• Published 24th Jun 2012
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Prototype 2: Equestria Zero - 2ndGearSage



After encountering Alex Mercer and a new kind of Evolved, James Heller is sent to a strange new world-a world that is ill prepared to deal with a being such as him.

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Chapter 3

Chapter 3

‘What the fuck.’

Those were the words James Heller repeated in his head as he slowly surveyed his new surroundings. He was definitely in a forest; he could hear birds chirping and could actually see several fly by overhead.

He tried to stand, but was immediately hit by an intense pain in his chest that knocked him back down again. Eventually, he settled for crawling near a tree and sitting against it while he waited for his body to heal. As he did so, he tried to recall what had happened to him.

‘Okay Heller, think. What is the last thing you remember?’

He searched his brain hard for that lost memory. He remembered lying on the floor in immense pain. He remembered a feeling of helplessness as he felt something slowly smothering him. He remembered the smiling face of…

His eyes widened in realization.

Alex Mercer!

It all came back to him now: Facing Mercer, fighting that kid Evolved, being injected with that black hole, being forced to listen to Mercers cocky voice as he was slowly consumed, and worst of all, the feeling that he would never see his daughter again.

As Heller finished processing his thoughts one thing kept bugging him. ‘How the hell did I end up here?’

Deciding to think about that later, he tried to stand up once again. He did much better this time, the pain having lessened greatly. As he stood to his full height, his military training began to kick in. First rule of finding yourself in unknown territory: get a feel for your surroundings.

Bending down, he used the full strength of his powerful leg muscles to propel himself into the air, beyond even the tallest of trees in the forest. Once he had reached the highest altitude he could attain he quickly looked around to see if he could spot anything familiar in the area.

What he found shocked him, and that shock stayed with him as he began to quickly descend back to the ground. As he hit the ground, the typical crater that he had become accustomed to formed beneath his feet. He ignored that however, in order to think about the things he had seen in his jump, or rather what he hadn’t seen.

He didn’t recognize anything. Not a single land or mountain formation was familiar to him. He could already guess that he wasn’t in New York anymore, but he had hoped that by seeing the area from the air that he would be able to spot something familiar and make some kind of guess. Now he couldn’t even do that.

Putting a hand to his forehead, he could feel a headache coming on. ‘Calm down Heller, don’t lose your cool, just think.’ While he didn’t see anything familiar he did spot two thing’s that were promising: One was what looked to be a huge castle that seemed to rest on a mountain. The other was looked like a small town if the houses he saw were any indication.

Sighing, he tried to look on the bright side: at least he had something to go by. ‘Man, Dana would really be useful right no- Dana!’ As he thought of the techno- wizard who had been helping him, he mentally slapped himself. Why didn’t he just call Dana and see if she could track his phone using GPS? That way she could tell him where he was and navigate him back to New York.

However, that hope was dashed when he pulled out his phone and saw that he had no bars. ‘Great’ he thought as he put his phone back in his pocket. ‘There goes that plan.’ That left two options then: he could either go to the castle or go to the town and see if he could get some help.

The choice took about 5 second. ‘No way I’m climbing a goddamn mountain.’ With his choice made he started to walk in the direction of the town.

____________________________________________________________________________________


‘Trees, trees, and, what a surprise, more fucking trees.’ James Heller thought, nearly bored out of his mind. Now he knew why he never went camping: there was nothing to do but walk and stare at trees. Even the fact that the trees were more colorful didn’t change anything; they were still fucking trees.

He sighed for what must have been the 15th time since he began his trek. He had been walking for an hour and still didn’t feel any closer to the town. It was times like this that he missed New York. Yeah, it was living hell-hole where literally everything was trying to kill him, but at least it had skyscrapers that he could use for faster travel. He had tried to use the trees the same way he used the buildings, but the first tree he tried it on broke in half from the force and so he was forced subjected himself to this slow torture.

Fucking perfect.

‘Maybe I should have tried the castle. At least climbing the mountain would have given me something to do.’

Before he could continue his bitter thoughts he saw something ahead that lifted his spirits: an opening that led out of the forest. ‘Finally’, he thought, as he ran towards the exit ‘I’ve looked at enough trees to last me a lifetime.’

As he emerged from the forest, grateful to see something besides trees, he quickly inspected the area.
There was definitely a town. He could see several of the houses in the distance. ‘Looks kind of… medieval.’ He couldn’t help but point out. Even from this distance he could see that the houses were all made of hay and wood.

Before he could dwell on that any further, he noticed something to his side: a small cottage that was surrounded by bird houses. ‘Must be an animal lover’ he noted. ‘Whatever, as long as they have a working phone they can love whatever they want.’ With that thought he began to walk towards the cottage.

Inside the cottage, a certain shy Pegasus was having her own bad day. It had begun so well. She woke up, washed, ate breakfast, and began her daily routine of taking care of the animals. They had all behaved well enough. Only one animal was giving her problems…

“Angel, you need to eat your food.” She said kindly, hoping to convince him to eat without putting up a fuss.

No such luck. The rabbit threw the carrot at her face, stuck his nose up, and folded his arms.

“Now Angel, please don’t be difficult.” The rabbit continued to ignore her.

Sighing, she gave up and asked “Fine, what would you like to eat?”

The rabbit responded by picking up a book, flipping through the pages, and shoving the selected page in her face. On the page was a picture of a complicated carrot dish that looked like it contained all kinds of ingredients- and a whole lot of money to buy those ingredients.

“Angel, I’m afraid I don’t have enough money to pay for that. Why don’t you eat the carrot and I’ll make that for you another time?” She said this as sweetly as she could. The rabbit responded by throwing the book at her face, sticking his nose up, and folding his arms.

“Angel, please.” He ignored her. “Angel, I’m not going to ask again.” Nothing.

The kind look on Fluttershy’s disappeared and was replaced by a stern one. “Angel, you are going to eat this carrot and you are going to like it.” She said in as assertive a voice as she could muster. While she wasn’t as over the top assertive as she was after Iron Will’s training, she still wouldn’t stand for being pushed around.

Angel however, wouldn’t budge and glared at her right back. They continued this glaring contest for a few moments before a knock at the door interrupted them. “Hello? Is anyone in there?” An unmistakingly male voice asked from the other side.

Fluttershy looked away from Angel and answered “I’ll be there in a minute!” Before turning back towards him. “We’ll finish this conversation later.” Angel simply responded to her glare with a glare of his own, as if saying “Anytime, anywhere.”

Fluttershy trotted over to the door and opened it for her guest. “Hello, how can I help yo-“ She stopped midsentence as she stared up at what was waiting for her on the other side of the door. When she opened the door, she had been expecting a stallion to be on the other side, not a 6ft tall monster. Heller, likewise, was expecting a women (and a cute one judging from her voice) to open the door. Not a small, yellow, winged horse. At that moment, Heller could only think of one thing to describe this situation.

‘What the fuck.’

Fluttershy meanwhile, did the only thing that came naturally to her.

She screamed and with speed that would have made Rainbow Dash proud, zipped past Heller and flew straight towards Ponyville

Heller stood there shocked for a few moments as he watched her fly away before turning around to look inside the house. Inside was a small rabbit looking at him with the same shocked look that Fluttershy just held.

“Uh… hi.”

The rabbit promptly fainted.

_______________________________________________________________________________________


Leaving the cottage and the unconscious rabbit behind, Heller tried desperately to process whatever the hell he just saw as he walked towards the town.

‘Okay, let’s review this. You knocked on the door, and instead of a woman answering it, it was a small yellow horse. Wouldn’t that make it a Pegasus?’ He pondered this before shaking his head ‘No, no. Mutated zombies, fine. Mutated dog zombies, fine. Mutated 30ft tall zombies with an arm the size of a building, fine. But talking Pegasus is where I draw the fucking line.”

Deciding to go with the more plausible answer that he was simply insane, Heller continued on his journey hoping that his brief insanity spell vanished by the time he reached the town.

However, when he reached the small bridge that led to the town, he found it blocked by two carriages that were filled with garbage. He couldn’t see who was pulling the carriages, but he could hear two female voices on the other side.

“So Bon-Bon, what happened next?”

“Well Lyra, after I winked at him, he came up to me and-“

They were interrupted by a loud coughing behind them and a male voice. “Excuse me, I need to get past.”

“Yeah, yeah in a minute. So anyway, he came up, sat next to me and-“

They were interrupted again by an even louder cough and the same male voice. “I really need to get past, so if you could just move up a bit-“

“In a minute, geeze! So anyway, he sat down next to me, looked me in the eyes and said-“

“Will you please move your asses out the way?!” The frustrated voice yelled.

Bon-Bon and Lyra, both red with anger, turned their heads to see who had so rudely interrupted them.

“Hey buddy! Who the hay do you think you’re talking to-“ Bon-Bon’s angry rant cut off as soon as she saw exactly who was behind her.

Both parties simply stared at each other for a few moments before Heller broke the silence. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“MONSTER!!!” Both ponies yelled as they high tailed it towards Ponyville.

As Heller watched them leave, he put his head in his hands and groaned.

“I miss the trees.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________


As Twilight trotted along the path that led to Fluttershy’s cottage, she saw a sight that she had become accustomed to since living here: ponies politely saying hi to her as they crossed her path, store managers greeting old customers and constantly trying to bring in new ones, and young foals happily playing games in the middle of the road.

Twilight sighed contently as she thought of how peaceful and happy the little town was. Ponyville might not have been the most exciting place at times, but it was definitely the most tranquil.

‘And here I am wishing for something to disturb this tranquility.’ She thought, berating herself for her earlier comments. ‘Today is such a beautiful, peaceful day that should be appreciated and-‘

Her thoughts of peace were interrupted by a high pitched voice screaming “MONSTER!!” Twilight barely had time to react before something crashed into her at high speeds, the impact sending both her and whatever hit her tumbling along the ground.

When they finally stopped and when Twilight had finally made everything stop spinning, she looked up only to stare into the wide-eyed, scared face of Fluttershy. “Twilight, help! Angel! Carrot! Book! Door! MONSTER!!” Fluttershy was speaking at such a rapid pace that Twilight could barely understand her. Used to dealing with this kind of incoherent rambling from Pinkie, Twilight did something that always worked whenever she needed her to shut up: she shoved her hoof into Fluttershy’s mouth.

“Fluttershy, BREATHE!” she told the hysterical pony. Fluttershy continued to panic at first, but after a few moments, followed Twilights advice and took several deep breaths (which was difficult considering the unicorn was covering her mouth)

Seeing that Fluttershy was beginning to calm down, Twilight continued “Now I’m going to let go of your mouth and when I do, I want you to tell me, calmly, what you need to say.” After Fluttershy slowly nodded her head Twilight removed her hoof.

Immediately after doing so, Fluttershy began crying and grabbed Twilight in a fierce hug. “Oh Twilight, it was h-horrible. I was trying to f-feed Angel h-his breakfast when I heard a knock on the d-door and when I went to answer it, there was…there was….”

“A monster.” She finished for her.

Fluttershy simply squeaked in response and continued to sob.

Twilight sighed in response at hearing Fluttershy’s story. It wasn’t the first time she had come crying to one of them, screaming about some kind of monster. When that happened, one of them would usually go back with her towards her cottage and after searching around for a bit, would find that the “monster” was never there and was just a figment of her imagination.

“Alright Fluttershy” Twilight said as she broke free from the hug and grabbed her by the hoof “Let’s go back and take care of this monster.”

“NO!” Fluttershy yelled surprisingly loud as she wrestled her hoof free from Twilight’s grip and began to backpedal away from her.

“Fluttershy, you’re being difficult right now.”

“I don’t care! I’m not going back to that monster!”

“Fluttershy, there is no monster.”

“Yes there is, I saw it!”

“What you saw was a figment of your imagination. I’m telling you Fluttershy, there is no-“

“MONSTER!!” Two voices screamed out in fear, interrupting her. Looking behind her she saw Lyra and Bon-Bon running towards the town, trash falling out of their carriages as they ran. “Run! The monsters going to eat us!”

At that point the crowd, which was already stressed out due to Fluttershy’s earlier declaration, reached full blown panic mode as ponies began to freak out. Earth ponies high tailed it out of there, Pegasus ponies flew around the skies in a frenzy, and any Unicorn that could, teleported out of the area. Parents grabbed their foals and store owners closed down their shops.

“Everypony please calm down! There is no monster!” Twilight desperately called out to the crowd, hoping to calm them down, but it was useless; they were simply too worked up. This was another thing she had become accustomed to while living in Ponyville: its mob mentality. The ponies here were very sweet, but all it took was a little spark to send them into a frenzy.

As Twilight sighed in resignation, she couldn’t help but turn and give an annoyed glare at Fluttershy. “Nice going Fluttershy, look what your monster talk has-“ She stopped when she realized Fluttershy wasn’t even paying attention. She was looking ahead at something- something that caused her jaw to hang wide open and her body to shake in sheer terror.

Following her gaze, she tried to pinpoint what was scaring her so badly- and she immediately copied her friend’s expression when she saw what it was.

Standing there, in the middle of town, in all of its terrifying glory, was the monster.

And it did not look happy.

_________________________________________________________________________________________


James Heller was not happy.

Of course this was no surprise to anyone who knew him. Those who did, knew his emotions fell between two categories: brooding and pissed the hell off. But right now he felt neither of those emotions. Right now he felt annoyed and quite frankly, a little worried for his mental health.

After the two ponies had run off, he had spent several minutes with his head in his hands, desperately trying to convince himself that he was NOT crazy, that he did NOT just see two more talking horses, and that when he got back to New York, he was definitely going to check himself into a psychiatric hospital.

After his brief mental breakdown he took a deep breath and continued his walk into the town, not knowing what he’d find.

Needless to say, this was not what he was expecting.

His eye twitching, he surveyed the chaos around him. There were more talking horses around. Only this time instead of yellow, they came in all sorts of different colors. Pink, blue, green, orange, every single color of the rainbow was here.

But it wasn’t bad enough that they came in different colors, oh no. Now they came with horns. Standing in front of him, what could only be described as a purple unicorn was gaping at him along with the yellow pegasus that he had seen before.

For the fourth time that day, he repeated the three words that could best describe this situation.

‘What. The. Fuck.’

It was around that time that the other horses actually began to notice him, and if possible screamed louder and ran faster. One pink horse with a blond mane actually screamed “The horror, the horror!” when she laid eyes upon him.

As his mind tried to process the madness that was happening around him, James Heller did the only thing he could do in a situation like this.

He turned around and walked back the way he came.

He would rather walk through those woods, and look at trees for all eternity than deal with this. He would rather fight Alex Mercer, ten Goliaths, and about a hundred Brawlers at the same time, rather than deal with the insanity behind him.

He would take his chances with the mountain. But while climbing it, he would pray to whatever God was out there, that he did not find more talking horses at the top. Cause if he did…well, let’s hope those horses knew how to run fast because he was gonna need something living to take his anger out on.

Before he could finish his homicidal thoughts, he felt something hit him in the chest with tremendous force. Well, he assumed it was tremendous force since the impact had only knocked him back a few inches.

Looking up, the sight of what had attacked him left his eye twitching again.

It wasn’t the fact that it was another pegasus. It wasn’t the fact that it was a cyan blue pegasus. No, the thing that made him want to stop and just go to the nearest bar was its rainbow mane.

‘A talking, flying horse, with rainbow hair. Please God, just kill me.’

While Heller was contemplating his suicidal thoughts, the cyan, rainbow haired pegasus in question was frantically shaking her hooves to dull the pain.

‘Dang that hurt! What’s that thing made out of?’ Rainbow Dash thought as she glared at the strange creature.

She could honestly say that she was not expecting this when she came into town. She was simply flying by, trying to get some practice in when she spotted everypony running away in fear… and a strange monster standing in the middle of the town.

Thinking quickly, she rushed forward, hoping to take down the monster before it hurt anypony, and now her hooves were paying the price.

‘That things tough, that’s for sure.’ She thought, as the pain in her hooves slowly began to lessen. ‘But it still won’t beat me. It might be tough, but I doubt it can keep up with the fastest flier in Equestria.’

As she finished that thought, she noticed that the creature had also finished whatever it was thinking and was walking towards her. Gritting her teeth, Dash prepared herself for the fight of a lifetime…only to blink in confusion when it walked right past her, almost as if it hadn’t noticed her.

Staring at its retreating back, Dash called out “Hey, where are you going?!”

Either it didn’t hear her or it was ignoring her because the creature didn’t even spare her a second glance as it kept walking.

Bristling with rage, she quickly flew right in front of it, blocking its path.

“Hey, I didn’t say you could leave yet! If you think you can just walk into my town, scare my friends, and just walk back out, you’ve got another thing com-“

Faster than she could react, the creatures hand shot out and grabbed her by the throat. Almost instantly, she could feel her lungs begin to burn from the lack of oxygen, and she uselessly tried to pry the creature’s fingers from around her neck. Looking at its face, she cowered when she saw the look in its eyes. Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Queen Chrysalis combined didn’t scare her as much as the glare the creature was giving her.

It was like she was looking into the face of death itself.

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up.” Heller angrily whispered to her, his patience wearing thin.

Upon noticing that the pegasus was too frightened to even move, Heller unceremoniously dropped her on the ground and walked off without looking back.

Seeing her normally confident friend being defeated so easily snapped Twilight Sparkle out of her stupor and she ran up to the pegasus. “Dash, are you alright?!” Rainbow, still trying to get some air in her lungs, simply coughed in response.

Twilight rubbed her back, and as she watched the strange creature walk off into the distance, a million questions began to form in her head, none of them she had answers for.

As Rainbow Dash slowly began to recover, she asked the question that was on everyponies mind:

“What the heck was that thing?”