• Published 26th Oct 2017
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Adventures in The 6ix - Wiz Ahmad



After a malfunction with the Crystal Mirror during a demonstration, the Mane 6, Spike, Tempest, and Skystar get transported to another world - Toronto.

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Chapter 8: Bandages and Beats

XAVIER POV

DR. NANCY’S VET CLINIC, WAITING ROOM

11:00 AM

I had promised to explain the MacBook to my four-legged friends, but after a quick re-evaluation of my schedule it didn’t look like I’d have any time after we left the hospital.

“Can I speak with Twilight for a moment?” I asked.

“Sure.”

In a moment, Twilight’s voice came through clear as day, with her friends in the background. “Hi Xavier. How’s Skystar?”

“Tempest and I will find out soon. Listen, I don’t think I’m going to make it to spend time with you all, I gotta get to work straight after Tempest and I return home. Now I know you girls are a curious, excited, hyper bunch, so there’s something I need you to do.”

I bit my lip in anticipation, knowing this would be a big step in the scope of acts deemed permissible for them. “Can you use your magic to lift the lid upwards on the MacBook?”

“I can try, hang on.”

MANE 6 AND SPIKE POV

HOME, LIVING ROOM

Passing the phone back to Rarity, Twilight focused her magic very carefully on the thin slate atop the table. Slowly, the lid came up, revealing a smooth black surface. Without warning, a loud bass-heavy hum was heard.

“Woah! That’s amazing!” Applejack gasped.

Twilight returned to the phone. “Alright, it’s up. Nothing damaged, in case you were worried.”

“Don’t get scared, little ponies,” Xavier chuckled. “A lot of things in this world make noise, and I’ve probably broken more things as a child than you ever did. Now, take a look at the flat surface. You’ll see an arrangement of letters and numbers. Each one you press will make that letter appear on the screen. Beside the MacBook is a little device, which is called a mouse. Take hold of the mouse with your hoof, can you do that?”

“Yes,” Twilight replied. “I can see a little black arrow on the screen that moves.”

“Good. Now, that little arrow is called a cursor. It follows every move your hoof makes with the mouse. On the screen you’ll see a little box. Passcode is SKATEearth3030. Hold down the key that says Shift to make the letters uppercase as needed.”

“Got it!” Twilight exclaimed. “But hard though, I had to use my magic to individually control each key.”

“You’ll get used to it. Okay, there’s a ton of stuff that could be done here…”

Over the next fifteen minutes, Xavier explained to Twilight how the computer worked, how it displayed information, how to use all the keyboard functions, and what could be done with it. She was amazed at how powerful and seamless it could load and display things.

“Now, open up the Launchpad, and click the little brown card icon. Should say ‘Logic Pro X’.”

“Okay, it’s opening up.”

“Now, let me quickly explain. Logic Pro X is an application that allows you to make music easily and realistically. What I want to do is show you how to create your own songs. There are over two thousand individual sounds within, so you can have hours of fun.”

“Two thousand?!” Rarity screamed. “But how will we get through them all?”

Xavier’s hearty laugh came through the speaker. “You don’t need to. Twilight, can you navigate to the top left?”

“Yes, under ‘File’ it says ‘New’.”

“Good. Click it and let’s choose some settings for the first song. Would you prefer to start from scratch, or go with a preset?”

“Yah mean it can even set it up for you before you begin playing?” Applejack exclaimed in astonishment.

“Yep.”

“Okay Xavier, we’ve chosen to go with an empty project. Just so we can learn everything from the bottom up.”

“Good thinking there. In your settings - use the mouse here - pick your tempo and your key signature. I’d recommend going for E, which is a rather popular one.”

“What’s tempo?” Fluttershy asked. “Some kind of bird?”

XAVIER POV

DR. NANCY’S VET CLINIC, WAITING ROOM

It was rather painstaking, and the phone bill would be huge at the end of the month, but I was rather enjoying talking and explaining technology to Twilight and her friends. For a pony her age, Twilight learned pretty fast and mastered sequences brilliantly. Fluttershy’s question was amusingly interesting though.

“No Fluttershy, it’s a fancy term for the speed of the song. Twilight, set it to 140. Should sound fine. You can change it later.”

“Okay.”

"Now, the application should be open. Tell me what you notice, Twilight.”

“I see a box with selection options.”

“Ah yes, choose MIDI. That will connect to the keyboard and the drum pad - which is that square device with all the little white squares on it. Fluttershy, can you turn them on, please? There’s a little button at the back of each.”

“Okay Xavier, they are on now. At least i think they are.”

“Good. Twilight, what else do you see now?”

“A library and a timeline, along with lots of numbers at the top telling the time, the tempo, and other stuff.”

“Pick an instrument from the library. Let’s start with a classic piano.”

“Okay, it’s on the timeline.”

“Almost there!” I replied with enthusiasm. “Now, look on the keyboard. You’ll notice there are plenty of buttons and a few knobs.”

“Ooh, what do those do?” Pinkie asked eagerly.

“We’ll get to those in a moment, Pinkie. Okay, Twilight last two steps. Press the ‘Metro” button and then the ‘Tempo’ button. Click OK on the pop-up on the MacBook screen. ‘Tap Tempo’ should be enabled now. Hit the record button!”

“I hear a tapping noise,” Twilight inquired. “Is that a metronome?”

Huh. I thought. So you do know a bit about music. “Alright, listen in. Bring up the volume as needed. Tap away on those keys. When you’re done, press stop, select the notes, and press ‘Quantize’ to align all the notes in sync with the tempo. Open a new instrument on a new track and repeat. Get creative! I’ll try to give you a few more important nitty-gritty details when Tempest and I return. So yeah, that’s the gist of Logic Pro X and the keyboard. Play around with ‘em and see what beats you can make. I’ll be leaving now, as our time is almost up. In fact, I think Dr. Nancy is coming right now.”

“Thanks for teaching me how to use this, Xavier,” Twilight replied gratefully. “It looks like a lot of fun.”

“It is,” I admitted. “See you soon and enjoy yourself.”

I hung up right as Dr. Nancy came through the door. “Hi you two.”

“Hi Dr. Nancy,” I piped up. “How’s Skystar?”

“Skystar? Oh, what an adorable name!”

I nodded slowly. “Yep, it sure sugar is.”

“Well, the wound’s pretty bad, but thankfully blood loss wasn’t too much, so just a good bandaging and a week or two’s worth of rest should be sufficient. It’s been cleaned, stitched, and properly dressed, so there’s no high risk of it getting hurt again. Just keep her in a safe place, and don’t let her walk on it until after about ten days, okay?”

“Thanks so much for your help,” Tempest said, her eyes full of gratitude.

“Well, I’m honored,” Nancy replied, feeling a little intimidated by the large unicorn’s presence. As kind and easy-going as Tempest attempted to be, she was always an impressive sight to behold before you, if not an intimidating one.

Dr. Nancy then gave us a large dog wheelchair to help Skystar move about independently and easily, and a couple of medicine pills to speed up the recovery process. The total cost swiped a good $496 from my wallet. Ouch. I was going to have to ask Mom for some allowance to cover the next month’s insurance on my car.

“Do you have a name for this car?” Tempest asked, still keeping a close eye out for anyone suspicious as we drove back down to Parkdale. However, the streets were still busy.

“If you’re referring to make, model, and type, it’s a 1998 Acura Integra Type R with a B18C1 engine in it. I’ve had it for a couple months now and it runs great. Done a couple mods to it - cams, bigger intake manifold, racing coilovers, exhaust system, and LED headlights. Also the headunit that we were enjoying before. The insurance is already rising. It’ll probably be too expensive for me to even own by the time I install the turbo, fuel system, and new ECU.”

Tempest gave a slow nod, pretending she knew what I was talking about. “Will adding the turbo make it faster? How much power?”

I grinned. “A lot faster. Power for cars is measured in horsepower. It currently sits at around 180 hp, but after I add the turbo and get a good tune it could be over 500hp. With some nitrous added it could reach almost 600 hp.”

“That’s a lot of power!” Tempest exclaimed. “Sounds quite scary.”

“It...kinda is,” I confessed. “But speed runs through my veins, even thought for some it may be seen as reckless.”

“I’ve been reckless before,” Tempest confided. “I led my friends near a cave when we were playing, and I tried to retrieve the ball from a cave where a giant bear was lurking. I could’ve left it, but I wanted to continue playing with my friends. And then it attacked me.”

So that’s how you lost your horn, I thought. “I may seem like a chill dude but I’m no outstanding citizen. I’ve gained nearly five points on my driver’s license since I bought this car because I was so reckless. Had two accidents as well and all my earnings went into those expenses. I finally learned my lesson when I badly hit and almost ran over a child. I brought him to the hospital and even offered to pay for his medical fees, but the parents weren’t convinced and I was arrested. Thankfully the cop was a nice guy, and in an interview about my driving habits I agreed to stop speeding and recklessly driving if I could get to a track event, which I’ve been saving up for as well. I still gun it on the highway now and then though.”

We took it easy on the way back, but something told me it wouldn’t be easy forever. That electrocuted cop was bound to get word out about his encounter with Twilight and her friends. And from numerous stories passed around at work, I knew we were screwed if anyone showed up - cops, the press, or worse, the CIA.

At a red light, I opened up the Toronto Star news app on my phone. Sure enough, there it was.

COP ATTACKED BY MYSTERIOUS CREATURES - INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY

“Great,” I muttered loudly, glancing at Tempest. “You and I have some… explaining to do to the city, and it won’t be easy. But I will try my best to make it as non-confrontational as possible.”

With that, I shut off my phone and said nothing more. I didn’t want to tell Tempest that she could be facing jail charges - at least, not yet. I still had the evidence footage on my phone, though I needed to back it up elsewhere.

At exactly 11:50 a.m., we pulled into the driveway. I cut the engine and stepped out, checking the surrounding area for signs of any cops or suspicious activity. Fortunately I lived on a rather quiet dead-end street, so there was literally no movement or noise apart from the railway tracks and the highway down below. Thanks to a row of tall trees, we were hidden from view.

Tempest and I helped Skystar out of the Integra. With some effort, I took out the dog wheelchair and strapped the hippogriff into the harness, then attached it to the wheelchair.

“Try walking,” I encouraged her. “With your front legs.”

Skystar put one front forward, then another, before wobbling a little.

“Don’t panic,” Tempest reminded her. “I know it feels uneasy with your back legs up off the ground, but try to just walk as normal. The wheelchair will assist you.”

Skystar put another foot forward, then another. Soon she was walking smoothly across the driveway, then turning slowly. Incredibly, she then walked around the car and back to me - all without any wobble or insecurity.

“Great work, Skystar!” I cheered, stroking her smooth soft mane. “Let’s head inside so you can rest that leg of yours.”

I unlocked the door and we stepped inside. Immediately Skystar faced the prospect of going down the stairs.

“Just as you’ve seen me do,” Tempest instructed. “One front down on one step, then the other foot on the next.”

“I’ll support you,” I added.

Skystar slowly extended one foot out, then the other, while I held her back to keep her steady as the wheelchair’s wheels bumpity-bumped over the steps. Our descent into the basement was largely interrupted by the sound of a beautiful melody playing. I heard not just the piano, but a well-tuned guitar as well.

“Whoa…” I whistled as Skystar and I reached the last step. “That was amazing! How did you craft something so beautiful? It’s rather catchy and… solemn.”

“It’s the tune to the song my mom sang to my father shortly before they were married,” Applejack said.

I was about to ask how she knew the song, but the tears in her eyes told it all. A seriously sad event happened that later led to death in a tragic event down the line. I thus decided against talking about it, and moved onto the music itself.

“Alright, I need to head off to work right away,” I announced. “Couple questions I have for y’all. Do you like the keyboard?”

“Oh yes!” Twilight exclaimed, while the others nodded eagerly. “It took some time to understand, but it’s actually quite simple. I like how I could start recording and stop, then playback all without using the mouse.”

“There’s so many instruments to choose,” Rarity added. “I especially like the soft drums and the brass.”

“I love the soft flute and high-pitched strings,” Fluttershy whispered, and I let out a little ‘awww’. Her voice was so shy it was painfully adorable. I made a mental note to check my debit card balance later - I really should get a mic. These little ponies’ voices held some good potential.

“There are more in-depth features I should show you, but for now, I think it’s best to stick to simply creating chords and melodies using various instruments,” I said, grabbing a quick glass of water. “I wish I could do more, but I have to head to work right away.”

Without another word, I gulped down the rest of the water, slid the glass across the counter, and darted back up the stairs.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the abrupt ending - I almost extended this chapter into the next one. Most likely won't be writing another one until the winter break. Blame end-of-semester school projects for that.
For those wondering, here's the keyboard:

Here's what Xavier's car looks like (only jet black instead of white):

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