• Published 3rd Dec 2019
  • 634 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?

  • ...
4
 52
 634

Chapter 24: The Last to Leave

"In all things, the calm heart must prevail."

Tired. I was so tired. I found myself remaining dormant in Pepper's body more and more since we left Floater. I just wanted to barely exist at that point. I was so overwhelmed by the hand I had been dealt. Drowning in my own despair was not what I wanted to do by any means, but it was so hard to just move on with the mission. I had been chasing clues and ideas, hoping it would give me a small chance of winning against the wasteland. Could you even win against that? There was a part of my heart that longed to go home and forget everything. I was ashamed of it. Giving up would soak my hooves in blood. I would turn into the wasteland. I beat back the thought with all my might. I'd rather die than turn into that horrible place.

We never even got to sleep. We stopped by Fleece's clinic to tell her what we had discovered in the tunnels. She was pretty ecstatic about Moondancer's willingness to share the lab. I hoped they would get along. Moondancer seemed genuine in her decision to help. It was strange to not see any noticeable insanity from her being isolated for over a century. Luna knows, how my psyche would have been affected.

"I'm going to take these damn bandages off." Once Redd's anesthetic had completely worn off, he was so in awe of his new wing, that we had to force him to stay on the ground.

Violet swatted his hoof away from the wrapped appendage. "You know what will happen if you take them off too soon."

He rolled his eyes. "I know, I know. But I'm ready to fly, again."

"I can't believe she gave you a wing. Just like that. With no payment." Nico furrowed his brow. "I don't trust her."

"Maybe she's just a good pony." I said. "Not all ponies require payment for good deeds."

I saw his look from the corner of my eye. Though, for fear of opening up old wounds, we kept it subtle.

"I don't think she's untrustworthy, but I do think she's a little off-putting. She seems like a... perfectionist." Violet looked around. "Though, I doubt she will get the rest of the world as clean as her laboratory."

"Either way, I got a new wing and now I can go back to kicking ass." Redd smirked, unfurling his flesh-made wing.

"Oh, please. The only ass you could kick is Rocky's and even that is iffy." Nico jeered.

-hrrk-

The jagged back followed Redd, again. He didn't seem to mind the creature as much.

"I could kick your ass even without wings." The pegasus told him.

"You lost a fight to a slime ball." Nico retorted.

"You know why I had-"

"Fillies! You're both just absolutely gorgeous! Now, shut up." Violet hovered over Redd, patting his mane. He shook her off.

My attention went elsewhere while they continued their banter. As we were coming up on a small hill, I noticed a tiny cave. I hadn't noticed it before, but I wasn't surprised. The only reason I saw it then, was because it had a faint glow to it. It pulsated like a heartbeat.

"What is that?" I asked.

Everyone stopped and turned towards where I had pointed.

"I know that glow is from radiation. There might be some toxic waste or something down there." Dad said, stepping back. I did the same, in case he was right.

"Let's not get close to the entrance." Violet flattened her ears, flying higher above it to pass.

I thought I heard a hiss as Pepper and I began walking. It was so faint, I thought I imagined it.

I swear danger is attracted to me. I say that, because a radroach emerged from the small hole, flapping its disgusting wings. I had seen one rad roach before, but this one had glowing patches. The sickly green glow seemed to leak off of it. I assumed it was the radiation Dad had mentioned.

"Shoot it!" Nico shouted as it flew towards Redd.

As quick as it was a threat, it had stopped being one. Rocky had pounced on the insect, pinning it on its back. He curled into a ball, his rugged plates jutting out and stabbing into the creature. He rolled back and forth, becoming a living, breathing blender. The roach was a blended heap of glowing goo and viscera. To my disgust, the jagged back had unfolded like a used sleeping bag and began slurping the gore up. I would have lost my lunch had I eaten. When he was done, he waddled over to Redd, rubbed his forehoof, and plopped down next to him. We stared at him in horror as he gave a messy belch.

-HRRRRRRRRRRRRRRK- -hrk-

Everyone stared in awe at the creature. Everyone except my dad, of course. "Well. Nature at its finest." He chuckled.

"Nature?!" Redd shouted, not taking his eyes off Rocky.

Dad shrugged. "Well, yeah. Armadillos ate insects before the war. It only makes sense they would eat them, now."

Wasteland, please. I can't take anymore of your biology lessons.

Redd stared at the jagged back. "H-he saved me."

"It's not like a radroach could do much damage." Pepper said, flatly.

"It would have probably made me sick, though." He gruffly sighed. "Thank you, creature. I... I guess I owe you one."

I grinned. I needed to thank Rocky for more than just saving my companion from radiation sickness. Redd was beginning to open up a little more to this place. I'd add it to my "thank you" list.

It seemed like forever before we got to Nico's house. We made a stop so we could rest and have lunch. It had been a while since I had last eaten. Actually, it might have been a full twenty-four hours. Once we got through the door, Violet kicked back on the sofa.

"Nice place." She said.

I could feel Pepper tense as we walked in. For once, it wasn't me.

"Something wrong?" I whispered.

"I'm gonna take a mind nap." She replied, nervously. We decided to call it a "mind nap" when one of us gave complete control to the other. Since I wasn't that great with words, it would have been the best way to describe it.

"Are you okay?" I asked. I genuinely hoped she was.

She paused. "Yeah. I just... There's too many memories here."

"Wanna talk about it?"

She didn't respond, that time. I wanted to make sure she wasn't upset, but it wouldn't have been right for me to pry in her life. I felt her body go limp as she shut her mind off. We had gotten used to the on/off switch thing. It was almost like being back in my body, except it wasn't.

"Pepper..."

Nico walked into his kitchen and began pouring multiple, old cans of soup in a familiar saucepan. It was the same pan that warmed up the first meal I ate in the wasteland. I watched him take off the outer layer of his barding. I was starting to wonder if he always did that while cooking. The blue aura enveloped the handle while he stirred the contents of the pan. Tomato soup. I wished I had a milkshake from the cafe, back home. Nico's soup was not a bad dish by any means, but a chocolate shake would have hit the spot, for sure.

"What'cha thinkin' 'bout, Pep-enna?" Violet sang.

I gave her my most confused look. "Pep-enna?"

She rolled her eyes, playfully. "You know. Sia and Pepper combined?"

I cringed. "That is awful."

Redd snorted. "Even I know better than to joke about that."

Violet punched his shoulder. "That's about all you know!"

He rubbed his shoulder where the impact was. "Ow! You don't have to be such an ass!"

I chuckled as I sat at the kitchen table. Dad had situated himself across the table from me. Redd and Violet took a seat with us, too. I was about to offer my seat to Nico when he declined, unfolding a chair and setting a place for himself. You could tell the portable furniture hadn't been used in years by the amount of dust that came off of it when it was disturbed. Five bowls levitated through the air and sat in front of us. The soup smelled amazing.

"Wow. You're a chef, too?" Redd snickered.

"Not entirely." The unicorn flattened his ears.

Violet was the first of us to dig in. By dig in, I meant she gulped it down in one swallow. Kind of like when I first got here. I followed suit, sipping a little more slowly. It was just as delicious as the first time. Rich, creamy texture. Pre-war ponies sure knew how to can and preserve food.

Once we finished, I helped Nico to clear the table and clean up. Everypony else had started cleaning weapons or sorting through their inventory. As I put the bowls back into the cupboard, I felt the awkward tension. It was just Nico and I in the kitchen. It seemed as though Pepper was aware, now. Every time I tried to turn our head to get something, she would turn away.

She doesn't want to look at him.

I've felt that, before. The immense awkwardness that often made me hide my own face. I didn't like that they had all of these negative emotions between them. There was a small, evil happiness in me that wanted it to stay that way, but I also wanted them to be happy. If I was going to sacrifice anything else for Nico, it would be my heart. I owed it to him to help him find his joy. It was time for me to let go of that short chapter in our relationship. Permanently.

Wasteland, you suck.

"So, there is a lot of tension between you, two." I said.

The loud clang of a dropped pan nearly sent me in panic mode.

"What did you say?" I casually looked up at the stallion. His wide-eyed leer was actually pretty funny.

"I just think you and Pepper should talk it out. I know how awkward things are since... all that happened."

"Sia, what the hell do you think you're doing?!" Pepper hissed.

"Think of it as a true gift of peace. I want you guys to be happy." I whispered back, loudly breathing the last word. I straightened up and forced our hooves towards him, stopping just shy of a wing's distance. "Please, listen. I know absolutely nothing about relationships. I know nothing about love or any of that stuff, you know that." I sighed, knowing I was going to botch the whole talk. "I can tell there is still something between you and Pepper. The only thing that is getting in the way is the giant misunderstanding you both experienced." I looked down, thinking about the holotape that was constantly haunting my subconscious. "It doesn't matter what happened in the past. If it does matter, then it's something that needs to be communicated, not left simmering in silence. Nico, Pepper didn't leave willingly. Pepper, Nico did not let you get taken."

"Sia..." I held our hoof up to stop him.

"No. I said what needed to be said. If you're going to worry about me, please don't." I smiled, half genuinely. "I will be able to find peace one day. I don't want to be a middle mare. Pepper needs you more than I do, now. Communicate. Pepper, it's my turn for a mind nap. I'm not sure when I'll wake up, but don't wait for me when we start traveling. Just, tell Redd to make sure Bob is clean and ready to go."

I wasted no time getting out of there. I took a deep breath, then exhaled. It's basically like how the ancient monks meditated. When I opened my eyes, I was floating in that familiar, empty sky. Infinite horizons of loneliness.

So, I kicked back and propped my head on my forehooves. It was more homey than scary, now.

"I wonder if Pepper sees this in her mind naps?"

"Probably not." I jumped. "I assume everypony's mind is different."

"Gah! You nearly gave me a heart attack!" I paused. "If I had a heart, here!"

The purple-maned unicorn smiled. "Sorry about that. I was curious as to how... relaxed you are in your subconscious, now."

I shrugged. "I guess I've gotten so used to this weird crap, it just doesn't bother me. It definitely helps that I haven't had as much anxiety since I've been in my body. I'm enjoying that little bit of good in all this."

"Well, I take it you'd rather stay in Pepper's body?" She chuckled.

I shook my head. "As much as I love having somepony else control my panic for me, I think I would rather get back to being me. Plus, Pepper does not enjoy it."

We shared a laugh. It was nice to talk like we were just good friends, instead of having a crisis talk or an emotional breakdown. I hoped Rarity really did see me as a friend.

"So, did you see the pearls?" She asked.

I sighed. "They were magnificent."

"But dangerous." She interjected. "They lure ponies in with their magic. It's almost like they're alive."

I gulped, mostly out of habit. "Are they? Alive, I mean?"

Rarity moved a curl of hair from her cheek. "I'm actually not sure. I don't think they contain any souls, but they definitely have a mind of their own."

I wished I could be surprised. "Oh."

She squinted. "You have changed. Drastically, I might add."

"I've been hearing that, a lot."

"Are you okay?" She asked.

Was I? I felt okay. I know my mental health was probably all over the place from the stress. "Yes. At least I think so. I don't feel like I'm on the verge of losing my mind if that's what you mean."

Her elegant figure sat across from me, almost like she was studying me. I could only imagine what she was thinking. It bothered me more that she saw me as a ticking time bomb than as hopeless. Hopelessness was at least predictable. The way my anxiety had seemed to drop to mild symptoms was something I never saw possible. I mean, come on. I was an absolute coward!

Cowardice doesn't make a pony.

I grit my teeth, trying to avoid her critique. Her face softened when she saw my discomfort. "I'm sorry, dear. I didn't mean to stare, I was just curious. I don't want my new friend to be hurt."

I shuffled my hooves, curling my ghostly tail around them. "I know. But you gotta believe me. I really don't know why my emotions are... milder."

"In any case, I'm glad your mental illness symptoms are at bay. I know how much you... despise them."

"Heh. No kidding."

Awkward silence.

"So..."

"What is there to do in this... dreamscape? World? Whatever this is." I looked around.

Rarity stared, again, dumbfounded. "Erm... Are you not... wanting to wake up?"

"Not really. I gave Pepper control of her body so she and Nico could make up and stop fighting."

"Ah. Well, they may be done by now."

I sighed. "Probably. We'll be traveling towards Blossom Farms by the time I'm awake."

"Blossom Farms? What on Equus for?"

"That's the last place my Pipbuck tag was last located. I just pray that Blight has not damaged my body."

"So they did it, then." She looked in the distance.

"What do you mean?"

"Blossom Farms was supposed to be a normal farming community. They were growing all sorts of crops. Except for apples, of course. Applejack would not have let another competitor that close to the capitol. She was much to proud." She cleared her throat. "Anyway, the owners of the farm agreed to let the Ministry of Technology stash away a few hidden projects. In exchange, they'd get dibs on some of the newer industrial farming equipment."

"Ministry of Technology? Isn't that Applejack's ministry? Why would she store anything in a farm she wanted nothing to do with?" I asked.

"She didn't know anything about it. You know the saying: There's always one bad apple. It turns out, there were a few ponies below her who were trying to make a few extra bits by partnering with Blossom Farms. If they had that new agricultural technology, they'd be able to harvest crops in quantities that Applejack could only dream of."

"I can't believe she didn't know about that." I bit my lip.

She shrugged. "The farm was still small scale when they got their hooves on the prototypes. By then, the megaspells had hit. They didn't get a chance to use anything. That's why Blight is there. She wants what's hidden there."

I couldn't believe it. They managed to keep that a secret from the most honest pony in Equestria. If I didn't know any better, I'd say there were more screwed up ponies than I thought back then. That didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, though. What would Blight do with a bunch of farm equipment? I asked Rarity that, exactly.

"I have no idea. Unless they were hiding superweapons down there, I can't think of a reason."

Superweapons. They wouldn't hide that kind of firepower under a farm. Right?

"Wait. What kind of machinery do you think they're storing?" I asked.

"I don't know every detail. Everything I know about the project is just hearsay. I do know that there were two specific machines designed for cropping and harvesting. They were supposed to be large, fuel-powered vehicles that were computerized to run without anypony driving them. Thanks to the stolen materials from Applejack's labs, they were nearly indestructible, as well. They were basically tanks. The only thing that could get through them is a mini-balefire bomb."

"Soo... killer plows?"

Rarity shook her head. "I think it's much worse. Those cretins who betrayed Applejack wanted a machine that could conform to any type of large machinery a farm would need."

"What if the farm needed something on the defensive? Did they include that in the blueprints?"

"I..." She pursed her lips. "It's a possibility. Though, unlikely. Unless you were to convert the whole thing into some kind of massive sentinel. I don't know how functional it would be, if at all."

Shit.

"I really don't want to take that chance." I stood. "If she has something in her grasp that has even a small chance of turning into a doom-tractor, she will probably find a way to make it more dangerous."

"That would not be good." The unicorn chewed her hoof tip.

"We wouldn't even be able to stop it without a megaspell if the metal they used is bullet and grenade-proof." I swallowed. "I have to warn the others."

She nodded. "Good luck."

Once my eyes were closed, I imagined myself waking up. Then, I actually was awake. Pepper stumbled as I gained feeling in her limbs. I must have caught her by surprise. True to our herd, we were already traveling. As we got right on our hooves, I saw Nico's house behind us. We had gotten about a mile and a half away. I must have been out for a while.

"Pepper? Are you alright?" Nico asked, holding out his hoof to steady us.

She shook her head. "Yeah, I'm fi-"

"Doom-tractors! Killer farm equipment... Blight is in the bunker with some pre-war tech that can possibly be made into a weapon!" I blurted it all out, not letting Pepper finish.

"Sia, what are you talking about?" Violet flew near us. "What's a... 'doom-tractor'?"

"There's a storage facility under Blossom Farms. It was meant to hold some kind of farm equipment, but the combines were made like... like war machines! If Blight is as powerful as she says, she might be able to rebuild them into big sentinel-type things!"

"What? How do you know that?" Redd extended his wings. You could hardly tell one of them was fake.

Rocky bumped into him as he stopped.

-hRrRrRkK-

"Rarity told me about the bunker under the farm. She said there were ponies who went behind Applejack's back to build the equipment for the owners. She says it's possible they can be converted into something offensive enough to kill." I breathed. I grasped at Pepper's chest. It was definitely tightening.

"There's no telling what progress she's already made." He said.

"We need to get a move on." I looked at the stallion's warm eyes. "Damn, I wish I had my wings."

"You need a flier, Sia?" Violet asked.

"Yes. I need someone to fly ahead and scout the area. I'd feel better if there were at least two of you, though." I looked around.

"I'll go, too." Dad fluttered his own wings. They were large enough to create a breeze.

"Thank you. Both of you. Please, for the love of Celestia, be careful." I pleaded.

"Psh." Violet waved me off. "C'mon, Pops."

As soon as I blinked, she was already yards away. Dad struggled to keep up with her, but I watched them fly out as the rest of us followed after them until we got to a mound. The entire place was close enough to see from the hill we stood on, but I wanted an aerial overview, as well. The many fields and halfway-built buildings were scattered pretty far out. I wondered how big Applejack's farm was in comparison.

Nico took out his rifle and looked through the scope, surveying the land. I noticed our eyes, lazily moving towards the stallion. Pepper was watching him. She didn't feel tense when she set her gaze on him, though. She actually seemed relaxed. They must have finally found peace with one another! I had to gently pry our eyes away to scan our side.

"OH CRAP!" I yelped as the gravestone caught me by surprise. It shouldn't have startled me, since it was only a stone. I couldn't help it, though. I didn't like anything associated with death.

"Really? You made my heart speed up for a tombstone?" Pepper said, instantly calming our breathing.

I chuckled, embarrassed. "I-uh... I don't like epitaphs."

Our eyes rolled as her body moved us towards it. The stone had eroded so much you could barely read the words. I only knew it was a gravestone from the shape.

Here Lies Zephyr Breeze
Beloved Brother and Son
"Though employment was never found,
With us thy spirit forever bound."

"What does that even mean?" Pepper asked.

"I think it means he had no job." I said, flatly.

"What a weird thing to say on a dead guy's headstone."

I shrugged as we went back to Redd and Nico.

"Guys!" Violet shot towards us, sliding to a stop in the dirt in front of us. "We saw the entrance! It's inside of an empty silo. It must have been used as cover."

Dad panted after her, almost crashing into the ground. "That's not all." He breathed. "There are dozens of cloaked ponies going in and out of the huge door."

"Cloaked ponies? So Hope is there, too? What is going on?" I clenched our teeth.

"I'm not sure. Whatever it is, there are a lot of muffled voices. There was some yelling. We managed to keep a safe distance and still hear a little of it." Violet said. "It sounded like a mare."

"What do we do, Lieutenant?" Redd saluted. I almost shivered at the sudden recollection that I was once a literal, military officer.

"She knows I'm not in my body, so I doubt Blight is trying to fool her. I don't think it's a good idea to go in guns a blazing. We may be able to sneak in if we find another entrance. But... I'm not sure a place like this would have another entrance. Hope would not hurt me. She has proven that she won't. I'm thinking I go alone and-"

"Absolutely not." Nico said. "You're not going anywhere alone."

"Technically, she's not alone. She's fused with Pepper." Violet said, earning a sneer from Nico.

I closed my eyes. "You're right. If anything were to happen, I'd get Pepper hurt." I looked away.

"You act like I'm gonna stop you from dragging us down there." Pepper said, next.

"This is my mess. I'm going to find another way." Her voice switched to mine.

"And what if you don't? What if there is no other way? Are you going to sit around and feel sorry for yourself until one of those cloakies finds us? Besides, I kind of want to see what a 'doom-tractor' looks like."

I didn't say anything else. I couldn't risk her life for my stupidity, but she wasn't going to give me choice.

"If Pepper volunteers then... I think you should do it." Violet said.

Nico's ears stood erect. "What? Are you serious? You support them stumbling inside of that place? They'll be killed!"

"Sia knows what she's doing." Violet argued. "There's a reason she has the name 'Fear Fighter', now."

Thankfully Pepper's hide was magenta, so the blush on our cheeks didn't show up as well.

"I agree. We are behind her one-hundred percent." Redd grinned.

Nico huffed and turned to my father. "Mixer, you can't be with them on this!"

The large pegasus sighed. "I am, Nicky boy. I trust that my daughter's decisions are the right ones. I'm worried, sure, but she's smart and strong. I also believe Pepper is a fighter, as well." He put his wing around our shoulders. Pepper didn't wince. She actually... smiled!

The tan unicorn groaned. "What if something happened to you both?!"

"Nico, we will be okay. You said you trusted me when we faced those turrets, right?" I told him.

"They were turrets! Not a dangerous cult of ponies with murderous farm equipment!"

"I promise we will be fine."

He looked in my eye and I saw the defeat. He wanted to trust me, but I'm guessing his experience with saving my tail wasn't the best support.

I smiled. "I only want to get in and find out what we're dealing with. You guys can stay here and watch our back."

"What about your gun?" Redd held up Bob.

I shook my head. "It's best if I don't take any firearms."

"Plus, I am a unicorn you know. I have some magical abilities." Pepper pointed to the forehead appendage.

"At least take your knife." He pointed to the blade on our shoulder strap.

Pepper levitated it with her magic and inspected it. "Not bad. I can hide it in my tail." She tucked it away inside the knotted horse hair. For safe-keeping, I also stuffed the necklace into her barding.

"Alright. Let's go."


ERROR: NO SUBJECT DETECTED


Level Up!

New Perk
Friends with Fate - You have a permanent increase in Luck. (+1)

Author's Note:

Thanks to Kkat for this amazing world!

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

-AP