• 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 39: July 30-31
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July 30, 2015

Dear Journal,

I’m sorry about being so emotional these last few days. I made an effort to compose myself before writing this. Hopefully I can be a little more… historical. Maybe being historical will make it easier.

Today we drove most of the day, all the way into Phoenix. Not much to say about it. Nothing on the radio besides the number station. Joseph didn’t get around to breaking it, though he said he’d “work on it when he got the chance.” Must’ve heard that damn thing a thousand times, and what it said was:

“10-14-21-26-7-0-3-20-5-6-0-26-7-11-6-2-21-20-1-26-6-11-8-7-0-1-10-3-21-6-11-7-2-22-20-23-14-23-1-20-7-10-1-17-18-1-22-4-11-7-3-
18-18-6-3-20-2-7-6-2-10-3-18-6-11-7-12-14-20-6-8-7-24-14-0-0-7-3-21-21-6-17-18-21-7-21-1-7-0-1-10-3-21-6-8-7-22-4-16-4-1-24-4-8”.

We stopped in the evening for the cows this time, so Sky could do her thing with the animals. I helped with the milking, though only two of the cows needed it. These animals might’ve been dairy cows before, but we’re not forcing them to stay artificially pregnant or prolong their nursing anymore. The extra milk of just a few cows is more than we can use as it is. Not many eggs from the chickens along the drive, but that’s okay. We’re not really in the mood to cook them anyway.

That done, we all got together for a meeting. The smoke of the fires are finally gone, and we need to decide where to go. We were going to wait a year, build up supplies for a proper relocation, and only then migrate out. Now though, with our city gone and no guarantee this might not happen to many others along the way, we’ve been forced to move ahead of schedule. We thought “while we’re at it, why not start the relocation now?” We could find a small, empty town and make it our own. We have a whole country to pick from, with population densities apparently so light we might never meet another soul along the way.

Joseph and Moriah thought to bring the guns and stuff in addition to the computers. Can’t say I’m not glad, with the prospect of a whole country to cross. After much consideration, we decided on the midwest as the site of our future colony. Joseph already had maps of the best farmland in the country, the safest and most stable places for us to build in. We were far from the coasts and their storms. Too far north for the worst tornadoes but not far enough for the worst winters.

As it stands, we have two possible locations in mind, both with their own advantages. One, about as small a town as we were comfortable with, is Paris, Illinois. Former population of just a few thousand, located in excellent farmland and within easy travel distance to Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis.

The other was Jefferson City, Missouri. This was more like a very small city, with a much larger infrastructure, though it was centrally located only between St Louis and Kansas City. We haven’t really decided, though some of that decision might come down to what we can learn when we actually get there.

Right now Paris is the stronger option. Its infrastructure is so small and self-contained that it might actually be feasible to restart if the population grew into the low thousands. Unless the water’s all drained out by now, the gravity-fed system of water towers might still be running even now. If it is, there are several even smaller towns nearby we could probably use. Not to mention that a great deal of the people up there are farmers, so they have all the right machines just sitting there for us.

Even if, by our estimations, we’re likely to have stored food for fifty years at least, with a group this small.

Jefferson City is bigger, so figuring out how to seal off the gas and get the electricity flowing again would be much trickier. It could probably still be done. The city has some advantages over using a small town. Large public buildings there will probably last longer, not to mention it’s got a university and lots of other public resources a tiny town just can’t offer.

We’ll decide when we get there. Actually, we probably won’t have to decide for several days. We’re taking it fairly slow down the highway, and even though we haven’t encountered anything so far, we might. Fairly flat going, which makes it easier on our novice drivers.

We won’t really be stopping to try and recruit anyone in the cities we visit. We’ve changed our minds about that; when we’re already destabilized from losing our home, we really don’t want to try and expand the group. If somebody finds us, great, but we won’t be going out of our way to make it happen. Still, we’re a pretty big convoy to be driving through the country, so it’s not impossible we’ll run into some ponies along the way. We may switch out the cargo truck for another RV, and just use one of the rooms for storage. Most of this one is empty space and animal feed as it is. Wonder how much space we could save if all of us just ate that too. Then we could have a stallion RV and a mare RV. That’d be great.

Oliver told me matter of factly that Joseph and Moriah are definitely together, with a level of medical detachment I found almost disgusting. He didn’t check for other listeners though, and I know Sky heard. Know, because she was teary-eyed the rest of the night. I kept her company, pretended I didn’t notice, and shared some chocolate we’d found that day with her. It seemed to make her feel better. Huan didn’t even try to eat the chocolate.

Guess it’s good to have a friend. The fires might’ve taken everything else away, but at least I didn’t lose all my friends. Guess Sky and I in particular have gotten pretty close. Even if I’ve long since given up the idea that she might have feelings for me… this is good too. I can almost pretend, alone as much as we have been. It’s a pity the survival of our new species is at risk. Pity I’m such an inferior specimen.

Also a pity I’m still so small, maybe young too. I wake up in the morning and Sky is holding me like a doll. Well, I may not be that small, but… I’m used to being bigger. Maybe not bigger than her. Maybe I haven’t been bigger than any pony since the Event. Whatever. You know what I mean. Maybe you don’t. Maybe Moriah doesn’t. God knows I’m not… couldn’t imagine… wonder if it’s the stress. I’d be pretty stressed. I am stressed.

You don’t see me sneaking off and crawling into bed with- Okay, maybe I do crawl into bed with someone every night, but this is totally different! We’re not doing anything! She’s with the cows right now, or else I wouldn’t be able to… Yeah, I should just shut up now. Tomorrow begins our great journey. Journey to a new home. Hopefully one that’s safer than the old one.

—A

July 31, 2015

Dear Journal,

Change of plans. Joseph translated the message last night. The others didn’t want it to change anything, but it does. The force that came looking for us still is. The message didn’t say if it caused the fire, but that doesn’t matter.

Not only does the HPI need us to make contact with it, but I need to for my own sanity. That person, that being, that pony, whatever they are, might be the only chance we have of ever learning what really happened. Going back to investigate might be dangerous and foolish, but it’s also the only way I’m going to be able to sleep at night.

We talked for some time, our trucks all spread out around this big park. The others seemed pretty convinced whatever was back there was the reason the fire had started, and that going back was insane.

Maybe that’s true. I told them I was going back, and that was that. I was the best driver of the group, I could probably make it back there in a single day. And I would turn around if I ran into the fire or there was even a slight sign that something was up.

Needless to say, none of my friends thought that was a good idea. Cloudy Skies was most against the idea, though she didn’t say much. I just knew from looking at her. Oliver didn’t like it either. He tried to make all kinds of arguments about how important I was.

But I’m not important. I’m replaceable. Sorry Oliver, sorry Sky. Maybe if I don’t come back, you two can have each other instead. At least then some ponies will be happy.

Phoenix has all kinds of resources. Huan and I found a police car, and I did the things I do to cars. I’ve done so many conversions now it’s becoming rote. I bet if I opened up an auto shop in the post-Event world, that would be most of what my shop did.

Picked a PHXPD cruiser in this case, stuffed supplies (mostly water) in the back seat, along with some camping stuff in case things went south. Gun, bullets, and my buddy on the passenger seat.

I’ve got a satellite phone too, so hopefully I’ll be able to tell the others even if it’s clear I won’t be able to escape alive. I have no reason to think I won’t make it out alive.

Against my better judgment I’ve decided to take my journal with me. I take it with me in the hope of being able to write down the truth when I learn it. In the end, the others decided to stay in Phoenix a few more days. I told them, if I stay out of contact for three days, to turn around and keep going. I could always check Paris and Jefferson City on my own, if I somehow survive.

“Somehow survive”. Like I’m going to be outraced by a fire when I’m on the highway and can see the smoke for hundreds of miles. Or like I’m running into a source of “thaumic radiation” bright enough that the Initiative can see it from space. Nothing could possibly be dangerous in there.

Most of my journal should be fine if I don’t make it back. All the digital files I printed to glue in are all on my laptop. Even though, I guess I don’t really need to do that anymore. I can write pretty well with my mouth.

I drove halfway back, sleeping in a gas station in this little town called Blythe. Tomorrow I’ll drive the rest of the way in, and hopefully find the mysterious entity who knows what’s going on will be waiting there for me and be in a talking mood.

Turns out I’m coming back, city of angels. I hope you have a little love left for me.

—Alex

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