Sweetflank and Harps

by Blueshift

Chapter 1: Harpflank And Sweets Can Never Die!

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Author's Notes:

This was an April Fools 2014 prank, where I took over Arcanium's account and published this story under his name. More details here: http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/305232/new-story-that-you-probably-didnt-see-also-april-fools-stuff-and-blakes-7

The joke was more 'this is written in the style of Blueshift not Arcanium', and in itself is a coherent story that I'm rather proud of.

Metropony City! Mighty skyscrapers towering over the millions of ponies going about their lives on the streets below! Working, playing or just taking in the weather, Metropony bustles as only the big city can. But! All is not well in this equine metropolis! Below the streets lies a threat - a threat to the happiness and friendship of good ponies everywhere! And the name of that threat is rampant socialist government policies!

Yes, socialism. Filthy Rich sneered inwardly as he steeled himself for the task that lay ahead. He had once been living a comfortable, humble existence on just fifty thousand bits a month as a medical insurance broker, but after Pobama came to power and forced in free healthcare, that life came tumbling down.

He spat on the ground at the memory. No, he was not Filthy Rich any more. Filthy Poor was his new name, thanks to the government. Around him Metropony City bustled with the busy hum of ponies doing their daily business, business which no longer included sending him half their pay cheques in return for an insurance policy with an unfeasibly large excess. He owed them nothing. They owed him everything.

He looked across to his once-colleagues, Golden Scale and Don Dinero. Like him they had been brought low. Golden Scale lost everything when Pobama stopped subsidising Equestrian Oil. And Don Dinero's gas business had been crippled when selfish Pobama lifted the ban on environmentally-friendly magic generators. The government said they had to look for more 'pony friendly' ways of making money. And so Filthy Rich did.

"Okay," he shouted, lifting up his magical shotgun and letting slip two blasts into the ceiling. "Everybody stay calm and no-one gets hurt! We just want all your money!" They were in a bank. The smell of wealth was almost overpowering to him, he was dizzy with the anticipation. His co-conspirators bought their weapons to bear on the terrified customers.

"This ain't our fault!" Golden Scale yelled. "It's the government's!"

There were a few nods of agreement amongst the hostages. Any pony worth their salt knows how terrible the government can be. One little filly however had not got the memo. "No!" she squeaked in anger. "You can't rob a bank! That's illegal! Harpflank and Sweets will stop you!"

"Hah!" Filthy Rich struck his hoof out to smack the small pony on the head. "Harpflank and Sweets? Those do-gooders? Don't make me laugh! I've not heard about them for ages, they're probably dead or something!"

"NO! HARPFLANK AND SWEETS CAN NEVER DIE!" Everyone looked up at once at the cry from above, as the mysterious crime-fighting duo of Harpflank and Sweets swung in, covered head to hoof in identity-concealing spandex, Harpflank hoisting her deadly harp and Sweets preparing a round of delicious gob-stoppers to throw. "TIME TO GIVE UP, YOU CRIMINALS!"

They were met with a hail of bullets, and dissolved into pink mist.


"Anyway, so then Tarrant runs into the room, and he's got it all wrong because he's an idiot, and he sees Hayvon and is all 'Blake sold us out!'" And then Blake enters the room, and Hayvon is all 'Blake! Have you betrayed us? Have you betrayed meeee?' and then-"

Bon-Bon sat in the hospital bed, staring up at the ceiling and trying to concentrate on the bleeping of the various machines she was hooked up to rather than the incessant droning of Lyra in the bed next to her. If she had to pay for her healthcare, she would have got a private room, but thanks to Pobama and his free healthcare, she had to share one. "Lyra," she hissed. "Shut up."

Lyra paused for a moment. Then she opened her mouth again. "So all these alarms are going off right, and Blake is all 'Tarrant doesn't understand, I set all this up!' But Hayvon completely misunderstands and thinks she means sets up betraying them so she shoots Blake and there's blood everywhere, and I mean, this is a family TV show and-"

"Right." Bon-Bon painfully moved her neck to the side to allow her to stare at Lyra. "When I asked you what the previous worst experience in your life was, I was expecting to hear a story about, I don't know, the previous worst experience in your life that happened to you. Not a television show for fillies."

"Blake's 7 is serious business!" Lyra rolled over on her bandage-covered side to glower at Bon-Bon.

"Right. Sorry." Bon-Bon wrinkled her nose. "But really, Lyra, what's the worst thing that's happened to you?"

"Okay." Lyra took a breath. "So, Blake staggers forwards and falls into Hayvon's arms, crying out 'Haaaayvon!" and then evil Federations guards storm the base, and shoot all the other main characters dead, and Hayvon's there holding Blake in her hooves and she realises that Blake hadn't betrayed them and she had just killed her best friend, and then she's the last one alive and surrounded by guards who all raise their guns, and then it's silent apart from all the alarms going off and then Hayvon slowly raises her gun and smiles-"

Lyra trailed off. Bon-Bon groaned. "And then what?"

"Nothing!" Lyra yelped. "It just faded to black! That was it! That was the last episode of Blake's 7! They didn't make any more! I waited and I waited, Bon-Bon, but they never did, and I never knew how Hayvon escaped, if she even did! What a way to end a tv show, I was only small, it was the worst moment of my life, I-"

She was interrupted by the flatlining of Bon-Bon's heart monitor.

"Bon-Bon!" she squeaked in alarm, painfully jerking upright to stare across at her friend. She was met with the guilty gaze of Bon-Bon, who had crawled half-out of her bed and was holding the monitor plug in her mouth.

"Yeah, well," Bon-Bon scowled. "I thought I'd just unplug my life-support if you were going to carry on like that, but I guess it turns out I'm better now. Bad luck me."

“Ladies, please!” The two looked up as Nurse Redheart, M.A.R.E’s official medic sauntered into view, pushing a trolley laden with various clipboards, a bowl of fruit, and a gigantic syringe.

“No syringe!” Lyra squeaked in panic. “We’re cured of being shot through with holes, promise!” She looked towards Bon-Bon for confirmation. Bon-Bon just shrugged.

“Our super-suits are laser-proof, radiation-proof and bomb proof,” Bon-Bon sighed. “Someone, somewhere forgot to make them bullet proof.”

“Well, this will cheer you both up!” Nurse Redheart rummaged in her trolley, and to Lyra’s horror pulled out the giant syringe. Then realising her mistake, she pulled out a small pink envelope. “Everyone at M.A.R.E has been worried about you two since your uh, accident! We can’t have our best crime-fighting operatives out of action for too long!”

Lyra snatched at the envelope with her magic and tore it open. Inside was a glossy card, the front of which had a picture of a cheese grater, some flour and an egg. Above it was written: ‘IT’S GRATE YOU ARE BATTER’. “Hahaha,” Lyra broke down in tears, failing to hold back the laughter. “It’s like, a cheese grater! That’s amazing!” The card flew onto the ground in her convulsions and Bon-Bon painfully scooped it up.

“I think Lyra’s sense of humour got mortally wounded in the ‘incident’” she grumbled to Nurse Redheart. “If indeed it ever existed at all.” She thumbed open the card and read aloud. “Dear Harpflank and Sweets, it is good you are not dead, also you are not getting any sick pay so get back to work quickly, love everyone at M.A.R.E.” She threw the card in the direction of Lyra’s bed. “They all signed it, even Carrot Top. At least I assume that big ‘X’ is her signature.”

Lyra’s eyes bulged as she saw the card again. “O-oh heck and the egg and flour is like, batter, and it says ‘batter’ instead of ‘better’…” She collapsed again in fits of giggles.

“Seriously.” Bon-Bon gestured at Lyra. “Nurse Redheart, did something fall out of her? Like, her brain?”

Nurse Redheart just smiled that professional smile nurses use when they inwardly want to stab their patients with an abnormally large syringe. “Nope! And it’s good news, Bon-Bon, both of you are now fine and fit for duty again, with one or two very minor snags.”

“Oh, that’s great!” Bon-Bon gave a stretch and painfully limped out of bed. Her legs started to buckle, but she ignored the pain and remained upright. “I can’t wait to get back to fighting supercriminals again. You’ve done a great job, nurse. I just wish I could go into incredible financial debt to you as a result.”

“I know,” Nurse Redheart sighed. “Ever since Pobama signed in that free healthcare bill we’ve all been suffering. They had to close the hospital’s money-filled swimming pool, you know!”

“That’s awful. Look, let me cut you a cheque for fifty thousand bits, it can be our little secret.” Bon-Bon scrabbled for a piece of paper, before noticing that Lyra had not only gone deadly silent, but was staring at her. “What?” she hissed. “What’s wrong now?”

“Did uh…” Lyra squinted at Bon-Bon. “Did uh, that always used to be there?”

Bon-Bon followed Lyra’s stare, turning round to look at her flank. “Did what – oh my Celestia!” Sitting proudly on her rear was the perfectly proportioned cutie mark of a yellow harp. She whipped the covered off a surprised Lyra, to reveal the image of three wrapped sweets on her friend.

“Yes…” Nurse Redheart looked sheepish. “As I said, a few minor snags. I mean, it was touch and go for a few mi-“

“You swapped our cutie marks?” Bon-Bon started to twitch, eyes bulging as she barely restrained herself from leaping towards Nurse Redheart and using the giant syringe in ways mortal pony had never conceived before. “How – what – why…”

“Hey, c’mon…” Lyra sunk into her sheets. “She said it was touch and go…”

“But…. But…” Bon-Bon continued to stare in disbelief. “We just got shot! How… how does that result in cutie mark translocation?”

Nurse Redheart shrugged. “Look, long and short of it is, I’m not actually a doctor, I’m just a nurse. You get what you pay for. Or rather, don’t. Have a nice day!” She flashed a smile, and then pleasantly trotted out the door.

Lyra gazed at Bon-Bon and then down at her own flank. “Wait. Hang on. This is really bad, isn’t it?”

Bon-Bon just sighed.


The descent to M.A.R.E’s underground headquarters was arduous.

It had been decided at some point to build it deep underground. This had many advantages for a top secretly public-facing defence organisation. Unfortunately due to the sprawling metropolis that was Metropony City, the base had to be built very deep indeed so as not to interfere with the many foundations and underground rail networks that stretched across the depths of the city.

The slow grind of the lift as it travelled downwards was accentuated by the horrendous screeching that was Lyra, diligently trying (and failing) to play the small harp she had brought with her. Bon-Bon gently smacked her face against the side of the lift as it rumbled on, trying to block out the cacophony from her ears.

“Lyra,” she hissed at last through gritted teeth. “Give it a rest will you.” She instantly regretted this as Lyra’s face fell and her bottom lip wobbled.

“Sorry,” Lyra squeaked, winging her hooves slightly. “I just, y’know, thought if I practised, the music might come. I mean, it’s just a cutie mark, right? What am I without my music? Nothing!” She slumped into the corner of the lift.

“Hey, that’s not…” Bon-Bon trailed off. “Well, look on the bright side, that means you get to do whatever it is I do with sweets.” Bon-Bon didn’t really do much with sweets; this was in fact a bit of a bitter pill to swallow.

Lyra sniffled. “Have I really lost it, Bon-Bon? Am I all washed up? Was all that stuff I went through in the past for nothing?” She pushed the harp towards Bon-Bon. “Here, you have a go.”

Bon-Bon hesitantly reached out to the harp, and plucked a few notes. It didn’t sound much better. “There, see?” She smiled. “It’s clearly not your cutie mark!”

“You’re just saying that!” Lyra wrapped a hoof around her eyes in despair. “You just need to practise, or else you’re wasting my cutie mark, and that’s even worse!”

Bon-Bon rolled her eyes. “Lyra, I don’t think-” She was cut off as the lift suddenly thumped to a halt and the doors opened, revealing the high-tech expanse of M.A.R.E headquarters.

The chrome and glass interior stretched for what seemed like miles, with huge steel pylons holding up the hangar-like interior. There was the constant buzz of activity as technicians moved various complex-looking pieces of equipment, both newly invented or captured from the bevvy of super-villains that continually threatened the city. Strung up somewhere in the ceiling was one such piece, the head of the late King Sombra’s personal Crystal Pony mech, the Crystal Emperor, its dead eyes staring down at the goings on below in a sort of frozen despair. When it was salvaged, the idea was that the tech team would dismantle it and use any discoveries to improve M.A.R.E’s own arsenal. Either they had never got around to it or they just liked seeing it up there.

At the lobby of the base, a small trestle table had been set up, with a large cake placed upon it. Or at least the remains of a large cake, all the nicely iced pieces had already been eaten. Badly blown up and half-deflated balloons lazily drifted around it, and a big banner had been erected that proudly said ‘THANKS FOR NOT BEING DEAD, HARPFLANKS AND SWEETS’. A polite round of applause broke out as Lyra and Bon-Bon stepped from the lift.

“Bon-Bon! Lyra!” Commander Derpy gave a quick salute and then returned to her slice of cake. “It’s good to see you up and about after that little… accident thing! Don’t worry, Vinyl Scratch tells me that making the super-suits bulletproof is next on the list!”

“It totally is!” Vinyl nodded. “Well, it’s on the list, somewhere! We’ve just been really busy with all the leftover S.O.M.B.R.A tech that’s still rolling in! Those guys made some crazy stuff.”

“Yeah, but I wish you’d take that big head down,” Octavia mumbled, looking up at the huge, broken crystal mech head that towered over them. She was picking at her slice of cake, clearly eager to get back to whatever it was she actually did at M.A.R.E. Bon-Bon was never quite sure what that was. Derpy did the commanding stuff, Vinyl Scratch did the clever whizzy techy stuff, and Octavia did the… mashing keyboard stuff. Computers. Whatever.

“Also I’m here!” Carrot Top piped up from behind the cake, icing oozing from her mouth. Carrot Top was not one of the leading figures of Equestria’s top crime-fighting organisation, but she did always turn up for cake.

“This is lovely, it really is,” Bon-Bon mumbled without much enthusiasm as she watched Carrot Top hoover up the remains of the icing, leaving a slightly damp spongy mess on the table. “I’d like to get debriefed as quickly as possible, Commander Derpy, and back into the field, I’m sure there’s lots of…”

“Nonsense!” Derpy beamed. “You know, apart from petty crime, it’s been real quiet since you two shut down S.O.M.B.R.A. King Sombra’s dead, his number two is in custody and the rest of his terrorist organisation has fled or gone to ground.

“And there’s no more Crystal Ponies,” Vinyl reached for another slice of cake, and then paused as her hoof came away covered in a suspiciously damp slice. “We’ve had agents scanning the whole of Equestria for any more of those mechs, not a trace. They’ve all been destroyed. Gives us time to do some actual work, eh babe?” She gave Octavia a playful nudge.

“Don’t call me babe,” was all Octavia could mumble. She prodded her slice of cake again as if it was about to move.

“I don’t like it.” Lyra gave her harp a slight hug, and then pushed it away from her as if a traitorous lover. “I’m used to a constant barrage of super villains trying to control the city. First we beat Luna, then Discord, and then King Sombra. Where’s the next one? It’s not right!”

Pobama!” Bon-Bon hissed, shaking a hoof.

“Nah,” Lyra shook her head. “You can’t pin this one on him. It’s the end of an era, that’s all I’m saying. What’ll M.A.R.E do if no more crazed maniacs with more firepower than sense turn up?”

“Ah, the tale of the twilight, when the great battles were over and the great miracles long since performed.”

All heads turned towards Vinyl Scratch in confusion. “What?” Vinyl shrugged. “It’s a comic thing! You know, Supermare? Whatever Happened to the Mare of Tomorrow? Did no-one ever read that? It’s a quote, I’m doing a thing!”

“Oh.” Lyra’s face brightened. “Hey Scratch, did you ever watch Blake’s 7?”

“Huh? No, I’m not gay.”

“Oh,” Lyra’s face fell.

“Anyway,” Derpy pushed the remains of the cake towards Carrot Top, who began to hoover it into her mouth. Her eyes both somehow focussed on each of Bon-Bon and Lyra’s cutie marks. “I think we need to get down to business.”


At some point, someone had decided that the best way to build a secure meeting room was to cover all the walls in glass so that anyone could peer in. Lyra swung back on her chair as she half-listened to Commander Derpy reeling off various boring projects M.A.R.E was undertaking whilst there was a lack of super villain activity. Watching what was going on outside was far more interesting. Several low-grade technicians were carefully manuvering deactivated Lunatron robots across the floor. In their ‘off’ state they didn’t look that dangerous at all, just large blocky pony-sized robots, crudely built in a likeness of the Princess of the Night herself. At many times in the past Lyra had found herself on the wrong end of one of their lasers, but with the threat of Nightmare Moon now over, they were being collected in the basement and reprogrammed to serve M.A.R.E.

Lyra was suspicious of such endeavours. To her, ‘we’re going to develop an exciting new robot task force’ was code for ‘soon you’ll all be out of a job’.

As Lyra stared at the large vidscreen mounted on the back wall, she wondered whether Commander Derpy would let her run some Blake’s 7 video nights so she could teach everyone else the error of their ways. Of course she would have to get hold of Blake’s 7 videos first. She had never seen any for sale, but was sure there would be a large and healthy market for such things. Dimly she was aware of a stuttering Octavia trying to explain to Derpy why she couldn’t install Google Ultron on all of M.A.R.E’s computers. Finally after a lot of pressure she relented, and for some reason just buried her head in her hooves.

“And now, S.O.M.B.R.A’s second in command,” Derpy turned to the video screen which flickered into life, showing the contents of one of the many containment cells far below in the base’s underbelly. Rook, the chief underling of King Sombra, and head operative of what was Equestria’s most feared terrorist organisation sat brooding, his chromed face reflecting off the camera.

Lyra sat bolt upright in her chair. “He’s got a metal head!” she pointed out, rather needlessly. “Did you uh, find out if it was a mask or not. Because Bon-Bon said it was a mask, but when he speaks his lips move, so it totally couldn’t be a mask…”

Derpy shrugged. “Does it matter? We’ve been pumping him for information, but he’s not giving it up easily. We know there’s no more Crystal Pony mechs left, but we’re sure there’s still at least a dozen or so Terror Tanks dotted about in hiding. It won’t do him much good, because for all intents and purposes the S.O.M.B.R.A organisation is broken, we think he’s just playing for time. We do know more about him though. He used to be a weapons dealer from Scotland, started small with peashooters and catapults, and moved his way up to death rays and mecha. He-“

“Scottish?!” Lyra thumped the table excitedly. “Of course! Everyone knows the Scots are naturally evil! I knew there was something fishy about S.O.M.B.R.A, apart from, y’know, wanting to take over the world with giant crystal robots and stuff.”

“Lyra!” Bon-Bon hissed, smacking her friend around the head. “You can’t say that, it’s racist! Besides, King Sombra wasn’t Scottish, was he?”

Lyra rubbed her head ruefully. “S’not racist if it’s true,” she mumbled under her breath. And then, a bit louder: “What if he dyed his mane? It might have been ginger!”

“I’m sorry,” Bon-Bon gave a defeatist shrug to the rest of the group. “We think Lyra’s brain fell out during her ‘accident’.”

“Ah yes.” Derpy switched off the vidscreen and sat back down. “We need to talk about that too, your ah, cutie mark ‘situation.’”

Bon-Bon winced. Lyra looked as if she was about to cry again. She knew what was coming.

“Lyra,” Derpy said softly, leaning forwards. “Am I to believe your musical ability is impaired? Have we lost control of H.A.A.R.P?”

There was silence in the room as all eyes swivelled towards Lyra. Lyra’s eyes started to turn puffy and red. H.A.A.R.P. was the computer mainframe that sat at the heart of M.A.R.E. headquarters, a stunningly complex marvel of computer engineering which controlled every aspect of the base, from security to the prices on the vending machines. To make sure it was extra secure, Octavia had programmed the core systems to respond soley to a complex series of notes that only Lyra’s musical ability was prodigious enough to play.

“Mpf,” was all Lyra could manage, pointing at her cutie mark. “I uh….” She started to stutter, wiping her eyes slightly as if she wasn’t crying at all. “I could make sweets, I guess…”

“I see…” Derpy turned to Octavia. “Octavia, could you do some sort of computer thing and reset H.A.A.R.P.?”

Octavia grimly shook her head. “No ma’am, sorry. The core system is built so that it can only be accessed by a precise harmonic frequency that only Lyra can produce. I made sure of it myself, as you asked for it. As long as we don’t need to reset the system for any reason it shouldn’t be a problem, but it means until we can sort it out, we’ve lost the primary-“

Derpy raised a hoof. Octavia stopped.

“I mean,” Octavia cleared her throat. “No I can’t do a computer thing, but it doesn’t matter in the short run as long as we don’t need to change any settings.”

Derpy raised a hoof.

“Okay,” Octavia continued. “Yes, but it doesn’t matter in the short term.”

“Better,” Derpy smiled. “Bon-Bon, looks like you’re the new musical maestro if you’ve got all of Lyra’s talent.” She paused to let Lyra wail out again. “I want you down in the H.A.A.R.P control room playing that harp like your life depended on it. As it does.”

Lyra turned to glare at Bon-Bon through reddened, bitter eyes.

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