Fallout Equestria: Equestrian Wetgrave

by primepersephony

First published

A flightless pegasus pony from stable 22 finds his way out into the Equestrian wasteland.

A flightless pegasus pony from stable 22 finds his way out into the Equestrian wasteland. Armed with only his wits, intelligence, and mechanical genius; he will have to fend for himself, and do his best to avoid drowning.

Ch1: Stable 22

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Chapter 1: Stable 22.

All ponies dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous individuals, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

This was it. I was running down the sterile corridor of the stable, this time I'd make it, this time I would finally succeed. I'd done my math, finished my design, tested my work, and now my invention was ready. I was going to make it work this time, it was fly or die... well maybe.

Soon, just like I expected, I saw the few apple trees pop up from the end of the hall...''BINGO!'' I shouted just as a few ponies jumped out of my speeding way grumbling something about ‘’that crazy pony’’. I'm not sure if it was me they were referring to. But I wasn't going to stop now and ask, now that I was so damn close to succeeding this time. A quick jump allowed one of my forelegs time enough to slip down a pair of goggles properly over my eyes.

Passing the threshold into the apple orchard room, it was time; I jumped up into the air, my yellow-olive wings extending to reveal two aluminum cylinders with cones attached on the back of their threads. The entire mechanism was strapped securely, just beneath my wings with a series of webbing, and duct tape that I had managed to scavenge somewhere.

I caught the attention of all the apple farmers in the orchard, who stared at me in horror, one of them proclaiming ''Hot damn! he's going to do it this time!'' I felt pretty happy that I at least had somepony’s approval, but the show had just begun. With a yank of my head, I ripped a cord from the metal cylinders, one of them clearly marking 'Caution: compressed air'. With the cord removed, the valves that were jury rigged to turn together, swiftly opened, and with that; two blasts of air were ejecting from behind me.

The air I had gained in my jump multiplied tenfold as I was thrown across the large room that housed the apple orchard with magnificent speed. I was cringing at the launch, my stomach had clearly sunken, and I felt that I’d lost control of myself. With what willpower I had; I managed to turn my wings and gain some control . I was now a speeding projectile, I could feel myself turning sharply, and violently. This was it I had done it.... I was finally flying.The feeling of reprocessed air moving through my mane while whipping around was exhilarating. Just ahead, I saw a wall grow alarmingly quickly. No problem, I gained more control of my movement and tried to spin my body so I could perform a U-turn.

I was succeeding, I managed to pull a nice, smooth turn, even at that ridiculous speed, and my lack of experience. I felt like I was flying....well technically I was but still the feeling of success was amazing. I had finally flown and it might as well had been the greatest thing in the -
RRRIP... I heard the sound suddenly and loudly from my sides. I looked over and saw that the webbing I used to secure one of the compressed-air canisters with had nearly ripped off, and was threatening to come off completely.

With a jump of panic I realised that I hadn’t thought about how I was going to stop myself if an emergency occurred or even how to stop myself at all. I am not a clever pony. With a resounding rip that felt as if it was echoing through my body, the compressed-air canister ripped off my side and flew radically out in its own way. I had no chance to look and find out what would become of the ’flight giving’ canister. As soon as it was liberated, whatever balance I tricked myself into having was swiftly ripped away from me, and now I was out of control.

My heart stopped. I was at the mercy of a mechanism I designed. I had absolutely no way of predicting what would it do next now that an error had occured. I was sure my time in this stable was over and I wished I never had wings to begin with, nor the dreams of accomplishing flight.


I was rocketed into the branches of one of the apple orchard’s many strong, and well-cared-for trees, and out of instinct for survival I grabbed onto one of the stronger branches with my mouth, using my teeth to gather as much grip as I could muster. I have no clue how I managed that, but as soon as I did I was being whipped around in the tree like the damn piece of wood was alive and freaking out. It was like a little filly with a large spider on her back. Control had abandoned me long ago.

For the life of me, I was unable to keep my tight grip on the tree, and found my self off ‘flying’ again. I had never wanted to be an earth pony more, than at that very moment in time. Suddenly, with a fizzle I was lying in a batch of hay, having found that the remaining air canister on my flank had run out. Thank Celestia and Luna I was now earthbound, I don’t think I’d ever be happier either, and Celestia almighty this hay was comfortable.

I cried out in pain a moment later. When I looked down to see my hind leg, where the sharp pain had come from all of a sudden, I found the leg highly disfigured and bloody. The hay around it had already started to gain a reddish hue. ''That was awesome.'' I managed to say, despite the mind blowing pain I was feeling. My vision started to fade and I did not know exactly what was going to happen.

Considering the ridiculously stupid stunt I'd just performed, I wouldn’t surprised if I actually died here in this hay bale. By now my vision was almost completely gone, hidden behind a dark curtain, along with most of the feeling in my body besides the hind leg. Then the black curtains pulled themselves into place and I lost consciousness.

My name is Champagne, or Champ for short. Ironic because I wasn't really much of a champion, which the nickname implied I might be. I was just a silly pony who has dreams beyond the limits of his body and intellect, well... for now at least. I mean, look at what just happened there. What was I even thinking, strapping two tanks of compressed air to myself? And to make it worse I still think it’s a good Idea.

If it isn’t painfully obvious yet, I’m a pegasus pony who can’t seem to fly. Furthermore none of the other pegasus ponies of the stable have ever needed to (or wanted to) fly in the cramped space that was Stable 22. So, I’m stuck trying to figure it out by myself, while other ponies point and laugh at my failed attempts. I’m not insane although, even if I’m sure my methods, and apparel seem absolutely irresistible to laugh at however.

If its the last thing I do before either breaking my body permanently or killing myself, I’d like for my yellow-olive coat and uncontrollable black mane to fly valiantly over the heads of the ponies in the stable.That would show them that dreams are still obtainable, even in this dreary life down under.

’’Looks! like he’s still alive!’’

I must have popped back into consciousness for a moment. Words seemed so alien to me right now, I wanted to respond, or do anything at all for that matter. However my body screamed for me to just not do anything, emphasis on ANYTHING. ‘’Champagne, are you alright?’’ The voice or whatever, seemed concerned and maybe not so alien as I had thought. Could possibly be that it wasn't even from the same entity?

Slowly but surely my senses started to come back to me. It was like a numbness that was gradually floating away. I started to hear the sound of hooves coming in contact with the floor, along with the sound of ponies talking to one another in concerned or professional voices. The ‘clean’ air in the hospital section of the stable assaulted my nose, making me feel a slight bit nauseous.

My sight came back as well, no longer shrouded by a dark curtain. I found myself in the medical wing of the stable and by now the drugs had worn down a considerable bit. I was laying on one of their not-so-comfy hospital beds; I felt as if what I’d been laying on was a mattress full of broken concrete. My stable utility barding had been removed and well... replaced with the patient clothing that had been quite itchy. Needless to say I was quite uncomfortable. I know for somepony who likes to cause trouble, I tend to complain a tad much.

My new found consciousness caused me to stir, and I heard the sound of a pony moving very close by. ‘’He’s awake.’’ She said, my mind was still foggy. I couldn’t place the words to the face.

''Champ, you must be the most, and I mean the most, dumb-ass pony in this stable!’’That was the voice of Cherry Tart, my memory refreshed when her tone resembled that of the one and only ‘frustrated with Champagne’ sentiment that Cherry used quite often. I turned around on my back, seeing violet coated earth pony with an orange mane and the cutie mark of... well... a tart, or a pie, or something? I admit I forgot and it probably wouldn't be the last time. ‘’Nevermind, I mean in whatever is left in Equestria.’' Her green eyes gave away that she was mad, not that they never hid much of anything, and I’m sure the reason for her being upset was likely to do with me.

Cherry is my best friend in the stable, and here she was yelling at me again for one more of my failed experiments. I laughed a bit at the absurdity of the thought, this caused Cherry’s anger with me to double, I can see how, taken out of context, it would have sounded like I had thought my near death, was all a big joke, and nothing to take seriously.

''You think this is funny, do you!?'' She looked offended. I realized that I had pressed one of her buttons on her emotional ‘control panel’. These buttons were notorious for having been linked with a series of explosives, that would set her off. Eyyup, she had everything from little cherry bombs, up to destructive megaspells and balefire bombs. I have my suspicion that most of them were of balefire the variety.

''Relax Cherry, please.’’ I attempted to speak with a disarming laugh. ‘’I was flying...'' I wasn’t really sure what else to add, the whole idea of flight was so dreamlike that it was almost impossible to put words on the table to feed her with. I knew full well I might have been on ground zero of a falling balefire bomb with such a lack of response, and yet I still couldn’t think up anything else to say. Oh well...

''Did you really think I'd simply be okay with you trying to kill yourself, all in the name of flight and ‘experiments’ ?!’’ The words that left her mouth were harsh and rightfully stung. But somehow my brain had decided that I liked to tease Cherry. Even if it was only to see her cute face wind up like it had just now.

She managed to calm down for a second. ''You know if you wanted to die, I could easily have you recycled with the help of my mother.'' She joked, but I knew it was well within her power. Her mother was the Overmare of this stable after all, and although we had known each other personally for a long time, the Overmare wasn't the fondest of me, or I the fondest of her.

''So how was it?'' Cherry had switched from a ‘very angry mare’ to a ‘very interested in what I'm about to tell her mare’. I could always tell with her, as those green eyes tended to widen a bit and her violet ears perked up, standing to attention. I wanted to play with her head some more, maybe have her beg me to tell her what it was like to fly, but I was too excited at the prospect of sharing my experience with her.

''I don't even know how to describe it.'' I started, pausing for a second to rethink the experience a little bit. To be perfectly honest, flying around the stable orchard felt more like a dream than anything else. ''But it was awesome, the feeling of speed, momentum, and the g-force was just so...new.'' I could tell she had been listening very closely to what I was saying. Almost as though she was a young little filly or colt listening to her mother telling her the story of ’The Lost Little Foal’s Way Home’.

I can’t blame her either. The story that I had just experienced, was one I’d like to tell over and over, as I might never be able to do it again. I cleared my throat. ‘’The thought of it makes me feel... free. Like I can go past the walls of the stable, and find myself among the clouds, and the great open sky.’’

She nodded.''Sounds... like you enjoyed yourself.'' I’m unsure now of how she actually thought about my story, since her face went from an enjoyable expression to something a bit more reserved. What she was thinking right now I’ll probably never know.

’’Champ, about yesterday. ’’ she switched topic and her expression slipped into something a tad more serious. I knew what was coming, she obviously had news about my punishment for this latest experiment. She was the Overmare’s daughter, and as such would probably take her mothers title one day; she had spent most of life being groomed for the position, and in that respect, these conversations about my punishments were part of her duties.

‘’The Overmare is setting you on heavy maintenance duty starting tomorrow. This will include your personal time.’’ Well, that’s fairly standard punishment, as it had always been my punishment for these kinds of things.

I groaned and possibly let loose a small whine in protest, letting her know my disapproval. I saw her smirk out of amusement to my pain. ''My my, I’m not the only one who takes demented pleasure from the harmless torture or misfortune of my friends.’’ Touche. ‘’But until you rest up you're not going anywhere.''

I saw Cherry pull something out of her saddle bags with her mouth. It was a book, and she had carefully put it in my hooves. ‘'The Big Book of Arcane Science.'' The title words, were worn down in a way that would require more than a hundred years of pony use, (I being responsible for most of it.) still looked in very a good condition. ''I knew you'd be here overnight with nothing to do and wish you weren't so I picked up a book from the library'' She looked quite happy with herself.

I smiled and nodded my thanks anyway, even though I’d read the book a hundred dozen times by now. The gesture was very much appreciated and hell, what would be wrong with another read? ''Now you can find a solution to your problem, maybe make it a lot less dangerous.'' Yeah... sure I will... ‘’See ya later Champ.’’ And with that, she turned around and left the hospital wing as I called out a goodbye. The door shut with a hiss that left me in silence.


‘’Champ, you done your diagnostic?’’ The voice of Wax, one of the maintenance ponies I worked with, it rang out in the sterile and mostly empty room that was the megaspell generator’s control chamber.

‘’Yeah, I’m almost done the third diagnostic of the day.’’ I lamented, megaspell maintenance was the least interesting chore out the list of responsibilities I had to carry out daily, and it was also something that I couldn’t multitask with which made it very monotonous.

But it was my job (and that many other hard working maintenance ponies) to be there when the generator decided it wanted to be difficult so we could preemptively fix it before anything got even remotely serious.

Right now we’d were investigating a painfully annoying click that the generator had been making every few seconds. Hopefully we’d get it to run smoothly later, and without any kinds of sounds like clicks, tings, or rumbling of any kind. The sound of rumbling would have been extremely bad; normally that meant that the generator might as start falling apart and cause a megaspell explosion directly in the middle of the stable. I wouldn't have been a big fan of that outcome. Oh yeah, being a maintenance pony is all kinds of fun.

Since the generator provided all the power to the stable, it would forever be a priority over anything else (even without the mentioning of a catastrophic failure if we sucked at our job). Without power the stable wouldn’t be able pump water into the pipes, recycle the oxygen that we used to breathe, and anything else you can think of that uses power; which in fact quite is a lot. Suffice to say without power there is no stable and with no stable there are no living ponies.

‘’So I heard that you’ll be off to see the Overmare in a little bit,’’Wax was a grey stallion with equally grey hair. ‘’That is once we’ve isolated and fixed this damned click.’’ He seemed annoyed, then again so was I at this persistent, head hurting click.

‘’Oh yeah Wax, she really wants to congratulate me for all the good work we’ve all been doing, and I’m sure she’ll want to have me pass along the message and a medal of course to all of us maintenance ponies.‘’ I joked, because everypony knew that me plus Overmare equaled double trouble.

‘’How nice of her say.’’ Wax chuckled. ‘’Did ya hear that Hay Breaker finally managed to come up with his DNA sample?’’

‘’Ehhh, good for him I guess’’ What Wax meant was that the little colt made his first donation to the sperm bank. Stable 22 was built for longevity, that meant that we’d be in here a long time before we’d ever leave its safety. A problem with that is that the genetics pool was limited, and well we don't want inbred ponies populating the new world, do we?

From the look on Wax’s face; I could tell my discomfort with the subject pleased him. What is it with all these ponies wanting to tease me? Then his gaze turned to my flank and back to my confused eyes. ‘’I’ve been meaning to ask you Champ; what exactly is your cutie mark anyway?’’

I looked down to my flank, where a blue circle with what looked like a spider’s web made the shape of what I had determined to be a flower, with three identical colored blue feathers hanging off the circle. ‘’I have no Idea what it is actually.’’ I laughed. It wasn’t a joke, but it kept me from sounding like an idiot who didn't know what his cutie mark was.

The grey stallion looked confused; I guess he’d figured as I had that everypony knew what their cutie mark was, seeing that it was a mark which told you what your destined special ability is. ‘’That’s odd, then how did you get it?’’

Truth be told, I had no clue. ‘’It just kinda showed up one day, I guess.’’ I said. I recalled that I spent a lot of time in the library trying to find a similar image in the few hundred books that were in the library, but eventually I gave up when something more interesting caught my attention.

Suddenly a beep came from the console I was working at. I checked it almost immediately. ‘’Bingo!... turns out our problem with the reactor is a small nest of radroaches somewhere in the containment area again... nothing too special, really.’’

‘’All this work for radroaches, again?’’ I’ll admit I felt as frustrated as he did. ‘’Nothing we can do.’’ He shrugged. ‘’ You’d better go tell Overmare when you go see her.’’ I cringed, this wasn’t going to be any more fun then the last five hours of diagnostics, but necessary, and unavoidable. Without putting it off, I waved Wax goodbye.

The journey up to the Overmare’s office was mostly uneventful, besides a few ponies from yesterday who laughed at me a bit and pointed out to their friends that I’d achieved ‘flight’.I didn't bother to correct them, because I knew someday I’d be laughing at them while flying around the atrium and eating lunch at the same time. Okay maybe not the atrium. I doubt I’d have enough space to fly, but hey a pony can dream right?

When I finally reached the Overmare’s quarters I was greeted by Cherry Tart at the secretary's desk in the lobby. She was acting as the Overmare’s secretary/assistant for the day. ‘’Go on in, the Overmare is waiting for you already.‘’ With a little hesitation, I moved towards the door and only stopped for it to open with a hiss and thud.


I trotted inside. This wasn’t the first time that I was here and definitely wouldn’t be the last either.

The office was nice. Boasting a pristine steel floor that looked like it hadn’t aged a day since it’s manufacture, and a nice red carpet that led up to the Overmare’s desk. The walls had a nice oak paneling that brought a sense of warmth to the room, making it almost inviting with the addition of a much brighter light that made all other lights in the stable seem obsolete in comparison.

The Overmare, as I had expected was sitting at her desk writing on her personal computer terminal. Probably condensing maintenance reports and filing them in their proper folder,I imagined. She was a light violet pony like Cherry, but with a nice and organized white mane that was put into a very professional looking bun behind her head. She had rounded glasses over her bright green eyes that could inspire a sense of dread and embarrassment in you, depending on what she wanted of course.

‘’Ah my dear Champagne, you’ve decided to show up.’’ She beamed, almost as if she were actually quite happy to see me. She dropped her work almost instantly,only taking the time to make a quick save on her work before addressing me further. ‘’You look quite good from your adventure yesterday. I visited you late last night but you were already asleep.’’ she said with a tad of remorse.

I knew her far too well to believe that. I might not be very quick at getting to know ponies, but when I did; I knew them well. ‘’Oh, I would have liked to see you,’’ I said,lying of course, and I was sure she knew from the small smirk she always unknowingly let slip without her knowledge. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the Overmare, but she and I had butted heads a few times before and it’s always affected our encounters.

She played along of course. ‘’Ah, tis a pity.’’ she said, making good use of an old literary expression from her personal collection of books. I remember seeing her enjoy them, recommending them to me when I was younger, before all our personal headbutting. ‘’Do you have any news regarding the megaspell generator?’’ she asked with concern.

‘’Yeah, I do,’’ I said, giving her the information in the best professional way I could. She nodded in understanding and added that she’d have the security ponies deal with it once we were done here.

‘’Champ, now you simply must stop these heinous experiments of yours,’’ she said bluntly. ‘’I’m afraid that if you keep committing to your absurdities, then you might in fact get somepony killed.’’ The words she spoke always made me feel as if they were the absolute truth.

‘’Mulberry, may I call you that?’’ She nodded and did her best to not look hurt. Every time I’d addressed her I asked the same question imposing the impersonal persona that we hardly knew each other. It was my classic style of passive aggressiveness for getting back at her. We had history together and damn If I felt she didn’t deserve it. ‘’I can’t stop these experiments, they’re the only thing that I care about here in this stable---well besides Cherry and a few other things.’’

‘’Champ, I find myself terrified every time you do these things, and so does Cherry.’’ I didn’t trust the Overmare but still, did Cherry really feel scared for me safety? She hadn’t mentioned anything about it, then again I realized that it had been the very reason she was upset with me yesterday to begin with. ‘’Although it does bring the other stable ponies here some entertainment, but I can’t let you continue to endanger yourself, and possibly the stable for for their entertainment and your selfish endeavors.’’ Her words were cold and precise I almost had the nerve to agree with her.

‘’Mulberry, ever since I got my cutie mark I’ve only dreamed about flying, I feel like I’m so close to actually achieving it this time.’’ I pleaded. She turned her gaze directly into my eyes as if to see past them and read the thoughts written directly on my brain.

In what was the most awkward minute of my life she kept her eyes locked on mine, or in mine. I didn’t know. I had been petrified by her stare almost as if she was a deadly Cockatrice and turned me into a stone statue. Forever being stuck in a pose that I’m sure did not make me look very good.

‘’Fine, I’ll allow you try once more,’’ she said finally ‘’but if you should have anymore major accidents; I'll use my bare hooves to open the stable door and shove you out myself.’’ She said very coldly. Although I wasn’t sure that last part had been a joke but I couldn’t care about that right now, I had another chance to fly, and this time I’ll get it right.

‘’Thank you Mulberry. I promise you won’t regret it.’’ I said leaving with very happy expression clear on my face, and I could swear for just a moment that she smiled herself. That smile although small and barely visible brought me back in time to when I had lived with the Overmare during my days as a little colt. Before we’d got into now meaningless fights, that were fought with words that plagued our relationship like I’m sure radiation-plagued, what was left of the world above, and beyond the stable door.


Outside the Overmare’s office, Cherry was there to greet me. She looked quite pleased and happy to see me looking happy as well. I guess happiness is easily shared, thinking about how I changed the Overmare’s frown upside down.

‘’I didn’t hear you two fighting like you usually do.’’ Cherry stated. ‘’And you look happy I guess mom didn’t take you up to her level and beat you with experience.’’ My smile grew wider.

‘’She’s allowed me to continue with my flying.’’ I said happily.

She looked surprised for a moment. ‘’That’s great Champ, now you can screw up again.’’ She teased and had a good laugh at my expense. I didn’t find it as funny as she did, but I chuckled a little. ‘’Now then when’s the next flight?’’ She asked with the remainder of a few laughs.

Her approval about my dream made me all too excited and maybe a little too ambitious. ‘’Tomorrow!’’ I proclaimed, it came to her as shock that it was planned to be so soon. In fact I didn’t blame her, I probably was running on adrenaline from my confrontation with the Overmare, and adrenaline has a powerful way to making you feel like you can take on the world with only your hooves.

‘’Alrighty, I’ll see you fly and land safely tomorrow for the first time yes?’’ Was her reply, her face solemn from what I was guessing was the fear that I’d actually kill myself tomorrow. I thought back to what the Overmare told me only minutes ago.

‘’I promise you I’ll be flying safely, and it’ll be awesome.’’ I hoped that my confidence would lighten her mood. But It failed.

‘’Look, just be careful. I want you to live ok?’’ Was all she said. I stood there stunned what the Overmare had told me to be true, and all I could do at that point was whisper okay and walk away.


The grey and blank walls of Stable22 seemed to go on forever, their cold outward appearance had always been a damper on my day. I imagine they did the same to everypony that lived in the stable. These walls each need a mural... like very badly....they need to liven up some... It’s depressing really.

Walking back to my room, I couldn't help thinking that this had been the longest day I’d ever had. Hours of boring work, a talk with the Overmare that had become more painful as her words had some actual truth that validated them, and to finish it, when Cherry spoke to me in such a worried tone, I felt like abandoning the whole thing. But that wasn't an option I’d allow myself, I was a stallion of my word. I just need to follow through, get it done, and enjoy myself.

Thinking positive always got me in the mood for getting things done, especially when trying to solve a persistent problem. I was tired as hell from all the work, making absolutely positively sure seven times over that everything worked, and I didn’t know if I had enough of my remaining faculties to figure out a solution to my flight problem. Even if I had, there’s no telling If I could get even make the modifications with the time I had. Sometimes I wish I didn’t say the things I did

Now that all my negative thoughts about very potentially not being able to accomplish such a task are out of the way, let's just say, there’s nothing more that I want to do after a long day of work then, start playing with my workbench in my very own home. Even if I didn’t accomplish a damn thing I’d have hopefully cleared my mind from the words of both violet mares I’d spoken to today.

Once inside my room I saw nothing but the darkness I left it with the yesterday morning, I felt the familiar dank muskiness that my room provided to me twenty four hours a day, seven days a week with no extra charge then labor for the rest of my life. I flicked on the light switch in the room with the use of my now extended my wings. The lights slowly came on with a tiny flicker and finally I could see all that resided in my quarters.

The dirty bed, the grimy living room, and to my favorite spot in the entire stable: my despicably filthy workbench. All of it covered in a whole bunch of metal scraps, inventions, experiments, old parts a bunch of old canisters like from my flying experiment yesterday. I always said I’d clean up my room eventually but that never came. All of it of no use to anyone but me because the stable couldn’t use these worn down parts even slightly.

The amount of free time I had during my youth was almost too much. I was always getting into trouble, and by trouble I mean that I kept wanted to explore the off limits area of the stable that a young colt simply wasn’t allowed. I also liked to mess around with tools, machines, and their subsequent parts; either trying to figure out how they worked or hoping that I’d make something cool. This got me reprimanded and punished often. Because of the trouble I’d gotten into, the mothers and fathers of my classmates told their children not to play with me. Thus I never had any real friends besides Cherry, and sadly, most of the time she was too busy with the Overmare to have an adventure with.

Back then I still lived with the Overmare and Cherry, I wound up asking the Overmare for ideas of what to do. She told me to simply ‘’Read a book.’’ I dismissed the idea from the get go. How could somepony with such energy as I, sit on my haunches and read a boring book? However, the Overmare is tricky.

She applied to my need to explore, my insatiable curiosity, and my... ‘creativity’ with vital stable equipment. One day she decided to read me a bedtime story. The name of that fateful book she chose to read out to me was ‘Ten Fun Science Projects for Colts and Fillies’. I was unsure about when the Overmare brought it up but, she was persistent. She decided along with the book, she’d also brought in the materials to actually start one of the projects in the book. She was right to tap into my curiosity.

The experiment she decided to read was how to make a parachute for a small pony soldier. We didn’t have a small soldier to use however, so she used a small piece of scrap metal with a hole in it. The whole experiment something simple enough it could be done within a half a hour.

By the end of the half an hour I had started to continuously take the small piece of scrap with its parachute and let it go in the air above my bed. By the end of the experiment I was clamoring to do more like that one. However all good things must come to an end, Mulberry said it was time for bed, and that I could read it tomorrow.

The next day I was excited to continue, I spent more time waiting for the morning then sleeping, and I eagerly awaited for the morning wake up call. The Overmare, being the most important figure in our society, wasn’t able to make time for the next experiment. I remember, instead of making time for me, she gave me a note to take to one of the maintenance ponies. The note requested that they would provide me with all the necessary resources to pull together whatever was in the book, but I would be required to do everything myself, and clean up after completing each experiment.

This was the inception for my interest of books. My reading skill was limited, and the book itself was fairly unexplanatory to the basics of why each experiment did as it did. I confronted the Overmare with these problems, hoping she’d explain to me why water would expand while frozen, why a hoofball would bounce, or why vinegar and baking soda reacted in a way that caused a huge mess( I should know, I had to clean it). What I wanted, at its core was a complete understanding of the workings of our world. Instead of giving me what she wanted, the Overmare told me to go to the stable library and pick out a book on the related subject. Specifically books about science, mechanics, theory, chemistry, biology, geology(which isn’t a real science) , and physics.

At this point I was playing directly into her hoof. I’d ceased going to places that were off limits or unnecessarily damaging stable equipment in the name of doing something ‘cool’. All so that she would reveal to me where I had to go to find out what I wanted to know, I was knowledge hungry, with no intention to stop. I had a book about anything to do with the workings of the world wherever I went.

But theory only went so far. Eventually I ran out of book experiments to try out, either that the stuff to do them were unavailable or I’d done them already. Chemistry especially mostly unavailable to me. I wanted to apply my knowledge to something, and create things that were my own experiments and do whatever it was that I could think of. Trying to solve something ludicrous with the use of all my acquired knowledge thus far.

But what I had in knowledge, I lacked in materials, and hardware. For me to do anything, I couldn't just be limited to what the Overmare allowed me to take from the stores of the maintenance ponies. I had to assemble my own stockpile gear and materials to draw upon. A problem in which I had no solution for until, I heard some ponies talking about all the useless junk that was taking up space.

I guess I couldn’t blame myself for the lack of a quick solution, especially when it stared me in the eyes every single day. The stable had been full of scrap metals just lying down where ever it did. Being raised in a stable meant that you automatically thought that everything had its place. the place of the junk had been of course to annoy anypony by just simply being there to begin with.

So I decided (with the permission of the Overmare of course) to salvage all the useless junk I’d found around the stable. Nopony was using it, and I wanted to turn all this waste into something much more usable and cool, hell maybe even productive. For my efforts; I was gifted a set of spare tools the maintenance ponies didn't need by the Overmare for my efforts of cleaning up the stable. I may not have been trying to clean it the stable up, but the end result is something which I’ve achieved more or less, and I’ve benefited by having my own personal supply and equipment.

The only thing I needed now, was an actual place to work. I could have used maintenance stalls, but I knew from experience most of the ponies there often felt like I got in their way. They often complaining to the Overmare about me. In fact at one point I nearly got myself banned from the facilities due to my constant pestering of the chief maintenance pony. It’s not my fault I didn't know how to weld first hoof.

Once again, I voiced my concerns to the Overmare, and as always, she found a solution. One of the stable’s residential rooms hadn’t been used in some time, and as a result was I getting the room. With the note from the Overmare, and the general want to get rid of me from the chief maintenance pony, they had a particularly ‘important’ pipbuck technician transport up a workbench to my new room.

The rest is history. But essentially, with my new room, materials, and tools; I was able to start doing my own stuff, whenever I wanted to, and not get in the way of the other maintenance ponies. Thus creating all manner of either useless and unimportant things, all in the off chance of making something that might have merit.

For example; I’d been able to make a few pneumatic ball launchers for the hoofball teams to use during their practice sessions. I wasn't much of a hoofball fan however; I just wanted somepony to find a use for something I’d done.

Another of my inventions involved managing to fashion up a sort of rake that would help the apple farmers to spend less time picking up apples with their mouths and hooves, and more time for...well... whatever else they did. That one in particular, made them quite happy with me, right after a few of them got injured while cutting down a tree’s branches that had grown to much and need to be pruned. As well as other such nonsense, as long if it seemed interesting to build at first, I did it.

The next thing on my mind was to try rectify the problem I had faced with my flying adventure. Last night at the hospital, I actually stumbled on a breakthrough or at least a lead. The book mentioned ways to control the gases, either by use of heat, pressure, and volume of the gas. So throughout a long time of meddling with ideas; I had come up with nothing and just decided I’d try one last thing before bed.

“Alrighty then,” I said out loud talking to myself, normally that helped me calm down and think straight in frustrating situations having to do with mechanics. ‘’Lets fix this thing.’’ _________________________________________________________________________

The morning after, I was excited, ready for action, and feeling like I was going to throw up everything right here in front of everypony in the orchard. Yep great, I was now regretting my boastful claim to Cherry yesterday, because there was a crowd already gathering here. I expect they aren’t here to necessarily see me fly either.

I was standing there at the entrance of the orchard from the stable corridor, the crowd’s attention was solely on me. That is until the Overmare came into view, a microphone in her hoof. ‘’Greetings everypony of Stable 22, today some anonymous pony passed around that Champagne would be making his last attempt at flight this morning, as dictated by the guidelines laid down by our forefathers and foremothers , I shall be present to observe the activity-.’’

At this moment I hated that...bitch with every fiber of my being, she purposely set me up to fail with the distraction of all these ponies, causing me to be so nervous, and they’d all be around to see my failure.Ohhhh It’s on now.

I was upset, so upset that I just wanted to tell everypony I’d be doing the flight later(if at all), but I was ready, and I wanted it to be the end of all this...crap these ponies gave me.

I saw Cherry all of a sudden, she came out from the large group of ponies whom were still paying attention to the Overmare’s speech. Her violet coat and orange mane seemed to cool me down a bit. I may have been upset, but with her here (cheering me on, I hope) maybe I could pull off this feat.

I looked towards my equipment, just inside the long halls of the stable. I had put it down there on my arrival, to take a leisurely tour around the the orchard without being bogged down by unnecessary weight. I wanted to make sure that there were no obstacles I needed to worry about and if there were alter my launch plan accordingly. No, the obstacle I would need to worry about now, was the entire stable population just waiting to see me fail.

What I had to work with today, was a variation from the two compressed air canisters equipped with thrust vectoring cones connected to the release valve, and the duct tape webbing to keep it all together that I had used other day. The new equipment, was a little bit more complicated, the webbing had been reinforced with metal scraps forming a framework in which to add all the heavier gear. This made the rig easily removable in either case of emergency, or to put on and off like a new pair of clothes, instead of using duct tape on my stable utility barding to get it all together. The jury rigging done to the valves and ripcord were still a part of the show, with no changes to their function.

To top it off, the piece that allowed me to realistically win this, was in itself a whole invention. I had adapted small cylinders cut in half onto the threads of the compressed-air canisters. There would be a wire that would linked to my hoof to the small cylinders. That wire would be soaked in lubricant, then run through a series surgical tubing ( that I ‘borrowed’ from the medical wing) so I wouldn’t cut myself.

The wire would allow me, with an specific movement of my hoof , to pull the wire in such a way that would cause the half cylinders on the back of the threads, to cut off the escape of the compressed propellant, and halting all of its force. It could also gradually shut manually, causing the airflow to be managed, and giving me the ability to control my speed.

So now, it wasn’t as much as of a death trap as before as Cherry had suggested I’d do. Which made me feel more confident in today’s trials.

With a little struggling, due to the constricted design and the lack of sleep that caused the oversight in the first place I fitted myself with the device. I took my time, taking special care that I didn't accidentally damage any part of the it, regardless of its sturdy construction that made it almost like an elaborate set of armor, I still treated it like it was a fragile piece of glass read to shatter at any moment. I felt the cold frame pressing against my body, and the surgical tubing feeling odd, and slightly annoying. But strangely, it felt good and almost rewarding.

I gathered my bearings, moving around to my invention to find a way to sit naturally on my body. I looked at the Overmare whom I felt my eyes sear up in heat with. Watching her mouth closely, her words escaped me and I substituted the loss with my own. ‘’ Champ will forever be unable to fly and today will seal the deal.’’ I imagined the voice to go along with the words. Of course, I’m sure she didn’t say it like that. No, it would have been more of a hidden message, wrapped in clever expressions, and redundant rhetoric.

Allright Champ, calm down, this is exactly what she wants to do, unhinge you so that you can't perform at your best. She’s scared of you succeeding. I lied to myself, sometimes it works and motivates me and sometimes it backfires and makes the situation worse. Without much more delay, I started trotting down the long hallway once more, my motive much different now than any other day.

The artificial light much more dim compared to the orchard’s much more bright and natural counterpart. When I met the wall on the opposite end of the hall way, I looked back towards the orchard, I struggled to see the apple trees due to the bright light, only the silhouettes of the trees, and group of ponies were visible from my location.

This was it, I felt even more need to throw up my apple enriched breakfast all over this wall and make a mural of my own out of stomach bile. Sounds great right about now to be perfectly honest, any reasonable excuse will do. ‘’Fly or Die.’’ I silently whispered to myself recalling my words from the other day.

I started with a slow trot, then slowly progressed into a fair run, and finally the strongest gallop I could muster. Several ponies could see me by now as I could see them. They looked back towards the group and shouted. ‘’He’s starting!’’ I could hear clearly now the sound of ponies running out of my immediate path, making good distance away from what I’m sure of what their idea of an insanely dangerous pony might be. Oh well.

With hop, skip, and a jump, I lowered my flight goggles into place. I was now fully prepared for my final jump, and subsequent flight. There was no turning back now, even if I wanted to. My momentum had been built up so much that I was either going to fly or run head first into the trunk of an apple tree, then again maybe both.

With my eyes adjusting to the bright light; I could now see all the trees in the orchard and I made my final jump. I expanding my wings, while also pulling the ripcord that turned the valves, releasing the compressed air, and finally sending me soaring at an acceleration that made my stomach want so desperately for me to stop, threatening to release its load on all the observing ponies below. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad Idea.

The sound of escaping gases, buzzed in my flapping ears. The air current was thrown around with me. The feeling of it running through my mane was intoxicating. I almost allowed myself to relax and forget about what I was doing.

Moving far too quickly; I found the wall at the end of the orchard swiftly grow, I panicked, forcing my wings into pulling a U-turn maneuver like last time, except for this time I was moving too quickly. The wall seemed like It wanted to run me over, as if it was jumping from its motionless state just to smack me down like a ball the unicorn ponies used to play tennis with.

‘’Oh shit-’’ was the last sound I made before bracing for impact. However it didn't come as I expected, in fact it didn’t come at all. At this point I opened my sealed eyes. I had made the U-turn. The sound of the gushing air had been silenced, and a calmer sound of moving recycled air took its place.

In confusion, I looked back at the canisters, expecting them to have been missing from the frame of the invention, but instead I found them there intact without much of a hiss of air from them. It then dawned on me. Oh Champ, you idiot. In my excitement I forgot all about the ‘brakes’ I’d installed to avoid such a situation. If I hadn’t of braced for impact like I did, flailing limbs and such, I would have been quite the nice addition to the wall. That is to say if I didn't just break through it instead.

I relaxed, but only long enough to be propelled forward very fast once again, I’d forgotten about the breaks already within the span of five seconds. Champ, you're a real smart one, ya know that? Again, I panicked, but this time pulling my hoof in such a direction as to not cut off the full pressure of the canisters.

I slowed to what was for me was a very slow speed; I wasn't closing in on the ground, nor was I going dangerously fast, I must of struck a lucky balance in the pressure of the escaping air streams. Everything started to slow down, and despite the twitching in my nerves all over my body, I felt the most comfortable I’ve ever been in the air.

My mane, along with my tail, fluttered in the wind, each strand of hair flurrying in a sort of dance that mesmerized me. ‘’I finally did it’’ I said almost unbelieving and laughing out of either the sheer success or because I needed to cope with almost dying again by my own methods. Just like that all the stress that had built up this morning, flew away without a trace.

What I was left with began to shape up to be become the best day ever.

Loud cheering came across my ears all of a sudden, I could hear the cheering of the stable ponies below me, all of them yelling and hollering, for...me. The one pony in the entire stable that was a joke through and through and more of an annoyance. Now I had become...I guess, in their eyes a hero. It was like the rise of the underdog in one of the single non-educational books I read. Coincidentally that book gave me these ideas of not accepting defeat in the first place, and to continue to try and try till either I could try no longer or I finally succeeded.

I looked down at the stable ponies, from this unique perspective, I was their new hoofball champion. The one who scored the final goal in the final second and gave his team, and their fans, enough happiness that you could hear them cheer from all the way in my lonely quarters. So now it was fitting that I would do my own victory pass.

I flew to the other side of the orchard and spun around. I began testing the limits of my new capabilities, getting drunk on my success of each new stunt I pulled off. It started small with seeing how low I could go, my belly almost scratching the grass between the trees, then proceed up to a full speed speed bank/turn (I wasn't sure of all the terms of flight, I planned on figuring that out after succeeding). At one point I felt the need to gallop along the walls at that lightning pace. The feeling of high speed concrete never felt this good before and the crowd had roared at each stunt, especially the last one, motivating me further to push my former boundaries.That became my new personal definition of awesome.

Needless to say, the combination of ponies screaming for me, and the rush I was getting from the flying and the stunts, made me bolder, and more willing to try something to top it all.

Now it was time for my finally, this particular stunt I’d read over many times in a book called the ‘Equestrian Airshow Guide to Aerial Tricks and Stunts’, it was called the loop. I imagined it clearly, a pegasi pony flying straight, then curving up vertically and pulling down in what seemed to be a very large and long back flip. It was both relatively simple, and awesome as hell, especially to all these ponies whom up until just now had never seen anypony fly correctly.

So, with confidence, I moved back to the furthest part of the orchard from my audience, giving myself ample amount of space to pull this off, and do so in such away that gave the best possible cinematic show.

I began my stunt, going full speed, hugging close to the leaves, and weaving between the ‘all too high tree branches’ some of them were frightening but...oh well. ‘’Here we go!!!’’ I shouted.

I passed nearby the leaves, made them rustle violently, making sounds that made me feel so good right now. The dangerous branches of those trees were no cause to alarm, I hit one tiny branch on accident, and had hardly felt a thing. I felt like I was unstoppable...no... I was unstoppable.

I finally decided it was time to do this ‘flip’, with a swing of my wings, I curved violently upward towards the ceiling. The g-forces pressing hard against my wings, causing them to beg me to even out and give up. I refused to listen and pressed on. I saw the orchard, the trees which resided in it, and the ponies cheering me, from upside down. Looking at them from far above floor which from my point of view was covered in green leaves of varying brightness. This also redefined my new personal definition of awesome, and making everything else at this point seem actually kinda boring to the loop.

I felt like waving at those ponies with my free foreleg, but I was already coming around on the curving drop of the stunt, and my speed would pick up and I’d end up going even faster then the start of my flight. However, this time, I’d have much more control over my movements and it would end up being a walk in the park.

My velocity went from ‘boring’ slow, to excitingly fast in less then ten seconds flat, I was doing it all upside down, making it even more exciting. I could feel my stomach stretch along with most of my body over the period, my wings screeching and demanding I stop immediately. But once again I ignored the thought of pulling out, especially now. I was starting to even out, I only had one forth of the loop left to make.

All of a sudden, I started to feel sleepy. I felt as if even in all my excitement I was slipping away into a nap. My vision of the world started to look like a dark tunnel, and it only seemed that that I was going deeper into this tunnel, looking out. In my stupor I realized I was about to do. It was too late to do anything to prevent it. The name reflected quite well what I was feeling...A ‘’blackout’’. The last thing I heard was a sharp snap, then a hiss, and finally...nothing.


I was brought back consciousness. I freaked due to confusion, the memories of what happened were dumped on me like a boiling bucket of water. I had blacked out from pulling more G’s then my body could handle. I may have only been out a few moments but I was severely disoriented.

Suddenly, leaves and hard rubbery branches slapped against my body (FEROCIOUSLY might I add) blinding me from my current path. From what I could figure out I was being dragged by one of the canisters that happened to be still attached to the wire around my hoof. Oh dear Celestia...

It didn't matter what kind of thrashing I did, or angling of my wings. I had no control over any movement. It’s ironic how a pony can have so much freedom, then black out for a moment, and have none there afterwards.

Moments after all the painful tree hitting, I found myself cleared from the leaf canopy. Good, at least the canisters had the common decency of letting me see how I was going to die. Oh shit.

Turns out, my canisters were heading directly for the large crowd of ponies, whom, I had looking up at from being upside down way above them moments earlier, and now I might be very likely the last thing going through their mind, literally. The uneasiness I felt from flying so lopsided, only grew now that other ponies were in danger. I was helpless, the only thing I could do was watch and hope that everything would be alright.

I ‘flew’ over crowd of panicked ponies all screaming in fear. Some were too stunned to move and others fled as time started to slow down for me. I was still being flipped around by the canisters and I might as well been a flying bowling ball on a tether to a rocket. To me it seemed like canister had decided to pan up and head towards the concrete wall, high above them and would have collided relatively safely, although I could see myself actually turning into the wall painting this time.

‘’SNAP!’’ This sound was the most important sound to me. It drew my attention forward towards the dangerous cylinder projectiles I had now incorrectly used. The wire that was strapped to my forehoof, had broken, and now I was a projectile myself. ‘’Oh no...’’ I said in desperation as my body plowed into several ponies.

I cried out loudly, the feeling of pain engulfed me like fire to a flammable material or liquid. The pain was most significant to my stomach. I looked down to see a pink unicorn’s horn piercing my soft belly, my blood ejected, and sputtered out almost compulsory. I don't think I’d ever be this ‘horny’ again.

I heard a loud fizzle above me, and it pulled my weakening body’s gaze towards it, almost directly above me. It was the canister flying in a very short circle. I let out a laugh for no reason I could find.

Things turned to the worse when the canister finally broke it circle, and flew directly at the ground. It exploded, the remaining air inside the tank have erupted into a huge white air wave with deadly shrapnel being propelled everywhere, then just before I thought it couldn't be any worse, I saw a familiar violet pony fly away from being hit from the explosion. Her body landing shortly away from me.


I sat alone on my bed. I hadn’t even bothered to turn on the lights of my room and only the red lights that helped navigate the room were on. So I was left in my own self imposed darkness. I didn’t feel like I deserved the comfort of light after this massive fuck up.

My last memories were of the medics heading over to Cherry, and then waking up back here in my room. I hoped that everything that had happened was just a nightmare in a dream scape, but when I decided to get a glass of water, I felt a pain from stomach.

The wounds that had been inflicted on me were now only scars thanks to a healing potion or two that had been administered over an IV line during my time being knocked out cold. I guess I could tell from the cotton ball still taped to my hoof. It still left residual pain and served as a constant reminder of my failure and overconfidence. I was wrong, this wasn’t just a nightmare; it had been a real life manifestation of a night terror.

I dropped all thought of laying there doing nothing, and rushed towards the door. I just had to know what happened to everypony, to see that Cherry was okay or something. The door was locked and no matter what kind of struggling or poor attempts at picking the lock, changed that.

I tried my pipbuck, trying to see if there was any kind of informative broadcast from the Overmare, but to my surprise, there were in fact no channels to listen in on with my device.

They put me under house arrest.

I may have left myself in the dark in this room, but I never knew how badly left in the dark I actually was. Under a house arrest protocol, the room in which the offender was kept in would run as normal, besides being locked, guarded, and cut off from radio broadcasts.

Being under house arrest also meant, that I was in deep shit. I craved for more information about my situation but this wasn’t what I wanted to know at all. Oh well.

I slowly trotted my way back to bed. The lights still off, but even so I could navigate the room with no eyes at all without trying. As soon as my head hit the covers, my memories from....whenever I screwed up replayed through my mind without stop.

I remembered clearly; the security ponies came to their senses after the explosion, they went rounding up all the unhurt ponies, as well as those whom weren’t injured too bad that they could move with the help of other ponies, removing them from the immediate area. My hoof I’d attached the wire to was sprained hurting quite a bit, and my stomach pierced with the horn of a unicorn. I was definitely in bad shape.

With the loss of blood I eventually started to pass in and out. Although only seconds passed during the passing out and the regaining of my consciousness, it felt like I was watching an old photo reel, part of an old documentary but a really unclear and disorienting one.

One moment, I was staring at the scene of chaos I’d created, the next I was out. Then next thing I knew I was being laid on a stretcher by a couple of medical ponies. I’d have whispered a ‘thank you’ if I wasn’t the one who caused the mess in the first place.

The last things I saw before completely blacking out, had been the sight of other medical ponies rushing in with saddle bags bursting with medical supplies, and the painfully still image of Cherry lying there with shrapnel sticking out of all over her body, a large fragment had been impaled in her flank, just above her cutie mark. This memory haunted me the most.


It seemed like a day had passed before finally something happened to shake me up. During all that time I achieved nothing, but worrying, crying, regretting, throwing my inventions around the room, cursing them heavily for them being stepping stones to this latest event, and of course beating myself as much as I’d been willing to (which equated to actually very little of any self abuse). I’m hell of a mess. I also happened to be pacing most of the time, trotting so much in a circle that I’m sure I wore groves into the concrete floor. I couldn’t take being isolated like this anymore.

All of a sudden, a hiss came from the door. It opened, and let light from the hall enter my room. Since I spent the entire time in the dark (both figuratively and literally) it was a blinding sight to see. My eyes were strained from all the tears and anger I let out, they did not need the help of the light to make them feel worse. A silhouette appeared in the doorway, blocking some of the light and allowing to me to look at the doorway from behind my hoof.

‘’Champ, may I come in?’’ It was the Overmare’s voice. My mind flashed back to the rage I felt with her. I nodded politely and tried to let out a decent response but instead my voice cracked. ‘’I’ll go in alone, and call for any assistance If needed.’’ She spoke softly and yet authoritatively to what I assume was the guard who’d been guarding the ‘cell’ of a prisoner. The voice a stallion protested, but the Overmare shrugged him off and walked in, closing the door behind her, and leaving the room dark again.

I felt I should have been extremely mad at her but...but...nothing.

‘’Oh, isn’t it ever dark in here.’’ Ya don’t say... I could see her raise her hoof to the light switch and without failure she hit the switch perfectly, blinding me once again. I rolled over on my belly, covering my head with a pillow with a slight whine. She gasped; I guess she had seen the mess I’d made, both before and after that disaster.

She trotted softly towards me. I expected at any time she was going to yell at me, then lecture me, and finally lay down punishment for endangering the stable population. But instead of all that; she sat down next to me, and put her foreleg around me. She was comforting me. I hadn’t allowed myself that particular privilege, and here she was the pony I least expected to see do that.

‘’I cannot truthfully say it’ll be all fine and dandy, Champagne.’’ She began, I turned to look at her despite that light pounding in my eyes, She was crying. The Overmare was... crying. I’d never see her bat an eye for the most part, and this was almost outside my acceptable range of things that were extremely unlikely to happen. ‘’But, I do not know what else to say... I’m so very sorry.’’

I cleared my throat. ‘’What happened to Cherry?’’ I asked the light violet pony, my voice still cracking from the intense session of ‘regret’.

The Overmare looked me in the eyes with a solemn look plastered across her face ‘’Cherry is not doing well, she’s still alive, yes...’’My heart jumped, happily might I add, I’d expected Cherry to be dead from the horror I witnessed yesterday, I mean It didn’t look like a pony could survive from the amount of shrapnel sticking out of them.‘’...but her condition is intensely unstable and the likelihood that she survives is as similar as her chance to perish. I wish I could say otherwise but I mustn't dilute the bare truth, as it shall help nopony.’’

My happiness, although very slight, started slipping away quickly, it was one thing to be so sure of myself in my consequences, but to give me hope, and tell me it might all be for nothing, is cruel. But then again, who am I to blame? The Overmare told me the truth because that’s what I wanted to hear and the cruelty wasn’t even added by her, but only by fate itself.

‘’I’m so sorry Champagne.’’ I guess my expression shinned through to Mulberry since she’d started apologizing again while holding me tighter. I wish I could say she was hugging me to help me, but it seemed to be much more therapeutic to her.

Time passed for a while maybe a few hours, both grieving without another thought to come in and distract us. Eventually she pulled away and got up to leave. Wrinkles in her barding, and her hair that was always organized was now much less so.

‘’Champagne,’’ It was the first words to break out silence beyond the crying we’d done. ‘’Tomorrow, as you know, you're due in for the final genetics donation in the medical wing before your exile during the afternoon.’’

‘’Exile?’’ My mouth had hung down in surprise.

‘’I’m afraid so, many other ponies were hurt yesterday. The stable is upset and demanding justice for your actions.’’ I was baffled once again, I hadn’t thought about how the stable would feel about my failure, and the potential death of other innocent ponies had been in. But exile seemed like such a hard ball especially since I didn’t mean for it to happen; then again, I don't mean for a lot of things to happen but that doesn't stop them from doing so.

To be truthfully honest, I should have been expecting this, the stable has had these extreme laws installed since before its construction. If I recall correctly, the law was meant to be a deterrent to anyone who denied doing their assigned work for long enough to become a threat to the stable. This consequence could also be applied to any member of the stable who committed serious crimes, such as murder, which robbed from the stable’s genepool which it would need for the rest of its operational period.

‘’I shall have the security ponies escort you tomorrow.’’ I nodded in understanding, there wasn’t much I could do anyway but accept my fate and move on.

With that the Overmare left my residence, a hiss from the door was the last thing to suggest her presence, and strangely my mind flashed back to our passive aggressive conversation the other day. I realized now that she’d been right all along and I was just too stubborn to see it from her perspective.

The last word she told me that day also struck me as quite Ironic.‘’’Fine, I’ll allow you try once more, but if you should have any major accidents; I'll use my bare hooves to open that door and shove you out the Stable myself’’’ I doubt she realized she might actually have to hold up to her promise.

The next day came without fault. I didn’t manage to get a single bit of sleep, from either the knowledge of my impending exile or the that Cherry could be a moment swept away by death. My last images of her would be those of a battlefield with her limp body full of shrapnel.

When the guards came to get me, armed with batons, they vocally gave the offer of resisting or coming quietly. I came quietly of course, but from their expressions, I guessed they hoped they could bait me into resisting, so that they could take their frustration out on me. Just peachy.

The trot towards the medical wing wasn’t without incident either. Some ponies gave me a cold hoof, and shunned me outright. Others took it upon themselves to yell at me, some cursing, others threatening, even some brave pony proclaiming that I’d suffer horribly, my eyes would burning out of my skull from the radiation.

I was never hated as badly badly and yet it was both rightly deserved and greatly disheartening. Looks may not be able to kill, but they sure can make one feel terrible.

Once we arrived in the hospital wing of the stable; I frantically started looking for any sign of Cherry, but she was nowhere to be found. Instead what I saw was several injured ponies; maybe about ten, all wrapped in bandages on the few medical beds that had been present. Some of the ponies had to be put on mattresses that were probably taken from their rooms.

I was immediately led into the special private room, where ponies did their business and, given a erm... special kind of magazine to get the blood flowing and a special container for collection. Luckily, I was a stallion, my DNA could be easily acquired at my own discretion. Had I been a mare, I’d have to be put out, and surgically operated on to remove an egg.

For the stable to pull off its mission, genetic engineering was put into the equation, nothing too severe but generally it would combine the egg of a mare and DNA of stallion, into another third party mare (if needed) then she’d give birth to a brand new foal in nine months.

I got my business done quickly. No need to go into details. But I will admit I did have a harder time with all the weight hanging over me. So without delay, I left the room, leaving both items there. Outside I found the Overmare again along with the two guard ponies whom had escorted me here. She didn’t make any expression really, but I suspected that she hid all her expressions for the sake of the stable. Yesterday’s events had given me reason to think that.

‘’You have been allowed five minutes with her, then you’ll be escorted to my office.’’ She stated flatly. I needed no further explanation or speech. I simply nodded and started trotting towards the closest medical pony. I asked her for directions.

‘’Just go to the operating room.’’ She said snidely, directing me to the large metal doors at the end of the bed rows. I made a fast trot towards them. I was desperate to seize this last opportunity to see the violet mare.

With hesitation, I pushed the doors open with my hooves, easily opening them. The lights in the room were bright, and I was treated to a sight of another sterile room in the stable. With the exception of a pony under a bed sheet on top of the operating table. The pony had been facing away, so I had to move around the operating table to get a good look.

My poor Cherry.

She’d clearly been out conscience or sleeping; which was good because I don't think I could look her in the eyes anymore. I could only see her face and that alone had been enough to force a gag. Her face been torn up so much it was difficult to recognize her and a large bit of shrapnel stuck out of her forehead like it owned the place.

I was now at loss of what to do. It’s not everyday you see a pony that you know is your friend but you can’t recognize them due to such intense disfigurement.

‘’Don’t die...I want you to live.’’ I whispered, a tear ran down my eyes immediately as I returned the last words she’d spoken with me.


I stayed with her as long as I could, hugging and holding her like the Overmare held me yesterday. But eventually I had to go once my allotted time had run out.

I was being escorted once again, this time to the Overmare’s office and it was long before we actually arrived. The fairly familiar steel grey door had already retracted itself, leaving the doorway already open in preparation for me I assumed.

The security ponies whom had escorted me all day directed me inside, making it clear that if there was any fuss they would be right outside with their batons. I cringed at the thought as one of the two ponies gently tapped me on the back with his, just as the door hissed shut behind me.

‘’Welcome Champagne, please have a seat.’’ I did as she asked, and propped myself down on a chair just in front of her desk.

‘’Now then, you should know, that I absolutely must take action against you as soon as possible. The ponies of the Stable have been demanding this of me so often that I fear there may be a riot.’’

‘’A riot?’’ These things just keep getting worse and worse don't they. I was obviously confused and it showed.

‘’Champ, the ponies of Stable22 have very little to look forward to in life besides their friends and family, since you accidently threatened that only form longevity for their happiness, it’s fairly natural.’’ Natural?

‘’Also you mustn’t forget that we have very little methods in which to relieve stress, you recall the hoofball games, correct?’’ I nodded, remembering an incident where a loss for one of the hoofball games managed to cause a very scary riot, many ponies were injured, and lots of stable equipment had been damaged as well. It was a horrible event and also a particularly busy week in maintenance.

‘’Are they really are that mad?’’ I asked, while not knowing what to expect next. I mean, my life was in the progress of falling apart. If it had much of it left that is.

‘’Infuriated, to be precise’’ I chuckled taking that more of a joke then I should.

I sighed ‘’So I guess I’m really going out there, right?’’ As scared of the outside world as I was, even I know that at this point I had no more place here. With all the stable ponies wanting to glue me for a disaster I insisted on creating because of the off chance that I might fly.

‘’Unfortunately yes, as much as it pains me to do so Champagne, it's a matter of security for the stable as well.’’ she said in a remorseful tone, I expected the answer, but I was just now beginning to really believe it. My eyes fell to the floor, as if I couldn't manage to look at her anymore, and just need to reflect on what she said.

‘’Champ, it’s not a death sentence you know-’’ My ears perked up and I cut her off.

‘’Wait what?’’ Was all I could say. She paused to look at me with with a flare of annoyance making my mistake quite evident ‘’Sorry.’’

‘’As I was saying, from what we can tell, the surface is, in fact, quite livable, just very distant from ideal. There is a lot of residual radiation, but there is still oxygen. However,that is all we know’’ She said but it didn’t help me much. She’d given me hope, but I might have been better off not knowing at all, as just going out there blind with the only knowledge that the surface was ‘livable’. It was a bit frustrating to be be honest.

‘’Is there anything you can do to help me?’’ I asked

‘’Actually there is,’’ Mulberry pushed her chair back to get access to one of the drawers around the long circular desk. Once the drawer was opened; she rummaged around for for something. Finally she pulled something out and gave it a little inspection, it was a small metal key, this was the first time I’d actually seen one apart from books. It had the number ‘6’ inscribed on it with a yellow hue matching that of the yellow stripes on the stable bardings that each pony in the stable wore.

The Overmare, wasn’t finished however, she went back into another drawer that was at the end of her desk, one that I could actually read. ‘’Personal Belongings’’ was marked on it. She went into that storage container and pulled out a orange necklace, and then with great mastery of her hooves; put the key and necklace together.

She turned back to me with a smile, and gave it to me. It was very light and on closer inspection looked like the necklace was made out of multiple links of a chain. The key was just as I had imagined it as well with its smooth edges. I took a moment to press it against my hoof just to satisfy my curiosity.

‘’What does this open?’’ I asked her.

‘’It opens up a special lockers for exiled members of the vault, giving them basic needs for survival.‘’ She said.

‘’Any clue what’s in them?’’ I asked once again.

‘’I don't have the faintest Idea, your guess would be as acceptable as mine in any case.’’ I sighed in lament, I didn't expect it my situation could get any worse. Being exiled into post-war Equestria; full of radiation and...well...oxygen. Not that that was a bad thing, but I wanted more then that to go on. I didn't have the slightest clue on how to survive out there. For all I knew, I could go out into the wasteland and fall down a hole that was the aftermath of a megaspell explosion. Oh, and die horribly by means of magical radiation poisoning. I really do hate my imagination.

‘’So...when am I being violently thrown out on my haunches? ‘’ I made sure to sound very unenthused about the whole thing.

‘’Regrettably, tomorrow morning.’’ was all she wrote. You gotta be kidding me.

‘’Uhh’’ I struggled to find the words. ‘’Well, that’s a bit soon.’’

‘’It’s a stable policy I’m afraid, there's nothing I can do about it otherwise all the ponies here will claim I’m treating you unfairly, considering your crimes.’’ She simply said. Crimes, really?

I sighed once again, this time surrendering that I’d probably not get another break until my heart stopped beating and I’d be in whatever after-world was deemed suitable for me. ‘’Well... can I at least, spend the night reading books?’’ I haphazardly asked hoping I might at least have something to sooth my mind.

‘’Nope...’’ Damn it all...I can’t get a break

I was escorted back to my room by the guard ponies after my meeting with the Overmare had concluded. I spent most of my time on the journey trying to avoid the eyes and looks of other ponies, which I’m sure they were all beaming daggers at me. On arrival, I just quietly entered my room, the guard ponies shut the door immediately behind me.

With nothing else to do, I stripped my stable barding and threw it in the corner of the room and prepared to jump into bed. If I was going to go into.... whatever it was I’d be exiled to; I needed to capitalize on being well rested, and not falling asleep as soon as the steel door closed behind me.

While I lay there in my bed, uncomfortable for whatever reason and unable to keep my mind from wandering; I came to the stark realization that this would perhaps be the very last night in which I would reside in this room, well... the stable for that matter. It's a particularly hard pill to swallow, knowing that in fact all the knowledge I spent my life trying to learn, was ironically the thing that was going to end my life.

It’s hard to sleep when you wonder what exactly will happen to you. It was just so beyond the knowledge of anypony here in this stable. For all I knew, outside this underground bunker there was nothing but a dark void, consuming anything foolish enough to get close enough. Okay, well maybe not; but I couldn’t shake the feeling that whatever world I encounter, might still, in fact, be brightly lit with fire still burning, since the end of the war.

Although I desperately pleaded with myself, I couldn’t manage to get a wink of sleep, my imagination decided it would run at full speed and never slow down; filling my head with the visuals of a plain barren landscape with nothing in it.

‘’Good morning Stable twenty-two, the time is seven-thirty in the morning, please be ready to switch shifts with the night crew by eight o'clock sharp’’ The unusually happy prerecorded voice of a probably long dead pre-war pony announced.

Great... It was the next day, and needless to say, I couldn't manage to doze off no matter how much I waited or attempted to clear my mind and relax throughout the constant barrage of unneeded thoughts and stress.

Strangely enough however, I didn’t feel tired, and all I felt was a cold sweat as I rose from my bed. I reeked from sweating the entire night and I’d best use this time to at least get a shower before I lost my last chance to use it.

I finished up my shower and not a moment too soon, I was moving back into the living room and all of a sudden; there came a sharp hiss from the door leading into the stable’s hallway and in the two security ponies I’d been expecting to escort me to the stable entry chamber. Their protective padding had been polished for the day's ceremony. It was customary that the stable ponies involved in the proceedings looked nice and organized, as the scene would be recorded, and would make me an example to the next crop of young foals to grow up here.

‘’It’s time to go.’’ One of the ponies simply said. I protested that I hadn’t been able to wear my stable jumpsuit and they allowed me a minute to do just that. At least I would manage to be presentable for this exile.

The walk up to the stable door chamber, had been for a lack of better words; also as uneventful as the last few days that I’d been escorted around in these hallways. For whatever reason my brain decided now would be a good time to worry, as my stomach felt like it was filled with ice cubes with razor sharp edges.

I realized now that, if I had eaten (that is to say, if I could manage to force myself in the first place) I might have spilled my guts from being so dreadfully nervous. I could tell that the guards had noticed me shaking uncontrollably and whatever dignity I wanted to preserve of myself while still being in the stable might have left me then and there. I figured I looked like a scared little colt who had just gotten in a whole heap of trouble he was immediately sorry for and had nearly pissed himself out fear. Yeah, isn’t that a great image.

As we got closer and closer to our destination; I could hear the voices of ponies up in the upper level of the atrium looked down on me in hatred. ‘’There that bastard is!’’ one pony cried out. This was their last chance to see me, and I’m sure they wanted to get a good last look. I shied away from meeting their eyes with my own. I knew I’d done wrong but I didn’t want them to rub it in anymore then I already had done so to myself, and although it sounds ridiculous, I didn’t want to risk the off chance that death stares I was definitely getting could kill. Strange is I already accepted I was going to die, why did the method matter?

I was only spared the looks by those ponies when, we proceeded into the stable elevator. One of the security ponies hit the ‘’level 1’’ button and the doors of the elevator finally closed off the sounds from the atrium. Only the sound and feeling of moving upwards indicated we’d moved at all.

With a sudden stop and reopening of the doors in front of me I found myself in a more unfamiliar hallway. The guards nudged me out with a slow movement of the baton, and we started another walk down this corridor. It was far more damp and moist, the temperature wasn’t comfortable, and I felt the hair on my hind legs stand up looking for any warmth they could manage to gather due to the unusual coolness of this part of the stable.

At the end of this long hall was the iconic stable door of Stable 22, I hadn’t ever seen it before (except in Stable 22 videos) but even at this distance I knew it was the gear like door that defended the stable over all these years. As we got closer I started to appreciate how magnificent it actually was, almost three ponies high in circumference, the numbers ‘’22’’ had faded over the hundred or so years it stood here.

You wouldn’t think that a gear shaped hunk of metal would be very interesting, but somehow I was mesmerized. Maybe it was the mechanic in me trying to figure out how it all worked, the huge piece of metal seemed immovable, and I felt myself wandering towards it without much help to move along from the guards following me.

I was eventually inside the very stable door chamber itself. It looked to be less like the stable and more like a cave, this had been my first encounter with natural rock that made up the walls next to the door mechanism and the cold wet floor I was standing on. In fact, that wasn’t the only thing that was cold; the air itself felt like it was frozen. I wasn’t sure now if I was shaking from being nervous or from the fact that my body was freezing, evident by my teeth chattering.

Was this part of the whole stable plan? Make the guilty deal with the cold like they never had before in the comfortable stable life? Have them look like they were nervous if they weren't already by method of freezing them? Then record them looking like they knew it was the greatest mistake of their entire life so that the young colts and fillies would be fearful of anything they would do to incur such wrath?

Even if I were to ask, I probably wouldn’t even get an answer.

‘’Ahem’’ the sound of the Overmare rang throughout the room over an intercom. I looked back at the hallway I’d just traversed, expecting to see the Overmare. But nothing. I looked around someone and the guard ponies just pointed upwards with one of their forelegs. Looking up I saw the Overmare behind a glass wall just on another level. Behind the Overmare I saw several other ponies in the background. Some of them I noticed, were some of the victims that managed to walk away with minor injuries, or ones that didn't require them to still be in the hospital wing. The other ponies, I guessed we’re family of the ones who weren’t as lucky as the former.

‘’Champagne’’ the Overmare started with a very stern voice. ‘’From the misfortunate events that have transpired just a few days ago, including the death of someponies and the severe injury of others’’ Death? That confirms it I’d killed somepony. I felt my ear droop down in shame.‘’I have come to the conclusion that you are no longer of value to the stable, by endangering its citizens, and causing pain, anguish, and fear to fester in our home. For these reasons, I am forced to expel you into the Equestrian wasteland. ’’She paused a second, I could see her eyes close, and she took a long deep breath.‘’ May you suffer among your own kind there.’’ Ouch... I was frozen still at that last statement... I never imagined she’d say something so cruel.

With that said. the Overmare gave a nod to some pony in the room with her. The slight whine of metal drew my attention to just above me, as well as a siren and flashing red light thrown across the room. Just above me a long metal prong descended and pushed itself into a large hole in the stable door, with a loud click, the sound of singing and screeching thick metal made me feel like my ears would fall off from this kind of abuse. The gear was promptly pulled out and rolled aside, assisted by a rail. The whole process was quite impressive. I would have liked to study its mechanic further but I don't think I have that right .

‘’Have you any final words?’’

I couldn’t think of anything, so I thought back to the videos of the few members of the stable who were expelled. Usually, when asked this question the stable recordings showed the accused pony have nothing to say, and just turn to leave. Nothing to helpful, to be honest. I wonder if the only reason the Overmare still asks that question is due to ceremonial tradition alone. But to be fair I was stumped myself and unsure of what to say. I figured already that I wanted to say something, perhaps my last words. Even so, I want to say something.

Just as I was about to give up and leave, I had a stroke of inspiration.‘’I’m sorry I wanted to live a dream.’’ With that said, I looked up to the Mulberry and the ponies in the glass room. Mulberry was shocked and in disbelief. It was with that one sentence, that I cracked her unreadable shell for a singular moment. She looked so shocked that she I don't think she tried to regain her composure. The other ponies looked intensely confused. I guess they’d always thought that exile had been a true death sentence.

Maybe it was the fact that I shocked them, maybe it was that I didn’t really care anymore, maybe I’m crazy just as anypony expected I was, but the fact remained it felt good saying that and somehow I felt I deserved it. Stumping these ponies would be the last thing I’d remember of them.

So, with a satisfying look on my face, I left Stable 22...

Footnote: Level Up.
Skill notes: Swift Learner:10% to xp whenever xp is earned.

Tag skills:

Repair 30
Science 30
Energy weapons 28

Thank you to Sargecadet and Calbeck357 for your amazing work on helping me edit both chapters thus far, I love ya guys :D

Ch2: A Drowning Situation

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There’s something you should know; I should have died that day, there was only one thing that kept me from actually perishing, but I didn’t know what till much later. You should take note.

The gear shaped door of Stable 22 whined and rolled back into its original position. The last of the light I’d ever see from my stable was now gone, and I was left in infinite dark oblivion. Besides from the cold temperature that never stopped getting worse, my senses were all blinded from that point on. A few moments in the darkness left me to think in the confusion. Was this the outside world? Dark and empty? Had I been lied to about my chances of survival?

The sound of power running through a flickering light brought me back. Along with it, a rotating red light cycled through the entire room, its glow giving me clues to what I would likely be facing. Turning around to see what was in my surroundings, the ‘blinking’ red light revealed another stable door. What? I turned around, to check if I hadn’t just made a full circle in a confused daze. But sure enough, the original door was there, along with a control panel. However this control panel was different.

I once came across some of the original blueprints and designs, that that had been used in the construction of most stables. Illustrations of the generators, water talismans, and the Overmare’s office, and tons more, were very clearly drawn out, and defined.

The stable door control panel in this case was feverishly different. The mechanism I’d seen in the prints, were a simple stand alone feature, directly built next to the door ,and had a somewhat cheap yet somehow a rather robust design. This one had actually been built into the steel wall door frame itself behind a glass screen.

I checked around some more, but there was no clear destination to be found. It was all just one large cave, with the stable doors on two of the opposing walls, and small pair of stainless steel doors, that didn’t look like they’d move much without a command. I tried activating the stable door console, hoping this was my way out, but no such luck.

Looking around again, I saw a series of vents that were all laid out together on the opposite wall from the steel doors. Curiously, they were all on ground level. Most times vents were high up on a wall and unreachable without a ladder.

I looked up to the original stable door wall, where I expected to actually see those vents, and...there were more vents there, with fans clearly visible through a grate. I looked back to the ones on the floor, this time noticing that these ones were much more different, in comparison with the ones high up with the fans. These seemed to be more... like drainage.

Suddenly, almost on cue, I heard a single droplet of water hit the floor, it echoed through the room with absolute clarity, drawing my attention. I looked up again, this time to the rocky ceiling, I saw several long, spike like rocks. Stalagmites? Or stalactites? And why were they glazed with a thin coat of water? Now that my mind focused strictly on deciphering this new clue, figuring out why there had been differences in the stable design, I wondered why there were single water droplets falling from the rocky ceiling.

If there was a natural water source already, in the form of an aquifer, why not have a water treatment plant instead of a water talisman that was, according to my knowledge, extremely expensive? Then again, the stable was built for longevity, and relying solely on an aquifer might have complicated things for the long term.

Another thing I noticed was the complete lack of any kinds of pony remains... I mean, wasn’t this supposed to be the wasteland? What if somepony like me had just chosen to not move at all? Did they just refuse to leave, and hope whatever crime they committed could or would be forgiven? Then by extension be let back into the stable? Or had their death been so horrific or terrible that nothing remained of them?

I took a few steps forward, in effort investigate. SPLASH. My hooves had suddenly gotten wet and I looked down to see a fairly large puddle of water that I’d just stepped into. The water was freezing and sent a singular shiver up my spine from my hooves. If this is what the wasteland was going to be, cold, wet, and dark....well this wasn’t my expectation at all. (I had been expecting something much more warmer)

Even with the emergency light cycling around the room, it was still difficult to see. I spent most of my time squinting to see anything at all to be fairly honest. With every pass of the red light, it seemed my vision adjusted to the dark. The ground shined and, on closer inspection, I noticed not one, but a series of large water puddles. Most of the floor had been soaking wet, and I wouldn’t be particularly happy with getting my hooves drenched.

I’d been standing still for a few minutes now... was this it? No, it wasn’t, My answer came to me when the other and larger stable door, started to rumble, echoing the instructional videos of how to take care of megaspell generators: when the generator started to rumble, nothing good was going to happen. I immediately applied that principle to my situation. The gear sent a bone shattering screech up my bones, my hooves rushed up to cover my ears, and my eyelids slamming shut.

First came the sound of more intense droplets, then the noise of a never ending flush entered my ears, replacing the ringing, and disorientation I felt after the screech. I stumbled forward from my lack of balance, landing flat on my face, my mouth tasting the water on the floor, it was unpleasantly salty.

My eyes opened to find that the other stable door had in fact opened, and now copious amounts of water had already begun to fill the area that I was in. Then my mind came to the conclusion It had been looking for. I was in an airlock.

My confusion turned to absolute fear, as my understanding of the situation improved, though I wished it hadn’t. The salty taste of the water meant that this was, in fact, seawater, which determined that Stable 22 was built, not under an aquifer, but the mighty ocean itself.

I had been only outside the stable for no more than five minutes and I knew for certain I wasn’t coming back

The steel stable door had only just moved into its tracks, and it started to give free passage to the liquid behind it. The room been already up to my chest in water. The wave of unrestricted water came moments after the door cleared some distance. I only had moments to react, but instead of doing something productive I simply said ‘’Fuck.’’ It hit me like I had run into a wall at full speed with a bucket on my head. Suffice to say, it was really strong, and I had been completely unprepared for the force. My body cried out in agony as I was thrown against the original stable door just a few meters behind me.

If the water hadn’t already been chest high moments prior cushioning the blow, I’m sure the bones in my back would have shattered on impact. I was now underwater. All the sounds I had heard before were quickly replaced with ones that were drowned up themselves. My eyes clamped shut again, reeling from both the blow and the stinging of the salt water that had taken up residence in them.

I was in panic mode, my hooves scrambled to gain a slippery footing even with all the pain. When they did, I managed to pull myself up to the surface, but barely. I feared to open my eyes, not wanting burning water to torture them anymore. Even though I’d been hardly standing on my hooves, I still felt like I was going to be washed under water again. Thinking straighter then I had in the last seven seconds, I gasped for a final breath of air before before being taken under again.

Suddenly, just as my head passed under the water surface, I felt my head be smashed against the stable door violently. The only air in my lungs threatened to escape at that very moment, but I somehow managed to hold my breath. I could still feel myself being thrusted and pulled out somewhere, probably deeper into the ocean where the would be no air to breath. I guess the Overmare had been wrong about their being oxygen. Perhaps she meant just the element and not the breathable type that I know I love.

I started to feel myself slow down, instead of being thrust around like I was flying, it was more like I was floating, rising up for all knew, to the fabled sky of my ancestors. But I was trapped and surrounded by liquid. I felt myself curl up as I just didn't have the willpower to move after such a strong blow from both the of the stable doors. I might as well have just tested them for structural strength using my own body to do so. They passed the test with flying colors, I might add.

It wasn’t long before my lungs started to burn from the lack of oxygen, upset that I’d denied them any for such a long time. I was tempted to open my mouth and pry the oxygen from the water itself, but I knew with absolute certainty if I did I’d be dead. My lungs once again cried out, I could feel them searing, burning. I became desperate, opening my eyes to try and look for anything at all to help me. However, what I got was another trip to burning eyes land.

That’s it, I could hold my breath no longer and I felt what surely must have been air bubbles assault my face and my mouth filled with the bitter and overwhelming taste of salt being forced down my throat. I clamped my mouth shut immediately after. I thrashed hopelessly against the water, hoping for anything at all, anything that would change my situation at all. My hooves bashed into something, and then I started feel them go limp, as if they decided to die on me. I suddenly wish I had been instantly vaporized when I left the stable.

My lungs in such terrible pain as they were, demand that my mouth open for air. ‘’GASP’’ I felt my head exit the water. I finally got the breath I deeply desired. Almost immediately I started coughing and hacking up the water I’d consumed on my way to the surface. I was hardly able to catch a breath at all between all of it as I was still bobbing below the surface.

My heart felt It wanted to rip itself out of my chest with each coughing fit I had. I somehow felt as if I was being pushed out of the water all of a sudden, and I managed to finally catch my breath and not cough so badly... but at least now I had air.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive now that I had gotten to the surface. I didn't even know how to swim in the first place.

I opened my eyes. The painful water stung at first as expected, my vision blurred through water. I whipped my head around, trying to acquaint myself with my surroundings. As I looked around, I started to panic again, this time dipping under the surface of the water once more. I was wildly spinning about, looking for anything.

Suddenly, due to my spasm, the sight of a large bright red object made it into my vision. With no better thought then survive I started to ‘swim’ in that direction. My panicked spinning had actually been useful, because it turned out the large red object was a floating buoy.

I desperately tried to get some leverage on the buoy, my body flailing and my hooves doing their best to get a handle on the situation. I struck luck once again; I don’t know how but my hooves managed to get a grip around the solid metal beams.

The buoy started rocking side to side because of me, but it wasn’t threatening to capsize. I was hanging off the buoy with a death grip on it, my trial for the moment had ended, and now I was safe for a bit. Now that I wasn't going to drown horribly, my curiosity overcame me. I looked around in the immediate vicinity. With a series of blinks, my eyes now cleared from the blurring and stinging effects of the water and my immediate vicinity became much more clear.

Fog. Fog everywhere. I’d never seen it before, outside of pictures in my science books. It hung endlessly over my vision cutting it off several in all directions. When I reached the surface I’d attributed my lack of vision due to simply water, but this wasn't the case. The fog was so thick I felt as if I could reach out and grab it with my hooves like a mysterious cloud I’d never encountered before. But I hadn’t dared let go of this buoy.

Overtime I relaxed. My forelegs had started winding down from their overexertion, I was occasionally groaning after coughing up what seemed to be an endless supply of bitter sea water (salt is such a terrible thing now). My head still hung over the side of the buoy just above the water. I was feeling nauseous from the swinging of the buoy and unmotivated to do anything.

Cold. I was realizing how much more chilly I was getting, my legs had since been numbed out by the freezing temperature. My mind flashed back to an earlier time. A warmer time. I was reading a book in the stable library back when I was a younger stallion. The book in my hooves was named ‘Common Illness Treatments’. Open on some page, my hoof traced under the word hypothermia.

My mind snapped back into action. I wasn’t sure of how long I’d been soaking in the freezing water, I may have been safe for the last hour or two, but that was going to change if my core temperature would continue to plummet like it already was.

I tried getting my hooves up on one of the higher supports of the buoy, trying to see if I could mount myself up on top and allow me to recover or at the very least buy some more time. I reached up onto the horizontal metal but I couldn’t wrap my hooves around it to pull myself up.

I can't panic. If I panicked now I would lose focus, and start experimenting the effects of mental confusion that came along with hypothermia. That I couldn’t allow. If I’m going to survive I needed to think straight the entire way through.

I examined the buoy more closely. It was a bright red still, with seaweed wrapped around most of it. The horizontal beam I was reaching for was just beyond my foreleg length . It became clear to me that the solution I was looking for wouldn’t be the buoy itself. Dammit, Champ, think.

‘’Okay...’’ I started to talk to myself, trying to calm down. ‘’A buoy is a fabricated buoyant marker that floats on top of the water, normally meant to guide ships, alert anything in the water of a potential hazard,’’ I sifted through the uses of the device trying to find an indication of what to do next. ‘’Some serve as a emergency communication device, and others are linked together to form a fishing line that can be dragged.’’

I my heart jumped, I was looking in the most obvious spots for a clue or a lead that might potentially save me and forgot to take a really thorough look. I shifted along the side of the buoy making my way to another side. I kept my eyes looking at the water. As I moved around the circumference of the floating marker I ran into something that prevented my movement.

I brought over one of my legs and pulled up the deterrent. ‘’A line!” Just as I had expected, this buoy had served as a fishing device, and it appeared this buoy was at the end of the chain, because I’d only ever managed to find the one. I don't know how I never saw the wire till I felt it. It was fairly thick and colored a jet black , but strangely the net that should have been tied to it was missing.

With nowhere else to go, I decided that grabbing the near floating wire and pulling myself to whatever it was connected to was a much better Idea then freezing to death. I fell into the water, my forelegs had let go in pursuit of my goal of long term survival. Instead of my pathetic excuse of ‘swimming’ along the wire, I instead pulled myself forward with my hooves. Although my vision was less than optimal from the thick fog, I still felt like I was making progress towards my ultimate goal of survival. This wire was my only lifeline, no pun intended, and my last chance at survival.

I spent a lot of time in the water, pulling myself along the wire. I’d come across five buoy’s so far. Each was a checkpoint in the long road ahead. Their goal was obviously to keep the support wire that kept the finishing net in the optimal position, and they achieved that goal phenomenally. I had rarely had to pull myself under the frozen watery threshold to simply continue holding on to the wire.

The fog had remained consistent during the entire time, it's cloudy mist impairing my vision , and it was starting to drive me insane. The lack of vision, or a clear goal made is somewhat difficult to proceed between buoys, even when I did reach the next buoy I didn’t feel as if I got anywhere. It felt as if I was traveling through the frozen waters, on an endless line of buoys that would stretch for miles long, and at the end, I’d have been still be in the same hopeless situation. And that would be bad.

My forelegs started to ache after the seventh buoy. I’d spent the last...hour (It felt like an hour) maybe dragging myself along the line. My body had started to take its toll from the arduous amount of battery it endured. My sides felt crushed, like my ribs had broken off and started to stab my innards. My teeth were chattering from the cold, so much that I feared they would just shatter to pieces. I also found it difficult to continue going on. At many points I tried to rationalize with myself, try to get myself up on top of the next buoy and try to get warm again, and I knew that was the wrong choice if I wanted to live anyway. But the thing is, the longer this went on the more likely I was to just give up, and accept defeat and my fate that came with it.

Suddenly, I stopped moving, my body despite my pleas, had finally won out in its argument. I wasn’t getting anywhere, for all I knew, I was going to die of exhaustion before the ice water could claim me. So, I might as well live out the rest of this life in a way that wasn’t so depressingly freezing and miserable. So with my stop, with the last buoy I’d passed only a few feet behind me, I gave up. And in some odd way, it was peaceful, and I was ready to die. I also knew that this way might be better, if I did find the end of the line, and it turned out not to be a solution, that I wouldn't wouldn’t be disappointed. Better not get my hopes up for nothing and waste the precious time I still had freezing and in a very sore pain.

‘’Look just be careful, I want you to live ok?’’‘ The words of Cherry Tart filled my head. I looked around expecting to see her with me out here in this terrible place, but nothing, I was hallucinating from the freezing water and hearing her voice as a result.

My mind flashed back to Cherry. I saw her lying still on the hospital bed, unmoving, with the shrapnel of the canister spread across her body. I remembered what I told her. The same words she’d told me but I’d been paraphrasing. It was at this moment I felt extremely guilty, here I was giving up, without hardly trying, and she was probably still fighting for her life back in the stable.

No I can't die; not like this. Not without giving it my all.

If I did give up I wouldn’t be able to live with myself (ya know, on top of the fact I’d caused a tremendous amount of pandemonium in my home which in turn got me kicked out, but that's not the point.) I may not be worth a pony pie but I’m sure if Cherry knew where I was she wouldn’t expect me to give up, just like my quest for flight.

With a small bit of my renewed will to live, I took my almost uncontrollably shaking hoof and placed it forward, back onto the wire forcing myself with every movement.. My hooves felt sore, and I expected to have work grooves into them from the wire’s rough and sharp texture. Despite all the pain that I already endured, and that which was undoubtedly catching up; I moved forward into the fog along the last hope of my survival ‘effort’.

The ‘swim’ was long, grueling, and repetitive. I was about to give up again, and this time I’d just keel over and wait out the rest of my life. But something wasn’t allowing me to do that. Something caught my attention, deeper into the fog, I saw something abnormal. I squinted my eyes, hoping I could focus better that way. A dim red light was what I could see, blinking in and out at a steady pace. Is this the end of the line?

My curiosity managed to motivate me further. I was drawn in to know whether I was right about being hopelessly lost on the ocean, condemned to rise and fall with the waves until I perished and sank to the bottom of the sea or something, and it's chilly oppressive nature would become my wetgrave. I won't lie, I had little hope of anything remotely useful being at the end of this journey.

As I continued my approach. The dim red light that I assumed marked the end of my ‘adventure’ had started to shine through the fog, becoming brighter, and more keen. It was like cutting through the encroaching blinding veil that permeated my vision. My hooves had lost feeling long ago but I knew I was forcing myself harder than I had before. That little bit of hope in the back of my mind screaming loud enough for me to hear. Before I knew it I was staring at a lopsided buoy, which seemed rather odd. The buoy’s I’d encountered up to now had always been swinging with the waves, but this one hardly moved, and was at an off angle.

Suddenly I felt something brush up against my knees. I looked down into the dark water, wait it wasn't dark at all, and I saw my hind legs brushing up against a coarse and heavy....dirt. Except it wasn’t brown like the soil I knew back in the stable, it was a very pale yellow.

Sand! My heart jumped in joy as I recalled from a book the name of this Celestia loving form of dirt. I looked back up the blinking buoy, I could see now that it had been lodged into the sand, seaweed gracing this beloved buoy with a blinking light that pulled me to this.... island. I looked around, and although the fog blocked most of my vision, but something told me I wasn’t in the clear yet.

I finally made my way out of the water. At a knee level depth I gave up pulling on the wire, this time getting up on all fours. Bad idea. I was hardly able to stand. I found myself stumbling my way onto the island. Here's a game, let’s guess what brought me down and dropped me on my stupid face like an idiot, was it A: the weight of the water soaked into my stable utility barding? B: the extremely exhausted and numbed legs I was trying to stand on? C: the fact that walking through loose sand and water was difficult to keep my footing? Or D: I wanted to make out with the sand. If you said E: all of the above, then bingo, you win all you can eat sand just like me.

Yum sand.

I gagged instantly, the rough, bitter, seawater, and downright terrible taste of sand made me wish I could puke. My muzzle had been buried deep in the sand, even getting my nose. This was not enjoyable at all, and I now kinda felt like me and sand got off to a bad start. If she didn't taste so bad I’d be cool with her.

Regardless, I found myself more or less out of the ocean.

I was unwilling to move but the freezing water washing made me yelp in surprise. I jumped to my hooves and stumbled a few more feet toward the buoy before falling over again. This time avoiding eating the sand, as I still tried to spit out the remaining grains that felt like they grinding against my teeth. If I hadn’t already been shivering still, I’d have shuddered in disgust. This adding to the fact that the sand really really bugged me wherever it touched, it was like I was in some kind of sludge that was like crawling across my body. But despite my extreme discomfort I didn’t feel inclined to fix the problem.

Now I felt the need to stay put and take time to relax I busted my ass to life, and now was a time for a break. I no longer gave a flying shit, I just wanted to lay down for a bit, so I closed my eyes and listened. The sound of a soft wave of water rushing against the sand and then pulling out sounded like natures form of breathing. I have to admit I liked this part of the wasteland. It was so different from the stable, it was.... I started to realize just how confused I was starting to get.

Shivering, lethargy, delirium, apathy, rapid heart rate....It was all there. All the symptoms of a mild state of hypothermia. It was a wonder that I’d figured that out considering how much danger I was in. Also, I was still freezing so I could only expect for my situation to get worse soon if I do nothing. Soon I might find it difficult to do anything because the mental effects of hypothermia only get worse. I was surviving, but barely.

With sheer reluctance and overwhelming want to do nothing at all; I sat there, head still in the sand. I was still on the clock, and I was wasting my time.


My mind flashed back to the violet mare, her orange hair shining in some kind of haze like that of a dream. I could see her smile, it reminded me of some of the happier times.

I snapped out of my dreamlike state. I found myself onto my hooves somehow, the sand below had been trashed aside. Apparently I did this. I didn’t remember getting up myself but I had done it, and from the looks of it I had done it violently.

Now that I was up on my feet, I was in no hurry to drop back down into the sand for a death nap. I ran down what I remembered of how to treat hypothermia. I had to get rid of any wet clothes.

I pulled down the zipper of the stable utility barding, extremely thankful that the sand didn't manage to jam it. To my surprise, when I did manage to pull apart the two pieces of fabric that connected with a zipper, the silver chain along with its key swung into my field of vision; I’d forgotten all about it. I paused to take another look at the key. It was an old style aluminum key with the bright yellow number six that marked it. Then I made a sudden realization. Where in Celestia’s great world am I going to use this?

With the zipper done I managed to will myself out of the now heavy with both sand and water clothing. It was a trial because the barding stuck to my coat due to being immensely wet. It was especially difficult at the end of my limbs, especially on my left foreleg with the PipBuck (Oh, I’d completely forgotten about that too) . My energy had all been everything but totally gone and my body was more sluggish and unresponsive than it had ever been. It was a wonder I actually managed to get out of the barding at all; while only falling down once in the process. With a kick I freed myself completely from the drenched clothing. It landed on the sand slumping together.

I immediately regretted that decision.

A cool gust of wind peppered me. The residual cold water froze again, and I found myself uncontrollably shivering. My teeth felt like they would shatter from all the chattering. I lacked the patience to put my stable barding back on, so I just threw it over my back for some protection. I needed to find shelter now and not screw around with my barding any longer.

I turned to look around; the island became more clear to me as the fog seemed to have receded. It looked like the wind had the single benefit of helping resolve my hindrance of vision. Like a ghost from out of nowhere a structure had appeared. It was faint and it seemed to be much larger than the tool shed back in the stable. I really don’t have an Idea of how to compare it. I couldn't tell what it looked like from this distance however.

I slowly trotted (if you can call it that) my way to the faint building. On top of the sand, the uncomfortable grainy feel of it made me cringe, which further made me uncomfortable since there was still some sand in my teeth. I felt (and I bet looked) like the definition of dysfunctional.

The building came up agonizingly slowly. Walking in sand was tricky, every step I felt l sank a little, not like the wet sand where I feared to sink in entirely, just sinking enough to make walking difficult.

The construct was built completely out of the the same concrete that Stable 22 had and had a long box like appearance, however it was much more weathered. Dirt, sand, and seaweed stuck to the walls almost looking as if it belonged. There was only one obstruction in the otherwise perfect wall; a metal door, which led inside. The door itself was heavily rusted. So rusted in fact, most of the bottom part of the door was either missing or about to fall off completely. The hole was large enough for me to to probably crawl under.

I tried opening the door, my hooves maneuvered the door handle which surprisingly wasn’t rusted as badly as the door itself. CLICK. The door failed to budge more then just barely. As if on cue, another gust of wind broke on my back, causing me to shiver like crazy again. I need to get out of this wind. Trying again resulted in nothing. In desperation I started throwing my weight around trying to either push or pull the door open. Still nothing.

I was about to try and buck the door, but when I took a few steps back to do that, the bottom part of the door came back into my vision, its gaping hole included. Ooh... I could probably just crawl under that. I felt like an idiot now. How could I miss something so obvious. Oh right, I was freezing and suffering from mild hypothermia.

I peeked through the hole in the door, hoping to get a clue at what I would be expecting to find. Nothing but darkness it appeared. Great more vision impairment, not like I’ve had enough of that already. It’s not like I have a conveniently placed flashlight hidden up my nose or posterior that I can pull out.

Beep Beep Beep. I looked down at the source of the sound. It was my PipBuck. I brought it up to my eyes. The screen had a faint neon display and the words ‘’Connection Lost’’ blinking in and out. I could only wonder what that meant. But on the other hoof I think I solved my lack of light problem. I facehoofed. Geez Champ, forget completely about the PipBuck’s light function, its not like you used it at all when working on your projects.

I turned on the light of my PipBuck, the familiar neon green glow filled my face, blinding me a bit. Alright all I need to do now is explore. Another breeze sent chills down my spine, once again reminding me I was still on the clock. I got on my knees and crawled under the rust ridden door, my back barely rubbing against the metal, which had become quite sharp, almost blade-like due to the oxidation from the rain I guess.

On the other side, my PipBuck chased away the darkness, but it was still difficult to see since the room was fairly large and my light not strong enough to get rid of all the shadows. Strangely this felt like back home.

From what I could see, there were several piles of small long crates over in the corner of the room. Most had been torn apart and their contents (several small bags of something) spilled or the remains of the contents littered about. There was also a wall with similar style steel doors that had been in the stable ‘airlock’. These ones, however, were not broken and looked brand new. Next to them there was a glowing box wall terminal just like the ones back in the stable itself. Without checking the rest of the room I was drawn to it.

My hooves splashed in a puddle of water as I walked over to the terminal. Wondering where the water came from, I looked up, like when I in the airlock. This time the ceiling above had several small holes in it, so the water might have been rainwater instead of the seawater which I’d nearly drowned in the last time I ignored a puddle like this. I shuddered heavily at the thought of drowning again.

The terminal wasn’t in the greatest form either. It had actually started to rust itself a little bit, and the display screen had been unreadable due to the moisture creating a fog like look under the glass. The buttons seemed to work though, because when I pressed them with my hoof, the computer beeped a muffled response.

This I can fix, using my... erm... ‘refound’ PipBuck. I connected it to the terminal and with a click my PipBuck had beeped a new response that went along with a successful connection. Finally something was going my way. Now that I had access to the information, all I needed to do now was give the terminal the command to send the files. The aforementioned problem had a fairly simple solution as well.

Since the monitor of computer was unreadable, I would have have to either fix up the monitor or get a new one. Both of those solutions at this time were probably undo-able. However, the PipBuck and the computer use a similar visual output design methods. Meaning that if I were to say switch the AV wires from the monitor and plug them into my PipBuck, I could then run the video feed on my PipBuck’s screen instead.

However now’s not the time for that. I still was suffering from hypothermia, and was very much at a great risk. With some reluctance, I disconnected my PipBuck and continued to search the room.

I turned away from the monitor. Looking into the darkness once more, my PipBuck’s glow revealed small metal box on the wall; it’s nature compelling me to search it first. It was a faint pink, with a cross, and several equally fainted butterflies adorned to it. This was a medical case that I’d seen in the stable’s medical wing. Maybe this would be solution I need to this case of hypothermia. ACHOO. I sneezed. I was catching a cold too. Great. Just fantastic really.

On closer inspection, it turned out that the medical box had also begun to rust. I feared that if water had entered the container that the medical supplies might have completely decayed, there was a reason they supplies had these kind of containers,after all. I wasted no time in opening it.

Opening it slowly, the case squeaked from the rusted bolts holding the cover on, already my hopes were low, but to my amazement, a health potion rolled around on the back of the cover. SQUEE. Wait, did I really just do that? Regardless, there it was, my remedy.

When it comes to healing potions, there's a lot I’m unsure of. For one up, until this point I’ve only seen or heard of healing poultices being administered through an IV drip, but since I don't see anything here that would help me inject the fluid, I wondered if I could just drink it like a cough syrup.

Also I wonder if a healing potion would even work for hypothermia, sickness, or even a viral infection. So many things that are left unclear. The only things I did know in regards to healing potions, is their amazingly awesome...I honestly have no clue besides healing. Yay for being ignorant in the way of medical healing, knowing way too much about geology (which isn’t even a real science), and by too much I mean that none of that knowledge was particularly useful in the first place. I am not a clever pony.

Oh what the hell, it couldn't hurt (but it probably really could). I popped off the cap of the healing potion, and pulled it up to my salted face. I took a sip from the potion and felt my body tingle in warmth. My flank and I think my lungs felt as if I’d just been born new again, and were much less whiny and painful to deal with however felt fairly sore now. So it worked if I drank it. Sweet. Also good move on putting your life in danger there testing out a theory. Sometimes I hated my own smartassness.

Although the health potion probably did wonders for me, I had a distinct idea that it hadn’t done anything to help my case of hypothermia besides give a little comforting warmth. Back to the search I guess.

In another section of the room, which I was beginning to realize, was strangely empty. There was a hammock, hanging from long rubbery pipe-like tubing off a low hanging ventilation shaft (also rusted; had the rain touched nothing?).

I trotted over, inspecting the hammock; it was somewhat old, but very much still in good condition. On the hammock lay a blanket, a crimson plush one. It seemed so invitingly warm, I couldn't resist wanting to just climb in, bundle up with the blanket,and rest. But before allowing myself any respite, I threw my dripping stable utility barding on the low hanging pipe to dry.

Crawling into the hammock was a much harder task than I’d thought as it swayed side to side. Out of frustration I jumped in on my back. I expected to hit the floor, but what I got instead was the dizzying swing of the hammock with my new-found panic while inside it.

Okay slow down... no more swinging please. I felt sick but eventually I slowed to a stop. I tried moving under the blanket, but only found myself rocking again. I tried moving very slowly, carefully, this time trying to balance myself in the hammock so it wouldn't tilt over. This worked phenomenally better than I hoped. Yeah no; I fell, my stupid ass to the cold hard floor.

CRASH! my fall had caused a pile of junk, that was just laying around there to fly abroad. ‘’Ouch’’ I said simply, finding myself wrapped in a long rope, almost tied up. Wow I really am great at getting into a gratuitous amount of trouble.

The red blanket fell on top of me, as if to add to my humiliation. I thrashed my way out from under it, discarding the nice comfy thing to the floor, just before realizing I was cold, and picking it to throwing around my body.

I looked back up to the hammock. This time I was going to snuggle up for good. With a gentle grip of my hoof, I managed to use it as leverage and rolled into the hammock. This time I actually did it.

I expected to land into the comfiness that I expect it would provide but no. I yelped in pain as I’d landed on something, in the middle of the hammock. The object was under me where I couldn’t see it. Oh well... I shifted around and knocked it somewhere more harmless, but it was still in the hammock. Now was I was perfectly set to sleep.


‘’What are you ya doing, Champ?’’ The voice of a violet coated orange maned filly came.

I turned from my preoccupation, which was the construction or theory crafting of a new invention. I looked back to see my best friend pulled up beside me with an inquisitive look plastered on her face. ‘’Mom is letting me do some cool stuff!’’ I returned, my voice squeaky and young.

‘’Oh cool! She just makes me do boring writing and work all the time.’’ Cherry lamented. She paused, and then jumped in excitement. ‘’Guess what!’’

‘’What?’’ Her excitement caused me to get excited as well.

‘’No silly! You’re supposed to guess.’’ She laughed. Oh of course, silly me.

I couldn’t think of anything to say and just said ‘’Ummm, ummm, ummm...’’ A colt with no imagination. How ironic.

She twisted to her sides, showing off her flank, now with a newly adorned cutie mark. I have to admit I was insanely jealous because I lacked one of my own. Now she had one, that had to do with... was that a tart or a pie?

As if she could could read my mind. ‘’It’s a pie! I got it when I was cooking one with miss Hairtrim in the atrium.’’

‘’Oh! That’s really cool!’’ I was very envious. She found out what she would enjoy and be good at in life, and here I was still blank on my olive-yellow flank. ‘’ I wish I had my cutie mark...’’ I said sadly.

‘’Maybe... your experiment will get you one. ‘’ she offered with somewhat of a mischievous look in her big green eyes.

‘’Really? do you think so?’’ I turned back to my task almost instantaneously. Wanting to rush it to completion. Instead of actually getting anything done, Cherry put her hoof on my shoulder, and pulled me away from my work.

Except, when I turned around, it wasn’t Cherry at all. ‘’Mommy!’’ I cried discarding everything and jumping into her open hooves. I was happy. How could I not be? I was wrapped in the forelegs of my mother and nothing could take away my happiness.


I awoke to the sound of dripping. A very concerning amount of it.

Interrupted from a kind dream, I groggily opened my eyes as a drop of water landed directly in my right eye. I groaned at the discomfort and lifted myself up on this wiggly bed. As soon as I sat up, a weight rolled onto my belly.

‘’What th-!’’ I screamed and found myself plummeting off the hammock again. The shock of the concrete floor hadn’t come; instead in its place I found myself falling into a body of water.
I would have screamed another obscenity but I was too busy drowning again. Panicking, I scrambled to get on my hooves. The sloshing of water made that a little difficult but I ended up right side up and out of the water again. The object that scared the living soul out of me fell onto my head and out of instinct I caught it in my forelegs, falling on to my haunches and back neck high in the water.

It was a skull. A ponies skull. It was a fucking pony skull. A real live (erm dead) pony skull.
This was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen, and I was unsure how to react other than throwing it to the other side of the room and start jumping around like an idiot. Where in hell was I?

‘’Okay okay, calm down Champ, it’s just a scary skull, probably fake even.’’ I don’t know how I managed to calm down, but I guess it was the ‘cooling’ effect of the water. Oh and how much there actually was!

Shocked, I wondered how there was so much water in here. I held my PipBuck out of the water, its green light glowing off the water’s surface. The water was knee high and I could tell from the residual taste from my new ‘wake up call’ that the type was salt water. Lovely. Oh this place really sucked. I have no clue how so much salt water could get into this room

Suddenly I realized there was a bone chilling sound that had been present the entire time I was freaking out. The howling of some creature that came and went with no consistency it almost sounded like it was saying in pain ‘’Whhhhhooo....’’...wait, could it be the wind? I’d heard similar sounds during my flight attempts, nothing that sounded like it was dying of course, but this did match certain descriptions I’d read somewhere about the wind.

DRIP DRUP. That was the sound of water leaking through the ceiling. This time it seemed like it was going to flood with the amount of water pouring in trying to drown me. This was bad. In no time at all I’d be up to my head in sea water.

I looked for the entrance of the shack. The old rusted door that had its bottom part missing, that had allowed me to get through was now no longer there. It had sunken beneath the deeps of the liquid wetness. I needed to hurry, otherwise I’d get caught inside, and probably end up like... that other pony. I shivered at the thought and not just from the freezing water. Was it never not freezing cold?

I pressed my body up against the wall, using my hooves to help locate the door, and getting a grip on the hole so I could use my foreleg to guide me through quickly. I readied myself, preparing for the eventual dive, this time taking a deep breath. I wasn't sure I was ready for it, but I couldn’t give up yet.

Plunging below once again, I felt water rush up my nose from the flip I made to force myself through the gap. It was so unpleasant I nearly lost my breath. But I made it to the other side alright. I came to the surface of the water outside. This wasn't what I was expecting.

Water was pouring down onto the me and for as far as I could see into the distance like a gigantic shower. Much harsher and colder then a shower, it made the ocean water incredibly unstable. I was being lifted, rocked, dropped, and even rocketed against the concrete wall.

I barely managed to have myself float, and that was the problem. I was outside, there shouldn’t have been any water this high. But now the beach I had been on was gone. Now it was drenched in the ever present ocean. Not only that but the howling I heard from inside had picked up with a passion, launching seawater into my face and blowing past my ears. It wasn’t long before I realized the problem.

Suddenly my vision flashed. The brightest light I’d ever seen blinked in with an ear shattering crack and BANG over in the distance great bolts of light that arced off in all directions towards the ocean.This was a storm, a lightning storm. From what I read about them in books, they were caused by air pressure, and cumulonimbus clouds made by Pegasi. These elements charged ions in the air and eventually a giant bolt of electricity would hit the ground. It bears mentioning that the book failed to describe just how unbelievably strong and frightening it was. The lightning struck several more times in the distance as bobbed up and down, staring at the magnificent display of power.

There was nothing for me out here, so I turned around and used my forelegs again to force myself through the small hole in the door again. Water rushed up my nose once again, causing me to cough up my heart when I made it through the back inside. I really really dislike water.

The water on the inside hadn’t filled up much more than it had before I’d left. It was still up to my shoulder, and I could still manage moving around in the water, if not with a little difficulty. Sometimes with such a smooth floor, I would slip and take another unintended plunge, but aside from my ego, I was fine. Although I was starting to feel my heart being dipped in ice, I was now back onto the clock.

I had a clear clue however on how I was going to get through this situation. The computer I checked with earlier, back when I was suffering from hypothermia (I might still be, but I could tell that my thought processes were a lot more clear now) that was probably the control to the steel double doors, that I’m sure led deeper into the building, hopefully to safety.

I made my way towards the computer which hadn’t been touched yet by the water. I realized that now the moisture or fog that had been clogging up the glass had been caused by the humidity of the area. Once again my perception had failled me.

I activated the computer. The keyboard flipped down, allowing me to input commands into the system. Without knowing what to press, I’d have no chance hacking the computer if it had been locked up. So I ignored it (and the freezing water) and placed myself under the entire device. Below where the keyboard connected to the computer; were the wires that made this thing work. Strange...The panel covering the wires connectors was gone.

Oh well. The less resistance the better. Removing the protective paneling allowed me to easily pluck the video connectors from their designed input and stabbed into my PipBuck. A progress bar presented itself on my PipBuck, and the screen loaded up.

The PipBuck immediately presented me with something odd. There was mysterious file labeled ‘’ added to the hardrive. I tried accessing it. However the only response I got from the file was a message saying that it had been encrypted.

No password was needed. Finally something that wants to work with me today. The display (proudly disclaiming part of Robronco industries) Allowed me two options. The first was a text file and the second was a door command override. I deeply wondered what would be written in a document called ‘The end of the world’ and my curiosity got the best of me. Sometimes I hate my sense of curiosity.

Oh goddess no...

I cant believe it...they actually did it, those sick mother fuckers...didn't they get that that bombing us with megaspell, would only cause us to drop our bombs them? Hadn’t they heard of mutually assured destruction? Was blowing up the world in a Celestia damned attempt of spite worth it? Did they think it would really be that bad if we won the war? The sore losers.

And now everything is gone...my home, my wife, my....baby filly...Oh my goddess, I’ll never see her sweet blossom eyes again... it was only yesterday that she had her fifth birthday, I wasn’t even there. I was too busy with work that day... what the hell have I done with my life, I missed my fillies birthday. Then, to make it up her, I called... when she asked ‘’Daddy why can’t you come home?’’ I didn’t even know what to say. Now with the end of the world....Oh dear Luna... I worked so hard supporting the war effort for my family’s safety and neglected them way too much.

I wish I would have played dolls with her; just once, I always told her maybe later, I believed it too. I thought I’d see the day where my little girl would grow up one day and become a painter. She always loved those hoofpaints, I remember her making a mess out of my face one day...the happiest day of my life at the carnival fare with my her and my wife.

And here I am. Dying from depression and whatever else I’ve been poisoned with. I fucked up...

It was sad reading that. I wasn’t sure how I felt for that poor guy. But I guess I would figure that out later. I pressed the button.

With a hiss, the door opened. The water of the room already equalizing out with the new opening. If I could hurry I could shut the door on the other side and buy myself some time to search for another escape.

I disconnected my PipBuck, the sound of a negative click indicating its loss of connection with the terminal. I pushed my way past the door, fighting the water that was threatening to knock me over. I made it to the other side, instinctively looking for the control switch that would shut the door like back in the stable.

To my surprise, it was where I would have expected it to be, had I been still in the stable anyway. Too my greater surprise it worked accordingly. The double doors struggled to shut off the flow of liquid running into the room, but eventually did, cutting off the rushing water. I was now sealed inside a room that wasn’t in danger of flooding anytime soon. It felt good to have some security and safety, if only for the moment. Celestia knows what was going to happen to me next.

‘’Welcome, prospective subject!’’ I jumped at the sound of a voice booming through the room. I turned around to see that a new and much larger monitor had lit up with the face of a very happy cartoonish pony in stable barding marked with a familiar ‘22’.

‘’Um...hello?’’ I said, looking around for a source of the voice earlier. I could see nothing, the only light source coming from the computer.

‘’Why, hello there subject!’’ The cheery voice returned ‘’I hadn’t expected to receive any more of you from the stable, after the elevator had been disabled and systematically destroyed by the last couple.’’ It became clear to me now somepony was speaking through the computer to me.

‘’Wait, there was an elevator?’’ I imagined my entire near death experience from drowning being meaningless and wasteful. I was pissed.

‘’Of course there was! Weren’t you briefed on your assignment?’’ Wait, an assignment? What the hell, the Overmare hadn’t said anything about this. ‘’Such disregard for protocol this Overmare of yours. In any case, the last couple of ponies were intent on destroying it, and despite my protests they continued on. The nerve! It’s a shame really, prospect full subject five never made it, my microphones registered his scream as the elevator broke from under him.’’

‘’It pleases me to carry out my primary function to another stable volunteer.’’ The animated pony shrunk in appeared and looked down in a sore full glow. ‘’That is unless you’re a scavenger…wait, you are, aren’t you?’’ The pony became very hostile looking. ‘’You aren’t wearing your regulation Stable-Tec barding!’’ The sound of mechanical arms with nasty looking end’s with what I could only imagine were some kind of weapon. ‘’Time to blast you!’’ Yep, definitely weapons. I hate it when I’m right.

I panicked. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. ‘’Uh uhhh…’’ were the only sounds I could make as I backed up against the door, my muscles tensing as the skeletal metallic arms approached. I really, really should have brought my utility barding with me. Lights from the arms illuminated and blinded me. I had no place to run. I was going to die.

‘’Oh, my apologies,’’ The lights dimmed and the clanking sound of the metal arms came back as they moved away. The cartoon pony also lightened up to its original state. ‘’It appears you have the Overmare’s blessings with you...’’ What…did I just narrowly live again? I nervously neighed in confusion. ‘’...At least she’d respected some of her assigned duties, otherwise I might have reduced you to a less then optimal state.’’ I looked down to see the metal key (labeled ‘six’) hanging around my neck.

‘’Waah…’’ Did I almost just die?

‘’Ah, you poor soul. Were you told nothing?’’ I shook my head. ‘’ Well for starters, as an emissary of the Stable 22 you are to-‘’ I cut him off

‘’Wait hold on, let’s start easy here, okay?’’ I admit, I was overwhelmed with this thing. ‘’Who… are you?’’ I was dumbfounded, the animation of stylized pony had it’s expression change to one even more happy.

‘’I’m glad you asked!’’ it beamed. ‘’I am Clear Use, prototype artificial intelligence developed by a collaboration of Stable-Tec and Robronco industries.’’ Not sure if I find this really awesome, or really terrifying. ‘’I am the operation and caretaker of the chosen ponies from your stable.’’ Wait a moment Chosen ponies? Emissaries?

‘’Okay, Clear Use, I was under the impression that only criminals from the stable were exiled, not chosen.‘’ Did the Overmare set me up for something she never talked about?

‘’ERROR!’’ The sound of something more electronic boomed.

‘’Sorry, but the information you are requesting does not exist.’’ What the hay? The original voice came back as if nothing happened. ‘’This information has been requested on four different occasions by your counterpart subjects.‘’ I guess some of the other ‘subjects’ were also led to believe that they were exiles as well. The animated pony looked sad now to express... I guess its failure to give me the useful information I wanted.

‘’Erm… That’s alright?’’ I wasn’t sure if I should be comforting a computer whom only a minute ago was pointing weapons at me.

‘’No no no, I must do my very best to give you all the information you need, or my programming will all for naught.’’ The picture was now crying…

‘’Oh… well in that case…um…’’ I thought back to what it said earlier. ‘’Tell me about being a ...chosen pony or whatever you were talking about.

‘’Gladly!’’ The picture of the pony was happy again. ‘’Your duty as Stable 22’s chosen pony is to travel to the assigned Stable-Tec facilities in Ponama city and deliver the information that you PipBuck has provided.’’ Huh? I thought back to earlier, when my PipBuck had displayed a neon green ‘disconnected’ onto the monitor and the new encrypted file on the hardrive. It might have been connected to the stable’s network.

‘’Um…hold on a minute Clear Use’’ The computer said something that I ignored. I was more concerned about checking the files that my PipBuck had stored on its hard drive. The file from before, the one that I’d seen back when I was accessing the audio file of the survivor… I was still uncomfortable hearing his desperation and sadness. The file, the one I’m sure was part of this duty Clear Use was talking about.

‘’What is this information you want me to deliver?’’ I asked the computer.

‘’Oh, it’s an updated roster of Stable 22’s population, genetics, and Stable 22’s assigned experiment’’ The cheery voice explained.

‘’What experiment?’’ I asked.

‘’CLASSIFIED’’ The electronic voice came back.

‘’I’m sorry subject six, but that information is apparently not available to you.’’ The regular voice of Clear returned.

‘’I noticed…’’ And I was frustrated. I hadn’t known about any experiment before, but then again…Clear Use was making a ton of contradictions to things I knew. I felt the need to spite him ‘’So why should I go all the way to a place I’ve never heard of, in a wasteland full of cold water, for a purpose I have I could care less about.’’

‘’Oh! Of course!’’ The pony jumped in surprise ‘’You must know, that accomplishing this task will net you a great reward.’’

I rolled my eyes. ‘’Yes, like?’’

‘’The chance to rejoining the Stable 22 or any other stable of your choosing!’’ Now that was a reward if I ever heard of one, considering how many times I’d nearly died out here already.
‘’Now what did I have to do again?’’

Clear Use explained, in great detail, that my singular goal was was to take the information on my PipBuck from point A (being here) to point B (being the Stable-Tec office in Ponama city). Simple enough, really. However, he did mention that the world was... ‘Very likely infested with hostile creatures, both sentient and non-sentient; not to mention environmental hazards as well.

The whirl of the winds bashed against the walls of this ‘strong house’ as Clear Use called it, reminding me of my impending doom. I felt it was only a matter of time before the whole building fell apart, although Clear Use tried to convince me otherwise. He’d given me contradicting information on what I knew already and I wasn’t going to trust him (or it) just yet.

‘’The probability that the structural integrity of the Strong House fails is a mere 5%!’’ Yeah, sure… ‘’You should probably try to calm down and relax. Have some tea, I can tell from my sensors that you’re quite alarmed.’’ The pony on the screen looked concerned.

Really? Calm down? ‘’Why shouldn’t I be?’’ I yelled in frustration ‘’I just got thrown out of my stable, nearly died a few times already, and I don’t have any food or drinkable water!’’ The computerized stallion, jumped in a joyous way.

‘’Have you forgotten about the store box already?’’ He chimed. This time the metal skeletal claws from earlier illuminated the room. Up until this point I’d been only been able to see the monitor, and whatever its dim light had revealed to me. The light from the Clear Use’s mechanical arms revealed a long section of real sturdy looking lockers that ran the entire circumference of the room. Besides the lockers, the room had the only other feature of being pristine and almost reminiscent of home. I’m not ashamed of wishing I could take back everything I’d achieved in science for the security and safety of the Stable.

‘’Ah, here it is. Storage unit six.’’ Clear Use said, his light focused on one specific locker on the other side of the room.

I approached cautiously. I wasn’t sure why, just expecting the worst to happen at this moment as it had before when I wasn’t prepared. The steel blue locker was bare of anything besides a large yellow ‘6’ in the middle of the Stable-Tec emblem. On closer inspection there was a keyhole on the side of the locker. I wasted no time in taking the key from around my neck and inserting into the hole. The locker opened up with a whine from lack of oil, I guess.
The light from Clear Use made the contents inside visible.

Each item was placed on a separate level. Two saddle bags, both made out of a synthetic elastic fabric that was very light and stretchy, there were also zippers that would seal shut and cause the bags to become waterproof (might be quite useful). Six bottles full of fresh water (dear Celestia, I was getting thirsty). Three orange packs of yellow juice labeled ‘Rad-Away’. Three more beautiful health potions (So happy for that). And finally, a box like piece of equipment which had a handle designed to be placed in the mouths of ponies. The front of the apparatus had a hole in it that seemed to run throughout the length of the device.

‘’That is an AEP7 model Magical Energy Laser Pistol, the latest innovation in magical laser technology. Boasting a decent damage output, a generous magical energy battery size, a tight shot grouping at range, strong resilience to extended use, and instant impact nature, it is your greatest form of defense in the ruins of Equestria.’’ I was in love. This was technology I’d never even thought possible. I wondered desperately how it worked, and I almost wanted to disassemble it to find out how it worked. But I wasn’t in the position to do that, considering the storm outside, lack of workbench, and lack of tools.

‘’How does it work?’’ I asked him, it, whatever.

‘’The weapon was designed for usage by the mouth.’’ I should have guessed.‘’By using your tongue, you pull the trigger which will cause the weapon to fire in the direction you’re pointing.’’

‘’That’s not what I meant…’’ I sighed. A gust of wind hit the side of the building, along with the sound of water bashing against the concrete. ‘’Forget it, I have better things to do.’’ Looking back into the locker where I’d found the magical energy weapon, I found two other items. One which was built out of the same fabric as the saddlebags and bore the same markings, was a kind of storage device for the weapon itself that could be wrapped around my body just above my right shoulder, like my tool pouch back in the stable. Clear Use called it a holster.

The other device, or should I say devices, were two small magical energy cells that I bet were ammunition for my brand new toy.

I opened one of the bottles of water while fitting one of the power packs inside the weapon. The delightful liquid quenched my dry throat. Ironically I was surrounded by more water than I had ever imagined and none of it to drink. The energy cell fit into the weapon with a nice click, I could hear the sound of the weapon hum as it charged up.

I gripped in in my mouth and pointed the wall of lockers. It gave a really odd metallic taste and already I was intimidated by this piece of equipment. I realized it was designed to kill, and if used incorrectly, I could cause some serious and irreparable damage. I didn’t want to fire this thing even if I had to know it’s intended use. But by accident, the weapon fired, sending out a lance of red light that glanced off the side of one of the lockers leaving scorch marks worthy of those left by a welding machine. Scratch that, I was terrified of this thing. I could have accidentally killed somepony had I been in the stable with this thing, like I had done with my flight experiment. This brought a whole new meaning to ‘a slip of the tongue’ and it was damn cool, yet scary.

I strapped on my saddle bags and the holster, filling them with all the supplies I’d gathered up until now, they all managed to fit snugly, too. I debated leaving the weapon here, but choosing not to take it in an unknown world to me would be a terrible decision, and I didn’t want to make any more of those.

My stomach suddenly growled. I was hungry. I looked back inside the locker I’d opened, this time looking for some food, I came to the top shelf of the storage unit, one I had forgot to check for anything useful. It was sadly empty. ‘’Hey Clear, where’s the food? I mean didn’t Stable-Tec think to add food as well?’’

The animated stallion didn’t flinch. ‘’All storage units are equipped with food.’’ That was a useless and contradicting answer. I thought back to the other side of the room and the crates of small packaging I forgot to check out. That must of been the food designated for the exiles. That was meant to be supplied to the Strong house didn’t have a chance to be correctly supplied before the bombs went off. That would also imply that the Strong house was also incomplete, which would explain the oxidation and poor condition the first room was in. I suppose I’ll just have to survive without food for now then.

Now I had to leave, or I’d risk starvation. I turned to the computer. ‘’Clear Use, is there any other way out of this place?’’

‘’There is only the one exit through the doors you came through originally.’’ Well…shit, last time I checked the room had been filling up with water from the storm, and the rusted door wouldn’t open even if there wasn’t water in the way of it.

Okay so here’s my plan. First get back through this door, then get back outside, then it struck me. ‘’How am I supposed to leave the island after I’ve gone outside?’’

‘’When this installation was built, this landmass was originally part of the mainland. Stable-Tec officials predicted the rise in the ocean and sea levels thus sinking the original route here. Stable-Tec then commissioned several storage tubes built part of the installation that would house well preserved and naturally buoyant jet skis so that all subjects may traverse the distance between here and the mainland.’’ It stated. That was pretty thoughtful of them to do; these Stable-Tec guys had my approval, although I had no clue what a jet ski was, but I figured it was some form of transportation.

‘’Then could you release it now?’’ I asked urgently. I needed to get on the move and quickly.

‘’Why yes certainly!’’ As soon as he said it; the sound of machinery was heard, straining harshly it eventually came to a stop and the sound of a loud pneumatic launch was heard, echoing through this room. ‘’The launch has been completed! You will find the Jet Ski on the surface tethered to a holding wire.’’ Well that solves that part of the plan.

The only problem that remains is to leave the room and be able to do so safely and not drown. Okay since I have no information let’s go with the worst possible scenario. The other room is filled with water, so if I open the door now, the water from that room will pour into this one. Since this room is about the same size as the other one then the result should be fifty to fifty. But there’s another problem once more room has been made, more water will start to fill in, causing both rooms to start to flood simultaneously. That certainly wasn’t a solution.

Let’s go over the resources at my command. The environment is two rooms with similar displacement, an elevator (although that will be of little use), and that outside which will be nothing but water for Luna knows how far and how high.

I have at my disposal, all the supplies I just acquired from the locker, as well as the mechanical arms of Clear Use, and if I can get into the first room, the resources there as well. This would include the hammock, pipes, wooden cases, their contents which were probably all empty packages of food, my stable utility barding, and pile of junk the survivor left. I remember clearly there was a very long cord of rope there in that pile which could be useful. Now the obstacles, the infinite amount of water, the rusted door, and the need to float to the surface to get to the jet ski which would be anchored with a tether. Also, time. The structural integrity could fail on this part of the building as well from the crushing amount of water.

It was a tough situation. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything to link together to make a viable method of escape. I thought back to something Clear Use told me. ‘One of the subject’s damaged the elevator’…Wait, that was it. That was the key to my plan.

I explained my plan to Clear Use. He gave me a modest chance of 20% success, but that was better than the alternative, and I still didn’t trust his assessment. I told him his role in the play, and he agreed to do it even though he was aware of the potential damage he would be inflicted. I was about to put my plan in action.

Going towards the door, I was about to press the button. ‘’Subject six, please wait, I have one last thing to do before you embark on your mission.’’

I turned back to him it or whatever, I still couldn’t make up my mind. Screw it, I’m calling him he and him now. ‘’What’s that?’’

‘’I was programed with a plethora of useful information. If you’ll allow, I can copy my program onto your PipBuck and provide further assistance to you along your entire journey.’’ He said.
It seemed like a good idea, I mean he’s been nothing but helpful, even despite the contradictions. ‘’Sure, I guess. Why not?’’

‘’Good, all you have to do now is connect your PipBuck to this computer and I will copy my program onto it.’’ He said cheerily. I moved back to the computer and hooked up my PipBuck as I would normally. Within a few moments, Clear Use started to download himself (or a copy) onto my hoof device. The process wasn’t quick but it was easy. With a beep from my PipBuck, my vision blurred. It finally it cleared up, but this time a display was superimposed on my sight. Most interestingly, a few displays. Only one of them I could make out to be a compass.

‘’What's this?’’ I asked openly. I wasn’t sure if I approved of this.

This time his voice came through the PipBuck itself only. ‘’Subject, your PipBuck has been running sub-optimally. I decided it was in your best interests to reactivate several dormant protocols.’’ Oh that was nice...I think.

‘’Thanks, I guess.’’ I was too busy thinking about the plan then to give an AI a proper thanks. I looked back to the door and moved my way to the side of it, bracing my body against one of the locker just in range for one of my forelegs to hit the door opening button. ‘’Okay now!’’ I shouted, and hit the button to open the door to the first room. No turning back now.

The door slided open with some difficulty, now letting a strong current of water burst through the steel frame and start filling this room. I looked back to the elevator doors which were now open according to my plan. The water from the room rushed passed me on the floor, but from behind my cover, I wasn’t about to go drifting away.

The fantastic rush of water continued to spew into the locker room; bringing in small objects from the other room, wrappers, some scrap, other garbage, all along with the salt water. The water level stayed a modest knee level. My plan was working accordingly. Since I had Clear Use open the elevator doors, the water which was filling into this room was now rushing down the empty shaft of the elevator. I had deduced earlier that the doors back in the airlock had been torn aside by the kinetic force of an elevator falling at the speed of gravity, so the elevator shaft would be quite clear and allow most of the water to drain in there. Also, with the of the pumps in the airlock, some of that water would start draining from the elevator shaft, thus buying me tons of time to do what I needed to do.

I stood there, waiting for the water in the room to even out more, maybe get below knee level before I continued. I wouldn't have forever so I had to act fast. The rush of water died down much more, and I felt rather comfortable about proceeding. The current wasn’t near optimal, almost down to my knees, but I needed to start moving.

The current was powerful, making it far more difficult to press past the threshold then I thought, and as a result I was flipped back into the original room. Oh shit. I wasn’t stopping, I was being dragged along with the flow, towards the elevator shaft, I tried scrambling to my hooves, but was unable to get up. This would either kill me on impact with the water or I would drown if I survived it.

The steel robotic arms of Clear Use caught me as I was about to hit the point of no return of the elevator shaft. I felt my body being manipulated and I was gently put down in a part of the room that wasn’t directly in the path of the current. Clear made several objections and tried to convince me to stop. I neglected to respond to his annoying voice.

Okay, so I can’t ease my way past the door. I might need something more forceful. This time, I backed up to the end of the flooding room and readied myself. On a silent count to three, I put every ounce of force I could into plowing my way past the current. The sound of my hooves crashing against the water rippled against my ears as I jumped over the water level.

I cleared the doorway, but the water was up to my neck, and the current was as strong as I expected. If I lost my grip (whatever that was in this situation) I’d find myself slipping back into the second room.

Now over to where the rope was. Over in the far corner I saw the pile of wasteland junk just sitting there, all the heavier pieces of junk laying over the rope, keeping it pinned. I was afraid of moving any of my legs to try and force any of the scrap metal away that was between me and the rope I needed desperately for my play.

With no other option, I took a large breath before plunging my head underwater, my ears plugging up with aquatic liquid, and my eyes slamming shut. I felt around with my muzzle, trying to orient myself into a position to free the debris from the rope. Cold and rough, it was the large metal plate that was pinning my oh so important rope to the ground. I should be thankful, for without that heavy metal plate there might not have been any rope at all. Too bad, I moved the plate over and grabbed the rope with my teeth.

GASP. I spent a little too much time with my head in the water and the rope had almost fallen because I was so desperate for air again. But regardless I had the long cord in my possession. I opened my eyes (or just an eye to limit the pain), ignoring the salt that burned them so badly (although I confess that I might have started building a resistance. Unlikely though really).

My stable utility barding was still hanging from a pipe, absolutely soaked in seawater like when I put it on the pipe in the first place. Thankfully, the pipe was low enough for me to snag, again with my mouth. It hadn't occurred to me I should do something with the rope before-hoof and I would have lost it to the current, had I not ‘awesome reflexes’. I threw the wet barding into my saddlebags and proceeded to the next phase of my plan.

I tightened my grip, as expected the freed rope was running down into the second room, along with everything else. If I lost the rope now I might as well call it a day and give up to die. Because that’s the best plan, obviously.

I moved my way to the rusted door, using all of my strength just to slowly creep my way there under the strong pressure of the current. The source of the current was, in fact, the hole in the door, and the closer I got to it the more powerful it became. I placed myself aside the door-frame, just out of the way of the current. I propped myself up onto the wall, I wouldn't be able to tie a knot without the use of my fore-hooves, and thankfully I was able to keep my hoofing on the slippery ground.

I leaned my head in over the door handle, using my freed foreleg to help guide a generous portion of the rope around it. I struggled to tie a knot. Under normal circumstances the use of my two forelegs were the simplest way to do it. However, if I hadn't noticed, I wasn't in any ideal situation. I couldn’t afford any mistakes, I needed the knot to be strong, and tight for this to work.

Done. Throughout the struggling just to stay safe, and not float back into the second room and fly down the elevator shaft (should Clear Use not catch me) I was finally able to tie a knot strong enough not to pull itself apart. To test this theory and make sure It was as strong as I hoped; I gripped the rope with my hooves, and used it to return me safely back into the second room.

Fortunately, one of the wooden crates which was a part of my plan I’d nearly forgotten about was still here, braced between the door-frame to the second room. It was still sealed as well, so if all went according to plan I might have something to work with when all this was done. I relished that thought, because that meant I would succeed.

I carefully stepped over this last obstacle and found myself in the second room once more. It was less flooded then it had been at the time of start of this little operation, so it it was a welcome sight to not have water up to my now itching neckline.

‘’Is it done?’’ I called out to Clear Use.

His voice boomed in the room. ‘’Why yes of course-’’ I cut him off before he added anything.

‘’Then activate the elevator!’’ I demanded. The sound of cracking, the spinning of old pulleys, and tightening of wires overcame the sound of crashing water which had filled my ears for far too long.

The rope I’d tied to the door lifted above the water at an angle and direct line was made from the jammed door handle to the bottom part of the elevator’s frame. It was all about luck now.

The end of the rope, which I had left drift into the second room when I procured the thing, was tied to the elevator wire itself by Clear Use’s mechanical arms. How he did this I have no clue, but now the elevator wire was dragging the rope down further into the broken down shaft. Which meant, if the rope lasted for the duration, that the force put onto the door handle by both the rope and the outside water would finally cause the rather rusted door to fall apart at its rusted hinges.

This would allow me to safely and easily escape the entire building with the remainder of my plan. Let’s hope it works.

The rope snapped as tight as it possibly as it could, I could see the individual threads start to expand to account for the immense amount of stress. If this thing decided to break now, not only were my hopes of getting out much less likely, but I might suffer a very life threatening account of whiplash. In the other room the sound of whining metal (not too different from that of the stable door) was made itself apparent. I silently wished, hoped, and crossed my imaginary fingers( that mystical humans had) that I would be successful.

The metal door lost the intense match of tug of war, the screeching metal and subsequent WOOOSH of the water echoed in my ears (had they not been waterlogged). BANG...Oh damn, I didn't think about this. I got so excited that my plan would work, that I had an oversight. Truthfully it wasn’t too bad of an oversight. The metal door, yes the rusted metal door that had been bent off and broken off from its original location, was now lopsided against the second door frame, just above my lovely crate.

Problem easily solved, just let me cut the rope- another oversight, the water that now rushed in slammed that door in place, preventing it from moving even if I did cut the rope. I am not a clever pony.

The pressure was rising now. I had no way to get out of the second room and the water level was rising very quickly. Now it was up too my shoulder. ‘’Okay, Champ... what do we do.’’ Door was in the way...no method of dislodging it...resources...minimal...time...what’s that again? Okay panicking is not what we do Champagne...think of something quick...now...anytime...you’re an idiot you know that? Thank you for reminding me.

‘’Clear Use! Blast that door!’’ I cried. The water now was just below my jaw.

With a dramatic display of firepower, almost equaling that of the lightening storm I’d witnessed outside, bolts of neon green flung across the room, illuminating it better then my PipBuck could ever hope to imagine (assuming PipBucks could imagine things). The green bolts, which I had no clue what they were, struck the metal rust ridden door. It took several bolts before an immediate effect was seen. The damn thing melted into green goo that was quickly washed away, thankfully nowhere close to me. I have no idea what that kind of goo could cause to a pony without any protective gear.

The room, now with no ability to stall the water, was quickly flooded. I wasn’t even in the ideal position, due to that oversight. I’m a total idiot...I’ll accept the medal now, please.

Another failure due to this oversight, I was being flushed down the drain, I lost all feasibility over getting a grip on anything, in favor of a heart pounding slide towards the elevator shaft under water again. Celestia be damned I was going to drown again. Was there no end to this constant danger? Well, there was an end of my life and I was quite certain that would be happening first and foremost.

Two swift moving metal arms barricaded my way, effectively saving my life again. I owed this machine my life a few times now. How was I supposed to accomplish his task if I could hardly leave the building I got it in?

Right escape...that was my priority. Thankfully I was quickly back on my hooves, and started my version of ‘swimming’ towards the entrance. My head barely escaped the water at this point, and I was only making any progress due to the helpful mechanics of Clear Use pushing me towards that door.

I knew the elevator shaft, was beginning to even out with the water level up in this building, before long I’d have no breathable air. On the bright-side...wait there was none, I was consumed in almost perfect darkness, besides the drowned out light of my PipBuck.

The water pressure, had now lightened up to the point where I could freely trot in short hops to get air just beyond my reach. The wooden crate which was pivotal to my plan was floating now freely, unstuck from the door frame. I grabbed on to this wooden crate for dear life, and ‘paddled’ my way to the entrance.

I only had a few seconds to force the floating crate below the top of the door frame, before the water level would rise to the point where it was no longer easy to achieve. All I had to do now was pass through the now large hole where that rusted door had once been for the last hundred years or so.

I gasped, the largest amount of air I could possibly gather in my lungs, and went for the final plunge.

I forced myself passed the current with my forelegs wrapped around the crate, and wished for dear life that I would finally be free of this place...

Footnote: Level Up.

Skill notes:
Repair: 35
Energy weapons:30

Thank you Sargecadet for your editing efforts (I’d be lost with you) and Anon3mous for your insight on mechanics and diving.

(A/N) sorry about the length and the time it took to write, but I really hope you all enjoy this chapter. Please leave a comment and rate up if you like. It would make me definitely want to focus on getting chapter 3 out.

Once again thanks.
p.s: go read FoE: Rules of engagement and Honest herds. For more awesomeness.