alternate_reality author:fey backstory extinction_event fire i'm_on_a_boat questionable set:rainbow_fluff violence world_building world_ending

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Rainbow Fluff 2

By Fey

****************

Richard's morning starts like any other. When he wakes up, the air is colder than a vampire's balls in a silver thong. The sun is far below the horizon and won't be showing its dumb face again for a few weeks. Things are bleak and dark in the Antarctic Circle.

Richard sips his coffee. It's instant coffee. It's always instant coffee. It is terrible.

He takes another sip.

Richard walks along the hallways of the research station. He looks over some data and checks some equipment. He makes groggy conversation with groggy scientists. Everyone looks ridiculous drinking from their sippy thermos, but Richard would abide no coffee rings on his ridiculously expensive equipment.

He ducks into the dining area for a quick bowl of hot oatmeal before heading to his personal lab room. Today will be a good day for science.

He's just outside the lab when there's a loud metallic clank from above. The station gives a slight shudder.

Scowling, Richard pushes away from the doorframe and fast-walks up to the door to the landing pad. By the time he makes it, though, the door has a glowing-hot hole in it and armed persons stepping through. He takes another drink from his sippy thermos and moves forward to greet his visitors. "We're not expecting supplies for another month."

One of the mooks steps forward. Their face is covered, but the voice sounds female. "We need to speak to Doctor Richard-"

"-Found him. So what country had the fun idea of assaulting international territory?"

"Wow, you really are isolated out here."

"Internet's down, and I'm not allowed to go play after dark. What do you want with me? If doubleya-doubleya-three's broke out, there's not much strategic use in this place."

"Do you have any fluffies?"

Richard stares at her, dumbfounded for one of the few times in his life.

"Are. There. Fluffies. On this base?"

"Uhhh...no. Of course not. Little shitbags would freeze solid the second they found their way outside. We don't even have a real houseplant here, just a couple of plastic ones. What the fuck do you want with a fluffy out here?"

The assumed female makes a gesture, and the mooks lower their weapons. "We want to get away from them. Do you have somewhere we can talk?"

****************

Several minutes later and the group is seated in the dining room. The invaders have been provided with hot cocoa, all in sippy thermoses, of course. The armed men and women sheepishly drink.

Their assumed leader is indeed female, young with a face that isn't unappealing. She finishes off her cocoa and slams the cup down on the table. "Short story: it's the apocalypse. A fluffy apocalypse. Fluffies turned weird, started attacking humans and eating anything in sight. Their numbers boomed, and they just kept on eating. Plants, carrion, insects, they've even started chewing on trees. Sometimes they'll nibble the growths on a garden fluff, but they don't go after their own until it's dead, and even so they cry the whole meal."

"Uh-huh..." Richard looks over his guests. Too many weapons. Forcing them to leave isn't an option.

"Not the worst thing, huh? Well here's the fucking kicker; you get hugged by one, any subspecies, you get hugged, and you become one of them! It's some goddamn Romero shit. Completely fucked up! No one knows how it works, but I can tell you it does. I've seen a guy in combat boots curb-stomp a fucker the wrong way 'round, and he still turned!" The young woman dramatically smacks her thermos off the table. It leaves behind a faint, brown ring.

"You have to be kidding me..."

"Not even a little. If anything, I'm underselling it; I haven't even gotten to the mutant strains yet. And there's still more! Your coms have been down, right?"

"Yeah. Network lines and radio. I understand infrastructure for the net going down, but our other coms sound like a herd has figured out how to use Ham radios."

"Nope. That's the Cybers."

John gives the woman a look of waning patience.

"Fluffy AIs. We don't know if the pet engrams somehow sparked to life or if someone created a fully fluffy AI, but it's spread like...well, fluffies. Damn Cybers have infected any programmable doohickey with more power than a toaster. Now they use whatever communications that are left to babble at each other."

"That...that seems like overkill, doesn't it? Wouldn't one apocalypse be enough for your insane story?"

"I'm not the one writing this shit. And it's not a story. It's goddamn reality."

"Uh-huh, then why are the computers out here still working?"

"You've been in night for, what, months? At least since the Cybers started running rampant."

"What does that have to-"

"Fluffies hate the dark."

"But they're AIs."

"Fluffies REALLY hate the dark."

"They travel through wires and live on chips inside metal boxes!"

The woman holds her hands up. "What more can I say? Fucking fluffies, man."

Richard stares down at the brown ring for several silent minutes. The vistors sip anxiously while they wait. Richard sighs. "...What do you people want? You didn't burn the fuel to get out here just for an impractical joke."

The woman leans in and smiles. "What we want is to get off this god-fluffed planet. We were just going to raid your tech if the station was compromised, but having you alive makes things a lot easier."

"I'm not a rocket scientist."

"And we have too many people to push into the air with a rocket. Long story, but we have schematics for a warp drive-"

"-completely experimental tech-"

"-and we just need it to work for a few seconds to get us into space. Then we hope there's still a station or colony up there that's secure. This was the most isolated location where we could find the equipment we need, so here we are."

"Everything about this is dumb."

The woman leans back. "You haven't heard from your headquarters in a long time."

"Communication systems have been known to fail."

"No supplies are coming for you."

"No proof."

"We have guns, and we're taking all your toys."

"..."

"We've got seats on our bus for your whole crew, Doctor. We could really use your help, and you need ours." She pulls out some polaroids and slides them over to Richard. They show fluffies trampling entire fields of grains, fluffies swarming through the streets of some city, fluffies with strange and painful mutations ripping the meat from a carcass. "We don't have fuel to come back again; this is a one-time offer."

Richard looks over the photos for a while before setting them down and standing up. He gives out orders to the nearby scientists to shut down the equipment and to pack up supplies and personal items.

The young woman smiles up at him. "You never asked, but the name's John."

****************

The soldiers, the scientists, and a laundry list of tech is loaded into the visitors' VTOL. Hours later, they land on a cargo ship and set course for base, a cluster of offshore platforms, military vessels, and recreational and commercial ships.

Some time into the journey, John and Richard are walking along the deck of the cargo ship. Richard looks over the side and sees lumpy masses of green just under the surface of the water. He walks over to the railing and gazes down into the water. The lumps are packed so dense that he can hardly make out a space between them. "The hell?"

John moves up beside him. "What ya find, Doctor Dick?"

Richard shoots her a venomous glance.

The young woman ignores the glance and looks down over the side. "Oh, we must be in warmer water now. Plankton fluffies. Little shits are everywhere past the polar circles. Our wake probably looks like Christmas now for all the red and green the propellers are kicking up."

"How did-"

"-No clue. Maybe some lonely floof tried to hug the ocean and caught a few plankton between its hooves?"

Richard is increasingly uncomfortable with how often he has been at a loss for words in the preceding days.

"We REALLY need to get off this fucking planet. I say we drop a rock on this rock once we escape."

The ship's coms crackle, calling the pair to the bridge.

****************

John strides into the room. "Wassup, Captain?" Richard walks in after her.

The captain turns away from the window. "John, Doctor. The crew has been testing the machines, and one of the more important ones has started dinging."

"Dinging?"

"Yes. It's a machine that dings. I've been told that it goes 'ding' when there's stuff." The captain points to a print-out on the table. "We'd like to know about the stuff."

Richard moves to the table and reads the chart that had been printed out. "...Can I get a map and our location? Ah, thank you... Umm. Yes. Have you heard of the HYPER facility? It would have been located...here." He points to a small island on the map. "Experimental energy generation research facility. Highly classified. I only know about it because our devices would have picked it up eventually, and I was tasked with covering that data up."

John looks on from the other side of the table. "Nah. That never came up in any of the meetings. Why?"

"This data indicates they've had at least partial success. If the facility is still accessible, then that tech could significantly increase our odds of getting off the ground."

"What's significant mean here?"

"Extra twenty percent to get the drive to work; maybe ten percent to not blowing ourselves up either way."

"I like that. Captain, we got room for a detour?"

The captain looks at his charts. "Eh... We'd be behind schedule, but not so much that base would consider us dead. Just don't take too long out there, and we'll be fine."

"Awesome! Doc, you figure out what we're looking for. I'll make sure the team is ready to go by the time we get there."

****************

A few days later, the VTOL lands on the helipad at the island's docks. A winding road cuts through the trees and thick underbrush between the docks and the facility.

John's team, plus Richard, steps out of the aircraft. "Remember, Doc here is VIP. His protection takes priority. Go easy on the triggers; we haven't seen any evidence of Echoes, and we don't want any friendly fire, Kurt. Sweep the docks for nests then we'll head up the path."

The sweep reveals no evidence of fluffy habitation, so the area is deemed safe. The team moves up the path, pushing dollies with them. There's some rustling in the brush along the path; everyone keeps their cool. The power's still on. No one is home. Some explosives later, and everyone is inside. They sweep the facility, making their way to the control room where they get the necessaries up and running.

################

Wildflower lays in his room, rocking on the ground and happily singing to himself.

"Fwuffy am soon-daddeh!
Fwuffy haf bestest babbehs!
Sumting 'bout miwkies!
Fwuffy wuvs babbehs!"

The gelding stallion hugs his rounded tummy. He's sad about not having seen his Mummah in forevers, but he's very excited about having babbehs! Despite an inkling of an idea that a mare is usually involved in some way in getting babbehs, Wildflower reasons that his bestest Mummah got him the babbehs somehow so he wouldn't be too lonely with her gone. Bestest Mummah is bestest!

There's a swoosh sound behind Wildflower, causing the light-purple pony to let out a bit of poopies in fright. "Whaaa! Scawies nu am gud fo' Wiwdfwowah's tummeh babbehs!"

He shuffles himself around and sees that the door to his safe room is open! Mummah must be back! Wildflower's legs still barely touch the ground, and he quickly scoots himself out of the room to find his owner. He slides his furry belly down one corridor, then the next, around a corner, another hallway... He sees an open door and the prettiest green colors outside of it. Wildflower makes his way out of the facility and marvels at the beauty of a mostly-unspoiled temperate island.

The beauty of the island soon sinks its venomous fangs through Wildflower's groomed fluff and into his flesh. Wildflower screeeees in agony from pain like he's never felt before; the pitch of his voice rises like a boiling tea kettle. The snake begins to draw its fangs back out...

*POP*

Nothing is left of the snake's head but a meaty mist. Of Wildflower, there is only tufts of bloody fluff and a pile of chirping foals where he stood but a second before. The hungry foals, each a shade of purple, crawl through the dirt, gumming at whatever they can find. Some find the mushy stump of the snake's body; others find some crushed grasses and begin to suckle on the meager juices that can be found.

################

Hours later, top secret equipment is being unhooked from inputs and utilities, being secured onto dollies, and being transported to the VTOL under armed guard. The work is going smooth and going fast with no unexpected emergencies.

Everything is going great until the sound of gunfire rips through the island and an orange flare shoots up over the docks.

John bursts into the main lab. "Rich! We've got Echoes! Wrap this shit up now. Just tear the rest out of the wall and get it down to the bird."

Richard makes a dismissive motion with his hand. He continues to stare at a display screen. "Uh-huh...almost done here." He reads the display for a few seconds then looks over at John. "We'll be out soon, just leave me three workers. Go order your people around."

John calls most of the troops to her and marches them down to the docks. The rest of her troops are on alert by the time she arrives. "Any casualties?"

"No one got hit. Only one Echo, but..."

"There's never just one."

They lead her over to a carcass. Fluffy, royal purple, elongated with stubby legs. Its head has been forcibly obliterated.

"Looks kinda like a newt."

"Let's hope it doesn't get better."

"Double the men on the perimeter. Prep the bird for take-off and-" There's a rustling in the bush and a fluffy, neon-purple head pokes out of a bush. Before it can even open its mouth, John lodges a bullet into its head.

Gunfire pops up all around the perimeter of the dock. Purple, blue, red, and pink fluff are ripped from bodies and scattered into the wind.

****************

Those left in facility strap the last piece of precious tech to a dolly and wheel it towards the exit. Before they get there, they hear gunfire echoing down the hall, and a soldier runs up to them. "We're done here. We are leaving NOW."

Richard straightens up and gives the man a stern look. "Yeah, we're leaving. This is the last of-"

"We are under attack. Doubletime back to the dock. Movemovemovemove!!" The soldier get behind the dolly and pushes hard. He bumps it though doorways and bangs it around corners with no regard for the sensitive systems inside. The other soon join him in pushing, and Richard keeps pace behind them.

The dolly bashes the front doors open into a hellish landscape. Two soldiers are flaming the forest on either side, creating walls of fire that are eating deeper and deeper through the vegetation. A third has his rifle aimed on the path, gunning down anything that moves through the clearing and creating a carpet of gore over the dirt.

The cart doesn't stop, and the soldiers outside quickly take positions around it. Twin snakes of fire grow ahead of them from the flamers' muzzles. Two gunners run in front, only stopping fire to reload. One takes the back and shoots down anything scurrying after them. Cries of "Nyu daddeh?", "SCRREEEE!", "Nee' huggies!", and "Biggest huwties!" eke out over the roar of sustained combustion.

Richard glances to the side and notices that the vegetation isn't as dense as before; he can see the sky more clearly through the forest. Small plants are missing, and leaves are gone from trees and bushes. There's no charring, though. It couldn't have been done by fire.

There's yelling from in front. The fluffy mass is getting too thick to shoot down. The soldier from earlier calls them back and orders the gunners to push. Richard feels hands grabbing under his arms. He's thrown up ontop of the machine. He can see ahead of them now, but he can't see the road. It's covered in a rainbow sea. There's not a speck of green left in the forest that isn't waddling around hungrily.

The cart picks up speed and bashes straight into the river of fluff. More cries ring out as small, fragile creatures are crushed by the wheels and milled under the cart. The cart pushes onward, not slowing, fueled on adrenaline.

A cry behind him, deeper than a fluffy's. A soldier shudders. He lets go of the cart, falling behind. Bright-red fur sprouts from his face. He tumbles to the ground and soon disappear in the rainbow wake.

Richard turns away only to see a blur of blue. He whips out a pistol. It's coming right for him. He fires. A wet mess slaps him across the face, trailing blood and fur. Richard holds his breath, biting down on his fist.

They break through into a clearing. It's the dock, surrounded by a ring of fire and water. Richard's shakey hand rubs his neck and face. No fluff.

John orders everyone to fall back to the plane and throws a Sigma grenade over the flames. Others follow her example, and the scent of pasta chems cause provide a small reprieve as the hoards fight each other for a bite of a "sketti-fwiend". The defensive circle quickly tightens around VTOL. The doctor and the last of the cargo are loaded on, and the team files in after them. John is the last one on. She grabs the railing and watches out of the open door as the plane takes off and leaves the burning land behind.

With a grin on her face, she watches until the island is nothing but a point of light, gleaming on the horizon under a line of smoke.

################

As mysteriously as they had appeared, all the mummahs, daddehs, and sketties vanish from the surrounded-by-wawas place. There aren't any good nummies left either; some of the fluffies tearfully num their nu-move friends, but soon those are all gone too.

To make it all worster, there are burny-hurties everywhere! Some fluffies get worstest hurties from the burnies. Some get only bad hurties and cry for huggies to help make the owwies go away. With so many friends around, the cries are answered en masse, but they huggies never help. They only give everyfluffy burny owwies. By the time the fluffies catch on, the center of the island is nothing but a giant conflagration.

The fluffies are pushed further and further back by the fire. The ones closest to it get hurties and panic, pushing into the others. The furthest ones, far from safe, are forced into the salty wawas, further and further back until the water fills their fluff and drags them down to a cold, wet grave.

In time, even the charred and burnt innermost fluffies are forced by their own pain to flee into the waters.

Fluffy ponies drown.

Comments


- Reply
Feyascia: Some of ya'll should be getting the title by now.

Again, once I'm done with this series, I'm giving open approval to others to write stories in this 'verse, should anyone be so inclined.
- Reply
Anonymous1: "you get hugged, and you become one of them!"

stopped reading right there

- Reply
Feyascia: @Anonymous: How else am I going to make fluffies a threat?
- Reply
FN: Fluffy AI? Come the fuck on now. Alright I'll give you imagination points you got that.
- Reply
Cherrybird: @Feyascia: Maybe their feces carries an infectious bacteria or something?

- Reply
Feyascia: @Cherrybird: Eh... It would work. Sorry poopies and all that. But I don't want to write a series with that much scat. I've also got a theme I'm working with; it might become more obvious with the rest of the series.

- Reply
Feyascia: @FN: It's setting the bar pretty low for AI. Easier to make than a human AI, I'd think.

- Reply
ThreeRoadsDiverged: @FN: I believe it's been done before. Also, part 1 mentioned something about brain uploading, so they might not actually be AI (well, no more than fluffies usually are...)
- Reply
Anonymous2: Well then...... :I

I still like this concept :3

- Reply
Feyascia: I should have made it clearer: being hugged turns you into an anthro, not into whatever species hugged you. I hope that sound slightly less dumb.

@WetFluff: D'awww! Thanks! I'm glad you like it so much. Right now, though, all I have to publish would be an anthology of fluffy stories.
- Reply
The_dankest_of_memes: @Feyascia as soon as I herd AI a picture of a man with robot fluffy came tearing into my minds eye
Thread locked for the current user.