• Published 11th Dec 2017
  • 5,946 Views, 551 Comments

Pony-Me™ - TheMajorTechie

What happens when you realize that your life is a simulation? Well, you put the headset back on.

  • ...

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There's a greater world out there,

"So..." Samantha mused, staring into the distant horizon, "What are we gonna do now?"

Professor Argall shrugged, adjusting his glasses. "'Dunno." He replied, "I'd say that it's about time for the two of you to step outside of these little cities of yours."

Lisa frowned. "But where would we even go?" She began, facing the old Professor, "I'm still not entirely sure if staying here was the right decision... I want to make my experience here worth skipping Equestria for. I want to--"

"Yes, yes, explore the world, Lisa." Argall grinned, "So many years later, and you're still as peppy as ever." He pulled a bell-strung keychain from a pocket. "As for where we're going, we're heading far away from this place."

The trio turned a corner, finding themselves in an expansive, yet entirely empty parking lot.

Samantha glanced around the place for a few seconds, before turning back to the Professor. "...Where's the carriage?" She peeped, turning her focus down to the keychain in Argall's grasp.

A momentary silence fell over the three as Professor Argall stood in a stupor, staring blankly into the barren landscape of asphalt and concrete. A shudder ran down his spine as he shook himself back to reality. "Ah," He dismissed, waving off the question, "Nearly forgot that I parked the darn thing on the basement level."

"As you can probably tell," The Professor began, fiddling with the remote lock, "Cars these days just aren't what they used to be." He grunted, tugging at the handle before mashing a button on the key. "Gosh darnit with these new cars and their crazy security systems. I swear, one of these days I'ma--"

The door clicked open with an airy whirr.

Professor Argall stuffed the keys back into his pocket with a grumble. "There you go. Now it's agreeing with me."

Lisa cautiously eyed the grey-furnished seats, her brow furrowing as her eyes landed on the old man climbing into the driver's seat. Samantha, in contrast, leapt into the vehicle without a second thought. Lisa squeaked for a brief moment as the car rumbled to life. The Professor turned in his seat, his greying beard draping over the upper half. "You girls ready?" He beamed, his eyes meeting Lisa's. "Fasten your seatbelt, Lisa. It's about time you came home..."

The low rumble of the car over the worn countryside asphalt echoed from all around, ceaselessly drumming minute after long minute as it approached the unknown beyond. Lisa peered toward her friend. Samantha had long-since fallen asleep, lulled by the gentle hum of the vehicle. Strangely enough, especially for Pinkie, the girl's face remained emotionless, occasionally twitching sporadically into a slight frown or grin.

"...I-I'm sorry, Pinkie..." Samantha murmured, leaning her head against her seatbelt. "...It's for the best..."

Lisa touched her friend's hand. "Sa- er, Pinkie?" She whispered, "You alright?"

No response.

"Eh?" Argall said from the front seat, "Were you saying something, Lisa?"

The girl shook her head. "Nothing, Prof." She turned to the tinted window, a darkened landscape speeding past her eyes by the second. Abruptly, the car suddenly slowed to a stop, sending Lisa lurching forwards. Bracing herself against the front seat, the girl regained her composure.

Professor Argall turned once more to face Lisa. "Hey." He began, "Didn't I tell you to fasten your seatbelt?"

Lisa raised a brow, turning to the loose strap dangling to her left. "This?" She asked as she held up the buckle, "Professor, is this the seatbelt?"

The Professor sighed, nodding as he turned back, rolling his window down. "Ay!" He yelled, the car slowly rolling forwards as a lanky figure appeared to limp towards the vehicle with some sort of sack. "You need a ride or something?"

A glint of familiarity struck Lisa as she rolled down her own window. "...Andrew?" She squinted, the man with a false limp immediately recognizing her in return.

"Oh?" Andrew said with surprise, "Lisa, you're not going back either?"

Professor Argall glanced towards Lisa, then to Andrew. "So," He began, "You know this guy?"

Lisa opened her mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by a particularly loud snore from Samantha beside her. "Erm... yeah," Lisa replied, "Before I took up my volunteer work, I stayed in his room when I first came to town."

"Yup." Andrew beamed, "That girl would've been sleeping on the steps of City Hall if nobody offered her a room."

"Eh." Argall grunted, "Seems legit. So then, do you need a ride, or do you not?"

Andrew nodded, slinging his bundle of sheets over his shoulder.

The Professor slapped the seat between Lisa and Samantha with a hand. "Hey Lisa," He chuckled, "Mind scooting over a bit for your roommate?"

Bright sunlight flooded into the vehicle as Andrew pulled the door open. Lisa froze for a moment, staring blankly past the man and into the cloudless sky before suddenly refocusing back on the Professor's words.

"I... uh, sure." Lisa mumbled, sliding over to Samantha's left as Andrew climbed into the car.

"Eh." Andrew jokingly chided, turning to the girls. "It's certainly less roomy in here than my old cruiser. Y'know?"

Argall simply rolled his eyes with a smirk. "Whatever you say. This isn't exactly the biggest ride I've been on, either. So... uh, Andrew, where do you wanna go?"

Andrew shrugged, setting his bundle of sheets on the floor of the vehicle with a resounding thump. "'Dunno." He answered, "Anywhere, I suppose. I'm just in for a little adventure before I go back."

The Professor nodded, eyeing the heavy bundle for a moment before turning to Lisa. "Say, what happened to that briefcase of yours that they gave you? I never saw you with it when we met back in Mountain View."

Lisa's eyes widened with panic, the girl whirling around to stare out the window as the last silhouettes of Mountain View faded into obscurity. "I..." She stuttered, "I honestly forgot that I even had it. I must've left it somewhere in my room, or even on the bus that brought me there." The girl turned back to Argall. "Professor, do you think we should-"

"Feh." Professor Argall cut in, "No point in returning for the thing, if you ask me. With everyone else back in their simulations, I'd doubt if there's a need to carry anything around in a briefcase anymore. Frankly, if you ask me, those things were more just meant to be mementos for volunteers to remember the service they did."

"Oh..." The girl mumbled, sinking into her seat. "Okay."

Lisa glanced towards Samantha again. The girl had a familiar frown plastered across her unconscious face, still occasionally twitching even now. Though, curiously, she appeared much more... relaxed than usual.

A light shadow flitted across the window as the vehicle crossed underneath an overpass. Staring past Samantha's sleeping form, all Lisa could see for miles on end was a seemingly endless plain dotted with occasional shrubbery. Every so often, a lone barn would pass by the window, its bright colors reminding the girl of home... of Equestria.

Applejack. Lisa's thoughts echoed as she leaned back in her seat. I wonder how she's doing?

Minutes melted into hours as the blissful hum of the vehicle drowned out all noise, save for light snoring on Andrew's behalf. The girl remained vaguely conscious throughout the ride, staring absentmindedly ahead through the windshield of the car and silently watching as the world she knew faded from view.

"Oh, geez." Professor Argall suddenly exclaimed, shattering the silence as every passenger was startled into full consciousness.

"Whuh?" Samantha groaned, rubbing her eyes as she stretched.

"Pinkie." Lisa deadpanned as she nudged her friend's hand away, "Don't forget that we're in a cramped space." She turned her focus back to the Professor. "What was it?" She asked, leaning forwards in her seat.

Argall shook his head. "Oh, nothing, nothing." He replied as he shifted in his seat. "I don't believe I ever told you where we're going."

Andrew raised a brow, instinctively reaching for a nonexistent walkie-talkie on his equally-nonexistent belt. "Ah," The man exclaimed as his hand met only fabric, "Nearly forgot that I'm not in the simulations." With his cheeks growing red, he quickly grabbed his bundle of sheets from the floor, setting them on his lap. "Go on." He continued, waving a free hand.

The Professor paused for a moment, his eyes drifting towards Andrew's reflection in the mirror before turning back to the road. "I think it's about time you've come back to your roots, Lisa." He grinned, "After all, the two of you certainly could use some time catching up with the craziness. In fact, I believe I recall that everything in that dusty place is still the exact way we left it, even. I paid off everything for the place ages ago, just in case if you two returned."

"Oh?" Samantha chimed in, "So we're going to our old TechSIG branch?"

"Well." Argall chuckled in amusement, shifting in his seat as he continued to drive. "I'd have to say, Samantha. You certainly do have the memory to back those smarts of yours, don't you?"

The strange girl nodded enthusiastically before returning her attention to the passing view outside the window. "Yeah," She replied, "I mean, it hasn't been that long since I connected, y'know."

As the inane conversation carried on between the two, Lisa's thoughts turned to a single name.

TechSIG. The thought echoed in the girl's mind. C'mon, think. TechSIG, TechSIG. What is it about that name that sounds so familiar?

Author's Note:

As per requested through the poll, I'll now try to better integrate single-character focused bonus chapters into the main story arcs. The previous bonus chapter focusing once again on Pinkie/Samantha is now canonically set during the car trip in this chapter.

Don't forget, there's still 8 more chances for guest chapters! (Yes, I know that I've kept the window for those things open for several months now.)

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