• Published 31st May 2019
  • 262 Views, 11 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - Day after Day - Gamma Deekay



Do your part for the war by working hard, and at the end of the day you get to spend time at your favorite bar in the world. The Ministry of Morale asks what in life could be better than that? Well, maybe not doing it alone would be a good start.

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My favorite spot in the world

Another day over, and another evening to be spent relaxing at my favorite spot in the world.

“Today sure was a hot one, eh Crystal?” I asked into the empty bar as I wiped the beading sweat from my brow. The air conditioned interior had always been the best thing about this place after a long day at the factory. There were plenty of things to be thankful for in life, but thank Celestia for air conditioning! “I swear, the weather shifting around like this every few weeks has got to be the weirdest thing…”

“What?” Crystal asked as he poked his muzzle up above the bar top and straightened the fancy velvet vest he always wore. “Oh, hey there, bud. For a moment I was afraid I’d actually had a customer walk in!” Checking the fancy gold watch wrapped around his fetlock, he scrunched up his muzzle as he used his magic to throw his cleaning rag into the pile of dirty ones behind the bar. “Wait, is it closing time at the factory already?”

“Well, you know how it is, they still haven’t gotten around to fixing my machine.” I huffed as I took the same seat I always did at the end of the bar. “Those boys on the front line need their bullets, or so Ironshod keeps telling us. So I don’t know what’s taking so long in getting those replacement parts. I mean, they come in and re-tool all the cog making machines for bullets, and they don’t even think to stock us with spare parts?”

The old leather seat cushion compressed under my flank in a way that felt better than two long lost friends finding each other after years. My sore hooves ebbed and tingled as I finally took the pressure off of them for the first time in twelve hours, and my back stopped aching just as quickly. Celestia I swear when I retired from the factory, I was stealing this chair to use at my own house!

“Eh, you know how it goes. We’ve probably already got more than enough ammo stockpiled to run through the stripes ten times over, so it’s not exactly a priority, you know?” With a shrug, Crystal pulled a glass up from behind the bar and nodded to it. “You want your usual, or are you going to finally switch things up today?”

“Nah, I’ll just take a glass of water.” I again wiped the last of the beading sweat from my brow and offered him a smile, the same as I did every day. And just like always, that was met with a deadpan and a reluctant sigh.

“You know I run a bar, right?” Crystal grumbled as his magic floated the glass to the tap at the far end of the bar and filled it. “I know you want to do your part for the war, but maybe one of these days you can do your part for my bank account and actually order a drink.”

“I would, but you know how the wife was about me drinking.” I sighed and resisted the urge to plant my face into the worn bar-top. “After she left, I told myself, never again.”

“As you’ve endeavored to remind me every two weeks…” Crystal muttered under his breath and shot me a sideways glance.

“Then if you don’t like hearing it, why do you always ask if I want a drink?” It still hurt to know that I’d pushed away the best thing that had ever happened to me in my life. That thanks to my lack of self control, I’d disappointed my best friend so badly that she wanted nothing to do with me anymore. Celestia, I really had been every terrible thing she’d said I was. “It feels like ages since I’ve even heard her voice, Crystal.”

“Look, bud, I know you miss her.” Crystal offered a kind, if annoyed smile as he levitated my glass of water over. “But don’t you think it’s time you moved on?” This hadn’t been the first time he’d suggested the impossible, and so I didn’t at all feel bad offering the same glare to him for it.

“Tulip was my best friend, and she deserved better from me.” Taking the glass in my fetlock, I huffed and stared into the tarnished crystal. “I can’t move on, not until I’ve made things right.”

“Listen, I’m sure she’d be proud to know that for years now you’ve been coming into my bar and have stayed dry as an autumn leaf.” With his own sigh, he leaned against the bar-top and gestured to the old payphone hanging on the far wall near the bathrooms. “Have you tried reaching out to her? You can always try to give her a call, you know?”

Taking a sip from my glass, I stared at the old phone. The idea of hearing her voice played through my mind again and again, and I could feel as my heart beat faster just at the thought. Maybe Crystal was right, maybe it was finally time for me to reach out to her again. If anything, it would be worth it just to hear her voice.

Instinctively, I started to spin myself around on my bar stool. Setting my drink down again, I couldn’t fight back the smile that was slowly but steadily pulling across my muzzle. Yes, I had come a long way from back then. I’d put in my time and cleaned myself up, just like she’d wanted me to. So today was the day that I’d finally call her!

“Woah, woah, woah.” Crystal laughed as he grabbed around my fetlock, stopping me just short of leaving my seat. “I didn’t mean call her from here. Still haven’t gotten around to getting somepony to fix that damned phone yet.” Ah, right. Damn thing’s been broken for basically forever, and I guess my desires helped me forget that, if just for a moment.

But much like the realization about the phone, another thought cropped up in my mind. It has been years, and yet, she never once tried to reach out to me. What if she’d moved on from me? What if she had a whole new life, a whole new family now?

“No, it... was a stupid idea.” I shook my head and turned myself back to the bar. “She’s better off without me.”

“If you say so, bud.” Crystal shrugged.

Staring down at my glass of water, the urge for something stronger hit me hard. It was worse than the fleeting moment of hope I’d just had, because I knew that unlike her, a drink would always be there to comfort me and take away the pain. The thoughts of falling into a bottle and never crawling out again had been my constant companion for who knows how long now, but it was days like today that really tested my commitment to staying dry.

“You sure you don’t want that drink?” Crystal asked as he propped himself against the bar with a glance at the full crate of whiskey he had sitting back there with him.

“You’ve always been there for me, Crystal, but I just… can’t.” taking my glass in my fetlock, I shot back the water in it like it was the best whiskey I’d ever had in my life.

Yeah, it wouldn’t take away the crippling loneliness, or the feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere in my life anymore. But... I needed to stay dry. I may never get back the love of my life again, but I’d be damned if I couldn’t at least claw back my morals.

“Eh, suit yourself.” Crystal shrugged before he pulled another rag up in his magic and wiped at the bartop again.

The front door creaked as it was pushed open with a grunt. The goggled and robed form of the only other recent bar patron peered over at me in annoyance before the young crimson coated mare stepped inside and let the door shut hard behind her. Same as when she’d gotten here yesterday, she trotted over to the corner booth, dumping her bag under the table she’d turned into a makeshift tent.

“Good evening, miss archaeologist. Care to order something today?” Crystal only offered half seriously as the mare simply went about her business organizing things in her tent and stripping off the dusty robes she wore. “Ah, just going to ignore me again today I see, an excellent choice.” Glancing at me he snorted. “A popular choice recently if I say so myself.”

“Then why don’t you just talk to her about it?” I rolled my eyes at him before glancing back to the young mare. “It’s your bar after all.”

She popped her head out of her tent for just enough time to spot one of the wires she’d trailed across the bar. Grabbing it in her magic, she dragged it inside. She glanced over at me with her big magenta colored eyes, just long enough that I could see the freshly bandaged gash she had across her cheek. With a small click, the sparkle powered lamp in her tent began to glow, and she retreated inside once more.

“Hey, was she… hurt?” I asked, glancing over to Crystal to find him just as concerned as I was. Sure she’d taken up residence in Crystal’s bar for now, but she’d never come back hurt before. I mean, how does somepony who spends their whole day at the library come back looking like that!

Both of our ears perked as a soft sobbing came from inside her tent.

“Hey, miss Archaeologist, are you alright?” I asked, spinning myself around in my seat. She stopped sobbing for a moment, simply shifting herself inside her tent. With another click, the light she’d set up turned off, and she went back to softly sobbing in the dark.

“Look, buddy, maybe we should just leave her be for now.” Crystal offered the same two cents for the problems he always had.

But I wasn’t the pushover that he was. Forcing myself out of my seat, I made the trek to the side of the bar I seldom ever went to. Now that I got closer, I could see all the bits and bobs that the young mare had brought with her. Dozens of cans of food, a few bottles of water, and books on every kind of arcane electronic out there sat scattered just outside her tent. My back protested as I leaned down, picking up one of the books from her pile.

“Basics of terminal construction and coding, by Sunburst Flare.” I blinked as I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the complexity of those pieces of incredible arcane wizardry. Back when I went to school, I had problems even understanding algebra, so I can’t imagine the sort of math in here, let alone the arcane theory to go with it. “A bit of a heavy book to read for a young mare your age, don’t you think?”

“Go away.” The mare moaned between her sobs.

“I don’t mean to intrude, it’s just… I’d just noticed you were hurt.” Looking back to Crystal, he gave me an ‘I told you so’ sort of look. “I just wanted to know if I could help, that’s all.”

“Unless you can shut down a fucking rampaging ponytron, then you can just fuck right off.” The mare hissed at me. Honestly, I didn’t care for the language our youth used today, but with the pressures most of them face due to the war, I can hardly blame her for lashing out.

Still, while I didn’t have any idea how to deal with or repair terminals, difficult ponytrons were something I knew a little bit about from my time at the factory. Honestly, that also explains how she got that wound across her face as well.

“Let me guess, it keeps thinking you’re trespassing?” I asked, smirking as her sobs stopped. “Yeah, I know exactly how that is. Back at the factory, it feels like once every two weeks those things need a quick reset. A good whack below the back of their head with a spanner wrench should do the trick.”

“What?” The young mare grumbled. “But why? How? Unless... that’s exactly where the solenoid for their passivity override is! Goddesses, why didn’t I think of that!?” With a squeak, the young mare got to her hooves… and immediately smacked her head against the table she’d camped out under. “Ow…” With a flail of her hooves, she parted the canvas she’d draped over the table, and stuck her head out. “Tell me, is the weapon you use made of steel?”

“It’s a spanner, not a weapon.” While I’d never understand the intricacies of terminal coding, I sort of feel like she could be forgiven for not knowing the names of tools. “And yeah, it’s pure Fillydelphia Steel. As an Equestrian patriot, I wouldn’t trust using anything else of course! Especially that terrible quality stripe junk those department store catalogs offer.” Seriously, not supporting the war was one thing, but the idea to skimp on quality just to save a few bits on a tool was something I never understood!

“Yeah, if the steel can disrupt the solenoid’s magnetic field enough, that might work then!” She let out a giggle and smiled for a moment before wincing and pressing her forehoof against her injured cheek. “Hey… you don’t happen to have that wrench with you, do you?”

I gasped as I noticed the literal dozens of still healing deep wounds that ran along her leg. Since she arrived yesterday, she’d been in and out draped in her rags so much that I hadn’t seen that this hadn’t even been her first major injury. Looking up at her, I had half a mind to go have a talk with the M.o.M. about that archaeology society she was trying to get into. I mean, somepony needs to tell them about what they’re doing to her! No group, no matter how prestigious it is, should be worth what this young mare’s obviously gone through.

“No, I suppose you wouldn’t have it with you…” She scrunched up her muzzle in thought for a moment, wincing again. “What about a pipe wrench?”

“I… I don’t know?” I had to rip my eyes away from the state of her leg to look back at Crystal.

“Maybe in the maintenance closet?” He shrugged before going back to wiping at the bar-top.

“Right, maybe in the maintenance closet…” I muttered to myself as I got up and trotted over towards the bathrooms.

In all the years I’d spent in here, I hadn’t ever looked behind the old door. But for some reason, just glancing at it always sent a wave of dread through me. I don’t really know why either. It was just an old closet that, from what I could tell, Crystal never even used.

“Thanks.” The mare muttered as she trotted past me.

As she did, I likewise got a good look at the body she normally kept bundled under all those dusty rags of hers. It was a horrific sight to be sure. Her hoof was only recently injured, but dozens of old scars and healed wounds crisscrossed her body. Worst still, was the fact that her entire backside, cutie marks and all, had been horrifically burned at some point.

Turning back to the bar, I had to fight the sickness in my guts from coming up. Normally it took more than a few bottles to make me feel like throwing up, but I did my best to just make my way over to my seat again and sit down. Celestia, what the hell had happened to this mare?

“Arc… archaeology is a pretty dangerous field to be in, I guess!” I spat out as I tried to force the image of her tortured body from my mind. “Isn’t there something less… dangerous as a job you’d rather do?”

“You know, I’d considered it.” The mare grunted as she grabbed something from in the closet and shut the door again. With a heavy clunk, she dropped an old adjustable wrench onto the floor, knocking a good bit of rust flakes off of it. “But someone I looked up to once told me that if this world’s going to ever be a better place, then we need to learn from the mistakes of the past. What better way to do that than diving into old ruins for whatever secrets they hold?”

“And beating up the library’s ponytron will get you there?” I offered only a half-smirk back to her as she spun the old wrench around in her magic.

“Well, libraries have tons of records for where to find pretty much anything you want.” With a smile that again, made her wince and hold her cheek, she nodded to the door. “But if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a particularly troublesome ponytron.”

-----

Another day down, another night to be spent at my favorite place in the world.

Stepping into the air conditioned bar once more, I smiled as the lights in the bar flickered above me. Huh, guess Crystal finally got somepony out here to look at the wiring! It only took him… wait, how many years had it been?

Taking a deep breath, I was reminded of yet another thing I’d lost with all the night’s I’d spent with the bottle.

“Oh, hey there, buddy.” Crystal spoke up as he popped his muzzle up over the bartop again.

“Got the lights fixed I see!” I let out a soft laugh as I made my way over to my normal seat.

“Yeah!” The voice of miss archaeologist threw me off as I went to sit down. “It was actually pretty easy. There were a few replacement fuses of the right size at the hardware store and swapped them out for you. Should last you for a good long time before they need to be replaced again.”

“Oh, hello there miss archaeologist!” I offered a light wave as I finally took my seat. As always, the old leather conformed to me in all the right ways, and my aching body could finally relax. “How’d your date go?”

“What? What date?” She snorted as she stuck her head out of her tent. The cracked and well worn pair of glasses that adorned the end of her muzzle was new. More so than that, the bandage she’d worn yesterday was gone, and the deep gash on her cheek was already healed up, leaving just a thin scar! That is, until she scrunched up her muzzle again and winced. “Ow! Right, that date.” She rubbed at her cheek with her forehoof. “That trick you said worked like a charm! No more angry ponytron at the library!”

“Well, that’s good!” I know what I’d offered wasn’t much help, but it still made me feel good. Celestia, did it feel good. “You know, it’s no trouble really. My wife used to always need one thing or another, and…” I felt my words drift off as I realized what I was doing. “Sorry, I just… it’s been hard, coming to terms with the fact that she’s just gone. I know I screwed up, but I just wish I could tell her how much I’ve changed, you know? I’ve tried so hard...”

“Oh, come on now, buddy.” Crystal offered as he placed the full water glass in front of me. “I know you’ve been feeling alone, but this nice young mare doesn’t really need this dumped on her, you know?”

“I know, Crystal, and… I’m sorry, miss archaeologist.” I whimpered and took the cool glass of water in my fetlocks. “He’s right, you don’t need to hear my problems. You’ve got enough of your own.”

“Right.” The young mare sheepishly nodded before pointing her hoof back into her tent. “I’m just going to… go back to doing some research.” She offered a weary, but somewhat sad look to me before disappearing inside and leaving me to my water.

Good job on sounding like a pathetic stallion! Celestia, you just push out every mare who even shows up in your life, don’t you? Still, as true as that was, it would always be the case unless I kept working on fixing my own problems.

Something I needed to do by just taking it one evening at a time.

-----

Another day done, and as the cool wind sent a shiver through my spine, another evening to be spent at my favorite spot in the world.

Pushing through the door to the bar, I was greeted with the warm air that the bar’s heaters gave off. Huh, Miss archaeologist sure has been busy it seems! First the lighting, and now the heating?

“Hey there, buddy, how’s it going?” Crystal’s smiling muzzle was extra radiant today. In fact, I don’t think I’d seen the guy this happy in ages! “It’s really something, isn’t it?” He gestured to the heater as it buzzed and gave off the most luxurious warmth.

“Yeah, this is nice! I could get used to having heat again.” I laughed as I took my seat at the bar. “And how are you today, Miss archaeologist? Discover any long lost ancient secrets?”

“Oh, hey there again.” She groaned as she crawled her way to the front of her tent. With a yawn that pulled another wince from the scar on her cheek, she brought her hoof up to her face. It almost looked like she’d hurt it again and bundled it up, but as I blinked a few times, I realized that she’d had one of those newfangled Pipbuck’s strapped to her leg now. “Wait, has it really already been two weeks?” With a depressed huff, she hung her head. “Fuck, I’m not going to make it back before winter, am I?”

“Thinking of going home for the holidays?” I smirked as I took the glass of water that Crystal slid down the bar-top for me. “And where exactly is home for you?”

“Home is in Red Rock Canyon.” She sighed before pulling her hoof up again and staring at her pipbuck’s screen. “But that’s not where I need to go. What I’m looking for, I have to bring directly back to the Hayenne Mountain complex.”

“Right, for that ‘archaeology society’ you want to join.” I huffed. “Do they make all their applicants go through something this rough, or does somepony have an axe to grind with you?”

“Ugh, some days I wish I was doing this because somepony was forcing me to.” She sighed and stepped from her tent, stretching herself out a bit. “But no, I just… want to make a good first impression, you know? You only get one of those...” The fresh bandages around her side made me wince enough that she caught it. “Oh, don’t worry so much. A hungry dog got the jump on me when I was out chasing a lead.”

“If you say so…” Again, I turned away. I mean, I’d seen some pretty terrible accidents at my time at the factory, and I was far from squeamish. But something about seeing a young mare like her in that shape made me feel… wrong. “Still, maybe you should go to the hospital and get yourself checked out.”

“I would, but I’m just not comfortable in big buildings like that on my own.” She shrugged. “Too many rooms to watch out for, you know? To many opportunities for things to go wrong.”

While I’d never been one to shy away from the hospital, I also hadn’t ever met a mare so dedicated to stay away from other ponies, that she stayed in a bar. Still, as much as I worried for her safety, it wasn’t my place to speak up. I’d screwed up my own life enough to know better than to dictate anyone else’s.

“Isn’t that the truth.” Crystal muttered to himself as he wiped at the bar top.

“Say, in all this time, I’ve never asked. What’s your name?” Miss Archaeologist asked as I shot Crystal a sharp glare.

“Avocado Cog.” I turned my muzzle to her with a smile.

“Ah yes, that would explain the… Avocado with a cog shaped pit for a cutie mark.” She gave out a soft laugh before turning around to gather her rags. Again, it allowed me to see the twisted and knotted flesh of her flank.

“And uh… what’s your name?” I asked before grabbing my water glass and shooting it down. “I feel somewhat embarrassed for taking so long to ask.”

“Eh, don’t worry about it.” With a shimmy, she robed herself up again and trotted up to the bar. Crystal offered her a smile she didn’t seem to pay attention to as he poured her a glass of water as well. “And the name’s Bash Script. I know it may sound weird to you, but trust me when I say that’s just how our town names their foals.” She flashed up a smile, which brought a smile to my own muzzle. “Say, I know I’ve asked a few things of you so far, but… I can’t seem to find the Ministry of Image around here. The directions all point to a building in the center of town that is completely empty.”

“Yeah, they just finished the new building, and have moved it down south to that nice secluded spot in the forest outside of town. Just head down route fifty a few miles and you should see the turnoff for it.” With a shrug, I scratched at my chin, wondering just what she wanted from them. The Ministry of Morale was normally who ponies around here needed to go see for things, but the Ministry of Image? It wasn’t even a full branch office here, just some place they went to sanitize stripe propaganda. “Can I ask why you want to go there?”

“The file to the project I’ve been searching for is on their server.” She grunted before looking down at her Pipbuck again. With a click, the back of it opened, and a red holotape popped out. “And now that I have this, I should be able to finally get it. Then I can head to the Ministry of Arcane Sciences for what I came all the way out this far west to retrieve.” With a bit of a relieved sigh, she took a deep breath. “So with how you are, this… might be the last time you see me. So, wish me luck!”

With how I was? What did she mean? Seriously, I didn’t really get the youth today, with their swearing and odd ways of speaking. But, it didn’t take the impact away from her words. It was kind of sad to see her go, I felt like I’d spent so much time alone in the bar that I didn’t want to go back to that now that I had somepony new around to talk with.

“Well, while our time was short, I wish you all the best.” I offered a smile to her again and lifted my empty glass. She lifted hers before downing it with the same gusto I normally did. And with that, she trotted out through the door, leaving me with Crystal as my only companion once more.

“Ah, it’ll be alright, bud.” Crystal nodded as he leaned against the bar-top. “You know you’ve always got me to fall back on. I mean, I’ve never once let you down!” His smile died as I cocked an eyebrow at him. “Okay, maybe I didn’t help with the whole wife thing, among other things, but hey, I’m trying here!”

“I know.” I nodded as I spun and watched the door shut behind Bash Script. “But like you said the other day, maybe it’s time to move on. Find somewhere else to spend my days...” as I stretched out my words, Crystal’s expression sunk to levels of being horrified I didn’t think anypony could reach. It prompted me to laugh as I couldn’t hold back any more. “I’m just kidding! I can’t leave this place, you’re all I’ve got left!”

“Haha… good one. Had me going there… for a moment.” Crystal’s nervous laugh came with a sort of hollow look about him. Seriously, it was just a joke. He was my friend, I wasn’t about to abandon him, even if I didn’t ever buy a drink...

-----

Another day finished, and as I shivered from the oddly sudden onset of a snow storm, another evening waited for me to spend my time at my favorite place to hang out!

“Celestia is it cold out there!” I shivered as I stepped into the bar, instantly basking in the warmth of the heaters. “I’m so…” My hoof slipped across the wet floor, and I toppled down with a squelch. I yelped as my chin bounced off of the ground, and stars filled my eyes. “Dammit, Crystal, did you have to clean the floors today?

“I have done no such thing!” Crystal called out from the bar. “But you might want to look again!”

Opening my eyes, I found that what I’d slipped in wasn’t a puddle of water. Rather, it was a trailing line of blood that ran all the way back to Bash Script’s tent. Oh, oh fuck!

“Bash!” I gasped as I scrambled to push myself up onto my sore hooves again. Rushing past my normal seat, I followed the thinning trail of blood to the dark tent in the corner booth. With a flail of my hooves, I threw the flaps open.

“Hey… Avocado… ow.” Bash Script’s normal crimson coat was nearly pale white now, and she spoke only with a weak whimper.

It didn’t take a doctor to know that she was in really bad shape. She was haphazardly splayed across her makeshift bed as pulsing lines of blood pushed out from her absolutely mangled front hooves. Even her pipbuck was mostly mangled, and those things are touted as nearly indestructible!

“What the fuck, Bash!” I all but screamed as I stumbled back and pulled at my mane. “Small cuts are one thing, but I’ve seen less severe accidents at the Factory! You need to be taken to a hospital!”

“No, just...” She cried as sparks shot from her cracked horn, but she did her best to pull the cloth back from a small white box tucked under some of her musty and dirty rags. “I n-need meds…”

“You need a doctor!” I spat out, wishing that she’d just relent and agree to have me take her! But instead, she simply rolled her eyes at me…

No, she wasn’t rolling her eyes, she just passed out!

“Don’t just stand there!” Crystal shouted from behind the bar, “help the poor mare and give her the meds!”

“Fuck!” I growled as I dove forward and tore open the small white box. Inside were a few old syringes of what looked to me like the same brand of Med-X we stocked at the factory, as well as a large restoration potion with a built in needle and leather strap. “Fuck, I guess… I guess I just use all of it.”

Scrambling, I had my magic pull the potion out first and moved to wrap it around her foreleg. I paused, realizing that with as mangled as they were, I wasn’t going to be able to put it there. Looking down, I grabbed one of her rear hooves and pulled it up. As quickly as I could, I got the leather strap wrapped tight on her, and watched as the potion started to drain down into her leg.

Next, I used my magic to apply one syringe of Med-X to each of her busted forelegs. Oh, Celestia, I hope this isn’t too much. Or too little for that matter!

But as I pulled out both needles, I was relieved to see that her wounds were already starting to close. Hopefully it will be enough so that she won’t die. But even so, the second she’s stable, I’m taking her to the hospital! No ifs, ands, or buts about it!

“Look at that, you didn’t freeze up for once!” Crystal laughed from his place behind the bar. “I’m proud of you, buddy! Saving her life like that.”

“No thanks to you!” I growled and flailed a forehoof at him. “You couldn’t bother to help?” Without missing a beat, Crystal retrieved one of the whiskey bottles from behind the counter and held it out toward me. “That’s not what I fucking meant!” I snapped at him. With an indifferent shrug, he put the bottle back and went about cleaning the bar-top again.

“Ugh, my head…” Bash groaned as she writhed softly in her blood soaked bed. Still, the potion had worked wonders on her, and had already knitted up all of her open leg wounds. “That fucking bear came out of nowhere. I didn’t think it would’ve made a den so far inside the building. But seriously... thanks, Avocado.”

“You can thank me after we get back from the hospital.” I groaned as I held out my hoof to her. “I’ll carry you if I have to, but you are going.”

“No, I’m fine.” She sighed and looked at her torn up Pipbuck with a frown. “The bear’s dead, six shotgun slugs to the face made sure of that, so I’m all good to go back…”

“Like Tartarus you’re going back!” I stomped my hoof, putting a concerned expression across the young mare’s face. “You nearly died just now, and you want to go back!?” Seriously, this girl was unbelievable! “I don’t know what you’re trying to prove, but whatever it is, it’s not worth your life!”

“You’re just an old ghoul, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” She huffed as she tried to push herself back to her hooves.

“Look, I get it.” I snapped at her. “I’ve been down the road of self destruction. And you want to know where it lead me?” I shifted my hoof and pointed right back to my favorite bar stool. “I made the mistake of telling myself that everything was alright in my life until it was far too late. I will not sit back and watch you do the same fucking thing.”

“Oh fucking give me a break!” Bash rolled her eyes for real this time as she snarled. As always, she winced halfway through the snarl, pressing her forehoof to her scarred cheek. “You think this is bad? I’ve seen ponies torn apart for less than what I am this close to retrieving. You think I give a shit about a few scars? If I don’t come back with this, then I might as well be dead anyway!”

“Why are you talking like a crazy pony!?” Seriously, had this mare lost her damn mind!? Was I the only sane one here? “Have you been doing drugs? Is that where you run off to everyday?”

“You think I’m the crazy one!?” She screamed as she all but angrily threw herself onto her hooves and out of her tent. With a sharp jab of her bloody forehoof against me, she leveled a burning glare at me that I’d only ever seen from my wife when I chose the drink over her. “I'm not the one who goes and stands in the rubble of a factory a century and a half gone for two weeks before coming back here and spending the rest of his time talking to a fucking piece of glass!

“She is right about that, you know.” Crystal muttered under his breath. Oh because now he felt like joining in the conversation!

“You stay the fuck out of this, Crystal!” My eye twitched as I shot a glare at the tarnished crystal decanter sitting alone on the dusty bar-top.

“Face it, you’ve spent a century living a lie, Avocado.” She had to be lying, this was all just some fucked up joke! I wasn’t the one in the wrong here! “Maybe You can just keep living in the past, pretending like your world didn't end! But I don't have that luxury! Without the Steel Ranger's help, my family won't have enough to eat by the time next winter rolls around!”

“That’s… that’s not true!” I whimpered and took a step back. Why did I know she was right? Why could I feel it?

No, it... couldn’t be! There’s no way… I mean, I’d have known! Hah, I even have proof! If what she’s saying was true, then why do I remember working at the factory every single day for the last...? How many years has it been?

I can’t remember how long I’d worked there. At the same factory, which has never fixed my machine. The same factory I can’t actually remember anyone else working with me at for some time now. The same factory I can now remember as being reduced to nothing but rubble...

Well, that’s just a fluke! Yeah, what about the issue of going to work and standing there for two weeks! She can’t explain that! Hah, checkmate!

Except, that … that would explain why the weather has been shifting so quickly. But... why didn’t I realize this? Why is it only now that she’s pointed it out that it makes sense!? Why is it I can only remember ever coming back to the same fucking bar that ruined my life in the first place!?

“If none of this is true, then who the fuck is in the closet, Avocado?”

The… closet?

Taking a step back, I looked down the hallway to the maintenance closet. The same feeling of dread washed over me as when Bash had gone to look in it. All the while I wanted to argue that she was lying, how could I not sate the urge to check?

With slow, hesitant steps, I stepped towards the door. My heart pounded in my chest with each step, and my lungs struggled to draw breath. Carefully, I reached up and grabbed the rusty and tarnished knob, twisting it and feeling the grinding of years of corrosion in it’s internal parts. With a squeal from the old hinges, I slowly pulled the door open, and gasped.

Hanging from the light fixture by an old rope, was the desiccated remains of a unicorn stallion. A stallion who wore a now faded and hole filled velvet vest, and who had a tarnished gold watch wrapped around his fetlock. I remember now, finding him before. Crystal Decanter… had killed himself, rather than waiting to die of magical radiation poisoning like most folks did. Like... I did.

A splitting headache shot through my skull, and I groaned as it almost knocked me off of my hooves.

"No, it's not true. None of it’s true!" I stumbled into the bathroom, feeling like I was going to throw up. I braced myself against the moldy and mildew covered sink, dry heaving a few times as my pounding heart made my splitting headache worse.

Looking up at the mirror, I blinked and froze in horror as a rotten looking unicorn stared at me from the other side.

“Look, I know it’s a lot to come to terms with.” Bash’s calm voice was out of place in the storm of emotions running through me right now.

“I… I’m… I don’t even know what I am!” I cried out as I pushed myself back from the sink. My emaciated form creaked under me, and I could feel how my skin sagged across my bones.

“You’re what’s known as a ghoul, and hardly a special case.” Again, she was just to fucking calm for this! I was a fucking monster like out of a foal’s story, and she thinks that’s okay? What part of this could ever be considered okay!? “There’s lots of ponies like you out there who made it through the end of the war.”

“You… you said it’s been over a century!?” If that was true, then it meant that everyone I’d ever known… was dead. All my coworkers, my family… my wife. They were all long gone. And yet, this bar still stands, like a fucking monument to how shitty a life I’ve led. “Why here? Why do I keep coming back to this place?”

“I haven’t met too many ghouls, but… most who survived the war supposedly fell back into old routines, trying to hold on to the life they once had.” Bash leaned against the doorway and rubbed her hoof along her neck with a dejected look across her face. “Not all ghouls last as long as you. You’re lucky that Grand Junction is enough of a secluded city that you don’t have raider problems like most places do.”

“Hah, lucky.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. As if living in this hell was lucky! “I’m the only fucking one left here, and you fucking say I’m lucky!?

“That’s not what I meant…” She whimpered and took a step back from the door.

“Fucking get out.” I poured everything I was feeling into screaming at her. “Get out of my fucking town, out of my fucking life!” And with that, my legs collapsed under me, and I let go. “Let me suffer alone, like I always have!”

I didn’t hear her leave, I just simply sobbed. Everything was gone, my life was over. I had nothing left. No friends, no home, no love. It was just me, and my fucked up memory. Oh Celestia, what was I supposed to do now?

I just wanted things to go back to the way they were before…

-----

Another day, or month, or fucking year down, I don’t even know anymore. All I know is it was time for another terrible evening spent at the worst spot in the world.

“Cheer up, buddy.” Crystal tried to help, as he always had. But like with everything else, I just couldn’t care anymore. “At least you’ve come to terms with things, right? Now you can start to move on, maybe get out and see what’s become of the world. Maybe, I don’t know, make some friends?”

Fuck friends. If other ponies wanted to be friends with me, they wouldn’t have fucking died or left me. What I really needed right now, was a fucking drink.

“I can’t really help you with that. You went through all of my stock a long while ago now.” He frowned at me from his place behind the bar. “But if you want to come out of your sobbing hole, I can get you a glass of water.”

“Fuck your water, Crystal.” I growled and pulled Bash’s musty old rags up around me.

It was fine, I didn’t need to do anything. I could just sit in here like I did every night I still had my cognition about me. It was all I could do as I sat here and waited for the day where I’d finish out the evening and that was all she wrote.

“We’re almost done with the factory, are you sure that this is wise?”

My rotting ears perked as I thought I’d heard something.

“Are those… hoofsteps?” Crystal spoke up.

“Shhhh!” I snapped at him, pushing myself back as far as I could into the darkness that Bash’s tent provided.

“I told you to stay back, paladin. Give me some space.” The strained voice of a mare came through the walls as it sounded like it approached the bar door.

With a rusty squeal, the hinges to the door gave out as it was opened. With a rough slam, the old door fell onto the bar floor, letting the amber light of the evening sunset pour through. An elderly unicorn mare stepped into the doorway wearing what looked like a suit of Equestrian issued power armor. She stood in the doorway with narrowed eyes, looking across the empty bar until she spotted my tent.

Shit… what do I do? Nopony else had ever come here, at least, not since Bash. Shifting, I again tried to pull myself further into the darkness, but there was nowhere left for me to go, nowhere else to hide.

“Elder, my EFS says there’s something...” The stern voice of a stallion came from behind the old mare, but a stiff raise of her hoof silenced him.

The elderly mare smiled, wincing before pressing an armored hoof to the side of her face that an old, nearly faded scar ran across.

“My goddesses, Avocado, you’re still here.”

“Bash?” I… couldn’t believe it. Was this really the same young mare from before? “You… you got old.”

“And you haven’t aged a day.” She laughed softly, wincing again like she always had. “I never got a chance to thank you. Because of the help you gave me all those years ago, because you saved my life, I was able to get that tech I was looking for. It allowed me to join the rangers, and with them, I’ve accomplished so much. More than I could have ever dreamed of.” I watched as tears fell down her muzzle, but her smile only brightened as she extended an armored hoof to me. “I know it’s been so long, but… would you come with me? We have so much to catch up on.”

“I don’t want to go.” I growled and flailed my forehooves at her. “You were right, my world is gone. I’m fine right here in the last bit of it that still exists.”

“Oh, just as stubborn as I remember.” She rolled her eyes and laughed as I just crossed my forehooves and huffed. “But it’s not just my world out here because you made it possible. And I think it’s far past time I show it to you. All of it.” She shifted her smile and her hoof over to the bar. “I’m sure Crystal will back me up on this.”

“She’s right, you know.” He shrugged and nodded to her. “I don’t know, buddy. As much as I’ve liked having you here, maybe it is finally time you moved on.” He flashed up a hollow look as he stared down at the empty glass on the bar. “You don’t need me to keep you company anymore, buddy. Go on, live a better life… for me.”

“Ugh, fine, if it’ll keep you from always bothering me.” I rolled my eyes at Crystal, and by the time I looked back to where he always was, he was gone. “But you understand, Bash, that I won’t remember any of it.”

“That’s not true, Avocado. I’ve counted the days and weeks to know to arrive today.” She sniffled and wiped at her matted cheek fur, “We’ll take it slow, just two weeks at a time. You don’t have to be alone anymore.”

Author's Note:

Woo! It's been a while since I've got a oneshot out, and I do hope you all enjoyed it! Now, since it's been proposed in other oneshots of mine, no, there will be no second chapter coming. The story as it ends here, being a oneshot, is as far as I'm taking it. However, if you all want to use Avocado, Bash, or mention the Hayenne Mountain Rangers in your own stories, by all means, go for it. In my head, the end of Day after Day sits around the time that Pip clears the skies, so if it fits, go ahead and use it in your story!

And of course, it wouldn't be right not to thank Kkat for building this amazing universe in the first place. It's really changed the last six years of my life, and even so, I know it'll continue to change my life for years to come.

Comments ( 11 )

Should I ship them? :trixieshiftright:

9655602
I mean, you are free to imagine their relationship however you want from here! :pinkiecrazy: I'm not one to judge!

This was one of your one shots that was a critical hit on my heart again. Well done! :pinkiesad2::pinkiehappy:

9656075
I'm glad you enjoyed it! :pinkiesmile:

I really enjoyed the twist on this one, it was delightful. However, possibly my favourite part was the way you described Avocado sitting down after a long shift, anyone who has worked physical labour knows the exact hoof tingling feeling he is talking about. The relief of it is unique.

Would love to read more pre-final day stuff tbh, i feel like it's an unexplored part of the universe.

Fantastic work, thanks Gamma! Looking forward to your next fic!

9659488
I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! :pinkiehappy: And yeah, pre-war stuff is few and far between. I've said it before, but I'd really like someone to write a war story. Something Band of Brother's style, where they can get into how the fighting was for a squad, really show off how the war on the front lines affected both them and the normal ponies back home, and then end the whole thing with a bang. Would be interesting!

I really enjoyed that one. Was wondering how Bash set up home in a bar - Crystal was also an illusion?

9929385
Yeah, Crystal was a manifestation of his guilt as his mind tried to cope with the end of the world. I'm glad you enjoyed the story!

Awww that was a good read. It honestly took me a minute to even realize the world had ended Not gunna lie :facehoof:

10782283

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :pinkiehappy:

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