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Testing

Rainbow kicked the door open as she and Glory got home. “Get some sleep. We have work to do tomorrow,” Rainbow grumbled angrily.

Glory hadn’t been told what had put Rainbow in a foul mood. “It’s hardly that late,” Glory reasoned. “The sun hasn’t even finished setting yet.”

“I don’t care!” Rainbow shouted. Glory was taken aback and Rainbow regretted letting her anger get the best of her. “Just go to bed and I’ll see you in the morning,” she said as she walked towards the stairs leading down to the workshop.

Glory wanted to argue, but decided it would be best to just leave Rainbow be for now.

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

Rainbow arrived in the workshop and looked at the neat and orderly space T.A.N.K. maintained. She walked over to her desk and stared at all of the little knick knacks she’d collected, most for no other reason than they were too expensive for anypony else to afford. With a swipe of her arms she cleared the desk of it’s contents and began angrily kicking them away and stomping on them. She didn’t stop until she saw her old Reactor glowing silver in the middle of the clutter.

Rainbow picked up the reminder that she wouldn’t be alive right now without her father. “T.A.N.K.?” she called into the emptiness.

“Yes ma’am?” Tank answered, a slightly concerned inflection in his voice.

“Remind me to incinerate this at some point,” Rainbow told him as she deposited the Reactor on her now empty desk and began sorting through the debris on her floor for any other reminders of her father. She found the tape he’d given her and tossed it on the desk as well. “That too.”

“Are you sure about this? Your father’s notes could provide us with remarkable enhancements to make to the armor,” T.A.N.K. commented.

“No it wouldn’t. My designs are awesome. There really isn’t much anypony can do to improve them,” the pegasus replied as she walked towards the door, just as angry as when she entered. “I can do this without him,” she told herself as the door closed behind her.

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

Rainbow walked into Glory’s room the next morning to wake up the unicorn so they could get started early. The first thing she noticed was how spartan the room appeared. It didn’t really fit Glory’s personality, but Rainbow pushed that thought to the back of her mind and turned to the unicorn in the bed. “Hey get up,” Rainbow said, tapping Glory on the shoulder.

The unicorn responded by groaning and rolling over. Rainbow rolled her eyes and started walking out of the room. “T.A.N.K., play her the emergency special,” she said as she shut the door behind her.

Seconds later sirens of all sorts could be heard from Glory’s room and a loud thumping told Rainbow the unicorn had fallen out of bed. The cacophony stopped as soon as Glory opened the door to her room and stumbled out, her usually cared for mane in disarray.

“What was that?” she asked, as soon as she spotted Rainbow at the end of the hallway.

“Something I came up with when Caramel had lazy days,” Rainbow said with a smirk, however her smile faded at the reminder of her former assistant. “Anyway, we have work to do, so hurry up and get ready,” Rainbow said as she turned around walking away.

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

An hour later Rainbow was sitting at the display table in the workshop and getting a little impatient with Glory. “T.A.N.K. where is that mare?” Rainbow asked exasperated.

“She’s at the door,” T.A.N.K. replied as the door opened and Glory walked through.

“Sorry I took so long. I had a little trouble getting my mane right,” she said as she joined Rainbow at the table. Rainbow wore a look of utter confusion. “What?” Glory asked.

“You realize we’re going to have to do some dirty work right?” Rainbow asked. “Ya know. Grease, oil, lubricant. The whole works,” she explained, Glory’s expression changing from questioning to horrified as she continued.

“But can’t T.A.N.K. do that sort of thing for you?” she asked, hoping she could protect her mane.

“He’s not a slave, he’s an assistant,” Rainbow countered, seemingly offended by the suggestion.

Glory thought about this for a minute. “But aren’t I your assistant as well? Why do I have to do… ugh… dirty work?” Glory asked, cringing at the thought.

Rainbow rolled her eyes, fed up with Glory’s stalling. “Can we just get started? I’m not getting any younger,” Rainbow said as she approached the middle of the floor. “T.A.N.K., bring up the boots,” Rainbow said, ignoring the glare Glory was giving her. The floor opened up and the platform with the boots rose up. Rainbow stepped into them. “Glory the harness please,” Rainbow requested. Glory’s blue aura surrounded the harness and fit into place around the pegasus’ chest, fitting the power conduit over her clothes and the Reactor.

“How are we on power output?” Rainbow asked as Glory pulled up the holographic display.

Glory looked over the readouts. “We’re at five percent output,” she answered.

“Okay then. T.A.N.K. start rolling cameras,” Rainbow told the AI. The screens flickered on displaying different angles again. Rainbow let out a breath as she tested the weight of the boots. “Alright, hopefully we don’t have any interruptions this time,” she joked.

“So I shouldn’t have ordered that pizza,” T.A.N.K. quipped, earning a smile from Rainbow.

“Okay. We’re ready to go. And three…” Rainbow took another breath,” two…,” she got into a takeoff position,” one.”

The boots powered up and Rainbow began to feel weightless as she was slowly lifted off of the ground. Rainbow activated the gloves to keep herself steady as Glory gawked open mouthed at the success. Rainbow’s legs felt wobbly, like she was trying to get her sea legs, only in the air.

“Okay,” Rainbow happily looked down to see she was about two feet off the ground. “Go ahead and kick it up to ten percent,” she told Glory.

The unicorn placed a finger on a holographic dial and twisted, turning up the power. Rainbow could feel herself rise another few feet in the air, the added thrust making it more difficult to stay in one place. Her wobbling limbs started pushing her towards her desk.

“Oh crap, crap, crap,” she cursed as she tried to steer herself back towards the middle of the room. She overshot and wound up headed straight for Glory. “Whoa, look out,” she warned, as Glory dove away from the table and out of the way, just barely avoiding getting singed by the thrusters.

Rainbow was quickly getting control of the boots and started leaning where she wanted to go and pointing a boot or two in the opposite direction, a familiar feeling pulling at her gut. Once she was situated back at the center of the room she turned to Glory. “Alright, drop the power slowly,” she told the unicorn. Glory walked back to the display table and turned the dial again, Rainbow dropping from the air the more she turned.

Once she was back on the ground and the boots were off, Rainbow jumped out of them. “Yes! I can fly again!” she shouted happily.

Glory looked at her boss with some concern. “Are you alright Rainbow?” she asked hesitantly.

The pegasus’ head snapped in Glory’s direction. “Are you kidding me?” she asked like the unicorn was crazy. “I flew. For the first time in almost fifteen years, I was flying,” she explained as her adrenaline began to wear off. “I almost had that feeling I used to get when I was younger,” she continued wistfully, remembering her childhood.

Glory looked at Rainbow. “You know I think that’s the first genuine smile I’ve seen from you,” she commented, catching Rainbow’s attention. “So what are we going to do to celebrate such a successful test?” Glory asked.

Rainbow chuckled at the unicorn. “Nice try, but we still have work to do before we celebrate,” Rainbow told her as she got up. Glory’s face fell at this news.

“Okay then T.A.N.K., let’s test the armor plating next,” Rainbow said and the floor opened up again, a mechanical arm holding up what looked like a titanium plate.

Glory looked at the plate confused. “And how exactly are we to test that?” she asked.

Rainbow grinned as a platform rose out of the floor holding a simple pistol. “By shooting it,”Rainbow said simply. She picked up the gun and pointed it at the plate. Rainbow fired the weapon and the recoil sent her shot way off course and into the wall behind it. She let out a frustrated growl and heard Glory snickering behind her.

“Oh like you could do any better,” Rainbow said mockingly.

Glory smiled and pulled the gun out of Rainbow’s hand with her magic. Without even taking a moment to aim Glory fired three shots and hit the plate three times in a triangular pattern. Rainbow stared at the bullets that seemed to have only slightly dinged the plate. Glory simply stared at her smiling.

“Whatever. You used your magic. That gives you an unfair advantage,” Rainbow complained. “We need a break anyway,” she said trying to change the subject. She started walking towards the door and left without looking back.

Glory watched her boss leave and dropped the gun out of her aura and caught it in her left hand, firing one shot right in the middle of the other three. She smiled and followed Rainbow out.

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

Rainbow poured herself a drink as Glory came up the stairs. “Is this how you celebrate everything?” Glory asked looking at the bottle Rainbow was pouring from.

Rainbow set the bottle down. “Pretty much. Is that a problem?” Rainbow asked.

“Oh heavens no. You’re a grown mare, I can’t really tell you what to do,” Glory began.

Rainbow gave her a quizzical look. “But?” she asked, knowing Glory had more to say.

Glory took a breath. “But this may not be the best idea considering your recent trauma,” she finished, giving Rainbow a sympathetic look

Rainbow looked at the drink in front of her and then back at Glory. “You have no idea what I went through. How do you figure you know what the best way to deal with it is?” Rainbow asked, glaring at the unicorn.

“I don’t know what you went through that’s true,” Glory admitted. Rainbow smirked at this small victory. “But,” Rainbow’s smile faded,” I have been through my fair share of trauma. I’d rather not go into detail about it right now, but I can tell you that shutting out the ponies that care about you isn’t going to help,” Glory told Rainbow. “You have to want to get better, to get better,” she finished.

Rainbow looked at her assistant. “You think I don’t want to get better?” she asked, anger in her voice.

Glory gave her a sad look. “No I don’t. I think you’re holding on to your anger,” she said.

Rainbow gave her a hard look. “And? It doesn’t matter what I’m holding on to. That’s my business. You are my assistant. So assist me when I need it and stay out of my business,” Rainbow said, downing her drink as soon as she was finished.

Glory stood there a little shocked at Rainbow’s treatment of her. “Well I have a few simulations to get to. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off,” Rainbow told her as she exited the kitchen, grabbing the bottle of alcohol on the way out.

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

Twenty-four hours later, Rainbow found herself in the workshop alone. She’d once again given Glory the day off, because Rainbow was still a little ticked about their conversation.

Rainbow was currently working on the operating software that would run the suit once it was finished. “Doesn’t Dash Industries have a new comms program?” she asked out loud.

“Yes, but it’s only in the prototype phase and isn’t quite ready for use yet,” TANK answered.

“Well I say we do ‘em a solid and finish it. Pull up the program,” Rainbow said, her eyes on the screen. Seemingly random data began to appear along with schematics for phones and earpieces. “Let’s see, well we won’t need the whole phone so let’s just integrate the earpiece into the suit and maybe put a PA system in based off the phone,” she said inspecting the actual programming.

“That’s a wonderful suggestion. However the actual problem the R&D staff is having is more to do with signal tracking,” T.A.N.K. informed.

Rainbow gave the data a very interested look. “Really? Well maybe there isn’t a problem to fix,” Rainbow said. “Is there anyway we can make this look too expensive a project for the company to continue funding?” she asked.

“It’s possible, but there will be repercussions. Some employees may lose their jobs,” TANK said.

“Well that’s an unfortunate risk we’ll have to take,” Rainbow said as she got up and stretched.

“Very well. Also Ms. Spitfire has just arrived and is waiting for you upstairs,” TANK informed.

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “I ask for a few weeks off and no one wants to leave me alone,” she grumbled. “Send her down. I can talk while we work this out,” Rainbow said as she activated the display table and started moving around bits of code here and there.

Seconds later the door opened and Spitfire came through. “I’m not really sure which step melting down on your friends is on the road to recovery, but I’ll bet it’s not towards the end,” the fiery mare said as she entered the workshop.

Rainbow sighed. “So you and Caramel are still talking. Even after he moved to Canterlot. Something I should know?” Rainbow accused.

“Yeah. You should know talking is that thing friends do when they have a problem,” Spitfire said sarcastically. “Speaking of which, you seem to be having a problem. Wanna talk about it?”

“I’m not sure what problem you think I have-” Rainbow was interrupted.

“You got bitchy with Caramel for doing what you asked him to do,” Spitfire said, her brow furrowing. “Not to mention you taking advantage of his loyalty,” she continued.

“Is this going somewhere?” Rainbow asked, getting annoyed.

Spitfire glared at Rainbow. “Yeah. This is going somewhere. You alone,” Spitfire told her. “Unless you let us in,” she said a little quieter. Rainbow turned away and pretended to inspect the code on display. Spitfire quirked an eyebrow at the numbers flashing before her. “You can start by explaining this,” she said, confused.

Rainbow considered what to say for a moment. “It’s my personal project,” she answered.

Spitfire gave her a curious look. “I thought that was your personal project,” she said, jabbing a hoof at the ARC Reactor in Rainbow’s chest.

Rainbow looked at the device. “That’s… part of it,” she said, trying to remain vague.

“So what’s the rest of it?” Spitfire asked. After a few more moments of Rainbow not answering, she sighed. “You know I feel like I’m actually losing information every time I come here now,” she said as she got up.

Spitfire paused at the door. “If you ever want to open up you have my number,” she said as she left.

Rainbow turned away from her work as soon as the door was closed. “T.A.N.K. get to work shutting down that communications project. I… I need to take some time to myself,” she said as she made her way out of the room.

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

Glory walked through the streets of Cloudsdale intrigued by almost everything around her. Including the buildings around her.

“Enjoying the sights?” a voice asked behind her.

Glory turned to see a pegasus stallion in a suit standing next to her while she was admiring city hall. “Very much so. I’m curious as to how these building stay together without ever dissipating,” she told the agent.

“Unicorns aren’t the only ones with magic,” the stallion answered.

“I can tell,” Glory replied. “I take it I’m to give you my progress report,” she guessed as she continued walking, the stallion close behind.

“Those are my orders,” he answered.

“Well I don’t have much to report. I talked with Fleur in Canterlot just the other day and Rainbow has been giving me an inexcusable amount of time off,” Glory explained.

“Is there anything to report at all,” the stallion asked tonelessly.

“Yes. Rainbow is becoming increasingly volatile. She’s been snapping at her friends and myself whenever we try to broach the subject of her time in captivity,” Glory explained.

“That’s a key part of this investigation,” the stallion pointed out.

“Yes I know. I’m only pointing out that I may need more time undercover,” Glory said.

“I’ll talk to Fleur about getting your deadline pushed back. She did want you to keep a better eye on Dash though. See if you can be more helpful with her project,” he told her.

“I’ll see what I can do, but I may not be her assistant much longer if I have to keep pressing the main issue. Her psychological evaluation was the main priority of this investigation,” Glory said.

“That may be irrelevant if the armor she’s working on can be replicated,” he informed her.

Glory stopped. “Are you talking about weaponizing it?” she asked.

“Yes,” the stallion answered simply.

“I’d have to advise against this. This kind of betrayal could make an enemy out of her that we can’t afford,” Glory said, her voice betraying her concern.

“That’s a risk we may have to take,” the stallion informed. “I think this should be good for now. Oh and Fleur wanted me to inform you we’ve taken care of your predecessors shadow.”

Glory became interested in this. “Any idea who he was working for?”

“Not exactly, but the evidence points to someone with in Dash Industries. We’re looking into it,” the stallion informed.

“You couldn’t get much information from the interrogation?” Glory asked.

The stallion stopped. “The shadow resisted during his capture. The casualty was unfortunate.”

Glory gave the stallion a suspicious look. “I see, well I must be getting back,” she said, turning back towards her home without looking back. The stallion nodded and started walking in the opposite direction.

Glory stopped and looked back at the stallion. That is concerning, she thought to herself.

Author's Note:

Okay we're getting close to the next big fight. Should be there with in the next chapter or so. Thanks for your patience and I apologize if any of you got a message about a new chapter on this story and then got here and it either wasn't there or was a blank page. Accidenntly hit Publish instead of Edit.

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