• Published 12th Dec 2013
  • 8,513 Views, 555 Comments

A Friend In Need - sopchoppy



Something has happened and Twilight finds herself in a strange and dark new world. The Bipeds here have strange magic, advanced technology, and a lot of problems. She needs a few friends, and they just might need her. WORM crossover.

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7 - Connections

Twilight looked out over the ruined section of the city as the rising sun illuminated the still smoldering buildings and the half sunk husks of rusted ships beyond them. Clearly the area had been in rough shape even before last night, but the fight against Mannequin hadn’t done it any favors. Skitter had called her late and by the time she had arrived it had all been over. Mannequin was dead.

Twilight was unsure how to feel about that, other than relieved that she hadn’t been involved. She was relieved that the Man that had killed those nice scientists was gone for good, and relieved that it wasn’t on her conscience. The first felt wrong, like the easy way had been taken instead of the right one, and the second felt selfish. Maybe she could talk to Dr. Yamada about it.

Mimi sat on the roof beside her, idly kicking her legs back and forth in her new costume Skitter had made. It covered her from feet to head with only a small opening exposing her eyes. They had dyed it white and Mimi had painted delicate swirls of flame along the arms, legs, and back with remarkable talent. Skitter stood on the other side of Twilight her dark costume a stark contrast to Mimi’s.

“What was this place?” Twilight broke the silence in a soft voice that felt appropriate for the moment.

“Used to be the main port area of the city and the shipyards,” Skitter said as she extended one arm and swept it in front of her as if presenting it to Twilight and Mimi. “Back before I was born, before the manufacturing companies went out of business or moved away, Brockton Bay made a lot of things. Those things were shipped all over the world from right down there.” Her voice was quiet to, but colored with a resigned bitterness.

“Um, ok. Why did they abandon all of those ships? It seems dangerous and like an awful waste when the ships could still be used somewhere else.”

“Well more and more of the people that worked here got laid off and after a while it was clear that things were only going to get worse. So a bunch of people went out there and commandeered boats, everything from row boats to that giant container ship out there resting on the bottom. Ground what business there was left to a halt.”

“Why?” Twilight asked in bewildered curiosity.

“They were suffering, their families were suffering, and no one was paying any attention or really giving a damn. So they found a way to make people pay attention. For a couple of days it was mostly peaceful, then some bright spark at police headquarters got the idea of storming the container ship one night to take it back. Well long story short, lots of people ended up hurt, some ended up dead, and several ships ended up on the bottom trapping the rest. Guess someone ran the numbers and figured it wasn’t worth the money to clean up, so here we are. Nowadays people call it the boat graveyard and even the desperate don’t bother to claim it.”

Twilight was aghast, how could any of that have happened? Equestria was currently in a time of expansion so she couldn’t really think of any areas in decline she could compare to, but she was sure there had to have been something someone could have done to help before things got so bad. And not cleaning up the wreckage afterwards? Sure it would be a lot of work and bits, but she could almost physically feel what the lingering scar was doing to the spirit of the place and the humans that lived in the city. The hurt such a constant reminder would continually inflict. Hadn’t whoever ran the numbers calculated that in?

“When there wasn’t enough work anymore for everyone, why didn’t they move somewhere that needed their talents?” Twilight asked as the lower edge of the sun cleared the surface of the ocean. “I’ve heard of mining ponies that need to move when there weren’t any more gems in an area and lots of ponies move when they discover their special talent and it’s not really suited to where they are living.”

“Brockton Bay was hit particularly hard, but really there isn’t anywhere in the country where they need a lot of people for those types jobs anymore.”

“What about other countries?”

“It’s hard to get permission to work in another country, and even if you can lots of people wouldn’t want to because other countries do things so differently.” Twilight contemplated this. She guessed she hadn’t really thought about all the consequences of the humans not having a united government. She had been to the United Nations, but all she had really done was give the same speech to a bunch of different people.

She could understand people not wanting to move someplace that had a very different culture, but why would countries increase the height of that hurdle by making restrictions on who could work where? She pulled a notepad from her modified backpack and added human economic policy and international relations as subjects she would need to research. If only that list hadn’t already filled up a stack of notebooks, with a truly disheartening lack of checks next to them.

Skitter spoke up with a question of her own. “Didn’t you say ponies found their special talent when they were still kids? Are you saying kids pack up and leave home if their talent doesn’t fit in with where they are?” Twilight was puzzled by the incredulity in Skitter’s voice, but answered anyway.

“Of course. Generally family or friends in other cities or villages are contacted that have a suitable outlet for an adolescent pony’s newfound talent. For certain talents some cities setup apprenticeship programs or schools. I attended one of those myself and my friends Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie moved to Ponyville when they found their talents.”

“Huh,” Skitter said after a moment. “It’s easy to forget sometimes.”

“What?”

“That you’re from a different world.” Twilight couldn’t help but smile at this, it was strange and wonderful how she had almost stopped noticing human’s bizarre shape and locomotion and was glad the reverse was also true. “So what are we doing out here anyway? There are certainly prettier places to watch the sun rise if your going to be masochistic enough to stay up and see it.”

Twilight “hmmed” softly as she looked out at the destruction both old and new. “I..I don’t know really. I guess I thought it might help me understand a little more. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to understand, but, It seemed like a place to start anyway. Being partially raised by Celestia sunrises have always been comforting to me. Dragon told me a few days ago that cameras saw the little girl and the zebra striped woman, Bonesaw and Siberian?”

At Skitter’s nod Twilight Continued. “She said they were seen halfway across the country and they thought Shatterbird had run away too. I..I just don’t know how to feel about that. Relief, guilt, unease, accomplishment, its like there all blended up inside me and I don’t know what to do with them.” Skitter rested a hand on Twilight’s neck and gently started to comb her fingers though her mane.

“When I feel like that, I go for a run. It doesn’t solve anything, but it’s something productive and it centers me. Anchors me to something more solid and less complicated than life has tends to be.” She paused and looked down at Twilight. “You don’t really strike me as the running type.” Twilight was not sure if she should take offense to that remark or not. Skitter continued before she could decide. “Got anything like that, something simple, productive, and concrete that will give your brain a break from things that don’t really have answers?”

Twilight thought about that as Skitter ran her fingers through her mane and Mimi’s boots thudded gently in time against the building wall beneath her. The sun was rising quickly now burning away the remaining shadows. If anything the light made the neighborhood look worse by revealing all the small indignities that the morning twilight had concealed.

Maybe it was the rhythm that Mimi’s feet made that pulled the memory out of her head but a few minutes later she found herself softly singing.

“The time has come to welcome spring
and all things warm and green,
But it’s also time to say goodbye:
It’s winter we must clean.
How can I help?….
Winter wrap up, Winter wrap up….”

Still humming a slow small smile formed on her face as Twilight took in everything she could of the view. Her notepad floated back out of her backpack along with her pen and she started jotting down details, ideas, and lists.

“Twilight?” Skitter asked her name in question while Mimi started humming the melody as well.

“I do have something like that. Thank you Skitter, I know just the place to start.”


-------------------


Two days later Twilight lay on one of three now fully furnished cots in Skitter’s lair. Several economics textbooks opened and spread out around her while a levitating notepad and pen held position beside her head. Stacks of books and notepads surrounded the bed in a complex organizational hierarchy that only Twilight Sparkle could discern.

On the opposing wall the spare bunks had been removed to be replaced with IKEA bookshelves and desks. Mimi was slowly filling the bookshelves with books and notes based on a very precise chart Twilight had drawn a few days ago. A dozen small globes of flame floated in the air providing light and a homelike warmth to the room. Just then Skitter cleared the top of the spiral staircase balancing a tray with three large bowls of salad in her hands.

“Soups on everyone.” Skitter said as she sat the tray down on a small round table. Twilight looked up from her books and raised a eyebrow.

“Soup? I thought you were making salads tonight?”

“Just an expression, I did make salad.”

“Oh good, I’ve really been craving greens. Those ramen noodles you had were ok, buts it’s nice to have something different. I just wish daisies didn’t seem to be so hard to come by here.” Twilight said as she stood up on the cot and gently stretched out her legs and wings, careful to avoid disturbing any of the books. When she looked to hop down she found she had quiet effectively trapped herself in a proto-bookfort. With an amused sigh she lit her horn and teleported over to the table causing Skitter to jerk backwards slightly in her chair before scooting a bowl over to Twilight.

Mimi shelved one last book before walking over and sitting down next to Twilight. Levitating three bottles of water out of the cooler the three dug in. Skitter still hadn’t unmasked completely in front of Mimi, but she was wearing what Twilight had come to think of as her “house mask” which was a simple strip of cloth the covered her upper face but had holes for her eyes.

“Mmm,” Twilight vocalized between bites. “This is really good, thank you for making dinner and going to the book store earlier. I think I’ve almost got enough information now to put together a couple of real plans.” Skitter looked at the state of the room and the number of notepads that had already been filled and thought about what Twilight would consider a “real” plan.

“It’s ok, If your plan works, well a lot of people I know and care about are going to be better off for the first time in my lifetime. So anything I can do, I’m going to do. Not really how I envisioned I would be making people’s lives better when I first found out I had powers, but I guess there are many paths to the same goal. Maybe I can walk a few at the same time.”

The rest of the meal was mostly quiet as the three enjoyed the food, the simple presence of each other, and the lack of immediate danger for once. Later the three were downstairs in the kitchen as Twilight washed the dishes in the sink and Mimi dried and stacked them. As Twilight scrubbed the dressing off the large mixing bowl she took a deep breath and decided to bring up the disturbing thing she had read earlier.

“Skitter, In one of the economics textbooks they had a section called ‘Natural Disasters and Endbringers.’ They sound really bad. Why…why didn’t anyone tell me about them?” Skitter sucked in a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment as Twilight passed the clean bowl over to Mimi.

“It’s not really something people bring up in conversation. It’s a little taboo, people get superstitious about it. Like talking about them out loud is going to summon them to your city. Sailors used to think whistling into the wind would summon a storm, because nobody understood how storms formed. Its a little like that with the Endbringers. No one understands them, why they appeared, why they attack cities until their driven off, why they take turns and seem to have a schedule they keep.” Skitter shrugged not knowing what else to say about it.

“Well that changes some things. I’ll have to revise the schedule to allow time to research them. It won’t do any good to rebuild the city if some monster is just going to come along and ruin everything we do. So we’ll just have to figure out how to stop them.” Twilight said with a firm nod of her head as she turned the water off and floated the last bowl over to Mimi.

“Wait..What? I don’t think you really understand. All the heroes, villains, and thinkers in the world have tried since Behemoth showed up in 92 to figure out a way to stop them. A lot have died trying but nobody has, even the most powerful parahumans on the planet can barely hurt them. Endbringer fights that end well still end up killing lots of capes and thousands of people. Ones that end badly kill millions.” Twilight’s eyes misted over at that.

“Millions…They killed millions of humans in a single day?” Skitter nodded solemnly while Mimi passed a paper towel to Twilight who used it to wipe her eyes. Twilight took a moment to absorb what that really meant, what humans had been going through since these monsters showed up. When she spoke again her voice was emotional but confident. “Then that’s all the more reason for us to stop them. You said they followed a schedule and took turns. Which one of them is next? How much time is left before they attack?” A little bewildered by the direction the conversation had taken Skitter nonetheless answered.

“Leviathan and an attack is due, anytime in the next few weeks.”

“He’s the one that attacks with water and causes tidal waves right?” Twilight queried as a notebook and pen floated in from the doorway already scribbling notes.

“Yes..Twilight, I’m serious when I say that geniuses and thinkers, scientists and heroes have been trying for twenty years to figure them out, find a way to stop them. I’m not saying not to try, I’ll help however I can, but I know how much dealing with the Nine hurt you. I don’t want to see you put yourself through something like that again right after putting that behind you.” Twilight Stepped forward and leaned her head into Skitter’s side and wrapped a leg around her in a hug.

“Thank you. Thank you worrying about me, for being such a good friend. But this is different. The Nine disturbed me because, well they were people, and they had chosen to do these awful inexplicable things because they enjoyed doing them. I couldn’t, can’t understand that.” Twilight shuddered a little and leaned harder against Skitter before continuing.

“Monsters I understand though. Equestria has a lot them. Timberwolves, Manticores, Hydras, Cockatrices, and those are just the common ones that live close by. Since I left Canterlot my friends and I have had to deal with quite a few of them. Some even, that could have wiped out our whole civilization. I don’t know, we always stopped things before…before things got really bad, but its the kind of problem I’m used to. Maybe I won’t find a solution, maybe humans have already tried everything I can think of, but I think its worth a shot.” Twilight stepped back from Skitter and looked up to see a flabbergasted expression on her face.

“Wait, seriously? You deal with monsters, like mythological world ending monsters on a regular basis?”

“Yes, well I’m not sure I would call it regular and quite obviously they’re not mythological, but more often than I would like that’s for sure. Whats wrong?” Twilight asked not quite understanding Skitters reaction.

“Huh, I just, well everything I’ve heard you say about Equestria and your friends, and just the way you act. I wouldn’t have imagined you had problems like that. Besides the fact that your talking about things that don’t exist anywhere outside mythology. It makes me wonder if maybe there hasn’t been some previous contact between our worlds. We have stories about pegasi and unicorns too.”

“Really!?!” Twilight hopped up and her wings extended causing them to bang painfully into the cabinets and Skitter but she was to excited to notice. “That’s great, it could mean that our worlds have some kind of natural connection that I accidentally tapped into, which makes much more sense than a random accident. That would make finding a way home much easier!” Twilight pulled her wings back in and twirled in place.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” Twilight stopped her prancing and took a deep breath. “Tomorrow after we finish meeting with your lawyer friend we need to visit the closest library or museum with an extensive ‘mythology’ or what I after the past couple of years I now call ‘obscure history’ collection. That will be the best place to look for clues on how to defeat these Endbringers and references on how contact between our worlds happened in the past.”

“You really think you’re going to find the answer to beating Leviathan in the ancient mythology section of the public library?” Skitter asked with a kind of amused incredulity.

“I think I might, or at least a clue.” Twilight huffed in a somewhat peeved tone at Skitter’s skepticism. “It shouldn’t be that surprising, do you really think that over the course of the tens of thousands of years of your species history that this is the first time humans have faced a world ending threat? And since the world is still here, they must have succeeded in defeating them. Those are the kind of things ponies tell stories about, stories that get passed down, stories that turn into ‘legends’ and ‘myths.’ Lots of them are probably just stories, but trust me, more than you would like are probably based on some kind of fact. You said your mythology mentioned unicorns right? Am I a figment of your imagination or do I prove that there is more to your mythology than myth?”

“I..” Skitter paused as a series of unreadable expressions passed over her face. “You…damn, thats actually a pretty good point.” Twilight clopped her forehooves together in happy triumph.

“Great! Then after the lawyer we’ll go to the library and look up every reference to ‘mythological’ sea monsters and how they were defeated right?”

“Ok,” Skitter said and then giggled.

“What?” Twilight asked with a smile

“Just imagining the look on every scientist and tinker’s face if the key to saving the world was a degree in ancient mythology.”

---------------

Several hours later as they were all laying down and getting ready to go to sleep when Mimi spoke up softly.

“Twilight?” Twilight smiled and turned her head so that she was facing Mimi. She had spoken so little since she had been healed by the elements of harmony, it was nice to hear her voice.

“Yes”

“I..I was thinking about what you said, the other day, about equestrian names? How ponies sometimes choose a new name that they feel..represents.. them better?” Twilight nodded.

“Yes, usually if a pony changes their name it’s when they get their cutie mark, but not always. What brought that up?”

“It’s just…I..I don’t…I’m not…I’m not Mimi, I don’t feel like Mimi anymore and I never want to hear that other name, never.” Mimi’s voice wavered and Twilight pulled back her covers and hopped down to stand next to Mimi’s bed brushing her wing down the girls side. “Can I choose a new name? Like a pony would?”

“Of course you can. Do you have one in mind?” Mimi hesitantly nodded then spoke.

“I’m Flame Dancer. I want to be Flame Dancer.” Twilight reared up so that she could give the girl a tight legged hug.

“Goodnight Flame Dancer.” her eyes misted and a wide smile spread across the quiet girls face.

“Goodnight Twilight.”






“Ahh screw it.” Skitter suddenly spoke up from her cot causing both Twilight and Flame Dancer to startle and look at her. She peeled off her mask and sat up. “Call me Taylor.”


---------------------


Twilight Sparkle had come to a conclusion. Of all the the irritating, uncomfortable, not designed for ponies chairs that she had been forced to sit in, this one was the most uncomfortable and the most irritating of them all. Huffing she hopped down with a thud that caused the assistant at the desk to look up from her computer screen.

“Can I get you anything Ms. Sparkle?” Twilight glanced at the clock on the wall now showing ten minutes past their scheduled appointment time and then glanced back at the assistant. “I assure you he’s very interested in speaking with you and has just be unavoidably detained in some way.” Twilight huffed again and walked over to the water cooler in the corner to pour herself a drink. Her companion Mr. Calle seemed unbothered by the tardi-, Twilight’s eye twitched, by the delay. Content to tap rapidly one of those amazing “cell phones” the humans had.

Twilight still had trouble judging human clothing, but he looked well dressed , and she approved of his color coordinated tie, shirt and pocket square. He had a scar that trailed from one nostril to his cheekbone like he had been badly cut. He didn’t seem self-conscious about it, and if it didn’t bother him Twilight decided her curiosity on how someone who dealt with paperwork had gotten such a wound was not that important.

The door to the hallway opened and three men walked inside the waiting area. Two looked fairly young, while the third was older, well dressed, and harried. He’s the one that addressed her.

“Ah Ms. Sparkle, it’s a pleasure to meet you at last.” He reached out his hand, then realizing the gesture wouldn’t work pulled it back and did a small bow instead. “Had events not overtaken us these past few weeks we would have extended an invitation much sooner. Personally I would like to thank you for your efforts, I believe things could have gone much worse without your assistance. While it was entirely out of our control I would also like to apologize for what must have been a very trying time for you. Hopefully the crisis is passed and city can show you some things humanity has to offer besides crazed villains.”

Twilight was a little uncomfortable at the praise for things she wasn’t actually proud of, but did her best to suppress those negative emotions and give her best approximation of Princess Celestia’s smile. “Thank you Mr. Mayor.” She glanced up at the clock before focusing on him again. “Getting things back on track is exactly what I wanted to meet with you about today.” The mayor raised a curious eyebrow at this before a genial smile graced his face once more.

“You’ve piqued my curiosity already Ms. Sparkle. Follow me to my office and tell me what you’ve got on your mind.” He turned towards the door behind the assistant’s desk and that was when he first noticed Mr. Calle. The smile fell off his face and a hint of irritation entered it.

“Mr. Calle, why are you darkening my doorstep today? Informing me of another technicality in the city’s case against those E88 members? If so please just leave the paperwork with the legal office down the hall, I’m not in the mood for your dance routine today.” Mr. Calle had put away his phone when the Mayor had begun talking and now he stood up with a very pleasant smile, either not noticing or not caring about the Mayor’s hostile demeanor.

“Roy, It’s good to see you too.” When the Mayor looked like he was going to interject Mr. Calle continued. “I assure you I’m not here regarding any of our previous business. After hearing about the proposal she intends to present you with today a friend of Ms. Sparkle’s contacted my firm on her behalf. After talking with her ourselves we have decided to assist Ms. Sparkle in navigating the legal and bureaucratic landscape that she is wholly unfamiliar with.” The Mayor looked briefly taken aback at this, and then cautiously glanced between Mr. Calle and Twilight.

“Well now I’m frightened as well as intrigued. Lets go to my office and hear what you have to say Ms. Sparkle.” He walked past the desk and opened the large wood paneled door into a spacious room with a large desk and a couple of chairs and couches. The walls, much to Twilight’s approval, where filled with bookcases. The Mayor sat down in the large chair behind the desk while Twilight and Mr. Calle sat down in the chairs in front of it. One of the younger men that had walked in with the mayor brought a small chair inside and set it down beside the desk so he would be facing them. Waving one of his hands in front of him the Mayor spoke again. “So whats all this about?”

“Excuse me just for a moment, I need to retrieve some visual aids I prepared.” So saying Twilight’s horn flared and she disappeared with a flash of light. Before anyone could react she reappeared with a easel and a large bound flip board. Trotting to an open space to the side of the desk that would allow everyone to see it she placed the board on the easel and flipped the cover so that the first page was displayed. When she turned around and saw the nonplused faces of the Mayor and his Aide she blushed. “Oh, I’m sorry about that. It’s just so much easier teleporting my materials when I need them then carrying them across the city.” The mayor smiled at this.

“Quite alright Ms. Sparkle, no harm done, just a little unexpected.”

“Right, well, as you can see this is a satellite photo of the old port area, or what is known as the boat graveyard. Along with some surface level pictures of the area. I was curious why it was in such a state, and after talking with some people and learning about its history I couldn’t believe that such a wound on the city’s landscape and spirit had been left to fester for so long.” The Mayor grimaced at this and his aide spoke up with a little heat in his voice.

“You think we don’t know what that blight is costing the city Ms. Sparkle? The city’s been petitioning the state and federal government for years to release some relief funds to clean the area up and reopen the port. We can’t afford to do it ourselves, and no company is going to foot the bill when there are so many other ports in the northeast to choose from. Unless you have a couple of billion dollars you’ve acquired over the last few weeks I’m not sure why we’re talking about this.” Twilight narrowed her eyes at this.

“No I don’t have billions of dollars to spend, however if you would allow me to continue, I will explain how I think I can help.”

“Go ahead Ms. Sparkle, we’ve been fighting some of these battles so long that we’re a little sensitive when someone brings them up.”

“Ok, I understand that. But, I have a plan that doesn’t require billion’s to get started. Well really its more like a plan of plans that contain yet more plans, but anyway with your help we can turn this,” Twilight pointed to the blighted landscape with a hoof, “into this.” Twilight levitated a crystal in front of her and it glowed bright purple for a moment before a glowing 3D representation of the area hovered in the air between them. The water was free of sunken ships and giant cranes lifted containers off ships secured to restored piers. The land around the port had been transformed as well with new parks, residences, and shops woven together with warehouses and industrial buildings. As the Mayor and his aide gaped at the illusion spell Twilight continued.

“Of course it will take years to get to this point, but I’ve run projections and Mr. Calle’s firm was kind enough to review them and help correct some of my assumptions. With your cooperation I think we can cut the city’s unemployment in half over the next two years. We just need some help getting some of the areas rezoned and some favorable leases on the city owned drydocks and piers. Mr. Calle’s firm has already drawn up the paperwork and even though we’ve only had a few days we’ve already been able to acquire most of the privately held land in the area.” The Mayor was looking between the illusion and Twilight as if trying to figure out how serious this all was. Mr. Calle had opened his brief case and was laying out several differently colored folders thick with bound paper. The aide had begun flipping through them as soon as they hit the desk.

“You can’t be serious!” He pointed to one section. “You’re basically asking the city to hand over control of hundreds of millions of dollars in city property to an alien for the next 5 years for virtually nothing.” He started speed reading as he flipped through more pages. “Industrial plots rezoned to greenways, residential properties rezoned commercial, commercial rezoned residential, modifications to the city's controlled airspace, an agreement from the city to restore ferry service…A city library card with no checkout limit?!? This is preposterous Ms. Sparkle.” Mr. Calle snapped his briefcase shut and interjected.

“There is nothing preposterous about it. The city property you are referring to has laid idle and hasn’t produced income or rent for the city in decades. You also wouldn’t be handing anything over to Ms. Sparkle personally. A company has been setup, Harmony Works, Inc, that has several prestigious stakeholders besides Ms. Sparkle already. Mr. Mayor. You know me, you know my firm. Do you really think I would be here if we didn’t think Ms. Sparkle’s plans would work?” The mayor hesitated, and Twilight decided to put her last card on the table.

“In addition to the plans on the desk, which I am very certain we can accomplish, If I am able to reestablish contact with my world I think Brockton Bay’s rebuilt port would be a perfect location for the import and export of goods between our worlds.” Twilight paused and remembering what Skitter had told her about human political motivations fixed her gaze solidly on the Mayor. “Mr. Christner if you approve this, you will have saved the livelihoods of tens of thousands of registered voters.” Mr. Calle smiled brightly at this and clapped his hand down on Twilight’s back as the Mayor scooted his chair back, an amused smile starting to spread across his face.


“Whatdya need from me?”


------------------


Twilight sighed with satisfied exertion as she released her magic and the rusted tug boat groaned as its weight settled onto the blocks covering the drydock’s floor. This boat was in good enough shape that they thought it could be repaired and then used to aid the rest of the clean up work. All around her hundreds of people worked with cutting torches slicing up the smaller boats she had pulled from the water that were to far gone to repair. Behind her the continuous rumble of bulldozers and earth movers cleared the remains of demolished buildings while still more people were carting out detritus from the large warehouse she had selected as the new home of Harmony Works.

Flame Dancer stepped up beside her and held out a bottle of water which Twilight grabbed gratefully with her magic. Unscrewing the cap she took a long drink before nodding to the costumed girl.

“Thank you.” Twilight said as she and Flame Dancer began weaving their way back towards the temporary tent pavilion that had been setup. As they walked past the open doorway of the warehouse she smiled at the deep hum and rhythmic metal clanking of the electrical generators still being spun by the come to life spell she had cast earlier. Step 53 of stage one of plan one was proceeding well. With the help of maritime salvage law even the cleanup phase was going to break even financially.

Twilight felt the best she had since arriving. Seeing the progress, the workers and volunteers sweating, tired, but happy. This was real magic. Twilight felt like she could almost see the connections being created and growing between the people and with the place itself. Just seeing everyone in their color coordinated vests that her new friend Parian had made put a happy skip in her step. She was in her element, this was how things were supposed to be: Using magic, organization, and friendship to solve problems.

Inside the pavilion was a hive of activity as people bustled back and forth and team leaders coordinated work for the different operations underway outside. Each team had a dedicated area, while a central lounge/brainstorming area with comfortable chairs and an idea board that was shared by everyone. Twilight smiled and greeted everyone as she walked to the back where the ‘ending the endbringers’ research team was working in their pink trimmed purple vests.

Vista and Kid Win had arrived since the last time she had been inside and Kid Win was holding a purple vest at arms length like it was a snake. When he saw Twilight approaching he looked at her with pleading eyes.

“I don’t really have to wear this do I Twilight?”

“Why wouldn’t you want to? It lets everyone know which project you are working on and I had Parian make them to your measurements. It should fit perfectly.”

“It’s just the color is-“

“What’s wrong with the color?” Twilight asked with narrowed eyes. Kid win looked between the vest and the purple pony with a pink stripe through her mane. With a resigned sigh he started to slip it on over his arms.

“Nothing, the colors are great, really.” Twilight smiled and clopped her hooves together while Vista giggled behind him.

“Great! How are things going everypony?” The work area consisted of three tables with laptops, books, and papers spread out over them and a large whiteboard stretching along the back wall of the tent. Around one table Skitter and a group of graduate students from the local university’s classics and anthropology departments were scouring through stacks of mythic history from Icelandic Sagas to Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.

The middle table where Kid Win had been standing had several large monitors displaying technical schematics and one with Dragon’s animated face, who had in the spirit of unity opted for a purple and pink trimmed background.

While the last table was filled with Twilight’s notebooks and was where she was working on her new theories for opening a portal to equestria. Vista was patiently taking pictures of each page of her notebooks so Dragon could help with her new equations. Not only would she be overjoyed to be reunited with her friends, but the princesses had faced many world ending problems during their long reign. Regardless of her other motivations she could think of no better ponies to ask for advice in this type of situation.

“We’ve found lots of myths about sea monsters, interestingly enough, the Tanahk’s description of Leviathan is probably the closest so far of mythic sea monsters we’ve researched.” Skitter picked up a sheet of paper and after scanning it for a moment began to read.

“The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable.

His chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.

When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing.

The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.

Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.

Arrows do not make him flee, sling stones are like chaff to him.

A club seems to him but a piece of straw, he laughs at the rattling of the lance.”

Skitter looked up and paused for a second as people nodded at the accurate description. “Unfortunately the jewish texts are not very encouraging about our chances.” She looked back down at the paper and began reading again.

“Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering.

No-one is fierce enough to rouse him…

Nothing on earth is his equal—a creature without fear.

He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud.”

That too was unfortunately accurate to everyone who had seen Leviathan in person or on film. Twilight grimaced at that but wouldn’t let one passage discourage her from searching for an answer. Skitter continued again. “So far thats sort of been a theme, lots of scary monsters, not a lot of stories about people beating them. The only example of that so far is Perseus using Medusa’s head to turn a sea monster into stone.” Twilight brightened at this last bit.

“Petrification! Why didn’t I think of that before. The Elements of Harmony imprisoned Discord in stone, so it makes sense that other powerful beings could also be sealed that way. Is medusa’s head some kind of artifact? Are there any clues in the text about where it might be?” Everyone around the research table cringed a little at the question and as one turned to Skitter to explain.

“Um, no…Medusa was a gorgon, a monstrous woman with snakes for hair and if you looked at her you turned to stone. In most of the stories she was beheaded by Perseus, but even severed it kept its power. Perseus used the head as a weapon several times to turn enemies and monsters to stone.” Twilight grimaced at the image and shivered a little at the thought of carting around a severed head to use against monsters.

“Ugh, ok..Even if the story was based on fact, the head is probably,” Twilight shivered again, “hopefully gone by now, but I’ve been exposed to a cockatrice’s petrification magic before. I might be able to develop a similar spell to try against Leviathan. Dragon has anyone tried something like that before?” Twilight asked turning towards the monitor. Dragon’s avatar looked up for a second in thought before shaking her head.

“When you asked me to help I compiled every known attack that had been tried against Leviathan and the amount of damage they did. Nothing like what is described in the medusa myth has been attempted against him. I also printed out a list of the attacks I believe were the most effective against him, It may give you an idea of what to focus on.”

“Thank you Dragon. When you went through the history of his attacks, were there any clues about what he wants? Has ever made any attempt to communicate?” Dragon shook her head.

“Nothing consistent, and I have found no evidence of attempts at communication.” Twilight frowned again.

“That doesn’t make sense. The videos you showed me, what Alexandria and Armsmaster have told me. He is powerful enough to have caused much more damage, he leaves fights before he’s really hurt, he attacks on a schedule. Those things show intelligence and restraint. He’s not just trying to drown the world, he’s doing something else, there’s some kind of point to it, however twisted it must be. If we could figure that out it could lead us to how we are going to stop him.” Twilight trailed off in a frustrated huff and Vista came over and gave her an encouraging hug while Dragon continued speaking.

“I understand your frustration Twilight, I have worked on this problem for years as have many others. Everyone who has fought him or been affected by him is grateful for your help, but it is unlikely we will find a solution before his next attack. You can’t take responsibility for that, it’s too much for any one person or pony to shoulder.” Dragon said in a concerned tone as Twilight looked down and drug a hoof over the ground.

“I know…I just wish there was more time. Thank you everyone for helping me, I know how crazy some of my ideas must sound to you.”

“Hey,” Kid Win interjected, “Humanity has tried sane for years without much to show for it. Maybe it’s time we tried a little crazy? I-” Kid Win stopped speaking as two figures approached the group. The taller of the two was wearing a large conical hat, loose white pants and a white shirt that was overlaid with blue cloth coming down from both shoulders. The shorter one wore a similar outfit but in black and with a blue mask covering his lower face and nose. The taller one spoke in a dramatic voice that carried over all the conversations and noise in the pavilion.

“I am Uber, and this is Leet. Twilight Sparkle, we have heard you seek to defend this realm in Mortal Kombat against Leviathan.” As he spoke electricity traveled down his arm and arced off his gloved fingers and a chilly fog began to gather around Leet. “So we have come to help you…. FINISH HIM!”