• Published 20th Feb 2019
  • 218 Views, 12 Comments

Pandemic: Departures - Cosmic Eclipse



Following the ETS Pandemic three months prior, A group of ponies embark on a journey to find their place in a rapidly changing world, with dreams to change the very future itself!

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Ch 12 - "Reflections in the Desert"

Silver sat up and excitedly jumped out of bed, trotting over to his tablet on the other side of the room, curious to see if the files he needed had arrived yet. With a stylus held in his mouth, he awkwardly navigated to his email and hit refresh a few times, eagerly waiting as the minutes seemed to stretch into hours. He cursed the slow internet as the little progress wheel continued to taunt him endlessly. Silver sighed and trotted over to the TV sitting at the side of his room, turning it on and flipping through a few channels before settling on the news while he impatiently waited.

The report was already midway through, and Silver hardly paid much attention to it, letting it fade into the background as he kept glancing over to his tablet. Before long something piqued his interest slightly more than the rest, snapping his attention back to it.

“... unfortunately very little progress has been made to connect with the partials in Avalon and expand the rehumanization program there. In other news, yet another string of unusual thefts across the US have been reported. The identity of the perpetrators and their motives are still unknown at this time. Whether or not these events are linked to other similar cases has yet to be seen, but the relevant authorities have assured us that they will be conducting a full investigation into them...”

Silver sighed and turned the TV off. One thing ETS hadn’t changed was how boring and sensationalized the news could be at times. As much as it had been briefly interesting to watch today, he couldn’t bear to sit through the rest of it. Deciding to be productive, and not wanting to waste time just sitting around staring at a screen, Silver walked to the bathroom and began his usual afternoon routine while he waited for the slow connection to process.

As he glanced in the mirror he paused for a moment, raising a hoof up to his unkempt mane, chuckling at how ridiculous his reflection looked. As much as Silver began to begrudgingly accept his fate, he still found daily annoyance in the fact that becoming a pony had its fair share of down sides. Not having hands for one sucked more than anything else, even if flight and enhanced night vision were cool. It wasn’t all bad though, If he had one thing to be thankful of it was that at least he was already practically nocturnal as a human so he didn’t actually mind being up for the entire night… it could be lonely at times sure, but Silver genuinely enjoyed the peace and quiet that the night brought... and it introduced him to some new friends, friends whose company he genuinely enjoyed.

He stretched out his wings, looking over his reflection. It was a strange thought to him, but he had realized that in the almost four months of being a pony he had rarely taken the time to actually look at himself in the mirror and get a good feeling of what he had become. He leaned closer, inspecting his fangs. If he had to live in this form at least he could look cool. Not that he cared much about his image, but he at least had some small pride in this. He turned on the shower and hopped in, just letting the warm water wash all of his worries away.

By the time he was done and dried off the email he was waiting for had finally loaded in. Just as she promised the night before, the documents he had requested were all scanned and waiting in his inbox. He excitedly hit print and trotted over to the borrowed printer he had had Marcus set up. One by one the desired documents printed out, immediately being shuffled into a waiting folder. After the last document had been printed, he confidently walked out to the workshop, with the valuable folder held under his wing.

He noticed Tinker sitting alone at his usual spot at his desk in the workshop. Silver glanced over to the plate of breakfast that was undoubtedly cold at this point and chuckled to himself, catching the pegasus off guard. “Tinker, I hope I haven’t interrupted you, I’ve got some great news to share!.”

“Well good afternoon to you as well Silver! You sure seem to be in a good mood today!”

Silver did a short run in place, beaming from ear to ear. “I am! We’re all set to go!”

Tinker did a double take, lifting his makeshift goggles off of his head and sitting up. “Great Scott, we are?!”

Silver enthusiastically nodded his head. “We are!”

Tinker jumped up out of his seat, smiling more than he had in a long time. “Well share the details! Where are we headed!?”

“To a little mining ghost town called Mesa Verde. Isolated, unpopulated, and in a valley full of mystical legends going back hundreds of years, if not longer. It’s just the kind of secluded place we need to work on our projects in secret.”

Tinker seemed to be taken aback a little. “In secret? Don’t you think we should be sharing these projects with everypony else?”

“Well I do, but there’s also projects that require the utmost secrecy.” He leaned in, lowering his voice to a whisper. “Specifically Sunset Blessing’s projects. Seclusion is the most important thing we can have, especially if we have Sunset backing us.”

Tinker flashed him a worried look. “I was afraid there’d be a catch…”

Silver raised his hooves and gestured towards the pegasus. “This isn’t a catch per say, we can do whatever we want with our own projects, we just need to keep Sunset’s a secret, even from our own team. The only ones that can know about them are the ones who are directly working on them.”

“But why the need for such strict secrecy?”

“Sunset Blessing is in with the government, I think that speaks for itself.”

Tinker raised an eyebrow skeptically. “We’re not working on anything bad are we?”

“No, not at all. Sunset’s emissary even promised me that we wouldn’t be working on anything that’s morally or ethically questionable. This is just a security precaution Tinker, secrecy is important when we’re working on sensitive projects like these, projects that are being given to us by a pony that has ties to the government.”

“I… alright well I guess I can understand that. All that matters is that we’ll be able to help ponies soon, this is what we’ve all been working towards after all. I shouldn’t have assumed that we’d just get everything we’ve needed for free without Sunset expecting anything in return.”

“Exactly, I’m glad you understand. If it’s any consolation, we’ll never work on any of her projects for more than 60 calendar days. Granted they won’t always be consecutive, but that’s about 2 months out of the year give or take, leaving us 10 more months to do whatever we want with our own projects. Plus look at it this way, once we begin to recruit more ponies to the team we can actually start assigning more ponies to each team so we won’t need to spend time away from each project.”

Tinker nodded and seemed to relax a little more. “I guess I just didn’t take the bigger picture into account. So when can we start moving, Director?”

“Director?” Silver asked with confusion. “Oh, that’s right…” Silver dug through the folder again, finding the document he desired. “Well, seeing as how we have the land rights, or will by the end of the day, we can start heading over as soon as we we’re all ready. It’ll take some time to get the construction teams and solar equipment dispatched, but we can at least work on cleaning up the town in the meantime.”

“Well I’ll go tell the others, you should go get your belongings all packed up, or you can leave them here for now. We can make multiple trips if need be, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself. Marcus will keep the warehouse safe so it’s not like anypony’s going to take your stuff.”

“Keep in mind that we probably won’t have any space to safely keep all of our stuff there just yet, I’m going to bring just the essentials for now and I suggest you do the same. We can start moving everything else over once we have some actual facilities set up and in place.”

“Alright, I suppose that sounds fine, I’ll share that tidbit of information with the others as well.”

Silver began to walk away but paused, thinking back to his concerns about Sprocket the previous day. “Tinker… What was that Sprocket pony working on?”

“Oh Sprocket, well he was working on some weaponized defence device, but I think I steered him away from that. Last I saw he was going to start work on some utility device, a gauntlet that was kind of like a Swiss Army knife mixed with some strap to hold tools, you know, with a bunch of built in gadgets that would make life easier for ponies… why?”

Silver looked over, to Gyro, calling out to him. “Hey Gyro, come over here, I wanted to talk with you and Tinker for just a moment.”

The unicorn slowly put down his tools, carefully making sure his prototype wouldn’t be disturbed. Removing his makeshift goggles he hopped off of his stool, and trotted over to the two. “I’m on a limited time frame, make it quick.”

“You saw Sprocket working on that defense gauntlet again yesterday right?”

“Yes. He was fiddling around with my plans too.”

Tinker seemed to show a look of worried concern. “Now… now I’m sure you’ve only seen one side of the story, Sprocket seemed to really consider my own concerns on his defense project, and I think I pushed him to focus more on the utility project.”

“But Tinker, we both saw him working on the other one…”

“Silver, I know you have your own concerns about him, but he seemed to really consider my own thoughts on this. We’re at a stalemate right now, it’s two separate accounts that show two different stories. Perhaps he was merely working on that to clear out some creative energy? You know what I’m talking about Gyro, we’ve both been known to jump from project to project just to clear our palette and not lose that creative energy.”

Gyro rolled his eyes and tapped his hooves impatiently. “I suppose Sir, you know how I feel about this.”

“I know Gyro, we had our own private discussions about this. It’s fair to withhold your trust while you still take the time to really get to know them. I’m just telling you two what I personally heard from him. Let me just make myself clear that I’m not doubting you both, I’m just saying that I think it’s too quick to judge him on that.”

Silver glanced around the room, making sure that the duo weren’t present or within ear shot. “He still gives off a weird feeling Tinker, I don’t know if I really trust him as much as you do. Maybe it’s just because I’m a night pony and we have those natural protective instincts. I just wanted to bring up my thoughts on it to you… if I’m the director then I think I should at least just keep an eye out for the group, make sure that we’re not doing anything in haste…”

“And I understand that Silver. I appreciate your concern, I truly do. Just give him a chance, I see a lot of my former self in him, he’s got a bright mind, he just needs the right encouragement to really tap into that potential.”

Silver seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Alright… I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I just don’t think we should involve ourselves in any projects that could be weaponized. Even if they’re just prototypes meant for defense.”

“Duly noted Silver, thanks for bringing this up. At the cost of sounding somewhat rude, I’m going to take brief break and pack my room up. I need to clear my head a little bit, and finding something productive to do outside of work has always been the thing to do it! Thanks for sharing your news by the way, I want to get set up in the town as soon as we can!”

With that, Tinker walked off, pushing the trunk that served as his makeshift stool into his room and shutting the door.

Gyro leaned in, glancing at the room around him to make sure that no one else was listening, and in a rare breach of character spoke in more than a single sentence. “If it’s any consolation I don’t exactly like him either. He’s kind of strange… and I don’t exactly want to bring him along to the Oasis with us if it’s all the same with you. Tinker wants to take everything public as soon as he can, but we need to spend more time actually researching and testing stuff before going forward with it. His problem now is that he’s so excited to build a better world that he only gets as far as the prototype stage before trying to market something, and as a result he winds up showing off some buggy prototype that deters others from the ideas… I know I’ve never really been up front with you about stuff, but I’ve decided to trust you more than I normally would, just keep this little conversation in mind ok? We can’t afford to jeopardize our plans when we’re dealing with projects like Sunset’s.”

Silver sat bewildered at the unicorn’s unusual verbosity, it took a confused glare from Gyro to snap him out of it. Silver nodded his head and replied. “Alright. I’ll try and keep that in mind, I’m going to talk with Tinker and mention that for now we’re only going to bring the essential staff with us, and that’s just us four, and Stanley’s three new friends. If he tries to argue I’ll bring up your concerns and we can debate about it more then.” Silver started to walk away but paused. “Thanks for that Gyro, I appreciate your trust.”

“Yep.”


A few hours had passed, and Tinker’s room was all packed up. He glanced at the clock, noting that Sprocket and Gadget had likely already arrived. Deciding to greet him he stepped out into the workshop, noticing the pair unplugging their gauntlet from the wall.

“Ah yes, hello you two! How are you doing today?”

The two carefully removed their tools from their mounts, and turned to greet the inventor.

“Hi Tinkerer. Just working on some stuff again, as always!”

“Wonderful! Care to tell me all about it?”

Gadget seemed slightly annoyed. “I’m going to go take a walk Sprocket, you can go ahead and tell him all about the project.”

Sprocket sighed. “Yeah… Sure, Just don’t take too long Gadg, I can’t work on this all on my own.”

“Alright.”

Gadget set her makeshift tool holder down, and walked outside.

Sprocket seemed to have some hesitation in his voice, glancing back to the door and pausing for a few moments. “So we’ve been working on the utility gauntlet like planned… but I kind of wanted to focus on this too-- I know you discussed some concerns with me, and they’re fair enough, but I just wanted to see this through… I hate just leaving projects left unfinished…”

Sprocket… you seem to have something on your mind… want to just talk?”

He sighed. “No… but I suppose you’ll prod at me until I tell you…” Sprocket stepped back, with an anxious look on his face. He glanced around, making sure that Gadget was still outside. “Tinkerer, what I am about to tell you has never been shared with anypony else, It’s going to stay that way, you do not share this with a living soul, got it?”

Tinker raised an eyebrow. “What’s this about?”

“My reasons for not trusting humanity go way further than just thinking that they’re not worth our time. The world is still run by humans, it’s foolish to think that it isn’t. Whether we like it or not we’re the minority, every major thought, movement, and creation is going to be led by humans for the foreseeable future, at least until they can learn to tolerate us more.”

“I don’t see where you’re going with this…”

“What I’m saying is that humanity lacks compassion right now, certain… events during ETS really made that clear for me. It’s obvious that they’re afraid of what we can do, and I don’t want any part in working with them right now until we can both be amicable to each other. My greatest fear is also my greatest weakness, it’s something I’ve never been able to admit to anypony other than myself.”

“Sprocket… What is it?”

“It’s losing Gadget… She’s really the only pony I could ever call a friend, and I’m afraid that telling her what really made me the way I am is going to drive her away, especially after I’ve kept it from her for this long…”

“What happened to you? Please, feel free to tell me, it’s obvious that you need to get this off your chest. I assure you that I won’t tell a soul.”

Sprocket took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “It was the last few days of my transformation, I decided to try and go out for a walk. It was still tough at this point, but we needed groceries and I still didn’t want to admit defeat and go to the shelter. I awkwardly made my way down to the store, which was still closed mind you. I’m not going to claim that stealing and looting was right at the time, but I don’t regret it. We were too prideful to go to the shelter and admit that we couldn’t manage anything for ourselves… I thought that if I did this on my own, that I’d be able to do anything. It wasn’t hard to get in, the window was already smashed by some other looter, but my biggest mistake was thinking that I could do anything, that just because I had this sudden protective drive nothing could hurt me. I couldn’t have been any more wrong. I tried to sneak out with a bag of supplies, but a group of humans noticed me… You have to realize that humans were still very much against ponies at this point… and I guess still are to a degree, but it’s gotten better. They harassed me and I learned a valuable lesson that night…”

Sprocket took a deep breath. “I learned that attacking three humans without thinking was not a wise idea. When it was all said and done I was battered and bruised, but nothing else broken aside from my pride. I couldn’t admit to Gadget that I was stealing just so I wouldn’t have to take another hit to my pride, and I knew that if I told her the truth it’d only worry her even more. I wound up telling her that I tripped and fell when I was going down some stairs, a flimsy lie that I doubt she fully believed, but the painful walk back to our studio only made it clear that humanity didn’t care about us. To them we were alien, no longer worth giving the time of day to. That’s why I’m so passionate about this project, because I never want to have to live through their cruelty unarmed again...”

Tinker sat there wide eyed and unmoving, shocked by his story. “But Sprocket… you have to realize that tensions were still high during that time… to many the world seemed on the verge of some great apocalypse! You can’t just let the actions of one small group reflect the actions of the rest!”

“Have humans shown you any care?”

Tinker nodded. “One of my best friends has. Marcus is the owner of this warehouse, he let us all use it… granted I think that was partially out of guilt for turning us away before, but still.”

“Then maybe it’s true, maybe humans still can show compassion for us…” Sprocket sighed and looked away. “but I’ve moved beyond that, I’m not willing to work with them now, not when I’ve seen what they can really do.”

“Sprocket, you’re not even considering that--”

Sprocket snapped his head around, facing Tinker with a newfound anger. “Considering what?! That humans and ponies will just work together without any problems? That they’re not going to just take everything from me? I’ve lived my whole life having everything robbed from me. I could have been well known, my name could be up there with the likes of other great inventors, but around every corner someone’s there to steal it all away!”

“Sprocket…”

“Sprocket what?! Do you know how frustrating it’s been? Having to hide this all away from Gadget because I can’t just swallow my pride and tell her the truth?! I couldn’t live with myself if I drove her away!”

“Sprocket just take a breath, you’re getting emotional…”

“And you’re just like the rest I bet! Tell me this, are you inventing for others or yourself? Do you really care about others or do you just care about the fame and fortune that comes with it?! What makes you so enlightened that you get to judge somepony else on what makes them vindicated or not?!”

“Sprocket, I’m not judging you for anything. I think you and I are more similar than you’ve initially considered. Just calm down and we can talk about this.” Tinker got closer to him, laying a hoof on his shoulder reassuringly.

Sprocket merely shifted away. “Don’t touch me. I’m not a foal needing consolation…”

“Sprocket just--”

“I SAID LEAVE ME BE!” Sprocket suddenly turned around, swatting Tinker’s hoof away, seeing a bright spark as his arm made contact. He realized his mistake as it was too late. He looked down to the overcharged gauntlet and then back to the fallen form of Tinker, who seemed to be caught in a momentary daze. Realizing the gravity of the situation, he threw the gauntlet to the side and ran off, running to Gyro’s room and hurriedly throwing the door open.

“Gyroscope, I need your help stat!”

Gyro sighed and turned towards Sprocket. “What was that noise?”

Sprocket’s words came out in a stammer, a mixture of fear, regret, and concern was evident in his voice. “Gyro… I’m sorry… We were talking about something and-- and I accidentally hit him with the charged gauntlet! I’m… I’m sorry-- I didn’t mean it!”

Gyro suddenly jumped up, running to the door. “What have you done?!”

“It was an accident!” Sprocket said pleadingly.

“Get out of my way, I need to go help my friend.” Gyro ran out into the workshop and over to Tinker, helping him up. “Silver, get out here!” he called out angrily.

“Please, Gyro! It was all a misunderstanding!” Sprocket fearfully begged.

“Shut up and sit down, we’ll deal with you in a minute!” Gyro angrily snapped.

Silver walked out of his room, taking note of the scene around him. “What’s all the commotion Gyro?”

Gyro angrily flicked his tail around, gesturing forcefully at Sprocket. “Electro over here hit Tinker with his gauntlet. He’ll be ok, he’s just a bit dazed. He’s lucky he didn’t stop his heart or something.”

Silver angrily turned towards Sprocket. “You did what?!”

“It was an accident!”

Tinker tried to sit up, groaning in pain. “Silver… give him a break, it was a mistake…”

Ignoring his response, Silver continued to push his question. “What was an accident?! Just spit it out and tell me so we can actually figure out what to do with you!”

Sprocket shifted around uncomfortably, taking a breath and clearly relaying the previous events leading up to his outburst. “Tinker and I were talking, he asked about the defense gauntlet so I told him, I… got a little emotional, and in the heat of the moment I accidentally hit him with it, just on the arm though-- I didn’t mean to hurt him!”

Silver stomped on the ground angrily. “How do you just accidentally hit somepony with a shock gauntlet?! You’re a genius, even you should have known that this could have happened!”

“Silver Please!--”

The door opened, and the four ponies turned towards the sudden intruder, noticing a very concerned and confused looking Gadget staring back at them. “What...What’s going on, Sprocky? What’s gotten all of you up in arms?”

Without hesitating Gyro snapped out an angry response. “Sprocket hit Tinker with the gauntlet, he’s lucky he only momentarily dazed him.”

Gadget took a step back, her worried look only growing. “Sprocky… you did what?!”

“Gadget, it was all an accident!” He pleaded.

Gadget put a hoof to her temple, letting out an annoyed sign. “Sprocket this is why I didn’t want to even work on this! I knew that something like this was just going to happen!”

Sprocket’s ears lowered as he stammered out a weak reply. “Gadget… Please, let me explain it...”

She ignored his plea. “Sprocket, why did you need to make this?! Why couldn’t we just work on the other one?! Why did you need to make some weapon?!”

Sprocket sighed, seeing no other option. “Gadget… I never wanted to tell you this, but I guess it was going to come out sooner or later, I was wrong to hide it from you. Do you remember when I showed up all bruised after we finished transforming?”

“Yeah, do you want to tell me the truth about what happened now?!” she angrily replied.

“Gadget, please… just listen…”

“I’m listening Sprocket, just spit it out already!”

Sprocket lowered his ears and looked away “I… I didn’t fall…”

This only angered her further. “I knew that already! So what happened Sprocket?!”

“I… I was going to go loot a store… I couldn’t admit that we needed help and couldn’t do stuff on our own.”

Her eyes widened more than he thought possible. “You did what?!”

“Gadget please, I was egotistical, I wasn’t thinking--”

“--Yeah, you sure weren’t! So what happened next? How’d you get all bruised up? Do you know how worried you had me?”

“I tried to attack a group of looters that tried to take my stuff--”

“--You mean the stuff you stole?!”

Sprocket lowered his head in shame. “Yes…”

Gadget took a couple moments to cool off, lowering her voice. “Sprocket… why couldn’t you just tell me about this?!”

He raised his head and looked her right in the eyes. “Because I didn’t want to hurt you! You mean more to me than anypony else in the entire world!”

Her face shifted to an unreadable mix of anger and worry. “Sprocket, why did you have to lie though!”

“Because I was afraid you’d leave if you knew how rash a decision I made! Ponies aren’t supposed to steal and loot, I didn’t want you to think any less of me.”

“They’re not supposed to lie either!..” Sprocket winced at her reply, pulling a noticeable reaction from her. She lowered her voice once more. “Sprocket… you need to stop treating me like some foal you need to protect, I’m glad you’re looking out for me, but you’re obviously not thinking everything through completely.”

Sprocket sat back up, composing himself. “We’re night ponies Gadget, protecting those we care about is in our blood!”

Gadget raised an eyebrow, both touched and annoyed at his instinctual devotion to protecting her. “But you didn’t need to go this far just for me.”

Sprocket sighed. “I did though!”

“Sprocket, am I just some object to you? Something you need to take care of like some kind of pet?”

Sprocket tried his hardest to hide his true emotion, turning his head away and cursing his night pony instincts. “No Gadget-- It’s not that, I just… I just need you!”

Gadget put a hoof on his shoulder. “Then why did you let it get this bad?”

Sprocket closed his eyes, lowering his ears. “I… I didn’t think!”

Gadget took a deep breath. “Sprocket… you’re still my friend. I know you only meant well, but that doesn’t justify all of this.”

“Gadget… please.”

“Sprocket, can you please just swallow your pride and admit that you’re not thinking clearly? You let this obsession with protecting me get to the point that you could have seriously injured somepony else!”

Sprocket looked back over to Tinker. “He’s alright though!”

“Sprocket! Do you seriously not see what’s wrong with this though?!”

“Protecting us?!”

“Making some weapon because you had a bad experience while trying to steal from others because you couldn’t admit that you’re not some flawless pony?!”

“Gadget… I’m not perfect okay?! Can we please just move past this?”

“Move past this?! Sprocket, we can, but you need to seriously just sit back for a moment and realize how serious this could have been!”

Sprocket raised an eyebrow, worry rising in his voice. “What are you saying?”

She turned away, looking at Tinker, and the two ponies sitting by his side. “I’m saying that I don’t know what to think right now… not when you’ve kept so much from me!”

“Gadget please… don’t just leave...”

“I’m not leaving you Sprocket... I just need some time to clear my head. You can’t take back what you’ve done, but I don’t think you’re a bad pony. The fact that you’re so remorseful about all of this just backs that up. I just need some time to think about this for myself.”

“Gadget please don’t…”

“Sprocket, just relax, we can talk in a few days. You need to stop treating me like some kind of foal though! We’re adults, but you’re acting like a foal crying over nothing right now!”

Sprocket sat up. “Fine. Can we at least talk about this over dinner?”

“No, not tonight.”

Sprocket sighed. “Fine. Just please… please don’t think of me any less because of this.”

“I’ll think about it, but you need to stop acting like you’re perfect! You have a lot of faults Sprocket, but so does everypony else. You need some time alone to think about this!”

“Ok Gadget, fine… I will.”


It took some time, but the ponies had all settled down for the most part. Calamity sat nearby, in case tensions flared again. So far everyone was amicable, not needing him to jump into action. Silver shuffled in place, feeling some slight guilt at acting so hostile to the evidently hurt inventor.

“I wanted this news to be a bit happier, but unfortunately you kind of caused it to not be. We’re moving to a more permanent base, Tinker suggested bringing you along, but we’re going to have to ask that you don’t join us for the time being. We can review this later on and discuss it, but for now I don’t trust you.” Silver turned towards Gadget. “I hope this doesn’t come off as rude, but we’re going to ask that you don’t follow us along either. You two need to work this out and we can’t let drama get in the way of our progress.”

“That’s fine Silver. Thanks.” Gadget walked towards the door, turning to face Sprocket one more time. “Sprocket… We can talk in the park in a few days, I just want you to know that I don’t hate you.”

Sprocket only nodded, closing his eyes in sadness.

Silver turned towards sprocket, giving him a sympathetic look. “Sprocket. You have to realize that the only pony you can blame for this is you.”

Sprocket nodded. “You know Silver… when you visited my dream I thought you were intriguing… you stood out like a sore thumb to me, but I could tell you genuinely had a hope for a better world… I genuinely hope that you guys are successful out there.”

Something suddenly clicked for Silver. He looked at the pony’s jet black mane, realizing where he had seen him before. His current demeanor was a far cry from what he had seen from him initially. “You know, I do remember you now… Photon… I’m sorry if I was quick to judge you, but you have to realize that you’re in a pretty compromising position right now. Trust is something that takes a long time to build up, but mere seconds to shatter. You shattered it early on by the way you acted… at one point I thought that you might have made a good recruit, but your ego got in the way of that. If you can move past that I’d be willing to try and give you a chance.”

“You’re absolutely right. I guess this might be what I needed to open my eyes.” He looked over to Tinker, who was currently holding an ice pack to his head. “Tinker… I am so sorry for this. You were right. The utility gauntlet is really what I should have been focussing on.”

“Sprocket… It’s fine. You can’t let your genius go to waste. I just hope you really are taking this as a learning experience… I’d love to see what you’re really capable of if you put your mind to something.”

“I… I guess.”

Calamity leaned forward, anger rising in his voice. “You guess?”

“Look, I just lost my only friend, I don’t really think there’s a whole lot left for me right now.”

“You didn’t lose her though, she even said that you’re going to talk in a few days.”

Sprocket shrugged. “But do you think that she’ll really trust me? After this?”

Silver spoke up again, cutting Calamity off before he could say anything. “I can’t say Sprocket. You’re still letting your ego get in the way of things. I think she’ll still accept you, but you need to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you. You need to show her that you can realize that for yourself.”

“I guess… I just don’t know. This is kind of how everything’s gone my whole life. I try something, it goes bad, and then I’m left picking up the broken parts, trying to make them into something else. I guess I wasn’t always this way, but It’s hard to move past who I am now. When you do something for so long it’s hard to break those habits.”

Calamity sat up and nodded reassuringly. “I’m a testament to that you know? I was horrible, I intimidated ponies, took the things they valued most from them, treated them like dirt, because I was on some fucked up power trip. The pony I answered to only fueled that trip, and it made me a terrible pony as a result. It took others to finally make me realize that, and while it doesn’t make up for my actions, it at least gave me something to work towards, something that I could do to try and better myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re not so different, I think you have the ability to change, to better yourself, you just need to open your eyes and see that.”

“I’ll give it a try, but I’m not hopeful. I’ve screwed up too much…”

The crystal pony’s anger seemed to flare once more, but he caught himself before snapping. “Did you hear a single thing I said?.. I was in a bad place, the lowest of lows that you could probably get. Everything a pony shouldn’t have been. You’re nowhere near that, you just need to move past this idea that you are! Get up, realize that you’re a pony that’s made mistakes, mistakes that your friend is giving you the chance to rectify! Apologize to her and mean it and maybe you might actually have a chance at not being such a sorry excuse for a night pony!”

Sprocket sighed again, turning to look Calamity in the eyes. “Fine. I’ll give it a chance. I hope you’re right.”

“And I hope you’re actually going to learn something from all of this.”

“I’ll try Calamity… I’ll try…”

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