The sound of the alarm clock going off was not a welcome one. Not today, and not ever. She tried to ignore it, but to no avail. She reached out with her hoof, hit the button to turn the alarm off and rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.
The alarm went off again. This was not her doing; someone had set the clock’s second alarm setting to go off two minutes after the first one. It seemed that she had no choice. ‘Arggh... fine! I’m getting up!’ she said aloud to no one in particular as she rolled out of bed and trotted sleepily over to her wash room. She flipped on the light switch, realising it to be a mistake as her eyes were not ready for the bright lights. She shut them tightly, and after a minute, she slowly began opened them, allowing them to adjust to the bright lights of the wash room. She blinked several times before opening her eyes fully, and looking into the mirror, her celadon eyes looking right back at her. Mornings, oh how she hated mornings, the deep blue and brilliant yellow sections of her mane were all bunched together in a tangled mess. She was a unicorn, though, as of this moment, you wouldn’t be able to tell, her bed head mane completely covered her horn. The more she looked at herself in the mirror the more she found that she didn’t like. It was the middle of summer, and even in the morning the humidity was enough to make both her mane and coat puff out into horrific shapes. She let out a sigh and turned from the mirror, and used her telekinesis to turn on the water for her shower and promptly stepped inside.
‘AH! COLD! COLD!’ She cried out as the shock of the cold water ran over her body. It was a few moments until the water warmed up, oh how pleasant the warm water was. She stood still, allowing the warm water to run over her for several minutes, until she finally realised that there were other purposes of a shower. She reached out for a bottle of shampoo with her telekinesis, squeezing some out onto her mane, and sat down on the shower floor. She reached up with her hooves and began to scrub her mane clean, at the same time; she reached out for another bottle of liquid soap, and a scrub brush. She applied some to the brush and began to scrub her coat until she was nice and clean.
While technically done with her actual cleanliness related activities, she stood back up and allowed the water to continue to run over her, closing her eyes and relaxing for a few moments, or, at least, until the water began to turn cold. Well, the pleasantness always has to end eventually, right? She gave herself one last rinse over, before turning the water off and stepping out of the shower, grabbing a towel with her telekinesis and rubbing her coat dry as she stepped back over towards the mirror, picking up a small electric hair dryer and a brush and styling her mane and tail into their normal straightened shape.
‘Ah, much better!’ she said as she finished grooming her mane and tail, returning the brush and hair dryer to their resting places. Her name was Sparkplug, though she hated it when anyone called her by that name. To her friends and family, and even her co-workers at FutureTec, she was Sparky. Sparky smiled as she admired herself in the mirror, turning from side to side. She looked good, and she knew it. She finished up her wash room routine by taking her tooth brush, and a tube of toothpaste in her telekinesis and squeezing a few milligrams of it onto the brush, she opened her mouth wide and scrubbed every square centimetre of her teeth until they were sparkling white. Satisfied, she went back into her bedroom to get dressed, returning her towel to its place on the drying rack and flipping the light switch off as she walked by.
Her bedroom was rather simple, containing only a small single sized bed along the eastern wall, just barely big enough to fit her, though that was okay, because she didn’t need it to fit anyone else, next to it was a small wooden bedside table, containing a globe lamp for late night reading, and the alarm clock that she hated so much. Along the southern wall was her wardrobe tall enough to nearly reach the ceiling, to match the bedside table. She opened it up and pulled out one of her dark orange utility vests that she wore for her job. Using her telekinesis, she held the utility vest to her left, and extended her left leg, threading her leg through one the left leg hole, draping it over her and doing the same with the right leg, she buttoned it up and was ready to begin her day, and she turned around and looked at the rest of her room.
Aside for the bed, the bedside table and the wardrobe, the only other furniture in the room was a matching bookshelf containing a number of books on various subjects, and a small workbench for her special projects. The walls of the room were painted an antique white, and the carpet was a dark blue. Over all, the room had a very spartan and minimalist feel to it, but Sparky was perfectly okay with that, after all, it was easy to keep track over everything, and easy to keep clean, just the way she liked it.
She went over to the work bench and picked up a small object in the shape of a hollow cylinder, she snapped it open and fastened it to her left foreleg. This was her AppleTec Mark IXX Micro information processor, though most people just called it a MIP. MIPs were highly advanced computers able to fit on their user's leg, they were a wondrous technology, used for everything from keeping the user’s schedule to making calls with its built in mobile phone. She was even able to access FutureTec’s extranet from home whenever she needed to catch up with paperwork from her home, as well as accessing the regular internet. Of course, the MIP’s most used features were its integrated word processor, and the clock. All of which was contained in a holographic interface. Sparky was about to check her day’s schedule, when she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. The clock on the bedside table told her that the time was 0545. That couldn’t be right!
Sparky sat down and raised her left foreleg up and tapped at the MIP to open up its holographic interface, she proceeded to slide her right hoof over the holograph until she reached the clock. 0546. Sparky growled angrily as she looked at the clock. She closed the holographic interface and walked over to her bedroom door, throwing it open rushing down the stairs. ‘GRANDMA!’ she cried out.
‘Good morning Sparky!’ called a voice from the kitchen. Sparky stormed into the kitchen.
‘Grandma V!’ Sparky cried out. ‘It’s oh-five-forty-five!’
‘Oh-five-forty-seven’, Grandma V corrected, grinning like a mad mare. ‘But semantics, what’s your point?’
Sparky growled in annoyance as she stared at her grandmother. Grandma V was old, older than anyone Sparky had known. Her hair was greying, as was coat that had once been a whitish crème colour. Like her, Grandma V was also a unicorn, but what stood out most about her was her pair of ruby red eyes which were just as much smiling at her as the grin on her face. Around her neck was a bright blue scarf, embroidered with a single quaver on it near the knot.
‘You changed my alarm!’ Sparky complained.
‘Yes I did. Problem?’ Grandma V asked, continuing to grin at her. ‘Now come on! Sit down and have a proper breakfast for once!’ Grandma V added, pouring Sparky a bowl of her favourite cereal. Sweet Apple Acres Apple-O’s. Sparky took a look at the box art, which contained a picture of an enlarged version of the cereal, with a highly stylised caricature of a red coated draught pony wearing a harness eating a spoonful of the cereal, clearly designed to appeal to children. Sparky took the jug of milk that Grandma V had set on the table and poured some onto her cereal, quickly eating the entire bowl tipping it back to drink the milk.
‘Thanks for breakfast Grandma V... I got to get going...’
‘Oh no you don’t! You don’t need to be in at work until oh-seven-thirty!’ Grandma V said with a grin. ‘It’s only oh-five-fifty-five! I took this into account when I set your alarms to oh-five-hundred and oh-five-oh-two!’
‘Grandma...’ Sparky protested.
Grandma V rolled her eyes at Sparky. ‘Oh come on now! It’s not going to kill you to talk to your grandmother for a few minutes! Reminds me of an old friend of mine that couldn’t keep still for even a moment, Pi...’
‘Grandma! Not a story! Please, for the love of god not a story!’ Sparky cried out.
Grandma V looked at Sparky with a frown. ‘You used to love my stories...’
‘Yeah, when I was like five! You’re like a hundred and twenty years old! I’ve heard all of them!’ Sparky said.
‘A hundred and twenty six’, Grandma V corrected. Sparky wasn’t kidding when she had said that Grandma V was the oldest pony that she knew. Her grandmother had been born long before the founding of the Equestrian Republic a hundred years ago. Sparky's grandmother had always loved to tell highly dramatised stories about what life was like before, when Equestria was still ruled by princesses. Sparky had been enthralled by these stories when she was younger, but the problem was that with Grandma V’s advanced age, Sparky had heard all the stories, multiple times.
Grandma V had had a problem with alcohol when she was much younger. As a result, she was one of the first ponies to ever get her liver replaced with an artificial one. Many of her other organs would soon follow, including her heart, kidneys, and lungs. Grandma V’s use of artificial organs kept the rest of her body in relatively good shape, hell; she would probably live for the next twenty years.
‘Well fine, if you want to go, go ahead... I won’t stop you’, Grandma V said with a sigh. ‘I’ll just stay here... all alone... by myself... like I’ve done for every day since my late husband died...’ she added, laying on the guilt.
Sparky sighed. ‘I hate it when you do that’.
‘I know you do’, Grandma V said with her mad mare grin.
‘I do need to finish up some work before the Republic Day holiday weekend... but I PROMISE, we’ll spend some time together over the holiday weekend, I promise!’
Grandma V smiled brightly at Sparky. ‘Aww I knew you cared! You’re such a good filly! Well go on then! I’ll clean up breakfast!’
Sparky smiled back at her. ‘I love you Grandma, even if you drive me crazy sometimes’.
‘You better believe I do! I’m your grandmother! It’s my job!’ Grandma V said with a smile.
Sparky waved goodbye to her grandmother and went outside their house, stepping onto the street. She looked up towards the east as the sun began to rise; light glistened off the skyscrapers of the Ponyville skyline. She looked up as she heard the distinct hum of a passenger zeppelin passing over head. Sparky and her grandmother technically lived in a suburb of Ponyville, and not in the actual city itself. The suburb of Freetown, one of the best residential districts of metropolitan Ponyville, Grandma V had told her a number of times that Freetown had once been occupied by a gigantic wooded area known as the Everfree Forest. Before the foundation of the Republic, everyone in Ponyville was supposedly afraid of the forest, which Sparky thought was completely ridiculous. Though, she did suppose that there was something to the fear, because she remembered a certain event from history class in school. ‘The pacification of the Everfree Forest’, which took place in Year 18 of the Republic, though history wasn’t Sparky’s best subject, and she couldn’t recall the specifics.
Sparky walked over to towards the street, where her automobile, a Cord Perfecto SUV, was parked, she walked up towards the right-leg door and waved her MIP across it to unlock it. She opened the door and climbed inside, starting it up and bringing the holographic controls.
A small red orb popped up on the dash board, Sparky looked over to it and smiled. ‘Good morning HALP!’ she said.
‘Good morning Sparky, how are you this morning?’ the red orb asked in return. HALP stood for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Pilot. The standard Virtual Intelligence installed in all automobiles, for use in remote piloting. Her particular HALP was of the 9000 series, the top of the line and the most accurate when it came to remote navigation.
‘I’m doing well thanks, go ahead and link us into SatNAV, I need to go over some things on the drive in to Ponyville’, Sparky said.
‘Certainly’, HALP 9000 said. ‘Destination?’
‘FutureTec Headquarters’, Sparky said.
‘Affirmative’, HALP said as the automobile began to move, moving into the left lane and driving into town. Sparky sat back in her seat, fastened her safety harness, and enjoyed the ride while she pulled up some music for the drive in.