One For The Team
IC date: Autumn 19, 1007
OOC date: October 7, 2012
PCs: Ruby-Blossom
NPCs: Professor Redmane, Glimmer, Emerald-Dust
GM: Applejack

Horseshoe Base - Celestial Lab

The tang of magical residue is heavy in the air here.

The machines here are primitive, and barely held together with sticker tape and glue. A wide area has been cleared, and covered with arcane runes. Embedded in the wall are gems: old rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are stacked in short lines that repeat in intervals around the room.

The whole place reeks of dust and mold, but there's an unmistakeable chill.

Ruby-Blossom makes her way to the lab - peeking inside before trotting in; in her storm-trooper-esque voice she addresses the professor "Got a moment to speak alone, Professor?" She doesn't have a /ton/ of information regarding her situation, but clearly if these ponies didn't want the others around they wouldn't go through the trouble of saving them.

Ruby-Blossom makes her way to the lab - peeking inside before trotting in; in her storm-trooper-esque voice she addresses the professor "Got a moment to speak alone, Professor?" She doesn't have a /ton/ of information regarding her situation, but clearly if these ponies didn't want the others around they wouldn't go through the trouble of saving them.

Within the lab itself the mess created by the multiple explosions is slowly but surely being cleaned up. It's slow work, since some of the puddles of stuff keep eating through the cleaning materials and things, so some parts of the lab are quite cordoned off. The Professor himself is doing his best to direct efforts with the same cool collectness he'd used to herd the new ponies around with.

"Yes, yes… Try using the steel wool mop on that one. No, the /other/ mop. The one that wasn't used on our good bottles. Yes, glassware is our best bet to contain acid. The problem is getting it /in/ the glass. Make sure no pony steps in that stuff…"

The interruption brings a half-distracted 'hmm' from the Professor, his head turning ever so slightly to regard the newly arriving pony. "…Hm! Well hello my dear. Are you one of the new rescues too? We've had…a few new bodies around, more than I thought I'd first counted. Very interesting. Problematic, but interesting." He turns to face Ruby proper, squinting, "Er… What can I do for you? Do mind the mess, and try not to touch anything if you value your hooves."

Ruby-Blossom is still donning a thermal suit - making her blend in more with the regular ponies, than with the new arrivals. She ahems softly. "Well, Professor. I was hoping we could speak alone for a few moments. I think there's been some interesting developments that need your attention." The thermal suit clad mare shifting her weight from one hoof to another, as she awaits the professors answer.

Given all the new faces around, the Professor has fallen into a little habit of assuming anyone he doesn't recognize may be from the outside. Nonetheless, the desire for speaking time away from other ears isn't lost on the old pony, causing him to glance around for a moment. "Ah… Break time, everypony. Go get yourselves a snack, maybe round up some more supplies to replace our broken equipment. Thank you!"

The assorted helping ponies shuffle or trot out, leaving the Professor alone with the thermal-dressed mare. When they've all left, he wanders closer to a couple stools, dusting the tops off of them and claiming one for himself. "What's on your mind?" he asks once he's seated, making a gesture to the other empty stool.

Ruby-Blossom trots over to the stool and settles in front of the professor before popping off her helmet to reveal a new face - one that was clearly not among the new ponies, and fitting the vague description given by Glimmer and the others! "I wanted to talk since you seemed like the only sensible pony in the bunch." Distinctive ruby red eyes brilliant even in soft lighting. "I uhh…guess I'm your supposed spy?" she tries to get the conversation going, clearly uncomfortable - starting to regret revealing herself.

Professor Redmane offers a ghost of a grin when his guest's face is uncovered. Certainly not one he recognizes, from the night before or otherwise, and when mention is made of 'spy', he's nodding slowly. "I hoped you'd come to your senses sooner or later." the older pony notes, straightening up on his stool. "This world is not the sort of place you want to be long without friends. Though I'll admit you've done a remarkable job of keeping my assistant on her hooves."

Judging by the faint glimmer in the old pony's eyes, he's not entirely displeased by this.

Off in the distance is a small crash, and the indistinct sound of Glimmer yelling at ponies. Yep. On her hooves indeed.

Ruby-Blossom doesn't bother to hide her feelings at the moment, and her facial expression says it all - she doesn't like what's going on one bit. "You're clearly taking care of everypony else in my group, but that doesn't mean I trust you. For all I know you could warming Sadaka and Blackbird up to ensure their meat is nice and fresh." Valid point in her mind as food is clearly scarce. "I have a unique set of skills." she admits. "Almost no pony knows about them." she locks eyes with the professor to closely study his reactions. "I want to know what's really going on. I've overheard alot of stuff, and I'm not entirely confident you guys weren't trying to abduct /our/ Celestia.

Again the Professor is nodding. Evenly meeting the concerned mare's gaze, one of his hooves gives a soft tap to a nearby counter top. "Naturally you've every right to doubt us or our motives. Anytime strange and powerful magics are involved there's reason to be cautious." The same tapping hoof is lifted to brush through his red-with-grey-streaked mane, then returned to the counter, the old stallion pondering the best words to use. "Everything I've explained to the others is true. I'm not sure which bits and pieces you've heard, but facts are facts, and I prefer harsh truths to sugar-coated lies anyday."

A brief pause fills the air between the Professor's chosen answers, but he does resume after a moment. "Let me try to put it in a point of view from where you came from. In our world, Queen Moon has assumed control over the entire continent. Possibly the world, but that's difficult to say for sure. We haven't had a sunrise in over a thousand years, nor a change in seasons aside from 'Winter'. It's cold, it's dark, and it's dangerous due to our dear Queen's whims." He shifts in his seat, finally glancing away to study the counter top. Lost in memories, perhaps, or at least the telling of History. "There have been several attempts to unseat her. The pegasi put up the bravest effort, and were…completely decimated for it. Pegasi are rare now. Most of what's left are unicorns, the majority of which are under the Queen's sway, and the Earth Ponies, which have done their…our best to eke out what life we can in this wasteland."

Here he pauses in the telling of this tale, eyes once again peering into the mare's own. Gauging her reactions, just as certainly as she's been studying his. "Any questions so far?"

Ruby-Blossom 's gaze is intent and locked onto the professor's own, she listens all the while clearly judging him. It's clear she doesn't like what she hears, and takes her time to drink it all in. The turquoise mare shifts in her seat before muttering "That's stupid…petty." clearly angry at the 'Queen's' actions. "I…" a small frown. "I know I'm only one pony, but if there is anyway I can help…" she glances to one side then the other - clearly struggling with a thought.

She pipes up again. "Back home I'm a world famous thief, well my alter ego is. I've gotten into places like the Royal Canterlot Library, and even stole Royal Jewels from the Canterlot Museum. Admittedly I sell most of what I steal, and donate it to orphanages, and the like." she shifts uncomfortably with her hooves fidgeting her lap. "I'd prefer you keep that to yourself. Namely what I'm saying is I'm good at sneaking, real good…"

The Professor's face breaks into a warm smile. "Worry not, your secret is safe with me." he says, a hoof stroking his chin. "That can be an impressive talent. One of our currently-missing ponies was also a stealth expert. I'm sure that talent will be useful." A simple nod, and the smile returns.

"For now, however, I'd feel much better if you could perhaps make amends with my assistant? As fun as it is watching Glimmer chasing shadows, it would be exceedingly helpful if we could get her mind eased enough so she can resume her studies on what exactly happened to bring your group here instead of our missing Celestia. Especially since it seems that spell is still bringing ponies from your world over… No less than four more stray ponies in the wilderness since that night!"

The Professor's face curls into a faint frown. "It's downright disturbing. Particularly since it's difficult to ascertain if anyone else from /our/ world has ended up in yours as a result of your ponies coming over here."

Ruby-Blossom gives a little frown at the thought of making her presence known. "I…are you sure it's best? It might not hurt to have an ace in the sleeve or the like?" she glances downwards - admittedly it wouldn't hurt to hang out with her friends. "I'm just - I'd rather do something to help everypony out. I just can't sit here when everypony is suffering." she looks up to lock eyes with the professor. "I need to do something to help everypony; my friends and everypony here. Let me help." a series of rapid blinks followed by a downwards cast as she mummers "Why…" pondering why she's trying so hard to make a difference.

Here the Professor offers a hoof to lay on the conflicted mare's shoulder. "All of your friends are helping too." he notes in soft tones. "It's been ages since we've seen this sort of kindness come from strangers, so it's quite the welcome change!" A couple pats, and the old pony sets back again.

"My dear, you can help, and be among your friends again, without exposing your talents. I had a tendency to send Spectre out on missions to keep us alert on nearby ah…enemy activity. I may ask you to take her place in that. But first I need to devise a good way to see if your skills are comparable to hers, otherwise I'd just be sending you out to a horrible doom." There's a smile, but it's forced this time. No joke behind those words!

"For now, the best way you can help is to help me get my assistant back on track, and then to join the others in gathering supplies and rescuing others from your world that may have gotten lost out in that wasteland wilderness." He lifts an eyebrow, head dipped just a little. "Is that acceptable?"
Ruby-Blossom mummers softly "Alright…but I'm keeping the suit." sliding to her feet then glancing towards the base. "I suppose I'll go say hello to Glimmer. Hopefully she's still not sore about getting her knock blocked off." a hint of satisfaction in her voice. "I'm confident in my skills." she beams softly before trotting on her way.

At the instruction of the Professor, Ruby enters the Cafeteria with the helmet/visor of her suit still undone and resting against her back. She surveys the area before spotting Shimmer - setting out to approach directly as sneaking would likely result in another misunderstanding; she can't help but smirk briefly. (I bet she'll /still/ over-react.)

Glimmer is talking with Emerald-Dust, the green pony from before. The voice of reason, so-called. "…never been so stressed out," she's saying, running a hoof through her short, already rumpled mane. "Unknown ponies, a broken lab, potential spies? Somehow this is worse than the last raid."

"Well, there's no clear-cut enemy now," Emerald reasons, resting a hoof on the bespectacled pony's arm. "Of course you'd be a bit strained. But don't worry — the Prof's got everything well in hoof. Everything will be okay."

Glimmer nods slowly, looking up before her violet eyes lock on Ruby. She leaps up, tripping over her own bench, and points with her hoof. "YOU! The spy!! Emerald, grab her!"

"She doesn't seem to be much of a spy," Emerald comments dryly, "coming forward unhidden, and all, in the middle of the room." She makes no move to get up, instead smiling mildly at Ruby and waving. Glimmer, on the other hand, glares in frustration at Ruby for being a puzzle she can't quite predict. "What do you want?" she snaps.

Ruby-Blossom beams cheerfully and returns Emerald's friendly wave with a wave of her own. "Pleasure." the mare trotting further into the room before plopping down a few feet from where Glimmer is sprawled on the floor in an undignified manner. "The Professor asked me to come introduce myself." her grin rather playful like a child who just won a game. "Something about not wanting Glimmer to go nutty, and the like?" A hint of a grin. She leans way forward to curiously peer at Glimmer. "You're security does have quite a few holes in it you know." cheerful beaming ensues. "If you're nice, I might even share them with you."

Glimmer narrows her eyes almost to a full squint as she glares at Ruby with all of her hate. ALL OF IT. Emerald, however, steps off her bench. "You gave us quite the scare."

"And quite the headache," Glimmer grumbles, getting up in as dignified a manner as possible. She adjusts her glasses, glaring more than a little.

"And quite the headache," Emerald agrees. "It's not exactly encouraged around here, spying on other ponies — so you'll have to excuse our tense reaction. Not to mention, we're… in a bit of a crisis mode."

"And tell me why I shouldn't just boot you outside for being an uncooperative nuisance and an extra mouth to feed?" Glimmer growls, though Emerald tries to placate her. Glimmer's not having it though, and she waves her off. "You /might/ even share our security holes? I can't have ponies around here who aren't working for the betterment of everyone! One leak! That's all it takes! One leak, and the last bastion of civilization will be ripped out of the ground, like… like… like I don't know what!!"

Ruby-Blossom leans forward with both hooves on the bench closest to her - glaring right back at Glimmer; bright ruby red eyes fixed on Glimmers own. "Let me set you straight, Glimmer." emphasizing the other mare's name. "I did the same thing you would have done, I looked out for the safety of my friends! I had no reason to trust you ponies at that moment. I wasn't going to let anything happen to my friends even if it meant I couldn't be with me them." Her voice raising while maintain a very firm tone. "Emerald was it? We were all at our wits end." her eyes dart back to Glimmer. "I'll tell you all your short-comings, Glimmer." Is the mare speaking about Glimmer or the base security at the moment? "I'm sorry that I don't share the sense of gloom and doom everypony else does." Her gaze softening and betraying her sincerity. "I know things are tough, and like I told the professor. I'll do what I can, how I know. I'm not intending to make light of your situation…I just.." a faint frown that fades into a hint of a smile. "Listen. I'm sorry, and stuff. Alright? I was just looking out for my friends, and you were looking out for yours.

Glimmer looks like she's ready to punch Ruby, through the beginning of that speech, but by the end, she seems to have relaxed a little. Finally, she huffs and sits down on her bench with a thud. "Apology accepted," she says brusquely. "And I'm sorry I yelled."

Emerald smiles and pats the pony on the shoulder. "There, see? Not everyone's so bad."

"Just like you said, I'm looking out for mine," Glimmer says to Ruby. "And we're not equipped to deal with ten— no, /fourteen/ extra mouths to feed. Don't get me wrong: we're going to try. We'll all notch our saddles a little tighter and stretch our supplies a little further and work our unicorns a little harder. But we need /you guys/ to be cooperative too, or we'll /all/ die." She says it matter-of-factly, too. This is no exaggeration.

Sniffing, she stuffs the glasses further up her face, brushing blue-violet hair back from her gaze. "Regardless, I appreciate your cooperation, and your offer to help, Miss…?"

Ruby-Blossom says "Ruby-Blossom." offers the sleek earth-pony who managed to break out of Shimmer's magical grasp no less than two times the other night! "I just hope your Professor finds more for me to do considering…" trailing off as she realizes she'd rather not talk about her unique skill set to another set of ponies. "I, I'll do whatever I can to help everypony out - including you guys. I hope we can do more than just help a little. I really mean that you know." cautiously treading a tad close to Glimmer. "Hope I didn't hurt too bad when I popped you one the other evening." Truth be told she packs quite the wallop when angry."

Glimmer rubs a hoof against her cheek, where there seems to be, at least, no mark. Still, for once she offers a small, if tired, smile. "It's fine. I've had worse. Pleasure to meet you, Ruby-Blossom. Formally, I'm Glimmer. Head organizer and lab assistant to Professor Redmane. And I appreciate each and every iota you and your friends are able to give."

"I'm Emerald-Dust," the green pony adds with a smile. "I'm a maintenance pony. I work under Heatsink, usually, but Glimmer's my friend so we take breaks together sometimes. Especially when she's stressed out like this."

"Emerald!" Glimmer protests.

"What? You need to talk about things. It's not good to keep them bottled up." The ever-reasonable pony blinks at Glimmer, who just facehoofs with a sigh.

Ruby-Blossom offers a friendly enough smile to the pair "I think I should let my friends know I'm actually here…" she stands up and glances towards the base. "Thanks for not freaking out, Glimmer." she proceeds to towards the Base - stopping to give Glimmer a small hug before hastily trotting off.

"They don't know?" Glimmer blinks. Clearly, this pony is more sneaky than she thought. "Great, a regular Spectre." Grump.

Emerald, though, smiles and waves. "Have fun! I'm sure they'll be happy to see you." The purple pony starts a little at the hug, eyeing Ruby a little before giving her an awkward return pat. "Thanks again, Ruby."

As she retreats, Glimmer slumps on the table and thumps her head down with a frustrated groan, and Emerald leans forward to pat her head gently. "It'll be okay, Glim."