• Published 27th Jul 2013
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One small step - Jazzaman



July 16th 1969 from the eyes of a pony

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All systems go

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

-President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, September 12th 1962-


“Ten.”

The huge white and black tower that was Apollo eleven sat beside the iconic red girders of the actual launch tower in the warm summer sun of July sixteenth, nineteen-sixty nine. Dozens of mechanical arms crisscrossing vertically up the gap connected the two, many thick pipes spanning the rocket and the tower delivering the mighty Saturn Five its life blood of liquid oxygen.

The crew picked for the legendary mission consisted of Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar module pilot Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, and Command module pilot Michael Collins, sat inside of the mighty craft. Anxiously awaiting the green light. They didn’t have time to worry, they only had one thing on their minds. Going to the moon.

“Nine.”

Clouds of white fog rolled off of the rockets skin, as the insanely cold innards condensed when it met with the warm sun that bathed Cape Canaveral. Ponies and humans stood at the safe zone more than a mile away from the pad, unable to come closer due to the wide river separating the two locations.

Respectable men and women, clad in their Summer outing wear either stood near the banks with cameras, or sat in the bleachers that had been erected for the momentous occasion. Excited Earth and Unicorn ponies stood or sat with them while most pegasi hovered overhead. All however were intently focused on the gleaming white tower in the distance.

“Eight.”

Equestria had first made contact with humanity years ago in the early fifties, and while that was a momentous occasion for both parties, the ponies' stories of sending one of their own to their moon had inspired the residents of Earth. Now, almost three decades later, after countless failures and sadly, sacrifices of life as well as the competition from the Russians. It was Earth’s turn.

“Seven.”

From a cloud sitting as close to the border of the safe zone as possible was one of Equestria’s greats. Three time saviour along with her friends of their world and the only pegasus to ever pull of the legendary sonic Rainboom, Rainbow Dash. While all of her friends had come along they had resigned to stay on the soil leaving the excitable mare to herself.

“Six.”

The young pegasus had seen much in her short life so far, but when she had first visit the human world at just age eight with her parents it was unlike anything she had ever seen before. Huge towers of concrete and glass that rose to the the heights she only ever was at whilst flying. Amazing flying machines so powerful and awesome, yet at the same time, sleek and elegant pulling maneuvers at speeds even the wonderbolts could scantily hope to achieve.

“Five.”

Maybe that’s why she had pushed herself to fly even faster and higher. The ponies had inspired the Humans, and now, the Humans inspired her. When she had first heard about the plans to go to the moon without the aid of magic she was promptly shocked and incredibly proud of the bipedal race.

Sure, she knew that they had done some awful, irredeemable things in the past, but it was just that, the past. All the wars, death and hate were but a small blemish on what humanity could do, and were about to do.

With all that she had seen from them, she still managed to find herself absolutely amazed when they continued to push the envelope. She had no doubt in her mind, that if there was a race that could do it, it would be the Humans.

“Four. Ignition sequence start.”

From the concrete pad at the center of two worlds' attention the single most ambitious and downright amazing feat had just begun. The five monstrous F-1 rocket engines lit up. Unlike most expected, it wasn't with a roar or a bang, it was an ungodly, earth shattering rumble that those for miles around could feel rattle their souls.

Two great clouds of white exhaust erupted sideways from the gaps underneath the pad, shooting their plumes high into the air. Angry black smoke and vicious flames burst forth from the boosters up around the Saturn Fives body, before being promptly extinguished and sucked back underneath the rocket.

“Three.”

The magnitude of the vibrations that were product of the immense power, began to shake loose the ice that had frozen to the side of the craft. Thousands of particles of ice and water rained down in a haze along the rockets body. When they neared the extreme heat of the engines they instantly melted, drenching the pad.

“Two.”

The small delay between firing and launch had now allowed the first stage engines to roar into full operation. The sound was unlike anything imaginable.

“One.”

The arms of the tower suddenly disconnected, breaking their hold on the Saturn and swinging to the side away from the craft. The tail service masts hung on till the very last moment, until they finally released, cutting the electrical charge they gave to the rocket. Now, without anything holding it back, Apollo eleven was all systems go.

“Liftoff!”

Three hundred and sixty three feet of absolute power slowly rose from the pad, as if in slow motion. A hellish glow illuminated the rocket from beneath making all else appear as if it were dusk. Ice continued to fall from its hull into the fiery pit. The tail service masts that were firmly bolted to the pad, had no chance of escaping the volcanic force from the engines, instantly turning them from N.A.S.A white to charred black.

Shooting clear of the red girder-work tower, the brilliant pillar of pure white flame was exposed to the spectators eyes. Without the huge concrete pad to block the force, the shockwave from the engines raced across the Florida coast. Even from their position a mile away all those who were watching from the stands and the skies felt like they had just taken a fastball to the gut.

The sideways shaking was unbelievable, the vibration was so intense, the astronauts couldn’t see the instrument panel just in front of them. It was so powerful that they believed that something must have failed.

Higher still, the worlds most powerful, expensive and complicated machine continued to accelerate. Balanced on a pillar of five thousand eight hundred degree flame. Seven and a half million pounds of thrust continued to push the rocket into the reaches of space.

Just a minute after launch, Apollo eleven was already supersonic and still accelerated. Vapor cones formed all over the ships sides, but they were nothing compared to the huge cone of white that surrounded the focus point of flame at the rockets base.

Faster, the unmatchable acceleration of the craft continued to lift the men inside towards the floating orb that was the moon. Twenty tonnes of fuel a second was greedily consumed between the five engines until the first stage had been sucked dry.

At forty miles above the planet, the second stage commenced. A huge bang sounded, the spent tanks and faithful F-1’s dropped away as the second, smaller rockets lit up.

Back on the ground, ponies and human continued to gaze skyward. Their necks locked in position and their eyes never leaving the beautiful rocket that had become a sparkling star in the blue vastness.

The Element bearers chatted animatedly amongst themselves about the spectacle they had just witness, yet Rainbow Dash just sat there.

Perched on the edge of the cloud, with the forehooves in the air she leant back as far as she could. Her brilliant, charismatic magenta eyes had, for one moment in her life, taken on a very rare appearance.

Admiration.

Here she was. An alien in a world of aliens. A creature that had existed for far longer than humanity and had mastered flight when they simply dreamed of soaring through the skies.

And now? Just sixty two years after they had first achieved real flight, they had already long surpassed pegasi and were entering the annals of legend.

Three men. One of which who would go on to be the first human being to walk on the surface of another planet had achieved what it took an almost god-like, sun princess to do to one pony, and had used the majority of her power to do so.

Yet there he would be. A country boy from Ohio, planting footsteps on another cosmic body. All the while it had been achieved without aid from pony magic. Simple, honest, human ingenuity and persistence had won the space race. But most of all.

Courage.

Humanity was never afraid to go to the next step. Never afraid to test their limits. Never fearing leaving their comfort zone. Years ago, a pony Anthropologist had stated that:

‘Humans were constructed with a hole in their hearts. A never ending chasm, yearning to be filled. It seems horrific, and in some ways it is. But it is this hole what makes them so amazing.’

The slowly fading mechanical star that sat high above Rainbow Dash at that moment was truly a testament to that statement. Never once in her life had she felt such pride for one other than herself.

In a few moments, Rainbow Dash would finally look away from the rocket. She would dismount the cloud and glide down to join her friends in conversation about the event. But for one fleeting moment in her life, she slowed down.

She stopped. She stared in wonder, amazement and awe. An unmistakable shimmer in her eyes told anyone who may have been looking that she was utterly entranced. The fire of determination and fierce, competitiveness was now accompanied by a single tear of astoundment rolling down the fur on her cheek.

She didn’t even notice the slip in her demeanor. For once, she didn’t care what she looked like to others, she was simply and utterly enthralled by the launch.

This single event was enough to drastically alter her entire outlook on her future choices she made. These hairless, wingless humans had managed to simultaneous fly both higher and faster than she could ever dream.

Instead of making her mad, or jealous. She felt only resolve. That she would, one way or another, do what they did. Maybe she wouldn’t walk on the moon, but there was more out there amongst the stars than that.

The sonic Rainboom she had created as a filly was the highlight of her entire life. When she had done it a third time at the royal wedding she was elated to find that she could pull them on command.

But now, Space seemed to be the next step. The Wonderbolts didn’t even compare. Astronauts were just as, perhaps even more famous than any stunt flier.

It was at that moment. That single millisecond of existence. That fleeting moment that would only ever occur once in the entire lifespan of the Universe that Rainbow Dash made a decision.

She would prove herself to humanity.

She would show them true pony power, she wanted to show them that she was just as good as they were. That she could call herself a honourary human being. She wanted to be them and for them to accept not only her, but all of ponykind.

The moon landing would show that despite humanities flaws, they were gods among the ponies. Rainbow Dash would be a key factor in balancing out this inequality.

Many ponies that knew her wouldn’t have picked the tom-colt pegasus from Cloudsdale to be one of the leading revolutionaries in pony-human relationships, but when the time came and Rainbow Dash became the first pony to walk among the stars.

Two worlds would never be the same again.


In memory of Neil Armstrong, August 5th 1930 - August 25th 2012

Author's Note:

Not gonna lie. I hit myself in the feels when I wrote this. I'm very passionate about the space race and when I saw that cover art I couldn't help but write this.

Note: I basically listened to this on repeat the whole time while writing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7BjEKv3GWE

if anyones would like to use this as a basis for an actual story feel free.