• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 3,285 Views, 117 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 7: Out of the Frying Pan...

Chapter 7: Out of the Frying Pan...

Not fair? I am a pirate dear, what makes you think I fight fair?

What does it mean to be a Skyrate? Easy to ask, hard to answer. You see, we were a band of misfits for the most part. Each of us had a reason to be there, and I’m not sure how many of us actually had the same reason. Some were there for the Captain, some out of a sense of duty. Some, like myself, were there because nopony else would have us. We were outcasts, scum, loved, hated, feared, mocked. We were many things, a veritable mishmash of ponies. Some were good at fixing, some flying... some fighting. The war changed us though. We were no longer the same crew that we were. Especially after... that incident... I... I don’t think I can keep writing now. I shall finish this later...
~From the Journal of Nevermore

The faint beep of machinery, the flickering of wavering lights. So I am not dead. I wish I were right now though, my body is wracked with pain, crippled and broken. I hear a voice, a rather cheery tone, thus, rather annoying to me. A stallion, but oddly muffled. “Oh... hmm... an injured ghoul... troublesome, worrisome, hard to keep track of all the pieces, make sure they stay attached... severe injuries... lacerations... punctures... some sort of ichor, to be expected though... Oh, pink... I know this hue, good, good... don’t move an inch and stay back from her!” The sound of a pistol chambering a round, and a voice crying out. Star Racer.

“No, what are you doing? Help her!” She seems shocked... where was I? Where were the others? Why did everything hurt so much? Slowly my mind starts to remember... snipers... raiders... searing pain.

“Do not worry, this is standard procedure! Auto-regenesis of all structures must be wholly stimulated by the complete termination of the central node of the cortex. All thoughts must be blank and activity nulled so that the state of necrotic magic may thus activate its unholy symbiosis with the host. I shall render the necessary circumstances with the proper stimuli, as such.” The feel of cold metal against the side of my head as the gun is pressed up.

“I... who, what?” Star Racer is confused by his statements... I found it easy enough to follow, even if he rambled a bit verbose at times, but I suppose that is a fault that I would not hold too hard against him at this time. “You can’t just shoot her, can you? You’re supposed to be helping her!”

“Trust me my dear, I am a doctor! I assure you that I am fully trained, recovery is assured!” With no more delay, there’s the click of the pistol, then oblivion.

~~~~~~~~~~

“You don’t have to go back, you know. You can stay here with me.” I recognize that voice... my Captain, or what my mind decided to torment me with. My long dress sways behind me as I turn from the light, turn from the voice. I had always been rather fastidious about my appearance, my coat pristine and hooves neatly trimmed. While I was not the sort to spend countless hours fussing about it, I did like to be well maintained. I look down at my hooves, no trace of decay or rot visible now, just as I was then all those years ago. A sneer of disgust crosses my face... I did so despise what I had become. A sad, twisted abomination of life, form matches appearance, I suppose.

“No... you know I cannot. I would not then, I cannot now. You are beyond us.” I turn my head slightly, not enough to see... not yet. A brief glimpse of red and white before I look away again. “And you are not real, not anymore. Just the tormented dreams of a broken mare.”

“That may be, Nevermore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay here. It would be fitting, just don’t go back. All you need to do is give in, stay here... just let the rest of Equestria be, you’ve done enough.”

“I have done enough? You are correct, I have done enough. I have destroyed everything that I cared about. We have done this dance before, Captain, and I know we were on the same music... now as then, my Captain, I shall be leaving you again.” I turn and start to walk away, heading towards the darkness. I feel my body begin to rot, my clothing more suited to a life in the wasteland... “Leaving you to walk alone...” Then I open my eyes again.

~~~~~~~~~~

“You shot her! In the head! You killed her! What sort of doctor are you?!” Star Racer’s yelling draws my attention, as I begin to stir.

“Yes, that was the point. Now that she is dead, the healing can begin. It saves on supplies.” The doctor sighs dejectedly. “If only I could do this with all my patients.” The doctor is a strange one, his entire body covered with what appears to be thick black banding, held in place by buckles and straps. Not a single inch of his body was visible, his face obscured by a plague doctor’s mask. Grim, but fitting in these times, though the rubber stopper on his horn was an odd touch.

“Healing? Healing?! She’s dead! There’s no healing from dead!” Star Racer sounds like she’s about to strangle the doctor... did I not tell her what I was? Apparently not... whoops. Well, no time like the present to let her know. The faint tingle of metal draws the doctor’s attention to me as the regenerating flesh starts to shove bullets, shot, and other foreign debris out of my wounds. Even after all this time, it is still a rather unpleasant sensation.

“Settle down, Star... it takes more than that to kill me...” I pull myself to my hooves as everyone in the room looks aghast other than the doctor. An immediate babble of voices breaks out in fear and confusion. Great... they’re the ones getting upset. It’s not like they’re the ones who just got bolted to a road then shot...

“See? I told you I am a doctor! You should trust me more in these things, now shoo, shoo. I need to talk to the patient privately...” He looks at the thin wisps of pink smoke starting to curl from my muzzle. “And it is probably going to be most beneficial to your health to avoid being in the immediate vicinity at this time, lest you suffer a fate that will quickly cause your functional organs to cease doing so.” Despite the protests of the guards and Star, he quickly bustles them out of the room before turning back to me. He levitates what appears to be a jar over. “Ah, here, breathe into this for me right now, do not want you to fumigate my lab. It will slow the diffusion of your breath, though you should probably look into getting a more permanent solution that you do not inadvertently harm those around you. Now, my dear, could I get some information from you... name, are you functioning properly, year, date, age...” He brings a light over and shines it in my eye as I snarl slightly. That was rather sudden, and far too bright.

“Nevermore, I am doing fine, other than being bolted to the floor then shot... and why do you need to know the other ones? I am not a calendar.” A derisive snort blows another puff of pink into the glass. I look around for my mask, seeing its rather sad state since Zone shot me in the face. “And you do not ask a mare her age.”

“Ah, Nevermore, an interesting name, dark, just like your coat. As you may have heard, I am Undertaker, the doctor for those such as ourselves even those not quite like us, but mostly. Those who are not like us but are like the others go to Murdoc, so you can say that I am a bit of a specialist.” He hardly takes a breath before he keeps going in that insufferably cheery tone. “Mostly I was asking to check your level of sanity, which leads to my additional question, that being how your more personal relationships are going. You see, it is my belief that a ghoul who is intimate with a partner is less likely to turn feral. Even a gentle hug or occasional cuddle can reduce rage fits or eliminate them entirely from at-risk undead. It stems from the creation of personal bonds and ties that make it less likely for a ghoul to lose themselves to the insanity that-”

While I tried to wait for him to finish, due to him... ‘helping’ me, I suppose at some point I need to interrupt him, lest he keep talking. Intimate partner? Was he saying... who was I kidding, he definitely was. If he wanted to reduce the possibility of a ‘rage fit’, this was not the way to do so, especially with me. Turning to look squarely at him, I’m sure my glare was somewhat less intimidating with a jar held up to my muzzle though my voice takes on a sinister and biting tone. “I have never had an intimate partner, nor do I intend to.” I growl slightly. “And if that was an offer, no. Try anything, and I will knife you and I will make it hurt.”

Undertaker looks as surprised as a pony can when buried under layers and wearing a full mask. "Oh, worry not! I have no intention of becoming sullied, no offense to you of course my dear. I have to work with patients, too many risks to do contact. No, no touching. Not ever. I'm not a risk. Not even in the slightest! Your threats are both redundant and unnecessary." He floats my mask up, looking it over. “I see that you have understood that the presence of water serves to greatly prevent the inadvertent spread of your breath that others may find offensive, but your design seems to be rather insufficient at this time, a bit porous, perhaps. You see, the best way to diffuse the radiant noxia of the Pink Cloud is to use a particular method involving a wet sponge, a charcoal filter, and-”

“The reason the mask is as it is is because I was shot in the face. If you have a stick of Wonderglue, I will be able to fix it up myself.” I shake my head. “Preferably soon, for I would not want to get a glass fused to my face, as it is doing a poor job of actually absorbing anything.” I glare at him again, yanking my mask back down to myself.

“Oh, right, yes, of course! I have one right over there, though I must say that your design is interesting, facilitating more use of water itself as the agent rather than a sponge... tell me, does it leak much? It seems like it could do so, which would be rather unfortunate, especially seeing as-” I tune him out mostly as he rummages for the glue, just giving short grunts of assent as required as I wasn’t really paying attention any more. The constant barrage of words, coupled with the topic, has done nothing to improve my mood. Pink Cloud. My curse, both in death and in survival. Finally he brings me the glue, and I get to work. I would have to find a replacement later, but it would work for now. I think.

I look over at him, before reaching into my saddlebags, pulling out some shiny caps. “Thank you for your assistance.” I strap my mask back on, breathing more normally now. “And here is your jar back as well.”

He looks at the caps, the pockets them. “Thank you, my dear, that will go well with helping to get additional supplies which are desperately needed at this time for most are not so easily cared for as you yourself were, but if you need anything else, or any advice, feel free to come back, hopefully with less holes next time. As for the jar, feel free to leave it on the table, I will check it for contamination later and dispose of it as required.” He seems think for a second. “Oh yes, that foal that was with you earlier, he is doing fine, though he is rather voracious... but do not worry! He is being taken care of. A mare named Marble is looking after him. You should go see her I believe you may have some things in common of which you could engage in discourse or even form a friendship or two for it does seem like both of you could use the social contact that could spring up.” Foal? Who? I didn’t have a foal, and I was terrible with them anyways. This ‘Marble’ can keep him. Wasn’t mine anyways.

After a long and rather winded farewell, I finally make my way from Doctor Wind Bag, and look around... a rather depressing place, all be told. There were ghouls everywhere, but that was not was drew my irritation. It was the state of the place. Trash was everywhere, beggars rattling cups with a few caps in them. Signs were plastered about, warning about possible diseases contracted from contact with the dead. I give a derisive snort. This rat infested hellhole was a disaster waiting to happen. Even in this blasted wasteland, ponies should try to do better, at least take care of themselves if nothing else. “Um... hello, Miss?”

I look over at the mare talking, her nature instantly obvious, with her pelt a mess of flesh and bone. It also looked like something nasty had taken a bite of her ear. What drew my attention though, was her wings tattered and falling apart as they were. A pegasus ghoul. The poor dear and her wings. I don’t know what I would do if I had to endure decay that bad. “Yes, what is it?”

She looks at me. “Well, I’m Marble, and I was told that the mare with the foal was at the morgue, so I came by and-”

This was Marble? Must say, I was not expecting a ghoul when the doctor said that somepony was looking over the foal. However, I was not in the mood for a long conversation. “Foal? I do not have a foal. I am certain that you are mistaken.” I move to brush past as she looks surprised.

She looks at me, stammering. “But... you’re um... one of the only pegasus ghouls here, and they did mention that you were injured, so would be at Undertaker’s... can you at least look?” She has a small foal on her back, wrapped in a small bundle. I’m not really interested, but I don’t want to cause a scene either.

I shake my head, giving only the bare minimum of a cursory glance. “I have never had a foal. Therefore, no, he is not mine, but you can take him.”

“Take him? But isn’t he, I mean, don’t you...” She seems confused by my statement. Or maybe the fact that I’m willing to give away a foal that wasn’t mine.

“No, he is not, and I do not know where he came from. Nor would I care to, for I do not desire to be saddled with excessive baggage at this time.” I can see her staring at me, or more accurately, staring at my wings and my relatively fresh decay. “What is it? Is there a problem?”

She shakes her head. “Oh no, of course not... I was just looking at your wings... I mean... they look so... well...” She looks at her rotting wings, giving a mournful sigh. “They’re not like these... they’re very well... preserved... was this... a recent thing for you?”

I snort, shaking my head. “No, I am not a young ghoul. Trust me, it is not much better being like I am.” Truth be told, I decay as they do, but when killed, I regenerate again. A small price to pay, I suppose. She still looks so sad, so I try to push her back to her original topic. “But yes, I do not have a foal, have never had one... I do not know why you believe that I would, Miss Marble.”

“Oh, well... somepony mentioned that a pegasus ghoul came in with a foal... they were horribly vague on the details, unlike what we’d do for the Pegasus Press...” She sighs again.

“Pegasus Press... you were from Cloudsdale then?” A pre-war pony? Here? I look at her again, trying to see past the ravages of time, see if I could recognize her, a link to my past? No... I can’t place her face over any pony that I knew, though I did read the Pegasus Press... it was a long time ago.

Her face brightens as she nods. “Oh yes, I used to write for them and...” She looks again at me. “How did you... you still seem to be rather fresh, so you can’t be that old...”

My gaze turns cold as I look at her. “I was in Canterlot.” I keep my voice low, no reason to allow the others to hear that. Who knew what sort of stupidity they would engage in if they heard. Her eyes widen, both in realization, and what I had grown to recognize and hate in others. Fear. “Now if there is no other business?” I hated what I had become, and being constantly reminded of it requires desperate measures to prevent me from exploding in rage. I see a flashing sign announcing the presence of a bar... the ‘Winking Mare’... by Celestia, it would have to do, though who named these places?

“Well, if you have a moment, I’d like to talk a bit... if you don’t mind...” There’s a gentle mewling from the bundle on her back, a happy noise. The foal, apparently, chewing on a bar of hard chocolate. Seeing him confirms what I thought. I had never seen him before in my life. Well life or unlife. “It’s just been a while since I’ve seen another pony from before... let alone talked to one.

Sighing, I turn to the bar. “Very well, I suppose it would not kill me to engage in conversation at this time.” I sigh, shaking my head. “Well, kill me again, I suppose.”

The throbbing music and flashing lights do nothing to lighten my dour mood, and based on the looks of a few ponies I’m passing, they think I’m about to knife them as I settle myself behind a table. Goodness knows I’m tempted. Drugs, alcohol, and various bodily fluids fill the air in a disgusting stench that seems to even get through into my mask. I would have to bathe for a week to get the smell out. With a disinterested sigh, one of the waitresses comes over to take my order, talking around the pencil held in her mouth as she looks at me. “Whatcha want there honey, what’s your poison?”

Urge to scream rising, I keep my voice as low as I can, which is near yelling due to the noise. “Tea. Black and hot.” She looks at me and opens her mouth, but I am in no mood to argue. “Now.” Having to pay caps to get in was irritating enough, though at least I didn’t have to tip the bouncer. Something about a ‘Mare’s Discount’. Of course, my condition was rather handy when trying to save caps. No need for food or shelter normally. What use are creature comforts to a corpse?

The mare looks at me, then shrugs. “Your funeral. Three caps, sugar.” I drop the caps to the table as she sweeps them up. That was ominous, but I wanted my tea. I wait impatiently as Marble orders a drink and some food, looking around while pressing my ears down. Is this what these ponies called music these days? Disgusting racket... nothing like the sweet tones of the Royal Canterlot Orchestra...

“Well well, lookit tha fancy pony wantin’ her tea.” A large stallion slams a hoof down on the table as the waitress leaves. Well, he didn’t look like a ghoul, though he looked rather obnoxious, and his breath stank of alcohol, and I get the feeling that he didn’t brush his teeth in decades. Apparently, he was in the mood for a fight though.

“Leave me be. You are drunk, and you do not wish to do this at this time.” My voice has a razor’s edge to it as I glare at him. He needs to be careful, my temper is rising, and it usually goes very poorly for others when it does. Usually ending with them forming a temporary sheathe for my daggers.

“Yeah, and why’s that? Whatcha gonna do, you little filly? You lookin’ fer a fight?” He sneers at me, leaning closer. Just a little closer and... perfect.

He doesn’t see my hoof from under the table, catching him right where it counts. Granted, I am not exactly an Earth Pony, and even for a Pegasus, I’m not particularly strong... but a solid buck to the right place... His voice jumps an octave as he falls to the ground, mewling in pain. One of his friends stands up to help him as I get closer, but stops as a knife appears on my hoof. “Try that again, moron, and I geld you, got it?” He whimpers something that I assume is assent. I aim another swift kick to his gut as I turn back to my seat, something to remember me by. Marble looks at me with what appears to be a mixture of shock and admiration as his friends drag him away.

My waitress comes back with a steaming cup, carefully stepping over the fallen stallion while carrying a tray with Marble’s order. “Surprised ya did that sugar, that there’s one of Sleazy Slick’s goons, Muscle Head. No pony likes ta mess with ‘im... least if they like livin’. Ya might want ta finish yer tea fast.” I look down at my ‘tea’. As suspected, it looks like dirty water, and I think I see something crawling in it.

I nod to the waitress. “Thank you for the advice. I do not intend to linger for too long anyways.” She shrugs and moves back to some of her other customers. Place did seem lively despite how many ghouls there were. Of course, there were others here, ponies, gryphons... come for the music, alcohol, and drugs, I suppose.

With a disgruntled sigh, I turn back to Marble, pushing the ‘tea’ back. I would kill for proper tea. Probably literally, since any decent pony would just let me buy it, and I wouldn’t mind killing the other type of pony, not really. Marble speaks up, over the music, drawing my attention to her. "I covered the war, you know. I was just an observer snapping photos though, not a fighter. We'd see really heart breaking things. But we were just covering it. It didn't help anyone to just watch or talk about it. I think I know why... Why we went wrong. It's not because of bad ponies or the zebra, but it's ponies like me that did nothing but watch. We watched hearts break and we just talked about it, wrote about it. This time I'll do something though. It won't make anything right, but maybe I can give Rolly a happy headline or two before the end." She nuzzles the foal on her back who looks up at her from around his bar of chocolate. “At least one of us deserves some happiness.

Interesting... some pony who was actually willing to not place the blame at the hooves at others. One who sees that at a minimum, we all had some blame in this disaster. "Do not blame yourself... there is plenty to go around. You watched, but I acted. I killed zebras with my own hooves. Stallions, mares..." My voice drops to a harsh whisper. "Foals. And I felt no regret then... I still feel none now. It was not just war for me by that point, it was extermination." She looks surprised by my words, the harshness of my tones. Even now, I’m still bitter from the war, a deep seated hatred for zebras lodged in my heart after all this time. I know its foalish, the zebra that caused all that pain long dead and gone by now, yet... there was blood on my hooves, and blood on theirs. Time doesn’t always wash things clean.

She looks thoughtful as she chews on some sort of biscuit that she had ordered, occasionally slipping some to the foal. The little guy could eat. "You're sounding a lot like that one stallion I interviewed once... What did they call him...?" She pondered, biting her sour, split lip. Pulling Rolly close, she strokes his sparse mane as he continues to consume anything he can get his hooves on. "They called him Captain... Captain... oh confound it. He had a name, but I can't remember it for some reason.” My face takes on a hard look. No... it couldn’t be. Just a coincidence. There were plenty of captains during the war. “He explained the war just like that. That it was an extermination. That edition sold a lot, I remember..." She lifted a wig and pulled out a small folder, among them were numerous clippings from the war. Of particular note was a rather worn and faded scrap of paper, a clipping from a newspaper. It detailed a rather grisly campaign against the zebra, spearheaded by an older model airship and its plucky determinist crew. "It was my favorite to write, mostly because of how likeable he was in the interview...Even if he was terrifying." Gak... why does the Wasteland hate me so much? One of the few ponies I met that knew life before the end... and it comes to him again. He already haunts my sleep... does he need to be in my waking moments as well?

"Terrifying? You have no idea... He was an idiot, but he was also... different. The war changed him, changed us all. I did not know you were the interviewer for that article... That was a... better time." I sigh, thinking of the past, of the Captain, of the crew. Of my failings. “But you do not need me to tell you that, you knew... you knew about those times just as well as I did.”

Rolly finishes off the remnant of the food, and starts to look around hungrily, but finding nothing. "I... wait, you knew him? This guy?" She tapped a hoof on the picture a few times, oblivious to the ghoul child's rapidly approaching waterworks. She was a focused beam of light, only reflecting on one thing in front of her at a time. Her ears flickered and she looked over the file again, looking at the aged and worn pictures she had taken, flipping through the small stack of old war pictures. Why she kept them with her, I do not know... too many memories in those. Finally, after a long bit of searching she found it. "I... covered this too." She pushed the article forward. I take a look at it, covering my surprise. It was a picture of a dark pegasus with a hat set on her head, a veil partially obscuring her face. Several members of the crew were there as well. I was wearing white that day, one of the few times that I ever had. I remembered that day very well, a day I would never forget. It was from when the captain had died. "Is that... that's you isn't it? The pretty mare in the white? Why white? A sea of black and... you. You stood out..." She looks at me. “You know? I never actually got your name either...”

"Nevermore... and as for the dress..." I sigh, the memories of that day flooding back. "It was something he made me promise to do... something he asked... that I did not look so somber at his funeral. I do not wear white. I despise standing out in a crowd. But that time, that one time... he asked me to not be so somber, just once... at the very end."

"...You loved him." She states definitively. The old ghoul mare wore a knowing smile, somber and sad. "He must have been a great captain to be so loved... I remember his funeral. It wasn't happy... It was my last article. I quit the tabloid shortly after. They spun the article into propaganda.” Her voice takes a mocking tone. “'It is for our fallen we must win, or they died in vain.'" She scoffed softly, "I wonder if that was even what he wanted. What happened to the crew after? I've always wondered..."

“It... it broke us. What was left of us, anyways. It was a brutal time. Without him to lead us, we just, drifted away, left to follow our own paths without a unifying force to drive us. I do not know what happened to the rest of the crew, I never took the time to find out... before the end.” I shoot her a hard glare. “And do not be ridiculous, I did not love him. I did not have room in my heart for love, and he had others to fill his. There was no chance for us to...” I stop, shaking my head. “Regardless, that was in the past, a long time ago, and he is dead. They used him, abused his name, creating him as an icon for a war.” I snort angrily. “They at least deserved what happened to them, though I do not think they should have brought the rest of Equestria down with them.”

I’m about to say more, when I feel a pony behind me. Thinking that it might be that thug or one of his friends, I whirl, a dagger flashing onto my hoof, stopping inches from the face of a violet mare. She looks at me impassively from behind her small reading glasses. Her well groomed mane, gentle makeup and suit made her seem massively out of place in this tawdry bar. “Miss Nevermore, I presume?” Despite the knife inches from her eyes, she doesn’t flinch at all, her gaze cool.

I look at her, sneering. “Who wants to know? If you are here for that Sleazy or whatever, I am not interested.” I really didn’t want to get embroiled with some city politics. Civilization always made things more complicated, though it did have its perks... like decent tea. Sometimes.

“I am Pane, and I was informed by PNK-3 that you would be here. She always seems to know where everypony is... always watching, that one.” She lifts up a small clipboard and makes a mark on it. “Of course, I figured you might be interested that you friend who brought you here was arrested on suspicion of potential espionage.” Her tone is just cheery and conversational enough to force a double take of what she just said. How is she so casual?

“Star Racer... is under suspicion of...” I shoot her a hard gaze. “And why, pray tell, are you telling me this?” Since she doesn’t seem to be threatening, I return the knife back into my dress, though within easy access if I need it. I don’t trust her, but then again, I don’t trust many ponies... she seemed to be decent enough, but I knew how easily that could be a facade.

“Just thought you might like to know that the Council has already decided that she is to be subject to public execution, send a message to the Enclave, perhaps.” She coughs politely into a hoof. “Of course, there are certain interested parties that feel that this might not be the... wisest course, as it could serve to antagonize the Enclave.” She holds up a hoof as I start to stand. “The execution is not set to be announced for a few days yet, so if somepony were to... remove her from the prison, then there would be no need for an announcement, and she would not get executed. Win-win, overall really.” She looks at me, then down at where I hid my knife. “Of course, it would be terrible if there were any casualties, and we would have to respond very strongly to any deaths or serious injuries to ponies doing their legal and appointed jobs.” Right. I was getting informal permission to stage a jailbreak, but told to not hurt or kill anypony that’s doing their duty... why did things always have to get so complicated? She moves over to the table, looking at my cooled off tea. “And I wouldn’t drink that, even one in your condition. Who knows what sort of nasty parasites might be in there.” Nodding her head politely, she turns to leave. “Have a good rest of the day, Ms. Nevermore.” Well, that was certainly something to think about, but... why the tea? Looking down, I notice what seems to be a piece of paper folded by the cup. That devious mare. Scooping it up, I take a look over it quickly, keeping it shielded from prying eyes. A map of the prison and the guard schedule. Very useful.

“Is your friend going to be... are you going to...?” Oh right. Marble was still here. She seems concerned, but I can’t get her involved in this.

“She will be fine, Marble. I am certain that some pony will take care of it.” Or so help me, whatever idiot threatening to execute one of MY companions would become a writhing, pus-filled blob of corrupted flesh... or take a knife in the neck. Either works for me, really. I look at her, then pull out one of my journals, carefully tearing out one of the pages. “This is... a letter to him. To the Captain. Or it was written as such. You can either read it or throw it away. It is up to you. After all, it is not like he will get a chance to read it...” I stand and turn to leave, looking at her over my shoulder. ‘It is probably best if you forget me. You have a life here, but it may be at risk if you are known to associate with me.” She starts to protest as I drop my journal back into my saddlebags. “Goodbye, Marble.”

I will not lose a companion if I can avoid it. I will play within their rules. For now. But if required, I will shatter their order, their law, their structure. I am loyal, but I am not a good pony. Good ponies do not survive the Wasteland.

~~~~~~~~~~

Oh dear Nevermore, you might want to get on saving Star Racer. Wouldn’t do to get her executed now, would it?

Author's Note:

New chapter up... so tired...