• Published 27th Jul 2021
  • 501 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...

  • ...

2 - Always Those Guys

Buttercup walked at the head of this strange... herd? Were they a herd? It was perhaps too soon to consider them a family, though Giddyup seemed perfectly happy to accept her as a part of his family. Robots.

"So, Stan?"

The human let out a 'hm'. "Yeah?"

"You ever feel the need to kill something?" She smiled over her shoulder, trying her best to keep her ears upright.

Stan let out a noise that wasn't quite a laugh. "That's a hell of a question, horse. It's a rough world out there. Things want to kill you. What do you do when some rad scorp has its eyes on you?"

"Run, or kick it." Buttercup nodded in complete confidence. "Both is probably a good idea. If friends are around, we might gang up on it."

"Sounds like my murder streak's about as wide as yours." He patted the gun at his side. "I'm just better prepared, 'cause I've had to fight by myself more often then not."

"Poor thing."

"Do not worry," suddenly cut in Giddyup. "I have ended Stan's isolation."

Stan swatted the metal back of his robotic companion. "Not the way I remember it. You were the one that was mighty lonely. Practically begged for someone to 'adopt' you. Wasn't that the word you used?"

If robots could blush. Giddyup snorted instead, throwing his head. "The Giddyup Buttercup unit is designed to play, monitor, and accompany a child."

Buttercup hiked a brow at that. "Pretty sure that isn't a human foal." She was no human expert, but that wasn't a kid... right? "You're not a kid, are you?"

Giddyup advanced as if to protect Stan. "Stan is in good health and is of an appropriate age." That the age was not that of a child, Giddyup casually ignored. "My care has ensured that this continues to be the case."

A loud pop sounded in the distance. A metallic clank echoed as Giddyup whinnied in a shrill cry of surprise. He had been shot, a new hole in his side. "Attack has commended," he reported. "There." He turned to face the enemies.

Stan spat even as he raised his rifle into position. "Fucking bandits." A return bang that sent Buttercup scrambling for safety. "Never can't get rid of the bastards."

Buttercup was holding her ears. Why were human weapons so loud? She peeked out from cover to see Stan was actually a decent shot, injuring distant figures. More humans! She had gone from not seeing any to now... about half a dozen? Coincidence?

Giddyup raised a fore leg, tightening it like a coil. When one of those 'bandits' got close, he let it go, an unleashed spring. The metal crashed into armored flesh without mercy, delivering a firm kick that had the bandit reeling back in pain and shock.

Then he was shot. He was way too close for Stan to miss. The bandit crashed to the ground, coughing and gasping their last bits of breath, but Stan was already focusing elsewhere. They were a team. A fighting team.

And she had thought she could take them in a scrap? Buttercup shook her head in amazement, only to feel something. A human had grabbed her from behind. A mistake many a human has made with many a horse. Buttercup was quick to remind humanity why that was a bad idea. With terror bolting through her, she lashed out her back hooves with all she had, knocking the bandit she hadn't noticed right onto his back.

"And stay gone." With a loud pop, Stan made sure that bandit wasn't getting back up. "Think that's all of them. You two alright?"

Giddyup turned in place in a full circle. "No additional threats detected. Damage sustained, minimal."

"Minimal my ass." Stan went right up to Buttercup, dropping to a knee and getting out curious things. "Stay still and I'll get you patched up."

Buttercup watched with wonder as Stan conducted repairs, getting that hole closed up as best he could. The human wasn't just a fighter... "You care about him."

"What?" Stan patted the spot. "He's my buddy. Only real jerks don't care about their buds."

Giddyup seemed pleased enough at this assessment. "Empathy is a vital skill. Nice kick." The last was directed at Buttercup. "Did you see my kick?"

Buttercup quirked a little smile. That robot was like a kid himself in some ways. "You sure did kick that human good. Can you buck?" She braced her front and lashed out with her hind legs. "Like that?"

"I can not." Giddyup inclined his head. "I am not built for that motion. It would be a danger to my children."

Buttercup raised a hoof, struck silent a moment. "The kick you... did was pretty dangerous." She felt no rush to feel it herself.

"It was not designed," easily agreed Giddyup. "I invented it myself. Because I designed the motion, there are no regulations in its use. Useful for self defense. I would never use it on my rider."

Stan was busy not being a part of the conversation, instead patting down the bandits and taking whatever caught his eye. "They got guns if you want one." He shoved some ammo in his backpack. "Not sure how you'd hold it."

That was equally a mystery for Buttercup. "I'm fine without... Let's get away from here." Being around corpses was not her ideal day... no... "So... um... Giddyup, if I asked you to keep a secret?"

"I would not share a secret." Giddyup nodded firmly, metal jaw squeaking. "Unless the parent of my rider requested the information."

Buttercup considered Stan. "You have parents?"

"Don't we all?" Stan shrugged at that, backpack on his shoulders where it belonged. "Mine's long gone, but they had a good run. Went out clean, relatively speaking."

Buttercup blinked slowly at that. "What does that mean?"

"It means they were middle aged, got sick, and died. Didn't go down to no random bandits. Didn't starve to death. Just ran out of time." He started forward. "We going?"

Her ears sagged at that. "Yeah..." Getting sick, that was a thing that happened. Sometimes you just didn't get better... "So you don't... How are you with secrets?"

"Figure I'm decent." He patted Giddyup on the back. "Why do they go after you first?"

"Are they intimidated by me? I am a large and sleek horse." Giddyup, as it turned, was neither of those things.

Buttercup sat, tapping her hooves a moment before she stood up in a new direction. "This way, but this is a secret, alright? A big secret!" The others began to follow her. "I'm not the only pony out here."

Giddyup accelerated to her side with his curious double-step noises. "I will get to make more horse friends? Will they be scared of me like you were?"

"Probably." She turned one ear towards him. "Let me introduce you, and Stan. They'll be scared of both of you. We usually avoid humans, and robots. You two are nice though."

Stan came up on the other side of Buttercup. "They got weapons? Scared things can turn into a fight really quick when they want to."

Buttercup was ready to hotly deny that... But it fizzled. "The guards keep us safe, help fight things that come to attack us... I'd better talk to them before you two get close to them. Please don't hurt them. They're just doing their job."

Giddyup nodded as if with familiarity. "Horse guards are just like human guards. They also protect the members of their community and can react with violence to threats, real and perceived. Do you remember the town before last?"

Stan grunted, clearly remembering. "They put a few new dents in you. Bunch of asses. They didn't even give me a single bottlecap to pay for those repairs either."

Giddyup had no eyes to turn. Wide angle lenses on either side of his head, he could see all around himself. He turned his head mostly for their benefit, so others knew what he was focusing on, and so he looked towards Stan. "Thank you for your assistance. They did apologize."

"Words are cheap," spat Stan with some lingering anger. "We'll keep away from wherever you're taking us until after you give the all clear. I don't need a bunch of mutant horses giving both of us some new lumps to enjoy."

"Hurting a fellow horse would not be enjoyed." Giddyup returned his head to facing forward, trotting along animatedly on his metal hooves. "I hope we can meet them and become friends. Do not direct your firearm in their direction. That is both rude and will increase the chances of violent reaction."

Buttercup accelerated ahead of them. "You two stay here." She pointed behind a large rock. "No peeking. I'll go ahead and explain to them who you are." She sped right up away from them, trusting they would stay still, or things would likely get prickly in a hurry.

"Buttercup!" A pegasus, different from the first, was on a boulder was looking down at her. "I heard you saw a human. You alright?"

"She looks fine." A unicorn, male, nodded towards Buttercup. "Welcome back."

"Hey Watch Out." She closed with him and they tapped foreheads. "I brought something big with me, but I need to make sure you don't totally freak out.

The pegasus whistled sharply. "What'd you do?!" She squinted down at Buttercup. "Did you bring the human here?"

"She would never do something like that," countered Watch Out, shaking his head with a snort.

Oh, shoot. Buttercup laughed nervously. "Well..."

Watch Out brought over a spear, grabbed in his magic and directing it at Buttercup. "Have you gone entirely insane? Are they holding you hostage? Just blink once."

It took quite a bit of willpower to stop from blinking in response. "I'm not being held hostage, promise." She turned in place. "They're waiting like good people for me to give the all clear. They just want to say hi. He has a robot horse who's super nice, and he's been teaching the human to be nice too. Adopted him!"

The pegasus above flopped to her side, gales of laughter echoing across the wastes. "The human was adopted by a robot, who trained them to be nice? Get out! That's amazing."

Buttercup's face was on fire, dark red as she stammered a moment. "It's true!" she squeaked out at last. "His name is Giddyup, and he just wants to meet more horses, like he is."

Watch Out set his spear to lean against their village's wall. "You're not being held hostage, you're just being stupid." He thumped Buttercup right in the center of her chest. "The human is obviously lying to you, to learn where we are. Then they will attack. They will pillage and despoil, it's what humans do."

"Tell us where the human's at and we'll take care of it," promised the pegasus above. "They got a gun?"

"He does, but he only uses it on bad things, like rad scorps, and bad humans." She sat on her haunches with a stubborn expression. "You will not hurt him."

"All humans are bad," sighed out Watch out, rolling his eyes. "Do you remember what happened when Sassafras thought she could tame a rad scorpion? Raised it from an egg, fed it and loved it to pieces."

But scorpions were creatures of instinct in the end... One day that instinct had caught up with Sassafras, then there wasn't a Sassafras anymore. "I remember... This is different. A human isn't a scorpion. He talks. He cares about things."

With a sudden thump, the pegasus joined them, gliding down from her vantage point to get there. "I got a challenge." She went right up to Buttercup, nose to nose. "If you can get the human to give up his gun, he gets a chance. Humans are born with their guns. They won't ever give it up. You say he can be reasoned with? Prove it. Bring back his gun, and we'll check if he has spares. If he comes with no weapons, he gets one chance."

Author's Note:

Welcome to the pony town, maybe. Will Stan give up his gun to see the inside of it, or point Giddyup to less bothersome places? I bet there are typos on the intake forms.

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