• Published 6th Feb 2014
  • 907 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. Extra: Divided Stand

Chapter Extra: Divided Stand

"I... don't know what I expected." ~Michael Bluth

---

A few questions run through my mind as I fly across a patch of the Wasteland. What is, or rather was, the Unity? What happened to the alleged "Goddess"? Aside from the alicorn currently decorating the gate into the Strip, where are they all? Am I really going to find anything over the other side of the canyon just because one of the Freewall-ers brought me some properly contained radioactive tubes?

The last question is partly the reason why I'm even on this trip in the first place. Tilaso is playing one of his games with his sewer friends. Baane is on home watch today. FRED-E makes some beeping noises indicating he has another objective to complete on his own. Considering he doesn't need a lot to live like the rest of my companions, I'm inclined to believe him. The only companion I have for this impromptu mission is Stratus.

Don't get me wrong; she is not a bad ally to have in a fight. She pulls off the helpless, unarmed mare look very well. It makes her less of a priority target while she's busy bashing raiders' faces in. I just don't know if she can keep herself contained when it comes to the more... look-and-see kind of trips. She once beat up a drunk worker when I was trying to peacefully take him to the Followers. But I digress.

"Laas... Yah Nir."

Every few minutes or so, I chant the aura whisper to check for life forms. There are many red dots along the ground, but they are too far away to make a difference and/or pose a threat. I suppose centuries without any full-scale dragon invasions will make any area skim over its anti-air defenses. I'm not sure how I imagine that specific scenario, but it pops into my mind all the same.

"Want to stop by the Great Divide and take in the sight?" asks Stratus.

I fake a spit. "If you see one rock with layers of red, you've seen them all. Besides, whatever river carved that out is long dried up. The only water out this way is whatever you brought with you."

She chuckles. "Or in your case, any irradiated ditches you find."

"What's so funny about me bathing in that?" I look at her incredulously. "My body was specifically designed to rejuvenate from high radioactivity. I should take advantage of it."

"So... is the blood that you drink radioactive too?" She returns the expression to me.

"No, I'm an erythrocyte connoisseur. Leave me alone." I turn my gaze forward and down again.

"Whatever you say, reverse-Buffy." She shakes her head.

---

Upon crossing the canyon to the other flat land, I vaguely see the red outfits of some Empire Imperials marching away. I suppose these are what's left after that battle over the great dam finally blew over. I'm not surprised that they run away. The spear that one of the retreating colts throws that lands at least twenty hoof steps away seems more like a courtesy than any threat. I shrug and bend the parts into a neat little pile to stuff in my saddlebags. I'm sure some pony can use the spare parts.

Our current destination is a few clicks off the beaten path. According to the mystery radioactive-juice supplier, there is supposed to be a rag-tag gathering of alicorns living there. I can't fully imagine what we'll find there. From personal experience, I have conclusions that artificial alicorns don't need food, sleep, or water. If they do actually need any of those, they are significantly smaller amounts than most other ponies require. Radioactivity makes them stronger, and invokes a state of euphoria. They're also supposed to have an insane level of magic. Sadly, I can't confirm or disprove that last one... what with my magic being permanently handicapped.

Perhaps I am spoiled, as the town looks very small and unassuming. A few buildings of a lost world are shaking at the slightest of winds. A couple alicorns stand by what I can only guess to be a front gateway. One is black, while the other is white. It seems a little on-the-muzzle. That's more than can be said for the two metal poles standing tall behind each of them.

"I half-expected a castle," says Stratus.

"Where would they find the time and the proper binding agent for bricks of a castle?" I retort.

She shrugs her wings. "Magic?"

"I meant that as a rhetorical question." I sigh.

We hover down to ground level several feet away. I take a quick look through the scope of my appropriated pistol-cannon. Judging from how the 'guards' appear to be looking through the scope back at me, I think they know we're here. I stow the small weapon away, take a deep breath, and exhale. I glance at Stratus. She nods, ready to face this.

As we trot within twenty steps of the makeshift gate, the white alicorn's horn lights up. A brightly glowing bubble covers the entirety of the entrance.

The black alicorn advances with a loud stomp. "State your business!"

I feel Mezzo Fortissimo force her way to the forefront of my conscience. "I'm here to look around. Will that be a problem?"

She gives me that poker face of a glare. "To what end? Not one minute ago, you were waving a toy in our general direction."

I mentally yank Mezzo back and cross my front hooves. "I don't have proper binoculars, so I had to improvise."

We size each other up for several seconds. The white alicorn seems to have her attention on Stratus. Meanwhile, Stratus looks between the two of them. Finally, the black alicorn turns to her partner and motions with her head. The glow fades along with the shield spell.

"You may enter, Anew Sense. But keep the actions of yourself and your mate in check during your visit." The black alicorn returns to her original position in front of the metal post.

What the feather? Anew's voice in my head sounds very airy right then and there.

"Mate?" Stratus tilts her head.

I look at her. "Let's go in before they change their minds."

"Uh, sure." Stratus briskly shakes her head and follows my lead.

Zeddovia. That is the black alicorn's name. At least, that is the identity she passed into my head as she had read my mind's third personality. There is a brief moment where I feel a headache. But as soon as it arrives, it is gone. I look into the eyes of the white alicorn. I just... know... she sees Mezzo's identity. In return, I find out this one's name: Rook Joan.

After learning that alicorns can exchange a few thoughts simply by looking at each other for too long, Stratus and I trot into the town proper. As far as the feel for the buildings' era is concerned, it seems like a cross between the N.C.R. correctional facility and Freewall. The exterior walls look rustic and almost ready to fall apart, but there don't appear to be any huge burn marks, like those from a dynamite explosion.

I glance at Stratus. She shrugs her wings and defers to my choice. Wondering why I bothered, I push open one door and trot inside. A strong scent of mold permeates the interior's atmosphere. Stratus coughs and groans as if in pain. This isn't helped when I spot several stacks of yellow-ish white wheels with green and blue spots rotting through them. I see a red-and-yellow alicorn occasionally bump a couple of the wheels together with a creepy grin on her face. The occupant looks at me.

All I see for this alicorn's identity is a bundle of question marks. "Cheese!"

Stratus and I bail the room and slam the door behind us. Crazy, I might be able to handle to some degree. After all, I have three forms of that living in my own mind. The "cheese" room is not the kind of crazy I want to deal with today. The two of us sigh and we continue our self-guided reconnaissance.

Inside the next building, I actually relax my feathers a little. Some long benches are lined up in rows. Near the end of each row, there's a little shrine. Each shrine has decorations that seem to be themed around a specific alicorn pony. Somehow, I can just tell that the depicted alicorns are not artificial, like I am. These are the princesses that were around before the war and mega-spells: Celestia, Luna, and Cadance. I genuinely hope they're happier... wherever they go after death.

"Are you religious, Forte?" The voice of Stratus interrupts the calm.

"Not at all." I turn my head toward her. "Why do you ask?"

"You seem happier here than anywhere else."

"How do you figure?"

She holds up a hoof. "I don't know. Your wings are kind of loose and your smile looks genuinely serene rather than the usual forced or menacing grin." She shakes her head. "If a temple is making you feel this way, it just seems like something the extremely devout understand."

I blink. "Since when do you have such a wide vocabulary?"

"Hey!" She half-smiles. "Just because I like hitting things, that doesn't mean I don't know how to talk good."

I roll my eyes. "Smart-flank." I turn to exit the building.

"Oh, hush. You know you love it." She chuckles.

---

The next building has a feel that reminds me of waking up in Fondsprings. Inside, the furnishings are that of an old house. Some of the extra decor includes an alchemy table for making health potions, a medical bag, and a dusty calendar for a date that is at least fifty years prior to the current age. I say at least, but the date is so smudged with ink that it's difficult to tell exactly.

A magenta alicorn watches us enter. Her red irises are slit like the rest of the inhabitants. Her mane is a slightly faded version of her hide, though shorter in length than most manes I see out here. She wears a folded piece of paper atop her head with a crudely drawn plus sign on the front of it.

"Are you injured?" She levitates a Stimpak in view, inching the sharp end in front of herself.

"No, I'm good." I wave a hoof dismissively. "Thanks."

When she points the needle at my companion, Stratus quickly hovers up and back via flapping her wings. "No thanks, ma'am."

The doctor{?} alicorn pouts as she gently sets her Stimpak down behind herself. She returns to a mindless task of fiddling with random items on an old counter. These items include a scalpel, a sewing needle, a pair of safety scissors, shears, and an empty chem bottle. I cannot easily identify what that bottle originally contained.

Her name is Openheart, at least as far as our alicorn staring power tells me.

---

I seem to be learning a lot of uninteresting trivia about this alicorn community. It has its crazy ones, a building for prayers and confessions to deities that have long since abandoned this world, and a medical facility. I have some names acquired by looking at the alicorns with whom we cross paths. I doubt I'll actually use these names for any reason once we leave. They keep eyeing Stratus and I with some level of distrust.

My path is suddenly obstructed by two pools of golden sight. I flinch backwards and end up sitting down. It takes a couple blinks for me to figure out what is going on. The eyes tell me her name is Slide Whistle. Her coat and mane are the same in tone and shade of dark blue. She is hovering in place, upside-down, and she has a wide grin with her fangs showing.

"Greetings, newcomers!" she shouts with elation. "How are you on this cloudy day?"

Oh sweet Cadenza... Mezzo mentally swears.

"Nope! Just Slide Whistle!" The upside-down alicorn giggles.

Stratus leans her head back slightly. "What?"

I fake a clearing of my throat. "We're doing fine. We were just passing through."

"Super!" Slide Whistle's sudden hug around my neck convinces me to flinch. "How'd you like to become a part of the community?"

I use my wings to push her away. "No thanks. We're just visiting."

"Aww, that's a bummer." Slide Whistle turns over and stands upright. "Well, at least try one of my random samples before you go!"

"Your wha-hrmph?!"

Before I can process what she's doing, a slightly dampened substance is inside my mouth. I end up standing up and backing away. Without time to think, I end up swallowing the item. We cough a bit before we recognize the flavors on our tongue: hints of vanilla, sarsaparilla, and a much larger amount of radioactive specks. For a brief moment, we cannot help but find the taste to be pleasant.

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" shouts Stratus, looking at Slide Whistle. "Don't just shove random things into ponies' mouths!"

"But they like it." Whistle insists. "Don't you three?"

" 'Three'?" Stratus looks at her with incredulity.

We are uncertain as to give this alicorn the dignity of a response. After all, she invaded our personal space without consent. Her demeanor and actions so far do not separate her very much from the raiders we have occasionally encountered. We decide to hold our silence and look to the side in disappointment.

"Yep, denial confirms it for me!" Whistle suddenly blows into a growing, yellow balloon. She rapidly folds it into the shape of a broken down cart. "Well, it was fun meeting you guys. See ya!" She somehow gets on that balloon cart and rapidly rides out of sight.

"Uh... ah... uh..." Stratus struggles for words before shaking her head. "I'm not sure what combination of drugs she's on, and I really don't want to know." She looks over and flies at about an alicorn's eye-level. "Are you alright, Forte?"

We take a deep breath and exhale. "Fine. Just fine."

"Are you sure?" She tilts her head. "Your eyes and voice are doing those weird things like when you step on plasma shots."

"That doesn't seems likely." We fold our wings. "There was a bit of radioactivity in that 'sample', but we don't... we don't... wait... Why are we still thinking 'we'?"

"That's what I'd like to know." Stratus looked around and flew a little higher. "Darn. No sign of that crazy mare anywhere."

"This isn't such a terrible thing." We try to reassure her. "We've had worse conditions than prolonged unity of personalities."

She comes back down to ground level and stands. "So you actually have... what... three ponies living inside your head? How does that work?"

We make three hoof prints along an invisible arc in the dirt. "Yes, we have been three ever since we woke up without a functioning horn. Over time, we gave ourselves identities to own: Forte Pianissimo, Mezzo Fortissimo, and Anew Sense. Normally, Forte dominates our minds and actions. Mezzo steps in when we require a little more intimidation. Anew has our... well... our supply of natural hormones."

"Huh." Stratus scratches her head. "I guess that one gets the least mileage. But then, who's the one that talks all echo-y?"

"We are not certain." Our tail flicks. "We speculate that it is simultaneously all of us and none of us. For in this state, we cannot communicate separately with each other, yet none of us are the sole owners of our mind. Perhaps it is instinct, searching for the Goddess where there is none."

"Hmm... I wonder..." Stratus tapped a hoof under her muzzle.

"What is it?" We look at her directly.

"Do you think you could trigger one of your minds out when given the right motivation... Boss?" She smiles.

"How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that?!" I grit my fangs... before loosening my expression. "Oh..."

Stratus sighs. "Glad you're back to normal... I mean, normal-ish."

I pull out a bottle of water and drink about half of its contents. "Ugh. Sweet pluck, what the hell was in that weird cake?"

"Maybe we should leave this town." Stratus takes the bottle and drinks a little. "Wouldn't want to run into some weird Hellhound blood-drinking ritual next."

"Can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree completely." I open my wings an get some air. "Let's go home."

~Feel free to come back anytime!~

...

"Did you say something, Stratus?" I turn to look at her.

"No, why?" she keeps flying beside me.

Mezzo? Anew?

That was not me, thinks Mezzo.

Me either, comments Anew.

"Weird..." I mutter while continuing to leave this town. All I learn for sure is that what are left of the alicorns are several rungs of crazy.

...

~Hee, hee, hee...~

---
Special event perks:
"Binding Agent: Imitation Unity" - Your three minds combine together for a little longer than expected after exposure to radioactivity. Gain +1 INT for 30 seconds starting at the time of activation.
"A Party's Favor" - You could swear that you sometimes hear a fourth voice that doesn't belong to any of you. But don't listen to it.

Author's Note:

At first, I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to continue writing this. I mean, it was meant to be a badly written fic. What more could I possibly add? Yet, my imagination and urge got the better of me. Here we are.

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Comments ( 1 )

Woa! There was a bonus chapter?! :pinkiegasp:
I like it! :twilightsmile:

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