• Published 20th Feb 2019
  • 228 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 9 - "Seizing The Future..."

Author's Note:

Special Birthday release? Special Birthday release! This chapter runs concurrently with chapter 10 so stay tuned for that on Friday!

The morning sun lit up the whole city, and Tinker was already hard at work plotting out his day. He sat there cooking his usual breakfast of eggs with a side of toast. A simple breakfast but enjoyable nonetheless. Tinker was never one for huge breakfasts, and truth be told on most days he’d eat his meager breakfast, more often than not cold by this point, hours after preparing it. It was a weird little quirk for him, a strange habitual ritual that he never really was able to break himself of. There was just too much to do in the day, and far too little time to do it.

Gyro had already been up for a couple hours, no doubt having found his own tasks to work on for the morning. The two worked this way often, each taking on some solitary task, working away at it until around noon, when they would reconvene for a brief lunch, and share their ideas and plans for the day. It was a strange way of collaborating, but it worked out well for them nonetheless.

As Tinker continued to cook his breakfast he thought back to the conversation with the strange night pony the previous night. “The Tinkerer” he chuckled to himself. It was a bit of a laughable nickname but it was becoming of him. As strange as the two ponies were, Tinker was at least excited at the prospect of there being more inventive ponies in the world, the fact that he had found so many creative minds in one place brought a smile to his face. He looked back down at the pan, and seemingly pleased with the results, turned the stove off and moved his meal to a proper plate, taking a few small bites before moving back to his work area.

Tinker’s monumental project of the day would be drafting up plans to better utilize their space, while also making preparations for the Oasis project, jotting down all the important equipment and resources they would need to negotiate with Sunset Blessing and briefing Silver so he could make sure it was all committed to memory. Tinker continued to walk down the hallway, carefully balancing his plate on his back and holding it in place with his wings.

Loud rock music could be heard from the central room, a good sign that Gyro was already hard at work with whatever crazy project was consuming him today. The two inventors were practically brothers, but despite their closeness their music taste couldn’t be further apart. While Gyro prefered loud rock music, Tinker prefered calm quiet classical music or other instrumental tracks.

“Gyro… do you think we could change to a less… loud track next?”

Gyro carefully levitated a soldering iron in front of him, making minute changes and tweaks to one of his gauntlets. Noting his friend’s request, he reached over to the speakers with his magic, turning the volume down slightly. “That ok?”

“You know how the noise gets to me…”

Gyro sighed, turning towards Tinker. “Alright. I’ll let you pick next. I don’t think you’re going to like what’s in my playlist though.”

“What if we meet at a compromise? Do you have anything less… loud?”

“Less loud?.. Yeah ok, sure. Give me a sec.” Gyro said as he carefully set his soldering iron down.

“Let’s take a look.” Tinker said as he picked up a stylus in his mouth and started flipping through all of Gyro’s different tracks, grimacing as he passed through some particularly loud rock albums. Seemingly defeated, he set the stylus down. “Ok Gyro, just hit me with your best shot, I don’t think I’m going to find anything I’ll enjoy in there.”

“Hit me with your best shot? Alright Sir I suppose that’ll do.”

“Wait what?” Tinker said with an air of confusion in his voice.

Gyro levited his phone and stylus over, scrolling through his different albums until he came across the desired track. “Aha, here we are.” he said as he tapped the song, the speakers immediately coming to life.

“Gyro I uhh…” Tinker stood back in surprise, the song was actually kind of catchy and he couldn’t help but nod his head to the beat. “Well alright Gyro, I think this’ll suit me nicely!”

“Uh huh.”

The two inventors continued their solitary projects while nodding along to the music, the time just seeming to fly by. By the time Silver had walked into the central room to greet them they were already nearly done with their own little projects.

Tinker continued to dance along to the music, earning a confused stare from Silver, who after a good minute or two of this merely shrugged. “Oh, Silver! Good morning! Come on over, I have some plans I need to discuss with you involving what we need from Sunset!”

Silver rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, pulling up a crate to sit on, knowing that Tinker’s list would likely occupy a large part of his afternoon. “Ok, let me hear it.”

“Splendid! So first we’ll need some photovoltaic cells, the necessary materials to properly support them, some battery cells to store the converted energy… ooh and a few thousand yards of wire, some computer terminals to run everything…” The list went on and on, with Tinker excitedly reciting everything to Silver from memory, as Silver could only stare back in bewilderment, the only question on his mind being “What on earth have I gotten myself into…”

Sprocket woke up just the same as he always did, in his nice comfortable bed in his cozy little studio with his best friend by his side. If there was one thing in the world that Sprocket cared more about than himself it was Gadget. Sprocket was a bit self centered, the understatement of a hundred million lifetimes, even he could acknowledge that, but he genuinely cared for her. Gadget had been there for some of the toughest parts of his life, and more importantly some of the best, and he could never hope to repay her for that. In a world that he felt had cheated him at every turn, her kindness was the one thing he truly treasured more than anything else.

He sat up and climbed out of bed, taking a peek through the window shades, curious at what the town was up to today. He quietly walked to the kitchen, and poured himself a glass of water, careful to not wake his sleeping companion. He sat and read the news for a little while, had a small snack, and then decided to wake up Gadget.

He walked towards his friend, gently shaking her shoulder. “C’mon Gadg, wakey wakey!”

She smiled and rolled over. “Come on Sprocky, just a few more minutes!”

Sprocket chuckled. “Now now, how am I supposed to get ready without your help?”

“You don’t… do you really need to go out today?” she said, giving him her best puppy dog eyes.

Sprocket considered this for a moment. “Yes… as much as I’d love to just cuddle up and sleep all day, I can’t. You know I can’t just leave those tinkerer ponies alone, I promised the leader that I’d stop by today, I don’t want to spoil this opportunity.”

She sighed, her smile returning. “Ok Sprocky, but only because you’re so nice to me.”

“You know Gadg, I don’t tell you this enough, but you’re really my best friend!”

She laughed at him, “Oh c'mon Sprocky, sometimes I think that I’m your only friend.”

“Well that makes you the best then!” Sprocket said, smiling proudly.

The two laughed, just enjoying their company as they began their usual wake up routine.

“If you don’t mind, I’m going to go grab some groceries while you’re out. We’re getting low again and I need to go talk with Deb about extending our next payment.” she said while brushing out Sprocket’s mane.

“Yeah that’s fine, I mean I can’t stop you no matter what you do!”

She smiled back at him, finishing up her handiwork. “There you go, one wild mane sorted out, that’ll be $25 please!” she teased.

“Ha ha, joke all you want, you could probably legitimately go into business with this if you really wanted to.”

“Oh come on Sprocky, you know that’d be too boring for me. Besides, you’re the only one who gets this kind of treatment, you’re special like that!” she said sticking her tongue out at him.

Sprocket just smiled as he hugged Gadget, walking over to his desk and grabbed his bag. “I’ll be back later Gadget, want me to grab anything special for dinner on the way home?”

“Surprise me!”

Sprocket chuckled as he walked outside and shut the door behind him. He walked down the street towards the warehouse, a bag full of unfinished inventions and spare parts was slung across his back. He could fly if he wanted to, but what was the point in spoiling this nice afternoon. As confidently as he walked, there was still the strange empty feeling of loneliness that always followed whenever Gadget wasn’t by his side. Sprocket would never admit this to anyone, but Gadget was probably the only pony in the world that he could consider a friend, and it was a friendship that he had cherished for a long while now.

Sprocket couldn’t even be sure if Gadget really knew how much her friendship meant to him, but it didn’t matter. As long as he had his best friend by his side he didn’t need to fret about the stresses of day to day life. The two had met a few years ago, while traveling through Arizona. Both fresh out of college and seemingly alone in the world, the two had soon become fast friends. Their friendship only grew over the years, especially during the whole ETS debacle, having a close friend to rely on now that he couldn’t do everything himself only made Sprocket’s life all the easier.

Silver sat there listening to Tinker ramble on and on about everything they needed, feeling as if he was about to lose his mind, but not wanting to snap at the enthusiastic pegasus. Silver was starting to have serious doubts that he would be able to do anything productive with his day, and it was maddening to say the least.

OH and we’ll need some high quality security cameras to monitor the site, some necessary chemistry supplies-- just to cover our future bases of course, oh and some high quality server racks to keep everything up and running smoothly…”

A loud knock could be heard ringing throughout the warehouse. Silver perked up, a look of genuine relief on his face. “Oh I’ll go get it!” Silver said, hurriedly jumping up from the crate he was using as a makeshift seat, and running to the door.

As he opened the door he was greeted by the sight of the dark cyan night pony, with a striking jet black mane, who greeted him with a surprised look. “Oh hello, I don’t… believe we’ve met in person yet.”

“I don’t believe we have… and you are?”

Tinker perked up at the sound of Sprocket’s, forgetting Silver’s interruption. He stood up and walked out to introduce the two. “Ah Silver! I see you’ve met Sprocket, hopefully a long term partner for our operations!”

“We can talk about this later. Hello Sprocket… good to meet you.”

“Likewise…. I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

“Silver. Silver Eclipse.”

“Well hello Silver. Mind if I come in?”

Silver backed away. “No, don’t let me get in your way.”

“Wonderful. Now Tinker, I believe we were going to discuss some of our plans.” He pulled his bag off, shifting it in front of him. “I’ve taken the liberty of bringing a few of my prototypes with me, I’m sure you’re an intelligent enough pony to see where I’m going with all of these.”

“Well let’s take a look. Please follow me to the workshop, we can go over some of your plans and some of ours there.” Tinker leaned closer to Sprocket and spoke in a low voice. “Don’t mind Silver, he’s a little defensive when it comes to meeting new ponies.”

Silver could only glare back in annoyance. This pony hadn’t done anything wrong yet, but something about him just didn’t resonate well with Silver, it was almost as if he had met him before but he couldn’t place where.

Tinker and Sprocket walked into the workshop and sat down at the table. “Ok Sprocket, show me what you’ve brought along today.”

Sprocket smiled and reached into his bag. “These are all prototypes mind you, but they should be workable.” The first item he pulled out was a small item that resembled a speaker with a battery and microphone taped to it. “This is a sonic amplifier, ponies can already hear far better than any human could, but this augments our hearing further. Useful for if you need to be on the alert for anything looming in the distance.”

“I can see the use in that, but is it really that much different than what we could already find in stores? I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but what else do you have?”

Sprocket set the amplifier down and reached in again, pulling out a strange hoof mounted device. “Well this one’s a little more extreme.” He quickly mounted it to his leg and raised his hoof. “This is a personal defense device, useful for if you’re caught in a sticky situation. It has charges for pepper spray, and spring loaded bolts that can be shot out as a last resort.”

Tinker seemed a little taken aback at this invention. He scrunched his muzzle up in discomfort. “Sprocket… No offense, but I can’t say I’m a fan of this one. I want to help ponies, not hurt them.--”

“--This isn’t a weapon! I assure you, it’s meant as a last resort, a last line of defense if you will.”

“Sir… Need I remind you that we have our own stun gauntlet design?”

Tinker craned his neck around to look at his usually stoic assistant. “Well… That is true Gyro, but your gauntlets don’t have any offensive capability. They’ll deliver a mild shock but that’s it.”

Sprocket raised his own defense at Tinker’s questioning. “I know that you’re worried about this Tinker, but just think about all the ponies that you can help with these kinds of inventions.”

“Ok… I’m still a bit apprehensive about this but I’ll think about it. Anything else you have?”

Sprocket’s face brightened. “In fact, I do have one more invention that might pique your interest. I saved this for last in case you weren’t a fan of the other two. This one wasn’t exactly something I thought could make it out of the prototype stage, but I guess there’s no harm in showing you it.” Sprocket reached into his pack and pulled out another wrist mounted device. “This is a utility device, not unlike those straps that have already started to flood the market. Only mine’s better.”

Tinker raised an eyebrow and leaned forward to get a closer look at the strange device. “How is it better?”

Sprocket slowly used his wings to open up and extend the different utilities, an action that reminded Tinker of someone using a Swiss Army Knife. “It has all sorts of useful tools packed into it, and some are even mechanized to make the user experience all the better!”

Tinker was definitely intrigued by this idea. “Can you show me how that part works?”

“Well… It’s just a model right now. I do have an idea of how everything should work though, but it might be a while until it’s useful and affordable enough for ponies to actually use as a real tool.” He trailed off for a moment. “--But it’s a start, and it’s something we can work on together! Pool our resources if you will.”

Tinker sat back, rubbing his chin with a hoof. “It’s an interesting idea, I don’t know how feasible it is yet, but it’s honestly the best thing you’ve shown me today.” He paused for a moment, before turning back toward Sprocket. “You know Sprocket, this is the kind of project you should really put your resources into. You seem like the kind of pony that wants to help others, I see a bit of myself in you, and I was in your place once. The world needs ponies like you, the ones who can care about solving problems for others, and I really think that this could be the kind of invention to do that with.”

“Do you… really think so? I mean this is just some random tool, nothing that could really get my name out there.”

“I know so Sprocket. I know you have your heart set on the defense gauntlet, but there’s so much more that you can do with the utility one. You seem like the kind of pony that’s so concerned with getting some recognition that you’ve been blinded to the real potential you have. This is the kind of invention that could help so many different ponies, and I’d love to help you make this project into a reality. It’s of course your project, but I’d love to offer some assistance on it if you’ll let me. Do you have the blueprints with you?”

“I do, would you like to pull a copy of them?”

Tinker nodded. “I would if you don’t mind. Oh, while I’m working on that, please feel free to speak with Gyro and see if there’s any of our projects that you’d be interested in working on as well. Who knows, you might even find something that might prove useful in getting the utility gauntlet off the ground!”

Sprocket handed the blueprints over to Tinker and smiled. “Sure thing friend, Just let me know when you’re all done.”

“Alright Sprocket, I will!” Tinker said, smiling.

Gyro sat at his work desk and continued to fiddle around with his latest prototype. The stun gauntlets were more or less done, so he was now focusing his attention on the upgraded biomask. It was a passion project of his, something that he genuinely felt could help other ponies deal with the irritation that came with hanging out in the more polluted cities. The mask needed refinement, right now it looked too much like something out of a post apocalyptic movie, not exactly the warm inviting look that enticed ponies to spark up conversation… not that Gyro was one for conversation as it was.

Unbeknownst to Gyro, Sprocket was slowly trotting up to him. Gyro was like a machine though, and flicked his ears back towards him. He suddenly snapped around, lighting his gauntlet defensively.

Sprocket jumped back in surprise, raising his hooves in mock surrender. “Whoa, whoa, easy there Gyroscope. Calm down buddy, I’m only here to ask a few questions, that’s all.”

Gyro lowered his gauntlet. “Don’t do that again.”

“What? Ask questions or sneak up on you?”


“Ok pal, I think we got off on the wrong hoof, let’s take it back a little. Your friend over there said you had some blueprints I could look at?”


“Can I see them?”

“Can you?”

May I see them?”

“What do you want to see?”

Sprocket was starting to lose his patience. “The Blueprints.”

“What blueprints?”


Gyro sighed and shouted back his own response, a move that was incredibly out of character for the normally stoic unicorn. “Which blueprints do you want to see?! I’m not a mind reader!”

Sprocket sat there in surprise, blinking a few times before wording a meager apology. “Oh… Sorry. I guess your gauntlets.”

“Ok. Standby.” Gyro stood up and walked over to a filing cabinet and proceeded to dig through it for a few minutes. “Here you go.”

“Uhhh.. Thanks?”

“Uh huh. Don’t damage them, they’re fragile.”

Sprocket rolled his eyes. “Alright I won’t” Sprocket unrolled the plans and started taking a few pictures, the easiest method he had to make quick copies. “Do you uh… mind if I grab a few shots of the actual gauntlets? For reference of course.”

Gyro rolled his eyes and slid the gauntlet across the table. “Do NOT Drop these.”

“Alright pal I won’t.” Sprocket carefully moved the gauntlets around, taking numerous photos of them and the different modules that powered them. “This could prove useful for my own gauntlets…” He thought to himself.

“Are you finished?” Gyro impatiently asked.

“Oh… Yeah, sorry. Mind if I look over some of your other prototypes too?”

“I do mind. But Tinker doesn’t, so I’ll trust his judgement. They’re over there in that cabinet. DO NOT DROP THEM. These are the only ones we have, they’re fragile. If you break them you’re paying us back for them.”

“Alright buddy, I’ll be extra careful just for you!”

Gyro rolled his eyes again.

Tinker walked up to the duo, shooting Gyro an annoyed glare. “Sorry Sprocket, don’t pay Gyro any mind, he’s a bit protective of our inventions, he’ll warm up to you in due time. All of our prototypes are over here, and their blueprints are all stored away in that cabinet. We have a particular organizational system so please just leave the prints on the counter when you’re done and we’ll handle their organization ourselves.”

“Alright, thanks Tinkerer. I appreciate it.”

“It’s uhh.. You know, nevermind. I like the “Tinkerer” nickname. It kind of suits me!”

The two chuckled awkwardly for a moment.

“Well uhh… Mr. Tinker, I think I’m going to grab a few photos and head on out. I need to talk with my assistant about some ideas we have and what we want to work on. I think you’re right, my little utility gauntlet is just the kind of invention the world needs, I’ll bring some more plans for it over tomorrow and we can go from there.”

“Take care Sprocket, I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow!”

“Likewise Tinkerer! Cya later Gyroscope!”

“My name is Gyro.”

“Uh uh, nighty night pal.” Sprocket chuckled as he walked out the door.

Gyro rolled his eyes once more. “He’s really getting on my nerves.”

“I know, but let’s just see how this goes. The pony’s a genius.”

“I don’t know if I’d call it that.”

“Oh hush Gyro, you need to lighten up a little more!”

“Sure thing Sir.” he replied flatly.

Sprocket trotted down the street, humming a cheerful tune. The meeting today was… interesting to say the least, but he felt that it was at least fruitful. The unicorn’s stun gauntlets might very well be the key to getting his own gauntlet plans off the ground, but still, the tinkerer’s own thoughts on those plans kind of put some doubt in Sprocket’s mind… maybe the utility gauntlet’s would be the way to go. Gadget would never truly understand his obsession with getting the defense variety working, but he didn’t need her to. He didn’t fear much in this world, but losing her, his only real true friend, was the biggest fear imaginable for him. Some things were better left unexplained.

He continued to walk down the sidewalk, finally arriving at his shared studio. He juggled the multiple bags, one holding his prototypes and the other holding their dinner, Sprocket’s favorite: grilled cheese.

He pushed open the door and called in. “Hey Gadget, you in there? I’m home now!”

“Hey Sprocky, I’ll be out in a minute!” He could hear the sound of the shower stopping, and a few minutes later Gadget emerged. “It’s about time, I’m starving!”

“Me too!” He reached for the dinner bag, bringing it over to the table. “I’ve got some interesting plans to go over with you after dinner by the way.”

“Uh huh, sounds good. So what’d you get us?”

“Oh you know, my favorite!”

“Grilled cheese?”


“Alright well let’s go set up the table.”

The two jumped right into work, setting the table and pulling up a couple chairs.

“So what’s our next big project?”

“Well there’s two things. Both are gauntlets, one is the defense gauntlet the other is the utility gauntlet.”

Gadget sighed. “Sprocky, do we really need to make the defense gauntlet? You know how I don’t like working on weapons.”

“It’s not a weapon… It’s for self defense.”

“It’s a gauntlet that shoots out bolts and pepper spray. Sounds like a weapon to me.”

Sprocket turned his ears down and looked away, not enjoying her reaction. “Alright alright, let’s work on the utility gauntlet for now, if that’ll make you feel better.”

“It really would Sprocky.”

He lightened up a little at this. “You know, that Tinkerer pony seemed to think the same thing.”

“So why don’t you take his advice?”

“It’s… It’s complicated Gadg, just trust me on that ok?”

“But why is it complicated Sprocket?” She asked, frustration evident in her voice.

“I… Just please Gadg, I don’t want to fight about this!”

She sighed. “Ok Sprocket fine. I just don’t like how you get all nervous and anxious every time this comes up. You’re my friend and I can’t stand to see you get worked up about something without telling me what’s working you up.”

“I know Gadg, Thanks. I’m sorry, we can focus on the utility gauntlet for now if you really want to.”

She leaned in and hugged him. “Thanks Sprocky.”

The two finished up their dinner and cleaned up the table.

Sprocket seemed a little more uncertain than usual. “Gadget, do you think we’ll really be able to get the utility gauntlet to work?”

“Sprocket, when have you ever doubted yourself?”

“It’s just… you think other ponies will really like this?”

“I know for a fact that they’d sure like it a lot more than a weapon.”

“It’s not a…” he began to mumble out, stopping himself when he noticed Gadget’s annoyed look. “I mean… I guess we have our direction…” Sprocket stood up and started walking to the bed. He paused and looked back at his friend.”

“Thanks Gadg. I don’t know what I’d do without you, you know that right?”

“I do Sprocky, I do.” She chuckled, “though… it is kind of nice to hear you admit it every once in a while!”

“You really are a real joker, you know that Gadg?”

“Of course I do Sprocky. Want to start blocking out some of our ideas? I don’t know about you, but I sure am excited to start work on this!”

“I… I think I am too!”

“Well what’re we waiting for then! Let me go get my sketchbook out and we can start working on it!”

“I’ll go get the plans and snacks set up!”

“Snacks? But we just ate dinner!”

“Oh c’mon! You know we can’t design without some snacks!”

“Oh alright, I guess we can have some snacks.”

“You’re the best Gadg, you know that?”

“I Sure do Sprocky, I sure do!”

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