• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,920 Views, 85 Comments

Code Lyocolt - MythrilMoth

The Mane Six discover a supercomputer, a virtual pony, and a deadly enemy...

  • ...



The lavender unicorn opened bleary eyes and looked around sleepily. She had fallen asleep in the lab; the control board for the supercomputer was covered in drool. She yawned and stretched. "Ugh...oh...Virtua..." She ducked her head sheepishly. "I'm sorry...I was just so tired..."

//It's alright,// the virtual pony said with a friendly smile. //I'm glad you're awake now, though. It's way too quiet here.//

"You still haven't been able to go outside without getting attacked?"

//I haven't even tried,// Virtua replied with a sad sigh. //It's just way too risky.//

"Yeah..." Twilight frowned. "Well, sometime later this morning my friends are coming back over, and some of them are going to come in there and explore your world."

//I can't wait,// Virtua said. //I want to know more about where I am...maybe it'll help me figure out WHO I am.//

"I sure hope so..."

After finishing her morning chores, Applejack made one last round of the farm before heading over to the library. As she did so, she noticed something peculiar: Big Macintosh was frantically rooting through haystacks, bushels, barrels, and everywhere else.

"Uh...Big Mac? Y'lose somethin'?"


"Need some help findin' it?"




"Whutcha done lost, anyway? Maybe Ah seen it somewhere."

"Nothin' important," the red stallion replied.

"...right. Well, Ah'm off. Good luck findin', uh, whutever."

Ten minutes later, Applejack was too far away from Sweet Apple Acres to hear her brother's terrified scream.

Twilight's friends had gathered once again in the basement lab, where an important decision was about to be made.

"Okay, so who's going and who's staying?" Twilight asked.

"I'm sure as hay not goin'," Spike said. "It's just too weird."

"I'm definitely going!" Rainbow Dash declared, ruffling her wings.

"Umm...I'll...stay here, if it's all the same," Fluttershy whispered, curling into herself and lowering her body to the floor.

"I'll go!" Pinkie declared. "Getting shot hurt, but shooting those crab thingies was kinda fun!"

"I believe I shall pass, if it's all the same," Rarity said, waving a dainty hoof airily.

"Ah reckon Ah might as well give it a shot," Applejack drawled.

"Right," Twilight nodded. She pressed a couple of keys on the control board, and three scanner tubes opened with a hiss. "In you go!"

As her friends stepped into the scanners, Twilight began working furiously at the controls. Windows popped up on the screens, displaying three-dimensional representations of each mare.

"Transfer Pinkie Pie...scanner Pinkie Pie...

"Transfer Rainbow Dash...scanner Rainbow Dash...

"Transfer Applejack...scanner Applejack...


With a final keystroke, the images of the three mares dissolved into wireframes...

...and appeared in the rocky virtual terrain outside Virtua's tower.

//AWESOME!// Rainbow Dash cried. //I'm a Wonderbolt here!//

//An' Ah'm...uh...whut th' hay am Ah s'posed t'be?//

Twilight activated the viewer that showed what was happening in the virtual desert. Pinkie was once again in her party balloon outfit and armed with her saddlecannons. Dash had acquired a blindingly multihued variation of the Wonderbolts' flight suit. And Applejack...

...was an armored cow.

There was really no better way she could think of to describe it. The farmpony's virtual body was encased in armor with a distinctive Holstein heifer pattern. Her normal brown hat had been replaced with a similarly cow-patterned ten-gallon hat that had enormous steer's horns jutting out from the sides. Lastly, her hooves were shod in the gaudiest, shiniest white boots Twilight had ever seen, each with sharp spurs jangling at the heel.

Dash took one look at her and exploded with laughter. //Oh man, you look so ridiculous!// she howled.

Virtua emerged from the tower, looking around cautiously. She espied the three mares, and her forehooves flew to her mouth. //Oh my...//

Pinkie walked up to the tower and tapped it with a hoof. //So how come we can't get inside?// she wondered.

//I don't know,// Virtua replied. //But those monsters can't get in either.//

"I wonder..." Twilight mused. "Are those creatures a natural feature of that world? Or is somepony or something sending them after you?"

The virtual pony shuddered. //I'm not crazy about that notion,// she said.

//Well, I'll take a quick flight around and see what's up with this place,// Dash said. She stretched her wings and rose from the ground; as she flew off, a brilliant rainbow trail shimmered behind her.

//She's so fast!// Virtua exclaimed, eyes wide.

//That ain't nuthin',// Applejack said. //Wait'll ya see 'er really go.//

A bolt of energy streaked past Applejack, scoring the ground at her hooves. She and Pinkie whirled to face a new group of crab-monsters; Virtua eeped and galloped through the wall of the tower.

Big Macintosh was used to being, well...big.

Most of the time, he was the biggest pony in any given crowd. He was rarely around anypony or any creature bigger than him.

On this particular morning, however, he had encountered something much, much bigger than himself.

Many residents of Ponyville were astonished to see the sturdy red workpony galloping down the road at top speed, looking as though every foul thing in Tartarus was hot on his hooves. Nopony could imagine what could possibly have so thoroughly terrified Big Macintosh.

And then they saw what was chasing him.

Cue enormous pony stampede.

As Virtua charged into the tower, she felt her hooves slide underneath her, and before she could arrest her forward motion, she skidded to the edge of the circular tower floor...and over.

She screamed as she fell...and then stopped in surprise as she landed gently on a floor almost exactly like the one she'd just fallen off of.

//Virtua? Are you okay?// Twilight Sparkle asked.

"Yes...I'm alright. Just...surprised." The virtual pony frowned thoughtfully, then timidly approached the wall of the tower and stepped through.

Her eyes widened.

"I...I don't believe it..."

//What is it?// Twilight asked.

"See for yourself..."

The viewing window on the left screen flickered and changed, and Twilight blinked. "...what the hay?"

//I think...I've found a different sector of this world,// Virtua replied.

Indeed, the terrain around the virtual pony was no longer coarse brown desert, but rather lush green virtual forest.

"How'd you get there?" Twilight asked.

//I...I'm not sure...//

//Hey everypony!// Dash's voice burst excitedly from the speakers. //You won't believe what I found! There's a whole bunch of these towers all over the place!//

//What?// Virtua cut in. //Did you say there are more towers?//

//Yeah,// Dash replied. //You think maybe more virtual ponies live in those other towers?//

//It's...possible...// Virtua replied dubiously. //But I don't think--AAAAH!//

"What is it? What's wrong?" Twilight cried.

//Some kind of bug monsters...//

"Get back in the tower!"

//I can't! I'm surrounded!//

Twilight cursed. "Hang on...there's gotta be some way to send everypony over to where you are..." She began furiously working at the controls, studying incomprehensible window after window of readouts and data. Finally, she found--or hoped she'd found--what she needed. "Okay, gang, I'm sending you to the forest sector!"

//Huh? Wait, what?//

Pinkie, Applejack, and Dash blinked in confusion as the desert terrain around them blurred and became blocky, and moments later was replaced with green grass and trees. "Okay, that was weird," Pinkie said.

"Help! Over here!" Virtua cried. The mares turned, only to find the virtual pony surrounded by wicked-looking giant hornets, stingers gleaming evilly. The eerie eye symbol they'd seen on the crabs was also present on these new monsters.

"I've got this!" Dash cried, charging into the fray. As she picked up speed, the rainbow contrail behind her became a blazing rainbow flame; she plowed through the hornets, which caught fire and exploded in showers of blue polygons.

A lone crab scuttled out from behind a tree. Applejack charged it, lowering her head like an angry bull. The ridiculously long horns on her absurd hat caught it up and pierced it, and it too vanished into blue polygons and nothingness.

"Aww, nothing for me to blow up?" Pinkie pouted.

"You'd better get back in the tower, Virtua," Dash said.

"Right..." the virtual pony agreed. Before she had taken a single step, however, she stiffened, eyes wide. "Did...did you all feel that?"

"Feel whut?" Applejack asked, tilting her head.

"I felt...some kind of...pulsation..."

"Oh! Oh! Maybe you have a Virtua Sense, just like I have Pinkie Sense!"


//Ignore her,// Twilight said abruptly. //What do you mean you felt a pulsation?//

"I don't know...it's just..."

//Twilight! Something DREADFUL is happening outside!//

//Huh? Oh--excuse me a minute everypony.//

"I wonder what's goin' on?" Dash asked, looking up at the digital sky, worry creasing her brow.

"Somethin' sure as horseapples don't feel right," Applejack said, frowning.

"I agree," Virtua nodded. "I feel like...something bad's about to happen..."

Twilight stepped out into the bright sunlight, only to find chaos erupting all around her.


"It's some kind of terrible monster!" Fluttershy squeaked, ducking behind the unicorn and peering out from between her legs. "I saw it--everypony's running right for the Everfree Forest, and it's right behind them..."

"A monster? What kind of monster?" Twilight asked.

"I couldn't say for sure," Rarity answered, "but it was certainly the most hideous thing I've ever seen."

"And it was HUGE," Spike said. "Like, dragon huge."

This observation was rather unnecessary, as whatever had stomped through the town had left considerable destruction in its wake.

Twilight shifted her hooves uncertainly, torn between competing disasters. Her friends should be okay in the virtual world, she knew...or hoped...but this monster, whatever it was...

"Spike?" she said. "I need you to go back down to the lab and keep an eye on everypony in the supercomputer. You don't need to do anything except make sure Virtua doesn't lose all her life points. I'm pretty sure if she does, she'll disappear for good. If the others lose all theirs, they'll--"

"Be okay, I know," Spike said. "I just need to watch what's happening then, right?"

"Right. Fluttershy, Rarity? You're with me. We're gonna follow that monster."

"Oh goodness...oh dear..."

"FLUTTERSHY!" Twilight snapped. "Now is NOT the time! Ponies are in danger!"

Fluttershy's jaw tightened, her eyes hardened, and she nodded. "Right." Soundlessly, she took off, following the path of destruction. The two unicorns were soon galloping behind her. Spike watched them until they were specks on the horizon, then turned and walked down to the basement.

"So...what d'y'all reckon we do now?" Applejack asked.

"I think I'll take a look around," Dash replied. "Virtua, get back in the tower. Pinkie, AJ, you two look out for monsters. If any more show up, take 'em out."

"Got it!" Pinkie chirped, saluting.

A few minutes later, Dash returned, brow furrowed. "There's a whole bunch of towers here too," she reported. "And one of 'em's glowin' red."

"Red?" Applejack asked, tilting her head.

"Yeah. Red. Like, really angry red."

"That's weird," Pinkie replied, looking up at the tower they stood at the base of. "This one and the one back in the desert were glowing blue."

"I know," Dash said. "I've got a really bad feeling about that red tower."

//Did you hear that, Virtua?// Spike asked.

"Yes," Virtua replied, studying the walls of her safe haven with a puzzled frown. "I don't know what it means, but..."

"Oh...my..." Fluttershy said as she got her first good look at the terrifying monster.

"It's even more hideous than I thought!" Rarity exclaimed, collapsing on her handily-summoned fainting couch.

Twilight's left eye and right ear twitched. "It's...it's my old Smarty-Pants doll," she said flatly.

"Your WHAT?" Rarity exclaimed.

"My Smarty-Pants doll. I made her myself, when I was a filly. She was my favorite toy..." She frowned. "I never did find her after that whole mess with the Want-It Need-It spell..."

"Well, darling, I'd say you just found her," Rarity drawled.

"Why did...you make such a huge, scary doll...and make it so poorly?" Fluttershy asked timidly.

"She wasn't this big when I made heWHAT DO YOU MEAN POORLY?"


Smarty-Pants turned to face the three mares, and let out a terrifying bray that shook the ground. Her massive button eyes flashed...and in each enormous mismatched eye, a staticky grey symbol flickered...

...the same symbol on the monsters in the virtual world.

"Did...did you see THAT?" Rarity exclaimed.

"I sure did," Twilight replied, mouth set in a grim line. "I don't know how, but whatever made Smarty-Pants grow big and alive and...and evil...is in that supercomputer." She scowled. "I've gotta get back to the library. You two...just...keep her busy. And don't hurt her! She's very precious to me!"

"Us...hurt...HER?" Fluttershy demanded, eyes wide with fright. But Twilight hadn't heard her, as she had already teleported several times and was halfway to the library.

Twilight appeared with a pop and a flash, startling Spike, and hurriedly levitated the headset onto her own head. "Virtua!" she called. "This is Twilight! Can you hear me?"


"Everypony else hear me okay?"

//Loud an' clear, sugarcube! How's everything out there in Ponyville?//

"Wrecked," Twilight replied. "Listen, did anypony see anything unusual there?"

//Yeah,// Dash said. //One of the towers in this forest is glowing red.//

Twilight rubbed her chin with a forehoof, then nodded. "Right. I think...you need to get Virtua to that red tower without anything killing her."

//To the red tower?// Virtua asked uncertainly. //Are you sure about that?//

"No," Twilight admitted. "But whatever's been sending those monsters inside the supercomputer is causing trouble out here in the real world too."

//No way!// Dash exclaimed.

//Whut kinda trouble?// Applejack asked.

"...no time to explain," Twilight said hesitantly. "Just...trust me. I really think getting Virtua to that red tower is what we need to do."

//Alright, if you say so...// Virtua replied shakily.

Virtua stepped out of the safety of the tower and joined the three virtualized mares, who nodded grimly at her and moved to shield her. Wordlessly, the four mares set off into the forest, Dash taking point.

For several minutes, nothing happened. The tension was thick and heavy in the air.

"I see it," Pinkie whispered. "Wow, it reminds me of that time you had that really really bad zit, Dashie..."

The malevolently glowing red tower loomed ahead of them.

"Might take us a spell t'git there," Applejack said softly. "Ah reckon--"

A hornet divebombed her from above, stinging her right in the flank. She let out a holler and bucked straight up, sending the digital menace flying into the trunk of a tree. Pinkie shot it with her saddlecannons, and it disappeared.

"Dang that hurt!" Applejack grumbled.

//You just lost ten life points, AJ,// Twilight cautioned. //Be careful.//


A few seconds later, an entire swarm of hornets descended upon the mares. Pinkie's cannons spat blazing pink electric death at dizzying speeds. Dash zoomed around, setting hornets ablaze with her rainbow flame trails. Any bugs that got too close to Virtua, Applejack dealt with, either by horn or hoof.

After a few minutes of intense combat, no enemies were left, and only Dash had lost any life points. "Oh yeah!" the rainbow-maned pegasus cheered, pumping a hoof. "We totally kick butt!"

"Sharp, POINTY butt!" Pinkie added.

//No time to horse around, girls,// Twilight admonished. //You've gotta get Virtua to that tower right away!//

It only took the quartet a few more minutes to reach the base of the tower.

Unfortunately, they encountered a welcoming committee.

"Okay, whut th' hay are THOSE?" Applejack said.

Two large iron spheres barred the group's path to the tower.

"Big...metal...ball...thingies?" Pinkie ventured.

The spheres split open vertically, revealing glowing eye-symbols. They flashed red, and two massive vertical waves of fire spread out, creating perfect circular walls of death.

"Big metal fire-wall making ball thingies!" Pinkie yelped as she dove for cover. Virtua scrambled out of the path of the attack, but was clipped on one hoof, and let out a cry of pain. Dash flew down to check on her.

Applejack didn't make it out in time. "Son of a buckin' b--"

"APPLEJACK!" Dash cried.

//It's okay, Rainbow Dash. She's safe. She's back in the lab.//

"Oh, yeah, right," Dash replied, heart hammering. "Still, that was scary."

//Virtua, you lost twenty life points, and you don't have a whole lot,// Twilight admonished. //Whatever you do, don't get hit again.//

"I'll try not to," the virtual mare said.

The iron spheres had closed up again. Pinkie started shooting at them, but her lightning balls just bounced off the smooth metal. "Okay that's not fair," she pouted.

"I bet you can only blow them up when they're opening up to shoot," Dash said.

A moment later, the spheres opened again, their malevolent eyes glowing. Dash frowned and charged the one on the left. The air in front of her began to shimmer, and a sonic boom shook the forest. A rainbow shockwave spread out from the pegasus; the sphere she had charged exploded violently, while the other was merely rolled over onto its side. "Get it now, Pinkie!" Dash cried.

"Right!" Pinkie fired again; this time, her shots struck true, and the second tank dissolved into polygons.

"You're all clear, Virtua!" Dash yelled. "Get in the tower!"

"Right!" With a firm nod, Virtua cantered through the outer wall of the tower.

She had expected the inside of the red tower to look more...dangerous. She had expected, perhaps, an ambush, more monsters...

Instead, the tower was as peaceful and serene inside as any other she'd seen.

The virtual mare trotted slowly toward the center of the floor; as she crossed each of the concentric rings, they lit up brightly, with an echoing digital chiming sound. Once she reached the center, she found herself lifted into the air; she tilted her head back, eyes closed, as she ascended to another level.

She landed gently on a floor almost to the one below; the rings here made the same pleasant echoing chime as she crossed them. When she reached the dot at the center of the circle, a holographic display appeared in midair before her. She reached out with a forehoof and tapped it. Her digital hoofprint pulsed brightly, before words appeared on the screen:

As soon as these words finished forming, the shimmering displays scaling the walls suddenly plunged violently downward. Somewhere at the base of the tower, a surge of energy erupted skyward...

Fluttershy and Rarity trembled in each others' grasp, watching with wide-eyed horror as the crudely crafted giant doll closed in on them, killing intent in her mad, mismatched button eyes...

...and then suddenly, Smarty-Pants shrank back to her original size and fell limply to the ground with a faint, comical squeak.

The virtual mare examined her flank, where a cutie mark depicting a graceful ballerina made up of zeroes and ones had appeared.

//Looks like you were right, Twilight.//

Twilight wiped sweat from her brow with a hoof. "I'm glad it worked. Good job, Virtua--"

//Digital Dancer. That's my name...I finally remembered.// The virtual mare beamed happily out of the viewer window on the control monitor. //And I know what this world is called now, too. It's called Lyocolt.//

"Lyocolt?" Twilight asked. "Weird..."

//I'm still not sure where this world came from, or where I came from for that matter, but...at least now I know who I am.//

"That's great, Virt--I mean, Dancer." Twilight tilted her head. "Any ideas about that...whatever-it-is we just fought?"

Dancer shifted uncomfortably. //Yeah. There's...something in here besides me. Something evil. I don't know what it is, but...//

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie emerged from the scanner tubes. Dash shook herself violently. "We gotta shut this thing down, Twi. We gotta shut it down NOW."

"No," Twilight said firmly. "If we shut it down, Digital Dancer..."

//No, I agree with Dash,// Dancer replied. //The supercomputer is too dangerous to leave running.//

"But..." Twilight looked around at her friends, and at the virtual mare on the screen, then sighed and lowered her head. "You're right." She frowned. "I'm not sure how to shut it down, though...I mean, I barely figured out how to turn it on in the first place."

//There should be a master bypass switch on the supercomputer mainframe,// Dancer said.

"There aren't any switches on it anywhere," Twilight replied. "I've examined every inch of it. And this control board doesn't seem to be able to turn it off..."

"A good buckin' oughtta do it," Applejack said. She backed up to the supercomputer, reared, and...

...bounced off a forcefield.

"Yeah okay can't buck this bronco," the farmpony muttered around a mouthful of floor.

Twilight scowled and probed the forcefield with her magic. "It's...strong," she said. "I can't break through it..."

The mares and baby dragon looked helplessly at one another.

"So...what do we do?" Spike asked.

//We do what we did today,// Dancer supplied at length. //Whenever this...thing...launches an attack in your world, we find the red tower, and deactivate it.//

Twilight nodded thoughtfully. "I guess...until we understand more about Lyocolt and the supercomputer, that's about all we can do..."

In a trampled, twig-and-leaf-strewn forest clearing on the very edge of Ponyville, a large red stallion bent his head and gently picked up an old, battered, poorly-crafted rag doll. With a happy sigh of contentment, Big Macintosh trotted home.