• 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?

  • ...
8
 21
 907

Ch. 4: Tired of These Mother Powder Gangers

Tired of These Mother Powder Gangers

"Going to make you sweat! Going to make you wet!"

~Park Jae-sang

---

The horseless, motorized carriage is a great invention. With a set range of functions, it transforms magical energy into electrical energy and finally into kinetic energy. Supposedly, the engine itself can produce as much power as one hundred ponies galloping at once. But there is one drawback that prevents it from being used today.

The carriage’s secondary function is that of a bomb.

After making the mistake of ducking behind one of these carriages, I quickly learn that even dormant engines are capable of blowing up when the enemy’s dynamite explodes nearby. It is only thanks to my mediocre luck that I roll head over heels behind a nearby building’s wall. I hear more bullets fired, but none find their way to my limbs. The shock from the exploding engine, however, gives both of my left hooves a sensation of burning.

I use the reprieve from gunfire to shove my right hoof around my bags. After watching a few loose bottle caps fall into the dirt, I manage to fish out two stimpaks. Without Doctor Prickard to guide my next steps, I haphazardly guess where to stab my hurting limbs.

Flipping Tartarus! my mental voice screams. Meanwhile, I fight to prevent my mouth that’s holding the stimpak from joining that scream. If I were more sentimental, I might cry at the unsettling sensation of my hooves burning in reverse. But the situation calls for less vocal sound effects and more weapon noises.

My currently numb legs have at least the strength to let me stand back up. I grab Kettle’s revolver without a second thought. Reaching around the building’s corner, I fire six shots blindly.

*Bang* *Bang* *Bang* *Bang* *Ow!* *AAAARG!*

The enemy’s second exclamation is followed by what sounds like something splashing. I wonder if I should look around and check for more enemies. However, a red hissing stick decides to check on me first.

“Ah, flip,” I whisper as I hastily kick the lit dynamite away from my cover.

The stick decides to explode while it’s somewhat airborne. Luckily, it’s far away from where I’m standing.

“Had enough?” a mare’s voice hollers.

I take hold of my dagger as I lower my eyebrows. Actually yes, I have.

After I take a galloping start, my wings take me into the sky. I circle around the building wall’s other corner. The opposing mare tosses a dynamite stick toward my original cover. I guess my wings didn’t tip her off. I dive in behind her while performing an aileron roll.

The enemy’s head hangs by a small flap of skin before rolling all the way to the ground. Just like that, the fight is over.

I wonder what Powder Gangers are doing out this far away from Fondsprings. I doubt that they’re here for what looks like the rotting remains of a roller coaster across the broken street. In this town called Proper, there aren’t any more than five buildings that look in at least relatively standing condition.

All of this reflection goes on as my tongue passes the corpse’s trickling blood. My hooves shuffle around and empty her pockets of their contents. Though, I wonder if one stick of dynamite and a spark lighter is really worth the trouble.

Pain returns to my back, left hoof. The stimpak lasts long enough to get through a battle. I guess I should count myself lucky. The worst thing that I have to deal with now is walking with a limp for a few hours.

A creaking door causes my ears to perk up. As my eyes follow their direction to the source, the door in question slams shut. I am sure that I saw some pony for a second.

Before I go anywhere, I take the moment’s reprieve to reload Kettle’s revolver. One of my mind’s voices suggests that I rename the weapon. I ignore the voice, thinking that the idea sounds stupid. Who gives new names to their weapons? However, the mental begging is insistent.

Fine, I resign, I’ll call it “K.R.” Happy?

I take the silenced begging as a yes. With that business taken care of, I limp over to the slammed door.

---

“Don’t bring your colts any closer!” exclaims some stallion in a plaid shirt.

“I’m sorry. What?” My left eyebrow rises.

“Wait.” The defending rifle is lowered a couple inches. “You’re not a Powder Ganger.”

“Whew, I’m relieved to hear that.” I give him a deadpan stare.

“No offense, miss, but you kind of came at a time where they were practically holding the entire town for ransom.” The gun floats so that its barrel faces the ceiling instead of me.

“Trust me. You’re not the first stallion that’s nearly shot me based on a misunderstanding.” I shake my head and give a small smile.

The stallion seems to have a few years of wrinkles along his maroon face. Although he can use magic just fine, a cane holds up his front, right hoof. That’s about as much detail as I can take in before I realize that he’s staring awfully hard at me.

“That neckerchief…” He rubs his chin. “Are you from Fondsprings?”

It isn’t my place of origin, but it does hold my oldest memory of waking up for the first time. I touch the cloth around my neck instinctively.

“Yeah, you could say that.” My hoof slowly returns to the floor.

“That’s incredible. How did you survive against all of the varmints and gangsters between towns?”

“I sure feel sorry for whoever is in charge of highway maintenance.”

The old pony tilts his head away from his cane.

“The enemies I faced either died or ran away pissing their tails.”

“Oh.” He straightens up and then lets out a chuckle. His gaze moves up to my forehead. “Though, it looks like some pony sawed off your horn along the way.”

“More like they blasted it with a shotgun,” I say, correcting him, “and that’s a longer story. My name is Pianissimo by the way.”

“Eggs ‘N’ Hash,” he says.

“So what’s been going on around here?”

Hash sighs. “Thankfully, the Empire hasn’t happened around here. Other than that, every pony else has. Those gangsters have been holding ponies at gunpoint except for the ones that stay indoors. Meanwhile, the N.C.R. troops have been trying to offer help, but it hasn’t amounted to much as I’m sure you saw on your way in.”

“I was under the impression that they were called ‘Gangers’.”

“Gangers, gangsters, it doesn’t really matter.” He taps his cane against the floor. “They all cause trouble in the end.”

“Fair enough.” I shrug with one wing.

The maroon pony’s face looks rather pale. “Since when were you an alicorn?”

“Uh…” I pause to think. “Since always?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.” The magical glow around his rifle glows more intensely. “We don’t need the zebra’s Nightmare Moons here. We’ve got enough trouble from the Powder Gangsters!”

“Wait, the Nightmare what of whom?” My left eyebrow migrates to its favorite spot.

*Pow*

Both of my eyes open wide. I slowly turn and look at the new hole in the wall to my right. My eye turns back to look at the shooter.

“Get out!” he demands, “And you can tell your sisters that they aren’t welcome here either.”

I lift my front hooves in a guarding position. “I, uh, um… Look!”

I shuffle around my saddlebags and drop my bottle cap pouch in front of me.

“I’m not here to cause trouble. See?” I point at the pouch. “I’m… just here to trade.”

The old man’s look of anger simmers to a look of erring caution. His rifle slowly floats over to the side with the safety clicking back on.

“All right, fine.” His voice is quieter, yet it still carries weight behind it.

---

“Whew.” I sigh in relief after the door closes behind me. “I’m glad some ponies have greed that is stronger than their hatred.”

After that trade, I can count the number of caps I have left on my hooves and wings. In exchange for what I gave up, I received enough ammunition for six more reloads for K.R. I also got my varmint rifle repaired. Eggs ‘N’ Hash even cleaned and polished my dagger. He’s a really nice guy that just wants to protect his property, albeit a little quick to the trigger.

You should have been quicker to the trigger, thinks my inner monarch.

Nobody asked you, I retort.

Oh, my, adds a third mental voice, Do you two want a room?

Shut up! the monarch and I think to it.

“It’s getting late,” I make a vocal note, “I’ll try spending the night over at that worn-out hotel across the street.”

I flap my wings to avoid limping with my bad hoof too much. At least I can find a place to rest.

---

Fan-flipping-tastic. I lean my head against the cupboard below the counter. How was I supposed to know what buildings had night watch convicts in them?

A couple wild shots zoom over my ears.

"Had enough?"

Wait, what the hay? In spite of the tension I feel from the gunfire, my left eyebrow rises. That sounds a lot like the convict I beheaded less than an hour ago. I close my eyes and shake my head. No time for distractions! Plan now!

My eyes race around my immediate surroundings. There is a broken bottle here. Some ripped up pieces of burned paper are over there. A white circle with a red dot sits to my left. A couple cigarettes on my right are still smoking.

White circle? I perform a double-take.

Perhaps 'circle' is a poor description. It looks more like a metal disc that some pony uses for weightlifting. Upon closer inspection, there appears to be a tiny protrusion right next to the red dot. Is this a button on a mechanical device? The purpose of the disc baffles me, but it at least gives me an idea for a diversion plan.

One hoof taps the 'button'. My teeth quickly grab the disc. My neck follows up by practicing its frisbee-tossing skills. While the disc is still in the air, I grab and aim K.R. They'll be too busy firing at a flying circle while I take a free shot.

*Boom!*

Before I can take even one shot, the disc explodes. The combustion somehow removes two of the convict's hooves and launches her against the wall behind her. She paints the wood with all the colors of her blood before sliding into to the garbage pail below.

I... guess that works too, I think with wide-open eyes.

If she isn't dead due to shock, then that heavy blood loss will certainly finish the job. I must be seeing everything that there is to see. Barring that, I must be pretty darn close. I am a witness to a lethal geometrical figure for crying out loud!

Idly, I scratch my chest with my left hoof. This leather armor is getting itchy. How long have I been wearing it? I shake my head again. I'd better sweep the area for any more hostiles.

There is an opening to my right. I peek around before slowly trotting into the hallway. I crouch in an attempt to sneak around. However, my hoof steps are way too loud for my liking. Apparently, the next stallion doesn't like the volume either as he walks out of an opening that is a bit of the way down the hall. What baffles me is that he holds up a hoof and yawns while carelessly holding a rather large weapon.

K.R. delivers five of its presents to the stallion's cranium. The sixth is given freely to the larger weapon. Said large weapon expresses its excitement by releasing several silver-colored dots into the immediate area. The stallion is so overwhelmed with joy that his head flies off and the rest of his body lies down for a permanent nap.

My legs straighten out, no longer interested in crouching. I find myself marching toward the most recent body. One voice in my head tells the rest to hush. The open neck of the corpse speaks to me. I listen and obey its command. Lick the blood. Scavenge the corpse. Obtain a few caps and a bottle of water.

I raise my head and blink a couple of times. I can't seem to recall what I am immediately doing. One look down at the surroundings, however, reveals a rather disturbing discovery. The contents of the large, broken weapon surround the area where I am standing.

What kind of ammunition is composed of dust-like silver spheres? My eyes widen again. Titanium powder! That was a flamethrower? Indoors? I am surprised at how quickly I can run backwards. Nope, nope, nope!

I lean against another doorway and breathe heavily for a while.

Fool, criticizes the internal monarch, we show no fear towards fire.

What's all this 'we' stuff? I retort. I'm doing all the hard work.

For the time being, my argument is won. After a deep sigh, I take about five seconds to properly fill K.R.'s chambers. While shuffling through my saddle bags, I find a surprisingly clean bottle of water.

How'd that get there? I wonder. Ah, well. I could probably use some of this.

With but a flick of a feather, I pop the top off and gulp down the bottle's contents. It is lukewarm, but at least it is wet. Besides, I have high doubts that healing potions actually offer adequate rehydration compared to more natural moisture. The water works just fine since I don't have any open wounds at the moment.

I toss the empty bottle at the 'sleeping' stallion. "Could you take care of this? Thanks."

I follow the length of the hallway. A large opening is at the left side. I peek around the corner to find two more ponies in Powder Ganger outfits. They seem to be huddling near a burning barrel. I gasp at the sight.

"Did you hear something?" asks one of the stallions.

I whip back around my side of the wall and try to lower the volume of my breath.

What I wouldn't give for another exploding disc right about now, I think. Maybe the dynamite I have... No. I can't possibly handle opening the lighter, flicking it, lighting the fuse, and tossing the dynamite all at once. I recall the burning barrel. Maybe I don't have to.

In spite of a small part of my mind telling me that this is stupid, I quickly fish out the stick of dynamite from my inventory. I curl my wing back and toss it around the corner. Risking a glance, I watch the red stick as it miraculously stays on target... and hits the non-fiery side of the barrel.

Yep, that was stupid.

I hold up K.R. once more. One of the stallions comes around the opening with a shotgun. I feel the kickback of at least two of my own shots. An impact from the enemy's scatter-damage doesn't help much. Two more shots from the revolver in my possession leaves the convict paralyzed from the knees down. He lets out a yell just as his buddy gallops into view.

"Want some?" the new challenger hollers.

*Bang* *Pow* *Bang* *Pow*

In desperate need of a reload, K.R. says that it needs to rest and hides itself in my bags. On the other hand, my dagger decides that it's time to wake up. Two more shots from the enemy make contact that I can feel. I also hear the tearing of leather, but I fight against the pain and gallop forward.

With a spinning jump, I stab as deeply into his forehead as I can muster. He loses grasp of his pistol and keels over to the floor. Meanwhile, the other stallion is still wailing.

"Won't some pony make it stop hurting?"

Tears, notes my inner monarch, How pitiful.

"If you insist," I answer the stallion's question as I trot over and stand above him. I lower the blade into a vertebra in his neck. His incessant crying comes to an abrupt end.

I shake the dagger to get as much of the warm liquid off of it as possible. It is still dripping slightly as I slide it into its sheath. I hear a voice of somebody beyond the next room. Fearing that there won't be enough time between a stop to reload and the approach of a new enemy, I grab the fallen shotgun and ready its sights. Slowly but surely, I trot across the large barrel-lit room. The only signs of recent life in here are some old cigarettes and long-since empty bottles of who knows what.

I trot over and press an ear against the double door.

"I heard one of the guys shooting out there," says a voice.

"Keep an eye on the hostage," says another, "I'll go take a look."

I shuffle away from the door and press myself against the wall next to it. I hold the shotgun pointed at about mouth-level. One forest green unicorn in a convict's vest steps into view.

*Pow*

In a strange twist of fate, I recreate the factors that led to the removal of my horn. Only this time, it's this poor son of a gun that loses his magic. He takes one look at me before running back into the room he just came out of.

"Don't shoot! I'm unarmed," he whimpers.

None of us have arms, I think while rolling my eyes. We're quadrupeds.

Another convict places himself into view. I pull the trigger pointed at his head.

*Click*

Dang it! The last owner shot it almost dry before I picked it up. Frustrated, I toss the empty shotgun with a slight growl. This seems to cause a reaction of the enemy lowering his eyebrows followed by about three pistol shots. The feeling of metallic fire indicates that one of my wings is hit.

Some kind of instinct kicks in and I find myself galloping forth. My right hoof punches the guy right under his chin before I do a one-eighty and buck the guy in the neck. His back leg hits the doorway while the rest of him flies into the opposite wall.

The whimpering green fool from earlier is huddling in a corner.

Watch out for the cornered rats.

The advice sounds like it's echoing nowhere and everywhere at once. After shuffling through and jangling some of my remaining ammunition, I fish out my varmint rifle. I see no sense in making this colt suffer. I crouch down and line up my sight.

*Pow*

The shot hits just above his withers. He topples over onto his back. Thankfully, he is no longer whimpering.

I wildly scan the rest of the room for any pony else. When nothing stirs for a full minute, I sigh deeply. Instinctively, I reload the rifle even though it's just one bullet that I place into the chamber. Something starts sticking when I try to close it back up. I hope it isn't jamming, but considering that I have no idea how old this gun is, it just might be jamming.

"Hey! Is some pony friendly out there?"

I whip the rifle up instantly. Here I am thinking that there isn't anything in this room except for the square island table in the center. From the sound of things, I am mistaken.

"I don't reckon that a convict went crazy and shot up his buddies since they haven't done anything of the sort for the past week."

The voice carries a warm deepness. I don't know why my mind chooses that as a vocal description, but there it is. I slowly make my way around to the opposing corner of the island table. There is a blue earth pony wearing shoulder pads and he's been strapped to this side of the table with duct tape.

I don't know what I expected. My rifle follows my sense of 'what' by pointing to the floor.

"So... uh, Miss?" he asks, "Did Eggs 'N' Hash send you to rescue me?"

"Hash? Well, no." I tilt my head. "He didn't even mention that there was any pony in need of rescuing."

"Nuts and shoots," he mutters with a sigh. "Any chance you could do me a solid and get me out of here anyway? I am Proper's deputy after all."

"You're a deputy?" I inquire. "No offense, but you've been doing a very poor job if you are one of the law enforcements of this town."

"Yeah, well, that'll change as soon as we can find us some pony willing to step up as sheriff," he comments.

"Why has the position been empty?" My left eyebrow rises.

"That's... a might embarrassing." 'Deputy' turns his head away in shame. "See, the convicts around this area recently proclaimed freedom from the correctional facility up in the northeast. They shot the old sheriff and foal-napped, er, I mean overwhelmed me."

"Physical power notwithstanding," I interrupt, "is there any reason why you can't take the top rung?"

"Me? A sheriff?" He looks amused. "No, no, no. I couldn't do that. I'm just a deputy. Some pony else needs to be the one to take the harder jobs."

I suppose laziness is a good reason why you shouldn't be the sheriff, I think while looking briefly to the top of the table.

"Could we talk about this later?" 'Deputy' wonders, "Like after you've removed my bindings?"

"I have yet to hear a reason why I should release you from your current state," I point out. "What's in it for me?"

"Well," he replies, "if you do, I'll make sure to fill out an official report about how I broke myself out of the convicts' hold while aided by a beautiful mare."

...

Against my better judgment, I agree with my inner monarch as she straightens my face into a deadpan stare. My rifle's barrel stops staring at the floor.

"That's a pretty breezy tale," I say, "Here's another. Once upon a time, there was a deputy that got captured by convicts. Forte Pianissimo tried to fight them off, but by the time she got to where he was being held, it was too late. The convicts had already killed their hostage. The end."

'Deputy' nervously chuckles. "Heh heh, okay. You've made your point, ma'am. How about this? You get me out of here to safety and I'll give you all the bottle caps that are back in my desk. I'll even get you a round of Sparkle Colas from the casino on me."

My rifle hibernates in my saddlebags. I smile gently. "There, now was that so hard?" I pull out my knife. With a couple quick swings, the duct tape can no longer hold back the deputy pony.

"Oh, sweet Celestia." He stands up and cracks a few of his joints. "That was uncomfortable."

I point to a door that's broken enough that one can see outside. "After you, Deputy."

"Right," he declares as he trots forth. "Time to remind Proper about my heroic status."

I clear my throat before licking the flat side of my dagger.

"Oh, and your compensation for helping me, of course." A sweat drop forms from a gland that I'm not even sure exists on his head. "I haven't forgotten that."

"Just checking," I comment before placing my dagger back into its sheath.

---
-You have nicknamed Kettle's Revolver "K.R." This doesn't offer any ability bonuses. It's just a useless nifty side note.

Author's Note:

Forte is a mother feather gentlemare... with a gun... and a blade... and a bit of an attitude...
Okay, she's not very gentle when it comes to curing her boredom.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!