They say that a picture can tell more then a thousand stories.
So here is one of those stories:
A quick tale about if my character could ever meet Blackjack, in her ultimate Cyber-alicorn form.
(Update: This “story” now has a continuation in the form of: grimmyweirdy.deviantart.com/ar…)
… I turned my head around, and my body froze in a mix of fear and awe as I saw the mare standing before me.
A black and blood-red mane blew long and ragged in the dusty wasteland wind.
She was wrapped in a trenchcoat that had so many holes in it that it more resembled a fishing net then a piece of clothing. It did little in the way of hiding the heavily armored cybernetic frame that made up most if not all of her body. Framing a face that looked out of this world, white to the point of pale, yet seemingly untouched by by the harshness of this wasteland. And her eyes, they pierced me with a glow as red as the fires of Tartarus.
What should I do? What should I say?
Silence hung between us as I tried to weigh my dialog options, yet all of them seemed stupidly limited. As if put there by a narrow minded writer. And my words refused to leave my mouth out of fear of offending the mare.
”Why aren't you red?”
The question bounced around in my head, not really sticking to anything. Before I even realized that it was she who had spoken.
The voice that came forth was smooth and had a certain depth too it. It carried the faintest hint of an accent that I could not quite place, just enough to mark her as someone not from around these parts. - It was not the raspy, robotic voice I would have come to expect from someone who seemed to be more machine then mare.
Finally – My lips moved.
”Why aren't you red?” She repeated. ”Why aren't you running?”
A question my legs was asking my mind quite frequently right now. The only thing holding me back was the burning sensation that it would not would do me anny good, should this mare decide o eradicate me.
”Is there any reason I should be?” I asked, hoping for the best.
I became painfully aware of the little cart I was strapped to. Though the goods I carried was by no means much, it was still enough to paint me as a target for any would be opportunist.
I was basically a walking raiders wet dream.
Hence - why I had chosen this barren route.
Hence – why this mares sudden appearance surprised me such.
Moral of the story kids: don't travel while overburdened.
Would I be able to detach the harness quick enough to dodge any attempts on my life? If i kicked the cart hard enough, I could separate myself from it. Maybe even make a dodging leap in the process? Maybe even pull a weapon in mid-air.
Maybe I should stop dreaming about being a Super Colt?
”They always run. And those who don't, turn red.”
She sighed. Her eyes growing distant and tired.
”They always try to kill me. And those who don't, either run or beg for their lives. So why aren't you begging? Aren't you afraid I'm gonna put a curse on you?”
My mind was drawing blanks to these bizarre questions.
”No.” I said ”I don't believe in curses.”
Her eyes, which had been piercing me with their red hot glare, softened up a little.
”I though everyone believed in curses. Especially your kind.”
”My kind?” I asked.
”You Zebras.” She said, matter of factly. ”You tend to be a superstitious lot.”
”That's a bit prejudicially, don't you think.” I said, a bit of anger actually daring to flare up in me. ”You don't know me.”
Was I trying to sound tough?
The mare probably asked herself the same question, as she let out a cackle that I could not tell if it was a cough or a very dry laugh.
”Prejudicially ...” she muttered. ”Don't you know about the Maiden of the Stars?”
My mind recoiled a little. I remembered the Tribe of Sorrows back home in Zion valley talking about such a mare. A being of nightmares, with a coat as black as the night, and a mane made out of the stars in the sky which had sent her.
”You don't look like her.” I said.
The mare in front of me gave me a long trying look. Those red cybernetic eyes glowing like the fires of Tartarus – Yet she seemed almost surprised at my answer. Curious even.
So I elaborated:
”The Maiden of the moon is but a fabrication of ancient pre-war pony-tales. She isn’t real. Noting more but a superstition. A story made to scare kids into obeying their parents, less she will come and gobble you up for a stew.”
”And … Do I scare you?” She asked.
”A little ...” I admitted.
Way to go, tough guy.
”I mean … you are very …
Choose your last word very carefully.
”... Interesting. I don't think I have ever seen any … pony like you before.”
I glanced over her frame. Contrary to the rags she was swept in, Her mechanical body seemed to be without a scratch – If a bit dirty. An intricate network of armor and circuits the likes of which a wasteland wanderer like me had never seen. It had to be magical, the way that mare and machine seemed to merge together with no clear line between the two. Not to mention the wings and the horn, which in most parts of this wasteland would identify her as a creature feared and hated far worse then the dreaded hell-hounds. And her eyes …
That's when I noticed her eyes again. They had been given pause by someting I said.
”Pony ...” she rolled the word in her mouth. ”Its been a while since someone called me that.”
This time. She actually let out a little laugh.
”You now. You are quite interesting yourself. You don't turn red on my E.F.S, You dont run or beg or kiss my hoof in some sort of worship. You don't even call me …”
She made a pause.
”Does that happen often?” I said.
My stance eased up a little. If only because I noticed her body seemed to do the same.
”A lot. Usually there is more cursing and profanities and such involved …”
”I mean. Do ponies actually worship you?”
”Some try to … usually out of fear … There was this one who tried to offer me their only foal if i only spared him from some horrible curse that he believed i could put on him.”
She shook her head.
”Zebras... You tend to be a really superstitious bunch …”
Her red eyes fixed back at me.
”Yet … you don't seem as superstitious as the lot of your kind.”
”What would you even know about Zebras?” I asked.
”A lot.” She said. Her eyes growing bitter.”I've met enough Zebras to get a general impression.”
”That's a bit unfair, to put me in the same bout as them.” I said, speaking about others in general. ”I'm not like every other Zebra you know.”
”Of really? How?”
”Well. For starters - I'm me. I'm a unique individual.”
”Why? Are you an outcast?” She asked.
I couldn’t tell if she was joking or not. Truth was, my stripes had always made me an outcast in pony land, even though I had both Pony and Zebra parents, my stripes was all anyone could see. Only the goods I brought allowed me entrance to most places in the borderlands.
”In the same sense that every pony is unique from everypony else.” I finished. ”I mean …you might know I'm a zebra, but still, you should not judge me based on what people say about Zebras, after all - you don't know who I am.”
Darn – I sounded preachy again, didn't I?
I guess old habits die hard when you are used to dealing with this.
She let out that cough again.
”And do you know me?” She said ”Do you know who I am?”
Her face became all serious again, her eyes getting back that piercing red hot glare. This was the do or die question for sure. I instantly became aware of how exposed I was. But what else could I do but answer truthfully?
”Yes” I said. ”I've heard the stories, about the dreaded Cybermare.”
”And what do the stories say about me?”
”Not much good I'm afraid. Granted most of what I've heard comes from those who only seen you from afar. Tales who been passed on over a bottle of Applejack's Daniel's around a campfire. Tales they heard form a pony who heard it from a pony who head it from another pony who claim who survived an encounter with you. They tend to make you out to be some sort of … monster.”
”Then why aren't you running?”
As she repeated her original question, I could feel my heart sinking into my belly.
”Because … I don't know if the stories are true.”
”Because … I don't know you.”
She gave me a long trying look. If there was to be a moment when she put me in my place, or killed me for fun, then surely it must have slipped by already.
Her horn lit up in a crimson aura, and I saw her coat move as something was being pulled out from under it.
Oh snakeshit! … was she pulling a weapon? Was this to be the moment of reckoning?
Why hadn't I pulled my own weapon yet? Was it too late to leap out of the way...?
Before I could finish my though. She had pulled the object forth. My mind made a pause as I saw what it was. A whiskey bottle.
I just stared as she levitated the bottle to her mouth. Bit the cork and pulled it out with her teeth. Then spat the cork aside and took a big swing of that Applejack's Daniels'.
Then she cracked the biggest smile I had ever seen on her. (if only because I had never seen her smile before.)
”Well then …” she said, letting out a small burp before levitating the bottle my way. ”Where are my manners. Here we are talking and I haven’t even introduced myself.”
She reached out with an iron hoof.
”I'm Blackjack. And I'm afraid you got me at a disadvantage, given how much you must have hear about me, when I don't know anything about you. Whats your name?”
I stuttered a bit as I shook that hoof (finding it surprisingly warm to the touch, almost like flesh and blood).
”G-Grim... Grimwierd. But most call me Grim. ”
”Well Grim – If you get a fire started, then I got a story to share with you over this here Applejack's Daniel's”
She looked down on the whiskey bottle.
”In fact... We might need more then one.”
(Perk attained: Cart with wheels.
You are able to carry twice as much without becoming overburdened)
Note: I suspect only those who have read Fallout Equestria: Project Horizon might get what these two are talking about.