Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were sitting under a tree near the barn, looking bored as they tried to come up with something fun to do. Suddenly they heard a crash followed by Applejack crying out, "Tarnation! Ain't that just a whoppin' heap o' bad luck!" As she righted the fallen bushel baskets the young fillies scampered over and helped her pick up dozens of spilled apples. Applejack was muttering and fuming to herself the whole time.
Apple Bloom gave her sister a worried look and asked, "What happened, sis?"
"This darned billet busted on me," she huffed while picking up the harness and showing her the broken belly strap. "Now I gotta go get it fixed instead of picking up that hay. Guess Big Mac and me'll just get up extra-early tomorrow instead. I just hope Hay Fields hold 'em for us 'cause their next harvest starts tomorrow and then we'll haft'a wait." She pointed to a small haystack in front of the barn and added, "That last lil' bit just ain't gonna be enough to get us through."
Apple Bloom eagerly offered, "We can take the harness to town if you want."
"That's awful kind of ya', but it's gotta be fitted. Besides, I need this one to hook up to the hay cart anyway," Applejack explained. "But if you two could take these baskets to the barn I'd right appreciate it." Then the farm girl tossed the broken saddle on her back, tied the straps loosely around her belly, and trotted off to Ponyville.
The two little fillies grabbed the baskets with their mouths and slowly dragged them to the barn, pausing occasionally to rest. At one point Scootaloo said, "Hey, you know, why don't we get the hay so your sister won't have to?"
Apple Bloom thought on it for a moment. "I reckon she'd be real happy, but there's no way we could haul it all by ourselves. Even Applejack has to pull real hard when the cart's all loaded up."
"Hmm..." Scootaloo rubbed her chin with her wing while staring up into space for a minute. "If only we had some sort of 'pony-less carriage' that could help us haul it."
Apple Bloom's face lit up. "Hey Scootaloo, I know what we're going do today!"
As they finally pushed the baskets into place a small white unicorn with a pink & purple mane appeared in the door. "What'cha doin'?"
Apple Bloom answered with a giggle and then a drawn out, "Hi, Sweetie-Bella." The little unicorn couldn't help but smile as she joined them. Apple Bloom then answered, "Me and Scootaloo are gonna build a carriage puller so we can pick up the hay for Applejack. Wanna help?" The unicorn nodded enthusiastically. Then the yellow filly sighed, "Now we just need to figure out how."
"You know," Sweetie Bell started, "If we could find the center of something round and heavy we could attach it to some sort of, I dunno, 'drive shaft' and connect it to some wheels. We'd have to spin it hard to start it but then pulling it would be real easy."
Scootaloo pointed at several logs and uprooted tree stumps scattered around nearby. "Maybe we can use those logs that haven't been split yet! They're pretty round."
"Well then, let's get started!" Apple Bloom beamed and the three headed for the barn.
Scootaloo stopped, making the others look back at her worried face. "Shouldn't we ask before using the big tools?"
Apple Bloom said, "It'll be fine. Besides, I don't wanna make my brother stop whatever he's doing and help us. Shucks, he might go pick up the hay himself 'n then have to catch up on his other chores too."
Sweetie Belle suddenly asked, "Hey, where is Big Macintosh?"
Out in one of the far fields, Big Macintosh pulled his plow without complaint while thinking of nothing but perhaps what to make for dinner. Suddenly their dog Winona scurried over and gave him a few excited barks. The workhorse disconnected the plow and followed the dog back to an out building. The plow kept moving by itself.
Once inside, Winona sat down by an inside wall and looked at him with a huge doggie smile. Big Mac gently pushed back on her head, raising her back on her tail as if she were a statue, and pressed a switch underneath. A section of the wall slid aside revealing two fire poles: the one on the left had a sign with "Master Macintosh" on it while the right is simply stated, "This Pole Intentionally Left Blank." Mac hopped on the pole, holding on with all four legs as he slid down. The wall closed behind him and Winona left to supervise the ponyless plow.
Big Macintosh dropped sitting upright onto a vinyl couch in the middle of a very modern room. Fluorescent lights shone brightly on all kinds of shiny and complicated devices and there was a complex control panel in front of him. He suddenly pulled away his yoke and then placed a small fedora on his handsomely tousled blonde mane.
A giant screen on the wall turned on, showing a dark background with only two pretty green eyes surrounded by a shining ribbon of glowing light purple mane visible. "It is good to see you, Agent B," an adorably sweet voice said. "Once again, I must tell you how delighted I am that you are part of the Stable-ization Force. I pray we will continue to prevent the types of crimes that normal policeponies cannot thwart yet are still too petty for my sis... er, Princess Celestia to deal with. Again, I apologize that I cannot reveal my true identity, but..."
Just then the lights turned on, revealing a very shocked Princess Luna laying on her bed. She looked to the side just as Princess Celestia appeared on screen and quickly nuzzled her. "How is my darling little sister? I have not seen you anywhere in court or castle today. I pray I am not disturbing you." She peeked at the screen for a moment and then turned back to smile at cringing Luna. "Anyway, I just wanted to see how my itty-bittie wittle sister was doing." With that the white mare kissed her sister's forehead a few times before suddenly thrusting her wings forward and tickling Luna all over.
The purple alicorn squealed and pulled her own wings to her sides while trying to push Celestia away with her hooves. But it was no use. Soon Celestia had Luna rolling back on her bed and was mercilessly ticking her belly and sides. "Who's my cutie-wootie baby sister? You are, you are!" Then the sun goddess pressed her muzzle hard into Luna's belly and blew with all her might, making a prolonged PBBBT! sound. The smaller mare screamed with laughter while her legs flailed wildly in response to the belly-blast.
Finally Celestia relented and gave her panting sister one last kiss on the cheek. "All right, my dear, I must return to my duties." Just as she was about to close the door behind her she turned back to say, "I love you."
Luna cast a furtive glance at the monitor before looking off screen. "I love you too, sister," she squeaked and then the door closed.
Luna looked back at the patient stallion while righting herself. She laughed nervously then cleared her throat before getting back to business. "Anyway, it seems that Dr. Hoofenshmirtz purchased much of the evergreen forests surrounding his farmland and has been placing strange devices throughout. It's your job to find out what he's up to and stop him!"
Big Mac saluted while answering, "Eeeyup!"
"Leader L out," she said just before the monitor went dark. Big Macintosh quickly slipped into a jetpack harness. The roof opened up and he blasted off into the sky.
He's a semi-autistic, hard working stallion of action
He's a mighty quiet flathoof who'll never flinch from the hay-ay-ay
He's more than mighty strong
And he stops folks from doing wrong
And the fillies all swoon whenever they hear him say,
(Several fillies in the background sigh and faint.)
He's Big Mac!
Big Mac the secret stud!
Back at the farmhouse the three little fillies were wearing makeshift harnesses linked to a large but mostly framework wooden contraption, behind which the hay cart was hooked up. Scootaloo carefully adjusted her straps so they wouldn't chafe her little wings.
"Are you sure this is gonna work?" Apple Bloom asked.
"It'll be fine," Sweetie Belle answered. "Besides, if we test it now then we won't get the hay before dark." Her horn started to glow, her magic turning the flywheel while they struggled to pull their invention. Once it started moving the three had little trouble pulling it out to the main road and then off towards they hay farm.
Scootaloo suddenly spoke up, "It feels like there's something missing."
"Yeah," Sweetie agreed.
After a few moments Apple Bloom blurted out, "I know! What we need is a song!"
The others cheerfully agreed and the three made up a song about how they built their contraption and were "picking' up the slack for big sis, what the hay!"
Hoofenshmirtz Evil Consooo-lidated!
Big Macintosh flew over a large oat farm. Dozens of long tubes ran from the surrounding forests through the fields and into a large windmill connected to the barn. He set down on a fluffy little cloud and quickly unbuckled the straps. One tap with his hind leg made the cloud float down into a grove of trees near the building. Upon touching down the cloud turned into a fog that kept Big Mac hidden as he snuck up to the large sliding door. He peeked inside and saw several large millstones whirring as they dehulled massive amounts of oats. Off to the side, all the tubes joined up in a large complicated looking machine.
Big Mac spotted the gangly and long-snouted villain working at a control panel. He was mostly white with a black belly and hocks; his brown mane and tail were crudely shorn, looking more like palm leaves than hair. His cutie mark was a meanie-face in the shape of a conical (Erlenmeyer) laboratory flask. The agent nosed the door open enough to squeeze inside. However, without even looking, Hoofenshmirtz called out in his strained, high-pitched voice, "Ah, you're here, Big Mac the Secret Stud." The evil pony twisted a large pointed dial halfway up and there was a loud clunk underneath Mac. He struggled to move but his hooves were stuck firmly in place.
Hoofenshmirtz turned around and explained, "Don't bother trying to go anywhere. You see, underneath where you're standing I put a big electromagnet to hold your horseshoes. And just to be safe..." He turned and slipped a nail between two eyelets just below the dial's setting. "See, I put in a stop to keep anything from turning the power down. So there!"
The villain turned back to his captive and gave him a wicked grin. "Anyway, as long as you have nothing else to do now let me tell you all about my evil plan." Big Mac rolled his eyes before sticking out his lower lip and puffing up his forelock.
Hoofenshmirtz continued, "You see, when I was a young colt growing up in Gimmeupstunt we didn't have a lot of money, so my father was an incredible cheapskate. Since we had a small oat farm we not only ate oats but also had to use it for everything else: cooking fires, bedding, to line the barn floors, and my mother even made blankets from the husks. Seriously, to this day I still itch just thinking about it." He shuddered for a moment and started pacing.
"Anyway, on the rare occasions when my father would buy hay he would always get it really cheap. And do you know how he did that? He bought the one type of hay that everypony hates most." Hoofenshmirtz quickly spun around and nearly shouted at Mac, "Haystacks full of needles! Don't get me wrong: we were so glad to have hay that we couldn't help but eat it and use it for bedding, but then I spent hours picking all sorts of pine and fir needles out of my teeth and coat," he lamented. "My parents made sure to pick all of the needles out of my little sister Mayer's hay for her, of course... and then for some reason throw them all into mine." The evil genius growled.
"Anyway, Big Mac the Secret Stud, my oat farm hasn't been doing so well lately. Ever since that loud-mouthed pink pony's been talking smack about oatmeal. So I finally hit upon a way to make everypony to buy them." He reared up and motioned at the huge machine. "Behold, the Needle-inator! With it I'll suck up all the pine needles from my forests and spread them out all over the hay fields. Once all the new hay is ruined everypony will have to use my oats instead. I'll become so rich that I, Hinds Hoofenshmirtz, will pretty much control the entire Tri-VILLAGE AREA!"
Hoofenshmirtz cackled as he turned back to his monstrous invention and began working the controls. "Since the harvest starts tomorrow and you're here to helplessly witness my evil scheme in action, I might as well get started." After pushing a few buttons to open the roof he pushed a large handle from its middle position to all the way forward. The machine groaned as it started up. As its noises gradually softened into a loud hum a tremendously powerful air vortex rose from it, climbing incredibly high into the sky.
Meanwhile at Farmers Hayven, the Fields kids, Timothy and Strawberry, had just finished loading the hay cart while the three little fillies double checked their tiny harnesses. The farmer himself just eyed their contraption with suspicion.
"Are you fillies sure this thing'll...?" Hay Fields started to ask until the sky suddenly went dark. Everypony looked up to see menacing twister becoming darker as it sucked in cloud after fluffy cloud. "Maybe you should stay here until that storm passes."
"But we gotta get home before Applejack," Apple Bloom protested.
Scootaloo added, "I'm sure the other pegasi will take care of that in no time anyway."
Though still skeptical, Mr. Fields bid them a good day. Apple Bloom sucked in a deep breath before saying, "Okay, let's see if this is gonna work."
"No problem!" Sweetie Belle answered before scrunching her eyes tight in concentration. Her horn began to glow softly and the flywheel began to rattle, but it wouldn't start spinning even with the other two pulling hard as they could.
"It's not working!" Scootaloo whined.
"Hurry up!" Apple Bloom added. "We gotta get home soon, 'specially with that storm a' comin'!"
Sweetie Belle hunkered down and grunted. A single tear ran down her face as her horn became much brighter. The flywheel began to turn, slowly at first, but then it picked up enough speed to buck the machine forward. All three fillies began walking, pulling hard as they could as it and the hay cart started moving along.
However, Sweetie Belle's horn kept getting brighter, and the carriage faster. "Okay! Okay! You can stop!" Apple Bloom cried out as she struggled to keep from going too fast.
"I can't!" Sweetie cried out as the machine kept speeding up. Soon they were cantering but the unicorn still couldn't release her magic. Within a minute the three were galloping fast as they could, barely managing to stay on-course as they raced back towards Sweet Apple Acres.
When the first needles could be heard rattling around inside the hopper, Hoofenshmirtz started furiously adjusting the Needle-inator's controls. Several air tendrils spilt off from the main vortex and arced well away from his farm before flailing their way towards Farmer's Hayven and other surrounding fields.
While Hinds was distracted, Big Macintosh used his tail to flick his fedora at the magnet's control panel. It ricocheted off the control knob, knocking it all the way up to full power. While still working the controls Hinds taunted him, "See? I told you you wouldn't be able turn the power down..." Then a high-pitched rattling caught his attention. He turned his head to see Big Mac's hooves vibrating wildly. After a few seconds the stallion leapt off of his horseshoes and charged Hoofenshmirtz.
"Wait, how did you...!"
Agent B stopped short and calmly raised one hoof up for Hoofenshmirtz to see that the nail holes were empty.
"Ah, you turned the magnet up so that it would pull the nails out of your shoes. Very clever..."
Big Macintosh plowed his raised hoof right into Hoofenshmirtz's face, knocking him back onto his rump. Then Big Mac leapt to the control panel and slipped the nail from the magnet's control. Just as the needle hopper began to make a deafening rumble he pulled the main control handle all the way back to the opposite position. For safe measure, he pounded the nail into the groove, securing the handle in place.
"Noooooooo!" Hoofenshmirtz cried out as he ran back to the controls. While the evil pony struggled to move the handle Mac shut off the magnet and retrieved his shoes. As he rushed out the door Hinds yelled after him, "Curse you, Big Mac the Secret Stud!"
Up in the sky, the whirlwind's tendrils dissipated, leaving only the main vortex spinning wildly. Big Mac jetted away just before the Needle-inator exploded, spraying literally tons of evergreen needles all over Hoofenshmirtz's oat fields.
Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle raced past the orchards and up towards the farm house. The exhausted little unicorn suddenly screamed in frustration and nearly lost her footing. Her horn stopped glowing and the contraption began to slow down. "I did it! I turned off my magic!" she cried out excitedly.
"But now we still gotta stop, and real quick!" Apple Bloom yelled as they sped towards the barn.
All three fillies pushed their legs forward and skidded on their hooves trying to brake, with Scootaloo even stretching out her wings to create extra drag. They lost control and were being pushed right at some trees. They are able to avoid them but the machine didn't. Upon impact the contraption's poles broke from the fillies' breeching then fell into the ground, digging in and lifting the back of the machine up into the air. It broke away from the hay cart and then flipped over in the air before exploding into dozens of pieces. They flew through the air and smacked the barn wall before falling into a heap next to the door.
Meanwhile the youngsters tripped and tumbled a short ways before landing in the small haystack. The poles of the hay cart scraped on the ground, slowing it to a gentle stop in front of the barn door.
The fillies laid sprawled out in the hay, too weak to move. They were panting hard and moaning from being so sore. Moments later they heard a familiar trotting as Applejack returned.
"Well I'll be!" the mare yelled before looking at the exhausted kids. "How the heck did you three do that! I'm pretty darned impressed."
"Eeeyup," Big Mac agreed as he met up with them.
"There you are, Big Macintosh," Applejack said. "Do you see what your lil' sister and her friends did? They hauled all that hay from Mr. Fields's..." Then she suddenly noticed the woodpile and pointed at it. "And look! They stacked up a bunch of extra firewood too." She turned back towards the fillies who were finally getting back up on their hooves. "I'd a' never thunk you three could manage to do all that." She thought for a moment and then smiled right at them. "You all must'a worked up quite an appetite I'll bet. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, you gotta stay for dinner. I insist."
Applejack turned back to Big Macintosh as he finished removing a couple of burlap sacks from his saddlebags. "Hey brother, I hope you got some real good chow for us tonight."
He opened one of the bags, showing the fresh oats. "Eeeyup."
The others' eyes lit up. "Oats! My favorite!" Sweetie Belle squealed. The others nodded and smiled in agreement.
"Okay, you lil' ones go get washed up and rest a spell while we get to cookin'," Applejack told them. Then she and Big Mac picked up the sacks with their mouths and carried them inside.
Scootaloo looked over at the wood pile, her eyes open wide. Then her bottom lip slipped out and she whimpered, "Our machine is ruined."
Sweetie Belle patted her on the shoulder. "Don't feel bad. We can come up with something even better to make tomorrow."
"You darned tootin' we will!" Bloom added. "An' besides, I'm sure lots of machines folks make don't always work right at first anyway. You just gotta keep tryin' and learnin' from your mistakes, I reckon."
Hinds Hoofenshmirtz, covered in various kinds of pine needles, laid on the floor of his barn. Finally he sputtered and then wiped some out of his eyes. He started looking around at the devastation and sighed. "You know," he told himself, "Maybe I should use single-throw switches on my evil devices from now on."