Before Sparky knew it, she was head deep into Ponyville, she slowed down her from her run to a trot before stopping all together, breathing heavily from the all out sprint that she’d just finished. What was she doing? She hadn’t the faintest idea. Her instincts had told her to run and she ran... now the problem was finding where she had run to.
Sparky had lived her entire life in Ponyville, all twenty two years of it, but that didn’t mean that she knew her way around town. Sparky had had her driving licence for nearly five years at this point, but she rarely drove herself, she let the autopilot in her car do that. She didn’t know where anything was, and even then, she’d kept herself to Freetown and Whitetail. This was Ponyville proper.
Sparky sat down on the ground and opened up her MIP. There was a map function that she’d never used in here somewhere... she opened the function up and took a look at it.
‘No signal available?’ Sparky asked in dismay as she looked down at the device. With a small pout, she closed the MIP completely.
Sparky took a look around, she was in an alley, and surrounding her was a number of tall sky scrapers. She looked back down at her MIP. No signal... something wasn’t right, she should be getting signal here! Her MIP was FutureTec issue, and unlike the standard civilian model, operated on a remote uplink to satellites in geosynchronous orbit over Equestria. The highest concentration of these satellites was over the Equestrian Rhombus. Maybe a civilian model MIP would get interference off of all the tall buildings, but not hers. Something was deliberately blocking her signal.
Sparky sat down on the ground. What was she doing? A cutie mark had appeared on her flank. She’d panicked and run off from home, she’d run nonstop for nearly an hour without paying attention to where she was going, and now she was interested in why her MIP wasn’t working here? Some priorities she had.
But... it was rather peculiar, something that shouldn’t have been able to happen...
Sparky had always been a little obsessive compulsive, if something wasn’t exactly right, she couldn’t stand to not figure it out. Besides, it might even provide a distraction from the cutie mark. The cutie mark was a mystery that needed solving too; of course, she’d figure it out eventually even if it killed her. Right now though, it was fresh in her mind, she could afford to be distracted for a bit.
She looked over her MIP again. No signal. She looked back up to the sky, it was still light out, but when the sun went down, and late at night, you could see the satellites up there, they almost looked like stars, though you could tell they weren’t because they weren’t on any maps. If something was blocking the signal, then that meant that it had to be the result of a high powered, possibly military grade, jamming device... but if there was such a device nearby, why didn’t anyone notice it? Surely, it would have had to have effects on other technology as well, like television, radio, who knew what else could be affected? But if a high powered jamming device was in the area, someone would have noticed it, right?
Sparky trotted around the corner, looking for anything to give her a clue. After rounding the corner, she discovered that it was feasible for no one to notice the jamming at all. The alley that she trotted into was filled with more than a dozen homeless ponies and a number of cardboard shanties that they lived in.
Well, that answered several of Sparky’s questions. She knew where she was, this was Old Towne. A common misconception among Ponyvillers was that during the days before the republic, back when Ponyville was little more than a village making the expansion to city, that the central business district was built on to the site of the old town hall, and that the actual village area itself was the centre of the town. This was false, the central business district was actually built two kilometres to the north of the village, and it had been done this way on purpose so that Ponyville’s residents would still have their homes while the modern city was built up around them. Most of the residents living in the actual village left for the suburbs once they finished the first wave of construction. The village was torn down and Old Towne was built on top of it. Originally, Old Towne was considered to be one of the best places in Ponyville Proper to live, but focus on other areas as the city expanded, and neglect of this one had turned it into a dump, property values plummeted, and now, the only ones who still lived here were the homeless and the very poor.
Sparky frowned, even in the modern day; poverty and homelessness were still a problem. They had always been a problem, and would likely always be a problem. Even in the old monarchy, poverty and homelessness had been a problem, the difference being, that modern society acknowledged it as a problem. The old monarchy pretended that it didn’t exist. According to Grandma V, that was how the old monarchy ‘dealt’ with a lot of social issues.
Many of the homeless ponies looked at her with disdain, and Sparky couldn’t blame them. She was the outsider here, she didn’t belong here, and even worse, she looked like a damned lost tourist with these saddlebags on. Sparky took a deep breath, and began walking through the alley, not getting half way through before being stopped by one of the residents, a dark grey earth pony stallion.
‘Well hello there sweetheart!’ the earth pony said in a warm, raspy sounding voice. ‘Can’t help but notice... you look a little lost’.
‘I’m not lost’, Sparky said confidently. ‘I know exactly where I am’.
The earth pony chuckled as he eyed her up and down. ‘Ah, so you’re one of those? I see. Know exactly where you are, but don’t know where you want to go... Old Smokey sees that a lot, I do...’
‘That’s great...’ Sparky said as she tried to step around the earth pony, Smokey, however, was quicker than he looked and stepped with her, continuing to block her path.
‘You see now, Old Smokey here? I have things... things people want. I provide... direction, for those who need it. Old Smokey here sees that you could use some... what do you say sweetheart?’
‘Ah... no thank you, that won’t be necessary’, Sparky said, trying to step around Smokey again, to no avail. The earth pony was one step ahead of her.
‘I don’t think you understand what I’m getting at here... Sweetheart’, Smokey said. ‘When Old Smokey sees something he wants... he gets it, one way or another...’ he said with a grin, taking a step forward towards her.
There was a quick flash in front of Sparky’s eyes and a small clicking noise. In the time it took to blink, Sparky discovered that there was a firearm, specifically a pistol, pressed up against Smokey’s head through the use of telekinesis.
‘I do believe... the good lady here said that she wasn’t interested’, said a mare’s voice from somewhere in the background, Sparky didn’t know who was helping her, she didn’t see anyone behind Smokey, and she wasn’t willing to take her eyes off the sick creep in front of her to look anywhere else.
‘I... uh... heh, I think we may have a misunderstanding here...’ Smokey said nervously.
‘Really? Because it looks to me like you were planning to sexually assault this poor mare, not a lot of room for misunderstandings there, is it?’ the voice said again.
‘Now... hold on here! Smokey don’t mean no harm!’ Smokey objected nervously.
‘If you value your life... be somewhere else!’ the voice said firmly.
‘Of... of course!’ Smokey said, and without another word turned tail and ran off into the shantytown, turning left in the alley and entering another one.
‘Are you alright?’ the voice asked.
Sparky let out a sigh of relief. ‘Yes’, she said as she turned around to see her saviour, and discovered that she was not quite what she expected.
The pony behind her was a unicorn. That much had been obvious, thanks to her use of telekinesis. Her coat was lavender, and her mane was a light blonde, tied back into a ponytail. What surprised Sparky was how much shorter this pony was compared to her; she couldn’t have been any older than fifteen, and the clothes that she was wearing stuck out. She was wearing riot barding, in the form of a bullet proof vest with the letters ‘CO19’ stitched into it.
‘You... you’re a nephite?!’ Sparky asked.
She nodded her head in affirmation. ‘Yep. A real, honest to god nephite’, she said with a smile. ‘My name’s Dizzy. Come on; let’s get you off the street’.