• Published 29th Nov 2012
  • 2,644 Views, 242 Comments

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - 2D

Train wrecks and stereotypes. The city of Manehattan remains divided, even after the Elements of Harmony brought the world back together.

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Chapter Two: Occupation

Last Night:

Chapter Two: Occupation


Vinyl has always been my shadow


My eyes cracked open ever so slightly and were bombarded by the piercing purple stare of the Twilight Zone, causing me to cringe and roll over in my bed. I let out a small moan of discomfort as my stinging eyes began to resonate within my head, and a sharp pain began to grow behind my horn. As I turned back the other way and attempted to wake myself, I could hear a faint voice and the sudden shrill and static reply akin to a 'telecom'. I ever so gracefully perked my ears up and pointed them towards the partly open door, deciding my pain could wait for a few moments.

"What do you mean he's being processed? He's right here! Yes... yes I understand but-- surely we could... what? No, no he wasn't. Yes I swear, he was waiting for that train, he didn't blow it up. Yes, of course High Architect. The pleasure was mine, yes, thank you." Pacing could be heard as the telecom let out a loud screech and cut the call, followed by a series of huffs and the occasional clink of something being handled too roughly.

"You were always like that... Vinyl..." I mumbled to myself as I opened my eyes further, taking in the room before me a little better as my body accepted that I needed to wake up. I noticed that the bedding atop me had been replaced with something a little less cumbersome, something to keep heat in but not a lot I guess. The little scraps of clothing I had on when we arrived were gone, replaced with a simple pair of shorts and bandages all over my torso and few around the neck.

I went to get out of bed but stumbled slightly, falling onto my face with an angry yelp. I sat like that on the floor for a while, not bothered to get back up, but then changed my mind and stood as straight as possible; dusting myself off as I looked over at the window. I trotted over to the single pane of glass and ran my hoof against it as I watched Pegasi fly past, the streamline bodies having some form of freedom within the police state of life. I went to move but suddenly felt someone leaning on me, flicking my eyes to the right I noticed Vinyl was standing next to me.

"How'd she get in so quietly?"

"I was always like what?" She asked softly as we both looked out the window into the blissfully peaceful clouds, floating above the slum districts with no intention other than to rain and ruin. I scanned my eyes over the billboards and dismal shacks built atop one another, the odd Spire poking out in between. The husks of buildings used during the riots and civil war stuck out like black against white, the burnt structures looking terrible even by our standards. "Twist'?" She asked quietly, causing me to look over at her.

I won't lie, my eyes are not the most accepting of things. They are orbs from which deadly truths and lies can form, unable to give love nor compassion... just bleak, inviting enigmas. "I meant... you always used to handle things badly when you were upset." I chuckled softly and looked into her eyes a little closer, being both unnerved and warmed by the scarlett depths. "I remember when we were younger, before the... well, back when we were in Ponyville; you got really upset and broke one of your records..."

She grimaced slightly and looked away as her features shifted from soft to guarded, creasing her brow a little as she scrunched her nose in thought. "Yeah, I seem to remember being really upset when I snapped that thing in half. If I remember correctly, I flung it across my room in anger and nearly impaled my mother as she walked in." Vinyl snickered and looked back out across the skyline as her thoughts wandered a little, eyes drifting slightly as she chewed her words. "I remember you teased me about that in school, for like what, two years?"

"It was all in good fun, Vinyl." I said gruffly, casting my eyes around the room as my stomach did loop-de-loops. "Something feels off... why, why her?" My thoughts wandered slightly as I attempted to pick the conversation up, remembering something with a genuine smile. "I got you a new one though didn't I? Went all the way to Canterlot and bought it for a pretty penny, as a way to say sorry for two years of teasing. Plus you look ugly when you cry."

She merely stayed quiet as we both looked out at the city beyond that small window, the rain beginning to pitter-patter against it smoothly. Her smile dropped a little as she looked over to me with a pair of scarlet eyes, a deep pool of mixed emotions pulling at her mouth. "I... I still need to unpack that record, I haven't touched it in years." She spoke softly as she walked back out of the room, stopping by the door and looking back over to me, before shutting it behind her and giving me some privacy. I couldn't care less about whether she stood next to me or not, something in my head was so muddled by all this... it felt like a dream that had gone horribly wrong.

Looking to my left and down to the small bin just before the bed, I found that the glass had gone. Perhaps Vinyl had cleared it? I shuddered slightly as something fought against that word, 'Vinyl', something about her set off more alarm bells than I could count. Looking back at the bed, I noticed it was made of some kind of bronze or brass; rare pickings down in the eternal scavenger hunt of the Downzone. The wall behind it was completely bare and featureless, however the wall to the left of it was not. It was technically the back wall of the room as the opposite wall was one massive window. It featured a small mirror and shelving unit, which my remaining clothes had been stacked upon.

I didn't bother to check the mirror as I slung on one of the two jackets I had on the shelf, buttoning the chequered coat and trotting over to the door. I gingerly swung it outwards and stepped through to the living room, using my hind leg to shut it behind me as I trotted into the living room proper. It was for the most part a square room with a table slapped in the middle, a few posters lay crumbling on the walls and a set of derelict DJ equipment sat in one unused corner. There were two piles of warn pillows either side of an oaken coffee table, and atop that sat a small series of plates; each with a respectable amount of food.

Vinyl sat on one of the piles with her eyes downcast as she drank from a small teacup, taking her time with the brew as she stared into its contents. I stood before her awkwardly for a few moments before deciding to take a seat opposite, sitting onto the pile with a dull 'thump'. I cast my eyes over the selection of food on display, and by that I mean three slices of toast, half an apple and some scrambled egg. I chose the toast and levitated the plate over to me, deciding to get some food into me before I had my cup of 'poor pony's tea'.

We sat in silence for what seemed like the longest time, Vinyl seeming to hide behind her flowing mane as we exchanged the occasional glance. Neither of us really wanted to acknowledge what had just occurred, technically we should hate one another or... something. We broke up years back and yet we still bump into one another, and some force always compels me to push her away. My focus was lost as my mind wandered slightly, my magic lightly igniting as my thoughts became more heavy; at which point my teacup began to dance a diddy on the table.

Vinyl looked up from her hair and teacup with a small frown, glancing at my wayward eyes and crazy teacup. "You alright, Twist?" She asked meekly as the shaking increased slightly. I stopped my train of thought and released the teacup and looked back over to her, raising an eyebrow as I took a bite of toast. "I'm asking if you feel okay, Twisted." She said a little more forcefully, trying to get her point across.

"Oh um, yes thank you Vinyl." I mumbled as I thought about what I was going to do, and the call Vinyl had received a few minutes back. "So a little birdy told me I'm being processed, how's that going to work? You get like a finders fee' for handing in the loon everypony knows?" I cracked a smile at my rather grim joke, fully aware of both the topics I was breaching there. Vinyl for the most part merely rolled her eyes and sighed, putting her tea down and looking over at me.

"You've been unemployed for almost two years now, Twist. You're under grounds for termination through processing unless you get a job within a few days." She whispered the last part as her eyes closed for a long time, letting out a short sigh as she turned away from me and over towards the window facing the city below. She took a deep breath inwards and let it back out again as she turned back to me, a sad smile on her face. "You've been sleeping on and off for about two weeks, that train wreck took a toll on you. So while you were out I decided to take your life into my hooves, for the most part. I signed you up for a few shifts over at Spire 1."

I grimaced and bit my tongue to stop a short rage I knew was on its way, she didn't need any more abuse from me after this hospitality. I looked into her eye for a moment before dodging them again, feeling uncomfortable doing so. "Thanks... Blotch." I said with a small snicker, catching a harrumph from the corner of my eye. "Once we're done here, I might as well go down there and sign the last of the papers. What shift did you get me anyway?"

Vinyl shifted uncomfortably in her place and I let out a low groan, placing my head in my hooves as she let out an innocent whistle. I looked back up at her and narrowed my eyes menacingly, making her fidget even more. "The only spot I could get you was... in the Elderlane..." Her last words died in her throat as I completely face-desked, wanting everything to end right there and then.

"The Elderlane? I'm going to get swarmed by Neo-Shifters! Or killed by rogue Lighting Oil! Or even mugged by all the damn homeless thugs around there; hell sending me to work for Joker Vocalism would have been better than this, Vinny." I groaned and lay flat against the table as I felt sorry for myself, cursing Vinyl for getting me into this mess. I straightened up to see Vinyl walking towards the door, unlocking it and throwing me a small letter before opening the door. A strong gust of industrial stench and heat rushed me as she coughed lightly.

"Whine about it all you want, you're only doing a seventy two hour shift. It won't be so bad I promise, and hey, if you do what I ask and come back in one piece I might give you a kiss for good luck." She snickered at the comment as I trotted up to the door and stood opposite her, a new job awaiting me outside. She nodded to the hallway and I shook my head lightly.

"You could give me that kiss now, you know." I said with a small grin.

"Now? We're not even friends, I just saved your life and brought you here -- no friendship, no romance." She added the last part sternly as I rolled my eyes, her having completely missed the joke.

"Now's as good a time as any to rekindle an old friendship, Vinyl."

"We'll see. Now go, you have maintenance, patrolling and not-dying to do."

"Yeah yeah... I'm going."

Spire 1 was an extremely intimidating building even from a far distance off, but up close it was like a gigantic mammoth of governmental might. It was by far the largest of all the Spires within the Downzone, arching outwards to meet the others at the base in a somewhat spider style, whilst also reaching all the way up and out of the Twilight Zone. See not all Spires ended within the Downzone, those which were large or important enough would have continued onwards into the Upper Society -- only to have their grey plating and dull interiors replaced with gold.

Above Spire 1 sat an enormous complex spanning the entire Downzone and beyond, a trump card to any hand, an achievement no matter the score. The Spire Cortex originated from atop this very Spire and had its central hub placed within, like the beating iron heart to a massive network of ark pylons and Lightning Oil pipes. The Cortex was a massive hive of workers doing different tasks for different reasons, although most worked above with the good pay, benefits and all that... some were much less lucky, and were used to keep the Elderlane under control.

There's no official maps for the Elderlane, no governmental acknowledgement that it exists or threatens the public, no implications that the 'perfect' Manehatten machine could be broken so easily. It paid well but usually meant certain death for those who picked the short straw, and nearly always ends in something very, very bad. This is why I have an extremely bad feeling standing before this building, it represents everything I oppose and acts as a gateway to certain death. If it weren't for the fact I'd be dead without a job, I wouldn't take this job.

Now all I have to do is step through the front door.

I noticed the rain pouring against my face as I took my first steps up the grand staircase towards the Spire's entrance, the chipped and cracked concrete feeling feeble under my hooves. The railing was completely ruined besides me as time had eroded it to stumps, the once lovely shrubbery dead due to a lack of sunlight and care. My heart beat a steady rhythm within my chest as I approached the front door, stopping for a moment to consider what I was about to do... and what might happen.

I pressed the small button to the side and the door slid open before me, allowing my soaking wet ass through and into the lobby. I shook off some of the water as I look at the numerous directions listed above, apparently the Security Chief was on floor U3, so I guess that's where I'm headed. Trotting over to the elevator with a small haste I can't help but notice a brown buck staring at me from a corner, his face hidden as a small smile covers his muzzle. Before I have a chance to say anything the elevator doors opened before me and I instinctively stepped in. Looking over the array of buttons listed before me I sigh and press the one labelled 'U3'.

"Underlevel 3" the lift announces to nopony in particular as it begins to slip beneath the bureaucratic bullshit and into soldier territory, but I'm no warrior or soldier, I'm just angry most days. The cheerful chime of us reaching level U1 sounds and the lift grinds to a halt, opening up slowly and letting another buck in. As he steps in he immediately throws a glance at me a smiles, deciding to keep himself to himself as he checks his gear.

I can't blame him really as the lift goes further towards a world of pain and confusion, if my guesses are right, this is going to be my partner for the shift. He obviously brought his own gear, whilst I'll be using stock. His soft blue coat and wispy maroon mane didn't really match so well, but I wouldn't pry -- that fedora though... I'll have to ask about that before we get our throats torn out. He finishes checking whatever equipment he brought with him as the lift stops on our floor, doors opening as we both prepare to walk out. They do so, and we trot out into the hall.

He merely walks over to what I'm guessing was our fabled hold against the Neo-Shifters, a damn massive door, whilst I took a left into the Chief's office. As I turned the corner and entered the room, he looked up at me and closed whatever paper he was reading. A large sneer crossed his face as he looked me up and down, throwing me a small key as he laughed. "You're what they've given me? Kid with the processing bounty right?" He laughed even harder as I nodded my head slowly, looking at the key in my magical grasp a little.

"I can't believe they gave Joker some lousy Rat Runner for backup, man this'll be a funny story to tell. Best of luck out there skimpy, I hear the Shifters have been on the move recently -- something has them all stirred up, good times huh?" He laughed again before sitting back down in his chair, flicking his dirty green mane around a little as he set his beige hooves upon the desk. "Be careful, kid. I can't afford more deaths, otherwise I'll be going out there next."

"Noted." I said bitterly as I trotted over to an armour locker and slotted the key inside, twisting it and popping the lip of the locker up. The entire case followed suit and my temp' gear was shown to me. Standard Hunter armour, a small blade and a few rations. Wonderful, fantastic, amazing even. I had enough food to last a day, I had to make it last for three. I had a blade made out of the shittiest metal around and I was supposed to kill Neo-Shifters with it... and my armour... well that stuff is pretty good, I can't complain there.

I grasped the spine conductor and floated it over to me, beginning to feel a tad tired from my magic usage. I snapped it into place with a small grunt before picking up the torso pieces, holding them to either side of the chest and activating the clamps. It locked into place with a pinch of skin and a hiss, allowing me to easily step into each of the four armoured boots; they locked in place with a tiny click and my back suddenly didn't feel as heavy. I then picked up the small helmet they had issued me for this shift, and with reluctance I placed it onto my neck and cringed as the spine conductor linked it into my nervous system.

The helm began to show me a few statistics and a small counter for the kills I'd obtained, which would add or minus from my bonus pay; it also showed my vital signs and the armours condition, which would come in handy. I waited for the internal shock to wear off as my body adjusted to the suit, and soon enough after a few moments I could feel my senses heighten in line with the sensors built within the armour. I didn't bother taking the blade, I merely slotted the rations into my pack and looked over to the Security Chief. He gave me a small nod, and twisted the key on his end to open the door. Now it was up to me and... Joker.

Trotting out of the office after throwing my locker key back, I made my way over to Joker and cast him a small look. His armour was significantly better than mine, then again Pegasi always seem to get better gear when it comes to combat; they were born for it. He took one look at my armour and laughed in an odd way, turning the key besides him with a wing and taking it from the slot. As we both turned to face the darkness that lay beyond the massive security door, he snickered and threw me a look. "I have a feeling our new found friends will adore your paper-mache armour, mate."

Author's Note:

>It's back and better than ever, can you feel the love? The tension? The madness?

>Also yes we're having a few chapters in the Elderlane with our new 'pal Joker, you'll all grow to love him I'm sure. As for the Neo-Shifters well... you might not like them as much. Then again, what dark secrets does the Elderlane contain?

>Don't worry, Twist will get back soon.

>Delays on this chapter have been due to the fact that I am now the 'head admin' of The Sound of Thunder, so writing for that collab alongside other things has had me neglect LN. You can expect to see that puppy out soon though, we've all worked super hard on it.

>Love you all, drop comments on what you thought! Like where this is going? Hate it? Comment! :heart:

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