• Published 19th Oct 2012
  • 9,846 Views, 9,664 Comments

Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon

Bellesmith must perform experimental tasks in order to keep herself and her beloved safe.

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Enforcer Shell

A pair of cold metallic elevator doors opened, and Bellesmith was frowning. Escorted by two guards in gray uniforms, she marched down the long concrete corridors of the facility. Streaming manalight pulsated overhead as she was led directly to the door of Professor Garnet's office. A quartet of guards waited there, standing at attention, far more than normal. Belle paid them no mine, and right as the door was opened for her, she marched furiously inside.

"Ah, there she is," Garnet remarked, placing down a glass tablet and standing up from behind his desk. "Doctor Bellesmith, things have become rather complicated overnight—"

"And you believe that is supposed to pacify me?" she remarked, nearly growling.

"Doctor..." Garnet was shifting nervously for some reason. His nerves were on edge. "It may be prudent for you to calm yourself..."

"Don't tell me what is or isn't prudent!" she exclaimed, her brow furrowed. "I was promised an entire week with my beloved! It was my first time away from the facility in ten days! How can a sequencer perform her tasks for the Council of Ledo if there's no legitimate promise of restitution?!"

"My my..." uttered a cold voice from behind Belle. "She's a great deal more temperamental than you had described, Professor."

Belle froze in place, biting her lip. Her angry eyes went soft.

Professor Garnet nervously met her expression and glanced beyond her shoulder. "Do forgive the Doctor's anger. She's been laboring under extenuating circumstances.

"Good Professor, we are at war with Xona. Everypony is functioning under extenuating circumstances."

Finally, Belle turned around. She watched as a dark blue hoof pushed the door to the chamber open. The first thing she saw was a massive scar. The stallion's one remaining good eye stared at her with a cold gray stare. His uniform had more medals than she had ever seen in all her professional career. He didn't wear a beret like so many of his subordinates, not as if there was any hope of him sporting one; his horn was twice as prominent than most unicorn's, and it was chipped and scarred in many places from a life of unending conflict.

"Certainly you haven't forgotten your supreme duty to the Ledomaritan Confederacy," the stallion said, his one eye flaring slightly while his tone remained icy. "Spark knows I haven't."

Bellesmith felt like collapsing for some reason.

Garnet's voice was oddly warm in comparison to this officer. "Doctor Bellesmith, I do not believe you have met Prime Enforcer Shell of the—"

"Introductions are time-consuming," Shell interrupted as he shuffled into the center of the room on muscular limbs. "The only necessarily formal thing is the task at hoof." He cleared his voice and spoke aside to Garnet while staring at Belle. "Would you excuse us, please, Professor?"

Garnet's mouth opened, but no sound came out. He gulped, squirming awkwardly where he stood. Eventually, with a defeated slump, he surrendered the interior of his own office to the two, marching out like a chided foal and closing the door behind him.

The air grew even more chilly as Belle stood in place, allowing Shell to pace stonily around her.

"I was sent here two months ago because recent discoveries at the Blue Shelf facility were showing a great deal of promise. I did what I was told out of duty, as much as I hated being pulled away from the Eastern Front. It didn't help that I found nothing of interest among these subterranean experiments." He shuffled to a stop behind Garnet's desk, his eye tilting up. "And then I saw you sequencing with the subject."

Belle's face hung. She said nothing.

His good eye squinted. "You don't fully grasp the gravity of the item you are merging with, do you?"

She took a deep breath and finally spoke, "Sir, I know that the subject is unlike any species the Council of Ledo has discovered, sir."

"A winged pony," he said cooly, leaning over Garnet's desk. "Carrying an item of great mana conductivity. When word spread to the central authority that the western town of Aridstone had been visited by a dragon, a gigantic behemoth of a drake that dove down only to deposit the subject's limp body upon the edge of their farmland, the Council was understandably dubious. However, one of my former comrades in arms took a zeppelin out there himself to retrieve the subject. He was amazed at what he saw. The pony was inert, and yet her body possessed far more energy than himself or any of his fellow soldiers. Not even teleporters or firestarters have mana levels that can match what was deposited in Aridstone. To think that we might have been capable of sequencing with the creature seemed too good to be true. I held my reservations in hopes of having my relocation to Blue Shelf legitimized. And then you came along."

"I've only been doing as I have been told," Bellesmith muttered.

"Indeed." He raised one of Garnet's glass tablets in glowing telekinesis. "But then what does that make you? Just part of the dutiful crowd of peons who brings glory to Ledo through constant diligence and labor? No, you're much more than that, and that's why you're down here—just like why I'm down here. We both have something immeasurably epic to accomplish, for there is more to the subject than meets the eye."

"Permission to speak freely?"

"Hmmph... What are you, a soldier now?" His lips formed something resembling a smile. It made the scar covering half his face wider. "Speak your peace, Doctor."

"Is there a hurry for me to make further discoveries with the subject's sequencing?" She looked up at him with a pair of brave eyes. "Is the Council running out of time?"

"The Council answers to me from now on," Shell said coldly. "And it is not time that we are running out of."

"Then what?"

"Talent," he said, then flung the glass tablet directly at her.

"Gaah!" she ducked, flinching. The tablet glided bare inches over her head and shattered against the wall behind her. She huddled close to the floor, trembling fearfully.

Shell leaned over the table, glaring down at her. "Hmmm... So it's as I thought. Any normal unicorn would have caught that in a stream of magic, something you're incapable of. How pitiful..." He marched over towards her on heavy haunches. "And yet, how admirable, for where your horn fails you, it wins you talents in the task you have to perform here."

She stood up, fighting back a frown as she brushed her mane back with a hoof. "If you read over m-my files, sir, you would know all about my disability..."

"Anypony can fake things," he said bluntly. "No matter how loyal they may pretend to be to Her Majesty Ledo."

Her brow furrowed. "My beloved and I have given everything for the Council and—"

"You and I both know how it works, Doctor," he said, standing above her. "You were brought here from your outstanding position at the Mountainfall University to do menial lab work in a bunker built far below the surface of an abandoned mountain. As a scientist, you should know that the universe functions through circumstance. The 'Spark' is a word, for what motivates each and every one of us to work hard is the same thing that makes the common animal shriek for every last inch of life. We are all in this to survive, through ponies like you if need be. You think the war with Xona will win itself without innovations? There is more at hoof here than a few mental escapades through the fractured mind of an anomalous equine."

She looked up at him and gulped. "Do you mean to say that the subject is a weapon?"

"The subject is dangerous and powerful, and understanding what's inside of it will grant us power the likes of which the Confederacy has always needed." His nostrils flared as he said, "What I mean to say, doctor, is that this experiment of yours is no longer a concern of the Council. It is an Enforcer matter now, and that takes precedent over you, your beloved, and even myself. You're down here because what you see as a disability may actually be Ledomare's single hope for uncovering what lies beneath the obscure layers of the gift bequeathed us by a dragon on the western front."

"Sir, I—"

"Do I make myself clear?"

Her lips quivered. Nevertheless, she hung her head and nodded. "Perfectly, sir."

"Good." He tilted his head up and fired a pulse of light at the door, swinging it wide open. Immediately, a pair of guards marched in and stood at attention. "Escort the doctor to the experimentation chamber," Shell said in a dull tone. "Sequencing begins immediately."

They nodded and ushered Belle towards the hallway outside. She had to take extra steps to trot over the broken shards of the glass tablet littering the floor.

"Oh, and Doctor..."

The guards paused, forcing Belle to glance back over her shoulder.

Shell's good eye narrowed. "Aridstone: the town where the subject was deposited?"

She blinked at him. "Wh-what about it?"

Shell said, "Everypony was found dead when the Enforcer zeppelin arrived." His voice took on a hissing tone, "Slaughtered, massacred, and rendered to ash around the body of the subject, which was the only thing that remained untouched."

Belle simply looked at him, shivering.

"Remember that when you take the magical plunge," he said. "Sequence with the subject. Learn about the subject. Find us the secrets of the subject, but do not get too close with its lingering consciousness, or else what consumed the ponies of Aridstone could threaten to rip apart Ledomare's one living key to power." He waved a hoof.

And Belle was forced into a numb march.

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