Another Runner In The Night
IC date: Autumn 16, 1007
OOC date: October 5, 2012
PCs: Ruby-Blossom, Snowfield, Winter-Solstice, Kludge, Windrose
NPCs: Glimmer, Heatsink
GM: Fluttershy

As Ruby sneaks about, she finds herself skulking through shadows and avoiding what appears to be a pretty low-population in the base. A few ponies in similar full-body jumpsuits race by the sneaky pony, talking animatedly about the weird newcomers and the summoning spell gone wrong, but ultimately, she's able to scoot around wherever with adequate stealth.

Eventually she finds herself in the cavernous atrium, much like a meeting hall of sorts. A small cache of ponies — three of them, in fact — are hunched and whispering over a table.

Ruby-Blossom sneaking about to steal priceless gems and royal jewels is one thing, and the mare wouldn't break a sweat at such things; but this sneaking is different - she's not entirely sure where she is and wether to trust these ponies. The mare keeps low to the ground for the moment, brilliant eyes darting about in hopes to find her way to higher ground. Ears perked as she listens intent in hopes of hearing crucial information; sure she's seperated from the group - and she hopes that doesn't become a mistake. She sneaks closer to the trio to listen in on their conversation - making her way for the most concealed position.

"…see that weird one?" one of them, a tangerine-colored earth pony says. "Ain't never seen a thing like it, I reckon. /Two/ horns? Stripes?"

A nearby fuschia unicorn shakes his head. "Maybe it's some weird magical transferrance or something. I don't know. Don't bet on those bein' native, no sirree."

The first pony shakes her head. "Mighta ripped across to a new world or somethin' crazy like that. This is a right mess…" The third pony, an emerald-green young filly, stays silent.

"Heatsink!" Glimmer lopes in, and the earth pony who'd been talking lifts her head, one hoof adjusting her cover-alls. As she climbs off the bench, she adjusts her tool belt, looking to the incoming bespectacled unicorn. "Hmm?"

Glimmer opens her mouth to say something — and bowls right into Ruby, sending them both sprawling quite spectacularly.

Ruby-Blossom certainly wasn't expecting to be rudely bowled over - the turquoise mare momentarily scowls at her own slopiness before she begins to scramble to make a run for it - perhaps if she can get hidden quickly enough! The mare has severe doubts about this entire situation, and she'd rather not take any chances. She finds herself at severe disadvantage with the weight of the other unicorn atop of her.

Glimmer winces, starting to get up— only to holler in alarm. "Uh— Unknown! Quick!" She grabs Ruby up in her magic, scrambling up and trying to hold her in place. The fuschia unicorn rolls off the bench and adds his own magic to the hold. "Knew it was too good to be true," he scowls, "good ponies comin' in with a bang. Dirty spies!"

Ruby-Blossom doesn't much care for unicorns, she doesn't much care for using magic herself, but what she really doesn't care for is being caught. She mutters amid firm squirming "I swore I'd never do this…" closing her eyes and muttering under her breath in hope that what does next works!

Ruby-Blossom rolls 1d10 (Magics?) — Result: 7 | Sum: 7

Neglecting magic in this instance has clearly come back to bite Ruby in the flank! The mare stuck squirming in the air as she shouts "I'm only spying because you abducted us! Put me down, and I'll show you a thing or two. Let me at em'!" fiesty one she is!

"Abducted? No! You're not who we wanted to summon!" Glimmer growls, holding tight. "If it were up to me, you would've stayed … wherever it was you came from! The moon! I don't care!!"

The fuscia unicorn scowls. "Maybe we oughta throw her out into the Wastes…"

"No!" The green youngun has finally spoken up. "She's probably just scared! You guys are making such a big deal out of this!"

"Because she could be Queen Moon's /spy/!" snaps Glimmer. "Are you dense, Emerald-Dust? This is going to bite us in the bonker /big time/!"

"…truly a spectacular turn of events!" a voice says, growing louder as it echoes down one of the metal corridors leading out from the meeting chamber. "I wonder what a sunless world is like. If it's anything like Wintersong, I'm sure I'll be right at home." From one of the entrances to the room a little off-white unicorn emerges. Ruby might recognize her as Snowfield the Forest Witch. She pays no mind to the thief being dogpiled as she continues laughing merrily to herself in the most creepy manner possible. "A winter wonderland, I'm sure, without that accursed summer sun making everypony want me to chill their darn drinks."

Ruby-Blossom scowl-glare-frowns among any other manner of dissapporval she can muster. "I knew it! This is totally opposite, I could smell it!" the cold night had reminded her of early winters spent on the streets or in unheated make-shift shelters; and the fear of the night sky! She may not understand why or how, but she knows when things are seriously bad. "Let me down!" she flails violently "You're the ones who abducted /me/." Feeling helpless being the worst thing she can imagine - she'd be unlikely to /ask/ for help even if she knew Snowfield.

"UGH. Crackerjack, grab that stupid little foal before she gets herself killed!" Glimmer snaps, glasses slightly askew. The other unicorn lets go of Ruby with his magic and instead runs over to fling his lanky self at Potential Spy #2. Magic included! Glimmer, though, growls at Ruby. "No! You're coming straight with me to the Professor, and then we're going to have an interrogation, to find out what you know!"

Snowfield rolls 1d10 (did you just call me short) — Result: 6 | Sum: 6
Ruby-Blossom rolls 1d10 (More magics?) — Result: 10 | Sum: 10

From afar, Ruby-Blossom ponders "Teleport or can you think of something better? Oh, there is always breaking out then pummelling some pony.
You paged Ruby-Blossom with 'Teleport works, or just breaking the magic grasp! Whichever you'd prefer to do.'.

/That/ comment stops Snowfield in her tracks. The almost manic laughter stops as she glances over her shoulder. "I'm sorry, I don't believe I caught that," she says with sudden and eerie seriousness. Her horn begins to glow threateningly as Crackerjack charges in her direction, as if challenging him to try and finish that tackle.

Anypony ever see a /earth pony/ break a magic spell? Well Glimmer sees these very events unfold before her eyes as Ruby suddenly bursts out of the magic hold, and drops to the ground. Quickly lunging towards Glimmer "I ain't no spy!" taking a very aggressive swing at her captive. "And I didn't ask to be kidnapped!"

Siyana rolls 1d10 (PEW PEW MAGIC BULLET) — Result: 6 | Sum: 6

Someone has awarded you karma! Keep being awesome!

Oof! Glimmer's glasses are sent flying and she sprawls backwards. Scowling, she scrambles up and shoots bullets of energy at the spy. Two of them go wide, but one of them clips Ruby's flank. (Hey, at least it's not head-trauma!) "Emerald! SOUND THE ALARM! Heatsink! Get the professor!!"

The green earth pony scrambles away, and the coverall'd earth pony does as well with a quickly dashed-off salute. Crackerjack, meanwhile, isn't thinking better of anything! He's tackling Snowfield, magic and all! "We'll get you and the rest of your spy friends!" he snarls, as a klaxon starts up in the base.

Siyana rolls 1d10 (Tackle attack!) — Result: 4 | Sum: 4
Snowfield rolls 1d10 (Kitten-hold defense!) — Result: 3 | Sum: 3

Snowfield's horn glows even more brightly as she prepares to pluck Crackerjack off the ground and toss him to the side but she underestimates the speed of the charging stallion and finds herself flattened underneath of him. "Get off of me, you bothersome foal!" she snaps at the much larger pony. "Is this how you treat everyone who wants a breath of fresh air?"

Ruby-Blossom rolls 1d10 (Ruby uses Tackle!) — Result: 6 | Sum: 6
Siyana rolls 1d10 (Glimmer defends!) — Result: 8 | Sum: 8

Ruby-Blossom winces as the magic clips her flank, creating a momentarily stumble before she stomps a front hoof to trigger a two point concealed little blade from her false hoof! "If I was a spy I would of sliced you!" rather than fighting she rushes for Snowfield in hopes of checking Crackerjack from behind then make a run for it with Snowfield!

Crackerjack manages to break through Snowfield's defenses, but he certainly wasn't expecting Ruby to pile on. He squawks and sprawls away from Snowfield, freeing the unicorn. "ATTACK! ATTACK!" he hollers over the klaxons.

Glimmer, meanwhile, races after Ruby, trying to pluck her up again, furiously. "Nopony wields a blade on my friends!" she snarls.

Siyana rolls 1d10 (GRABBU RUBII ATTAKKU) — Result: 7 | Sum: 7
Ruby-Blossom rolls 1d10 (Ruby doubtfully dodges?) — Result: 4 | Sum: 4
Snowfield rolls 1d10 (>ABSCOND) — Result: 4 | Sum: 4

Snowfield is free! She gets back to her hooves and dusts herself off with a disgruntled "Hmph!" and begins to trot towards whatever looks most like an exit, abandoning Ruby to her fate. That big sign that reads ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO EXIT HERE looks promising.

Ruby-Blossom hates magic! So cheap, cheap cheap! The tuquiose mare squirms in the hold - it should be noted her blade has already be sheathed, and Crackerjack was not shanked - but Ruby could of totally shanked that bitter berry! The mare firmly whacks her other hoof front hoof, then tosses it's contents at Glimmer - smoke suddenly spewing out from the small grey orbs tossed around Glimmer's hooves - with any luck she'll be able to scramble towards the exit, and after Snowfield!

The entire meeting area is filling with smoke, and Glimmer is coughing and hacking as she tries to see through it. The door through which Ruby and Snowfield have scrambled — so conveniently marked ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO EXIT HERE — is ajar and leads to an upward sloping tunnel. And, at the end of the tunnel is a bunch of conveniently placed debris that hides the entrance to the base. Housing said debris is a tiny ramshackle hut that's long succumbed to the elements. Or specifically, one element: snow.

It's not just cold out here. It's frigid. It's absolutely the coldest, sharpest freeze a pony has ever felt, and there's suddenly a good reason why all the Bay ponies wear padded full-body jumpsuits: insulation. Insulation that the Harborites do not possess. Even Snowfield, accustomed to the cold as she is, will find it scarcely suitable.

Back in the room, Glimmer is coughing and running blindly toward the door, tripping over the fuschia-colored unicorn, Crackerjack. Heatsink skids in. "Oh, moonrocks!" she snaps, before whipping out a gem from one of her tool belt pouches and racing to a couple of small mouth-held contraptions. She inserts the gem like a battery and holds it up, as the blades begin to rotate and push some of the smoke away. Meager, yes, but it's something.

Ruby-Blossom pages: Most know! Where else could Ruby hide without going outside - rafters? Any vents, etc? She's not crazy enough to go outside!
You paged Ruby-Blossom with 'Probably vents around, though it'd take some time to unbolt them stealthily, and you'd be above the smoke cover.'.
Ruby-Blossom pages: That's no good. =3

Windrose skids to a stop (and that's actually making a skidding motion, despite hovering like usual) as they enter the room into a faceful of smoke. A few coughs follow, until she gets her wits back. "Son of a hitch!" But at least smoke she can kind of help with. With beating wings she loops circles around the room, trying to help steer the smoke into the activated fans. She's not a fully trained weather pony, but then again, this isn't clouds either, and this sort of thing just comes somewhat naturally to the species.

You paged Ruby-Blossom with 'The ceiling is sheet metal, I think… there's always under a table, as there are plenty of those, orrrr…'.
From afar, Ruby-Blossom beams "Yes?
Long distance to Ruby-Blossom: Siyana Tries to conceptualize this a bit better. :|a

Kludge comes in with the other volunteering Harborites who were in the cafeteria. "Gah! W-what in T-tartarus h-happened here?" he says through chattering teeth. This is *much* colder than what he's used to!

From afar, Ruby-Blossom can play dress up?
You paged Ruby-Blossom with 'You could always run off to the lab or into another tunnel perhaps. Or you can disguise yourself XD'.

Ruby-Blossom totally wanted outside, yup that's exactly what she wanted and where she went, not. Deception is a decisively useful tool! The turquoise mare is certainly not at Snowfields side when the smaller mare reaches the exit she's without Ruby! Matter of fact she's nowhere to be found - the large metal room lacks useful hiding spots save for a few tables, and the vents are in plain sight above the smoke. For somepony who claims /not/ to be a spy, she is sure playing the part!

Winter-Solstice storms in, hot on Heatsink's heels, head tucked low and hooves thundering along the floor. Her metal boots ring loudly, clanging like a broken engine with every heavy step. She slows up a bit as she enters the smokey chamber, hissing, surprised at the cold. Slowing up, she tucks her head low- one problem with height? More smoke, ugh! "Spies! Where are they! I'm gonna give 'em a ONE, anna' TWO, anna' KICK IN THE NOSE!" she promises, growling under her voice and through a slight grin. She looks towards Heatsink, then, desperate for direction. Must smash, must smash! "I don't know any of you weirdo night ponies! Tell me which ones are evil so I can bonk 'em!"

Snowfield does not /scramble/, thank you very much, she trots with purpose and determination and maybe a hint of prance. Don't tell Jellybean.

The blast of cold air that hits her gives pause to the little unicorn. "Celestia above," she gasps as the warmth feels like it's being sucked from her lungs. "It's just like…"

The mare takes a few tentative steps out into the endless ocean of frost and shadows. Her horn begins to glow as she tries to grab the ice and snow at her feet and wrap it around herself like her own makeshift snowsuit, perhaps a little more literally than might otherwise be healthy. Anything to put a barrier between herself and the lifeless cold of the endless night.

From afar, Ruby-Blossom eyes the lab devilishly.
You paged Ruby-Blossom with 'Of course the lab is open air to the outside too, now. XD'.
Ruby-Blossom pages: That's where we started, that's right! *pretends to be guard pony complete with insulated suit!*
Long distance to Ruby-Blossom: Siyana snicker.

The Professor isn't too far behind the other ponies, though he does take his time getting into the room after the rest charge in. No sense adding even more bumbling hooves to the efforts of spy-chasing when he's probably more useful guarding one of the exits. Oh if only he had some of those unicorn powers he's admired so much! Thank goodness for his own suit, or he'd be cursing the cold right down to his bones.

"What's going on? Did you catch the spy yet? Or did they escape through the door already? Was it one of hers?"

With the door ajar and the little fan, the smoke is swiftly clearing. Glimmer wipes her eyes and glares, picking her glasses up from the floor and putting them on her face with her magic. "Escaped. Both of them. I— I don't know, she was saying we abducted her so I assume she's one of the ponies from the portal disaster. But she was spying on us and sneaking around and wouldn't tell us anything! So even if she's not working for her, she's sure not a friend."

Kludge rolls 1d10 (Does Kludge figure out who it is?) — Result: 1 | Sum: 1

Windrose comes back to the floor after helping with the smoke… and instead of folding her wings as usual sits down and wraps them around herself. "SOMEONE CLOSE THAT DOOR ALREADY" Kind of sad she didn't notice the cold until she didn't have the smoke to distract herself with. Brrrrrr. "I think I understand why Celestia was originally worried about Nightmare Moon now…"

Winter-Solstice whirls and storms up the stairs, towards the cracked door and the waiting abyssal night beyond. She hovers up there, staring out into the black, then hisses and witdhraws, squirming with a scowl. She seems reluctant to go far, though, even as the cold seeps through and coils itself about her. "H-hey!" she says, seeing Snowfield out there. "What are you doing? There's nothing out there! Come back in, come on! The spies escaped!"

A darker green earth pony mare lopes back in as the alarms start to die off. "They're going outside!" she shouts suddenly, pointing after Winter. "Without suits! Quick!"

Outside, a strange and alien landscape stretches before Snowfield and Winter. Snow flurries down from an endless night, sculpting the world into unnatural shapes. Long, swooping ramps of snow curl down into scalloped dewdrops and carve outward again like the trail of a wild animal. There's something vaguely peaceful about this glittering landscape — a peace that belies frozen limbs and an undercurrent of foreboding. Also, it's friggin' cold, and even with a hastily donned snow-suit, it's pretty clear a pony can't even last all night out here.

In the far, darkened distance, a greatly expanded forest looms like dark daggers cutting across the horizon, while to the East are the sloping claws of the White Saddles. The Harbor? It's gone. There's no buildings, no town: just a long white, flat world that turns to an icy plane of ocean.

"What kind of idiot would run off by themselves when lost in an unfamiliar place when there's ponies you know with you?" grumbles Kludge.

Windrose says "Considering you used the word 'idiot' I think you answered your own question"

Snowfield glances over her shoulder, horn aglow. Aside from the hole in the ground in the distance above the lab that teleported the group here in the first place that glow is the only meaningful illumination in the area. It casts deep shadows across the mare's face, accentuating the dark circles under her eyes and the untold years hidden behind those cerulean orbs. For a brief moment the mare who could be mistaken for a filly seems as old as the mountains in the distance.

She remains silent for several long moments, regarding Winter with a thoughtful gaze.

Winter-Solstice practically wedges herself in the doorway, watching Snowfield, then the landscape beyond. She's never met the unicorn before tonight, but she does know she's from the Harbor, and therefore she's one of the Good Guys. Still, she's not having much fun there on the precipice of the endless night, face scrunched up against the bite of the cold, the misting huffs of her breath short and sharp. "If nothing else, come on in so we can shut the door," she suggests, meeting that thoughtful gaze with a slight grin. "It'll still be night later on, after all! Ha!" She draws back a bit, making room, but still reluctant to go far when there is a wayward party member in perceived danger.

With a great sigh, the Professor ambles towards the open door, calling up the tunnel. "You folks might want to get back down here before you become permanent doorstops. That's no place for a sane pony without a snowsuit."

Then to Glimmer, his expression more weary than ever. New ponies. New problems. That much, he can certainly agree with his assistant on. "Don't jump to conclusions, Glimmer. If you were wrenched from your world to someone else's, and you found out it wasn't exactly a paradise, you might be a little freaked out too." He studies the violet pony. "…Seeing as you're freaked out just seeing new faces in your own home." He raises his voice, glancing around at random shadowy hiding places. "If we /did/ happen to have a spy, she wouldn't make it out very far without some help, so she might want to be a smart filly and let us do some good."

"I'll be there in a moment," Snowfield says. She begins to walk towards the hole in the ground above the lab. "It wouldn't do to leave this exposed to the elements." Shards of ice swirl around her hooves and the snow that she's pulled around her body solidifies into a shell of crystal clear ice which seems to shimmer with the refracted light coming from her horn.

Glimmer withdraws, a sour expression on her face. "New ponies, new threats," she replies, echoing his private sentiment. "And we can never be sure. Especially not with the Elements gone. I just don't want to be caught with my suit down when these ponies turn out to be Trouble, with a capital /T/." That rhymes with P, which stands for Paranoia! She rounds, and stomps out of the meeting hall with a grumpy glance thrown at Windrose and Kludge as she passes. "You better get your friends down from there," she mutters. "It's too dang cold out."

Winter-Solstice watches Snowfield a moment longer, then draws back inside, shivering and stomping her hooves. She remains just inside the doorway though, waiting, sitting her duff down on the floor and gnawing her lower lip next to the opening. Every few moments she glances up and peers outside, then looks back in at the gathered others.

Ruby-Blossom mockingly mimics Glimmer silently from her hiding spot. (So mean, maybe I should have shived her.) frown! (Sourpuss). Well, at least it appears the group wasn't taken prisoner - shake take some comfort in that.

Out on the horizon is a soft flicker. A soft light ticks up in the sky, as a green luminescent ribbon fades like a midnight rainbow across the (rather disturbingly star-free) sky. The greens fade to soft blues and purples, cascading into nothingness and glimmering in beauty as the aurora borealis takes hold of the evening sky.

The next time Winter glances back outside the doorway, she continues to stare. Leaning to the side, head poked out through the opening, her expression is unreadable, but after a few moments she lifts a hoof to her face. The rest of her is quite still, her anxious squirming having frozen solidly.

Snowfield's horn shines brightly as she reaches the hole in the ground that opens into the lab. She glances around to see what she has to work with. "Permafrost," she says slowly. "The water in the soil has been frozen for… centuries." The ground around her begins to glow as she weaves her spell, drawing the ice and the soil that's frozen into it out of the ground. She folds it over the hole like a blanket, refreezing it in place to form a new roof over the laboratory.

Without the light from underground shining up Snowfield is solely illuminated by her own magic dancing around her and the aurora glowing overhead. She gathers more snow from the ground, swirling it around herself as she walks over the new ground, swirling it in chaotic patterns as she begins to hum a chaotic, off-key melody. The snow falls to the ground in whorling patterns similar to what the wind has blown across the rest of the plains, masking the repair job spectacularly.

Winter-Solstice hangs her head slightly, still peering out the doorway, the back of her head facing the rest of the room. Her short-cropped tail gives a little toss before resettling, but she otherwise stays still as she peers through the tunnel and up at the sky.

The glow fades from Snowfield's horn as she judges her handiwork under the light of the aurora. "…it will do," she says to the empty void, turning around to head back to the door of Horseshoe Base.

The green pony from before ascends the tunnel, her face encapsulated by a fuzzy hood. "Come in before you catch hypothermia," she urges to both of the ponies. "We'll fix you up some tea."

Winter-Solstice steps back, making room as Snowfield enters. As she turns back towards the group, she reaches up, wiping at her eyes with her shaggy hooves and stifling a little sniff. Once the unicorn is all the way inside, Winter hauls upright and moves to shove the door shut, then assist with whatever it takes to get it sealed, and armed, and redecorated with imposing warnings about going outside, her mood muted the whole time.

The debris is replaced behind them and the door below is sealed and locked shut, leaving the strange winter wasteland and its shimmering aurora behind.

We're not in Kansas anymore, my little ponies.