Episode 1

Episode 1:

Pilot


Ver. 1.0 03/29/17
Ver. 2.0 03/09/18

By: DarkMalcontent and AlisiaLenet


 

“Where is she? Where’s Sweetie Belle,” a panicked Rarity shouted amongst the chaos.

“Rarity stay put,” Applejack ordered loudly through the screams of the injured or dying while she reached out. She grasped hold of Rarity’s wrist to keep her put at the base of Vinyl Scratch’s car.

“But-but Sweetie,” the fashionista complained with her voice cracking. “I have to find her!” Rarity ripped her arm free and ran.

“Wait,” Aj shouted just before she raced after her friend.

Magic flew everywhere with the ground shaking in the unnatural madness. “Rarity?!”

“Sweetie?” Rarity searched then gasped when she saw her teen sister. “Over here darling!” she tried to run to her but was yanked back behind some wall that still stood. “Wha-?!”

“You can’t go out there. It’s too dangerous,” Aj warned with new marks on her body and a passed out Apple Bloom at her side, who also sported injuries.

“Let me go!” Rarity cried as she heard Sweetie call her name again. She tried to get free only to see the ground open up and swallow the teenager. “Sweetie!!” Rarity shrieked in horror as Aj held her back.

The ground gave a horrible shake while screaming Rarity’s name in a dying sounding voice of Sweetie Belle. The ground forced itself up and threw the Apple sisters away from Rarity. She tried to grab her friend but missed. The ground rose higher, formed a faceless mouth and lunged down upon Rarity.

“Murderer! You let me die!”

Rarity shot up like a bolt from her pillow with eyes wide as sweat slid off her. She was breathless with one hand grasping at nothing but air. Her blue eyes eventually began to return to a relaxed state as her scared mind gathered her surroundings. Gradually her hand began to lower itself with a small tremble to her silk sheets, which still covered her lower half.

She blinked slowly and turned her gaze down to her damp sheets. The sound of distant car horns sang in her ears but it didn’t help with what she had dreamt once again. It only reminded her it was reality. Lights flickered on her pale colored walls from the outside through her decorative windows. She raised a hand and brought it to her face. Her fingers slipped into her messy purple locks as she closed her eyes.

After a few silent moments, her hand began to slide off her face while the other made its way over to her nightstand. Her free hand gently, if not a bit clumsy, scooted aside a wristwatch, a digital clock, a bottle of pills and other small various knicknacks before her fingers curled around a short clear glass. The young woman brought it around and took a long drink, which finished off the scotch in a very unlady like manner. She brought her head up with an exhale and slipped the empty glass into her other hand. Rarity’s newly freed appendage returned to the nightstand for a moment and came back with the expensive wristwatch.

Her half opened eyes stared emptily at the time which read two o’clock, well before she would actually need to be awake for her job. It was late also when I-I… she tried to hold back a sniffled whine as tears tried to creep to her eyes. She dropped the watch, reached out and took hold of a lighter before her body turned and her legs slipped out from under the sheets. There was slight hesitation but she set the empty scotch glass between her hip and pillow.

The now freed pale white hand extended and brought a cigarette case out from under her pillow. She popped it and pulled out one of her coping devices. “Four years of therapy and I still have issues,” she grumbled dryly while she now tapped the cigarette on the case as it clicked closed. “Just wonderful…” she trailed off as she brought the white wrap to her lips. She lit the end, took a drag before she removed and held it between her pointer and middle fingers. She exhaled while she leaned her head back and blew the smoke upwards.

“I’d be better off just burning the money.” She took another drag and blew the white smoke in a ring towards the elaborately etch plated ceiling. Her eyes lazily watched the smoke float up and vanish into nothing. There’s nothing wrong with me having classy things, right? I mean…the only reason I’m so successful is because I never dropped my love of dressmaking, she thought while idly taking another smoke. It was thanks to her that I never gave up. Every Saturday Swee- Rarity’s thoughts halted as the tears grew and slipped down the sides of her face.

Her hand had froze in the air as smoke wafted from its gradually growing end and a small tremble began to appear. Quickly she ended it by closing her eyes tightly, sitting upright and bringing her smoking hand to rest on her leg, being mindful of the slowly increasing ash line. Taking a deep breath she exhaled roughly with a whispered curse. Standing briskly, Rarity scooped up the glass and made her way to a cabinet.

She opened the doors and a tray slid out. She set down the glass and pulled out a bottle of high end scotch. While starting to pour, she took a puff before stopping with her glass half filled. She stared a moment before she added to it to top it off. She set the bottle down, picked up her glass and returned to her bed while she enjoyed the plush carpet under her bare feet.

Rarity slipped back into bed and pushed the wristwatch closer to the foot of the bed. She placed her drink carefully into her cigarette hand and reached over, grabbed the TV remote and turned on the flatscreen. “Authorities are still unsure,” began the audio of a man before the image slowly began to fade in. “What to make of the recent increase in armed robberies in the Industrial Sector. Officials have released no details on what goods were or were not stolen, citing an ongoing investigation.”

The middle aged man cleared his throat as he adjusted his papers and turned to face a different camera. “Three suspects are in custody this evening after turning themselves in to E.C.P.D. officers that were on break at a local dinner. Police state the suspects were practically beating down the door while begging to be arrested.” Rarity idly took a drink while she boredly stared at the screen. “All confessed to a nearby armed assault and to a number of other petty crimes. All three appeared to had suffered massive blunt force trauma as well as both first and second degree burns.”

Rarity listened while she took another drink. The voice of the anchor began to trail into a dull drone as her sense of the world started to cloud over. “When questioned,” Rarity looked down to her chilly nightgown. “On their sudden change of heart,” she placed her cigarette on the edge of a diamond shaped ashtray and momentarily hesitated. She tore her sight away from the smoke, swung her legs around, stood and steadily walked around to her wardrobe. “One suspect claimed it was a female vigilante, who most gangs of the area have been calling ‘The Flame’ or ‘Lady Blaze’.”

Rarity opened the doors carefully with her drink to look over the similar looking bedwear. The news anchor chuckled with a shake of his head. “I guess she’s been putting in some overtime recently.” He cleared his throat and continued while Rarity took another sip as she decided which color she wanted to change into. “Authorities indicate this is the ninth time a group has begged to be arrested this week.”

She pulled out a light green nightgown and placed it over the footboard. The fashionista slipped off her damp clothing without releasing or spilling a drop of her aid against nightmares. “There have been no reports of serious property damage in relation to these suspects being convinced to turn themselves in,” he continued while she slipped the fresh gown off the hanger and slid it on over her head with ease.

“This reporter is impressed with her work ethic. Maybe they should call her ‘Phoenix’ instead.” The tired woman made her way back to the bed after she threw the discarded gown into the hamper. She sat and buzzedly observed the footage captured by an old side store security camera.

“There’s someone who’s making a difference,” Rarity quietly commented before taking a sip. “She doesn’t have to worry about whatever Coco wants signed…” she reached over, retrieved her smoke, took a drag and set it back on the ashtray. “Or what Spoons wants to talk about,” a heavy sigh kissed the cool air while her eyes began to droop and her body started to slouch. “She’s got it right…” Rarity took another drink from her alcohol which brought the world to further fade.

“In other more somber news,” the reporter began which caught Rarity’s attention. “This Friday marks ten years since the catastrophe of Canterlot High. It seems it was only yesterday when we had welcomed the survivors of those suburbs into our dear Equestrian City,” he reported with both sadness and happiness in his tone. “Investigators ruled the cause of the massive explosion on a ruptured gas main, which its safety had failed under the high school.” Rarity watched and listened as attentively as she could. He sadly shook his head as he read the next part. “As we all remember it had tragically happened during an evening of celebration. A fun event enjoyed by students and parents alike in the form of a musical competition.”

Rarity’s eyes widened in fear. Flashing across the screen were stilled photos, rescuers camera footage and footage from reporters after they got on the scene. All the devastation with the surrounding buildings in ruin and on fire, a sinkhole opened here and there, and the emergency responders with cadaver dogs hunting for bodies. It was everything that continued to plague her. As audio from the videos rang in her ears, her heartbeat began to pound harder and faster against her chest.

“After hundreds were left dead or injured,” he began explaining from behind the media from that day. “The explosion will be marked by a moment of silence. This will be to honor the students and parents we lost to show they are never forgotten,” Rarity’s breathing gradually changed from being long and deep to short and quick. “You can see coverage of the memorial site being set up for people to gather later today.”

The anchor cleared his throat and looked into a new camera. “Let’s switch to something more positive. In the world of business today,” this was enough of a muffled sound to bring Rarity to reach and fumble for the remote while downing the rest of her scotch. “Tiara Technologies lost a bid to acquire a majority shareholding in-” Rarity coughed from the burning in her throat while she silenced him. With her head down and breathing coming in pants, her moisting eyes stared towards her lap as the remote dropped from her jittery hand onto the bed.

Swiftly she left the bed with a stumble as she made her way to her cabinet. She roughly set her glass down and poured herself some more scotch. She set the bottle down uneasily and downed half the glass right there. Releasing a hard breath, her head fell forwards with one palm resting on the furniture. Small whimpers entered the air of the room before soon being joined by the distant and occasional car horn.

Minutes ticked by as Rarity stood still as stone. Finally she pushed off the cabinet and made her way back to the bed with a few stumbles. She sniffed as she got into bed and grabbed the medicine bottle. The glass was set onto her palm carefully while shaking out one pill. It was labeled as a medication for depression but, unknown to her, it was a simple sugar pill. Rarity set the opened bottle down, popped the white tablet into her mouth and quickly washed it down with the rest of her scotch.

She released a breath, closed the bottle up and set down her empty glass. She took one last long drag on the cigarette before stamping it out. While twisting around she began to scoot and soon got her half buzzed self situated. As she slid down under the covers, she ignored the soft clunk from the remote as her head rested on the pillow. Her eyes drifted shut with hope the nightmares would stay away and allow her some simbolince of rest.

***

Meanwhile during this so late into the night, the tapping of steady footfalls echoed in an alleyway elsewhere in Equestrian City. The woman in a black outfit with flames on it narrowed her eyes as she came to a dead end. Her gloved hands balled into fists before they became ignited in flames. Fire shot down and propelled her over the stone wall. She landed quietly and continued on with further use of her fire to conquer obstacles.

Later she came between two brick buildings, one being windowless as the other held a few windows. Scanning the windowed structure through her tinted goggles brought a small smile. No lights were on the lower floors and those still aglow on the upper floors were facing the street. The young woman took a deep breath and exhaled while her body relaxed a bit. The woman in black took another breath before she dashed at and up the windowless wall. Then, once her footing felt secure, she pushed off into a jump across the alley. She landed on and pushed off of the windowed structure to return to the windowless face. Her confidence reflected in her steady rhythm as she advanced higher.

Her red hair with yellow streaks swayed in her fluid movements. When she reached the top she used her flames on the wall with her kick off. The female flipped through the air and landed with the use of her fire to cushion her mass. It also quieted her stumbled impact on the flat roof. Sunset released a breath of relief, glad she hadn’t fell on her face. She proceeded towards a window left unlocked and slipped her way inside.

Carefully Sunset stepped off her window bench and winced as her hand came to grab her left side. “Damn,” she hissed while her hand curiously prodded her side only to wince again. “Five years of training and punks still get a lucky shot now and then.” Sunset removed both flame resistant gloves and tossed them on the sofa while she stepped over to the coffee table. She picked up the remote, turned the TV on and dropped it back to the table. Without further injury she made her way over to a walled switch and flipped it on. This gave her abode a gracious bath of soft yellow light.

“-ologies lost a bid to acquire,” the imageless male anchor explained as she slipped her dark jacket off with a hiss. “A majority shareholding in Diamond Labs this week,” the man’s image faded into existence while Sunset grunted in the removal of two layers of form fitting spandex. “Both Tiara Technologies and Rare Invitations have been in a heated bidding war as of late,” Sunset tugged on the elastic of her sports bra and gritted her teeth when the strap did not want to dislocate from her skin.

I have got to invest some money into better lightweight armor, she thought while she twisted her head and pulled her left shoulder forwards to see the colors of red, yellow and blue. Just perfect. She mentally grumbled and began to unlatch her boots.

“Tiara Technologies looks to have been losing in the bidding war for a grant from the city. This grant is to give one company the authority, and funding, to help the E.C.P.D. advance their technology,” Sunset barely listened to the anchor as she slipped her feet free of the footwear. She stood on the end of one sock, pulling it off and did the same for the other foot. “The technology is meant to upgrade their meta-human crime task force, Ju.S.T.I.C.E.,” Sunset made her way into her small bathroom lined with cool green tile. “For anyone who has forgotten, as this anchor has done, Ju.S.T.I.C.E. was created three years ago by Commissioner Luna to battle against the rise in super powered crimes. And on that note, we’ll be right back.”

While advertisements began to air, Sunset lifted herself up on her toes and grimaced. There was a bruising gash trailing from between her shoulder blades down towards her left side, just below her ribs. “This…is gunna hurt,” she groaned before opening the medicine cabinet.

“Welcome back. Continuing with our story, earlier today Commander Spitfire which is head of the unit division,” he began as she removed a few items and closed the door. “Was quoted as saying ‘I don’t really care who wins because if we don’t start getting our people on par with the enhanced criminals, we all lose’. Isn’t that the truth,” he shook his head and switched to a new paper while turning to a different camera. During these reports her moans and groans of pain were thankfully muffled by the thick wooden door.

“Diamond Tiara, the CEO of Tiara Technologies,” he began before lowering his tone, “not like anyone can forget.” He cleared his throat a little and continued with a normal volume. “Was unavailable today for comment but Rare Innovations spokesperson, Coco Pommel, released a statement condemning the underhanded tactic to simply buy out their competition,” the bathroom door opened and Sunset stepped out as she made her way to a kitchen drawer. Her upper body was wrapped by a white elastic material. It encircled under her breasts, around the right of her neck and under then around her left shoulder. It was looped a couple times and was secured by its velcro under the center of her bust.

She retrieved a box and took out a pack of two gel pain killers. “Ms. Pommel cited ‘money can’t make all your problems go away’ and they ‘won’t be intimidated’,” Sunset opened a cabinet door, retrieved a glass and went to the sink. She filled it and turned to pay attention now while she popped open the foil backing. She dropped one pill into her mouth and swallowed it with a few gulps of water.

“Sure sounds like it,” Sunset remarked before she placed the second pill into her mouth and drank it down.

“Unfortunately Rare Innovations CEO, Rarity Belle, was not reachable for comment. We were informed she would be away on a business related outing at the time of this broadcast.”

Sunset made her way to a dresser, opened a drawer and slipped on a fresh bra carefully. “Now there’s someone who’s got it good,” she commented quietly with her face twisting in discomfort. “Never having to worry about where her next rent is coming from,” she made her way over to the sofa and started to slide her spandex pants off. “Never needing to worry about where her next meal is coming from…” she grunted and sat to finish the removal of the black fabric with a flame design on it. “She’s got the perfect life,” disappointment lined her words as she stood and made her way over to an open closet. “No thanks to me,” she finished softly as she arrived at the closet.

She pulls a can out of a box and steps back before starting to spray her hair. The can depicted lush brunette hair along with instructions. One was about using heat to set it and another about it being easy to wash out. Sunset kept her eyes closed while she sprayed what was left of the can. “And we’re back. In other job news, it has been reported that Mr. Taps is planning to open a second dance studio later this year,” the anchor announced as the can hissed only air. “With this he said he plans to hire up to six instructors for different types of dance,” she stopped and looked at the can as she shook it to hear an empty rattle. “He informed our reporter he would add more should the second building do well and need more instructors to keep up with the number of students.”

Sunset tossed the can at the trashcan and smiled as she saw it go in. “Score!” she giggled and lifted her hands up alongside her head. Inhaling deeply, she lit calm flames around her bare hands. Delicately she held the flames just close enough to allow the heat to set the dye. Gradually she moved her hands down then back up before she brought them around to get the front and back. “One student of Mr. Taps stated ‘Tinder Taps is the best teacher I’ve had! He’s such a great instructor, especially in tap dancing’.” The anchor sighed with a smile, “Ah, to be young and able to actually have that kind of tallant.”

Once finished, she shook her hands off while extinguishing the flames. “In the world of music, Countess Coloratura and Feather Bangs will be coming to our city during their Double Diva tour. Tickets will go on sale next month so be ready for a real light show!”

Sunset whistled a tune from one of the Countess’s songs as she slipped on her waitress dress. The pinks and whites were nice and gleeful. “Heh, at least something can be cheerful in this place,” she looked to the closet and spied she had two cans left. “Gotta remember to pick up some more.” Sunset reminded herself while the anchor continued to speak before the outro music played and advertisements began airing again.

She plucked her name tag off the shelf beside the hair dye and attached it to her outfit. She adjusted it so the name ‘Becky’ was straight. After closing the door and making her way to a mirror, she began to fix her hair before opening a drawer to retrieve fresh socks. Sunset moved over to the sofa, she sat and gritted her teeth as she got them pulled on. Once done, the redhead leaned back with soft breaths and her eyes closed. This little rest didn’t last long as she forced herself up, made her way to the table where she grabbed her purse and went towards the door.

She paused briefly at the table, plucked the remote up and pressed a couple buttons before she laid it back down. Sunset continued after she pulled her comfortable shoes out and slipped them on. After looking her place over once more and was satisfied nothing was left to do, she opened the door, flipped off the lights and slipped out simultaneously. The jingle of keys echoed quietly in the apartment through the door before a click confirmed it was locked. She put away the keys and swiftly proceeded on her way, going downstairs to head out for work.

***

“Oh no! I can’t believe I’m late,” Twilight cried with her hooves hurriedly slamming against the castle ground.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going,” one guard then another snapped after being bumped by her suddenly floating books.

“Sorry about that,” she shouted back before she looked ahead with confusion. “When did I gain books,” she softly asked herself while her horn shimmered its purple magical aura which also surrounded the four books. She shook her head. “No time for that. I can’t believe I didn’t hear Spike wake me for the Princess’s summon,” she scolded herself as she entered the palace doors.

Twilight’s hooffalls began to slow as the bright colorfulness of the castle halls began to grow dim into shadows. “What in Equestria is going on,” Twilight questioned as she continued cautiously further into the castle.

As she neared closer to the throne room doors, she gasped and dropped the books with the sudden cutoff of her magic. “What in Celestia’s name,” she exclaimed in shock while her hooves stumbled back with her eyes wide in fright. Stuck in dark crystals, appearing to be unconscious, were two royal guards on their respected pillars. “Those look like-like Sombra’s crystals…but-but we defeated him…” her breathing began to increase as her mind had started racing and her ears folded back in fear.

“Gah-ah,” a painful scream echoed through the throne room doors.

Twilight jumped, shook her head and charged. “Princess Celestia!” the doors flew open as the young Alicorn raced in. Lifting her head she was greeted by looming shadows and a great sense of unease. “P-Princess?” she gulped as her ears lowered against her head. “Anypony?”

There appeared to be no one around and the room seemed to had gotten bigger than she last recalled. She looked left, right and straight only this time, “huh?” ahead of her she saw the throne with five ponies that had formed a circle at its base. “Are those…” she squinted to see through the dim lighting. “They are!” she rushed to them. Her mind was so focused on her friends, she didn’t take notice of her body phasing through Rainbow Dash.

“Oh am I ever so happy to see you girls! Something really weird is going on and I need your help to find out what it is,” none of the ponies there answered nor turned their gaze to meet hers. “Girls,” she nervously questioned after a few moments of awkward silence.

“You did this to us Twilight.” Pinkie spoke up flatly behind the Alicorn. Twilight spun around to now see the pink Earth pony in a simple black cloak with the hood drawn.

“What? Did what,” Twilight confusedly inquired while taking a step up to the mare. “Why are you dressed so glumly? What happened here,” she lifted a hoof to push the hood back. She jumped back a little from startlement when seeing Pinkie’s mane was straight. “What happened to you?”

“You happened to us Twilight,” Rarity spoke up in an equally as dead tone while removing her hood. Twilight turned to lock eyes with her saddened looking friend.

“You caused all of this here devastation,” AJ chimed in with the removal of her hood. This drew Twilight’s attention before she could question Rarity.

“Can any pony tell me what happened here so we can solve it like we always do,” the purple pony asked while looking to Fluttershy and then Rainbow Dash.

“Do you think we believe an egghead like you doesn’t know what you did,” Rainbow Dash sharply questioned before throwing her hood back with a snap of her head.

Twilight shook her head, “I really don’t know,” she turned to face the silent yellow Pegasus. “Fluttershy, please, you need to tell me what happened while I was gone.” Fluttershy lowered her hand and turned away from the Princess of Friendship. “Fluttershy?”

“You shattered her heart, don’t you remember,” Rarity spoke up which drew Twilight’s attention.

Now her friends coats appeared to had gained a gray saturation. “What’s going on,” she softly asked herself before stepping back. Her hoof softly hit something and she turned to see. What she saw she wished she hadn’t. Laying with her crown on the floor was a motionless Celestia. “This can’t be happening,” the mare exclaimed in fright as she blinked and now saw injuries covering the white Alicorn’s body.

“Oh isn’t it,” Fluttershy asked almost snidely in a low tone. She removed her hood to show her gray tinted coat.

Twilight took her sight off Celestia to stare in shock at Fluttershy. “Why are you sounding so cruel?”

“Maybe,” an older voice spoke now with a rustling noise. “It is because you caused this by being such a failure of a student of mine.”

Twilight whipped around to view a gray toned Celestia glaring down upon her. “But Princess! I didn’t fail-I mean-I-I just-”

“You just slacked off and kept me away from my Spikey-wiky,” Rarity snapped while cutting Twilight off.

“But I didn’t mean to…” Twilight weakly countered as she looked to Rarity with tears in the corners of her eyes.

“Where have you been anyways?! Prancing around away from home, away from us,” Rainbow Dash rudely commented before she took to the air, beginning to circle Twilight.

“You never called, you never wrote. What gives,” AJ questioned without giving Twilight time to answer Rainbow Dash while also starting to join in circling. “We aren’t worth your time after ten years?!”

Pinkie rolled her eyes. “Of course not! Why would an Alicorn give a cupcake about her friends after a full decade?!” she joined in by following behind AJ.

“Yes she is such a diligent friend and student that she didn’t even bother to find a way home,” Fluttershy added as she flew over to follow behind Pinkie.

“But I am diligent!”

“Some proof of it. You probably haven’t even cared for dear Spike…probably was so foolhardy as to lose him,” Rarity snapped before she followed after Fluttershy.

“It wasn’t my fault! There’s no magic over there so I couldn’t easily fix the portal…” Twilight cried while she took a step back only to hear a crunch. “What,” she looked down confused to see the shimmer of glass now under her hooves.

Celestia joined into the widening circle. “I thought you were a prized and brilliant student. You always had the highest marks but it seems I was mistaken,” the Princess judgingly remarked while looking down her nose at Twilight. “I should have expected it from someone who failed simple tasks I placed her on. So brilliant yet so embarrassing for a student of mine to be unable to fix a simple mirror.”

Twilight turned around to keep track of her friends and teacher while she winced under her Princess’s snide tone. “But Princess, I have tried! You have to believe me,” she pleaded desperately. “And it was more than just a mirror, it was a dimensional portal,” the purple Alicorn snapped as she felt tears creeping slowly up in the corners of her eyes. “Did you forget?”

“And why should we trust somepony that abandoned us,” Rainbow asked roughly as she gave Twilight no time to get her answer.

They stopped circling and Celestia marched up to Twilight. “We think it is time We erase such a failure of a student from the annals of Equestria,” the white Alicorns horn began to charge with yellow magic, “to ensure the name ‘Twilight Sparkle’ is never spoken again,” Celestia exclaimed as the magic shot from her horn.

“No,” Twilight screamed as her body lowered to floor and her wings unfolded to shield her face. Everything went silent and she slowly removed her wings to look around. “Why…am I in a cemetery,” she scanned the area while taking slow careful steps. “Hello,” she nervously called out her inquiry.

“Why?”

“Huh,” Twilight jumped and quickly looked left and right.

The sound of shifting dirt drew her attention. “Why did you kill me,” Spike shrieked in a warped voice simultaneous with his body having pushed out of the ground. Twilight yelled in fright as her elongated body fell back onto her haunches. “You killed me! Why didn’t you love me enough to save me,” the decomposing of Spike’s dog body questioned roughly while he attempted to pull himself out of the grave plot.

“I didn’t want you to die! I swear!” tears slipped from Twilight’s eyes, “Please forgive me,” she pleaded while she scooted backwards.

“How could you fail ME Twilight? I was always there for YOU!”

Twilight gasped and screeched as the ground opened under her. She fell some feet to hit something hard. “Oww…” she moaned with her eyes closed as a thud sounded above her. Her eyes snapped open and quickly she struck at the wood above her. “Help! Let me out!” she banged against the lid and stared in frightened shock to see bloody hands. “Anyone help me,” she screamed at the top of her lungs.

“No-no…no-help please…anyone! Hel-wha!” Twilight twisted and turned in her blankets before she fell onto the floor from her low cot. “Owwww…” she dryly groaned from the new pain in her back. Her eyes cracked open to gaze cross eyed at the dimly lit ceiling. After a moment she sat up and rubbed the back of her head. “Well that’s not going in my dream journal,” Twilight crooked and stood with a small wobble.

Once steady, she leaned back with her hands pressed on the small of her back. In the cool quiet room filled with the different hums of machines, a painful crack sounded briefly. She sighed while she brought her body upright. “I should probably stretch more,” Twilight quietly commented with her exhale. She extended an arm and twisted her body to the side with the other arm bent around the outstretched appendage. She repeated this for her otherside before starting to get scattered notes picked up from the floor.

Twilight straightened and took a couple steps before she plopped into the computer chair. She released a breath and wheeled over to her main console. She set the papers to the side and tapped a key twice which caused the main screen to light up. She adjusted her angled keyboard, typed in the password, struck enter and watched as it with two other floating screens displayed item information.

The glow from the screens illuminated the busy research lab. Books about technology, computers, programing and other such topics were either on shelves or stacked nearby. More papers were also semi scattered around in spots from all her note taking. Twilight released a wide yawn then stretched her arms above her head. Finally a ‘bloop’ sound alerted her to option boxes which had popped up on the left and right screens. Glowing on a side wall was a sign in elegant font which read ‘Diamond Labs: Research & Development’.

Twilight adjusted the left screens position on its arm as she squinted to read the information. The title was listed as ‘Propulsion’ while under it was spelled out, ‘Stage two complete at sixty-seven percent. Next?’. Twilight clicked the word ‘Details’ and proceeded to look over the graph along with other information. “Hmm…ah that’s good. Seems it finally got the mixtures worked out,” Twilight quietly commented before she closed the box and used the rollball on the mouse to move the arrow. The first option read ‘Reconfigure’, the second option read ‘Compile’ and the third option read ‘Cancel’.

The mouse arrow moved and rested over the button ‘Compile’. …Just one more check… she thought and pushed aside some papers to pull up a couple sheets. She brought the details back and compared the notes. Once satisfied, she clicked and spun the rollball quickly which caused the arrow to leap over to the right positional armed screen.

The Alicorn turned human rubbed her eyes while she suppressed a yawn and read over the new title, ‘Polymer Armor’. There under it was a percentage of eighty-one percent completion for stage three and was ready for input for stage four. Twilight leaned in while squinting her eyes as she clicked for details. “Finally got the structure materials balanced out,” she leaned back with a stretch and a sigh as she brought her arms down. “Alright,” she took the mouse and rolled the arrow over the word ‘Re-adjust’, then over ‘Cancel’ and clicked ‘Continue’.

Another box appeared, ‘Begin Crafting Prototype?’ with the options ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ underneath it. Twilight opened the details by the choice box, moved the ball and examined the wire frame of the armor. She tapped a couple keys and reviewed the information on what had changed and remained the same to have balance. The woman pondered it over for a few moments before she clicked ‘Yes’.

Machines roared to life under her, an indication of the started process of chemical injections and mold formation to construct the armor. Twilight leaned back in her chair, pinched then rubbed the bridge of her nose simultaneously as her eyes closed. It didn’t take long before the sounds below her feet began to numb her ears. Swinging forwards, a pair of headphones were swept up and placed on her head. The large accessory was just what she needed as the cushioned padding helped to muffle the noise. “Now, time to finish this while that works.”

Her attention focused on her center screen as she rolled the ball to bring over the arrow. Placing it over a program, she double clicked and opened it. She eyed over the programing file before a window popped up and she logged in. Once the enter key was hit, a voice pattern program opened ready for editing. She brought up dials and clicked a sideways arrow. “Hi Twilight.”

“Hmm…” she scrunched her face as she adjusted a few dials for speed and pitch before she clicked the play icon again.

“Hi-Twi-light.” The voice repeated but a bit jumpy.

Twilight sighed and adjusted again. “Almost…got it…”

“Hi Twilight!”

“Ack!” she jumped in her seat and nearly threw her headphones off. The voice had played at a too high of a pitch. She shook her head and took a breath. “Closer but nope,” Twilight sighed and carefully began to move a few dials up and down.

“Hi…Twilight…”

She frowned as it played back similar to a slow speaking bullfrog and set the voice on repeat. Carefully for hours she worked on adjusting the different dials, using the rollball at times with her keyboard. “Maybe…” she muttered quietly under her breath. “Almost…” the purple toned woman whispered as she leaned closer to the screen. “So close…” Twilight ventured on late into the night before letting out a satisfied sigh. “Finally,” she smiled and tiredly typed a name for the voice. ‘Strategic, Predictional, Interactive, Kernel’ was typed in for its full name. In the nickname slot she typed ‘S.P.I.Ke.’ and clicked save.

Twilight relaxed back in her chair with the headphones still on. A pleased smile rested contently on her face as she stared at the glowing screen. “That was harder than…” she widely yawned, “I first read…that it would be…” she groggily finished while the barely awake woman managed to remove her headphones. Twilight began to doze off in her chair but her eyes cracked opened when a very quiet sound hit the floor. Her head lazily turned and her hand reached down to gently pick up an empty wrapper.

Looking with blurred vision at its name, she stared in silence with slow blinking. When did I eat a peanut butter praline bar? Twilight groaned questioningly and threw the scrap away under her desk into the trash. She relaxed back and dozed off into slumber as the systems sang her a soft lullaby.

***

Meanwhile, during this night in a burrow on the south side of Equestrian City, two men used a string of parked cars to help obscure their intentions. They made their way down the sidewalk, turned a corner and one crouched by the backdoor of a laundromat and cleaners. The crouched barrel chested man pulled a crowbar from his duffle bag. “Heh, bless this city,” he leveled the crowbar with the door’s lock and pushed. “For its fear.” He grunted before he pulled and repeated this back and forth action.

“Yea but um,” the standing skinny man began with his hands nervously fidgeting. “Are you sure about this? I mean, others have said they can’t get things done here.”

“Are you worried about Ju.S.T.I.C.E.,” the first man scoffed with a roll of his eyes. “Those losers aren’t gonna touch us. Besides, we’ll be long gone from this job by the time they even show up.”

The second gulped. “I don’t mean the Judicial Specialized Tactical Intervention City Enforcers.” He nervously looked around as his hands came up around his chest. “I mean those working with them, like…her.

The first stopped his work on the wood to look at his buddy. “Please, you must be kidding if you are scared of that group Commissioner Luna created. It might have caused us criminals to back down but we’re slowly making our comebacks!” he grinned then went back to work on the door.

In the distance a window shattered which caused the skinny man to jump. “Just hurry up, will ya Louie,” he shakily asked while he looked left and right. “I’m nervous right now because you know what they say. They say that-”

“Ain’t no way that hoe is gunna bother with a laundromat job. Besides,” Louie said as he grunted and grinned when he heard the wood finally give a decent crack. “News has been all aflutter about those industrial robberies,” he pulled which caused more wood to splinter away from the lock. “Way more important than some quarters, Swirl.”

Swirl looked up at the rooftops while he hugged himself. “She’s everywhere they say. They say she can’t be shot.” He gulped while he rubbed his arms in a jittery fashion. “They say she-”

“Drinks blood and eats her prey, yea, yea. I bet they even say she’s silent as a snake, right,” he interrupted with irritation in his voice. “That’s just hogwash,” he grumbled as he worked to pry the door frame out a bit more. “All a bunch of crap.” He turned the crowbar around and began to work on the lock now. “Just gotta pop this sucker off…” Louie confidently commented.

Swirl gulped as he looked up towards the rooftops one more time, then his gaze turned to take in the ground level. “She isn’t a joke,” he whispered before he released a noise as he jumped. Somewhere a metal object fell over, a cat cried out as a dog barked violently and gave chase. “This place gives me the creeps.”

“Ah, there we go.” Swirl looked over just as he heard the faint noise of both the door being popped open and the metal lock hitting pavement. Louie stood and grinned to his friend. “Let’s go buddy.” He lead the way as Swirl followed behind. Both pulled their ski masks down after they entered the two-in-one business.

“Where do you think it’s at?”

“You search over there,” Louie pointed towards the clothing pickup side of the room with the crowbar. “I’ll search this side here.” Swirl gave a nod before they separated.

Swirl took in the smell of heat and fabric softener which emanated off a clothing press. He pushed aside one white clothing bag marked with a printed name tag. He quietly grunted as he moved a second bag and a third. “How many clothes does a single person gotta drop off,” he quietly asked himself while he continued his search. “It has to be here.” Swirl made his way over to another section and looked around the stacks of pickup bags.

On the other side of the warm room, Louie was moving around paperwork as he was searching for a key to their prize. As he slid the papers around under the decent ceiling lighting, he paused on one small sheet. He picked it up, pulled his mask up and examined it carefully then a smirk crossed his face moments later. “Bingo on part one,” he whispered before he turned his head left then right. “Now…” he took a step back and to one side, “to find the golden ticket.”

He idly swayed the crowbar low while his free hand rubbed his beard stubble on his peachy human toned face. His smirk began to fall as his scanning gaze wasn’t spying their target. He took a few steps to the other side but hesitated after he heard a noise. He swung the crowbar once more to hear the metal to metal again. “I think,” Louie began as he crouched. “We have,” he grinned a crooked grin. “Bingo.”

Louie stood and looked over to Coffee Swirl who had also removed his mask to reveal his mild roast, coffee brown skin which was clear of any facial hair. “Swirly, get over here,” he hissed sharply.

Swirl jumped from being startled and turned before he made his way over to Louie. “You find it?”

“No, I called ya over to have tea. Of course I found it.”

Swirl came around and peered under the desk to see the metal storage construction. “Heh-heh but,” he turned his head up, “how we gunna break that open?”

Louie rolled his eyes as he crouched again with the paper now in hand. “Easy bird brain.” He swung the bar over and struck Swirl in the stomach, just below his chest which brought about a winded cough. He flapped the paper in front of Swirl’s face. “I got the combination.” Louie turned his attention to the safe. “We just open her up and she’s all ours for the night,” he chuckled as he went to work.

He got the first number selected before his work stopped as darkness overtook their vision and the once running machines powered down. Louie frowned as Swirl looked around nervously. “Now what’s going on,” Louie roughly asked as he looked up to see only the Emergency Exit signs were lit. “I think there’s a rat getting their fill on insulation,” he muttered in an annoyed tone.

“That’s no way to treat a lady, boys,” a confident female voice stated as it seemed to come from different points at once.

“I…” Swirl gulped as he held tightly onto the crowbar while he looked around in fear. “I think it’s her Louie,” he shakily whispered as his voice slightly cracked.

Louie began to reach to his back and under his shirt. “Shut up, draw your gun, stop panicking and no names,” he hissed simultaneously drawing his snub nose revolver and cocking the hammer. He pulled down his mask while Swirl uneasily drew down his mask and took out his gun. Louie took a breath and released his frustration as he scanned the darkened room. “Don’t worry about anything so long,” he listened and started to take aim. “As there are,” a rustle caught his ears and he fired a single shot. “No witnesses.” He explained in a composed voice.

He frowned as he heard the sound of the bullet striking sharply before clinking to the ground, crushed in on itself from the thick cinder block wall. “Ha! You aim like a blind man,” she taunted which drew a growl from Louie. “Tell ya what,” they both looked around as the leader tried to pinpoint her origin. “Give up now and you and your boyfriend will still be able to eat solid food, promise.”

Swirl’s cheeks flushed as for a split moment he stumbled on his words. “Louie and I aint-!”

“Shut up Swirly,” Louie snapped roughly before he took quick aim and fired. This time the sound of pierced metal rang out as a dryer had been struck.

“Hey! You said no names!”

“Would you shut up!? You used my name too many times so can it,” Louie hissed hotly while he glared at his partner.

“Well you barely use mine and it’s as if we don’t talk anymore,” Swirl rebutted with a huff and his own glare being returned at Louie. “I try telling ya someth-”

“Shut up,” Louie sharply interrupted with a heated snarl. “Listen,” he ordered and looked around while he listened. The female began to giggle before making a dash to another part of the room. As Louie heard this he opened fire in that direction. The two bullets made a low muffled sound which brought him to grin. “Got’er!” he reached around into his bag and withdrew a sticklight. He turned it on and shot its beam where he’d fired. His smile began to fall as he saw the smoldering appolostry.

Snickering and then laughter came from behind the duo. “Congratulations! You’ve killed a sofa.” She pulled out an item and the sound of metal against metal rang out before a couple items clattered to the ground. Both thugs held their hands while they hissed in pain. She stepped back and hit the ground with her metal staff.

An engine kicking back to life shot the ceiling lights on at last. Both men recoiled and winced as they shielded their eyes. The woman stood unaffected by the sudden brightness and simply stood at the ready. Swirl rubbed his eyes and was the first to get his vision cleared enough while he squinted to view the female. His eyes widened in shock as he stumbled in his attempts to scoot back. “It’s-it’s the,” he shook his head to try to clear it. “She’s,” he gulped to wet his tightening throat. “It’s her!” he finally managed to squeak out.

Louie’s frown drew deeper into a snarl as his vision cleared. “Shadow Strike.”

The woman stood confidently hearing her name with a perfect grin. Her rainbow hair, which was held back by an elastic tie, contrasted with her blue toned skin and with her one piece suit. Black and deep purple composed her attire along with a couple lightning bolts on the athletic material. “Now are ya,” she adjusted her opaque yellow colored goggles. “Going to come peacefully or…” she spun her staff before giving the floor a firm whack as a warning. “Are we doing this the fun way?”

Shadow slid her staff along the ground and saw through her sonar the broad man pull an item from near one of his pockets. “Guess I shouldn’t even have to ask,” she commented as Swirl managed to get to his feet while he drew his knife uneasily. She stood still and observed with her gift as Louie moved one way and Swirl the other. This almost feels bad having such an advantage… she thought as Louie was the first to lunge at her with his blade. Heh, almost.

Shadow swiftly sidestepped the strike and simultaneously smacked the knife out of Louie’s hand. He recoiled while cursing and holding close his throbbing appendage. “You okay Louie,” Swirl asked only to receive a glare. “This is why I tried to tell you but nooo, don’t listen to Coffee.”

“Would you just get’er,” Louie barked with a swing of his injured hand. He hissed and held it close while he took a step then another away from Shadow. He didn’t get back far before Shadow swung her staff into his side then jabbed it into his gut. Swirl was already charging with his knife as Louie fell to the ground, appearing winded.

As this happened, Swirl charged with both anger and fear reflected in his eyes. Shadow turned and twisted out of the way while simultaneously she brought her staff down hard into Swirl’s back. He gave a yelp then a grunt as he struck the ground face first. His blade clattered and scrapped as it slid across the floor. “Sadly, falling for me isn’t going to get your boyfriend to pay attention,” Shadow snarked before she turned her attention to the leader that had gone on the move.

She moved forwards and smacked the knife dropped by Louie with her staff so it was sent into the air. She turned and swung, managing to strike the knife by its hilt. The blade flew through a glass window, setting off a second silent alarm while she ran after Louie. “Leaving so soon? I haven’t seen you two kiss and make up,” Shadow taunted as she bent her arm and slammed it into the back of Louie’s neck before he could get his gun. He hit the floor with a thud, laying motionless. Shadow pushed on his head with her foot to see he was out with her sonar.

She caught the rustling of fabric and took notice of the second man starting to get to his feet. They just don’t know when to quit, Shadow thought and began to follow Swirl who took up his knife. Quickly he threw it behind him at her and made a break for the door. “Where ya going?” she followed but backed off the moment she felt a sting to her face. Her hand whipped up and snagged it.

Shadow frowned and turned as she knocked her staff into a washer. After getting a layout, she suddenly smiled as she swiftly made her way to a table. The vigilante snatched a weighted item and began to calmly follow after Swirl. The tall man stumbled once over his feet in his dash for the exit. She tossed the object up and down to cause a small clink sound before she threw the roll of quarters.

Swirl neared the open door, his eyes wide with hope then dread as the sound of police sirens approached. A sharp pain struck the back of his head as he reached the doorway. The last thing he saw was two cop cars pulling up before collapsing outside the business.

Armed officers, at least four, quickly exited their squad cars with guns drawn. “Freeze! E.C.P.D.,” one officer shouted forcefully while their weapons were aimed on the knocked out man. Shadow Strike stepped over Swirl which caused the cops to turn their guns onto her.

“Ya got another inside who’s out cold too. Make sure to put’em together, ‘kay?”

“What,” a second cop questioned as his face twisted in confusion. “Repeat that,” he ordered but after he blinked once, he found himself searching the area. “Where’d she go?”

“Ugh, stupid vigilanties,” a third officer commented with a moan. “Com’on, let’s book’em.” The second cop nodded and the four approached the duo that was coming around.

From above on top of a building, Shadow Strike watched through her sonar to see the pair be cuffed and taken into the squad cars. She spun her staff while it retracted and put it away onto her belt. She turned and walked away from the ledge while she took note of the windows being opened by the curious residents. Another one bites the dust, she quietly chuckled as she paused at the other end of the roof. Or so they say.

She stretched and sighed while she brought her arms down. Guess it’s time to call it a night, she thought and readied herself to leap off the building. Shadow paused in the strong gust of wind. A noise had caught her heightened hearing. She stayed still before she recognized it as wood cracking. “Or just one more won’t hurt,” she quietly commented with an excited smile as she sent out her sonar. She made her way two blocks over to a payday loan establishment.

***

Elsewhere during the unfoldings in the south side of the city, a loud pursuit was being played out in the Central Sector of Equestrian City. An armored truck roared down the street as it groaned in complaint to a hard, non-stopped right turn. Close on its heels were a pair of screeching police cars with their sirens blaring. Their tires squealed in prost to their own hard, non-stopped right turn. Passing through several stoplights, the trio would take another hard right with the armored truck failing to lose its pursuers.

Further down the street a sharp left turn was made as the armored truck began heading for the Industrial Sector. Inside the truck, the driver watched for the exit they needed before he pushed a button on the radio attached to his headset. “Cops are gaining,” he tried to calmly point out before a shot flew and cracked his side mirror. “What are we gonna do to lose’em,” his tone has cracked in his rushed and panicked question.

In the back of the truck a woman with pale blue azure skin rubbed her temples. “Trixie does not know. Why don’t you tell me,” she replied with a low exhale and closed eyes.

“We’re gonna run out of road here fast at this pace!”

She stifled a growl at his not answering. “Incompetence…” she hissed under her breath to where it was barely audible. Trixie yelped as the truck suddenly jerked and knocked her over from her crouched position.

“I don’t think we’r-”

“SILENCE,” she snapped into her mic which resulted in his body to give a startled jump. “Trixie needs time to do the next part. You just make sure you keep driving to the drop off point.” She cut the communication with a static sound in both their devices. She reached around inside her bag and pulled out an oval shaped device. “When someone wants it done right, you use someone else’s tech.” Trixie pushed some of her white bangs out of her eyes as she made her way to the back door of the truck.

Reaching up, the criminal magician pressed a button, opened a window and tossed the device out at one of the cruisers. The glass on the front cruiser cracked and a flash of bright light shot from the explosion of the device. The skinny male officer with a peachy orange tone gave a startled yell. He tried to keep control of his vehicle but began to swerve violently and crashed into some crates to his right. “Officer Snails,” the man in the second car cried as he passed.

The second man got on the radio as he continued their pursuit of the truck. “E.C. 27 is down! E.C. 29 still in pursuit!” the truck turned onto a right exit as did the remaining squad car. It’s tires screamed in protest from the rough turn. “Requesting backup,” he shouted once he had exited the turn. To his surprise he hadn’t flipped.

“Backup en route Officer Snips. ETA twenty minutes. Maintain visual,” a man’s voice replied sternly.

Snips made a sharp turn to avoid hitting a shipping crate left off its pile. “I don’t think I have that long, dispatch,” he grunted with his teeth gritted as he worked to keep up with the target.

“Why Officer Snips?”

“Because this one’s got tricks up her sleeves,” Snips nearly shouted as he dodged some barrels the truck knocked over. The back door of the truck now opened some as the same hand reached out around it and threw three colored balls. The three balls all exploded and released a thick smokescreen. Snips tried to see but by the time his sight was regained, he turned the wheel sharp and flipped. His squad car came to a grinding halt near Horseshoe Bay with glass scattered around his vehicle. “Ugh…” he groaned barely conscious with injuries from the glass as his harness held him securely in his seat.

“EC 29, report status,” the command came over the radio but no answer was given. “EC 29, report your status,” he firmly ordered. Snips barely opened one eye to look at the radio but his hand, when he did manage to lift it, missed the radio by several inches. His head hung as his eye closed and he lost consciousness, unaware of a slow pooling drip.

Inside the truck Trixie moved towards the back and crouched before she pulled out a handheld radio from her belt. She turned it on and pressed the side button. “How far?” she released the button and waited and soon her finger began to tap the side of the device.

Static came then was cut short. “We’re in position for the transfer. Be sure you are alone,” a woman replied in a soft and sultry voice.

Trixie scoffed and glared at the handheld device. “Trixie knows how to keep them distracted. You just be ready.” She turned off her handheld and adjusted her leather coat. The thick material was form fitting with some blue added on to match her skin. She opened and checked her stash of homemade bombs. Will need to restock. She zipped it back up and pulled out a pair of thick leather gloves. She pulled them on, adjusted them and sat back.

She looked to one of her hands before closing it into a tight fist. “Trixie will have more than simple tricks but,” she looked up at the ceiling of the truck. “For now anyways,” she slowly smirked. “Trixie will just need to make due with her homemade items.”

***

Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie returned to her van with the words colorfully spelling out ‘Pinkie’s Positively Perfect Parties and Promotions’ across the back doors. She placed her items inside and shut them securely. “Whew,” she whipped her brow, “another job done, another customer satisfied,” she remarked aloud to herself chipperly. She started making her way around the vehicle. “Good thing too cuz I’m bushed.”

As she arrived at the front door, a small squeal caused her to halt. She poked her poofy bubblegum head inside the cab and listened curiously. “All available units, route to Horseshoe Bay docks. Pursuit in progress. Officers not responding. I repeat-”

Pinkie turned the dial down on the police band scanner just as a lazy smile slowly pulled onto her face. “Oh well,” she shrugged as she pulled her head out casually as she made her way to a side door. “All in a day’s work for a superhero!” she slid open the door, slipped inside and quickly slid it shut.

Moments later she emerged wearing a light gray, form fitting, friction resistant, elastic one piece suit. She stretched to shake off her tiredness, lowering her body moving left and right while alternating which leg was outstretched. Her boots reached the top of her calves, had a thick base with flat yet textured bottoms for traction and were snug around the legs to ensure they didn’t fly off.

She jumped and shook her head which moved with ease despite the elastic material coming over her chin and up over her head to frame her face. Surprisingly her puffy pink mass of hair was not contained by the elastic. Pinkie took hold of her yellow framed goggles with a very light yellow lense with her gray gloved hands and adjusted them. “Docks here I come!” she took off, leaving behind a brief image of yellow which came from the eight lightning bolts she had placed on her suit. With this was a long trail of pink with a white zigzag splitting it down the middle.

“There’s no need to fear! SplitSecond is here!” the street was quiet and empty until SplitSecond returned. She giggled and pulled out a key fob. “Oopsie, nearly forgot to lock up,” the van gave a chirp as a button was pressed, “and I should probably say that catchphrase at the docks,” she said with a smile and flashed a grin to no one in particular. “See you guys there!” SplitSecond took off once more like a bolt after speaking to empty air.

Down the street closer to the docks, SplitSecond caught the sounds of amazed gasps by those who caught sight of a pink and gray blur. For onlookers, she was a blur that would be missed if someone blinked. For SplitSecond, the world was passing by normally and at times slowly. Another oddity when she ran was the fact her bouncy hair did not seem to be affected by the winds friction nor appeared to slow her in the slightest.

“Yeah, cuz otherwise that would be a drag,” she snickered again to herself.

It didn’t take long before SplitSecond made it to the docks and spied a patrol car. She in a second was at the door with it opened. Inside she found a barely conscious Officer Snails. “Oh man, you’re lucky your belt didn’t break,” she commented while undoing his belt and pulling him from the car.

“Huh,” Snails croaked confused as he found himself sitting on a bench a little ways from his car. He slowly blinked to try and clear the pink and gray blur from his eyes.

SplitSecond returned and patted Snails on the head. “Just stay put and rest up. Leave the fast chases to the speedsters and you stay with the slower ones.” She was gone in a flash and back on the hunt for their target.

The pink and gray blur leaped over fallen crates and containers before sliding to a screeching halt. Smoke and a small flicker of a flame caught her attention from an overturned cruiser. “Oh what would they do without me,” she asked herself with a smile and a sigh. Instantly she was by the bent in door, took hold and began to push and pull repeatedly, “aw it’s so nice your melting for me but I already have a reliable partner,” she remarked with a giggle to the squad car as she watched the metal hinges start to melt from the insanely fast speed.

A couple seconds of this and she threw the door off to the side. SplitSecond did the same thing with the harness and belt as the cabin was filling with smoke. She took hold of Snips, pulled him out and heard a crackle. “Oh boy,” she turned and ran. The car exploded and tossed her and Snips a bit over a foot away from the car. SplitSecond twisted so she took the impact from the ground instead of Snips. Almost immediately after this, she was up with him and further putting distance between them and the burning mass of metal.

“That was too close,” she sighed, “huh,” she questioned and looked up as the sound of nearing sirens reached her ears. The pink haired heroine walked and set Snips down gently on the side so he wouldn’t get ran over but still be noticed by his brothers in public service.

Snips moaned as his eyes barely managed to open. “My head hurts…” he expressed in a slurred almost drunk voice.

“You’ll be all set soon,” she assured as she stood, “ I need to split but your comrades will be here in a second. Got some bad guys to catch, bye!” in faster than a blink, SplitSecond was gone.

A ways down the docks, “ah ha,” she exclaimed as she spied the taillights of the truck. She smiled and narrowed her eyes as the vehicle turned left. “Oh no you don’t!” she grabbed a light pole and giggled as she twisted around and kicked up her speed after the vehicle. “Just a few more steps…”

***

During this, inside the truck Trixie waited and checked another part of her pouch. She placed a gloved finger on a hand sized gemstone that was about the size of a small apple. “Wonder what’s so special about this rock,” she softly questioned herself. It shimmered softly as its red hue began to reflect in Trixie’s eyes. “Maybe…Trixie could…keep this…” Trixie ignored the static in her ears and only jumped when a hard bang came behind her from the cabin. “What is it,” she snapped as she pressed a button to turn on her headset. “Trixie is busy,” she hissed with an annoyed tone.

“Almost at the fork boss.”

Trixie made her way to the doors and opened the slot to spy a nearing pink mass. “And she’s almost here too,” she stated as she abruptly closed the slit and zipped the fabric shut over the gemstone. The magicless criminal tightened her jacket, double checked her pouch and put on a worn and tattered wizard’s hat to complete her ensemble. She pulled the handheld from her waist, turned it on and pressed a switch on the side. “Trixie is ready.”

“Just remember what I said,” the seducing voice reminded.

Trixie turned off the handheld before putting it away. She flipped a switch on her headset while making her way towards the doors. “Trixie no longer requires your assistance,” she bluntly stated as her head turned to look at a bag. “Get out,” she ordered while reaching inside the fabric construction.

Inside the cab the driver locked the steering wheel into place and set the accelerator with cruise control. Quickly the man jumped out of the speeding vehicle, ducked and rolled to a stop near the edge of the side of the docks. He gave one look at the truck before getting to his feet and fleeing. That crazy chick can defend herself, he thought as he went to dive into the water.

This action was halted and before he could blink, he found himself tied up and seated on the docks. “You just stay here and wait for the nice police men to come, okay?” he stared in shock then anger at a chipper SplitSecond. He said nothing but growled as she ruffled his hair before she took off. His hair stood up and out in a static mess to somewhat resemble a messy bow.

Back with the truck, Trixie had taken out a good sized chunk of gray clay and slammed it to the ceiling. A small device began to flash red like a steady heartbeat on the clay. She pulled out three balls from her pouch and pulled the collar of her shirt up to cover the lower half of her face. “This better be worth it,” she whispered under her breath as she kicked the doors opened. Trixie threw the first, second and third balls before leaping out herself.

The young woman ducked herself into a ball and rolled through the thick chemical smoke. She quickly traversed across the docks to one side where she crashed into some empty pallets and a couple old mattresses. “Oww…” she croaked with a moan before a grunt left her throat as one of the dirty mattresses landed on her.

Effectively hidden, SplitSecond zoomed right past Trixie. The smokescreen helped as it caused the heroine to cough and stumble before her foot hit a broken board. Her quick speed abruptly stopped as she flipped and landed in a pile of metal lobster fishing cages. “Ooooh, oooowww…” SplitSecond moaned before shaking her head while vibrating her lips, “brrrrrr!”

The pink toned heroine got to her feet and saw her cuts and scrapes went on the mend. “He-he gotta love that super speed,” she happily commented to herself before she got a determined look and took off after the truck. It didn’t take long before she got to the metal creation and tore open the drivers door. “There’s no need to-hey!” she blinked, “no one’s home…” SplitSecond frowned then turned her head back. “Uh oh,” she ran to the back and began to push it faster.

The beeping had quickened inside the back of the truck. Shoving the vehicle faster, it got some distance as it ran off the pier and splashed into the water. The resulting explosion wave threw SplitSecond back to land head first into a pile of more wooden crates. She quickly got herself free with a huff, “what is with all these crates?! Doesn’t anyone store anything anymore?!” before she could get an answer, water rained down on her.

She shook her head before glaring towards the bay. “Hey now water, I wasn’t gonna shower until I got home. I don’t even have any soap,” she huffed as she began to wring out her hair which allowed it to return almost instantaneously to its dry poofy state. “Now to find that lawbreaker,” she took off.

Back at the pallets and mattresses, Trixie had managed to free herself and made her way swiftly to a back building. Reaching under a mat, she found a key and let herself in before haphazardly discarding the key into a trashcan several steps away. She made her way deeper into the quiet warehouse looking building as solo yet lovely hypnotic humming filled the air.

Soon a desk with a tall chair came into view under a single hanging light. “Trixie is late,” the woman commented softly and somewhat annoyed, before resuming the alluring tune.

“Trixie got held up,” the magicless criminal defended as she came to stand in front of the desk.

“Swore that’s what you were hired to do, not the other way around.” The woman held a hand out to the side. “Do you have the item,” she asked gently with almost a motherly edge to her relaxed tone.

“Trixie has her end,” she stated as she pulled out the gemstone to allow it to glow softly in the light. “Do you have what Trixie wants?”

Silence filled the air as neither moved. Moments later the woman turned the chair and stood. She made her way calmly to a side table. “Of course,” she erriely stated slowly. “You said the bracelets of Swirlena are what you desired,” she came to the table and moved her hand over an empty spot. As she removed her hand, there was now an elegant and mystic looking box. “I’m sure you’ll see it in the box,” the light purple toned woman explained as she turned her gaze upon Trixie.

Trixie approached and opened the box quickly. Her eyes widened at the sight of the golden bracelets glimmering. “You did deliver to Trixie…” she gasped breathlessly and tossed the gemstone over to the woman.

The humming female caught the gem with a small smile. “Our business is concluded,” she stated as she turned away from Trixie. “Enjoy your just deserts,” she began to step away, “Trixie,” her voice trailed off as did the humming.

“You have Trix-” she looked over to see she was alone, “where did she go?” she shrugged with a short sigh, “no matter,” she turned her attention back to the box, “she did give Trixie magic!” as Trixie looked over her reward, she picked up one bracelet only to have her grin fall into shock. “What?! How?!” there in her hand was not a golden bracelet but one made of starfish legs wrapped in twine. “Trixie’s been had! No one crosses Trixie!” she shrieked in outrage.

“Ah hah! There you are,” a perky female voice exclaimed.

Trixie turned sharply with a gasp, “SplitSecond!”

“That’s me,” SplitSecond giggled, “I knew there had to be more than just one person in the truck. So,” she took a few steps closer to the azure toned woman, “are we doing this easy or hard, Trixie?”

“Trixie is anything but easy,” the failed magician snarled and threw down the remainder of her smoke bombs for an exit.

SplitSecond didn’t waste a blink before she was running around Trixie and funnuling the smoke up. “Just give up Trix,” she ceased running with her eyes closed. “Anyone who’s anyone knows you do-” her eyes opened and her expression fell, “what?!” there was no one in the center of the now dispersed smoke screen. Quickly she searched the room but calmed once she heard a very familiar sound. She looked over to an opened window as Trixie fell out and crashed into trash cans. Oh it’s both good and sad she’s never tried to make that work. Oh well, easier for me, SplitSecond thought as she shrugged and ran out the door.

Trixie stumbled in standing but managed to get her footing. She dusted herself off with a huff, “stupid metal cans…messing up Trixies grand exit…” she complained while kicking a can out of her way and moved to run. The young woman slid to a stop as she heard a noise, pulled one last silver ball from her pouch and sharply turned around. She got one step before, “ow,” she cried as her forehead collided into a gray clad elbow. “Oof,” was the last to leave her lips as her body collapsed into an unconscious heap and glitter exploded from the dropped ball.

Behind her was SplitSecond, who lowered her hand that had struck Trixie while she licked clean the other hand which once held a slice of strawberry cake. “Mmmm~ gotta love that Tasty Swirl’s bakery! Now then,” she turned her focus on the petty criminal. The pink heroine thought then snapped her fingers with an idea. She took off and returned with a garden hose. Sitting up Trixie, she ran around before tying the tube into a beautiful bow.

SplitSecond tossed The Great and Powerful Trixie back inside through the window before she followed after. Just as Trixie hit the floor and rolled a bit and SplitSecond was inside, the door to the warehouse was kicked in. Police officers entered quickly with their guns drawn and aimed the targeting lazers on the ‘s’ on SplitSecond’s chest.

“Freeze! E.C.P.D.,” a gray toned male officer with orange hair shouted with his gun also ready to shoot.

SplitSecond set her eyes on the man who spoke. “Do you mind,” she asked with a slight lower tone to her voice.

The gray officer blinked and lowered his weapon. “SpliSecond?”

She nodded, “yup and now,” her tone lowered further with her hair deflating some, “please stop aiming at my chest.” He gulped at this warning and waved a hand.This brought the other cops to lower their guns. “By the way,” her perky tone returned along with her poofy hair, “got’cha one diamond thief ready to go!”

“Uh…thanks,” he approached carefully, “by the way wou-”

“I also left you two men safe and sound out of harm’s way. I think Trixie got them with smoke,” SplitSecond interrupted.

The cop nodded, “thank you and we did recover them. They are on their way to receive any needed medical care.” He held a hand up gently, “don’t suppose you’d mind coming in to make a statement, would you?”

The pink haired heroine smiled and adjusted her goggles. “Pff, nah, you’ve got enough what with the other evidence and all.” She stepped up and patted his head, “thanks though Officer Nightwatch,” she winked and zoomed away with a gust of wind which resulted in himself and other cops to stumble.

Nightwatch sighed, “didn’t think so,” he rubbed his neck with disappointment before adjusting his hat. He looked to Trixie then his fellow comrades. “Well,” he pointed to Trixie, “let’s get the great and powerful to the station and in a cell.”

“Wonder how a small time crook like her was able to pull that off,” one man asked as he took hold of the hose.

“Does it matter,” the second man inquired back as he grabbed the other side. “I mean,” they lifted her up, “afterall…”

“Those like her are the least of our worries,” Nightwatch finished.

“At least our troubles are over,” a female officer remarked before she picked up the radios mic and pressed the button to call in the status report of their current job.

***

Outside Equestrian City, a pair of heavy doors to a secluded mansion opened. The click of footsteps began to echo off the elaborately decorated walls, before becoming drowned out momentarially by the doors closing behind them. The feminine figure made her way through the foyer with her single ponytail swaying as fluidly as her hips. She ran light purple fingers through her long purple hair that was highlighted with a pair of teal blue streaks. “Way too easy,” she whispered to herself in her sultry voice.

Her purple eyes scanned the room, then the doors as she pushed them open. The light filling the main room from the fireplace reflected off the six black leather arm bands, three on either arm evenly spaced from her wrist to near her elbow. The sound of multiple computers humming away came to her ears. The blue glow from the multiple screens gave added artificial light to the sturdy walls and several pieces of decor.

Her dark, tall high heeled boots clicked as she passed by a table with a map of Equestrian City and custom made chess pieces on it. Her dark purple crop top moved with its snug fit as she took her time. “Welcome back, my dear,” a male voice from the tallbacked obsidian chair said from his place by the chessboard like map.

She smoothed her short black skirt out and produced a bag, now gripped in one hand. “Thank you,” she sweetly said with a brief smile, “darling” she finished flatly with the smile gone. She approached the chair and ran her hand across his chest while she circled around behind him, “been home long,” she questioned with a purr to her tone.

The man’s face remained difficult to read as the firelight reflected off his glasses. “How did it go with the magician,” he asked calmly while he picked up a small blue figurine wearing a magicians hat.

Aria momentarily frowned, “she got what she deserved,” she shrugged, “but,” she held the bag out as she came to stand at his side, “she did deliver,” she stated with a smirk and one hip cocked.

He reached out and took the bag with one of his leather gloved hands. The young man opened the bag, “You did as well,” he said in a pleased voice while peering inside, “or so it seems,” he finished while glancing at her and back to the bag. “Magnificent,” he whispered as he pulled the gemstone free of its fabric confines. The man turned and twisted the gem so its clarity was evident, “simply magnificent…” his quiet voice trailed off as he turned an eye towards Aria.

A small smirk pulled onto his lips as he twisted the stone. This caused several beams of faded scarlet light to dance across the floor, himself and a couple across one of Aria’s forearms. The siren frowned and covered the appendage with one hand to block the light from touching her scars. She frowned and shot the man a glare as he let out a throaty chuckle.

He leaned his head back, rested the scarlet stone on his lap and began to eye her chest where a glittering red gem was held by fleshy tendrils just under her skin. She took a breath and sighed when he looked away as she pushed her ponytail back with one hand. “Was that all you needed her for,” she asked as her hair came back to rest as gentle as flowing water.

“Not quite,” he looked to the map, leaned forward while he reached out, picked up the magician hat wearing piece and placed it at the prison. A smirk rested on his face as he leaned back, “she should be motivated enough for the next stage of her use. Now,” he turned his gaze from the map to the siren, “what of our speedy friend’s status?”

Aria rested the back of a hand on her cocked hip. “As you anticipated, she took Trixie down with ease and…” she lightly laughed, “thanks to my song, Trixie has no idea who she was meeting nor does anyone else for that matter.”

He placed the gem back inside the bag and held his hand out. “And the other item I sent our faithful and reliable poodle to fetch?”

She took a breath and exhaled while removing a circular device from around her neck. “Dunno what you want with it,” she dryly commented as she handed it over.

“Perfect, just as it was,” he softly said while flipping it over in his hand.

The siren stepped closer and gently rested herself against his chair. “So…what’s that for and do you have a gift for a certain siren?”

The man lightly chuckled, “you’ll see soon enough,” he leaned forward and picked up a piece, “this, I can assure your little mind, is no simple bauble.” He leaned back calmly, “and…” he reached into his front side pocket, “here is a little gift,” he expressed with what sounded like an attempt at kindness as he gently tossed her a silken clasped chainpurse.

Aria caught the accessory in one hand and looked it over. “You better not’ve skipped out,” she warned as she opened it to look inside. She paused before closing the clasp and turning her curious yet disappointed gaze on him. “What’s this for,” she asked flatly, “I think I would had prefered the piece Trixie gave me for all my trouble.”

“Trust me when I say that…despite as talented of a mouth you have…your little gifts purpose will be revealed should I see the need,” he charmed while moving to the map and set the piece down on the western bank. “The item you so swiftly found once belonged to a brilliant researcher from another dimension. Sadly their curiosity got the better of them and they,” he gave a sad sigh which brought an eye roll and arms folding from Aria, “caused their own destruction.”

“Care to elaborate beyond that?”

“Of course,” he cooed with a cocky grin as he placed the red gem with the figure on the western bank of the map. “I need the proper help to attune this key device for our dimension, then we can move onto phase two,” he opened the circular device to view a soft glow before latching it closed again.

Aria frowned, “so no answer and nothing better for the last of her kind,” she sighed and unfolded her arms. “Also,” she stood off the arm, “I suppose that makes sense,” she remarked and ruffled up his short dark hair.

“If it didn’t make sense then it wouldn’t be fun nor useful,” he instructed as he smoothed back down his hair.

She turned her gaze to the board, “it’s all coming together…isn’t it?”

The young man nodded and noticed her start to take a step away. He reached a hand out, “soon enough,” his arm snaked around her bare waist and pulled her close to his chair again. “This world will be what I want but,” he turned his sights on the map, “we need to get in contact with dear Emperor Sombra.”

“What of Equestrian City’s fate?”

“Heh,” he closed his eyes, “let’s just say,” his eyes opened and began to glow a bright purple. “Equestrian City’s problems are just beginning,” he finished as a knowing smile curled his lips.

***

Episode End

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