• Published 18th Jun 2019
  • 1,020 Views, 23 Comments

5C0074100 - evilcheez271



A threat once again looms over Equestria, but it doesn't come from the past, it comes from beyond the stars.

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Evaluation.exe

When the squares went away everything had changed. Objects were no longer made of light, the aliens around Scootaloo had rearranged themselves into gaggles of conversation, had lost many of their machine parts and now all seemed to be wearing a standard form fitting uniform. The room itself had changed into a drab cement box that seemed to have no doors or windows.

That was when Scootaloo realized she was standing oddly. She looked down.

Instead of seeing her normal fluff, Scootaloo was now wearing the same form fitting uniform everyone else was, and she was standing on only her back legs. Her "forelegs" no longer had hooves, but instead were these weird tentacle things.

The oddest however, was that she just "knew" how each new body part worked.

Scootaloo wiggled her "hands", watching them move.

"Whoa..." she stated with wonderment. She then reached up and felt around her head, discovering her head head remained it's pony self. "This is weird..."

A commotion from the other side of the room interrupted Scootaloo's self exploration. A group of four aliens wearing camouflaged uniforms

"Line up in a orderly fashion for Evaluation." One of them commanded in a monotone voice. Scootaloo, along with a few others, jumped and formed a line in front of the obviously important people. Most of the other aliens however didn't hear the hard-to-hear command and continued with their discussion. The monotone alien nodded at one of his compatriots, whom had the tough and grizzled look of a senior guardspony.

"LINE UP GREENHORNS." He shouted, getting everyone's attention. Immediately all the conversationalists abandoned their discussion and formed lines. “Alright greenhorns…” stated the rough and tumble biped. “Welcome to Evaluation. You have only one goal, survive. Any Questions?”

Scootaloo raised what analoged for her hoof. “Um sir?”

“Excellent!” The biped cheered, clearly ignoring Scootaloo. “Drop is in…. FIVEFOURTHREETWOONE GO.”

And suddenly the room around Scootaloo and the other newbies changed, bubbling away in that weird pixelated way things did around here.

Instead of a clean sterile room, the air became muggy and the walls turned into wildly grown jungle trees and bushes.

Scootaloo glanced around fearfully, fully expecting something to immediately pounce. While nothing leaped out of the dense bushes, she saw her fellow newbie’s uniforms had also changed, but the only real change was the addition of a short sword, a hatchet at their belts, and a small biped saddlebag.

Surprisingly however, none of them seemed particularly startled, and were chatting quite amicably as they began to walk into the trees. Knowing better than to raise her voice and panic, Scootaloo followed them, as they all seemed to be going in the same direction.

The trek through the jungle was SOOO much worse than a similar trip through the Everfree. Not only was the air hot and humid, but strange insects the size of one of Scootaloo’s new fingers seemed eager to land and bite on any part they could. Which after a while included her arms and neck as she noticed some other newbies take off their uniform shirts and tie them around their waist.

Not only that, but while the Everfree had clear and obvious paths. This jungle DID NOT. Long bladed grasses that made her skin itch and massive fallen trees impeded the convoy’s progress constantly. Scootaloo was climbing as much as she was walking.

During an hourly break, she searched her own biped saddlebags and found various supplies, a flashlight, a few bags that read “Rations”, and a thin but surprisingly warm roll of fabric that she figured was a sleeping bag.

After several hours, Scootaloo became surprised as night began to fall, and her compatriots still acted like this was more of a brisk hike then a military test.

Just what the hay did they raise aliens on?

They made large campfires and told what she assumed were scary stories… But most them them ended with some variation of “Dividing by zero”, to Scootaloo’s confusion. They also recounted tales of past triumphs in their simulations, long kill streaks, kill/death ratio, Actions per Tick, etc. Most of the terms just lead to more confusion on Scootaloo’s part though.

Then they began to drift to sleep one by one. Which Scootaloo considered odd. They didn't even discuss if guards should be posted. When she brought it up, the nearby newbies laughed.

“The monsters are never released first day.” They cited.

Which only confused Scootaloo more.

Monsters? First DAY??? Just how long was this test?!

Scootaloo thought frantically. Eventually however, the day of going through the jungle caught up with her and she fell asleep.

The next morning was just as jovial as the previous night. However Scootaloo could tell there was now a tension that wasn't there before.

If monsters aren’t released on the first day, then that must mean the grace period is over, and we’ll have to worry about monsters now. Scootaloo reasoned as she munched on a ration bar that tasted surprisingly good.

The trek began in much the same fashion as before, the group going in one direction and Scootaloo following.

Today however, they chanced upon a game trail that lead in the same direction they were heading, which made the hike much easier.

“Yo!” Someone called at her. Glancing around, she saw another newbie jog towards her.

“I heard you ask last night about guards.” He began

“Lot of good it did.” Scootaloo grumbled.

“On the contrary, very good insight.” He winked.

“Yeah? And how would you know?”

“Let me tell you a secret… the test isn't about surviving.” He whispered.

“Yeah right.” Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “What kind of test would that be? Demanding an answer that isn't what they actually want?”

“Easy, its HOW you survive.”

Scootaloo glanced at the strange newbie.

“Bruce.” He offered his hand. Shrugging, Scootaloo grabbed it and shook.

“Scootaloo.” She replied.

“Oh YOU’RE the organic.” He responded, jogging to walk along side Scootaloo.

“Gee thanks.” She stated dryly.

“Nah, organics are interesting, and they give the best test results.”

“What gave me away?”

“ You’ve been practically clueless about our culture.” He grinned.

“Who the hay tracks “Actions per minute”?” She asked.

“Self aware nerd machines from space.” He laughed.

"Nerd machines? I figured you guys were aliens, but how do you do get a machine to think?" Scootaloo asked.

"Oh that's also easy, kind of. If you study an organic brain long enough, you figure out how it works and realize it operates much like a machine would." Bruce replied. "After that it's just replication."

"So you just make a machine brain?"

"Pretty much yup." Bruce chuckled. The two fell into silence.

“By the way, what sort of monsters do self aware nerd machines from space think are scary?” She asked, hoping to figure what what she had to survive against. He laughed but leaned in conspicuously.

“Quit a bit actually, but what you need to know is: zombies, spiders, and wolves… For the moment.”

“... That's it?” Scootaloo asked after a moment.”That’s so… plain.”

“Nothing plain about this test I’m afraid.” Bruce laughed heartily, his eyes glittering wickedly.

Suddenly a howl pierced the relative calm, some one screamed in pain, and the words “Jimmy L. was slain by a wolf.” Appeared in the corner of her vision.

People all around started shouting all at once.
“Contact!”
“Wolves got Jimmy!”
“Jimmy noooooo!”
“There’s zombies in the weeds!”

Scootaloo’s reply to the strange man was lost as instinct born from too many treks into the Everfree took precedence, forcing the estranged filly to dash towards the nearest tree and climb rapidly. Inwardly, she noted how easy it was to climb with hands instead of hooves.

She breathed heavily as she reached the lowest branch, nearly a full Ponyvillian house off the ground. She pulled her herself onto the branch and sat down, breathing heavily.

Below was absolute pandemonium. Rookies ran to and fro, all shouting incoherently in panic. Shambling half rotten shapes reached out of the jungle brush, grasping at exposed legs. More than one unfortunate rookie was grabbed by the grasping limbs and dragged down.

The most attention grabbing thing was the massive furred monster that leapt from the trees.

Scootaloo’s jaw dropped as she beheld it.

The wolf, if it could be called that, stood well above the heads of the rookies. It’s six eyes darting back and forth, tracking movement with alien precision. Each shoulder played host to not one, but TWO clawed forelimbs, each splayed in a manner that didnt look quite natural.

The beast raised its head to the sky and howled, sounding like the sick crossbreed between an actual dog and a blender.

Not really knowing what to do, Scootaloo stood up and pulled the short sword from her belt.

“Uh…” she groaned uncertainly.

“Follow me Jimmies!” Came a shout from below. Startled, Scootaloo turned around to see Bruce charging towards the wolf, a gang of rookies at his heels, all with their swords aloft. The wolf turned, eyes seeming to glow with hatred, and pounced, snapping a rookie up in its jaws, and shaking him back and forth in the dirt.

“Aw crap…” Scootaloo swore. She had to at least try and help, even if she had no desire to get anywhere near the giant wolf. Taking a deep breath and bracing herself, she leapt from her branch!

Unfortunately, she misjudged her leap and the feral flailing of the monster. The wolf did a sort of leaping sidestep, managing to position itself exactly where Scootaloo had intended to land.

“Oof!” Scootaloo grunted as she landed on it’s shaggy back.

“Er?” The wolf yipped, not exactly expecting a weight to drop from the sky. The wolf turned its head and Scootaloo looked up, sharing a brief moment of confused eye contact.

But then the wolf growled menacingly.

“Oh oh.” Scootaloo stated, curling her fingers into the rough coat and holding on for dear life. And suddenly Scootaloo’s world was a whirlwind of flying hair, blurred trees, and the occasional wall of dirt rising to meet her face. She didn’t know how much time had passed, but she eventually realized she was still holding her sword and decided to try swinging at the flailing wolf.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!” Scootaloo screamed, using the sword more like a club than a blade on the monster’s hide.

Finally something gave beneath her blade and the wolf sighed, stopping its flailing and going limp.

“Eep!” Scootaloo squeaked, rolling away just as the wolf fell to the ground.

“Get up lass, we got a fight to win!”

Scootaloo looked up to see Bruce standing above her, offering a hand downward to help her up. She accepted his hand and was pulled up.

“THAT’S what you call a wolf?!” Scootaloo exclaimed.

“Aye lass, a Dwarvian Mauler Wolf.” Bruce replied bluntly.

“Why are you talking like that?” Scootaloo asked.

“PULL BACK JIMMIES! THE OUTPOST ISN’T FAR!” Bruce suddenly exclaimed, waving his sword like a ninny and gesturing in a direction Scootaloo assumed was where they were heading.

“What’s even happening right now?!” She shouted.

Before Bruce could answer, or not answer as the case seemed to be, a wave of retreating recruits pushed by, separating Scootaloo from the crazed Bruce. Groaning in frustration, Scootaloo decided she’d rather live then try to get answers out of a crazy person, and let the rush of fellow recruits whisk her away.

The next hour was spent vaulting over logs and dodging grasping claws of half rotten corpses. She never got a good look at them, because they seemed to have a greenish flesh tone that blended in wonderfully with the jungle foliage. From what little she saw though, she had no desire to look too closely.

No more of the recruits died, but the only reprieve Scootaloo got was when bright sunlight blinded the wayward pony.

Blinking the blindness away, Scootaloo found the whole group had ran into an open field that was surrounded by jungle. In the middle of the field was a small hill, which had what Scootaloo assumed was the outpost they were after. On account of it being a building, and said building being alien in design to her pony eyes.

“There’s the outpost!” Called a recruit.

“Hurry! We gotta build the wall!” Cried another. Once again, Scootaloo was caught in the tide of people and pushed forward.

Fortunately, none of the horrors from the jungle seemed to follow them into the sun, so Scootaloo finally got a chance to take deep breaths.

“Get up lass!” Called a familiar voice.

“Oh no…” Scootaloo groaned.

“Can’t get ready when you’re busy relaxin’!” Bruce exclaimed jovially. Scootaloo straightened and prepared for another dose of insanity. “Go get the gravel, build the wall out of the gravel, and then glue the gravel!”

Scootaloo tried to process that.

“... Glue?” She asked, but Bruce had already left, his voice already fading in the distance.

“Damnit Jimmy! It’s a stupid idea to build a tower!”

“Alright then, where’s the gravel then?” Scootaloo asked her self, glancing about.

Her fellows were bustling back and forth, carrying all sorts of tools that werent in their packs.

Odd. Scootaloo thought. Maybe they were getting them somewhere?

Scootaloo scanned the people and their tools, which she was thankful she recognised.

Pickax.

Pickax.

Bow.

Sword.

Shovel!

“Excuse me;” Scootaloo tapped the recruit on the shoulder.

“Whatcha need?” He asked loudly.

“Where’d you get the shovel?”

“Mining tools that’a way!” He used the shovel to point in a direction. “Bows and pots that’a way!” He pointed in the opposite direction.”

“Thank y-“ Scootaloo started, but he was already sprinting away. “-ou…” Scootaloo finished lamely. Sighing to herself, Scootaloo turned on her heel and went in the direction the recruit had pointed.

The gravel pit was as you’d expect. A pit of gravel. It had one distinct feature however.

“Wow.” Scootaloo whistled, peering down into an almost literal abyss. The only reasons she knew it was the gravel pit were the bits of gravel that lined the walls, the rack of shovels, pickaxes, and hatchets, and the nonstop flow of people climbing up and down ladders that lead below, each using their packs to haul gravel out of the hole.

“...I think I’ll just fill one pack and try something else.” Scootaloo decided, not at all wanting to climb the rickety looking ladders with a bag full of rocks anymore then she had to. So she grabbed each of the tools from their racks, clipping them to her belt.

Just in case… she thought.

The climb down was weird. It seemed to pass by faster then it should and without any real effort. The “bottom” of the quarry was even weirder. The “vein” of gravel must’ve been a perfectly vertical tube, because the sides were a sheer cliff, and the other miners kept digging the floor.

Even stranger however, was the actual mining itself. After only five minutes she checked her bag, expecting it to be full.

Nope.

The bag must’ve had one of Twilight’s “Bigger-on-the-Inside” bags because it wasn't nearly as full as she would've thought.

“Hoo boy.” Scootaloo murmured, raising a hand to wipe her forehead… Only to realize it was perfectly dry and sweatless. “... Huh.” She grunted, rubbing her new fingers together. Looking about, she realized she had demolished a rather sizable portion of the quarry, and that with as many other miners in the pit, the ground had sunk a good 10 meters.

“... Ok this is too weird and boring.” Scootaloo concluded, clipping the shovel to her belt and swinging the bag over her shoulder.

The climb back up the ladder was surprisingly swift. And accident free. Scootaloo then followed the conveyor belt of other miners to where construction of a massive wall had begun. Recruits were hard at work pouring out their bags of gravel onto the the in complete sections of the wall, where an entirely different group of newbies would come by and slather a thick oily substance over the piles. Then a whole other group would come by and shape the piles by smoothing and scraping the mixture over whole sections. The mixture would then rapidly dry, forming a bluish concrete like substance that was both sturdy and quickly made. Then the whole process would repeat itself, making the wall thicker and thicker with each layer. Scootaloo dumped her load at the foot of the wall and started off to look for something else to do.

"Here ya go lass!" Bruce shouted in her ear, shoving something into her hands. "Remember to drink your juice!" he then sprinted away, shouting "WHAT ARE YOU DOING JIMMY?! MAKE THE WALLS THICK, NOT TALL!"

Scootaloo looked down at the bundle. It was an assortment of deformed plates that were the same shade of blue as what the wall dried into. Confused, she set the bundle down and pulled one out.

"... OH it's armor!" she exclaimed, mulling over the plate. She sorted through the bundle, noting that despite having no straps or buckles, the armor seemed to stick like a magnet to where she assumed it was supposed to go. When she was fully armored, she followed where the rookies with the "glue" were coming from.

The area where the "glue" was gathered was a sort of courtyard. The "glue" came out of a fountain in the middle of the courtyard, where it gathered in a pool. Rookies would take buckets and scoop the glue out, half of them started running towards the wall, while the other half went to the edge of the courtyard and started pouring the glue into molds. After letting the molds dry, other newbies would break open the molds, taking out set's of armor identical to what Bruce gave her. The armor was then bundled up and given out to unarmored recruits. The thing that drew Scootaloo's attention was the rack of bows, quivers, and vials of pink fluid on the opposite side of the foundry-esque area.

... I have no idea how to use a sword... Scootaloo reasoned, grabbing a bow and a quiver.

"DRINK YOUR JUICE JIMMY!" came a shout from in the distance.

... What does he mean by juice? Scootaloo wondered. She looked at the vials of pink fluid. She picked one up.

"JUICE" the label read. Scootaloo shrugged and clipped it to her belt.

Must be important somehow. she reasoned.

""Night's falling! The monsters are coming! Defend the wall! DEFEND THE WAAAAAAALL!" Bruce's voice suddenly cried out.

Author's Note:

Internet cookies for anyone who gets the not so subtle reference :twilightsmile:

https://discord.gg/UmXXy9v