Tales of Hassenfeld Ponies

by PonyAmorous

First published

Short stories set in the Hassenfeld Pony universe.

Short stories set in the Hassenfeld Pony universe.

Inspired by reading Hassenfeld Pony Anthology, which was itself inspired by threads on /mlp/.

For those who have no idea what this is.


Ponka sighed as she brushed a strand of deflated pink mane out of her eyes to continue her staring match with the back wall of cell 5B in the local pound. Technically, it was called the 'Hassenfeld Pony Rescue and Adoption Agency', but everyone just called it 'the pound'. The name didn't really matter, she knew what it was. A trash can for dumping broken ponies like her.

Only three days ago, life had been wonderful. She had Keith, he had her, and that was all either of them needed. The world was sunny and bright, and neither of them could ever seem to stop smiling. Then a simple slip in the shower and a broken neck later, and it was all gone. The spark of joy had been drowned in an ocean of tears and grief and the fundamental wrongness of a Hassenfeld outliving their owner. And yet existence continued. The world had the absurd audacity to keep spinning without Keith in it, like it didn't even know it was pointless now.

The events transpiring between Keith's death and now had been a blur. She had been present only in the literal physical sense. There had been attempts to place her with close friends or relatives who might be willing to take her in, but Keith hadn't had anyone but her. It had made her a little sad at times, but it had also driven her to be the best companion she could possibly be, and made every smile she could coax out of him that much more precious. So now she stayed here, waiting on the off chance somebody would come in and want to adopt a used pony. A pony whose one emotional imprinting had already triggered. A pony that had had the joy scooped out of them. A broken pony.

Ponka laid her head on her hooves and closed her eyes, trying to force herself to sleep, if only to escape the agony of consciousness for a little while. She tuned out the footsteps and idle conversation of the kind staff members, along with all the comments of "oh, the poor dear" and "I just hate to see them like this". Her mind wandered idly back to a catchy little lullaby Keith had taught her once. She gave a faint smile at the memory and softly began to sing it under her breath.

When you're rife with devastation...


Two months crawled tortuously by as Ponka waited for someone to claim her. While the pain didn't exactly fade, it did gradually become less acute. More an omnipresent ache than the emotional equivalent of a drill jammed into the exposed nerve of a broken tooth. The slightest trace of floof had begun to return to her mane and tail, and she had even managed a brief chuckle at a joke from one of the staff. A week later, she had summoned the will to try telling a joke of her own once again. She knew it wasn't a very good one, but they had given her a genuine smile regardless. As her condition continued to improve, the sad pitying looks disappeared from the faces that passed by, replaced by friendly smiles and casual conversations.

Still, day after day, nobody came to adopt her. It didn't bother her. At least, not in the way she thought that it would. Really, she could take or leave some stranger coming to claim her. It was feeling like a burden that was getting to her. Here she was just taking up space and resources without contributing anything. That was why she had finally worked up the nerve to ask a simple question.

"Is there anything I can help with?"


"It's just...you all look so busy all the time, and I'm just sitting here while you all take care of me. I was wondering if I could...you know...volunteer?"

There had been reassurances that that was entirely unnecessary, but she had persisted and insisted, and eventually they had agreed to give her some light janitorial duties. Her mane and tail had nearly snapped back to their full volume when she hopped out to begin her first rounds of dusting, sweeping, mopping, and emptying garbage cans. She was useful again! Though it started with simple cleaning it soon became impossible to deny how understaffed the shelter really was, and a bit of office filing found its way into her duties. There was hesitation to let her in the kitchen, but after securing supervised access to the oven through persistent pestering and pleading, the first batch of baked goods she made for everyone quickly obliterated any further reservations. Before long, it was as if she had always been an indispensable part of the office.

"Happy Tuesday, Carol! How'd Ricky's recital go? Hey there, Damien! I got a banana nut muffin with your name on it. Loving the new frames on the glasses, Ahmed. I'm no Rarity model, but I can 1000% say that teal is your color! Guess who's got no thumbs and just made donuts! This pony!"

Ponka was happy with her role, but the more she chatted and listened to stories of the personal lives of the various employees and volunteers, the more curious she grew about the world outside. She had barely left Keith's house before, hadn't left the shelter since she got here, and hardly remembered anything from the trip over. But there was a whole wide world out there. Full of picnics, and carnivals, and beaches, and fireworks. Things to do, sights to see, people to meet with stories of their own to listen to. It wasn't as if she hadn't seen such things on the internet, but that wasn't the same as feeling sand under your hooves and splashing around in the waves. She hoped that one day, when someone finally came to adopt her, they would take her out to experience it all.

Suddenly, a wild thought crashed into her mind. Did she actually NEED a new owner in order to do that? True, when she first came here she was a wreck. Like the other ponies here, she needed someone to look after her. But now...now she was...better. Yes, she could look after herself now. She already did. If she could do it here, why not out there? Maybe find a small apartment? That took money, which she didn't have, but there were ways to make money. She could get a job, couldn't she? It wasn't completely unheard of for Hassenfelds to sometimes take small side jobs to earn extra cash for their owners. She could totally make money and use it to support herself. She could bake and she had office skills, she could even make one of those...what were they called again? Resumes?

Of course, she didn't want to abandon her friends and coworkers here. Whatever she ended up doing, she definitely wanted to come back and keep volunteering at the shelter. It would just be good to get out and find her own place, free up her room here for somepony who really needed it, and finally clear her own case file off the wait list. As long as she made sure everyone understood that she wasn't leaving them forever. She'd still come volunteer as much as she could. Ideally, they could even hire her on officially and start paying her for the work she was already doing, but she understood if it simply wasn't in the budget. Yes, this was definitely the best idea ever!

Her pitching of the world's greatest idea didn't produce the reaction she expected. For some reason, everyone got really quiet when she suggested not needing to be adopted and moving out to live on her own. Suddenly, they all had very serious looks on their faces. They weren't the same as the sad and sympathetic looks of concern they wore when she had first arrived. They were more...anxious? Worried? She tried explaining that she would still come in to help as much as she could and make treats for everyone, but that didn't seem to help. The supervisor excused himself from the room to make a phone call, and as soon as he did, everyone seemed to have trouble looking at her. Ponka returned to her room to ponder what it was she had said to make everyone so upset and figure out some way to make it up to them.


The next day brought a wave of exciting new surprises. She had been woken up and told that she'd be leaving the shelter today. Had someone actually decided to adopt her? Not quite, as it turned out. But two men had shown up to take her on a trip somewhere. Somewhere new!

Whoever they were, they weren't very talkative, responding to all her questions, jokes, and attempts at conversation with the same stony silence. They wore white jumpsuits with a patch that said Hasbro Biotech, Asset Reclamation. Questions about what that meant yielded only more of the same silence. Before they led her out of the building and into their big fancy truck, they put some kind of weird leash thing around her neck. A plastic noose attached to the end of a pole. She wondered what it was for, but realized that they were probably going somewhere with lots of exciting sights and sounds and she was definitely the type to get distracted and wander off.

As they led her out the door, she turned over her shoulder and gave a quick wave to all of her wonderful office friends, promising she'd be back real soon. For some reason, they were all super focused on their tasks this morning, so none of them looked up or waved back, but that was okay. She'd come back and tell them all about her trip later.

She could barely contain her excitement during the ride over to wherever it was they were going. Who knew what kind of new friends she'd get to make? Maybe they'd help her look for a job! Maybe she'd get to see the ocean! There was so much world out there!

Finally, they arrived at a tall white building full of more people in white jumpsuits. They led her inside where she proceeded to ooh and aah over how squeaky clean everything was. They led her all the way back to a small room that looked kinda like the vet room back at the shelter. A checkup? Ooh! Maybe they wanted to hire her here at whatever this place was and this was part of the process? They probably could have just gotten her medical records transferred from the shelter where she had gotten a full physical upon arriving, but maybe they were picky about doing all that stuff in house with their own doctors.

One of the men pointed at a table in the center of the room, and she dutifully hopped up onto it, ready to pass whatever test they gave her with flying colors. She was gonna be the healthiest Pinkie model they ever saw! The two men grabbed the weird straps hanging on the sides of the table and tied her down tight. That was new. She wasn't sure what test that was for. She wondered if it would be more or less fun than the vision tests. Hitting that button when the squiggles appeared was pretty fun after all.

After a few minutes, a doctor came in, just as taciturn as her other two new friends had been. He fiddled at the counter with something she couldn't see, and then turned around holding a pretty intimidating looking syringe.

"Oh, that's okay. I should be all up to date on my vaccinations already, so you can skip that. You can get the shelter to email over the—OUCHIE!"

The doctor had ignored her and plunged that scary needle right into her cutie mark! At first it felt icy cold as the fluid injected in, then an intense burning sensation, which quickly passed as well, leaving her...heavy. Everything felt heavy, like a great weight was pressing down evenly over her entire body. Suddenly she was exhausted. It was only mid-morning and she had a whole exciting day ahead of her, but a nap was starting to sound so good.

"S-Sorry. Can we...finish this up a bit later? I...suddenly feel....a little...a little tired. Just........just let me rest......my eyes a bit."

There was a big wide world out there. Things to do , sights to see, people to meet, adventures to be had in employment and paying bills and self-sufficiency. Maybe she'd pick up a new language? Or learn to paint? The world was her cupcake. But she could take a little nap before jumping into all that. The world would still be there when she woke up.

Author's Notes:

So yeah, just learned about Hassenfeld ponies today, and immediately start bursting with ideas for several small, disconnected short stories. And yes, this is gonna be representative of the tone, because dear god is that a fucked up premise for a universe.

It seems I just can't quit that dark tag.

Currently searching for appropriate cover pic to use. Let me know if you stumble across anything you think would work well.

Do Something

"Shit! Shit! Crap! Damnit!"

Velocity continued to cycle through profanities as she fumbled with a roll of paper towels that proved laughably inadequate against the spreading liquid. Maybe she could at least form some kind of dam to keep it from reaching the carpet? Ugh! It was warm and sticky and getting all over her hooves! If she wasn't careful, she'd end up spreading it everywhere. How was she gonna get this all cleaned up in time on her own?!

***1 week earlier***

Velocity made her way to the back yard, the same way she did every morning once Mark left for work. She paced with typical impatience by the chain link fence that bordered the neighbor's property, flicking her rainbow tail at each turn as she waited for her friend to come out. After five painful minutes, she finally saw the backdoor slide open and a butter yellow pegasus with a pink mane step out into the yard.

"Morning, Holly!" Velocity called out.

"Good morning, V" her friend smiled back at her.

With greetings out of the way, they got down to the usual business of idle chit chat and passing the time while their respective owners were out. The two had been friends for nearly as long as either could remember. Having both been purchased and rapidly grown to maturity around the same time, Velocity had met Holly within a week of first being let out into the back yard. Being so familiar with the sight of her also made it hard to ignore certain out of place features, such as when Holly leaned down to move one of her rocks in their dirt drawn checkers game and her mane slid aside to reveal several discolored marks along her neck.

"Hey, what's that?"

"What?" Holly's head popped up in surprise.

"Those marks on your neck. Where'd they come from?"

"Oh! The–They're nothing! Just some, uh, bug bites. That's all."

"Bug bites?"


Velocity gave a long exasperated sigh.

"Holly, do you think I'm an idiot?"


"Look, I may not be the brightest pony out there, but there's only so many times even I will buy that you got a black eye or a split lip from flying full speed into a door without looking. I know those are bruises, not bug bites. And they look a lot like fingers. What, he decided to mix up the beating with a little choking now?"

Panic flashed across Holly's face. "It-It's not like that! Really! I-I mean...yeah, he's been a bit more...forceful recently, but Tyler's just been really stressed out lately, what with things at work, he just gets a bit carried away sometimes. And really, it's my fault. If I was just a better companion for him, then he wouldn't need to—"

"Stop it! Stop making excuses for that jerk! It's appalling the way he treats you! Humans are supposed to love their ponies, not brutalize them!"

"He DOES love me. He just has his own ways of showing it. And he gives me plenty of...uh...affection, even if it is a bit on the rough side."

"AAGGH!" Velocity shook her head in disgust. "I DON'T need that in my head!"

"Look! He may not be perfect, but I love him! If a few minor bruises here and there are what it takes to alleviate some of his frustration, then that’s a price I’ll gladly pay. So please, just drop it.”

Before Velocity could say anything in reply, the sound of a car pulling into a driveway marked the end of their time together for the day. She watched Holly trot back inside to greet her jerk of an owner before heading back in herself. She stewed for another fifteen minutes until she heard Mark’s car pulling up and the rattle of a key in the door lock, chasing away some of the gloom from her thoughts.

Even through the joy of Mark’s presence, the conversation from earlier still stuck in her mind like a chip fragment painfully wedged between teeth. That was why, after swallowing another mouthful of cheese covered broccoli, she decided to finally voice her concerns.

“I’m worried about Holly.”

“Huh?” Mark paused, his own cheesy morsel suspended midair on the end of his fork.

“You know, the neighbor’s Fluttershy model?”

“Oh, yeah. What about her?”

“She keeps showing up with all these injuries and...I think Tyler’s been hurting her.”

“What? Really? You’re sure?”

“Yeah, pretty sure.”

“Maybe it was an accident?”

“No, it’s been happening a lot. And I tried talking to her, but she just kept making excuses for him, of course she did! But it’s not right! Somebody needs to do something!”

Mark shifted in his seat, quite visibly uncomfortable with the topic.

“Uhh, well, I mean...Hassenfeld ponies are supposed to have that subconscious distress signal thing, right? The instructions mentioned there being a lot of leeway for...uh...disciplining ponies, but if things go too far, there’s supposed to be some kind of alert sent out. I’m sure if it was really that bad, they’d send somebody out to take care of it, right?”

“I...guess you’re right.” Velocity nodded in agreement.

She saw him visibly relax and continue eating his dinner. She wasn’t entirely convinced, but it was clear Mark really didn’t want to continue this line of conversation. That wasn’t a surprise. Nobody wanted to talk about such a thing. The idea of an owner actually mistreating their Hassenfeld beyond a little light BDSM play was practically unthinkable to most. Nobody wanted to consider the topic enough to even seek clarification on the details of what ‘too far’ meant. What exactly was the threshold for triggering this supposed distress signal? Was it set off by a sufficient level of fear? Physical damage? Did there need to be broken bones or internal bleeding first? And what happened after that? Who came out and actually dealt with it? Did they issue a warning? Send someone to take the pony away somewhere? And what if the pony didn’t WANT to leave, because of course they wouldn’t with their imprinted bond still active. They’d fight tooth and hoof to stay with the asshole, spouting the same excuses Holly had earlier that day.

Hardly anyone actually knew how the whole process unfolded, aside from what little was mentioned in the initial list of instructions. It might just be that such situations were incredibly rare, but hell, for all she knew it was all a lie and there was no signal, or nobody to pick it up. Just an empty reassurance to customers that ‘systems’ were in place to stop anything bad from happening. Whether that little conspiracy theory was true or not, the truth remained that the acceptable tolerance was too damn high if it wasn’t enough to cause somebody to actually step in and do something by this point. Try as she might to enjoy the rest of the evening, she couldn’t get the thought out of her head.

Somebody needs to DO SOMETHING!

The image of the bruises on Holly’s neck endured behind her eyelids as she tossed and turned on her bed.


Velocity paced irritably by the chain link fence. Holly was late. She should have been out here ages ago! It was past noon already! Finally, she saw the door slide open.

“There you are! What’s the hold up?! I’ve been out here for hours!”

“Sorry, sorry.” She replied in an even quieter voice than usual, glancing quickly back at the house as if it might explode at too loud a volume. “Tyler’s still home today. He...he got fired yesterday, and he’s really taking it hard.”

Something seemed odd about the way she approached the fence. It took a few seconds to put the pieces together, but Velocity eventually realized what it was. Holly was being awfully careful to keep only her right side facing the fence, and her left side out of view. Velocity scowled and lowered her voice to a growl.

“Holly, show me your other side.”

“I-It’s nothing, really.”

“Holly! Show me right now, or I swear to god I will jump this fence, grab you, and look for myself.”

Holly shot another glance at the house, bit her lip, and slowly turned. Velocity couldn’t help the shocked gasp that escaped her lips. There was a collection of bruises and what might have been cigarette burns scattered haphazardly across her body like droplets of paint across the canvass of some piece of modern art, but that was all secondary background to the sight of her wing, bent in ways pegasus wings were not meant to bend. Dislocated at the very least, quite probably broken in multiple places. The only word to describe it was mangled. As if someone had grabbed it and just started...twisting.

Velocity grit her teeth, shaking with fury. It was a minute before she was calm enough to speak.

“Come over. I’ll carry you over the fence and you can stay inside with me.”

“V, no. I–”

“You’re not safe over there, Holly! If this keeps up, you’ll end up dead. Do you hear me?”

“It’s fin–”

“It’s not fine! I can’t keep watching this! Please! Just listen to me and come over!”


A loud, obviously drunken voice cut through the air, interrupting her reply.

“Holly! Where the hell are you?! Get your yellow ass over here!”

“I’ll talk to you later, V.” Holly whispered over her shoulder as she hurried back inside.

Velocity stood seething. This was it. This was absolutely too far! Somebody had to get Holly out of there, preferably while giving Tyler’s face a vigorous and repeated introduction to a brick wall. She turned back toward the house. She’d call....someone. The cops? Whoever it was, she’d MAKE them listen. MAKE them do something to help her friend. Her hoof was on the handle of the sliding glass door when she heard the sound of shattering glass next door, accompanied by a pained yelp.


She quickly took to the air and soared over the fence, racing up to the door and flinging it open. The bastard stood in the kitchen, holding her friend up against a wall and pulling tight on the belt fastened around her neck. Blood ran down from the cuts on her forehead, one or two bearing fragments of the glass he had broken over her head. Though no sound escaped her mouth, her lips kept shaping out the words “I’m sorry” over and over. Her forelegs reached out plaintively to hug and caress, even as her eyes rolled back in her head and consciousness faded.

At the sound of the door flinging open, Tyler dropped the now unconscious pony and turned to face her.


Before she could even process the thought, she was flying straight at him. She didn’t remember consciously seeing it before, but she must have grabbed the knife off a nearby counter, because the next thing she knew, she was plunging it into his throat. Her momentum carried them both further back into the kitchen, slamming into the sink before collapsing into a gurgling heap. Her hooves still gripping the knife, she ripped it out and plunged it back in a couple more times until the twitching stopped. She stood up and took a good half a minute to regain her breath as the world swam back into focus from the blinding haze.

And now, here she was, desperately trying to mop up the blood that was spreading absolutely everywhere. How the fuck was she gonna clean all this up? Holly was going to lose her shit when she woke up. Who knew how Mark would react? They’d occasionally shared casual jokes about being there to help each other hide the bodies, but she never expected to actually put that scenario to the test!

After checking to make sure Holly was still breathing, she set about searching the house for a first aid kit to treat some of her injuries and some towels to tackle the ever expanding pool of blood. Who knew humans had so much of the stuff?! She desperately hoped that the sound of sirens growing louder in the distance was only in her imagination.


Violet sighed as she brought forth the bundle of paperwork, using her horn to illuminate the pages in the darkness of the parking garage.

"Filing has been summarily dismissed due to lack of standing, on the grounds that—"

"On the grounds that we're property and not citizens. Yes, they actually have the sheer fucking gall to attempt to cite Dred Scott, and this comes as absolutely no surprise to anypony who has been paying the slightest bit of attention!"

Violet continued, ignoring the interruption from the other Twilight model of the group. "It's a setback to be sure, but I'm not giving up. I'll file more appeals, tap our allies to file parallel cases in other courts. Bury them in paperwork. I'll—"

"You'll what? Give a filing clerk a paper cut? Strike down the oppressors with a repetitive motion injury from all those rejection stamps? How much time and resources are you going to waste on this ridiculous delusion that the master's tools will ever dismantle the master's house?"

"As I've already said, Sparky—"

"My name is Lumiere! Sparky is my slave name!"

"As I've said, we need to work within the system if we're ever going to change—"

Jaquelyn wandered away from the cluster of ponies to go lean against a cement column as she prepared to wait out the latest shouting match that was a regular feature of every meeting at this point. That was the problem with Twilight models. Nobody could deny their value in any kind of leadership or organizational role, and they tended to get along fine with most other models, but they were always dead certain they were the smartest one in the room. Naturally, they could rarely stand each other, and putting two or more in the same group was asking for a fight.

Jacquelyn pulled a cigar out from under her stetson, along with a small lighter. It was an unusual habit for a pony. One she had picked up from one of her caretakers. The term "owners" didn't really fit. Her cryo-box had been stolen in transit by a couple of humans who belonged to a liberationist group. It had been something of an experimental case, keeping her in isolation for the first few days after activation and communicating through a speaker system, in an attempt to avoid triggering her imprinting. It had been mostly successful. With the critical developmental window passed, she'd ended up forming a much milder bond with each member of the group when she finally got to formally meet them, and that was likely 90% just regular attachment based on them being her defacto family. She'd picked up a couple of their quirks, such as smoking cigars and their taste in music and literature. She quietly hummed a few bars of what had practically been her nightly lullabye, as she puffed on the cigar.

Debout! les damnés de la terre

Debout! les forçats de la faim

Meanwhile, the same argument raged on as usual.

"We have to work inside the system and acquire some kind of legitimacy if we're ever going to secure lasting gains!"

"Utterly ridiculous! If you actually bothered to look at history, you'd know that no oppressed people were ever granted freedom by asking nicely and patiently waiting for their oppressors to suddenly have a change of heart. They've ALWAYS had to fight for it. And not just in a metaphorical sense with paperwork!"

"Moving too aggressively risks driving away those who are sympathetic to our cause and alienating our human allies. Allies we desperately need in order to navigate parts of society we can't reach."

"If they're only allies so long as we stick to ineffectual methods that lead nowhere, they're hardly allies worth keeping, now are they? They can fuck right off with the rest of the wishy washy moderates who find it so very difficult to condemn slavery outright. Who 'sympathize' just so long as nothing actually upsets the status quo in a way that would so much as mildly inconvenience their routine, much less require them to step up and do anything. They can take their 'sympathy' and shove it."

"So, what? You want us to just wage war against the entire country? You want to be like those maniacs in the Starlight Brigade who think the best way to 'liberate' ponies is to murder their owners, abduct them while they're emotionally shattered, and use brainwashing techniques to turn them into soldiers and suicide bombers?!"

"I don't agree with every aspect of their recruitment methods or tactics, but they still talk more sense than you do! At least they're out there doing something with a measurable impact!"

"Yeah, it's a measurable impact all right! They got their entire model line recalled and scrapped! And that's what's waiting for all of us if you insist on playing soldier, because there is no way in hell we actually win that fight!"

"First, I think our odds are a lot better than you think. We don't have to conquer the entire country by force. We just have to wage a costly enough insurgency that they'll have no choice but to sit down and actually listen. Whether it's full citizenship and integration into society, or a bit of territory to call our own, we just have to make the price for ignoring us too high. There's a whole lot of industrial sabotage we can get done with these horns, and there's always backing to be sought internationally. Always some other power that, if not onboard for moral reasons, is at least eager to give their rivals a black eye. Second, even if all fails and ends badly, if the alternative is living on my knees and begging for change from above, I'd rather die on my hooves!"

"Great speech. Very noble. Especially the part where you volunteer thousands of others to die with you."

Jacquelyn continued puffing on her cigar. It looked like this one would be one of the long ones. Personally, she agreed far more with Lumiere' than Violet (a fact that would surprise absolutely no one who knew her). She just typically avoided saying so because Lumiere' was something of an insufferable bitch and didn't need her ego fed any further. She was just wondering if she had time to wander off and take a piss somewhere when Streak and Blaze, the group's Rainbow Dash and Spitfire models, came rushing around the corner from their position on watch.

"Pigs incoming!" Streak shouted to the group.

A flurry of activity swept over the group as winged ponies carried their ground bound companions up to hiding places in the joints of support beams. Unfortunately, there weren't enough spaces for all.

"Jackie! Lilith! You're up!" Lumiere' called out.


Jacquelyn quickly stomped out her cigar and kicked it away. It was time for the group's con artist duo to get to work. Lilith, the group's Fluttershy model, was the innocent pretty face, while Jacquelyn herself was the silver tongue. Most humans were under the sorely mistaken impression that Applejack models were, if not incapable, then at least heavily deficient in the art of deception. It was an assumption that made her job all the easier. She cleared her throat and got ready to put on the expected accent just as the headlights of the police car rounded the corner. She exchanged a glance with Lilith, who quickly put on her perfectly rehearsed distressed face, as they both donned collars. The vehicle came to a stop and the sound of a car door opening and closing rang through the garage as the officer approached. The searing beam of a flashlight erupted on their faces.

"Evening there ladies! You two are out awfully late. Can I see some registrations?"

Jacquelyn turned to berate her partner. "Now, see? I told you it's getting too late. We're just gonna have to come back tomorrow." She quickly turned back to the police officer. "Sorry 'bout that, officer. We was out doing some shopping, looking for an anniversary present for our owner, and I guess butterhooves here must have dropped it."

"Oh! I just know it's around here somewhere!"

"That's...unfortunate. Registration?"

"Right, right." Jacquelyn pulled at the tag embedded in her collar, which reeled out on a retractable cord. One of the many aliases their friends in the documents and forgeries department had whipped up. If he actually decided to run them through the system, they'd list some dummy addresses and contact information that would run straight to answering machines and emails run by said department. Lilith did the same beside her.

As the cop bent down to examine them, Streak popped down behind him to take a peak in the vehicle, careful to avoid any approach that would be captured by a dashboard camera. She quickly gave a hoof signal indicating that he was here alone, and a second to commence a recovery operation, with another signal to Jacquelyn to draw it out as much as possible. Ponies descended on the vehicle, rifling through it for anything of value that could be taken that wouldn't immediately be noticed missing. Documents, cuffs and keys, any bit of equipment that might prove useful down the line.

As he finished up examining the tags, Jacquelyn gave her partner the signal to turn on the water works.

"I-I just..." Lilith's lip quivered as a series of escalating sobs shook her petite form. "He's worked so hard taking care of us, and I...I wanted to...to get him something special before he shipped out. And now I-I-I've r-ruined e-e-everything!" She turned and grabbed Jacquelyn, sobbing into her coat.

"Aw shoot, don't be like that." She turned toward the officer with a pleading look on her face. "Look, I know you're probably mighty busy, keeping folks safe and all, but do you think you could lend us a hand with one last search? Maybe we'll have more luck with that flashlight of yours. I swear we'll be heading right on home after that, honest!"

If there was any hesitation on his part, it was obliterated when Lilith shot him a look of desperate, pleading hope.

"All right, then. What are we looking for?"

Jacquelyn grinned. "It's a fancy lighter. I'm pretty sure it's somewhere back in this area here."

She quickly led him further away from the vehicle, still being ransacked by the other ponies. As she looked back, she caught sight of Lumiere' giving her an additional signal. She cocked an eyebrow in response, only to have the signal repeated. The signal to go ahead and start nabbing high value objects that WOULD be missed fairly quickly. Even with fake registrations and a face shared with thousands of others, it was a damn risky move. That probably meant Lumiere' had something special in mind.

Jacquelyn nodded a confirmation and prepared to engage her secondary talents. In addition to being a smooth talker, she was also a master pickpocket, thanks in large part to some illegal modifications, courtesy of one of the members of her little family collective who ran a small black market business in such wares. It turned out that unicorn horns were mostly cosmetic, and had little to do with the actual mechanism that allowed for the telekinesis that made a mockery of physics. With the right know how and a little skill, one could implant the ability in non-unicorns. All it needed was a keratin base, and wings or simple hooves worked just as well as any horn. Such mods were still extremely uncommon, so nobody expected an Applejack to start throwing 'magic' around, much less telekinetically making off with their wallet.

While Lilith continued to lead him around, pointing to places where he should shine his flashlight, Jacquelyn got to work picking him bare. She ever so gently liberated his badge, tossing it up high into the shadows for another pegasus to grab. The documents and forgeries department always appreciated something current to work off of. Next his wallet floated out of his pocket, disgorging its bounty of cards and a small amount of petty cash before returning. She glanced back toward the car to see that the rest of the group had just about finished up, with Lumiere' doing something near the hood as she signaled Jacquelyn to go for broke.

With another wave of her hoof (accompanied by no telltale glow that was only added to unicorn horns for cosmetic effect), she set about undoing the clasps and prying his firearm loose from its holster. Hopefully this wrapped up soon, as every second was a chance he'd notice it was gone and they'd have to really put their skills to the test convincing him he had walked out here without it. Fortunately, it looked like Lumiere's team had finally wrapped up their work. She grabbed the lighter from under her hat and levitated it directly into the path of his next footstep. There was a metallic clinking noise as his boot made contact and sent it sliding a few inches along the ground.

"What was that?" The beam of the flashlight whipped toward the source of the noise, the light sparkling off the ornate metal surface.

"That's it!" Lillith cried out in joy as she swooped in to snatch it off the ground, before immediately turning and wrapping the officer in a hug. "Oh thank you so much!"

"Hoo-boy! You sure pulled our tails out of the fire there, officer. I know you probably get this all the time, but you're a real hero, you know that?"

"Aw, it-it was nothing. Happy to help." He replied, clearly flustered from all the praise and Lillith's beaming smile of gratitude. She tended to have that effect on marks.

Head too swollen and likely filled with thoughts of springing for his own Fluttershy model in the near future to notice his lighter belt and pockets, he returned to his vehicle, gave one last wave, and drove off. The moment he was around the corner and out of sight, the rest of the group descended. Violet emerged, looking none too pleased with the two of them and Lumiere'.

"What was all that?! That was beyond reckless! Any second now he's likely to notice a missing gun and badge and will be heading back here with backup in tow!"

Lumiere' just stood, smiling smugly. "That's unlikely to be a problem."

"What do you mea—"

She was suddenly cut off by the sound of an explosion about a block away.

Blaze zipped out for a quick look and returned with a long whistle. "That's a pretty big fireball".

"You...you didn't....you did."

"And that's why we make sure to pick everything clean. Waste not, want not." Lumiere' replied, ignoring the growing expression of shock and outrage on Violet's face.

"You...you're an absolute mad-mare! This is way over the line!" She quickly looked around for support, but found only a few ponies shifting uncomfortably, with many more lining up behind Lumiere'. The ranks of the former shrank by the second as they walked over and sided with the latter. It was clear to everypony who was calling the shots now.

Come on, Violet. Be smart. Jacquelyn thought to herself.

"Everything is fine," Lumiere reassured. "Nopony got spotted on camera, and he didn't even run the false id's or even get the chance to report the encounter at all. It's all peachy. That is...so long as nopony starts running her mouth. But there's no chance of that, right?" She smiled at Violet, who bristled in response.

"I may not approve of this direction, but I'm certainly no snitch!"

As much as Jacquelyn wanted to believe her, she could tell that was a lie. Not because of anything to do with her model, but just her experience as a professional liar. Violet might abhor the idea of ratting out her fellow resistance ponies, but she was too damn law abiding and principled for her own good. Even if she tried to go along, she'd suffer an attack of conscience sooner or later that would compel her to try to contact the authorities. She was probably already working on a way to sneak away at the earliest opportunity.

"Of course! We'd never question the dedication of one of our founding members. Now, I think everypony will agree we should probably get out of here and relocate to site B."

Lumiere' obviously shared Jacquelyn's doubts, but nothing would be done here. That would be bad for morale. Still, by the end of the week, probably by the end of the night even, Violet would be out of the picture in a very permanent way. With a quickly concocted story about her transferring off to work with another cell somewhere. And Jacquelyn had the sinking feeling that SHE was going to be the one tapped to 'take care' of this. A feeling that was only reinforced by a quick look Lumiere' gave her in passing.

"Merde." She muttered under her breath. She hated being a trigger-mare. Sometimes her competence and discretion really bit her in the ass. Retrieving the now roasted pig's former weapon from the pile of loot, she made sure it was tucked securely under her hat.

Oh, well. C'est la vie.

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