• Member Since 24th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen 5 hours ago

The Hat Man

A man with a love of top hats and the finer things in life. Like aged rum. And UNICORNS.



A damaged robot pony, unlike anything ever seen in pre-industrial Equestria, is found in the orchard. Before it collapses, it says only two words: "Twilight Sparkle..."

Twilight fixes the mechanical mare and gives her a new directive: "Make friends." Now a robot must learn what it takes to be a good friend and, while she's at it, what it means to live...

Featured on Equestria Daily (11/22/15) and The Goodfic Bin! (3/20/16)!
Featuring illustrations by Colby Green (Illustration Gallery found HERE.)
Editors: GaPJaxie,The Knight Templar, GenerousGypsy, E3gner, and Reese.
Technical Consultants: Artichoke Lust and JFalk.

Now with its own TV Tropes page!

Chapters (68)
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Comments ( 4723 )

Keep at it! This was great.

well. robot ponies. youu have my attention.

Thank you both! I have the first three chapters done. After some editing, I'll be adding the next two chapters this weekend!

5822370 awesome! I can't wait!

(Joke) Alt. Title: Do Automatons Wonder What Friendship Could Be? (Face To Face)

Why yes, somebody instead of somepony isn't a typo... Because they do actually use somebody sometimes. I can't think of any specific examples, but believe me it's there. And don't get me wrong, I know what you're doing; I just thought I'd point that out for, quite honestly, no reason at all. Anyways, I can find no real fault with this story, and I'll be making sure to keep an eye on it.

Also, completely unrelated to the chapter title...

5822428 Oh holy cow I love that alternate title. :heart:
I also did think of Daft Punk after I wrote the title, but it wasn't intentional. But I do still love that song. Thanks for the awesome comment!

The wooden ceiling suddenly gave and a large cascade of water came down, practically melting the sculpture before her eyes.

“It’s melting, it’s melting!” Sweetie cried. “Oh, what a world, what a world!”

You had to, didn't you? Lol!

Doctor Octo-gadget?
I like it.

And now for some of my thoughts on the chapter...

Let me start by saying I'm relived that the somebody turned out to be a minotaur. I legitimately thought it was going to be a human, and if that turned out to be true, I would've left this story without a second thought and never looked back.

Also, a few other things...

Still, minotaurs weren’t a common site in Equestria

I believe you meant "sight".

["](Wait, real name, stupid!)” This last was hissed at herself.

And this had to be like this, why...?

(this caught Twilight’s attention, as she’d used such a device herself trying to measure Pinkie’s elusive Pinkie Sense)

Oh, come on. There must have been a better way you could have gone about that. I can't speak from experience since I've never considered myself terribly good with descriptions and such, but you could have shown us this rather than flat out telling us by interrupting a bit of dialogue. In fact, from the Rage Reviews I've read, you should try to show things as opposed to telling them. You know what I mean?

That author's note also... There's something about I don't quite like, but if you're happy with it, there's really no need for me to complain, now is there?

And I guess that's all I have to say about that.

5824819 Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to have a critical eye on it. I'll see about some revisions to make it better. :)

not... as good as the first... but i'm still interested.

Roboponies are interesting. So are Doctor Octopus like scientist ponies and Steam Baron Minotaur.... nice. And Celestia doesn't like techonolgy... this is going to be fun! I can't wait to see how repairing the robot goes.

A facinating view as to how Princess Celestia may feel about technology, particuarly Artifical Intelligence. Not many other stories go into that, & i'm glad you took the plunge.

I look forward to seeing where this goes.

5825839 Yeah, exposition dump can be a problem, but I wanted to set up some important plot elements. Next chapter should come today with more story advancement. Thank you very much for reading!

Alright. You have my attention.
Show me your moves!

she is a world of mechanic hell now... sad thing is, i'm building a VEX IQ robot at school for Tech class... solo

“We believe that the Mode Switch was added late into the construction,” Vanderbull said. “The subsystems already consume a lot of energy and thus produce a lot of heat. That heat could damage the machinery, and having all three subsystems activate at once would wreak havoc on the entire thing. It would run itself down in a matter of minutes.”

So I'm guessing that the Mecha pony will have to use Alicorn mode at some point to save somepony's life and face death as a consequence. So I"m calling Alicorn mode A Dangerous Forbidden Technique.

Scootaloo is going to be so jealous that a machine can fly while she can't. I can't wait to see how our mechanical mare fares making new friends.

“If it could imitate an alicorn[, ]that would make it an overpowered OC.”

Heh, I see what you did there. And it's a good thing you did, because otherwise, I'd assume people would be calling ol' Autom an overpowered operational construct. (OOC?)

As I continued reading it, I realized that your name reminds me of something, although I'm not quite sure exactly why. Anyways, I could find no faults with the chapter. I can already tell that many merry times are going to be ahead for Twilight as she tries to teach Autom what she herself had to learn, only Twilight had been a lot less willing at first. Who woulda thunk it that Twilight's first student would be an automaton?

(Oh, and yes, I checked; Autom is a real name, and I'm only using it because I have no idea what else to call it at the moment. If you do end up using, I'm fine with it, but do keep in mind that I was not intending for that.)

And since you’re from Vanhoover, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know we have maple syrup!

that's.... unbelievably racist. funny, but racist.

“If it could imitate an alicorn,” Gadget added, “that would make it an overpowered OC.”

Ha! I never would have thought of that one! even though, i'm kind of guilty when that's concerned.


it fits!

I love this story. The description of Artificial analogues for the abilities of the tribes was fascinating & I must admit I laughed out loud at 'OC'. I also really like the character of Gadget, though I mean no offense to Mr Vanderbull with that, he's pretty good too, its just an Earth Pony inventor with a touch of the mad scientist about them is such an awesome idea.

And now Twilight gets to teach an A.I. about friendship, which is an awesome concept that I've always wanted to see explored. Teaching such an emotion-based concept to a being that runs on programming & logic will be quite a challenge, & the teacher could end up learning just as much as the student.

5829623 Good luck! I confess I know relatively little about the down and dirty of robot building, but I like to do enough research to keep my technobabble sounding close to right. :twilightblush:

5829793 Oh, whipping out the TV Tropes on me, eh? Thinking that little plot device was a Chekhov's Gun? I shan't comment, good sir. :ajsmug:

But I will say that, from a plot perspective, it would make sense to build a robot pony that can do what other ponies can do, and that means all 3 types of them. However, from a writer's perspective, I wanted my little automaton to be capable and versatile... but not something that would overshadow the other characters (i.e. no alicorns). I figure the Mode Switch strikes a balance.

5830526 Thanks for the nice review! Yeah, I almost didn't include the "OC" joke, but I decided to leave it in, and I'm glad folks seemed to pick up on it. Heh.

For her name, I confess I actually don't know. I had one name, then decided to throw it out, then another, then decided to throw that out! So now I'm accumulating a list of candidates and choosing one that A) sounds good, B) fits the character, and C) sounds like something Twilight or the others would actually come up with.

Another challenge is to differentiate between other characters' challenges. Twilight was a little anti-social, Luna was out of touch, and Maud was... well, Maud. So, yeah, you're right about Twilight having her work cut out for her, and that applies to the others as well. Next chapter, then...

5830937 Thanks a lot! Hearing "I love this story" is so rewarding. I'm also glad you liked the humor and the characters. And you're right about the challenge Twilight faces. Next chapter will have her realizing just how tough a job this will really be. I hope you enjoy it when it comes!

5830767 Oh man, never heard that song, but that rocked! Thanks for sharing!

that's.... unbelievably racist. funny, but racist.

Canadian Vanhooverian's a race now? Who knew?

5832814 most welcome for rhe music. as far as racist, it's just the word that came to mind. for me, it's synonomous with stereotypical. used to hearing it so much, it just sticks.

5832676 it gets worse because i'm building the bigger one, seeing as how i'm using the super kit, that, and the thing isn't charged

5832742 If I think I see a trope, I check TVtropes and post a link in my review, that way even if I'm wrong an author might get some inspiration. Plus, it can be fun to see how some authors apply tropes.

5834136 That's cool! I'm fine with that 100%, but if I get lost down the TV Tropes rabbit hole (again), I'm blaming you. :)


"You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

*Chugs a bottle of red pills*


I half expected you to take both a red and a blue pill, crush 'em and snort them both at the same time. Just to see what would happen.

5840426 You end up in the Equestria Girls universe.

5840426 5840869 That's what the purple pill does. :twilightsmile:

The win continues to accumulate! Soon we will hit critical Win and a singularity of awesome will form.

5858793 Thank you for the compliment! I'm aiming to update at least once a week, so hopefully we'll see if we can keep a constant rate of expansion before any singularities form. :yay:

5859112 No no no! Not the particle physics singularity, the computing singularity. I for one welcome our adorable robot pony overlords, and wish to inform you of my expertise in repairing computers and other electrical systems.

Robo Pony is best Pony! I hope Turning Test (Though I personally prefer Sprokette as a more feminine name) starts to show some progress soon... I suggest letting her interact with the Crusaders for a bit. They'll either break her mind or get her processors going so fast she seems to have emotions.


No no no! Not the particle physics singularity, the computing singularity.

Aw shoot, I don't know why I thought you meant the other kind. Guess my brain was tapped after all the writing. :applejackconfused:

5859929 The CMC will be part of Turing Test's future, though you'll have to see how well she deals with children (or they with her). And as for the names, it was seriously the hardest part about this chapter, so much that I actually turned the selection process into the first part of it (for better or worse, but there we are). I agonized over which one to pick, but ultimately Turing Test was the one that won out. If you want to know more why, I just put up a blog post about it.

5862193 I was trying to make a robot joke :P I figured you would get it. I seem to have miscalculated. I'll rework my algorithms.

And now, with permission, instead of having anything actually insightful to say, here's a bunch of riffs I came up with. I apologize in advance for its length.

The Uncanny Valley

TG: Now doesn't that sound uncannily familiar!
Hellfilly: We're not even past the chapter title, and already you're about as funny as a robot.
TG: Like Tom or Crow?
Hellfilly: No - an actual robot!
Listie: *puts on a blindfold* I know I'm ready for the worst this can throw at me. Show me your dolls!

“Bye! Thank you so much for coming!” Twilight said as she waved to the Press and the Mayor as they departed the castle. “We hope you found tonight, um… interesting!”

Hellfilly: And by the morning, the tabloids had twisted the story so much that it became all about Twilight's affair with a washing machine.
TG: Why did they let Diamond keep her job at the Foal Free Press anyways?
Hellfilly: My guess is Featherweight stopped existing.

“Ha! How ‘bout Motorhead?”

Lisite: *pulls out an ace of spades* And this would have been its card.
TG: Really? That sounds like overkill.
Listie: *giggle* For that reference, you better run.
TG: I will, as long as you let me be stone deaf forever.
Hellfilly: Can I be deaf?
TG: Aw, get in back line, Hellfilly. Don't be a hellraiser.
Listie: And don't let daddy kiss you!
TG: Don't get killed by death either.
Hellfilly: Bastards.

“Tin Can!”
“Hahahaha! Wait, I got it, AJ: Twilight wants feminine? How about ‘Enginiffer!’”

Listie: I have one, I have one! Loose Screw!
TG: Nah. That's too familiar. How about Nyx?
Hellfilly: What pony would have a dumb name like that?

“Welllll,” Rarity began, searching her thoughts, “it’s made of clockwork, so… maybe something more simple and elegant like… ‘Spinning Cog!’”

Hellfilly: That's an even worse name. That'd be like calling me Working Intestines!

“Granted, its accuracy is offset by the logical oddity of naming this unit for only one of its parts, and not one that is outwardly significant.”
Rainbow Dash groaned. “This thing speaks more Egghead than you, Twilight. What’s it saying?”
“To clarify and put it in terms you might understand, it would be the equivalent of naming a pony ‘Functional Intestine.’”

Hellfilly: Damn it!
Listie: *giggles* You're psychic, Helly!

and we need to establish more stops for refueling on the way to Appleloosa. Do you know that they still need to have stallions pull the train for the last leg of the trip just to conserve fuel?”

Listie: And then when they get tired, they have other stallions pull them!
TG: When they're not pulling the train, they're probably putting dogsled pullers out of work.

She made a face. “Still? Also, Rockefoaler? That guy gives me the creeps.”

TG: "Have you even heard his full name? The Rockefoaler Skank! Gives me the willies!"


Hellfilly: And by the morning, the tabloids had twisted the story so much that it became all about Twilight's affair with a washing machine.

The dryer is going to be heartbroken.

“Ha! How ‘bout Motorhead?”

Lisite: *pulls out an ace of spades* And this would have been its card.

Truth be told, I almost had RD reply with "Oh man, that one's aces!" but tossed out that joke because I thought it was too much of a groaner among all the other stupid names. Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just kept it.

and we need to establish more stops for refueling on the way to Appleloosa. Do you know that they still need to have stallions pull the train for the last leg of the trip just to conserve fuel?”

Listie: And then when they get tired, they have other stallions pull them!

And that just made me laugh til I snorted. :rainbowlaugh:

Anyway, hope you still found it entertaining, Listie, and thanks for reading as usual!

EDIT: And in case anyone wonders, Listie did ask my permission to post some riffs, because it's all in good fun. :)

Had to come back and point out:

“That’s the point,” Gadget said excitedly. “It gives the illusion of actually thinking and responding, but it’s really just pre-programmed input and response!”

Neuroscience has shown consciousness is exactly the same thing. A complex web of stimuli-response logic patterns and the ability to construct new repsonces to stimuli. We are no different from what an AI would be save we are installed in inferior meatbags rather then quality mechanical equivalents.

Because of this, creating an AGI would literally be creating life. Oh and by the way, we are only about 20 years from being able to do it, barring any breakthroughs. (Artificial General Intelligence, the intelligence of a (hypothetical) machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. It's important to use this term, because we already have a ton of AI's in everything from computer games to your smartphone. There is a clear distinction between an AGI and an AI, one is no different from you or I, the other is a program that can automatically preform cretin functions, and assist you with specified tasks.)

5862193 Well, naming her Turing Test makes me feel I'm talking more about a THING than a PONY. I just think it will make it harder for her to bond with others.

The dryer is... Why didn't I think of that dryer thing?! That's a good one! You see, I can't think of this stuff by myself. Sometimes people have to give me the ideas. It's a lot easier than thinking, trust me.

Oh, and here's a riff I forgot to put with the others.

“Emotions don’t work that way, ya darn machine!” Applejack exploded. “There’s more to emotions than just imitatin’!” She turned to Twilight, practically seething. “Twilight, this thing is a dangerous hunka metal and nothin’ more! You can’t teach it to have feelings or make friends any more than you could teach a rock!”
“Ooh,” Pinkie murmurred, “don’t let Maud hear you say that, or--”

TG: Rarity: "And Faust have mercy on your soul if Tom gets wind of that statement."

5863994 True, but technically a lot of ponies are named after things. Heck, there's a pony named "Turnip Truck" in a world where trucks don't exist. :rainbowhuh:

Celestial is a automaton racist.
Captain Picard needs to give her one of his speeches.

5876640 Oh my gosh YES I love that episode! :heart: And Turing Test does have a slight nod to Data as well that I doubt most have picked up on; she never uses contractions.

As for Picard, I wonder where he, or at least his pony equivalent could be...

Picolt: All right, Mr. Crusher, set course for Equestria! I've got another one of my awesome speeches to give!
Discord: (poofs in out of nowhere) Oh ho ho, were you leaving so soon without saying goodbye, Mon Capitan?

Aaaand scene!

I love how Turning isn't an 'instant expert' in all spells, Twilight has to show her the basics of one branch of magic before she can learn the rest of it. But it's cool how she learned so much and is making real strides.... oh dear, what happens if she sees Celestia or Luna raise their heavenly bodies???? I kind of doubt she has the power level for that, so does her system warn her when she's about to exceed her limit???
5876640 EPIC!
5876686 Given who voices Discord... definite possibility.

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