• Published 3rd Dec 2019
  • 637 Views, 52 Comments

Fallout Equestria: Our Will (rewrite) - AngryPenguin

Raised above the cloud curtain, Lietenant Sienna has been dropped in the wasteland thanks to a failed rescue mission. Now, she's in unfamiliar territory and being threatened by a mysterious villain. Can she help her new friends before it's too late?

  • ...

Chapter 23.5: A Guide to Remembering

"I gave friendship a chance a long time ago! It didn't work out then, it isn't going to work out now!"

I've only ever stepped hoof in the labs back in Thunderhead a few times. I never had business with any of the scientists, there. Mostly, I'd just volunteer to give tours to new recruits. Still, the size of almost all of those facilities were no bigger than Fleece's clinic. This place? It was big enough to fit ten clinics, all comfortably spaced.

The first thing I noticed was the cleanliness. No speck of dirt on any surface. I expected the place to be in disarray. The shiny, tile floors looked like they had been cleaned recently. The gray-blue walls contrasted the white ceiling, immensely. To the far right, there was a designated area for shelves and tables. It was almost like a private library, complete with sofas and tables for reading. Some of the shelves on the far side held binders and notebooks. My guess, it was trial notes and research essays. The largest section was in the middle of the underground structure. Tables sat in rows, untouched. Some of them didn't look like normal tables, though. I immediately was reminded of the memory orb. A cold chill ran up our spine. The familiar straps on these tables were almost identical. Whatever experiments they conducted here were definitely done on living beings. Whether they were ponies or not, I had no idea.

Looking around, I was less surprised by the rest of the place. On the far side, I could see the usual glassware and labeled boxes filled with medical instruments. Storage lockers sat in rows next to that. The main thing that caught my eye was the large monitor sitting on the back wall. It gleamed in the light, no cracks or damage. I squinted, seeing the keyboard underneath. It was strange, seeing this old technology in perfect condition.

"Whoa." Violet mouthed.

When we were all over our admiration, we spread out to explore. Violet went straight to the computer. Nico and Dad went to the storage area. I guided Pepper straight to the library area. A rug lay, perfectly symmetrical, under the two tables, which were also spotless. There should have been books piled on the tables. Instead, they were put away, neatly and orderly, on the shelves. I scanned the titles. Textbooks and other types were put in alphabetical order.

"I know I'm not the only one who noticed how scary-clean this place is." Pepper mumbled.

"Yeah. It's like... It's like they just built this place and left without using it." I whispered. "But, why?"

She didn't reply. I guess she didn't have an answer.

Running a hoof over the titles, I spotted one book, open and sitting on the sofa. I curiously strode over, looking at the page. It was open to a diagram of a pony's body, the anatomy labeled. I flipped the page to see two more diagrams. A mare's head and a stallion's head. Did you know stallions have more teeth than mares? Because I didn't.

"Hey! Don't touch that! Who are you? Why are you here?" A voice came from our left, making us jump. Well, making me jump. The mare had a strange quality to her tone, though. It was almost... robotic. As if she were speaking over a radio. I perked up to see where she had come from. I was right about the robotic voice.

Well, almost.

A robotic mare slowly emerged from a hidden back room that we had missed. Her body just as slick and shiny as the rest of the place. The plates shifted and formed to naturally fit with her movement. The metallic shell was grayish-yellow with a pearlescent sheen. The normal, over-sized, black sweater she wore covered most of it. Odd. Her metal tail had been painted red with purple streaks. Her eyes were well built, strikingly similar to a real pony's, except they glowed purple. She even had a painted-on cutie mark: A crescent moon surrounded by stars. I saw the horn on her head was different than a normal unicorn. It was sharper and more defined.

There was no denying that she was built to look exactly like a pony. Except for the brain in a glass casing poking out of the top of her head. It was as if her creators tried to hide it, but they didn't have room for the brain inside the body. I wanted to throw up, again.

"Well, now I've seen everything." Pepper said, sarcastically.

The robopony glowered at us. "Yeah, yeah. Get out." She walked over to the book, turning the page back to where I had found it.

I was too much in shock to say anything.

She adjusted the wires, connected to the back of her neck. I had missed them before. There were several of the thick cables snaking their way into the hidden room where she came from. The metal mare stomped. "You need to get out of here! Leave me to my studies!"

I snapped out of my astonishment. "I-I'm sorry, we were just-"

The robot suddenly went wide-eyed. Her hoof reached out to us, opening our mouth. She looked down our throat. "H-how did you do that?"

"Do... whah?" I said, her hoof still holding out jaw open.

"I heard your voice a few seconds ago. It was different than it is, now." She finally let go and studied our face. "This can't be a simple trick. Your horn isn't giving off any arcane energy." She tapped her chin as she moved to our eyes, looking back and forth between them. A tiny lamp detached from behind her ear. I was almost blinded, again. "Complete heterochromia. Subject also appears to have slight anisocoria."

Pepper swatted the lamp away. "What the hell is heter-o-com-"

"There it is, again! Your voice changed!" She perked up, dusting off her sweater. "Heterochromia is a condition where the irises can be two different variants of pigmentation." When she saw our face, she rolled her eyes. "Your eyes are two different colors. Anisocoria (since I know you don't know) is when your pupils are different sizes."

"Oh..." I said, rubbing our chest.

"Your movement is also different than it was when you swatted away the lamp." She held up both her hooves. "Do as I do."

With a series of small, basic movements, she made us copy her. She finally scratched her chin. "Interesting..."

"What is this? I am not a damn science experiment!" Pepper growled.

I hurriedly took control. "She's just curious, Pepper. She doesn't know why we're like this." I looked at the floor, then when I looked back up, I saw the robot taking notes in a notebook, pulled from Celestia knows where.

"Amazing! This is the most peculiar case of disassociative identity disorder I have ever seen! May I hook you up to the brain wave reader?"

"No! Look, this is just a misunderstanding... It might sound crazy, but we are actually two separate souls sharing a body." I cleared my throat. "An... evil force took mine..." I cleared our throat, tired of explaining our unbelievable situation.

She stared, mouth agape. "You can't be serious."

Pepper rolled our eyes, but said nothing.

"You mean to tell me you somehow got put into a body together, because an 'evil' entity somehow took one of yours?" She deadpanned.

When we didn't answer, she burst into tinny laughter, her wires sparking a little bit.

Okay, she's kind of an asshole.

She wiped an imaginary tear from her eye. "You're pulling my leg. That sort of thing is not possible!"

"Says the psycho robot with a pickled brain on top of its head." Pepper crossed her hooves, smirking.

The robot's smile disappeared. Pepper had insulted her. "Okay, fun's over. I don't know how you got in here, but you need to leave." She started to walk away.

"Wait!" I went after her. "Please, I'm sorry, she didn't mean that. But, we are telling the truth. I know how insane that sounds, but it's true. The reason why our eyes are different colors is because my eyes are green. I'm actually a pegasus." She stopped, giving me a chance to speak. "I'm not from here. I was sent from the Enclave on a rescue mission, but... well, it went wrong. Needless to say, I guess I'm just as much a victim of the wasteland as anypony."

"The Enclave?" She blew steam from her nostrils. "I can't believe they're still a thing. Looks like the Wonderbolts managed to keep that facade up, even after a hundred and sixty years.

I didn't want to go into that territory. "S-so, what's your name?"

She didn't say anything at first. Finally, she turned away from us. "Moondancer."

"Moondancer, we need your help. You... do know what's going on outside this lab, right?" I asked, cautiously.

The unicorn robot looked like I had insulted her. "Indeed. I've been locked down here, but that doesn't mean I haven't seen the hellish landscape beyond this place. I've been here since-" She paused. "I know about the war, megaspells, the fall of ponykind."

I looked at our hooves. She made it sound so hopeless. Still, living in a laboratory for that long must have been hellish in itself.

"I know about everything." She said with a robotic sigh. "I can access security systems and other terminals in a ten mile radius. What goes on... I-I don't like to watch. They messed up everything."

"Who?" I stepped closer, wanting to put a hoof on her shoulder.

"Twilight." She spat the name. "She and her friends created those ministries and that's where it all went downhill."


I thought a moment. "Twilight... Sparkle?"

Moondancer looked at us. It was hard to read her uncanny expression. Sadness? Anger? Regret? She finally looked around, spotting the rest of the group. They hadn't seen Moondancer, yet. "I'm assuming your friends won't break anything."

I shook my head, then she motioned for us to follow her.

She led Pepper and I to the back room. When I entered, I noticed these lights were different from the fluorescent ones in the main lab. These looked like normal bulbs. The room was definitely smaller, too. About the size of a bedroom. I noticed her wires connected to a machine that looked big enough to hold the robot. It was probably keeping her alive. On one end, the wall was covered in Sparkle Cola memorabilia. There were posters, trinkets, empty bottles, still-full bottles, magazine clippings, and everything you could imagine. Even a stuffed pony wearing a Sparkle Cola t-shirt. "Fan of Sparkle-Cola?" I asked.

"It was one of the best products that came from the industrial era." She mused.

On the adjacent wall, there were more newspaper clippings of the ministry mares and of Princess Luna. My eye caught the Ministry of Image building in one of the articles. Rarity, and all her magnificence, stood in front of the wondrous building, proudly. There was one other photo, too. This one wasn't a news clipping. It was just an old picture. It looked yellow around the edges. In the photo, were six unicorn mares. I didn't know any of them, but the first two caught my eye. I recognized the first as Twilight Sparkle as she stared, intently, into a book. The second one bared a resemblance to Moondancer, but she wasn't a robot. They were all gathered around a table, eating cupcakes.

Moondancer stepped next to me, staring at the picture.

I looked at her, then back at the picture. The second mare had the same color coat and tail. Even the eyes were the same shade of purple. It took another look for me to see the cutiemark. The same cutiemark. They either modeled this robot after her, or...

I swallowed.

"Twilight and I grew up together." She walked over to a shelf and pulled a picture frame. The picture inside was of a filly Twilight and who I assumed was a filly Moondancer. She placed a hoof gently over the glass. "We were both students at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. Before the other ministry mares, we had our own little group of friends. Lemon Hearts, Minuette, Lyra, and Twinkleshine just kind of accepted her obsessive thirst for knowledge. I did, too. I guess that was my mistake."

"What happened?" I asked.

She put the photo back, adjusting the position. "She moved to Ponyville. Twinkleshine said, Celestia had sent her there to study..." She scoffed. "'Friendship'. How can you even study friendship?!" She growled. "It didn't really matter, though. Twilight blew off my invitation to my last party just because of her 'studies'." Moondancer turned to me, saddened. "It was my last attempt at friendship. I... I just wanted her to come to my party. I told myself I'd never fall for that stupid lie, again."

I looked away from her. Poor Moondancer. How could Twilight do something like that to one of her friends? Rarity had said Twilight loved her friends and would do anything for them. I hoped Moondancer had just misunderstood Twilight's actions.

She took a breath (do robots breathe?) and continued on. "After I found out Twilight left, I isolated myself in my home in Canterlot. Books were the only thing that kept me together. After all, a book can't leave me." She waved a hoof. "I digress. Word got around that Twilight had new friends. Better friends. Friends who brought out the best in her. I won't lie, I was jealous. They did everything together. Including, saving the world. They were Equestria's greatest heroes. Years went by. Then, one morning, my sister, Morning Roast, came to my door. She held the newspaper so that I could see the start of the war. She said I was one of the smartest ponies she knew. That if anyone could help with the cause, it was me." She gave the picture a bitter glare. "She had told me she sent a letter to Twilight's new ministry. That... that I would be a tremendous help in one of her labs and that it would be a new start for Twilight and me." She smiled to herself. "Morning Roast always knew what to say."

I put a hoof on her shoulder, but she removed it.

"Twilight responded to the letter. She sent me an invitation to a brunch. I rejected, but then she had personally come to my home. She wanted to... 'make amends'." The word was poison on her tongue. She looked at me and repeated, "Make. Amends."

"Did you accept?" I asked.

She nodded. "It had been years. So many years of loneliness and solitude. To think, I was actually willing to give her another chance."

Pepper spoke, this time. "I take it, things didn't go as planned."

Moondancer glanced at us, curiously. "Yeeahh... They didn't. We went to lunch, along with a couple of her body guards. I thought she would give a sincere apology, at least. Let me tell you, just because somepony says 'sorry', they don't always mean it. Anyway, she went on and on about her new ministry. About her new resources and the 'endless possibilities' in her research. I was trying to be happy for her, truly. When that thirty minute lunch was over, she talked me into working at this lab." She gestured around.

"If you don't mind me asking, what was this laboratory used for?" I asked.

"My department was magical spells. We were researching cures for magically based ailments and sicknesses. Stuff you wouldn't understand." She chuckled. "No offense. Anyway, I knew it was too good to be true. I had my friend back, I had my dream job, and all the books I could lose myself in." Her reminiscent smile faded. "As the war progressed, so did Twilight's insanity. I'd hear her going on about an army of alicorns and some kind of... Equestrian garden." Her voice cracked. "One day, she came to me and asked for a favor. She wanted me to... She wanted..." She composed herself. "She wanted to see if my brain would be compatible with this robot body. It would just be for a couple of hours, then they could put me back in my pony body. She never told me what these robots were going to be used for."

I looked her up and down. "Why didn't they put you back?"

"The megaspells had hit. When we got word that Canterlot had been hit and was activating their shield, I was in the middle of resting at my station. Somehow, something got mixed up. They thought my brain was back in my cadaver, so they wheeled the gurney away and into the clinic above. They were in for a surprise, I bet." She sighed. "When I woke up, all documents and major files were gone, along with every scientist. They locked this place up, tight, as per protocol. They didn't want any zebra getting any of their records. So, that's how I'm here. The end."

I shrunk. Moondancer stayed in this robotic body for the better part of two centuries. You might as well say it was a coffin. If we hadn't gotten past those turrets... "I'm... so sorry, Moondancer. I couldn't begin to-"

"Pepper? Sia?" Nico called from just outside the door. When our group of friends walked in, they stopped to stare at the robopony.

"Yes, take a picture. It'll last longer." Moondancer quipped. She didn't seem uncomfortable, though.

"Ahem..." Violet began. "I, uh... I think the computer should be able to locate a Pipbuck."

Moondancer narrowed her eyes at me. "So, you need the computer."

I quickly jumped in. "If it's okay with you! I mentioned how my body was taken. I have a Pipbuck on my forehoof. I was just hoping to track it. Then, we will go, leaving everything where it was before we got here."

She looked back at the photos on the shelf, then stared at the floor for a minute. "Fine."

"Thank you, so much." I breathed.

She gazed between all of us, cautiously. Her glowing eyes stopped on Redd, particularly his stitches. "What happened to you?"


"A giant ghoul?" Moondancer said, as she clicked the keys with a pair of robotic limbs coming from her sides. Creepy.

"No. A giant, acid-spitting ghoul." Redd told her.

"I've seen zombie-like ponies on the security cameras. I would love to examine them and see how they are able to... exist."

"Well, very few would probably let you do that." Nico said. "Most are completely feral. Some, though, have their minds, still. Like Fleece in the clinic. She's a doctor."

"Interesting." She said, clicking the keys.

"You don't seem bothered by the fact that we are living amongst the undead." Violet said, flatly.

"My frontal lobe was damaged when it was put into this body." Moondancer tapped the glass surrounding her brain. "My inability to fear is a side-effect."

Violet cringed.

Moondancer finally agreed to let us borrow the computer. I watched the characters flash across the screen as she rebooted the system. She told us it had been decades since she last used it, so she had to completely restore the mainframe. Apparently, the software had to be updated. Thanks to that, she had to restore it to factory settings. Luckily, she still had her authentication I.D.

While the system ran through its files, she turned and eyed the red-maned, pegasus stallion. "May I examine you?"

He blushed. "Um... Sure?"

She checked over his features. First, she examined his mouth and throat. Then, she checked his eyes with her appendage light. She then made him do a few of the same tests that she had Pepper and I do. Finally, she brought him over to a table and had him lay with his stitches facing up. After tapping the side of her temple, I was shocked to see a small, levitating bot float over with a screen. It was almost translucent, the screen making up most of its body. I had no idea where it came from. I assumed it was stored away until called for. When the screen lit up, I managed to see over her shoulder. It was an X-ray.

"Hm. Vitals are normal. Blood pressure, normal. No obvious health conditions. Your muscle mass ratio is high. I assume you are military or something of the sort?" She asked, taking notes.

"Yes... How do you-"

"As I mentioned, I had to learn a lot about pony anatomy. Books are truly amazing."

The computer screen blinked off, then back on. The word 'complete' covered the corner of the monitor. She came over, instructing Redd to stay where he was. When the robopony clicked a few more keys, she gave a satisfied nod. "You. Green mare." She pointed to Violet. "You said you can work a computer, correct?" Violet nodded, her eyes narrowing at Moondancer. "Good. You won't be able to track the Pipbuck, individually, without its tag, so I'm going to activate the 'Ten Mile Tracker', as we so cleverly called it. Normally, I used this for the security systems and whatnot, but you can turn that off and activate the Pipbuck tracker. It will bring up every working Pipbuck within ten miles. Just tap each one until you find one that's user matches the description of your friend, here."

"Amazing." Violet said, as she rolled the desk chair over to the monitor.

"And please," Moondancer grabbed her shoulder. "Do. Not. Break. Anything."

Violet nodded, slowly. She probably felt insulted by the blunt robot.

I curiously watched Moondancer trot over to where Redd lay.

"So," She took out her notepad and pen. "Want a functional, prosthetic wing?"

Every one of us stopped what we were doing and turned to look at her, including Redd.

His excitement did take root, quickly. "Hell yes, I want one!"

"Hold on, you can do that?" Nico said, stepped towards her.

She glared at him. "Of course, I can. His injury is less than seventy-two hours old, the nerves should still be viable, and I am a literal robot genius."

"Humble, isn't she?" Violet whispered behind us.

Hope flooded our chest. "Moondancer, are you sure? I mean..."

She turned to me, and put on a small hint of a smile. "Well, you did listen to my boring life story. And I didn't even have to be preached to, about the 'magic of friendship'. Just take this as a small gesture of my appreciation." She turned back to Redd. "Besides, do you know how long it's been since I've been able to actually work?"

I smiled. "Thank you."

"So, It's gonna be like a real wing? I can actually fly, again?" Redd beamed.

She nodded. "Yes. However, you should not fly for a couple of days. Also, it won't be exactly like a real wing. You won't feel anything when it's touched, of course."

"But, will it look all... robotic?" He asked. "No offense..."

She pursed her robot lips. "No. It was a new technology being developed here, but was scrapped when the war progressed. It will look exactly like a normal wing. It has feathers that are designed to stay on, no matter what. You will have to preen more often because of the placement, but it shouldn't be an issue. Lucky for you, it won't need to be dyed since your pelt is close enough to the shade of white as the prosthetic. The only way anyone will be able to tell, is if they get a good look at the scarring around the base. It will be raised and I can't guarantee your feathers will grow back in that area. It won't affect your flight, though."

I wanted to hug her.

"How long will it take?" Violet said as she hit key after key. I looked up to see at least a hundred blips. Pipbucks. Every few minutes, one would wink out as Violet searched through.

Moondancer tapped the side of her temple, again. "I'll be done, when I'm done."

Several different types of small robots levitated over to where Moondancer stood. One of them was shaped like a canister. It placed a mask over Redd's face and rested itself on the small hook next to the table. "You'll be put to sleep through this. It's only because it would hurt if you were awake. Also, don't worry about blood. I know a spell that will prevent very little blood from leaking out while you're cut." As she explained the procedure, the little bots brought over tools and gloves for the unicorn robot. She carefully slid them on as she guided over one with a plastic casing.

"What's that?" I asked.

"It's the wing." She looked over at me, waving her hoof. "Shoo! I need the immediate area to be sterile."

I flattened our ears, but obeyed, walking over to where the others were at the computer. Each blip Violet tapped, came up as some random pony. No pegasus, yet.

"Bossy bitch." Pepper mumbled under her breath.

I shushed her. "She's helping us a lot. Even if she is kind of... Well, you get the point."

Violet cracked her neck as she worked. "The good news, is that I have managed to narrow down to a few dozen. A lot of these were from stables, and thankfully this computer somehow knows whether they've been opened or not. I'm gonna leave those alone. Best not to disturb those who are living a lie." She scoffed.

"I wonder if the Pipbuck will show any previous wearers. Gale had it before she blessed me with it." I said, with a little bit of bitterness.

She pointed to a random blip an tapped. "See this?"

I looked over the box that appeared next to it. Inside, the text spelled out a name, race, and age. Under that, were several tabs.

She continued, "These tabs have all sorts of data on them. Previous registries, files, recordings, even deleted stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if you could see more about Hope than you asked for."

I brought a hoof up to rub my chest, forgetting I was still in another pony's body. "More about Hope than I asked for." The statement echoed around in my mind for a while. Did I really want to know more about her? I knew some already, but the tiny voice in my head was shaking her head. That was her life.

"Maybe we shouldn't pry..." Dad put a hoof on our shoulder. His eyes almost pleaded not to read anything else.

"Why? She's evil. She has made your lives hell since you met her, right? You have to read them, anyway, to find her hideout. Idiots." Pepper rolled her eyes.

Damn, she was right.

I shook Pepper out of control, and looked to Dad, sadly. "I'm sorry. I think she has a point, Dad. There's no other way."

He bit his lip, timidly. "Then... I have to tell you myself, first. I was going to tell you, earlier, I swear!" He covered his eyes with his massive wings. "You have to understand, sweetheart.... She's just... not in a good place, right now..."

"Dad? What's wrong?" I placed my hooves on his shoulders, despite Pepper tensing up.

"I swear! It's n-not her fault! It's just the stress from being in the wasteland!" He blubbered.

"You're scaring me..."

Nico and Violet had stopped what they were doing to watch the stallion break down. The latter had the cursor stopped over a blip. A familiar description appeared to it. My description. I looked back to my father.

"Hope. No, Gale." He looked into my one green eye, tears streaming down his face. "She's... your mother."

You know, I really should have put it together. That's not really like me. I love puzzles. Well, I used to love puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles. Not these types of puzzles. No, who would have thought that the family that Hope had left behind was also mine? The thought that my mother and Hope should be around the same age. The fact that Dad knew her name. Hope knew me. She knew me for a while. She watched me. For how long? Hope was... sympathetic with me. She wanted me on her side. She refused to kill me, even though she knew I was useless to her after she had gotten the pearls. She never once threatened me, directly. In a way, she cared for me. Cared about what happened to me. It was all so obvious. Why didn't I put it together? Why? I really, really should have put it together.

The longer I stared at the floor, the more it all melted together. The white surrounded me. I was suffocated by the sickening white. My lungs burned, no Pepper's lungs burned. No, they didn't burn. I was just having a panic attack. A familiar panic attack. I didn't even feel Pepper's hoof grasping at her chest. She staggered back, quickly resting on her haunches with her other hoof holding a table for support. I felt her mouth moving, but nothing was coming out. Nico, Violet, and Dad came running towards me. They shook us, saying something. I couldn't hear them. Not surprising, since I can't put things together. Not even words, apparently. You know something? I wanted to faint. Actually faint and be unconscious for a little while. I just wanted time to process it all. When you share a body though, it's just not possible.

Violet yelled. "-you okay?!"

Nico yelled. "Sia!"

Dad yelled. "I'm so sorry!"

Pepper yelled. "Make her stop! I can't fucking breathe!"

They were all yelling.

Before I knew it, I was yelling, too. "Why?!"

They stopped.

"How?!" I yelled, tears streaming from my eye. I had to force my control out of Pepper's limbs or she would have been trembling.

Dad wrapped us in a hug, but Pepper pulled away. "Not in my body!"

He nodded, letting out a shaky breath. "I didn't know where she went when she left me, all those years ago. When I saw her, yesterday..." He turned away. "I didn't know she was the Hope you had been talking about. When I heard her voice, I knew. Your mother had an unforgettable, loving voice. How could I forget the mare I married?"

Well, Major Fruit Salad. I found my parents. I found my best friend. They were all alive. Not dead.

I pinned our ears back and stared at the floor, again. It brought me some comfort, so I wouldn't have to be lost to the huge lab. "She wants to destroy the Enclave. Grandma and Grandpa..."

"That's why you have to stop her." Nico put a hoof on Pepper's.

"As in... kill her?" Dad stood on all fours, looking between us.

I didn't bother to share his gaze. "There may be no other way."

"But, if there is?" He said, worriedly. "I-I understand if there isn't, but please, just try to find another way. I can't... lose her, again."

I wiped our cheek. "Okay."

I finally gathered the nerve to go back to the monitor. Violet hesitated before she tapped on the blip. When she did, the text box came up.




"What does it mean, 'unknown survival status'?" Dad asked.

Violet shrugged. "Maybe Pipbucks read the magical energy of the wearer. Since Blight isn't technically a pony, herself, maybe it's just not picking it up as a living being. If your body was dead, it would say 'deceased'."

Thank Luna for that.

She tapped the Location tab.


"Huh." Nico rubbed his chin.

"What is Blossom Farms?" I asked.

"It's three miles south of my house. My dad and I passed through there a few times. It was a farming community, built right before the war started." The tan unicorn said, reading the blip, again. "The place is abandoned."

"Sia..." Violet said, cautiously. "There's one voice log. Made about eighteen years ago."

I gulped down a knot in our throat. "Does it say who made it?"

"Gale Winds." She read from the screen.

I took a deep breath. It was best to get it over with. Maybe I'd learn a little more about her. I gave her the okay to play it. When she selected the audio file, I heard the exhale of a breath, followed by Gale's voice. There was a slight breeze in the microphone, like she was flying.

"Let this be my final will. I, Gale Winds, hereby announce my death and rebirth as Hope. To my husband, Thunder Cloud, I leave only an apology. Mostly, because I have nothing to give you. I chose to leave, not because of you, but because of our will to do what we believe is right. Your decision was to make the wasteland a better place for our daughter to eventually be brought back. Key word: Eventually. I will not do such small tasks in the small hope that we can get her back. This land needs sunlight. Those treacherous Enclave councilmares and stallions are keeping the sunlight to themselves. I plan to bring back what rightfully belongs to the motherland, Equestria. I do still love you, and hope that you can forgive me."

"Mom and Dad. Please, take care of our filly until my return. One day, soon, I will figure out how we can all live together. We can be a family, again. I hope you remember what I told you: She cannot sleep without her special pillow. She takes a nap at noon, every day. Mushed bananas are her favorite food. When you give her a bath, remember to sing that lullaby to her. She's afraid of the water, so that calms her down. I hope you tell her favorite story to her every night, too. She loves 'Goodnight, Luna'. I'm sorry we had to leave. I'll miss you both."

"Sienna. My sweet angel." Gale's voice cracked. "You have no idea how much it hurt to look behind me and see you crying for your Mama and Papa. I would have fought the entire Enclave militia if it didn't put you in danger. I had to keep reminding myself that it was only temporary. Since we got to the wasteland, I felt my mind slipping away every time I thought about it, though. It wasn't enough to think it temporary, anymore. I don't know if you'll ever hear this from me, silly filly, but I love you. I miss you so much, Sia. When your dad and I brought you home from the hospital, I swore I'd do everything in my power to protect you. Ironic, seeing as though I left you in Thunderhead. But as the wasteland is, right now, you wouldn't survive. Remember, every day... remember how special you are and how great you will be. If, for some reason, we never meet again... No, we will meet, again. I love you, marshmallow."

With a click, the file ended.

"Wow. That was so-" Violet turned, but stopped. She noticed my catatonic stare and closed her muzzle.

I wanted to cry. That was it. I just wanted to release the doubt, realizations, sadness, anger. I couldn't cry, though. In a way, I managed to feel a small comfort in the fact that she felt she didn't leave by choice. I wasn't just... abandoned. I did wonder if she still thought back to that day. How hard was it for her to leave her only foal? Maybe, it was what drove her to such drastic solutions. It was like a hurricane in my head. Only one thought was louder than the rest, though. Hope was my mother. Shouldn't I, at least, be happy I have an answered question?

"Are you okay?" Dad had asked. I gave him a quick glance and nodded. To be honest, I probably should have shared my feelings. It would have at least been out there. Instead, I shut down and packed them deep in the closet of my mind. They would just have to die in there. I was already so deep in anxiety that I didn't know if I'd survive it. The persistent chest tightness was just a daily reminder of my failures. The bad things happening to us were beyond cataclysmic.

What am I supposed to be feeling?

I realized tears were streaming from my eye.

"I've finished attaching the prosthetic to your friend. He might be a little woozy, but the gas is laced with magic that will wear off, quickly. I've wrapped the tissue with magic, healing bandages as well. I know how important your mission is, so hopefully the recovery process will be to your satisfaction." Moondancer removed the, barely bloody, gloves and tossed them in a red trash bag. She stopped and stared at me. "Sorry, if I'm interrupting anything."

"No, no!" I wiped snot on Pepper's tail, much to her disgust. "Thank you, so much Moondancer. You have no idea how grateful I am-"

"I've heard that before." She said, monotoned.

I rubbed a foreleg. "Still, thank you."

"I've also decided something." She said, adjusting her wires. "I... I see how you want to help the wasteland. You all seem so genuine in your actions, despite the hopelessness. I want to help, too."

I perked up. "Really? That's... that's so great!"

"Marshmallow, you are of the very few who is willing to risk your life for others." She slumped. "You remind me of how Twilight had been when she found her new friends. Willing to protect Equestria. I respect that."

"My, uh... my name is actually Sienna. Pepper is the owner of this body." I said, sheepishly. She tilted her head, moving her gaze to the others.

"Mixer." Dad raised a hoof.



"I'm blue!" Redd slurred. He stumbled over, only to plop on the table next to us as the gas wore off. "I'm a flying pony, heh."

"He's actually Redd." Violet leered at him.

The robot deadpanned. "Oh. My apologies. Anyway, I'm willing to open this lab to the clinic, above. I'm assuming the doctor needs supplies and the medical equipment. The facility will be taken care of?"

I nodded, baffled by the sudden choice. "We will need good security to make sure nothing is stolen or vandalized. Fleece will make sure of it, but... what about you?"

She gestured to the wires. "I am only allowed to go so far. Thanks to the robot not having its own power supply, I'm stuck here. But, I can help with patients and maybe do a little more research on new diseases. Technically, I'm also a doctor. Just... not that kind of doctor."

I gave her a genuine smile. "So, you changed your mind about us?"

She replied with a half-smile, her mechanical voice becoming somber. "My sister is the one who really convinced me to get this job. Not for the money, but she told me how great I would be. How many ponies I could help. That's what she thought this lab was for, after all. Even after the projects switched to more 'war appropriate' tasks, she still always believed I would change the world for the better." She looked at me. "I'm doing this for Morning Roast. Not you. Not Twilight. For my sister."

"Did she ever know you became... a robot?" Violet asked.

"No." Moondancer sighed. "I lost contact with her. Last I heard, she was getting married."

"I'm sorry." I dipped our head.

She waved it off. "I moved on years ago." Her glowing eyes met mine. "Time marches on, so should you. You mentioned you have a mission to complete. I would hurry if I were you. I will, regretfully, hold off on running tests on this... shared body."

"You're right. We got what we came for. No need in disturbing your studies." I placed a hoof on Moondancer's metal one. "And... I'm going to try to find a way to get you out of this lab. Nopony deserves to be alone for so long."

She didn't disagree, instead she smiled to herself. "I think I would like that."


Author's Note:

Thanks to Kkat for this amazing world!

I want to make a couple of quick notes here:
1. I have not seen a FOE fic with Moondancer yet, so I just wanted to include her, somehow.
2. Apparently, it is difficult to find her sister's name. Like anywhere. I had to do tedious research to find out that Morning Roast was probably her name.

As always, constructive criticism/error spotting is always welcome! Thank you so much for reading!
Stay safe!