• Published 26th Aug 2011
  • 5,939 Views, 176 Comments

The Equestrian Enrichment Project - GandhoofOfManyColours



The Mane six get captured by creatures from a strange portal. Crossover with Portal.

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Chapter 4: Powerless

Note:- I just want to thank you guys who have left comments! If you guys are enjoying reading this then it makes it worth writing.


Chapter 4: Powerless

After a few moments of darkness the dim red glow of a centuries old emergency lighting system started to emanate from the walls, giving the ponies just enough light to see by.

“Oh, by Luna’s horn.” Was all Twilight could think to say.

“So what does this mean?” asked Rainbow, a worried expression on her face.

“There wasn’t enough power left to open the gate, so now were stuck” Twilight sat down looking down at her hooves with an air of defeat about her.

“Um, Twilight, Can’t we just get more power?” Fluttershy asked quietly, putting a comforting hoof on Twilight’s shoulder.

“How would we do that? We don’t even know what kind of power they use! I mean it’s has to be some type of magic doesn’t it? How else could it work! But it must be non-equestrian magic or I would be able to use it” Twilight thought about it for a moment before continuing. “What type of magic would need metal wires to work?” she said more to herself than anypony else “no type of magic I’ve ever heard of is conducted by metal… wait, it couldn’t be could it?”

“Couldn’t be what, sugarcube?” Applejack interjected into Twilights monologue

“It’s just a thought, but lightning is conducted by metal. It’s why lightning rods work… could this place use electricity as power? Could that be possible? I’ve read about experiments with electricity and the findings do show that it has some power but I didn’t know anything useful could be done with it” Twilight said, all thoughts of her earlier pessimism forgotten with this pursuit of knowledge.

“When we opened that door the sparks looked like lightning!” Rainbow exclaimed.

“So this place doesn’t use magic?” Pinkie exclaimed “That’s Weird!”

“Does this help us?” Rarity asked

“Well it means that they must have had a machine here that could generate electricity so, yes it does help. If it was a magical field that had failed then there would have been nothing we could do but if it is electricity then it means that there might be a way of restoring power, we just have to find the machine they used to generate power!” Twilight almost leapt to her hooves. “We should go back to the room with the map. That should tell us where the power generator is” with that Twilight turned to leave the gate room. The other ponies followed, not wanting to be left behind.

“We should have seen this coming” The six ponies stared at the blank monitors, the entire panel was dark now, even the rooms light was non-functional only a dim red emergency light in the main fixture lit the room.

“So we’re back to being screwed then” Rainbow said darkly “we’ve used up the last of the power and now we can’t use the map”

At first it looked to Twilight like Rainbow was right, but a thought struck her, there was still some light in the room. Obviously an emergency system so there was still light in the event of a power failure, that meant there was still power! Not enough for the gate obviously but maybe enough for the terminal. All they needed to do was get the power to where it was needed.

“I have an idea! Applejack, can you buck off this panel?” Twilight indicated the rusted metal panelling running along the bottom to the control desk.

“I’ reckon I might be able to” Applejack turned and bucked the panel for all she was worth. The rusted metal bent in then crumbled at the continuing onslaught of the mares bucking. “That good Twi?”

Twilight lay down and looked into the hole created by Applejack “that should be fine, thank you” She concentrated hard and a dim glow was emitted by her horn. She crawled into the gap far enough that the other ponies could only see part of her Cutie mark. In the hole she started to examine the machines inner workings. After what seemed like an age to the other ponies they heard twilight’s satisfied exclamation. She crawled out holding the end of a wire in her mouth.

“thfsss soouud be waa…” she started before realising, she took the wire out in a hoof “I mean, this should be what we need to get this working if I understand this machine correctly” She took the wire and walked over to the light fitting hanging from the ceiling. Concentrating hard she telepathically removed the cover of the light fitting revealing the wiring and the smaller red tube inside, with immense effort she levitated the wire she had been carrying into the back of the fitting and twisted the metal strands together inside. When the second strand connected there was a small spark and the light dimmed for a moment as the panel burst into life.

Panting a little from the effort of the magic, Twilight stood back to look at her handiwork. The other ponies looked on at her with slight disbelief.

“Now, how in tarnation did you know how to do that?” Applejack asked when she regained her composure.

“it was obvious really” Twilight said modestly “any complex system that used electricity as a power source and had no magic, would use electricity as a signalling medium in a complex network as well as for power and although there were a lot of wires in there, the ones used for power would be need to be much thicker which eliminated most of the wires, so it was just a case of extrapolating basically how the machine was working then choosing which one of the thicker wires was the main power supply, simple really”

The other Ponies still looked confused.

“We’ll take your word for it Twi” Applejack said.

Twilight examined the reactivated panel and started manipulating controls with a hoof. Different things flashed up on the displays as she typed until an orange 3D map was displayed. This one was different from the last map they had seen and was labelled as ‘Aperture facility main schematics’. It showed a much larger area than the last had as well.

“This place is gigantic” Twilight exclaimed. “There must be well over a thousand floors! We’re underground by the look of it as well” she hit a few more controls and the map moved round in 3D. Several green dots appeared in different sections of the map along with a single red one. “Ok, I think I’ve found the generators, they seem to call them ‘reactors’ I wonder what that means, anyway there are about thirty of them spread across this place, it’s my guess that we’ll need to activate four of them at least, one for each of those tubes. We can see where they are with the green dots, and the red dot is where we are”

“Activate four generators to continue? This sounds like a task in a video game!” Pinkie exclaimed. The other ponies gave her a strange look.

“Pinkie, what’s a video game?” Twilight asked completely nonplussed.

“Oh, I don’t know, just something I guess!” she answered, Twilight decided not to push the issue as trying to understand Pinkies randomness was the way to madness.

“Anyway, what are we waiting for? Let’s get going!” Rainbow Dash said, hovering up on her wings ready for action.

“Wait just a second” Twilight said before running out of the room. A few seconds later she returned with an ancient clipboard. “I’d better copy some of this out, there’s no telling how many ways will be blocked and we’ll never remember all of this” she manipulated the controls until only the level they were on was shown, she then levitated the paper from the clipboard over the screen and used the half pencil left attached to the board to trace out the map “there, now we have a map. There are six of the generators on this level of the complex so we should be ok with just this” she reattached the paper to the board and used a piece of dislodged wire to hang it around her neck. “I’d better disconnect this first, there’s no telling how long these emergency lights will last and we don’t want them to go out on us” she used her mouth to yank the terminals cable out of the light fitting, giving off some sparks and sending the panel back into darkness.

“Ok then, let’s get going” Twilight led the way out of the room and through a new door in the now darkened corridor.

The map showed that the reactors on this level of the facility were all close to the outer edges while they were close to the centre. The level of the facility the ponies were currently on was split along the middle with the reactors on one side of the divide and them on the other, the only place connecting the two halves was directly in the centre with a large round chamber linked to the floors on either side by a narrow hallway. This gap bothered Twilight Sparkle as it showed a lot of empty space. What could be there? She wandered to herself.

The ponies passed through several more rooms and corridors, each lit with the same dim red glow creating an almost spooky atmosphere. More than once one of the ponies started at a movement at the edges of their vision even when it turned out to be just derbies settling around them. The ponies kept silent as they walked and the only sound apart from their hooves was the creaking of ancient metal panels and supports off in the distance.

“I don’t like this. It’s too, creepy” Rainbow Dash said, breaking the silence they had been walking under. Rainbows unease had been growing as they passed more and more piles of bones seemingly in every room now.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be worried about, there’s nothing else alive here” Twilight said, trying to alleviate her own doubts and fears as much as Rainbow Dash’s.

“Accept for one Diamond Dog” Rainbow stated.

“Well yes accept for one Diamond dog, who went a completely different direction down a passage that’s now blocked.” Twilight answered. “And even if he could get to us, why would he attack? What would he gain?” in truth, Twilight had forgotten about the dog but she believed what she had said, after all a Diamond Dog would have no interest in a pony unless they had a copious amount of gems, something they were distinctly lacking in at the precise moment.

The ponies turned the next corner and stopped, they had no choice as the next section of corridor was missing entirely. The end of the corridor could be seen after a long patch of empty space.

“What in Celestia’s name…” Twilight looked down and the rest of her sentence was lost. The void downwards went on seemingly forever, the bottom too far away to see. All the way down, the hulks of rooms and corridors could be seen, some intact and some broken and smashed. A swathe of destruction had at some point in the past moved through the corridors ahead of them, as though one of the rooms had been smashed through the others. What really got to the ponies though was the sheer size of the place; it seemed to go on for eternity, in any direction they could see more rooms and supports off in the distance.

“Just how big is this place?” asked Rainbow Dash in awe.

“It seems to go on forever” Fluttershy said in a similar tone.

“Could you fly out there RD and take a look for us?” Applejack asked after finally closing her gaping mouth.

Rainbow didn’t answer; she just took off out of the gaping hole in the corridor. From outside Rainbow had a much better view of the complex. She could see that while the set of corridors and rooms they were in were fixed in place, many other rooms were mounted on rails or mechanical arms and even the walls seemed to be controlled by smaller arms. Rainbow postulated that at some point in the past this place would have been a hive of activity with rooms moving in all directions and much other machine activity but now all the rooms were still and silent save for the creaking of old metal. She could also see now that many of the rooms had damage that was obviously not caused by age but rather by collisions, like the broken section the others were in now they had large chunks missing and some had fallen of their Guide rails entirely and were wedged between others. It looked to Rainbow like the rooms themselves had tried to attack somepony, trying to smash into them like giant metal fists. But that was silly; rooms didn’t attack ponies did they?

“What do you see Rainbow?” Twilight called out from the corridor.

“Well this place is big” Rainbow called back “everything’s old, and no signs of movement. Some rooms have collapsed from age but some have other damage, almost as though they tried to attack somepony”

“Did you just say the rooms are attacking?” Twilight said, not sure if she had heard her friend correctly.

“It’s just what it looks like” Rainbow called back slightly defensively “most of them are on some sort of rails” she added in way of an explanation.

‘Moving rooms?’ Twilight thought to herself, this place was full of surprises and strangeness.

“I’m going on ahead down here” Rainbow shouted as she flew into the other end of the broken corridor. The other ponies waited in silence for several moments before the voice of Rainbow Dash came from behind them. “Hey you guys! I’ve found another way round!” Twilight nearly jumped out of her fur and Fluttershy screamed.

“Rainbow!?” Twilight panted, trying to slow her franticly beating heart. “Don’t do that!” Rainbow Dash looked to the ponies, noticing the shock they all displayed.

“Sorry you guys didn’t mean to startle you” she looked truly apologetic for startling her friends.

“It’s ok Rainbow, were just a bit jumpy in this place an all” Applejack said smiling at her friend.

“Lead the way” Twilight replied.

The ponies followed Rainbow Dash back down the corridor she had come from. After clearing that obstacle they continued following the map toward the crossing at the centre of the facility. Part way there they left behind the painted corridors and regained the metal panelled ones with the sliding doors. These were darker and seemed not to have an emergency lighting system installed. Twilight led the way with the dim light of her horn, more than once they had to double back to avoid a closed door that, without power could not be opened.

“What do you think the centre room is for?” Rainbow asked breaking the silence as they walked. “It’s got to be the biggest on the map”

“It was labelled GLaDOS chamber on the terminal” Twilight said in response “though I have no idea what this GLaDOS is. I would guess it’s some sort of central control. We’ll find out soon enough though, it’s not far now”

“I hope it’s cleaner than the rest of this place” Rarity said under her breath.

They rounded the next corner and came out to a windowed corridor. One end had been blocked be derbies and the window has long since been broken. The ponies looked out through the shattered portal and stood in awe. They could see the connecting bridge to the centre room but nothing could have prepared them for the room its self. The room was a long vertical cylinder going from the limit of vision down and off up in the darkness. It was probably the largest single structure that the ponies had ever seen.

“By Celestia’s mane and horn” Twilight mouthed under her breath.

“We’re going in there?” Rainbow asked.

“We don’t have a choice” Twilight answered still in awe of the structure. “Anyway” she said regaining some of her composure “It’s no different than the rest of this place, there still won’t be anypony else in there”.

They continued down the hall to the entrance of the connecting bridge. At some time in the past two hundred years one of the mobile rooms had been moved across this path and the entire top section of the bridge and been smashed off. The upshot of this was that the ponies could see everything above.

“This place still gives me the creeps” Rainbow said looking up into the seemingly endless abyss of rooms and supports.

Partway across the bridge Fluttershy spotted something.

“Is that a bird?” she asked pointing to the top of the door frame at the other end of the bridge.

Twilight squinted through the darkness and sure enough perched above the door to the centre chamber was a medium sized black feathered bird, a Raven if she was not too much mistaken. The bird almost looked like it was guarding the next chamber, warning them about what lay within, though Twilights rational mind knew that the bird was doing nothing of the sort.

As they got closer, Pinkie Pie looked up at the Raven sitting atop the chamber door, she cocked her head to one side and uttered a single word “Nevermore” Twilight groaned inwardly but said nothing out loud, after all if she ignored Pinkie Pie’s crazy then it couldn’t affect her sanity, right?.

When they got to the door the bird took flight flying up into the darkness above.

“Wait, come back! We didn’t mean to scare you!” Fluttershy called after the retreating bird. It did not return.

“Come on Fluttershy, it’s not coming back” Twilight said putting a hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder.

The ponies walked through the partly open door and into the chamber beyond.

The chamber was dark apart from the now familiar red glow of emergency lights. It was cleaner than the rest of the facility had been, though still covered in rust and dust; there was little debris and no bones. The chamber was tall, the height of at least six floors before a celling cut off the rest of the vast tower. Large blank monitors took up most of the wall space. Hanging, lifeless from the ceiling of the room was a vast machine, made mainly of a smooth white material the ponies didn’t recognise. The machine was of a remarkably similar style to that of the probe that had first come through the portal. The sight of the machine sent a shudder through the ponies’ spines, as the silhouette in the gloom looked almost like a body, suspended upside down from the ceiling with one giant eye, staring lifelessly at them.

“What is it?” Rarity asked to nopony in particular.

“At a guess” Twilight answered “Its GLaDOS, but what one of those is I have absolutely no idea”

“I don’t like it” Fluttershy said backing away from the motionless machine “it feels like its staring into my soul”

Twilight understood exactly what she meant. When she looked up at that machine she got a sense of foreboding, there was something wrong here and she did not want to stick around to find out exactly what it was. “Let’s get out of here and get this job over with” as she turned to leave something caught her eye, in the opposite doorway of the room built into the wall itself was an active display glowing orange in the gloom. Twilight reasoned that this terminal must have had its own separate backup system to still be operational; this intrigued her as a system important enough to have its own backup must have been pretty vital. She walked over to the display followed by the other ponies. The display had no controls attached so only the current messages could be read:-

---APETURE SCIENCE GENETIC LIFEFORM AND DISC OPERATING SYSTEM---
TIME: 23:46:19
DATE: 17/09/2247

SYSTEM LOG:
06/01/2101 - ERROR: MAIN REACTORS UNEXPECTED SHUT DOWN.

ATTEMPTING AUTO REPAIR: - REPAIR FAILED

ATTEMPTING ROBOTIC REPAIR: - ROBOTIC REPAIR FAILED INSUFFICIENT POWER.

MANUAL REPAIR REQUIRED

GLADOS RUNNING ON BACKUP POWER ONLY, ESTIMATED REMAINING UPTIME:-

12 DAYS, 14 HOURS, 33 MINUTES AND 42 SECONDS

PLEASE SELECT DESIRED ACTION : \ _ SHUTDOWN
GLADOS SYSTEM SHUTTING DOWN TO CONSERVE REMAINING RUNTIME… SHUTDOWN COMPLETE

“Well now we know what happened to that machine and why this place was running on backup power” Twilight said after reading the display. “I just hope that the reactors will be repairable” deciding they would learn nothing more from the display Twilight turned to lead the ponies out of the chamber. As she exited she couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched.

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