Ver. 1.0 03/29/17
Ver. 2.0 03/09/18
By: DarkMalcontent and AlisiaLenet
Lynn Chardonnay flipped through her phone’s messages while she pushed stray blonde hairs out of her view as she walked down the white marble floors of the Equestrian City Hall. Onyx colored heels clicked and echoed as she slipped her phone into the small handbag hanging off her right shoulder. Lynn turned left and walked up a quick set of steps to her office. As she pushed past the wooden doors she waved to her assistant, a plum colored girl in her twenties, who then waved back and held out a few handwritten messages from her desk.
“Several requests came in while you were at lunch, Ma’am,” her assistant said while standing up to greet her from her modest desk. “Several requests for comments on Bill COH-7 and one asking if you were interested in a house in Eastern EC.”
“That same realtor,” she asked with a heavy sigh. “Tell him I’m not interested.” Lynn took the messages and thumbed through them casually by the desk. After a moment, she walked into her office as she pushed passed another set of oak doors. “He is kinda cute though,” she commented with a sly smirk pulling onto her lips, “but…” she made her way to her desk and paused, “you can’t mix business with pleasure.”
“Yes Ma’am,” her assistant said as she followed with a notepad.
Lynn pulled the shoulder bag off, sat it on top of her desk and released the handle. This allowed the few metal links composing the strap to clatter as they dropped into two small piles. She set the messages down, pulled out her chair, smoothed the back of her skirt and sat on the leather cushion which caused it to squeak as it exhaled. Lynn pulled up her keyboard, logged in and several seconds later a flurry of emails started to come in. “Seems more than a few people needed to catch me before I left,” she sighed and skimmed through the emails, “you had the easy part it seems, Tiffany.”
“Shall I send the standard responses to the conventional messages, Ma’am,” Tiffany asked as she picked up the set Lynn had laid down.
“Please do,” she nodded as her eyes scanned various subject lines of the multiple correspondence emails. “Most of these are standard responses, though…wait…” she drifted off as she became lost in one of the emails. “This one…sounds sorta important,” Lynn quietly stated with her brow wrinkling, “though why is…this forwarded to me,” she asked as she leaned back in her chair.
“What is it Ma’am,” Tiffany questioned as she started over to see the screen.
“This should be in the Mayor’s box,” the Vice Mayor stated and Tiffany stopped as Lynn turned her flat screen monitor to her.
“I’ll send it over to her secretary immediately, Ma’am.” Tiffany began to take down a note, “I’m not sure why so many of them are making their way to you,” she commented somewhat slowly as she wrote. “It’s only supposed to do that if the Mayor doesn’t respond at all,” she looked up from her notepad, “as a fail safe.”
Lynn leaned forward, turned the monitor back towards her and relaxed back in her chair. “It’s been happening a lot, that’s for sure.”
“She’s been very busy with the upcoming vote. The Supergroup Bill has been gaining a lot of support,” Tiffany said.
“…And with it a lot of opposition,” she idly commented, “sadly,” she pushed her chair back, “it’s the rules of the game.” Lynn stood, turned and looked out the window at Equestrian City’s northern skyscape and highways busy at work. “The more support something gets, the more opposition it’ll generate,” her blue eyes locked on a nearby window washer across the street with her stern words. A brief moment of silence filled the room as Tiffany made notes and waited for her next task. Eventually Lynn shook her mind from its trailing thoughts and turned her head back towards Tiffany, “what are the projections on the district’s voting for COH-7?”
Tiffany looked down and flipped over a couple pages. “All indications say the public is very much in support of a more structured system for the heroes, Ma’am. And as such,” she flipped through to another page, “each district is all but falling in line to vote for it.” She looked up from her notepad, “though there is a few hold outs. Representative Dale and Craig are holding strong against it, despite their communities being for the bill.”
“Always has to be something,” Lynn said as she sat down at her desk again. “See if I can get a meeting with Dale and Strong.”
The assistant looked unsure and took a breath, “it’s um Craig…Ma’am,” she politely corrected.
“It’s Representative Craig. Strong is the realtor you didn’t want to talk to,” Tiffany explained and set her pad on a side table before she walked over to a cabinet on the far wall.
“Right and what’s coming up,” she questioned as she seemed and sounded distracted. The Vice Mayor was pushing items around on her desk in search of something. She stopped and looked up as Tiffany cleared her throat, turned and held up a pack of chewing gum. The assistant smiled and returned to her boss’s desk as Lynn released a semi calmed breath.
“A.E.G.I.S. representatives. They’re here to discuss more details on proposition M.C.U.,” she said as she handed her boss the gum and took a step back.
“Alliance of Emergency Government Intervention Services…that’s quite a mouthful,” Lynn answered, took a piece of gum and tossed the wrapper into the trash on the left of her desk.
“Yes it is,” Tiffany nodded.
Chewing it quickly, Lynn pulled out, opened and scanned over documents from a folder in front of her. “Looks like the bill is still caught up by complaints over too much control lost on our part in the event of an emergency,” she closed the folder. “Send them in.”
Tiffany nodded, turned, picked up her notepad on her way to the doors and opened them. In the waiting room stood a slender suited figure, “Director Drops,” she called and they turned towards her, “Vice Mayor Chardonnay will see you now.”
“Thank you,” they said with a nod and advanced forward. Tiffany held the door open as she stood aside. Once Director Drops was inside, she allowed the door to close as she returned to her desk.
Meanwhile elsewhere, Lemon Zest switched positions on her small cushioned stool as the music from her headphones, being her only real companion in the empty E.C.P.D. Forensic lab, switched tunes. With the last of her co-workers gone for the day, she decided to stay to keep working on the many new problems that had come in since the start of the week. Pushing her green hair out of the way of her eyes, she glanced back and forth at the several computer screens with results pouring in slowly.
Flipping open a folder in front of her, she scanned over the lab work that had come in from the murder of Dr. Sprinkles. Andrea Ashley…I bet you had a lot going for you…until you got in over your head, she thought in a somber tone with her gaze on the attached photograph. She stared at the report as her hand idly grabbed a pen and began to tap it along with her music. After almost a full month with most of the toxicology in, we still haven’t received the final Meta Matching, she thought as a disappointed sigh escaped her parted lips and she pulled her headphones from her ears. Lemon slid the wireless music device down to let them hang around her neck.
“Bad news?” Nightwatch asked as he walked into the lab from the main entryway with the evening hours of twilight peaking in as the doors closed behind him. Adjusting his badge, his uniform was more relaxed thanks to his promotion. It now consisted of a light blue dress shirt and a standard issue long coat from the department. He looked more like a detective as he slowly tried to adjust to his new role in the department.
Lemon didn’t turn, being focused on the last of the paperwork in the file. She flipped the last page back and forth a few times to compare lines, “only if you’re here to ask who killed Dr. Sprinkles,” she responded in a distracted tone. As he stepped closer, she turned her gaze up and smiled. “Most people at least buzz before they come in.”
“You were listening to music, didn’t want to ruin the moment,” he said casually as he arrived beside her, looked down, began poking at an evidence bag and looked back up at her. “You know…” he listened for a moment to the sounds coming through the headphones, “you don’t strike me as a hard rock or metal fan.”
“Oh you should have seen me in high school.” She leaned back, folded her arms and looked him over in concern as he bothered the bag. “Well,” she began as her eyes returned to him, “don’t you look nice.” Lemon unfolded her arms as she returned her attention to her work. She picked up and folded the papers neatly, then tossed them to the counter. “Bucking up our image?”
Nightwatch smirked and walked up four steps to now stand beside her. “I suppose it’s inevitable,” he commented as he eyed over her work, “being tasked by Commissioner Luna to be the face of Hero/E.C.P.D. relations requires a…” he stepped back and briefly flared his coat with a small halfhearted smirk, “certain amount of style.” He pulled out a small rolled up handbook and whacked it against his other palm, “or so this handy instruction guide they made me take this morning tells me,” he explained with a bit of glumness yet acceptance in his tone.
Lemon watched and tried not to giggle as he showed off and explained. She gave a quiet nod. “Well you certainly do give off that air,” she remarked with a smirk pulled onto her face.
He took a breath and sighed while he put it away. “Now,” he stepped up to her once more, “I need to figure out if I want to put a tie with this.”
The pink toned girl smiled and shook her head a bit before she turned to her computer screen. “You do look like quite the dick,” she said with amusement in her tone as she clicked the mouse a few times and moved a few items on the screen.
“Detective,” she laughed, “you look like quite the detective,” she added quickly with her tone unchanged, even as she did calm down her now turned giggles at his furrowed brow. “What can I help you with or…” she turned her unyielding smile towards him, “did you come down to see all the pretty chemicals,” Lemon asked as he closed his eyes and cleared his throat a bit.
Nightwatch inhaled and put his hands in his pockets simultaneously with an exhale. “Ignoring your grin and tone,” he opened his eyes and stepped away to a shelving unit that caught his attention. “You do bring up a reasonable point,” he began as Lemon went back to her computer. He leaned over to a shelf which had various vials resting on the metal surface. Pulling one hand from his pocket, Nightwatch began tapping the glass container of one softly. “This place is filled with all manner of pretty things,” he peered at another one curiously.
“Yup and I wouldn’t break any of those if I was you,” she warned without removing her eyes off the glowing screen.
“Why? It’s not like you actually keep the real deadly stuff here…right,” he asked with a brief look to her before looking up. “Having a skylight put in might help bring out the colors.”
“A skylight in a Crime Lab,” she asked and shook her head. “That’s a bad idea,” she turned, got down, pulled her stool over and hopped back on as she placed an inch thick glass sheet under a microscope. “One good bolt of lightning,” she looked through at the piece, “and who knows what could happen.”
“Super powers,” Night asked with a shrug as he poked another one.
“More likely you’d die of third degree burns and…” she adjusted the zoom on the micro sized organism, “so many other unpleasant things those chemicals can do.”
Nightwatch was quiet, pondering this before giving a nod, “fair enough point.” He went to poke another vial.
“Don’t poke that,” she quickly and sternly warned without looking up from her work.
“Eh…” he blinked then stepped back, “got it.” He cleared his throat and walked back over to her. She didn’t even flinch as he cleared his throat again but louder.
“You may want to get that checked out, could turn bad,” she idly informed.
An almost annoyed expression scrunched his face but it faded as he took a deep breath. “I read you were expecting some results,” he began as calmly as he could to be civil with another breath, “thought I’d find out from the horse’s mouth…so to speak,” he finished as a hand came to mess with his bare collar. Maybe I will get a tie to go with this, he thought as his colored orbs glanced down at his dress shirt.
“Well, so far we’ve got in the toxicology on Andrea Ashley’s death.”
“And the results?”
“No apparent known means of death aside from, well, the fact she died from massive trauma but we knew that,” Lemon said as she turned to face him and folded her arms. “Meta Match for the power residue is coming up with nothing in the entire database.” She took a breath then sighed while she lowered her head a bit and closed her eyes, “it DOES match a few other unsolved murders from over the last decade, but since they’re unknown–” she trailed off, opened her eyes and looked upon him once more.
“We don’t know who did this or why,” Nightwatch finished her sentence as he stepped over and sat in an office chair across from her. “What about our discovery in the lab?”
“Most of the tests are still cooking, but…” she spun back around and opened a folder on her computer. “All the victims,” several photos from the crime scene came up, “were either crushed or stabbed by some sort of Meta means,” she explained as she tapped a few keys and several graphs came up. “The residue doesn’t match anything on our hot sheets but on a hunch,” her words slowed down as she scanned the screen, “after seeing what Snips and Snails had done to them that…evening in…the alley by that,” Lemon clicked an icon before tapping another couple keys, “crazy orange haired girl…” she pressed a few more keys and a final graph came up.
Nightwatch’s eyes widened at the sight. “They match,” he whispered while he leaned forwards and rolled his chair closer. “So…” he eyed the results over a moment longer, “whoever the new player in town is,” he turned his gaze to Lemon. “She’s behind the robbery at the lab.”
“Huh, seems you are pretty quick.” Nightwatch frowned as Lemon grinned and stuck her tongue playfully out at him before she drew it back in.
He smiled as her playful attitude hit him. “Good work,” he leaned back and rolled back a bit.
“Maybe? What do you mean?”
“I’m running more tests and keep in mind you’re not the only cases in this city,” Lemon reminded him with her eyes locked on his. “It doesn’t work like television,” she stretched her arms above her head, “you don’t get answers,” she dropped her arms, “in twenty minutes,” she finished with a heavy exhale as she looked back to her computer.
Nightwatch stood and casually stepped closer, “too bad. That would be pretty useful to get cases done faster.”
She turned and noticed how close he was. Lemon frowned and cleared her throat as she lightly glared him down. “As for the pile of clothing and ash we found in the reactor,” she began as he took a safe two steps back. “I’m stumped at that as it does not match any known elements they were working on at the time.” She motioned to a moving icon, “I’m running a massive search on it though.”
“We’re still missing the head doctor…um…Egglston,” Nightwatch asked as he folded his arms, took hold of his chin with one hand and tapped his face with a finger. “Eccleston,” he questioned and met her gaze. Lemon raised an eyebrow and he released a light nervous laugh as he rubbed the back of his neck, his cheeks flushed from his embarrassment.
“Riiiiight,“ Lemon said slowly. “No doubt that dirt’s him but I’m trying to sift through the unknowns to find the DNA to give to his next of kin, if there is any.” She stood up and twisted gently to crack her back, “so there’s your massive report,” she winced as a loud pop rang out before she released a relieved breath and returned her attention to Nightwatch. “What else can I get you, Captain?”
“The info they gave me on the bomb that was taken seems a bit over my head,“ he said without much pause to think as it was troubling him. “You know anything about Applied Neutron Physics? Or anyone who does,” Nightwatch asked and waited as she looked down at the floor. Minutes passed and he started down the steps, “I didn’t think you’d know so I’ll just see myself out,“ he stated as he made his way towards the door.
He paused as static came from his radio attached to his hip before it cleared up, “any available units, minor explosion at Rare Innovations. Any units available respond, be armed and ready,“ came the male voice softly from his volume being low.
“An explosions,“ Nightwatch quietly questioned under his breath with his gaze on his now quiet device. “…Wonder if it’s a vigilante or Meta-Human…“
“Not a clue,“ Lemon disappointingly stated as she opened her eyes and looked over to him, “check with the company themselves. They have to have some expert…or someone who knows something.”
“Okay, I will,“ he answered and she gave a nod before her headphones were back on her head. She waved and soon was turned to face her computer with her back towards him. The green haired woman adjusted her coat and pressed play on her media player attached to her belt.
“Thanks Zest,” Nightwatch waved back even though she didn’t notice. He let out a soft sigh as he opened the door and stepped out. The new detective made his way down the halls and stepped out into the cool night air. Looking up at the lit sky above, I wonder what could possibly happen to us tonight, he thought and went on his way with his hands inside his pockets.
Rainbow Dash tapped her gray metal cane back and forth on the sidewalk, her facade as being entirely blind intact as she almost stumbled at times.
“Are you okay? Do you need help,” a concerned passerby asked as he reached out to catch her.
Rainbow steadied herself on a nearby brick wall, “I’m good, thank you though,” she said as she gave a grateful smile for his offer.
“Okay, just take it easy and take your time.” He stepped away to go about his day.
“I will,” she responded and dusted her usual tone of casual wear off before she continued. Rainbow’s stare was kept forward, an element she learned to maintain to keep the image of full blindness going.
The thing is, it hadn’t always been a trick. She’d been genuinely blind for a good while before the manifestation of her powers. The doctors had told her that, no matter what treatment they had tried, her cataracts were entirely resistant to repair. Sadly it wasn’t long until she had entirely blind. However, Dash wasn’t one to give up too easily and with the help of the hospitals and other aid groups for the disabled, she grew accustomed to her new way of life. Just like everything else in her life, learning to use her other senses became a competition. Her strive to be the best at what she did had never diminished and this was no different from any other obstacle.
After a year into her new life, she suddenly started to get glimpses of things around her whenever something moved a great deal and shook the ground. Dash quickly learned it was similar to a radar ping she had seen in military movies. Like most things, it didn’t take long for her to start understanding how to use it and with the settlement she had gotten from the explosion, she found herself slightly bored with retired life.
Rainbow pulled out her phone and pressed the power button. “It is six in the evening. Dusk is now setting,” the computerized female voice stated. “Tell me what you want to do or know.”
“How far until Pinkie Pie’s apartment?”
The phone thought with a swirling icon before it gave a soft beep. “You are approximately one block away. When you arrive it will be to your left.”
Not much farther, she thought and put her phone into sleep mode, slipped it into her pocket and continued on her way. As she walked, she focused her mind to maintain the images she gained from the cars to the people to the strong breezing passing by. She learned to keep her focus which allowed her to see with sonar but it also ensured her body language was exact for a common, normal blind person. If she lost her focus then she was plunged back into complete darkness.
A few minutes later, Dash walked up to the door and doorbell panel of Pinkie’s apartment complex. She reached out and ran her fingers over the panel’s braille beside each buzzer. She already knew which buzzer but had to act out finding Pinkie’s apartment button. After locating it, her blue toned fingers paused and a small nagging feeling started to twist in her stomach. I wonder what Pinkie wanted to talk about that couldn’t wait and had her sounding so anxious… Dash thought with unease, I mean…Pinkie’s always been weird ever since elementary school but she’s never been weird enough to make me nervous.
She slowly lifted her finger an inch off the bumpy text, maybe I shouldn’t go in. Something doesn’t feel right…but… she took a breath and exhaled, Pinkie’s been my friend and everyone else’s, especially in high school, for years. There’s no way she would do something to hurt me and besides… Dash pressed the button and waited nervously. She’s always so perky so if she tries to do anything I’ll just use my senses to outwit her. How hard could it be to get away from someone who sucks at stealth anyways?
“What I totally don’t get is all this backlash about Sybil and Raven not getting enough screen time,” Pinkie frustratingly said into her headset in a video call while simultaneously she threw one hand above her head in emphasis.
“People like who they like and want what they like more,” Sugarcoat’s camera feed flickered as she responded. “Can’t blame someone for liking one character over another. It’s called preference.”
“I know-I know,” she groaned as she lowered her hand to rest beside her, “but they don’t need to get so pushy about it!” Pinkie shrugged and tried to take on a more nonchalant demeanor, “Total Wasteland is about an entire ensemble, cast in a massive world. You can’t not NOT show pieces of the world that are going on.” She picked up one of her snack cakes, “it’s not realistic,” she snapped and took a rough bite out of a Wubcake, a frustrated growl like sound coming from her throat as she chewed.
“Equally you can’t just throw your narrative around either,” Sugarcoat responded and took a bite out of a cookie. “A show like Total Wasteland may take place in a large environment, but you’ll lose your audience if you spread it out too thin. The fanfiction community has that problem.”
“Oh the fanfiction writers for Wasteland aren’t writing in the main canon of the story, they can afford to lose readers if they write to a certain type of fan. Like those AWFUL slash fictions where they –” Pinkie stopped and looked towards her door as she heard the doorbell ring.
“Expecting someone,” Sugarcoat asked dryly.
“Oh shoot! Yeah,” Pinkie explained as she looked to the computer clock. “We have to discuss a few things. Well, I do, she doesn’t know it yet, well she might.”
“We have hours of more footage to look over,” Sugarcoat in an annoyed tone pointed out as she narrowed her eyes in the camera feed. “It’s almost sunset. Who would be coming over now?”
“It’s a friend from school,” Pinkie stood up and started to disconnect from the chat, not giving Sugarcoat time to argue. “I’ll catch you later!” as soon as the camera clicked offline, Pinkie snapped into action and began a SplitSecond speed cleaning of the apartment. Towels, pillows, snacks, trash, laundry and all other manner of items found their places quickly as she moved at breakneck speed.
Finishing her cleaning spree, she set a plate of cupcakes on the kitchenette counter and wiped her brow. “Whew,” she smiled to herself, made her way to her front door and pressed the small buzzer on her door panel. “Yes?”
“Pinkie Pie, it’s Dash,” the static filled box on the wall replied inside Pinkie’s place. “I got here as fast as I could.”
“Oh hey Dashy, come on up!” she pressed the unlock button and opened her door to look down the hall as the main entrance opened.
Outside Rainbow frowned at Pinkie’s ‘forgetting’ she had asked her over. Taking a breath to calm her irritation, it’s just Pinkie, just roll with it, Dash thought, pulled the door open and stepped inside.
Inside she saw her rainbow haired friend making her way slowly and clumsily along the hall. The usually quiet hallway was interrupted by the tapping of Rainbow’s cane knocking the wall or hitting an abandoned can. “Down here Dash! A little further…” Pinkie twisted her face in pondering before her eyes widened as a smile appeared from her current idea to be helpful. “Follow. My. Voice,” she said slowly to see if it would help communicate easier to Dash of where her apartment door was.
Rainbow Dash on the other hand wasn’t amused. She frowned a bit from how Pinkie was talking to her, “Pinkie, you don’t need to talk slow, it doesn’t help.”
A few seconds later, Dash entered, “so…what did you want to talk about,” she asked with a turn of her head as Pinkie shut the door and locked it. “Uh Pinkie? Why’d you lock the door,” she questioned nervously and took a step away from her pink toned friend.
“Go on and have a seat. Oh and a cupcake if you want!” Pinkie cheerily remarked as she pointed to the plate.
“No thanks Pinkie Pie. I had…er…lunch already, wouldn’t want to overdo it,” Rainbow Dash replied quickly to try and hide her hesitation to try the cupcakes. At the way things were going, she wasn’t too sure about anything at the moment. Dash began to concentrate and use her powers to get a slow feel for the room, all while she pretended to awkwardly tap her cane around the floor. “Pretty cramped in here, eh?”
Pinkie locked the deadbolt and turned to her friend. “It’s cozy, not too bad,” she picked up a cupcake from the plate and looked it over a moment. “Hope you found the place alright.”
“Wasn’t too hard. My phone can send me GPS directions through an earpiece I can use,” Dash made a motion to her left ear while still facing and tapping away. “So…” she said slowly as she got a better lay of the room. The rainbow haired woman concentrated on the areas in front of her while she let the back one hundred-eighty of her vision dim slowly, “what’s this all about, Pinkie Pie.” Dash asked before she refocused all around her again. This shortened the viewing distance as a result.
“I’m glad you asked. I wanted to show you something!” Pinkie’s tone changed as she suddenly pulled a silver orb from under the counter at super speed and threw it at the back of Dash’s head.
Dusk had begun to settle in at the outskirts of Equestrian City’s western properties. With the last beams of sunshine slowly vanishing over the horizon, a patchwork of farmland and light industrial fields could be seen. One of these many standing structures still had its lights on. It was that of AppleTrends, a small work force usually scurried about the many rows of apple trees. Night now had set in and nearly everyone had gone home for the day except for a lone figure that walked through the rows.
A tall blonde woman leisurely strode through the rows of apple trees to look them up and down for a careful visual inspection. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail to keep it out of her green eyes that lit up an otherwise tan complexion. Wearing a green plaid shirt tied in a knot to expose her midriff, she accented it with a brown leather vest and matching work gloves. She came to a halt and looked one tree up then down before carefully kicking the trunk with one of her cowboy boots. Staying steady, she gave a nod then continued on which caused the pair of custom apple shaped buckles on them to lightly jingle.
She adjusted her hat while kicking up some dust gently before coming to a stop, and looking at one rather sturdy looking tree. Tipping her cowboy hat back, Applejack stared up into its branches and squinted in the further changing light to spy several apples not harvested. She put a hand on the hip of her worn blue jeans, which stood out against her otherwise earthy toned accessories, and shook her head at the tree.
“Them boys couldn’t have finished one last tree before quitin’ time,” she said softly before glancing around. “So hard to find good help,” she sighed, pulled out a small notepad and scribbled the location for the morning crew.
“Sis?” a younger voice questioned from behind Applejack, whose eyes widened a moment but she didn’t turn around as she continued her work. Applebloom stood a tree away from her big sister with hands on her hips. “What are ya’ll doing?”
“Last shift got lazy. Aah gotta make notes for Lime and her crew in the morning to pick up the slack,” Applejack answered, still not looking back. “Ya’ll should be inside the house. Ain’t any reason to fuss over me.” She looked up at the tree to scan for any more missed produce. “Just need to make sure we get the most outta this here cycle.”
“Aah was just curious, no need to bite mah head off,” Applebloom replied with a shiver and began to rub her bare arms. Now a part of her wished she had grabbed a light jacket since the t-shirt she wore was not enough to stave off the night air.
“Never had this problem when we did this ourselves. Can’t seem to find anyone that can work as well as…” Applejack stopped herself and looked down for a moment then pocketed her notepad. “…as when we were on the other farm,” she quickly covered. “Guess ya could say all the problems started with this one,” she said flatly while clenching her fists, causing the leather to start squeaking softly in protest.
“Sis,” Applebloom asked concerned as she took one step then another towards her, “you all right?”
“Go on in…see about some food,” Applejack said as she kept her head turned away from Applebloom.
“Mind me now,” Applejack interrupted kind yet firmly.
A few moments passed before a relenting sigh entered the air, “okay but ya better come in too,” and after that last word, Applebloom did as requested. She swiftly walked off, nearly jogging due to the cold, and made it past a large storage building with the AppleTrends logo on it. The tattered sign was a combination of a pair of apples against an argyle pattern. Sadly though it had seen better days.
Waiting patiently until Applebloom was out of sight and earshot, Applejack clenched her eyes shut and her breathing became less stable. Gosh darn it, why? Why can’t aah face’er yet, she thought in an upset tone as the cracking of the leather became louder as she leaned on the tree she’d been looking at. She rested her head against the trunk while she tried to bring her grief under control. It’s all her fault. It’s her fault aah can’t even stand the city no more, her fists tightened which caused the leather to squeal for mercy.
Applejack slowly opened her eyes partially, Rarity got us this here nicer farm…Rarity’s… her tone darkened as she leaned back, the reason he left us. Her head lowered and her jaw tightened as she fought to keep in her tears. Rarity, one arm began to slide back, is the reason… her muscles tensed as it began to tremble. She took a deep breath and the reared back hand slid across her midriff to come and rest near the opposite shoulder.
Aj didn’t move for a moment before, HE DIED, her thoughts screamed in outrage simultaneously with her giving the tree a strong fisted backhand. Her eyes were closed tightly as her frustrations were released in this one strike. She nearly forgot herself until the loud crack of the tree snapped her eyes open and brought her mind back to the present.
Looking at the utterly destroyed appletree, she stared in both shock and awe. She’d been so careful since she found out she was stronger since the disaster. Swiftly she looked around for any witnesses to her display of super strength. Soon after she was sure, she released a relieved sigh. Thank goodness no ones up. Applejack took another long look at the tree that had been toppled over, broken and jagged at the trunk.
She groaned and hung her head as her shoulders slumped a bit with the realization of the implications behind her outburst. “Consarnit,” she rubbed her forehead as she tried to think of how to either fix it before dawn or explain what happened to the morning workers, should they ask.
The sound of tight latex gloves being snapped echoed in the laboratory along with Professor Midnight’s footsteps following suit. Lined full of both modern and antiquated types of tools, the room she stood in was filled with the hum of machinery. The machines and readout displays around her ticked away. In the distance an old dot matrix style printer hummed to life as she turned it on. Being a cross between a modern Frankenstein’s Laboratory and a College Research Lab, it was quite the masterpiece of terror to anyone held in it.
One such captive lay restrained to an examination table, slowly rolling her head back and forth, a dazed look in her eyes as reality slowly came rushing back to her. Dressed in little more than the bare essentials for modesty, the girl’s light green skin tone was riddled with scars, both indicative of her life before and after as a subject of the Professor.
“Recording.” Professor Midnight said, a microphone on the lapel of her jacket picking it up and a small analog recorder on her belt whirring to life. “Specimen 626, ready for experiment 513-C: Forceful Extraction Measures.” Midnight pulled a silver tray of instruments next to the table and tilted the girl back at the same time. “Previous attempts to pull out Meta Energy and store it results in immediate death of incubator. I hope to perfect a way to harvest the energy and then stimulate regeneration of it. Success will allow for..”she noticed her subject starting to come around. “..unlimited resources for my other projects.” she finished her report with a smile, bringing up a scalpel to her eyeline.
The chrome glint from the instrument brought the girl to her senses but the muzzle like device she found around her head kept her silent and immobile. This didn’t keep her from struggling however, the muscles of her body straining against the metal links around her ankles and wrists.
“Specimen is a former terrorist captured by the Empire. Crimes include destruction of government property, inciting a riot, and murder of public servants. Displays Meta-Human ability akin to empathy. Prolonged physical touch allows subject to see fragments of memories of the other person.” Midnight continued, paying no attention to the continued muffled protests. “I’m told she’s quite the legend of the so called resistance. If this helps shut them up, I can’t help but be smile. Their interruptions stifle my work. Subject known as Tree Hugger previous to number assignment. Note for Department of Records, do not specify manner of death, list as Missing.” she clicked the side of her recorder off and took off her glasses and placing them on a counter nearby.
Snapping on a pair of goggles, she turned around to the examination table, adjusting her thick rubber gloves, flexing the fingers to make sure she got a sure grip. “You know, I actually had a different name then what you know me as. Professor Midnight is something I picked up at Everton. I bet you didn’t know that.” she spoke cordially to her victim, putting the scalpel down on the cart and pulling out a pair of serrated blades and one old fashioned chest cutter. “They say I’d always ‘burn the midnight oil’ and after a while, I let the name stick. After all, names aren’t really important in the grand scheme as much as what we accomplish in life, don’t you agree?” she turned away and picked up a bottle of sterilizing alcohol. “I know you’d know the name Twilight Sparkle. The name of a girl who came here from another world and got trapped with that other girl?”
The machines she’d turned on previous fired to life, electricity humming loudly as the readings came in fast across the screens. At the same time she pulled out a rather large looking syringe, filled with yellow liquid, spraying a bit out of the end. The needle brought new struggling from her victim.
“Now don’t wiggle, this is happening, you must learn to accept your role.” Midnight said, plunging the needle into the side of Tree Hugger’s heck and sending the liquid into her. The struggled began to fade. “THIS..is a paralyzing agent. It works better for both of us. So where was I?” Twilight rubbed her chin with her free hand. “Oh yes, after I heard about that other girl, I decided to let the nickname REALLY take hold, as people started to get so interested in my results from Magical Research. That’s how I ended up here.” she pulled the needle free and snapped her fingers in front of the wide eyed captive. “Ah good.”
Turning again, Midnight pulled a rotary bone saw into her victims view, but frowned as it didn’t come to life. She looked down and sighed, kneeling and plugging in the three pronged plug into an outlet. She stood back up and the saw gave a high pitch activation as she pulled the trigger. Midnight leaned down to Tree Hugger with a smile. “Normally I don’t open up this much, but I think we both know you’re not going to tell anyone.” she grinned wider and closed her eyes a moment.”Besides, it’s good to have a friend now and then..”
The saw fired up and Professor Midnight brought it level with her captives chest. “If ever so fleeting.”
“Boss!” Scootaloo shouted from across the room over the sounds of machinery. Soon the sound of the saw and a disappointed Midnight filled the air all at once. At the same moment Scootaloo neared, a massive bipedal creature emerged from the shadows. It had been present this entire time and stepped in front of Scootaloo. It resembled a dog in the vaguest sense with a collar riveted around its neck with the words ‘Spike 2.0’ on it.
Two black eye holes lit up with the red eyes inside them erupting to life. The massive jaw of the creature opened and a set of spinning teeth sprang to life. Scootaloo crossed her arms and stared up at the massive mechanical guard dog. “Easy boy, it’s just me,” she smiled as she reached out with her mechanical hand and gave it a small pet. The snarling monster seemed to calm down a bit as she did this and it’s barbed tail began wagging.
“I’m busy, what is it,” Midnight snapped in an annoyed voice with a matching expression as she turned, and threw the saw down in a fit. “This had better be important.”
“Our Emperor demands a favor,” Scootaloo stated and bowed ever so slightly to her. “A girl from the Commonwealth has come into possession of what appears to be a very ancient and powerful artifact,” she explained as she returned upright. “The Emperor has seen fit to have you study the artifact for use.”
Midnight walked away from the table, leaving the paralyzed girl and the tools where they lay. She snapped her goggles up, pulled her regular glasses onto her lavender face and adjusted them slightly. “Very well. Have the girl disposed of and bring her artifact to me.”
“His majesty would like the girl and the artifact kept intact,” Scootaloo said, noting Midnight’s annoyed sigh at this instruction. “He wishes you to extend every courtesy to her…as the artifact is considerably powerful, and since it seems attuned to her already–”
“Yes, yes we’ll make her part of the weapons research. Where is she,” Midnight asked as she picked up a mirror and looked herself over. Clinging to the mirror’s frame was a half burned picture of her brother, Shining Armor. After adjusting her bun slightly, she pulled off her work gloves and undid her lab jacket. Now left in her dress uniform top and skirt, she dismissed further fuss over her looks and put on a pair of dress leather gloves before she stepped towards Scootaloo. “Let me meet this overly important girl.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Scootaloo nodded as she bowed her head when her boss walked past.
“Does this girl go by any particular name?”
“Her name is Trixie.”
“What an awful name,” Midnight scoffed and snapped her fingers towards the massive towering guard dog. “Spike, make sure 626 doesn’t get into trouble.” She smiled and ran a hand along her former dogs shell. Spikes tail began to wag as he gave her a nod of understanding. “Good boy.”
Walking out the main doors, the two conversed casually. “Ma’am, might I ask you a question,” Scootaloo began.
“If you must.”
“How do you hurt and kill helpless people without being affected by it later?”
Midnight sighed as she looked to Scootaloo then ahead. “In this field of research, it’s important to remember that compassion is the enemy.” Scootaloo was about to speak but held her tongue. “This is based solely on outdated instincts. It can hold us back and keep us from learning ALL we can.”
“Is there…” Scootaloo paused a moment, “ever a time when these things aren’t justified?”
Midnight rolled her eyes, “highly unlikely.”
Back inside the lab, Tree Hugger watched in terror as the huge beast walked over with thundering steps. He snarled down at her but she wasn’t able to cower in fear as Spike’s head lowered and he teasingly snapped his serrated teeth at her. Becoming bored after a moment, he simply sat down and curled up to enter standby mode. The thunderous metal clang of the doors slamming shut and locking echoed throughout the lab, leaving the green tone girl alone in the dark.