Scootaloo and the Danger Death Box 4000

by shortskirtsandexplosions


Out behind the Ponyville Post Office, sandwiched between the bricklaid building and a pair of smelly dumpsters, there sits a large cardboard box, its leafy flaps dangling dull and brown in the afternoon sun. The box is largely ignored by the pony populace. Mares and stallions trot on by, making their busy way into the front entrance of the office in order to deliver their parcels. As a matter of fact, nothing of any major significance happens for a long, long time...

Until she rolls on through. At first, she passes by the box just like any other pony. Half-a-minute later, she makes another drive-by, only she's pretending not to. By the third pass, her scoot-scoot-scooting figure has slowed to a slow drift, until she stops altogether right next to the box.

Scootaloo chews on the edge of her bottom lip. The autumn wind flutters through her violet hair, and she throws a nervous look over her shoulder. The coast is clear, and so she next braves a long, concentrated look at the box. She tilts her fuzzy little face to the side, glossy eyes squinting at a large flap in the side of the box that faces the northeast stretch of Ponyville.

A slight shiver runs down Scootaloo's spine, culminating in a skittish flutter to her tail. One hoof after another, she pensively gets off her scooter, puts down her tiny rainbow saddlebag, and pads up to the large brown container. She raises her petite head, poking her nose through the front flap and squinting into the dark domain with purple slits. One sniffle, two, and she stands up on the flats of her rear hooves, balancing her forelimbs against the lid of the box as she peers down inside. Scootaloo's eyes inspect every square-inch of the interior. It turns out that the container is unbelievably roomy. Her tail flicks no less than five times in the span of the next thirty seconds.

Scootaloo's face turns, her gaze darting to her saddlebag. She looks once more into the box, then smirks. Dropping back onto all fours, she scampers over to the saddlebag, opens it wide, and sticks her little head inside. After ten or fifteen seconds of rummaging around, she pulls her head out. Her teeth are clamped over the dry end of a black marker. Turning, she faces the box and begins trotting. It's a slow, methodical march, and all the while the filly's orange ears twitch. It's a cool, quiet, autumn day, but she somehow swears she hears music, an orchestral symphony hallmarking the epic undertaking that's about to go underway.

With a squirrely pounce, Scootaloo leaps into the box. She winces from the rustling sound of the whole container jostling with her meager weight, but she manages to keep the marker in her mouth all the same. She shuffles her hooves, turning counter-clockwise like a cornered kitten. At last, an elliptical beam of light shines over her face, and she squints.

Through the open flap in the box's side, Scootaloo can see the quiet lengths of Ponyville looming in the distance. The hill ahead of her drops suddenly, so that it appears as if she's looking over a sun-lit ocean of gold-thatched rooftops and emerald tree canopies. Even as she observes all of this, a crisp wind billows through the flap, fluttering at her violet bangs.

Scootaloo breathes deeply out the side of her mouth. Looking up, she sees a pure square of blue sky, but not for long. She reaches up with scrawny hooves and closes the cardboard panels, one after another. At last, she is completely sealed within the cozy container. It's dark inside, save for the oblong patch of sunlight locked on her brow. Unfazed, Scootaloo leans forward with her marker, drawing fine lines against the inner papery surfaces of the sudden sarcophagus. With patient artistry, she designs a flight stick, an altimeter, a fuel gauge, and a smattering of other instruments, some recognizable and others just for show.

This work of art takes the better part of ten minutes, and is so engrossing that Scootaloo is almost startled when she hears the melodic beeping noise to her right. With a slight gasp, she drops the marker and glances at her three o'clock.

An elaborate metal instrument panel looms to her side. In the center of the technological array is a blinking button marked "Standby." With slight hesitance, Scootaloo raises her hoof up and paws at it until she feels the button pressed all the way. More beeping sounds. Her jaw drops as she gazes to her left. A glowing green handle looms just above the left shoulder of pilot's seat. Taking a deep breath, Scootaloo yanks on the thing. She feels a resounding hiss of steam roll through the innards of the craft. The radio above her squabbles with various cross signals.

At this point, flashing lights steal her attention from beyond the aircraft's windshield. Scootaloo looks straight ahead. Through the oblong viewfinder, she sees the rest of the runway. The tarmac's lined with methodically blinking lights. Two or three pegasi in uniforms hover at equidistant points, waving glowsticks as they direct her attention to the rooftops of a sprawling cityscape just beyond the looming cliff.

With a devilish smirk, Scootaloo slides down a pair of pilot's goggles, squeezing them tight over her violet peepers. She grips the flight stick in front of her with one hoof while pressing the throttle with the other. The entire craft hums to life as the mana jets at the vessel's rear flare with unbridled energy. She accelerates briskly, roaring down the runway while the uniformed pegasi fly out of the way, whistling and cheering her along.

Just as the aircraft reaches the edge of the cliff, Scootaloo grits her teeth and pulls back. Suddenly, she's soaring over the gold-thatched rooftops and forests. Within seconds, all she sees is blue skies. The g-forces pull at her fuzzy features, and she feels the edges of her eyes moistening beneath her goggles. Undaunted, she presses onwards and upwards, until at last she's broken through a swath of clouds, scaling towards the upper troposphere.

The turbulence is now gone. Scootaloo feels weightless. With a trembling breath, she leans forward, gazing out through the oblong windshield. Her craft dips a bit, and through a break in the cloud she sees the sprawling expanse of Equestria, its tiny towns like patches of gold across an emerald bed of flowers. Glittering lakes and trickling rivers reflect the speck that is her plane as she rockets across the sky's blue canvas.

The filly inhales deeply. Her smile is a delicate one, and she senses it closer and closer to breaking the longer she gazes at the beautiful immensity of the world from this altitude. So, shutting her eyes, she leans back and relishes in the hypnotizing drift of her insides as she tilts the plane lazily left and right. The cushion of the pilot seat embraces her, as if she's being hugged by plush arms while carried through the clouds. It's a ridiculously infantile sensation, and she almost coos like one.

But—! Just then—! The entire vessel shakes with the dull sound of explosions.

Scootaloo gasps, her violet eyes flying open. She leans forward, staring out the elliptical viewer. The clouds are suddenly pockmarked with black and brown splashes of flak. Shrapnel streaks at her from every angle. Teeth gnashing, Scootaloo jerks right on the flight stick. The world spins, and suddenly the looming spires of Canterlot sway into view. It is swarming all over with griffon pirates. Innocent ponies flee the city gates, screaming and sobbing as the avian fiends descend on them with scimitars and manablasters. Towers explode in flame while a zeppelin or two crash in smoke and ash. A few pirates twirl about, suddenly gawking at the filly's incoming aircraft.

After a blink or two, Scootaloo grins wickedly. She slaps a panel to her right. With a mechanical whirr, a black stick bearing a red trigger emerges. Scootaloo grips it with her free hoof, then accelerates the throttle with the other. The spires of Canterlot zoom closer and closer. Enraged, the griffon pirates flap their wings faster and converge on her, manablasters aflame.

Scootaloo lets out a high-pitched warrior's scream. Fearlessly, she twirls into the flock of evil, showering the sky with shrieks and feathers. The multiple th-thumps of meaty griffon bodies echo across the cockpit, but Scootaloo soars on through. Soon, she's diving into the streets and alleys of Canterlot, pivoting sideways and avoiding the buildingfronts by a flea's sneeze. Squeezing through the urban canals, she locks onto one pirate after another, pulling the trigger and firing blast after blast of furious mana at their scurrying lion tails.

In the span of a minute, she's already cut the attackers' reserves in half, littering the cobblestone streets of Canterlot with their pained, groaning bodies. Well-dressed citizens bravely shuffle out of their houses, grinning at the sight of the burnt and frazzled enemy. The air fills with the resounding shouts of ponies, all cheering and chanting Scootaloo's name. The filly slides her goggles up, smirks slyly, and salutes with no little bravado.

Seconds later, the plane jolts from all of the angry griffons' manablasts converging on its hull. Undaunted, Scootaloo simply smirks, pulls up out of the streets of Canterlot, and throws her craft into a wicked nosedive, hugging the steep northern face of the mountain. Several griffon pirates chase her, most of them unsuccessfully. The filly giggles sadistically at the echoing shrieks of one mercenary after another losing air and collapsing against the mountainface behind her.

However, the bulk of the pirates are still giving chase. Scootaloo knows just how to lose 'em. Barrel-rolling to the left, she makes a sharp turn for the northwest, skimming over the tops of trees and grassy hilltops. At last, a brown stretch of earth lingers ahead of her: Ghastly Gorge. With a wind howling dive, Scootaloo plunges the speeding craft into the steep ravine. The stupid griffons give chase, which is just what she was hoping for. Pulling the red trigger of her weapons system, Scootaloo fires several bright blue blasts at the ginormous briar patch right in front of her. The air fills with an explosion of gnarled brambles and thorns. Scootaloo pulls up, soaring over the windblown splinters. The griffons on her tail are a lot less lucky, and they give various bird-shrieks as their writhing bodies are pinned to the canyon walls below.

Scootaloo lets out a loud whoop, pumping her hoof in the air of the cockpit. However, the celebration's cut short, for she hears a warning alarm emanating from her instrument panel. Blinking, she sees the fuel light flashing red. The aircraft is out of juice, and from her insides shifting about Scootaloo can already tell that she's plummeting. Fast.

Leaning forward, Scootaloo peers bravely out the oblong windshield. She spots the glittering waves of an enormous lake stretching beneath her. With a daring smirk, she cuts the engines and yanks at a lever. The plane shakes and rattles as its wings extend to twice their normal length. In such a manner, the craft effectively glides forward for another kilometer, its nose aimed at the water's surface. At the last second, Scootaloo punches a bright red button, and the wings snap off completely. Now the craft plunges like a torpedo... which is just what the filly wants.

Thinking quickly, Scootaloo retracts the weapon stick, replacing it instead with a steam-powered valve. At the same exact time, the flight stick whirrs away and a rudder-wheel slides up in its place. The cockpit resonates with the sound of curved metal plates extending all around the exterior hull. At last, when the plane hits the water, it is no longer a plane—but a magical submersible that sinks deep, deep, deep into the depths, frothing bubbles and miniature water spouts everywhere.

When the churning waves finally settle down, Scootaloo can now see a dull liquid expanse stretching past the elliptical porthole in front of her. Ribbons of seaweed dance in the underwater current while schools of fish dart back and forth in alternating natural colors. A shark or two skirts by while a cloud of jellyfish adds a rosy hue to the maritime canvas.

Scootaloo leans back in her seat, casually rotating the wheel left and right while her muzzle bears a tranquil smile. A blue aura bathes her and every other square inch of the cockpit, and it is soothingly quiet, like being in the womb. Her ears twitch to the ambient noises of the whole world settling on top of her in undulating currents. Just then, a shimmering aura pulses from the starboard edge of her porthole.

Curious, Scootaloo pivots the ship right. Her breath leaves her, for ahead of her looms the epic crystalline buildings of Atlantrot. As she zooms closer toward the long-fabled city, a family of porpoises glide by, rattling her armor-plated hull with sweet song. Scootaloo smiles and accelerates the craft, skimming alongside them. To her left, several seaponies swim out of hiding, waving and smiling pleasantly at the strange visitor from above.

Scootaloo merely salutes, then plunges into the depths of the city. Here, several merponies and beautiful nymphs glide and dance in harmony. Scootaloo passes hanging underwater gardens where entire families gather for picnics and mirth. The amphibious equines giggle and leap from their balconies, piggybacking Scootaloo's water stream, escorting her to the undersea capitol building. Scootaloo accelerates the craft, urging the seaponies into a race that she already knows that she will win.

However, before she can even reach the big golden structure at the heart of the maretropolis, a loud explosion emanates from far away. The seaponies shriek and scatter. Fearless, Scootaloo glances across the way. She gasps at what she sees through the thin porthole.

A gigantic sea serpent with red-and-black glowing scales has emerged from the murky depths. He perches on a building—tail and spine thrashing—and roars loudly, spitting poison and bile in every direction. He holds a chunk of a coral reef in his left talon, wielding it like a club as he looms over a shivering cluster of helpless seapony victims.

Scootaloo bears a wicked smile. Darting left, she twists a valve and pops loose the submarine's torpedo launcher. When she's within a whale's scream of the monster, she switches on the vessel's floodlights.

This blinds him instantly. He drops his "club," grabbing at his eyes while shrieking in pain. Scootaloo waits for the innocent sea ponies to swim away, and then she lets loose—firing four torpedos at once.

They all hit their target. The sea serpent collapses—shrieking—under a heated cloud of bubbles and shattered rock. Scootaloo listens as all of Atlantrot cheers her heroics, punctuated by the euphoric clicks of dolphins.

But—! Just when Scootaloo thought it was over—! The sea serpent's decapitated heads leaps bloodily out of the frothing mess. Its fangs latch onto Scootaloo's ship and start thrashing the fragile submersible about.

Scootaloo grits her teeth, squeaking as the cockpit rolls and jostles about. Water begins trickling in while the steam pipes hiss one after another. In desperation, she slaps every button, turns every knob, and rotates every valve—but nothing is working. Before she has a chance to panic, a school of seaponies swim up from the main city. Half of them smile and wink at Scootaloo while the other half rush up with several red rockets, attaching them to the ship's hull. At last, a sea nymph swims into view, grasping a wizard's rod and casting a spell in the filly's direction.

With the magical sparkle of underwater faerie dust, a golden button materializes right in front of Scootaloo. Metal constellations are etched into its platinum frame. After a blink, Scootaloo grins, then slaps her hoof over the button.

With a deaffening roar, the rockets burst, propelling Scootaloo's submarine—and the sea serpent's jaws—up up up. There's a resounding whimper from the evil reptile's remaining gullet, but soon its teeth and scales melt away from the heat of the rocket thrusters. By the time the submarine reaches the sun-bright water's surface, the beast's grip has dissolved altogether, along with the beast itself.

Scootaloo bursts into the air with a mighty splash, but she doesn't stop there. The vessel soars higher and higher into the air, breaking through the stratosphere and emerging into the darkness beyond. The seaponies' magic rockets carry Scootaloo clear into orbit, cutting off only once she's in a gentle drift.

Scootaloo exhales calmly, then unlatches her seatbelt. She gasps as she floats up into the air, weightless. The cockpit twirls around her and she can't tell up from down. This fills her lungs with a light-hearted giggle again and again. Pulling her legs in tight, she cannonballs slowly across the inside of the craft, kicks off the wall, and repeats. At one point she bumps her head awkwardly against the instrument panel. Despite the brief stab of pain, she's still smiling. Scootaloo fluffs the edge of her mane, crossing her eyes at the silly sight of the violet tufts spreading in every conceivable direction. She hugs herself, laughing in a high-pitched breath as she twirls and twirls to a slow glide.

Then, at last, she reopens her teary eyes, gazing out the dim window. Beyond the oblong outline, she sees the speckled mosaic of stars, set against the indigo sprawl of hazy cosmos in a slow dance across the universe. Everything is so large, so immense, and she feels so tiny and precious. Scootaloo hugs herself, drifting effortlessly through the expanse. For once, she has no smile, no frown. She simply moves, unhindered and unfettered, not moving her wings... she doesn't even need her wings.

Scootaloo's eyes close. She hugs herself tighter. She can't decide whether to laugh or sob. So—sniffling—she hums an old lullaby to herself and decides to let gravity do the rest. But when gravity gives her nothing, she feels a slight flutter to her heartbeat, something like fear. It would excite her if only Scootaloo didn't find something hauntingly familiar about it...

At just that moment, Scootaloo hears a loud rush of air. There is no air in space.

Awkwardly, she forces her squinting eyes open. What she sees outside the window immediately makes her shriek.

A gray, wall-eyed comet with a blond mane is sailing straight at her, dragging a cosmic mail-bag. Another voice screams in surprise, and then the whole universe implodes.

There's a flash of bright golden sunlight. Scootaloo grunts as her body rolls meatedly across the grassy earth behind the Ponyville Post Office building. Wincing, she presses herself up on all fours. Beneath her is her black marker. But to the right...

Scootaloo gasps.

The cardboard box has completely collapsed, its fragile leafy panels ripped asunder from the weight of a full-grown pegasus. Derpy Hooves lies upside down atop of the wrecked container, golden tail flicking, her bag spilling envelopes all over the place. The mare's eyes blink to the east and west, then to the north and south. At last, she closes one eye shut and swivels the other one around until it lands on Scootaloo. Blushing, the gray pegasus bears an embarrassed smile.

There's a lump in Scootaloo's throat. She doesn't smile back at the mare, but instead picks her marker up, gazing at the art tool with a dull, lifeless gaze.

After much fumbling, Derpy gets back up. She hurriedly scoops the envelopes back into her bag, then glances at opposite corners of the collapsed box. She paws at the deflated cardboard, winces, and looks apologetically in Scootaloo's direction.

The filly brushes her bangs back, avoiding Derpy's gaze.

The mare clears her throat, drags the flattened box over with her mouth, and drops it in front of Scootaloo. She gestures at it with her hoof, smiling wide.

With a heavy sigh, Scootaloo hangs her head and trudges over to her scooter. As she limply picks up her saddlebag, a cool autumn wind kicks at her tiny wingfeathers.

Derpy taps her chin in thought. She turns to look at where the box was previously situated, then at the blue sky and golden rooftops beyond the hillside. She blinks, then smiles slyly. The mare whistles shrilly.

Scootaloo slowly turns around, giving Derpy a lethargic glance.

Derpy trots over, twirls until her back is aimed at Scootaloo, and squats low with her wings spread. She motions on with her head.

Scootaloo blinks. Her lips purse as she points at herself.

Derpy nods and nods, grinning.

With a gulp, Scootaloo drops her saddlebag and takes a few pensive steps forward. She climbs onto Derpy's spine and holds on tight.

With a tiny laugh, Derpy flaps her wings harder and harder. Soon, both ponies are lifted up into the clouds, drifting and gliding over Ponyville.

Scootaloo clings to her, shivering slightly. After a minute, she opens one violet eye, then the other. Her jaw drops as she gazes down at the distant buildingtops of her familiar town.

Derpy looks back, smiling happily as her eyes swivel about to meet Scootaloo's gaze.

Scootaloo bites her lip, her vision fogging. With a pent-up giggle, she throws herself forward, hugging Derpy's neck.

The mailmare chuckles, flaps her wings, and dives dangerously into the emerald expanse, serenaded by the filly's melodic cheers as both ponies disappear amidst the autumn winds.