Corporate Sabotage
IC date: Summer 73
OOC date: September 1
Location: NICE Factory/Main Street
PCs: Quintessent-Rune, Cross-Redfeather, Magpie, Sablemane, Sunflower, Coffee-Mug, Sunshine-Stormcloud, Moon-Willow, Midnight-Sun, Palette-Splash
NPCs: Spin-Doctor, Bellows
GM: Applejack, Diamond-Dog


That's what the big banner stretched across the front of the factory says. Because the job interviews are over, and plenty of ponies from the Harbor and from Daybreak Village now stand in a crowd, wearing fresh new pink or purple jumpsuits, or suits and ties, or just little pink name badges. There's a festive mood in the air as New Employee Orientation Day! happens, though it really feels more like a picnic.

Since the tour last week, there's been a lot of work to the landscaping outside the factory. Fresh green lawns spread out to either side of the broad avenue that leads from the factory, to the south, and Horseshoe Harbor proper. There are hedges and flowerbeds. There are no fountains, but there's a good place where one will eventually go. Tables have been set up with sandwiches and chips and punch and paper plates and plastic spoons and forks. Even if it's a day for new employees, the general public is, as always, welcome in the commons of the factory, and y'all know how ponies find it hard to resist free food in these parts.

The podium is set up once more, and Spin Doctor is hobnobbing about up there, chatting up new employees, all grins and smiles. And why wouldn't he be? It's a good day! Look at all these bright and eager workers. He's dressed to impress, wearing a deep blue, pinstriped jacket over a grey shirt with a coffee-colored bow tie.

Eventually, the unicorn makes his way to the center of the podium and raises his voice. "Alright, welcome, welcome, everybody!" he calls out, trying to hush the crowd. "Thank you all for coming! Especially those of you who we're now paying to be here!" Polite laughter from a few workers nearby. Two of them- who look to be former pegabrutes from the dark world- exchange glances. They don't get it.

Cross-Redfeather is always interested in events around the harbor and thusly has joined the festitivities. She's atired in her usual doctors wear, though some finery added to the mix with a purple flower tucked around her throatline of her jacket. She mills through the crowd, always looking out for others as she, is often between a prance or a flutter, to keep at eye level for others.

Midnight-Sun has made a point of looking his best today and leaving the arachnid partner in crime at home. He's going to be meeting a bunch of new ponies today and wants to make a good impression, a hope likely to be dashed in the wake of any spider-induced stampede. Between his carefully-brushed mane, spectacles, suit, tie, and serious expression, he looks every inch the studios paper pusher pony — except for the bags under his eyes which betray the fact the he got very little sleep last night.

Sunflower is being a lookie-loo, just a background pony, at least for now. Perhaps if someone interacted with her, she'd become more!

Moon-Willow watches the proceedings thoughtfully. so many ponies she hasn't seen before, and of course the few familiar faces. she gives Spin Doctors outfit an appreciative look. Not bad. In fact, it looks almost exactly like something her mother made. she makes a mental note to ask where he bought it.

Quintessent-Rune is just as immaculate as always in her apperance, even if it seems to be a bit unusual as the seapony's garbed herself with a light-blue jacket with fluffy white trimming to which sat afixed a rather boxy looking contraption of sorts - one sporting a spindly ball-jointed arm and a tripple-pronged manipulator on the end…? The whole thing is etched with gold-shimmering orichalium runes and threaded through with orichalium and quartz wires.

Steping her way through the crowd Quintessent found a familiar face and gave Cross a nod. "Greetings, miss."

Palette-Splash is mostly just here because the current going-ons had finally caught the artist's curiousity at a point where she wasn't lost in one of her 'zones' of creativity. Which its pretty clear that she's been away in one working on whatever for quite some time, because the unicorn just kind of stands there in awe.

"Since when was there a factory here?"

Behind Spin Doctor, the factory is humming with activity. Production began earlier this week, and small freight vessels are commonly seen, coming and going, docking at the secure loading facility built where the factory meets the sea. Even now, a low-riding steam ship is slowly pulling out of the dock and making for the open waters of the bay, laden with quality consumer goods.

Spin Doctor gestures behind him. "When you, our new employees, step inside today, I want you to take a moment to look around. This is no longer the potential of a new future you may have first seen when you first walked in the doors." He turns and looks back at the glassy front of the factory. "No, no. Now, this is yours. As much as it is mine, as much as it is any of the other workers' you see here with you today, both new hires and old hands. This is our factory! And with it we'll be able to do great things for ourselves and for our community."

He gestures out towards the south, and towards the humble skyline of Horseshoe Harbor. "Already we're in the process of filling orders. Already we're funneling our gains into your community. The Orphanage is open, and soon we'll be working with Mayor Lorelei to determine what the next beneficiary of your town's dedication and hard work will be. So all of this is yours- and all of the good work it will enable is yours to be proud of! You made it all possible, ponies of Horseshoe Harbor and Daybreak Village!"

Yaaaay. Some cheering and applause. It's kind of hard to cheer when you've got chips in your mouth. It's hard to applaud when you've got plates full of chips in your hooves.

"But it is just the beginning," continues Spin Doctor, once the chip-mouthed cheering quiets. "And just as our joys, our successes are shared, so are our responsibilities…"

He looks about ready to go on for a while. Thankfully, there's a lot of chips.

… Oh hey, chips. Palette-Splash levitates over a plate with her magic, and sits down to listen to the rest of whatever is being talked about. By who, who knows. She's still actually not very familiar with a lot of the current populance of the Harbor. You know how it is with artists, shuttering themselves away when they're on a creative streak.

Sunflower notices the snacking and wanders over in that direction. She's not a huge fan of chips, but maybe they have other things, or delicious beverages.

The griffon eyes ponies about recognizing a few, and hearing the kind greetings from Rune, she flutter prances over, to hover before the elaborate attired pony, "And greetings yourself Miss? I'm Doctor Cross Redfeather, Dr. Redfeather if formal, simply Cross if not" she offers politely as she ducks her head to look around further, so many ponies in one place, its just dumbfounding really.

There's lemonade and punch and sugar-free Apple Drink. And sandwiches.

Moon-Willow sighs and settles down with a plate of chips. well, maybe it's time to get to know some of the ponies she hasn't met yet. she randomly picks a Pegasus with a sunflower cutie mark. "Hello. I'm Moon Willow. I don't believe we've met before

Quintessent-Rune inclined her head to Cross, her seemingly permanent if rather empty smile on her muzzle. "Certainly, Dr. Redfeather. I'm miss Quintessent Rune. I do not think we had the chance to speak the last time we met, though I have heard of some of you - a medical practitioner, no? It is comforting that there are more with your branch of education within this town I must admit."

But then…


What was that? Was that an explosion? Why yes, yes it was! Within the factory the loud noise and feeling of an impact causes a shudder of a shockwave to rattle podium! A cloud of black smoke billows out from the open dock and shipping gate, joined by some smoke trails wisping out from some of the vents upon the factory roof! There's shouting, running, Bellows bellowing… It takes all of a minute for a NICE worker, the little intern Worker Bee, to come trotting out as fast as his legs will carry. "Mr. Doctor! Mr. Doctor! Problems! Trouble! Chaos! A machine broke! It was so new and shiny and it broke! Bellows is inside yelling at ponies and…and…"


From the factory entrance, a second pony bullies the doors open! Bellows stomps out of the factory, his pink-and-purple forepony's outfit now with a layer of sooty grey and black. "I found GUM on the machines!" The forepony marches right up onto the stage, ready to push Spin out of the way of the podium to get his sooty hooves up and his loud voice booming to the assorted crowd of potentially new employees. "Brand-spankin'-new machines, and someone has the NERVE to treat it like a garbage can! I wanna know who did it! I want to know, right NOW!"

Right about then, a dark figure in a cloak, carrying a large, overstuffed bag on its back, goes bolting from the dockyard! It leaps the fence only a couple hundred yards from the gathering, spares all of a second to glance towards the Orientating Ponies, and then takes off tearing southwards towards the Harbor, kicking up a dust trail in its wake!

Worker-Bee blinks at the fleeing figure, taps a hoof on Spin Doctor's suit, and points a hoof. "Uhm. Maybe that one did it?"

Moon-Willow blinks. hey! they didn't look good. completly abandoning her just started conversation she tears off after the cloaked figure. her wings flap as fast as they can as she tries to catch up. she can do this! she didn't spend years training for nothing.

Sunflower turns to look at Moon Willow—

And the world explodes. At least it seems that way to Sunflower, who instinctively reacts by taking to the air. Unfortunately, her wings are somewhat unusual for pegasi in that they aren't very good at the sort of vertical takeoff typical of the race. She has to apply much more power than usual to get into the air so quickly—which means she generates a huge blast of air outward from her point of takeoff.

Midnight-Sun spots some familiar faces in the crowd, and one's heading this way. He finishes off his sandwich — mmh, watercress! — and nods a hello to Sunflower. "Hey there. Oh, and Moon Willow!" He's got one ear tilted towards Spin Doctor, but feels that the platitudes can do without his attention for a few moments, and here are friends. "Punch? 'Apple Drink'?"

Or 'explosion', apparently. Midnight whirls, dropping his plate and facing the noise. When the situation escalates with the arrival of Bellows, he takes a jump up to get a better view. And then he calls down to Willow, "Hey, do you think we should—" But she's gone.

Feather-Fluff, Feather PUFF! the startled Griffon is a right poofball of startled feathers, as she practically ducks back behind other ponies, "Doctor, I'm a Doctor" is her chirriuped sound, as she takes to flight after the consussive blast rips through the crowd. Clouds, smoke, mean fire and injury, she shifts into medical mode, takes flight and towards the podium

Spin Doctor is in the middle of telling everybody how great it is that something something something when he is so RUDELY interrupted by pyrotechnics. He winces, hunched forward, then turns to blink back over his shoulder at the factory, staring. The suited pony scowls and starts gesturing about in short order. "And that's why we're all glad to have you here! Welcome aboard! Now, you two-" He points at a couple of jumpsuited ponies. "Go make sure the fire is contained! You three over there… and YOU…"

Spin Doctor turns upon the bellowing Bellows. The unicorn's expression is stern. He looks like he's not about to put up with the forepony's guff today. "YOU take these three and make sure the rest of the line is secure. Get back in there and worry about security. Dog the machinery if you have to!"

He doesn't seem to have noticed the culprit for the moment, worried instead about smoke and explosions.

The two pegabrutes, having not been volunteered for anything, munch on sandwiches and watch with bemused interest as things go crazy around them.

Quintessent-Rune blinked once, her mane sot-stained main slicked back into some exotic and physicaly impossible shapes, before letting out a sqeak. That was -not- the calm little bit of enjoyment she'd expected. After a few moments Quintessent's body sagged slightly, no longer startled stiff. "Oh sweet seaweed suprise," she muttered before adding, "Why does nothing in this town ever go right?"

Shaking her head Quintessent stood up straight again, head turning to catch Moon-Willow as she speeds off. After a moment of though the seapony reach into her scarf, pulling out a blue, fish-shaped thing, and tossing it in the air. "Servant… Something is not quite right over there," she waved the dirrection Willow dissapeared, "Do be a dear and investigate it for me."

Sunflower, recovering from her initial shock, hovers awkwardly over the gathering, uncertain what to do next. "Is anyone injured?" she calls down. "Or in need of aid?"

Midnight-Sun covers his muzzle to avoid breathing the dust of Sunflower's takeoff, then brings himself to her side with a couple of beats. "Are you okay?" He looks around at the chaos the picnic has turned into. "Oh! There she is!" Another look around. "It doesn't look like anypony's actually hurt out here. Lucky break I guess."

Cross-Redfeather aims her flight pattern toward Spin-Doctor, when she hears Sunflower, also nearby asking to offer aid, 'oh a pony of my own heart' ponders to herself, "Mr Spin-Doctor Sir, I'm a Guild Trained Medical Griffon, at your service, please lend me some of your staff so that we may assist in this emergency, We're Here to help" the grif gestures at Sunflower

"Mrrr?" Followed by a sputtering of chip bits as the blasts going off, startling Palette-Splash. And unfortunately losing her glasses as well. "Oh bits!" The unicorn takes a moment of squinting to fumble around in the crowd, bumping around a few other ponies as the lenses are kicked around by paniced hooves. And unfortunately missing the fish golem floating by. Finally she finds her glasses, and levitates them onto her face. She's somehow stumbled her way to where more of the relative player ponies are. "What happened?"

Sunflower flies over to Cross Redfeather's side at being included. "I do not have medical training, but I will do what I can."

Midnight-Sun joins the crowd forming at the podium. "I can help carry a stretcher or something." If there's an emergency, it'll be medical. He's sure.

A chase! Already!? The cloaked pony doesn't need to see behind it to know there's at least something chasing. Shadows of the flier hot on its heels spurs the mysterious bag-carrying pony to change tactics. Whatever it was going to do before, it apparently decides to veer to the open roads instead, heading towards the Main Street of town! Why would it go towards a crowded street dressed like that?

Meanwhile, back at NICE, Bellows matches Spin Doctor scowl for scowl. "I know what I'm doing! I got someone fixing things now! Why do ya think I'm out HERE?" That scowling glare is pointed towards the three ponies in question. "…You three! Get in there now! Help get this place workin' again!"

Worker-Bee was more or less ignored. Ponies are talking about hurt ponies and pain and such, he just scuffs a hoof on the podium and scoots back towards the edge of the stage. Another intern-looking pony trots out of the factory, leaning close to whisper something to the little Bee. Something that makes his ears perk right up again and gasp, bouncing forward to interrupt the little gathering of who's hurt and stretchers. " Doctor! Someone has stolen half of a shipment too! might've been that cloaked one that ran off!" Why does nobody ever listen to interns?

Magpie scrambles her way up the statue in the middle of the fountain on Main Street, shading her eyes in unconscious imitation of the stone filly she's perched on. "I think somethin' blew up out by Tinker Town," she reports. "I see smoke." She looks down at Ruby, hooves starting to twitch nervously. "It might be a fire?"

Pushing up to the tip of her hooves to try and get a better view of the chaos occuring on the outskirts of town. "I don't think it's a fire - those usually start in high profile locations such as Town Hall, or morons like Rumble-Riot." she leans to one side just in time to see a cloaked pony darting down the streets. "Maggie!" the turqoise mare calls out before kicking a sizeable little rock up towards Magpie; the stone is about the size of a golf ball and perfect for a skilled little marks filly for hurl. Innocent, guilty - Maggie is the pony with the rocks.

"I'm not sure, Bellows! Why ARE you out here?" Spin Doctor's demeanor is indignant. "We will handle the situation out here. In the meantime, tend to your factory, Mr. Forepony." The unicorn turns away with a huff, and stares at Worker Bee for a moment, considering.

He then shakes his head irritably. "You two!" He points at the pegabrutes. They lower their sandwiches and stare at him. One of them has lettuce stuck to his chin. "Find that thief! I don't know what he took, but I want it back!"

Spin Doctor then vaults off the podium and runs south, though despite his limber build he's not especially fast. The brutes exchange glances, shrug, wolf down their sandwiches and take to the sky, heading south.

In the meantime, a few injured ponies are being wheeled out of the doors. Their wounds don't seem to be too bad. One has gum smeared across his face and is moaning about his head being blown inside out; another is lying on his front, a black hole burnt in his jumpsuit over his uncomfortably toasted buns. Yet another has his hoof stuck in a pickle jar.

Palette-Splash finally notices the commotion farther off with bag toting ponies and rocks being tossed about, and the more brutish pegasi taking off in that direction. "I guess that's the way the excitement is going." She huffs into her spikey bangs and bolts off to follow as well. Because that's the sort of thing ponies do in this town. Get themselves needlessly into trouble.

Moon-Willow is still hot on the heals of the mysterious pony. "Oh NO you don't! I'm not gonna let you lose me that easily." she picks up her speed even more, pushing herself to the limit as she goes into a dive to tackle them.

Off towards town a speeding, fish-shapped bullet darts down the streets and ricocheting off the odd wall or post (or in some cases smashing through them). Servant had a mission - to find out what's going on! So it chased. Of course, it's never quite seen who to chase but up ahead there's a running pony. And Moon Willow would do just as well as any other running pony, right? It spead up even more, getting ready to pounce into a tackle.

Midnight-Sun frowns. "Half of a shipment"? Doesn't NICE Co ship a barge at a time? Nopony could have carried that off. Well, they're heading in the direction Willow Moon went, and if anypony can catch… whoever that was… it'll be her. Meanwhile… "This doesn't look so bad," he says, looking relieved.

Cross-Redfeather tends to ponies and bystanders alike, clinical, doesn't even laugh at the hot crossed bunns, 'one a penny two a penny?' hot crossed bunns. Out comes her medical kit, so she can tend to the wounded.

The pony with the toasted buns looks a little mortified as Cross tends to them… but it's kind of nice, too. He pulls his hard hat down over his face.
Sunflower lands, stumbles a little, then begins circulating around the injured ponies. "It'll be all right," she murmurs. "Just relax and let us take care of you. The sun watches out for the innocent." And the moon judges the guilty, she doesn't add.

Magpie blinks at Ruby for a second, then spots the pony in black and… well, Mom said… Or implied anyways… She whips the golf-ball sized rock at the pony's ankle.

If looks could hurt, Bellows would be giving Spin a good what-for! As it is though, it seems his part in things really is back in the factory anyway. The gruff forepony spins about, silently trotting back into the building to direct efforts in actually dealing with the smoke and chaos to get the assembly line running again. Leave the injured to the injury-specialists!

The thief seems to be having issues shaking the expert flier sic'd on its tail! A sudden dive-tackle maneuver forces the thief to dive and hug the ground for a brief moment, the maneuver managing to just barely avoid getting its blocked knocked off. One can surely somehow thank the little fishy plush Servant for helping save the thief from an untimely crash at the hooves of a warrior pegasi! The bag its carrying, however, gets a hole ripped in it, little snowglobes starting to bounce out of the sack as its jostled about! The thief hisses at Moon, bolting right down a different direction, down the Main Street of the harbor, where there's plenty of ponies and obstacles to make things that much more difficult!

Rocks aren't part of the plan though, Magpie's missile streaking through the air to knock the thief in the ankle, causing it to stumble and roll right into a nearby covered alleyway! There's sounds of a crash and several snowglobes rolling out of the alley in the wake of the thief's disappearance!

Ruby huffs cutely as the thief rolls into an alley; clearly plan A didn't work - so plan B - pony parkour! Ruby darts forward in pursuit of the fleeing innocent-until-proven-guilty criminal - it's been far too long since she's had this much excitement - the last incident with the Windigo wasn't much fun.

Yeah, that didn't go as intended, Servant would concede. Mostly anyway! It did get a pony to question! Which it did by pressing it's fishy-face right up into Moon Willow's, somehow giving her a look saying 'spill it, right now, punk. Or else' without moving a single feature.

anti-injury specialist is more her thing, but On with that task. Dr. Redfeather gives Sunflower a glance of 'Ok right' followed by, "Alright Miss, what sort of training do you have?" she asks "try to comfort this one" she jestures politely to the hot-crossed buns pony.

Moon-Willow growls. their SO not getting away from her! she pulls from her dive and jerks into the alley. "Surrender you…you!" but what the-What is the weird fish thing in her face? "Hey! Get off! no free rides you weirdo!"

Spin Doctor is charging to the south, looking none too pleased. This was going to be a day of celebration! There are chips, and sandwiches, and sugar-free Apple Drink in addition to less repulsive beverages, and there was going to be Beach Ball Volleyball later on as a team-building exercise! Plus that Bellows keeps giving him attitude. So uncouth!

As he runs, Spin Doctor's unicorn lights up, and he deftly floats his silver pocketwatch out of his pocket to eyeball it. This had better not take too long! He frowns, snaps the watch back into place, tucks his head low, and tries to catch up with the action.

Meanwhile, back at the factory, the toastd buns pony keeps his face covered and just turns the other cheek towards his misfortune. Meanwhile, gum-all-over-his-face-pony doesn't seem especially convinced of Sunflower's assurances. He tries to moan but all it does is blow the gum out over his mouth out in a bubble. He hiccups in fright.

Pickle jar pony rattles his hoof about and starts looking around. He thinks he's just going to sneak out when nobody is looking.

Palette-Splash is bringing up the rear!… At least until she gets close to the alley and a couple of snowglobes roll out. "Oooooh!" Distracted as she tends to be by artistic things, Palette scoops up one of the globes and holds it up in front of her face with her magic and shakes it lightly. "Cool! I didn't know they made these anywhere outside of the Crystal Kingdom!"

Sunflower walks over to the poor unfortunate pony with the burnt butt, pondering what she can do. "Let me get you out of this jumpsuit," she says soothingly. If he's not wearing ruined clothes, he's just naked, and ponies are usually naked, so…

Magpie slides down from the statue and splashes over to the edge, trotting after Ruby… she pauses, scoops up a snow globe. "What's this? Was he stealin' /these/?" They /are/ kinda shiny but… they don't look like jewelry or anything….

Midnight-Sun backs a couple steps back from the field hospital being set up. "Well, it looks like you've got this in hand," he says, and indeed it looks as though between them Sunflower and Cross Redfeather seem to have a handle on the situation. Which gives Midnight's curiosity the scope it needs. "I wonder what a gummed-up — ha! — machine looks like?" And he heads casually for the factory doors.

Servant pushed it's plushy face right back into Moon Willow's, rather resenting the 'weirdo' coment. A moment later it pulled back, fins waving back and forth questioningly.

Cross-Redfeather moves to the next case, Pickle-Jar, "Settle Down now, its ok, Its not as it it was a cookie jar, now that would just be undignified" the griff smiles to the pony in attempt to calm him down.

The inside of the factory is controlled chaos. Workers are being directed about in containing the damage. Production has been sh ut down on all twelve assembly lines; several are obviously damaged, while any that aren't are being carefully inspected for any remaining gum or other sabotaging elements. There seems to be some confusion as workers repeatedly find snowglobes in the machinery, and raise the alarm, only to be told that, no, no, that's what we're making today, it's fine.

A pony in a purple jumpsuit- one of the floor managers- bustles forward to intercept Midnight Sun as he enters. "Sir, I'm sorry, but during the crisis we're gonna have to be not giving any tours to the kinda ponies who want to be taking tours of the factory right- oh, uh…" He spots the name badge. "You're one of the new guys. Okay. Uh…" He looks back over his shoulder. "It's kind of a mess right now, though."

Pickle Jar pony rattles his hoof in the jar, and looks to Cross worriedly. "It's… it's not what it looks like!"

Little does he know, it is exactly what it looks like.

"The only way to find out is asking the culprit," Palette replies to the piebald little pony. "Let's follow everypony else into the alley to do so." Presuming that's where everypony else is going to do so.

Flail kick flail squirm. At the end of the alley, sprawled amidst cloak and sack and scattered snowglobes, a pony is trying to roll back to its hooves. The figure is small and gangly and once it manages to get up it's still stuck in place for a moment trying to get the cloak /off/ because really it's just getting in the way, isn't it? And then it notices the ponies coming into the alleyway, and freezes stock-still for a moment before darting off down the alley away from them, cloak trailing off its back as it tries to get the darn cloth off of itself already geez.

Magpie nods to Palette and sets down the snow globe and comes trotting up the alley. Hang on… Is the thief just a foal? "Ah… are you okay? 'm sorry about that, it's just, uh… Um. Snowglobes, really?"

Moon-Willow growls and throws the strange creature off with a sharp kick, continuing her pursuit. "You're not getting away!" she shouts.

Cross-Redfeather nods slowly, "ummhmm, quite alright, I'm a Doctor, I don't judge your personal habits, only have to solve them" nodnod's, "I have just the thing for the Pickle your in!"

Magpie arrives just in time to see… Ruby uses Tackle! Launching herself at the criminal, clearly this has nothing to do with the fact the thief is close to foal-sized, honest! *pounce* goes Ruby with full intent of latching onto the criminal.

"I-I'm okay," says Burnt Buns Pony, in response to Sunflower, voice echoing slightly in the sheltering confines of his hard hat. "You don't have to take my jumpsuit off or anything." As he speaks, his voice trails off into a mortified little squeak.

Midnight-Sun smiles his best helpful smile at Floor Manager Pony. "I can see that. But I figure you might be able to use another set of hooves. Just tell me what help you need." As he says so, he continues straight on into the factory, looking all around. He's just here to help however he can, yes sir.

Sunflower replies soothingly, "Now now. There's no reason to be ashamed. You can put on a fresh jumpsuit if you like, but first we need to take this one off." As she speaks, she moves to find the zipper of his jumpsuit…

Palette-Splash didn't put her snowglobe down!… because she's got magic to hold it in, even if she's following the other ponies. Blinks a couple of times, then raises one hoof to adjust her glasses as she watchs Ruby wrestle with the supposed culprit. "… Aren't they a little short to be a thief?"

With two ponies trying to tackle, the fleeing form has plenty of incentive to go fast! And, apparently, to LEAP, because that's just about the only way it manages to keep from getting tackled to the ground. It gives a loud hiss at Ruby and Moon Willow, and scampers off at full tilt towards the opening at the far end of the alleyway.

"EY!" shouts a voice from the far end of the alleyway. Suddenly there is a LARGE WALL OF MEAT stopping the thief from escaping, and that wall's name is Coffee Mug. He plants his hooves firmly and prepares his own leap in case the thief should try to duck around him and out into the freedom of the open street. "What'cha runnin' for? Ya' got sum'in' ta hide?"

Burnt Buns pony leaps to his hooves. "Thanks but, uh, no, no no no," he declares, before wheeling about with a wince and romping off towards the factory doors. But he's sitll holding his hard hat over his face, so he hits th e door frame, bounces onto his toasted tuchus, yelps, hops upright, and then runs inside and out of sight.

Sunflower frowns. "Well," she says to herself. "That could have gone better." Left without anything in particular to do, she winds up milling aimlessly.

Also inside, the purple-suited floor manager rubs the back of his head, watching Midnight. "If, uh, if you're sure…." He glances back over his shoulder, then leans in to whisper in a conspiratory tone. "Forepony's kinda on a rampage, though, he's got a MAJOR bee in his bonnet, so if you can get away with goin' off and doing… pencil pushin' kinda stuff instead…"

Moon-Willow grins triumphantly and smacks dead on into the thief….and the pony in front of them.

Cross-Redfeather points Sunflower in the direction of the gum-adhered ponies, "That one's allll sticky, help him out while I attend to Picklejar here"

Spin Doctor skids to a stop in the street outside the alleyway in which the thief is cornered. He hurriedly glances about the gathered ponies, recognizing few, but quells his suspicion as he leans around Coffee Mug to peer inside. "Is that him? Did you catch him?" he asks.

On a nearby roof, the two jumpsuited pegabrutes are seated and watch, interested but aloof. One of them has another sandwich. He's munchin' on it.

Sunflower nodsd to Cross Redfeather, then heads over to the sticky pony. "Hm," she hms, considering the situation, wings fluttering as she does. Gum is notoriously difficult to remove.

Just as the floor manager is speaking, down on the factory floor, Bellows is shouting at any pony he can lay his eyes on. "Why ain't this thing up and running yet! Did you find the schematics? Well find the schematics! We just had them organized yesterday they can't be missing already! Where's the tools? YOU, get the Gunk-B-Gone! We need this thing goin' already! YOU!" A hoof, pointed up at Midnight Sun! "Yes! You! Stand still! I got questions for you, new guy!"

Moon-Willow growls I'm frustration. oh no they don't! whipping around she attempts another mad tackle to sandwich the hissing thief between her and the other pony.

By now the Harbor Guards have caught on/been alerted by some concerned citizen (or NICE employee) that there's a thief in their midst with a bag full of goods! Thus, just in time to see a cornered thief being put upon by several upstanding citizens, one metal-legged mare and a couple nameless Guards arrive on the scene. Metal legs click on the cobblestone, the (recently promoted) squad leader coming to a stop near Magpie and Palette-Splash. "So! What's all this then?"

Ruby pounces and brings her forelegs together in capture mode - but alas the little pony scampered off; this prompts Ruby to glower and scramble after the little pony again - even while Coffee-Mug tries to block the little one's path. If the thief is a foal then there should be no escaping Ruby, because Ruby tends to go through great lengths for foals - just ask Magpie. Then there's Moon-Willow who appaers to have the same thing in mind, so it's two mares rushing towards a standing stallion with a foal in between.

Sunflower turns her soothing voice to gum guy. "Your head's not inside out. You've just got a lot of gum on you. Hold still; I'll try to get it off." Not sure how else to do it, she starts nibbling at the gum.

Midnight-Sun's smile slips a bit at the thought of facing Bellows under the circumstances. "That's a really good point." He looks up, charting a course over the machinery towards the offices. "How about I get out from underhoof and let you take care of business." He takes to the air as though that makes sense, and nevermind that that pretty much contradicts his original excuse for coming in. Which is when Bellows spots him and he stops in mid-air. "Me?" he calls back to the forepony, his voice barely audible over the din. "Umm… okay?" And he sets back down, looking worried

Five seconds later…

"Hold still!" Sunflower desperately calls, having managed to thoroughly glue herself to gum pony, who is equally desperately trying to get away from her in a panic.

Palette-Splash holds up the snowglobe she's still got in her magic unicornesis for the guards to see, and points at the pony cornered in the alley. "They stole a bunch of these and blew up one of their machines with gum," she reports, like a good pony. She's an artist, not anarchic.

Magpie is watching the goings-on with the air of a fan at a hoofball game. She glances up and grins at Sunshine. "Oh! Hi! Um… we caught a … I guess she's a thief?" Magpie holds up one of the snowglobes to her metal-legged friend.

Servant floated up next to Magpie, unmoving perl eyes seeming to roll around in an attempt to make sense of… everything, really. In the end it seems to give a shrug and nodd in agreement with Magpie. Yeah! That seems as good as anything.

The figure skids to a stop, hisses again, backpedals - and trips over the cloak, sprawling out on its back with and oof. Which quickly turns into a yelp as suddenly, PEGATACKLE! Yep, there's no dodging that. And then a Ruby too, and, well, this pony is well and rightly tackled. It flails appropriately.

As Bellows goes and interrupts, the purple-suited floor manager snaps off a salute and bustles off to look busy. Sorry, Midnight. Can't say you weren't warned.

Pickle Jar pony rattles his hoof at Cross Redfeather. "Look, I can explain," he's stammering. "I, uh… there was something in the jar, and…"

Gum Face pony wails as he is stuck to Sunflower's hoof and wobbles about, trying to pull free! "Everything… everything's so pink!" he moans! "Is this what the afterlife is like?!"

Cross-Redfeather looks to Sunflower and her sticky partner, facetalons sighs promptly butters pickle-jar pony's forehoof with something aptly slippery, and stares at the sticky tornado of hooves and feathers, She keeps her distance as she does NOT want that and or them in her feathers

Moon-Willow smirks. "Yeah! got you!" she reaches down and pulls the cloak off.

Beneath the cloak is a small, lanky, somewhat gangly colt, flailing and kicking and hissing and just generally trying to get loose. He's a dark purple in color, with a short, messy black mane and tail, and wine-red eyes. Complicating the flailing is the pair of leathery wings that the cloak had been caught on, looking a bit too large for the pony they were attached to. "Lemme go! Gerroff! Go 'way! Lemme go!" Flail kick hiss flail.

Sunshine closes one eye, watching a poor foal end up tackled by three grown ponies. "I see the ol' Horseshoe Harbor hospitality crew is just as nice as ever." she mutters for Magpie and Palette. "I better go help. Hey, Mumbo, Jumbo, do something useful."

The two guardsponies behind her snort, but don't correct Sunny's mispronouncing of their names. They more or less stand guard at the alleyway opposite where Coffee-Mug is helping keep things bottled up. Leaving Sunshine to start trotting down the alleyway to catch up to the ponypile. "Hey hey! Congratulations! You caught a thief! Can you all kindly not crush the criminals now and let us officials in to do our jobs?"

Moon-Willow blinks. "A colt?" oh he's so cute! pinning his wings she wraps him up in a hug. "Oh you poor thing! are you okay?"

While Cross Redfeather is facetaloning, Pickle Jar pony lifts his picklejarred hoof close and licks at the butter. It's butter, right? He needs a better taste. He wedges his nose in a bit tighter, tongue flapping around inside the jar.

Magpie blinkblinks at the perp. "What— look at his wings!"

Spin Doctor remains at the mouth of the alleyway. He's so disguruntled he is actually standing up on his hind legs with his hooves on his hips. "Indeed, let's not coddle him too closely," he says. "He is a saboteur and a thief and I'll see the authorities handle him appropriately!" He waves back behind himself with a hoof. "We were having a picnic, for Celestia's sake!"

"What do ya tink yer doin'?" Coffee Mug says in his painfully thick Hooflyn accent. "I tought youse guys said he was a dief, don' start huggin' 'im." He waves at Sunshine when he sees the Watchpony nearby. "Officer Stormcloud, I heard a bunch'a ponies yellin' "dief" and dis' li'l guy was runnin' down dis alley wif everypony on 'is tail."

Sablemane doesn't take too well to the hugging. "Lemme go! You're pinnin' my wing! Leggo!" He flails his hooves uselessly. "I didn't steal nothin'! Lemme go!"

Ruby points "I haven't seen one of those before…" she squints "I don't think I have - no wait, doesn't Princess Luna have some ponies that /dress/ like that?" she reaches out to poke at the foal, poke poke poke.

Magpie's right there next to Ruby. Poke poke poke. "Weeeeird."

Moon-Willow sighs. "But we don't even know why he did it! and look at him! he's too young to just throw in a prison or something!" she ignores the colts squirming. after all, he DID steal. she glares at Ruby and Magpie. "He's NOT some attraction you can just poke and prod!"

Ruby-Blossom glances towards Magpie "I don't have one of these yet either.

Cross-Redfeather looks back intime to see Picklejar slurpping and wedging himself further in, muzzletip now too, "Thats not all butter!" she squawaks, "Its got some bitterroot in that mixture too!, a common sedative, that, that, that, Oh Feathers, you just went all slurpy slurpy with, Oh Dear"

Ruby-Blossom scrunches her muzzle at Moon-Willow and pokes her nose to silence the complaints.


Picklejar Pony soon has one hoof and half of his face wedged in the jar. He flops over and dozes on the stretcher he was dragged out atop.
"… Wait, I'm confused." Palette-Splash peers at Ruby and Magpie. "Why are you talking about ponies like you collect them?"

Mumbo and Jumbo jump! Startled by Spin Doctor's appearance! That was sudden!

Sunshine resists the urge to put her hoof to her face. But only barely. She nods once to Coffee Mug, then gingerly steps around Ruby and Magpie. "Honestly! Foals aren't a collectable thing!" She also squints at Moon-Willow. "You can let him up now. He isn't going to go anywhere." Her squinty gaze drops down to the poor pinned bat-winged colt. Bat wings. …Wow, that /is/ odd. "Are you?"

Magpie swats at Ruby. "You aren't collecting them, darn it!"

Meanwhile, at the factory… Bellows starts up towards Midnight-Sun, but another pony comes by and gets his attention. "Whaddayamean there's gum all over the supplies! Who was supposed to be watching over those? That's gonna put us days behind! Augh! Well go get it cleaned up, STAT!"

The forepony trots off to help with the Goo-Ridding. Leaving Sun to ponder the wisdom of standing in one place until the forepony remembers he's there.

Sunflower is rapidly devolving into a big pink blob as she and gum pony try and fail to get unstuck. In her frustration, she's beginning to utter bizarre noises where other, saltier ponies might utter curse words.

And now he's being poked. This seems a bit much for the little batpony; he goes limp with a snort, peering up at Sunshine and squirming about a bit. "Make 'er lemme go." Like he's really in any situation to be giving orders to the town guard.

Eventually, Gum Pony and Sunflower are tangled up in such a fashion that Gum Pony's hooves are slung about Sunflower's middle. He struggles a bit before giving up and sagging to the ground, then twists about to blink up at the pegasus. The gum paints his face like a mask, though his eyes appear to be uncovered. "Oh, uh, ha ha! How awkward! Can I, er, you wanna go out for coffee sometime?" He grins gummishly.

Cross-Redfeather gives a firm yank on the passed-out Pickle-jar'ed pony picklejar. Things are so much easier when they are unconsicious!

Sunflower blinks at the nonsequitur, then sags. "Well. I suppose there's no harm in that," she says. Clearly this isn't her day to help.

*POP!* The picklejar comes free.

And takes the hoof with it! AHHH! Don't be scared, though. It's just another quality product from Sand Dollar's Pragmatic Prosthetics. The dozing formerly pickle jar pony doesn't seem to realize he has been divested of his false limb, but he's gonna be real sad when he wakes up and dosn't have a pickle.

Yeah, no. Midnight Sun takes off as soon as Bellows' eyes are off him. He's not aware that he's grinning to himself as he heads towards the back of the factory, looking for the file room. Schematics! This should be easier than he thought. It only takes him a few moments and a couple shouted questions to come upon some ponies trying to obey their boss's instruction to find the right schematic.

Moon-Willow huffs. "First things first." she holds up the bat-pony eye to eye. she gives her best stern interrogator face she learned from her father. "Why did you do that?"

Spin Doctor remains near the alley entrance. He's not about to add one more voice to an already busy situation, but he is going to make sure the little runt doesn't get away without consequences, bat wings or no!

Sablemane is LOOKED at. He grumpily LOOKS right back. "I didn't do nothin'! All you ponies are crazy! Lemme go!" He flaps his wings indignantly. They definitely look a bit too large for his body. Somepony's in the middle of a growth spurt it would seem. (He might whack somepony in the nose with a wingtip.)

Palette-Splash leans back as the batwinged pony flails about. "Then who did, dude? These didn't get out here on their own."

Cross-Redfeather Eeeeep's and most certainly didn't think she'd yank the whole hoof off, *breathe, Breathe, Breathe!* "Ohmy, oh good, yes, Oh good it was just a fake, whew's looks around, "Somepony please feed the gummed up ponies some nice hot japleno's a good plenty of them, heat them both up, get em sweat'in and de-sticking too!" she huffs some staying well clear of the gum entwined ponies.

Magpie recoils and rubs her nose. "Ow!" She subtly pulls one of the snowglobes behind her back.

"Uh-huh…" Sunshine calmly lays a single hoof on Moon-Willow's nearest shoulder. "Ma'am, I appreciate your enthusiasm to do my job for me, but please. Set down the foal, we'll ask the questions and get this straightened out." …Then wild wings lash out! She watches Magpie get smacked in the nose! Prompting a half-step forward and a hoof raised to bat at flailing batwings. "Dangit! Cut that out, kid! All of you cut it out!"

Moon-Willow glares warily at Sunshine, ducking her head to avoid flailing wings. "I want to know what you intend to do if he's found guilty."

Ruby-Blossom waves a hoof at Moon and Sunshine. "Let's all calm down. If he says he didn't do it, he didn't do it." Then again who was the mare trying to tackle him? She offers a friendly smile to foal. "What's your name, sweetie?"

Spin Doctor hovers close behind Sunshine. "IF he is found guilty," he says, "NICE will surely seek as much restitution as he is able to pay for the damage he has doubtlessly been responsible for!" He draws back and paces in an irritable circle. The punch is going to get all warm before they get back.

"Or what?" Sunshine squints back at Moon-Willow. Glare for glare! "You aren't the authority here, it's not your concern. If you want to know what the legal punishments for crimes committed are, they're listed in the Town Hall's records somewhere. You don't even know what he's guilty of. Now. Please. Put the foal down, or I'ma have Mumbo and Jumbo back there arrest you too for obstructing Guardpony work."

Then there's Ruby! "…Oh no, Ruby, you can't say he didn't do anything either. Nobody knows squat until there's evidence to prove it." Nevermind the cloak. And the snowglobes. And then SPIN too! Sunshine finally puts her hoof to her face. "…For crying out loud. All of you are THIS CLOSE to spending the night in our jail."

"Ah don' see how he couldn' not do it," Coffee Mug says helpfully. "He's da only pony here wif a bag a' stolen stuff. Ey, what are dose, anyway?" The barista looks down at the torn bag of illicit, uh, snowglobes.

Moon-Willow glares at Spin Doctor. "And how do you expect him to pay you back?! he's just a colt. As for YOU," She glares back again at Sunshine. "OBSTRUCTING? and where were YOU? I'm the one who took off after him!"

"I don't even know what a snowthingie /is/," the batpony protests, kicking a hoof at one of the grounded globes. He can't quite reach it. Streeeetchnope. He goes back to squirming and wriggling as if this might help him get loose from holding hooves. He does pause to blink over at Ruby, though, and tilts an ear like he's trying to decide if she's being nice or being tricksy. She /did/ try and tackle him too, after all!

Magpie coughs into her hoof. Glances at Sunshine. "I just wanna say, I'm not stoppin' you or nothin'." She scoots a few feet away from Ruby. Just in case.

Spin Doctor falls quiet, though he remains tense. He again distances himself from the conversation, pacing at the mouth of the alleyway, pausing often to draw his little silver pocketwatch out and flick it open.

At the mention of spending the night in jail Palette drops the snowglobe like it was suddenly hot! Even though she wasn't touching it thanks to magic. She quickly scuttles back towards Magpie and Ruby. "No obstructing here, ma'am! Jail would like totally stifle my creativity with its blandness."

Sunshine lifts an eyebrow at Moon-Willow. Then she glances again at the new bat-winged potential criminal. "…Yeah. You're a real hero, chasing down a kid." she asides. "Look. He's denying he did anything, and unless any of you specifically saw him take anything he isn't guilty. However, there will be an investigation, and our friend here will be confined to our new friends at the Orphanage until we can figure out what the hay happened. Now if you'll kindly let the bloody foal /go/ we can all calm down and move on with our collective lives."

Ruby points a hoof at Spin Doctor then Sunshine, and finally Coffee Mug. "Maybe if you all backed off for a moment he'd be able to explain what's happening. Maybe he /saw/ who did this then got startled by the explosion, huh? Maybe we all got the wrong idea." She points at the ponies again.

Moon-Willow sighs. "Look, I'm gonna let you go now. okay? please don't try running, it'll make all these ponies here really mad." with that she slowly sets the foal on the ground. "I'm Moon Willow. can you tell me your name?" she asks softly, trying to keep the foal calm.

The File Room is an office full of filing cabinets, organized into neat little lines. There is not a lot to stop someone from going there. Especially someone who works there in their shipping and receiving department! In fact, this is likely a place Midnight will likely become rather familiar with over the coming weeks. Oh, yes. There are many files here. There are many files indeed.

Sablemane blinks and perks his ears. "Orphanage? What? No! I don't wanna go nowhere!" And now he's flailing again. "Lemme go!" Being set down does, at least, interrupt the flailing, but he does backpedal away from anymore grasping hooves and flare out his wings like he's considering taking off for FREEDOM or maybe that roof up there or something.

Midnight-Sun is in his element. He steps into the room of scrolls and account books and barks questions at the nearby ponies: "What's that machine called? Is it the same as all the others? What about the busted bits? Do they have names? Part numbers?" Stammered answers guide him unerringly to a drawer of scrolls and then a particular document. "Got it!" He hoofs it to a conveniently-placed gopher pegasus. "Get this to Bellows." He takes another proprietary look around. Oh, this will work out just fine. But for now, he'd best stay out of Bellows' attention.

The gopher pegasus snaps off a salute and, with scroll in mouth, vaults out of the office, down the hall, and into the factory floor to make the delivery! And once he does, Bellows will slap him on the back and tell him 'good job' for finding the thing that he wanted.

Spin Doctor ignores the hooves being jabbed in his direction. Reveal the thief is a cute little kid and suddenly everypony is on his side. He waves a hoof dismissively and says, to Sunshine, "Fine. So long as SOMEPONY is able to keep an eye on him until we can get to the bottom of this!"

"That's better." Sunshine says, even if the poor scared kid looks like he's going to just bolt. She glances back towards Spin Doctor. "We'll figure out what's going on, don't you worry about that. You got ponies coming to reclaim all your merchandise? Or do we need to assign some of ours to trash all this mess?"

Then she turns back to the scene at hand. Ruby, Magpie, Palette, Moon, and Coffee. Five other ponies besides herself, and they all want answers. "This ain't the best place to ask anything." she decides. "So! Kid. Since that's what we have to call you right now as we don't know your name. What say you just come with us, let us give you a room to sleep the night in, and you can explain what the hay you were doing with a bag full of snowglobes in the morning."

Spin Doctor sighs, and runs a hoof through his mane as he looks at the snow globes. He then looks up to the roof line, and the pegabrutes sitting there- don't think I didn't notice you bums. "You two!" he says. They freeze in place. "Get down here. Clean this up and make sure anything salvageable makes it back to the factory."

The unicorn paces another grouchy circuit before turning back to Sunshine and offering her a curt nod. "Thank you. Please let us know the moment there's anything needed from us regarding the investigation."

Sablemane is given slight pause by Sunshine's offer. Come to mention it, he /does/ look pretty tired. It's the middle of the day, after all! "You gotta cave 'round here?" he asks hopefully if a bit suspiciously. And now that he /can/ reach, he gives one of the snowglobes a nudge with his hoof.

Ruby waves a hoof "We have an attic that tends to be nice and cool, and dark if the shutters are shut." she says nothing of Windrose who would likely be started to find a batpony sleeping upside down from the rafters.

Magpie mutters, "Cops got a cave they can put you in…"

"Not exactly." Sunshine replies. "We got a dungeon? It's pretty dark and cavelike, if you don't want a proper bed to sleep in." She glances at Ruby. "…No. Just, no. You can come visit him, you can't use your house as a temporary suspect shelter." She turns her head back to the batwing'd kid. "Uh. Do you..have parents? Because if you actually live around here, that'd be best."

In response to Sunshine, Ruby quietly mutters. "Suspects aren't okay…she says." glance glance glance at Sunshine.

Sablemane frowns and shoots Magpie a slight look. Apparently he's got pretty good hearing! He turns to blink quizzically up at Sunshine. "'Course I got parents," he states, as if he can't figure why anypony would assume otherwise. "But they're not here. M'on an adventure!" And he draws himself up proudly because that is not terrifying at all nope.

Magpie oohs. "What kinda adventure?" she asks the batpony.
"A snowglobe dievin' adventure," Coffee Mug mutters.

See? A moment of non-threateningness and foals get all proud about their breaking of rules. Surely this is not a sanctioned adventure. Unless it is. Who's a pony to judge? Sunshine shoots Ruby a confused look, setting her flank down. She shoots Coffee Mug a glance too. "Thanks for your help. Don't you have a business to tend to?" She scuffs a hoof on the cobblestone, studying the new kid. And Magpie. She shakes her head. "Okay, well if you don't have a place to stay around here, we'll let you stay in the orphanage until we figure something better. So let's go." She gives Magpie a tiny nudge, making a gesture with a hoof back down the alleyway. "You can ask him his life's story once we've got him a room to lurk in."

Ruby-Blossom waves a hoof towards Sable. "My home is better…" She'd think Sunshine'd be all for it, after all Sunshine could keep an eye on the foal!

Magpie follows along after Sable and Sunshine, hovering a snowglobe in her magic. She shifts it a little, blocking it with her body as she has to pass the pegabrutes…

Spin Doctor doesn't notice the snowglobe being smuggled out. Nor do the pegabrutes. They're too busy picking up broken globes and sorting out the intact ones. Spin Doctor does sit up as the group makes their way by to eyeball Sablemane, before shaking his head and going back to work.

They were having a PICNIC


Coffee Mug gives Sunshine a half-flanked salute. "Yes, ma'am," he says. "Since you've got dis all handled, I'm gonna head back to da Last Drop. It's jus' a couple stores down from here, see? Dat's how I heard everyding an' got here so fast. Lemme know if ya' need me ta give a statement or som'tin'." He turns and heads out of the alley the opposite direction.

Sablemane hesitates a moment or three, gazing after Sunshine - and casting a glance back at big ol' Coffe Mug back there, as if half-expecting him to come back and shove him on along. But the promise of someplace to rest turns out a bit too tempting, so he trudges along, and eyeballs Spin Doctor right back. He can stare too. He's a real good starer. Nya. "…What's an orphanage?"
Moon-Willow shakes her head. "Well, I certainly don't think I'll be staying around. all this chasing kind of put me out of the mood for eating and socializing. good luck fixing your factory!" with a polite salute to Sunshine, she takes off.

"Sure, sure. We'll send someone down to take your statement just to cover all the bases and such." Sunny notes to Coffee as the bulky meatwall of a pony heads away. She also flashes a quick wave to Moon. "Yeah. Thanks."

Well! Now that Sable's cooperating, Sunshine turns to lead towards the orphanage, just a little bit down the street! "It's a place where foals stay. Usually ones without parents, but sometimes it's useful for times like these where a kid just needs a room for a night." Then she turns her head to Ruby. "I can't let guards into your house to ask questions." Sunshine notes. "Also I want him to be comfortable. Have you seen the effect you have on foals when you first meet them and drag them into your house? I've seen the traps! It's like a Foal Motel. Kids check in, but they never check out."

Magpie opens her mouth like she wants to protest, then closes it again. …yeah, okay.

Palette-Splash doesn't have anything else to add at this point either, she's still trying to just make sense of most of it. It's kind of weird, even for this town.

Ruby-Blossom huffs cutely. "That's so not true." she mutters while throwing a little glare towards Sunshine. It's clear Sunshine forgot where she's living at the moment; Ruby will have her revenge!

Sablemane pauses and peers up at Ruby with new suspicion. "You got traps in your house?"

Ruby-Blossom waves a hoof from side to side dismissively. "They're not real traps, just there to help Maggie train for her career…as a dancer." she nods sagely.