• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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“Expository declaration: he who would be Duke Zaap Nator has stolen the confidence of half the country and has taken a seat of power in the western districts of New Ring.” Swiveling from the broad windows overlooking the large concrete hole beyond the balcony, Governor Mintelle faced the two visitors inside her lofty office. Her magenta-eyed stare was calm and emotionless beneath a pale horn and a spread of ocean blue mane hair. “Meticulous elaboration: ever since Darkstine has experienced a severe drop in power reserves, he would be Duke Zaap Nator has made broad, maniacal claims, insisting that the spirit of Industry is deteriorating across this land.” Her eyes hardened in a near sign of passion. “Unfettered opinion: he who would be Duke Zaap Nator is simply using the most recent crisis to defy me and seize the seat of Darkstine's Governor for himself.”

Steelteeth nodded quietly. “So, it is as I've feared. Darkstine teeters on the brink of civil war.”

“Emphatic retort: there is no real threat of civil war yet, he who would be Constable Steelteeth. If you and she who would be Rainbow Dash took a detailed look at the city streets of East New Ring, one would see that the citizens are still diligently engazed industry. I who would be Governor Mintelle regret to admit that while the country remains divided, though, there is no real attempt being made to solve the energy crisis.”

“Did some of the factories burn out?” Steelteeth's aquamarine eyes narrowed. “I saw all of the smokestacks pumping steam when we first flew in here hours ago...”

“Obligatory acknowledgement: Yes, he who would be Steelteeth, the surface of Darkstine operates with otherwise unhindered efficiency.” Mintelle took a deep breath. “Grim delivery: But it would appear that there are several power outages transpiring throughout the urbanscape, as if some geist of Luddite means is sabotaging every manner of industry that it can. Sincere belief: We attribute the cause to the departure of the holy relic from our capital city.”

Steelteeth paced over to the open balcony, gazing down upon the concrete ring through which darkness loomed. “I see it now. The obelisk is gone. I know how much you and your unicorns valued it, Governor. I only assumed that you had taken it upon yourselves to remove the structure.”

Mintelle shook her head. “Solemn recollection: the obelisk simply retreated into the earth on its own volition. It would appear as though the spirit of industry is punishing us for a severe lack of diligence, and many of those who would be Darkstinian citizens feel that the missing obelisk is the source of our random energy shortages.” Her face grew long. “Infuriating observation: he who would be Duke Zaap Nator has preyed upon the fears of the citizenry, and he claims that the function of society must be severely changed in order to dredge the obelisk back up from the ring.”

“Whereas you're attempting to take a far less dramatic approach,” Steelteeth said with a nod. “Hence the political divide.”

“Affirmative,” Mintelle paced across the office. “Achievement unlocked: full debriefing, seventy percent greater confidence gained. Woeful admission: just two visiting outtrotters are insufficient to reunify the divide, much less restore Darkstine's industry. You have arrived at a bad time, he who would be Constable Steelteeth and she who would be Rainbow Dash.”

“With all due respect, Governor, we would like to see more of the city for ourselves before we determine that our business here on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Whitemane, is entirely over.” He adjusted the brim of his hat and turned to look across the office at his companion. “What do you think, Miss Dash?”

Rainbow Dash had been sitting in the corner all this time, rubbing her brow in a permanent face hoof. She gave a huge sigh and looked up with a bored expression. “Okay, so lemme get this straight. Those who would be Darkstinian citizens were working around a giant obelisk in the hole in the ground, when suddenly the obelisk fell out of nowhere, and those who would be citizens starting freaking out and chomping at the bit of she who would be Governor Mintelle, but she was all 'Hey, relax, it's cool, I got this' which led to a bogus upstart known as he who would be Duke Zaap Nator marching up to those who would be citizens and going 'Hey, like, we should totally rise up and throw stones at stuff to get things to change,' and then they who would be citizens of the western districts said 'Yeah!' and broke off from those who would be citizens of the east district and ever since there's been a power struggle between those who would be supporters of he who would be Zaap Nator and those who would be faithful ponies to she who would be Governor Mintelle, and all the while those who would be Darkstinian dudes and dudettes have been squabbling over nothing while that which would be industry suffered from inexplicable power outtages stemming from the fact that the dang obelisk is still gone and there's nothing that anypony who would be anypony can do about it!”

Steelteeth looked silently from Rainbow to Mintelle.

The Governor took a deep breath. “Redundant statement: that was very redundant.”

“Nnnnngh...” Rainbow Dash slumped back against a wall, rubbing her forehead. “Achievement unlocked: huge frickin' migraine.”

“Don't mind her,” Steelteeth remarked. “She was most recently princess for a day.”

“Breathy acknowledgment: ahhhhhhhh.”

“Alright, look!” Rainbow Dash frowned and trotted forward, flexing her wings. “Why not just—like—get into one of your hovercrafts and friggin' fly down into the big, giant hole you got outside your window and see where the obelisk went?! Once you've got all that figured out, then surely you and Blue Xephos—”

“Duke Zaap Nator.”

“Whatever—Surely the two of you can get an idea of what the real problem is and then tackle it together!” Rainbow Dash leaned up on the Governor's desk. “I mean, that's how we dealt with crap back where I'm from! We were honest with each other and we worked hoof in hoof! That's why we never had any wars for—like—a thousand years! What would you rather have? Civil unrest or Winter-Wrap-Up?” She blinked and gave a double-take out the window. “Or, in your case, Smoggy-Build-Up?”

“Firm negation: We can do no such thing, she who would be Rainbow Dash.” Mintelle frowned and paced behind the desk. “Frustrated confession: there has been a solid line of demarcation sewn across the very mouth of the concrete pit. Neither I who would be Governor of East New Ring or he who would be Duke Zaap Nator of the western districts would risk sending any practitioners of industry into the black depths or else fear incurring the wrath of the other party.”

“Well, that's just the most stupid thing I've ever heard!”

“Miss Dash...” Constable Steelteeth's voice hissed through metal jaws.

Rainbow Dash waved him off and continued frowning at the Governor. “And ever since I arrived at this polluted cloud of a city, I've been hearning nothing but stupid things from everypony! Okay, so you're all emotionless cogs in some sort of wicked cool 'industry.' That's fine and dandy! But don't be frickin' apathetic, for Luna's sake! You've got one heck of a tight shindig built here! There's—like—large grinding gears, glowing blue lights, floating balls of magic, and a whole bunch of crazily nifty stuff! Why toss all of that down the outhouse? It just isn't worth fighting over! Surely the power of friendship could... could...”

Steelteeth craned his neck. “Rainbow Dash...?”

Rainbow was teetering dizzily, her eyes growing thin as red specks flickered on yellow orbs. “I think... if only...” She gulped and smiled tiredly. “Wow, this place has a lot of smoke. Uhm... Do you know wh-where there might be a... water fountain—Nnngh...” She fell to the ground in a slump.

“Oh, for the love of Verdestone!” Steelteeh hissed and galloped towards her.

“Exclamation of emergency: Guards, fetch the nearest physician. Do not tarry.”

The last thing Rainbow Dash saw was the broad rim of Steelteeth's hat looming above him. She wanted to reach for it, but there was suddenly a flickering band of lavender glow shimmering in the way. A whimper escaped her lips, and then all turned dark.

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