• Published 9th Mar 2012
  • 1,696 Views, 63 Comments

Do Pegasi Dream of Flying Sheep? - boardgamebrony



Rainbow Dash awakens on a strange new world and searches for her friends amidst high technology.

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Chapter 2: Questions

Rainbow Dash sat in silence on the roof of an unknown building, thirty-nine floors above the sprawling metropolis of a Martian city she did not know the name of. She didn't think about how she was able to breathe in the harsh atmosphere, nor did she question the red hues of light falling upon her mane and tail, tinting the rainbow color with darker shades of crimson all throughout. She wanted to cry, but found that she could not and the thought made her all the more sad.

She saw hover cars speed through the air as though divided by some unseen lanes running through the city. Their headlights streaked though the air like bolts of lightning whizzing past. In a moment of comfort, Dash remembered the Wonderbolts and tried to imagine Soarin and Spitfire carving their way across the Equestrian skies. Even as she did, the hue of her memories was covered in a deep red she could not escape from. She kept staring and did not move.

A minute later, the door to the roof access stairwell opened and out stepped a human with a rag over her mouth. She approached Rainbow Dash and knelt beside her. It was Lysa, the lab tech Dash had seen earlier when she awoke.

"Dash, I'm sorry if I was a little blunt with you before. I know this isn't easy to understand, but if you come with me, I'll tell you what I can."

"Where am I?" Dash asked. Her voice was barely audible in the rush of flight traffic all around.

"Let's go inside. It's safer in there."

---

"I don't want to go back inside that room," Dash said as they made it back to the 24th floor. Lysa sighed as she looked at the entryway and then back at the sky-blue pony.

"Dash, I just need to ask you a few more questions before you can rest for the day."

"No, no more questions!" Dash said. "I'm tired of all this questioning! I want to see my friends! Where are they?"

Lysa immediately responded. "They're not here."

"What?" Dash asked. "But those…those who are like you, in the hallway back there, mentioned five others going through here. The only five others I care about are my friends."

"That's what I need to talk to you about. They were here, but they aren't anymore. But if you want to know more than that, you have to come with me and answer a few questions."

"Why?"

"You've been in containment for a while, before you got here from Equestria. It's important we check you to see if there was any…noticeable psychological change during the transition."

At that moment, a man in a brown trench coat walked up to Lysa and stood with his eyes averted from Rainbow Dash. "Professor Philips?"

"Yes?" Lysa said.

"I'm Detective Harrison, here to perform the questioning. I assume this is subject number six?"

Dash looked up at the man and felt a wall between them. Something was off about this newcomer. Something that kept her on-edge. Lysa spoke up. "This is she, Detective. But she's hesitant to go back into the room. It's been a long day. Can you wait a bit while I prepare her for the questions?"

"Lysa, we've been through this already. I visit every time one of your subjects comes out of containment. Ever since the first one exited, my superiors are interested in how they managed to beat the questioning I put them through. If Dash is different from the rest, my time with her will bring that out. But at this point, I'm starting to question whether these subjects are what you say they are."

"I've done nothing to alter the results! These ponies are the real thing!"

"We'll see about that. Let's get this over with."

Lysa opened the door as Dash backed away. "Don't I get a say in this? I haven't had any explanation since I was awoken in that lab! Will someone please tell me what's going on?'

Harrison kept his eyes on the pony. "If you want answers, step inside." Dash narrowed her eyes, flicked her wings and lowered her ears as she passed by the Detective and sulked into the dark room. Harrison nodded to Lysa as the tech crossed out of sight while Harrison stepped inside and closed the door. He organized one chair at the end of a small table and another directly across. He stood behind one chair and motioned to Dash. "Sit."

"I'd rather stand."

Harrison didn't move or speak. His eyes did all the talking. Rainbow Dash felt them glare effortlessly with an almost imperceptible shift in tension. She looked away, walked over to the chair and perched on it with all four hooves as she sat on her haunches. The chair squeaked a little from the weight as the Detective sat down without making a single sound.

"Rainbow…Dash?" he asked with a small trace of a smile. "That is your real name?"

"Yes…why?"

"Nothing. Just seems…out of the ordinary. That's all." He sat back and eyed the pegasus without saying a word for almost a full minute. Dash remained quiet the whole time until she could stand the glare no longer.

"WHAT?" she asked. "What are you looking at?"

"Just getting to know you." The detective leaned in. "I'm going to ask you a few questions and I want you to give me whatever response comes to mind first. I can already anticipate certain responses to the questions based upon answers your friends gave…"

"You spoke to my friends?"

"…let me finish. Based upon answers your friends gave, I am going to streamline the questions until we get to the key inquisition at the end. I'm even going to tailor this test specifically to you, which I found worked better with your friends than the usual line of questioning. Everything else is just a baseline leading up to the final scenario. Now, keep in mind, there is no wrong answer…" Harrison said and Dash caught the slightest bit of a hesitation after the sentence, "…but some answers are better than others. Are you ready?"

"Do I have a choice?"

"Hostility will not help. Let us begin: how do you feel about me?"

"Well that's right-to-the-point. Do you really want to know what I think about you?"

"You barely know me or anything about me, but even so, it's an important question to start with."

"I don't like you."

The detective laughed. "No shame in the truth. Good. Why don't you like me?"

"Because you know where my friends are and you're not telling me. And we're wasting time here talking when I should be out there looking for them."

"I never said I knew where they were, but you care about them. Good. Next question…"

"Wait. You mean you don't know where they are…?"

The detective continued. "You're walking down the street when you see a human woman about to shoot her husband…"

"A what?"

The detective stopped. "What about the question confuses you?"

"What's a 'human?'"

Harrison looked at the glass Dash had failed to examine until now. He turned back to the pony and clarified. "'Human' is a species designation. I'm a human. You're a pony."

"Okay, but...I don't think it's fair to ask me a question about a species I don't know."

Harrison was visibly frustrated. He nodded and started again. "A mare is about to buck a stallion off a cliff. What do you do?'

"Whoa…why would she do that? That's cruel!"

"So what do you do?"

"I…I don't know. I've never seen that before. I don't understand what kind of situation would drive a mare to do that. But if the stallion is a pegasus, I guess that'd be okay. He'd just fly away and lick his wounds. Probably just an accident. Though I don't understand what any of these questions have to do with me. Or my friends."

"Hmm…not the answer I expected. And if you don't believe that the stallion in the example is in any danger, then the scenario doesn't work. All right then. Last question." The detective kept his gaze trained on Dash's eyes. The pegasus narrowed her own in response. "You're walking through the desert when you spy a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

Dash hesitated and thought for a second. Harrison did not blink, even when Dash spoke. "Is this a question about Tank?"

"Tank?"

"My tortoise. If I saw my pet lying on its back in the middle of a desert, would I help it?"

"You have a pet?"

"Yes. And I would pick him up and take him home where he'd be safe." Dash said. "What? You jealous I have a pet? I know. He's pretty awesome."

The Detective looked back. "On Mars, pets are a sign of status. They're hard to come by, but many people want them. So, since pets are in short supply, electrical copies are constructed to look exactly like the real thing. It gives people the appearance of affluence and allows them to find comfort in taking care of something. It is an enviable position to own a living pet."

"Hmph. All of my friends have their own pets."

"Is that so?"

"Yep. Rarity has her cat Opalescence. Applejack has her border collie Wynona. Twilight has her owl Owliscious. Pinkie Pie has her toothless alligator Gummy. And Fluttershy has like a billion pets. One of which is a white rabbit named Angel. So yes, we're all awesome cause we have pets," Dash said, smiling at the Detective's confusion.

The Detective started to laugh. It caught Dash off guard as Harrison motioned towards the glass. Seconds later, while the interrogator was still laughing, Lysa entered the room. He gestured at her with a finger to move closer to him. She leaned over him and he reclined in his seat as he smiled up at her before he spoke.

"Next time you want to play a prank on local law enforcement, ask for somebody else."

"I don't understand, Detective," Lysa responded.

"That…" he said, pointing to Dash, "is nothing more than a human playing a prank. Just like every single one of them. The costume is good. Very good. Probably a holo-skin with tactile feedback from the outer layer. But the things she says don't make any sense at all. How can she not know what a human is? And the boasting of owning so many pets in a society where such a thing is hard to come by? None of this adds up to what my superiors told me about when I first took this assignment. I doubt she's one of your test subjects and she's certainly not a pony."

"I'm not just a pony. I'm a pegasus!" Dash said, puffing up as her wings fanned out.

Lysa was open-mouthed and wide-eyed as Harrison stood up. "I know I'm required to come by here to test your subjects, but if I find out you've been setting me up with human decoys, I'm going to come back and shut this place down." He looked at the pony. "I'm not going to wrestle with you and force you to take that mask off. Last time a detective broke someone's holo-skin, he was sued. So you know what? Keep it. You have a good day, Rainbow Dash," he said as he walked out the room and slammed the door behind. The techie looked back at the pony and sat down across from her.

"Dash, how did you do that?"

"He was a goof. He didn't know what he was asking me."

"Yes he did. And you have no idea what kind of disaster you just averted."

"Why? None of his questions were hard."

"He was trying to see if you were an…" Lysa said and stopped. "He just wanted to see if you were lying."

"I wasn't. Now…" Rainbow Dash flexed her wings. "I'm ready to find my friends. Just point me in the right direction and I'll do it myself."

Lysa tapped some buttons on her handheld viewscreen and placed it in front of the pony on the desk. "I don't know where they are, but I know where they were. And you can see it too. After you're done, we'll talk more about where we saw them last."

"This is…amazing," Dash said as she looked on at the screen. An interrogation scene started similar to what she experienced moments earlier.

---

"You're walking through the desert when you come across a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

"I would do nothing," Rarity said. Detective Harrison sat back, dumbfounded.

"You wouldn't help it?"

"It's not that I wouldn't want to. If I were there, I'd like to help it, but I wouldn't be caught dead in such a dreadful place! Deserts wreak havoc on one's mane and complexion." She said as she bounced her hair with one hoof.

"But if you were there…"

"I wouldn't be."

---

"You're walking through the desert when you come across a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

"What kind of tortoise is it?" Twilight Sparkle asked, putting one hoof up to her chin.

"Why does it matter?"

"Well, depending on the type of tortoise, it's age, physical health and a host of varying other factors, my response to said situation would differ depending on the variables involved."

"It's. Just. A. TORTOISE."

"And not only that, but I need to know what I'm capable of doing. Am I a veterinarian? An outdoor survival expert?"

"You're YOU. You're not anyone different. You're just. YOU."

"And what are some qualities of the surrounding environment? What kind of desert is it?" Twilight asked.

"A hot one."

---

"You're walking through the desert when you come across a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

"OH! OH! OH! A tortoise inside a dessert! That's super fun! Has he eaten all the dessert, cause that'd be really sad if he did, cause I'd want some and if he ate it all, that'd be mean and rude and not friendly at all, and I hope it's a cupcake. Or a muffin. Or cherrychangas!" Pinkie Pie said.

"No, it's not a dessert. It's a desert."

"He should be upside-down in a dessert, cause then he could eat while staring at the sky and watching the clouds and pegasi go by and that'd be more fun. Don't you think so, Mr. Super Mysterious Trenchcoat Detective Person?"

"No."

Pinkie Pie was silent for a moment before speaking again. "You're mean. And mean people don't get ANY of the cherrychangas when tortoise and I are done with them. But you can have the muffin! It's a sign of friendship!"

---

"Fluttershy…"

"Um…yes?"

"Do you own any pets?"

"Oh yes! Almost a hundred in fact."

"How can you possibly take care of one hundred pets?"

"It's not that hard, really. They mostly take care of themselves. In fact, you could say they take care of me." Fluttershy smiled.

"Okay. Good. This shouldn't be hard then. Here's the question: You're walking through the desert when you come across a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

"Oh, poor thing. I would pick it up and take it home."

"Oh…okay. That's simple enough. Everyone else made it far more complicated than that."

"Was that the right answer?"

"There's no right answer. It's all up to you…"

"Well…maybe I wasn't supposed to pick it up…" Fluttershy said, looking suddenly very worried.

"What?"

"What if the tortoise has friends who are watching me take it and think I'm trying to steal her? What if they get mad at me because they think they'll never see their friend again?" Her voice became higher and more frantic as she continued.

"Whoa, wait a minute…"

"What if they don't want to be my friends anymore after they tell all the other little critters what I've done? WHAT IF THEY DON'T LIKE ME BECAUSE I TRIED TO HELP THE POOR LITTLE TURTLE AND RUINED EVERYTHING?"

"Tortoise," the detective corrected, his eyes wide with confusion.

"AHH! I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!"

"Calm. Down," the Detective said firmly.

"I need a hug," Fluttershy said meekly as she curled up in her chair.

Moments later, Lysa walked into the room. She stood and saw Fluttershy embracing Detective Harrison, whose face was hard to read. Lysa waited a moment before speaking. "Do…you need some more time alone?"

"Yes!" Fluttershy said, snuggling the Detective.

"Umm…maybe just a little longer," the Detective said. His expression was stone.

---

"You're walking through the desert when you come across a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

"Ah pick it up," Applejack said, her eyes locked on the Detective across the table.

"Good. Simple and straight to the point."

Applejack's eyes narrowed. "And then ah find out who put em' there."

"You do what now?"

"I reckon that tortoise mighta had some bad luck from an unfriendly fellar."

"Why would someone deliberately place a tortoise on its back?"

"Did you do it?"

"I'm not part of this hypothetical situation."

"Did you hypothetically do it?"

"No!" the detective answered.

"What about you, Detective? You're walking through the desert when you come across a tortoise lying on its back. What do you do?"

He sat back for a moment, dumbfounded. "I'm not taking the test here."

"Cause ya can't answer it, can ya?"

"I don't need to answer it!"

"Did ya already take this test?"

"Yes!"

"Did ya pass?"

"YES!"

"Then what did ya say?"

Harrison was silent for a moment. "That's IT! This is over! I'm leaving!" he stood up and walked out.

Applejack smiled and dusted off her shoulders. "Applejack: One. Mars: Zero."

---