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Mistakes

Rainbow arrived at Dash Industries HQ and looked up at the enormous building. She had made sure Glory had cleared her schedule for the day so that she would be able to arrive at her meeting with Caramel on time. She even dressed in a suit for the occasion, although that was mostly to hide the reactor under more than one layer of clothing. She wasn't sure what he wanted or even how Rainbow was going to explain what she wanted to tell him. "Well here goes.... something," she said to herself, pushing her nerves aside as she strode into the building.

She quickly arrived at Caramel's office and looked to his assistant, sitting at a desk just outside. "Hi there. I'm here to see Caramel," Rainbow stated, approaching the mare's desk.

The assistant looked up and smiled. "Just a moment please," she replied as she pressed a button on her phone. "Sir, Ms. Dash is here," she spoke into the receiver.

The phone was silent for a moment. "Really?" Caramel's voice asked. "Ummm.... send her in," he finally said. Caramel's assistant motioned for Rainbow to continue.

Rainbow walked through the door to her friends office. "Wow, you're really here," the stallion inside commented, surprised. He glanced at the clock on his desk. "And with time to spare."

Rainbow rolled her eyes as she sat in a chair across Caramel's desk. "Funny," she replied sarcastically. "Is it that big of a deal I'm here on time?" she asked with a smile.

Caramel chuckled at this. "Rainbow, in all the time I've known you, you have never been on time for anything. Not even your own birthday party," Caramel explained.

"Its called being fashionably late," she defended. The two shared a smile and then Caramel's expression hardened and Rainbow knew it was time for business.

"Rainbow I got a call from General Hurricane the other day about the attack in Saudi Arabia," Caramel began, instantly catching Rainbow's attention.

"That's actually why I'm on time. I've-" Rainbow began, but was quickly interrupted.

"Was it yours?" Caramel asked, trying to remain stoic.

Rainbow froze for a second. "Umm... well yeah. It... umm... How did you find out?" she asked, a little surprised at this revelation.

"I put the pieces together. Plus I know you. So what did you make?" Caramel asked leaning back in his chair.

Rainbow thought about his answer for a moment. "Well it's... armor," she replied. Caramel looked like he was about to get angry. "Okay I know that was stupid," Rainbow said quickly," but I had a good reason." Caramel calmed down enough to listen. "Those terrorists were the same ones who caught me. I was-"

"Are you kidding me?!" Caramel interrupted, surprising Rainbow with his outburst. "This was all about revenge? You nearly got yourself killed over a grudge? Do you have any idea how stupid that was?" Caramel interrogated.

Rainbow was almost too surprised to respond. "Wha... I was... I saved those Saddle Arabian ponies from terrorists. I'm a hero!" Rainbow argued.

"No you aren't. You didn't go to Saddle Arabia to help. You went there looking for a fight. That's not heroic its petty," Caramel countered.

Rainbow bit back a reply, seething inwardly. "They had my drones," she said, wanting an explanation.

Caramel sighed at that. "That's already being handled. The head of shipping was working with the terrorists," Caramel explained. Rainbow looked surprised. "But that's not why I wanted to see you," Caramel continued before Rainbow could change the subject.

"Oh I know. You wanted to see me so you could tell how immature I'm being!" Rainbow snapped.

Caramel sighed. "Actually yes, that's exactly the problem," he said. Rainbow looked offended. "Rainbow, I'm worried about you. Ever since you got back you've been different. You're angry all the time," Caramel explained, a worried expression on his face.

Rainbow searched for a response. "Well almost dying does that to a pony," she replied.

Caramel looked shocked. "What does that mean?" he asked perplexed. He didn't recall any mortal injuries when Rainbow returned and Spitfire would have mentioned stopping at a military hospital.

Rainbow took a moment to think before she reached a hoof to her shirt, unbuttoning the first few buttons and revealing the circle of light hidden beneath. Caramel's jaw dropped.

"What the hell is that?" the stallion asked bewildered.

"Something my dad thought up. It's keeping a cluster of shrapnel out of my heart," Rainbow explained.

Caramel stared in awe before a thought struck him. "Wait, he saved your life? How can you hate him for that?" he asked.

Rainbow's expression soured. "He used his last breath to tell me I was a mistake," Rainbow said harshly.

"Rainbow, your dad made a lot of mistakes. You weren't one of them," Caramel assured.

Rainbow blushed a little at the comment, but she didn't have a response. "Maybe you should've told him that."

Caramel frowned. "Rainbow you have got to move on. Find a way to get some closure and move on," Caramel advised.

Rainbow looked unsure. "I'll think about it," she said as she got up. Neither pony said anything as Rainbow left.

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

Ghost watched through a rifle scope as Rainbow exited the building. He had found a perch on top of the building across the street, giving him a clear view of all of his targets. He considered just pulling the trigger right there. He had been ordered to eliminate her. "No. One defeat warrants just killing her, but twice calls for something a little more," he said moving the rifle so it pointed at a window on the building," personal." Ghost observed Caramel making a phone call and smiled.

"First things first though," he said, switching his aim again, this time bringing Jet Stream into his line of sight. He reached for his radio and brought it up to his ear. "Team one, status report," he demanded.

The radio crackled to life with a Diamond Dog's voice. "The M.P.s have been dealt with. We are enroute now. Waiting on your go," the dog reported.

Ghost smiled at the news. The team that had been put together was much more competent than the other Diamond Dogs he had worked with. "Good. Once you've reached the Cloudsdale air base, meet with our contact. He'll give you the cloud walking spell. After that wait for my word. And try to take Dash alive. She could prove very useful to us," Ghost ordered.

"Understood," the dog replied.

Ghost switched the channel on his radio. "Team two, Are you in position?" he asked.

"Yes sir, but we may want to get moving soon. Theses ponies seem nervous with a group of Diamond Dogs hanging out in their capital," the dog on the other end replied.

"We wait for nightfall," Ghost replied, switching off his radio. "This all ends tonight," he said with a smile.

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

Rainbow arrived home unsure of how she should feel at the moment. She had been mulling it over the entire way home.

Glory appeared from the kitchen as soon as the door closed. "How did it go?" she asked sounding hopeful.

Rainbow struggled to answer. "I... It...," she said stumbling over her words.

Glory spoke at this. "It sounds to me like maybe you got what you needed out of it," she guessed.

Rainbow sighed. "I don't know. He already guessed it was me in the armor. Some General told him what happened after the news got shut out," Rainbow began. "And then he tells me what I did was petty," she explained, sounding frustrated. "Was it?" the pegasus asked, sounding unsure.

Glory considered her answer. "Perhaps he didn't mean what you did, but why you did it. Revenge is a destructive path that leaves nopony with anything," the unicorn explained.

"But I won," Rainbow argued.

"So what are you going to do now?" Glory asked sternly.

Rainbow was taken aback. "What?" she asked.

Glory stepped forward. "What now? You've had your revenge. You got what you wanted. So what are you going to do now?" Glory repeated.

Rainbow racked her brain for an answer, but couldn't come up with one. "I... didn't really think about it," she said, looking down.

Glory looked disappointed. "I thought so. You were so consumed in your revenge and trying to prove yourself better than your father, you forgot about the ponies who care about you. Spitfire blames herself for your capture. Caramel is being shut out completely. How are you going to continue living when you're alone?" the unicorn asked. Rainbow simply looked down, feeling ashamed. After a minute without replying Glory continued. "Perhaps you should take some time to think about it. I'm going to go get dinner," Glory said moving towards the door. She turned back to Rainbow. "Try to remember the ponies who have always been there for you," she said as she opened the door and left.

Rainbow stood where she was for a few minutes before moving towards the stairs to her workshop. She had always thought better while working.

She entered her work space and looked around at it. Some of the damage from testing the armor was still visible, but Rainbow didn't seem to care. "T.A.N.K., pull up the armor. Let's take a look at the damage," she said moving to the middle of the room.

"As you wish," the A.I. replied. The floor shifted as the damaged armor was brought up. Its silver sheen marred by scorch marks and dents from her battle.

Rainbow looked at the armor and tried to think of a few ways to improve it, but couldn't. "Ugh... what am I missing?" she asked herself as she walked over to her desk and sat down. She stared at the armor, unable to figure out what needed to change. With a groan she rested her head on the desk and looked to the right. Her eyes widened when she saw the tape next to her previous reactor. She picked up the tape and looked at it for a moment.

"T.A.N.K. I thought I told you to incinerate these," she said setting the tape on her desk.

"I apologize ma'am. Your multiple near death experiences have everyone distracted," T.A.N.K. quipped, earning a smile from Rainbow.

After staring at the tape for several minutes Rainbow made a decision. "Do we have anything here old enough to play a tape like this?" the pegasus asked.

"There should be some form of VCR here somewhere," T.A.N.K. replied. Rainbow heard a mechanical sound behind her and turned her chair to see a panel below her monitors open up and out came a dusty tape player. "This should do," the A.I. said.

Rainbow smiled as she pushed the tape into the player. The screen came to life with the image of Comet Dash sitting in a dimly lit corner of the cave they had been held captive in.

"Ummm... Hi, Rainbow. I'm really hoping you didn't wait too long to watch this. I dont want you distracted tomorrow," the unicorn began, rubbing a hoof on the back of his head. "I'm not really sure where to start. I owe you so much more than a simple apology. Not just for what I said earlier in the week, but for the past twenty years," Comet said, looking tired.

Rainbow was confused. Thought this was supposed to be about the armor, she thought to herself, unsure where this was going.

"I was never much of a father," Comet continued. "I pushed you away from an early age and by the time I realized what I'd lost it was too late. You hated me," the stallion explained, looking towards his feet. "I still can't seem to get things right. I guess I just wanted you to be like me so much, I forgot you had dreams of your own." Comet stopped for a second, looking like he was gathering his thoughts. "A few days ago I thought things were getting better, but then came the weapons," he said, seemingly ashamed. "I knew the armor could protect you mostly, but I was scared it wouldn't be enough. I wanted weapons on the suit, not because I didn't trust your design, but because I didn't trust my work on the armor to be enough. I wanted to be sure you could protect yourself." Comet chuckled to himself. "I couldn't even explain that right. Celestia, what I told you wasn't even close," he said hanging his head.

Rainbow could swear she saw a tear on his face. She sat in her chair, mouth open as she watched in disbelief. "Since the day you were born I feel like the only thing I've done right is putting the ARC Reactor in you," he said, a wistful smile playing on his lips. "I think that will be a very fond memory for me. The first time I made something with you. The first Dash family creation," Comet announced. The stallion recomposed himself and stood up. "Well, we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. I better get some sleep," he said, static consuming the screen soon after.

Rainbow sat in her chair, unable to comprehend what she had seen and heard. "Caramel was right," she said looking at the silver armor in the middle of the room.

"Ma'am?" T.A.N.K. inquired.

Rainbow sat up from her chair and walked over to the armor. "How long would it take to make a new suit?". Rainbow asked looking the old one over.

T.A.N.K. took a moment to respond. "Going off of the current design it would only take a few hours at most," he replied.

"And if we wanted to put in a few upgrades?" Rainbow questioned.

"Depending on what we install, it could be a few more minutes or several hours," the computer informed.

Rainbow thought for a moment. "Good enough," she responded. "Don't bother with the power dampeners. The flight stabilizers make pretty good weapons. And put some kinda shielding between the magnets and the rest of the internal circuitry. No point making that a problem," she said inspecting the hooves of the armor.

"Anything else?" T.A.N.K. asked.

"Yeah bring up a list of small arms the company sells. I'm sure we have what we need here to make most if it," Rainbow said as she approached her desk.

"That's not usually your style ma'am," T.A.N.K. commented.

Rainbow shrugged. "Everypony has been telling me I should make a few adjustments in my life," she replied as she pulled her phone out of her desk. She selected Spitfire's number from her contacts and held the phone to her ear. Rainbow was disappointed to hear it go straight to voicemail.

"Can't get to you right now. Leave a message," Spitfire's voice said.

Rainbow waited for the beep before talking. "Hey Spit, it's Rainbow. I think you know that already though, which is why you aren't talking to me. Anyway, if you listen to this I want you to know you were right. Glory should be coming back with dinner soon. I'd love to have you here," she said, hoping Spitfire wasn't to mad at her. "Alright. See ya maybe," Rainbow finished, hanging up and throwing the phone on her desk.

Rainbow sat at her desk for a few more minutes before looking at the ARC Reactor sitting on her desk. She picked it up and inspected it, the silver light shining as bright as it had the day it was made.

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

Spitfire set her phone down on the coffee table in the living room of her modest apartment after listening to the message. She was reluctant to believe Rainbow had changed, but at the same time Rainbow had sounded different. She weighed her options for a few minutes before deciding. "The hell with it," she said as she stood up and walked towards her door. "Last chance she's getting though," Spitfire said closing the door behind herself.

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

Glory happily walked home, several bags of groceries held in her magic. The pillowy streets of Cloudsdale were shrouded in the darkness if the night, lit only by the street lamps that seemed to be spaced so that they left patches of darkness between each one.

Glory continued despite the darkness and hummed to herself. Just as she was rounding the corner towards Rainbow's house she thought she heard a clicking noise behind her and whipped around. She was faced with an empty street, nopony else in sight. She narrowed her eyes searching for the slightest movement but saw nothing. She turned back to her path and continued, keeping an ear out for any other strange noises.

It was just seconds later Glory heard another click and just as she was about to turn, felt cold metal pressed against the back of her neck. She froze in place as a distinctly canine voice whispered in her ear.

"Don't move pony. We'd like it if you stayed in one piece. You're more valuable that way," the dog said, it's breath making Glory's nose wrinkle in disgust. She didn't move. She simply glared straight ahead.

Author's Note:

Okay, so I told you wed be getting Ghost's history this chapter. Sorry. The plan changed kinda last minute and I felt that scene belonged in the next chapter more. Anyways, I'll be doing one more chapter for Princess of Thunder and then powering through the rest if this story. Im pretty sure I said thus before, but I want to be sure. It may be awhile after this next chapter before Twilight's story is continued. Well I thought I had more to say, but I guess not. Stay tuned.

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