“Really? That’s the best you can come up with?”
“Really? That’s the best you can come up with?”
“That’s about the gist of it.”
Lucky reached into his saddlebags, and took out a simple metal box with a red button. When he pressed it, they began to descend down into the enormous Torchwood Hub. Lucky stepped off the platform at the bottom, followed by Silver, and activated the lift again to take it back to the ground level. Lucky walked over to his own computer, and put the headset back on.
“Hey there, Jack. Sorry, had to handle something outside,” Lucky apologized.
“It’s alright, you didn’t really miss anything. We’re still waiting on your word for which boat to take,” Jack replied through the headphones.
“I’m still waiting on the computer. Hang on, we may have a way to speed this up,” Lucky said.
Starting on the 26th, I will be almost completely unavailable for much of the summer. I may make an occasional post, but active participation will be unlikely. I’ve got a summer camp to work at, with few breaks and one Wi-Fi hotspot.
The two guards glanced at Jack with a curious expression, then back to Shining Armor. A new team?
“Glad to hear they’ve passed their training. Though honestly, I’m not too surprised to hear about Nurse Redheart. In time, I know she’ll be ready,” he nodded, trotting towards him. Saluting the guards, he excused himself and Jack for the time being.
“Now then, which way to the base and how will we be travelling there?” That was something he still didn’t know about. The location of the base. The training had been on his mind since the moment his team left, and it would be nice to see everypony once again. And with things being quiet, he knew that it was time to prepare himself for the oncoming storm. That rift wouldn’t be silent for long.
“The location is classified,” Jack replied, smirking slightly to the guards. “It’s not far out into the snow, we can get there on hoof. I’ll lead you to it.”
Jack turned, and began walking out of the castle. He made sure Shining Armor followed behind him as they stepped out into the streets of the Empire. The presence of their Prince caused many of the Crystal Ponies to stop what they were doing and wait for him to pass.
They soon arrived at the edge of the climate shield, snow built up just beyond the border. Several tracks in the snow could be seen. Jack pulled out a transparent blue orb, inside which could be seen machinery. Jack stepped out into the snow.
“This particular device covers up tracks in snow, sand, dirt, whatever,” he explained.
The orb glowed, and the tracks that he and his agents had made vanished. They followed the tracks, concealing them along the way with the orb, until they arrived at a large metal hatch that had obviously been covered in snow until a few minutes ago. Jack opened it up, and started to climb with with Shining Armor.
It was a long climb down, in fact. When they arrived at the bottom, several electric lights had been turned on, though dim. They illuminated a short hallway. When they got through the hallway, they were finally in the true base of Torchwood.
Jack and Shining both saw a more brightly-lit room. A round table was in the center of the room, with enough seats for a dozen ponies. Computers were set up around the table, one at each chair. A sign above a metal door to their right said, in faded letters, “The Vault”. A doorway to their left lead down to the small infirmary. At the back of the room was a tell spire, reaching up to the ceiling some 40’ above them. It seemed almost alive with technology, a yellow light running up the height and flashing lights along the sides. A set of stairs lead down to a deeper floor.
Around the room, one could see the new members of Torchwood, all coming to attention when their prince entered the room. Jack smiled, and pointed to each of them in turn.
“Cirrus is to be the head of Torchwood. He has all the leadership skills necessary for the role. Swiftwing is the second-in-command, and will take over should Cirrus become unable to perform. Dawn Shine showed an excellent understanding of computers, so I’ve assigned her to become Torchwood’s primary mission control. Steel Hoof shall be your engineer, as he is most fit to experiment on the alien technology that may come through. Redheart, of course, is the team’s medic. Sand Harvest is small and quick-witted, useful skills should the team ever need a scout.”
Lucky nodded as he stepped onto the block, now hidden from the prying eyes of those around them.
“You’re pretty sharp, kid. Before we go down, though, care to guess why this block was made into the elevator?” he challenged.
Lucky sighed.. This kid was stubborn. Well, it wasn’t like he’d remember anything after the retcon, and he seemed smart enough to avoid getting in the way.
“Fine, but go where I say, do what I say, and don’t touch anything I don’t allow you to,” he said. “Come with me.”
She walked out of the shop to lead Silver to the “guest entrance” on the streets. He made sure not to get too far ahead when approaching the perception filter on the pavement, and he gestured for Silver to step on first.
“Just step right onto that block and don’t move.”
The two guards who remained stationed near the throne were suddenly surprised by the stallion’s appearance. It was one they never saw before, especially since there was no magic involved. At first, they glanced towards one another, just to be sure they were seeing the same thing. But instincts kicked in after the shock had settled, one stepping towards Jack.
“What business do you have with Prince Shining?” he asked with a rather serious tone in his voice. Of course there would be visitors for Shining, but none that would simply teleport themselves into a room unannounced.
Meanwhile, Shining Armor was outside on the balcony, taking a moment to calm himself with the soft breeze that blew from the west. A hint of the arctic coldness blended with the atmosphere of the capital made for a rather crisp breeze to blow by. The sound of the guard’s voice, though, would pull him away and return his attention to reality. Turning back to the throne room, Shining was surprised to see Jack.
“Jack, is that you?” he questioned, stepping into the throne room while the two guards saluted their Prince. Sure enough, he was able to recognize his with ease. “Well I’ll be…you’ve come back.”
“It’s been a while, Prince,” Jack said. He gave him a quick salute. “Your team has returned. No casualties or major injuries during training, but Redheart still has a ways to go with a gun before she can go into the field properly. Two of my agents are escorting them to their new base to get it online as we speak. Would you like to join us there?”
Normally, he would refrain from referencing Torchwood business in company, but considering that the company was the royal guard, and what the new Torchwood may get up to, he didn’t mind much.
((This does not take place at the same time as my “Berry is Missing” arc, which I am still waiting on a reply for.))
Two months had come and gone. Jack, Lucky, and Colgate were accompanying the six former recruits on the train ride to the Crystal Empire. They carried their luggage under the seats, though they were heavier with some equipment they’d need to get the old Torchwood base up and running.
When they pulled into the Empire’s train station, Jack was the first to leap off. He turned to address the others as they stood at attention.
“Alright. Lucky, Colgate, get to the Hub and get the Network online. Getting communications running is the most important part,” he ordered. “I’m going to see Prince Shining Armor. I have a feeling he’d like to see the base, as well.”
As the others turned and headed off towards the tundra outside the climate shield, Jack took off running towards the palace in the center of the city. Well, actually, to a private spot where he activated a teleporter. He zapped himself straight outside of the throne room, startling the guards.
“Hello. I’m here to see your Prince,” he greeted.
“What I told you about the workshop was true. It’s been blown up. The emergency team cleared most of the rubble, but the site’s been sectioned off until further notice,” Lucky said. He didn’t show anything on his face when Silver gave his theories. “I can give you directions, but I have work to do.”