• Published 12th Oct 2018
  • 1,067 Views, 9 Comments

George Trestale, Accidental Bad Guy - DrOcsid

Exiled from his own kingdom, a man has a rather hard time making his way through Equestria - especially when his own defective magic keeps screwing everything up for him.

  • ...

Weird Science

"It's not a coffee machine?"

"Yeah, that's what I said."

Jack watched me fiddle a bit with the buttons. "Then why'd you tell the King it was?"

I stopped for a moment and looked back up at him. "Well, 'cause I don't want him to know what it is. Duh. Come on, man, work with me here."

"You can't just lie to the King about your experiments! Especially when they're done with his funding!" He crossed his arms. "I don't think I can, either!"

"Ah-bup-bup!" I brought my finger up and wagged it in his face a bit. "You already agreed to secrecy! There's no backing down now."

"What? That's not–" Jack crossed his arms a defensive-looking stance of sorts. "That's different! I didn't have all the information! Do you know what could happen if the King found out you—no, we—were lying to him about our experiments?"

I stood up and put a hand on his shoulder. "Which is why we're not gonna let him find out, right?" His facial expression shifted to one of annoyance. "Look," I said, removing my hand, "if it makes you feel better, in the event that he does somehow discover the true nature of this thing, I won't tell him you knew about it."

"Still, it just... feels wrong, you know?"

"Well, I can solve that!" I said, crouching back down and hitting a few more buttons on the machine. "All you gotta do is hear me out for a moment. I'm sure I can change your mind." Jack didn't respond, so I continued. "Now, as for what this is. I've gotta preface that one with a question of my own. You remember the conversation we had this morning?"

"What part of it?"

"The part about the magic and stuff. Lifting the sun into the sky, and all that."

"Yeah, I remember."

I stood up yet again, ready to count all this crouching and standing into my daily exercise routine. "Well, we both know the crucial differences between humans and ponies. Two legs versus four, small eyes versus giant ones, opposable thumbs and a lack thereof. But the most important distinction? Magic. And I don't just mean in unicorns—that stuff, I swear, is, like, woven into the very fabric of their society. Isn't that right?"

"That's right," said Jack. "From what I remember, all ponies have magic in them, even if only unicorns can consciously use it."

"Alicorns too, but yeah, you're pretty much correct. Magic is an integral part of their culture. By contrast, we've have never had anything to do with it. Hell, I thought the stuff was an urban legend for a little while. So, question is, what did we do instead? The answer, of course, is that we compensated with technology. And as a direct result, we're more advanced in that field. Equestrians even get a good portion of their tech from us—remember when we invented arcade machines? Those took off like a damn rocket over there."

"Okay, so, what are you getting at?"

"My point being, Equestria benefits from our technology. So, by the inverse, why shouldn't we be able to benefit from their magic? Well, this little box right here –" I gave it a small kick, for emphasis "– aims to let us do just that."

Jack uncrossed his arms. "To let us benefit from magic?"

I nodded.

He furrowed his eyebrows. "Benefit how, exactly?"

"Well, isn't that the question of the day? Now, I need to remind you, this thing's just a prototype. it doesn't work all that well." I was getting a bit giddy by this point, thrilled at finally being able to explain this to someone. "But, once it is finished—get this—once this thing's functional, it should be able to bestow the ability to channel magic into any living being. Including people, of course."

Jack's eyes widened. "Wait, what? You're saying this thing can give people magic?!"

"Well, I haven't tested it on a person yet. That's the idea, though."

"That's insane!" Jack said, in a surprisingly upbeat tone. "Do you know how long people have been trying to figure out the secrets behind Equestrian magic? This could be a major scientific breakthrough!"

I couldn't help but feel a little smug at that. "Yeah, well, you know. So far I've only tested it on inanimate objects."

"And it works?!"

"Eh. Sort of. You know what? Let me just explain to you the process." I crouched down next to the box again.

"Now, magic isn't exactly something you can pull out of thin air. You've gotta channel it out of something magical." I pointed at the transparent capsule on the side. "You see this thing? This is where you put what I like to call the 'source object'. Realistically, you could put any magical thingy in here, and the machine would be able to transfer the magic out, and imbue anything in this hole"—I tapped the hatch on top—"with said magic."

"What kind of 'source objects' have you tried?"

"Well, being where we live and all, it's not exactly easy to find objects that have magical properties. But there is one particular thing of interest I found, a good while ago. See, going back to the whole 'all ponies have magic' thing, it turns out that stuff is present throughout their entire being—including their fur. Unicorns, however, by far have the highest concentration of it."

"You mean you use unicorn fur?"

"Well, I tend to prefer hairs from the mane. They're bigger, and all. Hold more magic. It's just not too easy to get them, being that ponies rarely travel here."

"Can't you just go to Equestria and get some?"

"Nah. Hell, I've never even been there. Plus, the magic doesn't stay within the hair for too long, so it'd fade before I could get one back here anyway. It's not a big deal, though. You'd be surprised how easy it is to convince a unicorn to give you a strand or two."

"Huh." Jack looked impressed, which, while it wasn't a very rare thing to see from him, was satisfying nonetheless. "Well, this is a lot of stuff to take in. One thing I don't get, though."

"What's that?"

"Why are you hiding this from the King?"

"Ah." I stood back up. "Two reasons for that. I'll start with the first, 'cause I can't logically start with the second. Because then it would be the first."

"Wait, what?"

"Never mind. Now, see, like you said, we've been trying to understand magic for centuries, and we've had a bit of help from ponies on that front, but our knowledge still ain't too vast. Even with that, though, we do know one thing. Stuff's volatile. If it's not properly contained or directed, it just kinda dissipates. Violently."

"Like an explosion?"

"Exactly. It's dangerous to work with. I know that firsthand, being that some of my earliest experiments under the King were magic-based. Problem is, I had one too many close calls, and, well, long story short, he doesn't want me working with magic anymore. He says it's for the safety of the public. And also for myself."

Jack placed his hands on his hips, looked down at the floor, and sighed. "Great. So, if you want this to be a secret, why are you telling me?"

I walked over to Jack. "Because," I said, putting a hand on his shoulder, "I trust you, of course. Duh. That, and also, I need your help."

Jack broke eye contact with the floor and looked back at me. "M—My help? With what?"

"Glad you asked!" I said, taking my hand off his shoulder and stepping a few feet back. "Y'see, we've got a certain important visitor incoming tomorrow. Surely you've heard?"

I could see Jack racking his brain for a moment before coming up with an answer. "You mean Princess Celestia?"

"Right!" I said. "She's doing one of her occasional visits here tomorrow, and she's gonna have her typical dinner with Tetesac and all that jazz. Those two are like peanut butter and jelly, I swear."

"I wasn't aware they did that."

"Yeah, well, you've only been working here a month. This'll be your first time being around for this oh-so-legendary dinner tradition those two have."

"A legendary dinner?" Jack said, with a tone of skepticism plus a face of confusion. "How legendary can it be if I haven't heard of it?"

"Oh, you have no idea. Haven't you heard stories about the leftovers from those royal-scale meals? Stuff's heavenly, man. Celestia's got this Carbonara recipe that's shared only with the most elite of our chefs. Even I don't have any idea what goes into it, other than that it somehow doesn't use any meat. I'm pretty sure I'd murder someone just to know how to make my own. None of my attempts to replicate it have come close."

Jack's expression grew more confused-looking. "That does sound great, but what part of this do you need my help with?"

"Oh, right. Got a bit sidetracked there. The main thing is—" I stopped myself. "Wait, have you met Celestia yet?"

"No, why?"

"Well, would you like to?"

That clearly got Jack's attention, judging from how his eyes widened. "To meet her? Do you really think they'd let me?"

"Pfft. Of course. It's not that big of a deal. I've met her a good few times. She's real nice about it."

Jack looked down at the floor. "I didn't know that."

"Yeah, well, look, we can both go see her together tomorrow. It's actually part of why I need your help, actually."

He looked back up at me. "What do you mean?"

"Look, I don't—I don't want to get into specifics. There's just something I need from her, and I've got a very specific plan thought up on how I'm gonna get it."

"I don't like the sound of that."

"Oh, don't be paranoid. It's nothing crazy. Just remember to go along with what I say. Trust me, it's important. It could lead to my next big breakthrough on this 'giving us magic' thing."

I waited for a response, and he stood silently there for a bit before giving me one. I couldn't tell you exactly what he was thinking at the time, but I do know that, like I with him, he trusted me to some extent, and I believe that's what, eventually, led him to relent. "Alright. Only if you let me have some magic when you get done with it, though."

"Of course!" I said, clapping my hands together. "If I finish this thing, it'll be open to every human being alive! Hell, maybe I'll even market it to earth ponies, or pegasi. Or any of those other non-magic-bearers. Actually, for that matter, I could charge for it. Can you imagine the fortune we'd make off that?"

"Wouldn't that be hard to do without letting the King know?"

"Please. Regardless of what he's told me before, if I actually get this to work, he's gonna be thanking me." I grabbed the trash bag off the floor and obscured the machine from view. "Now, then. We should probably get to our actual work for the day."

Jack's eyes widened like he'd just been brought back to reality. "Oh, right."

I looked up at the clock for the thirty-seventh time in the past couple hours, and was delighted to find that, finally, our work day was over. We'd mostly been stuck with working on one of the King's assignments for the day, that being a weapon, similar to our muskets, that's supposed to be able to fire multiple projectiles without reloading. I know, crazy, right? We weren't exactly burning for advanced weaponry or anything, but it was neat to imagine having it at our disposal, at least.

I looked over at Jack, who was sitting across from me at our typical work table. He'd remained exclusively attentive to the gun we were working on, so I had to resort to getting his attention verbally. "Hey, Jack. Our shift's over. We're legally allowed to leave now."

Jack looked up at me, then at the clock behind him, then back to me. "Oh, man, time went by fast. Can't we do one last test fire before we go?"

I rolled my eyes. "Alright, fine. Grab your goggles."

Before long, the two of us were situated behind some very sturdy glass, fitted with both goggles, earplugs, and helmets just in case anything went deathly wrong. Jack had fitted the trigger up with a string that he now held in his hand, allowing him to safely fire the gun while we were safe behind said glass. The gun, on the other hand, was set on a stand on our work table, pointed at a large cube made of some gelatin Jack had bought at the grocery store.

"Alright," I said, looking down at the clipboard in my hands—one distinctly lacking any paper on it. "Final test fire for the day. You ready, Jack?"

He looked over to me. "What?"

I reached over and pulled one of his earplugs out, and said again, much louder, "Are you ready?"

"Oh! Yeah, I'm ready. I hope it works this time."

"Yeah." I handed his earplug back to him, and he grabbed it and re-deafened himself. "Alright, on three," I said, making sure to say it loud enough for him to hear.

"Got it."


Jack yanked on the string, pulling the gun's trigger and filling the room with a deafening BANG that, due to Jack's over-enthusiasm with pulling the trigger, startled the ever-loving hell out of me. Now, on one hand, a bang typically sounds like a good thing when you're trying to get a gun to fire—and this gun did fire, in some sense. More specifically, all of the gun's pieces fired off in various directions. In other words, it exploded. Jack and I instinctively recoiled from the explosion, and I made a pointless attempt to shield myself with my clipboard.

After a good few moments, I got over the shock from what had just happened, and peeked back out from behind my clipboard. The smoke had already began to clear, and the lab was now looking decidedly worse for wear.

"You know," I said, turning to Jack, who was still recovering, "When I said 'on three', I meant I was going to count down from three."

"Oh. I thought you were doing that thing where the person counting just wants the thing done instantly, so he just starts with three, you know?"

"Not really what I was going for, no." I turned back toward what was left of our day's work, which, while the gun was completely destroyed, most other things were, thankfully, fairly intact. Though, one of the gun's pieces seemed to have gone and penetrated my already-broken microwave. Insult to injury is what I'd call that.

"I told you we should've used the properly-threaded screws," Jack said.

"Yeah, yeah," I said, stepping out from behind the glass and removing my goggles. "Fine, I see what you mean. I'll go buy some on my way home tonight." I went over to the gelatin cube the gun was supposed to fire at, and found the gun's barrel sticking out of it. The bullet had went in a completely different direction, ricocheting off a steel coffee pot and falling to the floor, completely intact.

"Well," I said, picking the bullet up, "The bullet didn't pierce the gel at all, but the barrel did. I guess that's sort of a success. More or less."

Jack followed out from the glass and looked around the room, I assume trying to figure out where all the rest of the gun's parts had gone. "We should probably try and find whatever pieces we can," he said. "Though most of them are probably unusable now."

"Why bother?" I said, tossing the bullet aside. "Our day of work's over, remember? Let's just head out. Maybe we can stop by The Mineshaft and get something to eat—and more importantly, drink—on the way home."

"But the lab's a mess!"

"So?" I tossed my lab coat onto the nearest counter and walked over to the door. "We can clean it up when we're actually scheduled to be working. That being tomorrow, of course."

Jack sighed and followed me over to the door. "Alright, fine."

"You plannin' on drinking that, bud?"

I watched Jack look up from his mug of imported Equestrian Ale to the bartender, who stood about eye-level with Jack's sitting height on account of being very short. He was a rotund bearded man by the name of Barry Barlow, and he was the sort that was always interested in what you had on your mind. A little intrusive, sometimes, maybe, but I personally never minded much. It's nice to have someone who cares what you have to say.

"S-Sorry," Jack said. "I've had a long day."

"No need to say sorry," Barry replied. "S'your money, pal. You wanna buy beer just to stare at it, be my guest."

I glanced at Jack's similarly-untouched plate of food. "Let me guess. You're thinking about the stuff that happened at work today?"

Jack looked over to me and sighed. "Yeah."

"The stuff early in the day, or the stuff later?"

He looked down at his beer. "The former."

"Well, don't worry about it," I said, picking a strawberry up off my plate. "Come tomorrow, everything's gonna be just fine. You get to meet Celestia, I get to begin the biggest technological revolution in history. It's a win-win scenario, here."

After a moment of waiting for him to respond, I flicked the strawberry at him, which bounced off his head and landed in his beer. That seemed to get his attention, and he looked back to me. "Really?"

"Yes, really. You don't gotta be in whatever kinda funk you're stuck in right now. What's got you so worried?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

"I dunno. Maybe."

Jack looked around for a moment and then leaned in close, whispering. "I don't know how long I can go along with your 'coffee machine' lie. What if the King finds out?"

"Then I'll cover for you. He won't know you knew about it. No big deal."

"It's not just that!" he said in a less hushed volume. "I have a conscience, you know. I feel guilty about this. Don't you?"

I thought about that for a moment before answering. "Well, sure, a little. But it's for the greater good and all, y'know? Besides, it makes me feel like some kinda too-cool-for-school double agent. Like in a spy novel or something."


"Yeah, seriously. I fantasize about things like that. Imagining being the protagonist of a story, or something? It gets me through my work."

"No, not that—'for the greater good'. Are you really telling me the ends justify the means?"

"I dunno. Maybe." I took one last bite out of one of my pancakes and pushed the plate away. "We'll see tomorrow, won't we?"

"I guess." He stared at the strawberry floating in his glass for a moment, then took it out and ate the whole thing in one bite.

I'd only been giving him a cursory glance at the time, but that action got my full attention. "Man, you even eat like a pony. One of these days you should seriously just take a vacation there. Satiate your interests and stuff."

"Maybe you should do that," Jack replied. "I think you could learn some things from them."

"What, like the magic of friendship?"


I chuckled to myself and got up off my barstool. "Yeah, that'd be the day."