• Published 30th Mar 2012
  • 34,773 Views, 2,416 Comments

Wayward Courier - Speven Dillberg

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Where was I? Oh, right, just after I got stung by the manticore. Now, before I go any further, allow me to emphasize just how painful it was. I will not ask if you have been set on fire. If you’ve been scavving through ruins, then the odds are a burst gas pipe or an angry robot has done that to you. Or maybe a raider with a Flamer, that happens too. And I’m sure you’ve been hit with plasma, and know how that’s like being with a Flamer, but just in one area. It hurts a lot more. Now, imagine the intense pain of being hit with a plasma rifle, then make it so that it is everywhere at once. Honestly, even places that shouldn’t hurt did.

Anyway, I passed out. I’m not sure how long I was out for, but it was definitely long enough for something to drag me to what looked to be a tribal hut. At this point, I could only see the interior, and believe me when I say that waking up to see a wooden mask painted to look like a savage beast is not exactly pleasant. I’m pretty sure that, if I hadn’t gone and had my heart removed then replaced by the Think Tank, it would have stopped.

That was when my host put her face in front of mine. How do I know my host was female? She told me, eventually. That was after we had both gotten over the mutual weirdness of what was going on.

You remember how the one I saved from becoming lunch was blue and had wings? This one had stripes. They weren’t black, but they were pretty close, and they covered the rest of the white coat she had. What was even crazier, the hair of her mane and tail (the locals told me that’s what they referred to those parts of the body as) were somehow just like the rest of her. No I don’t know how. Apparently it’s natural. I know, hard to believe.

Back to the story, she stared at me for a few moments. Long enough for me to see she had rather pretty green eyes. Okay, get your mind out of the toilet or I will push your head down one. The other thing about them was that were far too big. They took up about a quarter of her head, at least. There is no way there should be any space left for a brain or anything. There was also a rather critical expression, as though she was examining me. I was examining her, so I guess it was only fair. I’d never seen anything like her, and I’m sure she’s never seen anything like me. Then came what was maybe one of, if not the, biggest shock of my life.

“Are you okay?”

She had talked. In perfect English, no less. I had expected gibberish like the White Legs or Dead Horses spoke.

Now, I didn’t answer straight away. After all, this could have been some crazy hallucination or dream. I don’t know why I would be dreaming of what was happening to me, but I’m sure stranger things have happened.

“I think,” I said. I wasn’t just going to say ‘yes’ to a hallucination, okay?

Judging by her expression, she hadn’t expected me to respond. I hadn’t expected her to talk. “You speak my native language?” she asked.

“You speak English?” I asked back.

There was a brief silence at that point. I’m not entirely sure why, though. “What are you?” the striped horse asked me. Yes, I know how fucking strange that sounds. I went through it all.

“I could ask you the same thing,” I answered. Hey, I couldn’t help myself. “Anyway, I’m a human.”

There was more silence, as though it was weighing the truth to my words. “Well then, human, my name is Zecora, and I am a zebra.” Then she paused again. Took me a moment to realise that she was waiting for my name.

“You can call me the Courier.” I wasn’t just going to give it my name.

Zecora frowned at me. “I saved your life, so the least I would expect is your name.”

I laughed at that. Well, more like a weak chuckle, but you get the idea. “I only give my name to those I respect.”

“Saving your life is not enough?”

She was a little angry. Understandable. “Almost. Point me in the direction of my things and I might just - ” And then I was cut off.

I have no idea what I heard at that point. It sounded nice, but then again so does sizzling brahmin steak. It doesn’t really mean anything.

Turns out we had a guest. I had not seen a shade of purple like that outside of gangrenous wounds before, and I haven’t since. This one had a horn as well. And I don’t mean a horn like the ones on Bighorners. No, this one was a perfectly straight cone thing sticking out of the middle of its head, the same colour as the rest of her. No I don’t know how that works.

Oh, did I mention I was almost naked? Yeah, my Riot Gear had been taken off, I guess to check me for any real damage.

“Zecora!” Twilight yelled from outside the small hut. She really didn’t like being in the Everfree any longer that she had to.

The door opened and the zebra who called the hut home appeared, wearing what seemed to be a relieved smile. “I’m so glad you came, Twilight. It has been a long night.”

“Rainbow said that it was stung by a manticore.”

“He is lucky to be alive, that much is true. It has been too long since I’ve had to make such a brew.” The zebra led the mare into the hut, allowing her a look at the being.

Twilight didn’t know what to think. Rainbow had said that the creature was fearsome, that it had fought savagely, killing two manticores with ease. But seeing it like this, on a bed and unclothed, she couldn’t help but think that maybe it wasn’t that terrible. Its face seemed rather gentle, with its rather small nose, bright eyes and strange yet somehow cute ears. From what she could tell, there wasn’t much in the way of body hair, which explained the clothing it had to wear. She stared and analysed the strange creature for a few moments, memorising details so she could record them later.

Without much warning it sat up, scratching its head with a free claw. “What’s that thing on its arm?” she asked.

“Of its function, I do not know. I can tell that it has suffered many a blow,” Zecora answered cryptically.

“What do you mean by that?”

I had no idea what the fuck they were saying. For all I knew, they were deciding whether or not to tie me down and and eat my spleen. Still, at least it sounded pretty. Rather melodic. “What’s she asking?” I didn’t know that the purple one was a female at that point, but there was this... vibe about it.

“She wants to know more about that thing on your arm.” Lucky for me, I was right, the purple one was female.

The funny thing is, after having worn a Pip-Boy thing for months, I’ve kinda forgotten that its a bit of an oddity. I mean, I run around with a high-powered personal computer strapped to my arm. I honestly can’t remember how I managed without one before. “This thing?” I decided to play it safe and gesture at it. Doesn’t hurt to make sure. I got a nod, so I went on. “This is a Pip-Boy. Basically, it keeps track of pretty much anything I want it to, like a diary. It also has maps, can pick up radio, tell me how badly hurt I am, and can act as a torch when I need it to.” Yes, I know I was over-simplifying it, but for all I knew I was dealing with tribals. I wasn’t going to go into the specifics of V.A.T.S or the heads-up display, that would have been overwhelming. “Built to outlast everything.”

I don’t think the zebra believed me. Can’t say I blame her, when Doc Mitchell told me what this thing does I thought he was nuts. You could probably buy a casino in the Strip for one of these. Still can’t believe the old man just gave it to me.

And there was some more of that beautiful gibberish. No, really, ‘beautiful’ is the only way one can really describe it. “My friend here has offered to let you stay with her. The one you rescued yesterday would like to thank you as well, but is still in hospital.”

So there was evidence that I had been out for a whole day. How about that. “Give me my things, and I’ll be going then.” I made to get out of bed, but she pushed me down. Yes, a damn zebra just told me to stay in bed. I know.

“You are still hurt! I will not let you leave like this!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Hurt? This is nothing compared to what I’ve been through.” She was glaring at me at that point. I pulled up my undershirt and showed her the scars. Honestly, its like someone has tried to sharpen a knife on me. They are everywhere. I’m actually sure there is more scar tissue than there is undamaged skin. “I’ve spent the past five months getting beaten, bludgeoned, shot, stabbed, stung, bitten, mauled and clawed by almost everything I’ve come across. A little sting will not keep me down.”

I guess I should have expected the horrified expression. It certainly isn’t pleasant to look at, and the reason behind each one even less so to hear. Still, if this isn't proof that I can handle myself, I don’t know what is. “H-how are you still alive?”

“Luck, medicine and superior firepower.” That’s all there is to it. You only survive out there by bringing the bigger stick. And I bring the biggest fucking stick I can carry all the damn time. At this point I had let go of my shirt and went towards my stuff, which had been sitting just behind a great big cooking pot thing.

As the strange being dressed itself, Twilight gaped. She had seen the sheer number of scars. Many of them seemed old, though more than a few seemed to be recent additions. Rainbow had been right, this being was a definitely savage warrior. She was having second thoughts about letting him follow her to Ponyville.

“Are you sure this is a good idea? Nothing but bad things will come of this, I fear,” Zecora said, sharing her concern.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Twilight said, her confidence waning. “I think I can keep him under control.”

“Are you sure of that, my good friend? I do not wish for you to meet your end.”

Now, the concern in the zebra’s voice was disturbingly prevalent. “I’ll be fine,” Twilight repeated, levitating a rolled-up scroll from her saddlebags. She also pulled out a quill and a jar of ink before she noticed the wide-eyed, slack-jawed stare the human was giving her, one arm sticking through the sleeve of a large coat. “Is he okay?”

Sweet merciful FUCK! I know, it sounds absolutely impossible! Telekinesis! The purple one with the horn was moving things with her mind! I couldn’t see any kind of power supply, strings, anything that might imply that this was some huge trick just to mess with me. They were speaking to each other again, but I didn’t care at that point.

I finished putting on the trenchcoat and reached out, trying to touch the feather. As my left hand got near it, my Pip-Boy started ticking like crazy. I think you know what that means. At first, I thought the Geiger Counter might have been broken. After all, the damn thing was over two hundred years old. But no, not possible. RobCo built their products to last, after all.

Still, I had to be sure. So, I put my hand near it again, ignoring the strange looks. I mean, I had more pressing matters on my mind than what the locals thought of me. Again, it went tick-tick-tickety. I repeated this a few times, like an idiot. Each time, ominous ticking.

This meant one thing, and one thing only; Whatever the horned one was doing, it was dangerously radioactive.

Author’s Notes:

Allow me to say this first: Writing for Zecora sucks massively. Might be why she has so few lines.

Also, has anyone ever done that before?