Gizmo is and Inventor from Stable 7 and he is bored. Not just hey lets go and have a party bored, no he wants and adventure. Which is what he gets when Spritzle Regen, his foalhood friend and him decide to leave the safety of their stable for an adventurous life out in the Wasteland! Follow Gizmo and Co. as they go out and search for weapons from a prevous time, weapons that let them remember exactly how the world they live in now, came to be.
“Why?” I asked the unicorn, with her light orange coat and dirty blond mane.
“Spritzle, how in the name of Luna do you expect me to make a solar powered watch? We’re in a Stable, possibly miles underground!”
Spritzle wasn’t the smartest mare in our Stable, but solar powered technology in an underground bunker with no access to the sun? Just plain stupid.
“Oh, but you know, I’m planning on leaving Stable 7 soon!” Spritzle exclaimed with a sense of excitement that was lost on me. She looked at me with her blue eyes, filled with ambitions, hopes, and dreams. Man, I hate those eyes.
“Okay, two things: One, you have a Pipbuck, like me, and it has a perfectly good watch without a need for solar power. Second, we don’t open the door, ever, for anypony, not even you, Spritz.”
I swear, sometimes it was like I was speaking with a foal. Spritzle walked away from my office with a disappointed huff. I, Gizmo Garren Gearturner (Nice name choices, Mom and Dad…) had no time for idiots who just wanted me to make them toys of some sort, or gifts for other ponies! I am an inventor, Luna dammit! I deserve to be treated with respect, not like some sort of social pariah that stays in his lab and tinkers the days away…
My office, Gearturner’s Gizmos, (“Need a way to make life easier? I’m your stallion!”) was cluttered with orders, all for toys and trinkets. I don’t do that, I am not a toy store, I am a scientist! I leaned back in my chair with a sigh.
“It’s so stressful and boring here.” I said out loud to nopony.
I had started to feel guilty; Spritzle was my foalhood friend, but if I didn’t keep her in line she will never learn from her mistakes! I mean how stupid is it to want to exit our safe, boring Stable and go to the outside, dangerous, exciting and lethal wasteland?
Actually, it would be pretty fun to go out there, it was certainly better than staying in here and rotting to death. I could test my new battle saddle, the lightweight model that requires no use of the mouth! All you do is hook it up to your hooves and click them together and it fires!
This is either one of the worst decisions of my life or one of the best. I would need to go and tell Spritzle about what we were going to do! She would be estactic! But… There was the problem of Nightshade.
Nightshade was a Pegasus foal here in Stable 7, one of few after a small scale revolt about 30 years back. Her mother was a terrible drunk after her dad died. She beats her almost everyday she comes home, and after Spritz and I became her friends, she tends to stay with us whenever she gets the chance.
“What am I going to do? We can’t take her with us, it’s too dangerous…” I said with a humph as I sat back into my chair. Instead of thinking the problem through like a smart pony, I looked at what I was packing.
My state of the art battle saddle, a new invention I had made that is a modification on our traditional Eyes Forward Sparkle, I called it Eyes Forward Gizmo. it allows me to not only see in the dark, but also it measures how much I am detected when sneaking, as well as measuring how hostile an enemy or friendly is, ranging the colors from forest green (very friendly) to crimson red (get the fuck away from) too bad I’m kinda Colorblind…
Nothing severe, I just confuse colors alot… I pressed a Button under my desk and smiled as the wall behind me swirled out to reveal a ton of monitors, all of which was a seemingly devoid wasteland. “Check droids 4, 10, and 7.” I commanded as the screen switched to three shots, two of which was just a sideways look at some ground. “Fuck, two more taken out.” I cursed almost silently.
I’m not a stupid pony, I knew someday either I or Spritzle would want to leave the Stable, so in preparation I made around 20 search droids to explore the outside. How you might ask did I get them out? Well you see, being a direct descendent of one of the lead Stable designers gives me some access to some let’s call them ‘back doors’. Many of my droids were dead, but I had collected enough information to make a new modification for my Pipbuck, the Wasteland Informational Almanac! I might just refer to it as W.I.A for a bit. But this thing had enough information for us not to die three steps out of the Stable, including sections like a bestiary, lists of towns nearby, and of course raider habits.
Spritzle had glanced over the bestiary before so she knew a few monsters, but I doubt she read anything more interesting than the rarest or most dangerous beasts.
It was getting late, but oddly enough I was wide awake! I was finally leaving this damned Stable! Nothing can stop the great inventor Gizmo Garren Gearturner! Nothing except a small filly named Nightshade, who had flown into me from behind and was in tears.
“G-g-Gizzymo! Momma is after me again, hide me!” she cried and I simply nodded, shoving her under my desk and hoped for the best.
“Where ish she?!” I heard the drunken slur of words that can only come from one unicorn, Alcrea. She came into my office with a bottle still levitating next to her. “Where is she you fucking peice of shit inventor?” she asked.
My smile was forced and if she had been sober she would have noticed my eye twitch in annoyance. “Nightshade? I think she finally left her poor excuse for a mother who can’t stay sober for more than 3 minutes and can’t help but find some poor stallion and invite him to be the foals next ‘daddy’.” I countered.
She gave me a stare then took a swig of her bottle. “Ahh fuck you! I don’t need her! I don’t even want her!” she said as she slumped out of my office and Nightshade came from my desk. Her tears stained in her beautiful dark purple fur. Her normally straight and long blue mane in a tangle. Her red eyes stared up at me with a sense of love.
“G-Gizzy… Thank you.” she said before crying into my chest. I petted her mane and kissed her head.
“It’ll be okay Shady. I’m here for you.” though I won’t be for much longer. I added in my head.
This will be a terrible experience, for her. I-I don’t think I’ll tell her we will be leaving, it’d break her heart, and I can’t handle that…
_ _ _ _
I had entertained thoughts of leaving the Stable 7 for a few days after my conversation with Spritzle. After a little internal debate, my logical side came out on top (as always).
I had made my decision: I was going to leave the Stable, and have Spritzle come with me. After all, she was going to leave anyways, wasn’t she?
_ _ _ _
“Sure! Just let me pack my things!” chortled Spritzle after I confided in her my plans to leave.
“Well, that was way easier then expected,” I thought to myself as she went to her room.
Spritzle and I really only had each other in the Stable. Neither of us had parents anymore, they had succumbed to old age some years back. I was a loner, and she dared to be my friend. Sadly, her rather ditsy nature had made her few other friends in the Stable.
I loaded up my Pipbuck’s inventory management spell. Battle-saddle prototype, check, bandages and health potions, check, canteen, check, and a full week’s worth of provisions, check. I switched onto Stable 7’s broadcast station, and listened to the Overmare’s voice for what may have been the last time.
“Remember, my little ponies, in Stable 7, we all have to try to be our best; somepony may be a good teacher, and somepony else may be a great garbage incinerator. All that matters is that we do our best and make life easier for our fellow Stable residents.”
I shut off the radio. I had heard enough of that load of horseapples.
_ _ _ _
“Alrighty! I’m ready to go!” Spritzle trotted out of her room carrying two saddlebags adorned with pink butterfly stickers and oddly enough, more than a few stickers that looked like mushrooms. Each bag was weighted down with dozens of health potions and packages of bandages.
“You seem awfully prepared,” I noted.
“Well you never know what you’re gonna face out there,” Spritzle said excitedly, “We could face some really mean ponies, or maybe even a manticore!”
I shuddered at the thought. I was no fighter, all I had was my wits and a lightweight battle-saddle capable of delivering hot lead into my target’s face from a couple hundred trot-lengths away. If I could shoot it, that was. I was a work in progress when it came to marksmanship.
_ _ _ _
Spritzle and I stood at the door of Stable 7 with lumps in our throats. Stable 7 had been pretty lax with it’s security, only posting one guard pony near the door, one whom Spritzle talked away with some bone-headed claim about a fight in the classroom. I had to give Spritzle some credit, sometimes an effective liar wasn’t the most eloquent one.
I approached the control panel for the Stable door. One lever-pull, and the door would swing open, a process that upon observing the door itself, I imagined was very noisy and not very fast.
“Are you ready?” I asked Spritzle, hoof on the lever.
“You bet I am!” she exclaimed. “Let’s get out of here, we’ve got a world to explore!”
I admit, her enthusiasm will never cease to impress me. I swallowed hard, my thoughts heavy with the knowledge of just what I was leaving behind.
“Oh wait, I’m not actually leaving behind anything.” I mused, knowing that the only thing in this Stable I cared about was right next to me, ready to follow my lead out of this place.
I pulled the lever and stepped back from the control panel. The door slid out of position, and ground back on it’s track, screeching loudly. Spritzle and I put our hooves to our ears. The door rolled on it’s gears, and off to the side. Spritzle and I stepped through the threshold, and into the darkness.
_ _ _ _
Spritzle and I stumbled our way off the metal grating in front of the Stable entrance, desperately seeking some manner of light.
An epiphany struck Spritzle before it did me.
“Duh! Lemme just turn on my Pipbuck’s light!” she said joyously. She pressed and held a button on her Pipbuck, and a dull green ligh illuminated the cavern. Well, what I had taken for a cavern, that was.
We were in a sewer, no doubt about it. The stench of decay and other assorted foulness assaulted my nostrils, forcing me to double over in disgust. After my fit of retching was over, I lifted my gaze down the passageway. It was made of concrete, with a veritable moat of waste gently flowing down it’s center. There was an identical concrete walkway on the other side of the waste river.
“Ew,” whispered Spritzle, a champion of understatement.
“We’d best to get to finding our way out of this piss-hole,” I uttered.
“You know it Giz, this place is gross with a capital G.”
_ _ _ _
After what felt like hours wandering the dank and stench-filled sewers, a thought came to my mind that I just had to mention to Spritzle.
“Hey, Spritz, why in Equestria would they build the entrance to a Stable at the bottom of a sewer? Think about it, who’d want to flee for their lives, and possibly be caught in a blaze of balefire in a sewer?”
“It is pretty icky,” she replied, “this is probably the last place I would want to caught in with dozens of other ponies fleeing for their lives.”
I started to think that the ponies behind Stable-Tec had a pretty sick sense of humor, or were very strapped for good Stable locations. I brought up my Pipbuck’s auto-mapping spell, and breathed a mighty sigh . “Spritz, does this wall of concrete look familiar to the one we passed a few hours ago?” I queried.
“Maybe, after a while though, they’re all starting to look the same.” she sighed.
“Well, my dear, that’s because they are the same. We’ve been going in circles.”
I showed her my Pipbuck’s map, upon which a large O was drawn around our current location.
“I think it’s time we re-thought our plan for getting out of this Goddess-forsaken place. I think we should just head in one direction until we can’t go any further, and hope that we’ll eventually hit the side of this sewer, then follow that wall until we find some kind of ladder.”
“Ooh, good idea, Giz,” she said excitedly, “It’s a good thing I’ve got you here, I’d be lost in this place for ages if I came out here all alone.”
I couldn’t help agreeing with her.
_ _ _ _
We both agreed we’d head east until we hit a wall. We had wandered for maybe thirty more minutes, until we struck gold. Well, concrete gold that was. We’d found a passageway that led only north and south, and didn’t seem to have any turns. Our celebration would be short-lived though. A red dot appeared on my Pipbuck’s Eyes-Forward-Sparkle, a spell for keeping direction and detecting hostiles.
“Do you see it too, Spritz?” I whispered.
“Do you want to try and go around it?”
“Gizzy, we don’t really have any way of going around it.”
Luna dammit, she was right. We were on the side of the sewer, and the turn we made to get on this stretch of wall was minutes behind us.
“I…I think we’re going to have to fight it, whatever it is. Stay here, I don’t want you to get hurt.” I said.
“Okay, Giz, whatever you think is best.”
_ _ _ _
I loaded my battle-saddle with a clip of low caliber rounds. Side note: my unique model of battle-saddle could hold and fire more than one caliber of ammunition; anything from a lowly 32 caliber round up to the mighty .308 round chambered for sniper rifles.
I swallowed as I neared the hostiles location a ways up the passage. I gazed around in the dimly lit passage for a sign of movement. Seeing none, I called out.
“Anypony there? I’m Gizmo Gearturner, legendary inventor, and I don’t mean you any harm!” I waited for a response and got none.
“O…Okay then! Here I come! I’ve got a battle-saddle and I’m not afraid to use it!” I tried to sound brave, but the wavering in my voice told another story.
I trotted up the walkway, nearing the hostile that I still had yet to even see. I gulped as I came closer and closer, but then stopped in shock.
I had passed it! I gazed at my E.F.S., and saw that they were now behind me! I had gone right past them, and I didn’t even see. I started back in their direction.
Now, I was mere meters away from their location. I broke out into a sweat, and looked intently down the wall, finally meeting a pair of tiny eyes. The creature was the size of a parasprite, and it walked on all fours.
I used my Stable-Assisted-Targeting-Spell (or S.A.T.S.) to get a better look at it. Stopping time and zooming in, I observed that the bug had six legs, each one offering a different targeting opportunity, and it had a shiny orange carapace of a back, and a tiny head bearing two antennae. S.A.T.S. labeled it “Radroach” I slipped out of S.A.T.S. and sighed. I was so worked up over a little radiation-affected cockroach. I trotted up to it, raised my hoof, and brought it down on the whelp.
_ _ _ _
“Didja get them?” Spritzle squeaked as I trotted back to her.
“You bet I did, now you can call me Sir Gizmo Gearturner, the mighty slayer of radroaches!”
“A rada-whatsit?” questioned Spritzle.
“It was just a bug, Spritz! I stepped on a bug! We got all worked up over a little bug!”
Spritzle fell to the ground in laughter.
“Hehe, Gizmo, you’re my hero! Saving me from the scary bugs of the sewer! I’ve got some good news for you Giz, I found the way out!”
I did a double-take. “How?”
“Look at your Pipbuck, Gizzy.” she commanded.
“What am I looking for?”
“Look at the time!” she said, hint of song in her voice.
The clock on my Pipbuck read 9:07 AM.
Reading it back to her, I responded, “So? What does it mean? It’s morning.”
“Look!” she pointed down the passage.
A small shaft of light was coming down through the ceiling of the sewer. I couldn’t believe it. A shaft of pure light, like a gift from Celestia herself, beaming into the dark and musty tunnels. We might actually make it out of this hellhole after all, I thought to myself. Spritzle began a joyful bounce towards the exit. Quite literally; she bounced, skipped, leaped, and jumped for quite a while. Her energy amazed me. How somepony could be so energetic and happy in a time like this, after crawling through muck and darkness for hours on end was astounding.
“Yay!” she cheered, “Look Giz, we’re gonna make it!”
“Indeed,” I sighed. Any place in all of Equestria was better better than here.
_ _ _ _
I may have spoke to soon.
Spritzle and I poked our heads cautiously out of the manhole, and took in our surroundings. We were in a metropolitan area for sure, skyscrapers soared above us. I got a sense of vertigo just looking at them. I hope we never had to climb up one of those behemoths.
Crashed sky-wagons littered the road, some still lit with small fires. I could make out the charred skeleton of a pony or two inside of them. Rubble was strewn about, covering every square inch of the road we were now standing in with rocks. We kicked them as we trotted along the byway.
“So, Gizmo, what are we looking for?” asked Spritzle after a few hundred meters.
I admit, I didn’t have a good answer for her. I really wanted test out my battle-saddle on something, but I thought that if I fired a single round in this concrete jungle, I could attract the attention of somepony (or something) that I didn’t need. So, I was a little but stumped.
“I don’t know, Spritz, I’d like to meet some friendly ponies or something.” I replied.
“Well,” she said, “What about them?”
She pointed a hoof down the street. At the corner, around a fire lit in a barrel, were three ponies; after I zoomed in with S.A.T.S., I saw that the trio was made up of a unicorn and two earth ponies. My S.A.T.S. labeled them with green. Friendlies. The unicorn had a gray coat and an alarmingly red mane, her two earth pony companions had orange coats, and white manes. I guessed that they were related somehow. Loading my battle-saddle, I began trotting towards them.
“Stop!” yelled the unicorn, “Who the hay do you think you are?”
She drew out a pistol and held it aloft with her magic. Her companions drew knives out of their packs, and turned towards me. I considered my possibilities; I could just slip into S.A.T.S. And line up a few head-shots, BLAMBLAMBLAM, and it’s over with. But I wasn’t somepony to jump the gun like that. I chose diplomacy.
“I am Gizmo Gearturner,” I shouted back, “And this is my friend Spritzle!”
“Hiya!” Spritzle shouted cheerfully.
“Whaddya think, Maxie?” said one of the orange-coated twins, “Do you want Slice and I to run ‘em through yet?”
Maxie, the unicorn gave a soft reply, “No no, not yet. Let’s see what they have to say. What are you doing wandering alone in the Manehattan ruins?” she yelled.
I lowered the grip on my battle-saddle’s rein, and told her our story.
_ _ _ _
“…and then I crushed a radroach and climbed the ladder out of there.” I concluded, “We’re really glad you all didn’t shoot at us, but would you happen to know where we could find any more friendly ponies?”
“Yeah,” Maxie responded, “But it’s going to cost you for the information.”
Of course, I thought, there had to be a catch.
“Look, it’s nothing big,” she said with a sigh, “Slice, Dice, and I were scavenging around some ruins yesterday when we were ambushed by raiders. Slice and Dice’s brother, Chop, got lost while we were fleeing those sick bastards. We have no idea if he’s still alive. If you can bring him back, or,” she paused, “Or tell us if we should keep mourning, we’ll point you towards the nearest friendly settlement.”
Ouch. Losing a stranger was bad enough, but your sibling? I looked at the orange-coated brothers. They were visibly tired, their eyes bloodshot after numerous tears had been shed.
“Okay, we’ll do it. Spritzle, we’re going on a rescue mission.”
_ _ _ _
Twilight was falling as we trotted to the south, bathing the skyscrapers in shades of soft blue and orange. Red dots on my E-F-S came and went, marking hostile after hostile as hours wore on. Luckily, Spritzle and I had avoided any confrontation on the way to our destination: The Manehattan Garden Hotel.
“Do you think we can save him?” queried Spritzle.
“I hope so,” I replied, “I can’t imagine what Slice and Dice must be going through. Losing somepony you love must be awful.” “We’ll find him,” I said with an unearned sense of heroism, “We owe it to them for not shooting us on sight. I doubt these raider ponies will be as kind.”
_ _ _ _
Night had fallen by the time we reached the Manehattan Garden Hotel. The tower grew about 20 stories into the night sky, and a small balcony wrapped around the uppermost floor. Almost every window was shattered, and the granite facade was crumbling. Rubble gathered around the entrance.
“Spritz?” I asked, “Do you have any way of protecting yourself should I not be around to shoot these bad ponies?”
“Sure do!” She drew a small pistol from her saddle-bags, and held it in her hoof. “I found this by a skeleton in the sewers while you were squashing that nasty radroach. I think it belonged to a police-pony.” “Can you shoot it?” I asked.
“Uh-huh!” She took the pistol in her muzzle, took aim at a stop sign a few yards away, and fired.
BLAM! The round struck the sign near the edge, but she did manage to hit it. Odd, I had taken her for a pacifist pony.
“Alright then, no more of that unless the rest of your ammo is going into a raider pony’s hide.” I said.
_ _ _ _
In retrospect, testing Spritzle’s shooting skills outside wasn’t the best move. When we snuck our way into the hotel, I could hear somepony a floor above me speaking in hushed tones.
“Who the fuck would go around shooting at this time of night?” she whispered rudely, “Did Splatter go out filly-hunting again?”
Oh yuck, I thought. These ponies were such a fun bunch.
“Okay, Spritz, we need to be very quiet. These ponies will not hesitate to kill us if we give them a chance. We need to be stealthy, and try to find Chop as soon as possible. Follow my lead, please, and we’re going to try to keep out of their way.” I said in a whisper.
“Okie-dokie-loki,” she whispered.
My plan of action was to follow blood trails as we found them. One had to lead to Chop, either bleeding out, or already dead. I spotted one near a staircase, and signaled to Spritzle to follow. I could tell the raider pony and her companion had gone away from their speaking spot, possibly upstairs.
I prayed to Celestia that we wouldn’t have to ascend more than a few stories to find Chop. I don’t think I could handle being anywhere near the tenth floor, or Luna forbid, that balcony. The sense of vertigo made me queasy.
_ _ _ _
A dead end. The trail we followed from the staircase and up to the second floor ended in a supply closet. I gulped. Of course it wouldn’t be that easy.
I looked around. The hallway was lined with a moldy red carpet, and peeling wallpaper covered the wall. Long-dead potted plants were knocked over at the end of the hall. Numbered doors, starting with 200, and descending as the hallway went on. I counted ten rooms.
“Alright Spritz, we need to check all of these rooms. We have no idea where Chop could be, and we need to be thorough.” I opened the door to room number 200. A stench of decay and mold permeated the air, and I suppressed a gag. The room had a suite layout: a small kitchen was to my right, a bed in the corner, and a door to a bathroom on the far wall. The same drab, yellow wallpaper was in this room, and cheap linoleum covered the kitchen area floor. The collapsed bed was covered with dust, and the window was broken (a design trend that I’m sure was to continue as we explored); but other than that, nothing was in the room.
I gave the room a quick once over, searching the carpet. Nothing but some cigarette ashes, and a pan in the kitchen. “Okay Spritz, we nee-” I stopped and looked around the room in disbelief. No Spritzle. “Spritzle!” I whispered as loudly as possible without attracting attention.
“I’m over here!” came her quiet reply from the hall.
I trotted out of the room. “Spritz! Why didn’t you follow me?”
“Not so loud,” she scolded, “Look what I found!”
She handed me a tattered note. It read in black markings and blood; S, D, I’ve made my way back to room 181, where we held up earlier. I’ve got supplies, I can last, but these fucking raiders just won’t quit! - C Good boy, Chop.
_ _ _ _
We made our way up to the third floor. Rooms 189 through 181 stretched down the hall.
A gunshot echoed from the end of the hallway. Room 181. A white-coated earth pony covered with bloody and spike-covered armor fell out the door, blood seeping from his chest. Spritzle and I quickened our pace down the hall.
“How’d ya like that, ya fucker?” rang out a voice from inside the room. Chop’s; I assumed.
“Chop?” I yelled, my back to the wall of room 181.
“Who’s there?” came the response, “I swear, if you fucking raiders found my brothers and Maxie, I’ll rip your hearts out and make you eat them!”
“No! Slice and Dice sent us! We’re here to rescue you from all these raiders!”
“It’s about fucking time!” he chortled, “Come on in, we need to get our escape plan ready!”
_ _ _ _
The orange-coated stallion laid out the plan. “Okay, going up is out of the question. There’s no need to, and there are only more of these bastards as we ascend. They’ve been hearing me pop off shots every once in a while, but they must think I’m no threat because they’ve only sent two ponies to come and kill me. You just saw number two get a slug in the chest moments before you came in the save the day. Now, I know there’s going to be more coming down in a minute. I can hear the fuckers above me planning. Idiots.”
Very resourceful, I thought. We could use somepony like this on our travels throughout Manehattan.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” asked Spritzle, breaking the silence, “We need to get you back to your brothers!”
I nodded in agreement. “Let’s go, Chop.”
We poked our heads out the door of room 181, and looked down the hall towards the stairs. I could hear more than one raider descending the steps.
“Oh, mister bad-ass gunslinger pony thinks he can just get away? Well, fuck you! We’re coming down to kick your sorry ass and feed you some of your own innards!”
Classy. “Look!” I shouted, “There’s no need for anypony else to get killed!” Since when did I become the diplomat?
I continued negotiating. “We’re just trying to get Chop back to his brothers! Try and stop us, and you’ll get a bullet in the brain pan!”
“Just fucking try it!” shouted the blue-coated unicorn descending the stairs, wielding a rifle covered with blood. He loaded six rounds in the chamber.
“This little bitch killed two of my men,” he continued, “He owes me a couple of rounds in his head if he thinks he’s gonna just get aw-”
Chop interrupted his rant with a bullet to the unicorn’s face. Blood splattered across the ponies trotting down the stairs behind him.
“RUN!” he shouted.
_ _ _ _
We collapsed in the lobby of the hotel exhausted, and took cover behind the front desk.
“Okay, we killed their leader, I hope,” panted Chop, “We just need to mop up the stragglers, and we’re home free.”
Easier said than done. A half-dozen raiders were in hot pursuit, and came crashing down the stairs into the lobby. “Let’s kill this son of a bitch!” one of them screamed.
“We’ve got one shot at ending this easily. Gizmo, that’s your name, right? I need you and your mare-friend to pop off a few rounds and try to get these bastards into a corner.”
I face-hoofed. “She’s not my mare-f-” my rebuttal was cut short when a bullet struck the desk, inches from my head. “Spritz, help me out!”
I flung myself around the edge of the desk on the opposite side of the stairs, and unloaded a clip from my battle-saddle in the general direction of the raiders.
“Get him!” one shouted. The group began shooting at me as I ducked back behind the desk. Now it was Spritzle’s turn. She lifted her head above the desk, and shot a few rounds at the group.
“Oh fu-” one yelped, “There’s another! Everypony, on me! Group up, we need to watch our backs, don’t let them flank us, and keep an eye on the one with the fucking battle-saddle!”
Perfect. They were falling right into our trap. I shot Chop a glance, he nodded, and pulled out a metal apple. He twisted off the stem if you will, and chucked it over the desk, right next to the stairwell where our unfortunate foes had gathered. I rolled a few feet, and a raider pony screamed.
“SHIT! EVERYPONY FOR THEMSLEVES!”
A deafening roar ripped through the lobby.
------------- Level up!
Pest Control: Your epic slaying of insects gives you an advantage over other bugs! You gain 10% more damage when in S.A.T.S. against incectoid enemies!
Technological Royalty: You are decent from some of the greatest minds that had existed in Equestria! You gain +5 in Repair, Science, and Energy Weapons.
Companion added: Spritzle
Ignorance is Bliss: By staying with your foalhood friend Spritzle you gain an extra 33 points to use in S.A.T.S.! But you lose 10 points in your Science skill, sorry about your luck.
(Hi everyone, welcome to ‘Fallout Equestria: Reverence of the End’. I’d like to say thanks to my wonderful editor and co-author My Little Nerdy. going with that name until he tells me his google docs username. Well, I’d perfer to be known as the owner of the ask Gizmo blog on Tumblr, but that aint happening, so just call me NitoKa. It’s a short version of my Google Docs name. I really hoped you all enjoyed the first chapter and apologize for any inconsistancies and my terrible spelling down here, i need more editors. Dont worry if Gizmo seems over powered right now because he is and that will be fixed very very soon. I’m looking forward to gaining fans and such, also any artists please contact me at my tumblr http://askgizmo.tumblr.com/ if you want to make a cover art for our submission to Equestria Daily, which might be after a few chapters becausei dont want to just be lumped in with the rest of the Fallout Equestria stories. Damn, this is a long author’s note, get used to these i guess, i like to talk. I hope you enjoyed once again and look forward to more chapters! We also need someone to make a page for us to put our chapters into...)
Nitori Kawashiro: Hey, i do need artists and editor's for this if you please! Direct any offers to the Tumblr account at the bottom
“A smart pony would have just turned around, said 'there is no way I'm doing this.' and trotted back to their Stable and beg forgiveness of their Overmare. It's a good thing I'm not a smart pony."
The deafening boom almost took out my hearing as I hid behind the desk in the reception area.
“What the hell!?” I screamed and looked over at Chop. He gave me a nonchalant shrug and looked towards the remaining raiders, and what bloody stumps of ponies were they. Not a single one was left, they had all been too stunned by our new friend’s rash actions, as were we.
“Giz, are you all right?” I heard Spritzle call out to me not too far away. I looked around and found her behind the desk, clutching her pistol for dear life. I chuckled and patted her head, with the raider threat over we relaxed.
"Wow, you two sure can survive." Chop complimented over to us. Spritzle smiled and popped out of her hiding spot.
"Gee, thanks Chop! You're good at chucking that metal pomegranate!" she said as I deadpanned at her comment of the grenade.
"Spritz, that was a grenade, not a metal pomegranate." I explained to her, to which she shook her head and smiled.
"Gizzy, you taught me Prench! Grenade means pomegranate," she guffawed and waved her hoof at me, "and I thought you were smart." she giggled.
"I-I am smart! But Spritz, this is the Wasteland, I doubt Prance even exists anymore!" I retorted. She just giggled and trotted away as Chop came up to me.
"Now that you're done with that your little argument, let's talk about getting me back to my family." He patted my shoulder and I winced. I noticed that a small amount of shrapnel had gotten lodged in my shoulder, leaving a rather small but painful wound.
“What the hell? I didn't even feel it until Chop touched it...' I thought to myself and nodded to Chop.
"Yeah, let's go." I said as Spritzle came back bouncing towards us as usual. She kept with her chorus of singing my mistakes. I didn't mind it, it was rather nice to have somepony this happy in a wasteland like this.
After we returned Chop to his family, they had given us a few caps for our worries and bullets for our enemies. They also pointed us in the direction of a Manehatten settlement, Herald. We thanked them and went on our way.
"Hey Giz?" Spritzle looked to me as we were a good distance away.
"Yeah?" I answered.
"Do you think we'll meet any new friends?" she asked as I chuckled. It was a 50/50 chance at best.
"Maybe, I hope so, we need all the firepower we can get." I smiled.
"What are we going to do out here anyways?" she asked. I stopped in my tracks and thought about that.
What were we going to do out here? We don't have any sort of quest or meaning to our escape from our Stable, it was a selfish choice. We left because we wanted to, nothing forced us. Not to mention our supplies were well stocked, better than most in the Wasteland. I started walking again.
"I don't know. I guess we'll travel until we have a purpose." I answered cryptically. Before Spritzle could retort, a radio signal was picked up by my Pipbuck.
"Help... Rother and I have been held up in the Manehatten Public Library for two days now. Anypony in the wasteland that has a heart... Help... *message repeats*"
I looked to Spritzle as my Pipbuck added the Manehatten Public Library to our map and we started our trot to it.
We came up near the library and noticed a surprising lack of enemies. "Why would they need help? It looks barren." I commented.
"Maybe the enemies are all inside?" Spritz inquired.
I simply nodded in agreement as we made our way up the steps and inside.
The inside was well...ruined. Books were strewn across the floor and several seemed scorched beyond repair. There were numerous bodies on the floor, bodies of ponies with flesh peeling off their faces, their eyes full of animal instinct. Fortunately they seemed dead.
"W-what are they?" Spritzle asked unsure from behind me.
I opened my W.I.A. And it pinged in recognition of the creature in front of us.
"Species: Ghoul. Variant: Feral.” the robotic voice droned on, “After the megaspells dropped, many ponies survived the blast but suffered an extreme amount of magical radiation that effected them, their bodies changed into a zombie-like state. Many Ghouls are friendly although, the Feral Ghoul is one who has lost it's sanity. Sadly, this is bound to happen to all Ghouls, no matter how old or strong of will they may be."
The voice stopped. I looked down the hall of the library and noticed that as dark as it was, I discerned that there had been fire there, rather fresh as the Ghouls bodies were burned also.
"Spritz let's go, maybe we can find the source of the radio signal." I said as Spritzle simply nodded with her pistol drawn in the air, ready for an enemy.
We continued down the hall until we made our way to a large room which lay empty. I looked at several of the books on the floor and noticed some were actually in readable condition! I looked into the horror short story section and saw a classic, “Cupcakes”. I pocketed the book then trotted up the steps to the second floor.
And at the top, I saw a sleek black pegasus. His mane was scarlet, as was his muzzle. He was larger than me, and his wings seemed to have some sort of nozzles on them, three on each wing. He scowled and opened his wings, seemingly into a battle stance.
"Who are you?!" he demanded in a loud voice. As he opened his wings, I noticed his cutie mark, a flaming comet.
"I-I am Gizmo Gearturner, and inventor from Stable 7." I stuttered out, afraid, "And down there is my friend Spritzle Regen." His eyebrows raised when I mentioned my being and inventor.
"Inventor? Hey, sis!" he called behind him, letting his guard down. A lavender unicorn with a long blue mane stepped out from a back room. Her face was twisted in an annoyed mood, but it was still rather attractive. She wore a small pair of glasses, a square set, with rounded edges, and behind them was a pair of bright light brown eyes, that seemed to be examining everything around her.
"For Celestia's sake Pyre! You don't call me out when you still don't even know if this grungy stallion is telling the truth!" she scolded. She shook her head in disapproval, and I noticed a thin white streak in her mane.
"Sorry Sis! He said he was an inventor, so I thought you could talk gadgets and tinkering with him." he blushed in embarrassment from being scolded by his sister in front of another pony.
She scoffed and tsked in disappointment. "Just because he says he's an inventor doesn't mean he actually is, nor does it mean he is any good at it!" she scolded and turned to me. "Well then, Guzmo, was it? If you're an inventor, show me what you can do." she demanded and levitated a bag of parts out.
I smirked, "It's Gizmo and I accept you challenge Ms...?" I waved my hoof to emphasize my point of wanting to learn her name.
"Innocent, Innocent Mustang. That's my brother Roy "Pyre" Mustang." she said, keeping a watchful eye on me. I removed my battle saddle and took a look at the parts. Many of them were burnt out and only useful for scrap metal. But I found a few I could assemble into a simple gun modification. I pulled out a small pistol I had found back in our hotel escapades. I worked for all of 10 minutes on it and showed Innocent my finished product. The pistol now had a flash light installed on it's underside.
"Is that it?" she asked. I shook my head as I applied a energy pack to a small indentation in the side of the pistol and flipped a switch with my tongue. I fired and a small laser beam discharged instead of a bullet. I set the pistol down.
"I call it the Paradox. I modified it so that it can accept 10mm ammo and small energy packs, although now it isn't as strong as either weapon, but it's better than nothing if you run out of one type of ammo," I explained as Innocent stared wide eyed in amazement. "think I'm the real deal now?" I chuckled as Pyre came up and patted Innocent in the head, mimicking my chuckle.
"Wow Sis! Looks like he might be even better than you!" he laughed as Spritzle finally came up and noticed our little party. She pulled out four bottles of Sparkle cola and levitated two of them to our new friends. Pyre gripped it and started chugging it down, and Innocent closed her mouth only to open it and drink the cola. I pocketed mine for later.
"So then, you two sent the distress message?" I asked. Pyre then finished his cola with a belch and waved his hoof. "We're okay now, just had a run in with some Feral Ghouls. We smoked them...yesterday? The only reason we're still here is for Sis to hack a difficult terminal. She thinks there might be some old info on a certain weapon we're looking for." he finished and looked to Innocent, who had begun her journey back to the back room.
"It's more like a few weapons actually... a set." he pulled a small book from his saddlebags, titled 'The Goddess's Weapons.' and set it in front of me.
"In this book it states that right when the war started and the ministry mares were assigned, they started making a super weapon for each of the ministries. A few of them like Applejack and Fluttershy, opted for armor instead of weapons. But the point is, each of them had a special weapon to help win the war, but they were never used." he paused, taking a breath.
"The princesses even made themselves a pair of weapons, supposedly embedded with the power of the sun and moon within." he looked around for some reason and leaned in to whisper. "Then the god of chaos, Discord, still trapped in stone, caught wind of these projects, and he embedded a small amount of power of his own into a handgun, a puny 9mm pistol. Maybe it was a joke to put the power of chaos into a wimpy-ass pistol, but he also managed to hide that." he looked up, his long scarlet mane moving just slightly.
"So me and my Sis are going to find them, and help fix up Equestria from slavers like Red Eye, and maybe help out in Hoofington." he smiled brightly. "Yah can't give up hope in a world like today." he said with a sort of philosophical wisdom.
"So you were hoping there was a lead here in the library terminals?" Spritzle asked. He nodded.
"The Ministry of Magic's leader, Miss Twilight Sparkle left a lot of her trust in the libraries, and she might have left a few letters to the head librarian about her weapon, something called Dusk Breaker." he explained.
We heard a frustrated scream from the back room. "Luna fuck my ass with great moon craters!" Innocent cursed. "I'm fucking locked out!" she screamed. I simply walked into the small room and went to the terminal. I pulled out a wrench and screwdriver then unscrewed the back. I worked a little bit, then flipped the power switch on the terminal. Not only was no longer locked, but also didn't require a password.
"I can't hack them, but as soon as you get locked out, I can fix that." I smiled gently to Innocent who blushed from the embarrassment of this random buck besting her.
"T-thanks." she mumbled as she looked at the files, specifically at the file named 'duskbreaker.odt'. She pulled out a small Pipbuck and plugged into to the terminal. The file was transferred to her Pipbuck and she disconnected from it, walked to the door and up to Pyre. "Let's go, we need to make it back to Herald so I can decipher this document. Maybe we can get a small hint towards where Dusk Breaker is." she stated and started for the door.
"Wait!" I said, and Innocent turned to me. "We're heading to Herald too. We also don't have any idea on what to do around here, do you mind if we come with you and your brother to find these weapons?" I asked hopeful. Innocent attempted to shoot down my hopes.
"You just came from a Stable and helped us once. We don't know anything about your combat ability or how medically useful you are."
"I was one of the leading medics in our Stable." Spritzle joined in. "I can name all the right drugs to use for healing, anesthetic, and poisoning purposes." she said.
"Still, why should we trust you? How do we know you won't just take the weapon, shoot us in the back and run?" she countered.
"Because, I'm not that dumb. Obviously if we found one weapon, we would seek the other ones, and you seem to be the only ponies around who know where they might be." I said. It wasn't a strong argument, but it held as Pyre flew up beside Innocent.
"Aww come on, Innocent, they seem good enough." he said with a smile to us.
"You're just saying that because they gave you soda." she said to him.
"While that does indeed play a large part in how much I trust these ponies, it's not the only reason. Look in their eyes." he said looking into mine. "They haven't even killed a pony yet." he stated, which surprised both me and Spritzle. He was right, Chop had really been doing all the killing back at the Hotel, we didn't lift a hoof to help. Innocent looked at our eyes and sighed.
"You're right Pyre... I guess we can bring them along." she gave and and I gave a silent cheer while Spritzle gave a much more audible one.
"Yay! New friends and an adventure!!!!" she yelled and hopped down the steps.
"Little bottle of energy isn't she?" Pyre asked with a muffled sigh.
I copied his expression. "Yeah, but hey, somepony has to stay cheerful." I said with a shrug.
"So... you and her?" Pyre clopped his front hooves together.
My eyes widened a bit as I realized what he was insinuating. "W-what?! Me and Spritz? No, no. We're foalhood friends!" I said. He just chuckled and shook his head.
"Well so was me and my first marefriend, Ayro. Man she was a beautiful earth pony, her long cerulean mane, her yellow eyes." he went off on a tangent, "But Sis and I had to leave our hometown a while back. We both agreed to find another love and we went our separate ways." he smiled solemnly. "So I don't think it would be wrong for you and that Spritzle mare to be together."
I shook my head. "Sorry no, I see her as a sister more than a mare." It was true, although I would be lying if I said I never had fantasized about Spritzle and I. I felt my cheeks grow hot as the blood went to them, I stopped my daydream and shook my head. "Besides, it would be terrible for my gene pool. Spritz and I are from the same Stable, we have maybe four or five generations of ancestors before we are related, so I'm afraid that disqualifies her." I stated matter-of-factually.
Pyre simply nodded, silently agreeing that that was the most he would get out of me on the subject.
We had left the library and started our trek to Herald. Pyreand I had taken to discussing certain aspects of mares, much like males should. I heard a little of what Spritz and Innocent were talking about and it seemed to be something along the lines of how annoying it was to travel alone with a stallion.
We found our way to the gates of Herald, which seemed to be a settlement built around and inside of an old pre-war theater. The guard, an earth pony wearing pre-war down combat armor, stopped us with a pistol in his mouth. "Hahlt, jrop ur weaphons." he said before spitting out his pistol.
"Drop any weapons you have and leave them with us." he demanded. We all complied and I got to see how the contraption Pyre wore was taken off. Innocent unhooked the nozzles from his wings and took them off from a tank on his back. Under it I saw a red streak lining his back. I also noticed Innocent's cutie mark, a golden bell.
We set down what we had and the guard waved us in. "Welcome to Herald, please don't fight, incinerate, or disembowel anypony while you're here." he smirked as we walked by him.
The inside seemed about as normal as a wasteland settlement could be, ponies wandering between charred houses and small buildings. I saw the main theater building and a couple signs pointing to it. The signs indicated that the main building seemed to hold some stores and the local bar, as well as an inn. I started walking towards it when Innocent grabbed me with her magic. "Where do you think you're going? We need to get to Pyre and I's house." she ordered, pulling me along.
I followed along carelessly, and as we arrived in the house I noticed it was slightly larger than most of the other homes. “Hey, how did you two afford a home like this anyways?” I asked curiously. Pyre turned to me.
“We became bounty hunters after some years, and we boy, did we hunt our way up to earn enough caps to buy ourselves a home.” He smiled as he let us in with a smile and a glance to Innocent. She simply went upstairs and closed the door to a room I presumed to be hers.
Spritzle collapsed on a couch in the middle of the room. “Ahh, so comfy!” She sighed as she curled into a ball on the sofa.
“Yeah, well you two are more than welcome to stay here for the night, after all, we are traveling buddies.” Pyre said as he went into another room on the ground floor and closed the door, leaving Spritz and I to ourselves.
“Well Spritz, what do you think?” I asked.
“Think of what Gizzy?” she replied.
“Well, our new companions. After all, it's not often you see too many inventors, or a pegasus.”
She nodded, “Well, Innocent is really nice and fun! She told me the best ways to stop a male dead in his tracks! So watch out Gizzy!” She teased and I chuckled.
“As sure as I am of that Spritz, we need our rest, tomorrow will be a new day, and with that, we continue our adventure.” I stated as I laid down and slowly drifted off to sleep.
Dreams are an odd thing; supposedly they are a compilation of memories from the last month or so, with some trippy imaginative sequences peppered in. But when you dream and something new shows up, something that you have never even imagined, that's when dreams become more than memories. That's when you start to question dreams from reality.
I stared at the image frozen in my dream-vision. Once, twice, thrice over it appeared and remained. It looked like me. But everything seemed wrong, it was if I was looking at somepony impersonating me.
"You gonna keep staring? If so I think I could do a little jig for you." the vision quipped with a chuckle and a wink.
"W-what are you?" I asked. He seemed to look straight through me. He circled around.
"I am a part of you, something deeper inside, hidden from everything. Hidden, until you came to the Wastes." he smiled and held out his hoof. "Garren Gizmo Gearturner," he introduced himself.
My jaw dropped. "You expect me to believe my great-great-great-great-Grandfather is inside my head?!" I yelled whilst shaking his hoof politely.
"No and yes. You are a stallion of science Gizmo, just like I. But what I expect you to believe is that I am here in your dream-scape. Anything can happen in a dream." he pointed out. I stood there, stunned, musing over his point.
"S-so, what did you want to talk about?" I asked.
He quickly chucked. "Absolutely nothing. There is nothing to talk about... Yet." he said and began trotting away.
"Hey!" I galloped after him, but I could only keep the distance between us, never catching up. "What do you mean yet?!"
He turned, suddenly looking a lot older, like a worn stallion who had seen too much. "Gizmo, you will find some things about me, and I hope that you do not travel the path I traveled. Find that pony that you are meant for, and pray they accept you. And when you do, don't question it, it will only lead to pain." he turned and begun trotted away again.
I didn't follow, but instead sat down and looked around my bleak, endless surroundings. I closed my eyes and felt light envelop me.
I awoke in a cold sweat. It was still dark, Spritzle was asleep on the couch while I had slept on a small hay bed. I got up and saw light creeping through the ceiling, and heard work from upstairs. I checked my Pipbuck's clock: 3:36 A.M. Innocent was still working? That'd be dumb. I trotted up and knocked on the door.
"Innocent? Are you still up?" I questioned, and was abruptly answered with the door slamming open and catching sight of a frizzy-maned Innocent, noticeably tired.
"Still trying to decipher that document." she said bluntly.
"Why don't I help?" I offered with a kind smile, flipping my forest green locks out of my eyes.
She simply nodded and let me into her room. Her room was small but had a bed, a dresser, a chest, and a small terminal. It looked plain; obviously she didn't sleep in this house often. I noticed her Pipbuck hooked up to her personal terminal. I read the document and it did indeed seem like it needed deciphered.
"Dearest Lilac, I'm glad that you would take the position as my head librarian, it gives me so much joy that a name as prestigious as Pageturner could be related to our libraries. I apologize again for your sisters absence. We looked over and over, but never could find her in all of Equestria. On the matter of those books you sent us, we have returned them promptly to your location, all of them are unharmed, and we made sure they stayed that way with a new spell we tried out. It keeps the books safe against all kinds of damage, magical or otherwise. We've entrusted them to the Skytrust Delivery Service, one of the safest delivery services in all of Equestria. They should arrive soon."
I had read it aloud as Innocent simply shook her head. "Full of useless info from centuries ago. The only name mentioned was Lilac Pageturner, a long dead mare."
I shook my head. "No, there is mention of books being sent. Those could have some info on Dusk Breaker. All we have to do is find the truck that was delivering them and we might have another lead." I pointed out. I could see Innocent's face brighten and smile but switched back to a small frown.
"How do we find which truck was sent and where it is?" she asked.
"We go to the hub that the delivery service is based from. I'm sure if we ask around town we can find out where it is." I smiled. Innocent smiled too as she took her Pipbuck from the terminal and stashed it again. "So how'd you get a Pipbuck?" I asked. She looked at me and chuckled.
"Wow, you meet a unicorn and pegasus brother sister combo and ask about the Pipbuck? Are you sure you're smart?" she asked smirking. I grew flustered and blushed.
"I-I don't see what's so odd about a pegasus and a unicorn being brother and sister, we had a few of them in my Stable." I countered. "But really, why do you have a Pipbuck?"
"Snatched it from a contract. Some poor buck from a Stable couldn't handle the wastes and went insane. He killed too many and got a target painted on his forehead. Not literally of course, but the point being, he pissed off too many and somepony put out a contract on him. Pyre and I took it and killed him." She grew and cold.
"His last words before I put a bullet in his heart were 'Thank you, and live.' I couldn't stop shooting after the first. Pyre pulled me off him and took his Pipbuck as a way of showing we killed him. The contract issuer told us to keep it." She went over to her bed. "Your turn." she pointed a hoof at me.
"My turn?" I asked pointing at myself.
"Yes, you said you were an inventor, why become one?" she asked. The question was a little more personal than I liked.
"Well our Stable; Stable 7, was built for the Stable-Tec workers. When they arrived, they never stopped inventing and improving the Stable itself. Inventors might as well have been as powerful as our Overmare, but after a few revolts from the pegasus community, the number of inventors dropped. Unicorns just went into medical, what little pegasuses remained went to harvesting our crops and the earth ponies went back to fixing up the Stable." I sighed.
"What did the pegasi revolt about?" Innocent asked.
"Well, space. They said the worker ponies weren't raising the ceiling high enough to give them room for flying. Although our Overmare at the time said it would break us to the surface, it wasn't true, we had a good 100 feet before we broke surface. But back to the story, I descend from one of the lead designers of the Stables, Garren Gizmo Gearturner. I loved reading about him in school and seeing old pictures of him. I wanted to be just like him, so I was ecstatic when my cutie mark represented inventing." I turned and showed her my cutie mark of a gear with two wrenches crossing over it in a X formation.
"But, after a couple years of inventing I got bored. I sent probes into the wasteland through small ventilation shafts, and took down notes on what I found. Although, I obviously needed to get out to discover exactly what the wasteland here is like." I smiled to her. "So yesterday Spritz and I decided it was time to leave. So, we did." I sat down next to her, yawning.
"Well you and your mare-friend seem very nice. I'm glad Pyre convinced me to bring you along." she said and I slightly chuckled and waved my hoof.
"We aren't dating, she's more like a sister to me." I stated. Innocent looked me in the eyes and nodded.
"Well, take care of her. But a word of advice, a mare doesn't like being led on. You should tell her that you see her as that and nothing more." she said coldly to me. I got off her bed and went to the doorway. "Good night Innocent, we both need our sleep, and tomorrow we ask around about where to find that delivery hub." I smiled and trotted down stairs.
"Goodnight Gizmo, sleep tight." I heard from her room as I laid on my bed. I closed my eyes and slipped off to a dreamless deep sleep...
Note: Level up! New perks:
A Buck with a Quest: You have found a purpose to countinue on in your trek through the wastes! You gain a 10% experience increase from every step closer to your goal!
Companions added: Roy "Pyre" Mustang, Innocent Mustang
Kill It with Fire!: With Pyre on your team, you have a better control over flame based weaponry! Whenever fighting with a weapon that uses fire or fire magic you gain a 5% increase in your chance to critical hit!
Friendly Competition: With a second inventor on your team, you better bring your A-game! While Innocent is in your party you gain +10 to your Science, Repair, Medicine, and Energy Weapon skills.
((Thanks for reading! I'd like to thank Khat for making Fallout: Equestria, and Somber for Project Horizons. This chapter was wrote in one day, mostly on a iPod! Be glad I managed to write as much as I did. I've noticed that there are other stories with a Stable 7 and I will respect those fanfics although I plan on keeping my Stable as 7. I think that some of the early Stables would be for more prominent figures until you get around to 10. So the designers of the Stables should get one of the early ones, thus Stable 7, not too high, not to low. I mentioned in my last note that I like to talk right? Well, I'm still looking for an artist to help me make a sort of title picture for several sites. If you're interested send me an ask on my tumblr; [www.askgizmo.tumblr.com] or to my Fallout Equestria Resource forum name NitoKa. Thanks for reading and stay tuned! Also I thank Nerdy [www.mylittlenerdy.tumblr.com] for another edit!))
Waking up is always the hardest part of the morning: you never get up right, and lets face it, you really just want to stay in bed. These cliches apply even for me, especially with the fact that I had a certain unicorn named Spritzle Regen on top of me almost screaming in my ear that it was time for me to get up. I opened my eyes slowly and saw the purple pony staring me down.
“Wakey wakey Gizzy! Today we go out into the town and become detectives just like that one pony you let me read about in your Neighponese comics! What was his name? It was a weird one... J? Q? Ah well, point is we need to work to find out where that place is, you know, the delivery one!” She bounded relentlessly, not letting me blink without poking me.
“Wait... how did you know we were trying to find that place?” I asked, after all, Innocent and I had only spoken of that last night.
“Innocent decoded the document and found out we need to ask about the Skytrust Delivery Service! She said she did it all be herself with no help!”
I faked a smile.
“Oh really? How smart of her!” I said with fake enthusiasm. But in my mind, I let my words be known:
‘By herself?!? What a bitch! I decoded that thing with her and saved her countless hours that she then turned around and slept through!’
I was livid within my head, but outside I managed to contain it. Speaking of Discord re-incarnated, Innocent trotted down the stairs at that very moment with her glasses shining brightly in the morning sun. For all the hate I was brewing, I still had to admit, she was rather good-looking.
“Let’s get up and go, we need to search high and low today to find out exactly where that delivery service is.” She said with a check list floating beside her, “Pyre has already went ahead of us and got a few leads,” she opened up a book, “ Spritzle, you’ll be looking for a Mr. Redge. He used to be a scavenger of the wastes before he settled down here, maybe he has found the place and can tell us how to get there. Gizmo, you’ll be looking for a Storm Nettle,;a ghoul who’s been around since before the war. Try and find some things out about him. I’ll be looking for a few other clients. It may not much help, but maybe one of these drunkards and addicts actually have information we can use.” She closed the book and levitated it into a small pack.
“Well? Let go!’ She said as she left out the door, leaving Spritz and I to ourselves.
“Go ahead Spritz, we’ll meet up back here...I think.. She never said where to meet back, this seems the most likely of all places.” I smiled and got up before shaking my hair.
My mane set back to its normal spread-locks formation, showing my forehead almost completely. I don't like this hairstyle much, but my mother used to put it like this for me all the time when she was still around. She always said i looked so handsome like that, so after she passed away, I started putting my hair like that more and more. I cant say i don't mind the attention it used to give me at events in the Stable, I’ve had a few mares come to me looking for a coltfriend, and several of them had me as one. The one thing that had broke most of us up was how much time i spent with Nightshade and Spritzle, they simply got jealous. Actually, you might wonder at this point, or maybe at an earlier point, am I a virgin? The answer is no. i have enjoyed the carnal act of sex, but i cant say I’ve made love, it was all just pointless and lustful mating. I’m not some sort of sex prince though, I’ve maybe been with a mare or two, oh and a stallion! I don't mind what gender somepony is, as long as they are attractive and can keep my attention for longer than five minutes.
“Okay dokie Gizmo! I’ll see you tonight!” Spritzle said. And just like that, she had left the house, leaving me to check around the house again for something thing to eat. I looked in what would constitute as their kitchen and noticed the leftovers from what would have constituted as breakfast. They had indeed ate without me, not that I mind much, its rather a moot point if I complain later about them not waking me up for breakfast and then complaining about how early I had to get up to eat breakfast. I got some Fancybuck Snack cakes and ate a strawberry flavored one while I walked out the door and into town.
I traveled around town and asked about this Storm buck. I gleamed that he wasn't antisocial, and he doesn't like the past being brought up, also that he seems to have had a foal before the war hit and the child died in his hooves. But it turns out he lives in the smaller rural section of the town, which was a pleasant surprise. Herald doesn't seem that bad, nopony trying to cut you or steal from you, and all the other niceties. I made my way to the poor ghoul's home and knocked a couple times. The pony that answered could only really be described as a zombie, complete with rotting flesh and exposed brain, but his eyes were full of kindness and compassion.
“Gizmo?” The pony asked, much to my surprise. His eyes widened in shock and horror as though I was a Nightmare Moon returned. “B-but, you went into a Stable! You tried to get me and my family in but they wouldn't let you! How are you still alive after all this time?”
I was extremely confused, I had never met this buck before, yet he seemed to know me like a brother! As confusing as it was, somehow my mind managed to piece it together rather quickly:
“You must have met my ancestor, Garren Gizmo Gearturner, I’m Gizmo Garren Gearturner as well. A little confusing isn't it?” I asked with a small chuckle. Storm’s eyes went back to normal size as what I said registered. He opened his door and pushed me in rather quickly. The house seemed normal, nothing strange, not even a bad smell surprisingly.
“Sorry, you just look almost exactly like him. Garren was a good friend of my mother's, her name was Metal. He had hired her as a lab assistant a while back before even Stable-Tec was founded. She had to leave when she got pregnant with me but otherwise they stayed in touch, in fact he had delivered an invention to us to assist with pregnancy of my sister Carnival. I miss all of them...” He sighed and smiled as if he was remembering a far-gone memory, and his gaze met mine. “Sorry about the mix up, now and then, I assume that not only are you not here to chat about somepony you’re not, but you're here to discern some information about somepony or someplace, am I correct?” He trotted into the kitchen and levitated out a tray of tea.
“W-well yes, I'm here to find out the location of the Skytrust Delivery hub.” I sat down sitting down on a rotting sofa gripping the teacup in both my hooves and taking a sip. It had a nice, mysterious taste, like an arrangement of flavors all working together just to relax me.
“You even have his slight stutter, wow.” Storm laughed, his voice sounding deep and gravelly. “Well yes, I know of the place, its just a little east of here, not to far, on the outskirts of Manehatten.” My Pipbuck beeped in recognition and a marker appeared on the map that said ‘Skytrust Delivery Service Hub’. I smiled and held my hoof out to the old ghoul.
“Thank you for your help, I greatly appreciate it Mr. Storm.” Storm smiled warmly. He shook my hoof with such vigor that I was surprised that his didn't fall off! I left the house with a smile.
I decided I could look around a little bit at the market. All the wares were old, obviously the wasteland merchants couldn't even afford to polish up their goods. I came across a small mechanics booth and smiled as he tried to sell me useless parts that would never work in a million years. I shook my head at his offers but he kept insisting.
“I know something that’ll interest you! I found it out in the wastes a few days ago!” He pulled out a small sphere. It looked familiar, a lot like a Spritebot, but something else about it struck a chord in my memory. I examined it closely and found a few parts from one of my drones! This bot had been modified into a combination of my drones and a Spritebot!
“How much?” I asked, desperately wanting to fix it up and maybe find the pony who performed the modifications and give them a piece of my mind. The salespony smiled as he could sense my desperation.
“200 caps,” he said with finality. Actually, this wasn't a bad price, Spritz and I had both gotten about 500 caps from Chop and I hadn't even spent any of mine yet. Although from the looks of the bot, it would need a few parts before it could even turn on anymore.
“Deal.” I said simply as I counted out the caps to him and he hoofed over the bot. I put it away in my pack and examined some other vendor's wares. None of them had much of interest so I made my way over to the hotels.
Now, when i say hotels, as in plural, I mean that there were three of them, yet only one of them seemed to actually house ponies. The Hamlet, it was called. As for the other two, one of them seemed to be primarily a bar with a few slot machines thrown in. Starcrossed, read it's sign.
The last was well...um...a hotel of ill repute, to put it lightly. A brothel, to be blunt, one with a bar might i add! I read the sign: Thesbian Lovers, it read. A clever play on words.
I zoomed in almost as soon as I saw the bartender. I did so not because she was attractive or because I knew her, but for what she was doing as I saw her. She was making a strawberry daquiri, and dear Luna, do I love fancy drinks. I drink for the taste, not the buzz. A virgin daquiri is a boring smoothie, but you add alcohol to it, you get and explosive taste of berries!
I sat down on a bar stool and tapped my hooves on the counter, drawing attention from the barmare, a light yellow toned unicorn, with a long light green mane, with a small braid in it. Her flanks were brazened by her cutie mark, a wave that seemed to be made of stars.
“I'll have what she's having!” I pointed a hoof down the counter. The barmare gave a seductive smile and practically slid her way over to me.
“Oh really? Well, i would be just delighted to make it for such a stallion like you. Perhaps it might be on the house?” I became confused. Usually you don't ask the customer if they want it on the house. But i returned her sly smile and shook my head.
“What sort of stallion would I be if i were to just take advantage of a mare like yourself? I’ll pay for it first and maybe when you’re off your shift we can see about free drinks,” I said with a short chuckle.
“My my, I seem to have met the one gentlestallion in the wastes. You must be from a Stable.” she added dryly. “But you know what hun, I’ll take you up on your offer, stick around until about six and ill buy you a drink, but for now, lets see if i cant make you a drink you wont forget.” She giggled and made me a Strawberry Daqiuri. I raised my drink to my mouth and the drink slid down my throat smoothly, only to ignite a warmth inside my stomach, a warmth that eventually spread to my whole body. The time was 5:30, almost time for the mare to get off shift. I finished off my glass and smiled a warm smile, i wasn't drunk, nor was I even buzzed. Garren Gizmo Gearturner was a stallion who could hold his liquor.
I got up from my seat and examined the surrounding bar. It seemed a lot like a night club, ponies dancing and grinding on each other as the music blared and the lights flashed. Not my kind of scene really, but hey, i might get laid tonight if I stick around and thats what counts right now. I felt my shoulder get tapped as I turned around smack dab into a deep kiss by nopony other than the saucy barmare. I was surprised at first but then got into it, kissing her back with a certain passion that must have came from my drink. She released with a breath and smiled.
“Starfruit.” She said holding out her hoof to me. I leaned down and kissed it.
“Gizmo, nice to meet you.” I said with a smile and a chuckle, which Starfruit then joined in on. “If you don't mind, perhaps you would like to show me around town? After all I’m just a lost Stable pony.” Innocence flooded my eyes. “Sure hon, I don't really want to stay here and work anyways, they might ask me to stay and help with the night rush.” She led me out of the club and towards the main stage.
As I had mentioned before, Herald was built around a theater, and the marketplace surrounds it while the hotels lie within of it. The main stage seemed to not be used for anything, just a whole room, empty.
But not tonight, for Starfruit and I were upon the main stage. She was smiling and pulling me around talking about the actors that had been on this very stage before the bombs dropped.
“Oh, and there was Ludwig Von Hoofimheim! He came all the way from what used to be Germaney! He had special unicorn magic that allowed him to temporarily take on the form of another pony!” She didn't seem to be the same saucy mare that I had met at the bar, instead she seemed to be a sort of innocent filly, sharing with me what she had admired and loved all her life. I enjoyed it, it made her more than just some random barmare. She wasn't boring me, this stuff about actors seemed cool enough and well, needless to say, Starfruit was pretty enough for it as well.
“Hey Gizmo, Let me show you something.” She led me backstage. It was dark except for the soft glow of a few stage-lights. I saw Starfruit's reflection in an actor’s mirror.
“What’d you want to show me Star?” I asked with a smile. She suddenly levitated out a small witches hat with a white frill along the edge, as well as a white bow on the frill. It was pristine, not a iota out of place. She set it on her head and grinned.
“How do I look?” She walked closer to me.
“Beautiful.” I said simply as I kissed her again, not too deeply. She backed away with a giggle.
“Well,” she huffed, “if you’re so eager to kiss me, why don't we go back to my place?” A certain shine filled her eyes. She turned and exited the backstage area quickly, and I followed. She was fast, always staying two gallops ahead of me. We raced from the theater to the residential area, chasing each other along the way. She was waiting for me at the front of a small home, with her hat still on her head. She opened the door and went in, playfully teasing me with a small shake of her flank. Needless to say i followed her.
I awoke with Starfruit, her hat on our bed. She was snuggled up into my chest as she soundly slept. Her shallow breaths warmed my coat. According to my Pipbuck’s clock, it was about 9 in the morning. I hadn't really thought about it, but i had never met up with Innocent, Pyre, or Spritz. They must be wondering where I was. I slipped quietly out of Star’s embrace and put on my saddle pack. I don't really want to just love and leave, I’ve tried that, and it just makes you feel awful, like you’ve used somepony. I shook her awake gently.
“Hey, Star, I need to go and meet up with my friends, we’re leaving Herald today.” I whispered. She shook her head and kissed me.
“You aren't going anywhere without me,” she said sternly as she got up and trotted into her closet. She emerged a few minutes later in a fancy saddle pack, with a small white frill adorning it's sides. Her weapons consisted of rather advanced laser weaponry.
“Well then, Gizmo, You just signed yourself up a new partner. My full name is Starfruit Spark, I’m kind of an expert in laser weapons, a few of these babies are creations of my own.”
She brandished four laser rifles at her side as she levitated her hat back onto her head and tied her mane back into its small braid.
“Well then, I’m probably not going to convince you otherwise am I?” I asked, her answer already in my mind. She shook her head and happily trotted downstairs.
This is going to be fun to explain to the others.
“You brought a bartender to accompany us?!” Innocent roared at me, eyes reddened in rage.
“I’m not just a plain old bartender! I know my way around the wastes as good as anypony does! I also can snipe a ghoul 200 yards away with my rifle!” Star countered.
She was as determined to come with us as I was to go with Innocent back at the library days earlier, but just as she was at the library, Innocent didn't want a larger party to deal with.
“Oh big deal, I doubt we’ll be needing a sniper when we’re going into as tight as spaces as a delivery hub!” Innocent scoffed at Star’s talents. Funny, considering i didn't really know exactly what Innocent brought to the table in ways of weapons and offense. Pyre had his flames, Spritz had her poisons and medicines, and I had my trusty battle saddle. “I say we see what she’s got.” Pyre chimed in, much to the chagrin of his sister. Innocent eyed him with disdain and a sense of betrayal. Spritzle walked up beside Innocent.
“I don't think we should let her come, after all, what do we know what she can and cant do? She just shows up out of nowhere and now she wants to come with us? I don't trust her.” I emitted a gasp of surprise.
“Y-you don't think she should come Spritz?” I asked in disbelief. It wasn't normal for Spritzle to disagree with something I had decided on, she usually thought I meant best and went with what i had to say, even if more times than naught what I actually wound up doing wasn't the right thing.
“Honestly? No, Gizmo, I don't think we can trust her just yet. Just how did you say you met her?” she asked accusingly. Spritz knew about my few relationships in the Stable and she did not approve. She could obviously tell how Star had convinced me that she is indeed trust worthy.
“She works at a bar-slash-hotel in the main theater,” I said hurriedly, “I went in there for a drink and started to talk with her a bit. I decided that we needed another pony to help us considering you and I are inexperienced in the wasteland, Spritzle.”
I lied. Well, not completely, but enough that it earned a grunt of disapproval from Spritz A bridge of distrust formed between us.
“Point is, I want to come along and see what this whole thing is about.” Star said defiantly.
Innocent huffed. "I suppose you can go to The Hub. But if you do, I won't. So then, Gizmo, you choose." She looked to me as Star nodded in agreement.
Apparently it came down to me, and I don't know why, but I swear I could feel that this is how a buck feels when he has cheated on his marefriend and they found out and are asking him to choose. I contemplated it in my head for a pregnant pause.
If we went with Innocent, we can find exactly what were looking for at The Hub, but technically, I could find it just as easily, it doesn't require hacker skills. If Star comes, we can learn if she's any good in a fight, but that would mean putting her in danger and I didn't quite like that idea. Innocent doesn't seem to have any fighting skills though, and we still keep our medic and powerhouse either way...
"Honestly, I think Star should come. Mostly because I don't think I've ever even seen you with a weapon yourself, Innocent. Star here looks like she knows what she's doing when it comes to energy weapons, and I think she deserves a chance." I finished a took a breath.
Innocent nodded understandingly as a hint of hurt passed over her eyes. Star didn't look any happier, she looked pained and worried about my friends. Spritzle sighed and trotted to her medical packs, the three pink butterflies and a small mushroom seemed to bring no comfort to her.
"Let's...just go. I want to end this as soon as possible," she said as she trotted out of the house and Innocent went upstairs. Pyre came up to me and patted my back.
"I would say you fucked up, but we haven't seen what this Star mare can do." He smiled. It was nice to know I had made a true friend in Pyre, oddly quick though for my tastes. Still, a friend is a friend.
"Oh believe me flybuck, I'm great," Star said with wink as she strutted out of the house.
Pyre laughed and grabbed his equipment, not equipping his flamer yet. Apparently, while I was with Star last night, Pyre had retrieved our weapons from the gate guard. Pyre and I went out to join Spritz and Star outside and we set out east to our new destination: Skytrust Delivery Hub.
As we The Hub came into view, I noticed the lack of enemies through the route Star led us through. She really did know her way through Manehatten. She claimed to have some contacts in Tenpony Tower too, but Pyre started to argue that it would almost be impossible for somepony like her to have contacts there. Spritzle tended to talk mostly to Pyre, ignoring Star and I unless she needed us to check something.
A concrete fortress rose in the distance. Monolithic, it stood passively on the horizon. An expansive parking lot surrounded it's exterior wall. A featureless retaining wall rose from its base. Size-wise, it wasn't that large, but the drab and dull exterior seemed to stretch for a mile. We neared the rusted entrance gate.
The decaying sign read in busted letters: Skytrust Delivery Hub. A few cars were scattered in the parking lot, skeletons strewn near them. We stepped lightly, careful not to break them. As we neared the walls, a noise caught my ears.
"This is DJ PON3 children, Here to give you a news update! I just got word from my more than reputable sources that a new Stable has been opened!"
The voice echoed around. I was surprised, how could this DJ have found out about Spritz and I's escape so fast? I mean our Stable was in a sewer, for Luna's sake! I opened the door and saw a radio's faint glow. I got closer to it, ignoring my surroundings. Spritzle did the same.
"That's right, my little ponies! Stable Two finally opened!" I released a breath. Apparently, Stable Seven wasn't the only functional Stable out there.
"Now before you go and trying to raid this Stable, I'd advise you against it, because when I mentioned one pony coming out of it, I guess I should have also mentioned that pony's follow up story. That's right, in only a few hours after that first pony left Stable Two, a second pony was sighted, most likely going after the first. I wish luck to the both of you, you're going to need it. Oh, and let me give you a formal Wasteland Welcome. Welcome to Hell,” DJ PON3 deadpanned, “Now our short news update is wrapped up, we go back to Sweetie Belle, telling us that we can't always get what we love. From your lips to Celestia's ears Sweetie!" The gruff male voice was replaced with a beautiful mare's voice singing. I never was one for music, so I switched off the radio.
"Looks like y'all ain't the only Stable ponies to get a mind to leave." Pyre said to us as he hooked up his flamer. When he finished preparing, he took a look around. "Somepony is here. They needed to be to have that radio playing, or else it would have shorted itself out a long time ago." He looked to Starfruit.
"I recommend you bring out your weapon, little lady," he said with a smirk. Star returned the smirk and her horn glowed with a faint yellow glow as she levitated out a laser rifle. I looked in the lobby and noticed there were stairs. Silence fell, and I could catch the sound of hoofsteps upstairs.
I made my move first, going up the stairs while I told the others to explore below. I went down a hallway, following the sounds of somepony trotting slowly ahead of me. As I turned the corner I saw the flick of a red tail turning into a room, and heard a voice.
"Well well! It seems I have visitors! It's best to treat them with kindness, after all it is my un-birthday today!" I heard the voice of a buck and it was followed by uproarous laughter, laughter that no sane pony could ever copy. I trotted slowly and surely near the door, peaking my head into the room sneakily.
The room seemed to be something of a surveillance room, monitors were everywhere. In the chair I saw a sitting buck. He had on a green top hat with a slip of paper in it, although I couldn't read what it said. The pony himself had a white mane that jutted out the edges of his hat, his red coat and tail providing a stark contrast with his mane. On the monitors I saw my friends, each having to apparently decided to split up as they look for the pony that I had found.
I snuck into the room as quietly as I can, and caught sight of a monitor to my side. It displayed a camera feed trained directly on me! The doors behind me slammed shut as the buck in front of me pressed a button and turned around to face me. His muzzle had a scar directly over the nose, and his eyes were a nice shade of hazel, but the color couldn't hide the obvious madness that had taken over his mind.
"Hello there,” he heaved, ”It's very rude to just come in unannounced you know! If you had called ahead I could have prepared tea and cookies!" He he jumped out of the chair and went over to a stove he had dragged from a kitchen.
"My name is Hatter. I'm part of a little group we like the call Wonderland. I don't know why I'm telling you this,” he snickered, “you and your friends will be dead soon."
He put a pot on to boil and went over to his station. He pressed three buttons as I watched my friend's reactions.
For Pyre, a wave of ghoul ponies burst out of the end of his hallway, he was quick though, and armed his flamer, unleashing a stream if fire several trot-lengths long.
Spritzle's hallway began to close on her, the walls going towards her. She froze, horror washing over her face. She took a worried moment longer, then galloped for dear life. She didn't stop until she was several yards outside the door.
I gulped as the feed turned to Star's hallway. Time stood still, but nothing happened. No monsters, no collapsing walls, no wall of flame, nothing. She just kept trotting. Hatter didn't seem to react happily to this as he slammed the button over and over.
"Ah no matter, she's coming up on the offices soon anyways. Well, like I was saying,” he turned back to me, “I'm part of a little group called Wonderland, and we serve to try and make the wasteland better! After the Queen deems a pony worthy of death, she sends them to my little tea party here! I have so much fun!" He laughed maniacally, chest having with each ragged chuckle, "But, occasionally I get wanderers like you and your friends!" My throat went dry.
"Charmed, Mr. Hatter. I'm Gizmo Gearturner. My friends and I are just here for some information, and nothing more." My little introduction amused Hatter, and he smiled. His teeth were sharpened on the ends. It was then I realized why he went around without a weapon.
He was a mad pony with carnivorous styled teeth. He was his own weapon.
"Such manners! I never would have expected that!” He swooned. “You're a Stable pony, aren't you? Oh, it's been so long since I've had one for dinner! Well how about this? I've set my traps for your friends, and I've got you to myself. We're going to play a game.”
I muffled a scream.
“It's called Prussian Roulette. I load a revolver with one bullet and we aim at each other. If it doesn't fire, I answer a question, if it does, one of us dies. Let's play."
I was even about to point out that I should answer a question if it doesn't fire on his turn but I was quite satisfied with only learning information on this deranged pony. He pulled out a small green revolver with a little 'Hg' inscription on the handle. He set up a table an bullet in the chamber and spun it, setting it down on my side.
"The guest goes first."
"Thank you," I said as I lifted the pistol in my mouth and aimed it at him.
Look at me now, Grand-dad, I thought. Playing Prussian Roulette with a murderous psychopath possibly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of other ponies.
I pulled the trigger with my tongue and heard the distinctive click and spin of the barrel.
"Good! Too early, and the game would be boring," he laughed as I set down the revolver and pushed it to him.
"So, you're part of a group called Wonderland, you've mentioned a Queen, who else is part of it?" I asked calmly, despite every fiber of my being wanting to kick this madpony in the teeth and get the fuck out of this room. Hatter smiled his toothy smile.
"There's Rabbit, Cheshire, Dodo, Cards, Hare, Dormouse, Bandersnatch, Walrus, Carpenter, Dee and Dumb, King, Queen, and finally our leader, Alice." he answered calmly.
"That's a lot of ponies." I replied.
"Indeed," he responded quickly. He picked up the pistol and took aim at my head.
Well, I'd lived a good life.
A click and and giggle echoed throughout the room. "Next question!" he said excitedly as he tossed me the pistol.
"How do you plan to make the Wasteland better?" I asked.
"By purifying it,” he stated, “We seek to get rid of all the tainted ponies, all of those who don't see the truth." his tone wavered on insanity and finality.
I put the revolver in my mouth and pulled the trigger.
A boom tore through the chamber, and a bullet was sent right between Hatters eyes. The recoil sent me flying back in my chair, as I fell, I saw his face. A bloody hole was rent right between his eyes, and a toothy sharp grin was worn on his face.
I hit the ground and my body shivered, not from the impact but the feeling of that I had just taken somepony's life...I got to my feet and trotted to the other side of the table. Hatter laid there, his smile permanently plastered on his face, his eyes gazing endlessly towards the ceiling. His hat had landed a good distance away and managed to avoid the blood to pooling around his head. I picked up the hat and revolver, and pocketed both as I went to the screens.
Pyre had burned his way past the ghouls and into a rather large cafeteria, where he seemed to be searching for something. Scratch that, he pulled a Sparkle-Cola from the fridge and began to chug it down.
Spritzle had made it to the delivery room, searching the packages for anything of use.
Star... Was sitting on top of a huge pile of robot ponies?! Apparently while Hatter and I were playing, Star had been ambushed by robot ponies. I guess the mare really could handle those rifles.
"Bravo," I said simply as I looked to the controls. There seemed to be an intercom of some sort. I pressed down a button and began to speak.
"Hello? Test one, two. Hey guys! It's Gizmo, I found who was here and well... I'll tell you guys when you get here, just retrace your steps and come upstairs. Spritz, your hallways are open again, just to tell you."
My friends all began to look around for me and the source of my voice as they collectively shrugged and started their ways up to me.
"And then I called you all up here." I finished. Star didn't seem interested, but Pyre and Spritzle's eyes were as wide as a full moon.
"So you're tellin' me, we've got a whole organization on our tails now too?!" Pyre asked in surprise.
"What? No! At least I don't think so. Hatter referred to us as explorers or wanders, he didn't expect us, so unless they come by and find out who came here, we aren't in any trouble," I reassured him.
"They will," Star said bleakly, "And they'll find out it was us, then start hunting us down. These kind of organizations always do, just like the Zodiac family. I just think this Wonderland thing will take it's time with us, faster if they're all as insane as Hatter here." She closed Hatters eyes.
"Well let's just get that information and go, I hate like this place," Spritzle said as she waited by the door.
I quickly agreed and plugged my Pipbuck into a terminal near the screens. Surprisingly, it was unlocked. I browsed the files, and found a tracker for the truck carrying the books mentioned in the letter.
We made a quick way out and began to follow the tracker to the fallen truck...
Notes: Level up!
Bloody Hooves: You have made your first kill of a pony! Congratulations! You gain an extra 5% damage increase when you fight other ponies!
Quest perk added
Into the Rabbit Hole: You have met and killed a member of the group Wonderland. Get ready for a fight. You gain some unique dialogue options with certain ponies Companion lost: Innocent Mustang
Companion gained: Starfruit Spark
Companion perk gained:
Ordinary Unicorn: Who exactly is Starfruit Spark? Nevermind! When Starfruit is in your party you gain a whopping +25 to your Energy Weapons! Wow how exactly did she get that good at them?
((Authors note: hey there ponies!!!! Man... Umm let's see, this chapter was half typed on a computer and the other half was on my iPod again. I just feel really comfortable on the iPod. So typing is easy, also autocorrect helps. Well I've introduced a new character and a new backstory! This will be fun! Oh also, Starfruit Spark is a reference to a video game character I really like. Starfruit isn't her name but she does spark alot. If anypony can name the video game series and her character, I'll get them a commission of a character of their choice! Don't worry, I have artist friends so it won't be my crappy drawings. First to get it wins! Send in your answers to askgizmo.tumblr.com. Also Storm isn't my character he's the character of the wonderful Askmetalnco.tumblr.com whom you guys should totally follow. As always I thank Nerdy for another awesome edit! And I thank Khat for making Fallout Equestria. Mimezinga for the awesome fanfic Pink Eyes, because I just love the Puppysmiles tumblr. And Somber for Project Horizons! Keep going dude, you've got fans everywhere! Another long authors note huh? Do you guys even read all this? Oh well. Umm yeah, time for me to go and write some more. Thanks for reading and stay tuned! [technically you can't tune a computer but y'all know what I mean] Bye!))
((Editor's note: A very fun chapter to edit, Gizzy.
I'd also like to thank Kkat for bringing Fallout: Equestria into my life, and for getting me hooked on fan-fiction. I'd like to thank Somber as well for Project Horizons, which I am in the middle of reading! Mimezinga, too, for writing Pink Eyes. I hope you all enjoyed the chapter. Stay tuned for more!From Linux with love,
((Editors note to Gizzy: I love reading your notes, Gizzy! Because I care.
"A foal shouldn't be in the wasteland, they grow up too quickly. If there was a magical place filled with sunshine and rainbows that could keep our foals innocent and nice until they are old enough to defend themselves, I would keep them there."
Damn it, Luna fucking damn it. I don't know why Gizmo is making me tell my story, maybe so whenever somepony reads this he didn't have to try and explain what happened to me while he was gone. I'm Innocent Mustang, and let's just say some shit happened to me after Gizmo left.
The crippling pain, coupled with the feelings of dread, despair, death. I felt as if a sword was driven through my stomach and lower abdomen. The worst part was that I liked it, maybe it would rid me of this pain inside.
I was going through a wave of depression, a regular occurrence for me. I felt alone, abandoned by my brother and my new friends. But I had dug myself into this hole, I had to dig myself out.
I got up from my bed and walked away from anything that could hurt me, I couldn't trust myself. In this state, I had hurt myself before. I trotted downstairs and out into town.
I headed towards the doctors. I'm not a medic by any means, but I'm trying to learn, so I go to the medical offices and examine what they do. It helps to distract me.
As I went in, I saw the doctor and nurses working on an injured buck. Poor stallion had stepped on a land mine and lost his front right leg. A bloody stub remained, Goddesses, I wish they could get a blasted tourniquet on it.
I saw a small foal, she was laying in the bed, obviously going through radiation treatment. She was a dark purple in color, close to mine, but hers had a certain look to it, as if it were poisonous. Her light blue eyes followed me as I trotted closer to her. I couldn't see much of her, she was under the covers but her front hooves were resting on top of them, and she had a Pipbuck. She sniffed the air around me and looked at me in the eyes. As her eyes met mine I saw something I've seen in so many other foals, a broken innocence.
"You smell like Gizmo and Spritzle! Where are they?!" she exclaimed, attempting to get up and stand, her wings bearing a small barding with the number 7 on the back. She fell on the bed, still very weak.
I looked her in the eyes. "Are you from the same Stable as them?"
She nodded quietly, still awaiting an answer to her question.
"Yes, I've met them and right now they should be at the edge of Manehatten, that's about a few hours walk, and I doubt you could do it in your condition."
Hope and determination filled her eyes as she slumped back down. "What happened anyways? They haven't been gone for more than two days from what I've heard. Did it take you two days to get here?" I asked.
She shook her head. "I collapsed outside of town last night." she wheezed dodging my question.
I looked into her eyes again, their light blue pools riddled with regret. It was then I knew.
"Who did you kill?" I asked calmly. Her eyes went wide.
"H-how did you know?" she yelped, startled.
"Your eyes, they don't look like Gizmo's or Spritzle's. You killed somepony. Who?" My brow furrowed.
"I'm not going to say anything unless you listen to what happened to me after Gizmo and Spritzle left." she added, desperate to defend why she killed someone. All I did was nod and she began.
"I woke up that morning to the alarm, the Overmare was saying that two ponies had left the Stable. I wondered who they were, they never announced who had left. I pondered it all day until I noticed that after school, Spritzle and Gizmo weren't there to meet me. I went over to both of their homes and even Gizzy's workshop. They weren't there...I was hurt, I felt abandoned, I felt they didn't tell me so I wouldn't go with them. I went home and found my mom drunk, as usual,” she added with a sigh. Her body began to stiffen as she shed a tear, “She beat me, telling me how worthless I was and how my friends abandoned me, how they were leaving me to die. I-I couldn't take it anymore, I grabbed her pistol from a dresser...” Now she was bawling, “And shot her! I killed my own mom!”
Whoa. I gulped as I tried to find the right words. "You were defending yourself, I understand. So you left your Stable to find Gizmo and Spritzle?”
She nodded. "Gizzy has some pipes in his workshop just big enough for me to fit through. So I crawled through those and popped up in some sort of swamp. The air tasted funny, and the water I splashed in was glowing."
Poor kid, she fell right into a ghoul swamp, no wonder she got so irradiated. "There were these zombie ponies, Gizmo had shown me pictures of them before; he called them Ghouls. They were really nice to me, and they led me out of the swamp and pointed me here. I guess the reason my Pipbuck was beeping so much was because of the radiation.”
"That was two days ago?" I asked.
"Yeah. I think it took me about a day to crawl through the pipes and then the trip here took another day." she responded.
I had to marvel at how lucky this filly was, She managed to crawl through cramped pipes for almost a whole day, and fell out to meet friendly ghouls, who then pointed her to this town. She traveled here and wasn't attacked by raiders or captured by slavers. She even found a connection to her missing friends, me!
The doctor came up to us with blood spattered over his lab coat and his white fur. His blue mane was worn at a spiky angle.
"Hello there Innocent, is this a friend of yours?" he questioned.
"Hello Archimedes, yes in fact, she is." I smiled to him. Archimedes was a brilliant doctor, one of the best in the wastes, although don't let him try to break your ribs and reset them. He once had a patient who lost a rib and he assured the patient that ribs grow back.
"Well then, considering that she's straight out of a Stable, and a foal to boot, I won't charge her. You, on the other hoof, are completely billable." He grinned and held out his hoof. "260 caps," he demanded.
I counted out 300 caps and set them in his hooves. "Give me some healing potions and Med-x, the extra 40 should cover a bit." He went off to fetch them. The filly smiled at me.
"Thank you...Innocent?" she asked with confusion. I nodded happily.
"My name is Nightshade Ambrosia. Just call me Nightshade, or Shade, I don't mind." she smiled and shakily got to her hooves. She was still obviously weak from her poisoning, and honestly, I'm surprised she wasn't glowing. I levitated her onto my back as Archimedes brought my goods. I packed them and started my way back to my house. Nightshade fell asleep somewhere along the way.
I set Nightshade in bed and tucked her in back at my place. It was then I noticed that Gizmo had left something behind on the workbench. It looked like a modified Spritebot, but it was obviously dead. I trotted over to it and picked it up. Upon further observation, my theory was confirmed. This thing was as dead as a back-talking slave in the middle of Fillydelphia. I really had nothing else to do, so I did a little tinkering.
An hour and a gazillion replacement parts later, I managed to get it to turn on. The poor bot beeped and chugged as it attempted to float. It stopped when it seemed to have diagnosed the fact that it's magical jet boosters weren't working. I examined it's side and saw what looked like a name plate. "90-NE?" I read aloud and it started to beep loudly and frantically. A voice started playing out of 90-NE.
"Ninety N E! How did you get out of the lab again?" A male voice played from within 90-NE. "Ah, never mind, you never can sit still. Well between you and I here at Neighvarro, I don't feel too happy about staying around either. Come back to the lab, we need to make sure that other probe tech I put into you works without a hitch." The voice stopped. It seemed to beep sadly.
"Was that your creator?" I asked. It beeped in agreement? It was rather hard considering this robot only beeped, but it seemed to have some sort of intelligence matrix. I patted it with my hooves. "It's okay. I'll get your jet boosters working and then we can find your creator." The robot seemed to like that as it...happily beeped. Goddesses, this was going to be awkward. I levitated a few feet off the table and carried it with me.
"So do you have any more recordings?" I asked. The robot didn't respond, which I took as either a no, or “I don't know”.
"I'm going to fix you up, then you can meet Pyre my brother,” 90-NE tilted quizzically, “Oh, don't worry, he's really nice. Maybe Spritz and Gizmo too, if they come back, Gizmo found you so you'll need to thank him. Ooh! And when Nightshade gets up you can meet her too!" I may have been having too much fun as 90-NE listened stoically. I set him down on the table in the kitchen.
Hold your horses. Did I just refer to a robot as a he? Horseapples, I'm losing it. I set him down and started to eat a snack cake. I looked around the room for spare boosters. Spark batteries, some spare chips and vacuum tubes, but no boosters.
I looked to 90-NE. "Sorry 90-NE, I don't have any boosters." He beeped sympathetically. I smiled and hugged the floating robot. "I promise to fix you though, but for now I'll just clean you up, you're filthy." Grime stained me, but I don't regret that hug. I pulled out a cloth.
I had never liked spritebots, they are either always too loud or too quiet, the quiet ones sneak up on you and surprised you, the loud ones made for good target practice though. But with 90-NE he seemed different, like he had...personality. It helped that he wasn't blaring out Red Eye's words and propaganda. After all the cleaning and repairing, 90-NE looked almost nothing like a Spritebot anymore, except for the shape and the antennae. He beeped happily after I was done. 90-NE beeped some more as hoofsteps were heard and Nightshade trotted down the steps wearily.
"I see you're good enough to be up." I said with a smile.
"What's that?" she asked pointing a wing at 90-NE.
"He's a sort of flying robot. I'm trying to fix him up and maybe I can keep him around as a helper or something." I smiled and 90-NE beeped in agreement.
Nightshade trotted up to the robot and poked at him with a wing, to which he responded with multiple blips. She backed away before poking him again. He continued beeping. "He can recognize when I'm around." she commented.
"Well yeah, you poked him." I said with a roll of my eyes. I went up to her and patted her head.
"They should be back in two weeks, a month tops." I tell her. I had told Pyre that should they come on a good lead for Dusk Breaker that they should go on without me. He had agreed reluctantly, but agreed nonetheless. Nightshade didn't seem to take this well as she stomped as best as she could without her hooves breaking and glared at me.
"No, that's going to take too long, we need to find them!" she pouted.
"Excuse me? You're hardly in any condition to be marching out in the wastes. If we want any extra protection, I suggest you give me two days at least to fix up 90-NE here. And how about during our little break, I'll teach you how to shoot and fight okay?"
The young filly was barely able to walk and here I was making deals with her! She shook her head slowly and surely.
"Okay... But I expect you to take me straight to Gizzy and Spritz!" she demanded. I chuckled, knowing it would be impossible for me to find where they were.
Unless...I got up from my seat and went upstairs, grabbing my Pipbuck. I attempted to find the signal of Gizmo's Pipbuck. He had interfaced indirectly with my Pipbuck and...thank the Goddesses! His unique tracking ID was imprinted in the system logs. Now we had a way of tracking him.
I trotted back downstairs to Nightshade. She was turned away from me and examining 90-NE. I gave the filly a thorough look. She had no cutie mark! Now, I had studied what I could about Stables, and I had learned that you didn't get a Pipbuck until you got a cutie mark. Sure enough, Nightshade was a filly with a Pipbuck and no cutie mark.
"So, what's with the Pipbuck? I thought you Stable ponies don't get one of those until you get a cutie mark and you seem to be a blank flank." Nightshade shied away for a second. She looked to me.
"It's my mothers," she said quietly, "I took it because I...I thought it would help me find Gizmo."
She was right, it had helped her find Herald and by association, me, and I could lead her to Gizmo.
"Well, I'm going out to find a jet booster for 90-NE here." I grabbed my pack. "Don't leave the house, and try to get some rest too." She picked up some tools and started to talk to 90-NE.
"Okay!" She said to me before turning to 90-NE. "And now I think I should just open you up and get a look at you."
She opened a small hatch on his side and examining his insides. I left with a laugh, if she messed him up worse I could always fix him. He's definitely gone through worse.
The marketplace was as crowded and friendly as usual, all the ponies gathered around to purchase some two-hundred year old food and water. I smiled as I bumped into a ghoul unicorn, his horn rotted much like his skin.
"Oh, sorry," I apologized as he smiled at me.
"Oh, it's okay.” He blinked. “Hey, you're the lady who took that filly from the clinic, am I right?" I nodded. "Well, I'm Orange Soda, I was one of the ghoulies she met after falling out of those pipes. Silly little filly, she climbed right out of a sewer tunnel." He laughed, his voice heavy and laced with the same gravelly sound that all ghouls make, "But sure enough, she got here, and you are taking care of the filly. At least I hope you are,” he finished questioningly.
"Of course! She knows a few of my friends and I'm watching her until they come back!" I replied with a laugh.
"Well, is there anything I can help you find around here?" What a helpful ghoul.
"I could use some spare Spritebot parts if any of these stalls have them." I said with a sigh. "Well, they might, let's look around." We began to survey the stalls, until he stopped at one and both our eyes went wide. I sidled next to him and saw just the jet propellers I was looking for. I reached out for them when a red hoof slapped mine away. I looked up and my gaze met one of the most hated merchants in all of Herald, Swin Dealer.
"Ah ah ah! Not unless you have the caps little lady. With propellers as good as these, I'd say their worth at least 1,000 caps." Swin held out his hooves.
"1000?! Parts like that only go for 400 at most! You cheat!” I yelled. "I'll pay 400 and not a cap more!" I demanded. Swin chuckled and shrugged his shoulders.
"Young lass, these parts are grade A, straight from the Enclave replacement lines, they're better than anything in the wastes! 1000." He held out his hooves again.
"Oh, that's ponyshit and you know it. First of all, where would you get the contact to receive these parts, and two, how do you even know the Enclave are making parts?" I questioned with fire in my eyes. Swin started to lose some composure.
"J-just trust me, my sources are concrete! They assured me this was Enclave grade, hence, it has to be worth at least 1000." he says and I shake my head.
"No, these are used parts, you can tell by the scorches around the edge of the propeller. It shows use. So either you're trying to scam me, or you got scammed yourself." I smirked. "So about 350 and you call me the element of generosity." I folded my front legs in front of me.
Swin dropped his gaze and nodded. He took my caps and forked over the propellers. I happily skipped around, and said my goodbyes to Orange Soda and Swin, then proceeded on my way home, munching on another snack cake.
I found Nightshade on the couch resting, and 90-NE still together and working back on the counter. I was impressed. Shade managed to not totally destroy him. I went up to 90-NE and showed him the parts.
"Good news! We can get you running now!" I sighed, defeated. I noticed his weapon was still out of order. "Err...maybe I can wire a laser pistol or something down there.." I looked over as saw the gun Gizmo had made in his stroke of brilliance; the Paradox.
I grinned and started to work on 90-NE, fixing his jets and installing the Paradox on his undercarriage. Now he had mobility, a flashlight, and a weapon. After I was done, 90-NE floated up and beeped happily. "Don't mention it,” I said, “It seems in a few days we'll be going out go find my friends and maybe your creator." I patted 90-NE's head (or what would constitute as one).The robot floated down into a makeshift nest Nightshade made from a few kitchen rags and seemed to power down into sleep mode. I smiled and went up to my room and looked out into the cloudy sky.
Pyre made me a promise a while back: he had promised that no matter what, he would never go higher than the cloud cover. It wasn't safe for one thing, and for another, he didn't want to see the sky before I did, sun or moon. It was sweet of him.
I guess you might be wondering how Pyre is my brother and a pegasus, you may have heard that all the pegasi were above the clouds. Well it ain't true. My mother was a glorious unicorn and my father was a pegasus from a Stable. They met after my father had wandered half dead into Cleave, my hometown. My mother was a nurse at the local clinic and after she taught him about the outside world, he decided he wanted to be with her. She couldn't resist his “pwecious wittle hurt face” and after some wandering they got married and had my brother and I. They're still alive back home as far as I know.
I laid on my bed and closed my eyes, and sleep took quickly.
The sound of a hoofstep near my bed woke me. I quickly opened my eyes and looked around my room to see nopony. If it was before the war I might have just went back to sleep. Sadly, that isn't so. This is the wasteland, an unknown hoofstep might spell death.
I threw my covers up and out over the edge of my bed, where they landed on something I couldn't see. The shape was pony-like as it fumbled and tried to get the blanket off. I had no weapons in my room and I'm not too good a hoof to hoof combat, especially not against an assassin! But, I took my chance and grabbed my Pipbuck, put it on my hoof and slammed it down on the blanketed pony (thank Celestia for reinforced metal plating). I heard a grunt of pain. A manly grunt.
"Fucking bitch," he said quietly as he got back to his hooves and shook off the blanket. The blow must have messed up his stealth field, as he was visible now. He was a pegasus, by the outline of his wings under his black armor covering his whole body. Only a metal mask covered his face. It's glowing orange eyes peered at me. "I'm not going to be outmatched by a fucking mare," He snorted as he came at me with his bare hooves.
I dodged to the right and he went sprawling into the wall, almost breaking through it. "Geez, my brother is faster than you," I taunted as I swung again at him. He ducked, and punched my chest, knocking the wind out of me. I collapsed, attempting to catch my breath and he kicked me in my chin, causing the rusty taste of blood to fill my mouth. I coughed, and spat out red as I caught a missing breath and aimed a kick right at his legs. He jumped up, and I swiveled onto my back legs to buck him in the face. He flew through the window and down into the darkened street below. I jumped out the second-story window, and came crashing to the ground, legs wobbling like jelly. I looked up from the ground and caught him as he looked back at me lying prone on the ground. Moonlight caught his visor as he took to the air and flew away.
I smiled at my victory as I rose shakily to my hooves.
"I heard something out there, are you alright Innocent?" I heard the small voice of Nightshade calling me. I turned to her and rubbed my jaw as she left the house.
"Yeah, just a little confused. And sore. Somepony came to attack me while I was sleeping. Are you okay?" I asked. She nodded before her eyes widened to the size of dinner platters.
"Nelly!" She yelled before rushing back indoors. I followed, watching the bruises on my chest and legs form. She was clutching 90-NE on the couch.
"Nelly, they didn't hurt you or break anything, did they?" She asked as she gave the Spritebot a once over. 90-NE beeped and clicked as he floated away from her and attempted to nod as if telling her not to worry.
"You call him Nelly?" I asked with a smirk. The blood in my mouth had almost stopped flowing so I didn't need to spit any more. I could only imagine how bad I looked.
Nightshade turned to me and pouted. "Yeah, I mean you called him 90-NE right?” she added, enunciating the N and E of his name, “Well thats too much to say so I call him Nelly." I laughed, a good and honest laugh. I haven't laughed like that since Pyre had gotten into a fight with a rather small mare over some fruit and lost. "D-don't laugh!" Nightshade said, blushing hot red. "Sorry," I caught my breath "It's just, so many ponies don't have that special brand of logic you have, so it's nice and refreshing to see somepony who does." Nightshade pouted some more before heading over to the couch and pulling out a bag in her teeth.
"What's in there?" I asked.
She dropped it on the floor. "We need to leave. If somepony is after you, we need to move, and quickly." Smart filly: where there's one, there may be more.
"Yeah, you're right. I'll go pack what we need and we can leave by sunrise." I said seriously.
About two hours later our small team was at the town gate: a filly in stable barding, a Spritebot with a clever laser pistol, and a small dark unicorn with her packs full of medical supplies and dual .32 caliber pistols on her holster.
I frowned. Our departure meant that not only if Pyre and the others came back would we be gone, but the act of leaving was for our safety, we were being hunted and chased. We wore a veritable target on our flanks. For some reason, somepony wanted me dead, and I needed to find out why. The towns gates opened, and our journey began.
New feature unlocked: Huzzah! The story perspectives have been doubled!
Tinker Trot: You're constantly fixing and repairing weapons and robots! You gain a +15 to your Repair skill with this perk, as well as gaining the ability to fix any broken robot to work for you for a short time.
Companions gained: Nightshade Ambrosia, 90-NE
Companion perk(s) gained:
Lucky Filly: How can one pony be so lucky? While Nightshade is in your party, you gain a +2 to your luck and some strange things start to happen to you.
Woah NElly: You've found a robot that is fully customizable! Just don't try to put a mini-gun on it! With 90-NE in your party, you can detect enemies sooner on your E.F.S., and invisible enemies can be seen with ease! Also, 90-NE can be equipped with almost any small arms and energy weapons.
((Authors note: hi guys! I wanted to say thanks for reading my fanfic! I enjoyed writing his chapter and tried some relatively new stuff with the switching the main character around a bit. Don't worry maybe in chapter 6 Gizmo will be back to leading but I wanted to do this not only to get a contrast between Gizmo's certain innocence with the wasteland and Innocent's experience with it. I want to say so much about what I've got planned but that would spoil it for you guys! Thanks to Somber, who is a writer I look up to as a role model. Thanks to Khat, who without we wouldn't have any of this awesome world of Fallout Equestria. Thanks to all the ponies in the Fallout Equestria Resource chat box, they helped me with that short battle scene I had in this. And of course thanks to Nerdy for another edit. Speaking of editors, I need more. Nerdy helps a lot but from what I've found out I might need a second to find things Nerdy missed and also for them to give me suggestions on the story, which Nerdy already does. So if you want to become and editor just PM me on the Fallout Equestria Resource forums or on my tumblr Askgizmo.tumblr.com. Thanks for reading!))
Fallout Equestria: Reverence of the End Chapter 5: Nevermore "Love is all I need."
A long, long and lonely wasteland. Nightshade, 90-NE and I had been traveling for a day now and we hadn't seen any other ponies, just a few molerats and radigators, but no ponies.
Our surroundings were surprisingly bare, they would have been completely bare if it weren't for the few dead and scattered trees. We had agreed to go and try to find at least a caravan or something before we set up another camp, our first one didn't have a fire and Shade and I had to huddle together for heat.
I spied a swamp I the distance. It was a stretch, but I was aching for a rest and some shelter.
"Let's head for that swamp, maybe we can find some food and firewood for a camp at least,” I said.
Nightshade nodded tiredly, and 90-NE just beeped in agreement as he floated along. We approached the swamp and my Pipbuck started to click as soon as I touched the water, but oddly enough, not when I was on the shore. I took out some Rad-x for Nightshade and I and prepared some Rad-Away for in case our radiation levels got too high.
We went into the swamp slowly, making sure to attempt to avoid deep spots or quicksand. I heard a splash to my left and looked to see ripples in the water.
"Stay close," I told my companions. They did as I asked. Just then, I heard a low growl and saw a radigator jump out of the pool in front of us and open his gaping maw, showcasing his hundreds of sharp teeth. I scrambled to pull out my gun but I dropped it into the swamp water. I didn't even have time to curse as the monster gator started to lunge at me.
I closed my eyes, hoping it wouldn't hurt too much.
Just then, I heard a gunshot and opened my eyes to see the gator lying on its side with a bullet wound in its head.
"Damn! That gator was about to fucking kill you smoothcoats!" I heard a gravelly voice say with a chuckle. I looked over and saw a ghoul pony, maybe male, with leather worn barding and a battle saddle outfitted with a pair of hunting rifles. His face looked about as good as a ghouls face could, rotting and missing a lot of flesh. His smile revealed his unnaturally white teeth. "Done staring, smoothcoat?" he asked with a chuckle as he came over to us.
"Who are yo-" My sentence was cut off as Nightshade ran up and hugged the ghoul.
"Orion!" she squealed with delight as she hugged him.
"Nightshade! It's only been three days since you got out of this swamp and now you're back? Silly filly," he said while rubbing her head. "Who're your friends here, Shady?
"Oh that's Innocent, she's really nice, and she’s taking me to find my friends, the ones I told you about? And that's 90-NE, but I call him Nelly, he's a super awesome cool robot!" She held on to his hoof tightly.
"Nice to meet you. Names Orion, and unless you got a wish for a painful death torn apart by radigators, you really should either get out of the swamp or come with me to Swamproot."
"Swamproot? Is that your town?" I asked.
"Yep,” the rotting pony responded, “we even have some smoothcoats like you there. Don't worry about radiation, for some reason, it only affects you here if you're touching the water." He smiled again. "Come on! We can feed you and give you a place to stay for tonight." he offered happily.
"Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease Innocent! I really like Orion and his friends! They helped me out a bunch to get to Herald and to find you," Nightshade pleaded.
I couldn't resist a filly’s charm. Equally irresistible was the fact that these ponies would really help us by giving us a non-irradiated place to stay for the night.
"I don't know Nightshade, they might not be nice ponies." I winked at Orion, he caught the wink and played along. "Oh that's understandable, I mean why should you just trust a little fillies word about a stranger?" his voice dripping with that babying tone.
"What?! No! We can trust them Innocent! Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease," she droned on and on. I smirked and caved, with that desperate of a filly who wouldn't?
"Oh okay, I guess for one night." I said.
"Yay!!! Sleepover with Orion!" Nightshade exclaimed. Odd, a filly that killed her own mother can still be so childlike and fun. Is that supposed to be a good sign?
"You don't mind our group staying with you do you?" I asked Orion and with a wave of his hoof he dismissed my worries. "No problem, Berry and I need some company. She'll be happy to have guests." He smiled with his blindingly white teeth. 90-NE, meanwhile, was just floating along silently. He's a lot like the other spritebots in that manner; he can be extremely quiet, or he can be loud enough to alert everypony within a five mile radius of your location. Thankfully, he was content remaining silent.
Swamproot was a very nice town, suspended above the swamp by sticks and planks of wood. If you looked closely, you could see that a certain brand if earth pony magic was used. Earth ponies don't have very traditional magic like unicorns, but they have a very unique ability to grow trees and plants at extreme speed and to gargantuan sizes. Such was the case with Swamproot, which was almost made completely of, you guessed it, swamp roots.
As we arrived, we were greeted by two ghouls that seemed to be on guard duty for the day. I never caught their names and they never took our weapons. Because we were with Orion, I hypothesized. Just how much power did this pony have in this town?
When I looked around town, I noticed a lot of smoothcoats, as Orion called them. There seemed to be as many smoothcoats as there were ghouls, and all of them seemed to be with a ghoul partner. There were even a few pegasi! I had found it odd that none of these ponies were ghoul bigots and hated the ghouls, but hey, when ponies are living together in harmony, who are you to stop them?
Orion led us to his home; a tree... a fucking tree... he lived in a tree, in a swamp town full of ghouls. Will the wasteland ever cease to amaze me? He opened to door and announced our arrival.
"Honey, I'm home! I brought some guests for the night!" As if on cue, magenta colored earth pony mare came trotting down the stairs.
"Welcome home, baby," she as she kissed Orion's rotting cheek. I swear he would have been blushing if blood could still flow to there.
"So, guests? Nice to meetcha, I'm Berry Jelly, Orion's wife." She smiled and held out her hoof. I took it in a friendly shake. She was nice and she looked young, just out of her teenage years I would guess, and she was with a ghoul? I guess love really can get past the appearance department. "So then, what y'all here for?"
"Oh, we were traveling and a radigator ambushed us. Your husband came out from nowhere and saved us. He then invited us to stay in Swamproot for the night. Nightshade, that filly over there,” I pointed a hoof, “knows Orion from his assistance he provided her a few days ago."
"Oh really? My Ori did that? I guess I'll have to reward him tonight." She chuckled and winked at Orion. He chuckled and went with her into what I assumed was their kitchen.
A feeling of dread, worry, hate, and pain crashed over me. I could feel my temperature dropping, and began to shake. These unexplainable attacks would come and go throughout my youth. The doctors in the Stale claimed it was nothing short of a mental disorder. I curled up into a ball and breathed slowly to try and calm myself down. Nightshade came up to me and poked my side which made me yelp a little.
"What's wrong Innocent?" She asked, her voice full of worry. I didn't want to concern her with my episodes. I had to be strong for her. Why do I get to be special? Who doesn't get depressed in this hell we live in?
"I-I'm fine Shade, just a little shaken from that attack earlier." I smiled wanly at her but it didn't seem to abate her worry. She smiled back. A weak smile, full of worry. 90-NE was floating around and beeping, his default state unless we get into danger. Wait a second! Why didn't he help us fight the radigator? I decided not to think too hard about it. Now was not the time, and I was in no state to strain my brain.
I decided to get up of my sorry flank and check the house out. There were two floors for living, an upper level and the entry level. There were four stories to this humongous tree. The basement seemed to be used for storage, while the second floor had a bedroom with a small and crude plumbing system. The third and final floor had two bedrooms. I assumed one of those rooms we would be staying in.
I made my way back downstairs and saw Nightshade playing with Berry, engaged in some sort of dance. Berry was showing Nightshade the moves and she was getting the hang of it. Berry would spin in place, and gesture for Nightshade to do the same. Nightshade would spin for few moments, then come crashing to her hooves. I chuckled slightly and made my way into the kitchen where Orion was preparing dinner. He smiled his bright and white smile, it's shininess in stark contrast with his rotting face.
"You like the place? We had to hollow the tree out ourselves." He chuckled. "Even Berry helped, Celestia bless her."
"Oh, so is your house new?" I asked, smiling at him.
"Nope, one of the first in Swamproot, actually," he replied.
"Sooooo...Orion,” I stammered, racking my brain for interesting conversation, “how does Swamproot fair? Do you have any major, Princess-has-to-swoop-in-and-save-the-day problems?" I asked him, hoping we might be able to find some work here while he let us stay with him. Then we could leave Swamproot with ammo, food, and firewood in case we don't have anywhere else to stay.
"Nothing major,” he sighed, “just a fuckload of bugs.” His gaze hardened. “They come out every night and annoy the living shit out of everypony, sometimes they even bite."
Clearly, these bugs were a touchy subject for my zombified host.
"We'd be plum grateful if you took care of them. I don't care if you kill them or make them leave, but please just stop them, it's been 150 years of the same shit every night! Some of us can't take it anymore, it's almost enough to drive a pony feral!” "I'll take care of it, just give me a name of somepony who can help or point me towards their lair. After dinner I'll go." I told him with a pleasant smile.
"Really?!” He blinked. “Thank you! I recommend you don't bring others, you'll just get confused," he warned.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I don't know if you know about anything prewar, but after the bombs hit these critters called Changelings went and got mutated. They had been around forever, but the Princess had kept them at bay with her and her niece Cadence's power. Well, now they're back in their absence, and their back with a vengeance. We still call them Changelings nowadays, because honestly they didn't actually mutate that much. They're still their ugly old selves except for one thing: Changelings before the war fed on love and positive emotions, these new buggers seem to feed on negative ones."
Oh great, if I get hit by another wave I'll be a fucking feast for them.
"Also, Changelings can change their form to look like anypony they see. I don't know how, but they always can copy the voice perfectly too. I don't know too much about them before the bombs, besides the famous attack on Canterlot, but I guess that doesn't matter much. Just go alone and without any sort of photo of somepony, as they'll find it and use it to mess with your head. Here's a tip; they can't copy memories, so ask something only they would know."
Orion sighed as he wrapped up his extensive warning. I wish I wrote down notes.
I nodded and smiled. This buck wasn't too bad, and he seemed very protective of his town. I trotted up to Nightshade's and my room and started packing my saddle bags for my latest errand.
After dinner Nightshade had gone right to bed, and I couldn't blame her, I was exhausted too, but I couldn't just stop now. I needed to do this tonight, for some reason I just felt like I needed to, or else something bad would happen. I silently picked up my saddle pack and trotted downstairs where I bumped into Berry.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey," I echoed.
"I know you're going to go deal with the Changelings, but I have a favor to ask first."
"What is it?" I asked. She seemed to shy away from me as she started to speak.
"I-I want you to convince them to leave. I abhor violence and if you go in there and shoot them I'm sure you'll be hunted down by other Changelings. I don't want the good ponies of Swamproot to be known as the exterminators of the Changelings. At least hear their side of the story, from what I've seen they only hurt and kill when we hurt or kill them. Coincidence? I think not."
Berry was practically begging me not to harm them. I'll admit it, the way Orion talked about them, it seemed like they would try and kill me on sight, so naturally I had decided to go in guns blazing.
"What if they attack first?" I asked her. Even mentioning of this question seemed to upset Berry even more.
I suppressed a gulp.
Swamps. I hate swamps for a multitude of reasons, chiefly because of how sickeningly deadly they can be. Quicksand, radigators, radiation, these things made a swamp a veritable pot of death stew.
I hadn't had many problems with where I was going or what I was doing, oddly enough...in fact it was pretty simple, follow my Pipbuck tracker to the cave and try to find these Changelings, then make peace or war with them, depending on how they reacted to my appearance in their lair. After an hour or so of trotting through the muck and bloatsprite-infested swamp, I reached my destination. My Pipbuck decided to mark it as Chameleon Caverns. I almost burst out laughing at the irony. But I held it in and turned off my light. Now was the time to be sneaky. I crept cautiously into the cave and tried to think nice and happy thoughts. The cave itself was rather dank and I swear I could see some sort of metal door a ways ahead of me. I trotted up to it and discovered it was indeed a metal door, and a locked one at that. I levitated out a screwdriver and a bobby pin and started to work on it.
Lock-picking was not my forte, but this lock sure seemed easy enough. I almost broke my only pin though trying to open it. Why in the name of Celestia did I only bring one bobby pin? It opened rather loudly and I turned around quickly to see if anything came looking. After the coast looked clear, I went inside of the room.
It seemed I was in some sort of office, and it had a terminal on the desk. I quickly went to it and discovered it too was locked. I scoured my knowledge of pre-war ponies their knack for computer security.
After some mulling, I took a wild guess and punched in 1-2-3-4 for a password.
“[ACCESS GRANTED]” Came my report of success.
I facehoofed at the idiocy and took a look at the functions of the terminal, which only seemed to be some logs.
Entry 1: I don't know why the boss is making up keep journals, it's not like anything happens here. Well anyway we got some new workers today, not ponies, not even zebras or diamond dogs! They're called Changelings, these bug-like ponies...things. They're smart enough to talk and be polite so I guess they might be a little bit more tolerable than diamond dogs. But I don't know why Celestia is giving these things jobs. After their attack on Canterlot, you'd think she wouldn't trust them. A lot of the others here think the same thing, but I say we give them a chance, after all, if the stories are true then all they need is somepony to be kind to them, so I'll try just that.
Entry 2: It's been a few weeks since the Changelings started to work here and I can't say it hasn't been without its problems. Some of the idiots down in mining thought it would be fun to gang up and kick some poor Changeling's ass. I visited the kid in medical. He seemed really nice. A shy guy. I say he, but it's been explained to me since that Changelings could be either gender due to their body changing ability. This kid, Aracnae, was really nice, he said as soon as he could he would get back to work and avoid those ponies. I offered the kid a desk job with me, which would give better pay and less chance of a beat down. He said he'd think about it, and thanked me for the offer. He refused to say who beat him up though so I couldn't punish them, I don't blame the kid, he would become a target if I punished them.
Entry 3: It's been a few days since Archie (that's Aracnae's new nickname) started working in the offices with me. He's really good with managing stock. It used to take me a few hours to do that entire math with the crystals, and how many we mined that day and blah blah blah. But Archie said he used to be some sort of teacher back in the Changeling homeland. I asked him if he would ever like to go back, but he just shook his head no. He said that he had no family, no lover, not even a friend to go back to there. I swear he blushed and then mumbled something about how much he liked being here with me! I dropped the topic and went back to my worker reports. Seems the Changeling assaults went down after Archie moved up.
Entry 4: Man, it's already been a month since Archie started to work in the office and so many ponies love the kid! He's nice to everypony, and he's a great worker! He got a raise last week for pointing out an error in the mining reports that would have cost the company millions! I like working with the kid, he always looks up to me, I guess it's because I was his first friend here in Equestria. Not much else to report, just that the Changelings have become increasingly xenophobic, and some are even excluding Archie from dinners and such.
Entry 5: Dear sweet Celestia! Just a few minutes ago, Archie did something I never would have expected! He asked me out on a date! I was shocked when he did, I mean I don't think I'm that good looking of a mare, but...I said I'd give him a shot. I mean, he's pretty cute for a Changeling, and he's so nice! I'll see how it goes and maybe if it works out, I'll ask him out next time. Changeling aggression has increased, which is entirely justifiable. Nopony-err-Changeling should have to put up with the amount of shit they've been put through here.
Entry 6: My date with Archie went just perfect! He was the perfect gentlecolt, and I rewarded him with a kiss at the end of the night. When he came into work today he blushed and started to look away from me when he said hi. He's just too innocent! I have to deal with some incidents today though, it seems that some of the workers got into a scuffle on last night’s shift. It seems one of the ponies got drunk and started to harass a Changeling worker. After the first worker came up and started the conflict, the Changeling worker attacked back. Unfortunately for the first worker, the changeling changed his hoof into a griffin-like talon. He mauled the first worker, and now he's in medical. The first worker was going to sue, but he had no real grounds, he attacked first, the changeling was simply defending himself.
Entry 7: ...I sure wis....ji%$^&#...
[ERROR PLEASE CHECK FILESYSTEM INTEGRITY AND SEE YOUR SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR]
I finished reading, apparently the computer had been damaged and the rest of the entries were unreadable. Shame, I had been pretty into that pony's love life.
I left the room and carefully looked around to see if anypony was there and it seemed like there wasn't.
Then it happened. Another wave of depression. My insides felt suddenly heavy, like they were made of lead. There was also a burning pain, centering around my stomach. I fell to the ground and grimaced terribly, during these times I try not to move. Moving made it hurt worse.
I heard hoofsteps coming my way and looked up. I was greeted with a terrifying sight, a dark pony, with bat-like ears and insect eyes. The fangs didn't make it seem any more friendly then the rest of it. It had a sharp jagged horn, and insectoid wings. There were holes in its hooves.
It spotted me and approached my prone figure on the ground. It seemed to bask in my depression.
"So delicious" it exclaimed as it licked its lips.
"Changelings, I presume?" I asked sadly as I slowly got up. They opened their eyes and nodded at me. "Good, I need to talk to the one in charge, I have something to bring to their attention." They looked disappointed that their meal had just got up and demanded to talk to their leader, but they started to lead me down the cave tunnels into a dimly lit cavern. There were these sort of hive structures around that looked like houses. We walked into the largest structure, which I assumed to be their leaders abode.
The leader's house on the inside appeared just as grotesque as the outside. The leader himself was a larger Changeling, but he was more pony-like than the others, his eyes weren't as insect like, and his features just seemed smoother. "Welcome Feasted One,” he boomed, “I am Zorild, leader of this small clan of Changelings. I have been told you have requested to speak with me?
"Feasted One?" I asked before getting to my point.
"Yes, you positively ooze of negative emotions, and we Changelings thrive on your pain. Thus, you are a feast.” I pushed back my comments and decided to get this over with.
"Well, yes I wanted to speak to you. I come in the employ of the people of Swamproot. They wish of you to leave the area or to stop attacking their town."
"Ah you work for the rotting ones and the traitors," he said, voice dripping with disdain. His comments aroused my interest. "We are truly sorry for attacking their town, but understand that if we do not, they do not experience any negative feelings. We would starve. We have tried feeding off each other's negative emotions, but to no noticeable success.”
"Wait, who are the traitors?" I asked.
"The Changelings within the town. They betrayed us a long time ago, before we started feeding on negative emotions. They still feed on positive emotion, so naturally our food chains get tied up. One starves while the other flourishes." Zorild explained.
"So then, could I perhaps convince you to leave to another area?" I asked, voice full of empty hope.
"My clan would not survive the journey," he said as his head drooped.
My smile faded.
"But there is another way we might be able to survive," he added. My hope jumped right back up. "We could travel only if we had some ponies with high amounts of negative emotions, to feed off of and survive the trip to another town or safe haven." I mulled over this for a few moments until realization struck me.
"So,” I asked, “you need a few miserable ponies to travel with you, who most likely would be taken against their will. You need slaves for you to move around. Do you realize how morally fucked up this is?!"
The Changelings around me jumped up and readied into battle positions. Zorild waved his hoof and they calmed down. He nodded his head at my question and fit of rage.
"Yes, but we would need them to survive and as such, the settlement would not have us as a problem anymore. They would only need to give up three miserable individuals to feed us for the way. We do not need food, and we have a surplus of food and water. They would be well supplied for the trip and by the end they can go to the nearest settlement to live normally." Now, I'm not a slaver, nor do I ever intend on becoming one. The complexity of my predicament compounded. Do I do as they ask and make three ponies lives even worse? Or do I do what the village wants and kill these Changelings? Although I doubt without a few more ponies, the second option seemed more possible. These Changelings seem nice, just misunderstood and hungry. I turned away from Zorild.
"I'll think about it. When I make my decision, you'll know."
I traveled through the caves and back to Swamproot.
"They want what?!"
I had returned to Orion with the news. He did not take it well.
"There is absolutely no way we are giving those...those bugs our ponies!"
Orion yelled at me as if I had been the one to make this deal. I wiped my face of any spittle the ghoul pony had sent my way. "Calm down, I don't necessarily want to do this but if we do, it solves your problem without violence." My ire toward the rotting zombie-like stallion grew. He backed away slowly, sensing my anger growing.
"Y-yeah...I guess you're right with that, but still I don't like the idea of enslaving my ponies just to feed some monsters while they go to terrorize some other village! But from what you say, they have a huge village inside that cave, so even with our numbers we wouldn't be able to defeat them, should it come to fighting." He sighed. "Are you sure there wasn't any sort of radiation in the cave?"
I shook my head no.
"From what I think, those Changelings absorbed too much radiation and mutated, to be able to survive off negative emotion like that. Now then," I looked at Berry.
The mare was in the room with us while Nightshade was supposed to be sleeping, although I swear I could see a dark shadow in the staircase.
"Where are the other Changelings?" I asked her.
She jolted and her eyes widened in surprise. "W-why would you think I would know?" she blurted.
"I forgot mention that Zorild, the leader of the Changelings, told me about there being Changelings in this very village. Judging by your dodgy nature at my question, I can see that you must know something about there being Changelings in Swamproot.” It was a stretch, but it worked. Berry sighed and frowned.
"Yes, there are Changelings in Swamproot, but we aren't like those savages in the cave! We still feed off of positive emotion! "Who is we?" I asked quickly. She sighed again and facehoofed at her on stupidity.
"Yes we. I am a changeling," she said. I expected her to change into one of the insects I saw at the cave but all she did was look down in shame.
"Why won't you change back?" I asked, confused.
"I don't want to lose this form. I can partially change but not all the way. You see, to explain this I need to explain what happened to us Changelings after the bombs dropped. We all were affected by radiation, some only in a minor way, and some in a much more severe way, such as those beasts out in the wastes. A lucky few fell in-between these two extremes, like the ones in the cave. As to not cause confusion, I would prefer being called a companion-ling, a companion changeling. Travelers have come to Swamproot before with other companion-lings in their group. We feed off their positive emotion like true Changelings, and stay with a loved one. We do not steal their love or deteriorate it, we simply take the place of a loved one and try our best to be like them. Companion-lings are different from pre-war Changelings or those ones in the cave. We can copy the appearance of a dead pony, but only if we have seen them in our life."
I raised my hoof in question.
"So you replaced Berry Jelly. Was this pre-war? Or when the bombs dropped? Not to forget, what is your life expectancy exactly?" Honestly, I was very intrigued to hear her response. But, she caught a breath as Orion trotted slowly into the room. "You took Berry's place...why?" he asked solemnly. His face seemed drained of any color. Odd, I didn't think Ghouls could actually get any paler.
"As stated in the old ways of the Changelings, the first rule is," she straightened herself and put her hoof over her heart, "we as the changeling species vow to only take the place of a pony for no more than a month. The requirements for a suitable substitute candidate were rather complex. The pony must have died recently, and the trauma of their death would have to lead to immense harm for the giver of their love." She fell to the floor and scrambled to Orion's hooves. "B-but! I did it because I knew you before the bombs, before the war! When I was still just a plain old Changeling! Orion, I love you!"
"Who are you?" He asked coldly..
Orion smacked her across the muzzle.
"DON'T YOU FUCKING EVEN DARE USE HER NAME AS YOURS!" He screamed at her and she crawled to the corner of the room. "What. Is your name," he growled.
"L-Lonesome Soul.” Orion stopped.
"The bookstore mare?" He asked. Berry (or was it Lonesome?) began even harder and crawled to him.
"Yes! Yes! I admired you from afar and my heart fluttered whenever you even looked at me! I-I was Lonesome for seven years since the owner's daughter died from a kidnapping gone wrong."
"Then what is your birth-name?" Orion asked calmly.
"M-my name is Mimic, in Equestrian that is. My changeling name is Maomina." Mimic (finally a real name!) said sadly. Orion walked to the door. "I'm going out," he said as he exited, leaving Mimic and I alone. A dark streak slammed into the sobbing mass of pony that was Mimic and there were multiple bouts of sobbing.
"T-that was so sad!!! Why can't he understand that you love him! He's been with you for more than two hundred years! That was all you, not some Berry Jelly mare!" Nightshade was crying horribly loud. "How did he even think you survived this long looking normal!?" She had been eavesdropping the whole time.
"H-he thought I had become a ghoul on the inside, but not the outside. He thought only my internal organs were ravaged by radiation. I can't change any parts within me, s-so when we were together he took his own theory at face value and accepted it." She sobbed into Nightshade's shoulder.
"So let me get this straight, you did mutate, not so much though that you can imitate dead ponies. But you can't change your reproductive organs and this fact made Orion think you were a ghoul on the inside. I'm holding back my need to find that fucker and beat him down for insulting a mare’s marehood." I gritted my teeth.
Mimic seemed to smile, but shook her head. "I-I don't want you to do that. I don't think he can ever look at me the same way again." She wiped some tears. "I think you should help those Changelings. We companion-lings here don't like them any more than the ghouls, but as a similar sub-species I won't let them be meaninglessly killed like a common pest! I-if you lead them away, I can help you into changeling hives and small recluses within towns. W-we are a good people, we will be kind if you treat us kindly and would have us." Mimic smiled. "Also, 200 years in the wasteland have made me a very handy mare." She hiccuped and smiled again.
I smiled back. "I don't want a killing spree. But I don't like the idea of enslaving anypony either." I sighed. "I need to talk with Orion. Nightshade, you stay here with Mim-"
"Please! I don't like that name." Mimic blurted.
"Get used to it. I will use the name your parents gave you, and in my language, that is Mimic. Stop hiding yourself. Changelings I know aren't supposed to be themselves, they live as somepony else. But you know what? From the little bit of history I read, a Changeling can be an individual, you can be Maomina. You have been Mimic all this time, but you put on a costume to fool others, and to fool yourself into believing that there was no Maomina, no Mimic, but instead Lonesome Star, a poor filly lost to a murdering pony Or Berry Jelly, a mare whom Mimic was jealous of. You took her chance as the bombs dropping. You found Berry, dying from radiation and injury, and you told her, 'I am you now.' Did I get that right?" I stopped my rant to look at Mimic. She was in tears again, but shaking her head yes. "Good. You are Maomina; Mimic, not Berry Jelly, not Lonesome Star. If you really hate your changeling form, then make a pony form for yourself," I suggested.
"H-how?" she asked through her tears.
"You've turned into so many mares and stallions I'd bet you've picked out a few favorites. Why not take features from them and make your own?" I smiled. Mimic's eyes brightened. She shrugged Nightshade off herself and closed her eyes.
With a burning green fire, Berry Jelly was no more, and never would she be any more than a memory. A new pony appeared in front of us, a taller skinny mare. She had a brilliant white coat, with a long red mane that went to her chest. Her wings were the same color as her coat but with a small black steak across the edge of her feathers that split in two as she opened them. Her tail was the same as her mane, the length similar as well, long and flowing. Her eyes opened as I made a quick diagnosis: heterochromia, two different colored eyes, one green as a forest, and the other red as flames. She smiled at us. "I feel like this is a unique enough form...wouldn't you say?" Mimic grinned. She winked and her wings burned with green flame again and were replaced by dragon-like wings. Again they caught fire and returned to their normal (? Is that word still applicable when talking about Mimic?) form.
"I can change my form at will for combat, and for comfort. I hope that you will do the right thing Innocent with the other Changelings" Mimic trotted before going upstairs.
I found Orion looking over some sort of pit filled with howling ghouls. He must have heard me approach. Without turning, he spoke.
"Ferals. What all ghouls eventually turn into. Brain deterioration catches up to us, you know. We, the people of Swamproot, can't stand to kill the ponies we loved and knew, so we keep them. We try to help them. We call it the Tartarus Pit. They always look up at the cloud cover and as soon as they see the faint lighting of the moon, they howl. We call it their gospel." He sighed. "They sing to the moon, for Luna to take their bodies along with their minds. Their prayers are never answered, not until we kill them." I heard him sob but I saw no tears. "I-I was an astronomer before the war, the reason I went to the bookstore so much was to get star charts and maps. Lonesome was always a nice filly, a bit too young for me, but nice nonetheless. Berry was a geologist. Our friends had this joke that she always had her head in the clouds to see me staring at the stars. We never married. We had dated maybe six months before the bombs dropped, and she died. I remember it now, clearly. She was dying slowly from poisoning, and I thought I was too. It was excruciating, and Berry didn't make it. I had held her dead body in my hooves until another Berry came up to me. I was stunned. She told me it'd be alright and I don't remember anything afterwards. I had been with that pest all my life. I hate it." He spat and I charged up to him.
"Don't you fucking say that! Mimic loves you! She always has! Berry is dead. Accept it and move on. Mimic became Berry for you! Because she loved you! She knew you might not make it past ghoulification if you found out your marefriend died. She saved you, and this is how you repay her?!" I screamed. Orion chuckled.
"The fury of the stars is in your heart," he said cryptically. "Mimic was Berry for me, and now that she's not, I can't love her. I loved Berry, she was the only one I had ever loved and ever will. Mimic can try now, but it will not work."
I punched him right across the cheek with my hoof. I pulled away from his body lying on the ground.
"I'm not done," he said and he got up. "We still need to get rid of the bugs.”
"Don't call them that, call them what they are. Changelings." I replied angrily. He chuckled again.
"Fine. We still need to get rid of them, and as I said, we aren't strong enough to attack them. And honestly, I believe that giving ponies away as slaves is just as impossible as an attack. I suppose if we had to choose at the last minute, I would go with slavery, we'll lose fewer ponies that way." He sighed.
"At least you have a nonviolent solution," I said with a shrug. Orion looked up with fiery rage in his eyes.
"Hell no! I would rather fucking kill all those Changelings! But I'm not an idiot, I know we would lose many, should we fight." He scowled. I sighed and started to trot away.
“Innocent," he said. I looked back. "What I said about the fury of the stars, it was a warning. If things ever get so terribly bad for you, do not ask the stars for power or strength. You would be a perfect warrior for them."
"Who?" I asked, sick of this ghoul and his pissy, cryptic ways.
"The stars," he said simply before waving me off. "Go, don't you have something to do?"
I grunted in annoyance and trotted away.
Mimic and Nightshade were happily cleaning up the house, I could tell that Mimic was not only getting used to her new form. She was recovering from the fight. Her coat around her eyes was still wet with tears and her eyes themselves were red and swollen, but she looked far more than twenty percent better.
"Good news," I said to them and they turned to me. "Well, kind of. Orion says it would be smarter to use the slave tactic so he says we should do that. But I'm afraid if he gets the chance he'd go and wipe them out." I hung my head. Mimic trotted over and wrapped a wing around me.
"It's fine, Innocent, he's always wanted to get rid of them...us. I'm just afraid this reveal has made him all the more gung-ho about it." She smiled a melancholy smile. "But he's not dumb, unless he goes to another town to get reinforcements, he won't be making a move anytime soon.”
I smiled and yawned. "Well, I've had a rough night, I think it's about time for some sleep."
I trotted up stairs and oddly enough, Mimic followed me. While she followed, I noticed she had no cutie mark. I stopped. "Two things; why are you coming with me to bed? And two, why don't you have a cutie mark?" She meekly smiled and blushed.
"I-I always sleep with somepony close. It makes me feel safe and content. As for the cutie mark, I don't believe I deserve one yet. I made this form with a special bit of my magic, it'll appear when I discover my special talent. It's like you said, I am Maomina, Mimic. Not some other pony, I need to earn my cutie mark, just like any other pony."
We made our way up to the bedroom and I shrugged and laid down in the bed. Mimic followed after and wrapped her wing around me and I slowly drifted off to sleep.
I see a dark figure in the surroundings of darkness. It shouldn't stand out, it should just blend into the background but it doesn't.
It gazes at me and takes shape. The stable dweller. The one I killed.
His scraggly yellow mane fell just above his eyes, his yellowed crazed eyes. He wore his stable barding, ripped and torn from running around the wasteland. On his left wrist is his Pipbuck, the same one I wear now. He smiles at me.
"My name is Innocent, not Fury," I say simply. My annoyance mounted. Can't a girl just get some sleep?
"No, it is Innocent now. But in your heart lies Fury, hot and burning, waiting for the stars to release her.”
"What? That's just stupid, I know who I am. I am Innocent."
His finite tone unsettled me. He spoke of things like they were guaranteed to happen. It's just a matter of time. "Who are these stars anyways?” I ask.
"The stars are gods, beings from beyond the hell of a world you now live in. They have touched others, and they will surely touch more. They make ponies stronger, so that they may survive the wasteland and one day save it. Fury, you are meant to do great things, but only after the stars find and save you."
He spoke like he was reading a book and suddenly skipped to the next chapter.
"I don't need saving!" I screamed at him. "I know how to save myself! I can survive by myself, I don't need anypony else’s help!"
"Really? Then how come you gather these ponies, and you take things you think will help you? You're not even going in the right direction to find Gizmo. Nightshade will be so disappointed when she finds out that she may never be able to see her best friends from her only safe place, the Stable. The one place she was had ever been truly happy, the one place she was forced out of due to a terrible crime she committed. She only wants one thing, to feel happy again. The only way she thinks she can be happy again is by seeing those two ponies that treated her nicely, and you're denying her that joy. In fact, the only reason you met Nightshade was because of your selfish jealousy to that barmare. You stayed behind when you could have just told her to leave. You were jealous and didn't want anyone to see, so you stayed behind." His words dripped with malice.
"Shut up! It wasn't like that! I'm not like that! We went into here to find a shortcut! Then we got caught up in all this shit! I know its put us behind, but we can change it, we will find Pyre and Gizmo."
I sneered at the Stable dweller. He smiled and nodded, then started trotting away.
"Say hello to Magus when you see her, Fury."
I heard a commotion going on outside. I frowned as I see some familiar steel-armored ponies in town.
Looks like Orion's found some reinforcement.
Notes: Level up!
Historical Accuracy: Your reading of the past has helped you under stand a bit more about your surroundings! You are more likely to find pre-war items in mint condition!
The Beast Inside: You have something terrifying lurking inside of you, waiting to come out. When using unarmed or claw like weapons you gain an extra 20% damage.
((Authors note: This. Chapter. Was. Hell. It took me two weeks to write it because I had lost interest like three times and needed to find the right inspiration! Gah!! Well, it's done now. I wouldn't mind if you all left more comments on characters and my writing ability. Also, I'm still looking for that second editor, it would help me out alot. Thanks to everypony who I've thanked before! I'm sorry I can't give individual thanks but I'm exhausted. Bye!))Parker
"I'm not giving him cake! I'm ASSAULTING him with cake!"
Initiating Personality Switch, Subject: Spring Bell
Prepare to switch in 3, 2, 1...
"Uhg...." I moaned as my eyes fluttered awake. "Where am I?" I said aloud, examining my surroundings. Well to say the least it was grey... Very very grey, also kinda dark except for the one light in the middle of the room. I was laying on a small dirty mattress, which included a small blanket which seemed it was stained a bit in blood...
I quickly did a once over of myself. "Hooves, still got those. Nose? Yup! Two eyes, a mouth, ears, wings. Check on all fronts. Hair? Still ginger!" I smiled. Though I had noticed some bandages around my legs and such, one on my head and a wrap around my midsection. I was alive, but obviously I had been in some sort of accident or battle.
"Think. Think. Think." I tapped my noggin as I started to remember. "Enclave Recon, Third class, specialty is sniping... Names obviously Spring Bell... As for how I got here..." I looked around. " I haven't got the faintest idea." I said to myself. "Also I have to work on this talking to myself thing, I ain't gonna find some pony who wants to be with a crazy pony. Well... Not soon at least." I laughed dryly to myself. I honestly remembered everything except how I ended up here, it was odd to say the least.
"Birdie, you awake?" A male voice called out as I heard doors opening and hoofsteps come down. I quickly laid back down and pretended to be asleep. If they wanted me awake, then I wasn't about to give them that. But of course, like this I couldn't see them.
"Thought not." The male voice chuckles lightly. "I hope she does wake up soon, I don't want to keep tube feeding her." The voice sighs. "At least she's cute, for a pegasus." The voice added with a small chuckle.
"I'll have you know I'm down right sexy!" I sat up and said to him, following it up with an, "eep!" I turned red, embarrassed that not only I had given myself away but I did it with a comment like that. The pony that was looking at me, now blushing himself, was a pink unicorn. When I say pink I mean like he was pinker than Pinkie Pie, and that's saying something. His mane was even similar to hers, poofy all around. He was wearing a drab brown robe that had a hood that I seriously doubted fitted around his mane.
"So... Good to see you awake Birdie." He smiles shyly. "I'm Scribe Burst, Bubblegum Burst. Friends call me 'that annoying colt' or just Gummy." He smiles.
"Don't call me Birdie. I'm Enclave Recon, Third Class Spring Bell." I said back, noticing he was being mostly respectful. "Friends call me Spring." I said.
"Alright Birdie." He snickered. "Well I suppose you would like to know how you got here and why you're in a cell?" He asks, to which I nodded. "Well, you're at Ranger Base Blossom." He starts. "As for how you fell through the clouds, I don't know, but we found you on one of our scavenging trips. You had crashed into what seemed to be a grocery store, specifically the area out marked cabbages." He snickers again. "Sorry, jus remembered a good joke about two cabbages and seven Diamond Dogs." He says, I would have to hear that one later. "But you brought back here, fixed up by our medics in hope you could tell us about the Enclave. Oh, I was assigned to watch over you while you we're comatose. I've had to tube feed you, bath you and all that." He sighs. Wait, bathe me?! "It's been about a month since we found you. I'm glad you're up that means I can stop giving you exercise as well. Your wings are hard to move around you know."
"Is there any place on me you haven't messed with?" I ask both jokingly and worried.
"Just the important areas." He shrugs. "I am a gentlecolt you know, I'm not going to be all raider like and rape you." He sighed. "Unlike what you Birdies think, we're not all bad." He says.
"Good." I say. "And I thought so, it seemed stupid that after 200 years not a single one of you earthbounders had made some sort of organized society." I say smirking. "But, you know, I'm not gonna give you shit on the Enclave, especially since I'm not even that important." I say chuckling.
"Oh, well Carrot Stew is gonna try anyways, or else Elder Baster is gonna kill you." He shrugs. "And call me crazy, but I don't think you want that, neither do I."
I stared at him surprised. "K-kill me!? D-don't I have any other use?" I asked scared.
"Besides information? Not really. We don't know your skills and you're an Enclave solider, you could betray us at any moment." He says simply, though I don't think you could do something like that personally." He says sighing.
"S-Sniper." I say. "I was a sniper for them." I add. "Not too bad either, but to be honest I was far from the best."
Bubblegum raises an eyebrow. "Well... We do need mort spotters and snipers." He says. "I'll try my best but I recommend you at least give some info." He starts to walk away. "I'll go inform the others you're awake. Good luck Spring Bell." He says before trotting out and up the stairs.
"Well buck." I said to myself mad that this was happening to me. 'I need to think of a way out of this. Maybe tell them some strategies the Enclave uses, maybe they'll be satisfied with that?' I thought to myself as I heard larger, heavier hoofsteps come down the stairs and two armored ponies arrived. "Better get up and moving Feathers, Stew ain't got all day for your plot." One of them said, sounding female. With a humph I got up and went in between them as they started to lead me up the stairs. Surprisingly, the base was lit with what seemed to be sunlight, panning in from windows, though there was artificial light as well.
Soon I was led to a small room with a chair and a table, well two chairs and a table. I was instructed to sit in the farthest seat, so like a good little prisoner, I did. A few moments later another armored pony comes in but this guy doesn't have his helmet on. He has a short buzz cut of an orange mane, his face was stern, like that of an old drill instructor. "Well? This is our little caged bird?" He asks the soldiers next to me. They nodded slightly and he looked back to me. "Then, what is your rank, we know you're Enclave, you were wearing the uniform when we found you so don't try to fake it." He says with piercing eyes.
"Recon. Third class to be exact." I replied. "I was a sniper for them." I looked back at him, but not with disrespect.
"Alright, then let me ask you. What are you Enclave doing in the wasteland right now? You seem pretty active all of a sudden."
"I honestly don't know. Last I remember, my commanding officer told my squad that we'd be going on a lot more courier mission. Getting supplies down to ground troops and the like." I said. "I wasn't high enough ranked to get the details, but I do remember going to a tower near Hoofington." I finished.
The commanding pony in front of me thought for a moment. "Alright, how do i know you're telling me the truth? What if you're lying?" He asked staring right at me, fire in his eyes.
"Because if I am, then you'll kill me." I said smirking. "And unless down here, ponies would rather die than live and have a chance at life, I'll take the living please." I add.
He huffs slightly and looks to the guards. "Take her back." He waves his hoof as the guards poke me and I stood up. As they start to lead me out I noticed Bubblegum right outside the room, nodding with a small smile.
"Actually, Head Scribe Worm wants to see her if that's okay." He says holding out his hoof. The guards start to lead me in a different direction but Bubblegum stopped them. "Actually, he doesn't like you armored ponies stomping around in his lab. She seems civil enough to me." He smiles. "So why don't you two just go and relax somewhere?" He says.
They looked at each other and shrugged. "Fine, but watch yourself Gummy, I don't want to have to fill out the paperwork for your death because you got cocky and thought the Enclave solider was just an easy mare." I scoffed and chuckled, attracting the guard’s attention. I looked down with my smirk as they trotted away. Bubblegum came up to me.
"Heya Birdie, how'd everything go?" He asked as he started to trot in the direction the guards were about to lead me. "Good news for you, Worm wants to see you and test some things." He says.
"Not Birdie and test what exactly?" I ask, thinking about what they could do to me, like cut off my foreleg and replace it with a metal gryphon claw... Wait that might be pretty cool, but I don't think I'd want to wait for it to pay off.
"Oh Bro just wants to look over your anatomy, see if he can't make something for you, to suit you." He says.
"Bro?" I ask, slightly confused.
"Umm yeah, Head Scribe Gummy Worm is my big brother. By at least 10 years, so don't be surprised if he looks really old." He laughs as we enter a lab looking room, and I had the sudden urge to fold in my wings, so I did so. "Wormy! I brought Birdie!" Bubblegum yells.
"Hold on! I'm coming!" A distinctly older voice called back as a door in the back opened and out came a pale blue coated, red manned stallion stepped out. He was wearing a pair of glasses, so small that the just seemed to hang on his nose, not on his ears. "This the mare you've been caring for heart and hoof for the last month?" He asks.
"Yeah, she says she was an alright sniper up above."
"Sniper... Hmm I think I might have something for you. But first." He pops up and in front of me. "I just need to take some measurements." He pulls out a roll of measuring tape. "Sorry if I squeeze something." He says kindly as he starts to wrap the tape around me in several areas, though I stopped him when he started to measure my flank. I do have standards you know.
"Well, if all goes correctly and I make the appropriate bribe and such, you should be a scout for us." Worm says. "And I'll get to work on getting you the appropriate armor and weapon." He says and needless to say, I was surprised to say the least.
"So, why do you two trust me already?" I asked confused.
"That's easy, you're civil." Bubblegum said happily. "You have been very very cooperative with us so far. You seem to have some skills and honestly, you don't have a choice. It's either our offer or death." He says looking me in the eyes.
"This is good. I like this." I say nodding furiously.
"Good, I’ll make some recon armor for you and try to get some sort of gun for you. Maybe a rifle." Worm shrugs.
"I appreciate this a lot guys." I smiled and hugged them. "I'll make sure I won't disappoint you." I said.
"Alright, so then, follow me, I need to take you back to your cell." Bubblegum said to me. "I'm afraid you're not trusted by the rest of the base. They think you're gonna go all ninja made of us or something." He rolls his eyes.
I laughed. "As if. There’s no way I'm even going back up to the clouds... They probably already gave the files to my parents saying I'm dead." I said sadly.
"Ouch, I'd heard rumors about how serious they were about that but I didn't know it was true." Bubblegum said to me as he walked me back to my cell.
"Yeah it's true... Wait!" I looked back to my flank and gave a sigh of relief as I saw my cutie mark, a blossoming rose, still there. "Good, they didn't a brand me yet." I smiled as Bubblegum looked at me with a smile and a nod.
"I coulda told you that much!" He laughed. He sat nearby my cell as I closed the door on my own accord. "I look forward to you working with us." He said as I laid down. For somepony who’s been asleep for about a month, I was really tired. I slowly started to close my eyes and fell asleep.
I was surrounded by darkness, only I was in this space, completely alone. Except I felt that I was being watched, tested. Suddenly, I saw someone in the distance. I flew to them, trying to catch up. I finally caught up to the pony and was shocked when I found that it was a mare I had never seen before. She was small, but not filly sized. She had this weird hood around her that was pink and accented her already rose colored coat. She had a necklace with several multicolored crystals around it. Her cutie mark seemed to be a large dotted X. She smiled at me as she her leaf green mane poked out of her hood, her yellow eyes shining at me.
"W-who're you?" I asked her.
"A finder!" She said happily. She seemed like a normal earth pony, no horn or wings. "I find ponies that are or will be needed soon!" She smiles.
"Needed for what?"
"Well duh! Don't you know anything about anything? Needed for the wasteland! One of my friends already found this really cool unicorn mare from a Stable and she's gonna go off. My friend found a doozy! And you might just be one too!"
"What do you mean? For one, I'm not even that good at anything, so how in the hay could I save the wasteland?" I ask.
"Well you won't be doing it alone! Nope nope! Lotsa ponies are gonna help you! Not just you, but there's these two others, you'll meet them later. But all I came here to tell you is that you need to go into the big hotel. You'll meet the stinky old mare there, that's a good pony that you should keep! But I'm telling you too much already, you should do this yourself, I'm not some kinda walk through or something." Finder starts to trot off.
"H-hey! None of that made like any sense! Explain it better please!" I yelled. She turned to me and gave a chilling smile. It wasn't happy, it wasn't angry, I didn't seem to be any kind of emotion, only a feeling.
"What fun is there in making sense?" She asked before I felt the world around me melt away.
"Birdie, rise and shine."
I woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air as I looked out of my cell and saw Bubblegum. "You okay?" He asked. "Bad dream? What was it about?"
"I... I don't remember." I said honestly.
"Whatever, I'm sure it wasn't important." He says with a smile. "Well, I'm sure my brother has at least your gun ready. Let’s go check on him." He says getting up and opening my cell. I got up slowly, stretching myself of before moving out and following him.
We arrived soon in Worms’s lab, with Worm working on something on one of the tables. Bubblegum chuckles and waves his hooves. "Hey, big bro, put down that dohicki and give this mare her gun." He says to his brother.
"Oh, Gum, yeah I found this one rifle... It isn't the best we had but it’s really old. I'm surprised it didn't break already." He moves to another table where there was this hunting rifle. Its barrel was rusted a bit and the stock was made of wood, and had a small crack going up it.
"You sure this thing can still even fire?" I asked curious.
"To be honest? No. I haven't tested it yet. There is the shooting range outside if you can get Baster to let you out with a gun." Worm told me. I looked to Bubblegum and he nodded then turned around, leading me to what I could only assume would be this Baster's office.
We entered a rather large room with a few monitors in it, mostly showing pictures of the outside. In the middle of the room was a semicircular desk with a chair in the middle of it. In the chair was a tan pony with a grey mane, wearing a brown robe similar to Bubblegum’s. He looked at us with a small smile.
"Ah, Mr. Burst, I see you brought our new Pegasi friend. May I ask for the reason you brought her here?" He asks, his voice flowing smoothly, very calming.
"Yes Elder Baster. You see, my brother and I believe that she could help us out in the lab as a sort of courier for us, going out and collecting sample and materials we need to use to study pre-war tech." He says. "My brother has found a rather old rifle that nopony seems to want to use, so he wants to give it to her for her own protection out there. Now we're not sure if the rifle works and she wants to test it out on the shooting range. Will you allow this sir?" He asks.
The elder seems to think for what was about a minute but seemed like an eternity to me. He smiles. "Well, if our Head scribe thinks it’s a good idea for us to let this Pegasi have a gun, then why shouldn't she test it?" He says rhetorically. "Well Mr. Burst, are you prepared to accept the consequences if the Pegasus betrays us?" He asked Bubblegum.
"Of course sir!" Bubblegum said with respect.
"Then I see no problem. You two are dismissed." And with a wave of his hoof we returned towards Gummy Worm. He had been prepared for us to comeback with positive news, considering there was a small saddle bag (only one) with a box of .32 caliber rounds right next to the rifle.
"You're ready to go whenever you like." Worm says to us.
"Alright I'll take her to the range. You pack anything for her?" Bubblegum asks.
"Nope. Just some bullets." He says, still working on something that neither Bubblegum nor I could see.
I grabbed the rifle and slung it over my back after I had put the saddlebag on. It hung just below my wing, but the strap went over it. I hadn't tried to fly yet, at least not so soon, but I'm willing to bet that I can't. "So where's the shooting range?" I asked them.
"Oh just follow the signs on the walls, they show you how to get out of the base. After you get out, it's to your right." Bubblegum instructs me. I nod happily as I go out of the room, examining the walls for instructions on how to get out.
I eventually made it... After going in several wrong rooms and almost getting shot nine times. But I was outside now. I went to the right as some guards watched me closely, making sure I wasn't about to go all insane and kill every pony around me. I quickly found the shooting range and rested me new rifle on a pile of rubble. I loaded it and looked at the targets. They were a bunch of patched together junk put in the relative shape of a pony.
I breathed in deeply, looking down the iron sights of the rifle, aiming at the farthest target, I fire one shot then let out my breath as the bullet nicks the shoulder area. "Damn." I curse. I breath in deep again as I reload and take another look down the sights. I take the shot and it pierces the chest. The words of my trainer come to mind. 'Don’t go for fancy, aim for the chest, easier target, even if the head looks big.' I smirked and reloaded, taking another breath and aiming at the targets head, taking the shot and hitting it where the mouth would have been. "I always did hate ponies who talk too much." I said chuckling. I slung the rifle on my back again. At this moment I noticed the rifle had a small plaque on it, and it seemed that it used to have an engraving on it before, but it had been worn down. That's a little odd, considering engravings take a long long time to wear down. I shrugged it off and went inside of the base again, making my way to the labs.
"It shoots fine?" Worm asked.
"Good enough." I answered.
"That's good, because I've got our first job for you."
"Oh really? What might it be?" I asked.
"Well you see, there's a small group of ghouls at a nearby hotel. They've been terrorizing our patrol groups a bit. We're gonna need you to head on in there and get rid of them, any way you can. Talking, shooting, hell, tell them a good ghost story and scare 'em off, I don't care. We just need to patrol safely through there." Worm informs me.
"So then, my armor?" I ask.
"Not done yet, but if you find any scrap metal ill use it to reinforce it. But right now you'll have to go armor less." He tells me and I sigh.
"You at least got anything I can use to heal myself or do anything to help me?" I ask desperately.
"Well I can sneak some healing potions, Med-x and I think we've got some Dash." He said. "But only a little bit of it. So try not to get hurt." He tells me.
"That's fine. I'll probably hiding a lot anyways." I reply. "Now when do I leave?" I ask.
"You can go in about an hour, by then I can get your supplies." Worm tells me. "But right now I recommend you go get something to eat. We can let you into the mess hall but don't expect a happy welcome." He chuckles. "Gums in there, probably waiting on you."
I smile and turn around, heading back to the wall and looking at the directions. I follow the way towards the mess hall and am greeted by the loud sounds of ponies talking and laughing. Strangely enough, you'd figure as soon as I enter the room it would have grown silent and every pony would have been watching me and judging me, but nope, nopony cared.
I got in line and grabbed a tray, got what I think was food and left the line, spotting Bubblegum sitting by himself. I sat down next to him and smiled. "Hey, how's it going Gummy?" I asked.
He looked at me and smiled. "Pretty good Birdie. I bet Bro told you what job we had?" He asked
"Yup, he's gonna get me some medical supplies before I go though." I told him. He nodded and then ate his food, which I couldn't help but notice, seemed like actual food. I was used to slop from training camp so I didn't really mind that much as I ate whatever it was I had got.
"Yeah, I'm going to give you some advice though, don't go crazy on the ghouls, some might be sane and friendly. The way you know if they aren't are when they let out this loud scream or moan." He tells me.
"I've seen ghouls before. I've been near the ground before on missions. They still creep me out though." I say shuddering a bit.
"You know, you get to keep anything you find." He says. "I suppose you know our currency down here?" He asks and to which I nod.
"Yeah you guys use bottle caps, which I’ll admit is rather intelligent, considering that caps are easy to carry around and are rather abundant." I said. Bubblegum just gave a look at me and chuckled. "I'm just gonna tell you that I recommend you pick up anything you can and sell it to the ponies here so they can fix up that gun." He points to it.
"Where'd you guys get this gun anyways?" I asked. "It's really old and even has a plaque on it with some sort of name."
"Really? What name?" He asked.
"Oh it's too worn out for me to read." I reply, sighing. "I don't know exactly what to do, I wish I could read the name on it but eh." I shrug. I finish up eating and get up, looking to Bubblegum. "I'll be going to prepare them I'm heading out." I said and waved.
I made my way back down to the cell and left the door open, laying down to rest my legs for a bit. I was startled when suddenly a small bag was thrown onto my stomach. I opened my eyes and saw Worm, standing there with a smile. "Better get going Spring, you want to get there before nightfall." He said as i got up and put the bag in my singular saddlebag.
I start on my way. "Hey, where am I supposed to know where to go anyways?" I ask. Worm smiles.
"Well the Elder won't like what I'm about to do but here." He hooves me a small device that he places around my hoof. "That's a modified Pipbuck. It doesn't have S.A.T.S. but it has an inventory counter spell as well as a map spell." He explains. "Also, it's almost indestructible." He laughs.
"So I just look at the map and I know where to go?" I ask.
"Yup, now get going, the Eyes Forward Sparkle should be coming up now."
As he says this I suddenly gained some sort of HUD on my eyes. I smiled. "Oh, I recognize this, I had some power armor training and they had E.F.S. spells on them automatically."
"Alright, now for the last time, get going!" He pushed me and I frowned.
"Fine I get it! I'm going I'm going!" I say as I make my way out of the base and out into the ruined remains of Manehatten.
Fallen Pegasi: You've seemed to have fallen from the sky! You gain an extra +10 to your damage threshold.
((Well finally, I've written my 6th chapter! So then I hope you enjoy it! Editing should be pointed out in the comments!))
I grunted as I climbed over another pile of rubble. "I hate not being able to use my wings." I said as I sat down on top of them and checked my Pipbuck, telling me my goal was nearby. I smiled as I looked in the direction and saw it, the Hoofservice Hotel. I approached slowly, scouting out and noticing a lack in ghouls. The sun was slowly setting but there were lights from the inside of the hotel.
I trotted slowly but closer towards Hoofservice. No sound around, which was odd even in a deserted city. I made my way to the front doors and looked in, not seeing anything, or anypony.
I opened the doors and went inside, examining the hotel lobby for what it was. I noticed that the wall paper had been long since peeled off, bits of it laying on the carpeted floor. The carpet itself was a tiny of off brown, looking like it was soiled and filthy. I looked and saw elevators, not odd considering the height of the hotel, but I noticed something that was odd, the numbers for what would have been the 11th floor had been taken out and the slots smashed, like nopony wanted any one to go to that floor, ever. It was the same on the second elevator I saw. I looked behind the counter for anything helpful, and found a few caps and a cherry bomb. I took both once I saw the cherry bomb had no weight and a value of 10! I looked in the key area for the hotel counter and unsurprisingly found that they had all been taken.
I moved to the staircase nearby, not wanting to go up in see the ghouls hear me. I looked up and down and again, saw nothing! I noticed there was a basement floor, perhaps I would go down there if I didn't find anything up above.
As I traveled up from the lobby to the second floor, I instantly noticed a rancid stench that permeated my nostrils as I opened the door to the second floor. I almost threw up right there if I didn't back away. There was no way I could go in there without losing my lunch. I would need some way of not smelling it, maybe a nose plug or something.
I moved up to the third floor and opened the door, no bad smells, so far so good. I looked down the halls, no one in sight again. Are they sure they gave me the right location?
I go down the hall and hear a small shuffle. I ignored it, thinking it might just be a small rat or something, I mean not every sound I hear has to be related to enemy’s right? As I trotted slowly down the hallway, I scanned for any signs of enemies. There was hoof prints in the carpet ahead of me, which means that somepony came through here earlier, I couldn't tell how early however. I kept at it, looking around corners slowly. A couple times I thought I had seen shadows move but I didn't hear anything so I had decided to ignore it.
I came to a door and opened it; it hadn't been locked so I figured it would have been raided before. What I found confused me. I was expecting a ruined down hotel room striped of anything useful. Not a room filled with what seemed to be someponies personal belongings! There were pictures on the walls of a light green mare with another tan mare with a colorful mane. They seemed happy; having fun in what I could only assume was prewar. There were a few pictures of them in a park, at a few festivals; even going through what I think was Canterlot! They were... Kissing in a few of them. I have nothing against filly foolers; I'm just not like that so it makes me a bit awkward. They seemed older in a few photos around the bed, as the scenery changed to a home and them living together.
Then the pictures just stopped. The last one being a cute wedding picture of the two mares in wedding gowns, the unicorn lifting the earth pony. I stared at it for a whole until I heard something behind me. "Tell me why you're here. And why you're in my room." I turned slowly to meet the barrel of a revolver staring me in the face. A ghoul mare looked at me. "Well? You gonna stand there and look like a stump?"
"I'm in here for the Steel Rangers. They need safe passage through this area." I say to her, hoping not get shot. I examine her and notice a grey mane, curled slightly in the front and the back being a pathetic few strands of hair. The mare lowered her gun.
"Sounds fine. Now we need to talk, come to the 4th floor. We'll talk with our mayor." The mare says.
"Hey what can I call you?" I ask
"Bitter Chocolate. Bits for short." She says as she trots out of the room. I follow behind her and start to notice other ghouls coming out of several rooms. They had somehow known I was looking around and stayed silent, not letting me hear them. It makes me wonder how Bitter Chocolate got behind me in the first place... perhaps she was in the bathroom while I was looking at her photos or something.
“So then, Bits, what exactly is going on?” I ask her and seemed to get shrugged off as she answered with a shrug.
“I don’t know, you’re working for a group that takes pleasure in killing our friends and family. Or at least they sure seem like it.” She said bitterly.
“S-sorry... They only told me that their patrols come through and get attacked. They said they didn’t want to send any of their rangers to handle it and sent me instead... apparently I'm disposable.” I said a little depressed just by being near this ghoul. Her voice wasn’t as raspy as some of the ghouls talking around us, they seems curious of me, wondering if I was an intruder or not. I would probably tell them that I was, mainly because I had intruded upon their ground and should be treated as such, that’s how the enclave treated any ground born pegasi when they flew up past the cloud layer.
We slowly made our way to the next floor. Many of the walls had been torn down it seems to make space for what looked like a mayoral office. I was stopped by Bitter Chocolate just soon after, being halted by her hoof being held out. Bitter Chocolate seemed to be wearing some sort of barding to cover her chest and flank, blocking her cutie mark from very, but I noticed her tail was very similar to her hair, at least the bit in the front. “Mayor Hop, We found somepony that says she’s from the Steel Rangers, hoping to negotiate our teams defending themselves from the rangers actions.” Bits said.
“Oh?” A chair turned in front of me and I saw what looked like another ghoul, except he looked.... handsome? Or at least he had a faint show of what he used to look like, some sort of handsome pony. If I thought hard I could probably close my eyes and imagine him, sitting in front of me still in his normal form, though his voice made it hard to keep that image in my head. I opened my eyes and looked him in the face, hit blue eyes staring back at my red ones. “So then, you’re the one that was around our small community for a while?” he asks smiling lightly.
“Y-yeah.” I started to talk a little nervous about all of this. “T-the rangers wanted me to come and check and see if you would please stop attacking their patrols that come through here. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to waste ammo and would prefer not to have soldiers lost or injured.” I say looking at them. “Could we come to a peaceful agreement with all of this?” I smile gently to show that I mean no harm, even if I do have a weapon with me.
“Well, from what we’ve seen, while we are scavenging in the immediate area, we have been attacked by these rangers that seem to think that we’re the ones attacking them. Perhaps they think we’re feral and are just not well educated upon that fact. Right now, we do not trust you with these negotiations. Perhaps if you could do us a favor?” He smirks slightly as I sigh.
“What do you need me to do for you?” I ask, knowing that it would be dangerous.
“We want you to clear out the 13th floor for us. It’s full of feral and while we have tried our best to trap them in there, they seem to escape and come looking for innocent normal ponies that live with our group here.” He explains. “We would go after them but we dont have many ponies to spare and you are.... expendable.” He shrugs. “So? Will you do it?” “So you’re telling me I get no help with this at all?” I ask worriedly.
“Well... there is one of us that we could spare.” He says. “She’s the only resident on the 2nd floor.” He says as I get a terrible imagery of the smells coming from that floor again.
“W-What?! How does she survive with that smell?!” I say surprised.
“Oh she’s used to it. We can give you a small special bottle of perfume we have. It’ll eliminate the smells around you for a while. She has the rest of them so I recommend you take them all with you.” Hop says. “Now go on, I recommend you can get it done fast so we can get this all over with. The sooner the better.” He says and waves his hoof as Bits gives me a small bottle.
“Go on, we dont have all day.” She says as she walks away, presumably downstairs to her room where I had been. I personally go down the stairway to the 2nd floor. Before I get too close I spray some of the perfume on me, taking a deep breath as I go into the main hallways of the floor.
I let out the deep breath and cautiously breath in, smelling.... nothing! It worked brilliantly enough apparently. “ Hello?” I call out not exactly expecting a response, thus I was surprised when I heard a distinctly feminine ghoul voice answer.
“Yeah? Somepony finally come to say hello to old Funeral?” The voice says as I turn the corner, looking face to face with a very very odd sight. The mare in question was defiantly a ghoul, but she had a small pattern to her once was coat that seemed like zebra stripes. As well as that she had a small horn right below her oddest feature, a large dark red, yellow spotted plant with a yellow pollen filled core atop her head. “What’s wrong kiddo? Never seen a ghoul with a plant growing outta their head?” she asks chuckling lightly. “Names Funeral.” She holds out her hoof as I shake it.
“Spring Bell... and no I haven’t, that’s why it’s at least a little surprising to meet you.” I say happily. “I’ve come here because I need your help.” I start to brief her on what I was supposed to be doing up at the 13th floor and she seems to laugh.
“Those feral can’t stand my smell.” She says. Wait, her smell? “It should be easy to keep them away from us for you to be safe enough to shoot them. There’s only I’d say about 16 of them left up there. As dumb and cliché as it sounds, you should aim for the head, takes them out easily. Heart shots dont do anything.” She explains. “Now then, let’s get up there quick, like Bellhop up there, I want this to be over with.” She says as she gallops towards the door. I noticed she had a small pistol on her hip in a holster, that was good, at least she had a weapon incase I ran out of ammo.
As I move up the staircase with her, I continually cursed the fact that I had no wings to help me out in any way, by that I mean my wings were outta commission for a bit. We slowly approached the 13th floor and I noticed that they had indeed set up a flimsy blockade consisting of a few tables and the like, a dresser, a stove... You get my point. I looked to Funeral who simply shrugged and started to push them out of the way. We moved the items out of the way until we could slowly open the door and get in. I looked into the darkened hallway, barely being lit and only in a few areas where the windows bathed the carpeted floor in the orange light of the setting sun.
I took out my rifle and aimed down the iron sights, spotting one of the ghouls lumbering down through the hallway, not yet having yet seen us, I looked to Funeral whom nodded as I took the shot, hitting the ghoul in his right eye, which at that point degraded into a fine bloody mist as the guts from his brain were plastered onto the wall behind him.
I heard the sound of a few hooves moving toward the sound of the shot, not seeming to even notice their fallen companion as they sighted me, coming towards me. They seemed to back away slightly though as they got only a few yards from me. Funeral levitated out her pistol and smirked as she took aim at them, smirking as she fired and grassed one of their cheeks. She seemed to curse as she took another shot, killing the one she had previously grazed. I took aim at the one next to the newly dead ghoul. I lined up my shot before shooting, being shaken a bit as the ghoul howled at me, causing my shot to miss completely as it imbedded itself into the wall behind him. I silently cursed again as I reloaded, the ghoul overcoming the smell of who I could only assume was Funeral and slowly came up to us. I froze, in fear of being eaten alive, the gaping maw in front of me about to clamp down and tear my flesh from my bone. It was interrupted by a well-placed bullet going through the ghouls head. I turned and saw Funeral smiling at me, chuckling. “Next time, don’t freeze.” She said with a smug look on her face. I was a soldier, I was used to killing, but what I wasn’t used to was the idea of being eaten by my enemy. Most used guns, I had never been that close to a ghoul before, at most I had sniped them from far away, but when one was right in my face, I couldn’t help but feel hopeless, like prey.
We got up and looked around, we couldn’t hear anymore hoof steps so nopony else had heard the shots, which seemed odd. Funeral peeked around the corners and turned to me, nodding to indicate that there were hostiles farther down the hall. I replaced where to set my rifle and aimed down, seeing the two ghouls seeming to smell each other in confusion. I took aim and smirked, I might be able to get two with one bullet! I waited until they were right beside each other and I took the shot. I knew it wasn’t going to go through both of the moment they heard the shot and turned toward us. The bullet hit one of them right in the back of their mouth as they opened it to let out their hideous screech. I took another deep breath as I reloaded the one I had just shot now laying in a ragdoll style fashion against the wall.
Funeral was ready for the second one, swiping her pistol across the face of the ghoul, sending him stumbling down the ground as I took my shot. I missed and pierced the ghoul’s chest, a leak of blood running down his now nonexistent fur as he lets out another long, terrible scream, no doubt attracting the attention of other ghouls. Funeral sighed and head shot the poor thing, her looking around. “Well, We’re gonna be buried soon if we keep making all this noise.” She says with displeasure. “But hey, at least we don’t have to go looking for them; my old bones might not be able to take it!” She laughs as we heard the frantic sound of ghouls coming our way.
I turn back to back with Funeral. “I’d prefer not to call it this, but let’s do this last stand style.” I said taking out the Dash I had and inhaling it. Suddenly, it felt as if every fiber of my being was fast, faster than anything else in the world. I smirked as I place the rifle down, lining up my shots with the 4 ghouls coming my way. I aimed carefully and fired, nailing one right in the nose and his head exploded! Just poof, gone! I smirked and reloaded quicker than I ever had before, taking another shot and head-shotting on of the ghouls, the bullet traveling and graving by the one behind him, making him stumble, stumble enough for me to take a shot at the ghoul behind him, before the shot had even landed I got up and picked up my rifle in my teeth, moving past the ghoul as he falls from my bullet. I quickly brought down the butt of my rifle on his head, crushing it with a satisfying crunch~
I looked behind me and saw the 6 ghouls that Funeral had to handle were already gone, laying in a pile as she smiled at me. “One left. Alright let’s go Dash-head.” She chuckles as I speedily move next to her, then past as I go and look ahead of us. I turn down the right hallway, leading towards the end of the hall, and then only stopping as I heard a small beeping noise from my Pipbuck. I looked down to it and noticed it had a warning on it.
*RADIATION WARNING, +3 RADS PER SEC*
I shrug it off until I heard another screech. I smile as I aim my rifle towards where the sound were coming from, but was surprised when the ghoul that came out was glowing, actually glowing! I took my shot, hitting him in the head but he didn’t go down! He seemed to keep going as it I had thrown a pebble at him. I backed up, more than a little scared. “F-Funeral! I-It’s glowing!!!” I say freaked out as I heard my response.
“Fuck, get back here before you get yourself fried in radiation!” She yelled as I wondered what she meant. It was then that I noticed that the ghoul had stopped its advance, seeming to curl up into itself. I would have taken another shot but as soon as I looked back, the ghoul yelled and I was blasted back with a small scale explosion, my Pipbuck freaking out as the Radiation counter drastically increased.
Funeral turned the corner and aimed down her pistol, taking relentless shots at the Glowing Ghoul in front of me. I shake off the injuries I just took and aimed down my sights, taking my own shots at him. One shot to the leg, two shots to the chest, and then after 4 shots to the head it went down with a dying squeal. I sighed and looked to Funeral. “We done here?” I asked tired.
We trotted down the stairs after my Dash had worn off; it was a little tiring considering how fast I felt before. I’d need to see about getting more, that felt awesome to be that fast! I only wish I had had my wings available, and then I could have been faster than the fastest flier in the Enclave! I smiled as we went down the steps, Funeral going down even further to her floor. I waved good bye and she did the same, smiling as we did so.
I went into the fourth floor and past several ponies, normal and ghoulified. I noticed none other than Bitter Chocolate waiting at the door for me. She smiled brightly. “So I see you made it back.” She chuckled. “Mayor Hop will see you now.” She opens the door and I went in, seeing Mayor Hop standing and smiling at me.
“Congratulations! I honestly thought you would have been killed by them, even if with the help of Funeral.” He says smiling in a certain way that just made me terribly irked at him. “Now then, you wanted to speak about a negotiation?” He asked.
“Yes, I just wanted to know if you would be willing to come to an agreement with the Rangers about the whole attacking their patrols and vice versa.” I asked hoping that he would be reasonable considering what I had just gone through to gain their trust.
“Well, we need food, that’s a given considering we dont have any around and still have normal ponies living around here.” He says shrugging. “Protection would be nice but we dont want to stretch what we’ve got. So bit of food would be nice in exchange for us not attacking them.” He says smiling at me. “Now, one last item on the agenda.”
“Huh?” I ask confused.
“Well, you’ve obviously seen Funeral, and you know she has that whole floor to herself, it’s mainly due to her flower on her head, and it gives off a terrible smell for a few weeks at a time. The perfume was made specifically for her.” He explains. “Since you’ve gotten back here with almost no injuries and you dont look sullen, you are either ruthless, which I doubt, or she’s still alive.” H continues. “Now, I would like to know if you would take her off our hooves. It would give us even more space after a bit of cleaning up, and I’m sure having such a talented pony in a group with you is an invaluable resource. You can have all the perfume we own, just spray it on her and it’ll eliminate any smell she gives off.” He explains. “So? Deal?” He asks hopefully.
I think about it. Funeral seemed like a good pony, not to mention she had saved my flank at least 3 times just up there, so she might have other skills too. Perhaps it would be beneficial. She doesn’t need to eat, if I remember correctly, Ghouls dont need to eat. I nod my head to Hop. “Alright, I’ll go talk to her. It’s up to her now.” I say and turn around, heading out of the office.
“Hey, Bell, wait.” I turn to see Bitter Chocolate has called me and trotted up to me. “I wanted to give you something as thanks.” She says, sounding oddly sweet. She pulls out a small necklace with a blue and yellow colored candy shaped pendant on it. “You’re brave. I just want you to have this, as a symbol that you’re always welcome to come back to Hoofservice, we’ll even let you stay in a room.” She chuckles.” Just not my room okay?” She asks as she puts the necklace around me. I smiled back as her and laughed.
“Alright then Bit, I’ll be seeing you around then.”
“Don’t be a stranger you hear? I need a few new drinking buddies.” Bits laughs.
I returned her laughter and went into the staircase, heading downstairs to the 2nd floor and opening the door, the perfume slowly wearing off as I could start to smell the entire terrible stench that I had smelled before. Before I started to cough up whatever I had ate earlier in the day, for the second time today, I sprayed more perfume on me, breathing easily as the smell dissipated. “Funeral? You here? I needed to ask you something.” I called out as I heard a pony trot down the hallways.
“Yeah?” It was Funeral alright. “What do you need?”
“The ponies upstairs wanted to know if you wanted to come with me.” I said simply. “We made a pretty good team up there and I could use your skills out there.” I said smiling to her. “So what do you say?” I ask.
Funeral looks at me and tilts her head. “Uhh, you do know I have this stinky flower on my head right kiddo?” She asks and I nod.
“I don’t really care, they told me I can put the perfume on you around other ponies so you dont stink.” I say, still keeping a smile on my face.
Funeral shrugs and sighs. “Alright Kid, I’ll come with you, let me just get ready.” She says, trotting to what I could only assume was her room and gathering her stuff. She came out a few minutes later, wearing a small leather ensemble that looks like it protected her pretty good. It comes to my mind to wonder why she didn’t put this on earlier when we were fighting the ghouls upstairs. I shrug it off and smile.
“Ready?” I ask her and she smirks and nods.
“As I’ll ever be, let’s ditch this dump.” She chuckles and takes lead, applying perfume and trotting out of the 2nd floor, down the staircase and out toward the wasteland I had been in not just 4 hours ago.
“Why exactly do we have to set up camp?” Funeral asked with an annoyed tone. “I could walk all night.” She added.
“Well I can’t, if you forgot we were just in a fight a few hours ago and I prefer to rest up. If you want to stay up go ahead, stay on watch, we’ll light a campfire.” I said, trying to convince her that it’s a good idea to do this.
She begrudgingly nodded to me, sighing and stopping. “Alright, well let’s get set up, do you at least have a blanket?” She asked me. “Or tinder?” She added.
“Well, I’ve got some blankets from Hoofservice, and if you want to count all this wooden junk I’ve got.” I pulled out a few good wooden boards, also from Hoof Service. Funeral smiled and took the wooden planks from me. “I guess they do count.” I say smirking as she sets them up in a small fashion similar to old bonfires you see in books and old movies.
“Just get yourself set up to sleep youngster, I’ll finish this.” She said, starting a small flame and spreading it to the rest of the tinder. I chuckle and lay on the ground, keeping pressure off my wings by lying on my stomach, covering myself with the blanket lackluster. I close my eyes and fall into what I could only call a deep sleep.
I was in the dark dream world again, and the same filly showed up, Finder. She beamed her smile at me and jumped up and down. “You, you are so awesome! You actually listened to me!” She said as I looked at her confused. “Well, you found the stinky mare! She’s gonna help you out a lot in the future, for instance, she’s watching over you right now, making sure nopony hurts you or ambushes you while you sleep.”
“Alright, so I listened to one of the things you told me about, what now?” I ask her and she smirks.
“Well, I can’t tell you everything, but I’m gonna tell you that I was talking with one of my sisters, and soon you’ll meet another one of the chosen, or a chosen in training, like you!” She giggles. “You’ll find somepony that’ll help you become friends with her, or at least, know her.” She says, her fillyish smile never leaving her face for a moment.
“Alright, when do I meet that pony?” I ask, still not understanding how all this really worked, or if I was in some sort of random dream thingy. Finder gave me this look of wonder and pure glee when I had asked her that, as if I had asked her what was the meaning of life (which I’m pretty sure she would know too).
“Oh, super-duper soon! Like very very soon!” She says, continuing her hopping motions to me. I smiled at her, damn filly was adorable, how could I not? I mean, even if she was some sort of all-knowing and controlling super being, or even if she was just a figment of my previously comatose mind.
“Alright, anything else to tell me Finder?” I asked happily. “Ummmmmmmm, nope. Well, just one warning. Don’t go to fast and don’t fly to high, or else you’ll fall harder than anything else.” She said, switching her gleeful expression for a more serious one. “Alright, then see you Springy!” She giggled again as I twitched my brow.
“Hey! Don’t call me Th-”
“-at!” I awoke finishing a sentence I couldn’t remember. I looked to Funeral, or at least where she was now, sitting close to me.
“You okay?” She asked.
“Yeah, I’m good.” I yawned and looked around, it was still dark. I checked the Pipbuck time and it read 03:28 A.M.
“Good, because we’ve got something coming for us. Well, at least somepony coming near us.” She said as I got up slowly.
“What do you mean?” I looked out into the distance. All I saw was a small light seemingly moving and coming towards us, the light was similar to the light our campfire put out, so I didn’t know exactly was putting it off. “What is that? It’s like it’s on fire.” I said confused, because if it were a pony it would be moving much faster, as the pony should be panicked that they are indeed aflame.
“So you see it too? If that really is a pony on fire, they should be dead by now.” She says and I nodded in agreement. “But the pony is still coming towards us, and has been for a bit, I spotted them about 10 minutes ago.” I widened my eyes in surprise. Yeah, that wasn’t any normal pony if they were indeed on fire.
“Can you help me?” I heard a young filly’s voice call out. I looked and saw the strangest thing I have ever seen, the young filly that the voice belonged to was on fire. Literally. Her mane and tail were made of flames, not hair. “Please? I’m scared of the dark.” She says, her voice truly showing she was indeed afraid, maybe of the dark, maybe of something else. The filly had a bright red, almost orange coat (I am rather surprised that it didn’t burn away.) And her eyes had a jade coloration to them. She was small, petite, and as well she was an earth pony. I looked to Funeral and stopped her from saying anything.
“Sure little filly, can you tell us your name though?” I ask as she comes closer, yup, she was on fire, I could feel the heat coming off of her.
“My name is Flair. Flair like style.” She gives a weak smile. I nod to Funeral and she backs away, letting Flair come into our small camp. Flair came up to and sat down near the fire, her flames and the fires flames licking each other as she looked to us. “I’m sorry. I know I’m weirding you two out.” She says looking down.
“Just a little.” Funeral says and I shot her a glare. “What? It’s true, it’s not every day you meet a filly who is a living flamethrower.” She says shrugging. Flair gives a little giggle.
“That’s a new one! But yeah... I’m on fire.... and I can’t turn it off.” She says sadly.
“Were you.... born like this?” I ask her and she replies by shaking her head. “Then what happened?” I ask.
“I don’t know... to be honest, I don’t remember anything from before I was on fire. I woke like this maybe a month or two ago?” She says. “Not even raiders want to shoot at me, they’re all afraid of me. That’s why I’m really really happy that you two let me stay here and talk. It’s been a long time since I’ve just talked to somepony.” She smiles at us. “So what’re your names?”
“I’m Spring Bell, and tha-”
“I’m Funeral. I can introduce myself, kid.” She smirks at me and I sighed.
“Oh those are nice names!” She beams at us. She seemed to remind me of somepony, but I couldn’t exactly place who I thought it was, maybe some filly from up above. I shrugged this feeling off as she looked at me. “Can I.... stay with you guys for a while?” She asks, giving these large pleading eyes that I couldn’t resist! But apparently Funeral had some sort of immunity to cute.
“I don’t know kiddo, We dont have enough supplies to feed you, and Spring’s going back to these Rangers to report, I won’t be going in, and if you came, I’m afraid how they would act.” Funeral counters her eyes with common sense! It was pretty effective from what I saw.
“Oh... well... What if I stayed back like reeeaaallllyyy far?” She smiled up to me and I shrugged.
“If they don’t see you, they shouldn’t have a problem with you.” I say nodding. Funeral sighs and gives me this look that says something like ‘I can’t believe you succumbed to her cuteness, I thought you were better than that.’
“YAY!!!” Flair happily squees, her flames bursting suddenly. I fell back in surprise, though Funeral just stood there, looking at me like I was a dope. “Oops. Sorry.” Flair says embarrassed as the flames slowly died down.
Flair that night slept bye the fire as Funeral kept watch over both of us. I didn’t dream again that night but somehow I felt like I had accomplished something.
We had woken up early so we could travel back fast. Along the way I explained more to my two new companions. Funeral didn’t really seem to be paying attention, she just seemed happy and curious with the sights and ruins around us. Flair on the other hoof was hanging off of every word I spoke, she loved that she had another two ponies to talk to! We approached what I could recognize as Steel Ranger Territory, mainly from the fact that my Pipbuck had told me so.
“Alright, Funeral, Flair, stay back for a bit and hide in one of those buildings, I’ll talk to the Rangers.” I say smiling and nodding to them. They nodded back and abounded towards one of the buildings, hiding almost instantly.
I trotted past some familiar landmarks and came up upon the base, nodding to the guards ponies and trotting in. I was almost instantly met with Bubblegum, him frowning at me. “Alright, glad you’re back but we have news. First tell me the negotiation went well.” He says to me, desperately.
“Yeah, they just want some food every now and again and not to be attacked. They won’t attack either.” I nodded. “So then, what’s the news?”
“Well... I think you should talk to Baster.” He starts taking me towards the familiar halls towards the Elder.
As I get in there I notice the atmosphere seemed to be filled with dread. Elder Baster turned towards me and Bubblegum told him what I had just told Bubblegum. “Okay so then, our next matter.” Baster looks at me. “We need your help... you see... one of our soldiers, a rather important one, has been captured.” He said.
“Captured? By who? Raiders?” I ask
“No... Slavers.” Baster says, enunciating the word as if it were scum. “They capture anypony and trade them as slaves.” He growls in anger. “Now we need you to go to their reported location, Auction House.” He says as my Pipbuck beeps in recognition, showing me where to find Auction House when I would inevitably go there. “Now, the town will let anypony in, but we’d rather just you goes in, it’s less suspicious and they might just up and shoot at anypony in power armor.” He explains and I nod, understanding how threatening ponies in power armor are. “So, will you go and retrieve him for us?”
“Any reason not to?” I answer with a smirk.
Speed Shot: You are one of the fastest in Equestria! You can reload your weapon 25% faster than most! Wow!
Funeral Perk: Corpse Plant: With Funeral in your party, ponies won’t want to come near you! This can help in battle but remember to give her her perfume before you go near any friendly ponies!
Flair Perk: Hot Filly: With Flair in your party, your CHA goes up by 1 as well as all melee damage you do has a small chance to light enemies on fire!
Author Notes: Well, I finished it. Over about 3 days of work I got my new chapter! I’m happy with myself, considering I devoted my whole plane ride to Florida to this fanfic :P But yeah, I hope you enjoy it!