• Published 28th Jan 2018
  • 5,663 Views, 362 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - War Does Change - tom117z



It has been nearly two hundred years since the megaspells rained fire down on the world, reducing it to a tainted wasteland. And ever since that day, the changelings have never been sighted in the wasteland...

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3 - Raiders

Chapter Three: Raiders

“Nothing personal, just you and me.”


The town of New Appleoosa was now barely larger than a small clump of buildings behind me, the dirt beneath my hooves having being replaced by the cracked and aged concrete of the old highway. I had to give the wagon a good tug to get it up onto the concrete, two hundred years of neglect and the occasional grenade hadn’t made it the smoothest of surfaces to traverse. But still, it was the most direct route to travel and usually a safe one.

Usually.

Before continuing further, I made sure to double check that my gun was still in its holster, loaded and ready to go at the first sign of trouble. Of course, it was. I’d like to think I wasn’t dumb enough or so absent-minded enough as to leave it in Ditzy’s shop. But it never hurt to check, radiation never was good for brain cells.

Glancing back at the town, I could see the sentries still eying me from all that distance away, the glint of light on glass showing at least one sniper position. I got the message, they didn’t want me hanging around pointlessly as raider bait. And I really couldn’t have agreed more.

Turning away from the pile of wrecked train cars calling itself a town, I began to trot forwards on the asphalt while being sure that the wagon didn’t get caught in the many potholes running the length of the road. I’d honestly have preferred travelling without the cumbersome thing, but what else was I to use for carrying all that scrap?

The marker in my vision was pointing me in the general direction of Manehatten, though the road itself had other ideas. Just a scant ten-minute walk after I lost sight of New Appleoosa, I came across an intersection in the road. The trail snaked off in two separate directions ahead of me, neither of them a direct route to the big city. A sorry looking road sign sat just off the road, bent and in danger of vanishing into the dirt completely. I just latched onto it with my magic and bent it up enough to make out the barely legible letters.

Appleoosa. Dodge City. Ponyville.

Appleoosa, the original, was back the way I came. Nothing but a den of asshole slavers working for Red Eye up Fillydelphia way. Dodge City was largely abandoned, just a few squatters trying to fend off the odd bloatsprite or feral ghoul looking for a light snack. At least until the slavers came to pick up the poor sods and put them to work. It was not somewhere I was in the habit of wandering.

The final direction, steadily heading north in conjuncture with a nearby railway line, would bring me straight into Ponyville. Raider activity was common in the area, and yet it was the way I had to go if I wanted to reach the highway to Manehatten.

I’d probably have to avoid the town as much as possible unless I suddenly had the life goal of becoming a grotesque wall decoration.

I dropped the rusted sign, letting it sag back down onto the dirt, and selected the road to Ponyville. The road was long, but not one I hadn’t travelled before. Most merchants and scavengers had to, it being the most direct route between settlements.

And so I walked. The vast cloud cover above me being ever present, the only sound being the howling of the wind, the clopping of my hooves and the creaks and groans of my wagon. The sight of old burnt out trees began to dot the sides of the roads, lands where green had once been the dominant colour. Now it was as brown as everything else. Or black, where the balefire bombs had left but shadows in their wake.

Goddesses I hated this journey.

And yet it was one I had made many times. Never able to stay in one town for too long, always more scrap to dig up and caps to make. Though I will admit I was half tempted to stop off in The Republic, spend the night in a warm only slightly rotten bed.

Wouldn’t that have been nice?

But then again, I was making good time. No, it was better just to move on and find somewhere safe to camp out for the night. Preferably somewhere well past raider territory.

The burnt oaks were soon joined by the hulking skeletons of old buildings, nothing left but the beams that once supported them. One still had several vehicles in the parking lot, their owners having been left clawing at the doors even two hundred years later. A few skeletons were inside one of the larger wagons, scores of ponies laying dead and forgotten in their seats.

I spared them but a small glance as I walked on by, leaving the damned souls to their rest.

There was a crashed skywagon laying on its side in the middle of the road ahead, probably having been blown from the sky when Cloudsdale got bombed a little south of here. The pegasus who had guided it lay broken in the harness, though the lack of further bodies may have indicated that some of the passengers had crawled away from the crash.

I couldn’t see them as having gotten far.

The skywagon too had been picked over long before I was even a concept. I had checked it during a journey long past, probably my second or third? It really doesn’t matter, it was now just something to guide my wagon around.

The number of buildings thinned out, though the dead trees remained a constant throughout.

Up ahead I could see a bridge spanning over the lengthy Ghastly Gorge. And right on the edge of the giant scar in the ground was a small building with a few rusted skywagons parked forever beside it.

Huh.

I just realised that I’d never actually had a look inside that place before, always crossing the bridge over without much of a glance towards the structure. I stopped for a moment, looking between it and the bridge crossing the gorge that was probably filled with enough monsters to melt my face it wasn’t even funny.

“Ah, what the hay.”

I adjusted course, trotting straight up to the building as my E.F.S. pinged in response.

Red Rocket Wagon Stop.

I unstrapped myself from the wagon’s harness and left it on the side of the road. The skywagons that I’d spotted earlier were hooked up to long-dead machinery, probably meant to recharge the spark batteries inside the hulking pieces of junk.

I had a quick look inside the wagons, much to my disappointment finding them empty of skeletons or anything lootable. Clearly, somepony had already gone through these, not surprising really. Places like this, or anywhere else really, where I might have found something to scavenge were slowly dying out. The only place that seemed to have a never-ending supply of salvage was Hoofington, and I’d really have to be at rock bottom before I set a single hoof in that death trap!

I’d known a few fellow scavengers who’d gone up to the Hoof seeking their fortunes. I’d never seen any of them again.

Well, maybe they’d just never had a reason to come back. But given that this was the Equestrian Wasteland, I wasn’t going to get my hopes up.

Still, these skywagons still had internal components that I could retrieve and sell at a future date, so I made a mental note to myself to come back later and do just that.

Oh, and was that a Sparkle-Cola machine I just saw?

Indeed it was, sitting all alone just next to the door leading into the building itself. And I mean, who would say no to free Sparkle-Cola?

Forget the skywagons, I really needed one of those!

I eagerly trotted up to the still flickering machine and gave it a good looking over. It still had power, somehow, after these last two hundred years. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen one unpowered without having been battered with a lot of bullets beforehoof. They really built these things to last.

And I didn’t have any bits.

I grumbled to myself, only caps lining my pockets. And the machine certainly wouldn’t accept those, no matter how much I tried.

Well, only one thing for it!

The machine gave a resounding ‘CLANK’ as I reared up on my forehooves and bucked it as hard as I could.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Okay, NOT my brightest idea ever. And now I had an aching fetlock or two. Great.

I turned to face the machine, a little miffed that I may not get its goods. I suppose I could have tried shooting it, but why waste the bullets on something so… well, stupid? But unless I could find a crowbar and the strength to use it in the next five or so minutes, I was probably going to have to give up on tasting the carroty goodness.

Of course, then I spotted a couple of bits hanging out with a pile of trash a short distance away.

Yeah, that was good too.

I inserted the gold coins, watching as the machine deposited its last few colas into my waiting hooves. I popped one open immediately, sticking the cap with the rest while depositing the other drinks into my bags to be sorted by my Pipbuck.

Sipping on the delightful Sparkle-Cola, I trotted over the to doors and made my way inside the Red Rocket. The windows had all been blown out long ago, and the few remaining items within had been mostly knocked off the shelves and onto the floor. There were a couple of preserved boxes of ‘Dandy Colt Apples’ that I scooped into my saddlebags, one or two snack cakes and a breached container with some mush inside that was probably once some kind of fruit. That last one I simply tossed to the side and promptly forgot about.

The cash register was empty. Figures. And the only other objects inside the room were some bent old cans and burnt magazines. Nothing of use.

Oh, and there was that little red bar I had just noticed in my vision.

Followed my E.F.S. led me to the door leading into what appeared to be a storeroom, the red bar sitting idly with only the occasional twitch of movement. I brought out my little 9mm pistol and readied it in my magic. For a few tense moments, I just stood at the door, my breaths as quiet as I could make them as I slowly brought my hoof up to the handle.

And then I threw it open, weapon moving to train on the offending hostile!

The radroach flinched back at the sudden light entering the storeroom, making some aggressive clicks in my general direction.

Seriously, did I just get so worked up over a stupid roach? This E.F.S. really needed some better identification than ‘red bar, green bar’.

I walked up to the radroach, bringing up my right forehoof and stomping down into the creature. It gave a final screech as it was crushed beneath me, the red bar blinking out.

Now I just had to do the same to the other red bars that had suddenly appeared in its place.

Wait, what?

Pain coursed through my shoulder as it was nicked by a speeding bullet, the firing of the gun accompanied by my startled and pained shout.

I dropped to the floor and span as another bullet flew over my head, my eyes locking onto a manic looking blue unicorn mare covered head to hoof in gore. She wore scraps of whatever she could as armour, her eyes bloodshot and twitching as she looked at me in what I really hoped was actually hunger!

“There you are!” she shouted in an almost sing-song voice.

Time froze as she brought her gun to face me, percentages appearing all over her body.

I hadn’t actually meant to do that, but fuck it! I’ve had word worse accidents.

I targeted her barely armoured chest, and once I released the spell I brought the gun around almost on autopilot as I started to fire. Bullets dug deep into the mare’s hide as she crumpled into a pile, twitching as the last life ebbed away from her body.

“Uh oh! We got ourselves a fighter!” a male voice laughed as bullets peppered the outside of the Red Rocket.

And then a glass bottle with a flaming rag stuffed in it got pelted through the window and into the storeroom.

Oh boy.

Immense heat licked off my back as the Molotov exploded further in the storeroom. The flames quickly began to consume everything it could, and I could definitely feel it singeing my tail! I scrambled out of the storeroom in a made rush, jumping down below the bullets and up against the wall under the window.

Fire behind me, raiders in front of me. Welcome to Equestria.

I took a moment to look at my E.F.S. and all the bars now swarming around it. There were at least seven raiders outside, and each one was looking to make me their latest victim. Now, if I had a couple friends with me this might have been no problem. Or maybe if I was a Steel Ranger.

But I was alone, and I most certainly was not a Steel Ranger.

Well, crap.

A stream of bullets above me ceased as the raiders firing them reloaded their weapon, and I took the opportunity to take a quick look. The other seven looked just as deranged and full of dash as the first, three carrying barely functional machine guns while the rest all pelted me with 10mm pistols.

Dammit, they must have come from the other side of the bridge while I was looking around! A raiding party from Ponyville perhaps. Or-

A bullet striking a metre from my face made me decide that I really didn’t care where they came from, and I levitated my own pistol up to the window and fired blindly in the general direction of one of the raiders I had seen.

I emptied the clip and was rewarded with a strained scream from one of the mares. A quick glance over showed my last bullet had been fortunate enough to strike the mare in the throat, throwing her to the floor where she began to bleed out. They apparently were out of healing potions, so that was lucky for me.

“Okay! Now you’re getting it!” one of the stallions shouted as he charged for my window.

Okay, maybe ‘lucky’ was too strong a word.

My magic fumbled to retrieve a clip for my pistol, barely getting it into the slot before the raider jumped through the window and down on top of me. I let off a single shot that went wide and was rewarded with a hoof to the face and my weapon falling from my grasp somewhere amongst the shelves.

The raider gave a blood-curdling laugh, and I immediately entered S.A.T.S. as he levelled his 10mm at my head.

So, this was going really well! Next time I saw Ditzy I would be sure to give the bubbly ghoul a massive thank you kiss for the PipBuck, this spell was really giving me time to think about my impending doom!

The raider had me pinned beneath him, and I doubted I could shove him off before he gave my brain some air holes. Same would happen if I tried to reach for my weapon, which I could see in my peripheral vision was discarded to my right. I had zero in the way of combat spells, and I’d probably die before I could stick my horn in his eyes. Or just die doing it, but at least I’d leave him something to remember me by!

Oh goddesses, I didn’t want to die here.

I hated the wasteland. I hated scavenging old ruins in the hopes of making enough to eat that week. I even hated my own name! But one thing I loved? Breathing.

Oh, hello there.

S.A.T.S. really does give you time to think things through, doesn’t it? I could in no way act against this psychopath before he blew my head off, but do you know the one thing I could do?

Switch the safety on.

My spell collapsed, the stallion above pulling the trigger to an extremely satisfying ‘click’, my magic still sparkling over the pistol’s safety.

The raider’s momentary confusion allowed me to kick him off of my body before jumping for my own gun. The raider, not yet done with me, dropped his gun cluelessly and brought out a really big knife from his barding.

A really big knife that was now heading in my direction.

I rolled to one side as the stallion lunged for me, his knife scrapping my barding as I quickly got up to my hooves.

Oh yeah, there were five others outside still shooting at me.

A bullet hit me in the left shoulder, and oh Celestia the pain was unbearable! My barding had just morphed around the bullet, stopping it from going clean through by certainly creating a sizable diver in my shoulder.

My face met the floor as I fell, my immediate problem getting to his own hooves with the knife held in his mouth. My PipBuck was flashing with warnings regarding my left foreleg, though through the pain I spotted my 9mm still laying behind the stallion.

My horn lit up, and my gun swivelled around as the raider made to finish me off.

Only to howl as a bullet lodged in his posterior. Something I followed up with a second to make him drop to the floor before I painted the shelves with his grey matter.

Three down, five to go. I brought out a healing potion from my saddlebags, gulping the thing down and watching as my shoulder stitched itself back together. The dented barding popped back into place with my shoulder, the bullet falling out and clattering to the floor.

Okay, I could do this! Just keep my head down and shoot. Easy!

“Fuck it, charge him!” one of the raiders shouted from outside. “I get his head for my room!”

Oh well, there goes that idea.

I got back to my hooves, gun at the ready and prepared to jump into S.A.T.S. in a desperate bid to hit as many as I could before they reached the building.

Only for two of the five to go down in a hail of bullets, bullets that came from the sky!

The other three jolted around to face the incoming pegasus as he dived away in order to make another pass. One of them raised their rifle towards the flying pony, and I fired several bullets in their direction. One made contact with the raider’s leg, and she fell to her knees with a hiss of pain.

“Stupid little unicorn!” the injured raider shouted out, grabbing a bottle from her bag.

Oh, so that’s where the Molotov had come from.

Before she could burn me out, however, a bullet pierced right through her heart and sent the makeshift bomb flying backwards in the opposite direction, exploding away from anypony.

One of the raiders turned to face their assailant as the pegasus came to a landing, the other screaming in terror as he decided it was a good idea to run to the Red Rocket for cover. It only took a single bullet from me to bring him down.

This left on a single raider facing off against the pegasus, though several shots from the latter’s battle saddle quickly made several new holes in the former as the raider went down like a wet gore bag.

And this left just me and the pegasus. The bar on the E.F.S. was green, though I didn’t need that to know that this guy was a friend.

“Ugh, these varmints don’t even have good loot to get,” Calamity groaned as he examined one of the dropped machine guns, chucking the now useless thing to one side. “Not a single item on em’ is worth a thing. Shame.”

The brown pegasus wearing the battle saddle and black Stetson was Calamity. He had a branded image on his flank that signalled him as a Dashite, somepony who had abandoned the Enclave in favour of actually doing something with their lives. He was a regular sight of anypony travelling in the area around New Appleoosa, where he spent his days guarding travelling ponies and otherwise against raiders, slavers and anything else that might want to start a fight.

And he was now looking directly at me as I stepped out of the Red Rocket.

“Ya’ll alright over there?” he shouted over to me. “They had you pinned good.”

“Fine. I’m fine,” I called back, trotting up to the stallion. “Calamity, right? Thanks for the help back there.”

He adjusted his hat. “Ain’t nothing to it. It’s my policy to stamp out ponies like those. You from a stable?”

I noted he was eying my Pipbuck, but I just shook my head. “Nope. Got it from Ditzy back in town.”

“Ah, I see,” he replied, turning to look out towards the bridge. “You heading in that direction?”

“Yeah. Scavenger, there’s a job I need to do over there.”

“Scav, huh?” he said almost sheepishly, looking over my shoulder at something. “Well, uh, sorry about your wagon then.”

“What?” I turned around.

Oh, Celestia dammit all the way to Luna’s moon and back again!

My wagon was in flames, and with a loud pop some of the wood gave way and one of the wheels began to roll by itself down the road before clattering down onto its side.

“My bad,” Calamity apologised, having been the one to kill the mare with the Molotov.

“Yeah…” I replied with gritted teeth.

Calamity coughed into a hoof. “Anyhow, I’d advise against heading Ponyville way. Raiders are really agitated as of late, as you can see.”

I just sighed. “Wagon or no, I’ve got to get to Manehatten. And that means continuing on that way.”

“Well, if ya’ll say so. Just be careful, me and my battle saddle may not be around next time,” he warned.

“I’ll keep that in mind, but I’ll be fine.”

“Well, alright then. Take care now,” he ended off with, unfurling his wings and taking to the skies once again.

I watched him go, the pegasus likely going to guard some caravan or another, before turning my eyes back to my poor old wagon. In less than a day I’d been shot, used a couple of clips worth of ammo, a healing potion and lost my wagon. And I had gained nothing in return.

Well, at least I got to keep breathing after all.

Turning from the increasingly on fire Red Rocket, I began to trot towards the bridge spanning the Ghastly Gorge.

Seriously, Stable 84 had better be worth it.


Footnote: Level 2

New Perk: Rapid Reload - All of your weapon reloads are 25% faster than normal.