Sun Beamer had to settle on having hayburgers for dinner instead of whatever was on the menu at that restaurant Blast Furnace kept hyping, but all was not lost for the night's plans. Blast Furnace had invited him to attend one of the many pre-Gathering nightclub meetups going on in the city that night, which give attendees a chance to mingle within the confines of civilization one last time before they head out, and outsiders a chance to become downright confused about what they've just trotted in on.
"The Twilight Lounge is on the same street as the hotel, but just a block or two ahead and on the other side of the street." Blast Furnace outlined, as the pair headed out in their garb. "Should be easy to find."
"I hope." Sun Beamer replied with hesitation as they walked down the main street. It felt like a mid-sized version of Las Pegasus, still dotted with casinos and neon signs everywhere, but at a more manageable scale.
"One of my favorite DJs is playing tonight, Shoreline~!" Blast Furnace announced. "Well, one of my favorite non-mainstream DJs, that is. The kind you'd usually expect to see out there in Duskgem."
"What genres does she do?" asked Sun Beamer
"Mainly deep house and techno. She has a very psychedelic stage presence." explained Blast Furnace. "We're actually acquaintances too, which is probably why I'm one of her top fangirls." Sun Beamer chuckled a bit.
"This is, by far, the biggest of the pre-Gathering parties in Reino, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it." Blast Furnace noted, as they crossed the street to the venue.
Blast Furnace and Sun Beamer trotted into the Twilight Lounge, which looked more like a saloon lit in blue than a lounge in their opinion. Regardless, it was a nightclub packed with Followers, who were either dancing, getting something from the bar, or just sitting down and tapping a hoof on the floor
Since Shoreline wasn't performing until a little later in the night, Sun Beamer and Blast Furnace decided to socialize a bit to pass the time. Blast Furnace encountered a few of the "regulars" that she had maintained correspondence with over the years, and Sun Beamer tried to see if he could get a few more tips for first-timers.
While he began to poke at some "premium" nachos, a unicorn mare with rose-gold eyes, a dark mane, an icy-looking coat, and a set of LED-illuminated armor walked by Sun Beamer's table.
"Holy cow..." Sun Beamer applauded. "That looks nuts."
"Thank you, yellow one. It took about 90 hours of work to put this together." the unicorn elaborated in a gloomy tone. "Lots of complex electronics, having to make it breathable, etc.."
"I've seen some crazy outfits at SSC Las Pegasus, but this is a whole new level of wickedness!" Sun Beamer proclaimed.
"SSC? That scrapheap of flashyfoals who are too afraid to journey to the Duskgem Basin?" she asked with sarcasm.
Sun Beamer was a bit confused by her choice of words. "Err, quick question: what's a 'flashyfoal'?"
"Someone who goes to the Gathering more concerned about costumes than actually preparing for survival. Often first-timers; this isn't another electronic music festival. This isn't one of those comic con things. This is a celebration of creativity, unity, and self-reliance. Not the DJ written in the largest font on the poster at a truck stop restaurant." she explained. "Everyone's a headliner in their own way."
"Oh? Well, I'm actually going to the Gathering for the first time this year." he disclosed, trying to maintain a positive reputation. "My friend Blast Furnace was showing me the ropes." Sun Beamer admitted.
"Blast Furnace... I recall that name. She has a good reputation for educating newcomers on how to properly conduct yourself in Duskgem City." the unicorn continued. "I've gone there many times, so I know what to expect. Especially if you're an electronic musician like me. I've performed there for 14 consecutive years and counting."
Sun Beamer was relieved that the mysterious unicorn was accepting his impending presence at the Gathering, . "Y'know, I don't think we ever introduced each other. I'm Sun Beamer, and I'm from Las Pegasus. Though some call me the Chaotic Kisol."
"I only give out my real name to close friends and others, but my stage name is The Diamond Diablo, or Diamond for short." she explained. "Was born in Seaddle, but I have extended family in New Oreins. I also visit Reino from time-to-time to spend time with the community of Followers. It's become such a major aspect of my identity and musical influence, that I actually became a member of a guild of Followers in New Oreins."
"Ooooh, cool!" exclaimed Sun Beamer.
"I'm not playing tonight, but you'll probably hear me a lot during the Gathering. I produce and play a lot of happy hardcore." Diamond continued.
"That's one of my favorite genres! Guess I'll have to look out for you." insisted Sun Beamer.
"Of course. It's nice to have new fans." noted Diamond. Sun Beamer was impressed by how loose and casual she was.
"While I'm here, given that I've been indirectly involved with the electronic music scene, do DJs like you have some sort of secret guild of other DJs you hang out with or something?"
"Yes. It's called a record label." snarked Diamond. They both laughed for a moment.
"Though on a related note, I've been helping out this crew of DJs out of Seaddle who are coming to the Gathering for the first time this year." Diamond acknowledged. "I think their names were Eight Track, Wave Rider, Train Spot, and Obscurus Noctis."
Sun Beamer froze for a moment, trying to comprehend what he just heard.
"Oh, yeah! Obscurus!" he announced with uncertainty. "She's got a very atmospheric and haunting style; it's a nice change of pace from some of the other stuff I've listened to lately."
"Agreed. My appreciation for her grew when I learned that she's from Seaddle too. Gotta support the local talent!" explained Diamond. "She also shares the opinions of many regarding the modern state of the Gathering of Embers, and how it's being overrun with EDM and uneducated flashyfoals who think this is just another music festival."
"Really, now?" asked Sun Beamer. He remained calm, hoping to gather more information about the revelations that had begun to emerge.
"She said that her squad was planning a 'large-scale multimedia experience' on Bonfire Saturday, but was rather light on the exact details." Diamond elaborated. "Besides the fact that it will be targeting the flashyfoals somehow."
"Uh, sorry to interrupt, but, I know some things about Obscurus that might change your opinion of her." interjected Sun Beamer.
"Go on." commanded Diamond.
"I'll give you the abridged version, but I had a beef with Obscurus a while back over certain matters. Then at the SSC, we had a confrontation where she tried to use this weird unicorn magic on me." Sun Beamer recounted.
"Weird unicorn magic? That's a new one." Diamond remarked. "Continue."
"It was some sort of virtual reality spell or something; she hacked into my eyesight somehow. However, I quickly realized that it had a short range." Sun Beamer continued. "Further investigation has led me to believe that this spell uses radio waves to some degree."
"Illusion spells. Though the radio part is something I haven't seen before." Diamond observed.
"In what I've observed from her postings, music, and public demeanour, I think her morals are also quite questionable." Sun Beamer noted. "She was threatening to plunge everypony at the festival in Las Pegasus into an 'infinite night'. It ended up being the title of an EP she released the following Wednesday, since you always release something new after your big festival performance. No exceptions."
"I still think she was wanting to do some mass hypnosis during her set." speculated Sun Beamer. "Right before she used the spell, she was threatening to make me her 'permanent roadie' for trying to 'expose' her plot to 'destroy' EDM. I think it has something to do with mainstream dance music eroding her audience, though. Just like how it's supposedly eroding the Gathering."
"Does she not fully understand the principles of peace, love, unity, and respect?" blurted Diamond, while hitting a button to change her armor lighting from a pastel rainbow to a red heartbeat. "They may have originated from the the culture of electronic music under the catchy acronym 'PLUR', but they are equally relevant elsewhere." Her demeanour had become serious and threatening.
"It sounds like that she's the kind of pony who strives to find something to blame for their shortcomings or problems, rather than try to find an actual solution." she angrily continued while a crowd of curious onlookers gathered.
"I wasn't really planning on going to the Gathering to defeat her, though." Sun Beamer rebutted. "I didn't even know she was going to be there at all until today, but it's nice to know I may have found another ally."
"While I don't consider myself to be a gourmet chef..." Diamond jokingly proclaimed, while she metaphorically and literally disabled her rage mode, "I don't think there's anything stopping us from making justice the main course."
Sun Beamer and Diamond high-fived, while Blast Furnace trotted up alongside them. "Hey, Sun Beamer, Shoreline's getting ready!" she announced.
"Oh, gotta get back to the dance floor." said Sun Beamer, "My friend here really loves Shoreline, as you may have noticed."
"Alright. I'll get you some contact information so we can stay in touch about the matter. I don't know what we can do about her, but I'm sure we could gather more intelligence somehow."