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MK-II

Rainbow Dash was sitting on the couch in the living room when Glory arrived home.

“Heeeey,” the pegasus began. “Where ya been?” she asked, slurring her words.

Glory looked to the table in front of the couch and saw the empty bottle lying on its side. “Did you drink all of that?” she asked, a bit shocked.

Rainbow looked at the bottle, bleary eyed. “I dunno. Maybe,” she answered.

Glory shook her head. “Alright then, let’s get you to bed,” she said as she walked over the drunken mare.

“No, I’m… I’m fine, just a little…,” Rainbow said, trailing off at the end.

Glory waited a few minutes before speaking. “What you are is drunk and what you need is rest,” she said as she put Rainbow’s hoof over her shoulder. “Now come on. It’s time for bed,” she finished.

Rainbow yawned in response. “Kay, fine,” she grumbled as she allowed Glory to lead her to the drunk pony's room. They stumbled through the hallway with difficulty, but Glory was able to keep them from falling over.

“Here we go,” Glory said as they finally reached the room.

“I… I got it,” Rainbow slurred as she stumbled to her bed. She fell to the ground about halfway there and Glory rushed to her side to help her up, only to find Rainbow’s face now stained with tears.

“Rainbow what’s wrong?” she asked with concern.

Rainbow sniffled. “I am. I think. I don’t know. I’m angry and I’m avoiding everypony I care about. That’s not right. They want to help and I won’t let them,” she babbled.

Glory didn’t know what to say. To her it seemed that Rainbow knew what her problem was, but didn’t know how to deal with it. “The only advice I can give you is to talk with your friends. They’ll understand,” she told the pegasus.

“And if they don’t?” Rainbow asked. Glory was baffled by the question, but Rainbow continued before she could speak. “You wanna know why I made T.A.N.K.? So that no matter what I’d always have a friend who wouldn’t leave me. How could he? He’s my house,” Rainbow informed, tears pouring down her face. “I always act all busy and shut ponies out without thinking about it. Not because I wanna be alone. Because I deserve to be,” she finished hanging her head.

Glory was shocked at the what she’d been told. “Rainbow, why on earth would you think you deserve to be alone?” she asked, confused.

“Cause I do. What have I ever done to deserve anything else?” she asked rhetorically. “I push all my responsibilities to Caramel, cause I know he won’t screw it up like I will. I’m always making Spitfire’s job difficult,” she rattled off as she grew even more upset.

“Rainbow!” Glory interrupted sharply. Rainbow looked startled at the exclamation. Glory spoke once she knew Rainbow was listening. “I think what you’re really afraid of here is having your friends depend on you and letting them down. So you let them down before they can get their hopes up,” Glory said as she helped Rainbow up off the floor. “And that’s not fair. Too them or yourself,” she continued. “What you need to do is stop feeling bad about pushing everypony away and start letting them in,” the unicorn finished as she helped Rainbow into bed. “Now get some sleep and try to remember this through the hangover tomorrow,” she said, Rainbow was already snoring. Glory smiled as she used her magic to lift the covers over the sleeping mare.

“Good night then,” the unicorn whispered as she left the room and shut the door.

//////////////////////////////////////

Rainbow woke up the next morning with a splitting headache. “Ugh… Never doing that again,” she grumbled, running a hand through her bedraggled hair.

“Never doesn’t seem to last very long for you,” T.A.N.K. replied.

Rainbow groaned. “Not now T.A.N.K. I’m having a rough morning here,” Rainbow replied as she dragged herself out of bed, barely registering she was wearing the same clothes she had on yesterday.

The pegasus made her way to the kitchen where she found Glory cooking breakfast. “What are you making?” she asked catching Glory by surprise.

“Oh, I was just making us some breakfast. Thought we could talk,” she said as she took a pan off of the stove and slid some eggs onto a pair of plates.

“Oh… umm… thanks,” Rainbow said awkwardly.

“Are you alright?” Glory asked, quirking an eyebrow at her bosses behavior.

Rainbow smiled a little. “Yeah, I’m cool. Just not used to being made breakfast after bitching at somepony,” she joked.

Glory smiled. “Well I’ll take that as a compliment,” she replied. “So how’s the hangover?” the unicorn asked.

“Throbbing,” Rainbow replied. “I need a drink,” she continued.

Glory glared at her. “That’s what caused it in the first place,” she said as her horn began to glow. She started going through the kitchen until she found what she was looking for. She pulled a glass out of the cabinet and filled it with water from the tap. She then pulled a tube out of the medicine cabinet and dropped two tablets from it into the water, where they immediately began to fiz. “Drink that,” Glory said sliding the glass to Rainbow.

The pegasus looked at the concoction with a noticeable grimace. She took a deep breath and then downed almost half of the liquid, before the foul taste became too much. “Ugh… Celestia, that’s disgusting.”

Glory chuckled at her boss. “Maybe this will serve as a lesson for next time,” she suggested.

Rainbow snorted. “Not likely. This isn’t my first hangover and it won’t be my last,” she told the unicorn as she gulped down the rest of her medicine, grimacing the whole time. “So did I do anything stupid or embarrassing?” she asked, curious.

Glory stopped, a bite of eggs inches from her mouth. “Nothing horrible,” she said vaguely. “You just talked for a while. Told me the reason you were pushing everypony away,” Glory explained, eyeing Rainbow with concern.

“Oh,” the pegasus said, hanging her head in apparent shame. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to unload on you,” she apologized.

“It’s not a problem,” Glory assured. “However I think there are a few ponies you should have told other than me,” she hinted.

Rainbow sighed, knowing Glory was right. “I know, it’s just hard admitting I need help is all. Being crippled kinda does that to a pony,” she informed.

Glory tried hard not to glare. “It’s not about needing help. Caramel and Spitfire genuinely care about you. They just need to know your going to be okay and right now they’re pretty certain you aren’t,” Glory explained.

Rainbow thought about this for a moment. “Yeah. I’ll talk to them soon, but in the mean time,” she began as she finished her meal. “We have some work to do. So hurry up and eat,” she said as she left the room.

///////////////////////////////////

Glory arrived in the workshop to find Rainbow strapping on what looked like the arms of the armor, still missing the protective plating. “What exactly are we testing now?” she asked, with some concern.

Rainbow looked up, surprised by Glory sneaking up on her. “Nothing big. I thought we’d try some magnets in the gauntlets for grip,” she explained. “Picking heavy stuff up while in the suit would be very helpful.”

“I see,” Glory said, questioning whether this was a good idea. “I am curious though. What kind of magnet will you be using?” she asked, stepping closer to inspect the leggings. “Because if I recall, a strong enough electro magnet could tamper with some of the internal systems, like say the A.R.C. Reactor,” she pointed out.

Rainbow smiled as she tested her footing. “I know. The power dampeners for the thrusters will also be limiting the energy supply for the magnets. So long as I don’t get them to close together I should be fine,” Rainbow explained.

“Very well. How are we testing them?” she asked.

Rainbow thought for a moment. “Oh, I got it. T.A.N.K. do we have any scrap metal left over from the rest of the armor?” she asked.

“Not much. You were very specific on how much you needed,” the A.I. replied.

“Well bring whatevers left up here. We’re gonna put it to use,” Rainbow said.

“Put it to use how?” Glory asked, quirking an eyebrow.

Rainbow smiled. “You’re gonna throw it at me,” she explained, making Glory’s jaw drop in surprise. “Don’t worry, so long as the magnets work, I’ll be fine.”

“That’s comforting,” Glory mumbled as the floor opened up and a few pieces of scrap metal appeared. Glory looked at the scrap, some of it seeming a bit jagged where it had been cut or melted. “Are you sure about this?” she asked, lifting a smaller piece with her magic and inspecting it.

“Yes I’m sure,” Rainbow responded, rolling her eyes. “Now throw it,” she said, holding up a hoof.

Glory looked from the shrapnel to Rainbow and shrugged. “Fine,” she said, her aura flinging the metal at the pegasus. Rainbow held her hoof in it’s general direction and the shrapnel connected with the magnet and stuck to her hand.

“Ha! It worked,” Rainbow cheered just before the weight unbalanced her. “Oh crap,” she hissed as she fell over.

Glory walked over to Rainbow and helped her up, the piece of scrap disconnecting from the magnet. “So was that the desired result?” she asked.

“Sort of. It’ll work better with the full suit. I’ll be able to hold more weight then,” Rainbow explained as she moved to the middle of the room. “Speaking of which, T.A.N.K. is the rest of the armor ready?” she asked.

“The MK-II is ready for basic testing,” T.A.N.K. announced.

Rainbow smirked at this. “All right let’s see how it fits then shall we?” she asked rhetorically.

///////////////////////////

Ghost sat in the back of a truck as it drove through the desert. He looked out of a window and saw a small village in the distance. "Phone," he said holding out a hand. The Diamond dog sitting next to him laid a satellite phone in his hoof. Ghost hit a single button and held the phone to his ear waiting for an answer.

"What?" An annoyed voice asked.

"Just checking in. We're nearing our destination," he informed.

"Don't bother me with meaningless reports. Let me know when you're done. Other than that stay off this line. I need it open for my contact in the company," Ghost's employer said angrily.

"My apologies ma'am. Any news from the company?" the mercenary asked.

"Just get your job done," the made said, a click from the phone told Ghost the conversation was over.

Ghost glared at the phone before turning his attention to the dog beside him. "Tell the others to surround the village and wait for my orders. Once I give the signal they are to kill all. No survivors," he ordered. The dog started talking into a radio, relaying the orders to his comrades. "This should be an interesting reunion," Ghost said to himself, smiling.

////////////////////////

Rainbow stepped into the center of the room and looked at the leggings made of circuits, wires and a thin metal frame. Glory was sitting off to the side paying close attention. "Okay T.A.N.K., initiate suit up," Rainbow said.

As soon as the words had left her mouth the floor opened up as it usually did, but the space quickly grew larger than usual. Glory stared in shock as mechanical arms started attaching new pieces to the armor, starting with exo-skeleton and inner circuitry, with even more arms screwing in bolts to hold the entire thing together. Next came the armor plating. Pieces of silvery metal were lifted into place , attached over the exoskeleton and bolted into place. Rainbow made sure to tuck her mane under the armor as the helmet was fitted around her head. Once it as on the mask slid into place with a cling and Rainbow stood in the middle of the room in full armor.

"This is truly impressive, Rainbow," Glory stated, unsure how else to describe what she was seeing. "Is this what it looked like when you escaped?"

Rainbow let out a laugh at this. "Not exactly," she answered, her voice computerized from the P.A. system. "This is way better," she commented as the HUD came to life in front of her eyes. The monitor was displaying power output and even options for flight paths. This sparked Rainbow's curiosity.

"Well this all very exciting, but it's about time for lunch don't you think?" Glory asked as she started towards the door.

"Initiating armor removal," T.A.N.K. stated.

"Actually I think we may need a test flight," Rainbow said as she started testing her weight, finding it much easier to lift her legs with the full armor on.

Glory's jaw dropped. "You can't be serious. There are several things we need to test before that. We need to make sure the suit won't put the Reactor under too much stress for starters," the unicorn explained.

"Not to mention whether or not it's actually safe to fly with nothing but the armor to protect you in case of a crash landing," T.A.N.K. commented.

Rainbow rolled her eyes. "Oh please. This thing could take an artillery shell and be fine," Rainbow countered. Glory still looked unsure. "T.A.N.K. start listening in on ground control. I'd like to avoid getting spotted," she said, ignoring the look Glory was giving her.

"Which would be easier if you waited until nightfall," Glory grumbled.

"Glory get to the console and keep an eye on energy levels. Let me know when they drop below fifty percent and then I'll come back," Rainbow said hoping that would appease the unicorn.

Glory glared at the pegasus for a moment. "Fine," she said, giving up trying to convince Rainbow that this was a bad idea.

"There's a headset on my desk. You can use that to talk to me," Rainbow said as she turned towards the bay doors on the far end of the room. "T.A.N.K., open the doors," she said smiling. The doors slowly started to slide towards either side of the wall they were attached to, revealing the open sky just outside Cloudsdale.

Rainbow pressed her feet into the boots softly, activating the thrusters, followed quickly by the flight stabilizers in her palms. Once she was high enough above the ground, she pointed her palms backwards and pushed as hard as she could on the sensors and activating the full power of the thrusters. Rainbow was out of the workshop in seconds, leaving a smoke trail as she soared above the forest Cloudsdale floated above.

The pegasus smiled inside her helmet, the screen inside showing her a sight she hadn't seen in a long time. Open skies.

"Glory you there?" She asked after a few minutes.

"Yes. Where are you?" Glory asked, sounding befuddled.

Rainbow took a glance backwards and laughed. "Looks like about half way to Canterlot if I stay the course," she answered. "Sounds a little boring though, let's see what this thing can do," she said as she adjusted her hands to push her up. She did a small loop back on the direction of Cloudsdale.

"Don't do anything stupid," Glory said.

Rainbow smiled. "Wouldn't dream of it," she replied as she righted herself with a quick spin and dropped into a steep dive. As she dropped her speed increased. After a few seconds she heard a loud boom and eased up on the throttle. She quickly came to a full stop a few hundred feet above the forest and looked up. She watched as a circle of rainbow colors spread out from where she had just broken the sound barrier.

"Glory, do me a favor and look out the doors. Tell me if you see it," Rainbow said admiring the spectacle.

"See what?" Glory asked. Rainbow heard the unicorn get up and walk over to the doors. "Wh-what is that? Rainbow did you do that?" She asked, sounding awestruck.

Rainbow smiled. "Yes I did," she said as she hit the thrusters again and started doing several tricks she hadn't been able to in a long time.

/////////////////////////////

Ghost looked down at the village from the hilltop, he and the small troop of diamond dogs with him had stopped on.

"Sir. Everyone is in place," one diamond dog said, giving a quick salute.

"Very well then. Attack," Ghost commanded. The dog spoke into a radio quickly and moments later Ghost watched a rocket fly from a hilltop on the other side of the village and explode upon impact with a house near the edge of the town. More rockets began appearing from hills and rocky outcrops around the village, followed by an invading force.

Ghost watched as the Saddle Arabian ponies began to run in fear, trying to escape their attackers. "Now we wait," he said as he watched the carnage below.

Author's Note:

And there it is folks the Iron Mare Armor MK-II. Not really called that yet, but we know what it is. Anyway, next chapter will be Round 2 for Rainbow and Ghost and I'll be getting into what makes Ghost so difficult to kill. So there's a little treat to those of you who are unfamiliar with the character. Until then Thank you and Stay Tuned.

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