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The Hat Man

Specialties include comedy, robots, and precision strikes to your feelings. Hobbies include hat and watch collecting. May contain alcohol.

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Deleted Scene from "The Iron Horse" Ch. 62 - "Be Cool, It's the Fuzz" · 8:36pm Jun 21st, 2017

The following is a scene from the latest chapter of The Iron Horse, "Television Rules the Nation." This scene expands on the brief scene in the Everfree Forest with the teleportation jump tower being set up by the TechQuestrian personnel under cover of night, but in this version, the Royal Guard spot the tower and investigate.

While I like this scene, I felt that it added extra length to the chapter and I didn't think it added that much to the overall narrative. I'm considering adding it back in, though, as some have wondered how oblivious the guards in charge of Canterlot's defense actually are. Either way, check it out and let me know what you think!

It was a half hour before dawn. In the darkened land all across Equestria, in a line leading from just outside Mustangia and heading north, a series of wireframe towers arose over the countryside. Triangular latticed towers made of connected bits of steel tubing, each a hundred meters tall, were hauled up with wires pulled by pegasi and secured to the ground by earth ponies. At the top of each tower was a metallic sphere that gleamed gently in the fading moonlight.
Most ponies were still asleep at this hour, so the towers went up unseen, one by one. A few graveyard shift workers spied them against the background of the starry sky, but their curiosity was either insufficient to make them investigate further or their posts demanded their attention.
The towers led across the country in regular intervals. Through valleys, between mountains, and in the middle of deserts, the line carried on northward until the very last one arose in the Everfree Forest, just outside Ponyville. Thus, the line was completed, forming a strange pattern that ran from Mustangia to the north.
To Canterlot.
“Base is secure,” said the unicorn stallion to his superior officer after he and his crew secured the base of the wireframe tower to a concrete slab they’d poured into place earlier that week. He looked around at the surrounding forest, hearing the strange sounds of the animals and insects that dwelled within. The shadows of their work lamps cast long shadows through the thick foliage surrounding them. He swallowed. “I’ll sure be glad to get out of here when we’re finished.”
The superior officer, a mare, nodded to him. “I’m with you,” she said. “Lousy Everfree Forest… I’ve got bug bites in places I never knew I had!”
“Ma’am!” one of the other workers hissed, pointing at the sky.
She squinted and peered upward. Though it was dark, she could still see two figures flying down to them.
“Just relax, everypony,” she said, raising a hoof. “We’ll see what they want.”
The two pegasi landed. They wore the armor of the Royal Guard.
“Good evening, officers,” said the superior officer. “I’m Red Dahlia. How can I help you?”
“We were patrolling the airspace around Canterlot,” the senior guard said, walking over to her. “We spotted your work lamps with a telescope and saw you erecting this… this.”
She glanced over to the tower and then back at him, her expression unchanging. “Yes… and?”
“Would you care to explain what this is?” the guard asked her.
“Ah, I would have thought word would have gotten to the guards by now,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. “This is a weather monitoring tower. My crew and I are erecting this tower to gather data for Cloudsdale.”
“What kind of data?”
She shrugged. “Atmospheric. It’s some new thing they’re working on, but goodness knows how it works. I’m just the pony in charge of setting it up.”
The guard ran his tongue around his cheek. “May I see a work order or permit?” he asked.
Red Dahlia nodded. “Of course,” she replied, and fetched him the paper.
In the dim light, the guard read the document. “Hmm,” he hummed. “Looks good to me…” Then he raised his head and glanced back at the other guard. “Hey, Sky Warden?”
“You used to work on a weather team before joining the Guard, right? Check this out.”
“Yes, sir!” Sky Warden said, and went over to examine the paper.
Around them, in the dim light, a few of the workers standing by began to sweat.
“This looks right,” Sky Warden said to Red Dahlia. But then he frowned. “However, this has the wrong seal on it. This form is outdated ever since Foxfire Flame stepped down from the National Weather Commission. I’m sorry, but this work order is invalid.”
Some of the nearby ponies discreetly began to reach into their uniforms.
“Jeez, you’ve got to be kidding me!” Red Dahlia groaned, stomping her hoof. “This is the form they gave me! I never thought to check it! And we’re supposed to start collecting data soon!”
The senior guard pursed his lips, looking up and down the tower.
“Listen, this doesn’t look like it’s anything dangerous,” he said, “and we all know how paperwork screws things up from time to time. We’ll let you carry on with your work for now, but we’ll need to check with the National Weather Commission in Cloudsdale to confirm your orders. If we can’t get this cleared in 24 hours, though, we’ll have to ask you to take this down.”
Red Dahlia breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s good news, officer,” she said. “My boss would have me strung up and used like a piñata if she knew I botched the forms.”
All the other workers seemed to relax and joined in a mutual laugh.
The guard smirked as he gave her back the form. “Good luck with all that,” he said. “Sorry to bother you, but we’re being extra cautious. The National Convention is going on in Canterlot right now. In fact, the morning’s keynote speech and Sunrise Breakfast Banquet is starting soon.”
Red Dahlia’s eyes widened. “Oh?” she asked. “I had no idea!”
“It’s fine,” he said, saluting her. “Just be more careful next time. Carry on!”
With that, he and Sky Warden flew off.
A worker came up alongside Red Dahlia. “Think their inquiry to Cloudsdale will be a problem?” he whispered.
“Not a bit,” she whispered through her grin as she continued to watch the guards’ retreat. “It’ll take hours before they get word back. By that time, it won’t even matter. We’ll have done our duty in about twenty minutes.” She placed her hoof on her heart. “For TechQuestria.”
The gathered ponies formed a circle and mirrored the gesture. “For TechQuestria,” they said in unison.

There you go! So, what do you think? Do you like this better than the one in the chapter, or does it add too little as I thought?

Comments ( 10 )

Oh, I definitely like the excerpt. Would it have ruined the pacing? I think that perhaps you're right. Unless you'd had them installing the towers several hours earlier, while our heroes were still trying to escape. It might have added a greater sense of urgency.

Or, we could have run into the difference between "It could work" and "I could make it work".

It is a cool scene - and I think that it should have been added, because it would make less incompetence of the Royal Guard and more preparation from the part of TechQuestria (after all, they have ten years to plan their coup) in a way that make sense.

Def. add it in. The guards are still dumb, but now not blind.

I think it's quite a good addition as it shows how the towers didn't need a massive amount of luck to set up.

Looks okay to me, though perhaps how long it's been since Foxfire Flame stepped down ought to be mentioned. Quite a difference between an authorization seal a week out of date and one five years out of date, after all.

I think you should add it. Yes, I can understand why it might not add much to the overall story, but it shows that the Royal Guards are taking their jobs seriously and do notice things out of place in their patrols. So I say, yes please add it to the chapter.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Based on the positive response, I've added the scene to the chapter, making the above an UNDELETED scene! Also, took my editor Reese's advice and added in that Foxfire Flame stepped down two months ago. Enough to be suspicious, but not unreasonable.

Thanks again for your comments! 🎩

Aye, two months sounds good.

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