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ReMastering

By ReMastering
Created: 16th July 2021 09:31:33 PM
18th October 2021 05:17:00 PM

  1. Meta: "Rem Astring"
  2. Quest can also be read on anonpone: https://www.anonpone.com/ReMastering/
  3.  
  4. >You're tired, and you're sure you smell like roadkill.
  5. >You brought plenty of wet wipes, but you're running low.
  6. >And for obvious reasons, you need to burn all organic evidence that you've been here.
  7. >You enjoyed Gattaca, but you never thought you'd be living it.
  8. >You check the scope mounted on your trusty rifle one final time before using the cheap-ass can opener on your multitool to open up the refried beans.
  9. >In hindsight they were a terrible idea.
  10. >But you've run out of everything else at this point.
  11. >He has to leave soon.
  12. >It took months before you got a lead on him.
  13. >An old account with the same name that you had to hunt down the physical server for just to get the IP address you wanted.
  14. >The security was good enough that there was no other way, and a gun leveled to the technician on duty's head is better than any brute-force tool.
  15. >Then, of course, you degaussed the server.
  16. >He shouldn't expect you, you even took the care of shooting out all of the shitty cameras on and inside the building from a distance.
  17. >Just as you're wiping beans off with your jacket sleeve you hear the faint sound of an engine starting.
  18. >It's almost like Christmas morning as you scramble over to your viewpoint and watch the truck pulling out.
  19. >You can even see him, waving to what you assume are products.
  20. >He keeps some for himself?
  21. >You suppose you don't see why he wouldn't.
  22. >You feel your finger brushing lightly on the trigger out of habit.
  23. >But you won't fire, your rifle isn't even loaded.
  24. >After all, you believe there should be some honor among thieves.
  25. ...
  26. >It's dark now, a cold December night.
  27. >You stand next to the back door, hunched under the window.
  28. >Nobody could have seen you come around unless they looked down from the few windows on the second floor, and all of those are darkened.
  29. >You will have his blueprints.
  30. >You have on your person:
  31. -Carbon Dioxide dart gun (pistol-esque build, holds a single prepared dart at once, canister has enough gas for ten shots)
  32. -Set of lock picks
  33. -Three incapacitation darts (non-lethal)
  34. -Two execution darts (lethal)
  35. -Backpack
  36. -Disposable gloves (7 sets)
  37. -Backpack (carrying most items with plenty of space left over)
  38. -Laptop computer with a full charge
  39. -Two flash drives (64 GB each)
  40. -Six packets of fruit gummies
  41. -Thermite powder
  42. -Two Magnesium strips
  43. -Gas torch
  44. -Two smoke bombs
  45. -Cigarette lighter
  46. -Pack of cigarettes (two cigs left)
  47. What will you do?
  48. >A voice whispers that you should become a pony, but you chalk it up to sleep deprivation and focus on the task at hand.
  49. >While loading an incapacitation dart into your gun you take extra care not to nick yourself on the sharp point of it or push the rubber flow stopper out of the way.
  50. >You've practiced of course, but you figure it won't hurt to be a bit more meticulous since you're apparently tired to the point of auditory hallucination.
  51. >A peek over the window reveals what looks to be a couch and a few lamps, though it's difficult to make out details.
  52. >There's a light on somewhere, but not in that room.
  53. >You reach out for the door handle before remembering that you haven't put on gloves yet, which you quickly remedy.
  54. >You first try the handle, no need to pick locks if he left the door unsecured.
  55. >Nothing.
  56. >You start with a tension and a rake, which doesn't seem to do much.
  57. >You sigh behind your scarf as you bring out a short hook and put away your rake, keeping the cylinder tensioned.
  58. >After a few minutes, you feel the cylinder give way and you pause, checking the window again.
  59. >Is that box in the corner an alarm panel?
  60. >Well, you can always just head back to the stakeout point if blaring starts.
  61. >You're going to call his bluff on it and assume that someone in his sort of business wouldn't want the police to be sent to his house in the event of a break-in anyways.
  62. >As you turn the knob, you're rewarded with complete silence.
  63. >You wipe your thick boots on the door frame and step in.
  64. >You wish now that you had a flashlight, but of course there's light on elsewhere and the moon is nearly full.
  65. >You wince as the floor creaks underfoot.
  66. >A somewhat feminine voice calls out.
  67. >"A-autumn?"
  68. >You should deal with that.
  69. Inventory updates:
  70. -Rake, tension and short hook are loose in your pocket.
  71. -One incapacitation dart has been moved from inventory to dart gun.
  72. What will you do?
  73. >The lack of response tells you that whoever Autumn is, you don't need to worry about them right now.
  74. >Peering around the corner you see a white mare looking around above a dogbowl full of water.
  75. >Before she can lock eyes with you, you've put a dart in her.
  76. >The way you've brewed the chemical cocktail that is now coursing through her veins means that it should only take about five seconds for the paralytics to set in, and she shouldn't be able to scream after that.
  77. >You count down the seconds with bated breath, hoping that she isn't a screamer.
  78. >She finally locks eyes with you after four seconds, like a deer in headlights.
  79. >You feel somewhat bad for her, she's clearly terrified but she can't make any noise as her body goes limp.
  80. >Her still-open mouth sprays spittle on the floor, poor thing is probably trying to form sentences.
  81. >She'll be fine within the hour though, you test all of your gear extensively.
  82. >The next order of business should be that box you saw.
  83. >You more carefully creep over to it and examine it.
  84. >Grey metal, more fitting for electricity than alarm.
  85. >You open it up and swear silently.
  86. >There's a fucking keypad and an antenna.
  87. >This is potentially very bad.
  88. >There's an LCD screen displaying some error code, more than likely this is a heavily-modified system that sends alerts directly to his phone whenever something triggers the door.
  89. >You estimate that you have about twenty minutes if he floors the gas back.
  90. >Somewhere nearby, a phone rings.
  91. >You hear something coming down the stairs.
  92. Inventory updates:
  93. -Incapacitation dart fired from gun, two incapacitation darts remaining in dart case.
  94. >What will you do?
  95. >You duck into the kitchen, pulling the now unconscious mare around a slight outcropping of wall.
  96. >You take care to only touch her with your gloved hands, no telling what trace DNA is left on your sleeve from all of that time camping out.
  97. >Carefully, you remove your case of darts and remove an incapacitation dart.
  98. >Now, you wait.
  99. >The ringing phone is on the kitchen table, but that shouldn't be a problem.
  100. >Just bait her out and...
  101. >Perhaps if you wait for her to answer the phone and confirm that everything is okay he won't come back and you can continue your operations unimpeded.
  102. >Did you remember to shut the door?
  103. >You wrack your brain, but can't dig up any memories related to that.
  104. >Locking the dart into place, you watch a tan mare with a nice black mane enter the kitchen from the hallway.
  105. >On the final ring, she picks up the phone.
  106. >"Hello, this is Shelly."
  107. >She chuckles a bit.
  108. >"Of course, Master's residence. Autumn speaking."
  109. >Her tail wags back and forth, batting up against the chair she's standing on almost hypnotically.
  110. >"The alarm was triggered?"
  111. >A pause.
  112. >"No, the back door was closed when I came downstairs..."
  113. >Thank Celestia.
  114. >She's a bit jittery now.
  115. >"I haven't seen her since you left, I've been reading upstairs. I think she was watching TV earlier... I'll look around for her-"
  116. >In her mid-conversation idling, she turns her head toward you and you duck behind the outcropping.
  117. >"I'll call you back in ten minutes, okay?"
  118. >Chuckling.
  119. >"No, Zephyr's the one who's clumsy with the phone, I won't have a problem getting back to you. Love you too, Master."
  120. >*Click*
  121. >You pop out from behind cover and nail her in the flank.
  122. >So she's the real screamer among the two of them.
  123. >For five seconds, anyways.
  124. >That look in her eyes though...
  125. >Pure, unadulterated hatred.
  126. >If something so small can feel such utter contempt for you, you don't have much hope that the man who engineered it will be merciful should you fail.
  127. >You rush out into the living area, leaving the two ponies in the kitchen.
  128. >Light from the open bedroom door illuminates another portal.
  129. >Based on your approximation of the footprint of his house, the only feasible areas to maintain a lab space are in the basement and up there.
  130. Inventory updates:
  131. -Incapacitation dart fired from gun, one incapacitation dart remaining in dart case.
  132. >What will you do?
  133. >You remove your final incapacitation dart from your case. Best not to be caught with your pants down if he started driving back the moment the alarm went off.
  134. >But you'll be out in twenty minutes.
  135. >You've seen a few cars come to the house that aren't the sole humanity-retaining occupant's, ponies sitting in passenger seats as they pulled out into the forest.
  136. >You're fairly sure that the basement is where they're kept, but you still need to check.
  137. >You gently set the two unconscious mares on the couch, making sure their positions look comfortable.
  138. >It uses essential time, but you really wouldn't be worthy of his technology if you couldn't care for ponies.
  139. >You won't secure them, the cocktail mix is designed to hold for one to two hours and if they wake up from that while you're still here you have far bigger problems than them.
  140. >You scan around for- and immediately identify- the basement door.
  141. >After all, it's the only one with a tough looking lock like the one on his door.
  142. >Luckily, this one is unlocked.
  143. >You briskly walk down the steps, turning on lights and quickly scanning rooms that you can see into.
  144. >Those you can't, you briefly pause and listen for breathing or movement behind before checking them.
  145. >All are empty.
  146. >But your suspicions are confirmed, all of the furnishings are fit for adjusting transformees.
  147. >When there are furnishings...
  148. >The empty room makes you shudder.
  149. >It reeks of unspeakable things.
  150. >You make your way up to what must be the laboratory.
  151. >The door is unlocked, but the handle is cleverly designed in a way that would make it almost impossible to open with a pair of hooves.
  152. >There is no escape for the inhuman.
  153. >You're taking notes, of course.
  154. >With little difficulty, you enter.
  155. >Fairly normal affair, in fact a bit on the barren end.
  156. >Doesn't even look like he uses the dangerbox.
  157. >Though he did once.
  158. >You focus on the computers first.
  159. >There's one that, when you open it, immediately boots into an operating system you're somewhat familiar with.
  160. >He's changed a few things since you last saw it, but after a diagnostic test that uses up four of your precious minutes you're content that all of the changes are UI improvements.
  161. >The other computer appears to be the meat and potatoes.
  162. >No passcode of course, getting this far would be an impossible feat for a pony and convenience is king.
  163. >You slide your two sleek drives (configured as RAID of course) into his computer and begin to retrieve information.
  164. >Interestingly, it would appear that he stores all of his files on this computer and streams them via SMB to the other one.
  165. >Maybe he just doesn't want to deal with the hassle of running the other OS on a virtual machine?
  166. >In any case, after several full dumps of his files onto your drives before dumping the drives into your own laptop, you have copied everything that could possibly be of importance to his work.
  167. >But you're not quite satisfied.
  168. >You have a safe seven minute window to get out of his house and into your car, and having some physical nanobots to start work with will make your job much much easier.
  169. Inventory updates:
  170. -Final incapacitation dart moved from dart case to gun.
  171. -Flash drives and laptop packed back into backpack.
  172. >What will you do?
  173. >Keeping an eye on the digital clock in the corner of the laptop without a custom OS, you begin to search around for any sort of storage containers that would store nanobots.
  174. >You're a bit frustrated you didn't start on this sooner, as they're only dangerous when directed into an active state and he could potentially be keeping them in anything from a biohazard container to a fucking bong.
  175. >The tables are similar to what you had back in high school and university chemistry. Spill-resistant black counters with wooden drawers underneath.
  176. >Several vials of labeled chemicals turn up, but none of them are what you're looking for.
  177. >You're starting to lose hope when something gleams in the light from the corner of a neglected-looking drawer.
  178. >A fucking mason jar.
  179. >He keeps them in a mason jar.
  180. >There's no doubt about what they are though, a quick examination reveals that, unless these ones are defective, you've found the real deal.
  181. >Truth be told, you've never seen anything like them.
  182. >They just look like a bunch of metal powder until you look closely and your eyes begin to play tricks on you.
  183. >Not one nanobot is large enough to be seen with the naked eye, and you almost think you've come across a sample of a Tin Indium alloy or Mercury until you put your ear up to the jar and hear thousands of the fucking things softly 'tink'ing up against the glass.
  184. >Your childlike wonder almost absorbs you completely, and you swear aloud as you realize that you've only got a safe three minutes to make it to your vehicle.
  185. >You carefully pack your treasures into your backpack and book it down the stairs, out of the house, and into the woods.
  186. >As you go you mentally check yourself, removing the darts left behind in the two ponies on your way out and holding them carefully for placement in a tupperware container once you get in your car.
  187. >Of course you might've left some microscopic skin flakes, but you doubt he has one of those vacuums from Gattaca lying around even if he thinks to do that.
  188. >You made sure that at no point during the preparation of any of your darts you let bare skin contact them, so even if he can use nanobots to search every nook and cranny of those two ponies' bodies you should be okay.
  189. >You even managed to get the injection tips sterilized in an autoclave a friend has access to.
  190. >Of course, he will know there was a break-in from the open back door you left.
  191. >You run through the forest, knowing where your vehicle is only by memory.
  192. >Pitch black excepting the moon, how the fuck did you forget your flashlight?
  193. >You wish you had brought that tupperware container from your car, too.
  194. >These darts are making you nervous, blood is dangerous stuff no matter what it comes from.
  195. >Especially when it's essentially human blood.
  196. >Either one of those ponies could've been a crack whore back when it was a biped.
  197. >After what must be two miles of straight running, you see the outline of your mostly disassembled campsite.
  198. >The only thing left to do is to douse all of your biological waste in gas and light it up.
  199. >Taking out the jerry can, you hurriedly pour about half of it into the stinking pit.
  200. >The burning provides some illumination as you lay down a towel for your seat so as not to get your bodily filth all over the inside of your car.
  201. >An old neglected logging road is the means that made your entry possible, which eventually connects to a park service road about ten miles away.
  202. >It's going to be a bumpy ride, but you've got four wheel drive and powerful headlights.
  203. >At least you cleared out all of the trees that were growing on it on your way in.
  204. ...
  205. >You could've sworn your heard voices while you were driving the logging road.
  206. >People following you.
  207. >But every time you looked in the mirrors, there was nothing.
  208. >You'd always been a skeptic when it came to the paranormal, but maybe /x/ was on to something...
  209. >You relax a bit feeling your tires on glorious gravel and not dirt.
  210. >The logging road was the part of your plan you were honestly the least sure about, so you're happy there weren't any... incidents.
  211. >But you couldn't come in through his access road, that would be far too obvious and would leave you little time to observe the property.
  212. >Plus if you had set off the silent alarm and had done that, you'd be passing him on the way out.
  213. >Would he try to ram into you from the side? Shoot out your tires?
  214. >It's probably best to just be grateful you still have ten, living fingers.
  215. >It takes about three hours before you first see signs of civilization.
  216. >A shitty motel and a YMCA next to a convenience store.
  217. >The sun is rising, so all of them should be open for business by now.
  218. -Inventory updates:
  219. -You now in addition to everything in your backpack have access to everything you brought with you in your car, significant items will be listed in the next update.
  220. -Nanobots acquired, safely stowed in backpack.
  221. >What will you do?
  222. Car inventory:
  223. -Jerry can (half full of gasoline, vehicle-grade.) (trunk)
  224. -Small chainsaw (trunk)
  225. -Used tupperware container that once contained a sandwich (now contains two used darts) (passenger seat, floor)
  226. -Mosin-Nagant with attached scope (1000 times magnification) (back-seat)
  227. -Multi-tool (console storage)
  228. -Three cans of refried beans (trunk)
  229. -Backpack containing laptop, dart case, nanobots, etc. (passenger seat)
  230. -Towel (under your ass, you filthy beast)
  231. -Wallet ($100 cash, debit card with access to an account with $200, driver's license, picture of mom.) (console storage)
  232. -Swim bag with complete change of clothes and toiletries (back-seat)
  233. -Portable noise-alert tripwire alarm (back-seat)
  234. -Car jack and spare tire (trunk)
  235. -Pack of cigarettes (three cigarettes left) (console storage)
  236. -Spy sunglasses (reflective surface allows you to see behind you) (console)
  237. >You pull into the shitty motel, rolling your eyes at the sign.
  238. >There's a certain charm to its shitty yellow light and crappy design of a cowboy riding a moose you suppose, but you guess you're just not in the mood to appreciate it right now.
  239. >You put your car in park and step out next to the office, grabbing your wallet, backpack, and putting the spy glasses on your greasy, unwashed nose.
  240. >You'll clean them later.
  241. >You keep an eye behind you, can't have someone sneaking up or breaking into your car.
  242. >The door opens with a ding as you push on it with gloved hands.
  243. >"Welcome to the Bucking Moose."
  244. >A girl that looks to be in her late teens is sitting behind the counter, eyes transfixed on her iPhone.
  245. >Boomercomic.jpeg
  246. "Room for one, one night."
  247. >She sighs, looking up and typing something into the computer before taking a blank keycard out.
  248. "Oh, right. And preferably one near where I parked my car."
  249. >You gesture to it behind you.
  250. >"Sure."
  251. >She pauses.
  252. >"Room 53, that'll be sixty dollars."
  253. >You nearly hand her your debit card before deciding better of it and pulling out three twenties instead.
  254. >She smirks.
  255. >"What, are you on the run?"
  256. "No. I just tend to keep to myself."
  257. >"Fair enough."
  258. >Her eyes immediately return to her phone.
  259. >You walk out to your car, considering what items would be best to bring into the room.
  260. >You guess you'd better take a look at the room first.
  261. >You slide the keycard and the door opens with a click, allowing you to step into the dingy but probably fairly clean room.
  262. >Two hours of pushin' broom...
  263. >You immediately inspect the door, which has an internal latch and opens outwardly.
  264. >The windows aren't reinforced at all, but thankfully have some very thick blinds to the point where when you've closed them you can't see any light from outside.
  265. >The shower seems to have pretty low water pressure, but with some determination and time you'll be able to get freshened up.
  266. >The bed looks a bit uncomfortable, but inspection reveals no evidence of bedbugs or other pests.
  267. >You jump as an engine starts outside, but a peek out the window reveals it's an SUV with some kids and a soccer mom.
  268. >Literally, they're all in soccer uniforms and she has one of those bumper stickers.
  269. >You feel like you might be getting a bit too paranoid, but you can relax fully when you have this room secured and you're clean.
  270. >You're exhausted.
  271. >What will you do?
  272. >Something in your brain tells you that you should probably secure your car first, since it's not like you have tinted windows.
  273. >You use the cover of slight darkness to kind of wrap the clean side of the towel around your rifle and bring it into the room.
  274. >You grab the swim bag and the alarm while you're getting things out of the back-seat too, for obvious reasons.
  275. >Something else is nagging you, and it takes you a few minutes to put your finger on it.
  276. >You stuff the used darts in your trunk, double-check that you car is locked, and go back into your room.
  277. >A part of you thinks that you should do something about your license plate, but it's unlikely anybody saw it when they followed you and you don't have your car set up with one of those fancy revolving multi-plates like they have in the movies.
  278. >Anyways, a covered plate is far more suspicious than an uncovered one no matter what happens.
  279. >You remove the sticky-pads on the back of the tripwire and set it at about ankle-height.
  280. >Less likely to be seen than neck-height, but it isn't perfect.
  281. >You with that the door opened inwardly, even though that would make the latch more vulnerable it would make your trip-wire far more effective.
  282. >After a few seconds of brainstorming, you come up with a satisfactory solution.
  283. >The tripwire activates, as far as you can tell from the box, when a small internal spool of string is pulled to its limit.
  284. >So, why not attach one end of the tripwire to the door itself and the other to the wall beside the door?
  285. >You do so, and do some testing to ensure that the door does truly pull the string taught.
  286. >Then, work done, you remove the tiny metal pin from the alarm box and watch the green LED turn on.
  287. >You're not going to test it live because your ears are fairly sensitive, but it should work.
  288. >99.99%.
  289. >You spend about thirty minutes in the shower before you emerge, clean at last.
  290. >Wrapping the complementary (and a bit musty) towel around your waist, you go to turn on the television while you prepare a few other things.
  291. >The sheets are stripped from the bed and laid on the floor on top of a few of the chair cushions, the vaccuum cleaner that's stored in the closet placed on the bed underneath the comforter to act as your body double.
  292. >After all that time you spend sleeping in the back seat of your car well...
  293. >Anything is better.
  294. >You test out your panic bed, and find that it's about as comfortable as any twin bed.
  295. >A few extra pillows are added from the closet to add a bit more comfort, and you're ready to knock out.
  296. >You tune into the local news station for some background noise.
  297. >Apparently some kid has been missing since last night.
  298. >Clueless parents lost him on a backpacking trip.
  299. >You're glad your parents always looked after you out in the woods, weird shit tends to happen out there...
  300. ...
  301. >You bolt awake.
  302. >You still have ten fingers, ten toes, and you're not sprouting a goddamn tail.
  303. >But the paranoia remains...
  304. >You check the window, door, and your pack.
  305. >All seems to be in order.
  306. >You look at the digital alarm clock.
  307. >6:00 PM.
  308. >Damn, nearly 12 hours from what you can tell.
  309. >Your stomach grumbles, so you quell your hunger with a packet of fruit gummies while you look around for an unsecured network on your laptop.
  310. >Looks like the only internet is at the office, and it's got a fucking password on it.
  311. >You whisper obscenities as you boot into Kali and hope that that whoever's running the cash register at the motel right now isn't on 4G.
  312. >Luckily, after a few minutes you get a bite.
  313. >"MooseRhorny69".
  314. >Kek.
  315. >Once you're in, you activate your VPN and check up on what you've been missing.
  316. >A few new uploads on tags you follow on derpi, some celebrity you'd never heard of hung herself, and you have a few LinkedIn job recommendations.
  317. >That's probably all you reasonably have time for, but it's nice to reconnect with the outside world.
  318. >You shut down your laptop and start to get packed up.
  319. >You're still hungry, but you've spent enough time in this town already and fast food sounds like the most logical option right now.
  320. >Fast food after at least thirty minutes of distance from this place.
  321. >Fuck, this town is probably where he goes to get groceries.
  322. >He's probably looking for you as you pack...
  323. >At times like these you wish you had somebody to watch your ass, but you couldn't trust many of your small pool of friends with a task like that.
  324. >The best one you could think of is Mike, he's still as sharp as a tack.
  325. >But then again, his reaction speed just hasn't been the same since he 'recovered' from Lyme disease.
  326. >You pack up your alarm and sling your rifle over your shoulder, opening up the door and walking over to the office.
  327. >It's a different woman, probably the teenager from earlier's mom.
  328. "Checking out, room 53."
  329. >"Oh, you haven't even been her for a full day! I could give you a brochure if you want to check out some local attractions."
  330. >You feel like you're being watched, so you put on the spy glasses.
  331. >An incredibly obese man is waddling past your car, coming towards the office.
  332. "No thank you, I'm here on business."
  333. >She nods, even though what you just said makes little sense.
  334. >"Well, thanks for telling me so that we can clean your room. You can keep the card, we have stacks of them."
  335. >She inputs a few keystrokes.
  336. >You're painfully aware of the fact that your dart gun isn't in your jacket pocket, but in your backpack as a dinging announces the fat man's arrival.
  337. >You notice none of the odd or rancid odors that often waft off of fat people, even though he couldn't be more than five feet from you.
  338. >What will you do?
  339. >You curse yourself for being too fucking nice and notifying the desk that you're leaving, but you made a bit of a mess of the room so you figured it was the least you could do.
  340. >Too late to undo that now though, the fat man is blocking the door with his rolls.
  341. >You scan the room quickly for a chair or something, you just need to get away from him, whoever he is.
  342. >Something seems vaguely familiar about his face, like someone you've seen in a dream or something.
  343. >It's unnerving, but you push it out of your mind and focus on crossing the room to the arm chair.
  344. >Set your sleeves on it, don't put your hands down...
  345. >And get out your dart gun from the pack.
  346. >You root around for a few minutes more, hiding the black pistol-like weapon in your sleeve as you feign disappointment and get up.
  347. >"I'm wondering if you've had anybody suddenly check in here and leave quickly."
  348. >Your blood runs cold.
  349. >It's his voice.
  350. >He must not recognize you, after all you've cut back your hair and grown a scraggly beard since you two worked in the same building.
  351. >"I'm sorry sir, but all information on our lodgings is confidential."
  352. >You get up slowly, sliding your pack over one shoulder as you walk calmly to the door.
  353. >He's still blocking it, so you clear your throat.
  354. >He'd certainly recognize your voice too, so better to be safe.
  355. >"Oh, I'm sorry sir."
  356. >You nod and push open the door.
  357. >In your rear-view, you watch him pull out a wad of cash.
  358. >The bill you can see is a $100 one, and it looks to be at least an inch or two thick so if they're all $100s...
  359. >Since he's not looking at you anymore, you pick up the pace.
  360. >You take a few precious seconds to throw all of the shit you're carrying haphazardly around your car before you put the keys in the ignition.
  361. >You can see the woman pointing to you just as the engine blares to life and you burn rubber out onto the empty streets of the town.
  362. >Did he see your license plate?
  363. >There's an interstate merge a few miles from here that you came in on, but it's straight ahead and he obviously knows what car you drive.
  364. >To your left is a bowling alley, which based on the low amount of parking spaces out front would appear to have rear parking as well.
  365. >To the right is a Starbucks, where you spot a parked vehicle that looks nearly identical to yours; the only difference is that it's the version without four wheel drive and looks to be dented up a bit more.
  366. >What will you do?
  367. >You pull in behind the bowling alley and quickly load the three rounds you brought for bears into the Mosin before putting it back on your back.
  368. >You can't stay with the car.
  369. >The chainsaw is large and impractical, as is the jerry can, but you want the multitool.
  370. >You doubt you'll need the alarm, but it's in your backpack so you should be fine.
  371. >You briefly debate whether or not to take the used darts, but you decide to leave them behind.
  372. >If they get loose in your bag it's a liability for your own health, you can't refill them until you get home, and if he gets into your car he'll have plenty of DNA to go off of from the back seat.
  373. >The last part makes you a bit uneasy.
  374. >As far as you can tell he doesn't quite know the connection between you and him, but given his impressive abilities to find people you don't want to risk it.
  375. >You don't want to torch the fucking car, but if all goes as planned you'll have plenty of spare cash to get a new one.
  376. >You leave the jerry can in the trunk for now as you take a look around the back parking area.
  377. >A dumpster and a few cars parked that look to be either regulars or bowling alley employees based off of the bumper stickers.
  378. >You haven't bowled in a while, but you're not exactly a novice.
  379. >The murals on the outside imply some sort of space alien theme from what you can tell, so it's possible your gun won't be noticed if they go the route with UV lights and all of that.
  380. >It's not like you've fucked your Mosin or anything.
  381. >The back door opens and you tense up, fingering your dart gun.
  382. >A stoner type wearing a black t-shirt with little grey aliens all over it walks out, pulling out a cigarette and trying to light it with no success.
  383. >Looks like his lighter just ran out of gas.
  384. >You pull out your own and give him a hand.
  385. >He grins, pulling in and blowing out two lines of smoke from his nostrils a few seconds later.
  386. >"Thanks bro, I owe you one."
  387. >You return the grin.
  388. "I don't suppose you noticed anybody of... considerable mass parking next to a vehicle that looks a hell of a lot like mine while you were working?"
  389. >"As a matter of fact, I did. Looked to be taking his time, examining it in a really meticulous way. Hey, my boredom your windfall, eh? I'm guessing he's actually looking for yours?"
  390. >You don't let on to anything.
  391. "In a few minutes I'm either going to need you to tell the police that you've never seen me before in your life, or I'm going to need you to take me to the nearest car rental office."
  392. >You open up your wallet, keeping it tilted towards you as you pass him the remaining cash you have in it.
  393. "I'm guessing that'll cover a few hours of work?"
  394. >He nods, a bit more serious now.
  395. "Good. What vehicle was he driving?"
  396. >"Beat up Chevy, parked right next to your double. Can't miss it. But... couldn't I go to the police with this money? Couldn't I tell them your license plate, make and model?"
  397. "Make and model, yes. Everything else, no. I only carry well-circulated cash, I doubt you could get those bills to work in any vending machine in the state. The plate... well, it's registered to a different vehicle entirely."
  398. >He nods, and you contemplate.
  399. >You could get up close and personal and slash his tires with your multi-tool, but you leave yourself vulnerable to whatever nasty surprises he might be hiding under those falsified rolls.
  400. >You could touch his wheels from afar, probably cause enough damage to give even a car with run-flats trouble keeping up with yours.
  401. >Or...
  402. >Well, money won't be as much of a problem as it has been soon.
  403. >What will you do?
  404. "Change of plans. Do you have a knife?"
  405. >He sheepishly pulls out a cheap boxcutter.
  406. >"Standard issue shit, I have to open up boxes of frozen ground beef all the time."
  407. "Is it sharp enough to cut tires?"
  408. >"You can't be serious. I'm going to need a bit more of an incentive than just forty dollars to risk my job."
  409. "It's dark out."
  410. >"And Starbucks has lights. I'm not retarded."
  411. >Every second is crucial right now, so you resign yourself to pulling out the big guns.
  412. "You're a bit of a druggie, right?"
  413. >"Who says?"
  414. "What if I told you I could hook you up with a month's supply of all the weed you could smoke, whatever strain you wanted?"
  415. >"I'd tell you that you're full of shit."
  416. >You can see the hunger in his eyes though.
  417. >He groans.
  418. >"But that's a pretty good deal if you aren't. I'm going to regret this, aren't I?"
  419. >You shrug.
  420. "Just be fast. I'll give you one warning, he's probably not as slow as you would think someone his size is. Tell me your phone number and I'll be in touch. Oh, and if he catches you, scream something political so it doesn't look like we're connected."
  421. >He tells you a number, which you commit to memory.
  422. >He casually approaches the vehicle, jaywalking across the street six or seven meters from the crosswalk and nearly getting hit by an old woman in a Subaru.
  423. >You smile as your magnified view displays him fucking up the first tire, then the second.
  424. >He's quite good at it, and you wonder if he hasn't done this before.
  425. >He's just finished up number three, and from your observations on the other two you can tell that they aren't run-flats.
  426. >Too much give.
  427. >The fun comes to an end as you hear a scream.
  428. >"Hey! What are you doing?!"
  429. >"FUCK THE MEXICAN JEWISH ONE-PERCENTERS!"
  430. >You're already halfway in your car by the time he finishes his statement.
  431. >As you wait for a semi-truck to pass the parking lot so you can high-tail it over to the interstate, you see him chasing the stoner off to your east, rapidly gaining on him.
  432. >You can't make out their discourse through the window, and you don't care to stick around to find out what's being said.
  433. >You put the pedal to the metal and don't let up until you're halfway home.
  434. >You doubt he's following you at this point, even if he knows your plate there's just too much distance to cover.
  435. >You change up your route a bit just to be sure though, taking a few winding mountain paths.
  436. >It probably helps that you've been to areas near his town before on hunting trips, the game are plentiful out there.
  437. >You finish up the last of your final packet of fruit gummies and indicate a right turn next to a ramshackle shack that you think might've once been a convenience store.
  438. >It's always odd to see those closed, but you can still see a standing drink refrigerator with a few empty cans on the floor.
  439. >Every failure has a story though, so you don't get to sympathetic and press on.
  440. >Only about thirty more minutes of dark, empty roads before you get home.
  441. >You've been gone for a while.
  442. >You didn't even go home when you snatched his IP, just swapped out your vehicle for something clean and more well-equipped to deal with mountain terrain.
  443. >You're lucky you know the people you do.
  444. >A dirty little diner comes up on your left and you pull into it.
  445. >It's closed of course, but you're not after anything inside.
  446. >You go around back and start to dig through the dirt, finding the flip phone you buried there what feels like an eternity ago.
  447. >Since you powered it off completely, it retains enough charge to do what you want to do with it.
  448. >You punch in another memorized number.
  449. >An automated voice comes on.
  450. >"Welcome to au-"
  451. >You key in three numbers and the line goes silent for a few seconds.
  452. >A familiar voice comes through.
  453. >"Assbreath? You're back? Fuck man, it's one in the morning."
  454. "We can meet in the afternoon if you want to, but I need a new plate and probably a new vehicle."
  455. >"Oh yeah, that's definitely morning shit... just leave her in the yard and get an Uber, I'm sure there are enough people out drinking right now that they're out in full force. So, whatever you needed my services for went well?"
  456. "Well enough, I wouldn't be ditching my car if it went perfectly and I'm going to need some of your product."
  457. >"I thought we agreed that neither you nor I ever fucked with that kind of stuff."
  458. "It's not for me, and it's just weed."
  459. >"Okay. Well, I need to sleep and you probably do too. Anything else you'd care to mention before I knock out?"
  460. >What will you do?
  461. "Well, I saw the guy."
  462. >"And?"
  463. "He was terrifying. I see him come out of his driveway with one face, and then a completely different man who's about 300 pounds heavier speaks with the same voice and runs with the speed of an Olympic sprinter."
  464. >"Holy shit. You super-scientists are terrifying."
  465. >You chuckle.
  466. >Always nice to add some levity to the situation.
  467. "And don't forget it. listen, I just want you to know that we're not dealing with another one of those Mexican gang-bangers. I think I mentioned he and I were co-workers at one point?"
  468. >"Yeah, you did. But hey, if the risk was worth the reward then-"
  469. "That's what I'm trying to say, the risk might still be very potent. He knows how to find people... far better than I've even been able to figure out how to. He shouldn't have any information to go by right now, but-"
  470. >"But nothing. I've had your ass since high school, haven't I?"
  471. "Well, yeah."
  472. >"Exactly. Now calm down, get some rest, and we'll talk."
  473. "Okay."
  474. >You press the end call button and then rip out the SIM card.
  475. ...
  476. >"Here you are."
  477. "Thanks."
  478. >You brought only your backpack and the nugget along with everything you already had on your person, the rest can wait.
  479. >You're somewhat tired, but you were asleep just eight hours ago and you're itching to do a bit of testing as soon as you can.
  480. >You sit down on a well-worn chair and look out the window of your apartment.
  481. >You can't complain, it's a decent view.
  482. >Mountains and a lake, but something has always felt missing.
  483. >You shake the thoughts from your head like you always do and focus.
  484. >You have two client prospects, and a few dozen... product prospects.
  485. >That few dozen will likely become much lower when you actually begin the hunt, though.
  486. >You plug in your dead phone, still sitting where you left it on the kitchen table and grab a cup of instant noodles.
  487. >You're still famished.
  488. >What will you do?
  489. >You mentally go over your abode's security as you plug in and boot up your laptop.
  490. >The window has a small alarm that will detect broken glass next to it, and there's a house alarm with a few motion detectors rigged up to it.
  491. >One in the kitchen, one in the lab, (converted living room) and one in your small bedroom.
  492. >Nothing should get by without an earsplitting wail waking you up immediately, but the alarm isn't hooked up to any company because, much like your benefactor, you don't exactly follow every rule in the book and the last thing you need is the police snooping around.
  493. >Cuntpunch, the guy who's yard you just dropped your car off in (about three miles away from you), will get an alert if anything is tripped and will usually send a goon your way to make sure nothing is really up.
  494. >Usually, there was that one time that some druggie made off with some of your more exotic medicinal cocktails.
  495. >You don't know what happened to the guy, just that it probably wasn't good.
  496. >Your laptop finishes booting up and you manage to get a constant signal to the nanobots.
  497. >First you do some basic shit.
  498. >Getting them to ripple like water, for shits and giggles, setting up your body as a null-operations zone.
  499. >You grab a few empty soda bottles from your garbage can and about ten minutes later you have an anatomically perfect model of a horse pussy.
  500. >Well, aside from the splotchy bits that come from melting low-quality plastic.
  501. >There's a constant counter displaying how many nanobots you have left, and the plastic model destroys about fifty of them.
  502. >It's not a huge loss compared to all that you have, but it makes you wary enough to focus your efforts more into the software.
  503. >You know how to, in theory, rearrange and shrink human organs along with the body.
  504. >And, after you've moved over the rest of his files, you're sure you can do it flawlessly.
  505. >It's incredible just how close the process often comes to killing the recipient.
  506. >You click on the "Mental Packages" folder
  507. >You almost vomit once you start scrolling through the list of changes.
  508. >He's murdered people.
  509. >The adjustment hooks and name changes are feasible but...
  510. >This file is on a completely different level.
  511. >Complete annihilation of whatever person was once in that body.
  512. "Christ...."
  513. >You don't quite feel prepared to run the program on a human yet, but you'd rather focus on other aspects right now.
  514. >Like clientele...
  515. >There's one guy you've had your eye on for quite some time now.
  516. >His derpibooru favorites show an overwhelming number of pet-related images, and he has commissioned what must be at least $10,000 worth of him fucking, petting, holding, and kissing various ponies with dog-like paraphernalia.
  517. >A fucking faggot to be sure, but a faggot with money.
  518. >Since derpibooru mods can read any conversation between users, you take a few minutes to track down his discord server and join with a fresh account on a VPN.
  519. >You DM him "Hi" and almost immediately get a response of "Hi" back.
  520. >Guess he's a night owl too...
  521. >What will you do?
  522. >You crack your knuckles.
  523. >A few things occur to you and you'd like to check them before you proceed with the potential client...
  524. >Wireshark can't exactly be installed on individual nanobots, but various notes in the OS imply that their communications range maxes out at around fifty yards, and the version you use has been thoroughly tested to iron out any information being sent to anyone but the intended recipients.
  525. >Well, when you're streaming a conversion directly...
  526. >You take about twenty minutes to browse through various schematics.
  527. >Interesting.
  528. >Ingeniously, though each individual nanobot has very low storage capacity, their combined memory can be used to store quite a lot of information.
  529. >You should file that tidbit away, not needing to be right next to a victim with your laptop or phone streaming packets will be a boon.
  530. >One night over a bottle of Scotch you found out that the software has the functionality to send information to sources other than nanobots, but the recipient has to be specified by the user and isn't automatically configured in the shadows for monitoring purposes.
  531. >Tor is obviously your go-to for anything that can be run through a browser, even if discord is really fucking slow through it.
  532. >The email you used for the account was also created through it, as an added precaution.
  533. >Can't be too paranoid when you yourself have tracked down physical servers and pulled information from them.
  534. >Finally, you go through the files you received, looking for any information about The Blob's clients.
  535. >Unfortunately that all seems to have been kept somewhere else or even on physical files that you overlooked, you can't even discern how many ponies he's created because, as far as you can tell, he has three templates for species and makes special case alterations for certain requests.
  536. >You know that, at this point in time, he has done twelve special cases.
  537. >The rest are a mystery, and a particularly wealthy client might even have multiple ponies so simply going off of numbers wouldn't have gotten you an exact figure even if you could've...
  538. >This is sort of frustrating you, so you move on to reviewing your master plans.
  539. "I'm going to continue hacking into these government systems, to see what I can find out. About all this national and international corruption I know is going on."
  540. >Your Neil Breen impression is a bit rusty, but you reward yourself with a chuckle.
  541. >Right now?
  542. >Focus on convincing this guy that he wants a real life pony pet.
  543. >After that?
  544. >Get paid.
  545. >For reasons you don't like to think about, it's either this or working somewhere where they don't give a shit about a smudged record.
  546. >And you quite like the good old U S of A.
  547. >You chastise yourself for spending as much time as you did making sure you're prepared, but better safe than sorry.
  548. >You burn your identity and log into discord with a new one before opening fairly bluntly.
  549. "Do you want to own a living, breathing, pony?"
  550. >"Somewhat, but the mind is the trick. I can house train a miniature horse and teach it to go through a dog door, but it's still a fucking animal. Unless you can provide me with something that can read me an excerpt from The Bible aloud, I'm not interested."
  551. >What will you do?
  552. >You suppose it's not impossible to alter a pony's mind to the point that it could think and act like a human, but it would probably take you months or even years to set up a mental package that thorough.
  553. >You're not sure how much of the groundwork for how he uses the nanobots is based on his own sadism, but it's sure as hell a lot more convenient to pluck an unsuspecting human out of their world and set them down in a new one.
  554. >Additionally, you always have to start with at least 15% mass than you end up with to account for a lot of the nitty gritty aspects and you're not sure how well an anatomically correct pony would translate into a cartoon one on cell count.
  555. >A horse might work fine, but then you'd have to get it through the door...
  556. >Humans are probably the better choice.
  557. >But you'll probably save the bomb that what he's buying used to be a human for after he's agreed on the payment.
  558. "Let's say, hypothetically, I can get you a pony that reads you the bible, does math at about high school level, and knows not to pee on the floor. Would you want it?"
  559. >"Hell yes I would, but hold on. I need to know you're not just another schizoid or somebody fucking with me, because if you are this is a massive waste of my time."
  560. "I never joke about business."
  561. >"Give me some proof or you're blocked, you have until tomorrow afternoon."
  562. >What will you do?
  563. >Oh fuck, you need to produce results as soon as possible.
  564. >You're somewhat prepared to though, of course.
  565. >You took the time to make several models in...
  566. >You should probably come up with a shorthand name for the Nanobot OS as there isn't really one listed anywhere.
  567. >BioCAD works well enough you suppose.
  568. >You took the time to make several models of would-be transformees in BioCAD, you'll actually want to probably put loading models into the Nanobots' shared memory off until you get the kinks ironed out.
  569. >Fucking around in a program and creating models of cute horses? No harm no foul.
  570. >Using tiny robots to make a plastic horsepussy? Pretty funny, and good practice.
  571. >Altering a human right off the bat before you've even gotten some sides of beef to practice with?
  572. >The thought is chilling, but you don't really know how much money your other clients have and you're very strapped for cash right now.
  573. >Your savings account has about $1000 in it, and it would be even less if Cuntpunch hadn't agreed to pay off your rent while you were gone with the promise of paying it back later in double.
  574. >Looking at the digital clock on your laptop reveals that it is 3:45 AM.
  575. >Jesus fucking christ...
  576. >You start hunting, checking your list and narrowing down locations based on photo metadata.
  577. >Most of them don't keep it in, but this one guy who goes by the handle Friendly_Fire23 left it in all of his photos.
  578. >He's also publicly given out his town name, state, etc...
  579. >You really enjoyed working on his OC if you're perfectly honest, lots of muted and dark greens along with selective tans all coming together to form a meshing camouflage pattern.
  580. >The cutie-mark being a red cross-hair takes away from the implied stealth of the pony a bit, but if it were one of the same colors as her coat it wouldn't be much of a cutie-mark.
  581. >You share a low chuckle with the light of your computer screen as you triangulate his location.
  582. >The best part? His alleged town is only a two hour drive from your current location.
  583. >Or perhaps the worst, depending on if you're considering legality.
  584. >Bingo.
  585. >You'd like to check whitepages to be sure, but you don't have a prepaid Visa to burn at the moment and obviously it'd be pretty fucking suspicious to have someone checking his name right before he disappears off the face of the earth.
  586. >It's a really shitty part of town, if all goes well you'll head out after your meeting with Cunt.
  587. >Opening up the door to your lab, you gaze upon the myriad of expensive appliances you purchased or built back when you were employed at a modern day, (and non-fictional) Forge and Foundry.
  588. >You sigh and think of the good old days, immediately feeling a mighty need to quote Dr. Breed.
  589. "New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth."
  590. >Here, you keep all manner of synthesis equipment.
  591. >With enough time, you could produce just about any compound you wanted to here, provided you had the resources to make a milk run for some things.
  592. >Well, other than compounds that would require some fucking atom-smashing to make at least, heh.
  593. >It's also where you keep your other guns.
  594. >Julia, your FN FAL; and Sarah, your USP.
  595. >You set Leela (your Mosin, of course) down gently in her rightful place and consider what your next action should be.
  596. >You feel slightly fatigued.
  597. >What will you do?
  598. >You settle on Sarah for the time being, you don't have the time to synthesize more incapacitation darts so you'll have to be careful with the one you have remaining.
  599. >You load 13 rounds of Parabellum into her magazine and are stopped by a nagging feeling.
  600. >Oh dear lord, that could've been bad.
  601. >You take a few minutes to apply the specifics of your Friendly Fire model onto the unicorn template and plug her name into the standard mental package.
  602. >God, if you hadn't stopped then...
  603. >Well, he would've made a very nice looking unstuffed plush.
  604. >You open up notepad and make a note to buy a trenchcoat so that you can take Julia into more public spaces with you, boil some tap water, wait for it to cool, and then mix a little bit over the displayed minimum dosage of nanobots into it.
  605. >If all goes well you should be able to retrieve at least 50% of them.
  606. >Your phone will be left behind.
  607. >You load up your pack with everything and head down to your car at the yard, walking this time.
  608. >There may be drivers out right now, but you don't want to spend more money.
  609. >The dashboard clock shows you that it's 4:35.
  610. >Well, you doubt he'll be awake at least.
  611. >You hop on the interstate.
  612. ...
  613. >Turns out, you can drive a hell of a lot faster this late.
  614. >Or this early, you suppose.
  615. >Semantics. It's 5:39 AM.
  616. >You give Sarah a good cock (lul) as you pull up about a block away from his place.
  617. >A run-down apartment complex that's somehow even more of a shithole than where you live.
  618. >Rest easy girl, you're getting the good life.
  619. >You see as you walk up to the window out front that there's one of those fucking mechanisms where you have to buzz in, twelve apartments are listed and there's no key-hole.
  620. >You only know his first name, Hunter.
  621. >And there are fucking two of them.
  622. >Urgh...
  623. >No cameras anywhere in sight though.
  624. >You have on your person:
  625. -Carbon Dioxide dart gun (pistol-esque build, holds a single prepared dart at once, canister has enough gas left for eight shots)
  626. -"Sarah" (USP, 13 rounds of 9×19mm in magazine, no suppressor attached)
  627. -Set of lock picks
  628. -One incapacitation dart (non-lethal, loaded into dart gun)
  629. -Two execution darts (lethal)
  630. -Backpack
  631. -Disposable gloves (6 sets)
  632. -Backpack (carrying most items with plenty of space left over)
  633. -Laptop computer with 90% charge
  634. -Thermite powder (100 grams)
  635. -Two Magnesium strips
  636. -Gas torch
  637. -Two smoke bombs
  638. -Cigarette lighter
  639. -Pack of cigarettes (two cigs left)
  640. -Multi-tool (knife, file, pliers, wire-cutters, phillips-head screwdriver, flat-head screwdriver, miniature saw.)
  641. -Spy sunglasses (reflective surface allows you to see behind you) (darken your vision slightly, not suitable for low-light environments)
  642. >You have in your car:
  643. -Pack of cigarettes (three cigarettes left) (console storage)
  644. -Car jack and spare tire (trunk)
  645. -Three cans of refried beans (trunk) (you're fucking sick of eating these)
  646. -Towel (driver's seat)
  647. -Jerry can (half full of gasoline, vehicle-grade.) (trunk)
  648. -Small chainsaw (trunk)
  649. -Used tupperware container that once contained a sandwich (now contains two used darts) (passenger seat, floor)
  650. -Wallet ($30 cash, debit card with access to an account with $200, driver's license, picture of mom.) (console storage)
  651. >What will you do?
  652. >Based on what you've seen Hunter post, he's of average build with a bit of beard.
  653. >You haven't seen any images of his face, just his hands, though you've heard his voice from a few videos he's posted.
  654. >But you don't plan to buzz in.
  655. >You carefully slip on your gloves.
  656. >You look around for other ways in, but the only entries you see are an old fire escape that's not fully extended and far out of your reach.
  657. >There aren't any buildings you can jump across from either, and you're not exactly a parkour master.
  658. >Shit...
  659. >Well, looks like you'll have to announce your prescence in some regard.
  660. >Thermite would be your first choice since it doesn't attach a piece of your identity to the crime of course, but you're not a terrible voice actor and can do a tranny-tier imitation of a female voice.
  661. >The first Hunter is on level one, and the second is on level two.
  662. >There's nothing securing the stairwell though, so with any luck you'll get the wrong Hunter and can completely take the one you want by surprise.
  663. >Snake eyes, snake eyes...
  664. >You hit the call button for "Hunter Smith" on floor 2, probably one of the most generic names you've ever heard.
  665. >A voice comes on almost immediately.
  666. >"Yeah? What's up?"
  667. >A female voice.
  668. >Well, judging based on what you know about most horsefuckers you might've gotten lucky.
  669. >You pitch up your voice.
  670. "Is Hunter Smith there?"
  671. >"What are you, his fucking mother?"
  672. >You keep your cool.
  673. "No, just a coworker. He left something behind on his last shift, can I take it up?"
  674. >"Oh, yeah. Sure. Forgetful Bastard..."
  675. >The line clicks and the lock buzzes.
  676. >You do need to be sure that you're not going after the wrong guy though, jest aside.
  677. >You walk on the edges of the wooden stairs, careful not to make any sounds that will immediately alert tenants to your position.
  678. >When you get to the top, you gaze into the fish-eye.
  679. >It's covered with something black from the other side.
  680. >You whip out your laptop as quietly as you can, booting it up.
  681. >Lots of standard networks, unnamed strings of numbers.
  682. >One referencing the size of the owner's cock, which based on the signal strength looks to be the Hunter upstairs.
  683. >And, weak as it may be...
  684. >"Sweetie_Bot".
  685. >Hide your power level, faggot.
  686. >You rush down the stairwell, the apartment number burned in your mind.
  687. >You feel a bit uneasy about attempting to kidnap someone who's whole pony schtick is supposed to be military camoflage and marksmanship, you suppose you still have a chance to back out now but the voice telling you to get this shit over with is louder than the one telling you to go back to your car and find another target.
  688. >Napalm might be of some use in the future, but you don't have anything to boil your gas in with you and you'd need to go to the store regardless for styrofoam.
  689. >In any case, you should prepare yourself mentally and get whatever gear you plan to use ready.
  690. >You could probably stick something in-between the door and the frame if you need to go outside and come back
  691. >There are windows on the back of every apartment, barely enough for a skinny guy (you) to fit through when broken.
  692. >What will you do?
  693. >You check to make sure that your dart gun is in your coat and then ring the doorbell.
  694. >You stand well out of the way of the door, just in case he tries to fire off a shot or two through the door.
  695. >Never can tell.
  696. >You need to catch him off guard.
  697. >The chances are fifty-fifty that he'll be holding a weapon, one of the reasons you selected this faggot is that there seems to be little to differentiate his character and himself in terms of personality.
  698. >You hear movement, and the door opens a crack.
  699. >"Who are you and why the hell are you here so early?"
  700. >You think quickly, looking out into the hallway.
  701. >Air conditioning looks to be antiquated, he'd barely be getting any heating at all even at this time of winter.
  702. >You can even see his form shiver a bit.
  703. "I thought your landlord would've notified you, I'm the guy who's here to patch in the new heating units."
  704. >He chuckles coldly.
  705. >"That'd be a fucking riot. I don't believe you, but I fucking want to. Hang on..."
  706. >He turns around, failing to close the door.
  707. >There's a chain in the way, but if you just...
  708. >With a trained eye, you mentally reverse the fisheye of the peephole, whipping out your dart gun and jamming it in-between the crack formed.
  709. >One shot...
  710. >You feel a jolt of pure adrenaline rush through you as you hear him yelp.
  711. >"Wasp? At this time of ohhhhhhhagaaef..."
  712. >Pretty lucky fucking shot.
  713. >You bring out your multi-tool and take a look at the chain.
  714. >Sawing through the metal will take too long.
  715. >Luckily, it doesn't look like you have to.
  716. >You tear away at the drywall with the miniature saw, exposing the nail that keeps the chain in place and pulling the fucker out.
  717. >GG EZ.
  718. >You walk in, taking a look out to make sure nobody saw you.
  719. >The doors, luckily, are arranged in a strange fashion that, as far as you can tell, makes viewing of other tenants' doors difficult through the peephole.
  720. >And you heard no doors open.
  721. >You shut Hunter's and lock the deadbolt.
  722. >He's starting to lose consciousness, but he looks at you with pleading eyes.
  723. "Don't worry. It'll all be over soon."
  724. >You're about to make some sort of correction that implies he isn't going to die, but he slips into the second state faster than you can work.
  725. >Dammit.
  726. >You open up BioCAD and take out the cheapo plastic vial you loaded the nanobot slurry into.
  727. >Estimated time of full conversion is... seven fucking hours?
  728. >This is going to be a painful process.
  729. >The incapacitation dart will wear off in just under an hour, and even if you can make it home in that time (not likely with early-morning workers now on the road) you still need about an hour to synthesize something.
  730. >Well, unless you cash in another favor from Cuntpunch...
  731. >You take out the dart and flip him over, resting the used implement on his dirty jacket.
  732. >It takes some doing with the powerful paralytics flowing through him, but you get his jaw open enough to pour the slurry in.
  733. >Any entry point is acceptable when the damn things can push through cells like a knife through butter, you doubt any of them will even reach his stomach before they've diffused into his bloodstream.
  734. >You really don't want to cause the product unnecessary trauma.
  735. >The buyer might notice, and it's just generally a shitty thing to do.
  736. >You take a look around the place, leaving your laptop next to him and checking on him every minute or two.
  737. >Garbage, garbage...
  738. >Bedroo-
  739. >Guns.
  740. >Guns lining the walls, guns on the floor...
  741. >Guns in the closet.
  742. >His bedsheets are decorated with hundreds of M1 Garands.
  743. >Opening his dresser reveals a wealth of ammunition, completely unsorted of course.
  744. >Of the multitude of rifles, shotguns and pistols all over the fucking place a few stand out to you in particular.
  745. >You recognize a Barrett M99, a Mosin similar to your own (albeit in slightly worse shape, you take good care of your girls), a few Garands that seem to be in varying conditions, and an HK-91.
  746. >Not a clone as far as you can tell, which means that this guy probably loves guns a hell of a lot more than he loves sleeping in a safe neighborhood.
  747. >You fish around in his pockets and find the keys to the apartment.
  748. >Ten minutes have gone by, and it looks like the pattern is starting to come in on his skin.
  749. >Cuntpunch's closest manufacturing facility is twenty minutes away.
  750. >It's 6:00 AM.
  751. >What will you do?
  752. Inventory updates:
  753. -Final incapacitation dart used, only remaining projectiles are deadly force.
  754. -Nanobot capsule emptied
  755. >You grimace, realizing that you're going to have to eat another loss here.
  756. >Hopefully he won't be too angry as long as you can make the meeting tomorr- today.
  757. >Can't buzz in again without arousing suspicion, and you need to be at the facility in person.
  758. >Hmm...
  759. >You cut a bit off the cover of a plastic notebook he has and use duct tape to attach it in a position that prevents the locking mechanism on the entry door from securing in place.
  760. >You test it out a few times for good measure and it seems to work, hopefully nobody will notice it.
  761. >You head back and lock Hunter's door and walk back to your car, driving at a reasonable pace until you get onto a wider road where you fucking gun it.
  762. >Luckily, no cops out.
  763. >That being said, you need to stop getting yourself into situations that require speeding.
  764. >There will eventually be cops, with your luck when you're hauling a product.
  765. >The building doesn't really look like a drug factory, which is the intent.
  766. >Middle-class area, neighborhood watch signs up...
  767. >Most people would be surprised with how much nasty shit you can move into a large basement in moving crates.
  768. >You pull up outside and go around back, knocking sixteen, twelve, seventeen, and then fourteen times with a slight pause in-between.
  769. >The door opens a bit.
  770. >"Oh. It's you."
  771. >Not Cuntpunch, but one of the night guards he keeps stationed at places like this.
  772. >Wait a second, you recognize that face...
  773. >It's probably fine.
  774. "I'm afraid I need to borrow some baking soda, can I come in?"
  775. >"Do I look like I've got much fucking baking soda? Yeah, you come in here you little shit."
  776. >The door opens completely, revealing a rather imposing machete gripped in the heavily tattooed hand that terminates the goon's muscular arm.
  777. >"You come down into the basement and fix your broken-ass machine right now or I chop your goddamn head off."
  778. >What will you do?
  779. "In case you didn't notice I'm in a bit of a hurry."
  780. >"You faggots always seem to be. I'll give you to the count of three..."
  781. >You step inside.
  782. "What's the problem?"
  783. >"One of your machines is broke."
  784. "How? What's wrong with it?"
  785. >"The shit I put in isn't doing anything."
  786. "Did you try a system reboot?"
  787. >"No."
  788. >You walk down the stairs, free to roll your eyes since you aren't facing him.
  789. "Nine times out of ten, you just want to hold down the power button for thirty seconds and let it do its thing."
  790. >You grab a fresh respirator and put on a pair of goggles.
  791. >At least you're already wearing gloves.
  792. "Which machine?"
  793. >"That one."
  794. >He gestures to your number three bioprocessor, the Aluminum chassis having been dented with something.
  795. "Did you bang on my fucking machine with a wrench?"
  796. >"Works with my truck."
  797. >You want to kill this fucktard.
  798. >You walk over to the control panel and take note of the error code.
  799. >Sure enough, it's a reboot fix sort of error.
  800. >You curse under your breath as you key in your admin credentials and start the lengthy reboot process.
  801. "I need some of the number nine machine output. It's vital."
  802. >"We'll see about that."
  803. >You're a good six feet away from him now, he gave you a bit of room to work on the machine.
  804. >Big mistake.
  805. >You pull out Sarah and stare him down.
  806. "If you enter your distributer keycode into machine nine now, I'll consider not telling Cunt that you threatened to chop my head off."
  807. >Like a retard, he rushes you.
  808. >You'd rather not shoot in here, but he doesn't leave you much of a choice and since there's an interrogation room in the basement everything is sufficiently soundproofed.
  809. >You put two clean shots through each knee and he crumples.
  810. "Slide the machete across the floor towards me."
  811. >"Fuck... you..."
  812. >You put a few shots through his wrist and stomp on the blade, sliding it across the floor.
  813. >You walk over to the number nine machine and input your own credentials.
  814. >He might never jerk off again, but you're not going to waste precious nanobots reconstructing him.
  815. >With a hiss, a single pharmaceutical-grade injection bottle drops onto a cushiony pad.
  816. >All according to keikaku.
  817. >You could jerk off your own research and design all day, but you need to move.
  818. >You grab a packaged syringe from the shipping bin and stick it in your pocket, leaving a short log message on the number nine machine (something you're extremely glad you implemented) and hitting the silent alarm button on your way out.
  819. >You don't have time to lock the door behind you with picks, so you just leave it closed.
  820. >Not like it'll be long before someone comes by anyways.
  821. >You have 25 minutes before the incapacitation dart wears off.
  822. >You take the route easy this time though, even though your heart is pounding.
  823. >Easy, drugs and a gun that has recently been fired are not the type of things cops like to see when they pull over someone for speeding.
  824. >The door block hasn't been molested, thank Christ.
  825. >A sunken-eyed man raises an eyebrow at you when you come in, but when you pay him no mind and unlock Hunter's door he just mumbles something about there being too many goddamn homosexuals in this city.
  826. >Your laptop displays green lights across the board.
  827. >You open up the plastic bag and take the cap off of your syringe.
  828. >Hold the number nine upside-down and draw liquid in through the rubber stopper.
  829. >Like half of the drugs Cunt sells, Baking Soda is your own invention.
  830. >The properties are a trade secret of course, but it'll more than cover Hunter's six hours.
  831. >You draw in barely more than three generous drops and shoot it into Hunter's buttocks.
  832. >The slight twitches of pain you were starting to see quiet down into more dreamless 'sleep'.
  833. >Hooves are coming along nicely.
  834. >You should probably finish up whatever business you have left in this apartment and then figure out a way to get her back to your place safely or set up camp.
  835. >What will you do?
  836. >You rummage about through Hunter's closet for a few minutes and manage to find about twenty feet of what looks to be 750 paracord.
  837. >Smells a bit funny, like maybe he's used it to tie up animals before.
  838. >No comment.
  839. >You use a knife to cut a few pieces off into more workable portions and secure the four extremities with four square knots and put the rest of the rope in a plastic grocery bag.
  840. >No need to get any fancier than that, you'll need to go pick up some pet supplies later today anyways and the Baking Soda will buy you plenty of time.
  841. >You restock your spent parabellum and grab a good chunk of .308 for your FN as well.
  842. >You should be fine on 7.62x54mmR for now, but since he has some you pick up twenty just in case.
  843. >Your stomach grumbles.
  844. >Well, he won't have any use for that kind of food anymore...
  845. >You check the pantry and find a wealth of condensed chicken noodle soup, MREs, (no thanks) and some boxes of wheel-shaped macaroni and cheese.
  846. >You take most of the mac boxes and cans of noodles, and leave all but three of the MREs that you figure you can probably keep as an emergency backup.
  847. >After zipping everything you're taking up in your backpack but the rope, you take a few minutes to switch the nanobots off to memory mode since you'll be driving for a bit.
  848. >The knots are loosened slightly more as a precaution so that leg growth won't render the product a quadruple amputee.
  849. >You wrap the fucker up in a blanket, covering everything but the face.
  850. >You then drape as much of the blanket down in front of the head as you can while still leaving a sizable pocket for easy breathing.
  851. >Damn, heavy.
  852. >Well, not for that much longer at least.
  853. >You check to make sure the house keys don't have any sort of tracking information on them, remove the car key from them just to be safe; then walk out, locking off the previous portion of this man's life as a "normal" /k/omrade horsefucker.
  854. >The hunter has become the huntered.
  855. >"What are you carrying there mister?"
  856. >You look down to see a little girl.
  857. >Fuck, can she see through the bottom of the blanket?
  858. >You adjust your grip slightly.
  859. "Potatoes."
  860. >"You don't look like a potato farmer."
  861. "Didn't your parents teach you something about not judging people based on how they look?"
  862. >"No."
  863. "Well, I'm telling you right now. That's very rude."
  864. >"It's your eyes. There's something sharp about em'."
  865. "I'm a smart potato farmer, then."
  866. >"The scary kind of sharp. Like you do bad things to people... and not the kind of bad things that people normally do to each other around here."
  867. "If I'm dangerous, why are you talking to me? Potatoes or not, I've got places to be, kid."
  868. >She nods.
  869. >"Well, stay safe mister. If you are a bad guy, you'd better be on the lookout for the hero."
  870. "Mhmm."
  871. >You wait until she's walked back inside to finally secure the product in your trunk with the paracord.
  872. >You glance around nervously every couple of seconds, but the only guy you see looks to be completely out of his fucking skull on crack.
  873. >You keep one hand on Sarah just in case, but he walks the opposite direction and disappears.
  874. >You hit the lock all button when you get in, set your backpack in the passenger seat, and turn on the radio to a random station.
  875. >As you merge back onto the freeway, one of your favorite songs starts to play: https://youtu.be/8YdQBkxf4kU [Embed]
  876. >After if finishes, a tired sounding man's crackly voice comes on.
  877. >"James "Dee" Lawson here with the morning report. It's a cold December 7:25 AM, and you're listening to 96.7: The Jam! Looks like we might have some scattered flurries later on, nothing too serious..."
  878. >You tune him out until you hear him mention your city.
  879. >"-poor bastards over there! Looks like it's going to be a few inches of snow if you all are lucky, and anywhere from five to six inches if you aren't. Stay safe, and remember-"
  880. >The audio clip from Spaceballs where Dark Helmet's radar gets jammed plays, followed by multiple ads.
  881. >Well, Cuntpunch generally invites you over to his place for meetings.
  882. >If he's awake by now (as he generally is), your protonmail will be flooded with emails from him.
  883. >Petsmart probably won't open for another hour and a half, so you've got some time to kill before you can get all of your pet shit.
  884. >You leave the car in Cunt's yard again and carry the product down the road, up the stairs, and into your apartment.
  885. >There are cameras, but the observation room is never used and all footage is stored on-site.
  886. >You gently unwrap the product and notice that the blanket is significantly damper than when you wrapped her.
  887. >Did she... no, must be mass shedding actually.
  888. >You'll set her in the tub for the time being so she doesn't get the bed all wet.
  889. >You check your mailbox and see that Cunt wants to meet up with you at 10:00 to discuss a few things, since you're already awake.
  890. >His tone is a bit peeved, but you're not sure if it's directed at you or just the situation.
  891. >What will you do?
  892. >Your bathroom has no windows, but you still feel like you should do something to ensure the product doesn't get loose in case you've made some sort of error.
  893. >You settle on borrowing the doorstop from downstairs that keeps the public bathroom open and jamming the leg of the table into it.
  894. >After you try to open the door yourself from the outside and fail to, you get to work on a bit of housekeeping.
  895. >After you've drafted a grocery list, finished cleaning the crusty dishes from before you left, made yourself a bowl of mac and cheese and fucked around a bit on your favorite Mongolian basket-weaving forum, you find that it's 9:30.
  896. >You move the table aside to take a look at Hunter and grimace at what you see behind the mist.
  897. >No issues, everything is progressing normally...
  898. >This stage is just really fucking uncanny.
  899. >Well, about three more hours.
  900. >Sometimes Cunt likes to get drinks (even this fucking early), so you'll have to be careful not to get wrapped up in that mess.
  901. >You want to be there when she wakes up.
  902. >You set the alarm and get the hell out of there.
  903. ...
  904. >You're convinced that if Cunt weren't some sort of mastermind he'd be dead right now.
  905. >His skillset just happens to be divergent from your own.
  906. >You pull up to the wooded cabin about five minutes late, which is within tolerance.
  907. >Snow is falling lightly, dusting the trees.
  908. >Knock on the front door twelve times.
  909. >Knock on the back door five.
  910. >Recite the Scout Oath.
  911. >Punch the door really hard.
  912. >The door slides open and Cunt, in all of his lanky beanpole glory, points a gun square at your chest and fires.
  913. "Ow! You motherfucker! I told you not to pull that shit after last time."
  914. >He laughs like a pig and throws the airsoft replica on top of a pile of Jordans.
  915. >Probably taken from dindus that fucked with him one too many times.
  916. >"Sorry, you're just kind of fun to fuck with."
  917. >You rub the spot where he full-auto'd you and curse a bit.
  918. "Okay, yeah. Maybe a bit."
  919. >"That's the spirit. How's Assbreath been?"
  920. "I really should've brought more than the goddamn beans."
  921. >"You want something to eat?"
  922. "I nabbed some Mac and Cheese from the guy I just turned into a fucking horse."
  923. >He snaps his fingers.
  924. >"So that's why you needed to stop by manufacturing. Guess your supplies would be low. Sorry about the trouble you were given, you won't have to worry about him again."
  925. >The way Cunt so nonchalantly talks about disposing of people has become less unnerving over time, so you just give him a fist-bump when he offers it.
  926. >To be fair it's not like this would even be the first time you've been directly involved, drug money tends to not attract the most savory of people.
  927. >Including yourself, perhaps.
  928. >"So, is she cute?"
  929. "Who?"
  930. >"The fucking pony, man. Who else?"
  931. "Oh, yeah. Well, to tell you the truth, ugly as sin right now. She'll look nice and pretty in a few hours, but the process is a bit of a mess aesthetic wise."
  932. >"Well, send me pictures. You have a client already? Working fast as per usual I see."
  933. "Yeah, that was the easy part. Think about how many people own crazy fucking exotic pets where they're legal, now imagine if one of them had the appeal of being a fully-rendered version of something from the show they've whacked off to for the past... shit, how long has it been since the thing first aired?"
  934. >"I couldn't tell you myself. You want something to drink?"
  935. "I need to do some work with her later and I'm driving home. No thanks."
  936. >"Ah, right. Work. I figured I'd just have someone take you back like last time."
  937. "Yeah, save your wines for another day. I'm sure we can cork open something nice when I can finally pay you back."
  938. >He chuckles.
  939. >"Yeah, sounds good. So, you want me to get you a new car?"
  940. "I still don't understand why you do shit for free."
  941. >"Not for everyone of course. I guess I've never mentioned it, but all of the vehicles I use can be sold at a slight profit margin for parts."
  942. >He scratches his chin with a long, perfectly clean fingernail.
  943. >"Nice job on leaving me a detailed incident report by the way, I'd have been pretty pissed if you hadn't explained why you fucked up one of my regional managers. That being said...."
  944. >He pulls out a cheapo balisong and starts to fuck with it idly.
  945. >His tricks aren't great.
  946. >"If something really goes wrong with one of my machines that isn't an issue of some retard not knowing how to reboot one, you will fix it within forty-eight hours or there will be... issues."
  947. "Are you threatening me?"
  948. >"No, of course not. I'm just saying that the supply chain relies on them being in peak condition, and that people in very high places will want my head."
  949. "Oh, of course we can't have that. The only man who can have your head is your boyfriend."
  950. >He grins and playfully punches you, the serious tone gone from his voice.
  951. >"Fuck off, nigger. I was drunk, I lost a bet, and it was one time."
  952. "Sure thing buddy, I believe you. But your lack of a girlfriend is a bit disconcerting..."
  953. >"I can't afford a whore going through my stuff man. Besides, bros before hoes."
  954. "Especially when they've got big hard throbbing cocks wanting to be sucked."
  955. >"I- look, do you want to do something? I was kind of hoping we could eat, but since you already have I'm kind of fucked here."
  956. >What will you do?
  957. "I'm not one to turn down free food."
  958. >"Great, I've got something I think you'll like..."
  959. >About thirty minutes later, you're fucking around watching television while Cunt puts the finishing touches on whatever masterpiece he's setting up for you.
  960. >"-love you long-"
  961. >"-with tensions escalating after recent-"
  962. >You keep flipping through channels.
  963. >Nothing fucking good on right now.
  964. >You settle on a kids channel and are mildly amused when the politically correct protagonist of the hour is a downie.
  965. >"Ass! Soup's on!"
  966. "Can't you see I'm watching cartoons, dad?"
  967. >"Get in the goddamn kitchen right now or I'll get out the belt."
  968. >You tap the power button on the remote and casually walk in.
  969. >"Don't knock it until you try it."
  970. >You still are kind of hungry, so you grab a plate and scoop out a sizable chunk of meat from the freshly-cooked isopod.
  971. "You have the weirdest taste in food."
  972. >"Hey, this was recommended to me by a deep sea fisherman many years ago. I've gotten my hands on them whenever I can since, they taste kind of like-"
  973. "Don't ruin the surprise man."
  974. >He nods, and you tentatively cut some off and take a bite.
  975. >He's clearly seasoned it with lemon juice.
  976. >The thing tastes a lot like a shrimp, just...
  977. >More.
  978. >You're really starting to see the appeal of these, and you end up scooping one shell dry entirely.
  979. >Cunt does the same.
  980. "Holy shit man."
  981. >"A few cooking classes do wonders for the everyman chef."
  982. "You're not exactly the everyman."
  983. >"Potayto, potahto. I'm not a professional chef. Now, what cartoons were ya watchin', son?"
  984. "Something about a little girl who's up with the downs trying to play catch with her dog?"
  985. >"I think that one is called 'Extra Chromosome, Extra Fun!', if I recall correctly."
  986. "You can't be serious."
  987. >"You're right, I'm fucking with you. Want to laugh at some disabled kids with me?"
  988. >You look at the clock on the wall and see that it's about 10:45.
  989. "Yeeeeeah, okay."
  990. >The show gets a lot better when they introduce the asian autistic kid who can do math really well as the downie's sidekick in 'crime-fighting'.
  991. >Turns out the criminal was just a poor, poor, disadvantaged black kid who was stealing the other kids' trucks because he didn't have any toys to play with.
  992. >So the kids all gave him some of their toys for free.
  993. >"Ass, tell me buddy. Would that shit ever happen, ever in a million years?"
  994. "Fuck no. If I were one of those kids, I'd grab the biggest, heaviest stick I could and beat him until I got my Hot Wheels back."
  995. >"Exactly."
  996. "Either that or like, rig his backpack with some sort of G-rated explosive device. Not the kind that dismembers, but the kind that makes you smell like a septic tank until you can get all of your clothes dry-cleaned. That'd show him."
  997. >"Damn right."
  998. >Cunt ends up pulling out the alcohol regardless of your desires not to be any part of it, and the show becomes a lot more fun for him as he gets a bit tipsy.
  999. >"Look at that fucking hat man. They paid good money for skinny-fingered chinks to put that on his head."
  1000. >You should probably leave before he breaks out Mario Kart.
  1001. >You can almost still feel where that Wiimote hit your ribs.
  1002. "It's been fun, but I should probably check up on the product."
  1003. >You're not lying, time has flown by and it's about 12:30.
  1004. >"Well, alright. Take a new plate from the bin on the way out and put it on when you get back to the yard, okay? Can't have you driving around with that one any longer."
  1005. "I'll do that."
  1006. >You do as you're told, parking the vehicle in front of the complex, grabbing the necessary tools to swap out the plate, and doing so in under five minutes.
  1007. >You're already fucking running late to check on the product, hopefully Friendly is still out cold.
  1008. >Your heart is pounding as you walk up the stairs.
  1009. >You know your rushing wasn't wise, but in theory everything is golden.
  1010. >You open up the door and hear nothing.
  1011. >Well, that's...
  1012. >You turn off the alarm and move aside your makeshift barricade.
  1013. >The moment of truth is at hand.
  1014. >Fucking hell you don't have any pet supplies.
  1015. >You have cooking bowls though, whatever.
  1016. >Grocery run.
  1017. >You grip the bathroom handle and turn it, cracking the door open just a bit.
  1018. >She's awake, which surprises you greatly.
  1019. >Even though she isn't gagged, the thought to cry out for help hasn't occurred to her.
  1020. >Either that or she's realized that in her current state discovery will likely only make things worse.
  1021. >Either way, there are a few couples nearby that like to have wild, kinky sex all the goddamn time and her screams for help likely wouldn't have been taken seriously.
  1022. >You step in and begin to untie the paracord, which is noticeably quite loose on her.
  1023. >She may have been able to get out on her own, fifty-fifty.
  1024. >Wouldn't have mattered anyways.
  1025. >"H-how? Why? Who the hell even are you?"
  1026. >What will you do?
  1027. "You're a pony. I'm a human. If you're good, I'll tell you more. If you aren't, I can make you."
  1028. >Her massive pupils shrink and she gives you a small nod.
  1029. "Good girl."
  1030. >You get to work disentangling her from all of the paracord, humming a sea shanty that the name of escapes you.
  1031. "You've got good taste in rope."
  1032. >"So you're a thief and a kidnapper?"
  1033. "You won't have any use for it where you're going."
  1034. >She gets nice and quiet again, and you scoop her up like a big cat.
  1035. >You hesitate for a second, realizing that you neglected to close the curtains outside and that the sun has, at this point in time, risen.
  1036. >You back out with her, maintaining eye contact.
  1037. >You can't let her realize that you've made a mistake.
  1038. >If she thinks you're error-prone, there's a greater likelihood she'll try something.
  1039. "I take it you don't much like sunlight."
  1040. >"Fucking hate it."
  1041. "Then we have something else in common."
  1042. >You close the blackout curtains and sit down with her on the couch.
  1043. "I need you to do something for me."
  1044. >"W-what kind of thing?"
  1045. >You set her down next to you and rest a leg on your knee.
  1046. "Grab some of your paracord."
  1047. >"I thought it belonged to you now."
  1048. "Of course not. Grab it."
  1049. >She's confused, you can tell.
  1050. >But she gets to work, slowly.
  1051. >Putting one hoof in front of the other.
  1052. >She gets the hang of it faster than you expected, but her trot is still slow and laborious.
  1053. >You silently get up from the couch and peer around the corner, watching her up until she picks it up and turns around, at which point you return to the same position.
  1054. >She's holding it in her mouth.
  1055. >Good.
  1056. "Now, take the rope over to the lamp pole and tie me a taut-line hitch."
  1057. >"I- what?"
  1058. "A taut-line hitch. Surely you must know how to tie one."
  1059. >"Well, of course..."
  1060. "You can use the lamp pole if it's really such a massive pain."
  1061. >"No, I can do it without the lamp pole."
  1062. >You nod, and watch.
  1063. >For forty-five minutes she attempts over and over again to tie the knot with her hooves and her teeth.
  1064. >And then, like magic, the knot finally takes form.
  1065. >You slide it open and put it under the lamp, catching it on the pole.
  1066. >With a tug on the lamp, the knot proves its sturdiness by moving the thing slightly.
  1067. >You get up from your seat and kneel down next to her, pulling at the knot with a finger on the 'mechanism' to test its adjustability.
  1068. >A formality of course, you could grope a line of knots in the dark and pick out the hitch from them.
  1069. "How did that feel?"
  1070. >She surprises you by letting out a pained wail.
  1071. >"I-I can't even tie a fucking knot anymore. I'm ruined."
  1072. "You're not ruined."
  1073. >"Who are you to say, ruiner?"
  1074. >You scoop her up once more and take her back into the bathroom, where you turn her face towards a mirror cracked in simpler days.
  1075. "Who do you see?"
  1076. >"A monster."
  1077. >You chuckle.
  1078. "No, below his face. Who's face is that?"
  1079. >"M-mine."
  1080. "Put a name on it."
  1081. >Her eyes go wide and big, wet tears starting to coalesce in the ducts.
  1082. >"You bastard..."
  1083. "Come on, surely there's a name in there somewhere."
  1084. >"Of all the things to take, you had to..."
  1085. >She hiccups and mumbles.
  1086. >"Friendly Fire."
  1087. "I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that."
  1088. >"I'm Friendly Fire."
  1089. >And that's when the magic sets in.
  1090. >You start off slow, at the top of her skull.
  1091. >Working her petting to her neck, her belly, and her back when you've sat her back down on the couch.
  1092. >After five minutes, she stops whimpering.
  1093. >In five more, you notice the hint of a smile start to appear on her face.
  1094. >And after fifteen minutes, her tongue is lolling out a bit.
  1095. >And then, just as suddenly as you started...
  1096. >You cease completely.
  1097. >Friendly quickly tries to pretend she wasn't just pony brand silly putty and looks the other way, but the damage has been done.
  1098. >You notice a low growling coming from nearby.
  1099. >"Um... do you have anything to eat?"
  1100. >You think back to your limited food stocks.
  1101. >Mac and cheese might be a safe bet as far as easy meals go, but you probably shouldn't spoil her...
  1102. >What will you do?
  1103. "Since you've been well-behaved, I guess you can have human food. Don't get used to it though."
  1104. >You stand up from the couch, walk a few steps, and turn on the burner.
  1105. >Having your living room also be your small, cramped kitchen isn't great, but you needed the largest amount of space to be reserved for the lab.
  1106. >Friendly seems to take note of the cramped nature of your apartment too.
  1107. >"Why don't you have the couch in there?"
  1108. >She raises a hoof to point to your bedroom door and then quickly puts it down as she starts to wobble.
  1109. "I sleep in there."
  1110. >"Then why not in there?"
  1111. >She trots over to what would normally just be an entryway, but after you were robbed you installed a lockable door to your lab.
  1112. "I work in there."
  1113. >"So... do you just kidnap guys and turn them into ponies as a hobby or something? What's your day job?"
  1114. "Something just as, if not more illegal."
  1115. >You finish scrubbing the crud off of your only pot.
  1116. >It's quiet for a bit as you get the water on a laboratory-grade hotplate (you haven't had access to propane since the landlord shut it off to save money) until you hear a bit of jiggling.
  1117. "Ponies don't open doors."
  1118. >"Hoo sez?"
  1119. "Assholes who have something to lose if the pony they're selling kills herself."
  1120. >"Damn, that's cold bro."
  1121. "I need money."
  1122. >"No, the part about me killing myself. Do you think I'm an edgelord?"
  1123. "Your design would suggest it."
  1124. >She goes quiet again, and when you look up from the pot she's checking herself out.
  1125. >You kept her design pretty much entirely faithful, except for her particularly sharp horn having been dulled down.
  1126. >While she's distracted with attempting to get a good view of her own flanks, you pull out your phone and take a few candid photos of her.
  1127. >One where she's on her back prodding at her little crotchteats inquisitively.
  1128. >One where she's sticking her tongue out and crossing her eyes to see what her horn looks like.
  1129. >A few of her feeling her mane.
  1130. >She catches you on the last one and you can see the hint of a blush beneath her greenish face.
  1131. >"Fucking pervert."
  1132. "It's just business ma'am, it's just business."
  1133. >It takes her a minute.
  1134. >"Did you just kidnap me, turn me into a fucking mare, and then quote 'Zulway: God of Mercy' when I called you a perv?"
  1135. >The water has come to a rolling boil, and so you pour in the noodles.
  1136. "Yes."
  1137. ...
  1138. >You move the table back into place, pulling out a chair and sitting down, and setting the steaming mac and cheese on the floor.
  1139. >She kind of cocks her head at you, no doubt one of the traits put into her from the mental package.
  1140. >You think it over, then pick the bowl up and set it on the table.
  1141. "You have to remember that this is a special treat. Your real owner might not do this, and you shouldn't expect him to."
  1142. >You grab a clean spork and pat your lap.
  1143. >She hops up, topping out at just below your shoulder when seated.
  1144. "Open wide, girl."
  1145. >"Aaaa."
  1146. "I'm not that kind of doctor, come on."
  1147. >As you carefully spoon-feed her bite after bite of mac and cheese, one particular lesson that your dad taught you about dog training swims about in your head.
  1148. >"Never give them human food."
  1149. >Well, she's not a dog.
  1150. >It'll probably be fine.
  1151. >Besides, it was this or cleaning melted cheese out of her coat, and fuck that.
  1152. >You idly run a hand through her mane as she eats, unable to keep yourself from thinking that this feels really nice.
  1153. >Maybe you'll get a pony for yourself after you get a real house, and a nice home defense system, and...
  1154. >God it's going to be a while.
  1155. >Don't get too attached.
  1156. >"Uhh, doc?"
  1157. >She's talking with a mouth full of mac and cheese, and you're about to scold her when she continues.
  1158. >"I-is it normal to feel numb all over?"
  1159. >What will you do?
  1160. "That'd be the sedatives wearing off."
  1161. >You keep your voice measured, but this isn't fucking normal.
  1162. >You briefly consider the mac and cheese fucking with her, but she'd complain about her stomach hurting first if that were the case.
  1163. >That and the process follows an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' philosophy.
  1164. >That leaves you with a few different plausible causes.
  1165. >She's faking, or something along the way fucked up her nervous system.
  1166. >You hope it's the former.
  1167. >"Are you sure? Aren't sedatives supposed to make you feel more when they wear off?"
  1168. "It's complicated. I don't use normal sedatives."
  1169. >That's half the truth, though she's technically right.
  1170. >"Shouldn't you, ya'know, run your scans or something?"
  1171. "You are not in the position to advise."
  1172. >She's right though.
  1173. >You'll check up on what the nanobots left in her system have to say about any damage incurred, and hopefully repair it if there is any.
  1174. >You finish feeding her and scoop her up, grabbing your laptop from your backpack and plugging it in on your short walk to the couch.
  1175. >You re-establish connection with the nanobots and start the lengthy scroll through the log.
  1176. >A few red messages stand out to you in particular.
  1177. >'001864A8: Melanin alterations have not yet been tested with deviations exceeding 9.'
  1178. >'00186410B: Damaged agent lost, last reading in parietal lobe.'
  1179. >'00186410B: Designated extraction agent lost, last reading in parietal lobe.'
  1180. >'00186410B: Bermuda portion of parietal lobe marked as quarantine.'
  1181. >'0018642A6: Negative phagocyte activity against agents during left lung reconstruction. Armor integrity reduced on 45 agents.'
  1182. >53% of the used nanobots have suffered no damage.
  1183. >16% are damaged, but still usable.
  1184. >31% of them are unusable.
  1185. >Friendly yawns and you run your fingers through her mane, which seems to not be one of the affected areas as she leans into it and makes a sound kind of like a gopher squeaking.
  1186. >What will you do?
  1187. "I dunno girl, think we should go to the vet?"
  1188. >She looks at you hopefully, but her expression falls when she sees the smirk on your face.
  1189. >"That's not funny."
  1190. "It's a bit funny. Good news or bad news first?"
  1191. >"Bad news."
  1192. "There is something wrong. Kinks of you being my first subject."
  1193. >"Well, that's a real fucking shame. What's the good news?"
  1194. "I can fix it."
  1195. >She surprises you, (and by the looks of it herself) by wrapping around you in a hug.
  1196. >Roll with it.
  1197. >You focus on stroking the parts of her that can still feel your touch while you set up a custom mission set.
  1198. >You might need to put more nanomachines in her body for the extraction and lobe repair, but you designate the remaining ones that are in her body to recover and dispose of any inoperable agents for now.
  1199. >The process is estimated to take about thirty minutes, so you Alt+Tab out of your virtual machine and open up VLC.
  1200. "Do you feel any internal discomfort?"
  1201. >"No."
  1202. >You open up your pony folder and start looking for an episode to watch.
  1203. >You're not in any particular mood for something at the moment, so you look to Friendly.
  1204. "Well?"
  1205. >"Who, me?"
  1206. "Why not?"
  1207. >"I've always liked 'Feeling Pinkie Keen' myself."
  1208. "Sounds good."
  1209. >"You're not offended that I'm choosing the anti-science episode?"
  1210. "One. Do I look like a fat, greasy neckbeard to you?"
  1211. >"No. I mean, you're not exactly built, but you're no Randy Stair."
  1212. "Two. Have you not heard of skinwalkers? Ayys? Floridian swamp monsters?"
  1213. >"I've done a few nights innawoods, but I haven't run into anything. One of my shooting buddies swears he saw a dead antelope get dragged off into the woods by something that was eight feet tall and smelled like death though."
  1214. "Do you believe him?"
  1215. >"You first. Are you fucking with me or not?"
  1216. "I take most tales with a grain of salt, but there's one thing that's certain. Modern science has yet to overturn every stone."
  1217. >"Okay, I... might kind of believe him."
  1218. >You load up the episode.
  1219. >After it finishes up, the two of you get to talking about your personal interests a bit.
  1220. >"So, what the fuck are you going to do with all of my guns? I'm assuming I won't really get the chance to shoot them again."
  1221. >You've given that some thought yourself, Cuntpunch would probably love a lot of them but he has plenty of toys.
  1222. >Besides, even though you kidnapped and biofucked Hunter you still think that the property owner should dictate what happens to them.
  1223. "Give it some thought. As long as I don't have to directly get involved, I can probably make it happen."
  1224. >She gets an evil grin on her face.
  1225. >"What if I were to tell you that I wanted them all shipped across the world?"
  1226. "Then that would be the last favor I ever offered you."
  1227. >You give her muzzle a boop for good measure.
  1228. >You check the progress, and see that the inoperable nanobots have all been safely moved to waste disposal.
  1229. >Put simply, the bowels.
  1230. >You don't particularly want to think about the details.
  1231. "Wait here, I'll be back in a few minutes."
  1232. >You stand up, bringing your computer with you into the lab.
  1233. >Looks like you have just over the minimum required amount of agents for lobe repair.
  1234. >Your supplies are limited, but clearly using the bare minimum is not without problems of its own.
  1235. >You distill a small amount of water and, once its cooled, prepare a syringe with enough nanobots to bring you up to more than you'll need.
  1236. >You monkey around with the OS for a bit and manage to put together what should be a very good diagnostic tool.
  1237. >You return to the couch to see Friendly kind of zoned out, lying on her back.
  1238. >"Do ponies require more sleep than humans? I feel tired."
  1239. "I'll get back to you on that."
  1240. >You stick her in the neck.
  1241. >"Mmm..."
  1242. "Did you feel that?"
  1243. >"Felt kind of like you tapped me."
  1244. >That isn't good.
  1245. >The first thing that's done is removing the damaged agents.
  1246. >It appears that the first agent's power supply malfunctioned when the second one was attempting to tow it away, which caused the second one to be damaged.
  1247. >The power supply malfunction also...
  1248. >Oh.
  1249. >It looks like the electrical discharge from the power supply malfunction overstimulated a portion of the parietal lobe.
  1250. >There are some notes that you swiped that may be of use here.
  1251. >'Nanobot power supply failures have become less likely in the mark V, but of course when thousands are dealt with Murphy's Law must be taken into consideration.'
  1252. >A file is referenced, and after a few minutes of your computer searching for it it is found.
  1253. >You open it up to make sure it is what it says it is, which fortunately it appears to be.
  1254. >There's little documentation provided, but after poring over it for a bit you understand how it works and feel safe implementing it.
  1255. >Alzheimer's could likely be cured with this.
  1256. >As could Huntington's.
  1257. >You're shaking a bit, like you're a little kid who just found his older brother's stack of pornos.
  1258. >Friendly is asleep, but since this is hardly conventional brain surgery you don't really need her to be conscious until you test everything out.
  1259. >You set the program to run, looks like it'll be two hours.
  1260. >You need to run some errands, and you need to make sure Friendly doesn't try to do something stupid while you're gone.
  1261. >What will you do?
  1262. >A thought occurs to you.
  1263. >Could nanomachines be used to make more nanomachines?
  1264. >You know they do well with soft tissue and really anything up to the hardness of bone, but you're not sure how well they do with metals.
  1265. >From what you can tell, building the plastic model put more strain on them than reconfiguring biology did.
  1266. >After some calculations, you reason you have the raw materials to build a few hundred nanomachines lying around.
  1267. >Might as well do some tests, the snow is starting to come down.
  1268. >And you should keep an eye on Friendly.
  1269. >You keep a watchful eye on the log while you collect everything you need, there's a minor hangup when you realize you don't have any silicon, but you remember that the last few articles of clothing you bought came with silica gel packets.
  1270. >After you've decanted off the waste, you pour the silicon into the vial with the rest of the materials.
  1271. >From what you can tell, the machines tend to do their work best when submerged in a solution.
  1272. >So, fairly standard chemistry in a way.
  1273. >Ha.
  1274. >Before you start the process, you take a few minutes to make sure that there isn't something you're missing.
  1275. >There are very few notes that reference the construction process.
  1276. >The few that do mostly refer to the inputs required by what you think is that machine that you'd see him hunched over sometimes back at work.
  1277. >You wish you had gotten the time to take more information before you left, but that's all water under the bridge now.
  1278. >And going back would be suicide.
  1279. >The closest thing you have to what he was working with is your microcapsule machine, but it's really barely even comparable and you'd be without a method to manufacture complex tranquilizers if you modified it.
  1280. >So it's nanobots making nanobots or a lot of R&D.
  1281. >Stan also might be able to hook you up for a fee, but you haven't been in contact with him for years.
  1282. >And for good reason, fucking prick.
  1283. >About an hour into the reconstruction, you've finally got everything set up for the manufacturing test.
  1284. >You switch Friendly to stored while you get the second process running, since you can only have one streamed process at a time per device.
  1285. >After it's set in motion, you take note of the time remaining (45 minutes), switch her back to streamed and look through the portion of the log you missed for any discrepancies.
  1286. >None are found.
  1287. >Well, while you're waiting you might as well send those photos to your buyer.
  1288. >You crack open Tor and get to uploading them, checking one final time to ensure there's no metadata left on them even though your phone is configured to strip it.
  1289. >And discord apparently does too, but you don't trust those fucking ki-
  1290. >Damn, that was a fast response.
  1291. >"I'm going to send these to a friend of mine to verify that they haven't been doctored. If they haven't, how does one million sound?"
  1292. >In about 40 minutes you'll know if self-replication is a sustainable method of production.
  1293. >What will you do?
  1294. >You need to figure out a delivery plan.
  1295. >It should be two or three more days before she's ready, that's when the changes should have fully taken root and she'll be purring in your arms.
  1296. >Or neighing, whatever.
  1297. >From what you could tell watching your coworker unload products, he spent a few weeks with them before selling them.
  1298. >What he did exactly you're not positive of, but likely just psychological conditioning with whatever changes he implanted in the mental packages.
  1299. >You're sure you can do in less time.
  1300. >After all, he already had quite a few sales in his pocket and more than enough capital to enjoy his work.
  1301. >Pet here, scratch there.
  1302. >Make the man into the mare.
  1303. >You start looking through his notes on battery life.
  1304. >Each nanobot can work for about six hours before it needs to recharge, with negligible loss when inactive.
  1305. >Recharging from a nearly-expended battery takes thirty minutes, but clever scripting allows for maximum efficiency by staggering the process.
  1306. >More nanomachines allow for greater efficiency in staggering, and obviously greater efficiency in work overall as, well...
  1307. >There are more of them doing work at once.
  1308. >All that time in school really paying off.
  1309. >The method of recharging itself is hydroelectric power, generally from bloodflow in the arteries nearest to the heart due to the strong currents.
  1310. >Shit, all of this information has gotten you distracted.
  1311. >You check on Friendly's log to make sure that processes are green across the board and notice that she's awake again and looking at you.
  1312. >They are, so you set down your computer and return the stare.
  1313. >She blinks.
  1314. "Weak sauce."
  1315. >"What? Oh you motherfucker, that wasn't a staring contest!"
  1316. "Sure it wasn't. Though I can understand your pitiful skills in that area, your massive adorable eyes just have so much surface area."
  1317. >She stammers for a bit before just pushing her mane in front of her eyes.
  1318. >"You're such a fucking asshole."
  1319. "Not yet, though we can change that once I go to the pharmacy."
  1320. >"What's that supposed to- oh."
  1321. >A deep red becomes the backdrop to the greens of her cheeks.
  1322. >Like a sunset in the forest.
  1323. "Are you still feeling numb?"
  1324. >"Not quite as much, I've gotten a lot of feeling back but it still all feels weird."
  1325. "That's good, everything is working as intended then."
  1326. >"Well, except for the fact that I no longer have a cock and balls. Anyways, I need to uh..."
  1327. >Yep, time to evacuate all that metal from her bowels you guess, along with whatever she ate last night.
  1328. >If the self-replication trials are successful you should save the broken ones to strip for materials.
  1329. >You wait expectantly for her to finish her sentence.
  1330. >"...Poop."
  1331. >What will you do?
  1332. >You nod, getting up to look around for some paper towels.
  1333. >This is not going to be a pleasant experience, and you really need to get some cat litter or a suitable alternative.
  1334. >You find a roll in the kitchen cabinet and start laying out sheets in the shower.
  1335. >She follows you, looking fairly uncomfortable.
  1336. >"Doc, how come you're putting those down?"
  1337. "Let me put it this way, would you put nuclear launch codes on a flash drive and throw them away in an ordinary dump?"
  1338. >"Oh, uh..."
  1339. "That'd be a no."
  1340. >She smacks her face.
  1341. >"No, I know that. I'm just wondering who in their right mind would dig through a sewer for... whatever you used?"
  1342. >You continue to lay down the paper towels.
  1343. "I'll leave you to do your business."
  1344. >"You didn't answer my question."
  1345. "That would be my business."
  1346. >"Hey now! That's not fair."
  1347. >You close the door and go back to the couch.
  1348. "Call out to me when you're done in there."
  1349. >You find yourself contemplating the huge fucking mess you've possibly gotten yourself into.
  1350. >Part of you insists that he'll find you, but you've covered your tracks as well as you can.
  1351. >The EMP schematics you have are very large, but theoretically you could build a smaller-scale model.
  1352. >You'd still need a fucking backpack full of batteries though.
  1353. >Your immunity to the nanomachines might pose an issue for him at first, but you know there are built-in overrides.
  1354. >You could develop a secondary immune system with them to combat any bots trying to make any unauthorized changes, as the default system just has a few of them resting around your body and broadcasting a restricted area signal.
  1355. >Which is fine when you're the only one in the world who knows that they aren't fiction, but might not suffice for either of you.
  1356. >"Hey!"
  1357. >You put your thoughts on hold and walk over to the bathroom door.
  1358. >"How do I wipe?"
  1359. "You don't."
  1360. >You open up the door, seeing friendly looking a bit more relaxed.
  1361. >You unhook the mirror from above the sink and place it so she can look at her own ass.
  1362. "See? Clean."
  1363. >She looks a bit uncomfortable with the arrangement, but doesn't say anything further.
  1364. >Twenty minutes are left before the self-replication tests will complete.
  1365. >25 minutes are left before Friendly's gray matter should be restored to normal.
  1366. >What will you do?
  1367. >You need a bucket.
  1368. >You don't actually remember if you have one, so after Scooping up Friendly you search around for one for a bit.
  1369. >After five minutes, you find one that you had been using as a trash can next to your bed for a little while.
  1370. >Full of empty bottles, of course.
  1371. >You put them next to the door.
  1372. >You start to fill the bucket with water first, gently resting everything in the water.
  1373. >At least it helps somewhat with the odor.
  1374. >"You still haven't answered my question."
  1375. >You're dying for a smoke.
  1376. "If I wanted to, I would've already."
  1377. >She looks genuinely hurt, or at least is a good fucking actor.
  1378. >For fuck's sake...
  1379. "The technology that I used to make you? It isn't mine."
  1380. >"So what, did you steal it?"
  1381. >You step out onto the small porch and light up.
  1382. "I wouldn't call it thievery. If he didn't want me to have access to it he would've protected his assets better."
  1383. >"You fucking nigger."
  1384. >You hold up the near-empty pack of cigarettes.
  1385. "Are these Newports?"
  1386. >"No."
  1387. "I rest my case."
  1388. >You notice Friendly edging a bit closer to you, her eyes on the edge of the porch.
  1389. "Don't come outside. Someone might see you."
  1390. >"From a distance they'd probably just think I'm some exotic pet."
  1391. "Yes, and when people see exotic pets they call the landlord. When I inevitably can't hide you from the landlord because this is a small apartment, you get found out. God only knows what will happen then."
  1392. >You can see her getting kinda antsy, and even though you're fast enough to grab her if she tries anything you'd rather not take any risks.
  1393. >You close the door while you finish your dirty habit.
  1394. >Whatever, if you get lung cancer you can just cure yourself. No biggie.
  1395. >You narrow your eyes.
  1396. >That' model of truck is the same that your colleague has.
  1397. >You lightly push Friendly out of the way as you go to grab Leela.
  1398. >You get low to the ground, feeling the snow get you a bit wet.
  1399. >The license plate is different, and it's scratched a hell of a lot more than your friend would ever allow his to be.
  1400. >Great, now you got your clothes all wet for nothing.
  1401. >The timer goes off for the self-replication tests.
  1402. >"Are you some sort of sped, pointing your gun around off your porch like that?"
  1403. "Shut up. I don't own a pair of binoculars."
  1404. >You close and lock the door.
  1405. >Time to see if your labors have yielded any fruits.
  1406. >900 machines were successfully built with the materials you provided.
  1407. >During the building process, 57 active machines were damaged and 96 were rendered inoperable.
  1408. >Could certainly be worse, but still not ideal.
  1409. >Five minutes later, you give Friendly a few tests.
  1410. "Where is my finger?"
  1411. >"On my ass."
  1412. "Good. Where is my hand?"
  1413. >"On my hoof, you sicko."
  1414. "Good. Now, this part may be a bit uncomfortable at first but I need to be sure that absolutely everything is in order. Please lie down on your back and close your eyes."
  1415. >She obliges.
  1416. >Damn, those mental packages really are something.
  1417. >You trace around the ridge of her pussy with your finger, getting a slight twitch out of her.
  1418. >"I-I think you might've fucked something up."
  1419. "What would that be?"
  1420. >"My junk feels... more responsive."
  1421. "No."
  1422. >You scoop her up.
  1423. "That's absolutely intentional."
  1424. >It takes you a while to make the necessary alterations to the retrieval program to ensure that it'll work in the... specialized environment it needs to.
  1425. >Come to think of it, you can probably use bots that are on their last legs for jobs like this one and the replication.
  1426. >If any of them fail, they'll just be added to the top of the scrap heap for further recycling.
  1427. >You set the program to run with damaged machines only.
  1428. >Friendly's just been sitting quietly for a little while now, staring at her snatch.
  1429. >Every once in a while she'll nudge it or look up at something else, but she's enamored.
  1430. >What will you do?
  1431. >You stare intently at her not-so-privates, snapping a few pictures for later use.
  1432. >At first she doesn't notice, but as expected she eventually senses your gaze.
  1433. >"What are you doing?"
  1434. >You say nothing.
  1435. >"S-stop it."
  1436. >You continue to stare at her snatch.
  1437. >She bites her lip.
  1438. >You stare.
  1439. >You could hear a pin drop.
  1440. >You keep staring.
  1441. >"You're starting to scare me. Please, knock it off doc."
  1442. >You crack a smile.
  1443. "Only because you asked so nicely."
  1444. >You can see something in her eyes as she gets up to her hooves and follows you.
  1445. >Regret?
  1446. >You step as far away from all of the shit around you and do an anchored back cracking spin.
  1447. "Ahh, that's the shit."
  1448. >"So, what happens now?"
  1449. "Why make an oc that's a chick if you're a guy?"
  1450. >"Because mares are cuter, no duh."
  1451. "No duh is a product of fear. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?"
  1452. >"Is this sales-related?"
  1453. "Between the two of us, no. I'm just curious."
  1454. >"Okay. Well, I guess it all started with two horndog teenagers in the back of a pickup truck. Ended up in an orphanage until I was 18 because my mom didn't want me, not that I blame her. Last I checked she was working as an accountant, declined my invitation to meet... do you have anything to drink?"
  1455. >You nod, grabbing a thermos that you normally use for coffee and filling it with water.
  1456. >You help her sip from it, and you can tell she's disappointed that it isn't something a bit stronger.
  1457. >"Kids fucked with me at school for a while, always trying to start fights and shit. By high school, I had about enough of it. Took a sizable rock and brained the fucker who would always try to take whatever I had in my pockets. Even though my grades were decent, the kid suffered brain damage and I ruined any chance of being a success story. I've been working a dead-end job doing mall security ever since then."
  1458. >You help her with another sip.
  1459. >"Even though I wasn't supposed to be armed, I always brought a few of my girls in with me. Not like anybody would rob that fucking empty mall though. The owner sent me an email last week telling me that I had two weeks left before the place was to be sold off to a hotel company, prime real estate and all that. I was going to well, uh... do you want to know more about my OC?"
  1460. >Her heart is racing, so you lie her down and start to stroke her.
  1461. "Sure. I read pretty much everything you posted about her, but that wasn't much."
  1462. >"There's pretty good reason for that. Think about her name for a second."
  1463. >Oh fuck.
  1464. "Did I abduct a fucking spree killer?"
  1465. >She looks down at her hooves.
  1466. >"I've only got one confirmed kill, a burglar. I'd always planned to go out with a bang of some sort, I was going to use the last of my funds to pay for a one-way trip to Anthrocon. What better way to thank the faggots who kept me from blowing my head off sooner? In any case, w-with nothing left to lose the world... becomes your oyster."
  1467. >You can tell that she's trying her best to hold back the tears, but they're coming in droves.
  1468. >It's 4:57.
  1469. >Petsmart is open until 7:00 on Sundays, which happens to be what day it is.
  1470. >The snow is starting to come down fairly hard, but the place is only about fifteen minutes by car.
  1471. >And you drove Cunt's car through the middle of the woods, it can probably handle a bit of weather.
  1472. >You're low on groceries.
  1473. >Looks like the scrapping operation will be done in about 30 minutes.
  1474. >You really should've dealt with a lot of this shit before you left to secure the machines.
  1475. >What will you do?
  1476. >You rub Friendly's head.
  1477. "It's all in the past, don't worry about it. Your life is about to get a lot simpler."
  1478. >She gives you a slight smile at that.
  1479. >"W-well, when you put it that way I guess I can see how this is mutually beneficial..."
  1480. "Right. I get paid, my client gets something adorable, and you get to live the life of leisure in his arms."
  1481. >"Do you know anything about my client? What kind of guy he is?"
  1482. "I know he loves pets, and he doesn't seem like the type who's in it for the abuse. I've looked through all of his comms, and none of them were violent."
  1483. >"Well, tell me more."
  1484. "Unfortunately, I need to get some shopping done. Up we go."
  1485. >She nestles into your embrace as you lift her.
  1486. >"Can't I come with?"
  1487. >You laugh.
  1488. "No way in hell. I'll be heading by the pet store though, and I'll cut you a deal. If you don't do anything fishy while I'm gone, I'll get you a surprise."
  1489. >She raises an eyebrow skeptically.
  1490. >"But there's a conditional here I don't think you can meet... how will you know to buy it or not if you can't tell what I've done?"
  1491. "Well, that's quite simple. I buy it anyways and if you fuck up, I dispose of it in front of you."
  1492. >Her pupils shrink.
  1493. >You open the door to your bedroom and grab your spare winter blanket, laying it down over the tub and pressing it down.
  1494. "There you are, nice little bed for the time being. Are you thirsty?"
  1495. >"Y-yeah."
  1496. >You allow her to drink from the faucet, which she does greedily.
  1497. "Be a good girl for me, okay? I'll be back soon."
  1498. >"O-okay."
  1499. >She looks a bit hurt that you aren't trusting her.
  1500. "It's nothing personal, really. I just need to make sure you aren't an outlier."
  1501. >She nods.
  1502. >"Sorry."
  1503. >You plant a kiss on her forehead.
  1504. "What for?"
  1505. >"I-I, well obviously-"
  1506. "Friendly Fire, I hate furries."
  1507. >Without another word, you lock her in the bathroom and secure it the same way you did before.
  1508. ...
  1509. >"Busymart, how can I help you?"
  1510. "You guys are open full hours during the storm, right?"
  1511. >The guy on the other end sounds annoyed.
  1512. >"Yes, because of that wh- our manager."
  1513. >You hang up.
  1514. >You remind yourself that you have $200 in your account.
  1515. >Hopefully you won't need all of it, you'll see how much of your shit you can get from the budget grocery store that always gives you bad gas.
  1516. >Time to get some grub.
  1517. >You take your keys and wallet down half of the stairs you need to walk before you realize that you forgot your phone.
  1518. >You figure one less tracking beacon is good, and hopefully you can pay for the pet store shit with under $30 so it'll be untraceable.
  1519. >Not super suspicious for a grown man who doesn't own a pet to be buying a dog bowl, but you don't want Big Brother thinking you're some sort of sexual deviant.
  1520. >You continue down the stairs, walk to Cunt's lot and get in the car.
  1521. >Insert the key and try to get the heat up as high as possible.
  1522. >It's fucking cold.
  1523. >You curse as you see there's a good inch or two of snow on the ground.
  1524. >Most of the plowing that gets done around here is contract work, so nobody has been called yet you guess.
  1525. >Whatever, just drive slow.
  1526. >You pull out into the street and get up to about fifteen miles per hour.
  1527. >You turn on the radio to pass the time.
  1528. >"And those are the winning lottery numbers. Don't go spending it all in once place, eh? And now for something completely different."
  1529. >You roll your eyes.
  1530. >Music fades in: https://youtu.be/ph7lCR6Wd0Y [Embed]
  1531. >You bob your head a bit as you you crawl along the road.
  1532. >About twenty minutes and a lot of inferior songs later, you make it to Busymart.
  1533. >Let's see, you need...
  1534. >Pretty much everything.
  1535. >You bargain-hunt in what is a bargain grocery store, which turns out okay for a few items.
  1536. >In the end your total comes out to $82.78.
  1537. >You elect to get $30 cash back.
  1538. >The cashier groans, his drawer obviously near empty.
  1539. >"Customer service to register four, customer-"
  1540. >"Dave, I'm right behind you."
  1541. >"R-right! Sorry Jenny."
  1542. >"Jenny is if you're getting in my pants, and I'm not a fucking kiddy chaser. Call me Ms. Holland or you're going to be having a sorry Christmas."
  1543. >She gives you a great big smile and hands you the thirty dollars.
  1544. >"Here you are sir, thank you for shopping at Busymart!"
  1545. "Yeah, no problem."
  1546. >You gather your grocery bags and load them in the back seat, setting a course for Petsmart.
  1547. >You should get there with enough to find what you need, it's only 5:30.
  1548. >As you're moving along at a slightly quicker pace than before, a truck barrels down the road out of nowhere, you can barely swerve in time to avoid it.
  1549. >Fucking asshole...
  1550. >You continue along your way.
  1551. >Petsmart is the next turn on your left and...
  1552. >Oh lord.
  1553. >The truck that barreled past you is steaming in the ditch, half-overturned.
  1554. >You can see blood on the windshield.
  1555. >What will you do?
  1556. >You get out of the car, fishing around for your spy glasses and putting them on under your hood.
  1557. >You're already wearing thick winter gloves, so there shouldn't be any issues of leaving prints.
  1558. >The truck doors are unlocked, you can barely see inside with how fogged up the windows are.
  1559. >You open the left one automatically hear cursing.
  1560. >"What the fuck was that man? Who the hell do you think you are fucking are driving like that?"
  1561. >You look him over, verifying that the damage caused won't kill him.
  1562. >His legs are obviously fucked six ways from Sunday, on further examination you can see that that's where all of the blood is coming from.
  1563. >You ignore him and check the glove compartment.
  1564. >There's a loaded glock.
  1565. "Were you pushing down that accelerator with a metal pole, sir?"
  1566. >He spits out something dark, which you realize is chewing tobacco after a second.
  1567. >"Yeah, what's it to you? You some sort of fucking doctor?"
  1568. >You get down in his car, looking around for any recording devices.
  1569. >There's a dashcam, so you de-suction it from the windshield and turn it off before popping out its SD card and putting everything in your pocket.
  1570. >You walk out into the woods, pour a bit of gas on the camera, and light it up.
  1571. >"What the fuck man?! That's my goddamn camera."
  1572. >You're lucky the accident pretty much pinned him in place, you also manage to secure a large hunting knife from the back seat.
  1573. "Let me see your identification."
  1574. >"Bullshit, you're not a cop."
  1575. >You hold his own gun to his head.
  1576. >He surrenders his wallet.
  1577. "Your phone."
  1578. >He gives that up too.
  1579. >You open up his wallet, throwing every card he has in the passenger seat.
  1580. >You pause briefly at his ID card and put it in your pocket.
  1581. >John Clement is an unpleasant man, but biomass is biomass if he's the right kind of unpleasant man.
  1582. >You keep an eye on the road.
  1583. "I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. Answer me correctly, and you're free to go."
  1584. >"Who the fuck are you?!"
  1585. "Not too loud now, and that's none of your concern. Why were you driving so fast in this weather?"
  1586. >"I'm fucking late for work."
  1587. "Are you familiar with My Little Pony?"
  1588. >His expression shifts from enraged to slightly fearful.
  1589. >"The fuck kind of question is that to be asking an injured man you queer?"
  1590. >You pull back the slide on his glock.
  1591. "Yes or no?"
  1592. >"Yes."
  1593. "Have you created an original character?"
  1594. >"Hell no."
  1595. "You're a bad liar."
  1596. >His breathing is pretty erratic now.
  1597. >That's not good.
  1598. >"My fucking daughter asked me to. She loves that show. Please man, I wanna see her again."
  1599. "Where can I find images of this character?"
  1600. >"I've got a couple in a drive folder."
  1601. "Does your google account have two-factor?"
  1602. >"No."
  1603. >You get up, toss his phone into the fire, and grab the syringe.
  1604. >It's tainted with Hunter's blood, but you doubt he had much sex when he was a man and you should be able to correct STDs anyways.
  1605. >You shoot him with one drop of Baking Soda, which should make him feel sluggish for an hour or two but not knock him out.
  1606. >You'll need him awake.
  1607. >Hunter's blankets aren't in the trunk, but you still have the towel from earlier so you lay that down under his legs.
  1608. >Secure them tightly with paracord.
  1609. >That should slow down the bleeding to an extent.
  1610. >You have a safehouse of sorts, but you're worried that in the time it'll take you to drop him off there and get back with the machines, he'll have bled out enough for it to be a serious problem.
  1611. "John, if you have any bugs, trackers or any sort of nasty devices on you then I'm going to have to kill you. Speak now or forever hold your peace."
  1612. >"I push carts at a damned grocery store."
  1613. "Yes or no?"
  1614. >"No, you fucking retard."
  1615. >You close the trunk on him and begin to drive back home, you shouldn't stay anywhere near the scene of the crime for a while.
  1616. >John stays pretty quiet, you can't be sure if he's fallen asleep or if he's just not saying anything.
  1617. >You can hear him breathing though.
  1618. >You pull up to your place, grab the perishables from your car, and put them away before grabbing a few beakers, the container of nanomachines, your laptop, Hunter's old blanket, and Sarah.
  1619. >You open up the bathroom door and hurriedly unwrap one of the prepped salads you bought for friendly.
  1620. >She's asleep in the tub, legs kicking a bit.
  1621. >You leave her a note saying you'll be gone for a while.
  1622. >You secure the bathroom door and get back down to the car.
  1623. ...
  1624. >Your safehouse isn't much of a house, but it's well-secured.
  1625. >It has running water, a cabinet with non-perishables, a table with a few chairs, (mostly used for poker in your experience) a bathroom, and a small one-man cot.
  1626. You wrap John in the blanket from head to toe and carry him down the steps.
  1627. >He doesn't struggle like he did when you picked him up to get him in the trunk.
  1628. >But he's still breathing and his eyes are open.
  1629. >You get him inside and lay him down on the floor.
  1630. "How many fingers am I holding up?"
  1631. >"Two."
  1632. >Good.
  1633. >You boot up your computer, finding an intelligent repair program that looks suitable from your catalog and getting it set up on a volume of bots.
  1634. >Fuck, you switched the cleaning program over to stored didn't you?
  1635. >Probably.
  1636. >You pour the grey-ish beaker of water on John's legs.
  1637. >"What the fuck was that shit?"
  1638. "That's going to repair your legs."
  1639. >"Are you fucking retarded man? They're fucked. Completely fucked..."
  1640. >Despite his consistent profanity, his tone is far calmer.
  1641. >Good.
  1642. >You take another beaker and fill it up with water.
  1643. >You have to help him drink it since he lacks coordination in his drugged state.
  1644. "Alright, what's the email address associated with your drive?"
  1645. >"JohnClementine1911@gmail.com."
  1646. "Password?"
  1647. >"Bond007."
  1648. "That's not very-"
  1649. >"Fuck you, retard."
  1650. >True to his word, there are several crayon drawings of a turquoise mare.
  1651. >They were clearly drawn by a very young girl, but despite the scribbles not having a lot of detail you can make out that the pony is named "Moonflower", with a titular cutie-mark.
  1652. >Her mane is ocean blue.
  1653. >"Good lord what the fuck are you gonna do with my daughter you sick fuck?"
  1654. "Absolutely nothing."
  1655. >You need to get these transcribed into a model.
  1656. >What will you do?
  1657. >You take the drawings and try to import them into your modeling program.
  1658. >Predictably, the program just gives you an unsupported file type error.
  1659. >You're not particularly sure why you did that.
  1660. "Tell me a bit about Moonflower."
  1661. >"Fucking..."
  1662. "I need to know about your mental relationship with the character. Did you create her?"
  1663. >"Does it matter?"
  1664. "Yes, actually. For your own mental stability's sake, I suggest you tell me before I proceed."
  1665. >"Well, yes."
  1666. "Please elaborate."
  1667. >"God damn you're an obnoxious son of a bitch. My daughter has these playdates with her friends where they all bring their ponies to teaparties, drink the fake tea, you know the shit I'm sure. Well, maybe not. You don't seem like the type who'd be close to many women."
  1668. >You groan.
  1669. "Stick to the story."
  1670. >"All of the ponies are poorly-made, Hasbro for some reason can't make toys for shit despite being a toy company. She'd noticed of course. So, about two months before her birthday I made the ultimate sacrifice. I went on one of those... brony forums, found a sewing pattern that looked nice, and got to work. She's always been real fond of plants, and she had recently gotten fixated on Moonflowers. I
  1671. think it was this Story book I read her."
  1672. >John seems to have calmed down a bit, probably because he's talking about his daughter.
  1673. >You wonder if you can do a package deal with the two of them, separating them would be a shame.
  1674. >Surely there'd be somebody who'd want a filly and mare combo...
  1675. >If she has an oc that is.
  1676. >Good lord what's become of you...
  1677. >Maybe the little girl was right.
  1678. >You need a drink.
  1679. "So, you did all the design work for the character yourself?"
  1680. >"I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She told me that she wanted a pony and gave me a name, I came up with the design and a little backstory."
  1681. "And after she started playing with the doll-"
  1682. >"Oh, she loves that thing. Didn't touch her Twilight after that even once, from what I can tell."
  1683. "She started drawing the pictures you showed me."
  1684. >"That's right."
  1685. >When you were digging into your old friend's habits, you came across his sale page.
  1686. >It was well-hidden, you had to ask around on quite a few derelict IRCs to finally get the link from a buyer.
  1687. >One of the first things listed was that he could not make canon characters, and if your interest was only in one of them then you were out of luck.
  1688. >You had pondered this at the time, thinking that you could corner the market for all of his potential customers that had been turned away from that notice.
  1689. >But then you started doing a bit of digging.
  1690. >Is a person defined by his limits?
  1691. >Is a person with no limits still a person?
  1692. >You get back to working on the model.
  1693. "Do you have any pictures of the plush?"
  1694. >"Yeah, on my phone."
  1695. "Okay, so you don't have any pictures of the plush."
  1696. >"The fuck did you just say?"
  1697. "Don't worry about it."
  1698. >"Did you break my goddamn phone? I swear to God..."
  1699. "Look, I need to think a few things over. Could you just shut up?"
  1700. >"Sure thing. Just give me back my fucking phone so I can call the cops on your sorry ass-"
  1701. >You pull out the syringe.
  1702. "Do it or I'll do it myself."
  1703. >He shuts up.
  1704. >You message your buyer back saying that 1 million is a good down payment.
  1705. >This is starting to feel wrong.
  1706. >You feel comfortable about what you did to Hunter.
  1707. >Even more so now that you know you saved him from offing himself.
  1708. >But Clement has people he'd be leaving behind.
  1709. >This is the kind of shit people generally refer to as 'crossing the line.'
  1710. >What will you do?
  1711. "I'm sorry man. You seem like an alright guy, but you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Right now, you have two choices. I modify the structure of your body to make you practically identical to Moonflower and sell you off to a lovin-"
  1712. >"What the fuck are you talking about?"
  1713. "Take a look at your legs."
  1714. >He hesitantly pulls up the pant leg of his ruined jeans.
  1715. >"You shot me full of something strong."
  1716. "No, the things that are restoring your legs weren't in the syringe."
  1717. >"You drugged me up bad motherfuck."
  1718. "Only enough to deaden the pain a bit and calm you down. You'll be fine on that front. Listen, you could say I'm in the busin-"
  1719. >"I don't care, take me back to my fucking car."
  1720. "Your car is totaled, and to avert suspicion I'd need to restore your legs to their ruined state. You'd likely bleed out or freeze to death."
  1721. >"Better on my own terms than in your hands you fucking cretin."
  1722. "I just need to get your affairs in order, does your wife have access to all of your money?"
  1723. >"I'm not telling you that."
  1724. >You hold up the syringe.
  1725. >He's fucking livid now.
  1726. >"Go ahead and inject me with more of your retard serum, I'm going to die anyways."
  1727. "No, you'll be perfectly fine. Look at your legs, Mr. Clement."
  1728. >"Fuck your LSD bullshit."
  1729. >He spits in your general direction.
  1730. "You can either write a final letter to your daughter or we'll get started as soon as your legs are healed."
  1731. >"I hope you burn in hell."
  1732. >You pull up notepad.
  1733. >You're about to hand your laptop to him so he can type when you think better of it.
  1734. >You have no doubt that even in his doped-up state he'll try to do anything he can to ruin your work or your computer at this point.
  1735. >Asshole.
  1736. >Just dehumanize them and they're easier to work with.
  1737. >That's what your grandfather always said.
  1738. >You should get his Luger out of the storage unit some time soon.
  1739. >He dictates the letter to you through clenched teeth.
  1740. >You edit out the bits where he talks about you and how much he'd like to bash your skull in.
  1741. >You add a few words here and there to make it sound like he came into trouble with some criminal organization, being careful all the while not to call out Cunt for any of his various enterprises.
  1742. >His address is listed on drive, so you take note of it.
  1743. >You check if the plush pictures got backed up, they didn't.
  1744. >You quietly work on his model while he lies on the floor.
  1745. >It's hours by the time you finish the damn thing, but this time you were able to build it directly off of the template instead of merging the two models, which you suspect may have been the genesis of some Friendly's problems.
  1746. >Water under the bridge now.
  1747. >You need a cigarette.
  1748. >It's a frigid night, and the wind is blowing the flap of your hood around.
  1749. >Snow's still coming down.
  1750. >You remember when something like this would be a something you'd get excited about.
  1751. >But that was when you were still a kid.
  1752. >Before endless hours of homework and multiple degrees.
  1753. >You inhale deeply, taking in the poison that has slowly become an embracing calm.
  1754. >John's legs aren't completely done yet, but you dope him up with enough soda to knock him out completely and wrap him up in the blanket.
  1755. >It's a rough drive home, but you make it without fucking up as badly as John.
  1756. >You feel exhausted, more than you've felt in a long time.
  1757. >One of the few other tenants just gives you a nod as you walk in with the wrapped man.
  1758. >Most of the people who live here are guilty of something, so whenever you walk in with weird shit it's generally not questioned.
  1759. >In return, you don't question all of the weird shit your neighbors bring in.
  1760. >You lay John down in the kitchen and unblock the bathroom door so Friendly can get out and stretch her legs.
  1761. >She's awake now.
  1762. >"You were gone a while."
  1763. >You nod.
  1764. "I had a situation to deal with."
  1765. >You lift up her blankets from the tub and take them back into your bedroom.
  1766. "Which is why you have earned an upgrade to first-class pet arrangements."
  1767. >You pat the comforter, which Friendly eagerly jumps up on.
  1768. >"What kind of situation?"
  1769. "You really don't want to know."
  1770. >"Come on, you can tell me."
  1771. "Fucktard who happened to have a pony oc drove across black ice at max speed, totaled his car and his legs. I'm fixing the legs right now, after that you're probably going to have a grumpy playmate."
  1772. >She looks at you skeptically, but seems excited by the last word in that statement.
  1773. >Your alarm goes off, telling you that the legs are finished.
  1774. >You sterilize your syringe and prepare a volume of machines for the process.
  1775. >Lift him into the tub, restrain him and barricade the door...
  1776. >Standard shit.
  1777. >You can keep an eye on his progress from your laptop, you need a shower and a good rest.
  1778. >Oh, right. The showerhead is over the tub.
  1779. >Undo everything, take the shower, redo everything, get in bed with Friendly.
  1780. >She looks wide awake and perky, which you feel... the opposite of.
  1781. >Luckily you got some instant coffee.
  1782. >The estimated time for full conversion is 6 hours and 24 minutes.
  1783. >What will you do?
  1784. >The thought passes through your mind that maybe you should've killed yourself a while ago.
  1785. >It wouldn't be the first time.
  1786. >You decide your efforts are better spent focusing on more pressing matters.
  1787. "Friendly."
  1788. >"Yeah?"
  1789. "How tired are you?"
  1790. >"I don't know, I could probably stay up for a while if you want to watch a movie or something."
  1791. "Nah. I really need to sleep. If you're a good girl and keep an eye on everything for me while I'm out I'd really appreciate it."
  1792. >She shivers a bit at your use of 'good girl'.
  1793. >"I'm listening."
  1794. "I'm going to get out of the bed and set the house alarm. After that, I'm going to set a series of alarms to wake me up at two hour intervals. While I'm asleep, I need you to keep an eye on the house-"
  1795. >"Apartment."
  1796. >You sigh.
  1797. "Apartment. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, wake me up. If the bathroom door somehow opens or the barricade moves, wake me up. If my phone buzzes, tell me what the message is when I wake up but don't wake me up immediately. Wake me up if anybody with a number ending in six calls."
  1798. >She nods, looking eager to please despite her best efforts at a stoic face.
  1799. >Perfect.
  1800. >You get out of bed and set the house alarm, grabbing your phone on the way back to the bedroom.
  1801. >Once you're in bed, you set the alarms you dictated to Friendly and get in bed.
  1802. "If this mission weren't maximum deniability, you'd be a hero for this son. There would be a parade."
  1803. >Friendly grins back at you.
  1804. >"Aye-aye, Pauling."
  1805. >She gets down on the ground and sits in front of the door, watching silently in the darkness.
  1806. >You flick off the light switch.
  1807. ...
  1808. >Footsteps in the dark.
  1809. "Who's there?"
  1810. >They stop.
  1811. "Show yourself."
  1812. >You reach for the lightswitch, but even after you feel the movement that should complete the circuit take place your room is still dark.
  1813. >"You know the score."
  1814. "I can make you better painkillers. I know the ones you're using on your subjects right now could use some work."
  1815. >"You know this isn't about any drug you could offer me. An eye for an eye."
  1816. "Makes the whole world blind."
  1817. >You reach out for the stiletto you keep on your bedside table, only to find that it's missing.
  1818. >"Looking for this?"
  1819. >A swift movement pins your hand to the table.
  1820. >You feel pressure, but not pain.
  1821. >That's not good.
  1822. >"Normally I'd use my machines for this, but since you were sly enough to give yourself an immunity to them I'll have to do this the old-fashioned way."
  1823. "The shock alone will kill me."
  1824. >"You didn't think about shock when you hurt my girls."
  1825. "They're fine! I'm sure of it."
  1826. >"No, they're dead. And in a few minutes, you may be too."
  1827. >Your face starts to peel off.
  1828. >Still no pain.
  1829. >You struggle against your captor, but he's far stronger than you.
  1830. "Please! I never meant to hurt anybody!"
  1831. >"What about the daughter? What about the wife? You're sick."
  1832. >You let out a chocked sob.
  1833. "I know."
  1834. >A blaring comes from the darkness.
  1835. >The alarm.
  1836. >You burst awake, sweat tainting your clean sheets and fresh shower.
  1837. >Great...
  1838. >Luckily it doesn't seem like your tears transferred over, letting Friendly see you as a crybaby wouldn't be a good idea.
  1839. >You scroll through the logs, confirming that nothing out of the ordinary has yet become Moonflower.
  1840. >Friendly catches you up on all the nothing you missed in your night terror hell, and you climb back into bed.
  1841. ...
  1842. >You feel very small.
  1843. >Something is holding you close, but everything about them is wrong.
  1844. >Everything about you is wrong too.
  1845. >Your hair hasn't always been that long, and what's with your big fucking nose?
  1846. >"Shh... mommy's here."
  1847. "What happened?"
  1848. >"I think you make a good filly."
  1849. >Your blood runs cold.
  1850. >You look down at your body.
  1851. >You're...
  1852. >No.
  1853. >You shake yourself loose from her grip, the fall kicking you out of your sleep.
  1854. >There's an hour left on the timer, so you drift off once more.
  1855. >The alarm blares cursedly soon.
  1856. >This time there's an issue with John's process, it takes about twenty minutes of sleep-addled monkeying around before you pinpoint it and ensure that it won't cause any further issues.
  1857. >You trudge back into your room and crash.
  1858. >"You look like shit, Doc."
  1859. "That's not a very nice thing to say."
  1860. >You rub your forehead, groaning as you flick out the light again.
  1861. >Friendly lays down on your legs, a slightly uncomfortable but sweet gesture.
  1862. "Here, come on."
  1863. >You lift her up and hold her close to your chest.
  1864. >Like a life-sized living, breathing plushie.
  1865. >Good god.
  1866. >You go back to sleep.
  1867. >Friendly wakes you up with her squirming.
  1868. >You get a good view of her pussy inches from your face.
  1869. >Nice.
  1870. "Mmmmmph...."
  1871. >"Somebody just knocked on the door."
  1872. >What will you do?
  1873. >There's nothing classier than a Luger for home defense, but unfortunately yours is still in storage.
  1874. >You grab your USP and check your lab to see if you have any incapacitation fluid left.
  1875. >There's just enough for a syringe full.
  1876. >You really need to start carrying some syringes on you, but you think you have a clean one left somewhere around here.
  1877. >You manage to find one after two minutes of looking around.
  1878. >No more knocking has taken place in the time it took you.
  1879. >You prepare it, kiss Friendly on the cheek, and close her off in the bedroom.
  1880. >Your heart is pounding as you work up the courage to look through the peephole.
  1881. >An eye.
  1882. >Wait a second, you recognize that eye...
  1883. "Cunt, you motherfucker. Pull back a bit."
  1884. >The eye shrinks, revealing the rest of your friend's unshaven face.
  1885. >He's wearing a bath robe and has some sort of glass bottle in his hand, you can't read the label.
  1886. >You open the door, setting down your implements of greeting on the table.
  1887. "It's a bit late, you'd better have come for something specific."
  1888. >"Firstly, I need your car key."
  1889. >You use your long fingernails to pry open the key ring and slide the thing off, once you hand it to him he hands you one of a different brand.
  1890. >"She probably won't be as good in harsh conditions, but the vehicle was... compromised, wasn't it?"
  1891. "Yeah, he probably saw me on my way out."
  1892. >You think for a second.
  1893. "Fuck, he probably knows what I look like too."
  1894. >"What were you wearing at the time?"
  1895. >You point to the hamper where you threw your clothes.
  1896. >He digs through it.
  1897. >"Alright, you should be good to keep wearing the t-shirt if you had the jacket zipped, but the pants and jacket have to go."
  1898. "That's my favorite jacket, can't I at least wear it at home?"
  1899. >"And what happens if you answer the door in it?"
  1900. "I won't."
  1901. >"Sure you fucking won't."
  1902. >He pulls a trash bag out of his bathrobe (revealing a lack of any other clothes) and puts your clothes in it gingerly.
  1903. >"I'll get these washed, if we ever get rid of this guy you can have them back."
  1904. "I doubt that'll happen."
  1905. >"I have yet to meet one that can outsmart bullet."
  1906. >You change the subject.
  1907. "You want to see a pony?"
  1908. >"I thought you'd never ask."
  1909. >You take him over to the bedroom.
  1910. >"God Ass, normally you have to buy a man dinner before this sort of thing happens."
  1911. "Just shut up. You would make that joke you fucking queer... Friendly, this is my friend-"
  1912. >You pause for a second and chastise yourself for even considering giving up half of the identity of the biggest drug exporter in the entire state.
  1913. "Cuntpunch."
  1914. >"And I thought I was the only one with a weird name. So, I take it you benefit from selling me?"
  1915. >"How do you figure that?"
  1916. >"Generally you don't show off your biological crimes against nature to those not in the loop."
  1917. >"You're awfully cute for one of those. Ass, can I pet her?"
  1918. "Go ahead."
  1919. >He holds out his hand for her to sniff, but the mare just snorts and laughs.
  1920. >"I'm not a dog, and I don't bite."
  1921. >Cunt shrugs and starts behind the ear.
  1922. >You almost laugh when you see what he's doing.
  1923. >The equivalent of orgasm-denial for petting, little scratches with long pauses in-between.
  1924. >You can see her becoming a bit agitated, but this is all pretty harmless so you don't intervene.
  1925. >Cunt takes a break from petting her to walk over to the couch.
  1926. >"When did you get rid of the TV?"
  1927. "When I realized that this month's rent is a bit more pressing than being able to watch PBS kids at 4:00 in the morning, you know I stopped smoking weed after high school right?"
  1928. >"Yeah, yeah. Fuck you too. You'd better spend some of the money on a nice one."
  1929. >And just like that, you've got Aqua Teen Hunger Force pulled up on your laptop.
  1930. >You don't really like thinking about giving up Friendly, but you suppose it is a necessary evil.
  1931. >Friendly seems to be enjoying all of the attention since both you and Cunt are idly petting her while watching.
  1932. >You'd be lying if you said you didn't relish the activity of just vegging out for a bit, though you do pause after every episode to check on Moonflower.
  1933. >After a bit, Cunt asks you what the hell you're doing.
  1934. >"You're making another one? Already?"
  1935. "Yeah. I just kinda stumbled into the guy, he might've frozen to death if I just left him there."
  1936. >"Why didn't you call the police?"
  1937. "Gee, I wonder."
  1938. >"I've got most of the force looking the other way, you should be fine if you namedrop one of my pseuds."
  1939. "Yeah, but then that just gives anybody who wants to go digging an-"
  1940. >There's a flash of movement in your periphery and you roll your eyes.
  1941. "Yeah, I know you can draw that thing fast. Even so, careful never hurts."
  1942. >"Well, with shit like this they bring in search parties. Granted, most of them will be combing the forests but it's never a good idea to have more people looking into something that happened."
  1943. "Yeah, well it's all in the past now isn't it?"
  1944. >That came out a bit harsher than you meant it to.
  1945. "Sorry."
  1946. >You've got about an hour left on the clock, so the three of you just watch in silence for a bit.
  1947. >"Is there anything else you need help with?"
  1948. "Are you heading out already?"
  1949. >"Not unless you want me to, just filling the dead air."
  1950. >Friendly has fallen asleep again.
  1951. >What will you do?
  1952. >Stand up and go to your lab.
  1953. >Lift and unscrew the jar.
  1954. >The nanomachines, you need them.
  1955. >You lift and press the jar to your lips, tilting it back-
  1956. >Something impacts the side of your face with great force, causing you to spill a great deal of the things all over the floor.
  1957. >The mason jar, somehow, doesn't shatter.
  1958. >"What the fuck was that?!"
  1959. "I... I'm eating the naonmachines."
  1960. >Cunt lifts you up by the collar of your shirt, ripping it a bit in the process.
  1961. >"And why are you doing that?"
  1962. "It's my fucking lab, I can eat what I want in it."
  1963. >He narrows his eyes.
  1964. >"You haven't been taking any of my fucking drugs, have you? Don't tell me that's why you broke into my fucking lab and-"
  1965. >You give his hand a good sucker punch, and he drops you.
  1966. "I'm the one who designed that shit, so they're hardly your fucking drugs, Cunt."
  1967. >"Well who sells them and puts his ass on the line every day overseeing the production? Who fucking-"
  1968. >You come to your senses a bit, realizing what you're trying to argue makes little sense.
  1969. "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me."
  1970. >"Yeah, I'll bet you're fucking sorry. Asshole..."
  1971. "I haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately, and some weird shit has been happening. and I know this side-project is something you're eager to share in the profits of. I honestly don't know why I tried to eat the means to that-"
  1972. >"Look, it's fine. Just... let's forget this shit happened and watch Frylock blow up Shake and Meatwad, huh?"
  1973. "Yeah, that sounds good."
  1974. >Friendly seems to have woken up from all of the commotion, but since Cunt closed the door and you've installed some pretty good acoustics in your lab she shouldn't have heard exactly what you were saying.
  1975. >Good lord, that would be embarrassing if she did.
  1976. >After you resume watching, she nods off again pretty quickly, her abilities to evade sleep seeming to hinge more on willpower than natural ability.
  1977. >You could probably go into her head and change that too, but you have to commend her ability to keep herself awake in-between your alarms if it's that easy for her to nod off.
  1978. >You make sure she's asleep before resuming conversation.
  1979. "I was thinking of seeing if the buyer wants the one I've got growing right now, Friendly has proven herself to be a really fine companion. I mean, money is nice and all, but she's grown on me."
  1980. >"You can just say pet man."
  1981. "I guess... you don't have any objections to that, do you?"
  1982. >"As long as I get my payment I don't care if you keep one of them, though I want to be there with you for the hand-off."
  1983. "Oh, why?"
  1984. >"Personal experience. When there's a lot of money involved, sometimes the client would rather just take what you have and leave you in a shallow grave. Happened on my first big deal..."
  1985. >He opens up his robe again, showing a nasty scar running all the way from his right shoulder to his left nipple.
  1986. >"He missed the heart because he was drunk as hell, I got the briefcase and got the hell out of there with all of my goods. A half hour later I felt safe enough to stop and check the contents, suitcase was loaded with shredded notebook paper."
  1987. "Why haven't you told me this before?"
  1988. >"Because I didn't want to drive you off even though your part of the deal is a lot safer than mine. In any case, I learned my lesson and now I have a few mercenaries that I bring along with me to every meeting. They're rude bastards, and expensive to boot; but I know that as long as the money is flowing in they'll cover my ass."
  1989. "Can they keep quiet about something like this?"
  1990. >"Yeah, I'm fairly sure."
  1991. "Oh, right..."
  1992. >You shake Friendly a bit, waking her up.
  1993. >"What?"
  1994. "What do you want done with your guns?"
  1995. >"Put them to good use, or get the best prices you can for them and make a big deal out of donating the money to the NRA anonymously. Like, post screencaps of the donation receipt everywhere you know people who hate guns reside."
  1996. >"I like the way you think. Any objections, Ass?"
  1997. "If she doesn't mind, I'd like to keep the HK-91."
  1998. >"Go ahead, not like I'm going to be able to shoot it anymore..."
  1999. >She looks forlornly down at her hooves, and you give her a good squeeze.
  2000. >"Thanks, Doc."
  2001. >"Alright, it's settled. What was the address?"
  2002. >You tell him.
  2003. "Say, you're no stranger to abductions. Is there anything I should keep in mind with the one that I've got..."
  2004. >20 minutes remain on the timer.
  2005. "Twenty minutes left on?"
  2006. >"What kind of family are we talking here?"
  2007. "Daughter, possible wife."
  2008. >Cunt gives you this look.
  2009. >Not really one of disdain or disgust, but more one that says "You retard."
  2010. >"They're going to be looking for him. I hope you were careful about leaving DNA behind."
  2011. "Of course."
  2012. >"You didn't bring his phone with you, did you?"
  2013. "Of course not."
  2014. >"Where'd you take him?"
  2015. "The safehouse you let me use."
  2016. >"Alright, I'll go by there on my way to your girl's old house and torch it. Can't leave any loose ends."
  2017. "Thanks."
  2018. >"In the future, avoid people like him. Some neckbeard loner disappearing is something people will pretend is a shame, a family man disappearing without a fucking trace is something that's not only heartbreaking, but extremely odd."
  2019. >You nod.
  2020. "Why are you only wearing a bathrobe?"
  2021. >"Oh fuck me, am I?"
  2022. "Yeah, you are."
  2023. >"I could've sworn I threw on some boxers, damn."
  2024. >You eye the bottle he came in with, it's obviously alcohol of some sort but the label is in moon runes.
  2025. >Greeeeeat.
  2026. >You send the buyer a message informing him that there's another option if he'd like to take it, and that you'll share photos shortly.
  2027. >He's responded to your down-payment message saying he's not keen to pay you until he can, in his own words, "Feel the pony with my own fingers."
  2028. >"Well, fuck. At least you tried."
  2029. "Yeah."
  2030. >The timer goes off.
  2031. >Cuntpunch stands up.
  2032. >"I should leave you to it unless you need me here for anything else."
  2033. "Pet supplies, at some point. Right now..."
  2034. >You think for a moment.
  2035. >What will you do?
  2036. >You don't really know how to resist the strange urges you've been getting lately, but you'll try to keep an eye out for anything off.
  2037. >They seem to come from inside of your mind, but this is the first time they came about with such force.
  2038. >You guess since the nanomachines in the jar were inert you would've just needed to get them out of your body, though your stomach would certainly damage some.
  2039. >You'll be more wary about trusting strange suggestions in the future.
  2040. "Cunt, do you need to piss?"
  2041. >"A bit, why?"
  2042. "Go ahead, I've got something funny that will be slightly ruined if you're here to hear what I'm planning."
  2043. >"Alright, go ahead."
  2044. "Oh, and for god's sake don't use the bathroom. That's where I'm keeping the subject."
  2045. >You explain your idea to Friendly.
  2046. >"Sounds like a good prank, but aren't you worried she'll respond poorly to it? I wasn't exactly... as perceptive to this whole thing as I am now when you got me up."
  2047. "I'm sure she'll be fine. Besides, lack of risk-taking is what ruined stand-up comedy."
  2048. >Friendly lifts up a hoof and frowns.
  2049. "Were you trying to give me a Sieg Heil?"
  2050. >"No, I was trying to snap my fingers... guess this'll take some getting used to."
  2051. >You rub her mane a bit and she leans into your hand.
  2052. "For what it's worth I think you're coming along swimmingly."
  2053. >"Well aren't you quite the gentleman faggot... alright, how much time before the horse is baked?"
  2054. "Looks like about twelve."
  2055. >"So just enough time for another um..."
  2056. "You've never seen Aqua Teen before?"
  2057. >"It's been on my list for a while."
  2058. "Cute. Sure thing."
  2059. >Cunt walks back in from the deck.
  2060. "Took you a few minutes."
  2061. >"Sorry, maintenance shit."
  2062. "On... my deck?"
  2063. >He grins, and you look outside.
  2064. "Come on, don't even joke about that."
  2065. >"Heh. Nah, I just saw the two of you were talking about a few things."
  2066. >You finish up the episode, the timer going off seconds after.
  2067. >You check to make sure everything is actually finished and proceed when you've confirmed that.
  2068. "Alright. Cunt, sit next to the bathroom with me. Friendly, proceed as planned. I'll open the door for you, but you'll have to close it. She might be a bit woozy, so don't be an asshole and shake her around or anything. Nudge her gently, and she should wake up."
  2069. >"Ten-four."
  2070. >You move aside the barricade, opening the door covertly.
  2071. >"We're all that's left of civiliza- hrrk!"
  2072. >"I'LL FUCKING END YOU YOU BOOTLICKER! LOOK WHAT YOUR MAKER HAS DONE TO ME. IS THIS THE FORM BEFITTING A FUNCTIONING MEMBER OF SOCIETY?!"
  2073. >Oh shit.
  2074. >You should've kept the incapacitation fluid on-hand, fuck.
  2075. >You run in, prying Moonflower off of a terrified but luckily mostly unharmed Friendly Fire and putting her back in the bathtub.
  2076. >You're kicking yourself now, all of the drawings depicted her as having slightly larger than average leg circumference.
  2077. >Since John didn't have a lot of fat to work with, you figured it would cause less complications and have a faster conversion time to fill out the area with muscle.
  2078. >You dulled down Friendly's horn because you were afraid she'd accidentally or intentionally stab someone... at least nothing horrific happened.
  2079. "Bad girl."
  2080. >Well, the worst thing you can do is give her attention right now.
  2081. >You gingerly lift up FF and carry her out like you might a cat.
  2082. >Re-barricading the door, you sigh.
  2083. "Well, that certainly could've gone better."
  2084. >"Could you introduce more of those things into her to get her mind on-track?"
  2085. "Probably, but that might cause further problems..."
  2086. >You get your ice cube tray out of the freezer and break about half of them out, grinding them up a bit in your blender and then pouring them into a dish towel.
  2087. "Your neck probably hurts."
  2088. >Friendly nods.
  2089. "I know it may not be comfortable, but I need you to say something so I know she didn't mess anything up badly in there."
  2090. >"What the fuck did you just fucking say about me you little bitch? I'll have you-"
  2091. >You laugh along with Cunt.
  2092. "Alright, sounds okay to me. I was going to save this for later, but I think you've earned it."
  2093. >You get up and grab something from the fridge.
  2094. "Close your eyes."
  2095. >She complies.
  2096. "Open your mouth."
  2097. >"I swear if you shove your dick in you fa-"
  2098. >She's cut off by your phallic insertion.
  2099. >Recognizing the nature of the object, she begins to suck with great gusto.
  2100. >You see her going in for a bite, but you flick her ear and she gets the message.
  2101. >"Damn, I never thought horses would enjoy popsicles."
  2102. "Yeah, well what can I say?"
  2103. >Nobody really says anything for a bit, and over the virtual silence you can hear a soft sobbing coming from the bathroom.
  2104. >What will you do?
  2105. "Sorry about that girl, I didn't think she'd chimp out completely."
  2106. >You make a mental note that initial pranks are probably not the greatest idea.
  2107. >Friendly sort of wraps herself around you.
  2108. >You help her finish the popsicle down to the wooden stick.
  2109. >If you wait a few more minutes Moonflower will be all the more... influenceable anyways.
  2110. >Results are results.
  2111. "What's your fortune?"
  2112. >She squints at it.
  2113. >"Huh, my vision is perfect. Good to know you didn't take away my ability to read or something."
  2114. >"Come on, out with it. I can't see the lettering from here."
  2115. >"Alright alright... 'You will soon make an unlikely alliance.'"
  2116. "Well, luck is luck."
  2117. >You get up, patting the militant one more time on the head.
  2118. "I'll be back in a bit, I need to make sure she's okay. Cunt, Friendly, no fornicating on my furniture."
  2119. >"I wouldn't dream of it."
  2120. >"Hey! You don't have to say it like that..."
  2121. >You smirk back at them then move aside the barriers and step into your bathroom.
  2122. >Moonflower is standing next to the knocked-over shit bucket, obvious and very pronounced lines of tears running down her face.
  2123. >"Fuck you."
  2124. >She expresses some shock over the sound of her voice, but narrows her focus back in on you soon after.
  2125. >Kinda reminds you of Beans.
  2126. "That's going to be a pain to clean up."
  2127. >You walk by her.
  2128. >"Fuck you, nigger."
  2129. >A good amount of the fluid has flowed down the drain, god dammit.
  2130. >You scoop her up from behind.
  2131. >"Sure, just leave that shit on the ground. You fucking college boys don't know how to do real work. I get it. Fuck you."
  2132. >She thrashes about, but you still have the advantage on position.
  2133. >You secure her hind legs as you sit down on the edge of the tub.
  2134. "I'm sorry. I can't undo what's been done, but I can give your wife some money to take care of your daughter once you're sold."
  2135. >She stops struggling for an instant.
  2136. >"That won't do no good, she's off in the pen. Tried to cut me up real good, right he-"
  2137. >She grunts as she realizes that she no longer has the scar she probably intended to show you.
  2138. >"Anyways, fuck you man."
  2139. "Sometimes you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been there."
  2140. >"Yeah, nowhere near this bad."
  2141. >You covertly begin to stroke behind her ear as you talk.
  2142. "I didn't even do what got me barred from every lab in the US."
  2143. >"What's that got to do with this?"
  2144. "Everything. Do you think I'd be kidnapping people and turning them into ponies if I had stable income?"
  2145. >She's loosening up a bit, both in her tense little muscles and in her actions.
  2146. >"Ya'know, I kinda figured your queer ass did it as a hobby... why don't you go work for the Russians or something?"
  2147. >You laugh.
  2148. "Well, the first and most obvious reason is that I don't know how to speak Russian. The second is that they'd probably find me out too, I'd be working down in South or Central America for some PMC or a druglord. Both of those things are about as dangerous as this is honestly, but if I work this for just a few years I'd probably have enough to retire."
  2149. >"You make these things or something?"
  2150. "That's not something I'm especially comfortable with answering."
  2151. >You really need to do some self-experimentation with these things soon.
  2152. >"Well why the hell not? I'm not going to be-"
  2153. >"DOCH!"
  2154. "But what? English, Friendly."
  2155. >"Your phone is ringing, caller is blocked."
  2156. >What will you do?
  2157. "Hold that thought."
  2158. >You set Moon down with some struggle and re-barricade the door.
  2159. "Thanks, Friendly."
  2160. >You give the space behind her left ear a little scratch and then retrieve your phone from her mouth.
  2161. >It's fine work, not a spot of saliva is on it.
  2162. >Damn.
  2163. >You walk into the bedroom, looking back at Cunt and putting a finger over your lips.
  2164. >He nods and cranks the volume down on your computer.
  2165. >You close the door and answer the call on what you're pretty sure is the last ring.
  2166. >With a calculated sense of tiredness, you yawn and answer.
  2167. "Hello? What's wrong?"
  2168. >You can hear a single breath before the call drops.
  2169. >You stare at your phone for about a minute.
  2170. >Maybe there are still some telemarketers out there that block their numbers and the setup for the automated system wasn't configured correctly?
  2171. >There are hundreds of good explanations for what just happened, but none of them untie the knot in your gut.
  2172. >Who the fuck just called you?
  2173. >You decided to distract yourself by figuring out how you're going to deal with the kid.
  2174. >Quite a few thoughts on how to handle this are going through your head, everything from abducting her as well and keeping her with her... 'mom' to using her as a threat to keep Moonflower in line.
  2175. >Right now you resolve to just keep tabs on her, with every safety precaution you put in place of course.
  2176. >It might be in your best interests to lay low anyways.
  2177. >You toss your phone on the bed and re-enter the bathroom.
  2178. "You can come out and get something to eat, but only if you apologize to your housemate."
  2179. >"Yeah, fuck that. I'd rather starve."
  2180. >You sigh.
  2181. "Well, I can force you to eat if that becomes a problem, but I'm guessing you want to discuss what'll happen to your daughter."
  2182. >She narrows her eyes at you.
  2183. >"Yeah, I guess I do."
  2184. >Time seems to freeze as you look into those angry eyes.
  2185. >Neither of you say anything for probably five minutes.
  2186. >"What are your plans, Mengele?"
  2187. >Well, this might be a good way to gauge what information you've been considering against him.
  2188. >With a neutral face and monotone voice, you reply.
  2189. "I'm going to take your daughter and do the same thing I did to you."
  2190. >She lunges at you clumsily, but you sidestep and she slams face-first into the door.
  2191. >"You motherfucker!"
  2192. "Would you rather that or the system?"
  2193. >She stops.
  2194. "Well, what's it going to be?"
  2195. >"You sick fucking bastard..."
  2196. >You can see her shaking with rage, but it doesn't seem to be directed so much at you anymore.
  2197. "Come on Moonflower, let's get you something to eat."
  2198. >"Okay."
  2199. >You pick her up, wary of another incident.
  2200. >She's clinging to you, like some sort of support blanket.
  2201. >Oh lord, this one is going to be some real Stockholm shit; but at least you seem to have gotten her on the right path.
  2202. "Let's see, I've got enough lettuce and tomatoes for a nice salad, some granola bars-"
  2203. >"Meat."
  2204. >You raise an eyebrow, but shrug and pull out the bacon.
  2205. >She looks at it with some confusion, then straightens out her face.
  2206. >There's no way in hell she's going to eat it, but it's breakfast time somewhere and Cunt might be hungry.
  2207. >You get the pan set up on your hotplate, waiting for it to heat up.
  2208. >You whisper your plan in Cunt's ear.
  2209. >"Cold-blooded, man."
  2210. >"What's cold-blooded?"
  2211. "I'm making breakfast. You want a salad?"
  2212. >"I don't know doc, that's not really breakfast affair..."
  2213. "Trust me."
  2214. >You bring everyone into the kitchen.
  2215. >Licking your finger and sticking the wet bit to the iron skillet, you can tell that it still hasn't heated up enough for bacon yet.
  2216. >You prepare Friendly a nice helping of lettuce and canned tomatoes, leaving the rest of the party to wait on the bacon.
  2217. >Moon knows something is up, but she doesn't seem to have figured it out just yet.
  2218. >"Why the fuck is this taking so long?"
  2219. "Propane was shut off, that's a laboratory hotplate. Give it a bit."
  2220. >"Christ..."
  2221. >Finally, your finger sizzles as the tiny layer of moisture evaporates off of it.
  2222. >You begin to fry the bacon, making sure to prep enough pieces for you and Cunt, with one to spare.
  2223. >"I can count fuckass, where's my bacon?"
  2224. "Two pieces should be enough."
  2225. >It's about now that she seems to catch a whiff of it, but she's still very much in denial.
  2226. >"You have some sort of sewage leak?"
  2227. >Friendly looks up from her meal.
  2228. >"Yeah, something does smell a bit off... Doc?"
  2229. >You silently continue to fry.
  2230. >Finally, the Sunset Shimmer strips are ready.
  2231. >You get out three plates, placing one piece on Moonflower's plate and distributing the rest evenly between you and Cunt.
  2232. >Seize the means of production, comrade.
  2233. >She uses the hard keratin of her hoof to move the bacon close to her muzzle, just hanging off the plate.
  2234. >Her nose must be close enough to tell that it's the source of the awful smell.
  2235. >She bites down anyways, chewing slowly.
  2236. >"What did you do to my bacon?"
  2237. >Cunt shrugs.
  2238. >"Tastes fine to me."
  2239. >You skewer a piece through the fat and take a bite.
  2240. "Delicious. Hey, if you don't like that I can get you a salad. Does that sound good?"
  2241. >Your tone is sympathetic, but you and she both know what you just did.
  2242. >"I... okay."
  2243. "Good girl."
  2244. ...
  2245. >"Alright, you sure you can hold down the fort with both of them?"
  2246. "You have shit to do today, don't you?"
  2247. >"Just checking up on warehouse stocks, it shouldn't take too long."
  2248. >You look back at Moonflower, who has been sulking ever since the bacon incident. Friendly is keeping her distance.
  2249. >What will you do?
  2250. >It's early enough for reporters and journalists to be rubbing their filthy noses in everyone's business, so you check the local news websites.
  2251. >The top stories are never paywalled and...
  2252. >Bingo.
  2253. >'Late last night John Clement'-
  2254. >You Ctrl+F for instances of his first and last name and use a script to replace all related text with black boxes.
  2255. >Good shit, now if Moon looks over your shoulder you won't find out just what kind of horrible shit happens to a pony when it relearns its human name.
  2256. >Surely there are more reasons than just soft-rebooting an identity that he would go out of his way to dabble with mental modification that complex...
  2257. >The police don't have any leads on where the body went, but gang involvement is speculated in a few articles.
  2258. >In most other cases they'd be right, Cunt's exports tend to attract the worst.
  2259. >You idly flick your earlobe as you read through page after page of speculation with not much information.
  2260. >They do have search parties combing the forest, as you expected.
  2261. >Tire tracks might be an issue in the snow, especially since not a lot of vehicles have the kind of specialized equipment for driving through forests.
  2262. >You know you drove on enough pavement for them to have a hell of a time finding the endpoint though.
  2263. >The information about his daughter doesn't look too good.
  2264. >Namely, there isn't much other than 'has been relocated until her father can be found'.
  2265. >You want to scream.
  2266. >God, what are you going to do if you're compromised?
  2267. >There's building parking, which should hasten a potential escape; but parking the vehicle you use to do all of your dirty work nearby seems like asking for trouble and honestly Cunt's lot seems safer.
  2268. >You keep all of your important information backed up on the cloud, and your lab is rigged to burn and melt into slag with a detonation button on your phone.
  2269. >But your landlord has your real name in his records, so they'd still be tracking -you-.
  2270. >Your DNA shouldn't be in the system since you haven't been convicted, but it'll be hell on earth.
  2271. >"Guilt setting in yet, Retard?"
  2272. >You grab Moonflower gently and set her down on your lap, turning the computer away from her.
  2273. "Take that back and I'll rub your belly."
  2274. >"Yeah, no."
  2275. >You roll her over with a bit of protest and give her a taste, stopping when the cracks in her facade of disinterest are showing.
  2276. "Well?"
  2277. >"I reckon if you were retarded you wouldn't have been able to take me and the other jackass, poindexter..."
  2278. >It's a start.
  2279. >You guess that's enough to warrant a minor reward.
  2280. >You continue to rub, but only for a brief period.
  2281. >You've got some work to do.
  2282. "Friendly, you're in charge. If she starts fucking with you, call me."
  2283. >"What if she goes for me again and I can't call you?"
  2284. >You give Moonflower a look that could kill.
  2285. "She -wouldn't-, but-"
  2286. >You lead Friendly into your lab, closing the door behind you.
  2287. >After a minute or two of rooting around in your drawers of assorted electronic devices, you settle on a noise grenade.
  2288. >"Why would you keep one of these around? I figured packing a gun would be better defense against rape and you don't mix well with cops."
  2289. >You coat it with a nontoxic polymer for waterproofing, then shrug.
  2290. "Have you never done drunk online shopping?"
  2291. >She snorts and does this really cute laugh.
  2292. >"Can't say I have. Alright, I'll leave you to your... whatever."
  2293. "Thanks, be careful out there. And keep it hidden from her."
  2294. >You place the grenade in Friendly's mouth, closing the lab door behind her.
  2295. >Now, time to figure out what exactly these things can do for you.
  2296. ...
  2297. >After a good four hours of poring over programs, you've found remnants of a few enhancements you can make to yourself.
  2298. >The most tempting ones are all the ones that require you to have the machines constantly in your body, but there are a few that are a one-time procedure.
  2299. >Some require a bit of preparation.
  2300. >Others come with minor risks.
  2301. >Others still will obviously (with your expertise) be fatal to try but are detailed with the same reverence and methodology of the others.
  2302. >That doesn't set right with you.
  2303. >Did he expect for his work to be stolen and booby-trap certain aspects of it?
  2304. >You'll have to comb things with a more careful eye in the future.
  2305. >The first procedure that catches your eye is increased muscle mass over a very short period of time.
  2306. >You have to provide the protein for muscular growth yourself and it acts upon the principals of normal muscle growth to avoid carcinogenic complications, but after a day of being out of commission you'll be practically indistinguishable from a bodybuilder.
  2307. >You make a note that protein should probably be administered intravenously for that one.
  2308. >The next one excites the little kid in you.
  2309. >Through a similar process to the one that was used to repair Friendly's drain bamage, you can greatly enhance your own cognitive abilities.
  2310. >You'll be able to remember things with greater acuity, learn things pretty much immediately by reading them, and hell your reflexes will probably improve quite markedly as well, though that part will come down to training to an extent.
  2311. >There are also some enhancements for the rest of your nervous system listed, but those fall in the 'possibly deadly' category.
  2312. >As for 'crewed' benefits, as long as you replace the nanomachines inside of you regularly you will be able to enjoy a few different types of features:
  2313. >On-demand reconstructive surgery. You're nervous about using this to adjust anything but facial features, but as long as you're wearing a coat you can discard fully reconstructing your face to assume a completely new identity should only take about fifteen minutes.
  2314. >You'll need to figure out how to get the OS working on a PDA or something for this to be any use in public though, and you'll have to be wary of the uncanny valley when modeling the faces.
  2315. >Trauma defense. Nanomachines in your bloodstream will link together in the event of any sort of bleeding, rapidly halting the escaping blood and allowing platelets through to organically repair the damage.
  2316. >In cases where trauma is more severe, they'll also assist in damage repair.
  2317. >Even though this should make bullet wounds less of an issue, you'll still need to be damn careful you don't get shot in the head.
  2318. >The last one here is a foreign body detection system, which in addition to dealing with a multitude of bacteria and viruses will deal with solid foreign particles.
  2319. >You'll still be out of luck if someone slips Hydrogen Cyanide in your cereal though.
  2320. >While you're pondering all of this you realize that you've neglected your dart gun a bit.
  2321. >Poor girl hasn't even been given a name, aye...
  2322. >Also it's out of non-lethal projectiles and the CO2 canister could use some more gas.
  2323. >You get to work.
  2324. ...
  2325. >You decided to be a bit more proactive and prepare 5 incapacitation darts this time.
  2326. >They join the two execution darts in your case... that's a bit of an issue.
  2327. >There are only five slots in total, so something is going to have to go or you're going to have to bring another storage container.
  2328. >Whatever, you're going to stop the technical side of your work and get into the less technical side of it.
  2329. >Namely, cuddling ponies.
  2330. >You open the door to the lab, sunlight finally peaking through the curtains.
  2331. >Friendly has tied Moonflower to the lamp post.
  2332. "Yeah, I'm going to need some explanation here."
  2333. >"I said that Harry Potter was a better fantasy story than Howl's Moving Castle, because it is."
  2334. >"Fucking how?"
  2335. >"Well one of them just had my daughter confused when I read it to her, and the other one made her wear this really cute witch hat for about a month."
  2336. >"That's not how you objectively measure good storytelling."
  2337. >"Fantasy stories are for kids and failed men, and since you probably got yourself into this mess watching a fucking fantasy cartoon designed for little kids, I'd say you fall squarely in the second category."
  2338. >There are a few seconds of silence while you try to figure out how the fuck to deal with this.
  2339. >You settle on just untying Moon and getting lunch ready.
  2340. ...
  2341. >You've been giving Friendly a lot of attention.
  2342. >Not just because she deserves it (which she does) but because Moonflower is clearly getting more jealous by the minute.
  2343. >You know she'll crack eventually.
  2344. >"Hey Poindexter-"
  2345. >Here it comes.
  2346. >"I've got this horrible itch on the back of my ear that I can't quite rea-"
  2347. >As if on queue, Friendly uses a hind leg to give her ear a little love tap.
  2348. >"Oh, sorry. Don't mind me."
  2349. >"Fucking brown-noser. So, could you uh..."
  2350. "Oh, sure thing. Apologize to Friendly properly, then beg me for it."
  2351. >"What? Hell no. I'm not some fucking dog, and she's a little bitch."
  2352. >Friendly's ears droop a bit at that.
  2353. "Grown-ass mare. If you aren't willing to be a good girl, I'm sure Friendly won't mind sitting on my lap for the rest of the day."
  2354. >"You little fucking... please?"
  2355. "Better, but not good enough."
  2356. >She gives you what's probably supposed to be a cold glare, but doesn't come out nearly as threateningly as she probably intended.
  2357. >"Look, I'm sorry I tried to strangle you. It hasn't been a great day and you looked like an easy target for my rage. I realize now that you're not as much of a pussy faggot as I initially thought, and that Poindexter isn't either. Now scratch behind my ears."
  2358. "Beg."
  2359. >She gets back on her haunches and sorta puts up her hooves like a praying mantis.
  2360. "Perfect, now hold that position for a second."
  2361. >She obeys, and you grab your phone to take a good photo.
  2362. >Fucking nice.
  2363. >"So, can I...?"
  2364. >You put Friendly down and give her a good pat on the head.
  2365. "Nothing personnel kid."
  2366. >She rolls her eyes.
  2367. >"You autist. Do you have anything for me to do?"
  2368. "What kind of youtube videos do you watch?"
  2369. >"Gun channels mostly."
  2370. "That figures."
  2371. >You make Moonflower wait while you get Friendly hooked up with a playlist of gun videos on your laptop.
  2372. >Then, you plunge her into heaven.
  2373. >You start with her back, giving her fluff a good rub-down.
  2374. >You follow up with her blue mane, then her turquoise underbelly and little ears.
  2375. >As the process goes on, she becomes less and less tense.
  2376. >Near the end, she's clinging on to you a bit.
  2377. >And when you stop right after that, she lets out this sad country horse whimper.
  2378. "Hey, more to come eventually."
  2379. >What will you do?
  2380. >You go back to checking the local news sites for any information regarding John Clement.
  2381. >Nothing has become of the search since you last checked.
  2382. >You give Moonflower a good rub.
  2383. "God, you're so cute I could eat you."
  2384. >Friendly looks up.
  2385. >"Isn't that 'eat you up'?"
  2386. "Same difference."
  2387. >You received the call on your personal phone, so there is no point in burning it.
  2388. >Even you have to provide legitimate information to people at some point and this phone is unfortunately rather tied to you.
  2389. >After a few minutes of arguing with your phone company, you are granted *69 privileges at an unreasonable price.
  2390. >You look around online for information about the phone number, but turn up nothing.
  2391. >You don't attempt to call it back.
  2392. >The last thing you want right now is the appear more suspicious.
  2393. >You grab a ragged old pair of pants you used to use for gardening and lay them down in the snow, pissing all over them.
  2394. >Taking careful aim, you toss them down onto your jackass neighbor's car.
  2395. >He'll probably never know it was you.
  2396. >You can hear them splat satisfyingly on the windshield from here.
  2397. >Friendly looks a bit perturbed.
  2398. >"Hey Doc? I can keep watch if you need a bit more sleep."
  2399. "I'm fine. I've been wanting to do something like that to that guy for a while now."
  2400. >"Yeah, why now?"
  2401. >Because you feel like a man living on borrowed time.
  2402. "I don't know. I'm going out for a bit, I need to finish up that shopping from earlier if Cunt hasn't already. You need anything?"
  2403. >"Get Moonflower one of those Impossible Whoppers."
  2404. >You lean in close to Friendly.
  2405. "I appreciate your kindness, but she really hasn't done much to earn a treat. Also, that's ridiculous."
  2406. >"Hey, just forgo one of mine then."
  2407. >Moon raises a brow at her.
  2408. >"Something is goin' on here."
  2409. >"Nope, just trying to make amends. It's vegetarian so it should be fine for us, right?"
  2410. "Allllright, you get half and she gets half."
  2411. >Before you leave the house again, you need to take care of a few things.
  2412. >First, you get in contact with Cunt to tell him not to worry about the pet store.
  2413. >Second, you wrap your arms around Friendly and bring her into your lab.
  2414. >"You don't have to do that every time, you can just tell me you want to go somewhere."
  2415. "I could, but you make some really cute faces when I do."
  2416. >She puffs out her cheeks in annoyance.
  2417. "There we go."
  2418. >"So what've you got for me this time, Q?"
  2419. "Shush. I've got something a bit more devious in mind, though it will require a bit of adjustment on your part."
  2420. >You reach into a freezer and, with gloved hands, remove several sections of a Portuguese Man-of-war tentacle.
  2421. >Thank god electricity is dirt cheap right now.
  2422. >You wrap two around a piece of thick leather, sew the tentacles onto the strips, and then affix Velcro to the two ends.
  2423. >With some coaxing and a demonstration on the inside on your own hand, you convince Friendly that it's safe to put on.
  2424. "Of course, be very careful with your neck movements. If all goes according to plan though, she'll get a nasty surprise if she tries that strangulation business again."
  2425. >You rub her mane and then let her loose back into the apartment.
  2426. >Something is off.
  2427. >Right, the laptop.
  2428. >You power it down.
  2429. >"What are we supposed to do while you're gone?"
  2430. >You mostly keep technical journals, but there are a few fictional works.
  2431. >You select a science fiction anthology you remember enjoying for Friendly and a Steven King novel you bought years ago but never read for Moonflower.
  2432. >Both are paperbacks, which might cause a few issues with hooves but you're sure they'll figure it out.
  2433. >Finally, you put one of your extra incapacitation darts to use by rigging up the CO2 gun to a tripwire at the door.
  2434. >You'll be able to disable it with a credit card, but anyone who isn't a midget will get a nasty surprise on a forced entry attempt.
  2435. "Be good for me."
  2436. >Moon dismisses you and Friendly gives you a courteous nod.
  2437. >You lock the door and walk down to Cunt's lot.
  2438. >The new car is inconspicuous.
  2439. >Perfect.
  2440. >You find out that the speakers aren't quite to your liking when you crank up the radio, but while you're channel-scanning you hear a loud bang.
  2441. >You immediately duck for cover, looking around.
  2442. >No glass.
  2443. >What the fuck was that?
  2444. >You consider stopping the car and getting out, but that would make you more of a target.
  2445. >So you wait a few minutes.
  2446. >Looking around you, getting as much of a view as you can of the surroundings.
  2447. >Not a soul.
  2448. >You carefully get out, keeping low and searching around the vehicle for damage.
  2449. >Latex confetti.
  2450. >Green.
  2451. >There's a water balloon on your exhaust pipe with a smiley-face crudely drawn in sharpie on the part that isn't ruptured.
  2452. >God fucking dammit Cunt.
  2453. >You turn the ignition key and the radio blares to life once more.
  2454. >"Groovy Man Jeff, how are all of you roadsters doing today?"
  2455. >You need to get some CDs.
  2456. >"This next song is from a Julian for his special somebody, for all of you who don't have one of those yet tough luck!"
  2457. "Yeah yeah, fuck you too. With a voice like that I doubt you score more than I do."
  2458. >It's just some generic sloppy love song, nothing worth remembering.
  2459. >You skid a bit on the black ice and are reminded that you're not dealing with tires as good as the last one.
  2460. >Luckily the main road should be salted.
  2461. >What will you do?
  2462. >You can't stop thinking about how much you want to eat the fucking nanomachines.
  2463. >You focus on the road as you drive onward.
  2464. >You're not going to the pet store that's next to the crash scene, even though the next one out is about twenty minutes further.
  2465. >You mentally go over the shit you need.
  2466. >Collars.
  2467. >You feel paranoid about getting an engraving in case somebody gets suspicious and connects the dots with Hunter's disappearance, then connects the dots with the ocs...
  2468. >You didn't notice whether or not the ponies your old friend kept had engraved tags, but either way it bothers you.
  2469. >Moonflower is inconspicuous enough to work for a dog's name, but Friendly Fire is too fucking specific.
  2470. >The engraver would ask questions.
  2471. >'Oh, you play a lot of video games?'
  2472. 'Haha no, I just turn people into mares in my spare time haha.'
  2473. >That'd go over really fucking well.
  2474. >Kennels are going to be a bit pricey, but you should invest in at least two or three of them.
  2475. >A squeaky toy.
  2476. >Maybe a few leashes for when you move out of the apartment.
  2477. >That would be nice.
  2478. >Walking Friendly through the woods, miles away from anybody.
  2479. >Cunt would know where to buy.
  2480. >If you don't kill him for the shit he pulled.
  2481. >Snow is falling softly from the sky, sun just barely peaking through the clouds directly overhead.
  2482. >You wonder for a brief moment what it would be like to be a pony.
  2483. >To be an object of desire for anything other than your skills.
  2484. >To be coddled and given everything you could ever want.
  2485. >But you know that's not the life you want.
  2486. >You enjoy control, and you're not going to give up when you're so close to achieving about as much control as you could ever want.
  2487. >Bangalter seemed convinced that control and money are two separate entities.
  2488. >You feel that they're more of an Ouroboros than anything.
  2489. >You're here.
  2490. >You start with the collars, since they're simple affair.
  2491. >An adjustable black one for Friendly, and an adjustable green one for Moon.
  2492. >You come across this fox in the clearance bin.
  2493. >It doesn't squeak, but it has a voice box.
  2494. >As you're perusing the kennel section you feel a tap on your side.
  2495. >You whip around, eyes locked on...
  2496. >An employee.
  2497. >She's high-school age, and you probably scared her half to death.
  2498. >"A-anything I can help you with sir?"
  2499. >What will you do?
  2500. >You're still thinking about the nanomachines, but you manage to rip your mind away from them for a few minutes to talk to her.
  2501. >You assume a slightly jovial tone.
  2502. "Do you do mare spaying here?"
  2503. >She laughs nervously.
  2504. >"We're uh... not equipped to do any sort of spaying here. I could recommend a veterinary office that my family uses though if you'd like?"
  2505. "I don't think that will be necessary. Seriously though, do you have any horse care products?"
  2506. >She snaps her fingers.
  2507. >"As odd as it may be, I remember my supervisor talking about a few things about a week ago. Do you have anything specific you're looking for?"
  2508. "Not in particular."
  2509. >Fuck, that sounds a bit weird.
  2510. "My niece is always talking about horses, my sister is loaded so I figure if they actually get her a pony or something I should be prepared to give her some gifts relating to that."
  2511. >"Oh my god! I loved ponies too when I was a little kid."
  2512. "Go figure."
  2513. >"Have you seen that My Little Pony show? It's actually not that bad."
  2514. >Fuck, why is everyone you run into loosely affiliated with the fucking cartoon?
  2515. "Can't say I have. I've heard some of those 4chan guys were behind its rise in popularity outside the intended audience though."
  2516. >"Are you a regular on there?"
  2517. "Nah, never really got into Mongolian basketweaving."
  2518. >She nods, somewhat knowingly.
  2519. >"Well, we don't have any hay here but we've got mane and tail shampoo, some leads, grooming kits-"
  2520. "What do the grooming kits come with?"
  2521. >She sticks out her tongue and makes fart noises while she looks up information on her phone.
  2522. >"Generic hoof conditioner, generic mane conditioner, and twelve different types of brushes and combs."
  2523. >That sounds handy...
  2524. "I'll confess I'm also here for dog-related queries. Would you recommend any leashes or collars over the others?"
  2525. >"Oh, sure thing."
  2526. >She takes you to an area near the kennels, and grabs a few retractable leashes and harnesses.
  2527. >"These are great even for disobedient ones, they aren't able to pull quite as hard."
  2528. >You inspect one of the plastic-wrapped harnesses, and what you can tell from the design her claims are fairly valid.
  2529. >The retractable leashes look to be of quality build.
  2530. "How about collars?"
  2531. >"Oh, we have a few bins over there if you want to take a look."
  2532. >You lay out every new design you can find.
  2533. >By the end, you have plain red, green, blue, white, black and orange collars.
  2534. >There are special designs you didn't notice earlier which are a dollar extra.
  2535. >From that bin you lay out a skull-patterned collar, a collar with peace signs, a collar with marijuana signs, a collar with radiation hazard symbols, a collar with hammer-and-sickle symbols, a collar with US flags, a collar with Canadian flags, a collar with flame symbols, and a collar with those stupid fucking shit emoticons on it.
  2536. "Quite the selection."
  2537. >"I got the peace signs for one dog and the flames for another."
  2538. "Good choices."
  2539. >"We can also do nametag engraving here for you."
  2540. >The god-awful fox toy is $3.
  2541. >The grooming kit is $35.
  2542. >The mane and tail shampoo is $7.
  2543. >Normal squeaky toys are $10.
  2544. >Kennels in the storage size appropriate for mares are $50 each.
  2545. >Plain collars are $9, and patterned collars are $10.
  2546. >Leads are $15, though you don't think you really need one.
  2547. >Harnesses are $20 each, and retractable leashes are $17 each.
  2548. >Nametags are $7, and the engraving fee is $4.
  2549. >You have $60 left in your checking account after groceries, $30 cash, and $1000 in savings.
  2550. >What will you do?
  2551. >You decide it really probably isn't a good idea to spend money on either of the toys, at least for the time being.
  2552. >It takes a few minutes longer for you to weigh the pros and cons of getting the harnesses, and after some deliberation you decide they're more expensive than they're worth at the moment.
  2553. >You decide that the leashes could come in handy, at the very least for taking ponies outside to piss, or something.
  2554. >Who knows, your next subject could be suicidal.
  2555. >You scoop up two of the black collars, a grooming kit and two leashes; which you set down over in the checkout area.
  2556. "Hang on a second, I'm not checking out just yet."
  2557. >"Sir, you can't hold up the line."
  2558. "What line? I'm the only one in the store."
  2559. >You take a look at her nametag and chuckle when you see that she's the store owner.
  2560. "Oh, I'm... sorry for your loss."
  2561. >She says something under her breath and calls the high school girl from earlier over.
  2562. "Could you help me grab a kennel?"
  2563. >"Oh, sure."
  2564. >When you point to the size of kennel she appears to contemplate something.
  2565. >"How old is your girl?"
  2566. "Er, girls. I need you to carry the second one."
  2567. >"Right, um... what breeds?"
  2568. >The last thing you need is somebody reporting you for animal abuse because the crates are too small for a growing mastiff or something, so you take a hit to your pride.
  2569. "Chihuahua, both."
  2570. >"Lot of room for chihuahuas."
  2571. "Hey, I work long hours. I don't need them cramping their legs in something tiny."
  2572. >"Fair enough."
  2573. >You carry the boxes containing the kennels up to the checkout, and the owner begins ringing you up.
  2574. >"One hundred forty-six dollars and fifty-three cents."
  2575. >You fish out the three tens the cashier gave you.
  2576. >"One hundred sixteen dollars and fifty-three cents."
  2577. >You insert your card into the chip reader.
  2578. >"Fifty-six dollars and fifty-three cents."
  2579. "Shit, can I go to an ATM?"
  2580. >"I'm about to go on lunch, so make it fucking quick. There's one across the road."
  2581. >You look across the street at an ATM, one that isn't from your bank so will likely charge you extra fees.
  2582. >There's a group consisting of stereotypical pants-sagging gang-bang looking types heating up something you're pretty sure isn't tobacco of any kind on a spoon right next to the ATM.
  2583. >Your phone is at home.
  2584. >All of your guns are also at home.
  2585. >Luckily Cunt had the forethought to move your shit, so you have the following in your car:
  2586. -Three cans of refried beans (trunk)
  2587. -Backpack: (Two Magnesium strips, gas torch, two smoke bombs, six sets of disposable gloves, 100 grams of Thermite powder)
  2588. -Multi-tool: (knife, file, pliers, wire-cutters, phillips-head screwdriver, flat-head screwdriver, miniature saw.)
  2589. -Car jack and spare tire (for the other car, god damn it) (trunk)
  2590. -Jerry can (half full of gasoline, vehicle-grade.) (trunk)
  2591. -Small chainsaw (trunk)
  2592. -Pack of cigarettes (three cigarettes left) (console storage)
  2593. -Towel (blood-stained) (floor)
  2594. >You have the following on your person:
  2595. -Wallet
  2596. -Jacket (lighter and spy sunglasses in left pocket, set of lock picks in right pocket)
  2597. -Tennis shoes (left shoe has concealed scalpel blade, extended by tapping 'shave and a haircut' on heel with right shoe)
  2598. -Pants (unpissed)
  2599. -Underwear (one emergency condom taped to the outside.)
  2600. -Socks (one get out of jail free "Monopoly" card.)
  2601. >What will you do?
  2602. >You put the condom and your debit card between your teeth and pick up the chainsaw, shifting the weight to one hand momentarily while you slip on your mirror shades.
  2603. >Setting the chainsaw on the ground, you engage the chain brake before shifting the choke control into the fourth position.
  2604. >The starting rope is pulled as you walk towards the ATM, and you begin to push down lightly on the throttle.
  2605. >Already you can see that half of the group is scared shitless, and the other half looks like they're ready to murder you.
  2606. >As you get within spitting distance, you pull down your glasses to reveal your bloodshot eyes and, without a word, you use your steadying hand to rip the condom wrapper open.
  2607. >Every last one of runs for the trees.
  2608. >You curse loudly as you realize that you're going to be charged a 2% fee on top of the requirements of withdrawls being in increments of ten.
  2609. >Whatever, just get the hell out of here.
  2610. >You take the eighty dollars back over to the store and pay the high school girl, as the owner seems to have gotten tired of waiting.
  2611. >$3.47 returned as change, $23.47 in total cash.
  2612. >"Do you need help out to your car, sir?"
  2613. "Nah, I'll survive."
  2614. >"You sure scared them good, I haven't seen them vacate that area before five or six most days."
  2615. "Guess it was five o'clock somewhere."
  2616. >You walk out the door feeling like James Bond, and immediately fuck it up by stumbling and dropping the crate.
  2617. >Luckily everything else was in bags so nothing is damaged, but you still manage to look like a klutz.
  2618. >You load the crate into the back seat, putting everything else in the passenger.
  2619. >You don't know what time it is precisely, but it's some time a bit before or after mid-day.
  2620. >You turn on the radio as you drive to the nearest Burger King.
  2621. >"Might as well admit that you-"
  2622. >"You give looov-"
  2623. >"I just died in your ar-"
  2624. >"Was known for wanton-"
  2625. >You don't particularly hate any of the songs that you're skipping over, you're just feeling a bit frustrated you guess.
  2626. >Your mind has been playing tricks on you when you've never had anything of the sort happen up until this point, and it picked the worst fucking time to be giving you mixed messages.
  2627. >As a man of science, you've always relied on it.
  2628. >Trusted it.
  2629. >Now you can only hope that whatever is fucking with you will subside.
  2630. >"Welcome to Burger King, can I take your order?"
  2631. "Do you ever feel you're going insane?"
  2632. >"Are you asking me as a customer or as a friend?"
  2633. "I've gotta get these burgers or I'm going to piss some people off, so customer."
  2634. >"You're holding up the line, give me your order."
  2635. "Two Impossible Whoppers."
  2636. >You can hear what might be a cut off laugh through the speaker, though it's hard to tell with the poor sound quality.
  2637. >"Eleven ninety-six at the window. I can recommend you my therapist, her rates are pretty decent..."
  2638. "It's fine kid. Just forget it."
  2639. >You hand him a ten and two ones, opting to let him keep the four cents change since you'll either be rich or in hell very soon.
  2640. >You opt to place your goodie bags inside of the kennel and carry the whole mess inside, being much more careful with the whole thing.
  2641. >As you unlock the door, you hear a sigh of relief.
  2642. "Hey girl, everything go alright?"
  2643. >You set the kennel down with the grate facing the wall, since the collars are supposed to be somewhat of a surprise.
  2644. >"Well, she didn't break anything or try to escape, but... well, just take a look."
  2645. >Moonflower has ripped apart the novel you gave her and pissed on it.
  2646. "Oh come on! That was a good fifteen bucks!"
  2647. >"I did what any human pet would do. No wait, those words don't make any goddamn sense next to each other. In any case, you shoulda asked if I needed to piss, and not all King books are winners."
  2648. >What will you do?
  2649. "Bad pony, Moonflower. Look over there at the wall. What do you see?"
  2650. >She looks a bit hurt, but more confused.
  2651. >Maybe she's confused as to why two inane words made her feel like shit.
  2652. >"A fucking dog kennel?"
  2653. "Would you like to go in there?"
  2654. >"Hell no."
  2655. "Then I think we need to have a bit of a talk."
  2656. >You let her stew in whatever she's feeling while you retrieve one burger from the bag in the kennel, sitting down on the floor and beckoning Friendly over.
  2657. "I'm not angry at you for pissing on the book."
  2658. >"Wait, what?"
  2659. "I'm a bit miffed that you fucked up my book, but honestly I was likely never going to read it."
  2660. >"So, does this mean I'm off the hook?"
  2661. "Not exactly. It's not the actions you took, but the presentation of them that's so telling here..."
  2662. >You unclip Friendly's collar carefully and set it out of equine reach.
  2663. "If you had apologetically told me that you couldn't hold it in and tried to find an area where you wouldn't fuck up the floor, which with the reduced size of your bladder I wouldn't have faulted you for, we wouldn't be in the situation we're in now."
  2664. >You flick her on the nose.
  2665. "I'll let you off this time with a warning. If you fuck up again though, I think a few hours in the kennel will be in order."
  2666. >"Uh, I don't really know how to say this, but thanks..."
  2667. "Don't mention it. Though I can't let you off completely, so..."
  2668. >About thirty minutes later of scrubbing with a sample of pure Acetic Acid you made a while back, and the gross carpeted floor has returned to its normal shade of drab brown.
  2669. >Friendly finished her burger about fifteen minutes back, it kinda pained you every time you looked up and saw Moonflower salivating at the sight of it.
  2670. >It must've smelled pretty fucking good.
  2671. >"H-hey Poindexter, I reckon ya got two of those?"
  2672. >Her hooves are a stained mess, you're sure as hell not going to let her up on your lap right now; but she has worked hard.
  2673. >You go get the burger, cringing as you feel how much heat it's lost.
  2674. >As she takes the first bite, you can see tears forming in her eyes.
  2675. >"It's good, but it's cold..."
  2676. >You continue to feed it to her, knowing that the microwave would both fuck up the burger and your next plan.
  2677. >"Why can't anything be good in this world?"
  2678. "Come on, is the burger that bad?"
  2679. >"No, just the icing on the fucking cake..."
  2680. "Hey Friendly, do you want a bath?"
  2681. >"Sure thing, Doc."
  2682. "Moony, I'll tell you what. If you're a good pony for all of tomorrow, I'll go out and get you another one."
  2683. >"R-really?"
  2684. "Of course."
  2685. >You clear all of the shit that you've put in the bathroom out, including getting the rest of the shit sludge cleaned up.
  2686. >Needless to say, you don't enjoy it.
  2687. >You manage to retrieve about 70% of the bots, but all of them will need to be thoroughly cleaned before they can safely be used for anything.
  2688. >Oh well...
  2689. >You really need to figure out a permanent solution to where the ponies are going to shit.
  2690. >"Hey Poin-"
  2691. "Please tell me you don't need to fucking shit."
  2692. >"I gotta drop off the Browns at the Superbowl. I gotta download a brown-load. I gotta-"
  2693. "I get it, I get it. Christ."
  2694. >You used to laugh at your chemical engineer friend back in school, calling him a glorified plumber.
  2695. >If only he could see you now.
  2696. >"Doc, I kinda have to uh... too."
  2697. "Yeah yeah, hold on a minute."
  2698. >What will you do?
  2699. "You guys remember how to shit on a bowl, right?"
  2700. >"Well, yeah."
  2701. >"No, can't rightly say I do."
  2702. >You look Moonflower in the eyes and she gives you this shit-eating grin.
  2703. >"Yeah, I do."
  2704. "Good, now..."
  2705. >You realize that there are still some machines in Moon right now.
  2706. >You direct the few dormant machines that were hanging out in her colon to avoid evacuation.
  2707. >Christ, when did your job become so focused on shit?
  2708. >A little voice tells you that you should've bought a litter box, but really that sounds even more awful.
  2709. >You think you might've seen one back at your colleague's house though...
  2710. >Maybe he gets off on cleaning up pony shit or something.
  2711. >"What's so funny?"
  2712. >You didn't realize you were laughing.
  2713. "Nothing, Friendly. Come on, you're first up."
  2714. >You lift the camo-patterned mare up by her upper barrel, setting her on the seat.
  2715. >Immediately, you see the problem.
  2716. >You were able to keep her tail out of the water, but since ponies are more designed for doing this sort of thing standing, her dock somewhat gets in the way.
  2717. >Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
  2718. "Can you two hold it in for a few more minutes?"
  2719. >Both mares nod, though Moonflower looks a bit antsy.
  2720. >You head into your lab, finding what you're looking for almost immediately.
  2721. >A large trunk.
  2722. >The main issue is that it's not empty, but is chock full of various texts, bound notebooks, binders, and anything else that you couldn't bear to throw out because of its tangential relation to your work.
  2723. >You groan as you begin to pile them all on the floor next to you.
  2724. ...
  2725. >You push the trunk up against the toilet.
  2726. "Hop on up."
  2727. >"Ooooooh kay..."
  2728. "Alright, now god forbid us if you can't aim, but you should be at a good position to get it all in the water from a standing position. Moon, do you want to watch?"
  2729. >"Woooooah Doc, I didn't know you were some sort of voyeur."
  2730. >You flick Friendly's ear.
  2731. "You've got more experience with this than she does, and I'll step out of the room. Just want to be sure that she doesn't screw up and crap on my floor."
  2732. >"Yeah yeah, it's still fucking weird. I'm sure she'll figure it out."
  2733. >You shrug and walk out with Moon.
  2734. >"Poindexter-"
  2735. "Would you mind calling me something else?"
  2736. >"Alright. Whaddya you want to answer by?"
  2737. >You don't say anything as the two of you stand awkwardly out near the deck.
  2738. "You were telling me about your daughter, I think."
  2739. >"Right..."
  2740. "How's she doing in school?"
  2741. >"Not awful, strugglin' in math a bit though. I can help her out with times tables, but I'm worried what'll happen when she gets up to high school."
  2742. "Well, you've got a while before then."
  2743. >"I guess."
  2744. >"Doc! Can I come out now?"
  2745. >You go back over to the bathroom and open the door for Friendly.
  2746. "How'd it go?"
  2747. >"Fine, you'll need to flush though. I wanted to give it a shot, but falling in poo water isn't on my agenda for today."
  2748. "Alright."
  2749. >You take care of it.
  2750. "You don't mind if I run the bath during, do you Moonflower?"
  2751. >"Nah, I could give less of a fuck. You two can leave now, I'm ready."
  2752. >You nod.
  2753. >You and Friendly stand in just about the same position.
  2754. "She finally seems to be adjusting a bit, did you do something to her while I was gone?"
  2755. >"We had a bit of a heart-to-heart. I didn't open up about everything, but I essentially told her why all of this was a bit more appealing to me. I also told her about the collar, since she tried to give me a hug at some point and I didn't want to fuck her up for trying to do something nice."
  2756. >You give Friendly a good hard rub on the head, which she leans into.
  2757. "That's my girl."
  2758. >There are a few minutes of silence before Friendly opens her mouth again.
  2759. >"Promise me you won't ever take anybody like who she used to be again, Doc. Please."
  2760. "Friendly, I-"
  2761. >"I'm done in here and the bath's about filled!"
  2762. >What will you do?
  2763. "Friendly."
  2764. >You look her in the eyes, which seems to scare her a bit.
  2765. "I promise."
  2766. >You pick her up and give her a good squeeze.
  2767. >When the hell did you become a naturally frightening person?
  2768. >Probably when you got into your last line of work.
  2769. >At least the hug puts her at ease again.
  2770. >True to Moonflower's word, the bath is nearly full.
  2771. "Friendly, do you want a bath?"
  2772. >"Nah."
  2773. "Guess the process cleaned you up alright."
  2774. >You grab a plastic cup from the kitchen and strip off your jacket.
  2775. >Friendly watches with some interest while you shampoo the everliving fuck out of Moonflower.
  2776. >You wish you had swiped a bottle from that motel you spent the night after your thievery in now, because about a quarter of the bottle is gone.
  2777. >Pony skin doesn't produce nearly as much oil as human skin though, so bathing them less than often isn't that big of a deal as long as you don't take them on regular hikes.
  2778. >And when you have the ability to take them on regular hikes, you'll have too much goddamn money to care about the amount of shampoo you're buying.
  2779. >For extra client appeal, you decide to add a good amount of the conditioner from the grooming kit.
  2780. >You really do feel kind of terrible about what you've done to this man, but you really can't return Moonflower to being John Clement.
  2781. >For every body that gets shredded down, there's a backup file generated for the original.
  2782. >Memories, original personality, even the mental packages can be completely reverted.
  2783. >Shredding down a body into a pony is simple.
  2784. >Well not simple, but it's a downward flow.
  2785. >But rebuilding a human body from a pony...
  2786. >The technology is there, but you'd need stem cells.
  2787. >A metric ton of fucking stem cells.
  2788. >You don't have the kind of resources to acquire that many.
  2789. >Hell, you're pretty sure even your colleague would have trouble getting that kind of baby batter.
  2790. >The meat suit he used when he chased you, looking back there was something a bit off about it.
  2791. >Maybe the skin was too light, maybe the eyes were lifeless...
  2792. >Either way, you're pretty sure he went the easy route.
  2793. >Got some form of meat and used the machines to shape it into an obese suit...
  2794. >Or something like that, you really would've had to have been there to know for sure.
  2795. >You've finished bathing Moonflower, so you pick her up and dry her (and yourself) off.
  2796. >You snap a few pictures of her to forward off to your client.
  2797. >You don't think you'll ever be able to return Moonflower to what she was.
  2798. >"So, what now Poindexter?"
  2799. "I told you to stop calling me that."
  2800. >"Never did give me anything to call yah."
  2801. >Fuck.
  2802. >You need to get those pictures to the client at some point, then it's just a challenge of figuring out how to occupy the rest of your day.
  2803. >You hope that sleep will bring you some respite from all of this madness, when you can take the time for it.
  2804. >What will you do?
  2805. >You try to think about what to call yourself, but you keep getting hung up on the old nordic stories of the changelings.
  2806. >More like skinwalkers than the things that would appear in the show.
  2807. >Somewhat deformed in nature though, depending on who's telling the story.
  2808. >You suppose you could choose that as a name, but you'll have to think about the issue further.
  2809. >Your hands are a bit full with Moon and Friendly right now, but when you're able to sell the former you'll want to take on more product.
  2810. >You have a list of prospects on your computer that you could look over later.
  2811. >Moonflower is still looking at you for an answer.
  2812. "Well, I have monopoly..."
  2813. >Friendly looks somewhat eager to play, and Moonflower just rolls her eyes.
  2814. >"You don't have Twister? Sorry!? Candyland?"
  2815. "Gay, never played more than ten minutes of, and boring. Are those really your favorite games?"
  2816. >"No, but Monopoly is a time sink. I can see it now, we start a little round now and then five hours later..."
  2817. ...
  2818. >Friendly spits the dice onto the table, something you begrudgingly allow despite how sticky it gets them.
  2819. >Hooves aren't great for rolling since you can't cup with them.
  2820. >"Snake eyes!"
  2821. >You move her token forward for her since you don't want them to pick up the metal pieces with their mouths.
  2822. >Could be some percent lead.
  2823. >She picks the dice up and spits again, getting one two and a three this time around.
  2824. >You move her forward five, planting her ass on Boardwalk.
  2825. >Moonflower grins at her across the table, a hotel visible on the square.
  2826. >"Time to pay up."
  2827. >Friendly cleaned you out a few turns back, so she doesn't get any sympathy with her pouting at you when you take the two 500s, one 100, three fifties, one twenty, one five, and four ones left in her pile and hand them to Moonflower.
  2828. "Well, looks like we have our champion."
  2829. >"I'm jus' surprised that didn't take longer."
  2830. >You look at the clock.
  2831. >3:00 AM.
  2832. "Yeah... it was a quick game, wasn't it?"
  2833. >You start to get all of the cards and money re-sorted.
  2834. >You'll clean off the board and dice in the morning.
  2835. >In the relative silence other than the small slap of cards hitting each other, you hear someone walk by your door.
  2836. >Probably just another tenant.
  2837. >You need to establish sleeping arrangements for Moonflower, and figure out if you want Friendly to keep watch for you again; especially since you're starting to feel pretty tired.
  2838. >What will you do?
  2839. >You need to set up something like a bug-out bag.
  2840. >All of the essentials you'll need if you must leave quickly.
  2841. >In this case you're not planning on escaping from the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown or some sort of natural disaster though.
  2842. >Just the aftermath of your own choices.
  2843. >You decide that your backpack will do, and neatly pack your nanomachines, laptop, flash drives, dart gun, Sarah, dart case, some Baking Soda and your dirtied syringe (wrapped carefully in plastic.)
  2844. >You're not sure if you should pack anything else, but you can come back to it in a few minutes.
  2845. >You feel tired, but you'll certainly get in touch with your client and work out exactly what you need to do with Moonflower in the morning, or whenever you wake up.
  2846. >You never did figure out what to do with her daughter either.
  2847. >You motion for Friendly to come over to where you can talk to her privately.
  2848. "Do you mind keeping watch again tonight? I'm going to cuddle Moonflower in an attempt to get her a bit more accustomed to the life."
  2849. >"I-I guess that's fine."
  2850. >You can see her ears droop a bit.
  2851. "Hey, it's only for the night. You're a good girl, and..."
  2852. >You trail off, realizing you haven't told Friendly about your plans to potentially keep her.
  2853. "I promise I'll make it up to you."
  2854. >She nods, though she's still looking a bit forlorn.
  2855. >A quick headrub at least brings the smile back onto her face.
  2856. >You realize that if you noticed something about whoever's walking around outside that there could be something off about them.
  2857. >You grab Sarah from your backpack and tuck her into your pants with your shirt hanging down lazily over her handle.
  2858. >There's a college-aged kid with thick-rimmed glasses wiping down the doorknob of the apartment next to you.
  2859. >His jacket pockets are full of plastic baggies, and he's wearing Nitrile gloves.
  2860. >"S-school project. Anything I can help you with s-sir?"
  2861. >What will you do?
  2862. >As per usual, you feel an urge to piss.
  2863. >However, there are more important things that require your attention at the moment, so you push the thoughts out of your mind.
  2864. "Tell me about this project, I'm something of a scientist myself."
  2865. >"Um... bacterial samples in an urban environment."
  2866. "Where are you going to school?"
  2867. >He names a nearby university that you did adjunct teaching at for about a year.
  2868. "What class?"
  2869. >"Biology."
  2870. "You're going to have to be a bit more specific than that."
  2871. >"...Molecular biology."
  2872. "Who said you could work in this building?"
  2873. >His eyes go wide.
  2874. >You laugh.
  2875. "I'm not going to lie, what you're doing is awfully suspicious, and I doubt my neighbors will appreciate it any more than I do."
  2876. >"I-I live in the building."
  2877. "Well, show me to your unit then."
  2878. >"...It's being fumigated."
  2879. "Of course it is."
  2880. >At first you had a sinking suspicion that this might be your old colleague, but he's far too small.
  2881. >Sure, he could've reduced his size easily, but the mass recovery afterwards would in all likelihood be far too much of a pain for a job like this.
  2882. >You debate turning him into a pony, but you don't know the first thing about him.
  2883. >He might not even have watched the show for all you know, and you made a promise to Friendly that you'd be a bit more careful with who you selected.
  2884. >You also really don't want to deal with this shit right now, you were about to go to bed before you got involved with this fucking nerd.
  2885. >You rub your face in your hands.
  2886. "Give me all of your samples, then leave this place and never come back."
  2887. >"B-but the paper is due in two days!"
  2888. "Don't procrastinate in the future."
  2889. >You curse to yourself as you go back inside and grab your dart gun.
  2890. >After making sure there's an incapacitation dart loaded, you step back out into the hall.
  2891. >He's made a break for it towards the stairs.
  2892. "Hey! Get back here!"
  2893. >You lock the door as fast as you can and then take off after him.
  2894. >He's in considerably worse shape than you are, so even though you aren't wearing shoes you manage to catch up with him one floor down and pin him to the wall.
  2895. >There are communal bathrooms that nobody ever uses here, and you half-shove him through the door of one of them.
  2896. >You level your dart gun to his neck.
  2897. >"W-wait! What do you want to know?"
  2898. "Why the hell are you here, and what are you doing with those samples?"
  2899. >He starts crying, which catches you off guard a bit.
  2900. >Since it could potentially be a diversion tactic you don't make any movements to comfort him or even acknowledge the act.
  2901. >"H-he told me he'd pay off my student debt for one night's work..."
  2902. >What will you do?
  2903. "I'm listening."
  2904. >"What more do you need?"
  2905. "Anything else?"
  2906. >"I've told you all there is to know!"
  2907. "Sorry kid."
  2908. >You pull the trigger.
  2909. >5.
  2910. >4.
  2911. >3.
  2912. >2.
  2913. >1.
  2914. >Down.
  2915. >You grab his useless body and carry him quickly up the stairs back to your unit with some difficulty.
  2916. >He's scrawnier than you are, but you aren't exactly a bodybuilder.
  2917. >You shove him in the bathroom and secure it as both mares look on in horror.
  2918. "We need to move."
  2919. >You grab Leela and walk outside quickly, nearly slipping on the icy surface of the deck.
  2920. >That could've been bad.
  2921. >Scoping in, you don't see his signature truck or the car you had the stoner slash the tires of on the street below.
  2922. >He could've dropped the kid off and driven off elsewhere to keep watch...
  2923. >Your heart is pounding.
  2924. >He's still in the observational phase as far as you can tell, but the kid is a loose end.
  2925. >Let him go, and he'll spill the beans about what apartment you came out of, what you looked like, and all of the nasty little details he's probably all but confirmed if he's narrowed you down to your building.
  2926. >Keep him here...
  2927. >Well, then at least you'll buy yourself some time while he tracks down your unit.
  2928. "Friendly, can you get in the kennel for me?"
  2929. >"I haven't been bad, have I?"
  2930. "I just want to move you to the car without the chance of anyone seeing."
  2931. >She nods.
  2932. >Luckily the kennel isn't all that heavy, so moving her to the car goes off with little event.
  2933. "I can trust you not to undo the locks and run away, right?"
  2934. >She looks a bit hurt.
  2935. >"Why wouldn't you?"
  2936. "I'm sorry, just don't want any loose ends."
  2937. >"No, I'm sorry..."
  2938. >You get the heat going and make sure that all the doors are locked.
  2939. "Stay low to the ground."
  2940. >"Affirmative."
  2941. >You repeat the process with Moonflower, though she protests that it's cramped while you're taking her down the stairs.
  2942. >It isn't a problem because you don't run into anyone, but it's still irritating.
  2943. >You place her in the car, not undoing the kennel latch.
  2944. >"Hey! What gives?"
  2945. >You don't bother giving her an answer and re-lock the doors.
  2946. >The inside of the kennel isn't visible from the street, good.
  2947. >You go back up to your unit and grab your bag, throwing your phone into your jacket pocket.
  2948. >You strap Leela to your back under your pack, unsure if you should bring Sarah or any extra ammunition for your guns.
  2949. >You feel like you should grab more, but there might not be time.
  2950. >If there's anything you want to do or take here you should probably do or take it now.
  2951. >You've burned ten minutes of the rough hour you have before the kid wakes up, though you still have Baking Soda.
  2952. >What will you do?
  2953. >You grab a 50 round box of 9mm and take the 20 rounds of 7.62x54mmR you took from Friendly's house along with the 40 rounds you had in your lab.
  2954. >You throw your remaining .308 into the bag as well, then put about half of it back since you realize that your pack is getting a bit heavy.
  2955. >Satisfied with the state of your pack, you move onto other matters.
  2956. >Despite Friendly's loyalty, you don't want to take your guns down to the car until it's absolutely necessary.
  2957. >Not because you think she'll try to shoot you or anyone else, but because you think she might try to see if she can work the respective actions with her mouth and fire them by sticking her horn in the trigger guard.
  2958. >Maybe you're being a bit too paranoid, but you should realistically be able to load all of your guns in one trip so it's not too big of an issue.
  2959. >Next, you check up on the kid.
  2960. >His flip-phone isn't locked, and after you've gotten the hang of the UI you start digging through it for any notes.
  2961. >His calendar indicates that he probably wasn't lying about being a student of that university, as there are several test dates and study sessions planned out on it.
  2962. >There are several dream journals that you really don't have time to read, but skimming through them reveals pretty normal shit.
  2963. >You look through his saved images and there are no ponies.
  2964. >Fuck, you might have to glass this kid if he doesn't have a suitable surrogate body.
  2965. >Since the phone doesn't really seem to have much information of value, you just rip out the sim card and toss it on the couch to burn later.
  2966. >You don't think you need to destroy most of your lab equipment, though there are a few things that need to be torched.
  2967. >You keep digital copies of all of your physical notes, so those should be torched with the kid's phone.
  2968. >It breaks your heart to destroy the originals, but your colleague would certainly go through them if you left them intact and there's really no reason to waste space with them.
  2969. >You pour a few nanomachines in the kid's mouth and use a sweep program to look for any foreign agents, which should take twenty minutes.
  2970. >You feel a bit jealous as you watch them slide down his throat.
  2971. >Lucky bastard.
  2972. >You unplug the freezer you keep all of your biological specimens in and throw open the door.
  2973. >You honestly haven't used any of them for quite a while before you grabbed those tentacles, but quite a few of them will stink to high hell when either your landlord or your colleague come in.
  2974. >Either way, the thought amuses you.
  2975. >You check through some more of the shit on his phone since you have about five minutes to burn on the nanomachines.
  2976. >You'll have him in the car with twenty minutes left on the incapacitation with any luck, but to be on the safe side you bind his hands and legs.
  2977. >Looks like he was dating some girl, not exactly a looker but good for him.
  2978. >Strained relations with his dad, relationship seems fine with his mom.
  2979. >Your timer goes off.
  2980. >The only obstruction is a small metal mass which you identify in the 3D-projection to be a dental implant.
  2981. >No microscopic masses.
  2982. >You slip your spy glasses over his face and pull a Weekend at Bernie's with him, but it's a bit harder with only one guy.
  2983. >Nonetheless, you get him in the car.
  2984. >"We're going to be going up the corporate ladder, eh Doc?"
  2985. >Despite the tense situation you muster a laugh.
  2986. "Shut up, Friendly."
  2987. >You re-lock the doors and head back inside, grabbing your notes and his phone this time.
  2988. >You start hurriedly pouring the rest of your gas on them (far away from the car of course), leading a slight trail away which you then light up.
  2989. >However, you poorly judge the distance that you can stand from the fire and your jacket catches fire.
  2990. >You manage to put yourself out by rolling in the snow, but your left sleeve is singed in the mid-section and when you go back in to grab your guns and backpack, the portion of sleeve under your elbow crumbles away.
  2991. >Shit, well that could've gone a lot worse at least.
  2992. >You have approximately twenty-one minutes before the kid wakes up.
  2993. >You send Cunt a message that you've been compromised, he probably isn't awake right now but there's a good chance he'll let you stay at his place if you ask.
  2994. >It's either that or more motels, as your safehouse is fucked too.
  2995. >What will you do?
  2996. >You do know a few things about electromagnetic pulse generation.
  2997. >Most newer electronics are less vulnerable to EMPs when compared to older ones.
  2998. >The most effective method of EMP shielding requires complete metal enclosure of electronic components with copper or steel.
  2999. >There are some fail-safes against electrical interference in the nanomachines, as they can travel through the human brain with only occasional damage.
  3000. >You'd need to do a bit more research to determine exactly what protection methods he's used, as you haven't yet looked into it that deeply.
  3001. >Causing a scene is the last thing you want to do, so even if you had the time and resources to construct a Koppian non-nuclear EMP device you probably wouldn't, as high explosives are required to generate the pulse and you'd likely need to detonate it remotely as your electronics would also be vulnerable.
  3002. >That and there's a decent chance that he'd be gone by the time you got over there.
  3003. >You take back roads as you drive.
  3004. "Hey Friendly?"
  3005. >"Yeah?"
  3006. "I'm a bit more strapped for cash than usual right now, I was thinking of maybe using this asshole as a dummy to withdraw some funds from your account. You don't mind, do you?"
  3007. >"Sure thing, son. Hell, I guess I don't have much use for it now. What are you planning to do with it?"
  3008. "Don't call me son, and thanks. I had to leave most of my lab equipment behind. I can pick up some of the chemicals I need from that guy you met earlier, but others-"
  3009. >"Where are we going, Poin?"
  3010. "Motel, other side of town."
  3011. >You rev the engine about as fast as you can afford to on the slick roads.
  3012. >If you can get to this kid before he wakes up that'd be ideal, but-
  3013. >The incapacitation darts have an upper limit of two hours-
  3014. >Fuck, you really weren't well-prepared for something like this.
  3015. >"Are you sure you're alright? You haven't even put on any music."
  3016. "Maybe I don't drive with music."
  3017. >"Then you're insane."
  3018. "I'm not... well, I'll find a station."
  3019. >You divert a small amount of your attention to scanning for radio channels and find one with a decent signal.
  3020. >I made you.
  3021. >And now I take you back.
  3022. >You shiver despite the ample heating.
  3023. "I'm going to pull over and deal with this one. Hold tight girls, I'm going to need to let in some cold air."
  3024. >You pull to the side of the road and slide the laptop out.
  3025. >You almost expect bioCAD to display some ominous message, but of course it's just the same old perfectly designed UI.
  3026. >You isolate the standard suggestibility component from the standard mental package and re-orient it to work as an interrogation aid then send it.
  3027. >15 minutes, should be just enough time for him to not know the business when he wakes up and you have just enough nanomachines for the process.
  3028. >Remembering the problems that you ran into with Friendly, you add a few more.
  3029. >You don't think you want to kill him, probably.
  3030. >While you're waiting on him to wake up, you queue up and save a second process that will wipe his memories before 2:00 AM.
  3031. >He might remember entering your building, but not much else.
  3032. >You could give him some misinformation, but you can't think of anything to feed to him right now that would make your colleague really shit bricks.
  3033. >He comes to with a bit of a jerk, looking at you with a somewhat glassy-eyed stare.
  3034. >"Where-"
  3035. "I'll be asking the questions."
  3036. >He looks conflicted, but nods.
  3037. >What will you do?
  3038. "How were you contacted?"
  3039. >"He came up to me one day and knocked on my door. Said he was maintenance. I told him there was nothing wrong with my room, and he said he wanted to talk business."
  3040. "Isn't that how kids like you get sodomized?"
  3041. >"As long as he was paying I was willing to take it. I'm not gay, but money is money."
  3042. "Did he touch you anywhere?"
  3043. >"No, he wasn't interested in anything like that."
  3044. "No, I mean your skin. Did he slip you anything? A garment, piece of glassware, federal reserve note anything like that?"
  3045. >"He gave me a one-hundred dollar bill. Told me there was a lot more coming if I helped him out, enough to pay off my outstanding debt. The entire time he was wearing gloves, I think they were rubber or latex."
  3046. "Do you want to be a pony?"
  3047. >"Of what sort?"
  3048. "From the show."
  3049. >"What show?"
  3050. "Oh, drop the fucking pretense. Everybody's seen My Little Pony."
  3051. >"I watched one episode of it back in my first year of school, didn't really interest me."
  3052. >You groan.
  3053. >"What a faggot."
  3054. >He looks over to the left, seemingly now just having noticed the unicorn watching the two of you talk.
  3055. >"What the hell is that?"
  3056. "My business, and the business of the man you contacted; not that you'll remember it soon."
  3057. >"What are you going to do to me?"
  3058. >The calm demeanor that he says that with gives you goosebumps.
  3059. "Did he give you his name?"
  3060. >"No."
  3061. "Did he tell you why he wanted you to do anything he wanted you to do?"
  3062. >He sighs, almost as if he's annoyed with you.
  3063. >"I didn't ask, the money was good enough for me to keep my mouth shut."
  3064. "Are the samples for DNA collection?"
  3065. >"I believe so, he didn't say."
  3066. "I need them all."
  3067. >"I don't think I can do that."
  3068. >You pull out Sarah, and he somewhat reluctantly gives you the plastic baggies after you've put on a pair of gloves to handle them.
  3069. >They're all labeled by room number and contain a single wipe.
  3070. "Is there anything else you aren't telling me?"
  3071. >"I..."
  3072. >He seems to be considering something.
  3073. >"No, that's it."
  3074. >Since the only sedatives you have left are precious incapacitation darts, you're left with a bit of a dilemma.
  3075. >Open brain surgery is done on waking patients, sure, but that's with the intent to fix irregularities with constant input from the patient.
  3076. >The type of alterations you're planning on performing aren't necessarily fixing irregularities, but giving yourself a distinct strategic advantage through misinformation.
  3077. >You left your Baking Soda behind, and will need to stop by a manufacturing facility to retrieve some (along with more syringes, as you still only have the one.)
  3078. >You could try it anyways, but the changes he's experienced already rely heavily on plausible deniability.
  3079. >There's no telling what could happen if he realizes that his mind is being fucked while he's awake.
  3080. >You turn your mind away from the subject momentarily, wondering if maybe you should set up a cerebral suicide pill of sorts with the nanomachines.
  3081. >You certainly don't want personality death, and making sure that you're nothing but a mentally fucked retard if your colleague tries any sneaky shit is tempting.
  3082. >Though you're not sure you really have the means to test such a thing.
  3083. >Obviously the nanomachines can destroy, and you could set up the artificial immune system to fuck up your brain immediately instead of taking countermeasures against outside machines, but frankly the prospect of losing everything you've ever worked to gain terrifies you.
  3084. >Your entire life's effort has been to gain knowledge, to further the advancement of technology and push the boundaries of what is thought possible.
  3085. >To lose it all seems like a fate worse than death, at least if you bleed out on the side of the road with thirty-seven stab wounds you died something.
  3086. >A candle to the darkness.
  3087. >And if you let him turn you completely, then you know your original body and mind will be saved on his computer. There's still a chance of restoration then, that you can regain your humanity.
  3088. >But if he has your memories, then he knows who your friends are.
  3089. >You're not sure how spiteful he is, but is it worth the risk?
  3090. >You should look into erasing people from the minds of products too, after all Moonflower did see Cunt and you're not sure how much she can be trusted.
  3091. >From what you know there's no way to control the nanomachines truly dynamically after they've been put into a body.
  3092. >You could set up a process that could allow them to do different things when certain bodily functions are altered or different electrical currents are cycled through the bloodstream, but as far as you're aware they run a program until they are told to no longer run a program, or they deem the process they have been instructed to perform complete.
  3093. >You've gotten a bit lost in thought again, and are snapped back to reality when Friendly pipes up.
  3094. >"Hey! Cut it out!"
  3095. >You look into the back seat to see the kid lazily stroking Friendly's horn.
  3096. >What will you do?
  3097. >The thought crosses your mind that he could be trying to fuck with Friendly's brain, but how?
  3098. >You checked his body for foreign objects, though with all of the bacteria present in a human body checking for ones not intended to be present is easier said than done and would have been a lengthy process.
  3099. "Friendly, pull back."
  3100. >She does, a bit startled.
  3101. "Don't touch her."
  3102. >"I'm sorry. I wasn't aware that you made unicorns for them to be gazed at from a distance."
  3103. >That remark pisses you off.
  3104. "Okay wise guy, tell me what happens next time you get caught putting your grubby little hands on a gingerbread house exhibit for a skittle or two and security catches you."
  3105. >He could be carrying altered pathogens.
  3106. >Of course no unicellular organism would be able to do anything close to what the nanomachines have done, but the bread and butter of bioprocessing is taking a microbe and forcing it to make what you want it to.
  3107. >Who's to say that he isn't slowly accumulating cyanide or something even nastier; built by altered intestinal E. Coli?
  3108. >And who's to say that it hasn't traveled up to his filthy fingers, which he's been putting all over your-
  3109. >Not yours yet, soon.
  3110. >For now, all you can do is keep her safe.
  3111. "You're riding shotgun, Friendly."
  3112. >She doesn't need to be told twice.
  3113. "I need you to stay low, no window watching right now."
  3114. >"Figured. What's gotten you so worked up?"
  3115. "E. Coli. There's some sanitizer in the glove box, I'm going to rub it on your horn."
  3116. >"You've been acting a bit off lately, Doc."
  3117. "Gee, I wonder why. Just hold still for a second, I don't want to take any chances."
  3118. >She gulps and nods.
  3119. >You rub it into her horn from tip to the base where the growth connects to her head.
  3120. >The composition of the outside is mostly hard keratin, but there's soft tissue underneath for nervous reception.
  3121. >You don't think anything will penetrate the keratin, but better safe than sorry.
  3122. "Keep an eye on him, I'm going to get some work done. I'm sorry, we'll have time to relax when we get to the safehouse."
  3123. >"But you said-"
  3124. >You clamp her jaw shut quickly and whisper to her not to talk about anything you discussed after you got in the car.
  3125. >You begin to work, opening up a window of MSpaint to jot down calculations.
  3126. >Memory editing is a tedious and grueling process, and something you have to reference documents several times to make sure you are doing correctly.
  3127. >First, you take your own voice and warp it into different patterns.
  3128. >'Fuck!' followed by the sound of glass shattering.
  3129. >A scrambled effort to retrieve something, and a cry of pain not unlike one someone might make when their hand is cut on glass.
  3130. >Barely audible mumbling about having to make more, and that setting you back.
  3131. >'There's no goddamn internet out in the Western safehouse, so you'll have to wait on those gun videos Friendly.'
  3132. >You're heading Southwards.
  3133. >'I need more of them to get the disruptor working.'
  3134. >Let him wonder what exactly you're disrupting or why.
  3135. >There's no 'video' with these memories you're putting in, and you're only 'overwriting' portions of time slotted for when he was knocked out.
  3136. >'I'll have to scramble the decoys again. Remember to ask me if the night is clear to see if it's really me."
  3137. >You reduce the clarity of the speech fragments as you work, making them seem like snippets of conversation caught as one is fading in and out of consciousness.
  3138. >There are extra parts you put on top of the ones you added, but the speech is nothing important and really only serves to be a fade in and a fade out.
  3139. >"So, how do you make those things exactly?"
  3140. >Good, keep him occupied while he's being mindfucked.
  3141. >You finish up your work, a little message to the machines to exit through his urine, keep all manually added memories and to purge all data stored on themselves.
  3142. "The man who contacted you has been working on these things for years, I'm not sure how long it was before I came to work in the room across the hall from his lab. He got himself fired by using them for self-improvement, and the company seized the physical media and moved it to another wing which I didn't have access to. I was able to snag some of his files before they were wiped from the company system, and I started to look through them in my free time. As time went on, I became more and more interested. The only problem was that I didn't have his designs, and software is useless without hardware. It was just a hobby at first, but when I was let go for less rational reasons I needed income with a tainted record. It was either this or get out of the country and work for someone who'd probably gun me down after I finished my work for them."
  3143. >"The unicorn used to be a person?"
  3144. "Yes."
  3145. >"That's horrible."
  3146. >You laugh dryly.
  3147. "Maybe. But the money you'd be rubbing your hands all over if you helped out that man who came to your door would be coming from the sale of the same sort of product I sell. Our mutual acquaintance views me as a business threat, or maybe he's prideful... I haven't quite figured it out yet."
  3148. >"Why would you tell me any of this? Are you stupid?"
  3149. >You look down at the timer on your computer, seeing that the memories have just finished 'writing'.
  3150. >You bought his attention well and truly.
  3151. "Well, you can join me. Shed your burdens, live a cozy life as some rich fellow's lap pony. You'll never have to want for anything again, your academic stress will be nothing but a distant memory. All I need you to do is draw me up a little pony, and I'll make you into it."
  3152. >You can see he really does consider it, though whether that's the impact of the suggestibility or not is difficult to tell.
  3153. >"I'll pass, better this is all a bad dream. I'm not entirely convinced I'm not talking to my own subconscious right now, and like I said I haven't even really watched the show."
  3154. >You nod.
  3155. >If he doesn't have a pony in his mind's eye, there's nothing you can do unless you want to wreck his mind.
  3156. >But that leaves the question of how you're going to deal with him before his body exits your car, warm or cold.
  3157. >What will you do?
  3158. >You recall that you threw the kid's phone in the gas fire with all of your notes.
  3159. "At this point you're a loose end, you know too much, and what's worse I don't know what all you've heard or what you aren't telling me."
  3160. >He nods, you can see the fear in his eyes.
  3161. "That being said, I'm not as cold as the man you met. I'm not going to kill you or turn you into a pony without your consent. From what I know of the guy that's probably what would have happened to you after you delivered your swabs, rotting in a ditch or mewling over some rich bastard's cock. Not sure which is worse."
  3162. >"So you're saying there was little chance he'd have actually paid off my student debt?"
  3163. "Probably not."
  3164. >You're not sure whether you're lying or not here, after all you saw him bribe the woman at the motel; but then again she wasn't in quite as deep as this kid is.
  3165. >Either way, best to convince him that you're the lesser of the two evils.
  3166. "Can you tell me where you live?"
  3167. >"Why do you need to know that?"
  3168. "I figure you'd rather I take you there than leave you at a bus stop or a Walmart. It's fucking cold out there."
  3169. >"Okay, it's West Street. Number 116."
  3170. "Apartment number?"
  3171. >"I'll be walking in myself."
  3172. >You nod, though this could pose a problem later.
  3173. >You try to remember whether or not you snagged Hunter's wallet, as withdrawing cash without a debit card is a pain.
  3174. >If you did, you'd have shoved it in your backpack after you put it in your pocket.
  3175. >You rummage around for a bit before finding a wallet that certainly isn't yours.
  3176. >Opening it up reveals a sorry looking man on the driver's license photo, with a debit card tucked into the opposite side of the wallet.
  3177. >Huh, so Hunter's last name is Lawson.
  3178. >It's still really fucking early, but luckily Walmart is open 24 hours a day still.
  3179. >God forbid something would happen that would fuck that up.
  3180. >You turn the ignition key and set off for the nearest location.
  3181. ...
  3182. "Just head in and get ten jalapeno peppers. For each pepper, get $100 cash back. Friendly, tell him the PIN again."
  3183. >"Twelve sixty-four."
  3184. "You'll probably have to switch registers at least once. If anybody gets suspicious, mention being short on Baking Soda. They'll get the message."
  3185. >"What in the-"
  3186. >You shove him out of the door, keeping watch over the store's two normal exits and staying close enough to hear alarms for any attempt at an emergency exit.
  3187. >About twenty minutes later, he comes back out.
  3188. >"I was able to get $800 before I hit some sort of daily withdraw maximum."
  3189. >You take the money from his hand and place it in your wallet, giving Friendly a good rub on the back of the head.
  3190. >"I never imagined I'd be simping for a dude... or really anyone. I also never thought it'd be this fucking nice."
  3191. >You crack a smile and just decide to park since you're not doing anything sketchier than would be done in the average Walmart parking lot at this time of night.
  3192. "Alright, back to business. If you see the guy who contacted you, call the cops. Tell them there's a man outside trying to kill you, and start running. In that order. He seems to be afraid of getting caught, so that might save your skin. Literally."
  3193. >You'll message cunt later about telling his paid dispatchers to keep an eye out for 'suspicious person trying to kill me' calls.
  3194. "That last bit isn't for my sake, but I can't lie and say I won't be a bit morose if I'm reading the news a few months from now and see your face in a missing person article."
  3195. >He nods, seemingly pretty damn convinced at this point.
  3196. "You're probably going to want to watch the show and make a character, consider that your homework from me."
  3197. >"Why's that?"
  3198. "I haven't quite worked out exactly how all of this works, or why it goes wrong when it doesn't work. From what I can tell you need to be a fan of the show and then have a sort of vision of yourself as a pony. Well, if you don't want the shit in the jar to not leave you a psychotic or drooling mess when you get converted. Who knows, if you get caught and you have a reference sheet maybe it could save him time and he'd be willing to let you use it. Better the devil you know and all that."
  3199. >He seems apprehensive about watching the show, but you pretty much insist on it and eventually he reluctantly agrees.
  3200. >Guess it's a bit difficult for even suggestibility to sway some things.
  3201. >You rummage about for a while and manage to find an old cup in the back seat that looks to be unused.
  3202. >You start driving again.
  3203. "I need you to piss in this, and make sure to piss on your hands. Let it drip into the cup afterwards."
  3204. >"Yeah, I'm not doing that."
  3205. >You take one hand off of the wheel and point Sarah at him, cocking her.
  3206. >"Alright! Jesus..."
  3207. >"Got some sort of watersports fetish, Doc?"
  3208. "I need to run tests later and see if he's got some special pathogens in his body. You remember..."
  3209. >Friendly's eyes light up as she catches on a bit.
  3210. >"Not too much."
  3211. "Right, right. Probably won't last forever as long as we give him the counter-pathogen."
  3212. >"What counter-pathogen?"
  3213. "You don't need to worry about that."
  3214. >"Here's the cup."
  3215. >You don't have a lid, which slows your driving down a bit as you try to keep too much of the liquid from spilling.
  3216. "Put your shirt over your head, and close your eyes. If I catch you peeking, well... I'll just let you imagine."
  3217. >You drive for about thirty minutes to an area pretty far from your old place and the motel you're en-route to.
  3218. "Just give me a second, I need to get my kit from the trunk. This might sting a bit, but it'll help sell a mugging story."
  3219. >"Can I take my shirt off yet?"
  3220. "No."
  3221. >The swab bags are safely in your glove compartment.
  3222. >You take his jacket out of the car and throw it in his lap after making sure that there's nothing in it. You find and take his wallet ($10 cash and a photo ID), though you let him keep his set of keys.
  3223. >The nearest bus stop is quite a ways away.
  3224. >You poke his arm with a used dart, then brain him with a tire iron.
  3225. >He cries out in pain, and you jump back in the car.
  3226. "Good luck!"
  3227. >Put the pedal to the metal and get the fuck out of here.
  3228. ...
  3229. >You make it to the motel with little incident, and after checking to see why Moonflower has been so quiet (she's asleep, and apparently a heavy sleeper) you check in, pay in cash for one night, ($30) and begin the process of loading everything into the motel room.
  3230. >You feel exhausted and you could probably use a shower.
  3231. >There's a television, which upon closer inspection has access to a few local channels, one of them being the news and the other being what appears to be children's programming.
  3232. >Broniesthisisyourmindset.JPG
  3233. >There's internet, but your ping is about 200ms and you're getting piss poor upload and download speeds.
  3234. >You spilled a bit of the piss cup on the car floor in your haste.
  3235. >What will you do?
  3236. >You feel up the room for any bugs, checking in all of the places you know they're sometimes hidden.
  3237. >Nothing under the beds, nothing in the bathrooms, nothing taped to the inside of the vents.
  3238. >You disconnect the phone and unscrew it, finding no components that are out of the ordinary.
  3239. >The television is an older boxy sort, which you also unscrew and take a look inside.
  3240. >You check a few other chance spots and, finding nothing, decide it's probably safe enough to speak freely.