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/bootleg/: Bunker Edition Blondie 09/28/2021 (Tue) 22:05:02 No. 3505
Hey there, this is /bootleg/. Was told that this place would make a good bunker while all of that G5 stuff was going on so here we are. I'm presuming we'll be copying/pasting greens here, or writing if our usual general thread gets overwhelmed by shitposting and spam threads. Latest thread is: https://boards.4channel.org/mlp/thread/37597247 Here is the thread OP information we put in if you want some new greens to read. Welcome, we are the wild west of copycats & copyright infringement! >The BIG Green archive - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oRVzYT__ZrtEp1HdX8t_dZuy8_8qhUR_ziGspjuZDTk/edit# >Bootleg Pics archive - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1r78zz2lXslL1JunYYS188jex5m9Nu9YQ?ths=true >Bootleg shorts collection - https://ponepaste.org/5037 So, what makes for a bootleg? They can range from sci-fi to supernatural and everything in-between. Whether it's new OCs or based off ponies we know, Earth, Equestria or another world anything goes. The bargain bin brings a ton of freedom, while some find a niche of defective products, others are just as real as any other pony, or may even push the limits of what knockoffs can be! Ready to give a pony a chance when things aren't quite right with her? Then a bootleg waifu might be for you. Newly binned shorts: >IF Scenario G: Growing Wings (Blondie) - https://ponepaste.org/5438 >Peetzer Pony (Anon) - https://ponepaste.org/5248 New or continuing stories from the last few threads: >Jacky Part 10 (Blondie)- https://ponepaste.org/5740 >Midnight (AutoPony) - https://ponepaste.org/5610 >Zooma (ReggieSomething) - https://ponepaste.org/5304 >Rosie Rock (FortuneFavors) - https://ponepaste.org/4579 >Condense (ReggieSomething) - https://ponepaste.org/4168 >Minky (NHanon) - https://ponepaste.org/211 >Tinny the Tinfoil Conspiracy Pony (NHanon) - https://ponepaste.org/3979 >SilentFriend (Nebulus) - https://ponepaste.org/4464 Recently Completed: >Angel Cake's Quest (Blondie) - https://ponepaste.org/5251 >Jacky Part 9 (Blondie) - https://ponepaste.org/1887 The best of the boot; >Apuljiyak (Mexicancactus) - https://ponepaste.org/3559 [Applejack] [Adventure] >Carpathia - https://ponepaste.org/3547 [Derpy] [Sad] >De-Meaning The Six (YukkiPalehorse) - start here : https://ponepaste.org/3176 [Mean Six] [AiE] [Lewd] [Romance] >Twibot (Ponk) - https://ponepaste.org/1516 [Twilight] >Jacky (Blondie) - start here : https://ponepaste.org/124 [Applejack] [SoL] [PiE] >/jacky/ IF Scenario M: Missy Pie (Blondie) - https://ponepaste.org/143 [Pinkie Pie] [Romance] >Patches (FONYpan) - https://ponepaste.org/3570 [OC] [Sci-Fi] [Lewd] >Punkfire Xmas (NHanon) - https://ponepaste.org/2702 [Spitfire] [SoL] >RamboFast- https://ponepaste.org/3550 [Rainbow Dash] [Sad] >Rare (Anon) - https://ponepaste.org/218 [Rarity] [Sad] [PiE] Have a broken pastebin link? Use poneb.in, just replace "pastebin.com" with "poneb.in" in the URL!
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>>3505 It's been a while since I've been in a bootleg thread. Have some classics.
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>>3506 Rare and Twill got me into writing greens. Been sticking to /bootleg/ for almost two years now. Was around since before we had a board but only relatively recently felt spurred to action.
>>3507 >Twill Any great classics of that? I kind of fell off of /bootleg/ shortly after it became a general.
Hope everyone enjoys the place! Don't forget to leave feedback on /qa/ if you have issues.
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>>3509 Thanks. I wasn't the one who knew of this place but it seems pretty comfy. Here's hoping we spread the glory, beauty and... nerdiness... of bootleg pone. Have some of the last two years of Jacky and her two sisters.
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>>3508 >Classic twill uessing these count in that catagory
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>>3511 Only three per post... I'll have to remember that.
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>>3511 Not quite a bootleg, but reminds me of this.
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>>3516 >>3517 Yeah, Sparking Shine is... she's quite a thing. Big freaking dork is what she is.
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>>3518 And some non-Jacky bootmares.
>>3517 just about on the nose of being a bootleg, that kind of dynamic is interesting to explore too
>>3518 The one in >>3517 is called Dewdrop Dazzle I guess? Was mainly drawn by one artist PonykillerX, though much of his art seems to be under a php label now. Someone on /mlp/ told me about it because at first I thought it was a recolored Twilight drawing. While Dewdrop is a Twilight recolor I guess it was on an official product somewhere at sometime.
>>3522 PonykillerX did a lot of great artwork.
>>3519 >green Fluttershy Is she going to tell me to stay out of her swamp?
>>3523 A lot of it seems to be pretty high quality. Definitely interesting seeing so many recolors that aren't actually recolors in one place.
>>3524 >"Hey Hey Hey stay out of my swamp" kek
>>3524 Flutterlime is a good girl, she just won't really be able to tell you anything since her voice box is a little borked.
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>>3505 It's nice to see another general set up shop over here. As the Anon responsible for the /bug/ threads on here and BuggyCYOA, I think it's cool that you found some inspiration from that. I hope you friends decide to stick around if /mlp/ continues to get worse. Even though there's certain people on /mlp/ who get completely buttblasted whenever this site is mentioned, I can't help but imagine what it would be like if every actual G4 poster moved here. I'd like to imagine it would be as close to a paradise like old 2012-2013 era /mlp/ as we could get, considering nearly a decade has gone by since those golden years. Pic from my ancient archives, thought it might be relevant here
>>3528 /mlp/ mods are starting to get trigger happy on nhnb mentions
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>>3530 We have artist amongus. >>3529 Why?
>>3529 as expected they always do this when hiro is threatened, there's a line between discussing it and shilling for it though that gets outright yeeted
Speaking of, since we have a lot of writers writing greens, should the greens be copy/pasted here too? Do many here care for/read green?
>>3535 I like green. Maybe wherever it gets written just put a ponepaste link or screen cap of it in the other place.
>jacky is still going damn. anyone here that can recommend a newer bootleg green?
>>3506 >>3508 >fell off bootleg shortly after what was it about the transition to a general that made you stop coming around? and Are you talking about the first classic general or the revival. /boot/ has gone through a lot of phases, but I think it's got a good balance now >>3543 You're lookin at 'er in the OP. Midnight is the newest bootleg and quickly becoming a hit.
>>3548 >what was it about the transition to a general that made you stop coming around? Hard to say really. I think with a lot of generals, they originate from a single or a couple stories and when they transition to a general they sort of become a little less special. But more likely I probably just got busy with some other horse projects. >Are you talking about the first classic general or the revival. Whatever came first. I was usually in the one off threads prior to any sort of general. >I think it's got a good balance now Good to hear. I'll definitely be giving it another chance.
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>>3548 Midnight is a pretty (and moody) mare.
>>3543 What can I say, I'm a fucking autismo. But I did spend a good month or two writing a story about a filly named Angel Cake. Thankfully you have Reggie and Auto writing their stuff too. For a while I really was the only writer there but it has grown a lot. Now I have evolved to the crazy guy who used to be endearing but is now just depressing.
>>3505 About Midnight. That is an excellent art in the OP. The story was a good read too.
>>3565 >The story was a good read too. it's still ongoing, check out part II in auto's bin if you want to get up to date
https://boards.4channel.org/mlp/thread/37597247#p37603018 For now I'll just link to any green updates.
>>3505 I like this picture very much!
>>3510 There was a short green about the cereal mare https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/37236567/#37246807
>>3577 >russian discount unicorn ponuts with sugar.png
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hello newfrens /bootleg/ is overdue for a trimming and our first FAQ. if there's anything you want to know about the boot, nows the time to ask
>>3584 >if there's anything you want to know about the boot, nows the time to ask I've been out of the /boot/loop so long I don't even know what to ask. What's your favorite bootleg poner?
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>>3585 >been out of the loop so long dont know what to ask b-but thats the kind of person who the faq would be for >whats your favorite boot? of all time? impossible to answer, like collecting a plushy pone pile. there's too many good ones though I can give you new darling. pic related
>>3588 who is that?
>>3597 Dat's Zooma, Reggie's bootleg. She may not be the correct color for Luna, and she may not be able to run in a straight line, but she has a heart of gold.
>>3584 I actually might have an idea. What about something like a bootleg family tree? A document containing a picture of and a short description of each? Maybe link a few stories as well.
>>3584 I'm totally new to /boot/, where do I start? Just pick one of the "best of the best" from the OP and start reading?
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>>3602 >family tree we are doing something a bit inspired like how snowpones OC chart is handled but it's a big work in progress and much more messy due to the nature of wildly different kinds. other than that there's no wiki like batpones but you can visit the "big green archive"gdoc link in the OP for a short descriptions >>3603 that's entirely up to you, Rare was what started the general, you can find the one off caps here >>3506 some older /boot/ stories hit hard, but bootlegs have been a thing here and there on /mlp/ throughout the years. what do you think youd like to see in bootleg?
Gracing this thread with greentext. Update to Midnight. Part 1: https://ponepaste.org/5610 Part 2 (current): https://ponepaste.org/5723 >You didn't bother keeping track of how long Midnight was in your arms. >At some point, she finally pulled away from you without a word, turned away, and lay back down. >All you felt you could do was move back over and give her space. >The whole time, Midnight made sure to keep herself as silent as possible - the only indications of her outpouring of emotions was the occasional hitch in her breathing, as well as the dampness that now permeated the right shoulder and back area of your shirt. >Now, you just sit in silence on the couch, once in a while glancing over at her now-slumbering form. >It's an awful feeling, not knowing what to do. >How do you help someone that doesn't want to be helped? >Or know how to accept help? >You already sort of figured a while ago Midnight had been putting on an act to hide any potential vulnerabilities - but you hadn't expected she had experienced any sort of trauma that was left alone to be bottled up. >Who knows what the hell else she went through? >She certainly doesn't want to share it. >Whether that be fear of reliving it or appearing "weak" to you - that was up for debate. >Hell, you had to play it off that *you* needed a hug just to try comforting her. >And she still had a hissy fit about it. >And you're also left with more haunting questions. >Midnight was the only one dumped here that was apparently alive - why? >You have to assume it was not done purposely. >So, did she escape? >Could EquisCo be looking for her? >Could you be in deep shit for harboring her? >That last question doesn't really matter much to you. >Like hell you're going to give her up to the shithole she came from if they come a-knocking. >...You sort of feel guilty for how you thought about her when she first arrived. >Wondering why they didn't deactivate her. >Now the mere thought makes you feel ill. >She's much more than a mass of circuits like you originally thought. >And... the pony thing doesn't really affect you anymore. >You just wish you knew how to help her. >Ignoring problems and lingering pain is unhealthy - you can attest to the first issue, and she's helping you with that. >But Midnight just refuses help. >Her boasting of superiority, of her being a strong pony... >Yeah, totally not insecurity. >Hopefully you've made at least some inroads with her tonight. >You glance over at Midnight again. >This time, you see a glint of a blue iris peeking through a crack in her eyelids. >"What are you doing?" she mumbles sleepily. "Sitting here, I guess." >"You're watching me, you freak." "No, I glanced at you," you calmy protest. >"Multiple times." >... "So you've been watching me while pretending you're sleeping. And I'm the creepy one." >Midnight fully joins the sentient world, opening her eyes and raising her head off the couch, glancing up at the clock on the wall above the tv. >"It's midnight," she states flatly. "Are you telling me your name, or the time?" you ask her.
>>3645 >"Ha, ha," she replies sarcastically, shaking her head. "Seriously, what are you doing?" >Judging by the tone her voice carries with that question, there is only one answer she will accept. >If there's any chance Midnight is going to let you crack open a door into her emotional and psychological health, it's time to make a positive impression. >By being honest. "Concerned, I guess. I know you don't want that but - look, you're helping me out getting shit straight financially and getting my head on right. I just don't want you to feel like I'm not willing to listen to you." >"So... you don't listen to me when I say I don't need your help. Interesting," she replies coldy, rubbing her chin with a hoof as if pondering that thought. "Midnight, I'm not implying you aren't strong, if that's what you're trying to get at," you argue. "What you told me earlier tonight - that's straight-up nightmare fuel. I don't know if I could mentally handle that situation as you have for so long." >"I appreciate the compliment, whether you meant to do so or not," she replies. >Rather than reply, you just remain silent, staring at her. >The lack of any biting retort seems to frustrate her a bit as she sighs. >"What do you want from me? To cave and become your damsel in distress? Some submissive little pony you need to take care of? Is that your fetish?" "No. But stop putting up this facade that you're invulnerable to pain. Pretending it doesn't exist does not make it so, Midnight. Isn't that what you argued in my case?" you propose. "You told me I was stupid for doing that." >"That was different," she says sternly, once again averting her gaze to an opposite end of the room. >It's a tone and a gesture that lets you know anything else you try to use to battering ram your way into her psyche is going to be a waste of time. >Back to square one for now - but she seems to admit there are unresolved issues she keeps a stranglehold on. >Not that it surprises you. >It's just a reminder that there's more to the attitude than just being an ass for fun. "Alright then." >Your white flag of a statement catches Midnight by complete surprise, judging by her head whipping back to you almost instantaneously. >"What?" >You shrug. "You don't want to talk about it. That's fine, I can't force it out of you. I don't own you Midnight - you're your own mare," you explain. "All I want to put out there is if you need an ear to listen, I'm always available. Fair enough?" >Her eyes narrow at you, evidently suspicious of your intentions behind those words. >"This is supposed to be some sort of reverse psychology where I feel like there's an opportunity slipping away right now and I need to seize the moment, isn't it?" "If that's what you want to believe, sure. I'm not trying to argue with you Midnight. I'm really just... putting myself out there. Okay?" >"Riiiight."
>>3646 >You feel yourself starting to get a little irritated with Midnight now - and some of that probably has to do with your own fatigue. >Reaching over for the tv remote, you unmute the volume before flipping off the power. "You are right that it's getting late, so I'm going to get some sleep," you tell her, before getting up and shuffling off to your room, hitting the main light switch en route. >The kitchen light is still on, but you figure Midnight will get that when she's well and ready. >"Hey, Anonymous." >You stop as you reach the door frame and spin around. >Midnight's head pokes up over the couch back, her eyes giving off the faintest blue glow in the dim light. >"You didn't bring up anything else about... earlier tonight," she says uneasily. "Was I supposed to? I didn't think anything needed to be said," you reply, the back of your shirt still offering the slightest reminder of the emotions from earlier. >Midnight hesitates, mulling over your response. >Without a word, she disappears from your view behind the couch. "Goodnight, Midnight." >"Good night," she says, sounding a bit muffled by the obstacles between you. >You close the door to your bedroom, leaving it open just a crack. >"...thank you," you hear come faintly from the living room. >Well, that's new. >As much as you want to rush back out there and point out she actually thanked you - and you heard it - you leave it alone. >Rome wasn't built in a day. >Baby steps, Anon. ----- Short update, but the scene really didn't lend itself to a major update, considering how things play out. Also fighting a cold, which just makes it hard for me to focus. But I really wanted to get something out, especially since I was blessed with new artwork of the beautiful girl.
>>3627 >what do you think youd like to see in bootleg? I don't know, I guess I'll start with Rare and see what happens.
>>3588 >new darling Didn't realize anyone thought of my girl that way. Feels good man. I'm taking a short break from Zooma to focus on two stories I have going in other threads. Once I make some more progress on them, I'll be focusing solely on Condense for a bit.
>>3649 il recommend Minky for prime-comfy, it's a nice pick me up. also since the the bread is still alive on /mlp/ thats where most of the dead-activity will be at. but il check in here daily or so
>>3647 Nice to see some action here. Looks like I'm going to have another story to catch up on, thanks Anon.
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>decide to stop being a retard and learn how to use pastedown like all the other coolkid generals >trannie jannies ban me while I'm working on reworking on the paste and significantly trimming down the OP This is discrimination against bootlegs, but here's what I have so far. Just use the "bootleg shorts collection" https://ponepaste.org/5037
>>3692 >>trannie jannies ban me while I'm working on reworking on the paste and significantly trimming down the OP wut?
>>3692 I feel like sorting the stories by writefag so that you don't need to write their name 20 times would look a bit better, like here: https://ponepaste.org/5501
>>3696 Also, ponepaste is a bit retarded on phones. You can't really see the synopsis, and you can't scroll horizontally.
>>3692 What exactly did they ban you for?
>>3698 barbiefag janitors only work for the protected class. criticizing g5 was fine, but not g5 eqg.
>>3709 >criticizing g5 was fine They don't even allow this. I was banned for suggesting g5 posters move to one of the many g5 threads instead of trying to take over an explicitly fim one.
>>3709 >>3710 Watching what gets deleted on desu has been very enlightening.
>>3697 not sure what solution there is, but someone can try to notify ponepasteanon in the alternative fan site threads about it. >>3696 we can try it, i know a lot of generals go this route
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>>3577 Wasnt clear on how to get this to work and took a while but finally unraveled the mystery of embedding images into greens. the future is now https://ponepaste.org/5787 >>3697 >>3696 And here's a trial run of archiving by name https://ponepaste.org/5786
>>3577 Thank you for reminding me of this Anon. Was nice to see it again.
>>3718 I hope Ponepaste will be able to handle influx of media. It was made as a text hosting site and I have no idea how much more resources it will need to host images with greens if people will start to use this feature frequently.
>>3720 he could probably limit it to 1 per paste, or thumbnails only. as long as people dont go nuts with it, it should be ok
>>3725 Been a while since I've used Ponepaste, but do they actually host the images themselves or do they just link them from somewhere else?
>>3746 they don't host any images, but you can link from one of three external sources, I believe
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>tfw still banned making use of my vacation, the shorts archive pastedown is now just a regular archive, shorts included. I can hand the keys over to reggie if hes around for this cleanup job
>>3798 >>tfw still banned What did you post, anon?
>>3798 I gotta say, the Ponepaste formatting looks impressive.
>>3798 Sure, I can give it a once over if you'd like. I'm actually working on something similar for /moon/. Just let me know what you need me to do. Email is in the OP template if you'd prefer discussing it offline.
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>>3508 I went and converted some of the picture text into greens now. It's not much but here's some Twill, finally re-added to the list https://ponepaste.org/5703 >>3808 The new archive has the majority of descriptions and links all set now, so feel free shoot me feedback and use this as the main replacement for all the links above in the OP. https://ponepaste.org/5037
>>3852 >>3808 shit wrong link. thats the old structure, this is the new one thats still hidden until I get the greenlight https://ponepaste.org/5786
/bootleg/ hangout. We typically do these once a week. Come listen to music, chat with writefags, etc. https://w2g.tv/r4cci9qruvfldr797a
https://boards.4channel.org/mlp/thread/37597247#p37603018 Been posting more Jacky. I think if I do something new I'll post it there and here. For Jacky, I'm pretty sure 0 out of X people will know what's going on.
>>3852 That's some pretty nice art there. The PonePaste is looking good as well.
>>3852 >>3853 It looks really, really good. Very clean and easy to follow. I only have a few nitpicky items: >No link to FAQ. Should this even be in the story archive paste, or part of the OP template? We should probably try to start this discussion in the main /bootleg/ thread and see if we can come to a consensus of what should be in the FAQs. >Summary is misspelled as "summery" in the table column headers >In the "Shorts and One-offs" table, the first entry (Rare shorts) is listed without an author instead of being placed under "Anon" >Some stories are missing word counts or summaries. Not a big deal, as it takes time to read through a story and come up with a synopsis. >The link to Zooma takes the reader to line 114 of the paste. Delete #114 in the hyperlink and it will be fixed. >Please change Condense's status from "on hiatus" to "ongoing" Thank you for the time and effort you've put into making this.
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>>3905 >No link to the FAQ yet Doesnt exist yet, placeholder since people wanted to collab on it. I'm fine with putting either or spot in the OP or in the archive, it was just in the interest of cleaning up the fluff >Typo Slipped by because it wasnt in angry red squiggles. fixed >Missplaced Anon Due to a last minute decision to move kirko's shorts out of Anon. fixed >Missing information I /did/ say the majority not all of them, its hard to come up with summaries for all of them sometimes by myself, but i am aware of the gaps. as for the missing word count, its due to them being off ponepaste which doesnt carry a wordcounter but will eventually be dealt with. There's also the case of the case of not the full word count like 400k words of Jacky since it's just part 1. >Link takes reader to line# interesting, didn't know ponepaste can do this and might be useful later, do you know if this can work with pastedown or just greentext? fixed >Condense status to ongoing it isnt though, it's been on break since Zooma's driveby curves and swerves Ban should be up by tomorrow so I'll finally be able to rejoin the thread
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>>3906 >do you know if this can work with pastedown or just greentext? I don't think line linking works with pastedown, as pastedown doesn't show line numbers. I could be wrong, though. >it isnt though, it's been on break since Zooma's driveby curves and swerves After much thought, I decided to pull Condense off the shelf before I wrote >>3905 Started working on her for the first time in almost five months, pic related
>>3893 Even moar Jack has been posted. I'd stop since it's a month and a half away from being two years since I started but I'm not sure I know how to.
>>3921 Always good to see more content.
>>3943 reposting from /mlp/ finally unb& for now but didn't forget you guys and this is a great time to get started into /bootleg/ Next is a big boon for /bootleg/ people have asked for this for years. The thun parade has been fully pastebinned! this alone would be worthwhile to celebrate >mfw felt some real accomplishment finally able to connect the string of seemingly unrelated oneoffs, this has been a constant itch for years >It turns out there's actually had a sense of continuitiy and it wasn't long before I noticed a pattern of characters being introduced in the same house in a short many, many posts before. >How far back are we talking? The last time that he wrote it was in thread #36 but this man has been writing for the /bootleg/, the same house and the same Anon since #9! >Thun all starts with Dim Sum, and I even found the Aria bootleg that he talked about. I totally glazed over that in the middle of Dim-Sum's chinese, this was driving me nuts because I've gone back so many times in desu. >After staring at these short greens the style of writing and comedic play stood out to me too, I'm betting it's the same author as the fantastic Freedom and Commie >On their own its hard to rally around but when seen together like a big tapestry it's great. >No longer will kirko's work be invisible, and together with dusting these shorts off and piecing them together like a broken old stone fragments, I believe it deserves to be added to the best of the boot. >now that the full string has been united I'll be retiring the other pastes which only served as a small fraction and had bland awful names like "counting with bump" because it was hard to pin down what to call it >Unless someone gives me a better name I will be naming this House of boots to reflect on this madman's building of a family, and how he has been with us for the long haul >You may find the newly binned green here: https://ponepaste.org/5794
>>3946 Neat.
>>3647 >For the third time this morning, you hear Anon's alarm blare its electronic maelstrom of auditory pain. >You've been nice thus far, but this is getting a little ridiculous now. >Lazy bastard. >With a huff of resignation, you set aside the laptop you were perusing and slip off of the couch, heading to Anon's room blocked only by his door left slightly ajar. >It's not necessarily odd for him to hit the snooze button once in a while - but it's usually pretty quick. >In the back of your mind, you're a little concerned with the realization that it has been blaring for some time before the noise is silenced. >...Er, you're concerned for your own well-being, since he's basically hiding you here. >So you sort of need him alive. >Not that you're worried about that, either - after all, he has silenced his alarms. >They don't turn off by themselves, right? >You use one of your wings to lightly push open the door as you creep into his room. > It's rather barren, the walls a pale robin egg blue that has faded with time, and no decor to speak of - aside from a small window right above the bed. >Merely a bed, an end table, and a door which leads to a small walk-in closet grace this room as far as furnishings. >A lump you safely assume is Anon's slumbering form is nestled within a cocoon of blankets. >More than you would expect to see, considering the temperature in here, which is on the upper end of comfortable. "Hey sloth, stop hitting the snooze button. It's almost nine-thirty," you snap. >Anon's form merely shifts a bit, before letting out a fatigued mumble of unintelligible words. "I don't understand moonspeak, try again in English." >This time, you just get a groan in response. "Alright, enough of this." >You storm over to his bedside, leaning over and grabbing a hold of the end of the linens and tossing them aside to expose Anon to the sunlight. >He doesn't put up any sort of a fight. >Instead, he focuses on bracing his eyes for the sharp contrast of light by squinting. >He looks... very pale. >And slightly shivering from head to toe. >And he looks quite exhausted, by his sluggish movements in getting himself adjusted to focus on you. "You look awful," you finally manage to tell him. >"You were a lot prettier last night, too," he strikes back, shuddering particularly hard as he grabs those sheets to cover himself back up. "Stop being disgusting - what are you doing?" >"I feel like shit, Midnight," he groans. "Unless you cranked the AC down to the 50s, I'm gonna guess I'm suffering from the chills right now." >You blink. "So you're cold?" >"I'm sick. Ill. Whatever you want to call it. I can't be up and around like this. Probably got a fever, and I'm feeling dizzy just trying to look at you. I can't open today." "You can't afford *not* to open up - we just lost almost two full days due to weather last week," you protest, the thought of more lost revenue making you anxious. >"Alright, alright. Damn slave driver."
>>3955 >Slowly, Anon sits himself upright, still clinging to the sheets in which he's draped himself. >He pauses before actually standing up, seeming to sway back and forth a bit. >"Is the room spinning for you?" he asks. "No..." >While your first instinct is to believe he's screwing with you or playing it up, the look of utter exhaustion he sports and the continued slight swaying back and forth convinces you otherwise. >Frustrated, you motion with your hoof for him to lay back down, which he obliges - albeit slowly and with an accompanying groan. >"Sorry, I didn't ask to be sick, Midnight," he apologizes, shifting around a bit to find a more comfortable position. "I know, I know," you grumble in response, turning to head back out of his room. >Maybe you're overreacting a bit, considering the ease of access the website now provides leaves a vast majority of orders being placed online nowadays... >But still, not being open at all has to hurt business somewhat, and you want to make this place's financial foundation as rock solid as possible, as soon as possible. >And the hours open to the public have already been cut back out of necessity to pull parts for orders that are to be shipped out. >Of course, that's the transition - being here only to ship out and allow pickup maybe once a week... >You still don't like not being open at this point in time though. >You can't sit back and do nothing. "I'm opening up on my own," you announce, turning back around to face Anon >"You wha?" >He sits up right away - going just a bit too far forward before his delayed reactions stabilize him. "I'll open up shop for a little bit - answer any calls, deal with whatever few customers we get, and get caught up on the parts we need to pull." >"Absolutely not, Midnight," he sternly rebuts, not wasting a moment of thought. >Undaunted by his refusal, you pin your ears back with anger and step forward. "Why not? I'm more than capable of doing it, and it's not like I'm asking you to hand the whole business over to me," you argue. >"Have you forgotten you aren't really supposed to be here?" he says, pointing a finger at you. "What if - well, what if someone from the place you came from happens to walk in and recognizes you? It's game over." >Okay, he's evidently delirious with illness, judging by how little thought went into that argument. "What the hell kind of an excuse is that? Have you somehow forgotten the numerous times I was working on engines in the shop while customers walked in? As well as the few times I've actually interacted with them? Are you being stupid on purpose?" >Anon opens up his mouth to speak, but is unable to find any words that will help him. "I'm my own mare anyways, Anon - you said so yourself. I'm pretty sure I can manage without your expertise for a little bit." >"I don't like this idea," he continues to stonewall. "You still aren't supposed to legally be out on your own, you told me that."
>>3956 "Yet this is private property - *your* private property, might I add." >In the back of your mind, you've already decided this is something you will do, whether you have Anon's approval or not. >But you'd still rather have his blessing, rather than do this behind his back. >More out of a desire to avoid hearing his droll scowling voice later on in the evening when he finds out. >"Pull parts out back. That's it." >You shake your head defiantly. "Open till about one in the afternoon, answer any calls, and then pull parts out back." >He scowls at your counter offer. >However, Anon sighs after mulling his options for a few silent moments. >"I'm not going to win with you, am I?" >You shake your head once again. >"Be careful, Midnight," he says solemnly. "You act as if I'm going to get caught and get you in trouble," you chastise. >"Dammit, I'm not worried about that, I'm worried about *you*." >The way he emphasizes his concern makes you feel... >Odd. "Shut up," is all you can reply with, embarrassed by being thrust into the central focus like this. >"No, I'm serious. I want you around Midnight - I don't care if you think that's weird or makes you feel uncomfortable," he presses. "Well - come on, your business is-" >"I'm not talking about having you around to help me. Let go of your pride for just five minutes, please." "Then what is it?" you ask, feeling awkward as hell. >"I enjoy your company, Midnight. I want you around for - you. So yes, I'm worried for your sake." >You swallow hard at that statement. "You can't just keep me under wraps forever. That's not a life," you reply. >"I know, which is why I don't have a leg to stand on in this argument. And I realize it's a longshot that someone is going to recognize you, put two and two together, and come to the conclusion you're essentially a fugitive. But I can't vouch for you if I'm not there - I can't make up some quick excuse to cover your ass. So jus-" >You unfurl your left wing and gently shove him back down to a laying position. "You're doing way too much talking for someone as sick and out of it as you are," you tell him. "Shut up, get some sleep, I'll be fine, you candyass." >Without giving him another chance to speak, you trot out of the room, closing the door behind you. > It's only now you realize you've been holding your breath for some time, and you let it out in a big exhale. >'I want you around.' >You've never heard that directed toward you. >Not unless it was for someone else's shot at a massive ego boost. >Or prestige. >Or monetary gain. >Your whole existence is based on a gamble to gain influence within a company. >It was only in hindsight you understood that. >The few compliments and discussions shared were more or less to build up the ego of another, for their own betterment. >Something beyond you - you have always been a vessel for a further goal. >To be kept around for - well, you, your 'company' as Anonymous so eloquently described...
>>3957 > It's a wave of emotions you've never felt before. >A completely foreign feeling that is almost overwhelming right now. >Why? >In reality - what do you have to offer aside from your aptitude to learn skills at a rapid pace and your gift of making ferrous objects float in the air? >Your whole plan to fit here and make this your home revolved only around making yourself useful as a tool, not... >Whatever Anon thinks of you now. >Fucking rambling moron. >He even said so on day one, he had no interest in ponies, no interest in you or your past. >Which was fine with you - it's what you expected. >It was what felt normal. >What the hell happened? >Anon just keeps digging beyond what you offered and agreed upon - face-value facts, present day. >You don't want to delve into the past - you can't change it. >It doesn't matter anymore, and it's unpleasant to reflect upon. >... >And you hate who you are. >You hate *what* you are. >Anon pressing his way further and further into your past is forcing you to come to terms with that. >What does he serve to gain from it? >It's completely illogical. >Why do things suddenly have to be so damn complicated? >And why- >No, get a grip on yourself. >You have things that need to be done. >Stop thinking about shit that doesn't matter. >With another deep breath, you shove those thoughts and worries down into the recesses of your mind and head out the door. ---- Between being sick and not being at work, I didn't get much done on this update until last night.
>>3958 Good stuff! I hope you'll get better soon, Auto.
>>3958 Nice update, get well soon.
>>3958 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLATbzMutkc [Embed] >This is obscenely boring. >How Anon managed to occupy himself month after month sitting and waiting for customers is beyond you. >Almost an hour and a half since opening the front gates. And not a single person has popped in. >...you did get a few stares from passersby when fiddling with the lock and propping the gate open, though. >Despite your confidence you crowed about when convincing Anon to let you do this, it was a little unnerving. >Again, you aren't used to this attention. >You aren't used to being out in the open for all to see. >By design, you're meant to be quite striking in appearance. >...that's far from a boon right now, considering the circumstances. >But, no one stopped and shrieked in horror. >Sirens didn't begin to blare as the authorities closed in to neutralize you. >Just some double-takes. >There was never any thought put into what you would do outside of the facility once you made good your escape. >Tending to a junkyard certainly wasn't something that sprung to mind. >But beggars can't be choosers. >Now... >You have too much time to think. >What illness does Anon have? >With virtually no knowledge of humans, that question has you nervous. >Will he be okay? >Could it be fatal? >He didn't seem overly concerned about it... >But what if that was to allay your fears? >Fears that he probably doesn't know you have... >Yeah, trying to hide inevitable death is probably a reach. >However, you would like to see him back to normal as quickly as possible for peace of mind. >The least you could do is at least check on him a few times throughout the day, in case he needs anything. >After some time to let the thought settle, maybe it isn't so awful to think that Anon cares. >It's - well, it's sort of a relief. >It means you don't have to constantly be looking out for yourself in every direction. >Someone has your back. >Again, that's a new feeling. >Hell, interacting with anyone on a regular occasion is new. >You remember being virtually isolated from birth until arriving here. >'Birth' might not be an appropriate term, but the point still stands. >It was all part of the experiment, after all. >To be fully independent. >The creak of stairs draws your attention away from internal thoughts. >Anonymous carefully makes his way down the steps, still wearing a sheet like a cloak. "What the hell are you doing? Get back to bed!" you shout at him, aghast to see him as he tries not to fall the rest of the way down with his lack of balance. >"You want me to shit in the sink?" he croaks. "Not... particularly?" >You try not to gag at the thought. >"Then you're going to watch me stumble down the stairs. May as well see if a hot shower helps me at all, while I'm down here," he explains further, holding out a fresh change of leisure clothes out from under his cloak. >You don't say anything else as you warily watch him traverse the rest of the steps.
>>4070 [Whoops, it appears I'm retarded. Nevermind the extra [Embed] there.] >"Any customers yet?" he asks upon reaching the bathroom door. >You shake your head negatively, which elicits a frown from him. >"Sorry. How many orders came in overnight?" "I... hadn't thought about checking that," you reply, appalled that simple task had slipped your mind. >"You worrying about me?" Anon suggests with a smirk. >That face instantly draws your ire. >Even if he is kind of right in that assumption. >Are you sure you didn't just come down here to annoy me when I'm supposed to be rid of you for the day?" >He shrugs while walking into the bathroom and closing the door behind. >"I'm a man of many talents," his muffled voice echoes from the other side. >Smartass. >While Anon does his thing, you check up on emails on the computer for orders, as reminded by him. >And there are quite a few new ones in the last fourteen or so hours. >Most of which seem to be engine parts, just from a glance. >Fairly simple, as your work has left shelves full of sorted parts in the building. >Pontiac 400 heads, Ford 351 oil pan, Jeep 360 four-barrel intake... >You don't recall doing any Jeep stuff. >But there are some parts you know - at least, that you know are marked. >Book smarts don't necessarily translate into instant visual identification - not like Anon can do. >You still need reference tags for most of these things. >That knowledge likely comes with experience. >Almost in time with the sound of the water being turned on, you pad over to the storage room and make your way along the narrow corridors. >The lighting in this room is awful, but you have no issues seeing in the dark, thanks to your eyes. >You can't help but laugh when Anon stumbles his way along in here when he's looking for something. >Like other aspects of his business, it was something he noticed, but never bothered to improve. >With as much stockpiling as the two of you have accomplished, reaching and replacing light fixtures will be a tall task. >Maybe someday... >You manage to find the engine heads fairly quick, trotting back to the entrance just to place them down outside the door. >But before you turn back to head for the oil pan, someone comes around the corner of the entrance to the shop. >A customer! >Just as you start to feel excitement and anxiety build, you get a better look at your visitor. >Carrying a large box, the man is clad in a drab brown uniform... >Just a delivery. >Dammit. >"Well good morning, miss," he greets you with a smile and in a voice that is borderline baby talk. "Your owner wouldn't happen to be around to sign for this package, would he?" >Owner. >You clench your jaw at the utterance of that insulting word being directed toward you. >And the way he says that! >Like you're some sort of imbecile! >You have half a mind to- >"In here, but I'm a little occupied at the moment!" Anon shouts through the sounds of the shower. "She can sign for it, can't she?"
>>4071 >"Of course, sorry about that," the delivery driver announces back, his gaze drawn away from you and toward the closed door behind. >It gives you a moment to scowl at him in an attempt to relieve some of your anger. >Just as he starts to focus back on you, you bring yourself back to a decidedly more approachable appearance. >"Where do you want this?" he asks politely, motioning to the large package with a nod of his head. >The box is large enough to require the use of both hands. >Well, he can shove it wh- "I'll take it," you reply, sensing at least some sort of ferrous material inside you can grasp. >It's strange how your ability works, but you can 'feel' when something can be moved or drawn toward you. >From that, you can get a sense of general shape, as well as any separate pieces. >Feeling the presence of four cylindrical objects, you gently grab them and motivate the box to the floor, much to your visitor's surprise. >"Whoa, that's trippy." >It takes a moment before he reaches for some sort of device on his hip, tapping through a few things before holding it out to you, as well as some sort of plastic pen. >"Sign here," he directs. >You frown, knowing full well you can't handle that object. >Your eyes divert their attention to other nearby objects, before spotting the thin metal wire holding the tag to the engine heads you put down. >The wire unwinds itself under your silent instructions, before weaving through the air and wrapping around the stylus pen. >"Man, they keep on coming up with crazier inventions, don't they?" he says, wide-eyed and astounded. "Something like that," you absently reply, taking a moment to scrawl your name on the touchscreen. >'Midnight.' >That sort of makes it official now, doesn't it? >It was a quick thought to avoid Anon from using the cringe-worthy 'Turbo' moniker, but you're come to prefer the name now. >It sure beats an alphanumeric project code. >As he puts the device away, he renews his smile and waves, heading back out. >"Have a good day, Midnight." >You half-heartedly wave with a hoof, waiting for him to disappear beyond the brick-and-mortar door frame. >A growl of pent-up ire escapes you once the coast is clear. >You don't think you'll ever get over that term. >For more than one reason. >"Sorry, Midnight." "What?" >You turn to face the bathroom door after hearing Anon's apology from the other side. >"I was a little worried you might not take too well to him asking for your..." >He trails off. "Owner?" you suggest, keeping your audible bitterness to the minimum you can muster. >"Yeah. I figured I would just speak up." >You could berate him for that. >After all, this is supposed to be your day flying solo. >Perhaps he came down here to 'shower' because he doesn't trust you... >Even if that were true, he's right. >That comment really pissed you off, even if that is the cover you need to hide behind.
>>4072 >"I probably would have had to fetch you for approval anyways. And no, that did not sit well with me," you sigh. "Thank you." >You await the gasp or comment pointing out your rare manners. >But aside from the water shutting off, all is silent. >That's... unsettling. "Anonymous?" >"Yeah? I'm here." "Oh. I was expecting you to be a smartass about that," you admit. >"Should I?" "Normally you would have. Is this part of being ill?" >You hear him chuckle slightly. >"No, but I think I know why I feel like shit," he announces. "Do tell." >You're admittedly anxious for this piece of news. >"You remember that chicken bacon ranch pizza I had about a week ago?" >That looked like a horrendous concoction when he opened the box that night. >You didn't touch it. "That was last week, though." >"And there were still leftovers. Maybe a little too old to eat safely..." "Dumbass." >"Yeah, I deserve that. But it means I'll probably be feeling better once it's out of my system, so hopefully tomorrow." >The door opens, greeting you with a wave of steam that rolls outward. >Anon shuffles out in his new change of clothes, his hair still looking slightly damp. >"Anyway... to tell you the truth, I guess I see now that you've got your own demons to work through. As much as I like to pick for fun and enjoy getting it back, that's not fair to you. You're trying." >Try as you might, it's impossible to keep stoic. >You feel your face grow hot. "I'm... we all got the little things that bother us. You're making a mountain out of a molehill." >"Maybe. Let's just leave it at that. I still feel like everything is moving while I'm standing still." >A cooling wave of relief washes over you with that gentle dismissal, leaving you with the mystery in the package just delivered. "What did you order, anyway? Whatever it is, there's four of 'em, and I can tell they're some sort of metal tubes." >Anon, wide-eyed, looks at you incredulously as you describe the contents. >"You figured that all out just by picking it up?" "Still sealed, isn't it?" >"Cat's basically out of the bag, and I don't want you thinking they're the keys to your own private fun time," he comments, wiggling his eyebrows. >Metal tubes as private fun ti- >You take a step back from him upon realization and snort, aghast by the idea. "Don't be a pervert! Fucking sicko!" you shout at him. >He bows as if being applauded, almost losing his balance in the process as he takes a half step to correct himself. >"Shock absorbers for the Trailduster. Leaf springs will still be another week, I think," he finally explains as he stands up straight with a serious face. "You actually went and bought that stuff?" >That was something you expected would be forgotten. >Or something that was meant to be taken as a joke. >"Said I was gonna do it, I'm not going to lie and pretend I didn't. But you're gonna help me replace them, right?" "Absolutely!" >You can't help it, but the fact he remembered and did this thrills you to your core.
>>4073 >Evidently, your excitement is infectious, as a grin spreads over Anon's face. >"I am going to take note that I think this is genuinely the happiest I've ever seen you, and the biggest smile you've ever sported." "Still unsettling?" you shoot back, stretching your grin just a little wider to show off your teeth. >"Maybe not as much. I still wouldn't trust you with my fingers near your mouth, though. "Get back to bed, sicky," you snidely snap back. >He wearily salutes you, and carefully heads back up the stairs. >As he reaches for the doorknob at the top of the landing, your mind shifts back to an earlier dilemma. "Anon, one of the orders is for a Jeep intake, 360 four-barrel. Do we have any of those?" you shout up to him. >"Yeah, should have at least one or two AMC intakes in there," he replies, pointing to the storage room. >You shake your head, confused as to how he misheard you. "Jeep, Anon." >"Yeah, I know - that's my bad for not explaining," he says, rubbing the back of his head. "Jeep was owned by AMC - American Motors Corporation - starting in 1970. AMC and Jeep shared the same engines." "Oh. Alright then," you reply. >"Yeah. Whatever we got down there for AMC intakes, that will work. The intake is the same across the board, from the 304 all the way to the 401. All those engines are virtually the same - same block, cylinder heads, the whole nine yards. Just different bore and stroke combinations." "Well that's awfully convenient," you muse. >"I thought so. Them boys up in Kenosha, Wisconsin had some damn good ideas compared to the Detroit Big Three. At least up until forming an alliance with the French and Renault in the eighties. Damn shame." >With that, he opens the door to the living quarters, stepping in and turning one last time to face you. >"Don't be afraid to ask if you need any help. I'm going to try to get some more sleep and power through this crap," he says. "I'll be fine. Just get better - and don't eat any more expired food, stupid," you lecture him. >"You're no fun," he scoffs, before shutting the door. >Now, back in isolation, you can't help but think... >Maybe having someone that cares isn't so bad after all... -----
>>4074 Thanks for another update. Out of curiosity, what sort of time frame is this story set in I've yet to catch up on the previous updates. Kind of feels like it might be a bit futurish, but maybe that's just because a lot of bootleg stories tend to be that way.
>>4074 I've been wanting to share something regarding this all day, but today was a really long and busy day for me, so I'm only just now getting to this before I head off to bed. Last night, I was engaged in a lucid dreaming session that started to go out of control and become very stressful. I ended up terminating the dream and waking up around 6:30 my time, which was about an hour after you posted this update. I was feeling distressed and didn't want to go immediately back to sleep, because I usually end up resuming dreams when I do that, and I really didn't want to go back to the place I just came from. So I grabbed my phone and went straight to here to see if there were any new posts to do a little light reading, since the dark theme here is easier on the eyes. I've never really read any bootleg stuff, and I don't know the context behind Midnight and the story, but it was an enjoyable read, after which I was able to get another hour of dream-free sleep. None of this really means much beyond that it was comfy to read and helped to clear the mind. Thanks for that.
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>>4104 hey friend, most of the activity is still on /mlp/ but im sure auto will be happy about yrou feedback. hope you sleep better, have another comfy bootleg. And stick around because we're in the process of making AQ for what makes bootleg, bootleg easier to understand. SOON™
>>4095 I'd say it's more of a present-day timeline, just based on the simple fact that there has to be a market for old cars, and still old cars available to be collected in a salvage yard. So evern, then, we're taking some liberal steps, if I'm to be honest. 15-20 years ago in the past would be a better fit at minimum, but I'm just rambling at this point. But yeah, present-day alternate reality, since ponebots exist That's not to say that is what Midnight is, mind you - just that they are in existence... >>4104 Thank you, I'm glad to hear it. Believe it or not, it means a lot that I could help you out, even if it just happened to be by chance. >>4105 I'm not sure how many others frequent, but I do try to keep tabs on this place, especially since I decided to post every update that gets put on /mlp/. Last night was awful at work, so I didn't get to check in. Or do any writing. Or take a seat at any point.
>>4109 >it's more of a present-day timeline Neat. >I do try to keep tabs on this place It's nice to see you around and to see your updates here as well.
>>4095 >feels like it might be a bit futurish, but maybe that's just because a lot of bootleg stories tend to be that way. this is due to the original thread, specifically people thought Rare was a robot (she isnt). and then there was Twibot which was lowtech bots but really good so alot of people followed in that footsteps of cheap+fake = robopone in future where waifubots already exist but anon's not rich enough to afford the real deal. we dub this kind of greens the classic bootleg era. But things are still evolving, future stuff will still make an appearance, but there's going to be a lot more variety in the future. flutterfrog >>3530 would be an example
>>4118 You're saying there will be less future stuff in the future? How ironic.
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>>4119 kek yeah pretty ironic, the classic bootleg will still stick around and theres gunna be future stuff still im sure but theres plenty of non-future or non bots ideas that people talk about tinkering with like bootleg toystory kind of like how the Dollar Tree short, or the returning stuff that was never bots but got put on the backburner
>>4118 People thought Jacky was a ponebot at the start due to that old mindset. That said, Missy Pie and the other Missy gals are ponebots. And Flutterlime is really just a very hi-tech toy.
>>4148 To be fair, coming in a box and just suddenly springing to life upon removal makes it a fairly reasonable conclusion to draw. I thought that for the initial hundred or so lines. It does become clear that Jacky doesn't fit that mold, though.
>>4150 True. I had always thought that was a good way to ship her, since she was sold as a product. One step below pets because at least they're not stuck. Given what we've seen of Nona and where the dorks came from, it certainly isn't the most legit of business practice. It doesn't help that there are ponebots in that setting. It's easy to believe that there may be some deeper connection there. And I guess we've never seen anything concrete either way.
Hi everyone. For those of you who don't frequent the /mlp/ bootleg thread, I'm the author of Zooma and Condense. I've recently resumed work on Condense and hope to have a new update in a few days, so I figured I'd link to her story in case you want to know what the hell is going on when I post a new section here. https://ponepaste.org/4168
>>4151 The way you did it was perfectly reasonable in mind since, like you said - it was supposed to be a product from a business, no matter how dubious that facade would come to be. I think it added an extra bit of intrigue once things started rolling with getting Sparks and then Prism - but as readers we like to try to connect the dots and form our own conclusions as we go.
>>4154 >try to connect the dots and form our own conclusions as we go I like pushing that. It may seem like it's me being lazy... and to an extent it is, but there are a lot of clues out there that I think are clear if you're looking at things from the right angle. There are a lot of little details that I like seeing that can mean something when piled up; little pebbles that can lead up to a real hill. I think the current Part, with Jacky having dreams of what is her past(?), is going to be pretty important and give some more history to her. At the same time I smile because we already know a lot of her history, it's been such a long time since the story started and she's grown in her own ways. Her finding about her origins matters as much as it does to us; it doesn't really matter and doesn't change who she is now.
>>4156 That's the best way to do it though - make the reader think, get them involved. I like how you've done that thus far. We're also seeing it with Condense, which I'm looking forward to diving into once more, and I'm trying to keep it vague with Midnight, as well. It doesn't have to be something super important as far as a plot point, but it's something with which to engage the reader's imagination and thoughts. Those and heavy feels are what make a particular story stick in my mind. I do try to avoid heavy feels more often than not, since I'm a sensitive little bitch.
>>4153 Very cool.
>>4159 > I do try to avoid heavy feels more often than not, since I'm a sensitive little bitch. and you chose to join the general that specializes in feels?
>>4167 Listen, I didn't choose, it chose me. That and Reggie's influence. Avoid that man - he is crazy. It doesn't really matter where I go, though. When I say sensitive, I mean to the point I've broken down writing my own shit. Blood Moon in /moon/ violated my soul in ways I didn't know were possible.
>>4168 thats fair. bootleg can hit me with inspiration hard too, pretty much no other general has the same effect. i did like bird pones though, short lived as it were wish it would come back
>>4074 >You're pleased to see the number of orders that continue to roll in via email notifications. >It means your initial idea to make a proper ordering form on Anon's website was a strong one. >However, that does mean success may have been well within his own grasp this whole time, had he put an effort forth... >Oh well, his loss. >Maybe you could make a case for taking over the business. >...though you don't know what that would gain you, other than bragging rights. >That doesn't sound too bad. >Regardless of future conquests, the slowly building log of emails has kept you trotting back and forth around the shop when the items are something housed in the storeroom or coincidentally right outside. >There's a fair amount to be done out back, too - you probably won't be able to get it all done today by yourself. >Not a big deal, but it is sort of a personal pride thing. >So, while there's been virtually no activity in terms of walk-ins, it's quite likely that is a result of the shift toward stripping this place of the self-serve moniker. >You spotted people and overheard them taking items that they had no intention of paying for or mentioning to the owner when you still lived in the van. >Well, the owner being Anonymous, of course - but you didn't know his name before. >Nevertheless, keeping your head on a swivel, hiding in the shadows - there's a lot that can be observed living like that. >Even if it can be a bit taxing. >There is something to be said for being that way though - maybe you should keep up on your skills of skulking around unnoticed. >Fate has a way of throwing twists and turns in the path ahead. >Can't be too safe. >Putting thoughts of honing survival tactics aside, you are mildly disappointed to have not had any walk-in customers. >Well, disappointed and a bit relieved, maybe. >You've not really interacted with anyone aside from Anonymous. >So there is some anxiety there. >Your social skills might be a bit lacking... >But fuck it, you can wing it. >Adapt and survive. >However, the few phone calls you received today went well enough, so it isn't like you're completely blind. >They went well aside from mentioning your name, anyway. >That came with some... questions. >'Erm... Midnight? That's an odd name...' >Mentioning your mother had a degree in gender studies rectified the situation fairly quickly. >Thank the stars for Anon's laptop you've basically taken over. >Aside from more automotive knowledge, you've spent a fair amount of time learning and exploring the outside world via the internet. >The perks of living on an abbreviated sleep schedule. >After all, there's only so much you can overhear that allows you to paint a picture of what surrounds you beyond these gates. >The facility certainly didn't offer any information. >You hardly ever got to see the sun. >The last phone call or two, you did decide to use another name, just to avoid the hesitations. >Maddie.
>>4171 >God, you hope Anon didn't hear that. >Hopefully he's been asleep the whole time. >You checked on him once, and he was slumbering in bed. >... the pungent odor that greeted you upon opening the door to the living space told you whatever contents that were ailing his stomach made an evacuation back up at some point into the kitchen sink drain. >Ew. >Hopefully that helps, though. >If he's going to be that stupid and stubborn, you're going to start going through the fridge and throwing leftovers away. >With the silence that pervades while you idly tap away through various internet searches on the computer. >The sound of footsteps outside amidst the dust and gravel reaches your ears. >Your eyes quickly dart to the open garage bay door, a few seconds before a man comes around the corner. >...and he seems vaguely familiar. >Wearing a beat-up denim jacket and with graying hair and mustache, the older gentleman waves as he approaches, apparently unfazed by your appearance. >"Hi - Nightmare Moon?" he asks with a warm smile and a slight foreign drawl to his words. >But more significantly, you tense up upon hearing that name. >You obviously aren't wearing a nametag - and you aren't Nightmare Moon. "Hello, can I help you with something?" you ask, pretending to be oblivious to anything other than his initial greeting. >"Yeah, looking for some more parts - I don't have the time to pull em myself today, so I was wondering if I could just request em for pickup later?" "We can do that - what are you looking for?" >While you bring up the inventory catalog on the computer screen, you keep a watchful eye on your guest. >Maybe you're being paranoid, but he seems too comfortable... >"Where's your buddy at? I'm surprised to see you attending the counter," muses the customer, attempting to make idle chat as he scans the building. "He's around. Stepped out for a bit. What was it you needed?" >"Sorry. Uh... well, I need a radiator fan shroud, first of all, a heater box if you got one in decent shape." "For what kind of car?" >Your voice comes out a little rough, but you can't help it as your heart rate speeds up. >He at least knows your basis, and he's trying to chat nonchalantly. >...which is probably better than freaking out about seeing you. >Chill out, girl. >"Oh, duh. I'd forget my head if it could unscrew," he replies with a chuckle, slapping his forehead. "1972 Cutlass." >That particular car jumpstarts your memory - Anon helped this guy a few weeks ago, while you were coincidentally tearing down an Oldsmobile engine. >It made you speak up, in case the stars had aligned and he needed some of the parts you were in the midst of disassembling. >...and then Anon referred to you as a guard dog. >You never did pay him back for that, even if it was a spur-of-the-moment attempt to cover for you. >That fucker. >Regardless of past unavenged transgressions, you breathe a small sigh of relief as you connect the dots - this man has seen you before. >Here.
>>4172 "Alright. Anon hasn't done a very good job keeping everything tidy on this computer, so just give me a second," you explain. >More or less, you're just checking to see if that shroud is stashed away inside here... >And it is not. >Worth a try. >Instead, you bring up a document form to jot down everything that he needs quickly, followed by the year and model. "Name for this?" >"Theodore. But everyone just calls me Teddy," he says, leaning on the counter. "I take it you don't go by Nightmare?" >You look over at him after typing his name. >You still remain a bit wary. >Does he really need to know your name? >He seems nice enough... >So many different thoughts go through your head now in regards to your safety, now that you're interacting with strangers. >Face to face. >Of course, you did earlier today taking that delivery, but Anon was down here... >...and what, you can't protect yourself? >Going to rely on him to keep you safe and warm? >Grow a fucking spine. "Midnight," you tell him, garnering a nod of acknowledgment. >"That's a nice name," he compliments, leaning in just a bit more. "You aren't a custom model though, are you?" >The hushed question makes your blood run cold. "What would make you say that?" >"I don't mean anything by it," he says in an attempt to reassure you. "I've just seen my fair share of ponies and bots. You're a different breed entirely." >He says it so calmly and nonchalantly, as if discussing the weather. >But his conviction is solid. "Is there a point to this rambling? I have other things to do," you sharply reply, eager to be rid of this man and this sudden shift in conversation. >Your unwanted acquaintance just chuckles. >"You've got spirit, and that's something that can't just be made from circuits. Look, I'm not here to harass you or out you - I assume you aren't... verified." "Then why are you here?" you challenge. >Teddy stands up straight once again. >"I do actually need those parts. I'm retired... mostly," he replies, unaffected by your cold tone. "I don't want to go into too much detail as I'm clearly getting off on the wrong foot, but I do want to say that you aren't the only one of your kind - though you're more advanced than any other I've encountered. Where did you come from?" "The backseat of a first-gen Dodge Caravan. Turbocharged, no less," you spitefully hiss, making sure to bare your weaponized dental work for him to see. >It doesn't really seem to affect Theodore at all. >He doesn't flinch in any way. >You don't trust this guy for a second. >He's asking a lot of questions for someone interested in vintage car parts. >Even Anon was scared shitless by your appearance and threats upon first meeting. >Not this guy. >This Theodore, or Teddy fellow - if that's what his name even is - finds you intriguing, if anything. >He was hardly deterred upon your initial meeting, either, come to think of it. >You were just distracted and paid no mind. >But this doesn't feel right at all.
>>4173 >A thought crosses your mind, one that you have to wrestle back down with every fiber of logic... >After all, you could make this a non-issue with any sort of sharp metallic piece of scrap... >He wouldn't see it coming aside from the slight glow of your eyes. >Or if need be, you could go for his windpipe. >It would be nothing for your canines and incisors to pierce his throat... >No. >Nothing good will come of that in the long-term picture. >Someone will come looking for him, no matter how well you hide your tracks. >You can't kill him, Midnight. >"I suppose I deserve your skepticism, Midnight, I'm sorry for upsetting you," Teddy apologizes. "I'll be back in a few days to get those parts. You probably want my phone number, don't you? For the order?" "For the order," you repeat. >He rattles off a series of numbers, which you seamlessly transfer to the keyboard. >"Hopefully next time, your buddy - Anonymous, yeah? The business owner?" >You slowly nod, keeping your wits about you in case he tries something funny. >The fact that Anon's name is mentioned only tenses you further. >You don't want to kill. >But you will if need be. >Any threat to Anonymous is a threat to you. >"Hopefully he's around as well as you when I return. Assuming he's a nice fellow. Does he treat you well?" "I can take care of myself, thank you very much." >That gets a cheeky grin from Teddy as he lightly slaps the counter. >"Anyway, I might be able to help you and Anonymous. Or just you, if this place and he aren't to your liking. You have my number - and I'll be back in a few days otherwise." >With a wave, he heads back out into the sun of the afternoon. >You give it a few moments before dropping to all fours on the floor, making yourself low to the concrete. >Silently, you make your way toward the open garage door from which Teddy just departed. >It's all muscle memory from here. >Every step, every movement is calculated and purposeful. >Just like months ago, when hunting vermin. >You might be doing just that right now. >Reaching the doorframe, you pause and listen intently for any sounds indicating something that lies on the other side. >You catch the sound of a door opening, followed shortly thereafter by the slight creak of springs meeting a new weight before the door slams shut. >Even with the characteristic sounds of the mysterious man getting into his vehicle, you carefully poke your head out from beyond the frame, enough to catch a glimpse of what you can see of the parking area. >Beyond the privacy fence, you hear an engine start up, quickly proceeded by spying a weathered Chevy pickup amble away from the open gate and out to the road. >You manage to glimpse the graying hair and a bit of a denim jacket in the windows to give you some semblance of assurance the coast is clear. >Despite that, you still watch the truck leave properly until it's out of sight. >You honestly don't know what to make of the encounter, especially after his farewell address.
>>4174 >What could he possibly help with - whether it be you and Anon, or you alone? >It's unsettling that he made you out for something far beyond your traditional ponybot. >Are you that obvious from just a glance? >Visually, it shouldn't be a difference, perhaps the mannerisms a bit, but... >He certainly knows more than just 'having been around a fair share.' >Furthermore... >Are there really others? >Of course, there were the remnants of those that you rode with to this destination, but those were basically parts, pieces, and experimental normal models. >You don't recall any others like you... >The thought is troubling. >The thoughts regarding this whole encounter and the ensuing conversation are troubling. >You dismissed Anon's concerns about your well-being earlier today. >You aren't so sure of yourself now... -----
>>4159 >make the reader think You gotta. I think so, anyway. I still pretty much just write as I go, there isn't much in the way of more broader/longterm planning. I suppose I'm writing the sort of things I would enjoy reading. I also can't divorce from the heavy feels, I know them far too well. It's the sort of hurt I'd rather be able to feel than not.
https://w2g.tv/rooms/ajikxa2kvtxdodvjlf?lang=en Since it's Friday night, here's a hangout place. Lot of people writing their greens or talking about writing so it might be a good time to chat up some stuff.
>>4175 Thanks for another update Auto.
it's been asked on recommended stuff for bootleg newfriends. this is part 1 which is where the old stigma comes from, but there's still a lot of good stuff in here even if a good chunk is sad.
>>4230 Looks like it's starting to come together.
>>4175 > For the first time today since initially waking up, you feel somewhat healthy. >You are never eating chicken bacon ranch pizza again. >Maybe it was too old - doesn't really matter. > It's ruined for you now. >After essentially sleeping the whole day away aside from rushing to the sink to upchuck twice and getting up to use the bathroom downstairs once, you decide you feel well enough to try to put some sort of food in your stomach. >Toast is on the menu. >Whoopee. >You haven't seen Midnight since taking a shower earlier. >At some point during the day - possibly while emptying your stomach - you recall hearing Midnight on the phone. >Apparently she decided to adopt a new name for the occasion. >Maddie will certainly enjoy you giving her shit for that. >Or perhaps Middie... >The other time you headed downstairs was well into the afternoon - the computer was off. >More than likely, the slow day never got better, and she went out back to strip parts early. >Though not knowing for certain was a bit unsettling. >She's resourceful - you've seen it firsthand. >You shouldn't really be that worried. >Still have that uneasy feeling in your stomach though. >Aside from nausea, obviously. >Approaching six in the evening now, you would expect her to pop in sometime soon. >Maybe - with as stubborn and as driven as she is, you're well aware of the possibility of Midnight trying to hero her way through the whole list of orders in one shot. >You glimpsed outside - the Trailduster isn't in its usual spot. >She's moved it a few times, it doesn't come as a surprise she would have enough comfort and confidence to take it. >Ha, comfort. >Probably not the best term for it, considering she bitched about how unergonomic the seating position was for her. >...she didn't think that comment through too well. >Of course, you gave her shit for it. >And you got it right back. >A wonderful circle of love. >With the volume of the tv turned down low and awaiting the toaster in the kitchen to pop, you finally hear the sound of the old war wagon rolling up to the building. >It allows you to finally relax, before jumping in surprise. >Fucking toaster. >Waiting for it this whole time, and the bastard still caught you off-guard when it popped. >Now feeling the mild shame and embarrassment for being caught out once again by the cursed appliance, you begrudgingly fetch your toast from it and toss the slices onto a paper plate, wandering back to the couch. >As much as you're glad Midnight is back, it's best to give her space. >She was clearly taking a lot of pride flying solo today, let her have it until she heads up here. >It will probably be a bit, offloading parts from the back of the SUV. >That being said, you stretch out on the couch, using the whole length that would otherwise be shared with you two occupying either end - buffer space in between.
>>4252 >Pleasantly, there are some reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard playing right now. >...brings a tear to your eye too. >They went through a lot of Dodge Chargers and Plymouth Fury cop cars. >Not to mention Daisy's Plymouth Roadrunner... >Still, the end result was entertaining. >Much to your surprise, you hear the doorknob of the door in the kitchen click open just as you take a nibble of food. >You quickly turn your head in time to see the door swing open and Midnight trot in. "Hi Middie!" you shout. >While not surprised by your voice, the name certainly gets her attention. >Her initial wide-eyed response narrows into one of mild annoyance, exhaling rather sharply through her flared nostrils. >"You fucking ass." >She kicks the door shut with plenty of force to spare. "Hey, easy on the hardware now. That comes out of your pay if you break it," you jokingly scold. >"Good thing you don't pay me. How long have you been up?" she asks while sauntering her way toward you. "Not long. Not even an hour, I don't think," you reply with a shrug. "How long were you out in the yard?" >"Few hours. I called it quits around two or three in the afternoon, at least when it came to standing at the counter looking pretty. "You do pretty a lot better than me." >"I didn't take you as one of those creepy freaks that sexes up pony companions, that's new," she snidely muses. "Maybe you aren't a pickle smoocher like I expected." >You quickly regret your smart comment as your face grows hot. >"Oh, seemed to have touched a nerve." "Shut up." >"That's what you get for the name." >Spreading out a wing, she motions for you to scoot over. "Nuh-uh, I just got comfortable," you half-heartedly argue before obliging her request. >You merely bend your knees and scoot back toward your normal cushion, taking up some of the usual buffer space. >You really were starting to get comfortable. >She gets to deal with your legs and feet invading that space. >Midnight plops down in her usual spot, though facing you rather than draping her forehooves off of the front of the couch. >While she eyes your dinner plate in your hands, it's with only passing curiosity. >She looks tired. >To be fair, you would expect it - this is probably the most she's ever done in one day, aside from overexerting herself on the first day of moving that pile of engines. >That drained look in her eyes goes deeper than mere physical fatigue. "Today go okay?" you ask, trying to mask any concern from seeping into your voice while shifting your eyes back to the tv. >You've learned playing it casual will get your farther - just playing it off as idle conversation. >"It was quiet. Got quite a bit done - as much as I could while inside and manning the phones and counter." "Great - sounds like you're more productive than I am." >"Doesn't that go without saying?" she jests. "Man, you're cutting deep on a sick man. That's cold," you prod back as you shoot a glance at her. >"Truth hurts sometimes."
>>4253 >The exchange at least puts a little bit of light in her eyes, but she just feels off. >Distracted. "You didn't deal with any rude assholes today or crappy situations, did you?" >"That's sort of an odd question to ask, isn't it?" Midnight suggests. "Maybe. But you didn't instantly reply with no, either." >Her muzzle scrunches up a bit with your reply, realizing you caught her out. >But, she does relax that tense response - you don't think she will completely shut down. >"There wasn't anything 'bad,' I suppose," she reluctantly admits. "Okay. But something that wasn't particularly comfortable?" >Your attention is completely drawn to her now, whether you and her like it or not. >You can't help but watch as her eyes shift back and forth as she mulls her response as if visually picking out her words. >"Do you... it's been a couple of weeks, but do you remember that guy that came in for parts for a Cutlass? Older man, the same day you started asking... questions about me." "You mean the day you chipped a good chunk out of my brick wall by chucking a piston at it? Yeah, I remember," you chide >"You called me a guard dog, dickhead," she adds sourly. "Apologized for it, too - but anyway, yes, I remember," you reply, quickly trying to get this train back on the rails. >"He came back today," she blurts. "Isn't... that a good thing? Repeat customers?" you ask, utterly perplexed by the significance. >Midnight's wings ruffle in tune with her discomfort as she stares down at the couch cushion she lays upon. >"He did come in for more parts, at least initially." >The way she says that makes you sit up and take notice. "Did he do something to you?" >"What? No. I can handle myself, Anon," Midnight quickly snaps back as her gaze momentarily flips to you. >You relax a bit, but still feel a little concerned. "Then what, Midnight?" >"He knows what I am. He knew I wasn't a custom model, he knows I'm not verified, and he said he knows more that are like me, because he's been around his fair share of bots, and he knows I'm not one. He could tell just by looking at me, listening to me - said I was more advanced than any other he's seen, and said he could... 'help'." >It all comes out in a cascade of frenzied words and pent-up anxiety, to the point that you need a moment for your brain to sort it out. >Someone else knowing she doesn't have an RFID chip on her chassis is very troubling. >But you're lost on the rest. >She said she was a bot. >You would expect there to be experimental models and shit, and that's what Midnight is. >Right? "Midnight, what do you mean by he knows what you are? I don't follow - I get that the missing RFID is a big deal, but I don't see the significance of... all that." >She shakes her head fervently. >"I don't want to talk about it." "It's obviously bothering the hell out of you - and I don't think you need to be carrying that baggage." >Midnight continues to trying staring a hole into the couch. >You've had enough of it.
>>4254 >Leaning forward, you reach out with a hand and gently place it under her chin, directing her to look at you. >The gesture makes Midnight jump, though the surprise of it makes her momentarily yield to the pressure quite easily. >"What the fuck are you doing?!" she shouts defiantly upon regaining her wits, pulling away from you. "Midnight, I can't help you if I don't know what's going on - talk to me." >"I can't!" "Do you trust me?" >The question freezes her instantly. >Those faintly glowing eyes remain locked upon you. >Like a window to her mind, you feel like you can see the trouble and turmoil within she's fighting to keep wrested away from you. "Midnight, I know you're strong, I know you think you need to deal with - whatever shit you got going on - alone." >"I ca-" "Don't tell me you can't. You delved into my personal bullshit, got me sorted out - I'm doing the same for you. Do you trust me?" >"I'm a freak!" she roars, her voice suddenly ragged. "I'm not a pony companion bot, I'm a genetic science project sideshow!" "I... what?" >Between Midnight's abrupt shift in demeanor and the words she spouts, it's all you can respond with right now. >"I don't have an RFID because I don't have a chassis - I'm not a robot... not completely." "Well... what's wrong with that?" you speak up. > Midnight's eyes begin to glisten with moisture as the pain slowly begins to escape her. >"Do you know what it's like to be a group of arrogant asshole's off-the-books bioengineering project? Do you know how humiliating it is to find out your perverted birth was in a giant test tube? How that experiment in itself is not only prohibited by law, but they managed to fuck up the coloring in their attempts to create a living, breathing Luna, sans wings?" >Midnight chokes back her tears as best she can, while you inch closer to her. >"Already a fuck up beyond the bio-pony experiments ongoing in secret - those are dumb as mud, but at least the colors are right on the ones thus far. Why not go further with this one? Jam some wires and chips from a couple of discarded Twilight and Luna bots, try to put some intelligence and personality in this retarded animal, and if it lives more than a day or two, that's a bonus, right?" >The torrent of words she viciously spouts is slowly beginning to be matched by the liquid sorrow that runs down her cheeks. >"That's all I ever was - a test subject! Crudely dyed wings grafted on from the unpopular Princess Twilight bot because they couldn't genetically engineer proper wings, the electromagnetism, the eyes to fit the theme, the teeth and digestive system for better efficiency - am I supposed to be proud of that?! Being a mishmash of rejects and junk?!" "You're alive, aren't you?" you remind her. >Midnight stops her rant, quivering after the stress of her outburst. >"And that's good," she states bitterly.
>>4255 "I think so. You obviously felt it was good - otherwise, you wouldn't have escaped, right? You felt your life was worth protecting." >She doesn't say anything as her breath hitches repeatedly. >With as downtrodden and utterly defeated as she looks right now, you take your chances. >Seeing the facade of this tough-as-nails mare crumble to dust is just too much. >You scoot up next to her and take her into your arms. >"Why?" >She asks the question but doesn't resist you. >You stroke the fine fur of her neck, feeling the pain and anxiety deeply seated in those lean muscles that she continues to fight to keep inside... >You can see in those misty blue eyes, she sees herself with shame. >She hates what she is. >Even as she crowed about how great she was - it was all a lie to herself, to convince herself that's how she felt. >And she fears what you think of her. >By the sounds of it, she wasn't even expected to live. >Yet here she is. "Midnight, what you are - what your make-up is or whatever you want to call it - I don't care," you tell her, trying to alleviate her concern. "You got out, you survived, and I'm grateful for that." >"Did I make it out? Because it feels like I'm still trapped. Like my past is still pursuing me," she spits out in a half sob. "Then anyone out for you is gonna have to go through both of us. This guy, if he's bad news, he's got a fight in his hands if he tries something. I promise you that," you reassure her. "You're here now, unfucking the mess that I've made. You're making this your home, and you're going to fight for it with the same grit and determination you've been displaying to me since I met you." >You brush away some of her tears that have continued to gather under her eyes. >With a slight nod, her resolve hardens, honing in on your words and your promise to her. "You're not a mess of discarded parts and gene manipulation or whatever - you're better than that. I don't see that. I see Midnight in front of me, and that's all you should worry about." >Midnight emits a sharp exhale of amusement amidst the occasional sniffle as she wrangles herself under control. >"That was really fucking corny. You know that, right?" she mumbles. "I'm a simple man. I cut to the chase, even if it isn't very elegant or original. But I'm not saying anything I don't mean." >Much to your surprise, she leans into your petting a bit as you keep up your physical reassurance that what she is doesn't matter to you. >If anything, it's even more amazing. >And horrifying, depending on how ruthless these people were while doing "modifications" for the sake of science. >She certainly doesn't make it sound very kind. >Fucking hell, this world can be evil. "We'll get the parts this guy needs tomorrow, try to nip this whole situation as quickly as possible if we can contact him to pick up. I'll be there with you, alright? I know you can handle this but..." >"Moral support," she suggests.
>>4256 "I'm moral support. You said he mentioned 'helping,' any idea what that meant?" >You only get a negative shake of the head in response. "Got a name?" >"Theodore - 'Teddy' is supposedly what everyone calls him." > It's a long shot, but maybe you can find something online about this guy. >You feel a bit anxious now as well, but you aren't going to let that stop you from protecting this mare with every last ounce of strength if need be. >Via 'moral support,' of course. >That's fine. >Midnight is strong - far stronger than you gave her credit for. ----- That was not a fun update to push through - I knew it wouldn't be, once I reached it. Probably the reason I couldn't sleep.
>>4257 >sad pony ^:( But thanks for keeping us in the loop. At least Midnight seems better put together than someone like Rare, hopefully she will remain so.
Something much lighter than the end of the last update. >>4257 >Well, is it really that surprising to find nothing? >Having slept virtually the whole day away, sleep tonight really wasn't an option. >So much of the overnight hours have been spent slaving over Midnight's laptop, trying to find some clues as to this mysterious man named Theodore. >You hardly get to use this thing anymore - for all intents and purposes, this computer is now hers. >Speaking of Midnight, you had her sleep in your room tonight, since you knew you wouldn't be using it. >You rather be out in the living room to have the tv on for background noise, even if it was turned way down. >And you want Midnight to get some truly restful sleep after unleashing her burden. >You didn't tell her that, but she likely felt you were taking pity on her anyways. >Hence her reluctance - but you insisted. > It's only after she calmed down and eventually retired to bed for the night you could absorb what she told you. >You feel sick - and not because of the remnants of your battle with food poisoning today. >How in the hell can anyone justify hacking up a living being for their own personal gain, or in the pursuit of "science?" >No wonder Midnight is so maladjusted. >How she's even functional is... >Amazing. >The mental image of her eyes being literally scooped out to be replaced with something artificial to fit a theme or aesthetic... >Man, it's probably good you emptied your stomach earlier today. >How the hell long did she even have to endure that misery? >Going through that, you doubt she wanted to keep track of time even if she could. >You certainly aren't going to ask her. >What Midnight already shared was too much. >Now, having escaped that and being able to live an even vaguely normal life... >You can't help but feel a lump form in your throat. >It takes a moment for that to pass without letting it go any further, aside from a bit of dust irritating your eyes. >But she's not out of the woods yet with this fellow poking his nose where it doesn't belong. >Even if he coincidentally could just tell from looking at her she wasn't a bot, you wouldn't expect anyone to just casually bring it up like Midnight described. >There's more to it than that - that's a certainty. >First instincts tell you this guy works for EquisCo, assuming that is indeed from where Midnight escaped. >Could be they still want her back for more fun with their macabre science project. >Over your dead fucking body. >Maybe they just want to erase her from existence, to avoid getting caught doing illegal genetic experiments. >You have the same feelings about this as your previous theory. >Keeping up on the news isn't something you bother to do, so much of what you hear is just offhand. >Been at least a few years, but you vaguely recall a whole debate about "engineering" pets or something like that. >Never heard the conclusion of that, but according to Midnight, it's illegal.
>>4397 >You're inclined to believe her - though you don't know how she knows that. >Could be like you - just happened to overhear it during everything going on. >But Midnight also mentioned he wanted to help... >If he's been in the business of - pony-making? >Sort of a weird field, now that you think of it. >Regardless - there is always the chance he legitimately wants to assist Midnight with her predicament. >Especially since he apparently knows of others like her. >What he means by "others like her" is left up to the imagination for now. >First and foremost, he is a legitimate customer - he put in an order, and you will fulfill it. >What comes after that comes down to true intentions... >"Are you seriously still up?" >You practically jump about a foot in the air off of your seat with the sudden quip from Midnight. >As you turn around, you jump again, finding her snout mere inches from your face. >Her bemused grin only grows wider with your second near heart attack. "Damn, are you trying to kill me?!" you shout in exasperation. >"More or less curious if I still have my sneaking skills properly honed. I'd say so, judging by those reactions I got," she explains calmly. "I'll put a bell on you if you keep pulling that shit," you taunt her. >"I'd like to see you try," she dares. >Midnight casually walks around the sofa, taking her normal seat. >That doesn't last too long, as intrigue over the laptop you're holding draws her to scoot closer to you. >"I thought you were trying to take pity on me, and you've really been up pounding the keyboard, haven't you?" she asks, trying to make out what you have in the search bar. >You delete it quickly, just to fuck with her - and give her a smarmy grin when she looks up at you with disappointment. >"I can handle whatever you're trying to find," she mutters. "I'm sure you can - but I've come up empty on our mystery man, anyway," you admit. "And of course I'm still up, I slept all damn day - I might sleep for a couple of hours before work, but I don't need any more than that. Why the hell are you up?" >"Not needing sleep was a lie, but I don't need much of it," she replies. "A few hours here or there is about all I do. Tonight though, that was probably the longest I've slept in... " >She trails off, looking up at the clock while pondering her answer. >It's almost three in the morning now - and she retired to your room at a quarter till ten. >Five hours, at most. >Damn. "Habit from keeping an eye open for danger?" you suggest. >It garners a nod from Midnight. >"Old habits die hard. But it goes a bit beyond that time frame - I just have a hard time... shutting my brain off, I guess. Relaxing." "Do... you think it's because of..." >You have to stop yourself from going further into explanation, instead tapping the side of your head with a finger. >Midnight sighs as she stares at you. >No, more like beyond you.
>>4398 >"Probably. My memory isn't that great with anything before then - very fuzzy," she explains quietly, keeping that same far-off gaze. "Twilight bots are known to be quite high-strung, always looking to learn something new." "And that's one of the chips, I'm assuming?" >"Mmhmm." "I probably shouldn't be asking this shit, sorry," you apologize, suddenly feeling quite guilty about opening up this wound again. >"It's funny, normally I would berate you for digging," she muses, cocking her head as her eyes focus on you once again. "Why aren't you?" >"Feel like a weight got pulled off of my shoulders earlier tonight. Don't get me wrong, I will flay you if you turn into an soft little bitch, and don't expect me to be an emotional cuddlebug-" >"But it felt good to tell your plight to someone else," you finish for her. >"Yes." "At least let me say I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Can't imagine it." >"I appreciate it - but again, don't make this all mushy," she instructs. "What's your plan going forward in regards to this 'Teddy?'" >You have to just shrug instinctively, which causes Midnight to frown. >"That's not reassuring," she says in a flat tone. "Well, I'm not going to just lie to you - there is literally nothing I can find of anyone named Theodore or Teddy who's a renowned scientist or mad genius. It would probably be easier if I had a last name, but even then, no guarantees. For all intents and purposes, this is just your average guy that may or may not have been involved with the line of work that dabbles in making bots or..." >"Making things like me." "Beings like you. Not things. Have a little more respect for yourself - remember how you pushed yourself as this image of a superior being before," you encourage her. >"Well, I *am* better than you, but that goes without saying," she jabs. "Now hold on there, that wasn't what I meant," you snap, playing up the facade as being offended. >"Perhaps not, but the point still stands. I'm turning around your business, aren't I?" "I suppose," you pout. "But anyway, you and I are gonna get the parts for that order tomorrow, and I'll give him a call to notify him - maybe see if I can't get him to talk about what this is all about." >"And if he doesn't?" "Wait for him to pick up the parts - he said when he did, he'd talk to you, right?" >"Yeah." >Midnight's lack of enthusiasm makes it clear she doesn't like what you're laying out. >But you certainly can't just crucify the guy for knowing something. >There aren't really any options. >You know Midnight understands. >But it certainly throws her back into an uncomfortable situation, and for good reason. "Don't stress about it - I mean it when I say I got your back. Remember that," you reassure her, going to pat her on the side. >Midnight is keenly aware of your movement, and eyes you disapprovingly. "Sorry," you apologize while pulling your hand back. "So you're really done sleeping?"
>>4399 >"Yep. And I'm not going to listen to your alarm go off two or three times before you get your ass up in the morning, so call it a night," she instructs. "Fine. What are you gonna do?" >Midnight merely points a hoof to the laptop that rests upon your legs. "Gee, what a surprise," you say with a huff, setting it down in front of her. >"Oh shut up and get to bed already. And you better not be sick tomorrow when you get up." "Man, I hope not. I'm not even going to joke about that," you reply, rising up to your feet and stretching. "You want the lights on, or nah?" >"I'll get them at some point," she says dismissively, already beginning to delve into information on the screen in front of her. "Alright then. G'night." >you shuffle off to your room. >"Hey Anon?" "Hm?" >You turn around. >Midnight sits upright on the couch facing you, her forelegs draped over the back of the furniture. >"Thank you for listening to my bullshit," she says solemnly. >You wave your hand, reminded back to when you said the same thing to her. "I figure it comes with the territory of having someone to help me out with this place. Don't worry about it." >The response surprises Midnight at first before the realization hits her. >She grins, just wide enough to show her canines. >"G'night, doofus." >That's about the nicest thing she's ever called you. >How cute. -----
>>4400 I know Midnight might not be keen on it but I do hope she gets a hug at some point.
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Do you love Mare?
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>>4469 Yes, this one in particular.
>>4469 That's why I'm here.
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>>4469 I sure do.
>>4469 What do you think shed be like? There was one bit about her having a heavy italian accent.
I agree with anon from cereal mares thread on /mlp/ >I feel the same way you do. Not so much that there's anything wrong with mac and cheese, but because someone came up with that unicorn on the box and her life will be unfulfilled; >there will be no stories written about her and she will end up in the trash as soon as the macaroni is poured out of the box. >Best case scenario here is that her image manipulated you into buying that box vs. the one on the shelf next to it. It feels dirty. Can we do something for poor marketing mares?
>>4400 "Holy shit, you did all of this yesterday?!" >Midnight doesn't reply, but with the way she holds her head and puffs her chest out, she's basking in your shock. >You managed to get a little bit of sleep last night - but again, you really didn't need it. >A quick breakfast later, and the two of you set out to empty the back of the Trailduster. >Midnight wasn't kidding when she said a lot of backlogged orders were knocked out. >"There might have been a couple of items that were in the back before I started yesterday, but other than that - all me." >You don't know if she was trying to be humble, or just gloat further. >She failed at the former, but you will let her have this victory. >Regardless, the ass end of the Trailduster is legitimately sagging from all of the weight in the back. >Sure, the shocks and springs are worn out, but this is still a rare sight. "Guess we have our morning planned out - see if we can't get all this packed up and ready to ship." >A few parts shuffle about on top of the pile, before levitating out lazily to the counter. > It's only now as you round the corner to get started sorting this stuff out that you see the pile of boxes off to the side ready for shipping. "Wait, you did this, too?" you ask, turning back around to face Midnight. >"I started on it - that's not all of them, though." >Jesus, she's really shown you up. >That really isn't hard to accomplish when you spend your free time fucking around on the internet. >You'll take this as a lesson. >She's got good reason to take pride in yesterday. >Let her gloat if she wants. >At least a little bit. >After booting up your computer, you start going through orders, matching up names and addresses with parts laid out in front of you, double-checking with the packing slips Midnight has already placed within each box. >All looks good thus far. >You've shown her a little bit of what you do - the rest must just come with observing you and connecting the dots. >As much as she protested in the beginning about how little you mattered in her mind, you always caught her watching what you do. >It was a little creepy at first, you won't lie. >Figured it was something to do with her programming, being a robot and all. >That's out the window. >Sorta. "So, did you actually get all this accomplished because you were bored, trying to get ahead of the game, or just to show me up, Middie?" >"Are you seriously going to start using that name?" she whines, halting her unloading for a moment to stare at you. "Aww, come on, it's cute," you tease. >"In case you hadn't noticed, I don't do cute," she snorts. >As she has done in the past to prove her point, she bares her teeth and pins her ears back - while fanning out her wings, as if preparing to leap and savagely attack. "What would you do if I said that was cute?" you press on, enjoying where this train of stupidity is heading. >That makes her hesitate.
>>4480 >"Then I'd have to assume there's something very wrong with you mentally," she replies, dropping her act. "I figured there was. Huh, guess that proves it," you shrug, getting back to packing up parts. >"How did you even catch wind of that?" she asks. "What, 'Maddie'? I don't really know, yesterday is sort of a blur. Probably one of the few times I was up. I'll give you props - I'm assuming there was questions about your real name?" >She nods. >"It was annoying to have to explain it every time, so I just came up with something. I was afraid you would run with it if you overheard me." "Luckily I'm not doing that - I called you 'Middie,' which conveniently can be a shortened nickname for 'Midnight'." >"Uh-huh. Even though there's the same amount of syllables?" she challenges, as another wave of parts is heaved onto your counter. "It's fewer letters," you point out. >Midnight stomps a hoof, though it appears more out of playing along than actual frustration. >Her face has lightened up - to the point you see the ends of her mouth barely ticking upward. >"That doesn't matter when you're *saying* it!" she cries. "Alright, I'll go back to 'Turbo.' How does that sound, Turbo?" >Her muzzle scrunches up at that nickname almost instantly. >"Fine. Never utter that stupid name again, and you can use Middie - *sparingly*," she replies, making sure to emphasize her point. "Works for me, Middie." >"Smartass." >After the stress of yesterday, even the slightest return to normalcy and banter is a welcome feeling. >...that's sort of odd to think, with the journey you've been on for close to a month now. "So I take it the stuff you didn't get to yesterday afternoon is heavier shit?" >"I wouldn't say that - after all, I proved to you I could lift a whole engine, didn't I? Repeatedly?" "You did, and then you ran out of juice." >"Hence why I picked my battles," she explains, looking just a bit ashamed of her folly you just brought up. "Hey, at least you learned that just because you can, doesn't mean you should, yeah?" >You hear Midnight chuckle. >"Listen to you trying to pass out nuggets of wisdom," she chides. "Every once in a while I got something remotely intelligent to share that isn't car-related," you argue. >"True. I'll give you that - you know a lot of silly little things about cars," Midnight muses, halting her progress to trot over. >She rears up and rests her hooves on the countertop, inspecting how your side of the job is going. >"The other half of what I didn't accomplish was parts and pieces I was unfamiliar with," she adds, casually looking over a distributor as it twists and turns within the invisible force she wields. "Trim pieces?" >Again, she nods in affirmation.
>>4481 "Yeah, depending on the car and what particular pieces they are, that can be a miserable task, I don't blame you there. I know you ran through every manual I have - but unless it's drivetrain or running gear related, they can be rather vague, especially when it comes to little shit like that." >"Just comes with experience I'm assuming?" "Pretty much. Sometimes you find a neat little trick that works just by screwing up a time or two. Some pieces are just going to be a lesson in misery every time to try to remove it - like drip edge molding around the windows." >Midnight's ears perk up at the last bit. >"Oh, what a coincidence - that happens to be one of the orders I didn't complete!" Midnight exclaims, a hint of mischief in her eyes. "Aw piss - guess you get to see how awful that job is. Glad you didn't tackle that one, otherwise that would be either a twisted mess or a car flipped over." >"And what would you base that assumption on?" she demands, suddenly not finding this conversation so amusing as she slightly bristles from your criticism. "The first few days of you tearing apart motors in the shop," you remind her. >"And I improved on reeling in my frustration, did I not?" "You did. I'm just fucking with you. Mostly." >"Mostly, huh?" she repeats, seemingly unamused. "Well I suppose, in that case, you'll have to forgive me if I do somehow lose my temper and try to flip a car over." >"No, you won't," you say, crossing your arms. >"Oh? And why would that be?" she challenges, standing up just a little bit higher and straightening her next as she grins even more mischievously. "Are you going to tell me no? Step in and stop me?" "I'll pet you," you quietly warn. >Her arrogance and taunting instantly falter at the same time you manage to wipe that smile off her face. >"You wouldn't dare." "I would." >You quickly reach toward her with a hand to demonstrate. >She recoils quickly in reaction, but not before nipping at the air near your outstretched fingers. "Oh no, we aren't done here," you say, stepping around the corner while you keep a straight face. >"Anon, I swear, don't you-" >You reach over toward her in a deft movement, but she merely sidesteps with surprising agility, ending up behind you while you grasp for thin air. >"I said stop it, you dumb bastard." >You feel something small and solid smack off the back of your head. "Ow," you grimace, rubbing the back of your head while trying to locate the item that clatters across the floor. >A small rusted bolt finally loses its momentum and stops, spinning for just a brief moment. >"I warned you," Midnight sasses. >You turn, finding her now reared up and resting on the other side of the counter where you were moments ago. >Once again, that same lazy, devious smirk lines her face, while her raised brows offer an air of confident nonchalance. >She offers you a shrug as your eyes meet hers. "Touche," you relent. "But I don't think you had to throw that."
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>>4482 >"That's a matter of opinion - I could have thrown it harder," she jests. "Please don't - I don't want to find out you can put a hole clean through my head. That would be messy," you reply, the pain having subsided as you drop your arms back to your sides. >Midnight chuckles. >"Oh, that's the issue you have with it," she muses. "I really wouldn't have any issue with it since - you know, I'd probably be dead." >At once, Midnight's face grows cold as she stops laughing. "Uh, you okay?" you ask, unsure what suddenly has her tripped up. >"Let's not joke about that," she replies quietly. "...what, death? Wasn't that what you were just joking about pointing out my issue with-" >"I know what I said. That was my mistake," she admits, sounding rather uncomfortable. "I didn't think about it." "Alright then, sorry," you manage, dumbstruck by the bizarre shift in tone. >You'd rather not deal with an awkward silence, so you ready the self-deprecation humor. "To be honest though, I have a pretty thick skull - I don't think you could do much damage," you announce, as if proud of the implications. >It gets the desired result, Midnight perking up just a bit. >"I don't doubt it," she retorts. >Mission accomplished. >... you don't know why that was your mission in the first place. >Of course, you don't want it to just resort to the pall that has hung in the air since last night's discussion and what lies ahead in that respect. >But... >Going to bed this morning, turning around and seeing that face. >That genuine smile as she thanked you for listening to her. >You'd like to see that more often. >Seeing her happy just puts you in a place you don't ever recall being before. >"Hey." >Midnight's voice breaks you out of your train of thought. >She stares at you, befuddled and a little concerned. >Or maybe creeped out. "Sorry, zoned out. What's next...?" ----- Also, 1000 spent in MS Paint. It's a recolored vector, I'm no artist. I prefer Luna's full mane and hair style - but regardless, obviously it wouldn't billow like in Equestria. And I don't think the blue and purple wouldn't be so strongly separated like that, be sort of like blue w/ highlights, I would imagine. Basically like what I can make out in the OP image. Tiff did amazing work.
>>4483 >Another update Woohoo! >Midnight vector I thought she would be a bit lighter than that. Something like a dark blue more like in the OP. Nonetheless, pretty cool.
>>4486 Midnight's color is very much tied to her name. A casual glance at the midnight sky, looks black. You take a moment to look, and realize it's a very dark blue - and that becomes more noticeable depending on the lighting, such as on a bright moonlit night, particularly around the moon itself, as well as near stars. The OP is great - but there's a lot of different lighting at play there. My simple recoloring of a vector is just flat color, so overall - yeah, it doesn't pop like Tiff's work, imo.
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>>4478 marketing mares have been part of bootleg since at least 2018. this is often overlooked for MLP bootlegs but market mares are very much welcome and fit easily into the thread. I like the idea the cereal sisters all being related like the apple family and found a new one to add in that thread.
>>4499 The russian cerial mare was pretty cute. Guess I'll have to keep an eye out for any pony themes products.
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>>4500 Talking about 'big schloppa' the green with her named Ceres the uniCORN?
>>4501 YES. The original art was actually pretty good if I recall, though I don't have it at the ready.
>>4499 Got any of those full images? Any way, what about mares from those crappy and very weird flash games, or whatever they're made in now?
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>>4505 >>4506 not a big fan of the style, but theres some underlying cuteness to her, so dont see why not. the pudding mare came from catfood mcfly's mobile game. pic unrelated So while it's definitely outside the norm for the thread, nobody would probably have a problem if someone wanted to do some green or draw some ponified
Fucking shit, ponepaste got hacked again.
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Interesting Luna with purple mane.
>>4524 maybe one of the sisters of zooma? i want to comfort sad grape moon
>>4524 artist:braindead, luna-afterdark I might be wrong, but I think she's from old tumblr blog.
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>>4505 >full images of those yes i did spot some mares in their original habitat
Previously, on Condense: https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/37011879/#q37035957 >Slow, steady breaths tickled the hair on Anonymous's chest, rousing him from slumber. >Like the morning prior, Anon found himself waking up feeling very well-rested. Unlike yesterday, he awoke unusually warm and weighted-down. >Enough early-morning light penetrated the room's curtains to illuminate the locks of pink, purple, and yellow hair that obscured Anon's vision. He brushed the foreign hair away from his face and sat up just enough to confirm his suspicions. >Condense lay atop him; forelegs straddling his bare torso. The right side of her face pressed against his sternum. Her long horn pointed too close to Anon's face for comfort. >A cursory glance to his left revealed it was 0724, far later than his reoccurring nightmares usually afforded him to sleep. 'I suppose I have you to thank for that,' Anon thought as he rested his head back on his pillow. >While the prolonged physical contact was comforting, it was something Anonymous hadn't experienced for several years. What should he do? She initiated it... should he lay there and try to enjoy the moment or extract himself from the bed before Condense woke, sparing them both any awkward tension? He laid motionless, contemplating the most prudent course of action, reticent to so much as breathe too deep lest it rouse his new companion. >Anon's thoughts turned to his nightmare, the nightly, soul-crushing reminder of what had happened on that cursed day. Reliving memories in such detail during one's sleep wasn't something he considered "normal" but after the Convergence, any sense of normalcy was ripped asunder along with civilization. >His leg twitched. "If I was whole, I might have been able to save them." he growled whilst projecting silent curses towards his faulty prosthetic. "Held back by my own work." >Condense shifted, her motion pulling Anon back to the present. He froze, only daring to breathe again after Condense resumed snoring. Her long, curly mane tickled his skin, almost begging for his touch. >Anonymous succumbed to the temptation and dared to run his fingers through the tri-colored mane that draped over his chest. The strands were long and silky-smooth; her curls springing back to their original shape after each stroke of his fingers. 'Your hair feels just like Maria's did.' >His idle thought renewed and reinvigorated the melancholy that his idle petting had temporarily dispelled. For a moment he could almost see his late wife's long, curled raven hair, the dazzling white of her captivating smile contrasting against her flawless tan complexion. >'Sometimes it feels like I'm married to a complete stranger,' her voice echoed in his mind. >It was a frequent point of contention between them in the months prior to her untimely passing.
>>4549 >Anon grimaced, shaking his head in a fruitless attempt to expel the bitter memories and regrets from his mind, disturbing Condense in the process. She mumbled some incoherent phrase of displeasure, then squeezed him tight with her forelegs; extinguishing any hope Anonymous had for a stealthy egress. >Sighing, Anonymous planted his palms into the mattress and began to sit upright. The sudden movement made Condense grip Anon tighter before joining him in the waking world. >Condense opened her eyes and blinked several times, trying to orient herself in her strange, dimly-lit surroundings. She pulled her face away from Anon's scarred chest, wiping a thin strand of drool from her mouth as she did. The mare brought a pink hoof to where her face had been resting, poking at Anon's muscles as if there was some hidden knowledge to be gleaned from them. >Their combined motions activated the nightstand lamp, which fully illuminated Condense and her pillow of choice. >Condense raised her head, her gaze ascending from Anon's chest to his neck, and finally coming to rest on his icy blue eyes. Neither party spoke, but each looked away before the other could see the crimson darkening their respective faces. "Um... good mor-" >"You had a nightmare and were thrashing around a lot," Condense was quick to explain, her ears drooping somewhat as Anon sat fully upright. "I was just making sure you weren't going to hurt yourself if you had another bad dream later on." "Oh, um... right. Thank you." >"You had bad dreams the night before last too, you know." Condense added. "I heard you from the living room." >Anonymous gave his hair an absent-minded scratch. "I've had nightmares of some sort every night since the Convergence." He answered; voice growing somber. "I typically relive what happened in my dreams." >Condense reached out with a wing, resting the tips of her primaries on Anon's shoulder. "Do you... do you want to talk about it?" >Anon closed his eyes and turned away. ... >Desmond rubbed his bloodshot eyes. The night was a success in the sense that he found a way to get Tony to loosen up around him, captivity notwithstanding. Tony had lectured on his life's work throughout the night and into the morning, giving his attentive and inquisitive captor an in-depth crash course on synthetic life forms. "Wait," Desmond said with a stifled yawn. "What made these two so special if synthetic humans had been done before?" >Tony grinned,wide and toothy; reminiscent of the quintessential mad scientist portrayed in ancient science fiction films. >"*That* is the million-dollar question, isn't it?" Tony replied, pacing the length of his living room. "Rather, the five-point-three billion dollar question." >Desmond gave a low, long whistle. His bare metal fingertips played with the curled ends of his red El Bandito-styled mustache as he waited for Bowhannon to continue. He didn't have to wait long.
>>4550 >"Augmentation. The industry had struggled for ages trying to make it work. Injuries, rapid tissue degeneration, tumors, neurological issues, they plagued all the projects for decades..." >Desmond leaned forward in his seat. "I'm guessing you made a breakthrough?" >Tony nodded. "A series of them, which gained the attention and financial backing of the RMAZ military." "You made them supersoldiers," Desmond stated. >"Oh no," Tony chided, wagging his finger at the larger man. "You think too small! Too conservative! Not only was I able to augment strength and stamina, I was chasing literal immortality! Why, I was about to validate my telomere research before..." >Tony trailed off. He made his way to the couch Desmond occupied and sat next to him. A wistful look soon dominated his visage. >"Eve was the proof-of-concept to my benefactors. She was everything they wanted, but Adam... he was to be the culmination of my life's work, the pinnacle of human achievement..." >He clenched his fist, slamming it on his thigh. "Did the Convergence stop you from finishing your work?" >"No," Tony replied, hanging his head. "Eve was completed months before the Convergence." "But not Adam?" >"I never got the chance to test his unique enhancements." "Why?" >"There was... an accident... when we 'activated' Eve for the first time," Tony said, wiping his eyes. >Desmond turned to face Tony head-on and waited for elaboration. Tony stared at his hands for some time, the horrors of the test flashing through his mind. >"Eve's brain was grown in the tank, just like the rest of her. Many of my peers, DeTerra included, vehemently opposed my plan to use an untested synth brain with a programmed consciousness instead of a donor brain, or at least a transferred consciousness." >Tony stood, tugging at the wispy white strands of hair that he still had. "What happened?" Desmond asked, unable to contain his curiosity. "Something obviously went wrong." >"Everything was fine at first," Tony began. "Eve opened her eyes and stood from the tank... You should've seen her, Desmond. Tall, graceful, perfectly proportioned, quite the looker too; features matched exactly to my artistic sketches." "Yeah?" Desmond grinned at the description. >"Yeah. And then it all went sideways." Tony sighed, slumping down into the love seat adjacent to Desmond's couch. "Come on! You can't just leave it on a cliffhanger like that? What went wrong!?" >"She attacked us, including the RMAZ army officers that were in attendance. Though her rampage only lasted mere seconds, she mortally-wounded one of our staff before being gunned down by security." "Holy shit." >"That day was supposed to be my validation. I was so close. Instead, my own creation derailed my life's work and killed a colleague." "What happened to Adam?"
>>4551 >"The Army happened. They took possession of him. My magnum opus was taken away before I could complete him. >Tony covered his face with his trembling hands. >"Things only got worse at the company after that. I didn't get fired, but my budget was slashed and reallocated to other divisions. Anonymous quit, which left our android group without their leader and subject matter expert. And if that wasn't enough..." "The Convergence destroyed what was left." Desmond finished for Tony. >"Damned physicists... thinking they could play God with no repercussions!" "Isn't that exactly what you were doing?" >Tony glared at his captor, who was extracting a device from the depths of the rucksack he'd brought with him. Desmond yawned as he activated the torpedo-shaped object, placing it atop an adjustable tripod mount that he'd also pulled from his ruck. >"What is that?" "Mini auto-sentry turret!" Desmond replied with another yawn. "It's hover unit is busted, but everything else works just fine." >"Why in God's name are you setting that up in here?" "As much as I hope we'll someday become the best of friends," Desmond began after a queer smile, "I can't rule out the possibility that you may be tempted to unburden yourself of my company." >He unpacked a sleeping bag, laid it on the couch, and began to crawl inside. "Hence the turret. Neat little thing, isn't it? One of the very few goodies I was able to swipe from the unit's armory while everything was going tits-up. It's saved my ass more times than I care to remember." >"I see." "I don't mean to be rude, Tony, but we've been talking all night and I'm spent. I'm racking out for a while. Sweet dreams, snookums!" >With that, Desmond retreated into the depths of his sleeping bag. Tony slowly rose from his seat, his movements tracked by the watchful optics of Desmond's sentry turret. He retreated from the couches, back to the relative safety of the master bedroom. >"God help me," he muttered before collapsing on his bed. ... That's all for now. Updated paste: https://ponepaste.org/4168#1047
>>4543 >middle image Yeah, that's the one. >>4549 How nice it would be to wake up with a mare on your chest like that. Nice to see more action in here.
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A sketch I had started on tonight but don't know when I'll finish so I guess I'll make a post. It's supposed to be Anon and Midnight on the couch.
>>4554 Aww, that's cute. I will say Anon's a bit too big compared to the couch (should be a full-size, big enough for a grown man to lay on with a fair amount of comfort) and Middle. Standing toe to toe (well, hoof), the top of her head would basically be at the top of his chest. She's a pretty big mare. Nonetheless, I'm being nitpicky - don't reinvent the wheel just to sate my autism. I'd still love to see this finished.
>>4554 nice start anon, it would be funny to make her a marelet tsundere but shes a little smol here or anon's one of the giants from ancient legends.
>>4483 "One last time - ready?" >"Yep." "One, two, three!" >In unison, both of you carefully strike either end of the long and slender scrap of wood with mallets. >Like clockwork, the last piece of window trim pops off of the car. >A '62 Cadillac. >That was so much damn stainless trim to take off. >But it went better than expected - nothing got beaten up or twisted. >Call it a miracle - you've seen this kind of shit ho wrong a lot. > It's why many people just mask over this kind of brightwork when painting a classic car rather than take it all off. >Others... >Well, sometimes they are the reason you have these orders. >It takes a lot of patience and care to get it off. "Awesome work, thank you," you compliment your assistant. >Midnight beams proudly at that, despite initially being frustrated her powers wouldn't work on the part. >Not much iron in that kind of stuff. >That's alright - with two working on either end and meeting in the middle, it went quick. >Relatively speaking. "What next?" you ask Midnight while carefully putting the final piece next to the others in the back of the truck. >You turn around to find Midnight with pursed lips and mum on details. "Cutlass?" >Just a nod. >She won't admit to it of course, but Midnight is very anxious about this. >Even though you're just fetching the order, just knowing who these parts are destined for gets her tensed up. >For the most part, you've kept her distracted enough, but now you're left with the elephant in the room. >And she's not gotten any better since first releasing this conversation to you. >If anything, she's gotten worse. >On your end, you want to see a silver lining. >It would be great if this guy could get her an RFID. >She might not be a bot that requires it, but it will allow her to pass off as a legal one and be able to go beyond the junkyard gates with much less risk. >If that's what she so desires, anyway. >Midnight might just be a homebody, similar to you. >Clearly not much of a socialite. >For now, anyway. >That could always change. >But the same reason that she doesn't appear to be much for company is the same reason that, now as you have had time to think about it, makes you wonder if this has not been blown out of proportion. >You don't blame her - she can't help she's been isolated and tested on by virtually everyone she's ever known. >But with that being said, there's the possibility signals got crossed along the way of this guy offering his assistance. >It's well worth playing it calm and cordial. >You hope Midnight can do that. >But how do you even approach her on this when she's already showing senses of dread - and you don't even have the damn parts to contact Theodore yet? >Any way you consider bringing up the notion that it's a misunderstanding ends up sounding like you're dismissing her worries.
>>4577 >But letting her stew over this is no good, either. >For better or worse, you feel you need to share your thoughts. >As both of you climb back into the Trailduster and set out in search of Cutlass parts, you take the opportunity to speak up. "Midnight, when I say that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure nothing happens to you, you believe me, right?" >"Yeah. I don't really like admitting it, but you have done a lot," she says, sounding somewhat uncertain. >Whether's that's due to your question coming from out of nowhere, or the increasingly common-but-still-rare moment of gratitude spoken aloud by her is anyone's guess. "I just want to make it clear that I'm sticking by that, because I'm really beginning to consider we have this whole situation wrong." >"You don't trust my judgment?" >Her question is ice cold. >The look she has on her face matches it as she eyes you with a small amount of hurt inside. "No, I do trust your judgment, and I fully understand why you're concerned about this," you reply calmly. >"But?" "We can both agree you haven't had much experience in the terms of social situations and discussions, just based upon what you've told me, right?" >"That isn't my fault, Anon," she spits in irritation. "I understand that, and I'm not blaming you-" >"But you'll use that as an excuse to tell me I'm overreacting now, right? I've seen you staring at me like I'm some sort of paranoid idiot all day!" she accuses you angrily. >You are losing control of this situation. >Far quicker than you expected. "No, I do not think you're paranoid, I think you have every right to be nervous about thi-" >"I'm not nervous!" >She shouts that far louder than needed for the interior of this SUV. >You give her a moment to realize the outburst, which she acknowledges with an averted gaze and a scowl. >A particularly rough patch of the lane you're driving down sends both of you bouncing in your seats. >Be nice when those damn leaf springs come in. >You see no sense in doing just the shocks right now, since they would have to be removed again anyway. "Okay, you have concerns, how about that?" >"I have reservations about this," she corrects you indignantly in an attempt to save face. "Alright - regardless, I get it, and you have justifications to feel that way - but neither you nor I can afford to be completely close-minded and pessimistic, right?" >Midnight hardly looks swayed by your argument, her eyes narrowed on you. "Don't look at me in that tone of voice," you scold her, glancing over for just a moment. >The stupid comment at least knocks her off balance, softening her stone-cold posture. >"That doesn't make any damn sense," she replies after a slight hesitation. "Very good, glad you noticed," you reply with a cheeky smile. >"Jackass," she mutters. "Middie, all I'm trying to say is to pass him off as someone that's out to get you isn't right - there are genuinely nice people out there." >"And what is this really going to solve?"
>>4578 >You have to do a double-take at that response. "What?" >"Did I stutter?" Midnight barks back. "No, but - hell, there's a whole world beyond these gates. I get we're sorting things out to make this place private, but you don't want to be stuck here forever, right?" >Midnight turns her head away from you and looks out her window, silent. >She doesn't give you an opportunity to read her emotions, leaving you befuddled as to why she's suddenly calm and quiet. >You wait a few moments to see if she has anything to add, in case she's deep in thought over this whole conversation. >Turning down the correct row of cars, you finally come to the area with mid-size Oldsmobiles and stop the truck. "All I'm trying to do is look out for your best interest. Let me be clear on one thing though - if he does try something funny or take you, I'll shoot the son of a bitch if I have to." >"And if he does somehow help us... you know, forge my identity or something like that... what do you expect of me?" "What? Am I supposed to expect something?" >Midnight turns back to face you again - still possessing a face virtually lacking any emotion. >"You're keen on me being able to leave, it's clear. So what do you expect of me? To find somewhere else to live? Venture out on my own?" >She says that with a hint of venom in her voice. "So we can go out and do things, you dolt!" you shout back, more out of astonishment than anything else. >Is she for real right now? >"Hey, you're the one so adamant on getting me out of here, how am I supposed to know what's in that empty space between your ears?!" she snaps back, clearly displeased and offended by your volume. "Sorry, sorry," you apologize profusely, kicking yourself for shouting despite not meaning ill will. >You didn't really mean to call her a name either. >But she is sort of being thick-headed right now. >"So, this really is just about... what? Being able to do stuff? Like what?" >Midnight sounds surprised as she acknowledges the information your outburst actually contained. "Like... well, what would you want to do?" >Midnight shrugs, scoffing at your attempts to pass this off onto her. >"How am I supposed to know what there is? Almost everything I know about the outside world is what I've gleaned from eavesdropping or come across while reading on your laptop. Entertainment is not high on the priority list in terms of learning." "Fair enough. I guess I don't really have any suggestions other than dining out at restaurants - I'm sure as hell not a top-notch cook. There's some good places around. Things to check out in terms of sights, that sort of thing." >"And what if I have no desire to explore the world? What if... I already sort of have what I need, don't I?" she asks, as if unsure of herself. >You feel awkward trying to come up with any sort of reasonable answer to that. >Particularly because she's basically been deprived of... well, living. >Actually enjoying life.
>>4579 >Yet this shithole is good enough for her? "I guess so. Maybe we're getting too far ahead here," you admit. "I just wanted to say that I get your reservations about this, and I'm a little nervous, too. But we'll play it cool and cautious, and see how the cards fall, okay? Just don't stress from now until then, please?" >You put on your best pouting, pleading face, complete with sad eyes. >Midnight cringes, the door behind her opening quickly under her spell. >"Never make that face again. What the hell is that?" she responds with utter disgust. "A secret weapon, don't forget it," you joke, overemphasizing a serious tone of voice. >"I couldn't if I wanted to," she shoots back, still sounding rather disturbed as she slides out of the passenger side and out of view. >Mirroring her actions, you push open your door and set out for the final few parts of the early evening. -----
>>4580 good stuff!
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its a bit early for /spookleg/ but we're in the season
>>4586 Is staring at the grim reaper's plot a bad idea?
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>>4587 >libido and sex is for the mortals so you shouldnt feel anything staring this ass
>>4586 Super cool with the rain effect. I rather like it. >>4589 A pretty nice plot the shoulders and arms seem a bit off though.
>>4589 >you shouldnt feel anything staring this ass Then why do I feel the need to breed when I stare at it?
>>4580 Another good update. Nice to see Anon trying to cheer her up.
>>4593 >Anon's carnal desires endures even after death
>>4580 "Steak any good?" >"I think you did a decent job with it. I'm no connoisseur- I could have eaten it raw without issue." >Dinner time had come around again after a surprisingly smooth day of working. >Having been impressed with how much Midnight had accomplished the prior day, combined with her difficulties in slowing down her overactive mind, you decided to break out something a little more upscale. >A nice ribeye steak, cooked rare - if that. >She wanted it bloody, and as she just mentioned - raw would not have been an issue for her. > It's still odd to watch someone that should really be an herbivore mowing down red meat with vigor. >You're glad that this far, she hasn't noticed - but you definitely gave her the choice steak out of the two. >Middie would probably flip shit that you were spoiling her or something like that. >As much as she's come around to you, she's got her odd streaks of reluctance to accept anything above the bare minimum. >Maybe she thinks you're trying to bribe her or something. >Weird, but what else is there? >All you're looking to try to do is try to make the highlight of your life happy. >... >Alright, that sounds fucking weird. >Back that train up. >You're trying to make your friend happy. >Because she's dealt with too much misfortune. >She's a highlight because you don't really have friends you keep in contact with any longer, and otherwise, all you have is work. >So Midnight is... her existence is the most interesting thing you deal with, in the sense of the doldrums of day-to-day life. >Because you don't live alone anymore. >That's a better explanation. >...to yourself. >Complicated and meandering thoughts aside, there had been no excitement tonight when you gave a call to Theodore, notifying him his parts were ready for pickup whenever. >Midnight insisted upon it, despite your attempts to alleviate her mind of thinking about this earlier. >Relief and disappointment replaced the palpable tension when you only heard the eventual voicemail cut in. >You left a short message, only notifying him his parts were ready whenever he desired to pick them up, and your phone number in case of any delays or questions. >And that was that. "Same old, same old tonight?" you ask Midnight while she goes to town on her meal. >It must be pretty damn good or she's hungrier than normal because table manners are on the verge of disappearing entirely. >To be fair, you also made her wait until your food was done - so she had to just stare at it. >Next time, you will start yours first instead of doing them together. >"I unno," Midnight replies, shrugging with a mouthful of chewed-up steak distorting her response. "Don't talk with your mouth full, heathen." >Rather than respond with words, Midnight childishly opens her mouth and gives you a clear view of her meal. "How pleasant. Thank you for that," you groan, mildly disgusted by the sight. >Midnight seems content with that answer as she finishes up.
>>4608 >"Don't ask questions when you aren't ready for the answer next time," she suggests. "Okay, you can answer now - just the same old routine tonight?" >"Should I be doing something else?" she replies with her own inquiry. "I didn't know if you had some other plans for the website or the junkyard in general - or maybe something new you're reading about." >Again, she only shrugs whilst continuing her meal. >You follow her hint and continue with your own plate. >It isn't until after Midnight clears her plate that she breaks the silence. >"What's gotten into you asking me about my plans?" "Just trying to converse, I guess. Show I have some interest since you live with me," you casually explain. "Just sort of what friends do - we are friends, yeah?" >"Are we?" she replies, raising an eyebrow. >You feel like you just got kicked in the gut. >Maybe you are playing this too close to your heart. >"I didn't mean it like that," Midnight speaks up again, her ears dipping as she looks at you with some sympathy. >You didn't think you made a face about it, but evidently, she picked up on some sort of visual cue. "What?" >Midnight is visibly uncomfortable as you try to keep your inquiry as vague as her answer. >"It's... you bastard, I told you I didn't want you to get all queer and sappy after last night," she grumbles, rolling her eyes as she attempts to dismiss her own discomfort. "I didn't do anything!" >"Bullshit, you took some sort of offense to my question like I hurt your feelings. I could see it in how you dropped your head!" she accuses, pointing a hoof at you. "And you're pointing it out and apologizing for it like you feel bad that you did it," you remind her. >Midnight recoils, her face twisted into an odd amalgam of emotions. >"You... fuck. Don't turn this on me. I live with you, I don't need you crying for a hug," she mutters, looking off to the side. "So what didn't you mean?" you ask, now sort of amused by how she's gotten spun up about virtually nothing. >"Stop it." "No, you can't accuse me of doing something as a result of something you said that was left rather ambiguous." >"That's a rather big word for you - 'ambiguous.' Do you actually know what it means?" she asks, slyly trying to shift the squabble. "I do, but I don't know what you meant by asking if we were friends, but not actually meaning it," you calmly reply, crossing your arms over your chest. >"What's your definition of 'friend'?" she finally relents, albeit with a grumbling tone. "What's yours?" >"I don't have one. So don't play this off on me," she says. "You've never had a friend?" >She looks at you with incredulity staining her expression. >"Are you being stupid on purpose? I was born in a lab - what kind of social situations do you think I've experienced?" she counters. "Might I remind you that you pointed out earlier today that I apparently possess no social grace - but you're expectant of me to have had a friend?"
>>4609 >Yeah, that might have been a little retarded to ask, with that earlier conversation in mind. >But still, you would expect she had at least one... >Pony? >Or person? >Someone that she conversed with. "You didn't have anyone to talk to? At all, that whole time you were... wherever you were?" you inquire cautiously. >It feels like you're treading on thin ice now. >"Not really," Midnight says rather impatiently. "Maybe before the whole... the start of the experiments with augmentations. Biological ponies like - well I guess like I *was* - we were kept completely separate from the robots. After all, we aren't supposed to exist. But we were kept sort of together, I think. Like a common gathering area." "You think, or you know?" >You get a glare from Midnight before she even responds with words. >"I told you things are hazy for me, Anon," she mutters in frustration. "I only recall being - I guess reintroduced to that area." >Rather than ask for her to go on, you sit patiently. >Midnight has sort of zoned out, her eyes glazed over in thought. >"I don't know, it felt familiar. But it was just so... fake. All of it," she says, sounding disgusted. "And some of the others - I don't know, they didn't feel like complete strangers, but..." "Did you try talking to them?" you suggest. >She glances up at you, unenthused by the inquiry. >"You don't really 'converse' with bio-ponies - not the ones I was around, anyway," she scoffs. "They can speak, but there's very little of substance going on in their head." >Midnight sighs, looking rather apologetic for that crass review. >"Honestly, I didn't want much to do with them. There might have been some idle 'hellos' and 'goodbyes,' but it just felt like everyone else was... content. Placid. Superficial. So I just sort of isolated myself out of frustration, trying to understand what the hell was going.on, why I felt that way, why everything felt so wrong." "So what happened then?" >"Eventually I got my own area. Never saw any of those ponies again - or any ponies, for that matter, aside from the occasional robot. Other than that, it was humans - and most of them looked at me like an exotic being rather than something sentient." >Midnight's tone turns very bitter as she finishes. >Her bright blue eyes harden again as her focus returns to you. >"So no, I don't have any experience with 'friends' - the ball is squarely in your court," she states with finality. >As much as you like having your curiosity sated when Midnight opens up, it's never satisfying. >It seems like it's always something painful, whether she understands it or not.
>>4610 "Well, friends can converse about idle shit - but there's a level of trust that goes beyond that. It's someone you trust with your personal issues, your memories, someone you rely on in times of need. Someone you know won't judge you or make fun of you for something embarrassing - though you can usually rib each other for it. But it's someone that - well, you enjoy their company, their discussions, and their ear when you need to talk." >Midnight listens intently but offers no response. >Likewise, you only sit there - before you realize you haven't finished eating. >Might be a little cold now, but no sense in letting it go to waste. >Again, silence wins over any sort of idle chit-chat while you finish up dinner. >Rather than shuffle off to the couch and the comfortable isolation of the laptop screen, Midnight still sits at the kitchen counter across from you. >Her attention isn't really honed in on anything in particular. >Just watching her tell that tidbit of the past, you could tell she was experiencing it all over again. >And yet... >That's it. >She has no response for your explanation. >You were hoping to get some sort of agreement or affirmation. >You get it - she's a macho mare. >But her insistence to keep up this barrier does sting just a bit - you can't lie to yourself about that. >You still consider her a friend - just a very moody one. >Then again, that's sort of her odd, slightly rough charm, isn't it? >You're getting worked up over something stupid - a label. >Stop being a dumbass, dumbass. >Pulling yourself out of your odd mishmash of thoughts, you take both empty plates and slip them into the sink. >Along with the other dishes from this morning. >Maybe you'll get them washed tomorrow. "If I get to that couch first, I'm laying down on it," you announce, as if oblivious to Midnight's presence. >"The hell you will," she snidely responds, staring a hole through you. >You lock eyes with her as if preparing for a duel. >Just as you make a motion to get around the counter, Midnight bolts up and makes a beeline for her seat. "Not fair, you got a head start," you whine. >Fuck you, you can share," she sasses. "Fine," you huff, waltzing out into the living room and plopping down on your familiar cushion without any sort of grace or fanfare. >You flip on the tv with a quick motion of the remote and fish your phone out of your pocket. >Time to relax and look up stupid shit. >You feel the couch shift a little bit, and as you look up, the one cushion buffer between you and Midnight has evaporated. >She sits next to you for a moment, ignoring your perplexed gaze, before taking her normal posture. >Laying down, half-curled up and flopped over on one side, with her forehooves dangling off the front of the couch. >"Punishment for being so damn slow, friend," she muses nonchalantly, booting up your laptop. >You can't help but smirk. "Damn. Guess that's what I get for making idle threats." >"Yep." >You consider reaching over and ruffling her mane but think better of it. >Midnight has her own odd way of expressing herself- it just takes time. >You can wait. >It's worth it. -----
>>4611 >Midnight slowly discovering the magic of friendship Another good update, looking forward to the next one. Thanks Anon.
Do marketing mares, bootlegs and knock-offs have their own, bootleg version of Equestria?
>>4615 Might just be a bootleg euphemism for China.
>>4616 It's not only about the name. I vaguely remember that when I was a kid I've read a story about a kingdom of discarded toys or some stuff like that. Thought it might be an interesting thing to ponder.
>>4615 >>4616 How about it's like Equestria but the cities have names that are puns of chinese cities instead of american ones?
>>4618 Yeah, with Glimmer Village being called Ponyogang.
>>4618 As I said, I think it has to be more than just names. Maybe a misshappen, chaotic landscapes? Dilapidated buildings and habitats with bootleg ponies struggling to maintain it intact? Cheap, knock-off harmony that never works so bootlegs need to actually put effort into friendship and magic to survive and prosper?
So would bootleg Discord be some perfect being?
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Updated and edited Angel Cake.
>>4611 >If you weren't already aware when signing for the package and just observing the size of it, Midnight made sure you knew of the contents. >The leaf springs for the Trailduster arrived. >And she wants no part in dilly-dallying to get them installed. >Fair enough. >As the lift in the garage bay slowly rises up from the ground with the truck at the whims of its might, Midnight is already tearing up packaging like a kid on Christmas. >Albeit wielding a box cutter. >And you're pretty sure her teeth got in on the action. >Damn heathen. "Just a reminder, if we don't get this done by evening, you're carrying me around while we pick parts," you joke. >"I never agreed to that, so bite me," Midnight strikes back. "Should have read the fine print - deal's a deal." >She snorts. >"Do you listen to yourself when you talk? That makes absolutely no sense." "I try not to listen - that way I don't know when I say something stupid. Then it's deny, deny, deny." >"Yeah? And how does that work out?" "How does what work out?" >Midnight starts to react as you watch those metaphorical gears in her head start to grind. >But she stops herself, catching onto your subtle, idiotic ruse. >"Funny guy," she says unenthusiastically. "Aw, thanks. I'll be here all week." >Midnight just shakes her head as she starts sorting out parts and pieces. >Nevertheless, she can't hide that mildly amused grin. >Maybe she isn't trying. >After all, things are... different. >A few nights ago, when she decided to sit beside you on the couch - well, that was just a joke for five minutes before putting the normal space between you two, right? >Doesn't seem like it. >Every night, her spot has been on the cushion next to you, rather than the opposite end. >You know better than to point it out, though. >More than likely, she would clam up again and revert to old habits. >It's only a move of a foot or two - but there is an increased sense of solidarity just in that closeness. >And whether it's because you inquired that same night or on her own accord, Midnight has also been receptive to showing you things she finds of interest or asking more questions about a topic. >It has become less about the occasional banter and conversation, between periods of silence, and more about conversation with some banter - and the occasional silence. >That speech about friendship was undeniably fruity, but it seems like it struck a chord with her, for whatever reason. >Who knew she could be such a softy? >That comment, if uttered aloud, could very well result in lost digits, though. >But jokes aside, hopefully it's a step in the right direction. >To get the rest of the trauma she's experienced out of her. >There is something that you find really haunting about her tale that she described. >How everything was suddenly... >Alien. >Just the thought of having your brain cranked on to the point where nothing is the same - but not understanding why...
>>4634 >A chill runs up your spine, making you let go of that ugly musing. >Focus returns to the present as you start looking over bolts that will require removal. >Well, they're all rusted, but that's to be expected for something dating back to the '70s. >You've seen far, far worse out of decades-newer cars, so you won't complain one bit. >With any luck, you won't have any casualties in terms of broken bolts or stripped heads. >"So, are we dropping the axles?" >The question makes you chuckle as you spy Midnight joining you underneath the vehicle. >Her focus is on the workspace, rather than you - so your chuckle doesn't irk her at all. "No way, that's way more work than we need to do," you reply. "I'm going to get some chains or straps and lash both axles in place on either side, and we'll take off one leaf spring and shock absorber at a time. Otherwise, we would be removing drive shafts, brake lines, and steering linkage. I want no part in that." >"So, you're corner-cutting," she says, unimpressed. "No, we're doing this the smart way rather than by the book - there's a reason that mechanics make a fair bit of dough - they get paid by the hour." >You look over to Midnight. "If you really want to do it the proper, technical service manual way, I'd be glad to - but it's gonna cost you some money." >"Money that I don't have," she reminds you. "Good, we're on the same page," you cheer, clapping your hands together. >However, you take note that Midnight is not wholly impressed. "In all seriousness Midnight - doing it this way is fine. I get being a stickler when it comes to the official manual - but remember how they don't even go in-depth on topics like trim," you remind her. "If it was something where we were truly at risk of cocking something up or hurting ourselves - then no, I wouldn't do it this way." >"So it legitimately is a shortcut, rather than you being lazy?" "Swear on it. Maybe it looks lazy and jacked up to strap the damn thing up there, but we would otherwise be draining the transmission and transfer cases to get the driveshafts out and refilling them, and then having to purge and bleed the brakes. And I'm a walking hazard when it comes to dealing with automotive fluids." >"Well, when you mention that, I want to see how much of a clusterfuck you can create," she jokingly chimes in. "Believe me, you'll see it sooner or later. And you'll help me clean it up." >"Nuh-uh," she says, shaking her head while turning back to her prior organization of parts. "Where the hell are you going?" >Pivoting on the spot to look back at you, Midnight looks lost as she cocks her head sideways. >"What do you mean?" >You point at a few key bolts that have to be removed. "You wanted to do this, didn't you?" >"Of course!" >The way she perks up instantly at the question is undeniably adorable. >You don't think you've ever seen someone so happy to do work. >But hey, who are you to complain?
>>4635 "Get started on breaking loose those U-bolts around the axles, the bolts on either end of the leaf springs, and the shock mounts top and bottom while I get something to tie up them axles," you explain, thumbing over to the storage room. "Impact gun or ratchet, your choice - just try to be cautious as much as you can. I'm sure I have some bolts to replace whatever gets busted, but I dunno where they are for sure." >"The leaf springs came with new bolts," Midnight chimes in. "Sweet. That's an unexpected but welcome surprise," you reply cheerfully. >This may go even better than anticipated. >As Midnight briskly trots over to your battered red toolbox to select the needed tools, you wander your way over to your storeroom and head inside. >Right away, you spy a few tow straps - but they're the smaller kind. >That's no good. >You head further in, barely able to walk straight forward with as tight of proximity all of these shelves are. >You really should have reconsidered and had Midnight do this. >Not because you don't trust her with getting started on the truck- but because she's much more lithe than you are when it comes to getting through this shit. >Someday, maybe you need to get another building put up - solely for part storage. >Yeah, someday... >Finally stumbling upon what you're searching for, you find your heavy-duty shit in the back corner. >You grab a few chains and a couple of sets of straps, silently cursing why you had to put them all the way back here rather than right inside. >Having not heard the rattling tune of the impact yet, it's safe to assume Midnight went with the physical route. >... is it really physical for her though? >Regardless, you aren't surprised - she's complained before about the volume of it and the racket it creates. >Her hearing is probably more sensitive. >But it would have been the safer option to break those bolts loose. >As you stumble along back to the entrance with your prizes slung over your shoulder, you hear a voice. >It isn't Midnight though... >"ANONYMOUS!!" >That one is. >The sheer volume of her shout quickens your pulse, even without any context. >You haven't heard her shout like that before, and she's dealt with customers on more than one occasion now, with the obvious one that comes to mind being- > It's probably Theodore. >You hustle as quick as you can through the corridor, banging your arms once or twice on parts that stick out beyond their respective shelf. >Whether she's flipping her shit just from pent-up stress and anxiety or if Teddy is trying something nefarious doesn't matter. >You aren't taking chances. >Reaching the door and sprinting out into the garage proper, you find Midnight has everything under control... >Relatively speaking. >You do recognize the elder gentleman, even as he stands just a few steps inside the building. >With a pair of weathered khakis and a vintage GM shirt, he certainly doesn't come off as a nefarious scientist.
>>4636 >Midnight has him at roughly five-foot distance. >Her ears are pinned back while she bares her teeth at your guest, her deep blue and violet-highlighted tail swishing back and forth with irritation as her eyes are locked on him like a target. >Well, she certainly isn't *scared* of him, in a sense. "Midnight," you call to her in a calm voice. >She doesn't turn or move, but you see her tensed muscles in her shoulders and hips relax just a bit. >"I uh... I didn't do very well in my first impression, did I?" Theodore quips in a lighthearted, slightly southern drawl. >For his part, the guy doesn't look too concerned about being stared down by someone prepared to attack. >You allow yourself to relax a bit while closing the distance between you and the two of them. "Yeah, Midnight has been... a little bit stressed," you admit, just as you pass beside her. >Out of the corner of your eye, you see her eyes shift to you, snorting once before putting her weapons away. >All that fuss about being called a guard dog... >You stick your hand out to greet your awaited guest. "I know we've already talked before, but I guess this is a bit more formal," you say, feeling awkward. "You must be Theodore." >"Oh please - this isn't that formal. Call me Teddy," he replies with a chuckle and a grin while accepting your gesture. "Of course, you and Midnight have met," you say, turning back to her. >She's calmed down now but remains guarded, her posture straight and stiff. >So much for giving the guy a chance... >"Yeah, I guess my bedside manners aren't very good. They never really were," he wisecracks. "You're a doctor?" you ask, surprised and confused by the quip. >"That's what the degree says, anyway - not really an *actual* doctor like in a hospital or anything like that," he clarifies, reaching behind his back and pulling out his wallet. "But before I forget, I ought to get those parts paid for and in my truck. Is that ok?" "Of course - got em back here behind the counter," you say, waving for him to follow you as you head in that direction. >Midnight quickly meets your stride alongside as you pass by her, sticking close. >Whether that's more for your protection or hers - that's up for debate. >Midnight doesn't say anything, but just a glance tells you she is very stressed about this whole situation. >Jesus - you had no idea she was this high-strung. >It's far beyond what you would expect from a conversation that took place a few days ago. >You need to talk to her - and Teddy heading out to his truck with those parts will present the perfect opportunity. >After presenting the parts to him and finagling just a bit on the price, Teddy hands you the cash and heads back out for the time being with his acquisitions. >You turn to Midnight, who is practically your shadow at this point. "Midnight, what was that all about?" you ask, more concerned than disappointed. "I thought we agreed that we would give him a fair shake."
>>4637 >"I'm not going with him, Anonymous!" she blurts out angrily, stomping a hoof down with a reverberating clack. "I have fought for this place, I'm still fighting for this place, I have you - I don't need anything else, no matter what he offers!" >She pauses to take a seat upon her haunches, while you're left utterly dumbfounded by the small avalanche she just unleashed. >"I *could* live without you, if need be - I'm not saying you're *everything*, but you're a perk living here, I'll admit that," she quickly adds, ruffling her wings with mild anxiousness. "Who the hell said you were going to leave?" you ask, getting down on a knee to get closer to her level. >... Midnight sort of has to bring her head down a bit to meet you. >But still, you get a better look at the torment, fury, and anxiety that swirls in those magnificent blue eyes. >Which have begun to glow as her tirade continues. >"He said he would take me away from here if this wasn't suitable to me, if you were a dickhead or something like that - I don't know," she snarls. "But fuck him! I'm not leaving! This is my home, and I will flay him and anyone else that gets in my way!" >You've only seen her this carried away and this angry once, if the sheer luminescence of her eyes is anything to go by. >The first night, when you called her 'princess.' >This is almost as scary. >Particularly as her breathing is on the verge of hyperventilation. "Well dammit, you never told me any of that," you reluctantly tell her. >You only now realize you started running your hands through her mane in an attempt to temper her fury. "Goddamn girl, you need to talk about this kind of shit," you reply. "I keep trying to get that through to you, I'm here to listen to your issues. Keeping that kind of shit in doesn't make you stronger, and talking about it doesn't make you a wuss." >Slowly, she begins to come to her senses, her inhales and exhales coming slower and deeper. "You're fine, Midnight. You got this, I got your back, alright? One step at a time here," you encourage her, trying to pep her up as you pat her shoulder. "You and me." >Midnight doesn't say anything, only nodding slightly at your words as her eyes begin to dim back to normal. >"I got this," she reiterates after a moment. "You have my back." "Exactly." >Having helped Midnight reel herself back in, you feel confident enough to stand up. >As you do so, you see Teddy has returned - albeit standing at a distance. >You feel sort of embarrassed and vulnerable as you wonder how long he's been back, and how much he heard. >He puts his hands up and out a little bit. >'Sorry,' he mouths out to you. >You look back over to Midnight, who stands back up straight. >Turning her head, she follows your gaze over to Teddy... >A little bit of anxiousness returns to her body, but she's much calmer than just a few minutes ago. >You turn your attention back to your guest. "Why don't we sit down and have a little chat?" -----
>>4638 I wish I could be as productive as you, Auto.
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IDW keeping bootleg alive
>>4639 Lel. This is the first green I've written where you could say that about me. I'm usually slow as molasses when it comes to updates. It's all about inspiration, and Midnight hits me hard with that.
>>4638 Looks like we're about to find out about Mr. Teddy and it seems Midnight's anxiousness has just been building this entire time. Curious to find out what his deal is. Thanks for another update Auto. >>4639 Don't we all? >>4654 Looks like they went with the measure once cut twice philosophy. >>4655 Well I'm certainly enjoying things so far. Am excited to see where you take it in the future.
>>4639 It takes inspiration and a clear mind. At the best I was writing for three threads and around five days a week.
>>4638 >You normally don't have company - but there are always seats to be found in a junkyard. >Maybe a little dusty, but still. >With the three of you having your own seat from cars long gone set down on the concrete floor, you all sort of look at each other, waiting for someone to speak up. >"Well, I guess I'll start by saying I didn't mean to come off the way I did to you, Midnight," Teddy apologizes, rubbing the back of his head. >"How did you mean to, as you say, 'come off,'?" Midnight interrogates, making it clear there is still much skepticism in her mind. >"I was just... impressed. I can't say I've seen anything as - well, natural as you. And I've been around for a while." "You worked with ponies, I'm assuming?" you speak up. >Teddy nods. >"Yeah, most of my working life. Obviously not around here, mind you," he says with a chuckle, highlighting his accent with a bit more drawl than normal. "Mind you, I was never a big shot or head honcho, but I graduated from college and started in the field of robotics well before manufacturers even thought of creating pony bots - but I was there when they began." >Teddy chuckles again as he reminisces about the past. >"I thought my company was batshit when the idea was proposed, figured there was no way Animatronics International would find any sort of profit margin in em - how wrong I was, huh?" "I can't say I'm really familiar with the name," you admit. "Never had any interest in... well, any of that robotic stuff." >"Well that's alright - it isn't for everyone. But it's a pretty large company - and we were the first to put out a production model." >"So because you finger-fucked the internals of a few robots means you can tell from a glance what I am, huh?" Midnight snidely interjects. >You try your damndest not to laugh despite her rude comment - but Teddy doesn't bother. >He unleashes a hearty guffaw, much to Midnight's surprise. >"Wow, she's a firecracker, isn't she?" he asks, looking over to you. "She's got a bit of snark in her," you agree, looking over to Midnight. >She doesn't look too happy about the exchange. >Perhaps because he asked you, instead of saying it to her. >Like you're her owner. "But that's a question better discussed with her," you add, motioning over to Midnight. >Pleasantly, you watch her give the faintest of smiles - for only a split second. >After that, the stone-faced mare returns. >"Ah, I'm sorry about that," Teddy says to her, understanding your hint right away. "Here I am crowing about you to start with, and then I'm acting like you aren't on our level." >"I would argue I'm above, but duly noted," she replies snobbishly. >Dammit, Midnight... >At least Teddy doesn't seem to take offense. >"Anyway, I specialized in the - well, I guess you could call it the brain," he continues, scratching his temple.
>>4674 >"We all did a little bit of everything in the development group, though. But with the brain, it's not only about getting everything to work together as far as limbs and movement, it's about the personality, too. That was a really big focus since all of the models we made were based on characters of the show." >You nod your head - but in reality, you can't even begin to fathom how different the personalities could be between miniature talking horses. >"Obviously at the start, things were rough - we were going for as 'real' or 'alive' as possible, but that sort of thing takes time. A few tweaks here or there, better actuators for more fluid movements, variances in voice modulation for better tone shifts, that sort of thing." "So you did that kind of stuff with the actual robots they sell, but you know of others like Midnight?" you ask. >Midnight nods firmly at your question, as eager as you are to understand how it all fits together based on his previous talk with her. >"You can spend all the money in the world for the best materials and then best scientists - but there is no replacement for the real thing, is there?" Teddy sighs. "It took about fifteen years, but we hit a brick wall when it came to improving the product any further. Not just us - all the companies doing this sort of stuff. So naturally, everyone started looking into bioengineering." >"Which is against the law," Midnight announces. >"Not when we started doing it - that was a grey area. Humans were off-limits, but companions or pets..." >Teddy has to trail off as Midnight takes exception to those words. >"I know that seems like I'm being offensive. But that is what - that is the end goal, you know?" he pleads. "Midnight, he's not being a dick, just cut him some slack - it's just the world we live in," you explain. >Midnight huffs, but after making eye contact with you, drops her shoulders and her perked up ears. >"That doesn't mean I have to like it," she mutters. >"No, you don't have to like it - and I didn't like it either," Teddy replies, shaking his head. "So you worked on trying to make bio-ponies a reality?" >Teddy turns his attention back to you, looking rather pained by your inquiry. >"With my arm twisted behind my back, yeah. Mind you, I didn't do any of the genetic engineering - I sort of took a back seat and helped with input based on the movements of our robots already in production and whatnot." >He takes a deep breath, as if hesitant to continue. >Just the look on his face tells you nothing particularly pleasant lies ahead. >"Go on," Midnight urges him, her interest piqued to the point that she is leaning forward. >"Just like robots, you're not going to get things right the first time. My god, some of the poor things that came out of the beginning stages -" >He shakes his head, collecting his thoughts for a moment.
>>4675 >"That's why I had such an issue with going down that road. Robots - sure, they're circuits and servos, but not actually a living, breathing creature, you know? Even the robo-ponies, a defective irreparable one... I found it hard to deactivate em without feeling some sort of sorrow for the thing. They really are something else." >Just listening to his works makes you feel sick. >Midnight doesn't look like she is doing too well, either. >"They at least got to a point where the ponies they were creating could actually - ugh, they could actually walk and function. I had enough of it, and I was relieved when the government stepped in and outlawed any sort of bioengineering of creatures." >"It didn't end there," Midnight reminds him. >Teddy cringes at that comment. >"No, I'm afraid it didn't - just went further behind the scenes, in secrecy. That legislation they passed was a pretty volatile topic, and it wasn't universally praised - it barely passed, if I remember right," Teddy explains. "I can't speak for everyone, but my company was still pursuing the development with the sense that the law would be repealed at some point - and they all wanted to be ahead of the game. I didn't." "You stepped back on your own?" >"Sort of. I spoke out against it, bitched at every upper management I could about how what we were doing was wrong - and the best they could do was an early retirement package with the stipulation that I don't take up any employment with another company for at least five years, and to never speak about that ongoing project." "So, is talking about it now..." >"I'd appreciate it if you kept this between us," he says with a nod. "I got far away from that place, ended up here about four years ago. So what they're up to now - I have no idea. I don't want to know." >He clears his throat, turning his focus squarely upon Midnight. >"So to answer your earlier question - I've been around a lot of robots. Seen how they move, they act, so on and so forth," he elaborates. "How you act, how you talk, your movements - far beyond what a robot could do, unless these companies have made incredible strides in the last half-decade. And I doubt that. But with everything that I've been through dealing with robo-ponies, and to a lesser extent, bio-ponies - I keep my eyes open." ">"Curiosity of how far science can go, I would assume," Midnight suggests. >"No, to try to help. I was skeptical when I first started developing em, but as I said - there is something special about ponies. I can't deny it. I've settled down here in this area, but for a year or so, I wandered a bit, traveled a bit - saw more than a fair share of discarded robo-ponies. Done what I can, because it really does pull at my heartstrings. Been fortunate to find em homes some of the time, or at least improve their life. And then there's the rare few like you..." >Midnight cocks her head at the way Teddy trails off.
>>4676 >"But that's a story for another time. I am legitimately curious about you, because as I said the last time we spoke - you're well above any other that I've encountered." >Despite the flash of cockiness she showed earlier, Midnight is a bit embarrassed by Teddy's notation, fidgeting a bit in her seat while she glances at you. >Her bashful demeanor dies away, leaving you with a look of skepticism. >You get she's cautious, but Teddy seems pretty genuine... >"You can tell him, I'd rather not revisit that," she says, devoid of emotion. "I'll work on the Trailduster as planned." >She gets up and saunters back toward the lift without another word. >You sigh, feeling empathetic to her pain that lingers. >"That's the sad thing about the whole market with companions, be it robots or biological," Teddy says quietly. "For every one that is in a good home, there's at least one or two that end up tossed to the side." "Just like traditional pets, expect they can actually talk," you reply. >"Yep. The other big reason I was against delving into bio-ponies - but where there's potentially money to be made, businesses are going to gun for it. Sorta makes me regret doing a lot of that work over all the years, seeing the dark side of it." "Midnight's been through the ringer, I know that much. It's why she's got such an attitude." >"Yeah, I've certainly seen that," he says with a chuckle. "Suppose that's my own fault. I didn't mean to cause either of you any trouble." "I guess the biggest thing that had her bothered was, aside from you identifying her as something other than robotic - I guess you mentioned taking her away from here? What was that about?" >You keep your voice calm and courteous - but you want an answer to that before anything else. >Teddy shifts uncomfortably at the inquiry. >"Like I said, these ponies - they tug at my heartstrings quite a bit. Just feel a bit - like I'm the one responsible for their plight, you know? Animatronics International was the first to market with em, and I was a big part of that project," he sighs. "If it wouldn't have been us, it'd have been another company, but still -" "With all due respect, Midnight's been focused on that idea that you would take her from here - and she's been festering on it because she doesn't like to talk about her issues," you interrupt with a firm voice. "She doesn't like seeming weak, even though that isn't true. What happened earlier, that walked in on - that was the breaking point there. I don't know what she's really capable of, but you've seen the dental work she's packing - and this was her last stand, as far as she was concerned. So please cut to the chase." >Teddy wrings his hands, looking rather ashamed as he glances behind you, undoubtedly to where Midnight is at work. >"Boy, she really does enjoy doing that sort of stuff, huh?" he asks, managing a small smile. >You turn around to follow his gaze, as Midnight hovers a ratchet up into the belly of the truck.
>>4677 >Even from this distance, you can see the relaxed grin that's graced her face. "That's what she spent months reading about in the back of the junkyard before I stumbled upon her," you reply, turning back to him. >"That was my biggest concern, particularly because she's not some servant robot - she's a living breathing being. I'm sorry, I didn't mean any offense to you. Or her, for that matter. But after watching you help her earlier - you really care about her, don't you?" "Of course I do," you say, almost hurt by the rhetorical question. "I wasn't too thrilled to find her at first because I've got no interest in ponies or robots - none of that. And it was pretty rough, but... yeah, there's some charm to her, in a weird way. And I want to help her because she's been through hell." >Teddy nods, sporting an ear-to-ear grin as you finish. >"Ah, sounds like a road familiar to this old fart," he says with a chuckle. "So she was out in your junkyard?" >You briefly explain where you think she came from, some of the experiments they did, as well as when and how you discovered her. >"So that really isn't all for show? Midnight's an actual carnivore?" Teddy asks toward the end of your tale. "More or less. She's had a few other items here or there, but meat is her default," you say with a shrug. >"Man, that's just awful what they put her through, but her attitude makes a lot more sense to me now." "Yeah, life treats you like shit, and you tend to treat everyone around you like it, I guess." >However, Teddy shakes his head in disagreement. >"No, it's - I realize you don't know much about ponies from the show, but they all have distinctly different personalities. Having two chips or personalities, I would have to believe they sort of feed off of each other - and perhaps interfere with each other. That's not to say she isn't an individual, but she certainly has familiar quirks and mannerisms that tie into her personality as a whole." >That does sound like what she mentioned about her mind being overly active... "So, you mean kind of like how she has a strong pull toward learning new things, reading and shit, yeah?" you ask. >"Yep, that sounds an awful lot like Twilight Sparkle. As well as the anxiety, to a certain degree. But I'd assume the other chip is Luna?" "I... think so? What makes you guess that?" >"Well, to be fair, I'm not completely familiar with the manufacturer you mentioned, but everyone gravitates toward the same set of traits or personalities for certain ponies. Luna models tend to be a bit more independent, and perhaps a little reserved - but fiercely loyal and protective. I certainly see that in her, and tying in with a Twilight model's sometimes spastic behavior - well, no wonder she's such a fiery mare." >Teddy chuckles at his own quip, before settling down into a more serious tone.
>>4678 >"Anon, I'm awfully glad you found her and took her in. You seem like you have a good heart," he says. "And just the way you talk about her, how you look at her, I can tell you love her an awful lot already." >The way he says 'love,' it feels like there's a different connotation to it... "I think you might be looking too much into that, dude," you say with a half chuckle, waiting for him to rib you as you feel a bit warm. >But Teddy remains relatively straight-faced. >"Oh come on, there ain't no shame in it boy," he says in a sympathetic tone. "I saw the way you were stroking her mane, how concerned you were despite how - well, pardon me for saying it, but how terrifying and wild she looked. You were focused on her, beyond that. Been there, done that." "What's that supposed to mean?" you ask, unsure of where this odd road of conversation is leading... >"Like I said, I've only seen a select few like her, and I've been down your road," he says, a wink of his eye following shortly thereafter. >Right... >This is getting too weird now. "Well, I appreciate you at least explaining uh... well, everything, I guess," you say quickly, getting up to your feet. >"Figured I owed it to ya, to settle both your mind and hers," he says, waving a hand dismissively. >As he slowly stands up, he abruptly starts patting down the front of his shorts. >"Oh shit, I almost forgot," he says, reaching into his right pocket. >He pulls out some sort of chain with a pendant that you can't quite make out. >"Now, this isn't completely foolproof, but it will certainly keep her a lot more inconspicuous," he says, grabbing onto the pendant itself and showing it to you. >The silver chain matches the pendant -which is in the shape of a crescent moon, much like the marks on Midnight's rear. >It's fairly large, about the size of a half-dollar coin, and has some thickness to it, which gradually tapers off toward the points. "Erm, jewelry?" you ask, even more perplexed after the conversation moments ago. >"It's got an RFID chip inside of it," he says quietly, pointing to the pendant. "It's not foolproof - after all, she's not a production model, let alone a bot - and it doesn't have your name and all that on it, either. But it will at least keep her safe in case of the passive scanners like at restaurants or stores - basically average public places. I just try to find something that fits with the pony in question, and I'd say this fits the bill for her, huh?" >He hands it off to you, allowing you to look it over. >Theres the slightest seam separating the front and back of the moon, but it otherwise seems like a solid piece of sterling silver. >The chain itself is a bit heftier than your standard jewelry necklace - it wouldn't surprise you if it was made specifically for ponies. >Well, bots.
>>4679 >"I'm sure I'll need more parts at some point - Cutlass is coming along nicely, but it was nothing short of a basketcase when I got it," he says with a laugh. "I take it you still have my number?" >You nod. >"If you need anything for her, give me a call. I can take care of some things, and I have a couple of friends that I trust with this sort of sensitive stuff. Just above all, try to keep her possessing a low profile - I can't say what would happen to her in a legal sense, but I can guarantee wherever she came from - well, those people would rather not have her existence risk getting caught experimenting with bio-engineering." >While that is a thought that crossed your mind, hearing someone else mention it gives you a sickening feeling. >Even with the added security of an RFID chip, Midnight is not completely safe. "Will do. I appreciate it," you say, shaking his hand again. >"It was nice meeting you, Midnight," Teddy calls over to the mare. >While still remaining rather standoffish, Midnight at least takes a moment to stop and offer a half-hearted wave of a hoof. >With that, Teddy wanders back outside, while you consider everything he's told you. >But first thing's first... "Hey Midnight, got something for you," you say enticingly. >"Unless it's chains to hold up these axles, I don't have any interest right now," she huffs. "I'm basically waiting on you now." >Despite the attitude, Midnight shifts her attention from the undercarriage of the Trailduster to you as you approach. >You hold the chain in your hand, allowing the silvery crescent moon to dangle for her eyes to see. >She recoils a bit, as if unsure of what to think. >"Did you seriously buy me jewelry? The fuck?" she spouts. "No, it's an RFID chip, inside of this," you say, pointing to the pendant. >"Inside of fucking jewelry." she reiterates. "Alright, I'll just throw it out then," you say, putting it in your pocket. >Midnight huffs. "Give the damn thing here. Freak." >Try as she might to hide it, there's a distinct look of awe in her eyes when you pull it back out. "You know Teddy is the one that got this, right?" you remind her. >"Yeah, and who's the one keen on throwing it around my neck? To go out to a restaurant? That sounds like some pretty odd desires..." >You bite your tongue as your face grows warm again, kneeling down and unfastening the chain. >While you expect to hear some more ribbing, she says nothing while you put it around her neck and snap the clasp back into place. >It really does look good against her dark coat... >She looks down at it, lightly batting at the pendant with her hoof. >"I guess it will do," she says in a restrained voice. "This does not make me your pet, though." "You're your own mare, Midnight. Just a little bit safer." >"I hope so," she says. "Now seriously, I'm chomping at the bit to get this done - come on." >With gusto, you stand up and get back to the original plan of the day. >Albeit a little more comfortable, a little confused, and a little unsure of your feelings... -----
>>4680 Love your stuff!
>>4680 The two of them could certainly use someone knowledgeable in the way that Teddy is. Both to help her blend in and in case anything were to happen with her. Hopefully he's an honest man. Thanks for another update Auto, I've been looking forward to them quite a bit.
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new zoom if you havent checked out this bootleg you're missing out
>>4692 Well done. I think the drawing came out pretty nice. I haven't checked out Zooma yet, though I think I saw some talk about it earlier this thread.
>>4692 >you're missing out have not read that one. what do you like about her nice pic btw
Been lazy as shit the last few days, but got hit with a drive to get something accomplished today, and wrapped this up tonight. >>4680 "Moment of truth - feeling nervous?" >"Don't be a prick - I have no concerns this will be fine." "Just remember it's your ass on the line here, not mine..." >Midnight sneers at you from the passenger seat. >"And you're going to be fucking walking back if it falls apart, you smartass." >You stifle a chuckle from her outburst. "Hey, I'm just making sure I'm not being too nice now." >You get a deadpan stare for that comment >"Ah. That's what this is all about, isn't it?" she says, motioning to her necklace. "Strike a nerve earlier, did I?" >"More like you couldn't seem to shut up about your new bling. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you love it." >Seriously - all day, as you and Midnight worked on the Trailduster, she marveled at it, made comments, teased you about it... >She passed it off as something to get used to, a nuisance. >But she adores it. >And it probably also helps that there is an extra sense of security with the RFID chip inside of it. >So naturally, after finishing up with the work and setting the truck back on all fours, it's time to feed Midnight her own medicine. >You know she did everything right, so there's no worry in your mind. > It's doubtful Midnight has any qualms about her handiwork either - so you don't feel bad about this. "Alright, here we go, cross your fingers Middie," you announce as you pull the shifter into reverse. >"If I had fingers, I'd be showing you one," she grumbles. >You can't help but laugh at that line while you pull out of the garage and to a stop, throwing the shifter forward and heading out for the first test of the suspension. "All jokes aside Midnight, how do you feel after everything that's happened today?" you ask, keenly interested in her perception. >"You sure seem to trust Teddy," she says rather nonchalantly. "You don't?" >"I've not made a clear decision on that. Personally, I think it's convenient I have something around my neck that may be an RFID chip to get past passive scanners, or it could be a GPS that lets someone track my every movement." >That's not a vague statement... "Then why are you still wearing it?" you ask, skeptical of her pessimism. >"I'll say it again, I'm not decided." >You hit the first few rough spots of the main lane. >While it's still a jolt when the right front wheel slips down into a rut, the truck stops bouncing very quickly. >Hell of a lot better than the previous trampoline bounce experience. >With new leaf springs, the initial bump is a little bit harder, but that will get better with time. >It's a short-term compromise.
>>4706 "You realize that Teddy could have just told your whereabouts to some mysterious ne'er-do-wells that wanted that information without going through the trouble of making that, right?" >"...shut up." >Midnight tries to dismiss your comment, but she can't hide the mild embarrassment. "I'm not trying to call you out, just wanted to point that out." >"I get it, I'm paranoid," she mutters. "I'm not ripping you for that. Not on purpose, I mean. But there's being cautious, and then there's - well yeah, irrationally paranoid. It isn't your fault, but-" >"You need to talk to me about it," she says in a mocking tone, complete with exaggerated gestures. >You stop the truck and just stare at her. >After watching her earlier come to the precipice of attacking someone that was here to help, the joke isn't funny. "Midnight, no jokes now. You can't keep letting shit bottle up and let it pop off all at once. Today was a wake-up call for me, and it should be for you, as well." >She rolls her eyes. >But you don't give her a chance to unleash any sarcasm to deflect. "I'm serious. I'm glad you're protective of me and your home, I'm glad you have a lot of fight in you that's allowed you to come this far in life - but you need to harness it and reel it in now," you say sternly. >"Protective of you?" "It was pretty obvious today. Unless you were scared and had to keep me around to feel safe." >Mightnight is getting visibly angry as her eyes narrow and her sneer turns into a genuine frown of displeasure. >"Stop making shit up to fit your objectives," she says in a harsh, warning tone. >You throw the shifter into park, as this discussion is too important and requires all of your attention to rely on holding the brake. "Did you not shout for me today when he first came into the building, Midnight? Did you not shadow me for the ensuing ten minutes? Did I not need to calm you down from being on the verge of slaughter, judging by your words and your raw fury?" >"Oh, come off of it, Anonymous!" she shouts, her eyes beginning to glow with her anger building. "No, you need to come off your high horse, Midnight. Today was an eye-opener - you need to get a hold of yourself, and you need to trust me with your concerns," you shoot back, pointing at her. >"I'll take that goddamn finger off, monkey," she growls. "Do it." >She looks genuinely taken aback by your retort. >You don't like taking this gamble, you don't like getting stern with her like this. >But if there's any chance of allowing her outside of the junkyard, she needs to find some self-control. >You sit like this in a standoff for what seems like minutes, the rumble of the engine the only sound that reaches your ears. "Well?" you spout, wiggling your finger enticingly. >"Fuck you." >Midnight just glares at you, staring directly into your eyes as she basically cops to her bluff. "I get to some extent you can't help it, some of it is because of your chips, but-" >"Excuse me?" Midnight coldly interrupts.
>>4707 "Teddy told me today that with what they experimented with, there are familiar characteristics from those chips, and some of those traits interact with each other and feed off of each other. So I get it, you have some anxiety because of Twilight Sparkle's personality, and you don't really like being forward with your thoughts because of Luna, so-" >"So I'm just a fucking machine that can easily be broken down and understood? I'm just an experiment that went wrong? Is that your point, Anon?!" >Maybe that wasn't the best thing to bring up, now that you think of it. >You've spent the better part of a month and a half building her up as a valuable living being, independent of her cybernetic implants... >And you essentially went back to square one. >Portraying her mannerisms as nothing more than coding. >What the fuck are you doing? >Midnight's telekinetic force violently wrenches the interior door handle and flings her door open, allowing her to leap out of the Trailduster. "Midnight, wait!" you plead with her. "How I meant to say that wasn't what came out!" >"Then how the fuck was it supposed to sound?!" she shouts back. "I trust you when you sit there and tell me over and over how unique and an individual I am, how proud you are of me, and then you tell me shit that makes me feel like I'm back in the lab! Telling me how I'm not right, how things are fucked up in my head, how I don't act as I should!" >She starts to stomp away angrily down a branching path to the right, making you jump out of your side of the truck to catch her and rectify your mistake. "Midnight." >You circle around the front and close in on her. >"Leave me alone." >You don't listen to her. >Instead, you reach her side and march in stride, while she looks straight ahead and ignores your presence. "I didn't mean to dehumanize- er, deponize?" you ask, before shaking your head. "Whatever. My point is, that was wrong of me. No, you aren't perfect, but I'm not either. But that means you can change yourself - and that's what I'm trying to help you with, trying to get you to understand." >"So pointing out what two electronics jammed in my brain do to my personality-" "That was retarded of me to mention. It doesn't matter where those issues come from, it's something I can help you work on, and I want to do that. My focus is on you - you're pulling me out of debt, that's your focus, and you've got it well under control. So I suppose I got some free time now." >Midnight comes to a halt, her eyes locked on the horizon. >"So what are you saying?" she demands.
>>4708 "I'm saying I care a lot more about you than I have anyone else. It goes beyond just wanting to see you improve - I want you to find what makes you happy and make peace with what's happened, and move on. Learn from things that maybe you could have done differently. Accepting a mistake doesn't mean you're a failure - and you need to stop thinking about what was said to you back before I met you. Those people clearly didn't give a fuck about you." >"No, they didn't." she says as a matter of fact. "I'm sorry for acting like I know your issues just because of computer parts. I sort of meant it in a sense that it confirmed what I had deducted myself in terms of your... let's not even call them flaws, let's call em quirks. Regardless, I didn't realize how offensive that was when I said it." >"I'm not offended by it-" >You squat down next you her. "Midnight, for fuck's sake, stop lying." >She huffs but says nothing. "Today overall was a good day. You did good with the Trailduster, and all things considered, you did well with Teddy after I helped you calm down some. You can at least admit that, right?" >"I suppose," she says, hanging her head a bit. "You aren't perfect - no one that's a living, breathing being is perfect. That's not something to be ashamed of, so stop pretending like there's nothing wrong. Me pointing something out doesn't mean you need to be defensive, it means there's a way to improve. That's why you read, to improve your knowledge, right?" >Midnight says nothing. >You likewise let silence end the conversation for now. >It gives you time to think back about what Teddy said earlier, what you said moments before. >Shit has changed a lot in the short span of time since you found her. >Your whole outlook has shifted. >Your opinions on many things have shifted. >Including your view of her. >"As much as you enjoy acting like a dumbass, you can say some things that make sense," Midnight comments. "I really do care about you Midnight. I want you to know that - however gay it sounds." >"It can't really be gay if it's toward a female, yeah?" she suggests. "Feelings are kind of gay." >Midnight gives a slight chuckle. >You feel something brush against your back before it softly cradles you. >You look over to your side and see a dark violet feather just barely sticking past your arm. >Midnight's embracing you with her wing. >"I suppose I do have a lot yet to learn about life, as much as it pains me to admit," she says. "It's a neverending journey, Middie," you say, reaching up and stroking her mane. >A lazy smile comes over her face for a bit, though she does restrain it after a short period.
>>4709 >"I'm still going to give you a hard time," she says. "I'd rather it be that way. I need you to keep my wits sharp. And I don't need you to turn into a sappy fucking mess." >"Ha! As if you could ever do such a thing. Dream on." "That a challenge?" you tease. >She finally turns to you and smirks. >"Shut the hell up and get back to the truck." "Only if you're coming with me," you say, standing up just as Midnight retracts her wing. >Midnight doesn't say anything, so you cross your arms expectantly and stare at her. >"That pose makes you look like a bitch." "Perfect. That was the look I was going for." >"I'm sure it was. Come on," she retorts, turning around and heading back to the nearby idling truck. >You follow suit, right beside her. -----
>>4710 Good stuff Auto. I'm assuming they're off to a restaurant somewhere? Or just testing how Midnight feels outside the house? But it's good that she is accepting Anon's help. Wouldn't do much good if she blew up at some random person while out.
>>4711 The minor squabble and ensuing heart to heart was a step in the right direction, in more ways than one. I'll say that much.
Small update that ties off part 2 and leads into part 3. >>4710 https://youtu.be/72r32bceDzg >For whatever reason, Midnight had been absolutely exhausted tonight. >She barely made it to nine o'clock before falling asleep sprawled out. >Right beside you. >Oh, how the mighty have fallen. >Such a drastic change from when you first met, when she could barely tolerate your mere presence. >The same can be said of your attitude. >Teddy had given you some clarity on your emotions that you hadn't recognized. >You've gotten attached to Midnight far more than you expected. >And why? >Before, you had to tolerate her. >The thought of having her here long-term was virtually unacceptable. >But that changed quickly once she demonstrated her knowledge. >Then, it was her abilities, the fact that she had ideas to help turn your situation around... >Now, it's... >You're at the door of the answer, but you're hesitant to twist the knob. >People are fucking weird. >You do not want to be one of those weird people that you despise. >Fetishists obsessed with a show and the characters - characters that aren't human. >That's been a lot of the market for this sort of thing, hasn't it? >Well, the bot market. >Midnight isn't a bot. >But it's still in the same vein, isn't it...? >No. >You've never watched the show and you don't know shit about it. >This goes beyond that. >You've gotten attached to Midnight *despite* her connections to the franchise. >That in and of itself is something you don't understand. >She's moody, sarcastic, and unpredictable to a severe degree. >What about that is enjoyable? >...she's hurt. >That's why Midnight acts the way she does. >She doesn't know anything other than that, so she faces every situation with the same worn tools as always. >But that's shifted, hasn't it? >Slowly but surely, she's warmed up to your advice, your ideas... >Maybe you have a weird savior complex. >Maybe everything about this is a road headed toward ruin. >How the hell would you know? >How long has it been since your last attempt at a relationship? >You honestly can't answer that, as you stopped caring many years ago. >And now... >Suddenly you have an interest. >With a goddamned pony. >But rather than cute and cuddly, she's abusive and perhaps a little unsettling. >Who knew such a thing was possible? >But you look past that somehow. >What lies beneath that exterior is a legitimately good mare. >And you want to get to know her better. >You've seen glimpses of her - such as a few nights ago, when you fucked up and mentioned her electronic implants in her brain that made her possibly a bit predictable. >Man, that was fucking stupid of you. >Way to put your foot in your mouth. >Yet... >Midnight listened when you explained yourself. >She gave you a chance to redeem yourself when she really didn't need to do so. >She was receptive to your message, even offered a slight embrace of forgiveness with her wing. >And of course earlier that day, you helped Midnight regain control of her short temper and anxiety. >Despite the inherent risk to yourself. >It's oddly complex how you've been drawn in toward her. >For you, it's those eyes. >You get lost in them. >Some say they are the window to the soul. >...you've never been one to wistfully dream of that sappy sort of shit. >Midnight would probably hate it. >Or at least say she did. >She's full of surprises nowadays. >You can't deny that you have feelings for her now - you have to be honest with yourself. >The how or why does not matter at this junction. >But that's just it - you face a crossroads. >There is inherently a weighty risk with pursuing her. >You could legitimately destroy everything that you have worked for - and that she has worked for - by making things weird. >Above all else, you want to protect what you have. >But with as much as she's warmed up to you, maybe there is a chance... >You are Anon. >And you're willing to take a chance. -----
>>4779 A bit of reflection and a bit of love. Looks like Anon's feeling have continued to evolve. I have to wonder how Anon will spill the beans and how she will receive the news. Midnight's probably never even thought about being approached in such a way. Looking forward to the next update.
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>Be me >Work on holiday green for thread after influx of inspiration >Trannie jannies 3day ban me over a single post for 'trolling' egfags thankfully nhnb exists so i'll continue anyways but it still pisses me off.
>>4849 Sorry to hear that. Am curious to see what you're working on. I'm assuming the holiday in question is Nightmare Night/Halloween.
>>4849 The beatings on /mlp/ will continue until morale improves
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>>4850 Yup we'll see how I do. wanted to get things rolling last night but kind of took a bit out of it. Maybe someone can post this over to the thread on /mlp/ >"Asking for a little filly for Horsemas." >"And you even opened her up... before Nightmare Night." >"You sure are naughty huh?" >"Gee whilikers Anon, well what did you think would happen?" ending with big smile giggling into her hooves. >Mulling the situation over, you never paid much attention to superstitions >Maybe you should have? >Whatever you thought was going to happen, sure didn't. >You've been swapping back and forth between talking to yourself in and out of your head, even though you don't have the luxery of privacy right now. >Since you're Anonymous and now you're currently having a chat with a possessed My Little Pony in your kitchen on the night of Halloween's Eve. >At least that's what she /says/ she is... but of course you're not so easily convinced she's not just trying to play a game with you. >Kinda crazy how the horse holidays all line up with ours, or do they? You'll have to ask her later. >Can't deny that there is a kind of living, moving, and talking pony that was in your living room, now sitting on your kitchen table as you rummage through your fridge. >You didn't have her a few days ago, and when you did pull her out of the box she wasn't this active before. >Didn't really seem like anything was out of the ordinary, wasn't moving at all, and sure wasn't as chatty. >Just like a normal stuffed animal. >Yup that's how it was before, everything normal. >Back to the present pink elephant in the room, even though she was neither pink nor an elephant. >You pictured that image in your head for a second and chuckle to yourself while she swung her legs back and forth offering moral support from behind, aww how nice. >"But you should get something extra special, like a big dessert" "Maybe you're right GG." >"Finally..." it sounded like she was relieved letting off some air. >You looked over everything indecisively before giving up and going for something sweeter, plunging your hand into the freezer blasting with cold air before. >That's what you wanted, but right now you just want to shove some garbage down and chill out. >Chill... hmm >A late night snack sounds good. "Yeah, that's the ticket." >"And don't feel too bad about it, I mean it IS called /Devil's/ Night..." her sweet voice trailed off. >You instinctively move to grab two bowls out of the cabinet before she stops you. >"Oh no... You really outdid yourself sooo, why don't you take all of it?" "Really, all of it? You don't want any?" >Shaking her head "It's no trouble at all, I think you really deserve it Anon" >She sits up and lightly trots over to the edge of the table motioning you over "Now you sit down and enjoy. >"Maybe anypony else would have known better, but it's not your fault" >"You're just one of those greenfigs Anon, it's OK you were just born this way!" >Greenfigs... wonder what that is? You'll have to get some later. >"But now that I'm here we can get things started back on track and fix that!" raising her hoof up in the air in victory "Hmfr, get what started?" you talk with half your mouth full of the frozen treat. >Before her hoof fell flat down again. "Don't... you know?" >"Hello, Petshop Cemetary curses ringing any bells?" >You spoon some more icecream into your mouth and ponder for a moment. >Ponder how delicious it is that is. "Nah not much of a Goosebumps kind of guy, besides... don't you need to be a pet for that?" >"Huh Goosebumps? What's that got to do with anything?" "Oh, some book series really good sh-" "..." >"Good.. what?" >No. You won't cross that line. >You stopped yourself from cursing in-front of >Even for one that had her reputation "Good stuff I've heard." >"Are you suuure that's what you meant?" "Yup" >You nodded to yourself with your hands on your hips. >Wildly off-colored Cozy Glow frowned, looked like she was upset >You'll have to do something about that.
>>4870 >A possessed "normal" bootleg pone. Certainly interesting. I'm sure demon pone could give any trick or treaters a mighty fright, unless she intends to haunt Anon.
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>>4870 >Not-So-Cozy-Cozy sat down on her haunches questioning you >"Umm really? Flesh eating rotten corpses, the undead, do I really need to keep going?" >She pressed on tracing out of the air an imaginary square with her hooves. >"You know the Big Black Book... WitchponyCraft, the voodoo-hoodoo?" >"I know you grownups are supposed know this kind of scary stuff and you're just testing me, but you can stop pretending now!" >You listen and nod as she lists off generic horror tropes in the background, everything you've heard of and probably some stuff you haven't. "That's quite the list you're building." "All scary stuff, but do you know what's even scarier?" "..." >"..." >The silence must be deafening. So you take that as your invitation, getting up close to the filly. >Your presence absolutely dwarfs her. >Putting your hands on her soft shoulders... pull yourself in close and... you whisper into her tiny ear. "There might be a spooky skeleton inside you right now... !" >You pull back and note the expression of shock was burned into your mind, just like a photo flash going off. >Conveniently timed lightning illuminating the room sure was helpful. >Patting yourself on the back, these kind of things only present themselves once a year, you gotta save your ammo for when the big guns come out. >You've been saving it for while, but you won't tell her that. >"Skeletons..." she deadpanned and repeats again while you went back to devouring "Skeletons." "SPOOKY SKELETONS" >You corrected as lightning boomed with thunder shaking the walls. "You really gotta use a doominous tone, it's like ominous except more DOOM." >"Umm, are you feeling OK?" "Don't worry I can teach you." >You nod sure of yourself while she ignores your idea thoroughly confused >"Do I look like I have a skeleton, did it feel like bones when yo-" "'-hugged me'?" pointing your spoon at her with a grin. >"Hey, don't interrupt me!" >Despite jumping at you for cutting in line, it looks like she had a little trouble getting the words out after you derailed her. >"..." "Well?" >Shaking her head "...picked me up. I was going to say pick me up before you jumped in." "Just helping out" >"Are you sure Greenfigs don't just like to put things in little filly's mouths?" >You do know one thing that you wanna put in a mouth, staring back at your tub. >Formerly tub, now half-empty tub. >How things change, you'll weep for your loss. >The frozen goodness helped getting back on track. "Anywhy ahn dnt thnk we hffd ny pnny pets, so can't be Pet Cmrtrry" "Want some?" >you shake the container lightly enticing her. "It's rocky-road" >She looks down at your spoon with her brow creased. >It's clear that you're not really listening or taking this serious to her. >Something else was on your mind. >Like this fucking great icecream, you gotta hand it to her for this idea. >You can't teach an old dog new tricks. "No?" >"This is serious business Anon!" "Oh really what kind of serious?" >"What do all of those things have in common?" >"It's all EVIL stuff Anon!" >She pats her chest in emphasis with her hooves. "It's what I've been trying to tell you, I'm Evil with a capital E.!" >You've been playing this pony's game for a while but this is too much. >You burst out laughing. "Sorry, sorry! I know you want me to play my part but I can't take it" "Trying to sell me on the idea that you're some great terror, but you couldn't even get up on the table yourself." "Don't you think you're just the teeeeeniest bit overestimating yourself?" >If plushies could blush out of embarassment her face would be a burning red right about now. >Instead the light bluish-teal kind of color filly mumbled something to herself >"Well maybe if you didn't ruin everything.."
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>>4871 just so we're clear, the whole prompt of it came from the thread on /mlp/ spoils but should be kinda obvious by now
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>>4874 Sorry anons got caught up in a movie then hit with a migraine. there'll be more evil bootleg tomorrow >You notice that she was getting down in the dumps. >Not this time. >Springing into action and gasping dramatically, you set the tub down fast and hard. >Sure enough to make her jump before you came rushing over. "Golly Gee! We've got an emergency!" shaking her in panic "Nurse! Nurse!" >You change voices like a seasoned pro "Yes Doctor!" "What's the condition?" "I'm afraid it's a serious case of Scrunch-face-itus" >Then put on your best solemn face grimacing with your teeth turning away. "It-it's... chronic, unless we get it treated right away thing's can take a turn for the worse." "What can we do Doctor, is there anything that can save her?" "Don't worry! I've seen this in the field countless times, it's taken my whole career, a lifetime of research but thankfully we have the cure." >"Are you schizo? Why are you talking to your se-hey!" >You sweep her off her hooves with your hands tucked under her barrel. "It's upsies!" >"Hey! What do you think you're doing?" "Miss Glow, please I'm a professional let me do my work." "Upsies!" >"Quit it!" "No can do. Until that frown is upside down we can't discharge you." "Upsies!" >Lightly tossing her body up and catching her, each time a little higher "Upsies!" >She reached a high point in the air time enough for her wings to unfurl >Flap, flap, flap, and now falling. >But with enough force, you can kind of a floaty feeling. >One more time, with gusto "Upsies!" >Bingo. >That must be what she was going through right now, judging from the surprise. >Even if was fruitless and she couldn't actually fly, for a glimmer of a moment she looked like it. >Her defenses were down >You caught her into a little cradle and go for the critical hit. >A boop right in the nose! "And hay is for horses My Little Devil."
>>4779 "Holy shit, what a nightmare." >You toss your keys onto the kitchen counter before meandering over to the familiar old couch and flopping down backward over the armrest. >it feels like everything you had tried to retrieve out back today was either broken, rusted to hell, or otherwise a major project to remove. >As a result, a lot of new swears and insults had been invented by both of you. >A Nobel Prize might be in the cards for your contributions to the world today. >*Ahem* >You feel Midnight's eyes staring at you disapprovingly as she noisily reminds you of her presence. >You look up at the ceiling before closing your eyes while your body occupies the whole couch. "No room at the inn." >"I'll make room if need be," she warns. >You point in the general direction of the chair that sits against the wall opposite your couch. "That's free, there ya go." >"Alright then." >You feel a weight suddenly manifest upon your legs, forcing you to open your eyes and gander at what is going on. >Midnight has hopped up onto the couch, sitting on top of your lower legs. >Despite her size, she's lighter than you would expect. "Get off, you fatass," you grumble despite your observations. >"I gave you a choice, and this is the fate you chose. Deal with it," she shoots back. "At least I got you back on your side of the couch," you reply. >"Yeah, I'm not moving any further up because I don't trust you with how clingy you've become." >Oh-ho-ho. "Well now, who is the one thinking about where my crotch is?" you tease. >With a deep frown, Midnight reaches over with a hoof and swats you right in the aforementioned area. >It only takes a few seconds for the agony to manifest. "Ow ow ow! You fucker!" you howl, shielding your jewels from any further attack with your hands while you sit up. >Midnight stands to at least allow you to do that, sitting down in the now empty void left by you. >"As I said, you had a choice," she haughtily repeats. "What are we doing for food tonight?" "You're really going to ask me about dinner after doing that?!" >She merely shrugs, indifferent to your pain. >"I suppose I'll just eat something raw or have some jerky if you're going to continue to be a little girl. That was self-inflicted, as far as I'm concerned." >Man, she's cold. >Relatively speaking. >In reality, Midnight has been receptive to discussion lately. >Discussions about her feelings, her anxieties, and concerns. >It has been a daily routine for you to inquire about such things because you know it's the only way to spur such conversations with her. >But it's a step in the right direction. >Fortunately, she's been quite relaxed once the whole thing with Teddy blew over. >Of course, in her mind, you're being clingy. >If only she knew how you really felt... >Now is not the time for that. >The pain eventually subsides and you swing your legs and feet over onto the floor rather than the couch.
>>4879 >That's all it takes for Midnight to jump over to the middle cushion, right beside you. "So who's being clingy again?" you ask, gesturing to her movements only seconds ago. >"I'm sorry, do you want more pain?" "No." >"Then shut up." "Man, you're really abusive." >"Aw, who are you gonna tell?" she sarcastically pouts. "I'll call the cops," you threaten, reaching for your phone in your pocket. >"Call the cops, I don't give a fuck," she quickly replies with a smirk. >You do end up pulling your phone out, but it's merely to toss it on the coffee table in front of you. "Well, jokes aside - what do you want for food?" you ask. >Again, you get a shrug. >"I dunno. I thought maybe you had something in mind," she says calmly. "Not really. I'd honestly rather not even fuck with cooking after today's struggles. Probably mess something else up," you say with a half chuckle. >"You know me. I'll just pull something out of the fridge or have some jerky like I already mentioned." >She really has become somewhat addicted to beef jerky since the one time you brought it home for yourself. >Midnight evidently thought it was for her - and the first time you went to get a snack, it was gone. >She ate the whole damn bag in one sitting. >Admittedly, you were a little miffed about that. >But it at least gave you an idea for something else to buy for food. >Even though she has no qualms about eating raw meat, you still don't like the idea. >Midnight does it anyway, of course. "Well... did you maybe want to try going out somewhere to get something to eat?" you suggest. >Even though she manages to keep a straight face, you notice Midnight tensing up at the suggestion. >After a week of having the necklace with the secret chip in it, she has still been hesitant to venture out. >You've only mentioned it a couple of times, though. >"Like what?" she cautiously inquires. "Could just do fast food - burgers or something like that," you reply. "I know you still have some reservations about going out and about, but that shouldn't be too bad staying in the truck, right?" >"Maybe," she says, her voice betraying the insincerity of the agreement. "Middie, are you ever going to feel comfortable with the idea of going out in public? I'm not trying to be mean, but I feel like, at some point, I'm going to have to twist your arm on this." >"First off, I don't have arms," she replies. "It's a saying. Stop trying to change the subject." >Midnight huffs, frustrated that you didn't take the obvious bait. >"I... don't feel like it's a necessary risk, Anon," she admits. "What if it doesn't work? What if someone like Teddy recognizes me for the freak that I am - except they aren't so sympathetic?" "You aren't a freak, stop saying that," you scold her. > It's a term she uses toward herself from time to time, especially when she's feeling insecure. >You absolutely despise hearing it. >"Fine. We'll use your word - 'unique,'" she replies with an attitude and accompanying loathful face.
>>4880 >You merely stare at her, unimpressed. >"Can we get past that hangup?" "I'm going to be a dickhead about it until you stop using that toward yourself, so that's entirely up to you," you remind her. "But aside from that - look, there's a lot of what-ifs in the world. At some point, if you worry too much about what could happen, you miss out on things. I'm not saying you have no reason to feel some sort of concern because it's better to be cautious than carefree. But I really think it would be good for you to venture out, even if it was still inside a vehicle." >"And you're going to keep nagging me about it until I agree, aren't you?" >You merely nod your head, causing Midnight to sigh. >"Fine." >You mentally fist pump at the small victory, while calmly getting back up off of the couch. >You hear Midnight fall in line behind you as you fetch your keys off of the counter while turning to make sure Midnight still has her pendant on. >You rarely see her without it, but better safe than sorry. >"You gonna gawk at me, or are we going?" she barks. "Both, maybe?" you joke. >Midnight isn't too thrilled with that response, but you know it's more due to the circumstances she faces now. >After all - this will basically be the first time she's seen the outside world. >The gravity of that only hits you now as you track out of your living quarters and down the steps. >Obviously she's seen some people being out in the junkyard - but it's never been very busy. >Nothing like even the small town nearby. >At least it's just that - a small, rather quiet town. >Anything else might be a sensory overload for her. >Midnight opens the gate while you get in the Trailduster and crank it up, driving through while she holds the path open for you. >You park it while Midnight closes up again and eventually climbs into the passenger seat. "Seat belt," you say teasingly, motioning to the apparatus on the roof pillar. >"I will smack the fuck out of you if you seriously make me sit in an awkward way to fit that damn thing," she snarls. >Rather harshly. "Take a deep breath, Midnight," you quietly instruct her. >She makes a face at your efforts of guidance, but nonetheless follows your advice. "Good. Thank you," you say, trying to encourage her. >"Will you just go already?" she spouts. >Like a bandaid, you're just going to have to bear it and rip this off. >Following her orders, you set off down the road. >The tires quickly make their presence known with the hum against the pavement. >"What is that noise?" Midnight asks, confused. "Tires are more for offroad than pavement, so the tread makes that noise. Nothing to worry about." >"You ever consider getting another vehicle then? You know, so you don't have to drive this thing on the road?" "Not really. I got used to it, and as you're aware, I've not had the funds to really feel comfortable with buying a second car." >It does feel a bit better on the road with the new shocks and springs, though.
>>4881 >The roads aren't particularly smooth around here, so it would sometimes feel like you were riding a trampoline at fifty miles per hour. >As you make your way toward town, you pass a few oncoming cars with their headlights on, making you realize the days are beginning to grow shorter. >You've grown accustomed to the heat, but this summer has been pretty brutal - you look forward to the temperatures that fall and winter will bring. >Fortunately, you won't have to deal with the white bullshit they call 'snow.' >You flick on your headlights before bringing attention to your passenger's movements. > It's something you've noticed out of the corner of your vision. >Every time oncoming traffic gets close, she hunches down noticeably in her seat. >This really isn't going to be fun for her. >You sort of feel bad now. >But, she will never get comfortable unless she's exposed to this sort of thing. "Have you been able to make out the faces of any drivers or passengers in the cars we've passed?" you ask after the third occasion. >"...No?" Midnight replies, confused as to the correct answer for such an odd question. "I assure you neither can they. You can relax, Middie." >"You've really taken to that name, haven't you?" she muses. "You don't really seem to be bothered by it anymore," you reply. >"There are worse names you could use - I'll pick my battles here," she reasons. "I still don't know why you like it." >You can't help but grin a little bit before you answer. "Because it sounds cute." > Midnight's face scrunches up in disapproval and disgust as you glace over. >"I'm not cute," she argues. >You cock your head and only grin wider. "You're so damn cute when you're grumpy." >"Eyes on the road, please," she huffs, turning away. >At the very least, that's two cars she hasn't noticed go by. ----- https://ponepaste.org/6024
https://ponepaste.org/145 >Your head is in splitting pain >What time is it? >The last thing you remember... >That's right >Anon >You were going to check up on Anon >It had been weeks since he showed up to work >Days since he last texted you "Uah... ow, my head..." >You roll your head, feeling the pain roll around your head like a billiard ball >"Oh, hey. You're awake. Cool. Sorry." >That voice "Anon? What happened?" >Though it hurts, you open your eyes >One of them opens >Anon is sitting on a bar stool in front of you >This room... >It's his living room >You've been over once before >You went to the grocery store to buy him some things when he was sick >His face... "Anon, what happened?" >His eyes >His eyes are completely bloodshot >Rivulets of blood are streaming down his cheeks >They go down his chin and pool around the collar of his shirt >"I... uh. Yeah." >Despite how coked out he looks, he sounds... normal >Apologetic, but he doesn't sound all broken up or freaked out >You reach up to feel the pain on you head >You fe... >Wait >You try to reach up >You can't "What is this...?" >You look down at your arms >You have a few zip ties tied together >Your wrists are bound to something in the couch "...is this one of your fantasies? I mean the hot glue is one thing but this really isn't ok, you know?" >Anon cracks a smile >But it drops >"I... ah... shit." >He wipes one of his eyes >The blood seeping out smears across his cheek >"Ah..." >He keeps wiping his eye >The blood is starting to smear more across his face >His other hand comes up to wipe his other eye >He can't stop >"Ah... shit..." >You're paralyzed >What's wrong with his eyes? >Are they infected? >He stops wiping his eyes and bellows out with a madman's frantic tone >"I AM NOT STALLING, YOU FUCKING FUCKED WITH MY EYES YOU BITCH." >You flinch so hard you thought your skeleton would pop out from behind "W... who messed with your eyes Anon?" >You swallow hard "You... w-we gotta go to a doctor about this. This sort of bleeding... it's not normal." >Anon smeared blood over his face and hands now >"No. No it's not, and... ah..." >He raises a hand up again but lowers it after thinking it over >"I just... I need some help. She needs it. And she won't really let me go with anything else anymore." >She? >Who she? "Needs what?" >"I try to tell her to shut up but I just-I haven't slept in four days now, Fi." "Anon, you're not making any sense." >"I know! I know I'm not, I-FUCKING SHUT IT, YOU HAVE DONE ENOUGH." >He points a bloody finger at you >At your lap >At... >There is a pony doll on your lap >It is looking at him >Has it always been sitting there? "Anon, you need to tell me why I'm stuck like this. Why does my head hurt?" >"Because... ahhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GOD DAMN IT." >Anon goes back to rubbing his eyes >He starts to grunt >His wiping turns to scratching "Anon!" >He's scratching his eyes "ANON, STOP THAT!" >Anon lets out a panicked scream and rakes his fingers across his closed eyes one last time
>>4883 >He quietly huffs, his head twitching >There are visible scratches that his nails made over his eyelids and part of his face "OH MY GOD, ANON." >"IT'S FINE!" >His fists raise and shake when he screams >The sheer anger you can hear stifles you from making any sudden moves >"It's... it's fine. my eyes are... ah. They're fucked, Fi. Because even right now I can see fine. But it fucking itches and scratching really just seems to fix it." >Your eyes water at the sight of his face >His eyes are bleeding further >They aren't even focused on you anymore >One is looking off into the distance >The other is only vaguely focused on you >This isn't real "A-anon, this isn't funny... I know this is Halloween but-" >"It's Halloween?!" >His shocked expression is... >Heart breaking >He doesn't even seem to act like his eyes are nearly destroyed >"It... it's been this long?" "Don't you remember us texting...?" >He texted you saying that he had a huge project going, and that he was going to lie and fill out some medical leave forms >You helped him get them set up >His mouth drops >"I... we did? You... you aren't serious. Are you?" >This insanity is starting to really get to you "HOW ELSE HAVE WE BEEN TALKING?!" >You thrash against your plastic restraints >"YOU FUCKING WHORE!" >He lunges out to you and >Grabs that doll? >He whips it to the side >It smashes against wall and breaks apart >"YOU WHORE!" >He lunges out to you now to >What...? >He has the pony doll in hand >He whips it to the side again >It smashes against the wall and breaks apart >You can hear the hollow wood it is made out of >He reaches for your lap and whips his hand out time and time again >Each time he smashes a pony doll against his wall >It continues until the wall itself is starting to get spattered and smeared with trace flecks of blood >What is he doing?! >WHERE ARE THESE DOLLS COMING FROM!? "ANON FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP IT!" >He grabs the pony doll from your lap and holds it >He's huffing and panting He holds it out to you >"THIS... thing. Is FUCKING with me!" >It looks like just a normal doll >A pony doll, but it isn't holding a gun to his head or anything like that >He grabs the head with a bloody hand and wrenches it off >He throws the parts away and immediately lunges for you again >This time you look down >The doll is on your lap >It's looking up at Ơ̷͉̫Ȟ̸͔̈́G̶̙̬̉Ỏ̴͇̊D̷̥͎͂͒D̴̤͕͝͝O̶̟͆̊N̴̫͕̈'̷̺̭̌Ṫ̵̖́L̵̨̕O̶̢͘Õ̷̠͖̕K̷͖͐A̷̼̺͒͐T̷̙̃̎Ţ̸̠͒H̴̝̦̊̕Ě̵̖Ḙ̷̹͋Y̶̨͒͒ͅÈ̶̝S̵͉̍I̵̪̤̾T̸̤͝Ḧ̸͍U̷̱̒̇R̵̻͒͝T̸̙̤̐͌S̶̡̠̆̈́D̵̠̎́Ö̴̖̙́̋N̸̟͗̿'̷͖̓T̵̫̬̍̓L̵̩̗̊̌Ô̸̭O̵̦̖͆K̵̦̋̆D̵̘͊͠Ö̴̬̮Ň̶̢'̶̻̈́T̶̞͑̕L̸̤͎̾O̵̭͊ͅO̷̢̞͗K̵͖̇͗D̶̢͘Ő̷̳̀N̸̢͍̍͑'̵͈̆͒T̶͔͌̏L̴̠̇Ȍ̸̘̦Ò̵̥͝K̷͕͠Ḏ̵̀͜O̷̺͗Ǹ̵͓̘'̸̩̈́T̷̮͕̓L̷̢̦͒̋Ỏ̵̪̦Õ̷̳̔K̸̻̯̆
>>4884 >Anon grabs the doll from your view and holds onto it tight >You think you might be screaming >In fact, you are screaming >You've been frozen in the spot, screaming for what feels like hours now >Only a hard slap to your face allows you to recover >"It's fine, you're alright!" >The voice sounds like it's trying to put you at ease >But it's Anon saying it >Somehow his eyes look even worse >One is scratched so hard it looks cut >He isn't even looking at you >"Listen... Fi. You gotta help me. I swear it's just one thing. I know I've had you help me out and all that but I just need this one time I don't think I can keep going if I don't get this done I've been trying my best to stop it I just can't do it anymore just look at me you can tell I just can't do it anymore!" >He rambles, trying his best to not sound upset >It fails "...what do you need, Anon?" >He smiles >Like it was finally a wave of relief >"You promise? I swear, I just need help one more time. That's all, I swear. I promise you I swear." >He sounds like this is going to take a massive load off of him >What in the world has happened to this man? "Of course, I promise... what's wrong, Anon? What do you need? How can I help?" >He pulls out something with his free hand >It's a sort of kitchen steak knife "...wha?" >"I need your blood. And I need your eyes. Mine are rotting at this point. They aren't for me." >Before you can tell what is going on, he's slashing at you! >You scream while he hacks at you >He's screaming too >It stops after five swipes >You know it hurts but you don't even know where he hit you >He shushes you and kneels down >He crudely rubs the face of the pony doll into your cuts, coating the head in your blood "ANON! WHAT THE FU!" >This is sheer insanity >Anon ignores you and wipes at the pony head >"See? There... there we go. Stop your yammering, it'll set." >The only thing you can do is scream >Anon holds up the pony doll >Her hair is blood red and well maintained >She even has lipstick on >A little pair of glasses are on >The eyes behind the lenses are gleaming >"Thank you Fi... thank you. She wants to talk to you now." >Talking? >What is there to talk about? >Anon holds out the doll to you for an entire minute >HE then pulls his arm back and look like it like he was a child spoiled realizing that the glow in the dark magic wand he got for Christmas wouldn't actually let him kill his neighbors >"...don't tell me you're shy now." >What? >"No, I don't think she'll turn violent. You're being retarded." >He sighs and puts the pony down on your lap >"I am sorry, Fi... I just. I can't stop her. She said I can go back to sleep after this. Just... hold on, ok? You can live through it." >What? >He sets the doll on your lap "Anon, this is crazy, please just let me go and I promise I'll never..." >Your voice trails off >The doll's head spins around to stare at you >The eyes >They're glowing bright >You hesitate >"ᴸᵉᵗ ᵘˢ ᵇᵉᵍᶦn." >Everything is white
>>4885 archivefag here cant bump the thread on /mlp/ or post anywhere else but holy fucking shit. I know i wrote that we dont know if photo's friend or foe but holy fucking shit.
>>4888 There is a reason why this green split into two paths.
>three green updates I don't know what we did to get such good fortunes, but this is exciting to see. >>4878 >demon pone is caught offguard from this defense >>4882 >the gap on the couch has finally been bridged I am happy to see them get closer. Looks like good news for their friendship. We'll have to see how she handles the outside world. I do wonder what would happen if she came across one of the more primitive, robo ponies while out. How she would react. Excited as ever for the next update Auto. >>4885 Very spooky.
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>>4889 >one off so close to digits does this mean you updated it on /pie/ as well?
>>4893 [spoiler]Tonight I might.
havent been able to get back to the big G, been kind of out of it today had to get up early. but had a sleepy stupid thought pop into my head about /bie/ setting bootlegs in equestria. like middie being a dinner guest at fluttershy's cottage >>4882 real good job here showing how even getting fastfood is such an enormous hurdle for midnight auto
>>4901 do note that /pie/ is currently /aie/ if youre gunna do parallel posting
>>4882 "I know for a fact that their brisket is good when they have it. That's only a special once in a while." >"What's brisket?" "...you know what, I don't really know. But it's meat, and it's good." >It had only been about a ten-minute drive into town, and you had quickly settled on an old-style drive-in fast food joint that you only occasionally had eaten at before. >They weren't exactly as fast as a modern fast food restaurant, and they were more expensive - but the atmosphere and the quality made it worthwhile. >Midnight isn't one to dress up her food in regards to toppings, so the barbeque they had to offer was going to be right up her alley. >Your choices were more open - but now that you mentioned the brisket... >Midnight watches as a waitress streaks by on a pair of roller skates. >"Is this a normal occurrence?" she asks, raising a brow at the scene. "No. I think it kinda was at one time, but this is sort of a retro joint. They bring the food out to you, and those roller skates make service a bit quicker, I guess." >"Have you ever seen one wipe out?" >You cock your head at the question. "Boy, you have some evil thoughts," you comment. >Midnight retains her deadpan stare that's focused squarely upon you at this point. >"Yet you're trying not to smile. So who's really in the wrong here?" Midnight retorts. "I would never laugh at such a sight," you say, pretending to be aghast. >"Uh-huh. So I take it that's a lie, because you have seen it, and you did laugh." "I felt guilty about it afterward," you mumble, hanging your head. >Before Midnight can respond with another remark, the waitress that zipped by just moments ago appears at your window. >"Hiya, how are you doing tonight?" she greets you, apparently oblivious to your passenger. "I think we're doing pretty good," you reply with a smile. >The blonde glances over and spies Midnight. >"Aww, it's one of those pony bots!" she gushes with enthusiasm. "She looks so cute." >"I'm not cute," Midnight mutters through gritted teeth. "Don't mind her, she's a little sensitive about that sort of thing," you say as the girl's smile fades just a bit. >"Sorry about that," she says to Midnight. "What can I get for you tonight?" >You glance back over to Midnight. >"What?" "You know what you want?" >"I think so," she replies, somewhat hesitant. >Better go first. "Gimme the brisket sandwich," you say, turning your focus back to the blonde as she pulls out a pen and pad of paper. >"Just the sandwich, or the basket?" she asks. "We have fries, onion rings-" "Hell yeah, onion rings. And whatever cola you got." >"Cool, got it," she says, finishing her scribbles before her eyes dart to your passenger. "We have a fresh salad, it's really good - carrots, tomatoes, cheese-" >"Ew. No," Midnight interrupts, wrinkling her nose in disgust. "I'll take the sandwich he's getting." >The waitress looks taken aback by the idea, glancing back over to you for confirmation. >"The... brisket sandwich?" she finally sputters.
>>4928 "You sure you don't want the whole meal, Midnight?" you ask, turning to her. >You can practically feel the poor girl's mind on the verge of exploding as she tries to make sense of this whole situation. >"I don't really feel all that hungry - and if I get thirsty, I'll just have some of your dri." "Ahahaha, no. I'm not playing that game," you interrupt her, turning to the waitress. "She's gonna have the basket with fries and a drink." >"I didn't say that, asshole," Midnight remarks. "What if I find out I don't even like fries?" "Don't worry, I'll eat em then. Maybe I'll even let you have some of my brisket to even out. Fair?" >"Alright. But why don't I just get two sandwiches then?" "Because I want fries and onion rings." >Midnight narrows her eyes at you, her brow creasing in disapproval. >"Pig." "Pony." >"...that's not even an insult," she says, briefly dumbstruck by the comment. "I thought we were just naming off animals now." >"Just - fine," Midnight finally relents. "I'll take fries and... what else do you have to drink?" >"We have lemonade if you don't want soda. Or iced tea, sweet tea - we do have water, but it would still be the same price as any other drink." >"That's fine, he's the one paying, anyways," giving you a smarmy grin. >The waitress hurriedly scrawls it all down. >"Alright, I'll get this in and it should be out to ya shortly," she quickly announces, before shooting off toward the main building at an even quicker pace. "Wow, you really got her all confused." >"I can't believe they let you out in public." >Midnight's brooding voice causes you to turn back to her, flashing an innocent smile. "No one can stop me is the problem." >"Do you think she will actually come back with our orders?" >Just from the way she says that and the look on her face, Midnight is genuine with that question. "I'm sure she's seen things more dysfunctional than that whole menagerie," you reassure her. "Plus, look on the bright side - she thought you were a bot." >"I don't think she paid very much attention," she remarks, sounding just a touch unhappy with the observation. >You shrug, uncertain what Midnight wants or even expects from others. "Does it matter? You want to blend in, right?" >"Well yeah, obviously." "So why does it bother you she didn't pay much attention?" >"I don't know!" Midnight snaps, frustrated by your questions. >Or perhaps her own mixed emotions. >It doesn't make much sense to you, that is certain. "You do realize I'm not trying to get under your skin with these questions, right?" >Midnight just stares at you. "I'm legitimately just talking about the last thirty seconds or so, not while the waitress was here," you make sure to clarify. >"I know. I still find it hard to believe you pulled that bullshit." "Do you at least see my point how wanting attention while trying to avoid much attention conflict with each other?" >She nods reluctantly instead of offering any sort of verbal response.
>>4929 >With things settled down, you scan the rest of the drive-in patrons. >There's only two other cars, both parked some ways away, neither of which you recognize. >To be fair, it is a weeknight - but you would still have expected there to be more people here. >It's not even eight o'clock yet. >Whatever - it's everyone else's loss. >"How much longer do you think you will keep the junkyard open to self-service?" >Your focus returns to your friend in the passenger seat. "Sort of depends on how things look in terms of money. That and we really ought to advertise or mention to the public ahead of time that we will be going behind closed doors at a certain time. I know I wouldn't be happy to show up somewhere and abruptly find out they don't do walk-ins." >"Fair point - but what exactly are you looking for in terms of money? Any set goal?" "Profit for once, maybe?" you suggest. >Again, Midnight only stares at you dumbfounded. >"When was the last time you bothered to check your computer in terms of revenue?" "I... got into the habit of avoiding it, to be frank." >Midnight can only put a hoof to her head in response to that confession. "At least I didn't lie about it." >"Yes - but if you had bothered to look, you would see we have already begun making a profit for this month - early last week." "Are you screwing with me right now?" you cautiously ask. >"I assure you I am not." >Holy shit. >There is still just over a week left to go in this month, and you're already up for the month. >What is this sorcery?! >You can't contain yourself even if you wanted to, as you grin madly at the wonderful news. >Even Midnight can't help but smile. >But the poor, poor mare... >You end up leaning over and wrapping your arms around her, hugging her tight. >"Ow, what the hell are you doing, dummy?!" she squawks. "Thank you, holy shit, this is amazing! Why didn't you tell me before?!" you exclaim. >Despite the outburst, Midnight has not really put forth an effort to get away from you. >"I didn't think you were that ignorant, why are you doing this?" "Just shut up and deal with it," you say, now curious as to how far you can push your luck. >Apparently farther than you expected, as you feel one of Midnight's wings brush past you. >"Hurry the hell up, people are probably staring at us," she mumbles uncomfortably after a few seconds. "Alright, alright." >You finally sit back upright while Midnight inspects her fanned-out wing. "Everything okay?" you ask, feeling a bit concerned at the unexpected sight. >"You are very weird, I want you to know that," she mutters. "I was asking about your wing." >Midnight finally looks up at you, though does not seem overly concerned. >"It's a matter of getting used to the sensation of these, I guess," she replies. "I've had them for quite a while now, but I haven't ever really used them to... feel." "You mean hug?" >"That's your word, not mine," she sharply responds, averting her eyes. >Riiight.
>>4930 "Anyway - that's absolutely awesome we're already ahead." >"That is something we can both agree on, Anon." >The waitress from earlier skates by with a pair of drinks in a holder. >"Here's these for right now, food will be out shortly - gonna come out to sixteen-fifty tonight." "Alrighty," you say, setting down the drinks she handed to you and fetching your wallet. >A handoff of a twenty-dollar bill, and the gal zips off once again. "See? All is good, we didn't traumatize her," you say jokingly, pulling out the cup holders and setting each beverage down inside before inserting the straws. >Midnight inspects at the cup nearest to her seat. >More specifically, the straw that sticks out of it. >Must be she's never seen nor used a straw before. >Rather than make it awkward for her, you pretend to not notice, grabbing your own drink and demonstrating how it works - albeit in a somewhat exaggerated fashion. >"I'm not surprised you want to show off how good you are at sucking things," Midnight abruptly ribs you. "Did you want me to laugh at you for not knowing what a straw is?" you quickly reply. >"I don't recall ever saying that..." >She puts a hoof to her chin, as if trying to reminisce about such an event. >After holding that pose for a moment, she finally shrugs as a long piece of metal wire she's begun to keep intertwined in her necklace chain floats through the air toward her cup. >It wraps itself around the styrofoam vessel elegantly, before the whole cup floats toward Midnight. >She takes a sip while eyeing you, unable to keep herself from giving you a mischievous grin. "I see how it is. Guess I'm eating your fries." >"No, you won't." >Once again, your waitress rolls up, this time with two open top boxes packed with food. >"Here you are, this is the one with fries," she says while handing it off to you. >Grabbing it with one hand, you use the other to take several fresh fries out and jam them in your mouth. >"You dickhead!" Midnight shouts before you set it down beside her on the armrest. >The waitress looks at you wide-eyed in surprise as she hands off the second part of the order. "Sorry about that, she's got a potty mouth," you quip. "Keep the change for your troubles." >That last bit quickly snaps the blonde from her stupor and puts a big smile on her face. >"Thanks! Enjoy your meal, you two!" >With that, she's finally released from the horror you have unleashed upon the world. >"Give me an onion ring, I want to try one," Midnight demands as you get comfortable again. "No way," you scoff. >"You just ate some of my fries!" "That I ordered for you, remember?" you say, finishing off with a shit-eating grin. >Her nostrils flare as she snorts in disapproval. >You get everything situated before grabbing an onion ring and lightly tossing it into her box. "You didn't really think I was going to be that much of a prick, did you?" >"Half the time, I don't know what to expect from you." "Someday you'll learn," you chide. "Now, let's eat." -----
What's the story on Deathlight? Are there any greens of her?
>>4931 Super cute scene at the dine in there. Really felt like she was starting to loosen up (though perhaps a bit too much around the waitress ^:) Good news about the business as well. And Midnight got hugged! This makes me happy. Anon didn't even incur any physical damage because of it so even better. Things seem to be going well, I wonder what the next suprise that world is going to throw at them. Thanks for another great update Auto.
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>>4942 Not yet, If we had more writefags then there would be since it's been requested. but for now she is a persistent idea that stuck around after the initial funposting in pic related Spoilers. To me cozy-demon takes place in the same universe as Deathlight's, but she may or may not make an appearance. Both Golly and Death are for a fun way to approach supernatural bootleg, kind of like Tinny
>>4885 >"We're soul alone, and soul really matters to me! Take a look around..." >"You're out of touch! I'm out of time! But I'm out of my head when you're not around!" >You recognize that song >That song always plays at work >Wait >What? >The fresh blast of AC against your face and the impact of the song knocks you into your head >What just happened? >You were just at Anon's apartment... >Right? >You immediately check your body for any cuts or marks >Nothing "...Anon?" >You're dressed as normal but the store is empty >You check outside and it is black as pitch out >...This is not normal >You've seen enough horror movies to know what's going on >Immediately you start running through the isles "Anon!? ANON! Answer me!" >You hear him before you see him >"You're out of touch... I'm out of time..." "Anon?! Come on, speak to me!" >You nearly stumble while growing a full-blown sprint >If there's anywhere he would be, it would be with the paints >"But I'm out of my head... but I'm out of my head..." >You hang your arm out and cause a display piece on the end of the isle to fly out and crash onto the floor "Anon!" >You see him >In his usual clothing >Down on his knees >Staring at his hands >He looks up at you >His eyes aren't bleeding! >"...bull in a china shop much?" >THAT is his reaction to this?! "THAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THIS?!" >He smiles >He isn't happy but he's smiling >"I'm sorry, Fi." >He looks back down at his hands >You rush up to him >His hands are pouring blood >But it doesn't smell like blood >It smells like fresh paint or something >You kneel down to him "Anon, let's go, we have to get out of here." >"Nah. There's... no real escape out of here. I've tried." >"What? What do you mean? Where are we?" >"I can only answer one question at a time... listen, just calm down. Ok? When you get tired here, sleeping doesn't actually get you rested up." >He's staring at his hands still >... >Is he? "Why are your hands bleeding?" >"Look." >You lean over to look down >It isn't his hands he's looking at >It's the puddle of red growing on the ground >You see... you >A pair of hands are applying alcohol to your wounds >The pony doll trots along the back of the couch and jumps up onto the top of your head >"ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉ ˢᵃᶠᵉ ᶦn ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ. ᵖˡᵃʸ nᶦᶜᵉ." "...who is she talking to?" >"(ʸᵒᵘ). ᵗʰᵃᵗ ᶦˢ ʷʰᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉ, ᶦˢn'ᵗ ᶦᵗ?" >You feel your blood run cold "...Anon. What is happening?" >You back away from the pool, out of sight >"I... think you're our new project. I think." >He sounds exhausted "...ok. What does that mean, exactly?" >If this is what you think, you can't escape from here >Because you are actually still on the couch >Is this heaven? >Hell? >Purgatory?
>>4966 >"This is her 'play pen'. It's where she puts me when she's busy." >Why did he say that? >"Your thoughts are pretty loud. They're on the shelf too." "W... what shelf?" >He isn't looking at any shelves >The shelves in front of him are just of paints, like normal >The shelves behind him >What is this?! >Your thoughts are on the shelf! >In a fit of panic, you scream and slap th e wo rdsof foft he shelf>Theyfalloffand endupinpilesonthefloor>Thewords givenphysicalfo rmbreakapa rt>S omesticktogether >You stumble backwards and fall onto your butt "This is unreal... this is insane." >"That's what I've been saying." >You look at Anon >He's still watching "...can you still influence your body like this?" >"I want to say 'yes' but I don't think I can. I think if I really try hard enough she lets it happen." >Freaking out and panicking isn't the way to go about this >Even if you wanted to, you believe him when he says that sleeping here won't let you recover "...what is it?" >"She's... my friend. I guess." >He guesses? "You guess?" >You try to ignore how neatly these words fit on the shelves >They're all those cheap wooden letters that you see children buy for school science projects >"I guess. I really don't know what else she is. She did something to my eyes." "Yeah... I guess I saw." >Hall & Oats still plays over the speakers "Did you really not have any other place your mind could retreat to?" >You can't stop yourself from giggling "I mean, you hate it here. I mean, I do too. But still." >Anon chuckles >"Ahh... don't I know it. But you know as well as I do. I'm either here, at the Walmart or at home." "And that includes memorizing all of the songs?" >He shakes his head and lets out a painfully heavy sigh >"Bruh, I could be a fucking zombie right now for all I know and I will be more haunted by these shit 80s songs more than I'll ever be haunted by anything else. I'll be the fucking Michael Jackson zombie grabbing my crotch-which will have fallen off by then-and stiffly dancing to this seven seasons from now." >The words linger in the air as well as on the shelf >Within a split second of each other, you're both laughing "Well... I guess we're stuck here together at least then." >You really aren't in that much of a position better than him, to be honest >But you do like helping out when exasperated parents come in, asking where the school or art supplies are >If you had a kid of your own you could probably help with any science or art project known to man with your knowledge >If you could ever have a kid anymore "...hey Anon. Am I gonna die?" >"I don't know, Fi. But she's having me take care of those cuts." "Oh... thanks, I guess. That still hurt." >"I know, Fi... I'm sorry." >The man sounds so crestfallen >You aren't sure what to say >He wouldn't do this on purpose >You know that much >The speakers have changed to a different song >Some sort of smooth jazz muzak "...there food here?" >"Break room in the back still has soda and shit from what we had last month. It resupplies when I'm not looking at it and it makes me feel better so I guess it's legit." "Oh... awesome." >You let the words hang in the proverbial air and sit on the literal shelf >You nudge his arm with yours "Hey. Let's get something to drink and put our heads together. Alright." >Anon blinks a few times over the course of what feels like entire minutes >"...Alright." "Alright?" >"Yeah... alright." "Well alright thing." >You stand up and brush yourself off >And hold out your hand "We'll figure something out. It's not like we don't have unlimited time or something, right?"
>>4967 Really feeling like some sort of fever dream. >>4966 >You're out of touch... I'm out of time... Probably my favorite Hall and Oates song. Nice.
>>4931 "All things considered, was tonight as awful as you thought it would be?" >You coast to a stop and put the truck in park in its usual spot while awaiting Midnight's final verdict. >The food was top-notch, but the stress of the day had caught up with you by the time both you and her finished up. >You didn't have any other plans than food, but it still feels like a missed opportunity to show her more things. >"To be fair, I never said I thought it would be awful," Midnight clarifies. "Oh, I know, I'm just giving you shit." >"It was nice to see more of the world, nonetheless." "That's what I was hoping to hear." >Midnight exhales, looking out the windshield at the dusky skyline over the rows of cars. >"I guess I've gotten a little bit spooked since Teddy was able to pick me out so easily. It isn't that I don't want to do things, I've just - there's a lot more insecurity there." "I sort of figured that. You were all gung-ho about opening up shop yourself that day - that hasn't happened since." >"No. Funny how this was supposed to make me feel better," she replies, tapping the crescent moon charm. "You'll get there again. I just might have to help you stray from your comfort zone once in a while. Don't think I'm doing it just to be an ass." >Midnight nods, though you can tell she's still hesitant to be in full agreement to explore the world. "Shit like tonight is all I'm after, Middie," you continue in an effort to clear her reservations a bit more. "I'm not out to explore the uncharted areas of the world or sightsee - I just want us to be able to get out once in a while and try things other than my rudimentary cooking and the same bland tv shows every night." >"Your food isn't *that* bad," she scoffs. "Would you rather what I would have served up tonight, or what we ended up having?" >"That brisket was really damn good, I'll give you that," she yields. "But you also are a pain in the ass to be around." "Don't lie, it was fun," you retort. >"Maybe a little bit." >Good enough. >With that statement, Midnight opens her door and hops out, leaving you to mirror her exit on your side of the truck. >You join her side very shortly on the walk to the shop, in part thanks to Midnight taking her sweet time. >Despite that, you have enough time to note the way her violet-streaked tail swishes back and forth with every step she takes, the sauntering, saying movement drawing your eyes toward it. >You never noticed before, but Midnight actually has a pretty damn nice caboose... >And the way those markings just seem to frame it... >And there's the full complement - >... >Holy shit dude, really? >Are you really going there? >What the fuck are you doing? >You fucking degenerate. >You would blame it on the alcohol, but you haven't had any in a while. >Head out of the gutter right now, Anon. >This is a dangerous zone. >Why does Midnight do this to you? >Why now? >"Do you think we could ever go to a car show?" "Hm?"
>>4987 >"A car show. A gathering of older cars and stuff like that," Midnight explains. "I've seen pictures of cars mentioning being taken at a show like that online - are those still a thing?" >Thank god, something to shift your perverted mind. "Yeah, I'm sure they are," you say, somewhat surprised by the inquiry and interest. "You know those end up being pretty busy gatherings though, right?" >"It didn't look like there were tons of people in the pictures, though..." she trails off, perplexed by your answer. "You probably really weren't looking for people when it's the car you were focusing on." >"It sounds pretty stupid when you say it like that." "Not at all. I can't say I'm the most observant person. You've had to point out the dumb shit I've done in the past - and some of that was truly dumb." >"Regardless, I'm not cut out for that kind of thing, I'm pretty sure you will agree with me." "I don't see why we can't make that a goal, though. Work our way up to that point by doing little things like tonight. I know you can handle it with enough experience." >"Fair enough. I didn't realize those were really... gatherings." "Yeah, every car has an owner that either drives it or trailers it there - it's not like a museum or something like that. I'm guessing that's what you were thinking - like a permanent display?" >She nods. >Your mind flicks back to something else from tonight. "How about we set another goal tonight?" >"That being..." "No more self-deprecation. No more talk about how you're a freak." >"Why does that piss you off so much all of a sudden?" "Because what you are isn't your fault - why belittle yourself over things that were completely out of your control?" >"It isn't like that at all," she dismissively shoots back, pointing a hoof to the locked man door of the shop. >You fiddle with your keys and unlock it, opening the door for her and following behind. "Then what is it? Remember the first week or so with me - you boasted about how amazing you were. Above any other pony, smarter than me, need I go on?" >"No." "What happened to where I'm now trying to prevent you from basically insulting yourself? I don't get it, so try and help me understand." >"It was something to keep me going," she replies dryly. "I dont know... I needed to feel like I had a purpose, that I was something special. Above everyone, everything else. And then - well, that sort of just goes away when someone takes a look at you and just separates you into individual things that compose your makeup." >You can't help but feel you had a hand in that when trying to reason her mannerisms. >Meanwhile, Midnight grimaces as she finishes, clearly ashamed of her own admittance. "God damn, that whole thing with Teddy and my comments really rattled you that much?" >That came out far harsher than you meant it to be, but this explanation is beyond anything you expected. >She's tough - but...
>>4988 >"That makes me feel a lot better, thanks," she hisses, trotting up the steps to your living space. "Midnight, do you really hate yourself that much?" >Midnight pauses before opening the door and slipping through, allowing you to scale the stairs and join her at the landing. >Her jaw is clenched as she just stares at the door. >"I hate what I stand for, Anon. I hate what I symbolize - greed." >She stomps a hoof down. >"At the end of it all, that's the only reason why I have the sentience that I do. It's all about money, isn't it? It could have been any other pony that they decided to toy with - I just happened to be the one chosen for this marvelous experiment." "Why even focus on that, if that were the case?" >Midnight turns her head to look at you. >"I... what do you mean?" "If your origins aren't that special, why focus on them? Acknowledge where you came from, but other than that - you just need to let it go. All it's doing is dragging you down. The parts and pieces don't matter to me - you're one hundred percent genuine pony, as far as I'm concerned. If that helps, I mean." >You kneel down beside her, honing in on the wing on her left side. >"Wh-what are you doing?" she stammers, recoiling a bit. >Rather than answer her, you just inspect her joints and the transition where her wing joins her body. >There is legitimately nothing that would tell you that these limbs never belonged to her from birth. >The feathers aren't the same color as her coat, but they complement it well with the similar dark hue and fit with the lighter shade of violet in her mane. >Maybe there would be something below the fur, like scar tissue - but really, that's trivial in nature. "Middie, have you ever really looked at your wings?" you ask. "Because if you had never told me they were cybernetic add-ons, I could never tell the difference." >You can tell just from her turning away, she's embarrassed - yet she nonetheless fans her wing out. >Damn, these things are massive. >Sure, she's spread them out before in a show of defiance or intimidation, but you've never appreciated their sheer size. >To be fair, she's a big pony - she probably needs these to this scale to get her off the ground. >Just one is probably close to being as wide as she is tall - maybe closer to your height. >But it's not at full span - there's not enough space on the landing with the close proximity of the wall to your left. >It really is amazing she can control these - and the fact they are synthetic in nature. >You take a moment to feel the incredibly soft down - a sensation that makes Midnight twitch just a bit. "I stand by what I said. Only you know the true nature of these." >"And you want me to ignore that." "I want you to take pride in yourself again. You shouldn't be ashamed. Above all else, make peace with yourself and accept it." >Her wing folds away neatly once again as she circles around and faces you.
>>4989 "No more talk of being a freak, alright? I like you for you right now. Think of yourself as one in a million - how far you've come, what you're capable of accomplishing." >"You're just making things weird now," she says with a half-laugh, shaking her head. >But she can't hide those eyes, and they speak volumes as they shift back and forth across the floor between you two. >Midnight doesn't know what to say. >She's probably never heard anything quite like that. >But you mean it. >She really is one in a million. >You can't put your finger on it - nothing particularly specific, at least - but Midnight just draws you in on another level. >You're liable to become one of those degenerates that likes their pony a little too much. >You might be able to reconcile that judgment as premature now. >Just as you start to reach up to her cheek with your hand, she abruptly finds her footing. >"Alright, dumb-dumb, we got work tomorrow. Hopefully, it won't be as much of a clusterfuck as today was, yeah?" >With that, she turns and opens the door, walking into the kitchen and leaving you still kneeling on the landing. >Whether she had any inkling or not of what you were battling there is hard to say. >Perhaps it was fortuitous timing on her part. >Hopefully that's what it was. >Though she might have just dick-stomped you had she known. >Regardless, you need to reel yourself in again. >Tonight was a good night, and you're damn lucky to not have just spoiled it by sprinting toward the finish line. >You wish you could think of a way to test the waters, to see if there is any sort of feelings reciprocated without risking the whole jackpot. >But her mood can be so fickle, it would be hard to know what is genuine, anyway. >With a sigh, you rise back to your feet, focusing on the little victories tonight. >Hopefully, you have at least helped her begin to overcome the skittishness she's developed. >It really is hard to believe that shook her up so much. >But when you focus on your past like she has - particularly the negatives - you suppose it's only a matter of time before one starts looking for confirmation that those items are catching up with you even as you try to leave it behind. >She needs to keep stepping forward, looking forward. >With a new goal, that may help her. >It may help you focus, too. -----
>>4990 Interesting times ahead, definitely a change coming about in Midnight. Thanks Auto.
>>4990 This has been an enjoyable read from start to present. Thanks Anon.
>>5004 >>5008 Glad to hear it. This is probably the most enjoyment I've ever gotten out of writing. Speaking of which, I forgot to update here... >>4990 >Saturday evening. >It means a day of freedom tomorrow. >The last day or two have been relatively smooth, which was a nice change of pace after dealing with multiple instances of the tin worm having wrought havoc on parts you needed. >Midnight has done a great job compiling an inventory of everything out in the junkyard - but it's still incomplete, and it's not foolproof. >You had to reply back to an online order and cancel it - you don't have any decklids for a first-generation Barracuda that aren't rotted out. >That was sort of embarrassing - but it happens. >At least the customer didn't seem too upset about it. >Perhaps you need to start advertising you take in or will purchase cars. >After all, it isn't like you have an unlimited supply - and you have not gotten in anything for a few weeks now. >The last one was some '80s Buick shitbox. >You can't even be bothered to remember what it was for certain, other than it not being a Regal or a Grand National. >So, in essence - yeah, shit. "Hey Midnight, whatcha doing?" >Midnight sits beside you as normal, honed in on the laptop screen in front of her. >"What does it look like I'm doing?" she replies in a dull, almost zoned-out manner. "Reading something, I would assume." >"Very astute observation, Anon!" she says in a far too peppy manner as she faces you. "My word, you have gotten so smart! Did you graduate at the top of your special-ed class?" "Man, you read about some weird shit if you know what the hell those are," you reply. "And kitty certainly has her claws at the ready tonight. Wow." >"I recall you asking me to take pride in myself again like I used to - I assumed you wanted the whole package," she replies in a calm manner, light years away from just a moment ago. "Eh, it took me by surprise more than anything," you say, dismissing any concern she might be trying to mask. "Though it hurts that you remind me I barely passed my final window-licking exam. Fortunately, I'm a top-notch crayon-eater." >You manage to get a snort of laughter from that stupid comment. >"Are you just trying to make small talk, or did you actually have something to discuss?" "I was wondering if maybe you could set up something like an advertisement or a note on the website that we buy vintage scrap. I would think it was obvious, but it can't help to try something, right?" >"I could probably do something like that, it should be relatively straightforward," she replies as her makeshift tool skitters across the laptop keyboard. "Already trying to spend what profit we have for the month this far?" "No, I'm not that cocky. You have seen the kind of crap I've bought - some of those cars from the '80s will probably never get touched. I was thinking of older cars, parts from older cars, that sort of thing." >"Are you thinking of a specific cap in terms of year that you will accept?" she questions further as the screen in front of her brings up your junkyard's webpage.
>>5027 >You scratch your head, trying to mull a reasonable cutoff. >There really isn't one. >To cut it off after the '70s would be ignoring the market for third-generation GM pony cars, the Camaro and Trans Am. > There are Fox-body Mustangs to consider, as well. >Sure, both have a wide range of aftermarkets - but they don't reproduce everything. >And there are a few sticklers that only want OEM parts. "No, leave it open. I'll just have to sort through anything we get, be it by phone or via email. >Midnight steals a glance at you from the corner of her eye. >"Then you're going to have to show more restraint than you have in the past, just going off of what you have described to me," she lectures you. "I know. I have enough trash out there that doesn't sell, I really don't need to add to it. Probably ought to see if I can't straight up get rid of some of it, depending on the price of steel right now." >"Hm?" >Midnight directs her full attention toward you now, intrigued by your vocalized thoughts. "Basically hand shit off to someone that actually processes and melts down steel. They'll pay me based on the market price of scrap per ton." >"And you don't do that with shit you know you'll never use... why?" "I do have to pay to have someone come out and pick the shit up. The trailer I used to have kicked the bucket, so I don't have the option of hauling it myself. Plus, that was only a car at a time." >Midnight doesn't say anything - merely bringing a hoof to her face and obscuring her eyes. >"So, in other words, another way to make money that you have been missing out on," she remarks, unenthused. "Not really. Scrap prices have been in the toilet for some time now. Almost couldn't give the shit away," you refute. >"I'll give you the benefit of the doubt," she relents, albeit with a wary tone. "That being said, I don't really feel like working on this tonight - I'm just going to make a note of it all." "That's fine, I was just suggesting it for the time being. But..." >You trail off, wanting to pique her interest again. >The sounds of keystrokes stop after a few more seconds. >"What?" "Do you want to go with me and get groceries tonight?" >"That... doesn't really sound exciting." "Well, it really isn't," you admit. "But it's something that has to be done. And maybe you will spot something that tickles your fancy as far as foodstuffs." >"Anon, I am a very dull mare when it comes to taste. You know that." "What's that? Do I hear an excuse to get out of working on your social skills?" you announce, cupping your hand behind your ear. >"Oh, what's this? Is a tremendous faggot talking to himself again?" Midnight fires back, mirroring your gesture. "You realize doing that basically acknowledged me, right?" >"I follow my own rules." "Anyway, I'm either doing it tonight or tomorrow, and I'm dragging you along with me. It's your choice." >She makes a face of disgust, not unlike a rebellious teenager reacting to a parent's orders.
>>5028 >"Fine. Let's get it done now," she grumbles. "You act like I'm pulling your teeth, Middie. Remember that *you* are the one that suggested visiting a car show at some point, and you do need to get out more before we can do that." >"I know that, but - grocery shopping? Really?" "I wasn't aware you had experience with this before," you taunt her. >"I don't. It sounds incredibly dull. Go in, pick out shit, and pay. Wow-wee." "You know I can make anything interesting." >"You mean you can act like a retard in public," she replies, giving you a knowing glance. "Tomato, tomahto," you reply with an innocent smile and a shrug of the shoulders. >She just slowly shakes her head at that. "On the plus side, it takes the heat off of you, right?" >"I'm not going to condone anything that you do, Anon," she says. "That just makes me want to have even more fun." >"Ugh." >It doesn't take too long to go through the rituals of heading downstairs, getting the truck, and the opening and closing procedures of the gate out front. >You're quickly off on the open road again. >And once again, the headlights are on this late evening. >You two already had dinner, so it is purely a stop and shop trip. "Is there anything at all you've been hankering for?" you ask, trying to spur some conversation. >"I don't have a lot of experience in regards to food. You know that, right?" she questions back, glancing at you briefly before her eyes return to the windscreen. >...that makes sense. >As an experiment, she probably didn't get anything special in regards to food at the facility she came from. "What did you eat before that gamey shit out back?" >She shrugs. >"Some tasteless gruel. Certainly wasn't anything to reminisce about," she muses. "It kept me alive, and I suppose it might have been a step better than some of those junkyard rats. But that isn't saying much." "It does mean you have all of Flavortown to visit and explore," you joke. >You get a deadpan stare, Midnight's eyes faintly glowing in the dim cab. >"What the fuck does that even mean?" "Don't worry about it." >"Aaanyway - it was just mush, probably some meat byproduct or something. The only time it really had a taste was after waking up with something new." "What do you mean?" >Midnight ruffles her wings a bit, at the same time her eyes glow just a bit brighter. >Oh. "Basically some sort of medicine or some shit added." >"Yep." "Did they at least fucking tell you what they were doing beforehand?" you ask, your voice rising in time with the bile in your throat. >"'Something new'." "I'm sorry to hear that," is all you can muster, not letting your mind conjure up that scene. >"I know you are. But we're taking steps forward now, not backward, right?" >Atta girl. >You can tell she was serious when she said that. >And she didn't seem too upset discussing that short tidbit, either. >Hopefully she continues moving forward like this. "Absolutely. Maybe that term will find a more positive use this evening while we go shopping. Find something new to munch on." >"You're starting to get tired of burgers almost every night aren't you?" she proposes. "I tell you time and time again that it's not an issue for me to just eat it cold, but you won't listen to me." "I'm sorry, did you say something?" >"And you wonder why 'kitty has claws,' as you say." "And I wouldn't change a thing. Don't ever get them clipped." -----
>>5030 I wonder what sort of oddities Midnight will select from the store. Perhaps find a desert that is to her liking. Keep up the good work with the story.
Just dipping in to say the golly green hasnt been shelved just got carried up in some other autism atm. some news: /bootleg/ is going to be part of a big new wiki
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>>5057 And another dumbfuck ban. I don't even use /gif/ and have a static IP
>>5082 Maybe your ISP uses shared IPs?
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>>5083 I don't know, it's pretty gay. Now I know how longname felt when he got banned during the bootleg CYOA. Anyways, now back to evil fills. >>4878 >Without a word more you stood up from the table with your arm hooked under her barrel and head off with your pocketsized pony in tow. >It was time to go punch down on some encrusted keys after firing up your pc. >"Put me down! I can move on my own!" "Cozy Girl, I've only known you for less than a day but if I know my Golly like I know my Golly she'd follow around like a puppy." >"Hey! I'm not a puppy, I'm a pony!" she protested proudly, plushy or not. "I know, but I'd leave you alone in the kitchen, be sitting in my chair... then hear the pitter patter of little hooves..." "You come in." "Then the trap would be sprung" "And like a villain, I'd make a fancy scene out of it" >She hung silently before you swung her up over your shoulder for a nice perch. "Figure that since since we're all being upfront about our feelings and everything I'd just cut straight to the chase." >That was enough to get a little quip out of her "You? You're a villain?" *Snrk* "Psh oh yes, stick around kid and we'll have some fun tomorrow night." >You wink a super cheesey and obvious wink. >It could only be cheesier if you narrated it outloud. "Count on it" >"Well, I'll guess I can think about it.." Tapping her chin while a tiny smile blossomed while the little gears began to work in her little head. >"You so sure make it sound good, and I could give you some tips on your villainy." "That's the spirit!"
>>5102 >The night inches on. >Despite your earlier bonding and proposition for future funtimes, Miss Glow had chosen to sit down on your night table to the side. >Once you sat down the filly had struggled and squirmed right out of your hands, keeping her distance and guard up while you shitposted away. >You know what's going on, she was just far enough away to be out of arms length. >But now with a groan it seems like your newest patient couldn't really decide on what kind of treatment she wanted. >"Anon you've been at this for so long, what are you doing and why can't I see?" >You know better than to let impressionable young minds get corrupted by the deepdarkest web. >You glanced over seeing her her hooves buried into her muzzle. >But more importantly, has it really been that that long? >You swing your chair back to face her. >You just smile with your hands on your knees leaning forward. "Has it really been that long...?" >"Yes, it's been a really long-" >Your brain had tuned out her complaining fading away into happy thoughts as your dimples creeped up, ready to spring "Since..." >"Since..." "I haven't given you some upsies!?" >Really caught her off guard with that one, you watched her stumbled back on her hooves in shock a step or two >Hooves went up defensively "W-Wait hold on mister!" >You reached for her but it was too late, the best you could do was call her as she tumbled over the edge. "G.G. NO!" >There was a painful pause, you are almost scared to go see. >A moment later a ruffled mane peeked out from behind the wooden corner to your relief "Oof. You okay girl? That was quite a spill." >"Uohhh" The only response was a dizzy one. >You cursed yourself for being to slow. >And damn gravity for existing. >Sure it's useful most of the time... >But in the ONE moment that it could hurt your Golly, it shouldn't have. >"Uhhgh no thanks" "..." "No... upsies?"
>>5103 >Weighing your options here as she nodded. "No... upsies... No more upsies..." >Seems like something was making her a little nauseous, cringing holding back a gag. >But that doesn't sound right. >For the first time you had a frown on >She must still be dizzy, and not thinking right. >You stood up slow and make your way over to lift her up out of her daze before you froze in place. "HHHHG" "Hold that thought, Golly!" >Your hands went straight for your head and gripped it your temples, keeling over "UAAAAAAGHH!" >"Oh golly what's happening now??" "It's TERRIBLE GOLLY" >You're now crawling on the ground towards her with one hand cupped around your prized icecream. "The dreaded... BRAIN FREEEZE" >"Well stop eating it, what's wrong with you?!" >You couldn't bare parting with your sweet treat anymore than you can part with your bittersweet Golly. >You managed to muster up a silver hedgehog quote, appropriate for the situation. "It's no use!" "There's only one thing you can do for BRAIN FREEZE before it takes over.." >"Well what is it? Hurry up Anon, and tell me I didn't mean for this to happen" "It's company!" >Her mouth opens to comment, but you slipped a big spoonfull right into her mouth before she got even one more syllable out. >Scrunch >Well she did react, almost instantly too, but that's not the kind you hoped for. "Nothing?" >She won't reply just keeps on scrunching and turned away, it looks like the disease was getting worse for your poor Golly girl. >She might have a case of the Tsunderes >You sigh defeated for the moment. "Yeah, maybe rocky road isn't your thing..."
>>5030 >Another trek out of your comfort zone. >How exciting. >Anon pulls into the parking lot of a big box store in town, which gets your nerves going again. > It's frustrating. >You never really felt like this before. >Then again, you did not have anything to lose until fairly recently. >You didn't believe anyone could pick you out from a glance. >Both of those recent developments have admittedly fucked with your mind and your confidence. >And then there's Anon... >Where to even start? >He's... different. >Not necessarily in a bad way - he is surprisingly alright. >You don't detest him like you did that first week. >...you don't know if you really ever hated him, though. >You just didn't know whether you could trust him. >And you didn't want to seem like you were asking for his help. >Because you weren't. >Not technically. >He wasn't thrilled with the prospect either. >Now - well, things have turned a complete one-eighty, haven't they? >He's more mellow, open, and in general a positive person. >And he helps you out any way he can. >Even when you were treating him like shit. >...that's bothered you. >He didn't really deserve that. >Anon has thick skin though, and to some degree, enjoys the sarcasm and the shots directed toward him. >'All in good fun,' as he says. >Still, with as much as he's aided you with your issues, and gone out of his way to protect you no despite your ill-tempered demeanor, he has proven to be a genuine friend. >Friend. >That's a word you never expected to use. >Nonetheless, you've cut back on your jabs, because you don't feel that same need for distance from everyone. >Not him, at least. >You trust him. >But he does like making an ass of himself. >What kind of shenanigans will he demonstrate tonight? >You wait for him to hop out of the truck before following his lead. >As much as you hate it, this world's focus is on ponies being subservient to humans. >Best to play the part, considering this is the most populated place you've ever experienced. >...you aren't nervous. >You're just acutely aware of the inherent dangers being out and about possesses. >Even with this chip around your neck. >Which you aren't even one hundred percent sure will work. >It looks fantastic, though. >You feel almost naked taking it off to shower or when delving deep into a particularly grimy project. >Now is the moment of truth, though. >This store is bound to have passive scanners that detect the presence of a chip. >But you don't know what to expect. >Will there be some sort of audible or visual confirmation? >Is it all just left up to "surprise, you're caught!" sort of thing? >Why you never bothered to find some information about such scenarios is beyond you. >But you regret it now as the sliding doors automatically open upon approach. >"Hey, you okay?" >You look over to see Anon staring at you. >He isn't bothering to hide his concern >You must have given off some sort of indicator that this is uncomfortable.
>>5108 "Fucking peachy," you instinctively snap back. >"It will work, just relax," he says, patting you on the side. >...when did you start letting him do that? >Or touching you in general? >You don't really get why he's suddenly like that. >It isn't bad. > It's just... >Different. >He wanders over to the left to fetch a cart once inside, hesitating for a moment as he glances between two different types. >One is a standard, run-of-the-mill ordinary shopping cart. >...the other is a cartoonish automobile-shaped contraption with the basket and push handle set behind a front end complete with seat and steering wheel. >"I don't think you will fit in that one, sorry," he says, pointing at the child cart and turning back to you with a somber face. >And so it begins. "Grab a cart, stupid. I don't want to be here all night." >He follows your instructions and grabs a normal one, rejoining your side as both of you head through the scanners. >Moment of truth... >You both pass beyond them without a sound. >Absolutely no indications whatsoever whether they even work. >At some point, you've stopped dead in your tracks. >Anon has, too. >"It's not supposed to do anything. I looked it up," he leans over and whispers. "We're good." >You exhale, a sense of relief washing over you. >So this pendant is genuine. >That's a major load off of your mind. >At least Anon had the sense to check that. >Now, you follow his lead as he heads toward the back of the store. >It is relatively quiet in here despite the number of people. >To be fair, the parking lot did not even look half full of cars - but this is more people than you've ever seen at once. >You pass four or five shoppers, who don't seem to pay you any mind. >Surprsing, considering you think you cut a striking figure. >Which isn't ideal, obviously. >Most people look like they're focused on their objective and their shopping list, rather than their surroundings. >"Mommy, look at the pony!" you hear a high-pitched voice shriek from your right side. >You turn your head to see a little girl in a shopping cart down an aisle way, the aforementioned mother browsing a shelf of canned goods. >"Indoor voice, please," she casually instructs her child, not bothering to look at you. >The child is certainly excited, staring at you wide-eyed with a big, vapid smile. >You press onward, head pointed forward once again. >Anon doesn't comment at all, which surprises you. >You expected something about being cute or some shit. "So what exactly are we looking for? You seem like you're on a mission." >"I always start at the back and work my way forward, since that's where the checkout registers are," he explains, just as he turns down the last aisle, amidst coolers lined with frozen product. >"Just have a gander as we wander around, and if you see something you like, point it out to me." >Of course, the first thing you see at the start of this area is nothing of interest to your stomach. >Vegetables and greens.
>>5109 >Not bad when combined with stuff more to your palate, but alone? >No way. >Anon walks along at a leisurely pace, he himself also perusing the glass doors. >"I know you hated that chicken bacon ranch kind, which I swore I would never get again but did you like regular pizza?" he asks, pointing to the next section. "It was alright, I didn't mind it," you say. "Triple meat and I'm good with it." >"How about stuffed crust?" >He looks hopeful with that question. "Stuffed with what?" >"Cheese." "...sure." >He stops and opens up the door right in front of you. >You get hit with a frigid blast of air as he grabs the item, making you recoil a bit. "Dammit, you could have warned me." >"Freezer section is cold, by the way." >The inane comment makes you stare at him, being greeted by a smarmy grin. "Fuck you." >"Language, please. There are children present." "No shit. I'm staring at one right now." >"Oh, come on." >You continue to stick by his side through the frozen food aisle, not finding much of interest. >Anon points out some things, like lasagna or some sort of frozen bagged shit he can throw in a skillet and you merely accept the idea and move on. >He really doesn't get it - you don't need fancy shit, and if he does, you could not care less if what you have is raw or cooked. >But he wants to be a pain in the ass, so let it be for now. >Every once in a while, you get someone that does a double-take upon spotting you. >About the time you stare back, they pretend not to notice. > It's a little unsettling. >As if they're spying on you or something. >But as you start to go through the refrigerated items... >Holy shit, that's a lot of different cuts of meat. >And types of meat. >Now this is more like it! >"We are not getting one of everything, Middie," Anon says. "Fine. One of half of everything." >"How about a few different things, as we still got some shit at home in terms of raw meat." >You glance through the red meat, not really spotting anything that sticks out. >After all, a lot of it is ground beef or chuck with varying amounts of fat or different cuts of steak. >You would like to try some different cuts, but you don't have an idea of what is considered "desirable." >Pork sounds pretty good though... >You haven't had much of that aside from bacon or sausage links. "Are pork chops any good?" >"Hell yeah they are." "Then I'll try those. What about ribs? Those sound good." >"Never cooked em, but there's a first time for everything." >Anon grabs both items and chucks them into the cart. >"See, I told you there would be something to tickle your fancy." "If you had told me such a shopping aisle existed, I would have been in full agreement," you chide. >"True. I'll give you that one." >You and Anon start to wander through the dry goods, leaving you to feel somewhat bored. >Again, there isn't much that whets your appetite. >You have already had dinner tonight, so that could be a factor, as well. >"Hi there!"
>>5110 >A feminine voice from behind abruptly makes itself known. >You spin around, surprised and a little irritated with the sudden interruption. >Another pony stands to greet you as you look down. >Well, a pony bot - a Twilight Sparkle model, to be exact. >The top of her head comes up to your chin, if that. >You already don't want to be here. >There's just something distinctly synthetic about their personalities. >The fact this Twilight Sparkle model just stares and smiles warmly at you despite your own reserved and muted expression lends credence to that. "Hi," is all you manage to cough up toward it. >"It's so nice to see another pony!" she gushes excitedly. "I don't think I've ever seen one quite like you before. You're almost as tall as my human's mom!" >Ugh. >Why in the fuck are these things so chipper? >It makes you nauseous. >Of course, the kids probably love it. "Yeah... I'm a new model. Be a while before you see more of my kind," you say, turning to rejoin Anonymous, who is a few feet away. >Hes not looking at you, but he's grinning madly. >That asshole is enjoying this and probably spotted the bot before she even noticed you >His eyes dance your way, and he just smiles a little bit wider as you scowl. 'I fucking hate you,' you mouth to him. >He only puts his hand up to his mouth, pretending to giggle. >Faggot. >"What's your name? My name is Twilight Sparkle." "Midnight. It's a pleasure," you drone, unable or uncaring enough to let a little sarcasm slip out as you feign interest in a box of oatmeal. >"How long have you been around? As I said, I've never seen you before. Have you ever visited the park? I go there a lot with my human and her mom." "I don't get out often." >"Well that's okay!" Twilight giggles. "To be honest, I'm perfectly happy at home curled up with a good book. But it is nice to get outdoors and meet others like us, too." >Holy shit, take a hint. >It isn't even that she's a bot that you find so obnoxious, it's the fact that she is just so goddamn upbeat. >Completely ignorant of anything negative in the world. >Ignorant of hardship. >These bots basically have it made from the time they have it activated. >...no, that isn't true. >You've seen enough to know that isn't true. >They don't all have an easy life. >But it is rather grating to hear the vapid bubbliness this one spouts. >Is this how you're supposed to act with the personality chip that she sports? >You're glad you don't. >The smarts are pretty nice, though. >"Twilight, who are you talking to?" >Another female voice, this one certainly that of a child, joins the fray. >You begrudgingly glance over to see said child wandering over to her pony friend, only marginally taller than the pony. >"Hi Carly!" Twilight cheers, quickly trotting the few steps to be with her human. "I was just talking to my new friend. She's another pony like me!" >She directs the little girl's attention with her hoof toward you. >The girl takes a glance at you.
>>5111 >Any joy she had before quickly disappears. >"That's Nightmare Moon!" she shouts with fear as she takes a few steps back. "She's mean, Twilight! Stay away from her!" >Twilight looks at her, perplexed by the outburst, before turning back to you. >"No, her name is Midnight, and she's been really nice to me. Right?" >This is just wonderful. "I look like Nightmare Moon, I guess," you admit, frustrated by the sudden shift in the atmosphere. "Just - tell her to chill the fuck out, will you? I'm not doing anything other than shopping." >Twilight gasps. >"That's a naughty word! You shouldn't say that!" "Holy s- look, I'm sorry, alright? I'm leaving," you say, quickly retreating from this interaction. >"Mooom!" you hear the girl call out, along with the patter of footsteps retreating in the opposite direction. >Anon is already starting to walk toward you as you turn and meet up with him. >"What the hell happened?" "I'm a scary monster that has a potty mouth, I guess." >"No shit, but what happened?" "Stop fucking around and move it," you growl, giving him a hip check. >"Bye, Midnight," you hear Twilight call out from behind. >You don't bother looking back or acknowledge her in any way. >You're just... >This sucks. >You're aware that you were basically modified into something closely mirroring a show villain, but why should that have any effect on how people perceive you? >"We'll skip the next aisle and quickly get through the rest of this," Anon says, interrupting your thoughts. "The last thing I want to deal with is a fucking Karen. They don't normally come out here in the sticks, but I'm not in the mood to take chances. >A... Karen? >The fuck? "Are you making shit up to confuse me?" >"I'll explain later. Let's just get shopping done." "Alright. I honestly didn't do anything though..." you say, feeling conflicted and confused over how sour that went in such a short amount of time. >You feel Anon's reassuring touch again as he pats your side. >At least someone understands you. -----
>>5112 Good as usual, Auto. Thanks a lot!
>>5103 >demon Golly will make all your shitposts come true >>5112 Thanks for another good update Auto. At least midnight got some treats while out, a true carnivore. Hopefully it makes up for the encounter with the Twilight bot. Interesting that the bots are truely like bots. Not too far beyond simple canned responses.
>>5028 >>"Oh, what's this? Is a tremendous faggot talking to himself again?" Midnight fires back, mirroring your gesture. this deserves to be a reaction image, chipper sardonic midnight is too good
Should I post Jacky updates to here? I haven't before since it's been going on for so long that anyone reading it might not have any real clue or context.
>>5156 You can if you want, there's be no harm in it. No different then people trying to pick it up elsewhere.
>>5130 >bots don't stray far beyond canned responses. I feel like I went a little bit too far in that direction in hindsight, at least for initial impressions. To be fair, that does highlight why there would be a desire for "real" ponies - hence Midnight's existence. >>5154 I certainly wouldn't be opposed to that. Maybe could request it in the draw thread on /mlp/. Also considered the suggestion of a pic like the Queen Umbra pic where she's all pissed off about being called cute. Regardless, I keep forgetting to do that - too much on my plate.
>>5159 >I feel like I went a little bit too far in that direction in hindsight I think not. I took it more as being because the scene is from Midnight's "negative" point of view. The Twibot may be simpler than her, but she still comprehends that Midnight isn't Nightmare Moon.
>>5160 >tfw you don't have a sweet, well-meaning twibot to keep you company
>>5159 Another thought that I had, are bootleg/illegal pones super widespread in your fic? Was just thinking if they have scanners everywhere that it must be enough of a problem to justify their presence everywhere. How many would they catch? Or is it more just the fear that such scanners could be anywhere without actually knowing if they are present or not?
>>5160 Fair points, but I will counter with something else to consider that does settle my mind - is it reasonable to assume that all bots are programmed to recognize "canon" models? After all, that does sort of take away from the liveliness and "organic" feel that would sort of be the end goal. So I guess that in and of itself, if I go with that idea all initial meetings with other bots are unknown, means I haven't gone too far. We will see more bots in the story, and that will sort of shed a bit more light anyways.
Holy shit, my phone struggles to get a signal at work. >>5164 Some of that just has to do with the thought of AI being more widespread, and perhaps some backlash in regards to what could happen should there be "rogue" AI. Sort of like how Anon alludes to Skynet not being too far away - I could see it being enough concern or perhaps some incidents involving unofficial hack-jobs causing problems to where regulations are put in place. With Anon not paying much attention to that shit until Midnight came along, it would be harder for him to pinpoint where she could be discovered. After all, in this universe genetic engineering of organisms, specifically of the companion kind, are forbidden. Though, as alluded to earlier, those regulations seem to have passed under narrow and controversial margins. However, that is my fault it isn't very clear, even with passing mentions which weren't great to begin with. As a writefag, I feel one of my biggest weaknesses is worldbuilding, and this is basically the first fic I've ever done that isn't in Equestria and left to the reader just knowing the setting. Sorry about that.
>>5112 >The rest of the shopping experience ended up relatively uneventful. >You and Anon didn't dawdle by any means, but there were no interruptions or comments from other shoppers aside from a glance or two that lasted longer than you felt necessary. >Anon sold you on some sort of boxed good called "Hamburger Helper." >Half meat, half noodles of some sort along with seasonings. >A fair compromise for both of you. >He ended up getting one of each kind. >Now, both of you stroll out into the night air, which has dropped in temp with the absence of the sun as well as cloud cover. >"Man, you are an expensive date." "Excuse me?" >The hell is that supposed to mean? >"I'm joking, chill out," he replies defensively, taken aback by the harsh tone of your voice. >It really wasn't that funny of a joke. >And you don't like the connotations that would bring if anyone heard him. >That would be embarrassing. >You're aware that there are people who have a romantic investment in ponies. >Is that even legal? >...you don't know why that was the first thing that popped into your head, but regardless, those kinds of people are fucked up. "Sorry, I just think that was a really retarded joke - I'd rather someone not overhear you and actually believe that." >"Alright, my bad." >His apology sounds... off. >A bit disappointed. >Maybe he had been working on that lame comment for a while. >Whatever, that's on him. >"I'm sorry I sort of left you to that Twilight bot. I would never have done that had I thought it would go south like that," he adds. "You seemed to be enjoying it," you jab. >"To be fair, it was one of those things where you had to see your own face." "I suppose she wasn't really *that* bad," you begrudgingly admit. "But I detest how utterly... oblivious they are. Maybe that was an older one, I don't know." >"You mean like how she couldn't tell you weren't interested in conversation?" "Exactly. But I haven't really ever had a long conversation with a bot, so again - maybe they're all like that." >"You've interacted with em before?" >Anon stops the cart before reaching the rear bumper of the Trailduster, circling around and opening up the glass hatch above the tailgate. "Yeah. That was about the only interactions I had when I was in the facility. They had helper bots - sometimes full units, others stripped to bare bones. Sort of depended on why they were there, I guess." >"Oof. So you weren't the only experiment, by the sounds of it," he says quietly, glancing around the parking lot. >You do the same, a bit unnerved by his actions. >No one in sight among the cars left in the lot. >"I just figured this conversation might be a little sensitive for foreign ears," he elaborates. "You may have a point - remind me later."
>>5188 >"Back to - well, what happened in there," he says, taking a moment from loading groceries in the back of the truck to point at the store. "Kids are naive as hell. I don't think you did anything wrong. They'll freak out over the dumbest shit. It's why I don't much care for interacting with kids." "Oh good, at least you probably aren't a kiddie fiddler." >"Now that's just perverted, you sicko." "Yeah, because you haven't said questionable shit before," you sarcastically retort. >"Excuse me!" >Both of you turn to see a middle-aged woman heading your way with a shopping cart. >Along with a little girl and a lavender unicorn in tow. >Great. >The woman doesn't look particularly happy, pausing a moment to point something at a nearby SUV. >The headlights flash briefly while she ushers her child toward the vehicle. >The girl runs off to the SUV, glancing your way briefly with an aversive expression. >Meanwhile, Twilight looks upon you somewhat forlornly, albeit a step back and partially behind the woman's legs. >"Fuck me," Anon mumbles under his breath, barely audible to you as he finishes offloading his purchases. >As the woman resumes her trek toward you and gets closer, Anon plasters on his most polite, innocent face. >"Don't say anything. It's not that I don't trust you, it's that this is probably not going to be a pleasant discussion," he says out of the corner of his mouth. >Is this Karen? >Or a Karen? >You still don't understand that name. >Culture jargon is only something you have stumbled upon from time to time, not researched. >"Hi, can I help you?" Anon asks. >The woman looks at him, then at you. >Disdain practically pours from her gaze before she shifts back to Anon. >"Can you tell me why you thought you could just bring your pony that's based on an evil character into a store where children are almost guaranteed to be present?" she demands. >"I... didn't see a sign anywhere. She's not evil, I can tell you that much," Anon replies, already looking like he's on his back foot in this interaction. >"My daughter came screaming to me in fear from another aisle because of your damn bot," she says, pointing an accusing finger in your face. "She was afraid that she was going to be attacked, eaten up by this thing! I've never seen the show, but my little girl wouldn't just make something like that up." >"Okay, I'm not really in the know on the show either, but-" >"So do you normally buy things without knowing what they are? That doesn't seem smart," she snaps back. >Is this bitch serious? >If anyone is going to insult Anon's intelligence, it's you. >Besides that - didn't she just say that she doesn't have a clue about the show? >You can't help but scowl. >"She was a gift to me, okay?" Anon quickly lies. "Regardless of that, Midnight wasn't harming anyone - she was looking through the shelves just a few feet away from me when your bot sparked a conversation with her - a friendly one, might I add."
>>5189 >Twilight's ears droop in shame as she is dragged into the argument. >"So you're saying it's her fault? Is that right?" the woman retorts, pointing to the sulking pony. >"I just got excited to see her and I wanted to talk," Twilight abruptly interjects, her voice apologetically and pleading as she looks up. >"I didn't ask for your opinion. I'll deal with you later." >Anon looks almost as frustrated as you feel with the tone directed toward the honest pony. >Twilight looks over to you with a somber look on her face. >She was the one that approached you, but... >Well, she obviously didn't know all of this would happen. >'I'm sorry.' >You're taken aback to see Twilight mouth those words to you. >Still, she really doesn't have anything to apologize for... 'It's not your fault,' you silently relay back to her. >It at least manages to perk her up a slight bit, a look of relief creeping upon her face. >"Look, it's all just a misunderstanding. I'm sorry your daughter got spooked by Midnight," Anon speaks up again. >The mother doesn't seem to feel the same way as she eyes Anon with a renewed ire. >"No, I fully understand that you're a grown man walking around with a pony that's meant to be offputting - and you think that's perfectly fine. I'm telling you it isn't," she spouts back, raising her voice just a bit more. >"What do you want from me?" Anon asks, throwing his hands out to either side, palms up. "I said sorry, what else do you want?" >"Don't raise your voice at me! I will call the cops if you're going to be belligerent, they will sort this out!" "Enough!" >You throw a wing between the woman and Anon as you take a step forward. >The crazy lady takes a step back, acting far more startled by your interruption than believable for the situation you have thrust yourself into. >"Are you threatening me? Is your bot seriously threatening me?!" "I am not threatening you, I am saying enough is enough," you clarify in a calm but stern tone. >You can practically feel Anon sweating bullets now that you've stepped into the ring. >But this is absurd, and just getting worse for no damn reason. >"You don't have a say in this, you don't have rights. And how dare you scare my daughter!" >You take another step forward, positioning yourself in front of Anon. "He didn't do anything wrong, nor did I. I can't help what I look like, and I'm sorry that my appearance scares your daughter. But perhaps you need to keep both her and your bot closer to you, considering I never saw you during this incident in the store. >"Are you questioning my parenting?" "I'm questioning your logic." >The lady takes another step back, almost tripping over Twilight, who is still standing behind her. >"Watch what you're doing!" she shouts, turning to look at Twilight. >"Sorry!" Twilight quickly apologizes, cowering just a bit at the outburst. >While this is happening, you eye the woman's cart, still loaded with groceries off to her right.
>>5190 >You focus on it with an idea and just a subtle touch... >It starts to roll as you nudge it with your ability, picking up some speed as the slope of the parking lot aids in its egress from the argument taking place. >The noisy wheels upon the cracked tarmac quickly grab your foe's attention, staring wide-eyed for a moment before rushing after it. >The clatter of her heels is music to your ears as you turn and nudge Anon. "Get in the fucking truck and let's go," you instruct. >He quickly jumps at your direction while you rush over to the passenger side, feeling around for the lock mechanism in the door and popping it open yourself. >Hopping into your seat at about the same time Anon cranks the engine, it's only a brief moment before the rear tires chirp and you're off, leaving the volatile situation in the rearview mirror. >"God damn, what the hell is wrong with this world?" Anon says once you get out onto the road. "Are you asking to explain from my own experience, or..." >"No, I know you've seen worse. You know jumping into that argument really was not going to help your cause, right?" "Because you were really defusing it in a timely fashion. Bravo," you remark, clapping your hooves in a sarcastic manner. >"I don't think there was any reasoning with her. That's a fucking Karen for you - looking for an argument by any means necessary, to prove she's right." "So, a Karen is a bitch?" >"Pretty much. Bitchy, middle-aged, entitled woman." "I can't say I'm thrilled to have understood that definition by experience." >"Wasn't fun for me either. I'm assuming that shopping cart didn't start rolling on its own," he muses, eying you expectantly. >You shrug. "I didn't tell her to park it there at the beginning of a slope towards the storm drain." >The answer garners a smile from him. >"That was good thinking to get us out of there without making things worse. Thank you." "Well, I'm not going to let some miserable bitch use my personal punching bag." >"Jesus. I don't know whether to be flattered or offended, Middie," Anon gasps. "You enjoy the abuse, don't put up an act." >"Only because you do it in a caring manner," he teases. >At least, it seems teasing... >His eyes do linger upon you just a bit longer. >That's something you've noticed more recently. >Whatever. >You exhale deeply, relieving the tension that had welled up inside you since the first situation. >"I am sorry I didn't take kids and how they would react into account," Anon says quietly. "I can't blame you for that, Anon. You said so yourself - you really don't have a clue when it comes to - well, the character I'm based upon. To be honest, I don't know shit about me, either. Er, Nightmare Moon." >"Are you curious about it at all?" he asks rather hesitantly. >You glance over at him. >Anon looks rather uncertain about that question. >Or perhaps how you will react. >You really aren't interested. >After all, that isn't you. >You weren't even *born* to look like said character. >Yet you're tied to her, whether you like it or not. >You may not be an exact match for looks - but that doesn't matter to the passing eye. > It's unfair - but life isn't fair. >Rather than sulk about it, you just have to deal with that notion the best you can. >Perhaps some knowledge of what you're up against in terms of background and reputation could help you at least understand. >You try to keep a straight face, but you fear a mischievous hint of a grin cracks through just a bit. "You wanna watch some pretty pastel ponies when we get home?" -----
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>>5130 >Interesting that the bots are truely like bots. Not too far beyond simple canned responses. Going to headcanon that this takes place within the same relative universe of twibot, and you should definitely read that too.
>>4552 >Condense trotted, ever mindful of her surroundings. Her long pink legs carried her at a brisk pace, yet took her nowhere. >She had finally forgotten about the makeshift cloth sling Anonymous had fashioned for her wing prior to beginning his exercise. Condense insisted on joining him for this portion of his morning routine, for which he insisted they immobilize her injured limb. Anon had been firm, yet gentle in securing her wing- tender, even- with his touch. >The extra support from the improvised restraint made trotting less painful, though a stinging sensation persisted if her steps were too heavy. Nevertheless, the reprieve from major discomfort was welcome, and her inward-facing vantage point in the corner of the gym further distracted her from nagging wing pain. Her trotting, the faint whine of the treadmill motor, and Anon's labored grunts were the only sounds that filled the room. >Anonymous went about his workout routine as usual after wrapping Condense's wing and showing her how to operate the treadmill. He had in fact forgotten her presence, albeit temporarily, with the added stimulus of music piping through his headphones as he faced his current challenge; two hundred and twenty-five kilograms. >Condense watched Anonymous squat down with the weight on his upper back, the bar bending slightly under its load. Her pace quickened from trot to canter as the question she'd been ignoring all morning returned to dominate her thoughts: 'Who am I?' >How does one forget their identity, their history, in the blink of an eye? She had retained a very limited knowledge of other pony species and of magic, but why couldn't she recall anything else? That lost knowledge continued to elude her, always just out of sight of her mind's eye. >Her gait now perfectly matched with the treadmill, Condense dared to close her eyes, hoping the temporary loss of sight may coax forth any additional memories. >Despite her best efforts to clear her mind, all she could recall is sorrow; grief from loss. It seemed to saturate the air, more so than the scent of sweat. Perhaps diving into this feeling would be the key to dispelling her amnesia? >Only one way to find out. >Anon's breathing changed. Condense opened her eyes to find him gripping the thick handle of a large, black iron ball with the marking "48 kg" on its side. He lifted it overhead in an fluid, explosive motion, lowered it, and lifted it again, only pausing a fraction of a second between repetitions. Throughout it all, Anon's face remained mostly stoic, his eyes focused on a distant snow-burdened pine swaying outside the window. >Condense accelerated to a full gallop, her gaze fixed on her mysterious host. She continued her sprint, distracted from the exertion by the emotional turmoil that enveloped her. As she stared at Anonymous, a mare's voice suddenly rang out in her mind. >'Are you alright? You've been distant lately.'
>>5197 >No sooner did the foreign voice enter Condense's mind did Anon falter in his exercise, recovering quickly enough to set the ball on the floor in a controlled manner. He shook his head and stood, taking a minute to catch his breath, apparently still lost in his own thoughts. >Anonymous resumed his activity. Condense continued to gallop. Both parties continued to push themselves to their limits, each searching for sanctuary from their troubles, however temporary the respite might be. >Sweat foam had long since lathered on Condense's pink coat, and several minutes of hard galloping accelerated its accumulation. She managed to telekinetically-manipulate the treadmill's controls for a quick, but steady deceleration. With shaky legs she dismounted the treadmill, then gazed to her right, where Anonymous now attacked a hanging red heavy bag. >His kicks sounded like gunshots, each one making Condense flinch. While each strike delivered by his shin or foot would've been extremely painful to a live recipient, Condense was sure they would pale in comparison to the pain that radiated from Anon's icy blue eyes. >She had barely turned to leave when she heard a filly's voice. >'We'll always be together, right, Papa Bear?' >Anonymous screamed, startling Condense with his bitter, anguished cry. His fists, feet, and shins hit the bag in rapid succession until he collapsed to his knees. Condense's first instinct was to rush to her new friend's aid, but she hesitated; thinking she heard the filly speak again. >Unable to locate the source of the phantom voice, Condense turned back to her companion. His head hung low, face covered by bloodied hands. Condense moved with care, ensuring her approaching hoofsteps were audible. Unsure of what to say, she dropped to her haunches beside Anon and stretched out her right wing, draping her purple-tipped primaries over his shoulder. >She felt Anonymous tense under her touch, but it didn't discourage her from attempting to pull him closer to her. >He didn't move. >Condense changed her approach, opting to scoot closer to the man until her forelegs touched his arms. With her wing still draped over his back, Condense rested her chin on the back of Anon's sweat-soaked head. >With time, Anon relaxed and leaned against the sitting mare. Emboldened, Condense dared to raise her right forehoof, bringing it to rest on his back. She traced small circles over his wet t-shirt for a scant few seconds before Anonymous rose from the floor. >"Thank you," he said, his shaky voice barely audible. His fingers brushed behind Condense's left ear but a moment before he limped out of the room, left leg clicking faintly with each step. "You're welcome," Condense whispered to the now-empty room. ... Short update, but a bitch to write. More to come later.
>>5191 A close situation, hopefully that was the end of it in the parking lot. Might be a bit harder to fool the cops , or maybe not? They probably wouldn't be anymore well versed with what Midnight actually is than any other random person. If anything they'd be more familiar with less functional bootleg bots. Thanks for the update. >>5196 Maybe I'll check it out sometime. >>5198 Looks like Condense isn't skipping out on leg day. Do you suppose Condense is a fan of condensed soups?
>>5202 Twibot is not a long story, considering I think it took me only ten or fifteen minutes to get through - but it's very good. I certainly enjoyed it.
>>5191 These posts were a little painful, because your Karen is so accurate.
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Replying to post on /mlp/ >what happened to the infoboxes? There's a reason the wiki wasn't publicly posted more than previews yet but it should be OK now, at least it looks that way on my end. [spoiler]The sum up was because i have no idea what im doing and took at least an hour to learn how to fix it. Basically i broke everything by trying to add more info to the box being birthdays, friends and family (some /bat/ wiki stuff. The redirects fucked everything for a while when I just tried to update it, then I tried to delete the redirect but that broke shit even further. But undoing it with new changes didn't work so I had to create a new infobox (MLPCharacters) and manually edit every page's code to use the new box. [/spoiler]
>>5057 >>5215 I'll post the wiki page so others can check it here and verify if I redeemed my moment of retardation and I'll leave it alone if it's working. https://fanponies.fandom.com/wiki/Midnight
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>>4705 >What do I like about Zooma? Her optimism in the face of being a mistake is incredibly charming and a great case of bootleg range, Zoom is basically the polar opposite of Midnight despite being moonhorse knockoffs. Anyone remember this old but gold qt?
>>5191 >As the credits roll, you and Anon look at each other, awaiting a response to break the silence. >A silence that has enveloped your home for the better part of two episodes. >After putting away groceries, Anon hooked your laptop up to the TV with a cable, while you searched the internet for episodes of My Little Pony where "Nightmare Moon" appears. >Incidentally, the first two episodes of the "Friendship is Magic" series were the first hits. >It looked like there were a few other appearances sprinkled here and there, but not much. >Evidently, she's not a major character or villain. >"Well." >Anon has the courtesy to speak first but brings absolutely nothing of substance. "Very insightful, thank you." >"I mean... it was something," he says, albeit with much reluctance in his voice. "Indeed. I believe that is what is referred to as a 'cartoon.' Often directed toward younger audiences." >"At least it didn't piss you off," Anon replies with a chuckle. "Were you really afraid of that, or are you joking?" you ask, uncertain of his true stance. >"I wouldn't say I was worried, more... aware that it could be something upsetting to you." "There really wasn't much to be upset about - again, it isn't me," you remind him. >"Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to hear that, Middie." "Yeesh. I can't say I'm fond of being thought of as a spiteful thousand-year-old megalomaniac prone to belittling others to cover up her own insecurities." >"Yeah. They really did a good job matching your personality up with hers, huh?" >You don't need to turn to know Anon is sporting a shit-eating grin right beside you. >Instead, you spread out your left wing and smack him in the face. >"Ow," he says, lacking any sort of tone. "You know I was joking about that though, right?" "Yes, but I'm also keenly aware I should have thought about what I said beforehand," you admit, folding up your wing once again. "What did you really think about it?" >"Kinda odd how you're sorta like the alter ego of the pony you were meant to be, and possess part of her personality chip," Anon muses. "Even odder how you have another chip that is the primary opposition to Nightmare Moon." "Wow." >"Yeah, sort of deep when you really get into it," he says with a nod. >You shake your head. "No, I'm just surprised you can use words that big," you wisecrack. >"Asshole." "Don't forget it." >"Really though... it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," he admits. "I still don't get the appeal." "You should go make a post about that on an imageboard." >"What?" "Hm?" >He shakes his head. >"Nevermind. But I guess now we know what you're up against." "It really doesn't make it any better - but I didn't think it would. Still, it's hardly something I would consider scary." >"Sorry. Kids are stupid," Anon says with a shrug. >Despite going into this with curiosity, you now are left with frustration. >There really *isn't* anything you can do if children find this kind of shit scary, and relate you with her.
>>5223 >It may very well be a matter of avoiding the matter altogether. >Which isn't completely bothersome... >After all, you finally have a place you can genuinely call home. >That is a calming and warm feeling to know, whatever happens, you have somewhere you can retreat that is safe and comfortable. >Why would you want to leave that? "I guess I just have to avoid those situations in the future. Need I remind you, you're more keen on me being in the public than I am. I'm content with sticking with you and conversing with you - far more than anyone else." >Anon chuckles a little bit at that, smiling just a bit wider. >"Come a long way from seeing me as a means to an end, huh?" "Perhaps there's a bit more to you than that," you reply, averting your eyes. >You really don't want to go beyond that. >Saying you care or see him as a friend out loud just seems like an uncomfortable gesture. >He pretty much knows it anyway. >But you do wonder if he sees more than that. >You recall earlier tonight, the stupid 'date' joke that left them sounding almost a little disappointed. >Or the way he steals glances at you. >Or the physical contact. >It's... >Weird. >You've only started noticing those little things very recently. >At first, you chalked it up to your own mind trying to make something out of nothing. >But... >You really need to know. "I didn't mean anything by that other than I respect you," you add. >He nods, though his smile does falter a bit. >Alright, you're not going to ignore that. "Anon, what's gotten into you lately?" >"What do you mean?" "I mean like now. Or the way I notice you looking at me from time to time. Or the push to get me to open up. Why?" >Anon looks like someone caught red-handed with stolen items. >"Getting you to open up is for your benefit in the sense of not bottling things up that bother you. Would you agree with that?" he asks cautiously. "I can, but I feel like there's more to it than just helping me, Anon," you press. >"There is," he concedes with a sigh. "I guess - look, I don't know how or why, and I get that it's fucking weird, but... I guess I have sort of developed feelings for you." >Feelings for you. >There it is. >What in the fuck. >What in the goddamn is wrong with him? >Your initial reaction is to call him a degenerate, a pervert, a sick bastard. >Maybe make a dry heave gesture. >With all the stupid comments, the attitude, the insults... >And he has feelings for you. >Jesus. >"Midnight, I don't want things to be weird between us. I do respect you as my friend, first and foremost," Anon adds. "I didn't want to say anything because I wanted to... I wanted to try to figure out if there was anything as far as feelings on your end, but without destroying what we had." >Well, he didn't do the best as being discreet. >But you at least respect he isn't literally crawling over to you, telling you how much he adores you, how he can't stop thinking about you...
>>5224 >You do like how things are - or at least were - up until this point. "You aren't going to try throwing me out in a blind rage, are you?" you ask in a joking manner. >Or at least you try to make it sound like a joke. >"Fuck no. This is your home, Midnight," Anon says emphatically. "It's out in the open now, I'm a fucking weirdo-" "That was obvious from the beginning." >"Yet you were willing to put up with me. But I assume based on your question, I'm- those feelings... of the romantic kind... They aren't mutual, are they?" >You really don't understand what he could even see in you to develop "feelings" toward you. >There's nothing there. >You have nothing to bring to the table. >You've only recently let it go that you're a freak of nature that really has no business in being alive. >You're making the best of it - it wasn't your choice to come out this way, after all. >How he looks beyond that... >Wow... >...No. >It doesn't matter. >You don't think you feel anything toward him aside from the initial reaction of wanting to call him a fruitcake. >Of course, you really don't know what he is talking about in the sense of "attraction." >That's a foreign idea. >But, he at least deserves some closure and respect. >As your friend. "No, Anon. I don't feel that way toward you." >Anon winces just a bit at that, but at least manages to offer you an awkward, accepting smile. >"I guess now I know for sure. You don't want to kick my ass or insult me now, do you?" "I don't want you to turn into a quivering, sobbing mess. I'll leave you alone." >"Middie, I'm fine," Anon assures you, reaching over and- >Stopping. >He pulls his hand back. >"Seriously, I'm fine," he reiterates calmly. "I don't have a problem with friendly pats," you acquiesce, trying to at least throw him a bone and return things to normal. "No funny business or your hand becomes my next dinner." >He laughs, reaching over and patting your side. >A little awkwardly, but that's to be expected. >... this is quite the change for you, isn't it? >As much as you like to rib him and put up a fuss over his antics and decisions, you're willing to cut him slack here. >He is right, you do see him as more than a means to an end... >No. > It's a friend thing. >Holy shit, you really are starting to go soft. >Maybe some insults would do you some good. "You know I am going to give you shit for this at some point, right?" >"I would expect it. Otherwise, I would think you were turning funny," Anon retorts. "Yeah, I don't think you have a leg to stand on here." >"Aww, is Middie turning into a softie?" Anon gushes. "Aww, does Anon get a hard peepee watching children's cartoons?" >"Now you're just stretching this out to fit what you want it to," he protests. "I don't recall saying I thought the show was decent." >"You enjoyed it, don't lie." "It wasn't horrible," you say sternly. >"But you were quiet and focused on it the whole time, without making any sort of stupid comments." "And I have to do that to prove I don't like something?" >"You normally do." "...shut up, ponyfucker." >"Karen." >Oh no he didn't. >He smirks as you just glare at him. >"New nickname, perhaps?" >Without a world, you focus on one of your metal tools, using it to grab hold of a pillow behind you and chuck it at him. >It beans him square in the face, moving quickly enough to catch him completely by surprise. >"I guess that's a no." -----
>>5225 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_WYwfrMFko I've been waiting for the opportunity to post this ^:) Hopefully things don't get too weird between them. They've got a good friendship going on, Middie's come a long way from where she started. Thank you Auto.
>>5202 >Looks like Condense isn't skipping out on leg day. Every day is leg day when you're a quadriped.
>You are Rosie Rock. >You open your eyes and rise to get ready for your work on the rock farm. >Wait no, not rock farm, quarry. >You don’t farm rocks, you mine them. >Why would you even get that mixed up? >You shake the thought from your head, there was work to do. >Grabbing what you need, you make your way to the quarry. >It was difficult work to do on your own, as your father was getting on in years and there wasn’t much spare coin to hire anyone else to help. >Your parents had even tried to get you some siblings to help with the family endeavors but always ended up unfruitful. >The most you could often get was that young stallion from that family on the other side of town since he often had more time and energy than he knew what to do with. >Or was he a mare? >Why can’t you remember his face? >Why can’t you remember his name? >You’ve known each other forever, why can’t you remember? >You shut your eyes and think, trying to conjure up the image of your friend in your mind. >All you see are images of a flaxen-haired mare with an orange coat and green eyes, along with the name “Applejack”. >Who is she and why is she taking over the image of your friend? >Opening your eyes again, you catch your reflection in a puddle. >The mirror image shifts, from a mare with bright blue eyes and a curly, pink mane, to one with green eyes and a straight, purple, mane with flat edges, then one with light green eyes and a silver wither-length mane that parts to one side, and lastly one with purple eyes and a long, two-toned gray mane. >They aren’t you. >They aren’t you but why do you see them? >A heat builds in your chest, and you strike the image. >It reforms as if to mock you. In response you hit it harder. Each time it reforms you hit it harder and harder, eventually letting out curse after curse as you do so. >“Rosie.” a voice called out. >“Rosie, wake up!” >Your eyes snap open. >You’re not back home. >You’re still with Anon, who’s currently looking at you with concern. >“You started screaming and kicking in your sleep; even caught me in the chest a few times, pretty sure it’s gonna bruise.” He chuckles, probably so you don’t feel as bad. “S-sorry, just had a bad dream, is all.” >He sits up with his back against the headboard then scoops you into his arms before placing your haunches in his lap, your back against his chest and his arms wrapped around your stomach. >Placing his chin on top of your head he says, “Didn’t seem like a “teeth fall out” or “naked at school” kind of nightmare to me, go ahead and lay it on me, little lady.” Taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm your nerves, you say, “I dreamt I was back home but nothing seemed right. My best friend wasn’t how they were, and when I saw my own reflection my reflection wasn’t looking back.” >“Seems pretty tame to me.” he says, “Was there anything else?” “No, just remember that I felt like a fire was lit in me and that’s when I started beating the tar out of the reflection.” >“Hmm…” is all he says, the low rumble of his voice reverberating through you. >For a while the two of you just sit there. >His embrace and steady breathing puts you at ease. >You squirm slightly at the word. >“Embrace”...no one’s ever really done that to you before, not even… >The image of that mare appears in your head again and you feel the fire rise once more. >Anon seems to notice and runs a hand along the side of your barrel. >You hadn’t noticed before, but his arms and hands were littered with scars. >Ranging from the small, curved, scars on his fingers and the back of his hand to thin, straight, lines across his forearms. >Hoping to take your mind off of the mysterious mare, you open your mouth. “Anon.” >“Hm?” “How did you get all those scars?” >Momentarily you stop feeling his breath on top of your head before it returns with a deep and heavy exhale. >Looking upwards, you see that his eyes are closed, seemingly lost in thought, before he breaks the silence with, “I was a dumb kid, made a lot of mistakes.”
>>5272 >He unwraps his arms from around your waist, then grabs your sides and gently places you on the bed next to him. >Rising, he says, “I’m uh, going to start making breakfast. You can eat eggs and hash, right?” >You respond in the affirmative and he heads out of the room. >For a moment the feeling that you said something that you shouldn’t have fills your mind. >Mother would have chastised you if you were being rude in the face of someone’s hospitality. >Though since Anon didn’t say anything to confirm that it was, you brush the feeling off for now. >Your four hooves make contact with the tile floor as you hop off the bed to follow him to the kitchen. >By the time you catch up he had already placed a skillet on the stove. >Various glass jars filled with spices are pulled out of a cupboard and placed on the counter alongside a carton of eggs. >His hands move quickly as he preps the skillet and begins cooking the shredded potato, mixing in black pepper, garlic, and then paprika. >He turns towards his room and begins to shout “How many eggs-” before realizing that you’re behind him, he clears his throat and asks, “How many eggs do you want? Also I hope you like them scrambled because that’s really the only way I know how to make them.” “Four please.” >“Someone’s hungry this morning.” he replies flatly and cracks six eggs into a bowl and adds pepper before whisking the contents. “If that’s too much you can-” >He raises his hand to silence you, “Just a joke, don’t worry about it.” >Pointing to the table he says, “Go ahead and take a seat, breakfast will be done in a moment.” >At the table there was already a chair pulled out for you, you pull yourself up into it with your forelegs and settle in while Anon takes care of the final touches on breakfast. >Soon enough a plate is placed in front of you, the smell making your stomach growl in anticipation. >Anon takes his seat at the opposite end of the table, his plate has half the food on it that your’s does, but before you can say anything he says, “You don’t need to wait for me to start eating, dig in.” >It doesn’t take long for you to finish after he says that, you practically inhale your meal, leaving it empty while he’s only gotten through a third. >He raises an eyebrow before saying, “I can make more, if you’re still hungry.” “No thank-you,” you respond, stifling a yawn, “I’ve had more than enough.” >Scooping the last of his meal into his mouth he stands and stacks your plate on top of his before moving to put them in the sink. >As he begins to wash them he says, “I need to go pick up groceries, I got a feeling you don’t want to tag along somewhere with a lot of people.” >He takes a towel off a rack to dry his hands and then turns to you, “Unless you want to, that is.” Shaking your head you respond with, “No thank-you, I’ll stay here.” >He nods and walks into the living room where you follow him before he turns back to you and says, “Should be back in about half an hour.” Drumming his fingers on the door as he speaks. “Safe travels.” >With that he’s gone, leaving you alone. >You turn back to the living room, you’ll have to find something to distract yourself from the thoughts running through your head. >You’re alone in a world that isn’t your own, separated from everything and everyone you’ve ever known. >Even then your memories are muddy at best, extending past just the memories of your friend. >Turning back to the living room, your gaze falls upon the remnants of a wooden crate. >It's strange to think that less than a day ago you were in that box; though you don’t remember how you got in it, nor how long you were in there. >Attempting to remember only brings forth that feeling of fire in your chest again. >The wooden panel is reduced to splinters as you stomp with all the strength you can muster. >You’re not as strong as you remember, the muscle gained from years of hard labour must have diminished during the time you spent in that accursed box. >But that’s not important right now, what’s important is the sheet of paper that was launched along with the debris.
>>5273 >On it was a colorful logo, the font making it almost incomprehensible. “Tel...mach...er’s...Toys?”, you manage to make out. >Why would a toy company have sent you to Anon? >Unless… >No… >You’re real, you have to be. >Your thoughts and memories have to be real, they can’t be fabricated. >You’re not some toymaker’s creation, meant to be used until you’re no longer of use and then discarded. >Anon wouldn’t do that, would he? >You barely know him, is he only keeping you around because you were a “gift”? >As if on cue, the door to the garage opens. >“Lines were mercifully short for once, so I was able to-” Anon says, before stopping at the threshold of the door. >His eyes dart around the room, taking in the bit of carnage you caused. >Eventually his eyes rest on you, and you shrink under his gaze. >“What’s wrong?” >He places the groceries he had in his arms on the coffee table then kneels in front of you. >His hand slowly runs through your mane, “You look like you’re about to burst into tears, what’s on your mind, little lady?” “The floor-” >“Ain’t nothing to worry about, I can always clean that up later. Now tell me what’s got you all worked up.” >You take your hoof and drag the paper next to him, unfortunately he removes his hand from your mane to pick it up. He begins to read it as you start to speak, “I found this, and now I worry if I’m ‘me’ or not.” >You see his brow furrow as he looks down at the paper and then back to you, “Well as far as I’m concerned you’re ‘you’, if that makes any sense.” >Turning the paper towards you he points at some text, “See this? It’s an address. Says ‘Send any questions or feedback regarding your product to this address’.” >Your heart drops for a moment before he continues speaking. >“I was just gonna leave it at that, but looks like we both have questions for them.”, he stands and turns the paper back over, “Like why the hell is the company I work for selling living technicolor horses?” “You work for them?” >He nods, “Mhm, been about 8 years now”, he brings his hand up to his chin, “So how’s about we pay them a visit? I won’t be able to go there during a weekday as that’ll be hard to explain to the boss. Gonna have to be after work, Friday after work would be a good bet since with the time it’ll take to get there and back it’d be late by the time we get back. Sound like a plan?” “Yeah.” >A grin appears on Anon’s face, “Alright, everything’s set then. Gotta figure out something for you to focus on during the week so you don’t go stir crazy though. I wonder if you’ll like cartoons?” https://ponepaste.org/6081
>>5274 Always screwy manipulating bootleg pone's minds. Hopefully those morning cuddles helped her feel a little better. I wish I had a pone to cuddle. Anyway, nice to see more green.
>>5239 I love REO Speedwagon, and that's one of their best. >>5225 >Well, it's finally happening. >After a month of having an improved ordering system, you've finally made a decent profit for the first time in years. >Midnight almost has the whole junkyard cataloged, aside from the imports section in the back. >You've gotten most of that done on your own. >Pretty soon, that will be finished and uploaded on the website for better track of what you have. >For you, it will help both keeping track of what you have, as well as where it is located. >Depending on how this month starts, you may finally give a month's notice that the business is going to get rid of the self-serve picking model, and go all-in on orders with you and Middie doing all the pulling. >Just as well - it seems the customer base that used to pull parts themselves has found the new system a lot better and preferential to them. >There has been a couple of days where not a single customer has come in. >But the orders online have certainly picked up. >Everything is looking far brighter than you ever expected. >Even with how things turned out last weekend. >Midnight cornering you on your actions and mannerisms was an awkward and nerve-wracking moment. >Apparently, you were pretty shit at being low-key about how you felt about her. >Or maybe she's that observant. >Regardless, you couldn't lie to her. >You really wanted to, though. >After all, you were saying you found her attractive. >A pony. >When she made it clear early on she didn't want you to be one of those creepy bastards that lust over ponies. >But... >Midnight didn't freak out. >She wasn't pissed off. >She didn't holler and carry on about how much of a nutjob you were, and how she couldn't stand to be around you. >Midnight just said 'no.' >It absolutely hurt to hear that, you can't deny it. >But it was a load off of your mind, too. >You didn't have to worry about tiptoeing around her, scheming how to test the waters. >Or mull options of how to back out of things if she began finding something suspicious about you. > It's all out in the open now. >And rather than driving her away, Midnight just seems to want everything to stay the way it was. >Friends. >You're good with that. >The biggest fear was losing what you had because it meant something to you. > It's good to know she really does see you as a friend. >First and foremost, everything you have done for her was to help her as a friend - that wasn't a lie. >So if that's all you and her amount to... >Hey, you can't be upset about that. >You can't help the way you feel, but the boundary has been laid down, and you don't intend to push it. >Maybe someday, there will be another chance... >But you're leaving that alone for a long time. >As of now, your focus is once again on the junkyard, and helping Midnight adjust to a more normal life. >Which all things considered has been going fairly well aside from the supermarket visit. >That really was a blindside hit to know kids could be frightened by her just from the connection to the show.
>>5293 >"You know, when I said I would eat something if you were going to stop to make lunch, I didn't mean I would eat whatever you decided to char on the stove." >Midnight's voice makes you aware of the sizzle emanating from the skillet in front of you. >You quickly flip the sausage patties that had slipped your mind, showing off the dark brown caramelization that had very nearly slipped into carbonization. "Sorry." >"What has that little empty space between your ears so damn occupied today?" "Same thing as every day," you say with a dreamy sigh, turning to Midnight. >She looks on, just a bit apprehensive. "Air." >You do kind of like how with your feelings out in the open, you can get under her skin with a simple choice of tone. >Case in point, as Midnight's face scrunches up in mild embarrassment. >"You know, I'm supposed to be the one teasing you about this shit," she mutters. "And yet the turns have tabled, haven't they?" >"You mean the tables have turned," she corrects you. "I know what I said." >"Retard." "You know they send people to sensitivity training for using that word?" >Grabbing a paper plate, you toss two of the lighter sausage patties onto it and slide it over to Midnight. >"Guess it's a good thing I'm a pony then. Excludes me from that retarded shit." "Hm. I guess that's true." >You sit down at the stool across the kitchen island from where Midnight has seated herself. >While Midnight has elected to just eat hers plain, you threw your pork onto some bread with cheese. >Nothing fancy, just something quick. >"What's really got you thinking?" Midnight asks. "Just trying to figure out what to do about your appearance and how we know kids see you. I know you say it isn't a big deal, but we can't be causing a fuss when we go anywhere, either." >Midnight shrugs, but she doesn't do a very good job hiding that mischievous grin. >"Guess you will just have to do your shopping and other lame errands without me, just to be safe." >Pinching off a small piece of bread, you roll it into a ball and flick it at her, plinking her square in the snout. >"You dick!" she shouts, snorting reflexively. "We'll just have to stay near each other. No wandering off." >"As I recall, you were the one that left me." "Only because you dawdle." >"Bitch, I walk faster than you do," Midnight retorts. "You have two extra legs, I would hope so." >Midnight stares, while you stare back at her. >A standoff. >Except she doesn't blink near as often as you. >If she even has to do so. >Fuck. >"Loser," she sasses after you blink. >Both of you return to stuffing your faces before heading back downstairs. >Only one customer so far today - in person, that is. >A fair amount to do this afternoon picking parts. >You take up your spot holding the counter down, while Midnight sits in a bucket seat set aside in a corner off to your left by the stairs. >Nothing you can have her tear apart - the storage room is packed to the gills.
>>5294 >It will be nice when the transition finally does happen. >If enough days without customers occur in a row, you may just say fuck it and go ahead early. >"If you could pick out a car to do, what would you want to restore?" "That's an out-of-the-blue question." >"Perhaps. Not like there's anything pressing to accomplish because you won't let me out in the yard to get shit done." "Nah, I'm going to make you suffer with me, even with that pendant and the fact you're on private property." >"Ass." "Misery loves company," you rib her. >"Back to the question, for shits and giggles." "It's still not an easy question - you know that right?" >Midnight looks frustrated as you continually stall any sort of an answer. >"Fine. How about a few cars?" "Is that supposed to make it easier?" you chide. >Up from the floor, you see a small bolt slowly levitate on its own. "Hey, no throwing things, Middie." >"I do what I want. Answer the question," she demands, watching as she makes the bolt do loops and swoops through the air above her. "Honestly, I wouldn't mind a Charger like my dad used to have. And I always thought the Barracudas were cool." >"What body?" "A-body or E-body. If it's an A-body, fastback body all the way." >"First-gen A-body?" she asks with a knowing grin. "Good lord no. Ugly as sin," you laugh. "But if I had to choose a specific there... I always thought the AAR 'Cuda was cool." >"The what?" >The bolt Midnight had been juggling clatters to the floor. >"1970 AAR Cuda. Limited production car meant to homologate it for road racing. Side-exit exhaust, flat black hood, strobe side graphics, and a 340 with triple two-barrel carbs. Rare, but cool." >"I don't remember seeing anything about that - but I guess I don't really focus on any particular cars when I read," Midnight admits. "You know, you don't have to focus on cars anymore - you can branch out to other stuff," you suggest. >"I don't follow. What do you mean?" "I mean if there's something else that interests you, go for it. I don't expect you to know everything and anything about cars. You read through every one of my shop manuals, and you see how well some of those actually apply in practice." >Midnight gives you a funny look as if you have spoken complete gibberish. >"Anon, I've gone through other things. How do you think I figured out how to fuck with your website?" she proposes. "How do you think I have some basic understanding of the outside world despite having lived in isolation for virtually my whole life?" "I get that - I just feel like whenever I glance over, it's *always* car-related. I just sometimes wonder if you feel pressured to do so." >She shakes her head, scoffing at the idea. >"Anon, the first thing I could latch onto once I got out of that hellhole and arrived here was cars. There wasn't much else to learn or figure out aside from perhaps discarded newspapers or magazines left in some junker out back. So for me - yes, cars mean a lot to me. They were the key to finding me somewhere to fit in. There's a very special meaning there for me." >Well damn. >Now you kinda feel like a dick. "I never took you for the sentimental kind, Middie." >"I'm not. I'm merely appreciative of the opportunities that I've been fortunate enough to encounter. Now, less bullshit, more cars." "You scheming something with this info?" you ask, skeptical of this being just idle chat. >"What else do we have to talk about? Do you have another topic you'd like to discuss?" >Her voice betrays the impatience and guarded nature in regards to any answer she has. "Alright, alright. Charger, AAR 'Cuda... I always like the Mercury Cyclones, both the fastback of the late sixties and the Cyclone Spoilers of the early seventies with the gunsight grille. The front end was really wild-looking, like a trident from a top-down view. Oh, and the Pontiac Catalina, with the 421 Super Duty..." >"Anon, I said a few." "Nope, you opened this can of worms, you're going to deal with the fallout now..." -----
>>5295 Sounds like Midnight is scheming. Thanks for another update.
>>5295 "You got it?" >The whole engine shifts upon its mounts aggressively. "Could have just said yes instead of trying to flex." >"You could have just taken that as a yes and not given me a lecture upon my actions." "My point stands, but I'll give you that." >You and Midnight had been battling with a stubborn exhaust manifold off of a Valiant for the better part of an hour now. >An old workhorse 225 Slant Six engine. >Of course, every single nut and bolt on the cast iron piece was virtually welded into one with years of rust - hardly uncommon, but still a major pain in the ass. >"Seems so odd someone would want to keep something like this around," Midnight muses, ogling over the odd little compact from 1962. "Yeah, Chrysler sort of lost their way in design at the turn of the decade. Almost every one of their cars was odd-looking after a downsize. But, like anything, people have sentimental value over some cars. But they used this motor for many years - just because we're pulling the manifold off of this particular car model, doesn't mean it's going on another." >Right on cue, the bolt you had been straining on during that exchange lets loose with a crack of snapped metal, causing your knuckles to smack the underside of the part. >A familiar feeling of pain that really hasn't gotten more tolerable with experience washes through your veins as you instinctively pull your hand back. "Goddammit," you mutter, grimacing as you hold your hand and listen to your ratchet plink its way down through the engine bay. >Blood slowly pools into the voids left by skin impacting rusted iron. >That's gonna hurt like hell for a few days. >"This is going smoothly." "It could be worse. That should be the last bolt, Midnight." >You watch as her eyes glow just a bit brighter, in unison with the engine shaking back and forth. >The manifold remains in place. "Alright, now it's worse," you say, your shoulders slumping in disappointment. "Fuck, I must have missed one somewhere." >"Let me try," she offers, squatting down to the side of the car momentarily. >Midnight returns to her previous position over the fender shortly, with your ratchet in her care. "Don't break that one, please." >"Oh fuck you," she resentfully snaps back. "You said so yourself, that last one was a piece of shit." "That was a joke, relax," you say, gesturing with your hands for her to settle down. >While not wholly convinced judging by her expression, Midnight goes to work finding the last hangup while you take a break. >You pull out your phone and check for any new messages as you hop up and take a seat on the hood of another Plymouth nearest the Valiant. >A couple of days ago, you reached out to an old acquaintance with a backhoe, hoping to not only smooth out some of the ruts in the main path that have accrued over the many trips out here but to bury the scrap dumped by EquisCo out by the imports. >He mentioned he would text back when available, as he already was helping someone with laying pipe.
>>5339 >You didn't even think to ask for an estimate of time. >Not that it really matters - you would just like to get both items taken care of. >But not knowing kind of sucks. >Still nothing. >Just as you go to tuck the device back into your pocket, it begins to ring. >The screen lights up with not a number, but a contact name. >It's Teddy. >You ended up adding him to your contacts after the last time he explained himself, just in case you ever needed his help. >Odd to be hearing back from him - but then again, he did mention the Cutlass he's working on - which was why he even came to your armpit of the universe in the first place. "Hello?" >"Anon, good afternoon!" Teddy's voice cheers from the other side. "Easy to say that when your knuckles aren't a bloody pulp," you chuckle, inspecting the damage again. >At least they seemed to have stopped bleeding. >"That rough of a day, huh?" "Nah, not too bad up until now. Hang on, let me put this on speaker." >"Sure thing." >You fumble around with your phone and finally hit the speaker icon on the temperamental touchscreen. "Can you hear me?" >"Loud and clear," his voice blares through the speaker. >"Who the hell is that?" Midnight asks, looking over while you hop up and shift your seat to the fender of the Valiant. >"Ah, still putting Midnight to work?" Teddy chuckles, catching wind of her voice. >Midnight freezes for a moment before you show her the screen of your phone and the name on it. >"I work on my own terms. Anon doesn't get a say in what I do," Midnight replies. >"How are you doing otherwise?" >"Alright, I guess," she says, devoid of emotion or interest. >You had hoped she might be a little more receptive to someone she's met before - as well as gave her a free pass to the outside world. >Oh well - typical Midnight. "What's going on with you?" you ask. >"Well, the Cutlass is running again and moves under its own power - but I don't have a working speedometer. The cable is new, I'm confident everything is good with the trans, so that sort of leads to the gauge itself being bad." "Sounds like the perfect excuse for an expedited joyride - I'm sure the cops will buy that." >"Ha! I had too much fun in my younger years - I'm sure they still got a rap sheet of all my speeding tickets." "Never hurts to try your luck," you wryly suggest. >"I don't care for the sounds of making this car a target for Johnny Law to keep an eye on, thank you very much," Teddy replies with a chuckle. "I was wondering if you had any speedometers for a Cutlass that you know work for certain." "I can probably pull a couple of em - I don't have any on hand, but I can test to make sure I have at least one working one." >"How much you reckon a good used one will go for?" "A moon pendant with an RFID chip inside of it." >"Well damn, I had one of them, and I gave it away," he jokes. "That's alright, your credit is good here."
>>5340 >"You know you missed two bolts, right?" Midnight asks, unamused and seemingly oblivious to the exchange. "Both at the very bottom?" "I don't have the eyesight you do, Middie," you remind her as she gloats. >"I question whether your eyes work at all." "I meant in dim light, you ass." >"I still stand by what I said." >On the other end of the phone, you can hear Teddy laughing at the idiocy you and Midnight are displaying. "See what you did? You made him cry." >"Shut the hell up, he's laughing." >"What did you want for din- oh, sorry." >Anorher voice can be heard from the other end of the phone, hushed as it may be. >"It's alright hon, I'll be done in a moment," Teddy replies to the other voice. "Don't let me hold you up with the misses, Teddy," you suggest to him. >"No, no. It's fine," he says reassuringly. "Knowing Starla, she already has something in her mind she wants to try - it's the perfect excuse for her to do it." >"Was that her stage name?" "Midnight!" >You shoot her a disapproving glare, which Midnight brushes aside with an apathetic shrug. >Teddy is in stitches again on the other side of the phone. "Sorry about that, Teddy," you apologize anyway. >"No, it's fine," he says, finally getting his laughter under control. "I see Midnight hasn't lost her edge one bit." "I wouldn't go that far, but she does find time to make a snarky comment or two." >"I can do it more if you want." >You feel like Midnight is doing this to keep a facade up around Teddy. >After all, she's not been this consistently combative in some time now. "Is that manifold ready to come off yet?" >You get a frustrated leer in response but Midnight does return her focus to the task at hand. "Starla, huh? That's an interesting name for sure," you remark. >You have your suspicions about who this Starla is... >Or more appropriately, *what* she is. >"Well, as I said - ponies really do tug at my heartstrings. In more ways than one." >Yep. >You kinda want to ask more about her, but it doesn't feel appropriate. >You glance over at Midnight, curious if she was paying enough attention to have heard that. >Maybe that wasn't the best idea to talk about right now... >Sure enough, Midnight has stopped what she's doing, staring incredulously at the phone. >"What the fuck," she murmurs. >Her eyes eventually shift to you, though her expression shifts from shock to suspicion as her eyes narrow. "Anyway, I'll probably get a couple of speedometers pulled tonight and test them to be sure I got a good one. Just stop by whenever you get a chance, whether that be tomorrow or a week from now." >"Will do. I appreciate it Anon - you two take care," Teddy replies cheerfully. "Right back at you. See ya." >You pick up your phone and end the call, awaiting Midnight's inevitable response. >"Has everyone lost their fucking mind?" she wonders aloud. "To be fair, I sort of already knew just by what he told me that day during our discussion," you admit.
>>5341 >"And he set you on the path to trying to woo me?" "No. What he did was weird me out when he mentioned it." >"Really?" >Judging by the accusatory staredown she's giving you, Midnight doesn't buy it. "What he did was make me realize I do care about you - I care about your well-being, your feelings, your wants, and aspirations. And that was a result of him seeing your little outburst behind the counter." >Embarrassed by that reminder and that revelation, Midnight nonchalantly tries to return to her work. > It's her ears sagging down that betrays her shame. "I didn't mention it because I didn't want to embarrass you, and Teddy didn't want to mention it either. But if that doesn't tell you that I wasn't already sort of on this track, then I don't know what else you want from me." >"I just don't understand it. I really don't," she says, shaking her head. >You have to throw your hands up. "I don't either. All I know is I'm a degenerate, but I'm not going to do anything with that, as I promised you. I don't see you as a goal, Midnight. I see you as someone that's had a miserable go of it through her life, subjected to awful shit that I couldn't imagine. And I want you to see the good sides of life. That's what I want out of you, I want my friend to be happy. That's all I'm hoping to get - a smile, excitement, contentment with where you are. The shit you got out of me last weekend - that's beside what I'm telling you now. Everything I do for you, I do it because I give a shit - not because I'm hoping for something better." >"So going out to that drive-in and going grocery shopping - those really weren't dates." "Midnight, that was a shitty attempt and exploring how you felt while making it as a joke. I didn't see either expedition as an actual date. I swear on it." >Midnight is silent and emotionless at this point as she goes back to her work. >You have no indication of how she feels about everything she's gleaned from you after this inopportune phone call. >You played it honest - that's the best you can do. >Midnight's eyes glow as she strains her power on the ratchet in her grasp. >With a metallic pop, she exhales, bringing up the ratchet into your view with a busted bolt in the socket. >"That should be the last one," she says. >You shuffle over and grab the manifold, which now has some play upon the studs it sits on. "I'm glad one of us has decent eyesight so we aren't out here all damn night," you comment. >"I never actually saw them - I just felt around with the socket in the tightest areas," Midnight replies as she helps you slide the manifold out. "Yet I would never have been the wiser if you hadn't told me." >"I figure I should probably be honest since you're doing the same right now." >It isn't a challenging remark - her quiet, almost bashful tone lets you know she believes you. "Well, thank you." >"Likewise." -----
Happy second birthday/anniversary to Jacky.
>>5342 This Starla is interesting. I wonder where she lies on the bot-pony spectrum. If she's like Midnight. Teddy still makes Midnight nervous it seems. I have to wonder what sort of effect a meeting with Teddy and Starla would have on Middie. It seems like she might still have some mixed feelings towards Anon, perhaps a meeting with those other two might help her sort through them? Thanks for another update.
>>5349 >All those thoughts and notations HMMMM All I can say is I'm virtually done with the next update - but I'm gonna sleep on it for a day to make sure I'm satisfied with it.
>>5342 "Did you ever end up getting that ad for us buying cars put up on the website?" >Midnight looks up from the laptop. >"I'm waiting another month, basically coinciding with the shift to pick up or shipping only. Make another month of profit before you go hog wild." "I said I would be better than I was in the past," you remind her. >She leans into the back of the bucket seat she routinely finds on the shop floor near the counter. >"Sure you will. Like how I asked you to name a few cars that you'd love to own, which ended up being almost three hours worth of a list." "You kept asking questions, which kept reminding me of other things. Also, you never told me what that was about." >"Boredom - conversation to pass the time," she says dismissively while shifting her attention back to the screen. >You really don't believe her. >At this point, with the "fun" she had working on the suspension components of the Trailduster and perhaps the extra time focusing on purely pulling parts rather than waiting on customers, you figure she's looking for a project. > It's rather obvious, but it would be better to hear it from her rather than say it aloud. >She already has enough reasons to call you a dumbass. >Now, you aren't opposed to a project... >But everything you listed off was a dream car that would be almost impossible to obtain for a reasonable price. >Maybe you will give her something acceptable down the road - you think it's really too early for that kind of planning. >You're expecting Teddy to show up sometime this afternoon to pick up a speedometer. >Actually, you may end up helping *install* a speedometer - as Teddy wanted to show off the car, and you wanted to make sure the speedometer itself was the issue. >Speaking of which... >A low rumble of an engine makes its presence known, getting louder by the second. >Midnight looks up about the same time the mystery vehicle comes into view. >A robin egg blue Cutlass convertible rolls up to the shop, swinging around to point the nose toward the empty garage bay. >Looks like Teddy is here - you can't actually tell because of the glare of the sun off the windshield and the chrome - and the paint itself. >As you wave him into the garage with a chuckle, it's only as he rolls into the shade and out of the glaring sun that you can see him against the white interior. >As well a passenger. >Of the pony kind. >Teddy brings his car to a stop just before the lift and kills the engine, looking to his passenger, then to you. >"Good afternoon," he says with a beaming smile. "Good afternoon. And I see you have company with you." >The pony in the seat next to him looks over your way with cool violet-magenta eyes, a sharp contrast to the warm white color of her coat. >Her bangs of gold with a few streaks of orange part around the horn on her head, while the rest flows down into a neat braid that drifts onto her right shoulder. >Curiously, from what you can see, her front legs are... off.
>>5373 >They don't seem to be the same shade of white - while her coat has a hint of cream in it, there's a touch of pink in those. >"Indeed I do," Teddy says with a chuckle. "Anon, this is Starla." >Teddy opens his door and climbs out, going around the front to get the door for Starla. >"Such a gentleman," she says, her voice rich and mature - but playful enough to offer a giggle. >As he opens it and Starla slides out of her seat, you get a better view of the rest of her. >Unlike Midnight, she is a pure unicorn - though she rivals Midnight's stature, if not exceeding it by a bit. >There doesn't seem to be any other markings on her aside from her tail, which matches color with her hair and mane. >The last third of it is in a neat braid, matching her hair. >You take a moment to glance over to Midnight's corner for the first time since this grand entrance - only to find her basically hunched down in her seat, her face practically obscured by the laptop. >She's certainly receptive to company of her own kind. >"Teddy has been going on about how helpful you've been, it's nice to meet you," Starla says as she sidles up to the counter. >She rears up and sets one foreleg on the counter for balance, while she extends the other out for a... hoofshake. >You accept her gesture, noting how her limb has a certain... artificialness to it. >The fur is soft, but underneath is solid. >It also gives you a moment to note the golden chain necklace she wears around her neck, set off by a heart-shaped locket. >"And this must be Midnight whom I've heard about," she says, her eyes flicking over to your right. >You turn your head, jumping just a bit as you find Midnight right next to you, leaning on the counter like Starla. "I told you I'm going to put a bell on you if you keep doing that." >"Bite me, asshat," Midnight replies. >Her eyes do not stray from your new guest. >For her part, Starla offers a more generous smile toward Midnight - but she soon drops back to all fours and backs up a few steps. "The fuck is your problem?" you whisper out of the side of your mouth. >"It's called being wary. You might want to try it once in a while," she shoots back quietly. >Really? >She's paranoid about Starla? "Don't mind her, she gets broody from time to time, particularly when it comes to meeting new folks," you say apologetically, shifting your eyes between Starla and Teddy. >"Aw, no worries. I get it - and I think Starla can sympathize with you, Midnight," Teddy says, turning his attention to Midnight. >"How so?" she responds, wholly unconvinced. >"From what I have been told by Teddy, you were an experiment of biological origin like me," Starla speaks up. "Life was only about being studied, and with my deformity, there wasn't much reason for me to be around." >"Starla was a subject at Animatronics International back in Georgia when I still worked there. I helped with her a few times - I suppose I got pulled in by her sweetness to assist as much as I could with 'tests.'"
>>5374 >"As I recall, you didn't help with tests so much as help to keep me upbeat," Starla giggles as she saunters over to Teddy. >"Guilty, I suppose," he admits with a chuckle, leaning over and smooching her on the cheek. >You hear Midnight groan as she drops down to the floor, though you don't pay her any attention. > She's acting like a real brat, and it's getting on your nerves. "So you're really another biological pony like Midnight?" >"Mostly. I suppose you're a bit confused by these?" Starla suggests as she raises one of her off-color legs. "I... well, I didn't mean to be rude-" >"No need to be ashamed - I'm not," Starla reassures you. >Still, you feel like an asshole, even if you didn't point that out. >"When I was born, my front legs were virtually useless - something went wrong when they were... making me?" >Starla looks over to Teddy, who nods his head. >"That term works. No need to be a stickler for my sake, Star," he says. >"You make it sound so much more interesting when you use your science words," she replies before turning back to you. "Anyway, they didn't have any joints other than at the shoulder. Even that was limited movement, and it was extremely painful." "I'm sorry to hear that." >"I like to think it made me stronger going through that. But when the time came to... once the head people were done with me, I suppose disposal was next." >"And I wasn't going to let that happen," Teddy interjects. "I suggested an experiment with grafting prosthetics of the robotic kind to prolong her stay - and I suppose in the back of my mind, find a way out for her." >"So off they went, and these came from a Celestia bot," Starla finishes, rearing up and flexing the joints. "I'd say it was a success." >The way she mentioned her legs getting hacked off in such a nonchalant manner is a little disturbing. >But if it drastically improved her quality of life - makes sense not to miss her original limbs. >"It was a success, and we actually learned a fair bit from the procedure - I can't help but wonder if the information we garnered from that somehow made its way here," he says, eyeing over to Midnight. >"But anyway, after that - well, the higher-ups were completely done with her, so they left it to me to "dispose" of her." "And she just happened to be disposed of in your home," you finish for him. >"Pretty much. They didn't ask or demand specifics, so it was a perfect opportunity. From there - well, I've helped her to find her passions, now that she's free to live life." >"And you helped me with the basics, like reading, among other things. Smarts have not come easy for me," she teases Teddy. >He reaches over with a grin and ruffles her hair. >"You've become one hell of a cook, though. I certainly didn't teach you that." >You chuckle while looking over in Midnight's direction. >She's found her way back to her corner, though the laptop has disinterested her for the time being. >Instead, she's keeping a bead on you and everyone else.
>>5375 > It's unsettling, and more than a little weird at this point. >"Now, I'm itching to show off this old gal and see what you think - and see if we can't get some working gauges in here," Teddy chuckles, patting the fender of the Cutlass. >Out of the direct sunlight, you can finally appreciate the depth and sheen of the paint - definitely a couple of layers of clearcoat there. >You make your way around the counter as Teddy makes his way back to the driver's door and reaches in to pop the hood. >As you meet Teddy at the front of the Cutlass and admire the show-quality paintjob up close, you feel Midnight's presence beside you once again, like your own living, breathing shadow. >So it's gonna be like this, huh? "Midnight, why don't you and Starla head upstairs or outside while Teddy and I work on this, yeah?" you suggest, turning to her. >"Why?" "Because I think it would do you good to talk to someone like you. And you're not really going to be able to help with the dashboard stuff." >Midnight doesn't look pleased with the explanation, to say the least. >Her muzzle is lined with a harsh frown, deeply bitter with your instructions. >"Fine. If you get kidnapped, don't expect me to look for you," she mutters. "Duly noted. And for God's sake, be nice." >She mutters something under her breath, but you don't ask as she struts away. >"Come on, let's leave these two queers to their skin flute duet," she grumbles while passing Starla. >Starla, to her credit, keeps a positive aura and smile up - though she does momentarily look a bit shocked by the language. >You have to just shake your head while Midnight trudges up the steps, the fellow refugee in tow. "Man, I'm sorry about that," you apologize to Teddy. >"Aw hell, Anon - stop apologizing," he says with a wave. "Midnight's rough around the edges. There's no way around that, and obviously, she's still got a lot of trust issues. I really don't blame her." "Yet Starla is so proper and welcoming - she's kinda the exact opposite." >"Yes - but I've also lived with her a lot longer. She was always a sweetheart though. Part of the trouble with something organic - your results may vary." "Middie's been a lot more mellow lately when it's me and her - I don't understand why she's putting up such a fuss. Like she's gotta appear like a macho mare or something." >"Well, there's two things there - she doesn't trust outsiders, first of all. Obviously, I'm still very much a stranger, as is Starla and - well, everyone other than you." "We went out to eat once at that drive-in place and also went shopping once - Midnight was anxious, but she didn't act like that bullshit she just demonstrated." >"That also isn't her home - that's not her territory to defend. But did you ever talk to anyone in the store?" "No. She ended up being approached by a pony bot, and that didn't go so well. Ended up in an argument later in the parking lot." >"Did Midnight get involved?"
>>5376 "...kinda. She basically halted it by putting herself in front of me, and then distracting the crazy lady so we could get out of there." >Teddy nods, as if he expected to hear that. >"Anon, she's protective of *you.* Almost instinctually - beyond what I would expect from a Luna model, which was what I sort of assumed." "She was fine at the drive-in with the waitress, though." >"Yeah, and I assume you were in the truck the whole time. Less she has to protect since you could get out of there quick in the vehicle." "So - I mean, what do I do?" you ask, confused by the point and extent of all of this information. >"I don't really think you have to *do* anything - after all, she isn't aggressive in a physical manner. Seems like she just resorts to insults or overall passive-aggressive tactics. That's the thing with genetic engineering - some things slip through, and I think some animal instincts of whatever they used to make her sort of coincide with the protective and intimate nature of Luna bots. It's actually interesting to think about." "So... I'm like part of her territory?" >Teddy gets a sly grin. >"Or her mate." >You have to laugh. "No, she doesn't want that. I kinda let it slip that I had feelings for her, and she has no interest." >"Good on you to at least be honest - though I'm sorry it didn't pan out for now." "Well, I'm leaving that alone. I value her friendship, and I don't want to ruin that when she has no interest beyond that." >"You might be surprised at what time will bring - today has been a surprise watching her try to keep you safe. Maybe she doesn't really know what she wants," he suggests. "This is all just so fucking weird," you say, your mind absolutely fucked by everything about this discussion. >"Confound these ponies, they'll drive you to drink," the replies with a laugh, lightly slapping you on the back. "But I don't really know, Anon. You're in uncharted territory - all I can do is make guesses on what I'm seeing and hearing. I certainly wouldn't worry about her actually being aggressive in a physical manner - I think if that were the case, she would have shredded me the last time I was here. She listens to you, and she trusts you - just go with it, and don't think too much about it." "I guess that's all I can do. Now, I need something mechanical to distract myself. This sounded really good rolling up - show off what you got under the hood." >"I was waiting to hear you ask." -----
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See that it hasn't been posted here yet, so here's Condy and the jaded Anon
>>5377 Starla certainly did turn out to be interesting. Truly /bootleg/ material form the sound of those front hooves. I wonder what her and Middie will get up to/talk about while the guys are working on Teddy's car. Thanks for the update. >>5385 Neat.
>>5390 >Spoiler Is that a ref to Rare? I actually half-expected Starla to be a Starlight bootleg since it was a stone toss away from that Starla(ight). Makes me wonder where she got the name since Midnight had none at all.
>>5398 >Spoiler >while her coat has a hint of cream in it, there's a touch of pink in those. Rare was who I was instantly reminded of. It is curious about the name though. I didn't even think of Glimmer at first. But Starla appears to be a mismatch of many parts so who knows what all is contained inside. Maybe we'll find out where the name came from.
>>5377 >Fucking Anon. >'Why don't you and Starla go upstairs while we work on the car down here?' >As if you're some stupid child constantly getting in the way. >You stomp your way up the stairs while the two men start up another conversation. >Meanwhile, you hear your 'playmate' tagging along behind you - in a decidedly lighter fashion. >Part of you doesn't like her at all. >She's only greeted you once, and you haven't said anything to her. >But still - you don't know why, you just don't like her. "This shithole is nothing fancy, so don't get too excited," you mutter as you reach the landing. "Beats the hell out of a van, I guess." >"You lived in a van?" "Squatted in a van out back would be the better term, I guess." >Throwing Anon a bone and not wanting to spend the day completely miserable, you at least show some decency by opening the door and holding it for Starla to enter first. >She stares at it in awe, then at you. "What, you've never seen a door? What kind of a heap do you live in?" >"That opened by itself. Is there a switch or something Anon made for you?" she asks. "It's magic." >"No it's not. Teddy assured me magic doesn't exist in the world." >Ugh. "The door handle is metal, I can move it because I have something rammed in my head that makes it work, okay?" >Starla doesn't say anything as she finally crosses the threshold, but her smile dims as a result of your lashing. >You take a deep breath and follow her in, closing the door behind you while you try to clear your mind of anxiety and bitterness. > It's fine, it's just a weird old dude and his bubbly horse wife - who you don't trust. >Let it go. >"I've only heard a bit about your story - I'm curious to hear about what you've been through, Midnight," Starla says as she eyes the couch. "You can sit there, I'll sit over here," you reply, gesturing with a hoof to either end of the couch. >"Thank you." "What's so intriguing about me?" you ask, rather skeptical of her true intentions. >"Well, your looks for one. I've encountered many bots while out with Ted, and a handful of others like us - you certainly are an eyecatcher." "You trying to hit on me, or is that an insult?" >"It was a compliment, my dear," Starla says, taken aback by your attitude. "I certainly don't intend to offend you in your own home - and I'm perfectly satisfied with my stud." >You can't help but wrinkle your nose at that descriptor. >"What's wrong?" she asks innocently. "That's... weird," you manage to push out. "Honestly too much information." >"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. But you and Anon..." "Are nothing. He's a friend, nothing more." >"Oh." >The way she says that rubs you the wrong way. "Oh?" >"I just got a different impression when I met Anon earlier. My mistake." "I was making sure you weren't going to do anything funny," you explain. >"Like...?" "Attack him? I kinda need him alive to stay here." >"Oh." >Again, the short answer irritates you, but you leave it alone
>>5413 "Anyway, like you, I was an experiment to try to make real ponies. They tried making something close to Princess Luna and - well, I came out with these colors. Without wings. Or these eyes. Or teeth," you explain, gesturing to each feature. "What was their goal with you?" >"Goal? The same as you, I suppose." "You're supposed to be Luna?" >"Oh, no," Starla replies with a giggle. "To be honest, I don't believe there were really any plans to make me look like a particular pony. Some might say Celestia but... it's a passing resemblance, at best." >She abruptly frowns as she finishes her explanation, looking you over. "What?" >"I take it your tale is much more unhappy than mine, though." >You shrug. "You got legs to improve your life, I got all this crap added on for fun, I guess." >"It's more than that- I mean, yes, that sounds awful but..." "Will you just spit it out?" you snap, irritated with her leisurely pace. >"You never had anyone like I did, did you?" >... "Well that's rather vague, isn't it? What the hell are you talking about?" >"I had Teddy very early on. I don't know why, but he just got attached to me, I guess," she says, blushing through her creamy fur. "It really helped me a lot, felt like among all those faces and lab coats, someone was interested in me for - me. He would stop by to where I was in the facility, talk to me. There was support there, and I think it helped me keep a good outlook." "Good for you," you snidely comment. "Not all of us are that fortunate." >"That's my point Midnight," she says solemnly. "I'm not looking for an argument, I'm just trying to understand why someone who is free from the confines of a test facility would still be so... sour." "What, I have to explain myself to you? I don't trust you, Starla. And I don't trust Teddy. I don't trust anyone outside these gates because they haven't proven themselves to me." >"Why should they have to, Midnight?" Starla patiently asks. >You find yourself utterly befuddled by the question - and her laid-back demeanor. "Why the fuck am I going to blindly trust anyone? After what I've been put through, with no one stepping in to say 'oh wow, we're putting this pony through a lot, maybe we should stop,' why should I trust that anyone has good intentions? Does anyone really have good intentions? The next person around the corner might be someone in the know of who or what you are - and we're escapees. Doesn't that bother you?" >"Is that the way you want to live your life?" "Fuck no, but it's reality." >Starla doesn't look happy about that harsh reply, but otherwise is unmoved. >"And what about Anon?" >You freeze when she brings up his name. "What about him?" you ask cautiously. >"You trust him. Why?" she asks, cocking her head. "I had no choice. He found me, my back was against the wall. I knew it was a matter of time, so I sort of studied up what I could on cars to make myself of use if and when the time came."
>>5414 >"Wow, that's actually pretty smart," she says, blinking rapidly a few times at the notion. "I'm not really like you. I used to be, but I have circuitry in my head - there are a lot more smarts up there than the average pony," you reply, unable to keep yourself from boasting just a bit. >"That still doesn't really explain why you trust Anon, but can't trust anyone else," Starla says. "What if I wanted to be your friend?" >You scoff. "Why? I'd have to assume there's some sort of reason for that." >"Do I need a reason to try?" >... >What? >Starla takes your dumbfounded silence to speak up as she scoots closer to you. >"Midnight, you know what's most different between you and me? I don't think about everything." >That's obvious. >"I don't examine everything around me, looking for a fault. Why should I? By all accounts, I should no longer be alive - but I was graciously saved by Teddy," she says, smiling as she reminisces. "Every day is a gift because it's a day longer than my original time was meant to last. Why should I concern myself with what could happen? Why assume everyone around me is bad when there are so many other stories to hear?" >She reaches out with her hoof and places it upon yours. >"Maybe I was fortunate enough to get a head start, and that's why I see things differently - but I give everyone I meet a chance to tell their story. Even those that aren't forthcoming or perhaps not in the best of moods," she says with a knowing smile. "Maybe some of it is what I've witnessed watching Teddy help bots or ponies he's found over the years - I suppose that's sort of rubbed off on me. To be honest, I asked Teddy to bring me, because I overheard you on the phone the other day... and I dunno. I just felt like I should come and meet you." "So... what, I'm supposed to just start going out and talking to everyone and anyone? Without thought?" >"No, that's not what I'm saying," she says, lightly swatting at your hoof. "Give people a chance - you're a stranger to them just as they are to you. How would you like it to have someone utterly freaked out by your initial appearance?" >Your mind instantly conjures up the debacle at the grocery store. >That was a low feeling - you've tried to pass it off as nothing, but that girl freaking out because you looked similar to a show villain... >That hurt. >"Just try not analyzing everything. Maybe that's also easier for me, as I have no circuits in my head. Some might say I'm a little dumb - it did take me a long time to read and understand other basic things, but I'm proud of who I am." "Yet you can sit here and spout all of... this?" >She shrugs, a bit of laughter escaping her. >"As I said, I've been around Teddy and seen him try to help others. And I may have been helpful on a few occasions as well." >Starla takes a moment to sigh - somewhat unhappily. >"That man really carries a lot of guilt for having a hand in creating us - both bot and living beings," she muses. "I don't know if he will ever feel like he's done enough."
>>5415 "It isn't really his fault people are greedy," you suggest. >"Oh, you're defending him now?" "No..." >"You are," she says with a smirk. "Come on, don't play coy." "I suppose he did give me this," you admit, brushing your necklace. >"Ah, that's where that piece went. I remember seeing him work on it, but I never put two and two together. Now it makes sense," she says, looking at your flank. "How'd you even get your name?" you ask, finding no markings or anything else on her. >Even the locket bears no hint as to the origins. >Starla laughs >"Teddy. Started calling me 'Star' while helping to take care of me, on account of my project name and number. I don't remember what it was, but Teddy might. Part of it was 'ST4R,' and that's just what he went with. He just decided to make it a little fancier, and I loved how he doted on me. But - now it's your turn." "My turn for what?" >"Your name! It fits you well, but is there any sort of meaning to it beyond looks?" "I can tell you it certainly isn't based on my project code. 'XGE-BI/EMLP-000NMM' doesn't exactly roll off the tongue or bring up whimsical fantasies, does it?" >"X.. G..." "Experimental Genetically Engineered - Bionic Implant/ElectroMagnetic Levitation Pony triple zero "NightMare Moon," you explain. "They just kept tacking shit onto my file, I guess." >"And... you remember that." >Her voice betrays both skepticism and concern with that notation. "I remember seeing it along with the imminent termination of my project when one of the dumbshits in charge of me dropped a document while leaving my room. That's when I decided I needed to find a way to leave." >"I'm sorry. Did they at least give you a name while you were there?" she asks, hoping for any silver lining. >You sigh bitterly. "Princess. Apparently thought that was the best way to build me up to go through all this shit, like I was special - and I guess because I was originally meant to be Luna. I hated that, and it was just a lie, anyways..." >You trail off as another bitter memory floods your mind. "Anon didn't know that when we first met, and he used that name. I sort of took offense to that." >"He doesn't seem to hold it against you. From what I've seen, he holds you in high regard - and vice versa." >She pauses a moment. >"But you're just friends." "Yeah, and?" >"Nothing." "No, you don't just say that and leave it, what was that?" you demand. >"It just seems like there's... more," she hesitantly replies. "Anon... considered it," you begrudgingly admit. >"But you said no." "Of course I did! That's fucked up!" you shout, exasperated. >"But you do care about him." >While she's given you a new way to look at life, Starla stringing you along with whatever this is has begun to burn you. "Yes, I guess! What's it to you?!" >"I just thought it was odd you were so jumpy when I approached him earlier. You certainly didn't seem worried about me doing harm, just... something else."
>>5416 "You can see whatever you want to see," you dismiss her. >"I also couldn't help but notice you were keen on me sitting here, and you over there," Starla adds with a slight grin. >What the fuck? "This is my spot. I always sit here." >"This is your spot," she says, patting the center couch cushion." I can smell that. I can also smell the spot you're sitting at? That's a very... human smell." >You scowl at Starla's insinuations. "We're friends, I have no interest in... what you and Teddy have," you repeat. >"All I'm saying is you sort of send mixed messages. Honestly, I believe you think too much - you need to mellow out, let your mind relax. Just see where life takes you Midnight. Give people a chance. For me?" "I'm supposed to start with you." >"I'm not a person. I'm a pony like you. That's gotta count for something, right?" >Honestly, you want to tell her no, just so she isn't right. >But you can't deny how happy and carefree she is... >You're a bit jealous. >At some point, life just starts feeling like a burden when you're glancing around, waiting for something sinister. >Starla is certainly right on one thing - every day you're alive is a day you shouldn't have. >Why protect something if you don't even enjoy it? >Why did you escape if you didn't want something better? >You wanted to live. >You need to start actually living and making what you've been given worthwhile. >Starla makes a lot of sense. >Maybe there is something to not planning everything out... "I think I can try," you agree. >Starla instantly becomes excited, slightly bouncing with glee. >"You can do it, I know you can! Just relax, and I'll share with you a few little tricks and things I've found over the years to help me adjust..." -----
>>5417 Starla is pretty much the polar opposite of Midnight. I imagine her voice somewhat Derpy-like, mildly air-headed. A mare on a mission wanting to talk to Midnight. A bit peculiar, but like she said perhaps it's from trying to help other ponies and she wants to help Middie as well. >Give people a chance. Now is that people, or is that 'people' (Anon) ^:)
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>>5390 >>5398 >>5406 I only post this because it has no relevance to the story plot - and won't even be mentioned. I've been planning someone like Starla for a while, and could never really decide her look. Originally, I thought of a Daybreaker bootleg, but I didn't feel it the most appropriate, and just Celestia was - I wanted to do something else. Funny enough, both ideas are here. Starla is strongly based off of Celestia's "disguised" form of Golden Feather she used in one of the comics - she's so damned cute, I never forgot her despite the lackluster plot. With the canon in this story put down as wings are difficult to engineer organically, I felt it more appropriate to change her to a unicorn - I considered doing a pegasus, but just decided it best to stick to what I laid down. The other influence was ol Nightmare Star - the Daybreaker before she existed in the show. Her eye color and the orange in Starla's mane are strongly influenced by her. And then of course, she has a Celestia bot's legs, lol. As far as the name - that was just what was embedded in my head. I came up with the reason/origin later. We will see more of her, but I thought it would be fun to share where she originated from in the scary corners of my mind.
>>5425 Thanks Anon. The extra insight is appreciated.
>>5425 Interesting. I never read the comics so I wouldn't have known. I still feel like you were subconsciously influenced by Rare with the white coat and off-color pink front hooves.
>>5439 >I never read the comics You honestly didn't miss much, aside from a few little gems here and there. >Rare inspiration I'll say Inwas aware that some might draw parallels, but it really wasnt something I tried to do as an homage. It's a very subtle pink hue, not like Rare's straight-up pink limb. Remember - Celestia is actually slightly pink. It's not glaringly obvious - but against a very pale cream coat of fur, it would be noticeable.
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>>5445 >it really wasnt something I tried to do as an homage. It's alright, was just something I found amusing. >Celestia is actually slightly pink Pic rel.
>>5446 kek looks like Sunbutt got Sunburn, what happened to her mane?
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>>5479 I suppose pic would imply that she dyes it. Or maybe it's like a mood ring?
>>5479 I'm more concerned about her wings. There's a lot going on there.
>>5484 Celestia and bootleg Celestia decided to swap places for the day.
>>5417 "Might be better to wait and put everything else back together after we make doubly sure it works." >"I'm confident it will after we tested the old one - but you're right. No sense in tearing it all apart twice." >It didn't take too long to swap out speedometers - the simplicity of old cars is a wonderful thing. >But the whole time, you were admittedly distracted. >You worry about Midnight. >It's been quiet since she and Starla went upstairs. >You expected at some point to hear her throw a tantrum or one of them storming out from your living space. >That hasn't happened. >On the one hand, you feel like a piece of shit for assuming the worst from Middie. >On the other hand - well, she was bratty enough earlier today. >And you live with her - you know how she is. >But maybe Teddy is right - maybe her attitude is partly because of you. >Specifically, feeling an instinctual need to keep others away from you. >It seemed farfetched and silly when it was first brought up... >But hell, Midnight isn't exactly rational when it comes to her emotions. "Well, if you want - go out and test it. I can check on the gals while you're out." >"I'm sure they're fine, Anon," Teddy replies with a wave. "I know... but doesn't hurt to check, right?" >"Nah. I get it - but I think you underestimate Starla, if you're worried about Midnight hurting her feelings or something." >The 'or something' is most concerning. >Teddy hops in the Cutlass and cranks the engine, firing up surprisingly quick for an old car. >With an old electrical system, no less. >Teddy definitely has good hands in a mechanical sense. >Wonder if robotics and shit transfer to cars to an extent... >Maybe a little. >Regardless, it's been nice to shoot the shit and work on the car during the afternoon. >While things got off to a rocky start, you appreciate Teddy's laid-back personality and sense of humor. Now if Starla and Midnight can get along, and Midnight can just be mellow... >As Teddy rolls back out of the garage, you head up the stairs to your home, undeniably tense. >Maybe getting away from you helped her to chill out a bit. >Which only makes you feel more nervous. >After all, if you trigger her bullshit... >Well, then you aren't a very good influence. >A troubling thought. >When you get to the landing, you already hear voices from the other side. >And they sound rather close to the door. >Why would they be in the kitchen? >"Yes, just like that. And you just keep going back and forth until you get to the end." >What. >That was Starla's voice giving... some sort of direction. >You gingerly push open the door and peek in. >Both mares are in the kitchen, very close to the door... >...Looking at the microwave? >Much to your surprise, Midnight is in the midst of braiding her mane like Starla's, using the window of the microwave to inspect her progress. >Starla stands beside her with a big smile plastered on her face while she gives instructions.
>>5487 >Meanwhile, you note Middie has fiddled with her tail and matched it close to Starla's braid, as well. >Well then... >This is unexpected. >"I really don't know if this is a look for me. I preferred the ponytail look - or just plain natural," Midnight comments. >"There's nothing wrong with that - I just wanted to see you do it again so you know how to do it. Sometimes doing it in the mirror can get disorienting." >"Yeah, it would be nice if Anon had an actual mirror instead of using a piss-poor reflection off of an appliance." >"Ask him for one." >"No way! Do you know how embarrassing it would be to put that out there?" Midnight scoffs. "'Hey Anon, I want to try doing different mane styles and looks - could you buy me a mirror?' No thanks, I can't imagine how much fun he would have with that." >"He only does it because he likes you," Starla teases. >"Shut up." >"Why are you doing this if you don't want him to see you all prettied up?" >"Please shut up?" >Midnight drops her braid in progress, letting it fall back to its natural flow. >Likewise, the braid in her tail unravels with aid from one of her many metal tools scattered around. >A rubber band with wire tied around it floats up while another bit of metal corrals her mane, allowing her to pull it up and band it into a ponytail. >Another band follows - though it only winds up an inch or two up from the end. >"I don't know if I prefer this, or just having it flow freely." >... damn she looks good. >It's an adorable look. >...and it starts to get a rise out of you. >Shit. >Think of grandma Anon naked, think of grandma Anon naked... >Now you feel like throwing up. >But it does stop the train and back it up. >You still want to barge in and tell her how good she looks, but it's not a wise idea. >Instead, you silently close the door and gently turn the knob back to its home position, before rapping lightly on the door. >Frenzied shuffling and spastic mutterings can be heard on the other side. >Virtually all of it from Midnight of course. >"What do you want?" she asks in a brusque manner, sounding further away than just a moment ago. >"Nicer," you hear Starla whisper, barely audible. >"That was nice - normally I'd ask him what the fuck he wanted." "You two okay?" >"Fine. Why?" "Just haven't heard anything in a while, wanted to make sure everything was good. Can I come in?" >"I guess." >You slowly open the door and glance around. >Midnight takes note of your hesitant entry right away as she sits on a barstool at the kitchen island. >Starla sits in your normal spot across from her - albeit turned to face you. >She's calm and collected with a look of content. >Midnight seems mostly relaxed. >...mostly. >"You were spying on us, weren't you?" she accuses. "I was not, actually. I may have overheard some things, but-" >"I thought I heard the door open," Starla says as if hit by an epiphany. >"And you didn't say anything?!"
>>5488 >"Well, you didn't seem to hear it - I thought maybe it was some noise that was normal for this place." >Midnight looks positively annoyed and flustered, shooting Starla a look of anger before her wings spread out and wrap around to obscure herself. >Starla merely giggles before her attention turns to you. >"How is work on the car going?" "Teddy's out taking it for a test drive before we completely button everything back up. What have you two been doing? Seems like you're getting along decent enough." >"Talking, mostly. Trying to help her out a little bit," she says, pointing a hoof to the cocooned figure on the other side of the island. >Well, you can't leave this alone. "Helping her with what?" >"Relax, learn to live life. I thought maybe I could help a bit since - well, I've been in her hooves. Perhaps not *quite* as anxious, but... it is hard. I've experienced it, and I've seen it from other rejects on the streets." >Damn. >You hadn't expected to come up here and find out Midnight's been getting a pep talk. "Midnight?" >"What?" "Can you stop being embarrassed for a moment?" >Slowly, her wings slide away from her face, those sky-blue eyes piercing through the feathers momentarily before you get a clear view of her face. >"Don't you dare say anything about... what you might have seen," she mutters unhappily. "I wouldn't dream of it," you assure her, absolutely stoic and serious. >"So you admit you saw... things." "...Maybe. but I didn't think it was bad. It was cute." >"I'm not fucking cute." >"It's a compliment, dear." >"You aren't fucking helping right now, Starla." >Starla slides out of her seat and saunters toward you, trying not to laugh. >"I'm going to go back downstairs - I think you two should talk privately for a few moments," she says quietly. "Alright..." >She nods and smiles reassuringly before stepping out behind you. "What's up, Middie?" you ask, shuffling over and sitting down where Starla was moments ago. >"Starla is smarter than she seems, I'll say that much," Midnight sighs. "I never thought she seemed dim in any way, to be honest." >"Hm. I guess that's sort of the point, isn't it?" she asks, slightly amused. >This is a side of Midnight you haven't seen in some time. >She's talking to you, but her eyes show she isn't really focused on you. >She's focused internally. >You keep quiet in the meantime, giving her a moment to collect up whatever she's mulling over at this point in time. >"I'm not happy, Anon," she says quietly. >The blunt statement sends a jolt through your system. >You can't help but feel your mind try to race to a conclusion... >That it's you leading to her issues... >But you force it back for the time being. "About what?" >She shrugs a bit, looking rather downtrodden as she just stares at the countertop.
>>5489 >"A lot of things, I guess. Looking at Starla, listening to her talk, listening to what she went through - we are similar in many ways. It's what happened afterward that sets us apart. She moved on, and I didn't." "We're working through it, right? Talking about things here and th-" >"Don't. Stop," Midnight cuts in, her eyes darting to you. >She doesn't look angry - but her tone is firm. >"No more excuses. Not from me, not from you." "Okay. I'm sorry about that." >Midnight exhales deeply, shaking her head. >"Starla can look past what happened to her, why it happened, who was involved. She's past that - it's a memory, she hasn't forgotten it, but she's - she doesn't let it impact her everyday life." >She forces out a small laugh as she pauses. >"Starting to talk to her, I just thought she was stupid, you know? Like how I said all biological ponies were - that I met, anyway. I just lump em together regardless, right off the bat. And that right there is the issue." "You don't give anyone a chance." >"No. I just look at anyone and everyone - and I guess I just feel like I'm looking at the labcoats in the facility again - observing me, ready to move on to some other stupid test to gauge some aspect of me. I look and see people, and I feel like they're in on that - they're all out to get me. It is paranoia." >You always sort of hinted she was overly paranoid, but hearing her say that... >It's rough. >It's rough listening to Midnight bring her walls down, so to speak. >She isn't visibly upset - but just from her voice, you can tell it's hard for her to come to terms with this. >Especially after denying it for so long. >"I got out of hell because I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be free to do what I want, not exist for someone else to toy with. But I'm still imprisoned. I'm imprisoning myself because I can't let go that something might happen, that someone in the world will recognize me and contact those that probably want me back - just to destroy me. But living in anticipation for that, dreading that, trying to prepare for it and being skeptical of everyone - that's not really living, is it?" "I suppose not really. It's one thing to be cautious but..." >"It's another to distrust everyone at face value. Like that little girl at the store instantly assuming the worst in me," Midnight says forlornly. "I want to be happy Anon. I thought I was but - not really. Not like Starla, who can live without a care. And maybe that's why I hated her at first - seeing her so happy and carefree. Maybe that's why I don't like bots or biological ponies - they don't think about the things I do. Maybe I just think too much." >Midnight pauses again, collecting more thoughts, while you sit patiently. >"And I guess... there might be a part of me that sort of - I don't know, care about you. More than I'm willing to admit. Maybe that's part of my problem too." "Care how?" >Midnight locks eyes with you. >"Care more than I understand right now."
>>5490 >You really don't know what to make of that - and her face remains virtually emotionless, not allowing you any more hints. >"I've numbed myself for a long time, Anon. I guess I'm not really used to... feeling. So I don't know what else to really say, other than I need to make changes. I need to try to be better. Maybe I've always known that a little - but having someone like me, yet live such a vastly different lifestyle and possess a vastly different outlook on life... it sort of puts everything in perspective to where I can understand it." >Midnight looks uncomfortable after spitting all that out. >Vulnerable. >But relieved. "Is there anything you want me to do to help?" >"Be you," she says quietly, pausing a moment. "Maybe lay off the stupidity and jokes a tad, but... be Anon." "I think I can do that." >Midnight's ears perk up as you begin to hear the tell-tale signs of Teddy's return. "I was starting to wonder if he got lost. Probably having too much fun," you quip. >"How... much did you really see and hear earlier?" Midnight asks, her voice lowering in embarrassment. >You shrug. "I don't really think it's that important. I already forgot," you answer. "But I do think you look pretty good with a ponytail, if that means anything." >She bites her lip, looking around anywhere other than you. >"I might do that once in a while. Not for you, obviously, just... I sort of like the look, too." "Fair enough. What do you say we head downstairs and see where we are with the Cutlass, huh?" >"Alright." >You give her a smile of reassurance before getting back to your feet and turning for the door. >"Wait." > Midnight's command stops you in your tracks, and you turn back around. >She trots over to you. "Something else?" >Without a word, Midnight spreads her wings, mindful of their size in relation to the confines of your kitchen. >She takes a step forward, resting her head on your chest before her wings envelop your entire form. >Somewhat shocked at first, you relax, then put your arms gently around her neck and hold her close. >"Thank you, Anon." >What exactly she's thanking you for - well, that's sort of hard to discern. >You'd ask, but... >She already laid out so much more than you expected. >It's best to just leave it at that. >It's best to just support her however she needs you at this time, and however you can do so. "No problem, Middie." -----
>>5198 >Distant buzzing, undecipherable and undetectable to human ears, roused the girl from her slumber. She was warm, wrapped in thick blankets, flanked by her new adoptive aunt and uncle, both of whom were still asleep. >Chrissy sat upright and leaned forward, hoping to hear the soloist call out again, or for the chorus to reply. She didn't have to wait long. >Communiques were projected via the emerging hivemind by the would-be protoqueen, who was becoming more adept at asserting herself. While young, lacking leadership experience, and nowhere near as powerful as Chrissy, this new rival to her rightful throne could not be underestimated. >The drones continued to search for surviving members of the hive at the protoqueen's behest. As long as she continued to passively monitor her drones' telepathic transmissions, none of them would be cognizant of Chrissy's survival, let alone her presence on this alien plane. She would use that to her advantage, buying her time to formulate a strategy. >The first order of business would be to feed, to replensish her magic and strength. Next, Chrissy would need to retake the hive, however many or few drones remained. Finally, she would find a way to return home to resume her original mission- revenge. >It was so close, tantalizing in its proximity, Chrissy could virtually taste it; almost feel her fangs sinking into its metaphorical flesh. Had she not dawdled and delivered the finishing blow prior to her unexpected departure, perhaps she could at least rest easy, knowing the progenitor of her kind's genocide had finally been punished. >But a quick death would've been too kind to the demon, especially in light of everything she had done. >Chrissy would have her revenge, and she would savor it, revel in it. >Assuming her sworn enemy was even here. >Chrissy shook her head- that was a concern for another day. She had to focus on the present if she wanted to persist into the future. >Ambient magic was in short supply here, as the lonely, displaced queen was painfully aware. Assuming her current form the night prior nearly depleted her reserves, making her act of being an exhausted, hypothermic alien child more genuine than she originally intended. Her drones and the usurper would have undoubtedly realized that utilizing their natural camouflaging abilities would be all but impossible, and that harvesting (and conserving) as much raw love would be paramount to continued survival. >To that end, Chrissy possessed the advantage, however tenuous her hold on it may be. These two "humans" were chock full of her preferred sustenance; a veritable oasis in an emotional desert that offered little else besides anger and despair. Not that those negative emotions couldn't be metabolized, they simply lacked the potency of love by several orders of magnitude. 'With these two at my disposal, I may have more food than the entire surviving swarm.'
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>>5505 >The revelation gave her pause. With every passing day, the protoqueen would grow in power and influence, and Chrissy's drones would forsake their rightful queen in favor of the new upstart. Conversely, "Aunt Sarah" and "Uncle James" could- in theory- replenish Chrissy's reserves to the point of allowing her to reclaim the hive by force, should it be necessary. >Draining these two completely would take time. Too fast, and they would die before releasing every last wisp of their sweet essence. However, should she take too long to bleed them, the power gained from feeding may be insufficient to overpower the protoqueen, especially if the hive found other love-filled humans. >It would be a delicate balancing act, one that would need to be meticulously calibrated by the day, if not by the hour. In the interim, she would continue to feed, gleaning crucial intelligence from the memories bound to the emotions that she harvested. >James and Sarah both dreamed of their late daughter, to whom Chrissy bore a slight resemblance. She would take advantage of this, weakening their mental and emotional defenses, coaxing them to accept her as their own blood. >After all, love given freely is substantially more powerful than love that's stolen. ... >Anonymous dragged the razor across his jawline. The finely-honed blade left a swath of baby-smooth skin in its wake, displacing the rich, white lather of shaving cream and week-old salt-and-pepper beard alike with a satisfying scraping sound. Subsequent methodical strokes, the product of muscle memory cultivated from years of practice, shaved more than hair from the man. Indeed, Anonymous appeared younger now that he was clean-shaven, but even his straight razor couldn't hide the weathering that scars on his cheek and brow contributed to his visage. >Freshly-showered, clean shaven, and dressed in warm, cozy clothes befitting of the weather, Anonymous finally felt presentable. It was a curious thing, to worry about his appearance for the first time in years. Not that the man hadn't practiced good hygiene and grooming in the years following the apocalypse- he had- but it was driven purely by habit and routine instead of a conscious decision. >His footsteps were light, his strides graceful, eerily so considering the strain his legs had been subjected to minutes prior. Frustrated grunting and sighs greeted him prior to arriving at his destination. >Condense struggled with something behind her bedroom door- with what, Anonymous couldn't ascertain. His knuckles rapped the solid door thrice before he spoke. "You alright in there?" >"Yes!" was Condense's terse reply between additional grunts. >Anon allowed himself to grin. "Are you sure about that?" >All noises behind the stained oaken portal ceased. Anonymous waited, leaning forward with his right hand hovering over the door knob. An exasperated whinny erupted from the room not two seconds later, followed by a, "Ugh! Anon... a little help, please?"
>>5506 >Anon opened the door to find Condense sitting on her haunches in the center of the room, her horn sparking with blue light. A hairbrush dangled in her long, wet mane. "So what's going on here?" >Condense scrunched her muzzle and attempted to light her horn again. It sputtered to life, accompanied by intermittent chiming, but a sky-blue haze was all she could generate in spite of her determined demeanor. "I don't have as much magic available as I thought," Condense answered, hanging her head. "I was able to take my sling off before showering, but I used up the mana I had left brushing my tail." "I see..." Anonymous said, mentally noting how the mare's tail was sleek and smooth, ending in tight curls that highlighted the vibrant mixes of pink, purple, and yellow it consisted of. Those curls moved like weighted coil springs, unwinding with sudden movement, only to roll back up into its original position in stubborn defiance of gravity. >"Anon?" Condense asked to regain the man's attention. "Condense?" >The mare raised a forehoof and rested it on Anon's chest. >"Would you... would you brush my mane?" she asked, fluttering her long eyelashes to augment her plea. "Pretty please?" >Anonymous remained silent and stared into the vibrant light purple eyes that continued to beg him to grant their owner's request. He hadn't brushed someone else's hair in years. >The morning of the Convergence, to be precise. >He had brushed his daughter's hair that fateful day, using the same brush that now hung in a tricolored bird's nest of pony hair. >Condense's ears began to droop and her hopeful smile diminished, which was enough to snap Anon out of his sorrowful reflections. "Yeah. Of course I will." >"Really!?" Condense exclaimed. Her eyes shimmered with excitement. "Really Really." Anon replied as he extracted the brush from the mess of tangles that had secured it within its fibrous prison. >He crossed the remaining distance to Condense's bed and sat. The mare followed in his wake wearing a smile that brightened up the entire room- a smile that persisted long after she sat between his feet, facing away from her host-turned-groomer. >Anonymous grabbed a fistful of yellow strands and began to attack the damp mass with the brush. The mane fought him but started to yield to his will with every brushstroke. Condense's curls slowed the brush and were temporarily straightened by the bristles, but they never failed to bounce back into their tight spirals. Soon, Anonymous had the brush gliding unhindered through over a meter of bright yellow hair. He then separated the pink section from the others and began the process anew. >Condense sighed. "A girl could get used to this." >Anon chuffed, then refocused his attention on a few stubborn tangles that refused to submit. >There was plenty of slack in Condense's mane between her crest and Anon's hand, so she turned her head to get a better look at him. "You look nice," she said, pointing to Anon's face with her horn.
>>5507 "Thanks," Anon said, keeping his gaze fixed on the nest he fought with. "There's a pretty girl roaming around my house these days, so I figured I ought to look presentable." >Condense muffled an already-quiet giggle with her right forehoof, though it did little to attenuate the rhythmic shaking of her barrel. Anon grinned to himself; a genuine, but fleeting expression. >He focused on his task, ever-diligent in his work, oblivious to the large eye that studied the minutia of his mannerisms. Condense's mind raced. She had so many questions for the man, she didn't know where to begin, or what was even appropriate for her to inquire about. >The mare continued to contemplate what was fair game for conversation as Anon finished brushing her mane. "There," he said, "all finished." >Anon ran his fingers through the mare's silky mane, enjoying the fruits of his handiwork. Condense hummed her acknowledgment and closed her eyes, content to enjoy the extra attention of Anon's wandering fingers. They continued to comb through her mane, caressing her crest and neck in places as they went. Condense then rested her chin upon Anon's knee, and his petting ceased. "I uh... thought I saw a spot I missed," was his hasty explanation. >Condense looked at him with puppy dog eyes and said, "You didn't have to stop." >They stared at each other, neither daring to look away. That is, until Condense's stomach growled loud enough for Anon to hear. "I'll make breakfast," he said with a laugh. >"Anonnnnn~" Condense protested as Anon stood. She rose with him and extended her wing in an attempt to block his path, a movement she instantly regretted. She retracted her wing with a hiss. "Aw shit, Condense... let me look at that." >Anon dropped to a knee and reached for Condense's wing. She reluctantly relaxed her injured limb in his delicate grasp. "Tell me if anything I do hurts," Anon instructed as he took his time extending her wing. >"TSSSS! Stop!" "Alright... sorry about that." >"I'll be fine." Condense replied through gritted teeth. >Anon began to work his hands up Condense's wing to where it joined her barrel. He poked and prodded at various muscle attachment points. Pressure applied to certain areas made the mare flinch, but the pain wasn't intense enough to provoke a vocalization of discomfort. "We'll need to apply heat to this area and keep this wing moving often." Anon stated as he began to massage a knot behind Condense's wing. >The mare's breathing became somewhat labored. >"Why's that?" she asked between shallow gasps for air. >Anonymous continued to knead his fingers into Condense's tense fight muscles. He fanned them out, then pushed his fingertips deeper into the pink fur and pliant flesh it covered, earning him an "Ah!" from his roommate. "You need to keep blood flowing to the area to promote healing- not that wing, silly," he said, pointing to the mare's left wing which had now flared to its full span, "the injured one."
>>5508 >Anonymous continued to massage all around the mare's flight muscles for several minutes, doing his best to gauge her pain as he went, as she was unusually still, save for the quick swelling and contracting of her barrel. 'Girl's trying to be tough,' Anon thought. 'Still, probably a good idea to check on her.' "You doing alright?" >Condense closed her eyes and nodded several times, releasing a long, forceful breath as she did. "Anon! NNNNN...mmmm-hmmm!" "Sorry! Sorry..." >Anonymous retracted his hands, stood, and walked into Condense's closet. "Think I overdid it," he called out whilst rummaging through the closet. "But the more we work those muscles, the easier it will... ah ha! Found it!" >The man emerged from the closet with a triumphant smile. "Heating pad!" he said, pointing to the large, thick rectangular cloth in his hand. "Keep this on your wing. It'll fluctuate the amount of heat it generates with time." >Condense didn't respond, as she was occupied fanning her flushed face with her good wing. Her tail swished in sharp, violent motions. "Condense?" >"Setitonthebedplease!" "Are you going to be okay-" >"IJUSTNEEDAMINUTE!" >Condense galloped the few short meters into the adjacent bathroom. The door slammed shut behind her, but it didn't completely muffle the sounds of her heavy breathing. Anon followed and stood outside the door, wondering what he should do. 'Poor thing is clearly in pain,' he thought as a low moan emanated from the bathroom. 'Didn't mean to make it worse. Good going, deTerra... fucking dumbass.' >The breathing within the bathroom quickened, growing louder and more ragged. 'It'd probably be best if I gave her privacy,' he thought upon hearing another low moan from the mare. 'Plus, I don't care to hear a pony puking before I make breakfast.' >Anonymous retreated from Condense's room. He had barely reached the foot of the stairs when he heard a loud whinny echo throughout the upper level. The man shook his head. "Poor girl." ... https://ponepaste.org/4168#1161
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>>5509 A big thank you to TifforTat for this wonderful sketch of what Anon and Condense looked like when they met each other. Love this picture.
>>5491 Interesting change of heart for Midnight. I would have thought Midnight would have been more resistant to what Starla had to say. Nonetheless, looks like the start of a new and beautiful relationship between her and Anon. I guess my REO Speedwagon posting was a bit premature. Hopefully they can find the happiness that Middie's after. Love that she got in a nice hug at the end. Curious to see where things go from here. >>5509 Crazy stuff with Chrysalis. I wonder where that'll tie in. Very cute scene with Anon brushing and petting Condense. Also kek at Anon misreading her at the end. I guess wing boners are canon in this fic.
>>5511 >Crazy stuff with Chrysalis. I wonder where that'll tie in. The three story arcs (Condense and Anon, Tony and Desmond, Chrissy) are all intertwined. It'll become more clear as we continue. >Very cute scene with Anon brushing and petting Condense. Also kek at Anon misreading her at the end. I guess wing boners are canon in this fic. This was originally going to be another heavy scene, but it didn't feel right, especially coming off the yet-to-be-explained heaviness of their last scene. I figured this would be good way to show that years of solitude has impaired Anon's ability to read body language and social cues, even more so when ponies are concerned. He's got to get used to living with someone else again and taking her into account.
>>5509 >"My Petite Pony... My Petite Pony... Come a-long it's time to play!" >Anonymous glanced at the monitor that played the generation-old children's show, then back to his notebook. His pen scratched at the paper, leaving his neat, precise script behind. >[Based on the few episodes I've watched, my hypothesis is Condense was modeled after the "My Petite Pony" character "Candy Kiss", though she seems to share some of the personality quirks of "Sundance", another main character. The aforementioned characters are members of "The Foundations of Creation", a group of ponies blessed with extraordinary magical powers that are charged with protecting their homeland from existential threats. With this contextual knowledge, I searched for companies that offered automaton reproductions of show characters.] >He paused, contemplating the order in which to present his latest findings. This was, for all intents and purposes, a research project. More than a passing interest or hobby, Anonymous approached this task with the same rigor he was used to applying to his professional endeavors. >Scientific curiosity notwithstanding, Condense was his responsibility. If investigation into her origins might yield some clue that could in turn be used to unlock her memories, Anon owed it to the mare to continue this work. >[Condense possesses zero cybernetic components, as I previously confirmed. The argument could be made that searching for a cyborg analog to a creation as complex and unique as her would be pointless. However, for the sake of completeness, I have looked for exactly that.] >[As I anticipated, no major cybernetic manufacturer on the North American continent offered such frivolous products. In fact, only a handful of boutique designers offered custom cyborg pets. Cursory searches into European manufacturers bore similar results. Asian listings were spotty, their claims dubious. Regardless, expecting to find a variety of custom cyborgs inspired by characters from a generation-old show that only ran for three seasons is foolish.] >[I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Condense is a synthetic life form. Back to square one- I have no new information about Condense; only partial confirmations of my initial suppositions. Even in the AAG, we would struggle to create wings as complex and sensitive as hers. Forget about the tactile feathers- that's a multi-million dollar product-] >A loud thump and a pained shout from somewhere in the house interrupted Anon's writing. He scrambled to the study's entrance and observed; still, silent, and tense- ready to leap into action. All was now still in the house. Outside, the wind continued to pummel the house, blanketing the structure with snow. The day's dying light barely illuminated the otherwise-dark foyer, thanks in part to the frozen white coating on the windows. "You alright?" he called out in the direction of Condense's room. >"Yeah!" her muffled voice answered after a pause.
>>5560 >Anon shrugged and returned to his desk. He had barely picked up his pen when the words, "No, not really, actually!" reached his ears. >[Signing off for now. Seems Condense had a mishap during her "magic practice".] ... >Five days their routine remained constant as the brutal snowstorm raged on, leaving them confined indoors. At 0500 hours, Anon would rise, don his exercise attire, walk to Condense's room, and knock on her door. The mare would answer within seconds, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as the expression went. They exercised for ninety minutes. As the equipment was designed for humans, there wasn't much besides the treadmill that Condense could use, but it mattered little to the mare. >Condense enjoyed running. From her treadmill she could keep a watchful eye on Anonymous as he progressed through his various grueling routines. Like the first day, both man and mare pushed themselves, but were careful to not tread too close to the boundaries of total exhaustion. Condense didn't hear the disembodied voices again, nor did Anonymous lose his composure as had been the case for both parties on the first day. >They showered following exercise, but unlike the first day, Condense had regained more independence as grooming was concerned thanks to her (slightly) increased magical endurance. The companions met in the kitchen after concluding their respective hygiene activities. Anon cooked, answering Condense's endless questions as he did. Some days they could converse in the dining room until lunch, at which time Anon would prepare their next meal, his bubbly pink shadow eager to help where she could. >Anon found himself looking forward to the long conversations shared with his inquisitive housemate. Condense's mind was like a sponge, eagerly soaking up every tidbit of knowledge she could glean about the world around her. The mare's proclivity for learning further endeared herself to Anonymous, who found a kindred spirit in Condense. >Every afternoon, Anonymous would excuse himself to his study, the only room in the house he had deemed off-limits to Condense. The mare didn't question the rule, opting to respect his privacy and his time, content to read or watch shows whenever Anon retreated to the forbidden room. While Condense entertained herself, Anon continued to investigate all potential leads on Condense's origins, documenting his findings by hand in a notebook dedicated to the subject. >The evenings would invariably end the same, with Condense and Anon sitting on the couch, watching a centuries-old television show that Condense had become enthralled with. Condense was captivated by Star Trek: The Next Generation, and had already progressed into its second season. Anonymous had a jaded, cynical view of the show's optimism for the future, but he watched it nevertheless with Condense at her behest without complaint.
>>5561 >Most nights, Condense fell asleep watching the show. The mare often drifted to sleep curled up at Anon's side with the man's hand gently stroking her silky mane. She enjoyed the attention as much as Anonymous enjoyed giving it (though he would never admit it to her or himself), and it provided a distraction from the pain and twitching that had been steadily increasing from his prosthetic. >Anon carried the mare to her room on the nights she fell asleep next to him. Had he bothered to look down on either occasion, he might have noticed the content grin that would spread across Condense's face as he held her close. >Tonight was shaping up to be more of the same. Condense began the evening sitting closer to her companion than she normally did. She had made a show of flipping her entire mane to her right side so that it faced Anonymous prior to settling in. Anonymous grinned, internally resolving to make Condense wait, to force her to explicitly ask for the mane petting she had come to adore. >It seemed like tonight might be the wrong night for Anon's ploy, however, as Condensew was totally absorbed in the episode they were watching. Data, her favorite character, was on trial. >["Commander, what are you?"] Riker asked. >["An android."] Data answered. >["Which is?"] >Anonymous tried to focus on Data's neutral delivery of the definition of "android" from "Webster's Twenty-Fourth Century Dictionary, Fifth Edition", but his own android parts were shooting sharp, burning pains into his natural, living tissue, making it difficult to pay attention. >Condense leaned close and whispered, "Captain Picard won't let Starfleet take Data away, right Anon?" "I dunno," Anon replied after a soft, hissing exhalation through clenched teeth. "I've never seen this episode." >Condense nodded and returned to watching the holoscreen from her alert, upright seated position, rapt and motionless. >Riker stood next to the Starfleet judge, clearly uncomfortable with what he was about to propose. ["...I request to be allowed to remove the Commander's hand for your inspection."] >Condense didn't notice Anon seize up at Riker's suggestion, nor did she seem to notice his breathing quicken; becoming shallow and nervous. >Picard objected, but summarily withdrew it. >Anon's clenched his hand over his knee with a white-knuckle grip. He watched in horror as Riker approached Data. >["I'm sorry,"] Riker whispered to Data. He twisted the android's left forearm and pulled, detaching it from the rest of Data's body.
>>5562 /.../ >Anonymous rolled over on the rocky mountainside, screaming in pain. His hands grasped at his left leg, which had been severed at the knee. His crimson blood stained the dusty earth as a squad mate tried to apply a tourniquet. His world went black. .. >Opening his eyes again, Anon saw the unfocused surroundings of a field hospital operating room. His vision faded in and out, never fully coming into focus. >"...nature of the wound..." an unknown man's voice said, "...textbook candidate for cybernetic limb transplant." >"Hang in there, soldier," another voice whispered in his ear, "we'll get you patched up and back in the fight in no time." >Everything went dark again. .. >Light. His world was saturated in bright light and pain. >Opening his eyes, Anon found himself in a hospital bed. His leg hurt like hell. He removed his sheet from his lap to find a heavy swath of dressings wrapped around his leg, from his upper shin to his lower thigh. A bare foot, cold and pale, touched his right calf. >The foot wasn't his, but it was attached to him, where his left foot should be. >Anon screamed. Somebody yelled for a nurse. /.../ >Anonymous shook his head. He was back in his living room, sitting on his couch with Condense at his side. >On the holoscreen, Riker walked back to the judge with Data's forearm in his hands. 'I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay,' Anon chanted in his mind. >Condense continued to stare at the screen, mouth hanging open in shock. >["The Commander is a physical representation of a dream, an idea conceived of by the mind of a man. It's purpose is to serve human needs and interests. It's a collection of neural nets and heuristic algorithms."] Riker explained. 'I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay.' >["Its responses dictated by an elaborate software program written by a man. Its hardware built by a man."] 'I'm okay...' >["And now... and now a man will shut it off."] "I'm not okay," Anon whispered. >Before him, Riker reached behind Data's back. A loud click was heard, and Data slumped over the table, inanimate. >"NO!" Condense screamed at the screen. >Anonymous rose from the couch on shaking legs. He lurched forward and stumbled out of the living room. Riker's voice followed him out. >["Pinocchio is broken. Its strings have been cut."]
>>5563 >Anonymous was five steps into the dining room when an excruciating blast of pain shot up his leg. The sensation made his world turn pure white for a moment, though his vision returned in time for him to see the floor rushing up to his face. >He writhed on the floor, colors exploding across his field of view, his leg clicking and twitching. With a roar Anonymous pulled down the "skin" that covered the transition between his natural leg and prosthetic. Sparks flashed from the exposed junction, lighting up the interstitial spaces between cables and bare metal with intermittent electric-blue pulses. Anonymous clenched his jaw and pushed his fingers into three specific points around his knee and femur, then twisted. Screaming in agony, the man pulled with one final effort, detaching the degrading limb. >A gasp to his left commandeered his attention next. >Condense stood at the other end of the kitchen, jaw slack, eyes as wide as Anon had ever seen them. >"You're... you're like Data..." Condense said in disbelief. "You're a ma-" "I am NOT a machine!" Anon screamed at the mare. >Condense recoiled. Her ears drooped as she crouched down in submission. Between the housemates, Anon's detached leg continued to twitch and kick involuntarily. >Anonymous leaned forward far enough to grab the leg and threw it. "Piece of shit!" the enraged man yelled at the limb as it sailed across the kitchen. >Condense sunk further into the floor at Anon's outburst, then covered her face with her forelegs when the leg crashed into the cupboard above the stove. >Rolling over with a pained grunt, Anonymous used his arms to push himself off the ground and balance as he stood on his good foot. He tried to hop away, but a fresh jolt of pain coursed through his body, making him contort in agony and lose his balance mid-hop. The man hit the ground again with a meaty thud. >"Anonymous!" Condense yelled. Concern for her friend vanquished her fear. She arrived at Anon's side in a heartbeat. She nuzzled the groaning man's face whilst trying to snake her forelegs around his torso. Condense managed to pull Anon into a sitting position before he struggled against her. "Stop!" Anon protested. >"What do you need!?" "Trash can!" he yelled, pointing at the black container two meters away. >The can glowed blue and was pulled to the man with blistering speed. As soon as it impacted Anon's waiting hands, he pushed the opening to his face and vomited. Condense patted her hoof on Anon's back while he continued to heave and wretch, doing her best to ignore the foul sour odor that soon emanated from the receptacle. >Minutes passed. Anon finally ceased his retching. He tied off the trash can liner and pulled it from the can. >"What are you doing?" Condense asked the man as he crawled away from her with the bag. "Incinerator hatch," Anon answered, pointing to the small black metal door tucked into the adjacent wall three meters away.
>>5564 >Condense secured the bag with her magic, pulling it from Anon's grasp. She was able to simultaneously levitate the bag and open the hatch with her magic. >"There!" she said, after disposing of the bag. She returned to the man. "What's next?" >Anonymous groaned again, then flopped on his back. He reached for the metallic implant at the terminus of his stump. >"What's wrong!?" "Neural interface... trying to compensate for lack of stimulus!" Anon said, grabbing Condense's hoof in his iron grip. >"How do we fix it?" "Need to reset!" >"How?" >Anonymous screamed. He slammed the floor with hammer fists. All Condense could do was watch teary-eyed as Anonymous rode out the pain. He writhed violently on the floor for about two minutes, but to both parties, it might as well have been an eternity. Then, as if a switch were flipped, Anon's spasms ceased, and he pushed himself from the floor. "Condense...there's not much time," Anon said between gasps for air. "I've got less than sixty seconds before the interface tries to recalibrate for what it thinks is an attenuated control circuit." >"What will that do to you?" "It'll probably put me in a coma... if I'm lucky." >Cadence gasped. Anon held up a finger. "In my nightstand drawer there's a small, black cylinder with a red button on one end. Please bring it to me. Be careful not to press the button." >Condense shot out of the dining room like a mare possessed. Anon focused on the sound of her hooves bounding up the stairs as he felt a new burning sensation radiate from his stump. "Or maybe it was thirty seconds. Fuck me..." >A cacophony of stomping reached his ears. >"I've got the cylinder, Anon!" Condense yelled as she skidded across the tile floor with a black cylinder clutched in her left primary feathers. She crashed into the dining room table, then leaped sideways to her friend, apparently no worse for wear. "Tell me what to do!" "Put it in my hand!" Anon yelled holding his palm out, eyes clenched shut. >Something cold and round pressed into his palm. He fumbled with it, feeling for the button. With the button located, he placed his thumb on it, then slammed the opposite end into his stump. >Anon pressed the button, the cylinder hissed and then jolted in his grip, making him flinch. >"What do I do next?" Condense asked, jabbing a hoof into Anon's chest. >He didn't respond, save for a sigh. His grip on the cylinder relaxed, allowing it to fall and roll away on the tile floor. Condense observed three droplets of blood oozing out of his stump in the shape of an equilateral triangle from where the cylinder had been. /.../ >The pain was gone when Anonymous opened his eyes again. He laid in a hospital bed with clean linen sheets draped over him. >Anon sat upright. His motion triggered an alarm, gaining the attention of a nearby medic. >Her olive-toned hand pressed against his chest in an attempt to make him stay put.
>>5565 >"Easy there, Sergeant deTerra," she said in a calm voice. "You're going to have to learn how to walk again with this prosthetic." "Learn to walk again?" Anon repeated. >"Most get the hang of it within a week or two," she assured him, "but I've got a feeling we'll be removing your training wheels sooner than that." "Who are you?" >"Private First Class Hernandez." "I can see *that*," Anon retorted, pointing at her uniform. "What's your name?" >"Maria," she said, tucking a lock of jet-black hair behind her ear while sporting a demure smile. She held out her hand to the man. >He clasped her dainty hand in his and squeezed. "Anonymous." >Maria's lips moved, but they didn't sync with the panicked words the man heard. >"Wake up Anonymous! Wake up! Don't you dare leave me! Wake up! Wake up! /.../ >The bright hospital room transformed into a dimly-lit dining room ceiling. A mass of pink swam across Anon's vision, slowly morphing into a lovely equine face that hovered above him. "Hey there, Pretty Girl..." Anon mumbled. >"Oh thank goodness!" Condense collapsed onto Anon's chest, knocking the wind out of him. >The mare nuzzled Anon's face, wrapped all four legs around him, then squeezed with all her might. Two sets of fingers combed through Condense's mane and pet her neck in response. >Tears and short, sweet kisses fell on Anon's forehead and cheeks. "Don't you ever scare me like that again, Mister!" Condense chided between pecks. "Can't promise you that." >Condense scowled. "Help me up, please." >The mare complied with his wishes, helping him into a seated position once more. Anon used his arms to scoot backwards until a wall halted his travel. >"What was that cylinder thing I gave you?" Condense asked after Anon came to a halt. "Something our medics carried in their aid bags to give to soldiers in the event they got shot or lost a limb in combat." >"Was your leg hurting you that bad?" "Not as bad as it hurt having it detached." >"Then why'd you take it off?" "Couldn't stand to be connected to it another minute. And I forgot about needing to reset the interface. That reminds me- downstairs on my workbench there's gray device about the size of a paperback book with the words, 'Android Detection and Diagnostic Device' on it. I need it to reset my neural interface before this anesthetic's second wave hits." >Condense nodded, stood, and trotted from sight. Anonymous sat still and silent in her absence, grateful for the effects of the self-administered injection. Before he knew it, a weight landed in his lap, and his pretty pink roommate sat on her haunches at his foot. "Thanks," Anon said as he activated the device.
>>5566 >Condense said nothing. She stared at Anon's stump and the metallic object that protruded from it. Anonymous held the gray object near his stump and pressed a button. It emitted a flat curtain of light that swept back and forth over Anon's neural interface. The handheld device beeped three times and extinguished the light. "Done." Anon said as he dropped the device on the floor. >Again, Condense didn't reply. She continued to stare at Anonymous's mangled stump. Anon's prosthetic, which continued to spark and kick on its own volition from its resting place in the kitchen was the only thing that made noise. >Sorrow and remorse washed over Condense. She didn't know where it came from, but she bowed her head from its influence all the same. "I wasn't always like this," Anon said staring at his leg, his voice low and gravelly. "I used to be complete, once upon a time..." >Condense raised her head to look at Anon but didn't know what to say. "The pain... it never goes away. After a while, you get used to it, learn how to ignore it- how to cope- so you can function day-to-day. But it never lets you forget... what you've lost." >Anon leaned his head back against the wall. "Those quiet moments at night are the worst. I lie awake in bed, completely alone, thinking about all I've done, all I didn't do. If I could have saved anyone had I been stronger. I worry about the price I'll have to pay for my sins." >Anon's eyes met Condense's. She watched his pupils dilate to an unnatural diameter. "I lie awake and stare at the handprints on my ceiling. And I wonder if I'll ever be whole again." >The more Condense stared at Anonymous, the more she felt like a part of her had been ripped away. Tears rolled down her cheeks and fell to the cold tiles below. >Anon's head wobbled. Condense wiped her eyes and moved to steady him, but stopped in her tracks when she heard a new voice; the filly from her first morning in the gym. >"Will you read me a story, Papa Bear?" >"Who said that?" Condense hissed, looking around. She crouched down, her back facing Anon, ready to pounce on any intruders. >Anon sat forward, his torso weaving back and forth. >"Anonymous, get up." Condense said, anxiety creeping into her voice. "If you can climb on my back, I can carry you-" "This is a mistake, Tony!" Anon barked in the direction of the table. "The Army may be fine with you playing God, but I want no part of this!" >"Anon, please, stay with me..." Condense begged, turning around to nuzzle his face. >The affection seemed to snap Anon out of his delirium. He reached up and stroked Condense's cheek. >"Anonymous, c'mon, lets-" >"Sometimes it feels like I'm married to a complete stranger." a new mare's voice said behind Condense. >Condense gasped and whirled around. There was nobody there. Strange voices whispered around them.
>>5567 "What did I do wrong, Maria?" Anon asked Condense, throwing his hands up. >"Anon, it's me, Condense! I need your help, I think somebody's in here with us!" "What's wrong with me?" Anon cried out at the mare. "Why don't you want me anymore?" >Condense lit her horn and grunted as she attempted to lift Anonymous with her magic. The man began to lift under her influence. That is, until Condense heard a new voice, bristling with pride and excitement. >"Gentlemen, I give you... Eve!" >Anon's eyes grew wide to the point of looking comical, were the mood not inexplicably dire. He gasped; a loud, drawn-out, terrible grating sound. Condense looked into his eyes and felt pure terror. They screamed in unison. >Anonymous tried to scramble away but couldn't move. A blue glow surrounded him, accompanied by a loud electrical humming that drowned out Condense's terrified screams. The light grew brighter; the buzzing, louder. There was a loud crack, and everything faded to black. ... That's it for Chapter 2. Updated paste: https://ponepaste.org/4168#1260
>>5568 >The voices are in Condenses head too Spooky. Thanks for the update. I also found Anon's studies of "My Petite Pony" amusing. Like Condense is a bootleg of a bootleg.
>>5574 >Spoiler Now you're thinking with portals
>>5491 >The rest of the afternoon went surprisingly smooth. >You could tell Midnight was putting forth an effort to engage in any sort of little conversation with Starla. >Starla was more than happy to oblige. >By the end of the visit, Midnight had been able to relax a bit more and actually show a few smiles and a bit of laughter. >Before the two left with the unanimous agreement that there would be another meetup with the four of you, Midnight took a moment to thank Teddy for the necklace. >It was rather awkward - but it was a start. >Definitely night and day difference from when Teddy and Starla had arrived to the time they had left. >Junkyard work went by in a flash, leaving relaxation and dinner time the objectives. >Tonight is Hamburger Helper night - time to see if this is something Midnight would be enjoying, or tolerating. >Chili mac doesn't go too hard in terms of exotics, so you feel confident. >While you're dicking around with the stove, Midnight sits at the island in her normal spot. >She's been rather quiet, though you have to believe some of that is just due to the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions she's been put through today. "You doing okay?" >"Relatively speaking, yes. I'm just tired," Midnight replies, the fatigue palpable in her voice. "Nothing wrong with that. Just surprised you've not said much, and I wanted to make sure." >"I get it. Today's just given me a lot to think about." "I thought you said you think too much," you remind her. >It at least gets a mild smirk out of her. >"Somewhat of a paradox, isn't it?" "A little bit. But it's not like changing your mindset is as simple as a snap of the fingers, either." >"I don't have fingers." "Exactly - that makes it harder still for you." >"You know, that was a really awful joke." "Wasn't wrong, though, was I?" >While she shakes her head, you tend to the browning ground beef that's sizzling away in the skillet. "On a lighter note - and not because I want to tease, mind you..." >"Yes?" "How did mane styling suddenly become a topic today?" you ask, returning your attention to her. >Midnight is a little hesitant to reply - but she doesn't really seem offended like you would have normally expected. >The fact that she got along well enough with Starla reminded you that assuming Midnight's actions and reactions wasn't very helpful or productive. >You need to keep an open mind, too. >"I was just curious about her hair. She doesn't have electromagnetism as I do, so I wanted to know how she managed to get it like that." "And I'm guessing Teddy likes to style it for her?" >"Probably." "You didn't get an answer?" you question, scratching your head. >Midnight can't help but laugh just a bit. >"No, because she took that as me wanting a demonstration of how to make braids. As well as other hairstyles." "And you just left it at that." >Midnight casually shrugs.
>>5631 >"One of the things she told me to try and do is to 'go with the flow.' Try not to question everything, just follow an interaction or discussion wherever it leads. I sort of thought it was a test, to be honest with you." "Wow, she really had you jumping through loops today, didn't she?" >That came out wrong. >Midnight probably knows it too, but that doesn't stop her from hardening her expression in disapproval. "Sorry. I don't think *enough* before I speak." >"I could have told you that on day one." "What I meant to say was she's really inspired you to make a change, just from one day." >"Well, yeah. Like I said - to meet someone else whose been through similar circumstances, but can get over it and find happiness without worrying about the next thing... it opened my eyes. She suggested a bit of it had to do with her having Teddy early on as support and I had basically nothing. Nothing but a revolving door of scientists and pencil pushers. I stopped paying any attention to them as they came and went - I probably couldn't pick out a single one from a lineup. I had me, and that was it." >Figuring the beef is good enough, you start adding the other ingredients to the skillet, before covering it up to let it simmer and cook the noodles. >You take a seat in your normal spot across from Midnight. >"I was reminded today about the first day we met," Midnight idly mentions. "I know it's really late but sorry for snapping at you back then." >There were a lot of short temper instances in those first few days - most of it all blends together. >But one does stick out. "Was that the 'p-word' thing?" you tepidly inquire. >"Princess. And yes," she replies, nodding slowly. "I never understood what that was all about, but I figured it was best not to ask. How did that get brought up?" >"Discussing each other's names and how they came to be. That was what they called me - never had an official name other than acronym jargon." "Till the first day we met." >"Until that first day. Yes." "I guess while we're on the subject of apologies, sorry for being a dick the first couple of days you were here living with me," you chime in. "I think we both know now I wasn't in a good mindset in general at that time, but I certainly wasn't receptive to giving a pony a chance. And then, of course, there's the antagonizing shit I did. So, sorry for... all of that." >"Guess both of us are sort of in the same boat, huh?" "Needing to apologize? Yeah, I guess you're right." >But Midnight shakes her head. >"No. Needing someone else to kick us out of our comfort zone and get us out of a rut." "Hadn't thought of it like that... you sure Starla and you didn't just swap places? Or maybe she brainwashed you?" >"Maybe you need to shut your cock holster and give the food on the stove a stir," she calmly responds. "Alright, that's definitely you." >You get up and tend to dinner, making sure things aren't starting to burn. >It was starting to stick on the bottom...
>>5632 "Do you still want to make this place closed to the public for the most part, or are you having second thoughts of that?" >"Anon, I'm willing to make a change for the better and give people a chance. That doesn't mean I want to become an all-out socialite," she clarifies, a little disturbed by your question. "Besides - there isn't any reason to stand around day after day waiting to go out and pick parts when we might see three whole customers in that time." "I'm just gauging where you're at, that's all." >She sighs, her muscles going slack and letting her chin hit the counter with a thump. "As much as I try to pretend, my head is a mess, Anon. It really is," she mumbles. "Middie, you said yourself you need to just stop thinking so much," you try to reason with her. "Today was an impactful day - you aren't going to come up with all the answers at once." >"I know. I just don't like having answers. And it's like my brain won't shut up about it." "Just one day at a time, Midnight. That's all we gotta do." >She looks up at you, rather unimpressed with your response. >You just have to give her a look of sympathy. >it feels like this is a move in the right direction. >But it is going to be hard for her. >And in reality, there's not much you can do aside from be a cheerleader. > It's a frustrating feeling. >In some respects, it almost feels like a step back. >But it is a new challenge. >And then there's the other bombshell. >Midnight cares 'more than she understands.' >That brings so many more questions to your mind. >Does it mean that she's considering what Teddy has with Starla? >Maybe there was some discussion about that today, too - and she didn't want to divulge that detail. >You can't really ask about that bit. >She has enough on her plate now. >You will have to wait. >Which you already had set in your mind, but... >Well, it feels like the door has been opened a crack, and you now have to restrain yourself from peeking. >You really don't know how long you zone out considering all of these new obstacles. >Turning to check on Midnight, you find her eyes glued to the countertop again. >This may end up with some uncomfortably awkward few days ahead while everything slowly shakes out. > It's a sobering thought, after feeling like things had finally clicked with both of you finding your respective place. >You distract yourself by consciously checking on the progress of dinner. >Looks pretty close... >But you feel the overwhelming need to get things back to normal. >Even if only a temporary measure. >You spoon out a single, sauce-covered noodle and carefully pick it up with your bare fingers. >Feeling Midnight's eyes gazing upon what you are doing, you toss the noodle behind you at the wall, before turning around. >It splatters against the white-painted plaster, leaving an orange-red stain at ground zero before it falls to the floor. >"What the fuck was that?" "Checking to see if the noodles are done, duh," you say as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. >"Why not just try eating one?" "Because it's hot. I don't want to burn my mouth." >Midnight stares, mouth agape as she tries to comprehend your excuses. >"I swear, you have to be retarded on some level." "Didn't we already discuss this before? Of course I'm retarded." >As Midnight comes off of the shock of your antics, a relaxed smile slowly graces her face. >She knows what that was all about. >"Thanks." "Don't thank me just yet- dinner isn't dished out," you say, turning off the burner and bringing it over to the island. >Setting it on a hot pad, Midnight takes a whiff of what awaits while you grab plates out of the cupboard. >"It at least smells decent enough," she comments. "It's good, I think you will like it." -----
>>5633 Seems Midnight might have found a friend in Starla. That's good. She definitely comes off a bit more milder now after the meeting but perhaps she's just lost in her thoughts. Excited for the next update and thanks as always Auto.
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Fresh drawfaging from /mlp/
>>5669 Very nice. Why poner look sad though?
>>5633 >This is a very awkward situation. >You really don't want to embarrass Midnight - even though she probably thinks otherwise. >But the meeting with Starla a couple of days ago really got your noggin joggin. >For quite possibly the first time, Midnight was interested in her hairstyle. >The way that she looked. >From someone that has admitted she abhors what she is - that's gotta be a positive step forward. >And you decided to capitalize on that opportunity. >Now, it would be nice to have a proper occasion to surprise her, such as Christmas or a birthday... >But Christmas is too far away for you to wait, and you have no idea what Midnight's actual birthdate is. >It's likely she doesn't even know that. >A combination of a hazy memory of times before the experimentation phase and isolation has made sure of that. >Hell, how old is she? >Obviously she's an adult, just from her size and mannerisms, but... >That really doesn't matter - you're thinking yourself off the rails. >You ended up making a quick trip to the store this evening to get a mirror for Midnight - one that didn't require her to head downstairs to the bathroom or use a kitchen appliance. >She really needs to take pride in herself - you feel like it would go a long way toward helping her adapt to a new life and a new outlook. >So bashfulness be damned, Midnight is getting a mirror. > It's one of those tall ones that hang from a door - somewhat limiting where it can be placed, but allows a full view. >Of course, the next must-have items would be proper bands and a brush or two. >...man, these are some really girly thoughts. >Maybe this is going too far. >What if Midnight now thinks you're belittling her? >The last couple of days have been awkward enough, haven't they? >It's been hard to get any sort of conversation going - or argument, for that matter. >Despite saying she was prone to overthinking things, she's been lost in thought and distracted quite a bit. >To the point you've had to repeat tool requests, which she is usually sharp as a razor to retrieve. >It was obvious this would be a bit of a battle. >But you didn't expect it to completely fuck everything. >Not that you blame her. >It just sucks that after everything got comfortable, the two of you have sort of drifted back apart. >You've at least tried to be mindful of your compliments and other comments, as to not make her start overthinking those as some sort of come-on. >And now you bought her a mirror to perfect her looks... >Perhaps this plan wasn't so great after all... >In addition, Midnight doesn't come off as overly feminine - maybe you caught her at that one in a million times that she decided to just try something. >But she did say she was considering wearing her hair in a ponytail from time to time... >No, this is the right decision.
>>5674 >Finally coming to a conclusion with your thoughts and concerns, you pull yourself out of the Trailduster and grab the box out of the back. >You have to assume Middie has herself buried in something on the laptop again - meaning you will get at least somewhat of a surprise out of her. >Making the trek up the stairs, you balance the present while fiddling with the doorknob, before sliding it through the open doorway. >"Well that didn't take long," you hear Midnight comment. "I told you I wouldn't be," you reply, finally catching sight of her on the couch as you close the door behind you. >You quickly turn the box so the side that faces her is the plain, unprinted side that offers no clues to Middie. >Sure enough, you don't think Midnight has pried her eyes away from the screen for even a second - she hasn't seen a thing. >The TV is on, adding some white noise to your humble abode - but is otherwise of little interest to her, as well. "You got a minute?" >"If I tell you no, you're going to proceed with whatever it is anyway," she says, looking over into the kitchen. >Her eyes instantly spot the plain brown box you're holding. >"What did you buy?" >The tone of her voice is almost scolding, as if expecting this is something expensive and completely useless. "Oh, suddenly you're interested?" >You take a few more steps, stopping in the walkway between the kitchen island and the wall. >"What is it?" "It's for you, I will say that." >"What. Is. It?" she demands impatiently. "If you're going to have an attitude, nevermind," you haughtily threaten, turning up your nose. >You give her a second to stew in silence. >"Don't be an asshole, Anon." "Alright. But promise me one thing." >"Maybe." "Don't get all broody and embarrassed." >"What kind of a promise is th-" >As she responds, you spin the box around, cutting her off. >Midnight's initial reaction is one of confusion - before she actually focuses on the print. >"Are you shitting me?" she laments. "I said no broodiness or embarrassment, Midnight." >"I - well I never agreed to that, necessarily," she says. "It was close enough." >"Did you seriously go out and buy this tonight?" "Yep." >"All because of what you say Starla and I doing?" "Yep." >Midnight purses her lips, trying to come up with something else to say. >A drawn-out silence allows you to open the box after properly entering the living room. "It hangs up on a door, so I figure you can decide whether the inside of the door in the kitchen is best, or either side of my bedroom door. I'll leave it up to you." >"And you bought this just for me?" >You shrug. "I mean, I guess I can use it, too. It really wasn't expensive, Middie." >"I - just... why?"
>>5675 "Because for the first time, you were looking at yourself in a way that wasn't just negativity. You should be happy with who you are, and maybe exploring different looks will help with that," you explain, holding the mirror out so she can view her reflection. "it seemed like you and Starla at least had some amusement out of it - the least I can do is try to stoke that ember, yeah?" >"You pick the weirdest damn things to focus on, Anon," she remarks. "You might have a point - but I'm really just trying to help you find your place in the world. That's all." >"So it isn't for you?" "I already said that it-" >"I mean it isn't *for you* - as in, to enjoy the results?" she suggests. "Stop concerning yourself with me - I said I wasn't going to make things weird." >Midnight doesn't seem wholly convinced, giving you an accusatory glare. >Okay, so this wasn't the right idea after all. "Midnight - I was trying to be nice, I saw an opportunity to get you something to help you out. I'm sorry if you think there are additional connotations to this gift but - should I just take it back then?" >It really didn't cost you that much - but you aren't going to keep something that Midnight thinks is a ploy to get you closer to her. >"...no." >Midnight slides off the couch, approaching you and her gift with uncertainty. >She spreads out her wings, glancing at herself at different angles. >"I still can't help but find it a little weird you bought this." "And you're free to feel that way - but it isn't a gift in the way you dread it is." >"I never said I dreaded that." >She grimaces at that response. >"I just don't know how I should feel about this. It's just... odd." "We're in an odd situation now. Partly because of me, partly due to others. All I can say is stop thinking about it - as you told me you were going to try to do. Go with the flow, Midnight." >"I guess..." "Would it have been less embarrassing if I had asked first? Or brought it up in the store the next time we went together?" >Midnight doesn't say anything. >She just continues to look at herself in the mirror. "Midnight." >"You know, maybe braids wouldn't look so bad. I feel like I'd just be copying Starla's style, though," she muses, acting as if she did not hear anything you said. >Rather than overthink it, you take your own advice that was already being reused. "If you think about it, that would be a lot nicer to deal with on windy days when we're working outside. Maybe it's just an idea to keep around in the back of your head - assuming you can do it. I sure as hell don't know anything about hair." >"Well thank goodness for small favors. I would expect you to know jack shit about hair." "Because I'm a guy, or because I don't have long hair?" >"Bit of both." "What if I had long hair at one point?" >"Did you?" "No." >"Then what the hell was the point of that question?" "I dunno. I felt like it needed to be asked."
>>5676 >Midnight rolls her eyes in response, spinning around and hopping back up on the couch. "Any idea where you want to put this, or is that a decision for later?" >"Later. Probably on your bedroom door - back of the kitchen door, there's the risk of getting smacked in the face if someone opens it." >Satisfied with that answer, you lean the mirror up against the far wall for now. "Hadn't thought of that," you admit, taking a seat in your normal spot on the end. " Honestly, I wish you hadn't, either." >"...what?" "It would have been good for a laugh the first time it happened." >Midnight goes from an expression of confusion to 'are you kidding me' in the blink of an eye. "I never specified a person or pony that had to be on the receiving end. Don't look at me in that tone of voice." >"There's one particular individual that would be more likely to suffer being the butt of the joke." "Well, shit happens," you say with a shrug. >Midnight turns her head away from you, levitating her laptop over. >Without warning, she flops over, her head resting on your leg and her mane virtually burying it. >Um... >What. "You know I'm not a pillow, right?" >"I'm not going to go searching for one. Blame yourself for not buying any - though the mirror is nice." >You glance over to the other end of the couch. >Where a small pillow lies unused. "I'll put it on my list of shit I habitually forget to buy." -----
>>5671 >Why is poner look so sad though Would you be happy if you didn't know if your memories were jumbled up?
>>5677 >Midnight closing the gap on the couch Well that certainly is something. Curious to see where Midnight's thoughts lead. Glad that she liked her gift, didn't take it too much the wrong way. Anon better plan on his bedroom doorway being inaccessible for certain times of the day ^:) Thanks for the update Auto. On another note, what sort of entertainment do you think the two of them would get up to when Midnight's not on the laptop? Board games? Card games? Maybe a movie or two? >>5685 Fair enough.
>>5686 "Entertainment" is not something Midnight really understands at this point in time. For her, finding something new on the computer *is* entertainment, for all intents and purposes. That brain and accompanying circuits does not like to shut off and just "be." Coincidentally, there's more to that come this morning. But looking to the hypothetical future, I could see Midnight having an interest in a board or a card game. In particular, anything that takes strategy or knowledge - a task that makes her have to think. She really doesn't like having an idle mind, which is why as Starla described, she overthinks everything.
>I feel like I have a really good life. >After all, I get fed daily without needing to do anything for it, a place to sleep and to play. >And plenty of friends. >But... >I do miss Shadow. >I remember when she first arrived... wherever we are. >Never really thought about this being a place, and there being other places, but Shadow wasn't from here. >She was scared the first day. >She didn't look like the rest of us. >And there's quite a few of us. >Shadow's coat was a lot darker than anyone else's - super dark blue. >And she was a unicorn - which was pretty uncommon. >Most of us are just regular plain ponies. >And she had other markings that stood out, from the blue and purple mane to the light purple mottling on her flanks. >And another mark that I didn't recognize. >She had really pretty green eyes, too. >Like emeralds. >I was the first one to greet her, excited to meet another friend. >It took a while for her to get settled in, but we took to each other right away. >Kinda funny, since my bright orange coat and yellowish mane were sort of the opposite of hers. >I helped come up with her name - we all do that for each other, based on our looks. >Like my name - Sunrise. >Shadow mentioned something about being meant to turn out like a show character or something. >...Luna? >I don't know, but she apparently doesn't look like that. >But her dark coat is sort of like the dark or the shadows created by the little suns set in the sky at night when they dim. >Shadow fit her really well for a name. >The men in white don't really seem to care, they usually just point at one of us when they come in our pasture for something. >Most of em aren't bad - some are actually pretty nice. >But the one guy that seems to be in charge - he's sorta mean. >And he says some harsh and angry-sounding words a lot. >Every once in a while, someone will take one of us for a checkup, or some sort of test - then we come back. >Then we get to go back to playing around or exploring the area again, even just relaxing. >But I remember when Shadow disappeared for a long time. >I figured it would just be like any other day- just a little while, maybe an afternoon. >I waited for her, hoping she wasn't too nervous. >Shadow still got a bit worried about stuff like that. >It wasn't so bad when I was with her though. >We were practically inseparable. >Of course, we're all friends here. >But me and Shadow are besties... >I don't know how long it was until she came back. >It felt like forever. >But then the one day, she finally came back alongside a man who then disappeared like normal beyond the fence. >I was so excited and so relieved that she was back! >I galloped right up to her, expecting her to be so happy to see me after so long apart! >But Shadow was... different. >She looked lost, kept looking around at things as I ran up to her... >Like everything was new again. "Shadow, you're back!" I cheered, unable to stop smiling or calm my voice. "I was so worried about you!"
>>5692 >She took a step back, staring at me as if trying to make sense of what I had said. >Or who I was. >"Shadow?" "Oh come on, don't play those silly games right now." >"I'm not playing any games. Who are you?" >Hearing that question hurt. >Because just from her serious, stern face, I knew this was not a joke. "I'm Sunrise. You know, your bestie?" >"Bestie?" >Shadow glanced around, those glimmering green eyes scanning the rest of the herd and the pasture. "Your... best friend?" >"I'm sorry, I don't think I know you," she said coldly. "I don't think I've ever been here before." "...Oh," was all I could manage, my head hanging at that painful statement. "What do you remember?" >She merely shrugged, as if unable to see my despair. >"Not much. Everything is mostly a blur until I woke up. Something was done to me, I guess? I really don't know." >Whatever happened to her must have messed with her mind. >It meant having to start over like it was the first day we met. >I still held a little hope though. >Maybe a familiar area or smell or sound - something could make her remember. "Well, that's okay! Come on, I'll show you around. We'll be besties again before you know it." >"Isn't this kind of it?" >I stopped prancing around. "What do you mean?" >"I mean - this is it. This pasture, some trees, a few little houses. What else would there be? I can see pretty much everything from here - this is just an enclosure, isn't it?" "I... guess? This is your home, Shadow." "It doesn't feel like it. And I still don't know about that name - are you sure you don't have me confused with someone else?" >Everything she said was so... >I don't know, really. >It was like she had absolutely no connection to anything. >Shadow looked around again, focusing on something on a far wall. >"EquisCo. We're part of something. Like a business." "Huh?" >I turned to follow where she was looking. >It was a bunch of weird shapes way up there that have been present for - well, forever. >They mean something? "Maybe - but come on, you must be exhausted. Let's go relax and meet everyone else, okay?" >"Maybe in a bit," was the bored reply. >Shadow started looking around for... something. >Like she was trying to solve a mystery or something. "Okay... I'm gonna go get something to eat though - I'll be right over there." >"Okay." * >Things never got better. >Shadow wasn't Shadow anymore. >Something had changed in her. >She always seemed to be thinking about something or had a paper of some sort she was studying. >Like reading stuff. >I never knew anyone that could read other than the men in white. >I tried to get her to play with the rest of us, but it just never interested her for very long. >It was like she could not just relax and be lazy. >I don't know if I ever really saw her sleep, either. >And Shadow would come and go a lot with the men in white, as well. >Sometimes for a whole day, even longer. >She always had something new to look at.
>>5693 >It sort of became the only thing she cared about... "Come on Shadow, looking at that stuff has to be sooo boring. Let's play," I suggested the last day I remember seeing her. >"I'm busy - I was told this is something I should try to understand," she said, pointing a hoof to a - a book? >"That can wait until later, can't it? Come on, don't you want to run around with me - your bestie, Sunrise?" >"I don't know you. I told you that, I told you just running around for no reason bores me. What else do you want?" she snapped at me. "But Shadow, we're..." >"Just stop! I don't remember you, I don't remember any of this!" she shouted angrily. >It made me take a step back as she rose to her hooves. >Being taller than me - or anyone else... it was a little scary. >"You keep telling me all of this like I'm stupid or something! All you do is ask me to play tag or hide and seek or something else all day every day! Or run around mindlessly, even after I tell you I have other things to do!" "I just wanted to be nice," I replied sadly. "That's great that you can read and stuff now but... don't you just want to relax and have fun? Just be lazy, like we used to do?" >"I can't. I feel like - I can't stop thinking. I need to be occupied with something. I'm sorry, but this 'Shadow,' if she was me... I think she's gone." "Don't say that!" I gasped, stepping toward her. "You just need to try to remember harder, just get away from... from... all of that!" >Shadow looked at the pile of papers and other articles she was given over time to study by the men in white. >Shadow shut her eyes and grimaced as if she was in pain. "Shadow..." >"Shut up! Just shut up, I can't take this!" Shadow shouted, raising a hoof to her head. "I'm not this pony you keep talking about, I don't - I can't just stop learning! I have to! I can't stand doing nothing! I'm supposed to learn things for a bigger purpose anyway! Just leave me the fuck alone!" >I don't think I've ever felt so sad and alone to hear my best friend say all of that. >It was a pain I don't think I have ever felt before. "Okay, I'll leave you alone then... I'm sorry - erm, whoever you are now." >"I don't have a name. If I do, I don't know it," she replied sternly. >Shadow settled back down, drawn back to her book like before, while I walked away. >I didn't want to, but I was clearly making her upset by trying to return things back to the way they once were. >She was taken away later that day by the men in white. >I still had hope after a day away, something would change, and she would come back. >Like those men had made a mistake with... whatever they did, and could undo it. >I asked a couple of times whenever the men in white came in, but no one had an answer. >I never saw Shadow again. >I still have my other friends, and I still enjoy just being me and having a good time. >But... >I miss the games of tag we played that could last for almost the whole day. >The afternoon naps in the grass. >Seeing her smile, those lively green eyes so full of happiness. >I miss my bestie. >I'm sorry things ended up the way they did. >I don't blame her - whatever happened wasn't her fault. >It makes me a little worried that something might happen to one of us like it did Shadow. >But like I told her - there's no reason to worry about it. >Maybe I tried too hard to return things to normal, too. >I don't know. >I just know I still miss Shadow. >I won't forget her - I still think of her as my friend. >I hope Shadow is at least happy and doing good. >Wherever she is... https://ponepaste.org/6144
>>5694 I wonder if these two will meet again in the future, if fate should decide it. Interesting to see a little of Midnight's origins but also a bit odd. I suppose it would have to do with the difference in perspective from Midnight to this pony Sunrise. Midnight described it as much more bleak and barren but this pony describes it as some sort of play pen. Of course depending on how mentally basic/advanced this Sunrise is, she might not consider that there could be anything more. Another thing that Sunrise's observations bring up is that it almost seems the men in the white coats and Midnight might be working in cahoots together. I say this as books would seem a bit of a luxury item in such as place. Of course more than likely it's just all a part of the experiment, Midnight would have no reference to go on waking up a clean slate and so really could have only gone along with what they told her. Also curious about what exactly they did to cause "Shadow" to loose her memory and to gain so much in intelligence. More than just the chips? A brain transplant? Is there anything left of the old? Midnight described some blurry early memories but who knows what exactly they really were. Back to the present day, Anon's made great strides in helping Midnight overcome her conditioning (or whatever you'd call it). Hopefully Anon can help her find peace from her busy mind. And who know, maybe some board or card games will be enough of a distraction for her. Maybe if Anon can pull her away from the laptop for long enough he can teach her how to play rummy or something. Thanks for the update Auto.
>>5692 Interesting that Midnight was different even before the augmented intelligence. If she's not from there...? >>5694 All really explains the difference in perspective compared to Starla, though. Kind of wonder what happened to Sunrise. (But it's probably nothing good.)
>>5707 >>5708 There were a few reasons this little one off came to be, and by no means do I consider myself a masterful writer, so some things may have been lost along the way. This whole idea basically came out of nowhere like many of the things I do - sort of this weird state between being awake and fully asleep. It's really odd, and I can't describe it better than that. But one of the big things with this is the matter of perspective, as you noted. I tried to make the writing and the vocabulary quite simple to show that 'regular' ponies aren't stupid as Midnight has described them, just... simple. Things are taken at face value, rather than considered. It's why Sunrise can see this wonderful pasture, while 'Shadow' sees just a bleak little pen - she takes notice of everything considers it in the grand scheme of everything. She has a desire to see and understand - which is why to not have memories, to not fully be able to wrap her head around Sunrise being her friend - it ticks her off. We see that a lot now even in the present, how she's bothered by 'not having answers.' What exactly it took to imbue Midnight with intelligence is rather ambiguous - we may never know the true extent of what it took to make her who she is now. Did that take away some of her natural personality? Did it take away her memory, overwrite it? The memories that seem to be there now could be just a recent development of old items fading back in from the past. It's hard to say, and in many respects, has no bearing on the present, aside from showing how profoundly Midnight has shifted from past to present. It's kind of one of those things where intelligence comes at a cost, and for Midnight, it took basically everything from her. It's no wonder that her focus became what was shoved in front of her by the men in white - though that itch to keep the mind occupied and learn contributed a great deal, as well. One other thing to consider - Midnight escaped because she seemed to understand her experimentation days were over, and termination was a likely prospect. And she hates failure - was she a failure? Was intelligence above everything else the only goal? Food for thought. Perhaps in time, we will see more of Midnight's journey from the past into the present. Finally, this shows that Midnight's opinions are not always right. Is she a victim? To some extent - but here we have someone that wants to be her friend, tries to be nice - and 'Shadow' rejects her. There is culpability there on her part, but her focus and her desire to have answers and be right... that's on her. Maybe she's learning to understand that now, and maybe she has memories of this - and is part of the reason she's willing to make a change. I just felt like filling a little bit more in there, as this was just as much about the feels as it was about piecing things together a bit clearer. This is the first story I've ever really tried something like this, so perhaps it came off as a bit messy. Some of this is piecing it together for me as well - I never start off a story with a grand scheme or idea. Things just sort of fall into place, chunks at a time. Often through that weird ass dream state I mentioned.
>>5709 Interesting stuff to consider indeed. >so perhaps it came off as a bit messy. I don't think it came out too bad. My above comment was primarily regarding the difference between Midnight and Sunrise's perspective. Midnight's earlier impression seemed to suggest that they were more or less kept in kennels with only the occasional "play time" with other ponies. It also seemed to somewhat suggest that she had been for the most part kept alone due to her experimental status. Which I mean could have very well have been Midnight's fate during the long times away from the others in the group. And being more mentally advanced certainly would have made the place feel more like a prison. Whereas Sunrise just looks at it like a pleasant pasture. I do think that this more simplistic perspective is appropriate for the ponies of a more simple mindset. I think the last update fits with that. And I'm sure that things would have felt much harsher for Midnight as well, ignorance is bliss after all. I will say that a lot of my perhaps more intensive wondering, you know: new pony from Midnight's past, something something Chekhov's gun, I'm very much curious to see where things go with this. Definitely a little bit of a change up. As always, excited for more to come.
>>5710 This is actually just a one off, and not part of the actual story going on. It's a view into other things in the same universe. So will it end up tying in to the bigger picture? Not particularly. Just lore more than anything, a look into what once was and will never be. I should have mentioned that - I posted the link to that paste, but it's sort of silly to think everyone will click on that at the end when they already read it. My bad.
>>5712 You had me fooled ^:) Makes a bit more sense now I suppose. It was an interesting snippet though so I'm glad you put it together
>>5707 The books are definitely part of the experiment. One of the clear stark difference is how after Shadow was changed she could read the sign on the wall but Sunrise can only make out funny marks, she cant read none of them can until their intelligence is artificially enhanced with chips like Shadow. She was told to read it, it's homework while Sunrise is probably more like the kids who just want to play outside instead of the detached nerd that Shadow. It's like snowfall studying while the kids are outside throwing snowballs and playing, even if she used to be like them at one point she cant go back. Tragically though Snowfall made the choice on her own, Shadow was forced into someone making the decision for her.
>>5708 >Midnight being different Sorry, missed this the first go around. It's more that she was the first attempt to go for a "clone" of a show character that didn't go to plan - the colors were fucked. So there's a sharp contrast from the stereotypical colorful ponies that otherwise inhabit this area. She is from there - just not the same area. Her creation or birth might be different, too - she mentioned before she was 'born from a giant test tube.' We really don't know anything about the others... perhaps that's left up to 'nature.'
>>5677 "You ready?" >"Can't be any worse than the first time, can it?" >You stare at her, unamused by the feeble attempt of wit. >Because it's more of a negative thought than an actual joke. >Midnight relents with a sigh. >"Fine. Sorry." >Tonight is attempt number two at going out to a public place - outside of the truck. >This time, it's dining in at a local restaurant... >Alright, so it's more like a couple of steps above dive bar territory, but the food is pretty good. >There are folks that genuinely come here for a meal. >In addition to the bar patrons. >There is a decent place with Italian food not too far away but - well, that would come off kinda like a stereotypical date, wouldn't it? >That's not what this is about, and you made sure to explain that to Middie. >Repeatedly. >She might have understood it the second time, but five times doesn't hurt anything, right? >...alright, so you're a little nerved up as well. > It's a multitude of things altogether. >There is the whole idea of dining in with a pony - that might come off as a little funny. >Really, you should be over that by now. >But it's still a bit of a nag in the back of your head. >There's also the matter of this being the first test of what Midnight has been trying to change with her attitude being put into practice. >And then there's you. >And her. >Trying to sort of dance around each other. >Or maybe it's just you doing that. >Take for instance, the night you came home with that mirror. >For whatever reason, Midnight suddenly decided to lay her head on your leg, for basically the rest of the night. >Why? >You dunno. >You were hesitant to ask. >Other than a minor stupid comment, you mentioned nothing else of it, nor did she. >It wasn't repeated any ensuing nights. >Was she just sort of... feeling things out? >As in being closer together? >Did she expect you to do something, like comb or play with her mane? >You wanted to... >Maybe you fucked up. >Or it's all in your head. >God damn, this is aggravating. >You want to ask so many questions, but you're afraid of repercussions. >Midnight is not as volatile as she once was, but you feel like she's in a vulnerable position as she works through her mannerisms, her emotions - virtually everything. >You care about her. >More than you can right now. > It's a sobering reality, and it's one you need to keep in focus. >You promised to keep that shit in check, and you will do so. >Clear of those thoughts, you find yourself already opening one of the doors to the restaurant entrance, holding it for Midnight to step through and join you in the lobby. >You peer around the warmly lit dining room while waiting for someone to serve you. >Not too busy - which is good. >It is a weeknight after all - likely a much different story were it the weekend. >A younger man heads your way from a back corner of the dining room, wearing fairly casual attire.
>>5779 >"Hi..." >No sooner does he greet you that his eyes fall on Midnight, leaving him momentarily speechless. "Hello. Two of us," you speak up, motioning to you and her. >That breaks him from the trance, offering a quick and rather apologetic smile. >"Right. Sorry about that." >"No offense taken. You aren't the first one to be shellshocked." >Now you're the one caught by surprise, looking over at Midnight after that calm and rather smooth response. >While the waiter leans down to grab a pair of menus from the pedestal, Midnight takes notice of your stare. >"What?" she whispers. >You wave your hand dismissively. >"Alright, follow me." >Weaving your way through tables, the waiter leads you toward a booth off to one side of the room. >There's a few glances here and there, but nothing much more than passing interest from the other patrons. >You do see Midnight tense up a little bit though, her jaw clenched ever so slightly as she keeps her view pointed ahead. >With a quick rundown of specials as you and Midnight get seated, the waiter takes off to tend to another table, leaving you both alone for a moment. >"Was I just supposed to stay quiet?" Midnight finally asks. "No, I was surprised, Middie. Relax - that was good." >"Really?" >You can't help but chuckle slightly at her tone of astonishment. "About as good as I've heard from anyone." >"Well, Starla recommended treating someone staring as a compliment, rather than a threat. That's how she sort of got over that initial stress." "Not a bad idea at all. I suppose having several people at once was a bit beyond the scope of that thought, though." >"A little," she admits. "But I said I was going to try, didn't I?" "And you're doing fine so far - you just surprised me. Sounds like Starla talked your ear off with all kinds of helpful things, to be honest with you." >An amused grin crosses Midnight's face. >"Well, it was her idea to come along with Teddy. Evidently, she overheard us on the phone. I guess she wanted to help me." "Really? That's pretty cool - and makes more sense. Why didn't you tell me before?" >You only get a shrug in response. >"Can I get you two started on drinks tonight?" >Your waiter appears again, making you aware both of you have yet to peruse the menu. >"Just a small glass of water," Midnight replies. "Ah, you got Coke?" >"Pepsi okay?" "I can stomach it." >It at least gets some amusement out of the guy. >"I do have to mention our ice machine is busted, so we don't have any ice - is that okay?" "Hey, more soda and less ice sounds good to me. >"I figured - just making sure. Be right back," he says before hurriedly scurrying off. >"What do you recommend?" Midnight asks as her trusty old wire snakes its way out of the necklace and pinches the laminated pages of the menu in front of her. "I dunno. Been a long time since I was here. Hell, I think they had a different name before." >"That's not very reassuring, Anon."
>>5780 "Names change just based on owners - doesn't mean much. And I already see where you're going to be choosing from. >Midnight gives you a funny look, turning the page to where you currently are in the menu. >As expected, her eyes light up. >"Sirloin, ribeye, and a rack of ribs. Perfect," she says gleefully. "There is no way you're gonna eat all of that. You'll probably tap out after one steak." >"Maybe we can take some home?" "Choose one, Middie. We have stuff at home." >"She mockingly grumbles something under her breath, while your waiter makes his way over with a tray of drinks. >"Here we go, Pepsi and a small water," he announces while placing each respective glass down. >Evidently, he took Midnight's request literally, as the glass looks more appropriate for a toddler than anyone else. >"Are you ready to order?" "Nah, give me a few more minutes, I was running my mouth more than my eyes across the menu. >The waiter nods and shuffles off to tend to another patron in the meantime. >Sirloin does sound pretty good - but so do ribs. >Maybe you will wait to see what Middie gets, then trade with her a little bi- >Midnight's abrupt hacking breaks you from your thoughts. "Hey, you okay?" you ask with worry while Midnight drops a half-empty glass of water back on the table. >It teeters a bit but stays upright. >"What the fuck are they putting in their water here?" she manages to gasp. "What?" >"That shit burns!" >You grab the glass from her side of the table and cautiously go to take a sip. >You don't actually need to - the contents practically burn your nose hairs. >Fucking alcohol. >With Midnight's little outburst, the young man tending to your table rushes back >"Is everything all right?" "She asked for water, not paint thinner," you chide. >"Oh - ah shit, I must have grabbed the wrong glass," he says, putting a hand to his forehead. "Then what the hell is that?" >"Probably my moonshine!" calls a burly older man several tables down, holding up a glass of clear liquid. "Either that or they *really* water down their drinks here." >Jesus Christ, that dude got a hollow leg, or is he planning to go comatose? "Can you get her an actual water - and maybe some breadsticks or something? I don't know how that's gonna affect her," you tell the waiter. >"Yes, absolutely. I'm really sorry," he replies, profusely apologizing a couple more times before darting for the kitchen. >"People actually - ugh, enjoy that stuff?" Midnight asks, still reeling from the stiff drink. "Sometimes - or just the after-effects," you reply. "I take it you've never had alcohol of any kind, huh?" >"Does gasoline count?" >... "You've drunk gasoline?" >"No, I'm just being a smartass like you would be," she replies with a smirk, grimacing a bit as she clears her throat. "Well, you're probably gonna feel weird and loopy, considering that was some strong shit and you haven't eaten anything today since breakfast." >"Lovely."
>>5781 >Your waiter comes back with a larger glass of you would assume is absolutely water now, along with a basket of Texas-style garlic bread. >"I am so sorry about that - bread is on the house," he apologizes. "It was an accident, I get it. Thanks," you say with a sigh, feeling a bit nerved up now with Midnight's well-being. >She'll probably be okay... right? >While you mindlessly order something after Midnight puts in her order, you pull out your cellphone and shoot Teddy a text. >He will probably know. >You already have your keys in your hand in anticipation of this being an emergency. "Midnight, try some of the toast." >"That really doesn't sound appetizing," she says, looking over the golden bread with skepticism. "I don't want you completely fucked up - you need something in your stomach now." >"You mean other than fire?" "Yes." >Middie cautiously snags a piece and takes a nibble, while your eyes stay glued to your phone. >"What are you doing?" "Just... checking something." >"With a death grip on your phone? Bullshit." "Fine. I'm asking Teddy if alcohol is something to worry about with you." >"...do you think it is?" "I don't know." >"What did he say?" "I'm waiting for an answer." >"...how long will that take?" >You don't know if this is Middie just being a pain in the ass with worry or already the beginning of alcohol-influenced behavior. >Thankfully, your phone dings as if on cue. >'She will be fine - may hate herself in the morning though. Hahaha!' >Thank God. "You're going to be fine. Just possibly suffer a hangover, depending on how your tolerance is." >"I've heard that term, but what is it?" "Which one?" >"Hangover." "Basically regret all decisions from the night before, swear off alcohol entirely. Also includes headaches, upset stomach, among other things. Just generally feel like shit." "So why do people like alcohol?" she asks, mildly dismayed by your description. "Loosens em up, gets rid of inhibitions, I guess. Forget stress and life troubles," you respond while trying some of the free appetizers. >Pretty good. >Midnight is almost finished with her piece - evidently, she likes it, too. >Honestly, you wonder if you should just nix the evening out. >In the back of your mind, you worry about what Midnight is like under the influence of alcohol... >What if she's one of those people - >Er... >What if she gets angry and belligerent? "Midnight, did you want to just go?" >"What? Why?" >She almost sounds hurt by the question. "I guess I'm just a little worried about you. Alcohol makes people do dumb shit, and I don't want there to be a scene or anything like that." >"No, I'll be fine. I don't really feel anything other than... I just kinda feel good, I guess." >Midnight grins with that statement - an expression that is more relaxed and carefree than normal. >It begins. "Alright, just checking. Just uh... well, I guess this will be interesting." >Midnight snags another piece of garlic bread and munches on it.
>>5782 >"This is actually pretty good - do we have any crunchy flavored bread at home like this?" "Can certainly get some - I didn't expect you to actually like it." >"Surprise, I do," she says with a giggle. >You don't even know where to go with the conversation now. >Just by the unfocused look in her eyes, the moonshine is kicking her pretty hard right now. >Damn lightweight. >Then again, that stuff would more than likely put you on your ass. >"Sooo..." >You wait a moment as Midnight pauses, apparently in thought as she freezes. "What's up?" >She shrugs. >"I unno. I forgot," she says, her brow creasing as she continues to think. "That's alright. Shit happens, particularly when you're drunk." >"Do you ever drink?" "I have once in a while," you tell her. >She stares at you. >Sort of - there's clearly a fog there coinciding with a slight sway of her whole body. >"Liar." "What?" >She leans over the table, poking you with a hoof. >"I dunno what it is, but I can - you're lying to me about that, I can tell," she slurs, narrowing her eyes with disapproval. "Okay, I used to drink a fair amount." >"And then you stopped? Why?" "Because you started living with me." >"...oh." >Midnight returns back to her side of the booth, blindsided by that answer. >"Why though?" "I don't really know. Sort of didn't trust you at first, then it was the mystery about you, our stupid little discussions - just never felt the need to crack open a bottle, I suppose." >"And you trust me now?" "Should I not?" >"I unno." >Riiight. "You're weird when you're drunk." >"You're weird all the time. Ash-hole." "Well, at least you didn't call me an asshole," you tease her. >"...what did I say?" she asks, dumbfounded. "Ash-hole." >It takes a second for that to register with her - but she ends up snickering at it. >"That was so stupid. Why is everything so... fuzzy?" >She starts looking around the dining room in awe, her mouth agape. "Midnight, you're drunk." >"No," she gasps, turning quickly to face you. "This is drunk?" >Out of the corner of your vision, you see your waiter making his way toward you carrying a large tray. "Food's here," you warn Midnight. >"Oh that's right! We ordered food!" Midnight cheers, clopping her front hooves together with excitement. >Holy shit. >She's a glitzy, happy drunk. >You stifle your laughter the best you can while Midnight oohs and aahs as both plates are laid down. >"So... I take it the alcohol has kicked in?" the waiter asks, a mixture of amusement and anxiety. "Maybe a little bit." >"Again, I'm really sorry about that. Usually with ice water - well, there's ice. I got complacent." "I know. Shit happens. Food looks good though, thanks." >"Of course. Let me know if you two need anything. Enjoy!" >"Is this really for me?" Midnight slurs as the waiter departs. "Yep. And that might help with diluting some of that moonshine in you, so dig in." ----- I thought I would go on a bit further, but I just couldn't get it to feel right beyond here - for now.

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