“Ok cool down for a moment and start over. What’s going on?” Scarlet asked, raising an eyebrow.
Silver looked between the three ponies that sat in his office. It was earlier than usual for him to hold a meeting, but he wanted to get as much set up as he possibly could before noon, “We’re meeting up with Sprocket at the campsite, I’m telling you, he’s really changed quite a bit. I think we can really do something good with his prototype.”
“Do you really think so?” Gyro asked pointedly.
He nodded his head, “Yeah, just look at it,” Silver said as he turned his leg a few times, showing the different tools, “Imagine if this could actually work the way he wants it to? Even better, just imagine how we could improve it.”
Gyro leaned in closer, eyeing it carefully for a few minutes before nodding his head, “Alright, I’m with Silver, this could be a useful project.”
“Could be? This would be incredibly useful, I mean just look at everything I need you to use your magic for already,” Tinker looked back towards the prototype, and then up to meet Silver’s gaze, “What kind of improvements did you have in mind for this Silver?”
He paused, looking back down to the device, “A lot, but mainly voice controls, just to make everything easier for us to manage.”
Tinker nodded his head, “I can definitely see the value in that. Voice recording too I presume?”
“Yeah, and transcription eventually too. I mean why worry about having to spend time taking notes when you can just have a computer transcribe them for you and conveniently print it out?”
“That could take some more work, but I do enjoy a good challenge every once in a while,” He turned towards the unicorn, “This’ll be just like the good old days eh Gyro?”
“Those good old days were six months ago Sir…” He turned back towards Silver, “So when are we actually meeting up with him?”
Silver glanced down to the notes on his desk, reading through them for a moment, “Around 8, you guys think you’ll be awake then? If that’s too much then we’ll just note everything down and relay it back to you.”
The pegasus held a hoof to his chin in consideration, “If you don’t mind I’d rather meet up for a late dinner after, I’m not usually up that late and neither is Gyro so we’ll probably both be pretty drained.”
He nodded, “That’s understandable, I wasn’t really expecting you to take a little hike over there anyways. I’ll see you in the cafe sometime after, it could wind up being closer to 9 though, just FYI. So really, don’t worry about it, I won’t be offended if you two head out early.”
Tinker slowly nodded his head, “Duly noted, but I’ll try my best to be there regardless. So what’s the plan for today then?”
“Scarlet and I were going to go get a few things set up around the camp, just to make it feel a little more welcoming, and then get some shut eye before the meeting.”
“Would you like some help getting everything set up? I know we’re kind of on a limited time frame, it’ll be noon before you know it and I’m sure you two are already starting to get a bit sleepy, it probably wouldn’t do you any good to stay up later just to get everything set up when you have a few extra sets of hooves to help.”
Silver nodded, “Well I certainly won’t turn it away, but only if you really want to. Don’t feel like you need to take time away from your projects if you don’t need to.”
Tinker smiled, “Don’t worry about that Silver, I’m intrigued by the prototype and I’d love to get working on those improvements, but we kind of need it’s inventor here before we can do that.”
“Alright, it’s settled then. I’ll have Diamond get the facilities team together and we’ll meet you over there.”
Silver, Scarlet, and Diamond Glider flew towards the campsite, eager to begin their work. It was getting close to noon but they still had some time to get the basics set up before letting the three day ponies finish up. As they neared the campsite Silver could make out Tinker and Gyro already clearing out some debris from the space.
Scarlet came to a land next to Silver, “Do you really think this’ll all work out?”
“Yeah, he seemed really genuine in his dreamscape, I could really tell that he was invested in this project… why would he send us his prototype if he wasn’t? I mean you saw how he was the last time we saw him.”
She shrugged, “Alright well I guess you’ve got a point. I really do hope it all goes well, I’d love to have my own little gauntlet so I don’t have to awkwardly type on the phone just to get ahold of you.”
“Hey that’s a cool little trick you do with your wings though, but I get what you mean. I’d love for everypony to have one of their own too, it’d make all of our communication so much more efficient and streamlined. Not to mention how it’d help the non unicorns here. I mean we’re lucky that we can do basic stuff with our wings, but everypony else isn’t as lucky in that regard.”
She nodded, “Well we better get cracking on this, I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to just curl up in bed and have a nice peaceful sleep.”
“Yeah, me too.”
The pair sprang into action, quickly clearing out the rest of the plant life that had covered the seldom used campsite while the other three worked on creating a little rock barrier on either side of the path. There wasn’t a whole lot left to do, and having a few extra sets of hooves and Gyro’s magic to help only made the task go by quicker. In no time at all they were finished. Silver and Scarlet said their goodbyes and flew back home while the three finished up a few small adjustments to the path, calling it a day and breaking for lunch.
Silver wandered around the vast landscape that comprised “Somewhere”, smiling as he thought back on each memory that had inspired the many buildings around the bay. He came to a stop in front of the Nautilus’ dock, smiling as he remembered some of his very first experiments that went into setting this construct up. He stepped forward and pressed a switch, pausing as the ship’s hatch slid open invitingly.
He carefully stepped down into the chart room, pausing before working his way into the Grand Salon, one of his favorite places in Somewhere. He had seldom visited in the last three months, but today was a special occasion. He continued forward, activating the iris mechanisms that sat in front of the window, letting the outside world invade one of his most private sanctums.
He took a seat at his desk, relaxing as a flood of memories hit him as if he was visiting an old haunt. As he closed his eyes and took an unnecessary breath he became aware of another dreamer’s presence, bringing a smile to his face, “Say there friend, you’re about three months too late you know that?”
“Well Silver, you’ve certainly come a long way since that haven’t you? I mean I always knew you were talented, but a whole persistent Island hangout for you and all your friends? It’s just amazing! Pushing the limits of what’s possible in a dream must be so much fun!”
He smiled, “Maybe you should drop the whole counselor act and give this a try instead? You might enjoy it just as much, it might even suit your little goal even more.”
“Oh no, I’m afraid that this just isn’t my kind of past time. I don’t have the same kind of creative vision that you do, I’d probably summon some boring cubicle filled office space, not the big grand constructs you’ve been dreaming up lately.”
He softened up, “Oh come on, don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve got talent where it counts, and that’s caring about others and trying to help them the best way you can…” he paused for a few moments, “ so speaking of that, what’s today’s little visit about I haven’t seen you in months.”
Their face seemed to soften into one of sadness, “I came to say goodbye.”
He raised an eyebrow, “Goodbye? You know I was just kidding about wanting you leave all those times right? I genuinely enjoyed all of our little chats,” He said reassuringly.
The intruder’s smile returned, “Oh don’t fret Silver, It’s the good kind of goodbye, the best kind really.”
“And what kind of goodbye is that?” he asked inquisitively.
“It’s the goodbye where someone that’s concerned about another doesn’t have to worry about them anymore. One where they know that they’re going to be just fine on their own.”
“I… I’m afraid that I don’t quite get it…”
They smiled, “Of course you do Silver, don’t you see this place? How far you’ve come in half a year? You don’t need my help anymore and that’s something I’m both happy and sad to say. I’m going to miss you, but I’m happy knowing that I might have made a good impact on another pony’s life. That means more to me than anything else really.”
“Well… well thanks, I don’t know what to say, but you really have been a great friend when I was desperate for one. The encouragement and guidance really helped, and I know you know that.”
They smiled, turning towards the door, “Goodbye Silver.”
He nodded, “Goodbye… friend.”
The Intruder paused for a moment, turning back towards him, “Oh and one more thing Silver…”
“It’s Silent Dream.”
He raised an eyebrow, “I’m sorry?”
“My name, the very first thing you asked me all those months ago.”
A smile crept across his face, “Will I ever see you again?”
Silent Dream shrugged, “Maybe someday, but there’s others who need my help too you know.”
“You know, I can really admire that goal. I guess you were right about something, you and I really aren’t that different. I guess it just took time for me to realize that for myself.”
The Intruder smiled and walked towards the open doors.
“Thanks for everything, Silent Dream.”
The intruder smiled, “It’s been my pleasure Silver, now get out there and get dreaming, I know you have so much potential that the world’s just waiting for.”
He was alone once more, but this time he knew which direction to take.
Midnight walked around the starry landscape, eager to explore the dreams and clear her mind. Running through other dreams was a great distraction and Midnight was more than happy for it.
She walked along, pausing for a moment and raising her voice to an annoyed tone, “Hello Dawn... I don’t want to talk tonight--”
“--Listen, I’m not here to antagonize you.”
“Oh? Ok well what are you here to do then?”
She walked forwards and sat down, “Just to talk.”
She rolled her eyes, “Well that’s sure out of character. What makes you think I’m willing to even hear you out?”
“Nothing, you have no reason to, and I have no right to ask you to.”
She shook her head, “Alright well let’s hear it then.”
Dawn lowered her head, “You were right. About everything.”
“I… What do you mean Dawn?” she asked in confusion.
“I was the problem. I thought I could do everything… but I couldn’t.”
“So why are you telling me this? I thought you were running some little crusade against me or something.”
“I just wanted to say that I was sorry.”
Midnight raised an eyebrow, “Yeah? And I’m just supposed to accept that? After the months of you getting under my skin and making me fear my own shadow?”
“No, not at all. I could never ask you or anypony else to do that. What’s done is done and there’s no taking it back, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work on bettering myself going forward.”
“Well I can appreciate that Dawn, but you’re not going to get any sympathy from me.”
“As it should be, I’m not asking for any. I just wanted to thank you for making everything clear for me and to wish you luck on everything.”
“What do you mean wish me luck?”
“You guys are doing everything that we wanted to, but you’re actually doing it right. You guys are trying to make something great, and I truly hope you’re able to do it.”
“Thanks… I guess?” She paused and walked closer to her, “Dawn are you really feeling alright? I mean what’s with the sudden shift in behavior?”
She nodded her head and looked around at the glowing stars, a smile coming to her face, “Yes. I guess I just had a moment of clarity, it’s been something that I’ve been thinking about for a little while now. I found a friend that kind of set me straight, made me realize that I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I held some petty grudge and tried to follow through on some stupid threat.”
“And what are you going to do now then?”
“I don’t really know yet, I think I’m going to do a little soul searching, and try to find my place in the world.”
Midnight sat there with a bewildered expression, finally finding the right words to respond with, “Well Dawn… I genuinely wish you the best in that.”
“Thanks Midnight,” With a smile she vanished, leaving Midnight Sun with a strange feeling of warmth and confusion.
He stifled a few yawns as he finished getting ready, “Well it’s almost time, I should probably start heading over.”
She looked over, yawning before replying, “Do you want me to come with you?”
He turned towards Scarlet, shaking his head, “You can come along, but I’d like to talk with him one on one. Gadget should be here too though, you two can chat a bit if you want.”
“Alright, well let’s get going.” She said as she jumped up and came to a hover.
He nodded, “Right. I told the others to meet us at the Cafe at 8:30, I don’t think we’ll go past that, but I don’t think they’ll throw a fit if we’re a little late.”
The two flew towards the campsite, smiling as they saw that Sprocket had arrived early. Scarlet nodded at Silver and left him to talk with Sprocket alone. She took a seat next to gadget and the two began to idly chat while Sprocket stepped forward, extending a hoof in greeting towards Silver, “Hi Silver, it’s good to see you again.”
Silver extended his hoof and returned the greeting, “Sprocket, welcome. I didn’t realize you’d be here so early… sorry if I’ve kept you waiting.”
He smiled, “Don’t worry one bit, that’s on me for not really giving you any kind of advanced notice,” He paused, looking down at Silver’s foreleg, “So, what do you think.”
“Of your prototype?” He paced around the campsite and looked out over the construction, finally turning back towards Sprocket, “Sprocket I think this could be a great project to work on, even if it’s going to take some time to get working properly. Do you see all of that down there? That’s the culmination of so many ponies working together to make something amazing that we can share with the rest of the world. I’d love for you to be a part of that.”
“I think so too, I know it’s still a heavy work in progress, but all of this really does mean a lot to me,” he paused momentarily, “Look, I’m sorry for everything before.”
“You don’t need to apologize, accidents happen, none of us are perfect after all. I mean you didn’t even do that much to begin with.”
“No, I did, I just chose to pretend that I was faultless in anything and made a mountain out of a molehill, did something dumb and played with tech I really shouldn’t have been playing with for stupid reasons that I thought were good.”
“Well who hasn’t done something stupid? I mean I isolated myself to my own dreams when I thought that it was the only way I could have control over my life. I regret it a lot but everything happens for a reason.”
“I suppose you’re right. I’m just still unsure about a lot, I mean it seems like ETS was only yesterday and now we’re dealing with humans fearing pony magic and things getting taken to extremes, I mean what’s next? Somepony’s going to just swoop in and say that some cosmic threat’s going to loom on the horizon and we have to scramble to get everything in order?”
“Well if that happens we’ll work through it together. But in the meantime this is a chance for you to do something now, something that could really help so many ponies.”
“Well in that case, I’m in. I’d love to be a part of your team.”
“And we’d love to have you. Would you and Gadget care to join us for dinner? The directorate is all waiting there and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to talk about your prototype some more.”
“We’d love to. Care to lead the way?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” He began to walk towards Gadget and Scarlet, “Come on you two, dinner’s waiting.”
They paused their conversation and nodded in unison, standing up and following the pair along. With a few flaps of their wings they were in the sky, quickly flying out towards the Oasis’ Cafe.
Silver rested his head on his hooves, watching as the group talked as if they were old friends. This was a small private dinner, with only the main directorate, Diamond Glider, Scarlet, Sprocket, and Gadget in attendance. The rest of the Oasis’ residents had been notified that a private event was going on but nothing more. Even the ponies in attendance had no idea what was about to play out, and Silver was excited to bring his new plan forward.
The scene brought a smile to his face as he thought of the future that lay ahead. Following through on their dream would never be an easy task, it was just impossible to do everything that they wanted to, but he’d be damned if he didn’t at least try. Maybe that was part of the problem though, he was too invested in trying to solve these problems without considering that he could very well be causing a lot of the friction himself by not taking the others’ thoughts and input into consideration. It was clear that they were hardly organized and Stanley’s little talk only made that all the more clear to him.
Stanley’s voice calling out to him pulled him from his thoughts, “Silver, are you paying attention?”
“Huh? Oh, no… sorry. I just got lost in thought again, what was it?”
“I was asking you what the plan is now?”
He stood up and faced the group, a smile coming to his face, “That’s a very good question. Our little chat gave me some very important insight…” he paused, considering his next words, “Maybe… no... I am a big part of why we’re struggling to get off the ground so much.”
Stanley raised an eyebrow, “Silver, what do you mean?”
“What I mean is that it’s clear that I haven’t thought all of this through as clearly as we should have, I wanted to do so much despite the fact that we’re not set up for that right now. So you know what? Our new plan going forward is that we’re going to take each project at a pace that we can work with. We’ve still got Sunset’s projects to handle of course, but once we’re not obligated to do those we’re going to work on what the majority of us want to do.”
Gyro leaned forward, “We’ll optimize the process so we can work as efficiently as possible right?”
He shrugged, “If that’s what the group wants to do then that’s what we’ll do. I’m the director but we’re still a team. From now on we make decisions together because that’s the whole point of this place— a creative playground where we can all work on making a better world.”
“Silver that might be a bit of an operational nightmare you know that right?”
“Yes Stanley, I do, which is why we’ll work within reason. I’ll step in and take charge when needed, but I’m not going to just make every single decision for us anymore, it’s not fair to you, or anypony else on the team for that matter.”
“That’s an incredibly bold move, but I like it. I’m with you Silver.” Tinker interjected, a smile creeping across his face.
“I’m glad to hear that, Tinker. We’re all in this together, as a team. No more arguing back and forth about how to run this place, everypony here gets an input into it,” he said with a smile, pausing to let his words sink in.
Sprocket cleared his throat, cutting through the silence, “So Silver, while this is all wonderful to hear, what about the Gauntlet? I would like to get a few more revisions out, maybe even make a set for each of you… you know, just to make it easier to communicate around here. These things have comms built in after all.”
Silver nodded, “Yes, that’s definitely an important project, so how about we take a vote now,” He turned to face the others, “Who’s up for working on the Gauntlet project?”
Sprocket enthusiastically spoke up, “Need I remind you all, this isn’t exactly a super complex project, not with all of us working on it together… plus it could make your lives a whole lot easier…”
Tinker nodded, “There's a definite value in this project, I’m in.”
Gyro looked from Tinker and back to Sprocket, “I suppose you’ll be needing magical assistance with this, the little pieces can’t be easy to assemble with hooves… I’m in too.”
Silver looked towards Stanley, Diamond, and Scarlet, “And what about you three?”
Diamond smiled, “You know man, being able to call you anywhere instead of having to chase you around town would sure make my life a hell of a lot easier, so yeah, I’m fine with this.”
“Don’t ask me, I’m just an astronomer, I’m fine with whatever as long as I can still work on the Observatory.”
Silver nodded, “Right, so that’s a yes then?”
She nodded, “Yep.”
Silver smiled, “And you Stanley? What are your thoughts?”
The yellow night pony looked around at the team, “If the others are in, then so am I. I was never specifically in this for the project, I just wanted to follow my dream, and if we can help ponies by doing this then I think it’s worth doing.”
Silver nodded, “Alright then, it’s settled. Sprocket what do you need for this project?”
“Not much, I have a little spec sheet for the prototype you’re wearing, that should have all the components we’ll need on there. The only hard part is getting the processor unit, for yours I kind of tore apart a smart watch so it’s kind of hacky and buggy right now.”
Silver smiled, “Well Sprocket you’re in luck, I can’t give you the specifics yet, but we’ve got a processor related project in the works and Tinker and Gyro seem to think that it could be big… bigger than anything that’s currently available.”
“Well that’s great, if you guys can get that working then I think that’ll solve a pretty big hiccup in this project’s development.”
“So it’s set then? We’ll begin this as soon as we’re done with our other obligations?”
The group nodded in unison
“Right then, well here’s to the future… our future!” He excitedly announced as he carefully held his glass up.
Silver didn’t truly know whether the group would be successful or not, but he felt all the more confident about their future now that they had resolved to make some serious changes going forward. There were still many more issues to overcome, but hopefully they would find the help that they desperately needed. The group of weather ponies from Michigan were one of the first big steps in getting that help, and Silver was excited to have them as the Oasis’ first real guests.
Six months ago he felt as if his world was ending, that there was nothing he could do about his situation. While he still had doubts about the future going forward, he knew that it would be an exciting journey that he would take with his new friends and family, and in the back of his head that lingering sense of doubt and fear lost a little bit of it’s traction. It wouldn’t be easy, it never was, but he knew that this was something that he and his team would make together, and that thought brought a smile to his face.