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Homecoming

The flight back to Equestria was held in silence. Spitfire didn’t know what she could say to get her friend to open up about what happened. Rainbow simply looked out of the window as the helicopter flew over the wasteland.

Somehow just looking out the window made Rainbow angry. It’s about all she felt since her father had died in her arms leaving her nothing, but a notes on how to improve the armor they’d created. There’s nothing to improve. Probably didn’t need the weapons either, Rainbow thought arrogantly. She knew Ghost probably would have killed her as well without Comet’s contributions to the suit, but she just wanted to be angry.

Spitfire unable to take the silence anymore spoke up. “So... Caramel has been worried sick about you,” she informed.

This caught Rainbow’s attention. “Really? I thought he’d be happy about his vacation being extended,” she replied. The thought of seeing her assistant again alleviated the anger slightly.

“He cut his vacation short as soon as he heard you were missing. He personally made sure I’d have everything I needed to find you. Probably would have come to get you himself if he were aloud,” the fiery mare said, watching Rainbow’s interest in the topic grow as they continued talking.

“Somehow I have a hard time believing that. You’re telling me the stallion that complained whenever I had him help me with the dirty work in my workshop wasn’t just a little happy with me gone?” Rainbow asked, finding it difficult to believe anypony had missed her that much.

“Of course not,” Spitfire replied, confused. “He’d be willing to do almost anything for you,” she continued.

Rainbow wanted to argue that, but past experience proved Spitfire’s point. “I guess so,” she said, returning to staring out of the window.

Spitfire looked at her friend sadly, wondering what had happened to the snarky mare that she knew before.

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

As the chopper landed on the runway of the army base that Rainbow had left nearly a week before she noticed a black sedan with tinted windows and in front of this stood a familiar pony. Caramel approached the chopper before it had even finished landing, seemingly eager to see it’s occupants. Rainbow opened the doors and stepped out once the propellers started to lose speed. She was wearing a thicker shirt to keep the ARC Reactor a secret from the public. Spitfire had seen it, but didn’t ask about it. The pocket on the front of the shirt was currently holding the tape her father had given to her.

Caramel threw his arms around the mare a soon as she was within reach. After about a minute he pulled away blushing and wiping moisture from his eyes. “It’s good to have you back Ms. Dash,” he said in an almost professional manner.

“You too Caramel. Now if you don’t mind I haven’t had anything but brown slop for about a week and I’m in the mood for some real food,” she said as she started limping towards the car.

“Shouldn’t you get your leg looked at?” Caramel pointed out.

“Yeah sure, I’d just like to get a daisy salad in me,” Rainbow argued, looking at Caramel who didn’t seem pleased with the answer. “Fine, schedule something with my doctor, but I’m getting my food on the way,” she conceded, rolling her eyes.

“Good,” he said as he opened the car door for her. Once Rainbow was in he turned to walk to the other side of the car, but was stopped by Spitfire.

“Make sure she takes it easy for awhile. She’s been through alot and not just the leg,” Spifire told the stallion as she began walking away.

“Sure thing,” Caramel confirmed as he got in the car with Rainbow.

“What was that about?” Dash asked quirking an eyebrow.

“Oh nothing. She just wants you to stay off your hoof for a while,” Caramel explained.

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “I’m fine. It doesn’t even hurt that bad,” she told him as she pressed it against the floor of the vehicle, gasping as pain shot up the appendage.

“Yeah, hospital first,” Caramel told the driver who nodded and started the car. Rainbow grunted in disapproval, but didn’t say anything as they started moving.

“So what else did I miss while I was gone?” she asked Caramel.

“Not much. The big news right now is you being found and Spider-Mare,” Caramel told his boss.

Rainbow gave Caramel a confused look. “Spider-Mare? What is that, a circus act?” she asked.

“No she’s actually a Super Hero,” he informed. Rainbow gave him a disbelieving stare. “You’ll see the videos. She’s all over the internet.”

“Yeah well we’ll see if she’s popular enough to overshadow my homecoming,” Rainbow said with confidence, not liking the idea of sharing the spotlight.

“Really? That’s what has you worried?” Caramel asked, incredulously.

“Hey, awesome ponies gotta fight for the top spot. You wouldn’t understand that though,” Rainbow said seriously, waving a dismissive hand at Caramel.

“Oh come on Rainbow, we have bigger things to worry about than that,” Caramel argued.

“Like what?” Rainbow asked.

“Like how you just inherited Dash Industries,” Caramel pointed out. Rainbow’s eyes widened. “You’re going to have to hold a press conference and tell the public what direction you’ll be taking the company,” Caramel explained.

“And what if I just wanna run it into the ground?” Rainbow asked bitterly.

Caramel was taken aback. “What are you talking about?” he asked in shock. “I mean I get it if you don’t want to run the company, but without the funding it gives you, you can’t work on your personal projects anymore,” he pointed out, raising his voice.

Rainbow wanted to argue back, but didn’t have anything to counter with. “I’ll think about it,” she said turning away from Caramel.

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

A day later Rainbow was stepping out of the car with a cast on her back hand. They had arrived at the Dash Industries Headquarters in Canterlot. Rainbow rarely ever came here and was surprised to see how many reporters had shown up for the press conference Caramel had scheduled the day before. She was wearing one of the few suits she owned and had been talked into wearing make up for the event.

“I thought you said it was going to be small?” Rainbow asked Caramel as he followed her out of the car and up to the main building.

“Compared to how many ponies wanted to be here, this is small,” Caramel said, checking over his clipboard, to make sure the rest of Rainbow’s week was scheduled correctly.

“Fine let’s just get this over with,” she said huffily as she stepped up to the podium that had been set up for her. As soon as she was in front of them, the crowd exploded with questions.

Rainbow winced at the barrage of noise. “If everypony could just calm down,” she shouted into the microphone,” we can begin.” It only took a moment for the crowd to calm. “Very good thank you,” she told the crowd. “Now I’m sure you all want to know what happened to me in the past week,” Rainbow began, grabbing everypony’s attention,” but that’s not why I’m here today. Today I’m going to tell you where the future of Dash Industries is headed.”

“I’m sure everypony here is aware of my less than stellar record of staying out of the press,” she began. “And with that in mind we have to ask ourselves, is Rainbow Dash, the party mare of Cloudsdale, really ready to lead a company that provides the military with it’s most dangerous weapons? Can we trust her to keep these weapons out of enemy hands?” she asked the crowd rhetorically. Rainbow saw Caramel in the back of the crowd, a suspicious look on his face.

Spitfire said, he’d do anything for me. Let’s test that, Rainbow thought. “It is for that reason I will be turning over control of the company to somepony I see as trustworthy until they decide I’m fit to takeover,” she continued. “And that pony is my assistant Caramel.” The reporters flew into a frenzy at this and Rainbow saw Caramel’s jaw drop as several reporters turned to him and started asking him questions.

Rainbow pushed her way through the crowd to Caramel and started pushing him back to the car. “No more comments for now,” she concluded as they climbed into the vehicle and the driver started the engine.

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

“What was that?!” Caramel shouted as he found his voice. They were about halfway to the airport where they would take the private plane back to Cloudsdale.

“Not so loud,” Rainbow complained. “What that was, was me promoting you. Congratulations,” Rainbow said leaning back in her seat.

Caramel became flustered as he tried to find the right words. “I didn’t want a promotion. What makes you think I’m anymore fit to lead the company than you?” he asked.

“I don’t,” Rainbow replied simply, giving no further explanation.

“Then, why did you just put me in this position?” he asked, trying to calm himself.

“Because I don’t want the company. I really couldn’t care what happens to it,” she explained.

“What are you talking about? Without the company you’ll lose your funding,” Caramel argued. “We talked about this yesterday.”

“Which is why I put you in charge. The board will guide you on keeping the company running. but you’ll keep them from locking me out,” Rainbow explained.

Caramel took a moment to process this information before realization hit him. “Are you seriously sniping at your dad after he died?” he asked with a disappointed.

Rainbow whipped around to look at Caramel. Her eyes were starting to tear up and caramel regretted bringing Comet up. “Do you know what he said to me as he died in my arms?” she asked. Caramel simply shook his head. “Mistake,” Rainbow said. “His last breath and he uses it to tell me that saving my life was a mistake,” she explained. Caramel gulped as Rainbow continued. “After that, what the hell makes you think he deserves to have me run his company? I never wanted to work for it,” she finished, angrily.

The pair sat in silence. “I’m sorry Rainbow. I’ll keep things running for as long as I can, but I don’t know anything about running a company. Eventually you’ll have to take over,” Caramel said.

“We’ll see about that,” she replied defiantly.

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

The next day Rainbow watched as Caramel packed the last of his things into boxes and handed them to the movers to take away.

“You don’t have to move to Canterlot,” Rainbow told him.

“Unless you want the board to start working on how to shut you out I do,” he replied.

“I know. It’s just this place will be pretty empty with just me and T.A.N.K.,” Rainbow explained sadly.

“You could always take on a new assistant,” Caramel suggested.

“No way. I’m not just gonna replace you like that,” Rainbow said, shooting down the idea. Caramel sat on the frame of his bed and twiddled his thumbs awkwardly. “You already hired someone didn’t you?” she deadpanned.

“Well no, but I put an ad in the classifieds and there have been a few applicants,” Caramel explained as he pulled his bag out of his closet and reached in for the resumes the applicants had given him. “I’m pretty sure a few of them even have experience with technology,” he added.

Rainbow flicked through the papers disinterestedly. Most of the applicants looked either way too high strung for Rainbow’s liking or their experience with technology was very basic. Just as she was beginning to lose hope that any of them would be of help to her, she saw the accreditations of one Glory Bell.

“Glory Bell, majored in Crystal refinement from Canterlot University. Discovered several unique uses for artificial crystals including spells that increase the storage capacity of a magic containment crystal. Has yet to find a job worth her time,” Rainbow rattled off, looking over the previous work experience, which was the only thing that seemed unexceptional.

“Interesting,” Caramel commented, hoping this was what Rainbow was looking for.

Rainbow looked at Caramel for a moment. “Well she’s not you, but I’ll give her a call,” she said, earning a triumphant look from her former assistant. If’s she half as good as she seems to be then we can throw together a new ARC Reactor. Improve the design, Rainbow thought as she tapped the device in her chest with a finger, further inspecting Glory’s qualifications.

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

Ghost watched as the Diamond Dogs scanned the desert. They had tracked Rainbow this far, but there didn’t appear to be much in sight. “She’s surely beyond our reach by now,” the cloaked pony told himself.

One of his subordinates approached him, a radio in his paw. “It’s the boss. She wants a status report,” he explained.

Ghost sighed as he took the radio. “I don’t have anything new to report. We haven’t found Dash or the machine she used to escape,” he said raising the radio to his mouth.

There was silence for a moment. “I’m not interested in Rainbow Dash. Just get your hooves on the suit. From what you described to me it could be just the weapon I need to make my mark on the world,” a voice replied, distorted by static.

“Understood mam, but I must ask, how do you intend to rebuild the armor if its creators are either dead or out of your reach?” Ghost asked.

“Nothing is out of my reach. Dash will give us what we want whether she’s aware of it or not,” the voice explained.

Just then Ghost heard one of the Diamond Dogs shouting. Rushing over to the spot where the dog stood, the wreckage of the armor was barely hidden by the sand that had attempted to cover it.

“We have found the armor,” Ghost spoke into the radio.

“Good, now piece it back together and figure out how it works,” his employer commanded.

“Yes mam,” Ghost responded, picking up a piece of the armor. he held it up to the sun, the light pouring through the eye holes. Now all I need is a rematch with that mare and this will be the best day in months.

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

Rainbow walked into her workshop, the lights flicking on as the sensors detected her. “Alright T.A.N.K. wake up. We’ve got some work to do,” she said, turning on her holographic display table.

“It’s good to have you back mam. Will this new project have anything to with the device in your chest?” T.A.N.K. asked, his voice projected around the room.

“It has everything to do with that. It’s called the ARC Reactor and it’s going to be the power supply for the project,” Rainbow explained. “I want you to run a diagnostic on it and tell me how much power it’s putting out,” she ordered as she started recreating the armor she’d built in the cave in front of her in a three dimensional display.

“Very well. Running Diagnostic,” T.A.N.K. replied.

Rainbow started spinning the armor around, removing pieces she wouldn’t need now that she had access to better tech. The hydraulics were the first thing to go, replaced with a system of small gears to move the limbs. She then started working on streamlining the rest of the suit so it wasn’t as bulky and fit her form a little better.

“Diagnostic complete. The device appears to be putting out approximately six gigajoules per second,” T.A.N.K. announced, catching Rainbow’s attention.

“Well we’ll just have to do better than that won’t we,” she commented as she continued working on the suit design.

“I am unable to detect any improvements to be made on the current design,” T.A.N.K. replied.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ve got an expert who’ll be working on that exclusively in a day or two,” Rainbow replied, looking over her creation.

“Be careful mam, ponies might start thinking you don’t have all the answers,” T.A.N.K. quipped.

Rainbow rolled her eyes as she turned to the computer screens that covered one wall. “Let’s start a few simulations for the new design and label the project MK-II for now,” Rainbow said.

“Will this be added to the Dash Industries database?” T.A.N.K. inquired.

“No. That company bastardizes everything I make. Let’s see if we can make something more than a death machine here,” Rainbow replied as she watched the screens, taking notes on what she could improve for the future. “Just wait til the world get’s a look at my new toy,” Dash smirked as the simulations played, most of which were going as she had hoped.

Author's Note:

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming..... and by that I mean I'll be switching off between this and my new story Twilight Sparkle: Princess of Thunder. If you haven't read it yet I invite you to so. Anyways sorry for this chapter being a little on the shortside, but This was all I felt the chapter needed. Don't worry the next one should be longer. I'm gonna concentrate almost entirely on having Rainbow and Rar- uh... I mean Glory making the new ARC Reactor. Along with a scene of Spitfire coming to check on RD for Caramel and probably Caramel will call and tell RD how well things are going for him in Canterlot.

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