“Come on, Fluttershy,” Rainbow Dash snapped. “This isn’t that hard.”
“I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to do,” said Fluttershy.
“Look, it’s easy, all right? To pick up a gun, you point your crosshair at it and press the use key.”
“What’s a ‘gun’ again?”
Twilight chimed in. “It’s like a magical weapon. You can point it at things and shoot them, even over a long distance.”
“W-weapon? I-I’m not sure if I want to…”
“Come on, don’t back out now,” said Rainbow. “This game needs four players, and no pony else would play it. We need you.”
“It’s really fun once you get into it, Fluttershy!” chirped Pinkie Pie, who until now had been bouncing her avatar around the starting game-area. “You don’t shoot any ponies, because there are so many zombies everywhere! They swarm all around you and you have to shoot and hit them to get them off, and sometimes there are these special zombies that can kill you really really fast unless another pony helps you…”
“Yeah, I think that’s enough, Pinkie. Just give it a try, ‘Shy, for me. You’ll learn as you play.”
“A-alright, if you really want me to, Rainbow Dash.”
“Are we all set, then?” said Twilight.
“Looks like it,” said Dash. “Don’t forget to pick up a health pack too, Fluttershy. You can heal other ponies with it by clicking the right mouse button.”
Fluttershy clicked the right mouse button several times, causing her avatar to repeatedly whack Dash’s over the head with the health pack.
“Not now,” said Rainbow. “We haven’t even started yet. We’re still at full health.”
“Oh,” said Fluttershy. “Sorry.”
The four players began their descent down the first level of the game, a multistory hotel. Among the tight hallways, they had their first encounter with the undead. The commons came in small trickles at first, but inevitably, the first special was heard.
“I hear a Hunter,” said Rainbow Dash, who was scouting ahead of the party.
Opening a door into one of the rooms, she came face to face with the clawed monster. The battle took only a moment: though Dash tried to retreat, and time her melee attack to deadstop the beast in mid-air, its pounce connected, and she was helplessly pinned.
Fluttershy froze up. Twilight ran past her and into the room, then emptied her pistols into the Hunter to kill it, freeing Dash.
“Thanks,” Dash said as an almost automatic quip. “Hey Fluttershy, when you see someone pinned by a zombie like that, you should shoot it, okay?”
“Okay, sorry Rainbow,” she said. Then she switched to her health pack and began to heal her wounded ally.
“Hey, don’t!” said Rainbow, but Fluttershy kept the right mouse button held down until the healing animation was complete, and the health pack was used up.
“I was only missing about thirty hit points. You’ve got to save those health packs until we really need them. Don’t use them until some pony’s got like ten health or so.”
The ponies continued through the halls of the hotel, and gradually, Fluttershy learned to line up her crosshairs with the zombies and pull the trigger. Gotta shoot the zombies, she said, don’t hesitate.
That advice came back to haunt her when the survivors heard the sting of low piano keys, and the sound of sloshing bile. The three experienced players stopped to look around, but Fluttershy, heedless of their meaning, continued on at her normal pace.
Turning a corner, she found herself face-to-face with the fat zombie, and immediately, she shot him. The zombie exploded, covering Fluttershy’s screen in green bile.
“What’s going on?” she cried.
“Just hold on. Try to get in a corner.”
The four ponies hunkered down as the horde began to attack them in droves. Gradually they thinned out as the bile cleared from Fluttershy’s screen.
“That was a Boomer,” said Rainbow Dash. “Those guys you don’t want to shoot as soon as you see them, because they explode and cover you with bile. Click the right mouse button to shove them away first.”
Onward the ponies fought, until finally, they reached the bottom floor of the hotel, where a grand horde of zombies were waiting to meet them. Fluttershy took the hint to move quickly and kept up with her teammates, and the quartet were able to make it to the safe house at the entrance of the hotel.
When they opened the door out the other side, they were greeted by the open air and the sunny sky of the afternoon. They had reached the outdoors, and their next task was to fight their way through the cityscape.
That’s when the music started, along with the rumbling of a distant monster.
“Oh, no,” said Rainbow. “It’s the Tank. Get ready, Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy had no idea how to get ready, for she had no idea what adversity was approaching. But it soon showed itself: an enraged and muscle-bound zombie came hurtling up the street.
“Oh, boy!” said Pinkie Pie. “This is my favorite part!”
For a coordinated team, a Tank is easy work. But the ponies were not a coordinated team. Rainbow Dash, slowed by her avatar’s injury and missing the health pack Fluttershy had wasted, had impatiently run ahead of the team and found the Tank between her and them. It punched her in the opposite direction of the team and easily boxed her into a corner, hitting her until she was incapacitated.
Pinkie Pie, in her excitement, had also raced a little too close to the tank and was now in punching range. The tank’s first hit was enough to slow Pinkie’s avatar, and though she and Twilight tried to strafe around the Tank while firing, the Tank was easily able to catch up with Pinkie and incapacitate her. Twilight tried to continue circling the Tank, but she was no match—she soon met the same fate.
The three of them, lying on the ground, were all ready to write this attempt off as a loss. But they continued to hear gunfire. Fluttershy’s avatar was circling the tank and plugging it with gunfire; the other three watched in amazement.
As the battle went on, the three continuously expected Fluttershy to screw up, hit a wall hear or clip on a table there, but each time she surprised them by staying in the fight and plugging the Tank until, finally, the last of its many hit points was gone. The Tank fell into a heap and the music stopped, replaced by a serene stillness.
“Horray, I did it!” said Fluttershy, not taking her eyes off the screen and already racing to her nearest incapacitated ally to begin picking them up onto their feet. Only by degrees did she become aware of the silence around her, and she looked up from her monitor into the gaping faces of the other three players.
“What?” she said.
I make a World of Warcraft prompt, and I get a Left 4 Dead story. Heh. Guess I asking for it with that “FOR THE HORDE” prompt. Anyway, this story really resonated with me, mostly because when I play Left 4 Dead with my friends, I am their Fluttershy. Well, except that I don’t become an awesome Tank-killed juggernaut when push comes to shove; I only wish I did. I liked the four ponies’ different approaches to the game as well.