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A pair of young pegasus ponies, Scootaloo and Orion, are getting ready for their final flight exam, which will either make their lives if they succeed, or break them if they fail. But during the exam, a pony twists her wings and catastrophically crashes before their eyes. A chain of events leads to all three of them failing the exam and being taken somewhere unknown, where the glorious city of Cloudsdale won't have to suffer failures such as them.
But the exile turns out to be even worse than expected... Instead of being deported to some unknown land, the three find themselves inside the Rainbow Factory. Barely anything is known about the workings of this place, besides the fact that it produces rainbows. But now, the three are finally about to find out (at the price of their lives) where those beautiful rainbows gracing Equestria really come from... and to discover the horrifying truth behind Scootaloo's mentor, friend and hero... Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Factory was first written as a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic-themed song by renowned brony musician Glaze, aka WoodenToaster. While it clearly suggests the cheerful Rainbow Factory depicted in the show is not all it seems, it leaves the actual details to one's imagination. Aurora Dawn later wrote a fanfiction based on the song. Warning: similarly to Cupcakes, this contains canon character "reinterpretation" (as well as death) and is grimdark as fuck.
Rainbow Factory contains examples of:
- Ax Crazy: Rainbow Dash is completely and murderously out of her mind.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: As Rainbow Dash calmly informs the victims, the Pegasus Device works better if the pony gets his/her ribs broken beforehand.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: pretty much the entirety of the upper-rank Factory officials... Rainbow Dash mostly.
- Darker and Edgier: the fanfic itself to the show, big time.
- One "alternate ending" is even darker than the fanfic itself - in it, Rainbow Dash is revealed to still have a side of her personality that still cares for Scootaloo... and the struggle between it and her insane enraged side gets her tangled up in chains and shackles, until she herself falls into the Pegasus Device and dies. Scootaloo? She's still killed by Doctor Atmosphere anyways.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
Rainbow Dash: You deserve this, you worthless whore of a foal!
- Downer Ending: Scootaloo fails to escape, is implied to have been killed, and the Rainbow Factory is allowed to remain operational.
- Et Tu Pluvi Arcus Impetus
- Fantastic Racism: not exactly racism, but the Cloudsdale society is extremely prejudiced about poor fliers - so much that pegasi who fail their final flight test are exiled somewhere so as to not shame the city. They're actually killed to make rainbows out of them, but the population doesn't know that.
- Human Resources: or Pony Resources...
- It's All About Me: All Rainbow Dash is concerned with is how disappointed she is by Scootaloo's failure to pass her flight test after all her advice, as opposed to the fact that Scootaloo is about to die a horrible death.
- Jump Scare: Go ahead, click the link and scoll all the way to the bottom, I dare ya. If you do, you'll be met with an EXTREME close-up of Rainbow Dash's piercing red eyes, her face splattered with blood (some of which possibly belonging to Scootaloo).
- Kill the Ones You Love
- Man of Wealth and Taste: The manager of the Factory Rainbow Dash wears a suit. Most Factory workers, even the lower-end ones, do as well, though.
- Madness Makeover: Though it's justified by her having been in a fight, Rainbow Dash starts out as prim in a strict suit, and by the end of the story her mane is messed up and she's all covered in blood and wounds so her colors can hardly be seen.
- Morality Chain: Working inside the Factory and seeing, even commanding the cold-blooded slaughter of many innocent ponies, Rainbow Dash had only one thing that prevented her from falling into complete insanity - Scootaloo. Once Scootaloo seals her fate by failing her flight exam, Rainbow Dash plunges right into the deep end.
- Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: Doctor Atmosphere, arguably. He's not exactly an evil genius, but he's got an eerie vibe about him.
- Nothing Is Scarier: in the original song, the evils of the Factory are left to the listener's imagination...
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Doctor Atmosphere explicitely states he's not a medical doctor - he has a degree in engineering, and tells the group that he won't conduct any evil experiments on them. Indeed, they merely get killed to make rainbows out of them.
- Powder Keg Crowd: eventually the captured ponies lash out against their tormentors... sadly it's all in naught eventually.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: rainbows are made out of young pegasi who fail the final flight test.
- Released to Elsewhere: All the ponies think the flight test failures are exiled to another country, while the reality is quite different...
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rainbow Dash completely loses it when the pony victims rebel and Scootaloo attempts to escape.
- Room 101: The rainbow factory is this.
- The Social Darwinist: Rainbow Dash is a type two.
- You Have Failed Me: Rainbow Dash comes to believe Scootaloo deserves her atrocious fate for having failed her flight test, despite all of Dash's tips and pointers. Even though her failure was not really her fault.
- ↑ Latin vocative for Rainbow Dash