• Published 18th Mar 2017
  • 3,323 Views, 185 Comments

Equestrian City - Malcontent



It's been almost a decade since the Battle of the Bands and Sunset Shimmer has been trying to clean up the mess she made. After series of unrelated crimes, Sunset, now known as The Phoenix, may need to finally ask for help.

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Episode 2 - "Old Wounds, New Problems"

A pair of ankle boots clicked down the tiled floor of the Dermatology Research and development wing of Rare Innovations. The slender female with a dark blue hue attached to them walked with a steady yet determined pace. Rounding a corner her pace quickened as her grip on a letter in her hand tightened, creasing the paper. By the time she reached the end of the hall and threw open the glass doors, her anger was apparent to even the most casual observer.

Sassy Saddles turned a sharp left as she let the doors slam behind her, leaving her in a round atrium. She stormed up a set of stairs and didn't even excuse herself as she pushed past a couple workers and supervisors in casual business dress, her vision locked on her target: Pommel’s office.

The next step below Rarity herself on the corporate ladder, Coco Pommel was deep into a batch of paperwork when the frosted glass doors of her office flew open. Sassy hurriedly walked past her secretary and into the main office.

Looking up abruptly, the young looking executive adjusted her pair of glasses before letting them hang by her neck, focusing her eyes on Sassy. “Can I help you, Sassy?” she said, crossing her arms and leaning back in her chair. Sassy slammed the letter on the desk.

“Yes, Miss Pommel, you can. You can start by telling me why my department’s budget is cut by thirty percent while the Botanical department gets a forty-five percent increase!” she said in a huff to Pommel “You've crippled my research, the new line of products I'm working on will be a game changer in the hair care industry!”

“Your research shows little progress based on the reports your staff are turning in. I don't think at this time focusing on a revamp of an old product can benefit the company as a whole” she said.”You may continue your--” Pommel continued looking up at Sassy, a stern look attached to her face, only to be interrupted.

“So that's it? All the time and all effort I put into this new line, the new formulas, all the hours after I've stayed, all the sacrifices I've made mean nothing to you, do they?” Sassy asked, as she slammed her palm on the letter.

“You may continue with what we can spare for your venture. Be glad we didn't simply axe your whole team.” Pommel snapped back. “ You've cost us more then you've made us and several people are starting to--” Pommel continued, trying to remain the calm one in the discussion.

“I want to speak with Rarity!” Sassy finally demanded, Pounding a fist on the desk. “Rarity would never cut my funding! Rarity would believe in me!”

“Rarity is out of the office today. I'll mention of it to Spoon, but to be honest this decision came from both her and Rarity. “ Pommel declared, moving her glasses back to her face and returning her focus to Sassy again. “You've simply got to accept the fact that despite what past between you and Rarity exists, we are still a business. A business that does a lot of things, including your line, Sassy.”

Sassy fumed a few seconds while staring down at the desk and focusing on the letter. She'd met Rarity fairly early in her career, having latched onto her as Rarity began to expand her operations from a simple shop to several boutiques in the city. There had been some turbulence between the two when both felt threatened by the other, but she'd believed it was all in the past.

Pommel was another story.

Pommel had met Rarity even earlier and was well aware of the underhanded tactics Sassy had employed that almost ruined Rarity. She didn't plan on letting Sassy get Rarity into that position again as long as she was able. As the task master of Rarity and Silver Spoon, she was in the perfect position to keep Sassy from ever attaining the ability to hurt Rarity again.

“This isn't over. I want to talk to Rarity when she gets in. Immediately” Sassy said without any hint of civility.

Pommel scratched a few lines on a notepad next to her and looked back up to Sassy. “I will of course, pass on your request. Keep in mind Miss Rarity is a very busy person with many many important matters to oversee” Pommel said, capping her pen and setting it down. “Is that all?”

“I guess it is, isn't it?” Sassy answered, snorting in disgust. “A little kindness goes a long way you know, Pommel.” she said turning and walking off.

“You should have learned that lesson before you tried to push Rarity and I out. Maybe it'd be you instead of Spoons.” Pommel said without missing a beat and resuming her work. She smiled as Sassy’s footsteps stopped a brief moment before continuing walking.

Barging past the cock-eyed secretary, Sassy growled to herself and pushed open the doors of the office. She made her way back downstairs, ideas running through her mind. It had become clear to her she'd never get anywhere here, not with Pommel around to keep her down. Though, she was the biggest company in town.

She stopped a moment and leaned on a rail over the balcony overlooking the middle of the atrium. The sounds of the gentle splashing of water filled her ears as the fountain below trickled. She slowly smiled to herself and resumed walking.

“But not the only one in town.” she thought to herself, quickening her pace before heading back down to her department.

***

Twilight adjusted the gauntlet at the elbow, using a small socket wrench, she tightened the entire piece so it didn't slide off. Flexing her fingers she felt the tiny servo motors assist as each digit was tested. Still in awe after all her time here about the use of fingers, Twilight missed the simple life of using magic to grab things, but she had of course adapted. Much like wearing clothes, Twilight had integrated herself into society and used her exceptional mind to graduate from several programs for the gifted.

Grasping onto science as quickly as she had magic in her world, she quickly came to the notice of several universities, all of which she'd considered, but finally chose one and within three years she'd surpassed the criteria for a PhD in several fields.

Twilight reached over to a small table and gripped a soda can in her gloved hand, testing the sensitivity switches she was startled when the can was crushed in an instant. She let it fall to the table and opened a small panel on the forearm, going at the insides with a tiny tool.

“Good thing you didn't try to crack your knuckles.” S.P.I.K.E said, a small chuckle following, a nearby monitor displayed his face, the dragon she remembered, although digitized.

“Safety first, Spike” She smiled, not turning away from her work. “Did you read what I told you to?” she asked setting down and exchanging tiny tools.

“I did but I'm only up to the founding of Equestrian City as a small town several centuries ago. I want to learn more but every time I try to move faster I end up getting slower.” Spike answered a sad expression on his electronic face.

“I think a lot of that is due to hardware limitations, Spike. I don't have a lot of resources devoted to you now because of the projects I'm running.” Twilight said as she pulled open a section of the armor from the gauntlet and soldered a few areas carefully. “Once I get the Propulsion formulas compiled I should be able to give you more processing power.” A small tendrils of smoke rose from the board she was working on.

“The ECPD should be happy with what you're working on. It'll be a major upgrade to their, well, flimsy armor they have now. “ Spike transferred himself to a closer monitor and continued. “You adding the ability to lift a car over their head is just icing on the cake.”

“Mmhmm.” Twilight absently acknowledged her new electronic assistant as she closed the area she was working on.

“Hey, how did I know you were doing that…” Spike seemed puzzled “or what a car is?”

Twilight giggled and flexed her fingers in the armor again. “I loaded you with basic understanding of this world when I compiled you, Spike.”

“Oh.” he gave a sheepish look to the ceiling.

“You should feel lucky, it took me a long time to understand this world and it's technology.” She continued. “ It seems that this world embraced technology and science above magic, and turned into a completely different civilization.”

“So no Princesses?” Spike asked searching his limited databases as he asked. “Oh wait there are.”

“Not in the sense we know them. It's complicated. “ She answered with a smile as she picked up another soda can and set it down, barely denting it this time. Proud of her accomplishment she deactivated the glove and stood up to stretch, her back arching as she did and a minor crack heard. She opened her eyes in alarm but not really pain. “Geez I need a break..” she picked up a small computer tablet and put her shoes back on. “Come on, Spike let's go see if Rarity is feeling better.”

“Oh boy!” his little eyes turned into hearts. “For some reason I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when we talk about her.

“I just bet you do, Spike” She giggled.

***

Trixie Lulamoon gave a small huff of discontent as the door to her cell slammed shut behind her. The facilities orange jumpsuit made her skin itch as she looked around at her new home.

A single occupancy cell for class c meta humans, it had a few creature comforts like a shower and lavatory, a simple table and a few stock books. The bed was nothing comfortable looking, nor was the color. A dull grey cast everything in the room with a dreary look, complimented by the overhead light, which thanks to her lack of a window, was all she would be seeing for her sentence save her yard time she was allowed.

Sitting down on her new bed, she rubbed her head as she began to contemplate what she was going to do now. How to break out seemed almost impossible. Before she could really formulate a thought, a bang on the door startled her and a voice shouted. “Lights out, Trixie”

“Trixie sleeps when she wishes to!” Trixie defiantly said, crossing her arms.

The lights suddenly went out, a frustrated grunt following them.

***

Sunset Shimmer stretched her neck and shoulders, the fabric from her waitress uniform wasn't helping her aches and pains from the previous night. The diner was thankfully quiet and she'd resigned herself to tidying up the few booths to pass the time.

Checking the wall clock it read a quarter past two AM as she placed a few new bottles of ketchup on the countertop. Earl, the cook, was out back having a smoke, leaving the place quiet and to herself. The occasional car or taxi would drive past the large picture windows of the diner, the beams of their taillights fading as quickly as they'd arrived.

Slightly bored, sunset picked up a clunky looking remote and flipped on the television that sad snug in a corner of the diners far wall. It hummed to life and there was a brief period of time only sound was heard before the image came to bear.

“--numbers reflect a slightly higher return on investment. Something to keep an eye on. In local news, Central Equestrian City was alive tonight with the villain Trixie Lulamoon, apprehended by Central Ec’s star hero, SplitSecond. The daring robbery and attempted escape left two officers injured and several dock owners calling their insurance companies.”

Sunset turned her head to see a police cruiser pull up and park, nothing unusual for this time, it was lunch for the night shift. She turned back to the screen and pulled out her order pad.

“On the scene was the ever familiar face of lieutenant Nightwatch, who had this to say.” the screen cut to the grey toned male who was clearly uneasy in front of the camera. “ECPD is of course always thankful for the help of any citizen, super powered or not, when it comes to assisting in a crime. We have to again remind those of our city that are not endowed with such..abilities..not to endanger themselves. SplitSecond was quick to respond and we appreciate her help. Whomever she is. “ cameras flashed and others yelled questions.

“Is it true that the city and J.U.S.T.I.C.E are considering you for a position given your reputation for meta human crime investigations?”

A small bell rang as the diner door opened, Nightwatch sighed as he saw the television. He took off his hat and jacket and sat at the first spot at the end. “Isn't there something better on?”

Sunset smiled and turned down the set. “The usual, officer? Perhaps a hero sandwich?” she smirked.

“Don't you start too…” he rubbed his face. “I happen to be at a lot of meta issues and suddenly I'm the department’s spokesperson. I didn't ask for that. I'm just a cop”

“Just a cop right I know you always say that, officer” she poured him a cup of coffee and set down three sweeteners and a cream packet. “You know the heroes could do worse. You consider it?” Sunset put a slip in the order window and rang the bell “Earl! ORDER!” she cleared her throat and put on a pleasant face again. “So, Split-Second hmm? She's a fast one.”

“Oh yeah, fast and quick to leave. I got a villain in lock up and a small puzzle to figure out thanks to her. “ he opened his packets and poured them in one at a time. “would be nice if she'd stay and collaborate...no one does”

Sunset leaned back on the counter and folded her arms as she stared back at the grey officer. “Maybe if you took the job, they’d be more inclined to get with you. I know you’d be more connected to help get things done, I'd work with you in a second.”

Nightwatch raised an eyebrow as he sipped his coffee, his eyes wandering to her name tag and back up to her. The coffee wasn’t all that good, but he didn’t mind the company, half the reason he came there wasn’t for the food. Despite the fact she’d only worked there for a few months, he had actually grown to appreciate her rather uncharacteristic wisdom of a diner waitress.

“..IF..” she smirked and turned to get his order as it slid out the serving window. “If I was one. Order up officer.” she set down the plate and handed him a set of salt and pepper shakers. “Can I get you anything else? My shift’s almost up.”

He shook his head and begin to season his food. “No, Becky, thanks. As always you’ve...given me a lot to think about. I’ll leave you a nice tip.” he smiled and turned to the TV, the commercials ending and the news program resuming.

Sunset walked into the back and began gathering a few napkins and condiments, putting them in her apron and turning to a larger husky man who was cleaning the grill. A ragged looking chef’s hat and a apron to match, Earl was busy with his task, not noticing her gaze. A quick gesture more and she walked out the front, past the counter and began busying herself restocking the front booths as the TV played behind her.

“The city’s newest Wing in the Super Max Meta Prison, Purgatory, opened today, ahead of schedule. Viewers will remember last month’s opening was delayed by labor disputes, but Mayor Mare successfully convinced both sides to meet agreement, finishing ahead of projected time tables. Purgatory was the main re-election platform for the city’s incumbent mayor of 4 terms now, narrowly beating her opponent last year with a strong stance on Meta Human crime and Incarceration. The move towards her stance was as much a shock as the victory, as it marked a major turning point for the Mayor’s usual platform of Pro Labor.” the TV continued. “Mayor Mare gave this remark on the newest expansion of Purgatory.”

The TV flickered for a moment and the lights followed as a street car went by the diner, rattling the windows slightly. Sunset Shimmer held onto the glassware on the table she was cleaning until the brief rattling passed, continuing her work as her only customer ate his lunch.

“This newest expansion will bring us forward as a city, with the help of ECPD, JUSTICE and of course the countless men and women who take to helping fight crime thanks to the Meta Human Enforcement Act, as we continue to clean up the streets and put those who would abuse their gifts behind bars.”

“We were running out of room, is what you mean.” Sunset said as she walked behind the counter again, checking on the officer. “Plenty more room for your job though, hmm?”

Nightwatch finished a bite and nodded, his eyes moving back to her from the TV. “ I’d like to think one day we’ll have a city where we don’t have to worry too much about the issues these bad guys are giving us recently.” he took another sip of his coffee. “Seems like it’s never ending now.”

“Yeah, tell me about it…” Sunset remarked in agreement. She frowned as she stared outside through the main windows. “It’s been picking up recently…” she turned back and her expression changed to a more pleasant one. “So the TV says, more coffee?”

Nightwatch nodded and leaned back on the stool a bit. “Please. You’re not wrong though, it does seem a bit worse then it was about six months ago. I barely had one or two meta human issues a week, now it’s one every night.” he added more cream to his coffee.

“All Units All Units, 2 10-84s in Progress, 10th and Charles Avenue, Rare Hair Factory.” a sudden blare came over Nightwatch’s shoulder mic. “10-84s with possible 10-91. Repeat 10-91, proceed with Meta Human Precautions.”

Nightwatch stood up. “Or sometimes more than one a night, sorry Beck, here..” He put down a twenty and turned to put his keys from his pocket. “Keep the change, I’ll talk to you later.” He raced out the door and was in his cruiser before the bell had finished announcing his departure.

“What's his hurry?” Another waitress walked in from the back. “Oh hey, nice tip..” she noted as Sunset quickly grabbed and ran up the order, pocketing her change. “You must put something extra in the service for him hmm?”

Sunset barely registered the insinuation, taking off her apron and setting her pad down. “Rose, it’s all yours, I’ve got something that's come up. “ she pulled a duffle bag from behind the door and quickly moved to clock out in the back. “Front’s all stocked!” was all she said before dashing out the back. She didn’t have much time to change, thanks to Nightwatch, she knew two different properties had silent alarms going off downtown.

Rose shook her head as she looked out the back. “That girl’s always on the move.”

==

Sassy Saddles crept along the catwalks in the factory, the smell of the raw chemicals making her gag occasionally. She had little love for the place, but it was where Rarity stored her notes on the particular line of cosmetics she was going to steal. Liberate, would be a better term, since she was almost certain she’d thought of them herself in the first place. Her hands firmly on the rails, she saw the office just ahead, past two large vats of neon green yellow chemicals.

“Those boys better be worth their sticker price.” she thought, “ Thugs should be as disposable as a tissue, but shouldn’t cost as much as a High End Scarf.” she frowned silently, remembering the price she’d paid them. She had needed a distraction and thankfully, a local group of thugs were more then happy to be given pass codes to a nearby storage warehouse, all thanks to her. Even better she’d done it by proxy, and made sure none of it could be traced back. Hero or policeman would be too busy with the mayhem they were causing to notice a door thats been pried open next to the crime.

“Ah, there we go.” She smiled softly as she made her way to the elevated office, pulling out a small pry bar from her purse and setting it and the bag down. She put on a pair of rather expensive leather gloves and adjusted her hair in the window of the office, the inside lit dimly by a stray desktop computer screen. Picking up her prybar she jammed it unceremoniously into the door jam and leaned into it, working and grunting, cursing a few times. The wood finally cracked and the door popped open with a echoing splintering of wood.

Sassy quickly searched the desktop, opening the drawers hastily jarring the contents on each one. Scanning the tabletop near the desk, she smiled and saw her prize: a set of chemical vials. She started examining the labels, eyes darting back and forth as scanned the serial numbers. Finally she found the number she was searching for. “Ah ha! Let's see how well you do when Rarity finds out this got leaked to the competition.” She muttered, pocketing the vial. “Let's see what else you have laying around.”

Pocketing the pry bar, she walked in and quickly pulled a small picture off the wall, a safe behind it with a ten digit keypad. Thinking for a moment, she pressed in a series of numbers, only to have the safe buzz back at her, a red light blinking in response.

“Damn. Must rotate the codes.” She whispered to herself, trying another set, keeping her gloves on and receiving another series of rejects, she jumped back as the safe let out a long buzz and the keypad went dim. “No no, don’t lock me...out…” She growled, having activated the fail-safe, the entire lock was now disabled until a command from another terminal was sent.

“Working late?” a voice asked behind her, making her turn quickly. Sunset Shimmer stood in the doorway, this time fully dressed for her current guise. Two tones of gray and black covered her from top to bottom, with a few flame patterns on the chest and legs. The boots matched with accents along the bottom. Coupled with a short jacket and a set of small gloves, the outfit completed itself with a pair of wrap around glasses that had a blue hue to them, concealing any distinguishing features from casual observation.

“The Phoenix...you’re not real..” Sassy said, backing up a step but gripping her pry bar. She’d heard stories but never seen the hero in action.

“Call me what you want, last ones called me Lady Flame I think...you’re under arrest.” Sunset said, putting her hands to her hips and blocking the doorway. “Industrial Espionage is a serious crime.”

Sassy felt her world crashing around her, desperate for way out, she glanced quickly at the desk in front of her and grabbed several vials of chemicals, throwing it at Sunset. “The hell with this!”

Dodging the vials, Sunset closed the gap between the two and grabbed the back of Sassy’s collar with a firm grip. “Uh uh, not so fast.” Sunset said, before a wild swing from Sassy’s crowbar connected to the hero’s forearm, saving her face. Sending the weapon flying from Sassy’s hands with a quick wrist slap, she used her own weight to restrain her against the wall, pulling out a set of handcuffs.

Sassy cried out in pain as she felt her air get knocked out from the blow, but instinct sent a back kick into Sunset’s knee, easing the restraining hold she had and letting her out the door, the handcuffs hurdling to the floor. She made her way clumsily towards the exit, the catwalks clanking under her as she ran, the boots she wore not the best suited for a factory lattice. She rounded the corner of the platform only to see a set of ECPD running up, guns drawn. Feeling cornered, she turned on her heel and ran back the way she came, still clutching one of the chemical vials she’d grabbed from the table in a desperate attempt as a weapon.

“FREEZE! ECPD!” a voice yelled, a set of flashlight beams shining on her, making her duck out of the way behind the corner, towards Sunset Shimmer, she was partially obscured by the small mist that the vats below were generating.

“You heard the man.” Sunset remarked, startling Sassy as she backed into the hero’s figure, cloaked by the shadows. Turning to react, her designer boot heel stuck inside the catwalk and sent her reeling backwards into the railing behind her.

Sassy grabbed at anything, but her momentum was too much with her own weight being her enemy. The railing gave way behind her and sent her plummeting into the vats below, her screams cut short by the splash she made in the yellow chemicals. The vial she’d held followed her quickly and shattered on the way down, mixing with the vat and disappearing just as fast.

Sunset was visibly shocked, still reaching out to try and help Sassy, almost about ready to jump in after her. She closed her hand and looked down, not one to really one blink when it came to necessary force, but this was an entirely different matter.

Footsteps next to her caught her attention as the officers ran up, having witnessed the entire incident as well. Nightwatch walked in from the back, his sidearm drawn as the other two officers stepped aside and started checking the area for a way down.

“Well that was messy.” Nightwatch said, looking over the edge, he rubbed his forehead. “I suppose we won’t get a body out of that. What happened here?”

Sunset looked down expressionless for a moment longer and her gaze stayed locked on the chemicals. “Industrial Espionage by the looks. She was using a code she seemed to think was for the safe in the office. Put up a struggle, then ran.” Sunset reached down to pick up a set of handcuffs, replacing them as well. “Then she fell.”

Nightwatch nodded, turning to look around a bit more, then back to her. “And I suppose you’re the only witness?” He had an uneasy tone about his voice. “You’ll forgive me but your methods have sometimes been considered extreme.”

“I didn’t drop that lady, Officer. “ Sunset answered, her tone even and unemotional, still not entirely meeting his eyes, she motioned to a small security camera pointing at them. “There’s your corroboration if you need it.”

Nightwatch looked up and walked closer to it, he smiled “Well then we’ll just have to hope it’s recording. I’ll get the boys to get a copy of the footage, though I wouldn’t mind if you--” he turned back to see himself talking to no one, the skylight hanging open above them. “Damn...no one stays.” he rubbed his forehead and shook it slowly, walking back downstairs, several other officers rushing past him to help secure the scene. He opened the door to the main street level and was blinded by a set of reporters again, a small sigh escaping him as he began another round with them.

Nearby, Sunset Shimmer crouched out of sight on a nearby building, watching this unfold. She wasn’t going to let anyone else see it, but she wasn’t entirely happy with how this entire incident played out. She made a few notes on a pad and paper, namely to find out what was in the safe and the one vial Sassy was so set on keeping, and placed it back into her jacket. “I so need a DataTablet…” she said to herself, standing up and turning back towards the city, she took a running leap and with the assistance of updrafts, headed back into the downtown section to find a real threat.

***

Outside of Horseshoe Bay, a series of huge drain pipes poured out a mixture of toxic sludge and drain water into the filter ponds. Silent save the running of water and splashing of liquid, the waters rippled once. A huge dark shape began to take shape under the water and a pool of yellow chemicals formed from below. Suddenly several serpent like tendrils shot out of the water, wiggling and arching towards the sky, until more shot up, longer and thicker ones reaching towards the shore and anchoring themselves in. A female figure coated in mud and other debris emerged from the slime and coughed up water, her eyes flaring open, the tiny pupils a sharp contrast to the empty and maniac looking whites of them. Hands in fists, Sassy made her way to the shore and began to shake off her muck and grime, growling at first, falling with a grunt, she was surprised when the tendrils that were her hair solidified and caught her with a simple thought.

Sassy gasped as she saw the tendrils move and wiggle, obeying her thoughts and helping her stand up, extending well beyond her normal reach and then reverting to their normal size. Reaching forward, she grasp one, looking at it, she realized her hand was different, her skin tone had changed. Frantically trying to wipe it off, she cried out a few times when she realized she couldn’t. A quick examination and she realized she had completely turned a new shade of blue.

She began to cry for a moment, but it quickly turned to a chuckle as she began to register the new changes upon her, unable to entirely process them, laughter began cackling. Louder and louder by herself on the outskirts of the city.

Her laughter was cut short by a spot-light shining in her eyes from the far shore. She turned, her outfit in tatters, her hair coiling up to attack from her mental shock. “Who!?”

“Relax, I’m here to help you.” Aria said from shore, her tone enticing, a small tune seemed to accompany her after she said that, it seemed to calm the tendrils and Sassy herself. The music seemed almost like a lullaby. “I have an offer for you...from a friend.” she smiled, turning the light off and tossing a backpack at her, a new outfit spilling out in front of Sassy. “Get dressed fast, he doesn't like to be kept waiting.”

***

Nightwatch walked into the Main Lobby of Rare Innovations, the glass doors behind him closing gently, a glint of the early morning sunlight peeking in. The end of his shift was coming up and he had a few more details he needed for his final report on the factory incident. The front desk attendant looked up, only to have Coco Pommel walk past her and intercept him, her heels clicking on the marble flooring.

“Lieutenant Nightwatch, welcome to Rare Innovations. I’m Coco Pommel, I’m Miss Belle and Miss Spoons personal assistant. Please come this way, the express elevator is much faster.” She offered a quick handshake and turned to a quick pace for him to follow, leaving him partially bewildered but in pursuit.

Coming to a set of white doors with the Rare Innovations logo, a diamond with a large “R” over it, Pommel scanned a card from her pocket and the elevator doors parted. Stepping quickly inside, Nightwatch followed and stood a courteous distance from her as they began to climb noticeably quicker than he’d been used to. Grabbing on the side railing out of instinct, he gave a quick chuckle. “Rather fast, isn’t it?”

“That's why it’s called the ‘Express Elevator’, Lieutenant. “ she gave a polite smile back and watched as the numbers on the display above them quickly lit up and darkened as they ascended, the Penthouse their destination. Less than a minute later, the doors opened and she escorted him past a large empty waiting room, all done in white marble and blue accents along the wall, leading to another set of chestnut colored doors. Opening those led to another room that had an empty receptionist desk, behind which a set of white porcelain colored doors stood, the same logo from the elevator adorned them.

“I’ll announce you, please give me just a moment, Lieutenant.” Pommel slide another card from her pocket and opened the doors quickly, closing them just as fast.

Silver Spoon sat in large overstuffed white chair in Rarity’s office, the entire space open and intimidating. A glass desk and leather chair with a tall back to it stood empty to her left. Looking up, Spoon noticed Pommel walk in and seemed a bit relieved, standing and adjusting her business attire, her skirt a tad too ruffled for her taste. “The police are here I take it?”

Pommel gave a nod to Rarity’s business partner, Silver Spoon, and looked around, noticing the chair was vacant behind the desk, she turned back puzzled. “I thought Rarity would be in by now?”

“She is.” Spoon said weakly sighing, motioning her head to the other side of the room, a white figure moved behind a fully stocked bar, the sound of ice clanking filling the air.

Pommel closed her eyes for a moment and inhaled softly, letting it out she walked over to her long time friend, pushing one of the bottles on the bar aside. “Rarity?”

“Hmm? Yes? Oh Pommel!” Rarity startled and turned around, a glass of amber liquid in her hand with fresh ice in it. “How are you,darling? Can I get you something?” she said, smiling and motioning behind her. “I just had it entirely restocked.” her body language drifted slightly, indicating the drink in her hand wasn’t the first of the day.

“No, Rarity, the police are here.” Pommel said with a tone of importance, pausing as Rarity registered the statement and seemed lost in her thoughts for a moment. “The break in last night, I texted you about it.”

Rarity stood stupefied for another half moment before shaking her head, a suddenly brilliance overtook her face and nodded. “Of course, I remember, the break in. the break in at the….place I own.” she motioned with the drink in her hand. “Whatever do they want?”

Pommel cleared her throat, patient as she’d always been with her friend and her problem. “They wanted to speak with you and Miss Spoon about Sassy Saddles. Apparently she was the one who broke in and was killed by a hero trying to stop her.”

“Actually the hero didn’t kill her.” Nightwatch said, walking in. “Sorry, I do hate being kept waiting.” He waved at them all. “There’s a button that opens the door behind the receptionist desk that really should be sealed if no one’s there.”

An awkward silence filled the room for a moment and then Rarity was the first to pipe up. “Not a problem at all, officer. Please, sit, I understand we may have information that could be of some assistance?” she said, covering up her state of intoxication like a professional. “Officer…?”

“Nightwatch, Lieutenant.” He set his hat down on an end table as he sat in three of the chairs in front of the glass desk. “I know you must be busy, this won’t take long.” he eyed her drink, then back to Pommel and Silver Spoon. “Miss Spoon I know you by reputation only, Miss Belle seems to be the public face of the company.”

“As well she should be, Lieutenant, I like my privacy.” Spoon gave a nod back, sitting down and crossing her legs. “I’ve never been one to really be in the spotlight, even when I was in school it seemed I was always in the background. It served me well as you can tell. Now, how may we assist you?”

“Well, as Miss Pommel informed you, there was a break in at a facility your company owns. Normally I’d go through lower departments to get what I need, but this has a few interesting circumstances I’d like answered from the horse's’ mouth, if you excuse the phrase.” He pulled out a small DataTablet and typed a few commands, bringing up the case. “One ‘Sassy Saddles’, was a high ranking employee here, am I correct?”

“Sassy? Oh yes, though I haven’t spoken with her in ages. She was one of my first employees. “ Rarity sat in the leather chair behind her desk. “When I opened my first store in town, she was the manager there. Why do you ask?”

“Well, she’s the one who broke in and subsequently died last night, Miss Belle.” Nightwatch answered back, looking up at her from his tablet. “I’m sorry to have to tell you that.”

Rarity was taken back a moment as it sunk in, taking another drink, she set the glass down. “Well, she and I had a falling out, we weren’t what you’d call friends. Though, it does pain me to hear she’d make such an insidious move against me. Stealing from the company she helped build.”

“Did Sassy show any sign of unhappiness with the company, any notion of ill will. “ Nightwatch continued on.

Pommel cleared her throat. “Miss Saddles had been in to see Rarity the day before last, but she wasn’t taking visitors at the time. She had expressed a certain…” she paused. “ Displeasure at the recent budget decision for her department.”

Rarity eyed up Pommel, but didn’t break from her pleasant demeanor. “Yes, she was placed in charge of our skin care line after we had our little disagreement. She seemed content. The budget was a recent development, I’m certain I could have helped sort things out, had I been able to see her that day.” she punctuated the end of her statement by looking at Pommel, whose gaze dropped to the floor.

“She was demoted? “ Nightwatch asked. “You don’t suppose that was a reason for her...unpleasant...attitude of late?”

“Miss Saddles attempted to undermine several business elements during her time with us in management, Officer. “ Spoon interjected, pushing her glasses up as she did. “The fact she was given any place after that was due to the generosity of Rarity. She knew she was lucky.”

“I see.” Nightwatch tapped in a few more items. “The tape I got from your security firm shows she didn’t try to crack the safe, but seemed to think she knew the code. Is that something she’d have access to?”

“What safe was this again?” Rarity asked, pulling out a silver cigarette case and lighting one up, tapping it into a diamond shaped ashtray. “You must forgive me, I have so many business ties now.”

“Yes I understand you started as a dressmaker and expanded quickly when you moved to the city. Part of the Canterlot Incident Relocation?” Nightwatch asked, looking back up. “You weren’t lucky enough to get any powers now were you?”

Rarity took a drag from her smoke and seemed to narrow her eyes at him. “Not all of us came away smelling of roses from that day, officer.” she knocked ashes off again. “But no, to answer your question, I got to watch my little sister die in front of me. No ‘Super powers’ to speak of.”

He cleared his throat. “My apologies. The safe was located at your ‘Rare Hair’ factory in downtown.” he quickly changed the subject, sensing the tension.

“That would be under Dermatology's files, yes. No doubt she took the codes from the computers that day.” Pommel jumped in to answer. “Thankfully the codes had been rotated that afternoon, as per our procedure. We’re just lucky she didn’t get away with anything.”

“Well not exactly, on the tape we noticed several unsecured vials of chemicals. She seems to have one in her hand when she’s leaving the office.” Nightwatch turned his datatablet to Rarity. “Can you tell me what that is?” an image of a green chemical vial in Sassy’s hands pulled up on the screen.

Rarity pulled out her glasses and adjusted them on her nose, staring at the picture. “Could be a number of things, that office is where they store the formulas and the secret ingredients to our products. I can’t tell you what's in it for sure. The inventory list for the office can no doubt tell you, Pommel will get you a copy if you wish?”

“That would be most helpful.” Nightwatch nodded, turning the tablet back and standing up. “Thats everything I had for the moment, but we may call on you lovely ladies again, if that's alright?” he put his hand under his arm.

“Any assistance we can give you, we’d like this taken care of quickly and quietly.” Spoon said from behind the other two, standing to walk him out with them.

As she and Pommel made their way to the door, Rarity took another drink as they left, watching them leave. All of them stopped when the doors opened by themselves, and Twilight Sparkle walked in.

“Twilight, Rarity’s a little pressed for--” Pommel began to say, quickly cut off by Rarity’s glass hitting the counter loudly enough to make her stop, a look from her telling her to let her in.

“Darling, do come in, this is Officer Nightwatch. He was just leaving, officer this is Twilight.” Rarity began to explain.

“Sparkle, yes. I’m familiar with you, ma’am. You and another girl are stuck here after the explosion, if I recall the story correctly.” he nodded, smiling. “Though I wasn’t aware you worked here, both of you seemed to disappear off the grid after the attention died down.”

Twilight smiled uneasily. “Yes, well, I did have quite a bit of learning to do about your world here, officer. You can’t blame a girl for wanting to study her new home thrust upon her.” she finished. “As for Sunset, I’m not quite sure where she went. We all lost touch after your media lost interest in us.” she fired back, smiling still.

“Of course. Well thank you all again, I’ll be in touch if need be.” Nightwatch said, walking out, leaving Twilight with Rarity, the doors closing quietly behind them.

Twilight walked over to her fiend and pulled out her tablet, S.P.I.K.E. popping up on the screen. “Well that was awkward.” he said, his voice making Rarity’s ears perk.

“Is that...Spike?” she asked, standing up and nearly tripping over her heels to get closer. “I can’t believe it!”

Twilight steadied Rarity as she nearly fell, the morning brandy not helping. “Yes. He’s a prototype still but I think I got him up and running. Say hello” she handed the tablet to her, taking the glass from Rarity in a slick move at the same time. As Rarity began to converse with the digital reproduction of their old friend, Twilight took the moment to slink over to the sink and pour the drink out, turning the glass upside down and quickly rejoining them.

“...and then, Twilight turned me into this apparently. I guess I died?” the AI said, a sad face on the screen as Rarity held the device.

“Yes. but that doesn't matter now, you’re back. This is wonderful. You programmed this all from memory?” Rarity said, sitting down on a couch nearby and looking back up at Twilight. “Can you do this with anyone?”

Twilight gave an uneasy smile. “Well, it’s a prototype. He doesn't have all of his memories, I had to program a lot from memory. Some of it was able to be pulled from DNA I found in his old collar but, memories are very...tricky.” Twilight sat across from her. “I don’t think I’ll be recreating anyone else, anytime soon. Not until I can get him up and fully running. Remember, this was for the ECPD project.”

“The..project yes.” Rarity swallowed, keeping from tearing up. “How…” she cleared her throat. “ How is that going, dear?” she wiped her eyes, complacent to the fact she may never see her sister again.

“That's even better news. The projections I have indicate we can have a working suit for use in less than six months. I already have a beta version of it nearly ready, though it’s fitted for me, I didn’t have any other bodies to use. “ she took the pad from her and pulled up another file, a wireframe of the armor she’d been working on displayed. “The suit can withstand conventional weapons fire and several direct hits from heavy weapons. JUSTICE was very particular about durability. So I had to reinforced the body suit with a kevlar weave harness to help dissipate the blows. Oh! The armor is also sectional and can be broken down quickly and reassembled if need be. Power isn’t a problem anymore, I tweaked a few things and it works perfectly.” Twilight rambled on, noticing she was losing Rarity by the glazed look in her eyes, though she couldn’t tell if it was the tech speak of the morning booze.

“Propulsion is almost ready as well. It should be entirely mobile and ready for testing in a few days. I just have to upload SPIKE into it and I can start running simulations.” she finished.

Rarity nodded, standing up and stretching. “Twilight, dear, the contract with JUSTICE stipulates they want a working prototype in three months. Can you deliver that with just simulations? Now I have no doubt you can do this, but the time is a factor here. Tiara would love to get that contract…” she looked sad for a moment and sad back down.

“Well, I, don’t have any real field testers for this I mean, I guess I could do it myself.” Twilight seemed uneasy about the entire concept. “We can’t ask for an extension?”

Rarity shook her head. “I’ve already extended it. They will not wait any longer. The mayor wants the ECPD outfitted and ready to take on the super crime and they can’t do it without this technology. Now I’ve seen the designs for Tiara’s Research firm and they are, how shall we say, a bit more crude, but they will work. “ Rarity took her friend’s hands into her’s. “They are also far more weaponized then our concepts. We want to save lives here, not cause more death, for anyone if we can stop it. Your Non-lethal approach is what will do that...but...I..” she paused. “We..need to beat her to the punch, or the city will be much more dangerous than it already is, do you understand?” her demeanor seemingly desperate as well as hungover. “I just don’t want anyone else going through...loss.”

Twilight nodded and squeezed her hand back. “I know, Rarity. I know.” she smiled assuredly. “Tell you what, I’ll figure something out to beat the time crunch, SPIKE’s ability to help me streamline now will probably knock us over the timeline anyway. So don’t you worry. I’ll get you the data to show to the ECPD in no time.” Twilight stood up. “Now, you promised me you’d take it easy on the bar. Have you been?”

There was a pause as Rarity’s eyes shifted back and forth a moment. “Oh yes, of course, dear. I was just having the first one of the day, didn’t even finish it as you see. Now don’t you worry about me, I’m far too busy to get completely hammered up here from brandy.” she smiled and stood. “Don’t let me keep you, and do stop by more often, I miss talking with you.”

Twilight looked as if she were going to take a firmer stance on the drinking, but she didn’t and merely smiled, standing and pocketing the tablet. She gave her a hug, longer than usual as her concern overcame her again, but broke it and turned to walk out. She couldn’t help but notice as she closed the door that Rarity was heading in the direction of the wet bar again.

Heels clicking on the floor, Twilight walked back to the elevator when SPIKE popped in. “Wow. She, uh, she likes to have a drink now and then huh?” he asked, as awkward of a tone as possible from the tiny tablet.

“Don’t blame her too much. Access her sister’s file. She watched that happen.” Twilight said in a hushed tone. “I can’t tell her what to do with her life, I can just be there to offer help if she wants it, SPIKE. If my brief time as the Princess of Friendship told me anything, its that the only thing that can change a person, is themselves.” she sighed and the elevator doors opened. “Besides, she’s gotten better she says, and honestly, it seemed like she was telling the truth.” the doors began to close “Or she believed she was.”

***

Sassy stood in the middle of a dark warehouse, a single light over her head, the tendrils that were now her hair hissing and snapping out randomly. The outfit she’d been given wasn’t entirely flattering but it did fit. Purple for the most part with gold accents finished off with black boots. She ran her gloved hands over the fabric, unsure of it’s material.

“It’s a polymer.” Aria’s voice broke the silence, her voice unknown. “He gives it to us all. Fire resistant, but not explosive proof. Repels water and small arms fire for a brief period.” she stepped from the shadows, a light over her head now, a short distance from her. She crossed her arms, the gem embedded in her chest shining in the light, small fleshy tendrils holding it in place, they occassional moved. “It’s rather handy. Doesn’t breath well in the summer though.”

“You keep referring to someone, who?” Sassy asked, the occasional giggle coming from her. She’d been unable to control it, finding herself still amused by the situation that had befallen her. “I’d love to meet this fashion king!”

“More like a 'god'” a deep male voice said from above her. A light turning on above the source and allowing her to see his figure, but little else about him. “Welcome, Sassy. I understand you had a bit of an accident.”

“Who might you be? I only just came into myself, though your little girlfriend here was quick to arrive with an open hand.” The tendrils on her head moved frantically, extending to the ground and lifting her up towards the voice. “Maybe I should just bite the hand that tries to feed me? Hmm?”

A pair of purple eyes lit up on the figure, and at the same moment an invisible force pushed the recently mutated super villain to the floor. “Don’t. You’ll find it quite unhealthy to do so.” his tone remained level and unemotional. “I didn’t ask you here to just kill you. Though I could. I need someone like you.”

“I don’t even know who I am, how can you?” she chuckled at the thought, her hair flailing under his telekinetic hold, the fabric contorting as if a giant hand was pushing on her.

“I know you’d do anything to get back at Rarity. Even in your current mental state you must remember, how much you hated her.” his eyes dimmed and disappeared, letting her fall with a thud.

Sassy stopped short of trying to attack again when he mentioned Rarity, the memories of what was in her broken mind coming together again. The hatred for her old employer and former friend rekindled in her and her expression turned to a scowl. “You’d win that bet.”

“Yes. Yes I would.” he sounded delighted at her new anger. “Now I can help you get her, but you need to do me some favors too.” his tone changed again. “Unless it’s not worth it, going after Rarity?”
Hate filled her again, imagining the thought of losing her revenge. The tendrils on her head snapped straight and then curled around her head in anger as she seethed. At the same time, the eyes from the shadow began to glow a steel blue, bright like a star, accompanied by Arai’s gem lighting up red, both taking in the anger and hatred she was producing.

“Good. I sense we have a deal then?” he chuckled. “Now, Sassy Saddles wouldn’t be able to do much before the police put two and two together. They’d figure out your motive instantly, but now if…” he thought for a moment. “Mistress Mayhem, were to cause havoc on the city. Now, Rarity would never know it was you until you decide to let her know.” he appealed to her fragmented mind with twisted logic, manipulating the cogs in her broken brain.

“Mistress Mayhem. I like that.” she laughed again, more maniacally this time, the damage from the chemicals slowly destroying her mental state. She watched as the figure moved to the ground with a simple leap, landing in front of her, she still couldn’t see his face, but noticed he was wearing a purple dress shirt and slacks, a gloved hand extended from the shadows, the steel blue eyes staring down at her still.

“Do we have a deal?” was all he asked, Aria seemed somewhat amused at this moment, shaking her head slowly.

Mayhem looked at the hand and extended her own, finally connecting with his and shaking. “I think we do.” she grinned wide, a small wisp of cold air hitting her from behind, circling her arm and her hand, flowing towards him before disappearing. She payed it no mind, as she was already planning what to do with Rarity once she had her.

“Good. Now, Aria will handle the details, get you set up with all the lovely toys and henchmen a growing villain needs. Go through her. If I require you, I’ll contact you directly.” he turned and walked off, a trail of cold air behind him.

“Don’t you need my number?” She snickered. “Been so long since someone asked me for it..” she laughed again.

“I’ll know where you are no matter the time. Now go.” he vanished from view, leaving a smirking Aria standing next to her.

“Your boss is a real spooky guy!” Mayhem said, smiling at Aria.

“He means business. So do I.” she said, seemingly bored now with the entire exchange. She fished a set of keys out of her pocket and tossed them to her. “ Here. Warehouse is yours, used to be a shampoo factory. I’d start checking the gangs nearby, they’ll be eager to get in with a new meta boss.” she turned and walked off. “I’ll be by later, check up on you, make sure you’re behaving.”

“Oooo scary!” Mayhem laughed, the last bit of Sassy drowning in insanity as she grabbed the keys and used her newfound abilities to climb the walls and catwalk, making her way to the skylight and out the top, arching her back and walking to the edge of the roof. She looked over the unsuspecting citizens of Equestrian City and the night was pierced by her loud maniacal laughing.

***

End of Episode

Author's Note:

A special thank you to all my proof readers and suggestions! My intent is to have a new episode every few months, but life can of course always get in the way.

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