• Published 23rd Jun 2013
  • 4,847 Views, 205 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - Project HIVE - Cascadejackal

Ponies weren't the only ones to build shelters during the war. These are the lives of those who survived, only to watch the world fall apart.

  • ...




Damsel paused and held up one hoof, bringing her team to a halt at the top of the Stable access stairs, in the small room that had, once upon a time, served as a storage area in the town hall. "Area check."

The gathered security members panned their heads, trusting their E.F.S systems to alert them to any signs of life beyond the room before speaking quietly to one another, coming to a consensus. Holly, a few weeks out of her recruit's stripes, delivered the verdict. "Eyes Forward Sparkles show all clear, ma'am."

The changeling chief raised her eyebrow at the report, though it was hidden by the visor of her riot helmet. "Does that mean it's safe?"

Holly paused, taken aback by her superior's sceptisicm. It took a moment before she realised her mistake. "Er.... no, ma'am." The young pegasus whirled to face the nearest changeling. "Lory, do your thing. We need to be sure."

"Holly, I-" He was cut off his partner's impatient stomp, and sighed. "One moment." The butterfly-winged pony looked around for a moment before frowning. "No changelings. No ponies, either." Lorikeet practically felt himself wilting under Damsel's waiting, expectant gaze. "J-just... something hungry... lot's of somethings..." To his utter relief, the changeling chief nodded.

"Correct. Multiple lifeforms, all hungry and agressive. No changelings or ponies in range. Good job, Lorikeet." As the hybrid let out a relieved sigh and shot a resentful glare at his partner for putting him on the spot like that, Damsel addressed the rest of the group. "E.F.S isn't perfect. Changelings, ponies, stay together and cover each other. Eyes, ears and hearts open. This isn't a training exercise, and whatever's up there is more dangerous than a paper target. Now, let's move."

At a gesture from Damsel, Ironside took point, checking his saddle-mounted guns before moving throught the door. A quiet "Clear" could be heard, and the rest of the group followed. A few members of the team coughed, their hoof-falls stirring up years of dirt and dust that had gathered in the old building as they went from room to room, clearing each before moving on. Dull light filtered through the filthy windows, almost blocked out by the dirt and sand coating their outsides, and more than one of the younger members looked forward to seeing the sun they'd heard so much about.

Slowly but surely, the building was cleared, the team well trained if lacking in actual experience. The novelty of being above ground and in an entirely wooden structure was quickly supersceded by the growing tension, caused by flickering red marks as whatever was outside the building moved in and out of E.F.S range.

When they reached the entrance hall, Damsel called for a halt. "This is it, people. Whatever's out there, it knows we're coming. Safeties off, trigger bits up. Ready?" At the various acknowledgements of her orders, she nodded. "Alright. Ironside, on me."

The pair moved through the door together, breaking into the dull noon sunlight that bathed their former home. As they panned their weapons around the town centre, using their varied senses and E.F.S to prevent unwelcome surprises, they took it in with some distaste. Twenty years had not been kind to the little border town, even at first glance. Crimson sand covered everything, piled against the windward sides of buildings and laying like a windblown carpet throughout the streets, so thick in some places it formed small dunes.

While the squad moved into their positions, securing the area around the town hall, Damsel spared a moment to study the clouds above, her ears twitching. "We need to hurry."

"What's wrong?" Ironside glanced at her, talking past his trigger bit. Around them, the squad was moving towards the nearest buildings, their weapons aimed towards the red marks flickering in their vision.

"Look up."

The stallion did so, surveying the grey shroud that stretched as far as he could see. Great swathes of it drifted and swirled, particuarly over the not-so-distant Badlands. "Heavy cloud cover... never seen it this thick out here before... think the pegasi have an Equestria-wide storm planned?"

"Doubt it. Doesn't feel like rain, and watch the way they're moving... there's a sandstorm coming. A big one."

Ironside cocked an eyebrow at his partner. "Are you sure?"

Damsel nodded, still looking at the clouds. "Yes. Maybe an hour, if we're lucky." She turned from the sky to her partner and oldest friend. The riot helmets may have concealed most expressions and emotion, but he could tell she was uneasy. "We won't want to be in the open when it hits." Suddenly, she perked up, staring at one of the houses the team had entered. By the time the first shots could be heard from within, she'd already yelled "Weapons hot! Move!" and covered half the distance, Ironside close behind, and the rest the security team fast following suit, a wave of chitin and fur and armored barding rushing to the defense of one of their own.

There was no time to give the order to keep firing. There was no need. Every one of the barking, howling beasts that entered the security team's line of sight was gunned down without remorse, a fiery vengeance for their fallen squadmate.

Still, numbers began to tell. For every one of the beasts that fell, another charged forth to meet the same fate, and the barded fighters were slowly driven back towards the town hall. Smoking brass casings littered the path of their retreat, trampled beneath claw-tipped paws and buried by sand as the promised storm approached, showing itself with harsh winds and stinging grit.

Soon, the howls and roars of beast and gun were drowned out by the screaming wind, ponies and changelings closing ranks to fire at the indistinct shapes that rushed through the stinging, blinding sand. At a mental command from Damsel, the changelings, far more capable of fighting blind, covered their pony compatriots' retreat into the shelter offered by the building, following quickly as the sandstorm picked up in intensity. True to her nature, Damsel refused to enter until her people were safe.

Unfortunately, her weapons chose that moment to jam, fouled by the sand in the air.

One of the beasts lunged, emerging from the maelstrom like a fanged missile and striking with crushing force, crashing through the door atop its prey. Somehow, Damsel managed to get her forelegs up, protecting her throat and face from the beast's hungry fangs even as it dug its claws into her torso, tearing at her barding to get to the chitin and flesh beneath.

Her squad reacted instantly, their guns flaring to life and striking the furry beast down. Damsel struggled to stand, only to have another changeling push her down as the rest of the squad surrounded their fallen leader. One fired blindly through the open door before kicking it closed and jamming a chair beneath the handle, while the changeling who had kept Damsel from standing spat on her wounded foreleg, covering it with a thick green substance more often used for the construction of cocoons than the binding of wounds.

As the substance began to set, Damsel shoved her impromptu medic aside and stood on her remaining limbs, adrenaline still flowing strong in her veins. The squad had taken up position through-out the entry hall, some with their guns trained on doors and windows, others suspiciously watching the red-stained, furry shape of her attacker. All glanced towards her, and she both saw and felt some of the fear drain from them as she stood and moved, clearly better off than they had feared.

"Catch your breath, but stay on your guard." At her words, many of the group nodded. "Watch your Eyes Forward Sparkles. It feels like they're retreating, but don't take chances." This order given, she let the changeling responsible for setting her leg double-check the crude, organic bandage. Long minutes passed, the only sounds the howling of wind outside and the nervous shuffling of her troops, before she forced herself to her hooves once more and approached the corpse of her attacker.

Damsel's lip curled as she examined the bullet-riddle body. The large, clawed paws, so perfect for digging. The overly large canine teeth, suited for biting through changeling carapace. The dog-like features, wide eyes, stubby tails and rusty brown coats... she spat on it, hissing the common name for its hated kind. "Rock Hound."

Initial reconnaissance showed no sign of occupation by Equestrian or Zebra occupation, or of refugees.
No intelligent life present.

Minimal damage to town centre from either attacks or the elements, although further exploration was hampered by the appearance of a pack of Rock Hounds, predators native to the Badlands and unintelligent cousins to Equestrian Diamond Dogs.

Sadly, I must report that, during their initial attack, Officer Holly-

Damsel paused in her typing, stretching her resin-encased leg with a low hiss of pain before turning back to the terminal and resuming her report.

Sadly, I must report that, during their initial attack, Officer Holly was wounded. Officer Lorikeet was succesful in applying an emergency bandage of Changeling resin on the scene, and assisted Chief Ironside in transporting her to the infirmary. Reports from Medical indicate she will recover fully inside of a week, thanks to Officer Lorikeet's quick thinking.

No other notable injuries.

She paused again, this time to chip at part of the resin cast with her fangs so she could move her foreleg more freely.

The Rock Hound pack was driven back by the encroaching sandstorm, as was the security team. At present, two armed teams are stationed in the town hall and all security members remaining in the Hive have been instructed to remain alert for tunnelling attempts. However, Rock Hounds are primarily ambush predators (see attachment #1, Rock Hound Behaviour) and are unlikely to pose a major threat in direct combat with two or more armed individuals.

Recommend a sweep and clear mission following the abatement of the sandstorm to clear out remaining Rock Hounds. (see attachment #2, Teams/Equipment)

~ Security Chief Damsel

Damsel hit the send button and stretched, groaning in relief as her joints popped. She eyed her empty coffee mug for a moment, then rose with a sigh. She needed caffeine. Badly. After a moment's thought, she made a mental note to pick up some extra cups for her trip to Medical. She knew full well both Ironside and Lorikeet would still be there, keeping Holly company as she recovered.

Author's Note:

Stayed up all night to finish this, since I'm not gonna have a decent internet connection for about a week.
Hope you all enjoyed it! :twilightsmile: