The Wreck

by JohnPerry

Chapter 5: The Loss

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Dr. Logic cleared his throat. “I understand that you’ve been regressing, Ms. Yearling.”

Yearling didn’t respond. She was sitting upright in her seat, trying not to think about how she looked. She was a disheveled wreck of a pony, her mane and tail unkempt, her coat dulled, and her eyes swollen and bloodshot, with dark shadows beneath them. Her legs were curled tightly beneath her and she stared at the floor, avoiding eye contact with her therapist.

Dr. Logic seemed undaunted by her silence. “Would you like to tell me what happened?”

“I can’t remember anything,” she mumbled.

“Anything at all?”

“Anything… anything important. Anything from my life before. I remember that I’m A.K. Yearling, and that I’m a writer, but… that’s about it.”

“Do you remember First Sight?”

Yearling nodded.

“Do you remember how you met?”

“I… I think so. There’s a few details I remember. But it’s all… hazy.”

Dr. Logic scribbled something on his clipboard, held aloft by his magic. “Perhaps there was a trigger that caused this long-term memory loss. Has anything… unusual happened to you recently?”

Yearling tensed, drawing her hooves in. “I… I met Daring Do.”

“In a dream?”

Yearling shook her head. “No, in the street. Yesterday. She asked me about my name, and that’s how this started.”

More scribbling on the clipboard. “Did she say anything else?”

“She, uh, she said something about the shipwreck, but I didn’t think of it at the time.”

“The shipwreck?” Dr. Logic tapped his chin. “Have you still been having the dreams about the shipwreck?”

Yearling nodded again.

Dr. Logic let out a long sigh. “Frankly, I’m not sure what is causing your troubles. But if your visions of Daring Do and your dreams of the shipwreck have become linked, then I would like to continue exploring your dream, if that’s alright with you.”

Yearling nodded once more, then lay down on the couch so that she was looking up at the ceiling, her forehooves crossed over her chest.

“Whenever you’re ready, Ms. Yearling. I’ll apply the sleep spell.”

She closed her eyes and tried to focus on the shipwreck, as she had done several times before in this very office. She tried to picture the beach, to feel the wind in her mane, to smell the salt breeze, to immerse herself there…

But the picture in her mind remained only that. She concentrated, but she was still too aware of being in the presence of Dr. Logic. She opened her eyes, only to see the ceiling of her therapist’s office, with the potted plant sitting nearby and one of its ferns arcing into her line of sight.

“Doc, I don’t think it’s working.”

“Oh, it’s working alright,” spoke a voice that was very definitely not that of Dr. Logic’s.

Yearling yelped and bolted upright in her couch, looking across the room to see Daring Do sitting in Dr. Logic’s chair, grinning at her.

“What are you doing here?!” Yearling squealed, pointing a shaking hoof at Daring.

“I’m tired of waiting for you to stop running off to comfort yourself in your delusions. We’re in real trouble here, and if you don’t get moving fast, we’re both goners.”

“What are you talking about?!”

Daring glared at her. “The shipwreck, Yearling.”

“What do you have to do with the shipwreck?!” Her whole body was quivering now, the image of the adventurer becoming blurred through her watery gaze.

“I have everything to do with that shipwreck. The Equestrian Star is all that matters to us now.”

“Stop it! Just stop it!” Yearling leapt off the couch and stood before Daring, tears streaming freely from her eyes as she screamed into Daring’s passive, uncaring expression. “What have you done to me?! I was fine! I had a great life! Everything was perfect before you and your damned shipwreck ruined my life!”

“Nopony’s life is perfect, Yearling. You know that.”

Well it was pretty damn close!” Yearling roared. “What did I do to you?! What could I have possibly done to bring this on myself?!”

“Nothing. And that’s just it.” Daring rose from her chair and took a step towards Yearling. “I keep telling you, you’re in danger. But you keep running off into your perfect life, totally blind to the obvious.”

Yearling slumped on the floor, lowering her head. “Why won’t you just leave me alone?”

A hoof roughly forced Yearling’s chin up, so that she was looking directly into Daring’s eyes. “Because we are going to die unless you act quickly. So work with me here.”

Daring let go of Yearling and began pacing in front of her, leaving Yearling to wipe the tears from her face. “Now, try to think,” Daring demanded. “Why would we be obsessed with a shipwreck?”

“I don’t know,” Yearling mumbled.

“Yes you do! Come on, nopony knows Daring Do better than you, right? So tell me, why would Daring Do be obsessed with a shipwreck?”

“I… because there’s something inside?”

“Exactly! Something on board that ship before it crashed. Now, what would that be?”

“H-How should I know?!” Yearling cried. “Why don’t you tell me?”

“I can’t. But maybe your sailor friend at the library can help.”

“What’s he got to do with it? And why don’t you just tell me what you want?!”

“Like I said, I can’t.” Daring flashed her a wink. “After all, this is your dream.”

Yearling gasped, her eyes flying open to find that she was once again lying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling of her therapist’s office. She looked over to see Dr. Logic sitting in his chair, concern etched into his features.

“Are you alright, Ms. Yearling? You were muttering in your sleep.”

“I…” Yearling paused, then leapt off the couch. “I need to go.” She ran for the exit, grabbing her travel cloak and hat off the rack by the door.

“Wait!” Dr. Logic cried. “You can’t leave in the middle of our session!”

“I’m sorry, but there’s something I need to check out right away. Next time!” Yearling bolted out the door, leaving a thoroughly confused stallion behind.

Yearling ran into the Maritime Wing of the library, looking around to find it just as deserted as ever, save for the lone elderly stallion behind his desk at the end of the room. She trotted up to him, catching his attention.

“Ah, fancy seeing you here again!” he said. “How can I help you?”

Yearling spoke hurriedly. “I, uh, I was wondering if there was a way to find out what they were carrying on board the Equestrian Star before it sunk.”

The librarian smiled. “Well, as it so happens, we have a copy of the ship’s manifest in our archives. Would you like to take a look?”

She agreed and the librarian vanished into a back room while Yearling sat down at the nearest table. A few minutes later, he returned pushing a small book cart with two thick books laid atop it, parking it next to Yearling and heaving both books onto the table, both with “Star Liner Company” printed in elaborate lettering on the cover.

“This one’s cargo, and this one is a record of the passengers,” he explained. “They’re both for an entire year, so you have to skip to the end to see what was on the last voyage.”

Yearling thanked him and he returned to his post. She took the cargo manifest and opened it, finding a cross-sectional diagram of the ship on the first page, which indicated where each cargo hold was located. Yearling studied it for a moment, realizing that if something was still inside the shipwreck, it would have to be in one of the forward holds, since the rear of the ship was gone. She ran a hoof roughly over where the ship had broken away, then continued.

An intense feeling of deja vu washed over Yearling as she flipped through the record of the last voyage of the Star. A thorough examination of the contents of Forward Hold A and Forward Hold B produced nothing of interest. But it was in Forward Hold C that she finally found something of interest. Listed in the care of a Dr. Caballeron, marked for transport to Manehattan, was a single crate listed as “Special Care.”

Large, golden ring of foreign origin. Artifact of indeterminate age.

Yearling paused, re-reading the entry. “Dr. Caballeron…” she murmured. The name rang a bell, but she couldn’t place it.

She glanced at the other book lying on the table, then pushed away the cargo records and opened the passenger manifest to find a list of names scrawled in tidy cursive writing on the page, with addresses and a few basic characteristics indicated. On the top on each page was a letterhead with the logo for Star Liners. Yearling idly turned the pages of the manifest, skimming through the long lists of passengers.

There was no apparent order to the names, but occasionally she would see several passengers with the same family name listed in a row, making it clear that they had been listed as they boarded the ship. She spent a few moments scanning the names, looking for one in particular.

Her gaze traveled down the pages, one after another, until she found what she was looking for:

Dr. Caballeron. Earth pony. Male. Equestria.

Her eyes traveled down the page, finding another familiar name listed just a few entries after that:

A.K. Yearling. Pegasus. Female. Equestria.

Yearling walked the streets of Canterlot in a daze. Her head was bowed and her steps were plodding, her expression devoid of emotion. She stared at her hooves as she walked, but somehow never managed to run into another pony. Her surroundings seemed unusually quiet and dulled, as if something had muffled the entire city to her ears, offering no distraction from Yearling’s wandering thoughts.

Eventually, she found herself in the hallway outside her apartment. She looked up to see her front door, taken aback at how... plain it looked, as if she was viewing it for the first time. Yearling slowly opened it and stepped inside.

As she turned on the light in her living room, her breath caught in her throat as she spotted First Sight dozing in a chair across from her, his face an expression of calm serenity. Yearling whimpered, quickly throwing a hoof over her mouth to stifle a sob. She shut her eyes tight, squeezing out a pair of tears as she gritted her teeth. A part of her wanted to run back outside, but she didn’t move.

After a moment, she wiped a hoof over her eyes and swallowed hard, then shakily made her way across the room. She briefly stood over her fiancé before gently lowering herself onto his form.

First Sight awoke with a start at her touch, but quickly relaxed once he saw who it was. “Oh, Yearling, I—” He froze at the sight of her tear-stained face. “Yearling, what’s wrong? What happened?”

“Nothing,” she answered calmly, wrapping her forehooves around him and resting her head against his chest. “Nothing, I just… I never quite realized just how much I loved you.”

She felt his hooves against her back, one traveling up to run along her mane. “I love you too,” he whispered. “I’ll always be here for you.”

Yearling gave him a strained smile before leaning close, slowly pressing her lips against his. She leaned against him, their kiss anchoring them together as every bit of her body collapsed against his, desperate for his warmth and strength. But their lips broke apart as her form was wracked by a sob, her head sliding down to his chest as her tears came.

Yearling felt his hooves wrap around her once more. She lay against him, her sobs slowly subsiding as she murmured, “It’s… It’s too perfect.”

She closed her eyes.

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