• Published 27th Jul 2021
  • 464 Views, 92 Comments

Suck it up, Buttercup - David Silver

He marched through the wastes. He was also bright yellow, and had a tail that did not sway much. He was also named Buttercup, not exactly a manly name, but it was his. His friend needed him. What is that? It looks like him, but also very not...

  • ...

1 - Man and his Horse

The dirt crunched under their feet, boots and metal hooves carrying them forward. "We should rest," spoke his robotic companion.

"You don't rest." Atomic powered, he was fairly sure his horse would keep on going until after he was long gone, barring being torn apart.

"You do," gently assured the horse, directing a hoof at a larger rock. "I will keep watch while you prepare camp."

"Buttercup, you're too damn nice." He ruffled the little artificial mane on Buttercup's head. "Don't change. Fine, we've walked a lot today. A little break won't kill us."

"The lack of one might kill you." Buttercup was, perhaps, a bit of a mothering presence, despite being male. As male as a robot that had decided it was male was. "You purchased those treats from the last town. I recommend you consume one and save the rest for later rests."

Buttercup let out a little whinny and a snort, quite authentic, just as his label had promised. Leaving his owner and partner to enjoy his break, he turned his head slowly to take in the surroundings and look for trouble.

She slammed herself against the stones, peering across the divide at something on the far end of the canyon. A human! Humans had guns. Humans had knives. Humans had bad attitudes and were ready to use all three on, well... everything, Buttercup had heard. Other humans. Not humans. Things moving. Things not moving.

How had they even survived? She didn't know, but clearly they had. There was a human right there!

He was eating something. Was that a can? She licked her lips. Cans often had tasty things in them, when they didn't have nasty things in them. It was a roll of the dice, but the way the human was chomping down, she could only assume it was a lucky winner.

There was something next to the human. It was yellow, like she was. Rusted, like she wasn't. It had... kind of a horse-like head, sorta. Like some foal somewhere drew a horse, and that was it. It was... looking? around. A robot?

She'd run into a human and a robot?! It was stupid amounts of luck. Good or bad, she was not sure.

Her eyes and the robot's met. Everything seemed to freeze for just a moment. With a squeak, she dived back into complete cover, hoping, somehow, she had not been spotted.

"Unknown mutant detected," informed Buttercup. "Aggression, unknown. Monitoring."

"What?" He stuffed the remainder of his snack in his face, making a mess of it and his fingers in the rush as he tossed the can aside to clatter against the dry stones. "You know most of 'em by now. What'd you see?" He grabbed a longarm he had set down for the break, inspecting that it was loaded and ready for use.

"Mammal, equine."

The man hiked a brow at that. "A horse? A mutant horse? How many heads?" He was looking in the direction Buttercup was, but he saw nothing but the yawning void of the canon, and an outcrop of rocks, but no horses around.

"One." Buttercup inclined their head faintly with a mechanical buzzing. "Size and proportions implies a pony breed. Regulations state I am to avoid contact with wild horses. Mutants are wild, aren't they?"

He flicked one of Buttercup's metal ears with a metallic tink of a noise. "Pretty sure you'd spook a horse if it was wild or not. I'm used to you." He patted the back of his robotic companion. "Is it coming closer, or running away?"


Buttercup's heart thumped wildly in her ears. She was too scared to run away or to peek and see if she had been noticed. She didn't hear footsteps. Maybe if she just stayed hidden, they would get bored and leave?

Running meant she could be seen, and then shot. Not that... Maybe a peek, a careful peek, would be better. She slid against the ground, barely edging out enough to get an eye around the corner. There was the human, holding a gun, damn it all.

The strange horse robot was, of course, looking right at her! "Do not be alarmed," it boomed, its lips unmoving. "I am friendly."

Buttercup blinked softly, had the robot... What?

"What are you doing?" hissed the human.

"You said that you were not scared because you were accustomed to my presence. If I am friendly towards this horse, perhaps they will also grow accustomed to my presence."

Clean robotic logic. He wiped his greasy hand on his pants leg, clearing it of most of the gunk. "Well, did it work? And where is it? I don't see it."

Even Buttercup could barely see it, peeking out from cover as it was. "It is present and monitoring us. Perhaps it is considering if we are a threat?" An idea arrived. "I will attempt to speak its language."

The horse robot began to whicker at her in a surprisingly loud volume. Like its booming words, it was basically shouting at her, in horse. A little whinny and a light snort, all in elevated volumes to cross the distance. What was it trying to do?

Now, well, Buttercup was a pony, a horse herself. Whinnies and such had a meaning, but they weren't words. Words were words! A snort was great like an exclamation point. Or a question mark, or, well, yeah, a modifier to words. They could express emotions, but were not words. The strangest part was that the robot's noises were kinda all over. They were a combination of curious and friendly with spikes of 'What's that?!' and 'Don't surprise me!' that sent her nerves jangling.

"What are you doing, Buttercup?" A set of hooves hit the ground behind her. "What are you looking at?"

Buttercup turned her head sharply to see a friend. "Get down," she hissed, waving him to get lower. "There's a human!"

"We should get out of here then," suggested the winged pony. "Why are you still here?"

"He has a horse robot." Buttercup turned back around. The robot was still watching her. "I think it's not good at being a horse."

The pegasus squinted at the idea. "It's a robot. Seriously, I'm getting out of here, you should do the same." He launched himself off the edge of their rock and his wings carried him off in a glide away quickly. Darn pegasi, cheating with those wings of theirs.

Buttercup considered the situation a moment.

"I'm no expert... But I don't think horses sound like that." He had his hand on his friend's back, gun no longer raised into ready position. "Probably scared it off."

"I am capable of emulating perfectly horse noises and behavior," defended Buttercup in a bit of a pout, not that he was actually pouting. "There they are." The pony had come back into view, peering at him. "I did not scare them away. I should use more horse behavior."

He advanced closer to the cliff's edge, pawing at the ground and sniffing at the air in a dramatic display of equine curiosity. With the grinding of abused and not often used metal joints, he got his mouth moving, slapping up and down his jaws together.

"What are you doing?"

What was that thing doing? It was clearly agitated... curious? Then the clanging. What was... Buttercup drew the rest of herself forward, sitting on her haunches with amazement. Was the metal horse trying to... do the thing foals did when they were in trouble but didn't want older ponies to be too mad?

Foals did not squeak and clang. Foals were not robots. That robot was pretending to be a foal, awkwardly, terribly. But it was trying... "You look silly!" she shouted suddenly, only to go red instantly. She had given herself away! Well, wait, the robot already knew she was there.

Except the human heard her too, and his gun was raising. "Who does?" The human shouted in turn.

"You can talk?" boomed the robot. "This is better. Hello, fellow horse. My name is Buttercup."

Buttercup was knocked dumb a moment. The robot had her name?! "That's my name! You can't have it!" The human's gun was getting better with his aim. She dived for cover with a yelp.

The robotic Buttercup nudged against his friend. "You are menacing our new friend."

"I thought you said it was a mutant?"

"It is a mutant horse that can talk. I would like her to be a friend." Buttercup inclined his head at the human. "Stan, she said her name was also Buttercup."

"Figures..." Stan rubbed behind his head, letting his gun angle towards the ground. "Now I get to deal with two Buttercups."

"She has a protective streak concerning her name. I will assume a new name." His voice raised to his boom, "You can call me Giddyup."

Buttercup raised an ear and peeked back around her rock from a new angle. The human wasn't pointing his gun at her, good... good... "Hello, Giddyup." A silly name, that, but it wasn't her name, so that was an improvement. "How ya doing?" she shouted from her hiding spot.

Giddyup pranced in place. "Friendship has commenced." He pointed a hoof at Stan. "This is my friend and partner, Stan." He leaned in, voice lowering, "Say hello, Stan."

Stan chuckled at the absurdity his life had become. "Hey," he called out. "Want to come a little closer? Shouting across the wastes is how you get ambushed."

Buttercup worried her forehooves together. Coming closer meant a lot of risk. She could fight, sure... but that meant a lot less when dealing with a robot and an armed human with a big gun. "Promise you won't hurt me?"

"I give complete assurance." Giddyup turned to face Stan and his gun. "Put that down."

Stan set it down, but not to the ground. It was on its butt, leaned against himself. "You don't survive out here by not being ready." His voice raised. "Come on out. If you don't mess with us, we'll return the favor."

Buttercup smiled nervously. The human was ready to not fight? Was that a thing humans could do? Apparently. Maybe the horse robot was a good influence on them? That was easier to get her mind around. Good robot! If only there had been a lot more such friendly robots around to get the humans to stop being... human. "I'm coming out." She emerged, rising to her full height.

Giddyup let out a happy equine squeal, tossing his bristly mane, eyes on her. Stan patted him lightly. "Easy there. Let her come this way." Not that Buttercup could hear those words in the distance, just see that he was talking to Giddyup, hopefully about something nice?

Buttercup trotted down the incline towards the wall of the canyon, circling around towards the strangers. "I know how to fight," she threatened not terribly threateningly. "So don't try anything funny."

Giddyup trotted right towards her, clopping twice. She could hear his metal hooves striking the ground. She could also hear a clip-clop playing from inside him. The recording was far more like what one would expect from a horse. "Hello, Buttercup. I admit I do not know what horses do with other horses. It is nice to meet you."

Buttercup's ears pinned back on her head, and he just... stopped. She blinked in surprise, forcing her ears back up, which caused him to resume his approach. He could tell she was nervous? "I'm not used to how to act around robots. Robots are usually trouble with a capital T. You seem... nice, for a robot."

"You seem nice, for a horse," countered Giddyup, seeming quite happy with life in general. "Stan, come closer and make friends."

Stan threw up his free hand. "Look, buddy, pal. You know I love you, but I'm used to one crazy horse in my life." He began to approach despite that. "Now we have two, and the other one looks like she's real scared of me."

He wasn't... exactly wrong. "We're all scared of each other." Buttercup smiled despite that. "Maybe if we get to know each other, that will go away?"

Author's Note:

And a new story begins. What is Buttercup's story. Where is she from? Where did that other pony fly off to?

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