Dizzy led Sparky to her home in Old Towne. Sparky discovered that it was the first floor lobby of an abandoned estate, or at least, it had been at one time. The entire room looked to be run down, and everything in it cobbled together in a mishmash of random pieces, likely by Dizzy herself.
'It's not much, but its home... for now at least', Dizzy said as she used her telekinesis to remove her riot barding, allowing it to drop off her. She froze, realising that Sparky was still in the room and snatched it back up and haphazardly threw it back on. She looked back to Sparky with a look of embarrassment appearing on her face. 'I'm sorry... I'm just so used to being here by myself...'
Sparky offered her a polite smile. 'No, that's okay! This is your home, you don't need to worry about me, if you don't want to wear it, that's fine with me'.
Dizzy finished fastening her barding, and turned around towards her guest. 'No... I don't think you understand. We have rules about this. I just met you, it would be indecent...'
Sparky frowned; clearly this event had violated a major nephite norm. 'Well, it's okay, I'm willing to forget that you did it if you are', she said with a smile.
'Thanks', Dizzy said returning the smile with one of her own. She turned back around, removing her gun from her gear. She started by removing the clip, and ejecting the round already in the chamber. She put the bullet back into her gun's magazine and placed both of them on a table at the far end of the room.
It was a curious incident; Sparky didn't know anyone who owned a gun. Well, that wasn't completely true, Dula Heartstrings had one, but of course, she had one because she was in the military. 'Uh... forgive me if I'm being impertinent, but, aren't you a little young to have that?'
Dizzy looked over to her in confusion. 'What this?' She asked, holding up the gun in her telekinesis. 'No... besides, I've been training to use one of these for the past two years! Does it make you nervous?'
Sparky thought about it for a moment, if handled safely, a gun was as harmless as any other tool. “If handled safely” was the important phrase. She nodded her head in affirmation. 'I'm sorry, I just... well, I've never really been around them...'
'I understand', Dizzy said as she opened up a black box on the table and placed her gun inside.
'Um... Dizzy? You said you've trained for the last two years to use that? How old are you exactly?' Sparky asked.
'Just turned fifteen!' Dizzy said with a smile.
'Aren't you a little young to be out here on your own?' Sparky asked.
'A little, yeah, but not by much, we usually wait until we’re sixteen before heading out to do or missionary work', Dizzy said.
Sparky began to realise that she didn't really know that much about Dizzy. Her culture was completely alien to her. They might have lived in the same country their entire lives, but from this point? Dizzy might as well have been a schäferhund. The nephites were a religious group from the western part of the Equestrian Republic. Driven there during the times of the old monarchy because they went against the state religion that worshipped the princesses as if they were gods. They played a hand in the founding of the Equestrian Republic, their rifle pony corps making up the back bone of the new Republican Army. As time went by, the nephite rifle regiments of the Republican Army slowly became less and less associated with the nephites, and the Conservative Government under Prime Minister Big McIntosh muscled them out of the power structure all together in Year 18 of the Republic. Prime Minister McIntosh could not, however, forget that the nephites made the Republic possible, and granted the territories historically controlled by them autonomous status within the larger Equestrian Republic.
Other than that, Sparky didn't really know anything about Dizzy or her people.
'Everything okay?' Dizzy asked as she sat down on one of the room’s sofas. 'You can sit if you like, they're clean, I promise! I spent three weeks sterilising all the furniture I have here'.
Sparky nodded and sat down on the sofa next to Dizzy, smiling at her host for her hospitality.
'Is there anything I can offer you? I've got some milk in my refrigerator...' Dizzy said.
'I don't suppose you have any tea, do you?' Sparky asked.
Dizzy frowned and shook her head in disappointment. 'We're not allowed to have tea, because of the caffeine'.
Very different indeed.
'Sorry', Dizzy said with an apologetic shrug. 'It's just me out here; I don't have visitors, not before you anyway, so I've only got things that are for me'.
'You apologise a lot', Sparky said.
'Sorry', Dizzy said, completely on purpose, she couldn't help but grin. ‘There are a lot of misconceptions about nephites, and I just want to make sure that you feel comfortable and safe while you're here'.
Sparky smiled back at her. 'Thank you, you've been so kind to me, I can't thank you enough'.
'Oh I only did what any one of us would have done', Dizzy said, clearly trying to downplay what she had done. Maybe this was another part of nephite culture?
'Dizzy...?' Sparky asked. 'Would it be okay if I asked you some questions about the nephites?'
'Of course! Ask away!' Dizzy said.
Sparky's curiosity was getting the better of her. There wasn't a lot that she knew about nephites, she would have to pick her questions carefully, lest she offend her host.
'I'd like to know about the history of the nephites', Sparky said, figuring that it was a safe place to start.
'Certainly', Dizzy said. 'Nephites as you know them today are members of a religion founded by a pony named Silversmith in the year 297 before the Republic, one of God’s angels, named Nephi came down from heaven before Silversmith, and asked him to recover an artefact known as the Silver Plates'.
'Sounds easy enough', Sparky said.
'Silversmith said the exact same thing, then Nephi told him that the Silver Plates were in the possession of Princess Celestia', Dizzy said. 'Nephi said that Princess Celestia had stolen the Silver Plates from God, and Nephi asked him to recover them, so he broke into the Princesses’ archive and stole them in the middle of the night, and took them back to his town and read them'.
‘What did they say?’ Sparky asked.
Dizzy shrugged. ‘We don’t know, Silversmith showed them to several others in his town, and then they swore never to speak about what they read ever again. Whatever was on those plates, it was pretty bad... but despite all the bad things that were in them, there were good things as well. Silversmith copied down those parts of the Silver Plates, and then added in a bit more from other sources, then he returned the plates to Nephi and never saw or heard from the angel ever again, his writings would eventually be bound, published, and circulated as the Book of Nephi’.
‘Wow...’ Sparky said, listening intently to what Dizzy was saying.
‘Oh, it gets better, because the Royal Guard showed up not long afterwards looking for the plates. Long story short, Silversmith and his followers turned tail and ran for their lives, changed their names and began looking for a new home. Silversmith himself would be killed by the Royal Guard, but most of his followers escaped with their lives, they travelled to the far southwest where they established the settlement of Ashville in the...’ Dizzy’s voice began to trail off as she glanced out of the estate’s windows to see a car pulling up outside. A look of panic formed on her face and she looked back over to Sparky. ‘Please forgive me for this!’ she said as she enveloped Sparky in a telekinetic field and rolled her off the sofa and behind it.
‘Hey!’ Sparky cried out.
‘Shh!’ Dizzy shushed her as her front door was kicked open, falling off its hinges and coming down crashing onto the floor. Sparky stayed completely still as she heard voices begin to speak.
‘You didn’t have to do that!’ Dizzy cried out. ‘I left the door unlocked for you...’
‘This way’s more fun’, said the voice of the intruder. It was a mare’s voice; it had a deep, grand sound to it, like the intruder could have been moonlighting as an opera singer. ‘Plus, it makes it harder for you to hide anything from us, you’re not trying to hide anything from us, are you Dizzy?’
‘Of course not Detective Chief Inspector!’ Dizzy said.
‘Uh huh’, the mare who had been identified as Detective Chief Inspector said. Sparky froze, why would the police be here? ‘DC Hopely? Search the place!’ the Detective Chief Inspector added.
‘Of course ma’am’, said another mare’s voice, this one belonging to Detective Constable Hopely, Sparky froze as she heard hoofsteps approaching the sofa.
‘DCI Auditore... please, come on, this is my home! I’ve lived up to my end of the agreement!’ Dizzy said.
‘What’s the matter Dizzy? Afraid we’re going to come by and find you making out with one of the homeless clods you pick up off the street?’ DC Hopely sneered, causing Dizzy’s voice to become very quiet.
Suddenly, DC Hopely stuck her head around the sofa; she looked directly at Sparky lying on the floor. Sparky began to shake with terror, she had no idea what was going on. DC Hopely was an earth pony. Her coat was a dark grey, and her two tone mane was a forest green and a teal. The Detective Constable’s dark orange eyes looked directly at Sparky for a few seconds and then, in a completely unexpected move, she pursed her lips and shushed her.
Sparky looked at her in confusion as the Detective Constable pulled her head back from the sofa. ‘There’s nothing here Viola’, DC Hopely said.
‘I told you...’ Dizzy said.
‘Yes I suppose you did... ’DCI Auditore said. Sparky took a risk to peak out from around the sofa, catching her first glimpse of this DCI Auditore. Her coat was a dark pale yellow, her mane a light chestnut. But what stuck out most was the sly look in her purple eyes. Sparky watch as smacked Dizzy hard across the face with a back hoof motion, Sparky wanted to cry out as she watched Dizzy’s eyes begin to water. ‘That’s for wasting our time! The Serious and Organised Crime Group is busy enough as it is. You’re lucky I don’t bang you up for obstruction... nephite whore’.
Dizzy said nothing, unable to even look back at the DCI. ‘Come on Hopely, we’re leaving!’ Viola Auditore scoffed at her.
‘Coming Guv!’ Hopely said as she began to walk away, she stopped for a moment in front of Dizzy, mouthing an ‘I’m sorry’, before rushing to catch up with her boss.
Dizzy waited until they were out the door before picking it back up and placing it back on in its frame. She locked the door in order to keep it in place, and collapsed onto the floor and began crying her eyes out.
Sparky got up from behind the sofa and ran over to her. Sparky knelt down next to her and put her hoof on the nephite’s shoulder. ‘Hey, it’s okay! They’re gone now!’ she said.
Dizzy looked up at Sparky with a sniffle, grabbing the unicorn and pulling her close for a tight hug. She buried her face into Sparky’s chest and continued to cry. Sparky let her cry, holding her fellow unicorn close until, eventually, her tears dried up. Dizzy looked up to Sparky and gave her a small smile. ‘Thank you’, she said with a sniffle.
'Oh I only did what any one of us would have done', Sparky said, giving her a smile in return. ‘You want to tell me what that was all about?’
Dizzy looked back down towards the ground. ‘That was Detective Chief Inspector Viola Auditore, of the Ponyville Police Service Serious and Organised Crime Group, and possibly one of the most vile creatures to ever walk in this world... I’m sure this looked bad to you, but... but this is nothing compared to their usual harassment’.
Sparky frowned. ‘But... Serious and Organised Crime? Why are they bothering you?’
‘There are a lot of ponies in this neighbourhood that deal drugs for Kirsk Zazz; he’s a major crime boss... Serious and Organised Crime think I’m hiding drugs for the dealers in my home. They break down my door every couple of days, hoping to catch me with it’.
‘Why would they think that?’ Sparky asked.
‘Because I’m a convenient pony, I’m a Nephite, and I’m not popular. Serious and Organised Crime is a bigger problem in this city than drugs. They’re in league with Kirsk’s crime ring, everyone knows it, and everyone’s too scared to say anything. It won’t be long before they plant drugs in my home as an excuse to arrest me’, Dizzy said as she pulled her head back up from Sparky’s chest.
‘Is it really that bad?’ Sparky asked.
Dizzy nodded her head in affirmation.
‘Then why don’t you leave?’ Sparky asked.
Dizzy merely smiled at her. ‘This is what we do, when nephite children turn 16, they’re sent out into the world for missionary service for two years. Doesn’t matter where we go, or what we do, just as long as it helps others... most of my peers choose to stay closer to home, usually stopping at Las Pegasus or New Appleoosa, only a few come out this far, even fewer go beyond Ponyville’.
‘They... they just send you out into the world?’ Sparky asked, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing, Dizzy might have acted mature for her age, but she was still a kid.
Dizzy smiled at Sparky. ‘Of course not! We spend five years learning everything we need to learn about living on our own in a big city, surviving in the wilderness, how to use a gun, how to grow your own food, or how to repair broken machines... a number of different subjects. We never know where missionary work will take us, so we need to be prepared! Plus, our family members give us presents, in the form of useful tools to take with us... like this for example’, Dizzy stood back up and trotted over to a bookshelf on the far side of the room, pulling something off it with her telekinesis and bringing it back over to show Sparky.
Sparky took a look at the device that Dizzy brought over. It was an MIP, an older model, sure, but still an MIP. ‘May I?’ Sparky asked.
‘Of course’, Dizzy said, handing the MIP over. ‘It doesn’t work... but it belonged to my grandmother, so I don’t have the heart to get rid of it’.
Sparky looked down and examined the MIP, it was pretty old. as she looked over it; she discovered that it was an AppleTec Mark VII. Very old! This model came out far before the use of holographic displays. This one had an LCD display, and actually had buttons ON the device itself, the menus were navigated by a click wheel. Much to Sparky’s disappointment, the screen itself said no signal.
She turned it upside down, and caught something out of the corner of her eye. She opened the locking brace and discovered something interesting. The FutureTec logo was stamped into it, and like her own, Dizzy’s MIP was FutureTec issue.
‘Learn something interesting?’ Dizzy asked.
‘Your MIP... its FutureTec issue!’ Sparky said.
‘It was my grandmother’s... I don’t know where she got it, she died when I was little’, Dizzy said. ‘But why does that matter if it’s FutureTec issue?’
‘It means that your MIP doesn’t work because of the jamming device!’ Sparky said.
‘Jamming device?’ Dizzy asked, looking at her guest in confusion.
‘Well, I’m assuming it’s a jamming device, because FutureTec MIPs operate on a remote uplink to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit over the city. Yours is FutureTec issue as well, so that means that something in the area is blocking our MIPs from sending a signal to the satellites, and vice versa!’ Sparky said getting excited. ‘I want to find where the signal is originating and shut it down!’
Dizzy smiled at Sparky warmly. ‘Oh? So that’s what you’re doing out here in Old Towne huh? Well, in that case, I’m going to help you! If you want... that is’.
‘Oh... well what about your missionary work?’ Sparky asked, not expecting Dizzy to want to drop everything to come help her on a crazy mission to deactivate some jamming device in a neighbourhood that lacked modern technological conveniences, let alone the fact that it might not even exist at all.
‘I’m out here to help people, what would it say about me if I turned my back on this?’ Dizzy asked. ‘We might have just met... but I do care about your well being, just as I’m sure you care about mine’.
‘Thanks Dizzy’, Sparky said with a smile. ‘But hey, if you’re going to help me, I need to be on the level with you, I didn’t come out here to find the jamming signal... I just ended up finding out about it when I got here’.
‘Then what...?’ Dizzy began to ask.
Sparky pulled her saddlebags off, exposing her flanks to the nephite missionary. Dizzy’s eyes fell down towards her flanks, but then snapped back up. ‘Its okay, Dizzy. You can look, you need to’, Sparky said.
Dizzy looked back down again, seeing Sparky’s exposed cutie mark. ‘What... what is it?’ Dizzy asked, looking at it in confusion.
‘It’s a cutie mark’.