• Published 19th Sep 2015
  • 1,079 Views, 19 Comments

The Caretaker - Kriegor



Conspiracy brews in the underbelly of post-human Equestria. A lone machine embarks on a journey to find a lost symbol

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The Coliseum

The Caretaker

::> ... Adaptation Protocol: Complete.

::> Rebooting....


Mac’s eyes began to glow blue once more, illuminating the darkness he suddenly found himself in. He craned his neck around, the light of his eyes revealing nothing more than the fact that he was in a tight, closed casket of sorts. He systematically moved his arms, then his legs, getting a feel for the enclosure. Once his auditory sensors began to work once again, he picked up some muffled voices coming from outside.

“Who was that guy?”

“No clue... So what’s your name, eh?” a female voice asked.

“Fuck off, pony,” a gruff male responded.

Mac pressed his hands against the walls, the servos on his arms whirring up.

“Hey,” another voice said, “there’s something in that box…”

He could hear the steps of hooves walking over to him, just as he shoved the top of the box open, sending it slamming into the ceiling. He quickly jumped and the beings around him backed up in fear. He sprinted towards the nearest one and slammed his body against them, sending them careening into the nearest wall. Mac twisted around and set his eyes on the next target, stepping up and grabbing its neck, lifting it up effortlessly.

“Woah!” a voice next to him called out. He looked down to see a scrawny mare gazing up at him. “We’re friends here, alright!?” she yelled. “Let him down!”

Mac looked towards the being he was holding up, his eyes meeting the green orbs of a male gryphon with grey feathers. Mac held him up by the neck for another second, and dropped him as his eyes began to bulge. He turned to see a changeling picking itself up after having been slammed into the wall, leaving the surface with a few visible cracks.

The android looked around, finding himself in a dull, concrete cell with an energy field on the far wall, and a bunch of supply boxes from where he came from. He set his eyes on the energy field.

“Where am I?” he demanded. “Where is Arthur!?” Mac bellowed, his voice turning raspy and metallic.

“You—” the gryphon coughed as he stood up, massaging his sore neck, “you’re in the fighting pit… The end of the line.”

“And Arthur?”

“I don’t know…” the changeling said, one with orange eyes and several earrings on his left ear. “First time I’ve ever heard the name, actually.” He groaned. “Thanks for the smashin’, by the way…”

Mac took a step towards the field. “What is this place?”

“We’ll find out soon enough,” the mare said, her mane brown and frazzled, her eyes blue. “I’ll start by saying my name.” She looked up at Mac. “I’m Carry Merry”

The changeling coughed, “Minerva,” he said as he spat out a tooth.

They all looked at the gryphon, who was still rubbing his neck. “Adrian…”

Mac took his stare away from the gate and stared down at Carry. “Mac.”

The four exchanged looks, breaking them when Minerva made his way over to the supply boxes. “Hey Mac, check this out.” The android walked over to him as Adrian and Carry looked on in mild curiosity. “Help me with this thing…” They both lifted the top of one of the many boxes, revealing metallic suits of armor.

“They expect us to fight, don’t they?” Carry sighed. “I’m just an old mare…”

Mac walked away from the armor boxes, watching as the others reluctantly made their way and began trying suits of armor. “So why are you here, Mac?” Minerva asked as he tried to stuff himself into a suit with spiked shoulderpads, clumsily bumping into some boxes as he did so.

“I…” Mac looked away. “I am looking for someone, and I was caught off-guard.”

“Uh-huh,” Minerva continued, fastening some straps on his armor. “What about you, Carry?”

The skinny mare, now clad in a suit of leather armor, threw away a helmet and looked at the changeling. “I don’t remember much, other than the fact that I woke up here after I passed out drunk and high in an alley.”

Minerva looked at her, confused.

“What?” she asked. “Old ladies can have fun, too.”

Mac and the other two looked at Adrian, who had just finished strapping on a shiny, metallic breastplate. “Yeah?” He stuffed his head into a steel helmet. “What is it?”

Mac looked on as Minerva chuckled. “How did you end up in here?”

“That’s none of your business,” he growled. “Fuck off.”

“Heh…” Minerva huffed. “Like it or not, Adrian, we’re stuck together now.”

“Whatever,” the gruff gryphon said, sitting atop one of the supply boxes. “And why the hell did you end up here?”

“Don’t recall much,” Minerva said. “I was at a club in Trottingham.” He finished strapping a shoulderpad. “Pretty sure they slipped a roofie in my drink... Us changelings don’t cope well with drugs.”

They all looked past the force field as a door slid open, followed by the steps of an old stallion in a fancy suit. The eyes of everyone in the cell tracked him as he made his way to the field, and stopped, looking straight into them.

“You again…” Carry muttered.

“I see the last member of your batch has waken up,” the stallion said. “Or rather, powered up.”

Mac stomped up to him, yet the stallion remained unfazed. “Who are you?” Mac asked. “Why are we here?”

“Like I told your, ahem, ‘friends’ a bit ago…” He looked past him and over to the others. “This is the Coliseum, or as some call it, the fighting pit.” His eyes met with Mac’s. “As to why you’re here, well, I can only say that all of you made the mistake of crossing the wrong people.

“I am Bit Counter,” the stallion declared. “And I’m here to give you a few pointers to uhm, help you survive what’s coming.” He lightly tapped on the shield with his hoof. “Make a show, provide the spectators entertainment. Trust me, they can help you far more than I can, believe it or not.”

“A-are we gonna get out of here?” Minerva asked as he stepped forth. “Why would we fight if we’re gonna die anyways?”

“Claw your way to the top, is all I can say.” Bit looked over his shoulder. “Some have made it out, some haven’t. Regardless, salvation is possible… So long as you make a good show.” He turned back towards the door and began to walk. “Staying here will only get you killed…” Bit chuckled. “The only option is to fight.”

The door closed behind him, and the occupants of the cell looked at each other worriedly. “I really, really don’t like this,” Minerva said nervously. Carry bumped him on the shoulder.

“Team forty-five,” an automated voice spoke up. “Move to the arena.”

The energy field shut down, and a pair of gates groaned as they opened up, revealing a literal light at the end of the tunnel. The cheering of a loud crowd could be heard. Mac clenched his fists.

“Hell no!” Adrian exclaimed. “I ain’t going out there!”

Dust fell from the ceiling and the ground quaked lightly. They all looked around as the walls began to close in.

“We don’t have a choice!” Carry yelled, walking over to the gryphon, biting a leather strap on his armor and pulling on it.

“Fine!” Adrian pushed her off. Then, they all looked up at Mac, who glanced over his shoulder.

“We fight,” he said. “Or we die.” Mac took a step towards the tunnel. “Come.”

The rest of them shared worried glances, then reluctantly followed the android. Their hearts began to beat faster as adrenaline surged through their bodies. Mac kept a steady pace, not knowing entirely what was waiting for him at the end, yet set on fulfilling his given task.

The cheering got louder, and finally, they stepped into the light. Carry and the others shielded their eyes. Mac looked up at the far, metallic dome that covered the Coliseum, below it rows and rows of spectators of all species cheering as he and his little group came into view. His metallic feet met the sand. He glanced at the arena itself; the rim was lined with dusty bones, and a few patches were brown with dry blood.

On the opposite end, another gate opened. The crowd cheered even louder as a second group came into view. Amongst two male ponies and a female minotaur stood a human, much taller than the rest of them, and just about as tall as Mac. He locked eyes with the android and brought his hands together, cracking his knuckles.

“Welcome, spectators,” a female voice boomed across the Coliseum, “to the first match of this season’s proving grounds!”

The crowd cheered loudly, watching as the two teams sized each other up.

“On one end, we have our first team, and a special one at that! Team forty-five, lead by a pretty unusual being: an android!” Mac looked around at the crowd. “And on the other side, we’ve got team sixty, lead by none other than Sergeant Andros, defector of the USC Colonial Guard, convicted for killing a dozen fellow soldiers in a murderous rampage!”

“I expect bloodshed today, and I hope you do too, spectators!”

The crowd began to count down. Andros clenched his fist and raised his middle finger at Mac’s group. The android looked over his shoulder at his team, giving a single nod of acknowledgement.

“Three!”

Mac stepped forth.

“Two!”

Minerva whispered to himself, shaking.

“One!”

Adrian clawed at the sand.

“Go!”

In an instant, Andros began to sprint across the arena, followed by the rest of his team.

:::> Initiating Combat Mode....

Mac’s servos whirred to life, his synthetic muscles tensed and his eyes began to glow even stronger. Gas shot off of his joints and his metallic jaw opened to reveal a set of sharp teeth.

Andros charged at him. Mac crossed his arms, effectively catching the man and pushing him off. The convict slid on the sand, then regained his stance. Mac sped towards him, throwing a punch directly towards his face. Andros dodged, then provided a hook that collided against the android’s chest, resulting in a loud metallic clang. Mac, unmoved by the attack, grabbed hold of the man’s arm, and effortlessly launched him back several meters.

“Fear me!” Mac exclaimed, making the crowd cheer loudly as he approached the human.

“Fuck you, tin man!” Andros yelled back, turning towards the crowd. He raised both of his arms and released a loud roar. The crowd cheered in response, and soon an object was thrown, passing through the energy field and landing in the sand before Andros. He leaned down and picked it up, brandishing the blade of the sword and swinging it in the air, then turned back towards the android.

Mac began to steadily walk towards the man, who charged at him once more. The blade was swung from side to side. Mac blocked it with his arm, then hit Andros in the stomach, forcing the man to arch down in pain. The machine grabbed him by his hair, and pulled him off the ground. In a fit of panic, the convict stabbed Mac in the side, leaving the sword lodged between the metallic plates.

“You cannot defeat me,” Mac stated, throwing Andros back. He then grabbed the sword and pulled it out. “I am stronger,” he redacted, grabbing the weapon by its handle. “I am faster.” He began to walk towards the man, who was already crawling back in fear. Mac kicked him in the jaw, letting out a loud crack. The man fell on the ground, Mac stood over him.

“I am…” he coldly stated as he raised the sword. Mac placed his foot on Andros’ chest, then brought the sword down on his neck.

“Better…”

The crowd cheered with intensity as the head rolled, leaving the sand stained with crimson. Mac discarded the stained sword, then looked back at the arena. Minerva lay on the ground breathing heavily, the corpse of one of the male ponies by his side. Nearby, Carry pushed off the other pony, leaving him on the sand with a dagger stuck in his chest, bleeding profusely.

Mac walked over to Adrian, who was on the ground, the hands of the muscly female minotaur around his neck. The android walked over.

“Die already, featherhead!” she exclaimed, tightening the grip on the gryphon’s neck.

“You’re alread-dy dead....” Adrian whispered.

Her eyes widened as two metallic hands grabbed the sides of her head, twisting it around and producing a deafening snap. Her body then fell limply on the sand. Mac straightened up, looking down at Adrian, who coughed and rubbed his neck as he stood up.

The crowd cheered as the last member of the other team ceased to live, leaving Minerva, Carry, Adrian and Mac standing near the center of the arena.

“And that, spectators,” the announcer bellowed, “was the first match of the proving grounds! I hope you enjoyed the carnage, because I sure as hell did!”