• Published 16th Apr 2014
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The Descent into Madness - FenrisianBrony

After almost four years, Rainbow Dash is forced to return to the 41st Millennium, in search of something stolen, and something lost.

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Poor Aim

Birthplace of the pony race. The inhabitants of this quiet world once believed that their planet was alone in the universe. That the boundaries of sapient life stopped at the edge of their own planet. That vision was shattered four years ago.

Rainbow Dash, a mare many knew and loved as a flier and as an Element of Harmony, discovered that existence was larger than even Celestia and Luna could have imagined, filled with life that was as diverse as the stars themselves. She also made the unfortunate discovery first hoofedly that it was teeming with more violence than anypony could have ever dreamed of.

The galaxy is large and unforgiving, and events put in motion in years past are slowly gaining momentum, the consequences that they will bring reaching far across the breadth of known space. No longer can Equis and ponykind stand idle in history. They must play their part. They must fight to stop events that they themselves have put in motion.

It is the 41st Millennia, and there is only war.

Twilight sighed happily as she looked out across Ponyville, the quiet town never failing to give her a sense of comfort and happiness when she looked at it. She had been living here for over eight years now, studying friendship, and for two of the years, coping with the loss of one of her closest friends.

That was all in the past now, and Twilight was eagerly looking towards the future, as were so many other ponies in professions similar to hers.

When Rainbow had returned, she hadn’t just brought back the knowledge that they weren’t alone in the universe, but had also brought back technology that far outstripped their own. While most of it had been made purely for war, and had been restricted by Rainbow herself, Equestria scientists had slowly began to analyse the technology, learning how it worked for the betterment of everyone, not just for ponies. Even if it was made for war, there were always more ways to use something, and non-violent applications of the tech had been springing to life like there was no tomorrow.

Medical science had been accelerated phenomenally by the small life support systems found in the Aspect Armour that Rainbow wore. The tiny anti-gravity generators that were present in her armours wings were quickly recreated, and enabled hundreds of disabled Pegasi to once again know the glory of flight. Even the Jetbike had been looked over, the engines on it studied and incorporated into the engines on the larger blimps that Equestria used. Gone was the age of propellers, steam and sail, this was Equestria’s new Golden Age, and age of advancement, of steel, of science, and of Arco-Tech.

Yes, this truly was a great age to live in, and Twilight was at the forefront of it all.

Sighing happily to herself, Twilight skipped back across the library, ignoring all the new machines that were scattered around the place as she headed down to her basement. This was where she always conducted her experiments, finding it safer to try out potentially dangerous machines away from prying ponies.

Some ponies, mostly Rainbow Dash on the odd occasion that they saw each other, had called her a mad scientist for conducting her experiments underground, but if that meant ponies would be safer, she could bare the nickname.

“Spike!” she called out, trotting down the stairs and quickly reaching the bottom.

“Over here Twilight,” the drake called, his deep voice rumbling around the room, before she caught sight of him.

He had definitely grown in the past four years, and looked less and less like a baby every day. Even his wings were starting to come through, the small growths on his back wiggling slightly as he walked.

“Sleep well?” she asked, smiling up at her adoptive brother.

“Meh,” Spike shrugged. “Had the same dream again.”

“What, the one about getting your wings in a fit of rage?” Twilight clarified.

“Yeah, the one where I was fighting with some really odd swords,” Spike shrugged. “Never have found out what that all means.”

“Well, there is research into dreams being an extremely lucid time where we can briefly see glimpses of an alternate time line?” twilight pondered. “Maybe in that one you disappeared instead of Rainbow?”

“Maybe, but this seemed like a different place,” Spike said softly. “Still, it’s only a dream. Are you still trying to get the Magic Amp O-Matic to work today?”

“How many times have I got to tell you Spike,” Twilight began in an exasperated tone. “It’s not called the ‘Magic Amp O-Matic’, nor is it called the ‘MAOM’, the ‘Instant Party Device’ or ‘The Compensator’.”

She shook her head as Spike stifled a laugh at the last nickname for the machine, before walking towards one of the many work benches around the room, looking across at the large metallic section of the room and pointing to it with her hoof.

“This is a Mark one Magical Induction Booster prototype.”

“That sounds so boring though,” Spike groaned. “You’ve never even explained it properly.”

“Well, it’s very simple,” Twilight began, walking towards the machine and pulling a series of wires towards her. “These wires interface with a specialised helmet, helping to boost the magic of the pony wearing the helmet. Remember, magic resonates at a wide variety of frequencies. Everything in the universe has its own set of wavelengths. In nature, most of these waves harmlessly clash with each other… like static, if you will, but intelligent beings and certain magical organisms can focus this magic to specific effects. This machine should simply detect these frequencies, scan them and then begin to replicate them.”

“Twilight, use your words,” Spike sighed.

“The helmet will boost pony’s magic,” Twilight deadpanned. “I thought you appreciated learning.”

“I do, just not when this is all you’ve gone on about for the last month and a half,” Spike chuckled. “Still, if this works, it will be one of the biggest advances in magical science. I guess I can go through so techno-babble to be a part of that.”

“And that is why you will always be by number one assistant,” Twilight smiled, before plugging a few wires into a large metal helmet, being greeted by a loud hum. Beaming, she looked back at Spike. “It’s working!”

“Does it have to be so loud?!” Spike roared over the sound of the machine.

“I’m sorry!” Twilight shouted. “Like I said, it’s just a Mark one, the Mark two will be better.”

“Great!” Spike rolled his eyes exasperatedly.

“Isn’t it?” Twilight asked happily, missing out Spike’s sarcasm. “Now, onto the testing. Could you bring me the block of Celestium please?”

Spike grumbled, walking over to the side of the room and stooping down, wrapping his claws around a small, half meter cubed piece of dark metal and heaving. Panting, Spike managed to lift the block, his muscles straining as he moved the block towards Twilight, finally letting it drop to the floor with a loud ‘thud’, before flopping down to the floor.

“Why…do we have…to use such…a heavy metal?” Spike panted, staring at Twilight expectantly.

“Come on Spike, you know this,” Twilight smiled, slowly levitating the rough helmet onto her head and adjusting it to fit her properly. “Celestium is the densest material known to Ponykind, but more importantly though, it resonates at only one magical frequency, one single pure tone. It fully ignores almost all other magical effects. Basically it’s really heavy both for lifting up normally, and with levitation. It took four unicorns plus Big Mac to get it from the train station to here, and they were still tired.”

“And yet you got me to carry it on my own,” Spike grumbled. Truth be told, he didn’t cared that much, but what was the fun in living life without complaints?

“And I am very grateful for you for all your hard work,” Twilight chuckled. “I’m sure I’ll be able to find a gem or two to thank you. But for now, please stand back, it’s time to test this.”

“Are you sure about this?” Spike asked, taking a hasty step back. “You don’t exactly have the best track record with this kind of thing.”

“Name one time I’ve messed up,” Twilight pouted indignantly.

“The parasprite invasion when we first came here?” Spike deadpanned.

“Name two more,” Twilight shot back.

“The second parasprite invasion and the ‘Want it, Need it’ spell,” Spike replied, grinning and crossing his arms.

“Fine, a recent one then,” Twilight insisted.

“Yesterday?” Spike snickered. “You turned Lyra into a Minotaur.”

“She wanted to know what it was like to have hands,” Twilight defended.

“A male Minotaur,” Spike continued. “Face it, you may be good with magic, but you do make quite a few mistakes.”

“Alright, maybe I do,” Twilight relented, before looking at the machine around her. “But this, I’ve been working on this for two months. I’ve triple checked my triple checks and I’ve gone over every possible outcome. This will work.”

“If you say so,” Spike relented, before taking a step back and grabbing a helmet and upturning a table, crouching down behind it and watching Twilight closely.

Shaking her head, Twilight activated small Dictaphone, holding it close to her mouth.

“Test one of the Mark one Magical Induction Booster prototype. Initiating non-biological levitation test on a block of Celestium. Testing begins.”

Placing the Dictaphone down again, Twilight focused on the block of Celestium in front of her and the helmet on her head. The helmet was a fairly basic thing, little more than a wraparound metal band, stretching up and covering her horn. It wasn’t pretty, but it should do the job.

Forcing magic into her horn, Twilight felt around for the metal block, quickly finding it and wrapping it in her magical aura. As she expected, she struggled to grasp it, her magic seeming to slide around it rather than sticking onto it. Letting out a soft growl, Twilight pushed harder, feeling the machinery attached to her head begin to take effect.

It started out as a soft nagging in the back of her head, a warm feeling spreading throughout her ead, stretching up into her horn. Suddenly, the power in it surged, and Twilight felt the block of Celestium in front of her lift into the air.

“Spike!” She cried happily, looking over to her adoptive brother. “Look, I’m doing it!”

“Well done,” Spike cheered, standing up and looking at the floating metal.

Slowly, Twilight lowered it to the floor, before taking the helmet off her head and running over towards her clipboard, beginning to take notes.

“So, how much power was that?” Twilight asked, looking expectantly at Spike.

“Ten New-tonnes,” Spike replied, looking at one of the scanner read-outs.

“Do you have to use the new measurement system? What’s wrong with the Equestrian Imperial standard?” Twilight scowled.

“Hey, Isaac New-tonne was an inspirational stallion,” Spike replied. “Besides, the maretric system just makes more sense. I’ll change my mind when you give me a good reason why we have twelve inches in a foot instead of thirteen and why there are sixteen ounces in a pound instead of fifteen.”

“Fine,” Twilight relented. “Hold on, did you say ten?”

“Well, technically nine point nine nine six two, but who’s splitting hairs?” Spike nodded.

“But, that’s hardly enough to lift a similar sized block of plaster of mareis,” Twilight said, her eyes going wide.

“Looks like it works then,” Spike chuckled. “Well done Twilight, you have officially revolutionised Arco-science. Again.”

“Arcane-Science Spike, no need to shorten it,” Twilight retorted. “But I haven’t finished yet, we still need to test it out on organic matter. Run upstairs and grab me a couple of apples would you?”

“Sure,” Spike sighed, turning and trudging up the stairs, muttering as he went. “Overworked and underpaid, that’s my life.”

Quickly reaching the kitchen, Spike pulled open the fridge, looking inside for any apples, or any food for that matter. Unfortunately, it seemed that once again, Twilight had neglected to stop her work to get things as mundane food. Either that or Spike had eaten it all, but honestly, what were the chances of that?

“Hey twilight, we’re out of food!” Spike yelled.

“Again?!” Twilight called back. “I just…did you eat everything again?!”

Spike didn’t reply straight away, before deciding to dismiss the question all together. “I’ll go see AJ, get some more!”

“Hurry back!” Twilight called up, before she began to busy herself with the data read-out.

Spike sighed, before quickly making his way out of the Treebary, dropping to all fours and heading through Ponyville to reach Sweet Apple Acres. The town had changed quite a bit since Rainbow had returned, but not nearly as much as a place like Manehatten or Hoofington. The original wooden buildings were now augmented with steel and glass, each one taking advantage of new construction techniques to strengthen them. Considering the regularity with which the town seemed to get destroyed, stronger buildings could only be a positive factor.

It didn’t take him long to run to Applejack’s farm, and he quickly stood up as he reached the barn, looking around for anypony, quickly catching sight of Big Mac. Big Mac hadn’t been idle in the past four years either, and had been taking advantage of the sudden burst in technological innovation to make himself, and by extension the farm, even more efficient. This was mostly down to the micro-fields that were imbedded into the boots he now wore on his rear legs, the tech refined from Rainbows sword, and making his bucks have the same punch, for half the energy.

“Hey Big Mac,” Spike waved, walking towards the red Stallion.

“Spike,” Mac nodded once, looking towards the dragon. “You come to help on the farm?”

“Not this time, sorry,” Spike apologised. “Is Applejack around?”

“Eeyup,” he nodded, before glancing towards one of the far fields. “Her and Applebloom are workin’ the north fields.”

“Thanks. I’ll let you get back to work,” Spike smiled, before walking towards the far fields, quickly catching sight of Applejack and Applebloom. Unlike their brother, neither of the girls had taken to the micro-field boots, preferring to keep to ‘the old way’ instead.

“Howdy Spike, you come to help out of the farm?” Applejack asked as he approached.

“Big Mac asked the same question,” Spike chuckled. “Unfortunately no, I’ll have to find some other time to pay you back.”

“Yeah well, make sure that ya do ya here me? Y’all lost fair and square,” Applejack smirked.

“The running of the leaves is for ponies,” Spike grumbled, thinking back to this year’s race, and how he had been soundly beaten by AJ. Luckily for the both of them, Rainbow herself hadn’t been running this time, else both of them would have a forfeit now. “Still, as soon as I’ve finished helping Twilight, I’ll come and help out on the farm. Deal?”

“So she’s still workin’ on the Compensator?” Applebloom snickered, drawing a glare from Applejack and a loud laugh from Spike.

“Don’t let her hear you calling it that, she almost bit my head off when I didn’t call it the Mark one Magical Induction Booster prototype,” Spike warned Applebloom. “So you got off work for a while?”

“Yeah, construction around Ponyville’s in a bit of a slump, so they said we could all have a holiday,” Applebloom beamed. “It’s been nice to see Sweetie Belle again. “I just wish ah could see Scoots as well.”

“You know she’s got a pretty full time job Sugarcube, plus ah think she’s away in the Dominion at the moment,” Applejack smiled. “Still, I’m sure she’ll get a back soon, then you three can go and do…whatever it is you three do these days. But anyway, what does bring you here Spike? Ah doubt that ya came all this way ta make small talk.”

“Nope,” Spike shook his head. “Twilight got the Compensator,” Applebloom tried, and failed, to suppress a giggle, “working and she needs organic matter for testing.”

“And let me guess, a certain purple and green ate everything she had in the house?” Applejack smirked. “Come on Spike, let’s go get mah cart. I’ll come with ya, just ta make sure that they get there uneaten. Hey Applebloom, can you handle the fields on yer own for a bit?”

“Sure can, just don’t leave me out here on my own too much, it gets boring,” Applebloom nodded, before giving a nearby tree a solid buck, causing the apples within to fall into the basket.

“They grow up so fast,” Applejack sighed, before turning to Spike. “Come on Spike, let’s get you some apples.”

“Yeah, sure,” Spike nodded, following Applejack, before glancing up at the sky. “Great, looks like we’re in for that storm after all.”

“The storm’s good fer the trees Spike, ya shouldn’t complain as much,” Applejack pointed out, before grinning widely. “Don’t tell me the big bad dragon is afraid of a little thunder.”

It didn’t take long for Applejack to get hooked up to a line of carts laden with apples, and the two began to make their way back towards Ponyville, chatting nonchalantly as they went, even as the first drops of rain began to fall. Soon, the pair were in front of the Golden Oaks Treebary once more, and Spike began to help AJ unhook herself from the carts, before calling inside.

“Hey Twilight, AJ and I are back! Come give us a hand would ya?”

“One second!” Twilight called back, before appearing at the door and looking up at Spike, raising her forehoof. “Hoof, not hand.”

“Hoof, hand, claw, paw, same difference,” Spike snorted. “Still, can you help us get these downstairs? It’s your machine we’re testing after all.”

“Of course,” Twilight nodded, levitating some of the apples in front of her. “Hey Applejack. How’s the farm doing?”

“Not too bad, Applebloom’s got a holiday, so we have an extra pair of hooves helpin’ out. Of course if a certain dragon would pay his dues…” Applejack smirked, looking at Spike, before transferring some of the apples into her saddle bags.

“I told you, after the testing’s done, I promise,” Spike rolled his eyes, before grabbing an armful of apples, eyeing one hungrily, only to receive a death glare from Twilight. “Fine, I won’t eat them yet.”

“Good,” Twilight nodded, before heading inside, leading the three downstairs and placing the apples down in the centre of the room.

“So this is what you been workin’ on Twi?” Applejack whistled softly. “The Mark One…thingy-mah-whatsit?”

“The Mark one Magical Induction Booster prototype,” Twilight corrected her, walking towards the machine and taking hold of the helmet, slipping it over her head.

“I’d stand back if I were you,” Spike whispered, before taking a few paces back and crouching down behind the table from before, quickly followed by Applejack. Everypony in town knew to hide when Twilight was experimenting.

“Test two of the Mark one Magical Induction Booster prototype. Initiating biological levitation test on a test group of one hundred and twenty apples. This many could usually be picked up by my magic, test is to determine whether or not there are any adverse effects on biological material that were not present in the Celestium. Testing begins.”

Twilight concentrated for a split second, the machine humming loudly into life once more, before the apple in front of her lifted off the ground. Smiling, Twilight placed the apples back down, before removing the helmet and moving to inspect the apples for any signs of degradation or deformity.

“Nothing, looks like it’s going to work Spike,” Twilight beamed, looking at the dragon. “Just a few more tests, then I can contact Celestia and let her know that it’s almost ready.”

“Just be careful Twi, we only just finished rebuilding the town after yer last mistake,” Applejack laughed.

“Spike told me the same thing,” Twilight replied exasperatedly, strapping the helmet back into place. “Don’t worry, I’m being careful.”

“If you say so Twi, but I don’t think the Mayor will be happy if she has to pay for damages. Again,” Applejack snorted, before crouching down beside Spike again.

“Test three of the Mark one Magical Induction Booster prototype. Initiating biological teleportation test on a test group of one apple. Target teleportation distance is across the room while using next to no magic. Testing begins.”

Twilight cleared her mind, focusing on the apple in question, while also making sure she did not use too much of her magic. This was just a preliminary test after all, the extreme testing would come later. Reaching out for the apple, Twilight concentrated on the familiar sensation of folding an object through space-time.

There was suddenly a huge crash, a clap of thunder rolling around the streets of Ponyville as the storm finally hit, startling Twilight out of her focus, her horn still lit. Normally she would instantly know that a spell was still charging in her horn, but she usually wasn’t attached to a Magical Induction Booster.

“What in tarnation was that?” Applejack began, coming out from behind the table and looking up the stairs. “Reckon something fell…”

She never got to finish what she was about to say, the spell that Twilight had been charging finally reaching a peak. Twilight suddenly realised what was happening, trying desperately to shut off the power surging through her horn, but it was useless, the machine was acting as the second half of a super conducting loop now, and Twilight couldn’t stop what was going to come next. All she could do was watch as time slowed to a crawl, extending a hoof and screaming a warning that would never reach receptive ears in time.


The spell slammed into the unaware Earth Pony. There was a blinding flash of light, a massive pressure wave from the spell feedback, and then silence. All that remained in the spot Applejack had once stood in, was a scorched patch of ground.

Author's Note:

Edited by Sparthage. Big thanks to this guy.

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