FimFiction Link - Short ID: 507696/low-battery
Published: Nov '21
'Low Battery' is a two thousand and five hundred-word Sweetie Bot oneshot. After a long day of Crusading Sweetie Belle realizes she hasn't charged her battery for a while and tries to rush home before power runs out. After a tense race against the clock, she finally makes it, but another unexpected obstacle stands in her way in the form of a cat.
Sweetie Bot is one of those fan created concepts I can't help but really like. Whether it's a dive into existentialism or just fun robot shenanigans, it's a concept that can lead to some really nice fics, this mostly being one. I really like how incongruent Sweetie's behavior is with the fact that she's a machine. Ony moment she's talking like a completely normal filly, the next she's modifying her inner behavior in an attempt to "stay alive." This very incompatibility is used by the author to justify why she even got into this situation. Her mechanic body has indeed warned her of running out of power, but she consciously ignored it and now she has to face the repercussions. While the story is marked with a Comedy tag, her bodily functions slowly shutting off felt surprisingly tense.
I'm a bit on the fence about the permanent memory loss plot-device. I don't think it makes much sense as no sane creator would build a conscious being whose memory is tied to its power source. However, I also understand that merely shutting down without any other side effects wouldn't exactly have made the situation nearly as worrying and death would've been far too dark for the tone this story was going for. Though one could reasonably ask if there even is any difference between her dying and "merely" losing all her memories permanently.
Where the story loses some of its charm to me is the last part. Sweetie Bell might be a very emotional character, but seeing her become so angry that she goes out of her way to torment Opal while not even caring about the fact that she's moments away from shutting down is very hard for me to believe. Wanting to hurl plates and mugs at the animal feels far too brutal for her. Splashing Opal with water is much closer to what I'd expect, but sadly even if I ignore what came before, it still doesn't make much sense that she'd act like this when moments ago she was so worried about losing power. I'm also not sure how to feel about Opal suddenly expressing high levels of intelligence and reasoning. Yes, the show did depict her as sometimes understanding the situation more than a cat should, but still, her connecting the dots that she needs to plug back Sweetie to save her life is on one hand a cute moment, but on the other very much felt like a felis-ex-machina resolution to the plot.
Overall: 5/10 I'm torn between wanting to love this fic for how it portrays Sweetie Bot and disliking it for the contrivances the author uses to make the plot feel tense. I only recommend it if such things don't bother you.