• 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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Dr. Tibbs Meets Firelight (Session 17)

Previously, in Dragon's Maw...

After the battle with Smaug, the Blood Dragon, the party's Follower of the Apocalypse, Firelight, had to leave the group in order to act as the city of Skyfall's resident medic. The next morning, Tempered Steel childishly ran away to avoid talking about his past, and ended up running into one Dr. Fractured Tibia, a traveling doctor and provider of drugs to the needy of the Maw. As the party dragged Tempered Steel back into the fold, Dr. Tibbs (as he liked to be called) followed along, partly because he had business in Skyfall and partly because he was amused with the Dragon Mawlers' antics. Quietly, Tibbs was accepted into the fold as the new party medic... except by Powder Keg, who insisted that the new guy was on "probation."

The remainder of the day was spent on a whirlwind adventure solving the mystery of the fallen cloudship that the town of Skyfall was based in, formerly the Enclave's GES New Dawn. They discovered that their filly demolitionist Flotsam had a particular connection to the ship and its history, and in the process, the city was nearly blown up with the ship's own explosive payload. It was only thanks to the entire group that Skyfall was spared a life-ending detonation, though the town was thoroughly frightened by the emergency evacuation.

With Skyfall mostly stable for the moment, the party prepared to assault the Tainted Abyss, the lair of the next cursed undead dragon. As the group discussed plans with the Black Lotus Prospectors and Mayor Chase, Dr. Tibbs went off on his own towards the ship's medbay...

Firelight had barely any time to adjust to his new job before it got thoroughly disrupted. Only now, late in the evening, was the makeshift clinic getting back to normal, his current patients safely back in their cots. Firelight was busy working, mainly finishing up paperwork. He was still wearing his normal clothes and vest, and his swords were leaning up against the desk where he sat. Trigger, his old friend and recently freed slave, was back at their living quarters, leaving Firelight alone with his work.

Outside the clinic's door, Tibbs shook himself a bit, trying to let the craziness of the day ooze out onto the floor beneath him. He compulsively checked his saddlebags one more time, checking his current stock and pulling out a fair-sized pile of papers. They reeked with a chemical smell.

The earth pony doctor organized the letters and knocked on the door. "Oi! Anyone awake in there?"

Firelight jerked his head up in surprise, not expecting anyone else for the night. "Yeah, come on in," he shouted back, piling up and organizing his own papers.

Doctor Tibbs opened the door and entered the repurposed medbay. "Evenin'. You the medicine man that runs this place?"

Firelight stood up from his desk, his horn lighting up as he put his paperwork away. "Hi. And yeah, I guess I am. Heh. Name's Firelight."

Tibbs' face split into a wide grin. "Excellent." He extended his hoof to the unicorn, shoving the letters underneath his other leg in the process, and smiled just a bit wider. "Pleasure to meet'cha. Name's Fractured Tibia, but my compatriots, cohorts, and patients call me Doc Tibbs."

Firelight shook Tibbs' hoof, giving a half smile and raising an eyebrow. "Hi. Name's Firelight, ponies and everything else call me Firelight. Aren't you the doctor that my friends found...?"

"So you ARE the oh so famous Firelight!" Tibbs said quickly, cutting Firelight off and shaking his hoof even more forcefully than before. "Had a feelin' it might be the case, but the Bush is a strange place. Can't go by just a name and a hunch." Tibbs finally withdrew his hoof and began to take a look around the medbay. "So, upgraded from a Wasteland Medic to the Surgeon General of a grouse place like this. Good onya, mate." He raised an eyebrow as he examined the conditions of the room and the general stock of the place. "So, have any trouble with all that excitement earlier today? We barely got out, and we all had some mostly perfectly functionin' bodies. Can't imagine it was the same here though."

Firelight's hoof hung awkwardly in midair for a moment. "Umm... Had a little trouble moving patients, but got the guards to round up some ponies to help me move them. Everything's fine now, though." He finally lowered his hoof to the ground. "And I wouldn't really say I'm the Surgeon General... I mean, I'm the only surgeon..."

Chuckling, Tibbs said, "Strewth, none of ya understand a figure of speech when you hear one." He turned towards Firelight's desk and set down his stack of letters before turning back towards the pony he had replaced. "Well, listen mate, I'd love to yabber with ya, but I need to ask two things first. The first things is, I'd like to discuss with ya the possibility of a trade for some of my supplies and some of this fine establishment's, and seeing as you are the 'only surgeon,' you are the only pony fit to discuss it. Your friends have graciously allowed me to travel with them for the time being, though I'm on 'probation' until... well, until I kill a dragon apparently. Needless to say, I think I'm gonna need some medication, and my stock is... well, it's not gonna cut it."

Rather taken off guard by Tibbs' fast-talking, Firelight just stared at Tibbs with a confused look on his face. "Um... 'Strewth'?"

Tibbs chuckled again and rubbed his temple with one hoof. "Sorry mate, it's a Brismane saying. Don't worry about it."

Firelight's confusion faded a little bit. "Well alright. And as for the supply, believe me, it's never going to be enough with them." He laughed a little. "I think I might have some spare supplies I could trade - extra caps for the hospital wouldn't be bad, I guess. I also have a bit from my personal stuff that I forgot to give to the rest of the group before I left. As for the probation, I wouldn't worry too much about it."

"I've got more than caps, Firelight. I've got painkillers, rad relievers, and all the things that can make a problematic patient less of a panicked pile of pain." With the flourish of a traveling salesman, Tibbs opened up one of his saddlebags, placed it on the desk, and started pulling out drug supplies to show to Firelight. "Medicine is hard to come by, but there's always somepony in the Waste that wants a little brain eraser, right? Even got a little something you can't find most places. Specialized version of Dash, created by yours truly. I call it Zapp." He pulled out an overly bright blue inhaler with a lightning bolt drawn on the side, presenting it like a priceless treasure. "Though this I might save for those hopeless cases. It's more or less designed for ghouls, so giving it to a regular pony is a one-way ticket to a burial plot."

Firelight had a shocked look on his face, blinking a few times. His face then became stern, glaring at Dr. Tibbs, as he slammed his hoof over the bag and onto the desk with a bang. "I'm sorry, but I thought that you were a doctor. I don't want any of this, and I'd prefer if you kept it away from my patients. And please stop the fast talk, you're only annoying me."

The wasteland dealer rolled his eyes and started to repack the bag. "Wasn't fast talk, mate. Just attempting a peaceful transaction, with benefit to your side of the deal. You would not believe the price of some of these items out here." Once the saddlebag had been sealed up and all the drugs packed away, Tibbs turned to Firelight, his face rather dark. "And for the record, I am a Doctor. And a fucking good one, too. But not everypony wants to be fixed, they just want a fix."

He continued to glare at Firelight for a moment, then let out a sigh and shook his head. "But that's beside the point. You've got your oath, and I've got mine, and so long as I keep your friends patched up and healthy, it really doesn't matter what I do elsewhere, does it?" He smiled again and patted Firelight on the shoulder. "Loosen up, Doctor, you're part of a rare breed out here. Nopony really gives a shit about bedside manner, but too much stress is bad for the ticker, and we certainly don't need less doctors in the Bush."

Tibbs took a moment to crack the bones in his neck before reaching into a saddlebag pocket and pulling out his personal stash of caps. "Here's what I've got to trade, then. And there's a bit extra for the second thing I need from you." Tibbs placed a hoof on the stack of letters he'd deposited there earlier. "I hear you're a pony who knows how to light a fire, and it just so happens that I need these burned. Would you be so kind as to oblige a humble bushranger?"

Firelight still glared at Tibbs as he finally took his chance to speak. "Sorry, but I don't think this is how ponies should be 'fixed.' I might have at one point, but I've seen what it does to ponies and I'd prefer that to not happen to anyone..." He let out a sigh. "And I guess I'm sorry about jumping the gun a little... Look, I'd just prefer it if you kept this away from my friends. And if I get any patients coming in here from drug problems and your name comes up, you can expect me coming to your door." The Follower attempted to calm down a bit. "I'll take whatever medical supplies you have to offer and trade for that, and I'll sell you whatever I have to spare. As for burning things... it depends. What's in the letters?"

"Mostly things you disagree with," Tibbs answered matter-of-factly, dropping his fast-talk tone for good this time. "Business letters, dockets, notes to my associates back in Brismane. That sort of thing. Iv'e been in this bizzo for a long time, and it's a bit hard to keep up with everypony and everyghoul face to face."

"Why do you want me to burn all of your business records? I would think your business would be important to you."

"Fancy little trick I whipped up a while back. Ya smell this?" Tibbs pulled the top letter from the pile and held it underneath Firelight's nose, a disgusting combination of chemical fumes drifting up towards the unicorn. "Special treatment to the paper. I burn them, and they get sent all over the wide wide world of Equestria. So long as I know them, I can reach anyone, anytime." Tibbs set the letter back down on the stack.

"Huh. That's... actually really clever," Firelight admitted.

"Thanks. Took me ages to find the right compound, but as they say, any sufficiently studied magic is indistinguishable from chemistry. Or something like that."

Firelight asked, "Do you have to have met the pony before you send them?"

"In most cases, yeah, I need to know the bloke or sheila personally, but there's the rare, rare case of knowing someone well enough by reputation to send a letter. Well. Maybe. Didn't exactly get a response, but the letter went somewhere."

"Well... Alright, I guess it's okay if I help you send them, but I better not come to regret this later." Firelight smiled uneasily as he levitated the letters into a neat pile in the air.

"Can't make any promises on that," Tibbs said with a chuckle and a grin. "If my probation goes well enough, I might be swarmin' you with letters at the biddin' of a the little sheila. Once she finds out I can send the letters at any rate."

Firelight laughed. "Well, I wouldn't mind getting some letters from Flotsam. Though replying might be a bit tricky." Firelight opened his mouth and breathed fire on the letters, lighting them. "And look," he continued without skipping a beat, "I appreciate you going with my friends to help keep them safe. I may not like your little side business, but at least you can still heal ponies when they need it." Firelight's smile became a little less strained and more genuine. "Besides, they'll keep you so busy you'll probably have trouble keeping your little side business running."

"Oh you poor, naive, conchy little wowser," Tibbs said with a grin, watching the ashes fly off the letter in separate directions, guided by an unseen magical force. "Well, if Flotsam does send ya something, I'll send along some blank paper for response. Luckily, you're not the first pony I've had to get letters back from." Tibbs opened up his other saddlebag, packed mostly with beakers, bottles, and sealed raw chemicals, ready for a multitude of purposes. "I've wasted enough of your precious time, so let's get this trading over with, and I'll leave you be. Been a long day, and I'm sure the Surgeon General needs some sleep if he wants to keep takin' care of these sick ponies."

Firelight just looked confused again. "'Wowser'?"

"Stick in the mud," Tibbs said with a smirk.

"Uh-huh." Firelight glared at Tibbs with just a little bit of a smirk of his own. "Well, if you have to go, we can get it over with. You can take the extra medicine I had before I left, too. Though if you have any questions about the group and such, feel free to ask."

"I think I'll get the chance to know 'em plenty when we make our way to the Tainted Abyss. But if it comes up, I'll send ya a letter. Thanks again for doing business with me."

"No problem, and please, take care of them," Firelight said with a look of worry on his face. "Though I have one more question for you, before you go."


"Where did you learn medicine? Not something many folk in the wasteland can teach."

Tibbs frowned, then shrugged. "Doctor out in the Waste broke my leg, and in exchange for 'fixing it' made me his apprentice. Gave me this scar as a graduation present." Tibbs turned to show the Rod of Asclepius on his right hind leg. "Also left me this jacket, though it used to have a lot more straps."

"Wait... He broke the leg?" Firelight asked, his confusion swiftly turning into shock. "He gave you that scar? Is that a goddess-damned straightjacket!? Who was this 'Doctor,' exactly??"

"A pony I made a promise not to flay and wear like a jacket, much as I'd like to," Tibbs replied, turning back towards Firelight. "Once he taught me what he knew, he left me to do my own business. Don't know where he is, and don't care."

"He left you? Just like that? ...And I would try to avoid the skinning... not something I would suggest."

"As far as he was concerned, I'd been a successful experiment. An apprentice who didn't die, and even got a Cutie Mark in the process. Trust me when I say the skinning is the lightest of the revenge fantasies I've had." Tibbs paused, then sighed and shrugged again. "But that's the past. I wouldn't know the first thing about fixin' a pony up if it wasn't for him, so I call it square and just try to focus on the present."

Firelight, listening up to this point with a frown, said, "I guess that's as good a course of action as any.." Then a smile crept up at the corner of his cheek. "Though to be honest... I'm sure you'll fit in with the group perfectly."

"Good to know," Tibbs said with a smile.

The two wasteland doctors spent the next few minutes calmly and professionally deciding what they wanted to trade and what the fair exchange would be. Then, once the transaction was complete, Tibbs packed up his things and said, "Well, I've worn out my welcome, and the rest of them are probably wondering where I've run off to. Have a pleasant evenin' mate, and thanks for your hospitality."

"You're welcome. Make sure you take care of them... and good luck." Firelight watched as Tibbs left the clinic, doing his best to smile, but with a slight look of worry on his face.

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