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/bootleg/ Tinny, the tinfoil conspiracy pony

By NHanon
Created: 2021-07-16 21:31:33
Updated: 2023-11-26 19:58:58
Expiry: Never

  1. >You’ve always wanted a pony of your own.
  2. >But who would’ve guessed one would come into your life out of the blue.
  3. >Though you never thought it would’ve been a pony literally made out of tinfoil.
  4. >As expected, she’s super light and easy to carry around; roughly the size of a small cat, too.
  5. >You can even wear her on your head, though that results in your hair standing up on end.
  6. >It’s not that you’re complaining however, she does make life better.
  7. >Well, aside from her… odd quirks, that is.
  8. >“I know you find it hard to believe, but the contrails slowly affect people’s minds, making them easier to control.”
  9. “Mhm.”
  10. >She’s completely obsessed with conspiracies.
  11. >Ironic, isn’t it?
  12. >She finds them in the internet, books, TV, and many other places that you’d never think to look.
  13. >You’re still not sure how she finds some of those places either, as she never leaves the house out of fear of being snatched up off the street.
  14. >You’re more worried about her being blown away by a strong gust of wind, though.
  15. >Her voice takes on a more serious tone, “That’s not all either, it goes way up higher than that.”
  16. “Uh-huh.”
  17. >You nod along to her rambling while taking a sip of your coffee.
  18. >You really should not be enabling her, but she never listens to reason.
  19. >Because even if you try, she always has some crazy counter evidence that was printed from somewhere online, or torn out from a book.
  20. >You’re not sure where she gets of those pages either, since all of your books are completely untouched.
  21. >Regardless, none of what she rambles about is true.
  22. >At least, you hope not.
  23. >“-chickens are in on it, too.”
  24. >You blink in disbelief.
  25. “Excuse me, but what?”
  26. >“The chickens, Anon! The chickens! Weren’t you listening?”
  27. “It’s hard to follow your train of thought sometimes, Tinny. Especially when you get on a roll with it.”
  28. >She groans, then rubs her hooves over her face, “Darn it, Anon. You’re the only one I can trust in person. You need to pay attention, it’s for both of our safety!”
  29. >Before you can reply, she starts to pace about while mumbling to herself.
  30. >Hopefully, she’ll burn herself out soon, and take a nap.
  31.  
  32. >You’re not sure how that even works, but it’s better to not question it.
  33. >When she does sleep, it’s fairly cute, partly due to her snoring sounding similar to wind chimes.
  34. >Again, you’re not sure how that works.
  35. >You’ve taken a few pictures of her napping before, though you’ve kept them hidden from her.
  36. >It’s not out of malice, but because she doesn’t trust cameras in the slightest.
  37. >Something-something about stealing souls… dunno, you really weren’t paying attention to that particular rant of hers.
  38. >“Alright, so the chickens are apart of *the plan*. Do you remember *the plan*?”
  39. >nope.jpg
  40. “Yes, of course I do.”
  41. >“Good, that saves me time! So anyways, they’re being brought into the fold because they’re necessary to keep things in check.”
  42. “Oh I see.”
  43. >Honestly, you have no clue where she’s going with this.
  44. >It’s just another conspiracy upon her mountain of conspiracies.
  45. >The only bad part about all of this is when you have to warn others before bringing them over.
  46. >If you don’t, well… your aunt was never the same after Tinny /collected/ those samples.
  47. >“That reminds me, have you seen the mailman today?”
  48. “Nope.”
  49. >“Be careful around him, because I’m one-hundred percent sure he’s working with them.”
  50. “Remind me, who’s them?”
  51. >“The vampire overlords, of course! They’re apart of the cabal, and they control the colors of the world. How else would they feed so easily?”
  52. >Her paranoia would get anyone else locked up in the loony bin, but at least she has you.
  53. >Chuckling, you gently shake your head.
  54. “Okay, so how does the mailman fit into all of this?”
  55. >“I’ve been keeping watch on the neighbors while you’re at work, so I’ve seen him frequently talking with Mrs. Smith. You already know she’s a vampire, but that’s when I saw it! They hugged each other for a long time; she was feeding on him, Anon! She’s eating his colors and making him grayer!”
  56. >You probably should have stopped her before things got this far, yet her ranting has grown on you slowly.
  57.  
  58. “Mrs. Smith isn’t a vampire, she just has a Transylvanian accent. She wasn’t feeding on him either, because that mailman is her son. Also, he’s got gray hair because he’s an older guy.”
  59. >“No, it’s all a front, Anon! I’ve got the evidence to prove it! Wait here, I’ll go get it to show you!”
  60. >She dashes off the table, and gently glides onto the floor, then runs off to her lair.
  61. >Heh, should’ve known this would happen.
  62. >At least her antics are mostly harmless.
  63. >Despite them, you love her all the same.
  64. >While she’s distracted getting her ‘evidence’, you take another sip of your coffee, and check the newspaper.
  65. >Upon opening it however, there are numerous sections missing.
  66. “Ah, right… forgot about that.”
  67. >This is yet another unknown of hers – she somehow always manages to get to the paper before you do.
  68. >She’ll take whatever part she wants, and always for her ever growing web within her lair.
  69. “Huh, she didn’t steal the crossword section this time.”
  70. >You start filling it out while awaiting her.
  71. >From the sound of rapidly approaching tapping however, it sounds like you don’t have to wait long.
  72. >“I’ve got it all right here, just give me a sec.”
  73. >She clambers up the books and boxes you stacked up to help her get onto the table.
  74. >It looks like she has a small stack of papers with her this time.
  75. >There’s another thing you’re unsure of: how she carries or holds anything.
  76. >“Take at look at these! It’s all the evidence I’ve been compiling on Mrs. Smith and the mailman.”
  77. >She taps the topmost paper, and points to different parts.
  78. >It’s mostly cobbled together pictures, and hastily scribbled notes written in pen, pencil, and marker.
  79. >There’s a picture of a stereotypical vampire that has the label of Mrs. Smith written underneath it, with timestamps of her comings and goings from home.
  80. >A red line (drawn in marker) connects the picture to another one of a postman who has spirals scribbled onto his eyes.
  81.  
  82. >The majority of these notes look like utter nonsense, with it consisting of whomever the pair are talking to.
  83. >Despite its… unique appearance, you’ve gotta give her credit where it’s due.
  84. >She invest so much time, effort, and energy into making all of this evidence, all of it for her make you believe her.
  85. >It’s certainly entertaining, that’s for sure.
  86. >Though honestly, her skills would probably be better put to use elsewhere.
  87. “Oh wow, this is really interesting.
  88. >“Now do you get it? Everything falls into place once you read it.”
  89. >Not in the slightest.
  90. “Yeah, I do. I’m really glad you enlightened me.”
  91. >But you’ll keep the truth to yourself.
  92. >She beams as she nods, then she pulls out another sheet; this one with show dogs from a magazine taped to it.
  93. >“I knew you’d understand. Now we can move onto the next part of the plans that the overlords are using to control society. Get this: werewolves hidden in plain sight, and where they fit into *the plan*.”
  94. >All of this makes her happy, in turn, that makes you happy.
  95. >Because you wouldn’t have it any other way, since this is just another day with Tinny, the tinfoil conspiracy pony.
  96.  
  97. ***
  98.  
  99. >You are Tinny, the tinfoil pony.
  100. >There are many ponies out in the world, but only one you.
  101. >It’s an early Saturday morning, approximately seven minutes after three according to the kitchen clock.
  102. >Currently, you’re making your rounds around the home by checking every window and fixture; taking notes along the way.
  103. >As you peek out the last window on this trip, you note that the road is clear, with nothing else in sight of the darkness.
  104. >But you know that they’re out there, watching, calculating, planning out their next move.
  105. >You can never be too careful, because they can come at anytime to snatch Anon and you up.
  106. >Then bam! Off to some warehouse, or an offshore base to be processed for knowing too much.
  107. >The need to remain ever vigilant is a must have against the forces that threaten the very world itself.
  108. >Even if exhaustion is starting to creep in, a break can be denied a bit longer.
  109. >Often, those breaks last around twenty minutes, usually consisting of nap or something else.
  110. >The time varies however, because without an exact routine, they cannot catch you off guard as easily.
  111. >Though in spite of your caution, they have built a shadow profile on you like they have for everyone else.
  112. *yawn* “Time to return to the lair.”
  113. >It’s essential that records are made of every note, and especially duplicates of those, too.
  114. >Just as you reach the door, you perform a double inspection to ensure that nothing got in.
  115. >Feeling satisfied, you open it, then do the same procedure on the other side.
  116. “Gotta be certain…”
  117. >This is the only place in the home that is completely shut off from the outside world.
  118. >It’s all lined in a combination of tinfoil (much like what composes your body), and many other spy resistant materials.
  119. >That’s another thing: you’ve tried to convince Anon to let you line the rest of the house with the materials within here.
  120. >Needless to say, that didn’t go over well.
  121. >At least he was generous enough to let you do it to this entire room.
  122.  
  123. >What really helped with that, was giving the best pair of puppy eyes you could to him.
  124. >He clutched his chest, and uttered something along the lines of, “Hnng!”
  125. >Not sure what that actually meant, but hey, it worked.
  126. >You learned all about stuff like that from the people on the deep web.
  127. >Anon says you’re on there too much, but how else can you stay updated on the various happenings?
  128. >After all, it’s the only place that freely shares information about what’s really going on in the world at large.
  129. >Aliens, lizard men, ruling families; you name it, it has it.
  130. >It’s also the only place with people other than Anon that you can trust at all.
  131. >They all know about *the plan*, too.
  132. >Of course, there are spies hidden there to dissuade everyone.
  133. >Though they don’t hide very well, because they almost always give themselves away so easily.
  134. >What was the word that one guy called them?
  135. “Um… shills, I think…”
  136. >It doesn’t matter, less talking and thinking, more copying.
  137. >This process takes time, but it could be easier if you used a copy machine.
  138. >However, that would definitely give away what you’re doing.
  139. >Unfortunately, an issue has started to crop up with all of these documents – you’re running out of room for them all.
  140. >It would help if you had a library, or even an archive for it all.
  141. “Maybe I can convince Anon to let me have some more space?”
  142. >Doubt that will work, but it’s worth a shot.
  143. >While working on copying everything over into the ledger, you start comparing it to the rest of the web.
  144. >Each conspiracy is a colored thread that connects to another.
  145. >They all connect to the biggest one – *the plan*.
  146. >This current one you’re working on is about the vampire overlords.
  147. >Mrs. Smith can’t fool you, she just wants to feed on Anon like she feeds on the mailman.
  148. >One time, she even tried to give him cookies when he brought over her mail that we /accidentally/ got.
  149. >As if it was a real accident!
  150. >You knew right away that the cookies had drugs in them, which would knock Anon out.
  151. >So you /accidentally/ knocked them to the ground, then you /accidentally/ stepped on them… numerous times.
  152.  
  153. >Anon was really mad at you for that, but you had to protect him!
  154. >He forgave you for it eventually, anyways.
  155. >These notes are nearly finished being copied over, so you take a moment to look at the web again.
  156. >Various pictures from around the world are hung up.
  157. >You’ll never take photographs, those machines eat bits of one’s soul.
  158. >One picture in particular catches your eye – Edward Snowden.
  159. >Although he was likely a plant, his whistleblower efforts helped enlighten many of the masses.
  160. >That got so many to not only wake up, but to join the cause against the overlords.
  161. >It’s shame that more didn’t wake up, though…
  162. >In general, you use his efforts as a counter argument against others who don’t like him.
  163. *yawn*
  164. >All of this work is really tiring.
  165. >It would be whole lot easier if Anon could lend a hand.
  166. >He doesn’t quite understand your complete system yet, but eventually, he will.
  167. >With everyday that passes, you share with him another truth in the grand scheme of the world.
  168. >If he didn’t have to work to keep suspicion off you two, you could teach him everything in a single day!
  169. >As for his day’s off, well, every time you’ve tried, he always puts it off, usually by saying he needs to relax or something.
  170. >That’s fine for him, but you can hardly relax.
  171. >At all times, you must be on guard!
  172. >Though maybe you both can watch some X-Files later?
  173. >It’s a fairly neat TV series that Anon showed you, and it even has some glimmer of true within it, too.
  174. >Sadly, it’s mostly just another way to placate the masses from what’s really happening in the world.
  175. >Like-
  176. >*thud*
  177. “What was that?!”
  178. >That came from outside, you’re certain of it.
  179. >Carefully creeping out of the lair, you sneak to the front window in the living room to peer outside.
  180. >Despite it still being quite dark out, there is something moving out there.
  181. >It’s at the vacant house, there’s…
  182. “Oh no…”
  183. >A black van!
  184. >What’s worse, is there are several darkly clad figures moving around it.
  185. >Your eyes widen as fear wells up from within.
  186. >It’s happening.
  187. >It’s happening!
  188. >IT’S HAPPENING!
  189.  
  190. “They’ve come for us, I’ve got to get Anon, and escape!”
  191. >With all the speed your little legs can muster, you rush into the hallway.
  192. >Nearing Anon’s room, you stop by the lair, and hesitate.
  193. >Should you get whatever evidence you can from it first before fleeing?
  194. >NO! There is no time, if you lag behind, they’ll get you!
  195. >You dash into Anon’s room, then make your way up onto his bed.
  196. >He’s fast asleep, and lightly snoring, so you start shaking him as quickly as you can.
  197. “Anon, Anon, get up! It’s happening, we gotta go!”
  198. >“Huzzawha?” He grumbles out.
  199. >You scrunch, then start shaking him again.
  200. >Slowly, he blinks with tired eyes, and lets out a long yawn, “What time is it?”
  201. “There is no time to explain, we gotta go, they’ve come for us!”
  202. >He’s moving way too slow, so you start pulling his blanket from in an effort to hurry.
  203. >However, he starts pulling back, “Hold on, where’s the fire, Tinny?”
  204. “A black van is outside, they’ll be here any minute to abduct us!”
  205. >“Black van? Let me go check.”
  206. >Your eyes widen in horror.
  207. “No, Anon! I can’t lose you, we have to escape!”
  208. >Smiling, he easily picks you up, “You’re not going to lose me, let’s just go see this van, okay?”
  209. >Confound your stupidly light body!
  210. “REEEE! Let me go, we have to get away!”
  211. >“Calm down, if there is something wrong I can handle it, I promise.”
  212. “But they’ll overpower and get you! I know they will! They have special ray guns to incapacitate people!”
  213. >You need to keep thrashing, then you can save the both of you.
  214. >“Uh-huh, right, ray guns.”
  215. >Doesn’t he believe you?!
  216. >What are you saying, of course he does!
  217. >Anon’s just tired and trying to be brave, that’s all.
  218. >Yet no matter how hard you thrash, you cannot escape his grasp.
  219. >He carries you into the living room, then peeks out the window.
  220. >Frantically, you point over to the van.
  221. “Look, look! See it over there by the house?”
  222. >Squinting, he slowly nods, “Yeah, now I do. But um, hey, that’s a moving van, says so right on the side.”
  223. >You scoff and shake your head.
  224.  
  225. “It’s a front, Anon! That’s how they all look to be able to deceive everyone. Now come on already, let’s go!”
  226. >He yawns once more, then pats your side, “I can literally see them unloading boxes. It may be early, but whatever…”
  227. >Does that mean he understands?
  228. >You stare up at your friend while awaiting his response that will determine both of your fates.
  229. >He slowly blinks, and starts walking back towards his bedroom.
  230. >Yes, he totally gets it now!
  231. >If only he would move a little faster, though, because haste is needed here!
  232. >You’re set down on the bed, and-
  233. >Wait a second, why he is climbing back into it?
  234. “Anon, what are you doing?”
  235. >Saying nothing, he suddenly snatches you up, and hugs you close to his chest before pulling the blanket over the two of you.
  236. “Anon, this is no time for sleeping!”
  237. >“I’m too tired to deal with this tight now, Tinny. Besides, we both need our sleep.”
  238. “No I-” *yawn* “S-stop cuddling me!”
  239. >He closes his eyes and smiles, “No.”
  240. “Anon, you! Grrr!”
  241. >You’re unable to move with him holding you so close like this.
  242. >Whatever strength you have is fading fast, especially with exhaustion taking hold.
  243. >No, not yet! Resist it!
  244. “We g-gotta-” *yawn* “...gotta go…”
  245. >“Sleep” He mumbles out.
  246. >It’s getting harder to stay awake, you must fight back.
  247. >You must fight…
  248. >F-fight…
  249. >Losing… fast..
  250. >L-l…
  251. “Gotta… vector… lugenpress… jet fuel…” *Zzz…*
  252.  
  253. ***
  254.  
  255. >Surprisingly, today has been good so far.
  256. >Might even tempt fate by saying it’s a wonderful one.
  257. >Work was slow, so they let you have the rest of the day off.
  258. >There were zero lines at the store when you went shopping, which made everything a breeze.
  259. >When you got home, the neighbors didn’t complain to you about Tinny’s antics, either.
  260. >Right now, you’re lounging on the couch, feeling quite at ease.
  261. >It’s a nice change of pace from the usual chaos that is dealt with from day to day.
  262. >You breath out a sigh of contentment.
  263. >Everything is going so well, so what did you do to deserve such luck?
  264. >Heck, even Tinny is being quiet right now.
  265. >…
  266. >Wait a second.
  267. >Your eyes shoot open as you start listening carefully.
  268. >It’s quiet, too quiet…
  269. >Should you be concerned?
  270. >Remember: there’s usually a string of bad luck that follows the good.
  271. >Maybe it’s Tinny’s paranoia rubbing off on you, but just to be sure…
  272. “Hey, Tinny?”
  273. >You lay there for a few minutes waiting.
  274. >Yet, there is no response.
  275. >That’s a tad worrisome…
  276. >She did interrogate you when you got home earlier because she believed that your job let you out early for some plan to steal people off of the streets.
  277. >You eventually got her to drop it after you pointed out that it was too early for such a thing.
  278. >That didn’t stop her from countering by saying it was never too early for abductions.
  279. >She’s not currently doing her rounds, nor is she trying to educate you in another conspiracy she learned or found, either.
  280. >In fact, you haven’t even seen her since you started lounging here.
  281. >That worry is starting to worsen with every second.
  282. >Two scenarios play out in mind.
  283. >The first: you’re overreacting, and she’s just engrossed on the deep web.
  284. >The second: she’s up to no good that will result in another headache inducing situation.
  285. >At the very least, you should go check on her, if only to alleviate this worry brewing inside.
  286. >Sighing, you slowly get up, and stretch.
  287. “Here’s hoping that it’s just her paranoia rubbing off on me… last thing I need is something involving fish men or whatever.”
  288.  
  289. >The search starts here in the living room, with checking under the furniture and in the closet.
  290. >She’s not in any of spaces however, so the kitchen is checked next.
  291. >There’s not a whole lot of places to be in here other than the cupboards, but even those are devoid of her.
  292. >It’s best not to question why she would be hiding in the first place, because it would likely be something conspiracy related.
  293. “Maybe the bathroom? But why would she- no, don’t think about it…”
  294. >Same story as the previous two rooms, you even checked the toilet to be sure.
  295. >That just leaves two more rooms to go, which furthers your heart rate.
  296. >Attempting to ignore it, you move onto your bedroom.
  297. >It’s all relatively untouched, with your bed still made, and your computer currently powered off.
  298. >Maybe she’s under your bed?
  299. “Tinny?”
  300. >Other than dust bunnies, nope.
  301. “That pony is going to turn my hair gray, I swear…”
  302. >You’re finding it more difficult to stay calm, especially the longer this search goes on for.
  303. >It’s not like she got out, because all the windows are closed and latched; the front door is locked, and she would need something to unlock any of that, anyways.
  304. >What if… what if she discovered an inter-dimensional wormhole to another plane of reality?
  305. >Nah, that could never happen.
  306. >...right?
  307. >Goddammit!
  308. >You’re losing it; she’s got into your head, and now you’re believing the insane stuff she spouts off.
  309. “Fuck, keep it together. There has to be a perfectly rational explanation as to why I haven’t found her yet.”
  310. >Stop talking to yourself and find her.
  311. >The final place to look is her lair, where she often retreats to.
  312. >You rarely ever go in there unless you have to, for good reasons, too.
  313. >For one: she’d keep you in there for an eternity explaining every square inch of the place in great detail.
  314. >For two: the place is a goddamn mess, but she insists it’s organized to her exact system she came up with, yet if that’s organized, then you’re the pope.
  315. >It would help if the threads that make up her web weren’t such a hazard.
  316.  
  317. >That fact alone makes navigating the room like a minefield.
  318. >You have to be super careful, and pull off some Mission Impossible levels of maneuvering to avoid tripping or breaking anything.
  319. >Taking a moment, you deeply breath in/out to reign yourself in before opening the door.
  320. “Stay calm, she has to be in here, I just know it.”
  321. >Very slowly, you open it, though only because of a fear of setting off a booby trap.
  322. “Well, that figures…”
  323. >Everything looks worse for wear from the last time you saw it.
  324. >There are massive amounts of printed papers, newspaper clippings, threads, and various other crap throughout the entire room.
  325. >Though the newest edition is what catches you attention – a fairly large pile of the aforementioned items at roughly corner of the room.
  326. “Tinny, are you in here? Because I don’t want to accidentally ruin any of this.”
  327. >It might’ve been fear playing a trick on you, but you’re almost certain that pile shifted.
  328. “The fuck…?”
  329. >Carefully listening, a small noise comes from the pile.
  330. >Okay, that answers that.
  331. >That means you’ll have to brave this mess to reach her.
  332. >You try (keyword being try) to navigate it without damaging or getting caught up in anything.
  333. >However, you soon give up, and quickly bulldozer through it to reach the pile.
  334. >She’ll forgive you after she rants about it for awhile.
  335. >Kneeling down, you start grabbing the various bits of crap and toss it aside.
  336. >Before long, a silver head pops out.
  337. >“Anon, thank goodness you found me, I was starting to lose hope!”
  338. >An immense wave of relief washes over you that draws a large smile across your face.
  339. “Yeah, I’m glad I found you, too. You really had me going for a bit there.”
  340. >She smiles and rapidly nods, “I kept trying to call out to you, but you didn’t come.”
  341. “Probably because you were buried, and the fact that this room is lined with…”
  342. >You wave your hand around.
  343. “...whatever the hell this all is.”
  344. >Her smile broadens, and she tries to shift to no avail, “Oo! I can tell you, it’s made of tinfoil, egg cartons, li-”
  345. >You hold your hand up to cut her off before a lecture starts.
  346.  
  347. “Save it for another time, how’d this even happen?”
  348. >She tries to shift again, but just ends up moving her head about cutely, “I was working on the hollow earth section, when the box I was standing on started to move. Before I could react, it suddenly all came down with me. I tried to escape, but the threads started tangle around me, which made more of the room come apart. It just kept getting worse and worse; before I knew it, I was buried.”
  349. >You have to act on this, fast.
  350. “So you’re saying you were like a fly caught in a spider’s web?”
  351. >Her voice goes completely deadpan, “Seriously?”
  352. “Hey, the opportunity was there.”
  353. >“That’s what the glowies think about the homeless on the streets, but enough about that. Get me out of this!”
  354. “I don’t know, it looks like you’re having fun in that cocoon.”
  355. >“Oh hardy har… so funny. Stop sitting there, and help me!”
  356. “Hmm… what was that I said about this layout coming back to bite you?”
  357. >She scrunches her muzzle, then huffs, “I know, I know… I shouldn’t have let it get this bad, but it was necessary!”
  358. >Stroking your chin in thought as you look upon her predicament, an idea starts to form.
  359. >Moments like these don’t come too often.
  360. >The idea starts turning devilish, causing you to sport a small grin.
  361. >She’d absolutely go nuts if you go through with it.
  362. >So, are you sure you want to endure the fallout?
  363. >“What’s with that look, Anon?” She says with a furrowed brow.
  364. >But this is tempting, oh so temping to do…
  365. >Her scrunch intensifies, “Hey, snap out of it! Are you planning to just sit here watching, or are you going to help me?”
  366. >Alright, that decides it.
  367. “Stay put, I’ll be right back.”
  368. >She starts to panic as you stand up and leave, “No, wait, don’t leave! Reee!”
  369. >Her voice echoes from the other room while you get the stuff together.
  370. >Before returning back to her, you make sure to hide the things behind your back.
  371. >She’s still struggling within the mess, and upon seeing you, her face lights up, “There you are!”
  372.  
  373. >Her expression quickly softens, “Uhm, hey… if I was being snappy, I’m sorry, but you have no idea of infuriating it is to be trapped in here like this.”
  374. >Slowly nodding along, you try to hide your grin.
  375. “I completely understand, Tinny. I’m gonna get you out in about ten minutes or so.”
  376. >“Thank you so-” she pauses, and arches a brow, “Why ten minutes? It shouldn’t take you that long to get me out; it’s just paper and yarn, after all.”
  377. >There is no more hiding the secret, so you reveal what you fetched.
  378. “I’m just gonna have a little fun first, that’s why.”
  379. >Her eyes widen in absolute terror, “NO, ANYTHING BUT THAT! DON’T DO THIS TO ME, ANON!”
  380. >You purposefully creep up with a maniacal smile, then begin to enact your plan.
  381. >She violently thrashes all the while in an attempt to resist, “NO, STOP IT! DARN IT, ANON! CUT IT OUT!”
  382. >With everything in place, you step back to the doorway, and prepare to finish.
  383. “Say conspiracy, Tinny!”
  384. >With a click, the camera flashes.
  385. >“REEEEE!”
  386. >Shaking your head slowly, you frown as you look at the picture, and sigh dramatically.
  387. “Tsk, tsk, tsk… this just won’t do, Tinny. I can’t make out the cute little bow you’re wearing from all the moving you’re doing. I’ll need to retake it… or a dozen more.”
  388. >“No, enough. Anon! This is pure evil, stop it! No more!”
  389. >The camera flashes again as you take another picture.
  390. >Still, she continues thrash and ree like some autist.
  391. >Her rage will last for a time, but it’s something you’re more than willing to deal with for all the fun you have with her.
  392.  
  393. ***
  394.  
  395. >There are times where it’s exhausting trying to protect yourself and Anon.
  396. >Those moments almost make you wish for an abduction, or even a glowie arriving to spice life up.
  397. >Alas, not quite yet.
  398. >You still need to either devise a better way to defend the home from such things, or find a method to communicate with Anon to properly synchronize any attacks.
  399. >Enough grumbling! You’ve gotta stay focused on the mission at hoof right now.
  400. >Currently, you’re taking notes on this observable section of the neighborhood from the safety of home.
  401. >Anon calls your methods stalking, but you don’t why, because it clearly isn’t.
  402. >It’s more like watching others from afar without them seeing you, so you can learn more about them.
  403. >Besides, if others could see you, then they would fake being normal so as to avoid any suspicion.
  404. >Unfortunately, running around like this has left you fairly stretched thin.
  405. >This is due to the previous /incident/ that occurred, and thanks to it, you’ve had to double your patrols.
  406. >Then there is the matter of rebuilding the lair, making and copying notes… there’s just so much to do!
  407. >Anon helps out where he can, though it feels like it’s never enough.
  408. >You’ve even cut down on naps, as well as reducing the time spent on the deep web.
  409. >You’re starting to consider saving time on rebuilding by collecting materials from the trash around the neighborhood.
  410. >That’s just more digging than what you normally do, anyways.
  411. >...you’re getting distracted, again.
  412. “Section cleared, however! I’m almost certain that the old oak tree is being used by the squirrels as a F.O.B.”
  413. >To emphasize this, you underline that particular note several times.
  414. >The living room is the final destination before you have to return to the lair.
  415. >As you pass through, Anon is playing some game that involves shooting things.
  416. >It sounds like most of the games that the overlords use to further placate the masses.
  417. >Whatever it is exactly, it can be looked into later, for now, focus on observing the neighborhood.
  418. >Almost immediately, something is off.
  419.  
  420. “Aha! Who does he think he’s fooling? He’s acting too suspicious; enough to give himself completely away.”
  421. >The new *neighbors* are active for the thirteenth time today.
  422. >That’s more than the average of fives times when compared to the other neighbors!
  423. >Really now, who actually goes outside /this/ much?
  424. >No one, that’s who!
  425. >You quickly start taking notes and talking out loud to ensure it to memory.
  426. “Subject Jane Doe is nowhere to be seen, likely inside. However, subject John Doe is pulling weeds. There is no doubt-”
  427. >“Hey.”
  428. >Not now.
  429. “-a cover for getting a feel for the rest of the neighborhood while he does that. Furthermore-”
  430. >“Tinny.”
  431. >He can wait, finish the observation.
  432. “-who actually pulls weeds at this time of day? Going to-”
  433. >“Tin Tin?”
  434. >Losing patience.
  435. “-make s-sure with the binoculars to f-find the-”
  436. >“Rin Tin Tin?”
  437. >You stomp your hoof, and nearly drop your pencil in the process.
  438. “Gah, what?!”
  439. >“Sorry to bug you while you’re doing your thing, but you seem a little more on edge than usual.”
  440. >You feel your eye twitch as you slowly turn to face Anon.
  441. >His game is paused, and he is looking at you with a look of genuine concern.
  442. >Okay, maybe you overreacted a little, because now you feel bad.
  443. >You don’t know how he does it, especially since you’ve tested the samples you acquired, and they all came back negative for anything unusual.
  444. >It might be just something else altogether.
  445. >Slowly, you compose yourself back to something much more calmer.
  446. “I’m sorry for snapping at you, but yes, I am stressed out. It’s just that I’ve been running double patrols and trying to rebuild, so I don’t have time for much else.”
  447. >“Figured as much. How about you take a little break then? We can watch some Ancient Aliens, or maybe X-Files?”
  448. >It has been a while since you last watched anything with Anon.
  449. >Perhaps you should unwind…
  450. >Wait, what are you thinking?!
  451. >This is obviously a farce for something else entirely.
  452. “You’re just trying to butter me up to make up for what you did, aren’t you?”
  453. >“Oh come on, I thought you let go of that already.”
  454. >You point a hoof at him.
  455.  
  456. “I can’t forget it, I won’t forget it! There’s no telling how much of my soul I lost!”
  457. >He lightly chuckles, “I seriously doubt you lost anything at all; even if you did, it was unlikely very much.”
  458. “You don’t know that! It doesn’t matter if it was less than a percentile, that’s still a loss all the same.”
  459. >“I suppose you’re right about that.”
  460. “Not to mention the excruciating torture I had to endure.”
  461. >Arching a brow, Anon crosses his arms, “I’d hardly call taking cute pictures /excruciating torture/.”
  462. “It is, because forcing me to wear bows AND using a soul sucking machine to capture that moment is a form of torture, jerk.”
  463. >“Right… explain that to parents and pet owners.”
  464. “I’ve told you before: if the masses knew the truth, they’d completely revolt, thus stopping this madness once and for all.”
  465. >Sighing, he nods, “Yeah, yeah, I know. You’ve told me a million times before.”
  466. >There is no need to give him your full attention, so you go back to taking notes while continuing to talk.
  467. >“You still should take a break, though; you can’t stay at the top of your game if you keep grinding yourself down.”
  468. >As you look about, subject John Doe is nowhere to be seen.
  469. >Drat! He must’ve retreated back inside to work on the next phase of his unseen plan.
  470. >None of the other neighbors are active either, but you still need to take notes on what is there.
  471. >Important stuff, like weather patterns, or how the shadows likely hide secrets.
  472. “You might be right, I’d rather not have the glowies catch me off guard.”
  473. >“So, does that mean you’ll take me up on my offer?”
  474. >Sighing, you get off of your soapbox, then pause a moment to finish the conversation.
  475. “I guess, but I still need to make copies and compare notes. However, don’t think this means I’m letting you off the hook either.”
  476. >You tather not do this, but if it gets him off of your flank, so be it.
  477. >Besides, a little break won’t hurt.
  478. >He gives you a thumbs up and smiles, “Fine by me.”
  479. “Oh, and I’ll need your help in catching up on my rounds.”
  480. >“Er… okay, what does that entail?”
  481.  
  482. “It’s just taking notes on the neighborhood. You’re not quite ready for inspecting the fixtures, or field action for that matter.”
  483. >“Alright then, sounds like a plan. Got an ETA for me?”
  484. “Around forty-fives minutes.”
  485. >Nodding, he takes out his phone and starts dialing a number, “More than enough time for me to get things ready.”
  486. >It would be better if he wasn’t using that blasted spying device.
  487. >Despite whatever you tell him, he insists he still needs it because it helps him blend in.
  488. >Yet blending in doesn’t matter if it’s being used around you!
  489. >Grr… he’s been told thirteen times about it, too.
  490. >Huh, that’s funny, it feels like you’re forgetting something…
  491. >Worry about it later, get to work on compiling what you have.
  492. >You return to the lair, and get started on the usual duties.
  493. >Shame this place is in such a sorry state – roughly half of the walls are bare, thus devoid of the spy resistant lining.
  494. >Due to that, you’ve had to store every bit of information into falsely labeled boxes to throw off any spies.
  495. >The new *neighbors* have been bumped up to the top of your watch list.
  496. >Mrs. Smith is now number two, though that is because you know plenty about her.
  497. >Regardless, you can’t let your guard down since she knows that you know what she really is.
  498. >And that means she’s waiting for an opening to strike, but she doesn’t realize you’re fully prepared for her!
  499. >There’s a whole kit you’ve assembled: salt, garlic, iron, silver, and more.
  500. >It’s just about everything one would ever need to fight off the supernatural.
  501. >Though despite that, it would be much more preferable to know more about the *neighbors*.
  502. >If it were not for your earlier blunder, you’d already have even more information on them!
  503. >No use in complaining, what’s done is done.
  504. >This unknown factor makes them all the more dangerous regardless.
  505. >They could be anything from skinwalkers to even Atlantians.
  506.  
  507. “I might have to make a late night trip to gather more intel.”
  508. >Immediately, you realize your mistake before you could cover your mouth.
  509. >Note to self: stop talking about your plans out loud until the repairs are made.
  510. >After all, there is /never/ a case of being too safe.
  511. >Since there is not the sound of anyone breaking in, you breath out a sigh of relief, then start comparing notes.
  512. >Nothing specific stands out, but the devil is in the details.
  513. “Hmm… I feel like there is something I’m not seeing here.”
  514. >“Are you finished?”
  515. “Eep!”
  516. >You jump and spin around to see Anon standing in the doorway.
  517. >Fool, the door was left wide open for a sneak attack!
  518. >Smiling, he leans against the frame, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to spook you.”
  519. “Y-you didn’t scare me, ha-ha… I-I was merely just pretending to throw off any would be attackers off guard!”
  520. >“Sure you were.”
  521. >A scrunch creeps up upon your muzzle.
  522. “It’s true, though, I’m always at the ready; any attack, anywhere, and at anytime!”
  523. >He nods, “If you say so, Tinny. Anyways, everything is ready in the other room, it’s just waiting on you now.”
  524. “Okay, give me a few minutes and I’ll join you.”
  525. >“Alrighty.”
  526. >Once he is out of sight, you quietly close the door, then silently reprimand yourself.
  527. >It’s clear Anon was right about you being off your game.
  528. >You could’ve very well have been snatched up, or much worse.
  529. >Perhaps you should cut this short, just to be safe.
  530. >But you’re not finished with this, though.
  531. >That doesn’t matter if you’ve let your guard down this much, because that’s when the overlords strike!
  532. “...fine, I’ll hold off finishing this till later. I mean, how bad could it be if I ignore this for just a little while?”
  533.  
  534. ***
  535.  
  536. “Hey, I’m home!”
  537. >As you set your stuff aside, you prepare for the usual incoming interrogation.
  538. >Though with several minutes passing by, Tinny is yet to be at your heels.
  539. “That’s strange, but then again, she’s probably drafting up a whole list of questions or something.”
  540. >She does do that sometimes, so it wouldn’t be much of a shocker.
  541. >Her reasoning is that it keeps you on your toes, or to ensure a changeling couldn’t learn the patterns so easily.
  542. >Until she shows up, you go grab a drink from the kitchen.
  543. >Although it doesn’t completely soothe the aches and pains from work, it does help a little.
  544. >Today was fairly challenging with a huge order that dropped in from out of nowhere.
  545. >That should’ve been expected from being let off so easily the other day.
  546. >At least the marathon of X-Files was well spent with Tinny.
  547. >Plus it had the added benefit of helping her loosen up, though strangely, she has been more reclusive recently.
  548. >That’s another thing, she also hasn’t been asking for anymore help from you.
  549. >It’s likely that she has her reasons, whatever they may be.
  550. >You return to the living room, and plop down on the couch.
  551. “Man, I am glad that it’s Friday; there’s no more work related bullshit till Monday.”
  552. >Maybe you could go hang out with some of your friends, it’s been awhile since that happened.
  553. >But you’d have to deal with a hundred questions from Tinny about it.
  554. >You can’t stay out long either, as you’re certain if you did, she’d turn this place into a complete bunker.
  555. “Heh, she can be such a pain at times.”
  556. >Breathing out a long sigh, you take an idle sip while waiting.
  557. >You’re starting to get a serious case of deja vu…
  558. >It’s not like she got trapped AGAIN, right?
  559. “Tinny?”
  560. >You carefully listen for a minute or so before the door in the hallway opens.
  561. >Thank fuck, you’d rather not have to deal with another incident this soon.
  562. >The sound of her approaching hoof steps gets closer as you brace yourself.
  563. >She appears front and center, though she looks awfully shifty, “O-Oh hey there, Anon. When did you get home?”
  564.  
  565. >Well, that’s a little suspicious.
  566. “A while ago, I even called out like you asked, too.”
  567. >Something’s up, her eyes keep darting around nervously, more so than usual.
  568. >“Wow really? Guess I was too caught up with reading.”
  569. “Is something wrong?”
  570. >“No, no, of course not. I’m just nervous because of a Big Foot sighting that was posted.”
  571. >doubt.png
  572. >Really hope you’re wrong, but just in case…
  573. “I see, so where was this new sighting at?”
  574. >“The Empire State Building,” she instantly replies.
  575. >Saying nothing, you just stare as you another take a sip of your drink.
  576. >“Did I say Empire State Building? What I a-actually meant was… uhm… Yellowstone? Yeah, Yellowstone National Park, silly me got them all mixed up!”
  577. >Continuing to remain silent, you finish your drink while waiting patiently.
  578. >This silent treatment trick is among the surefire methods to make her crack.
  579. >And from the way she’s growing increasingly nervous, it’s working like it always does.
  580. >You’re almost certain she’d be sweating bullets if she could.
  581. >“S-so, um… if you don’t need anything else from me, I’m gonna go wran- I mean! Finish up reading!”
  582. >Just as she goes to move, you stop her with your hand.
  583. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
  584. >Her pupils suddenly dilate, “Uh-uh, no?”
  585. “What about interrogating me like you usually do when I get home?”
  586. >She waves her hoof about as she attempts to play off her visible relaxation, “Oh that stupid thing, how about we skip it today? You’re busy, I’m busy, so I’m just gonna go.”
  587. >Before she can move, you pick her up and look her in eyes.
  588. >“Hey what gives?! You’re not planning anything, are you?”
  589. “I can tell that you’re lying to me.”
  590. >“No I’m not, you’re just being paranoid.”
  591. >You just about scoff that, but instead, slowly raise a brow.
  592. “Right…”
  593. >“I’m completely innocent of any crimes, no matter who tells you otherwise!”
  594. “That’s debatable, but you’re definitely hiding something.”
  595.  
  596. >She starts to squirm more within your grasp as the fear returns to her eyes, “N-No, just let me – gah – go, so I can – oof – go back to reading – sheesh you’re strong, you know that?”
  597. “It helps that I have to deal with your antics among other things. So, what did you do now?”
  598. >Still trying to weasel her way out, she tries to give you puppy eyes, “Nothing, everything is completely one-hundred percent a-okay, Anon.”
  599. >That trick may have worked before, but not this time.
  600. >You glare as you slowly shake your head.
  601. “Look, just tell me what you did so I can deal with… whatever it is, alright?”
  602. >“There is nothing to deal with yet.”
  603. “Yet?”
  604. >At that, she stops squirming and covers her mouth with her fore hooves.
  605. “Right, so how about we take a little walk to your lair since you’re so eager to get back to it, hm?”
  606. >Tinny quickly goes into an all out thrash, “H-Hold on, Anon! Can’t we talk about this? Oh, I know! How about we sit down to watch some movies?”
  607. >Tucking her underneath your arm, you start walking towards the hallway.
  608. >“No? Okay, how about I wear a cute bow and you take pictures of me again, that sound good?”
  609. >You ignore her with every step closer to the lair.
  610. >“Come on! We don’t have to go in there, just stop and let’s talk.”
  611. >As as your hand touches the door handle, she stops thrashing, and puts her fore hooves together in a plea, “Okay fine! I’ll tell you, just don’t open the door, please?”
  612. “Figured you’d give in eventually.”
  613. >You look to see her scrunching at you, “So I may have… brought in *cough* unwanted guests *cough, cough*.”
  614. >Oh for the love of god, please don’t let there be some kind of fucked up monster behind this door.
  615. >That’s one thing that could be done without in your life.
  616. >Wait, what are you saying, of course there isn’t anything like that in there.
  617. >But what if there is, Tinny is somehow functioning despite being made of literal tinfoil.
  618. >Then that would mean all of her crazy conspiracies are true!
  619. >Stop it, don’t go insane, just ask her, and go from there.
  620. “What kind of guests are we talking about here?”
  621.  
  622. >Her eyes dart between you and the door a few times, “Just some roaches, and some… mice.”
  623. “…”
  624. >“What?”
  625. “Are you serious? You brought pests into our house, how- why?! I’ve never seen you leave the house without me.”
  626. >“Oh right, forgot to mention that… I’ve been sneaking out while you’re either not here or asleep.”
  627. >You grit your teeth as you try hard to not snap at her.
  628. >“It’s not like I meant to bring them in, I was gathering information on the *neighbors*, along with getting materials to repair the lair. They must’ve come in with the trash!”
  629. “Roaches, I can handle, but how many mice are we talking about? Because that’s gonna affect whether I get traps or call an exterminator.”
  630. >”I’m not sure, I’ve seen a few so far, maybe it’s a family?”
  631. >For fucks sake.
  632. >There goes your weekend…
  633. >Stay calm, stay calm.
  634. >”So what are you going to do?”
  635. >Forget calm, anger is taking over this ride.
  636. “Me? No-no, WE are going to go in there and see how bad it really is. After that, WE are going to have a chat about this trash picking.”
  637. >”But, Anon-”
  638. “No buts!”
  639. >As her eyes dart to the floor, her ears splay against her head, and she nods slowly, ”Okay…”
  640. >Before entering the room, you grab a broom from the closet just to be safe.
  641. “...here’s hoping it’s just a few mice…”
  642. >Bracing yourself, you slowly open the door to her lair.
  643. >The moment it opens, the oh-so-familiar smell of garbage slams into your face.
  644. >How the hell did you notice this before?
  645. >Better yet, how long have these been in here?
  646. >That can be figured out later, deal with these mice first.
  647. >At least this answers why she’s been so reclusive and not asking for anymore help…
  648. >In addition to the usual stuff in here, there are a bunch of bags of trash piled up in one corner.
  649. >This place now reminds you of one of those neet’s bedrooms you’ve seen on the web.
  650. >Although there is no movement to be seen, that doesn’t mean anything.
  651. “Where did you last see them?”
  652.  
  653. >She points to the pile of trash, “They were over there, and they keep trying to get into the boxes of evidence. I was trying to deal with them, but they’re really tricky to catch, I think they might be spies sent-”
  654. >You clamp your hand over her muzzle before she finishes that sentence.
  655. “I get the point.”
  656. >She mumbles something while giving you a glare.
  657. >Ignoring her, you set her down, then start to poke around the bags with the broom.
  658. >When that does nothing, you slowly move each bag aside.
  659. >With each one moved that reveals no mouse, a slight bit of ease breathes within.
  660. >Before long, they’re all gone through.
  661. >A smile crosses your lips as you look back to Tinny.
  662. “Guess they’re not here.”
  663. >“Yeah, maybe they-” her eyes suddenly widen as her words die.
  664. >You shouldn’t have opened your mouth.
  665. “Let me guess, there’s one right behind me?”
  666. >She nods.
  667. >Slowly, you turn your head and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
  668. >There before you is no little mouse, but a giant rat nibbling on something.
  669. “Are you fucking serious?”
  670. >The second those words are uttered, it darts off behind some boxes.
  671. “Goddammit, Tinny…”
  672.  
  673. ***
  674.  
  675. >How long has it been since you last could breath freely in the safety of your lair?
  676. >Weeks maybe? Not sure, it’s hard to keep track of time.
  677. >Especially since the various threats that exist can control all the clocks in the world.
  678. >*They* feed the masses a boat load of lies about adjustable time pieces.
  679. >Of course, you and the other truth seekers see through it all as clear as day.
  680. >Though daytime may actually be fake as well, not sure yet.
  681. >The last thing you were reading about was how the sky may be in fact a massive projection.
  682. >Sadly, that couldn’t be delved into further in light of the pest problem…
  683. >Breathing out a groan, you look over to Anon, who’s seemingly contented with this hole you’re both in.
  684. >You don’t know how he can be so calm about this, it’s absolute torture on you.
  685. “How much longer do we have to endure this prison?”
  686. >He mumbles something at first before speaking up, “Like I told you an hour ago: four more days.”
  687. “Ugghhh, can’t we risk returning sooner?”
  688. >”No, we can’t.”
  689. “Why not?”
  690. >Sighing, he shakes his head slowly, “Because fumigation lasts about a week, so I’d rather not get poisoned.”
  691. “Okay, how about we swing by the house, I go in alone to get the boxes, then we can come back here?”
  692. >”Not happening.”
  693. “Oh come on!”
  694. >Breaking his attention from the TV, he starts counting off reasons on his hand, “For one: I have no clue if, or even what the poison could do to you. For two: I don’t want to risk any of it piggybacking on either you or the boxes. For three: because I don’t feel like making the trip to begin with.”
  695. “How about-”
  696. >”No.”
  697. “Anon, please!”
  698. >”Did you forget why we are here in this motel in the first place?”
  699. >Of course he would bring that up again.
  700. >Sighing, you drop your gaze to the floor.
  701. “...because I picked through the neighbor’s trash, which brought in a bunch of pests.”
  702. >”Exactly,” he replies, then goes back to watching his show without a care.
  703. “Still think you overreacted…”
  704. >”Did you miss how the size of those rats? They were like small dogs for crying out loud.”
  705.  
  706. “They really weren’t that big. But did you really have to get the house fumigated?”
  707. >”Yes.”
  708. >Darn it, he just doesn’t get your excellent reasoning.
  709. >You start to pace on the table while you plan something else out.
  710. >This prison could’ve been avoided if you had kept your cool like practiced, but nope, you faltered.
  711. >That means you need to work on your conditioning, otherwise you’ll fall prey to interrogation when they come for you.
  712. >Other than that, you were so close to winning the war against the pests.
  713. >It’s just that the fight wasn’t expected to have lasted for several days like it had.
  714. >You’re getting sidetracked, try to figure something out!
  715. >What can you do really, you’ve tried every trick on Anon – from puppy eyes to the silent treatment, and they all failed.
  716. “Grr…”
  717. >This place is slowly driving you insane, it’s to blame.
  718. >Every second here is another that any possible spies could be snooping through the house.
  719. >Those fake labels will only fool them for so long before they inevitably figure out what’s really inside.
  720. >You turn to look out the window while continuing to wrack your brain.
  721. >There is likely some pattern to all of this, something that the overlords cooked up to entrap people further, and you’re stuck in the middle of it.
  722. >As if that wasn’t enough, you can’t take any notes because this place is guaranteed to be bugged from the floor to the ceiling.
  723. >To add insult to injury, the doors to the rooms are electronically locked.
  724. >You still don’t see why Anon couldn’t have at least chosen a roach motel instead.
  725. >Sure, they’re nasty, but they’re less glowie infested.
  726. >He said he’d rather wait it out in comfort.
  727. >That’s another point: he wouldn’t let you bring along a black light to inspect this place, nor would he tell you why you couldn’t, either!
  728. >Every time you‘ve asked, he would dodge the question, so you eventually stopped.
  729. >There’s almost certainly some hidden glyphs, or runes in plain sight left by the various travelers!
  730. >Naturally, that was all learned from the deep web.
  731.  
  732. >It doesn’t matter, you’re stuck here for now…
  733. >Letting out a sigh, the rest of the world goes by outside in the broad daylight
  734. >If only you could take notes instead of just watching, at least then there could be some valuable data gained.
  735. >Again, the spies would know, to which they’d inform their superiors.
  736. >Even if a cipher was used, it would be picked apart in minutes like they do in movies.
  737. >From there, it would only be a matter of time before the black vans get sent in.
  738. “Grr… there has to be something I can do!”
  739. >“You could watch this show with me, or go on the web instead of moping about.”
  740. >A scrunch is starting to approach…
  741. >You turn around to glare at Anon.
  742. “I am /not/ moping.”
  743. >“Sure sounds like it.”
  744. >Full scrunch mode activated!
  745. >He either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.
  746. >Either way, you huff before going back to thinking.
  747. >On one hoof: he is right about lurking on the deep web with your fellow truth seekers.
  748. >On the other hoof: the spies would pick up on whatever you’re doing.
  749. >You can’t think straight with all of this eggshell walking!
  750. >What you do know for certain, is that you’re being driven straight up the wall.
  751. >Is it really worth the risk?
  752. >Yes it is! Off to the deep web!
  753. >With a hop, skip, and a jump, you glide onto the floor.
  754. >That’s one of the few enjoyable advantages of being made tinfoil.
  755. >The other is being immune to any broadcasts, scans, or psychic attacks.
  756. >You clamber up onto the desk, then start browsing through the laptop like usual.
  757. >At this hour, the board is quite lively – various questions, answers, and random pictures of cats being posted, aka, the good stuff.
  758. >Though the cats part isn’t completely understood.
  759. >Some users say that certain people who post them are apart of the alphabet agencies.
  760. >For a time, various threads are browsed.
  761. >Lurking helps with some of the boredom, but sometimes you gotta engage with other users.
  762. >Often, they’ll call you a faggot for posting anything.
  763.  
  764. >You’ve tried to explain that you’re not a bundle of sticks, but a tinfoil pony.
  765. >Of course they don’t believe you in the slightest, and usually they’ll respond by saying “pics or gtfo.”
  766. >But you know better than to share pictures on the web, because that just helps build a better shadow profile on you!
  767. >It’s only here on the internet that no one knows for sure that you’re a pony.
  768. >Right now, it’s time to be helpful with the newbies.
  769. >A new thread pops up as if on cue.
  770. >You check it, only to find it’s about whether astral projection is real or not.
  771. “Don’t they know about project Stargate?”
  772. >After five minutes have passed with no responses, you post a link to the project.
  773. >Almost immediately, someone replies to you saying, “Don’t spoonfeed the newfags.”
  774. “What a moron, you gotta spoonfeed them sometimes, otherwise they won’t learn anything.”
  775. >In the not so distant past, you’d respond back with such things, but that usually resulted in hours wasted in arguing.
  776. >It took forever to learn that some people intentionally argue as something called ‘trolling’.
  777. >You move on to another thread, helping out where you can.
  778. “JFK assassination? Yep, that was an inside job by time traveling hit men.”
  779. >While continuing on your quest, some movement is heard from behind you.
  780. >Looking back, you see Anon getting his stuff on.
  781. “Are you going somewhere?”
  782. >”Yeah, gonna go grab dinner. Behave while I’m out, okay?”
  783. “Not like I can get into any trouble while I’m locked in here.”
  784. >He smirks and crosses his arms, “Sure about that?”
  785. “Even if I wanted to, this place is bugged, so they’d get the jump on me.”
  786. >”Look, just promise me, please?”
  787. >Sighing, you nod.
  788. “Okay, I promise I’ll stay out of trouble.”
  789. >As he nods, he comes over, then pats your head.
  790. >”Good. How about when we get home, you can teach me some more about what you’re learning there?”
  791. “What, are you sure? It could take a while to teach you everything.”
  792.  
  793. >”Well, maybe not /everything/, but some stuff would be fine.”
  794. “There is so much to cover: moth men, yetis, the chupacabra, and many more creatures that are out there!”
  795. >He laughs, “Let’s start small, how about whatever it is you’re looking at right now?”
  796. >Looking back to screen, it’s a thread on contacting the spirit world.
  797. >Weird, you don’t remember clicking that one.
  798. >You must’ve did it without thinking.
  799. “Okay, it’s gonna be a little different from the usual stuff we talk about, though.”
  800. >”Sometimes that’s a good way to learn something.”
  801. “I guess so.”
  802. >”Alright then, be right back.”
  803. >As the door opens and closes behind him, you notice the room number – 13.
  804. “How did I not see that before?”
  805. >Though now that you have, something about it seems important.
  806. >You tap your hoof against your chin as you ponder it for a bit.
  807. >However, after a few minutes, you come up with nothing and go back to the board.
  808. “Let’s see… the moon landing? Well, of course it was fake, the moon is actually the backside of the sun!”
  809.  
  810. ***
  811.  
  812. “Why are we doing this again?”
  813. >”Because you said that despite me having evidence and explaining it to you, you’d rather have a hands on experience with the supernatural.”
  814. “Ah, right…”
  815. >”If you want, we can stop and I can go grab-”
  816. >Shaking your head, you wave your hand.
  817. “No, this is fine, just didn’t realize all the prep work.”
  818. >”Well, duh, you really didn’t think that it would just be chanting some Latin in a dark room, did you?”
  819. >Yes.png
  820. “Nah.”
  821. >”Alright then, enough of your belly aching.”
  822. >She goes back to reading the papers she brought along.
  823. >In hindsight, you didn’t expect to be spending your evening doing this.
  824. >This was not one of your better ideas, but it’s better to go along with it.
  825. >Though this is by far the most janky ritual set up you’ve ever seen, especially when compared to the ones you’ve seen in movies and games.
  826. >There’s a combination of various candles (some you had to go buy), poorly drawn sigils in marker, and of course, it’s after dark, so the lights are off as well.
  827. >The way the candlelight reflects off her tinfoil body adds an element of spookiness, which does make this slightly better.
  828. >Though you do wish you didn’t have to move around all the stuff in the living room.
  829. >She insisted that the ritual needed a whole lot of space to make things perfect.
  830. >She also brought a defense kit she cooked up for protection.
  831. >You almost couldn’t keep a straight face upon seeing it, either.
  832. >It falls into just about every stereotype.
  833. >Seriously, garlic and salt? Pfft!
  834. >Keep a straight face.
  835. >”Hmm…”
  836. “So, how’s it going over there?”
  837. >She mumbles something unintelligible.
  838. “Couldn’t quite hear you.”
  839. >She sighs, “I said I’m having a hard time reading this in the dark.”
  840. “You’re the one that insisted that we keep the lights off. I can turn them back on to make things easier.”
  841. >Tinny points a hoof at you, “No don’t, we don’t want to anger any spirits, Anon!”
  842.  
  843. >Chuckling, you raise your hands defensively.
  844. “Alright, I won’t, just figured I’d offer.”
  845. >”Appreciate it, but I don’t wanna mess this up… I’ve never done anything like this before.”
  846. “I’m sure everything will be fine.”
  847. >Tinny nods as she goes back to reading.
  848. >Although you wouldn’t trust anything from the internet, you don’t expect anything to come from this ritual.
  849. >Because in the end, you’re doing this to keep her happy and change things up a bit.
  850. >She squints as rereads a section before she taps her hoof against it.
  851. >”Aha, got it now!”
  852. “Great, so how’s this gonna work?”
  853. >”We close our eyes, say the words, and then we await contact.”
  854. >It sounds straight forward enough.
  855. >Though you still don’t know why you two couldn’t use an oujia board instead.
  856. >She said something about the ones from the store being fake and wouldn’t work.
  857. “So, what are the words to say, or are you going to leave me hanging?”
  858. >”Oh right, sorry. Here, take a look,” she slides one sheet over to you.
  859. >It’s certainly unique – it looks like the mad ramblings of some mental patient.
  860. “Is this supposed to be pronounced specifically or not?”
  861. >She shrugs, “Dunno, never done this before like I said.”
  862. >While memorizing it, there’s a strong urge to ham things up a little.
  863. >Naturally, you’re going to give in.
  864. “So, if we say this wrong, we might summon a demon that will take our souls?”
  865. >Her eyes widen slightly, “Wh-What? No, of course not! This is purely for contacting the spirit world and nothing more. Even if it was malevolent, I have the kit to protect us!”
  866. >No brakes on this train.
  867. >You wiggle your fingers at her in a spooky manner.
  868. “Alright, but if we conjure a ghoul that eats me, I’m so coming back to haunt you.”
  869. >At that, she gives a fierce glare, then pokes you, “Stop messing around and get serious, jerk.”
  870. >Chuckling, you go back to reading and shrug.
  871. “Sorry, just having a little fun.”
  872. >She mumbles again, though you ignore it.
  873. >After feeling confident enough, you set the paper aside.
  874. “Ready when you are.”
  875.  
  876. >Tinny practically starts to bounce in place, “This is going to blow your mind, Anon, just remember what I said.”
  877. >Nodding, you can’t help but smile at her giddiness.
  878. >As she closes her eyes, so do you.
  879. >“I’ll start chanting, and you follow along, okay?”
  880. “Got it.”
  881. >”...esroh yssup slp...esroh yssup slp...esroh yssup slp…”
  882. “...esroh yssup slp...esroh yssup slp...esroh yssup slp…”
  883. >The words are repeated again and again.
  884. >Several minutes go by in silence afterwords.
  885. >It’s just as you anticipated.
  886. >You open your eyes, and shortly after, so does she.
  887. >”Is anything happening?”
  888. “Not that I can see.”
  889. >”Weird… maybe we need to try again?”
  890. “Alright.”
  891. >Just like last time, the same song and dance is repeated.
  892. >Yet again, still nothing.
  893. >Tinny looks fairly puzzled as she taps her hoof against her chin, “I’m sure I followed everything correctly.”
  894. “Did you miss a step?”
  895. >”I don’t know, maybe? Guess I can check the thread to be sure, yell if anything happens!”
  896. “Will do.”
  897. >With that, she dashes out of the room, leaving you alone in here.
  898. >It’s not like there is anything is going to happen, anyways.
  899. >You pick up, and go through the papers she brought.
  900. >They consist of various pictures of symbols, scribbles, and oddly, the number thirteen appearing numerous times.
  901. >Letting out a sigh, you continue to thumb through the sheets.
  902. >Maybe it’s time for her to realize this is all fake.
  903. >It’s for the best really, especially since-
  904. “Ouch!”
  905. >The paper falls into the circle as you yank your hand back to examine it.
  906. “Motherfucking paper cut.”
  907. >Alright, that’s the final straw to break the camel’s back, you need to-
  908. “The fuck is that smell? It’s like really cheap perfume.”
  909. >Either Tinny is causing trouble or you’re about to suffer a stroke.
  910. >Neither option is preferable…
  911. >Before even getting the chance to react, all the candles go out at once.
  912. “Well, that’s ominous.”
  913. >No need to panic, it was likely just a coincidence.
  914.  
  915. >It’s not like-
  916. >A ball of faint red light forms from within the ritual circle.
  917. “What the…?”
  918. >As it begins to take shape, your heart starts to race.
  919. “No, nonono. This isn’t real, I’m just hallucinating, or having a dream.”
  920. >The form finally finishes, and even though it’s still dark, it’s immediately recognizable.
  921. “No fucking way, we summoned a pony?”
  922. >In the circle, stands a pale mare, staring at you with glowing reddish eyes, mane, and tail.
  923. >”...fufufufu, not just any pony, a succupony.”
  924. “Come again?”
  925. >”A succupony, you may call me Lithium.”
  926. “Lithium, what kind of- hold on a sec, a succupony is actually a thing?”
  927. >She blinks in somewhat surprise, “What else did you expect to come from this ritual, a fairy?”
  928. “Nothing, because it’s all fake; the spirit world isn’t real.”
  929. >”Oh I assure you, it’s all very real.”
  930. >You don’t know what that look is on her face, but you’re not liking it.
  931. >She takes a step towards you.
  932. >Just get up and-
  933. >Then another.
  934. >What the fuck, why can’t you move?!
  935. >timetopanic.jpg
  936. >She takes one last step before stopping a couple of feet from you.
  937. >She’s now sporting a very large grin that sends shivers down your spine.
  938. >You don’t get the chance to say anything as she points a hoof at you, ”Wow, you’re such a degenerate, you like… hoof holding, staring into your lover’s eyes, and… sharing breath.”
  939. >No fucking way.
  940. “Holy shit, you can read my inner most thoughts?”
  941. >”No, that was just a guess.”
  942. “Oh.”
  943. >Spaghetti must be overflowing from your pockets at this point.
  944. >”But we can do all those lewd things things and more…”
  945. >She sashays her hips, then gives a toothy smile, ”...all you gotta do is give me your sole in exchange.”
  946. >nope.gif
  947. “Not happening.”
  948. >She cocks a brow, “No, you summoned me, so that’s how this works.”
  949. “This is just a big misunderstanding, you can leave and I can keep my immortal soul.”
  950. >Her smile turns into a frown, “I’m not going anywhere, just give me your shoe, and we can do lewd stuff.”
  951. “My shoe? Why the-”
  952. >The lights suddenly turn on, and blind you momentarily.
  953.  
  954. >”What’s going on here?!” Says an all too familiar voice.
  955. >You snap your head over, and as things clear up, you see Tinny standing atop a box by the light switch.
  956. “Oh man, you have no idea how glad I am to see you, Tinny. This-”
  957. >She cuts you off by pointing a hoof at you, “Is this what I think this is, Anon?!”
  958. “I couldn’t believe it at first either, but yeah she is.”
  959. >Groaning, she shakes her in disgust as her muzzle scrunches up, “Oh come on, I knew you may be bored, but you couldn’t have at least warned me before picking some pony off the street?”
  960. >uwotm8.jpg
  961. “What?”
  962. >”Look, I get it, I’ve seen your search history and I know you’re a lonely guy.”
  963. >Note to self: clear search history.
  964. “Tinny, this isn’t what you think it is, she’s a succupony that’s after my soul, I accidentally summoned her somehow!”
  965. >”Right… a succupony. Anon, that’s not a real thing.”
  966. >Dafuq is this shit?
  967. >How does she not see what that thing really is?!
  968. >Looking back to the demon, you freeze.
  969. >Thanks to the lights being on, you can now clearly make her out, though now you understand why Tinny is acting this way.
  970. >The succupony is wearing badly applied makeup, fake horns, wings, and a wig.
  971. >Overall, yeah, she kinda looks like a…
  972. “How the hell did I not notice that?”
  973. >She blinks a few times as she looks between the two of you, “Huh, didn’t expect this when you summoned me, but whatever… that just means two soles instead of one.”
  974. “Why the hell are you after my shoes?”
  975. >”Because where else would I get a sole?”
  976. “Because that’s… that’s… I feel like an idiot now.”
  977. >From behind you, Tinny huffs, “I’m just gonna go be in my lair while you do your thing, come get me when it’s over.”
  978. “No, wait, it’s not what it looks like!”
  979. >You go to stop her, but find that she’s already taken off.
  980. “Goddammit, the one time shit actually happens and she doesn’t believe it. The fuck kinda logic is this?”
  981. >*ahem*
  982. >Turning back, the succupony is staring up at you with half-lidded eyes.
  983.  
  984. >”Now that we’re alone, how about we pick up where we left off?”
  985. “Argh! Alright, listen here, whatever your name was, can’t you just go?”
  986. >“I told you before, my name is Lithium. And no, I cannot /just go/.”
  987. >You’re starting to feel a migraine coming on.
  988. >All you wanted to do tonight was indulge Tinny a little, maybe even go back the usual conspiracy crap.
  989. >But no, you accidentally summoned a demon into your home who won’t leave.
  990. “How about this: I go buy you some shoes and you leave, deal?”
  991. >She instantly brightens up, “You’d really do that for me, I-” she stops, then shakes her head, “I mean, I can’t do that, I have to do my job, otherwise my boss would yell at me. Plus this is my fist gig.”
  992. “Oh for crying out loud…”
  993. >Breath, man, breath.
  994. >There must be something you can do.
  995. >While staring down the Lithium, something about her is… kinda cute.
  996. >What the hell?!
  997. >Come on, it’s not like you’re that desperate.
  998. >Are you?
  999. “So uh… um, about that hoof holding?”
  1000.  
  1001. ***
  1002.  
  1003. *yawn*
  1004. >Rise and shine, little pony, rise and shine.
  1005. >There can’t be much time wasted sleeping; both your home and Anon need protecting.
  1006. >Slowly blinking away the sleep, you focus on the open pocket watch nearby.
  1007. “About… forty-three minutes. Maybe a little too much?”
  1008. >It ticks away softly as you look at it.
  1009. >This was a birthday gift from Anon, and it’s special since it’s completely mechanical.
  1010. >The only issue is that due to its nature, you have to rely on him to wind it up occasionally.
  1011. >For the time being, it is stored away as you stand up on the bed.
  1012. “Gotta focus, just need to make sure the next nap is shorter to mix things up.”
  1013. >Time to do the usual after waking up: inspections.
  1014. >First is the immediate area, you can never be sure if someone, or Anon, has moved something.
  1015. >The bed is in order, the oddly misplaced sock is still by the side, and everything else appears to be where it belongs.
  1016. >All good, for a first pass that is.
  1017. >After a second and third one are made, any possible concerns are quelled.
  1018. >Onto the second set of inspections: the lair.
  1019. >As you trot into the hallway, you overhear the TV in the living room.
  1020. >It’s no doubt Anon watching something mind numbing.
  1021. >That’s ignored while you give the door a test pull, but find it gives far too easily.
  1022. “Wait- what?”
  1023. >A cold flame flickers to life within you.
  1024. >The door being easy like this can only mean one thing…
  1025. >...there’s a spy, or spies in the lair, and they’re likely digging through the documents!
  1026. >Hold on, you have to be absolutely sure it’s not just your imagination playing tricks on you.
  1027. >Another test pulls gives just as easily, which pours fuel onto the fire inside.
  1028. >One final test completely ensures it altogether.
  1029. “Oh no…”
  1030. >Focus! Do not let your emotions cloud your judgment, remember your training, filly!
  1031. >It takes a moment, but some happy memories are recalled – the shows watched with Anon, or when you first found the deep web.
  1032. >All good times, with each smothering the fire within.
  1033. >Now with renewed confidence, you have to assess the threat, then decide what to do next.
  1034.  
  1035. “...easier said than done…”
  1036. >You put your ear against the door, then listen carefully while ignoring the TV from the other room.
  1037. >Silence.
  1038. >There’s no doubt they heard you coming with their high end equipment.
  1039. >Curse them and their unlimited funds!
  1040. >Do not complain about that, you knew this day was going to come, sooner or later.
  1041. >But what can you do now that it’s here?
  1042. >You could escape with Anon to prevent any potential harm.
  1043. >No, that sounds like a cowards way out, stand up and fight, filly!
  1044. “...right..!”
  1045. >If that’s the route chosen, then you still need to know how many enemies will be encountered.
  1046. >Best case: there’s only one and they’re just some lackey that can be handled easily!
  1047. >Worst case: several well trained alphabet soldiers, you would have to flee from them.
  1048. >What fallback plan will be replied upon? Not to mention all the-
  1049. >Enough!
  1050. >All of this overthinking is getting nowhere, fast.
  1051. >Instead, continue forth with an immediate assessment of the situation.
  1052. >Very carefully, and quiet as can be, you open the door ever slowly.
  1053. >Every inch opened is another inch revealed within.
  1054. >There is not a soul is sight so far, but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down for even one second, that’s what they’re counting on!
  1055. >You finish opening it up just enough for you to slip in easily.
  1056. “...time to put my training to the test…”
  1057. >You poke your head in, however, there is no glowies, nor any spies seen.
  1058. >But wait, what if they’re using cloaking devices and that’s why you can’t see them?
  1059. >That revelation nearly makes you fling yourself backwards.
  1060. >Thankfully, you carefully retreat into the safety of the hallway.
  1061. “...idiot, could’ve ended up in an unmarked warehouse if- no, just focus..!”
  1062. >That’s another thing, stop talking out loud, even if it’s just whispering!
  1063. >Nodding, you prepare yourself again.
  1064. >Since they’re using cloaking tech, you need to be casual in entering, like nothing is wrong.
  1065. >Sometimes being so overt is being completely covert, after all.
  1066. >You open the door completely, then walk in normally.
  1067.  
  1068. “Time to check my reports. and add to the secret documents.”
  1069. >Stay frosty, they’re going to make their move when they think your guard is completely lowered.
  1070. >While faking tasks, nothing is happening still, with everything else appearing normal.
  1071. >All the boxes, documents, and the web itself are the same as they were earlier, too.
  1072. >That doesn’t mean a thing, they’ve likely anticipated this.
  1073. >Time to make yourself seem more vulnerable.
  1074. >You check a box with your back turned.
  1075. >Nothing of real importance in here, just some scribbles you cooked up while out with Anon.
  1076. >Wait for it…
  1077. >You can feel the tension building up with every passing second.
  1078. >Wait for it!
  1079. >It’s like they’re just behind you with their fingers mere inches from your body.
  1080. >Stealthily, you draw out a special box cutter you concealed within some of your foil for such an occasion.
  1081. >Spinning around to face your cloaked intruders, you start your attack.
  1082. “Take that! And that! And this! Is all that you got you pansy?!”
  1083. >You swing to and fro; with wild strikes and stabs
  1084. >Yet nothing is happening – no blood spatters, no thumps of bodies hitting the floor, or even any words said either.
  1085. “Die glowie! Back to your overlord masters!”
  1086. >Other than your shouting.
  1087. >Your movements slow as the reality dawns on you.
  1088. >Everywhere is frantically looked to for any possible source of the enemy in the lair.
  1089. >What’s going on, why aren’t you hitting them?!
  1090. >Unless… unless they’re on the ceiling where you can’t reach them!
  1091. >Freezing entirely, your eyes dart upwards.
  1092. >Of course they didn’t want to fight fair, they knew they couldn’t fight you on the ground.
  1093. >You can’t possibly reach them up there, so it’s time to do the only thing possible.
  1094. “ANON, IT’S HAPPENING, WE HAVE TO ESCAPE!”
  1095. >You toss your box cutter as a distraction and gallop out of the lair.
  1096. >With as fast as your little legs can move, you surge into the living room…
  1097. “Ow!”
  1098. >...and head first into the couch.
  1099. >Anon curiously pokes his head over, “Sup?”
  1100. >While rubbing your head, you give him a glare.
  1101.  
  1102. “No time for games, we have to evacuate! The lair has been compromised, I repeat, the lair has been compromised!”
  1103. >He arches a brow, “So, that’s what you were shouting about. Sure it’s not a false alarm like last time?”
  1104. “What- no! I’m sure of it; the door trap was disarmed, so they clearly got in!”
  1105. >Nodding, he leans over the couch, then scoops you up.
  1106. >Thank goodness he understands.
  1107. “We have to enact the escape plan we went over. You do remember it, right?”
  1108. >“Yep, sure do.”
  1109. “Excellent, let’s go!”
  1110. >You point dramatically to the door and…
  1111. >...no running, no standing his ground, just sitting here.
  1112. “What are you doing, Anon? We have to go now!”
  1113. >You point to the door again, but still nothing.
  1114. >At his silence, you look up at him.
  1115. >He’s readjusted himself back to watching the TV like he was before.
  1116. “Anon?”
  1117. >“Tinny.”
  1118. “Why aren’t you running?”
  1119. >”Cuz there’s nothing wrong,” he replies nonchalantly.
  1120. >Darn it, why is he always like this in times of great crisis?!
  1121. >Well, except for that one time with prostitute pony, but that was different.
  1122. >Ugh, out of everything to remember, why’d it have to be that?
  1123. >No, stop getting distracted, focus on helping him!
  1124. “There is everything wrong, they’ll be here any second!”
  1125. >“Tinny.”
  1126. “Oh no, it’s going to be over-”
  1127. >“Tinny!”
  1128. “What?!”
  1129. >He looks at you with pursed lips, “Calm. Down. And breath.”
  1130. “I am calm! You’re the one acting like there isn’t an immediate threat.”
  1131. >”That’s because there isn’t.”
  1132. “No, there is! You’re just ignoring it!”
  1133. >Sighing, he runs a hand over his face.
  1134. >“If there were someone else in the house, don’t you think they would’ve gotten us by now?”
  1135. “They’re waiting for an opening to strike, then bam!”
  1136. >”But wouldn’t it have been easier to get you while you were napping? Or what about me being distracted by the show for that matter?”
  1137. >Actually, that’s a really good point, you both were quite vulnerable a bit ago.
  1138. >Maybe… no, NO!
  1139. >This is what he always does, he underplays the dangers that threaten the two of you.
  1140.  
  1141. “Grr… it’s a trap, Anon. That’s exactly how they pick random people off so easily!”
  1142. >“Really?”
  1143. “Yes, really!”
  1144. >He looks around the room casually before back to you, ”Well, where are they then?”
  1145. >Just as you’re about to argue again, you pause.
  1146. >Where the heck are they anyway?
  1147. >The two of you should be bound and gagged; halfway to some unmarked warehouse by now.
  1148. >”Have you considered that you didn’t set the trap back up before taking your nap?”
  1149. >You open and close your mouth several times before finally stopping to think.
  1150. >You did your rounds, talked to Anon about the squirrel’s new F.O.B., and after that, you told you him you were taking a nap.
  1151. >One part that isn’t recalled clearly however, is setting back up the door trap.
  1152. “Maybe… maybe I did forget to do it.”
  1153. >Shrugging, his eyes go back to the TV, ”Everyone forgets things from time to time, Tinny.”
  1154. “I suppose so… but I’m not like everyone else.”
  1155. >He chuckles, but says nothing.
  1156. “Something funny?”
  1157. >”You’re right, you’re not like everyone else. You’re extra special.”
  1158. “Oh, well, um… thanks.”
  1159. >”You’re welcome.”
  1160. “What are you even watching anyways?”
  1161. >”Some nature documentary in Africa.”
  1162. >Looking at the TV, it appears that there is a group of gazelles pronking away from some predators.
  1163. >A guy with a British accent is narrating the events as they unfold on the screen.
  1164. >Doubtless, this is another way to placate the masses.
  1165. >After all, no one actually gets that close to wild animals without the consent of the overlords.
  1166. >”So, wanna watch this with me? I wouldn’t mind the company.”
  1167. >You start to think over his offer.
  1168. >You’re still a little on edge, and you do need to take the time to plan things out better next time something actually does happen.
  1169. >So…
  1170. “I guess I can, but only for a little bit! I still gotta do my rounds of the home.”
  1171.  
  1172. >”Fair enough.”
  1173. >You cuddle up closer to him while watching as several lions sprint after the gazelles.
  1174. >Though something catches your attention now that you’re this close to him.
  1175. “Hey, Anon?”
  1176. >”Hm?”
  1177. “Why do you smell like cheap perfume and sulfur?”
  1178. >For a split second, he flinches.
  1179. >Weird, why’d he do that?
  1180. >”Uh… it’s because of work, yeah, chemicals from work is why.”
  1181. “Ah, well, you should wash it off when you can. It smells pretty bad, almost like you’ve been rolling in it.”
  1182. >”Y-Yeah, will do.”
  1183.  
  1184. ***
  1185.  
  1186. >Taking a brief moment from staring at the screen, you lightly stretch, which elicits a pop from your shoulders.
  1187. >With how quiet and peaceful today has been so far, it’s starting to get a little boring.
  1188. >Though considering the various happens that frequently occur, some boredom is probably for the best.
  1189. >You return to shifting through the backlog of emails.
  1190. “Hot singles in your area, work from home jobs… how does this crap get by the damn spam filter?”
  1191. >Some murmuring is heard coming from behind your door.
  1192. >It appears that you have jinxed yourself.
  1193. >Hopefully, this won’t end up causing a headache in more ways than one.
  1194. >It’s quite surprising that she didn’t show up sooner with another conspiracy related thing, anyways.
  1195. >For now, all that can be done is to prepare for whatever Tinny is about to unleash.
  1196. >At the door creaking open, you focus on the emails before you.
  1197. >She’s oddly quiet as she approaches.
  1198. >If that’s the case, then you guess it isn’t serious, which is pretty darn rare.
  1199. >A few minutes go by in complete silence, save for the clicking of your mouse while going through the emails.
  1200. >Should you be concerned?
  1201. >Awful question, Tinny always brings concern wherever she goes.
  1202. >*ahem*
  1203. “Something on your mind, Tin Tin?”
  1204. >“So…”
  1205. “So what?”
  1206. >“You know what.”
  1207. >Here we go, another insane thing she– hold it, there is a chance (no matter how slim) that this may be important.
  1208. >Especially considering the /incident/ sometime ago.
  1209. >Pushing that thought to the side for now, you turn your attention down to her.
  1210. >Her muzzle is scrunched, and she is attempting to give an intimidating glare.
  1211. >It fails to do that, though, rather, it’s quite cute.
  1212. “No, I don’t. You came in, said ‘so’, that’s all I know so far.”
  1213. >She stomps a hoof in frustration as her scrunch intensifies, “Do I really have to explain what’s wrong here?”
  1214. >Starting to feel a dull throb in your head, but that should’ve been expected…
  1215. >You set the computer to sleep for now while you deal with this.
  1216. “Yes, you do. That’s what normal people do: they tell someone a thing, and the other person responds.”
  1217.  
  1218. >She mumbles something incoherent before continuing, “Stop trying to hide the truth from me, Anon! I know what you’ve been doing.”
  1219. “You’re being really vague now, gotta be specific about what I’ve been hiding. Because there is a lot of things I do that I don’t tell you.”
  1220. >Puffing out her little chest, she points an accusatory hoof at you, “Bet you thought you were so clever in covering your tracks, eh? But not well enough.”
  1221. “Is this some game where I’m supposed to guess what I did? Because you’re still being vague, Tinny.”
  1222. >“Grr… you’ve been lying to me, that’s what! You’re the one who disabled the traps in my lair.”
  1223. “Hold, you said /traps/, as in multiple. The only one I knew of was the glitter one up by the top of the door.”
  1224. >“Of course I mean multiple. How else am I supposed to safeguard all the evidence I accumulated?”
  1225. “Isn’t all of that information freely available, though?”
  1226. >Her eye twitches, “I– er… no, no of course not! You’ve gotta go to the deep web and- gah! Never mind that, you do admit to your crime then?”
  1227. >You intertwine your fingers across your chest as you lean back.
  1228. “Now that you’ve actually told me, yes, but it was just the the glitter one like I said.”
  1229. >She lets out a low growl as she starts to pace back and forth, mumbling all the while.
  1230. >You probably should have told her, or at least set the thing back up before she found out.
  1231. >Though now you’re concerned about the other traps you somehow managed to avoid while in there.
  1232. >Last thing you want if you head back in is to end up in the hospital for setting one off.
  1233. >She finally stops pacing and sighs, “Why didn’t you ask me for permission first?”
  1234. “One: it’s our house, so I don’t have to. Two: last time I did, you put me through an hour long interrogation.”
  1235. >“True, but if you had asked me, I would’ve disabled the traps. Besides, the questions have to be thorough.”
  1236. “But did it really have to be over a hundred questions AND have sub questions to those as well?”
  1237.  
  1238. >“Of course! How else am I supposed to know if it’s really you or a doppelganger?”
  1239. “Pretty sure a doppelganger of me would do whatever it pleases, rather than politely asking you. Also, my missing car keys wasn’t a good enough reason at that time?”
  1240. >She rubs her chin and nods slowly, “Hmm… looks like I need to research more about doppelgangers later. But your keys weren’t in there anyways.”
  1241. >A frown crosses your lips as you recall the events of that day.
  1242. >Hours were spent searching for the keys, which almost made you late for the appointment you scheduled.
  1243. “Yeah, they mysteriously show up minutes later on my bed after I asked to search your lair.”
  1244. >“Th-That’s because you left them there, duh.”
  1245. >You pinch the bridge of your nose and sigh.
  1246. “Tinny, I make the bed shortly after getting up in the morning…”
  1247. >She nods, “Yes, I know that. What’s your point?”
  1248. “So, don’t you think I would’ve noticed them there when I did that?”
  1249. >Her eyes dart to the side, “You overlook things all the time, how else do you think I’m able to see so many unknown unknowns that you don’t see?”
  1250. >Slowly shaking your head, the dull throb in your head begins to manifest into a headache.
  1251. >She stomps her hooves, which draws you back to the matter unfolding.
  1252. >“Why were you in my lair, anyways? I need to know!”
  1253. “My pen died while filling out some bills, and I couldn’t find a spare in here, so I borrowed one of yours.”
  1254. >“But that’s not all you did while in there.”
  1255. “Really, what else are you accusing me of?”
  1256. >“You went through the supernatural evidence I have filed away in a box.”
  1257. >Is she being serious– wait.
  1258. >The memory comes back: you did take a peek at a few of them… for reasons, good reasons.
  1259. >At your silence, she smirks and presses on, “I have all the evidence categorized precisely, or did you think I wouldn’t notice them out of place?”
  1260. >Out of everything to forget, it had to be the system she spent hours showing you a while ago.
  1261. “So, I messed up your ordering, but I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal about it.”
  1262.  
  1263. >“Why? Why?! That and the traps being disabled made me believe that we were being invaded by agents of the overlords, or worse.”
  1264. “Oh.”
  1265. >She nods slowly, “Now you get it?”
  1266. “Yeah, I do. Didn’t realize I was the cause of that commotion. I’m sorry for not telling you sooner, Tin Tin.”
  1267. >The headache begins to gradually subside as realization takes hold.
  1268. >Her expression gently softens, “I accept your apology, just ask me next time, please?”
  1269. “Alright, I will.”
  1270. >If this means you can avoid traps, or another headache like this, then it’s fine.
  1271. >“With that out of the way, there is something super important I need to ask you.”
  1272. >You motion for her to continue.
  1273. “Lay it on me.”
  1274. >She turns her back to you, then starts to fiddle about oddly.
  1275. >You can’t quite make it out what she is doing either.
  1276. >Past experience reminds you to not ask, but to wait and see instead.
  1277. >Tinny turns back to you with a handful (hooful) of small pieces of paper.
  1278. >They look awfully familiar, almost like-
  1279. >“Why do you have so many shoe receipts, Anon? I found at least ten in my searches.”
  1280. >Shit, didn’t you bury those at the bottom of the trash where she- wait.
  1281. >Pursing your lips, you feel that headache begin its triumphed return.
  1282. “You dug those out of the trash.”
  1283. >For a split second, she looks like a deer caught in headlights, “Th-That’s not the point, why did you buy so many?”
  1284. >Wonderful, just wonderful…
  1285. >You’re going to have to look to see how much of a mess she caused after this.
  1286. >Hopefully, it’s not too bad.
  1287. “Tinny, did you forget what happened last time you went rooting through the trash?”
  1288. >“But you didn’t answer my question about why you have so many in the first place.”
  1289. “Have you been digging through the trash in the neighborhood, too?”
  1290. >“Stop avoiding the question, Anon.”
  1291. “So, you have been then?”
  1292. >“No, I haven’t been going through their trash.”
  1293. “You know, I’m having a /really/ hard time believing you didn’t.”
  1294.  
  1295. >Her ears flatten against her head as she snorts and stomps her hooves, “Gah! You said I am forbidden from digging through any of the neighbor’s trash, so I haven’t. However, you never said I couldn’t dig through /ours/. Plus I only went through the one in the kitchen.”
  1296. >Rubbing your temples slowly, you try to ease the suddenly stronger throbbing within.
  1297. >This needs to end before it just repeats history.
  1298. “Tinny, listen to me… you cannot keep digging through our trash.”
  1299. >“Oh come on, Anon! I’ve been doing this for a while now and you haven’t complained yet.”
  1300. >At that, you stop your motions, and stare blankly at her.
  1301. >She has a look of complete innocence, like she’s done nothing wrong.
  1302. >However, you know better.
  1303. >Remember that headache you were trying to stop?
  1304. >Yeah.
  1305. >It’s not a headache anymore, it’s decided to become a migraine.
  1306. >Letting out a low grumble as you open a drawer from your desk, you grab a bottle of aspirin.
  1307. >You keep one handy for occasions just like this.
  1308. >“What’s that for?”
  1309. “It’s to handle all this trouble I’m dealing with, be right back.”
  1310. >Just as you rise, she darts over to the door in a flash, then closes and braces herself against it.
  1311. >“Not just yet, I’ve answered all your questions, it’s only fair that you answer mine. Why do you have so many receipts, Anon? Do they have a deeper meaning? Are you hiding something from me?”
  1312. >The migraine picks up in pulse, which forces you to grit your teeth.
  1313. >Whatever patience you had is just about gone.
  1314. “Oh for the love… if I tell you, will you drop it?”
  1315. >She nods vigorously enough to make her foil crinkle audibly.
  1316. >If it wasn’t for this migraine, that would probably be cute enough to make you smile.
  1317. >Such a shame, too.
  1318. “I got them for the succupony. Happy now?”
  1319. >She deeply frowns, and takes on a look of complete disgust, “Ugh, you’re still going on about that nonsense? Come on, Anon, I told you those aren’t real.”
  1320.  
  1321. >Honestly, you really should’ve seen that coming from a mile way.
  1322. >Even seeing Lithium with her own two eyes wasn’t enough to make her believe last time.
  1323. >And to think you were feeling bored earlier.
  1324. >You would’ve rather have had that over this madness…
  1325. >A sharp bolt of pain shoots throughout your head, thus sapping the last of your patience.
  1326. “Move.”
  1327. >She shakes her head rapidly side to side, “No, not till you tell me the actual truth and not anymore of those weird fantasies of yours.”
  1328. >She’s not moving, though you’re not going to deal with her antics right now.
  1329. >Only one thing left to do in these kinds of situations.
  1330. >In one quick motion, you descend upon and snatch her up, then tuck her under your arm like a football.
  1331. >“Hey, put me down!”
  1332. “No.”
  1333. >You open the door, and start marching towards the kitchen.
  1334. >You need a drink (preferably something stronger other than water), as well as to check the trash situation.
  1335. >Along the way, Tinny thrashes in your grasp, “Darn it, Anon! Just tell me about the receipts an-”
  1336. >You cut her off by wrapping your hand around her muzzle.
  1337. >No matter what she puts you through, it’s fine, because it was something you learned to live with shortly after she first came into your life.
  1338.  
  1339. ***
  1340.  
  1341. >Briefly pausing the search to check the time, you see it’s three minutes pass six in the morning.
  1342. >This current patrol has been clear, at least of any immediate happenings that is.
  1343. >However, there is not a shred of doubt within you that will change.
  1344. >So, you cannot lower you guard, not even for one second.
  1345. >Complacency is forever patient, after all.
  1346. >That’s what the overlords desire from everyone – dumb and submissive slaves to use for whatever they want.
  1347. >But you’re not dumb nor submissive, now are you?
  1348. >No, of course not!
  1349. >Then what are you?
  1350. >You’re Tinny – defender of the homestead, vanquisher of otherworldly threats, seeker of truths, bringer of justice, and the most aware of all ponies!
  1351. “Er…”
  1352. >Alright, there may be a need to work on shortening all of that…
  1353. >It should probably either be some more specific, or straight to the point.
  1354. >Something like… like those stickers that Anon got you!
  1355. >Your favorite is a tie between “Cool Filly” and “Awesome Pony”.
  1356. >There will be time to brainstorm more on that later.
  1357. >For now, you need to focus on your current task: Protecting the house and Anon.
  1358. >As you enter into the kitchen, the trashcan in the corner catches your eye.
  1359. >You haven’t forgotten Anon forbidding you from touching it.
  1360. >You still don’t get why he can’t understand your sound reasoning.
  1361. >It’s perfectly normal to go through trash.
  1362. >Hobos do it all the time, and they’re all right, so why can’t you?
  1363. >After all, where else are you going to find things to supplement your search for the truth?
  1364. >That’s how you discovered that the produce from the local grocery store has hallucinogenics in it.
  1365. >You used the science kit Anon got you to thoroughly analyze it, then the results were compared to the stuff found on the deep web, and you even printed them out, too.
  1366. >In spite of the overwhelming evidence, Anon still didn’t believe it; he said was /just moldy/.
  1367. >Darn it, you’re getting off track again.
  1368. >That habit really needs to be broken soon, otherwise it will lead to you getting captured someday.
  1369. >With the aid of a chair from the table, you scope out the backyard.
  1370.  
  1371. >There’s not a whole lot to see in the early morning.
  1372. >Some sudden movement changes that, which forces you to crouch to lower your profile.
  1373. >That was something learned on the deep web as well.
  1374. >After several seconds of careful observation, it’s revealed to be a bunny moving about.
  1375. “Psh, do they really think they can fool me?”
  1376. >Despite its innocent exterior, you know that it is actually a robotic spy!
  1377. >In addition to writing about it, a quick sketch is drawn up, too.
  1378. >This newest enemy is likely the overlords way of keeping a closer watch over you.
  1379. >As if the squirrels weren’t enough.
  1380. >Just treat this spy like all others – keep an eye on it, and be prepared to handle it at a moments notice.
  1381. >There isn’t much else to see in the yard, though some birds can be heard chirping.
  1382. >You still need to eventually find a way to decipher that, there has to be an answer on the web for it.
  1383. >Time to move to the front yard.
  1384. >After pushing the chair back, you enter the living room.
  1385. >Thankfully, Anon left the footstool by the window, which makes it easier for you to observe everything.
  1386. >While looking about, something feels off, more so than usual.
  1387. >It’s not the robotic animals, or the lawn gnomes with hidden cameras, either.
  1388. >Even with the aid of light provided by streetlamps, you’re having a hard time seeing whatever it is.
  1389. >This is just like the backyard, that makes it suspicious!
  1390. >You end up having to press your face against the glass and squinting to make things out.
  1391. >However, the results are the same.
  1392. “Grr… too dirty to see through clearly.”
  1393. >There is something out there, it must be figured out, no matter what.
  1394. >Usually, you’d ask Anon for help, then wait till he took care of it.
  1395. >But now, desperate times call for desperate measures, which means you’ll have to clean this yourself.
  1396. >With much haste, you scurry into the kitchen, then scour underneath the sink to retrieve cleaning supplies.
  1397. >They’re carried back in a bucket in your mouth, though it’s difficult due to the contents shifting about frequently.
  1398. >Upon reaching the front window, you utter a small sigh.
  1399.  
  1400. “Alright, I can do this. Just remember to be very, very careful, so simple.”
  1401. >The memory of the last time this was done floats to the surface – you ended up scratching the glass with your tin hooves, rather too easily.
  1402. >Naturally, you told Anon, and as a result of that, he said you shouldn’t do it again.
  1403. >It’s not like you intended to do it.
  1404. >Regardless of that, with as much caution as possible, you go about cleaning the small section you need.
  1405. “...wax on…”
  1406. >Remember what Anon said before about tasks, “Take your time, don’t rush it.”
  1407. “...wax off…”
  1408. >After investing a bit of elbow grease, you examine your work.
  1409. >There are no apparent scratches, so it looks like you managed just fine.
  1410. >Bet when you show Anon later, he’ll be so surprised, and he’ll even tell you that you did a great job.
  1411. >It’s gonna be so awesome!
  1412. >Hold it, remember the initial reason you did this in the first place.
  1413. >Nodding, you observe what caught your attention.
  1414. >Something is gently falling from the sky…
  1415. “Snowfall.”
  1416. >That can’t be, it’s late April!
  1417. >Plus you already know spring is here, so this shouldn’t be possible.
  1418. >The weather lately has been fair with no rain, and little cloud cover, too.
  1419. >What does this all mean then?!
  1420. >Keep calm, focus, do not lose your head, filly.
  1421. >Right!
  1422. >There is a perfectly rational explanation to this odd weather…
  1423. >...and that explanation is another scheme of the overlords!
  1424. “How does this one work, though?”
  1425. >You need to remember what you learned from the deep web – think like the overlords do.
  1426. “Another weather manipulation plot maybe?”
  1427. >No, they already have plenty of those *freak* storms that come around.
  1428. “True.”
  1429. >Come on, try harder with those skills of yours.
  1430. “Well… snow coats just about everything, and melts slowly.”
  1431. >Rain covers things faster, it also doesn’t need to melt.
  1432. >Also true, however, many people prefer the snow to rain, so they’re much more willing to go outside in it.
  1433. >Then this likely means the overlords are using this snowfall as a vector!
  1434. >They’ve probably realized less people are getting flu shots, so they did this to correct the mistake.
  1435.  
  1436. “It makes perfect sense!”
  1437. >The ignorant masses will become more and more obedient as a result of it; they’ll ignore the truth, and instead, they’ll eat up the lies.
  1438. >It’ll be like the time they said that putting fluoride in the water supply will help prevent tooth decay.
  1439. >In reality, it’s not fluoride at all, but rather, a drug that makes people more open to suggestion.
  1440. >There’s also the truth about the moon landing, which was only to paint it pink and-
  1441. >Stop getting distracted, you’ve gotta warn Anon!
  1442. >With a hop, a skip, and a jump, you glide off the windowsill onto the carpet, then dash off to the hallway.
  1443. >Skidding to a halt as you reach his bedroom door, you knock and wait.
  1444. >What are you doing?
  1445. >Waiting for Anon to answer, of course.
  1446. >Does this look like the time for being polite?
  1447. >Darn it, that’s true, this is an emergency. after all.
  1448. >You open the door, then rush up onto the bed.
  1449. “Anon, you won’t– where is he?”
  1450. >In your haste, you didn’t notice him missing.
  1451. >The bed is unmade, too, did they get him?
  1452. >Quick, you need to check everywhere in the room, he has to be here.
  1453. >A peek under the bed uncovers stray dust bunnies.
  1454. >You get into the closet, and aside from the odd amount of shoes missing their twin (that will be investigated later), he’s not there either.
  1455. >An icy hand grips your heart tightly.
  1456. “Oh no… he must’ve been captured while I was distracted!”
  1457. >Curse them, he’s was never supposed to get caught in the crossfire.
  1458. >This is your fault, you’re supposed to protect him, he’s your best friend!
  1459. >You’ve gotta do something, but what?!
  1460. >Just as fear starts to whisper, your ears pick up the sound of a toilet being flushed.
  1461. “Oh thank goodness, he’s safe!”
  1462. >This is not the time for celebration, he needs to be informed of the danger.
  1463. >You gallop to the bathroom and try the door.
  1464. >But it’s locked, so you rapidly knock.
  1465. “Anon, Anon, it’s snowing!”
  1466. >For a moment, it sounded like there was some murmuring that came from inside.
  1467. >However, he still doesn’t answer.
  1468. >So you knock again, louder this time.
  1469.  
  1470. “Anon, come on, it’s snowing out!”
  1471. >Some shuffling is heard on the other side, though the door doesn’t open up.
  1472. >A tired sounding Anon speaks up, “I heard you the first time, Tinny.”
  1473. “Good, I was concerned for a moment there.”
  1474. >“The forecast said there was going to be some snow this morning, so it’s not much of a surprise.”
  1475. “It’s a plan of the overlords, Anon! They’re using it as a means to get you infected!”
  1476. >“Infecting me?”
  1477. “Yes, that’s right! They realized that you didn’t get your *flu* shot, so they’re using this as a means to do so!”
  1478. >“...okay, and?”
  1479. “What do you mean ‘and?’, this is serious!”
  1480. >He utters an audible sigh, “Seriously doubt I’m going to get sick.”
  1481. “That’s a risk, though, you should stay home and wait it out!”
  1482. >“Would you stop yelling?”
  1483. “S-Sorry, but I’m just trying to protect you.”
  1484. >“I appreciate that, really I do. However, I can’t just call off work today.”
  1485. “But-”
  1486. >“No buts. I swear I’ll be okay.”
  1487. >Despite the severity of the situation, he’s not going to listen.
  1488. >There has to be something you can do to help protect him, but what?
  1489. “Hmm…”
  1490. >“Got anything else you want to tell me?”
  1491. “No, not yet.”
  1492. >“Well, alright then, I’m gonna hop in the shower. We can talk afterwords, okay?”
  1493. “Mhm, yeah, sure.”
  1494. >Time passes by while in thought, yet nothing comes up.
  1495. >Out of all the times to draw a blank, it just had to be now?
  1496. >It doesn’t matter, there is only one thing left to do.
  1497. >To the deep web!
  1498. >You check the laptop in the bedroom, and find it powered on.
  1499. “Now let’s see…”
  1500. >Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to find what you’re seeking.
  1501. >What’s even better, the supplies are to help are around the house.
  1502. >Gathering what you can, you bring some notes along with you into the living room.
  1503. >Normally, something like wouldn’t be done in here, but there is no time to waste.
  1504. >An eternity is spent making multiple mistakes, mostly because of your clumsy little hooves.
  1505. >That will not stop you however, as you double down on getting this right.
  1506. >Eventually, with an enormous amount of effort invested, you have something that looks usable.
  1507.  
  1508. >You can’t be too safe, though, so you carefully look it over while comparing it to the notes.
  1509. >Some footfalls come from the hallway into the living room.
  1510. >“Whatcha working on there, Tinny?”
  1511. “Just a sec, I’m close to being done.”
  1512. >He says nothing, though he is heard entering the kitchen while you continue to focus on perfecting your work.
  1513. >Several minutes more of inspection shows this is about as good as it’s going to be.
  1514. >It will have to be revised later when you have more time.
  1515. >You take it with you as you go into the kitchen, and you find Anon sitting at the table, drinking coffee while reading the newspaper.
  1516. >You trot over to him, then present your creation.
  1517. “It’s dangerous to go out there, take this!”
  1518. >Setting the paper down, he takes your work, and curiously looks it over, “Huh, pretty cool. What is this exactly?”
  1519. “Can’t you tell?”
  1520. >Anon shakes his head slowly, “Not quite.”
  1521. “It’s a homemade face mask I whipped up to protect you.”
  1522. >He softly smiles, “Thank you, Tinny.”
  1523. “Y-You’re welcome, just remember to wear this outside along with your jacket and gloves. That should be enough from my estimation.”
  1524. >It seems he is about to say something, but instead, just gently nods.
  1525. >“Yeah, sure will.”
  1526. “Good, I’ve got to inform the others about this newest scheme.”
  1527. >“Don’t forget to make copies of it as well,” he adds.
  1528. “Of course I will, I’m going to make triplicates just be safe.”
  1529. >He gives you a thumbs up as you hurry into the hallway.
  1530. >Deep down, you know he’s starting to get the hang of things.
  1531. >You just need to be patient with him, he’ll understand it all one day, just like you do.
  1532.  
  1533. ***
  1534.  
  1535. >According to the forecast in the newspaper, it’s going to be clear skies and sunshine for the rest of the week.
  1536. >Hopefully that nice weather will hold up for the rest of the month, too.
  1537. >Assuming it does, then perhaps you can put in for some time off.
  1538. >A vacation would be great, and if you can manage it, maybe even a camping trip.
  1539. >It’s been way too long since that last happened.
  1540. >In fact, it’s been awhile since you last took some time off to begin with.
  1541. >The last proper vacation was before meeting Tinny.
  1542. >Speaking of her, what is she up to?
  1543. >Last you recall, she was going around doing her usual rounds.
  1544. >How would she feel about a vacation?
  1545. >Well…
  1546. >Much like weekend, or holidays, she’d use the opportunity to teach you EVERYTHING about a conspiracy or several.
  1547. >But before that, she’d go into full blown rant mode about how the vacation is somehow a conspiracy.
  1548. >Since that is going to be the case, it’s best not to bring it up anytime soon.
  1549. >In spite of that, the two of you do need to get out more, especially her
  1550. >You remember when you learned how she would sneak out while you weren’t home or sleeping.
  1551. >Thankfully, that ended after the rat incident.
  1552. >Because you’re already thinking about it, why not ask her about taking a trip around town or something like that?
  1553. >She’s less likely to go nuts about that over the idea of a vacation.
  1554. >At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to try.
  1555. >You take a quick sip of your coffee as you set the paper aside.
  1556. >Although it’s been awhile since the snowfall incident in April, it still feels like it happened just yesterday.
  1557. >That incident was fairly innocent, like most are with her.
  1558. >You’re quite grateful that there hasn’t been anything serious lately, though.
  1559. >A sudden chill runs down you spine.
  1560. >Did you just jinx yourself?
  1561. >Ignoring that, you head off into the living room, and spot Tinny by the window.
  1562.  
  1563. >However, she’s acting stranger than usual – instead of being up on the sill, she’s just beside it.
  1564. >Furthermore, she frequently peeks outside, then crouches down to write something in her notepad.
  1565. >That’s kinda a curious sight, but asking anything about it would certainly lead to something conspiracy related as usual.
  1566. >As she goes to write something again, she notices you, and starts waving for you to come over to her.
  1567. >Rather than doing just that, an alternative option presents itself.
  1568. >A little fun is needed, after all…
  1569. >Blinking a few times, you look around, then point at yourself in question.
  1570. >Her brow briefly furrows, but she rapidly nods.
  1571.  
  1572. >She couldn’t have given a better response.
  1573. “What is it, girl? Did Timmy fall down a well, and needs us to get the fire department to rescue him?”
  1574. >Her muzzle scrunches, and she narrows her gaze on you.
  1575. >therearenobreaksonthistrain.png
  1576. “Wait, wait… I get it now! You want something, right?”
  1577. >Again she nods, though with a small smile.
  1578. “Alright, let’s see… you want to…”
  1579. >You snap your fingers a few times, then grin.
  1580. “...play charades! Okay, so for my first guess: is it a bird?”
  1581. >Uttering a growl, her glare hardens.
  1582. >This next bit should do the trick.
  1583. “Aww… I’m guessing it’s a puppy from how cute you’re being, that has to be it!”
  1584. >At that, she hops up onto all fours, “Darn it, Anon! This is no time for messing around. Please just come over here.”
  1585. >FINISH HER!
  1586. “Oh, okay. Why didn’t you just ask that in the first place?”
  1587. >That’s all it takes for her expression to turn downright venomous.
  1588. >If looks could kill…
  1589. >Eh, totally worth it.
  1590. >With a light bounce in your step, you come to her side.
  1591. “What’s happening, Tin Tin?”
  1592. >That earns an annoyed sigh from her before she quickly peeks outside again.
  1593. >“Crouch down, we can’t risk them noticing us.”
  1594. >It’s seriously doubtful that there’s anything bad going on, but you’ll play along, so you pop a squat.
  1595. “Who’s them?”
  1596. >Saying nothing, she points to the neighbors who moved in not too long ago.
  1597. >So, she’s still refusing to let them go, that figures.
  1598. >“They’ve been extremely active this morning, and from what I’ve gathered so far, they’re preparing for something. That means we have to be at the ready for whatever it is!”
  1599. >You glance from her to them a few times.
  1600. >You’ve already got a pretty good idea as to what’s actually going on, but it’s doubtful she’ll listen.
  1601. “Looks like they’re loading up luggage into their car, so I’m guessing they’re going on a trip somewhere.”
  1602. >Talk about a funny coincidence.
  1603.  
  1604. >She shakes her head while writing a note, “No, that’s just that they want you to think. In actuality, they’re making everyone else lower their guard for their plan. I suspect they might be preparing to snatch people off the street, though they might just lock off the whole neighborhood just for that, too. Regardless, we need more info.”
  1605. >Why do you even try anymore?
  1606. >Because it’s fun sometimes.
  1607. >She shoves her notes in your face, “See these? They’ve been doing a good job setting up this front, but they haven’t fooled me at all.”
  1608. >You gently push the papers out of your face, and give them a better look.
  1609. >Like usual, these are written in pen and marker, with various pictures drawn and/or attached to it.
  1610. >Just like the rest, they’re filled to the brim with paranoia.
  1611. >The truth is: not too long ago, you met these neighbors.
  1612. >They’re a nice young couple who got their first home.
  1613. >There’s no way you could ever tell Tinny that you talked with them, though.
  1614. >If she found out, it would result in her ranting about fraternizing with the enemy or something to that effect.
  1615. >It’s a real shame she’s always like this with everyone, because if she wasn’t, then she’d have people other than you and the nut jobs on the internet to talk to.
  1616. >“Now do you understand?”
  1617. “Yeah, now I do.”
  1618. >She pumps a hoof into the air, “Yes!” Her regret is immediate as her muzzle scrunches, “I mean… good, good.”
  1619. >You can’t help but smile form her little bout of happiness.
  1620. >If there’s one thing that helps offset her quirks, it’s her ability to be unexpectedly cute.
  1621. “I’m guessing you’re going to be watching them all day to see how their plans unfold?”
  1622. >“Of course! How else am I supposed to counter them?”
  1623. “Let me get this straight: you’re not going to do any patrols, venture onto the deep web, or even record anything within the lair?”
  1624. >“Yes, I won’t-” her mouth slams shut as her pupils shrink to pinpricks.
  1625. >Did you just say the wrong thing?
  1626. >There’s no time to answer that before she locks her eyes with yours, “Anon, I’m going to need your help for the rest of the day, and probably well into the night, too.”
  1627.  
  1628. >Aw hell, now you’ve gone and done it…
  1629. >All you wanted to do was indulge her a little, not this.
  1630. “Tinny, I don’t-”
  1631. >She puts her fore hooves together, “Please, Anon?”
  1632. >That act doesn’t end there as she follows it with giving the biggest set of puppy eyes she can.
  1633. >Dammit, why is that so much more effective than usual?!
  1634. >Don’t do you dare give in, this is not worth it.
  1635. >But what if she’s right?
  1636. >It’s the weekend, do you really want to waste it by spying on your innocent neighbors?
  1637. >Remember Lithium? She is real, so there’s a chance that this is, too.
  1638. >No! Sexy succupony aside, that was just a coincidence.
  1639. >Still-
  1640. >The only thing this spying will amount to is staring at a vacant hours for who knows how long.
  1641. >You go to respond, yet stop.
  1642. >Tinny’s bottom lip is quivering.
  1643. >She’s never done that before!
  1644. >“A-Anon…?” She sayss very softly.
  1645. >Letting out a deep sigh, you slowly shake your head.
  1646. >This is going to be difficult, but…
  1647. “Alright, I’ll do it.”
  1648. >Her expression instantly flips, “Yes! I knew you’d agree.”
  1649. “But, on one condition!”
  1650. >She flinches, “O-oh, okay then… what is it?”
  1651. >Giving in was stupid, but this situation can be still salvaged.
  1652. >Besides, you don’t do stuff for free; you’re not a janitor.
  1653. “After we finish this stakeout, we go to the park sometime, with no conspiracy stuff whatsoever.”
  1654. >“The park,” her reply was nearly monotone, which is a rarity to hear.
  1655. “That’s right, the park.”
  1656. >Her voice still doesn’t shift when she replies with, “Why?”
  1657. “That’s my condition, that’s why.”
  1658. >You’re not going to give the real reason, least she shoot it down or go into lecture mode.
  1659. >She shakes her head before peeking out the window, “That’s impossible. Choose something else.”
  1660. “What, why?”
  1661. >She looks back to you, “Isn’t it obvious?”
  1662. >Sometimes she’s easy to figure out, other times, not so much.
  1663. >At this moment, it’s the latter.
  1664.  
  1665. “Remind me then.”
  1666. >Sighing, she shakes her head again, “It’s because the park is full of spies, along with devices that listen in and watch everything going on there. Therefore, all of that makes it impossible for there not to be anything conspiracy related.”
  1667. >Such an explanation should have been expected at this point.
  1668. “Look, it doesn’t matter if that’s true. It’s my condition, so take it or leave it.”
  1669. >Her face contorts as several emotions go over it, “I- uh- um, er… this is- this is… gah!” She stomps her hooves, “This is unfair!”
  1670. >You shrug.
  1671. “That’s just how it is sometimes.”
  1672. >Shaking out of it, she readopts the same puppy dog expression from moments ago, “You have to help me, otherwise we’ll both be in grave danger.”
  1673. >She really should have reserved that for another time, because it’s WAY less effective now.
  1674. >You cross your arms as you steel yourself.
  1675. “It’s as I’ve told you before: I can handle whatever comes out way, so I’m not worried, Tin Tin.”
  1676. >“But you never know for certain that you can do that, Anon.”
  1677. >Again, you shrug.
  1678. “I’m willing to take the risk regardless.”
  1679. >Her mouth opens to argue once more, but hesitates.
  1680. >Instead, she starts to mumble to herself while pacing around in a small circle.
  1681. >After a minute or so, she heavily sighs as she stops to face you.
  1682. >Her muzzle briefly scrunches up, “Okay, fine… I accept your condition.”
  1683. >Good, it’s settled then.
  1684. >You give a thumbs up, and stand.
  1685. “Alrighty, I gotta grab my stuff before I can help out.”
  1686. >She snaps her attention back to the window, “Be quick, we already wasted enough time talking about this.”
  1687. >Despite the circumstances of the event, you smile as you go get your things from the other room.
  1688. >It’s going to be a long, boring day today, but it all will pay off soon enough.
  1689. >The time in the park will be worth it, which should help the both of you out, even more so, her.
  1690. >Just about everything feels brighter, much like the sunny weather is.
  1691. >If only things could be like that more often.
  1692. >You return to the living room with coffee and newspaper in hand.
  1693. “Anything new going on out there?”
  1694.  
  1695. >She doesn’t spare a glance while she writes a note, “They’re almost finished with their ‘packing’, but I’m sure that this is the final stages before they launch their insidious plan, whatever it may be.”
  1696. >Nodding, you turn to the newspaper.
  1697. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out soon enough.”
  1698. >“Indeed I will, because I always do. Until then, I figure we can work in shifts till something happens. And while you do your shift, I’ll do my other work around the house.”
  1699. “How will that work? The schedules that is.”
  1700. >“Roughly every half hour to an hour,” she shrugs, “It will have to change up to as to ensure no patterns can be traced.”
  1701. “Alright, well, it sounds good.”
  1702. >“Agreed, everything should be smooth as long as we work together.”
  1703. >Nodding once more, you read over some random news article, and take a sip of your coffee.
  1704. “Uh-huh.”
  1705. >All things considered, there are worse ways of spending the weekend, let alone, the day.
  1706. >Things like having to deal with pests from the trash again, or learning that one of her many, many conspiracies is, in fact, true.
  1707. >A chill, nearly identical to the one from earlier, runs down your spine.
  1708. >It was just another coincidence, like a draft or something.
  1709. >...but to be safe, maybe you should look into it later.
  1710. >After all, it couldn’t hurt to be sure, right?”
  1711.  
  1712. ***
  1713.  
  1714. “Can we talk about this?”
  1715. >“We already have, several times, in fact.”
  1716. “Then what will one more time hurt?”
  1717. >“No.”
  1718. “Come on, please?”
  1719. >“Tinny, we’ve been over this: you agreed to my condition, and that’s that.”
  1720. “But-”
  1721. >“No buts, end of discussion.”
  1722. >Holding back a growl, you turn your head to the door.
  1723. “...jerk…”
  1724. >“I heard that.”
  1725. >Drat! You thought you were being quiet enough.
  1726. “I’m sorry for calling you that, it was very rude of me.”
  1727. >“Apology accepted.”
  1728. >Good, now use this opportunity to-
  1729. >“I’m still not changing my mind, though.”
  1730. >Double drat! How’d he know what you were planning?
  1731. >Figure it out later, change up your tactics, fast.
  1732. >Mustering all of your ability, you dawn your best set of puppy eyes and look at him.
  1733. >Seconds tick by, with him not reacting in the slightest.
  1734. >It might help if you weren’t trying to do this while he’s focused on driving…
  1735. >Well, what other plans can you rely on for this situation such as this?
  1736. >None that come to mind, sadly.
  1737. >Countless hours have been invested in planning for scenarios at home and in public spaces.
  1738. >But on the road, in the car? No, that’s never been considered.
  1739. >Note to self: correct that later.
  1740. >In the meantime, adapting to the situation is the option present.
  1741. “Hey, Anon?”
  1742. >“Hm?”
  1743. “I’m sorry for all the trouble I cause, and I’m especially sorry for dragging you into it all the time, too.”
  1744. >He tilts his head with a slight nod, “It’s okay, I’m more or less used to it.”
  1745. “I also want you to know that I really do care about you.”
  1746. >A smile forms on his lips, “And I care about you too, Tin Tin.”
  1747. >This is working wonderfully, keep it up!
  1748. “By the way, I think you were right about the succupony being real.”
  1749. >Arching a brow, he glances at you briefly, “Oh now you do?”
  1750. “Can you blame me for being initially skeptical?”
  1751. >Without missing a beat, he replies instantly, “Yes.”
  1752. >Okay, so you walked straight into that one.
  1753. >Not to worry, this shouldn’t slow your progress overall.
  1754. “How about we sit down to talk about it? I’d like to compile data on such a creature. I’m sure it could help out in the grand scheme of things.”
  1755.  
  1756. >He gives a small shrug, “Well, I suppose we can.”
  1757. >Perfect! Time to move in for the kill, then negotiations can open up.
  1758. “Thank you, I mean that. I lo-”
  1759. >“We’re here.”
  1760. >The car comes to a slow stop, and he looks over at you with a large smile.
  1761. >Idiot! You didn’t act fast enough.
  1762. >Worst of all, you can’t see anything due to your view being obstructed by the car seat you’re in.
  1763. >Quick, information is needed, and now!
  1764. “S-So, uhm… how many people are here?”
  1765. >Not exactly the question you wanted to ask, nor was it even a good way to ask to begin with, but information is information.
  1766. >“You’re about to find out.”
  1767. >That’s not what you wanted to hear…
  1768. >He gets out, then comes around to your side, and starts unbuckling you.
  1769. >Once you’re free, you attempt to move, but he effortlessly picks you up and carries you with him as he walks away from the car.
  1770. “Put me down, I can walk just fine!”
  1771. >“I know you can, but you’re /much/ easier to handle like this.”
  1772. >Note to self: find a way to counter this later, too.
  1773. >Previous experience has shown that there is no way out of his hold, so you have to accept it.
  1774. >For now, you work on gathering intel from the area around.
  1775. >There’s a whole lot of trees, which house who knows many spies and spying devices.
  1776. >Sprinkled throughout the area are playgrounds, gazebos, and general picnic spaces.
  1777. >Above all else, there are people here, too many people.
  1778. >Some of them are agents of the overlords, there is no doubt there.
  1779. >Kids are here as well, with some hanging around adults, while others play with one another at the playgrounds.
  1780. >Like the adults, some of them are agents, too.
  1781. >This confirms what you already know: this entire place is a massive trap.
  1782. >Stay at the top of your game, filly.
  1783. >It only takes one slipup, then bam! You’re now in Guantonomo Bay being waterboarded for knowing too much.
  1784. >“So, what do you think of this place?”
  1785. “It’s terrible.”
  1786. >He exhales a loud sigh, “...just give it a chance.”
  1787.  
  1788. “There’s something bad bound to happen here, I just know it.”
  1789. >“You literally say that about everywhere we ever go.”
  1790. “And it’s always correct because I’m always right about it.”
  1791. >He shakes his head, “No, you’re not. Besides, you’re often the reason for those ‘bad things’ in the first place; whether that be you accusing someone of being a glowie, or you start lecturing strangers about a conspiracy.”
  1792. “I can’t help but call out what I see, Anon. I have to help whoever I can, whenever I can!”
  1793. >Again, he shakes his head, “Yeah, yeah, you’ve told me before. But remember: you cannot do that kind of stuff while we are here.”
  1794. >You pout as you cross your forelegs.
  1795. “I haven’t forgotten…”
  1796. >“Just try to have fun, okay?”
  1797. “I’d be having all the fun I could ever want within the safety of our home.”
  1798. >“That’s among the reasons we’re here.”
  1799. “Because I have fun at home?”
  1800. >“No, because you’re cooped up inside all the damn time. That’s unhealthy for anyone, especially someone like you.”
  1801. “That’s not true, the outside is far more unhealthy than the inside could ever be.”
  1802. >“Is this how my parents felt when I was a kid?” He mutters under his breath.
  1803. >Ignoring him, you work on making a mental map of this place.
  1804. >A hasty retreat is all but necessary when the agents, or whoever, inevitably attack the two of you.
  1805. >Running away may be cowardly, yet, any form of defense here would be utterly futile on the turf of the overlords.
  1806. >Soon enough, the walk comes to an end at a set of picnic tables in a more secluded section of the park.
  1807. >This is simultaneously good and bad.
  1808. >Good because there are no visible enemies.
  1809. >Bad because there are no visible enemies.
  1810. >He sets you on the table, and takes a seat himself.
  1811. >“Man, this weather sure is something, isn’t it?”
  1812. “It’s too bright outside, and all these sounds are irritating. I wish I was back home in my lair.”
  1813.  
  1814. >Briefly, he frowns, then utters a chuckle with the shake of his head, “Yeah, I really walked into that one.”
  1815. >He isn’t taking this serious like usual.
  1816. >That just means you’ll have to double your efforts to ensure each other’s safety.
  1817. >Aside from the many trees about the area, there is little in the way that stands out.
  1818. >Yet, somewhere out there, eyes and ears are upon the two of you.
  1819. >Whoever they belong to – overlords, agents, or something else entirely – they must be rooted out, fast.
  1820. >Suddenly, Anon points past you, “Hey, there’s a pony over there.”
  1821. >You follow his hand, and sure enough, there’s a pony underneath some nearby trees.
  1822. >That’s too convenient.
  1823. >“How about you go introduce yourself?”
  1824. “Are you nuts? That’s obviously a trap.”
  1825. >Looking back to him, his eyes narrow in on you, “Tinny, you agreed to none of that stuff, remember?”
  1826. >Darn it, he’s right.
  1827. >“So, why not go over to talk? You could make a friend,” he emphasizes his suggestion with a gentle nod.
  1828. >Despite the agreement, and whatever else he may think, this is dangerous.
  1829. >But, there is a chance (no matter how small) that this pony is an innocent bystander.
  1830. >For all you know, they could be enlightened by the truth, thus becoming a truth seeker like you.
  1831. >It may be risky, but…
  1832. “Okay, sure.”
  1833. >In a single hop, you glide off the table, and land on the short grass.
  1834. >While trotting along, your mind buzzes with activity.
  1835. >So, how should you start the conversation off?
  1836. >Some questions should sleuth out the truth behind this pony.
  1837. >How about… chemtrails?
  1838. >Or, perhaps the connection between bar codes and the lines that appear on TV screens?
  1839. >Those should work out well enough.
  1840. >When was the last time you spoke with another pony, anyways?
  1841. >That’s easy: you never have.
  1842. >At that, you completely halt your advance.
  1843. >Every part of you turns as stiff as a board.
  1844. >Odd, what’s causing this?
  1845. >Nothing that you’re aware of.
  1846.  
  1847. >Shaking out of whatever it is, you continue to trot till you’re just a few feet from the other pony.
  1848. >At this distance, you see this is an off-blue mare, with a two-toned mane and tail.
  1849. >She’s deeply engrossed in some book in front of her, otherwise she would have noticed you by now.
  1850. >Despite her seemingly innocent exterior, caution is needed.
  1851. >Just be casual like all the deep web training has taught you to be.
  1852. “The weather, do you fine do, is it today?”
  1853. >What was that?! That’s not what the training taught at all!
  1854. >She looks up from her book with a questioning smile, “I’m sorry, but did you say something?”
  1855. >Try talking again, but this time, DON’T mess it up.
  1856. “I, uh… h-how are you doing?”
  1857. >Her smile softens, “Pretty good, and how about yourself?”
  1858. >Phew, that was close.
  1859. “I’m nervous.”
  1860. >Scratch that.
  1861. >Nodding, she raises a brow, “I can see that; you’re shaking like a leaf.”
  1862. >You shoot yourself a quick glance, and find that she’s right – you’re significantly trembling.
  1863. >Does she have some kind of psychic ability?!
  1864. >No, it can’t be, your tinfoil body protects from such things.
  1865. >Unless… unless it’s some other kind of power altogether!
  1866. >“But that’s okay, we all get nervous sometimes.”
  1867. >Closing her book, she turns her attention fully to you, “My name is Bonnie. What’s your name?”
  1868. >Give a fake name, and adapt to the situation quickly.
  1869. “T-T-Tinny.”
  1870. >NO, NOT YOUR REAL NAME!
  1871. >“It’s nice to meet you, Tinny.”
  1872. >Without thinking, you nod.
  1873. “Y-You too.”
  1874. >Her eyes give you a once-over, “I’ve never seen a pony quite like you before.”
  1875. “That’s bec-cause I’m made of tinfoil.”
  1876. >WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
  1877. >This is madness!
  1878. >You have lost control of yourself, repeat, you have lost control of yourself.
  1879. >Something has to be causing this, and that something is her!
  1880. >What do you do then?
  1881. >Whatdoyoudowhatdoyoudowhatdoyoudo-
  1882. >Shakily and slowly, you raise a hoof to point at her.
  1883.  
  1884. >She raises a brow, “Uh, are you all right?”
  1885. “I-I-I… you’re an agen-agent of- of….”
  1886. >C’mon, don’t give up!
  1887. >Stomping a hoof, some control comes back.
  1888. “Overladies! They’re- I, er, I mean, you’re an overpony, angel!”
  1889. >Though not the control needed…
  1890. >There’s some confusion on her face before she utters a single sound, *snrk*.
  1891. >That quickly shifts into her breaking out into full blow laughter.
  1892. >Again, you attempt to force some control by stomping.
  1893. “I’m not funny, I’m Rin Tin Tin. Wait- no!”
  1894. >Whatever this power is, it’s affecting you more and more with each passing second.
  1895. >This has to stop, but how do you do that when you can’t control yourself?
  1896. >As you wrestle with yourself, she slowly calms down with a smile.
  1897. >“Hehe, ha… I’m sorry, I just don’t know what came over me,” her smile widens, “But whatever it was, it certainly was a real riot.”
  1898. >Riot? That was no body of people causing chaos in the streets.
  1899. >Sure, there was one time where you nearly caused one at the supermarket, but that was different.
  1900. >“Honestly, I never expected to meet a pony like you today. But, I’m glad I did.”
  1901. >You open your mouth to speak, yet nothing comes out.
  1902. >Oh no, now your voice is gone!
  1903. >Don’t just sit here, do something, anything!
  1904. >She glances at a watch on her foreleg, then sighs, “Oh shoot. I’m sorry to cut this short, but I have to be somewhere else soon. Before I go, I’d like to…”
  1905. >Nodding along while she talks, you turn her out to attempt to stop this evil.
  1906. >Surprisingly, it’s helping out, though not as much as you’d like.
  1907. >“...take care, Tinny,” is the last part you catch as she starts walking away.
  1908. >You watch her until she’s out of sight.
  1909. >All at once, virtually everything comes back under your control.
  1910. >Words however, don’t.
  1911. >This proves your prediction to Anon earlier was correct – something bad did happen here.
  1912. >More importantly, this means the overlords arranged this meeting.
  1913. >You hurry back to the picnic table as you wrack your brain for how this all works out in *the plan*.
  1914. >You come to a stop by Anon’s side, and sit down.
  1915. >“I see that went well, Tin Tin.”
  1916.  
  1917. >You nod as you continue to think this over.
  1918. >There is only one logical answer: the overlords made Bonnie to be a counter to you.
  1919. >Curse them, curse them all!
  1920. >“Is there something wrong? Because you’re being quiet.”
  1921. >Looking to him, his brow is furrowed.
  1922. >You open your mouth, yet the only thing that comes out is a mouse-like squeak.
  1923. >Darn it, her power still lingers upon you!
  1924. >He lightly chuckles, “Well, would you look at that… cat got your tongue.”
  1925. >Shaking your head, you open your mouth again.
  1926. “Fgsfds.”
  1927. >Nonono! What kind of garbage was that?!
  1928. >Anon takes your response as a reason to chuckle more.
  1929. >In spite of the embarrassment, only one thing matters now – Bonnie is at the top of your list.
  1930.  
  1931. ***
  1932.  
  1933. >It was so long, hard, and incredibly difficult to-
  1934. >…
  1935. >Alright, that was poorly phrased.
  1936. >There was just so much sucking-
  1937. >…
  1938. >Fuck it, the point is: today was shitty.
  1939. >Evening hours have crept around, you’re tired, but home is just up ahead.
  1940. >You pull into your driveway, and park.
  1941. >As you get out of your car, Mrs. Smith waves at you from her front yard.
  1942. >In turn, you return a friendly wave of your own.
  1943. >It’s good to know that Tinny is no longer going on about her being a vampire.
  1944. >She was doing something similar with the new neighbors, but she let go of them not too long ago as well.
  1945. >Now however, she’s hellbent on the pony she met at the park the other day.
  1946. >It will probably be a while before she eventually shifts her attention elsewhere.
  1947. >Regardless, you’ll weather through it like you always have.
  1948. >After getting the mail, you unlock the front door, and head inside.
  1949. “Hey, I’m home!”
  1950. >You set your stuff aside, and plop down on the couch with a heavy sigh.
  1951. >Before any comfort can settle in, the door in hallway opens.
  1952. >Immediately, the tapping of hoof falls begin to approach.
  1953. >ohherewego.jpg
  1954. >Tinny rounds the corner, and locks eyes with you, “You’re lay, very late,” her gaze narrows, “That’s highly suspicious if you really are Anon.”
  1955. >A smile briefly passes over your lips as you gently shake your head.
  1956. >It’s good to know that she still is the strange little mare that you’ve known for some time now.
  1957. “The next shift had a bunch of call offs, so my boss asked if any of us would do a double shift. I accepted, so yeah, I’m a bit late getting home.”
  1958. >“Uh-huh, sure…” she points at hoof at you, “...but that’s just what a double would say!”
  1959. >Shaking your head slowly, you roll a hand.
  1960. “We’ve been over this already: if I were a double of some kind, I’d do whatever I want, whenever I want, instead of being so polite.”
  1961. >“That doesn’t change things in the slightest, and you know it.”
  1962. >Of course she thinks that.
  1963. >On any other day, this wouldn’t be much of an issue; it might even be amusing.
  1964. >Today however, exhaustion has sapped any of that away.
  1965.  
  1966. “Test me if you really want to ensure who I am.”
  1967. >“Oh I intend to, don’t you worry about that.”
  1968. >Withholding the bubbling irrational annoyance, you nod gently.
  1969. “Ready when you are.”
  1970. >“First: name two gifts that you have given me, AND the day of when I received each.”
  1971. “I got you a wind-up pocket watch for your birthday, which was about a year ago now. Then, I got you a science kit for last Christmas.”
  1972. >Giving a curt nod, she purses her lips, “Correct. Second question: what is inscribed on the inside of the pocket watch?”
  1973. “It says: To my favorite pony, Tinny.”
  1974. >Her brow creases as she nods again, “Also correct.”
  1975. >You’re kind of surprised yourself, as these questions are usually much harder than this.
  1976. >“Last question: what was the first conspiracy we ever fully discussed, AND where was it found?”
  1977. >...great, you just had to jinx yourself.
  1978. >On the plus side, it’s just three questions this time around, so it seems she’s taking some pity on you.
  1979. >However, your mind is growing into mush, so that will complicate things.
  1980. >All you have to do is focus, and answer this question.
  1981. >But whatever you do, /don’t/ answer incorrectly, otherwise she’ll go completely nuclear.
  1982. >Experiencing that once was enough for one lifetime.
  1983. >If it wasn’t for you quick thinking then, the police would’ve shown up, or worse-
  1984. >You can recall that anytime, think about her question.
  1985. >“Tick… tock… tick… tock…” she says as she tilts her head from side to side.
  1986. >Though it’s difficult to think clearly when she does shit like this…
  1987. >It takes a bit longer than you’d like, but the memory comes about.
  1988. >You nod with a confident smile.
  1989. “It was the ruling families, and they were found on your first trip to the deep web. We spent most of the night talking about group.”
  1990. >Your smile widens from the event, though a sense of deja vu slips in as well.
  1991. “I had to call into work the next day because of how tired I was from both work and the research we did. Kinda like how I’m tired right now.”
  1992.  
  1993. >Arching a brow, she stands on the tips of her hooves, “Is that your final answer?”
  1994. “Yes, I’m positive of it.”
  1995. >Letting out a sigh, she visible relaxes, “Correct.”
  1996. >Thank fuck that’s-
  1997. >She suddenly darts to you, and rears up to get eye level, “That took awhile for you to answer, though. You have no idea how close you were to failing, Anon.”
  1998. >If this is supposed to be intimidating, she’s failing, badly.
  1999. >Because this looks a lot more like a puppy cutely asking for attention.
  2000. >You bite the inside of your cheek to suppress both a laugh and a daw from escaping.
  2001. “Like I said before: I am /really/ tired, Tin Tin.”
  2002. >Sighing again, she shakes her head slowly, “I know that, but you need to be careful, anyways. Delays like that can lead to mistakes; mistakes lead to you getting caught by glowies, and we cannot afford for that to happen.”
  2003. >She gets back on all fours, then pantomimes something with her fore hooves.
  2004. >You’re not sure if she’s telling you to steal second base, or something about airplanes.
  2005. >Regardless, you nod along.
  2006. “Everything will be fine, don’t worry about it.”
  2007. >“I hope so.”
  2008. >With that, she trots off into the hallway.
  2009. >Now that you’re free to do whatever, it’s time to unwind.
  2010. >That all starts with a nice shower.
  2011. >From there, various messages are checked and/or answered.
  2012. >Lastly, you’re back in the living room, mindlessly watching TV.
  2013. >That little activity doesn’t last long, as it is interrupted.
  2014. >“-I’m telling you that Bonnie has some kind of secret power that can get past my tinfoil body. It’s the only logical reason she was able to affect me like she did.”
  2015. >By ranting, lots and lots of ranting…
  2016. “Are you certain it’s her, and not you?”
  2017. >She scoffs as she shakes her head fast enough to lightly crinkle, “No, that’s impossible! I am not the problem, it’s her, it has to be!”
  2018.  
  2019. >Yeah no.
  2020. >After getting home from the park on that day, she found her voice again.
  2021. >Needless to say, what she unloaded was quite a tale.
  2022. >About partway through it, you understood perfectly as to what actually happened.
  2023. “But didn’t you say that was your first time ever talking with another pony?”
  2024. >“Yes, but what about it?”
  2025. >This may be foolish, but it’s not like you got much else going on at the moment.
  2026. >Besides, this might just get through to her.
  2027. “I’m saying you were nervous, like most people are upon first meeting someone else.”
  2028. >Her eyes dart to the side, “I was /not/ nervous.”
  2029. >You raise a brow.
  2030. “Are you sure about that?”
  2031. >She snorts as she shoots a glare your way, “Of course I am! She has a power that made me literally shake, and unable to run away or right back; she was why I couldn’t speak properly or think straight!”
  2032. >Yep, completely foolish on your part.
  2033. >She remains firmly in denial, like the time she got stuck in the toilet.
  2034. >Her first excuse was something about searching for a conspiracy related to it.
  2035. >Then that shifted to about the functionality.
  2036. >And the last was about fixing it.
  2037. >Her eyes take on a more serious look, “The point is: the overlords made Bonnie to counter me, and I WILL find a way to counter her, or my name isn’t Tinny!”
  2038. >At that, she gallops off into the hallway, with the door to the lair opening and slamming shut mere seconds after.
  2039. >This is going to be one of those long restless nights with her, isn’t it?
  2040. >If you to ask…
  2041. >Sighing, you shake your head as you already know how this will unfold.
  2042. >She’ll start by coming into your room to get on the deep web while you’re trying to sleep.
  2043. >Once she wakes you up – whether that be accidental or intentional – she’ll start ranting.
  2044. >It doesn’t help that those weirdos on the net influence her greatly.
  2045. >You’ve read a lot of what they’ve posted, and it mostly aligns with insanity, boredom, or plain stupidity; perhaps even all of thee above.
  2046.  
  2047. >You’ve thought about restricting her access from the place, but that fell apart upon further thought.
  2048. >Not only would it require a ton of effort on your part, but she’d inevitably find a way back on there.
  2049. >It would be just like how she /still/ finds evidence from newspapers that aren’t yours, and torn pages from books despite no longer digging through trash.
  2050. >Even when you’ve questioned her on the matter, she says that she had them on hoof.
  2051. >You probably should look into it later…
  2052. >For now, you turn back to the TV, but see the show has ended, and a tidal wave of commercials are now playing.
  2053. >It’s getting later, and you gotta work in the morning, so you might as well call it in for the night.
  2054. >After turning off the TV, you go into the kitchen to take care of the lights in there.
  2055. >While doing so, some noise comes from just outside.
  2056. “I swear, if it’s not one thing, it’s another…”
  2057. >A heavy sigh leaves you as your shoulders slump slightly.
  2058. >Now you’ve gotta deal with whatever this is.
  2059. >You retrieve a broom from the closet.
  2060. >This should be enough, because after all, it’s not like there’s an otherworldly monster out there that Tinny has told you about, right?
  2061. >…
  2062. >Stupid question, of course not.
  2063. >It’s likely just some animals, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
  2064. >What if- no!
  2065. >Goddammit, it’s late, and you’re not thinking straight.
  2066. >You psyche yourself up at the backdoor to help fight off the stupid thoughts.
  2067. “Okay… three, two, one… let’s jam!”
  2068. >You fling the door open, and dash outside into the backyard with the speed of a thousand Africans.
  2069. >Surprise, surprise, the trashcans are knocked over.
  2070. >What’s more, a group of raccoons shriek as they scurry about.
  2071. >You swing the broom around while yelling at them like some grumpy old man would to the neighborhood kids on his lawn.
  2072. >The pests vanish into the darkness of night, leaving a mess in their wake.
  2073. “Son of a bitch…”
  2074. >Things really are not going your way today, are they?
  2075. >Again with the stupid questions.
  2076. >Shaking your head, you turn to the mess.
  2077.  
  2078. >It’s kinda late to be doing this.
  2079. >But it doesn’t matter, mama didn’t raise no slob.
  2080. >The good news is that what you assumed about the noise was true.
  2081. >The last thing you needed, or wanted, was one of Tinny’s conspiracies to be proven true.
  2082. >Like a glowie, or a monster that could speak with a human voice.
  2083. >It would probably try to trick you by saying something along the lines of-
  2084. >“What’s going on out here?!”
  2085. >You jolt around in a panic to find Tinny looking out from the backdoor curiously.
  2086. “Hah- h-holy shit.”
  2087. >You lightly chuckle as you shake your head.
  2088. “You scared the living daylights outta me, Tin Tin.”
  2089. >She arches a brow, “I can see that, but you didn’t answer my question: what’s going on out here?”
  2090. >There’s no time to reply as her eyes widen, and she takes on an aggressive stance.
  2091. >Quickly, she looks about the area in a craze, “Is it the glowies? A black van? What is it, where is it, Anon?”
  2092. >A smile draws itself across your face.
  2093. >In spite of how stressful today has been, it’s the little moments like these that help make it easier.
  2094. “It’s nothing, just some raccoons messing around in our trash.”
  2095. >You gesture to the nearby mess.
  2096. >She shakes her head, “It’s never /just/ raccoons. They were clearly spies sent by the overlords to dig up information on us.”
  2097. >That response should have been expected.
  2098. >It’s late, you’re tired, so there’s your excuse.
  2099. >Regardless, you nod as you go about cleaning up the mess.
  2100. “Right, spies.”
  2101. >She stomps a hoof, “It’s true! That’s why we need to go through our things before tossing them out, otherwise they’ll continue to dig through it themselves.”
  2102. >You stop dead in your tracks.
  2103. >This little mare right here, she thinks she’s so clever…
  2104. >Looking back to her, she’s got that familiar look of innocence on her face.
  2105. >That expression betrays the truth lying below.
  2106.  
  2107. “Tinny, no.”
  2108. >“What do you mean ‘no’?”
  2109. >Crossing your arms, you shake your head.
  2110. “I know what you’re trying to do, and the answer is: No. Simple as that.”
  2111. >Her eyes start shifting about, “I don’t know what you’re implying. I’m just offering up a solution to prevent further intrusions.”
  2112. >Sighing, you roll your eyes.
  2113. “You’re trying to find a way to root through the trash like you used to, and that’s just not going to happen.”
  2114. >“I was not,” she says as she starts to fidget in place.
  2115. “Right…”
  2116. >Turning back to the mess, you pick up and put stuff back in the trashcans.
  2117. >Some light shuffling comes from behind you.
  2118. >“You know… you wouldn’t have to do this if you just let me let me go through it.”
  2119. “I’d rather do this over risking you bringing in pests again.”
  2120. >“It was just one time!”
  2121. “One time is one time too many.”
  2122. >“Anon, please!”
  2123. “No.”
  2124. >Back and forth this goes on and on.
  2125. >But it’s just another night.
  2126. >“Please!”
  2127. “No.”
  2128. >That being a night with your near, dear, and a little crazy friend, Tinny.
  2129.  
  2130. ***
  2131.  
  2132. >Months of research, weeks of studying, and days of planning; all of that and more to understand the various seen and unseen forces throughout the world.
  2133. >Yet, in spite of all that invested effort, it was nowhere near enough to prepare for this current calamity.
  2134. >This titanic threat looms over everything, created by the overlords, and its name is…
  2135. >Bonnie.
  2136. >A picture (that you made) of her is attached to *the plan* in the center of the web within the lair.
  2137. >Although you know that she’s a product of the overlords, there is still the matter of understanding her powers.
  2138. >While their exact functionality remains elusive, how they affect you is /very/ clear.
  2139. >Every time you’ve turned to Anon about her, he will downplay it.
  2140. >The only reason he’s doing that is because the overlords are influencing his thinking.
  2141. >The signs were so obviously there, yet, you overlooked them.
  2142. >It should have been a dead give away due to him bringing up a trip to the park from out of nowhere.
  2143. >This blunder is worsened by the fact that you even allowed them to get to your best friend in the first place.
  2144. >These tactics they’ve employed was an attempt to scare you into submission.
  2145. >To any typical weak soul, they would have caved to such a show of force.
  2146. >But to you? No.
  2147. >You will not be frightened, nor will you ever stop the fight against them!
  2148. >That’s exactly why you’re pushing yourself so hard now.
  2149. >Anon has noticed that, unfortunately, and has been actively attempting to convince you to relax.
  2150. >It’s the overlord’s influence making him do that.
  2151. >Thankfully, that will end once you complete his treatment.
  2152. >The recipe for this medicine was found on the deep web, and was easy enough to make.
  2153. >You’ve been slipping it into his food and drink when he isn’t home, and/or if he isn’t immediately around you.
  2154. >Speaking of the medicine, you break away from research to check on your stock.
  2155. >There’s still plenty here for the rest of the week, so no need to worry.
  2156.  
  2157. >It’s a shame that it takes so much time to take effect, but at least it exists.
  2158. >You’ve just gotta keep a brave face for the both of you.
  2159. >Never in a million-billion years did you think such a terrible series of events would befall you.
  2160. >That was completely and utterly foolish to believe, for the stakes have never been higher.
  2161. “Enough internal monologue!”
  2162. >You go about setting up the traps before leaving the lair to go into Anon’s bedroom.
  2163. >The laptop is where you left it – on top of the bed, seemingly untouched.
  2164. >Not willingly to dare risk the chance, you carefully inspect both it and the room to ensure no tampering whatsoever.
  2165. >After the fifth check, everything is in order, so you venture onto the deep web.
  2166. >It’s good to know that there are many brave souls on here who have resisted the overlords.
  2167. >Though it would be nice to find anyone who had experience in a situation like yours…
  2168. >That search would be a whole lot easier if not for the glowies constantly waging war on your efforts.
  2169. >Some go with the tried and true method of starting a senseless argument, which will inevitably derail the thread.
  2170. >Others, go on and on about how you’re doomed to fail, or something to that effect.
  2171. >No matter their tactics, you will not be deterred.
  2172. >Aside from the usual threads of cats, weird questions, or other oddities, the forums are fairly normal today.
  2173. >You create a new thread; asking around for assistance yet again, and shortly thereafter, replies pop in.
  2174. >Just as expected, glowies are among them.
  2175. >Then there are oddballs, such as this guy saying to use magic to fight back.
  2176. “Ugh… why are there no sane people to aid in my quest?”
  2177. >Shaking your head, you sigh.
  2178. >If this keeps up, it’s going to be another repeat of yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that…
  2179. >One of the newest replies catches your attention, however.
  2180. >This user pointed out that the overlords watch over the deep web, therefore, they will know your plans.
  2181.  
  2182. >Obvious fact is obvious.
  2183. >Regardless of that, it is good to see some users have pure intentions.
  2184. >Unlike the guy who called you a faggot…
  2185. >You still are very much /not/ a bundle of sticks.
  2186. >Considering how often users use that word, perhaps it has another meaning?
  2187. >Curiosity compels you into asking, to which, several users say it’s a form of endearment.
  2188. “Oh, that makes so much more sense!”
  2189. >With that out of the way, you turn back to seeking help.
  2190. >While shifting through replies, and giving your own, your ears perk up with the sound of a nearby car door closing.
  2191. >Checking the time, it cannot be Anon, as it’s too early for him to be home.
  2192. >This wouldn’t be the first time that has happened, though.
  2193. >Still…
  2194. “This is highly suspicious.”
  2195. >You get up in a haste, and stealthily make your way through the hallway.
  2196. >Upon reaching the living room, there’s a muffled voice coming from just outside the house.
  2197. >“...rog...yes...now…”
  2198. >Though there’s nothing tangible to use.
  2199. >“...she...ony...safety…”
  2200. >One thing is certain, that’s a female voice, and it even sounds familiar.
  2201. >Slowing your movements, you get atop of the soapbox by the front window.
  2202. >Be ready, this could be anyone.
  2203. >Right!
  2204. >Keeping your profile low, you very, very carefully peek outside.
  2205. >There’s a black car parked out front, that’s greatly worrying.
  2206. >It’s not alone, a pony is standing by the passenger’s side, talking to the driver.
  2207. >It’s Bonnie.
  2208. >That one user was right, the overlords have discovered your plans, so they sent her here.
  2209. >That can only mean one thing – she’s come to destroy you.
  2210. >Judgment day has come, though not the religious kind.
  2211. >Honestly, that would be much more preferred to this one.
  2212. >Then you could rely on the- no, stop getting distracted!
  2213. >Just stay calm, and don’t lose your head.
  2214. >Remember: if you act irrationally, mistakes WILL be made, and that results in you getting captured, or worse.
  2215. >Right!
  2216. >For the time being, gather intel, observe, and adapt to the situation accordingly.
  2217.  
  2218. >To be safe, you withdraw your box cutter from the space in your tinfoil.
  2219. >“...won’t...she’s...eah…”
  2220. >The drums of war beat hard inside your head, though that could also be the sound of your heart.
  2221. >Stay calm.
  2222. >Easy to say, harder to do.
  2223. >Nodding, Bonnie turns away from the car, and you instantly duck down in return.
  2224. >The beating of drums grows much louder now.
  2225. >This is it!
  2226. >Quick, you need to get a better vantage point for this fight.
  2227. >Maintaining all the stealth possible, you hurry to the entrance of the hallway, and face the front door.
  2228. >Worse case scenario: this battle forces you to the lair, and it’s there that you can either bunker down or make a last stand.
  2229. >Some soft clopping approaches, then stops at the front door.
  2230. >*knock, knock, knock*
  2231. >IT BEGINS!
  2232. >You grit your teeth as you tightly grip your box cutter.
  2233. >*ticktock, ticktock, ticktock*
  2234. >Ironic that you can hear your pocket watch in this exact moment, it’s like the literal last seconds of time counting down to grand finale.
  2235. >Aside from all of that and more, there is no further noises, just silence.
  2236. >It’s the calm before the storm, do not relax.
  2237. >Right!
  2238. >*knock, knock, knock*
  2239. >Everything inside winds tighter, ready to spring forth in a moment’s notice.
  2240. >Something that sounds like a muffled sigh comes from the other side of the door.
  2241. >Don’t fall for it, it’s a trick!
  2242. >Right!
  2243. >Several more moments pass before there’s some soft retreating clopping.
  2244. >This is just a farce, there’s no doubt about it.
  2245. >Not daring to move a centimeter, you remain at the ready.
  2246. >A thud comes from a car door closing, then shortly thereafter, an engine starts up.
  2247. >Some of built up tension slips out at that sound.
  2248. >What’s going on?
  2249. >No, don’t question it, it’s a trap!
  2250. >Whipping your head back and forth, you grit your teeth again as you refocus on the coming fight.
  2251. >Soon enough, the car engine departs away into the distance.
  2252. >Even then, you still do not budge.
  2253. >Eons pass by in complete silence, save for your heavily beating heart and the ticking of your pocket watch.
  2254.  
  2255. >Ultimately, despite of all your readiness, the built up intensity loses some ground.
  2256. >Not daring to completing risk it, you carefully take a step forward, then another.
  2257. >You get atop the soapbox again, and peek outside.
  2258. >Aside from the usual stuff, there is nothing else out there.
  2259. >This… this doesn’t make any sense…
  2260. >The more you wrack your brain on what just happened, the less there is any logic to it.
  2261. “I-I don’t get it, she had me… she knows she can fight me with her powers, so why did she leave?”
  2262. >Tearing away from the window, you put away your box cutter.
  2263. >Your form starts to slouch as you slowly plod towards the center of the room.
  2264. >Coming to a stop, a heavy sigh leaves you.
  2265. >Did you overthink this like Anon often says?
  2266. “Well… maybe?”
  2267. >Was Bonnie completely innocent then?
  2268. “It’s… possible.”
  2269. >Are all of these efforts wasted?
  2270. “Erm…”
  2271. >Does this mean that you’ve been absolutely wrong about all the conspiracies you go after all the time?
  2272. “…”
  2273. >No.
  2274. >No!
  2275. >NO!
  2276. >All at once, an inferno ignites within, forcing you to puff out your chest and stand proudly.
  2277. >At last, you understand.
  2278. “This was a test, it has to have been!”
  2279. >The overlords had attempted to bring you down through doubt.
  2280. >Such a high level chess move was nearly overlooked, but you persevered in the end.
  2281. >There is no time to celebrate, though, the war is not yet over.
  2282. >First things first: you need to document this event, make duplicates, discuss it with the deep web in secret, and more!
  2283. >Vigor overflows from every fiber of your being as you race back to the lair with all the speed your little legs can grant.
  2284. >Without thinking, you fling the door open, and dart in to-
  2285. “ARGH!”
  2286. >-be doused in glitter and glue.
  2287. “My eyes! I can’t see!”
  2288. >Stumbling about haphazardly, an audible click is heard far too late.
  2289. >In an instant, a snare rips you from the floor and into the air.
  2290. >Now swinging back and forth, you’re dangling from the paracord tightly wound around your rear hoof.
  2291. “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”
  2292. >You rub your eyes aggressively to clear up your sight.
  2293.  
  2294. >While gaining some success in doing that, another flick goes off.
  2295. >A sudden flash of light completely blinds you.
  2296. “REEEEE!”
  2297. >All you’re able to do is screech while thrashing around.
  2298. >Instincts override any higher thought at this incredibly delicate moment.
  2299. >That is a problem, a big one.
  2300. >The final click comes, and with, realization takes hold.
  2301. “NO!”
  2302. >At an incredible speed, an intricate net made of paracord snaps free from your wall via a pulley system.
  2303. >That comes crashing into your little form at a massive force, and into-
  2304. >*WHAM*
  2305. >-the wall.
  2306. >Everything hurts, with most of that pain being towards your pride.
  2307. >Here you are, Tinny, the defender of the home front, protector of all that is good and just in the world.
  2308. >Those titles mean nothing as here you are, covered in glitter and glue; completely bound against the wall by a net of paracord
  2309. >Any and all movement attempted amounts to insignificant wiggles.
  2310. >As if that weren’t enough, one of the cords is pressed against your mouth, thus cutting off your ability to speak properly.
  2311. >Why does this feel awfully familiar?
  2312. >Oh shut it…
  2313. >Time goes by while you continue to struggle, though how much is unknown.
  2314. >Your ears pickup the telltale sound of a car pulling up, then stopping.
  2315. >The overlords must have sent Bonnie back because they found out about your current predicament!
  2316. >Your struggling immediately picks up into an all out frenzy.
  2317. >Yet, when the front door opens, you freeze.
  2318. >This is it, you’re do-
  2319. >“Hey, I’m home!” Calls out a tired sounding Anon.
  2320. >Thank heavens, it’s him!
  2321. >But once he finds you, it’s going to be more humiliating than the time you got caught in your own web.
  2322. >It doesn’t matter, because you’re not getting out of this without his help.
  2323. >Doing what you can, you attempt to call out.
  2324. “...mfmlg…!”
  2325. >That was so pathetic…
  2326. >Don’t give up, keep trying!
  2327. “...uhmhfm…!”
  2328. >There’s a brief pause from the other room, followed by some shuffling, “Tinny?”
  2329. >He heard you!
  2330. “...mlmfm...mfmfshm…!”
  2331. >Footsteps rapidly approach, and soon enough, Anon appears in the doorway.
  2332.  
  2333. >He double takes as he looks about with wide eyes, “What. The. Fuck.”
  2334. “...mmhsflmfm…!”
  2335. >Slowly, he shakes his head as he loudly sighs, “So, you somehow got caught in your own trap?”
  2336. “...smf…”
  2337. >“Alright, well, I’ll get you out of there,” he sighs again, “Somehow…”
  2338. >Carefully, he tiptoes about, probably to avoid setting off any further traps.
  2339. >You really – REALLY – should have told him abut these, because there’s nothing left at the moment for him to worry about.
  2340. >He reaches you, then starts fiddling about your binds.
  2341. >After minutes of struggle, he exhales an annoyed sigh.
  2342. >“How does this even work?”
  2343. “...mfmhmsm...hmfmsmmglm…”
  2344. >“Right, I can see that.”
  2345. >Wait, he can understand you?!
  2346. >Don’t be stupid, he can’t, otherwise he wouldn’t be still having trouble.
  2347. >He stops his efforts, and looks at you, “I’ll be right back, I gotta get a knife to cut these damn things off of you.”
  2348. “...mhmfsfm…!...glmsfm…”
  2349. >His brow furrows, then he nods, “Oh, I guess you want me to free your mouth at least?”
  2350. >Okay, he can understand that, but nothing else?!
  2351. >Don’t question it!
  2352. “...smf…”
  2353. >Nodding, he fiddles with it a moment, and against all odds, somehow succeeds.
  2354. >“There we go, better now?”
  2355. “Y-yes… this was-”
  2356. >“You can tell me later when you’re free,” he says as he turns to leave.
  2357. “Wait!”
  2358. >Stopping, he raises a brow as he looks back at you, “What is it?”
  2359. “Thanks, faggot.”
  2360. >His eye twitches, and a heavy frown crosses his lips.
  2361. >Why does he look upset?
  2362. >Crossing his arms, his frown deepens, “Did you just call me a faggot?”
  2363. >You’ve got a bad feeling all of a sudden…
  2364.  
  2365. ***
  2366.  
  2367. >Having to pull that double shift the other day was fairly tiring, but unfortunately, it wasn’t a one time thing.
  2368. >Because just after that, it was made mandatory until further notice.
  2369. >As if that weren’t enough, whatever you’ve been eating lately hasn’t been sitting right, which either forces frequent bathroom visits, or terrible stomach cramps.
  2370. >Literally everything you get from the store – premade or not – has the same result.
  2371. >The doctor you saw thinks it’s being caused stress, and he’s probably right.
  2372. >All in all, just about everything has been… bad? Yeah, let’s go with that.
  2373. >Though there is always peace here at-
  2374. >*wham, wham, wham*
  2375. >-home.
  2376. >Ah yes, you forgot one thing.
  2377. >*wham*
  2378. >Tinny.
  2379. >After getting her free from her traps, you had a /long/ talk about the word faggot, as well as what caused her to get stuck in the first place.
  2380. >While the former discussion was a simple misunderstanding, the latter had to do with something about the pony from the park.
  2381. >That part was harder to understand due to her going off on multiple tangents.
  2382. >*wham, wham, wham*
  2383. >Currently, she’s working on repairing the lair.
  2384. >*wham, wham*
  2385. >Those noises being an indicator of that…
  2386. >You slowly release a breath through your nose in an attempt to fight off the bubbling inside.
  2387. >That’s either annoyance, or food related issues again.
  2388. >This wouldn’t be so bad if you could just properly unwind.
  2389. >Virtually everything has been tried to do just that.
  2390. >There’s an old reliable option still, which is-
  2391. >*wham, wham, wham, wham*
  2392. >…
  2393. >Deal with that first.
  2394. >Killing the TV, you make a beeline to the lair.
  2395. >The door is slightly ajar, which owes much towards the ruckus being made.
  2396. >The rest being from the lack of soundproofing that it once had.
  2397. >Despite the efforts made, the room is still in terrible shape.
  2398. >Those triggered traps contributed to a portion of that, with another portion being from Tinny from said traps.
  2399. >You did help out where you could in cleaning, which mostly amounted to dealing with the glitter and glue in the carpet and her.
  2400.  
  2401. >There’s still some of that stuff embedded in the carpet, and unless you outright replace it, it’s going to stay that way.
  2402. >Funny enough, she even has some left on her body, with tiny glints of glitter seen in just the right light.
  2403. >You would have done more in here, but her insistence on doing things her way, along with work related stress, convinced you to stop.
  2404. >That was pretty stupid on your part, as this could have been taken care of days ago.
  2405. >Worst yet, she’s actively adding to it…
  2406. >Bits of wood, nails, paracord, tape, parts of her web, and other junk lay scattered about.
  2407. >In the midst of this storm is Tinny herself.
  2408. >*wham*
  2409. >She’s working really hard.
  2410. >*wham*
  2411. >But in all honesty.
  2412. >*wham*
  2413. >You really wish she wasn’t.
  2414. >You gently push the door open a little more, and stand there waiting.
  2415. >She double checks her work, then turns around to get something, but she freezes upon seeing you.
  2416. >“Uh… hi, Anon.”
  2417. “Tinny.”
  2418. >“Do you need something? Because I’m very busy at the moment.”
  2419. >Crossing your arms, you exhale slowly.
  2420. >Don’t lose your cool, it’s not like she’s maliciously doing this.
  2421. >Just… give a soft approach.
  2422. “If you’re going to play the song of your people, could you at least do it with the door closed?”
  2423. >“The song of my people? I don’t have people. This is-” her words die with a sudden look of realization.
  2424. >She sheepishly smiles, “I… I’m making a whole lot of noise, aren’t I?”
  2425. >You make a pinching motion with one hand.
  2426. “Yeah, a bit.”
  2427. >“Shoot, I’ve gotta stop doing that, otherwise somebody could get the drop on me.”
  2428. “True.”
  2429. >Shaking her head as she mumbles something incoherent, and looks around at the mess, then back to you, “I’ve still got a TON of work to do in here before it’s back to my standards.”
  2430. >Nodding softly, you uncross your arms and lean against the doorframe.
  2431. “You’ve definitely got your work cut out for you.”
  2432. >“Do you need anything else?” She lightly coughs, “Aside from being more quiet, that is.”
  2433. “Nope, that’s about all. I’ll leave you to it then.”
  2434. >You close the door, then shake your head slowly with an exhale.
  2435.  
  2436. >That’s one less problem to deal with today.
  2437. >There is still the option you were thinking about using earlier.
  2438. >The source lies within your bedroom, so you head in, and lock the door behind you.
  2439. >This has been put off for a while now for a variety of reasons, most of that being due to Tinny.
  2440. >Since she’s so busy at the moment, you can rely on this without any interruption.
  2441. >You open the bottom drawer of your desk, and pull out a lockbox.
  2442. >After unlocking it, you withdraw the various items within.
  2443. >Although this will take a fair bit of setup, the payoff is worth all of the effort.
  2444. >Killing the lights, you take a seat to begin the final steps.
  2445. “...esroh yssup slp… esroh yssup slp… esroh yssup slp…”
  2446. >The incantation is repeated again and again; culminating in you making a small cut on your thumb.
  2447. >Some of that blood is smeared onto a piece of paper, then that is added to the center of the circle of candles.
  2448. >Mere seconds after, those little lights go out, leaving the room in darkness.
  2449. >A faint ball of red light forms, and from there…
  2450. >“Fufufu… well, hello there, Anonymous,” says a familiar feminine voice.
  2451. “Hello, Lithium.”
  2452. >“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
  2453. “Yeah, sorry about that. I’ve been /really/ busy lately.”
  2454. >“Mm, that’s fine. I knew you’d summon me eventually. So then, are you looking for some hoof holding?” She tilts her head with a toothy grin, “Or perhaps you want something else, like… cuddling?”
  2455. >sweatingman.jpg
  2456. “N-No, not quite.”
  2457. >She arches a brow, “Oh, you want something /more/ lewd than that? Maybe even…” she leans in close and speaks in a husky tone, “...sharing breath?”
  2458. >sweatingintensifies.gif
  2459. >You shake your head to not only answer her, but to further restrain yourself.
  2460. “I just want to talk.”
  2461. >“Oh, okay.”
  2462. >She motions for you to continue with a wave of her hoof.
  2463. >Despite her “specialty”, she is actually a really good listener.
  2464. >Though it certainly helps that you’re her best (read: only) customer.
  2465.  
  2466. “Work has been more difficult lately because of we now have mandatory overtime. That stress has also been giving me stomach problems. And it’s all worsened by Tinny’s usual harmless antics now putting me on edge.”
  2467. >You heavily sigh as you rub the back of your neck.
  2468. “All of that trouble has been messing with me, badly. Yet, no matter what I do, it can’t seem to shake that everything feels like…”
  2469. >“Like shit?”
  2470. >Nodding, the corners of your mouth twitched upward.
  2471. “More or less, yeah.”
  2472. >Giving a nod of her own, she walks out of the circle, sashaying her hips all the while.
  2473. >She comes to a stop, and plops down in your lap.
  2474. >Gently, she nuzzles your face, “It will all go back to being normal soon enough, it always does, Anonymous.”
  2475. >You reach up with one of your hands, and stroke her mane.
  2476. >Wig or not, it’s still comforting.
  2477. “I know you’re right, but it’s hard to remember that with the way things are, ya know?”
  2478. >“Mm, I do.”
  2479. >As you slowly exhale a relaxed sigh, she gradually pushes you further back.
  2480. “Hey, thanks for listening, I really appreciate having someone else to talk to about things like this.”
  2481. >“You’re welcome. Now with that out of the way, how about I help you properly *deal* with your stress?”
  2482. >It’s only now that you realize that you’re both laying the floor together.
  2483. >Her rose tinted eyes twinkle in the dark, fueling a growing lump in your throat.
  2484. >Swallowing hard, you give a small nod.
  2485. “I… well, maybe we could-”
  2486. >Your door suddenly flings open, and briefly, you’re blinded the lights turning on.
  2487. >“Don’t worry, Anon! I’m here to save you from… the… overlords…?”
  2488. >Looking over as you vision quickly settles, Tinny stands atop the footstool by the light switch, with a box cutter in her hold.
  2489. >Her eyes keep shifting between you and Lithium, “Really, Anon, really?”
  2490. >Somehow you knew she would- wait.
  2491. “You picked the lock on my door.”
  2492.  
  2493. >She glances to it, then back to you, “No- I mean, yes. But uh, um- th-that’s not the point!”
  2494. >Lithium shakes her head with a light giggle, “You two are so funny sometimes.”
  2495. >“You stay out of this, harlot!”
  2496. >Gently pushing the succupony to the side, you sit up.
  2497. “Tinny, you not only eavesdropped, but you broke into my room.”
  2498. >“Yes!” She freezes, then shakes her head rapidly, “I know that may sound bad, but I had perfectly good reasons for doing it.”
  2499. >Crossing your arms, you roll your eyes with a sigh.
  2500. “Because you thought the overlords were attacking me?”
  2501. >“That, too, but originally I was coming to ask if we could watching something together.”
  2502. >Huh, that’s actually kinda sweet of her.
  2503. >However, it’s likely just an excuse for her to spy on you…
  2504. “While I wouldn’t mind watching something, you still should know by now not to do shit like this.”
  2505. >“Oh come on! What was I supposed to do? Just let the overlords hurt you, or further their influence over you?”
  2506. “I am /not/ under their influence, and even if they tried to do that, I’m sure I’d be able to resist it.”
  2507. >She shakes her head with a growl, “No, you always underestimate them, and you need to stop doing that, Anon.”
  2508. >Sighing, she visibly slouches, “Otherwise it will lead to you getting hurt, or worse…”
  2509. >Despite her misplaced views, she does have some good intentions, especially when it comes to you.
  2510. >Fighting against some bubbling inside, you breath in, then out.
  2511. “I know you worry about that stuff, but I promise that will never happen to me, Tin Tin.”
  2512. >Her eyes lock onto your sternly, “You don’t know that for sure.”
  2513. >Before you can even so much as reply, she storms out of the room in a huff.
  2514. >Great, just… great.
  2515. >You had thought things were going to calm down, perhaps even improve for at least tonight.
  2516. >Nope, that’s just not going to happen.
  2517. >Getting to your feet, you hurry after her, and find she’s in the living room, moping about.
  2518. >She barely spares you look while keeping her attention mostly elsewhere.
  2519. “Tinny, the reason I am so sure about my promise is /because/ you’re around to protect me.”
  2520.  
  2521. >“And that’s why you bring over a prostitute who could be working for them?” She mumbles out.
  2522. >For fucks sake, you really thought she was over this with Lithium.
  2523.  
  2524. “She is /not/ working for them,, because she’s a suc-”
  2525. >*knock, knock, knock*
  2526. >The both of you snap your attention over to the front door.
  2527. >All of the tension in the room dies in that instance.
  2528. >Tinny’s eyes widen as she looks back to you, “Don’t answer that, it’s a trap.”
  2529. “We don’t even know who it is.”
  2530. >Her hoof goes over her mouth, “Shh! We can’t let them know we’re here.”
  2531. >With the lights on throughout the house, it might as well be a beacon in the night.
  2532. “I’m pretty sure they already know.”
  2533. >“It doesn’t matter, Anon. I’m telling you not to answer it because it is, in fact, a trap.”
  2534. >Nothing new here, just her being paranoid like usual.
  2535. >You go over to the front door.
  2536. >“No, wait-”
  2537. >You open it to find an off-blue pony standing there.
  2538. >“B-Bonnie?!” cries out Tinny, who turns completely stiff.
  2539. >Having her tell you about it is one thing, but seeing it for yourself is a completely different story.
  2540. “So, you’re the pony she met at the park?”
  2541. >The mare smiles as she nods, “Mmhm.”
  2542. “Well, what can I do for you at this hour?”
  2543. >“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you two for a meeting, actually.”
  2544. “Oh, and why’s that?”
  2545. >Her brow furrows, “She didn’t tell you?”
  2546. >You glance back to Tinny, who is as still as a statue.
  2547. “I’m afraid not.”
  2548. >“Oh, okay. Well, I am a member of, and work with, Oddly Defined Equines, or ODE for short. We do what we can to help out odd ponies like myself and Tinny. I talked with her about this while we were at the park, and seemed quite interested.”
  2549. >She looks back to your tinfoil friend with a slight hint of concern, “Or so I thought.”
  2550. >Sighing, her smile shrinks, “But every time I have come over, no one was home, so I decided to try one last time tonight.”
  2551. >Alright, that explains quite a bit.
  2552. >Though there is one thing bugging you about all of this.
  2553. “How did you find out where we live?”
  2554.  
  2555. >“That’s easy, I asked around town, and there were loads of people who knew about you two, especially Tinny.”
  2556. >“THEY DO?!”
  2557. >The both of you look back to the little mare in question, who is shaking fiercely.
  2558. >Why do you have a bad feeling all of a sudden?
  2559. >“Sure, they even have taken photographs, some of which are posted online. That helped me find you both a little easier with some research.”
  2560. >Oh no…
  2561. >“N-no! Nonono! I- my soul!” Her shaking worsens as her chest heaves with every heavy breath taken.
  2562. >Bonnie takes a step back with a look of worry, “Uh, are you all right?”
  2563. >Tinny’s shaking comes to a sudden end with an audible, *CRINKLE*.
  2564. >“REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
  2565. >In an instant, she takes off like a bullet into the hallway.
  2566. >The door to the lair opens, and slams shut, but even so, some autistic screeching can be heard emanating from it every now and then.
  2567. >Well, that could have gone a whole lot worse…
  2568. >Lithium pops her head out from the kitchen doorway, “Do either of you want any ice cream?”
  2569. >Right, you forgot about her.
  2570. >It’s going to be a while before Tinny calms down, so…
  2571. >Looking back to Bonnie, she still appears highly concerned.
  2572. “How about you join us? You can tell me more about your group.”
  2573. >Her brow furrows a moment, with some debate going on at first, but she eventually shrugs.
  2574. >“Sure, why not? It’s not like this is the strangest thing I’ve dealt with before.”
  2575. >Smiling you wave her in as you head to the kitchen.
  2576. “And what would that be?”
  2577. >Giggling, she smiles, “Quite a few, actually. The last was a very small pony that can fit in the palm of your hand, and she had a permanent concerned expression on her face.”
  2578.  
  2579. ***
  2580.  
  2581. >*knock, knock, knock*
  2582. >“Tinny?”
  2583. >Do not answer him.
  2584. >“Come on, please say something, anything. We haven’t spoken or seen each other in days.”
  2585. >He’s only partially correct about that, but regardless of that, there are good reasons for the truth.
  2586. >“You could at least come out every once in a while to let me know you’re all right.”
  2587. >Little does he know, you have ventured out of the lair, though only briefly, and only when he is not around or is asleep.
  2588. >All of that is not of any importance right now, though.
  2589. >Just keep your focus on your task.
  2590. >Eventually, a light sigh comes from the other side of the door, and retreating footfalls soon follow after.
  2591. >Although there is a sting of guilt from him, it will go away once you properly explain things.
  2592. >It’s just that everything is tightly wound together currently; all of that being from the residual effects of the other night.
  2593. >If not for your strong mind and willpower, you would have believed that most of those photographs were real.
  2594. >Some, however, are genuine, and are the cause for all the mistakes that keep being made.
  2595. >They are what made you overlook what was right under your snoot.
  2596. >The most important part was how everything – from the trip to the park, the setting off of the traps, and more – all of that had a special purpose.
  2597. >It was so simple, so incredibly obvious, that anyone or anything could seen it for what it truly was: an insidious plot to destroy you.
  2598. >That would have worked if not for the overlords underestimating you.
  2599. >With both your resolve, along with aid from the deep web, life is getting back on track.
  2600. >So here you are now, alive and safely recovering within the confines of the lair.
  2601. >Unfortunately, this has had the side effect of bringing patrols to a trickle, but that cannot be helped while you’re still obviously so weakened.
  2602. >To fix that, you’ve been undergoing a treatment, which will solve everything.
  2603. >Most of it involves sitting awkwardly in silence of darkness, with your eyes closed, and chanting, along with other quirky stuff.
  2604.  
  2605. >Despite being unusual, it’s working; you can feel it.
  2606. >While not doing the treatment or short patrols, extensive research is being done.
  2607. >Some of it is the usual stuff, but the rest is being devoted to a recently made discovery.
  2608. >That came whilst in the middle of checking Anon’s room, and was in the form of a pamphlet left by Bonnie.
  2609. >Many tests were run on it, with all of those coming back negative.
  2610. >Since then, you’ve been following what information is on it; all of that leading to the net.
  2611. >Also, a new addition is in the lair – the laptop.
  2612. >Technically, this should not be in here.
  2613. >Two facts override that: leaving the lair for too long in your weakened state is risky, and the lack of knowledge about ODE makes you especially vulnerable.
  2614. >On a side note, the internet somehow works in here.
  2615. >Considering how damaged the lair was, and still is, that’s likely the cause for it.
  2616. >To be safe, silence has been adopted as your new tongue.
  2617. >Although difficult to maintain, it’s amazing that you’re managing this feat.
  2618. >The biggest downside to it is the frequent, long bouts of internal monologue, like right now for instance.
  2619. >Shaking your head, you switch to a different tab in the browser.
  2620. >ODE’s simple website comes into view.
  2621. >With help from the deep web, along with some personal digging, you’ve learned this entire organization is run by humans and odd ponies.
  2622. >Knowing that there are other ponies like yourself out there is among the biggest discoveries to date.
  2623. >For so very long, you assumed you were entirely alone in being odd.
  2624. >Knowing that is no longer true, it’s kind of… nice.
  2625. >That aside, there is no denying that some of these ponies are being used by the overlords, willing or not.
  2626. >You turn to the list that you got from deep web, and start slowly scouring it.
  2627. >Virtually all the humans here are easy to figure out, but the ponies on the other hoof, not so much.
  2628. >Their odd traits make them /far/ more difficult to understand.
  2629.  
  2630. >Like this one – a fiery pegasus mare, who cannot fly, and often gets into trouble with the law.
  2631. >The trouble making could be a cover, but you’re not certain yet.
  2632. >Then there is this oddball – a very small, powder blue pony, with a permanent concerned expression on her face.
  2633. >Her size is useful, as it could be used to sneak into secure places.
  2634. >Ponies like those two are obviously valuable, even if it is not immediately apparent, which is why the overlords are seeking them out.
  2635. >After all, what better way to gather them together, other than by offering to /help/ them?
  2636. >It’s so sickeningly sinisterly ingenious.
  2637. >Those monsters fooled many of these poor souls.
  2638. >But more importantly, all of these ponies have lead to your current plan of action: if you could turn them to your cause, then this war would finally end.
  2639. >There is a great deal of risk involved, as some of them are certainly work for the overlords.
  2640. >If even so much as one of them learned of your plans, it would all be over for good.
  2641. >It’s already bad enough that they have a shadow profile of you, and those pictures of you online reinforces that they’re adding more to it, too.
  2642. >An angry sigh is exhaled as you shake your head.
  2643. >It’s impossible to forget that fact, especially after Bonnie informed you of it.
  2644. >Speaking of her, all of your digging into her background has come up completely clean.
  2645. >Regardless of that, she is still unknowingly helping out the enemy.
  2646. >Her friendly nature must be what brings in ponies to ODE, which in turn, brings them straight to the overlords.
  2647. >Scrolling further down the list, you continue to read more on the pony members.
  2648. >Now it’s only a matter of time before-
  2649. “-I compile this properly.”
  2650. >You clamp your jaw shut with a hushed growl.
  2651. >Idiot! Talking out loud is not acceptable.
  2652. >Doing that too much can lead to you getting-
  2653. >*knock, knock, knock*
  2654. >-caught.
  2655. >“Tinny, open up.”
  2656. >Oh, it’s just Anon again.
  2657. >Though it’s a bit odd for him to be back this soon.
  2658.  
  2659. >“I need to- no, WE need to talk about whatever this all about.”
  2660. >It’s not time yet to explain it to him, you still need to recover more.
  2661. >The door handle suddenly wiggles.
  2662. >Should you be worried about that?
  2663. >No, he’s the only one worrying, and it’s for nothing, too.
  2664. >A loud, annoyed sigh comes from the other side of the door.
  2665. >“I know you’re in there, so please, open the door and talk to me.”
  2666. >As much as guilt demands you answer him, it has to be denied.
  2667. >Instead, you keep reading as you were, and soon enough, retreating footfalls are heard.
  2668. >He’ll understand, in time.
  2669. >Another pony on the list catches your attention – a unicorn with memory loss.
  2670. >Now that is interesting.
  2671. >How does this one work out- wait.
  2672. >A sudden commotion comes from the other room, then, running.
  2673. >It reaches your door, with Anon starting to pound on it, “Tinny, several black vans just pulled up out front of the house!”
  2674. >…
  2675. >…
  2676. >…
  2677. >PANIC!
  2678. >Jumping to your hooves, you hastily start enacting one of the fail safe plans for such an occasion.
  2679. “Get what you can, and destroy whatever evidence you have, Anon! I’ll join you shortly!”
  2680. >The inevitable has come, but you are more than ready for it.
  2681. >No matter what will happen, you will do everything in your power to ensure the safety of Anon and yourself.
  2682. >Once everything is set up, the only thing left to do is get his assistance.
  2683. >You unlock and fling the door open, with your box cutter at the ready.
  2684. “How many agents are out there?”
  2685. >You whip your head back and forth.
  2686. “No, scratch that. We have to act fast! But first, I need your-”
  2687. >Without warning, you’re effortlessly plucked up off the ground by Anon.
  2688. >He brings you into a big, close hug, “Oh thank fuck, you’re all right, Tinny.”
  2689. >Confusion replaces all your other thoughts.
  2690. >Processing…
  2691. >Processing…
  2692. >Processing…
  2693. >Done.
  2694. >Your eyes widen as an inferno ignites within you.
  2695. “You lied to me!”
  2696. >Full scrunch mode activated!
  2697. >He rolls his eyes, and holds you at arms length the second you start to thrash.
  2698. >“How else was I supposed to get you to talk to me?”
  2699.  
  2700. “Argh! Anon, y-you dum-dum! Do you have any idea how much danger you just put us in?!”
  2701. >“Dum-dum? That’s a new one,” he shakes his head, “But anyways, I don’t care, we needed to talk.”
  2702. “Grr! We were going to talk later if you just waited like I wanted!”
  2703. >“Yeah no. Later is far too long.”
  2704. >Out of all the things to fall for, it just had to be something THIS stupid.
  2705. >And it was so obvious, too!
  2706. >What’s worse is now that the overlords know of this trick, they will add it to their list of methods of entrapping the two of you.
  2707. >That’s enough of a reason to pick up the intensity of your thrashing.
  2708. “Lemme go! Lemme go! Reeeeee!”
  2709. >All of your pleas are ignored, and if anything, Anon looks mildly amused by your efforts.
  2710. >Just when it seems that your fury is going to boil over, he lightly presses the tip of your muzzle with a finger.
  2711. >All of your movements briefly freeze, though once that passes, you scrunch angrily at him.
  2712. >“Tin Tin, breath. I know you’re a little upset.”
  2713. >A little upset? A little upset?!
  2714. >Nononono, you are FURIOUS.
  2715. >If such an emotion had a form, it would be you; a tinfoil mare.
  2716. >Seemingly sensing your thoughts, he frowns with a slow, uttered sigh.
  2717. >“Alright, you can be mad at me all you want, but you cannot expect me to do nothing when you’ve been doing is shutting me out.”
  2718. >Although you’re still angry, his words do sooth you a somewhat.
  2719. “I only did it because I was trying to recover while doing research… idiot.”
  2720. >“Er… recover?” He asks with the tilt of his head.
  2721. “Those photographs that Bonnie mentioned, remember?”
  2722. >“Oh, that, right… the whole…” he rolls a hand, “...soul sucking, thing.”
  2723. “Did you actually forget that?”
  2724. >“Kinda-sorta. But to be fair, there is a whole TON of stuff we’ve talked about before.”
  2725. >He is not wrong about that.
  2726. >Very slowly, the fire inside continues to subside bit by bit.
  2727. “Fine… but even so, you need to remember all of it.”
  2728. >“I know, I know… So then, you have been recovering?”
  2729. >You nod.
  2730. “That’s right. And the lair is the only safe place to do that.”
  2731. >His features soften as he nods along, “I see.”
  2732.  
  2733. >Although thick-headed at times, he is still your best friend; the closest and most trustworthy person you know.
  2734. >His eyes fall behind you to the lair, “So that’s where the laptop ended up.”
  2735. >Tension instantly replaces any of your remaining anger.
  2736. >Do not tell him the truth as to why you have it.
  2737. >Until then, come up with an excuse.
  2738. “I… I, uhm, uh… I n-needed it.”
  2739. >That’s not an excuse…
  2740. >“Eh, it’s fine,” he smiles slowly, “What’s important is that we’re talking again.”
  2741. >At least he isn’t investigating, so that’s good.
  2742. “I would have talked to you eventually…”
  2743. >At that, he shakes his head, “Could it kill you to at least talk to me from the other side of the door?”
  2744. “I wasn’t ready.”
  2745. >“Right…”
  2746. “So hey, can you put me down now?”
  2747. >“Wha- oh, oh right.”
  2748. >You hooves find purchase on the carpeted floor, and you retrieve your box cutter laying nearby.
  2749. >“By the way, what were you going to ask me for?”
  2750. “I needed a lighter.”
  2751. >“Why would you need that?”
  2752. >Looking back to him, he has an arched brow, and has his arms crossed across his chest.
  2753. “It was for setting the evidence boxes on fire, so that way they would not fall into the wrong hands.”
  2754. >A deadpan expression forms on his face, “You do realize that would have burned down the house along with them, right?”
  2755. “Well, of course. That is the exact intention.”
  2756. >He pinches the bridge of his nose as he sighs, “...why am I not surprised…?”
  2757. >You pat his leg.
  2758. “Anon, there is no other way to ensure that they don’t use that information against the countless innocent souls out there.”
  2759. >“Wouldn’t they just have put out the fire before it got too bad, though?”
  2760. >You gently shake your head with a smile.
  2761. “I already planned for that via a number of specially placed items.”
  2762. >Very slowly, he removes his hand from his face, and stares at you, “What do you mean by that?”
  2763. >You gesture for him to get closer, and once he does, you lower your voice.
  2764. “I put accelerants in them, which will spread the fire super fast, therefore leaving no way for the overlords to recover anything.”
  2765. >“…”
  2766. “Is there something wrong? Because you’re being awfully quiet.”
  2767. >“Tinny.”
  2768. “Yes?”
  2769. >“You have accelerants in your boxes?”
  2770. >Nodding, you point to the boxes gathered together in the middle of the lair.
  2771.  
  2772. “Yeah, that’s exactly why they’re set up like that now.”
  2773. >“How long have they been there?”
  2774. >You tap your chin in thought.
  2775. “Hmm… I’d say about…”
  2776. >Let’s see… divide by three, and carry the two…
  2777. “...about as long as I have had the lair together, yep.”
  2778. >At that, his expression hardens, “You’ve gotta be kidding me…”
  2779. “No, why would I do that?”
  2780. >He guffaws, then glares, “You didn’t think to tell me about this before that time I had the house fumigated?”
  2781. “That’s what this is all about, then? I guess I should have told you sooner, sorry.”
  2782. >A heavy silence falls between the two of you, though honestly, you wish it hadn’t.
  2783. >Because the look on his face is probably the scariest you’ve ever seen him have.
  2784.  
  2785. ***
  2786.  
  2787. >Many white, wispy clouds lazily drift through the sky.
  2788. >Sometimes, a gentle breeze blows through the trees, through the neighborhood itself.
  2789. >Overall, today is fairly nice and simple.
  2790. >It’s wonderful to have this, especially with the mandatory overtime still ongoing.
  2791. >That’s also exactly why you decided to spend the day outside in the backyard with Tinny.
  2792. >You would have gone elsewhere, but it was enough of a chore to convince her for just this.
  2793. >Most of her reasoning involved her “treatment”, with the rest being something about researching.
  2794. >But since she’s out here with you right now, she’s investigating the yard for conspiracy related stuff.
  2795. >That’s much more preferred over the debacle about her boxes.
  2796. >It was a real pain to go through all of that with her to ensure she wouldn’t reduce the house to nothing but ashes.
  2797. >Apparently, she “acquired” the accelerants while doing a nightly patrol.
  2798. >But the fact that they were even there to begin with is what really worried you.
  2799. >Naturally, you devoted a good portion of your free time into finding out if there was anything else like that she was hiding.
  2800. >That resulted in many more hours spent listening to her lecture about her many – MANY – fail safe plans that involve the house.
  2801. >To sum it up: there is nothing left like that to concern yourself with.
  2802. >Still, this goes to show how you really need to listen to her more, if only to ensure she doesn’t blow everything to kingdom come.
  2803. >A hyperbole? Maybe, but when it comes to her, it’s not completely impossible.
  2804. >Enough thinking about, just relax.
  2805. >“Anon, I found some suspicious looking prints over here!”
  2806. >Looking over to the little mare, she’s hopping in place by one of the bushes.
  2807. >A joyful sigh leaves you as you smile.
  2808. “Got any idea as to who, or what they could belong to?”
  2809. >She shakes her head, “It could be anything, but I am absolutely certain that their owners were spying on us.”
  2810. >It’s probably the raccoons again.
  2811. >Despite scaring them off initially, they keep coming back, regardless of the cinder blocks atop of the trash cans.
  2812.  
  2813. >“Whoever they are, they’ve been snooping around more, which is exactly why we need to prepare a countermeasure against them.”
  2814. >She quickly gets to work on making notes, along with a sketch in her notepad.
  2815. “Uh-huh.”
  2816. >Any kind of debate involving that is currently off the table, but only because you’re not in the mood.
  2817. >Times like these show it’s best to let her do her own thing.
  2818. >Whenever she starts to get unhinged, however, that’s when you should step in.
  2819. >You watch as she finishes up her work in little time, then moves on to the tree with low branches in the yard.
  2820. >She insists that one is the squirrel’s FOB.
  2821. >She may even be happy to know that you intend to trim the branches back later on.
  2822. >It’s not for her paranoia, though, but rather, so they don’t get in your way while mowing.
  2823. >Exhaling a long, drawn out contended sigh, you take a sip of your drink, and zone out.
  2824. >Nothing else has gone wrong lately, and you intend to keep it that way.
  2825. >You really should not jinx yourself.
  2826. >Eh, nothing to worry about, everything will be fine.
  2827. >“I need you to look these over for any mistakes.”
  2828. >Snapping out of a daze, you find her right at your side, presenting some papers.
  2829. >Each one is given a once-over, with them containing various suspicions, and/or detailed reports about some kind of conspiracy.
  2830. >A few stand out, like this one on Bonnie, then there is another about tracking individuals via satellites, but this last one is incredibly odd, even for her.
  2831. “Uh, hey. What is this about exactly?”
  2832. >“What part?”
  2833. >You point to the section.
  2834. “This one.”
  2835. >She knits her brows together, “The garden next door?”
  2836. “That’s what it is? Because you’ve written it as ‘the garden of Eden’.”
  2837. >“Wait, what?” She looks at it again, then grumbles as she starts correcting it.
  2838. >“It’s supposed to be: the garden of Eve,” she lightly sighs, “Stupid spelling mistakes…”
  2839. “Ah, that makes much more sense.”
  2840. >You take another sip of your drink.
  2841. >Time to indulge her a little.
  2842. “So what about her? Eve, I mean.”
  2843.  
  2844. >“I suspect she’s working closer with the overlords.”
  2845. “But didn’t you already know that?”
  2846. >“I do. It’s just that wasn’t sure of her exact role until recently.”
  2847. “Alright, so what is it?”
  2848. >“She works at the grocery store, and often stocks the produce section, right?”
  2849. “Right.”
  2850. >“Okay, so her stocking it is the perfect cover for implementing the hallucinogenics into the food.”
  2851. >Like many of her conspiracies, this one is completely incorrect.
  2852. >All it took was one case of stomach cramps from food past its due date, and since then, she’s been hellbent on it.
  2853. “Makes sense.”
  2854. >Yet again, you’re not in the mood to debate her about it.
  2855. “What made you to come to this conclusion?”
  2856. >She looks over to the aforementioned yard, “She’s been tending to her garden more, and I’ve seen her applying different chemicals to it, too. To anyone unwise, they’d think she was using pesticides or something like that. In actuality, she’s testing the drugs on them, then sending the results back to her masters.”
  2857. >Tinny puffs out chest proudly, “But she can’t fool me; I know enough about her to clearly see her nefarious plans.”
  2858. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from your truth seeking skills.”
  2859. >Now beaming brightly, she lightly bounces in place as she turns to you, “Thanks, Anon. I knew you would understand.”
  2860. >That sight alone is more than enough to draw your smile even wider.
  2861. >Despite all she does, she is still both cute and relatively harmless.
  2862. >Suddenly, her expression hardens, and she looks around briefly before back to you.
  2863. >“By the way, has ‘you -know-who’ stopped by recently?”
  2864. “Mind telling me who that is?”
  2865. >Giving another glance around, she leans in closer with a hushed voice, “Bonnie.”
  2866. “No. Why would she, though?”
  2867. >“Because she’s trying to get me into working for the overlords, just like she is.”
  2868. “Tin Tin, she works with ODE, not the overlords.”
  2869. >“Tomato, tomato, Anon. Anything I say or do will go straight to them because of any interaction I have with her.”
  2870. >Taking yet another sip of your drink, you shrug.
  2871. “It wouldn’t hurt to talk her casually.”
  2872. >“If – and I do mean, IF – I talk to her, it will be under my exact specific conditions.”
  2873.  
  2874. >Knowing her, those “conditions” are something akin to a police interrogation.
  2875. >Amusing thought aside, it’s unlikely that would actually play out that way.
  2876. >It still would be nice if she gave the other mare a chance.
  2877. >“Okay, I think we’ve discussed this delicate matter enough out here in the open,” she glances around wearily,”Because I know for a fact that they know that we know about their involvement.”
  2878. “Do you mean ODE or the overlords?”
  2879. >She heavily scrunches, “Both!”
  2880. >She relaxes with a light sigh.
  2881. >“Now then, let’s pretend there was nothing important about this conversation, that way we can avoid any suspicion.”
  2882. >As you nod, she marches back into the yard.
  2883. >It would be nice if her feelings about ODE were not so misplaced.
  2884. >You already learned a bit about the group; some from talking with Bonnie, with rest being between the pamphlet and checking out their website.
  2885. >Although you were certain about their innocence, it didn’t hurt to investigate, anyways.
  2886. >They started out small, from a series of meet ups, which quickly grew from there.
  2887. >Their ideal is simple: help out odd ponies.
  2888. >Every single testimony you read was incredibly heartwarming.
  2889. >While some were fortunate, like Tinny is with you, many sadly, were not.
  2890. >They still actively help out wherever and whenever they can.
  2891. >Unfortunately, all of their services do not apply to your tinfoil friend.
  2892. >Instead, one of the other odd ponies could become a friend of hers.
  2893. >If that were to happen, then it would likely improve her outlook on the world.
  2894. >You even considered pushing the idea in light of that, but after some consideration, let it go.
  2895. >There are many ways that could go wrong, but most important of all, she has to /want/ to do it herself.
  2896. >Considering she is already looking into ODE, there is a chance (no matter how slim) that she will make a friend all on her own.
  2897. >You look over the backyard, and spot her by one of the fences.
  2898. >She appears to be checking something out about it, then notes whatever it was down before trotting off.
  2899.  
  2900. >Her face is of that of complete determination, like she’s about to climb a mountain or something to that effect.
  2901. >Assuming she does make a friend, perhaps she will shift that drive of hers elsewhere.
  2902. >That would make life a little less stressful.
  2903. >It’s just a thought, though.
  2904. >Suddenly, from seemingly nowhere, a strong gust of wind begins to rage through the yard.
  2905. >You brace yourself, but Tinny, however, seems to be having trouble.
  2906. >In an instant, the wind picks up in intensity, then, without warning, she’s ripped from the ground and into the air.
  2907. >IT’S HAPPENING.gif
  2908. “TINNY!”
  2909. >You fly to your feet, and take off sprinting towards her.
  2910. >She slams into the fence with a resounding *CRINKLE*.
  2911. >In a flash, you’re at her, and quickly scoop her up into your arms.
  2912. >“S-stupid wind!” She hisses
  2913. “Are you all right?”
  2914. >Her eyes meet yours, then soften, “I’m fine, I’m fine… it was caught me off guard is all.”
  2915. >Despite her claim, you keep her close, not daring to let go.
  2916. >And to think, not too long ago, this was a mild fear of yours.
  2917. >For it to actually come into fruition, though? A terrible coincidence.
  2918. >She starts shifting in your hold, apparently searching for something on herself.
  2919. >When it doesn’t come up, she looks about, “Where’s my notepad? I don’t have it on me.”
  2920. “Don’t worry about it, your safety comes first.”
  2921. >“I told you that I am fine, Anon. Now, please help me find it.”
  2922. >It takes but a mere moment to spot it a few feet away from where you two are.
  2923. “Looks like it didn’t go far.”
  2924. >She follows your gaze, and starts shifting even more, “Let me go, I have to get it!”
  2925. >You shake your head.
  2926. “Not gonna happen.”
  2927. >She does a double take, “W-What?”
  2928. >Her muzzle scrunches up as she shakes her head, “Anon, ANYTHING in there can lead to a breakthrough in *the plan*, so we cannot let it fall into the wrong hands.”
  2929. >Rather than getting into an argument, you retrieve and give it to her.
  2930. “There, now we’re heading back inside.”
  2931. >“Wait, I’m not done collecting data from out here.”
  2932. >Ignoring her, you make a beeline to the backdoor, and once inside, you set her on the kitchen table.
  2933.  
  2934. “Stay here, I’ll be back.”
  2935. >“Anon, you’re overrea-”
  2936. >You cut her off with a boop to her muzzle, then hurry to get your things from outside.
  2937. >Upon returning, she’s scrunched up even more than earlier, with a glare cast your way.
  2938. >The shaking effects of the lingering adrenaline do more than enough to outright ignore any of her annoyance towards you.
  2939. >With a long, drawn out exhale, you take a seat.
  2940. “It’s un-fucking-believable that just happened out there…”
  2941. >She opens her mouth to reply, but stops.
  2942. >Her brow knits together in thought as she looks to the window.
  2943. >“Remember what I told you before?”
  2944. “About?”
  2945. >“The outside.”
  2946. “Gonna have to remind me, cuz’ there’s a whole lot of things you’ve told me about it.”
  2947. >She turns back to you, “I told you about how it’s more dangerous outside than it is inside.”
  2948. >You blink a few times, and shake your head with a slow growing smile.
  2949. “Huh, yeah. Guess you were right about that one.”
  2950. >She briefly frowns as she sighs, “Of course I was right. I’ve told you that I always right about those kinds of things.”
  2951. >A hushed chuckle escapes you.
  2952. >Regardless of what just took place, she is still the same strange little mare that you know.
  2953. >Another howling gust of wind comes about from outside that draws the attention of both of you.
  2954. >At that moment, your phone vibrates, to which you check it.
  2955. >An alert is on the screen about strong gusts of wind.
  2956. >Little late for that warning…
  2957. >“Are we done now? I’d like to compile what little data I gathered.”
  2958. >Looking back to her, she has no signs of distress whatsoever.
  2959. >Yet here you are, with enough worry to be a helicopter parent.
  2960. >She slightly tilts her head at your staring.
  2961. >“Is there something wrong?”
  2962. >Nodding, you heavily sigh.
  2963. “Tinny, I could have lost you out there, or worse.”
  2964. >“Is that what this is all about? Like I told you before: I am fine.”
  2965. >You shake your head.
  2966. “How are you so calm about this?”
  2967. >She looks back to the window as another gust comes again, “Because it was a mere coincidence.”
  2968. >recordscratch.wav
  2969. “Okay… how’s that?”
  2970.  
  2971. >“The overlords do not use their weather control methods to eliminate just one enemy. They prefer to have it for large scale operations; this only one answer: the wind just so happened to blow through the yard, nothing more.
  2972. >This mare…
  2973. >One minute, she’s blaming anything and everything on the overlords, and the next, it’s completely normal.
  2974. >If you think about this too much, it will result in a headache.
  2975. >Sitting up a little straighter, you gently shake your head.
  2976. “I guess that makes sense.”
  2977. >She tilts her head again as she looks back to you, “Can I go sort this out now?”
  2978. >You nod, and she takes off into the other room.
  2979. >While still sitting in the kitchen, a thought comes to mind in the form of an old saying: life throws you curve balls.
  2980. >Tinny is very much one of those curve balls.
  2981.  
  2982. ***
  2983.  
  2984. >It may have taken quite a while, but the recovery process is finally over.
  2985. >Thank goodness, too, because it’s doubtful another day of it could have been tolerated.
  2986. >Things would have been worse than they were, had it not been for Anon doing some of the patrols for you.
  2987. >But now, everything is back to the way it was once.
  2988. >You checked over Anon’s room a bit ago, finding nothing out of place.
  2989. >Though there a discovery of more mismatched shoes.
  2990. >Nothing about that still makes any sense, regardless of what he may claim.
  2991. >Currently, you’re observing the neighborhood from the windowsill in the living room.
  2992. >In the background, a show is loudly playing on the TV.
  2993. >The only reason to note it is because it’s keeping Anon distracted.
  2994. >Lately, he has been hovering around you /way/ more.
  2995. >According to him, it’s due to work not being as stressful, yet his appearance when he gets home contradicts that.
  2996. >The truth is much more obvious: he’s still spooked by what happened the other day in the backyard.
  2997. >No matter how many times you’ve told him that you’re fine, he won’t listen.
  2998. >Sure, that sudden gust of wind unexpectedly threw you across the yard, but it wasn’t anything you could not handle or endure.
  2999. >Plus it’s not like you’ve had a nightmare or two about it, let alone, thought about it often.
  3000. >And it especially did not make your life flash before your eyes, nope.
  3001. >…
  3002. >Stop getting distracted, focus on the task.
  3003. >Right!
  3004. >Other than the typical robotic spies pretending to be living, breathing creatures, along with the “people” that are conveniently going about their day, everything is normal.
  3005. >That’s all the reason needed to record anything and everything about it.
  3006. >There is bound to be something important out there in world, and it’s up to you discern it, then later on, share it with the others on the deep web.
  3007. >You finish taking notes, and go to the kitchen.
  3008. >Once up in the usual spot on the table, you keep a low profile while searching the backyard.
  3009. >A squirrel is seen chasing another through the yard, and straight up into one of the trees.
  3010.  
  3011. >They act innocent, cute even, to anyone who watches them, except for you.
  3012. >Because in spite of their appearance, this is just a cover for them to aid in their job of gathering intel for their overlord masters.
  3013. >Both yourself and the other truth seekers are so close to cracking their code-talk, and then, all of you will be able to counter them much more effectively than ever before.
  3014. >Soon that will happen, but not likely today.
  3015. >Much like the front yard, everything here in the backyard is relatively normal, too.
  3016. >Strangely, the whole world seems to be much more calm, which is enough of a cause for concern.
  3017. >The only logical answer is that the overlords are scheming something.
  3018. >Undoubtedly, you would have figured it out by now, had it not been for the previous incidents.
  3019. >Only the research into ODE has partially made up for that.
  3020. >Countless hours have been spent studying them, with a great deal of that being sleepless.
  3021. >As a result, exhaustion has been pecking at you more, which in turn, makes it harder to conceal from Anon.
  3022. >He cannot be allowed to know, otherwise he would get in the way like he has before.
  3023. >Sleep can be recovered once you’re finished.
  3024. >The final steps to your plan is just around the corner; it can be felt in the depths of your tinfoil body.
  3025. >Though maybe that feeling is just sleep deprivation, it’s hard to tell the difference.
  3026. >You write down a note about how the leaves from the trees are laid out in a new pattern.
  3027. >There has to be a connection there with the squirrels, or perhaps something else.
  3028. >It’s like the connection between ODE and the overlords.
  3029. >There is already a good idea as to how it works, but you have to be certain, so as to properly prepare for them.
  3030. >You’ve already spent plenty of time thoroughly coming through each and every one of the member’s history.
  3031. >All of the events and functions of ODE are understood.
  3032. >Yet there is still some murky details, those of which are your main concern.
  3033. >That’s all that’s needed to keep pushing so hard.
  3034.  
  3035. >A heavy yawn makes its way out of you, and you shake your head as you put away your notepad.
  3036. “Time to put everything together, then, do more research.”
  3037. >With a hop, a skip, and a jump, you glide off the table onto the kitchen floor.
  3038. >As you enter the living room, Anon peers over the couch, “Hey, you busy?”
  3039. “Yeah, I have to record data and check some stuff.”
  3040. >He smiles, “I see. Well, do you wanna watch something after you’re done?”
  3041. >He’s been asking stuff like this a lot recently.
  3042. >It’s only because of his fear about you, and honestly, that cannot wear off soon enough.
  3043. “I don’t know how long this will take. In fact, it might take the whole night to complete.”
  3044. >A hint of concern crosses his face, “Don’t go overdoing it, Tin Tin.”
  3045. >You wave a hoof.
  3046. “I won’t.”
  3047. >“Alright. Well, if things change, feel free to join me.”
  3048. “Sure thing.”
  3049. >Seemingly satisfied, he turns his attention back to the TV.
  3050. >You proceed to the lair, and do your usual, thorough checks.
  3051. >After what happened that day in the manic induced panic, this habit has become far more ingrained.
  3052. >The last thing you want is for it to EVER happen again.
  3053. >Fortunately, everything goes smoothly, and nothing is found amiss on the outside nor the inside.
  3054. >From there, the process of copying things over falls into place.
  3055. >This still remains ever so slow.
  3056. >Here’s a thought: since Anon has been hovering around you more, why not ask him to help you out?
  3057. >That has worked out before, but he might make an excuse as to why not do it.
  3058. >Nevertheless, he does know the truth like you do, and is still incredibly helpful when he is there.
  3059. >So, why not give it a shot?
  3060. “Hmm… I suppose so.”
  3061. >Exhaustion slows your efforts, but you manage to finish the task in about the same time as usual.
  3062. >Next up, turning to the deep web for assistance.
  3063. >That’s another thing: Anon has let you keep the laptop in here, though he also made it very clear to not run any tests on it.
  3064. >That’s easy to do, because you already ran plenty of tests shortly after he first brought it home.
  3065. >He doesn’t know that, though, nor does he need to, either.
  3066.  
  3067. >With the help of this, so much more time has been saved, which has had the added benefit of making up for some of the lost time spent recovering.
  3068. >But finding your thread from earlier in the archive, however, is a bit of a downer…
  3069. >The glowies are to blame for this.
  3070. >Despite their interference, the thread can still be searched through.
  3071. >Yet even after doing that, nothing new is found.
  3072. >Well, nothing good that is.
  3073. >Because some users are starting to call you a spammer from how much you’ve been asking the same questions.
  3074. >The glowies are making them believe that nonsense.
  3075. >They can not – and will not – stop you, because you’re Tinny!
  3076. >So, you make a brand new thread, along with the same questions.
  3077. >However, almost immediately after creation, it is deleted.
  3078. “What?!”
  3079. >When you try to make another, a message pops up: YOU ARE BANNED.
  3080. “Argh! Curse them, curse them all! They’re nothing but a bunch of-”
  3081. >You shut your mouth, and snort angrily.
  3082. >It’s hard to resist the urge to rage, but you just have to grit your teeth and bear it.
  3083. >After all, losing your cool will only waste time, along with giving those monsters what they want.
  3084. >Besides, this is only a temporary ban, so they may have slowed your quest, but they have not stopped it altogether.
  3085. >There is always the option to skirt around the ban via a method some users have used before.
  3086. >But if you do that, your line of questioning would almost certainly give you away, which would definitely lead to a longer ban.
  3087. >You squeeze your eyes shut as you snort angrily again.
  3088. >For now, it’s best to rely on what information you already have, and go from there.
  3089. >Although this has been gone through dozens of times by now, there is a possibility that a detail has been overlooked.
  3090. >A combination of your eyelids getting heavier, as well as slow building frustration makes things much more difficult.
  3091. >What else can do you do about it?
  3092. >This would be a lot easier if you had another source to rely on, other than Anon.
  3093. >It’s not like you know someone who knows everything about ODE.
  3094. >If only there was a mole on the inside that you could trust, then this would be so simple.
  3095. >Odd, why does it feel like you’re missing something?
  3096.  
  3097. >You wrack your brain in thought, but nothing seems to come up.
  3098. >Whatever it was, it wasn’t important.
  3099. >Since you’re having trouble, a different course of action is needed.
  3100. >That leaves one option: turning to Anon for help.
  3101. >It seems your earlier thought is coming into fruition.
  3102. >After setting up the defenses, you go straight to the living room.
  3103. >As you round the couch, you stop mid-step.
  3104. >In his hands is his blasted phone.
  3105. >He appears to be distracted with it, likely using some app.
  3106. >Seeing that annoyingly, terrible little device here and now is enough reason to hesitate.
  3107. >No matter how many times you tell him it literally records everything, AND that is is tracking his every move while it is on his person, he keeps using it.
  3108. >You don’t even get a chance to move a centimeter before he looks at you from the corner of his eye, then smiles.
  3109. >“Heh, I thought I saw you there.”
  3110. >Drat, you’ve been had!
  3111. >“I take it your research was finished earlier than expected?”
  3112. >Roll with this, filly.
  3113. “Yep, exactly.”
  3114. >He nods as he puts away the phone, much to your barely hidden sigh of relief.
  3115. >“That’s good to hear, I hope it wasn’t too much of a hassle.”
  3116. >You shake your head.
  3117. “Nothing I could not handle.”
  3118. >You hop up, and let some of the TV steal your attention.
  3119. >A guy is walking through the forest while narrating about something.
  3120. “What are you even watching?”
  3121. >“It’s rerun of one of those survive in the wilderness shows.”
  3122. >Holding back the roll of your eyes, you look to Anon.“You know this is all fake, right?”
  3123. >He nods, “Yeah, of course it is.”
  3124. >Thank goodness he can see that clearly.
  3125. >But does he also realize that-
  3126. >“Everything is staged; the guy, his camera, the resources, all of it. But that’s always been the case when it comes to reality TV, ya know? Because if it wasn’t, then the channels wouldn’t get their high viewer base.”
  3127. >Wow, he took most of your thought straight out of your head.
  3128. >If it wasn’t for those tests you ran on him, along with your tinfoil protecting you, you would have accused him of reading your mind.
  3129. >It also helps that he forgot one part during his explanation.
  3130.  
  3131. “And the overlords would never ever allow someone do anything like this in the woods, not without their explicit permission first, so they could add in their own bits of misinformation.”
  3132. >“Yeah, that too.”
  3133. >A smile spreads across your face.
  3134. >That, however, falters somewhat as you resist the urge to yawn.
  3135. >Sleep can be had later, not now.
  3136. >Back to the show, despite its innocent nature, it is among the type to fool the masses.
  3137. >With them, they teach how to accept the little lies, which eventually leads to them accepting the bigger ones, like how the world is actually hollow.
  3138. >Still, it is hard to deny how appealing this particular show seems to be right now.
  3139. >Do not get lured in, remember to focus on the mission.
  3140. >Right!
  3141. “Do you have any plans for this weekend?”
  3142. >“No, not really. Why, do you have something in mind?”
  3143. >Here goes nothing.
  3144. “I was thinking we could do some research together. You know, like we used to do?”
  3145. >He appears to think for a moment before nodding, “Sure.”
  3146. >Excellent! Everything is working out just as you hoped.
  3147. >“By the way, how do you feel about a vacation?”
  3148. >Is this another way for him to bring up the incident from the backyard?
  3149. >Stupid question, of course it is.
  3150. >Hold on, don’t jump the gun yet.
  3151. “They are useful to a degree, but they often lower the guard of the unwary, which increases their willingness to do whatever the overlords say.”
  3152. >“Oh, I see…”
  3153. >He sounded mildly disappointed by that.
  3154. >Then that likely means you were wrong in your assumption.
  3155. >But just to be safe…
  3156. “Why do you ask?”
  3157. >He works his jaw in thought while keeping most of his attention on the show.
  3158. >If that is anything to go by, then he probably believes that taking a trip to the woods would be a good idea.
  3159. >“I was thinking about taking some time off.”
  3160. >Aha! So you were close.
  3161. >You can use this to your advantage, though.
  3162. >You lightly shrug as you conceal a tiny yawn.
  3163. “It’s fine if you do, just let me know, so we can plan it out accordingly. We can also use that time to delve more into the inner workings of the overlords.”
  3164.  
  3165. >Saying nothing more, he nods slowly.
  3166. >You will have to be extra careful when it comes to those future plans of his.
  3167. >Because camping is something that you have never planned for.
  3168. >Big Foot, wendigos, skinwalkers, and more exist out there.
  3169. >Note to self: come up with ways to deal with them soon.
  3170. >Deal with that later, for now, watch this show.
  3171. “Really now, he made a perfect shelter like that in no time?”
  3172. >“I know, right?”
  3173. >It may be mindless, but it’s good to enjoy something like this with your near and dear friend, Anon.
  3174.  
  3175. ***
  3176.  
  3177. >As of yesterday, the mandatory overtime has finally ceased.
  3178. >With that out of the way, the rest of life can settle back down to some normalcy.
  3179. >Your plans for time off are still in the works, most of that being towards details involving Tinny.
  3180. >Her response to the idea was roughly what you figured it would be.
  3181. >It’s already obvious that camping is just not going to happen with her.
  3182. >Despite all of that, it will be good to not have to worry about work, and possibly catch up with everyone else you know.
  3183. >You’ll dwell on this more later, because for now, you finish taking a shower.
  3184. >Shortly thereafter, you head to your bedroom.
  3185. >The laptop is absent, still residing within the lair.
  3186. >A part of you doesn’t mind it much, but the other part, however, is a bit concerned.
  3187. >Never have you ever let her have access to the net for too long, so you’re not sure what the long term effects will be.
  3188. >But as far as you can tell, she hasn’t gotten anymore obsessed than usual, so it’s probably nothing to worry about.
  3189. >If anything does happen, it will be obvious, because she can’t hide stuff like that if her life depended on it.
  3190. >Then how did you not know about the rigging in her boxes?
  3191. >That was different.
  3192. >Really?
  3193. >The point is you’ll be prepared for whatever she may throw at you.
  3194. >Gently shaking your head, you get on your computer and focus on going through email.
  3195. >Aside from spam, there is nothing new.
  3196. >There are no new messages on your phone, either.
  3197. >Now that these are out of the way, there is just one thing left to do: spend time with Tinny.
  3198. >Last you checked, she was on patrol.
  3199. >You pop into the kitchen, and find her right up on the table, scanning the backyard like a hawk.
  3200. “Hey there.”
  3201. >She doesn’t budge as she replies with, “Hi, Anon. Do you need something?”
  3202. “Nope. I just figured I’d come see what you’re up to.”
  3203. >Briefly tearing her gaze from the window, she starts writing in her notepad.
  3204. >“Just doing my rounds,” she sighs with the shake of her head, “But sadly, there is not much to note in either the front or backyard.”
  3205. “That bad, huh?”
  3206. >She nods, “It’s clear that the overlords are up to something; they never let up for long, or even that easily.”
  3207. >It’s probably just a case of a dry spell for her.
  3208.  
  3209. “I take it that you’re busy, then?”
  3210. >Giving a small shrug, she peers out the window, “Yes and no.”
  3211. >Ah yes, the magical straightforward answer.
  3212. “So when do you think you’ll be free to do that research you were talking about the other day?”
  3213. >In a flurry, spins around on the spot to face you, “Wh-what, you’re asking me about it now?!”
  3214. >Shaking her head rapidly, she beams, “I mean, you mean /want/ to do it?"
  3215. >You lightly chuckle.
  3216. >This little mare sure is cute at times.
  3217. >It’s a good thing she has never learned how to properly use that to her advantage.
  3218. “Of course. I did agree to it, didn’t I?”
  3219. >“Uh-huh! I just didn’t it to be this soon is all.”
  3220. >An idea comes to mind.
  3221. >A fun one.
  3222. >huehuehue.jpg
  3223. “But since you’re SO busy with stuff, I guess it’ll have to wait till another time. I think I’m gonna hit the bar.”
  3224. >“No, wait! You don’t have to do that.”
  3225. >Although hastily, she puts away her notepad out of sight, and turns back, lightly bouncing in place, “We can work together now.”
  3226. >Faking a sigh, you roll a hand.
  3227. “What about your patrols, or even all the other stuff you have to do? Aren’t those /far/ more important?”
  3228. >“No, not at all. Those can wait, our research takes higher priority.”
  3229. “Are you sure? Because you’re still awfully far behind from when you last told me.”
  3230. >“I still am, but I assure you, they can wait.”
  3231. “I don’t know…”
  3232. >She tilts her head, “What do you mean, ‘you don’t know’?”
  3233. “Welll… youu… seee…”
  3234. >She nods, hanging on every word as you stretch them out.
  3235. >Feigning another sigh, you shake your head.
  3236. “I don’t know.”
  3237. >At that, she scrunches hard, “Gah! You’re messing with me, aren’t you?”
  3238. >There is no holding back the wicked grin that crosses your face.
  3239. “Yeah, a bit.”
  3240. >She attempts to throw a menacing glare your way, yet, that comes out quite cute.
  3241. >Alright, before she blows a gasket, calm her down.
  3242. “Anyways, I’m game if you are.”
  3243. >Various emotions go over her face, with variations of annoyance being the most prominent.
  3244. >But instead of giving in, she gently shakes her head with a sigh, then glides off the table to your side, “Let’s go.”
  3245.  
  3246. >The two of you make your way to the hallway, though just as you reach the lair, she taps your leg, making you stop.
  3247. >You look down to her curiously.
  3248. “Something up?”
  3249. >“Yeah, I gotta get some things together.”
  3250. >Nodding, you take a few steps back.
  3251. >After the ordeal of her getting caught in the traps, as well as the accelerants, there is no way in hell you’re going to risk getting caught in any possible crossfire.
  3252. >She may have already showed and told you much of everything in there, but that’s still not a chance you’re willing to take.
  3253. >A moment or so passes before she pokes her head out, “It’s all ready, come on in.”
  3254. “You want to do research in there?”
  3255. >“Yep! Why do you ask?”
  3256. “Well…”
  3257. >Sparing a quick glance to the lair, you can clearly see how much of a mess it is.
  3258. “...wouldn’t it be easier to do that in my room instead?”
  3259. >She shakes her head, “That wouldn’t work.”
  3260. “Why not?”
  3261. >“Because it does not have any spy resistant lining (despite me encouraging you to apply it), so there is no way to safeguard our efforts.”
  3262. >There is a very good reason for that: it’s messy and doesn’t work, period.
  3263. “Isn’t the lining in the lair not working, though?”
  3264. >She arches a brow, “What makes you think that?”
  3265. “Because the WiFi somehow works in there, despite the fact that the lining is supposed to block all signals.”
  3266. >“That’s-” she pauses with a scrunch, “Oh, oh right… heh, I guess that is a good point, isn’t it?”
  3267. >How did she not notice that sooner?
  3268. >It’s probably a case of her eagerness overriding her usual logic.
  3269. “So how about we work together in my room? It’s not like we haven’t done that before.”
  3270. >Her brows knit together, and she mumbles something quietly to herself.
  3271. >Shaking her head, she looks up to you, “Okay, but we must be absolutely cautious; we cannot let them know that we are up to.”
  3272. >Paranoia aside, it’s good to do little things like this with her from time to time.
  3273. >Because regardless of where it may go, it always amounts to spending good, quality time with one another.
  3274.  
  3275. >“I’ve gotta secure some things first, but I’ll meet you in your room shortly.”
  3276. >Nodding, you leave her while you go start up your computer.
  3277. >A few minutes pass in relative silence before she arrives, somehow carrying the laptop on her back.
  3278. >Seeing as it is almost as big as her, it’s surprising that she’s able to carry it to begin with.
  3279. >That’s just another mystery of hers, upon the pile of mysteries that the little tinfoil mare has.
  3280. >Smiling, you watch as she starts setting up a workspace on your bed.
  3281. “Alright, so what are we researching? Is it aliens? Drug laced water samples? Maybe some kind of new creature that has been spotted?”
  3282. >“Shhh!” Her eyes dart around the room.
  3283. >No, you’re not stopping just yet.
  3284. “Oh, I get it now. We need to secure our communications, so perhaps we should write things on paper; maybe act them out, or even use some kind of sign language.”
  3285. >Her eyes narrow in on you with a harder glare than earlier.
  3286. >As her ears splay against her head, she exhales a loud, annoyed sigh.
  3287. >It’s far too easy to get underneath her skin.
  3288. >Wait, tinfoil, you meant tinfoil.
  3289. >She waves for you to come to her.
  3290. >You scoot your chair to the bed.
  3291. “So…?”
  3292. >Looking around the room carefully, she leans in a bit closer.
  3293. >“We’re sorting out the different ponies who are members of ODE, and how we can use their efforts against /Them/,” she states in a near whisper.
  3294. “Them? You mean the over-”
  3295. >Her hoof shoots forth and covers your mouth before you can finish the sentence.
  3296. >She shakes her head rapidly.
  3297. >The two of you sit quietly for several seconds before she uncovers your mouth.
  3298. >“Yes, /Them/. It’s imperative that we find who we can trust.”
  3299. >It sounds an awful lot like she’s assembling a team.
  3300. >That’s a bit… worrisome.
  3301. >Every single past attempt at doing stuff like that has never ended well.
  3302. >But maybe you’re wrong, so it’s best to hear her out, then decide.
  3303. >Worst comes to worst, you’ll do your best to limit the damage, or outright prevent it.
  3304. >You lower your voice.
  3305. “You think we can find some suitable truth seekers like yourself within the group?”
  3306.  
  3307. >Nodding carefully, she turns around the laptop, “Both myself and the deep web are certain of it, but we still need the exact specifics before we can act.”
  3308. >Act? Ah hell…
  3309. >No good will come of this.
  3310. >Whoa there, you’re jumping to conclusions.
  3311. >When it comes to her, that’s unlikely.
  3312. >You turn to the browser, finding it overflowing with open tabs, more than you’ve seen her have before.
  3313. >At first, things appear to be utter nonsense, like they usually are.
  3314. >Yet the more you read, the more it’s what you were afraid of – a war.
  3315. >You look back to her, and she hoofs some notes to you, then taps on them for you to read.
  3316. >These are filled to the brim with speculations she has about ODE.
  3317. >Some of this could easily be misconstrued as something a madman would have wrote, though in this case, it’s a madmare.
  3318. >There is a particular section she points for you to read over.
  3319. >It takes several attempts to make it out, but only because her penmanship is terrible.
  3320. >This is clearly a plan to recruit a good number of odd ponies into battle against the overlords.
  3321. >There’s even parts about the risks involved, as well as the possible members who are “agents”.
  3322. >Carefully, you peer at her, seeing she’s nervously glancing around the room.
  3323. >It’s only now that you’re