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Trial and Error

Rainbow woke up early for the first time in her life. She wanted to check the progress on the other thruster boots she’d had T.A.N.K. working on while she and Glory were working on the Reactor. "Gonna need something thin," she told herself as she put on a shirt made of a thin material, so the ARC Reactor could connect to the parts of the suit that had been finished.

Entering the workshop Rainbow called out, ”How’s the progress T.A.N.K.? We ready to test yet?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am. Are you going to inform Ms. Bell about the intent for the Reactor today?” the A.I asked.

“That’s the plan,” Rainbow replied as she tapped a few commands into the display tables console. A holographic Mark-II armor materialized as part of the floor began to open up in the middle of the room, revealing two very heavy looking boots and a pair of matching gauntlets, all attached to a harness of cables. The cables connected the boots to a circular device that was designed to fit into the Reactor for the test phases.

“Alright T.A.N.K., wake up Glory and send her down for me. Time to get to the fun stuff,” she ordered as she started inspecting the boots. She hadn’t installed the armor plating yet so the circuits were visible and easily accessible while the tech was being tested.

Rainbow started inspecting the wiring to make sure everything was as it should be. Glory walked through the door while she was checking the gauntlets.

Glory raised an eyebrow at her boss, laying on the floor. “It’s a little unlady like to lie down on a dirty floor,” she commented as she approached her boss.

Rainbow looked up at her, slightly surprised Glory was able to sneak up on her. “The floor isn’t dirty, T.A.N.K. cleans it every morning before we start working,” she defended.

“Regardless, it’s uncouth,” Glory continued as she looked at the boots. “What are those?” she asked.

Rainbow smiled proudly at the boots. “Those are the first step. Thrusters in the boots will be powered by the reactor and should keep me in the air better than your average fuel. The gloves are for keeping me in control of my flight path,” she explained.

Glory’s eyes widened. “In the air? Do you mean you intend to fly with those?” she asked receiving a nod from Rainbow. “That’s impossible,” the unicorn stated.

Rainbow smirked. “Care to put your money where your mouth is?” she challenged, approaching Glory.

“I don’t bet. It’s beneath me. Besides you pay me, you’d just be getting your money back,” Glory said, taking a step away from her boss.

Rainbow sighed in disappointment. “Well there goes my fun. Whatever just help me get the harness on,” she ordered as she walked back to the boots and stepped into them. Glory approached and used her magic to lift the harness over Rainbow’s head. The pegasus fit one arm through the strap so it went cross ways around her chest. “Okay now connect the adapter to the Reactor,” Rainbow instructed. Glory complied and fit the circular device over the Reactor. After about a minute a few lights clicked on in the circuitry of the boots and gauntlets. Rainbow picked up the gloves and fit her fingers into them as the center of the palm began to glow.

“Now what?” Glory asked, with skeptical look on her face.

“T.A.N.K. start recording,” Rainbow commanded. The monitors behind her desk on the far side of the room came to life displaying Rainbow from various angles of the room. “Glory I need you to use the holo display to monitor the power output of the Reactor,” she said as she stepped into the boots, activating the pressure pads inside causing the boots to latch firmly to her hooves.

Glory walked over to the display table and activated it with a wave of her hoof. A display of the Reactor popped up with ratios and percentages showing what the current output would be if they activated the boots now. “Output is at twenty percent,” Glory stated. “We should probably turn it down to about five for safety.”

Rainbow chuckled as she lifted a foot, testing the weight of the boot. “Glory you gotta be a little more adventurous than that,” She said, flicking her hand at the unicorn and activating the thruster by accident. The force of the thruster sent Rainbow flying across the room and onto her back.

“Oh my goodness! Dash are you alright?!” Glory asked startled.

The pegasus groaned as Glory trotted over to see if she was okay. “Never mind. Turn it down. A lot,” Rainbow said, grimacing as she sat up.

“Enough adventure for today ma’am?” T.A.N.K. asked from above.

“Hardy har,” Rainbow replied sarcastically. “Let’s just get some work done,” she said as the phone rang. “Now what?” she grumbled as she walked over to her desk and hit the button for the speaker phone. “You’ve reached the Dash residence. Leave a message after the beep,” she said as she inspected the glove that had launched her across the room.

“I don’t know which is worse. The fact that I know this isn’t your machine or that you don’t sound nearly as snarky as your voicemail,” Caramel replied.

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Kinda busy right now Caramel. What’s up?” She asked, trying to hurry things along.

“I need a progress report on the energy project,” Caramel said.

“Yeah sure. We’ll have something for you like next week or whatever,” Dash replied, not really paying attention.

The phone was silent for a moment. “You didn’t get any of my messages did you?” Caramel asked, annoyed.

“What messages?” Rainbow asked, more to Glory than Caramel.

Glory’s eyes widened at Rainbow’s accusatory glare. “Ummm…I’m not sure. I don’t remember Caramel calling,” she replied.

“That’s because I called your cell Rainbow,” Caramel defended, growing more annoyed by the minute. “The board wants you in Canterlot making a presentation for your energy project in two days. If you aren’t here they’ll lock you out. So whatever you’re working on is now second priority,” Caramel continued.

Rainbow rubbed her forehead. “Okay, okay, we’ll be there. Just chill out,” she replied.

“I’ll chill out when you give that presentation and don’t be late,” Caramel commanded. “And for Celestia’s sake don’t just wing the speech last minute.”

Rainbow smirked. “Got it. Ya know you’re cute when you get all frustrated,” She commented, hoping to get Caramel to hang up.

Caramel was silent for a moment. “I… um… I… have… work to do,” Caramel replied awkwardly and with a click the conversation was over.

Rainbow snickered at the flustered stallion as she moved away from the desk. “Well that takes care of that. T.A.N.K. start working on some power dampeners for the thrusters. Let’s not make the same mistake twice,” She told the A.I. as she walked back to where the boots and gloves had come from and took them off. The floor swallowed them as Rainbow walked away, Glory close behind.

“Glory, I’m gonna need you to write that speech for me while we work on making a bigger Reactor for the factory in Canterlot. Now I just need to find a substitute for the Vibranium,” Rainbow continued as she walked towards the door.

“Umm… I’m not so sure I could write it in a way you’d be comfortable speaking,” Glory informed hesitantly.

“That’s fine. You’ll be doing the presentation. I figure there’s two of us so let’s split the workload,” Rainbow reasoned as they made their way upstairs.

Glory glared at the other mare. “So why am I the one going to Canterlot while you’re here building…What are we building anyway?” Glory asked, realizing the boots purpose hadn’t been fully explained to her.

Rainbow stopped at the top of the stairs. “A suit of armor,” she replied simply.

Glory gave her an unsatisfied look. “Armor that flies? Why do you need something like that?”

Rainbow glared at her. “Cause that’s what me and my dad built to escape and I can do it better without hi- uh…with better tech,” she corrected her mistake too late.

Glory’s mouth hung open. “I’m sorry ma’am. I didn’t mean to upset you. Umm… perhaps if you tell me more about your new design then I can help you along,” she suggested.

Rainbow rubbed the back of her head. “Well it’s gonna be a really simple design. Just protective armor and a flight system. Need to work on the power output though. It’d be helpful if you could work on that,” Rainbow said as she started towards the kitchen.

Glory thought for a moment as she followed Rainbow. “Could you use a railgun effect?” she asked, surprising her boss.

“What?” Rainbow asked confused.

“Sorry. I mean for the bigger Reactor. You could set up a system similar to a Rail Gun, except in a circle. Using a conductive metal alloy could create a a similar reaction to the smaller Reactor, but without the Vibranium it will probably only last a few years,” Glory explained.

Rainbow stared at her for a moment. “I thought you worked with crystal technology. Where’d you learn… any of that?” Rainbow asked as she opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of amber liquid.

“I minored in theoretical physics,” Glory said simply. “Was that not on my resume?”

Dash raised an eyebrow. “No. How could you forget to put that on your resume?” she asked. Rainbow poured the beverage into a couple of glasses that rose out of the counter and pushed one to Glory.

Glory eyed the drink for a second. “Oh no thanks. I’m not much of a drinker,” she said. Rainbow shrugged and sipped her own drink. “Anyways, we need a metal for the Reactor-”

“We use a curved iron rod and shoot it through a ring of copper. The iron should create static as it travels through the Railgun and the copper collects it and stores it a centralized crystal for output,” Rainbow interrupted. Glory looked at her boss impressed.

“And here I thought you just made things that flew,” she commented.

“Had to power them with something. Your Railgun idea is what brought the big picture to me,” Rainbow admitted.

Glory smiled. “Well then I say we take half credit each,” she suggested.

“Sounds good to me. Now you get to work on that speech and I’ll draw up the designs and see if this theory is actually safe,” Rainbow said as she set her glass down and walked back down stairs.

Glory waited until Rainbow was out of sight before she walked to her room. Once there she grabbed her phone and sent a text to the contact marked mother.

Going to Canterlot on business. It would be nice to see you while I’m there.

Glory then closed the phone and grabbed a pen and paper and started writing.

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

Glory arrived at the Dash Industries HQ a day and a half later, dressed in her business dress. She decided it would be best if she met with Caramel before the meeting so that they could go over the project before it was presented to the board.

After several wrong turns she finally found the stallions office and knocked.

“Come in,” Caramel said from the other side, distracted.

Glory entered with a smile. “It’s very nice to meet you sir. I’m Glory Belle, Rainbow Dash’s new assistant. I was hoping to go over some of the specifics of the energy project with you before the presentation,” she explained as she took a seat after shaking hands with her predecessor.

Caramel wore a confused expression. “Oh, okay, but where’s Rainbow?” he asked, already fearing the worst.

“Oh she stayed in Cloudsdale to work on her personal project. I’m here to give the presentation in her stead,” Glory stated, smiling as she spoke. Her expression changed as she noticed Caramel didn’t seem to be reacting.

Calmly the stallion picked up his phone and dialed a number.

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

Rainbow was just finishing installing the power dampeners when the phone started ringing. “T.A.N.K. speaker phone,” she called out distractedly.

There was an audible click as the T.A.N.K. answered the phone. Rainbow was about to answer, but was interrupted by Caramel’s voice. “Rainbow the presentation starts in eight hours. It should only be a four hour flight from Cloudsdale. You should have plenty of time to get ready and be here on time. If you aren’t I will personally cut your personal funding,” he said coldly, a click indicating he’d hung up before Dash could say anything.

Rainbow froze as her mind caught up with what was said. “Dammit. T.A.N.K. work on the kinks in the dampeners while I’m gone. Should be back by tomorrow,” Rainbow ordered as she walked towards the stairs to get cleaned up. “And get my suit ready.”

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

“The Reactor will also save you millions on the power bill each year,” Rainbow finished as the presentation came to an end and the slide show ended. “Any questions?” she asked.

“Yes,” Jet Stream said from the left side of the table. “You were given access to our supply of Vibranium for this project yet the design you’ve shown us doesn’t use any. What happened to it?” he asked, suspiciously.

Rainbow thought for a moment. “An unfortunate test rendered it unusable. On the bright side I won’t be billing you for the hole in my house,” Rainbow joked, cracking a joke and earning a few chuckles from the rest of the board. “Plus with the money you’ll save using the Reactor, it’ll make up for the cost of the Vibranium,” she pointed out.

Jet smiled at this. “Very well then. Just tell us what you need and we’ll start the construction and testing immediately.”

Rainbow gulped. “Umm… I’ve actually been a bit busy with a personal project lately. I would be more than happy to hand over the designs to your R&D staff,” she offered, waving a hoof at Glory, who was sitting off to the side of the room.

Glory reached into a bag and pulled out a thick file. Rainbow took it from her and slid it across the table for the board members to look at. “All yours. I may just need a few weeks to myself,” she said, hopefully.

The board began discussing and from the sound of it most wanted the Reactor. The only quiet stallion in the room was Caramel, who had spent the entire time glaring at Rainbow.

“Well it seems the decision is unanimous then. Thank you for this generous contribution, Jet said to Rainbow, who nodded in recognition “Your father would be proud.”

Dash froze for a second before forcing a smile. “Not a problem,” she said, without her usual confidence. Taking this as a sign they could leave Rainbow turned to Glory and motioned towards the door.

Before they’d made it halfway down the hall somepony called after them. “Rainbow, I need to speak with you,” Caramel called, still glaring. “Follow me,” he said as he walked past them. It didn’t take long for them to reach his office. Caramel walked inside and Rainbow followed.

The stallion stopped Glory before she entered. “I apologize, but I need to speak with Rainbow alone for a little while,” he told her.

Glory looked at Rainbow. “Go see some sights while you’re in town. I’ll catch up with you later,” the pegasus said. Glory nodded and turned around, the door closing behind her. Before Glory could take a few steps she noticed a stallion standing be the printer and, oddly enough, not printing anything. She continued towards the exit pretending she hadn’t noticed.

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

Rainbow sat in a chair and looked at Caramel expectantly. “Soooo…. What’s up?” she asked nonchalantly.

Caramel looked at her like she’d just told him the ancient pony gods were real. “Is that all you have to say?” he asked angrily. Before Rainbow could speak he continued. “I asked you to give this presentation. Then you pull a classic Rainbow Dash move and make your assistant do it for you,” he told her accusingly.

Rainbow glared at the stallion. “I told you I’m still recovering,” she defended.

“Oh of course. You’re still recovering. You have the time to exploit the unwanted promotion you gave me and work on secret projects and waste valuable company resources, but when somepony else asks you to do your job it’s too much. It’s suddenly time to recover again,” Caramel seethed. “You know I finally get why Spitfire got angry every time you tried to get me to do your work for you,” he finished.

Rainbow looked down ashamed. “So what you want me to say I’m sorry?” she asked, hurt.

Caramel shook his head. “No I want to hear you say you understand what I’m saying. That you understand why you can’t just push your responsibility onto everypony else,” he told her, starting to calm down.

“Well I don’t!” Rainbow snapped. “I don’t understand and why should I?” she asked rhetorically. “You know it’s not like my dad died in my arms or anything. It’s not like I wasn’t held captive by terrorists for a week. It’s not like my dad called me a mistake with his last breath,” she said quieter, but still angrily.

Caramel shook his head in disappointment. “That’s the second time you’ve tried to guilt me with what happened to you. It won’t work a second time,” he stated, with determination. "You want time to recover. Fine. I’m shutting down your company funding,” he told her as he sat at his desk.

Rainbow was shell shocked. She got up and walked to the door trying not to cry. “Rainbow I want you to know I’m doing this for you. I really do want you to take the time to recover,” Caramel said more calmly as Rainbow opened the door. She gave him one last glare before slamming the door shut. Caramel sighed in frustration.

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

Glory walked through Canterlot’s business district, scanning the crowd periodically. It didn’t take long to spot who she was looking for in a nearby cafe. She walked over to the table and sat down across from the other mare.

“It’s good to see you Fleur. How have you been?” Glory asked, cheerily.

Fleur regarded the mare with a smile. “I’m fine. How are you… miss…” Fleur trailed off searching for the name.

“Glory. Sorry I know my method acting is a little difficult, but it’s entirely necessary,” Glory stated.

Fleur smiled. “It’s not a problem. I could use a little escape myself. I do miss the field work,” she said wistfully.

Glory looked at her concerned. “Is something the matter?” she asked.

Fleur pulled herself back to the moment. “Yes and no. I had to discipline Pinkie and I had a very difficult time keeping myself stern,” she informed.

Glory smiled at this. “Yes well, I’m sure she’s enjoying her assignment if it can be called that. Watching weather wasn’t it?” Glory asked.

Fleur nodded. “Yes, but I think we should discuss Dash. What have you learned?”

“Quite a bit actually. She escaped her captivity in some sort of high tech armor and is attempting to build an upgraded version. She has me helping her so it won’t be difficult to keep a close eye on things, but I’m worried about what she intends to do with it,” Glory informed.

Fleur looked concerned. “Is the suit weaponized?” she asked.

“No. It’s only truly unique quality is that it flies,” Glory said.

Fleur’s eyes widened. “That sounds impressive. Is there anything else we should know?”

“Not that I’m sure of. Oh, I do believe that Dash’s former assistant Caramel is being shadowed by a shady fellow from Dash Industries security,” she finished.

Fleur nodded as she got up. “We’ll look into it. Keep up the good work,” Fleur said as she walked away.

Glory’s phone began ringing as she waved goodbye. “Hello?” she asked, after putting it to her ear.

“Meet me at the airport in ten minutes. We’re going home,” Rainbow spoke from the other side, sounding very emotional.

“Yes ma’am,” Glory replied as she picked up her bag and started trying to hail a cab.

Author's Note:

And we're back on track. This isn't exactly my original plan for this chapter, but I got some advice from fellow Marvel Crossover writer Avenging Hobbits that things were moving a little fast. On top of that I felt a little off with my original plan and discovered I really didn't have my characters developing at all. And then this chapter came to me. Next Chapter should get the ball rolling on making and testing the Mark-II. Stay tuned.

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