• Published 23rd May 2015
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The Last Pony on Earth - Starscribe


One day, Earth. The next, everyone is gone and I'm a pony. What the heck is going on?

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Chapter 24: June 26-27
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June 26, 2015

Dear Journal,

Moriah isn’t out of bed yet, but she woke up just like anyone else this morning and she’s been difficult ever since. She’s practically demanded we make clothes for her immediately, which is understandable though it entirely fails on the priorities. Sky took her measurements, and I’m gonna pick up what I can today while I’m out doing my usual salvage. She can join the backward pants club with Joe, or perhaps she’d prefer athletic shorts with me. I guess she’s decided not to be a nudist, that’s a decision I can get behind. Eh, see what I did there?

It’s funnier when you say everything out loud. Text-to-speech programs never appreciate me.

Today’s salvage agenda: become a criminal. Well, trespass on federal land. Los Angeles Air Force Base, baby. Back again, though not the way mom always wanted. Officer training, balls, that whole deal. She got a loser and a mechanic instead. Whatever. I got in after all!

Needless to say, the security was considerably more lax than it used to be (not that a single checkpoint was ever very strict). What were we looking for? Hardware. The shooty kind. What are we going to shoot? How are we going to shoot? No idea, but at least the option’s open now. Stored it all in the basement in a locked room, crates and crates of these import guns that I’m sure nobody in the air force actually wanted to shoot.

Ever heard of a p90? Probably not, since there aren’t nations and stuff anymore. It’s a little baby gun, light enough that I could easily carry it on my shoulder and with basically zero recoil. I don’t know if we’ll ever need guns again, but it seems like the perfect weapon for a pony. Small, light, with box magazines even hooves can get undone. Aiming will still be a problem, but I’ll work on that. Maybe. If I have time. Not starving is still first priority. I’ll just sleep a little sounder knowing I’ve got these little guys in the basement. Plenty of other toys too, things we’ll probably never need. Brought in as much as Sky’s pickup could carry. Honestly, she wasn’t too happy about using it for that.

But we got a good inventory of what the base had in terms of supplies: not very much. I want to find the huge crates full of thousands of MREs, so we can get them frozen and stored ASAP. Those meals might be a critical supply for us when we’re trying to build a colony one day.

Of course, to have any hope at a colony, we need the hooves building it. Having another female will be a huge blessing, but it’s nowhere near enough. We need more diversity than just a few can provide. We also need strong, hardworking ponies. Will Moriah work hard, or will she stay inside and build a mesh network all day? Will she be another Joe?

Oh, he’s done with that now, and I guess those are pretty cool. Okay, more than just “pretty cool.” Maybe I can excuse him for a little of his time-wasting if we can actually get this whole system to work for us (how long?). The idea incorporates the local network in our house with a connection to the Iridium satellite network.

You wanna talk about a system we can’t rely on indefinitely, that’s a good one. But whatever, use what we can while we can. You’ve got these little box-lookin’ things, which Bluetooth with your phone and give it satellite connectivity so long as you’ve got a clear sky. He’s got the house set up to look like another peer on the network, and he’s written an app and blah blah blah computers.

Don’t you have to pay for satellite phone service? How did he get this thing to work? How are the satellites still working with all their ground stations offline? So many questions! I didn’t understand any of his answers, and he got frustrated and just said “I used my unicorn magic, okay!”

We tested the system today though and I was able to make a call back to him while out getting the supplies with Sky. Way more delay than I’m used to, but he said that part was normal. It’s better than the cellular service we were getting before, which was nothing.

Apparently if we want to use it long term we’re gonna have to bring power back to at least one of its offices and do a thing. Something to do with GPS or something. According to him, the nearest one is in Sacramento. It’s not a terribly long trip, but if we don’t get it done, the system won’t last nearly as long. I don’t understand all the technical details, it’s beyond me.

Point is, he wants to make a trip north, and for once I’m having a hard time coming up with ways to say no. Satellite phones, if we can get them working, would enable communication worldwide. Granted, nobody’s called us using the system (yet), so if there’s anyone operating this whole technical mess, they haven’t noticed us abusing their services.

That’s another advantage to finding the office, though. From there, we’ll be able to look at usage worldwide. Make calls to any units we want. He says we could camp there a few days, and he could call every customer in the world using a program. All we have to do is figure out a way to get power to the building.

Lots of other advantages to the trip, besides just this phone thing. Sacramento is a big city, another population center. The chances of finding other survivors have to be pretty good. Okay, it wasn’t nearly as big as LA. Maybe we should visit San Diego and see if anyone’s gone crazy yet from being alone for a month. Future trips, maybe?

Is it safe, though? That I’m less sure about. What if we break down going up the grapevine or something? I used to be able to fix anything, but that was back when I had hands. We might be stuck walking fifty miles through emptiness. Not a positive prospect.

If we were willing to wait, we might be able to use another resource we only just got our hooves on: a pilot. Moriah clearly had a less than successful flight the last time she tried it… but could she do better with a few weeks of practice? There are plenty of tiny planes nearby she could play with, see if she can find one to her liking. Having a pilot could change the game, at least while there is still high-octane fuel to burn in our engines. Ponies everywhere would see the plane flying, would know that there were other survivors. It could bring information to cities all over the country much faster than we could drive (and safer too).

But Moriah can’t get out of bed yet. Joe’s not at the top of the list of the ponies I’d like to take a trip alone with. He’s too smart, he’s awkward, and he’s a stallion, an obvious drawback in people I’m going to be alone with for long periods. Granted, the choices here are limited. He’s the one who knows what to do. Sky’s the one who knows how to keep the farm machinery churning, and Moriah is still new enough that changing over her caregivers might not be a good idea. Sky’s still the closest pony we have to a real doctor.

So maybe one advantage then; if he’s with me, he isn’t going to be alone with Sky. I think I know what might happen if they were alone together. Even if it might be better for us if they did.

Not taking my new car for this trip. We’ll be in a new environment, with all new potential dangers. Finding a new place to live would be one of the worst of those. As silly as it feels to be driving it so far, I think it’s the RV’s time to shine again. We’ll bring a nice long siphon to refuel at gas stations along the way. Toss a few of those new guns in there just in case, along with fully loaded saddlebags in case we’re forced to abandon it. Should be a great field test of the phones, if nothing else. Joe’s so sure it’s going to work he’s not going to bring any music to listen to during the drive: he’s going to stream it all from his computer back home.

Whatever Joe, we’ll see. We know you’re smarter than us. Let’s see just how much smarter.

—A

June 27, 2015

Dear Journal,

Today was the day. Today began THE GREAT SATELLITE HUNT.

It didn’t take long to get all the supplies we wanted into the RV, since we’d already packed it pretty good. Mostly came down to topping off the water, refilling the fridge, and stuffing some saddlebags for trail-living should the need require it. It’s already got solars on the roof (not enough to run everything, but enough to keep the fridge running or pump water every now and then).

Joe (and for once I’m glad he’s such a typical stallion) thought the gun thing was way cooler than it is. He insisted in taking the thing out to shoot, which was okay I guess. He’s honestly way more likely to hit anything than I am with his cheating magic, so better he know how anyway. I walked him through it (though I’d only learned anything from reading the instructions that came in the boxes, I’ve never shot a gun like this before). He’s pretty okay I guess. They’re not terribly long-range weapons, but at least I know if a mountain lion or something comes at us we’ll be able to put it down.

After those were safely stowed under the dining room seats and a satellite receiver was bracketed to the roof, our RV was ready to go. Sky saw us off, regretted she couldn’t come, but promised she would keep the base from burning down while we were gone. Said she would keep her new phone on her at all times and tell us if even something minor happened.

My buddy Huan wanted to come, and I was glad for that. He’s one big dog, bigger than me (but not stupid Joseph), and big enough to scare off lesser predators. I hope? At least we’ll be warned by the barking. Much to Joseph’s chagrin, my dog got the passenger seat. My car, my rules.

We drove until evening, but it was already pretty late when we left. Must be most of the way to Sacramento now. Lots of fields, but I’m sorry to report that the only life I saw was animal. Apparently some of those huge beef herds escaped their enclosures, because we saw them roaming around everywhere, grazing and stuff. Horses were out too, though there were fewer of them. Most of the animals stopped and stared at us as we passed down the road. I wonder if they could see the pony and the dog through the big glass windows in front. Maybe they were just startled to see another car pass by after so long.

Didn’t want to be tired when we got into town, so I didn’t keep going the rest of the way. Parked in a rest-stop, between a pair of semis that look like they’ve got about a month’s dust. How are they still here? Whatever.

Tomorrow we’ll make it into town, find this office. We’ll have to get it power, which might involve a few days work. Not sure. We’ll find out when we get there. Seems like Joseph may’ve been right about these phones, because we called back to Sky and she was able to talk to us. Still an annoying delay compared to the way phones used to be, but I guess there’s no getting around that.

Tomorrow, adventure!

—A

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