The recital of Rainbow’s immense awesome-ness and exemplary performance as a ‘medical pony extraordinaire’ had quickly turned into a three part apology, somehow. Mainly it had concerned the busting of her clouds, the disturbance of her nap, and furthermore having her chase your flank all across the sky.
Now, trotting down the dirt road to Fluttershy’s cabin, you looked to your left at the cyan mare walking beside you. After you had finished your recital to a somewhat smug Rainbow, you had tried flying again. You were saddened to find that, though the wing had been popped back into place, it was still much too sore to fly anything more than a short distance. This being the case, you had only flown as much as you absolutely needed to; meaning till you had found the road. After safely landing on the dirt path without ‘assistance’ from a certain somepony, you gave Rainbow a quick explanation that after all the hard flying earlier you would much rather walk the remaining distance, in order to give your wings a rest.
However Rainbow, upon hearing your flimsy white lie, had simply alighted on the road beside you, and she began to walk steadily forward. Apparently determined to keep in your company for the entirety of your trip, and knowing how infuriatingly stubborn she could be, you did not refuse. Besides, despite her stubborn and cocky nature, the cyan mare’s presence relaxed your frayed nerves, and soothed your mind, though you couldn’t quite place a hoof on why. Nevertheless you were glad for her company.
Walking down the road she begins to tell you about the many different things in Ponyville. Starting with the most notable landmarks of the small township, she lists off the varying buildings. Starting with the prestigiously elegant Carousel Boutique, and its extravagant owner, Rarity, with whom she was apparently good friends. Those weren’t her exact words, but that was the gist of what she was saying. She then gave similarly colorful commentaries on the other well-known places in town, including Sweet Apple Acres, Sugarcube Corner, and the town library.
But Rainbow didn’t really get into any subject until flying came up. Her eyes lit with excitement, as her voice took on a rapid pace at the subject of being in the air; of not relying on anything but yourself and your wings to navigate the endless ocean of the skies. Something about her monologue, however, for some inexplicable reason, caused the jammed cogs of your mind to turn.
It may have been her enthusiasm at the aspect of flight, or it may have been the wording she used to describe the joys of aviation, but whatever the cause you were forced into a brief memory. It started with a subtle buzzing, just on the edge of your awareness.
Feeling the beginnings of a headache stirring you close your eyes, suddenly finding the bright rays of the sun above blinding. As soon as your eyelids closed you gasped as a single image flashed across your mind’s eye with startling intensity.
You were flying, but not with your wings. Instead you found yourself sitting in a seat of some sort, with some form of transparent bubble over your head, protecting your face from the whipping winds. You could see a vast expanse of desert terrain far below. It was at an angle as well, almost as if you were banking to the right.
As soon as you began to truly examine all the aspects of the image it was gone, lost, again, in the vast roiling storm-ridden sea that was your mind, like a ship with no sails. Opening your eyes again in confusion you turn to see Rainbow fixing you with a pointed stare.
“What?” you ask, shifting uncomfortably under her gaze.
“Well, first off, you gasped for no reason at all. Then, when I asked if you were okay, you just sorta zoned out.” Rainbow said, her eyes never leaving yours. “Was it your wing?” Realizing that your cyan companion was referring to the image that had just momentarily burned itself into your conscience you stiffen slightly. You don’t know why, but you didn’t want Rainbow to know about your recent insight into your past, and so looking to your injured wing you grasp at the excuse Rainbow had provided like a life ring.
“Y-yeah,” you lie, “I probably just moved it weird or something, I guess.” You finish the sentence, looking her in the eye with what you hope to be a convincing smile on your face. Shrugging, Rainbow looks ahead again, launching with enthusiasm into the fresh new topic of some group of pegasi, known as “The Wonderbolts,” who were apparently the most awesome fliers in all of Equestria. She also went on about how she, Rainbow Dash, would one day join their ranks in ‘supreme awesome-ness’ as she stated.
As your rainbow maned companion continued working herself up over the passionate, well at least for her that is, subject you retreated back to the recesses of your mind. Making sure to keep a vague amount of attention on where your hooves were going to ensure you didn’t trip or fall.
’What was that?’ You think, looking up into the sky above. ’Was it just some weird daydream, some random spark of the imagination?’
’No… no that was far too detailed and familiar to have been a daydream. It had to have been a memory, but if it was a memory then where was I? And what was I sitting in, some sort of flying machine? Ugh, God, why can’t I just remember?’
’Well there is an obviously simple answer to that question my dear fellow’ came a new voice from the corners of your mind, its tone emanating a well read logical aspect to it.
’Oh? And that is? You ask this new voice brought forth from your psyche with a sarcastic drawl.
’You are concussed, and also suffering from amnesia.’
Mentally, you give a snort of annoyance, fully preparing to give this new voice of Logic, seemingly (yeah right!), a piece of your mind. Giving a slight moment to pause at the pure idiocy of what you just planned another voice comes into the exchange, this one more recognizable.
’I’m pretty sure he already knew that Logic,’ cuts in Reason, ’how couldn’t he? HE’S the one concussed, after all!’
’Well, I was just stating the facts, Reason. To fully understand one’s true predicament one must first take in all possible contributing factors’
’Contributing factors? Contributing factors? Logic that makes no sense whatsoever, you’re not talking about a contributing factor, for god’s sake, you’re talking about the main problem!’ Reason cried with an incredulous tone to his voice.
’Reason, I am truly sorry, but in my good stature of person I simply refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent,’ replied Logic with a haughty tone.
’Thank you Logic, I’m glad we could- Hey! Wait a minute!’ came the indignant cry from Reason as Logic’s remark fully registered to him.
Lost in the verbal dispute going on between the two halves of your mind as you debated what had transpired, it barely registered in your mind, with good reason, as Fluttershy’s cottage appeared on the horizon. Only when you dimly heard Rainbow’s voice did you snap out of the trance, and quiet the two quarreling factions of your subconscious.
“Hm?” you reply, looking up to Rainbow with a questioning glance. Giving a small snort of frustration, Rainbow rolls her eyes, obviously being less than enthused at the notion of repeating herself.
“I said that I have to go do something in town, and it’s getting close to when I was supposed to head into town, so I was wondering if you thought you’d be fine walking by yourself from here?”
“Oh,” you reply as the realization that you possibly had hindered the pegasus dawned on you. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me, but what about you? Like what’s the thing that you’ve got to do?” In response to your question Rainbow rolls her eyes and groans.
“I’ve got to train one of our, um, less skillful members of the Ponyville Weather Team. Poor Derpy accidentally zapped the Mayor with a storm cloud yesterday,” Rainbow shakes her head, obviously reminiscing of the Mayor’s visit. “She ordered a full re-evaluation of Derpy’s skills, to see if she’s even fit for Weather Team duty. If she doesn’t pass then she’ll have to be bumped back down to Post Service, poor mare. She just made it in last week.” Seeing Rainbow’s face you discern a mixture of different emotions, the main sentiment apparently being empathy for this ‘Derpy” character.
“Well do you think that she’ll be able to make the cut again?” You ask trying to put a dash of optimism in the cyan mare’s demeanor. Slowly, in response, she shakes her head with a sad smile on her face.
“No, I don’t think she will, but Derpy will understand, I think. And as long as she knows that she’ll be helping somepony, she should be happy.” You see Rainbow’s expression lighten somewhat as this thought occurs to her. Spreading her wings out behind her, in preparation for flight, your cyan companion gives a quick goodbye before taking off in the direction of Ponyville.
You watch Rainbow fly into the distance, until she passes over a small cluster of hills a moderate distance away from where you stood. Shaking your head slightly, you continue the walk to Fluttershy’s cottage. As your mind turns back to the cottage you feel a slight pang of guilt, as an image of Twilight passes through your thoughts.
’Crap, how long has it been since I left?’ Looking up into the sky you can see that the sun has moved from its earlier position in the sky. Though you had no idea how to tell the time by position of the radiant star, you could estimate that an hour or two had passed since your accidental adventure. ’Oh well,’ you think, dismissing the feelings of guilt. ’Twilight seems like an understanding mare with a good head on her shoulders. I’m sure she won’t be mad or upset at my inadvertently lengthy absence.’
With that thought you continue your trot to the cottage, ’Besides,’ you think with a humorous laugh, ’judging by how cool-headed she was last time we talked it’s hard to imagine her overreacting, or freaking out, over something as trivial as this.’ And so you began to hum to yourself as you walk to the calm cottage of the animal loving pegasus. Where the supposedly level-headed, completely calm, and totally not freaking out, or overreacting, purple unicorn was.
Walking across the small bridge towards your destination you notice, absent mindedly, that of the orchestra of birds and other creatures which had been emitting a multitude of diverse exotic sounds and calls, only a sparse few remained. Inwardly you give a mental shrug, ’Oh well, they’re probably just all out getting food or flying or something.’ Walking up the path to Fluttershy’s door you see Spike’s face appear in one of the windows, smiling, you cheerfully wave a hoof at the tiny dragon. However, instead of seeing the purple drake return your greeting, you see him turn to someone away from the window to say something. Suddenly Spike’s face turns bright purple, illuminated from a sudden flash inside, but before you can even begin to ponder what it was, another flash occurs just inches from your muzzle.
“Waugh!” You shout in surprise as the abrupt purple light blinded you, causing you to stumble backwards, and land, unceremoniously, on your backside. Blinking to clear the violet after-image from your retinas, you rub your eyes with your hooves. As the purple haze fades from your vision, you notice Twilight standing before you, and you had to admit she looked the worse for wear.
Her mane was in complete disarray, sticking out in random directions. Her tail was frayed and frizzy, and somehow even though you had only been gone less than 2 hours, there were dark bags beneath her eyes. She gave off the impression of a pony who was not quite so level-headed, was thoroughly distressed, and was definitely freaking out.
“And where have you been,” questioned Twilight, in the voice of somepony stressed beyond reasonable, or healthy, limits.
“Well after-” but before you can finish your explanation twin purple flashes blind you, yet again, as Twilight teleported from directly in front of you to the side your injured wing was on, next to your right flank.
“Oh sweet Celestia, what happened to your wing?” she cried before teleporting to the left wing’s side. “And how in all things under the sun did you manage to only damage the right one?”
“Uhh,” you start rapidly blinking your eyes, AGAIN, trying to, clear the purple after-image before being blinded again as the unicorn appeared in front of you once more.
“And why didn’t you tell me you were going to be gone for a while?” She cries waving a hoof in exasperation before teleporting a small distance away from you, so she could study your body language and reaction to her interrogation. “I… I was… I was worried sick!” She panted, apparently rapid teleportation was a trying task for unicorns, even one as talented as Twilight.
“Twilight...” you start, trying to cut into the unicorn’s stressful tirade before she could begin her performance of random teleportation anew.
“WHAT?” She shouted, teleporting once more so that she was centimeters from your face, causing you to begin your rapid blinking yet again. As the bright purple blob cleared from your vision you focused on the darker portion you assumed to be Twilight.
“Can I at least explain what happened before you start dis-and-reappearing again?” You ask, not unkindly, eyes finally re-focusing on the now clear and defined image of the stressed purple unicorn before you.
“Oh,” Twilight replied sheepishly, her complexion noticeably darkening in embarrassment. “Well, um, yes. I apologize for my outburst.” As the purple unicorn finished her sentence her head lowered so that she was staring at the ground between her two front hooves.
“Hey now,” you say, kneeling down so that your face was looking up at Twilight’s downcast one. “Don’t be like that, it was sorta my fault. I didn’t mean to end up as far away as I did. But, anyways, do you want to know what happened?” You finish with a warm smile. Slowly, her eyes locking onto your own you see Twilight begin to nod.
“But I don’t think I will be able to like this.” You say with another smile, causing Twilight to give one in return, accompanied with a good natured laugh, as you stand up and straighten your neck. Once Twilight has fully straightened her posture and is looking you in the eyes with an attentive stare, you begin your tale of the past events. Twilight, for the most part, remained quiet while listening to your recount of your ‘eventful’ afternoon, give or take the odd question here and there. After you are done your explanation the purple mare in front of you began to shake her head slowly with a sigh.
“I’m sorry for overreacting, I should have let you explain before,” Twilight gestures to her horn with a hoof. “You know, going all crazy on you.” Giving a slight chuckle you shrug and wave your hoof dismissing the affair as no big deal.
“Don’t worry about it Twilight,” you reply with a wink, “no harm done right?”
At this Twilight blushes slightly and chuckles, her eyes looking up at the small fringe of her hair that was visible to her without a mirror. “Oh and by the way, you never commented on my new mane style, what do you think?” She queries, turning her head to the side striking a model-like pose with a joking smile on her face.
“Oh miss Twilight! I do believe it is simply exquisite, you must tell me how you achieved such a look!” You comment in what you thought to be an upper class accent before breaking down into laughter. Twilight gave a small joking pout before she joined you.
After the two of you regain your breath, composure, and stop laughing; you both in turn begin to walk up the path to Fluttershy’s cottage together. And though you yourself couldn’t exactly tell what it was, you had seen something in the purple mare’s eyes as the two had spoken and laughed in each other’s company. Such a little thing, but something that made your heart give a small flutter all the same, a spark or twinkle in her eyes and her gaze. As the door to the cottage you now stood in front of opened you dismissed the thought, vowing to ponder it tomorrow.
Looking around the room you were slowly trotting into, you shake your head slowly. Though you had tried to refuse Fluttershy’s hospitality when she had offered it to you, the mare had just looked so… so sad. So, swallowing your modesty and pride, you accepted Fluttershy’s offer.
Now, standing in the reclusive homeowner’s bedroom, you sigh. Not only had she given you a place to stay for the night, but she had insisted on you using her bedroom. Even though you had tried to outright refuse the room and medical care she had been offering, the yellow mare was insistent upon helping you. But as soon as the beginnings of your argument had built in your throat they shriveled and died at the yellow pegasus’ glare. It was terrifying, in all truth the sternest stare you had ever encountered or were ever likely to encounter.
You shudder slightly as you remember the bucket-of-ice feeling that had washed over you while staring into the twin depthless pools of clear blue that were Fluttershy’s eyes. Something about her unwavering gaze had filled you with the compulsion to do whatever the yellow mare requested of you and to never deviate from her wishes. Even Panic remained silent at the yellow pegasus’ stare; almost as if Fluttershy was ordering the troublesome faction of your subconscious from where she stood in front of you.
Looking around the room with mild interest you hear a tiny cough from the door directly behind you and turn to find the source of the barely audible sound. As per your suspicions the coughing noise had come from none other than your pink maned host.
“Oh… um, I’m sorry if I interrupted something, not that I’m saying you were doing anything that is. But I was just wondering, if you needed anything?” Though the last part of Fluttershy’s question had dropped to a near inaudible tone you still manage hear the yellow mare’s query and shook your head with a grateful smile.
“No, Fluttershy, this is perfect.” You say, keeping the smile on your face, not wanting your hostess to feel more obligated to your well-being than was truly necessary. “Thank you for letting me stay the night, though.
“Oh it was nothing really,” Fluttershy replies. “After all, your wing is still hurt, and I can’t just leave you out in the cold, well um that is unless you want to be out in the cold,” she added in a downcast tone. At her response you have to suppress the urge to run and comfort her to stop her from feeling depressed in the slightest, instead though your voice simply takes on a reassuring tone.
“No, it’s fine. Thank you very much Fluttershy.” As you finish addressing the mare you notice her ears perk up as she looks from the ground to the smile on your face, which she promptly returns.
For a time the two of you stand in silence, smiling warmly at one another. Suddenly the silence is broken as a lengthy yawn escapes from your muzzle, quickly stifling it you realize just how much of a toll the day’s events had taken on you. Looking to the pegasus standing in the door way of your room for the night you give a quick apology, commenting on how the rather nerve racking events of the day had left you both physically and mentally exhausted leaving you longing for the bed just behind you.
Fluttershy simply nods in understanding and backs out of the room with an almost silent “goodnight” before you climb into the single-pony bed in the room. Setting your head on the pillow you close your eyes, submitting your weary mind to the vast unknown world of your subconscious and dreams.
”This is Flash 2-5, rollin’ in from the East, angels 10; ready to drop nose to the dirt and bring the heat, how copy Siphon 0-1?”
Opening your ‘eyes’ you take in the strange sights and sounds of the dreamscape that your subconscious had put forth with a twinge of familiarity; looking around, you see you are yet again sitting in the same seat from the image you had envisioned on the road with Rainbow.
“Flash 2-5 this is Siphon 0-1, solid copy. Requesting fire mission and strafing run directly North of our current position, danger close. Coordinates are Lima-Foxtrot 6-7-6-niner.”
Hearing this exchange you try to shift your field of vision from the clouds whipping past to track the new tinny sounding voice coming from an unknown source, only to find the task impossible. A twinge of fear grips you as you try to move any part of your body with similar results.
“Roger that,’ came the first voice, the one which had previously been referred to as ‘Flash’ and was nowhere near as warbled as the second, “shifting trajectory 6 degrees starboard for fire mission and strafing run at coordinates Lima-Foxtrot 6-7-6-niner; gonna drop some JDAMS in your AO, confirm?”
There was a slight crackling sound of static as the second voice, which you identified as ‘Siphon’, replied, “Siphon 0-1 confirms fire mission at previously designated coordinates.” A loud popping noise interrupts the speaker, “How far out are you? It’s getting pretty crowded down here sir!”
“2-5 acknowledges and wilco, just sit tight and wait for the fireworks,” came the reply from ‘Flash’, “Hey Wedge! Arm strike package bravo and prep-“ but he was cut off as another burst of static was emitted from the unidentifiable source and an urgent voice came through, still tinny but without the distorted quality of the last transmission.
“Flash 2-5, this is 3-5. I have radar warning! Three blips right on our six and closing fast! No IFF tone back, they are not friendly, I say again they are not friendly. We are climbing to angels 12; advise you do the same.”
“Roger that 3-5, we are climbing. Alright Wedge, cancel the JDAM authorization and arm heat seekers and prep flares, this is gonna get dicey.”
You hear yet another voice; this one however was completely different in comparison to the last few, as it was not distorted or tinny in the slightest respond to the first. “Copy that Shifty, flares are prepped and foxes six through twelve are armed and ready.” As this new voice speaks you find your field of vision shifting from the clouds to what you assumed to be directly in front of you. This shift reveals other aspects of your environment which had previously been indiscernible, nothing but blurs and smudges in your peripheral vision as you had gazed at the clouds.
Now, however, you could see five window-like panes of glass with glowing green writing and images on them, accompanied by a vast multitude of important looking switches and buttons. As your mind rapidly examined and processed these new pieces of information something detached itself from the nest of random objects in front of you and began to touch the switches and buttons before moving towards your face.
The object coming towards your face was an appendage of some sort, you reasoned, and it seemed to have a flat palm, with five extensions of itself sticking out from it. All five had unique joints which gave the impression of dexterity in the limb, obviously for handling and grabbing objects, a skill which it was performing stupendously as you watched its fluid movements.
The dexterous body part reached for something directly above your field of vision, along the top of your hairline, and began to slide down a tinted visor over your eyes. As the dark screen shaded the dreamscape before your eyes you blinked…
…And looked straight at the wooden post of the bed you had rolled off of in your sleep. Sighing, you roll over onto your front, and sit up on your rump, thinking of the strange dream. You raise your hooves into the moonlight to examine them much like you had when you first awoke under the watchful gaze of the moon. Recalling the dexterous appendages and how easily they had manipulated the switches to their will, and then the visor that was slid before your eyes. You place your hooves back onto the ground and walk to the window.
Looking up into the sky you see the comforting glow of the moon emanating through the overcast night sky. Staring up at the glowing break in the cloud layer a single unbidden thought comes to your mind as you pondered the different aspects of your dream, particularly the dexterous appendages that you had observed.
The thought, though simple, made a resounding mental click as it rang through your brain. You couldn’t understand how but for some reason it seemed… well it seemed right. And in that moment, you knew that was what the appendages you had seen must be called. Turning from the window you slowly crawl back into the bed, simply wrapping your wings around your slight frame instead of taking on the arduous task of gathering the blankets and sheets that had been tossed aside in your dreaming state.
“Just who the hell am I?” comes the soft mutter from your lips as the dark folds of sleep overtake you yet again, transporting you to a dreamless uneasy slumber, tossing and turning the whole way.