• Published 6th Apr 2014
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Fallout Equestria: Influx - Lex the Pikachu



A mare wakes up to discover she is in the Wasteland and not who she used to be. Determined to discover the truth she heads out into the wasteland. But the truth can be disturbing.

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Chapter 2: Iron Horse of Speed

Fallout Equestria: Influx

Chapter 2: Iron Horse of Speed


Green light bathed the area as the two hoofball sized balls of energy flew down from above towards us. My eyes could only see the crackling spheres. Everything else around me didn't matter, all that mattered was what's heading right for me. I turned my head back to the raider who had confronted me and without another word I did the only thing that came to mind which was to avoid the energy balls and that was to drop to my stomach, clutch my head in my hooves and scream in terror. Oddly enough with my eyes closed, my EFS was still visible and I could see my threat warning flashing even as my fur stood on end as the energy spheres flew over my prone body. I cringed and held my head harder when suddenly, my ears were assaulted by a blood curdling scream that abruptly stopped mid scream. The half scream was then followed by a wet squelching noise and splashes. I could see a green glow through my closed eyes and stupidly, I cracked an eye open to see what was causing the glow, and immediately regretted it because the glow belonged to the raider who was now dead. He had turned into a pile of goo, with his skeleton collapsed into a heap in the pile of sludge. I took a deep inhale of breath, ready to scream my lungs out at the horror before me when a shadow passed over my head and then four purple legs landed hard in front of me. Blinking in confusion at the new arrival, I removed my hooves from my head as I looked up to see this new arrival to the scene. A purple pegasus stallion stood in front of me with his back to me, his wings spread out to the fullest to make him look as big as possible and crackling on either side of him under his wings were two plasma rifles.

"Don't you assholes have anything better to do than to terrorise a defenceless mare?" He yelled angrily. "You better get the fuck out of here before I turn you all into slush puppies."

The remaining raiders looked at each other for a moment before they all turned tail and ran away. I suppose seeing their leader get liquefied was enough to scare them off. I remained on the floor as the raiders ran off. I myself am scared too, of this stallion who is wielding two powerful weapons. For all I know, he wants to hurt me himself. The stallion held his pose for a few moments longer before he relaxed, folding his wings to his sides and shifting his stance to a more casual stance. He turned around and bent down slightly.

"Hey, are you alright?" He asked sounding concerned.

I blinked and looked up at the purple stallion. He wore a worried look on his handsome face even with a few locks of his messy darker purple mane falling in front of his eyes.

I nodded weakly in response and he offered his hoof. I smiled softly and took his hoof and he helped me up to my hooves.

"Good thing I was in the area," He smiled smugly at me now that I am stood up.

Now that we were facing each other I could see he was wearing a battlesaddle designed to hold medium to large weapons and the two weapon holsters were taken up with MK1 Plasma Rifles. The two weapons however, looked ready to fall apart.

"Thank you for saving me, mister..." I paused as I didn't know the stallion's name.

He grinned and put a hoof to his chest smugly. "Tooty Fruity is the name but you can call me Fruity," He introduced himself with confidence.

I smiled at his attitude, it was certainly a welcome change from the grim nature of the last few ponies I've met today beside the doctor.

"Nice to meet you Fruity, my name is Crystal Éclair, though you can call me Crystal," I said, smiling.

He looked at me funny when I gave him my name.

"What?"

"Err, nothing, just an odd name for a zebra that's all," He said while he began to fiddle with his battlesaddle.

"Um, I suppose my parents wanted to be different with me," I suggested.

"Heh, fair enough..." He replied before groaning in annoyance. "C'mon you piece of shit," He whined as he pulled at a stubborn strap. As he pulled, the strap suddenly snapped. The sudden release made him lose his balance and he toppled over onto his side which I found quite funny, and couldn't help the small giggle that escaped my lips.

He groaned to himself as he picked himself up, fluffing his wings up in agitation. As he stood, his battlesaddle fell to the floor. "Stupid piece of junk," He growled at the saddle now on the floor.

"Why did you take it off?" I asked surprised.

"I used what they had left in saving you. Kinda pointless in keeping them now since finding Plasma Rifles to repair them with are next to impossible in this shit tip and repairing or buying new ones would cost me a leg and a wing," He answered with a sigh. "Literally," He added after a moment's pause.

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"Huh, don't be," He dismissed my apology. "Anyway, what is a pretty mare like you doing outside at this hour? It's dangerous and will get a whole lot worse soon."

"Um, you don't mind that I'm a zebra?" I asked.

"Can we talk about this later, like when we are safe inside somewhere?" He asked looking up at the darkening sky nervously.

"Um, sure, I was just heading to Tenpony Tower before I go to the MoA Hub here," I said, answering his previous question.

"Ok good, I know how to get to Tenpony, follow me and please keep up, we don't have much time bef-" He was cut off when a loud shriek rang throughout the streets.

"What was that?" I asked looking around fearfully.

"Oh no, we only have a few minutes before they come out. C'mon Crystal move that ass," He urged as he turned and began to run down the street towards a rusty iron staircase leading up to the overpass. I didn't have to be told twice and ran after him with my growing sense of fear.

We began to thunder up the stairs. Well, I thundered, Fruity just flew up, and we came out onto a dual lane overpass for Manehattan's train network. We ground to a halt as in the distance we saw the last bits of light fade, night taking completely over the day now and plunging everything into darkness and then we saw the streams. All around us we could see streams of things flying up into the sky. It was like something out of a horror movie.

"Oh shit, this way now, RUN!" He cried and began to run down the tracks towards the tower still lit up. There was then another loud high pitched screech and I let out a fearful cry and ran after him.

"What are those things?" I cried when I caught up to him. At least this mechanical body has some benefits.

"Since you're new out here, um, think of them as giant vampire fruit bats but instead of fruit juice they suck on pony juice," He yelled as we ran. I didn't like the sound of that.

As we ran, we dodged and weaved around chunks of rubble and rusted old heaps of what had once been the city's metro trains, jumping over holes and all the while the sounds of flapping leathery wings grew louder and louder.

"There, we have to get to that station," Fruity cried as he began to fly parallel with the floor.

Up ahead, we could see a train station bathed in light, the only source of light on this overpass. I grunted, feeling my heart beat hard and fast in my chest, the familiar burn seeping over me as I ran. The sense of fear making my pulse race and the anticipation of reaching our safe heaven blotted out most of what's around me. The bats were drawing in so close now that I couldn't ignore them as I focused on the station that was only a couple of hundred feet away but just felt like miles.

I heard a hiss close by, and then felt something slash my exposed flank. Crying out in pain, I kicked out with my hind legs. I felt one of my hooves strike something, which then crashed into something else. I hissed with pain as my working muscles agitated the wound. I know I don't have muscles anymore, but it still feels like I do though.

"Whoa, hey," I heard Fruity yell up ahead a little and looked up to see him just in time to see a giant bat miss him. "Hah, you gotta do better than that to get me you filthy flying rat."

He flipped around to avoid another bat but he ended up heading right for a large pole bent over the overpass while his attention was on the bats.

"Fruity look out!" I cried while jumping over another hole.

"Huh, OH SHIT!" He cried and without time to avoid the pole he crashed into it with his chest, his momentum causing him to spin around the pole a couple of times before he was roughly deposited onto the floor.

"Ow," He groaned as he quickly picked himself up.

"Are you alright?" I asked as I ran up to him.

"I'm fine, c'mon," He replied as he took off again.

I nodded and ran after him again just as there was a loud shriek from behind me, and then something impacted the ground where I was just moments ago.

We were now mere feet from the station and its lights of safety. "We're almost there!" Fruity shouted. "Yo, little light over here please!" He shouted towards the station.

I let out another pained cry as something slashed my leg this time. "Please," I cried. I saw a pony look out from a guard tower built onto the station before the guard looked to his left and then a spot light burst to life and bathed the tracks we are running on in a bright harsh light. I blinked rapidly as my vision had been blinded by the light, preventing me from being able to see where I'm going.

"Crystal watch..."

I cried out loudly as my forelegs collided with the lip of the platform and I slid on my chest and crashed into a concrete bench.

"Nevermind," Fruity said as he landed on the platform.

I looked up and out over the train line to see a flock of huge black, red winged bats cry out in agony from the intense light, before they scrambled away from the light along with white spots. Thankfully, the spots faded away as my eyes readjusted.

"What the heck are those?" I asked while ignoring the pain in my forelegs from my crash.

"Those, miss Zebra, are what we call Bloodwings," A gruff voice answered as a pony wearing tan coloured combat armour stepped out onto the station.

"Phew, nice going there Slick," Fruity said as he recovered from his flight.

"What are you doing here again Fruity, you've been kicked out twice, you know what will happen if you get kicked out again."

"He he, yea, I know but... this was an emergency."

"Ugh, yes I can see that, there is no way I'm gonna let you back out there with those bloodwings flying around out there..." He then looked at me, the guard pony's eyes narrowing slightly. "You know how ponies feel about zebra's right?" He asked looking back at the purple stallion.

"Oh c'mon dude she's fresh out of a stable, look," He whined waving a hoof at me.

The guard pony looked at me again and regarded my now slightly torn Stable-Jumpsuit. "Alright, wait here," He groaned as he walked over to the double doors at the back of the station and began to talk into an intercom mounted on the wall beside the door.

I sighed as I stood up. I could feel the gashes in my flank and leg gently oozing blood but thankfully it was nothing to worry about. Like I have to worry about bleeding to death, considering how much of me is synthetic.

"Hey, are you alright?" Fruity asked as he approached me.

"Um, yeah I'm good thank you and um, thank you for helping me. If it wasn't for you I think I'd probably get torn apart from those things," I shivered at the idea.

Fruity smiled a little smugly. "Don't mention it, can't expect a Stable-Dweller to know the dangers of the Wasteland."

"Alright you two, you can stay inside but..." He turned to look at Fruity. "You better stay the hell away from alcohol this time," He warned with an annoyed tone.

He smiled sheepishly. "Hehe, they're still sore about that?"

The guard facehoofed. "You screwed a mare in the mall level fountain."

"You what?" I cried out in shock surprise at this.

"Heh heh, it happened a long time ago, I've not touched a drop of booze since it happened."

"It was last month," The guard known as Slick sighed. "You better not drink any alcohol, you turn into one horny bastard when you get pissed, and I don't want to have to throw you to the Bloodwings. By all means fuck a mare in your assigned room but keep it inside the room," He sighed again and turned around "Follow me, I'll take you to your room."

We followed close behind the guard as we entered the tower and into safety. It felt good to be inside now, and not outside with those bats. That good feeling soon faded as we walked out into a large open space lined with shops and other services along the walls, and despite the late hour, there are still a good number of ponies walking around. It was good to see ponies that looked normal, but the disapproving stares that were being directed at me made me feel small. My ears wilted as some ponies gave me some rather angry glares.

"What is that bitch doing in here?" A rather large looking stallion who looked so ripped his muscles threaten to burst out his suit growled as he approached us.

"Stand down Biceps, she's alright," Slick moaned at the rather large pony.

"Why did you let her in?"

"Couldn't force her to stay out with the bloodwings and its clear she's just an innocent mare since she's fresh from a Stable. It wouldn't be right now back off."

"But she's a Zebra!"

"C'mon dude, it's been two hundred years since the war. We can't blame her for any of that can we?"

"Who asked you Dashite," The stallion yelled at Fruity which made him wilt and cower slightly from the big earth pony.

"Alright, Biceps, if you don't back off I'll have to call the guard. Do you want to suffer another trade ban for unlawful behaviour?"

The large stallion stopped and looked at the guard worriedly. "Fine, let the swine stay," He growled as he backed away and then walked off.

"Ugh, that guy is always a knob," Fruity whined quietly so the retreating mass of muscles couldn't hear him.

"A knob that brings in good business," The guard retorted as we turned and entered a lift.

The small lift felt a little cramped, and it was taking a long time to get to the residential floor. I suppose it's my fault, considering I weigh more than twice a standard pony would. After a few minutes, the lift reached its floor and we stepped out into a marbled floor corridor with equally elegant marble walls, and corner carvings to simulate Roamane columns.

"Wow," I muttered out loud as we began to trot down the corridor, past an intersection and then around a corner to a red wood door.

"For the time being, you can use this room. A guard will come along shortly and keep guard. I've been given orders to not let you out of the room until morning. If you require anything, ask the guard who'll be on duty when he arrives."

"Thank you sir," I said politely as me and Fruity entered the hotel room.

"Don't be thanking me Stripe, I don't trust your kind as much as Biceps does, but I'm under orders to put you up for now plus..." He sighed. "I'm not a monster so I couldn't leave you out there for the Bloodwings."

"Well, still, thank you."

The guard nodded and shut the door. Fruity quickly made his way to the two single beds in the main room and flopped down lazily on one and I followed him to over to the free bed and climbed onto it where it then groaned loudly from the weight I put upon it.

"Well isn't this cosy?" The pegasus yawned as he turned his head to look at me.

"Well, it's better than being out there, that's for sure," I answered as I looked out the window, which dominated the entire wall beside the beds. I could see the streams of bloodwings in the darkness, and many lights still working throughout the city. The level of destruction I could see in the darkness was far worse than what I first imagined.

"What were you doing outside this late at night anyway?" He asked as he sat up. "This city is deadly at night, surely you would have discovered that already."

"In all honesty," I said turning back to face him. "I only set hoof into this world this afternoon."

"Wow really?" I nodded. "Huh, you are as fresh as they come I suppose."

"Yeah I know, I've got a lot to learn about this new world. The doctor that helped me earlier gave me a general idea."

"I know we only just met and all, but in good conscience I can't let you go back out there on your own, and I've got nothing better to do down here to spend my days in this hell."

"You want to come with me?" I asked with a raised eyebrow. Well thinking about it, this stallion knows the dangers that I'll likely run into and he did save me from a bunch of raiders and helped me get here. His help would certainly be appreciated.

"If you don't mind me tagging along."

"Um, well, sure. Celestia knows I could certainly use your help out there."

"Awesome. So Crystal, what made you leave your cosy little underground world?" He asked to make conversation.

Crap. I haven't really had time to think of a cover story to why I'm really out here. I'm gonna have to wing it as they say. Thankfully I worked for Stable-Tec as a salespony and sold many places for Stables to ponies so I had a good working knowledge of the facilities and I was given a tour around Stable 34, which was the closest Stable to where I lived and it looked pretty cramped inside. I honestly couldn't imagine hundreds of ponies living down there for long periods of times.

"Well, I was sick of living in the tight confines, and I couldn't really get a moment to myself since there aren't many places you can find that are private enough. I needed to get out and see the real world," I lied.

"Bit of a bad idea huh?"

"Should have waited till morning really shouldn't I?"

"Eeyup," He agreed. "What's your plan now then now that you're out here, doubt they'll let you back in now?"

"Well, first, I need to check out the Ministry of Awesome for anything..." I paused for a moment. I nearly blew my cover. What could be a believable reason to want to go there? "...related to my ancestor's work in creating a cybernetic spy." I mentally facehoofed, that's a little too close to the real reason.

"A cybernetic spy huh, cool."

"Heh, yea, um, apparently, my ancestors who worked on it got set up to take a fall and I want to find some answers. If the Hub is a bust,, I at least know I'll find some answers in Las Pegasus since they started work there and were moved here.

"Las Pegasus? Oh you mean New Pegasus. Wow, that's a long way to go for some answers."

"I got to know for sure, their name has been tainted ever since."

"Fair enough, well going out west will certainly be a welcome change from here, but how are we going to get there from here?"

"The doctor that helped me said there is a train that does trips from one side of Equestria to the other, and he gave me directions from here to get to the station."

"You certainly got this thought out," He nodded with a smile.

"What about you Fruity, why are you down here and not up there?" I asked pointing to the ever present clouds.

Fruity's facial expression soured. "I've been cast out of my home," He said solemnly.

I cringed at his sad expression as I had hit upon a sore subject.

"I'm sorry," I said sadly.

"Heh, not your fault but it's a subject I don't like to talk about."

"No its ok," I reassured and shifted on the bed to get comfortable when I felt the gash on my flank tear which made me cringe. I quickly got off the bed to prevent my blood from seeping onto the clean covers. A bathroom was set in the corner next to the front door of the room, and I quickly trotted over to the open bathroom door and stepped inside the clean white tiled room.

The bathroom brought back memories of my home as the layout and styling looked pretty similar. A bath filled the room at the far end, with a shower attached to the wall and a shower curtain hung on a rail spanning the width of the room. Beside the bath sat a sink with a large mirror above it, and nestled in the corner by the door was the bog. It felt good to be in something familiar, and I felt safe for the first time since I woke up. I looked into the mirror and just gawked as I finally saw what I actually looked like. Yep, I look like a zebra alright. I'm white with grey stripes covering my body and my nose. I frowned at the mohawk mane. I don't like that at all, I want my long wavy mane back. My cutiemark is gone, replaced with what looked like a large dot with lots of lines flicking off around it, which kinda made the whole thing look like an eye. Whatever that was supposed to mean, I have no idea. I can't say I'm that sad to see my cutiemark is gone. Sure, it was what symbolised my special talent, but I barely ever got to enjoy it with how often I wound up in the hospital with my diseased body. All it was was just a chocolate éclair with a couple of crystals around it to show my love of making éclairs. My gaze then fell onto my eyes, MY eyes, my baby blue eyes. They were the same as what I had before all this. I felt a joy fill my heart as I realised I still carried my own eyes, so happy to know that not all of me had been changed. I let out a sigh of relief since I know now that not all of me had been replaced.

While still looking into the mirror, I turned my body around so my rear faced it so I could get a better look at the gash in my flank. The gash on my leg I could tend to easy enough without the mirror. Wow, my plot is larger and rounder than it used to be. Well I suppose this is a true mare's rear. I was underweight due to my illnesses, so I suppose this is just an average mare's plot.

I turned back to face the sink and used a hoof to turn on the cold water tap. Folded up neatly on a porcelain bowl sat a small hoof towel. I took the minty tasting towel in my mouth and held it under the running water to get it good and damp before pulling away and then twisted my neck around so I could reach my flank. I looked up at the mirror with my eyes as I reached back to the bloody gash and when I was over it on the mirror, I leaned down and gently ran the towel over the gash softly to clear the dried blood away. I could see that once the blood has been cleared the wound had sealed itself again. I heal fast. I repeated the process with my hind leg that got cut and that too had closed. Once I was finished with the towel I chucked it into the skin to rinse it off and then put it back on the bowel.

By the time I left the bathroom I could hear snoring and giggled quietly when I saw Fruity fast asleep on his bed. He looked so adorable. He lay on his back, his wings spread wide and his legs in the air which twitched every so often. That looked so cute. I giggled quietly to myself as I made my way to my bed and laid down on it. Might as well get some sleep.

XXXXX

Shortly after dawn, Fruity and I made our way down the train line towards the Ministry District. Thankfully, all the Ministries had their own high level stations. Saved us from going down onto the ground and getting harassed by raiders every two minutes. We passed all the other Ministries on our way to the Awesome Hub, and each one looked worse for wear than the other as we got closer to the Manehattan Crater. It so happened that our destination was the last one. The Hub looked like it had a massive fire rage inside and out, as it looked totally charred black. I didn't hold out much hope that we'd find anything worth finding inside that burned out wreck, but we had to try; I had to try.

We entered the tower from the station and found ourselves inside a reception hall. The inside showed major fire damage and in several areas, the floor had collapsed to reveal the huge holes that looked into the floor below or straight down to the bottom. To our good fortune, we found a working terminal on the reception desk. After clearing the charred screen and to find it wasn't locked, we were able to out where to look. It felt too easy to find out where to go as the computer simply labelled the floor we wanted to check out as. "Spy Department". If I'm to find anything at all in this place related to me, I'd find it there. Annoyingly, its fifty floors above us. After a moment of searching, we found a shaft with stairs leading up and down and began our ascent.

"Aren't you tired you yet?" Fruity asked, sounding baffled as we made our way up the stairs. Well, he hovered in the centre while I trudged up the steps. Surprisingly, I was not feeling tired. At this point, since arriving, we had climbed about half of the stairs to our designated floor. A climb like this for any normal pony would have had them wheezing and probably collapsing with their legs feeling like jelly, but not for me. I may have been breathing a little harder than when I started to climb, but my legs still felt as strong as they did from the start. I could probably climb this entire tower and still not feel dead on my hooves. I suppose I have high endurance now too with this mechanical body.

"I feel fine," I answered him while turning to head up more steps.

The pegasus shrugged as he flapped his wings a little harder to climb faster. He stopped and came to a hover just five flights up.

"You're gonna need to find another way up; the stairs up here are blocked by the rest of the stairs going up."

"What?" I whined as I started taking the stairs two at a time to get to his level. "Aww poo". He was right. It looked like the stairs on this side of the shaft had all collapsed down onto each other from here all the way up to the top of the tower.

"Yep, definitely need to find another way up."

"Ugh, yea, um where are we?" I asked as I looked around. Thankfully, we didn't have to search long as a door just down half a flight of stairs held a sign on it saying. "Level 59". We had another eleven floors to go.

"I found a map," Fruity called from a few flights up. He could keep going up since he can fly and wasn't restricted to the stairs. "Looks like there is another shaft on the opposite side of the tower with stairs in it," He said as he fluttered back down and landed on the landing of Level 59 beside me.

"Ok, thank you Fruity, this shouldn't take us much longer," I said while opening the door.

"Oh awesome, maybe we can get back in time for Aqua Marine's fish lunchtime special," He grinned stupidly.

The mention of food made my synthetic stomach release a loud gurgle, which in this empty burnt out office floor, sounded like a roar with the echo. That prompted a light laughing fit from the purple stallion. I shot him an annoyed glare.

"It wasn't that funny!"

"Yes it was," He giggled as we made our way into the rows of cubicles. His giggling soon died down as we passed each cubicle, inside nearly every one of them we saw a burnt skeleton looking to be in the process of evacuating their station. One such victim had made it to the exit of his or her cubicle as the skeleton lay half in and half out on the floor.

"What the hell happened here?" I asked, feeling my gut churn.

"The bomb hit not too far from here, the blast must have washed right through this tower, incinerating everyone before they could leave."

"Thanks for that beautiful mental image," I whined sarcastically.

He gave a sheepish grin as we continued onwards. It didn't take us long to reach the other shaft, and thankfully, the stairs were intact, leading up on this side and so we began our ascent again. I may not have been getting tired from walking up all these stairs but it was certainly making me wish to never see another stair case again. I must have climbed several thousand steps in the space of an hour.

"What are we looking for exactly, any ideas?" Fruity asked as he flapped up the middle.

"I don't know, anything that might give me some answers," I answered looking up to see our destination on Level 70. Nearly there, thank Celestia.

We entered Level 70 to find another office like space like below, with charred and burnt cubicles along with many more skeletons. I had seen enough death in my first twenty four hours than probably the entire war did before the bombs fell. I can't believe it devolved into this. Just how desperate did we get?

"Well, this will be like trying to find a fart in a cloud jacuzzi," Fruity sighed as we walked along the aisles of cubicles to see if there is anything at all that could shed any information at all.

"Hmm, maybe we should split up. You check one half of the room and I'll check the other; we can be done quicker and be out of here before it gets late."

"What am I looking for again, so I don't discard something you might be looking for?"

"That's a good question, hmm. "Anything that you might find important or about making, um, the perfect spy."

"Alright." He nodded and turned to go down an aisle to search the other side of the floor.

I was finding it hard to walk into the booths of the dead ponies to look for clues. I felt horrible, just stepping into the same place these ponies died trying to escape. It felt like I was grave robbing as I pulled open these pony's desk draws or looking in their filing cabinets and the more I looked the more it made me feel sick. After ten cubicles I had to stop. I felt dirty.

"I'm sorry," I whimpered as I looked at the last pony's skeleton I stepped over.

I groaned as I looked up the aisle to see many more cubicles. I know I want answers to why I've become this machine but, is it worth treading over the graves of the ponies who died here and disturbing their rest? I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. Yes, it is worth it. I've had my life taken from me even though I was going to die. That would have been my natural course but my life had been stolen from me and now I've been made into this machine that is only ten percent organic. I'm not really a living thing, my brain, heart and lungs are being kept alive by my mechanical body. I need to know why so I'm sorry that I'm doing this.

I looked up to see how many cubicles there are on my side and sighed. There are loads. While I scanned over the tops of the cubicles, I noticed an office in the corner. Perhaps that's where the head of the department resided. If I were to find anything at all, that's where I'd find it. With determination, I stomped out of the aisle and made my way over to the closed door of the office and took hold of the knob with my hoof and turned it. The door didn't budge.

"Locked, great," I moaned in annoyance. The door was wooden and didn't look all that sturdy. It wasn't as charred as everything else in here but it does look to have been weakened. It looked like I might be able to break it down. With my back to the door, I reared up and bucked at the door as hard as I could. The door exploded into splinters when my hind hooves made contact with the slightly burnt wood, and with my momentum plus my high weight, I was pulled off my forehooves and fell backwards into the office. "Stupid metal body," I grumbled to myself while I lay in the wreckage of the door. Suddenly, the entire floor seemed to quake, causing everything in the office and everything outside to rattle about like an earthquake had just hit the tower, but after a few moments, it stopped. It was enough to get me back on my hooves in the excitement. "What was that?" I whimpered feeling very unsafe right now.

I looked around the office briefly and sighed with disappointment. Whoever this office belonged to, it looked like it had either already been ransacked, or the pony that owned it left in a hurry as the shelves to my left were bare, apart from the stray pieces of yellowed paper and the wall the door had sat in looked to have had any and all posters or charts taken down. The other two walls were just the windows overlooking the destroyed cityscape below. Looking out the windows, which were unfortunately smashed, I could see over a huge impact crater and rimming the crater were the remains of other towers and buildings. I suppose we are at the very edge of the effective destruction radius of the explosion which is probably why this tower still stands but burnt to a crisp. Finally, my eyes fell upon the large desk in the middle of the room and the terminal sitting on it. I edged around the wall with the shelves to stay away from the windows until I reached the desk and sat on the floor as close to it as I could. Leaning over the charred wooden table, I reached over and turned the terminal around to face me and thankfully it is still working too. Stable-Tec made things to last. I pressed a key to wake it up, and was immediately treated to a flashing screen displaying a message.

"All data transferred to Marejave Production Facility."

Damn it. If I were to find anything, it would have been here. But it was confirmed now that my answers would lie in my old home state of Equestria. Where I supposedly died. I stood up to leave before I caught a nameplate attached to the terminal casing.

"Colonel Ironside. Head of Spy Department"

I blinked at the department name. I better remember that name though as it is my only lead.

The tower quaked again, this time a little more violently, and it was followed by a loud metallic groan. "I think it's time to leave," I said to myself.

"Yeah, it sounds like this whole floor is gonna fall," Fruity agreed from behind me.

"Gah!" I cried out in shock and spun around to see the purple pegasus trying not to laugh. "How long have you been there?" I whined since I didn't even hear him land or approach.

"Only about a minute." He laughed before coughing and looking serious. "C'mon, we better buck."

I nodded, and we quickly made our way to the stairs just as a portion of the floor collapsed, creating a sloping edge towards the windows beside us. We entered the shaft again and began our way down as fast as we could. Fruity flying down the middle with me running down the steps. Thankfully, going down was a heck of a lot easier than going up, and we were making good progress when the tower quaked again, causing me to lose my footing and I started to roll down the stairs, bouncing off the corners to roll down more. I cried out loudly with pain as I bounced off each and every step and wall until finally I crashed into an open door that had opened inwards into the shaft. I cried and groaned in pain as I could feel multiple lacerations, some of them felt like my endoskeleton was exposed. I whimpered in pain as I lay there until I felt a warm glow in my chest then the lacerations started to close and heal. The glow in my chest felt warm and soothing, but as the feeling was starting to make me feel better it suddenly stopped when Fruity landed on the landing beside me.

"Holy shit, Crystal?" He gasped in surprise from my sudden tumble. "Please be alive."

I groaned and pulled myself back up to my hooves. "Yeah, I'm alive."

"Fucking hell, you are one lucky Stripe."

I groaned in pain as I tried to put my right forehoof down, and quickly picked it back up. It felt like a sprain. I guess during the fall, I had twisted my hoof pretty badly.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine, come on we better get out of here," I urged. I looked around to check to see which floor we are on. Thankfully my fall had brought me down a couple of floors above the reception hall we entered eariler. I descended the stairs as fast as I could with three good legs, and soon we found ourselves back in the reception and shortly after that, we were back out onto the train tracks.

"Ohhh yea feels good to be outside again," Fruity cheered.

I nodded and smiled since we did get out before anything really bad happened, considering the state of the tower. Now that we weren't really in any danger I became aware of a flashing blue image in my vision and when I focused on it, I could see the image is of my endoskeleton lower foreleg and a red square was highlighting the joint between my hoof and lower leg. It seemed to tell I had focused on it, and then a window flashed under the image with words.

"Minor servo and control rod damage," It said. I don't know how I'm supposed to fix that or unless it supposed to fix itself eventually? I guess I'd find out soon.

"C'mon, if we hurry we can catch Aqua Marine's fish special," Fruity said as we began to walk back towards Tenpony. That's three times now he's mentioned that. It must be good for him to keep repeating himself, and well, my stomach was growling with hunger just thinking about a fish dinner.

About half way back to the tower, I caught the sight of several white cylinders above some buildings as we moved and then a little further up a gap in the buildings allowed me to see into the harbour and the cylinders belonged to the giant white oceanliner. I stopped and looked out into the harbour and the ship. I shivered upon seeing it swarming with the undead.

"Um Fruity?" I called.

"Yello?" He said turning his attention to me.

"Why is the Gold Star Line Harbour full of zombies?" I asked.

"Not sure to be honest with you, but from what I've heard, apparently, the RMS Celestia was supposed to have her maiden voyage the day the bombs fell and there were like four thousand ponies in the harbour and boarding the ship when the Manehattan bomb hit and the proximity to the blast washed the harbour with extreme heat and magical radiation, and the end result were four thousand walking corpses," He explained

"Oh Celestia that's awful."

"Yeah, I know. They were unlucky that they lost their minds during their ghoulification, leaving them all feral like that."

"I was nearly eaten by one of them and... ghoulification?" That's something new. Eeyup, I've got a lot to learn about this new horrible world.

"Huh, oh, they aren't really zombies Crystal, they're what the wasteland calls Ghouls. Don't ask me how it works, cause I haven't a clue. Anyway, Ghouls are just normal ponies that have the unfortunate downside to looking like a walking corpse. There are thousands of Ghouls in the wasteland who were alive before the bombs fell. They're just like you and me and calling them a zombie is a great insult to them. However, the Ghouls that are known as Feral are Ghouls that have lost their minds and operate on primal instincts, so they are pretty much zombies."

"Really?" I asked in surprise.

"Yeah, if we meet one of the wasteland's many Ghouls, try not to shoot'em."

"I'll... I'll try to remember that."

While we looked out over into the harbour, our attention was torn from the giant ship as the pops and bangs of gunfire rang out somewhere behind us. It was just another reminder that we weren't truly safe outside, and with a nod, we both began our trek back to Tenpony Tower as fast as my limp would allow.

XXXXX

We had moved at a brisk pace, despite my limp, as to get back to the tower without hanging around too long in any one spot to attract attention, and we made it to the tower without incident. We met Slick at the gate again and he assigned a guard to shadow us around the tower again, as to prevent any unwanted confrontations with the inhabitants, and I really didn't want to run into another pony like Biceps.

The Mall Level was a lot more crowded than it was when we first entered it last night, and the number of baleful glares I was getting deeply unsettled me and made me very nervous as Fruity and I walked along the balcony overlooking the large fountain with a restaurant section in the middle.

The walls were lined with many shops ranging from simple trade shops, to speciality shops like barber salons or blacksmiths. The crowds were thankfully mostly giving us a wide birth as we walked along, and I was glad for that as I really did not want to bump into one of the ponies giving hateful glares, but it was upsetting that being a Zebra like this was driving ponies to avoid me.

"So where is this fish restaurant Fruity?" I asked as we walked along looking at each shop window.

There was no response.

"Fruity?" I turned to look at him only to see that he had stopped to look in a window several shops back. Oh no.

"Oh my, the rumours are true, they did let a Zebra inside," An enthusiastic mare's voice said from in front of me.

I turned with a start to see a lime green mare with a silvery mane that was done up into like a beehive with elegant curls that hung down on either side of her head smiling at me. She was also wearing a green and white dress with an open back, which kinda made it look like it was made for a pegasus.

"Oh its sooo good to finally meet a Zebra. I've wanted to meet one for so long. Oh and your mane, I've always wanted to style a Zebra mane," The mare gushed as she leaned in extremely close.

"Err," I croaked dumbfounded by the mare's enthusiasm.

"Oh where are my manners?" She gasped as she pulled back out of my personal space. "My name is Diamond Sheers and I'm the owner of Diamond Sheers Salon," She smiled softly and genuinely.

"Um, hi, err, my name is Crystal Éclair," I greeted nervously.

The mare wore a funny look when I told her my name. "That's a strange name for a Zebra, I was expecting something exotic," She said with her voice losing some of its enthusiasm.

"Err, my parents wanted to be different," I said lamely.

"I see," Her gaze then shifted up to my mowhawk. "Oh, that mane, I never styled a Zebra made and I would sooooo love the opportunity to work on one. Would you please stop by my salon later?" She asked almost begging.

"But I don't have any money."

"Oh don't worry about that, just the chance to work on a Zebra mane will be more than enough," She smiled brightly.

"Um, ok, thank you."

The stylish mare beamed as she began to walk again. "Oh thank you Crystal, can't wait for your visit," She cooed as she walked away.

"Looks like you made a friend," Fruity smiled as he stood next to me without making a sound again.

"Gah, where did you come from?" I cried.

"Oh, about the time she was gushing over your mane," He laughed. "C'mon Crys, the restaurant is this way," He said as he began to lead me again.

I followed Fruity down a flight of stairs to where the restaurants were all situated, and we came to a shop that looked like a Braytish Chippy. The Braytish Chippy takeouts were growing increasingly popular in pre-war Equestria, and a common but popular dish was battered cod and chips. Wasn't bad for a quick meal on the go.

We entered the relatively small restaurant, or rather takeou, and walked up to a counter with a display case showing several deep fried looking products including the famous battered fish and scallops. I know a scallop is a small sea critter inside a shell, but scallops in a chippy are deep fried battered potato and were actually quite nice the last time I had one.

"Ah, good afternoon Aqua Marine," Fruity smiled brightly as an aqua green mare approached the counter to take our order.

"Fruity, they let you back in?" She asked surprised.

"Yep and got a new friend," He beamed with a silly smile. "I'd like two of your fish specials to go please as payment for favour you owe me."

The mare blushed brightly, trying to hide her face behind her darker green mane. "S-sure, I'll be, be with you in a, um, in a minute," She stammered as she hurried through a door.

"What was that about?" I asked confused with the mare's change in demeanour when Fruity mentioned this favour.

"She owes me one," Fruity said blushing brightly himself. "Remember that I've been kicked out twice, well the second time I took all the blame so she wouldn't suffer a mega fine and have her takeout shut down or getting kicked out herself," He explained.

I just blinked. That's the mare he did in the fountain and he took all the blame for it? Something tells me she had something to do with it, but I kept my mouth shut. Last thing I want to do is offend somepony and get kicked out or worse.

After a couple of minutes, the mare returned and hoofed over two paper wrapped bundles in a plastic bag.

"Here are your specials, thank you for coming," She said smiling nervously at us as Fruity collected the bag with his wing.

"Thank you Aqua," Fruity smiled happily as we turned and headed out. The guard shadowing us told us we couldn't sit and eat at the tables provided since it seemed "I" was disturbing the other customers. It is a good thing Fruity asked for our meals to go, as we decided it'll be easier to just go to the room we had been provided to eat.

I smiled to myself as we entered our room. It felt good to be out of the public view since I didn't have hundreds of eyes all staring at me everywhere I went. I sat on my bed as Fruity hoofed me my meal. I gently laid the paper wrap on the bed and unwrapped it to reveal a typical fish and chips meal.

"This is the special, what's so special about fish and chips?" I asked incredulously.

"It's haddock," Fruity grinned with a broad toothy smile. I blinked and then groaned while facehooving. This guy must be one card short of a full deck. I decided to leave it there and eat my meal.

The fish was gorgeous and the chips had the right amount of salt and vinegar on them. It may not have sounded like it was like a five star dish, but it tasted better than most things I had eaten in my last few months before waking up here. In that regard, it certainly was special, and it managed to fill a hole in my stomach.

I almost had a panic attack when the first metal fork I used to eat with broke inside my mouth when I took a bite of the battered haddock and swallowed it out of reflex. Fruity was oblivious while he ate his meal and I discreetly discarded the broken fork and retrieved a couple more. As I put the fork in my mouth again after picking up a chip with it, I took the bite slowly and to my surprise as I pulled the chip off the metal prongs I could feel the steel utensil soften and flex in my mouth and strangely I got a taste of spearmint from the steel. I would have had a freak out if I didn't remember what the doctor had told me when I woke up after the raiders had knocked me out. With my mechanical body, I can eat metal now and I suppose the solid metal softening to a more chewy sweet in my mouth is what its suppose to do. I was able to finish my fish and chips without biting off more fork ends by taking it easy.

"Best damn fish ever," Fruity sighed happily as he crumpled up his paper wrapping and chucked it in the bin like a basketball.

"I might have to agree," I smiled.

"Hmm, so what should we do for the rest of the of the day?" The pegasus asked as he lay back on his bed.

"Well, I was offered a free hair cut and I need to find out when to expect the train."

"I can find out when the train will arrive, you go enjoy yourself," He smiled.

"Thanks."

XXXXX

Diamond Sheers was very enthusiastic and very good at what she did. She had asked me how I wanted my mane, and I explained to her how I once had shoulder length wavy hair, and I asked her if she could restyle my horrible mowhawk to resemble how my old mane style used to be. Thankfully, her special talent lied in hair magic and she was able to grow my mane so it would be long enough. Using an assortment of hair products, combs and curlers, she was able to get my mane back into a similar style to what I used to have as a Crystal Pony. She applied hair colour changing magic to rid all of the grey stripes in my mane apart from the stripe at the very front. I quite like how the end result turned out, and I expressed my gratitude. She had simply told me it was her pleasure and that she now had bragging rights to her competitors that she had worked on a Zebra's mane. I left her salon feeling better with myself now that I had a new mane style and felt more like my old self, though I did attract more looks.

Later that afternoon I met up with Fruity back in our temporary room, and he told me that the next train to the west would arrive within the week. At first, he suggest we could just hang around the tower until the train was to arrive, but I managed to convince him to show me the station as I wanted to know how to get there, and a part of me wanted to see more of Manehattan.

The station from the front looked like a large long stone building, dominated by ticket windows and a steel canopy displaying the names of Equestrian cities along its length. After we walked through the open doors by one of the ticket offices, we entered into a gigantic steel and glass roofed structure, almost like an epic greenhouse without glass walls that covered the entire area with the several platforms and the shops and cafes. It was certainly an amazing building, and the wrecks of several old Equestrian and Braystish steam trains added to its grandeur despite them being wrecks. We guessed we found the train's platform when we came to one where the two lanes of track were clear of all rubble, and appeared to be maintained and well used if the clean metal on the tops of the rails were any indication.

"Wow this place is amazing," I said as we walked up and down the platform.

"Yeah" Fruity agreed as we came to a large poster on a notice board that detailed the Ministry of Arcane Science, with a picture of Twilight Sparkle holding a book in one hoof and a flask with a glowing liquid in the other.

"So how long until..." I got cut off as a loud whistle rang out in the distance beyond the station. "Was that the train?" I asked looking west in surprise.

"That can't be it, I mean it'll be a week early if it is."

As we watched the ruined horizon, we began to see the plumes of grey smoke that only a steam engine could produce, and then the sounds of the pistons chugging away. I watched in amazement as the huge steam train approached the station. It looked amazing, something I've never seen before even in Las Pegasus, and the several train journeys I had embarked on when visiting family back in the Empire. I never once saw a Braytish engine like the one that just pulled up into the station.

The locomotive steamed into the station and grinded to a halt, before reaching the end of the platform, and once it came to a complete halt, the driver stepped out from the cab and walked along the length of the tender before he disappeared into the gap between the tender and the first car. Another pony came out of the first train car and looked around for passengers, while more doors along the length of the train opened and passengers disembarked and began to rearm themselves before making their way to the exits, thankfully completely ignoring us.

Our attention was then redirected towards the steam engine as it let out another whistle and began to pull away from the train. The engine itself wasn't like cylinders on wheels that I remember, this one seemed to have a wing like shape appearance, and its sloping front and straight walled boiler gave it a very streamlined appearance.

"Where is it going?" Fruity asked as the engine disappeared out the station and out of sight.

"The locomotive needs to be turned around before it can pull the train back west," A stallion said as he approached us.

The unicorn stallion that approached us wore a black jacket over his grey coat, and his mane was mostly hidden beneath a conductors hat. His face was dominated by a thick handlebar moustache and a monocle over his left eye.

"Oh," Fruity said and then chuckled to himself, feeling embarrassed at his silly question.

"I'm the Conductor for this train and I'm to assume you will be riding with us today?" He asked.

I stepped forward and the Conductor raised an eyebrow as he saw me. "Um, yes sir, we'd like to get to Las... err, New Pegasus," I told him while giving my best smile.

"Hmm, alright, is that a single or a return ticket?" He asked as his horn began to glow.

I looked at Fruity. "I've been drifting from place to place since I got kicked out of the clouds. I don't mind if it's a one way trip. Would be a nice change of scenery," He said with a smile.

"Two single tickets please."

"That would be a thousand caps for the both of you," The Conductor said as he made two golden tickets appear in front of him.

"HOW MUCH!" I cried out in shock. I knew train tickets were expensive as a return ticket to the Crystal Empire and back was around five hundred bits. I don't know how much a cap is to a bit, but a thousand caps for a single ticket just sounds ridiculously overpriced.

"Here you go," Fruity said as he chucked the Conductor a bag that jingled noisily when he caught it in his magic.

"Thank you and here are you tickets," He said giving us both a ticket each while he stuffed the pouch into a pocket. I just gaped at Fruity.

"What?"

"That was a thousand caps!" I cried.

"Yeah, don't worry, it's easy to make caps out here, you can sell practically anything for a good price. Heh, as a pony once said, "Trade will save the Wasteland"

"But that was a thousand," I said still unable to comprehend him readily shelling that much out.

"Don't worry about it really, I'm happy to help," He said giving a goofy smile.

Before I could argue further, the wing shaped locomotive puffed back down the line on the opposite side and disappeared again behind the cream and brown Pullmare passenger cars. Wait a minute! Pullmare, that's the name that's plastered on the sides of like the most luxurious train cars in all Equestria. Well I suppose I can understand the huge price tag then since we'll be riding in these top of the range luxury cars.

"This way please," The Conductor said as he turned around and began to lead us down the length of the train. This was a long train. It was ten cars long and each car was around sixty feet in length. It was amazing the locomotive could pull these. The cars were all brown, with a cream strip running the length of each car that ran along the level of the windows, and the roofs of each car were either cream or grey. Each car also wore the name "Pullmare" emblazoned in large gold gild letters around the mid way point of the cars. We passed a brake car at the end, then passed a couple of open parlour cars and then stopped as the Conductor opened a door to a corridor car.

"Thank you," I said as we entered the car.

"You can use any of the cabins on this car," The unicorn said as he stepped on after us. "There are also toilets on either end of the car. You will find a buffet car and a bar in the next two cars towards the front of the train if you feel hungry or thirsty during the three week journey across the Wasteland."

"Thank you," I said again as the Conductor stepped back onto the platform, and we opened a door in the narrow corridor to a luxurious cabin. Both walls were lined with deep red cushioned benches, a white cloth covered table fixed to the wall under the window in the middle which had a beautiful brass lamp fixed to the table and the whole cabin was lined with mahogany. I couldn't imagine how much this must have cost back in its day.

"Holy shit this is comfy," Fruity exclaimed as he sat and reclined on one of the benches. "Hmm, feels like the cushions are filled with clouds."

I smiled, watching him lounge comfortably as I too took a seat on the opposite bench. I gently eased my flank onto the plush cushion, and eeped quietly as my rump sank deeply into the fabric, but thankfully it held my weight. After a moment I smiled at the softness of the bench. "Wow this is comfy."

Fruity opened his mouth to say something, when the whole train shuddered and rocked back slightly. "The heck was that?" His question was then answered when a loud whistle rung out from up ahead, and then the Conductor shouted at the top of his lungs. "ALL ABOARD!" which was then followed by another shudder and loud chugging before the train began to move.

"Ah, we're moving, awesome," Fruity said as he looked out the window as we passed out from the station.

The train let out another couple of whistles before its speed began to increase rapidly, until before long, we were speeding down the rails at a great speed. I stared out in horror at the passing countryside as everything I saw was dead, poisoned or destroyed, while the ever present cloud cover kept everything in a perpetual darkness which added to the horrible scenery.

"It's all destroyed?" I asked leaning close to the window.

Fruity opened his eyes, looked out the window and sighed. "Yeah. Everything has been destroyed. The war ruined Equestria greatly. I may have only lived in this Wasteland for five years but I can see why the Enclave made damn sure that coming down here was against the law," He said with a pained look in his eyes.

"Is that why they cast you out?" I asked softly.

Fruity simply nodded but didn't say anything. I didn't want to press the issue, I'm sure he'll tell me when he's ready and I suppose I can tell him my secret too soon.

XXXXX

For most part of a week the train journey was uneventful. We learned the locomotive pulling this train was a Braytish streamlined locomotive called the "Union of Equestria" and that it is capable of maintaining a hundred and ten miles per hour, and could reach over a hundred and twenty but pushing the old locomotive to those speeds would be dangerous. This locomotive's impressive speed was also why it arrived at the station a week early, as a standard Braytish engine pulled the train before. It turned out the locomotive’s original fuel source was coal, the substance the war originally was over until Princess Moonbutt made it about a show of force and destroying our enemy. But since coal was no longer available or too expensive or scarce, the machine's tender had been filled with as much flammable material as possible to keep the loco powered.

During the week, we stopped off at several places such as Dodge Junction and Appaloosa where we picked up more passengers. Thankfully, the train was also guarded so the slavers in Appaloosa didn't try anything. I decided to stay in the train car since as more ponies boarded, the more hateful stares I got when moving between cars to get something to eat or drink.

I yawned loudly as I woke up on the seventh day of our trip to find Fruity staring out the window looking worried.

"What is it?" I asked beginning to feel uneasy.

"We got trouble," He said not taking his gaze off the window.

I followed his gaze to see a small group of heavily armed Griffins flying close. They all looked menacing as they carried their weapons in their eagle talons. I gulped as I took in the weapon in their claws.

I could see several Zebrica Assault Rifles, one Anti-Machine Rifle and one AER-14 Magical Laser Rifle. I didn't know how I knew what the weapons were. I had never seen them before in my life, but yet I knew what they were from just one glance. I think it might have something to do with the computer in my brain because each time my eyes focused on a weapon I felt a tingling in the back of my head. It was a deeply disturbing thought that I've been programmed to know all these weapons.

"Oh shit!" Fruity cried out when a new Griffin flew into view holding a missile launcher and fired a missile at the train.

All hell broke loose, and then there was the train guard and the Griffins began to exchange fire. I watched, frozen in horror, as the missile streaked closer and closer. Bullets and laser beams began to fly back and forth, but some of the projectiles seemed to be focused on the missile, as it grew closer and closer until the missile exploded into a gigantic fireball that washed over one of the train cars further up the train.

"Holy Celestia! ”Fruity exclaimed, when the train rocked violently as we came to a curve in the track that allowed us to then see the train car the missile had been aimed at. The missile must have been an incendiary missile as the train car was on fire.

The Griffins flew all over the train, while the guards defended to the best of their abilities. The guard focused their efforts on the missile wielding Griffin which they managed to dispatch quickly, since all fire was directed at him. I didn't know how many guards were lost, but after several long minutes of fighting, only two Griffins remained and they flew away defeated.

I got out of my seat and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" Fruity asked still in shock.

"C'mon, we gotta help put that fire out," I said, not wanting to just sit around and do nothing when I could be doing something to help. "If we don't do anything that fire could spread."

"Right," Fruity said as he got out of his seat and followed me.

We squeezed passed panicking ponies along the corridor cars, and the buffet and bar cars until we were stopped by two guards at the gangway door to the next car, which was wide open, showing a raging inferno on the other side. Fire crews were using fire extinguishers to keep the fire from spreading to the next car.

"Why are you just holding it back, it could burn this whole train to the ground!" I cried.

"Relax, the frame is reinforced steel, the fire won't destroy the train. It'll just burn itself out when all the wood has burned up," One of the guards said dismissively.

Another guard sporting a rather nasty looking gunshot wound to his shoulder approached us. "Has the car been evacuated?" He asked as he leaned against the wall for support, while pressing a hoof to his shoulder.

"Yea, it’s empty," One guard said with a bored expression.

"Is it?" The other guard pressed.

"Yea..." The guard repeated but got cut short when an Earth Pony mare came charging up the corridor and headed right for the door to the burning car. She bowled past me, but the two guards at the door managed to grab her and stop her from getting through.

"Whoa, hold your horses you can't go in there."

"MY FOAL!" The mare screamed still trying to get through.

"What?" I yelled hearing her cry.

"I thought you said it was evacuated!" The injured guard yelled angrily.

"No sane pony would sit in a burning car," The other guard retorted.

"Yea, but a foal wouldn’t be able to do anything."

"It's too late now sir, it's way too hot and full of smoke for us to do anything."

"No my little filly," The mare cried as she broke down.

I looked up from the crying mare and stared at the burning interior of the opposite passenger car. A little filly was likely burning to death inside that car. A filly who would never experience the gift of life. No, I couldn't let an innocent filly die like this without her living her life. I narrowed my eyes in determination and looked at the mare.

"Where is your filly?" I demanded.

The mare blinked at me in confusion.

"Where is she? I'm going to get her."

"Are you crazy?" Fruity shouted in shock.

"I can make it, I'm a Zebra remember?"

"Yea, but you are still flesh and bone," He argued. It hurt to hear that since I really wasn’t just flesh and bone. I may have flesh, but under it I am just a machine, and that was why I believed I can save this filly.

"Where is she?" I asked the mare again, ignoring Fruity's protests.

"Mi...middle cabin," The mare croaked through tears.

I nodded and made my way to the door. I was scared, scared of burning to death, but I just couldn't let this filly die without trying. I beat my fear down with a stick to keep it from paralysing me. One of the guards got in my way to stop me, but I just kept walking, even when he put his forehooves on my shoulders to stop me. I was glad my limp healed in the week I've been on this train, as I was able to put all my strength into my steps. I couldn't help the smile that appeared on my face at the guard's shocked and confused expression as he was being forced back without any effort on my part.

"Let her go," The injured guard told the one blocking me.

The guard nodded and jumped aside to let me through, and I stepped into the burning corridor car. Immediately, my threat warning flashed a constant red, and a message appeared at the top of my vision.

"Warning, temperature levels exceeding safe parameters.”

Pain began to lance its way through my body as I took each step. The floor felt like I was walking on a frying plate, and I could feel my skin starting to blister from the heat. This was so a bad idea. I squinted in pain as I looked at the doors to my right, counting each one I passed. I remembered the car that Fruity and I were staying in it had seven compartments, and that meant the centre compartment was number four.

I grunted in pain as I came to the fourth door and pushed it open. Thankfully, the fire hadn't reached into the room yet. I looked around frantically until my eyes fell upon a bundle on one of the benches. I hissed with pain as the belt of my stablesuit burned into my skin as the heat was turning the metal segments into red hot pokers. I bent my head down and held my ear close to the filly's muzzle and to my great relief she was still alive. As gently as I could, I wrapped the sheets she was sleeping in around her to completely encase her in attempt to protect her from the fire and smoke. The smoke wasn't affecting me it seemed, I must have something inside me keeping the smoke from doing anything, more questions I need answers to. I would have to run, taking the filly out of the cabin would be exposing her to the full force of the heat and I doubt she'd survive long. After ensuring the filly was tightly wrapped up, I picked her up in my teeth and began my way back. The fire had intensified in the corridor when I left the cabin and only a few steps after leaving, I felt a searing pain running up my back. Sparing a quick glance behind me, I had to grind my teeth hard to stop myself from screaming in agony as I watched my tail burn away. I began to gallop. My flesh ripped and torn from the bubbling blisters bursting along my body. The pain was indescribable especially, when you're on fire. Suddenly, a door beside exploded into splinters and I reflexively turned by head away to stop the shower of splinters from hitting my face, and more importantly, the helpless filly. But then, I felt more searing pain as the flames from the cabin set my mane and suit alight. It took every ounce of willpower not to scream as I felt the fire burn my mane away and cooking my neck and head along with my stablesuit disintegrating and melting into my skin.

"Why the hell am I doing this?" A part of my screamed in my head.

"To save an innocent life," The rational side would shout back.

"Is it worth burning to death?”

"It's better than sitting around letting the foal die."

A siren rang in my ears even as one of them burned off. My vision began to flicker and grow hazy as warnings flashed around the edges of my vision. I could feel my mechanical body starting to fail on me. The heat was overwhelming. I could feel my boiling blood running down my legs and anywhere else blisters had burst. I have to get out NOW!

I rounded the corner just as I lost vision in one eye, and saw the open gangway door. Not wanting to spend a single moment more in this oven I ran as fast as I could. The guard at the door didn't have a chance to get out my way as I bowled him over and quickly gave the mare the bungle. Thankfully, my muzzle hadn't burned up like the rest of me. Once the mare took the bungle I let out an agonised scream in the cool environment of the not burning train car. I could still feel my flesh cooking.

"Oh my gosh Crystal," Fruity cried as he looked me over.

I whimpered and hissed in pain as I looked at myself. My stablesuit was long gone, burned off and melted into my flesh. The metal segments of the belt looked to have sunk into my skin. My saddlebags had disintegrated which also meant I have lost my 9mm Pistol. I was bleeding slowly from multiple burst blisters all over my body and I looked to have lost small chunks of my flesh and I think I can see parts of my metal body showing in some of the deepest holes. I kinda looked like a ghoul.

"Somepony help her!" The pegasus yelled.

A pony with a familiar pink cross badge ran up to the mare, who by now, had unwrapped her foal and was hugging her tightly as tears of joy ran down her cheeks.

"She's alive," The mare cried happily. The mare then looked up at the train doctor. "No, help her first."

I panted hard to rid my lungs of the hot air as my vision swam, and the gentle oscillation of the train felt like I was being thrown about and forced me to sit down hard. That was a bad idea as it felt like my flesh stuck to the floor.

"I don't know how I can treat third degree burns like this, especially on a full body," The doctor said sadly. He opened a medical box strapped to his side and pulled out two bottles filled with a glowing purple liquid. "These Super Healing Potions should stabilise her condition until you can get her to a hospital." The doctor said more to Fruity. The doctor opened the bottles and held them to my still intact muzzle and told me to drink them which I did eagerly. Within seconds of consuming the strong potions, I could feel the gaping holes and blisters seal themselves.

"Thank you," I croaked, feeling the burning in my skin subside although it left me looking like something out of fire victims nightmare with my misshapened burn skin.

"C'mon Crys, let's get you back to our cabin," Fruity urged as he gently draped a wing over my back let me lean on him as we began to walk.

"Thank you so much miss Zebra, thank you for saving my filly," The mare cried happily as we slowly made our way back to our cabin.

It felt like it took us hours to make it back to our cabin, and as soon as we entered, I flopped down onto one of the benches feeling utterly drained.

"Warning, power cells at twenty percent, gem consumption required for substantial power replenishment." Flashed in my vision as I lay on the bench.

Fruity sat down on the bench facing me as I closed my eyes. "You stupid mare, looks what's happened to you!" He almost yelled but he sounded on the verge of tears.

"I couldn't sit there and do nothing Fruity, I couldn't let an innocent child who hasn't had a chance to live die like that," I moaned cracking my eyes open. "What would you have had me do?"

"I..I don't know, just not aimlessly put your life at risk like that," He said, despite my damaged vision I could see tears starting to well up in his eyes.

"I'm a pony of the old world Fruity, life was more precious back then and, I never got a chance to live my life properly because of my health problems," I sighed. "I couldn't let a foal not have her life like I didn't," I mentally slapped myself as I stupidly told Fruity that I wasn’t from a Stable.

"What do you mean you are a pony of the old world?" He asked.

"Err, just Stable talk," I groaned out quickly.

"Um, ok," Fruity said, leaning back as his welling tears ran down his cheek. I sighed internally that he believed me. "You really scared me back there, I've never felt so scared for anypony in my life."

"I'm sorry."

"I suppose it's ok, you're here now, alive, it's better than you being a roast pony."

I gave him a weak smile before closing my eyes again. This train journey started out so well.

Author's Note:

Edited by Alycorn~(CF)

Locomotive based on LNER A4 Pacific Class

Train cars based on Pullman Train Cars