• Published 24th May 2014
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Fallout is Dragons - Stories from the Maw - Newbiespud

An anthology of short scenes related to the Fallout is Dragons podcast campaign.

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Powder Keg Goes On A Date (Session 10)

Previously, in Dragon's Maw...

After wrapping up their business in Gold Rush, the first town in the Maw, the party of six (plus one pet cragodile) (plus one teenage dragoness) made their way southward. On the way, they passed by the Dine 'n' Dash Trading Post, a place for merchants and wastelanders alike to rest and trade goods. The location was staffed at the time by an earth pony mare named Blinkie, possessed of a very frank, very neutral disposition no matter what was thrown her way.

Powder Keg inexplicably became smitten with Blinkie, and commenced flirting with her, to questionable amounts of success. It was highly entertaining to the rest of the group, though: Their dark and brooding raider-hunting companion reduced to awkwardness was a sight to see.

After a short detour to investigate a weird and dangerous clinic, Powder Keg came back to the Trading Post with a salvaged stamp for Blinkie's collection. While she made no great outward reaction to this, she stated clearly after her shift was over that she was interesting in spending the evening with him. Thus, Powder Keg stayed behind at the Dine 'n' Dash while the rest of the party advanced further southward to a location known as Shiny's Rest Stop in order to make camp and wait.

When Powder Keg caught up late in the night, the entire party had questions about how the date went, but Powder refused to say anything other than, "It was good."

This is how that date went.

The sun had mostly set on the jagged horizon. The rest of Dragon Mawlers Inc. had already departed southward, and Blinkie's shift at the Dine 'n' Dash had recently ended. There was very little elsewhere, nothing but sand and dust for a couple of miles in any direction, so they decided to hold their "date" at the Trading Post itself.

Powder Keg started things off by trying to cook for Blinkie. A fancy chef he was not, but he knew how to make pancakes. So he made pancakes. A couple of flapjacks got singed, some were a little underdone, but otherwise Powder was able to serve up two respectable stacks for him and her.

The novelty wasn't lost on Blinkie. "Pancakes at 9 PM. That's new."

"Well, I must admit," Powder drawled, "I'm certainly no chef, but pancakes for dinner was a special thing my father used to do for my brother and I. My brother always loved 'em so much."

Blinkie bit into a chunk of the pancakes and chewed on them for a moment. "It's okay."

"Like I said, not much of a chef. But, the pancakes have always just been something special to me. One of the few things I can make."

She nodded, her expression still dull and neutral. "Neither am I a chef. I sell booze and medicine. That's about it."

"You partake in either?"

"Not on the clock."

There was a bit of a pause.

"Not with the goods to be sold."

Another pause.

"I have a small stash."

Eventually, Powder said, "Sounds like a nice thing to have. Haven't had anything to drink for a while." He grinned wryly. "Had a bit too much last time. It didn't end well."

"I don't like being drunk or high. So I don't."

"I never partake in chems. I'm not a big fan of bein' drunk either. But a good drink every now and then is nice."

"It is," Blinkie agreed. "I just don't get drunk from it."

Powder took another bite of pancakes. "Certainly good to have some self-control. World knows I could use some more."

"You use explosives without dying." Blinkie thought about this for a second. "Then again, you also use explosives and literally nothing else."

"I'm not a fan a' guns. For one, they remind me of something I'd rather forget. For two, they plumb don't work here. As for other methods of attack, well, runnin' up to a foe just seemed imprudent to me."

"True." There was a lull in the conversation after that. Then Blinkie said, "I'm pretty good with a sling."

"Really... Well would you like to show me?"

"After pancakes."

"Sure enough."

"Can I ask a question?" Blinkie asked, changing subjects abruptly.


"What would you rather forget? You keep un-subtly mentioning it."

Powder Keg sighed. "It has to do with my brother's death," he admitted. "I keep trying to get away from it, but we recently ran into one of the ponies responsible for it. It's been hovering over me again since. Sorry to keep mentionin' it. It's hardly good for the mood."

Blinkie shrugged. "Sorry to harp on it. Just seemed like you really wanted to talk about it. Really wanted."

"It's fine. I... I really don't want to talk about it, if you can believe that. There's just been so much going on. Can't make sense a' anythin' anymore."

"Two undead dragons re-dead, the Four Horses are noticing you, the Cult doesn't know what to do with you... Seems simple to me." Blinkie reconsidered, and added, "But maybe that's just me."

"That's part of why you caught my attention. You're so candid 'bout everythin'. Still, I wish it were as simple as you boil it down to be. Just dealin' with my own companions can be a challenge."

Blinkie just listened patiently while Powder Keg spoke.

"That donkey, Javolt, won't stop doing crazy things. I can't stand 'im, but at the end of the day he's too good at what he does to leave behind. Then there's Tempered Steel. The dumb minotaur stood in front of an angry undead dragon and asked it to be civil. He's a great fighter, and he means well, but he sometimes just doesn't think hard enough. And we've all got our own issues to work through. I'm certainly not without mine. We seem to be the biggest heroes in the Maw right now. I look at how dysfunctional we are and I'm surprised we even got out of Gold Rush. I've got no idea how long we can last."

"Maw's full of quitters," Blinkie said at last. "We call them Outcasts."

Thankful for the change of subject, Powder asked, "And what's your story? How'd you end up down here?"

That gave Blinkie pause, and she put a hoof to her chin. "Hmm. Good question. It was a delivery job... then I got caught up in local politics... then I got chased out... then that rockslide happened..."

She put her hoof back down. "I guess a lot of things."

"Sounds like quite an adventure. You ever miss where you used to be?"


"You ever think about going back, gettin' out of this horrid desert?"

Blinkie's lips curled ever so slightly upward, almost too slightly to see. "Yes, back to the other horrid desert."

Powder Keg laughed. "You've got me there. But at least the old desert was curse-free. The only reason I came down here was to get away. It's had some other benefits though."

He slowly slid his hoof onto Blinkie's as he said that. Blinkie's face returned to her usual neutrality, and didn't react further when his hoof touched hers. Not so much as a twitch. Powder withdrew his hoof, looking slightly embarrassed.

Blinkie turned to look out the window towards the dormant volcano in the distance, the one at the center of the massive caldera they called home. "It's not boring here."

"It certainly isn't. Can't say that's always a good thing though."

She didn't reply right away. "Not quite what I meant. Sorry, I must've used the wrong wording. Let me think."

Powder waited for her to gather her thoughts.

Blinkie turned back to face him. "Status quo is boring. Raiders, monsters, survival, that's all normal. But you show up. The situation is changing. Dragons dying, Cult schisming, Raiders organizing. That's interesting."

She put her hoof on his. "You're making this interesting." Her face remained utterly neutral, still.

"Well... when the status quo is as bad as it was when we came in, it just makes it seem like things really need to get better. We've only done what we thought was right."

"That helps. But it's like that mountain." She looked back out at the volcano. "Most ponies think it's too big. You don't. You're thinking about it now, but it hasn't stopped you."

"It's just what I do. If I stopped for every little rock that seemed to big to climb, I'd be dead by now."

"'What you're currently doing.' It's 'what you're currently doing.'" She blinked. "Sorry. I don't like the phrase, 'it's what I do.' It's dumb."

Powder laughed at that. "That's fine. It's how I operate. That work better for you?"

"It's almost the same thing, but I'll let it slide."

By this point, the sun had fully set, giving way to the night. "It's getting late," Blinkie pointed out. "Thanks for the pancakes."

"You're welcome," Powder replied. "I guess I better go catch up with my companions. It's been a wonderful evening."

"Don't die."

"I won't."


"Goodnight, Blinkie."

"Goodnight, Powder Keg."

The two ponies parted ways, one heading home, the other journeying back out into the wasteland.

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