Embers Fall

by CrimsonWave

7 - It needs more trains

While Wave Rider checked in on Obscurus’s musical masterpiece, Train Spot and Eight Track were back in the meeting room. The table was full of sketches and print-outs from web pages on how to properly prepare for a trip to the Gathering. Despite the obscurity of the event, there were a ton of dedicated resources to choose from.

“Okay, while Wave Rider checks out what Nocty’s cooking up, my next question is this; how will we get there? Are we going to hitch a ride with others, or do we need to have our own transport?” Eight Track asked.

“Well, I think I could handle driving. Just depends on what you want me to drive.” Train Spot answered. “Everything we do will depend on whether Obscurus actually wants to execute Project Euphorius; it would require us to bring some additional equipment.” she continued.

“Apparently, customized trucks are quite popular.” Eight Track acknowledged, pointing out a page with photos from last year on it. “Alicorn, draconequus, dragon, draconequus, unicorn… Draconequui were popular, it seems” he explained. “Some of these have sound systems on them too; who needs a car radio when you literally have a DJ on your roof, or a stage carved out of your trailer?”

Train Spot appeared to be fond of the idea, but not without adding her own influences to the equation. “I’d do it … but it needs more trains!” she excitedly suggested.

“So, uh, how do you expect us to incorporate ‘more trains’?” Eight Track asked bluntly. “I don’t even think there’s rail service out there.”

“How about we make a truck that is also a train?” Train Spot suggested. “We could make the container part look like a freight car or something and put a DJ booth on top of it, put a smokestack somewhere, maybe add some cool lights, and of course, a whistle for realistic choo-choo action!” Train Spot excitedly outlined.

“I take it you’ve had always an interest in trains?” Eight Track asked honestly. He never thought he’d ever hear somepony utter the words “realistic choo-choo action” in a sentence in his life.

“Well, my family does own a rail company that’s been in business for at least three generations. But I wanted to go off the rails a bit.” she replied.  

“I guess that explains your name.” Eight Track noted.

“Though it took a different turn, as you may have noticed. Someone actually told me that trainspotting is a term for keeping track of what a DJ plays.” she explained. “So it still sort of makes sense.”

“Oh, I see.” Eight Track acknowledged. “But yeah, that might be a good idea. We could call it the ‘Techno Train’ or the ‘Electronic Express’ or something like that, and maybe try to find other DJs there to perform on it too. Sorry, I’m not as well-versed in train-related puns as you.” he admitted.

“That’s okay; those actually sound pretty cute!” Train Spot declared. “Never thought I’d finally get to ride my own literal hype train.”

“On a serious note, this is probably something that could get me some well-needed attention. I can imagine the headlines on all the EDM blogs; ‘Train Spot has a Train’, Train Spot reaches his obvious conclusion’, and so on.” she continued.

“‘He?” Eight Track was a bit confused. “Thought you were a she.”

“One could argue I’m somewhere in between.” Train Spot clarified, sounding a bit more masculine than usual.

In the midst of this minor identity crisis, Wave Rider had just returned from Obscurus’s studio. “Hey everypony! That remix Obscurus is making sounds pretty wicked so far…” he reported.

“But I still think I’m going to win our little competition. It’s scientifically proven!” Train Spot boasted.

“Oh, you. I thought this was just going to be a friendly little remix competition between ourselves. Nothing too dramatic...” Wave Rider didn’t think it was going to be that intense.

The goal was simple; remix “Flashpot”, the lead single from Eight Track’s new EP. Whoever had the best remix, as determined by a not-exactly-patented combination of download counts and view counts after 7 days, got to dare whoever had the worst remix (as determined by said formula) to do something of their choice. Preferably something embarrassing, of course, because workplaces are funny.

Train Spot’s remix was a typical electro house anthem, while Wave Rider decided to branch out into hardstyle. Barring any irregular circumstances, it was widely expected that Train Spot was going to win, for obvious reasons.

“Anyway; Obscurus also complimented me on my new outfit. But she didn’t like the fact that I interacted with her blood enemy at the festival.” Wave Rider reported, and opened up his phone to the aforementioned photo. “Apparently, this yellow stallion right here is that Sun Beamer she kept on bringing up a few days ago.”

“Wow, he’s actually pretty cool; I presume he was one of those cyberpunk rave dancers or something?” asked Eight Track.

“Actually, yes. But he told me that this company he worked for was contracted to do the stage lighting and effects at the SSC this year, so I guess he was just hanging out between shifts.” Wave Rider explained.

“In fact, when I told Obscurus about the ‘truth’ about him, she actually had a change of heart.” he continued. “But only because Operation Aeternum Obscurum flopped, he didn’t outright reveal the ‘war’ she’s trying to wage,  he wasn’t necessarily ‘stalking’ her as she initially thought, and he didn’t have enough ‘power’ to be a threat right now, apparently.”

“Plus, she actually thought we looked cute together!” Wave Rider exclaimed.

“Either way, our true threat is omnipresent. I’ve been friends with Obscurus for about 15 years, and she’s always had anger issues and a habit of flip-flopping like this; her mortal enemy one day may become her most important ally the following week.” explained Eight Track.

“The enemy right now is an entire movement, and those who seek to disrupt us. Sun Beamer may be hiding something beneath that shell of his. But that is true of everypony.” Everypony else was perplexed at Eight Track’s overtly philosophical wording.

“I mean, we all have something to hide, and who knows? Maybe he’s still trying to plot against us behind our backs.”

“But we don’t know for sure, right?” Train Spot inquired. She had slowly become more interested in Obscurus’s cause. ”It’s best to remain vigilant, and remember that we have a much bigger target to shoot at than just a single Earth pony.” Train Spot received a noseboop of approval from Wave Rider.

After recovering from an awkward moment of cuteness, it was time to address a slightly more important topic. “So, did I miss anything while I was away?” asked Wave Rider.

“Yes. Train Spot wants to bring a truck decorated like a freight train to the Gathering.” Eight Track replied. “Because trains.” he whispered softly.

“Oh, you~” Wave Rider felt a disturbance; his reaction was to boop Train Spot some more. It gave them the giggles

“We’re such dorks!” Train Spot approved.

“You’re the second person to call me that today.” Wave Rider observed, whilst booping a bit more.

Just then, Obscurus trotted in. “Hello. The lossless, high-quality WAV version of my remix is rendering. It seems like it’s only going to take about 6 minutes now, rather than the nearly 45 it took on my old computer.” Obscurus elaborated.

“Yep; can’t go wrong with the latest Alicorn Micro Systems Daybreaker 1700X, with multi-threaded octa-cores running at 3.4 GHz, liquid cooling system, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, dedicated audio card with multiple input and output channels, tons of RGB-lit accessories, and a gigabit link to our internal network attached storage appliance for reliable and redundant storage of personal files.” Wave Rider outlined. Only one pony in the entire room knew the significance of everything he just listed off: himself.

“Or, in simpler terms: it goes fast, can do 16 things at once, and it glows pretty colors. Any color you want, too.” he summarized.

Whereas Obscurus was the resident audiophile, Wave Rider had become the resident technophile. The outdated, silver box that she had been using until now.had made him cringe. So many fake antivirus programs…

“Once again, thank you for the hard work on that, Wave and Train. I’m was shocked when I learned that ‘building’ a computer didn’t mean that you literally had to create every single part yourself.” Obscurus complimented.

“Aww, thanks.” said Wave Rider. “Like I said, it’s more like a complicated jigsaw puzzle.”

“So yeah, Obscurus; Train Spot was proposing that we build one of those DJ trucks for the Gathering. Of course, she suggested that it should look like a train.” said Eight Track.

“It’s not like it was that unexpected.” added Train Spot.

“That’s one of those trucks that blasts music, right?” inquired Obscurus.

“Yeah.” Eight Track inquired.

“Well, it could theoretically help to divert attention from Project Euphorius.” Obscurus noted. “In fact, anything involving Train Spot could be a good distraction just because no one knows she’s tied to me.”

Everypony else agreed. “Also, of course Train Spot would suggest that.” she observed. Laughter filled the room.

“On a related note, I was telling you earlier that we were drafting out outfits for the Gathering.” continued Wave Rider.

“Go on. You mentioned stuff about us wanting to be like ‘desert punks’.” Obscurus inquired.

“Though, that was more of a general idea. It might not exactly suit all of us; I was going to use my cyber suit, and Train Spot wanted to look ‘cool’ like me, but didn’t want a full-on suit and stuff.” Wave Rider explained.

“Yeah,” exclaimed Train Spot. “He wanted to make me some sort of mask with sound-activated lighting on it. Not sure if it was going to be one like his, or something you’d wear to one of Silk Threads’ fancy dress masquerade parties.“

“The former sounds cooler, but I’m not really the ‘edgy’ one here.” she admitted. Wave Rider chuckled a bit at her implication.

“I’m going to be one of those old-school fighter pilots; I drafted some designs for insignias in case you wanted to approve them, Obscurus!” said Eight Track.

“You know, I’ve always sort of liked those post-apocalyptic desert wasteland movies.” Obscurus admitted. “Given that your Gathering stuff looks like a scene from one, I think the dystopian, steampunk biker aesthetic would look quite fitting on me, don’t you think?.” Everypony reacted positively.

“Just get me a jacket and some of those round goggles the steampunk ponies are always wearing.” Obscurus requested, as Train Spot frantically wrote it down.

“Plus, if you imply that I absolutely, positively need something to keep me from having a mouthful of sand, erm... Actually, I’ll just do it myself. “ Obscurus declared “Shouldn’t be too hard to make one of those bandana things with a skull on them that the motorcyclists always seem to have. Just you wait!” she boasted.

“I’m just going to pop back to the studio for a moment, however, The export should be done by now...”

Clearly, her squad had goals.