• Published 13th Jun 2013
  • 2,933 Views, 118 Comments

Alternate Geoverse #6: A Season Of Terror - GeodesicDragon



Ace has snapped, and now Doctor Robo terrorises Equestria in his bid to reform the world in his own image. Will his friends be able to stop him? Part Seven of the Geoverse.

  • ...
21
 118
 2,933

It's A Mad World (Edited)

CHAPTER TWO

It's A Mad World

Version 2.0

Ace gazed upon a crystal marble he held between his fingertips, lost in thought, as he leaned forward in his chair. His mind felt... lost. he knew he had just done something horribly, horribly wrong. He wondered idly what Pinkie thought of his actions. The marble in his grasp turned to his whim. The pink pony took the forefront of his thoughts. He remembered her well. He understood why she left. She was scared. Scared of him. Honestly, he was scared of the same person. He didn’t blame Pinkie. She was right to leave him, in his mind.

The marble completed another revolution in Ace’s fingers. He missed her. The way she moved, the way she laughed, the smile on her face... he rested his head in his palm. He was rife with devastation, and there was indeed a simple explanation. He looked at the small crystal ball. Earlier in the year, he would’ve wept, but he was done crying. He had accepted his fate. He was supposed to conquer Equestria. Any ties to his old life had to be severed. He wasn’t Ace any more. Ace was dead. He was Dr. Robo, and it was his destiny to lead his Empire to victory against all who would oppose him.

The marble fell from Ace’s hand, and Dr. Robo stood. The marble bounced off the deck of the ship, rolling into the shadows. Dr. Robo glared at the computer screen before him. The deck of his ship was wide, and divided into rows facing out from his throne. Computer terminals at every station dotted the rows, and at every station was a Doc-bot, feverishly working at their respective terminal to keep the ship in the air.

***

Applejack watched John as he threw another bucket of water onto a still-smouldering pile of rubble. All around them, residents of Ponyville were doing the same to other buildings which had been ravaged by the fire. John walked over to a tap in the middle of town, wiping his brow, while Applejack walked over and laid a hoof on his arm. "Take a break, sugarcube," she pleaded. "Ya ain’t gonna be much use ta anypony if’n you’re tuckered out."

"No," John snapped. "I’m not going anywhere until I know for sure that the town is safe." Applejack winced slightly at her husband’s sharp tongue. Seeing this he sighed and sat next to her, placing a protective arm around her — and the foal she was carrying. "I’m sorry, AJ," he said sullenly. "I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. It’s just that... I feel like what Ace did is my fault. Like I could have stopped all of it from happening."

"Everypony thinks that, John," Applejack sighed. "Heck, even Ah think I coulda done somethin’. But the fact is, I don’t think any of us coulda seen this coming."

"So what the hell do we do then?" John lamented. "I just feel so fucking useless."

"Hmm..." Applejack tapped her chin in thought for a moment. "I guess all we can do now is help folk here, and then work out what we’re gonna do about Ace. Ah heard Geo got himself into a bit of a mess earlier, so we need to check up on him and all our other friends."

"All right," John replied. "Town first, friends second and Ace third. Sounds good to me."

Applejack gave John a peck on the cheek and he stood up, helping her to her hooves. The two of them then walked in the direction of the hospital tent, both their minds full of questions and worries.

***

"Are there any more patients, Fluttershy?"

"No, Haywick. I think you’ve treated them all," Fluttershy replied. "Now please, sit down and have a drink. You’ve been on your hooves for hours helping everypony."

"I’m a doctor, my dear," Haywick sat down with a small sigh. "Helping everypony is what I do best."

Fluttershy nuzzled Haywick contentedly as the two looked out of the flap of the tent towards Ponyville. The fires had been extinguished, but a thick layer of smoke lay over the once-peaceful town. Fluttershy shuddered, leaning closer to the stallion sitting by her side. "I can’t believe Ace would do this," she whimpered. "I never knew that being away from Pinkie Pie for so long would do this to him. Oh, if only we could have done something..."

"Like what?" Haywick replied. "I’m sorry to have to say it, Fluttershy, but there’s nothing we could have done. It would seem that Ace’s fall from grace was inevitable. And even if we had been allowed to see him, curse those blasted bots of his, then what could we have said to him?"

"We could have... um..." Fluttershy ran a forehoof nervously along the ground. "We could have told him how much we missed him, and how much of a dear friend he is... was."

"And what about all that he’s done?" Haywick countered. "Killing all those men in cold blood like that, would you have forgiven him for such a thing?"

"He wasn’t thinking straight," Fluttershy said. "Killing those men was a bit over the top, I know, but he clearly hates himself for it. I don’t know what’s been going on in his mind in the time he’s been cooped up in his lab, but I could hazard a guess and say that his guilt and rage finally got the better of him. But to answer your question, yes, I do forgive him."

Haywick sighed and kissed Fluttershy on the nose tenderly. She draped a wing over his back and pulled him closer.

"Well..." Haywick said. "Let’s just pray that there is yet some hope for our friend. I’m sure the rest would agree with me when I say that something needs to be done, and soon."

"Let’s go find everypony then," Fluttershy replied. "That way we can all sit down and talk about what that ‘something’ is."

Haywick nodded and the two of them stood up. As they left the tent, a voice calling their names caught their attention. The two turned to see John and Applejack approaching, the former looking a little worse for wear.

"Hey, folks," John said. "Judging by the looks on your faces, you are both concerned about whatever the hell has gotten into Ace, aren’t you?" The two of them nodded. "Same with us then. We were actually here to ask you if you’d come with us into town, but I can see that you’ve already had that idea."

"Yes," Fluttershy replied. "We were going to go see Twilight and Geo. As Prince and Princess, Ponyville is their responsibility."

"Plus they can contact Celestia and Luna for help," Haywick added. "Because the way things are going right now, the whole of Equestria will soon know of Ace’s downfall. And when they do, it is the Princesses who will have to answer for it."

"Yeah," John said glumly. "Because they’re the ones who let him stay in Equestria in the first place. And let’s not forget his backstory: a lot of ponies are going to be playing the ‘Why did you let a former gangster stay in our country?’ card."

"We’ll sort that when the time comes," Applejack said as she started walking. "But there ain’t no sense in discussin’ it without the others here. So let’s go an’ grab everypony else and head on over to the library."

The other three said nothing as they fell into line behind her.

***

"How could he do this to us?!" Rainbow Dash growled as she struck out with her forehooves. "If I ever get my hooves on Ace, I’m gonna tear him apart!"

"Whoa, Dash, settle down," Spark Plug said hesitantly. "We can’t go jumping to conclusions."

"What conclusion?" Dash replied. "The fact that Ace has betrayed us in the most horrible way imaginable, or the fact that... we failed him as friends?"

"Don’t say that!" Spark said sternly. "None of us knew that this was going to happen. And even if we did know, there would have been nothing we could have done. You know as well as I do that nopony has been allowed to see Ace lately. Whatever he’s been planning, he has had both the time and the privacy with which to do so. We tried to get to him, but we couldn’t."

"Well we should have tried harder!" Dash yelled. "We should have blazed past those oversized tin cans, marched straight into that lab of his, pulled him out of whatever crazed world he was in and shown him how much he means to us and Pinkie!"

"That’s right..." Spark said quietly. "Pinkie will be taking this harder than anypony else. I can’t even begin to imagine what the poor mare must be going through, and I don’t even want to think about what will happen to their daughter. At the very least, I hope that she visits her father while he’s in a prison... not buried in a cemetery."

"Yeah... well, I’m not sure how to feel right now," Dash moaned. "Part of me wants to buck Ace’s teeth out, but the other part thinks I should stick by him."

"I see what it is," Spark replied. "You are the Bearer of the Element of Loyalty yet you are torn between your loyalty to Equestria, because it is your home and your loyalty to Ace, because he is your friend." Dash nodded meekly. "My dear Rainbow, the answer is obvious. You can support both causes at once, by helping Ace find out what is wrong with him... which in turn will help Equestria."

Rainbow Dash looked at Spark in wonder before a small smile tugged the corners of her lips. She nodded, with more vigour than before, and nuzzled Spark’s face. He blushed at the contact, as well as conceal his surprise at the fact Dash didn’t look around to make sure she wasn’t being watched.

"You’re right, Spark," Dash whispered. "You’re always right. Come on, let’s go Twilight. She’s the egghead, so hopefully she’ll have some clue as to what we need to do." She pointed a forehoof in a random direction. "For Ace, and for Equestria!" She said dramatically, as she began trotting towards town. Spark Plug chuckled and rolled his eyes before following her.

***

"It was horrible, Gummy," Pinkie said as she paced around the tent nervously, her eyes darting back and forth as if she was expecting something to leap at her from the shadows. The voices of other Ponyville residents who had lost their homes filtered in, but Pinkie paid no attention to them. In one corner sat her pet alligator, chewing on a ball as he watched his owner walk around muttering to herself. "I feel like there’s something I could’ve done, y’know? Twilight says that there was no way to predict what would happen. But I’m his wife, I should have known that something was wrong!"

A loud cry cut through the air. Pinkie stopped in her tracks and turned to the source of the noise — a foal in a crib. She mentally slapped herself for waking her up and walked over, cradling the child gently. "Shh... There, there, Chocolate. Daddy’s... not here right now. I miss him too." Chocolate snuggled up to Pinkie’s chest and cooed happily. A small smile came to the mare’s face at the affectionate display, and she gently placed Chocolate back in her crib. The foal fell asleep in moments and Pinkie turned her attention to Gummy, who was still chewing on the ball. "I just don’t know what to do. I... There has to be some way to make this right, right?"

Gummy stopped chewing and fixed his gaze upon his owner. He blinked once and resumed his attempts to devour the ball. Pinkie looked at him for a moment before she gasped. "You’re right!" she squealed. "My friends will know what to do! You’re a sweet, wonderful genius, Gummy! They’d be at Twilight’s right now, wouldn’t they?" Gummy blinked again and Pinkie nodded. "That settles it," she said. "I’ll go there now, and Chocolate’s coming with me! Watch the tent while I’m gone, Gummy! Bye!"

***

Arriving back at the library I flopped down onto the couch, burying myself in the softness of the cushions. The guards assigned to protect Twilight and I were there as well, their faces showing signs of pain and anguish. They saluted as we came in, but I raised a hand. "You shouldn’t be here," I said sternly. "Go to your families and friends, make sure they’re okay." One of them opened his mouth, an unsure look on his face. "Consider that to be a direct order from your Prince. Now go, we’ll be fine."

They didn’t have to be told twice as they galloped out of the room and took to the air. Twilight nodded at me and went upstairs, coming back down a few moments later with Azure and Evening on her back.

"Hi, daddy!" Evening squealed. She noticed the sullen expression on my face and matched it. "What’s wrong? Why are you sad?"

"Don’t you worry about me, sweetheart," I replied. "Daddy is just a bit tired."

"I heard Uncle Ace yelling earlier," Azure said. "Why is he so angry? We saw the fires and heard shouting and crying."

Twilight and I exchanged a worried glance with each other, while Azure and Evening looked at us with perplexed expressions. The two of them could see that we were keeping something from them, and their childish curiosity would not relent.

"Uncle Ace..." Twilight flailed a bit, trying to find the right words. "Uncle Ace is not well, kids. He’s just not being himself."

"Oh," Azure replied. "Well... give him some medicine then. It works when Evening and I get ill."

I chuckled at my son’s naivety, which seemed to upset him a bit. He snorted at me and crossed his forelegs.

"Sorry, son," I said. "But I think not even that yucky stuff we keep in the cabinet is going to help your Uncle Ace."

Evening slid off Twilight’s back and walked over to me. I picked her up and she wrapped her little forehooves around my neck.

"Will you and mummy make Uncle Ace better?" she asked as she nuzzled my cheek. "I hope you do."

"We’ll try," I gave my daughter a kiss on the forehead. "But if medicine doesn’t work then Uncle Ace will have to spend some time in the hospital."

Azure copied his sister and slid off Twilight’s back. I scooped him up and he hugged the other side of my neck.

"Don’t worry, daddy," he said. "Mummy can use her magic to make Uncle Ace feel better. And if she can’t do it, then Auntie Celestia and Auntie Woona can help."

Twilight giggled at Azure’s pronunciation of ‘Luna’ before coming over and joining the hug.

"We’ll make Uncle Ace better, kids, I promise," she said. "Now come on, it’s time for bed."

"Aaaawwwwwww...." Azure and Evening groaned as they were levitated onto Twilight’s back. I gave them both a kiss goodnight and watched as they went upstairs.

"We’ll either make him better..." I muttered. "Or we’ll kill him trying. And I hope for all our sakes, especially Pinkie’s, that it’s the former."

***

"Who could have known that Ace could be so cruel?" Spike wondered. "I had no idea he could do something like this. What do you think, Rarity?"

Rarity bit her lip nervously, memories of what she had been told about Ace’s past flooding through her mind. The images did not make for pleasant viewing, and she shook her head to clear her mind of the horrors which were lurking within. "All I know is that Ace is acting very uncouth," she replied. "And that something needs to be done before somepony is seriously hurt." She paused for a moment. "Or, Celestia forbid, killed."

"But the main question is... what are we going to do about it?" Spike said. "Ace has to be stopped, and I’m guessing you, me and the others are going to be the ones who will have to do it."

Rarity sighed. "I guess we are, darling," she said. "But I cannot rightly say just what our course of action will be. My guess is that everypony will be meeting to discuss matters."

"Yeah, you’re right," Spike mused. "Chances are they’ll be going to see Geo and Twilight at the library. So we should make our way over there now and join them."

Rarity nodded and got up from her seat, walking over to the door. She and Spike both stepped out into Ponyville, closing the door behind them, and walking side-by-side down the street towards the library. As they walked, Spike draped a wing over Rarity’s back, prompting her to lean into him with a contented sigh. Clearing his throat, Spike spoke in a hushed tone.

"What will we do if... if Ace can’t be saved?" He said. "Do you think we’ll have to fight him?"

Rarity shuddered, knowing full well what Ace was capable of in a fight. "I hope not," she muttered. "Those bots of his... they would not be easy opponents to overcome."

"But what if we somehow managed to get him alone?" Spike offered. "What would we do then?"

"If we could not reason with him... then I guess we would have to fight." Rarity replied. "I’m no strategist, but I’d imagine that with our superior numbers we would be able to overpower Ace without having to resort to violence."

"At least, you hope so," Spike said with a small chuckle.

Rarity smiled at him. "Do not worry, my dear Spikey-Wikey, for we will find a solution to this mess. Ace will be saved ‘come hell or high water’, as Geo would say."

Spike smiled back and the two of them fell into silence as the library came into view.

***

John, Applejack, Fluttershy and Haywick were the first ones to arrive, followed closely by Dash and Spark and then by Rarity and Spike. Pinkie was the last to arrive, and was unable to look anypony in the eye as she slunk over to the couch and sat down. The distraught look was still on her face, and her mane and tail were still eerily flat. What little cheer she got seemed to come from her foal, who she brought over. She cuddled Chocolate’s sleeping form, only the beginnings of a smile showing on her face as she did. The sight of the normally bubbly mare looking like this could have brought a tear to a glass eye.

"So what’s the plan?" Rainbow Dash asked. "I assume that’s why we’re all here, to do something, right?"

"What can we do?" I replied. "We have no idea where Ace is headed, we don’t know how he got this way...it looks like there isn’t much that we can do."

"Well we cain’t just give up, raight?" Applejack asked. "Ah mean, we’ve faced big ol’ nasties out ta destroy Equestria before. Naightmare Moon and Sombra? Shoot, they were nothin’ but a bitch an’ a trick." The rest of us stared in wonder at the words that had left AJ’s mouth, and she looked away sheepishly. "Ah’m sorry. Ah guess John’s rubbin’ off on me." She admitted with a chuckle.

"Applejack brings up a good point, though. You’ve faced off against the toughest baddies Equestria has to offer!" Spike said, throwing a couple of enthusiastic punches. "If you guys can shoot him with the elements, then I’m sure he’ll be back to his old self again!"

"That depends, Spike," Twilight said. "If something inhabited him, and is making him do this, then yes, we could use the elements and banish whatever evil is inside him. But if he’s doing this of his own accord, and is just insane to the point where he’s hearing voices in his head, then the elements will..." Twilight paused, sighing. "The elements will destroy him."

A solemn silence descended on the room, as the gravity of what was at stake hit us. Twilight’s words seemed to have taken all of the hope out of each of us, and none of us knew how to respond. Though, eventually, Pinkie did. "I can’t do it." We all turned to her, and saw her clutching Chocolate as tears welled up in her eyes. "I can’t be responsible for that. It’s already my fault that he’s acting like this, I don’t want him to die because of me." Pinkie sniffled, and her tears intensified. She began sobbing silently, as Rarity and Fluttershy ran up to comfort her. They began their own hushed conversation, trying to calm Pinkie down.

"This is bad," Dash said worriedly. "Even if the only way to stop Ace was to use the Elements, it requires all six of us to do it. But if Pinkie doesn’t want to, then we won’t be able to stop Ace that way. We need a new plan."

"Maybe we should visit Princess Celestia, and see what she has to say on the matter," Twilight suggested. "She has thousands of years of experience, so maybe her insight will give us a good idea on what to do about this." We all nodded in agreement. "All right then. Let’s go."

We all stood up and left the library, Rarity and Fluttershy still doing their best to console Pinkie, and headed for the station. None of us knew what lay ahead...

But we all knew that it wasn’t going to be easy.

***

Ace's Lab, Seven Months Ago...

"I remember this show I used to watch," Ace said to himself as he worked on a new invention. "I really liked the characters, because they were noble and honourable Samurai. I practised fighting like them using wooden swords when I was younger."

"So you were an effective combatant," mused the voice in his head.

Ace nodded as he spliced together a few wires. "I actually managed to beat up a kid with a baseball bat by fighting like them. If I refine it, I can train myself to fight like that again, and actually improve on what I’ve done," he replied, as a feeling of satisfaction washed over his mind.

"Then you had better get started, after you finish your work on this creation. You will need that skill to prove yourself."

Ace smiled, before a solemn thought entered his head. "When this is over... Will I be loved?" he asked the thin air.

"Love?" The voice scoffed. "What use is that? Love led you to this sorrow that you are experiencing. There is no place for love in our future," the voice turned more sinister. "Banish any thought of love away. You can never be loved. Especially after everything you’ve done."

"... yeah, I guess you’re right," Ace sighed as he returned to his creation.

Author's Note:

Crimson Star Says: This was the most difficult chapter for us to write. With any luck, it will be smooth sailing from here. By the way, I would PAY to hear Applejack actually say "nothin' but a bitch an' a trick" IRL.

Geo Says: OH MY GOD this took so fucking long to write. There was just so much dialogue! And I too would pay to hear Applejack say that. It would be hilarious.

Also, I just had to make a 'Woona' joke. I could not resist.

VERSION HISTORY

Version 2.0: Indented paragraphs, fixed grammar to reflect my current standards, and changed how the voice in Ace's head is depicted.
Version 1.0: Original Version