Interlude 2-the Flutter pony/Seapony uprising
"Attention Ponies...morning recreation period beginning.... please exit your quarters in an orderly fashion."
Deep within the Tambelon research laboratory, the inhabitants began to stir as 'morning' came. The Sunstone, the magically created gem that flooded the main chamber with sunlight, lit up. The doors on the cells lining the walls automatically slid open, and the Flutter Ponies and Jewel-eyed ponies within the cells emerged, and began to mill about. At the same time, the Lids on the massive water-filled tanks down on the floor opened, and the sea ponies surfaced, and began swimming around.
From one of the cells, a yellow flutter pony with a pink mane and a flower cutie mark, emerged. Her crystal clear, butterfly-like wings unfolded from her back, and she stretched them out in the warm glow of the sunstone. Shaking her mane, Rosedust trotted out of her cell to greet the day.
She had not always been like this, of course. Originally, she had been Rosedust the earth pony, a successful florist from Manehatten. But when one of the big chain discount stores had drove her little third-generation flower shop out of business, she jumped at the chance to volunteer for Princess Luna's Dream valley program. It promised to pay enough bits to but a new flower shop.... and besides, it was better than being out on the street and hungry.
Fifteen months confinement here, and the unicorn mage's experimentation, had led to the creation of these large lovely wings on her back. She was an earth pony no longer, and it saddened her that when she tried to grow flowers in the laboratory's little garden, the soil and plants would no longer respond to her loving touch. But it was during her first few months here, that Rosedust had met her mate, the male flutter pony Dragonfly. And it was from that union that she found new meaning for her cutie mark... something to help nurture and grow, besides her flowers.
"Come on out, little one." She looked back into her cell, gently nudging the small body inside. "It will be all right."
Slowly and timidly, the tiny foal stood up on her wobbly legs, and clumsily stepped out of the cell. The tiny brown pony had large, deep blue eyes, and a small pair of translucent wings on it's back. She was Morning Glory, the first flutter pony foal ever born, and the little darling of the laboratory's mutated population. As Dragonfly trotted over to attend to his daughter, Rosedust flapped her wings, and fluttered down to the lab floor. As she approached, a blue sea pony popped up in the tank to greet her.
"Rosedust! Good morning!" The sea pony mare greeted her cheerfully. "And how are you fluttering this fine day?"
"Greetings, Sea Swirl." Rosedust replied glumly. "It's the same as always, dull and boring in this dingy old laboratory."
Like herself, Sea Swirl had been a down on her luck mare- a former dolphin trainer at the Trottingham aquarium, who had lost her job when the city cut it's funding for the park. She too had volunteered for the Dream Valley project, and had swapped her unicorn horn for a pair of fins. Sea Swirl didn't seem to miss her old life, though- except for her sister Lyra Heartstrings, whom Sea Swirl told Rosedust now lived in Ponyville.
"Aww, try not to let all this funky jive get ya down, Rosie." Sea Swirl chirped cheerfully. "We did agree ta live in this confinement, ya know! And Luna's payin' us a freakin' fortune!"
"Why... did you just talk like that?" Rosedust asked in a surprised tone.
"I don't know.." Sea Swirl replied blankly. "Another side effect of the transformation?"
"Look, Sea Swirl, I have no problem being cooped up in here myself. But I don't want Morning Glory spending her entire childhood without seeing the actual sun." Rosedust sighed. "I just hope Luna makes her reveal of us to the public soon, so we can get out of our confinement here."
"Voluntary confinement." Sea Swirl reminded her. "Again, remember we're here by choice."
"Here by choice!"
The two mares discovered that they had been joined at the edge of the tank, by four other experiments that had been made in the laboratory. Four Sentient, two foot tall furballs that the unicorn mages had created as potential pets, for ponies that were allergic to regular fur. They were abandoned as a failure, however, when they had developed a collective consciousness amongst themselves.
"Oh, you four again." Sea Swirl said with a smile. "Did you guys want to play water polo with my sea ponies again?" Sea Swirl asked.
As the herd hierarchy mentality had fallen in amongst the experimental ponies, Sea Swirl had become the leader of the Sea Ponies, and Rosedust the leader of the Flutter ponies. They acted as spokesponies for the two groups to the lab techs.
"Yeah!" all four of the furballs yelled eagerly in unison.
"We're going to have to find a name for you little guys." Rosedust said with a laugh. "We can't keep calling all of you 'furball'."
Sea Swirl and Rosedust turned in surprise, to see Morning Glory having walked down to the laboratory floor. As she stood on her wobbly legs, she stared and the four hairy creatures.
"Bushwoolie!" The little foal repeated again.
"Awww, she said her first word!" Sea Swirl said. "How adorable!"
"We like it!
"We love it!"
Rosedust smiled, and nuzzled her daughter. "Then that's what we'll call them, little one."
The little foal giggled, and started to chase the Bushwoolies around her mother's feet.
"It's amazing that she's walking around so early." Sea Swirl said, looking down at the foal from inside the sea pony tank. "Most babies would still be in a stroller that soon after being born."
"Midnight told me Morning Glory is developing more quickly that most foals." Rosedust nuzzled her baby again. "She's mommy's little angel."
In another part of the compound, Midnight was preparing a spell to use on his lackey, Bronco.
"Are you sure this is goin' ta work?" Bronco asked Midinght. "They seem a bit too smart to fall for a trick like this, boss."
"It will work, so long as you play your part correctly." Midinght hissed back, his horn glowing. "I've been working on this spell for weeks... it will give you her appearance, voice and body language. All you have to do is say your lines..."
The unicorn mage cast his spell, and Bronco's shape and form shifted and twisted into that of another pony...
The next morning, Rosedust awoke as the same time as usual... and immediately realized something was wrong, Looking around her cell... she noticed her baby wasn't there with her.
"M-morning Glory?" She began to grow frantic. "MORNING GLORY!"
Rosedust slammed against the cell door, which didn't seem to budge. In fact, as she looked out at the other cells, she saw the other ponies' cage doors wouldn't open, ethier. On the floor, two unicorns were unraveling a tarp over the sea pony tank, and locking the safety seals on the lid down tight.
With a dawning sense of horror, Rosedust realized their voluntary isolation had now become a prison sentence.
"If you're looking for your foal, she is not here." A white Alicorn said grimly, slowly trotting up to the cell. "She is currently a guest of my unicorn mages."
"P-princess Celestia?" The dumbfounded Rosedust whimpered. "What are you doing here....w-why..."
"You and these others here..." Celestia gestured around to the other cages with her horn. "Are mistakes my sister made in trying to 'improve' the nature of ponykind. You are blemishes of chaos, upon the order I have maintained since Luna and I sealed away Discord... and I will not suffer your flawed existence to contaminate the perfection that is my Equestria!"
"Your highness, no... please... you can't..." Tears streamed down Rosedust's face. Her whole life, she had idolized the White alicorn of the sun. A poster of the princess had hung on the wall of her room as a filly. Now, that selfsame idol was calling her and her precious filly 'imperfect'. "We are your subjects.... you always call us 'your little ponies'...."
"You are my little ponies no longer. You are aberrations, which I intend to purify ponykind of....permanently." Celestia started to trot away. "The child was first, you will all follow!"
"W-wha..." Realizing what the Princess was implying, tears welled up in Rosedust's eyes. Her baby... her life... her joy...
The howls and screams of the agonized mother echoed through the laboratory. As Celestia trotted out the door, a dark smile crossed her face...
"R-Rosedust?" Sea Swirl asked, a few hours after Celestia had departed. The sea pony leader had found a duct in the sealed tank's water purifier, and had swam her way up to an open tube near Rosedust's cell. The Flutter pony had been laying on her bed, her face buried in her blankets. The sounds of her mournful sobbing had gradually died away over an hour ago.
"Rosedust, I heard everything... I'm sor..."
"Sea Swirl, tell me something..." Rosedust looked up from her pillow, a cold gaze of steely iron burning from her bloodshot eyes. "... can you and your sea ponies swim up thought the tubes, get to the underwater portions of the lock mechanisms, and open the doors to the cages?"
Sea Swirl thought for a moment, then nodded. "I believe so. but why..."
"Ponykind and our princesses have betrayed us." Rosedust replied, in a voice that sounded half-insane. "I propose an alliance between the sea ponies, and the flutter ponies to escape!"
"Count us in, too." A Jewel-eyed pony in the next cage over agreed. "Celestia will kill us all if we stay here."
"All right. We're in, too." Sea Swirl nodded. "But my sea ponies won't kill any other ponies to escape, Rosedust! They are still our brothers and sisters, and we hope to reconcile with them one day!"
"So be it, then! Once we're out, you jewel-eyed and sea ponies can do what ever you wish. " Rosedust snarled. "But mark my words, we Flutter Ponies will never trust ponykind again! We shall find a place far away to make our home, and woe to Celestia if she dares to threaten us!"
"Rosedust will lead us to Freedom!" Her mate Dragonfly called out from his cell. "She is as a queen! Greater than the two Princesses!"
"ALL HAIL QUEEN ROSEDUST!" The flutter ponies all cried out in unison. "QUEEN ROSEDUST!"
"The flutter ponies are for the flutter ponies." She agreed coldly. "Since the outside world cares naught of us, we will care nothing for outsiders!"
The explosion at the laboratory was visible all throughout the city, with ponies running, pointing and screaming at the sight. Midinght and Bronco were watching from several blocks away, and saw the smoke rising from the building.
"Hm, seems like everything’s goin' accordin' ta plan." Bronco sneered.
"But we had best be sure." Midnight replied. He stopped a fleeing earth pony lab worker, who was bleeding from a gash on his head. "You... tell me! What has happened back at the lab?"
"Sir! The Flutter Ponies and Sea Ponies have risen in revolt!" He whinnied in terror. "The Flutter Ponies spread poison pollen from their wings..... and the sea ponies opened the flood gates out to the river! More than twenty lab ponies are dead!"
Midnight let him go, and he galloped away. "Well, Bronco, there is our distraction. Your Celestia disguise worked like a charm." Midnight Chortled. "Shall we go join Grogar?"
"You go on ahead.... I want ta personally finish business with a certain pony." Bronco grinned evilly.
“Very well, Bronco, I‘ll see you later then.“ Midnight nodded, and the two stallions went off in separate directions.