• Published 20th Jun 2015
  • 1,048 Views, 45 Comments

The Next Generation: Superheroes Continued - Accordant Author



It's a brilliant idea, enchanted comics. Prince Illusion certainly thought so, when he decided to prank his friends with it. But comics aren’t always fun and games, and chaos magic isn't known for being predictable...

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The Alarms

The Alarms

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”

Prism stared, without seeing, as Whirlwind screamed. He wasn’t sure if he should be reassuring her, running for an ambulance, or screaming himself. It was plain to him, even as Whirlwind moved around in a panic, that there was no chance of salvaging her injury. Her wing was gone, reduced to a tiny, featherless remainder covered in old scar tissue. It looked for all the world as if she had lost it years and years ago.

Whirlwind, after nearly half a minute of emptying her lungs, finally stopped screaming and shifted into panicked gasping. In between heaving breaths and the incoherent beginnings of sentences, Prism heard another sound.

Frantically pattering hooves came from the door on the near wall of the room, and as Prism turned to look at it, moving gingerly to avoid more spots, he heard Icy’s voice.

“Whirlwind!” The door burst open. “Whirlwind, are you okay!?” Icy stopped his headlong rush and gaped at the sight of Whirlwind’s scarred stump.

As Icy and Whirlwind looked at each other, one tearful, the other stunned, Prism noticed in a vague, detached manner that Icy also wore a costume. His was much bulkier than Whirlwind’s, though, made somewhat like a cross between a snow parka and battle armor. The suit was the same color as the dark blue stripes of Icy’s mane, and covered everything except for his wings. Icy’s hooves also had blue shoes, the same color as his lighter mane stripes, with grey fur sticking out of the tops. A hood was thrown over his face, with a grey fur ruff. Icy wore no mask under the hood, but he did have a pair of snow goggles that he had pushed up from his eyes. Icy also wore a sort of necklace, hanging out from the hood. It was made of thin cord, and attached to the necklace with a metal ring was an icicle, nearly a foot long.

Almost against his will, Prism’s attention was drawn away from Whirlwind, from the room, and from their current predicament. Icy's icicle was not normal, of that Prism was certain. It possessed a presence; a subtle sense of power that somehow demanded attention. Prism found his gaze locked to it as if it had reached out and frozen itself to his eyeballs.

The Icicle was shaped just like any other: it was lumpy and scrapped in some places, with a slight zigzag to its shape. However, this only made its oddities even more striking. Its core emitted a blue glow that suffused the crystal, pulsing occasionally. Every flaw and twist was highlighted by the light, but this only added to its appearance of power, because the flaws made the Icicle real in a way that no glow-in-the-dark toy would have been. Around the Icicle, moreover, was a sort of aura: the blue glow diffracted as it left the crystal, creating an effect like a glowing unicorn horn. Instead of sparkles, though, the Icicle appeared sheathed in a blue mist, faint but strong enough that Prism could see swirls and distortions snaking through the magic.

“...Woah. What’s that?” Whirlwind asked, gasping ceased. Her voice was nearly normal, except for the awe in it. Prism would have been astounded at how quickly she had forgotten about her injury had he not himself been feeling the power Icy’s necklace exerted. It was comparable only to the presence an alicorn possessed; Prism felt like Aunt Twilight or even Princess Celestia had stepped into the room in full regalia.

In light of such a lofty comparison, it was fitting that only Icy himself seemed indifferent to his equipment’s effects. He barely spared it a glance before returning his gaze to Whirlwind. “The necklace? I was wearing it when I woke up, just like everything else, but Whirlwind, that’s not important, what happened to your wing!?” Icy’s eyes were urgent and fearful.

At his question, Whirlwind seemed to shrink. As Prism turned to her, she looked at her stump again, and started to breath more heavily. “I… I don’t know. It was like this… since I woke up, but I don’t remember what happened… I d-don’t remember how I lo… l-lost it…”

Icy stepped forward, raising a hoof, but then stopped. He seemed to be at as much a loss for what to do as Prism had been earlier, but was likewise unable to look away from Whirlwind’s devastated expression.

Prism felt as if he had been punched, repeatedly. Okay, so we’ve got no idea where we are, we’re all wearing costumes, Icy has some icicle amulet that is definitely serious magic, Whirlwind is missing her wing, and I’ve developed a vision impairment and might be going mad, if a photosolid isn’t a real thing. Or even if it is. Seriously, what the hay should I be doing!?

Prism tried to look between his friends again and squinted as the lights returned to plague him. Okay, first I have to figure out how see. Ummm, Whirlwind said I had a visor, maybe I could just take it– wait. Okay, when I was looking between Icy and Dubz just now, my vision was mostly okay, except for those weird shadows. What was I doing different then?

Prism looked between Whirlwind and Icy once more, but as he turned his eyes, the spots again erupted. This time, however, he kept his eyes open against the glare, and the spots receded as he refocused on Whirlwind.

Okay, so I did something right. Prism moved his gaze back to Icy, tracking slowly. The spots didn’t return. Do they only come up when I move my eyes really fast? Prism slowly shifted his gaze around the room.

It was of no use; the spots returned when Prism moved his eyes off of his companions and into the corners. Darn it. Prism tried to blink the spots away and refocus.

“Hey!”

Prism jumped at the shout. Sometime when he had been trying to analyze the spots, Icy had shaken off his stupor and moved in front of Prism. He had also donned a fierce scowl. Prism normally wouldn’t have minded, but the Icicle lent a chilling cast to Icy's look that made him flatten his ears.

“Yea– yes?” Prism asked meekly.

Icy’s scowl deepened. Prism was briefly reminded of Starburst: her bangs cast threatening half-shadows over her face when she was angry in almost the exact same manner as Icy’s hood. “I was asking you if you remembered how we got here. The comic, remember that? It glowed and sucked in Whirlwind, and then you and I went after her, and I wanted to know what happened to you two when you woke up. Were you even paying attention?”

“Ummm, not exactly, I sorta–”

Icy cut Prism off with a sharp gesture. “Prism, this is serious! This is not something you can joke about, like you always do with weather duty, Whirlwind is missing her wing! We need to figure out what happened and–”

“I know that!” Prism hadn’t meant to raise his voice, but Icy’s accusation had reversed his earlier fear and turned it into hot anger. “I know that this is serious! I was gonna say that I was trying to figure out how to see!” Icy opened his mouth, but Prism kept talking. “Ever since we woke up, I’ve been getting these weird spots all over my vision, and it was really, really distracting, and now they’re coming back," – they were – "and if we’re supposed to be serious and figure out what happened, then getting angry at each other is definitely the worse thing we can do right now.”

Icy closed his mouth. He looked surprised and slightly cowed.

Whirlwind broke the ensuing silence. She was looking at Prism, but her gaze flickered backward occasionally. “Wait, you’ve been getting… spots on your vision? Do you think you… something happened to your eyes like…” She trailed off and looked again at her stump.

Prism had not thought of that possibility, and immediately decided he fervently hoped it wasn’t the case. “I didn’t think of that… it might not be, though, you said I was wearing a visor.” Prism reached up again to touch the bar of material around his face, then stopped when he remembered he was wearing greaves. “And a lot of other stuff.” Prism made an effort to focus on Icy, with only a mild attack of spots. “Icy, could you help me get– umm, bro, are you okay?”

Icy didn’t look okay. His eyes were wide and were darting between his Icicle, Prism, and Whirlwind, with the Icicle intensifying the expression by casting a bright blue light over Icy’s face that demanded attention and projected his shock better than a billboard.

“Icy?”

Wide-eyed, Icy focused on Prism, took a deep breath, and opened his mouth. “I… Okay. I think I might know what happened to us, but it’s really crazy.”

“Icy, I think we knew that from the beginning. Spill?” Prism noticed movement out of the corner of his eyes and was immediately attacked by another barrage of spots. He saw a flash of purple that was probably Whirlwind stepping forward, though.

“Yeah, but…” Icy tapped a hoof on the floor. “Okay, you know the comic that brought all of us here? It was about three pegasi superheroes. Spectrum, Aerial, and Birr.”

"O...kay. Why is that important?" Prism forced himself not to turn to Whirlwind as she spoke.

Icy looked vastly more nervous, but he continued. “Well… I was sort of skimming the comic, but I know that Spectrum wears a bright white costume, Birr has a magic Icicle, and Aerial was missing a wing.”

“Huh? What the hay–” Whirlwind’s eyes grew wide. “Oh Celestia, what the hay?”

“Woah, woah, woah, are you saying we… became these guys? Or something? How could that have happened?”

“I know it doesn’t sound like it makes much sense,” Icy put in, “but there are a lot of coincidences. I didn’t notice them at first because all of this stuff” –Icy motioned to his costume– “looks different in real life than in a hoofdrawn picture. But when the comic ended, I mean, where it cut off and there was just the blank page, all of the superheroes were at their base, and Spectrum and Aerial were, umm… they were in the command room, which had a city map and files and stuff, exactly like this place. You woke up here, right?”

“Yeah,” Prism replied.

“Okay, back up.” Whirlwind raised her hooves, then abruptly dropped back onto them as her one wing failed to balance her correctly. She glared back at it, then turned to Icy. “I guess that is a pretty big string of coincidences, but what are you saying? Are you saying we’re inside the comic book? Because I might not know very much about unicorn magic, but I'm pretty sure something like that breaks the rules. ”

Prism, however, interjected. “Hold on! You guys remember that weird note at the end of the comic? Didn’t it say something about joining the book?” I think I've heard of something like this before.

Icy nodded. “Yeah, umm… I think it said ‘take a closer look to join the adventure in this book.’”

Prism nodded slowly. “Okay. So maybe we are inside the comic!”

“Again, how?” Whirlwind’s tone was strongly skeptical. “If a unicorn could do something like this, then why haven’t we heard about it before?”

That’s it! “We have! Well, me and Icy, I don’t know about you.” Prism focused his gaze on Icy again. “Didn’t Auntie Twilight tell us that story about how she built a portal to another dimension once? Like, using a mirror?”

Icy nodded again. “Yeah! I mean, I think she just sorta refurbished an old portal, but it worked. You think the comic might have been a, a gateway to another dimension?”

“Maybe.” Prism was stopped as Whirlwind interrupted, sounding angry.

“Hold on! If this is a portal to another world, then why the costumes? Why– this?” Prism heard the sound of wings extending, and slowly turned his head to look at Whirlwind.

“But that makes even more sense!” Prism’s tone grew excited. “Icy, when Aunt Twilight went through that portal, didn’t she say she transformed into something else? Like, ahh, a muman?”

“Uhh, yeah, she mentioned that. She said she had only two legs and hands while she was there, like a minotaur. Except I think she also said she wore really funny clothes.”

“Exactly!” Prism focused on Whirlwind again. “If being sucked into another dimension can turn a Princess into some minotaur-thing, then why not superheroes? And” – Prism’s voice jumped excitedly – “she turned back into a pony when she returned! So if we can just get out of here, everything will go back to normal!”

There was a brief silence as Icy and Whirlwind processed this. “That… actually does make a lot of sense.” Icy sounded surprised. “I mean, it’s weird that we got a comic that’s a magical gateway, but I guess that given what happened, it makes a lot of sense.”

“Back up.” Whirlwind still sounded skeptical. “All of this hinges on there being a dimension made of comic book stories. Why would any dimension be like a bunch of comics from our world? That makes no sense.

“Well, Princess Twilight actually said she met alternate versions of all of her friends in the dimension she visited. They had the same personality and everything, but I think she said Mom was a sports captain instead of a Wonderbolt. So they were similar, but also kinda different. Maybe… maybe in this dimension, the part that was similar to our dimension was the stuff in the comic?” Icy fidgeted hesitantly. Prism started to turn to see Whirlwind’s reaction, but then he had a thought that cleanly blew all focus on interdimensional travel out of his mind.

“Do you think we got superpowers?” Whirlwind shuffled to look at him, but Prism was busy slowly shifting his gaze to Icy, trying to focus past the spots. “Ohmygosh, if this really is another dimension, maybe we did! Quick, what were Spectrum’s superpowers!?”

Icy was looking a little annoyed again. “Is that really important right now?”

“Yes! I mean, if I do have superpowers, then wouldn’t it be more proof that we really are in an alternate dimension? I mean, if I can do stuff here that I couldn’t do in Equestria, we’ve gotta be somewhere else. Now, c’mon, what can he do?”

“Uh, Spectrum could make duplicates of himself. Always three of them; well, he only ever made three in the comic.” Icy looked a little bemused by Prism’s enthusiasm.

“So. Awesome. I could pull off an entire flying show by myself! Okay, quick, how does it work?”

Icy shifted back defensively. “I don’t know! It’s not like the comic included a step-by-step review of how everypony’s powers worked. Spectrum said – well, I guess the comic book version of him said – that his duplicates were projected by his armor. It never explained how he controlled them, but he’s supposed to be a colt genius or something. You might have no idea how to use any of his stuff.”

Prism snorted, and Whirlwind cut in with her own question. “What about me? What powers did ‘Aerial’ have?”

Icy opened his mouth to respond, but Prism beat him to it. “Hah! See, I knew you’d come around.”

Whirlwind huffed. “Maybe I want to feel like I got something in exchange for losing a wing.”

…Well there is no good way to respond to that, is there? Prism bowed his head and tried to think of how a colt genius would design his duplicating armor.

“Aerial was… Huh. The book never really explained exactly what her powers were, but I think she was a really good martial artist. And she could do things with wind that normal pegasi can’t do, like making a cup fly into her hoof just by gesturing.” Icy’s voice was oddly nervous.

Whirlwind huffed again. “So what, should I have my hooves around and hope something happens? Why am I missing a wing? Does that have anything to do with Aerial’s ‘superpowers’?”

“I don’t know…” Icy eyed the ground.

Prism stopped paying attention to his companions as he considered his possible superpowers. How would you activate a magical duplicator? My wings aren’t actually in a uniform, so maybe the switch would be on the greaves? Would it even be a switch or button or something?

Prism attempted to look down at his greaves and was once again hindered by the spots. Wait. The spots! Do they have anything to do with it? Maybe the controls are built into the visor! Prism shifted his gaze rapidly left and right, nearly blinding himself, but no duplicates manifested.

Prism did notice something interesting, though. When he shifted his eyes rapidly around without turning his head… the spots never appeared when he was looking straight ahead.

Prism tried moving his eyes again, to confirm. It worked. The spots were always worst when he was gazing out of the corners of his eyes. When he brought them back into the center, the spots disappeared rapidly. Huh. Okay. So I guess I can look at things if I only turn my head? How does that tie into making duplicates?

“Woah! It worked!” Prism looked up, blinked at the spots, and refocused his eyes to the center of his vision before carefully maneuvering his head to take in the scene that had caused Icy’s exclamation.

Whirlwind was looking at Icy, who looked was smiling even though he had his Icicle gripped firmly between his teeth. In front of him was a tiny patch of fog, just a little bit thicker than a mist. It was rather unimpressive to Prism, and would have been so even to a pegasus far less weather-savvy, but he did wonder how Icy had made it so swiftly.

Prism’s question was answered when Icy stopped grinning and closed his mouth around the glowing Icicle. The aura around it started to shift and grow, dripping off the Icicle in a vaporous haze. At the same time as the magic intensified, the fog reacted, starting to rise off the ground. As it rose, it also expanded, thickened, and darkened. When it reached the ceiling, Icy closed his eyes and furrowed his brows, and a few seconds later the cloud released a faint but steady dusting of snow.

Icy released the Icicle and then his breath, grinning up at the miniature snow cloud. “That’s really cool.”

“That’s your power? Making clouds?” Prism asked. It sounded fairly useful, if mundane. Pegasi could make clouds by hoof, but it was time-consuming and labor-intensive, which was why most cities normally just imported them from Cloudsdale and its Weather Factory.

“Not exactly. I – Birr – could control the weather like a unicorn with really powerful weather spells, but when I used this–” Icy held up his Icicle. “–it was just like what I always do to shape the weather, except instead of pushing the clouds together to make them change, I just sorta told them to do it, and the Icicle made them listen. Does that make sense?”

Whirlwind started to reply, but Prism cut her off. "Perfect sense." He turned to address both other ponies at once. "See? Icy has superpowers, we've all got costumes, and we fell through some crazy magic portal. This is exactly like what Princess Twilight said happened to her. All we need to do is find the same gateway we used to get here, and we can get back home." Prism noticed Whirlwind giving him the evil eye. "Dubz, this is good! If we're in another dimension, then all we need to do is find the way home, and everything will go back to normal. Nothing that happened to Princess Twilight when she went through the portal stayed with her when she went back to Equestria. And finding the way back should be easy! We'll figure out how the rest of our superpowers work, and with those, I bet we can handle anything this world can throw at us. It could even be fun!"

Whirlwind stomped forward and glared at Prism. "Prism, I am missing. My. Wing. If you are right, and maybe you are, then we are stranded in a completely different universe. We don't know the way home, even if the portal or whatever stayed open! And if we have superpowers, has it occurred to you that there are probably lots of other ponies with superpowers here too? Even if you're right and I'll get my wing back if we can go home, we could still be hurt, and we don't know a thing about what this place is like or about anypony here. We barely know where 'here' is! And none of us know the first thing about being superheroes or using superpowers. It is definitely not going to be fun!" Whirlwind punctuated the last statement by raising her hoof to her chest and stomping on the floor.

There was a *fwoom* like an entire hot air balloon venting its contents, and a gust of wind erupted from under Whirlwind's hoof. It set the papers and shelved files to rustling, slammed the door closed, blew Icy's cloud straight into the ceiling, and sent Icy himself stumbling several paces back. Prism was able to weather the blast only because of his armor, and was able to see Whirlwind go flying tail over teakettle only because of his visor.

Therefore only Prism, frantically correcting for the spots, managed to follow Whirlwind as she twisted and flipped upright in midair, and only he kept her in his sights as she extended her legs and slowed down. For a brief instant he saw Whirlwind almost hover a few feet off the ground; then she landed, gracefully, without a single stumble, and wearing an expression of abject bewilderment.

For a while the only sound was that of the last few papers hitting the ground. Then Prism grinned. "Okay, right, not fun. But can you at least agree that it's pretty cool?"

"What should I even be looking for?" Whirlwind turned to Icy, who was hovering several feet off the ground, perusing the upper shelves. "You said 'look for something like the comic', but everything here is just boring junk about Maretropolis crime... actually, I don't even know where this place is. Are we in 'Maretropolis'?"

"Yeah, we should be. This is the Young Harmony team's headquarters."

"The... Young Harmony team? Is that some superhero thing?"

Icy replaced the papers he had been looking at and hovered slowly to the ground next to her. "Yeah. The team Birr, Aerial, and Spectrum were on was called Young Harmony. It's the Power Ponies'– you know who the Power Ponies are, right?"

"Sure. They're kind of a cultural icon."

"Young Harmony was the branch of the Power Ponies for underage members. Ponies who had powers but weren't old enough to fight the really big supervillians. That's why the team has a separate base, which should be this place. Assuming that the comic matches up to this dimension perfectly, which I guess it might not–"

"Back to the papers we're looking for?"

"Uh, right. Well, Princess Twilight said that she went through a mirror portal to get to the other world, and came back the same way, but we had a comic portal, so we should find something comic-like to to get back–"

"– and this is as good a place to start looking as any, you said that before. But none of this stuff" – Whirlwind flourished the large stack of files she was holding – "is like a comic. It's all just a bunch of boring, dry reports about crime rates and records about different supervillains and to what they can do. Which I guess could be helpful, but there isn't a magic portal-comic anywhere in here."

"There might be," Prism spoke from his seat by the door. "It might be hidden in there to keep supervillains from finding it.” Whirlwind gave him a raised eyebrow. “Or something. We can't know until we search all of it."

Whirlwind huffed and replaced the files. "If you want to go through it all so bad, you could at least help."

"I am helping." Prism gestured to his suit. "Icy said that my superpower was making duplicates. If I can figure out how to do that, then you guys won't even have to work at all. I can just make an army of duplicates and they'll find the portal for us."

"You probably can't make an army of duplicates," Icy interjected as he hovered up to grab another file. "I'm pretty sure Spectrum could only make three at a time."

"Whatever. We'd still go twice as fast. More than twice as fast, since they're duplicates of me."

Whirlwind snorted, then reached out and made a sudden, sharp beckoning gesture. Two more files flew off the shelves, both of which Whirlwind adroitly caught. “If the guy you're... replacing, Spectrum, only got his powers from technology, then are you sure you're even gonna be able to use any of his gear? You weren't exactly the best in school, Prism."

"Icy only has powers because of his Icicle." Prism made to point at the mentioned relic, then remembered he had told Icy to hide it in his uniform because it made him feel like he was in the same room as Princess Nidra when she was particularly irritable. Or happy. Or anything, really. Nidra had a somewhat overmastering personality. "Besides, it's not like I'm gonna have to rebuild whatever Spectrum made from scratch. I just need to figure out how to control it."

"Any luck with that so far?" Whirlwind replaced one of the files she was holding and opened the other.

"I already told you I figured out how my visor works. It won't take that long to figure out everything else. I'll have it all down before you guys are half finished, just wait."

Whirlwind smirked, then replaced the other file and summoned two more. "I don't know, Priz. Using superpowers isn't like flying, and you seem to be off to a pretty bad start. You might want to cut down on the attitude, before somepony else shows you up."

Prism snorted. "Please. Once I figure out the controls for this thing, I'll have it all down in ten seconds flat."

"We'll see." Whirlwind was visibly grinning, Prism rolled his eyes and returned to his contemplations.

The group was silent except for the shuffling papers for nearly fifteen minutes. Then Icy replaced a file and spoke up. "I really think the portal might not be here, guys."

"Have you searched the entire shelf yet?" Prism responded, looking up from his greave.

"Almost. There's only about a quarter left." Icy noticed the looks Whirlwind and Prism were giving him and continued quickly. "Look, all I'm saying is that we need to think of other places to look. The portal might be on this shelf, but it might also be somewhere else. Remember, I didn't wake up in this room, so the portal might be able to throw ponies further than just a few feet. It might not even be in this building."

"Say, that reminds me," Prism started, "where did you wake up? You never said."

"Oh, it was on the floor below this one. I wasn't paying that much attention to it when I was there, but I think it might have been the equipment room, or something like that. There lots of weird machines. Some of them actually looked sorta like your armor, Prism."

"Really?" Prism jumped to his hooves. "Where'd you say the room was, again?"

"Why? You think the portal might be there?" Icy asked, both he and Whirlwind turning to look at Prism.

"It could be. But there might also be something that could explain how my powers work. Spectrum was an inventor, right? He probably had a lab, and the lab might have a manual or a diagram or something for the armor."

"Prism, are you telling me you want to read a book? Are you okay?" Whirlwind asked, smiling. Prism rolled his eyes and smiled back.

"Hah hah, very funny. But seriously, like I said, if I could figure out how to make duplicates, we could search way quicker."

"And like I said, you'll probably have no clue what any of Spectrum's machines even do."

"Whatever. I'm going down to check anyway. Icy, where was the room?"

"Down the stair at the end of the hall. Go down one floor and it's the first door on... it would be your right." Prism turned and walked out the door. He heard Icy shout after him. "Even if you don't figure out how your powers work, you're helping us search the next place! You can't just sit on the floor and hit different pieces of your armor again!" Prism chuckled.

When his laughter subsided, he looked at his surroundings. Despite his proclaimed mastery of his visor's odd visual overlay, Prism still found that having to look straight ahead all the time was annoying in some circumstances. Looking around was one of them, and as Prism carefully moved his head to take in the hallway he again wondered why Spectrum had built such an obtuse feature into his armor.

The hallway didn't do much to distract him. It was rather plain and utilitarian, with the same fluorescent lighting as the command room and the same grey walls. It's floor was made of white tiles, though, and the doors arrayed on the walls were all made of some dark wood, with blackened glass windows.

Prism looked for the stairs Icy had mentioned, still moving his head awkwardly about to dodge the spots. At each end of the hallway were a pair of black doors with green EXIT signs above them, complete with pictograms of a pony rushing through the door below. Okay. Which one did Icy come from? After a brief second of consideration, Prism decided to just start towards the one that was closest.

Briefly, Prism lifted his wings to start flying, but then stopped when he caught sight of one of the door labels. It was stenciled onto the window in an eminently legible white type, just barely small enough to be unobtrusive, pronouncing the door the entry to the “Conference Room.”

Prism halted briefly, then set out at a more sedate pace that let him read the other doors. By the time he had reached the end of the hall, Prism had also found the Debriefing Room, the Calculating Room, and the Records Room. None of them seemed very extraordinary, but there were two seperate doors to the Records Room, nearly a dozen ponylengths apart. Please don’t let the portal be hidden in there, Prism thought as he pushed his way through the black double doors. If these guys are the sort of ponies who label every room in their base, they probably have records all the way up to the ceiling.

The black door lead, as expected, to a stairwell painted the same grey color as everything else. The stairs were square; along the left wall they went up, along the right wall they went down, and on the other walls they formed balconies. The stairwell was fairly large, and a steel rail guarded the gap in the middle. Prism was forced to jump this to get into the drop.

Prism snapped his wings open and beat them rapidly to arrest his fall, then allowed himself to hover downward at a controlled pace. He turned to take in the stairs, searching the balconies for doors. The first three balconies didn’t have any, though one of them had a fire extinguisher and blanket in clearly labelled glass-sheathed compartments. The fourth balcony, however, had a pair of black double doors exactly like those distantly above it.

Prism glanced downwards; this was the last balcony before the stairs terminated. Okay, I guess this is it. He flapped over the railing and pushed through the door, dropping back to his hooves as he did so.

The lower hallway was just as long as the one above it, with the same decor, but for a few differences. There were fewer doors, and they were spaced more widely apart. The flooring had changed again, now being composed of the same grey material – Prism hesitantly pegged it as a sort of concrete – as the walls. In between some doors, there were metal boxes with covered wires running from them, some with levers or dials attached. Surprisingly, none of the boxes were labelled.

Prism carefully moved his head again to search for the room Icy had mentioned. The first door on his right was a scant three ponylengths down the hall, with white text on it proclaiming “Armory.” Prism pushed it open and stepped through.

… Huh. Prism wasn’t exactly sure of what he had expected from the armory – he had never been in one himself – but this was…. pretty different from what he had imagined. It reminded him more of Aunt Rarity’s shop, the Carousel Boutique, than some superequine arsenal.

Dominating the armory and stretching nearly from wall to wall was a workshop so tremendous that Prism's only analog to its size was the Cloudsdale Weather Factory floor. The workshop was split into different tables and stations, and walkways allowed for easy movement. Even then, it was still big enough to make any Canterlot armorer jealous. Next to each table were one or more bins containing fabric, paint, metal, or various prefabricated parts. Upon each table were machines. Some of them looked vaguely like sewing machines, others like metalwork stations or polishing tables, but every one of them had an appearance like something out of science fiction, made of chrome or smoothed plastic and covered in blinking L.E.D.s. Only the labels, in the same clear white text that marked the doors, provided any indication of each device’s purpose, and even they were woefully incomprehensible.

Prism walked dumbfoundedly through one of the walkways. What the heck is all of this even for? Icy said that some of the machines looked like my armor, but this can’t all be for making… cloning magic… stuff. Prism paused next to a table dominated by a huge glass case, inside of which a pair of motor-driven steel bars lay dormant over a cartesian grid. What’s a “laser printer?” Augh, focus on finding out about the armor.

Prism looked around, but the combination of having to move only his head and the irregular height and bulk of the equipment made it impossible to see even the door he had come in from. Huffing, Prism unfurled his wings and took to the air.

The gust of wind rattled a few bits and bobs, but caused no real damage. Once in the air, Prism attempted again to survey the room, but stopped quickly.

On the opposite side of the room from where Prism had come in were a set of seven metal ponyquins, each of a different size and body type, lined up in recessed alcoves in the wall. On each ponyquin's right was a rack with a different arrangement of hooks, and on each ponyquin's left was a locker with a metal crossbar sealing it. Only a single ponyquin was in use: the one third from the right wore a white bodysuit, probably a mare's, covered in polychromatic puzzle pieces. A few of the ponyquin's racks had small gadgets or spare pieces of armor on them, but all of them, even the rack next to the puzzle piece suit, were mostly empty.

Prism looked down at the machines again, then back to the ponyquins. Is this where the Young Harmony team repairs their outfits? Even if he couldn’t discern the purpose of many of the stations… most of the bins were filled with materials used in clothing or armor. Huh. Do superheroes need to patch up their costumes super often? I mean, I guess they would get beat up after a while and it would be expensive to just replace broken suits over and over… I really hope they don’t need to use all this after every fight, though. Prism again surveyed the multitudinous machines. If Spectrum only has powers because of his armor, would he need his own special machines to work on it?

There. In the far corner of the room from the door Prism had entered was a collection of shiny, plastic boxes with glowing white circles along their sides, arranged on tables in an open rectangle. In between the machines, and notably clashing with the fastidious organization of the rest of the armory, were dozens of crystals, tools, and small parts, strewn about without much care on top of equally disorganized schematic papers. The machines were black, not white, but still... it looked very much like the workshop of a colt genius.

Prism hovered down into the middle of the tables. Okay, found his stuff. Now, where would a manual be? Prism reached one of the schematic papers, remembered he was wearing greaves again, huffed, and used his wing instead. Maybe I should just take off the armor until I figure out how to use it. Or at least the visor and the greaves – but then the pseudodermis projector wouldn’t work.

Prism stopped. … The what wouldn’t work? He shook his head. What’s a pseudodermis?

Prism attempted to recall for a good fifteen seconds, but if he had ever heard the term before, it escaped him. So how do I know it? Is a pseudodermis like a photosolid, or whatever it was?

He shook his head again, this time more violently. What is up with this? Gah, I just want to figure out how this armor works and then go home. He turned his attention back to the schematic he was holding.

In barely legible chicken-scratch writing, the paper was titled “Multiple-Layer Pseudodermis Shield Prototype”.

Prism stared at the paper as if it were a severed hoof. He did not panic, did not even move, but only started, in fragmented thoughts, to ask: H... How... Wait, how would you keep the layers from interfering with each other’s equilibrium fluctuations?

Prism still didn’t move, but his eyes, almost unconsciously, flickered down over the schematic proper, dodged the spots, and went to the small box depicting an enlarged pseudodermis cross-section. Oh, a thaumicly conductive separator creating a counterforce in time with a typical fluctuation cycle? That could work. Be a pain to get the projectors and the thaumic circuit to work in sync, though

Then Prism what he was thinking and hurled the paper away as if it actually was a severed hoof, then clamped both of his own over his mouth as he dropped to the ground. Distantly, he was aware that he was hyperventilating. Oh Celestia, oh Celestia, don’t scream, you aren’t going mad, you will get out of here, Spectrum’s evil spirit is not going to possess you and turn you into Nightmare Prism, don’t scream, DON’T SCREAM!

For a small eternity, Prism lay on the ground, trying, with only moderate success, to not freak out. His thoughts raced frantically, but before he had even gotten his breathing back under control, there was the sound a door opening and Icy’s voice. “This was the door.”

Whipping around like a startled animal, Prism attempted to get to his hooves. As he did so, Whirlwind called out “Prism? You in here?”

Okay, don’t panic, don’t freak out Whirlwind, don’t tell anypony anything about photosolids, DON’T SCREAM, and answer her, answer her before this gets weird, dangit! “Uh, yeah! Yeah, I’m in here. In the back, next to the, uhh… in front of the ponyquins!”

“Ponyquins?” Almost simultaneously, Icy flew into view and Whirlwind stepped around a large drill press. Whirlwind had donned her mask again, and Icy had pushed his goggles back over his eyes. This effectively hide any reaction they might have had to the workshop. “Oh, ponyquins. Wow, this place isn’t what I was expecting. What do they even do here, fix their uniforms?” Whirlwind looked around at the machines and bins full of crafting materials.

Prism swallowed. “Yeah, I guess. I mean, superheroes probably need to patch up their uniforms a lot, even if you never see it, and these machines all look like they could make clothing or armor. Not that I know what most of this stuff does, of course!”

Whirlwind turned her gaze back to Prism and frowned confusedly. Icy dropped to the ground next to the photosolid workstation. “Uh, Prism, are you okay? You look sorta freaked out.”

“Huh? No, I’m fine. I'm just, you know, eager to get back home! So, did you finish searching the shelves?”

Icy nodded. “There wasn’t anything like the comic that brought us here on them.”

“Did you find what you were looking for here?” Whirlwind had moved closer to to the table while Prism and Icy spoke. She smirked. “Any insight into your great and powerful armor of self-duplication?”

Prism laughed nervously. “Heh heh, nope! It was all too complicated to understand, like you said. I guess I’ll just have to help you guys search the old-fashion way.” Whirlwind looked oddly at him.

“Okay… Well, should we keep looking? I guess I’m just as eager as you to get home.” Whirlwind flexed her wing a little.

“Yeah, great! I saw a record room upstairs when I was going down. We could go and try rifling through it.” I really hope there aren’t any records of insanity-causing phototechnic schematics in there. Oh Luna, I just used phototechnic in a sentence, it’s getting worse!

“Or we could just look around here. There’s plenty of papers.” Whirlwind picked up a schematic from the table, allowing a few crystals and metal rods to slide off. “Wow. Yeah, this stuff is a lot closer to a comic book than anything upstairs shelves. What’s an equilibrium state?”

The state at which photosolid constructs gain and lose energy at an equal rate, allowing them to adopt the properties of a solid object, Prism tried desperately not to answer. The silence stretched on until it became slightly awkward and Whirlwind looked up.

At that point, Icy cleared his throat. “Umm, I’ve been thinking. I didn’t really read the comic that well before we, you know, got sucked into it, but if this is another dimension, and it has superheroes in it, then maybe we could ask them for help? I mean, we became... versions, I guess, of a few of the heroes on Young Harmony, but they have other members–”

“Four other members, I’m guessing.” Whirlwind gestured to the ponyquins, having put the schematic back on the table.

“R-right. And, I mean, those other four members are an actual team of superheroes. They’d probably be used to dealing with crazy stuff all the time, and I’m sure that they would help us if we explained to them what happened. They might even know something about the comic that brought us here! It could make going back home a lot easier.”

“That’s a good idea, Icy.” Prism’s voice was colored with slight relief. “It definitely beats trying to search through this whole place ourselves.”

Whirlwind nodded emphatically. “Yeah, I didn't think of that. Good one, Icy." He smiled.

Whirlwind turned to Prism. "Okay, so should we go looking for everypony else in this place now? Say," Whirlwind turned to Icy. "we've been walking around for a while, you’d think we would have run into at least one of the other heroes. Unless this place is way bigger than what we’ve seen.” Whirlwind made an all-encompassing gesture.

“I don’t think it’s that big. But I guess there might be rooms the comic didn’t show…” Icy pawed the ground hesitantly as Whirlwind kept moving around the lab.

“They might also all be out patrolling, or doing superhero-y stuff, or whatever.” Prism managed to get his voice almost back to normal as he gestured towards the ponyquins. “It looks like most of them are using their uniforms.”

“I think they also wore uniforms around the base, but you might still be right.” Icy looked to the ponyquins himself. “Say, do you think we… replaced the original Spectrum, Aerial, and Birr from this dimension, or are they still out there? How does that work?”

Oh come on, did you have to bring that up now!? Prism struggled to come up with a response that didn’t involve photosolids or stuttering denials, but was saved by Whirlwind, calling from out of sight.

“Hey, guys, come check this out!” Icy and Prism looked at each other, then flew over the intervening machines and dropped down next to Whirlwind.

She stood in a small clear area on the far side of the workshop, gazing intensely into a silvery metal plate. It was one of five, in total, each about three pony-lengths across and maybe half as tall. Each of them was highly polished and reflective, but it wasn’t until Prism got closer that he realized what had fascinated Whirlwind. The plate was reflecting her, like a mirror, but it reflected only her, without catching any of the room. Moreover, it didn’t produce just a single reflection; rather, in it were four Whirlwinds, one front view, one back view, and one view of either side, arranged in a row.

Whirlwind turned around, and the four duplicates mimicked her, in accordance with their own orientations. “Pretty cool, huh? It just started doing this when I walked up to it.”

“Woah. Yeah, that is pretty cool.” Prism watched as Whirlwind turned around again and looked over her reflection. The left view clearly showed her missing wing, but Whirlwind didn’t seem to notice. Instead, she struck a pose, one foreleg stretched forward and head raised challengingly, looking on as her four reflections mimicked it. Then she turned around, still holding form, with a cocky smile on her face.

“Come, fellow defenders of harmony! Let us go forth and strike down those who would terrorize the ponies of this fair land!” Whirlwind's eyes gleamed intensely. Prism heard Icy make a small choking noise.

Then Prism started laughing hysterically, and Whirlwind joined in in a heartbeat. Eventually, both their chuckles subsided, and Whirlwind smiled. “Seriously, though, I didn’t realize that this costume made me look so... I dunno, intrepid? Is it weird to call yourself intrepid?”

“Nah.” Whirlwind gaze him a wry look. Prism grinned back. “I mean, maybe a little...”

“You look great, Whirlwind.” Icy put in. “Really.”

Whirlwind smirked at Prism, pointing at Icy triumphantly, then turned back to the mirror plate. “Come on, one of you step up. I wanna see what it does if there’s more than one pony in front of it.”

Prism moved to comply, but Icy managed to beat him to Whirlwind’s side in a surprising burst of speed. When he arrived, however, the metal plate simply blanked out, returning to shiny chrome.

Whirlwind cocked her head. “Huh. That’s weird.” Icy nodded in agreement, and Prism made to speak up, but his voice faltered when Whirlwind bunched her legs and, in a leap surely assisted by her powers, jumped backwards, landing next to Prism. When she was midway through her leap, and out of the immediate range of the plate, it reactivated and snapped out a view of Icy. As he was scrambling around in a frantic effort to keep Whirlwind in view, the quadruple image was jarringly dynamic.

Whirlwind remained unflustered as she landed. She looked at the quintet of highly surprised Icys and made a contemplative noise. “Huh. I guess it only works for one pony at a time.” Whirlwind turned to Prism with an expectant smile, then noticed his slack-jawed expression.

Whirlwind cocked her head, glanced at a similarly stunned Icy, then seemed to realize what had stunned them. She smirked. “What? Unlike you, Priz, I can use my powers well enough to show off if I feel like it.” She elbowed Prism, still grinning, and gestured towards the nearest unoccupied plate. “Come on, you try. You probably haven’t been able to get a close look at yourself with that visor.”

Prism looked briefly at Icy, who responded with an expression that was half befuddlement and half demoralization, and moved over to the plate Whirlwind had indicated. Why can Whirlwind use her powers so well t? She isn’t... becoming somepony from here, she’s still herself... But my powers don’t even work and I have a weird voice in my head. Is something about Spectrum in particu– ack!

The reflecting plate really did snap out images: there was no warm-up or warning, and with Prism, this produced the unfortunate side effect of a sudden onslaught of blinding white. After he had recovered from the burst, and from the precipitation of spots his flinch had triggered, Prism finally was able to take himself in.

As Whirlwind had said, Prism was white from his fetlocks to the roots of his mane. He could see why she had at first said he looked like Princess Celestia. He had almost her exact color scheme: an all-white body with a rainbow mane, though Princess Celestia’s was much softer in hue than Prism’s.

Looking further, though, Prism’s armor was clearly not intended to emulate the Princess’s slender elegance and poise. Indeed, it was curiously proportioned. While he had chest armor only a little heavier than that of a Royal Guard, Prism also had armor on his undercarriage, thick enough to stop a battle axe, with barely a third as much protection on his back or flanks. He had the bulky greaves on all four of his legs, but they stopped long before his thighs, making them look more like boots with very thin soles than real armor. His visor was also clunky. It was a bar of material, blocky, covering Prism’s eyes before swapping back and locking into place just below his ears, leaving his mouth and nose visible. The visor wings thinned as to went back, from a starting thickness equal to a half hoof-length to maybe a sixteenth of that.

Probably contributing to the flash Prism had suffered earlier was the battery of lights his armor bore, many of them facing forwards. There were illuminated circles on both of Prism’s greaves, with a much larger circle on his chest. Prism’s visor glowed as well, which might explain some of the odd saturations he'd noticed. Finally, Prism noted as he raised himself up, there were three lights on his undercarriage armor, arranged in a line.

The last thing Prism noticed about his armor was also the oddest. There was no visible seams, gaps, or chinks in it. The chest-plate, visor, greaves, and undercarriage-armor were all fairly solid, probably some type of hard plastic. The rest of Prism’s armor, including the layer underneath the bulky bits, was plainly a softer plastic or rubber going by feel alone. They shouldn’t have joined seamlessly. Moreover, there were no holes for Prism’s wings, despite the fact that pegasi couldn’t fly with covered wings and Prism knew his to be testable functional. Some substance had been used to cover the whole outfit, and, like vacuum wrap, it had followed every contour of the armor and Prism's own flesh and filled in the gaps.

A pseudodermis. A stabilized layer of animathaumic photosolids overlaid onto the armor and held in place by a tri-locus prism projector attuned to my magic. Basically, a second skin. Prism flinched.

"Probably a bit late on this, but congratulations, Prism, you officially look like a nerd." Whirlwind's voice caused Prism to turn around. She was looking at his reflections and smirking again. "Seriously, how are you even gonna fly in that? You must be about as aerodynamic as Starswirl the Bearded."

Prism laughed haltingly. "Heh, I... don't know. I guess I'll just... hope we find the portal soon."

Whirlwind scrunched her face. "Ohhhkay. Prism, seriously, is something wrong? You've been acting really weird ever since we got here. You didn't find out that Spectrum had some horrible secret deformity, did you?"

"No!" By Luna, that would be a lot simpler.

"Cause if you did, it really isn't any reason to freak out. I mean, I know you're in love with your own reflection, but it's not like it could be worse than this." Whirlwind flared her wing-stump.

It could. I could be going mad, or turning into Spectrum Bolt. That's actually a pretty cool name. No, not a cool name, bad name, do not want!

"And, if this really is a different dimension, you'll go back to normal when we get out of here," Whirlwind finished, pleased as punch. "So seriously, no worries, Priz."

It took Prism a few seconds to realize Whirlwind was waiting for an answer. "Uh, yeah, you're right. But, seriously, Dubz, I didn't find out I have a secret deformity. Really, it's nothing like that."

"Well, it's something. Is it about your powers? It's not like you to get so worked up about science-y stuff." Whirlwind put a hoof to her chin. "It's sorta weird you became some nerdy superhero, actually. Is that what's eating you?" Whirlwind smirked again. "You thought about it and realized you wanted better superpowers?"

I think I'd be fine with no superpowers if we could just head home here and now. "That's not it, Dubz. Really, I just want to get home."

Whirlwind responded with an eye roll. "You wanted to get home back in the meeting room, or whatever it was, and then I find you here and you're acting like you've seen a ghost." Whirlwind paused. "Hey, you didn't find out that Spectrum was, like, secretly evil or something, did you? And he was building a death ray to kill his teammates, or stealing technology to take over the world, or whatever evil colt geniuses do?"

Photosolids are ultimately a means of transferring kinetic energy, and so despite the medium of enchanted light, few ranged weapons employing them could accurately be termed "rays". Prism, by force of will, didn't spit out an answer.

Whirlwind took in his silence for a moment and then facehoofed. "Seriously?" She turned to Icy, who had been examining himself in the other mirror plate. He looked up as Whirlwind moved. "Seriously!? Spectrum is secretly evil!? Was that in the comic?"

"Uhh, no?" Icy took a step back. "I mean, it mentioned Spectrum joined Young Harmony really recently. I guess he could have been planning something, but everypony on the team said he joined because, uhh–"

Prism tried to interject. "I didn't find out that I'm secretly evil – I mean, Spectrum is evil, I mean, uh–"

But Whirlwind cut him off. "It's fine, it's not like him being evil is gonna make you turn into a supervillain, it's just is sounds like something we really should know. Icy, what were you saying?"

Icy looked terribly nervous. "Uhmm..."

After a few seconds of silence, Prism opened his mouth to speak up, just as Icy finally managed to ask "Didn't the note at the end of the comic say something about Spectrum?"

"Huh?"

"You know, the one that mentioned going home? It mentioned joining the book, but before that I think it had with something about Spectrum.”

Prism frowned. “That note was weird. How did it go again?”

“Uh, ‘You may return to the place you call home, when Spectrum… When Spectrum is…’" Icy trailed off

"‘When Spectrum is lost to his own!’ And then there was that bit about joining the adventure in the book.’ Whirlwind frowned in concentration. "Ah, come on, how did we forget that?”

"…WHAT!” Prism shrieked.

“Yeah, sorry. I guess that really might have helped us find the portal. To be fair, though, I did wake up missing a wing, and I didn't know about the whole 'different universe' thing.”

"Yeah, Prism–" Icy began.

I’m not angry about that!” Through the haze of panic, Prism realized that he was hyperventilating again. “Wha-what does 'when Spectrum is lost to his own' mean?" Does 'his own' mean Spectrum's... memories, or soul, or whatever is in my head? I don't wanna be lost to Spectrum's soul!

"Well, apparently that's when we get to go home. Maybe it's a clue about where the portal is. Hey, if Spectrum is secretly evil, does he have a secret evil base somewhere around here? Maybe the portal is–"

"Spectrum wasn't secretly evil!" I really really really hope he wasn't, because that would just make this even worse!

"But you said–" Whirlwind started.

"He's not secretly evil! I was just, just surprised you said that!"

"Okay, then why are you freaking out!?" Whirlwind said, her voice raising to keep up with Prism's escalating volume.

"Because, I, it–" What if Spectrum really was secretly evil and he brought us here to control our minds and use us as an army of teenage zombies to conquer Equestria!? "The poem said we can’t get back until Spectrum is lost to his own!" Prism finally managed to spit out.

Whirlwind looked nonplussed. “...Yes. What, are you worried it was talking about you?”

Yes!

Icy stepped forward, appearing concerned. "Prism, you really need to calm down. You shouldn't freak out just because of a bad poem on the comic that brought us here."

"The poem was what brought us here! The comic didn't do anything until Whirlwind read the poem, and, and it said we can't get back until I, Spectrum, whoever is lost. To. His. Own!" Did Spectrum make the portal? Did he make it so he could control me, or possess me, or turn me into him?

"Prism, seriously, calm down." Whirlwind stepped forward as well, sharing Icy's look of concern. "Icy's right, you shouldn't get so worked up about this. You said that we can get home when we find the portal that brought us here, and the poem was probably just a clue about where it is. Or it might just have been nonsense. I mean, "lost to his own" is about as clear as mud."

"Well, it can't mean anything good! 'Lost to his own' could mean that, that–" That I'll only get home when Spectrum's soul, or knowledge, or whatever takes me over!

"Prism," Icy tried to cut him off.

" –that one of Spectrum's machines could blow me up, or maybe even the real Spectrum will find me and–"

"Prism!" Icy yelled.

" –And, I dunno, he'll be angry I took his stuff, or maybe he'll take over my mind and turn me into his clone!" Or maybe he's already here and he's already doing that, or maybe I actually turned into him and now I'm, I'm turning into him more!

"Okay, Prism, you sound like Candy before the Summer Sun Celebration that one time! Stop freaking out!" Whirlwind's eyebrows were raised almost off her face.

Oh my gosh she's right, I'm freaking out too much, I normally don't freak out so much, except for that one time I thought I hit Anthea with a lightning bolt, but this isn't then, Spectrum might be inside my head making me freak out! “Oh Celestia, you’re right, I need to stop freaking out, stop freaking out, stop freaking ouuuuuuut!” Prism started hitting the side of his head in time with his frantic self-directives.

There was a flash of blue and a blast of cold air. In his armor, Prism easily weathered the sharp wind, but it got him to look at Icy.

He had taken his Icicle back out, and was holding it in his clenched jaw. Icy's goggles were still pushed down over his eyes, which made his expression seem slightly sinister. Prism again felt the draw of the Icicle, the sense of weight and power it exerted, and when Icy released it to rest against his chest, Prism listened, even though he was still hyperventilating.

Icy, once the Icicle was out of his mouth, frowned. “Prism, seriously, whatever is wrong, you need to calm down. You aren’t helping yourself at all by panicking. Stop breathing so hard.”

Prism tried, failed, and then settled on breathing through pursed lips, which helped.

Icy frowned deeper. The Icicle continued to cast intimidating blue shadows over his face. “Okay, fine. Prism, that poem doesn’t mean somepony has it out for you. It’s true that we don’t know who sent the comic, or why, but we might never have been meant to get it in the first place!”

“We were.” Prism flinched at Icy’s cross expression, and looked at the ground. “It had my name in the poem. Remember that?” Prism managed to look up, and glared accusingly at Icy through his visor. “‘You may return to the place you call home when Spectrum is lost to his own. Take a closer look to join the adventure in this book. Prism, you’re a dunce.’ Whoever sent that comic wanted this to happen, and it sure sounds like whoever it was had it out for me.”

Icy looked shocked. “I… Sorry, I forgot about that…”

Whirlwind valiantly stepped up. “I forgot about that too. But Prism, you still shouldn’t be getting so scared. Even if whoever sent that comic did mean for you to get it and for it to bring us here, that doesn’t mean that they did it just to hurt you. If they wanted to do something horrible to you, they either wouldn’t have said anything at all or would have called you something a little stronger than ‘a dunce.’”

Prism’s breathing was getting a little slower. “That isn’t actually a very good reason.” I guess it is a little weird, though. What… what was Spectrum like, as a pony? Was he the kind of hero who taunted whoever he was fighting?

Whirlwind scoffed. “Sure it is! And here’s another one: ‘lost to his own’ could mean a lot of different things, and a lot of them aren’t bad. It could mean that the portal back is somewhere in Spectrum’s gear.” Whirlwind gestured over to the photosolid workstation.

Icy interjected, his courage apparently restored. “And don’t forget that no matter who sent that comic, we’ll be fine if we just find the return portal. Like you said; it has to be around here somewhere, and once we find it and get home, whoever sent us here can’t do anything else. We can tell Mom and Dad and the Guard about this, and they’ll find out who made the comic and what they were trying to do.”

What if they can’t? What if whoever sent us here hide the portal or closed it behind us? “But, guys, we could still be hurt, or whatever the comic maker wanted, while we’re here. We haven't found the portal yet!”

“Yeah, that’s what I said and you laughed at me.” Whirlwind pointed out. “Look, I get that you’re worried that comic might have been sent for something sinister, buT you have to admit, it isn't like we were attacked the moment we got here.”

Icy immediately followed up. “Yeah! And we’re right in the middle of a superhero base. This is probably one of the safest places to be in this entire dimension.”

… But it was Spectrum’s base. And I became him, and his voice or soul is in my head… “But… What if that was a part of the plan? What if whoever made that comic wasn’t from Equestria, they were from here? ”

Icy made a loose line with his mouth; Prism got the feeling that he had blinked under his goggles. "You mean, what, a supervillain made the comic?"

"If a supervillain did," Whirlwind interjected, "Then why – actually, how, – would they have sent it to our dimension, knew that we even existed, and decided they hated you personally? This is starting to get ridiculous.” Whirlwind trotted forward and placed her remaining wing over Prism’s shoulder. “Look, the truth is, we don’t know who sent the comic or why your name was in it or why we got sent here, but it doesn’t really matter right now. Like Icy said, we find the way home, and after that we can get the Royal Guard or the Princesses to figure out what happened.”

“Yeah, Icy said, striding up to Prism’s other side. “Look, Prism, you shouldn’t make the worst out of that note. We haven’t seen anything to suggest that somepony from either dimension planned this.”

… I have to tell them. Prism stiffened under Whirlwind’s comforting wing. There already is something going wrong here. They need to know about this voice, in case somepony really is trying to get us. Prism opened his mouth to speak.

That was when the alarm went off.

Illusion was smiling when Canterlot Castle finally came into sight. He had made good time, and would have almost the whole day before he’d need to return to Ponyville to witness, and gloat about, the results of his prank. Definitely good to have wings, Illusion thought as he retracted his and levitated the last few feet to the ground. Okay, what am I gonna do now? Mom’s probably still in her office… So’s Dad, even if he’s not exactly being productive… Hmm.

Illusion considered his options as he padded through the castle towards the royal chambers, eyes blind to the sumptuous tapestries and large marble pillars that surrounded him. It’s a shame Starburst isn’t here, and Claire’s busy. It probably would have been better if I could have stayed with her while everypony was in their comics. Illusion opened a door with his magic, returning the guards’ greeting with a mumble as he continued to think. Those new designs have been eating up a lot of her time. Huh. Maybe I could start working on another comic for her–

“Illusion, finally! Where have you been!?”

Illusion jumped, twisting frantically, and, after some undignified and Chaos-assisted flailing, wound up on the ground with two of his legs knotted together and his head twisted around backwards. Who– Oh, is the universe trying to make me into a slapstick gag today?

A badly stifled snicker erupted from somewhere to Illusion’s left. Or possibly right; Illusion wasn’t completely sure which was which. ‘Wha– *snort* What was that? I’ve never seen you do that before.” The snickering continued with less and less containment as a pony fluttered out from behind one of the pillars.

Illusion sighed and began struggling to untie his limbs. “Hello, Nidra.”

Nidra was still stifling laughter as she replied. “Yeah, hello to you too. Seriously, did you try to tie your tail into a knot? How does that happen by accident?”

“My tail isn’t–” Illusion managed to heave himself up far enough to see his tail, which was in a perfect bow.

Nidra snerked, then broke down into a fit of laughter that lasted until Illusion had managed to untangle himself and get upright. When he had finally unwrapped his toes from each other, Nidra trotted over to his side, still fighting down chortles.

“Okay. So, never speak of this to anypony ever again?” Nidra smirked.

Illusion grimaced, then suddenly smiled.“Nope, never again. You’re up early. I thought this was you ‘bedroom brooding’ time.”

Nidra rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, try to change the subject. I'm not going to just forget about this little gem for a while. And I do not brood.”

“Really? I could have sworn you had a schedule. Now is your bedroom brooding time, and at noon you’ll brood around the castle before and after lunch, and then you might fly out for some scenic brooding–”

Nidra punched his shoulder. “I do not brood! I’m going out right now, actually. I was trying to find you so you could give me my Jet Stream disguise. I need it.”

And with it you won’t be able to tell anypony about me tying my tail into knots. At least today. “Yeah, sure.” Illusion eagerly raised a paw, then paused. “Wait. Why do you need it? It’s way too early for there to be any parties out in Canterlot. Where are you going?” He put his paw back on the ground as Nidra’s mouth twitched slightly.

Nidra shrugged with almost believable nonchalance. “Just out. Why do you care?”

“Because I’m your cousin...” Illusion trailed off. “Nidra, are you going to fly to Ponyville to stalk T again?”

“I do not ‘stalk’ T!” Nidra immediately exclaimed.

“But you’re still going to Ponyville,” Illusion prodded.

“I’m not– yes, I am! I have plenty of other friends in Ponyville! I could go visit Prism Bolt, or Starburst!”

“Or Anthea?” Illusion asked.

“Yes! Anthea and I are great friends–”

“And her boyfriend?”

“I–” Nidra closed her mouth and tried to force down the flush on her cheeks. “Look, are you going to give me my disguise, or not?”

Illusion considered for a moment. “...Yes. Are you going to follow T around all day?”

“Why do you even care?” Nidra scowled. “You’re not my mother, and I’m a Princess! The Princess of Slumber. You can’t tell me what to do.”

Illusion looked into Nidra’s eyes. They were stormy and irritable, with a faint flicker of something Illusion couldn’t intuit hidden deep in their yellow depths. “Look, Nidra, you’ve had a crush on T since you were... twelve? Ever since you’ve meet him, so for about four years.”

Nidra narrowed her eyes. “Why do you care?” She repeated.

“Because you’ve never gotten over him. You went out with Prism for awhile, and I do know that you really liked him” – can’t imagine why – “but then you broke up with him, and now it seems like you're just... back to chasing after T when he’s already in a relationship with Annie. I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t know you like him–”

“Yeah, rub it in, why don’t you,” Nidra muttered, glaring down at the floor.

“That’s not what I meant.” Illusion raised up Nidra’s chin with his paw. “Look, I’m just… worried you’re not letting yourself be happy, because you think you can’t be happy without T. I know how much he means to you, but you’re starting to let agonizing over him control you life.” Illusion removed his paw from Nidra’s chin and snapped his fingers. A layer of white light consumed Nidra’s form, and then cleared to reveal the blue mane and grey coat of Jet Stream. “So, if you want to hang out with T, okay, but do something else, too? For me? You shouldn’t let him take up all the time you aren't spending with him, along with the time you are. ” Illusion stepped back.

Nidra looked at the ground for a long moment, then silently turned around and started to trot back towards the castle gates. Illusion looked after her, then resumed his own trek back towards his room. He made it twenty more steps before he heard Nidra calling to him. “Illusion?”

Illusion swiveled back and looked to where Nidra had paused, eyes filled with… something Jet Stream’s blue irises stopped Illusion from comprehending.. “I… thanks, a lot, but I’m fine. I’ve got lots of friends besides T and Annie. I can go to all the best parties in Canterlot and I… I’m a Princess! So thanks, but you shouldn’t worry about me.” With that, Nidra turned, and used her wings to propel herself the rest of the way down the corridor, ignoring the gust of wind, swinging tapestries, and cursing guards she left in her wake.

*Krzzzzrscht* *Beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep!*

All three pegasi jumped at the sudden noise, and Prism winced at the continuing alarm. It lacked the piercing whine of a klaxon, but was certainly attention grabbing.

“What the heck is that thing for!? Prism, did you break something important before we got here!?”

“No! Did you!?Oh Luna, this might be it, this might be the real Spectrum coming, or it might be whatever sent us here’s plan for us…!

*beep-beep-be-Krzzzzrscht* "Excuse me, everypony, sorry for the scare. Not quite used to this base's alarm and PA systems. Bit different from the one back at PPHQ..." The voice carried a cultured Canterlot accent, and came from every corner of the room simultaneously. It sounded old, far too old for the voice of an underaged hero.

"Who're you?" Icy demanded.

"Anyway, to be direct, we have an emergency: Maretropolis Central Weather Station’s been attacked. The Weather Factory, specifically, has been breached, which could become a city-wide disaster if any of the cloud-production machinery is damaged. Now, information's been spotty, but I know for a fact that Beatdown was confirmed to be on the scene, and given their track record the M.G. won't be able to stop him alone. Aerial, with Earthshaker on leave, Jestress investigating the Green Seaweed Plant, and Jigsaw still in Crystal City, you’ll be team leader. Take Spectrum and Birr, and be cautious; Beatdown may just be a common brute, but this is miles away from his typical style. It’s almost certain somepony else is involved. Get anything you need from the armory, be out in ten, and best of luck, old chaps." *Krzzzzrscht*

Icy blinked. "What was that?"

Whirlwind frowned, glancing around the armory. "It was a public announcement system. You wouldn't remember, but they had one in Cloudsdale Elementary. I'd like to know who that was, though. And what the heck he was talking about..."

Icy responded with a look of concentration. “Um… I think that guy was a unicorn named Gold Ledger. In the comic book he said he was 'standing in' for Jigsaw, who’s normally the team's information pony. He had the same accent, anyway."

“Brilliant,” Prism muttered. “Where was he when we were searching, locked up in an office somewhere?” That… didn’t sound like some evil scheme to get us all possessed.

“Probably…” Icy looked deep in thought, so Whirlwind picked up the conversation.

“Okay, the other pony ‘Gold Ledger’ mentioned, Beatdown? I saw his file, back when we were going through all that stuff upstairs. I didn’t really read much of it, but he was a supervillain.”

A supervillain. This place really does have supervillains. “And he’s attacking the Maretropolis – that’s this city’s name, right, Maretropolis? – the Maretropolis Weather Factory. Why does this place have its own Weather Factory?” Is this is really happening? Prism thought. There’s really a supervillain attacking someplace right now? Ah man, maybe a supervillain really did bring us here…

“This is an alternate dimension. There might not be a Cloudsdale here.” Icy spoke with a detached voice. “And besides, Maretropolis was supposed to be huge, like, bigger than Manehatten. It might need its own Weather Factory.”

“Okay, so what about the other ponies he was talking about? Jestress and Earthshaker and… Jigsaw? And is the M.G., like, another team of superheroes?” Whirlwind removed her wing from around Prism and started pacing.

“No. Well, I don’t think so, I sorta just assumed it stood for Maretropolis Guard…” Icy looked at Whirlwind with a sudden fierce intensity. “Guys, should we help?”

Whirlwind cocked her head. “Help…?”

Icy spoke breathlessly, as if frightened. “Help with the attack. Go to the Maretropolis Weather Factory and stop Beatdown from destroying it.”

Wait, what!? “Wait, what!?” Prism snapped to Whirlwind’s face to see her reaction and had to blink frantically when he triggered a cascade of spots. “Dude, have you lost it!? We can’t fight a supervillain!If Spectrum or a supervillain really did drag us here, Whirlwind’s right, we can’t leave the only place we’ll be safe!

“We have powers,” Icy argued. “And we’ve turned into superheroes.”

“And there might be a bunch of real superheroes who don’t know we’re in their base and will be pretty shocked if a bunch of doppelganger's turn up all of a sudden!”

“If the original versions of Aerial, Spectrum, and Birr were here, then they ought to be rushing into the armory pretty soon to get their equipment.” Icy gestured to the door. “I don’t think they’re going to come. I think it makes more sense that we actually became them, or maybe switched places with them.”

That is not what I needed to hear right now! Prism opened his mouth, but Whirlwind managed to beat him to it.

“Okay, no more arguing about alternate dimension mechanics or whatever. None of us actually know what we’re talking about and it’s just getting really confusing.” Whirlwind paused and took a breath. “Look, Icy, Prism has a pretty good point. We’ve got superpowers, sure, but none of us really know how to use them, at least in a fight. I mean, heck, Prism hasn’t even figured out how his powers work.”

“Thank you!” Prism flapped his wings and hovered a few feet into the air. “There is absolutely no reason why we should fight a supervillain. Even if we are taking the places of the ponies here, there are probably other superheroes to handle it.”

“I don’t think there are.” Icy flapped up himself, matching Prism’s height. “I’m pretty certain that all the other heroes expect us to handle this.”

“Well, we are not going to handle this. We have never been in a real fight before, not even a pretend one like Star, and we don’t know what ‘Beatdown’ can do, or where the ‘Maretropolis Central Weather Station’ even is–”

“If it’s a cloud building, it would be hard to miss.”

Not the point. The point is, we will not beat a supervillain. In fact, we will probably lose horribly, and we may get seriously hurt, and we shouldn’t risk that!” Prism paused briefly and tried to lower his voice, but started again before Icy could reply. “We should focus on what we already decided to do: find the portal, go home, and tell Princess Twilight about this.” And not do anything that will end in us getting possessed or hurt!

Icy closed his mouth and frowned, the Icicle still casting its blue shadows over his face. Nope, not getting scared this time. Fighting supervillains would be suicidal.

Whirlwind stepped forward. “Prism’s right, Icy. Why did you even want to do this?”

Icy looked at her and took a deep breath. “Because it’s the right thing to do.” Whirlwind blinked. “Look, Whirlwind, I know that trying to fight this guy will be dangerous. I know none of us have any experience with our powers, but… If we don’t do something, a lot of ponies could get hurt. You heard Gold Ledger, he isn’t expecting the guards to win! And if they don’t, Beatdown will destroy the Weather Factory, and then this dimension won’t be able to make clouds or control precipitation, and that could put thousands of ponies in danger.” Icy pushed his goggles up from his eyes. “I know this isn’t our dimension, and we only just got our powers, but if there are ponies in danger, shouldn’t we do something?”

Whirlwind looked stunned. Prism felt stunned. But while Prism was still trying to formulate a counter-argument, and get over the awe-inspiring effect Icy’s Icicle granted him, Whirlwind sighed. “Oh, Celestia have mercy… You’re right. Okay, fine, let’s go save Maretropolis.”

“Wait, you’re agreeing with him!?” Prism turned to Whirlwind, and, again, had to blink spots out of his eyes. It didn’t interrupt the flow of his frantic and accusing speech. “Have both of you lost it!? What even makes you think we can stop this Beatdown guy! If we go, we’ll just put ourselves in danger!”

Whirlwind groaned. “I know, but Prism, Icy is right, we have to try. We do have superpowers, and we can help. We’ll play it safe, but if we can stop even a single pony from being hurt, we should go.”

“Yeah, Prism–” Icy began.

“Whirlwind, this is nuts! This isn’t like some prank or dumb stunt, we’re dealing with a pony who sounds like he might try to kill us! I still can’t get my superpowers to work, Icy’s managed to make one cloud so far, and you can’t even fly.

Whirlwind glared at Prism, but it was Icy who spoke. “She has aerokinesis! And maybe even some of Aerial’s martial arts abilities–”

Prism crossed his forehooves. “How are you even going to get to the Weather Factory? If it’s a cloud building, we’d need to fly to travel to it.”

Whirlwind faltered a little, and Prism thought he discerned a hurt expression flit briefly over her face, even if the visor made it hard to tell. Icy was back with a rejoinder immediately, however.

“We can push her on a cloud!” Prism glanced at Icy, this time being careful to mind the spots. “Whirlwind should still be able to cloudwalk. When we get out of this building, I can make a cloud for her to sit on, and we can both push her to the factory. Maybe she can even help us with her powers.” Icy dropped down and stood next to Whirlwind, so they both faced Prism. “Prism, we can help. We’ll be as safe as we can, we’ll run if it looks like one of use may get hurt, but we have to try, even if we don’t know any of the ponies here personally. It’s what a hero would do.” Icy looked at Prism, and the resolution shone through his eyes, burning out past the flickering light of the Icicle.

“Yeahahaha, no. You have been reading too many comic books, which, incidentally, is what got us into this mess in the first place. There is no way I am going to fly out of here with no plan, no idea of what we’re fighting, and no knowledge of what’s really going on, just because you two have a sudden hero complex.” Especially since I might be getting possessed by Spectrum;s evil spirit.

Icy’s resolute gaze narrowed, and the threatening caste came back to his face, but Whirlwind spoke before he could. “Okay, fine. We’ll go by ourselves. You can stay here.”

Prism looked at Whirlwind with uncontained exasperation. “No! What in Luna’s name has gotten into you guys! This is crazy! You have to realize this is crazy.” We could be hurt by the supervillain, or we could be hurt by whoever plotted this out in the first place, and we still don’t know where the portal home is or why we got sent here or what’s really going on…

Whirlwind kept talking, and Icy looked to her. “No, Prism, this isn’t crazy. Yes, we might get hurt, but if we don’t do something, a lot of other ponies definitely will be. I am not just going to sit here while that happens. You can, if you want to, but I’m going, whether you like it or not.”

I have to tell them. Prism looked from Whirlwind's angry face to Icy’s coldly determined one …So why do I feel like it wouldn’t do anything? “Okay, fine. Fine, we can go out and save the day, or whatever it is they do here. If anything goes wrong, if it seems like one of us might get hurt, if anything unexpected happens, we run. I will drag you both away myself if I have to. Oh gosh, I just sounded like Mom. How in Equestria am I being the responsible one here!?”

Whirlwind snorted. “I dunno, maybe the nerd costume is affecting you.” Prism attempted not to scream. “But you’re right, we will be careful. Thanks for coming.”

Not screaming was hard. Prism managed to turn his into a sort of choked gurgle.

Powered Comic Fun Fact: To give the superheroes of Powered Comics a more meaningful role in their society, the Powered Comics Universe is one without Princesses. In this “alternate history” of Equestria, the country is a democracy– or, more accurately, a lampooning of democracy, probably inspired by the derisive attitude most of Equestria held towards that system at the time of Powered Comic’s founding. In the early days, most superheroes of Powered Comics worked against not only criminals but also hopelessly inept or downright evil public servants, and the Maretropolis Guard (M.G.) was more likely to be a hindrance than a help. It took much time (and tighter trade relationships with democratic countries like Minos and Zebrica) for Powered Comics to finally start writing it's alternate history of Equestria as one with a reasonably effective, if often woefully overwhelmed, government.

Author's Note:

Author's Notes

Comments ( 33 )

6349664

Fun idea: they get out and decide to get back at him by trapping him in a video game without his powers: Dragon's Lair

6780619 Well, based on the rather less than thorough education about that game I got from it's Wikipedia page and Youtube Walkthrough over the past fifteen minutes, all I can say is that Illusion probably wouldn't notice his power's going missing. Singe is plainly a true Discordian at heart, at least where trap construction is concerned.

Irregardless, it's something the Next Generation will only be able to consider after escaping their current predicament. Thanks for teaching me about a famed retro game series, though! And for reading!

6780858 Just saying, I'm hoping Illusion get's some form of comeuppance.

6784374 Oh, he will. Not specifying what, but this isn't the sort of disaster you walk away from with no consequences.

8121182 It's been a year an a half now, hasn't it? It's strange; it feels like longer, actually.

The short answer to your question is probably never. I started this story in order to force myself to keep to an update schedule and write consistently. The issue was that I had so little experience writting on a deadline, and the story I had selected involved so many characters and such a complex plot (the central antagonist hasn't even been mentioned yet, actually), that even if I wrote for the dozens of hours each month needed to turn out ten-thousand word chapters, I would have taken years to finish. I hadn't been thinking of that when I started, and now, frankly, I don't have enough interest in this story to put in that sort of time, or enough thought to rewrite the plot into something more concise (which would also demand rewriting some of the earlier chapters).

So, while it is not impossible a miracle will occur and I will pick this up again, that is probably not going to happen. I apologize to you, if you enjoyed reading what I have and wanted more. I myself have enjoyed stories on this site that have simply stopped updating, and I know that it feels almost like a betrayal. But now, over a year later, I've moved on to other things, and am not capable of giving this story more time or focus.

I'm sorry about this, and sorry I failed to express any of it earlier (to be fair, you were the first to ask). On the very remote chance someone else wants to pick this story up and keep writting it, I will help them in whatever way they ask. For now, I simply hope you enjoyed reading what was there.

8121446
Out of curiosity, what were your plans for the future chapters of this story?

8713677
They were quite long. I have two chapters half-finished, though both desperately needed to be rewritten for brevity and clarity, and I knew the broad outlines of the plot to its conclusion (I had an idea for a sequel, actually. Well, we all learn to but the horse before the cart in some way or another).

Looking back on it, I realize that the reason I has able to write so much on this was because I loved thinking about how superpowers and their positives and negatives would interact with Kilala's cast of characters. The superpowers I made up were the most detailed part of this story; only a few villains were original, actually; most ponies in the Power Ponies Universe were based on side characters from the show. Monsieur Maladie is Gustave le Grand). If you wanted to know the powers and backstory I had planned for any of the next generation and several of the main cast, name a character and I can write a paragraph on it.

In terms of plot, though, the story would have been plodding. The great conceit here was that Illusion's magic interacted poorly with making multiple comic books from the same universe; it wound up entangling all three books into the larger over-arching plot of the Power Ponies Universe at the time, which was the resurrection of the Second Annihilator, Pandemonium. He's that main villain I didn't introduce yet, and in the end he would have gone up against everybody already in the comics plus Claire, T, Nidra, and Illusion, who found their way in over the course of searching for their friends and realizing that Illusion's magic has spun out of control. While that was happening, the ponies inside the books would have basically had a long series of fights; I was not being good about keeping the plot moving, I think.

The climax of the story would have been the fight against Pandemonium, an extremely powerful illusionist whose illusions "attune" to the people he's fighting to try to break their will to go on. Only problem is, Pandemonium has been scoping out the Next Generation for some time, and in the process of attuning has realized that these ponies' thoughts and desires really don't gel with cartoon characters. If he's too fulfill his role as Master Manipulator, he needs to understand his prey, and eventually he realizes that he's stuck in a fake universe and that his existence ends when it stops, becoming self-aware. There was going to be a scene where Pandemonium tries to break Illusion with the fact that he created a doomed intelligence, and ultimately tried to make him sacrifice one of the other ponies to provide a shell that Pandemonium could live in and escape the book from. And Illusion would have refused, the mission goal would have been completed, and the NG would have been fine, except Illusion who was going to wind up fairly traumatized. This was going to take twenty chapters of fights to get to, though.

Like I said, If you want more specific information on somepony's powers or backstory, which is what I think I was focusing far more on in this story, or you want me to enumerate the fight combinations, tell me and I'll send it to you.

8714091

Like I said, If you want more specific information on somepony's powers or backstory, which is what I think I was focusing far more on in this story, or you want me to enumerate the fight combinations, tell me and I'll send it to you.

Well I'd like both actually, it's sad to see a story with such potential go unfinished, that and Illusion's overall comeuppance, or more specifically the NG's vengeance on him... if they ever get any.

8714106
Well, that’s very nice of you to say. I’d honestly considered this story a failure, so I’m glad people enjoyed it. There’s a lot of stuff, so I’ll probably be writing multiple responses piecemeal.

Firstly, on how the Comic Books work: they’re basically extremely determined barely-sentient artificial intelligences that are tasked with telling the story. Their like a Dungeon Master who’s a bit of a railroader, essentially, and the books can futz with a lot of stuff to make the plot work. This is why Prism has his episodes of being “possessed;” the Books are feeding information on how his technology works into his mind because so much of Spectrum’s powers were wrapped up in his ability to tinker. The books don’t do this to anybody else because their powers are a lot more intuitive.

Well, to start enumerating the fights: The only one we got to in-story was Anthea (Cheerleader) and and Cotton Candy (Jestress) vs. Monsieur Maladie (Sort-of Gustav le Grand). Gustav is a tinker who creates biological weapons, though they’re ponyland biological weapons, so mud-zombies and little vials that make choking gases or capturing foam, mostly. Jestress is actually the daughter of the Mane-iac. What with her mother being put away for most of her life, she’s had the opportunity to find better role models, Her hair is a pocket dimension of great size, which Jestress uses to store solutions to just about everything. Cheerleader has the ability to see emotions as color, and her magic can be used to manipulate emotions. She affects ponies’ mental state, not their feelings towards other things; she can make you feel angry but you’ll just feel angry in general. The fight between Monsieur Maladie and these two was mostly the heroes dodging until Anthea figured out how her powers worked and made Monsieur Maladie have a breakdown; his heart’s not really in these things anymore.

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/Plutchik-wheel.svg/1894px-Plutchik-wheel.svg.png
Anthea see's emotions based on Plutchik's Wheel.

8714162
I'm loving this so far! What about the others?

8716272
I’m glad. I think I can get in one comment per day; time is tight but not as tight as it was.

Spectrum (Prism), Aerial (Whirlwind), and Birr (Icy) were going to wind up fighting Beatdown (forget who he was based off of, actually) and afterward the Avians, Killer Mist (Cloudchaser), Downdraft (Flitter) and Shocklance (Thunderlane). Beatdown is a trans-pony who manipulates the way kinetic energy moves through his body; he can diffuse the forces of kicks and punches to take hits, or turn the energies from a wind-up into a very efficient and powerful punch. He’s just dumb muscle, though; The Avians are the ones with plans for world domination. Beatdown was going to lose to Birr, who basically has Zapps' meterokinesis but with snow and ice instead of rain and lightning. Freezing mist is very effective against Beatdown; kinetic energy diffusion doesn’t mix well with temperature attacks. Spectrum and Whirlwind would have had more of a chance to shine against the Avians. Shocklance was a small-time crook who recruited his cohorts after the twins got kicked out of higher education for discipline issues. Downdraft and Killer Mist built the team weapons, wind-manipulating drones, cloud generating grenades, and a shocking lance (guess who got which), and since have been stealing parts to build bigger and better devices.

Spectrum is an inventor himself, and might have had a scene where he understood some of how the Avian’s tech works; but his primary focus is on photosolids, which are what Radience’s bracelets produce. Creating photosolids using just technology is difficult; it’s a field that Pixelnaut (Button Mash) is capable in. Spectrum’s origin story is a long history of science-driven juvenile delinquency that culminates in stealing a bunch of photosolid technology schematics and equipment from various organizations and tinkering with it until he had built his pseudodermis projectors, which offer him armor, let his spit out duplicates (three max) and shoot bolts of force. Spectrum was originally a member fo the Deviants (I think they were mentioned briefly), which are a group of misfits who try to be left alone; Spectrum quit because he developed affections for Aerial, then on the Young Harmony team. Her powers come from knowing Pegasi magical techniques from a land far away; it’s pretty straight aerokinesis and martial arts, she’s a lot like an airbender. Aerial and Spectrum have advantages of numbers and good reflexes that would have made them useful against the Avians, who are smart enough to know to shoot the squishy wizard on the enemy team.

8716272
Earthshaker (Golden Delicious) and Marvel Mare (Red June) got thrown into a fight with the Questing Beast, a creature of the Arthurian Tradition that I’m rather fond of. Earthshaker is Mistress Marvelous’ newest sidekick (Humdrums’ graduated from that position a while ago), and he receives his powers from a set of enchanted horseshoes; I forget if I gave them an origin, but now I’d say they came from the same place Mistress Marvelous’ lasso came from, ancient relic of an Earth Pony Goddess passed down through the generations. Point of the matter is that Earthshaker's shoes give him broad but strong geokinesis, less earthbending and more localized earthquakes. He's also strong enough to wear bulky armor, which makes him less of a squishy target.

Marvel Mare has a rather long backstory. She is the daughter of Lifeforce (Big Mac) and Metamare (Cheerilee). Lifeforce has From a Single Cell regeneration abilities and a fine Earth Pony physique and not much else; Metamare has a high level of autobiokinesis; she can make herself bone armor or grow extra limbs or alter her digestive tract to spit acid; a lot of different powers that take time and a lot of food to get working. Lifeforce derived his powers from Harmony itself, as best scientists could tell; Metamare was a transpony who triggered while receiving an experimental medical operation. They married and had a daughter, and while neither of their powers were directly hereditary, the result of a nigh-divine imperative to survive and a lot of leeway with the laws of biology gave Marvel Mare an extraordinary physiology. Her body is made of thousands of redundant organs and systems to contain damage and more efficiently perform bodily functions; she has superequine speed, strength, and mental acuity and is next to impossible to put down.

The Questing Beast is basically an enormous snake leopard that’s very poisonous, but those traits don’t work well against targets as tough as Earthshaker and Marvel Mare. Once Del and June stopped panicking they could just hold it in place and pound it back to Tartarus. The Beast is technically immortal, but that just means it’ll come back and go after some other poor soul in a year or two.

Now to Ponygeist (Star). Ponygeist is the daughter of the Masked Matterhorn, who is a Pegasus who uses an incredibly rare magical metal (let’s just call it thaumite, that sounds cool) and a great deal of technical knowledge to build her horns, which can cast evocation spells. Ponygeist is her daughter and was trained from birth to inherit the Matterhorn’s company and super-heroine identity, and that pressure drove her to desperate measures. The Matterhorn had been experimenting with directly implanting parts of her horn into herself; Ponygeist used that technology to help her become more powerful, botched it badly, and gave herself what amounts to really bad mercury poisoning. In the fallout of the loss her life’s purpose Ponygeist was given by an as yet unknown benefactor her Amulet. It uses the same type of stone as Radience’s bracelets, but is heavily enchanted; a hard to understand syncretism of many different types of magic, with no clear origin. What Ponygeist cared about was that is let her project a proxy, a “ghost” version of herself that could see and pass through solid matter. Inside her body she has a very weak telekinesis, which is just strong enough to, say, clot a vein. She’s basically the scariest sort of ghost, who pops out of the floor and kills you with a hoof through the brain. And Ponygeist used that, too. She became a supervillain after her mother blamed her for her accident and failed to help her recover, and has been living on the lamb after fleeing from the hospital.

Ponygeist would have gone up against the Horologist (Doctor Whooves, Time Turner, whatever his official name is). He also derives his powers from a mysterious item, though his magical hourglass is from the future. It’s literally indestructible, and also is one of the few things that Ponygeists’ ghost vision can’t see though, which is why Star would have found the guy. Horologist’s hourglass lets him go back in time exactly one minute, after which it stops working for exactly one minute. He doesn't split the timeline or alter the past or such and such; he cannot change events that have come to pass. What he does is go back one minute, then after that minute’s up, he goes back again and again. What he gets is the appearance of cloning himself, possibly dozens of times. His power has a lot of uses can figure out if you think about it; he was actually going to escape from Ponygeist by using his hourglass over and over and traversing the entire city in one minute and three dozen clones.

8718482
Alright, I think the next chapter would have been Annie and Candy (Cheerleader and Jestress) against the Grey Horse (Maud Pie). This occurred at Jestress’s massive Warehouse of Stuff, where the two came to find answers. Grey Horses powers were tied into Cheerleader’s backstory, I think I remember the broad strokes and I’ll fill in the rest.

Ponies manipulate nature to their benefit, keeping it stable and healthy for them and their crops. One of the more unusual ideas the Powered Comics writers had (well, I had) was that idea applied to ponies. They imagined diminutive little fairy-ponies who manipulated big ponies’ emotions, keeping them stable and harmonious so the fairy-ponies could safely live among them and take tribute from ponies in exchange for keeping them happy. This was the state of affairs a few millennia ago; then an unnamed pony discovered a powerful fairy artifact, a magical pool, that made him immune to their power and he lead a crusade to destroy them and “free” Equestria. He succeeded.

Fast forward to the present, Cheerleader gets her powers from a tiny cabal of fairy survivors guarding the fairy Princess (Mi Amore Cadenza). Cheerleader promises to help restore the world to the lost harmony the Princess desires. This is not idle chance; the fairies’ old places are being rediscovered by modern expansion. Another pony rediscovers the Pool, which stripes from her all emotion. She feels no pain and no fear, never becomes bored or distracted, forever pursues her goal, which is “defending “ the world from the fairies. This is the Grey Mare.

Monsieur Maladie is more comedic than dangerous in many ways, so the Grey Mare was intended to show Anthea and Candy that things were serious. I believe she was also one of the villains that would “win” their encounter, driving Cheerleader and Jestress to flight, and get manipulated by Pandemonium into a larger villain team-up later on.

Though they flee, Annie and Candy do get a next goal: Myriad. He’s a scientist who they hope can help them with this “interdimensional incident.” In reality, he’s who Illusion becomes when dives into the Comic. I’ll explain more of his powers when he becomes relevant.

That brings us to Star, June, and Del meeting up to fight the Archmages, a trio of unicorns consisting of Star Step (Moondancer), Animate Strings (Snips’ father the puppet guy, whatever his name is), and The Transmografigurater (that one background pony with three diamonds as a cutie mark). Star Step is their leader. Animate Strings and Transmo (only she calls herself The Transmografigurater) were skilled magical criminals who developed a rivalry with the Masked Matterhorn after she beat them individually; when it became known that her horn was artificial (publicly revealed in an unrelated incident), they sort of had a crisis of self-worth after realizing their skills had been overpowered by a non-unicorn, and they teamed up. This didn’t do much. Eventually, they got into contact with Star Step, who worked in the Matterhorn’s company and eventually became privy to her secret identity and thaumite research. She worked as the Matterhorn’s research partner, eventually creating magical amplifiers for unicorns, which the Matterhorn hoped could be used to bolster her fellow heroes.

The Masked Matterhorn started out being pretty paranoid about abusers of her research and got more so after a string of accidents that involved her efforts to replicate her teammates powers (long story). She told her identity to Star Step before she veered into extreme secrecy for her research, and Star Step viewed the Matterhorn as getting more and more controlling, refusing to let Star Step in on her own projects while demanding complete transparency from her. Star Step wasn’t without ambition; she wanted the sort of power and wealth that the Matterhorn had, and after years of being sidelined by the Matterhorn and months of contact with her future teammates, she eventually snapped, stole several prototype magic amplifiers, and embarked on a quest to steal the Matterhorn’s other work. Thus the Archmages were formed.

Star Step is a skilled magical tinkerer who often pulls out surprises, but her bread and butter is an amplifier that lets her teleport objects that she gets in her magical grip. She drops flechettes on people, teleports weapons away, maneuvers her team around. Animate Strings casts animate object spells; he’s fond of designing highly variable puppets, ponyquins, giant walkers, flying little bees, lots of minions. He’s not at all a threat in person, he’d prefer not to be in fights at all if it weren’t necessary to direct his constructs. Transmo is a master transfigurer. She’s actually asthmatic, but she’ll turn the area around her into a nightmare of explosives and greased floors and bombs, and she’s the best of the team at throwing up barriers.

The Archmages would have also been part of the Big Penultimate Battle, and their fight with Del and June would have consisted of Star Step teleporting her team around earthquakes while Transmo caged Marvel Mare and some of Animate Strings’ most agile minions distracted Earthshaker until he got ganged up on. Then Ponygeist would have arrived and the Archmages would have noped out of there before they got taken out in three hits by the invulnerable land-shark. Ponygeist is scary.

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And only now do I realize that by replying to my own comments you get no notifications and probably think I’ve gone dark. Blast.

Well, if you’re willing to track down the order, this brings us to where Nidra, T, and Claire entered the story (Claire entered through Candy’s book, and Nidra and T through Prism’s. The books aren’t quite sucking ponies in willy nilly, but if you try too mess with them they’re pretty easy to open by mistake).

T, Claire, and Nidra all become the remaining members of the Deviants, Telegonius, Ctimene, and Nightbat respectively. Telegonius and Ctimene are both half-Tartarian demons who were conceived by the Goldwitch (Sunset Shimmer), and Circe, a demon. Demons can produce half-demons by possessing ponies for long periods of time, which Circe did to Goldwitch. This backstory doesn’t really become relevant, though; what matters is that half-demons are hardly common enough for most ponies to have any idea of what they’re dealing with and they get superpowers.

Telegonius is abnormally strong and has demonic claws and horns, and when he gets angry, he experiences a feedback loop which can cause a sort of berserker rage directed at whatever set him off. While raging, he’s not very cognizant, and also turns into a shifting skeleton covered in fire who can teleport short distances towards his opponents. He’s not very corporeal but is hot enough to melt iron, and with his claws and spines and speed he can wreak a lot of havoc. He’ll stay like this until someone snaps him out of it or he destroys whatever triggered the rage.

Ctimene is sort of Teledonius’s foil; half-demons don’t have a very consistent appearance. She looks like a normal unicorn except her horn is curved and covered in runes. She creates constructs out of demonfire; these don’t have substance but can adopt the appearance of regular objects, and are more or less made of real fire. Ctimene can set a room ablaze and make it seem as if nothing is wrong, disguise burning caltrops as scattered leaves, and hide the exits of traps and prisons. Her fire can take time to grow to large sizes, though, and upon investigation obviously has no substance.

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Don't worry, I'm still listening. I honestly think these backstories would be perfect for a stand-alone fanfic! :pinkiehappy:

BTW, with the whole reality-warping event you mentioned earlier, do our heroes keep their powers?

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Thank you. The possibility of physical bleed between the real and comics worlds wasn’t considered in this story, but doing something like letting ponies keep powers in the real world is Pandemonium’s end goal, because that means he can escape the comics world and have a real life. In the hypothetical sequel to this story, something like this might occur; I would say it is definitely possible with enough Chaos Magic.

On to Nightbat (Nidra). Nightbat is a vampire, because Princess Nidra is like three steps from being canonically a vampire anyway. She’s the daughter of Nightwolf Nocturne (Princess Luna), a hugely powerful vampire Duchess who disappeared when Nightbat was young, stranding her in Maretropolis. She joined up with Ctimene and Telegonius after a chance encounter, recognizing that all of them would never be trusted by normal ponies.

Powered Comics vampires are ponies whose bodies and magic have been permanently changed by an ancient ritual, which is long since lost but is still passed on through vampiric bloodlines. This ritual uses the vampire’s fundamental magic (the magic of cutie marks, souls, life essence, the important stuff) to create magical energy, which is much faster than normal magical generation but also kills the vampire darn quick unless they consume other ponies’ fundamental magic to keep there's going. Vampiric feeding is debilitating even if not fatal; consuming even a tenth of a ponies’ fundamental magic can leave them hospitalized for weeks and full recovery might take up to a year. Therefore most vampires simply find wretched ponies, criminals, the homeless, those who won’t be missed, and out and out kill them when they need to feed (for a typical vampire every other month; Nightbat’s more powerful and needs to feed every five-six weeks. She tries to find murderers and desperate criminals to devour when she can).

Vampires gain from their sins nigh-immortality; only a blow to heart, head, or neck will kill a vampire because any wound not immediately fatal will be regenerated almost instantly. Vampires need no normal food nor drink, and indeed cannot taste such things. Vampires’ natural tribal magic become stronger and can in time be trained into unusual abilities; Pegasi vampires turn into mist or birds of prey, Earth pony vampires can summon lashing thorns and become wolves; unicorns can gain direct telekinetic control over their own ever-regenerating blood. Nightbat is a young vampire, but because of her excellent lineage she’s already powerful, being able to become a bat and control large swarms of the same, in addition to being a skilled athlete, mage, and fighter. Finally, Nightbat is unusually skilled in the only universal vampiric ability, compelling obedience and deadening a ponies’ emotion with a hypnotic gaze.

Needless to say, the Deviants are viewed as dangerous criminals by the authorities in Maretropolis, and their first fight would be up against the MPD’s elite Hayvid Task Force (mythological allusion to Hayvid and Goliath). It’s sixteen heavily armed guards with net-throwers, electric pikes, full plate armor, and trained combat mages lead by Lieutenant Longshot (Fletcher, not appearing in this story), who employs bracers which fire metal spikes at full automatic. Thinking back on it, he’s more or less Deadshot but an authority figure. These mooks are well-trained and capable, but the Deviants are extremely powerful when they resort to fighting all out, and in the end T, Claire, and Nidra would blow them away with vampire-level magic, T’s rage, and omnidirectional fire.

Oh, right, vampires can also die to begin set on fire, because that just burns out their regeneration eventually. Thankfully Nidra’s first fight with her incendiary friends occurs near a source of water. Vampires have no distaste for running water or garlic, and they’ll only die to a wooden stake for the same reasons you would. They do loathe mirrors; because a silver-backed mirror shows vampires with the hodgepodge of cutie marks they’ve stolen, tattooed all across their bodies.

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Okay, so at this point in the story people start running around a lot, so let me review (mostly for my sake) where everyone is:
Icy, Whirlwind, and Prism have just defeated the Avians and are talking to Commissioner Honorbound, who’s expressing his thanks in the usual way of policemen to superheroes (grudgingly).
Candy and Annie are gallivanting through the city towards the location of Myriad’s lab.
Del, Star, and June are returning to Star’s apartment after Star casually annihilated the Archmages.
Claire, T, and Nidra are realizing they actually don’t know much about hiding from the law.

The Pegasi’s chat with the Commissioner gets interrupted by the bruised and limping Lieutenant Longshot, who (grudgingly) relates how the Deviants are running amok and the police can’t stop them. He points out to the Commissioner (grudgingly) that, as it happens, a powerful cryokinetic and someone who can spit out duplicates without fundamental magic is exactly what the police needs right now, and so the Pegasi are sent to hunt down the Deviants.

Meanwhile, Candy and Annie run into Star, Del, and June when Star figures out how to use her Ghost-vision well enough to tell that there's a pocket dimension moving across the city, right next to a giant mass of weird energy. That giant mass of weird energy is the fight those five get into shortly after they reunite; the Gremlin Contriver (Discord).

The Gremlin Contriver is an inventor who derives his powers from Dissonance itself, as best science can tell. He can create anything, but his inventions are never what he expects them to be; some are useful, most are weird, and the stress of constantly having brilliant ideas that he knows will prove just slightly impossible has unhinged him a bit, as has the fact that device misfires have mutated him severely. The Gremlin Contriver is moving near Myraid’s lab because he’s trying to search for it; in his usual fashion, he arrived in almost the right place but wound up next to a bunch of powerful superheroes.

The Gremlin Contriver has a lot of machines which do things that by rights out to be impossible, one of which is a machine that exorcises Star and sends her back to her original body. After that, the team fights an organized retreat against the Contriver’s bombardment of mutated penguins, lava-transmutation bombs, and other, similar objects. Eventually, Del realizes that the Gremlin Contriver is liable to defeat himself if he continues as he is, and so, after some arguing, he and Annie lead him away from Myriad’s Lab while Candy and June attack from behind to drive him back and then get into the lab proper. After the Gremlin Contriver’s tractor beam misses and hauls a garbage dumpster on top of him, Del and Annie head off to Star’s appartement to get her back.

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In the meantime, the Deviant’s and Pegasi’s fight would naturally tend to dissolve into smaller skirmishes, as the Pegasi use the element of surprise and their greater mobility to split up their enemies. Icy locks down T, Prism distracts Nidra but his clones get nailed, leaving his physical body next to Claire, and so Whirlwind tries to keep Nidra away. The fight ends when Prism recognizes Claire (for all his flaws, I think he knows his friends rather well, even if he often ignores their feelings) and they hash out what happened. Unfortunately, Nidra experiences her first blood-frenzied urge to feed, nearly “kills” Whirlwind, and runs off, forcing Prism and T, the only fliers fast enough to chase her (Whirlwind is still down a wing) to go off and leave the rest of the group on their own. So it is that the ponies are all off on their little team quests once again, leaving them ever more vulnerable! Buwuhaha !

It is about this time when Illusion and Valiant Heart enter the comics (I completely forgot I had Valiant Heart in here initially, he never played a big role; I did write his character’s backstory, through, so might as well). Since the start of the comics fiasco, Illusion has been getting steadily more concerned, and by now it's been hours and noponies’ come out of their book. So Illusion snags the three books, high-tails it to Canterlot, and explains to his parents what he did, and they figure out more or less what happened and that the best way to end the imprisonment is to finish the story. Valiant Heart takes after his father, and so is enough of a comics buff to know how the storylines Illusion grabbed segway into the larger Pandemonium plot. Ultimately, to minimize complexity that might affect the books, only Illusion and Valiant Heart go in.

Illusion is Myriad. Myriad is the clone of the Gremlin Contriver, or rather one of his attempts at a clone. The Gremlin Contriver’s inability to control his impact on the world gets to him, in no way more than his inability to create children. A misfire rendered him infertile, and whenever he tries to use his powers to create life, something always winds up wrong. Myriad is genetically the son of the Gremlin Contriver, but his fundamental magic got expanded by his creation process. As a result, he is simultaneously every species on Equestria at once.

Well, not actually at once, but he can change into different sentient species, or combinations thereof. I liked his design because it’s the sort of power only an Equestrian would think of as fairly obvious. Myriad can turn into a Pegasus to fly quickly, morph into a Breezy to slip into a locked facility, and then become the classic minotaur-dragon hybrid to wreck havoc. He’s also smart and remarkably well put-together considering who his father is; he does research on himself and genetics in general in his lab, and frequently gets called on to help ponies mutated or affected by powers. Myriad has trouble turning into very magical species, like dragons and alicorns, but he can become half-dragon or use splintered alicorn magic like what Star’s enormous wings stem from; and his research has allowed him to use more powerful species more frequently.

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Right, so thinking on it again, I’m pretty sure I did drop Valiant Heart from the story. Huh. Well, his character was… I forget the name, so I’ll make one up. Excelsior. That fits. He was the son of Radiance and Spearmaster (Shining Armor), and during his youth he suffered a crippling heart disease that would have killed him. Radiance had been researching her bracelets (alien artifacts, in short) and she found another example of their material in her research, a meteorite raw and unpolished crystals. Using her own expertise and help from the Masked Matterhorn, she fused the crystals into her son’s body and he was able to change his magical rhythms to use their photosolid-generating abilities to make up for his failing organs. Because the crystals that have infused his body have a lot more mass than Radiance’s, Excelsior is also very powerful, but because he also has to be generating some (very intricate) constructs constantly to not die, it limits how much he can do with them; he can’t focus intellectually on what he wants to do or else his heart fails. Rather, he uses the crystals to empower his body, giving him a magical suit of armor, improving his strength, firing slicing thorns in time to his wing beats, and other extensions of his natural movements. He needs to do things by reflex instead of by careful thought in order to effectively multitask with his powers. Spearmaster, a capable martial artist (albeit mostly with spears), helped him in developing most of his fighting techniques. I liked his character, which was at once extremely powerful and also constantly on a knife’s edge (he has to be careful falling asleep; getting concussed would probably be fatal). Unfortunately, this story had a few to many characters already.

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Alright, so now we have four new trios of ponies. I suppose we’ll start with Icy, Claire, and Whirlwind as their fight would occur the soonest after the split. Whirlwind is mildly injured and fairly traumatized because Nidra started sucking out her soul, the others have a lot to think about. At this point, a series of increasingly contrived fights will start occurring because Pandemonium is actively using his illusions and mindreading to influence villains into trying to beat up the heroes, essentially playing the problem ponies around him off one another. One of the simpler ponies to manipulate is Electromare (Lightning Dust), a transpony who experienced her triggering event after being experimented on for some time by a rogue branch of the Equestrian military. She had some mechanical implants, chemical enhancers, and a great deal of magical strengthening pumped into her in a very primitive effort to replicate superpowers. She wasn’t anywhere near the Power Ponies’ level until she got struck by lightning. Transponies normally don’t trigger due to natural phenomena; having lightning fry your mechanical lungs is not a natural phenomenon. Electromare wound up being an equine supercapacitor who desperately needs electrical power to live. She has very serious scaring (mental and physical) and has slowly gotten less berserk since her trigger, her rage sharpening into a colder hatred of the government and of her rival, Zapp, whose unlimited source of lightning is something she rather wants.

Electromare is one of the ponies who would win her fight and come back in the finale. She can’t direct her electrical discharge, simply choosing whether its on or off. However, her hoarded power is by now nigh-bottomless; she’ll discharge lighting into any pony in fifteen feet when trying to, killing them quickly, and she’ also a fast flier. Birr is more resistant to electricity, but also his magical icicle is a conductor of magical power, so he’s in danger within thirty feet. Electromare will beeline for Birr, knowing his connection to Zapp, without pausing to take in the situation; Icy would rely on Whirlwind to keep Electromare away, which only somewhat works. Electromare is quick and strong enough to resist even a hailstorm from Icy, and the fight will consist of him working up to a concealing sleetsorm as Whirlwind and Claire distract Electromare with illusions of Icy and wind gusts. The trio eventually runs off; Electromare will eventually lose track of the and fly away howling her frustration.

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Now let’s slide over to Illusion, Candy, and June. Illusion enters his lab as Myraid, and soon gets the hang of his powers. Unfortunately, Myriad’s lab is a cluster of goodies almost any supervillain would want if they knew where it was; and thanks ot Pandemonium, a great number of them suddenly know just that. Specifically, Oktavia Seckendorff (Octavia Melody) and Cacophony (Vinyl Scratch), both of whom are interested in Myriad’s research into his unique fundamental magic, on account of them being vampires. Oktavia is an ancient vampire, a friend to Nightwolf Nocturne, and Cacophony is her grandchild and reluctant companion after Oktavia got kicked out of her manse by the Power Ponies. The duo are also going after Myriad hoping to gain a better understanding of the Power Ponies’ powers from his research, in the interest of revenge.

Oktavia is an ancient and powerful vampire, capable of becoming a large wolf, possessing great strength and speed, and being able to cling to walls. She is more finesse than raw power, with excellent reflexes and great mobility. She bounces around the room dealing critical damage in close quarters. Cacophony is a tinker in addition to being a vampire, using a massive noise cannon which destroys fragile objects, such as blood vessels. She lacks any major vampiric abilities aside from a weak compelling gaze and regeneration (she’s only 36 from a weaker vampiric bloodline), so she prefers to stand away from the fight, using her noise cannon freely on Oktavia, as her regeneration makes it quite ineffective. Illusion will need to escape from the vampires at first, but when Candy and June arrive, he can start fighting back. June’s abilities will be compromised by the noise cannon, as it attacks all of her redundant systems at once; she’ll rely on Candy to provide earplugs and soundproofing cloth to Myriad, who can turn into a changeling to fight without needing to see (Well, by sensing emotions he can fight well enough to smash large fragile sound systems). Defeating Cacophony first is their best bet; the June can more easily fight Oktavia, overcoming her with sheer tenacity and some help from Myriad turning into a half-dragon.

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Now we can bounce over to Prism, Nidra, and T. against Aurochs (Iron Will). Explaining his powers requires some of Saddle Rager’s backstory in my conception. Saddle Rager is operating under a curse from the fairy-ponies, or rather a very old group of them that tried to revolt against the Princess in ancient times. She was initially an archeologist; she was researching ancient equestrian civilizations and found the Soul of Fury, a superweapon created by the rebel fairy-ponies sealed away by the victors.

Well, ancient seals have a short half-life in MLP, and unsurprisingly this one wasn’t working to well when Saddle Rager found it. She obeyed proper archeological procedure, moved the glowing red gem carefully with padded tongs, and it still exploded and cursed her. Now, whenever she gets angry, her rage fuels the archetype of Fury itself, and she gets incredible strength and also more or less becomes a different person.

Fast-forward through her years of life in hiding and the formation of the Power Ponies, and the Masked Matterhorn is trying to replicate her teammates powers, to create more heroes for the good of society. Spectrum, as I mentioned, distantly owes his inspiration to a failed effort to copy Radiance’s powers. Because the Saddle Rager gets her powers from something meant to be passed along, it was far easier to copy her abilities with the Matterhorn’s magic-replicating Thaumite. Of course, the Matterhorn and Saddle Rager weren’t entirely aware that Saddle Rager has become the host for a WMD, and predictably meddling with her powers lead to bad things.

Aurochs was a Minotian spy who had the good idea of sneaking into Matterhorn’s lab and relying on whatever superpowers he could gain within to escape, a daring move the Matterhorn wasn’t planning on when designing her security. Aurochs found and used the artificial Soul of Fury Matterhorn had made, and due to a combination of him not being a pony, his great mental discipline, and glitches in the Matterhorn’s design, he got slightly different powers. Aurochs has the ability to turn into a large bull-like creature, possessing great strength and an impressive charge, but he retains his mind and can easily transform back. He’s not quite as powerful as Saddle Rager, but is one of her most dangerous foes. Aurochs is no longer associated with Minos; he dislikes the Deviants (of whom Spectrum, Telegonius, and Nightbat are members or ex-members) due to a conflict he had with them where he tried to use them to terrorize a sporting event that they cottoned on to his game and hospitalized him (well, he regenerates well enough to skip the hospital, but it hurt a lot.

Aurochs is good at switching between forms to confuse his enemies in battle, and he’s strong enough to charge up walls and leap from building to building, which takes some of his foes’ airborne advantage away. He’ll go straight for Prism and smash his armor, making him useless for the rest of the fight. From there he can pivot to trying to fight T., who he’ll hope to beat before his anger grows enough to make him a threat. Aurochs is hugely strong and will get some good blows in, and Nidra will primarily be limited to annoying him with her bats (she’s still hungry). In the end, Prism persuades Nidra to fight all-out, gets T. Back from his angered state, and convinces everyone to bail. This would have been a fast fight; Aurochs hits like a train.

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So, finally, we get to Star, Del, and Annie. When the Gremlin Contriver exorcised Star, she got thrown back into her physical body and her amulet lost power, meaning she needs a few hours to regain the ability to project her ghost-self. Del leads Annie to Star’s apartment, and upon arriving they find Goldward (Sunray, Sunset Shimmer’s daughter in the Kilalaverse), who has taken Star’s amulet and is waiting on the authorities to come and arrest Ponygeist formally. She learned where Ponygeist was from Pandemonium (who illusioned some evidence to point her in the right direction) and set up for her attack. When Star got exorcised she moved up her timetable.

Goldward is the daughter of Goldwitch by a mortal pony, making her Telegonius and Ctimene’s half-sister. Goldwitch was a capable magician who journeyed to Tartarus to make acquire greater power. The demons inside Tartarus taught her about demonic summoning and contracts and many other forbidden spells, which Goldwitch tried to use to acquire political leadership. Though the Power Ponies fought hard against her after they cottoned on to her game, Goldwitch’s own ambitions were what destroyed her: her career as a rising political star whose enemies tended to suffer bizarre setbacks on the campaign trail was cut short after Goldwitch let herself be possessed by Circe for a several weeks to access that arch-demons’ power. In the middle of a speech, Circe forced Goldwitch into the back of her own brain and incinerated her political career along with several innocent onlookers, before running off to set several nefarious plots in motion using Goldwitch’s body and magical power. It took nearly six years for Circe to finally be exorcised from Goldwitch (Telegonius and Ctimene were born during this time), and this was entirely thanks to the work of the Power Ponies. After her rescue, Goldwitch essentially tried to live as a hermit, but eventually met somepony whom she married and had a daughter with. She’s now back in politics, actually, after writing some academic work on demonic rituals (and the reason they’re a bad idea).

Goldwitch’s daughter, Goldward, takes after her mother in magical abilities and sterling leadership skills; she’s actually turned down offers to join the Young Harmony team due to her role as a community leader in Maretropolis’s less prosperous Saltlick District. Goldward avoids demonic magic, but she and her mother have modified magic used to influence demons into magic that can be used to influence ponies. Goldward can magically compel ponies to obey simple commands, force them to pay attention to her, or give more complex ordersusing lengthier rituals. Goldward can’t quite mind control ponies, but she can induce a powerful urge to do what she says, at least for short lengths of time. Part of the issue in this fight will be that Star’s been told to not try to escape or harm other ponies, and so she won’t try to save herself.

Goldwitch is hindered by the fact that she’s a neutral good NPC who doesn’t know the Player Characters have a very different agenda than she does, and so she’ll politely greet Del and Annie and explain how she’s captured Ponygeist. Of course, Goldward is also smart, and she’ll realize before long that Del and Annie don’t recognize her. That will escalate into a fight, as Del and Annie try to overpower her and free Star. Goldward’s commands work unusually well on Annie, as her personality, a “pony-pleaser,” makes her more susceptible. Into the bargain, Del can’t use his earthquakes extensively without injuring all his friends in a small apartment. Goldward’s a passable physical combatant, but not a match for Del, so she’ll try to get Annie to incapacitate him with crippling depression and then have Annie not resist as Goldward ties her up. Then Star will be Star and break the compulsion to shout at Annie about standing up for herself and not losing and how Twilight will be disappointed in her, and Annie stops locking down Del, and Del has a cool moment of controlling his powers to create just the right amount of shaking to throw Goldward off balance and buck her into a wall. Unfortunately, Sunray would need quite a tale to ever find herself in possession of an enchanted comic.

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Okay, so we have:
Icy, Clair, and Whirlwind retreating to Young Harmony HQ.
Prism, Nidra, and Telegonius retreating to Young Harmony HQ.
Star, Del, and Annie discussing whether they can risk heading back to meet up with Candy of if they should stay put.
Illusion, Candy, and June aware of their end-goal of beating Pandemonium and marching towards Star’s appartement.
Pandemonium working to convince Aurochs and the Archmages to not kill each other and maybe recruit Electromare, she's crazy but she can be used…

I think this was a section of story I had glossed over in my original outline, but here’s what I think would be best:

Aurochs and the Archmages would both leap at the chance to attack Young Harmony. The Young Harmony Team is at this moment the biggest group of heroes in town (Power Ponies are down in Trotam City after a giant monster tried to destroy it) and so taking the junior branch out gives the Archmages more-or-less free reign to loot whatever magical materials and technology they want for at least a few days. Aurochs wants to use the Young Harmony base to get more intelligence on the Power Ponies’ abilities, and Aurochs has few qualms about murdering up-and-coming heroes. So, when Pandemonium subtlety informs them of the Young Harmony Team’s base location, they’ll run right off.

Illusion will follow June to Star’s apartment, but the Gremlin Contriver is still out and about, and he’s trying to track the ponies who beat him up and ran off. His trackers make a lot of noise and attract a lot of attention, and one pony they’ll attract attention from is Madamune (Trixie). Madamune is the most powerful unicorn alive. She was (and still is) a rival to the Masked Matterhorn. Madamune is maybe 50% more powerful than Twilight was before her ascension, capable of levitating houses and teleporting and holding herself aloft with pure telekinesis, in addition to all manner of power rays. She developed a God complex and decided that it didn’t matter if she obeyed the law, and devoted herself to arcane study with occasional bank robberies to make ends meet (and, as time went on, stealing increasingly forbidden books of magical lore). She’s one of the oldest characters in Powered Comics, being older than the formation of the Power Ponies. She might be described as the Masked Matterhorn’s Lex Luthor, though in recent years she has become increasingly lonely and distraught with the path of her life. Madamune has realized (maybe in the same way another powerful unicorn came to realize) that friendship is better than studying, but she lacks a good inciting incident to make friends.

Madamune can still muster up enough hatred of the Masked Matterhorn to want to mess with her. She loathes the Matterhorn because despite her being a pretender magician, she’s more well liked, wealthier, and, over time, has become more powerful than Madamune. Madamune hates the concept that her perfection of unicornhood, her identity and role in history, is not important. Thus she’s developed a grudge against the Matterhorn that has turned petty enough to want to mess with her for spite. Like, maybe, possibly, giving her daughter a magic amulet she stole and doesn't want to use to see what happens.

So Madamune turns invisible and skates along behind The Gremlin Contriver’s giant hovercraft until it demolishes Star’s flat, sees Star incapacitated, sees Illusion being horrifically confused as the Gremlin Contriver tearfully rants about his personal issues, and decides that letting Ponygeist die would ruin her fun, so we get a nice three-way fight between Madamune trying to save Star and nobody else, the Gremlin Contriver trying to save Myraid and nobody else, and the Next Generation screaming and trying to dodge bolts of various unnatural energies.

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Hey, haven't heard from you in a while....

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It has been a while. I’m sorry. This post, I started writing over a month ago, and it was difficult even then. Actual fight scenes, for me at least, are way harder than character design; but no new characters are introduced here, so I wanted to detail the fight. So i wound up getting writer’s block for a summary. Sigh. Then I had a rough few weeks and then I sort of forgot this existed. I’m sorry; I’ll try to finish this in future. I am nearly done now.

So while Madamune and Gremlin Contriver are fighting, we’ve got Aurochs and the Archmages making their way to the Young Harmony HQ. Claire, T, Nidra, Whirlwind, Icy, and Prism have all arrived first and are trying to piece together everything that’s happened. With excellent timing, they’ll receive word from the Team’s contacts that there’s an enormous fight occurring between Madamune, the Contriver, and the other members of Young Harmony in the Saltlick District. As they suit up and prepare to rush off, their enemies attack. Star Step teleports in, finds the master security room, and locks it from the inside, giving herself a secure base of operation. She then teleports in and out of it to move ponies around, using the security cameras to direct her fellows. Animate Strings needs to be in close proximity to what he’s animating since he can’t get sensory feedback through his spells; he’d have no idea where his opponents where. He tries to trap Prism, Claire, and Whirlwind (the biggest group and one of the worst in close quarters) inside the Armory and Aurochs drops in to beat them down as Animate blocks the exits. Transmo gets put on guard duty outside this fight and transmutes the hallways to create barriers, keeping everypony else away. The plan is to take the Young Harmony Team apart piecemeal, using Star Step to keep Team Evil out of harm’s way.

So Animate Strings is on occasion a really stupid pony, but he’s smart enough to fireproof his ponyquins. He’s not smart enough to know how to demon-fire proof them, and Claire tries to burn them. Aurochs pounds her into a wall and then tries to get Prism, but Prism is in Spectrum’s workshop, surrounded by technology he understands, and Whirlwind has Aerial’s dodging abilities, and between them they manage to throw Aurochs for a loop, as Animate Strings tries to animate replacements to his ponyquins.

Meanwhile, alarms are going off and T and Nidra are on their own wondering what’s happening. They meet up with Icy just in time for Star Step to shunt Transmo and herself to head them off, recognizing that Animate and Aurochs need more time than expected. Transmo is in her element, turning the walls to liquid and spikes and fumes.The confined space and Transmo all but totally nullify Icy’s powers, and Star Step drags Transmo out of the way whenever T or Nidra get too close, and they hold the group back for a while.

So, eventually, Prism duplicates, and has a Moment of Heroism where he distracts Aurochs with his physical body while his duplicates pull Claire and Whirlwind out of the room. Whirlwind intrepidly stays behind and blows Prism out of the way of the fatal blow, and in the end only Claire gets out. Aurochs clobbers Spectrum and Whirlwind, and then, just as he finally gets to gloat over them before crushing their skulls like a proper villain, Nidra intervenes.

Nidra, who’s getting pretty furious that the world seems to want to kill her and her friends, has a moral event horizon and goes ballistic, rushing next to Transmo and draining her of fundamental magic. Nidra then holds on as Star Step teleports them all away, forcing Star Step to desperately teleport again, next to Aurochs and Animate. Transmo is now incapacitated and also catatonic, and Nidra goes berserk on the entire enemy team. She manages to hold all of them off for a time, but Aurochs is simply such a powerful close-quarters combatant that even Nidra begins to tire eventually.

Meanwhile, Claire is running through the corridors and manages to find T and Icy, both charging towards the workshop. T and Icy are both furiously worried about their siblings/crushes/friends, and Claire has to be the one to talk them into forming a plan and not trying to charge in. Keep in mind none of these ponies is yet aware that they can’t really die in the comics; Illusion hasn’t arrived yet. T in particular is having trouble stopping himself from getting into a berserker rage.

Meanwhile, the baddies are having some problems. Nidra is trying to keep Aurochs out of the fight with her dominating gaze, which lets her get in some hits on ANimate. He flees towards the door and surrounds himself in animated debris. But Aurochs simply gives himself to his rage more and more, growing until he snaps Nidra’s control and gains the upper hand. Just as he gets her pinned and prepares a death blow, he’s interrupted again, by Icy, surrounded by a tide of hail, bursting out of the ventilation shaft.

(The ventilation shaft is cliché, I know, but it’s an underground base; it actually does need a thorough air supply. Plus, they are only big enough for a foal to fit).

Icy leaps out and tries to throw hail at Aurochs, but he only startles him momentarily. Aurochs, however, is no longer thinking rationally; he’s to enraged. He leaps for Icy, Nidra gets free, and The battle is on again. Until Star Step grabs Icy and teleports him right next to Aurochs, who contemptuously snaps his wing and then slams Nidra through several tables to get her back under control.

Aurochs, if he were capable of cognizant thought, would say that the third time’s the charm and then shatter Nidra’s ribcage. He’s currently a rage monster, so he picks her up and tries to rip her in two.

In that instant, Animate Strings gets punched into the ceiling by T, who erupts in an explosion of fire right next to him. During the confusion of Icy’s distraction, T, who is immune to fire, crept into the room disguised as a ponyquin. Claire used her fire illusion magic to do it. T was supposed to get close to Animate and then knock him out; instead he saw Nidra in danger, went berserk, and had to drive through four or five ponyquins to get to Animate Strings, but Animate is still down for the count. As one, the ponyquins collapse

By the time T manages to get to Aurochs, Nidra, were she a normal pony, would have been dead. Nightbat is out of commission regeneration all of her limbs. T and Aurochs go at one another while Star Step teleports out of the way and gets Animate and Transmo to safety in the locked security room. Or she would have, had not Claire been disguised next to Transmo behind a hastily-built flaming disguise. The fight between Claire and Star Step is lightning fast, but by the time Start Step grabs Transmo and gets to her saferoom, her Magic Amplifier is on fire. At that point she’s just a normal teleported, and as she burns her magic to teleport her catatonic teammates above ground, she realizes that she forgot the police would be coming. There’s nowhere to run.

Alright, so T and Aurochs are slugging at each other, and it’s the most destructive fight yet. They simply wreck the room. T is furious, Aurochs is furious, and both of them are durable and powerful. The noise manages to wake Prism, probably with some cracked ribs, up. He grabs ponies and gets them out of the way. Claire is running back to the fight, but she won’t arrive in time to affect the outcome.

T is setting the whole room on fire. That’s what starts to put Aurochs on the back foot. His anger and thoughtless attacks keep setting him on fire, and although he regenerates demonfire is deeply painful. It begins to wear out his body and his mind, and Aurochs gets more lucid. That means T simply starts winning more, his blows wearing Aurochs down. However, Aurochs hates to lose. Even as T overwhelms him, he’s baiting him into maximizing damage, trapping everypony in the flaming room. In the end, spent, Aurochs makes his getaway, running out the door (the police nab him. He’s basically one big scar by that point). As T moves to pursue, he hears Prism shouting. Nidra and Prism snap T out of his rage. They’re trying to shelter Whirlwind and Icy, still unconscious. T realizes, finally, that all of his friends are about to die in the fire.

Prism has another moment of bravery, this one internal. He uses Spectrum’s genius to the fullest. He tries to figure out a way out of the fire using Spectrum's tech. He’s able to recalibrate the experimental Photoshield to withstand the fire. T holds it and lifts his friends over the fire, and when it seems like he’ll fall, Claire arrives ot encourage him. The entire group flees the burning armory and heads to the surface to seek medical attention.

There’s a scene where they all stand around blinking and reflecting on how they all lived through a fight to the death. Policeponies and paramedics start treating their smoke inhalation, broken bones, and general trauma, and inform them that all their foes are super arrested. There’s the desperate happiness that comes from surviving when you weren’t sure you could.

Que Illusion arriving and telling them it was all just a prank gone wrong and they were never in any danger, really, he knew what he was doing.

That goes over well.

I know I said that Aurochs and the Archmages were going to reappear, but writing that, I now realize that their tricks would be played out by the end of a big fight like that. I suppose I can make up new villains to take their place in the final showdown.

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Que Illusion arriving and telling them it was all just a prank gone wrong and they were never in any danger, really, he knew what he was doing.

That goes over well.

I get the feeling he won't be walking straight for a good while...

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While it requires considerable effort by Candy, Annie, and Del to prevent… almost everypony else from incinerating/blasting/eviscerating/slowly freezing Illusion to death on the spot, the Next Generation still is technically on the job. The Comic Books are still mortally determined to finish the Story, and the location of the Final Battle is known; Illusion did his reading before he came in. Pandemonium’s base is a perfectly innocuous office in the Maretropolis business district. There is the small matter that many ponies are critically injured right now, but Illusion confidently explains that Pandemonium himself can just mess with ponies’ heads, and is about as physically threatening as a wet noodle. Since Pandemonium thinks the Next Generation all comic book characters, he's actually a non-threat. Some careful splinting of broken bones and applying of Cheerleader’s reserves of medical supplies will make everypony fit enough to fight the final battle.

In actuality, Pandemonium is very aware of how dangerous his situation is, because Illusion is explaining out loud how the Story Must Go On while illusioned Pandemonium is right next to him. Pandemonium knows he needs to redouble his efforts, and ultimately he’s able to throw together an epic final fight that should satisfy the Story and let him become the Denouement. He convinces the Grey Mare, Electromare, Time Turner, and newcomer Metermare to join forces. I only just now realize that “mare” is the sort of generic component of a superhero name that “man” is in our world for Powered Comics. Anyway, back on topic.

Obviously, an emotionless husk, a mad ex-soldier, a scholar and a gentlepony with an interest in time travel, and Metermare (backstory incoming) would not normally join up, and so Illusion is completely thrown for a loop when the Final Battle happens before it did in the real canonical comic storyline he looked at before diving in.

Metermare, incidentally, is one of the reasons the Matterhorn got stupid paranoid about her technology and research. As you know, she tried to replicate the Power Ponies’ abilities; her research on Radiance got picked up by other heroes like Pixelnaut and Spectrum, her research on Mistress’ Marvelous’ Lasso actually got used later after her husband Orbitar (Flash Sentry) got paralyzed in a fight; the mental control Mistress’ Marevelous has on her lasso inspired Matterhorn to build a remote neural transmitter that bypassed the severed bit of Orbitar’s spine. Before these good things happened, however, the incidents with Aurouchs and Metermare occurred.

Metermare is inspired by the Reverse Flash. She’s Fillisecond’s archnemesis. In order to explain what the Masked Matterhorn did to create her, I need to describe how Fillisecond’s powers work. She’s a transpony, but she’s a particularly powerful transpony who gained her abilities due to deliberate tinkering. She was a test subject for a substantial but secretive organization that created a device to give ponies transpony powers. Fillisecond was the only test subject to survive the Wave-Stabilizing Radiation Exposure Chamber, and she promptly used her abilities to escape and bring the government’s gaze to the organization. It did of course reappear later, but that’s another story.

Fillisecond, when she moves at super-speed, is actually turning into a beam of particles. Partially. She losses some of her mass and begins moving faster. If she goes too fast, she’d tear herself apart due to air resistance, but in theory she could hit lightspeed if there were nothing in the way. With less mass, her punches and impacts do less damage, so she can’t pull the Flash’s Indefinite Mass Punch trick, but she can run around without being exhausted, ever, and she can carry things, provided they aren’t too heavy.

Fillisecond was understandably strongly against trying to replicate the conditions of her trigger, and the Masked Matterhorn concurred. Instead she studied how Fillisecond’s body converted between mass and energy, and tried to determine a way to empower the Matterhorn’s thaumite horns with a similar transfer. This became an attempt to transfer the magic that allowed Fillisecond to convert her body between mass and kinetic energy to another object. This was hard, not in the least because the Fillisecond can’t use her powers and stay still for careful examination. The Matterhorn built a very, very elaborate magical field chamber to analyze the Fillisecond’s magic instead. By changing around the fields,  the Masked Matterhorn was able to slow down the Fillisecond and begin to transfer her magic to other objects, though not permanently. This line of experimentation continued for six or seven months; Fillisecond was the first Power Pony to let the Matterhorn study her powers.

Over time, anomalies began to appear in the chamber. It became curiously easy, inside of it, for the Fillisecond to lift large loads and run with them. She became stronger there. Then she got faster. She had more control over her powers, could turn on a dime. Matterhorn presumed it was due to how she was manipulating magic within the chamber. She began to create a suit that would replicate the effects for Fillisecond everywhere, to make her more powerful.

The suit was a tremendous success. Within three months of it being prototyped, Fillisecond was set to surpass the rest of the team in terms of raw power. For the first time she could pick up ponies and speed them to safety. She could run between Maretropolis and Trotam in a minute and change. She could use her powers in only part of her body to deliver full-power punches at super-speed. Supervillains rapidly became quiescent with such a versatile first-responder around, and Fillisecond and the Matterhorn were so thrilled with their wild success that neither bothered to question the specifics of how the suit and the “magic field” were doing all of this.

About a year after Fillisecond and the Masked Matterhorn first began collaborating, five months wit the new suit, Aurochs happened, and even before then the Masked Matterhorn abandoned researching Zapp’s Bolt and Marevelous’ Lasso because godly magic is really hard to replicate. Within the following month, the Masked Matterhorn will seal her incomplete research on Radience’s bracelets because of what happened here. Fillisecond began to get a bit manic.

Fillisecond has always been extremely peppy and energetic, but she got to the point where she’s overexerting herself. She was fighting crime constantly, in Maretropolis and in nearby cities. She was pushing her powers, even with the suit, to the limit, then breaking the limit and pushing the new one. Her power grew with her impulsivity and impatience. The Power Ponies got concerned.

The Fillisecond got more and more obsessed with action. Not fights, but just doing things. Regulations were forgotten. She sometimes randomly completed chores for other ponies, casually building and then destroying an apartment complex that a locality was waffling about. She went halfway across the continent, butting in on other Hero’s duties, on one occasion causing a foreign incident. She started wearing her suit twenty four-seven. She learned to run while sleeping. The Power Ponies called a psychiatrist, who prescribed a vacation. Fillisecond flat-out refused.

Fillisecond started doing the other Power Ponies’ paperwork. She hates paperwork. She spent a day delivering all the mail in Equestria. She no longer talked to the Power Ponies, or anyone. She became an unceasing blur, never stopping, always performing tasks on a list only she knows.  Finally, the other Power Ponies hunted her down, built an elaborate trap, and after she evaded that one, keep trying until they force her to have a conversation.

Fillisecond was dramatically changed. She didn’t listen or care about what the Power Ponies had to say. She just wanted to run. In the end, she and the Power Ponies fought, Fillisecond won, and a substantial run of comics were devoted to how the Power Ponies managed to finally convince her to stop running. In the end, though, she finally burnt out and took off the suit for a vacation.

The suit then got up, called itself the Metermare, and demands that it be reunited with its partner. In order to become faster, it must have the Fillisecond. Otherwise there is no charger for its speed; it is simply stuck at the velocity it currently has achieved.

The Metermare is an echo of the FIlliseocnd herself, her energy trapped like an afterimage inside the magical fields of the suit. The Metermare must have the Fillisecond to continue accruing speed. In what condition is irrelevant; it’s tried to lobotomize her once. The Metermare is the suit, a mass of energy bound into the loose shape of a pony, and yearning to always be running. However, because it was replicating Fillisecond’s brian along with her body, it is also smart enough to plan and think ahead. To fight, it reverses the Filliscond’s powers, turning some of its energy into mass to create a physical impact.

It’s unclear whether the Metermare made Fillisecond so obdurate for those months or whether the Metermare is an extension of the FIllisecond’s own mindset during that time. But the Metermare is overwhelmingly concerned with reuniting with Fillisecond and empowering itself more. It is not unique; it powers are exactly the same as the Fillisecond, but stronger. The suit absorbed so much energy that the Metermare could outrun, outfight, even outhink its progenitor. To this day, Fillisecond has never defeated Metermare without help.

So yeah, this will be a fun fight! Also, I have a fair number of things coming up, so expect this to be the only thing I post this week. It is two pages. Enjoy!

“Yeah, great! I saw a record room upstairs when I was going down. We could go and try rifling through it.” I really hope there aren’t any records of insanity-causing phototechnic schematics in there. Oh Luna, I just used phototechnic in a sentence, it’s getting worse!

Embrace it Prisim embrace the nerd culture! Mwah ha ha!

Why can Whirlwind use her powers so well to?

Because your not going nerd!

The visor wings thinned as to they went back, from a starting thickness equal to a half hoof-length to maybe a sixteenth of that.

"Probably a bit late on this, but congratulations, Prism, you officially look like a nerd."

That's what I've been saying! Basically.

“Look, I get that you’re worried that comic might have been sent for something sinister, but T you have to admit, it isn't like we were attacked the moment we got here.”

Ah man, maybe a supervillain really did bring us here…

Prince Illusion is his own supervillain.:ajsmug:

Whirlwind snorted. “I dunno, maybe the nerd costume is affecting you.” Prism attempted not to scream. “But you’re right, we will be careful. Thanks for coming.”

Not screaming was hard. Prism managed to turn his into a sort of choked gurgle.

Too perfect. Just too perfect.

Powered Comic Fun Fact: To give the superheroes of Powered Comics a more meaningful role in their society, the Powered Comics Universe is one without Princesses.

Hardly necessary given their track record. But if the propaganda fits! :pinkiecrazy:

This was a nice read. Shame it ends here.

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Hey, how's it going? Anything new to add?

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