• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 3,813 Views, 122 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - False Dawn - Requiem Mori

Equestria has fallen, and the pieces are still being recovered. A mare wanders alone, cold and embittered. Perhaps she'll find friendship, even in these dark times... if such a thing is even possible.

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Chapter 15: Line Up the Pieces...

Chapter 15: Line Up the Pieces...

Grab a new partner, here we go!

What sort of nonsense did these idiots come up with? A formal dance? A ball? Do they not know that there is a war going on? Bah... if they realized the horrors that are out there, would they truly be celebrating now? Perhaps... perhaps they do... and this is their way to escape it. Foolishness. Ponies do what they can to escape reality, escape the truths. They cower and hide from it, even as they hide behind their masks and their finery... No, these nobles, these ‘leaders’ of Equestria. Do they know war? Do they know fear? Do they know terror? Actually... there is one that I believe does... the one called ‘Goldenblood’. There is something about him that sets me on edge. Something about him that I... dare I say... fear? He will bear watching, especially since he seems to be getting closer to the Captain. It is just my suspicions for now. I will not tell anypony. They all already know my general distaste for others. I will watch, and listen. And if he does anything, I will break him.
~ From the Journal of Nevermore

Stand up. Stand up. Stand up, stand up, stand up! No... it was too late for that now. I was finally beaten, finally tired. The decades of conflict and war have finally driven me to my knees. What did it matter anyways? Who cared if I feel here, if we all fell here. I was just so tired. Tired of it all. The years have worn at me, dragged at me, torn at me. My body was broken, my mind weary. I drop down again, not willing to stand again, destroyed by my stubborn pride and foolishness. My path had finally ended, and it ends forgotten, amidst the ruins and destruction of the wasteland. Tomb Town would be where my story ends.

But perhaps I should go back to where this started...


I came to, greeted by a familiar rhythm. The familiar rhythm of a pony’s step. In this case, however, it wasn’t mine. “Star... put me down. I can walk.” My voice is hoarser than normal, and my body screams with pain from my earlier travails in the illusionist’s web. Yet my stubborn pride refuses to be let me be carried about, a burden for those around me. Despite her protests, I drop to the ground, my legs nearly buckling from the pain. There’s a sudden sharp pain in my neck that’s quickly deadened by the drugs, though my ghoulish body resists the effects of the Med-X as best it can. Zone shoves two more needles into me in response, under the direction of Tik.

“Ya see? Ghoulies tend to be rather resistant to drugs and other similar things.” The mare shakes her dyed mane, a smile on her voice as she seems rather chipper now. A few discarded syringes of Med-X show me why. “Learned that one from an old fellow. They need a lot, the sort that would flat out kill a normal pony.”

My voice grates out, even as I shoot her an irritated look. “Thanks for sharing your knowledge of illicit substances.” As much as I hate to admit it though, I do feel better now, at least a little bit as the painkillers flood through my body.

“Sure, always glad to help! Now... I think he said it was triple dosage, or something like that, though I’m not entirely sure about that. After all, I haven’t had the chance to...” She starts to chatter at us, and Zone seems to be paying rapt attention. Me? I’ve heard almost all of it before, and the theories of some of the ponies really wasn’t that fascinating to me. Especially since a lot of them were wrong. Especially that group. Eternites? Eternals? Something like that. Some believers in something called an eternal herd.

Personally, I found them to be rather annoying, as their acolytes seemed to be fascinated by me, rather than terrified. While not a bad thing in and of itself, they also possess the infernal desire to talk to me at the same time. Perhaps that would be a place to recover, at their temple. They’ve always welcomed me, and I would be willing to endure their friendliness for shelter, especially for my companions. My plans are cut short as my ears hear a faint rumbling.

“Watch out... seek cover, now!” My companions scramble to obey, even as the wall starts to crumble in front of us. Despite us being in Tomb Town, I can’t bring myself to order fire upon the spot. While I have no compunction against killing, I am also not a wanton murderer. I must have a reason to slay, even if others do not find it valid. Of course, that doesn’t stop the wall from collapsing finally, revealing a massive pony, her red armor shimmering with built up heat as the rotating barrels of her energy cannons spin down. “Bishop.”

The mechanical mare turns to look at me, her gaze as lifeless and piercing as it was from before. <Nevermore. It seems that you did not understand my demands.>

Narrowing my eyes, I look at her. “What do you mean? We have no more business together.” I feel my senses sharpen, screaming danger at me. Apparently, something was very wrong here, and I was planning to blame Head Case for this one.

There’s a dull rasping noise that comes from her, and I realize that she’s laughing at me. <Come now... I am not a fool. You planned with Head Case to deceive us. Do you think you would get away with it?> Her metallic voice drowns out my protests and my curses. Why did things never seem to work out properly for me? Banish my luck to Luna’s frozen moon. <I know now that you were looking for this.> She holds up a black box, a simple thing, yet there was something... wrong about it. It was a small thing, yet I could feel its import. <Head Case failed to hide it from us.>

This is what Head Case wanted from here. I grind my teeth in irritation, knowing that even now he’s playing the puppeteer, forcing us to dance to his tune. He would pay, but not now. But definitely later. I look at my companions, seeing them react in different ways. Star with quiet resolution. Zone with nervous courage. Fritter with loss of bladder control. I tense slightly, looking at the mare standing there. We need that box.


Nevermore tenses slightly, and I see what she’s about to do. The ghoul dives at the box, even as I drop a barrier in front of us, trying to buy some time to find cover. Star Racer starts shouting orders, directing us to cover even as Bishop’s weapons glow. Her rapid fire weapon hammers into my shield, bursting against it in flaming shards. I grunt and strain, screwing my eyes shut against the ferocious assault. Barriers and shields were my talent, even my name. Zone Control. This was more than I could handle. My barrier only holds for a second, maybe two, before they are shattered, breaking my magical defenses, battering them aside. The searing energy brushes past me, bits of my tail evaporating into ash as I dive behind some rubble. I bring my shotgun up, knowing how painfully short on ammunition we’re getting. We haven’t had a chance to fully rearm, relying on what salvage and scraps we can scavenge from the Wasteland, but it wasn’t enough. Never enough. All our supplies were low. I pray to the Princesses that Nevermore knows where we can find more before its too late.

My shotgun booms, the poor weapon clacking, desperately in need of an overhaul as well. I maintain our weapons and barding as best I can, but without parts, its a losing effort. Except Nevermore’s gear. She doesn’t let me touch her knives, and I’ve never seen her without her dress on. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, I know its armored, but it can’t be comfortable, and is marred with time and blood. The pellets hit into Bishop, but she doesn’t even move, the shot glancing off her armored plate. Chances are, I probably hit Nevermore with more ricochet than hurt the monster. Fritter’s pistol chatters away, bouncing more rounds off of her. It was like hitting a Stable door with a sack of flowers, and about as effective. Loading solid slugs into my shotgun, I keep firing, even as Nevermore rolls across the ground, praying that we could stop Bishop. Or at least slow her down.


Bishop’s hoof slices past my head, even as I weave to the side. There’s a burst of pain as the steel hoof nicks my ear, sending a spurt of blood and ichor spurting out. I see my target, wrapping the box with my hooves, tucking it against my chest as I roll across the floor. Pellets and bullets cut into me, some caught by my armored dress, more finding purchase on my decaying flesh. I know its not likely to kill me, but it still hurts. Stifling my irritation at my companion’s wayward aim, I quickly try to gauge the situation. All of the small rounds seem to be glancing off Bishop’s armor plating, and her ferocious rate of fire is keeping Star’s heavier weapons out of the fight. Tik’s rifle booms, the heavier slug staggering Bishop slightly, causing her to miss lashing out at me as I roll to my hooves, the black box clenched in my teeth. There’s a moment of silence, stillness as Bishop pulls herself back up to her full height. The wind whistles through the Dead Zone, stirring the dust and debris of a dead civilization as my eyes meet her. Cold, dead eyes against her mechanical stare, locked in a frozen moment in time..

That moment is shattered as we begin to scatter and flee. Bishop lets out a piercing sound, a brief burst of noise. As she does so, more figures are visible, the pony-sized ones from before, moving to cut us off. Not blessed with the same level of gear that Bishop has, the others, the Pawns, begin to fire on us, though they lack the coordination or aim of the much larger Bishop. To my gratification, Zone’s shot hammers one of them to the ground, the pawn smoking and sparking as it falls, and more importantly, not getting back up. There’s the smell of burnt ozone filling the air, even as we start getting pushed back. While not very tough, there were a lot of them, threatening to overwhelm us with sheer numbers. I may not be Star Racer, but I know a bad situation when I see it. The Pawns are pinning us down, even as Bishop repositions to bring her heavier weaponry to bear. This is unwinnable. I slip the box into my dress as I mutter. “Cannot stay on the ground...” I spare a glance at my companions, most of them bound to the earth. “Cannot take to the skies...” Grimacing, I turn to yell at Tik. “Grenades, grenades! Right there!” I point my hoof at a crack on the ground, seeing what I was looking for.

“Ya got it! INCOMING!” She cackles maniacally, a spread of explosives flying from the mare, clutched in her telekinetic field. I always appreciated somepony who knows what they’re doing. It’s almost an art at times. Fire blossoms from the metal apples, sowing shrapnel and death, cutting down several of the pawns too close to the blast, though they weren’t the target. The grenades themselves weren’t enough to damage the floor really, but I directed her barrage at what I had seen in the cracks. The grenades finish shattering the fuel lines running through the floor, even as I yell for my companions to brace themselves. Most of the fuel was drained and emptied, but enough remained, a fireball erupting from the floor, even as the ground collapses beneath us. Smoke and fire fill the air, ash choking us as we fall into darkness.


“You will fail, Nevermore. You will fail, and they will all die.” That voice. I know that voice. I paw at the darkness surrounding me struggling in its smothering embrace. My eyes crack open, stung by the sudden light, as I am surrounded by a hellish landscape. Bodies are piled up in front of me, a throne standing upon it, a dark and somber thing, dully reflecting the light from the fires burning around me. Upon the throne rests the owner of the voice, indolently leaning against the back. A top hat was set upon its skull, the shattered end of a horn sticking out with jagged edges between the ragged remains of a bright red mane. The rest of the nightmarish figure is garbed in a tattered jacket, the shattered remnants of powered gauntlets covering his front hooves, clasping a bloodied sword in its mechanical grip, the tip digging into the body below.. This time, I don’t look away, this time I don’t avert my eyes from my sins.

“Captain.” My voice almost catches, but I force it to remain calm, carefully stepping past a stream of blood flowing from the macabre monument even as trepidation gnaws at my heart.

“Well well... it seems that you’ve either given in, or you’ve come to accept things as they are. Which is it, dear Nevermore.” His voice is biting and cruel, a knife slicing into my heart.

I smother the pain with force of will, biting back my own retort. “I do what I need to. I survive, as I always have.” My eyes look up, cold and hard. “And while you are him... you are not as well. I recognize you though.”

“You would, Nevermore. I am his rage, his viciousness, his hate. And you know who he hated more than anypony? More than the zebras that took his family from him? You. You Nevermore. You who betrayed him. You who broke him. You who stole his vengeance with your own hooves.” His ghastly voice echoes in hollow laughter, his hollow skull gnashing the words out from a broken jaw. “Know that he died, cursing your name.”

I shake my head slowly, my own voice rasping out against the mad laughter surrounding me. “No... you are the corruption that was eating him, that was eating the heart of the crew. I am not so foolish to have not noticed it before. You know I saw it. You know others did too. He changed... and you are what he would have been, if I had not sinned against him. If I did not betray the Captain. Betray Nessy. Betray the crew.” I start to approach him, my hooves pressing against the bodies as I climb. Zebras... so many zebras. Young, old... didn’t matter. We had fought, we had killed. We had slaughtered. “You do not have his nobility, his naivety... his idiocy.” I shake my head. “War changed us, all of us. But you could not be allowed to live.”

He starts to crumble to dust, his voice still haunting the back of my mind. “Know this Nevermore. You’ll kill them. All of them. There is no place for a pony as tainted as yourself in this world.” His voice starts to fade, even as his body disintegrates. “Murderer. Killer. Traitor.”

“I know this... and I accept it. I am Nevermore, despised, hated, loathed. And that is how I shall die as well.” I look around the blasted area, surrounded by the bodies of the slain, my heart broken by looking at my sins, my sorrow, my pain. “Alone.”


Groggily, I pull myself back up to my hooves, dust filling the air, my older injuries flaring with pain, coupled with new injuries from the fall. A pegasus hurting herself falling? How ridiculous. Collapsing the floor was probably not my best plan, but hopefully we managed to escape for now. My mind echoed with with the haunting pain of my memories. Captain. I wasn’t about to believe that this was enough to kill Bishop, but perhaps it would slow her down. If I was really lucky, she might think we were dead. I feel the box in my dress, such a small thing, to have caused so much trouble. I cough, peering through the air as best I can. “Everypony alive?” I hear several coughs, a couple voices, though... there’s one that I didn’t hear. “Zone? Where are you Zone?” I’m answered by a sound, a dull plopping noise coupled with a low wheeze. My eyes follow the drops of blood up, dread welling in me even as Fritter gives off a heart tearing scream. Zone hangs above us, transfixed upon some of the steel rods that were reinforcing the concrete flooring. Flooring that I had just destroyed. Blood leaks from several wounds, her breath slow and shallow, obviously pained.

“How are we supposed to get her down?”

“Well, we can’t just *leave* her there...”

“I don’t think I have the magic to lift her off...”

“Z-Zone! N-no! Don’t leave me! Ya can’t leave me!”

The voice was right. It always was. I’ll kill them all, one at a time, they’ll just disappear again. Markers on the trail to destruction. They chatter to each other a bit, several trying frantically to lift her off, others just panicking or crying. I can’t do this. Not any more. It would be better for everyone if I just gave in, just died. Left my corpse to rot and decay in this forsaken hell hole. How many would need to die for my vanity? For my pride? Atonement... redemption? What was I thinking. Star Racer starts to bark at the others, trying to settle them down, but to no effect. I feel myself collapsing, the weight of the Wasteland finally defeating me. There was too much death, too much suffering. All of it caused by my actions and inactions. A small part of my mind starts to scream at me, the voice severely subdued from its normal rage and defiance, almost begging me now.

What did it matter anyways? Who cared if I fell here, if we all fell here. The wasteland chewed up ponies and spit them out. Ponies who were better than me. I was just so tired. Tired of it all. The years have worn at me, dragged at me, torn at me. My body was broken, my mind weary. I drop down to my knees, not willing to stand again, destroyed by my stubborn pride and foolishness. The voice whimpers at me again, trying to spark my defiance. Stand up. Stand up. Stand up, stand up, stand up! No... it was too late for that now. I was finally beaten, finally tired. The decades of conflict and war have finally driven me to my knees. My path had finally ended, and it ends forgotten, amidst the ruins and destruction of the wasteland. Tomb Town would be where my story ends. My eyes swim as something hard and heavy hits me in the back of the head, taking me to the ground.

Star Racer towers over me, her armored hoof lowering to the floor, looking up towards Zone. “We need to get her down, and you’re going to help me.” She strikes me across the face this time, as I show no motion to rise. “Get up, Nevermore, unless you want to throw away everything that brought you here.” Her voice is full of scorn. “Are you so easily cowed, or are you a fighter. Get up, Nevermore.”


I look at the charcoal pegasus sadly. She seemed to have lost something, something that had driven her to fight for so long. Slowly, lethargically, the mare rises, like a zombie from a shallow grave. She doesn’t even chastise me for hitting her, doesn’t bother dusting her hat or dress off. No, she just opens her wings and flies up towards Zone, even as I do so. We try to pull Zone off as gently as we can. Her wounds look bad though, bloody and deep. Lowering her to the ground, I start looking for medicine, potions, or bandages. Anything to help. Digging through Nevermore’s bags, I brush past some books there, along with some things she seems to have accumulated, finding only a few non-magical bandages to wrap Zone’s torso with. It would have to do. Add this to the list of things we’re running out of, along with ammunition, power cells... my eyes flick to the despondent Nevermore... and apparently hope.

Tying the bandage off with my teeth, I start pulling Zone onto my back, when a dark hoof stops me. “No... let me. It is... the least I can do.” Nevermore kneels down, trying to get Zone onto her back. “There is... a settlement nearby. South. Small place, not pleasant. But it should have supplies.” Her voice is even more lifeless than it was before, lacking the cold hatred or disdain that usually filled her tone. But... she had to move on, we all did.

“Make sure you keep up. Can’t have both of you falling behind.” I push Zone onto the smaller mare’s back, though she takes it stoically, lifelessly. I had never seen Nevermore look so dead, so lifeless, even for a corpse. But, she said there’s shelter to the south, and we needed time to rest, to recover, to resupply. Med-X was the only thing keeping me up right now, and I’m sure that some of the others feel the same as well. Looking up, I dare not take them back up through the hole, in case Bishop was waiting for us, which left... We were apparently in the sewers, or at least a waterway, a rather large one it seemed. We all looked shocked, devastated, even Vusi had fallen silent. I don’t know what would happen if one of us actually fell. Zone’s weak breathing tells me that we have to start moving if I didn’t want to find out. Barking at the others, I start us moving south. I only hoped that Nevermore was correct, and that would would be able to find this place.

My eyes scan about as I steel myself against despair and panic. With Nevermore the way she is, I had to lead them out of this. She had seemed so strong, so unflappable, like a thunderhead cloud, brooding and dark. Yet we could always rely on her if needed. Now... now I didn’t know, and the others didn’t either. I didn’t know what we’d do if she didn’t recover. I’d want to go back to the Enclave, to my home, but could I leave the others down here? And more importantly, could I even return? After all, I’ve been down here a while, and I had no idea if my armor would still let them know not to shoot me down if I broke the cloud barrier. My ears perk up as I hear... something. How I missed my E.F.S. right now. Of course, I’m pretty sure that I missed my eye even more than that. Maybe I’d have to get a patch or something, then I could look like a gangly pegasus pirate. I scoff to myself. That’d be ridiculous. Almost as silly as a flight-impaired three legged griffon. Just imagine something like that trying to prance about. The thought made me giggle-snort, drawing a look from the others. Quickly composing myself again, I clear my throat, turning it into a strangled call of warning for the others.

Several figures were moving towards us, slowly, carefully. They were oddly shaped, but it was hard to tell in the gloom. “Get some lights up somepony!” I flick my helmet’s lights on, one of the few things still working on it. Behind me, there’s a brighter light as Tik’s horn flares up. Right, unicorn. The forms resolve into curious shapes, canines merged with a reptile. Nightstalkers. A young brood, but still potentially dangerous. They move as a pack, trying to spread out around us. My weapons, Sunseeker Energy Rifles with a variable power selection, are starting to run low on energy cells. I dial them down as far as I dare, not willing to waste any energy, trying to squeeze a few more shots out before they’re completely dry. A narrow beam lances out from my rifles, striking the lead one. It recoils from the hit, though the weakened beam fails to drop it. Leaping at me, it avoids the next beam, twisting over as it lunges for my throat. Leaning back, I drive forward with my armored head, slamming hard against the foul creature. Blood splashes across my visor as I mash its face in.

Tik’s rifle roars, smashing one of the unfortunate creatures into a crumpled heap, though Fritter’s gun clicks on empty. “Star? I’m almost out of rounds here...” She sounds nervous, even as she sidesteps another of the Nightstalkers.

“Then use the butt of that rifle and club them!” We’re holding our own, for now, and they pack should start to retreat soon, the thunder and fire of our weapons proving too much for them, even in our depleted state. I see another one lunging for the one member hanging in the back, not fighting. The Nightstalker’s teeth sink into Nevermore’s shoulder, the mare not moving to defend herself at all. It hangs off of her for a few moments before my rifles lance it off of her, blood, ichor, and venom dripping down her leg. She looks down at the wound, then starts walking again, heading south still, towards this shelter she claims we’ll find. With a whine and a hiss, my rifles finish off the wounded Nightstalker, and my last power pack along with it. For the first time since coming down here, my weapons fall completely inert, the fighting draining them of life. The rest of the pack finally scatters, our steel and fire driving them away.

There’s not much to rummage off the bodies, so we continue on, wading through the gloom, the muck, and the oppressive atmosphere. I have to keep checking to make sure that Nevermore is still with us, as she has fallen completely silent, not saying anything, and moving almost completely silently. She’s limping badly, though her face is still cold, impassive, and dead. Ichor and blood is still oozing down her leg, the wound not closing up yet, not scabbing. As much as it worries me, I don’t know much about her... or if I even need to be worried about it. Eventually, we see a light, illuminating the end of the concrete tunnel, the water flowing out of the pipe into the Wasteland before us in a sickly trickle. In the distance, I can see a cluster of buildings in the distance, what appears to be a high-rise mall. Nevermore’s voice catches me by surprise, as she had been silent for quite a while. “That’s the Blok. Hive of scum, filth, and idiots... but it will do for now.” She looks back at Zone on her back, before starting to head towards the mall slowly and painfully.

At this point, it seems we didn’t just lose Zone, but we lost Nevermore as well. Hopefully this ‘Blok’ would provide us with shelter, food, ammunition... but more importantly, maybe it’ll provide us with drive again. I look at the collection of ponies with me. Battered, broken, worn down, then I look at Nevermore. We need our leader with us again... but she’s not with us, even though she’s present. I watch the defeated mare limp through the ruins of the civilization around her, wondering if she’ll ever recover.


Stand up. Stand up, Nevermore and do your duty.

Author's Note:

Wow. Sorry about the delay, I was struggling with the writing for a bit. Yet, we finally make it to a part I've been looking forward to. Thanks for reading! It means a lot to me.