• Published 6th Feb 2014
  • 909 Views, 21 Comments

Merry Stewed: An Equestrian Fallout - TundraStanza



Tells the tale of an alicorn rendered effectively powerless after losing her horn in the wastelands of Equestria. She'll pick up a gun, a blade, and a few companions. But really, what is the point of telling the tale of a Mary Sue?

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Ch. 17: Blast it All

Blast it All

"Stick with things that will be easy for them to understand like explosions, running, explosions, punching, explosions, guns, and explosions... pretty much just a bunch of explosions." ~Bobby Burns
---

"Greetings, Ms. Forte Pianissimo. Please enjoy your time at the New Pegasus strip, and be sure to complete Mr. Mansion's task at your earliest convenience."

The rolling robot turns around and scoots away. So, this is what one pony in charge of a casino is capable of commanding. I roll my wings around against their sockets. I step lively in the direction of the N.C.R. safe zone.

"Your Majesty!"

My ear flicks and I turn my head left. I recognize that colt's voice anywhere. He scampers up quite frantically.

"Why aren't you in disguise?" asks Tilaso in worry.

"Because the big guy himself saw through my cover," I reply. "He's also taken the liberty of telling his robots not to kill me."

His expression softens. "Oh." He scratches his lower lip. "Isn't that a little too convenient?"

"Well, the catch is that I've got to go kill a specific target for him." I turn to the right and cough. "The others are waiting. We should go check in with them."

"Of course, Princess," he says with a quick nod.

---

New Canterlot Republic's little space in New Pegasus is about in the same condition as Holdbeck Faith. At least, that is how it appears physically. Honestly, I'm not sure how many ponies and other resources they have. After a few turns in the hallways that I have to squeeze through, I find myself in an unusually large office room.

"So you've never known the satisfaction of punching some jerk upside the head with your bare hooves?" asks Stratus. She's flapping her wings to allow herself to hold her front limbs against her sides.

"Oh... yeah... I guess not." Baane pulls his beret down slightly before turning my direction.

"You two having fun here?" I ask with a wry smile. I trot further into the office room.

"Yeah," says Baane in a non-committing manner.

"Costume party over already, 'Spades'?" Stratus crosses her front legs while giving me a smug grin.

I roll my eyes just as I stand within two feet of her. "Yeah, well... it may resume later when I have a chat with Penny at the Jacks Casino."

"The hell is that supposed to mean?" Baane might be raising his eyebrow, but I can't tell through his sunglasses.

"The funny thing about Mr. Mansion," I reply, "is that he's really fascinated in a certain item that's currently in Penny's possession. He wants it, and he was even willing to let me bypass his securitrons just to get the job done."

FRED-E chirps in with a hectic pattern.

"I like it better the way I say it," I retort to the sprite-bot.

"In other words, you're being held at a taser's point just to do as he says." Baane sighs.

"Sounds like fun," says Stratus with a smile. "It almost makes me envious compared to what I've got to do."

I tilt my head in confusion as I look at her. "What do you have to do?"

"Looks like I'm going to have a little chat with a small family called the Blasters," she explains. "Baane was given the orders from his higher-ups directly, but we both figured I'd have a better time dodging defensive strikes while making my way to the front gate."

"At best, the N.C.R. will have another ally in taking back some territory," adds Baane. "At worst, there will at least be one less obstacle in the way of proper military occupation."

...

I'm not following any of what they're talking about. However, I act like I do by nodding sincerely after they're done speaking.

"See you when I see you," I wave a hoof. "I'm off to make a very specific gamble."

"Watch yourself out there," warns Baane.

---

Currently, I'm standing in front of the Jacks Casino as a white, clueless unicorn. Tilaso found a stylish dress that fits 'Spades' pretty darn well. I didn't ask where he found it. By the time I even consider asking, he is already working on navigating the Casino's ventilation system. I admire his initiative, but am rather ticked off at him for some other reason that I can't identify. In any case, I left a large amount of my weapons-related stuff with Baane after hearing that these places pat down customers anyway.

He isn't wrong. A stallion in a white tux demands that I hand over all my weapons before I take part in the casino's various facilities. To save face, I do still have a couple plasma pistols that I levitate out of their holsters at my sides. The doorkeeper thanks me for my time. He tells me to enjoy myself and that my weapons will be returned upon my exit. Little does he realize that my dagger is snugly under my dress.

If I were a guessing mare, thinks Nuisance, then Penny will most likely be a better-dressed prick than anyone else standing around, and he'll have the money necessary to hire three or more identical goons as bodyguards.

Mezzo Fortissimo mentally blinks in surprise. I copy her action physically.

What? Just because I'm the dirty mind, that automatically means I can't have an intelligent thought every once in a while?

I opt to whistle a tuneless melody. Mezzo mentally coughs and says nothing.

Well, pluck you two!

I trot on over to the counter and purchase a hundred caps worth of casino chips. I spend a few minutes whittling fifty of those chips away at a Twenty-One card table. On my last 'hand', the dealer actually gets a queen and ace of spades. Go figure. By that time, I spy my target: a checkered suit draped on a stallion with three stallions in white tuxedos standing to the wayside.

Not bad, Nuisance, I compliment. You actually called it right.

My name is Anew Sense, she insists.

Isn't that what I said?

She mentally scoffs. Shut up.

I wonder how I'm going to approach this situation. 'Spades' may be smaller than I like, but she's still large enough to be noticed by onlookers. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I brush past this Penny guy and slip out the chip I'm after, I'd get shot multiple times before I can say, "Dagger."

Before I know it, my legs are taking me toward him without my consent.

What the hell? cries Mezzo.

Let me handle this, insists Anew.

Wait, since when can you control the body? I think in surprise.

Hush now, quiet now, my mental fillies. Mommy's got work to do.

If I could move anything freely right now, I would be shivering at how she somehow whispered that seductively all inside my head. Alas, the only feeling I am currently receiving is the way Anew is swinging my hips and tail as she trots. W-What is she doing? I feel really uncomfortable inside my own skin right now. She's got my eyelids halfway open, staring intently at Penny.

He turns his head to look at me right then. "Well, hello there. Come to Jacks' Casino to find something you couldn't anywhere else?"

"Oh, I suppose you could say that," Anew says with a giggle. She whips my tail against the dress a couple of times. "What I want to know is... do you have that certain something?"

"Babe, I don't know," says Penny. His expression is unreadable. "We're... talking about a little fun here, right?"

"You may be talking about fun, little colt." Anew flutters my eyes. "But I'm talking about a load of fun."

Wait a minute... I try to decipher her meaning.

"Uh, so like... a certain 'talk' in a setting that's closed off to the public sort of load?" Penny's eyes open wide.

"Why yes," answers Anew with a nod and a disarming smile. "That would certainly be the start of what I'm talking about."

Oh my Cadenza... Mezzo catches on with a hint of horror in her mental tone.

Penny's expression seems to reflect how I'm currently feeling about Anew's advances. He swiftly frowns with his brow raised. Then, he looks up while scratching his chin. After looking at my fluttering eyes again, he suddenly looks much more open to this... 'certain talk'. He grins and glances over at his goons.

"Boys, hold this floor steady for me," he tells them. "I'm going to be a while."

The three tuxes say nothing more than a grunt and a nod apiece.

"Let's head to my room," says Penny while caressing my chin.

Anew purrs. "After you, Sweetheart."

---

As we ride the elevator up, Mezzo and I take turns making retching noises within the corridors of my head. We fail to make an actual mess in there. Thank Cadenza. But that doesn't change the appearance of what is going to be the beginning of an... um... one-night stand. That still gives me uncomfortable, hypothetical shivers.

Penny's bedroom kind of reminds me of the room I had back in Vacuum. Though, I suppose there is slightly less rust on the facilities than that place. There is even a rose-red quilt neatly folded on the bed. How often does he even use this space?

"All right, Babe," says Penny. The stallion pulls himself onto the bed and starts pulling his jacket open. "Are you ready for the load?"

"It's too late to back out of this, you gorgeous stud," says Anew with a malicious chuckle. She crawls onto the bed herself, slowly dragging my hind legs over Penny's. "Let us see who the lion is and who the prey is."

I can't believe you're actually doing this! I scream at her as loudly as my non-existent voice can.

Mercy! Spare me! An exclamation of some relative's title! cries Mezzo.

"That's a fine comparison, Babe," says Penny. "Though, I might have the edge. After all, I once took out an alicorn."

"Oooo, such a powerful lie," coos Anew. She lights up my horn and I feel the dress slowly roll up against my sides. "But do continue. You almost impress me."

"I'm serious." Penny smiles, showing his teeth. "All it took was an ordinary shotgun while the largest part of her head was in the way."

"Really?" Anew keeps staring him down from on top. She still holds my eyelids half-closed and a smile so evil. "That is so amazing." Aside from the dress, I feel something else slide up in my magic's hold.

"But you're more interested in another gun of mine, right?" prompts Penny expectantly.

"Nope, that's all I needed to hear."

"Yeah... wait, wha- GLUK!"

...

Wow... I have no idea how a stallion's tongue can get so brown. Maybe it's the cigarettes that he always has in his pockets. I'm pretty sure blood is supposed to turn red when it exits the throat. Either way, my dagger is doing enough damage through his neck to prevent his brain from sending signals to the rest of his body. Suddenly, I can feel the weight of my head again.

All right, I'm done, thinks Anew dismissively.

"Wha-huh?" I blink a few times to regain my bearings.

Wait, was this your plan this whole time? asks Mezzo in accusation.

Nah, but it was convenient that he brought up how he tried to kill us back in Fondsprings, admits Anew. I may be interested in a good and dirty time, but even I have standards. There's an awkward pause. Aren't you supposed to be getting something?

"Oh, right!" I quickly go about searching Penny's pockets. There are several bottle caps, a rusty key of unknown purpose, and the aforementioned cigarette cartons. But most importantly is the out of place Cobalt Chip. After that, I hop off the bed and hide my dagger away. Normally, this is the part where I would lick his bleeding neck dry. But, even I have standards.

"Psst, Spades."

I look around the room and notice an opening in the upper wall, large enough to be the ventilation. I can't help but think Tilaso looks kind of cute when he pokes his head through.

"You mind holding this with you until we get outside?" I ask him. I float the chip up to him.

"Sure thing, Princess Forte," he says as he stuffs the chip away. He also pulls out something that I thought I had left at the front desk. He tosses it down to me. "You probably ought to burn the evidence of the kill."

I chuckle. "What would I do without you, Tilaso?" I turn and aim the plasma pistol at Penny's head. "Well, it's not a shotgun. But considering I've taken a ridiculously overpriced poker chip, I'd say this is a fair exchange."

*Blat* *Blat*

Penny's corpse is replaced with a puddle of goo on the bed. I float my weapon back up to Tilaso. As he crawls backwards, I levitate the quilt and turn it over. After that, I calmly make my exit. I swear I hear some garbled "Yeah!" to my accomplishment, but I shake my head. There is no pony to cheer for me.

---
Somewhere far away...

The red unicorn and ex-First Recon gallops along the road. Just a little above and in front of him, the silver pegasus slows her typical flying speed to make sure he can keep up. The clouds are gathered in the sky in a pattern that makes the sky look like a pattern of blue diamonds. Dust occasionally blows by on the wind. A few geckos pop their heads into view before they're sent flying by a few loud bangs of varying degrees.

*Blam!* *Clunk!* *Blam!* *Tang!*

"All clear," says Baane, floating his rifle over is back.

"Taken care of," agrees Stratus. She rubs her ballistic hooves against each other once before continuing her flight.

This duo of sniper and boxer continue along their path unhindered. Well, that is the case until Baane is interrupted by some loner. That loner insists that he's warning every pony that comes along that road to stay out of the field. What is his reason? The Blasters have a tendency to fire rockets all over at trespassers.

To this warning, Stratus insists that she'll be careful when she flies over to have a chat with the nice, bazooka-wielding ponies. At first, the loner is flabbergasted at her can-do attitude. However, he eventually shakes his head and reluctantly lets her go. He even says he's willing to give up a fairly large bottle cap collection if she comes back alive. Baane's mouth curls into a blink-and-you'll-miss-it smile.

Rockets pepper the ground around Stratus's path, one after the other. A lot of dust and smoke goes flying, but her own flight path is left unhindered. Pretty soon, she's flying above their fenced off borders. They dare not attack their own fences. She lands softly on all fours in front of the standing guard. She giggles at his ridiculously positioned bazooka on his shoulder.

"Hiya! How's it going?" Stratus asks with a quick wave.

"Wha...?" The poor stallion is completely stunned. "How did you survive all of that? I was sure I was locked onto you with every shot!"

The pegasus shrugs. "Your aim was always where I was at the time. Did you ever consider aiming where I was going?"

The guard tries to utter a retort, but fails and sighs. "Since you're here anyway, you might as well go speak with Clam Pearl. Try anything funny, though, and I can't be held responsible for what I do to you."

"Wouldn't dream of it." Stratus rolls her eyes while holding her wings behind her back. "By the way, do you mind if I pick up a friend of mine and come back?"

The guard grumbles. "Very well, but use the same route both ways so that we know it's you."

---

"That's the second easiest six hundred caps I've ever earned." Stratus chuckles as she stuffs the loner's promised caps into her pocket.

"Yeah." Baane nods in affirmation.

"Hey Recon, I've been meaning to ask you something." Stratus flies low and slow so that the unicorn can keep up.

"What's that?" Baane tilts his head ever so slightly.

"Why did you decide to follow her around?"

"Because... the way she asked made sense to me. Alone, you're a lot less effective, can't get as much done." He canters around a blackened crater in the ground. "There was a familiar glint in her eyes, the look of some pony that wants to do something but doesn't yet know what. I guess... I saw myself."

"So... did you and she find the time to... nudge-nudge?" Stratus makes a motion with her elbow.

"Don't be the idiot that makes everything awkward." Baane looks ahead. "I had a wife. Now, she's dead. I'm in no hurry to repeat that process."

"No, no... I get ya." Stratus continues flying alongside the fence.

"What about you?" Baane looks over. "After seeing this rag-tag group, what made you decide to join?"

"It's... complicated." Stratus looks down as she flies.

"Does it have to do with your old partner?"

"Somewhat," admits Stratus. "I... I guess I was lonely. But more than that, I was... trying to move on. It's like you said before. Effectiveness doesn't fly solo. I need some pony to take the distant shots. But... I also need some assurance that I can come back to something. Having a leader that goes through everything I do and more... it just feels amazing."

"In other words, you need self-esteem," concludes Baane.

Stratus gives him a confused look. "I can't tell if you're joking or trying to be insulting."

"If that's what you think." Baane shrugs as the pair approaches the Blasters' main gate.
---

-Your third personality "Nuisance" has evolved into "Anew Sense". This ego's unique perk discovered: "Black Widow".
-Objective checklist update: Cobalt Chip obtained!

-Ragic Baane and Stratus Cloud have taken the first step down "Character Development". Tread lightly.

Author's Note:

Sorry that this is taking so long to complete. But as I've said before, my inspiration works in strange bursts. I'm not giving up.

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