Apple Bloom fell back onto her rear, wiping the sweat from her forehead with one hoof. Spitting out the screwdriver she was holding in her mouth, she exclaimed, “I think she’s ready, Sweetie Belle!”
Sweetie’s only reply was a grunt of effort as her meagre magic lifted a magnifying glass towards her. Peering through the glass, the young unicorn took in every aspect of the project she and the other Cutie Mark Crusaders had been working on for a week now. “Hmm… everything seems to be alright. You’re sure you got everything right, Apple Bloom? Our sisters and their friends have already been suspicious about the stuff we gathered; we won’t get another shot.”
“I checked and rechecked, Sweetie!” A momentary annoyance washed over Apple Bloom’s face, but she was too exhausted to maintain it. “She’s as sturdy as this here treehouse, and everything’s hooked up the way you said to. If this can even work, it will!”
Nodding both to Apple Bloom and to herself, Sweetie turned her attention to the ceiling and the newly-installed skylight. “Scootaloo! It’s your turn!” she yelled up over the dark cloud that floated right above the treehouse.
Scootaloo’s magenta-framed head popped over the side. “Ugh, finally! Time for the good part! Uh, you two might want to step back a bit… or a lot!” Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle quickly scooted away from their project, drawing a nod from their friend in the clouds. “Alright! Time to kick things up a notch! Bam!”
Kicking clouds to draw lightning from them was challenging to the best of pegasi, but Scootaloo proved herself a natural with her first attempt at doing so, producing a solid bolt of electricity without suffering any feedback. The lightning was drawn to the rod Sweetie had “borrowed” from Twilight Sparkle, feeding the electricity into their project. Various displays and other doodads hooked to the project overloaded as the energy was too much for them to bear; it wasn’t a terrible loss, since the three fillies had no idea what most of them actually did.
After the figurative fireworks were over, Scootaloo peeked back over the side of her cloud. “Did it work? Did it work!?”
Sweetie Belle watched the sheet covering their project for a few more seconds before shaking her head sadly. “No… looks like this crusade was another bust…”
“Wait, Sweetie, look!”
Apple Bloom pointed urgently at the shrouded figure, which the others could see was now slowly moving. The sheet shifted around as their project struggled to get to its feet, sliding off as it stood. As the sheet fell, it revealed a shiny exterior of white plastic, only partly covering the series of motors and joints that allowed the project to move. Eyelids flew open to reveal cameras, allowing the project to look around.
Its mouth opened, and in a tinny mechanical voice, it stated, “SWEETIE BOT MARK ONE NOW ONLINE. INPUT COMMANDS OR HUGS.”
Sweetie gasped in awe. “We did it, girls! It’s alive! It’s alive!”
“It’s a robot; it’s not really alive, y’know?” Apple Bloom commented, drawing a dark look from Sweetie.
“Girls, you’re forgetting what’s really important here: our cutie marks!” Scootaloo exclaimed as she floated down from her cloud. “Flank check!”
The three fillies presented their flanks in a well-practised move, but unlike every time before, they were thrilled to see that they had discovered what they had sought for so long. Apple Bloom’s flank was adorned with several interlocking gears filling the outline of an apple. Scootaloo’s mark was a cloud bursting with lightning in all directions. And Sweetie Belle’s…
“Is that… a laughing pony?” Apple Bloom asked, her face an inch from Sweetie’s flank as she took a closer look. “It is! But what does that have to do with anything?”
“I just want to know why the pony is wearing a lab coat.” Scootaloo scratched her head. “Or why there’s an explosion behind her.”
Sweetie stuck out her tongue. “Oh, who cares? I finally have my cutie mark!”
“WILL NOPONY INPUT HUGS?” Sweetie-Bot intoned, having been entirely forgotten by her three creators.
A surprising non-shipping entry to this prompt! Heh, this was great though. All three fillies were funny throughout. I loved that they resorted to mad science to get their cutie marks, and I loved even more that it succeeded. Sweetie Belle’s mad scientist cutie mark is great too. This was wonderful from start to finish!