FoE: The Family Photograph

by Fernin

First published

Short FoE sketch. Sunset Sherbet meets her brothers for their shore leave from an Enclave cloudship

Sunset Sherbet is excited-- and with good reason. It's been forever since she's visited her brothers, but now they've managed to get shore leave at the same time! She's meeting them both today while the Raptor-class Cloudship TMS Reaver takes on supplies after a lengthy patrol over Enclave-held territory.

For Sherbet, seeing both her brothers at once is a rare treat. What could Windfall and Sunset Charge have planned?

...Fallout: Equestria counts as 'alternate universe,' right? 0_o

This is a short character sketch of three characters from EzeFilly's Fallout: Equestria story, Fall of A Pegasus, featuring the main character of that tale and her two brothers. The concepts for the characters and the storyline are his, and the basis for THAT is of course Kkat's Fallout: Equestria. Wow, this is like credit-ception or something.

Artwork is by Rana-San and is a commission she did for EzeFilly.

Original Artwork is here (EzeFilly is ColgateFIM on DA)

Shore Leave

View Online

The great engines of Their Majesties’ Ship Reaver labored at near-idle, buzzing loudly as they provided just enough power to keep the sharp-beaked metal monstrosity on station above the cloud layer. Hooves clanged on the decaying steel of a dozen gangplanks as ponies shoved supplies onto the Raptor-class vessel, one of the more famous examples of Enclave military might. Sunset Sherbet had to fight hard to keep the grin off her muzzle as she looked upwards towards one of the TMS Reaver’s entryways.

Voices crackled over the ship's public address system-- no, the purple-maned filly reminded herself, that was called the '1MC.' Barely intelligible, the words boomed through the speakers, louder even than the cloudship's thrumming engines. Whatever the voice on the loudspeakers had said, the Enclave crew laboring over the cloudship or flying around it seemed to respond. Patrolling soldiers flared their wings or moved into new positions; dock workers strained all the harder on the boxes they were loading and the battered crates of recyclables that ground only reluctantly down the loading ramps and onto the cloud layer itself.

Abruptly Sherbet could no longer keep her hidden smile from bursting through like the dawn through a bank of clouds. There he was! Though her wings fluttered with the urge to take flight and meet them, the filly obeyed regulations and kept where she was. It wouldn't do to embarrass her brother by getting arrested just as he was coming to see her. Sherbet contented herself with waving her forehooves spastically, crying with all her might to carry over the sound of the hubbub surrounding her. "Charge! Heeeeeey! I'm down here! Heeeeey!"

The tall young stallion was still distant, but close enough for Sherbet to see him spear her with an impassive, steely-eyed look of disapproval. She winced as Sunset Charge trotted stiffly down the gangplank and onto the clouds, moving briskly towards her with a stern and impressively professional expression. The red-maned stallion looked every inch the Enclave soldier as he neared his little sister, looking like he'd just leaped off a recruiting poster.

Finally, Charge stood before Sherbet, close enough to hug her... but he didn't. Instead, the soldier simply looked down at his sibling with his mouth pursed in a thin line of disapproval. "Sunset Sherbet. Do you know what you just did? Do you know how that looked to my comrades up there on the Reaver?"

"Uh... Um." Sherbet shifted uncomfortably from hoof to hoof, feeling her cheeks starting to prickle with the rising heat of her blush. Oh, no. Of course Charge was right. She'd been overenthusiastic. She'd... Oh, no no no. How was she ever going to make her family proud in the Enclave if she was 'that filly who screams excitedly when she sees her brother?' They were probably writing up negative fitness reports on her already. She glanced around hoping that nopony had heard her, but with so many workers and soldiers around, that was a forlorn hope indeed. The filly's legs started to fold under her as she sank into the cloud layer, wondering whether it would be better for her just to drop through to the ground below. "I... Oh Charge, I'm—"

"I'll tell you what you did," growled the Enclave soldier, his voice dripping with contempt. Abruptly, his entire demeanor changed. With a grin, he continued, "You just showed everypony within earshot that I have the best, most affectionate sister a stallion could ask for!"

"I—wha...?" Sunset's emerald eyes practically crossed as she tried to make sense of it all. "B-but if you—"

The worried filly's brother interrupted her stammering with an explosive laugh and a sudden, rough hug. Sherbet gasped as Charge held her close, practically squeezing the life out of her. She struggled for a minute or two, finally managing to free herself. She glared at Charge. "Y-you acted like I did something bad!"

"You didn't," Sunset Charge chortled, fending off a few angry swipes of his sibling's forehooves. "But I sure had you going there, didn't I? Ooooh, little sis, I'm so glad to see you!"

"If you two are quite done sullying the family name with your antics, we have a schedule to keep," grumbled a third voice.

The two siblings looked up to see a third, older pegasus looming over them. The silver-maned non-commissioned officer frowned disapprovingly down at the two younger ponies, the bill of his kepi shadowing his eyes just enough to make the glare seem that much more serious. Sunset Charge snapped to something approximating Parade Rest and barked, "Yes, Sergeant!"

Sunset Sherbet scrambled to react, aping Charge as well as she could. "Y-yes Sergeant!"

A smile threatened to turn up the corners of Sergeant Windfall's mouth at his little sister's efforts, but he kept his face expressionless and circled the two ponies—his younger brother in an gray enlisted uniform kept slightly less crisp and clean than Enclave uniform standards directed, and his baby sister looking as cleaned and brushed as a new cadet on the parade clouds. Windfall sighed. "Come on, let's get you two out of here before you embarrass me any further. Come on, Private Charge, our leave isn't burning any more slowly just because we're standing here."

"Yes Sergeant! Permission to speak freely, Sergeant!" said Private Charge.

"Granted, as long as you shake a leg and follow me," Windfall grumbled, shifting his satchel and trotting briskly over the rolling cumulus hills surrounding the TMS Reaver. The three siblings moved briskly as the sergeant led them out of the military compound and on to the wide open plains of the cloud layer proper.

"Roger, Sergeant Windfall. Requesting that you not be such an old mare about everything, Sergeant Windfall," Charge called to the older stallion. Windfall simply ignored him and kept going. Sherbet bit her tongue to keep from laughing. Sunset Charge and Windfall had always been like this. It was good to see that some things were still the same, no matter what.

A few minutes brought the trio to a small hillock in the clouds. Sunset Sherbet found herself puffing a bit and wiping her slightly sweaty mane out of her eyes. She wasn't wearing the uncomfortable-looking gray Enclave uniform and she was at least a few years younger than either of her brothers, but their endurance was so much greater than hers! The filly sighed. She was going to have a long way to go if she ever wanted to match them.

Windfall dropped his satchel and began rooting through it, pulling out items and slotting them carefully together for unknown reasons. Sherbet glanced over at Charge, but he was paying no attention-- the minute they'd stopped, he was on his back in some of the fluffy cumulus, lounging easily and staring up at the blue sky with his forehooves behind his head. Paying him no heed, the eldest brother continued his methodical work. Sherbet coughed. "So, Sergeant Windfall..."

Looking up, Windfall stopped working for a moment. He frowned. "You're not in the military, Sherbet. You don't have to call me that. Now, Charge over there—"

"Private Charge," the younger brother corrected in a singsong voice. "Military protocols, brother~!"

Rolling his eyes, Windfall continued, "Charge over there is right to call me 'Sergeant,' but you don't have to. Actually I'd prefer that you didn't. Remember?"

"But I should get used to it now so I don’t slip up later," Sherbet said resolutely. "If I'm good enough to get in, I mean."

Windfall simply looked down at the mysterious collection of parts he had been assembling. "I... don't think you would have any problems getting in if you had a reason to join, Sherbet. But..."

"But he wants to keep all the glory for himself, is all," Charge joked. "He was pretty mad when I joined, too!"

Metal clicked against metal as Windfall went back to work, staring intently at his little construction. He slotted every piece carefully, looking so focused that Sherbet hesitated to ask him what he was doing. Thanks to Charge, she didn't have to. The young stallion let out a low whistle as his older brother placed a small box on the top of the little tripod. "Hoo-wee, bro. Look at you. Where'd you get that camera?"

"It belongs to Major Strato-Cirrus. I'm borrowing it for now and—" Windfall smacked Sunset Charge's curiously probing hoof away from the camera. "Don't touch that, I have to give it right back and I don't want your clumsy hooves breaking it."

"What are we going to do with it?" Sherbet asked, peering in amazement at the little black box. She'd only ever heard of somepony with a camera. They usually got used for important things like commemorating big events, or taking intelligence photos for analysis, or...

"We're going to take a photo with it. Go stand over there, both of you, while I set up the timer." Windfall fiddled with the device for a moment, struggling to turn dials and adjust settings with the careful hooves of an inexperienced camerapony. Finally, he nodded. "Okay, got it. Now nopony screw this up; we only have one cartridge. No wait—okay, now."

"Guess rank has its privileges after all. I'm surprised we even got one at all. Nopony just gets to take pictures. What's the occasion? How are we so important?" Charge was still staring at the camera as Windfall trotted over and pushed in between his siblings.

"It is important," Windfall said, gazing resolutely into the camera lens. "I want to be able to remember this. Us."

Sherbet glanced up at her eldest brother. He stared hard at the camera as if willing it to capture every possible detail. Was this really so important? The three of them, together? It wasn't as though something was going to happen, right? ...Right?

"Heh. So, Windfall," commented Sunset Charge, his voice light. "If you want to remember us, should we all just be staring at the camera like this? I mean that's not really 'us,' is it?"

Even from a short distance away Sherbet could hear Windfall muttering under his breath about the stupid timer hurrying up. Still keeping his gaze fixed on the camera’s glass eye, the gray-maned pegasus asked, "What did you have in mind?"

"Oh I was thinking something a little more natural. Like this!" Sticking out his tongue, Charge blew a loud, wet raspberry.

That did it. With a sigh, Windfall turned to glare at his brother. "Now look, Charge. Don't mess around. We—"

The shutter clicked. Windfall groaned, pressing a hoof to the bridge of his muzzle. "I hope you're proud of yourself."

Sherbet watched in fascination as the camera whirred for a moment and spit out a little white paper slip. She hurried forward and paused, looking at the blank photo in disappointment. "Aww... it didn't work!"

The two stallions crowded around. Charge snorted. "All that for nothing. I bet your sour mug broke the camera, Windfall."

"No. Look." Grasping the photo carefully between his teeth, Windfall shook his head rapidly from side to side. His siblings stared at their elder brother as he whipped the white slip back and forth. Finally he dropped it into his forehooves. "See? It worked."

With a gasp of delight, Sunset Sherbet watched the white, glossy paper become cloudy and dark. "Look, Charge! That's you!"

The self-developing picture became clearer and darker still, with more and more details filling in until the picture was complete. All three ponies looked down at the paper copies of themselves. Sunset Charge chuckled. "What do you know, it worked. Well, we only have one. Who gets the picture?"

"I think Windfall should have it; he got us the camera," Sherbet suggested.

Shaking his head, Windfall pressed the little photograph into his surprised sister's hooves. "No. You take it, Sherbet."

"What, you're not even going to suggest giving it to me?" Charge's face scrunched up in a mock pout that quickly returned to his usual cheeky grin. "Eh, I didn't want that thing anyway."

"Oh, wow..." Sherbet tilted the photograph in her hooves, letting the light play off it as she tried to fix the details of the scene in her mind—the way her purple mane was caught rustling in the gentle breeze. The serious, faintly annoyed dark green eyes of Windfall as he watched Sunset Charge give him a raspberry. The floating metallic bulk of the TMS Reaver still floating motionless in the middle distance... It was all so amazing. But should it really be hers? "A-are you sure, Windfall?"

Windfall simply nodded. Sunset Sherbet looked at the photo again. It was like a little memory, pinned to the page with pre-war magic. And it was hers. She smiled despite the twinge of guilt at having such a luxury. After all, it wasn't like she really needed a photograph to remember her brothers. They were there, as constant as—as the cloud layer. Always there, always supporting her. Never changing. But she would cherish it anyway. She smiled brightly at the two stallions. "So! How do you to want to spend your first day of leave?"

A/N: So like I said, this is based on the characters and concepts of EzeFilly's Fall of a Pegasus. He described the concept of the story for me and it sounded very entertaining, so I ended up doing an impromptu 'character sketch' for them based on a scenario he had for a picture he was getting commissioned. It was fun little thought exercise for me, although I haven't actually read more than the first few chapters of Fallout: Equestria myself