• Published 12th Jan 2019
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Undead Robot Bug Crusaders: Unusual Lives - Banjo64



The continuing misadventures of the Undead Robot Bug Crusaders

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Chapter 1: CMC vs Boring Life Threatening Vines

Black vines were rapidly spreading through the town. The sun and moon were frozen in the sky, throwing the land into a surreal perpetual twilight (not the pony). Six certain mares had ventured off to the Everfree once again. Oh, and Discord was in town, up to his usual “I’m totally not a bad guy anymore” antics.

In other words, it was a typical Saturday in Ponyville.

Like many citizens of Equestria’s local disaster zone, the CMC had decided to simply wait out the mess while their sisters and friends saved the day for the Celestia-knows-how-many-ith time. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond their control, they found themselves cooped up in the Carousel Boutique.

“Ugh… so bored…” groaned Scootaloo.

“Yeah. Nothing to do here but stare at Rarity’s dresses,” grumbled Apple Bloom.

“In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have stashed all the crayons we owned at the clubhouse. You never know when you’re going to find yourself stuck in the wrong building,” added Sweetie Belle.

There was a loud crash as something outside was smashed by the vines. The CMC didn’t even bother glancing outside. Why would they? Nothing interesting was happening out there.

With a grunt, Scootaloo sat up.

“Hay with it. There’s got to be something around here we can do. Maybe Rarity has a deck of cards somewhere?” suggested Scootaloo.


The good news was that Rarity did, in fact, have a deck of cards. The fillies had even managed to actually find it. The bad news, however, was that their game of Go Fish was turning out to be rather one-sided.

“Got any five’s?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Go fish,” replied Apple Bloom.

With a sigh, Sweetie Belle drew from the deck. She got a six.

“Got any six’s?” asked Scootaloo.

Sweetie growled, but hooved over the card.

“I swear, every single time I draw…” she grumbled.

“Hey, we’re playing Go Fish. What am I supposed to do, ask you for the two’s I’ve already gotten the set for?” argued Scootaloo.

“You've gotten every set so far! I’m this close to calling you a cheater!” cried Sweetie Belle.

“She’s right, ya know. That’s a mighty big stack of cards ya got there,” added Apple Bloom.

“I’m not cheating. It’s not my fault the cards are matching up so well for me,” countered Scootaloo.

Sweetie Belle let out a very unlady-like snort.

“Well, something’s clearly going on so… wait… did we check if this deck was shuffled before we started playing?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo shared an uncertain look. Taking the initiative, Apple Bloom peaked at the underside of the deck.

“King, king, king, king, queen, queen, queen… yeah, you’re right, Sweetie Belle. We didn’t shuffle the deck,” declared Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom’s friends groaned and threw down their cards.

“Who the hay takes the time to re-organize every card in a deck like this? This clearly isn’t a new pack!” cried Sweetie Belle.

“Twilight Sparkle?” suggested Apple Bloom.

“OK, yes, she would, but these are Rarity's cards. This makes no sense,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Well, whatever the reason, this just killed my desire to play card games for the next few hours,” complained Scootaloo.

“Yeah. Anypony have any other ideas to pass the time?” asked Apple Bloom.


“Ah spy somethin’... blue,” said Apple Bloom.

“That dress?” said Scootaloo.

“Which one?” asked Apple Bloom.

“The one with that red ribbon?” answered Scootaloo.

“I see three blue dresses with red ribbons,” pointed out Sweetie Belle.

“OK, the blue dress with the red ribbon, the white frills, and the emeralds on the sleeves,” said Scootaloo with a roll of her eyes.

“Ah. Sorry, but no, not that one,” answered Apple Bloom.

“Alright, how about… that blue dress with the sapphires?” suggested Sweetie Belle.

“Which one? Ah see four blue dresses with sapphires,” asked Apple Bloom.

“This isn’t working. Next idea,” said Scootaloo.


The three fillies groaned as the bottle came to a stop pointed perfectly between two of them.

Again.

“I think this bottle might be possessed,” complained Sweetie Belle.

“That, or Discord’s playing games with us again,” grumbled Scootaloo.

“Either way, Ah think something’s messin’ with us. Maybe we should just give up on it?” suggested Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle let out a huff.

“We’ve been trying to find something to do for ages now. Can’t we just, I don’t know, add another rule to make sure one of us actually gets picked?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo blinked, then smiled.

“That’s a great idea, Sweetie. Since there’s three of us, if the bottle ends up perfectly between two of us again, whoever’s on the opposite side of where it’s pointing is it. Agreed?” suggested Scootaloo.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle nodded.

Scootaloo gave the bottle one last spin and…

The three fillies stared at the bottle, which was now, somehow, standing rightside up, pointing at the ceiling.

“Yeah… Ah’m pretty sure that’s a sign we should move on to something else,” said Apple Bloom.


Some time and many failed attempts later, the three of them laid about in Sweetie Belle’s room, bored out of their minds.

“Tic tac toe?” suggested Apple Bloom.

“With three players?” countered Scootaloo.

“Well, it’s not like we can’t take turns or anything,” pointed out Sweetie Belle.

“But that means one of us will be stuck watching. Tic tac toe is so boring to watch…” grumbled Scootaloo.

The air was filled with the sound of sighing fillies.

“Welp, Ah give up. Unless anypony feels like pullin’ out the cards again, Ah can’t think of anythin’ else we can do to pass the time,” admitted Apple Bloom with a sigh.

“Maybe the day’s already been saved?” suggested Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo, who was on Sweetie Belle’s bed, glanced out the window.

“Looks like… nope. Sky’s still a mess, and no sign of Rainbow Dash or the others,” she announced.

With a grunt, Apple Bloom sat up.

“Alright, ya know what, Ah think it’s time to resort to drastic measures,” she announced.

“Drastic measures?” asked Sweetie Belle, also sitting up.

Apple Bloom turned towards Sweetie Belle and trotted up so that she was face to face with her.

“Uh, Apple Bloom? What are you…” started Sweetie Belle.

“Staring Contest! Go!” declared Apple Bloom before staring deep into Sweetie Belle’s eyes.

Though caught off guard, Sweetie Belle quickly matched Apple Bloom’s stare. And the two gazed into each other’s unblinking eyes, waiting for the other to give in.

Scootaloo rolled her eyes, but was content to watch for the few seconds it would take for the game to end.

One of them would blink any second now…

Any second now…

There! Sweetie Belle… no wait, that was just the light flickering as a vine moved pass the window.

...

“Wait a second, do either of you even need to blink?” asked Scootaloo.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle both forfeited at the same moment as they blinked in surprise.

“Huh. Now that ya mention it… Ah guess not. Though Ah don’t think Ah should try and break the habit,” said Apple Bloom.

“Yeah. I doubt either of us want to end up with creepy staring gazes or anything like that,” added Sweetie Belle.

A light turned on above Sweetie Belle’s head. Not literally, though. It was still more than bright enough outside.

“Hold on, I’ve got an idea. We’ve tried every way normal ponies pass the time, right? Why don’t we try getting creative and do something else?” suggested Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo and Apple Bloom looked at Sweetie Belle in confusion.

“I mean, we’ve got a ghoul, a robot, and a changeling here. Maybe we can try and come up with some kind of new game to play that takes advantage of our unique abilities?” explained Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo and Apple Bloom shared a thoughtful look.


The Carousel Boutique’s basement was dark and creepy, but not dusty. Rarity kept most of her fabric stock down there, after all, and she wasn’t the kind of pony to let her precious cloth be ruined by something as vile as dust.

This suited the CMC just fine. They didn’t need dust to play this special new game anyway, just the dark. Plus, the vines seemed to have yet to invade the place, so it was perfect.

“Where are you, little fillies?” said Apple Bloom in as intimidating a voice as she could manage.

Apple Bloom moved slowly and carefully, taking care to avoid giving away her own position with a careless hooffall. Her red eyes piercing the darkness with ease, though the rows of shelves full of fabric made spotting the others a little tricky. But with only two ponies to keep track of, it wasn’t too difficult.

“Y’all can’t hide from mah gaze forever…” said Apple Bloom.

She heard a giggle, then turned a corner and spotted Sweetie Belle. The unicorn noticed Apple Bloom’s glowing eyes, gave a soft squeak, and immediately froze. Apple Bloom permitted herself a giggle as well. This was surprisingly fun, sneaking up on ponies like this and spooking them ever so slightly.

The game itself was sort of a cross between red light green light and hide and seek. The goal was for Apple Bloom’s friends to try and reach the stairs, starting from different sides of the room. The catch was that they couldn’t move while Apple Bloom was looking at them. And if they made too much noise by moving too fast, they lost the game anyway.

The interesting part was Apple Bloom’s eyes. Their unnatural red glow not only enabled her to see in the pitch-black basement with ease, but they also gave away that she was looking at somepony. So, not only were you trying to reach the end quickly and silently in the dark, you had keep your eyes open and watch the darkness for the sight of Apple Bloom’s gaze.

Satisfied that Sweetie Belle had stopped in time, Apple Bloom turned, ready to find Scootaloo and...

Bang!

“Ow!” cried Scootaloo.

Apple Bloom turned towards the noise in concern.

“You OK, Scootaloo?” called Apple Bloom.

“Yeah. I just banged my leg on the edge of a shelf. This is harder than I thought it would be,” said Scootaloo.

“OK, then. But if you’re not hurt, then the noise still counts. Sweetie Belle wins,” announced Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom made her way over to the light switch and lit up the room. Blinking as her eyes adjusted, Apple Bloom was surprised to see that Scootaloo was only a few meters away from the stairs, rubbing the pain out of her leg.

“Gah, I was so close,” grumbled Scootaloo as she got up and made her way back to the start.

“Welp, close doesn’t cut it in… uh… what did we decide to call this game, again?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Zombie tag, I think?” said Sweetie Belle.

“I’m pretty sure zombie tag’s already a thing, Sweetie,” said Scootaloo.


“That’s totally Private Pansy,” said Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo smiled as she dropped her disguise.

“Bingo. Point to Apple Bloom,” she declared.

“Yes!” cheered Apple Bloom with a hoof pump.

“Darn. I totally knew that one…” grumbled Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo giggled, then turned her attention to coming up with a new pony to disguise herself as. Her family were more than eager to “help.”

Oh! Oh! Do me! Do me! cried Goose.

I don’t think they’ll remember what you look like, Goose, argued Uno.

Well, that’d be just rude. And after I left such a good impression on them, too, huffed Goose.

Do you even remember what happened when you met those two? asked Lynx.

Yeah, thought so, said Lynx with a smirk that could be felt through the hivemind.

T-that’s besides the point! cried Goose.

And so is this conversation. Come on guys, either give me ideas or shut up so I can think of one myself, said Scootaloo.

There was some resigned grumbling, but a genuinely good suggestion soon emerged. Satisfied, Scootaloo quickly donned her disguise.

“Who am I?” asked Scootaloo, now in the form of a white unicorn mare with a brown mane, a pair of glasses, a bowtie, and an ink and quill cutie mark.

It was testament to Scootaloo’s rapidly improving skills that she had added the clothes to her disguise without any issue. She’d also say it was proof that she’d really, really needed a better teacher than that theory-obsessed creep she’d had for years.

“Hm… I swear I’ve seen that pony alive somewhere, so probably not a historical figure,” deducted Sweetie Belle.

“Yeah. She’s definitely not from Ponyville, and Ah’m pretty sure a unicorn wouldn’t live in Cloudsdale. And considerin’ what towns we’ve actually been to, Ah’m gonna guess she’s from Canterlot,” added Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo held back a nod. No hints unless they asked for them.

“OK, so, glasses and bowtie. Probably not a noble. Also probably somepony important if ya bothered disgustin’ as her at all. So that must mean…” mumbled Apple Bloom.

“That’s it! She’s Princess Celestia’s secretary! Ugh… what was her name again? Ink something?” cried Sweetie Belle.

“Raven Inkwell, and yes. Point to Sweetie Belle,” declared Scootaloo as she dropped the disguise.

This game was actually pretty fun, if a little familiar to the young changeling. Celestia knew how many times she’d played this game back when she lived at the hive. Or how many times Twitch had ruined the game by disguising as…

Crap, she’d been trying to forget about that detail.

Truly, my art transcends mortal memory, announced Twitch.

In the same way someone would call a filmed trainwreck a work of art, I guess, added Uno.

Nah. If it’s just a scene in a movie, a trainwreck could be considered a work of art. Twitch is more like a… um… added Beetle.

A toilet that’s- started Lynx.

Scootaloo quickly tuned her out. She did not want to hear whatever analogy her sister was about to say. She instead turned her attention back to the game, and quickly drew up another disguise.

“Who am I?” asked Scootaloo.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle raised their eyebrows.

“Uh… Scootaloo? Is something wrong?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo glanced down at notice the orange fur she currently had, along with a purple mane. She’d disguised herself… as herself.

“Lemme guess, you’re distracted and tryin’ to ignore something from the hivemind?” asked Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo let out a sigh.

“Twitch?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Yeah. Twitch,” Scootaloo answered with a nod.


This was far from the first time the three of them had opened Sweetie Belle’s manual together, nor would it be the last. This was, however, the first time they were jumping to random pages in search of something interesting instead of just reading the book page by page.

“Infrared vision… binary translation… EMP resistance? What the hay does that mean?” asked Scootaloo with a raised eyebrow.

“Something to look at later, that’s what it means. But seriously, Sweetie Belle, how many gadgets do ya even have?” asked Apple Bloom in disbelief.

“I have no idea, Apple Bloom. Though I guess I could just have Sweetie Bot run a search if we… Oh! How about this?” said Sweetie Belle as a page caught her eye: virtual projection system.

The fillies took a moment to read it over.

“Enter a vir-tu-al reality of your own design? Dang, that’s some hard core sci-fi stuff right there,” noted Scootaloo.

“Well, I am a robot from the future, Scootaloo. I think we crossed the ‘hard core sci-fi’ line a long time ago,” said Sweetie Belle with a giggle.

“Huh. Says here that there’s an option to let other ponies interact. How the hay would that work?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Why don’t we find out?” suggested Sweetie Belle.

Sweetie Belle set the book down and, as instructed by the manual, positioned herself so she was facing a blank wall.

Here goes nothing… activate virtual projection, thought Sweetie Belle.

Sweetie Belle’s vision suddenly shifted, the world around her fading into a blank empty void. Glancing down, she noticed she couldn’t even see herself in this place.

This is the virtual reality? It’s kind of empty, thought Sweetie Belle.

“Woah… that’s so cool!”came Scootaloo’s voice.

Sweetie Belle looked around. She couldn’t see anything.

“Girls? What’s happening? All I can see is endless nothingness,” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Oh, uh, your eyes are shining some kind of black screen onto the wall. Kind of a like a movie or something. I guess we’re seeing what you’re seeing?” said Scootaloo.

“I guess, though there really isn’t much to see here,” admitted Sweetie Belle as she looked around.

“Well, you’re supposed to be able to make a world with this thing. Maybe try filling it with stuff?” suggested Scootaloo.

“Yeah. The manual says ya come with several sample settin’s already in-stalled, whatever that means. Hm… do ya have some kind of… in-ter-face? Celestia, some of these words are weird…” added Apple Bloom.

Feeling a little foolish, Sweetie Belle thought about changing her surroundings, and a small screen popped in front of her vision. It also apparently popped onto whatever Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were looking at.

“There we go. Hm… looks like a bunch of locations and a ‘create new’ option. Let’s see… volcano, cloud city… how about we try that underwater option?” suggested Scootaloo.

Sweetie Belle, seeing no reason to say no, focused on the text in question and then…

Grumble!

“What was… Uh oh,” said Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle blinked, then groaned as the hunger pangs started hitting her again. A sure sign that she was running low on energy. It suddenly occurred to Sweetie Belle that, after the vines had messed with her magic that morning, she’d skipped breakfast. This did not mix well with utilizing energy-draining robot gadgets.

“I need food… now,” moaned Sweetie Belle as her stomach started growling even louder.

“I’m on it. Shut that thing down, Sweetie Belle,” declared Scootaloo.

Sweetie Belle heard Scootaloo running off, but quickly turned her attention back the the VR. She shut the virtual reality system down, and the real world appeared before her eyes. She then proceeded to kneel over and clutch her gut.

“Ugh… I hate it when this happens. And we didn’t even get to really try the thing,” groaned Sweetie Belle.

Apple Bloom put a reassuring hoof on Sweetie Belle’s side.

“It’s OK, Sweetie Belle. We’ll try again after you eat,” said Apple Bloom.

“Yeah. In fact, maybe we can even hold off on this for a bit. I bet your coltfriend would get a kick out of seeing this for himself,” said Scootaloo as she came back with a bowl of fruit.

“He’s not my coltfriend…” grumbled Sweetie Belle before she proceeded to devour the fruit in a way that would make a parasprite blush.


At last, the sun was properly in the sky, the vines were all gone, and the ever fleeting peace had been restored. And not a pony was surprised to hear that the whole thing was Discord’s fault, nor that Pinkie had arranged yet another party soon after.

The CMC were naturally drawn out to join the party, eager to get outside after being cooped up for so long. But sadly, by the time Sweetie Belle’s hunger had been finally sated, there was no time to try the VR again before the party started. Still, there was no hurry. They’d be able to try again later.

As the party settled down, Rarity let out a sigh of relief as she and Sweetie Belle stepped inside the Boutique.

“Well, that was certainly one of our more… dramatic adventures, I suppose. How did you and the girls handle it?” asked Rarity.

“Like usual. Just played a bunch of games while waiting for things to calm down. By the way, what’s the deal with your cards?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“My… cards?” asked Rarity, her voice suddenly very nervously.

Sweetie Belle raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah. Why do you have a deck of cards that’s already open, but not shuffled?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Rarity blinked in surprise, but then let out a sigh of relief.

“Oh, you must be talking about the cards I lent to Twilight the other day. You know how that mare gets about keeping things orderly,” said Rarity.

Sweetie Belle wasn’t entirely convinced.

“Uh huh. And you got really nervous when I mentioned them because…?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Oh, I just thought for a moment there that you and the girls had found my antique card set. It’s a very valuable item of mine, so I’d appreciate it if you’d avoid touching it in the future,” answered Rarity with a wave of her hoof.

“You have an antique card set?” asked Sweetie Belle in disbelief.

“I do have other hobbies than fashion, Sweetie,” said Rarity.

Sweetie Belle let out a sigh, but accepted the answer. As she turned away and headed upstairs, however, Rarity let out a sigh of her own.

That had been far too close for comfort. Still, at least now Sweetie Belle would never accidentally open her secret box of cards. While Rarity was perfectly willing to admit she had other hobbies, she was less than eager to admit that one of them happened to be a certain magic-based collector card game.

“You just had to make a card geek out of me and the others, didn’t you, Twilight Sparkle?” cursed Rarity under her breath.

Author's Note:

Season 4 premier... how long ago was that? Man, this show's been going for a while...

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