• Published 24th Feb 2014
  • 2,053 Views, 27 Comments

Flying - Terrasora



The Wonderbolts extend a formal apology to Rainbow Dash after the events of Rainbow Falls. After some convincing, Rainbow takes full advantage of the situation.

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Chapter 2

“C’mon maggots, pick up the pace! You think that’s flying?! I was moving like that when I was in diapers!” Fleetfoot hovered in the middle of the track, dressed in her Wonderbolt’s uniform, a bright silver whistle hanging from her neck and her eyes darting from recruit to recruit as they dashed past her.

“Celestia’s teats!” shouted Fleetfoot. “I thought I was training fresh recruits, not a bunch of Pegasi that just found out they weren’t Earth Ponies!”

Rainbow Dash strained her wings, pouring on as much speed as she could, little more than a multi-colored blur as she sped ahead, weaving between the other recruits. She had heard every one of Fleetfoot’s taunts. More than that, however, she had heard the murmur in the crowd, the dull throb as hundreds of ponies clambered up steps and found their way to their seats. An audience. Not her audience, the recruit practice was little more than a sideshow to them, but an audience none the less.

And Rainbow Dash loved an audience.

“Flitter!” came Fleetfoot’s shout. “If Dash passes you one more time, you’ll be in the corner doing wing-ups for the first half of the Regular’s practice, I swear to Luna! And don’t you dare slow down, Dash!”

Flitter glanced back hesitantly, eyes widening as she caught a glimpse of the light-blue rocket gaining on her.

“Not again!” Flitter moaned, pushing herself forward. The distance between the two steadied slightly, then began to shrink again.

“Last stretch!” called Fleetfoot. “Sprint it out, kids, you know the drill!”

Flitter let out a groan, a terrible stitch working its way into her side as she flew as fast as she could. This was the worst part of practice, the mad dash to the end when every part of her body just wanted her to lay down. It certainly didn’t help that she could feel a pair of eyes boring into the back of her head, just waiting for her to slow down and it was even worse when Rainbow Dash chased her.

Those eyes weren’t waiting for her to slow down. Despite the gap between them, Flitter found herself pouring more and more energy into her flight.

A whistle sounded, sharp and shrill, quickly followed by a shout from Fleetfoot. “Regulars on the field!”

The recruit practice came to a sudden stop, each one of them turning towards the center of the field and snapping to a crisp, if tired, salute.

The Wonderbolts walked out onto the field, striding calmly towards the center of the track. There were a few beats of silence as every pony in the stadium fixed their eyes on the yellow and blue uniforms. The crowd exploded, led by a lone Wooo!, but quickly growing in intensity until the very field seemed to shake with their adoration.

The recruits stood through all this, eyes forward and their hooves pressed to their foreheads. The Wonderbolts waved at the audience, taking their time as they came to they joined Fleetfoot in the center of the track.

“At ease!” called Fleetfoot. The recruits allowed their hooves to fall. “Not a bad practice,” said Fleetfoot with the slightest bit of reluctance. “Clean yourselves off, we’ll be meeting again once the regulars have finished their show. Don’t be late.”

“Yes, ma’am!” called the recruits.

“Head out!”

The recruits, the beginnings of soreness creeping into their wings, began the walk off of the field. A polite stomping came from the audience, adding an extra spring to Rainbow Dash’s steps as she walked across the track.

***

The recruits’ locker room was a tight, narrow affair, the clouds that formed its walls just a shade greyer than those used on the rest of the stadium. The lockers themselves hardly had space to hang up two uniforms and three pairs of goggles, quite the challenge as three recruits were assigned to each locker. Most trios had taken to hanging two uniforms on one hook, just to save that tiny amount of space. While the Wonderbolts stood as heroes in the eyes of most of Cloudsdale, the recruits had to earn that respect.

Rainbow Dash, having finished her sprint on the far side of the track, was one of the last recruits to make it to the locker room. Flitter and Cloud Chaser already had the locker open, their goggles hanging from the single hook within the case.

“Good practice!” called Dash, adding her goggles to the pile.

“Good practice,” responded Cloud Chaser.

“If you wanna call it that,” said Flitter. “CC, do you mind getting my zipper?”

Rainbow Dash knit her brow. “What was wrong with practice?”

“You terrified me!” Flitter struggled for a bit, carefully stripping away her recruit’s uniform. “I thought you were gonna fly me right off the track! Thanks, CC.”

“Just get mine and we’re even.”

Rainbow Dash laughed slightly. “Oh yeah, that. It was the sprint, Flitter, I couldn’t do anything about it.”

“Stupid zipper’s stuck,” muttered Flitter, tugging at her sister’s uniform. “But you heard what Fleetfoot was gonna do if you’d passed me. You couldn’t slow down a little bit?” The zipper gave, and Cloud Chaser began the long process of getting out of her uniform.

“It’s not a sprint if you slow down, Flitter. Besides, I wasn’t able to pass you this time.”

“Want me to help with your uniform, Dash?” asked Cloud Chaser.

“Nah, I’m gonna keep it on for a little bit longer.”

Flitter pointed an accusing hoof at Rainbow Dash. “This time! This is the first time since you’ve been here that you haven’t passed me during the sprints!”

“Really?” Rainbow Dash smiled, clapping a hoof on Flitter’s shoulder. “I’ve only been here five days and you’re already getting faster! Good job, Flitter. I’ll get you tomorrow, though.”

“There’s no practice tomorrow,” said Cloud Chaser helpfully.

“Oh yeah. Thanks, Chaser.”

“That’s not the point!” cried Flitter. “I almost passed out trying to get away from you!”

Rainbow Dash put a hoof to her chin. “You should probably work on endurance next.”

Flitter scowled, shaking her head in exasperation. “It’s only been five days,” she said, mostly to herself, “and I’m already going to kill this mare.”

“You’d have to catch me first.”

“You should work on your speed, Flitter.” said Cloud Chaser.

Rainbow Dash laughed and, in that brief breath, got a full sense of locker room smell. “Hey, mind helping me with that zipper now? Uniform’s getting a bit ripe.”

Flitter pulled a face. “Nice.” She stepped forward, unzipping Dash’s uniform and helping her out of it.

“Thanks, Flitter.”

Flitter waved a flippant hoof in the air. “Yeah, yeah.”

Cloud Chaser stepped forward, throwing the uniforms onto her back. “Flitter and I can take the uniforms to the washing room, Dash.”

“You sure?”

Chaser nodded. “It’ll be your job next time. Come on, Flitter.”

“Thanks, you two,” said Dash, already backing out of the locker room. “I owe you one.”

“Or like four,” muttered Flitter.

But Rainbow Dash had already left, happily trotting through the narrow lanes of the locker room, images of blue and yellow streaks and trailing stormclouds bouncing through her head, covering up the glances she sometimes got from the other recruits.

Dash stepped out of the locker room, retracing her steps until she stood at the very edge of the field. The Wonderbolts flew just a few yards away, racing along the track or corkscrewing through the hoops in the air.

The Wonderbolts practice, while not the main attraction, was an impressive display in its own right. Each regular was left largely to his or her own devices, training whatever aspect of their talent that they felt needed polishing that day, making the practice more of a showing of individual ability rather than the grand displays of synchronization that drew in so much adoration.

Rainbow Dash sat at the entrance to the field, eyes flashing from regular to regular, trying to take in every bit of information that she could. There was Fleetfoot, testing her speed against Rapidfire. Nothing new there; there’d always been a history of rivalry between those two. Misty Fly and Lightning Streak were up in the air, winding and diving around one another, practicing their parts in various formations. Soarin stood off to the side, doing wing-ups at a pace that few others could match.

“Can you tell who’s who?” asked a voice from somewhere behind the pegasus.

“Well yeah,” said Dash, turning towards the newcomer. “I mean, it took a bit of practice but—Spitfire!” Rainbow Dash gave a start, jumping to her hooves and running a hoof through her mane, suddenly self-conscious. I should’ve taken a shower before coming out.

Spitfire laughed, coming to a stop next to Rainbow Dash. “That’s pretty good. Most ponies can’t tell the difference between us when we’re in uniform and most of them don’t even try when we’re up in the air.”

“I’ve, uh, had a lot of practice.” Dash felt her chest puff out slightly at the compliment. "It's a game that my Dad and I used to play when we came to watch a show."

“Naturally good eyes, huh?” Spitfire leaned forward, lifting her goggles slightly as she peered into Rainbow Dash’s eyes. “Pretty color, too.”

Rainbow Dash took a step back, fighting desperately to keep a blush from her face. “I thought you were at the Academy!” she blurted, looking for another point of topic. She smiled sheepishly. “Attending regular, right?”

Mercifully, Spitfire leaned back and nodded. “Yeah, but Command wants me on this tour from beginning to end, so Surpise is taking my post for a bit.”

“Is that why she’s not out there right now?”

“Yup, we’re switching places for a while.”

“Oh.” Rainbow Dash trailed off, staring back at the field. Surprise was nowhere in sight.

The practice had gone into full swing, Wonderbolts darting back and forth over the field, sometimes flying directly flying over the audience, much to the crowd’s delight. Yet, there was something off about this practice.

“Hey, Spitfire,” began Rainbow Dash, “are they flying a bit slower than normal?”

Spitfire laughed again, throwing an appraising glance at the other pegasus. “Your eyes are even better than I thought.”

A whistle sounded from somewhere out in the field. Suddenly, each of the Wonderbolts banked towards the center.

Spitfire grinned, lowering her goggles once again. “Yeah, they’re going a bit slower than practice tempo, but it’s just right for a warm-up.” With that, Spitfire galloped forward, taking off with a single strong push of her wings and joining the milling and twisting formations of the Wonderbolts. The crowd let out a cry, the stomping and shouting redoubling in a single moment.

Rainbow Dash, still standing at the very edge of the field, gaped up at the spectacle, fighting against every urge to fly out and join them.

***

PR stood in the highest room in Cloudsdale Stadium, the entirety of the field stretched before her. The Wonderbolts dipped and dived just in front of her, tracing intricate patterns through the air with their trailing stormclouds. The crowd, which had swelled to nearly fill the entire stadium, roared and cheered, the individual ponies little more than a mass of ponies from this height.

The ‘secret’ show, as the fans had taken to calling it, had been an inspired idea. PR couldn’t remember the last time a mere practice had filled more than half a stadium, but the mere rumor of a possible show had ponies flooding into their seats.

Even Finance has to be happy with this, thought PR, her eyes scanning over the field. The Wonderbolts pulled a particularly skillful maneuver, flying dangerously close to one another as they passed over the crowd’s heads, drawing a chorus of oooooohs and aaaaaahs from the audience.

Yet, PR passed over the spectacle, drawn towards the very entrance to the field. Rainbow Dash was little more than a colorful speck from this distance, yet PR could make out the tilt of her head and, though this may have been partly PR’s imagination, the slight pink of a mouth opened in awe.

Yes, Finance would be happy, but the shows served another, perhaps more important, purpose besides filling seats.

PR paused as the thought crossed her mind. Though it may be better not to mention that to Finance.

The mare turned away from the window, walking over to her desk and taking a seat. The show would go on for a few more hours, about half the length of a normal show, just enough to leave the crowd wanting more. The audience would leave, providing confirmation of the rumors that had ‘mysteriously’ broken out days ago, and they would return in larger numbers.

PR mentally clamped down on that train of thought. There was nothing to be gained by being too sure of her plan. Any number of things could go wrong, especially now in the early phases. Sure, Rainbow Dash was a bit closer to the Wonderbolt organization, but she was not tied to them. Should Dash decide to leave the recruits and tell the public of Spitfire and Fleetfoot’s actions during the preliminaries, not to mention that she had essentially been bribed into silence.

PR shuddered. That couldn’t be allowed to happen. She had to move quickly, make sure that Rainbow Dash would have more interest within the Wonderbolts than without. Spitfire’s return could not have come at a better time.

The mare turned back to her desk, lifting the first of a small stack of papers and taking a quill in her hoof. This plan required finesse and delicacy and very careful planning.

But it would work.

Author's Note:

I'm sure a lot of you forgot that you had even tracked this story, but hiatus over! I'll be shifting this story over to (hopefully) regular updates at this point, now that I've managed to unstick my head from my arse and I have a lot more free time.

I wrote a lot of this chapter when I should have been sleeping and I never have the best luck when importing from GDocs, so please leave a comment pointing out any silly mistakes that I made here. If you can't find any, then leave a comment anyway and know that, as with all of my stories, every comment is read, appreciated, printed onto a page, used as scratch paper for various aerospace-type calculations, folded into paper airplanes, and used to simulate a Wonderbolts' show. But not in that order.