• Published 1st Mar 2012
  • 2,865 Views, 116 Comments

Rainbow Dash and Her Marvelous Mechanical Wings - Dalkrin-the-Wanderer



There are no Unicorns or Pegasai, only Earth Ponies. one decides She's gonna fly. She's Rainbow Dash

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Chapter 3: Sepia's day out

Sepia Tock set the springs carefully within the brass casing of the mantle clock now occupying his work table. Colgate was out running whatever errands she ran on a Wednesday and that left Seipa with time to finish some back orders. This particular clock belonging to miss Bon Bon was a regular patron of his table. The mechanism was old, very very old and had a distressing habit of warping the springs that were set in it, making it run slower and slower until it eventually stopped altogether. He often offered to rework the gears to solve this problem, but Bon Bon refused outright every time. When asked why she made some noncommittal remark about Heirlooms.

And so, as he did almost once a month, Sepia Tock screwed the back cover onto the clock and replaced the winding key, gave it seven full turns and pulled out his stopwatch. As the clock's second hand passed the 12, he gave the button on his watch a tap and waited. Exactly one minute later, both his stopwatch and the clock struck 12:01. With a satisfied nod, the clock was set aside for pickup, and a Kuoo-Kuoo that had been dropped some height took its place at the table. It was in desperate need of his attention but it would seem that it would have to wait as at that very moment, the bell chimed above the entrance.

“Sepia, we've got some business to take care of,” Colgate said, as she joined the clocksmith in the workroom. She set several parcels down by the door and shrugged her saddlebags off. “Three deliveries to Canterlot and there are some issues with a specialty part that Twilight Sparkle ordered. It's going to be another two days and she requested that we inform her of any problems. Apparently, the Factory was overrun by Parasprites and they only just managed to save the machinery but the stock was completely devoured.”

Sepia gave a groan but stood from his work and looked at the list of Parcels to deliver. Mostly light stuff. A Specially engraved watch/compass combination pocket watch, an electric Clock (a relatively new invention courtesy of the Heartstrings Corporation), and a shipment of sprockets and gears for a fellow Clocksmith who was running low on parts. All in all, a light load, but still enough to fill a day and leave Colgate with the shop.

“Gah, these darn deliveries are killing my productivity,” Sepia complained mainly to himself. He stuffed the order forms in his saddlebags and went about gathering the parcels. “Do we know where Miss Sparkle's going to be?” he asked, hoping he could just leave a message for her at whatever hotel she was staying at.

“She's staying in the palace,” Colgate began as she helped gather his travel gear together. “so you'll have to meet her at her presentation. Security's been ramped up since Canterlot's hosting the World's Fair. Apparently, while the Princess is perfectly happy to let the folks come and go, the nobles are a bit antsy about Gryphons roaming the halls of the palace. Go figure the upper crust being rigid and intolerant.” With a smirk, she buckled the bag shut and helped Sepia put them on.

“Well, that's just wonderful. I'll probably be back sometime tomorrow morning then,” Sepia grumbled. Making for the door he made a second pass to make sure he had all that he needed before he left. After a few moments of fumbling, he turned to Colgate. “Have you seen my Travel Pass?” he asked, still absently patting the pockets of his waistcoat.

“Saddlebags, large inside pocket.”

A bit of fumbling later and Sepia removed the pass from the bag and clipped it to his collar. “Thanks. I'd hate to get airborne and find out I forgot my pass.”

“I'm pretty sure they stopped throwing ponies from the airships decades ago Sepia,” Colgate deadpanned. A chuckle from Sepia made her smile and the brown colt took his leave.

---

The airship ride was uneventful, but Sepia didn't expect anything less. While it's true that Canterlot was always busy, now busy would not do it justice. The capital city of Equestria was positively swarming with all manner of beings, be they pony, Diamond Dog, or Minotaur. The Airship Sepia rode set down upon the southwest mooring tower alongside its sisters and the gangway was dropped. Sepia's window faced away from Canterlot proper so disembarking set him up for the shock of his life.

The papers had ranted and raved about “The Harmony”. It was supposedly the largest airship ever constructed and was dubbed Celestia class by Her Highness Princess Luna. Previously the largest ship, “The Vanguard” was a Luna class seating one thousand ponies comfortably and boasting a payload numbering in the hundreds of tonnes. “The Harmony” was near three times as large and Sepia nearly fell to his haunches as his eyes landed upon the hulking behemoth that drifted lazily above the palace.

“By the moon and stars,” Sepia whispered as his gaze laid transfixed on the ship. He couldn't marvel for long as the flowing throng of ponies pushed him towards the spiral stairs leading to the city below. As the airship passed from view, Sepia began his arduous trek across the tiered city towards the central commons where Twilight's presentation would be taking place.

---

“Alright, how's that fit Dashie?” Pinkie Pie asked, as she wiped away, or rather smeared a spot a grease across her cheek. “Not to tight?”

“Kinda heavy but, good otherwise,” Rainbow Dash replied, flexing her shoulders. The metallic wings now fully articulated and assembled on her back shifted slightly with her motion. “So, how's this work Pinks?”

“Well, when I connect the leads to the harness,” She said, doing so as she spoke. “Your body will control the wings. With a bit of help from the Library, I found out how the Pegasai used to move when they flew and tried to emulate the motions in my design. I think it's all right, but We won't know till you're soaring with the birdies!” as each of the leads snapped over their corresponding points on the harness, the wings began to twitch and flair awkwardly. Dash yelped once or twice when the strange motions made the metal wings pinch her exposed fur.

“There!” Pinkie exclaimed as the last lead took hold and the wings flared out wide. “Now, you'll be able to control the wings but until we get the motor running, you won't have enough power to generate lift. The most they're good for now is gliding.” Pinkie explained, her temporary seriousness bringing Dash's excited gaze to her. “So, let's test the bad boys out!”

Dash's grin widened as she stretched her back. Like Pinkie said, the wings responded to her motions, the action causing the wings to raise as if beginning to flap. It was awkward trying to figure out what did what, and in the confines of Pinkie's workshop, many boxes and schematics were knocked to the floor and scattered about haphazardly. The grin slowly began to fade as Rainbow realized she was demolishing her friend's workshop. Sheepishly, she contracted her shoulders, causing the wings to pull in to their resting state.

“Sorry about that Pinkie Pie,” She said, rubbing her neck with a fore-hoof. “Maybe we can take this outside?”

Pinkie looked around the now more thoroughly destroyed workshop with a thoughtful expression “Hmm...” she murmured, tapping her chin idly with a hoof. The hoof suddenly met the wooden floorboards with a solid click. “THAT'S PERFECT!” She shouted, and immediately began dragging Rainbow Dash through the door.

Downstairs Mrs. Cake looked up and spotted Pinkie as she mare handled Dash through the store. “Pinkie Dear,” she shouted, causing Pinkie Pie to halt abruptly and Rainbow Dash to tumble down the rest of the stairs bodily. “Do try to be careful, and remember, you're taking the morning shift tomorrow so be sure to get plenty of rest. Carrot and I are going to the hospital for my last Checkup.” She said this with a motherly smile and reached down to caress her stomach, distended with foal.

“Okie Dokie Lokie!” Pinkie said, a wide smile spreading across her face. “Come on Dashie, You heard Mrs. Cake. We've gotta go! It's getting late.”

“Uhhh...” Dash moaned from the floor. Thanks to her fall, she had become tangled in the leads, a few of which had come undone and were rooted firmly in her mane. “A little help please?”

---

After a bit of swearing-filled jiggery and a rather awkward departure from a riotously laughing Mrs. Cake, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie found their way to the outskirts of Ponyville. Applejack had long since forbidden Pinkie from testing her gizmos and gadgets at sweet apple acres so they had to settle for an open field currently in possession of the crown.

“Alright,” Dash said, as she got used to the wings being tugged by the breeze. “Pre-flight tests?”

“Yuppie Duppie!” Pinkie chirped, pulling a clipboard from a saddlebag and beginning the list. “Lateral range?”

“Check,” Dash said, pulling her wings forward and back with subtle twitches of her muscles.

“Dorsal Range?”

“Check.” Dash's wings rose up and down.

“Independent control?”

“Check.” The wings each began twisting and flaring individually to demonstrate the full range..

“Ready for ignition?”

“Check.”

Pinkie set the clipboard down and trotted up to the artificial Pegasus. With a careful tug, a ripcord was revealed which she pulled sharply. The motor roared to life and the wings became ridged and twitched seemingly randomly as Rainbow Dash stood beneath them. “Okie Dokie Lokie! Give 'em a flap Dashie! Let's see this Pegasus fly!”

One subtle motion later and the wings snapped into action. Only to plow Dash face first into the grass and get the leading edge of one wing caught in the dirt.

“Ouch...”

“I'll say...”

---

Sepia Tock found his way to Twilight's pavilion easily. Her Presentation was headlining today's events after all, and honestly. Who wouldn't be excited about her work? Her invention could open up a whole new avenue into Thaumaturgy. Her stated goal; Reintroducing Magic to the Masses. Just think! But that's assuming her invention performs as advertised.

The Pavilion was crowded by the time Sepia arrived, and guards blocked the entrance to the stage, so it seemed he would have to wait until after to catch her. Fine by him. He'd been interested in her work for some time and this was an opportunity to see first hoof what all the fuss was about. On stage, a large curtain blocked Twilight Sparkle's construct from view and a podium stood beside it. A few moments passed and finally, out trotted the lavender mare. She took her place and prepared to begin.

“Fillies and Gentlecolts,” She said, projecting her voice across the gathered ponies. “Beings of all species. Today I will present to you what may well be the future of Equestrian civilization, and the catalyst to a new age of enlightenment.” There were murmurs from the crowd at this but they quieted down quickly. “Thaumaturgy, the study and practice of the magical arts is an ancient and mysterious science dating back eons. After Magicfall, the three most potent and practical forms of magic were lost to us. Earth pony magic, Pegasus magic, and Unicorn magic. All gone for reasons unknown”

The crowd was enraptured at this point and she had barely even begun the exposition. This was shaping up to be good. “Today, magic is still possible, but the methods are tedious and wildly impractical, not to mention dangerous and often unpredictable. I seek to change all that. With my new invention, the Thaumaturgic Energy Detector or 'T.E.D.'”

There were a few chuckles at the acronym, Twilight's included, but she continued. With a flourish of her hoof, the curtain fell revealing a rather unremarkable looking machine and several boards containing complex equations and Thaumatic figures. “Everyone, Meet Ted. Ted's function is to read and record background magic. Simple as that. What's not so simple is how he actually does it. Inside are several crystals each painstakingly enchanted using rituals that took weeks to establish and complete for relatively simple results. Just constructing Ted is a testament to how insanely ineffective magic is today.”

Twilight lifted the top panel of the machine and revealed it's inner workings to the crowd. Seven gems glowed in its core and complex machinery spread out from there, all inert currently but ready to begin their task at a moment's notice. “Inside of Ted, I've constructed an array that should, if my calculations prove correct, read the pulsations of each of the gemstones and translate that pulsation into quantifiable numbers which will allow us to study the effects of rituals on a fundamental level and maybe simplify them into much more manageable size and scope.”

“The hope is to eventually be able to recreate ancient spells as described in the writings of Pre-Fall scholars such as Star Swirl the Bearded and Clover the Clever. Magic has long been lost to pony kind but I hope to reintroduce it to the world at large. Before I begin the practical demonstration, are there any questions?” Several hooves, talons, claws, paws, and hands rose into the air, and Twilight began fielding questions about General Thaumaturgy and the process by witch she assembled the necessary materials to create Ted.

After about five minutes, Twilight called the questions to a close and turned to her creation. Closing it, she began a small ritual that was pre-constructed for the purpose of the demonstration. All it did was create a small puffy cloud of water vapor, but Ted began its work in earnest. Buzzing and whirring and extruding paper covered in figures. After the ritual was complete, the machine ceased its machinations and Twilight removed the paper. She then flipped the centermost board around and revealed two similar papers pinned to it, to which she joined the third.

“As you can now observe, the three papers you see before you are similar, but not identical. Each was created in the same way, by allowing Ted to read the magic while I performed the same ritual. Further study will be required but we believe that the figures presented could one day lead us to understand the fundamental principals that govern magic.”

From there most of the audience became well and truly lost as Twilight began explaining the advanced science and maths that went into the creation of Ted. Some of her colleagues seemed to be nodding along or shaking their head and taking notes in the front row, but Sepia, along with most of the crowd, just stared wide eyed and slack-jawed as Twilight sparkle spoke circles around the lot of them.

A half hour later, the presentation concluded and Sepia rushed to the stage to meet Twilight as she left. Upon his arrival, she spotted him and politely extricated herself from the throng of scientists who were questioning her about her methods.

“Afternoon, Mr. Tock,” She said, smiling warmly at him. “What brings you to Canterlot?”

“Among other things, I needed to speak with you, Miss Sparkle. It's about your special order.”

“Hmm? What about it?”

“Well, it's going to be another two days before it arrives. According to Colgate, the Factory was eaten or something. Parasprites or whatever. But the point is, they won't have the part to us and by extension, to you, for two days.”

“well that actually works out pretty well then,” she said as she began moving towards the edge of the crowd. “I'll be needing a couple days to relax after all of this. Anyway, I'm sorry I can't stay and chat, but I have a very important meeting to get to and I don't want to be late.”

“I understand. And congratulations on your machine. It looks quite impressive!”

“Thank you. I'll see you at Pinkie's party?”

“I suppose. But I really don't see the point of a party every week,” Sepia said, half seriously.

“Well, it's better than being bored all the time,” Twilight said flashing a grin and waving. “I'll see you there then. Bye!”

---

Dash stared glumly at the wings as Pinkie packed them away for the night. “Better luck next time I guess.”

“Oh, don't feel so bad Dashie! You're going to be the first flying pony in a thousand years soon! Just keep trying and you'll get it.”

Rainbow Dash smiled. Pinkie was right. One little setback wasn't gonna ruin her mood. “Thanks, Pinks. You're a real pall.”