Stable Lab Forty-Five R&D gave one unicorn ultimate power over all of reality. Rather than undo the war that wasted Equestria and begin an age of eternal peace and joy, Emmy did what any pony of her Stable would: Have FUN! Then things got weird.
Fallout‽ Equestria: Console User Manual is a collection of Sketch Stories in the magical wasteland(?) of Equestria. After a Princess, a Zebra Caesar, some aliens, and half of the entire planet simultaneous crit-fail their diplomacy speech-rolls, everything blew up. But then it got better. Kinda. But then there’s always that one pony who thought getting blown up was the most fun thing they ever did, and would totally do it again. “Ten out of ten, doesn’t require any survival, would explode again!” Over two hundred years after the great accident that doomed Equestria to a brown and grey fate, survivors in Stable Lab Forty-Five Research and Development gave that one pony a prototype Pipbuck attachment with the ultimate power over all life, all physics, and all of reality. So naturally, the first thing they did with it was die horribly! The second thing they did with it was ignore the user manual and play with it like a toy.
The weird escalates quickly... and ends everything abruptly. But it's always conveniently fixed by the next episode, so yay!?
If you were expecting friendship lessons, they’re not here.
(Note: No manuals included. Nopony ever read those anyway.)
Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria there lived two maximum level immortal goddess regal sisters. One ruled over the day, and the other ruled over the night. And then one night, the alicorn goddess of sunlight and rainbows and happiness and all things pleasant had an accident. It was an accident so big and so nasty that nopony was able to clean it up, even if they wanted. And then everypony died! Happy end!
Except, of course, not everypony died. Ponies are hardier than some bombs. A lot of ponies were hidden away in ‘Stables’, vaults claimed to protect and preserve life. Some ponies left to take the full brunt of the accident had their bodies mutate into horrible monstrosities. Some ponies gave up hope on everything in existence and turned into total monsters! ...But those total monsters looked like normal ponies. And so years later, after the monsters and mutants cleaned up enough of the accident that the Stable ponies could come out again, the new ponies found it hard to tell the monster ponies from the other new ponies! And so with great swiftness, the monster-ponies slew several of the new ponies, and the monstrous-not-monster ponies slew several of the monster-ponies, and the new ponies pretty much flailed wildly at anything and everything they didn’t crawl out of the stable with. It didn’t go well.
Fortunately, all of the horrible suffering encouraged ponies to do more fun things with each other when they could. Through the amazing and mystical arcane powers of Friendship and Love, the population of ponies and pony-shaped things was kept at an equilibrium, and everything was happy and miserable all at the same time. Yay! And that’s the timeframe this story takes place in.
So, remember those Stables I told you about? It turns out there were also some super top-secret Stable-Labs, too! They were just like normal Stables, except a whole lot more obnoxious about lying to the inhabitants about them actually being safe. And to make things extra confusing, the inhabits of Stable Labs were never told there was any difference between Stables and Stable Labs. So there were often cases of ponies from Stables and Stable Lab with the same number. Nopony thought any better of it.
Right. So in Stable Lab Forty-Five Of Six- Yes, there were only Six Stable-Labs; I don’t know why this one was named Forty-Five- there lived lots and lots of unicorn stable ponies and earth pony stable ponies. Every now and then there was a pegasus too, but that was a byproduct of silly Pony genetics- they didn’t intentionally bring any pegaponies into Forty-Five. The point is: There were lotsa little silly ponies who loved fun more than almost anything else in the world. Most of these ponies were also some of the most technologically gifted of their kind. So like ponies tend to do, they followed their butt-stamps-of-destiny and starting putting their technological expertise to use in the pursuit of making fun.
In the years not long after the adventures of the Lightbringer, a set of Stable Lab Forty-Five ponies found themselves ready to test their newest creation!
Hard Reset stared. And stared… And stared. “So… Is it working?”
First Post shrugged. “Heck, I dunno. Just go ahead and shoot ‘im.”
Hard floated a plasma pistol from his belt, and pointed it at the tester. Emmy’s blood ran cold, and she fell to her haunches. “Wait, what!?”
“Oh no, I am killed to death! Goodbye cruel world, and all those who inhabit it!” Emmy’s body exploded into a shower of vivid, shiny, colorful streamers, balloons, confetti, glitter, and gumdrops.
Reset frowned deeply. “I dunno. That didn’t feel right. Maybe we should have just given her the paper quiz instead?”
First shrugged. “Well, he could cheat on a paper test. It’s pretty hard to cheat death.” She plopped her rump down on a red balloon rolling her way eliciting a groan from it, and raised a forehoof to her chin. She sighed, and started dancing her silky smooth tail about. “I guess we should find another test subject?” She gave a momentary glance to the globe beneath her, then flashed a toothy grin Reset’s way. “After we clean up the mess, of course.”
Her companion gave a bemused stare.
“Fine, I’ll clean it up on my own, Grumpy McGrumpy-Rump.” She looked down and the globe beneath her, and firmly prodded at the bulb with her forelegs to force out a piercing series of squeaks.
“You’ld be grumpy too if you had to fill out paperwork each time your experiments exploded into party-bits.”
First squealed in delight, and gave a bubbly giggle. “If my experiments exploded into party, I’d never have to do anything unfun ever. I’d be free to spend the rest of my days in a wonderland doing what I do best!”
“Nothing?” Reset droned.
“Silly. Of course not.” First huffed and started bouncing.
“Why are you even in this department?”
“For the cleanup. Best. Job. Ever!” Boom! First’s seat exploded, dropping her to the ground and showering her all over with confetti and glitter. A pink streamer fluttered to a rest across her nose, and she couldn’t stop giggling.
With two bright flashes, Emmy didn’t feel anything anymore. He couldn’t move. She couldn’t breath. He couldn’t hear. Everything around him seemed to lose color, turning into a blobby mass of honey on amber. His vision started to slip from her eyes, and his was looking at his own body, now a plastic pony toy with soft brushable hair. In his vision, glowing letters faded into view.
Hard Reset stared. And stared… And stared. “So… Is it working?”
First Post shrugged. “Heck, I dunno. Just go ahead and shoot ‘im.”
Hard floated a plasma pistol from his belt, and pointed it at the tester. Emmy’s blood boiled, and he leapt to a side. “Wait, what!? Starless hells, not again!” He slammed a hoof into First’s face, knocking her to the ground.
Pew! Pew! Pew-pew-pew!
Hard floated a plasma pistol from his belt, and pointed it at the Emmy. Prepared for it this time, Emmy pounced forth and flicked Hard’s horn, immediately dispelling the tangerine starfield that held the weapon aloft. “Okay, Okay, I get it. It works! If it’s supposed to make a pony die over and over, it definitely works.” He punted the plasma weapon away. “Stop shooting me, and I’ll call it a kindness. Capiche?”
“Okay. Well. Great. So, how do I work this thing?”
“Well, you see, we were going to include a manual, but there we some complications.“
Ten minutes ago:
Reset waves a hoof, not even needing to turn his head from his terminal to guess what his assistant was up to. “Stop staring at the button.”
“But I want to press it.”
“That’s the delete button. This is the only copy of Tilde’s operational guide that we have. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember all of commands and instance IDs, let alone try to explain it to somepony else.”
“So? Then you could make another, simpler one”
“Do not press the button. You’ll delete the file. Do. not. press. the. delete. Don’t press delete. Do not. Press. Delete.”
“Okay, I’ll press confirm instead!”
“I said don’t press delete sweet celestia why did you press delete you insufferable foal!”
“I didn’t press delete! I pressed confirm! Totally different!”
“It was to confirm the deletion, you dimwit!”
“Oh. Well you should have said not to press the confirm button.”
Reset grabbed the monitor and tossed it out the window.
As I glanced at the gift, then back to the mare who was offering it to me, I felt an odd shiver run down my spine. Like something was wrong about this, to be accepting what amounted to a symbol of adulthood with all the trappings of a friendly birthday exchange. I knew what it was before I unwrapped it.
A Pipbuck. A slim, sleek pink ring of heavily enchanted plastic, measure to right right around a pony’s foreleg. Three large balloon-shaped buttons: two blue sandwiching the yellow in the middle of the row. A clear-as-ice rotillary dial flush with the upper rim. A particularly shiny and oh-so-eye-catching section of the panel which was clearly intended to reduce that area’s magical insulation.
“Happy Birthday, Memory Editor! And congratulations on getting your cutie mark. You’re now officially an adult member of this Stable!” I thought of Code Breaker, and how proud she’d be. I thought of Game Shark, and how he’d mouth off at length about the technical features of the device, and explaining how grateful I should be that such things were around for mere ponies to experience. I felt cold again. My unease must have been showing, as Catch Exception spoke up.
“I know it’s hard, having to do this so soon, but you’ll be fine. It’s in your blood. They would be proud. ” As if I didn’t know. ”And you’re not being given this to replace them-” Oh really? Then why me? Why today? “- but you have a special task ahead of you today that calls for your particular talent.” So you want meme to do what my Mom used to do? How swell. Wait, that’s not how this ceremony usually goes.
“Wait, what?” I started to slip the Pipbuck onto my hoof. It slipped smoothly up my left foreleg until I stopped. I felt a brief squeeze as the resizing talisman worked its magic, then a momentary prick, a small electric tingle that ran from my hoof to my heart then all around. And there went the overlays, one after another, displays informing me of my physical condition, my equipment, and a compass all started to pop into view with a rosey pink tint. Just like in the simulator, but quite a bit faster.
“Head to room 2B. From there, you’ll get your house-clone, your next special present, and from there just do what your Pipbuck says. ”
New Quest Added: Cheaters Never Prosper
Objective: Report to room 2B to be given your next parting gift and instructions. Good luck, Emmy.
Nobody was allowed in Concat String's workshop without his permission. It was a straightforward rule, common too. After all, being mistaken for a thief or burglar was an extraordinarily easy way to get shot to death. Disrespect, such as the invasion of privacy, was also an easy way to get shot- not to death, usually not in any way a healing potion or autodoc couldn't fix, and certainly not more than once if one were recognized as a non-hostile resident. Regardless, being shot hurt a lot, and was seldom good for one's health.
Today was apparently an exception! The door to Concat's workshop stood open. The nearby terminal that controlled the lock wasn't doing anything particularly useful, so I scrambled in as quietly as I could.
I unrolled several papers from my bag, dumped them on the workbench, and rummaged through the array of unorganized supplies in search of an iron. There were a lot of brightly colored balls of string, some virgin, some partially used, packages of balloons, and confetti in piles and bags. I saw some helium tanks too, and began to suspect that Cancat might in fact be the mare assigned to prepare the decorations and events for my birthday bash. Sure, most everyone in Console loved to party, but even the most disorganized of residents tended to keep their special party fun-time supplies put away.
After I found the iron- it was tucked a bit high up in a closet, I brought it over to the worktable and pored over all of the designs I had been working on again. It was six pages, more than half of them concerned with the process for making inflatables rather than the designs themselves. I would have rather had the book, but Console wasn't going to have its own copy until after the OC took the scavenged copy back to the lab and made more copies. Those would come back to us in next month’s Exchange. A month was a lifetime away, and I had things to do today!
I searched through my bags again, and carefully stacked the shiny vinyl sheets from my share of the scavenging haul next to my bags. And then I set to work, measuring the plastic, marking edges, cutting them, and using the iron to weld edges together. Time went by in the blink of an eye. On the workshop were several plastic scraps, but in my hooves was a new inflatable bright pink griffin! Well... sort of. It was actually just a heap of welded and melty plastic. I needed a pump so I could fill it up and check it for holes. Fortunately, my earlier searching had found an air pump in the same place as the iron, so I went back to get it.
I stuck the nozzle of the air pump into the opening I had left near the fake griffin's tail and tapped the red power toggle switch on the device.
Hissssssss. The blow up griffin wasn't sealed as well as I expected, but I could find and fix the seam easily enough.
The pump’s air talisman glowed with a soft light, and the toy started to take shape. From a floppy lump to a... slightly less floppy puff. And soon into the form of soggy griffin that had bathed too much, if griffins were made out of shiny-ium.
And then I heard the sound of hoofsteps nearby. My heart nearly shot right out of my chest in alarm! I bounced back to the workbench, swept everything into my bags as quietly as I could, and turned to make for the door. It was only then that I realized that that door was the only way in or out of the workshop, and that was in the direction of the pony in the building with me! I pivoted on one hind hoof and tossed myself into the storage closet where I had found the iron and pump before, and slid the cover closed.
The blow up griffin which I hadn't yet settled on a name for was stretched out tall and proud and more than a little provocatively. The placement of the makeshift inner-thigh valve helped in that regard. The griffin was crude and fairly featureless aside from being pink and vaguely griffin-shaped, lacking any paint or specially colored materials. And the wings were limp plastic cutouts, left as they were more for my lack of interest in wings than for practical benefit. None of which would matter if Cat shot it up!
I smelled sweat on my muzzle. I felt my hair stand on end. I heard the sound of hoofsteps and of a firearm loading.
And then there was confetti everywhere. So much pink, yellow, and blue confetti. All of the pieces were shaped like tiny tiny feathers. Odd, as I was certain I had never even seen feather-shaped confetti before. A vinyl sliver landed on my nose, and I grinned at first, pleased by the spectacle and feel... then sneezed that sliver right into a mare's scowling face. Concat pointed her gun at my thigh, then then a little lower.
My eyes grew wide. Then her aim dropped a little lower, away from my sensitive bits and instead to my hindhooves.
I dropped to the floor with a yelp, tears welling in my eyes. My heart felt like it would burst, and I curled in trying to turn into a ball. I felt Concat's hoof pat me gently on the head.
"Bonus! You're a real big buck now, aren't you?" She emphaised the words "real big buck". I wanted to shout at her, and to kick and scream and run, but I knew if I did, she might shoot me again. Once was enough, and she was in the right. I curled up tighter, squeezing at the injured hoof. "Almos' thought I was being raided by shiny rabbits. Or somethin'."
Concat walked away for a moment. I didn't look. And then a cool dampness splashed against my hoof and I felt the odd prickling sensation of flesh and muscle mending. I released my leg, opened my eyes, and looked my hoof over. It was fine, if not better than it had ever been. For a moment I fancied that perhaps I had only imagined being shot out of fear, but the mess on my fur and on the floor was evidence to the contrary.
I turned my eyes to Concat, who met my astonished gaze with a wry smile. Her pistol was nowhere to be seen. She ruffled my mane and tapped at my flank with a hoof.
"How long you' had this, birthday boy? Izzat why you're in'ere?"
I followed her hoof. On my flanks was a vivid shiny yellow icon with a white star in the middle. It looked like a rubber ball, about to burst. At least, that's what made sense to me.
I wiped my tears away with a hoof, and tried standing up again, my eyes locked onto the booty-glyph. "I don't know." I breathed every word slowly, not entirely sure what was coming out of my maw until it was out.
"If you wan'ed t' use my stuff, you coulda just asked. It's been hours, though, 'n your frien's are lookin' for ya. Le's go. Clean up later."
I looked it over again. I could have sworn it was getting bigger. I recalled a time in class where we talked about cutie marks. They were supposedly the mark of a pony who had discovered their special talent and the attributes which made that pony unique. Yet I didn’t feel unique or special. Not any more than usual, anyway. I certainly didn’t know what a ball had to do with exploding griffons or getting shot, either. To top it all off, I didn’t get to keep what I made as it was now just a pile of pretty pastel pieces.
Not that it mattered much. Keeping in line with the policies from Stable Lab Forty-Five, my cutie mark meant I was officially a grown up regardless of my years. The night my birthday party ended, the after-party began. Get Some took me out on the best night of merry-making I had ever had and my friends were eager to induct me into the ranks of the bucks and stallions.
In the months that followed, I made more toys. Many more. Broke almost many as I made. I become better and faster at it each time However, while the supplies I had at home were plentiful thanks to The Exchange, to do any better than plain solid-colors, I needed rarer and more expensive materials. Merchants seldom had what I wanted, and it was incredibly dangerous to scavenge places likely to have what I wanted. Fabrication units and ministries almost always had robots in them, and those robots had magical death cannons that could turn a pony into a glowing pile of goo. Potions might fix bullet wounds, but they couldn’t fix goo.
Within a year, I was able to get around on my own if I needed to, using decoys and distractions to avoid hostiles. Companions were much better, but not a lot of strangers would be willing to risk their neck for pink plastic and ministry mare memorabilia. Neighbors, friends, and family were more accommodating, but most everyone I knew was more willing to throw Mirror Mares and Recolors at the wasteland than go out on their own for more than a day.
As I honed my craft, my need for materials grew. As I traveled more to get ever rarer supplies, I made new designs and tricks. As those tricks kept me safe, I’d start running low on supplies again. So I traveled.
Emmy’s tummy growled. She took a glance at the pipbuck to confirm what her body was telling her. She was hungry. Or at least, she was close to hungry. And she already knew that saving and reloading at the most recent lunch- which was how many days back now? It was before the before the flaming [timbermegawolves] right? And while she did technically eat recently, hopping into a memory orb for a filling meal didn’t help with the body coming back out of that memory at all…- wouldn’t do anything to sate her hunger now. So she fiddled with her pipbuck, stroking the dial and punching the confirm key for each character.
> player.placeatme “Sugar Applebombs” A white and black and red all over mare flopped onto Emmy’s back, pancaking the too-tiny-makeshift-fauxalicorn against the floor. The mare withdrew her maw from a now-empty box of Sugar Apple Bombs cereal, wiped the powdery sugar from her maw with a hoof, and hid the box behind her stable-barding clad rear. The mare slipped off of the slowly-rising Emmy’s back and started backing slowly towards the exit. She gave a nervous chuckle. “Err… Hello? I take it you’re friends with that blue alicorn?” The mare forced a grin. “I was only kidding about the clinic, but I-” Emmy cut her off. “Is there any more of that cereal left?” “No, but I I know wher-” “Too hungry. Don’t care.” Emmy scooped Applebombs up in a cocoon of starry magic and tossed her out the window. There was a rubbery thump, the blast of a shotgun discharging, and the angry screeching hiss of a feline. Emmy raked the Pipbuck’s face-buttons again. She found by hitting confirm a second time without moving the dial, her previous entry popped up again. She rapped on the cancel button a few times and changed the entry. She knew now that she definitely wanted something sweet.
> player.placeatme “Candy Apple” A dripping wet eggshell-white pegasus filly splashed against Emmy’s side, sending her tumbling. The filly’s eyes spun. Emmy brushed the child off of her, and the filly’s vibrant apple-green bikini instantly transformed into a chocolate-covered-apple green-and-brown speckle. The filly shook the spinning birds from her vision. “Huh…? This doesn’t look like the Cloudbank Bounce Swimminghole.” She shook her head again, harder. “Did I miss the water again?`” Emmy poked at the filly. “Hey, that thing you’re wearing wouldn’t happen to be edible would it?” She gave a hopeful smile. She’d never have eaten Cheeky Cheep edible swimwear at home, but that was a matter of sexual tension. This was HUNGER. Candy Apple’s eyes grew wide with alarm. “N-no! Don’t eat me! Help! Cannibal!” Not wanting to deal with the shrieking and shouting, she wrapped Candy Apple in a capsule of stary magic, and punted her out the window.
“Sonnova-cinnabun, I should have asked if she could cook!” Emmy’s stomache rumbled.
GLOING. The filly spiraled along inside the magical bubble, flopped onto the back of a white and black and red all over mare, bounced up into the air, and was reflexively kicked by the mare through at five different streetside food-vendor stands and one toymaker’s tent, obliterating their offerings in a spectacle of flying filly, veggies, and arcane superball. The mare took a look at the carnage she had unintentionally instigated, and sprinted off in a hurry to be as far away from the scene as possible. A hippogriff chick circled omniously in the skies over the chaos.
> player.placeatme “Blueberry-Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting” A Blueberry-Lemon Cake appeared right in front of Emmy! A pair of firm cream-yellow thighs slammed into the cake, splattering it messily into every possible surface, nook, and cranny except for Emmy. Emmy stared at ‘Frosting’ bemused.
The canine owner of the thighs fidgeted and twitched as it shook itself clean of the clingy confectionary. She gave a low, exhausted growl roughly in Emmy’s direction. Half-closed, twitchy pale blue eyes and an erratically flailing tail suggested the creature wasn’t in the most pleasant of mood or mind. Assuming it had a mind.
“I’m gonna assume no,” she eyeballed the tattered and stained labcoat the creature was wearing, “but would you happen to be some kind of baker, chef, mutated food wizard, or have a magical bag of infinite food or something? I’m starving here.” Now that she thought of it, she was pretty sure she had in fact eaten something that day. But for the life of her she couldn’t remember what. Either way, she waited for an answer.
She got another growl for her patience. The hound shook the pink and blue party hat free from around her eyes, snatched it in her teeth, crushed it, and spat it to the ground. A small amount of spittle landed on glittery yellow streamers tying Frosting’s arms at the rest. The growling intensified. “First gun pony, then toy pony, ghost pony, and laser death robot pony. What does pony want from dog!? Dog did nothing to pony! Dog go home, or dog smash robot pony! Dog smash all ponies, no more smashing food!” Claws extended with a series of audibly sharp SNKTS and the hound lashed out at Emmy. Emmy took an almost casual step back. The hound toppled face forward into more ruined cake and let out a pitiful whine. Emmy shoved a confetti popper into the hound’s mouth, and magically slingshotted the beast out the window. Emmy dove out the door, and snuck over to the next available empty room.
A griffon chick dove for the shattered window only to be met fullbody by a thick wall of Hellhound meat and fur. The two tumbled towards the ground in a spiral, and landed on Candy Apple’s magical cell. Blorf! The explosion of the magical barrier dumped all three in a pile of cake, fur, feathers, arcane goo, confused filly, and a single pristine cherry on top of it all. Ponies rushed from nearby buildings to check out the ruckus. Some stormed the building with the busted windows, armed and armored. And just when the pile of puzzled individuals were getting their bearings- Boomf! Dozens of colorful bits of paper fluttered in the air on the open street.
> player.placeatme “Lollipop” Yet another filly winked into existence and promptly plopped right onto agaist Emmy’s horn. The spire’s base rested between the girl’s pink thighs, and the point lay just past her neck. Her forelegs wrapped the horn in a limp caress. After a moment, she rocket off of Emmy’s head and grabbed hold of ceiling lamp. She swung slowly and rhythmically curled against the warm lamp. Light poured through her body as if she were made of jelly. Emmy’s stomach growled again. She looked up at the translucent pony. “Do you have- or are you made out of- anything I can eat?” “Like, sure. I always keep a couple mints in my tail. But I don’t think I’m made of anything tasty… I’ve never tasted myself.” A pair of triple-mint cubes fell into the frog of Emmy’s outreached hoof.
“Thank you.” She trilled a note of the 'ank’ in 'thank’, “And for that, I won’t toss you out the window.”
> player.placeatme “Food”
Another filly flopped onto Emmy’s back, then tumbled into the heap of office supplies.
“Too hungry. Don’t care.” And instead of doing anything rational, she collected this new filly on a starry magic dinner plate, charged down both of the doors she had closed before, tossed the Food out the window on the plate, and dove out the window to fly after it into the horizons. The window burst into flames. Orange and purple, flickering, glitchy licks of flame. And nothing else burned.
Lollipop eased the grip of her fore-hooves to slip down the lamp’s hangings. She leaned back, upside down and looked around the room to see where the other pony had gone. A pair of ponies barged into the gap where a door had been, both aiming well-worn energy weapons at the trouble maker. Of the pair, the mare opened her mouth to speak, but was waved down by the stallion. “You’re coming with us, thief.” “Like, ew. I’m totally not a thief!” She flicked her tail at the buck, but sprung from the lamp to the ground. Her wings brought her to the ground with a soft flutter. She obediently followed the mare to places unknown. It’s not like she had anything better to do. Anything is more interesting than history classes on repeat.