Chapter 10: Filling in the Blanks
The words echoed through his head. "Welcome back on the team." There was no way that Inkblot was a part of the HPIRT! He hated the organization more than anything he had ever known. He'd rather die than be a part of the group that stole away memories. Stole away memories...what if he joined, and didn't know it?!
"You...you took away my memory, didn't you?" Inkblot asked the suffering human.
Hopkins, attempting to speak, could only give wheezes and coughs. Had he not threatened him with his life, Inkblot would've felt bad for him. It almost seemed as if Hopkins was dying.
Due to the man's inability to speak, the doctor watching over him spoke for him, promptly, to the point, and with an accent that revealed he was from Trottingham. "Technically, no. He did not take away your memory. Your memory being lost is your own fault."
Inkblot was more than confused. Maybe the doctor meant it like "you brought this upon yourself" or "it was a punishment for doing something or another". Either way, he wanted to be sure, so asking questions about this would definitely do more help than harm. "What do you mean by that?!" Perhaps more descriptive questions would have helped more. But at this point, he was happy with any help he could get.
The doctor sighed, clearly trying to avoid telling the whole truth. "You drank two whole bottles of memory suppressant. In fact, I'm surprised you stayed conscious long enough to drink both."
The doctor's vague answer definitely didn't help. While it did reveal what Inkblot did that he couldn't remember, but the doctor seemed to purposely refrain from explaining why. How annoying. "Can you explain to me what actually happened, please? You know, explain why I chugged memory suppressant!"
The doctor's voice didn't falter. It was as if he were a machine made to withold information. "Well, I might as well explain some things." Never mind. He had no intention of withholding information.
While the doctor didn't even bat an eyelid, his patient seemed to completely freak out. He started to flail his limbs around weakly, yelling "Code! Code!" Hopkins seemed to try to attack the doctor, swinging his arms around the earth pony's neck.
The doctor shook himself away from the frail human draping himself over his back. "Fine! Fine! I'll ask him. Now rest up. You need all the rest you can get." Hopkins calmed down and laid back, but still seemed to focus on the two ponies, as if he were supervising the two.
"What's the last thing you remember?" the doctor asked the pale pony.
Inkbot was conflicted. Should he tell them about Trixie's diary? Or about Franklin's visit? Did they know about any of that? Would it put them in danger? He figured that unless it had only been a day, then they would already know about her leaving the team. "My memory goes back to the day Trixie wiped her own memory."
"So that's..." the doctor paused to count the days in his head. "...the day before you joined the HPIRT."
Impossible, Inkblot thought to himself. Maybe if he had a couple days to change his mind, but he wouldn't just change his mind overnight. Unless he had alterior motives. "Why did I join?"
"Well I might as well tell you the whole story. You had a plan. A rather clever one, might I add." the doctor said nonchalantly.
Of course! The rebellious unicorn knew that he wouldn't just join the HPIRT for bucks and giggles. "What was my clever plan then?" Inkblot asked the doctor.
The doctor began without missing a beat, suddenly turning against the part of him who held everything back. "About a month and a half or so days ago, you made your way up to Canterlot. We don't know how, but you found the HPIRT Headquarters. The first thing you did was ask to see Hopkins. But since everyone recognized you, you caused quite a scene. Almost the whole team was watching. It was quite the spectacle. They had you cornered. Everypony with memory suppressant was ready to take you out."
Something didn't add up. As much as he hated holding back the ending, Inkblot had to ask. "How did they have memory wipe? I got a message on the laptop saying it was all gone."
"We have found that we can create our own memory suppressant. The suppressant pointed at you was a prototype for it. After tests, we found that our suppressant has a range of over thirty days along with the ability to heal wounds. The healing was put in the prototype because any wounds received during a time of wiped memory, including syringe holes, can raise questions."
Inkblot looked around his sore body. "Well apparently it didn't work very well."
"I'll get to that." The doctor watched over his resting patient. "So you were in the main atrium of the headquarters. Franklin and Hopkins were in the center talking to you. You had the laptop with you."
This surprised Inkblot. "What?! I gave it back?!"
"Patience. I'll get to it," the doctor scolded. "Anyway, you struck up the outstanding deal I mentioned earlier. First, you typed in a few keystrokes into the laptop, and some strange portal appeared over him like a black hole. A beeping noise came from him, and he was sucked into the hole. We haven't seen him ever since."
Inkblot wanted to explain what he could, but not too much. He was unsure how much they knew about him. "What happened to Hopkins?"
"I'm honestly quite unsure. Hopkins gave me a breif description, though. He said that Franklin was sent back to his world. From there, he could be let off the IV, which was fleeting at that point, and get some real food. Now, Hopkins needs that."
It made sense. He must've sent Franklin back to his world, taking him off of his IV, therefore saving his life. Now Hopkins needed it so that when the IV runs out (by now it probably already has judging by his condition), he wouldn't starve. Now Hopkins life was in his hooves. Or at least it was at that moment in the story. "What happened next?"
The doctor cleared his throat and continued. "After doing that...thing, you offered to give it to him. In exchange, he would help you find Trixie."
Suddenly, thinking out loud, Inkblot interrupted the storyteller. "I wouldn't do something that stupid. He'd use the memory wipe to make me forget the deal ever happened."
The doctor broke his monotone demeanor and chuckled. "That's the brilliant part. Apparently, you put on some kind of passcode on it. If they took your memory, then you'd forget the passcode. It was a way of making sure you found Trixie."
"And it worked?"
"Yes it did. Whatever you were blocking must've been very important. So, Hopkins gathered up a team for you. They were some of our best ponies, all sent to find your Trixie. As the days went by, you travelled all around Equestria, looking for her. The team Hopkins set up gave you the little information they could. Information that you would later call 'useless'. While you searched for Trixie, you became almost reclusive, keeping everything to yourself and someyimes to your partner that Hopkins assigned you, Spike. Aside from him, you were detatched from the rest of us. Hardly spoke a word.
Inkblot was satisfied, having some of his questions answered for once. But there still more questions. For instance, how much had he forgotten? "How long did I spend looking for Trixie?"
"According to Spike, you found her after about 43 days. But we don't know where you found her or anything about her new alias. You kept it all to yourself."
At least 43 days. A lot can happen in 43 days. He could find out what he missed later, since a doctor tending to a patient 24/7 might not be updated on current events. "So how did I get these?" He asked, pointing to his many cuts and bruises.
The doctor gave another chuckle. The chuckles were already annoying Inkblot. "It took a while to shake the specifics from Spike, but we got just enough to answer that. Apparently, you were giving her a sign by firing some fireworks from the top of Castle Mountain. While setting it up, you took a nasty tumble down the mountain. Spike told us you looked worse than you do now. In fact, you were almost dead. You had fractured a few bones and had major injuries."
Inkblot felt panic just thinking about the situation he must have been in. "How did I survive?" he asked, as if he were a little colt asking his father how a story ended.
"Remember when I said that our homegrown memory suppressant healed wounds?" the doctor asked before turning back to his patient and letting the words sink in.
Well that answered two questions. Now he knew why his fractured limbs and gashing wounds were no longer apparent along with how he lost his memory. Inkblot concluded that the HPIRT must've taken him to the hospital wing. He guessed nopony else saw him in that condition, otherwise that would have raised tons of public madness when the HPIRT took him away. Suddenly, he remembered a question that he nearly forgot, but wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he did.
"What about Hearth? Did you guys do anything to him?"
"Oh, the hotel pony. Not to worry, when we found out he wasn't you, we gave him a little bit of suppressant, and he was on his way. At that point, he's more than likely curious about what had happened that we had made him forget, but that's not important. Odds are, he'll just attribute it to a memory spell backfire. Thats how we cover up most memory wipes."
The scratched unicorn was about to ask another question, but was interrupted by a loud cough. While Hopkins had been coughing for the entire conversation, this one was loud and clearly made to get the two ponies' attention. Mustering up what little strength he had, the dying human asked a question that could save his life. "Do...you...remember..." His question was interrupted with another sickly cough. "...remember...the code..."
Inkblot hadn't planned for this. Or maybe he had, but it was all taken away to save his own life. He wasn't a killer. While he couldn't stand his rival human, he couldn't kill Hopkins. But the truth was bitter. Inkblot couldn't remember. And there was nothing he could do to change that. "I hate to tell you this, but I can't remember."
Hopkins' rough looking face wore a look of shock and fear. The human was weak, but he nearly sat up in his bed and reached for the unicorn, sadly screaming the words "Remember! Remember!"
The doctor's face spoke for itself, saying that trying to get him to remember would be hopeless. But, he did try to help his patient's lost cause. "Listen. Inkblot, I believe was your name. You need to look back as far as possible. You went to bed in your home, presumably, and woke up 44 days later in a hospital as a member of the Human Pony Interaction Removal Team. Did you have any sort of dream?"
Inkblot thought back to before the day began. All he really remembered was closing his eyes one place and waking up somewhere else. His lost memories wouldn't help Hopkins in the slightest. "I don't remember anything that happened in the last 43 days. Including setting whatever passcode is on that laptop. I'm sorry." And he truly was sorry. Whatever grudge he had on Hopkins couldn't possibly be large enough for an intent to kill him.
Suddenly, to both ponies' surprise, the human leaned over his bed to look the unicorn in the face. Hopkins' dark eyes looked into Inkblot's blue eyes as if they were begging. For a hologram, he was incredibly realistic. His terrible appearance was multiplied up close. His eyes were droopy and wrinkled. It was clear he didn't have much time left. "Please..."
Well, considering the shape the man was in, it would be pure evil for the dark-maned unicorn to not make an effort. With a sigh, Inkblot turned to the doctor. "Where's the laptop?"
The doctor pulled it out of a drawer next to the patient's bed and handed it to him without a word. After 43 days of who knows what, the laptop didn't seem to take any major damage. It still looked as sleek as fever, but the "H" in the "HP" that engraved the front was partially chipped off. Inkblot used his magic to re-energize the machine, which stung a little, but nothing unbearable. The familiar light shone from the screen, but this time instead of leading to Gmail, it led to another screen that he had never seen before. It was all black, except for some white words.
"Enter Passcode to Continue: "
Here was the tricky part. He couldn't remember ever seeing a screen that looked anything like that no matter how hard he tried to remember. They must've had some strong memory wipe. So instead, he tried to put in codes that he would have put in. He started typing. "Trixie"
The message was accompanied with a quiet, sharp beep. Well, there went his most obvious one. But he still had more passcode ideas fresh in his mind. "Headline"
So it wasn't his dad, either. He probably chose wisely, since he knew that Hopkins would have his assistants follow the same proccess. He needed to try more personal things. "Snapshot"
The beeps seemed to be a hornet stinging Hopkins right on a nerve, judging by his reaction to each one. The doctor treated them more like mosquitos that he wished to swat down.
Alright, maybe his passcodes weren't quite personal enough. Or maybe how personal it was wasn't the problem. "Ponyville Post"
"Toasted Bermuda Grass Sandwiches"
The beeps were coming in like an endless parade as Inkblot frantically put in any and every word that held the slightest bit of meaning to him. He even tried "Passcode" out of desperation. But nothing worked. He tried for what seemed like hours. Of course, the doctor didn't just sit and watch Inkblot's endeavors. Between his acts of assisting Hopkins, he caught Inkblot up, telling him what all had happened in Equestria that he had forgotten.
Only a couple days after he joined the HPIRT, Ponyville had fully cleaned itself up from the Ursa attack, just in time for the next disaster. A dragon had been sent there for a long nap. The fact that he snored smoke was a real bother for Ponyville, and Twilight and her friends went to go solve the problem. In the meantime, Fluttershy learned to be brave, which was nice. The doctor admitted that the bravery thing was pulled by the HPIRT to make a nice, healthy moral. As far as he knew, the HPIRT had absolutely nothing to do with the dragon.
As far as eventful events, the dragon was the only real event that he missed. For a good while, nothing big happened. They needed another episode, so they threw a quick one together with Twilight Sparkle, Applejack and Rarity having a sleepover and the latter two getting into fights. Spike was on "royal Canterlot business" helping Inkblot find Trixie.
Only a few days before Inkblot's accident, the HPIRT allowed a zebra to move into the Everfree Forest. The plan was for the whole town to think of her as some witch. Then by the end of the whole episode, everyone would learn the "don't judge a book by its cover" lesson. The organization that was in charge of secretly recording the lives of innocent ponies may forcibly erase the memories of anypony that interfered, but at least they shared good lessons.
And at the rate Inkblot was going, the organization was about to lose a member. Especially after one of the doctor's diagnoses, which led him to say the words that made Inkblot's heart freeze. "He hardly has any time left to live."
Despite the scenario, the doctor hardly broke his boring monotone voice. "I'd have to guess around five minutes. I don't know much about human anatomy, but even if you were going to get him out at this point, he wouldn't make it."
After that was a silence. Aside from the heavy breathing from Hopkins, it was completely silent.
The doctor was looking at Inkblot, who was looking at the man.Hopkins wasn't freaking out. He wasn't taking it well, either. He had just accepted his fate. Inkblot could see it in his somber eyes.
The unicorn blinked and broke the silence. "Well, I really wish I could have helped more, Hopkins. And, uh, doctor, sir? I'm not sure if I'm interested in watching him while he dies."
The doctor nodded as he walked to the door to undo the blockade he had set up to prevent Inkblot from running amok through the facility. As Inkblot left, the doctor gave him some parting words. "If you're looking for Spike, he's in Room 4906A if he hasn't left to go back to Ponyville already."
As he closed the door, Inkblot suddenly realized something, and caught the door with his front hoof. "Wait. How can I trust you?" The question should've been asked earlier. Should really put his trust in a doctor who works for the HPIRT?
For one last time, the doctor chuckled. "I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't. I'm not one to trust since I'm influenced by your mortal enemy. But then again, how much could you hate him if you tried to save his life. Everything you heard from me was either eyewitness or told to me by Hopkins on his deathbed. Whether or not you can trust that is up to you." With that, he closed the door.
So Inkblot was back in the hallway. He looked down each end of the hallway. It was similar to the airvents, except this time he knew which way he was going. He turned right and walked down the hall toward 4906A. He looked in the window to his left, into the room adjacent to Hopkins. Inside, he saw a doctor who got his hairpiece knocked off unconscious in a hospital bed.