• Published 20th May 2016
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The Storyteller: Fallout Equestria - Dawn Flower



Join the Storyteller as he explains the lore of the Equestrian Wasteland.

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The Tale of Watcher

“No. No. No.” Buck Shot repeated as he continually chucked tin cans out of the crate that he was searching through. Buck Shot was a unicorn stallion, with a grey coat and a short, brown mane. His cutie mark was of a shotgun, which was slightly hidden underneath his barding. Buck was a scavenger, who carved out a living picking through the various ruins that dotted the Equestrian Wasteland, looking for anything valuable left behind, that ponies would be willing to pay caps for.

While he was out scavenging, he came across an Ironshod Firearms factory and decided to give it a look through, figuring there was probably something valuable there. Although from the looks of it, somepony else already had that idea long ago. Now there was nothing left but junk.

“Dammit!” He shouted, pulling out another empty Sparkle Cola bottle. “There’s nothing left,” he said, throwing the bottle over his shoulder, it smashing into pieces when it hit the ground. Looking back into the crate again for one last search, he was just about to give up when something caught his eye; three something’s, actually. At the very bottom of the crate of tin cans and empty bottles, were three full bottles of Sparkle Cola.

“Jackpot!” He exclaimed, pumping his hoof in the air, while he levitated the three bottles out, plus a couple of loose bottle caps that were at the very bottom of the crate. As he turned around to place his findings into his saddlebags, however, his eyes widened when he saw a Ponetron behind him, which had somehow managed to sneak up on him. A Ponetron was a large sentry bot in the shape of a pony, standing at least twice as tall as the unicorn stallion, but with two wheels at the front and back, instead of hooves. They were typically used by companies like this during the war to guard their factories. He should have expected something like this to be here, but figured that there wouldn’t still be one around after this place had already been scavenged so completely. It must have been alerted by the noise he made throwing all the useless junk around.

When the Ponetron suddenly unleashed a rapid fire laser burst from the horn on its head, Buck had just enough time to jump to the side to dodge it. “Shit!” He shouted, landing behind a stack of small metal boxes. Quickly reaching for his weapon, he levitated out his combat shotgun and carefully peaked out from behind his cover. When he had a clear shot, he pulled the trigger and fired on the Ponetron, though it didn’t seem to do much damage.

Ducking back behind cover again as the Ponetron fired off another laser burst, he then heard the lasers cut off and the sound of the Ponetron rolling towards him.

“Fuck!” He shouted out, quickly jumping away to avoid another attack. Looking over at the door to the factory, he quickly picked himself up and made a beeline for it, figuring that the sentry bot wouldn’t pursue him away from its station.

As he was running, however, another laser burst from the Ponetron struck his back leg, causing him to lose his balance and fall forward on his face. After hitting the ground hard, he tried to pick himself back up again and continue running towards the door, but his leg hurt too much to get back up. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the Ponetron approaching him, its horn red with heat, getting ready for another attack.

Since he couldn’t do anything else, he simply raised his shotgun once again and started taking pot shots at it, hoping that it would be enough to destroy it. However, all his effort amounted to nothing, as the Ponetron didn’t look like it was taking any damage at all.

When he had fired his final round, he knew that he wouldn’t have enough time to reload before the Ponetron finished him off, so he simply shut his eyes and prepared for the inevitable.

SHOOM!

He heard the sound of laser fire. However, he never felt the attack hitting him. Did it miss?

Opening his eyes to see for himself, they immediately widened when he saw the Ponetron standing right in front of him, in shut down mode, evident by the fact that its normally red eyes had blinked off like a light switch.

“W-what?” Buck Shot stuttered out, not believing what he was seeing. Did the Ponetron just randomly shut down or run out of power? If so, then he must have been the luckiest pony in the wasteland.

“Hey there,” he heard a voice from behind the inactive sentry bot. The voice sounded a bit muffled, like it was coming through visor. When the owner of the mysterious voice stepped into view, he realised why this was so – it was a pony in a suit of power armor.

Buck Shot had seen enough Steel Rangers patrolling the wasteland to recognise their power armor when he saw it. It was a big, bulky, silver carapace armor, which completely encased the pony within, with a slight whirring sound from the moving servos inside of it. He also noticed that the power armor’s helmet had a horn slot, indicating that the pony inside was a unicorn. Buck Shot found this strange, since he had never seen a unicorn in power armor before, which was odd, as power armor was originally designed with earth ponies in mind. There was also a laser rifle floating beside the armored pony, wrapped in a silver magical aura.

“You okay there, stranger?” The power armored pony asked. “You’re lucky that I arrived when I did. Ponetrons are a top of the line Ironshod sentry bot, and they can be very difficult to take down. There’s likely a reason why the ponies who scavenged here first left it alone. Fortunately, it uses up so much power while running that it produces a lot of heat, so it has to have a compartment on its back, where the spark battery is located, so that it can open up and cool down so that it doesn’t overheat. If you know just the right spot to shoot at it, however, then it tips like a brahmin.” He explained. When he reached Buck Shot, he gave him his hoof to help him stand up.

“…Thanks,” Buck said, eventually taking his hoof and standing back up. The burning sensation in his back hoof was now starting to die down. “I’m Buck Shot by the way.” He said, introducing himself.

“Name and rank withheld as per Steel Ranger regulations when dealing with outsiders.” The power armored pony responded, confirming to Buck that this pony was indeed a Steel Ranger. “Though, some folks call me ‘The Storyteller’.”

“The Storyteller?” Buck inquired, with an arched eyebrow.

“That’s right. I’ve travelled this wasteland for a long time and I’ve seen a good bit of it. In that time, I’ve learned quite a bit about this world and the different aspects that make it up. It’s a part of my duties as a Steel Ranger, to learn and document the many stories of the wasteland; one can never know too much. It’s like the old saying goes: ‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it’, and our history is definitely not one anypony wants to repeat.

“I also share many of these stories with ponies that I come across in my travels. That, combined with my lack of a given name, eventually caused ponies to start referring to me as ‘The Storyteller’.”

Buck Shot suddenly cracked a smile. “Yeah, I’ve noticed that you like to talk a lot.”

There was a short silence between them before the Storyteller continued. “Well, the wasteland is a big place and it takes a while to get around it. Walking is the only method available for most ponies, which takes a long time, and talking while you walk can be like a marching cadence; it helps keep your breathing regular.” He defended. “The deafening silence as you travel can also negatively affect your psyche, always worrying that someone or something is going to jump out and kill you, so constantly talking while you travel can do wonders for your mental state out here.”

Buck Shot didn’t think that anypony was capable of talking so much. Before he could say anything else, however, a pink spritebot suddenly floated out from behind the Storyteller and let out a mechanical shriek. This made the non-power armoured unicorn stallion take a step backwards. “What the Hell is that thing?” He wondered, levelling his shotgun at it.

“She,” the Storyteller corrected, “is a ‘Personal Intelligence Neo-Sprite Kombat Eyebot’, or PINK-E. She’s my partner, helping me to document my travels in the wasteland.” He then turned to face the spritebot. “Isn’t that right, PINK-E?”

PINK-E simply gave another mechanical whine.

Buck Shot simply nodded in understanding, putting his shotgun away, but he still gave PINK-E a weird look. “Well alright, but it still creeps me out.”

The Storyteller hesitated for a second before speaking. “That’s understandable. Spritebots were first commissioned by the Ministry of Morale to spread comforting thoughts and soothing music to the populace during the war. These days, however, most ponies associate them with the Slave King’s speeches, and that infernal Polka music so irritable that it makes you want to rip your own ears off as soon as it starts playing. However, there is one other story connected to the spritebots that not a lot of ponies are familiar with: The Tale of Watcher.”

“Watcher?” Buck inquired.

“That’s right,” the Storyteller continued. “Some ponies talk about when they were travelling the wasteland and happened upon a spritebot that suddenly started talking to them. It was obvious from the responses that it wasn’t a pre-recorded message, and when asked, would introduce themselves as Watcher.

“No one knows exactly who he is, though there are few theories. Some say that he’s a ghoul from the back-when times, who was directly involved with the war that killed just about everything there is. He survived that Final Day and became a ghoul, but was so ashamed of what he helped bring about, that he locked himself in a bunker somewhere and only communicates with others through the spritebots, helping in any way he can to try and make up for his sins.

“There are other theories though; like that it’s actually a rogue A.I. flittering between the spritebots, learning everything it can about the wasteland. Then there are the outright crazy theories, that it’s the ghost of Pinkie Pie inhabiting the spritebots, bringing cheerful music and cryptic advice to anyone she meets – but that’s just silly.”

This caused PINK-E to start buzzing.

“No, not you PINK-E. I was talking about another Pinkie.” The Storyteller assured her. When she seemed to calm down, he turned back to face Buck Shot.

“Still, regardless of which one it is, one can’t deny the mark that this ‘Watcher’ has left on the wasteland. Those who claim to have spoken with him on several occasions are remembered as the closest thing the wasteland has to heroes – champions of justice and the old world’s vision of a world where everypony treats each other with love and tolerance. Saving the good and innocent, while punishing the wicked.”

That caused to Buck Shot to crack a sarcastic smile. “Heh, heroes? They’re just a bunch o’ idealistic morons who think the world works like an old pony tail.” He scoffed.

The Storyteller seemed to consider that for a moment before responding. “You may be right about that, at least on some levels. While heroes are courageous and just, their stories more often than not don’t have a happy ending, usually dying in order to save others. Eventually, every hero falls. Inevitably, every hero falls.

“Maybe this Watcher is someone who chooses to see the best in everyone and help bring it out so that we don’t fall to the barbarity of the wasteland; or maybe he’s someone broken by the wasteland himself, who enjoys watching a hero fail in order to prove his own world view right.

“The first known contact with this individual was roughly fifty years after the Great War ended. A pony fresh out of one of the recently opened Stables was travelling the wasteland and happened upon a spritebot playing the aforementioned polka music. However, the music then suddenly stopped, and the spritebot approached them and started speaking.

“If the first theory, or one like it is correct, then Watcher must be remotely hacking the spritebots from far away. It would take some serious technology and brainpower to pull that off, further reinforcing the theory that he’s someone from during the war, perhaps even someone deeply connected with the Ministries.

“He talked about the dangers of the Equestrian Wasteland, having witnessed plenty of it himself, and the three things that everybody needs in order to survive it: a weapon, some armored barding, and most importantly, you need to make some friends.”

“Heh, friends?” Buck laughed, indignantly.

“Of course.” The Storyteller continued without missing a beat. “Friendship can be a powerful thing, or have you not heard the legends of the Elements of Harmony? Stories of friends and bonds between them keeping the forces of evil at bay. Sounds childish, I know. The thing is, it’s true; all of it.”

Buck Shot simply stared back at him, with a blank expression on his face.

“There is one other thing that Watcher says you need in order to survive in the wasteland,” the Storyteller continued, “and in my opinion, it’s probably the most important: you need to find your virtue.”

“Virtue?” Buck questioned.

“That’s right. Your virtue is that one thing about yourself that you never compromise; that as long as you have that, you can afford to look yourself in the mirror every day. Every pony, even the bad ones, has a virtue. It’s what separates them from the completely irredeemable raiders.

“Loyalty, kindness, honesty, generosity, laughter, and magic.” He listed off. “The Elements of Harmony of olde are just six examples of what a virtue can be, though they’re not the only ones. Sacrifice, perseverance, innocence, compassion, and hope are more examples of virtues. Almost anything can be a virtue, but knowing it isn’t as easy as you might think. Every pony has a virtue, even if they don’t know what it is yet, and learning what it is, is perhaps one of the most important lessons of a person’s life. Though even the noblest of virtues can become corrupted and twisted without the friendship that goes with it, and it can destroy a pony just as quickly as a bullet or laser fire.

“Reports of Watcher seeking out ponies has increased over the decades, and throughout Watcher’s many meetings with wastelanders, helping them to survive and finding their virtue is the most common theme between them, so that they can in turn help others to find their virtues as well, so that they can help improve the wasteland and make it a better place for everyone, like Equestria used to be.

“Maybe he has his own secret agenda for why he does this, seeing as how in every case, he has never actually revealed himself – maybe he’s trying to find someone specific – but regardless, some of the greatest ponies in the wasteland have been forged simply because a voice on a little spritebot first set them on the right path, so I think that it’s safe to say that he’s a good guy.”

The Storyteller stopped to take a pause for a moment before he continued speaking. “Some people think that those who Watcher speaks with are cursed, doomed to die and be forgotten, all for the sake of a mysterious entity who never even shows his face; but me? I think that he’s just someone trying to make sure that the ponies out here never lose hope.” The Storyteller then suddenly looked down at the ground, the volume of his voice dropping slightly. “Hope is a dangerous thing to lose in this world.”

Buck Shot looked rather quiet and introspective after hearing that. “Y-yeah.” He uttered, taking it all in. There was then a long, drawn out silence between the three of them before Buck Shot spoke up again. “So, errr… You want to do some trading?” He asked, awkwardly.

Looking back up at Buck, there was another short moment of silence before the Storyteller responded. “That depends, what do you have to trade?”

“Well,” Buck started, levitating three bottles out of his saddle bags. “I’ve got these bottles of Sparkle Cola that I found.”

“…Sparkle Cola, you say?” The Storyteller inquired, his interest peaked.

“Yeah,” Buck said, a smile slowly forming on his face, perking back up. “You like it?”

“Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find anypony in the wasteland… no, in Equestria that doesn’t love the cool, refreshing taste of Sparkle Cola. The rich, carroty taste mixing with the sweet sugar and just a pinch of radiation, delivering an explosion of flavour in every sip. It may be just a soft drink, but it’s still probably one of the biggest contributions to Equestria today.

“But that is a story for another day…”

Author's Note: