• Published 24th Mar 2013
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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 6: We All Fall Down

Chapter 6: We All Fall Down

Why fight against the end? We all die the same.

Ever watch your world crash down around you? The end of all things? Yet the morning still rises the next day. It is the thought that at some point, no matter how things seem, we are but a small part of it. The world cares not for our pain, our sorrow. The world continues to spin, sun continues to shine, and the land continues to absorb the blood spilt upon it. Some think they will change the world, make a difference, make themselves known. For a while, it may seem that they succeeded. But eventually, all things fall, crumble, turn to dust. What then is purpose? Why continue to fight and struggle if everything ends for naught? That’s simple, really, if you think about it. We fight for those around us. Every fighter, no matter who they are, fight for something, for someone. Even if that pony is just themselves. Yet... though a pony is strong, is mighty, their tale is always one of caution and death. How many of these ponies of lore are mighty and earn a happy ending? How many more are an object lesson. Therein lies the truth. For happiness, despair. Love, hate. Friendship, loneliness. I have travelled alone for a long time. I had nearly forgotten what it was to have companions, to have friends. Yet now I realize that I never did truly forget. And once my current companions are consumed by the Wasteland, I shall know that empty void in my soul yet again. No rest for the wicked, even in death.
~From the journal of Nevermore

Endless darkness, an eternal void. I’m falling, or at least I feel like I am. My wings beat futilely, straining to stop my plummeting body. I fall forever, or perhaps seconds. Miles, or perhaps I am still. It is impossible to tell, the darkness absolute. The voices stay with me though, mocking, taunting. Speaking the truth. “Traitor, betrayer, murderer.” An endless refrain, voices calling from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I hear a voice that I recognize as my own address me over the echoing chorus. “Our soul is damned, but we deserve no less. How many more will you lead on your jury to your demise, Nevermore? How many will you drag with you into the screaming abyss?” None. I will not let any more fall... any more be lost. “Stop lying. You know as well as I do the falsity of your words.” I will do what I can to keep them alive, to keep them from being consumed by the Wasteland. “And you will fail, as you have failed countless times before. How you failed everypony who ever relied on you. You died alone, Nevermore. We remember the others, dying in each other’s arms, clinging to each other. But we died alone, forgotten, screaming in pain and anguish. None to mourn, none to remember. Our name but dust blown into the wind, scattered and forgotten.” Others still remember. Others still know. “Yes, they know your shame, your betrayal. They know the sting of your actions, the horrors you bring. They curse your name, and condemn you with their words. Your hooves are not clean, your actions not just. You are, and forever will be... Nevermore. Alone, forgotten, damned.”

My mouth opens into a wordless scream as my voice leaves me, abandoning me to the darkness and the accusations. Leaving me alone with all my victims. Those who relied on me, those who trusted me. Those who died because of me. I fall forever, yet my sins keep on mounting, burying me beneath a crushing wave of despair. Why did I believe that I could find new companions, that I would be accepted by others? A foalish illusion. An idle dream. I am Nevermore, reviled, cursed... forgotten.

~~~~~~~~~~

I open my eyes, the first crack of dawn peering in through the ruined window. My companions are asleep, except for Star Racer, her watchful gaze scanning for threats as she completes the last watch of the night. It was unlikely that we would run into anything dangerous up here, but Star Racer insisted that we keep watch. While the others protested, I could see the benefit of this. That, and I didn’t sleep much normally, so watching didn’t bother me much. Standing up, the dull whine of Star Racer’s armor sounds out as she turns to face me, her mane brushing past her face. Shaking my head, I let her know that I think the others should keep sleeping. It was a rough day, and they could use the rest. Silently, I fly up to the rafters of the building we’re in, nosing out my diary and pen. It had been a while since I collected my thoughts, the scratching of parchment filling the air. Soon enough, the others roused themselves, causing me to drop back to the floor.

“So where to now, Nevermore?” Star Racer’s voice calls out, her helmet tucked to the side of her armor. “It was quiet last night, and based on our... visitor, I don’t know if those griffons will be too eager to come back here.” Her nose wrinkles in distaste at the thought of the monster from before. Truth be told, I didn’t want to be anywhere near when she came back.

“To the Shadowbolt Memorial.” I turn to the side, spitting out a wad of sticky black phlegm. My insides hadn’t quite recovered from the crushing they received earlier. I’m pretty sure that my companions had their own injuries they were nursing. If we’re continuing on this, we’re going to need some sort of trained medical practitioner. Star Racer and I had basic knowledge, enough to give minor care, but Zone and Fritter were nearly hopeless. We tried to give them some lessons, but there wasn’t much time to practice, and Fritter’s idea of breaking me so they could try to put me together again was quickly quashed. By now, I think he talks just to antagonize me.

I continue speaking to them, wiping the rotting blood off my mouth. “Unfortunately, the Whirlybirds are only one of the very dangerous factions present, and we’re going to have to get through others to get to the Memorial. There are a few safe havens, but not many.” I eye Star Racer. “And I do not know how friendly some are to the Enclave...” Or ghouls, for that matter. Plenty of places had greeted me with a rifle round or a load of buckshot. “That said... we may have to stop there anyways, for supplies and shelter if nothing else.” I roll my eyes at Fritter behind his back as he rouses himself to full wakefulness. “And definitely need to secure more ammo.”

We start traveling again, Star Racer keeping a worried eye on her E.F.S. Unless we’re extremely unlucky, I doubt that the Whirlybirds are still looking for us, especially since that Alicorn hunted down that wing with extreme prejudice. Of course, life as we’ve established, hates me, and fate does not like to be taunted. A moment of inattention, a second of believing that perhaps nothing would go wrong was all it took. A shot rings out even as Star Racer calls out her warning as her E.F.S. starts to light up. Of course, I get the first indication that something’s wrong as burning pain tears through my hind leg, dropping me to the ground hard. Dark blood gushes from the gaping wound, my body responding even in death. Star Racer pulls the other two down behind cover as I struggle to rise. A loud crack and a painful snapping noise as my front leg gives out from another sniper round puts an end to that attempt. My body lies in the street, a growing pool of blood spreading out. Star looks at me then looks at the buildings, trying to spot the sniper. There is too much debris, too much cover. Her E.F.S. gives her the direction, but nothing about height or distance. It would be suicide to step out, so I shake my head. “Come back... for me later. It is alright. Either they will get bored, or they will run out of bullets.” My voice is wet and raspy, and I feel weak, tired. I cough, silently watching my companions fade back. Knowing Star, she’s going to try to loop around the sniper. I hope she makes it painful. My vision swims and fades to black, leaving me with a single thought. I do hope that they will come back for me...

~~~~~~~~~~

I’m surrounded by ice, the frozen wastes stretching out as far as I can see. I struggle to walk forward. I feel an urgent whisper at the back of my mind. There’s something I need to do, something vital. Something that can’t be accomplished here. My hooves are trapped in the ice, ice slowly crawling up my legs, encasing me, freezing my movements. I feel cold, so very cold. My unblemished hooves don’t betray any hit of rot, of decay. I’m alive in a frozen hell. The chill of the grave is wrapping itself around me, slowing my body, slowing my thoughts. I barely notice the shallow tombs around me. Frozen monuments to my sins. A pony in each one, trapped like an insect in amber. I recognize them all, I know them all, frozen in their moments of death. My breathing slows further and further, until it stops, crystallizing around me. This lasts a second, an hour, an eternity. I can’t move, can’t breath, can barely think as the world passes me by. Then something changes. A brilliant flash of light, and a burning pain sears through my chest, burrowing through the ice, staining it with dark splotches of my blood. Another one, this time through a leg. I still can’t move, can’t scream in pain from the searing pain. My body wants to shudder, to wail, but nothing disturbs the stillness, the silence. A voice cracks through, one unfamiliar to me. Odd. I can’t place the words, just senseless noise as I feel myself jolting slightly. I should know the voice. I know all the voices. I can never forget them... then I finally manage to pick out the words as my chest explodes in fire again. “Do it again! She’s a tough one.” My heart dropping into rage and anguish, I force my eyes open to the light.

~~~~~~~~~~

I curse as I watch from behind my helmet, my E.F.S. flickering with hostiles swarming around the fallen Nevermore. It seemed like there were thirteen raiders, a baker’s dozen. That sniper had to be nearby, and I was looking for them as Nevermore passed out, presumably from her wounds. I didn’t know much about her, but the mare seems to be rather hardy, I hope she’d make it. We had climbed onto the shattered remains of a building, half of it collapsed into a pile of rubble. My gaze lingers over the raiders, settling on their apparel. They were garbed curiously, with what appeared to be some sort of... boxes with muffins on them worked into their armor. Odd. More importantly, they seemed to be rather well armed, even if their protection was lackluster. A dizzying array of weapons, many melee, that I have no idea what they do. The glowing field surrounding some of them make me really not want to find out. One of them raised a strange device, aiming it at the prone Nevermore. Seeing this, I start rising to my hooves to break cover. Seeing Nevermore get executed on the ground... I couldn’t let this happen! Zone Control and Fritter try to hold me down, quietly pleading with me to stay hidden.

I want to scream at them, to protest. This was their leader, their friend! How could they abandon her to these... these raiders! Even as the protest rose to my throat, I suppress it. As much as I hate to admit it, they’re right. Recklessly rushing in would only get us killed off. If I could rely on the other two, we might have a chance, but weren’t trained in fighting. Going in now would result in four dead ponies instead of one. Granted, I would probably make a good showing of myself, but... “No use to her if you’re dead, Star... maybe they won’t kill her, and we can save what’s left...” My voice is brittle behind my helmet, a whisper to myself, careful to not activate my speakers. Never abandon a companion. That’s what I believe. Seeing the rivet gun fire a searing bolt into Nevermore’s torso, pinning the poor mare to the ground like a twisted butterfly nearly brings me to my hooves again... but that weapon would punch through my armor like paper. No... I had to wait and watch for a chance to save her, suffering even as my friend suffered. Another bolt driving through her leg, pinning her onto the concrete again. Though I would never admit it, I begin to cry, silent tears rocking my frame even as Zone and Fritter look away. I force myself to watch. If Nevermore had to endure this... then I had no right to avert my tear stained eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~

The gakking raiders are stapling me to the road. Now, that is not something that I thought would happen to me, but with a pair of bolts boiled through my chest and more nailing my hooves to the road, that’s the only thing I can think of. The one with the rivet gun gives off an insane laugh as he lines another shot into my leg. My body is ablaze with pain, my mind unable to focus. Maybe... maybe they’ll just leave me to die. Then they won’t see me get back up... I cling to that desperate hope. If they saw me rise, this entire hell would restart again. My companions aren’t coming. Shouldn’t come. It would be suicide and I would berate them for risking their lives for me. Another searing bolt tears into my leg as the raiders jeer, nailing it to the underlying concrete. Of course... it would be nice to have someone who would come rescue me... Just like before, on the deck of a burning airship, trapped beneath a fallen beam, surrounded by fire. It would be nice to not be alone. My mind swims, unable to focus. The pain is overwhelming, my mind refusing to work properly, shapes dancing before my eyes as my body starts to fail, slowly shutting down from pain and shock.

~~~~~~~~~~

My gaze flickers down to my E.F.S. Little smudges of green present on the bottom. Friendlies? No... there were more, but wink out in the blink of an eye, until only one is left. What could cause that to... my armor tics worryingly as radiation suddenly spikes in the area. “Brace yourselves!” A shockwave washes over us, flattening the raiders and bowling Zone and Fritter back. I was leaning into the blast, though it still nearly took me off my hooves. Oddly, my focus fell on Nevermore. Pinned to the road, her eyes flash open as the radiation washes over her. She seems more alert, no longer lolling in and out of consciousness. What is she? The pain she’s endured, her bizarre appearance. Any other pony would have died, which leads to the awkward conclusion that she is probably... nope, not going there. I tried to not really think about my companion. Honestly, she scared me a bit. But I spy my opportunity. The raiders were down and disoriented. More importantly, they weren’t looking up at me.

I toggle my energy weapons. These weren’t griffons, weren’t that winged horror. These were just ponies. Lightly armored ponies. I didn’t need the full devastation that my beam cannons could project. It was overkill. I cycled them over to lower power but with a higher rate of fire. Unfortunately, it also made it harder on the barrels, but it was a small price to pay. Snarling, I begin stitching shimmering beams of light down at the prone raiders, noting with grim satisfaction that several red lights were disappearing. But not enough, not nearly enough. I feel my leg buckle, pain flaring, as the rivet gun finds purchase on my armor, burning through the protection. Grinding my teeth, I force myself to remain steady, pouring fire down. Enough waiting around. No running, no hiding. Either I save my companion, die, or end her misery.

~~~~~~~~~~

My eyes snap open, the radiation being absorbed by my body. It helps focus me a bit, but its not enough. My injuries are too severe, though the cauterizing effect of the burning bolts had stopped me from bleeding out. I struggle weakly, feeling something tear, rivulets of dark blood running down my hoof from around the bolt. I can do nothing but watch my companions begin firing. There are many things I despise in this wasteland. Many things I hate. Probably near the top of this list is the feeling of helplessness.

The travellers form a strong team. Star Racer’s devastating magical blasts ripping down raiders from range, punishing any that dared to stand out for too long. Zone Control’s magic providing a small amount of shelter, even as her shotgun rips apart the raiders that get too close. Inaccurate though it may be, Frisky Fritter’s wild fire keeps some of the raiders pinned down. Yet there are too many of them, and they are too well armed. Star Racer’s cannons grow silent as the mare stumbles back, dropping to her knees. A pair of steaming holes drilled through the tough armor on her chest, the mare spitting up blood into her helmet. Zone’s magic begins to falter and fade, the strain beginning to overwhelm her. Fritter’s pistol clicks upon a dry clip, even as he starts rummaging to find another. I can do nothing but watch, my mutilated body refusing to act, refusing to fight past the bolts holding me to the road. I watch one of the raiders turn, a vile smile on his face. “We’re gonna gut ya and bake yer friends into a treat!” I can do nothing as he shoves a glowing blade into my throat, the blood sizzling around the burning blade impaling my neck, tears of pain squeezing from my eyes.

I manage to keep my eyes open, my entire body numb with shock and pain. At some point, my overwhelmed nerves simply stopped trying to tell my brain what the rest of my body knew. But, I was still alive. Another bullet crashes into the road next to me as Fritter finally reloads. His aim isn’t getting any better it seems. At this rate, they would be overrun, but pinned down as I am, there’s nothing I can do. I see the barrier fall as Zone finally loses control of it, forcing them to hide behind the rubble again. Her shotgun peeks over the top... and it’s aiming at me. If I could summon the strength to shake my head, I would. If she intended to put me out of my suffering, it wouldn’t help. Her gun did not have the power at this range to kill me cleanly with the shot that she favors. Her gun roars, the solid slug rocketing from the barrel. Apparently, she carried more than buckshot on her. That thought crosses my mind right as the slug punches through my mask, shattering my jaw. A thin wisp of pink smoke drifts past my face, and somewhere in my pain addled mind, a thought forms. She did that on purpose. Clever mare. I could kiss her and kill her right now.

The travellers make a strong team. Star Racer, though crippled and many of her systems malfunctioning, still lances out with brilliant beams of energy from her prone position, catching raiders and blasting them back down the slope. Zone Control, magic exhausted, barely holds her shotgun up, managing to catch some of the raiders that Star Racer is missing. Frisky Fritter turns and bucks hard, smashing a raider off of Star Racer even as the raider’s magical cleaver lodges deeply into her side, staggering the strong mare, the cleaver carves through her armor like butter, eliciting a garbled cry of pain. Driven to the brink of death, I turn my head to the largest concentration of raiders left, and with my remaining strength exhale as hard as I can, a small stream of Pink Cloud pouring from my shattered mouth. I can’t manage to keep it up, my throat transfixed with a blade, but the effect is immediate and obvious, the necromatic gas doing its best to kill the raiders, several convulsing with pain. Despite how diluted it is, and how little I manage to sustain it, Pink Cloud is a horrific weapon. Several of the raiders collapse, never knowing where the deadly gas is coming from as it tries to liquify their innards. The rest are gasping as they stumble, leaving themselves easy targets. I’ve done all I can. Eventually, the sound of fighting goes silent, the raiders having fought to the last. Coughing, another wad of black phlegm hits the pavement in front of me as my vision wavers again, the last of my strength giving out as the world fades into darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Help me... up.” My armor is frantically trying to repair itself, the raiders weapons proving that they were comfortable cleaving through heavy armor. Their ferocity was unbelieveable, fighting through the losses. We had to kill them all. I had never fought anything with that sort of mindless aggression. I cough weakly, unable to stand, a splotch of blood obscuring most of my visor. Something had caused them to stop firing, giving Zone and Fritter the time to finish off the few remaining raiders. That was good, as I was unable to fight any more. These two may not be that good at fighting, but they did have heart. I’ll give them that at least.

“That’s probably not a good idea, Star.” Zone is rummaging in my saddlebag, presumably looking for a healing potion. “You’re really not looking that good...”

“No... I’m fine.” My body twists with pain, as I struggle to rise, feeling something tear from the deep wounds in my body. Blasted rivet guns and their ability to violate Enclave power armor. I cough again. This is bad. I don’t think I’ve been this badly wounded since... I pause for a second. Actually, I don’t think I’ve been this badly wounded ever. A hiss of air as Zone pulls my helmet off, the stench of burnt flesh filling my nostrils. Why does it hurt so much? A small bottle finds its way to my mouth, the potion pouring down my throat. I feel the magical energy flowing through my body, my organs and body trying to heal the massive damage. Not enough. Another bottle quickly follows as I finally manage to bring myself to my hooves, albeit with a burst of pain, but it was manageable now...

My thoughts turn to our fallen companion as I rush down the slope as best I can to Nevermore, my heart pounding. She was probably lost, the abuse she had taken would surely kill any normal pony, and I can see her dark blood staining the ground, pooling out from her broken form. Her twisted body looks like a corpse, even more than normal. I stare at her incredulously as the slow rise and fall of her chest told me that she was still alive. Small wisps of some pink smoke curled out from her mouth past the shattered remains of her mask. Odd, that. I had never actually seen her without her mask on, and despite the injuries, she looked... oddly normal. Almost as if she were sleeping. If you ignored the flesh falling off in ragged tatters, that is. Her mouth moves as she talks, seemingly to herself.

“I am sorry... I am sorry, I had no choice... you must believe me...” She struggles slightly, her wounds bleeding more as she struggles against the nightmares plaguing her soul. “It was for the best... I did what I had to... do not turn from me as the others did. Please... Nessy...” She whimpers, a heart wrenching sound from such a proud mare. “Do not leave... me... alone again...” Her voice is a bare whisper, rife with old anguish. I look her over, the wounds deep that pin her to the concrete. Healing potions... we don’t have many left, and her injuries look severe. That, and would healing her just seal the wounds around the rivets? Too many questions, not enough time. We have to get her healing now. If not, she would probably die on us. I consider how to get her free, how to try to heal her, but I don’t know how...

Suddenly, a cry rings out, a sharp and piercing noise of a foal in distress. But how... where? I carefully place my helmet back on, the E.F.S. automatically activating. There, a green mark in... the direction of the blast. The same mark from before. Nevemore coughs slightly, blinking as she tries to focus unsuccessfully. I suppose she could wait a little longer, and the radiation I was getting from that area forced my hoof. No foal could survive for long in that irradiated hell. Zone Control and Fritter could take care of Nevermore for now. Helmet sealed back on, I hope my armor’s integrity can at least block most of the radiation. With any luck, I’d be in and out before serious damage.

The first thing I notice is the devastation. How could anypony survive this? The area fairly glowed with radiation, the damage almost absolute, save for a few shattered walls that somehow remained standing. It appeared to be a dwelling of sorts... what could have caused this sort of destruction? My mind races, coming up with all sorts of things. Did the raiders have some sort of weapon that could do this? Was it an accident? Regardless, I didn’t have much time. The second thing I noticed was my radiation detector was going off wildly, fairly screaming at the overwhelming amount of radiation in the area. I homed in on my target, finding a small, sobbing bundle, wrapped in cloth. “Hush... it’s alright... I’m here.” My voice grates out, sounding metallic and harsh from my helmet. Predictably, the foal starts to cry even more. “Confound it, I’m not good with foals.” Fine, let him cry, we need to leave now. My E.F.S. is starting to complain at me, ghouls closing in on me and the foal, roused to attention by my landing. Their slavering mouths and empty eyes devoid of any semblance of equinity. They try to strike me, bite me, their teeth glancing off my tough metal plating. I'm not here to fight, and I don't know how long I can stand here. Grabbing the foal with my forehooves, I take off back towards my group, my armor starting to complain less as I leave the area.

The radiation ticker starts to settle down as I try to make it back to the group, but my vision starts to fade as the radiation takes its toll. I feel my body starting to give out, both from radiation and from my still not fully healed wounds. Just a little further, just need to make it a little... fur- The ground rushes up to meet me as I fall like a meteor. A falling star, streaking down to earth. With my remaining strength, I turn and cradle the crying bundle, shielding him with my body. My vision blacks out when I hit, and the world turns to darkness.

A taste of stale orange in my mouth. Is this the afterlife? I turn and vomit, voiding the contents of my stomach. If it was, it’s nauseous and nasty tasting. Fortunately, I wasn’t wearing my helmet. Throwing up in a helmet is not a recipe for a good time. “Dun ya go tossin’ that up, ya flyin’ lump a metal. We dun have much of that there stuff.” Fritter. If I’m dead, and he’s here, then I’m wherever bad ponies go. I force my eyes open, the light burning into my skull. The Rad-Away cleansing the radiation from my system.

“No... save him... save the foal.” My voice is hoarse and pained, raw with vomiting and bile, though I seem to be feeling a bit better. “I’ll be fine... save him.” Goodness, with my voice destroyed right now, I sound like I’d been gargling razor blades... or that I was Nevermore. Nevermore! I raise my head slightly, my head spinning, but I force my way through it. Her pitiful form is still pinned to the floor, though Zone seems to be trying to remove the bolts to no avail, her horn glowing as she tries to tug on them.

“Well... um... there’s somethin’ ya should probably know ‘bout that there... um... foal ya brought with ya... that...” My heart plummets as Fritter starts talking. Did he not make it? Was it the radiation or did I fall on him? I feel my ears droop. “... so... he’s um... a bit dead, but not dead, dead, kinda like her.” Fritter tilts his head to the fallen Nevermore. Wait... what? The foal is alive? Relief floods through my system. He lives.

“His name’s ‘Rolly’. Nice name for him.” Zone Control looks over from her work, sweat beading her brow. “Little guy has quite the appetite, ate everything Fritter gave him.”

“An’ some things that Ah didn’t want ta give him! How tha hay does tha little rotter eat so much? He’s dead... ish.” Fritter keeps complaining, though what I could gather, the little guy was like Nevermore, a ghoul. Hopefully, he was more like her. The slavering ghouls that had attacked us earlier were mindless beasts, just like the ones in the shattered remains of that home. I didn’t want that fate for him, but that was a worry for another day. Perhaps he would become more, perhaps not, but only the future knows what will befall him. With a grunt of pain, I pull myself to my hooves. I was functional, for now, though I felt like I wanted to curl up on a cloud and sleep for a week. Fritter is caring for the foal, giving him more of our painfully short rations. By Luna, he could eat. Eat and cry seems to be the things that he’s good at. I wonder what a cutie mark like that would look like. My heart falls as I think about that. Chances are, with his condition, he’d never find out.

Zone Control gives a triumphant cry as she pulls the last rivet out of the fallen Nevermore. Yet she doesn’t move, she doesn’t stir. She doesn’t appear to be breathing at all. I grab my helmet, and put it back on, frantically searching through the data. No... no... no... I know it’s here somewhere... no... YES! There it is. Greenvale Heights. The data for the town scrolls past my visor, it was close. Well, close as a pegasus flies. With a nervous glance, I look at my two earthbound companions. “I’m going to go get these to help. There’s a settlement nearby that should be able to take care of them.” I gruffly override their protests, no time to argue. Pointing towards Greenvale Heights, I calmly order them. “Stay careful, stay hidden. Do not engage unless you absolutely have to. Meet us there as soon as you can, I’ll try to come back for you as soon as I can. Now help me with Nevermore.”

The foal I pick up with my forehoof, not trusting him to not fall off my back. Rolly seems to be sucking on a hard biscuit, nibbling on it as I scoop him up. Zone and Fritter hoist the fallen mare onto my back, and by Fritter’s reaction, the stench of death and blood was heavy on her. Without looking back, I fly as fast as I can towards Greenvale Heights. They weigh me down, my body already battered and tired. Yet I am a pegasus. I am loyal to my friends, no matter the cost. I’m ignoring the last line on the Enclave report on the town. Considered potentially hostile. Avoid. Loyalty above all else.

I land in a cloud of dust, turrets whining as they focus on me. I’m tired and straining, the flight was not kind to my battered form, but I made it. A voice booms out over the speakers. “State your name and business.” The voice doesn’t sound friendly, but they haven’t shot me. That’s a start, I suppose.

“Lieutenant Star Racer, Enclave Forward Ground Expeditionary Force requesting admittance. I have some wounded ponies in need of attention.” I stare up at the speaker, willing them to open the door for me. Surely they wouldn’t be so heartless as to deny entrance to sick and wounded ponies, yes?

“We have enough problems of our own, take your wounded elsewhere.” They seem to be a mixture of hostile and disinterested. “We have no business with the Enclave.” Apparently, they could be that heartless.

I snarl at the speaker, not knowing why these ponies always thought so poorly of the Enclave, but more importantly needing to get Nevermore and Rolly help. “These aren’t Enclave, they’re Wastelanders and they need your help. Look we have caps, just let us in.” Silence greets my words, a minute or two perhaps. Blasting my way in would be foolish, and I don’t know of any other way, so I just wait, seconds dragging by painfully. Finally, the doors crack open cautiously, just wide enough to let me in. Praising Luna, I rush into the town, hoping my luck holds out.

A host of weapons greet me as I pass the doors, machines, turrets and security ponies all aiming their weapons at me. Well, all except for a pink spritebot which suddenly starts talking. “Oh, you’re new here! Oh goodie!” Several of the guards cringe as its speakers start to blare obnoxiously loud music, heavy with drums and trumpets.

‘’Welcome welcome welcome,

A fine welcome to you!

Welcome welcome welcome,

I say how do you do?

Welcome welcome welcome,

I say hip hip hurray!

Welcome welcome welcome,

To [Greenvale Heights] today!’’

By Luna’s frozen moon, what the hay is that thing? “PNK-3! Now is not the time for that! Get back!” One of the guards yells at the pink abomination, and a couple look like they’d rather shoot her than me. Rolly starts crying again, whatever else Fritter had given him to eat apparently gone. Setting him down, I gently slide Nevermore off, reaching up slowly to take my helmet off even as their guns track me.

“I don’t mean you any harm, I just need to get my companions treated. They’re sick and dying.” My cannons aren’t armed, the metal lifeless and dull. No reason to antagonize them, and I doubted I could fight my way free regardless. Besides, I knew the risk coming in, no reason to get nervous about it now.

One of the guards comes forwards, looking at the two. “Ghouls, huh? Fine, get them down to Undertaker, he’ll know what to do with the rotters.” The rest of them keeps their eye on me as they cart Nevermore and Rolly off. “You, however, are under arrest until we can figure out what to do with you.”

I shake my head, my mane plastered to my face with sweat. “I will go with you, but I want to make sure they are being treated first.” I look down at the smaller stallion, my armor making me seem even bigger.

He sneers at me, the rifle on his battle saddle trained at my exposed head. “Very well, Enclave. But don’t try anything funny, or we’ll take your head off.” He spits out some disparaging curses at the Enclave and my parentage. I ignore him as we head deeper into the settlement, following a thin trail of sticky blood.

~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to Level 5!

What’s this? Down for the count already, Nevermore? Thought you were made of sterner stuff. Who knew that being bolted to the floor would keep you down? You didn’t do much other than black out this time but... I suppose your companions helped. I’ll bump it up for you. Just this once.

Author's Note:

I shifted viewpoints a couple times. I hope that it wasn't too confusing. If it was, I can try to fix it.

Thanks a lot to TinkerChronowire for help and Fallout: Equestra - Second Wind, and to TehFizzle for her character and amazing artsies.

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