• Published 9th Apr 2012
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Fallout: Equestria - Memories - TheBobulator



One crazy pegasus, one roboleg, a contingent of Steel Rangers, and an adventure of infinite detours. Put all that together and what do you get? A rip-roaring mosh pit wrecking its way across the Wasteland, leaving nothing but confusion in its wake.

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Chapter 1: What were we doing?

Chapter 1: What were we doing?

“Are you loco in the coco?”


I was sitting in a small dark corner office with my Commanding Officer, or C.O. I’d never actually met the stallion; the only thing I really knew was fact that he was the meanest officer that ever left Neighvarro, and that really made me worried because of how much trouble I was in. I think he just wanted to yell at the new recruits like me and watch us squirm. He glared at me again and I fluttered my wings nervously.

I’d just returned from a particularly disastrous run in the wasteland which had resulted in massive amounts of collateral damage, contamination, intelligence, and questionable decisions. Apparently the debriefing was for the sake of protocol, but there was one major difference. Somepony named Interrogation Officer Thundering Storm was listening in remotely through my C.O.’s terminal. Somepony wanted to know what I’d done in the wasteland and would stop at nothing to find out.

“Wait, so you want me to just dive in? From the beginning, huh? What about—”

“Just tell us what you know,” the voice from the speaker drawled.

“Okay, fine. Well, for the record, this is going to be the worst debriefing ever. Of all time.”

Please get on with it.

“FINE, fine.” I looked to my C.O., who nodded and motioned with a wing that I was permitted to take a seat. I settled into the stiff uncomfortable chair and began to tell my tale.

“We had just finished our second wasteland scouting mission to gather intel on those irritating, self-righteous Steel Rangers. I was ordered to bring back anything that was useful—movement patterns, bases, patrols, that kind of thing. I went with my wingmates…” I stopped. I thought hard and tried to retrace what happened that day. I had a vague feeling that I had been with them for a while, but couldn’t remember their names. Heck, I couldn’t even remember the colors of their coats!

Something wrong, airpony?

Must be my nerves again. “I… can’t remember their names.”

That’s fine. Continue.

“Uh… Well, anyway we were on our way to…” I drew another blank, stared at the ceiling and tried to remember, shaking my head in irritation. “Wait, I think we were also with some science officers, too. Maybe. There were buildings, and we were there to set up some kind of thing… that did… uh… stuff?”

My C.O. leaned over and harshly whispered to me, “Come on, I know you hate these guys more than I do, but they are in INTERROGATION for a reason! We need you to remember, girlie! Are you withholding information? Is that it?” He reached over his desk and tapped a hoof against my forehead. “We need you to remember, because some shady shit has been happening that the higher-ups just aren’t telling us about!”

Anything I need to know about?

“Yes, you do!” I yelled at the terminal. “I don’t remember what happened, or what I was doing! It’s like they’re missing from my memories! All I know was that we were ambushed, separated, and I have no idea where everypony else is! I remember walking through the wasteland with an injured wing and—” I stopped. I still remembered this part, though vaguely. I’d stumbled around aimlessly, then collapsed from… blood loss? Concussion? Something serious, but… what was happening? Why couldn’t I remember?

Anything you can tell us?

“NO! I. DON’T. REMEMBER.” I was incredibly pissed off. Were all officers this stupid? What part of it didn’t they understand? At that point, I could reliably say I was with a science team, setting up some kind of station that controlled… something, and then something happened, and now I was here! And then it struck me. How had I gotten here? I collapsed in the wasteland, and then I suddenly woke up perfectly fine with no memory of being in a hospital, not to mention arriving in this office.

I decided to look around the room, and suddenly things started to fall into place. Now that I was aware of it, the walls looked strange, the tiny window in the corner of the room was so bright that I couldn’t even see anything out of it, and the desk’s dimensions just looked… wrong. I was starting to get a gut feeling that this wasn’t real life. “What’s going on here? What is this? Is this a sim? Is this the best you could come up with?”

Damn, she’s figured it out. Sir?

Voices argued in the background. Aha! So I was RIGHT! Before I could figure out anything else, a different voice faintly came over the terminal.

Pull her out. We’re going to have to do this the hard way.

Everything popped out of existence and the first thing I felt was cold. Mind numbing cold. So, so cold. I blinked and watched as lines appeared, bit by bit until I was staring at what seemed to be the inside of a stasis pod. The pod doors slid open and I looked around the bleak darkness of the new room I was stuck in. I waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, and looked around again. There was a small blast door on the side of the room opposite to the pod, and behind my pod was a small bank of computers, presumably running the simulation that I’d just been in. The blast door opened with a whirr and a particularly loud thunk, and a large, armored Steel Ranger walked into the room with a wheelchair in tow. “Get in the wheelchair, Enclave scum. Don’t try anything tricky.”

“Even if I can’t fly in this room, I can still walk, you huge bucking ugly—” My insult was cut short as I suddenly fell on my face when I tried to lunge at the Ranger. I sat up, and noticed something I should have noticed first—my left foreleg was gone halfway up where my elbow should have been! I gave myself a quick once-over and noticed a few other things missing that I probably should not be missing. There was a massive boxy contraption clamped around my remaining foreleg, I had healing bandages in various spots all over my body, and small scars only barely visible because the surrounding teal fur was missing.

The largest problem for me, however, was half of the feathers on my left wing were missing. The thought of not being able to fly or walk for a long time nearly brought tears to my eyes. At least the wing itself wasn’t missing, I told myself. Worst part is, I’d managed to lose my Enclave Scout Armor. How would I pay for it when, or if, I got back? Crushed, I slowly hobbled my way over to the Steel Ranger and fell into the wheelchair. Well, at least they didn’t expect me to walk, so that gave me time to think about my current predicament in slight comfort.

After about three minutes of walking (okay, him walking and me wallowing in whatever ponies wallowed in), my hyperactive mind couldn’t take the silence anymore. “Can you at least tell me your name? Or something? I’m so booooooooooored…” I leaned back in the wheelchair and stared at the underside of his helmet, expecting an answer. “Or how about you take this thing off? It’s heavy, uncomfortable, and it chafes!” I pouted and proceeded to wave my remaining box-laden foreleg in front in front of his visor.

“None of your business, prisoner, and I’m not equipped to take that off anyway,” he gruffly replied. “We’re nearly there.” He swatted my hoof out of his face. After a few more minutes of silence, he decided to give me a little solace. “I am Paladin Commander Rumcake Rum, and I am currently acting as your jailer.” Was that malice coming from underneath his helmet? “As for the thing on your leg, it’s a PipBuck 2000 Plus, just because we decided you were worth interrogating on the grounds that your hat deemed you important. Don’t get too comfortable with it though, we only needed it to interface with the simulator. After digging around your brain, we—”

I stopped him there with an outburst of rage. “You bucked with my brain!? No wonder you idiots couldn’t get anything out of me, you STOLE THEM before asking!” I seethed with rage as I mulled this over. The inability to remember anything or anypony, plus the imprisonment by Steel Rangers, plus aforementioned brain-poking, all equals missing memory. “What were you expecting then? What else did you take? TELL ME.”

Rumcake stopped and looked down at me. “Hey, according to Senior Scribe Instant, we didn’t do anything! It was all you not knowing anything. Not us.” I gave him a blank stare, and he elaborated. “Instant Noodles is our most reliable scribe. She specializes in memory capture and retrieval. That’s the kind of things unicorns are good at, after all.” He looked up and continued to push me along to yet another tiny room that looked exactly like the other rooms we’d passed along the way. “We’re here, prisoner. Sit tight and wait for Inquisitor Soufflé to arrive, you Enclave whore.”

“Thanks for that, tankass.” I sunk lower into my wheelchair and just prayed that the mandatory interrogation training for all Enclave personnel would actually help. I stared at the door opposite from me, and took only a few minutes to become immensely bored. I craned my neck over the back of the wheelchair and stared at Rumcake upside-down. I winked at him, and the only reaction I got was an annoyed grunt. I heard a door thud open and I snapped my head back forward to see a gaunt unicorn wearing a tall, fancy greatcoat and a great big pointy officer’s cap, both of which had the gears-sword-wing logo of the Rangers on it. He spoke in the drawling tones of the voice on the speaker from the simulation.

“My name is Inquisitor Soufflé, and you will tell me everything, you stubborn, pathetic Enclave pidgeon.”

I barely suppressed a snort. Soufflé? Really? At first I thought Rumcake was joking, but Soufflé? A buck named Soufflé was going to interrogate me. Moment of hilarity aside, training kicked in. Name, rank, serial. Nothing more, nothing less. And maybe a taunt or two, just for personal enjoyment.

“My name is Frosty Winds, Scout Second Class, Serial 405937-5712. And you” – I pointed a hoof at him – “have the funniest name ever.” I burst out laughing.

“Listen bitch, you’re not telling us the truth. Heck, you haven’t told us ANYTHING remotely useful! You’re not even a scout, your field officer’s cap proves it!” He then proceeded to toss a cap onto the table and glare at me menacingly. The desired effect was lost however, because I was still too busy laughing my flank off. He slammed his hooves on the table and I immediately stopped and paid attention to him. “You. Are going to tell. Me. Everything.” He growled at me. “And I want nothing but the truth!”

“My name is Frosty Winds, Scout Second Class, Serial 405937-5712.” I shifted in my wheelchair as I tried to remember where I’d gotten the cap from. If there was a science team at the area of operations, then logically there was some kind of experiment. An experiment in a hostile area of operations, which meant that there was at least one combat team on site for defense. Although I wondered how we had managed to be completely massacred by hellhounds, given our probable heavy weaponry.

…Wait a minute. What? “Hellhounds?” I muttered to myself. “What were we doing?” I now pointedly ignored Soufflé as he became angrier and I tuned out his yelling so that I could think and try to remember.

Unfortunately, my train of thought was interrupted by a hoof smashing into my jaw. “Dammit, bitch, if you aren’t going to help us voluntarily, then we’ll just have to move on to more drastic measures.” He tapped his ear and yelled, “Go wake up Paladin Fruit Punch! I don’t care if she’s on break, just tell her to get prepped to handle a prisoner.” He looked back up to me. “Last chance, Enclave bitch. Help us, or maybe the Paladin breaks off your other wing.”

I looked back at my wings. The feathers would grow back soon, but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I was stuck on the ground for the rest of my life. I turned back to him and told him, “Look, you already stole everything out of my brain! You already know everything that happened and took it away from me! I don’t know anything else.” His expression of gleeful rage turned to puzzlement. “What, your little machine ponies didn’t tell you about that?”

He cocked his head, indicating more puzzlement, then countered, “There was barely anything in your head to begin with; our scribes managed to read bits and pieces of your memories, but without far more intrusive methods, we had nothing to go on. All useless in the end since you couldn’t tell us anything useful either.” Someone had stolen my memories, made sure I couldn’t remember and tell anyone what had happened. “Now,” he continued in a gentler tone, “try to tell us what you remember, and maybe we can help you.”

“Oh, I’m not falling for that good pony, bad pony thing, and you’re doing it wrong. You need another pony to be the good pony.” The Inquisitor gave me a dirty look. “Anyway, I couldn’t tell you anything else if I wanted to. Interrogations only go so far, you know.”

I glared at him and tried to cross my forelegs, but it didn’t have the desired effect because I still hadn’t gotten used to my stump just yet. I was just about to tell him to go buck himself when he suddenly turned and started to leave the room.

He sighed. “Paladin Commander, take the prisoner back to her cell. There isn’t anything we can get out of her.” He turned around to face me. “As a sign of good faith, I’m going to inform the engineers to expect you. No need to waste a perfectly good commander carting around a crippled Enclave rat.” He sneered at me then left without another word.

Well, that had gone better than expected, and I even got some information from that whole thing too! I leaned back and addressed Rumcake. “Take me back to my room, nurse!” He sighed and carted me out of the room. When we took a turn toward a more brightly lit hallway, I looked up at the bottom of his helmet and poked it with my hoof. “Hey, where are we going?”

He looked down at me and replied, “We’re going to go see—”

I interjected, “Let me guess, Banana Pie? Raspberry Tart?” These food based names! Why would you name your foal after food?

He paused and stammered, “Uh… well… you’re half right. Banana Pudding is our Head Knight. We’re going to get you a leg so I don’t have to push your lazy flank around.” He looked at me again, and I must have been giving him a you-totally-cannot-be-serious face because he said, “No, really! It’s Banana Pudding and Knight Baked Potato.” He continued to push me along the hallway in silence.

When we got to there, a short brown buck with a short yellow mane and tail was completely asleep and snoring on his workbench. He must have been asleep for a while, because there was a puddle of drool collecting around the left side of his muzzle. He muttered something unintelligible and shifted in his sleep.

“How am I not surprised?” Rumcake muttered, then moved closer to the sleeping buck as quietly as a pony sized tank could. He cleared his throat and then fiddled with a switch on the side of his helmet before taking a deep breath. “WAKE UP YOU WORTHLESS SACK OF HORSEAPPLES YOU AREN’T ON BREAK JUST YET!

I wasn’t expecting him to have a built-in megaphone in his helmet and my heart nearly stopped in fright. But the brown buck’s reaction was priceless, granted. Right after ‘wake up’ he jumped and turned in mid air to grab onto the light fixture hanging from the ceiling, so gracefully that if I ignored the lack of wings he could have easily gotten away with being a pegasus. I started laughing so hard that I nearly fell out of my wheelchair.

WORKS EVERY—” He paused and fiddled with the same switch, presumably to turn it off. “—single time. Never gets old.” He looked up at the light fixture with the buck hanging off of it in sheer fright. “You can come down now, Baked.”

“Ach, that ain’t funny anymore lad! The four’f time was enough!” He glared at the both of us. “And you lassie, you en’t in any position to laugh. I reckon yer here for something a wee bit more important.” He let go of the light fixture and landed on the floor, all hooves down. I swear, potential pegasus material. “So, whatcha need girlie?” I looked at him with confusion. I was still trying to figure out what he was saying after the word “funny”. He stared flatly at me and explained, “This is how I speak, do ye have a proooblem?”

“Uh… no?” I stammered. Wow, hard to understand and a temper. Just great. “I need a leg.” I waved my stump at him. “And is it possible to be a bit more understandable?” He had no reply, he glared at me and went into the maze of shelves and parts in the back of the room to presumably look for a leg for me. I turned to look at Rumcake and broke into an embarrassing fangirlish squee. “That was SO. AWESOME!” I blushed and covered my muzzle with a hoof. “How did you do that?” I said in a more normal tone.

I knew under that helmet he was grinning like a madpony, but he said in a normal tone, “I got a Canterlot Voice mod for my helmet. Best two hundred caps I’ve ever spent.” There was a crash from the back room, followed by a storm of very colorful swearing and more crashing. “I’ll go help Potato, you sit tight and don’t go… oh wait, you can’t go anywhere.” He laughed as he walked into the back of the room.

“Why put this thing on me at all?” I asked, staring at the metal socket at the end of my stump.

“We recovered a mostly working cyber-suite a few weeks back and the Inquisitor’s been waiting for an excuse to see whether it works without sawing apart one of my Paladins.” Rumcake simply replied. “You just happen to be the perfect test subject. Once we’ve got all the kinks worked out, we’ll put you under the knife to find out.”

“I’m flattered,” I sarcastically replied.

“Don’t be. Senior Scribe Brussel Sprout could have accidentally killed you.”

What a nice thought.

Later, after I had been issued with a temporary prosthetic leg that was strapped onto my stump and secured to my shoulder, I was taken back to what I assumed was my cell. It was a small room with just enough space to stand up and turn around in with a bunk on one side and a toilet in the corner. The only other furnishings consisted of a grimy cracked mirror on the wall across from the bunk and a small table under it.

Rumcake stood in the doorway as I attempted to make my way from the wheelchair to the bunk. I stumbled into the bunk and lay on my side. This prosthetic leg was tiring me out and it wasn’t very easy to use, let alone get used to. I got myself comfortable on the bunk as I asked him, “So what happens now? I stay here forever and get interrogated endlessly?” If this was how I’d spend the rest of my life, I’d rather just kill myself to spare myself the boredom.

“Frankly, I have no idea. Best case scenario, we chain you up to a post and milk you for information. Worst case, Soufflé kills you.” He turned around. “I’ll be down the hall if you need me. Baked gets to take over my guard duty later since I caught him napping again, so…yeah.” And then he left me in my cold, dark, tiny room with nothing to do. I huffed in annoyance; he could have at least given me a magazine to read or something!

I punched the wall next to me, and noticed one of the tiles near the bunk’s mattress rattled. I reached down and opened the box, revealing a small alcove with a few bobby pins, a screwdriver, eight caps, a well-chewed pencil, half a box of Fancy Buck snack cakes, and two shotgun shells. Underneath them was a small and well-folded note that listed the following: “Step 8: Open hooflocker underneath bunk. / Step 9: Hope it’s a shotgun. / Step 10: Acquire barding. / Step 11: ??? / Step 12: Profit.” Above it was a mass of crossed out words and scribbles that more or less summed up to a to-do list that led to some kind of breakout. I noticed one major flaw in this plan, however. The last occupant of the cell neglected to plan for how to defeat several fully armored Steel Rangers, but they did plan for a breakout during a full scale invasion of the base.

I checked the little nook to see if there was anything else buried in it, and finding nothing I tried sleeping for a bit. After a while, I realized that I probably spent too much time being unconscious to be tired anymore. I whapped my PipBuck against the wall when it suddenly burst into sickly green light. I stared at it, transfixed, until I read the text on the screen that said, “View new user tutorial? Y/N”

I shrugged and poked the ‘Y’ button with my nose. The text was quickly replaced with, “Factory settings detected. Check for updates? Y/N”

I couldn’t see the harm in it, my cloud terminal usually required software updates from time to time. I poked the "Y” button again and the text was replaced by the image of a happy generic colt with the words Stable-Tec behind him. A little progress bar and text box told me it had found an update, and was in the process of downloading it when it gave me another text box. “Errors in registry! This should not affect your Stable-Tec device, but some information may be corrupted or incorrect. Reinstalling the update should fix this problem. Reinstall? Y/N”

I poked the ‘N’ button. There was no way I was going to sit around for the same update again when it probably wouldn’t fix anything, anyway. I was then re-routed back to a slightly updated “New user detected, run tutorial? Y/N” page, complete with a rudimentary animation of the little Stable-Tec colt using the device.

I pushed the ‘Y’ button and watched as a little musical interlude complete with animations scrolled across the screen. “Welcome to the PipBuck 2000! If you are watching this tutorial at work or in a public location, please use the earbloom attached to the side of the PipBuck to privately listen to this. A large arrow pointed at a location on the screen. “Tap the button to continue.” I poked the button with my prosthetic hoof and listened on. “Now, onto E.F.S. and S.A.T.S. tutorial! Please find an open space where you can efficiently become accustomed to both of these functions.”

There was a knock at the door. I poked the pause button on the tutorial. The door clanked and dropped open, revealing a Steel Ranger with a small tray with a paltry assortment of boxes and a Sparkle-Cola on it. “I brought you some dinner,” the familiar voice of Rumcake said. He lowered the tray onto the small table in the room. I looked over the assortment of boxes with slight displeasure. Hay chips, mashed potatoes, and single cherry snack cake. I grabbed the Sparkle-Cola bottle in my mouth and downed a third of the bottle. Mmm… carroty goodness. I didn’t really know how hungry I was until I finished inhaling the crushed box of equally crushed hay chips. Rumcake watched me wordlessly as I continued to shamelessly stuff my face with preserved food. “The food here can’t be better than the fancy crap back where you’re from.”

I looked at him and wiped some crumbs off my muzzle. “We can survive just fine, it’s just that it doesn’t taste like much because we have nothing to flavor them with. I prefer hundred-year-old preservatives and artificial flavorings more than bland field rations, really.” I then ignored his questioning look as I enjoyed the cherry filling in the snack cake. Through a mouthful of deliciously sticky fruit-flavored gunk, I asked Rumcake, “Something tells me I have some special treatment here.” I took another drink from the Sparkle-Cola. “Care to fill me in?”

“Haha, I’d like to fi—” he started, but I gave him a death glare and he changed his comment. “You’re the only prisoner at the moment, so nopony really cares about a bottle of cola. The only reason you get two boxes is because you’ve been out for a while.” He sat down in the doorway and continued, “You’re also the first prisoner to not try to kill me yet, so think of this as a thank you, and hopefully…” He trailed off there, apparently at a loss as to how to complete his sentence. I quirked an eyebrow at him in amusement.

He eventually stood up and said waveringly, “Uh, I have a report for the Head Paladin so you can keep the boxes but I have to take the tray back.” I finished off the Sparkle-Cola. “Don’t freeze to death. Heating in here hasn’t worked in ever.” And with that he departed and shut the door behind him, leaving me in the dim light of the room again, alone.

Out of curiosity, I got up and pressed the button for the door. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened. I decided to continue with the tutorial because I had nothing better to do. I located the continue button on the PipBuck’s screen and listed to it repeat, “Now, onto E.F.S. and S.A.T.S. tutorial! Please find an open space where you can efficiently become accustomed to both of these functions.” Yep, this room was definitely a large open space, I thought sarcastically. “This will be a live demonstration. Place an item such as a cardboard box on a flat surface, and pick up a rock or ball.”

I took the crushed hay chips carton and propped it up on the small table. I took the bottle cap from the Sparkle-Cola bottle and tossed it in my hoof. “Activate S.A.T.S. and target your object. Some weapons will be more effective on a pony-to-pony basis. In the bottom right corner of your vision displays your Action Points bar. Again, some ponies will have more AP than others.” I squinted and felt everything slow down. The box was surrounded with a green outline with a little bar that read 95% next to it. I targeted it once and felt the spell deactivate, and I threw the cap at the carton so hard the cap went through the first layer of cardboard and bounced around inside the box. I was definitely impressed.

A little bar appeared at the top of my vision, and I immediately attempted to swat it on instinct. The PipBuck informed me, “This is the Eyes-Forward Sparkle detection spell. Enemies will appear as red markers.” A red dot appeared for a second then disappeared. “Friendlies will appear as blue dots” A blue dot appeared then disappeared as well. The icons and letters on the bar spun around a bit then settled. “This concludes the tutorial. Thank you for using Stable-Tec technology. Have a nice day!”

With the PipBuck now fully booted up, I could actually use it as something other than a bludgeoning device. I then noticed that there was an outline around the tile I had moved earlier. I moved the tile and it revealed the same nook that I had found before. It also assigned values to all the items in it, including the pencil for some odd reason. Wait, if it detected containers, then…

I rolled off the bunk and heavily fell onto the ground. I looked under the bunk and moved the large hooflocker under it closer to me. Sure enough, there was a well-bucked padlock attached to the hooflocker. I clambered back up to the bunk and collected the bobby pins and the screwdriver in my hoof. I left two of the bobby pins in front of me and hid the other four in my tail. I then picked up the bobby pin in my teeth and, with great difficulty, held the screwdriver in my hooves and began to pick the lock.

After nearly an hour and a half of failed attempts and the loss of two bobby pins, I finally felt the padlock click and drop. I pulled it off with my teeth and used my nose to open it. I reveled in my victory over the stubborn padlock and beheld my spoils. One old, worn copy of Batmare, a half-consumed pack of gum, a broken-down anti-machine rifle, and a saddlebag to carry it in. I’d only heard of them in intelligence reports, but this was the first I’d actually seen one. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to assemble one. Oh the irony, I knew how to reassemble a high-tech plasma weapon, but I had no idea how to reassemble a simple ballistic weapon.

I placed the parts for the rifle into their respective slots in the saddlebag and hoped that I would find someone that could put this together. With the proper ammunition and fully maintained, the bullets from this rifle could probably punch through just about anything. After packing the rest of the goods in the pack (after reading the Batmare comic book twice out of sheer boredom; yay Batmare!) along with the remaining boxes of my dinner, I placed the loaded saddlebag back into the the locker and closed it.

There was a knock at my door and I nearly had a heart attack. Couldn’t a mare get a little privacy? Or, according to the PipBuck, a little freakin’ sleep?

A voice with a thick accent came from the other side of the door. “Ach, girlie! Ye presentable in there?” Yep. Definitely Baked Potato. I got up and opened the door. Or actually, I got up, tripped then hit the door with my face. I rubbed my nose as the door opened with a clank and a thump and the familiar, not sleeping Baked Potato walked in with a package on his back. He grabbed it in his teeth and dropped it on my bed. “Well, if ye feel like gettin’ dressed anytime soon, Rumcake said ye’d probably like this back.”

I opened the plastic wrapping of the package and pulled out my light scout barding, slightly worn and torn. It had been cleaned and fixed in a few spots, but most disturbingly there was a straight, clean cut stained with blood where the left sleeve used to be. I looked at my stump where there was now just a metal replacement and looked at the uniform again.

“If it’s any consolation prize, ye did manage to hurt whatever gotcha a mite badly. Most o’ the blood we cleaned off wasn’t pony blood.” He nodded at the sliced sleeve. “That was a bit harder to clean out. Ye nearly bled out on us lass, and the last thing we needed was a dead prisoner.” I must have looked appalled, and he attempted to change the subject. “M’boy don’t show it, but me lad Rummy’s mighty sweet on ye. Maybe return the favor, lass? I gotta get back to pretending to work. Oh yea, this is apparently yours.” He dug in one of his side compartments and tossed a squashed Enclave Officer’s cap on the bed as he walked out. The door slammed shut after he left.

I examined my uniform one more time. Still in okay shape, only a little damaged, except of course the missing sleeve. I took a closer look at the bloodstained left sleeve. The cut was perfect, no fraying or tearing—just a slight singe. It was like whatever weapon it was cut through my foreleg and the light armor like it wasn’t ever there. I assumed that I had been attacked by something large and armed with some kind of bladed energy weapon.

I put away my uniform and turned my attention to the Officer’s Cap. This wasn’t mine, so I obviously got it from someone. I looked on the inside of the cap and found nothing but a tag that read “Dry clean only, do not wash”. Disconcertingly enough, there were still some bloodstains on the inside brim of the cap, and I wasn’t sure whether it was my blood or the previous owner’s.

I ran a hoof through my mane and stopped. I twitched my ear, then felt it with a hoof. Nononono please still be there, please be my imagination! I looked into the grimy mirror and moved my head closer to it. On my right ear, there used to be a small green earring that I’d received from… somepony. Somepony important? I couldn’t remember. It was starting to get really annoying not knowing anypony I’d met, anypony I’d talked to, and all for no discernible reason! I moved my uniform and my cap into the arms locker under my bunk. These questions could be answered another day. For now, I wanted some actual sleep because unconsciousness probably wasn’t the same.

~~~~~

I was rudely awakened by a hammering on my door in the dark and early hours of… 11:00 a.m., according to my PipBuck. It was Friday! I didn’t have a work shift until—

I looked up and glanced around the room.

Right, prisoner, Steel Ranger base. Not the barracks back at… where? Gah! Why can I only remember all the really useless stuff?

The door opened and Rumcake walked into the room. “Rise and shine, prisoner! I bring you breakfast and the morning news.” He brought in a tray with two more cherry snack cakes and a RadAway. “Senior Scribe Instant Noodles insisted that you get your share of radiation meds so that you don’t accidentally die on us.”

I groaned and groggily slid my way off the bed, starting with my rear legs then when I got completely out of bed and took a step, I fell flat on my face again. I looked wistfully at my mostly-missing leg and held back tears. I sat up and leaned against the wall as I made my way to the table.

“Still not used to it, huh?” Rumcake asked, a bit more gently than I expected. I shook my head. I looked back at my wings and took solace in the fact that the feathers were starting to grow back correctly. I quietly munched a cherry filled snack cake. Oh cherry filling, why are you so delicious? Rumcake continued, “You’re scheduled for another interrogation today.”

I rested my head on the table and munched the other snack cake. “I don’t know. What am I supposed to do? I had so much going for me at home, and then I get captured. I don’t even know if the Enclave is going to let me back in!” I looked at him, tears in my eyes. “I… I just don’t want to die here… alone.” I felt a tear roll down my cheek. Great… I was getting sappy in front of the enemy.

“Suck it up, pegasus. That’s what happens to deserters and traitors,” Rumcake curtly shot at me.

That was uncalled for, to say the least. I continued to heartbrokenly sob into the crook of my remaining leg. This was it, and there was nothing I could do about it. I heard the door crank open and shut, but I didn’t pay it much mind. Would there even be a rescue team? Probably not, considering the lack of Wonderbolt infiltration in this Steel Ranger base.

“Pull yourself together, Frosty. Maybe there’s still a chance.” I admonished myself, then scoffed and adopted a more sarcastic tone. “And maybe they left the door unlocked.”

I threw the empty Sparkle-Cola bottle at the door activation button and nearly fell off my bunk when the door actually opened. Escape? Not one to tempt fate more than a few times a week, I poked my head out of the door.

There was no alarm, no yelling Rangers, no shooting, just me in a dim, but slightly brighter, hallway with a penchant for drab architecture. The hallway gave me more space than my tiny room did. After I was somewhat sure I was alone, I retrieved the bag and its interesting contents.

I yawned and stretched my stiff, sore muscles. I really needed to move around because I used to fly and run on a daily basis quite a lot. After getting injured, losing my leg and then even losing my ability to fly, I’d pretty much stopped moving around. I stretched out my legs and experimentally flapped my wings. Even after pulling the damaged feathers, my left wing still felt too light and airy to be stable. I double-checked the straps on my metal leg and once I was sure it wouldn’t come off while I was moving about. I leaned back to loosen up my forelegs when I heard a familiar voice behind me.

“You’re not earning any points with your cute little display.” Rumcake called out. I stopped in my tracks and cursed my lack of foresight. Why couldn’t I have just taken off when I had the chance? “Turn around, very slowly.”

Obviously, I complied. He had his helmet off for once and dear sweet Celestia was he cute! His coat was a dark, rich coffee brown, and his lovely (albeit funny) mane was the most adorable shade of pink. Wait, I didn’t just say that, did I? “What’s in the bag?” he asked.

I attempted to compose myself and managed to blurt, “Blanket. Basic supplies. Towel.” Smooth, Frosty. Rumcake was not amused by this, but I continued anyway. “Changing topics, aren’t you going to tell me to go back into my cell? I’m new to the whole prisoner thing, but it’s kinda what we do in the Enclave.”

Rumcake grunted and walked over to me. “New orders, courtesy of the Inquisitor.” I pouted at this statement, but he ignored my expression and continued “I’ve been informed that you are free to walk around the base as long as you have an escort to keep you in check. Oh, and this.” He quickly slapped a heavy black collar around my neck and locked it in place.

“The hell is this?” I yelped, flapping backward a bit too late.

The collar lightly beeped. “Bomb collar. If you try anything funny, I have clearance to detonate it. It’s got a built in tracker so we’ll know where you are at all times. Can you fly yet?” Rumcake pointedly asked.

“I was hoping to stretch my wings, but I don’t think it’ll be possible yet.” I frowned and flapped my wings to emphasize my point. “So if you will, I’m going to walk around for a bit.” He nodded, giving me the go-ahead.

“For your information, in the event we are forced to exit the base, you are not allowed to fly at all. If you do, you will have five seconds before I am authorized to detonate your collar. Furthermore, if you leave the transmission range of the detonator, the collar will explode. I control the safety range that you are allowed to roam in. If your collar starts to beep, turn around,” Rumcake dictated. “Now, follow me.”

I obediently followed him to a set of familiar doors and we stepped through them. A few scribes milled around doing whatever scribe-ly things they were assigned. One of them was doing his best at repairing a heavily weathered assault rifle, another was doing his best impression of a ballerina while trying to replace the light above his workstation, and a few more were simply doing generic boring things that I quickly lost interest in.

Instead of sleeping on the workbench, Baked Potato was using some kind of power tool on a set of armor that had gashes along one side. Next to Baked, a larger yellow stallion with a graying mane was fiddling with several disassembled weapons. Both stallions wore protective eyewear and earplugs. Rumcake strode up to the old stallion and yelled into his ear, “Officer present!”

The old buck jumped and tossed gun parts all over the room in fright. The lightbulb scribe completely flipped out and fell off his workbench. All the way in the back corner of the room, a cute little orange number that obviously hadn’t been paying any attention at all literally threw whatever she was working on in the air and barely managed to catch it before it hit the ground. One of the parts that the yellow stallion had hit Baked and he stopped to look up. I tried my best, but I started laughing so hard I could barely stand.

“Good to know you’re still up to your shenanigans, Rummy,” he grumbled. “Baked Potato! Put that down and help me find that firing pin I just threw across the room.” He started searching the immediate area around him for parts that had rolled on the floor. “And I assume you’re the little Enclave birdie we picked up a few days ago. I’m Head Knight Banana Pudding, and that unintelligible pony over there is Knight Baked Potato. Seems you’re feeling better already.”

“The little Enclave lass and I ‘r already acquainted, thanks t’ Rummy over here.” He walked around the room, and from under a different workbench, “Aha! Found a cylinder for a .32, Banana!” He stood up with the cylinder in his teeth and dropped it on his workbench. “Somethin’ tells me yer not here to play, eh girlie?”

I gave him a withering look. “I’m here on account of not being allowed to do anything,” I sarcastically replied, carefully twisting and tugging at the explosive choker strapped around my neck to squeeze as much comfort as I could out of it. “Not like I really have a choice anymore.”

Rumcake began to sift through the mess that the Rangers probably called a workshop. “How’s the maintenance order coming along?” he very loudly questioned to the two other Steel Rangers in the room, who both glared at each other.

“Not very well, thanks to a certain somepony that keeps drinking the butane.” Banana Pudding raised his voice at the end of that sentence.

Tools clattered from the other side of the room. “Ye stored th’ blasted stuff in a drinkin’ bottle! Not me fault,” Baked shot back.

“Shut it, you two. Bakey, I need you to relieve the prisoner of our PipBuck.”

The Ranger saluted and retrieved a small crowbar from a small drawer. “No prob’.” He gently lifted up my leg—which I very cautiously consented to—and performed some interesting maneuvers with the metal bar. A few moments later the blocky device clamped around my leg snapped open and dropped to the table. “All done, lass.”

I quickly lost interest when their back-and-forth bickering started up again and I instead began to lazily peruse the parts of machinery littering the nearby table. There were bits and bobs of guns, pistol rounds, an energy coil, and what I was very sure was half of a balefire egg launcher. Maybe now would be a good time to ask how this gun in this bag worked.

“Question,” I suddenly piped up. “Any idea what this is?.” I nonchalantly hefted my saddlebag and let it hit the table with a resounding thump. I grinned as I took out the anti-machine rifle parts.

“Celestia’s rump, lass!” Baked exclaimed. He examined the parts carefully. “These ‘r in very good shape… maybe a bit o’ grease and it’ll be fully functional. Of course, there is the eensy-weensy problem that you don’t have any bullets…” He stuck his head inside my bag and searched for something. From inside the bag, he said, “or a magazine… or a scope.” He pulled himself out of my saddlebag and concluded, “Congratulations lass, you’re the proud new owner of a well-maintained club. The magazine and the bullets ‘r the most important, but the lasa’ scope is the funny part—this rifle has been custom fitted with iron sights. There was neva’ a mounting rail for a scope on this rifle. It does come with a bipod, so this was never meant to be battle-saddle mounted either.”

“Wait, why are we giving a prisoner a GUN?” Banana Pudding protested. “We should have the guns, not her!” He fumed and paced around the workbench to face me. “What’s your plan, eh?”

“Oi, Puddin’ lay off o’ her! Nopony on the base has ammo or magazines for that rifle, anyway. Unless she wants to hit us with with it, which she can’t cuz’ of her bum leg, let ‘er try!” Baked Potato yelled.

“Since you two can’t make up your minds, I’m going to repossess this weapon for the Rangers. It’s a powerful weapon and I’m positive that somepony will recover ammunition for it eventually.” Rumcake slammed his hoof on the table and pulled the weapon toward him. I felt a pang of jealous rage as he began to thoroughly examine my weapon.

“Um… can I add something here?” I asked timidly, mustering my voice. “I’ve always believed the Steel Rangers were diabolically evil death machines that stole technology from the other wastelanders. Considering a lot of things, I’m even starting to think Autumn Leaf wasn’t exaggerating at all.” I froze. Who? Everypony else in the room stopped and stared as well. “Why does that name sound so familiar? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Excellent, we’re going to have to report this. Knight Baked Potato will take your things back to your room.” Banana motioned to Baked Potato to pick up my saddlebag. “Rumcake, you better take her to Soufflé. He’ll hear one way or another.”

“Here we go again. Never a dull moment,” Rumcake whispered to me as we both left the engineers’ room and proceeded to take me back to interrogation. Who was Autumn Leaf, and what had just happened? “Just… don’t do anything stupid. Please.” He opened the door and ushered me in. Then the door slammed shut behind me and I was alone in this room, again.


Footnote: Level up!
New Perk: Enclave Training – Despite your memory loss, your training as an Enclave soldier has stayed with you. Good thing you paid attention in class! You gain +5 to your Science and Medicine skills.

- End of Chapter 1! -

Author's Note:

Welcome to the ride!

So before you continue any farther, please keep in mind that this story is not intended to be taken super seriously as with other FoE stories. Sit back and have a laugh!

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