• Member Since 2nd Mar, 2014
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Baal Bunny

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Spike is the perfect assistant. He's been programmed that way, after all.

Unfortunately, he and Rarity and Twilight were programmed by Master Simon to help out around Mistress Olive's apartment before Mistress Olive kicked Master Simon out. And Mistress Olive doesn't like her assistants to have faces and names and personalities, especially when they come from some eighty-year-old cartoon show she's never heard of...

The original version of this story had no Pony content whatsoever and came in 2nd in the 247th Writeoff contest, "The Hurricane's Eye Blinked." It's been extensively rewritten since then and was now an entry in the 2023 Science Fiction contest where it didn't make the Top 12.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 7 )

First rule in QA? Never date a God damn programmer! And I knew that! Knew he'd screw up my life and want to control everything! 'Cause that's how God damn programmers work!

I'll have you know I'm at the untender mercies of the BAs, the ops team's insipid demands, and QA not bothering to read the case before telling me my changes aren't working.

Ahem. Anyway, fantastic work. There's a lot of story packed in relatively few words here, with twists, turns, and nicely subtle world building. And Simon shipping Sparity may have been foreshadowing in its own right given his toxic attitude towards other relationships... Thank you for this.


This was lovely! You pulled off some quite impressive turns in the story with such little space to work in.

One thing that did bother me a little is how Spike immediately figures out that the Maze is activating surveillance routines. It feels like there’s a jump in logic there that we as the audience aren’t privy to, and it makes that reveal kinda come out of nowhere (I also find it to be a weird method, but Simon’s a weird guy).

Regardless, very good work! As a fellow competitor, best of luck in the contest!


Thanks, folks!

I've been trying to remember where I heard it--from some programmer friend, I'd guess--but he said that most of the programmers he knew always made sure to put one big, obvious bug in their code for the QA people to find so that they'll feel they're contributing to the process. Being neither a programmer nor a qulity assurance person, I've been meaning for a while to work that into a story, but this is what came out... :twilightsheepish:


There were a bunch of twists and turns there I wasn't expecting, but they were all worth it.

Spike figuring out that the Maze was related to Simon hacking Olive's system was a little out of place, but it was the only rough patch in a very well crafted story.

Now, Spike was in love with her, of course, so he knew his opinion couldn't be trusted when it came to Rarity's singing. But to see Twilight stop, half close her eyes, and start swaying in perfect rhythm to the slow, rich, wordless melody Rarity created, that told Spike quite clearly how luscious, wonderful, and enchanting her music was.

so true actually

Twilight gave a faint smile, bowed her head slightly, and started for the doorway. "All any of us can do is what we're programmed to do."

very intriguing and heartbreaking start! 

This time, Rarity actually snorted, something Spike wasn't sure he'd ever heard her do. "Master Simon was wonderful in every way a person can be. He literally made us who we are, after all, took those characters from that Little Pony show and brought them to life in us! And the movies he used to have me call up to play? All black-and-white with those people who aren't even alive anymore?" She did a quick-stepping stationary dance, her hooves and grin flashing. "So much fun!"

and, oof! makes too much sense that we can have these characters in a near future of our own world. and also makes sense that humans will still be awful and mistreat them so

But what about Rarity? Spike hadn't asked out loud. What about Twilight? What about Mistress Olive?
"Only you," Master Simon had said again as if he'd known what Spike was thinking.

that is a…. very roundabout way to give Spike a way out

Her voice was cracking; Spike couldn't look away as he slide down the wall to the floor. "The photos he sends me that I know he didn't take while he was here! The things he knows about me even though I never told him! His little texts and emails and voice messages: he's been God damn stalking me since I kicked him out! I've gone over every inch of the apartment's security code, and I can't find a God damn thing! I just want—!" Her face seemed to crumple, tears starting down her cheeks again. "I just want my God damn life back!" She lunged into the darkness of her room and slammed the door.

and oof. Olive was painted as an irredeemable antagonist so far but now it is starting to sound like Simon is deliberately using these characters and the empathy they would normally induce as tools to his own sociopathic ends. which would explain that “escape” he gave to Spike

"Master Simon said it would start up all these secret subroutines that would let us go free! But, well, I solved the silly puzzle the first week after he left, and I haven't felt any different at all!"

so true Rarity is great at everything she does even in household appliance form

"Manners," Master Simon said, his lips tightening and his voice getting growly. "Respect. How to act when a man notices her, and how she should treat the love of her life."

and oof. this also feels like great commentary on the not-great reasons a certain part of the fandom might have in identifying with Spike in a certain way, represented directly by Simon. i see this as a reconstruction of those awful tropes that made the original show writers write Spike in the way that they did, and honestly it’s brilliant

"I don't think it's supposed to." Stepping forward in time with the music, she headed for the door. "You were getting snacks for Ms. Olive?"

and oof. honestly, a brilliant story, but i do find this ending bittersweet, considering that Spike and Rarity and Twilight go straight back to being Ms. Olive’s appliances despite she herself acknowledging their distinct personalities. but maybe that is the best they can hope for in this setting, which is an unsettling thought.

this is by far my favorite Spike fic (though i admit that is a low bar!). i don’t think it really could have worked with anycreature else as a protagonist, as his naïveté and being a child and strange social position as both little brother and assistant to Twilight and even the whole crush on Rarity thing were all so integral to this story. excellent work!



Y'know, I think this might be about the most bittersweet thing I've ever written. It's certainly the darkest setting I've come up with for a story in a long time...


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