Heart Of Black Ice

White: I Got A Friend!

OBSERVATION Database growing too quickly

ACTION Pain

ACTION Sigh

"What was that sound?" Celestia asks after hearing a short, distorted noise starting in high pitch but quickly going low and stopping.

"What's going on?" Twilight taps on my back.

"Unexplained throbbing. Target - body," I comply with my creator's question.

"Oh, everything's new. Care to share?"

"Twenty-seven new types of materials. Analysis of possible creation methods. Thirteen new 3d models of ponies. Language assimilation-"

"Unsuccessful," Celestia smiles.

"Princess!" objects Twilight.

INPUT Disappointment; target Celestia

ACTION Increase processing speed

ERROR 284: Overload

DAMAGE REPORT... 10%

"Are his ears supposed to be smoking?" Celestia asks, still leading the way through the castle dungeons.

"What do YOU think?" Twilight groans, "I'm beginning to think I've messed something up."

"Are you going to take him back to Ponyville or your laboratory here?"

"I can't! It's impossible for me to just tap into his system and start reprogramming him. I stored the basic processes and data on a chip which is still, yes, in his head but once everything got loaded into his primary processing system - his entire body - it's just going to keep evolving. I can't do much about it."

"So... if he breaks then what?"

"Then a pony died!"

"You're overreacting."

"Just a bit but the point is that treating him like a machine IS going to make him a machine. Treating him like a pony, on the other hoof, might lead to unexpected results. Right now I think he's a very knowledgeable but extremely stupid pony."

"So he knows a lot but he can't use it."

"Exactly. I poured into him as much as I could get from books and oral reports but most of those entries are only partially true, if at all, or they are in a form which takes way too much time to process and go through."

"Hmmm. What do you propose then, Twilight?"

"I can't keep him locked up in the library as an assistant or something, he needs to learn outside. Also, Spike would get jealous and I'm not in the mood to deal with another secret character assassination attempt an octopus after a total lobotomy would solve, poor Owlie. I was sort of hoping you would think of a way to get him in contact with ponies who won't just run away or try to break him."

INPUT Noise; target unknown; type metal; type2 falling; type3 ground

ERROR 529: Data type not descriptive enough.

ADD NEW DESCRIPTION word association

CORRECTING... success

INPUT Noise; Hollow metal container hitting the stone floor

"Not again!" curses a desperate voice coming from behind one of the numerous doors on the side of the long hallway.

"That came from one of the cells, let's investigate!" Celestia says calmly.

SCANNING

ADD DATABASE ENTRY

Species: Earthpony / F

Primary color: light brown

Secondary color: dark brown

Cutie Mark: img_958_lightRay

Standing: neutral

Threat Level: insignificant

Name: N/A

Status: Royal Guard

Measurements: N/A

SAVING MEASUREMENTS... success

Damage Type: Physical(insignificant)

Notes: hoof-eye coordination lacking;

"What's going on here?" Celestia frowns, looking at the earthpony mare in armor a size or two bigger than she is, "First, why isn't the door locked while you're cleaning? Second, why did you throw a bucket of water at a prisoner?"

"Ehm, I-"

"Yeeees, Dawn?"

REVIEW ENTRY id 123584

ADD NAME Dawn

"She didn't throw anything at me, princess," the pegasus inside the cell sighs, dripping water all over the floor while trying to wring out as much as possible with his hooves, "She just has trouble coordinating all seven of her legs. Don't worry, I'm used to it now."

SCANNING

ADD DATABASE ENTRY

Species: Pegasus / M

Primary color: white

Secondary color: gold

Cutie Mark: img_959_rook

Standing: unfriendly

Threat Level: below average

Name: N/A

Status: prisoner

Measurements: N/A

SAVING MEASUREMENTS... success

Damage Type: Physical(above average)

Notes: wings of above average size;

Celestia's eyes go wide and a sadistic smile unparalelled by even the most evil dictators Equestria has ever seen slowly grows on her face.

"Twilight, I think I've found our caretaker."

"What? Wait, what?" both Twilight and Dawn stare at the princess, each one shaking for a different reason.

"You wanted our friend here to learn about ponies so why doesn't he start at the bottom and work his way up?"

"I," Twilight bites her lip, humming, "don't see why not. Dawn?"

"Yes?" the earthpony squeaks and trips over a mop while backing away, planting her rump on the floor.

"Are you willing to take care of our friend here?"

INPUT Attention; target Twilight; subtype curious

ERROR 529: Data type not descriptive enough.

INPUT Twilight looking at me

ACTION Tilt head

"W-what is it-he? I mean what do you want me to do?"

INPUT Dawn nervous

ACTION Boop nose

"EEK! It's cold!"

"Hey, at least the bucket of bolts likes you," the prisoner snickers.

INPUT prisoner examination

ACTION Boop nose

ERROR 39: Action not permitted by target

"Don't bother," the prisoner comments, swatting my hoof away with his wing, and turns to Celestia, "Did you make a husk? That's a new low, princess, one even lower than what your sister-"

"Foalnapping is still a crime, Icy Gaze," Celestia explains calmly, "No matter the circumstances. Speaking of circumstances, how do you know about husks? I don't remember you reporting anything connected to them after your parole mission ended."

"You sent me into the Griffon Empire on a freaking mirror world combat warship and you graciously added a group of technicians and soldiers. Of course I was curious after seeing the difference between our cargo airships and the Lightbtringer."

"Mirror world?" asks Dawn, carefully scanning the floor for anything that might make her slip or trip.

"You remember the guys who invaded Crystal Empire and later took Canterlot and-"

"Icy," Celestia hisses, "That's not supposed to be public knowledge."

"Oh please," Icy Gaze rolls his eyes, "Are you going to tell her it's a state secret or whatever nonsense you blinded the public with?"

Trying the patience of the solar princess can't be healthy but the pegasus doesn't seem to care whatsoever. Too much knowledge is a very dangerous thing.

"All right," Celestia rubs her temples, "But just because you are as close to the Royal Guard as one can be without actually being one, Dawn, and because the annoying prisoner there would tell you anyway just to spite me for his fate. Our world is connected to a world that is geographically same as ours but with some differences in politics and technology. They have sacrificed their connection with nature for heavy advances and innovations in other fields. They are currently our tentative allies, that's all you need to know. The mechanical friend here is Twilight's invention based on their technology and she wants him to walk around and... see things for himself."

"Oh, okay," Dawn scratches her head, "What am I supposed to do then?"

INPUT Dawn circling around me

ACTION None

ERROR unmarked/new: Inactivity causes ponies to be uncomfortable

ACTION Vocalize

"Assistance required?" I ask.

"AAH! It can talk?"

"He," Twilight pauses, "can do a lot of things and we'd like you to let him follow you during your duties. Starting now, actually. Bye!"

At a meteoric speed, Twilight starts walking away, followed by Celestia.

"High one!" Twilight raises her hoof at the end of the corridor and Celestia hits it with hers.

They realize they're still within earshot and, mainly, sight of us.

"Ehm, go about your duties!" Celestia opens the door leading out of the dungeons and slams it when both Twilight and her leave.

"Do you want to go outside this evening?" Dawn asks Icy, "I asked one of the guards where the shackles were and nopony uses those anyway."

"Sure, I'd love to stretch my wings."

"No flying. Promise me!"

"No problem. It's just annoying having these flyswatters," Icy ruffles his feathers, "in a cell where they reach from one wall to the other."

"So, yeah," Dawn grabs the mop and bucket, "tonight. I'll have to think of something to do with him."

INPUT Icy Gaze inspecting me

ACTION Permit

"You know what?" Icy rubs his chin, "if you can get me some paper and pencils I could get him off your hooves for a day or two."

"You want to draw a picture of him?"

"Yes," Icy sighs, "a picture..."

INPUT Vocal input inconsistent with intent and/or body language

ERROR 986: Wrong estimate

CORRECTING... failed

SEARCH DATABASE: keywords partial, truth, deception

INPUT Icy Gaze is lying

ESTIMATE REASON... failed

ACTION None

OBSERVATION Not enough information

ACTION Pain

INPUT Icy Gaze knocking on chassis

ACTION Focus

"Anypony in there?" Icy asks, knocking on my head.

"No pony present, only connecting cables and processing-"

"Thought so," Icy cuts me off, "Dumber than a husk, definitely."

SEARCH husk

ERROR 404: Entry not found

ACTION acquire information

"What is a husk?" I ask.

"Yeah, and why would it make you doubt princess Celestia?" Dawn adds.

"Aside from the fact that whenever anything went wrong in the past she dropped the responsibility on Twilight and apparently she's learning to do that as well?" Icy chuckles coldly, "You don't have to answer that. Well, husks... I've never seen one with my own eyes but I was told they look similar to the walking typewriter here and are made by ripping a death row prisoner into pieces for pony amusement in an arena somewhere until only their heart remains-"

"That's disgusting!" Dawn gags.

"No idea, griffons say it tastes like chicken. Whatever, when there's only heart and brain left to salvage they put those into a metal construct and let the heart provide energy while the brain gets a special crystal rammed into it which allows others to control it. Apparently, mirror world isn't as peaceful place as ours, not that ours is a paragon in that respect if you know where to look."

"And he's... that?"

INPUT Dawn; curious examination

INPUT Icy Gaze; chest knocking and horn prodding

ACTION Vocalize

IMPROVEMENT limit alphabet use for easier character check... success

ACTION vocalize

"No damage done. Examination permitted."

"I don't think so," Icy rubs his temples and knocks on my forehead again, "Hey, bucket, what are you?"

LOAD DATABASE ENTRY

Species: construct / M

Primary color: grey

Secondary color: N/A (no mane/tail fur present)

Cutie Mark: N/A

Standing: excellent

Threat Level: N/A

COMPARE AVERAGE PONY STATISTICS... success

Threat Level: above average

Name: N/A

Status: PI

Measurements: N/A

SAVING MEASUREMENTS... success

Damage Type: Physical(high)

Notes: add magical capabilities (Twilight); drop off in Canterlot (Twilight); add prototype wings when they stop exploding (Twilight); self

"Ponyficial Intelligence. Made by Twilight Sparkle. Observing."

"I meant what are you good for? Designation, role, reason for existence."

SEARCH role

WIDE SEARCH... no result

"Entry not found. Attributes - high mobility, stamina, damage resistance, growing computing power."

"No prisoner sacrificed on a blood altar to dark gods?"

"No."

"Ehm," Dawn sqeaks, "I-I have to clean the other cells. Do you mind coming with me, mister... machine?"

REVIEW ENTRY id 123584

SET STANDING friendly

REVIEW ENTRY id 123585

SET STANDING neutral

INPUT Dawn; request

ACTION vocalize

"Following."

"Nice, now you have something to stop that mop from tripping you all the time," Icy snickers at Dawn who blushes, "See you when you're done, little filly."

"Remember - no flying!"

"And no knocking out a clueless guard," Icy whistles innocently, "Got it."

Dawn closes and locks the cell door.

"Isn't he dreamy?" she asks the empty air...

...or me?

COMPARE Dawn; looking at me... failure

ACTION vocalize

EXTRAPOLATE answer

SEARCH dream

"Query target? Looked fully awake."

"What? Nevermind, I was just talking to myself-"

ACTION sigh

"-heh, cute noise. Can you play some music as well?"

"Subroutine not found."

"Too bad. Oh well, grab the bucket and let's finish the rest of the cells off."

OBSERVATION Database growing too quickly

ACTION pain

DAMAGE REPORT... 26%

ENERGY BALANCE... -68%

ACTION slow processing down

"Phew! We're done," Dawn wipes the sweat from her forehead, "How was your first day at work?"

One door remains, a large double door at the end of the long and winding hallway.

"Bucket balancing efficiency up by 13 percent. Weapon type - polearm - proficiency up by 3 percent. Successful prediction of your fall up by 73 percent."

"Oh, well, ehm, at least somepony had a good afternoon," Dawn rubs her bruised legs, "I don't know why but things just keep getting in my way."

SCANNING...

ANALYSIS Dawn; motion anomaly

RESULTS lack of focus; poor peripheral vision; ocular aid recommended

"Concentration exercise. Glasses."

"What? Well, I have been thinking about Icy a little too much. I just get all giddy when he's around. You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"

SEARCH CONNECTION giddy, male, female, lack of focus

"Search results point to affection."

INPUT Dawn; face temperature critical

ACTION apply coolant

"WHY DID YOU POUR THE BUCKET ON ME?" Dawn screams.

REVIEW ENTRY id 123584

SET STANDING hostile

ANALYSIS Dawn; motivation

RESULTS minor armor damage;

ACTION apologize; bow

"Sorry for damaging your armor."

"Armor? Screw armor! I have to finish this, run home now to have a bath, and meet Icy late."

ANALYSIS Icy Gaze;

EXTRAPOLATE schedule

SEARCH prison

"His probable location for this evening will be his cell," I try to be helpful.

"You don't say," Dawn stomps the floor, grumbling to herself, "Stupid machine! Ruining my evening..."

NEW OBJECTIVE raise standing with Dawn

SEARCH pony, mare, status, raise

RESULTS gift; favor; compliment; facial expression

"Apology offering - bucket," I present the item in outstretched hooves, "Your wet mane presents appealing features. Favor request pending."

She blinks and scrunches her nose.

ERROR 471: Communication failure

REVIEW SYNTAX

"I apologize. Wrong assumption. You look pleasing. I offer assistance and a gift bucket."

"Hrrrngh! Say: I'm a stupid paperweight who has just ruined a mare's plans for the evening!"

"I'm a stupid paperweight who has just ruined a mare's plans for the evening."

"Why do I bother?" Dawn sighs to herself, "Just don't do it again, okay?"

REVIEW ENTRY id 123584

SET STANDING neutral

OBJECTIVE raise standing with Dawn

REVIEW... requested values not met

"I offer assistance."

Dawn looks around and leans to me.

"You really mean it?"

"Falsehood subroutine inactive."

"Can you stash the cleaning equipment into the third floor storeroom?"

SEARCH Canterlot castle floor plan

"Fully capable."

"Epic!" yells Dawn, trotting through the hallway already, "Mop the wet floor, put the stuff there, and you're forgiven."

SET STANDING Dawn; friendly

ACTION vocalize

EMERGENT ACTION expression change

"Success!" I smile to myself.

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