• Published 17th Jun 2019
  • 5,564 Views, 354 Comments

S.P.A.R.K.S. - Patriot Pony Productions

Created from a magical experiment to help Twilight around the palace, Sparks is an all-knowing hard-light entity in everything but her social skills, at least until she meets Spike.

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Part 2: Hugging Subroutines

Spike kept his head low as he avoided making eye contact with the artificial mare beside him. Sparks, on the other hoof, was utterly bewildered by the sights all around her. Behind her orange visor, her glowing eyes darted to each and every little thing they could see from birds as they fluttered from branch to branch to the occasional rock on the side of the dirt road.

Together, more or less, they walked away from the palace and into Ponyville. It was taking far longer than it should have, had Spike been on his own, but even he had to admit that it was fun to watch Sparks see and experience the world. She let out a soft gasp as she watched a butterfly float across their path. “Fascinating... Scanning.”

He shot her a strange look. “Why are you doing that? It’s just a butterfly. They’re all over the place this time of year.”

Without taking her eyes off of the little insect, Sparks approached it slowly as it landed on a nearby rock. “Data retrieval and processing, Spike. My data and memory stores are vastly empty, relatively speaking. Most of what I know now is about spells and Twilight Sparkle’s current research.”

Spike raised his eyebrows and stood beside her as she continued to intently watch the butterfly. “So, you’re just learning by seeing?”

Sparks cracked a smile and nodded her head. “Affirmative, Spike... I need to learn all I can about everything I can if I am going to be the assistant Twilight Sparkle wants me to be.” Then, her visor flickered subtly, and she rose back up to her full height before turning to look at him. “Spike, I have several inquires that require answers.”

The dragon cocked his head to the side. “You mean you have questions? What about?”

The smile on her face was gone, and she took on a more puzzled look. “There are pieces of my data stores regarding you that I don’t understand. When Twilight Sparkle created me, I was given a wealth of knowledge to start off with. This included basic information about her and some of her closest companions, yourself included. What I don’t understand is why she referred to you, a dragon, as family. I have memories of Twilight Sparkle’s immediate family including her father, mother, brother, and sister-in-law, but you are also labeled as family. Why is this?”

That wasn’t at all what Spike was expecting her to ask. Had anypony else taken into question his close relationship with Twilight, he might have been offended, but the tone of Spark’s voice sounded sincere, like she truly didn’t understand the concept of family. “Sparks, I’ve known Twilight for as long as I can remember. She hatched me from my egg as a part of a magical exam or something, and we’ve been together ever since.”

She didn't look convinced. “I know of this, Spike, but that does not explain why you are labeled as family. It is a term that defines members of kinship. I thought this to be an error. I can correct it easily, but I require consent.”

Spike shook his head. “No... No, don’t change anything. Family can mean so much more than your relatives. Anyone can be family if you love them. It doesn’t matter if she’s a pony and I’m a dragon. I’ve always looked up to Twilight as a big sister.” Then, he got an idea, like a light bulb ignited over his head. “Hey... In a way, you’re family too! I mean, Twilight made you, so she’s kinda like your mom.”

Sparks frowned as she looked back towards the palace. “My... mom?”

Spike beamed at her. “Yeah! See? You’re family too. You just have to learn to see things in a new way.”

She nodded her head, and when she turned around to face Spike, he could see something new in her eyes. Behind their artificial glow, he could almost see them glittering in the morning light. “I see, Spike... Updating data relating to family.” Then, she looked directly at him and beamed. “Spike, you are family.”

What came next was completely unexpected. Sparks had no horn to speak of, but somehow, he began to glow as though a cloud of magic were covering him. She lifted him into the air and brought him close, almost crushing him against her chest. “Ah! Sparks, what are you- That’s too tight!”

Startled by his cries, she dropped him. “I apologize, Spike. I simply wished to express a gesture of goodwill commonly shared between members of the same family.”

From the ground, Spike looked up at her as she leaned over him. “You mean a hug? I guess, but you can’t do it that hard. It kinda hurt...” He climbed back up to his feet and faced her. “It’s got to be gentle, like this.”

Then, he wrapped his arms around her, as far as they could go anyway. Sparks seemed completely still as he embraced her, but it didn’t last long. After a few more seconds, he pulled away and looked up at her. “It should be just like that. Do you think you get it, now?”

Sparks looked a little overwhelmed and even distressed. “Unknown... Processing...” Her eyes darted around as though she were reading from a dozen books at once as they flew around her field of vision. When it stopped, she looked at Spike again and frowned in a way that he could only assume resembled longing. “More data is required...”

Spike raised an eyebrow at her. He didn’t think it was possible for an artificial intelligence to look embarrassed, but then again, he didn’t know anything about synthetic magical ponies, so it balanced out in the end. “You... want another hug?”

She nodded her head slowly. “Findings are incoherent. In order to fully process this new data, more is required...”

The dragon saw no reason as to why he should say ‘no’. Besides, it couldn’t possibly hurt, at least not in any way he could think of. “Alright...”

He approached her again and carefully wrapped his arms around her again. Spike could feel her whole body humming softly as he held her, and this time, she reciprocated the hug, or at least, she tried to. Sparks navigated one hoof around his back in an attempt to hold against her. “You are warm... Your heart rate is at a normal level... Is this satisfactory, Spike?” Her voice was soft, like she was making a conscious effort to be as gentle with him as possible.

He didn’t respond, but the seconds passed into a full minute before he finally managed to push her away. The hug had gone on for far longer than he had imagined, but Sparks didn’t look the least bit bothered. “Um... Ye-Yeah... That was fine, a lot better than the first time. Did you get all of the information you needed?”

She paused for a moment. “Processing...” Then, she blinked, and her orange visor flickered as the operation came to an end. “Affirmative, Spike. Sufficient data has been acquired and stored in my memory banks, cataloged under ‘pleasurable experiences’.”

Spike’s eyes widened at her. “What? You mean, you liked the hug?”

Sparks grinned at him, teeth and all, as a display of her joy. “Affirmative, Spike. In addition to the useful knowledge gained, I found the experience to be most enjoyable. When Twilight Sparkle returns, I will share this acquired knowledge with her, and we will hug many times.” She looked pleased with herself, and even excited about the future. “Come, Spike. I require more data.”

Spike watched with amazement as she walked past him, motioning for him to follow. She was heading straight towards town. Suddenly, he envisioned a riot breaking out as ponies rallied to drive out the strange artificial mare, and he dashed to put himself in front of her. “Sparks, wait!”

She came to a stop and looked down at him. “Spike, is something wrong? Is there anything you require? Scanning... Levels of dehydration are minimal, but you require water. I will find you some, and-“

Spike shook his head and rapidly crossed his arms, effectively cutting her off. “No! That’s not it at all... What I’m trying to say is that you can’t just go stomping around Ponyville. The ponies here might not understand who you are and get upset.” He eyed her shiny exterior as his mind got to work. “We need to find you some clothes... Rarity’s place isn’t far, and it’s right on the edge of town. If we stop by there, I’m sure she’ll help you out.”

Sparks paused again. “Scanning... Rarity, close friend of Twilight Sparkle. Occupation: Professional tailor, small independent business owner.” Then, a smile came over her face. “This is a good plan, Spike. We should visit Rarity without further delay.”

In agreement, the two of them left the dirt road behind and went around the outskirts of the town in pursuit of the Carousel Boutique.

***Up Next: Breach In Privacy***