The doors to the large computer depot entitled the “Nerd Herd” opened automatically as they often did in the city. There were many shoppers inside, as well as a few employees, who were busy bustling about in an attempt to meet the store’s demands.
Atom stepped tentatively in, glancing around; he didn’t often enjoy being in the city, mostly for the sheer danger of getting lost. Instead, he’d often to what shopping needed to be done in smaller towns, and visit the city only out of necessity.
Star slid in through the door, stood firmly next to him as she glanced over. “Your friend works here?” She asked.
“Yes, as a matter of fact. She’s an IT pony; she’s really good at fixing computers and other such materials,” Atom explained.
“Ooh, she sounds neat! Can’t wait to meet her. Is she nice? Spunky? Cool? I’ll bet she wears a bowtie. Bowties are cool.”
Atom laughed. “That’s what she usually says. You’re a lot alike, really.” He began walking in, glancing around for the counter where she would be working.
Said counter sat further into the back, and behind it sat the Nerd Herd’s best mechanics and computer specialists; one of these specialists was a mare, perhaps five years in age (21 in human maturity), lavender in coat with her mane pulled up in a taught ponytail. Atom approached, and a grin spread across her face.
“Hey Atom! Long time no see, huh?”
“You’re telling me. Copper, I want you to meet my friend. This is Star Chaser. Star, this is Copernican Circuit.” The stallion nodded respectfully to the each of them.
“Hi!” Star greeted, holding out her hoof for the other to shake. The other pony took it, giving it a confident shake.
“Nice to meet’cha,” Copper replied. “Star Chaser, huh? Sounds cool.”
“Uh, so, while you two are talking, I guess I’ll just… be out in the rest of the store and stuff… lookin’ at computers… Yep.” Awkwardly, Atom backed away from the counter and into the store, soon browsing the shelves with disinterest. Not many computers were catching his eye; the wage he’d earned working in the library (since he was the only employee and it was a public establishment run by the government of Equestria, he got a 60% cut from any fines collected while the rest went to the Princesses. Actually, it was an extremely fair wage considering not many ponies in Hoofington tended to return their books on time) had been enough to buy some decent computers and other equipment. He supposed he could always go browse the webcams, since his was getting rather old at that point. It would be good to keep up with different friends of his, Copper included.
His train of thought came to an abrupt and fiery crash in which it met its peril as he smacked head first into another stallion. The golden coated pony seems unfazed, simply rubbing the spot on his head where Atom’s horn had jabbed with a dark-colored hoof, tousling some of his short plum mane.
“Sorry sir!” Atom apologized, tempted to reach out and fix the stallion’s bowtie. That, however, would be a very bad idea, he decided.
“It’s fine,” the stallion rebutted in a thick Hoofington accent, groaning slightly. “I suppose you could make it up by answering a question, though.”
“Uh, sure. I’m all ears.”
“Have you seen a lavender mare anywhere? I believe she’s an employee so she’s likely to be in uniform. Green polo shirt, that uniform. Ought to be wearing a watch around her left hoof?”
“Uh, yeah! Copper, right?”
“Copper? Do you mean Copernican?”
“Copernican Circuit, yeah. Copper.”
“Right-o. Lead me to her, or at least, point me in her direction, if you will.”
“This way.” The green stallion nodded behind him, turning back around where he had come from. As they approached the counter, the two conversing mares glanced over and Star trotted over to Atom’s side, seemingly defensively.
“Copernican—or, Copper, it seems is acceptable now? Anyways—We’ve got to go quickly if you’re to catch that debrief—I mean, meeting. Come along now,” the golden mane instructed.
“What? Are you kidding me?” Copper snorted, the displeasure obvious. As she grew agitated, the slight Hoofington accent she bore grew stronger. Funny, it seemed Star was the only one here without Hoofington ancestry.
“What kind of a meeting?” Star Chaser pried, urging for more information.
“Just… one for the Nerd Herd,” Copper replied, quickly cutting the other off before he could answer. The stallion opened his mouth to protest, but shut it again promptly. Best not to trifle with the headstrong bugger, he thought.
“Oh, let’s meet up for lunch then later, yeah?” Atom offered, a bit nervously. Star’s eyes shifted from pony to pony, tension rising in the air.
“Sure, that sounds fine. Right, Chrono?” Copper threw a look at the stallion, the kind that said ‘you know exactly what to say.’
“Uh, right. Right!” Chrono replied. “We can do that! Totally fine. Yeah.”
“Right then. We’d better be off, actually. Don’t want to be late. Come along now.” Copper began heading for the door, Chrono following quickly. Atom glanced at Star.
“This seems weird. Should we follow them?”