• Published 23rd Mar 2019
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Fallout Equestria: Influx - Beyond the Adventure - Lex the Pikachu



Crystal and the False Princess must now live with the consequences of their actions while settling into their new roles in the Wasteland.

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Second Chance

Fallout Equestria: Influx
Beyond the Adventure

Second Chance

Several months before the destruction of the Production Facility.


A great explosion rocked the Manehattan ruins. Ponies around the ruined city looked towards the Impact Crater as a green balefire mushroom cloud rose from within it. None of them looked for long, though, for such occurrences were common in the wasteland. What they didn’t see, however, was something emerging from the smoke and dust, making its way towards the crater wall.

Unit-02, an advanced infiltration mechanoid, walked through the blasted streets. The machine had been stripped of its mercenary disguise, its endoskeleton had been fully exposed and burned. Soon, it began to jerk and spark, a sign that it took more damage than it seemed.

Warning, system critical.”

The machine stopped and shook its head as it reached the perimeter. It looked up at the mass of broken and twisted debris that blocked the street. Its red-tinted vision began to fill with static, and ‘System Failure Imminent’ flashed across its HUD.

“Ugh, something’s wrong,” Unit-02 groaned to himself as he began to climb.

After a good half-hour of climbing and near falling amongst the loose debris, he finally made it to the top.

“I… ugh, oh, not good.” He groaned once more, his voice almost entirely electronic now. “Warning, Catastrophic Failure… Restart Initiated.” An automated alert sounded before the light in its eyes winked out mid-step. Now without power, the robot froze and fell forward, tumbling down the rubble, bouncing and crashing off the debris before landing in a heap, half-buried in the rubble.

XXXXX

Several Months Later.

System reinitialised. 70% operational efficiency… Warning, Self-Repair System offline. Warning, power at 50%... Mana-Core 1 depleted…”

Unit-02 shook his head as several more warnings filled his vision before declaring he was operational. With so many systems either offline or functioning at a fraction of their normal status, he was barely able to move properly. He struggled to move his head and his limbs, but he soon found another reason for such: a bunch of chains were holding him up like some kind of harness, all connected to an engine crane (or at least one of the more common Power Armour workstations). Further examination of his surroundings revealed he was in a Red Rocket refuelling station. A dirty mattress and a makeshift cooking station with empty cans of food laying around gave evidence of a sentient creature living here.

His examination was cut short when a door to his left burst open and a young unicorn mare charged through. She quickly turned around and slammed the door shut, bracing herself against it while putting an ear to the door.

“Damn, those filthy raider assholes nearly caught me.” She sighed and relaxed when she didn’t hear anything beyond the door. “I gotta move before they actually find me, but I can’t just leave you behind, now can I? I’m so close to fixing you, I know it!” She then looked at Unit-02, only to shriek in surprise upon seeing his glowing red eyes staring at her. “Holy fucking shit, you’re awake!” The cream maned, light brown unicorn with white lower legs picked herself up. Her worn work pony overalls clinked slightly with the assortment of tools on her belt as she slowly trotted towards the machine. “Eyes tracking. You can see me. Are… are you operational?”

“Barely. There are a lot of things that are either not working or working at a lower capacity,” Unit-02 explained.

“I can’t believe it, I got you working again! Oh wow, this is amazing, I didn’t think I could get something so advanced to work again!” She gushed excitedly as she quickly stood before him, her horn alight with blue magic as she unhooked the harness from the crane, letting him stand on his own hooves again. “Now that you’re awake, you can walk me through on how to fix you entirely.”

Unit-02 slumped slightly, his legs struggling to carry his weight. Thus, he sat down to stabilise himself. “Negative. Various systems require specialised repairs…” He trailed off as he took another look around the room. “And I highly doubt your makeshift workshop here will have the delicate parts I will require since my self-repair system isn’t working.”

“Specialised repairs? Well, where would I need to get the parts from?”

“The Ministry of Awesome.”

“The MoA? But they did jack shit! Most of their buildings are filled with junk. Weren’t they just a storage warehouse?”

“On the contrary. They delved in advanced technology and espionage.”

“Well, you would know, I suppose. You do have their emblem etched into your collar piece.” She then looked the machine over more closely, frowning at his weakened demeanour. “Uh, can you walk?”

“I think so. It’s hard to determine right now. I’m still processing my state of operation. What happened and how long was I offline?”

“I dunno what happened to you, but I found you half-buried in a mound of rubble by the Impact Crater. It was a job and a half to dig you out and get you back here, and even more of a struggle to remove your armoured shell plating so I could get into your inner workings. Whoever the fuck built you decided on using the more awkward screw types that barely any fucker has the right screwdrivers for. Anyway, I practically had to rewire you as most of your wiring had its insulation melted, so you must have been shorting out before you shut yourself down. You must have been exposed to some extreme heat for that to happen. I also had to remove one of your mana-cores as it was damaged, but thankfully its casing wasn’t ruptured.” The young mare took a deep breath. “And for how long you were out, well… it’s been just over two months. You were one difficult piece of machinery to work with.”

Two months. I wonder if my self-repair system was not working before I collapsed,” Unit-02 thought.

“Uh, by the way, my name’s Clockwork. I’m a tinkerer, I build stuff.” She smiled broadly. “And if the need arises, a handymare for all your repair needs.”

“Nice to meet you Clockwork. My name is…” He paused for a moment, trying to remember from his apparently broken memory. “My name is… Buckshot!”

“Uh cool, you even named yourself. What sort of robot are you?”

“I am an Infiltrator Mark 2.”

“Cool, never heard of that before. Hell, I didn’t even know about Assaultrons until a few weeks ago. They certainly wanted to keep information about some things quiet back before the war.” She opened a satchel on her flank and pulled out a tattered old map of Manehatten and unrolled it. “I wanna help fix you properly. I know where the Ministries are, but I’ve never been there myself, so I don’t know how to get to them, especially with how much of the city is in ruins. Do you think you know a quick route to them?”

Unit-02 peered down at the map, his electronic brain swiftly copying it to memory. Data that was preloaded into his system upon creation revealed something that would be very useful.

“Here…” He said as he pointed to a section of the map nowhere near the ministries. “Upgrade Station Delta is located there.”

“What in the what now?”

“Upgrade Station Delta. It’s a place constructed by the M.o.A specifically for Infiltrator units.”

Clockwork used her magic to singe a mark on the map to highlight the location. When she took a closer look, she raised an eyebrow.

“But that’s just a Starlight Industries storage warehouse.”

“True, but to hide a secret, its best to be hidden in plain sight. You just need to know where to look.”

Clockwork opened her mouth to say something but stopped as a look of understanding crossed her face. “You know what, you’re right.” The young mare got up and began gathering her belonging into a rucksack. “Well, we better make a move before those raider fuck twits come back.”

“I heard you had trouble. I can probably protect you if they do find us.”

“That’s much appreciated, robo-pony.” Clockwork smiled, dimpling her freckled cheeks slightly, before she frowned after looking at the map again. “Ah shit, the warehouse is on the far side of Manehattan Harbour.”

“Is that a problem?”

“Well, yeah, that place is swarming with Ghouls. I think the harbour has the densest concentration of zombies anywhere in the Wasteland.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, the Gold Star Line dock has the wreck of the RES Celestia in it, and that ship was to set sail the day the bombs fell. At least four thousand ponies were in and around the ship when the bombs hit, and most of those unlucky sods got turned into Ghouls.”

“I see, possibility of getting swarmed. Hmm. I’m gonna need a shotgun.”

“Well, I guess it truly is your lucky day. I got a combat shotgun mounted on a battlesaddle back here.” Clockwork moved over to the back corner of the workshop and pulled a harness with a drum-fed shotgun out from behind a crate. “Bloody thing is too big for me, but I think it’ll fit you perfectly.”

Unit-02 would have smiled at the sight of the weapon if he had lips. He didn’t waste time getting into the harness, his nano-fibre tail helping with the positioning and securing of the battlesaddle onto his skeletal frame. He had to recalibrate his locomotors and hydraulics to compensate for the added weight, but despite his limited functionality, he was able to carry and operate it just fine.

“I’m ready if you are.”

“Ok. If things go well, we should get there in a few hours. If not, we’ll need to find shelter before it gets dark. Believe me, you don’t want to be outside when it gets dark,” Clockwork warned with a serious expression.

One more supply check later, and they left the Red Rocket Station for the Manehattan Harbour.

XXXXX

“Shit, we should find shelter. It’s gonna get dark soon,” Clockwork said worriedly. The duo had been working their way through the ruins for hours. The destroyed streets and large piles of rubble meant they had to detour several times, costing them time.

“So?”

“Metal boy, you really don’t want to run into Bloodwings, like seriously.” Clockwork walked up to an apartment building with a boarded-up door. “Hey, think you can get this open?”

“Alright, alright, we’ll take shelter then.” Unit-02 stepped up to the door and used his metal hooves and nano-fibre tail to pry off the planks with ease. Once the planks were removed, he opened the door and scanned the dark hallway for anything that could be a possible threat. “All clear,” He announced as he stepped aside.

“Awesome.” Just as Clockwork reached the threshold, an ear-splitting shriek rang out from the ruins. Unit-02 and Clockwork both stared in fascination and horror (respectively) as the darkening sky was filled with streams of large flying creatures. “Oh shit, Bloodwings! Quick, get in and shut the door!” The mare bolted into the building.

Unit-02, now understanding the danger, quickly slammed the door shut and pulled a nearby cabinet up and against the door to bar it. Once he made sure the door was secure, he walked down the hall and into what used to be a living room, its windows all boarded up. Clockwork set up a lamp on the coffee table for light.

“Bloodwings. If some unlucky sod were outside at night, those things would tear them apart in seconds.”

“I see why you were so concerned now.” Unit-02 sat before the coffee table as the young mare dug out a can of pre-war beans from her pack. She then set upon cooking them with a hotplate.

As the beans slowly heated up, Clockwork sighed in relief and dumped her pack on the floor beside her, lying down on the dirty, beat up sofa by the coffee table. She used her magic to stir the beans slowly with a wooden spoon.

“Can I ask you some questions, Unit-02?” She asked as she looked over at the machine, mentally noting how creepy and scary he looked in the dim light with how the shadows danced over his endoskeleton, and the red glow of his eyes.

“Of course.”

“Can you tell me how you wound up in a heap right by the Impact Crater?”

Unit-02 opened his mouth to answer, but then stopped and looked down in thought.

“Something wrong?” asked Clockwork.

“Affirmative. I… I don’t seem to remember.”

“What do you remember?” She pulled the beans off the hotplate and began eating them with the spoon.

“I remember…” He trailed off for a moment. “I don’t remember anything. My memory appears to be corrupted. What I do remember are the basics I was pre-programmed with. Like, as an Infiltrator, the first thing I am to accomplish is acquiring a disguise, which would include taking a pony’s identity, magic, and a copy of their mind.”

“Whoa,” Clockwork gasped at the revelation. “Wait, why are you being so open about this sort of stuff? Isn’t this, like, top secret shit?”

Unit-02 blinked in confusion for a moment.

“You… would be correct. I was programmed to never reveal such information.”

“So why are you?”

Unit-02 was silent for a little while longer. Clockwork meanwhile continued to eat her beans while staring intently.

“I don’t exactly know. I know I’m programmed against revealing such information, but I don’t seem to be compelled to follow such programmed orders.”

“Interesting. What sort of CPU do you use? Assaultrons have this, like, advanced learning processor. I wonder if you do too.”

“Hmm. My electronic brain consists of a mass-produced experimental neural processor developed by a Mr. Horse.”

“Well shit, no wonder you’re so advanced if Mr Horse designed your brain. That pony was like some tech god back before the war.” She frowned. “Though that processor of yours sounds like something extremely complicated to fix if it went wrong.”

Unit-02 nodded, somewhat worried that his neural processor could be at fault here with his lack of memory. “I think we need to get to the Upgrade Station as soon as possible tomorrow.”

“We’ll head out at first light. Don’t worry, big guy. We’ll get you fixed in no time.” Clockwork then finished off her beans and curled up on the ruined sofa to sleep.

XXXXX

The following day saw a rainy start for the unlikely duo. Clockwork was worried that the rain could make the robot rust, but Unit-02 showed no signs of being worried about a little rain. Their journey was not as congested as the day before and, thankfully, uneventful. When the pair arrived at a side access gate to the harbour, their gazes were immediately fixed on the giant white vessel still in her berth at the Gold Star Line dock.

“Wow. That ship is much bigger up close,” said Clockwork as she and Unit-02 stared up at it.

“It is impressive,” Unit-02 agreed. “But I now understand your worry about this place.” His gaze followed an intact gangplank down to the harbour floor where a virtual army of ghouls aimlessly milled about.

“Goddesses, there is a lot.” Clockwork sighed. “They’d tear us apart in seconds. I think we should find another way around closer to the freight harbour section.”

“Agreed.”

Just as the pair turned, there was a loud ping followed by a heavy crash. The two turned again to see what had happened, and they could see that the aft mast was leaning more to starboard, and a cloud of dust had billowed up from the port side deck.

“What was that?” Clockwork asked.

“The mast is collapsing,” Unit-02 stated as he analysed the failing mast supports. “It’s about to fall. There is too much strain on the rigging.”

Suddenly, there were a couple more pings followed by crashes as the support cables shot down to the deck, decapitating one poor unlucky ghoul, and then the near one-hundred-foot-long metal mast tumbled down over the starboard side. The mast cleaved through the roof of the storage warehouse beside it and came to rest horizontally on the roof of a smaller building beneath it.

“Shit, we’re gonna need to be stealthy as fuck now,” Clockwork groaned. The ghouls had now went from mindless shuffling to a complete frenzy.

“Agreed.”

The two quietly hurried away from the gate and began to make their way around the fence. They avoided the main gate, as more ghouls were moving around it, and continued to follow the fencing until they arrived at the freight section of the harbour. Here they had huge hulking wrecks in their berths under giant cargo cranes, masses of containers with undistributed goods stacked in huge blocks, and several large warehouses. One such warehouse bore the insignia of Starlight Industries.

“There it is,” Clockwork pointed out.

Unit-02 nodded as he approached a hole in the fence and used his mechanical strength to tear the fencing apart, making it big enough for the two of them to get through. Once inside, the two began moving cautiously towards the warehouse. They had to take cover several times as movement and growls alerted them to some ghouls roaming about. Eventually, the two made it to their destination and quickly got inside.

Clockwork stood behind Unit-02 after the door closed behind them. The machine slowly turned his head as he scanned the warehouse interior for any potential threats.

“All clear.” Unit-02 walked towards a collection of crates and steel containers.

“How are we supposed to find the way into this upgrade station?” Clockwork asked as she kept pace with the robot.

“It is hidden, but I’m following a locator beacon.”

Clockwork followed behind as he passed the crates and began moving around the stacks of containers. He soon stopped by a rusty blue container that was marked ‘USD-05’ on the doors.

“This is it.” He opened the doors. Inside there was nothing, but a small collection of wooden boxes stacked up towards the back.

“Um, it looks empty,” Clockwork said in confusion.

Unit-02 entered the container and approached the crates. He looked them over for a moment before pressing a metal hoof down on a corner box that was sticking out a little. The small wooden box’s lid compressed until a click was heard; then the crates began to rearrange themselves so that there was an opening in the middle of them. Said opening revealed a staircase going down to a sealed vault-like door.

“I stand corrected. Oh wow, this is exciting!” The young mare squealed in anticipation.

The two walked down the stairs, but Clockwork was suddenly startled when the boxes above closed to hide the staircase. She calmed down momentarily and looked at the huge door that was now illuminated in an aqua-blue light from a pair of lamps in the corners.

“Um, how do we open it? I don’t see a console or a door handle?” She asked.

Unit-02 looked to the right side of the door and pressed at the concrete wall. It indented, and a panel slid down to reveal a console with a sizeable hole in it.

Proper identification is required.” A synthetic male voice suddenly spoke in a calm tone, startling Clockwork again.

“Goddesses above, that scared me!”

The voice repeated.

“Proper identification?” asked Clockwork with a raised brow before examining the console. The only thing on it that seemed to have any sort of relative function was the hole. A glowing hoof print could be seen inside at the bottom. “Huh, weird way to make a button.” She reached in with a foreleg. Her leg sank deep into the hole past her elbow before her hoof touched the pressure pad at the bottom. Clockwork then suddenly gasped in alarm as two padded plates clamped against her leg inside, holding her limb in place.

“What’s wrong?” Unit-02 asked calmly.

“It’s got me! I can’t pull my leg…OW!” She shrieked as she felt something prick her hoof. Just a moment afterwards, her leg was released, and she wasted no time in pulling out. “Son of a bitch, it stung me!”

Proper identification acquired. Welcome to Upgrade Station Delta, Doctor Turner.

“Who the fuck is Doctor Turner?”

“Possibly an ancestor of yours,” replied Unit-02 as the large door slowly opened.

“Ancestor, huh?”

“That was a bio-metric lock. If it opened for you, then your DNA resembles somepony registered in the system.”

“So that was what that prick was? It took a blood sample?”

“Yes.” Once the door was fully opened, they both entered the pristine facility.

“Oh my gosh, this place looks amazing! Everything is undisturbed and clean. I can soooo make a fortune in selling shit from this place.” The mare spoke giddily as she took in the clean interior and all the equipment just waiting to be used.

Soon, Clockwork was started again by the facility’s automated alert system.

Warning. Unable to connect with Production Facility. Attempting to reconnect…

“Goddesses above, don’t do that!” Clockwork whined.

Error. Unable to connect with Production Facility. Connection lost… Attempting to reroute…

“What’s going on?”

Error. Production Facility signal lost. Alternative connection with Unit-1000 established.”

“If the facility cannot connect with the Production Facility, then that means one of two things,” said Unit-02.

“Which are?”

“Either the facility is offline, or the facility has been destroyed.”

“Chances are its destroyed. A lot of shit goes boom around here if it causes ponies trouble.”

“However, we do not need a connection to the facility to do what we came here for.” Unit-02 approached a large centre console. A cable snaked its way out from the base of his endoskull, freaking Clockwork out, and connected with the console.

Access granted, Unit-02… Compatible Infiltrator detected… Flesh Binding Spell Matrix supplied via Unit-1000 data stream… System repair and flesh binding selected… Please enter available upgrade station.

Clockwork watched in wide-eyed fascination as the large screen before her flashed on, displaying the data that was mentioned over the speaker system, as well as a profile of the pony that Unit-02 had selected for a genetic template.

“What in the what now?” The cable snaked back into his endoskull, which made her shiver in revulsion.

Unit-02 blinked as he returned to his senses. “Oh, it would seem Unit-1000 is wirelessly streaming data from Upgrade Station Alpha. It contains the spell matrix for a flesh binding agent that will allow organic tissue to be bonded to my endoskeleton.”

“I’m a mechanic, not a biologist or mage,” Clockwork deadpanned in lack of understanding.

“It means I will look like that once its complete,” He said as he pointed at the screen with his tail. He then walked over to one of several large pod-like structures that formed a semi-circle on the facility’s main floor. He stepped into an open pod, and once he was fully inside, the doors closed behind him.

Clockwork suddenly felt vulnerable. She didn’t understand this place yet, and she was scared to be alone here, despite her excitement over the advanced technology all around her. She looked up at the screen as a progress bar appeared in a small window to the side marked with Unit-02’s mechanical identification and stated what was happening. First, it stripped his body down; removing the damaged parts, even those that were repaired enough to function. Second, it rebuilt the body with fresh parts to make him fully functional again. Third, he was infused with the magic of the pony selected, which was nothing too noteworthy apart from the pony being an Earth Pony renowned for his impressive Earth Pony strength. However, upon the final stage, something went wrong.

Error. Connection lost. Data stream interrupted. Flesh binding stopped.

“Huh!?” Clockwork cried out. “What does that mean?”

Not long after, the upgrade pod opened, and Buckshot walked out. From what Clockwork could see, a beige Earth Pony with a brown tail and a Mohican-style brown mane was what came out. That was, however, until he turned to look at her, and she squeaked in surprise as most of the left side of his face still showed his endoskull, with flesh formed around his muzzle and lower jaw.

“Um, it didn’t finish,” She said with a cringe. Despite having seen him for so long as a robotic skeleton, something about the endoskull showing through a hole in his flesh creeped her out.

“Yes, it would seem so,” replied Buckshot with a sigh. His voice sounded cleaner and less electronic.

“What happened?”

“It would seem the connection was lost. Since it was Upgrade Station Alpha that was broadcasting it, then that means either Unit-1000 has left the building, or the facility is gone now too. Either way, it stopped transmitting the spell, therefore this facility couldn’t continue applying flesh via the nanolith.”

“Yeah, you have a sizeable hole in your face now. I can see your robotic skull and into your mouth.”

“Eh, guess I’m gonna have to wear something to cover my face then.”

“Wait, this place has a workshop, right? I can fashion you something and… you sound different.”

“Ah, yeah. My voice was a little off after what happened to me. It’s just been restored.”

“Huh. I like it.” The mare smiled, then hurried off.

Buckshot smiled at her enthusiasm, but then cringed. The flesh around the unformed section of his face moved slightly; and the feeling of flesh rubbing against his endoskull transmitted an uncomfortable feeling to his electronic brain. He was going to have to get used to that, along with all the other feelings his new flesh and fur would give him. He knew that was going to be quite the experience from now on.

While Clockwork rushed off to find a workshop, Buckshot began roaming around the facility. He was in no rush to leave, nor did he have any desire to leave the young mare behind, for he valued her abilities after she helped repair him. His memory was still fragmented, but it was now more of a haze than inaccessible data. He realised that this meant he’d eventually get his memories back, most likely over time as it pieced itself back together. Even so, there was a niggling in his head. A thought, a memory, something that wanted to be remembered, but he couldn’t. He did know, however, that whatever it was, it was important to him.

Buckshot came to a door that was marked ‘Residential’, and when it opened, it revealed a short corridor with four separate doors to what appeared to be the facility’s accommodation suites. Curious, he began to explore the rooms. The first couple were empty and showed no signs of being used; but when he entered the third, he found a duffle bag on the bed that had half of its contents strewn out. It looked like whoever it belonged to was in the process of unpacking before leaving in a hurry.

Buckshot tilted his head slightly. He peered into the bag, finding mostly clothes that were almost perfectly preserved. He pulled out a black trench coat with long tails that would drape over the rump and flanks, which he figured would work well in concealing weapons.

“Hmm. This looks good. What else is in here?”

He then pulled out a plain white shirt, a pair of black trousers and a pair of black combat boots. The rest of the bag contained some utensils and a travel med kit. He liked what he’d found so far, but he felt like checking the room’s wardrobe to see if there were more clothes, or even a uniform. In there, he found a couple of lab coats hanging inside and a door mirror.

He decided to try the clothes on for the sake of disguising himself as per his initial programming (but he didn’t quite fancy wearing a lab coat). The pants and boots fit well but the shirt felt a little snug. The trench coat fit as well as he had hoped, and upon looking over at his back, he could confirm that it would be able to hide a holstered weapon underneath. As he checked himself in the mirror, he couldn’t help cracking a smile.

“Heh. All I need now is a pair of sunglasses and it’ll be a perfect tough guy look.” His smile quickly faded as his gaze focused on the hole in his face, where he could still see his endoskull and glowing red eye. “A good look can easily be ruined by something like that.”

His newly formed right ear twitched as he picked up the echoing sound of metal striking metal. This brought his smile back, for he knew this meant that his new friend found a workshop and had got to work. Satisfied, he returned to the main console to download any useful data and see if there were any other units or facilities online, which he found was a negative.

Buckshot found himself getting bored as the sounds of metal work continued. He had explored the entirety of the facility and didn’t find anything else of value. He had stayed away from the workshop as he didn’t want to disturb Clockwork as she worked, but after the fourth hour his patience was wearing thin.

He let out a sigh and turned to head for the workshop, just as the door opened and a rather sweat-drenched and dirty Clockwork stepped out.

“Phew! I don’t know what metal they had in there, but it was hard to work with. But I did it! C’mon, let’s see how it fits!”

Buckshot followed her into the workshop. There were several broken tools and blow torches, all strewn around a well-crafted half-face mask. The mask was made from several layers, each layer forming more of its shape. The area that covered the missing ear had several lines cut into it with a mesh grate inside to allow sound to pass through. The young mare excitedly picked up the metal mask and, balancing on her hind legs, lifted it up to her friend’s face. The mask settled on his face and covered the hole nicely.

“Oh yeah. That’ll look good on you, especially in that get up.” Clockwork happily clapped her forehooves before quickly catching the mask as it slipped off his head. “Heh. Gonna need to make some straps or something for it.”

“You did a good job. It looks great. Hmm. I’ll need a cover story as to why I’m wearing it.”

“Oh, that’s easy. You could say you got a horrible burn or something. I’ve seen several ponies like that wear eye patches, masks and what not after getting burned.”

“Burned, huh. Thank you,” said Buckshot as an idea came to mind.

“Huh, what?” Clockwork asked in confusion, only to see him approach a gas tap on a nearby workbench. “Um, what are you doing?”

“Looking the part.” He turned one of the gas taps on. The cyber stallion then picked up two pieces of scrap metal and struck them hard together in the flow of gas. As the two pieces of metal struck, it released a spark that ignited the gas, creating a flamethrower. Buckshot watched the jet of flame for a moment, and then turned up the gas a little to make its flame as big as possible. Then, to the horror of Clockwork, he put the left side of his head into the fire.

“Are you fucking crazy!? Get your head out of that! Oh goddesses, I can hear it sizzling!”

Buckshot instantly felt a very unsavoury feeling as he torched the side of his face. The sensation was the worst thing he had ever felt up until that point, and the longer it went on, the worse it got. Eventually, when he felt his flesh had been well torched, he pulled his head back, took the mask and pressed it onto the burned flesh. He released a hiss, the touch of the mask against his burn being very unpleasant. It eventually dulled, however, almost becoming soothing due to the cool metal. When he pulled his hoof away this time, the mask stayed in place, the burned flesh making it stick. He felt a warmth in his chest as his newly installed regeneration talisman began to heal the damaged flesh. Once that was finished, the mask was fused to his face, the flesh around the mask now bald and warped.

“You are fucking crazy,” Clockwork gagged.

“Sorry, it… was a spur of the moment thing.”

“Yeah, don’t do that shit again.” The mare sniffed and gagged again. “Eww, burnt flesh reeks!”

“Don’t worry. I won’t do that again. It was really unpleasant. I think it hurt me.” He felt slightly unsure about that, what with getting used to the new feelings of having flesh.

“Well, no shit it hurt! Being burned is like one of the worst things anypony can feel!”

Buckshot apologised again, and the two left the workshop. Once outside, Clockwork took some deep breaths of untainted air to clear the smell of burnt flesh from her nose. The remainder of their time in Upgrade Station Delta was of Clockwork taking materials and scrap. Buckshot had convinced her not to pull any of the systems apart and only take redundant material, as the facility would likely be needed for possible future repairs.

“So, what will you do now, Buckshot?” asked Clockwork.

“I don’t know. My memory may have been repaired, but it’s still fragmented. It’ll take time for my memory to be fully restored.” He looked down at the small mare, her saddlebags bulging with her newfound scrap. “Could I stay with you until my memory is back, if that’s okay?”

“Um, sure. I would like that, actually. It does get kinda lonely out here all alone, so I could really use the company.” She smiled brightly.

With that settled, the two headed off back into the ruined city.

XXXXX

As the days turned into weeks and into months, Clockwork and Buckshot managed to get a place in Tenpony Tower. The tower allowed her entry after she was praised by DJ-PON3 for fixing some of his equipment and that he’d be happy for her services again in the future. Buckshot decided to give being a mercenary a try after it was recommended to him by Clockwork, since his mechanical durability and strength would be a good asset in that line of work. Plus, it would bring in some good money.

Buckshot as a mercenary was a deadly and ruthless pony. If his job were to take somepony out, he performed it with such brutality that he quickly became known and feared by the type of ponies he went after. He became known to the wasteland as ‘The Masked Merc’ thanks to DJ-PON3’s reports.

Clockwork noticed how he became more equine as time went on; how he walked, talked, and spoke. He soon became a pony that didn’t care about how other ponies thought about him and acted in such a manner. If he were given a task to do and didn’t like or care about the one who gave it to him, he would perform it half-heartedly and complete it to its most minimum criteria. But if he liked and respected the one that gave him such, he would do it to the best of his abilities. He also became somewhat protective of Clockwork, like he was a bigger brother looking out for his younger sister. When she asked him about it, he would reply by saying that he felt compelled to protect her but didn’t know why.

Despite everything, his memory was slowly piecing itself back together. After several weeks he remembered that he had a sister but was initially confused because the memory conflicted with other memories where he was mechanical around the same time. Soon after, he remembered that he copied the mind and memories of a Gunner Mercenary back in the Marejave before going out to do a mission. He also remembered who had given him and his sister the mission and that they both followed their target to Manehattan. After a year he remembered everything apart from what happened after he and his sister entered the Impact Crater in pursuit of their target. He wanted to remember badly, but he found that the memory was always out of reach, like it was something he didn’t want to remember.


XXXXX

Four Years After the Destruction of the Production Facility.

Buckshot, along with a Tenpony Salvage Squad, were running for their lives back to the tower as a new wasteland monster gave chase.

“Don’t look back! Run! Just run!” yelled the team leader as he ran at the back of the pack. The group was running so hard and fast that their packs bounced and clattered and some of their items fell out, but no pony cared when a monster was chasing them.

During their expedition to recover more items to restock the tower, they had disturbed a monster that had grown in wasteland infamy over the last few years for its hunting and deadly attributes. They called it the Pulmonis for its amazing jumping ability. One member of the group had already fallen at its claws.

“Once we get back to the tower, find cover and let the guards take care of it!”

“Not if it gets us first!” A young mare shrieked in terror.

Her brother tried to reassure her. “It’s not gonna get us, sis!”

Buckshot found himself focusing on the brother and sister in front of him. He felt a compulsion to keep himself between them and the monster as they fled. He would even use his tail to hold and fire a sawed-off lever-action shotgun, but the buckshot was too weak to penetrate the creature’s hardened scales.

Just as the group reached the station, the Pulmonis crashed down in between them. The sister and brother managed to jump onto the station platform, but the group leader and Buckshot were not so lucky. The creature swiped out with its thick tail, smacking away the leader who unfortunately bounced, tumbled, and fell off the edge of the raised railway to his death. The creature rounded on Buckshot and tackled the masked pony to the ground.

“You ugly fuck! I’m not your lunch!” He growled as he shoved one hoof against the upper jaw and the other pressed against its chest to keep it from biting down on his head. He gritted his teeth as the creature’s multiple tongues flicked out and its split jaw chewed on the hoof in its jaw.

“Sister, don’t!”

The creature suddenly grunted as something smacked it on the side of the head. The distraction was enough for Buckshot to heave the monster off him with his mechanical strength. The Pulmonis slid across the floor until it kicked out with its huge powerful hindlegs to right itself. It roared angrily, its split jaw opening wide while its multiple tongue lashed out in animalistic anger. Buckshot moved again to put himself between the monster and the two young ponies.

“Get inside, now!” He yelled.

“You heard him sis, c’mon!”

“We can’t just leave him out here! That thing killed our boss!”

“Leave it to him and the guards!”

Two ponies in tan-coloured combat armour rushed to the platform edge, each holding a long-range scoped rifle in their magic. The monster responded to the growing threat by raising up its thick tail and fanning out the barbed end. Buckshot raised his non-masked eyebrow as he wondered what the creature was doing, but quickly became alarmed as his threat indicator flashed in his HUD. It was then that the creature whipped its tail, and several sharp barbs came hurtling towards them. The two guard ponies were impaled fatally, and Buckshot took a bard to his shoulder.

“Son of a bitch.” He grunted in pain. Even after four years, pain was still something he hadn’t gotten used to (but at least it meant he could still feel something). He gritted his teeth while he used his nano-fibre tail to grab the barb and yank it out of his shoulder. “Fuck, that hurt!” He then noticed the wound and the hole in his trench coat. “Clockwork is gonna be mad at me for this.”

The creature roared, slamming its tail into the railway sleepers, and smashing the ground with its fore legs in a show of aggression. Buckshot turned to face it, his face now serious and his one eye taking on a crimson glow in his pupil.

“Alright. No more mister nice pony.” He used his tail to throw up the bottom end of his coat, exposing a combat shotgun battlesaddle to extend it out to its deployed state, ready for action.

The Pulmonis growled before whipping its tail out again, sending more barbs towards him. Buckshot dove to the side and fired a slug from his battlesaddle. The creature grunted in slight pain as large pieces of lead smacked into its thick hide. It realised that he was a strong threat, so it focused on the weak: the two siblings freaking out in helplessness on the platform. With a powerful slam of its tail into the ground, the creature launched itself into the air with its powerful hindlegs, jumping higher than Buckshot had expected and crashing down onto the platform behind the young pair. They shrieked in fear as it rounded on them, swinging its tail out to swipe at them. Buckshot swiftly jumped onto the platform, caught the tail before it could hit the two and grappled with it to protect them.

“Ugh! Run! Now!” The monster shrieked in rage and pain from both the pressure on its tail and being denied its meal. It turned to face them; its four eyes focused on the petrified siblings. It growled and fanned out its tail tip, the barbs cutting into Buckshot’s right cheek and neck, which made him yell in pain and let go of the tail. Seizing its opportunity, the monster bashed Buckshot aside, sending the cyber-pony tumbling over. The colt squeaked in surprise as he found himself caught in a tangle of limbs with Buckshot, but then let out a cry of fear as the monster rounded on the now isolated filly.

Buckshot got to his hooves upon hearing the filly’s screams. A sudden feeling of dread, fear, failure, and anger towards himself filled his head; a feeling he got every time he tried to remember his sister. The flood of emotion made him pause, and that pause was all it took. The monster pounced onto the filly, pinning her beneath it as it roared into her face.

“No, No, NO!” Buckshot charged toward the creature.

Unfortunately, it was too late. The Pulmonis’s split jaw opened and the multitude of tongues lashed out, wrapping around the struggling filly’s head, and with a violent shake of its own head, wrenched her head clean off her body and crushed it in its jaws to swallow. Buckshot screamed in rage as the creature stabbed the headless body with its tail and then jumped away while Buckshot chased after it, firing his shotgun until it disappeared into the ruins. He felt a familiar rage boil within him, a rage borne of loss, pain, and anger towards himself. And like a dam bursting, his memory of what happened in the Manehattan Crater returned. Now he knew why he felt so angry: he failed to save his own sister when a power armoured pony self-destructed his armour.

Afterward, Clockwork found her friend down in one of the tower’s guard training rooms, demolishing the place. She watched in shock and confusion as the cyber-pony smashed training dummies, benches, weapon racks and even the wall in a display of raw anger. Clockwork rushed over to him and got in front of him to stop him.

“Whoa, big guy, what’s the matter?” She asked, putting her forehooves onto his chest. “I’ve never seen you this angry.”

“I failed again,” He angrily replied.

“Again?”

“Yes, I failed to save that kid’s sister like I failed to save my own.” He growled, punching the floor with a hoof and creating a sizable indentation.

“Wait… does that mean you finally remember?”

Buckshot sighed and sat down, the anger draining away to give way to sorrow. “Yes. I could have saved her, but I acted too late.”

“What happened?”

“You remember what I told you, about following our target to the Impact Crater?”

Clockwork nodded as she sat down and swivelled her ears to give him her full attention.

“We tracked her to a place called Paradigm Cybernetics and finally cornered her. Little did we know she had a power-armoured escort. We took him out first to remove the threat, or rather we thought we did. When we had our target in sight, that very pony jumped us from behind and got us in a body lock. We couldn’t free ourselves, and while we were trapped our target escaped, and he triggered his armour’s self-destruct. I struggled to free myself longer than I should have, and by the time I finally got around to using my shotgun and sever his foreleg, it was too late. He detonated just moments later… I was flung across the room, so I didn’t take the full force of the blast, but my sister did…” He paused, letting out a sad sigh, his one eye shimmering with tears ready to fall. “When I woke up, I found what was left of my sister in a small crater. There was nothing I could have done to save her. She died… because I didn’t act fast enough.”

“Oh Buckshot, I’m so sorry. I… I know how you feel. Really, I do,” Clockwork said sadly.

“You do?”

“Yeah. When I was just a little filly, a group of Raiders attacked my family in our own home. My mother hid me so I wouldn’t be found, but I could hear it all. My father and older brother fought hard and my mother did everything she could to lead them away from where she hid me. My dad and brother died at their hooves, and I think they took my mum, since I never found her body.” The young mare sighed and shook her head. “…I hated myself for a long while after that.” She looked up at him with serious eyes. “Now, I bet you want revenge on this pony you were chasing, right?”

Buckshot met her gaze and nodded. “I do. She took my sister from me, and now I want to kill her for it.”

“Well, I’m not letting you go alone.” She quickly held up a hoof to stop him from refusing her company. “You’re my friend. I care about you and I don’t want to see you get hurt, so I’m coming with you and I’ll help where I can.”

After living with her for four years, he knew he couldn’t change her mind, so he nodded in agreement.

“So, where do we start?” She asked as she began tending to his wounded shoulder. She could see a little of his endoskeleton inside the wound, reminding her that he was a machine, though it was hard to tell these days with how equine he was.

Buckshot grunted and gritted his teeth all the while, especially when the stitching started. “Ow-she was looking for information on Project Infiltrator. She was going to our creator’s home, but that would lead her back to the-Ow-back to the Marejave and the Production Facility. Her original home was in the Marejave, so that’s where we need to go.”

Clockwork bit the thread to snap it off, finishing the stitches. “There. Well, in that case, we better head to the train station. The train will arrive in the next couple of days.”

With a plan in mind, the robot and the young mare prepared for a trip to the Marejave desert, so that Buckshot, Unit-02, could finally get his revenge for his fallen sister.

Author's Note:

I'm not dead... yet.

I started this back in April just as the world went to shit with this Corona bollocks. I did a couple thousand words worth before losing my motivation. When i came back to it a few weeks ago i deleted everything apart from the first segment and rewrote the rest.

So now finally its ready for your viewing pleasure. I hope you all enjoy this chapter and look forward to more in the future.

I commissioned the talented Pridark for a pic of Buckshot as he looks now.