Machine – MEMORY RECOVERY COMPLETE_
After securing the Celestia of Forest, the group gathered in the central area of the Warp Gate room to discuss their next move.
“I hope Forest is okay,” Twilight said rubbing her arm, “I mean, Lavos appeared there, right?”
“The people will probably be in a panic, but Medieval is still okay. There is no reason to believe that Fluttershy's world was destroyed,” DASH-379 stated.
“The way Nightmare Moon and Rarity are going about this is weird though,” Applejack said folding her arms, “I mean, they have Lavos's power, why don't they just destroy the worlds?”
“I think answer to that is in Celestia,” Fluttershy said, looking at the Seer, who sat down on a bench next to the portal to Forest, combing her hair, “Seer say that world is safe as long as she is here.”
“Celestia is so much more important than you guys realize,” Pinkamena said standing off by herself. Applejack walked over to her.
“You seem to know a lot about the situation. Why don't you stop being so enigmatic and tell us what the hell is going on here?” Applejack asked.
“Because you guys wouldn't get it if I just told you,” Pinkamena said with a shrug, “You just have to trust me.”
“You keep throwing that word out, trust,” DASH-379 said walking over to them, “But it is still difficult for some of us to put our trust in you, considering what you have done in the past.”
“Just like it's hard to trust you, right Athena?” Pinkamena asked giving DASH a sideways look. DASH-379 stepped back a bit in shock, but then glared at Pinkamena.
“That is different,” DASH-379 stated, “I am a machine, and my current state is due to an error in my programming.”
“Yeah, which makes it even harder to trust you, don't you think?” Pinkamena said, turning to DASH-379 and leaning forward, “I mean, if the way you are now is because of some “error”, what happens to us when said error gets corrected? You're a machine, right? That means your programming is everything.”
“Pinkamena, come on,” Twilight said, “Seriously?”
“I'm just saying everything that she's said,” Pinkamena said folding her arms under her breasts and giving DASH-379 a serious glare, “You can't be “just a machine” and yet still profess to have freedom to choose a path. You gotta choose a side at some point. Who are you? Are you “Dashie”, or “Athena”?”
DASH-379 looked down seriously, taking that in. Twilight hated to say it, but a lot of what Pinkamena was saying she had thought at some point. By now, DASH-379 had been with them for so long, and had helped them so much, it was easy to forget that she was malfunctioning. How much of what they saw was the real DASH-379, and how much was the error?
“Either way, we need to head to where the next statue is,” Pinkamena said walking to the portal to Machine, “I think I have an idea of where to go.”
“We go to DASH's world next?” Fluttershy asked.
“Probably for the best,” Pinkamena said, “It's the only one besides Standard not touched by Lavos yet, so it's probably the safest one.”
“Sounds good to me,” Applejack said, giving DASH-379 a look before following after Pinkamena. Fluttershy walked over to DASH and put her hands on her back.
“Trust DASH,” Fluttershy said, “DASH is best friend, so always trust her.”
“Thank you, Fluttershy,” DASH-379 said looking oddly somber, “I just wish that I trusted myself that much.”
DASH-379 turned and walked back to the portal after the others. Fluttershy wilted as Twilight stood next to her folding her arms.
“DASH not trust herself? I not understand,” Fluttershy admitted.
“Let's just say, Pinkamena wasn't too wrong this time about what she said to DASH,” Twilight said, “Come on, we can't get left behind.”
As they walked through the portal, Twilight thought really hard about what Pinkamena was saying, and she had a sudden chill. What would happen if DASH-379 got her memories back and was fixed? It was bad enough that they didn't have Rarity with them anymore.
Would they lose DASH-379 as well?
When they arrived in Machine, Pinkamena led the group back to the junkyard where they found DASH-379 initially. Somehow, the path they took felt a little familiar to some of them.
“So… anyone else getting an odd sense of de-ja-vous?” Applejack asked the group.
“I'm not,” Twilight said, “Well, besides being back in the junkyard.”
“I have be comparing our pathway to previous maps,” DASH said looking around, “This is the same path we took to the temple where we found the cure for Twilight.”
“Very good observation,” Pinkamena said, “The guardian statues are all in the same location in each world. It's how they communicate with each other.”
“So, I'll be able to go into the Land of the Gods even though I wasn't there for the first one?” Twilight asked running up to Pinkamena.
“As long as they're all together, it should be fine,” Pinkamena said, pointing back to Applejack, DASH-379, and Fluttershy, “They're the ones being tested.”
“Why us though?” Applejack asked.
“Twilight here was chosen by the Entity,” Pinkamena said wrapping her arms around Twilight, “You guys are the one's who need to take the test to enter. Also, you three were the one's there for the first test.”
“Chosen…?” Twilight asked looking down and frowning, “Just like with Spike. He mentioned the Entity too. Who is the Entity?”
“How to explain it,” Pinkamena said thoughtfully, “The Entity is the one who created the world the way it is. The multiple worlds, the rules, everything was essentially orchestrated by the Entity.”
“That mean Rarity as well?” Fluttershy asked, “Her fate connected to Entity?”
“In order for the universe to keep moving forward, some things need to be consistent,” Pinkamana said, “Rarity just sort of drew the short straw.”
“That is a horribly simple way to put it,” DASH-379 said, “Why did this happen?”
“It was the only way to protect the world from Lavos,” Pinkamena said somberly, “You know this isn't the first time Lavos has been a threat?”
“Where did Lavos come from, anyway?” Applejack asked.
“I don't know all the details,” Pinkamena admitted, “But from what I hear, two other groups fought Lavos at different points in history, both lead by someone known as a “Chrono Trigger”.”
“That word Rarity called,” Fluttershy stated, “What is Chrono Trigger?”
“It's a person or artifact that's able to affect fate itself,” Pinkamena explained as they entered an old abandoned warehouse, “The Chrono Trigger is exempt from the rules of the universe, making it both incredibly powerful and dangerous.”
“And Lavos was fought by two other Chrono Triggers?” Twilight asked Pinkamena.
“Yep yep,” Pinkamena said, “As you can see, neither one of them were able to do beat him though.”
“How are we expected to beat Lavos if the last two guys who tried failed?” DASH-379 asked.
“This is rare, but I gotta agree with DASH on this one,” Applejack said, “What do we have that they didn't?”
“Beats me,” Pinkamena said with a shrug, “Horribly enough, this current Chrono Trigger was an accident.”
“This journey is looking more and more hopeless as time goes on,” Twilight pointed out, “Just saying.”
“And now you know why I'm the way I am,” Pinkamena said, “By the way, we're almost there.”
The warehouse they were in was completely abandoned, to the point where even the robots there were all broken. The room they were in was large and wide open, giving them all a lot of space to move in.
Up ahead they saw a large robot knight sitting in a throne. It's entire body was golden and white, and on it's shoulders were two large cannons currently pointed upward. Twilight paled when she saw that.
“Please please please don't tell me that's what we're looking for,” Twilight fussed.
“It looks just like the statue we faced in Fluttershy's world,” Applejack said, “Yeah, I think that's it.”
“So we're at that part of the game then,” Twilight said with a sigh, “Wonderful.”
They approached the statue, and the room started trembling.
“This is familiar!” DASH-379 stated.
“Large statue move like one home?!” Fluttershy asked holding onto DASH-379 in fear.
You who seek enlightenment…
I am one who guards the door to Zenith…
Only one who passes my test may enter…
The orb on the statue's helmet glowed, and the guardian slowly rose from it's throne.
“We have to beat this thing?!” Twilight cried.
“We beat the first one! We can beat this one too!” Applejack said drawing her sword, “Everyone, get ready!”
The Guardian immediately charged up it's yellow element, and stomped its foot casting what looked like Speed Boost on itself. It then immediately charged up another yellow element sending a wave of electricity at everyone, forcing them to take cover.
“How the hell did you guys beat the one in Forest?!” Twilight asked.
“We just kept hitting it hard enough until it died!” Applejack said, “DASH, let's do it!”
DASH-379 nodded and rushed at the Guardian, punching and kicking with everything she had. The guardian knelt down and swiped her away, but Applejack rushed in and slashed it with her blade a few times to gather energy. Once she had enough, both she and DASH charged up their respective elements and hit the Guardian with their Beat Rush double tech.
Once they were finished, Fluttershy rushed over to the Guardian and slashed it with her daggers. Once she had enough energy stored, she charged up her green element, and cast a new spell, holding out her hands creating what looked like magical sharp leaves. She then held her arms forward, and the leaves shot at the Guardian, actually slicing through it's body a bit. (Razor Leaf)
The Guardian charged up it's yellow element, and this time fired orbs of electricity out of its cannons at everyone, forcing them to tun around the field out of the way.
Pinkamena pulled Twilight behind her to protect her from an incoming attack, and then charged at the Guardian slashing wildly with her bladed hoop. She then jumped away and charged up her blue element, casting Ice Body on Twilight to raise her defense.
Twilight fired at the guardian with her arrows, and then charged up her element, thinking of her familiar.
“Spike! Come forth!” she called out. A second later, Spike's howl was heard all throughout the room, and he immediately rushed at the guardian turning into a razor wheel knocking it back a bit.
As it fell to one knee, Applejack charged up her red element and shot a red laser at the Guardian. She then hit it with her Sword Dance move, but took a shot point blank from its cannons and flew back.
“Applejack!” Fluttershy cried out in shock. She then rushed toward the Guardian and slashed with her daggers before jumping back to stand next to DASH-379, who fired at the Guardian with her arm cannon to gather energy. She then charged up her yellow element.
“Releasing all limiters! Activating ATHENA Mode!” she called out, her visor appearing over her eyes as she entered her altered state. She immediately began charging up her element again as Fluttershy charged up her green element. DASH-379 held up her hand as a bolt of lightning came down on Fluttershy engulfing her body in electricity, and Fluttershy then spun around creating an electric tornado and rushed at the Guardian, hitting it with their Hurricane double tech.
The attack seemed to do significant damage to it, as it's entire body started sparking a bit. It quickly rose to it's feet and charged up its yellow element again, pointing it's cannons down at Fluttershy and charged up energy. Seeing this, DASH-379's eyes went wide behind her visor.
SPECIAL PRIORITY ZERO ACKNOWLEDGED
PROTECT ALLY: FLUTTERSHY AT ALL COSTS
“FLUTTERSHY, WATCH OUT!!!” DASH-379 screamed. She activated the jets on her feet and flew at Fluttershy, pushing her out of the way. Sadly, that pushed her systems to their limit and she was forced out of ATHENA Mode at that moment, her entire body overheating.
This meant that she had no way of dodging once the Guardian fired it's Charged Shot at her.
“DASH!!!” everyone screamed watching their robotic companion fly into a pillar and fall onto the ground. Fluttershy ran over to DASH-379 and knelt down next to her shaking her.
“DASH, please wake up!” Fluttershy begged, “Always wake up! Not dead! Not dead!”
The Guardian charged up its yellow element again and sent a wave of electricity at everyone, paralyzing everyone except for Twilight and Spike.
“Damn it!” Applejack shouted, her body sparking, “I… can't move!”
“Twilight… you and Spike have to keep fighting!” Pinkamena urged. Twilight looked down at Pinkamena nervously, but nodded and held up her bow.
“Spike, get ready!” Twilight shouted. Spike howled charging up his black element, and then fired a few Shadow Balls out of his mouth at the Guardian to get its attention. As it turned to them, Twilight fired at it with her bow and arrows before charging up her white element.
She cast Healing Stream on everyone, and Spike charged at the Guardian, thrashing about and even hitting it with his tail. He then jumped back and charged up his black element, hunched forward turning into a shadow, and then dashed past the Guardian for massive damage.
As they both fought, DASH-379 opened her eyes and slowly rose to her knees.
“DASH! You alive!” Fluttershy cried happily. DASH-379 looked at Fluttershy and smiled in relief.
“You are… unharmed… good…” DASH said. She was about to reach for Fluttershy, but stopped when she heard Twilight cry out in shock. She looked ahead and saw the Guardian knock her down and was about to stomp on her.
DASH-379 reacted immediately, running to her side and holding the foot up.
“DASH?!” Twilight cried out in shock.
“I… cannot hold this for long…!” DASH said through gritted teeth, “Someone has to finish it FAST!”
Twilight turned to Fluttershy and nodded, and the two of them charged up their respective elements. Twilight fired an arrow into the air creating an orb of light, and Fluttershy jumped up to grab it. Still in the air, she spread out her hands as the orb exploded into tiny sharp crystals that then rained down on top of the Guardian for massive damage. (Double Tech: Diamond Storm).
The Guardian fell back onto one knee in shock, and DASH-379 charged at it with, punching and kicking it with more force than usual before charging up her yellow element. She then held her leg out in preparation to kick the Guardian, and did a series of rapid side kicks at the Guardian, her leg charged with electricity. She ended the technique by doing two back flip kicks, knocking the Guardian down onto the ground and causing it's entire body to explode. (Lightning Leg)
The path to enlightenment has partially lit up
There is one more test…
“Oh my GOD!” Twilight cried falling to her knees as Spike dispersed, “We won?! We ACTUALLY won?!”
“Yep yep!” Pinkamena chirped running to Twilight and hugging her from behind, “You were great, bestie!”
“Um… t-thanks…” Twilight said, smiling awkwardly as she patted Pinkamena on the arm. She then looked at the rest of the group secretly giving them her best “please help me” face. Applejack shook her head chuckling and then walked over to DASH-379.
“You gonna be okay?” Applejack asked her.
“I am fine,” DASH-379 said, “The enemy has been dealt with, we can now proceed with our next objective.”
“That's fine and all, but that outburst wasn't lost on me,” Applejack pressed, “Are you sure you're-” she was cut off as DASH held up her hand and looked around.
“High level enemy approaching!” DASH shouted, “Take cover!”
A barrage of missiles shot into the warehouse at that instant. Everyone ran to take cover behind pillars, looking out in horror.
“What's going on?!” Twilight asked.
“Looks like someone waited until we finished here before attacking us!” Pinkamena said. DASH-379 was about to say something, but was cut off by a ringing in her ear.
“I am receiving a transmission from Discord,” DASH called out, “This is DASH unit 379. Do you read me, Discord?”
“Athena…! I'm sorry…! Tirek came and… took Celestia's body…!” Discord said, the transmission full of static. Also, he sounded hurt.
“The Celestia of this world was recaptured?!” DASH'379 asked, catching everyone's attention.
“You've GOT to be kidding me!” Pinkamena fussed, “She's the worst damsel in distress EVER!” they all heard a deep laughter from above them. Twilight looked up and saw a new robot hovering over them. This one, unlike all of the other robots they've seen, was male in frame. He had black and red armor almost like a gothic knight, jets on his back and feet, long black hair, and green slit like eyes. On his shoulder was a large golden cannon, and in his hands was a black and red helmet with a T-shaped opening.
“Oh my God…!” Twilight said recognizing the frame, “That's the robot we saw in development in the weapon's lab.”
“So this group of misfits are the ones causing my master so much trouble?” the robot said, “Don't make me laugh! I could wreck all of you easily in a heart beat!”
“Why don't you come down here and try it!” Applejack shouted, she and DASH-379 stepping out and pointing their weapons at the newcomer. The robot looked at DASH and smirked.
“Athena, you're the one I'm actually here to retrieve,” the robot said, “Master Tirek wants you to come home.”
“Master… Tirek…?” DASH-379 asked looking up at the robot in confusion, “Is that… the name of my creator?”
“Will you come with me of your own volition? Or am I going to have to knock some sense into you?” the robot asked. Before DASH could answer, Applejack shot a fireball at the black and red robot, forcing him to fly back a bit.
“I don't know who this Tirek is, but DASH is one of us!” Applejack proclaimed, shocking DASH-379 a bit. She was further shocked to see everyone gather around her with their weapons out ready to defend her. The robot shook his head and sighed.
“Well, I guess that's how we have to do this then,” the robot snapped his fingers and a large robot charged into the room. This one had two large fists and no head, as if someone could sit inside of it. The new robot hovered over to the large suit of armor, and instead of sitting inside of it, stood letting on foot rest on the edge and leaning forward arrogantly as he put his helmet on, which covered his face completely.
“My name is Sombra, Doctor Tirek's ultimate creation!” the robot said, resting his arm on his knee, “I'm going to enjoy turning you into scrap!”
DASH-379 wasted no time charging at the large armor looking robot and engaging it. It took her attacks head on, but nothing she did seemed to affect it at all. The robot punched her back, sending her flying to the group as Applejack and Pinkamena rushed at the robot. Both of them attacked the robot with their weapons with all of their might, but the robot charged up and did a barrage of punches knocking them back.
Applejack charged up her red element and then used Vigor on herself. She then charged at the robot hitting it again with her now empowered blade. The armor robot punched Applejack back and then Sombra flew off it and fired missiles out of his knee out at everyone, laughing maniacally then entire time.
Twilight fired at Sombra with her arrows, but he flew out of the way of each attack and landed back on his armored robot. He then rushed at them punching rapidly with it, forcing the group to split up jumping out of the way.
Fluttershy charged up her green element, and then used her Tail Spin attack against the robot carrier and Sombra, neither one showing any signs of taking damage. When the attack stopped, Sombra yawned.
“You guys bore me,” Sombra taunted, “I was expected more from you, but I guess I'll just end this.” he shot up into the air and charged up a red element, “THE END HAS COME!!!”
Out of his shoulder cannon fired a large red beam of energy, which he shot at the ground and actually moved it to hit everyone and destroy part of the warehouse (Vile Cannon). As everyone screamed in pain, Sombra had his armored robot pick up DASH-379 in its large hands.
“You're coming with me, Athena,” Sombra said. He threw her into his armored carrier as it walked off, unaware that Fluttershy was still partially conscious reaching out to them.
“D-DASH….!” Fluttershy cried as she fell out unconscious.
INITIATING SYSTEM DIAGNOSTIC
ALL IMPORTANT FILES HAVE BEEN RECOVERED FROM REBOOT
NEW MEMORY FILES HAVE BEEN LOCATED
DOWNLOADING NEW MEMORY FILES
MASTER REGISTRATION: DR. TIREK HAS BEEN INITIATED
ID REGISTRATION: ATHENA HAS BEEN INITIATED
ALL WEAPON SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN REACTIVATED
REACTIVATING DASH UNIT
DASH-379 opened her eyes and sat up looking around. She was in a lab. One that her systems recognized. She had been here many times actually. This was where she was created.
“Athena, you have woken up my child,” a worn voice said from a nearby computer. DASH looked to see an elderly man looking at her, “Let's check to see if the memory files have been uploaded correctly. Do you recognize me?”
Did she? Wait, something came to her. She did know this man. She loved this man actually. He was important to her, and she knew to listen to him no matter what.
“You are… Doctor Tirek,” DASH-379 said slowly, “My creator…”
Tirek sighed in relief, “Good, everything checks out. I had worried that the Pinocchio Effect had taken hold of you for a second, but it seems that you're systems are still functioning properly.”
“Master… what happened to me…?” DASH-379 asked holding her head, “My memories are fuzzy, but I feel like I was…” she saw a flash of a girl smiling at her. This girl was dressed funny, and had really long pink hair.
“You were malfunctioning, and had lost your memory files. Thankfully I had a back up of them. You might experience odd data from time to time,” Tirek said, “Sadly, I could not erase all of the data, so if anything odd shows up, disregard it. You only need to be concerned with the data I give you, understand?”
“Yes, Master Tirek,” DASH-379 said, getting up from the work bench and bowing to her Master, “What are my orders?”
“Sombra is helping me get absolute control of all of the robots in this world,” Tirek said, “I need you to retrieve a particular item from the group you were traveling with before. They have a powerful Gate Key with them, and we'll need that if we're to get to the other worlds and the Land of the Gods. Once you get that, just dispose of them and prepare to enter the other worlds.”
“Understood Master Tirek,” DASH-379 said, “I will carry out your orders.”
As she left the room, she felt a sharp pain in her head as that girl appeared again. She remembered this girl hugging her tightly, looking up at her and crying.
You are… my… best…
“Disregarding memory file,” DASH-379 said, pushing the odd file away, “I must carry out my mission for Master Tirek.”
As she sauntered out of the lab, something within her died inside. It was a foreign feeling, but something within her felt great sadness for some reason. That wasn't all though. Something inside of her was screaming for her to stop. Like her programming was fighting itself. That didn't matter though. Her master told her to only trust the data that she received from him directly.
Thus anyone who wasn't associated with him was an enemy. One that she would destroy with extreme prejudice.