Fluttershy yet again, gulping.

"This cannot be real, surely this cannot be real." He murmured.

"So, you know how I said this needed to stay between us?" I chuckled nervously.

"Yeah... Now it all makes a bit of sense..."

Shaking his head and pinching himself a few times, Bruce got up properly and took a sip from his tea.

"So, um... Why is Fluttershy in my house again?"

Rolling my eyes, I forced him to sit down again and gave him the full explanation, divulging on how an artefact from Equus had been sent to Earth and that the six had come here to retrieve it, and that I had somehow been chosen to be their guide, which would mean I needed to disappear from the world, hence why I was faking my death.

Bruce in turn, asked the most unexpected questions I could have imagined, given the context of our scenario; for instance, one of the first things he asked was if ponies had to pay taxes, or if they were all a bunch of commies.

After properly processing the situation, and the new reality of Equus being a real place and that ponies were on earth, Bruce finally calmed down and vowed never to mention a thing to anyone.

"I am sworn to secrecy, for the New Lunar Republic!" He cheered.

"Bruce, real world buddy... The NLR doesn't exist in Equus, at least I don't think it does." I replied.

Leaning over to face Fluttershy, I asked her if there was an actual New Lunar Republic, to which she simply said she had never heard of such a thing, which insinuated that it wasn't real.

"Eh, a man can dream." Bruce sighed, rubbing his temples.

"You okay there?" I asked.

"Migraine, I get them all the time, usually when I'm stressed, or when I have my entire belief system rocked to bloody Mars due to My Little Pony being an actual reality."

"You should probably see a doctor about that." I scoffed.

"Well I was meant to be on painkillers, but the parrots eat them all..." He chuckled.

"Oh fuck, ooffff..." I groaned.

"I don't follow." Fluttershy awkwardly spoke.

Bruce shook his head playfully, and I explained the joke to Flutters that we have a pain killer called paracetamol, and it sounds like 'parrots eat them all'.

"Oh, I get it." Fluttershy giggled.

Finishing my tea, I gave Bruce a long sigh and said that it was high time that we got a move on, as the others were patiently waiting for us. Although saddened by this news, he understood and showed us to the door.

"How long will you be gone for? A few months?" He queried upon opening the door.

"Could be years mate, we have no idea where the shards are going to be yet..." I answered.

At that, Bruce gave a whistle.

"So, I'm holding onto the dogs for good then?"

"Not necessarily, perhaps return them in a couple weeks or so via the back gate, after the dust has settled of course."

"Fair enough, I'll wait for the police to settle down as they'll probably search the area for your killer."

"Good call." I praised, nodding.

"Will I ever hear of you again?" He asked.

"If I live, you'll be the first to know." I joked, placing my hand firmly on his shoulder.

We chuckled for a bit, before he gently pushed me away.

"Well... Go on, get." He said sadly, clearly not wanting us to go.

Chilli followed me and began to whine.

"Chilli, no. You stay with Bruce." I pushed the dog away.

She gave my hand a small lick, and that's what finished me off, my eyes began to water up and I sniffed. Fluttershy used one her wings to make a small wall between me and Chilli so I could back off, I walked out the door and hung my head, I put my hands on my knees and took a deep breath. Fluttershy came to me and put a hoof on my shoulder.

"Callum, are you al-"

"I'm fine." I sighed quietly.

I stood up tall and coughed to clear my mind, I turned to face Bruce, who was waving.

"Good luck!" He called.

"Bye now!" Fluttershy called back.

Bruce shut the front door to stop Chilli getting out, he ran to the window in his lounge to watch us go.

"Come on, we're out in the open." I ordered.

Nodding, Fluttershy took to the skies and glided away towards the oak trees in the distance, where Rarity was patiently waiting on her lonesome. I jogged away from Bruce's to join them, only looking back once to give a small wave.

"Dear me, it's about time!" Rarity exclaimed.

"Sorry Rare, Fluttershy decided to be an adorable imbecile and dispel her invisibility while indoors, and thus I had to explain everything to Bruce." I teased, ruffling Fluttershy's mane.

"Good to go?"

Clapping my hands together and giving a small Pinkie-like bounce, I gave Rarity a firm nod.

"I'm as ready as I'll ever be, let's get this show on the road." I said, grinning.

As much as my separation from Chilli hurt me, I had to stay strong, especially around the six, I was their guide, and their protector, they would look to me in times of need and thus I felt like I needed to remain jolly and positive.
I would dwell on my emotions later, but now was not the time.

"Well, you perked up quickly." Rarity said with a questioning look.

"Chilli meant a lot to me, but she's in safe hands, and I now have you six, I have a purpose now." I replied.

She smiled as her horn began to light up.

"Try not to black out this time!"

I stuck my tongue out at her and blew a raspberry while she sent of a magical ping to Twilight; soon enough Twilight reciprocated and I felt the Pullie Portal's effect, my body started to turn a deep blue, with swirls of black mixed among the glow, and that was the last thing I saw, as everything flashed to white, and I found myself feeling completely weightless.

{Come on... Any second now...} I thought to myself as I stared into the never ending whiteness.

A matter of seconds later, I saw it, the black shape speeding towards me; although only the size of a golf ball at the moment, I knew it would only take a few more seconds for it to show it's true size and come crashing into me.
I stared at it as it got closer and closer, and with enough thought I could see a tiny opening in the centre. I ignored the deafening sound around me, and concentrated on getting through that hole.

{Come on... Come on!} I thought, and just as the mass flew into me, there was flash of white.

The white was gone just as quick as it had appeared, and I was suddenly met with the blurred colours of my garden, with gravity once again affecting me. If I were a cat, I would have landed flat on my feet perfectly; but I wasn't a cat, so I ended colliding with the floor with a loud smack.
The first thing I heard was Pinkie squealing loudly and running to my side with the other girls in tow.

"YOU'RE BAAAAACK! You got back so fast! I mean I knew you wouldn't take forever because you look like you're pretty fast but I didn't expect you to get back that fast. Oh and your landing was hilarious! You were all like 'whoa' and was all like 'wooooo'! And then you smacked into the ground! Priceless!" Pinkie yelled at the top of her lungs, zipping around like a lunatic.

"Yeah, nice landing, you might turn out to be a good rock one day." Twilight joked.

"Uuuugghhh... Yeah, yeah... Laugh it up..." I groaned wearily as I went to properly stand up.

As I got to my feet, a blunt pain shot through my back, and left shoulder.

"Why does it feel like I just fell from the roof of a house?" I grumbled, rolling my shoulder until it crunched.

It took Twilight a good few seconds to answer, she was just examining me from head to toe, I guess when I was on the floor she had forgotten how tall I was. She put her hoof behind her neck awkwardly and cleared her throat.

"Well, that certain spell has a troublesome tendency to skew slightly when it comes to the exact arrival target, only by a few metres most of the time. To compensate, I set your destination a few metres in the air to prevent any complications, such as you arriving with your legs underground for example. And seeing as you're new to teleportation, there's obviously going to be a delay before you regain control over your body, so I'm afraid you didn't exactly have any control of your landing, or crash, to call it honestly." She stated, smirking.

"At least you didn't entirely black out!" Rarity chuckled.

"Ugh, from henceforth, I hate portals." I remarked, giving my head a shake.

"Are you hurt?" Fluttershy asked.

"Nah, I'll be fine." I replied, shrugging it off.

Twilight's horn lit up and my rucksack launched itself into my chest, to which I caught with ease.

"Good, because we're moving out. We are heading northeast of here, I've detected a big surge of electrical energy there, which I can use to pinpoint the shards faster." She instructed.

"Ah, that would be Gatwick Airport."

"I don't care what it's called."

I rolled my eyes and put the rucksack on, before opening the back gate and allowing the mares to go first. Shutting the gate behind me and tightening my backpack straps, I took in my very first breath of freedom, from here onward, every step I took was another step into the unknown, and while I used to hate unknowns, this was a new me, and a new future.

I looked at my compass to check that we were heading northeast, and then began walking in that direction. The others trotted along with me, besides Pinkie Pie of course, whom bounced along in her usual fashion.

"Alright then everypony! Allons-y!" I yelled, breaking into a power-walk.

Finally, we were off, the quest had begun.

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