IC date: Autumn 14
OOC date: October 3
Location: Belly of the Beast
PCs: Makuru, Lavender, Tricker-Treat, Magpie, Fugue
GM: Applejack

It's become a nightly routine. After running, after lights-out, the whispers begin… Sure, the locks got changed, but that means nothing in the face of a couple 'expert' lock-pickers, meaning there's been time to have cages unlocked when the attendants weren't on patrol. It's been discovered that the vent system actually does lead somewhere…but the biggest hurdle is a point where the vents drop off into the furnace proper, before continuing on to parts unknown, possibly even outside. And thanks to the vents, there has been access available to the store-room, where various pieces of confiscated equipment and items have been stored away.

With the exception of Sadaka's wings and earring. Those are apparently missing in action since Siyana's capture.

Thus is it now lights-out. And all the fanged little faces of all the trapped batponies, plus a few new ones from the Harbor have started milling near their doors to see what gets discussed this time! All except Fugue, who has been spending half the time sulking in the hay and the other half lingering somewhere other than in the middle of any group.

Makuru sits patiently in his cell. His ears are up and alert, listening for the slightest sound from the factory above. "Hey, everypony shut up," he says to the chittering foals. "I'm trying to listen to the machinery up there. I think everypony's gone home for the night."

Lavender lays somewhat nearby Fugue, enough to give him his space but still within conversational distance. She's not quite up to shutting up, but talks quietly. "Hey. I'm, uh… I'm sorry nobody has showed up to get us out of here yet. But I bet it'll make sense as soon as we're out, right?"

Fugue, grumpy but subdued, squints out of the cage. "He still might." he mutters. "Father wouldn't just abandon everybody." He's whispering of course, trying not to, uh, interrupt Makuru's intent listening. It's been pretty silent for the last few minutes! "Maybe he ran into trouble. Maybe…" One of his ears perks up. "Maybe we have to rescue /them/."

"Phantom's super cool," Tricky agrees from her cage. "If he hasn't shown up it's prolly cause he got beat up. Which means we're in big trouble, unless we can get out. Yeah?"

Makuru glances around, oblivious to the whispered conversations occuring. He is content that the factory is, in fact, abandoned for the night aside from the usual guards. "Hey, which one of you can pick the new locks? I've got an idea but I need to get upstairs for it."

Lavender bobs her head, "Yeah, that sounds about right. Like the adults know what they're doing half the time. Once we're out of here, we'll bust them out of wherever…" She scoots over to Fugue, hoofs him lightly in the shoulder, "How often do you get to save the day twice?" Then her attention goes over to Makuru and the plan that's forming.

Tricker-Treat sticks a hoof out and waves frantically. "Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me! I can pick locks I think! If I don't think about it!"

Makuru points at Tricker. "Come here, I wanna show you a cool thing."

Tricker-Treat's eyes get wide and in a blur, she bolts out of her cage, hovering in front of Makuru's with a buzz of wings. "OHMYGOSH WHERE CAN I SEE?" … The cage door hangs open behind her.

Fugue wobbles, nudged! His ears flick back. "I don't think I've ever 'saved the day'. I kind of came here so I wouldn't have to…" He trails off. But he hasn't moved away! That's progress of some sort. There's interesting things to look at. Like Tricker zooming over to Makuru. Whoa.

Perfect! Makuru trots happily out of his cage. "It's this way! Come on, I'll show you!" He moves to the bathroom where he knows thanks to Hoarfrost and Freeze Frame that there is vent access which isn't completely bolted down.

Lavender grins huge as she watches. "This is even better than all the pirates! I don't think they can do half the things we can. Well, except for setting things on fire, but that's probably good right now."

Tricker-Treat ZOOM, she bolts over to Lavender's cage, and then into Lavender's cage. "Fire? You set things on fire?? Oh my gosh come on! Let's go see what shiny Makuru has!!" ZOOM!!

Fugue jumps as Tricky just bolts in! That pony's weird. Even for a batpony. "Uhm. Right."

Tricker-Treat is, indeed, a bit of an outcast, really. Not that she minds! ZOOM

Lavender's jaw hangs open a little at Tricky's crazy moves. "Too much…sugar?" she guesses to Fugue, then follows after her. With at least a bit of caution.

Fugue can only shrug. He's still apprehensive about out and out following along, but it's become painfully obvious that things aren't going to get done without some extra help. So with a flutter of leathery wing, Fugue glides down to the ground and follows after the others. "Just… Stay quiet." he says, probably more for his benefit than anyone else's.

A loud WUMPH followed by a metallic ringing can be heard from the bathroom. Should the foals follow after Makuru into the room they'll see the zebra colt's back legs sticking out of the high vent as he wriggles his way into it, something blue and gunky stuck to the bottom of his hooves, and a dent in the ceiling nearby the opening.

Tricker-Treat blinks and stares at Makuru's butt. And then zooms forth to HEADBUTT him into the vent. "Oopsy daisy!"

Naturally the vents are dark without any other light sources to light them with. Nothing save that faint orange glow at the far end, where the vents make a corner. So dark!

Makuru yelps as he suddenly finds his butt violated by Tricker. "Watch it!" he says. Still, he begins crawling forward. "I wanna get to the factory floor," the colt explains over his shoulder to anypony who might follow him. "I think I know how to bust us out of here, but I need to see if I can get some ingredients from up there!"

Lavender, going along with the group, glances to Fugue. "I don't suppose you could give me a hoof up there? I'm a bit short on wings and…whatever that was."

Tricker-Treat has found herself in the vent, scrabbling a little. She's a little oversized compared to the other foals: lanky and awkward and just, not petite enough. Still, she sure does try. "What kind of ingredients??"

"That was Tricky." Fugue replies, as if that answers everything, then nods. His wings spread again, glancing up to the vent, then to Lavender. He pushes off, getting a couple good wingflicks in, then swoops down to pluck Lavender up with all four of his limbs! A couple more hovering flaps has him in front of the vent, trying to lift and edge the filly he's airlifting in behind Tricky. "Hup..!"

Lavender errghs and strains to grab onto the vent, even as she's flailing her hind hooves from the whole "being airborne" thing. Kind of new. Kind of terrifying. But she gets in there enough not to fall, and follows right after the rest of the group. "Whew, thanks."

Fugue takes a moment of wingbeats to wipe his forehead after that lifting! Then he crawls in after the others. "Um. You're welcome."

As Makuru reaches that first corner, he gets the full sight of what stopped Freeze Frame the last time. The orange glow belongs to a furnace. Or at least, a long drop down the shaft into a pit of orange embers, because the furnace is not currently on full blast. It's wide enough that just jumping over, with a low ceiling, would be extremely difficult to do, and there's certainly no room to extend wings to fly across. The vent seems to continue across from this furnace pit, another corner obscuring anything the dim orange light might reveal.

Makuru explains, "Sticky, stretchy stuff. I heard that somepony gummed up the machines a while back, if we can find any of that gum it'll be great. Maybe whatever glue they use when they make the snowglobes to seal them, too… and the biggest snowglobe dome you can find! I've gotta have a cauldron to work in." He comes to a sudden stop when he reaches the drop to the furnace. "…anypony got a rope?" he asks hopefully.

Tricker-Treat blinks. "Rope? Nah, no rope…unless we use ponies for rope!!"

Makuru thinks about this. "…bite my tail?" he suggests.

Tricker-Treat CHOMP!

Makuru sure is glad that his tail is mostly hair, that looks like it would've hurt if she chomped too high up. "Somepony might need to grab yours, too, it's a big jump," he says as he crawls forward and… over the ledge, so that he's free-hanging over the drop into the furnace held only by Tricker's teeth.

Tricker-Treat marfles some kind of ascent, and then squeaks as she's suddenly dragged forward by his freehanging self. "MRFLE!" she yelps at Fugue and Lavender.

Fugue ulps! Trouble! He sneaks past Lavender like a shadow, darting around the corner to dive and chomp on Tricker's tail! "Rrrrgh!" It might slow the descent some, but he certainly doesn't have all the strength to keep from sliding too far over the edge himself. His tail flicks rapidly!

The embers glow somewhere below Makuru. They sure wouldn't mind some extra fuel, nope!

Tricker-Treat digs in her heels, Makuru's tail in her mouth as the zebra scoots ever-slower downward toward the sputtering, glowing coals of the furnace. Her wings flitter but there's no room to spread them in the cramped space.

Makuru glances at the orange-eyed batpony holding onto him. "Tricker, you've gotta trust me on this… come off the edge as well. Let the others hold you up!"

Magpie slowly slithers up behind the ponies. "Hey," she pants. "Somepony ask for rope?" She nudges a coil of line up towards Lavender. It's pretty thin — more like clothesline than real rope, but hey, she's doing her best here…
Lavender grabs the rope in her teeth and nudges it forward, passing it to the next pony in line. "Here, from Magpie. Looks usable."

Fugue blinks. He looks like he's straining under the whole 'multiple ponies' thing. Grr! Rope! He gets a back leg to nudge the rope, pull it up to his front legs, then tries to nudge it towards Tricky! Here pony, catch!

Tricker-Treat flails a hoof and grabs at the rope, then looks down at Makuru. And with a whimper and another flutter, she counts: "Nnn, mmmu, ffee!" And LEAPS off the edge, rope in hoof and wings flapping madly in their confined and not at all flappable space.

Makuru thinks he has enough room now, with two pony lengths hanging down the furnace vent. And then a rope snakes down! Excellent "Hang on REALLY TIGHT!" he says before biting down onn the rope and putting all of his hooves against the wall of the vent. He lifts his rear hooves as best as he can in the awkward hanging position and kicks wall.

There is an immense metallic BANG that echoes through the ventillation system as Makuru shoots forward, arcing upwards thanks to the foal chain. He reaches out for the far ventillation shaft and scrabbles desperately for a hoofhold.

Magpie lets out a yelp and bites down on the tail in front of her. eep!

Fugue's eyes nearly pop out of his skull with the surprise of all that weight suddenly swinging! "MRGMFMR!" he squeaks out, skidding across the metal surface! Thank goodness Magpie's there to grab his tail and keep him from sliding right off after the others. Hopefully Makuru can get that hoofhold he's looking for!

Lavender presses her hooves up against the walls of the vent, trying to help keep ponies from going all over the place in some horrible way.

Makuru scrabble scrabble scrabble TRACTION! The zebra colt manages to stay on the far tunnel and begins pulling himself up. "Mrgpuh!" he shouts around the rope in his teeth. "Yurs yur mrgik! Geht ja mushrrm ferm mer bahg an sskersh it 'gainsht ja warl!"

Magpie hopes she speaks mumble. 'cause it /sounded/ like Makuru said to get the mushroom outta his bag and squash it against the wall. She peeks, her horn limns, and she starts rifling his bag. Which she's kind of good at, actually.

At least the weight isn't so bad now? Fugue is kind of stuck here until something is secure though. Whatever squishing is supposed to happen, now would be nice!

Tricker-Treat is hanging and flittering. She's not good at sitting still but it's kind of easy when you're suspended over a terrifying pit!

There is, in fact, a big, fat mushroom in Makuru's bag. It has gotten slightly damaged in all the adventuring and is oozing some manner of thick, black sap. The zebra nods enthusiastically and gestures at the wall next to him with his head.

Magpie shrugs, and mushes the mashroom — sorry, mashes the mushroom against it. Who is she to argue with the zebra with a mushroom in his bag?

The mushroom releases a blob of that thick black sap against the wall which Makuru quickly presses the rope into. "That oughtta hold it!" he says. Now do the same on your side, the rope'll hold in place and we can use it to climb across." He looks down at the thin cord. "…one at a time, anyway." The zebra begins dragging himself forward so that Tricker can get some ground under her hooves again.

Tricker-Treat FLAPFLAPFLAPFLAPohgoodsolidground. Tricky manages a hoofhold and thuds onto the other side with a gasp of 'OH THANK GOODNESS.' "Wow, that's a cool mushroom!"

Magpie mashes the mushroom again (that sounds like a euphemism for something) and secures her bit of line. She waits a few seconds, then asks, "So, where's it go?"

Fugue is all sorts of quick to get rope and goo introduced, if only so he has that rope to hang onto when he lets Tricky's tail go. Phew! He collapses on the far side of the vent, hooves hanging over the edge, smacking his lips to get the taste of hair out. "Meh…" Well at least there's a way across now. Which he totally uses, scooting across with the rope and his wings for help. He's actually kind of slow at it, and awkward to boot, but he makes it.

Makuru says, "Up, I hope." He's already crawling forward without a thought to see if there are any vertical shafts that can be shimmied up. "Oh, put that mushroom back in my bag, will you? I only have a couple and I've gotta try and save them, they'll be important."

Tricker-Treat tries to help folks get across, easing them over the threshold and onto the other side. "Come along little ponies!"

On the other side of the vents, just around the corner, they do seem to lead up! It's an upward slope, taking several corners and a couple branching steps later, but eventually things come to a vertical stop. It's pretty dark leading up, save a tiny beam of moonlight seeping in through what would be a grate.

It's too bad the Crimson Crusader isn't here, she might be getting a strange case of deja vu about now.

Magpie peeks up through the grate. She crowds in against it. Push push. "Can we bust this thing loose?" she asks. "I think I know where I am now! We can get out from here!" And by out, she means 'to the surface', of course.

Lavender tries to look past, anxiously. "So close…We're almost there, aren't we?"

Fugue has gone back towards the back of the group again, skulking along behind the others. "A way out..?"

Tricker-Treat hophop!! "Oh my gosh let's get OUT of here! I want to go explore the daydweller world! You guys are FUN!"

Makuru gets up on his rear hooves and pounds against the grate. "I don't know if it comes off," he says after a few moments. "I don't feel any give to it from here… but if we're at the surface that means the factory's gotta be nearby! Are there any grates that look in on there? There'll be exits for the workers."

The vents do seem to branch off from here, spiderwebbed throughout the factory floor. Several places show a similar dim light shining through, where they lead to the rest of the factory.

Magpie lets out a thin whining sound. She stays there, staring up at the moon. Doesn't want to leave…

Lavender shakes Magpie's shoulder a little. "We're close. It won't take much longer now. We have ways out, and we're gonna break free…We just need the right place."

Tricker-Treat wraps her arms around Magpie and hugs! Because that's what ponies do!

Magpie acks! She blinks and bumps Tricky. "Hey, watch it," she giggles.

Makuru sees ponies hugging and decides he wants in on this. He tries to wrap his hooves around the whole darn group!

Fugue's eyes glitter in the darkness of the vents. He does not join in the hug. He does, however, try to sneak past and towards one of the other vent covers.

Tricker-Treat sniff. "So. What now?"

Makuru takes a step back. "Now we find the stuff I need! I have half of the ingredients for super bouncy gel— that's the stuff I put on my hooves to get into the vent and get across that gap." He begins crawling down the vent again to get to one of the interior grates. "Look around for sticky, stretchy stuff, and watch out for guards. I can make more of the stuff that we can sneak it into the wheel room. They won't be able to catch us and take us back to the cages if we can bounce to the ceiling!"

Tricker-Treat blinks rapidly. "Wow, really?? COOL. Okay, lead away!" She follows him and tugs the other ponies with, with a reassuring smile. "It's okay. We'll get out just fine. I promise!"

Behold, the factory at night! A dark graveyard of twisted metal shapes, pipes and vents and wires leading from one object to another. Only the faintest streams of moonlight make any sight possible, filtering in through the few skylights and windows that look into this section of the factory floor. The grate Makuru happens to be looking out of is the closest one to the machines that had problems so long ago. This is convenient as that thief had been hauling off snowglobes at the time. Perhaps both objectives can be found around here?

The moment the way opens up, Tricky buzzes out onto the factory floor, zipping this way and that. You'd think with all that running she'd be tired of exercise by now, but no! She's loop-de-looping around, scavenging, poking, sniffing.

Makuru crawls out of the gate and stretches. "It's so good to get out of there! I was starting to get sore!" he says. "Alright, where are we…"
Tricker-Treat zooms back with an armfull of what looks like wells of rubber cement and some bouncy balls. "Will this help?" she beams.

Fugue slinks out of the vents. It's… So close! Outside! Right there! He could reach up and grab it if.. If it didn't mean leaving lots of other foals behind. Tsk. They don't have much time. Something about the way Tricky is zooming about makes him scowl, too. "Psst! You're gonna get us all caught..!"

There are plenty of things to look at, for sure. The nearest line of machines make up a pretty normal assembly line, with parts in the back and half-finished things in bins next to each machine. There's a pile of discarded objects in one corner, defective, disfunctional, or just plain bad failures of things that have been manufactured. Snowglobes, little toy hats, toasters, eggbeaters, gears of different sizes, bouncy balls (or in this case bouncy objects of various shapes. A bouncy square? How about a bouncy figure 8?).

The next line over looks much the same. Conveyor belt, bulky machines, discard pile, parts…

The line after that looks a lot more bulky. Not only bulky, but monsterous. Like someone took the machines, and created some kind of sleeping giant out of them… And there's multiple! Several monsterish shapes in a line of one another! Sleeping. Grotesque sleeping giants of machines.

Makuru scratches his chin at Tricker-Treat's find. "I think that'll work!" he says as he flips open one of his saddle bags. The one that isn't full of tarcap goop. "Drop 'em in!"

Tricker-Treat drops them all in and then zips off to find more stuff! This time, she finds weird bouncy shapes and she drops those in too. Then she sticks out her tongue at Fugue. "Am not! I'm helping!"

Fugue scowls. He sulks behind Makuru, glancing nervously at the catwalks.
Tricker-Treat points around. "Why don't /you/ find something, Fuguey? I bet you'll find cool stuff!"

"/I/ am already playing an important part." Fugue states, spreading his wings and flitting up to a point he can hang from. "…I'm looking out for guards." Huff.

Makuru begins sorting through the piles of junk. "Ooh, a chain, this could be useful," he says as he piles the jangling length of metal into his saddlebag.

Speaking of guards. A light has come on somewhere up above the floor. A unicorn, horn glowing brightly, security guard badge gleaming in his own light, pokes his head out from the lobby. Just makin' the rounds he is, ambling along the nearest walkway, his head turning this way and that to look at all the spooky shapes in his magical lamplight.

Lavender hustles over to Makuru and puts her hooves over his when she sees the light, holding him as still as she can manage. "Ssshh… There's somepony out there."

Makuru's head shoots up when he sees the light in the catwalks. "Get down," he hisses at Lavender when the filly puts her hooves on his. "You stand out like a sore thumb with your purple."

Fugue clops a hoof over his own mouth, trying to sneak behind a machine to get out of sight.

The guard looks bored out of his mind. Clop, clop, clop, clop. Humming to himself, casting his light about, he makes it to the end of one walkway, starts coming up the other. Nope. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Creepy golem machines are still asleep and nothing else is busted. Yep.

Lavender gives Makuru a death glare, it's not her fault she's not camoflauged, but she presses up against the side of a machine all the same to keep her profile as minimal as possible while still able to see. Hold very still, yes.

The guard allllllmost makes it to the other lobby entrance when something catches his eye. "Hm?" This prompts the guard to peer over the railing, casting his light across the floor. Steely eyes squint, eventually catching sight of…a wayward snowglobe. Sparkling gently. Grunt. The guard sighs and resumes his patrol, leaving the floor altogether.

Makuru watches the guard's flashlight beam as it shines across the factory floor and lingers on… "I have to have that snowglobe," he whispers.

Tricker-Treat, who has been hunkering with the best of them, waits for basically the instant the guard is out of the room before shooting out after that snowglobe. PZEWWWW

Fugue breathes out a breath he didn't know he was holding, letting go of his perch and flitting down to rejoin the others. "…can we go now? I really would like not to get caught before we're ready."

Makuru stage-whispers, "Careful with it!" to Tricker. "Don't break it! I'm gonna use that for a cauldron!" He takes a few steps towards her then pauses and grabs the egg beater from the pile of junk.

Tricker-Treat huuuuffffs, and lifts the oversized snowglobe in her arms. She can't quite get it off the floor so it scraaaaaaapes as she flaps as hard as she can to buzz her way back to the group.

Fugue winces. That noise! He flits over to help Tricker heft that snowglobe up and over. Good luck carrying it, Maku!

Lavender leans out from behind the machinery and gets her head under that snowglobe just a bit, offering up all the earth pony strength she can muster to help haul it.

Makuru hmms as he watches the three other ponies do the heavy lifting for him. "Just leave it by the grate. I think I can make it fit if we angle it up, but we'll want it to go last so we can leave it behind if we need to rush back to the cages."

Tricker-Treat beams at her help and with their POWERS COMBINED… the snowglobe is hefted and moved away toward their return route. "Come on guys! Let's go get ourselves a rescue together!"