The Equestrian Enrichment Project

by GandhoofOfManyColours

Chapter 14: The benefits of not being seen

Chapter 14: The benefits of not being seen

GLaDOS was fuming. Her test subjects had escaped the test! Not only that but there was something else here in her facility helping them. She had seen it for a brief moment when it grabbed that annoying unicorn. She had gone over the footage of the incident time and time again but her optical recognition sub-processer refused to process the offending image further, she knew something was there but the cameras frame rate was too slow to capture a stable image of the creature.

She knew what it was of course, it was impossible and made no logical sense but she knew. There was only one being that would go this far to antagonise her, to drive her insane… to murder her… but it couldn’t be, she had to be dead didn’t she? It had been nearly two hundred years since she had last been here and no pathetic human could live that long could it?

GLaDOS turned to the sensor logs, reviewing all feeds since she had awoken. If she was here there would be proof, that mute could never have resisted damaging her facility for this long and such an abnormally large human was sure to show up on her weight sensors … Nothing. Nothing matching Chell’s activities or weight profile had been logged. But if not her then who? Who else would… No… it couldn’t be… that idiot sent himself to the moon he couldn’t be back… GLaDOS widened the search parameters to include unscheduled core activity… Nothing. Not Wheatly then. What did that leave? Both robotic test subjects were accounted for, performing some ridiculous dance in front of one of her cameras (She would explode them for that later but for now it would have to wait). So what? She expanded the search to all activity, large sections of the facility were inaccessible and many sensors had failed but she should see something. Large quantities of avians in the upper levels, large quantities of small mammals on the lower but apart from that, nothing. How could there be nothing? It had to be something! Whatever it was it had an amazing ability to move unseen by her sensors; her tactics would need to be altered.

Just as Applejack was about to reach the ruined office door the diamond dog held out a paw to stop her.
“Pony careful, traps everywhere.” The dog flicked up some dust from the floor towards the open doorway; the dust shone and glistened as it passed through a previously invisible beam of coherent red light across the base of the door.

Twilight, now curious trotted carefully over to the door and examined the frame for herself. “There’s some sort of device built into the frame on either side. It must be used to detect things passing through the door; it’s probably how the lights turn on when we enter a room. But I bet she can use it to track us too.”

Applejack turned from the door and sat back down. “Ok then, I’a reckon ya’ll better tell us all you know ‘bout this place first then.” The ponies turned to look at the dog expectantly.

The dog looked thoughtful for a moment before answering in his broken Equestrian “Place strange. Creatures that build it, bring us here dead, no know what they were or how they dead-” .

“Humans.” Fluttershy said in a small voice from the corner.

“What’s that dear?” Rarity asked nonplussed, turning to the yellow mare.

“They… they were called Humans…” Fluttershy replied not looking up. “GLaDOS told me. She said… she said they made her and she killed them all.”

“So it was her then. Did she say why she did it?” Twilight asked the timid mare. Fluttershy didn’t answer, just shaking her head.

For a moment Pinkie Pie looked like she was calculating something before she spoke “Hey, aren’t humans those creatures that green unicorn keeps going on about?”

Twilight looked over wondering if it would be worth asking before her curiosity got the better of her. “Green unicorn?” she asked cautiously.

“You know! Green unicorn, cutie mark of a lyre, I think her name’s… Green Harp-flank pony!” replied the bouncing ball of pink.

Twilight sighed shaking her head, turning back to the dog. “Anyway… What else do you know about this place?”

“Eyes everywhere. That mas.. mak… mac…” The dog faltered on the word. “Oh quid solutis est mannulus verbo ad apparatus? ego reputo suus ' machine.” He muttered to himself before continuing. “Machine sees through white red eyes everywhere” He grabbed a fallen security camera from the rooms corner and placed it in front of the ponies to illustrate.

“Whoa Nelly!” Applejack exclaimed looking quizzically at the dog. “What in tarnation’s with all that there gibberish?”

Noticing the Slight hurt expression forming on the dogs face Twilight quickly interjected to prevent a possible incident “It’s Canin, I think. It’s the native language of the Diamond dogs. But no pony has ever heard it spoken aloud before, this is fascinating!”

“Wait, Diamond dogs have a language?” Rarity asked, some shock evident in her voice.

“Of course they do silly!” Pinkie exclaimed. “You don’t think they speak Equestrian to each other do you? Their doggies! They have their own doggy language… hey! Wait a moment! I can speak that!” she turned to the dog and cleared her throat “a’Barka woofa, barka woof woof arf?” Pinkie tried looking at the dog expectantly, Twilight facehoofed.

“I’m sorry about her, she can be a bit wei-” Twilight was cut off by a long loud gasp from Pinkie Pie.

“Oh no! We’ve forgotten something very very super important!” The pink pony started bouncing as she spoke. “Our new doggy friend saved Twilight and we never even introduced ourselves!” she bounced over to the dog and continued babbling about an inch from his face. “Hi I’m Pinkie Pie! And this is Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Fluttershy! What’s your name?” Pinkies nose was now pressed against the dogs. Twilight dragged the pink pony back a foot to give the dog room to breathe, rolling her eyes as she did so.

The dog seemed quite amused by Pinkies antics and answered with a short bark like sound.

“What, Ruff? You names Ruff?” AJ Tried.

The dog shook his head and made the sound again emphasising a different part.

“So Riff?” Rainbow said questioningly.

Riff Smiled slightly at the pony’s bad Canin pronunciation before replying in Equestrian “Close enough.”

“Oh oh oh! Now we’ve met you we need to have a party to celebrate! And another to thank you for saving Twilight! We need-“

“PINKIE! Calm down! This isn’t the time or the place; we can do all that when we get back home.” Twilight quickly said, derailing Pinkies train of crazy before it got out of the station. “We need to have a plan. Riff, can you get us around GLaDOS’s surveillance?”

Riff nodded. “Is possible. Ponies know all dog knows about here now. “

“Ok so you know the way back and how to avoid GLaDOS’s traps, so if you show us the way up we’ll be back in Equestria in no time. It’s not much of a plan but it should do the job. Is everypony ready?” Twilight asked.

“Yes, the sooner we leave this dreadful place the sooner we get home” Rarity replied, taking a step towards the door.

The corridor outside was much like the others the ponies had encountered upon first entering the facility. It was dark and dirty, ancient paint peeling off the walls. The only difference was the sound. When the ponies had first entered the facility it had been silent save for the distant sounds of decay and their own hooves and breathing. Now the air was filled with a low hum, Persistent enough in itself to almost go unnoticed but every now and then its pitch or volume would fluctuate or something somewhere long forgotten would grind putting their teeth on edge. And that wasn’t all; every now and then something would make a sound, always behind them and always unseen. Before long the ponies and dog left behind the crumbling plaster offices regaining the metal panelled corridors, the sound of hooves on metal adding to the general noise of the facility.

“I don’t like this” Rainbow said after the third loud noise made her start. “There’s definitely something following us.”

“I don’t think there can be” Twilight answered not really believing a word of it. “After all it’s not like GLaDOS can walk.”

The seven continued on down the corridor in silence for a few moments until another sudden sound made their blood run cold.

“Is anybody there?” the high pitched childlike voice rung out from the darkness ahead, the sound echoing strangely in the relatively silence. The seven stopped in their tracks, Fluttershy diving behind Rainbow dash for cover.

filii canis!” Riff exclaimed in shock jumping back a step.

In the darkness a single red eye started to glow followed by a sweeping coherent beam of red light.

“Oh great, just what we need.” Rainbow exclaimed.

“You know what that is?” Rarity almost whispered.

The blue Pegasus took off into the air before answering. “I don’t know what it is exactly but I know what it does, and it’s not pleasant. But maybe we can turn this to our advantage. Stay down, I’m going in.” Rainbow flew off into the darkness at speed taking care to avoid the sweeping laser from the turret.

There was silence from the darkness for a moment then the voice sounded again. “Hey, hey, hey! Put me down!” it said managing to sound startled in an emotionless way.

The six dropped to the floor in shock as the red eye started to move towards them but breathed a collective sigh of relief when the device soared over their heads in Rainbow dash’s hooves. Dash landed behind the group positioning the device to face back down the corridor from whence they came.

“There! That should give whatever’s following us some trouble!” the blue Pegasus said triumphantly.

“Good thinking.” praised Twilight. “Hopefully it’ll at least slow it down, whatever it is.”

“But… but what if it’s friendly?” Fluttershy asked in her quiet voice.

“I’m sorry Fluttershy but I doubt it.” Twilight answered gravely. “Apart from us I don’t think there’s anything alive in here, whatever it is behind us has to have been sent by GLaDOS and you know what that means.”

“There was that bird…” the yellow Pegasus started hopefully.

“Well whatever that thing behind us is it sure ain’t no bird.” Applejack answered before Fluttershy got too far. “But whatever it is we need to get moving before it comes and finds us.”

“Pony right, we need keep moving.” Riff stated starting to move off into the darkness ahead.

The ponies followed, Twilight casting her dim but effective light spell as they passed through the dark section of corridor. It wasn’t long before they heard the voice of the turret in the tunnel behind them followed by the loud repetitive banging of its attack. The group quickening their pace as the sounds were brought to a sudden grinding halt with a loud thud.

Before long the group reached the end of the series of corridors, the last door leading onto a rusted walkway over the massive open expanse of the facility. GLaDOS’s tower could be seen shining off in the distance with most of the more lit up areas clustered around it. The walkway ahead trailed off into the gloom. Off one side of the walkway close to the group were the rusted remains of a cage elevator, its mechanism obviously destroyed by age but its platform intact. On the far side of the elevator lay a second entrance leading to another walkway leading off into the darkness.

As they were making their way forward across the walkway something stepped out of the door behind them. Rainbow was the first to notice capturing a glimpse of the machine out or the corner of her eye.

“Oh Celestia! It’s one of GlaDOS’s repair robots, everypony RUN!”

The group didn’t make it ten paces before the machine had caught up to them. With a feat of super-equine strength it launched itself in to the air, managing to flip itself mid-flight to land directly ahead and facing the group.

“Quick! Back into the corridor!” Twilight yelled quickly backpedalling towards the open door.

As if it had heard her words the door quickly snapped shut, blocking the groups retreat.
The voice of GLaDOS suddenly rang out through the facility, sounding more muffled and crackly than back on the testing track but still perfectly clearly. “Did you think you could get away from testing so easily?”

Trapped, the group turned back to face the advancing robot.

“What do we do?! What do we do?! What do we do?!” Pinkie screeched grabbing Twilight by the shoulders and shaking.

“I don't know... It’s a machine! Its can only think logically, the best way to defeat it would be to do something surprising, something stupid!” The slightly dazed unicorn answered back without much time to think it through.

Riff stepped towards the machine, a determined look in his eye uttering a single word “OK”

He stared at a run towards the machine. Leaping into the air at the last moment, grabbing on to a low hanging beam above he swung his hind paws around aiming directly for the machines single orange eye releasing himself at the last moment he sent his entire weight onto the machine.

Caught completely off guard, the machine flew back falling with force on to the centuries old rusted metal platform ahead. The fatigued metal finally failing with the force, the entire section of the walkway up ahead fell away taking the machine down with it.

Riff stood up on the new edge of the platform dusting himself off. “Simple.” he simply said turning to the now smiling ponies with a grin. As he looked up his face fell quickly to one of horror.

Seeing this, the ponies turned as one to see a second robot emerging from the now open corridor door. This machine was carrying what seemed to be a handheld version of the portal gun and was quickly approaching.

“Run, ponies!” Riff exclaimed, getting back into a run himself. Again acting as one without the time to think the ponies dived through the gate to the elevator to their side. As the ponies entered the elevator the gates either side snapped shut automatically.

Seeing his only available route of escape cut off Riff narrowed his eyes, if this was it then he was going out fighting. Putting on a burst of speed he ran past the turn to the now locked elevator and ran at full tilt at the machine.

“Machine shall not pass!” Riff yelled in his broken Equestrian, leaping into the air at the very same moment the machine decided to do the same.

The Two collided in the air at speed, the vastly heavier robot gaining the upper hand in momentum; the two sailed towards the edge grappling with the device the robot held all the way.

“Riff! NO!” The ponies shouted as one, total horror spread across their faces as the pair disappeared over the edge plunging down to the facility’s dark depths.

“NO! No, I can still save him!” Rainbow shouted, taking off and flying hooves out stretched into the closed gate. She impacted with a clang shaking the entire elevator but not damaging the gate. “NO!” she yelled as she tried again. This time as she impacted the gate sagged outwards and something above the ponies snapped causing the whole elevator platform to drop a foot. At this point Applejack had reached the gate as well, she aimed a well-placed buck at the gate and let rip. The entire platform shuddered as her hooves impacted against the metal and some long forgotten part of the mechanism finally gave way sending the platform plummeting downwards into the dark abyss.