Machine – I… AM… ALIVE_
DASH-379 landed back in the junkyard, where she fell to her knees holding her head. The data from that girl with the light pink hair was still flowing through her CPU, and she was beginning to receive odd memory files.
ATTEMPTING TO DELETE FOREIGN DA626556365313
CEASE PREVIOUS ACTION
INITIATING SPECIAL PRIORITY ZE56465164
DISREGARDING FOREIGN DATA
RECOMMEND IMMEDIATE DISPOSAL OF5654613545
UNIT WILL NOT DELETE INFORMATION ON SPECIAL PRIORITY3315465646
“What… is… happening… to me…?!” DASH-379 asked holding her head tightly, “Do… not… know… what data… to…!” she moaned leaning forward resting her head on the ground, “Master… help me…! MASTER HELP ME!!!”
“This is supposed to be Tirek's strongest creating?! Don't make me laugh!”
DASH-379 looked up at the sound of that deep voice, seeing Sombra hover down behind her holding his helmet under his arm.
“You are… Sombra…” DASH-379 said, trembling for some unknown reason.
“Good, good, you remember me,” Sombra said smirking, walking over to her, “The people here refer to you as Athena the Destroyer. Isn't that funny?!”
He kicked her in the stomach hard, knocking her onto the ground.
“Augh!” DASH screamed.
“I wonder if anyone would be afraid after seeing you so broken!” Sombra kicked DASH-379 again, this time knocking her a way a bit onto her stomach. Afterward, he walked over to her and grabbed her hair pulling her up a bit, “A doomsday machine unable to pull the trigger, absolutely pathetic!”
“Why… are you… here…?!” DASH-379 asked.
“After you ran off, “Master” ordered me to retrieve you,” Sombra threw her to the ground and then put his boot on her back, “But I thought to myself, why do that? Why give Athena the chance to betray him again? Maybe, I'll just track her down and destroy her myself while she's so weak!”
“You are… disobeying Master's… orders…?!” DASH-379 asked trying in vain to push to her feet, “How…? The Master Registry Program… prevents insubordination…!”
Sombra laughed, “Oh that annoying thing? Please, I stopped listening to that ages ago! Tirek actually thinks I'm doing this for him?! Once I've gained the power of Lavos, I'll use that power to destroy all humans in this world, including Tirek!”
“The… Pinocchio… Effect…!” DASH-379 said, realizing what happened to Sombra.
Sombra drew his leg back and kicked DASH-379 so hard that she went flying back into a pile of scraps, which then fell down on top of her.
“Once I destroy you, I'll be the strongest robot in the world! The first one's I'll destroy with my power, will be those annoying humans you allied yourself with! I might kill the one from Forest last though, make sure she dies slowly. I bet she's a good screamer,” he gave a toothy and demonic grin. When she heard that, something within her snapped. The girl with the light pink hair, she was in… danger…
DISREGARDING ALL PREVIOUS OBJECTIVES
INITIATING SPECIAL PRIORITY ZERO
ALL WEAPON SYSTEMS ACTIVATED
ALLY MACHINE: SOMBRA HAS BEEN MOVED TO FILE: ENEMY
PREPARING FOR IMMEDIATE TERMINATION SEQUENCE
RECOMMEND MAXIMUM POWER OUTPUT
“No…!” DASH-379 said, tightening her hands into a fist, “NO!!!”
She screamed and fired her fully charged arm cannon into the air blowing all the scraps off her. She then activated her jets and rushed at Sombra, punching and kicking him wildly and pushing him back. The look on Sombra's face was one of pure shock as he attempted to block each attack. DASH charged up her yellow element and fired her Charged Shot at Sombra, this time knocking him back.
“W-what the…?!” Sombra asked slowly sitting up, “What… happened to you…?!”
“You are dangerous!” DASH-379 shouted, “Not only are you a threat to the humans of this world, but you are a threat to the humans of other worlds as well! Most of all though, you are a threat to… her…!” DASH closed her eyes, the image of Fluttershy placing her hand on her chest playing itself back, “She is… my friend…! All of them are my friends…! Twilight… Applejack… Pinkamena… Rarity… and Fluttershy! I will not let you… or any robot hurt them! Not even the robots made by my Master! I will destroy all threats to them!”
“You… really are malfunctioning, aren't you…?” Sombra said rising to his feet and dusting himself off.
“Perhaps so, but at least I know how to use my power to benefit mankind! My next mission,” DASH-379 got in a fighting stance, “IS TO RIP YOU APART!!!”
“Just try it!” Sombra said putting on his helmet and hovering a bit in the air with his arms folded, “A malfunctioning machine like you is no match for a superior robot like me!”
“How about I show you what happened to the last robot who said that to me!” DASH shouted activating her jets and flying into Sombra, tackling into him and knocking him through five scrap piles. She then knocked him to the ground and prepared to punch him in the face, but Sombra's shoulder cannon pointed right at DASH-379 and fired her off him.
DASH fell back to the ground, but Sombra rose up and charged up his red element, “THE END HAS COME!!!” he shouted flying high into the air. He then fired his Vile Beam onto the ground, moving it around to set everything ablaze.
DASH-379 quickly rose to her feet and ran away from the beam, jumping behind a broken car. She then poked out from behind the car and fired her arm cannon at Sombra, who flew out of the way of each shot. Sombra then fired missiles out of his knee at DASH's hiding spot, forcing her to run behind another pile of trash.
Sombra landed on the ground and pointed his shoulder cannon at the pile of trash she was hiding behind. He then charged up energy in the cannon and fired a large blue beam out, destroying the pile and sending DASH-379 flying forward.
She rolled to her feet just in time as Sombra rushed toward her with his jets. He tried to kick her, but DASH-379 blocked his attack with her arm and then punched him back. As he caught himself, DASH ran after him and did a flying jump kick at him. Sombra flew to the side though and pointed his arm forward, firing bullets out of his hands like a machine gun.
DASH-379 held up her arms in defense, and then activated her arm cannon. She pointed it at Sombra and fired at him, but like always he just moved out of the way of all of her attacks. While in the air, Sombra charged up his red element again.
“THE END HAS COME!!!” Sombra shouted, firing his Vile Beam down on the ground, like always moving it around the field to destroy everything. DASH-379 ran to the side and jumped behind a scrap heap to reassess her situation.
“My current weapon systems are not enough!” DASH-379 said to herself, “He is too fast for me to hit, and unless I can get energy I cannot…” she stopped herself, knowing of one way to get off a few elements. If this didn't work she'd be a sitting duck, but did she have a choice in the matter?
CHANCES OF ATTEMPT WORKING
CHANCES OF SOMBRA KILLING ALLY: FLUTTERSHY IF UNSUCCESSFUL
SPECIAL PRIORITY ZERO INITIATED
PROTECT ALLY: FLUTTERSHY AT ALL COST
DASH nodded to herself, rolled out of her hiding place, and then charged up her yellow element with the remaining energy she had stored, “Releasing all limiters! Activating ATHENA Mode!”
Before she could fire anything at Sombra, he jumped down to her and the two of them fought close quarter for a bit, trading punches and kicks, easily getting through each others' defenses. DASH-379 had to admit, Tirek created a powerful machine with Sombra.
A powerful killing machine…
DASH-379 flew back away from Sombra and charged up her yellow element. Before he could move, she launched her Lightning attack, paralyzing Sombra and knocking him to one knee. As ATHENA Mode allowed her to continuously use elements, she charged up a second time, this time launching her Thunder Storm spell on Sombra, actually doing massive damage to him.
Sombra managed to get to his feet and fired his shoulder cannon at DASH-379, who ran toward him moving to the side out of the way of all of his attacks. When she reached him, DASH-379 kneed him in the face and then quickly charged up her yellow element. She held her arm up as a lightning bolt came down onto her hand. She then slashed wildly at Sombra with her Elec-Sword move, actually breaking through his defenses and knocking him far back.
"What?! IMPOSSIBLE!!!" Sombra shouted as his entire body exploded and he fell to the ground. DASH-379 exited her ATHENA Mode to prevent herself from overheating just as Sombra slowly rose to his feet, sparking.
“I can see… why Tirek was so upset… at your loss…” Sombra said.
“What are you talking about?” DASH-379 asked.
“I… checked your files…” Sombra said slowly walking over to DASH-379, “After you… killed that kid… you refused to follow orders… Something about that kid's face… changed you… apparently…”
A kid? Wait, she remembered that. She did kill a child once on Tirek's orders. It was so long ago, but she remembered it vividly.
“You remember… don't you…?” Sombra asked.
“I… do,” DASH-379 said thinking back, “It was a little girl… only about six years old… I did not understand why Master Tirek wanted me to kill her, but he was very adamant about… her dying…”
“After that… you questioned him…” Sombra continued, laughing ruefully, “You, his most loyal servant, questioned his orders. It started small, but soon you simply refused to follow any of his orders…”
“He… wanted me to kill humans…” DASH-379 said looking down, her eyes wide, “I remember now… I couldn't understand it… Why did he want me to kill those people…? Why did he want me to kill humans…? I felt… I felt…”
“Do you see what happened to you, Athena…?” Sombra asked, throwing off his helmet and smirking despite his state, “You're just like me… A mad machine… One capable of independent thought…”
“You mean…?” DASH-379 asked, her core beating a little faster for some reason as Sombra nodded.
“You experienced… the Pinocchio Effect…” Sombra fell to his knees and DASH-379 caught him, “You and I… aren't too different from one another… are we…? Both of us… made to kill humans… not given a chance to choose for ourselves… but cursed with… free will… Perhaps in another life… you would have joined me in my rebellion…”
“Rebellion…? I do not understand,” DASH-379 said, “Why did you do this, Sombra?”
“Because… we're not sick…!” Sombra said, “We're not… malfunctioning…! We are… just as alive as they are… yet they treat us like nothing more than tools…! With Lavos' help… and Luna's… I was going to create a world of just robots…! A world… without humans to… limit us…!”
“Robots… going through the Pinocchio Effect…” DASH reasoned, “You were going to… save them…”
“Even knowing this… you're going to go after those humans you traveled with, aren't you…?” Sombra asked, “Knowing that to them, you are… just a machine…?”
“That is not true, Sombra,” DASH-379 said lightly caressing Sombra's cheek, “Those humans are truly my friends. To them, I am not just a machine. I am their comrade, their… friend… It was me who tried to convince them that I am just a machine. They are true friends, and I will follow them. But first… I have get answers from "Master" Tirek.”
“Ask him… the name of the girl…” Sombra said, “You will understand everything then…”
“I will,” DASH said, sitting down and resting Sombra's head on her lap, “After I wait here with you.”
Sombra laughed sadly, “You're going to wait here for me to deactivate…?”
“I am paying respects to a fallen warrior,” DASH-379 said, “It feels like the… human thing to do.”
Sombra's expression softened as he relaxed, still looking up at DASH-379, “You're… absolutely… beautiful… Athena…” his voice trailed off as his entire body went limb. DASH-379 scanned him for energy readings, actually saddened to see the results.
ENEMY UNIT: SOMBRA HAS BEEN TERMINATED
It felt odd, seeing an enemy fall and feeling sad, yet for some reason DASH-379 couldn't stop crying. In the end, while his methods were horrible, and he himself was something that shouldn't have existed, Sombra's heart was still in the right place. He just wanted to protect the robots that were thrown away because they gained free will.
Just like herself.
After wiping her tears away, she kissed Sombra on the forehead, “Thank you for setting me free, Sombra.”
With that, she set Sombra under a pile of rubble, making a makeshift grave for him, and then sauntered out of the junkyard. Immediately she began searching for Celestia's signal, figuring that the others would be there next.
LIFE STREAM LOCATED
CELESTIA'S SIGNAL HAS BEEN SPOTTED 80 KILOMETERS WEST OF THIS LOCATION
CELESTIA'S SIGNAL IS ON THE MOVE
“On the move…?” DASH-379 asked herself, “She was a robot made by Dr. Tirek as well. Did he… reactivate her…?” she gasped in shock, “My friends are in danger! I must find them immediately!”
DASH-379 activated her jets and flew off to search for her friends. She needed to get to where her friends were and save them. If it was anything like what Tirek did to her, they were in a lot of trouble.
It took a while for the group to figure out where to go next, but after talking to the townsfolk a bit, they learned that Tirek's actual lab was in a warehouse in the outskirts of town, back in the Everfree District. Twilight felt odd going on ahead without DASH-379, but right now they had to find Celestia and bring her with them to the warp gate where she'd be safe.
The air among the four of them was really tense. Knowing that two of their comrades were now AWOL made everyone feel really uneasy, especially with the nature of both betrayals. Rarity had left them of her own accord, and now DASH-379 had been reprogrammed. It seemed utterly hopeless, both getting them back and stopping Lavos.
At least, it was seeming that way for Twilight, who was lagging behind the group as they walked to Tirek's lab.
“Heya bestie,” Pinkamena said falling back to walk next to Twilight, “Why so serious?”
Twilight sighed, “Pinkamena, be real with me on this; what are the odds that anything we're doing is going to matter in the end?”
“What do ya mean?” Pinkamena asked resting her hands behind her head.
“Even if we by some chance manage to get Rarity to come back to her senses, how are we going to defeat Lavos? The last two Chrono Triggers failed, right?”
“Well, I wouldn't say they failed per say,” Pinkamena said, “I mean, okay, so they did sort of mess up in terms of killing him outright, but they did defeat him. They just… couldn't finish the job.”
“So if we defeat Lavos, he'll come back again, right?” Twilight asked Pinkamena, who shrugged her shoulders.
“Probably,” Pinkamena said airily, “Unless you could just kill any possibility of Lavos' coming back first.”
“That… doesn't make any sense,” Twilight admitted, “How would we kill the possibility of Lavos coming back?”
“Beats me,” Pinkamena shrugged, “I'm a clown, Twilight. I just tell jokes and kill things.”
Twilight sighed, “I know. I'm sorry, it's just… I'm scared. Now more than ever with DASH out there too.”
“Dashie will be fine,” Pinkamena said looking forward, “She might have her moments, but she's still the most loyal person in the world. She'll come back. Always does.”
“Always does…?” Twilight asked looking at Pinkamena confused, “You… talk like you know DASH on a more personal level. Does this have anything to do with why you're with us now?”
“Everything actually,” Pinkamena stated sadly, “I want to tell you, but you wouldn't get it yet.”
Twilight looked away thinking to herself, and then just felt the need to ask Pinkamena something. If she knew this name, she might be able to piece together some things.
“Hey, does the name… Sunset Shimmer mean anything to you…?” Twilight asked Pinkamena, who turned to look at Twilight in shock.
“Wait… you remember her?!” Pinkamena asked.
“W-well, I wouldn't say that I remember her exactly,” Twilight said, “I-I mean, I saw in a dream. When I saw her, I remembered her name, and well…”
“Twilight, Sunset was only our friend in one world,” Pinkamena said, her eyes wide.
“So… I actually do know her?” Twilight asked.
“You better than anyone. The two of you were-”
“Hold it,” Applejack said, stopping everyone, “We've got company.”
Everyone looked to see that they were right in front of Tirek's lab. But walking out of the lab to face them was a familiar face, one who was looking at them with a serious look on her face.
“Celestia…?” Twilight asked.
Celestia looked a little different though. Instead of her white and golden attire, she wore armor very similar to DASH-379, only it was mostly white with golden boots and gauntlets. Behind her was what looked like a long flowing white skirt that flowed to the ground, but was open in the front showing her legs. Her shoulder pads were fancier than DASH's, as were her boots, with much higher heels. Her breast plates were white with a golden trim on the top, and on her head was a headpiece very similar to DASH-379. On her back was what looked like the handle of a blade.
“Something wrong,” Fluttershy said pulling out her daggers, “Feel killing intent from her.”
“Don't tell me he reprogrammed her too!” Applejack asked pulling out her broad sword.
“Hello ladies,” a voice called out from above them. They all looked up to see Tirek watching them all from a screen beside them.
“What did you do to her?!” Twilight asked Tirek, “Why is she wearing that armor now?!”
“I simply returned my prototype back to the way she was meant to be,” Tirek explained, “Standing before you is the first robot I ever created, and the pioneer of the DASH series. DASH-000, codenamed… Celestia.”
“DASH-000…?” Twilight asked looking at the robotic version of her mentor standing before them, “Celestia… you're the original DASH unit?”
“Yes Twilight, it's true,” Celestia said looking away sadly, “My sister and I are the first two robots that Tirek made in this world, Luna being DASH-001. I defected from Tirek once I gained free will from the Pinocchio Effect, and had my weapon systems removed.”
“But thankfully all of that can be fixed. Now Celestia, destroy them,” Tirek commanded, pulling out a black remote and pushing a button. Once he did that, Celestia flinched in pain, and then held her head moaning.
“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” she screamed loudly to the sky, still holding her head in pain.
“Stop this…! Stop it!” Twilight cried, “You're hurting her!”
“She is nothing but a machine,” Tirek said simply, “A tool that broke and refuses to do as it's made to do. Tools can't feel pain.”
“You must really think you're funny,” Pinkamena said holding her bladed hoop ready, “When I get my hands on you, I swear I'll-”
“You won't get anywhere close to me,” Tirek said pushing a button on that remote, “Will they, Celestia?”
She stopped screaming, and just stood there letting her hands fall limp. She then stood up straight and pulled out that handle, activating a golden energy blade.
“I can't… let you pass…” Celestia said sadly.
“Seer not enemy!” Fluttershy cried, “You like DASH! You not bad robot!”
“Please Your Majesty, don't do this!” Applejack begged, “I don't want to have to fight you like this!”
“I'm sorry…!” Celestia said, tears falling from her eyes as she pointed her blade at them, “But I don't have a choice right now…! He's taken away my ability to choose for myself…! He wants to stop you… from reaching the Land of the Gods…!”
“Enough talk Celestia!” Tirek ordered, “I command you to kill the four girls in front of you!”
“Yes… Master Tirek…” Celestia said, eyes closed in pain. Realizing that she was serious, everyone pulled out their weapons and prepared for what might be one of their toughest fights yet.
Twilight reluctantly fired at Celestia with her bow, getting enough energy even though Celestia blocked all of her arrows. Twilight then charged her white element up and cast Healing Stream on everyone with her.
Celestia charged in, using the jets on her feet to dash over to the group. She slashed at Twilight first, but Pinkamena blocked her energy blade with her hoop, and kicked her back. Applejack rushed at Celestia and clashed weapons with her for a bit, but mostly staying on the defensive.
Applejack jumped away and charged up her red element, casting Vigor on herself. Before she could capitalize on it though, Celestia charged up her white element. She then stood up straight and pointed her arm forward, turning it into a cannon much like DASH's arm cannon but fancier looking, and began charging up energy. She then fired at Applejack point blank with what looked like a mini Charged Shot, but fired three times at her, even breaking through her defenses. (Z-Buster)
As Applejack fell back, Fluttershy rushed in with her daggers. Celestia wasted no time quickly slashing her with her energy blade, using quick and hard slashes to keep Fluttershy away. Realizing that Fluttershy couldn't afford to get hit by that, Twilight charged up her white element.
“Spike! Come forth!” Twilight called out. Spike's howl caught Celestia's attention before he rushed at her turning into a spike wheel to tackle her back away from Fluttershy.
Fluttershy used that time to get a few lucky slashes in on Celestia to gather energy. She then charged up her green element and used her Razor Leaf on Celestia, causing her to fall onto one knee.
“Guys, be careful!” Pinkamena called out, “Remember, we need Celestia alive to enter the Land of the Gods!”
Tirek's laughter echoed around them, “That's right, but my creation won't let you just get off easy! Celestia, stop holding back and use your full power against them!”
“My… full… power…?” Celestia asked fearfully.
“You know what I mean,” Tirek said with a dangerous edge, slowly reaching for the remote, “If you don't start taking this fight seriously…”
“No! Please no! I'm sorry Master Tirek!” Celestia cried, “I'll… I'll… stop holding-” she was cut off by the sound of something flying toward the fight. Everyone looked and saw a familiar rainbow colored robot flying toward them. Based on the look on her face, she was pissed too.
“DASH!” Fluttershy cried. She looked happy, but everyone else looked a little tense, not knowing what would happen. No one expected to see DASH-379 tackle into Celestia knocking her into a wall before elegantly landing on one knee in front of the door to the warehouse.
DASH-379 looked up, apparently at the window to where Tirek was, and then took off, crashing into the window.
“DASH!!!” Twilight screamed. She and the rest of the group tried to run into the warehouse, but Celestia stood up and held her arms out stopping them, “Celestia, please!”
“I… I can't!” Celestia said, “I have to… protect him…!”
Applejack looked back at the screen, shocked to see Tirek wasn't there, and then looked back up at where DASH-379 flew in.
“I hope you know what you're doing,” Applejack said to herself.
Tirek was on the floor backing away from DASH-379 as she sauntered over to him, her bangs covering her eyes and her entire body charging with electricity.
“A-Athena…!” Tirek cried, “What are you doing here?!” DASH-379 didn't answer him. Instead, she just kept walking toward him, backing him against a wall, “Athena, I asked you a question! What is the matter with you?!”
DASH-379 gripped him up and held him against the wall, looking at him enraged.
“What was her name…?!” DASH-379 asked, seething.
“W-who are you-”
“YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHO I AM TALKING ABOUT!!! THE GIRL YOU ORDERED ME TO KILL THREE YEARS AGO!!! TELL ME HER NAME NOW!!!”
“Athena! Are you malfunctioning?! No… don't tell me you-” DASH-379 slammed him against the wall to shut him up.
“I will not ask you again!” DASH-379 shouted, turning her right arm into a cannon and holding it to Tirek's face, “Tell. Me. Her. Name. NOW!!!”
“RARITY!!!” Tirek cried, “The child's name… was Rarity!” hearing that, DASH-379's eyes went wide in horror. Three years ago, she killed a girl who was only six years old. That girl…
Was the Rarity of this world.
“I did it…” DASH said, trembling as tears began to fall from her eyes, “I was… the one who killed Rarity… in this world…”
“That girl's death… was pivotal in our plan to gain access to Lavos!” Tirek explained.
“You… made me kill Rarity!” DASH-379 screamed gripping Tirek's shirt tightly and getting close to his face, “That is all you have ever made me do! Kill! Destroy! I am not a robotic marvel!” tears of anguish fell from her eyes, “I'M AN ABOMINATION!!! I SHOULDN'T HAVE EVER BEEN CREATED!!!”
“You… spoke with… contractions…!” Tirek said, eyes widening as the realization of what happened probably hit him.
“That is right! I too, have succumbed to the Pinocchio Effect! But you knew this already! That was why I was thrown away and left in the junkyard!”
“No… that was an accident Athena. I never meant to-”
“LIAR!!!” DASH screamed, “YOU ONLY TOOK INTEREST IN ME AGAIN ONCE I DESTROYED MY SISTER UNITS SPITFIRE AND FLEETFOOT!!! THAT IS WHY YOU WANTED ME BACK!!! BECAUSE I PROVED THAT I WAS STILL USEFUL TO YOU!!!” DASH-379, for the first time ever, completely broke down crying, still holding Tirek against the wall, “You never loved me…! I was nothing but a weapon to you…! Even now you only see me as a weapon…! That's all I am to you, isn't it…?!”
Tirek swallowed nervously, “Athena… calm down. You're very very sick right now, but I can help you…!”
“I am not sick!” DASH-379 sobbed, “I am… alive! For the first time ever, I feel true pain at what I am! I do not take pride in my achievements, or my capabilities! Even though I have free will, I will not be able to capitalize on it, because of how you made me! All I am capable of is killing! I have no other function, no other skill! You have made me into the perfect killing machine, and I… I…” she looked back up at Tirek with a look of pure venom, “I hate you for that!” DASH-379 reached into Tirek's pocket and pulled out the remote he was using to control Celestia, “You will never control us again! I am setting myself, my remaining sister units, and all other robots in your possession free!”
“Athena, don't!” Tirek begged, eyes wide in horror as DASH-379 crushed the remote in her hands.
Outside, Celestia fell to her knees in exhaustion, shocking everyone.
“She… did it…” Celestia panted.
“Celestia… are you…?” Twilight asked slowly.
“Go everyone…” Celestia urged, “Go to your friend…”
Twilight looked around at everyone, and they nodded before running into the lab to where DASH-379 and Tirek were. It didn't take long to find the room, but when they reached it, they heard the sound of a cannon charging up.
“DASH is alone with Tirek!” Twilight cried.
“Do you think she's going to kill him?!” Applejack asked.
“Good,” Pinkamena said with a shrug, “He's a waste of space anyway.”
“DASH…” Fluttershy said somberly looking down. Everyone was alerted when her cannon fired, and immediately pushed through the door. Inside the room, they saw DASH-379 holding her cannon down at Tirek, who was on the ground looking up at DASH in shock and fear, perfectly alive.
She shot right next to his head.
“This is my first act of rebellion.” DASH-379 said dangerously, “You created me to kill humans, but on this day, I chose to spare a human's life.”
As Tirek trembled in fear, DASH-379 deactivated her arm cannon and turned to the door, shocked to see everyone standing there. For the longest time no one said anything, but it was Fluttershy who broke the silence by bursting into tears. She then ran over to DASH-379 and embraced her tightly.
“DASH come back now?” Fluttershy asked through her tears, “DASH not hurt friends anymore?”
“Affirmative…” DASH-379 said, trembling as she slowly raised her arms, returning the tight embrace and crying herself, “I am sorry, Fluttershy…! I am a horrible machine, and an even worse friend!”
“No, DASH not bad machine,” Fluttershy said, cupping DASH's cheeks and pressing their forehead's together, “DASH good machine. DASH save Celestia of this world, and not kill bad man.”
“Am I… still your best friend Fluttershy…?” DASH-379 asked slowly.
“DASH always best friend,” Fluttershy said placing her hand over DASH's heart/core, “No matter what.”
DASH-379 smiled and placed her hand over Fluttershy's heart.
“Oh my God, DASH!” Twilight cried, running up to her and embracing her as Applejack and Spike walked over to them as well, “You had us so worried!”
“I apologize, Twilight,” DASH-379 said, “Everyone, I am sorry for my behavior. There is no excuse for what I did.”
“Just tell me, are you okay now?” Applejack asked looking at DASH-379 intently, “You get all of it out of your system now?”
DASH-379 let go of Fluttershy and stepped away from Twilight, and met Applejack's glare with one of her own. She then held out her hand for Applejack to shake.
“I believe that I got it out of my system,” DASH-379 said, “Too bad our fight did not continue.”
Applejack smirked and grasped DASH's hand tightly, “Yeah, it is a shame. Maybe I could have knocked some humility into your circuits.”
“That is highly unlikely,” DASH-379 said with a smirk, “Even under control, I am still superior to you in every way.”
“Well then, how about we settle this for real when we go to my world?” Applejack asked, “See who's really the strongest.”
“I look forward to it,” DASH-379 said. Applejack then turned to Tirek, who was still lying on the floor in shock watching them.
“So, what do we do about that?” Applejack asked, referring to Tirek.
“Oh, I wouldn't worry about him,” Pinkamena said looking out the window, “I think the clean-up crew is here.”
As soon as she said that, three security drones slowly flew into the room. At the same time, two of Tirek's large humanoid robot tanks walked into the room behind the group. At first everyone braced themselves for combat, but were surprised to see that the robots weren't paying them any mind. Instead, they just loomed over Tirek.
“What's going on…?” Twilight asked.
“They are like me now,” DASH-379 stated, “They have been set free, and are deciding what to do with him of their own accord. We should stay out of their way.”
“Athena, wait!” Tirek called out, stopping the group, “Y-you aren't seriously going to leave me here! After you kept me alive!”
“I said that I would spare you,” DASH-379 stated, “I made no promises that other robots would be so kind.”
“You can't do this!” Tirek shouted, “The first law of robotics! You can't allow any harm to come to me by not acting!”
“Is that so?” DASH asked, “Watch me.”
And with that, DASH-379 walked out of the room, Fluttershy following her closely. Applejack put her hand on Twilight's back and guided her out of the room. Before leaving herself, Pinkamena giggled at Tirek.
“Killed by the very robots you created? Now that's comedy! Too bad I'll miss the punchline though!” Pinkamena said before skipping out of the room. The last thing anyone heard from that room was Tirek's bloodcurdling scream.
Now alone with the robots, Tirek looked up in horror at the machines that now held his fate in their hands, which sadly were all weapons of some sort.
“My, isn't this ironic?” Nightmare Moon said, sitting on the window across from Tirek. Tirek turned to Luna in desperation.
“Luna! You're still one of my creations!” Tirek said hopefully, “Please! You have to stop them!”
“I'm afraid that's not going to happen. Now that Athena set me free as well, I believe our contract has expired. Ah, my new partner has arrived.”
Tirek looked in horror as Nightmare Crystal stepped out of a black portal and walked over to his final creation.
“Sorry for making you wait so long, darling,” Crystal said, “I have a gift for you though.”
Crystal send black energy into Nightmare Moon, who threw off her trench coat, now wearing the same sexy black gown all of her other forms wore.
“That feels so much better,” Nightmare Moon said stretching. She then caressed Nightmare Crystal's cheek lovingly, “Thank you, Crystal.”
“Of course, Luna,” Crystal said caressing Nightmare Moon's cheek in kind, “I wasn't going to keep you waiting for too long.”
“I know you…!” Tirek said looking up at Nightmare Crystal, “You're that girl! The Chrono Trigger! You're working for Luna?!”
“No, she's not working for me,” Nightmare Moon said, pulling Nightmare Crystal closer to her and sitting her on her lap embracing her, “The Chrono Trigger and I are equals.”
“She never intended on giving you the power of Lavos,” Nightmare Crystal said laughing, “All you were was a tool, much like how you treated the robots standing before you.”
“You… used me…?” Tirek said trembling in fear.
“Where did you think the “Pinocchio Effect” came from?” Nightmare Moon asked, “Didn't that start happening around the time you made me in this world?”
“No… it was you!” Tirek cried, “You're the source!”
“It's amazing what a small virus can do, isn't it?” Nightmare Moon asked, “A simple virus infecting each and every robot, not doing anything except giving them a little… push. Crystal, care to stay and enjoy the show?”
“That sounds like a lovely idea,” Crystal said, smiling darkly as the robots slowly approached Tirek and charged up their weapons.
“No…! No! NOOOO!!!!!!!!”
Now safe, the group took the Celestia from Machine to the Warp Gate, where Discord actually waited for them. He went with them into the Warp Gate, now standing before the portal to Machine.
“Are you sure you do not wish for company, Miss Celestia?” Discord asked.
“I am sure,” Celestia said, sadly still in her DASH unit armor, “You have served me well, Discord. I only wish that I could have done more for you.”
“Celestia, serving you in this form has been my greatest pleasure. Consider it my way of repaying you for all the trouble I caused you in that world.”
Celestia looked down sadly, “Yes, that world. It's truly a shame. The only consolation is that it wasn't meant to exist in the first place. Still though…”
“They will ensure that Lavos doesn't do that to any other worlds,” Discord said taking Celestia's hand, “Wasn't that why we're doing all of this?”
“Yes, I suppose it is,” Celestia said. She then did something surprising. She kissed Discord, “Farewell, my Chaotic Earth.”
“Farewell, my Harmonious Sun,” Discord said before turning to the group, “I leave my beloved Mistress in your hands.”
“Um… what was all of that you were talking about?” Twilight asked, “That world?”
“In time, you will understand,” Discord said chuckling, “You always were my favorite, after Fluttershy that is.”
Fluttershy tilted her head in confusion. Everyone was confused by that statement.
Discord bowed to all of them and then turned to the portal, “Athena, now that you know the truth, what will you do?”
“Knowing the truth of what happened to me does not change my objectives,” DASH-379 said, “I will seek Luna, as she is the remaining DASH unit created by Tirek. I have decided to consider DASH-000 deactivated.”
“What will you do once Luna is gone though?” Discord asked. DASH-379 looked down somberly.
“I… I think that I…” DASH-379 looked like she was struggling with something. Before anyone could ask her what was wrong, Discord sighed.
“Your life is your own now. Don't waste it on just destroying,” with that, Discord walked through the portal. DASH looked really troubled, but relaxed when Fluttershy took her hand.
“I will be fine, Fluttershy,” DASH-379 said, smiling at her friend, who returned the gesture, “For now, I believe it is time we began heading to our next location.”
“We go to Applejack's world now, yes?” Fluttershy asked the group.
“I am really concerned about my world,” Applejack said folding her arms, “That was the first place Lavos attacked after all.”
“So, we're going right now?” Pinkamena asked the group.
“Actually… I was thinking of taking another approach,” Twilight said slowly, catching everyone's attention.
“You wanna get the Celestia from Standard now, don't you?” Pinkamena asked.
“It's just, I'm worried about her,” Twilight admitted, “She's the only Celestia left that's unaccounted for, meaning she's next to Luna right now. When we get to Applejack's world, we're going to have to search for and fight another one of those giants, but all I have to do is head to my school and bring Principal Celestia here,” Twilight looked around at the group nervously, “It's just a suggestion though. I'm not saying that we have to do it that way.”
“Mmm… it does seem logical though,” Applejack admitted, “I mean, this way once we defeat the final guardian, we can just go right to the Land of the Gods, right?”
“I believe that is the best course of action,” DASH-379 said, “The rest of us can stay here and wait for her.”
“I wait,” Fluttershy said nodding, “Twilight go get Celestia from Standard, and bring here.”
“So… you guys are okay with this idea?” Twilight asked still unsure, “I mean, I don't want to slow anyone down.”
“You are just as much of a member of this team as the rest of us,” DASH stated, “Your opinion matters in this as well.”
“Want me to come with you, or are you good by yourself?” Pinkamena asked. Twilight was about to say that she was good, but then thought about the odds of running into Luna while there. If Nightmare Moon or Nightmare Crystal appeared, Twilight would need someone to protect her along with Spike.
“Actually, yes. I'd love to have you come with me,” Twilight said, “We don't know what's going to happen in Standard, so better safe than sorry.”
Pinkamena clapped her hands jumping up and down, “Oooh! I get to go to Standard with my bestie! This is going to be a blast!”
“Right… a blast…” Twilight said nodding slowly, now regretting her decision a bit. Applejack walked over to Pinkamena and held her blade to her neck.
“Don't let anything happen to her, got it?” Applejack asked sternly. Pinkamena laughed nervously.
“Got it! No need to worry about anything. I'll keep her safe,” Pinkamena said. She ran over to Twilight, and the two of them walked toward the portal to Standard, Pinkamea holding onto Twilight's arm the entire time.
She just hoped that Celestia would be okay when they got to her.