• Published 23rd Jun 2013
  • 4,836 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.

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The former town hall moaned, each board creaking, crying out as it was buffeted by the unceasing winds outside, a howling gale that had persisted for so long that some of the surface guard half-believed it would never end, or that the world outside had been lost, swallowed by some great beast of sand and fury. Not even light could pierce through the malestrom, leaving the innards of the building shrouded in a gloom broken only by lights borrowed from Maintenance, far below in the safety of the Stable.

Day and night were meaningless, caught in the centre of the storm. The darkness and isolation would have taken a toll on any of the surface-born of Equestria unfortunate to find themselves trapped in such a place. For the Stable's security team, however, the otherworldly noise and the lurking threat of Rock Hounds were far greater concerns than the long-familiar claustrophobia.

Lorikeet's hooves brought dull thuds from the old wooden floors as he continued his circuit of the building, barely audible over the ever-present howling outside. Quiet words were exchanged with each team member passed, all-clears and nothing-to-reports, the same as it had been for days. Still, he and the other changelings constantly probed and reached with their senses, feeling for any Rock Hounds hungry enough to venture into the raging storm in search of equine flesh, or cunning enough to dig below the sand and make for their underground home. Each member of the team had their Eyes Forward Sparkles on at all time, changeling and pony alike, and each watched carefully for any flicker of red that could betray an attacker.

There was nothing.

Lorikeet came to the entrance hall, where each of his circuits began and ended, and sent a brief, all too familiar report to the shift officer, far below in the Hive.

All clear. Nothing to report.

A response from the changeling on duty, consisting solely of confirmation of the report, and the hybrid resumed his circuit, a small twitch of his irridescent wings the only sign of his restlessness.

As always, there was nothing.

Holly stared at the ceiling, counting the cracks in the dull grey concrete, not sparing her pipbuck a glance to check the time. She knew it was late at night, could feel it in the stillness of the Stable around her, could hear it in the silence, the way the dimmed lights hummed quietly. It had been several days since the incident, since her first glimpse of the surface, and each member of the Security team had visited their wounded sister at least once.
Visiting hours were spent with friends and family, and she made sure to give Lorikeet a playful ribbing when he checked on her before each of his shifts, the lifelong friends brought closer by the near tragedy.

In the hours between visits, however, there was nothing.

She rolled onto her side, stretching her wings. A low hiss of pain, the motion pulling at her stitches, and her wings were retracted, covering the bandages and bare flesh of her side. One hoof reach towards the bare patch, her coat shaved to help remove the changeling resin, only to stop short with another hiss. The mare gave the line attached to her foreleg a glare, her gaze following it up to the stand beside her bed, where a healing potion was suspended, drip-feeding into her body. With a huff, she slumped back down, eyes turning once more to the ceiling and the cracks that traced its all too familiar surface, wishing sleep would come and cursing the bed rest required by her wound.

In the long hours of the night, there was nothing.

In a room that overlooked the atrium, the heart of the Hive, the Stable, two equines gazed through their window at the cavernous, claustrophobic chamber. Each level of their home connected to the great space, and each day found it filled with activity. Ponies and changelings alike traversed its walkways, while those who could fly would fill the air like so many birds, brightly colored wings buzzing and flapping as their owners engaged in play and work.

To know that the surface, their former home, was within reach, however, made the atrium opressive. Even that grand space had walls and a ceiling, distant though they may be. To the foals, the young mares and stallions, the ponies and changelings who had spent their entire lives knowing only the comfort and safety of Hive and Stable, it was impossible to believe that any place could be larger. There were those who remembered, though. Those who knew what lay above, and longed to return.

Together, Overmare and Regent watched the silent, still atrium, all but lost in the false twilight created by dimmed lights. Nothing moved. Nothing was said.

They knew what lay above. They feared what lay beyond their isolated home.

Each report reached them. Security, of the ongoing sandstorm. Medical, of the recovery of their wounded officer. Agriculture, Maintenance, Morale, Science.

And yet, with all the resources of the Stable at their disposal... nothing.

Not a single radio signal could be heard, from any source. Their own messages went without reply, lost in the interference and noise created by the storm above. Even the changelings could not reach beyond their home, their link limited without their Queen.

Hope remained, however. Hope that, somewhere, there were ponies who had survived. Hope that, somehow, the Queen was merely waiting for her children to return, to awaken her. Hope that there was something, anything, beyond their home, instead of the crushing nothing that threatened to consume them.

Overmare and Regent, pony and changeling, watched silently as two figures entered the atrium below, each clad in Security barding. A spark, then a flicker of light at the the larger's muzzle, followed by a conversation too quiet to be heard. The pair began to move towards the passage that lead to the cafeteria, only to pause as the smaller of the two said something to her companion before turning to look up at the window. Damsel nodded, the motion matched a moment later by Ironside, a silent greeting from the Security Chiefs to their Overmare and Regent, before the pair continued their late-night patrol, as much habit and ritual as duty.

Even as their most trusted liutenants went on their way, the leaders of the Stable turned to their own duties, a soft beep breaking the silence. A message waited on their terminals, and playing it brought smiles of relief to both their faces.

The storm was ending.

Author's Note:

Whew... been a long time since this was updated. Chapters were written then lost, rewritten and scrapped, and then a cockatoo ate the phone line going to my house and cutting off my internet for two months.

Here's hoping this year's a little less crazy! :twilightblush:

Original title for this chapter was Waiting.