59w, 4dEquestria Daily Rejects
Chapter 3 “A Forgotten Home”
Celestia’s sun crested the horizon as Starshine trotted along Ponyville’s dirt roads. “Director of operations. First day.” She thought to herself, worry filling the very core of her being “You can do this… Celestia herself chose you for this position!”
Starshine couldn’t help but feel that there was more to this “promotion” than Celestia had originally stated, and not in a good way. She let out a sigh as she trotted along, black and white stripped scarf wrapped around her neck, white saddle bags packed with her basic gear and a few personal items for her new desk. The stone bridge came into sight, and the station behind it, as she turned a corner. The only lights coming from the building were the wall-mounted, industrial-looking halogens that illuminated the driveway and parking lot. Otherwise, the building looked devoid of life.
Starshine swiped her key fob against the proximity sensor, emitting a beep and green light for the black plastic box as the door unlocked. She pulled open the door and trotted inside, flicking on the lights as she trotted into the dispatch office. Her eyes glanced towards the MDT printer and its empty tray. “No calls last night… guess we lucked out this time. I’ll have to do something about the lack of overnight crews” she thought to herself, letting out a sigh as she added another item to the already quite large task list in her head. She moved over to the radio PC and wiggled the mouse. The LCD panel flicked on, displaying the status of various components around the base as well as the radio system. Starshine clicked off the safety and remotely opened bays one through three. To the right of her and through the garage window, the main bays opened up, letting the sun cast its warm glow on the stationary ambulances.
Moving on to the next item on her checklist, Starshine logged into the schedule/time clock on one of two auxiliary dispatch computers. One glance at today’s schedule and she had another thing to worry about; partial crew from 0800-1200, and no dispatcher from 0800-1800. “Today is going to be a wonderful day” she thought sarcastically as she wrote up a message. With one more click of the mouse and “Driver needed from 0800-1200. Dispatcher needed from 0800-1800” was sent out to all district pagers. A few seconds later and her saddlebags started to beep. As she already knew what the message was, she ignored the beeps of her pager until it timed out. There were more important things than beeping pagers that required her attention.
Back into the hallway, a right, and then a left into the living room/kitchen was where Starshine went next. Sunlight shone through the partially closed blinds, the soft light preferable to the harsh glow of fluorescent lights. She opened up one of the cabinets and selected the first coffee of the day “StarDragon’s Manehatten Roast”, the most potent blend available in Ponyville. She magiked open the lid of the machine, placing a filter inside and filling it with the dark grounds while she took the pot handle in her teeth and filled it at the sink. Soon the room was filled with the rich smells of brewing coffee, a scent she would love to rub into her mane every morning if it weren’t such a waste of coffee.
Starshine took a seat on one of the stools at the kitchen counter, slowly browsing through the newspaper. In one of the local sections it appeared there was a short article about her appointment. Apparently in the few days since that fateful night, word had spread about the new director of operations. Of course, it’s not really all that exciting news, but in a small town, almost anything can make its way in.
A few minutes later, and with coffee in hoof, Starshine was in the ambulance bays and opening up the rear doors to 3779. Setting her coffee down on the action area counter, she started one of the most tedious, but important tasks of day; checking the ambulance supplies. The whole process of checking the interior cabinets, oxygen tanks, and exterior cabinets took about half an hour. A few D-tanks needed replacing but other than that, everything seemed to be in order.
High-low tones then alarm bell. It was time for the first call of the day. “Canterlot Ambulance, mutual aid to Ponyville, priority three call for large area extremity burns. Multiple reports, primary caller appears to be a minor. Ponyville Library.”
Radio chirp, then “Canterlot acknowledges the call, three zero eight nine is en route.”
Starshine hopped out of the ambulance and ran around to the front, her partially drunk coffee still in the back of the ambulance. She hopped into the driver seat and started the engine, flicked on the battery switch, and hit the radio. “EMS, this is Ponyville, we have a partial crew available for crew sharing. Three seven seven nine is responding.”
“Okay Ponyville, three seven seven nine responding, partial crew, available for crew share.”
Starshine hit the garage door opener and used the time it took to open to plan out her route. Once the door was open, she flicked on the siren to hyper and quickly pulled out of the bay and turned onto the main road, switching the siren back down to wail.
Five minutes of uneventful driving later and the ambulance slowed to a halt in front of the Ponyville Library. She flicked off the siren and downgraded the emergency lights to secondary. “EMS, three seven seven nine on scene”
“Seven nine on scene.”
After putting it in park, Starshine climbed through the driver compartment door into the back compartment. She unbuckled the jump bag then slung it over her shoulder and hopped out the side door. No point in bothering with the stretcher just yet. A few knocks on the library’s front door and a few moments wait, and the door opened to reveal a small purple and green dragon with a facial expression showing a mix of concern and annoyance… Mostly annoyance. “Can I help you?”
“Ponyville Ambulance, someone here called for an ambulance?” Starshine was hesitant to go any further. Although the little dragon looked harmless enough, dragons were rare and with the chief complaint being burns… well it might not be accidental.
“Yeah, Twilight is in the kitchen.” Said the dragon as he turned around and motioned for Starshine to follow.
Cautiously, Starshine trotted along behind the baby dragon, keeping her eyes on the dragon in case he decided to attack. Upon entering the kitchen she let out a gasp as she saw what would later be described as “A very localized disaster area” in the patient care report. Caramelized sugar coated the stove and the pots and pans on top of it. The countertop next to the stove was littered with flower stems and bread crumbs. The coffee maker appeared to have exploded, one of the knobs on the sink’s faucet was missing and was spraying water into the air, the fridge was laying on its front and leaking various fluids, and the entire kitchen floor was submerged below several inches of water, and right in the center of it all was a purple unicorn frantically searching through a cookbook and muttering to herself “Kitchen emergencies, kitchen emergencies, under ‘e’ maybe?”
It took a few moments for Starshine to regain her composure and make her presence known. “Err… miss? Are you Twilight?”
The unicorn slammed the book down onto the floor, soaking the book in water and revealing burned fur on her right forearm. Her pupils were constricted, her mane was disheveled, and her right ear was twitching. She blinked a few times before exclaiming “There’s no disaster guide!”
Starshine winced a little at the volume of the reply. “There’s no what now?”
“Disaster guide! This cookbook doesn’t have anything in it about disasters!” the unicorn suddenly teleported forward and quickly reached forward and placed her front hooves on Starshine’s shoulders and pressed her face up against the medic’s face. “What do I do now!?”
Starshine tried to back away but found herself pinned against a wall. She reached up and gently removed one of the unicorn’s hooves, a nervous smile on her face, trying to mask her fear. “Why don’t we step outside and get some fresh air, alright?”
“Outside!?” the unicorn wouldn’t release her grip on Starshine. She needed to get the unicorn away from her and call for police assistance before this unicorn went completely psycho on her.
“Yes… outside… to get some fresh air and relax while I get someone over here to take care of everything, okay?” Starshine spoke slowly and calmly, trying to keep the situation from escalating. The unicorn seemed to be processing her suggestion until the dragon gently tugged on her mane, drawing her attention away from the pinned medic.
“Twilight? Do what the nice pegasus says and go outside. Everything will be fine.” Starshine felt a twinge of guilt upon hearing the words of the dragon and seeing his concerned expression. He truly seemed to care about this unicorn, and earlier Starshine had suspected him of being the cause of the injuries.
Those words seemed to bring Twilight out of her state of panic and realization of what she had been doing dawned on her face. She slowly released the pinned pegasus. Her pupils had returned to their normal size and her face was showing a mixture of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. “You’re right, I’m sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused.” Said Twilight as she started to walk out the door.
Starshine let out a sigh of relief and followed Twilight out the door. Twilight paused once they both made it outside. Starshine led her to the side door of the ambulance and followed her inside.
“Could you sit on the stretcher for me, miss Twilight?”
Twilight sat down on the stretcher then shifted to lay on her side, letting her muzzle rest on her forelegs. Now that things were under control, Starshine decided it was time to contact dispatch with an update. She hopped over into the captain’s chair and grabbed the radio with magic. “EMS, three seven seven nine”
“Three seven seven nine, go ahead”
“EMS, three seven seven nine, notify the Canterlot rig that they can take it easy.” After finishing her message, Starshine place the mic back on its hook and turned her attention back towards the patient.
“Okay, EMS will advise incoming rig. Three zero eight nine, EMS.”
Starshine set her jumpbag down on the floor and pulled out the stethoscope, pulse-oximeter, and a blood pressure cuff. “Your name is Twilight, correct?”
Radio chirp then “Three zero eight nine, we heard the message, just hit the Ponyville town line and going green the rest of the way.”
Twilight shook her head and let out a sigh. “Twilight Sparkle”
Starshine set her gear down on the squad bench, grabbed a clipboard and data collection sheet, and sat down on the squad bench, taking a pen from her pocket and writing down Twilight’s name. “My apologies. And is this your permanent residence?”
The only sound in the air was the sound of pen on paper as Starshine recorded her initial observations. “May I see that burn?”
The purple unicorn gave a small nod as Starshine hopped down and leaned over her patient to examine the burned area, gently palpating the area and trying to part burned fur to examine the skin below. “Does this hurt?” The unicorn denied it but Starshine could feel the muscles constrict below the skin. Starshine slid open the trauma cabinet and levitated a razor over to the unicorn, gently clearing a small spot near the center of the burn. “1st degree, nothing serious. So how did this happen?”
“Well… I had just woken up after a long night of studying and I was feeling pretty out of it, and since Spike was such a big help last night I decided I’d try and make breakfast for the both of us and let him sleep in. I guess I was a little impatient for the coffee to finish brewing so I tried using a spell to make it brew faster and well… it exploded…”
“The coffee… and that explosion just caused a chain reaction of chaos and then the eggs started to burn… and… and…!”
The purple unicorn pressed her hooves against her head, a panicked expression on her face as she remembered the horrors that had unfolded in her very kitchen. Starshine reached forward and placed a hoof on her shoulder in an attempt to calm her. “It’s okay, it’s all over now… how about you tell me who this Spike character is. Is he the dragon I met earlier?”
Twilight seemed to perk up a little at the change of topic, her body relaxing again. “Oh, yes! He’s my number one assistant! He’s been helping me ever since I became Princess Celestia’s student. He’s practically family at this point.”
Starshine gave a soft smile and nodded “Alrighty then, I assume you do not wish to go to the hospital today?”
The unicorn smiled sheepishly, a blush adorning her cheeks. “If I don’t have to, I’d rather not.”
“Okay then, just give me a minute, I need to cancel the other rig before they arrive.” Starshine opened the passenger side rear door and hopped out to see the second rig pulling up behind her own rig. Starshine gave a wave to the rig then trotted over to the passenger side of the driver’s compartment and hopped up onto the steps. The Canterlot medic rolled down the window as Starshine moved to the ambulance. “Morning, y’all. So our patient is a female unicorn in her twenties. She has a first degree burn on her right foreleg, but that’s it. She does not wish to go to the hospital, so it’s just going to be a sign off if that’s alright with y’all.”
The two stallions looked at each other briefly, the driver nodding once before the medic turned his attention back to Starshine. “We haven’t called on scene yet, so call EMS and cancel us.”
Starshine smiled and nodded “Thanks, sorry you had to come all the way here for nothing. Take care now y’all!” Starshine then hopped down and started walking back to her own rig.
“No problem, at least we don’t have to do any paperwork!” yelled the medic as their rig pulled out and passed the Ponyville ambulance.
Back in the rig and with the rear doors closed again, Starshine got on the radio. “EMS, three seven seven nine”
“EMS, three seven seven nine, patient is a sign off, please cancel the incoming rig” Starshine set down the mic and waited next to the radio to make sure there was nothing else EMS needed from her in order to cancel 3089.
“Seven nine, sign off. Three zero eight nine”
“Three zero eight nine on”
“Three zero eight nine, patient is going to be a sign off, you can go ahead and return to Canterlot”
“Canterlot three zero eight nine, back in service, returning to Canterlot”
With 3089 heading back to Canterlot, Starshine could get back to her patient and wrap things up. She sat back down on the squad bench and used her magic to wrap a BP cuff around Twilight’s left foreleg and press the head of her stethoscope against the leg. Her patient jumped a little in surprise, having been daydreaming while Starshine was dealing with the other ambulance. It was then that Twilight finally noticed the unusual attributes of her attending medic.
“Err, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but you’re a pegasus, right?”
Starshine just nodded and gave the short reply of “Mhmm.” Most of her attention was focused on getting an accurate blood pressure reading.
“If you’re a pegasus, but not an alicorn, then how can you do magic?”
A soft hiss filled the air as the BP cuff deflated fully and then slid off Twilight’s leg. Starshine stuffed her stethoscope back into one of her pockets and reclined on the squad bench “A fair question. It’s a rare genetic defect in which the pegasus wing bones, which should be hollow and flexible, take on a structure closer to that of a unicorn’s horn. As this is a defect, it comes in varying degrees of severity. In my case, it’s about a fifty-fifty mix. The result is that my wings are too heavy and inflexible to be useful for anything other than very short flights, and my magical abilities are quite limited due to the incomplete horn structuring in my wing bones. The best I can do is lift things, but even then I can’t lift anything too large without straining myself. I don’t fly because I am at high risk for fracturing or completely breaking a wing bone during flight.”
“I-I’ve never heard of that sort of defect. Have there been any studies done on it?”
Starshine closed her eyes. This was not one of her preferred topics. “There have been a few minor studies done on it purely to record that it exists.”
“I’d love to perform an in depth study on this defect. It might actually help explain how magic works in the first place! Who knows, it might even help you perform magic.”
Starshine’s eyes burst open as she rolled over onto her side. “Are you forizzle?”
“Well, I couldn’t guarantee anything, but I would say it’s a possibility.”
Starshine felt a little let down, but there was now a glimmer of hope where there was nothing before. She didn’t like the idea of being studied, especially by someone she barely knew, but then again it was a chance to improve her magic. Plus, she claimed to be a student of Celestia, but that could also mean she is just as devilish as her Royal Highness. “It would be non-invasive, right?”
“…I need some time to think about this.”
“Oh. I understand.”
Starshine levitated a pen and consent form over to the studious unicorn. “Sign this form please. It’s a consent form saying that I did not examine you against your will.”
Twilight looked a little confused and nervous about the sudden topic change but signed the paper regardless. Starshine levitated over a Refusal of Medical Aid form and pointed to the patient signature line “Sign here.” Once the unicorn had finished she levitated both forms, the pen, and clipboard away from the unicorn. “I am legally bound to advise you that refusing medical aid may result in any injuries or illnesses worsening and that if any of your current symptoms worsen or do not improve after a few days you should seek medical attention. On a side note, you have nothing to worry about, this is all just a formality.”
As expected, the statements did frighten her patient a tad, but there wasn’t much she could do about that. “Alright, unless you have anything else to ask me, you are free to go.”
Starshine had already turned her attention away from Twilight and was working on packing up her gear. Suddenly she felt the pressure of a hoof on her shoulder.
“Please think about my request. I really would like to help you if I can, but there isn’t much I can do without knowing more about your problem.”
Starshine wouldn’t have this. She’s not disabled. She’s not some lab rat to be experimented on! Starshine grabbed the unicorn’s hoof, twisting around and pushing it away as she withdrew her left hoof and got ready to land a hoof-full of hurt on the offending unicorn. Her hoof was about to make contact with the Twilight’s face when she realized what she was doing. Her hoof slowly lowered as she calmed herself and let go of Twilight. Without looking at Twilight again she made her way to the back door. “I hope your burns heal well.” She said, her voice neutral as she opened the door and hopped out, holding the door open for Twilight, still avoiding eye contact. Once the unicorn was out, Starshine closed the door, walked around to the front, hopped in, and drove off without another word.
Starshine put the ambulance in reverse and backed it into bay one. Once it was in place she shut off the engine and closed the bay door. She went through a checklist in her head of things to do after a call “GPS off, bay closed, fuel level is okay, restock the rig.” She had accidently left a towel with Twilight, but no matter, towels were never in service for long. She hopped out then made her way out of the ambulance bays and to her new office. The novelty of having her own office was lost in guilt towards how she treated her last patient. She has dealt with incredibly rude and grating patients in the past but never before had she lost herself like she did earlier. It scared her.
Someone said hello to her as she passed the dispatch office but she didn’t even notice. When she entered her office she shut the door behind her, sat down in her chair, and let her body go limp. Her head landed on an unnoticed gift left on her desk. It was wrapped in colored tissue paper and had a small bow on it. To Starshine, it was just a headrest for now as she drifted off to sleep.
Starshine woke with a start as the station alarm went off all across the base. She groggily listened to the dispatch message and the reply from the station dispatcher. Thankfully, it seemed that Ponyville could staff the ambulance without her for now. With a yawn and a few stretches she got out of her chair and went to the kitchen. After pouring herself a cup of coffee she went back to her office and sat down again, this time leaving the door open. It was now that she noticed the gift on her desk. She eyed the small package curiously and started to open it up. A picture frame. And within that frame was a black and white picture of her laying on her side seductively, on the hood of 3089. There was also a thin, black rectangle across the bottom of the photo with a caption of “Starshine: Ponyville Volunteer Ambulance Director of Operations” in white letters. Of course color photos were readily available but Starshine guessed that the photo was grayscale on purpose. She turned over the frame and on the back was a cardstock note professionally glued onto the back of the frame with a message on it. “Starshine, although your home may be far away, and your friends out of reach, always remember that distance cannot break the bonds you have made. We wish you the best of luck in Ponyville. With much love, Canterlot Royal Ambulance Service overnight crew.” Below the message were the signatures of her friends and co-workers from the Canterlot night crew. A single tear rolled down the left side of her cheek then fell upon the tissue paper on her desk. She placed the frame on her desk and placed her head in her hooves, just staring at the picture, a smile on her face. With all the work and stress of moving and getting settled in Ponyville, she had forgotten about her roots. She had forgotten of the friendships she had made. She would forget them no longer.
After a little while she stopped staring at the picture and cleared her desk of wrapping paper and got out all the papers from the call earlier and a blank Patient Care Report (PCR). She took another quick look at the photograph then, with a small smile on her face, started working on the PCR for her call earlier today. As much as she would have liked to just pass the time reliving fond memories of her old crew, it was her first day in her new position. She had a lot of work to do today after all.