• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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From all across the avenues of the western district, New Ring unicorn guards came charging. A billowing plume of ash and smoke filled the courtyard beyond the deep pit where four bunkers were residing. In swift order, the armored stallions arrived, looking all around the scorched metal surfaces of the place. Their horns sparkled with electrical energy as they narrowed their eyes and scanned the vicinity under the fumes of red-hot autoturrets.

Soon, a dark shadow trotted in from a large building to the north. Duke Zaap Nator arrived, flanked by leering guards. He gave the disturbed scenery a quiet glare and hissed through his breathing mask.

“Sincere curiosity: was it an incursion from they who would be Eastern Darkstinians?”

“Prompt reply: negatory, you who would be my superior,” a guard stated with a salute. “There has been no evidence pointing to somepony who would be a malevolent infiltrator. Tentative theory: with the sudden restoration of power, it's quite possible that the defense systems malfunctioned.”

“Shocked reaction: you who would be an insufferable grunt dares to insult my very own technology?!” Zaap Nator hissed and shook a mighty hoof. “Righteous declaration: we are being starved of the holy obelisk's presence, and it is because of the imperfections of those who would be like you that no industry is being made! Enlightened hypothesis: there is indeed somepony who would be a trespasser in this district, and it is the job of we who would be saviors of New Ring to find and eliminate him! Imperative exclamation: go forth and search with greater vigor!”

“Subservient response: absolutely, you who would be Duke Zaap Nator!” The guard ran off, followed by three more on thundering hooves.

Grumbling into his breathing equipment, Zaap Nator swiveled about and spoke to his higher-ranked followers. “Calm inquisition: has there been any evidence of deaths or casualties?”

“Factual response: Negatory. If he who would be a trespasser was eliminated by that highly-intensive yield of cannon energy, then he would surely have vaporized.”

“Anxious assumption,” Zaap Nator muttered as he gazed off into the smoggy sky. “They who would be citizens of New Ring will most likely have been frightened by the noise and tumult just now. Wise supposition: Perhaps it would be best to be more expedient with the processing.”

“Desire for clarification: Do you refer to the chosen unicorns, sir?”

“Affirmative.” Zaap Nator gestured to his nearest guards. “Nocturnal operation: We must round up the remaining subjects and bring them to the chamber of New Industry. Be swift!”


“Immediately, sir!”

“We who would be true Darkstinians concur!”

The guards fanned out. Slowly, Zaap Nator departed from the smoldering courtyard, being escorted by his closest subordinates as he descended a series of metal steps that led into the basement levels of the city.

Several seconds passed after his exit, and then a high-pitched breath exhaled from atop one of the bunkers. Slowly, Rainbow Dash slid out from the crook where the metal shingled roof met the concrete body of the building itself. She looked towards the rising cloud of ash and winced. As she caught her breath, a faint translucent shield of energy fluctuated around her before dissipating.

“Thank youuuuuuu, Whitemane,” she cooed. “Luna only knows how long I have until I get another charge of that stuff.” She tapped the edge of her golden pendant. The ruby lightning bolt didn't even glow. She frowned, grumbled to herself, and glanced up at the gun turrets. “Friggin' stupid guns, and I didn't even break a leg!”

Quietly, she scurried down the edge of the building like a spider. She clung to its side, hiding her body from the glow of hanging lanterns above. Patiently, she scuffled towards one of the doors of the bunker, careful not to expose a single inch of her body to the whirring sentries above. Eventually, she made it to the entrance, and cursed under her breath upon feeling a lock.

“Oh, for pete's sake!” Rainbow Dash moaned. “The one pony city on the face of the world that doesn't know what a barn is, I swear to goddess...”

She fumbled her hoof over the lock, shaking and tugging at it. The door handle wouldn't budge. The bunker remained close.

“Come on... I just wanna take a peak inside!”

She exhaled heavily through her nostrils. She tapped her hoof lightly on the ground. She looked up at the turrets, then at the door, then at the turrets again.

“Hmmm...” She smirked. Tightening her muscles, she counted several quiet seconds and dipped her neck out into the light, making a goofy little face. “Booga-Booga-Booga!”

One of the gun turrets spun and immediately fired a blast of weaponized mana.

Rainbow Dash jerked back. Instead of hitting her, the bright beam flew into the door, melting the lock off.

“Hah!” With a speedy blur of her wings, she shot out, yanked the door open, and tossed herself inside the bunker before the turrets could register her again. Pressing her panting self against the entrance from within, she listened as a commotion rose from the guards in the streets beyond. Swiftly, things quieted down once more, and she sighed in relief. “Well, at least I'm not outside anymore.”

A light flicked on.

“Nnngh!” she winced, squinting across the lengths of the tiny interior. “What...?”

The place was full of young ponies. Several foals, preteens, and teenaged fillies and colts stood beside an array of bunkbeds, gazing with fright at the strange sight of Rainbow Dash.

“Uhhhh...” Rainbow Dash sweat and gulped. “Sorry to bother your slumber party and all, but I'm kind of on... uh... a fact-finding mission of sorts here, yeah. What's the deal with the Duke and all you kids? Oh! I've got a better question!” She tilted her head, squinting at the group. “Is there anypony here with an older sister named 'Flower Gears?'”

“Back!” a tiny filly stammered, telekinetically waving a heavy wrench before her horn. “Do not come any closer! We're being cleansed of our sins to the industry!”

“Sins to the what-now?” Rainbow Dash made a face. “Okay, can we at least have a little talk? Lucky for you guys, I'm starting to get good at long, boring conversations...”

“Don't come any cl-closer!” the child squeaked again, waving her wrench higher.

“Look, kid...” Rainbow Dash sighed and trotted a few steps forward. “If you really, really wanted to threaten me, you gotta do better than just one measly wrench.”

With the ringing of harsh metal, the rest of the frightened ponies lifted matching wrenches out from their mattresses.

Rainbow Dash froze, twitching. “And just like that, my pipes are bursting—”

With a frightened shriek, all thirty children launched their heavy rusted wrenches straight at her skull.

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