• Published 10th Dec 2020
  • 1,396 Views, 72 Comments

Pony-Me™ - TheMajorTechie



What happens when you realize that your life is a simulation? Well, you put the headset back on.

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2 ◈ And old friends to greet.

A quiet creak directed her attention back to her ration bucket. She'd likely lose it if she brought it in with her. It'd be a good idea to--

"...Lisa? Lisa!"

She looked over her shoulder. Who--

"Lisa!" the young man shouted again. "Lis...er, Twilight--" he panted, stopping behind her. "Man, did it take a while to find you out here!"

Lisa raised a brow. "...Spike? Is that you?"

"In the flesh!" he boasted, stepping in front of her. "Good to see you again!"

"Psh. No kidding." Lisa snorted. "So, what's up with you?"

He shrugged. "Not much. Though, I think you should take a look at my wristband."

"O...kay?" She turned her eyes to the plasticky tag around his wrist. It wasn't exactly the easiest to read out in direct sunlight, but...

"I--wait. Wait a sec." Lisa looked between his face and his wristband. "You... we’re related?"

"Name's Timothy Garnet." Timothy grinned. "Knew right from the beginning that we’re siblings, too. Not sure if you remember or not, but I sure do."

She ignored that second part. Today was already filled with enough mystery and surprise as it was. "So... I guess we stick together then, huh?”

Timothy hummed. "No worries, I get it. Anyway, wanna head back to your place and put your bucket away before the meeting?"

Oh yeah.

That.


Okay, so they were a little late to the meeting. No biggie. Experience taught her that things like this were absolutely not grounds for a complete and total mental breakdown.

Still, they were tardy!

Lisa shook the thought from her head. Even though they were indeed late, it didn't look like they missed much, anyway; Grace was already onstage, though she seemed more focused on adjusting the microphone at the moment than actually saying anything.

"Psst," Timothy leaned over, "Lis, so what was getting disconnected like for you? I kinda freaked out a bit myself when it started, since... y'know, I obviously didn't expect it to happen. I'm pretty sure I thought it was an earthquake or something at first, to be honest. Don't really know why, since there wasn't anything to do with shaking, but yeah. Panic thoughts, I guess."

She raised a brow. For her... disconnection was definitely on the scarier side of things. Beyond that...

"I'll stop for now. I know this is probably pretty hard on you anyway. Looks like Grace is about to begin."

"Welcome to our first official meeting!" Grace looked up from the microphone. "I myself won't be saying much, but I'll go ahead and introduce myself while our speakers get ready. My name is Grace Daalmans--some of you might've bumped into me already--and I'm here to make sure that things are fixed and running smoothly again! I'm not anyone all that special, though. That would be my mom, Melina, who's in charge of the network side of things. Now then, let's hear from our speakers for today. Welcome Professor Argall and Chief Technology Officer Samantha Hayes!"

Scattered applause and a few awkward cheers rang through the auditorium. Their reaction made sense; it wasn’t like they really knew that any of this was going to happen, after all. She turned to Timothy. He was one of the few in the room that was giving applause. Seemed about right, knowing how he acted as Spike. Though, he seemed to know a bit more about their situation than she herself did. That part was still weird.

Samantha was the first at the mic.

"Hiya!" She adjusted the stand a little. "First of all, I'd like to thank Gracie for introducing us. Knowing me, I'd probably start blabbering on and on 'til someone stops me!"

Someone in the audience chuckled. A couple of people, actually.

"So, anyway, I'll admit right off the bat that I don't really have anything to actually talk about. I kinda just heard that Argall was coming out of retirement to do some speaking after the whole disconnection event happened, so I decided to tag along. Mainly've been waiting for this last town here, though. Now then--" She turned her attention to someone in the front row. "Professor, wanna step up to the mic now?"

An old man lumbered up onstage beside her. Samantha stepped aside.

"Okay. So--" he pushed his glasses up "--just to begin, I'd like to talk a little on what the purpose of the simulations is. Anybody in the tech room up there?"

Grace gave a thumbs-up, though Professor Argall hardly seemed to notice. A loud thunk echoed overhead, followed by a blank rectangle fading in behind him on the canvas screen.

"Thank you. Now, as I was saying--" the image behind him flickered to the opening slide of his presentation "--the purpose of the simulations, at least in the beginning, was to give people a second chance at life, regardless of reason. Many signed up as part of a recovery and rehabilitation program, while others later on joined to enjoy a cleanly-separated 'second self' of sorts, distinct from their real personas."

The image behind him changed to one of the headsets.

"Now, I know that this separation of selves may have resulted in some confusion. For the sake of privacy, I will refrain from discussing this separation any further unless you ask me individually. Moving onto how and why our network suffered an outage, some of you may have already learned from either Grace or our technicians that our network infrastructure has become the focus of a targeted cyberattack. Neither I nor anyone else, as far as I know, are able to tell where the attack originated from as of yet, but we are confident that we are well on our way to resolving the disconnection issues that have stemmed from it."

He cleared his throat. "Ahem. Continuing on, in regards to additional damage we found while investigating the attack, we also found that multiple buried fiber-optic cables were severed. There is no specific pattern to where the cut cables lay, but we do believe that the sabotage was done in coordination with whoever it was that launched the cyberattack. Our team is currently searching for the damaged sections of cabling. Hopefully, we will be able to find these damaged sections within the week. That is all for now. Timothy Garnet, I see you waving up there. I’d like to speak with you for a moment in private, please."


Lisa sat on her cot. "Spike, why were you waving at the professor?"

"I was trying to get his attention. I knew he was looking for us anyway. I just wanted to let him know where we were. Heck, we even talked after the meeting before I caught up with you! He didn’t say much, but he said he’ll be--"

Someone knocked on the door.

"Come in."

Samantha opened the door. "What's up, Lisa? Oh, hi, Tim! Professor Argall was talking about you!"

Wait, what? How did she know her name? Did they meet at some point in the past?

Professor Argall loomed silently beside her. Surely he'd be at least annoyed by her... brother? Assistant? She frowned. Maybe that was why he called him out at the end of the presentation?

"Okay, can somebody tell me what's going on?" Lisa stood up. "First off, why do so many people recognize me? Grace apparently knows who I am, Timothy figured out that I am his sister from the back of my head, and now you, too? I'm guessing Professor Argall's in on the loop as well?"

Samantha shrugged. "Yeah, pretty much. He's the dude who adopted you two ages ago, after all. I don't think he's letting go of that anytime soon. To be honest, I think he’s actually been hoping for an opportunity to see you again.”

Well then. That at least answered one of her questions. Though... adoption? Why would the professor adopt her and Timothy anyway if he knew that they’d be gone?

"Man, do you look confused!” Samantha laughed. She stopped for a breath, a wide grin still plastered across her face. “Here, I wanna ask you something myself, since you're asking about so many things. Who am I?"

Lisa raised a brow. If Samantha was going to ask something like that, then she was definitely another creature from Equestria. Maybe she's... Starlight? No, Starlight probably would've joined her in scolding Timothy over interrupting. Maybe Sunset? Sunset was pretty good with technology, so... No, her personality didn't quite match up.

Samantha grinned. "Want a hint? Or should I just spill the beans right here, right now?"

Oh, wait. The way she talked. She was probably--

Samantha pulled out a miniature model of a certain mare's party cannon. "Here's your hint! I was thinking this might be useful today!"

Yup.

She's Pinkie.

Of course she is.

"Pinkie Pie."

"Bingo! You really didn't figure it out until now, did you?" Samantha smirked. "Y'know, I think you should add 'can read you like a book' to that list of things you can't explain about me. Or don't. Either way, you're wearing your emotions like a mask there, Lizzy. Anyways, that's pretty much it! I know I'm Pinkie, you know I'm--"

"Prove it."

Samantha cocked her head.

"Prove that you're Pinkie. What were we going to do today had it not been for the disconnection?"

"Pool party. Mainly as a way to drag you out of your fancy-schmancy castle." Samantha stuffed her hands in her pockets. "C'mon, gimme something harder!"

"Okay then... what do you do for a living in Ponyville?"

"Running Sugarcube Corner, party planning, protecting Equestria with you and the rest of our friends, stare back at the people that watch us... wow, Pinkie does a lot more than I remember programming her to do."

...To be honest, she should've expected that part about staring back at people. Though, if Pinkie was... well, programmed, did that mean that… Lisa sighed, closing her eyes for a moment. This was Pinkie she was questioning. Not exactly the best idea. At the very least, though, it confirmed who Samantha was in the simulation. Still, there was one more question to ask.

"So, how come you were one of the guest speakers? Weren't you disconnected just this morning like the rest of us? What about the rest of the girls?"

Okay, make that three more questions.

"For the second question, yes, but actually no. See, while I am Pinkie in Equestria, that doesn't mean I'm always Pinkie. Unlike you and Tim with your fully-connectedness and stuff, I chose to instead stick with the more standard option of logging in and logging out whenever I want. Lets me have a life of my own out here in the real world, y'know?"

"But what about Pinkie, then? What happens to her when you 'log out'? Don't you still have to... you know, be there to control her as yourself?"

Samantha shook her head. "No, not really. I leave her on autopilot most of the time. I pop in at least once every day just to check in, though. I usually talk a bit when I can before I leave, but I usually end up talking only to Timmy before logging off for the day." She looked at him. "You know what I'm talking about."

"Yup. A little weird at first, but it was pretty easy to get used to, since I was living full-time in Equestria and all. Stick to the script, talk in my downtime with Sam. It's a heckuva lot better than the idea I had for communication, that's for sure."

Him, too? Lisa huffed. Maybe at the very least, Pinkie's sudden swings between Pinkie and Pinkamena could be better explained by Samantha logging in on a bad day or something.

"Okay, okay, so apparently you two are closer friends than I thought both inside and outside of Equestria. The fact that that place is part of a simulation is already weird enough as it is anyway." She turned to Professor Argall. "So… uh, hi, I guess? You haven’t really said much since the meeting. Do you have something on your mind?"

The professor sighed. "You don't remember me at all, do you?"

"No, not really. Sorry."

He hung his head.

"O-oh, I... I really didn't mean to, Professor! It's just that it's probably been so long since then, and--"

"No, no, it's alright. I'd been expecting that the entire drive up here. I'm not surprised." He held out a hand. "Guess we should start from the beginning, then. Let's just be friends again. Like old times."

Lisa shifted her eyes between Samantha and Argall. Timothy, too. All three of them seemed to know something she didn't. She set her attention back on the professor's outstretched hand.

"Okay."

Professor Argall let out another sigh, though it was far less forced than the first time. "Thank you."

"Well, anyway, it's getting kinda dark out now." Samantha craned her neck, looking out the window. "Lis, Tim, don't forget to eat your dinners. Me and Argall are heading back to the town hall for the night." She walked to the door, with the professor following close behind. "Talk some more tomorrow?"

Lisa nodded. The door creaked open.

"Okie-dokey. See ya then!"

It clicked shut.

"I should probably go as well." Timothy knocked on the wall behind him. "I think you'll know where to find me if you need anything."

He left without another word. She could hear the muffled sound of another door opening and closing behind the wall.

Of course they were roomed right next to each other.