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ReMastering

By ReMastering
Created: 17th December 2020 11:49:29 PM
Modified: 17th June 2021 05:39:18 AM
PTFG Zephyr Pet ponies

  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.
  3241. >Moonflower wakes up rather crankily from her sleep, she mumbles something about having a nice dream.
  3242. >You bring Friendly inside in the kennel first, and come back to Moonflower looking out the window.
  3243. "Do you have any idea what kind of shit you and I would both be in if somebody saw you? Do you want to get vivisected?"
  3244. >Your speech comes out as a hiss.
  3245. >"Uhh... what's that?"
  3246. "Dissection on the living. Get in the kennel."
  3247. >She climbs in.
  3248. "I'm sorry shit has been a bit, well..."
  3249. >"Probably wasn't anything more you could've done about it."
  3250. "Hard to say."
  3251. >"In any case, no sense crying over spilt milk. You fucked up or you didn't and shit happened. That's life."
  3252. "That's one way to look at it."
  3253. >"It's kept me from feeling too bad about what happened. Truth be told I still feel awful though."
  3254. >You wipe down the piss spill with a towel and balance it on top of the kennel and instruct Moony to be quiet while you carry her up to the room with the grate facing you.
  3255. >Friendly appears to be trying to get the TV remote figured out with hooves, and after you let Moonflower out you help her get it turned on.
  3256. "Friendly, can I talk to you for a second?"
  3257. >"Sure, but I don't think there's much space for private conversations in here."
  3258. >You carry her into the bathroom, setting her up on the sink while you sit down on the toilet lid.
  3259. "Comfy?"
  3260. >"About as much as I'll ever be in here."
  3261. "I just wanted to let you know that a lot of what I said to that kid was bullshit."
  3262. >"I figured some of that... you're not just going to sell me to just anyone, are you?"
  3263. "You deserve the best home I can find you."
  3264. >You're not sure if you're telling the truth considering your plans to keep her, but it seems to put her at ease a bit.
  3265. >"I'd like-"
  3266. >She cuts herself off.
  3267. "Go on."
  3268. >"No, it's too much to ask. Forget it."
  3269. "Are you sure?"
  3270. >"Y-yeah."
  3271. "You did a pretty good job keeping a straight face if you had concerns."
  3272. >"I didn't want to interrupt you. You seemed to have a pretty good rhythm and I didn't want to throw you off. Was all that stuff you said about the other guy true?"
  3273. "I don't quite know. I know he doesn't appreciate me encroaching on his business practice and that yeah, you couldn't really get away with turning someone into a canon pony."
  3274. >And that he's killed before.
  3275. >But so have you indirectly, now might not be the best time to moralfag.
  3276. >Friendly nods.
  3277. "Can you keep an eye on Moony for me? I'm going to take a shower."
  3278. >"Yeah, sure. Can you get something set up on the TV? I'm feeling pretty tired and I kinda just want to veg out."
  3279. >You flip the channel to the children's programming and pull out a pencil from the drawer that has The Bible in it.
  3280. "If you want to watch something else, try using that to swap channels."
  3281. >She nods and you head into the bathroom to freshen up.
  3282. ...
  3283. >There was a cheap bathrobe in the cabinet under the sink which you have donned.
  3284. >Friendly is passed out and snoring on the bed, and Moonflower has wrapped her hooves around her barrel, muzzle resting on the green and tan mare's neck right below her black collar.
  3285. >A very poor quality rip of 'A Bug's Life' is playing on the television.
  3286. >You're a bit miffed that Friendly passed out on the job, but you're fairly sure she hasn't slept in a while.
  3287. >Not wanting to disturb the cute scene, you walk out of the room to hunt for a vending machine.
  3288. >You use the two five dollar bills in the kid's wallet to get a package of chocolate chip cookies and two Reese's, getting back four dollars in quarters.
  3289. >You can see the edge of the door if you poke your head out into the hallway, so you don't worry too much about Moonflower trying to run out.
  3290. >The windows have thick blinds that were closed when you walked in.
  3291. >You open up the bathroom door and set a laundry basket upside-down next to the toilet.
  3292. >Finally, you jam the door shut with a stopper, lock it, and put the latch in place.
  3293. >You tap Friendly gently on the ear and she stirs with a yawn.
  3294. >"I was having the most pleasant dream."
  3295. >You roll your eyes.
  3296. "Were you shooting furries?"
  3297. >"N-no."
  3298. "Suuure. Think you're rested enough to keep watch while I sleep?"
  3299. >She winces.
  3300. >"Maybe just barely."
  3301. >You remember that you grabbed your tripwire alarm on the way out the door.
  3302. >What will you do?
  3303. >You're tired, you're clean, and there's little chance anybody knows you're here.
  3304. >You sprinkle a few nanomachines on your face to check for any unauthorized ones on your skin.
  3305. >After about fifteen minutes the scan comes back negative.
  3306. >You breathe a sigh of relief and move the TV dresser in front of the door.
  3307. >"Doc, can you tilt it a bit towards the bed?"
  3308. "You can hit the sack tonight too, Friendly. You've been going pretty hard for a pony, and I'm impressed you lasted this long."
  3309. >She smiles and looks down at the covers.
  3310. >"Just doing my best to stay in character, sergeant. Besides, I didn't sleep much in the before anyways."
  3311. >You pull the corner of the covers out of the made bed and get inside.
  3312. >They're a bit itchy, but they're warm.
  3313. >You gesture for Friendly and she tentatively gets up.
  3314. >"Am I allowed to get under the covers with you?"
  3315. "It's pretty cold out, I don't see why not."
  3316. >"Something about it just feels a bit off, like this is restricted..."
  3317. "Well, it can't be restricted if I'm the one telling you to do it."
  3318. >"Maybe not by you, but by the federal- whoa!"
  3319. >You lift Friendly up over your head and bring her back down on top of you, stroking her mane with one hand while you pat next to you.
  3320. "I'd be willing to bet that's one of the few instances in which legalese fails."
  3321. >"You know what I meant you asshole."
  3322. >"I've slept in plenty a' cold winters without heat, I don't need to get in bed with you to stay toasty. Specially' not with this coat."
  3323. "Suit yourself, but this is your last chance. I'm going to be pretty pissed if you wake me up because you're cold."
  3324. >Moonflower looks conflicted as she lays in the middle of the bed.
  3325. >"You two are right faggots. We're all men."
  3326. "Suit yourself."
  3327. >You turn off the lamp with a click.
  3328. ...
  3329. >You're walking home from school.
  3330. >You finished the math test early, but all they let you do was read your book.
  3331. >It's a good book, you can't complain.
  3332. >The days when you can just focus on school instead of worrying about talking to others are pretty good.
  3333. >Your reputation as the worst kind of nerd precedes you.
  3334. >Probably ever since you got Jeremy in trouble after he looked over at your last test.
  3335. >It was your work.
  3336. >If he couldn't learn the material, he deserved to fail.
  3337. >You spit, the taste of cat shit still lingering in your mouth despite multiple washing sessions.
  3338. >What would your new hilarious nickname be after this?
  3339. >Shitgrill?
  3340. >Assbreath?
  3341. >Someday you'll have a nice job and those jackoffs will be wiping up your lab floors after hours.
  3342. >You hop over the short flight of stairs that leads to your door and walk in, it's only locked at night.
  3343. >Dad is at work, mom is at the hospital...
  3344. >Time for some video games.
  3345. >"I'm home!"
  3346. >It's your mom's voice, but something is off about it.
  3347. >You rush into her bedroom to find a pink unicorn lounging on her bed.
  3348. "Mom?"
  3349. >"The doctor tried an experimental new treatment. I'm cancer free."
  3350. "This isn't happening."
  3351. >"I know it's a bit of a shock, but you'll get used to it. In fact, to help you adjust to the prospect more easily he's offered to do the same to you."
  3352. "No! This isn't... you aren't..."
  3353. >"Hello, associate."
  3354. >He's standing there, wearing nothing but a stethoscope.
  3355. >"How are we doing today?"
  3356. "You're not here. I ditched you back at the bowling alley you fucker!"
  3357. >He closes the distance between you and the doorway in seconds.
  3358. >"So full of vigor! A shame that isn't marketable, especially not for little fillies."
  3359. >His hands turn ashen as he reaches out for you.
  3360. >You back up, but there's only so much space you can retreat before hitting a wall.
  3361. >"Molar Mass won't have to go to school or deal with noisy little children, she can just color pictures all day long."
  3362. "Creative license."
  3363. >"All of the same pains are there. Loneliness brought on by her talents, bullied mercilessly, left in this world without a mot-"
  3364. >You grab the letter opener from the bedside table and plunge it into his neck.
  3365. >A woman's scream comes from his throat.
  3366. >You bolt awake.
  3367. >Moonflower is trembling at the base of the bed.
  3368. >Turning the lamp back on reveals rivulets of tears streaming down her face.
  3369. >It's been about two hours since you went to sleep.
  3370. >What will you do?
  3371. "Hey, are you okay? I didn't move and hurt you, did I?"
  3372. >"Yeah, I'm fine. It's nothing."
  3373. "Didn't sound like nothing."
  3374. >"You heard that? Shit..."
  3375. >You pick her up with some protest, but she resigns to the action quickly.
  3376. "Nightmares?"
  3377. >She looks away, exhales sharply, and after about a minute begins to speak.
  3378. "They broke into our place, started trashing it. I tried to grab the 12 gauge, but suddenly I didn't have any fingers. They picked her up and started..."
  3379. >She breaks down into sobs and you pull her in closer, running your fingers through her blue mane.
  3380. >"They picked her up and... god it's hard to say."
  3381. "You don't have to be specific or even get into it if you don't want to."
  3382. >"They did some really bad things, Doc."
  3383. "It's only a dream."
  3384. >"Every moment she's in that house alone... it may not just be one much longer."
  3385. "I'm sure they have people with her, Moonflower. She's safe."
  3386. >"Not people that care, people like you. Only concerned with kindness to the point it fattens their bottom line."
  3387. "I-"
  3388. >"No, you don't Poindexter. You're gonna ship me off to some jackass so I can suck their cock until I die of old age. You think I didn't hear any of what you said in the car?"
  3389. "That was an exaggeration meant to terrify someone working with my former colleague who probably wants to kill me. I had to bend the truth a bit."
  3390. >You feel Friendly stir, groggily mumbling for you two to go back to sleep.
  3391. "Are either of you hungry? Do you need to use the bathroom?"
  3392. >Both ponies shake their heads, though Friendly admits after a few seconds that she could go for something to eat.
  3393. >You put her on the ground and feed her the cookies so the crumbs don't get in the bed.
  3394. >You move your barricade out of the way and head out, making sure the lights are off so that the others can go back to sleep.
  3395. >You're still tired, but you feel somewhat refreshed and decide that you should ask around for any happenings at the front desk.
  3396. "Anything unusual happen around here recently?"
  3397. >"No. Anything unusual supposed to happen around here recently?"
  3398. >The man at the front desk gives you a look of utter contempt over the top of his vintage porno magazine.
  3399. >You decide that you're not going to get much out of anyone at the front desk until the shift change.
  3400. >You find yourself thinking as you walk back to the room.
  3401. >Molar Mass...
  3402. >Could he find out about her from your old greentext escapades?
  3403. >Probably.
  3404. >He doesn't offer fillies.
  3405. >Are they possible?
  3406. >You mull it over, comparing the biological limits that are set on restructuring with what you know to be fatal.
  3407. >The limits could be turned off, but doing so would require careful monitoring to prevent death.
  3408. >You need to know.
  3409. >You unlock the room and go straight to the case alterations on your laptop.
  3410. >Bird build, bat pony...
  3411. >He's done at least one filly.
  3412. >You shiver, now feeling almost wide awake despite your fatigue.
  3413. >You pull the two sleeping mares close to you, pull the covers over them, and close your eyes one more time.
  3414. >Your dreams are more calm this time, and when you awaken you remember few details of them.
  3415. >Opening the door reveals a good amount of sunlight, and the clock tells you that it's 1:23 PM.
  3416. >Cunt has been frantically messaging you ever since he woke up, and wants to meet with you immediately.
  3417. >Friendly is still passed out, but Moonflower is awake and has been trying unsuccessfully to get one of the Reese's packages down from where you placed them last night.
  3418. >What will you do?
  3419. >You'll need to do a supply run if you want to make more nanomachines right now, but you have about 3/4 of the jar remaining currently.
  3420. >To test the limits of the operating system you would need living flesh to experiment on.
  3421. >You put your head in your hands, trying to plan out your next course of action.
  3422. >Despite how well-rested you feel, you seem to be drawing a blank.
  3423. >What will you do?
  3424. >You know the messages are from Cunt, either that or somebody got into his protonmail account.
  3425. >The address is correct, and it's his usual style of typing (if a bit panicked).
  3426. >You ask him where to meet, and take a few actions while you wait for a response.
  3427. >First, you help Moonflower out with the Reese's cups.
  3428. "Do you need me to feed them to you?"
  3429. >She looks away from you and nods.
  3430. "Hear something?"
  3431. >"No, this is just humiliating."
  3432. "Open wide."
  3433. >You feed the two cups to her one bite at a time.
  3434. >When she finishes up you use a bit of moist toilet paper to clean the peanut oil and chocolate off of her muzzle.
  3435. >"Classy."
  3436. "I don't want you to be uncomfortable."
  3437. >You walk out of the room and, after putting on your spy glasses, take a good look around with minimal head turning so as not to appear super conspicuous.
  3438. >The sun has come out, and despite the generous amount of snow still on the ground the light gives you some hope.
  3439. >You walk over to the office, thankfully no longer occupied by the same asshole as earlier.
  3440. >There isn't a jar for tips, so you make an entrance to the mid-twenties girl at the counter by sliding a $100 bill in front of her keyboard.
  3441. >She looks up.
  3442. >"Another night?"
  3443. "Well, yes. Keep the change if you will."
  3444. >"Well, thank you but we're not allowed to-"
  3445. "I don't see any cameras in the office."
  3446. >She looks around and, after confirming what you've just said, breaks the bill and puts the remaining $70 in the pocket of her hoodie.
  3447. >"Thank you, sir."
  3448. "Could you do a favor for me?"
  3449. >She raises an eyebrow and you wave her off.
  3450. "No, no. Not that kind of favor. I'd appreciate it if you could... look out for me. If anybody comes asking about someone with my description... and I don't mean law enforcement; just tell them you haven't seen anybody."
  3451. >She nods.
  3452. >Probably thinks you're a paranoid schizophrenic, and you wouldn't blame her.
  3453. >But every man can be a king with cash.
  3454. >You hand her your room key, and she inputs a few keystrokes.
  3455. ...
  3456. >Friendly wasn't super happy when you woke her up, but she perked up a bit when you told her she was in charge.
  3457. >After making sure the bathtub was clean, you filled it halfway with cold water and stopped the drain so that nobody would get thirsty.
  3458. >Friendly confirmed that the laundry basket was high enough next to the toilet after she stumbled in to take a groggy piss.
  3459. "Everypony good to go? I need to head out for a little while."
  3460. >"You didn't really just..."
  3461. >"Yeah, I'm good. Shut it Moon, if he wants to use it then let him."
  3462. "I was fucking with you both, didn't expect you to take to it, Friendly."
  3463. >"Well... fuck you!"
  3464. "Somepony did some roleplaying back in the day?"
  3465. >"And what if I did?!"
  3466. "Degenerate."
  3467. >You give her a quick scratch behind the ears.
  3468. "Be good now."
  3469. >"Alright Doc."
  3470. >"Sure thing, Poindexter."
  3471. >You check the location and instructions Cunt forwarded to you and then slide your laptop into the bag.
  3472. >Go time.
  3473. ...
  3474. >"What's in the bag?"
  3475. "Only what you take with you."
  3476. >The door clicks and you walk into the belly of the dingy, unlit apartment complex you just entered.
  3477. >Cunt's man takes you to a solid steel door, mutters a few codes into an earpiece, and the door opens with an electronic buzz.
  3478. >"He's in the middle of something, but he said you could come in. I'd grab a slicker and booties if I were you."
  3479. >He points to a rack of neatly-hung plastic rain ponchos, which you select a blue one from along with a pair of plain booties.
  3480. >The floor is clean, but the grate in the center and sloped floor are telling.
  3481. >There's a shivering, scrawny mess of a man strapped to a table.
  3482. >Standing over him is Cunt, brandishing a circular saw in similar attire to you.
  3483. "Hey."
  3484. >"Oh, Assbreath. Hey Joe, you mind if I deal with some other work-related stuff for a minute?"
  3485. >"N-no, Señor."
  3486. >"Good, good. Maybe you can tell me about why you tried to FUCK me in a minute."
  3487. >"N-no, Señor!"
  3488. >He leads you out into the small hallway.
  3489. >"Fucking asshole, now he's making me look like a piece of shit in front of my best friend."
  3490. "What did he do?"
  3491. >"He imported some of that fake coffee shit from China instead of the usual shit. I nearly drank the stuff until I realized it smelled like death."
  3492. >You wince.
  3493. "I suppose I don't need to ask what you're going to do to him."
  3494. >"I'll just fire the fucker if he tells me where I can get my money back, if he's spent it or he won't tell me, well..."
  3495. "More liveleak footage?"
  3496. >"Bingo. So, you said you've been compromised?"
  3497. "Yeah, the guy I used to work with sent some kid to my complex to wipe down door handles for DNA. I caught him in the act."
  3498. >"So, middle of the woods and a canister of gasoline?"
  3499. "No, I checked him over, took his wallet, and dumped him in the cold after hitting him on the head."
  3500. >"That'll work. Did you leave any of your shit behind in your rush to get out of there?"
  3501. "Yeah, quite a bit of my lab equipment and most of my samples."
  3502. >He nods.
  3503. >"I took care of the guns by the way, if you want to come by and get the HK-91 I kept it as per your request."
  3504. "Maybe later, I was wondering if you could send a few of your guys by to move my equipment out somewhere safe."
  3505. >He winces.
  3506. >"Yeah, yeah I can do that. I'll send a few guards with them, make sure to let them know there'll be hell to pay if anything is broken."
  3507. "You're the best. No homo."
  3508. >"Always in the friend zone... where are you staying right now?"
  3509. "Motel over on the South side of town. Cheap rates."
  3510. >"Not bad, but I can let you three stay at my place if you don't want to burn through cash."
  3511. "Are you sure?"
  3512. >"Yeah, safety in numbers and all that."
  3513. >What will you do?
  3514. "Well, if you don't mind I guess I could use a place to lay low for a bit, at least until I can get something a bit more permanent set up. Do you uh, need anything from me?"
  3515. >"Yeah, how about a foot massage and a blowjob?"
  3516. >You look at him for a few seconds before he gives you this shit-eating grin and slaps you on the shoulder.
  3517. >"Don't worry about it. As long as you'll be able to pay me back after you sell the first one we're good. Speaking of which, any date on that yet?"
  3518. "Nothing right now, still working things out."
  3519. >"Well, keep me posted."
  3520. >The two of you stand in silence for about half a minute before you pick the thread of conversation back up.
  3521. "Say, you're just going to ice the guy if he fucked you over, right?"
  3522. >"Yeah, why?"
  3523. "Would you mind leaving him reasonably alive? I've got some experimentation I'd like to perform."
  3524. >"Oh fuck, well today just got a lot more exciting. You mind if I go ahead and deal with him then?"
  3525. "Sure, no problem. Do you keep Baking Soda on-hand here?"
  3526. >"Yeah, there should be several vials in the fridge and a bin of clean needles on top of it."
  3527. >You nod and take ten needles and two vials, a small amount of the stock kept here.
  3528. >The interrogation room is soundproofed quite well, you only hear muffled indistinguishable sounds as you sculpt a petite mare with a flyswatter as a cutie mark, a tan coat, and a shortish black mane.
  3529. >Her name? Spanish Fly.
  3530. >You're just finishing up on the finer details as Cunt walks out.
  3531. >"Well, he didn't give up the location of the cash if he still has it. He's got an artery or something going though, so you might want to hurry up."
  3532. >You nod.
  3533. "Do you keep distilled water around here?"
  3534. >"Yeah, for the turtles."
  3535. "Of course."
  3536. >You shake your head and jog off in the direction Cunt pointed you in to find that he actually does have a few snapping turtles in a tank.
  3537. >Cute.
  3538. >You grab a fresh jug of distilled water from under the sink, mix a bit over the minimum amount of agents into it in a clean shot glass, and draw the mess into a syringe.
  3539. >You hurriedly try to figure out how to append a full reconstruction program onto the beginning of the transformation one, and after about four minutes figure it out.
  3540. >You prime the machines to work on stored memory, and inject the bastard with them.
  3541. >You rip and tie a bit of his filthy shirt around the leg that's gushing blood and he groans in pain.
  3542. >"T-thank you, Señor."
  3543. "Don't thank me yet."
  3544. >You don't want him squirting nanomachines across the room.
  3545. >"Why'd you do it, Joe?"
  3546. "Why do any of us do anything? Money."
  3547. >You draw out enough Baking Soda for nine hours and put it in his neck.
  3548. >He closes his eyes, and you check to make sure he still has a pulse.
  3549. >He does.
  3550. "Well, he should live, but from what I've heard he might not want to."
  3551. >"That bad?"
  3552. "Only when you're not prepared. The identity of what you become has to be somewhat internalized. You might want to move him over to your place sooner than later by the way, unless you want the others to know that well..."
  3553. >"Yeah, don't worry. I'm on it."
  3554. >Cunt is just staring at the guy with a weird sort of fascination.
  3555. "It won't start for a bit, first they have to repair the damage done."
  3556. >"Right, right."
  3557. >The two of you exit the room and sit down at a plastic table.
  3558. >"So, how are the others?"
  3559. "Friendly's holding up well, Moon is worried about her daughter."
  3560. >"Oh Jesus... don't tell me you want me to pick her up too?"
  3561. "Yeah, sorry I'm dumping all of this on you. It's been... a hectic couple of days."
  3562. >"I get it, it's just that most of my guys aren't exactly equipped to deal with children. In fact, some of them are even the opposite of equipped to deal with them if you catch my drift..."
  3563. "Christ, man. Well, maybe just check in on her if you could. I need Moonflower to know that she's doing okay, if you could swing by and pick her up or just make sure she's still kicking that would be amazing."
  3564. >"I guess I don't have too much planned for today, but this is the kid of a disappearance case we're talking about. If it's just cops I can waltz in no problem, but if it's anything outside of local jurisdiction I'm fucked."
  3565. "Well... we can talk about it tonight."
  3566. >"Yeah, that's a good time to move in. Are you heading out?"
  3567. "I'm a bit hungry, and I'm sure the others are too.
  3568. >"Alright, take care then. I'll see you soon. Any instructions for when uh... it wakes up?"
  3569. "I'll try to be there before then."
  3570. >You point to a timer on your phone.
  3571. >"Perfect."
  3572. "Don't put her on any furniture, the mass shedding leaves a wet mess."
  3573. >He nods, and you walk past the same guy from earlier who, if he has any opinion of you, doesn't show it in his cold gaze.
  3574. >You make your way to the same Burger King as before, ordering two Impossible Whoppers and a regular one.
  3575. >You pull up to the drive-through menu and it's the same guy from before.
  3576. >"How's it going? Still enjoying your r9k discord specials?"
  3577. >You roll your eyes and pay.
  3578. "Weren't you the guy who was supposed to be concerned with my well-being last time I came here?"
  3579. >"Now I'm more concerned for who you're getting those for."
  3580. "Just give me the burgers, jackass."
  3581. >He forks over three paper bags.
  3582. ...
  3583. "Everything go okay?"
  3584. >Friendly looks up from the news channel, which appears to be broadcasting 80s rock songs.
  3585. >"What's up, Doc?"
  3586. "You've been watching the children's programming, haven't you?"
  3587. >"Off and on, there were a few news segments not long ago if you want me to fill you in."
  3588. >Moonflower is laying on the bed, nose deep in The Bible.
  3589. "You managed to get that out of the drawer?"
  3590. >"Yeah, used my mouth."
  3591. "I'm impressed."
  3592. >"You're not going to make fun of me for reading The Bible?"
  3593. "Do I look like a reddit faggot?"
  3594. >It's currently 3:29 PM.
  3595. >The sun will set at approximately 5:00 PM.
  3596. >"What the hell is a reddit? Anywho, somethin' smells nice."
  3597. >What will you do?
  3598. "Yeah, figured you could use another one of the veggie burgers since the last one got cold."
  3599. >Moonflower smiles slightly and folds up the book with surprising grace.
  3600. >"Well, I'll probably still need some help eating it."
  3601. >"Yeah, me too..."
  3602. >You smile and roll your eyes, guess you won't be eating for a few minutes yet.
  3603. "Who wants to go first?"
  3604. >Friendly tilts her head, her mane falling a bit as she does.
  3605. >"How do we decide that?"
  3606. "I would say wrestling, but Moonflower probably has you beaten in that regard. Rock paper scissors is a no-go, since I'm sure you'd both try to cheat; so..."
  3607. >You pick up the TV remote and toss it across the room.
  3608. >Moonflower dives for it immediately, while Friendly hangs back and watches.
  3609. >As Moonflower returns to the bed with it held triumphantly in her mouth, you begin you speech.
  3610. "Friendly, for offering up your own chance at-"
  3611. >Friendly dives off the bed, snatching the remote out of Moonflower's mouth.
  3612. >"Hey! Give it back!"
  3613. >"Loser!"
  3614. >Unfortunately while she's trying to evade the other, she doesn't look where she's going and just crashes into the wall.
  3615. >You shake your head, the whole experience having built no trust among the three of you, and none of you having learned anything.
  3616. >Guess you'll feed them both at the same time since it wouldn't be fair to withhold food from them as punishment.
  3617. ...
  3618. >"I think that might've been the best goddamn burger I've ever had."
  3619. "Yeah, something about heat really makes things taste a lot better."
  3620. >Friendly is trying to get a little bit of lettuce off of the tip of her muzzle, and you're content to let it stay there because of how funny it is to watch her cross her eyes and stick out her tongue.
  3621. >Eventually she dislodges it with a snort, catches it on the tip of her tongue, and swallows.
  3622. >"Pretty good. Any chance of ice cream?"
  3623. "You're going to get fat and spoiled if you keep that behavior up."
  3624. >"That's probably someone's fetish."
  3625. "Well, it isn't mine."
  3626. >You check the clock, finding that you managed to kill a little over half an hour.
  3627. >You wipe the drool spots off the remote from Moonflower's careless mouth grip of it and check the news channel.
  3628. >Still just music playing, but this time it's Mexican funk or something.
  3629. >You tune into the kids channel to find that an episode of My Little Pony.
  3630. "Oh come on..."
  3631. >"It was inevitable."
  3632. >"Eeyup."
  3633. >You give Moonflower a look of extreme annoyance, which returns a smug smirk.
  3634. >It's that episode where Fluttershy gets turned into a batpony.
  3635. >Not your favorite, but tolerable enough.
  3636. >Especially more tolerable if you're a pony getting ear rubs, you assume at least.
  3637. >As per usual Friendly is more receptive and leans into your hand, while Moony takes a minute or two before relaxing fully and letting herself enjoy it.
  3638. >They follow it with the sleepover episode though, which is one you quite enjoy.
  3639. >By this point you're unwrapping your burger and digging in, and you have to take a slight break from petting for hygiene reasons.
  3640. >It's not bad, pretty much the extent of what you can say about it.
  3641. >Your taste buds remain unaltered.
  3642. >The three of you agree to watch one more episode while you pack up the things that you brought in with you.
  3643. >It's Suited for Success, and you don't care for Rarity episodes.
  3644. >The others seem to be enjoying themselves at least.
  3645. >You finish packing (taking the little shampoo bottle with you since you remember Cunt not restocking regularly) and pull up your the chat with your potential buyer.
  3646. >He seems to be fine with paying for either Moonflower or Friendly, though he does express some disappointment that the one you're offering isn't a hornhead.
  3647. >You tell him that Friendly has already been spoken for and apologize, and he seems to be fine with the deal.
  3648. >He asks how soon you can meet and seal the deal.
  3649. "Alright Friendly, ready to get in the kennel?"
  3650. >She nods and hops in without a second thought.
  3651. >The sun catching the snow as it falls under the horizon is quite a sight, and you almost want to turn Friendly around so she can appreciate it with you.
  3652. >But alas, it'd be too much of a liability.
  3653. >Once everything is loaded in and you've checked inventory to make sure you didn't leave anything behind, you load Moonflower in too and drive out into the night.
  3654. ...
  3655. >Cunt's house is as secluded as ever.
  3656. >You pull in next to the beater he drives to get groceries and let the ponies out.
  3657. "If the two of you want to play around in the snow for a bit while I get shit moved inside you can, just don't stray far."
  3658. >You give Friendly the look that says 'you're in charge again' and begin to carry what little you need inside.
  3659. >Cunt isn't at the door, but you shout at him to alert your presence so you don't get brained when you use the spare.
  3660. >"You're a bit taller than your profile said, but you'll do nicely."
  3661. >You share a laugh with him after punching him hard in the shoulder, which doesn't seem to faze him.
  3662. >"Where are the ponies?"
  3663. "I've been keeping them cooped up inside all this time, decided it'd be best if I let them run amok."
  3664. >"Aren't you worried they'll run?"
  3665. "One of them, a bit. But the other will probably tell me."
  3666. >"Probably... tell you what, I'll watch them and you get your shit in the guest room. It's downstairs, if you managed to forget."
  3667. "Yeah, fuck you too. Is the heater still broken down there?"
  3668. >"Got it fixed a few months back since I figured I might have guests. Well, guest."
  3669. "Alright. Oh, where did you put the... project?"
  3670. >"It's in the communal bathroom that isn't attached to the guest bedroom over the drain."
  3671. >You nod, and then proceed to go down and dump your shit next to the dresser.
  3672. >"Hey! That's antique you fucking horse!"
  3673. >"Looks like a stick to me!"
  3674. >God dammit Moonflower.
  3675. >You arrange your guns and ammunition neatly on the desk and plug your phone and laptop into the wall.
  3676. >You feel a good bit safer, at least.
  3677. >But something needs to be done about Moonflower.
  3678. >She's not really sellable material yet.
  3679. >You go upstairs to find Cunt aiming an airsoft gun at Moonflower, who finally dropped what really does look like a stick.
  3680. "What is it?"
  3681. >"A rainstick my grandmother gave me."
  3682. "What the hell is a rainstick?"
  3683. >He shakes his head and then lifts the thing up perpendicular to the ground.
  3684. >You can hear the sound of a fuck ton of something moving to the bottom of the stick.
  3685. >"Stick. Rain. Rainstick."
  3686. "Huh, neat. Moonflower, you don't fuck with other people's stuff. Bad girl."
  3687. >She shrinks back, but a few seconds later just rolls her eyes and runs off into the snow.
  3688. >"She's not quite as obedient as the other one, is she?"
  3689. "No, not really."
  3690. >"Are you going to take that lying down?"
  3691. "I've got something planned for when they both come inside. Do you have towels are something? I get the feeling they're probably going to be a bit wet."
  3692. >"Yeah, bit stained though."
  3693. "I don't think they'll care. Let's give them a few more minutes then call them in."
  3694. >"Have you eaten already?"
  3695. "Yes, mom. And they have too, so don't go feeding them if they say I haven't."
  3696. >"Gotcha. There weren't any cop cars around the turquoise one's house, but I saw a woman inside. Does- did the original have a wife?"
  3697. "Apparently institutionalized. Sounds like she could be a social worker, if Moony wasn't just lying to make me feel worse."
  3698. >"That's what I was afraid of... I didn't try to approach because I was afraid she'd scream and it was still light out."
  3699. "Fuck... hold that thought. FRIENDLY! MOONFLOWER! COME INSIDE!"
  3700. >Friendly gets to the door first.
  3701. >"I don't think I can anymore."
  3702. "What are you, a vampire? Ohh. Clever girl."
  3703. >You hear movement outside, but Moonflower hasn't appeared yet.
  3704. "Moony! Get inside or your ass is grass!"
  3705. >Moonflower comes into view, holding a vole that looks to be half frozen.
  3706. "You know you can't eat that."
  3707. >She drops it as she opens her mouth to speak.
  3708. >"Yeah, yeah. Fuck you Poindexter."
  3709. "Can you watch her for a minute? Friendly and I need to have a chat."
  3710. >"Sure thing."
  3711. "If she breaks anything... do you still have that paddle?"
  3712. >"Of course."
  3713. "Have at it."
  3714. >You realize that Friendly really hasn't gotten a chance to get used to stairs yet, because she stumbles and falls about halfway down.
  3715. >You're quick enough to catch her, and elect to just carry her the rest of the way because it's easier.
  3716. >Once you've gotten her in the room you close the door.
  3717. >"Am I in trouble?"
  3718. "No, I've just got a bit of a problem well... Moonflower has been somewhat of a problem. I need to get her in working order to be sold."
  3719. >"Yeah... she isn't taking to a lot of it super well."
  3720. "I might have a bit of an idea about what we can do to help her out, but I need you to play along."
  3721. >You put Friendly on the bed and begin to rub her belly.
  3722. >"Sure thing. What do you have in mind?"
  3723. "Well, I'm not entirely sure it's how I want to go about it. You've certainly more than earned it, but I'm not so sure if Moony has yet."
  3724. >"Ohh, I see what you're getting at."
  3725. >Friendly puts a hoof on top of your hand, stopping you mid-rub.
  3726. "I won't say I'm not excited about the prospect of... you know, but really I think the assurance that her daughter is safe would do more to get her in-line than anything, at least based on what we've talked about."
  3727. >She looks away, and releases your hand.
  3728. >"But then again, I'm the one wearing the collar. Sorry, didn't mean to get all..."
  3729. "It's okay, Friendly. I understand."
  3730. >6 hours remain on your phone timer.
  3731. >What will you do?
  3732. >Removing the diet restrictions for ponies is possible, but you'd also have to reshape their teeth to be able to chew meat for the full effect.
  3733. >This would not only make them slightly unsettling to look at (and less likely to sell), but would somewhat undermine the act of turning them into ponies in the first place.
  3734. >You could probably create blue lobsters with the technology you have and sell them, but the question is who would buy them?
  3735. >You only know of one blue lobster, and it's displayed in an aquarium.
  3736. >You suppose you could sell to aquariums, but you'd need to reveal your identity to them to do so.
  3737. >Your credentials might help you, sodden as they are, but if someone with the right connections found you it's another loose end that you'd rather not leave out there.
  3738. >You don't see what advantage it would provide you to morally lock yourself to the nanomachines.
  3739. >Your nightmares can get pretty bad, but having a looming permanent threat on your body doesn't seem like the best way to get rid of them.
  3740. >In fact, it might make them worse.
  3741. >Fur coats are out of the question, at least for ponies.
  3742. >Even though you could sedate them for the process, you frankly just don't want to.
  3743. >The thought of hurting a pony like that sickens you, and you wonder why it even crossed your mind.
  3744. >You decide to focus your attention on your other crimes against God.
  3745. "Friendly? I'm going to need you not to freak out, but I've been cooking up something that might not turn out well."
  3746. >"That's... ominous."
  3747. "I just want to let you know that the alternative for him was a painful death, and that this project will help me understand the limitations of what I'm working with."
  3748. >"Well, if the alternative was death I don't really see why you shouldn't have."
  3749. "I warn you that the results probably won't be as pretty or logical as your words, but thank you."
  3750. >She nods somewhat gravely.
  3751. "I'm going to go get Moonflower and have a bit of a talk with her now, you don't mind hanging out with my friend do you?"
  3752. >"That's fine, I might need you to spot me going up the stairs though..."
  3753. >You put your hands around Friendly's haunches as she climbs, making sure that she doesn't slip as she carefully ascends.
  3754. >Moonflower and Cunt are arguing over whether Craig or Moore was a better Bond.
  3755. >You pick up Moonflower, and to your surprise she doesn't object to it as she continues to spew obscenities at Cunt.
  3756. "Sorry to cut this short, business talk."
  3757. >You carry Moonflower down the stairs and she raises her voice more and more, trying to get the last word in before you close the door to the bedroom and she falls silent.
  3758. >"What do you want, Poindexter?"
  3759. >You flick her ear.
  3760. "Mainly for you to cut it out and act more like a pony should."
  3761. >"I didn't ask for this."
  3762. "Neither did Friendly, and she doesn't seem to mind. I understand you're worried about your daughter, but-"
  3763. >"You don't know the first thing about my daughter, Christ the ne-"
  3764. "Do you want to get entangled with my old colleague? Do you prefer the devil you know, or the one you don't?"
  3765. >"At this point I think the biblical devil, if you please. At least his punishments were for sinners."
  3766. "Look. I know I'm not a parent, but put yourself in her shoes. Her father gets smashed up in a car wreck and vanishes on the side of the road. It sucks, but I can't undo it, and trust me there's a part of me that would like to. Children very rarely have the chances to meet their idols unless they're dying, and now you're both her guardian and her idol. I can reunite you with her, but if I do then she's in this operation for good. I won't separate the two of you, but she's going to need to be a pony too."
  3767. >Moonflower kinda flops over and groans.
  3768. >"I guess it really wouldn't be all that fitting if I was cussin' up a storm around her... I'll be your little pet pony once you've made good on your word."
  3769. >What will you do?
  3770. "I won't be able to put her back out there, you know."
  3771. >"Yeah, well... it's either that or her being alone out there. I don't want her living in an orphanage or somethin' like that...."
  3772. "Alternatively,I was thinking some of the money I got from selling you could go towards an account for her, help her get started when she turns eighteen."
  3773. >"Money only does so much good out there. She'd still grow up thinking that I died and livin' in some shitty run-down place with a bunch a kids who'd either get her into trouble or get her messed up some other way."
  3774. >She looks you in the eyes.
  3775. >"The one thing I think you're doin' right here is giving people an out of having to live in this shitty place. Do with that as you will, even if I don't agree with you I can't exactly beat the snot out of you like this."
  3776. >Mass shedding leaves behind little to the naked eye but moisture, as the process prioritizes the dehydration of excess cells over a massive mess of skin that would need to be cleaned up.
  3777. >From what you understand (admittedly something you haven't thought much about up until this point) the process distributes as much dehydrated cells evenly around the outside of the body as it can get away with, letting them accumulate about microscopically in what is basically just a highly refined version of how humans shed skin.
  3778. >You suppose you could rework the process to leave behind a larger mass, though if you wanted it to be shaped into something you could get away with selling then it'd add an extra hour or two to the whole thing.
  3779. >Whatever you're planning on doing about the daughter, it'd probably be best if you did it soon.
  3780. >What will you do?
  3781. >You could adopt the daughter, but you think that would just piss Moonflower off more.
  3782. >After all, she probably doesn't think you're the epitome of a great caretaker.
  3783. >Turning a fat man into a small pony has its own suite of problems.
  3784. >It can be done, but the more mass reduction you're performing the more intense your care will need to be.
  3785. >You know enough about human biology to give them a pretty good chance of survival, but you should probably wait on capturing anybody who's on the pudgier end until you have a permanent base of operations again.
  3786. >The excess mass is wasted, but again it's going to take more time to form it into something usable.
  3787. >And most of the leftover mass is fat cells, which the process prioritizes minimizing.
  3788. >Though notably the original models you have to work with don't render the ponies extremely skinny, leaving them with just enough body fat to be huggable.
  3789. >You see little reason to change this, you suppose you might get a client that asks for a fatter pony but you'd be hesitant to reduce fat stores to anorexic amounts.
  3790. >In the future, you'll try to avoid obvious sadism.
  3791. >Moonflower curls up on the bed while you try to find out what you can on your client.
  3792. >You're not making as much headway, as most of his posts and internet activities appear to be on platforms with decent cybersecurity.
  3793. >You manage to find out a few things.
  3794. >His first name is "John".
  3795. >He's slightly overweight.
  3796. >In addition to spending a good amount of money on commissions, he also collects classic cars.
  3797. >His source of income, if there is one, isn't disclosed to you.
  3798. >He has a bit of a temper, (at least online) and is prone to arguing with little provocation.
  3799. >He lives somewhere within eight hours of your current location.
  3800. >You wish you were better at finding out exactly who people are, but with the proficiency at finding people your former colleague has you're almost sure he has people who owe him favors inside of 4chan's admin team and Google.
  3801. >Odd how he managed to seemingly maintain the former even after Hiro took things over.
  3802. >No wait, money.
  3803. >You groan and put your head in your hands.
  3804. "Moonflower, can you come over here? I need your help."
  3805. >"What the hell would ya need my help with?"
  3806. "Well, if your daughter can create a pony and I can turn you into it without problems, I figure if you carefully create a pony based off of-"
  3807. >"Open up my google drive again."
  3808. >You nod, open up tor, and after tilting the screen away from Moonflower log back into the account.
  3809. >"Why won't you let me see?"
  3810. "Because your google account has a portion of your old name."
  3811. >"Oh, right. Well, check the folder marked 'fridge door'."
  3812. >You do so, and find a good number of crayon drawings of various ponies.
  3813. >At this point you call Friendly down.
  3814. "Which one do you think she'd identify with the most?"
  3815. >"Hard to say... she liked that Applejack horse."
  3816. "So, orange coat?"
  3817. >"Probly."
  3818. "Any characters in specific she designed?"
  3819. >"Yeah, one or two... scroll down."
  3820. >This girl must really fucking love ponies, because there are a lot of them.
  3821. >"No, no, no, no... there's one."
  3822. >You open up a crude at best drawing of an orange farmpony with a brown Clint Eastwood-esque stetson.
  3823. >The main distinguishing feature from AJ is her brown mane and tail instead of a blond.
  3824. >And obviously she'll be a filly, but the proportions are already there on the paper somewhat.
  3825. "Are you sure she'll identify with this one? I could be getting her into a lot of trouble if she doesn't."
  3826. >"Identify?"
  3827. "Uhh... have you seen her running around pretending to be this pony?"
  3828. >"Oh, uh... yeah. She's done a bit of gardening and she always says it's been done by Green Thumb, which is the name of the pony."
  3829. >Great, a pony referencing anatomy that barely exists in Equestria.
  3830. >Autism.mp3
  3831. >You plug in "Green Thumb" to the mental package.
  3832. "I'll need to wipe her original name from your memory as well."
  3833. >"Why do you insist on doing that?"
  3834. >She seems a bit pissed at this.
  3835. "It's important for the solidification of her new identity."
  3836. >Moonflower grumbles something, but doesn't protest too much further than that.
  3837. "Friendly, all of this sound good?"
  3838. >"Oh, I thought you brought me back down for something else. You're the expert, not me."
  3839. "I don't know anything about being a pony. Anything you wish I had done to help you adjust at the start?"
  3840. >"Well, losing my name was a bit... disheartening. I wish you had eased me into that a bit more instead of dumping it on me on top of everything else."
  3841. "Noted, thank you. Nothing else?"
  3842. >"I know libido is something you should be able to turn down. Don't make a little filly who wants to fuck."
  3843. "Wasn't planning on it."
  3844. >As much as you'd like to go for a mare just because of how it's a lot more shake and bake of an operation, with a kid you're really not going to be working with enough excess mass to do one.
  3845. >You save your work and tell the ponies they're free to do what they wish within reason.
  3846. >Truth be told, you don't know if someone can dream when they're under Baking Soda.
  3847. >It releases its payload over a period of several hours, and it's difficult to classify exactly when it dips into heavy anesthesia.
  3848. >You watch the slightly deformed mass of man and mare on the floor over the drain as it breathes in and out fitfully.
  3849. >What troubled thoughts pass through its subconscious mind, if any?
  3850. >Leaning over, you take note of its vitals to ensure that they're still green across the board.
  3851. >Reconnecting to the nanomachines in its body reveals multiple errors in the brain area, only one of them pertaining to general operations.
  3852. >'0018645E: Partial completion of writing information to neuron cluster.'
  3853. >'0018645E: Partial completion of writing information to neuron cluster.'
  3854. >'0018647E: Rejection of agent activities observed by agents in medial prefrontal cortex.'
  3855. >You leave the nanomachines to doing what they can and go upstairs to find Cunt.
  3856. "Are you ready to get that girl?"
  3857. >"Only if you're coming with me, armed."
  3858. >What will you do?
  3859. >You'd need time and quite a bit of extra mass to grow extra arms, neither of which really seem to be possible in the time frame you likely have for getting the girl.
  3860. >You grab Sarah, Leela, and Julia; tucking the primary into your jacket, strapping the secondary onto your back, and carrying the tertiary.
  3861. "I'm going to get your daughter, Moonflower. Both of you be good, if you get hungry there should be two dog bowls filled with cereal upstairs. Friendly, you're-"
  3862. >"In charge, I know. What type of cereal is it?"
  3863. "Lucky Charms."
  3864. >"Where did the dog bowls come from?"
  3865. "I have no idea, and don't ask Cunt. He's never owned a dog."
  3866. >"G-gotcha."
  3867. >"Well, that sounds fine and good... you two be careful out there."
  3868. >"Don't worry, this isn't your owner and I's first rodeo."
  3869. >You give Cunt the obligatory fistbump and then start to gear up.
  3870. >You make sure to grab an extra two five-round stripper clips for the Mosin, tucking them into your other jacket pocket.
  3871. >For the FN FAL, you have two eight round magazines that you are able to fill completely with .308 rounds.
  3872. >For the USP, you have two 18 round magazines, which you put next to the strippers and .308s.
  3873. >You decide to stick your laptop in the backpack along with the nanomachines, the dart gun, and your case of darts just in case.
  3874. >You head back upstairs.
  3875. >"Do you want that HK-91 yet?"
  3876. "Oh shit, I have ex fifty-fours, not ex fifty-ones."
  3877. >"I figured you might not have any so I took the liberty of stocking up for you."
  3878. >He casually tosses you the rifle, which you catch somewhat clumsily.
  3879. "I think I'll prefer this to the FN at the moment, you want to take Julia?"
  3880. >"You fucking name your guns? That's a bit autistic man."
  3881. "Shut up. She's a machine, a piece of workmanship just like a boat or a car."
  3882. >"You do you, but I wouldn't be caught dead naming mine."
  3883. >He pulls out a .44 magnum revolver.
  3884. "Oh come on, you're taking the fucking Dirty Harry gun?"
  3885. >"I don't see why not. Kills things good."
  3886. "Yeah, but it'll shatter your eardrums if you need to fire it and it kicks like a fucking mule."
  3887. >"Well, then just reconstruct my eardrums after I lay waste to whoever stands in my way."
  3888. "We're picking up a little girl from her house."
  3889. >"I'm still taking the magnum."
  3890. >You groan and shake your head.
  3891. >There's no moving him on these sort of things, you've tried before.
  3892. >"Do you want ear protection?"
  3893. "I don't see the point, better we fuck up our hearing than get shot because we didn't hear a near miss and take cover."
  3894. >"Alright."
  3895. >You tell Cunt to leave the car running for a few minutes while you brainstorm a way to fix the problems in the log on Spanish Fly, but there's nothing you can find in the documentation and you're not able to come up with anything brilliant at the moment.
  3896. >As far as you can tell, the damage being caused my the nanomachines is from rejection.
  3897. >You try not to think too much about what Joe is going through and hop in Cunt's car, a beat-up older model of Porsche that you helped him install bullet-resistant glass in on a few years back.
  3898. "You want to drive?"
  3899. >"Yeah, haven't had much to drink tonight."
  3900. >He peels out through the snow while you work the radio.
  3901. >You're about to change the channel when Cunt holds up his hand.
  3902. >"Let it sit, Ass."
  3903. >You check your guns while the two of you drive.
  3904. >Everything seems to be in order.
  3905. >You just sit back and listen to the music for a few minutes, nodding your head slightly along with the beat.
  3906. >By the time a few similar songs have finished on the radio, you're pulling up about a block away from her house.
  3907. >Cunt pulls a pair of white cotton gloves out of the glove compartment, and you slip a pair of disposable ones.
  3908. >You pick up Hunter's HK, slide back the cocking lever, slide the mag into it, and turn off the safety.
  3909. "Let's roll."
  3910. >"Did you bring your picks?"
  3911. "Yeah, should be in my backpack if I'm not mistaken."
  3912. >You root around for a minute and come up with them.
  3913. >The two of you keep a close eye out and stay in the less well-lit areas of the street as you approach John's place.
  3914. >It's surprisingly nice, and you take a minute to look around the yard for the most discrete point of entry.
  3915. >There's a backyard with a locked door that you and Cunt access by hopping over a wooden fence.
  3916. >You take out your tension and work at the inside of the lock for a few minutes with a city rake, rocking it back and forth until finally you feel the inner core give.
  3917. >The door opens with a loud squeak, and you cringe.
  3918. >"Daddy? Is that you?"
  3919. >Not wanting to give away your position yet, you gesture for Cunt to come in after you and keep your rifle drawn.
  3920. >You both walk nearly silently by putting down your heels before the tips of your shoes.
  3921. >"John Clement? Your daughter asked you a question."
  3922. >You gesture for Cunt to slip into a bathroom with you while you retrieve your dart gun from the pack.
  3923. >You almost prick yourself in the sharp edge of an incapacitation dart while you're loading it, but manage to get it in with no further issues.
  3924. >You poke your head around the corner and see a woman standing before you.
  3925. >"You don't match the description I've been given."
  3926. >She holds up a stun gun and you grit your teeth, taking aim at her relatively exposed neck and shoulders.
  3927. >You miss the shot entirely and the dart flies into the drywall, a wet spot forming where it releases its payload.
  3928. >"Not a very good shot."
  3929. "Fuck you."
  3930. >She seems to have spotted the guns strapped to your back now, and rushes you somewhat clumsily; the sounds of electric discharge, breathing and footsteps the only audible things in the house.
  3931. >Just as she's about to plunge it into your neck, you kick her as hard as you can in the stomach and she crumples.
  3932. >You confiscate her stun gun and jam it into her neck, then take out an incapacitation dart from your case and manually inject it by impaling her with it.
  3933. >"Christ Ass, what was that? Are you getting a bit rusty?"
  3934. "I think something might have been up with the dart. You can mock me later, we need to get Moonflower's kid."
  3935. >"Roger."
  3936. >You and Cunt both put away your weapons and enter the room where you heard the daughter's voice.
  3937. "You can come out now, we're not here to hurt you."
  3938. >"What did you do to that lady?"
  3939. "She's just asleep, she'll wake back up soon."
  3940. >You lead the daughter over to the social worker's motionless form and tell her to put her middle and ring fingers up to her neck.
  3941. "You feel that?"
  3942. >"It's like a heartbeat."
  3943. "That's her pulse. As long as that's still going, everything is going to be alright."
  3944. >Of course you're not being entirely truthful, but you don't think you need to explain brain death to a little girl.
  3945. >"Are you a doctor?"
  3946. "Of sorts."
  3947. >"What type?"
  3948. "I'm a scientist. Instead of making people better, I work on ideas that make people's lives easier."
  3949. >"Oh... that's cool."
  3950. "It is. I don't think I would've done it if it wasn't."
  3951. >"Who's he?"
  3952. "That's my friend."
  3953. >"What does he do?"
  3954. "...finances."
  3955. >After a few more minutes of talking to the girl, you get to the subject of her coming with you.
  3956. >"Daddy told me never to get in the car with strangers..."
  3957. "What if I told you that I knew where your daddy is?"
  3958. >"Nobody knows that..."
  3959. "And yet I do. You don't have to come with us if you don't want to, but we've got a tight schedule to keep and you need to figure out what to do in the next ten minutes."
  3960. >"Umm... okay. Do I need to bring anything?"
  3961. "Hey man, do you have any spare toothbrushes?"
  3962. >"No, why would I?"
  3963. "Grab your toothbrush."
  3964. ...
  3965. >After making sure that you didn't leave anything behind, the three of you exit into the night.
  3966. >As Cunt straps in Moonflower's daughter, you stand out in the night enjoying a cigarette to calm your nerves.
  3967. >You didn't expect that woman to get the jump on you, shit was intense.
  3968. >A crack rings out in the night as the window you're standing next to becomes a sea of spiderwebs.
  3969. >"Shit shit shit! Get the fuck in the car, Ass!"
  3970. >What will you do?
  3971. >You've gotta stop smoking this crap.
  3972. >You jank open the door, slamming it shut after you as another round shatters into shrapnel on the glass.
  3973. >You're lucky he didn't shoot anything more powerful at you, or the glass would probably already have holes in it.
  3974. >No sooner is your ass in the seat before Cunt floors the fucker down the street, turning out into another street.
  3975. >You duck down in case the assailant has something higher caliber up his sleeve.
  3976. "Get buckled up and stay down, and put your fingers in your ears. It might get loud."
  3977. >The girl nods, and though she's struggling a bit with the buckle she manages to get pretty low and stick her index fingers in her ears.
  3978. "Get buckled first though, shit."
  3979. >You turn to Cunt, who's at least a few blocks away at this point and has one of the most intense looks you've ever seen on his face before.
  3980. "You drive, I'll shoot."
  3981. >"Don't need to tell me twice."
  3982. >You look out the back window, but you can't see anything.
  3983. >"Shit shit shit!"
  3984. >The car comes to a screeching halt as Cunt slams on the brakes as a bulky looking dude on a motorcycle burns out of a private drive in front of you.
  3985. >The kid jerks forward a bit, but she managed to get her belt on and had her head rested on the back of the seat.
  3986. >Cunt blares the horn at the asshole, before he starts cursing up even more of a storm.
  3987. >"GET THE FUCK DOWN, ASS!"
  3988. >You watch in horror as the motorcyclist pulls out what looks like an AK-47 in this light and begins to fire through the windshield.
  3989. >You don't think it's possible to get any lower than you were before, but you find yourself gaining an inch or two further.
  3990. >You can hear tires spinning both inside and outside of the car as the precursor to an awful crashing sound.
  3991. >Bits and pieces of motorcycle fly up over what little of the windshield you can still see through, and you hear a few thumps on the roof.
  3992. >A bloodied mess of a man falls off the bumper of the car.
  3993. >You've never seen him before in your life, but something seems distinctly off about him.
  3994. >His form doesn't look broken so much as it looks...
  3995. >No, surely it isn't...
  3996. >Bent.
  3997. >The man opens his eyes, looks down at his mangled rifle, and then reaches out to push himself up.
  3998. >What will you do?
  3999. >You hold up your HK, but then realize that now is a good opportunity to get the fuck out of here.
  4000. >Plus you don't want to scar the kid.
  4001. "Let's get out of here."
  4002. >"Yeah."
  4003. "Don't drive back towards home base immediately, do you have somewhere we can drop the car off?"
  4004. >"Yeah, but... you're not going to like it."
  4005. ...
  4006. >Cunt didn't want to ditch the car completely, and seemed pretty intent on fixing it up in the future.
  4007. >When you asked him about any bugs, he offhandedly said that his crew would deal with it in the morning.
  4008. "Are you sure this was the only option?"
  4009. >You hiss at Cunt.
  4010. >"They'll be looking for two guys in a car, there's very little chance they'll be looking for two guys in a bus."
  4011. "It's also the furthest thing from low-profile. Her face is on the news, there's a decent chance someone will recognize her."
  4012. >You're standing next to the bus station now, with the smoldering Porsche parked in a city parking garage about four blocks away.
  4013. >Moonflower's daughter is getting a drink at a water fountain, so you have the ability to speak somewhat freely as long as you keep your voice low.
  4014. "Is there even a bus stop near your house?"
  4015. >"A few miles out, yeah."
  4016. "Couldn't someone bring just bring us a car?"
  4017. >"My main vehicles guy... has the night off."
  4018. >So he's dead, great.
  4019. "Do you uh... have a backup?"
  4020. >"Been trying to hire one for weeks now... finances is dangerous work."
  4021. "Shit..."
  4022. >As you're trying to figure out what to do, Cunt jumps into the road and starts waving down a car.
  4023. >You can hear some conversation as you contemplate lighting a cigarette, but ultimately decide against it.
  4024. >The girl comes back over.
  4025. "Got enough water?"
  4026. >"Mhm!"
  4027. >"Come on over!"
  4028. >You lead the girl over to the car, which is being driven by two buff gentlemen of considerable build.
  4029. >"These two with you, boss?"
  4030. >"Yeah, is there room in the back?"
  4031. "I guess, but one of you is gonna hafta carry the product."
  4032. >The three of you pile into the back seat, with you and Cunt carrying metal crates.
  4033. "What's in these?"
  4034. >"Don't be asking the wrong questions."
  4035. >"He's my fucking product engineer, lay off. What's in the boxes? He probably just wants to know how to handle them."
  4036. >"Oh uh... I dunno. Just loaded em' cause you asked me to."
  4037. >"Better be careful with them then."
  4038. >"What's with the kid?"
  4039. >"I don't pay you to ask so many goddamn questions."
  4040. >The guy in the passenger seat continues to eye the three of you up, but doesn't say anything for the remainder of the drive.
  4041. >"Stop here."
  4042. >"You sure?"
  4043. >"Yes."
  4044. >You pile out, and Cunt waves the car on.
  4045. >"It's cold."
  4046. >The three of you walk in silence until the girl begins to trail behind.
  4047. >She accepts your offer to carry her, but insists on a piggyback ride.
  4048. >Kids...
  4049. >As you approach the house, she begins to complain about the cold more and more, and you realize you didn't really expect her to be out this long.
  4050. "Cunt? Can you loan her your gloves?"
  4051. >Obviously they're much too large for her hands, but hopefully they're doing at least some good.
  4052. >It begins to snow just as you're getting back to the front door.
  4053. >You're not sure how you should introduce Moonflower.
  4054. >Three hours remain on Spanish Fly.
  4055. >What will you do?
  4056. >You root around in your pocket for the note you copied ID information on, finding it after a few seconds.
  4057. >'Camilla Habeck.'
  4058. >You'll have to keep an eye on that social worker.
  4059. >The daughter holds her Moonflower plush closely, she was pretty insistent that she picked it up.
  4060. >You'll admit that the Clement's workmanship is actually quite good, better than you could do with a sewing machine.
  4061. >With the low mass you have to work with, you'll almost certainly need to do a filly.
  4062. >And as long as you have ample space on your hard drive, you can save a copy of the original body.
  4063. >Which you do.
  4064. >Cunt agrees to keep the girl occupied with some mindless cartoons and keep an eye on her while you go downstairs to consult the mares.
  4065. >Heh, poetry.
  4066. "We should set up a system, something to ensure that both of us are who we say we are."
  4067. >"Guess making people practically indestructible isn't all he can do, huh?"
  4068. "Yeah, I found some information about human face reconstruction. With the right model to work with, he might be able to make a somewhat convincing fake of either one of us... though I'm not sure how well he'd be able to get the intonation of voice and face exactly right. He's heard me talk before, and knows more closely what I look like, but it's difficult to imitate reality from memory."
  4069. >"So we should both be on the lookout for the uncanny valley?"
  4070. "That, and we should probably set up a series of questions that only we know the answers to. He's surprised me before."
  4071. >"That makes two of us. I'll get to work on a list while the kid watches cartoons."
  4072. "Ten-four, anything I can do to repay you? You've been sticking your neck out for me a lot lately, and I want to show you that I appreciate it."
  4073. >"See if you can cook up something for my back. I haven't been able to crack it properly since some fuckass hit me with a bat a few years ago."
  4074. "That's it?"
  4075. >"I'll save more complicated modifications for when you've had more time to practice them."
  4076. >You lower your voice to a whisper.
  4077. "Do we have something soft for the kid? I'm not sure how well she'll react to seeing a pony and it's best that she's in a bit more of a dreamlike state."
  4078. >"I have some Flour in the fridge."
  4079. "Don't mix more than one or two grains into her drink."
  4080. >You head downstairs finally.
  4081. >"Didja get her?"
  4082. "Yeah, she's upstairs watching cartoons right now. Should be ready for you to see as soon as we get her a bit tired."
  4083. >"How exactly are you planning on getting her tired?"
  4084. "Gentle sedatives."
  4085. >Moonflower shakes her head vigorously, her mane flying every which way.
  4086. >"You're not gonna do that, and you don't need to. I know my daughter, she won't freak out if she sees a pony."
  4087. >You look over to Friendly, but she just gives you this unsure look, like she doesn't really want to involve herself in this discussion.
  4088. >"I wanna see her, just so I can be sure you aren't lying."
  4089. >You sigh and go upstairs, grabbing a piece of paper and putting the time and date on it before taking a picture of it next to the girl.
  4090. >You tell Cunt to hold off on the drugged water for the moment.
  4091. "There. Do you believe me now?"
  4092. >Moonflower actually looks pleased.
  4093. >"What's with the slip of paper?"
  4094. "So you can tell I'm the one who took it and that it wasn't a photoshop."
  4095. >"Well, I can pretty easily tell that, don't think you needed to do that."
  4096. >You shrug.
  4097. "Force of habit."
  4098. >You've got a lot of lewd things in mind for Moonflower, but you don't want to ruin the moment by getting to work on those right away.
  4099. >You head back upstairs with your laptop opened to the model you were working on for Green Thumb.
  4100. "You like ponies, right?"
  4101. >You see that Cunt has put on My Little Pony, which she's fucking transfixed on.
  4102. >No shit.
  4103. >"Yeah!"
  4104. "Do you have a pony that you think of as yourself?"
  4105. >"Umm..."
  4106. "If you were a pony, who would you be?"
  4107. >"Well, there's this pony I made named Moonflower, but I don't really think of her like me. That'd probably be Green Thumb."
  4108. "What does she look like?"
  4109. >"Well, she's got this brown cowboy hat, and she's got pink eyes, and a orange body, and an brown mane and tail."
  4110. >You plug in the pink eyes.
  4111. >You're probably going to need to stay with her for the majority of the procedure, but as far as the design goes there are only a few things left.
  4112. >You need to know her name so that you can replace it.
  4113. ...
  4114. "Moonflower, what's your daughter's name?"
  4115. >"You didn't ask her?"
  4116. "I was afraid she'd give me a nickname, it's imperative that I know exactly what it is so that I can replace all instances of it."
  4117. >"Julia."
  4118. "Julia what?"
  4119. >"I... don't know..."
  4120. >She looks saddened by this, but at least you know for sure that she shares Moonflower's old last name.
  4121. >You key in the replacement to the mental package, and save your work.
  4122. >You spend the next little bit making adjustments to the standard package.
  4123. >No libido, allowance for growth, and a few other nitty gritty details.
  4124. >Everything is looking good, now you just need to decide what comes next.
  4125. >Two hours remain on Spanish Fly.
  4126. >If you want to successfully create a filly, you will probably need to devote your attention to error monitoring for pretty much the entirety of the process.
  4127. >You feel only slight fatigue.
  4128. >What will you do?
  4129. >You don't want to be a pony because...
  4130. >It doesn't fit in your priorities, right?
  4131. >You don't want people fucking with your brain, and you like being able do tasks that are very difficult to do as a pony.
  4132. >You think about Moonflower and her hooves.
  4133. >They look a bit tasty.
  4134. >You think about sautéing them up, but you're pretty sure saying Friendly wouldn't appreciate that is quite the understatement.
  4135. >And you need to sell her, right?
  4136. >You take a moment to collect your thoughts.
  4137. >You check the mason jar, finding it to be about 5/8 full.
  4138. >You should be good for a while, just under 1/4 of a jar is when you're getting into the danger zone.
  4139. >At that point you might need to seek out a manufacturing source other than using nanomachines to make more nanomachines.
  4140. >You do have all of the dimensions, circuit diagrams, tolerances, and assorted schematics necessary to create them, it would just be difficult to get a manufacturing process set up for complicated microscopic production.
  4141. >Your microcapsule machine is designed for soluble substances, but modification for metal could potentially...
  4142. >You're getting ahead of yourself, as long as you keep the raw materials on-hand and don't fall below you should be fine.
  4143. "Julia, are you sleepy?"
  4144. >"Kinda."
  4145. "Do you want to go to bed?"
  4146. >"Where's daddy?"
  4147. >You look over to the glass, and decide not to drug her tonight.
  4148. "Hang on just a minute."
  4149. >There isn't a second guest room, but luckily Cunt has a pull-out couch upstairs.
  4150. >While you and Cunt are getting it set up, you chat a bit.
  4151. "What should we do for the next encounter against those things?"
  4152. >"Shit man, you tell me. My solution for something that's trying to kill me is usually to aim for center mass and unload, but it looks like that might not work this time. Pretty sure I slammed him in the stomach."
  4153. "There aren't normally any bones there, he really shouldn't have gotten up like that."
  4154. >"Kevlar for skin? Extended skeletons? Fuck man, you tell me. Whatever it is, I just hope it'll go down with enough shots."
  4155. "Certainly not if it's shooting at us. How's your aim? Think you could crack a gun in half?"
  4156. >"Depends on the angle. Probably a bit better than yours though, no offense."
  4157. "...None taken, you've done it more than I have and in far more stressful situations."
  4158. >You end up putting on a comforter and a few extra pillows to make sure that she's comfortable.
  4159. "I need to discuss a few things with Friendly, I'll be up in a few minutes."
  4160. >Cunt nods.
  4161. ...
  4162. >"You're saying you might have to put her down?"
  4163. >You closed Moonflower off in a storage room for a few minutes so that she doesn't rush upstairs before you're ready.
  4164. "Only if things don't go as well as... well, there isn't really any intention here but research. Remember that-"
  4165. >"I know, I know... the original body was going to die anyways and this is at least a chance. Just... don't give up on her right away, okay?"
  4166. >You rub behind Friendly's ears and she makes a satisfied kind of guttural sound.
  4167. "Okay. I'll try to keep her around of course, I'm just saying that if she's beyond saving even with the technology I have, then well..."
  4168. >Friendly nods grimly, then lightens up a bit when you push her over and blow a few raspberries into her tummy.
  4169. >"Some people are beyond saving, but people aren't ponies."
  4170. >You call up for Cunt to dim the lights and then lead Moonflower up into the living room.
  4171. >Julia is obviously fairly shocked to see something she drew come to life, but manages to not go into hysterics.
  4172. >"Y-you're... Moonflower."
  4173. >"Yeah, suppose I am. I heard somebody very special was here to see me."
  4174. "Do you know where my daddy is? He's been missing..."
  4175. >"I'm-"
  4176. "Moonflower, there's something I forgot to tell you. Can you come here for a second?"
  4177. >"S-sure Poin."
  4178. >You hold her up and instruct her in whispers not to reveal that she's Julia's former father.
  4179. >"That's not right."
  4180. "It's just for right now. It might help the adjustment."
  4181. >"Okay, just set me down."
  4182. >"I'm... not sure."
  4183. >You're not sure if she's naturally a terrible liar, or if she just feels guilty doing it to Julia, but the delivery is awkward.
  4184. >Julia doesn't seem to question it though, and a few minutes later you're tucking the two into bed together.
  4185. >"Moonflower, can you read me a story?"
  4186. >"Sure thing Juju."
  4187. >She looks at you with judging eyes.
  4188. "Do we have anything appropriate for kids?"
  4189. >"I have a few Little Golden Books I woke up with after a blackout night."
  4190. "Great, where are they?"
  4191. >"Downstairs, on the shelf next to my CD case."
  4192. >You go to retrieve them, and find in horror that one of them is covered in dried blood.
  4193. >Luckily the other one is fine though.
  4194. >When you come back up you notice that Moonflower has let Julia use her as a sort of pillow.
  4195. >"There we go! Finally, some decent freakin' service!"
  4196. >You roll your eyes at her and turn on the lamp so she can see what she's reading.
  4197. >"These things aren't great for holding, but I can read if you turn the pages."
  4198. >"Okay!"
  4199. >Moonflower looks genuinely happy for the first time since she's become a pony, or really since you met John.
  4200. >During a page turn, she mouths 'thank you' and lightly shoos you away.
  4201. >You don't need to tell Cunt to keep an eye on them, because he already is.
  4202. >Not quite hawklike, but in the way a bodyguard might.
  4203. >You give him a thumbs up and he gives you one too as you're heading downstairs.
  4204. >You've got a bit more time to kill on the clock.
  4205. "Want to watch something?"
  4206. >"Sure, what are you thinking?"
  4207. "Why don't you pick?"
  4208. >She scrunches up her muzzle in presumable focus.
  4209. >"Nah, you pick. I'm fresh out of ideas."
  4210. "Alright, fucking around on youtube it is."
  4211. >You open up Tor and log in on an alt account.
  4212. >Better safe than... something.
  4213. >You mainly just end up rewatching old flash animations, and end up going on a bit of a nostalgia trip with Friendly.
  4214. "Don't remember this series."
  4215. >"It's a bit underrated, I'm surprised they put something out in the past year or two. Man, when it was my turn on the school computers, I'd always try to get as many people watching this as possible."
  4216. "Flash has a bit of a weird place in my heart, I think I remember one of my classes touching on some of the features but I didn't want to make games so I lost interest after making a few interactive web elements."
  4217. >"What kind of stuff?"
  4218. "Nothing special, I remember one night after half a bottle of scotch I made the guy's penis from Meatspin into the body of longcat and had it play that sound clip of Bush Jr. mispronouncing 'nuclear' every time you clicked on it."
  4219. >"That's... retarded."
  4220. "I was drunk, what can I say?"
  4221. >"I let someone who made that in flash run software that turned me into a pony... no wonder a few things didn't come out completely right."
  4222. >You chuckle and twirl a tuft of fluff on her chest around your finger.
  4223. "Come on, now tell me something stupid you've done."
  4224. >"Well, back at the orphanage a few other kids and I started an official butt inspection club."
  4225. "So you're gay?"
  4226. >"No! No. The purpose of the club was that we were going to try to get ourselves to be well-known enough that the girls would ask us to inspect their butts too, but it all died down after a few weeks and all I was left with was a camera full of pictures of a bunch of dudes butts."
  4227. "I think that story might top mine."
  4228. >She cracks up a bit.
  4229. >"At least I had an excuse!"
  4230. "Not a very good one, homo."
  4231. >She leans into your hand as you run it through her mane.
  4232. >"Never ended up developing those pictures actually, if you want to give it a shot."
  4233. "One, it's dangerous to go back to your place. Two, it I take those in to be developed, they'll probably think I'm a pedophile. Having a bunch of pictures of kids' asses? Not a good idea."
  4234. >"We were like sixteen when it happened, pretty sure that's the age of consent in a lot of states."
  4235. "Wait a minute, I thought you were like ten when this shit happened. You thought this was a brilliant idea when you were legally of age to drive?"
  4236. >"I... look, I wanted ass pics. Of girls."
  4237. "You really should've picked something else to tell me, girl."
  4238. >Her cheeks get a bit red, but you can tell she's not actually pissed at you.
  4239. >"Is the timer close to done?"
  4240. "Yeah, looks like about-"
  4241. >Your alarm, a dubstep rendition of Stairway to Heaven, goes off.
  4242. "Time."
  4243. >"I'm kinda curious myself... is it alright if I come in too?"
  4244. >What will you do?
  4245. >You consider the tracking methods you've used to find people in the past.
  4246. >Careless sharing of photos with geolocation data is one.
  4247. >Careless linking of social media with a username is another.
  4248. >You've managed to access some servers with poorly-hidden admin logins and nab IP addresses of people off of them.
  4249. >And then there's the single time when you were desperate enough to break into a server farm and hold a man at gunpoint to gain access to an IP address.
  4250. >You know there are more experienced people in the way of discovering locations, your colleague being one of them.
  4251. >But as far as you know, he didn't actually know you'd go for Julia Clement because of your online activities, he knew from watching the news.
  4252. >He'd have needed to have a man on standby to undergo whatever process it took to turn him into a tank, but you saw pieces of the development process.
  4253. >Maybe you breaking into his house prompted him to work overtime to finish whatever he was working on, and as unfortunate as it is anything that was kept in his mind isn't exactly accessible to you.
  4254. >You're not sure if you should convert the girl tonight, it might be best to save the grueling process ahead for when you've had some more rest and are fully alert.
  4255. >But then again, automation will help you this time. This isn't like the rats back at Forge.
  4256. >You could probably do it tonight if you wanted to.
  4257. >You shuffle the decision to the back of your mind for the moment and think about what you should keep in Green Thumb's mind.
  4258. >You could easily replace her memories of her father's name with "Moonflower", but reconstructing her memory completely would be...
  4259. >Complicated, to say the least.
  4260. >Speech fragments are easy, since the brain is naturally good at allowing you to imagine how people would say certain words even if you've never heard them say them.
  4261. >Moonflower might seem a bit out of place in replacing "John Clement", but that's not really a problem.
  4262. >Friendly nuzzles into your shirt.
  4263. >"Thinking about things?"
  4264. "That's how I've made it this far, isn't it?"
  4265. >"I'm not trying to be rude, sorry..."
  4266. "It's quite alright. I guess I have paused like that quite a lot, never really noticed it until I started having a roommate."
  4267. >"What are friends for?"
  4268. >You tickle her belly a bit.
  4269. "Lots of things. Let's go check up on that pony."
  4270. ...
  4271. >She's not awake yet, and she should be.
  4272. >You tell Friendly to call you if she starts moving and go to grab a chair and your laptop, since the two of you might be waiting for a while.
  4273. >After about thirty minutes, she begins to stir.
  4274. >It's a human motion, which should be normal.
  4275. >Her eyes open, and she gives you a glazed-over look.
  4276. >The sedatives should've worn off by now.
  4277. >She holds a hoof up to her face and just kinda stares at it for a minute.
  4278. >You could hear a pin drop it's so quiet, Friendly is covering her mouth with the top of a hoof.
  4279. >Spanish Fly looks up at you, somewhat focused for the first time since she was human.
  4280. >You smile at her.
  4281. "Hello there."
  4282. >She maintains focus.
  4283. "Can you tell me a few things about yourself?"
  4284. >She maintains focus on you.
  4285. >Your computer screen fades to black and you frown, as the only light is from the small window near the top of the bathroom.
  4286. >Pulling out your phone, you turn on the flashlight.
  4287. >You watch in dismay as her gaze shifts from your face to the beam of light coming from you phone.
  4288. >What will you do?
  4289. "Hola."
  4290. >She continues to focus on the light.
  4291. >You sigh and turn off the phone flashlight, getting your screen turned back on.
  4292. >Really the first thing you should've done was check up on the logs.
  4293. >You might just be a sucker for suspense.
  4294. >You curse as you scroll through error after error, finally stopping at the last cluster you viewed.
  4295. >It looks like there've been some rejection errors in the hippocampus.
  4296. >Might be a good idea to test her short term memory if you can get her to communicate with you.
  4297. >From what you can tell, something fucked up in the hippocampus or the visual cortex (there are a smattering of errors all over her brain, you'd need to go through a lot of it with a fine-tooth comb) and now she...
  4298. >Well, you don't know what just yet.
  4299. >But this pony more than any of the others was meant to be a test subject, so you get to testing.
  4300. >First things first, you need to send Friendly over to see if she'll talk to a pony.
  4301. >She's naturally a bit hesitant, but once you assure her that you'll be watching and will move in quickly if anything goes wrong she agrees.
  4302. >You've got your phone light positioned so that you can see her, but so that her focus is facing away from you and Friendly.
  4303. >Friendly nestles up next to her and rubs Spanish's cheek with hers.
  4304. >The tan pony turns to her slowly, mouth agape.
  4305. >"I'm Friendly Fire. Can you tell me your name?"
  4306. >She ignores the speech entirely and rubs her cheek up against Friendly.
  4307. >"Feels nice, doesn't it?"
  4308. >She continues to rub.
  4309. >She pulls away from the rubbing, and after a bit of rubbing air Spanish looks at her with that same glassy-eyed stare.
  4310. >"Not... you."
  4311. >"Well of course not silly, I'm me."
  4312. >"No, not..."
  4313. >You don't like her tone, and your laptop is already resting on the floor in case you need to pry her off of Friendly like you needed to with Moonflower.
  4314. >Instead she just sinks to the ground and big bulbous tears start to collect in her eyes.
  4315. >She doesn't make any sniffling sounds or really sound like she's crying.
  4316. >She just... leaks water from her eyes.
  4317. >Friendly doesn't seem deterred by the weirdness of this though and wraps herself around Fly.
  4318. "It's okay. Nobody is going to hurt you."
  4319. >Well, if worst comes to worst you suppose you can give her the carefully calculated asymptote approach of a painless death.
  4320. >Or you can ensure her last moments are so filled with chemical bliss that she won't even notice she's dying...
  4321. >Fly slowly, clumsily returns Friendly's favor.
  4322. >You're not sure if you should take pictures yet.
  4323. >At the very least maybe you should turn on the fucking lights...
  4324. >You motion for Friendly to pull back, and she nods.
  4325. >Takes her a few minutes to get to the point where she can break off the hug, but she does it.
  4326. >You flick on the lights and Spanish Fly finally looks a bit confused.
  4327. >"Wha-?"
  4328. "Spanish Fly."
  4329. >She finally acknowledges you.
  4330. >"Y-you... y-you... y-you..."
  4331. >Don't want to imply anything, so you wait for her to finish.
  4332. >"Y-you killed..."
  4333. >She doesn't continue.
  4334. "No, that would be what my friend /intended/ to do. I stopped him."
  4335. >"Piezas... gone..."
  4336. "I did the best I could. You're still alive."
  4337. >So she can distinguish you in the light but not in the dark even when you're illuminated?
  4338. >Why did she respond to Friendly?
  4339. >You turn off the lights again and walk over to her with your flashlight on.
  4340. >She doesn't follow your footsteps, but when you put your hand down on her head she shrinks away from it.
  4341. >You wonder what's going through her damaged little head right now...
  4342. >What kind of fears, rational, irrational, or completely beyond logical comprehension...
  4343. >You turn off the light and find her head again in the dark, running your fingers through her mane.
  4344. >At first she's apprehensive, but over time she starts to hold still for you.
  4345. >You don't get the kind of affectionate mirroring Friendly does, but it's a start.
  4346. >You should probably keep a bit over a quarter of the jar left in reserves in case something unexpected and/or horrible happens.
  4347. "This probably goes without saying, but don't mention our little Fly here to Moonflower."
  4348. >"Of course. What she doesn't know won't hurt her."
  4349. >It's probably as good a time as any to turn in for the night.
  4350. >You feel like it would be cruel to leave Spanish Fly in here without anything to sleep on, but you also don't want to take her out yet.
  4351. >In any case, whatever you want to get done before you crash should be done soon.
  4352. >What will you do?
  4353. >You leave Friendly for just a minute to grab a thick blanket from upstairs.
  4354. >As per usual, Cunt isn't sleeping, and is sitting in the kitchen staring at the blender.
  4355. "What's up?"
  4356. >"I want to make a drink to fall asleep with, but I know I'll wake up Ripley and Newt over there if I do."
  4357. "Don't you have extension cords?"
  4358. >"It's cold out and the effort isn't worth it."
  4359. >You nod knowingly.
  4360. "Do you have any old blankets? I'm looking for something to line the bathtub with so that our newest pony can sleep."
  4361. >"Just throw it in the bathtub."
  4362. "You know I can't do that."
  4363. >He sighs.
  4364. >"Yeah, I know. Sorry, you get in the kind of mindset I have to be in and you don't think of the assholes that have tried to fuck you over as people anymore. Makes it all easier."
  4365. "Well, to your credit she isn't people anymore."
  4366. >"Guess that's a fair point, but you're not going to let up on the blankets are you?"
  4367. "I'm gonna owe you big time after all of this, huh?"
  4368. >"At this point I'm still indebted to you as far as favors are concerned."
  4369. "If you really think so."
  4370. >"Your shit was the turning point from being an intermediary in a chain of hand-breakers to cornering the market on junkies."
  4371. >He goes off into the area that houses his bedroom and a few closets and comes out with a somewhat worn looking brown blanket.
  4372. >"If she pisses on it you're doing the laundry."
  4373. >You carry the thing back downstairs and lay it out over the bathtub, pressing down and nestling it down into the form.
  4374. >It looks okay, but you can't help but think it needs a pillow or two.
  4375. >Oh well, Cunt will probably bitch if you ask for them so it'll have to do.
  4376. >Friendly ceases her nuzzling as you go over to Spanish and scoop her up like a cat.
  4377. "Bedtime for little ponies."
  4378. >She slowly nods with glazed eyes and allows you to pick her up.
  4379. >You set her down gently into the blanket.
  4380. >Her forelegs curled up next to her barrel, about equidistant from the sides of the tub.
  4381. "Comfortable?"
  4382. >She seems to be thinking, then frowns.
  4383. >"Fuzz..."
  4384. "Yeah, you are. Isn't it nice?"
  4385. >"No."
  4386. "We'll work on that. Do you think you'll be able to sleep?"
  4387. >"Tired."
  4388. "I'll take that as a yes. Friendly?"
  4389. >Friendly pokes her head over the lip of the tub and waves goodbye to her new friend.
  4390. >As soon as you and Friendly are out of the room you hear a pained wail.
  4391. >It doesn't continue, but you rush back in to check on her.
  4392. >She looks distraught to put it lightly.
  4393. >"Stay..."
  4394. "I'm afraid I'm the only one that gives orders around here, girl. In any case, I can't."
  4395. >"I..."
  4396. >You rub your hand up against her cheek and she shrinks away.
  4397. >"Not you. Her."
  4398. >Friendly looks like she's willing to.
  4399. >You'd rather not go the night without someone on watch and Friendly is quite nice to hold close.
  4400. >On the other hand, you could be brewing further problems in Spanish Fly's development as a potential pet if you don't give her this.
  4401. >The nagging edges of tiredness are starting to creep into your mind.
  4402. >And you're starting to think that bundled up like that she kinda looks like a reverse pony taco...
  4403. >What will you do?
  4404. >You feel like pissing in the sink.
  4405. >In fact, you're pretty sure you haven't actually haven't used the restroom in a while.
  4406. >Well, you'll take care of that in a minute.
  4407. "It's up to you Friendly. I've been keeping you up quite a bit, and I'd be remissed if you don't get a good night's rest."
  4408. >Friendly looks a bit excited, but you try not to let it get to your pride.
  4409. >"Are you sure we're safe enough here?"
  4410. "Yeah, Cunt is even more of an insomniac than I am. If something is up, he'll tell us."
  4411. >Friendly rubs up against your leg.
  4412. >"Let's snuggle extra hard tomorrow night."
  4413. >If you're all still alive.
  4414. "Sounds good, just go easy on the newfag."
  4415. >You pick Friendly up and hug her tightly as she giggles before nestling her up next to Spanish, who clings to her tightly.
  4416. >You can't help but take a picture of the two.
  4417. >Then you piss in the sink.
  4418. ...
  4419. >You emerge clean from the top floor bathroom wearing a towel and start rooting around for something you can wear.
  4420. >Cunt probably wouldn't mind, he never comes up here and any clothes he has are probably taken from people he's told to take off everything at gunpoint.
  4421. >You've seen it happen a few times, it's pretty fucking funny.
  4422. >In any case, you don't think you'd have much luck asking for your clothes back from him with how intent he seemed on keeping your appearance concealed.
  4423. >You pull out a pair of boxers that are about your size and slip them on.
  4424. >Wash your jizz down the sink drain.
  4425. >You didn't bring your phone, but given how much mare pussy you've seen in the past few days, porn wasn't a necessity.
  4426. >You feel good, but you tell yourself that you can't relax just yet.
  4427. >Not while that thing is out there.
  4428. >And you want to light up a cigarette, but you're reminded of what happened last time you tried to have a smoke.
  4429. >You carefully sift about a quarter of the mason jar's contents into an old medication bottle, leaving you with 3/8 of the machines in the original one.
  4430. >Store the medicine bottle in the inner pocket of your jacket, where it's unlikely anybody would look when searching for the machines.
  4431. >Before you hit the hay, you drop the noise grenade into the tub next to Friendly.
  4432. >Hopefully she'll find it if something goes wrong, not that you think anything will.
  4433. >Both ponies are sleeping peacefully.
  4434. >You feel a smile creep onto your cheeks.
  4435. >Lock the bathroom from the outside and take the key, luckily it's that kind of house.
  4436. >Send the buyer a quick message about more complications, there's a decent chance you're going to lose him at this point but it's not like that's a massive loss.
  4437. >After all, there are still quite a few people who would kill for a pony out there.
  4438. >You climb into bed and lament the fact that you don't have any pony to hug close before turning out the lights.
  4439. ...
  4440. >You wake up groggily to the sun shining through on your face.
  4441. >Your dreams go unremembered, though you do feel the slightest twinge of remaining dread.
  4442. >Your hands are balled into fists, probably from one you had where you were a pony.
  4443. >Certainly something they don't cover in those dream analysis psychology books.
  4444. >You check the clock, and see that you got a decent amount of sleep.
  4445. >A carefully treaded venture into the bathroom reveals that both mares are sleeping peacefully, and a look upstairs reveals that Moonflower is awake, but still held by a sleeping Julia.
  4446. >You motion to her and she waves you off.
  4447. >"Good to see I'm not the only one who's an early riser. Don't worry about her, she should be waking up pretty soon anyways."
  4448. "I was thinking of making breakfast."
  4449. >"Eggs'd be nice."
  4450. >You crack your back with a fist and consider your options for beginning the day.
  4451. >What will you do?
  4452. >You briefly recall a discussion you once saw on 4chan about ponies being used as toilets, accompanied by that infamous image of
  4453. a paralyzed Scootaloo.
  4454. >Some weird fucking people out there.
  4455. >You tell Moonflower to hold that thought and go to take a piss, managing to avoid pissing yourself but still dribbling a bit on your boxers.
  4456. >Fuck, whatever. Just say it's water if anyone asks.
  4457. >While you're in the bathroom, you wash your face and trim up your beard a bit so you look less scraggly.
  4458. >You open Cunt's door a crack and nearly get your head taken off by a punch.
  4459. "Jesus man! Just wanted to see if you were up."
  4460. >"Knock next time, please."
  4461. "Didn't want to wake you. What were you doing by the door anyways?"
  4462. >Opening the door fully, you can see that he's sitting in the chair next to the door and watching the morning news.
  4463. >"Looks like our T-800 had a wild night."
  4464. >You close your eyes and rub your fingers over your eyelids then take another look at the screen.
  4465. "All this fuss about an abandoned motorcycle and a bunch of blood on the road?"
  4466. >"Yeah, the news guys aren't saying anything but I called up someone in forensics, and the guy is a ghost as far as DNA and fingerprints are concerned. Guess his record is clean."
  4467. "Then why report on it at all?"
  4468. >"No news is far from good news if you're in that business. Anyways, the blood trail runs cold about a mile away."
  4469. "Did you get the location?"
  4470. >Cunt holds his fingers up to the screen and seems to be doing some mental calculations.
  4471. >"They said it was a straight line and the trail leads off that way, so... Bradbury Street. Head of Bradbury Street, next to the old Pizza Hut."
  4472. >You file that information away.
  4473. "I can cook, anything you want?"
  4474. >"Yeah, I think I'm feeling... waffles."
  4475. >You nod and head downstairs to check on Spanish and Friendly, the latter of which is fine with waffles and the former of which refuses to tell you anything.
  4476. >You'll make her an egg and bring it down later, you're not too keen to bring her up with the rest at the moment.
  4477. >Cunt puts on some music while you work, and after a few minutes of discussion (arguing) about whether or not it's good music or not he eventually changes it to something a bit more unanimously agreed upon.
  4478. >You can hear him grumbling about having to change it, though not that loudly.
  4479. >After you've served Julia, Friendly and Cunt their waffles, you move on to making the eggs for Moonflower and Spanish.
  4480. >"Hey Poin, why are you making five? I only need two."
  4481. "I need to eat too, don't I?"
  4482. >She pauses, then nods.
  4483. >Probably doesn't want to quip about you being some sort of monster in front of Julia, which is somewhat of an improvement you guess.
  4484. >She likes them fried, while you like yours scrambled.
  4485. >With a bit of salt and pepper, and a dash of ketchup.
  4486. >You serve Moonflower her eggs, and discretely separate your two eggs from Spanish's one in the pan, keeping the masses separate as you cook them.
  4487. >When everyone who you're keeping a secret from is occupied talking or listening, you slide the egg into a tupperware container, fill another container up with water, and excuse yourself.
  4488. "I got you some breakfast, girl."
  4489. >The lights are on, so Spanish pays you some mind as you put the egg and water down in front of her.
  4490. "Go on, don't want you going hungry."
  4491. >She slowly approaches and licks the egg before taking a big bite out of it and chewing.
  4492. >You sit down next to her and stroke her mane, and she starts to lean into you a bit before pulling away and focusing solely on the egg again.
  4493. >Well, it's something.
  4494. >You head back upstairs with your laptop after re-locking the door and start looking through the error messages with more of a fine-tooth comb.
  4495. >Friendly, ever the faithful companion, hops up in your lap and suddenly you have one less hand to use on your work.
  4496. "What am I going to do with you..."
  4497. >"Get a biiiit lower with your- oh yeah, that's the spot."
  4498. "Not quite what I meant, cutie."
  4499. >You look through all of the different repair programs you have at your disposal, but none of them refer exactly to the situation you're in.
  4500. >There are a few that have been written that could attempt to repair the damage done, but you have no idea whether or not she'd just reject the activities of those programs too.
  4501. >It might be worth a shot later though.
  4502. >As for her anxiety, you'd need to ask Cunt if that's a bug or a feature. He probably knew the original man far better than you did.
  4503. >And as much as it hurts to tell Friendly that scritch time is over, you are theoretically running a business here.
  4504. >You close your laptop and gesture Cunt off into his room.
  4505. "Was Joe anxious before the... you know?"
  4506. >"Not terribly, I seem to remember he would generally have a few other guys that he would be hanging around and laughing it up with whenever I'd meet with him for lunch. Wasn't terribly professional and I'd usually have to get him to get them to fuck off so that we could talk about illegal shit."
  4507. "Good to know, but how was he around people he hadn't met before?"
  4508. >"Fuck if I know, sorry mate."
  4509. "It's fine, just trying to collect information. I need to know what needs to be repaired, if that makes sense."
  4510. >"Somewhat, though I guess I'm not quite used to 'repair' being used when talking about the human brain. weird shit."
  4511. "Haven't entirely gotten used to it myself, but it's a good working way to describe what I might be able to do."
  4512. >There's a bit of awkward silence before the two of you start talking about whether there's enough weapons and ammo to defend yourselves if something goes down.
  4513. >After a few minutes you both come to the conclusion that you're probably overprepared in that aspect, and you ask Cunt if the shit from your home lab will be getting dropped off later today, which he confirms.
  4514. >Once you have your lab materials, you should have everything you need to make more nanomachines as long as Cunt has some Silica packets lying around.
  4515. >Estimated delivery is three hours from now.
  4516. >You know you really should get started with getting Julia on track to becoming a pony, but more is better as far as nanomachines go and you'd like to go in with a healthy amount of excess in case anything goes wrong.
  4517. >And drugs, a lot of drugs.
  4518. >You're making a mental laundry list of all the shit you need as you go, but you'll probably need to do a milk run to get some of it.
  4519. >After a few more minutes, you clear out the living room of everyone but Julia and Moonflower.
  4520. >Moonflower knows what's coming to a certain extent, you gave her a quick re-briefing on what you want her to do and say.
  4521. "Julia, there's something important I need to tell you."
  4522. "Your father... died in that accident, but before he did he entrusted Moonflower to you."
  4523. "She'll take care of you, but for everything to go smoothly you're going to have to be a pony too. Have you ever had surgery?"
  4524. >Moonflower nods, luckily she's behind Julia hugging her tightly though so she doesn't see.
  4525. >Through her tears, Julia manages to get out a choked "Yes."
  4526. "It'll be a bit like that. I'm going to put you under, and when you wake back up you'll be a pony like her."
  4527. "She cares about you quite a lot, and even though your dad isn't here anymore, I know she'll take great care of you."
  4528. >There are no further words from either girl as Julia turns around and buries her face in Moony's chest, sobs wracking her little body as Moonflower squeezes her close.
  4529. >It's not ideal, but it's better that she thinks it's some sort of magic.
  4530. >You sit there silently, feeling it would probably be for the best if you just let the two of them hug it out and don't try to intervene.
  4531. >Eventually, Julia's sobs die down to small hiccups and sniffles.
  4532. "Does your head hurt?"
  4533. >"L-little bit..."
  4534. >You fill up a glass with cold water and give it to her, and she slowly sips it as she sits there on the couch with the pony who, if all goes according to plan, she'll never know is actually her father.
  4535. >What will you do?
  4536. >You feel a bit guilty for the events that have transpired, but you tell yourself that while there were other ways to do this, there probably weren't any better ones as far as secrecy is concerned.
  4537. >You leave Moonflower and Julia to continue hugging for a bit while you go to ask Cunt if his men can get some jerky.
  4538. >"Why Jerky?"
  4539. "Silicon is vital for making nanomachines, and if I have Silicon Dioxide I can pretty easily get the metalloid in quantities large enough for the nanomachines to work with. Also... jerky tastes good."
  4540. >"I used the nanomachines to create the nanomachines."
  4541. "Yeah yeah, tell them to pick up some Soylent for you too, Christ."
  4542. >He chuckles and claps you on the shoulder.
  4543. >"Guess we should find something to keep the kid occupied until you can do whatever you need to do to her."
  4544. "Yeah, do you have any movies you think she'd enjoy?"
  4545. >"I've got a cabinet full of Ghibli. If she doesn't enjoy that, I'll-"
  4546. "Christ man, don't make jokes like that about a little kid."
  4547. >Cunt shrugs apologetically.
  4548. >"Sorry, didn't know you were going to go all moralfag on me."
  4549. "I'm more worried about Moonflower overhearing, you know, the pony I spent all this time trying to get in the sort of complacent state she's in now."
  4550. >It comes out as more of a hiss than you expected, but if Cunt is irritated by your tone he doesn't show it.
  4551. >"I'll get the movie set up, and you get the HK out and bring it upstairs. I don't want to be caught with my pants down while we're watching shit."
  4552. "Gotcha."
  4553. >You bring Friendly back up from downstairs and get the pull-out bed retracted back into the couch so that the five of you can sit on it.
  4554. >Friendly eagerly gets up on your lap while Moonflower chooses to sit next to Julia and Cunt gets stuck on the end of the couch with nobody to snuggle for the moment.
  4555. >You lean over to him and whisper something in his ear and he grins.
  4556. >As Castle in the Sky starts, you start to give Friendly the works.
  4557. >Starting at the top of her head with ear rubs and mane petting, working your way down to a neck area massage, a bit of belly rubbing, and finally, since you're in a bit of a lewd mood today, a dock rub.
  4558. >As you work your way through the process, Friendly gets more and more relaxed and clingy, asking quietly and politely if you'll do certain things; though you reject some of her more lewd requests for the moment since there's a kid present.
  4559. >You watch Moonflower get more and more antsy as she watches Friendly get the pet-down of her life in the periphery of her vision.
  4560. >Eventually, she gives Julia a hug and then climbs up on Cunt's lap.
  4561. >"Well, what do we have here?"
  4562. >"Pet me."
  4563. >"I don't think rude ponies deserve attention, maybe if you were to request a bit more politely I'd think you're deserving of such a thing."
  4564. >"Please pet me."
  4565. >"Your words are right, but your tone needs work. You're still demanding, request it."
  4566. >"Can you please pet me?"
  4567. >The tonal shift comes almost naturally, and seems like it was meant to be.
  4568. >Cunt chuckles.
  4569. >"Of course, girl."
  4570. >Moonflower melts almost immediately, becoming more putty than pony.
  4571. >At this point you're putting more attention into your pet than you are the movie, and it looks like Cunt is doing much the same for Moonflower.
  4572. >At least Julia seems to still be enraptured by the film.
  4573. >By the time the movie is over and it's time to put in another one, Cunt can hardly get Moony off of him.
  4574. >All of this time she's spent trying to prove herself as defiant, and it seems like the last bit of that defiance is coming close to slipping away.
  4575. >Nevertheless, he manages to get Spirited Away in the DVD player.
  4576. >About 20 minutes in, you're interrupted by a knock on the door.
  4577. >Friendly hops off of you and you grab the HK-91 from its resting place beside the couch, taking a look through the side window.
  4578. >Two muscular men stand outside, a van idling in the driveway.
  4579. "Do you recognize these guys?"
  4580. >"Yeah, they should be the ones who are here with the stuff from your lab."
  4581. >Cunt opens the door and greets the two in a businesslike manner, telling them to move all of your shit upstairs.
  4582. >"We can keep watching, it's fine. These two are some of my most trusted men."
  4583. >You wince as one of the boxes comes in, you're almost positive they've broken some of your glassware.
  4584. >What will you do?
  4585. "I've got some shit I need to take care of. Friendly, be good."
  4586. >You motion towards Julia and make a zipping motion over your lips and she gives you a knowing nod.
  4587. >One of the 'movers' seems to be distracted by the colorful ponies sitting on the couch, so you talk to him first.
  4588. "Did you sweep for trackers?"
  4589. >"Yeah, gave all the boxes a run over with the doohickeys."
  4590. "The ones that look a bit like radios?"
  4591. >"Yeah, those ones."
  4592. >You nod, there shouldn't be any trackers.
  4593. >Something else you designed for Cunt.
  4594. "Sounds like you fellas broke some of my glassware. Mind if I open up a box?"
  4595. >One of the men curses in what you think is Spanish and punches the other in the arm.
  4596. >You pull out your multi-tool and open up the box that you thought you heard broken glass in.
  4597. >Sure enough, about six of the twenty beakers inside are toast.
  4598. "What about the other glassware?"
  4599. >"Don't think it's broken."
  4600. >You don't quite trust them, and sure enough a few Erlenmeyer flasks are shattered as well as a few glass pipettes, one of your two burettes, and a round bottom flask that you really never used.
  4601. "Gotta be a bit more careful that that in the future. You didn't happen to bring any of my clothes, did you?"
  4602. >"Uhh, he said you might want them so we packed them."
  4603. "Thank fuck. How'd the place look when you went in?"
  4604. >"Uhh... how's it normally look?"
  4605. "Bit of a mess, but there shouldn't be much shit lying on the floor. Was there any of that?"
  4606. >"A bit? Hard to tell what was out of the ordinary since I don't live there myself."
  4607. "Fair enough, did you take pictures?"
  4608. >"Only after we finished, here..."
  4609. >He pulls out a phone and flicks through a few pictures of the lab, your bedroom, and the bathroom.
  4610. >You zoom in a bit on a bit of dirt you're pretty sure you didn't see before.
  4611. "Lift up your shoes."
  4612. >They do so, and you don't see any dirt.
  4613. "Did you wipe your feet coming in here? On the way out?"
  4614. >"I wiped my feet before walking in the door to your place, that's it."
  4615. >Shit.
  4616. >Well, no trackers at least...
  4617. >You still feel a bit uneasy knowing that he could've been in your place.
  4618. >Maybe the kid had dirty shoes?
  4619. >You watch them take the rest of your shit upstairs and begin to get everything set up in an empty room with a window in it that you can open in case something goes wrong.
  4620. >You hum quietly as you work, alternating between typing and adding the components that the nanomachines need for self-replication to a 400 mL beaker.
  4621. >You can't help but meticulously clean every bit of glassware that you use and handle it with gloves, just in case.
  4622. ...
  4623. >You can hear them go through at least three different movies while you work which miffs you just a bit, but you have to be sure that everything is completely safe for the Julia process.
  4624. >You try your best to steer away from the associated mental package for the filly you do have to work with, but curiosity gets the better of you and you rationalize it as being potentially relevant.
  4625. >This is what happens when you oppose him.
  4626. >What would he do to you, if he knew where you are right now?
  4627. >Were those bullets for you, or were they for Cunt?
  4628. >The damn thing is nothing less than a product of genius though, when you get past the fear that something similar could happen to you you can't help but admire it.
  4629. >The indicated mass that he was working with is nothing like what you're working with here though, but you don't expect that'll make the process much less painful unless she's heavily sedated.
  4630. >Of course, the original might have been well-sedated.
  4631. >Coin toss on that one, you're not sure how much of a sadist he is.
  4632. >Or what this man did to warrant having his mind wiped clean.
  4633. >You're dealing with almost the opposite problem here, instead of a large amount of excess material you're dealing with an almost miniscule amount of waste material.
  4634. >You should have a few million cells to spare.
  4635. >Very tight tolerances, but you're up to the challenge.
  4636. >And so is the hardware.
  4637. ...
  4638. >It's mid afternoon by the time you feel confident enough in your work to stop to get some lunch.
  4639. >You're going to need more Baking Soda this time around, but everything should be good on paper.
  4640. >And if it doesn't go well, there are fail-safes.
  4641. >And fail-safes on those fail-safes, etc.
  4642. >You'll have to be close by to monitor the process this time to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
  4643. >All seven and a half hours of it.
  4644. >You don't feel tired yet, but you pour yourself some coffee and head downstairs to check up on The Fly.
  4645. >She drank the water and ate the egg at some point, though you've got no idea when that could've been.
  4646. >At the moment she's sitting in a very humanlike manner in the corner, stroking her tail slowly with a hoof.
  4647. "How are you feeling?"
  4648. >"Mal."
  4649. "Better than dead, right?"
  4650. >She looks at you, and then back down at her hooves.
  4651. >"Don't know."
  4652. >You pick her up and start to rub your fingers through her mane in a bit of a massage.
  4653. >"Didn't do what he said I did."
  4654. "Doesn't matter much now, I can't undo it even if you're telling the truth."
  4655. >You stroke her mane softly as her face starts to get wet.
  4656. >Her tone doesn't shift even as she cries.
  4657. >"Is my life over?"
  4658. "Whatever it was before, pretty much."
  4659. >"What's going to happen to me?"
  4660. "I don't know. That all depends on how you handle it. Just be a good girl and everything will probably work out in your favor. You've got to believe that."
  4661. >"Okay."
  4662. "Are you hungry?"
  4663. >"Si."
  4664. ...
  4665. "You guys are still watching movies?"
  4666. >Moonflower has switched positions and is being pet by Julia now, and Cunt has taken over for you on taking care of Friendly.
  4667. >"Uhh, what's up, Doc?"
  4668. "That's your worst one yet, god."
  4669. >She giggles and gets up out of Cunt's lap, putting her forehooves up on the back of the couch.
  4670. >You submit and scoop her up, despite her crime against nature.
  4671. "You really don't deserve upsies after that."
  4672. >"Uhh, what's upsi-"
  4673. "Don't."
  4674. >She's giggling really hard now and Julia is looking back at her and smiling.
  4675. >You wonder why she just kinda accepted that there were more ponies around, but you suppose if there's one pony it makes sense for there to be two if you're a kid.
  4676. >Funny the way child psychology works.
  4677. >Heh, Julia... child psychology...
  4678. >Still carrying Friendly, you pull Moonflower aside.
  4679. "Any last things you want her to do while she's human? I'm probably going to start her later tonight."
  4680. >Moonflower looks at you with a bit of a shocked expression, but quickly clears it up.
  4681. >"So soon?"
  4682. "I operate pretty quickly, managed to finalize a lot of what needs to be done while you were watching movies."
  4683. >"No, I mean..."
  4684. >She looks down at the ground.
  4685. "It'll still be her, Moonflower."
  4686. >"I know, it just... can you give me until tomorrow at least? Just to spend with her like this?"
  4687. "I'll think about it. I need to ask her a few questions first though, you can go back to watching the movie if you want to."
  4688. >"I think I'd rather be with her while you do."
  4689. "Alright."
  4690. ...
  4691. "So, Green Thumb... she's a gardener, right?"
  4692. >"Yeah, she uses her earth pony magic to uhh... make the plants grow nice and tall."
  4693. "I see... does she have a cutie mark?"
  4694. >"Not yet, though it'll probably be for gardening."
  4695. >You want to tell her that if she's done gardening already that probably isn't her special talent, but you won't go full autismo mode on a little kid.
  4696. "Riiight. Does she look like most of the other fillies? Any mane style?"
  4697. >"Her mane is a bit like Applejack's. You know who Applejack is, right mister?"
  4698. "Yeah, I know who Applejack is. Hang on a second..."
  4699. >Julia gives you a lot of specifications, quite a few about things you can't actually implement like magical abilities and who she's friends with.
  4700. >After all, it isn't really possible to nanomachine your way to Equestria with anything short of a grey goo scenario.
  4701. >And even then good luck getting the magic to work.
  4702. >You stroke Friendly's mane, brushing your fingers over her very pretty but ultimately cosmetic horn.
  4703. >Julia keeps telling you things that you continue to pretend to write down, but at this point you're translating more of what she's saying into psychological speculation.
  4704. >Green Thumb is ready to go, or at least she will be after you've incorporated some of the data you've just gotten.
  4705. >What will you do?
  4706. >An image of the thumb people from Spy Kids flashes through your head and you enjoy a moment of morbid humor in thinking about giving Julia giant thumbs instead of hooves.
  4707. >Doing so would ruin the goodwill you've built up with Moonflower, look ugly, and would deter buyers.
  4708. >Oh yeah, and it would be cruel and unnecessary.
  4709. >Funny idea though.
  4710. >You stroke Moonflower's ear and, as she adjusts the position of her head to best take advantage of the gesture, you quickly flick up one finger in front of her eyes.
  4711. >She seems to get the message as she nods and gives you a smile.
  4712. >You lean down and whisper softly in her ear, almost too soft to hear:
  4713. "Full cooperation."
  4714. >She nods again, though her smile is gone now.
  4715. >Something else you should work on...
  4716. >You've got other shit to occupy your time with though currently.
  4717. >Namely getting a new buyer since you might lose this one and you didn't have great impressions about him.
  4718. >You scroll through your list of client prospects.
  4719. >Well, is two people a list if you've pretty much crossed one off?
  4720. >Depends on who you ask, you suppose.
  4721. >You've done some research on the guy.
  4722. >You'd have called him a faggot if he weren't, well...
  4723. >You'd still call him a faggot, just not to his face.
  4724. >He has a Facebook where he posts pictures of his mug out and about wearing pony snapbacks and t-shirts.
  4725. >He's not out of shape or even unattractive really, but from what you can tell he's got almost exactly the personality the average normie will jump to when someone says 'brony'.
  4726. >His name, which he's made no effort to hide, is George Krotowski.
  4727. >You'd been following his Facebook for occasional lulz for a few years when one day you noticed a post about how he'd struck it big on a scratch-off.
  4728. >You estimate that even after taxes he has the money to pay for and take care of at least two ponies.
  4729. >There are no red flags that he'll be a poor owner, in fact he already has something of a hobby where he buys up a bunch of animals from kill shelters and finds them homes.
  4730. >You draw a deep breath into your long-suffering lungs.
  4731. >The main problem is exposure.
  4732. >You're not sure you can trust him to keep a fucking secret, or keep the ponies from the prying eyes of all of the volunteers he has around.
  4733. >Granted, he seems careful enough to only tell one or two at first as a 'secret', but secrets like that are dangerous.
  4734. >You sigh as you scroll through derpibooru, clicking the 'Random Image' button and hoping for the best when you go to the uploader's profile.
  4735. >After about an hour of this nonsense, you've found one promising monetary prospect with almost no information about a personality, and one promising quality of care prospect with little information about potential monetary gain to be found.
  4736. >With a bit more digging, you find both of their Pisscorp accounts and take note of them for potential future use.
  4737. >You hardly even realize that you're getting up to go downstairs again until Moonflower asks you where you're going.
  4738. "I need to pee."
  4739. >"You've been going down there a lot lately."
  4740. "Yes."
  4741. ...
  4742. >You are in the bathroom.
  4743. >You see Spanish Fly.
  4744. >She has no sockies.
  4745. >She is not menacing in the slightest.
  4746. >You feel compelled to pick her up.
  4747. >Her forehooves limply drape over your back as you hold her close to your chest and sit down on the toilet lid.
  4748. >You stroke her slowly as you set up every diagnostic test that you have available.
  4749. >Normally you'd sedate her for this, but you want to see her reaction to discomfort and mild pain.
  4750. >The minutes tick by.
  4751. ...
  4752. >Spanish Fly began to squirm violently during a portion of the diagnostics that shouldn't have caused any pain.
  4753. >You had to cover her muzzle to keep her screams from being heard all the way upstairs.
  4754. >You tried stroking her to calm her down, but eventually had to just gently restrain her against the wall.
  4755. >Red error messages began to come up on-screen one after the other, and you tried your best to read them while holding onto her.
  4756. >Many of them had similar looking text.
  4757. >Eventually she exhausted herself enough from struggling for you to return to your computer.
  4758. >After a few retrieval errors (common and generally rather insignificant) all pretense is dropped.
  4759. >'May God help you when I find this message in your error monitor.'
  4760. >The message repeats itself over and over again, with the only change being the prefix number.
  4761. >The scroll bar flashes as it continues to increase in size.
  4762. >Message after message.
  4763. >Ctrl+C.
  4764. ...
  4765. >You retire to bed early, leaving Cunt to take charge of night watch again at his request and carrying Friendly downstairs with you.
  4766. >You say nothing for a long time as you stroke her back slowly.
  4767. >"Am I in trouble?"
  4768. "No."
  4769. >"You can go to sleep if you'd like to, I'll keep watch."
  4770. >You feel extremely worn out.
  4771. "I'll be up for a while."
  4772. >"Didn't you say something about tomorrow being a big day?"
  4773. >You're not sure if she was eavesdropping or if you mentioned it explicitly or in passing, and it doesn't really matter.
  4774. "Yeah, it will be."
  4775. >"One of those nights?"
  4776. "Yeah."
  4777. >"Want to talk about it?"
  4778. >What will you do?
  4779. >You take your hand off of Friendly's back and move it up to her head, rubbing your fingers along her ear.
  4780. "Just... give me a few minutes and come up here."
  4781. >She complies without hesitation, moving from your lap to your chest.
  4782. >You lift up the covers so that she can get under with you, and she lays down with a small contented sound you might expect a dog to make.
  4783. "Really selling it, aren't you?"
  4784. >She gives you a smile, not one of her wry grins but one with a bit more innocent joy to it.
  4785. >"Well, yeah. I... don't really know why I got worked up about this whole thing at first. There was pretty much no joy in my life except for plinking and the hopes that people would say I was based after I..."
  4786. >You can feel her shiver a bit and you hug her closer.
  4787. >"It doesn't matter now. I'm a pony, and I'm going to be the best goddamn pony I can be for whoever's generous enough to... buy me."
  4788. "You're not too interested in being sold?"
  4789. >"I don't... it's not really that I don't... I..."
  4790. >She trails off, and you give her a kiss on the cheek.
  4791. "You're a very fine pony, I'm sure whoever ends up with you will be very happy."
  4792. >"Thank you..."
  4793. >You're going to have to tell her at some point.
  4794. "I got a bit of a disturbing message earlier."
  4795. >"H-has he found us?"
  4796. "No, it was built-in and like any good mechanical control system the software has limited internet connectivity. Freaked me out a bit though and it... wasn't good news."
  4797. >"Are you going to have to put her down?"
  4798. "I... don't know Friendly. If I can't fix her, I probably can't sell her. It's hard to say right now."
  4799. >Feeling a fuzzy pony head rubbing your neck is never ever going to get old.
  4800. >The two of you lie there in silence for a few minutes, your arms squeezing her barrel tightly, though not to a degree that she could be uncomfortable.
  4801. "I don't think I want to be a horrible person, Friendly."
  4802. >"You're not a horrible person, you're making ponies. Even if you did horrible shit before that, you're in the clear now."
  4803. "I'm not so sure sometimes, but thank you."
  4804. >You turn Friendly over onto her back and begin to rub at her belly a bit.
  4805. >Her tongue lolls out a bit and she closes her eyes.
  4806. "You like that, don't you?"
  4807. >"Truly, your years of analytical problem-solving have prepared you for this moment."
  4808. >You chuckle.
  4809. "I can stop if you think I'm wrong."
  4810. >"N-no, repeat testing and all that."
  4811. "That's my girl."
  4812. >Maybe you let it slip with that last line, but if Friendly notices she doesn't say it.
  4813. >You continue for a few minutes, kneading into the soft skin under her even softer fluff with your fingers and listening to all of the cute little sounds she makes.
  4814. >If revealing ponies to the world wouldn't make you even more of a criminal than you already are, you'd say this would make a hell of an ASMR video.
  4815. >As time goes on, you find your fingers dipping a bit lower.
  4816. >At first you restrain yourself, but the kid isn't around...
  4817. >Friendly looks a bit surprised when you first begin to rub your fingers over her little teats.
  4818. >"Doc?"
  4819. "You wanted testing, right?"
  4820. >"U-uh..."
  4821. "How does that feel?"
  4822. >"I don't know how to describe it, really."
  4823. "A bit like being tickled?"
  4824. >"Never tried it."
  4825. "Not even involuntarily?"
  4826. >"Tickling isn't really on the list of things kids do to each other at an Orphanage unless they want to be called fags."
  4827. "Guess that's a fair point. A bit... tingly?"
  4828. >"Something like that, heh. H-hey, what purpose do these things serve?"
  4829. "Well, they're mammary glands. There's some architecture to get them to lactate, though they won't do that naturally."
  4830. >"Is the milk enough to... feed foals?"
  4831. "I wouldn't try it, despite your vag being pretty well designed for what it is, a lot of the reproductive stuff isn't functional."
  4832. >"That's... honestly a bit of a relief."
  4833. "What, not a fan of the the satyr abomination general?"
  4834. >She giggles.
  4835. >"No, and I'm not sure I'd be a good parent. I could hardly even take care of myself, much less something that demands constant attention and affection. But uh... what was that you were saying about my vag being well-designed?"
  4836. >You rub her dock a bit.
  4837. "It's pretty state of the art. If there wasn't an entire set of algorithms designed for writing memories to the brain like a fucking computer present, I'd say it was the most impressive part of you guys."
  4838. >"What about the digital cushions?"
  4839. "Best those were left out, lots of risk for little reward since not everyone is going to be running their pony."
  4840. >"Is there uh... code for horsecocks?"
  4841. "Yeah, less than there is for your pussy but it's there."
  4842. >She snorts.
  4843. >"You're telling me that he had to do extensive research on horse penises?"
  4844. "It would seem that would be the case."
  4845. >"What a homo."
  4846. ...
  4847. >You and Friendly have been snuggling and talking for about four hours now.
  4848. >You went from horse bits to guns, then guns to Star Wars prequels, and finally from the prequels to talk about the ocean.
  4849. >"You worked with siphonophores?"
  4850. "Yeah, a good bit of my job was trying to figure out how to best get a dandelion up to the surface in one piece so we could study the fucking things."
  4851. >You and Friendly yawn almost simultaneously.
  4852. "Bedtime?"
  4853. >"Sounds good to me."
  4854. >You come so close to telling her that you're going to keep her, but it just doesn't feel like the right time.
  4855. >And you're both sleepy, maybe tomorrow.
  4856. >You flick off the light and get into a spooning position.
  4857. ...
  4858. >Friendly kicked you awake at one point, but it wasn't too hard and she clearly did it during a dream.
  4859. >Your dreams involved your OC again, but you weren't in control of her.
  4860. >Just watching while she walked around with a little bit of a jingle from the bell on her collar.
  4861. >You're surprised you didn't wake up in a cold sweat, but you suppose the concept was only unnerving in retrospect.
  4862. >Friendly lies on top of you, still tuckered out with a small smile on her face.
  4863. >Her legs jerk gently.
  4864. >Knowing her, it's probably a hike out to look for skinwalkers.
  4865. >Or she's chasing furries.
  4866. >In any case, if you want to get up now and start your day you'll probably need to wake her.
  4867. >What will you do?
  4868. >You take a moment to consider your recent dreams.
  4869. >They're certainly not ideal, but they're reminiscent of the dreams that you would have back when you were in school.
  4870. >It's never been that uncommon for your dreams to reflect your real-life worries.
  4871. >And as any first-year psych student can tell you, stress isn't always negative.
  4872. >Constraints motivate.
  4873. >Bring about innovation.
  4874. >You quietly mumble a vow to let no harm come to Friendly.
  4875. >She doesn't stir as you do, but as you carefully lift her up so that you can get out of bed you see her eyes opening.
  4876. "Well, it was worth a shot."
  4877. >"Early bird gets the worm?"
  4878. "You really should've saved that joke for a pegasus."
  4879. >"I'll uh..."
  4880. >You notice her take a quick look at your crotch.
  4881. "Get my worm?"
  4882. >"Y-yeah, was just a joke though."
  4883. >You ruffle her mane.
  4884. "Don't worry. As I'm sure you can infer from last night, I have absolutely no sexual feelings towards ponies whatsoever."
  4885. >She gives you a coy smile and gets back on her haunches.
  4886. >You're not terribly horny at the moment, and you usually try not to jack off when you've got important things to do since it'll generally relax you somewhat and you don't exactly want to be chilled for what's coming up.
  4887. >Maybe after this if all goes well.
  4888. "Gonna check up on the Fly, I'll start breakfast in a few."
  4889. >She nods and trots behind you into the bathroom.
  4890. >Curse of having an affectionate pet you guess, you're not about to tell her to fuck off but you would've preferred to have a second alone with the poor girl.
  4891. >She's curled up in her 'bed' where you left her last night, tear marks visible on her face.
  4892. "Hey..."
  4893. >She doesn't respond, and you notice that you flicked the lights on when you came in.
  4894. "Hey..."
  4895. >"Hello."
  4896. >You have no idea what to do with this pony.
  4897. >You suppose you could bring her outside for a few minutes, it should be pretty dark still.
  4898. >You scoop her up and motion for Friendly to be quiet as you carry her up the stairs.
  4899. >Moonflower and Julia are still sleeping peacefully.
  4900. >You open the door as quietly as you can and set Spanish down in the snow.
  4901. >She digs at the ground a bit like the concept of snow is unfamiliar or, more likely, that the feeling of snow on ones hooves is.
  4902. "Do you not notice me when the lights are on?"
  4903. >"It's..."
  4904. >She looks like she wants to explain and even opens her mouth, but then she closes it again.
  4905. >"Don't know. Shapes, colors. Sounds, but not... right."
  4906. >She shivers.
  4907. "Cold?"
  4908. >"Scared."
  4909. "Of what?"
  4910. >She motions to the horizon, barely visible through the trees where the first rays of sunlight are just starting to come through.
  4911. "The light scares you?"
  4912. >She gets down on the ground.
  4913. >"Dead voices. Dead family. New colors. You see light. I see hell."
  4914. "Is this since you've become what you are, or did it start today?"
  4915. >"Didn't want to tell you then. Since horse."
  4916. >Friendly hits her with a snowball and you wince, but a small smile forms on her face as she somewhat clumsily tries to pack one together with her hooves.
  4917. "How'd you do that?"
  4918. >"Packed it against my le- hey!"
  4919. >Friendly grins as she shakes snow out of her mane.
  4920. >There's a basement entrance to the house, so you tell the two mares to move their game around back so that you can prepare breakfast without alerting Moonflower and Julia to the presence of a third mare.
  4921. >You note that Spanish hasn't been given a collar yet.
  4922. >...
  4923. >You got Spanish back inside before the sun rose and toweled her off well.
  4924. >The basement is pretty well heated so she should be fine.
  4925. >Julia looks to be excited, and Moonflower looks to be a bit of a nervous wreck; shaking a bit as she messily eats her eggs.
  4926. >No doubt the two have discussed what will be happening today to an extent.
  4927. >Cunt is on his third cup of coffee, and it looks to be just barely keeping him awake.
  4928. >You were just going to leave him a sandwich, but he came out around the same time the others were getting up so you made him pancakes.
  4929. >Moonflower doesn't even ask about the extra eggs this time around.
  4930. "Are you doing okay bro?"
  4931. >"Yeah, just fine. Thanks for making pancakes."
  4932. "Is there anything I can do to help around?"
  4933. >"You've done enough, I know you're busy with work and we have our agreement."
  4934. "I still want to be your friend, not just your business partner. Please tell me if you're overburdened."
  4935. >He gives you a tired smile.
  4936. >"Well, if you're still up for it later one of the second floor toilets has been having some issues flushing. Would you mind taking a look at it?"
  4937. >Normally you'd pull a Bones on him, but you feel joking wouldn't be appropriate in this situation even if you clarify that you'll do it afterwards.
  4938. >You're giving everything one last look over as you eat pancakes, making sure not to let the syrup drip on your computer.
  4939. >Between Cunt's exhaustion, Moonflower's nervousness, and your preoccupation with work the only exchange going on is between Julia and Friendly.
  4940. >You catch references to episodes of the show, and a few to fanfics that you've read (from Friendly's end, good god you hope John kept his daughter far away from fimfic.)
  4941. >You tune out their voices completely and run through a few final calculations in your head, and later in matlab.
  4942. >Get it right get it right gotta gotta get it right.
  4943. >There are a few things that are still bothering you that you'd like to test out on something living to see how they pan out.
  4944. >You stroke your beard a bit while you consider your options.
  4945. >You could delay the procedure while you go out and get a hamster or something to test out the rearrangement algorithms you've rewritten, or...
  4946. >...
  4947. >The former squirrel should wake up in a few minutes.
  4948. >It doesn't look anything like a pony, that'd be weird as fuck and honestly you wanted to test out the absolute theoretical limit to how fucking wrong things could go.
  4949. >Before you lies a small, furred snake.
  4950. >It stirs.
  4951. >You watch it groggily move about, not really noticing that it has had its legs taken from it.
  4952. >Cunt walks in for the first time since you got up and spits out his coffee.
  4953. >"Assbreth? What in the everliving fuck is that thing?"
  4954. "An experiment. I've altered its pallet to enjoy meat more too, so we shouldn't have to kill it after I'm done here if you want an exotic pet."
  4955. >"I was thinking you could hook me up with a pony later on down the line, not some fucking... why?"
  4956. "I needed to do a comparable sizes test for the kid, so I went outside with a very mild tranquilizer and shot a squirrel."
  4957. >"That used to be a squirrel?"
  4958. "Yeah. If you don't want to kill it we can- careful, it has fangs now."
  4959. >"Venom glands too?"
  4960. "Could if I was planning on making more, but this is it for now. Who knows, maybe you can sell it to a circus or something?"
  4961. >"Guess that's true. Are you ready to work on the kid?"
  4962. "Hang on a second, I just need to test its dexterity and a few other things. Do you have any raw hamburger?"
  4963. >"Yeah, hang on a minute."
  4964. >...
  4965. >The Squake (Boomermower.png) has passed all of your tests with flying colors, though you did have to adjust the scores needed to pass after it botched the trial run because it was a bit addled.
  4966. >"Well, as per usual I'm impressed by what you kids can do with your computers."
  4967. "Thanks dad."
  4968. >He takes a more serious tone.
  4969. >"Are you ready to work on her?"
  4970. "Yes, right after we find somewhere to put this thing."
  4971. >...
  4972. >Everyone but Spanish Fly is present as you explain the sedation process to Julia, and later to Moonflower as she starts to lose consciousness.
  4973. "-different thickness values that allow just a small amount of fluid to last a surprising amount of time."
  4974. >Julia held Moonflower's hoof tightly as you pushed in the plunger, but by now her grip has loosened and her eyelids are fluttering.
  4975. >Moonflower is watching her intently, like any second she expects her to start sprouting a tail.
  4976. "Now I just need to pour a carefully-measured amount of these into her mouth."
  4977. >Or not if you're sleep-deprived and it's your first job.
  4978. "They're inert right now, which is why I can handle them freely; but even if they weren't if there's a certain distance between the majority and a minority colony they won't start operations on a living body."
  4979. >"How do you make them?"
  4980. "They can self-replicate."
  4981. >"How did you make the first ones?"
  4982. >You give her a look that says not to press too far and begin to explain a few more things about BioCAD.
  4983. "From here, we can watch every little thing that's happening to her. There's a lot of jargon and shorthand, so I can explain roughly what some things mean if you want me to."
  4984. >"What's that bit mean?"
  4985. >She tries to point, but hooves aren't really great for that.
  4986. "What's the line number?"
  4987. >"Twenty-one thousand and seventy six."
  4988. "A group switched to aquatic navigation mode."
  4989. >"You've got them swimmin' in the stomach?"
  4990. "Ideally no since Hydrochloric Acid doesn't mix well with metals, though it does happen from time to time. Most likely that means they're using the circulatory system to get somewhere more quickly."
  4991. >"Huh, neat."
  4992. >You grin.
  4993. "Yeah, right?"
  4994. >...
  4995. >Julia's skin has begun to take on an orange tint, indicating that her fur is beginning to come in.
  4996. >You give Moonflower the choice to stay with her for the entire process, but warn her that it'll take quite some time and that the mid-point results aren't so pretty.
  4997. >She seems to think it over for quite some time, but ultimately decides that she doesn't want to see every little detail.
  4998. >She does, however, make you promise to come get her when her daughter is about to wake up.
  4999. >The illusion of having never left her side is enticing, you suppose.
  5000. >Cunt leaves after about an hour and you call after him to see if his lackeys will pick up some horse grooming supplies and pet clothes, and he says he'll get on it.
  5001. >You tell him thank you, and you hear his motorcycle starting a few minutes later.
  5002. >Friendly keeps you occupied with idle conversation, and since your role in the transformation process is rather uninvolved (aside from occasionally injecting some substance or another when a value gets near being too high or low) you're happy to have it to keep you occupied.
  5003. >Your explanations of the inner workings of the nanomachines really do seem to interest her, at first you just thought she was doing it for extra ear rubs and the like but she's got that curious gleam in her eye.
  5004. >Maybe a Hunter Lawson would have ended up an intern at the company you worked for if things had gone a bit different.
  5005. >And maybe monkeys will sprout wings with no interference and fly.
  5006. >There's a reason you aren't a physicist.
  5007. >...
  5008. >Friendly, despite her best efforts, couldn't resist eventually dozing off in your lap.
  5009. >Everything has gone even more smoothly than you could have hoped, the squirrel data probably helped.
  5010. >Before you lies a small orange filly.
  5011. >It's amazing how good even something that was clearly a ripoff of Applejack can look in the flesh.
  5012. >All of the remaining changes are extremely minute tweaks, and for all intents and purposes she's done.
  5013. >You know her to be alive based on the constant feedback, but there's something quite nice about gently putting a hand up to the chest of a fluffy pony and feeling her heart gently beating.
  5014. >You hum a gentle tune and think about what should be done next.
  5015. >She should be awake in about fifteen minutes, but due to additional cocktail of medication you had to inject into her she probably won't be quite as ready to rise as Friendly Fire or Moonflower were.
  5016. >What will you do?
  5017. >Moonflower is sitting on the couch, watching the news.
  5018. >You take a look at the screen and brush off the story as unimportant.
  5019. "She's ready-"
  5020. >Moonflower perks up a bit and hops off the couch.
  5021. >You bend down quickly and put a hand in front of her muzzle.
  5022. "-But she isn't awake yet and she's going to be a bit groggy when she does wake up."
  5023. >"Poindexter, I swear if you-"
  5024. "Save it, I think my work will speak for itself."
  5025. >She begrudgingly nods.
  5026. "Where did that come from? You've been so well-behaved lately. Bad girl."
  5027. >You can practically feel the grating effect the words have on her, and even though she probably thinks she's doing a good job keeping them from you you catch her flinching.
  5028. "What did you want most when you woke up after I turned you?"
  5029. >"A shot of something strong."
  5030. "I mean what do you think I should give your daughter, you dope?"
  5031. >"O-oh. Uh... they give you Jell-O® at the hospital, right? She likes that and it goes down easy when you're fucked."
  5032. "Yes, but that takes all night to prep. Anything immediate?"
  5033. >"Don't think so."
  5034. >Friendly can't think of much else either, so you just groan and get some soft blankets to put over her and a pillow for her head.
  5035. ...
  5036. >You've cracked open a bag of crappy health food popcorn (seriously, who the fuck thought that movie food was supposed to be made healthy?) and are eating it at a rate of about one piece per minute.
  5037. >Your hope is that one of the ponies will catch wind of the food prospects and you can get some practice in with catching food, but Friendly seems more interested in the filly than she does in any food, and Moonflower is occupied for more obvious reasons.
  5038. >You've opened your mouth and are chewing like kind of a rude ass so the sound carries more when her big eyes finally start to open.
  5039. >She reaches up to her face to rub her eyes and clumsily bops herself on the muzzle, and you have to try really hard to keep yourself from laughing your ass off because Moonflower is immediately concerned.
  5040. >"Are you okay Green? Does it hurt?"
  5041. >"Mmmmnnmmm..."
  5042. >She kinda sticks out a hoof, you presume to roll herself over onto her stomach, but likely quickly realizes that her body doesn't really work like that anymore.
  5043. >"I-it wasn't all a dream?"
  5044. >"No, you're the real deal! Just like you've always wanted, right?"
  5045. >Moonflower is revealing herself to know a bit too much information, but since the kid is fucking groggy it's probably alright.
  5046. >"Y-yeah, huh..."
  5047. "You'll need to spend a little while resting, but you should be back in shape in no time. Would you like for me to set you up on the couch?"
  5048. >"Sure, that sounds nice..."
  5049. >The real excitement will probably come in time.
  5050. >At least it should, or the girl is fucking insane.
  5051. ...
  5052. >You told them to call you if you need anything.
  5053. >You've taken your pack of smokes out and are finally enjoying one for the first time since you nearly got your head blown off.
  5054. >Your eyes keep flitting to the driveway, but nobody is there.
  5055. >Or nothing.
  5056. >You shiver.
  5057. >It's just the cold, you tell yourself.
  5058. >Maybe you should go inside.
  5059. >You walk around the back of the property, away from the drive.
  5060. >The cigarette held tightly between your lips does little to warm your body.
  5061. >God, what does?
  5062. >How the fuck were you supposed to know what kind of a mess you were getting yourself into when you dragged his bloody body out of the car?
  5063. >How were you supposed to know this was going to involve children?
  5064. >You could've turned back any time before you started on Moonflower.
  5065. >You could've just stopped the bleeding, fixed him up, and altered his memories.
  5066. >But you weren't so sure you could alter memories then.
  5067. >And the fucker seemed to have it coming at the time.
  5068. >In any case, you're too far to quit now.
  5069. >As soon as you darted that white mare in the neck you were locked into this.
  5070. >Now you just have to make the most of what you've been dealt in this hand.
  5071. >You wonder if your cramped apartment in Hell will at least get cable.
  5072. ...
  5073. >You're back inside, your cigarette finished, doused in the sink, and thrown in the trash.
  5074. >You might want to ease up on Fly's secrecy a bit, as soon as you know she isn't going to say anything that'll frighten the filly.
  5075. >You suppose you could use dogs to create ponies, but you have no idea how they'd react later down the line.
  5076. >Humans, horrible as they can be, can be reasoned with and talked out of irrational behavior.
  5077. >You don't think you could artificially improve their intelligence.
  5078. >Well, you could... but you'd have no idea where to start.
  5079. >You'd probably have to use a human brain as a model and the translation wouldn't be 1:1, and even if you could pull it off the illusion of one's own unique pony pet would begin to falter if owners met and realized how fucking similar their pets were.
  5080. >This could be mitigated by swapping out the human subject every once in a while, but you're not sure how non-intrusively a full brain model could be done.
  5081. >The way BioCAD stores mental package changes for the backup is efficiency first, which mainly means marking off changed areas and noting what 'data' was 'overwritten' there if it needs to be restored at some point.
  5082. >That also means that transforming Fly into Julia would be a bit of a difficult task.
  5083. >Part of you feels a bit pissed that you'd even think about erasing her, but then again she would've died if you hadn't taken her in.
  5084. >Even if those green eyes lead into a broken mare, you're starting to get a bit attached to her.
  5085. >Fuck.
  5086. >You rub Friendly's ears a bit, her head turning up toward you.
  5087. >You never really noticed how nice her eyes looked up until this point.
  5088. "So, you think pink is your color?"
  5089. >"Hm?"
  5090. "Come on, don't play dumb. I know you told somebody to make your eyes pink."
  5091. >"What? No. I just didn't specify an eye color and the first dude I commissioned gave me pink eyes, and then the one after that gave me pink eyes because it was what the last one did and I sent him that pic as a ref, and then the next..."
  5092. "I get it, you like pink."
  5093. >"No, that's not what I-"
  5094. >You scratch a bit under her chin and she cuts herself off with a nice long sigh.
  5095. >You lean down and whisper into her ear.
  5096. "Fag."
  5097. >What will you do?
  5098. >"N-no, that's not true."
  5099. "Impossible, huh?"
  5100. >It takes her a second but she rolls her eyes.
  5101. >"Very funny."
  5102. >You pull the blanket over her lap.
  5103. "You know you've been a good girl, right?"
  5104. >"I-if you say so."
  5105. >She's looking down now.
  5106. >You gently hold her right ear in one hand and whisper extremely quietly into it.
  5107. "If you moan and Green notices something's up, I stop and you don't get to cum."
  5108. >The shock in her eyes is punctuated by a quiet gasp as you begin to circle her marehood with your index finger.
  5109. >She seems worried about even that, but the filly is fairly zonked out watching some sort of children's show.
  5110. >You work your way inward slowly, rubbing the underside of her muzzle as you watch the mindless cartoon.
  5111. >They really don't make television like they used to, it's shit.
  5112. >The little shudders of pleasure being let out by Friendly are more than enough entertainment for you though.
  5113. >She's practically begging you to let her cum now with those pink eyes, but you've got other plans.
  5114. >It's only when you see that she's biting down on her lip to keep from making noise that you decide to wrap it up sooner rather than later.
  5115. >You begin to plunge your fingers deep into her, and she starts to less quiver and more shake.
  5116. >You squeeze her close with one arm and she dutifully hugs it with her forehooves.
  5117. "Ready?"
  5118. >She nods vigorously, letting out a small squeak through her bit lip.
  5119. >The noise once again goes unnoticed as you pull your fingers out and hold them up to her snoot.
  5120. "What do they smell like, girl?"
  5121. >She looks up at you with a pleading expression, but you play dumb.
  5122. >"Uh... fruity notes, a bit of... please Doc, I'm not a wine taster."
  5123. "No, no. Go on."
  5124. >"Salt? A bit..."
  5125. >She trails off into nothing and just continues to give you that look.
  5126. "What do you want, Friendly Fire?"
  5127. >"Y-your fingers."
  5128. "Where do you want them?"
  5129. >You hazard a glance to the kid, but she's still not paying attention.
  5130. >"In me..."
  5131. "Good girl."
  5132. >You go knuckle deep, this time with your index, middle and ring.
  5133. >She lets out a barely audible cry as she soaks your hand in marecum.
  5134. >You carefully pull your hand up from under the blanket, making sure not to let her secretions get on it.
  5135. >Her face is flushed, and she's looking down; possibly in shame.
  5136. >You place the coated hand under her butt, lifting her up from the couch and carrying her into the kitchen.
  5137. >You begin to wash your hands of her fluids, offering her a dish towel to clean up the excess still spread between her flanks.
  5138. >She still looks somewhat ashamed of herself, but accepts your offer with a smile.
  5139. "Was it everything you'd hoped for?"
  5140. >"A-and more, I'm excited for the main event it just... well, it's nothing."
  5141. "Come on, tell me."
  5142. >"I know it's silly after having adapted so well to everything else, but I felt a bit angry and ashamed with myself for enjoying it as much as I did... I-I'm a mare, and I'm more than willing to accept that, but there's still a part of me that's telling me this isn't right."
  5143. >What will you do?
  5144. >You finish cleaning her up, then scoop her up when you're sure the fluids aren't going to mat her fuzzy rump.
  5145. >"I'm sorry..."
  5146. >You give her a tight hug, which she quickly reciprocates.
  5147. "No, don't be. You reacted far better to all of this than I would have expected. Almost as if, and I know this might be schizo talk; you wanted it or something."
  5148. >She lets out a small giggle.
  5149. >"Yeah, that really is schizo talk Doc. Who would ever want to be a fluffy pony and get dicked down?"
  5150. "Well, you're the one that mentioned getting dicked down, not me."
  5151. >"Wha? H-hey!"
  5152. >You laugh your ass off at the flustered little mare in your arms, and she jokingly pokes your neck with her horn a bit.
  5153. >"I-if I wanted you to be dead, you already would be! It's a good thing you're so good with your fingers."
  5154. "Ah yes, you're completely in charge. How could I forget?"
  5155. >"You'd better not again!"
  5156. >You stroke her mane slowly and she rests her head over your shoulder as you carry her back to the couch.
  5157. >Now Green looks up from her cartoons.
  5158. >"Whazzat all about?"
  5159. "The banana strikes the fifth hour hand at ten past six."
  5160. >"What?"
  5161. "I said, do you need some help with the remote?"
  5162. >"O-oh, now that you mention it..."
  5163. >Now with any luck she'll brush off your conversation with Friendly as a product of her doped state of mind when she becomes fully lucid.
  5164. >Moonflower gives you a bit of a sour look but you shrug as if to say 'Did you want me to tell her that I just fingered the pony in my arms?'
  5165. >You change the channel to one that's playing an Attenborough documentary, set down Friendly, and go back upstairs to grab your laptop.
  5166. >You think that after you check up on a few things with the filly you're going to watch the film with the others.
  5167. >A few readings that aren't exactly good come up for Green Thumb, but after a few minutes you've determined that they're caused by the presence of sedatives.
  5168. >You close the laptop and coax a sleepy Friendly onto your lap for a good petting session, fixing your eyes on the undersea world displayed onscreen.
  5169. ...
  5170. >Luckily for you, they're marathoning nature documentaries.
  5171. >You'd be willing to negotiate if any of the ponies wanted to watch something else, but none of them seem to mind.
  5172. >The calm is interrupted by the squeaking sound of the lock being turned and seconds later Cunt storming into the house.
  5173. >"We need to talk, preferably away from the ponies."
  5174. >Cunt leads you into his room, shuts the door, and locks it.
  5175. >He unzips his jacket, which you now notice has a hole in the shoulder area that's leaking something.
  5176. "Are you hit?"
  5177. >"Twenty-two, I'll patch it up in a minute. This is more important."
  5178. >He holds out a sheet of paper that has the crispness of a fresh print despite the droplets of blood on it and the tear at the top where it was probably torn from a post staple.
  5179. >The text "Wanted: Alive" is printed above four pictures, two of your face and the other two of Cunt's.
  5180. >Both of you look rather calm in the upper picture, and with a chill you realize that you remember exactly where yours was taken.
  5181. >At an internal work event from back when you and he were both employed.
  5182. >The upper picture is of Cunt from about the same time, though you have no idea where it came from.
  5183. >The bottom pictures were clearly taken the night you retrieved Julia, Cunt's wild-eyed expression behind the wheel and yours of intense focus.
  5184. >Parts of the car are even in frame.
  5185. >Below the pictures '$1,000,000' is written, followed by an onion link.
  5186. "Who shot you?"
  5187. >"Dead meat. He should've brought something more powerful or taken some shooting lessons."
  5188. >What will you do?
  5189. "Hey, anything you want to change about that ugly mug of yours?"
  5190. >"You're one to talk, asshole."
  5191. "Sorry, not the best time for jokes but I'm serious. That's something the machines can do."
  5192. >He seems to be thinking it over for a second.
  5193. >"I guess a more chiseled jawline would make me a bit more intimidating."
  5194. "We should get a few bags of silica sand, I can probably get most of the rest of the raw materials from a junkyard."
  5195. >"Just what are you planning?"
  5196. "Right now? To patch you the fuck up. Is it still in your shoulder?"
  5197. >"Yeah, I think so."
  5198. >You wash your hands, put on gloves, and grab a pair of tweezers from your lab upstairs.
  5199. >You pour a bit of 70% Isopropyl alcohol over them before carefully igniting the flammable material with your lighter.
  5200. >It all burns off after a few seconds, and you instruct Cunt to remove his shirt (no homo).
  5201. "As you've probably guessed, this is gonna hurt. Do you want something for the pain?"
  5202. >"I'll pour myself a bit of lemonade with two or three shots of vodka, gimme a sec."
  5203. >You nod and wait for him to get back.
  5204. >Luckily his decision allows the tweezers to probably fully cool (you're not going to touch the metal to check since that would mean repeating the sterilization process) and when he comes back about fifteen minutes later he seems more ready for the pain.
  5205. >You shine a pin-light into the wound and you can see the bullet about three inches in.
  5206. >You thought 22 rounds had a bit more penetration power than that, but you suppose there could've been some sort of factory malfunction.
  5207. >You're reminded of "Operation" as you try your absolute best not to touch the sides of the wound as you insert the tweezers.
  5208. >Cunt winces once or twice, but you're pretty sure that isn't from contact and is just general pain.
  5209. >The bullet looks to have deformed slightly, and a grunt from Cunt reveals that that's probably the case.
  5210. >You've got a good hold on it though, and you're able to slowly and carefully pull it out.
  5211. >Looking at the wound itself reveals a bit of a mess, you can see fragments of bone which is probably part of why it didn't go through him.
  5212. >You set the bloody thing down on the table and Cunt looks at it with contemplation.
  5213. "There's some damage in there of course, but I can repair it in short order with the machines."
  5214. >"Sounds good."
  5215. ...
  5216. >After a few hours, Cunt looks fine and there's nary a scratch on his shoulder.
  5217. "I read something once about how people don't really tend to recognize you if you change only one or two small details."
  5218. >"Yeah, but they have pictures of our faces."
  5219. "I'm saying I might be able to get away with a buzzcut and trimming off the beard. They don't look for facial features."
  5220. >"That's good for you, but as I'm sure you've noticed I keep my face pretty well trimmed."
  5221. "Ever thought about growing a beard? I could have you one in a few hours."
  5222. >"What are you getting at? Why not just give ourselves new faces?"
  5223. "I'm saying the average person won't notice."
  5224. >"What about that thing out there? The one that somehow took pictures of us with its fucking eyeballs?"
  5225. "I guess there's a chance it can scan faces and cross-reference them with pictures."
  5226. >"So then we're back to square one."
  5227. "We need to face it eventually. Him and it."
  5228. >"Yeah... guess so."
  5229. >The two of you sit in silence for a few minutes, just watching some show where a terrorist is leaping from rooftop to rooftop.
  5230. >"Can you do something with the link?"
  5231. >You take a second to pull it up on your laptop.
  5232. >There are a few text boxes that you fuck around trying to inject code into, but the input is sanitized.
  5233. >You send a few protonmail emails to a few potential hosts telling them that the site is hosting cheese pizza and that they should shut it down, but you doubt that'll do much of anything.
  5234. >The site doesn't really have much info on it, just a box for contact details and a box for putting in info as to your whereabouts.
  5235. >You suppose even with all of the capturing he's done he'd still rather people just tell him who and where they fucking are.
  5236. >It occurs to you that a site like this might not be a horrible idea for potentially recruiting new pets, just as long as you can ensure you don't get Hansen'd.
  5237. >You drum your fingers lightly up against a sleeping Friendly's skull.
  5238. >What will you do?
  5239. >You put your fingers under Cunt's nose, and he raises an eyebrow.
  5240. "Smell my fingers, dude."
  5241. >"If it's ass I'm going to deck you."
  5242. >He takes a deep breath in and immediately grins.
  5243. >"Fuck yeah, man. I'm guessing that's why she's conked out?"
  5244. "Pretty sure. She's a good pony, but I'm kinda glad I don't have her acting as guard as often anymore since she needs her rest."
  5245. >Cunt nods.
  5246. "You don't mind keeping watch, do you?"
  5247. >"I barely fucking sleep anyways, it's fine."
  5248. "Thanks."
  5249. >"If you thank me too much I might consider actually charging you for it, heh."
  5250. "Yeah, yeah. Put it on my tab next to the rent."
  5251. >The terrorist falls off the building and they use a stock scream sound effect.
  5252. >You, Cunt and Moonflower all mumble various iterations of 'lame' within the next few seconds.
  5253. >You notice a crumb from something you gave the filly earlier on her ear, and brush it off carefully with a finger.
  5254. >"Hmm?"
  5255. "You had something on your ear."
  5256. >"Oh, thank you!"
  5257. >What will you do?
  5258. >You suppose you could build a remote controlled body given time.
  5259. >You wouldn't be able to make it talk very easily, but you could pretty easily make something that looks like you (or anyone else that you could get ahold of) and have it walk around and even perform some slightly more complicated actions like firing weapons.
  5260. >To make an EMP bomb (or something a bit more manageable like a grenade if you're willing to get close), you'd need C4 (or any high explosive), a suitable detonation explosive to produce a shock-wave, a power source and batteries, and coils of copper wire.
  5261. >You have everything required in your lab excepting the C4 and detonation explosive.
  5262. >You could probably also create an EMP wave gun by stealing a klystron vacuum tube from a television transmission tower, but in doing so you could of course draw attention to yourself.
  5263. >A magnetron would be convenient since those can easily be obtained from microwave ovens, but magnetrons are unable to be amplified in frequency.
  5264. >Travelling-wave tube amplifiers are similarly viable for the construction of an EMP gun, but are similarly difficult to obtain.
  5265. >Making nanomachines react negatively to nanomachines used by another computer should be relatively easy, there are already protocols in place that require a MAC address to match an encoded one to continue, you actually just happened to be lucky that these machines weren't assigned his computer's by default after manufacturing for some reason or another.
  5266. >If Cunt gets those materials like you told him to, you should be able to make a lot of nanomachines.
  5267. >If you have considerable surplus, making emergency medical devices for injuries is a no-brainer.
  5268. >Excess mass is an important factor, so you're not sure how well they would work on certain organs such as the brain but you're sure they'd be able to stitch together more generic wounds incredibly effectively as long as enough living cells and structural materials are around.
  5269. >You ponder if the metal bastard that Cunt hit would have some sort of safeguard to protect against brain tampering.
  5270. >Or if it even has a brain and isn't just a machine with a human skin.
  5271. >You're reminded of the scene from T2 when Sarah removed the T-800's CPU.
  5272. >Even after all of your time in school some of the special effects in that movie are still incredibly impressive to you.
  5273. >But the Terminator from the first film is a better fit for your predicament.
  5274. >Likely Titanium reinforced bones if there's any bone left in it, and potentially even kevlar-lined cavities if he could get away with doing that without an organic rejection.
  5275. >That's why it not really being human is a possibility that seems very, very real to you.
  5276. >You shudder slightly, but luckily nobody notices.
  5277. >One of the major security service providers of the area happens to have sloppy network security, and you've gotten in successfully before with an old password.
  5278. >You get yourself behind a few proxies to check it again and sure enough, you have camera feed access to a good part of the downtown area and some businesses a bit further out.
  5279. >Unfortunately, most of them aren't very /good/ cameras so you'll less likely to be able to identify any new suspects and more likely to be confirming that he's doing it himself or has his metal goon doing it.
  5280. "Wouldn't it be funny if I made us both look like Dan Schneider?"
  5281. >Cunt chuckles.
  5282. >"I'm pretty sure at this point being seen in public with his face would cause more trouble than being seen in public with our faces."
  5283. >Moonflower nudges your leg.
  5284. >You've got a decent amount of time before bed to start working.
  5285. >What will you do?
  5286. >You have some of the information to look like your adversary, but you don't think you have a recent enough photo of him to produce convincing current results.
  5287. >You look down at Moonflower.
  5288. "What's up, girl?"
  5289. >"Uhh... could you maybe..."
  5290. >You give her a calm look while she stumbles over what she wants to say.
  5291. >"Uhh, pet me?"
  5292. "Hmm... well, I suppose I could if Friendly wasn't in my lap right now."
  5293. >"I know you can reach further!"
  5294. "I cooould, but what's in it for me?"
  5295. >You internally pat yourself on the back as you watch Moonflower rack her pony brain trying to come up with something she can do for you that you can't do yourself at the moment.
  5296. >She whispers something to Green, and then kinda puts force into her haunches like a dog jumping up onto a bed, planting her forehooves on the upper part of the couch for support.
  5297. >She leans over and gives you a rather wet, inexperienced kiss on the cheek.
  5298. >She quickly lets go of her hold and rests all four of her hooves on the lower cushion, her cheeks a bit red and her gaze averted.
  5299. "Hmm, well I just 'noticed' that there's a bit of extra space next to Friendly's butt where you can lay your head if you'd like to."
  5300. >You're lucky that your laptop isn't too heavy, you've been resting it on Friendly's back on top of a small pillow with no complaints of discomfort from the peacefully sleeping pony.
  5301. >Moonflower seems curious about what you're working on before you take one hand and start giving her a nice scalp massage.
  5302. >She lets out a low moan and closes her eyes, resting her muzzle right next to your crotch.
  5303. >Probably for the best she's not interested either, as right now you're interested in selling her.
  5304. >You send a message to George Krotowski asking him if he'd like to buy some ponies, and of course he's immediately interested even before you tell him anything about who or what they actually are.
  5305. >Since you're hoping for a best case scenario, you also shoot a message to the person you found previously who you think would make a good owner but you're not sure about the capital for.
  5306. >The two of you hit it off quite well and you find yourself almost disappointed bringing the conversation to business eventually, but she seems more than excited.
  5307. >'You've got to be shitting me. No way you're serious.'
  5308. 'Do you want pictures?'
  5309. >'No. You tell me you have honest to god ponies in your house and offer me pictures, who in their right mind would turn that down?'
  5310. 'Fair point.'
  5311. >You take a picture of Moonflower cozied up to your lap and crop Friendly out, then get as nice of a shot as you can of Green Thumb without having to evict comfortable ponies from your lap prematurely.
  5312. 'Here you go.'
  5313. >'No fucking way. Say, you won't be pissed if I ask for like, ten more pictures would you? That seems like more than someone would reasonably have prepared photoshopped for a scam, sorry for the skepticism but you know how it is.'
  5314. 'Yeah, I'll send you some more pictures.'
  5315. >You end up including Friendly with a note that she's not for sale, and she goes quiet for a good while.
  5316. >You're fine with waiting though, as long as she responds eventually.
  5317. >Might just be asking someone who knows photoshop better than you do if you're full of shit.
  5318. >Either way it's not a terrible idea to let information of your escapades spread throughout the community since it's free advertising and you already make yourself fairly difficult to find.
  5319. >You have a far less pleasurable chat with George until Friendly wakes up, in which case you cut him off, tell him you have to go, and then set yourself to invisible.
  5320. >Christ he's annoying.
  5321. >In any case you feel a lot better about these two than you did with your original client, who could've been a honeypot or a horror story waiting to happen for all you know.
  5322. >Friendly rubs her eyes with the backs of her forehooves and lets out a soft yawn, an extremely cute act that you wish you could've filmed.
  5323. "Are you up for a little bit of Fly-by-night?"
  5324. >It takes her a second, but she sleepily nods and lets you scoop her up.
  5325. >You go into the kitchen and prepare a bowl of cereal for the tan mare downstairs, complete with milk after Friendly sleepily points out that Grape-Nuts don't taste very good without it.
  5326. >Moonflower watches the two of you go, but doesn't question why this time.
  5327. >You might call her a good girl for it later if she doesn't get up to any shit while you're downstairs.
  5328. >Spanish seems initially excited at the prospect of meeting other ponies, but gets a bit saddened after a few minutes.
  5329. >"A little girl?"
  5330. "Yeah, that's one of them."
  5331. >"Not now, in a few days... don't trust myself. Don't want to hurt any children like this."
  5332. >You tell her that you understand and wrap her in a tight hug, which she returns graciously.
  5333. >Friendly looks a bit saddened too, electing to practice climbing up the stairs instead of riding in your arms.
  5334. >When you get to the top you check your laptop out of habit.
  5335. >You have a single message.
  5336. >'Hunter?'
  5337. >What will you do?

ReMastering

by ReMastering