• Published 11th Apr 2022
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Frostpony - The Original Gaston

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Chapter 5 - Applejack

Applejack's warm breath reflected back into her snout as she huffed and puffed, the thick scarf covering her face stopping her own breath from truly escaping.

Around her hips and neck were the yoke and ropes of one of the many cargo carts made to haul coal and other materials from the packed cargo bays of Steam Lorry Two. The wooden wheels and bin of the cart squeaked and rumbled as she made her way across the walkways of the bay, heading towards the doors leading to the Engine Room in a journey she had repeated millions of times.

The poorly oiled axles, choked with coal dust and grime, constantly squealed and grinded together in rebellion, making Applejack practically drag the cart with her. Even though she tried to take care in her work, maintaining the cart's components whenever she ended her shift, it always got itself gummed up once again mere hours into her shift. Regardless, there was no time to stop and fix it now, the boilers continued to demand coal from the cargo bay; and if not coal, then it was steel for repairs, or wood for spare structural profiles.

Applejack didn't protest to the working conditions, or to the sweat drenching her fur, or to the long extended hours in order to cover for the 24 exodus of the Lorry. She could deal with all of that. After all, if somepony didn't put their noses to the grindstone and push for the good of everypony, nothing would ever get done, and the expedition would be lost to the ice and snow.

And, from day one, that somepony was her. Even if she had to say goodbye to her farm, her plants, her trees, her home, and most of her family...

She could deal with all of that.

As she reached the doorway, she did remind herself of something to be thankful for as her toned muscles continued to strain against her yoke. The physical exertion, combined with her direct proximity to the lorry's Boiler, meant that she could shed the heavy cloak that most others were now forced to wear 24/7. All she wore was her hat, crooked on her head after many hours of toil, and a scarf that hung limply from her neck.

She pulled alongside the boilers, slowly taking off her harness as she reached her forehoof up to soothe the irritated lines on her neck that marked the places where it chafed against her.

Before her sat a gigantic boiler. Towering from the floor below her and the ceiling two stories above her, the boiler constantly glowed with heat, making the air in the engine room almost scorching. An oppressive relief from the cold, if there ever was one.

Behind the giant boiler, pressurized steam pipes lead to a core, where Applejack knew that the fancy tech the Engineers called a "Steam Core" lay, doing magical doohickeys to the steam making it propell the giant drive shaft of the lorry. Said shaft was below them, creating the constant rumbling and vibrations that signified life on the move in the Steam Lorry.

Wordlessly, an Engineer who had been manning one of the shovels to place more coal into the boiler's fuel chutes, abandoned his work temporarily to walk over to Applejack.

Applejack didn't pay him any mind, and simply braced against the right side of the cart as the engineer took the left side. They heaved together, upending the pile of coal on the cart, dumping it down below them into a large bin, refilling its coal pile back to full.

As soon as the cart was empty, it was carefully lowered back to the floor. The Engineer promptly left Applejack alone as he walked back to his shovel, picking it up to begin feeding the never-ending hunger of the giant machine before him.

Wordlessly once again, Applejack picked up her harness, adjust her hat in the process, and turned around, taking the cart back with her towards the cargo bays once again.

She coughed as she once again entered the cargo bays, the thick coal dust in the air once again choking her lungs. She did her best to ignore it, moving on towards yet another pile, where other earth ponies were waiting with shovels to fill her burden once again.

Back and forth, this process dragged on. From the early hours of the morning, to the deep darkness of the Arctic night, she continued. It was not like Applejack could tell the time, anyway. It wasn't like she had a window, nor a watch. She had no lunch break to signal the arrival of Noon. The only breaks she had at all were two toilet breaks, and even they were timed.

At first, she used how exhausted she was to try and gauge time. At first, she was truly exhausted by the end of her shift. However, every day following that, she spent all her energy just a few minutes earlier than before. A few minutes grew into an hour. Then an hour turned into two...

And now, Applejack was on complete autopilot, dragging her hooves, plodding one step in front of the other, dragging an ever increasing weight across the steel tiling. She was incredibly thirsty, but she wasn't keen on going to the water barrel, which had been exposed to the saliva of every working pony in the bay, and refilled without being cleaned so many times that it was no cleaner than the stuff she used to give to her pigs. She was hungry, but she knew not when her shift would be up and she'd be able to collapse her way to the mess hall.

Yet, she continued to push on. Even though sometimes it felt she could've towed the entire population of Ponyville by her cart from the landing of the Dreadnought all the way to the Generator, even though simply collapsing seemed like the better option, even though her heart kept telling her she couldn't go on... she continued hauling the coal. Step by step. Breath by breath.

SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET

A shrill whistle blew throughout the cargo bays, a sound that made Applejack nearly collapse on the spot.

"End of shift!" Cried a voice that was only vaguely familiar to Applejack's muddled mind, "Stow your tools for the next shift and clean yourselves! Proceed to the mess hall in exactly one hour for your rations!"

Applejack ignored the voice, and continued on. She still had a full load of coal, and she wasn't going to just abandon it in the middle of the bay any time soon! After all, what was one more journey to the engine room?

However, she had to admit, as she finally approached the post where she would usually unload her coal, the temptation to just collapse finally grew too much. Her legs gave out, and she thudded to the floor, harness and all, the cart sliding slightly to bump into her flank as she laid splayed out on the floor, her chest constantly puffing in and out with exhausted gasps and her eyes slammed shut.

She probably would've drifted to sleep right there and then if it weren't for the sheer discomfort of the boiling heat of the generator, and of the sounds of hooves approaching from behind her.

"Darling, Applejack, you really haven't changed, have you?" Came the voice of Rarity as the tingly feeling of telekinesis grabbed her midsection, trying to help her up.

Applejack grunted a response from her scrambled mind as her cramped-up legs flailed, trying to find purchase on the ground as she was restored to a standing position.

She opened her eyes, looking over to the concerned face of Rarity, still wearing her winter coat and cap despite the blazing heat of the boiler. Her lips moved, "Oh dear... let me help you out of here... you have some ponies waiting for you, but I couldn't have them walking around in some place so dangerous..."

With that, Rarity kept her grip on Applejack, lightening her own weight so that the earth pony could hopefully make the walk back out of the engine room and cargo bays a bit easier.

"Thanks, Rarity..." Applejack managed to say, limping her way across the walkway around the boiler to the doors leading into the cargo bay.

"Oh, hush now. I couldn't have you lying there and boiling yourself by that damn engine, could I?" Rarity said, only giving a passing glance to the ponies that rushed into the compartment to fill the next shift.

"Sorry..." Applejack managed. She knew that most of the other ponies quit a few moments before the Overseer came through to officially end the shift, just out of pure exhaustion, and that the crew was beginning to plan for this by working downtimes in the boiler's heat into their schedule. However, Applejack hadn't been raised by no quitters...

"And your scarf, darling? Why didn't you have your scarf pulled up over your mouth? The coal dust in here is veritably choking darling!" To emphasize her point, Rarity tugged at her own scarf, coughing a little as the two of them reentered the cargo bay, "You could get black lung and die, for goodness sake!"

"It was... too hot..." Applejack complained, trying to lick her lips to stimulate saliva in her parched mouth.

"Too hot my left flank!" Rarity lashed out, giving Applejack an angry eye. After a moment, though, she softened, "...Sorry for my Prench. Darling, you're going to work yourself to death!"

Applejack remained silent, weathering her old friend's remarks as the two of them came to the door leading back out to the labyrinthine hallways of the passenger section of the lorry. Several hangers were set up, with most of them being empty of their owner's coats. One remained, a worn coat burned deep into the farmpony's memory.

She left Rarity's support, hobbling over to don her coat. Back on the farm, now would've been time for stretches to make sure her muscles didn't tangle, but at this point she was so far beyond exhausted that she could not muster the strength to care about such trivial practices. Instead, she simply put on her coat, flattening her sweat-drenched fur underneath its suffocating embrace, and buttoned up the front.

As she did so, several tiny hooves sounded from outside the cramped locker room. Applejack's rapidly thumping heart skipped a beat in joy as her green eyes looked up to see three fillies, her little sister Apple Bloom among them.

"Heya big sis! You look right beat!" Apple Bloom said, entering the room, flanked by her two friends: Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

Applejack took off her hat, airing her sweat-drenched mane a little bit with it before placing it back firmly on top of her head, "Ah sure am... and ah'm really lookin' forward to a good meal with mah favorite lil' sister and her friends," She smiled, reaching out a forehoof to pat the tiny yellow filly on her head.

"Hi!" Sweetie Belle said, pushing up against her big sister, Rarity's, legs, "How was work?"

"Oh, I'm doing quite alright. Nowhere as poorly as Applejack though," Rarity smiled as well, brushing Sweetie's mane with a forehoof.

"Why? Is Applejack sick or something?" Scootaloo asked, looking up at Applejack's dishevelled form.

Applejack opened her mouth to answer, but Rarity cut her off, "No, dear, but she seems determined to work herself to death!"

"Aw, shucks Rarity! Big sis is so strong, I'm sure she didn't even break a sweat today!" Apple Bloom retorted, looking up at Applejack with a hopeful stare.

"That's right," Applejack nodded weakly, "Ah could do this all day and night if it meant y'all would stay warm on our way to that darn Generator."

"Rainbow said we were getting close! She said if we stood on the top deck we could see the mountains around the Generator!" Scootaloo chirped excitedly, hovering a few inches off the ground as her tiny wings fluttered rapidly, only to clunk back to the ground a few moments later.

"She didn't say that last part, silly!" Sweetie retorted.

"No. But she did say that it was less than a day away! That means it's gotta be close!" Scootaloo tapped Sweetie lightly in the chest, the latter of whom just rolled her eyes.

Rarity smiled, "That's good news. If we reach there tomorrow, we'll be able to move out of this terribly cramped and smelly place, and then maybe Applejack can stop breaking her back fueling that boiler!"

Applejack looked down to Apple Bloom, who was busy digging for something in her napsack. The filly eventually managed to yank it out, revealing a length of red silk, which reminded Applejack starkly of the sashes the Captain and the Administrators wore across their chests. On it was sewn a familiar symbol, even if it was messily stitched: the mark of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

"Still going with that dang club of yours?" Applejack asked, kneeling down to Bloom's level to inspect the silken cape.

"Of course! I mean, we thought we might've needed to break up for a while when we were put on seperate Lorries, but now that we were all put on the same one again... and now that we're all so close to the city..." Sweetie chimed in, walking up next to Apple Bloom and pulling out her own, similarly-sewn cape from a pocket. Scootaloo also revealed her own cape.

"Whadd'ya think?" Apple Bloom asked excitedly, bouncing a little.

Applejack chortled, petting the little yellow filly on the head, "I think that's darn sweet."

Rarity, however, looked concernedly between the three fillies, "Darlings...? Where did you get these materials? These aren't publicly available..."

"We got them..." Applebloom looked nervously between her two friends.

"Completely legitimately!" Scootaloo finished, giving the biggest, most strained grin Applejack had ever seen.

Applejack quirked an eyebrow, "Ah see..." she sighed, standing up again, "Well, ah sure do hope whoever you legitimately obtained these here capes from doesn't mind too much when you start flaunting them around the place."

"Eh. Probably not," Sweetie shrugged.

"Well girls, you should run along. We wouldn't want to miss our rations, would we?" Rarity adjusted her woolen cap, and ran a hoof through her mane.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders, reunited once again, ran out the door from the locker room, giggling and chatting the whole way, leaving the two adults alone to walk to the mess hall.

"So. We're finally almost there, huh?" Applejack grunted, following alongside Rarity as the two of them made their way down the corridor.

"Yes, finally. Maybe there we can find some... normalcy.." Rarity shivered, "And maybe a break from this damn cold! The heater in this place does nearly nothing!"

"Ah'll be looking forward to getting full rations once we can get to growin' our own food," Applejack chortled.

"-And I'll be looking forward to a bathouse and a house of my own, even if I have to share it!" Rarity added, stepping over yet another pony sleeping in the middle of the hallway.

There was silence for a while as the two ponies dreamed about the promised land of the Generator.

"Rarity... Ah'm not sure ah'll be workin' in those Hothouses the engineers dreamed up," Applejack sighed as they continued on.

It was Rarity's turn to quirk an eyebrow and look over to Applejack, "Why not, darling? You're a skilled farmer."

"Yeah, but ah think ah've proven mahself a good coal hauler now..." Applejack wiped stray moisture from her brow, "And there's no way that darn skyscrapin' Generator isn't gonna need more coal than the boiler."

Rarity frowned, "No, I'm sure there has to be a better way. Twilight built these things, after all. Do you really think she wouldn't have thought up some fancy machinery or magical teleportation system to fuel the Generator?"

"If she had, wouldn't she have put it in th' darn Lorries?" Applejack pointed out, looking over to Rarity and locking her gaze.

"...well, maybe she didn't have the time for those. B-But the Generator was meant to be a city, darling, and she had plenty of time to build it! That mare probably thought of everything! It's just in her nature," Rarity dimissed, shaking her head as the two of them continued to press forward.

Applejack gave a sideways frown, but conceded, "Well, if'n ya say so, Rares..."

The welcoming warmth of the Mess Hall embraced the two of them as they walked inside, many of the day's workshift already crowding the tables. After a quick look around, the two of them quickly realized that every last seat in the hall was already taken.

"Well... looks like we're eating standing up," Rarity grunted, before walking to join the ration line.

The pony at the counter once the two approached the end of the line only looked dead ahead with empty eyes, and placed two biscuits and a slice of bread on a tray, giving it to Rarity, before repeating the process for Applejack. The two looked at the disappointing portion on their plates, before simply continuing on in silence to a vacant corner of the room where they could stand and eat.

The two of them bit of chunks of their biscuits and bread, hungry, but still savoring every bite. Gone were the days of worrying about overeating, in were the days of worrying about starvation. The two had been growing increasingly thin, and some ponies aboard the lorry had been showing their ribs through their coat. However, they still held the hope that by the powerful heat of the Generator, it would all be better.

Suddenly, Rarity shed a tear, and her chewing stopped as she reached up a hoof to wipe it away.

Applejack's heart moved. There was plenty to cry about in their situation, so she reached out and laid a tired, cracked forehoof on the unicorn's shoulder, "There, there, Rares. What's wrong?"

"It's just-" She sniffled, "I miss everything, and I feel like I lose more every passing day... First it was Twilight when she went overseas... then it was my boutique... then it was my parents, and now Twilight's gone, Fluttershy's off somewhere else, and now even Pinkie's been left behind..." More tears wiggled their way out from Rarity's eyes, and she slammed her eyelids shut as she began to sob, "What if- what if someday I lose all of you too? Sweetie belle, oh dear Sweetie Belle... what if it doesn't work out..."

Applejack delicately placed her tray of food on the ground, trying to ignore the danger of some opportunistic stranger simply grabbing spare rations from it while it was unattended, and wrapped her forehooves around Rarity's neck. She brought the other unicorn into a hug, shedding a few tears of her own.

"Ah know how it feels. Ah've thought the same thing since Big Mac left the farm to work on Twilight's project up north..." Applejack patted Rarity on the back, feeling the warm tears of her friend dropping onto the leather lining of her coat.

"When I saw you on the ground, I really thought-" Rarity sniffed, before opening her mouth again to say something else. However, whatever it was was choked by another fit of sobs.

Applejack remained silent, simply squeezing Rarity tighter.

"Tell me you'll never leave, Applejack..." Rarity's breath hitched, "Tell me I won't lose you too..."

Applejack paused, eyes diverting away from the marshmallow-colored unicorn in front of her, "...Ah can't guarantee that, Rarity. That'd be a lie."

Rarity's lips turned into a frown, before she pulled away from the hug, "...Sorry. It's just..." Rarity tried to give out a laugh, swatting at her tears with her telekinesis, "It's just... it's been hard. You should've seen the state Rainbow was brought back in. It was... scary..."

Applejack picked up her tray again, trying to eat while she still had the time, "Hopefully it ain't so hard soon," she gave her friend another pat, "Ah'm sure the Captain knows what he's doing. Rainbow'll lead her scouts back, we'll get Pinkie and the others back, and we'll be safe by that darn Generator until the winter ends."

"Mhmm..." Rarity sniffled, wiping her tears once again, "You know..." She laughed between two sobs, "Once upon a time I'd be worried about my mascara running from all this crying."

"You still look good without yer silly beauty products," Applejack assured, crunching another biscuit.

"...Thanks," Rarity said halfheartedly, taking a bite out of her bread, "Well. I'm definitely slim enough for the runway, that's for sure!"

The two girls shared a laugh as they swallowed the last pieces of their rations. Applejack's muscles once again ached to be given a proper rest, and she didn't feel like ignoring them for much longer.

"Sorry Rarity, but ah really should get to bed. Ah'm tuckered," Applejack lifted her hat.

Rarity nodded, "You get some rest. I'll find our sisters and make sure they get to bed and don't hurt themselves.

Applejack wandered the halls for a good half an hour, until she finally found a vaguely vacant spot on the floor in a hallway. There, she curled up, and despite the grated floor digging into her body and cold steel, she drifted to sleep in mere seconds...


The boiler roared as the Engineers lined up by the coal chutes continued to shovel the black, life-giving stones into the furnaces.

Applejack dragged her cart once again, muscles complaining and bones creaking all the way. For once, the temperature in the engine room wasn't blazing hot anymore. The greatest storm the convoy had seen so far made the outer plating of the hull shudder, and the temperature of the air in the cargo bays and engine room had dropped significantly.

Applejack didn't mind. She was plenty warm enough from the sheer exertion of her work. Yet, she did worry for the others who were not situated directly next to the boiler. For Rarity, for Apple Bloom...

And very much so for Rainbow Dash. She was the one who had to be outside during all of this. Nothing but the warming heat of her Lamp and several layers of winter coat to resist what rumor said was the -70 degrees centigrade that reigned outside.

She guessed that she was only halfway through her shift by now. However, by now, it was really hard to tell just how long. She hadn't exactly been counting her trips between the coal piles and the boilers. And, once again, she had no watch or windows to tell the time of day.

However, as she approached the boiler, a sudden noise caused her heart to leap and her cart to rattle as she jumped back.

The sounds of the steam releases blowing open, and the unearthly shrill screech of the superheated steam from the engines blasting out of them, made her hair stand on end. The constant rumbling of the drive shaft was absent, and the boiler's glowing heat was already beginning to die down. Ahead of her, she saw the engineers drop their shovels, and wipe the coal dust from their goggles.

At the top walkway of the Engine Room, she saw one of the Pilots walk out from the control room, giving a cheering shout, "WE'RE HERE!"

The engine room erupted into cheers and applause, and Applejack's heart soared as she joined in with the hollering.

They were here! They had finally made it! Their journey was over! Their toil had ended!

Applejack hurriedly tossed off her harness, abandoning her cart. She was almost giddy to say goodbye to the thing. As long as she didn't need to be there, she was absolutely fine with saying goodbye to her work. As she rushed out of the engine room, she already saw the familiar form of Rarity standing by the door to the locker door.

Rarity gave a long blow on her whistle, before shouting, "Shift's over early, ladies and gentlecolts! Go to the outer decks! Come see our new home!" Was her joyous announcement.

Applejack practically bounced across the floor, and just as Rarity turned to her, she brought the unicorn into a hug.

"We're finally here? What does it look like?" Applejack asked hurriedly, joining the crowd walking to the locker room to retrieve their coats.

"I don't know! But I was there to see Rainbow and the other Scouts signalling us to stop, and for the signal from the Captain's lorry to say we should park... permanently!" Rarity returned Applejack's excitement, a giant grin spread across her face.

"Well, what're we all doin' now?" Applejack asked, supposing that a work overseer would know.

Rarity smiled, "Well. The Captain told us all to go and see the Generator in all its glory. If I was to guess, though, you and the other earth ponies are going to go and begin retrieving whatever remains of our supplies and bring them down to the city. There's most likely some scaffolding needing to be done too. They said there were resources there prepared to erect housing for us to finally rest too."

Crowds of ponies, both from the workspaces and from the cabins, flooded through the halls to get to the bulkheads leading to the outer decks. Rarity and Applejack deigned to stay by the door, waiting for the majority of them to get through lest they get trampled in the crowd.

"Haven't seen more ponies hurryin' around since we rode that airship once!" Applejack laughed, watching as the passengers escaped from the confines of the lorry with all the energy of the superheated steam still venting from the engines.

Rarity chortled, "I hope Sweetie and the rest don't wander too far from the Lorry before we get there..."

Eventually the crowd cleared up enough for Rarity and Applejack to begin their own disembarking process. The corridors were starkly different without ponies packed inside. It seemed so long ago when they left the Dreadnought for the first time, and this was the norm. Now, it seemed like the Lorry was turning into a ghost of its former self.

As they approached the decks leading to the outside, the air became more and more bitter. Applejack knew there was a storm outside, but her theoretical knowledge was realized as the wind truly began to blast in from the open bulkhead leading to the outer deck. Snow flurried in through the entrance, and the silhouette of a good 100 ponies crowding the deck outside was visible.

Applejack and Rarity pushed through the crowd as it disembarked from the deck onto the snow below. The cold was already making the two of them shiver, but they were able to simply ignore the temperature from the hope of finally finding shelter.

There was the sound of flapping wings above them, before suddenly a pegasus wrapped completely in layers of coats, scarves, and goggles landed beside the two of them.

"Rarity! Applejack!" Came the faint voice of Rainbow Dash from behind the cloth.

"Rainbow! Are you okay? This cold is dreadful!" Rarity shouted over the wind, pulling closer to Rainbow.

"I'm.. okay. Lost all feeling in my hooves, but it'll be fine! You should see how it feels down by the Generator! Even with the thing offline, the valley it's in is sheltered from the wind and it's like ten times warmer!" Rainbow reached up a hoof, caked in snow and ice, and pulled down her scarf a little bit in order to reveal her mouth and be heard more clearly.

Surrounding the two, now parked, Steam Lorries were two large cliffs, extending up beyond the point where they could see. They formed a pass through what looked like an extensive mountain range. It was impossible to see what lay ahead of Lorry Two due to the whiteout of the storm.

"Have y'all seen Apple Bloom, Sweetie, and Scoots?" Applejack shouted at Rainbow.

"Nope! I'll go look for them though! If they haven't strayed off, they're most likely still with the crowd! I'll find 'em if they've strayed though!" Rainbow assured, before taking wing and ascending up above them, braving the thrashing winds that propelled the swirling flurry that whipped through the pass.

"Oh dear. I do hope they haven't gotten lost..." Rarity muttered, before continuing to walk forward, wading through the knee-high snow slathered on the rocky ground.

"Ah'm sure Rainbow'll find them," Applejack said, trying to comfort worry as she followed behind her friend.

Her Lamp's glow didn't do much to resist the cold, and by the time they had passed the nose of Lorry Two, Applejack was already shaking like a leaf. She'd need to borrow some extra coats if she was going to be doing any work on hauling the Lorry's remaining cargo to the generator.

Another half a mile of trudging, and Applejack was sure there was a sheet of ice forming on any part of her that wasn't covered by her winter insulation. However, eventually, she saw the crowd ahead stopping, and the mountains on either side of them ending.

Pushing through the crowd, Rarity and Applejack made their way forward, until they finally saw it...

The pass suddenly ended in a cliff, where a nearly horizontal slope dropped directly down to a valley below. In the middle of the valley, it stood. A giant, steel pillar. In the middle, a spherical heart. Surrounding it, thermal hulls and risers. The entire thing reminded Applejack of a giant steel hourglass. A steel frame surrounding a spherical core, with pillars of pipes and support frames surrounding it.

"Where are all the buildings?"

"How are we supposed to get down there?"

"Whoah... that thing is taller than Canterlot Castle..."

"How are we meant to power something that massive?"

"Is this it?"

"Dear Celestia... we're finally safe."

"Well, what're we waiting for?"

The murmurs in the crowd were intense. However, all Applejack could do was stare in awe.

After a few minutes, Rarity tapped Applejack on the shoulder, "Darling, look!" She pointed.

Applejack turned her head, realizing that most of the crowd had turned their attention away from the valley to some point to their right. She narrowed her eyes, raising a hoof to shield her eyes from the snow to look.

Several ponies with red sashes had assembled a stack of wooden crates from the Lorries for a single figure to stand on, silhouetted by the Lamps of two administrators.

The pony raised a megaphone, and his voice boomed across the crowd over the howling winds, "This is your Captain speaking!"

The crowd fell silent.

"After many weeks of sacrifice, toil, and travel, we have finally made it!" The Captain announced, "This is the place where we will make our home! Where we will be safe! Where our foals will prosper, and our grandfoals shall be born!"

There were cheers in the crowd, with hooves stomping into the snow. Applejack joined in, her own freezing legs stamping down into the packed snow below her.

"However!" Came the retort that quieted the crowd's cheers, "I have heard that some rumors have been passed between us! That we have been made to believe that the Generator will have a developed city built around it waiting for us!"

A pause.

"As we can clearly see, this is not the case! This was never the case! You have been told lies! However, I am not saying that there is no hope!" The Captain shouted as the crowd murmured discontently, "There are plenty of resources scattered around the valley! Over the next few days, we will pick them up and use them to construct our own homes! They will be tents for now, protected by the warm of the Generator, but eventually they will be houses, and we ourselves will erect the mighty city that we have hoped for!"

The crowd was silent. The disappointment was palpable, but nopony spoke up about it.

"Soon, workers from the Lorries will bring forth a pulley and cart system to lower us down in groups to the safety of the valley away from this storm! You will form orderly lines, with the elderly and ill going first, followed by foals, then able adults!" The Captain ordered, with the crowd nodding along.

"Now! Without further ado...!"

The Captain reared up, projecting his voice triumphantly.

"WELCOME TO NEW PONYVILLE!"