• Published 25th Dec 2018
  • 882 Views, 73 Comments

The Iron Ho-Ho-Horse: Hearth's Warming By The Numbers - The Hat Man

Hearth's Warming with the family is traditional! A family made up of robots... that's less traditional. Turing Test decides to unite her robotic siblings and their creator for a holiday gathering in Mustangia in this collection of vignettes.

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Author's Note:

Hey folks! Just as a quick note, here, this story is a holiday special for my story The Iron Horse: Everything's Better With Robots! and so there's some context a new reader might not get. That said, I've added a bit of info for context if you're still interested. I hope you enjoy this, my fourth annual holiday story on this site!
-The Hat Man

Twilight looked down at the box and she’d just placed on the table. She looked up at the pony sitting across from here and bit her lip. “I… I want you to know that I understand.” She sighed. “I guess it’s a little selfish, but I’d really hoped that you’d spend Hearth’s Warming here in Ponyville with me and everypony else, Turing Test.”

Turing Test, the robot Twilight had discovered and practically raised like her own child, sat across from Twilight in the throne room of the castle. She was made of shiny titanium, her hooves gleaming brass, her mane a series of whitish polymer tubes, and her eyes glowing purple LED lights.

It had been over a year since the day Twilight had first laid eyes on Turing Test. She’d discovered the robot, taken her in, and made it her mission to teach her friendship, hoping to learn as much as she could about this strange new type of automaton in the process. It had taken a lot of time and patience, but eventually Turing Test had developed a deeper understanding of the world around her and discovered a bevy of new emotions as she learned what it meant to be a living being among organic ponies.

Even when it had been revealed that Turing was but one of many robots built as part of a strange plot to stage a coup on Princess Celestia, Twilight had never given up on her friend, and eventually they stopped her father, the brilliant scientist Cobbler Mustang, and reconciled with him.

Now, as part of a new, more democratic Equestria, Turing had become the Minister of Technology by popular vote. Twilight couldn’t be prouder of her robotic friend, though she did miss her now that she’d moved to Canterlot to be closer to her job and her father, who was still serving out his sentence for his crimes.

It was for that reason that Twilight had hoped that Turing Test would be joining all their friends in Ponyville.

“I understand completely, Twilight Sparkle,” Turing Test responded, her synthetic voice reverberating slightly against her metallic faceplate. “I too had hoped to spend Hearth’s Warming with you in Ponyville... along with a guest.”

“A guest?” Twilight asked. “Who?”

“Maud Pie.”

Twilight grinned. “Oh, that sounds like a wonderful idea!” Then she froze. “Wait… you said you ‘had’ hoped. Does that mean that you two are…”

Turing’s LED eyes shifted and then shrank once she understood what Twilight meant. “There is no need to worry, Twilight Sparkle,” she said, waving a metallic hoof dismissively. “Maud Pie and I are still in a relationship. I only meant that my plans with her have changed. In fact, my decision today is the direct result of a conversation I recently had with her.”

Twilight leaned forward. “Do tell!” she said.

“You are certain?” Turing Test asked. “If you are concerned, I am positive that Twilight Sparkle would be willing to accommodate us in Ponyville. Your sister Pinkie Pie is located there as well.”

Maud Pie nodded. “I’m sure.”

Turing lowered her ears, causing them to squeak on their hinges.

“I see.”

A gray hoof was placed on her shoulder.

“I know you’re disappointed,” Maud said in her calm, even voice, “and I’m sorry. But after all the time I spend away from home, it’s important to spend Hearth’s Warming with my family on the farm.”

“Could I not accompany you?” Turing asked. “I would greatly enjoy spending more time with you, Maud Pie.”

“I know… and I’m sorry,” she said, her normally deadpan voice revealing a hint of regret, “but we’ve only been together seriously for a little while. I’m just not ready to tell Mom and Dad about us yet. I will soon, I promise… but for now, I just want to keep things simple.”

Turing considered this. “I… understand. I truly do,” she replied. “And yet, I find it somewhat upsetting to realize that my hopes of spending time with you during my own holiday season will no longer come to fruition. I may also be feeling some guilt at being selfish… I do not want you to think that I am making an unreasonable demand on your time, but you know how much I treasure our time together, Maud Pie.”

Maud Pie rolled over in the bed, placing her hoof on Turing’s chest. The bed was almost as good as new, since Turing never used it herself, and it sat in a small, unadorned bedroom in the house she’d acquired upon becoming the Royal Minister of Technology of Equestria. Maud Pie had not complained about the cold, but the subtle change in her body language had told Turing Test that she was uncomfortable in the early winter cold, and so she’d offered her some tea.

Such visits were not necessarily rare, but just the same, Maud’s rocktorate work was keeping her busy, so every visit that Maud could spare to visit Turing was extra special to them both.

“I always enjoy our time together too,” Maud Pie said, a slight smile on her face. “But family is important, especially around the holidays. Even with Pinkie Pie bouncing everywhere, Marble Pie never getting a word in edgewise, and Limestone Pie finding something to complain about, we all enjoy a traditional family Hearth’s Warming together. Even when everypony is far apart, it’s nice to come together once a year in your traditional family home to think about what binds you together.

“In my family’s case… it’s mostly rocks.”

Turing Test tapped her chin as she considered this. “Our… traditional home,” she muttered. “My family. I see. Yes, perhaps you are right, Maud Pie. Perhaps I should make an attempt at this ‘traditional family Hearth’s Warming’ as well.”

Maud rose up to look her in the eyes, still wearing her slight smile. “I hope you have fun,” she said. “Speaking of which, I can think of something fun I want to do right now with you…”

“And then we—”

“Ahhhh, I don’t need to hear that!” Twilight shouted, covering her ears.

“—discussed all the rocks she’d studied in the previous week?” Turing finished, tilting her head at Twilight’s reaction.

“Oh… ohhh, right, ha ha…” Twilight laughed nervously. “Well, I’m glad you had fun talking about rocks with Maud, Turing.”

“We did indeed,” Turing said.

Twilight smiled and took a sip of her tea.

“Just kidding. We had sex.”

Twilight spit her tea out. “Turing!”

“Ha ha, Twilight Sparkle,” Turing said, her eyes mimicking a wink.

Twilight rolled her eyes. “So, after that conversation you decided to spend your Hearth’s Warming with your father?”

Turing shook her head. “Not exactly,” she replied. “To be precise, I intend to spend Hearth’s Warming with all of my immediate family. I’ve made arrangements with Princess Celestia to give my father a temporary pass so that I may accompany him to Mustangia. There we will spend Hearth’s Warming together with Auntie Bellum and my siblings.”

Twilight gasped. “Oh. My. Gosh!” she cried, breaking into a beaming smile. “What a great idea, Turing!”

“I am so glad you understand, Twilight Sparkle. I assure you, however, that I will spend Hearth’s Warming with you again in the future. After all, I consider you to be my family as well.”

“Aww! Well, I’m glad, and of course I understand!” Twilight said. “Plus, now I know why you wanted this.”

She looked down at the box she’d placed on the table. Turing Test opened it to examine the contents.

It was a small, metallic model of herself: her Hearth’s Warming doll.

“I have made arrangements with the Doctor to create more for my siblings,” Turing said. “We will display them on the mantle in the traditional manner. It should be a wonderful experience.”

Twilight chuckled. “I’m sure it will be. Have a happy Hearth’s Warming, Turing.” She got up from her seat and hugged her robotic friend.

“Ah. Hug initiated,” Turing said, embracing her in return. “Happy Hearth’s Warming to you as well, Twilight Sparkle.”

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