• Published 2nd Jan 2019
  • 307 Views, 22 Comments

Pandemic: Dreamers - Cosmic Eclipse

It has been three months since the ETS Pandemic derailed the lives of many, leaving their futures unclear. Four ponies in California are left to reflect on what's happened... and what will happen.

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It was a bright and sunny morning, not a cloud could be seen for miles. The air was completely still... it was as if the entire Earth itself had fallen asleep... this was the perfect day for science. A pair of ponies could be seen quickly running through town, dragging a makeshift cart behind them, their faces partially obscured by the strange masks that they wore. Not many would be awake at this hour, both ponies and humans alike, and that's what Tinker was counting on. The humans, it seems, were still mostly asleep, meaning that no one would be out to antagonize the duo... the day couldn't have been off to a better start. As they approached a large warehouse, one of the ponies, an orange unicorn stepped forward and carefully unlocked the aged metal door, slowly opening it so as to not disturb any of the loose plans that were scattered around.

"Alright Gyro, today's task is going to be special asset recovery. There's a lot to do and not nearly enough time to do it as I would like, so let's work quickly. I'll work on finding the remaining plans, I need you to scrutinize the models and records and figure out what is important and what isn't... to be honest, everything in here is important to me, but we don't have the space or resources to store it all so that's why I'm assigning you to this task. I trust you more than I trust most others so I know that you're up to the task. Let me know if there's anything you need."

His assistant gave a quick nod, "You got it boss", said Gyro, short and to the point as usual.

"By the way, how's your filter been holding up?" Said the Pegasus, quickly jotting down a few notes.

"Just fine sir, no problems to note at this time."

Tinker was always a resourceful soul, finding solutions to all of his problems no matter how crazy they were. The masks they wore were only the latest of these solutions, the "TinkerTech BioMask X - 01" The latest and first successful in a long line of personal air purification devices. The problem with visiting his old workshop in the industrial part of town was of course the air quality. With his enhanced senses came enhanced susceptibility to irritants... not that that could ever stop his pursuits, this mask being testament to that!

Tinker methodically scanned the scene before him, a large warehouse filled to the brim with all number of weird and unusual devices. The now unfathomably high (Well to a short pony at least) walls were practically papered with blueprints and schematics, still just organized chaos to the Pegasus. Not wanting to waste a single moment, the two started work on their respective tasks.

Tinker carefully but hastily dug through one of the many cabinets in his workshop, thankful that the valuable plans contained inside hadn't been damaged too severely by the elements given that there was now a noticeable hole in the glass skylight above. The miscellaneous plans lining his workshop weren't as lucky, some already showing signs of wear and damage. An unfortunate setback but he couldn't let it bother him too much, not when he needed to move fast.

Tinker had always been an optimist, seeing the potential solutions in any scenario, and with his metamorphosis into a Pegasus, he could now see the potential in a brand new market... a market with so much untapped potential. Economics nearby would prove to be an issue, mainly the fact that a fair amount of the transformed close to him seemed to lose interest in any kind of economy. Tinker noted that he might need to set his sights elsewhere, but that was also why he was so motivated to finish his ultimate invention, it was the key to making his plans work as efficiently as he could.

One of Tinker's main concerns was the independence of his fellow ponies. Ponies seemed to love being near one another, but surely they couldn't rely on each other for every single mundane problem that might occur in their day to day lives. Even he and his assistant were no exception to this. Gyro being a unicorn certainly made things easy when it came to manipulating smaller things, and Tinker was grateful that he could use his own wings to reach higher vantage points, the fact of the matter was that they were still unable to fully get by on their own 100% of the time and Tinker, ever the optimist, had his sights set on inventing a brand new line of personal convenience devices to help solve this problem.

The filtration masks he had fashioned for them were only the tips of the metaphorical iceberg. He could see it all now, "The TinkerTech personal Wingpack! The first in a complete line of personal conveyance devices!"... Granted a wing pack might just be out of his reach... he didn't need to be the next Icarus after all. Still though, he could set his sights on some smaller problems, like how to make the day to day lives of ponies easier. His inventions didn't need to market to a single group, he could create stuff that benefited everypony. Some inspired inventors were already pushing some genuinely fantastic ideas to the market, and they definitely had some great success so far.

He knew that he couldn't just leave humanity out of his plans, but they certainly fared better than the ponies, and Tinker could afford to keep them as an afterthought for now. Ponies proved to have more pressing issues at the moment, and that is why he was so passionate about helping them. Maybe if humans and ponies could work together they could see that they weren't so different after all. That was what Tinker was all about now. He could help both himself and others, genuinely using his talents to change the world for the better, hopefully helping everyone and everypony along the way, maybe even making up for his past mistakes.

Salvaging the essentials was the most important task for him now though, for there wouldn't be any inventing done without the proper plans, and in his current state he couldn't afford to spend the required time drafting and designing new ones from scratch. No, salvaging what he already had and retrofitting them to work with the radically different anatomy of a pony would be the quickest and most economical option for him. Him and Gyro's filtration masks were evidence enough that it was possible and practical, it only took a few explosions and pressure leaks to get it right but such was the price of progress, and hey, neither of them had been severely hurt so they were already off to a great start.

Tinker continued to rummage through his old office, each object he held sparking a thousand thoughts and ideas. As he reached for his old notebook he paused for a moment, reflecting on the turn his life had taken. The title "Professor Barnabas Baxter - Inventor Extraordinaire" was proudly displayed on the cover, the name now holding little meaning to him. Tinker thought on this for a brief moment, realizing how egotistical and eccentric he had been as a human. He certainly felt that he was better off as a pony, but he could never consider himself a Shimmerist. As eccentric as he was as a human, even he realized that fundamentally changing what someone was by force was very wrong on so many moral and ethical levels, and he couldn't bear to think about how others might have been negatively affected in other parts of the world. Tinker considered himself lucky to get by as well as he did, but he was a scientist first, and he just knew that it was impossible for a radical transformation to completely solve everypony's problems.

Tinker couldn't let himself be distracted though. This was the whole motivation behind the drive to help his fellow transformed, in a strange way he saw it as a fitting penance for his cold behavior as a human. He wasn't ever a bad person per say, but looking back he felt that he had often done the right thing for the wrong reasons, hoping to gain recognition and reward out of his inventions rather than inventing to help others out of compassion.

He flipped through the notebook, scanning over everything he had done over the many years he had been inventing. Setbacks had been numerous, but he had always found illumination in them, finding ways to move forward despite his failures... as numerous as they could be. His greatest inventions, plans, hopes, and dreams were all laid out in this book, and each entry brought him back to those particular dates. This was definitely an essential item to save.

Meanwhile on the far side of the room his assistant Gyro was working on a different task, recovering and salvaging any of the prototype inventions that might prove useful in the future. Personal mechanized conveyance was certainly out... the fumes from cars were incredibly irritating despite how successful the filtration masks had been so far, and to be honest neither of the two ponies in the workshop had neither the motivation or abilities to design a car that was both suitable and comfortable for ponies. The good old fashioned way of transportation would suit them nicely in their current forms, and with each sharing the workload they wouldn't run into too many problems.

As Tinker continued to carefully roll up his plans, he finally stumbled onto the ones he was desperately looking for: The plans for the mobile workshop that he had been designing shortly before the flu had hit. This was exactly what he needed, the ability to take his work with him wherever he needed, opening up the ability to market his inventions to a wider audience. It would need some retooling, but he was confident in his and his assistant's abilities.

"Gyro, I believe I've found it!"

"What is it sir?", the unicorn asked inquisitively.

"Illumination my friend, illumination! You see, with this design we can take our work anywhere, the ability to really revolutionize the world is close at hand!", he excitedly exclaimed. Tinker knew he could never fully replace his workshop, but this would make travelling with his more sensitive inventions all the easier, plus it would make setting up a temporary camp a cinch! With most of his more important plans now collected, Tinker gathered up the last few essentials that he was looking for, and left with his assistant.

"Alright Gyro, I believe I've found everything I needed, Do you need any more time?"

"No sir, I believe I've just about grabbed everything"

"Ok, let's get out of here before we press our luck too much."

It was nearly dusk by the time they had left, carefully avoiding any would be looters, the duo cautiously made their way back to the village they had set up shop in. TinkerTech was a small but budding enterprise and already there were marketable inventions in addition to their air purifiers. Gyro had recently cobbled together a rudimentary stun gun to help ward off aggressors and looters, and it had shown some great promise already. It seemed as if nothing could ruin this perfect day, and sure enough the duo hardly encountered anyone or anypony on the trip back.

Soon enough, they had arrived. Exhausted and tired, the duo resolved to unpack the day's haul tomorrow. "Crystal Haven" was a nice enough town, a little drab but it still had it's charm. Regardless of their personal opinions on the town, it was a safe place to sleep where they could set up camp, have access to clean water, and a fair supply of food. The other benefit is that it was only a short ways away from Crystal Cove, and the workshop that was located within. It was getting late, and as much as he would have wanted to, Tinker couldn't stand to wear himself out by staying up too late again. There was always more time for science in the morning after all.

Tinker dreamed of his past, the many inventions he had created, all the failures. His dreams shifted, changing to focus on all the events that he missed while pursuing his dreams. Tinker had always brushed this off as a necessary step for progress, but now that he had time to reflect on it he realized that there was no progress without his fellow people, and his transformation only made that ever clearer to him. He promised himself that he would never again put science before others. Moving forward Tinker would create to help others, and not just for the recognition and merits that came with it.

Morning had come once again, and the time for science was at hand. Tinker jumped out of bed, almost auto piloting through his usual morning routines before unloading and cataloging the previous day's findings. A spare tire here, some tool chests there, and his latest creation was almost complete! The hours seemed to rush by for him, as he quickly and excitedly built up more and more, Gyro lending a hand every once in a while. The work could get monotonous, but none of that mattered much now. The 3 months it had taken to get to this point was three months too long, and Tinker couldn't afford to waste any more time worrying about personal inconvenience, not when there were ponies to help!

Tinker continued to work throughout the day, hardly taking a rest or break, unless it was absolutely necessary. With assistance he worked as fast as he could, placing the parts he had salvaged, reshaping others, and finally he was in a place where he could stop. Dusk had arrived and the day's work was just about over. Satisfied with the progress he had made today, Tinker took a step back to admire his work. A sparkling new cart stood before him, with space for a couple makeshift bunks, some tool chests, and space for his various plans, and now he would no longer be tied down to one place.

"So what do we do now?", asked the usually silent unicorn.

"Well Gyro, that is an excellent question my dear friend, to put it simply... we change the world!"

And with that, the two inventors set out to do just that.

Author's Note:

And so, we have the first non night pony group of the story. Tinker's assistant Gyro was actually recycled from a planned main character that was going nowhere in terms of development. They ultimately worked out a lot better as a supporting character that acted as the more rational side to balance out Tinker's somewhat eccentric nature. I still might plan out a short side chapter focusing on their past, but that probably won't be a main priority until I'm back from vacation. On that note: I probably won't be publishing any other chapters until at least the 30th, so I'm going to go ahead and put the story in hiatus for now. I've been working on some rough outlines for the as of yet untitled sequel, but it will be more of a traditional story that focuses on multiple characters in the same setting rather than the series of one shots that this story is.

As always please feel free to contribute feedback, anything helps!

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