A/N: Full Summary
The Warehouse has moved once again. Shut down and packed out. As always, it reopens. But where?
Ponyville, of course! A new location means new management, and new management means new agents. A whole new world means a whole bunch of new artifacts to track down, catalog, and store.
Meet Rainbow Dash and Ditzy Doo, the new agents. Hoof-picked by Princess Luna and ready to be trained by the venerable Doctor Whooves. Sorta.
The new agents have no clue what they're getting into, but that's not unusual. With a whole new world inside the one they thought they knew before, trouble and adventure await around every corner.
Set in an alternate, technological Equestria. Events followed almost exactly in the show up to the point of the third season, which is where this story is set in.
Ponyville, 2:30 PM
A flash of rainbow sped through the sky, followed by a shout of exhilarated joy. The rainbow streak continued through the air, swerving through clouds, around buildings, and finally, straight up into the air. It continued it's speedy ascent until the town below was just a tiny speck on the ground. As it reached the apex of it's climb, the streak slowed, just enough to reveal the furiously beating wings and toned muscles of a rainbow haired pegasus mare. As she curved herself for her descent, her wings stopped beating, and for one heart-stopping second, she hovered in the air, time seemed to slow, and all that could be heard was her labored breathing. Not a moment later, gravity took hold, time resumed it's course, and sound returned to the world around her. The mare began to fall, unimpeded, towards the ground far below.
As the mare began to descend speedily towards the ground, she curved her wings in against her cyan body, put her forelegs out in front of her, and narrowed her form. With decreased air resistance, she began to pick up speed, the town coming back into perspective, enlarging with each passing second. As speed increased, the air around the mare's body began to compress, forming a visible shield around her. The mare felt the familiar pressure of the sound barrier, and she knew that if she did not do something soon, she would hit the ground at speeds well surpassing Mach One.
As she felt her impending doom coming closer and closer, she took another deep breath, and just as she felt herself beginning to press through the sound barrier, she flicked her wings open, fanning them out to catch the wind, and pulled her hooves in against her chest, taking herself out of the descent and sending her off at a 90 degree angle, just above the buildings of the town.
As the thrill-seeking mare had been performing her reckless maneuver, a crowd of ponies had gathered below. The mare in the air was none other than the famous Rainbow Dash, bearer of the Element of Loyalty and long-time Wonderbolt hopeful; and these were her adoring fans, come out to watch her aerial expertise and daring stunts in action. As she completed her maneuver, the crowd went wild, cheers and whistles filling the once quiet air of the town.
Among the cheering fans was another mare, also a pegasus, with unkempt blonde hair and a grey coat. She watched as the rainbow mare sped away across the sky, stars in her off-kilter yellow eyes. A delayed cheer sprang from her lips, causing another short yelling session from the crowd around her. She seemed to suddenly remember where she was, looking around from side to side with a sense of urgency. As she saw the bulging saddlebags on her sides, she calmed again, reassured that she had not forgotten what she was supposed to remember.
This mare was Ditzy Doo, a mailmare for the Ponyville Mail Service, well known for her clumsiness and odd, yet endearing, personality and behavior. Like the others gathered around her, she was a big fan of Rainbow Dash, and she had stopped in the middle of her rounds to watch the spectacle in the sky, a spectacle that seemed to have ended. With another sudden jolt of remembrance, Ditzy pulled herself away from the crowd, and trotted off to continue her job, albeit in the completely wrong direction.
These two mares; one a completely unremarkable mailmare, the other a world-renowned hero, would soon, entirely unbeknownst to them, have an opportunity thrust upon them that neither would have ever expected.
Ponyville Outskirts, 5:00 PM
As the day passed by and the two mares went along with their lives, a shadow loomed in the underdeveloped outskirts of town, near the dangerous forest known as the Everfree. This shadow belonged to one of the largest, and despite it's weathered look, newest buildings in the township of Ponyville; a building known only as Warehouse 14. Only two weeks before, the area occupied by the warehouse was an empty and abandoned lot. Now it was the home of one of the most dangerous and well-guarded secrets of all time.
In the shadow of the looming front wall, two ponies met. One was tall and regal, a midnight blue mare with flowing hair filled with the sparkle of stars, wearing a black cloak with it's hood down. The other was a shorter, though by no means small, somewhat disheveled brown stallion with an air of eccentricity about him. He wore what looked to be the top half of a suit, complete with a dress shirt and tie.
"Princess Luna," The brown stallion bowed as he spoke, "As always, it is a pleasure to see you."
"Yes, yes, Doctor, please do cut to the chase, as they say. I am already behind schedule." The mare, who was the Princess Luna to whom the stallion had addressed, said, waving a hoof slightly in front of her and glancing up at the darkening sky as she spoke.
"Right, always straight to business with you royalty types," The stallion, seemingly known as Doctor, muttered, shaking his head and rolling his eyes slightly, before looking back at the Princess, "I have the letters here, each addressed to the ponies that you chose. I really hope you've made the right decision with these two." He passed over two white letters, sealed with crimson wax and pressed with the symbol of a small star in the inner curve of a crescent moon.
"Please, Whooves, do not question my choices," Luna warned, narrowing her eyes as she plucked the letters from the stallion's hoof with her magic, "I selected them for a reason, and while it may not be clear to you right now, you must trust that I know what I'm doing."
The stallion, Doctor Whooves, bristled at this, ears flattening against his head, eyes flashing dangerously. He seemed about to offer a retort, but the moment passed as quickly as it came. He calmed, body relaxing again, and lowered his head slightly, rubbing the bridge of his nose with one of his front hooves.
"You're right, Princess, forgive me." He let out a deep sigh. "I'm just tired. As always, you know best."
"Thank you, Doctor. I... understand how you're feeling. It has been a hectic couple of weeks for everyone." Luna tried to reassure the Doctor, pausing for a moment to watch him until he looked back up at her. "You should get some rest. You have a long day tomorrow, and these two will be counting on you." She tucked the two letters into her cloak as she spoke.
The Doctor nodded and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
"I will see you soon, then. Goodnight."
Without waiting for a reply, the Doctor turned and walked off towards the looming walls of Warehouse 14, leaving the Princess standing alone, looking after him, before she too went on her way.
The Doctor paused outside the front wall of the warehouse, dwarfed by it's immense size, listening for any unusual sounds. Hearing none, he continued along the wall until he came to a slot in the concrete, with two little lights above it, one glowing red, the other darkened green. He reached into his suit with his muzzle, and pulled out a key-card attached to a string. He slid it into the slot and waited as the bar-code on it's underside was read by the internal sensors. With a beep, the red light flashed off, and the green light flashed on. The Doctor removed the key-card from the slot and dropped it from his mouth, letting it disappear back into his suit with an audible zip.
A loud, deep groan sounded from within the building, and a door swung slowly open from it's well disguised hiding place in the wall, revealing a brightly lit entryway. The Doctor stepped inside onto the grated floor. He turned around quickly to face the door again, locating a small number pad that was mounted on the wall next to the door and entered a small string of numbers, pressing the buttons with his nose. As soon as he finished, the door groaned loudly again and swung shut, just a bit faster than it had opened. It closed with a hiss and a loud, resonating clunk as it locked securely.
The Doctor turned back around, taking in the short hallway. It was large and circular, tall enough for three ponies to stand on each others' backs, and wide enough for three ponies to stand shoulder to shoulder. The grated walkway, however, was only wide enough for one pony at a time, separated as it was from the curved walls by several feet of space, and elevated above the actual floor by at least a foot. Every four feet along the hallway were thick pipes that ran from ceiling to floor, painted with little exclamation marks enclosed by red triangles. Thinner pipes with the same markings led parallel with the walkway from beneath, and similar pipes ran along the ceiling.
After a quick glance around, the Doctor continued on his way down the hallway, making sure to stop at and inspect each one of the large pipes before moving on. As he finally came to the door at the end of the hallway, he inserted a key into the door's deadbolt, twisted, and pushed open the smaller, lighter door. As he stepped through into the next room, he paused and looked back over his shoulder, down the hallway, and sighed one last time. Then he turned, walked through the door, and let it fall closed behind him.
Rainbow Dash Residence, 6:00 PM
As the sun finally sunk below the horizon, plunging the world into a moonlit paradise, a thoroughly exhausted Rainbow Dash returned to her home. Located in the clouds, the aptly named Cloudominium was a lavish palace of a home, with pillars of the finest clouds supporting rainbow waterfalls and tethered platforms and balconies. Rainbow Dash landed on the front steps, ready to get inside and get some rest after her long day of training.
The front doors swung open with the slightest touch from Dash's hoof, and she dragged herself across the threshold, using her wings to keep herself from falling over. The interior of the Cloudominium was less lavish than the exterior, built from more sturdy materials than clouds and plainly furnished. A mare with Dash's busy scheduled had little time for relaxing at home, and therefor she did not feel the need to buy anything fancy, and there were more than enough places for the rare visitor or two to sit comfortably if the occasion arose.
Dash made her way through the foyer and into the kitchen. If she was to make it up the stairs to her private rooms, she would need to get a small snack, to keep her from completely collapsing long enough to get to her bed. With this in mind, Dash removed a glass bottle of milk and wingfull of flowers for dinner. Not wanting to spend more time than she absolutely needed to, Dash ate quickly. She turned and stored the rest of the milk back in the fridge, and closed the door, turning to go back into the foyer and up the stairs.
As she turned away from the closed refrigerator door, she came face to face with Princess Luna. Dash jumped in shock, and she almost screamed. She had not heard the princess come inside her house, nor had she heard her enter the kitchen. Standing behind and to the left of Luna was a large dark-grey furred stallion, standing taller than the Princess herself, wearing what looked to be a business suit, who wore a stern and cautious look on his face. If Dash had not been so surprised and taken a closer look, she would have realized that the pony behind Luna was not a stallion at all, but was in fact a mare of unusually large size and stature.
"P-Princess Luna! W-what are you doing here?" Dash asked, taking a step back from the Princess so she wasn't right in her face.
"I'm sorry to have frightened you, Rainbow Dash." Luna said, trying her best to comfort the blue mare in front of her with her words alone. "I am here to simply deliver a letter to you."
"It's... It's fine." Dash finally calmed her breathing, taking in a few deep breaths and smoothing her mane with one of her hooves. "Why... I'm sorry... Why didn't you just mail it like normal?"
"The letter is of a... personal matter. One that commands the utmost of security. I could not risk it not arriving or falling into the wrong hooves." The Princess explained. As she did, she floated one of the two sealed envelopes from her cloak, presenting it in front of Dash, her dark blue magic suspending it in the air. "I need you to understand that this letter cannot leave your home. In fact, you should burn it as soon as you have read it."
"Is... Is this something to do with the Elements of Harmony?" Dash asked, reaching out one of her wings to grab the letter from the grasp of Luna's magic.
Luna released the letter as Dash took it, and then shook her head. "No, this is something completely different. Your friends cannot know of it. Not at this point in time, that is."
Dash gulped and nodded. "G-Got it. No telling anypony. No problem at all."
Luna raised an eyebrow at this but said nothing of it. "Thank you, Rainbow Dash, your continued secrecy is appreciated. I must be going now, I have some other business to attend to before I must return to Canterlot."
"Goodbye, Princess." Dash set the letter down on the counter next to her as she said her farewell, and bowed slightly to Luna. "You can count on me."
"I knew I could, your loyalty is why you were chosen." Luna nodded at Dash and turned, walking out of the kitchen and disappearing into the darkness of the room beyond. Her bodyguard waited until Luna was in the foyer before turning and following her, giving Dash no notice as she left.
Dash watched the entrance to her kitchen until she heard the door to her home close with a soft click before turning to the letter on the counter. She carefully lifted it in one of her wings and examined the seal. Other than the waxen imprint, there was no markings on the outside of the letter. Dash shrugged before using her other wing to break the seal and open the envelope.
Inside was a neatly thrice-folded piece of paper. Dash carefully opened the paper and scanned the contents of the letter, her eyes growing wider with each line she read. As she finished reading, the paper dropped from her wings, floating gracefully down to lay open on the ground, the words facing up.
Ditzy Doo Family Residence, Ponyville, 6:30 PM
The house of Ditzy Doo, the absentminded mailmare with a heart of gold, was quite plain. It was a single story house, almost 1000 square feet, with a small yard out front and a small yard out back. The outside of the house was painted a cheery light blue with a single door painted grey. Two windows looked out on the yard and street, one on each side of the door, both of which had their curtains drawn. The faint light from the lamps inside the house filtered through them and out into the darkened air.
Ditzy had been home for almost an hour. She had finished her rounds at five o'clock and picked up her daughter from school a quarter past. Her daughter was Dinky Doo, a young light-purple unicorn with her mother's hair and eyes. The pair had arrived at home, and after a meal and some free time to do homework and play, Ditzy had put Dinky to bed.
Ditzy had just finished reading Dinky a bedtime story and had decided that she would spend some time reading before she put herself to bed. She walked from her daughters room near the back of the house, through the hallway past her own bedroom and the second bathroom, and out into her living room. The living room was situated in the same large room as the dining area and the kitchen, and was nearest to the front of the house. There were two couches, one long with three separate cushions and one small with only two, set up in an 'L' shape, acting as a barrier that separated the living room from the dining area. In addition to the couches was a low coffee table, an end table that sat between the two couches, and two lamps, both of which were on.
Ditzy climbed up onto the smaller of the two couches, and reached over the hoof-rest with her wing, grabbing a small book from the end table. The book was the latest novel in the adventure series that starred Daring Do. Ditzy had loved the series ever since she had learned that the author was a distant relative of hers, and she liked to imagine herself in the fictional pegasus' place, going on adventures and collecting rare artifacts from times long past. She opened the book to the last page she was on and began to read.
Minutes went by as Ditzy read. As a young filly she had a hard time reading because of her eyes, but as the years passed she slowly got used to it and was eventually able to read just as well as any other pony her age. Despite this, she still took several minutes longer than most per page. Intent as she was with her reading, she did not hear her door open and close, nor did she notice as Princess Luna and her large escort came into her living room.
Luna sat down on the larger couch across from Ditzy and waited. As seconds went by, and then a minute, she realized that Ditzy wasn't going to notice her for quite some time unless she said something. Not wanting to scare the postmare, she spoke quietly.
"What book are you reading?"
Without looking up, Ditzy replied simply; "Daring Do and the Temple of Aurastys."
Luna blinked, unsure if the mare on the couch across from her was aware she was there or if she had replied out of habit. She had her answer a moment later.
Ditzy realized that somepony had asked what she was reading and that it was not the voice of her daughter, whom she had put to bed half an hour before, that had spoken. With a start, Ditzy looked up from her book and when she saw the princess and the imposing mare beside her - she had noticed that the large pony standing off to the side of Luna was indeed a mare, a skill Ditzy had somehow acquired during her career as a mailmare - she jumped up, falling off the couch and throwing her book up into the air. Ditzy landed in a heap on the floor next to the couch and the book fell open on top of her head.
Ditzy quickly stood up, brushing herself off with her wings. "Oh my gosh! Princess Luna!" She exclaimed, the book still open on her head. "When did you get here?"
"Just about a minute ago." Luna said as she activated her magic, levitating the book from on top of Ditzy's head and closing it, putting it to rest on the coffee table. "I'm sorry to have startled you. It seems that is a common occurrence today."
"Oh, no, please, I'm the one who should be sorry, I didn't notice you, I just get so focused on reading I don't-" Ditzy cut herself off, closing her mouth before she began rambling, and took a few breaths, counting to ten in her head to compose herself. After a moment she spoke again. "Would you like something to drink? Eat?"
Luna watched the mare before her patiently before replying; "No, thank you, Ditzy Doo. I am not here for a social call. I'm here to deliver you a letter."
"Deliver a letter to me?" Ditzy looked uncertainly at the Princess. "That's usually my job..."
"So it is. But this is a very important letter, meant only for your... eyes." Luna said, pausing just slightly as she looked at Ditzy's face. "It's a matter of utmost security. Don't let anypony else know about it. In fact, I suggest you burn it after you read it."
"W-well... I guess I could do that." Ditzy said. A look of consternation passed her features as she thought for a moment. "But... if it's so important, why are you giving it to me? I'm not really known as somepony who handles responsibility well."
"Aren't you, though?" Luna asked gently, getting up from the couch to stand in front of Ditzy, looking down on her.
Ditzy slowly looked up into the Princess' eyes.
"You are a single mother, caring singlehoofedly for her daughter while working a full time job, despite a minor disability. You care for and deliver the mail of a quarter of Ponyville's townsponies with rarely an incident. If you are not responsible, then I don't know who is." Luna looked down at Ditzy, right into her eyes, making sure she understood what she was saying. Unnoticeable to the mare in front of her, her horn glowed just slightly with magic. "I chose you personally for this. If I did not think you could handle it, I would not have come here to you."
Ditzy nodded as the princess finished, her eyes watering slightly with tears as the slightly enchanted words of the diarch sank into her mind, bolstering her confidence in herself. "Th-thank you, Princess, that means a lot."
Luna only nodded. She reached into her cloak with her magic and levitated out the letter she had come to deliver, along with a handkerchief, and gave them both to Ditzy.
Ditzy grabbed the items with her wings, putting the letter on top of the book on the coffee table and drying her eyes with the handkerchief.
"Now, I must be going back to Canterlot. Read the letter, and tell nopony about it's contents, not even your daughter." Luna said, stepping away from Ditzy as she spoke, moving to stand beside her bodyguard. Before she left, she turned her head to look back at the mare who was still drying her eyes, and said; "Remember that I trust you, and that I believe in you."
With that, she walked to the door, opened it, and went out, the large mare following a few feet behind her, paying Ditzy no mind as she left.
Ditzy slowly lowered the handkerchief from her face and sat down softly on the couch again. She dropped the handkerchief on the table and picked up the letter, breaking the seal and unfolding the paper within.
As she read each line, she became more excited about her future prospects, but at the same time she still held doubts in the back of her mind. As she finished reading the letter, she dropped it on the coffee table beside the handkerchief and book. Then she got up, turned off the lamps, and walked out of the living room, through the hallway, and into her bedroom.
She didn't leave it until morning.
Dear Warehouse 14 Agent,
You have been chosen to take part in one of the most secretive, dangerous, and amazing missions in the entire universe. You have been chosen specifically by the Council of Regents, headed by Princess Luna, for your skills and qualities. You have been extensively checked and vetted, watched and recorded, to determine if you are able to hold this position. With much deliberation, you have passed and been chosen. It is now up to you to move the process forward.
The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to seek out and contain dangerous and mysterious artifacts from around Equestria, and the world. These artifacts must be gathered, cataloged, and kept safe from the hooves, claws, and hands of those who would use them for their own personal gain. This is where the Warehouse, and it's agents, comes in.
The Warehouse, as a whole, has been around for centuries, however this is the first time that it has arrived in our dimension. Because of this, there is much work to be done. The current Warehouse, Warehouse 14, is located in your hometown of Ponyville, on the outskirts near the Everfree Forest. You'll know it when you see it, believe me.
If you decide to accept this call to action, you are to meet at Warehouse 14 no later than 8:00 AM the day after you receive this letter. You will be trained in every capacity that you will be working in.
If you do not think you can handle this job after your designated orientation and training day, you will be allowed to leave after signing a contract not to say anything to anyone, pony or otherwise, about what you heard or saw.
I can't promise you that this job will be an easy one. I can't promise that you will love every second of it. I can't promise that you will survive it. But the one thing I can promise you, is that if you do choose to accept the mission and all the dangers that come with it, a whole new world will open up to you. A world of adventure, intrigue, danger (and paperwork), and ceaseless wonder.
Until we meet.
Your new boss,