Anti Nice Plotting
IC date: Autumn 24
OOC date: October 13
Location: Town Hall
PCs: Lorelei, Quintessent-Rune, Freeze-Frame, Jellybean, Fugue, Magpie, Sablemane
NPCs: Phantom, Dirge, Night-Watch, Redmane, Jager
GM: Applejack, Diamond-Dog, Angel-Bunny

It's a chilly, rainy day in the ol' Harbor today. The sort of ominous weather that tends to go with dramatic moments. Posters had been put up, flyers passed out around town by the local guardsponies about a special (and first in a /really long time/) meeting for the residents of Horseshoe Harbor. All were invited to attend!

So here it is. Town Hall. A decent amount of seating has been set up to accommodate the various members of the Harbor. The podium has been reserved with a nametag set in place for Mayor Lorelei, with extra space set up next to the podium for two more bodies. In front of each of those is a nametag as well: Professor Redmane, and Chief Phantom. The Mayor is already present and seated, as is Professor Redmane. The third seat is, at the moment, empty.

It seems the event was to be catered too! The nice ponies of Carrot Corner Cafe have provided a spread of snacks and drinks along the back wall, so that all the attending Harbor ponies have something to nosh on while discussing things.

At the moment it's relatively quiet. Just the murmur of ponies as they filter in from the rainy outside, getting snacks, taking seats, and other such mundane social things. Several Harbor Guards have set themselves up as ushers to make sure every pony gets a seat.

Magpie is lurking under the refreshments table, where she's out of the way but can keep an eye on proceedings, and — importantly — she has excellent access to the snacks.

Jellybean is one of the murmurers-in-residence, sipping on hot apple cider and enjoying being indoors. It's not that he doesn't like the rain: it's easy to work with and refreshing. But what he likes most about rain is being indoors with something warm to drink while it's happening.

Cross-Redfeather practically prances in looking like some sort of dignitary from exotic lands, well mostly that of the Griffon Kingdom. Cross is atired in her formal wear, and usual medical kit slung low across her back right betwixt her wings. The griffon finds a good seat amongst the front row, so her diminuitave stature can have visual access to all the proceedings. Chair accounted for, and Phone-books?! a 'dignified' booster seat for the foalsized griffon.

Freeze-Frame wanders in with her Father, Jager. She herself is wearing one of those usual bananna yellow raincoats and has her camera with her, as always.

Jager looks none too happy and quite sober, clothed in a black raincoat and one of those Robin hood style hunter caps, complete with a colorful pinion adorning the rim. they both get seated quietly.

Amongst the ponies that filter into the town hall there's a small mare, one draped in a dark blue cloak with it's hood up and with large black mettal scales fastened to the majority of the fabric. Not only does the cloak seem to be armored, but judging from the sound of metal scales scraping together and the clink-clank of a thick and wide plate peytral and armored boots against scailmail. The cloak does little to hide that it's actualy Quintessent Rune underneath, neither does the caparison, with it's trident-on-black-whirlpool insignia and golden odal rune.

Still, the cloak and the armor makes feel safe… -er. As safe as someone that's been outspoken of their support for NiceCo. and constructed golems for them before recent events have come to light can be…

Dirge, the red-hued batpony guard that has been in town to assist with investigations into the missing foals- and who has stuck around even after the investigation resolved itself with explosions!- is here. Upside-down, specifically, and hanging from one of the rafters off to the side. His cloak is drawn up around himself, all black and spooky. How does he do it? You could ask, but he has a habit of making scary fang faces at anypony who addresses him, then snickering as they run away.

Night Watch is decidedly not hanging from the ceiling. He is, however, lurking in a shadowed corner, casting occasional glances up at his partner, and giving occasional sighs. You can't just hang from any old rafters, after all. There are proper ways to do these things.

Lorelei casts a glance over the crowd, fidgetting nervously with a pen on the podium. She's not looking incredibly enthused. In fact, she's looking rather dour. Recent events had not exactly gone the way she'd envisioned them, after all, and she's not very pleased with the way they /had/ gone.

Redmane, too, doesn't look too happy with things. Perhaps even a touch ashamed, sitting straight in his chosen seat and all stern-faced. Nothing ever seems to go according to plan, does it?

As ponies filter in and take seats, a pair of stallions flanking the set of podiums, Lorelei's bodyguards no doubt, seem to have relegated themselves to crowd-counting duty. Tallying up all the attending parties, making notes, murmuring things to the Mayor in regards to what they know about each arriving pony and other facts as they know'em. When it seems like the last of the attendees has shown up and been shown a seat, Rock'em and Sock'em both give a nod towards the back of the building, prompting a Guardspony to nudge the main doors closed. Not locked, of course, just closed. Then Sock'em, next to the podiums, gives one forehoof a stomp on the flooring. "Attention! This Town Hall is now in session. Mayor Lorelei and Professor Redmane are presiding."

Cross-Redfeather pointedly doesn't have any of the food, 'wasn't it one of their warehouses that we first found out about some of these foalnappings?' is her thought line, if anypony were reading minds, not that that happens around here. The griff tips her head to each of the introduced couple of admin-a-ponies.

Quintessent-Rune froze in mid stride for a moment, half turning to look at the doors. Just closed, not locked. Breathing a sigh of relief she storde forward, finding herself a seat - winding up near Freeze Frame and Jager. And making her seat creak somewhat alarmingly under the weight of armor.

Dirge's red eyes- you can tell they're red because they reflect the light in a spooky way, thre in the shadows cast by his hood- which remains up, even when he is upside-down, so does that make it down?— shift to watch Quintessent Rune. Lot of armor, there. You don't wear that kind of armor unless it's for a reason.

Freeze-Frame Snaps a photo of the room, wanting to get a photo that capture the tense drama that is about to unfold…!

Professor Redmane allows a moment of silence, then rises from his seat to address the crowd. Hooves planted on the desk's surface, the older pony's eyes scan the crowd curiously, picking up sight of a couple foals in the ranks of adults seated. They linger, for a moment, on Rune as well. He nods to himself, shares a quick, quiet glance with Lorelei, then clears his throat.

"Friends. Residents. Members of society. It seems we have a problem. We have on our borders a neighbor that promised prosperity! Opportunity! A chance to make this community an economic force for the world to reckon with! And instead they gave us… Heartache. Drama. Broken spirits. And an ugly eyesore to stare at day after day." A pause, Redmane tapping a hooftip upon the desk. "Today we have a choice to make. Through the ultimately heroic efforts of our very own young, we have discovered the depths of depravity that infests the company that calls itself 'NICE'. So now we have to decide what to /do/ about them. Do we let them stay put? Or do we take steps to remove them from our landscape and send the message that we will not tolerate this form of illegal activity within our midst?"

There's another pause here, Redmane turning his head to glance back at Lorelei, nodding her way. Perhaps the mayor has a few words to add in.
Quintessent-Rune shifted uncomfortably, shooting Redmane a frown before looking around, and up - you develop the habit when everyone can swim freely in every direction where you grew up. Dirge gets another unfreindly - or maybe nervous - frown.

Cross-Redfeather looks up to Redmane as he speaks and nods in time to final statement. "I allowed myself to be ensnared by this companies false hopes when they first came here. Then ensnared litterally by a trap designed for foals, I allowed myself to be captured by those whom cought our town's foals!" she shakes her head, "It was a tramautic experience even for a fully grown adult, I can only imagine what our town's young went through when they were captured." the Doctor shudders and looks up standing up on her haunches so she can take in the crowd better. "The Foals though rose up and overtook their captors, and dealt them quite a blow. We all escaped from the Company called Nice, I for one would like to pull from them all votes of trust, remove them from this community, remove that stain of fear from this peaceful town!" she flares her wings as she speaks, for dramatic effect or just for being bold.

Various ponies gathered at the edges of the crowd raise their voices as Cross finishes. "Yeah!" "No more voting for them!" "Kick 'em out!" There's more murmuring and grumbling and someone waving a sign that says 'NICE? More like NOT NICE' before things start to calm down a bit.

Lorelei nods slightly in return, getting to her own hooves. "When this company arrived, they came with promises of only good things. This seemed like a prosperous opportunity for our town. But they've grought far more trouble than prosperity." She blinks and lays her ears back as Cross talks, wincing and glancing down. "One of the things they claimed to bring was safety and a secure home for our foals. But their actions have shown quite another side. I am truly sorry for my part in allowing these ponies and their ways into our Harbor, and the trouble it has brought to our citizens, and to our neighbors as well." She casts a glance to Dirge and Night Watch, then at the empty spot with the 'Chief Phantom' nametag. "I only hope that we can reach a resolution that will bring our town security once again."

Dirge continues to dangle from the rafters, keeping quiet. His red eyes stare at Lorelei like… like eyes… that are red. They have slitted pupils. Yes. Alright, aside from looking like a spooky Nightmare Night decoration, he's not doing much, yet, but sometimes that's all it takes. To, er… amp up the spookiness.

Freeze-Frame flits up and raises a hoof like she's in a classroom, waiting to be called on.

Her father shoots his little filly a look and murmurs. "Y'know, I think they got the right idea already…"

Redmane, too, grimaces when Cross makes her statement. A hoof is gestured in that direction after Lorelei says her piece. "I wish to thank all of our brave members of the community, for all of your efforts in ensuring the safety of our foals. Though ultimately they had the strength to free themselves, it is important that we gave an effort." Here he pauses, planting both forehooves on the desk. "But the question remains. What do we do? This is the question we want to bring to you all this night. We have a problem. We need to deal with it. But we want to deal with this in a way that is acceptable to all. Thus… If any of you have a suggestion to bring to debate, now is the time. We will take questions or suggestions now."

Quintessent-Rune tilted her head back slightly, peering up at stage. "You could always deal with it through means of the Equestrian justace system? You have proof, and it would most likely have wider implications for the company, not just here…"

Freeze-Frame decides raising her hoof isn't the right thing to do, instead flying up by rune to chime in. "Yeah! and like… getting a proper investigation would make sure nopony who's innocent gets impla… implu… impleecated?"

"Are any of us ~really~ innocent?" says Dirge, his voice echoing from the dark shadows cast by his hood. Something it is also able to do when upside down. The batpony releases his grip on the rafter, then, fluttering down to land upright, and draws himself up to his typical slender, angular profile. "Why do we even need the government to step in? What can they do that we cannot with our own hooves and teeth? I think it is clear what must be done."

Jellybean raises a hoof. "I'm actually in the government. Kinda. Not the part that'd be stepping in. But. You know, the government."

Lorelei lays her ears back, nodding slightly. "We are taking it up with higher authorities on a… certain level. But that will not be an immediate resolution, and will not eliminate the factory's presence in any expedient manner." She pauses, and sits back in her chair, giving a faint snort. This is why press conferences are not her thing; it's hard to talk all 'government official' for too long. So forget that! "Basically, they're going to take a long time to do anything about it and there's some sort of waiting list and a lot of paperwork to do and an investigation would need to be sent in, and while that's all being worked through the factory's still sitting there doing its… factory… thing."

Quintessent-Rune cringed slightly, the question really seeming to hit home. "Becaus they are the legal authority on the matter, and they can investigate other NiceCo. facilities as well - just in case," muttered Quintessent, sinking further into her cloak. "Also, they got siege weapons - no doubt - and can fight golems."

Cross-Redfeather starts to stand again, "I'd say we er, well umm off course kick them out definately, but, err How?" she "They have a team of giagantic servants at their beck and call, whereas we have merely our own numbers to support us. Wasn't there some official paperwork they had to sign to come here, Revoke all that!" she states all official like.

Dirge turns to look at Jellybean, staring at him for a few moments, then scoffs and turns away. This pegasus is too friendly-looking to be the weapon of justice the town needs at a time like this. Look at those curls! Those are not curls of vengeance. The batpony stays quiet for the moment, continuing to listen.

Redmane looks a slight bit disgruntled himself. He gestures a hoof at Lorelei, then settles down and presses his hooves together in front of him. "Believe us when we say we want to get the authorities as much involved as we can. But we've basically been told that until they /can/ come, we're more or less free to do what we need to in order to ensure our personal safety. So while I am fairly certain that NICE Co. as a whole will have to face some kind of grand inquiry or something, /we/ still have a problem to deal with on our own terms." A frown. "Without help from government sources." Another pause, Redmane gesturing at Cross too. "That's kind of the idea. They're basically sitting there illegally now so we're free to do whatever we need to about it. It's just a matter of what."

Lorelei nodded slowly. "Unfortunately, we just don't know much about what's going on in there. The foals could only tell us so many things, and they've ceased to be open about what they're up to once they were found out - and that's assuming any of what we knew before was true."

"On that matter, I may be able to shed some light," suggests Dirge. He pauses, and considers if there was a spookier way to say that. Light isn't very spooky. He shrugs, and approaches the stage. "Captain Night Watch and I have scouted as much of the facility as we were able, looking for any sign of weakness or any indication of NICE's intent now that their schemes are collapsing around them."

Quintessent-Rune shot Dirge a dull glance. "To me it appears they are still manufacturing things. Spin Doctor's… spun new lies through the ears of those that's stayed, himself included… It's a madhouse."

Night Watch moved to follow Dirge, nodding a bit. "We did manage to do some recon in the area. We don't know everything, but we probably have a decent basis to start on."

Dirge turns to look back at Quintessent Rune, and narrows his eyes as he studies her. He lets his hood shake free, for now, revealing his angular features, his fangs, his black mane, his sunflower seed chewing. "You've spoken with this Spin Doctor lately?" he asks, staring at the armored 'earth pony.'

"And that's…a problem." Redmane notes. "If they're still intent on producing anything after we've terminated their lease, or doing /anything/ really…" He's got his head propped up on a hoof. "At the moment the best plan we've got is to pretty much march all the Guard up to their front doors and forcefully evict them. Golems and all."

Freeze-Frame has regressed to simply taking pictures, getting a good one of Dirge's angular face and how Rune reacts.

Quintessent-Rune shrank back slightly. "Yes… The day after." She shifted in her seat uneasily. She'd worn the armor to feel a smidge safe, right? Silly notion… "He cannot legaly make any more golems… and I removed most of the tools for the runecraft…"

Lorelei turns her gaze to Rune as well. "Do you have any idea what it is they're… hoping to accomplish here? Now that they don't have any foals left… I will admit, I can't fathom what their goal for our town must be."
"Do you really think he will be bound by the petty restraints of law?" asks Dirge, still staring at Quintessent Rune. He then turns to flash a look at Redmane and Lorelei. "You can revoke all of the permits you'd like. So long as NICE is fortified within their factory, as we know they are, and armed, as we know they are, and protected, as we know they are, they will remain at their own pleasure."

There's some uneasy murmuring in the crowd about then. The creator of the golems in their midst! Can you imagine! Several of the guards decide to lurk a little closer to the rows, in case anyone gets the idea to do more than murmur. At least it's just that. Noise.

Redmane frowns, glancing towards Lorelei, and then back towards Dirge and Rune. The ones with information, apparently. "Indeed… This much is true. If they're entrenched, and have some form of an 'army', they are a threat to our community. So what information DO you two know? This might help us plan a proper solution!"

Quintessent-Rune huddled up in her cloak, shooting Dirge a glare - all the while shifting nervously in her seat, looking almost ready to bolt. "Let the rude one speak, then…"

Dirge doesn't react to Quintessent's barb. He fishes around inside his cloak before drawing out a sheaf of papers. "As mentioned, the Captain and I have been surveying the sight. We know that, following the escape of the foals, they've secured the facility even further. Entrances are not just being locked, but sealed entirely, walled over. Windows, ventilation ducts, all of these are being fit to repel incursion." He draws out a picture with a printed photo of the front of the building- sure enough, it's boarded and locked and shuttered over with hammered-in sheet metal.

"Yet they also remain active. Manufacturing- presumably- continues apace within the building. The loss of the foals and the power they provided has not interrupted operations entirely. Doubtlessly the golems now carry the bulk of the process." Dirge digs around and holds up another picture. This one looks like it was taken from a distance, and from a high angle- likely some window or hole near the ceiling of the facility. At the bottom, rows and rows of golems are processing material, although from this distance it's hard to see exactly what. He reaches up and hands the printed photos to Lorelei and Redmane, though it looks like he has more still.

The batpony then turns to face Quintessent Rune. "Walls can only do so much. The golems will clearly be a greater threat. Surely you can tell us more about how they can be… dealt with."

Freeze-Frame flies close to the photos that Dirge is holding up, humming. "huh, not bad, your use of lighting could use some work though, mister."

Dirge shifts to draw his cloak up over his face, peering balefully over the edge of it. "I've never been on good terms with your… 'lighting.'"

Lorelei nods thoughtfully, looking the pictures over. "Mm. This is a bit… ominous. …I don't want to think they'd be looking to attack…" she trails off and tilts her ears back.

Freeze-Frame smiles a bit at Dirge and giggles. "Hee! so, uh… I know this like… isn't the best time to be talkin' about this, but… is Fugue okay…?"

Quintessent-Rune snorted softly. "Dealt with… Physicaly no doubt? The killswitch, then - jank it out and it will dissable all golems."

"Of course, nothing prevents those still working to plug those that do not back into the system." Quintessent looked away. "As for going to war - as if they could… Certainly, the golems are quite able to kill and pony or destroy homes and bussines… but they're not really capable of thinking in the manners required to make good weapons of war. They are clever enough to work in a factory, but it is becaus they are optimized to do so. They think in a rigid line, left on their own they would not possess much danger for a pony with good hoofwork."

Dirge glances to Freeze Frame, and nods. "he has been reuinited with his parents and is as well as can be expected." He turns his attention back to Quintessent, listening to her explanations. "Unplug their kill switch, then, and they are shut down. These would be the cables running along their… 'heads.' If it truly is that simple, then we will at least have one thing to be thankful for."

SUDDENLY! The doors to the Town Hall burst open! A torrent of wind, rain, and a crackle of lightning illuminate a dark shadow in the waning light of outside. A beast of a pony makes his way inside, wings tucked against his back until he's just past the door's threshold, upon which he spreads his wingspan wide! He rears back on his rear legs, milling his forelegs in the air, his voice echoing against every wall of the small hall!

"BEHOLD! Chief Phantom of the Bric-A-Brac Caverns has arrived! Tremble before my magnificence and DESPAIR!"

A peal of thunder punctuates the dramatic entrance. Kra-THOOM!

Forelegs planting firmly against the flooring, deep blue, slitted eyes gazing out over the assorted Harbor ponies. His black pelt seems to just absorb the nearby lighting, highlighting his regal purple harness and (dramatically soaked) equally purple cape flutters in the breeze left over from the opened doors. "Hmph!" he grunts, realizing he may have actually interrupted something. "It seems I've arrived fashionably late. So be it! Chief Phantom shall gather some treats! And then!" He gestures a hoof out. "TO BUSINESS!"

That said, he turns promptly to the snacks table and starts loading himself up a plate. In that same moment, another pony wanders in through the open door. It's Fugue! Perhaps flanked by his best friend! His entrance isn't nearly as dramatic. Just a simple wave of hoof, half of a smile, and then following his father as quickly as embarassed foal legs can move. It seems he's fine! Fine enough!

Quintessent-Rune does - actualy - tremble rather suitably for such a dramatic entrance. It helsp that's she's been halfway too terrified well before she got to the meating. "Dont DO that you loony! By the deep abyss, you almost scared my cutie marks of me!"

Sablemane is indeed following after Fugue, and regarding Phantom's entrance with a mixture of amusement and awe. He's so regal and /imposing/. And a little embarrassing, but what can you do.

Freeze-Frame smiles and flits on over to Fugue, waving. "Hi! remember me? It's good to see you made it out okay. I had to get all my pictures to the town guard and get help n' stuff…!"

Dirge immediately gets to bowing once Phantom ENTERS the TOWN HALL. He glances up, and as the chieftain takes to the snack table, interprets that as the all clear sign, pushing up to his hooves. The tall batpony wraps himself up in his cloak once more and waits for things to calm down enough for him to speak further.

Night Watch is, as usual, fast when he needs to be. He bows as well upon Phantom's entrance, and as soon as the DRAMATIC SPEAKING is over, is up and flanking his chieftan, in proper bodyguard pose.
Magpie has connected.

Quintessent-Rune exhaled slowly, still looking kinda shaky, before turning her attention back to the others and to Dirge. "And sure… easy… As I said, they cannot think well for themselves, but they become smarter the more that are linked together. And if they do have somepony to control them, which they do. Spin Doctor's wrapped Mr. Bellows up in his lunacy and he appears to be opperating the golems non-stop… Which is, I must say, a Very Bad Thing."

Redmane is mostly agape at the entrance. He might have even been tempted to duck underneath his desk. Yeesh! He waves at a guard to close the doors though, once again the Town Hall shutting off to the dramatic weather outside, then goes to rub his temples with his hooves.

Phantom, for his part, picks out a few tasty morself of potential deliciousness (though it surely does not compare to the wonders of his cave's fruits!), sets his plate on Night Watch's head (since it's conveniently close enough to act as the chief's table), and wanders to his marked seat. He frowns at the simple nameplate, lifts a hoof, smacks it away, and produces a much fancier version from a pouch on his regal harness, plunking it in place, straightening it just so, and then taking up his proper seat. Tall. Proud. Only slightly damp. Glaring at the world. "OKAY! Business may now resume! Night Watch, my plate. What are we discussing? Where are my enemies so I might crush them beneat the weight of their own folly!"

Fugue has a plate too, a few treats piled up on it, stopped from finding a seat by a familiar face! He promptly grins, little tiny fangs and all, offering Freeze a one-armed careful hug so that he doesn't spill his treats. "Hey! Yes. We made it out fine, and I'm glad to see you did too. You were very brave to escape as quick as you did. Truly." A moment, Fugue glancing towards Sablemane, "Sable! This is one of the other kids I was trapped with! She's the one that had that flashy-thingy!"

Night Watch blinks, and earsplays a bit. Gotta make a nice, flat platform for the bearing of plates! He trots carefully after Phantom, eyes on the plate, back and neck straight. Balance… balaaaaance… and sit, right where he can present the plate upon request. (Yes, he has probably done this before.)

Sablemane blinks and smiles, waving a bit. "Oh, uh… hello! Greetings. I have heard of you and your… flashy-thingy."

Dirge doesn't laugh at Night Watch, not at all. No, there will be time for that later, out of earshot of the chief. He watches his captain slip past with plate on his head, before turning to regard Quintessent once more. "Mr. Bellows…" He trails off. "He was the forepony, wasn't he. And you say he's operating the golems himself? Is this not how they are designed?"

Quintessent-Rune shook her head. "It's… possible to operate an near-infinite number of golems by yourself, if you have a keen enough mind… and you limit the time for doing so. Last time I saw Mr. Bellows he was in the forepony's office. It stank of coffee and I do not think he have sleept, nor do I think he retains his full mental wellbeing from submerging himself into the golem-mind for so long."

"So go turn 'em off!" Magpie puts in, peering up at Rune. "You built 'em, right?"

Freeze-Frame holds up her camera and smiles. "This? it's called a Camera. and my name is Freeze Frame. Nice to meetcha, Sable!"

"Yes! Turn them off!" Phantom shouts, rising from his seat, hoof pointed out! "OFF! Let it be done!" …He settles back in his seat, plucking up a…cookie? Yes. A cookie. To nom upon. Aumph. Hmmmm. Interesting. "Raisens… In a cookie! How curious." says the mighty chieftan, studying the marvel of baking goodness.

Fugue glances towards his father, then towards Magpie. Sigh. Maybe it's safer over here with the camera filly. He sets his plate down, also picking up a cookie to nibble around the edges of it.

Quintessent-Rune cringed. "I… cannot, as I said the killswitch is the only way to turn them off. Or wait for their thaumic charge to run out. In several weeks at the least."

Dirge draws to the side of the room, then, gathering his cloak up about himself. "So, then, we wait for the golems to build their last… or we go in and disable them ourselves."

Lorelei blinks over at Phantom. She's still a bit stunned that he's actually… /here/! But relieved, admittedly. More allies are good! "Oh, um… yes. They're oat and raisin, I think. Very pleasant." She rubs the back of her head with one hoof. "It does sound like turning them off ourselves might be an option worth considering… but I can only assume that they'd be guarded, with how they're fortifying the factory.

Magpie rubs her chin. "How's the tunnels look now?"

Lorelei frowns. She's not very pleased with the discovery of those tunnels. Not very pleased at /all/. Especially since they've been put to criminal use! That is not the sort of thing she wants going on in her town.

Sablemane examines the 'Camera' with interest. "…Huh. It seems complex for a light-flasher." He grabs a cookie of his own. Munchmunch. "Why not just carry a torch?"

Tunnels! Phantom's eyes practically light up. He leans towards Night Watch, brushing cookie crumbs off his muzzle. "Tunnels…are like caves, are they not? That's our type of territory, isn't it? Have they been scouted yet? I crave information!"

Redmane has his hooves together again. Apparently trying to ignore Phantom for the time being. This killswitch thing seems important. "So we don't have to go and just ruin everything. We can go disable just the golems?" He adjusts his glasses. "I think that would suffice to shut down the remains of their operation, don't you? The trick then, is to figure out how to get inside to do it without getting, ah, crushed… I don't think we should wait." His expression grows grim. "Not if there's a living pony hooked up to them. What happens if he goes insane? Or dies? At best that's a horrible way to end this. At worst they end up hooking someone else in Bellows' place, yes?"

Freeze-Frame snickers a bit and giggles. "the light flashing isn't it's real purpose! I mean…" She quickly snaps a photo of Fugue, flash and all. she then pulls the instant developing photo out and shows Sablemane it as the picture develops right there. "see? give it a few minutes, and It'll be a perfect picture of Fugue eating a cookie…!"

Fugue yelps and promptly falls backwards! Cookie, dropped, his plate flips over, cookies crumbling on the town hall floor!
Magpie says "Ummm… I think the /worst/ is if the golems go crazy and stomp the whole town flat and then head for Canterlot." Nodnod. "That's the worst.""

CHIEF'S SON DOWN! With a flutter of wings and cloak, Dirge is there to interpose himself between Fugue and the camera! He's striking a silly pose, hunkering down, ears folded back, arched and ready to strike! … though he quickly relaxes, coughing, and sits up. "Here, young master Fugue, allow me." He recollects the fallen cookie, some of the choice crumbs, and puts them on the plate, then hands them to Fugue as he offers the colt a hoof up.

Night Watch nods a bit. Just a tiny tiny bit. He can't risk upending the plate on his head, after all. "Somewhat, yes, sir. They've partially been scouted. We explored a… jawbreaker mine? They are quite cavelike, and appear extensive."

Quintessent-Rune shoot Redmane a look before shrinking together further, ears splaying underneath the hood of her cloak. Then comes Magpie, and she sinks even further. She… really didn't need to hear that. "Yeah… Just… dissable them. The less straightforward thing they try to compensate for, the easier it is to get them confused…"

Sablemane jumps and gives a faint yelp of his own. And then breaks into a small fit of giggles. "Ahahaha, you fell right on over! Wow. That is effective. I gotta get one of those." Then he notices the picture. Woah! It does something /else/? "Hey. It /is/ you. And a cookie. How's it do that? That's the fastest painting I've ever seen."

Rubbing his eyes, Fugue is helped back up. Oof that flash is potent. He's still shaking his head when he finds a cookie back in his hoof somehow, choosing to resume nibbling on it for lack of anything else. He might be swatting at Sable too, for giggling at him. "Mmmfmfn." he mutters.

Freeze-Frame giggles a bit and shows Fugue the photo too. "It's called a camera! This one instant-develops the image burned into the film inside! The flash bulb is just so that the picture doesn't come out all dark looking… cameras can't see quite as well as we can, see…

Magpie seems to feel she's helped enough for today, and goes over to see what the kids are up to. "Hey," she says, throwin' a hoof each around Sable and Fugue's necks.

Phantom nods to his chief of security, plucking another cookie off the plate. This one gets crunched whole. Mention of crazy golem stomping has him laughing, sending bits of half-nommed cookie flying. "HAHAHAHA! Let them come! Let them stomp their stompy feet and flail their stompy limbs! We'll come at them with more stomp than they could ever hope for! We'll curse them so hard the mountains they were hewn from will shudder!" He's got a hoof lifted, yes. And he's standing again. He slowly settles back into the seat again, grabs two more cookies, tosses them into the air. NOMFOMF! "Or-" he says, his mouth full, "we could just bust in and kick things around until we win."

Dirge collects himself and moves to stand near Phantom, Lorelei, and Redmane, glancing between them. "A wisely suggested course of action, sir," he says, in response to Phantom. "It is likely they have tried to secure the tunnels as they have the outer entrances- but there may be other tunnels they are unaware of. Perhaps we could search them and find an alternate, underground entrance…?"

Night Watch would nod again, but he can't risk the plate! "Indeed. The tunnels could prove quite useful!"

Lorelei ponders this for a moment. "Perhaps. Some must go to the factory, if that's what they were using to travel…"

Fugue has an arm around his neck! He still can't completely see who it is, but the voice is recognizable enough. "Magpie..?" he ventures, without a full mouth because that would be /barbaric/. And embarassing. He can't see the picture Freeze is showing him either! Spots before his sensitive eyes and all. "Uh. Welcome to… Whatever this is." he states, in as officially a flat voice as he can, then splays his ears. "We're learning about what a camera does. Besides blind ponies. I hope it's a good picture."

Sablemane grins faintly. "Oh, hey. You're the filly who tackled me. …At least once. Was the second time you too?" He looks back to the picture. "Yeah, it's pretty good. She took it before you fell over."

Phantom grins a cookie-stained grin. "Then it is settled! We will investigate the tunnels! If there is a way to the factory OF DOOM-" this last, spoken with one hoof lifted and shaking, of course, "-then we will find it!" He gets up out of his chair. Yet again! Hooves are both lifted! "And then we will plan the most terrifying INFILTRATION this poor, pitiful, foolish sect of evil-doing cretins has ever seen!" His plan stated, the chief flumps back into his seat, tipping backwards and propping hind hooves up on the desk top. He holds one forehoof out at Night Watch expectantly. Cookie. "That is my part in this plot. I will find the proper entrance and supply the Extreme Muscle needed. You lot can figure out how to do the disabling of things. THUS IT SHALL BE!"

Night Watch obediently presents a cookie. "A brilliant plan, sir."

Magpie grins. "Yeah! It's me. How've you guys been?" Actually, the ex-prisoners might have a bit of trouble recognizing Magpie, since the last time they met her, her coat was a uniform charcoal gray, not the white with black spots she's currently sporting.

Freeze-Frame reconizes Magpie's coat and had this all spoiled by Ruby, so she waves regardless. "Hi, Magpie. can you believe they don't know what a Camera is?!?"

Dirge narrows his eyes ever so slightly. The last time the chief talked so much about Extreme Muscle, Dirge, Night Watch, and several other members of the guard were tasked with hauling the Chief's throne from one cavern to the other. The red-hued guard's back twitches slightly in memory of that unpleasant day, but he says nothing. It sounds like they have a plan of action; that's good enough for him.

"Busy. Trying to convince father that this town's alright to hang out in has been exhausting." Fugue's sight finally begins to clear! Nibbling on another cookie, he finally gets a look at Magpie to answer her back, stops, pauses, eybrows knitted together. His wings give a single, uncertain flutter. "Uh… You look… Different." he states. "I didn't…realize you were a calf." he then says, his voice careful. "It was a very convincing disguise, I must say."

Lorelei blinks. It's hard to do much else at Phantom's theatrics. Blinkblink. Ahem. "Well, I suppose that is… a plan. It's an avenue worth considering, certainly. With the way they are fortifying, the tunnels may well be our best way in."

Magpie bonks Fugue on the head. "I am NOT a COW!" she yelps. "I'm a unicorn! See?!" She limns her horn and steals one of Fugue's cookies. "This is how my coat always looks! …when I'm not dyed I mean."

Fugue, bonked! He rubs his forehead and flushes in his ears. "I'm sorry! I've just… Never seen that coloration on a pony before." His voice drops to a murmur. "I got confused." He doesn't even seem to mind that a cookie gets stolen. They weren't technically his to begin with. "It's nice to see you outside of the cages anyway." he states, regaining some semblance of composure again, glancing towards Sable. "I…guess you've met my friend already?"

Phantom is now scarfing as many cookies as he can get his hooves on. This bodes ill for the cookie table.

Redmane is rubbing his temple a little firmer. "I suppose that means we have some kind of plan then. It's better than a full-frontal assault. And better than nothing. We'll..start nailing down the details immediately…"

Sablemane peers at Magpie. "You could say that. She jumped on me and called me a thief." That's 'meeting', right?

Freeze-Frame grabs herself a cookie and nibbles it, quietly offering Fugue his photo ow that he's no longer blinded.

Oh look, a convenient distraction! Fugue promptly busies himself with looking at that photo. "Ohhh wow! That's pretty neat… It did that all in a flash, huh?"

Magpie giggles a bit. She bumps Sable. "To be fair, you /did/ steal a buncha stuff from the factory," she points out, grinning at him.

Sablemane flails his wings about. "I did not! That was Snakebite!" He has a name now, and he will /blame/ that name. "It had to be!"

Freeze-Frame nods and gives a proud grin. "Yup! you know all those pictures I took while we were escaping and in there? I totally gave 'em to Miss Sunshine of the Horseshoe Harbor guard as evidence against NICEco in case they had some sort of way to call us liars!"

Magpie ohhhhs and nod nods slowly. "I see. Snakebite stole all those snowglobe things and ran off across the rooftops and dumped 'em out when I caught you."

Fugue seems happier that 'the heat' is not on him anymore. He's nodding at Freeze, giving a half-grin, one fang peeking over his lower lip. "Nice… I mean. Good! I'm sure that was the best course of action to make sure they see all that happened to us." His wings shake. "Horrible as it was. Just horrible."

Sablemane nods eagerly. "Yes! 'Cept I think he dropped the bag on me /before/ you caught me. It fell on my head."

Magpie pauses. Blinks at Sable.

Magpie says "…wait, really?"

Sablemane blinks back at Magpie. "That's what I said the whole time!"

"Yeah, but I thought you were /lying/," Magpie says reasonably.

Fugue looks from Magpie to Sablemane and back as they talk of lies. "We are not liars." he states, puffing his chest out. "Father would skin us alive if we ever lied about anything."

Sablemane nods. "He would. We are ponies of /honor/." He tries to look all noble and regal. He winds up smacking a wing on the leg of the snack table. "Ow!"

Magpie says "Why would Snakebite wanna steal stuff from the factory he was workin' for?"

"Why indeed." Fugue wonders, hiding a smirk behind a hoof at Sablemane's pain. Laugh at /him/ will you.

Sablemane frowns, rubbing at his bumped wing with one hoof. Mumblegrumble stupid table. "I dunno. Maybe it /wasn't/ him? Or maybe it was before he got hired or something. But it wasn't me."

With plan details having been decided, Redmane, Lorelei, and Phantom bring the meeting to a close. The Harborites begin to filter out of the Town Hall, grumbling about sharpening pitchforks and finding enough torches for the coming weekend. The Carrot Corner Cafe caterers begin to pack up the snacks table. but not before Phantom gets another heaping plateful of snacks for the road.