• Published 17th Dec 2012
  • 2,864 Views, 91 Comments

What the Truck - totallynotabrony



Spacetime accidents, a foreign invasion, and friends with stuff to haul. The new 2013 Applejack can handle all this and more!

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Chapter 1

Big Macintosh opened his eyes as the alarm clock beside his bed began to ring. At five a.m. the sun hadn’t risen yet. He got out of bed in the predawn darkness.

The hulking red stallion paused, wondering why his sister’s alarm clock hadn’t rung. The two of them usually could set up a little harmonic chorus with their respective rings that annoyed their youngest sibling.

Mac poked his head into the bedroom next door. “AJ?”

The sheets were flat on the bed and nopony was present. Confused, Mac walked through the rest of the house looking for his sister. When Applejack failed to turn up in the usual places, he began to grow worried.

“Huh? What’s going on, big brother?” asked Apple Bloom sleepily as Mac checked her room.

“Looking for Applejack.”

“Where is she?” asked the young filly.

“Don’t know.”

Apple Bloom sat up. “She’s supposed to be up, isn’t she? Where could she be?”

Mac shrugged. It was really too early for a schoolfilly like Apple Bloom to be up, but he didn’t protest as she climbed out of bed and trotted after him.

With no evidence of the missing mare in the house, Mac opened the front door. Apple Bloom looked around, her creative young mind imagining all sorts of places her big sister might be. They headed for the barn. Mac pushed open the large sliding door and suddenly froze, staring at a bizarre machine that hadn’t been there before.

The front—or what Mac assumed was the front—seemed to have a lot of chrome. Smooth sheet metal extended over the rest of the body, coated with gleaming paint of orange and yellow. Around the middle there was a lot of glass like an enclosed carriage, and there was a rectangular box at the rear that resembled a wagon. It sat on four rubber tires with a deep, blocky tread pattern.

While Mac had stood staring, Apple Bloom went around to the rear. She called to her brother. “Look at this!”

The stallion slipped into the barn and followed his sister’s pointing hoof. On the rear fender of the machine was a likeness of Applejack’s cutie mark.

“It kind of looks like her coloring, too,” noted Apple Bloom. “What could this mean? What do we do?”

Mac took a moment, and remembering the number one pony to call whenever something weird happened. “I think we should talk to Twilight Sparkle.”

The two of them traveled to town and headed for the library where Twilight lived. It was difficult to wake the scholarly purple unicorn. She’d been awake most of the night doing nerd stuff. The insistent knocking on her door dragged Twilight from sleep, but it was only after Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom told their story that she came fully awake.

After collecting a few supplies, Twilight followed the two of them back to the farm. The first time she set eyes on the machine in their barn, she had to agree that it certainly did look a lot like Applejack. Well, maybe if she wore braces. That was a lot of chrome.

Twilight walked slowly around, muttering to herself. “It has wheels, so it’s meant to travel. No obvious places to pull from, so perhaps it’s self-propelled. The large cargo area could mean it was designed for utility, but the overall polished appearance suggests decorative.”

Peeking in the windows, Twilight observed chair-like furnishings and a steering wheel. Somepony was clearly meant to drive this thing, then. There were four doors. She opened the one on the right front.

An overhead light flicked on and a mysterious chiming sound began. The air on the other side of the door smelled of fresh dye and other “new” scents. There was an undertone of something Twilight couldn’t place.

A small hinged compartment was close to Twilight and she opened it. Another light lit the inside as she spotted a book that rested inside. The unicorn smiled as she read the words Owner’s Manual printed on the cover.

Closing both doors, she opened the book and read the first page while walking back to Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom.

“So what is it?” asked the filly.

“It’s a pickup truck,” Twilight said.

There was a moment of silence.

“So what’s a pickup truck?” asked Apple Bloom.

“I’ll need time to read the book,” explained Twilight. “I should also send a letter to the Princess. I hope she isn't busy right now. Her sister was working on something called a High Energy Matter Integrator. It’s—”

“We just need AJ back,” said Big Macintosh before Twilight could get off track.

“I’ll read as fast as I can,” she promised.

After returning to the library, Twilight sent a quick letter to Canterlot, and then collected a notebook. The owner’s manual was very dry reading, but packed an amazing amount of new information. It didn’t explain the intimate inner workings of the truck, but by the time Twilight finished she knew how to operate everything.

Armed with this knowledge, she returned to the farm. The sun was now up and the truck gleamed as Twilight opened the barn door. She walked over to the driver’s side door and opened it.

When the new car smell hit her, Twilight suddenly remembered something she’d read from the manual. The seats were made of leather.

At a diplomatic service with griffons, she’d observed how they never wasted any part of animals they hunted, not even the skin. It was still terribly disconcerting to be looking at parts of dead creatures that had been processed, dyed, and stitched into seating surfaces that were admittedly rather attractive.

Hesitantly, Twilight climbed inside, settling her posterior onto the leather. It was cool and smooth, and she took a moment to collect her thoughts before going forward with her plan.

The door closed with a purposeful thunk. The chime also stopped. Twilight craned her neck around the steering wheel to look at the ignition key. With a little magical effort, she clicked it forward into the “run” postion.

“Boy howdy, Twilight! Took ya long enough!”

The unicorn shrieked and smacked her face on the window while attempting to escape. Applejack’s disembodied voice seemed to come from everywhere at once.

“Calm down, Twi! It’s just me.”

Twilight quickly composed herself. It’s just a magical talking truck who happens to be one of my best friends. “Applejack…how are you?”

“I’ve been better.” The voice seemed to be distorted slightly. Twilight glanced at the surround sound speakers that had been noted in the manual. On the radio head unit, a small display showed an audio equalizer that jumped every time Applejack spoke.

“How did this happen to you?” asked Twilight.

“Princess Luna did it with this device called a High Energy Matter Integrator.”

“Wow, I heard about it, but I didn’t know it did this.” Twilight paused for a moment. “How do you know that’s what happened to you?”

“The Princess told me so last night when the two of us went on an adventure to another universe. She skimped a bit on her preparatory research, though, and thought that this shape would be nicely inconspicuous. She apologized and said she had mistaken the planet’s dominant life form.”

Coming from anypony but the Element of Honesty, Twilight would have been skeptical, to say the least. “So…why didn’t Princess Luna change you back?”

“She said her thing needed to recharge. Even still, she shoulda been back before the morning.”

Twilight frowned. “I sent an ugent letter to Princess Celestia, but so far it’s gone unanswered. Perhaps there’s problem in Canterlot that is occupying both Princesses?”

“I wish I knew, Twi. Anyway, I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it the way I am right now.”

Twilight thought for a moment. “Could I...drive you? I mean, I don’t know anything about the miles and kilometers mentioned the owner’s manual, but maybe you can help the girls and I get to Canterlot faster than the train could.”

“I guess that would be all right.” A tone of doubt appeared in Applejack’s voice. “Do you know how?”

“Sure, I know all about driving! I memorized the owner’s manual!” Twilight twisted the key further and the engine started. A smooth background noise began and there was a slight vibration she could feel.

Applejack let out a contented sigh. “Strangly enough, I feel a lot more energetic now. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Twilight manipulated the gearshift and put the transmission into Drive, reaching forward with a rear hoof to trod on the accelerator.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

It was harder to say who screamed louder. Twilight was thrown backwards by the sudden acceleration and quickly rebounded forwards as Applejack put on the brakes. After bouncing off the steering wheel, Twilight ended up on the soft carpet of the floor.

“Sorry Twilight, I didn’t expect that to happen,” said Applejack. “On the other hoof, I guess I can drive myself.”

“Ugh…I didn’t expect that to happen either.” Twilight rubbed her head and sat up. “Don’t you mean on the other wheel?”

“Sorry, didn’t know truck-talk was different,” Applejack chuckled. Twilight sat up again, realizing now why the seatbelt symbol had been lit up on the dashboard. It may have been constricting to wear, but it probably would have saved her from ricocheting around the interior.

“I suppose I’ll let you take over, then,” said Twilight, sitting up and straightening out her mane. After clicking the seatbelt closed around her body, she sat back and watched Applejack roll away from the barn.

After seeing Apple Bloom off to school, Big Macintosh had gone to the orchard. Even with his sister’s apparent disappearance, work still had to be done. He bucked a tree and was turning to collect a basket full of apples when he saw the strange machine coming in his direction. As it moved into the shade of the trees, he saw Twilight sitting inside.

The truck stopped and the window beside Twilight rolled down. She rested her foreleg on the edge and leaned towards Mac. “The good news is that I know where Applejack is.”

“The bad news is that I’m right here,” said Applejack. Big Macintosh’s face went blank with surprise. The piece of wheat held between his lips fell out.

“It’s true, I’m afraid,” said Twilight. She reached over to turn up the radio so Applejack’s voice could be heard more easily. “We’re going to Canterlot to see if the Princesses can help.”

“If you load those apple baskets, I can carry ‘em back to the barn for you,” offered Applejack. “It’s on the way.”

Regaining his composure, Mac nodded. Twilight opened the door and went around to Applejack’s rear to open the tailgate. She wondered exactly what part of her friend’s anatomy that might translate to, and decided she didn’t want to know.

Twilight helped Mac put a dozen bushel baskets in Applejack’s bed and then got back in the driver’s seat. After another slow drive through the orchard, the mechanized mare stopped outside the barn. Twilight put the baskets down where they could be dealt with later.

“Twi, since we're at the barn could you get my rope? I just kinda feel better to have something familiar with me.”

Twilight understood that Applejack was still uncomfortable with her new form, and fetched the lariat from the barn. She placed it in the truck's bed and climbed back into the cabin once more.

Applejack went down the driveway and at the front gate turned towards Ponyville. The two of them set off for town.