• Published 28th Jan 2018
  • 5,660 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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5 - Manehatten

Chapter Five: Manehatten

“Let me tell you, the only good Stripe is a dead Stripe.”


There she was. A festering pile of death and destructions that was the city of Manehatten, and I was walking right into it.

Then again, that’s pretty much the Wasteland in general.

Shattered skyscrapers still dominated the landscape, though so many had collapsed completely or were leaning up against their direct neighbours. And that was just the edges of the city; the centre was completely devoid of anything but radiation and ferals. Two hundred years ago Equestria’s enemies managed to, somehow, sneak a balefire bomb right into the middle of the immense metropolis. Don’t ask me how. I’m just reiterating what I’ve heard.

Still, nopony sane goes to the city centre anyhow. There’s no worthwhile scrap there anyway, just a crater left behind by the blast.

The entire city was a wreck, what was left after the bomb had fallen into anarchy in the following days. I know all too well how badly ponies can react when their entire lives have just been reduced to ashes, it’s the same damned thing everywhere. I bet it was hard to find a single pony in the early Wasteland who hadn’t lost somebody. A brother, or a son…

If you couldn’t guess, I’m drawing comparisons to my current entourage.

We’d found a way down from the overpass and back onto the firm ground, where we had found a slightly less scorched spot to bury Lucky. We had ended up making camp in that general area for the night, they hadn’t been in much of a mood for travel. Personally, I would have preferred to move on right away, and yet I couldn’t convince them to do so.

It was another night of little sleep. I may have saved them, and we may have agreed to travel together, but I didn’t trust some ponies I’d just met. Stone Mane was much the same, smart stallion, and also seemed to be keeping an eye on me while his wife and daughter slept.

When the morning came, we trudged back up onto the overpass and went on our way. There were, fortunately, no more nasty robotic surprises during the trip, and I still have zero idea where the bastard had come from. Maybe he’d been wandering around aimlessly after taking some previous damage? He certainly seemed… confused.

But while we didn’t find another Mr Gutsy along the way, there were still plenty of other mutated critters to deal with. Still, Stone Mane knew his way around a hunting rifle. Even Daisy seemed relatively proficient with her own little pistol.

I did suggest that they teach Charm to shoot, and soon. Stone Mane said he’d take it under advisement. I hope he meant that and wasn’t just brushing me off.

I myself was sticking to my own pistol for now, trying to conserve my remaining ammo while saving all of the shotgun shells that Lucky had been carrying.

A couple more days of straight travel passed us by. We hadn’t talked that much, at least not beyond simple communication when a hungry radhog tried to make us its meal. Still, they did seem genuinely grateful to have the extra gun and having other ponies around while travelling was… novel, to say the least. A scavenger’s life can be a lonely one, and yet Stone Mane had somehow found time to fall in love and have TWO children. Even if one of them was no longer around.

Then again, I suppose getting those things didn’t cost caps. Unless you were in Dise; I’m pretty sure you could buy anything there if you had the money.

Still, I couldn’t for the life of me imagine finding such things in this place. Give me that house first, then we’ll talk.

But we knew our journey together was drawing to a close when the clusters of buildings began to get more common. Old burnt out cottages at first, then slightly higher tech and industrial looking places. Nowhere did we have a poke around, we were all eager to get past this place and get to the main city before we ran into something a bit too nasty.

And now those skyscrapers were starting to creep up all around us, and we truly knew we were in Manehatten.

A city of ghosts.

“I think this is where we part ways,” Stone Mane announced, indicating towards a sign that pointed in two directions.

Right, Statue of Friendship. Left, Ministry of Arcane Sciences Manehatten Hub.

“Are you sure you don’t want to head to Tenpony first?” I offered the stallion. “Could get in some good trading.”

“We’re sure,” Stone Mane responded. “I think we’re going to stick around Friendship City for a while. There’s a place there that I’ve got my eye on, we don’t want to raise Charm in this damned place.”

“Seems we share a dream then,” I remarked, though I had figured something of the likes. “How close are you?”

He averted his eyes. “Too close for my son to die on our last foray.”

I grimaced, though couldn’t stop a small pang of jealousy. “I’m sorry…” Lucky bastard.

Well, not so lucky I suppose. But despite losing their un-aptly named son, they had things I still couldn’t even glimpse.

Alright, enough feeling sorry for myself. I couldn’t stand around here all day.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for in that oversized statue,” I replied with a small grin. “Have a nice cold glass of water on me.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Stone Mane replied. “It’s not often you find ponies willing to help others like you did us. Anypony else would have kept on walking.”

Now it was I who couldn’t meet his gaze. Dammit, why was I suddenly feeling so guilty about almost doing something any sane person would have done!?

“Are you alright, mister?” the filly, Charm, asked cautiously.

I looked down at the filly, before sighing. “Yeah, I’m good. But to be honest, I’m as surprised as you are.”

“I don’t think we would have risked it for you,” Daisy muttered honestly, and I really couldn’t blame her.

As I said, sane people.

And then she surprised me by following up with: “Though I think we would now, to anypony.”

Uh, okay? What was with the sudden tone shift? I asked her such.

“It’s like you said, Scrap Heap,” the large stallion with the hunting rifle remarked, patting me on the shoulder. “Do better, as others did for you. You gave us the chance for that future we’ve worked so damned hard for, and if we could do the same for someone else…”

Oh, dear Luna, it’s spreading!

Seriously, was random acts of heroics some kind of contracted disease? It’s beyond dumb, all those heroes you hear about from DJ Pon-3 always end up impaled on some stick somewhere!

So why was I smiling?

“I’m just glad we’re still here to have this conversation,” I remarked, the never changing war ongoing inside me. “Just try not to get yourselves killed, yeah?”

“Same goes for you,” Stone Mane replied, beginning to move off with his family down the opposing cracked and warped street. “May Celestia guide you.”

“Bye Mr Heap!” the filly shouted back at me, standing on her mother’s back and waving happily.

Thanks for making me sound old, kid.

I watched the family go, only allowing my gaze to turn elsewhere when they were out of sight and no raiders had jumped them in the meantime. I brought up my PipBuck, the map having confirmed my arrival in Manehatten and added the lit-up marker to my map. My objectives tab was still telling me to both find Cobalt and then Stable 84. My E.F.S. confirmed that I was heading in the right directions to do the former, and it was clear of red bars indicating hostiles. Only a few green bars dominated my vision, and a quick look around showed them to be a couple of wandering crows.

Still, there was plenty of danger around the old city. I kept my guns at the ready. I had two clips of ammo remaining for my pistol, and about twelve shotgun shells. Add that to my three remaining healing potions, and I realised I didn’t really want to get into too many more fights between here and the old MAS hub.

Still, only one way to go.

I took off down the street, sticking to the very edges rather than direct centre for any and all raider snipers to pick off. There were many blown out and long picked over storefronts down this way, settled in between various decaying billboard advertisements.

Red Racer!

Mr Handy!

Stable-Tec!

Those and many more were shoved into my face with big bulging lettering and pony faces with forced smiles. Just more depressing reminders of the world that was, now infested with mutants and psychopaths who want nothing more than to fuck and murder you.

Speaking of…

I had been walking for a little while when I saw the red bars appearing in my vision. In that time I had found the original street blocked off by a collapsed skyscraper, and had to take a route through some back streets and alleys before I was able to get around it. Now I was approaching a half torn up roundabout, and as I took cover behind some old collapsing stone benches I could see a group of three raiders hanging out under an old bronze statue dedicated to the six ministry mares.

Fortunately, none of them spotted me as I ducked down. They were too busy chattering amongst themselves while foolishly not paying too much attention to their surroundings. One was swallowing some Buck while another had decided to urinate on Rainbow Dash. The third just watched in amusement as her fellows got drugged up and vandalised a historical figure. She seemed to wait for them to finish, making some remark about the urinating stallion’s ‘size’ and brushing off his subsequent hostility.

“Ah, calm down before I slit your throat,” the lead raider dismissed. “You remember Shorty? You know I could fuck you up, so bring it!”

The raider stallion considered for a minute, before snorting dismissively. “Nah, fuck that. Let’s just go kill those Stripes.”

Wait, Stripes? Zebra?

“What? Afraid she might cut your dick off?” the drugged-up raider said, striking her own chest. “I could take her!”

“Not even on Buck,” the lead raider taunted.

“FUCKING BRING IT!”

The addict charged, but before she could make it half the distance the leader had whipped out a storied combat knife and ploughed it into her throat. The leader held onto the druggy as she began to cough and spit up blood, something her killer only seemed to delight in.

“Shame, you’re going to miss all the fun we’re going to have with the Stripes!” the leader taunted, retracting the knife and tossing the corpse to one side. “So much fun! So, are you coming?”

The stallion grunted. “Yeah, just let me take a piss.”

“You just went!”

“Well, I gotta go again.”

The lead raider rolled her eyes. “Whatever, you can catch up. Bring the body when you’re done, I’m sure we can find something to do with the bitch.”

Dear Celestia, I hated raiders.

The leader began to move off, and I watched her go. She proceeded down the exact street I needed to go for Tenpony, lucky me. But what I was more curious about was the zebra they mentioned. You didn’t often encounter them, given the past history between our species. Those you did were usually squatters or slaves, nothing really major.

I’d never met one around Manehatten, though.

I turned back around, only to find myself face-to-face with the raider stallion I hadn’t been watching for the past minute.

Oh hell.

“Fun time!” the raider announced quickly drawing his gun and taking aim.

S.A.T.S. it is!

Time crawled to a near halt, and I had my thinking time. My guns were still holstered, a mistake in hindsight. And by the time I drew them, I’d probably have a new hole. What I really needed was a moment to prepare, and I knew just the thing.

I queued up a single attack and, on the spell’s release, I struck my hoof forward as hard as I could!

A resounding ‘SMACK’ rewarded my efforts, and the stallion went limp and fell to the ground. I latched onto my pistol with my magic and brought it to bear, but I didn’t need it. The red bar had blinked out.

I rounded the bench, cautiously looking down at the stallion and giving him an experimental nudge. Blood was pouring from his nose and mouth, his eyes bloodshot and wide.

I’d actually killed him! Even my E.F.S. was congratulating me for my ‘critical hit’!

Why thank you, weird targeting spell.

I checked over both his body and the body of the other murdered raider. Their weapons were in poor condition, though they had some ammo for my pistol that I took. I left the Buck, I didn’t need that stuff in my life. Aside from that, there wasn’t much else of interest on the corpses, so I left them to the crows.

I looked down the street their leader had traversed, my mind once again heading back to the zebra that’d been mentioned.

My E.F.S. lit up with a new objective.

Investigate zebra presence.

Great, new stuff to check out. Well, at least this was in the direction I was already heading. Still, I would be walking very carefully from here on out. None of this was giving me a good feeling.

As I walked down the street, I couldn’t immediately see where the remaining raider had gone. She had gone much further ahead while I was dealing with her friend back there, and she had probably already joined back up with the rest of their gang. But still, there was only one direction to go in. All that was around was the usual ruins, long scattered bones and burnt out buildings. Nothing particularly noteworthy or useful to me, so I pressed onwards as quickly and quietly as I could.

I passed by a crossing, spotting a box containing a single filled bottle of Sparkle-Cola. Since it was right there, I grabbed onto the bottle with my magic without stopping and pocketed the cap. I continued as I took my first sip of the wonderful beverage, though I made sure to down it quickly in case I ran into that gang.

I had just emptied the bottle and thrown it aside when I heard the gunshots.

They sounded like they were coming from just up ahead. The pitters and patters of small arms fire as well as what seemed to be some heavier machine guns. Putting two and two together, I had to guess that it was the gang and the zebra they were hunting.

It was still a little ways ahead of me, even if the sound was clear as day. They could probably hear the fighting all the way in Tenpony Tower itself, though I’m sure it’s not an uncommon sound for them to hear. Still, I crept down that little bit more as I pushed on ahead. I would have to pass by this group one way or another; and hey, you save one family you might as well save them all, right?

OK, it was definitely an infection.

Moving past the rubble and bent, charred piles of metal it didn’t take long for the gunfire to increase in volume as I got closer to its source. The sound finally reached its peak as I turned a corner and reached a rounded courtyard-like area facing a large office building. The courtyard split the road in two more different directions from where I was standing. Directly ahead the road was blocked by masses of rubble and the remains of what looked like a rusted hulk of a vertibuck. The road to my right, directly opposite the central office building, was the continuing road to Tenpony.

Problem was, that road seemed to be filled with about a dozen zebra in fancy legionnaire armour. A couple had hooded cloaks that concealed their faces, but each one was equipped with assault rifles all aimed at my side of the courtyard.

A side filled with the raider gang I’d encountered.

I took cover as one of the raiders threw a Molotov in the direction of the zebras, though they pulled off some ridiculous acrobatics and span out of its path. The raider leader from before was laughing like a psycho, dishing out insults and taunts that mostly seemed to use the world ‘Stripe’ in them. She and the other raiders were taking cover behind some overturned wagons, though their poorly maintained weapons were heavily outmatched by the rifles of the zebra.

Problem for me was that every single bar on my E.F.S. was red, including those very same zebra ahead of me. Zebra it entitled as ‘Remnant’.

The air seemed to shift next to the raider leader, and one of the cloaked zebras shimmered into existence. The leader turned with her knife quickly drawn, though her first and only strike was swiftly dodged before the zebra span and kicked the mare’s head clean from her shoulders!

Another raider tried to take on the badass ninja zebra, though a seemingly benign tap between his shoulder blades left him immobile before his head got stomped into jelly. Still, the act had gotten all of the raiders’ attention, and they all turned their guns towards the solitary zebra.

She shimmered out of existence, after avoiding the first few shots, vanishing from view as the raiders all gave shouts of surprise.

The trick was rendered moot, however, as the volcanic crack of a sniper rifle echoed off the dilapidated buildings and sprayed the invisible zebra mare’s brains all over the concrete.

So, also a sniper. Good to know!

Another crack, and this time it was a raider who got splattered.

Okay, a sniper not with the raiders nor with the zebra. And I couldn’t see their tag anywhere on the E.F.S. either. That was certainly a… scary thought. But hey, happy thoughts! I mean, they could be friendly! Right?

And here I was, caught between raiders and hostile zebra with a load of firepower, with an unknown sniper picking off both sides. All while the raiders hurled their usual vulgarity and the Remnant shouted something about a traitor whenever the sniper rifle sounded.

Sorry Tenpony, I’m going to be late.


Footnote: Level 4

New Perk: Iron Hoof - +5 points of Unarmed Damage.