They are Smol – and Tenured! 1 Year Anniversary Smolsmas Special!

A/N: URAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Smol is now ONE YEAR OLD! Can you believe it? I habeeb it. A few excited reddit posts on /HFY/ turned into suggestions for a Patreon, and that spawned a Discord which now has a Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram/Youtube – and then we’ve got a Minecraft server in the mix as well –

Smols are growing stronger

And to celebrate, yes, there’s your weekly dose of shitposting, but also we’re doing server events, movie marathons, minecraft battle royales to the death, apotheosis – all sorts of fun things! It’s incredible, incredibly fun, and would be incredibly awesome if you come join us.

But, as we all know, not all… events, even if they’re planned well go well. Sometimes, even the best of intentions go awry in ways no one could have speculated, leading to unintentional consequences.

And of course, no one knows this better than the people on Zephyr Station 8.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Zephyr Station 8, Now:

I’LL KILL HIM! I SWEAR TO GOD I’LL KILL HIM-

Glenn “Silk” Abramson was being held back – just barely – by Jonathan and a majority of the assembled crowd, as Mike crouched to defend his young charge.

“Glenn – Glenn-”

NO. HE’S GONE TOO FAR – HE PLANNED THIS – CONSEQUENCES CAN NEVER BE THE SAME-

– – – – –

Zephyr Station 8, a day earlier:

“[Director?]”

“Hmm?” Glenn murmured, sipping his “World’s 18th Best Zephyr Station Manager but Galaxy’s Best Absentee Father” mug, which was mostly text and also stolen.

“[I checked the calendar before approaching you-]” Rgrezneh-of-Hrzgaren said, looking around with a curious expression. “[-there’s no holiday today, is there?]”

“Ah, no.” Glenn said, motioning with his mug’d hand to the carnival being erected before them both. As supervisor it was his job to supervise and not do any actual work, so he was able to give Rgrezneh the whole story. “We’re celebrating an entire 604,800 seconds of being an accident-free workplace!”

Glenn shotgunned his “coffee” before tossing the ‘rented’ mug into the roomba cave – they would know what to do – and continued before Rgrezneh could do the mental math. “So, we decided to bring up some of earth’s flora and fauna for a bit of a petting zoo/western country fair carnival in celebration. We’ll have various booth games to win prizes, some very very unhealthy food, and possibly even a couple animal races if – oh for fuck’s sake. MIKE!

Rgrezneh turned to see what drew Glenn’s ire, and noticed nothing out of the ordinary; There were a few compressed wood booths, her on-again-off-again-on-again boyfriend Mike, and he was seeming to fuss with an exosuit that was very obviously not designed for the quadrupedal animal he was attempting to put it on. She sighed in that “he’s stupid but cute” way, and followed the now incresingly-irate Station director over to see what was going on.

“Mike what the fuck are you doing?”

Mike, for his part, crouched and hugged the small pony defensively. “His name is Thimble and I love him.”

“Look, just… why is he in an exosuit? And are those… those are four left boots-”

“They’re all spares it’s ok!”

“Mike. What. Are. You. Doing.”

Mike scrunched up his nose before sighing, patting Thimble on his back. “I figured that this absolutely excellent pony that can never do anything wrong ever would enjoy a spacewalk.”

Glenn growled something subvocally into his commbead, pulling out his tablet and signing into it with his thumbprint. “Firstly, I know this has to qualify for animal abuse somewhere. Somehow.”

“No it’s not, Thimble likes it! Don’t you, Thimble?”

The horse just stared ahead, long since desensitized to the humans’ … eccentricities.

“See? Absolutely rarin’ to go!”

“First, Mike, no. Secondly, that’s a suit for humans and not horses-”

“The tolerances work-”

“Thirdly, no. Fourthly, Thimble is apparently a registered weapon in 4 territories. I’m looking at his record -”

“Those territories are anti-horse!”

“-14 broken kneecaps, 27 crushed feet, 4 children headbutted off of a spinning carousel-”

“Then a spacewalk will help him become a better person! Won’t it, thimbuuu~” Mike cooed, running his fingers through the apparently criminal horses’ mane. Rgrezneh frowned slightly as she stared at the smaller, weaker obviously prey animal, watching as it just stared… vacantly off into space.

“[Mike, why… are you attracted to this thing?]”

“Because when we got the animals off the elevator Thimble came right up to me and nuzzled me and we have a connection-”

“It’s called ‘you keep unwrapped granola bars in your pocket, dipshit.” Jessica so helpfully interjected, pointedly ignoring the spectacle as she carried a crate past the group. “If I carried jerky in my pockets the dogs would probably have loved me too.”

“Dogs love everyone because they’re notorious headpat sluts.” Mike replied, turning his nose up at the colonial. “This is a well-known fact, and proves that my bond with Thimble is pure.”

“I just. No. Mike, no-”

“You’re just jealous.”

“I absolutely am not.” Glenn stated with an extreme matter-of-fact tone, attempting to quash what he could feel would be another… incident. “And regardless, why are you bonding with this pony anyway? We’re just gonna be shipping it back down to earth in a few days-”

“NO. We have a bond and are gonna play games together and have a great time-”

“[Ah.]” Rgrezneh said noncommittally, as she finally connected the dots. She smiled softly as the two humans continued to argue, nodding to herself.

Of course the conclusion she drew was wrong, but that made no difference – and before she could interject her extremely incorrect opinion into the argument, Mike finally pushed Glenn over the edge.

“You’re just jealous because Thimble and I are gonna have a great time, win more games than you, and be the best-of-fair!”

“I could pair up with a fucking ant and kick your ass, Mike! I’m sick of your shit, and this is the last time I’m gonna-”

Then do it

“What?” Glenn said, inhaling sharply as the last few moments of traded insults came back to him

DO it. Just – Just DO IT.” Mike said, pointedly pressing his scrunched fingers into his free palm. “Don’t let your means be dreams!”

“………”

Glenn looked up at Mike’s girlfriend for some guidance. “Can you just… do something?”

“[Mike, do you want pups?]”

The two men physically recoiled at the abrupt question, Mike stuttering for a moment while hugging Thimble for emotional support. “Wh-what?! N-no! I mean, yes, eventually, but like, no! I want an adventure! And this is just gonna be the horse-human buddy-cop adventure that we need!”

Glenn stared at the slightly-smug Dorarizin as she confidently defended the absolutely wrong conclusion, and then at Mike, who was not only aggressively defending the pony, but was threatening to literally horse around, and came to a conclusion.

“Fine.”

“What?”

“[What?]”

“Get me an ant colony – sugar ants, black ants, whatever. Setup is finished tomorrow, so we should have something by then – hell, pests come up all the time with food supplies – and let’s do it. And when I beat you-Glenn said, rounding on Mike again, “You are going to finally act like an adult or you’re fired.

“Oooooh…” Mike said, softly. “The hero meets his arch nemesis on his journey-”

“Goddamnit, Mike.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Zephyr Station 8, a couple hours ago:

All in all, the first-ever “We made it 604,800 seconds without something going wrong!” Carnival and Fun Faire(tm) was going off without a hitch. There was skee-ball, dart-tossing, that water-gun target shooting thing, some bunny races and the like, all set up within Zephyr Ballroom 12-J. A few coworkers who practiced magic as a hobby stepped up to do wandering entertainment, the galley was pumping out absolutely terrible-for-you food, and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

So good a time, in fact, that they either didn’t notice or didn’t care that their station director was standing in the middle of the faire with a jar full of ants.

“Where the fuck is that little asshole.”

Glenn turned, this way and that, until he finally spotted a still-exo-suited person jogging towards him, carrying under his arm-

“Oh God Damnit, Mike!”

“No! We saw the stars and bonded! He was super energetic and we did a spacewalk and repairs on the solar panels and everything! And our bond is now strong enough to defeat you-”

“Firstly, fuck you. Secondly, Anime is a disease-”

“But you obviously watch enough anime to know that’s a trop-”

Thirdly, did you just… jam a human helmet on the poor thing? It’s totally fogged up-”

“Well duh, we didn’t cover defogging in Thimble’s training.” Mike said, rolling his eyes. “That’s silly. He still worked the MMU unit just fine for a rookie though!”

“I… I’m not. Just. Fuck you. Three games and that’s it.” Glenn said, shaking his jar of ants. “Then I hit you with this and we file for your transfer.”

Mike put down Thimble who wobbled just a bit on his 4-left-booted hooves and struck a pose. “You cannot defeat-”

“I am going to dock your pay-”

“Fuck fine.” Mike murmured, quickly looking around. “Uh. How about that ball game over there?” Mike said, pointing towards the ‘knock down these pins and win a prize’ booth. Without a second glance Glenn walked over to the booth, standing in line with his jar of ants that still raised no eyebrows. Mike and Thimble joined him a few moments later, the horse basically needing to be dragged over to wait in line.

“Step right up, step – oh hey Glenn! What’s… with that look?”

Wordlessly, Glenn placed his jar of ants on the counter. “Three balls, please.”

Mike stood next to Glenn, Thimble’s head bonking into the underside of the table.

“This is… this is a thing, isn’t it?” The carnival game operator said flatly, crossing his arms.

“Yes”

“Yes”

“Ah.. Alright. Just. Don’t fuck things up too badly, we’re only halfway through the day.”

Three balls were placed before the two groups of contestants – nay, warriors.

“So what rules are you two… gentlemen playing with?”

“Thimble and I are proving that the bond of friendship and true camaraderie can defeat any foe-”

“Fuck if I know.” Glenn interrupted, shrugging. “One ball for us, One ball for the critter, One ball as a duo?”

Mike nodded, clenching his fist to his chest. “Good. Your heart burns with the same fire-”

Wordlessly – and indeed, without even breaking eye contact with Mike, Glenn picked up a ball and winged it at the pyramid of bottles. There was a satisfying clunk, and a few of the top and core bottles scattered behind the wall.

“Your go.”

Mike, not to be outdone because his heart burns with a fiery passion, mimicked Glenn almost bottle-for-bottle.

“N-now the … animals?” The carnival booth operator said, curiously. “I don’t even know how that’d work, to be honest.”

“It doesn’t.” Glenn said, rolling his second ball to the ground.

“So you admit defeat!” Mike grinned, standing triumphant. “Truly, the heart of this noble steed will burn just as bri-”

Wordlessly – and indeed, without even breaking eye contact with Mike, Glenn unscrewed his bottle of ants, revealing a shaker top. Like some perverted seasoning he shook out a couple onto the tabletop, grabbed the ball, and slammed it onto a group of the hapless insects. He winged it at what was left of the pyramid of bottles, another satisfying clunk denoting a few more bottles struck.

“Your move.”

“Come on, Thimble! SHOW US YOUR MIGHTY HOOVES!” Mike crowed, drawing a little bit of unnecessary attention as he placed the ball on the ground… infront of the booth. “GO! KICK!”

Thimble did nothing but stare blankly ahead – well, we couldn’t even tell that, what with his visor still frosted over.

“Um, I’m going to count that as a ground ball.” The operator said, leaning over. “And I don’t think… it’s interested in doing anything other than being pet and fed – aren’t you, hon?” The carnie said, patting the horse’s head gently through the suit. “Um. So just to move the line forward a bit – how do you plan on doing a duo with this pony?”

“I… uh. Hm.”

“One for me.” Glenn said, picking up his jar. “Skeeball next.”

Mike swallowed, hard.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The only concern Glenn had was that his supply of ants was running low. The operator of the Skee-ball booth just stepped away when the two of them showed up – one carrying a jar of ants and the other dragging a pony in a full exosuit who apparently really didn’t want to be there, so the two of them were able to make up the rules on the spot.

Each ball was to be a team effort, if teamwork was meant to prove love and friendship could yadda yadda. Glenn just kept smashing ants and scoring points on a pure technicality, while Mike was doing his best to encourage Thimble to help, just a little.

Thimble, for his part, slumped forward, nosing a single ball slightly up before it came down and bonked him on the helmet.

“Look, Mike. Maybe… I was being too hard on you, saying you’d get fired, but I’m definitely sick of your shit.” Glenn said, rolling another ant-covered ball to raise his score up to 115. “All I’m saying is, you have to be better if you’re in a position of power-”

“I will never join the dark brotherhood! My power is noble and pure-”

“G- just. Ok. It’s 115 to 0. I’m out of balls. What say you? Done? This is 2-0.”

Mike looked at Glenn, that fire still in his eyes. “No! SUPER FINAL BONUS ROUND-”

“Fuck.” Glenn sighed. “Ok. We do this SUPER FINAL BONUS ROUND-” he said, mockingly, “-and then you go planetside for heavy training. At least 3 months. I don’t know how you got past all the screeners to get this position, but we’re gonna make sure you can actually do your damn job. What’s the bonus round-”

A race.”

Fuck.” Glenn said, as Mike grinned widely. “And it has to be a team race… and this?” Mike patted Thimble’s back as the animal slowly began to lean into his human captor. “This is my trusty steed.”

“Fine. Honestly, I don’t give a damn anymore, you’re still doing training-”

“Not if I win the SUPER FINAL-”

“No. Fuck that, fuck you. Where we racing to?”

“Uhh… uhh… Funnel cake stand!” Mike said, pointing to the food stall about 100 feet away. “On the count of three!”

“Fine. One?”

“Two.” Mike said, leading Thimble to turn around and mounting him, settling down to ride no-saddle.

“Three!”

Glenn darted forward, jar of ants held high above his head, as he sprinted for dear life. He had no idea how fast a miniature horse/garganutan pony could run, all he knew was horses > humans when it came to fast. With a passing apology here and a grunt from a collision there, he weaved in and out of the foot traffic – some parting to make way for him, others oblivious to the speeding madman until he was upon him. Panting and nearly out of breath from the sudden sprint he skidded to a stop, slamming the jar down on the countertop – terrorizing the patrons, smashing the glass and giving the ants a worthy death as they burned in sugar and pastry.

“FIRST!”

“Fuck’s SAKE.” Jonathan said, arms up in reaction as shattered glass and ants were scattered around his food stall. “What the ABSOLUTE FUCK, Glenn?!”

“I beat him!”

“Beat whom’st’d’ve? Jon said, waving his spatula about. “If you’re talking about everyone in line for a churrocake, then yeah, sure, but what the fuck-”

“What do you mean, whom’st’d’ve?! Mike!”

“Mike? He’s – What? Which Mike?”

“Th- the one on the horse!”

Jonathan just stared flatly at his clearly-insane director. “Dude. There’s no one else here.”

“What?”

Glenn spun on his heel and saw… nothing. A parted crowd, a few dirty looks, but no other racer. He wandered back to the skeeball booth – slowly at first, as if he was expecting an ambush, but soon with a light jog as he noticed something concerning.

Mike was cradling an entirely limp Thimble.

“WHYYYYYYY~! I BROKE MY BEST FRIENNNDD~”

A crowd had gathered – with a few familiar faces, thankfully, and a few people were doing their best to pull Mike away from the distressed animal.

“Jessica what’s going on?”

“I have no fucking clue, man. One minute I’m chugging down my 12th greaseburger and the next Mike’s over here cryin’ loud enough to wake the dead.”

“I KILLED HIII-”

“We KNOW Mike, fuck.” Jess murmured, rolling the horse onto it’s back. The movement jiggled it’s helmet slightly, and Jess stuck a finger into the gap.

There was a pause as everyone assembled put two and two together.

“Mike… did you take this animal out into hard vacuum with an improper seal?”

“Iiiiiii…. Wait what? I didn’t crush him because I’m now suddenly thicc?” Mike said, his tears drying up surprisingly quick. Jess frowned and twisted the helmet, three of the other four seals clicking to an unlock position. With a slow, careful movement she pulled the helmet up to finally expose Thimble to fresh air.

The horse – well, ex horse, was exposed to the world, a scream of terror frozen on it’s face.

“You fucking… idiot.” Jessica said, glaring at the fucking leaf. “You pulled this pony out from it’s stable to die screaming in the void!”

“I… I thought he was just awestruck by the majesty of the universe and realized his place in it, and that epiphany was what caused him to stop moving.”

Everyone in the crowd shared a look with each other – you know the type, the look that says ‘he’s honest, but goddamn is he an idiot.’ And in this case, yes. It was true. Mike was an idiot.

Glenn sighed as he felt his moral lecture gland tingle.

“Mike-”

“I just didn’t-”

“Mike.”

There was a moment of silence, and Glenn continued. “First, we’re going to take the horse to medical – maybe we can revive it, maybe not. Either way, it’ll be useful for our boys to practice a hard-vacuum recovery. Secondly, Mike, this is why I’m so hard on you. When will you learn? When will you learn – that your actions have consequences? We clean up your messes most of the time, and most of the time you’re a good enough guy that we don’t mind doing it, but it’s tiring.”

Glenn knelt, placing a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Look. You’re in management, people are going to look up to you. You’re in power, you have to start making the right calls. You and Sheila are thinking of kids-” Mike leaned back at that, but Glenn kept his grip firm. “-or at least, she is, and you yourself said you want to be a dad someday. What if this was your kid, dude? You need to start acting like the adult you are.”

There was some silence then, as Mike stared at the frozen stiff pony. There was some hard mental work going on; firing of synapses, connections being created and destroyed, and Mike’s entire face took on another look entirely. With stone cold eyes, he looked at his friend, and deadpanningly asked him a single question:








“If Thimble wasn’t alive this entire time, does that mean you were beating a dead horse?”

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