“Excuse me, HiLite?” Apple Bloom peaked around the corner of the open barn door. A lot had changed in only a week. Old rusty parts lay scattered across the floor, wires and cables running every which way. A hoof-full of strange machines sat in a far corner. Apple Bloom looked up at the airship that resided where the old hay loft used to be. The new roof patched up and reinforced. The sound of something crashing to the ground could grew the filly’s attention.
“Ah shucks, go back together you stupid piece of junk!” Tinker barked, working at the back of the barn turned shop.
“Um, HiLite?” She stepped into the doorway. She cleared her throat and tried again. “HiLite?”
Tinker paused in her work, looking up. “Oh, hay there Apple Bloom, what’s up?”
“Well I was just a… I mean we were…”
“We?? Whose we?” Tinker picked up a dirty rag and wiped her hooves, not making any noticeable difference.
“The Cutie Mark Crusaders!!” Two other small fillies sprang out of nowhere and stood next to the young earth pony. An orange hued pegasus and a white unicorn.
“The Cutie Mark Crusaders… It’s sorta like a club.” Apple Bloom scuffed at the dirt with her hoof.
“A club hay? Alright, what’s all y’all’s names?” She paced over, stepping gingerly over the cables on the ground.
“And my name’s Sweetie Belle!” The unicorn bounced up and down several times.
“Nice to meet you all, I’m HiLite. But Apple Bloom probably told you that already.” She rolled her eyes and let out a chuckle.
“Sure did!!” Scootaloo beamed.
“So what can I do for you today?” Tinker asked, she really should get back to her work.
“Well….” Apple Bloom Started before getting cut off by Sweetie Belle.
“Can you help us find our cutie marks!?”
“Find your what?” She stared at the fillies quizzically.
“Our cutie marks, we haven’t found our talents yet.” The young unicorn lowered her head.
“Oh, I get it… you want me to help you see if I can figure out what your talents supposed to be, is that it?”
“YES!!” All three fillies replied in unison.
“Okay, you’ve got to be kidding me, I don’t have any idea where to start. And I’m kinda busy at the moment.”
“Aww… but please? Maybe our talent is fixing stuff, like you do.” Scoot whined, half begging.
“Yeah… no, too dangerous.”
“Dangerous? It doesn’t look dangerous?”
“Scootaloo… it took a lot of training to do what I do. It’s just not safe without the proper training.”
“Aww, so not fair.” Her wings fell limp to her sides.
“Can’t ya just show us what you’re working on then?” Apple Bloom looked past Tinker to try and see what she was working on.
“Fine… but,” She held a hoof up in warning. “Only if you promise not to touch anything.”
“WE PROMISE!!” The fillies shouted, running past her into the shop.
“WAIT!!” She barked, stopping the trio in their tracks. “I need to disconnect the power first.”
Tinker walked to the side of the main door, to a strange machine that all the cables seemed to be connected to. She flipped a switch and suddenly they all noticed the absence of the humming sound that had gone on unnoticed until now.
“What is that thing?” Scoot bolted over to examine the strange piece of equipment.
“It’s called a Lightning Control Dispersion System, LCDS for short. It powers all the machinery I use to do my work.” She wouldn’t have needed one those if it weren’t for her horn she thought to herself.
“How’s it work?” Scootaloo questioned, reaching out to touch.
Tinker swatted her hoof away. “It uses lighting stored in special metal boxes, that’s about as simple as I can explain it.”
“Hay, what’s this?” Sweetie Belle asked no one in particular.
Tinker turned around slowly. Horror spread across her face, “Don’t touch that!!” She was too late, the sound of metal scraping metal as the blades sliced through the air.
“Whoa… Cool!” Apple Bloom came up next to the unicorn, looking at her reflection in the pair of metal blades that glistened in the light.
“What are those Miss HiLite?” Scootaloo asked, looking up at the shocked expression on the pony’s face.
“Gah…. I told you not to touch anything. Are you alright? You’re not hurt are you??” Tinker rushed over to check on the small white filly.
“I’m fine, but what are these?”
“They, look like… wings. But they’re made of metal?” Scootaloo trotted closer to examine the device, looking back at her own wings.
“But why would you have wings?” Apple Bloom turned to Tinker.
“I just do that’s all.”
“But why? You’re not a pegasus.” Sweetie Belle cocked to her head to the side, confused.
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Please!?” Sweetie Belle hugged her leg tightly, “I promise I won’t tell nopony.”
Tinker glanced to the other two fillies, nodding in agreement. “Fine, but I’ll only say it once, so listen closely.”
The trio plopped down on their haunches in front of her, eager to her what she had to say.
“I have a dream of flying. I built that airship to accomplish that dream.” She looked up at the crude berth that held her creation. “But I still had the urge to fly, to be able to soar the skies, under my own power. So I made those wings. There not finished, and I don’t know if I’ll ever finish them. They’re too dangerous. I sent a pony to the hospital with them once by accident.” Being careful not to let on to just who that particular pony was. “Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to get them working, or maybe never. Some ponies just aren’t meant to fly I guess.”
“I’m sure you’ll get it figured out someday.” Scootaloo looked at the ground, dejected. That would be the day, an earth pony flying when a pegasus can’t.
“Okay, shouldn’t y’all be heading off back home about now?” HiLite suggested.
“But you didn’t tell us how you got your cutie mark yet!”
“My… oh, that’s nothing special.”
“Tell us! Tell us!” The trio bounced around. HiLite just really wanted to get them out of her mane. It was hard enough working alone, but having to worry about fillies around all the equipment? That was just too much.
“Okay, but it’s pretty boring.” She started. “I used to live out on a farm, much like you do Apple Bloom. Now, when I was about your age my brothers had to go out and help my pa with some work in the fields. I really wanted to go but my ma wouldn’t let me. So I got mad and went out to the barn where I bucked the wagon apart. I didn’t mean too, I guess it was still a piece of junk back then. Anyway, I figured I had best but it all back together as best I could before I got in trouble.”
The Crusaders sat as still as stone, riveted to the story.
“I never could get it put back exactly like it was before, and my pa sure was cross when he finally saw what I had done. It was so worth it though, I spent so much time working on that wagon over the years. I must have rebuilt it a hundred times, that old thing.” She chuckles at the thought. “That was the good ole days… before life got all complicated.”
“Complicated?” Sweetie Belle furrowed her brows, deep in thought.
“Yeah, you’ll understand when you’re older, now run along I’ve got work to finish and I can’t do it with y’all hanging around.”
“They all say that,” Scoot remarked as the trio trotted out of the shop. They could hear the hum of the machinery as the LCDS started back up.
“Well, I guess none of us will be fixer ponies.” Sweetie sulked, dragging her hooves.
“Ah nonsense, she said she started by kicking a wagon, come on I know just where to start!” Apple Bloom ran off, excited, the other fillies close behind.