For Lyra and her amnesiac friend, a life of fun and friends was all they had ever known. Now, they're faced with the hidden horrors of a world of the supernatural, one which 'The Foundation' fight to keep secret...
The creak of metal echoed as a hellish choir in the room. Lyra sobbed, clutching the little communication device to her barrel, as though it were her life itself. "Please..." She whispered. "Anypony, I think-I think it's getting closer." ...A sickly, raspy breathing crested the doorway on the other side of her hiding spot. "Help..."
There is an organization which protects mankind, but remains shrouded entirely in secrecy. It is known as 'The Foundation'. They are unscrupulous and methodical, sacrificing as many lives as need be for the greater good. It can't be helped, the supernatural and meta-physical will always be a threat to humanity.
But not all of their specimen and objects are dangerous. They are varied, some help, some kill. Some are delicious. Some, are deadly.
Dr. Collins entered her office and shut the door in an exasperated huff. She sighed deeply and slumped heavily against it, as if her weight alone could keep out all the craziness her occupation brought into her life. Of course it couldn’t, she knew. That would defy the very laws of physics, unless she was made out of dark matter or something.
Her tired feet dragged across the spacious office and she dropped heavily into her desk chair—the level 4 access card she always carried was thrown lazily onto the wooden desk. More care should probably be taken with the little plastic thing—it had taken her years of hard work to earn it, after all.
For all it was worth... Dr. Collins thought dejectedly. As interesting as her job had once been to her, it had become tedious over time. Even in a place as insane as Site-19, bureaucracy was still bureaucracy. And 'The Foundation' was built on bureaucracy...
She kicked off her short-heeled shoes and rubbed her feet, going over all the mishaps of the day in her mind.
SCP-070 had gotten out of it’s cell again, then made its way to the staff lunchroom after hours where it proceeded to destroy a vending machine and gorge itself on snack food. The Native American man portion of the Special Containment Procedure had slept through the whole event and had woken up clueless. The rusty iron wings emerging from his back had a very peculiar mind of their own, and were as always, hungry.
After that incident, one of the class-D personnel accidentally came into contact with SCP-113, undergoing a painful transformation that left him a woman. While he- or, she... was very fortunate to survive the process with only minimal scarring of the skin, he/she would unfortunately be stuck as a woman. That is, unless she felt like risking another exposure to the red, gender-swapping substance. This would also risk more scarring, the possible loss of genitals and a 75% chance of instant death. Needless to say, the employee in question opted to remain a woman.
And rounding out the list, SCP-196 had removed it’s satellite tracking anklet and made his preordained escape; somehow vanishing from the high-security facility without a trace.
And it was only noon.
Dr. Collins rubbed her eyes and reached into her mini refrigerator, pulling out the sandwich she had prepared in the early hours of the morning. To anyone on the planet who didn’t know about the Foundation (or had been administered an amnesiac after finding out) this would seem like the most exciting job in the world. But to her, it just meant a ton of paperwork.
The break-room had to be cleaned and the vending machine replaced. The sharp arrows attached to SCP-070’s wings had done ample damage to the hallways between it’s cell and the dining area, and would require repair and repainting. Paperwork.
An incident report and full physical would have to be run on the now-female employee. Not to mention a termination report, if deemed necessary. More paperwork.
SCP-196 would have to be found ASAP, before getting the chance to travel back to the 1960’s to attack Site-17 and meet his death. The team covertly monitoring SCP-196’s younger self had to be notified of the escape and tighten their watch. That meant starting a manhunt, reallocating agents, alerting the higher-ups, and updating the case file. And oh yes, even more paperwork.
Having a level four security clearance meant that most of this paperwork would go through her. Somehow, it always went through her. Maybe everyone thought she liked doing paperwork? That would explain a lot, actually...
Dr. Collins took a bite of her sandwich and recoiled at it’s blandness with confusion. Lifting the top layer of bread, she remembered that due to working overtime all week, she had not had time to buy groceries. Meaning, it was lettuce and mayo all the way, until she did.
I suppose I could go to the break-room... she thought. It was still open, despite the aforementioned debacle from the night before. Site-17 may have access to the endless pizza dispensing SCP-458, but the food here was quite good too... however, eating there meant socializing with the other employees. Dr. Collins didn’t consider herself particularly antisocial, but sitting with her co-workers everyday for lunch never appealed to her. They just went on and on and on about SCP-this and SCP-that. Was it too much to ask for a normal conversation? She felt like she could barely remember what a normal conversation was anymore.
So Dr. Collins ate in her office, alone. Usually with her shoes off. It was just more comfy that way.
She continued to eat her meager lunch in silence, pretending not to see the mountain of paper already filling up her IN box. She'd likely end up working late again... and eating the same crummy lunch tomorrow. She sighed again, pushing away realization and thinking about puppies instead.
She was immediately pulled from the adorable daydream by a shrill beep from her pocket. Acting on reflex rather than actual interest, she pulled out her work cell and unlocked the screen with one hand, the other still grasping the disappointing meal.
It was a message from Dr. Strong. She knew he was experimenting with SCP-1244, having approved the paperwork herself last week. She also knew the device had been acting strange... that is to say, stranger than usual. SCP-1244, the so-called “universal stopwatch” could predict events up to 60 seconds into the future when the button on top was pushed. It would wind back and begin counting down, reaching zero as the event occurred. What would happen had proven impossible to accurately decipher. Not due to lack of trying, of course.
However, the last time one of Dr. Strong’s research assistants clicked the button, it rewound itself for much longer than any other recorded test, predicting an event 24 hours into the future.
That had been yesterday, at 12:35 pm. Dr. Collins recalled suddenly.
Sure enough, this was what the text message pertained to.
“Dr. Collins, where r u ?! Object 1244 is about 2 finish counting down1!” The message read.
She checked her watch. 12:28.
With a roll of her eyes and a final sigh, Dr. Collins tossed her barely touched sandwich into the trash bin and let her colleague know she was on the way. Retrieving her shoes and ID card, she began to sprint down the never ending labyrinth hallways that made up the massive building, cursing to herself internally.
I bet nothing even happens when the stupid thing hits zero anyway. She thought. The items stored at Site-19 all seemed to share a cruel sense of ironic humor. Either that or they could kill you.
It wouldn't be the first time SCP-1244 counted down to zero and nothing happened. Not right away, in any case. They didn’t even know the maximum range of 1244. For all they knew, it could predict events happening halfway around the world. Or maybe even halfway around another world.
26-F.... 26-G.... 27-A... Finally! Breathless, Dr. Collins arrived at testing room 27-B and glanced at the time. 12:34.
God, I hope my watch isn’t slow...
She entered the room. Men and women in lab-coats moved about excitedly, checking monitoring equipment and making notes on their reports. Dr. Strong himself was in the center of the chaos, looking back and forth between his wristwatch and SCP-1244.
Pulling out the pen and notepad she had on her at all times, Dr. Collins approached the balding man.
“Good afternoon, Dr. Strong. How is the test proceeding?” She asked, putting on the professional voice and manner that was expected of her.
“Ahh! Dr. Collins, at last.” He said, sparing her only a momentary glance before returning his attention to the aberrant stopwatch. “And not a moment too soon! Do you have any idea how much extra paperwork this experiment would require without a level 4 to verify the results?”
Yes. As a matter of fact, she did.
She flashed an insincere smile. “How long do we have, Doctor?”
He looked back at the item and his eyes shot wide open. “30 seconds!” He shouted, turning to address the team, “30 seconds people!.. 25! Get in position, quickly now.”
There was a flurry of movement as the other doctors of varying security clearance placed themselves around the device, several with rolling camcorders.
“20!” Dr. Strong announced. An eerie hush fell, broken only by the melodic ticking that filled the now silent room.
All eyes were locked on SCP-1244 now. Except for the pair belonging to Dr. Collins. Her own gaze languidly scanned the room, counting the number of personnel and cameras present—for the report she'd have to file later, of course.
“10... 9... 8...” Dr. Strong was beaming with excitement and grinning wildly. ”7... 6.. 5.. 4..”
Poor fool... This better be worth it... The thought breezed through Dr. Collins' mind lazily, the clock still ticking.
Dr. Strong finished his countdown, the ticking ceased along with him. All was quiet again, and several seconds passed with...nothing happening.
Of course. Mused Collins. Waste of my damn time...
Low whispering soon replaced the silence.
“Now, now! Everyone, please remain focused!” Dr. Strong ordered. “Just because nothing observable has happened yet, doesn’t mean nothing happened! Dr. Phelp, contact O5-9 and-”
Dr. Collins stopped listening. She put her pen away and moved to leave the once again bustling test space.
“Dr. Collins!” Her steadfast associate called, “Leaving so soon?”
She met the aging scientist with a dead-panned expression, “I’m afraid so Dr. Strong. I’ve got a pile of paperwork that requires my attention. Please, inform me of any new data as it presents itself, any...useful, data. Good day.”
She left the room before he could respond, and began the long walk back to her office. She was sure something had happened when the stopwatch hit zero, something always did. But the chances of it actually being significant where just as high as it being a bird crapping on Site-19’s roof. SCP-1244 was known for this sort of behavior.
It figures. Her finger nails clicked on the concrete hallway wall as she walked. You’d think the other scientists would know not to get their hopes up by now.
She walked slowly back to her office on sore feet, eager to remove her shoes and sit down in her chair. At the same time, several hundred miles to the south east of the Foundation research facility, across a small brook and through a patch of thin forest, a pair of golden eyes shot open with a start.
“Oww...what the- what in the name of Celestia just happened?”
It was some time before she could manage the strength to sit up. Her legs almost felt like they weren't really there, all jelly-like and flimsy. Groaning, she cradled her head in the mint green hooves that matched her coat's color.
Lyra’s eyes searched the surrounding area in an attempt to get her bearings. The attempt was futile. Where the bucking buck am I? A single hoof brushed back her mane to scratch at her head wonderingly.
There were pine trees everywhere, Lyra couldn't recall the last time she'd seen a pine tree. They weren't very common around Ponyville.
...Am I not in Ponyville right now? The surrounding flora struck no chords with her, and the ground was ill tended and wild as well. A wilderness? But, this isn't the Everfree... Huh, just where am I?
Her eyes searched her vicinity, it was daylight out, maybe late afternoon... The only familiar thing in the area though, was her! The lyre shaped cutie mark on her side looked really out of place in the grey surroundings. Where ever it was, it was a little chilly. Everything but the pine trees were stark and bare.
With a grunt of effort, Lyra rolled onto her hooves. Her legs creaked and popped in several places. "Wow, I must've been out a while...” She hopped up onto her hind legs deftly and popped her back, then, folded her forelegs behind her neck. “Feels like I’ve been put through a cherry sorter, I'm stiff as a board." They took hold of her head in both hooves, and cracked her neck sharply. "Oooh yeah, much better."
She settled down on all fours and looked around. "Mmmm, nope I don't recognize a thing." With a snort she started walking. Where to exactly wasn't really important, lost as she was, but going elsewhere would eventually take her somewhere, and anywhere was better than nowhere...plus somewhere could have directions to Ponyville!
She furrowed her brow from the funny, fuzzy feeling she was getting. It was on the edge of her mind. At first, Lyra had thought it might be a headache coming on. Something about this forest felt really, really weird... As though it were missing something. She sniffed and tasted the air. She thought she could detect an acrid smell hanging in it. "Blech, I wonder if it's because there are no ponies here to care for the area. I've never heard of anything smelling quite this rotten..."
Lyra continued to walk through the tangled trees and undergrowth of the strange forest. The calming gurgles of a nearby stream made their way to her outstretched ears. The sounds were soothing, even in the unfamiliar area. She picked up a steady trot, grinning to herself as she exited into the clearing. The sun was grayed out by clouds overhead—which looked very wild and high up—and she spotted fish hopping about playfully in the water.
"Ooh, peaceful." A painful moan rolled over the swift foamy waters towards her. That didn't last long. From the far side of the creek, Lyra looked around for the moan's source. When she heard nothing, she approached the water to take a drink. I must've imagined it. Who in their right mind would even be out here? Her muzzle had just reached the clear water, and she heard it again. The water could wait, she began to gallop up its length towards the noise. "Hello? Is somepony there? Are you hurt?" She shouted.
Running while calling out made Lyra pant, and the cold air burned her throat too. "Hellooooo." Why won't they answer me? Her eyes panned the forest floor and the huge rocks that lined the sides of the river. All of a sudden, she could hear quiet sobbing from across the stream. "I'm coming! Just hang on!"
The river wasn't very deep, she splashed in at a calm spot and pony-paddled across the foamy liquid. Rocks met her halfway, and she climbed up onto them, then used a downed tree to cross the remaining span of water. "Who's there, hello?"
A gasp came from over a hill in response. Lyra stopped to listen, but nothing followed. Is she hiding? The voice had been female, she was sure of it. Why would anypony hide from somepony offering help? She decided to creep forward, maybe they were just sad and needed cheering up! I could actually use a little cheering up myself...and some hot coffee, oh that'd be great right now. I would settle for cocoa though, given the circumstances. Oh, what if it's Bonbon? Lyra's tongue poked out the side of her mouth as she concentrated on the last thing she could recall, she thought she may have been with her roommate in the store before waking up...
So how'd I get here? Lyra wondered as she continued onto the far bank.
Despite her best efforts to stay quiet, her measured steps were crunching in the dry leaves and pine needles covering the ground. The climb up the muddy hill was difficult and noisy, her hooves made sucking noises in the muddy embankment as she finally crested the slope. Her tussled white and green mane flipped back and forth as she looked around for the source of the mysterious noises.
A tree limb whistled towards her face. "AAAH!" Lyra ducked on instinct, and the limb soared harmlessly over her head. "Hey!" The attack had been pretty slow and uncoordinated, but had caught her completely off guard. "What's the big idea?" A figure stood awkwardly beside the tree next to her, on her hind hooves, strangely enough. The mare gripped a thick stick between her front legs. Lyra cocked her head at an angle and scrutinized her assailant accusingly. Why is she just standing there with that stupid look on her face? "Hellooo, Equestria to crazy saddle. Why. did. you. attack. me." She finally said.
Lyra waved a hoof at the other pony. The offending mare squeaked in response and nearly fell over, one of her hooves flung out to hold onto the tree and she dropped the stick. Her colors were unfamiliar to the mint mare, Lyra didn't know who this was. They were red and yellow, kind of like that stallion that worked at Sweet Apple Acres with his younger sister's mane color.
The next few moments were strange and awkward. The other mare stood there dumbly, she shook her head and blinked, looking at Lyra with what seemed like confused disbelief. "Hey, are you alright?" The other pony slumped down against the tree and into the muck, her red wings dipping into the watery sludge. The mint unicorn's eyes settled on the muddy ground beside them, looking just as thoroughly confused, if not quite as inexplicably shocked.
Lyra tried a different approach. "Uuuhm, well, what's your name then?" This one seemed to get her attention at least, not at first. But soon her gaze was locked with Lyra's.
"I-...I don't know." The weird pony finally spoke.
Lyra resisted the urge to plonk down onto the muddy soil as well. Instead, she spotted a nearby trunk and moved towards it. "You don't know? Are you saying you have amniglia?"
"You mean amnesia..." She responded dourly.
"Right, that's what I said, amnezeeah." Lyra stuck her tongue out of her mouth and rolled her eyes up as she said it, then smiled at her new acquaintance. It slowly shrunk under the open mouthed looked of what might just be irritation, that she got in return. Yeesh, tough crowd. The light reddish pegasus leaned forward in the mud to rest her head in her hooves, and made a familiar, painful sounding groan. "Headache?" Lyra asked quaintly, sitting on the tree stump to keep from getting any muckier.
"Yeah, it's a bad one too..." One big brown eye peaked at Lyra from under a hoof. It flickered over her for a second, then settled on her horn, squinting. "What are you?" She asked in a fanciful tone.
Lyra deadpanned at the pegasus. Wow, she has amoeba bad. Er... Amnesia, right. Her hoof scratched under her chin in thought as she watched the other pony intently. "Well, I'm hungry, and my name is Lyra! Nice to meet you." She would have hung a hoof in front of her for a friendly shake, but the other pony still sat in the muck and was a ways off from Lyra's comfy seat.
"...Swell, nice to meet you too I guess, Lyra." Her eyes lowered slowly to the stick she'd dropped. "I'm...really sorry for attacking you, actually, I was scared I-..." She trailed off for a moment, and Lyra cocked her head questioningly. "I'm not sure why. A-anyway, I was asking what you were."
Outwardly, Lyra giggled. Never heard of a pony attacking somepony because they were scared. "I know thaaat, I'm a pony, more specifically a unicorn. It's just silly for another pony to forget what a Unicorn is, I guess, amnesia or not. I'm sorry for messin' with yah. But! We're even now, see?" She gave her a cool grin and drew her hoof across her front, gesturing towards herself. "I don't know about you, but I really am hungry. You wouldn't happen to have a snack on you actually, would you?" Lyra's searching muzzle peered around the tree and the pony. Maybe she had a saddlebag?
The other pony leaned back against the tree and went limp, but smiled tiredly at Lyra's rambling. "Hey... You don't look so good, are you gonna be okay?" Lyra hopped off the stump, trotting over the the other pony and inspecting her for injury, despite her weak protests. "You aren't sick, I don't think, anyway..." Her patient winced and made a strange noise. Lyra spotted what was probably the cause of her grief.
A hoof pushed Lyra back roughly, catching her by surprise. "H- Sorry..." She stammered. The other pony scowled up at her as she tried to explain.
"I was just trying to help... You have a gash on your head, it looks pretty bad." Lyra settled back onto all fours in front of Red. Her mint tail swished absently, despite Lyra's attempt not to show irritation.
"I don't even know who you are." Her eyes clenched shut and she climbed up off the tree’s side, wavering as she did so. "I don't know where I am either! Why do you even want to help me? No one ever wants to help me." The last part of the sentence sounded strange and tugged at something. I don’t think they do anyway...
Lyra's head tilted again at the mare before answering her. "Unless I'm completely missing my guess here, we're both ponies who are quite clearly lost. Isn't it natural we help each other out, hm? And If we have to help each other out, we should be friends!" Her smile was reserved and calm. Poor thing, she must have been through a lot. Lyra decided.
The other pony stared at her for a moment, then shook her head from side to side. She regretted it immediately, Lyra guessed, as she made another pain filled face and fell back against the tree's side.
"Hey... There's a stream just down there, lets go wash that off and get you a drink, it might help." Lyra gave her a concerned look, then smiled again. "Maybe we can dunk yah in there too, you're a mucky mess right now, Rusty."
The mud on the stranger dripped in clumps off her flanks and legs. "Yeah...yeah that sounds good, I guess. Thanks." She pushed off her impromptu support and stood on very unsteady seeming hooves.
She was strangely reserved and stand offish. Actually... Huh, she kinda reminds me of Bonbon when we first met, albeit more grumpy. I guess under the circumstances though...
Lyra half trotted, half skipped down the embankment to the water. She turned around to see the other pony following slowly. She was watching Lyra intently in between glances at the ground and mud slope as she made her way down. Pegasi really were terrible with the ground, even compared to unicorns.
"Ta-dah! Here we are." The mint unicorn swatted some water into the air for demonstration, then took a deep drink. She peeked with one eye, Red was still just watchin' her all weird like. Lyra looked up to give her an uneasy smile. "Is there something in my mane? Or am I just a lot prettier than I thought I was?"
Heh, that got her. Rusty couldn't really get any redder, but she thought she might have under that garish coat. The mint unicorn suppressed a laugh as her new friend broke eye contact by quickly diving her head towards the stream with her eyes shut. She all but tripped just trying to dip her head into the water to avoid looking at Lyra's leer.
The stranger visibly relaxed, her shoulders sinking a little once her drink was acquired. The red pegasus was obviously on edge, which was fair. Most ponies who woke up in a scary wild forest with no memories would be, she guessed. Lyra had always been somewhat laid back about things, much to Bonbon's chagrin.
Mmmhm, I wonder if she's worried about me? Probably not yet... Honestly though, where the buck am I? Lyra's gaze took her all around the forest and the clear blue sky that hung above the tree's pointy pine branches. Eventually, it settled on the odd pony again, whose wings still hung limply and her side. "Hey Rusty, are your wings alright? They look...eh, for lack of a better word, dead."
The red pony finally emerged out of the water, obviously as parched as Lyra had been. She craned her head around to check out her wings. They stirred slightly, weakly. "I don't know, I... Well, they don't hurt or anything." The red pony scrunched up her face with effort, and the wings lifted up out of the water, dropping clumps of mud as they went. The poor thing's plumage was ruined, the unicorn noted. "Rusty? Really?"
Lyra looked back at her questioningly, her golden eyes unfocusing from the dripping wings. "Hm?" She responded innocently.
"You keep calling me Rusty..." The red pegasus reinforced. She had a really high pitched yet soft voice, it was pretty funny to listen to, actually. Lyra stared a moment longer at the pegasus, before bursting into laughter. The muddy red pony scowled, confused by the reaction.
The equally mud ridden unicorn (from her fetlocks and down anyway) pranced away from her new friend and into the stream merrily.
"Well, yeah! Lookit your coat silly filly, it's the color of rust! Seems like a great name if you ask me, especially if we can't think of your real one. Kinda cute too. We could call you Red, instead, I guess...! Hah, I rhymed there and didn’t even mean to... Very vibrant color your fur, by the way, it's lovely. Not a very a common shade either..."
Lyra raised an eyebrow and smirked playfully. "Not in mares, anyway... You are a mare right, not just like, super androgynous?" The target of her faux predatory scrutiny squeaked and hunkered back, leaning away from her. "Naaah, I didn't think so, it’s a shame, Stallions that cute are as rare as they come, am I right girl?"
Lyra giggled before splashing further down into the stream to begin paddling around in the calmer section of water. The current tugged at her, but it felt very nice on her coat. Hm, She thought. I should get out more, this is great! She returned her attention to the nervous looking pegasus, uneasily eying the water, and her. “So, what’ll it be? Rusty or Red?”
The red mare considered her options, then furrowed her brow and responded despondently.
“I...don’t like either much, to be honest. I want my real name...but, I guess you can call me Red, for now...” The pegasus’ wings twitched as she stood by the embankment, and answered her flatly.
“Rusty it is then!” Lyra declared proudly, before falling backward in the water, and leaving a glowering Red alone in the shallows. After a moment, she popped back up out of the water smiling, and shook her head to get the water off. “Come on in already, it feels great, I mean it!” Her hooves parted her short mane away from her eyes, her smile never faltering.
Red rolled her own eyes, then took a few agonizingly slow and timid steps into the stream, flinching as the chilly water coursed around her legs. Lyra watched her take one five inch step after another until FINALLY she was in up to her stifles.
"Thata girl, you scared of water or something?" Lyra said encouragingly. Red gave her a startled look that quickly turned into a frown. "Hey, it's okay, lots of pegasi are, you guys can swim great with practice, but most don't bother to learn. The skies are your true home. You remember anything about your home or where you came from?"
"I can't remember anything, actually..." Bits of dirt clouded around her in the calmer flow of water near the bank. The distant stare she wore joined the mud and sank into the current in front of her along with it. "Just, I don't know, everything feels wrong."
"You're probably really disoriented, Rusty. I'm not a nurse pony or a doctor, but I know head injuries can be really bad. Don't worry though! I'm here and I'll make sure you're safe and don’t drown! Kay?" Lyra grinned from her backstroke through the stream's water, before flipping around and making her way back to the shore. Red gave her an awkward smile in return as she paddled past her.
"Th-thanks, I guess, Lyra was it?" Her head turned to watch the mint unicorn as she climbed onto the bank.
"Yep! That's me, Ponyville's one and only. Well, these days any who, I moved there from Canterlot, not that that's a big deal... I can't tell you how much more I enjoy the rural to the urban. It’s way more relaxing."
"Ponyville? Seriously?" Red stretched her neck out towards her and put on a pained look from the name. Just saying it made her feel silly.
"Ah huh." Lyra took a moment, deciphering the blatant sarcasm. "It's not as lame as a lot of you pegasi seem to think, you know. Sure it's an Earth Pony settlement, but it's super cool for a quiet place!"
"Oh... Actually I just thought the name itself was, lame, as you put it. Not very creative anyway. I...doubt I’ve ever been there." The pony picked up one of her hooves and scrubbed at the front of her coat with it, frowning at the lax results she got trying to remove the mud.
Lyra quirked her eyebrows and stared up at the sky mischievously. "Huh, never really thought of it like that before, yeah I guess you're right it's pretty unoriginal. Any who Rusty! Let's get out of here shall we? Unless you need to rest, I want to get home before dark, myself, hopefully we aren't to far awa- Oh hey! Since you don't remember anything you should totally stay over at my place! We could have a slumber party, eee hee! Ihaven'thadoneofthosethingsinages."
‘Rusty’ as Lyra had so colorfully seemed to have named her, stared incredulously at the hyperactive, and gumdrop of a pony. Seriously she looks like a piece of candy or a pa- darnit, what’s that word...pattern? No...pastry, right, that ridiculous hair could be the icing atop a pastry. Her thoughts were difficult to grasp and her head throbbed. Admittedly, the cool water surrounding her had helped a lot, but words and feelings still escaped her. Nothing really made sense, focusing was difficult and parts of her vision were blurry. The water felt good though... Now that she was in it, she didn’t want to get out.
Lyra was still busy clapping her hooves together from the idea of a slumber party.
A slumber party, really, is she twelve?Actually... The thought made Red curious about the mint colored spitfire. “How old are you? If you don't mind me asking.” Red pulled one of her wings in front of her, and inspected it carefully. Seeing just how much mud was caked into the feathers, she began paddling them beside herself to get it off, churning the stream as she did so.
The other pony opened her eyes and rejoined the real world from her reverie concerning a slumber get-together. “Hm? Oh, I’m eighteen summer solticeseses young!” She declared proudly. “You? Oh, right you don’t remember probably, huh.” The pegasus nodded absently to Lyra, who was now busying herself with shaking the water from her coat. The spray from the pony reached out to Red and slapped her across the face.
After holding up a hoof to stop the stray shots, she glared up at the unicorn from her spot in the forest creek. “Really?” Lyra stretched absently and sat in a patch of weak sunlight peeking through the clouds, yawning an apology.
Red pushed the water out of the way with her hooves as she moved to join the energetic unicorn. As she approached, Lyra's luminous eye's met hers. She must have taken their eye contact as an invitation to start talking once more, because she grinned and began to do just that. “So, what do you remember?” She asked calmly.
The urge to strangle the hyperactive nag had been growing inside of Red...but the new calm Lyra had shown immediately melted the violent desire. Red found herself answering the question. “...Not much, I really can’t even picture anything. I try to think of words or something that can remind me of...who I am or where I come from. But I get nothing, the only things that make any sense are what I say out loud.” Lyra’s mouth ‘ooo’ed in interest as Red finished speaking.
Surprisingly, the pegasus found herself smiling wanly at the child-like pony’s demeanor. She was pretty endearing, when she wasn’t hurling out a landslide of quips and babbling on while Red was nursing her headache... Huh. Red realized, My headache is gone. That's good news, at least.
“Well,” Lyra said, still using a tone and a voice which almost passed for normal. “I’m sure it will come back to you, Rusty.” The smile she gave her was warm and comforting. “So, wanna get the hay out of Dodge Station? We’re still wet, but we’ll dry off while we walk...and we don’t know how far we have to go anyway. At least, I don’t.” She gave Red a pitying look before looking out into the forest.
The idea of staying out in the wilderness for the night certainly doesn’t appeal to me. Red took the final steps out of the river, and water dripped from her haunches to her flanks in dripples and drops, causing her to frown.
“Well, I think I remember not liking to get wet...” Red said tiredly, she managed a chuckle at her own remark. Lyra held a hoof over her mouth and suppressed a laugh of her own.
“Yeah, heh, the 'wet mane' look doesn't really suit you...” She flipped her own, two tone mane and scratched a hoof behind her ear absently. “Alright, well, my best guess is we’re somewhere north west of Ponyville, near the Unicorn Mountain range. It’s the place closest to Ponyville with this many pine trees.” Her gaze swept briefly across them. She couldn't see any mountains, but the tall trees were obscuring her vision.
Behind Lyra, her new companion flapped her wings powerfully, and made a squeaking sound before spreading her hooves wide around herself, to keep from falling and clung to the ground. She panted loudly, in obvious shocked surprise.
“Whoa, you okay? Did you try to fly and sprain a wing?” Red cut her off Lyra, gasping.
“N-no, I’m fine...I just, tried to get the water off and suddenly I-I was...lifting off the ground...it scared me. Uhm.” She looked over at her still outstretched wings in awe. I hadn’t tried to lift off in the least. The crestfallen pegasus looked up at Lyra fearfully. “I don’t think I know how to use them, anymore...”
Lyra raised one eyebrow and gave Red a skeptical look, but added a concerned tone and smile to it. “Oookay then, I guess we can count out a pony eye view of the area...” Wow, she’s forgotten how to fly...horse apples. “Well,” She started again. “it’s alright, we should get going though, it looks like it’s well past noon already. I’m really sorry you’ve forgotten...that’s pretty serious for a pegasus, Red. Don’t try to fly no matter how much you get the urge, it won’t do for you to hurt yourself out here.” The look of concern Lyra gave her was a somber one, it both did and didn't suit her face...
After another brief sip from the stream, and a reassuring nod to the awkward pegasus, Lyra began to lead the way southeast, towards where she guessed Ponyville was. I think this is south east... She thought. The sun was only a faint glow behind the gray clouds, after all, making it anypony's guess. They walked in silence for the most part, except for when Lyra tried to ask the mare a question to help jog her memory.
Suddenly, her new friend's stomach growled loudly beside her. After a moment, and two shocked looks betwixt them later, Lyra’s joined the fray to make a regular choir of gurgling. They traded sheepish glances and looked away from one another.
“I guess we’re pretty hungry, huh.” Red pawed the dirt ground with a hollow laugh.
The unicorn sighed and sat down. “I want to know why we’re out here... Aw, pony feathers, this stinks. I’m even hungrier now, too!” She huffed and puffed while looking around herself for something, anything to eat. The area was either entirely barren or looked to be in the midst of autumn. “I mean, there’s not even any decent looking grass around here...”
“G-grass? Eew.” The pegasus lifted a foreleg and stuck her tongue out at the thought of having to eat it.
“Hey, it’s not my first choice either, but there isn’t exactly a restaurant around here that I can see. Would you rather starve? First chance I get I’m diving into a patch of wildflowers... Assuming they look safe, anyway.” Lyra had heard some funny stories about weird flowers over the last couple years in Ponyville. It would be best to err on the side of caution...
Red was giving the dirt ground around her an awfully hard stare. She must be starved. Thought Lyra.
The mint unicorn took a big whiff of the air, hoping to get the scent of something that spoke of civilization. The smell of cooking bread would simply be too much to hope for, but maybe she’d be able to detect wood smoke. Oh, hey I smell something... Yeah! Wait, what is that? Ew, wish I hadn’t...it's that gross smell from before? Her nose wrinkled in response, and the Red walked up to her, curious.
“What’s wrong?” She asked plainly.
“Guh, take a big whiff and see for yourself, or smell rather... I was just trying to find something helpful and, guh.” Lyra’s friend tilted her head and blinked, then looked around herself before taking a hesitant whiff at the air. Her eyes stayed shut, and her mouth took on a surprised look.
“Wow, it’s like I can smell everything around me. Why do you smell like pancakes? Or was that muffins...” Red gave Lyra a smirk, who laughed in return before answering.
“Hey, you’re pretty good, especially considering I just dove into a river twice. You’re close too, it was waffles. But no, I meant that weird sulphury, heavy, rocky, twingy...kinda smelly smell... You smell it don’t you? It’s awful.” Lyra gave the direction she thought it was coming from a twisted look of disgust, indicating its origin to Red.
Her friend took another couple more sniffs. “Hm, it smells like a road, freshly paved.”
Lyra gave her a skeptical look. “A road? I’ve never smelled a road like this before...hey! Where’re you going?” Red looked back at her from atop a low rise she had nimbly scaled, smiling confidently.
“Oh, uhm well, to the road! It’s gotta lead somewhere right?” And with that, the blonde maned pony bounded forward through dead bushes and under brush alike, leaving Lyra there in her dust.
I guess she's feeling better... She thought, grinning excitedly.
“Well, I’m sure as hay not staying here!” Lyra’s horn lit up with magic and she began pushing branches aside, cutting through the foliage to catch up to Red. Before long, she was astride the other pony, the two of them racing up and down small hills and hopping over fallen tree trunks. Lyra shot her wink and stuck out her tongue, then pulled ahead of the pegasus.
“Hey!” Red called after the unicorn. She wasn’t as fast as Lyra on hoof, apparently. I bet if I could fly right now I’d leave her way behind... She quickened her pace to catch the pony who had taken the lead from her unfairly...and had been glowing for some reason.
Lyra was clearing an easily traversed path as she went. Eventually, she came to a strange, but somewhat familiar sight, as the smell reached its strongest. Her hooves skidded her to a halt on a patch of dirt, as barren as anywhere else she'd seen. Before her was quite the sight.
“What the buck is a pegasus landing strip doing here...?” Behind Lyra, came the sound of her companion crashing through the bushes. Red’s panting alerted the unicorn to her slow approach from the tree line. She turned around haughtily, grinning at having just trounced the other mare in a hoof race. Rusty had a head start, too! “HaHAH!” She laughed jeeringly at Red, who fell in a heap in response. “You must be a city filly, Rusty. That race was disgraceful, I didn’t even break a sweat.” Her muzzle came closer to the collapsed pony’s, mockingly. “I’m not exactly a very fast runner myself, either, yah know.”
The pegasus pointed a hoof up at her while struggling to catch her breath on the ground. “You-! You cheated, I saw you pantmoving stuff with pant something. I dunno...dunno what.” Lyra nodded knowingly at her attempt to try and claim using her magic was cheating, it was the usual fare for sore pony losers. If it wasn’t an earth pony claiming wings were unfair it was a pegasus claiming a unicorn’s magic was unfair, or a unicorn claiming that earth ponies were just too strong and quick! Wait... Lyra stopped and thought... “Something? You meant my magic, right?” Lyra helped Red up to her hooves.
“Magic?” Red asked, her face a collage of confusion. Lyra groaned in response.
“You really creamed your head good Red, yes, unicorns have magic. Wow, I’m gonna have to re-teach you everything, huh... Anyway, all ponies have some form of magic. Buuut, unicorns can use it more directly, why, I know somepony who's so good with it, it's her special tale-” Lyra’s expression froze in a shocked state, and her eyes drifted down to Red’s rump.
The other pony followed the look, putting on one of her own, except more confused and indignant. “Lyra? Hey, stop looking at my butt like that, wha-”
“Where is it!?” The mint unicorn’s hooves flew up and grabbed Red’s cheeks roughly, pulling her up to stand on all four hooves without warning. She immediately released Red and circled around behind the pegasus, her tail flashing wildly to and fro.
“Wha- Where’s what!?” Red asked, concerned by Lyra's panic. She didn’t even have time to react before Lyra was already several spaces away from her once again and staring back at her in wide eyed shock.
“YOUR CUTIE MARK!?” Lyra stood fluidly onto her two rear hooves and flung her front legs out to emphasize the rogue mark’s absence. “You-! Never mind how old I am, how old are you!? How can you not have a cutie mark!? How did I not notice it... The mud! Are you like, a filly? But you look older than me! What the- WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A CUTIE MARK RUSTY!?” Lyra shook her head and did a double, then a triple take at Red’s flank. It was blank, as the day she had been born.
“Lyra, calm down I don’t understand! What’s a cutie mark?” Red was still getting over the revelation of magic, and now the only contact she had with the world or its validation was losing her noggin over something called a ‘cutie mark’!? This is going to be a very long day... Red thought, morosely.
“You don’t know what a-” Lyra plunked her butt down on the hard tarmac clearing. “Of course you don’t...” She sighed and pressed a hoof up to her head, staying like that for a moment.
Red watched the green tinted pony while frowning, before shifting her gaze to her own flank. It was just a plain red, but it looked fine, why did it need an image on it? Was that some kind of ritual that ponies went through? She looked over at Lyra’s own side, a little golden harp thing sat there. Since meeting the mint colored unicorn, she hadn’t really had the chance to ask her about it, it was hardly the weirdest thing about her...
“Sooo, like what you see?” Red’s eyes popped up to meet Lyra’s own, shocked.
“Guh, stop that!” The pegasus cringed back. Apparently Lyra had gotten over her shock and was back to her old self.
“Stop what?” Lyra grinned back, innocently.
“That! Being weird.” Red leaned forward and jabbed a hoof at the grinning unicorn’s chest. She turned and began walking down the empty road, away from the irritating spaz.
“Hah, I’m just being me, sorry I don’t wanna make you uncomfortable...or do I?” Lyra lowered one eyebrow as far as it would go and switched her grin from incredibly amused to wolfish in just a second. "Hey, wait up!"
Red rolled her eyes and flapped her wings once, hopping further ahead of her antagonist. She kept walking down the road as Lyra cantered up behind her. “Aw come, on it’s funny! No use fretting over something you can't remember anyway... I'm sure it'll come back to you.” Red grunted her final response on the matter back to her. Yeesh. Lyra thought. Even Bonbon started laughing eventually, I wonder why Red’s such a serious pants pony?
Lyra settled for changing the subject, she didn’t want to walk to wherever it was they were going in silence. “Okay, so like, you don’t have a cutie mark. That’s fine, but what’s your special talent then?”
“My whaty wha?” Red wearily looked over with a confused tint to her eyes.
“You know,” Lyra looked skyward and gestured a circle in the air with a hoof. “what makes you different from most everypony else? Everypony has a special talent, and everypony has a cutie mark from being good at that ONE thing! Like mine, I’m a natural at composing beautiful ballads and playing the lyre. And so, tahdah!” She gave her own rump a little shake and smiled proudly.
Red returned the gesture to her walking partner with a sidelong frown. “Is that why you’re named Lyra, then?”
“HAH! Nooo, that was just a crazy, crazy one in a million coincidence! I’m sure there’s no connection.” The mint unicorn merrily began humming as the two strode down the wide black surface, the dull sun glinting off of the yellow stripes down it's middle.
Red answered her friend's incredibly lax explanation with all the enthusiasm she could muster. “...Right. I...guess I don’t have a special talent then, I just can’t remember, Lyra.”
Lyra opened her mouth to speak, but it clicked shut again as they walked, the unicorn was left speechless by the very thought... It didn’t seem like a topic she should talk much about with Red, unless she wanted to. “So, this road is pretty weird, huh?” She asked instead. “It looks like a runway for pegasus, I wonder what it’s doing on the ground, and in the middle of nowhere...or why it’s so big.”
Red spared it a glance. “Looks like any old road to me.”
Lyra frowned down at the road, then at the other pony. “I dunno where you’re from Rusty, but I’ve never seen a road like this before, it doesn’t have any bricks, or cobblestones, or planks... I think I might have heard about some new type of road being put in at Manehattan though...for the city streets...yeah... Hey, maybe you’re from there!? You can’t run for hay, either! Just like a city pony, this is great Rusty, we might be on the trail to figuring out who you are already!” Lyra began bouncing as they walked, grinning ear to ear at the fruitful churning of her mind’s gears.
“You think so?” Red was already trying to process what she’d said, the name did sound a little familiar...Manehattan... “Huh, well it’s a start, right?” She managed a weak smile.
Lyra nodded, still grinning, her head shaking up and down like a tambourine at a festival.
The two walked and trotted on and off through the afternoon hours. They entertained little conversation with one another, not that Lyra didn't make valiant attempts to elicit the contrary. Red’s responses however, were curt and choppy at best. At one point they had another race to pass the time after a few more successful taunts passed between them. Lyra once again beat the pegasus easily, despite Red making one attempt to take flight.
The sun began to dip below the horizon before long, casting a red glow over the clouds high up in the sky, and washing the two misplaced ponies in a pallid bath of orange light.
The first of the two ponies, the unicorn named Lyra Heartstrings, hummed a merry tune as she walked. Another target for her boredom presented itself though, and she kicked the hundredth rock found on that road for the day, out into the forest. Nailed it! Eh... Her attempts at keeping her spirits high were getting difficult as they continued to trudge forward.
Lyra looked over at the other pony beside her on the yellow striped road. Red, the second pony and the duo’s pegasus, had been a gloomy mcgloomerson all day. Sooo, she hadn't been a very cheery conversationalist for the young unicorn mare.
Suddenly, an idea came to Lyra, and she broke out into song.
“My naaame is Lyyyra Heeeartstriiiings! And I am here to saaay! I’m gooonna make you SMIIILE and I will brighten up your daaay!-”
“NO! No singing, please.” Red’s eyes were serious as she whirled her head to face the bouncing Lyra, but her expression told a different story. A smile wobbled on her face, and to the side she suppressed an unbidden snicker.
“Hah! Gotchyah, finally made you laugh again. Hardly got past the first verse too...but, "Smile, Smile, Smile" always was a favorite back in Ponyville. It's no surprise you'd find it to your liking.” Her airy look she gave Red was filled with satisfaction.
A dark shape loomed close in distance, but neither pony recognized it’s presence, yet.
“Yeah well...” Red answered hesitantly. “I’m not a statue you know...sorry, I just can’t stop trying to figure things out, I guess. You may sing if you would like to Lyra, it was kind of catchy. Just...take it easy?”
Lyra giggled and hopped twice much like another well known (to her at least) Ponyvillean. “It isn't mine! So I can’t take credit, but thank you, I love that song myself. The mare that made it is a real hoot and half, if you think I’m a hoof full, just wait till you meet her!”
Red gave a weary smile. “Oh, I’m...so very excited...I can’t wait to-”
“So you wanna hear another song!?” The unicorn skipped once, and began to sing.
“On and on I’ll sing along, search-ing for shiny thiiings! All along I’ve sung my song, pluck-ing these old striiings!” The mint unicorn leaned into Red and bumped her shoulder with her own. A look of dumbfounded irritation was directed at Lyra, but she was unperturbed and sang on, even more cheerily, too. “I’ve got my hooves and got my horn! What more could I ever neeed!? Weeell... It’s you my friend, my dearest friend, my words I hope you heeed! Hoof in hoof let’s cant-er along just seeing all there is-”
“Lyraaa.” Red was wearing a pleading look, and was giving the unicorn puppy dog eyes. That is not taking it easy! Hmph, well if I can’t win this my way, I’ll beat her at her own game! I’m not above being cutesy wutesy...or am I? Wondering if she still had her actual personality only confused her more.
Lyra stopped her song short, mid verse, then relaxed. Her head hung a little, and she smiled apologetically at the road. “Heh, sorry... Got a little carried away...I made that song with a friend, actually.” She gave the setting sun’s colors a thoughtful look. “I like to sing when I want to cheer myself up too, or play my lyre...but I don’t have it right now.”
The mint unicorn sighed, then hoof bumped Red’s shoulder. “Sorry Rusty, I’ll stop with the singing...I bet you’re a great singer though, your voice is really pretty.” Her quick exposition was ended with a sly wink, then just as quickly she was again looking forward on the road seemingly in her own world.
The incredulous stare Red kept on Lyra turned into a thoughtful, curious one after a moment. Maybe she's more than just a hyperactive loon?
Red's thoughts concentrated on walking while she thought over the oddity that was Lyra. It was strange, all of her own senses felt conflicting and just plain wrong. There was this constant niggling in the back of her head, but what it meant she couldn't say. Was the road just familiar because of the air strips Lyra had mentioned?
“Hey... Lyra." She said plainly. "Could you tell me about your friend? Maybe hearing stuff about...Ponyville or other ponies will help my memory? What did you say her name was... Bonbon?” It came out as a question since Red thought it wasn't likely to help, but she was asking out of curiosity about Lyra anyway.
Hm, had I mentioned Bonbon? Lyra’s eyes squinted at a dark shape that peered out at them through the trees. “Rusty!” She gasped, then a relieved look sprang into being on her face. “Look, I think that’s a house!.”
The pegasus pointed her head forward and held a hoof up to her chest in relief. “Oh thank goodness, my legs are killing me, I need to sit down...”
Lyra was already galloping to the home. “Come on, I’ll race yah!” The unicorn took off like a green bullet, and was half heartedly followed by her trotting friend.
Red watched her new friend thunder towards the house across its lawn. The way she liked to fool around was really uplifting...if a bit odd. I think this girl never grew out of the kindergarten stage of maturity...
Hooves thunked up the wooden stairs and she whirled around crouching, to egg on Red, who was taking her time. “Come ooon slow poke, if you don’t hurry up the timber wolves are gonna getcha!”
Red took a couple deep breaths as she approached the massive porch, she ignored Lyra’s taunting. “How do you have so much energy...” She winced and kneaded one of her sore legs with an idle hoof. Wow... Is it me or is this house’s scale a little off? Her brown eyes searched the surroundings and took in the home piece at a time. Night had begun to settle around them, the sun making its final descent behind the trees.
Lyra was already up at the door and knocking resolutely. “Hey, Lyra...” Red crept closer behind the unicorn and looked quizzically up at the tall door. It didn’t seem sized for them. The lights for the home were off and no one came to door. “Maybe we should just go Lyra...?” She was getting an unsettling feeling. Her friend set her face determinedly and pounded on the door again, but called out this time too.
“Hello anypony home!? We’re really LOST and could use a hoof in getting our bearings! Hello!?” A light clicked on from the side of the house, and a loud noise like someone falling. Lyra’s ears perked up with a wiggle and her eyes widened at the response from indoors. “See?” She smiled at Red proudly. “Progress!”
Red nodded hesitantly, and tried to return the confidence evident in the other mare’s face. She winced though, a slight headache suddenly coming on, something tugged at her memory.
The door was pulled open roughly, and in the doorway stood a tall...thing.
Lyra’s eyes opened wider, and her mouth opened a little in dreamy surprise at what she saw. I think I saw one of these in a dream once... The bipedal figure looked around above them for a second, before looking down at the two equine shapes standing on its porch.
The creature rubbed its eyes, as if in disbelief, then spoke. “What the hell are you? Wow, I gotta...gotta stop drinking so dang much during the week.” One of its hands quickly reached out towards Lyra, possibly confident it wouldn’t touch anything. Lyra was too dumbfounded to move, and Red—who was going to let Lyra do the talking—was overcome by an unbearable headache suddenly. When the limb poked the tip of the unicorn's horn though, its expression quickly intensified, then, its hand grabbed a handful of Lyra’s mane.
“HEY! Claws off, grabby!” Lyra cried out and bucked fiercely to shake the intruder off.
“Lyra...” Red jerked back and stumbled away from the chaos that had begun to unfold without warning. There was a cry of pain. The tall figure fell back into the door, and it was slammed shut in an instant in front of the two ponies. “Hey...” Red felt her voice getting weaker. Then, without warning, the night grew too black for the rust red pegasus to see anything.
“WHAT THE HAY- Red? Red!?” Lyra’s backside bumped into the porch railing. There was shouting and yelling from inside. The unicorn’s eyes shot from the shut door and back to her friend. I- What just happened? In all her years nothing like that had ever happened around her before, had that tall thing just attacked her? It had been wearing clothes, it couldn’t have been some mindless beast.
The shouting from in the big house died down suddenly as more lights sprang to life everywhere, the windows, the porch, and the yard were all illuminated suddenly. Lyra began to stare around in a panic. Okay. She thought. Time to leave. “Come on Rusty old girl, we shouldn’t stay here.” Upon poking her, she found that her pegasus pal was out cold, Lyra tried to remember if the creature had hit her... No, it hadn’t. Why’d she pass out then... Her head wound maybe? "Rusty, come on wake up-!"
The passage slammed open once more, causing Lyra to freeze.
“Nighty night, varmint.”
The beer left an awful taste in his morning breath riddled mouth, but it didn’t matter really. After seeing what he just had, the Budlight seemed like the only answer, and the cabinet didn’t have anything stronger.
A knock thudded on the front door. Hank looked up from the two multi-hued horses that lay tied together like a hat’s straws on his living room floor. That’d be animal control. He hadn’t really been sure what to do after the green one had stabbed him. He wasn’t about to take shit from no stupid forest animal, but that thing had spoken. He was sure of it.
The door creaked open slowly, the chain catching as it went as far as it would. Hank wasn’t taking chances... Still, he wasn’t entirely sure what to do now that he had the critters, strange or not, under control. Best just get rid of uhm... Those things could be worth a lot of money... He thought. Why should I just hand uhm over?
A shadowy figure stood in the bright fluorescent light of his lawn security system with his hands folded in front of him. He wore an animal control uniform, and was friggin’ tall.
“You animal control...?” Hank asked in a taciturn tone.
“Yup, name’s Smith, sorry we took so long.” The figure answered. “You called about... Stray horses?”
“Yeah, they’re in here, as crazy as that sounds.” Hank unlocked his door and hesitantly let the man in, who then gestured back towards his van. His arm quivered on the door handle from the hastily bandaged wound. Ah, dang things are likely more trouble’n they’re worth...
“Hey, Hugo!” The tall man yelled. “Get your ass outta that truck!”
“Dammit, gimme a sec!” Hugo yelled back. Hugo exited the truck and ran to the house. The three of them walked into Hank’s living room. There, the two animals were tied up on the floor. Both the red and the green one were unconscious.
“Here they are.” Said Hank. “Had to gag thissun. Wouldn't simmer down none, so I knocked it the fuck out with the butt stock on my double barrel.” He kicked the green horse’s side angrily.
The two animal control workers shared a look of pure shock with one another, not at the abuse, but at the Equines themselves. The two partners proceeded to walk over to the thoroughly roped animals and knelt down to get a better look. Both of them were filthy, and looked pretty worse for wear.
Hugo and Smith whispered under their breath to one another, so that Hank couldn’t hear them.
“I don’t believe it, that call was legit, these are definitely objects alright. Brightly colored...” Smith sighed resentfully. “Talking horses...”
“Won't be able to tell if it can talk while it's knocked out, though....” Hugo said calmly.
“Snippy little thing stabbed my arm with that horn its got there...” Hank said nonchalantly, while crossing his arms, and glaring down at the weird horse.
“Well, that settles it.” Hugo nodded his head at Smith and stood up wiping his gloved hands on the uniform he wore. “These are what we’re looking for.”
The two workers turned back to Hank, who continued to give them a suspicious look. “You fellas say something?”
“Hm? No, anywho, we’ll get these little guys out of your hair pronto alright. No charge.” Smith said with a cool smirk.
“Really? Well, thank you partner. Glad this was quick too, I got work tomorrow and-” Hank made to shake the worker’s hand, who immediately threw a right hook to Hank’s temple. The swing collided with a pulpy thud, and Hank was knocked smoothly to the floor, unconscious.
That’s it? Smith thought wryly. That easy? Christ, I’d have thought a mountain goat like him would be able to take a punch.
“I’ve got the objects, Smith.” Hugo snickered as he hoisted both ponies onto his shoulders. “You administer the amnesiac yet?”
“Almost, Hugo...” His partner replied monotonously, then attempted to suppress his own laughter.
He pulled out a syringe from a hidden pocket in his fake animal control worker’s uniform, and jammed it straight into the unconscious man’s neck. The amnesiac coursed its way through his veins. Wasting no time, he lifted Hank up and placed him in a chair, making it look like he had simply fallen asleep. After he was appropriately seated and didn’t seem like he would slide out onto the floor, Smith then ran to the kitchen and opened the fridge. He grabbed one of the beers and popped it open, then ran back into the living room and placed the beer next to Hank.
Thoughtfully, Smith took a step back for a second to admire his handiwork. Hm, just one more thing... He grabbed the TV remote, and placed it in Hank’s hand. Perfect. Satisfied with the scene that had been set, he waltzed outside to the truck.
“Are they loaded up yet!?” Smith yelled as he jumped into the truck's driver side seat.
With a final slam of the doors, the ponies were loaded into the back of the truck. “Yessir, both freaks are put away and secured!” Hugo dusted off his hands, grinning ruefully as he got into the shotgun side of vehicle. The moving-truck started and drove away, leaving the unconscious redneck to a confusing wake-up and a splitting headache.
Hugo looked over at Smith, disappointment on his face. His partner caught the look out of the corner of his eye. “What?” He asked sharply.
“I don't think he got the reference man, I told you we should've been Agent K and J..." Smith rolled his eyes and set them back onto the road. He went over the route across the roads and backwoods trails he was to take to arrive at their destination. The truck flew across the asphalt in the deep of the night, towards Site-19.
The first sensation that became known to her was the cold. She felt rings of ice around her legs. Every few moments she thought a voice spoke to her, its low drone bidding her to wake up. It sounded as if the sounds were underwater. Every time it spoke to her, she struggled to get up, or at least open her eyes.
“Are you awake?” It still sounded distant and unnatural, but the voice was now understandable. Her own refused to answer it. “Nod your head if you understand.” The voice was commanding in its tone. She realized her eyes weren’t open, that the light which surrounded her passed first through her eyelids. Her vision struggled into being, and through squinting she was able to resist the blinding light.
The voice repeated itself, more clearly now. What sounded like a sigh preceded it this time. “Nod your head if you understand.” It was a bored sounding, male voice. Her head managed to lift up from the concrete floor an inch, then shakily, she let it fall again. There was something around her neck, enveloping it in the same icy feeling that plagued her legs. “Subject is awake...” The voice said appreciatively.
“Where-” Red began to cough painfully, it hurt a great deal to talk. Whatever was wrapped around her neck was too tight. “Where am I?” Her senses all rushed back to her, most of them bringing only pain. She could make out what little there was to her surroundings though. A single bright light sat in the center of the room, hanging directly above her...and there wasn't much else.
Blank walls, a concrete and metal floor, what looked to be a massive, metal doorway...and chains, attached to more metal encircling all of her limbs. It was all shrouded in dark, though, except for that solitary light—Red's circle of light only went so far into the room.
What sounded like a hushed whispering came from the walls around Red, before a clicking noise ended the sounds. The chains rattled as she tried to stand. “Wha-Why am I chained up? What’s going on?” She asked anyone who listened.
Her legs were tired and ached horribly, walking would be difficult. But, standing was as much movement as the chains allowed, her eyes ran over their lengths in full. The neck collar and its links were only a few feet long, and the ones just above her hooves were even shorter. They attached each of her legs to the other, like hand cuffs. Am I in prison? No, I’ve never done anything wrong... Where am I!?
Red began to hyperventilate and pull against the metal. “Let me go...Let me go! I didn’t do anything, where am I!?” The chains caused a great deal of pain, they were heavy and sharply cornered. Struggling did nothing but strain her neck and cut into her skin. She gave up her fight, and begged for the only name she could remember... “Lyra!? Lyra where are you? Please help...” Her plead melted defeatedly into a squeak. Then, the cold voice returned.
“You are in a safe place, and you will not be harmed. Please do not struggle or hurt yourself, the restraints are for both your protection, and ours.” They were speaking to her through a microphone. So, from another room?
Red looked everywhere around herself again to see if she missed them somewhere. Her eyes spotted a little speaker, embedded in the ceiling beside the light. Why is someone doing this!?
The voice had paused again, before he expectantly asked her a question. He sounded... excited. “Do you have name? Also, what are you? Are you capable of actually fl-?” A wave of static rushed into the room, it sounded as though the mic were knocked over.
Red glared down through her growing tears at the chains holding her. Lyra isn’t in here with me... The memory of the house returned, she had just been there. How did I get here? Just what happened?
A different voice came through into the room, that of a woman. “Please answer the questions, tell us what you are.”
Red didn’t know what to feel, her blood boiled from an anger she’d suddenly discovered, but her eyes still watered and her legs began to shake. The words she was able to speak, however, were scathing. “No, FUCK no! I don’t even know who YOU are! Answer my questions first! Where am I? What’s going on? Whawha...I just...I was just in a forest on my way to Ponyville or whatever, how did I get here!?”
“You aren’t in a position to negotiate. You may answer the questions, or we will not progress. If you answer them, we may reciprocate the gesture. Or, we may try again tomorrow, the choice is yours." The sound of the microphone clicking off left an echo in the room that seemed to remain longer than it should have. Red searched the floor slack-mouthed for something to say. Giving the chains one more short tug only reaffirmed the hopeless feeling that had been seeded in her. Confusion, the threat of isolation, and on top of that, nothing added up...
The pony struggled against herself just to speak. “I...Can you take off these chains? They hurt...” Was what she came up with to say, facing this was difficult, more so because the persons speaking were hidden. Are they even people? Or are they ponies like me. Her hooves shifted in front of her under the weight of the freezing restraints. Why would people kidnap me like this anyway, are humans my- our enemy? Her mind struggled against the confusion and loss of memory for some kind of answer... She hugged her legs close to herself in an attempt to work warmth into them, the room was far too cold.
The voice seemed to ignore her request, and repeated its intent. "Last chance, answer the questions, or we'll try speaking tomorrow. We don't mean you any harm, this will only help."
"I have amnesia, just warning you. I don't remember anything before yesterday. You would be better off asking my friend." Red chewed her lip after speaking, initially she had hoped to discern if they had Lyra. But if they didn't have her, maybe she got away? In which case she just told them about her... If she hadn't earlier. I hope Lyra's safe, wherever she is. It wasn't much of a trick, but she had to know.
"Your head wound was noted, and treated." The words were said as though they were mere routine. "We will proceed now." The pool of light in the dark room seemed to close in on Red as she listened. The voice spoke as if it were sentencing her... She dropped her head fearfully and clamped her eyes shut. “...Because you claim to have amnesia, I'll word these carefully for you. Do you know what you are?” The voice had taken on a skeptical edge, but still somehow remained monotone. “Do you know if you have a name?”
A ruffle at Red's sides made her look back, the two crimson wings were there at her sides, and unrestrained. One unfolded over herself to become a sort of blanket. "My name is... My name is Red, and I'm a pegasus." The chains kept her from finding a comfortable position, the best she could manage laying there had her legs stretched out to one side. The voice pressed on.
"Do you know where you come from?" The light above Red was unbearable the longer it beamed over her, she hadn't listened to the question.
"I don't remember that..."
Every time the mic clicked on the burst of static made her flinch. "Very well, are there any other details about yourself which you remember? Anything important about yourself, or where you came from?"
Red tucked her head between her legs to escape the light. I don't know, I remember... Hrrng, I can't remember anything useful lady, just leave me alone...wait, is she done asking me stuff already? It almost seemed to Red like a prompt to ask her own, surely it wasn't. "No, not really. I can't even remember words sometimes, I have to think about anything before I say it. The headaches don't help...everything is confusing to me. Please, tell me what's going on? I swear I've told you everything I know already, there just isn't anything left..." It was the truth, but would it even matter? She didn't hold out much hope. The voice didn't answer her, she waited, and waited.
"Hello?" Red lifted her head and stared up past the light, not that looking at the speaker would help. I wonder if there's a camera somewhere in here...can they see me? She couldn't make out the corners of the large chamber, the light created a sharp contrast for her eyes and the shadows.
The lone metal door to the concrete room opened without warning, the metal screeching slightly as it did so. Red sat up immediately, the chains went taut as she fearfully tried to back away from it. The surprise didn't last, "What's going on!?" she tried yelling. Outside the door a red pool of light leaked into the dark, then more lights in the room came on, fully illuminating it. At first she looked everywhere at once, trying to get a grasp of the changes, then her eyes caught sight of movement.
A tall man entered the room, he was wearing an orange jumpsuit. The metal door screeched shut behind him and the intercom woman called over the noise. "Kilo-Seven, please enter the room and await further instructions." The man sighed, his shoulders were slumped tiredly, or perhaps defeatedly. When his eyes met Red's though, they opened wide in surprise. He complied with what he was told though, only stumbling a little.
"What the hell is that thing?" He sneered a little as he spoke, causing Red to shrink back. "Don't tell me that thing's dangerous? It looks like something I'd give to my daughter as a pet..."
Dangerous? Red's look of fear and surprise had been exchanged for confusion and anger, this jerk talked about her like she was an...an animal...
Am I an animal? She thought suddenly, her eyes traced her hooves with concern. Pictures of horses and her pet dog went through her mind. What makes me different? Well I can talk...I have a dog? Wait, darnit it's gone... She shook her head furiously trying to retrieve her ideas. The voice called more instructions into the room, distracting her.
"Please approach SCP two thousand dash two."
That wasn't a very precise command. Red thought warily. The man glared up at the camera located opposite the door, probably thinking the same thing. His eyes shifted to her and watched with distinct weariness as he took a few steps forward. Her own chains rattled as she tried to move farther back. Just what is he in here for!? The man stopped when she moved, then flopped his arms against his sides.
"Is that good enough?" He didn't look away from Red, and she didn't look away from him. Her eyes were enormous and strangely emotive to him.
"Who are you? Why are you people doing this?" The man's eyes bugged out as soon as the pony before him spoke.
"Holy shit!? It can talk!?" The man exclaimed loudly, and backed away a few steps, then began pacing—his amazed stare never leaving her. "Is it some kind of experiment?" Red glared and shouted back at him, while the man continued to exclaim other things loudly.
"Of course I can talk you SICKO. Haven't you ever seen a...a pony before!?" The voice's volume began to raise above that of her own, drowning them both out.
"Kilo-Seven, remember your training." The man's face paled in answer, Red watched him straighten and look worriedly around himself as if he were in danger. His hand reached up to touch a metal ring on his neck.
...Why is he so scared? The more time that went by, the more questions Red had.
"Please stand adjacent to the object, Kilo-Seven." Red’s ears stood on end at this, she tried to rear at the man, to warn him away, but the neck chain wasn't long enough. She flapped her wings instead, sending puny gusts of air the strange man's way, still trying to fend him off.
"Don't you dare come any closer... I want answers you hear me!? I want to be let go!" Her hooves danced on the floor, the chains rubbing painfully against her legs, her thin fur offering little protection.
"Yeah...alright." He responded to the order, unsure. The orange clothed man began to approach without answering Red. His hand raised a little to block the wind she’d kicked up.
Her eyes were tearing up again as he got closer. "Just, let me go...!" She sniffed and let out a shuddering breath, trying to keep from becoming hysterical. The tall man looked even taller the closer he got, Red thought she felt herself shrinking in response. Oddly, the steps he took kept getting smaller and smaller, as if he didn't want to get closer to her. Finally, the woman's authoritative voice spoke again.
"That's close enough Kilo-Seven." He was no more than two feet from Red.
I could probably kick him if I wanted to... Red measured the length of her chain in her head. She wasn't sure if she should attack him, though.
"How do you feel, SCP two thousand dash two?" It was several seconds before Red looked up—tears still streaming—towards the intercom speaker lodged in the ceiling.
"Are you talking to me?" Despite her emotional state, she managed to sound more angry than scared. “My name is Red...I told you that.”
"Yes." The speaker answered quaintly. She proceeded, still ignoring her protests. "How do you feel? How does this man's presence cause you to react?"
The man in question was trying to inconspicuously watch her from the corner of his eyes. "...Scared, like everything else. How the hell do you think any of this is going to make me feel?" Red relaxed against the pull of the chains, letting them slacken. "Please, ma’am, I don't understand what's going on! I'll tell you whatever you want, just like I have been." She sat on the concrete hard, her wings hung limply. "Just tell me, why am I being treated like this? What did I do to you?" Her two front hooves came up to carefully wipe some of her tears away, it was getting hard to see. She looked up to see the man frowning at her sadly, sympathetically. "Sir, what's going on?" Her plea made him take a step backwards.
Respectively, they stood and sat there for a moment, until Red heard typing when the mic keyed again, and another voice behind the woman's. The door began to screech open once more. More orders were directed at the guy they kept calling Kilo-seven, ignoring Red’s questions entirely. "Kilo-Seven, move the containers beside the object, then exit the cell and report to your escort for relocation, that will be all." The dull red pony watched confusedly as the man sighed in relief, then brought two tupperware bowls towards her. He set them down and hurriedly left. I don't understand, is she going to answer me? Just what's going on?
"WAIT!" Her hooves flung out in desperation. He was gone though, and the door closing. Red whirled around to face the camera. "Who are you people!? Why are you doing this?" No answer came, the camera merely slowly panned back and forth over the room, then the majority of the lights shut off again, returning her to the solitary pool of light. Her eyes adjusted, and she could see the little red light now, indicating the camera's position in the dark.
The voice didn't answer her. "Hello...?" Red asked carefully. She was getting nervous from the quiet she had been left in. Are they gone? Did they just leave me and not answer any of my questions? The room was still cold, too. "This doesn't make any sense..." Her eyes drifted languidly over to the bowls, she deposited a hoof into one, pulling it closer.
The other bowl looked like it held water.
The first sensation that became known to her...was hunger. Not even awake yet, Lyra could already feel the telltale ache of hunger and her stomach gnawing at itself in protest. Ugh, I need to get to Sugarcube Corner and have Pinkie make me a Triple Icing Raspberry Upside Down Cake...asap. She could feel her mouth start to water at just the thought.
Hm? Her ears twitched, someone in the room was speaking, they sounded funny though. Her legs streeetched out and wiggled, ridding themselves of their stiffness. Odd, why are my legs so cold? She sat up and stretched again, this time her front legs creaked above her head and she let out a yawn like a bear. Her mouth stretched as wide as it would go to accommodate her. It's always best to get all the sleepiness out in one go! A shiver ran through the mare after the normal ritual. Brr, I should start up the fireplace... She decided.
Before she could get up, there was a rattling noise above Lyra, and something was also restraining her legs from stretching completely. "Bonbon...I told you...I'm not like that..." She said sleepily. Her eyes blinked under the oppressive light, trying to adjust. "Hey, did you leave the lights on?" A voice bounced around the room and into her drooping, still tired ears, but finally clear enough to make out.
“Are you awake?” It still sounded distant and unnatural, but the voice was now understandable.
Lyra resolutely shook her head to wake up. This wasn't her bedroom, this wasn't anywhere she recognized at all. The memory of some weird, tall and pink faced creature, hitting her own face with a stick flashed across her mind’s eye. Chains really did hold her legs together, she realized, she hadn't just dreamt that.
“Heeeeey...” Lyra looked from hoof to hoof raising each limb and testing the restraints. “What’s the big idea!?” She yelled heatedly. Huh? Her eyes blinked repeatedly in disbelief, it was pitch black all around herself. Outside of the spotlight in which she sat, was only the dim twilight of what appeared to be an empty room. “Where are you!? Show yourself, fiends!”
Lyra gulped, and waited for a response. A loud, painfully scratchy noise made her ears lay back, then a voice spoke to her. “Remain calm, you are safe. The metal restraints are for both your safety, and our own. Please answer the following questions.” The voice cleared its throat before proceeding. Lyra’s mouth hung open angrily. “What is your name?” She blinked, and tilted her head, expression still aghast from the demands.
What the hay was that? Where is that voice even coming from? Whoever it was, it was obviously a stallion’s voice. Her demeanor calmed down a bit, now confused again by the situation. Why would a stallion put me in chains though? Hm...
Lyra was immediately able to come to a sound conclusion. Of course, I’ve been abducted by changelings again! That makes perfect sense. Gah, pony feathers, I promised Bonbon I wouldn’t let that happen anymore...
“What is your name?” The voice repeated itself, again clicking and making that scratchy sound.
Lyra scrubbed an ear with one hoof in disbelief of what she had heard, then glared around herself. “Listen here buddy, whoever you are... I can tell you three things right up front. The first is that my mom told me never talk to strangers, and I dunno who the hay you are at all. Second, unless this is some really elaborate light-hearted prank, which I doubt it is, you’re in a lot of trouble for-” Lyra gasped dramatically for emphasis. “Foal napping me!? Third, if you want my name, you’re telling me yours, and releasing me first!” Lyra stamped a hoof, rattling the chains as a result.
Just where have you ended up now Lyra...this is way worse than waking up in Octavia’s swimming pool. Lyra’s hooves began to shuffle and scrape at the coarse ground as the silence stretched on. Her eyes flickered around the room trying to spot something other than the black. It was just her, the chains, and the thick metal ring in the stone floor that held her there. Oh, wait, is that a door? There was a giant indent in the stone wall, that could be a door.
But how would I get through it? Lyra thought doubtfully. She looked uncertainly from the shadowed blockade to the chains which held her fast.
The crazy-weird sounding voice finally made its return, and Lyra happily noted it sounded a little unsure.
“Uhm...SCP two thousand dash one, you aren’t in a position to negotiate. Answer our questions, or we’ll just keep asking until you do. Should we just leave you in here, alone, and try again tomorrow instead?” The sound of the microphone clicking off left an echo in the room that seemed to remain longer than it should have.
“Who the horse feathers is Es E Pee? Did you call me Dash? I’m definitely not Rainbow Dash, mister, and I’m also not telling you my name. Period! You’re obviously some kind of evil villain if you've locked me up like this without an explanation! Are you a Diamond Dog? An evil sorcerer?” Lyra gasped again and looked around with a scrutinizing eye. “You aren’t actually a changeling are you? The Princess or the Elements of Harmony will find out about your nefarious plot eventually, you monster!” The mint green pony pawed a hoof at the ground angrily and snorted for good measure. I’m not letting anyone get the better of me! No sir...except for that thing that hit me in the head anyway. Oh no, wait, is that the creepy kook that has me locked up and is talking to me!? Just stay strong Lyra, everything’ll be fine.
The clinking of the metal restraints holding Lyra did make her uncertain, though. Surely she wasn’t in any real danger. Just lost...alone...held prisoner...by a mysterious and scary sounding voice. Okay, yeah I’m a little scared...wait, where’s Red!? The unicorn began to frantically look around herself, it was still just as empty.
The loud clicky noise came again, signaling the voice’s return after its long absence. “We have a source which may be referring to you by the name of L-”
“WHERE’S RED!?” Lyra jumped as high as she could, which wasn’t very high, and the chain around her neck pulled her back down while her legs and body tried to keep going up. She landed clumsily, but kept going with her tirade. “Where is she? If you’ve hurt my friend—even though I just met her—I swear on Celestia’s FLANK I’ll... I’ll give you a woopin’!” Her front hooves massaged the sore spot she’d created. “Well!?”
Lyra squinted one eye and her expression became confused, she thought that she heard the voice speaking to another, but it was garbled. Is there somepony else involved in this?
The voice returned, and no more helpful than it had already been, either. “I think it may be in our best interest to try this again tomorrow...” He stated tiredly.
The pony sat curtly—perhaps they could see her after all—and waved a hoof dismissively at the threat. “Truly mister, the obstacles you’ve placed before me do indeed appear to be insurmountable and overbearingly unbeatable, but I’ll have the last laugh mark my words!”
There was a slight pause, then the voice spoke over the scratchiness that never stopped. “What are you talki-”
“Let me GO you giant dragon dump!” Lyra stomped her front hooves, and tried to pull her neck chain off viciously, to no avail.
“That’s it, I’ve had it. You tr-” The voice shrank and became quieter, until the clicky noise came which ended the scratchy noise. Lyra’s glare and pouting lip relaxed after a minute, she was about to pat herself on the back for flustering her captor.
A new voice entered the room, it was unmistakably a girl’s voice, probably an older mare by the sounds of it.
“You’re name is Lyra, isn’t it?” The mare said calmly.
Lyra shook her head at the disembodied voices question. How does she know my...they do have Red. The thought was a sobering one, even for the peppy green lyrist. Oh, I hope she’s alright. The muscles in her legs nervously tensed a little. “Nope, my name is Smitty Werbenjagermanjenson. My friends call me Plucky for short.” She said confidently and with a grin. What are they, I’ve never seen anything as weird as that thing from at the house before in my life...I’d surely remember it if I had.
“I’m going to pick up where my colleague left off, Lyra.” The voice said plainly, and without waiting for a response she continued. “How many of your kind are there besides you and your friend? Are there many?"
Lyra waved a hoof and put on a proud face. “Well, chyeah there’s thousands of us. I mean- Wait no, there’s millions of us! Or wait, actually there’s only like a few of us, it’s just me, Red and ol’ stallion Mr. Waddle!” In truth, Lyra had hammed that up on purpose, but only because she wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea to let them know how many ponies there were in Equestria... Darnit, I don’t know how to handle this, why do they even want to know this stuff!?
The lady didn't seem to mind her answer much though, if at all. She just pressed on, boy did she press on. "I see...alright then, here's a much simpler one, what are you? Where did you come from? Lastly, how did you come to be where we found you? If you answer the questions, then we’ll be that much closer to helping you. We have your interests in mind, Lyra, rest assured.”
"I'm not telling you anything, not until you let me out of these chains, and this room, and you talk to me face to face! Pony to pony!" Lyra glared resolutely around herself.
"Perhaps soon Lyra, these questions are important and need to be asked." The clicky noise happened, leaving Lyra to ponder those words.
“Why are you asking me this...?” The pony was left confused and wary by the onslaught of queries. Just what is the angle here? My head is starting to hurt from this... If only I actually did know how I got here, maybe I would have some answers to help me out? She twiddled her hooves while deep in thought, trying desperately to keep up with everything.
“If I tell you, will you answer them, Lyra?” The voice responded with an almost friendly tone. Lyra thought it sounded somewhat condescending, not something a fellow pony would ever say. Normally, she wouldn't ever consider somepony would be lying.
But...she obviously isn't a pony, is she? “...Maybe, depends if I like what you’ve got to say buster.” Lyra tried to cross her forelegs, but with the restrictive chain in the way, she ended up just struggling against them in irritation.
The voice responded with a concerned tone. “Please don’t hurt yourself Lyra, we do actually care very much about your well being, I would also like to apologize for this treatment before we proceed. It’s just to be safe, you see.”
Lyra ceased the futile flailing, and listened intently.
“We’re asking you these questions Lyra, because you hurt someone. I cannot tell you many things as a result, but I will say this, because I think it will help us all.” Lyra focused on the voice’s words more and more. The moment she had said that...that she had hurt somepony, Lyra’s eyes misted up.
A faint smell returned to her memory, one that’s significance hadn’t even occurred to her at the time. In fact, she’d only ever smelled it on the rarest of rare occasions. It was that of blood.
“We need to determine if you’re a threat to us Lyra. We need to make sure you won’t kill us,” the mare gasped at the word kill, “if given the chance. I will share this tidbit of information with you...the likes of your species has never been encountered by us before, and you have hurt one of us-” The pony interrupted the speaker, unable to bare anymore of the speculative accusations.
“No! I would never hurt anypony, or anything for that matter! No one, not ever, you have to believe me! It was an accident, I was surprised and...” Lyra sniffled and scrubbed at her face furiously with a hoof where a heat had grown. Kill? Who would ever kill anypony? That’s just...unthinkable.
The voice had spoken calmly and on top of that, earnestly, Lyra was sure of it.
It continued speaking while Lyra worked to rebuild her resolve. “So, it was self defense...Lyra?” The voice and the staticky click that always preceded and followed it seemed echo in the room’s emptiness.
“Defense? N-no, I was, he...he just grabbed me, and I accidentally hit him with my horn. You just don’t grab somepony’s head like that...” Lyra coughed and cleared her throat, eager to regain her composure.
“I see.” The lady’s voice said simply. “Well, I answered your single question Lyra, to surmise it again for you, we’re doing this because you may be dangerous. Although, I can see now that isn't the case at all. Would you be so kind as to answer a few of mine?” Lyra’s eyes were wide with terror from the accusation, then relaxed when the lady's voice claimed she was actually innocent. In the end she didn't know how to feel at all.
Just keep it together Lyra, this is obviously just a misunderstanding. The mare nodded to herself as she solved her way through the situation in her head. Once this is cleared up, I’ll bet these crazy lookin’ fellas can even help you get home. A corner of her mouth quirked up in a weak smile, it was aided by the twinge of relief that came from the voice's assent to her innocence.
A thought of concern for the stallion she had hurt crossed Lyra's mind. That tall weird guy wasn’t hurt that bad after all, was he? She licked her lips and spoke to the voice quietly. "Was the guy I hurt...alright? May I go and apologize to him?" Her eyes became as big as dinner plates and misted slightly again, even though she had no one to face with them.
". . .I'm sure the man we found you with is fine, Lyra. There was no report of any deaths, in any case." The voice had waited to speak, but what really caught Lyra's attention, was that she had said death once again. "So, do you feel like answering those couple questions Lyra? We can give you time to decide if you would like."
Deaths? The mare's eyes bugged at the very notion. As in more than one!? Who would ever kill anypony like that? They wouldn't really think that I- What in the name Celestia have I gotten myself into...is killing really a concern for them? She gulped uneasily, eyes glued to the darkness while in thought. Maybe this place is one big Everfree Forest. Luna's stars...it must be worse than the Everfree.
Another strange thought came to Lyra over what the voice had said. She also called that guy, man. What the hay is a man? Was that dude a man? Hm... A sigh escaped her lips, and she realized her mouth was really dry. The oddity could be postponed answering, the lady was still waiting on her.
"Alright, I'll answer them, but I want out of these chains at least first, and some water too..." Lyra decided she would try and negotiate release later, not to mention getting Red back. If these mans were scared of her...she supposed it was understandable, even if what they were doing was a bit extreme.
"Lyra, we're very pleased with how well you've done so far, and thank you for your cooperation. We're going to send a young man into the room now to unlock your restraints, as well as bring you some food and water. We cannot yet allow you to leave your cell though, I hope you can understand that choice. How does that sound?" The lady's voice made Lyra feel a if she were in a hospital bed being explained the details of an operation. She sighed and drooped a little, her mint green and white mane covering one eye from the bright light over her head.
"Yeah, that's fine I guess." The mare didn't want to press her luck too much, so she took what she got. It would be best to try and make peace and friends with these mans as soon as was possible. She didn't seem likely so far to keep her prisoner, or as a slave like diamond dogs might, but that was a concern for later.
"Good," the voice assented, "we're opening the door, it's very loud so you may want to cover your ears."
The thing that opened was in fact, very loud. The huge culvert from earlier began to screech and slide sideways. So it had been a door.
All of the lights in the room chose right then to blast their way into being. Lyra eeped and shut her eyelids shut immediately.
"Oh, sorry about that." The lady cleared her throat after the hasty apology.
"You coulda warned me!" Lyra scolded back, frowning up at the ceiling. Through her squinted eyes, she caught sight of a shape just outside of the room, it looked familiar.
"I'll be more careful from now on, Lyra." The mare got the feeling the owner of the voice and smirked saying that... "Kilo-Seven, please enter the chamber with the containers, and lay them beside SCP two thousand dash one."
Lyra frowned at hearing that moniker once again, it was obviously being used for her. But why? The loud screechy door was shutting behind the man as he entered.
The man himself, was scowling and unfriendly looking, but he seemed to calm down when he saw her. Lyra gave him a nervous smile. He (it was obviously a he, if the man girls looked like this Lyra would probably be unable to stop laughing, which would be rude.) wasted no time in placing two clear looking bowls in front of her. One had lettuce, the other had water. Lyra looked from them, then up to the lanky looking man. She smiled again, and raised up a hoof.
He flinched back. "AH! Oh-" Lyra's eyes widened at his reaction. "Sorry, not use to the talking...thing." He put on an embarrassed look, while the pony frowned back at. His eyes just stared at her hoof, which remained hanging in the air.
"Uhm, you're suppooosed to shake it dude. It's how ponies greet one another! If they're friendly anyway, which we all are for the most part." Lyra smirked and quirked an eye brow.
Oddly, this "Kilo" guy put a hand on his strange color, then looked up nervously at the ceiling. Then the voice spoke. "It's alright Kilo-Seven, proceed. She isn't dangerous after all." Lyra's tail flicked at the remark...
The man looked back at her and reached out to grip her hoof gently. Her breath caught, and immediately a cold bead of sweat formed on her brow. "Hello? I said my name's Steven." Lyra shook her head and looked up, her eyes had been locked with his...arm thing.
"O-oh, I'm Lyra." The mare said hesitantly, her thoughts sought to change the subject and escape the apprehension and nervousness she now felt. "Ahem, so what?" She said wittily, "no fork? How'm I s'pose to eat this?" A hoof flicked her hair back and she grinned up at him, trying not to be rude.
Steven (wow that was a weird name...) looked up at the ceiling again. Lyra's expression became a puzzled one. Why does he keep doing that? Can the lady actually see us? The green mare's eyes followed his, he was just looking at a strange black box in the corner of the ceiling, it looked a bit like a film camera or a projector, but not a window.
The voice and its mechanical click reentered the room. "We'll have one brought to you Lyra. Now, our questions if you would be so kind?" Lyra raised an eyebrow and shook one hoof daintily.
"Ah ah ah..." The pony said chastisingly. "Not until these icky things come off."
A sigh came through the scratchy undertone that always accompanied the voice. "Of course, how silly of me...Kilo-Seven, please undo the obje- Lyra's restraints."
"...Are you sure that-?" The man began, then he flinched and clutched at his neck. His eyes clamped shut, then he knelt down and immediately began to hurriedly undo the chains with a very strange looking key. The clamps buzzed instead of clicking, then snapped open, all by themselves!
Wow, impressive magic... Lyra noted a faint burning smell that hadn't been there before. What the hay is that smell?
"Alright...that's waywayway better, thank you." Steven back up several yards, and gave her a weak, reassuring smile back at Lyra's beaming grin. At first she just spoke to Steven, then her eyes panned over to the box, it kept moving side to side. Maybe it's a magic window? "Okilly dokilly, so what'd you ask again? Where I'm from? It's called Equestria, and I live in a town called Ponyville! It's a great place, quiet most of the time but every once in a while something amazing can happen out of the blue! The other ponies are all really great too, except for the occasional tourists anyway, and it's sooo beautiful..."
There was a long pause in the room, then the static cut out abruptly, but not before laughter from what sounded like several other of these mans came through it. Steven himself doubled over and began laughing uncontrollably.
Lyra slumped and looked nervously from him, and to the camera. What...what's going on? Her mouth hung open for a second before she managed to clear her throat loudly, then speak. "Did I say something that was funny or something?"
Steven sniffed, then straightened when he saw Lyra had trotted to stand right in front of him, glaring. His expression was a nervous one again just like that. "That's another thing, I understand you might think I'm dangerous, but stop looking so scared, please? It really hurts a gals feelings yah know?" She pouted a lip out and mocked wiping away a tear. That's it Lyra, lay it on thick and teach these jerks a lesson! Laugh at me will they...
The pony allowed herself a congratulatory smirk when Steven stammered out a hasty apology. "That's better." She turned around and pranced back to the center of the room, facing the camera looking thing. "Still there Ms. Giggles?"
The static and click returned once more, bring with it the voice. "Please don't call me that," the lady answered quickly. Before she could continue, Lyra jumped back in.
"Well what should I call you then?" Lyra sat, and studied the bowls while talking.
"I am Dr. Collins, you may refer to me as such." She certainly sounded like a doctor, Lyra decided.
"Well Doc, at the risk of being laughed at again here's the answer to your last questions!..." Lyra gave the camera an acidic grin along with the remark, as if daring her to. "Myself and Red are both ponies, and we have no bucking clue as to how we got here, and she even has amnicklia. So...the poor mare doesn't even remember anything else, either. By the way, could I go and see her? I just...I want to know that she's alright." Her expression turned bleak towards the end. There was a great deal of chatter coming from behind the Doc's voice, which was distracting.
Suddenly, a loud noise entered the room, Steven hunched down to the ground and looked everywhere at once. Lyra's own ears laid back against her head in fear and surprise.
"We can't do that Lyra." The door began screeching open again.
"What? Why!? What's with this noise!?" Lyra was ignored though, Dr. Collins instead addressed Steven, and told him to leave, which he seemed all to eager to do. "Where's Steve-o goin'? Hey! What's going on!?" The lights clicked off next, and the door began to shut. The mare almost made a mad dash for it... But what would I do if I did get out? "Doc!?"
"I apologize Lyra, it isn't you." There was a short, uneasy feeling pause. "There's just been something else that's come up that needs our attention is all. We'll talk again soon."
"What about my fork!?" Her hooves turned end up, unsure of what to think of how quick things had suddenly begun moving.
"Oh, well if you'll wait a bit we can get you that soon. Please sit tight." The voice clicked off again.
“Wait!” Lyra leaned forward towards the box, even with only darkness surrounding her she could just see the red light that glowed on it. “I just have one more question, please.” The room only answered her sad tone with silence. “Please?”
The feminine voice was its normal calm tone, but its message was welcome all the same. “Yes, Lyra?” The weird, loud siren sounding alarm had quieted some in the room.
The formerly chain riddled pony licked her lips nervously. “What were those...what were those things that grabbed me. The things that...Steven had on his arms.”
“You mean hands?” The voice proposed questioningly.
Lyra’s eyes looked up solemnly at the wall, as if to meet those of the one she was speaking to. Her voice was slightly quivering as she spoke “I don’t think I like hands...”