• Published 2nd Mar 2017
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Land of Equines - Daddy Joe

Who would've thought that being at the wrong place at the wrong time would bring something so surreal.

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C.A.M.A: Day One

C.A.M.A: Day One
December 7th, 2012

I sighed deeply, knowing that I was about to leave Ponyville for four months to learn the basics of being an agent. I packed my toothbrush, toothpaste, clothing, books to past boredom, notebooks, etcetera into my duffel bag and zipped it up. Twilight was already up, making sure to wake Spike for my departure. I grabbed my winter clothing, put them on and wrapped the duffel bag strap around my shoulder. I waited for a few minutes downstairs before Twilight and Spike came back down to say goodbye. I walked over to them.

“Guys, i’m gonna miss you both so much.” I said.

“We will miss you too, Caleb.” Twilight replied.

I then crouched down into a group hug embrace. Twilight whispered something into my ear.

“And for the love of Celestia, please promise me you’ll study hard on what you need to study.” Twilight said.

“Why so dramatic?” Spike asked Twilight.

“Let’s just say that i’m gonna need it, Spike,” I said, “And Twilight, I will study hard.” I replied.

“Thank you.” Twilight said.

“And Twilight, please look after the Defender while i’m gone. I’m gonna need it as well.” I said.

“You got it.” Twilight said.

“Yeah, it’s in good claws.” Spike said.

“Is that a pun?” I asked.

“No, i’m serious. I’ll help look after it too.” Spike replied.

“Oh, well thank you.” I said.

“No problemo.” Spike said.

“You got everything you need, Caleb?” Twilight asked.

“I’m pretty sure. I best be going now.” I said before hugging them again.

I opened the door and waved goodbye Twilight and Spike and they both emulated my action. With that, I closed the door and began to walk to the train station.

I walked for about five minutes and looked back at Twilight’s library for one more time and it looked closer than it should, almost as if it was urging me not to go, but I continued anyways. Not many ponies were outside since it was around six o'clock in the evening and that's usually supper time.

When I arrived to the train station, a few ponies were waiting for the train as well and waved at me. I sat on the bench and my entire body nearly took up most of the space that the bench could offer.

After waiting for about ten minutes, the train horn could be heard blowing in the distance. I rose off the bench when the train stopped and the door for the passenger car opened. I bent my body a little to fit into the doorway and walked down the aisle of seat. This time there were ponies on board and they all took liking to my presence. The conductor also caught eye of me and gave a hello.

I was pretty silent through the entire train ride and just stared out the window, taking in the scenery, just like everypony else. The only social interaction that occurred was when a waitress mare asked me if I wanted anything for the ride and I declined the offer.

About thirty something minutes later, the train arrived once again in Canterlot. I got up and walked out the car and headed for the city outskirts. I got lost for quite some time. I would end up in one spot and move into a more populated area. When I realized I was lost, I backtracked and went back to where I began and remembered that the decrypted agency building was to the northwest. I headed off into that direction and found my destination.

Night Hunter was nowhere to be seen outside, so I ruled out that he's just doing something and decided to give him some time. I stood there outside the building with arms crossed and I heard a door open behind me. Night Hunter then emerged up the stairs while wearing a black leather jacket and a brown cap with a small Equestrian flag stitched on the front.

"Ah, you're here." Night Hunter said.

"There you are. I've been waiting for you." I said.

"You could've walked inside." Night Hunter said.

I stared blankly into space and thought: "Oh, duh."

"Looks like they're right on schedule." Night Hunter said, directing my attention to the oncoming carriage.

Me and Night Hunter entered the carriage that will take us to the C.A.M.A training facility, somewhere near the Canterlot castle and the training facility for E.U.P guards.

"Good to see you again, kid." Night Hunter said.

"You too. I'm looking forward to this." I said.

"Believe me, Caleb, these four months are going to prepare you for what's to come." Night Hunter said.

"Example on how?" I asked.

"Example?" Night Hunter said. "Okay, one way of teaching our recruits is by using the phenomenon of dreaming." Night Hunter said.

"You mean by going into someone's dream while they're asleep?" I asked.

"That's correct. But what really happens is that C.A.M.A sends a modified dream into the brain and forces it. Think of it as putting a movie into a player." Night Hunter explained.

"How the heck do you do that? How can you access someone's mind without them noticing, let alone wake up?" I asked.

"C.A.M.A collaborated with Princess Luna and made a deal with her. That's what makes this even possible. Average unicorns cannot possess this power." Night Hunter said.

"So it's like a simulation?" I asked.

"Yes. This will occur for you once you've passed the test that deals with knowledge of documented creatures in Equestria." Night Hunter said.

"What's the date for the test?" I asked.

"In about seven days from now. So creatures will be our top priority before anything else because knowing your enemy and how to deal with them is key to survival." Night Hunter said.

"Gotta admit, that sounds pretty interesting." I agreed. "What other topics will I be learning about?" I asked.

"You're gonna love this," Night Hunter began, "Later on down the road, we'll be doing weapon training."

"Oh, no way!" I exclaimed with enthusiasm.

"Oh, yes way!" he replied.

"I have a feeling that's going to be my favorite subject during my time here." I admitted.

"I'm glad to hear that. It was mine when I was just a student." Night Hunter said.

Later on, the guards pulling the carts passed the gates to the castle and were heading farther west to the C.A.M.A facility. The more farther the guards went, the more E.U.P checkpoints we had to pass through before proceeding, so this means that the facility must be close. Speaking of facilities, the carriage passed by the E.U.P training facility that was surrounded by tall reinforced fencing. This facility is mostly used for training royal guards that protect and serve Equestria. But off in the distance I noticed a giant wall that was shaped into a box.

"What's with the giant wall?" I asked Night Hunter.

"That, my colt, is the C.A.M.A training facility." Night Hunter answered.

"We're really here already?" I asked.

"Indeed we are." Night Hunter said.

"But still, what's with the wall?" I asked.

"Since C.A.M.A is a secret agency, we wanted it to be hidden from the world. And so, C.A.M.A proposed that a wall to built around it while using an invisibility spell for the exposed top. Therefore, from a bird's eye view, the facility will not appear until the spell is deactivated." Night Hunter said.

"Nice." I said.

The entire perimeter of the wall was surrounded by royal guards, waiting for anything suspicious to happen. Both of the carriage pullers came to a halt and knocked on the large wooden door that allowed us to pass through. Night Hunter signalled me to get out of the carriage and both of us exited the carriage. We walked to the door and waited for it to open.

"So this is C.A.M.A?" I asked.

"The real facility is on the inside. This wall is used for secrecy purposes only." Night Hunter reminded.

"Right, right." I said.

Me and Night Hunter waited for a moment before the double doors opened, allowing us to proceed onwards. Once the doors were fully opened, we walked in and it was absolutely shaded in there because of the walls blocking the sunlight. Still, some sunlight crept in through the top. The facility itself was rather smaller than I expected. It was cubey, not very wide, and looked more like a small school.

"Are we at C.A.M.A or an elementary school?" I joked.

"Knew you were going to say that!" Night Hunter exclaimed. "I oughta teach the building designer what a real training facility looks like."

"I agree." I said.

Night Hunter walked up to the door and used his mouth to manipulate the keys into the lock.

"Oh, you have the keys to this place?" I asked.

"Yeah. I basically own the place y'know." Night Hunter said as he unlocked the door.

Night Hunter walked in first switched on the ceiling lights. These lights are the ones i'm probably going to see for four months.

"Wow. Actual LED light bulbs." I thought to myself.

"Okay, Caleb, now i'll show you where our quarters will be." Night Hunter said, walking further down the hallway.

Me and him continued further and took a left at the last door in the hallway. The north, east and west side of the room were lined up with a row of five beds while the south side had an open doorway.

"Are there other ponies here who sleep here?" I asked.

"Not at all, it's just us here. These beds were used when C.A.M.A first started out and we never got rid of them." Night Hunter said.

"Oh, okay." I said.

"So if you will, pick any bed you want and get situated. I'll be out here when you're ready." Night Hunter said.

"For my first lesson?" I asked.

"No. For orientation. First lesson and unit will be at tomorrow at eight o'clock sharp." Night Hunter replied. "Once you're ready, head out, take a left and an immediate right. You'll find the classroom door." Night Hunter said.

"Okay, i'll see you there." I responded, unzipping my bag.

As I laid out my clothing on the bed, I thought to myself: "Even in a world of multicolored ponies, I still go to school. What are the odds?" Speaking of beds, all of them were pretty small for the average pony's size. Guess i'll have sleep in the frickin fetal position just to fit on it.

After I got everything set up, I headed off to the classroom. The room was wide, but short in length and had rows of tables lined up with chairs to sit on. Well, what should say is that the chairs were meant for ponies to sit on, not seven foot tall humans. And so, I moved the chair out of the way and sat on the carpet. My sitting height was identical to sitting in an everyday chair. With that, Night Hunter began to speak.

"Great, you're here." he said.

"You bet. So, what are we doin?" I asked.

"Today is considered an orientation day, so i'll be going easy on you and showing you around." Night Hunter said.

"Going easy on me?" I asked.

"Oh yeah. Tomorrow i'll be a bit more stern." Night Hunter said.

I audibly gulped and stared at Night Hunter.

"Hmm, comedic gulp. I like it." Night Hunter noticed. "And before I forget, i'm required to do this recite greeting to C.A.M.A, so i'll get onto that," Night Hunter said, "Ahem. Welcome to Canterlot Anti-Monster Agency boot camp. Here you'll be taught what you need to know while venturing the Everfree Forest late at night and the basic tasks of being an agent. You will be spending four months here and you will be whole new pon-- human by the time you're finished." Night Hunter recited.

I paid attentively to Night Hunter and looked over at a small sign that read "Tartarus" with fire surrounding the text. I raised my hand in confusion.

"Hey, Night Hunter." I said.

"Yes, Caleb?" he responded.

"What's with the sign?" I asked, knowing that Tartarus was the greek mythological version of hell.

"Ah, that's quite a funny story," he said, levitating the sign of the wall, "You see, way back when C.A.M.A first started out, a student came up to me and asked me to take this sign," Night Hunter said as he showed me the sign once again, "It took me a few minutes to figure it out what that stallion meant ,but it made sense eventually."

"What was the meaning?" I asked.

"Apparently, it was his way of saying that boot camp was Tartarus. Makes sense because you've got the forced dreams.... and then you have me." Night Hunter said.

"Ha! That's a good one." I said with a laugh.

"Indeed it is." Night Hunter agreed while placing the sign back on the wall. "Now then, i'll give you a quick tour of the place." Night Hunter said.

"Alright, let's go." I said.

Night Hunter then walked back to the bunks room where I left my things.

"I know we've already been here, but that door over there is bathroom. Just so you know." Night Hunter informed.

"I got it." I said.

"Oh, and lights out are at eight o'clock," Night Hunter said, "You okay with that? You aren't some little foal who complains about bedtime, right?"

"Believe me, i'm far from that." I said.

"Alright, good." Night Hunter said.

"Why? Were there actually some ponies who were like that?" I asked.

"Yep." Night Hunter replied, flatly.

"Jesus H. Christ." I said, softly.

Night Hunter led me to another room further down the hallway the classroom is located. The room consisted of couches, a pool, and a ping-pong table and some snacks.

"If you ever get bored, come on down here to the rec room." Night Hunter said.

"Nice! I should play you at a game of pool sometime." I said.

"That's the recreation spirit I was looking for." Night Hunter replied. "But the rec room is not the place to get food, which leads us to the next room." Night Hunter clued.

"Let me guess. The kitchen?" I said.

"So close! The correct word would be cafeteria." Night Hunter said.

Both of us took a right at the corner from the way we came and headed down a flight of stairs. Quite an interesting place for a cafeteria.

"And here we are." Night Hunter said.

"So, is there somepony here who prepares our food?" I asked.

"About that. Since nopony worked down here for quite sometime, C.A.M.A resorted to MRE's." Night Hunter said.

"MRE's, huh? How long do they last?" I asked.

"From what I know, it's ten years. Our latest shipment came in eleven months ago, so they should still be good to eat." Night Hunter said.

"Good." I said.

"Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, or you're just hungry, come down here and get yourself an MRE. They're pretty easy to prepare by yourself." Night Hunter said.

"Sounds good. You weren't kidding when you said we were the only ones here." I remarked.

"The guards outside could make an exception, but yeah, we're the only ones here," he said, "Since it's seven-twenty five, would you like to have an MRE right now?" he offered

"No, thanks. I ate before I got here." I said.

"No problem." Night Hunter said.

"Anymore rooms you need to show me?" I asked.

"That's all the rooms there was to show." Night Hunter said.

"I suppose. This place is pretty small." I said.

"You're right about that." Night Hunter said. "Now I want you to head upstairs with me so that you can sign a little something." he said.

"Sure." I replied as I followed him up the stairs.

Night Hunter pulled a form out of a drawer and laid it flat on the table in front of me. He than levitated a pencil towards me and I grabbed it from the magical grasp, making my hand go a little numb. I read the title for the form and it involved having dreams subjected into my mind whilst asleep.

"What will I be dreaming about?" I asked.

"Once you've passed the test on knowledge of documented creatures in Equestria and how to deal with them, the dreams will involved them. These dreams are meant to be practice simulations, but you'll only get one chance per night." Night Hunter explained.

"What do you mean by one chance per night?" I asked.

"It's supposed to emulate the saying that life doesn't have restart. So, if you were to get caught by the creature, the one and only dream will end for the night." Night Hunter clarified.

"Gotcha.." I said, looking back at the form.

I continued to read the fine print once more and one more time before I signed my name at the bottom, agreeing to be subjected to these dreams.

"It's done." I said as I set the pencil down.

"Thank you." Night Hunter said.

He rolled the paper up and put red ribbon around it before setting it back on his desk.

"What now?" I asked.

"Congrats, Caleb. You've just passed the orientation." Night Hunter declared.

"Really?! What do I win?" I asked in a pseudo-ecstatic voice.

"A good night's sleep for tomorrow morning!" Night Hunter replied in the same tone.

"Yes!" I replied before heading back to bunks with Night Hunter.

"So, how was patrolling the Everfree at night?" I asked Night Hunter as we brushed our teeth.

"Mmmm," he hummed, spitting the toothpaste into the sink, "From experience, it really wasn't that hard. Once you learn the ropes, it'll be a breeze." Night Hunter said.

"Wasn't even scary once?" I asked.

"Well, I remember being a nervous wreck on my first night. But like I said, you get used to it." Night Hunter said.

After we finished brushing, shutting off all the lights in the building, we climbed into our beds. Mine felt like it was about to collapse from my weight, but it didn't.

"Night, Night Hunter." I said.

"Was that your idea of a pun?" Night Hunter asked from the other side of the room.

"D'oh, my bad." I said.

"Ehhhh, forget about it. Night to you too, Caleb." he replied.

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