CH 6 Honestly, I'm Hurting
“To believe all men honest, would be folly. To believe none so, is something worse.”
Thankfully, even with a slight bit of turbulence, we managed to get back to Neo Oasis just before the clouds re-assembled high above with prisoner in tow. Well, not exactly a prisoner, more like a pawn who was mesmerized by my good looks and high charisma to stay perfectly calm and relaxed, as if I was one of his mates. Well, until I did something like shoot him in the back or something stupid like that, which would cancel the effect. Intimidation is after all, the strongest ability a pony of my standing can use to turn foes into temporary allies, and I have yet to meet another pony with a similar skill.
Oddly enough, I was feeling as if somepony was missing. Eh, head count was not my speciality, I know I told everypony to board for debriefing and the like so nopony would have stayed behind. The shantytown was rather lively today if anything as we flew over it by several miles, bypassing the plasma mine field and the gaping heads of zebra and ponies merged into the dirt via some random megaspell. Not sure if they could be considered ghouls, but they freak out a lot of poachers trying to break in by screaming on detection to alert my soldiers. Anansi stayed silent thoughout most of the trip, even as I joked with some of the stallions about how much bottlecaps were coming our way once high command sucked the lake dry of all it's CO2 content. I mean, we're talking thousands of tons of pure carbon dioxide, and that could easily keep several of our thunderheads afloat for a few years.
Of course, even when landing, there were a few onlookers checking us out as we unloaded off the ramp and carried our gear in the central command hub nearby. I really wanted a shower in my private tent, but I had a debrief to attend with my less-than-adequate generals who mostly lazed around in my absence. I am gonna kick so many flanks if I find out they haven't been doing their jobs awhile I was out.
"Well, if anything, we followed up on that tip by tailing a small caravan of zebra who soon wound up captured by LRA soldiers. As you can guess, the kids were separated from their parents to be 'brainwashed' with that red powder gunk into obedient soldiers, awhile the mares were made for breeding stock for those nasty hybrids (good luck), and finally the male zebras were sent to the Pit in Neighgera. So we deployed 3 teams to liberate the camps where the colts, mares and male zebras were kept, killing their captors and interrogating the camel supervisors who were over-seeing the mining operations." "It will be a rough job of de-toxifing the colts of the powder's mind submission effects, but we are making progress in retaking the mines inch by inch despite heavy resistance and insane cultists carrying explosives hiding amongst the miners." "Likewise, we have retaken the rare metal mine in Catro, where the Anubis Jackals have been powerless given our drones are immune to their death curses. We should have new factories pumping all sorts of supplies and mechs to help with the regular mining and farming efforts. General Highwind has seen to it personally with his control of mechs to keep them under control after all." "And the annexing, how goes that?" "Slow, of course. We've hit a rut in the skeleton coast area, as those nasty Nyx pirates keep blowing up our convoys and supply trains.
"Sigh...it's that annoying spritebot hacker. He usually pops in once a month to tell us about things going on in Equestria, mostly about the bad stuff and some heroes emerging here and there. As well as telling us where certain supply depots and warlords are set up so we can take them apart. We've tried blasting them a few times to ward him off, but he just keeps coming to share stuff, mostly to me since I'm one of the few that tolerate his jabber." I muttered, watching as the spritebot hovered closer and closer to the tent, folding my front limbs impatiently. "A little early for a news report, don't you think?" "Ah, but it's to be expected when I heard you were
-Wait....that voice. Spike? Oi, I need you to relay a message for me.- 'Why?' -Because, you nut, he's a trusted associate in the MAS. I thought he died just like everyone else. If he's alive, maybe there's a chance to turn things around. Tell him that GoE is flowing freely.- 'That sounds stupid, but whatever. As long as you don't use my voice, I'll tell him.' "Anansi? Is that you in there? Oh wait, you can't speak unless your host is out cold. And yes, flowing as well as they should...but the holders are dead and their descendants scattered to the wind." 'What's he talking about?' -Special project linked to the Ministry Mare's DNA. I'll talk to you about it later. Just tell him I know that there's still a chance the lockdown is active on that one stable.- "Oh, okay. He says the lockdown is active on a certain stable, though I have no idea what that means." "Nor should you, as there are certain projects that could devastate this world far worse than it is now. So don't push Anansi too much on that stuff, okay? Come to think of it, there were 6 of them that were allied to the ministries whom I met before my nap." -Tell them that they were taken to the Six Points of Zebrica, though I'm not familiar with that term. Mostly as hostages to thwart me from doing anything like re-hacking the GoE to start on it's own without a DNA scan.- "Oh, the six points? Well, there's Mt. Killamarejaro where my girlfriend lives in secret, the Skeleton Coast where the Beholders hang out, the lost Cloud City of Timbucktu where the Poachers dwell with their trophies, Victory Falls in Zebrabwe where the main fleet of Nyx ships keep their loot, the Pyramids of Anubis where the Jackals carve sacrifices on a constant basis, and the Okapivango Delta Park where the Guerilla Forces keep prisoners." "Well, as you may have heard, we already taken down the Jackals so it's unlikely his friends would be found there.
"Oh right, you guys don't mind if I set up a radio communications tower, right? I bet you'd love some music down here." "Fine, do as you wish. I'm one of the few who can get a signal down here despite my Pipbuck malfunctioning half the time." -You know, if we find my friends, one of them has experience in making them the way they are. Not to mention she can improve the S.A.T.S. so you don't lose a lot of AP during fights, and get your E.F.S. re-uploaded to detect enemies better from far away.- 'Fine, we'll do that sort of thing as a side-quest. But we're still annexing our turf either way.'
They geld ponies who misbehave, to take the fight out of them and then place explosive collars to keep them in check should they get the courage to strike back.
And my perk is Ninja (Ranged sneak attacks do 3.5x normal damage and melee sneak attacks do 10x normal damage) as well as Blitz (S.A.T.S. melee distance is increased even more, and the farther the Blitz distance, the greater the damage). I was planning to do some training on Sneak, but well..." Suddenly he vanished, and his long serrated blade crossed across my throat via flat side, as if he had somehow teleported in a flash of light, "When I can go this fast, why be quiet?"
"I'm your top field medic, so don't give me lip about my size. I have been upping my game up to Lv 4 on this device, so my Medic (Stimpaks and RadAway restore all lost health and radiation, and work much more quickly) talent patches you up. Just don't bother asking for addiction treatment, only an idiot asks for Hydra or Dash.
emergency kit- radio (hoof-cranked, with USB charging port), water filtering pellets via deer magic with several hundred gallons stored in a zebra talisman, RTE Bars, mini-liquid soaps, collapsible biodegradable cups, mile-long range shake-charging flashlights, first-aid kit, rebreather, whistle, dust/gas masks, wrench/screwdrivers, lots of bobby pins, garbage bags, collapsible shovel, can openers, prescription medicine, extra lens, tons of bottlecaps, Radaway, RadBug Repellent, maps for anypony not having a pipbuck, matches/lighter, paper rolls (we're not savages after all), chlorine bleach (just in case the talisman fails, as 16 drops of it in a gallon of radiated water can clean it up quickly from experience), and a compacted cloud mattress with 'blanket'.
What Karma?-Given you're a narcissist Pegasus who barely cares about others, your actions will not result in negative karma no matter what, even if you loot bodies and shoot sables in the back. However, it will annoy Ananzi to no end.
Friend of a friend: Your allies will trust you, despite also being top in their own fields with high level perks. Just try not to stab them in the back and run away when the going gets tough.