• Published 27th Jul 2021
  • 583 Views, 93 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...

  • ...

15 - Survival Instincts

Stan slid up against a corner, causing Giddyup to come to an equally abrupt halt. Giddyup would have twitched his ears, had he the ability. Instead he turned up the gain on his microphone, listening to what was going on, which was about the same, mechanically, right? Lasers and the heavy staccato of automated weapons sounded from at least two different places. Two forces? At least two forces. "Combat has begun," Giddyup shared with his human child.

"Figured that." He peeked carefully around that corner to put eyes on the situation. The supermutants were giving it their all, but the hard metal of the sentry bot felt no pain and did not flinch. A sudden rush of flames lasted for just a moment before everything shook violently, a propelled rocket exploding violently. "Shit." He ducked back. "That robot's fightin' real good, but could bring the whole place down on us."

"That would be unideal. Further damage to this vault is undesirable." A brief pause. "Interfering is of a greater risk."

"Always a risk." He inched back a half step, still pressed against the wall. "Trick is decidin' which side we want to win."

"The supermutants pose an immediate threat," replied Giddyup without hesitation.

"The robots pose a long term one. Ain't a winnin' move either way."

"We should go this way," calmly assured Yellow, pointing the way with a raised hoof. "It is safer."

Skyline hiked a brow at the idea. "There is no such thing as 'safe' right now, not even 'kinda safer.' The supermutants are an immediate threat to everything in here." He drew both his blades free, balancing on his hind legs with worrying proficiency for a pony. "We fight, or we die, and I don't want to die today."

Fend took up position next to Skyline. "I will not abandon my child."

Yellow inclined his head. "You were disturbed at my visual damage. You are risking far greater harm. Is this logical?"

Fend pointed to Buttercup, already sneaking off. "Will you abandon your child?"

"Return immediately!" Yellow raced off after Buttercup, which only prompted her to squeak and hasten into a full gallop.

Fend shook his head. "You are the leader of the ponies. You cannot command me, but I will accept your battle strategies."

Skyline chuckled, but it was a brief noise. "Buttercup's headed the right way. We'll have to use this situation. Get involved with those mutants." He waved his sword as he began stalking forward. "Carve our way through them and get out in the chaos. Fend, are you ready to come with us?"

"I will not abandon my child," Fend repeated without variation in his tone. "Where you go, I will be present if possible."

"Great, move it." Despite the order from the overseer, the two ponies remaining in the vault were headed for the least safe place they could go.

As they came towards an intersection, a crack of metal greeted them, the broken form of a less-fortified defensive robot crashing into uneven pieces on the floor in front of them. Buttercup yelped in surprise, dancing away and to the side. "Poor thing."

"That poor thing is why we're stuck here." Skyline did not afford it another look, instead pressing against the wall much as Stan... "Oh."

Across the way of that T intersection was Stan and Giddyup. "We meet again." Skyline waved his sword. "What does your 'vast wasteland experience' tell you we should do?"

"Takin' pot shots at anything with skin that ain't us was my idea." Stan held his gun ready to do just that. "What've you got?"

"Press into the melee, and past it. Don't look back."

Stan nodded at the idea. "Yeah, not a bad idea. If you don't bite it trying. I'll throw down some cover." He grabbed for the round grenade he had fondled earlier. "Do not run in until the big noise."

Buttercup looked to Skyline. "What big noise? We already have plenty of those."

The grenade flew past the corner towards the noisy confrontation as Stan slid down and covered his ears. Skyline caught on, clapping his hands against his own fuzzy twitchers, swords projecting out the sides, still clutched.

"No, really, what no--" It was at that instant that Buttercup discovered the loud noise as a new explosion ripped through the combat. Her ears rang even as the world became eerily silent for her. She could see Skyline charging out around her, lost to sight as he rushed past the corner towards the clashing robots and mutants. She said something, she thought, but it was impossible to confirm that.

Yellow finally caught up, moving over the stunned Buttercup defensively. They might have said something, not that Buttercup could tell.

Stan was squeezing off rounds, bright, but silent at least to one pony. His expression fell to fear as he dove to the side away from the intersection. Giddyup was scrambling backwards to keep the same relative position with Stan, but none of the robots knew exactly what he had seen.

But Buttercup got to learn, watching the strange thing sail past her slowly, time drawn out to a painful edge. She didn't know what it was, but every part of her told her it was dangerous. She wanted to move, to flee, but it felt like her limbs were stone, unresponsive, or just not able to react meaningfully in the small amount of time her eyes were locked on the mysterious object.

Yellow fell on top of her, a sudden crushing force. Painful, but protecting from the worse that was coming as the rocket propelled grenade impacted the far wall. Heat, pressure, and wind. No sound though, Buttercup had lost that already. She might have screamed. She was pretty sure? But couldn't confirm it.

"Good god damnit," cursed Stan, bringing a shaking hand to a bit of shrapnel that had wedged in his shin. "Only gonna hurt more." No point in hesitating. He wrenched it free with a hiss and tossed it aside, clattering on the broken floor. with an arc of lost blood with it.

"Administering treatment." It ought be noted that giddyup buttercup units were not typically equipped with much in the way of medical options. Giddyup was not a factory default model. He knew what the wasteland wanted to do to his children, and after begging enough of them, one finally splurged, empowering him to try to keep his children a little safer.

His squeaky jaw fell, opening wider than any horse had rise to open its mouth. Emerging from the opened space came the long and thin needle of a hypodermic. "Do not move." And it was that Giddyup gave the nuzzle of life, plunging the needle into Stan. A soft hiss sounded as the fluid inside was forced out into Stan's body. Now, Giddyup had a tank of stimulants inside him. It was up to him how much he delivered. It was tempting to upend it all, to heal his child.

But that was illogical. Any injury, however severe, is unlikely to be the last. Furthermore, too much of that serum was, itself, a risk. Especially given at once. Giddyup restrained himself to a standard stimpack's amount and yanked himself smoothly free. "What is your current condition?"

"F-fine." Stan forced himself up to his feet. "Thanks, pal." The worst of his injuries were closing up, the blood slowing its spilling, keeping his insides on the inside. "Owe ya one."

Buttercup kicked up, dislodging Yellow from her and sending him crashing to the ground next to her. He had failed to live up to his name at that point. Like Giddyup, his paint was entirely scoured and spotty. Worse, large gouges of shrapnel had dug into him, leaving his entire metal body scarred with the gentle caress of battle. "Yellow!" Buttercup fell over her wounded friend. "Tell me you're alright!" Though her hearing was still mostly shot, and Yellow was showing no signs of life.

Unlike his friends, Skyline was in the middle of it all. Supermutants were not at all strangers to melee combat. However, typically they were the ones using it. Bandits that had a knife or something were usually smart enough to leave when a supermutant showed up. The horse they had found was not like that. Great clubs came down where he had been moments before, only for a much smaller blade to lance up their sides, leaving bloody lines. Unlike the robots, he was focused on pushing through the line of them. "How many of you are there?" He had only seen a precious handful at the camp, but there seemed to be dozens of them there. A scouting detachment, perhaps?

One of the mutants roared with a fury. "Gonna broke those toothpicks of yours, and then you'll be mine. Little horse, always wanted one. One that can fight, even better. Back off." His command got many of the others to focus their attention on the robotic defenders as their leader stepped up, slapping a stop sign against his free hand. "First I gotta break 'em in!"

"You're welcome to try." Skyline leveled a blade at the hulking bipedal figure, the other off and to the side in readiness. "This horse bites."

"I love it." The brute charged forward, grabbing for Skyline's entire head. "Bad horse!" The supermutant's form of discipline promised little comfort. Not that Skyline waited patiently for it, lashing at the reaching hand as he bounced away and around, starting a sparring match as the two tried to injure one another 'for fun', if one asked the supermutant.

The mutant's helmet flew off his head, the heavy iron crashing to the ground with enough force to leave a massive divot where it landed. "Hey!" He glared at the one that shot the bullet that knocked his headwear free. "Little ghoul wants to join the fight? Too bad. Busy. Wax him!" He waved with the authority of the many supermutants around him.

Stan wrenched himself back in time for the corner he had been using as cover to disintegrate under a hail of bullets and energy weapons. "God damn..." He saw Giddyup about to peek and shoved his metal friend back. "Hey. You wouldn't let me do that, now wouldja?"

"You are correct." Giddyup wilted under the chastising. "How do we proceed?"


A strange trembling ran through Stan's body, and Buttercup's, and each and every supermutant. The robots were unaware of it, not trained to look for such disturbances. Skyline was screaming, a loud and piercing wail that only he could hear himself, but penetrated those around him all the same. One of the mutants coughed up blood suddenly, their lungs quivering to jelly under the assault.

"Bad horse!" The supermutant leader grabbed the bat pony around his little neck and threw him bodily against the nearest wall, silencing the auditory assault. "Bad!" Skyline crumpled against the metal surface, almost bouncing off of it, but more sliding limply to the floor. As well as he had been doing dodging the assault, one actual hit was more than sufficient to knock him dizzy. "That's better," grunted the leader. "Shut up that tin can." He directed a beefy finger at the sentry bot. "The one that finishes it gets a bonus!"

A rough cheer exploded up from the crowd as they focused their fire. Some of them without ranged weapons waded forward into the hail of munitions. Brave, stupid one might argue, but it was for that reason that supermutants were quite hard to put down when they came knocking.

"Cease hostile actions." A new combatant entered the fray. Fend kicked and thrashed. He didn't have the practice that Giddyup had, more like a wild horse than anything else, doing everything his programming told him not to do, especially around children. But the supermutants were not children, so far Fend could see. Invalidating his warranty with them would not come with--

His forward motion paused as his left shoulder smoldered, burned through with a plasma bolt. Error messages flared before his eyes.

Author's Note:

Fend and Yellow just want to neigh and trot. They love their children a lot.

War never changes.

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