• Published 26th Jun 2014
  • 1,471 Views, 34 Comments

Scoot Camp - theNDinspector



It's been a long and hard journey, but Scootaloo has finally done it. She can fly and is following in her idol's hoofsteps by going to the Wonderbolt Academy. Will she soar high in the sky, or crash hard under the pressure?

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Day 7: Evaluation

The last day of initial training had arrived and all of the new cadets were sitting in the mess hall. They waited there until Lieutenant What’s-his-name called them—one by one—to go to Colonel Spitfire’s office: where both she and Major Soarin would talk to them privately. The anticipation was strenuous, so they tried to keep themselves busy to pass the time.

Scootaloo and Blue Yonder sat silently in a corner. Doctor Hawkeye had approved Scootaloo to leave the infirmary in order to make the evaluations. Initially, she was swarmed with a lot of questions by everypony. However, that ended quickly since Scootaloo had no real answers to give. She still had vague memories of what happened the previous day during their performances.

While they waited, Scootaloo was fiddling with a brace near the bottom of her right foreleg. Earlier that morning, she had smashed the alarm clock after it went off one too many times according to her. It was an act that she immediately regretted.

***

GAAAAAAAAH!!!” Scootaloo screamed, startling Rainbow Dash again.

“Huh? What happened?” She asked as her head shot up.

Scootaloo simply responded by making several grunting sounds and shouting a variety of profanities; the pain in her hoof was too overwhelming to form any coherent sentences.

The shouting caught the attention of Doctor Hawkeye, who burst into the room.

“Well,” he said rather nonchalantly. “Here we go again.”

***

The doctor x-rayed Scootaloo’s hoof and it wasn’t broken, but she had definitely sprained it—badly. She now had to wear an uncomfortable and rather itchy brace that immobilized her hoof. To top it off, she also had to keep it in a sling for a while whenever she walked. Walking on only three legs was very awkward and she practically needed support from another at the beginning. She instinctively put her injured hoof down a few times, only to have searing pain rush through it when she put weight on it.

They also discovered that in the morning that her wings were completely stiff and unable to move—rendering her unable to fly. Hawkeye found a lot of swelling that might have resulted from the crash, but it seemed odd since the impact mainly affected head and hooves. Whatever the reason was, however, it meant only one thing—she was grounded for the time being.

Another thing that made Scootaloo feel uncomfortable was that she still wasn’t wearing her flight suit like the rest of the cadets. However, even if she wanted to, she couldn’t put it on since it had been apparently cut off of her while she was unconscious—thus enabling her to breathe easier. Besides, due to the amount of pain and damage she had experienced, Scootaloo doubted if she could endure putting on that tight-fitting garment anytime soon. But she still felt odd without it, so she pinned her silver, wingpony medal onto her blue sling. It wasn’t much, but it made her feel better.

Slowly, the cadets were led out of the mess hall. The apparent pattern was that the lead pony was taken first and then their respective wingpony was called in later. They never came back, so nopony knew what to expect. All they knew was the long wait before the next cadet was called in.

Eventually, Scootaloo and Blue Yonder were the only ones left in the room. Scootaloo’s inner turmoil was rising dramatically again. Despite all of the encouragement and comforting words she had got the previous day and that morning, Scootaloo still had serious doubts about her inevitable talk with Spitfire.

Scootaloo’s unease was apparent on her face since Blue Yonder gave her a gentle pat on the back.

“Don’t worry,” Blue Yonder reassured her. “I’ll try talking with Colonel Spitfire to keep you in.”

“Yeah, but I’m afraid that the damage has already been done,” Scootaloo said morosely.

“But you don’t know that,” Blue Yonder countered, although she had a hard time believing it herself.

Their awkward silence was inturupted by the arrival of Lieutenant What’s-his-name.

“Blue Yonder, you’re up,” he said.

“I’ll see you when this is all over,” Blue Yonder said getting up.

“Yeah, see you later,” Scootaloo said as Blue Yonder walked away with the lieutenant, leaving her alone once again.

Scootaloo couldn’t tell if she waited there a few minutes or a few hours, although the former was more likely. The doubts from yesterday were beginning to fester, but she held her ground. She wasn’t sure what else she could do, but she certainly wasn’t going to leave. Not this time, anyway.

Many thoughts came to her mind about what she might say to defend herself. Each seemed more ridiculous than the last though and she finally gave up. She had nothing.

‘I guess I’ll just have to accept that I can’t do everything.’

Despite the long amount of time she had waited, Scootaloo wasn’t prepared for when Lieutenant What’s-his-name came back. She then took the long walk to Colonel Spitfire’s office. Scootaloo felt apprehensive, but the lieutenant didn’t give her any time to sulk as he opened the door, beckoning her inside.

Scootaloo was expecting a lot of things, but what she wasn’t expecting was for the office to be…empty. Spitfire and Soarin were nowhere to be seen. Scootaloo looked all over the office but didn’t find them. They didn’t seem like the kind of ponies to wait and surprise her—that was a Pinkie Pie thing.

“What the-” Scootaloo started to ask before the door opened again.

Spitfire walked in pushing a cart with a television on it. It reminded Scootaloo of the televisions back at high school that the teacher’s would bring in to watch some boring educational films.

“Sorry I’m late Newbie, but I just remembered that I needed this,” Spitfire said before taking a seat behind her desk. She looked up at Scootaloo and sighed. “So how are you doing?”

“All right, I guess,” Scootaloo answered.

“You guess?” Spitfire gaped. “You crashed head-first into the ground at full speed.”

“I’ve been through worse,” Scootaloo said, trying to brush it off.

“Scootaloo, this is more serious than whatever trouble you’d gotten into as a foal,” Spitfire explained. “A stunt like that usually lands ponies into the hospital for weeks, maybe even longer. Yet you’re standing here with barely a scratch on you.”

“Excuse me,” Scootaloo said, moving her sprained foreleg in the sling.

“Sorry,” Spitfire apologized. “But until this morning, I honestly thought that I would be having this conversation with you in the infirmary…if I even had it at all. You have no idea just how lucky you are.”

“That’s what everypony keeps telling me,” Scootaloo muttered before taking her seat.

Scootaloo took a closer look at Spitfire and noticed something odd. Spitfire looked awful. Well, actually she was clean and very presentable, but her eyes told a different story. There were bags and wrinkles under Spitfires bloodshot eyes; It was as if she had been up all night. Spitfire was clearly exhausted—a feeling that Scootaloo was very familiar with.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Spitfire asked again. “Because I can do this another time if I need to.”

“Yes,” Scootaloo groaned. “The doctor said I should be fine as long as I just sit and do nothing else other than walk as little as possible. He even gave me some long-lasting pain pills, so I’m feeling fine.”

“Very well,” Spitfire sighed. “Don’t get too used to those pain pills, by the way. I don’t want you becoming an addict on top of all this.”

“Yes Ma’am…I mean, no Ma’am…I mean…I won’t take them any longer than necessary Ma’am,” Scootaloo managed to say, and it was the truth. She did not like having to rely on medication in order to feel normal and function properly.

“You’ll be happy to know that I’ve updated your parents on your condition and they’re relieved that you are okay,” Spitfire explained. “Since Doctor Hawkeye has ordered you to stay here for another night, they’ll be coming up later today to visit.”

“Wait, you told my parents?” Scootaloo snapped.

“Of course,” Spitfire said, a little put off by the cadet’s tone. “It’s standard protocol to inform your family when an accident occurs. It was also one of the few things I could do at the time, along with writing a superficial report on the incident. Are you sure you don’t remember what happened at the field yesterday?”

“No,” Scootaloo replied.

Spitfire studied her for a moment. Scootaloo met her gaze. After a moment of silence, Spitfire grabbed something from on top of her desk and moved over to the television set.

“There’s something I want you to see,” Spitfire said after she turned on the TV and put the black video cassette tape into a small box hooked up to it.

Suddenly the blue screen changed, showing a green field surrounded by bleachers. In the middle of the field were four pegasi in flight suits getting ready to take off. Scootaloo recognized them as herself and her team from yesterday’s performance.

Scootaloo watched as the ponies on screen performed the routine that she remembered practicing. It was a bit surreal watching herself, especially since she didn’t remember everything about this moment playing before her very eyes. Then came the moment where they were flying straight up and then pulled backwards to head back to the ground, but the figure of Scootaloo broke off from her companion and made a shallow trajectory towards the ground.

‘Pull up!’ Scootaloo thought in vain as she watched herself struggle, managing to spin her body upright, but still hitting the ground regardless.

Spitfire paused the video as both Blue Yonder and the paramedics flew over to Scootaloo’s unmoving body.

“Do you want to know what I find weird about this?” Spitfire asked.

“That I crashed,” Scootaloo answered, not revealing her true thoughts.

“Close,” Spitfire said and she rewound the video to where Scootaloo started breaking off from the group and paused when she was about halfway to the ground—right before she started flailing her legs around. “It’s that you didn’t do anything to prevent yourself from crashing before this point. You didn’t pull up, slow down, stop or even use the recovering techniques for a spin-out.”

Scootaloo dropped her head. Spitfire had pointed out the very thing that Scootaloo noticed from the video; that she apparently didn’t do anything that would logically prevent her from crashing.

“The way I see it, there are two possible explanations for this,” Spitfire stated. “The first being that you didn’t do anything and that you intentionally crashed-”

WHAT!?” Scootaloo shouted standing back up as best as she could. “I never wanted to crash! If you honestly believe that then maybe I should forget this and-”

“SIT BACK DOWN CADET; I’M NOT THROUGH WITH YOU YET!” Spitfire yelled, also standing up.

Scootaloo shrank back and sat down again.

‘What is it with these damn ponies from Ponyville and never letting me finish?’ Spitfire thought. ‘I’m definitely getting too old for this.’

“Now,” Spitfire continued, sitting back down herself. “The second reason as to why you didn’t do anything to prevent the accident is that you couldn’t do anything. Tell me, can you move your wings right now?”

Scootaloo looked at her wings, which were hanging rather limply on her back. Nothing seemed off unless you were paying attention to them. She tried to move them, but they wouldn’t respond.

“No,” Scootaloo said in defeat.

“And why is that?” Spitfire asked.

“I don’t know,” Scootaloo replied. “From the crash, maybe?”

“Not a bad guess,” Spitfire commented insightfully. “But you didn’t land on your back, and your wings would be rather shredded if you had. No, I think that there’s another explanation.”

She ejected the tape from the VCR and put another one in its place. This time, the video was of the Dizzitron. Scootallo could see herself being launched in the air, spinning wildly until she regained control and came back in smoothly.

“This is the footage of your little marathon the evening before the performances,” Spitfire said, as both Scootaloo and Blue Yonder could be seen using the Dizzitron. “I must say, you two were very determined to get better, even though you were already good at this.”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo sighed. “Blue Yonder was helping me to gain confidence by working on something I was good at.”

“Really?” Spitfire said looking at Scootaloo for a moment before turning back to the screen. “Now pay attention to this one.”

Scootaloo watched closely. She saw the familiar sight of her in the hoofbar of the machine spinning around. Then she noticed that it was even faster than any other time she had seen it spin; this was when she went on the highest setting. Soon, the Scootaloo on the television was released. She was going so fast that a jagged purple streak—very much like the one on her cutie mark following a scooter wheel—was left behind her as she flew. It followed her all the way to the end of her landing. Scootaloo watched the moving image in awe.

“Five-and-a-half seconds,” Spitfire said, setting a stopwatch down on her desk. “Do you realize that you beat Rainbow Dash’s record on the Dizzitron?”

“I did what?” Scootaloo gaped.

“You beat Rainbow Dash’s record for the fastest time to recover,” Spitfire repeated. “And you did it at the highest setting. Not many ponies can even come close to matching that kind of return at such difficulty.”

“Wow,” Scootaloo said, widening her eyes.

“You also set another record, although this one is a bit unofficial since we don’t normally count this,” Spitfire continued. “You went on that machine sixteen times, and that’s only what is shown in the video. From what I understand, you’ve been on the Dizzitron a few times before the film crew even started filming.”

Scootaloo felt a little bit of pride, but it was immediately quenched out since the look on Spitfire’s face wasn’t exactly a congratulatory one. Instead, Spitfire frowned at her with an icy stare.

“You want to know something interesting about the Dizzitron?” Spitfire asked.

“What?” Scootaloo said listening closely to whatever Spitfire was going to say.

“It’s considered an 'emergency situation simulator' since a spinout is an emergency situation,” Spitfire explained. “In such emergencies, extreme forces are acting on you and require a lot of exertion to correct. That takes a lot out of a pony, whether if it’s exhaustion or soreness. And that’s just by doing it once. Doing it multiple times in a row, however, could cause something more severe.

“So, what I think happened was that after your workout, certain things happened with your muscles that didn’t quite recover the next day. So when you performed yesterday, the strain was too much and your wings locked up. You didn’t crash because you couldn’t handle the turn; you crashed because you over-exerted yourself in something else.”

Scootaloo was speechless. Things were suddenly making sense: why Spitfire showed her the two videos, the stiffness in her wings that seemed unrelated to the crash, and the crash itself. She was so worried that she would mess up or spin out that she worked a little too hard in order to prevent that. Neither she nor Blue Yonder realized the implications of what they were doing, and it cost them.

Spitfire continued to study the injured cadet. ‘She’s certainly taking this well, that’s good.’

“Now I’m going to be honest with you Scootaloo,” Spitfire said, regaining Scootaloo’s attention. “This past week, I haven’t been impressed. From day one you’ve displayed that you don’t seem to work with others well or have the capability of precision flying. You’ve insulted another cadet, went off on your own during the flag hunt, nearly passed out at the obstacle course, and most recently overworked yourself—leading to your accident yesterday. Based on these incidents, I could not see you to continuing in this academy.”

Scootaloo lowered her head. This was it. She had anticipated the worst and it seemed that it was going to happen. She braced herself for the inevitable word.

“However,” Spitfire said with a surprising smile on her face. “I’ve only had part of the story. This video shows how much you are willing to work, and talking with other cadets has shown me just how much of an impact you’ve had on helping them through this past week.”

“So…what does this mean for me?” Scootaloo asked, unsure of where this was going at all.

“I think we’ve established that I wasn’t there for any significant portion of your training,” Spitfire said. “Therefore, I don’t think I’m qualified to make that judgment. Instead, I think we need to talk with the ponies who have been with you.”

With that, Spitfire walked to the door and opened it. She said something to Lieutenant What’s-his-name outside. Scootaloo didn’t catch it since she was still confused over what was just said. Spitfire herself remained silent as she returned to her desk.

Before too long the door burst open. In flew Blue Yonder, who was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs.

“I’M SORRY, IT WAS MY FAULT!” She screamed. “This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for me! Don’t punish Scootaloo, I’m the one who should be thrown out!”

CADET, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF!” Spitfire shouted, silencing the other mare. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m the one that told Scootaloo to go on the Dizzitron,” Blue Yonder explained. “I told her that she could get better by working on it and that she wouldn’t mess up at the air show, but that didn’t work. It’s my fault that she crashed!”

Spitfire blinked a couple of times. “What?”

“Sorry Spitfire,” Major Soarin said as he walked in, panting a little bit. “I told her about the Dizzitron is what lead to Scootaloo crashing yesterday, and now she keeps blaming herself.”

“Because I am to blame!” Blue Yonder insisted. “If it wasn’t for me, this wouldn’t have happened!”

“Blue Yonder, it isn’t your fault!” Scootaloo exclaimed, standing up suddenly.

Suddenly everypony started shouting.

“What are you doing?”

“You’ll hurt yourself!”

“Sit back down!”

SHUT UP!” Scootaloo shouted. “I’m not a foal; you don’t need to tell me what to do!”

Suddenly, her head started hurting, causing Scootaloo to press her good hoof against her forehead. She felt as though her head was going to split open. She sat back down and waited for the blinding pain to pass.

“I chose to go on the Dizzitron all those times,” Scootaloo said, breathing heavily. “I chose to exert myself and get better times. I chose to do that at the high setting. It’s my fault that this happened to me, Blue Yonder, not yours.”

“But I-” Blue Yonder started.

“No but’s!” Scootaloo interrupted. “I’m the one who’s responsible here.”

“Actually, you’re both responsible,” Soarin said.

“What?” Scootaloo and Blue Yonder said in unison, turning to the stallion.

“What started out as a little exercise caused something that got out of hand that could have been prevented by either of you two,” Soarin explained. “Blue Yonder, you suggested the activity and could have stopped it any time. Scootaloo, you could have easily walked away or gotten some treatment when you were still feeling sore the next morning. I am partially to blame as well since I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea for you to go that last time on the high setting, but I let you do it anyway.”

Both Scootaloo and Blue Yonder just stared at him, not sure of what to make of his statements. Spitfire sat back and let Soarin continue.

“The point I’m trying to make is that as a team, you share equal responsibility for your performance overall.” Soarin stated. “We’ve already discussed the Dizzitron and the air show yesterday, and you both paid heavily for it—although Scootaloo bore the physical portion. There were other things too, like the flag hunt mishap and the scare at the obstacle course, but you both managed to work together in the end.

“You did some good things together as well. You’ve inspired the other cadets, helped one through a period of depression and broke one of our longest standing records. I have never seen two cadets work so well together better than the two of you.”

Scootaloo and Blue Yonder couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed about their failings and praiseworthy moments being displayed like that. They would have eased a little, but apparently Soarin wasn’t done yet.

“But that’s just me talking,” Soarin stated. “I want to hear from the two of you personally about your time with each other at this camp. Blue Yonder, how has Scootaloo been as your wingpony?”

“Well...uh,” Blue Yonder stuttered, being taken aback by this sudden change of direction. “She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. She has overcome so much, flies by my side and is everything that I aspire to be.”

“Very well,” Soarin said once she had finished, and turned to the other cadet. “Scootaloo, how has Blue Yonder been as your lead pony?”

Scootaloo paused for a moment. Despite knowing that it was coming, she still had a hard time putting her thoughts into words. Once she had a grasp on them, she looked back up.

“She’s a great leader,” Scootaloo said. “She inspired me to do my best and has shown me so many ways to work with others, even lifting them up. She even helped me out yesterday and talked me out of making the biggest mistake I could’ve made in my entire life. I’m honored to have been her wingpony and consider her to be among my closest friends.”

Scootaloo smiled as Blue Yonder gave her a gentle pat on the back. She also noticed some tears in Blue Yonder’s eyes. This whole thing seemed rather corny, but Scootaloo felt that everything she said was true. Soarin, meanwhile, thought over their words.

“Colonel,” Soarin said, turning to Spitfire. “You know my thoughts about this companionship and I want you to know that they haven’t changed.”

“Thank you Major; dismissed,” Spitfire said as she saluted Soarin, who subsequently walked out the door. “Well, it seems that you’ve made quite the impression on all of us. I must admit that I had my doubts this past week, but it seems that I did do the right thing by putting you two together. So it gives me great pleasure to say that you both passed.”

Scootaloo’s jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe it. Despite everything, they both managed to succeed and continue on in the Wonderbolt Academy. She looked over and saw that Blue Yonder’s face was just as shocked and excited as hers.

“Congradulations,” Spitfire said. “I look forward to working with both of you again. Blue Yonder, I expect you to come back in three days with all of the other cadets who will be continuing. Scootaloo, you will come back only after you have made a complete recovery and are okayed by the doctors in Ponyville and Doctor Hawkeye. When you return, we just might make us of that dare-devil attitude of yours.”

Scootaloo’s eyes widened at that prospect. It was going to be so exciting. Then it hit her that she would have to wait again just to come back.

‘Oh, I hate waiting!’

“Enjoy your leave Newbies,” Spitfire said as she stood up and saluted them. “Dissmissed.”