• Published 11th Feb 2017
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My Little Explorer - Soren Mercer



Having arrived to the new world, Luna finds that not all is perfect about their new homeworld. Something, someone, is missing and it's up to her and a handful of others to go find them.

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Let's Meet: Hacksaw

Author's Note:

This chapter written by Alchemical Rainbow.

The dragon pony chuckled at the startled look on the interviewer's face. “What’s the matter? Never seen a cyborg dragon pony hybrid before?”

“I- Uh- Ahem. Yes. No. Err… Right,” stammered the pony whose job description certainly hadn’t mentioned dealing with any of this, “Anyway, before we can consider letting you on the crew, we need to know your past. And your resume isn’t exactly very forthcoming with that. Or, well…”

“The cybernetics.”

“Yes.”

“Well, alrighty then. Life story it is. Settle back. I’ve got a tale to tell.”

[/hr]

I was born in a smallish village in the Frozen North. It was a village entirely consisting of us dragon ponies. There were only five such villages on the planet. This one was composed pretty much entirely of scientists and thaumaturges.

Understandably, what with literally the entire town conducting groundbreaking magical research of one kind or another, my parents brought me to work with them. I spent most of my youngest years playing with discarded experiments. And then one day, when I was about, oh, seven or so, I accidently found an experiment that wasn’t quite as deactivated as it should’ve been. A few minutes later, I found myself missing a limb. My left foreleg, to be precise. Soon after that, I was in the village’s hospital, arguably the most advanced hospital on the continent. It didn’t take long, but it was long enough to be unable to save the limb.

Luckily, one of the magical prototypes being developed that week was a prosthetic. It didn’t look like much, just a bit of metal in the shape of a foreleg, but the magic running it was pretty impressive. It attached itself to my stump and bonded to my nervous system. It felt exactly like my original leg.

After that, I was fascinated by augmentations like the hunk of metal standing in for my leg. I learned from the scientists who made the leg, and started experiments of my own. I modified my prosthesis to the point where it’s makers didn’t even recognize it, then started to make new ones when I ran out of room to mod. But it wasn’t until somedrake new showed up at the gates when I was about eleven that I really picked up steam.

It was snowing. That’s the main thing I remember about that day. The snow. I had come up with a new design for claws for traveling in snow, and was outside the walls testing them out. Some freak blizzard came out of nowhere, and I got lost. Like, seriously lost. When I couldn’t see my claws in front of my snout anymore, I did what I probably should’ve done earlier and dug a cave.

I chilled in there, trying to stay warm until the storm passed. It did, of course, and I popped right on out of there. First thing I did was climb the nearest hill, to try and get a glimpse of the town I’d somehow managed to wander far away from. As I crested the hill, I caught a lot more than a glimpse. I caught a roar to the face from a huge blizzard bear. My snow claws saved my life there. I ran. Turned tail and booked it.

I was understandably panicking, but I saw a cart or something in the distance and I made for that. The frost breath from the bear was tingling the backs of my legs as the cart got closer and closer. When I got within hearing range, I just up and started yelling my head off. And, lo and behold, a dragon pony head pops out of the cart and looks towards me. And promptly ducks back inside. I was getting ready to curse the coward to Tartarus with my final breath when he leaps back out of the wagon, yelling at me to hit the dirt. I did. As the blizzard bear reared above me, ready to freeze me solid and shatter me, a flash of light soared from this humongous rune-encrusted staff the drake from the cart was holding. It impacted the bear, who just kinda stopped, with this really confused look on it’s face. Then it exploded. Literally. Bits of it went everywhere.

When I woke up, I was in the back of the wagon as it trundled into town. My everything hurt. The entire population of the village was crowded around, asking what in the name of the Dragon Lord was going on. The drake pointed out that I was badly injured, and, “Shouldn’t somedrake take care of that before embarking on the Dragon Inquisition?” A bit sheepishly, everydrake backed off, and the healers hustled me off to the hospital. I blacked out again, but I did see the dragon pony who saved me get swarmed by everydrake else, asking, “What happened out there?” Except my parents, who were worriedly following the doctors.

That’s when I lost my back right leg. It took the brunt of the frost, and was almost frozen off by the time they got to it. Luckily, I had made more limbs for just this sort of emergency. My parents told the docs, and I woke up a little bit more metal than before. And cold too. Took weeks before I ever felt warm again. Blizzard bear breath really does a number on ya. The old drake that saved me, Aegis was his name, visited me in the hospital. He was really impressed with the thauminetic limbs. Although, the first thing he asked about them was how I’d weaponized them. That, plus how he saved me, was enough for me to peg him as coming from the warrior village.

He got a job as a general drake-of-all-trades, just doing odd jobs around town, keeping things fixed up. In his free time, he taught me how to fight, and about weaponry. Obviously, I started experimenting, trying to improve on the designs he showed me. I started small, but after the first house I blew up, I had to perform all weapons tests outside the village. Soon enough, I incorporated what I learned into my limbs, and began making them stronger, faster, tougher. In time, I joined Aegis in his job and learned combat skills as we repaired.

Now, by this time, I was nearly sixteen, the age we dragon ponies reach maturity. For fun, I’d made myself some armor and a shotgun and started going out on my own and hunting down dangerous creatures. Blizzard bears and the like. I was out there once, fleeing for my life from a creature I had no hope of taking down, when a thought occurred to me. Why was I limiting myself? I had limbs that worked so much better than my originals. Why keep the same ones? Once I made it back to town safely, I disappeared into my lab. When I came out again a few days later, I had a plan. (It wasn’t particularly uncommon for somedrake to vanish like that when they had an idea.)

Naturally, I was fond of my limbs. They were a part of me after all! So, I’d decided not to replace my legs. They worked well enough as it was. However, I’d never been a very good flyer, even though I was a pegasus variant of dragon pony. Accordingly, when I came out it, it was with two enchanted metal wings I wanted attached. It took a while to convince my parents. Aegis, however, was fully for the idea. His enthusiasm and mine eventually won them over. On my sixteenth birthday, the day I officially became an adult, my wings were removed and replaced with wings of my own design. Suddenly, I had complete and utter control of my flight. Nothing in the icy wastes could stand against me. This… irked me. I lacked a challenge.

Even worse, in my opinion anyway, Aegis was finished teaching me. In his words, “Ah, young’un, you’re a warrior now. Nothing of my caliber of course, but a warrior nonetheless! Ha! Nothing more I can teach you.” So, I’d perfected my thauminetics, or so I thought, and mastered all the combat skills my teacher could impart. What was left for me to do? With nothing else to do, I started spending my days doing more than just my job. When I wasn’t training to keep my skills sharp, I began improving the mechanics around town. I took the knowledge of fixing things I’d gained, and turned it into tinkering skills. I made a tool that replaced my entire toolbox, and started in. Ha! Oh, now that was over ambitious. I quickly learned that knowing how to fix stuff didn’t mean you knew how to make it better. However, my tool, the omni-wrench, got noticed. Soon enough, everydrake wanted one.

Over the next two years, I fixed things, trained, protected the village from the nasties out in the cold, and made omni-wrenches to order. It was boring. Then, one day, a messenger from the Crystal Empire arrived. She brought news of the impending end of the world. Unbeknownst to her, we had known of our world’s instability for a while, but were unable to prevent it, leading to many failed experiments involving leaving before the inevitable end. The messenger told us of an alien that had landed in Equestria not so long ago, and was going to help us all escape the end of the world. She even showed us examples of the “technology” he’d brought with him.

That poor pony. She was basically submitted to the Dragon Inquisition over that. Once we learned she didn’t actually know much, really just how to turn it on, we let her go. Not that we’d imprisoned her or anything! Just crowded around, really. The next few weeks were a frenzy of tech dissecting and research. Everything was looked into, every idea explored. Soon enough, we’d figured out how to make our own versions of the alien’s technology and begun experimenting. Obviously, the first things I made were new limbs. It took a lot of prototyping, but eventually I found a way to blend the new technology with my magic prosthetics.

Unfortunately, I had a few accidents along the way. Mostly harmless things. All except the very last one, just as I was putting the finishing touches on my final upgrade, my shotgun, I stopped paying attention for a moment and a laser shot right into my eye. Completely ruined it. I was actually lucky it wasn’t worse. I made my way to the hospital and they removed the remains, cleaned the wound, and generally patched me up. And then, for the third time in my life, told me there was nothing more they could do. Although, they did ask me if I was planning on replacing it myself. I just grinned at them. I’d been thinking about that the whole time.

And so, I went home and made myself an eye. It honestly wasn’t too hard. I just adapted some sensor systems with the thaumi-cybernetics I’d developed for the other limbs. Now, installing it was… tricky. I won’t go into it.

Not too long after that, a messenger came. A different one this time. I think we traumatized the last one. And with them, came transport ships. It was time to go. We broke down and packed up everything super important and left the rest. They took us up to a base on the Moon. Soon, we were packed into those freeze cans, what were they? Cryo-something pods.

[/hr]

“And you know the story from there. After all, you’re here, so you were on the ships. That, and what I did here is on the resume. Travelling omni-wrench merchant and repair-drake. Boring stuff. The new planet is awesome and all, but I need some adventure. Space rescue mission sounds fun. So, I’m here,” Hacksaw finished.

“Well. Long winded as that was, it checks the required boxes,” responded the interviewer, as he actually checked the required boxes. “Report in to the docking slip here at the listed time. The captain will want to meet her crew.”

Hacksaw grinned and nodded, taking the proffered notice. “I’ll be there!”