With apologies to Lauren Faust and Go Nagai
Lighting struck once, then twice, then in a fusillade of harsh, colorless bursts over the dark reaches of the Everfree Forest, illuminating the towering, misshapen forms of a pair of monstrosities that should not be but were. The strobing flashes reflected coldly off of their metallic surfaces, then allowed them to drop back into shadow, leaving only the sour glow of evil magic in the hollow sockets of their many eyes.
One was formed in the fashion of a vast crawling reptile, dragging itself on its armored belly by two thick, hideously clawed forelimbs. A quartet of sinuous metallic necks sprouted from its shoulders, each tipped with an axe-like dragon's head.
The other was built in the shape of a minotaur, a broad torso atop massive digitigrade legs, with powerful arms ending in clawed hands formed from heavy, hydraulic pistons. Its head was like a massive skull, with vast scythes taking the place of horns.
IRON SKULL K7!
The thunder boomed and trailed away as a maniacal cackle filled the air over the sound of wind rustling the tops of the trees. A pony flew over the mechanical monsters' heads, balancing with braced hooves on a hovering disk edged in jutting spikes.
If viewed from a distance she would have passed for a small alicorn, with a blue horn that crackled with red magic, and green wings flaring from her shoulders. Up close, it was clear that she, or more aptly they, was something else that should not be. The right side of their body was pale cobalt blue, with a violet eye and a wand and crescent for a cutie mark. The left side was sea green, with a golden eye and a lightning bolt and sparkles for a cutie mark. They wore a hooded cloak that reflected their binary nature, inky black on one side and purple on the other, and levitated a forked staff in their magic.
PRINCESS TRIXIE DUST!
The terrible composite pony paused in their mad laughter as a magical view screen flickered into being in front of them, projected from a silver sphere between their staff's tines. A scowling draconequis with a bluish complexion and a wild, tangled white mane glared at her with his smoldering, mismatched eyes. "Princess Trixie Dust, I assembled you out of the two most disgruntled ponies in Equestria to go forth and destroy the Harmonic Research Institute, which is the only thing standing between me and world domination. I have given you two of my most hideous monstrobots to accomplish this goal. What is the holdup?"
The binary mare groveled on her spike edged platform. "Princess Trixie Dust was merely savoring the moment, o great and powerful Doctor Tartarus. We swear we shall not fail you like we did the last time."
More cockeyed glaring came from their master on the screen. "Or the time before that, or before that, or the hundreds of other times you've screwed up." The draconequis heaved a sigh and ran his talons through his tangled mane. "Honestly, I have no idea why I haven't fired you yet. And by fired I mean out of a cannon, toward the moon."
Trixie Dust dared to peep beneath the edge of her hood with a weak grin. "B-because you're a supra-genius?"
Doctor Tartarus' blazing eyes narrowed. "Are you two being sarcastic with me?"
The binary creature's voice took on the faintest mocking tone. "Princess Trixie Dust wouldn't dream of it, master."
She replied to themselves in a slightly different voice at a low mutter. "Shut up, you're gonna get us in trouble."
She spat back in a harsh whisper. "So what? Alls he does is yell at us then gives us another giant robot."
The evil overlord's face pressed against the screen so that only his eyes were visible, burning into the huddled half and half pony as they shrank back. "GO! Destroy the Harmonic Research Institute, and don't mess it up this time!"
He turned away with a dramatic flare of his black cloak. "Tartarus out!"
The screen flickered and popped out of existence. Princess Trixie Dust rose to their hooves and raised their forked staff skyward as another burst of lightning flashed. "We will not fail this time! Go forth, monstrobots! Destroy the Harmonic Research Institute! Just like Doctor Tartarus and his duly appointed representative Princess Trixie Dust commands! GO FORTH AND DESTROY!"
The composite pegacorn flew on ahead, resuming their maniacal laughter as the towering mechanical monsters lurched into motion, snapping trees and shaking the earth with their tread.
The Harmonic Research Institute stood serene with the great mountain of Canterlot behind it, a gleaming modern structure that resembled two stylized wings sweeping skyward to meet at the tips in a vast A frame office tower. A wide reflecting pool lay at its base among a complex of smaller buildings, mirroring the gathering clouds on the western horizon.
Inside, the industrious ponies in coveralls and hardhats felt the vibrations of approaching ruin through the floor, and looked up with a moment's reverent hope toward the upper tiers of the tower, where the regal head of the operation was doubtless drawing her plans to defend them from Doctor Tartarus' latest onslaught.
Which indeed she was, gazing at the two approaching metal behemoths through a remote video feed on the big screen in the control center. She ruffled her snowy wings over an equally white lab coat, and adjusted her glasses with a golden glow of magic from her tapering horn.
She flicked her etherially glowing, multicolored tail and turned to regard three smaller ponies in lab coats, a butter yellow pegasus, a pink earth pony, and an alabaster white unicorn with a curling violet mane. "Are the repairs completed?"
The pegasus mare pawed at the ground and peered from behind her draping pink mane, replying in a velvet soft voice. "Um... yes, Professor. The armor has been upgraded with an all new composite Equestrium alloy, so it should be all safe and sound."
The pink pony gave a hop as confetti fluttered from her pockets. "And I installed all kinds of super neat new weapons systems. It's just full of surprises for those mean old meanie bucket monstrobots!"
The unicorn gave a preening toss of her mane. "And it looks just fabulous! You'd never know its... ahem... pilot rolled it into Ghastly Gorge not three days ago."
At this an orange pegasus filly who was busy playing Parasprite Panic on one of the control panels paused her game and reared up with indignation. "Hey! That wasn't entirely Dash-sempai's fault!"
Professor Celestia let out a small sigh and inclined her head so that the florescent lights above made her glasses opaque with reflected light. "Duly noted, Shiroloo."
She turned to a lavender unicorn mare in a yellow jumpsuit, who stood at attention with a white crash helmet floating at her side in her magic. "Twilight-chan, go find Dash-kun. And then deploy Amalthe A."
The little pony's eyes lit up. "Really? You're giving me permission?"
Professor Celestia nodded gravely. "Yes. There are two monstrobots this time. I have a feeling we'll need to even the odds as much as we can."
Twilight threw her a snappy salute. "I'll do my best!"
The professor bobbed her horn with infinite patience. "Yes yes. Just try not to damage the robots too badly this time, please. Now go! We've only got a few minutes before they get here."
The lavender unicorn jammed the helmet on her head and galloped out the doors, as Professor Celestia turned and leveled her musing gaze back at the view screen.
A trio of disreputable looking ponies in black school uniform jackets lounged by the bicycle racks near the Harmonic Research Institute's front doors, eating apples out of a bushel basket and watching with a detached air as the youngest and smallest of them, a yellow filly with a bright pink bow in her apple red hair, lay stretched out on her belly on the sidewalk drawing chalk doodles of robot ponies fighting robot monsters. Their ears perked up as the doors whooshed open and Twilight Sayaka came galloping out, hurrying over to the bike rack and leaning in to work the combination lock on her bike chain with her purple magic.
The trio's leader pushed up the brim of her battered cowpony hat and cast a glance at the others before calling out to the lavender mare. "Yo there, Twilight-san! What's the big hurry? Why don't y'all come on over n' set a spell with us. We were gonna make brunch in a li'l bit."
Twilight rounded on them with a roll of her eyes as she hauled her bike from the rack. "There's a pair of Doctor Tartarus' monstrobots coming to stomp this place into a gravel parking lot! I don't have time for brunch!"
She fixed the blonde mare who'd addressed her with a brook-no-nonsense glare. "Appleboss-san, do you know where Dash-kun might be?"
The freckled earth pony's youngest gang member looked up from her chalk drawings and nodded toward the western side of the complex. "I think I saw her nappin' on a cloud over th' machine shop."
With a hasty thanks, the lavender mare zoomed away at top speed, pedaling with all four hooves, her mane fluttering out from under the back of her helmet and her pink striped tail trailing like a flag behind her.
Appleboss watched her go for a moment, then rounded on the other two. A manic gleam had appeared in her eye and a grin spread across her face. "Ya hear that, y'all? Monstrobots!"
Her larger companion pocketed his comb as he finished adjusting his jutting orange pompador. "Eeyup."
The yellow filly got to her hooves and smiled back with equal excitement. "Are y'all thinkin' what I think yer thinkin', onee-san?"
The freckled mare nodded enthusiastically. "Durn tootin'! This here's our big chance! Let's head 'em up and move 'em out, Apple Dumplin' Gang!"
The trio of earth pony delinquents pulled their bikes from the rack and pedaled away towards a large red barn that loomed beyond the apple orchards outside the Harmonic Research Institute's perimeter.
A faint snoring issued from a little puff of white cloud, floating blissfully in the air over the clangor of mechanical work being done in the corrugated steel pole building far below. A cyan blue pegasus in a black school uniform jacket sprawled across the puffy white surface, her rainbow colored mane fluttering in the warm summer breeze.
The distant, indistinct sound of a voice calling out caused her ear to flick as if shooing a bothersome mosquito.
After a couple minutes of this, a size 1 steel nut flew past.
The pegasus mare snorted and rolled over onto her back, her sinuses rumbling in answer to the distant sound of thunder.
A size 2 nut followed, also unheeded as it arched over the little cloud and landed with a clatter on the roof below.
The pegasus idly scratched the lightning bolt cutie mark on her flank and continued to ignore the ever more strident calling from below.
A size 5 nut threaded onto a matching bolt smacked hard into the cyan blue mare's rump, causing her to launch several hooves into the air with a yelp, a scattering of blue feathers and white cloudstuff dispersing beneath her.
She righted herself and shook away her disoriented blinking, glaring in irritation down at the yellow jumpsuited, lavender mare who was glaring back up at her with her lip thrust out pugnaciously and her tail lashing.
The pegasus dropped into a dive and came to a stop about twenty hooves up from the scowling unicorn. "What's the big idea, Twilight-san?"
Twilight stomped her hoof in the gravel and dropped a size 10 nut as she deactivated her magic. "It's big alright, as in two big monstrobots are on their way to attack us!"
Her face became grave. "The Professor sent me to collect you, Rainboji Dash. We need you!"
At the mention of monstrobots, the cyan pegasus' eyes flared as if lit from within by fire. She pounded her fore hooves together. "Gosh darn that Doctor Tartarus. He is such a JERK!"
She seemed to deflate a bit, a mix of bitterness and sorrow on her face. "But who am I kiddin'? I don't dare even show my face back in the control room after that royal chewing out the Prof. gave me."
Twilight cocked an eyebrow. "Chewing out? Dash-kun, all she said was 'Try to be more careful next time.'"
Rainboji Dash crossed her forelegs and huffed. "She's not the boss of me."
The lavender mare smacked her forehead with a hoof, making a hollow *bok* sound against her helmet. She called up to the hovering pegasus in a voice heavy with tried patience. "Technically, Dash-kun, she is your boss..."
The pegasus tossed her rainbow mane and raised her snout in the air. "I know she is, but what am I?"
Twilight's left eye twitched as she replied through gritted teeth. "Just the best pilot in Equestria and our only hope against Doctor Tartarus' robot monsters." She hated to admit it, and she also hated to further stoke her pegasus friend's mountainous ego, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
Dash seized up, caught between wanting to contradict Twilight with more schoolyard logical feints and savoring the compliment. Before she could formulate a reply, the sound of alert sirens arose in a howling chorus around the Harmonic Research Institute as the robot destroyers lumbered past the security perimeter.
Twilight Sayaka hopped back on her bike and furiously peddled away, shouting over her shoulder at Rainboji Dash. "No time to argue! Go get suited up!"
With a whirr of hidden motors, the surface of the Harmonic Research Institute's reflecting pool split down the center and drained out through specialized sluice gates to reveal a vast underground hangar. A giant robot pony stood on four tower-like legs in the midst of a complex array of scaffolds and heavy equipment, which drew aside on tracks as hard hatted pony engineers and scientists scampered in all directions.
Vast hydraulic systems kicked in, raising the gleaming behemoth up to ground level, where the silver and black plates of its armored surface reflected the afternoon sun. Crimson vanes jutted from its pastern, forming a wide V, and a third vane formed a tail. Its head resembled the helmet of an armored knight, with a cup like platform above its angular optic arrays.
A cry of "Pegasus on!" rang out over the complex.
Rainboji Dash took off from the top of the Harmonic Research Institute's highest peak, circling over the robot with a look of grim determination on her face. She was girded in a red and bronze jumpsuit, with a crested white helmet on her head. She came in for a landing on the mechanical giant's head, settling in among a complex bank of levers and buttons as a clear plexiglas cockpit dome closed over her.
She flipped a series of switches, lighting up the board, and took hold of a pair of levers in her fetlocks. "Dash to Control. All systems are go, Professor. Over."
Up in the control room, the lab coated ponies took up positions at the telemetry screens, and turned to look expectantly to their leader. Professor Celestia adjusted her glasses with her golden magic and gave a slight nod. "Gambatte, Dash-kun! Pleas be careful out there. Over."
The cyan pegasus grinned, and began to pump her giant machine's ambulatory actuators with her hooves in a steady rhythm, just like pedaling a bike. "Moving out. Lets go buck some bolt buckets, Marezinger Z. Marezin GO!"
The towering robot pony marched forward with a smooth, ponderous gait, coming to a stop with the gleaming tower of the Harmonic Research Institute and the distant spire of Canterlot at its back, and the two mechanical monsters in the hazy distance before it, making their methodical way forward on their mission of destruction.
Dash's ears perked at the sound of more massive, measured hoof falls, machine precise but also somehow delicate in their tread, coming from among the hangars of the Institute. She looked back over her shoulder through Marezinger Z's cockpit dome to see a second giant robot march up to join her.
It was about a head shorter than her machine, built to match the elegant, slender proportions of a unicorn mare with a surface of anodized gold and red. A blunt tipped rocket protruded over the cockpit dome in its forehead. Dash could see Twilight Sayaka within, clutching the steering wheel in her fetlocks with her withers bunched nervously.
The brash pegasus tsked and opened a radio channel with a flick of her hoof. "What are you doing here, Twilight-san? You're just gonna get in my way."
The lavender unicorn's face scrunched up into an angry pout. "Hey! Amalthe A is perfectly capable of holding her own in a fight!"
Dash snorted. "Yeah, but its pilot is a total egghead."
Twilight snorted back. "At least I actually read the operator's manual on my robot. Anyway, I'm here with Professor Celestia's permission, to even up the odds to two on two."
At that moment a crackle of static blared over both pony pilots' radios as a gloating, drawling voice came over the speakers. "Y'all mean three on two. Behold th' awe inspirin' power of good ol' Apple family ingenuity."
Marezinger Z and Amalthe A's heads rotated to give their pilots a better view of another lumbering, gigantic shape crashing through the apple orchards. It was a squat caricature of a pony, with a huge barrel shaped torso and piston-like legs ending in blocky hooves as large as hay wagons. A spherical head protruded from a socket-like turret at the front of its body, with a pair of round dome eyes and an open grill for a mouth that gave it a rather stunned expression. The whole contraption was painted, haphazardly, in apple reds, yellows, and pinks. Appleboss gave a loud whoop and leaned out through the grille, waving her cowpony hat in greeting.
Rainboji Dash closed her jaw and snarled into the microphone. "Appleboss-kun! Twilight-san! Go home! I've got this handled! I'll send these rattletraps to the junkyard in ten seconds flat!"
Almost in response, a pair of bladed missiles appeared in Iron Skull K7's hollow eye-sockets and launched, trailing black contrails as they carved a winding path through the air and came down among the complex surrounding the Harmonic Research Institute's tower, obliterating a snack bar as panicked ponies fled in all directions in a hail of flaming donuts.
Dash pounded a hoof on the control panel. "HEY! That place made awesome eclairs! You robo-creeps just stepped over the line!"
The sharp beaks of all four of Quatras M4's heads lit up and shot forth blazing yellow beams of concentrated malice, searing swaths of destruction in all directions as it dragged itself forward on its waddling limbs. Whenever the beams touched a tree or building, it caused its unfortunate target to burst spontaneously into flame with a loud WHUMP!
Twilight gasped in outrage, and with a look of determination on her face stomped a button on Amalthe A's control panel. "This ends now! HORN MISSILE!"
She hunkered down and covered her ears with her hooves as the projectile launched from her slender robot's forehead, blasting her cockpit dome with exhaust and flames. As soon as the rocket was far enough away she peeked out from under the dash and reached out a shaking hoof to activate the windshield wipers, clearing the soot and ash so that she could watch the projectile wind through the air toward the distant robot monsters. Twilight reared up with a whoop as it hit one of Quatras M4's heads and exploded it in a scattering of flaming metal shrapnel. "YES! Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!
Her face fell as the damaged section of neck dropped off with a clank, and a whole new head unfolded from the next section down. The robot monster's necks were now uneven, but its capabilities were undiminished. She clutched her steering wheel with drooping ears. "Aw! That's no fair!"
Iron Skull K7 reached up with one of its clawed hands and grasped the base of one of its scythe-like horns, popping it loose and hurling it like a boomerang. It whistled through the air like an unmoored buzz saw, cleanly slicing through Amalthe A's slender metal legs like a quartet of bamboo stems sliced by a katana.
The lavender mare's further declarations of the enemy's unfairness dissolved into hysterical screaming as her robot's body toppled off its limbs and landed on its side with a thunderous crunch on the ground below.
Dash wheeled in Marezinger Z's cockpit and screamed in alarm. "Twilight-san! No!"
She pressed her nose against the glass with wide maroon eyes, breathing a sigh of boundless relief as she saw the shattered cockpit on Amalthe A's forehead pop open. The disheveled lavender mare tumbled out and stood on wobbly legs, unharmed despite her robot's rather gruesome dismemberment. She watched, half stunned, as the four legs tottered and fell like tree trunks.
With an almost smug flick of its thick metallic wrist, the giant robot minotaur caught its hurtling horn blade and fitted it back into the socket on the side of its skull-like head.
More static crackled over the radio link as Appleboss' voice sounded out. "Whelp. Looks like it's up to you n' me t' git 'er done, Dash-kun."
In Buck Borot's spherical cockpit, the blonde mare shouted back toward the ramshackle robot's engine compartment. "Y'all got th' turbines spun up, aniki?"
Her hulking red sibling gave a breathless "Eeyup!" as he galloped in a a large pony-wheel. His little sister perched on a nearby gantry, leaning out to swab his forehead with a sweat rag and squirt a dose of water into his mouth from a squeeze bottle. She gave her big sister the hoofs up.
Appleboss turned back to glare out the grill of Buck Borot's cockpit with a lopsided grin on her face. "Arright! Lets show 'em how we do things down on th' farm!" With that, she slammed a nearby lever forward to the GO! position.
A shudder ran through the bulky robot's ungainly body, and without ceremony the head popped loose from the body and hit the ground below with a thud. A few moments later, as the dust cleared, Appleboss squirmed out through one of the slots making up Buck Borot's mouth and yanked her hat off her head, angrily tossing it on the ground. "Consarn it!"
Her big brother and little sister stood at the robot's vacated neck socket, staring down at her in disbelief. The filly's ear's drooped. "Reckon I ain't gettin' that weldin' cutie mark after all."
High above on her hovering spiked platform, Princess Trixie Dust reared up with a triumphant cackle. "YES! See how pathetic the Harmonic Research Institute's feeble defenses are!?"
They leaned on the railing and shook a hoof toward the massive robot monsters as the hideous machines faced off against against the gleaming edifice's lone defender. "Now is the time! Destroy our hated enemy Marezinger Z!"
They spoke up in one of her voices. "Teach Rainboji Dash a lesson she'll never forget!"
Their other voice chimed in with a sneer. "And maybe step on Twilight Sayaka a couple times!"
Down below in Marezinger Z's cockpit, Dash snorted a puff of steam from her nostrils as she clamped the levers and flared her wings. "I've had all I can takes and I can't takes no more! CHAAARGE!"
With that, she barreled forward past the wreckage of her friends' robots, her own machine's massive Equestrium lined hooves making a trail of craters across the vast field surrounding the Institute.
Quatras M4 arched its necks aggressively and lumbered forward to meet the heroic robot, slamming into it with a mighty CLANK and entangling and immobilizing the giant metal pony in its coils. Dash screamed in anger and agony as Marezinger Z's superstructure groaned under the mechanical hydra's deadly embrace.
Iron Skull K7 dragged one of its huge cloven hooves in challenge, peeling back a broad swath of asphalt, and lowered its head to charge, surging forward to gore Marezinger Z with its scythe blade horns.
Some distance away, Appleboss' eyes flared in outrage. "Why you lowdown double teamin' sidewinders. Take this. HEAD BUCK BOWLIN' BALL ATTACK!"
With that, she wheeled and slammed her powerful rear hooves, Bucky Yamoto and Kicks Mushashi, into the side of Buck Borot's detached cranium cockpit. The huge metal ball rolled and bounced across the blasted turf, slamming into Iron Skull K7's feet, sending the overbalanced biped stumbling forward with its arms flailing. It slammed headfirst into the ground with a boom, and commenced to thrash and tug helplessly at its deeply embedded horns.
Appleboss quivering knees gave out, and she slumped to her haunches with a grim nod as her siblings whooped and cheered from her home built giant robot's vacated neck. "That'll learn ya varmints t' never tangle with Buck Borot."
Dash gritted her teeth and strained at the controls in Marezinger Z's cockpit as all around her the sound of groaning metal assaulted her ears. "Must... fight... Must... not... give... up!"
Up in the control room of the Harmonic Research Institute, Professor Flutteroshi looked up from her monitor with concern furrowing her brow. "Oh dear. Um... The Equestrium armor is holding, but it won't for too much longer."
Doctor Raritori sniffed in disdain and tossed her mane. "Oh, those brutes! They're scratching my beautiful paint job."
Shiroloo was hopping around like a flea, her tiny wings buzzing. "You can do it Dash-sempai! I believe in you!"
Professor Celestia flicked an ear and looked gravely at the main view screen, deep in thought. Was she going to have to ask somepony to get that obnoxious kid out of the control room?
Professor Von Pie grabbed her microphone in her fetlock and pulled it to her muzzle, shrieking into it in bubbly alarm. "Dashie-kun! You gotta get loose! Use Peytral Fire!"
The sky blue pegasus looked up from her grimace of sympathetic pain for an inanimate object and blinked. "Peytral what?"
The pink professor pony hopped up and down at her monitor station. "There's a whole bunch of new weapons. Didn't you read the manual?"
Dash winced sheepishly. "Uh... no?"
Von Pie tsked and rolled her limpid blue eyes. "Well, there's a quick start guide card in the glove compartment."
Dash blinked, looking around the cockpit. "Um... What's a 'glove'?"
The pink scientist lashed her frizzy pink tail. "It's kind of like a sock for somepony with fingers."
The cyan pegasus screwed her face up in confusion as her robot's frame began to buckle. "You actually know a pony with fingers?"
Professor Celestia interjected, rubbing her temple with a hoof. "Ladies, could we please get back on topic."
Von Pie giggled. "Sure thing, Chief! Dashie-kun, it's a little hatch to your right. Just say the commands out loud and push whatever button you like, and Bob's your uncle."
Dash glanced around and located the hatch, still blinking in confusion. "None of my uncles are named Bob..."
Professor Celestia bellowed into her microphone at royal Canterlot volume. "DASH! FOCUS!"
With hastily fumbling hooves, the cyan pegasus popped open the sock-for-a-pony-with-fingers compartment and found the aforementioned card tucked beneath a cellophane wrapped slice of leftover cake from the latest "Yay! We fixed the robot!" party.
She scanned the hastily scrawled documentation briefly as a crack appeared in the cockpit dome, then slammed her hoof on a random button. "PEYTRAL FIRE!"
An ominous hum sounded as the red vanes on Marezinger Z's chest began to glow with volcanic heat. A ruddy blast of pure thermal energy shot out from the glowing V, melting Quatras M4's two central necks off at the torso. The detached coils fell to the ground and burst in splattering molten gibbets of metal as the reptilian monster robot loosed its remaining necks and staggered back from the towering robot pony.
Princess Trixie Dust shrieked a two part harmony of rage and dismay and canted their flying disk into a steep dive, bracing their mismatched hooves as they skidded to a stop beside the hunched, struggling form of Iron Skull K7. Frothing with anger, they whanged on its chassis with their two tined staff. "Detach your horns you mechanical moron! When you're stuck in the rock, show 'em you... uh... rock! Use your incredible strength to cruhhh...."
The binary pony stiffened and trailed off as a size 7 nut flew up from the wreckage of Amalthe A and bonked them in the head on the cobalt blue side of their noggin. Down below, Twilight Sayaka gave a terse nod of satisfaction as she glared up at their hovering disc, her horn sparkling with purple magic.
Princess Trixie Dust's horn flickered out and dropped their staff as the violet eye rolled back into their head. The legs on the blue side buckled, sending the composite mare flopping sideways onto the platform. The gold eye darted around wildly, the green legs scraping helplessly at the metal floor as she spoke in a hoarse, desperate voice. "T-trixie? TRIXIE? W-wake up! I can't... Uh..."
The other voice mumbled in a daze. "It's supposed to read 'The Great and Powerful Trixie', then the puppet show..."
The still conscious side's eye lowered in a flat stare. "Oh, this is just fan flappin' tastic."
Dash flipped switches and tugged levers to stabilize her damaged but undaunted robot titan, pulling the levers to bring bring Marezinger Z' around to face Iron Skull K7. Reading from the card, she mashed another button and called for an attack. "BLUSTERY HURRICANE!"
The robot's head began to vibrate as vents opened in its angular muzzle and mighty turbines spun up in its neck. A terrible cyclone of swirling wind howled forth, pushing Marezinger Z slightly backwards as it dug furrows in the ground with its widely braced hooves.
Iron Skull K7's horns popped loose, allowing it to stand up into the full blast. It only had time to strike a pose before its outer shell was scoured and stripped away by the abrading wind, leaving it a tottering skeleton of bare hydraulic pistons and clockwork.
The windstorm sent Princess Trixie Dust's disk flipping and tumbling through the air. The conscious half of her mind let out a keening shriek as she desperately clung with a single hoof to the railing to keep from being flung free.
Her golden eye narrowed as she angled her sole free wing to steer the platform, now deprived of magical guidance, toward the heavily damaged hulk of Quatras M4. There was still something she could do to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Dash let out a cocky laugh as she looked at the sparking, shuddering framework of Iron Skull K7. "Not so tough now, are ya? Well try this on for size!"
She checked her card and shouted another command. "RAINBOW BEAM!"
Twin streams of many-colored light burst forth from Marezinger Z's optic arrays, striking the mostly wrecked monstrobot in its center mass. The metal skeleton of the deadly robot minotaur staggered back two paces and exploded in a shower of hydraulic fluid, loose gears, and sparkles.
Princess Trixie Dust's platform sailed through the air and slammed into Quatras M4's right-most head with a THOKK, the spiked edge embedding in the reptilian robot's jutting crest as the hapless half and half pony tumbled onto the flattened top of the head. She banged on the fuselage beneath her with her sole working fore hoof and bellowed as loud as she could with only one lung fully under her control. "FORGET MAREZINGER Z! GO FOR THE HARMONIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE! WE CAN STILL PULL OFF A WIN IF WE TAKE IT DOWN."
The dim witted mechanical beast gave a nod, which caused Princess Trixie Dust to roll off its angular cranium, howling bloody murder as she frantically flapped and fluttered and tried to bring herself down in a half controlled fall with one of her wings not responding completely. As the binary pony plummeted in a spiral drop, she shrieked in rage. "I'LL BE BACK, RAINBOJI DASH! I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE! YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LAST OF mmph!"
Her rant of anger and vengeance cut off as she crashed into an abandoned garbage wagon.
Rainboji Dash wheeled in the cockpit as she felt and heard the ponderous tread of Quatras M4 scuttling past in an end run toward the Harmonic Research Institute. She gripped the levers in her hooves and brought Marezinger Z about. "Not so fast!"
She furiously worked the ambulatory actuators and sent the mighty robot pony into a gallop, running neck and neck and neck with the reptilian monstrobot in a foot race toward the gleaming tower. The competing titans bashed aside the wreckage of Buck Borot and Amalthe A as they blundered through, sending Appleboss, Twilight Sayaka, and the blonde earth pony's siblings scattering for cover.
Dash smirked and slammed her hoof down on a bright red button, breaking its glass cover. In response Marezinger Z's Harmonic Energy turbines kicked into high gear, causing its frame to shudder as it tripled its speed. She gritted her teeth and squinted as the G forces pushed her back into her seat. Quatras M4 was left in the dust as the giant robot pony gained several body lengths ahead of it.
The rainbow maned mare let out a triumphant laugh and slammed her hooves on the brakes, causing the robots huge Equestrium hooves to dig deep furrows in the pavement around the Institute. She brought down her fore hoof on a random button, and bellowed her coup de grace. "ROCKET BUCK!"
Marezinger Z pivoted forward on its front hooves and lashed out with its back legs. The hocks and hooves detached and hurtled through the bright sky on flaring rocket engines, picking up incredible speed before smashing through the onrushing Quatras M4's remaining necks, shattering them at the base and sending the heads flying. The lambent electronic eyes in the disembodied dragon heads fizzled and went dark.
Dash flapped her wings and cheered as she craned her neck over the back of her chair and peered out the rear window. "HAH! Guess I picked up the split! Take that, Doctor Tartarus!"
The grin of elation died on her face as the monstrobot's decapitated body lumbered mindlessly forward, now under the ruthless dominion of momentum. "Uh oh..."
She spun in her seat and began to frantically push buttons as several tons of discombobulated mechanical hydra slammed into the precariously balanced Marezinger Z's hindquarters and bore both robots and their wailing pegasus passenger full tilt toward the pristine walls of the Harmonic Research Institute.
Professor Celestia's glasses slid down her nose as she gaped at the spectacle on the big screen. She reared up, thrashing her forelegs and flailing her wings as she bellowed at royal Canterlot volume. "EVACUATE THE BUILDING! EVERYPONY OUT!"
She slammed her hoof on her control panel, causing red lights to flash and klaxons to blare as she and her staff sprinted for the stairs.
Dash stomped the brakes into the floor, sending springs and gears flying in every direction, her eyes tightly shut and her mouth open wide in a full throated scream as her giant robot slammed into the Harmonic Research Institute.
Quatras M4 slumped sideways, its upward leg twitching to final stillness. Silence fell, save for the occasional groaning of girders or tinkle of broken glass, as Marezinger Z sagged against the formerly pristine tower with its muzzle pointed skyward, a network of cracks radiating across the broad, white surface around its point of impact.
Doctor Tartarus was pacing angrily back and forth in front of his throne, deep in the bowels of a suspiciously skull shaped mountain deep in the Everfree. He lashed his tail as he bellowed abuse down at the groveling figure of Princess Trixie Dust. "... as egregious a display of rank incompetence as I've ever seen in a millennium of existence. If it weren't for that, the accursed Harmonic Research Institute wouldn't even be a little destroyed. As opposed to my precious monstrobots, which are very MUCH destroyed. And then you dare to come back here sniveling and stinking of compost with nothing to show for it but a new knob on your empty skull!"
The binary pony was in a pitiable state, their hooded cloak filthy and tattered, their wings disheveled and missing feathers, and a cold compress strapped over a swelling bump on the blue side of their forehead. Tears ran down their smudged cheeks, and the golden eye looked miserably up at their master while the purple one was a bit off kilter and staring dazedly into the corner of the room.
They flinched lower as Doctor Tartarus rounded on them, his mismatched eyes gleaming with lambent flames of fury. "What do you have to say for yourselves?"
The side with the violet eye struggled into focus and replied with a weak grin. "P-princess Trixie Dust promises to do better next time?"
The other tone of voice merely swallowed hard as the wild haired draconequis bored into them with his glare.
He spun on his heel, his black cloak flaring as he stomped toward the exit. "Darn straight you will. Now go to your room and think about what you've done while I work on your next giant robot monster."
Princess Trixie Dust struggled painfully to her bicolored hooves with a smug smirk tweaking the cobalt blue side of her face. "See? I told you so."
The green side's golden eye narrowed, and the green rear hoof twisted up and kicked the wand and crescent marked flank, causing the violet eye to flare and then narrow in anger. "Ow!"
Professor Flutteroshi was soaring in a gyre over the Harmonic Research Institute with her hooves to her mouth and her aquamarine eyes wide in horror. "Oh my goodness! The damage is just awful!"
She circled to the other side of the building and gave a little shrug. "This side isn't so bad, though..."
Down below, her two colleagues stood in a little knot of stunned ponies gathered around the looming figure of Professor Celestia. The regal scientist stared stoically up at the two robot pileup wedged against the sweeping edifice of the main tower as a sheepish Rainboji Dash stood at her side, rubbing the back of her helmeted head and offering her a feeble smile. "Uh... heh heh... Sorry about all this mess, Professor."
Professor Celestia adjusted her glasses and let out a small sigh. "We'll clean up and rebuild, better than before. Don't worry, Dash-kun." She cast the cyan mare a sidelong glance. "Just try to be more careful next time."
The rainbow maned pegasus' eyes flared in indignation and she took wing, yanking off her helmet and bouncing it off the rubble strewn ground with a huff. "That's it! I don't have to stand around here and take all this abuse!"
With that Dash turned and launched skyward with a defiant flick of her tail. "If anypony needs me I'll be taking a nap somewhere."
Professor Celestia rolled her eyes as the little ponies around her, Twilight Sayaka and Professors Raritori and Von Pie and even Appleboss and her siblings, all exchanged uncomfortable looks and shuffled their hooves.
Shiroloo hopped ecstatically and buzzed her tiny orange wings as she called after her hero. "You're the best, Dash-sempai!"
The group of ponies' ears perked up at the sound of wings overhead, and they turned to see dusky indigo alicorn clad in glasses and a lab coat come in for a landing in their midst.
Her turquoise eyes widened as she took in the wreckage in front of her. "WHAT DID I MISS?"
Professor Celestia hung her head and slapped a hoof over her face.
The characters depicted in this fiction are copyright and trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. and Toei Animation and Dynamic Productions. This is a work of fan fiction, and the author makes no claim on Hasbro's copyright or trademarks.