• Published 31st May 2019
  • 4,174 Views, 148 Comments

The Teacher - Flyingboat Boy



Houston has gone by many titles. The Star Player. The Courier. But to the ponies of Equestria he goes by a different name. The Teacher.

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Foundations

"Urrrgh..."

Houston groaned as he began to stir from his short nap, rubbing the migraine at the back of his head away. Realizing that the source of his pain was from the headphones on his head, still ringing out static, he quickly switched his terminal off and peeled off the headphones to sit back in his chair.

Soaking in the patch of sunlight from the window above his workstation, Hoston sighed as he allowed himself to bask in its warmth without fears of his skin being flayed. There was something soothing about this world's sun; it wasn't harsh, or rough, or even scorching like the sun in the Mojave.

It was rather...nice.

Nice change of pace not to be roasted by radiation for once.

Pulling himself off his chair, he grunted as he stretched the joints in his back and arms. It would have been nice to and all to sit back and relax, but he had things to do and questions to ask.

<Beep. Beep. Blip>

"Morning buddy" replied Houston casually as he flipped ED-E on and fiddled with one of his antenna's. He had spent all night and a good portion of the early morning decoding the strange creature's sound, creating what he believed to be a successful translation program condensed into a holodisk. He just hoped that it would work as he installed it into one of ED-E's side compartments.

"Cmon pal, let's have some breakfast"

<Beep. Beep. Bloop>

On his way to the exit hatch, Houston grabbed the two modified headsets he built last night off the table. Swinging the heavy metal doors open, he covered his eyes with his forearms to block the rays of sunlight and hovered over his campsite in order to find his target.

He eventually saw her, still sitting where he left her last night and engaging in what looked to be...preening?

He stopped and stared. Houston had never seen such an act before, so he was rather interested in how the creature delicately rearranged what feather stuck out of the bandages with its beak. She eventually stopped, however, once she noticed that he was looking at her silently with fascination.

Taking no notice of the blush on her cheeks, Houston instead turned his attention to the two other companions by the campfire.

<Morning Master>

<000011110000>

"Morning B-6-RK, morning A L P H A" acknowledged Houston as he picked his helmet off the crate which he left it on and sat down. Reaching over, he grabbed a few pieces of wood and threw them into the dying fire, "How were your patrols?"

<Optimal. No categorized enemies entered allocated patrol route for the duration of the ten-hour routine>

<000011100011>

"So the area around the plane clear of hostiles?" asked Houston.

<Affirmative> replied B-6-RK, <All wildlife within a one-mile radius has been classified as either neutral or friendly. I am currently updating the information to your Pip-Boy>

"What about the surrounding areas? Give me an outline of the geography" said Houston as he removed the pot of clean plates from the fire.

<Of the area covered, eighty-five percent consists of pine trees. Both west and south of the forest's boundaries lead to grass plains and then mountains. Eastwards leads to a series of canyons. Deemed High Caution area due to strong winds and multiple classified dangers. As for the North, there is a small meadow at the edge, just before it reaches the fringes of another forest.>

"Hmm...anything of interest?" asked Houston.

<Well...in the North, there seem to be railway tracks cutting right across the meadow. Based on corrosion samples collected, tracks are approximately fifteen years old.>

"Railway tracks? Good, that means there must be some form of civilization out there" Houston's eyebrow furrowed, "Have you scanned the water and the air?"

<All test samples came back negative for traces of radiation. Water is the purest sample of all collected so far. While the air does contain 0.0064moles of nitrogen more than samples in the Mojave, I deem it is still life sustainable.>

"Good, good," said Houston as he pointed to the plane, "You two can go in and charge up, ED-E and I can take it over from here. Thank you, by the way"

After dismissing his two drained robot companions back into their charge pods, Houston turned his attention back to his guest of honor, who up to this point had watched the entire conversation between him and his robot with bewildered eyes.

"That's going to get much worst, just you wait" muttered Houston while flicking the 'on' switch on one of the headsets and tossing it at the female's feet. When she picked them up slowly and still gave him that same bewildered look, his motioned to his own headset while he now wore on his head.

"Run the program ED-E" commanded Houston as the female followed his motions and finally placed her set on her head. Houston reached up and flicked the switch on his one on too. "Testing 1, 2, 3. Can you hear me?"

He sat back and allowed the program in ED-E to translate his words, smiling slightly as he watched the female's surprised expression when ED-E fed the translation to the ports on her ears. In response to his translated words, she made several squawking noises back at him.

"You...you can speak our language now? How is this possible?" The words echoed in his ears as ED-E translated her words and brought them back to Houston.

"Simultaneous Interpretation" replied Houston dryly, "Simple feedback system. I speak to you, my robot translates and he then proceeds to send it to you. Vice versa"

"This is so weird...why couldn't you do this yesterday?" asked the female with a slight frown, "Instead of leaving me in the dark with only guesswork"

"I needed a recording of your voice" replied Houston, "Only then was I able to unscramble it and develop a translating program to install in my robot- that's ED-E by the way. Finally, I had to build two devices to which I could direct and redirect communications. Pain to put together with what I had on my plane, plus the fact that I'd rather fix things, not build things"

"But enough about me" continued Houston as he walked over to where the female was currently lying, "I need to check your wounds, spread your wings for me would ya"

The creature blushed heavily as his words, not that he noticed or cared. Ignoring what little protest she did make, he reached down and took a hold of the bandaged wings himself.

"Have you been able to move it much since last night?" asked Houston as she prodded the base of the wings with his fingers.

"N-no, not r-really..." He swears he must be hearing things, but was the creature...moaning? Nah, must be just the weather. "I c-can...feel just a-a bit...n-not a lot t-though"

"Is it just condensed to the base of your wings?"

"Y-yeah...just- ahhh!"

The female snapped her beak shut with her talons, the blush adorning her face getting ever darker. Houston just frowned in annoyance before huffing as he pulled away from her wings and directed his attention instead to the next wound.

"Can I see your leg?"

This time she stuck her leg out to him with no problem. Kneeling, he slowly began to unravel the layers of bandages on the limb. SIlence permeated around the two of them as Houston did his work while the female played with ED-E, much to the little ball of metal's delight.

Eventually, Houston got the bandages undone and began examining her hind legs with a critical eye. Turning it here and there. After some time, he let go of her leg and stood back, just as she turned to him with an expectant look.

"Well?"

"Well...your leg is all fine and good. You'll probably be able to walk on it soon. I'm more concerned about your..." he bit his lips as he saw her joyful expression slowly falter as he approached the topic of her wings, "Fuck it, I'll tell it to you straight. As far as I'm concerned, you will never be able to fly again. Several severed nerves in your wings."

He pulled back, allowing that tragic news to sink into the female creature in front of him. As he watched her slowly break down into a sobbing mess, he couldn't help but feel slight sympathy for her. Not a lot mind you. But a bit nonetheless.

As she continued to cry her hearts out, he just stood there awkwardly with ED-E at his side, the robot sidekick giving him a disapproving beep.

"What? What do you expect me to do?"

<Beep.Beep. Bloop. Beep.>

"Nah, no way, I don't do that" replied Houston sternly. His robot just gave him a sarcastic beep in return and motioned to where the female was still crying. True enough to ED-E's words, her cries were slowly getting louder and louder. Any louder and it'll seriously blow a fuse in Houston's head.

"Alright, alright. I'll do something" conceded Houston, much to the little bot's delight. As he got over and sat down next to the creature, he cautiously wrapped his one of his arms around her, albeit rather awkwardly. He then slowly patted her on the back, saying soothing words that he probably didn't even mean.

Still...it got her to calm down slightly, enough for her to mumble a few words as she pressed herself against his armor for comfort, much to his malaise.

"I-I'm sorry...for acting like *hic* this. Its just...everything is so...so..." she frowned as she struggled to come up with the correct word.

"Complicated?"

"Yeah...I mean, I nearly died *hic*, an alien appears before me and saves me, then patches me up only to find out I can never fly again? Seriously,*hic* is this some sort of sick joke" She covered her puffed up eyes with her talon to stem the flow of tears, but he could still see them trickling down her talons. "Sorry if I'm sounding so *hic* ungrateful, but my life pretty much revolves around my wings. If I can't fly, then well..."

She trailed off, sighing sadly while Houston looked at her with sympathy. her situation really reminded him of something similar that happened to him once in the Mojave.

"You know...I know that feeling of utter helplessness" said Houston slowly. The female in his arms slowly craned her head up to look at him, "I once lost parts of my body too."

"How's that possible? You don't look like-"

"Like I lost something? Not on the surface, you can't tell" he smiled grimly as he remembered Big MT, "I once lost my brain, my heart, and my spine. Some sick scientists from my planet tore them out while I was in surgery. Because of that, I wasn't able to leave their facility, eternally doomed to spend the rest of my days there with the other monstrosities that they crafted"

"No way did that happen. If they did remove those vital organs then how are you eternally doomed? Wouldn't you already be dead?"

"Oh, I would have. Except they replaced those organs with robotic parts. I had to go on this massive fetch-quest to find my brain, which happened to be the only organ that the scientists somehow 'misplaced'" Staring into the flames, he smiled as he reminisced the time he did find his brain in Mobius's lair, "Turns out my brain was a complete prick and I had to have this whole philosophical debate with it. But in the end, I was able to get it back, have the scientist put them back in my body and let me leave without too much trouble"

"That is so anticlimactic" For the first time since her breakdown, she had the hints of a small smile on her face, making Houston glad as he thought he must be doing something right.

"I know right? But the point I'm getting to here is...I know the pain that you are going through. And it's because of that, that I'm telling you that there is still a way to save your wings. One that is less complex than the things I had to go through"

Squeezing her softly to provide some more support, he pointed to his downed aircraft, her bright blue eyes slowly following them. "I have a machine, called an Auto-Doc, on my plane. It comes equipped with the most expensive and state-of-the-art medical tools you could want. Guaranteed success in any form of surgery that you require. The only downside is every surgery is limited to the information that I feed it. If I were to say...make it perform a lobotomy, for example, and there is no preexisting program for the machine to conduct the surgery on, then the machine would most likely kill me"

"So if you had placed me in the machine, then I would have be killed?" asked the female as Houston nodded his head slowly, "Wow, guess that explains why I can't fly anymore"

"That fault lies in me. I accidentally severed several nerves as I was performing the surgery by hand. My apologies"

To his surprise, the female didn't react as badly as he expected her to. Rather she accepted it quietly before turning back to him.

"But there is a reason why you are telling me about this machine, aren't you?"

"Correct. This is where my idea comes in. I should be able to create a program for you, one that highlights your anatomy and biology. If successful, then the machine should be able to fix your wings better than I can. In exchange, I want information. Not just information about your species biology and anatomy, but also information about your world, your culture, your society, economics, and politics. Give me as much information as you can and I promise to fix your wings"

As the female pushed herself off him to ponder his deal, ED-E on the far side gave Houston an encouraging beep.

"Is there a reason why you want information so much?" asked the female, slowly turning to him.

"You're a smart one, you already know that I am an alien in a foreign and perhaps hostile world. The fact that you are a sentient creature capable of speech, coupled with my scout's reports of infrastructure up North, means that there are most likely societies with a sense of economics and politics out there. Contact will be inevitable, and I do not want to look bad on first impressions"

"Couldn't you just stay in the forest?"

"And live here forever? No. Supplies will run out eventually and I currently have no means of procuring more. Animals in this area are surprisingly smart, smart enough to elude all my traps and scatter when wither myself or my robots go hunting"

As Houston watched her continue to ponder, he quickly added a few last words as he held his hand out.

"Frankly this is a win-win situation. You get what you want and I get what I want. Though I recommend not leaving the forest until I fix your wings though. The way you seem to break down so easily at their loss probably means you depend on them quite a bit. It would a long walk to the nearest settlement from where we are"

He continued to hold his hand out expectantly, the female staring at them while she chewed her cheeks in thought.

"Sorry if this is taking too long" apologized the female while Houston raised a hand in apathy, "This is a hard decision...I mean you're an alien...with all these wondrous things on offer...I just..."

She looked at his hand one more time before relenting and placing hers with his, "But I guess you're words do have merits. Alright, I'll accept. But how do I know you won't back out?"

"You won't believe it but I'am actually a courier. It's my job to always fulfill my contracts" Houston gave her a cheeky smile, one that she slowly returned as the two of them shook hands/ talons.

...

"Natalya," she said simply.

"Pardon?"

"It's my name...Natalya" she repeated, "Yours?"

"Houston. Nice to meet you Natalya" replied Houston.

<Beep.Beep.>

"Yess you too, that bucket of bolts there is ED-E" Houston's eyes rolled while Natalya gave off a light laugh, "The other two are B-6-RK and A L P H A. You can meet them later. For now, let's have some breakfast"