"So it is" she says for the second time. Then she blinks
"It's the same you reason you chose to fight two battles without fixing those holes in your chest. They thought they were up to the task. They took a risk. But they failed. You must understand that these are university professors who spend most of their time in air-conditioned rooms. When they work in the fields, it is in carefully protected deserts in Sonambula, or inhabited villages in the mountains or the little dilapidated towns that populate the swamp of hayseed. They only need one pony with a gun, if any at all, and they are never far away from police. Hell, half the time the police provide a free escort. These ponies did not understand the world beyond their university very well. They did not understand, as I do, just how far ponies are willing to go for a few bits - even though their daily lectures include some warning or another about the greed of the noble or capitalist classes, they didn't quite understand just how universal the desire for a few bits is.
They were not stupid. They understood that there was bandit activity in this region. But the Equestrian Army combed this region just six months ago, and they believed any bandits had been dealt with by the Equestrian military. They did not realize that the bandits would survive the death of Equestria, occupying abandoned Equestrian Army camps like maggots in a corpse. They did consider a large escort of armed ponies, but they considered that to be a risk all of its own. They figured that if any armed ponies were active here, it was partisans fighting against the Fascists, or natives in their perennial revolt against the central government. They figured that having many armed ponies might be 'provocative.' It helped that this belief coincided with a desire to save money. Instead, they hired only one armed pony - our guide. And they certainly weren't going to pick up any weapons.
They hoped that a small group of university researchers would not be an appealing target to any hostile actors - too big for a simple robbery, and far too poor to justify a large scale attack. They may have been right, except that Loans got drunk in a bar in Saltmane, and bragged about a treasure. Peer Review noticed the security breech, but believed that nopony who could be a danger was listening. He was wrong.
Like you, they conceive of life as a game of dice. If you win, you get two years pay. If you lose, you die. Unlike you, they did not roll so well">>104860
This portion of the carriage is too poorly lit to see well in. But from the darkness, a pair of blue eyes looks at Onyx, then blinks>>104861
The pony slowly turns her head up to Spark, then slowly nods