• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen Last Friday

horizon


Not a changeling.

E
Source

What if Rainbow Dash never existed to turn six young lives upside down with her Sonic Rainboom?

Harmony will always find its Element-bearers, and something certainly would have united six friends to wield them ... but a change as small as the flapping of a butterfly's wings can have enormous effects on everything that follows.

* * *

Second-place winner in Skeeter the Lurker's "Switcheroo!" competition! This entry centers around the episode "Sonic Rainboom" (with influences from several others).

"Recommended" by Present Perfect: "Though this is well-worn material, the directions in which horizon takes it are remarkable. ... That alone makes it worth the read."
Reviewed by PaulAsaran: "horizon's re-imagining of Equestria is almost complete, defying the norms and tossing most of our expectations to the four winds. ... I am very impressed."
★★★★ rating by Louder Yay * Reviewed by Titanium Dragon

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 69 )

I'm going to do the traditional "reserve the first comment for extended author's notes" thing, though right now I don't have much to say, as I'm submitting this on my way out the door to a camping trip. When I return I'll respond to comments, and link this to a list of the other Switcheroo! entrants.

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile:

Edit: Here's where you can find the other stories in the competition!

Entry noted!

Best of luck to you!

~Skeeter The Lurker

In the immortal meme of Han Shot First, I would like to propose a counter.

Pinkie was pushed.

Whoa. This is a weird alternate universe. It's the subtle differences that really stand out. It's one thing to give the Elements to some different sextet, or extrapolate more drastic changes from a failure to Rainboom. But such a minor shift feels all the more bizarre for how close it comes to the baseline. I think you successfully used the Uncanny Valley of alternate timelines here. Very cool.

Oh, and the story was quite nicely done. I do hope Scootaloo gets a chance to go ballistic again soon. So close, and yet...

So Spike's Loyalty, Sunset's Friendship, Rarity is Laughter, Fluttershy is kindness, who's honesty and generosity?

Oh, very interesting! Some familiar faces in new roles, and some quite unexpected changes...

This is indeed a disturbing universe.

I got a chuckle out of the final line of this story, but I wasn't very fond of the Sonic Rainboom retelling at all. :fluttershyouch:

What makes this story for me is the bit at the end where Scootaloo is self-assuredly explaining that they're living in the best of all possible worlds.

I reviewed this story!

My review can be found here.

This was brilliant.
I loved all the subtle differences and not so subtle ones.
A sonic unboom, sunset reconciling with celestia, pinkie being maud, rarity being pinkie.
Scoots being adopted, flutters was amazing, still herself but more confident/in control.
I would love to read more in this verse, or more like this. Subtle shifts of what if done this well are a treat.

6219164
:pinkiegasp: Do you untalk to your parents in that unvoice, young man?

6219408
Thank you! I quite enjoyed doing the worldbuilding that wraps around the core story here.

6219177
Amusingly, in an earlier draft of the story, that's exactly what happened: Scootaloo decided Fluttershy needed one last little burst of incentive.

You may now commence cursing me for my George Lucas-esque executive meddling. :twilightsheepish:

6222613 Careful, I can always write a Not The Final Word chapter where Scoots goes and apologizes to Pinkie.

Ri2

...Wait, what was that about a moose?

6219213 (cc: 6219976)
Thank you! I think "uncanny valley" is a great description of what I was going for -- a lighthearted story with a fundamental underlying sense of wrongness that the last scene crystallizes into fridge-logic tragedy -- so I'm glad that that carried through.

6219275
Yup! Applejack remains Honesty, as her scene in the first chapter hopefully signaled, and Pinkie Pie is Generosity.

I do regret that I didn't have more opportunity to develop the characters within the context of the episode I retold. Like with the show, having a cool ensemble cast means that it takes a lot more time to develop each of them. For instance, I never got to play around with the fact that Rarity and Pinkie Pie both have the same cutie mark (a single rock), or the contrasts in their characters. Redoing the sleepover episode with them could be fun.

6220019
If it's any consolation, I also thought Chapter 2 was the weakest of the three, for similar reasons to what you mentioned in your review, and you also raise a very good point about the ensemble cast. As above, I think some of that could be fixed by retelling a few other episodes and actually giving each of the characters their proper face time, but yeah, the "retell an episode" structure is tough to make work!

6220639
Well, for Scootaloo, it is! I mean, she's got a Cutie Mark, a big sister/mentor to live with, a cool older pegasus friend to idolize, an impending royal wedding to watch ... really, her world is going to be perfect. :scootangel:

6221075
Glad you enjoyed it! All of the things you mention were great fun to write, even if they were the limit of what the story would gracefully hold. As noted above, there's plenty more ideas that the framework of the competition didn't give me the room to expand.

6222679
Well, you know how it is. Bugbears and cragadiles and ursas have been done to death.

A Møusse ønce bit my sister, yøu knøw ... :trollestia:

6222699

We apologize to the readers. The author responsible has been sacked.

Ri2

6222699 Was it a cross-eyed moose? If you cross paths with a cross-eyed moose, you and your un-crossing friends will be cursed. It's science!

6222692
The only question remaining is whether this version of Equestria is totally hosed by Chrysalis or if they hit upon some sort of unique and brilliant friendship solution that they will also presume in hindsight was the only way out.

I've read a ton of alt-universe fics with different bearers of the elements. What I really like here is your brevity. So many authors have a cool idea about an alternate mane 6, but they still write a long intro story involving 6 ponies going into the Everfree Forest from Ponyville and encountering various obstacles before they defeat Nightmare Moon in a pretty similar fashion to the original version. You trusted us readers to infer that background and skipped over directly to a fun slice-of-life episode that lets us focus more on their character, without the lengthy exposition that us usually added in.

That said, one detail knaws at me: Who did Spike imprint on? I would have guessed Sunset, because she is the one in Canterlot at the time, but clearly she was talking with Celestia elsewhere instead. My guess is Shining Armor, from the context that it sounded like the ponies around Spike when he hatched were wearing armor, and that would give the Mane 6 in this story a good tie in to discovering Chrysalis. So then how did Spike happen to be in Ponyville at the right time?

So... who, exactly, raised Spike? The circumstance of his hatching makes it look like he wasn't there at Twilight's entry exam. Does Twilight even exist, or has she gone the way of The Dash?

This is excellent!
Very well written, I must say. Good job!

6223001
That, I think, is best left as a "Lady or the Tiger?"-esque exercise for the reader.

6224497
Thank you! The blessing and curse of the contest format was that it forced that brevity, as I was trying to write just enough context to make the character shuffles in the slice-of-life portion make sense. In hindsight, maybe this wasn't the best episode, or maybe I should have (had the contest been a little more flexible) included a second episode, only because I wasn't able to give great screen time to a lot of the ensemble cast that deserved just as much attention. If I wrote another, it would probably be "Look Before You Sleep" with Rarity and Pinkie Pie, so I could really dig into the interplay there, as well as the wide divergence of their identical cutie marks. (Rarity's single rock from her unboom encounter, and Pinkie's single pebble from hers.)

As for Spike:

6224831
Twilight Sparkle does exist in Dashless-world ... however, without the Rainboom spurring her to magic-surge, she choked in her school entrance exam and never hatched her dragon egg. (Twilight being Twilight, she probably aced the written and got into the School for Gifted Unicorns anyway, but in between her lack of surge and Celestia's reconciliation with Sunset, Twilight would never have come to Celestia's attention, and basically would have become Moondancer 2: The Moondancening.)

So there's a teeeeny bit of bait-and-switch here: the Spike in my story didn't come from the same egg as the Spike in canon.

You're right to observe that the ponies who he imprinted upon were wearing armor. I haven't quite decided whether they're Guard members investigating an absent dragon's cave in the Everfree, or whether they're actual dragonslayers, but either way, the Unboom made the hatchling leave his egg and imprint on them in the narrow window before his other parent returned and the ponies fled the cave. (Feel free to assume that in canon, this 'verse's Spike grew up to become one of the dragon delinquents in "Dragon Quest," who by strange happenstance has the exact same name. :raritywink: And why didn't the Rainboom awaken that hatchling? Because it happened in the daytime instead of later that night, so the egg would have been underneath a dragon at Rainboom time.)

As for who Spike imprinted on, the answer is: those two armored ponies, who raised him as his dam and sire. I won't rule out Shining Armor, though I haven't really decided; right now they're just question marks, and if I write more in this continuity I reserve the right to pull a BBBFF moment out of my butt and decide his pony-parents were canon characters all along.

6225301
Thank you for reading and enjoying! :twilightsmile:

...

Pinkie is Maud.

...

I favorited this so hard I broke a nail

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

whoa shit

But would Rarity really know about Batmare? I'm not so sure. :B

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

"Well, we do live in a library." Scootaloo nuzzled Sunset's shoulder. "I'm so glad you adopted me, sis."

"I'm just glad you read that book on explicational dialogue, squirt!" Sunset replied with a chuckle.

I kid. :V I love this because emo Pinkie.

Also, did Applejack just not go?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Yeah, I don't think "curled her neck" really works as a phrase. :B

6237728

curled her neck

It's a thing, I swear! We've repeatedly seen pones neckhugging in the show, though admittedly it happened more often in the Faust days before they super-anthropomorphized everyone.
img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121003222946/mlp/images/thumb/9/98/Twilight_Celestia_Hugs_S1E02.png/640px-Twilight_Celestia_Hugs_S1E02.png

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

6237751
Yeah, but... Like, even calling it a "neck-hug" would work. That comes off as a pet phrase more than anything. :B I'd just go with "rested her neck against his", but that's just me.

That is a fascinating premise, more so by the fact that unlike a lot (but not all) of these stories, you have not just shaken up the personalities of the Mane Six - Spike as (I presume) Loyalty ios a nice touch as well! Sunset was a nice addition to. (I think it's also quite a rarity (no pun intended) to see one without Twilight as well.)

If you ever choose to write anymore in the continuity, I would definitely be interested in it.

(And one guesses that this universe's Twilight isn't doing so bad if she got into the school since she does have some actual friends and probably is much closer with Moondancer!)

6241779
Thank you! Spike as Loyalty started out as a stupid joke reference to Spike being the "substitute Dash" in that Discord episode, until I realized that a nonpony actually would embody Loyalty in a direct and unusual way, and decided to play it straight. And yes, I'd like to think Twilight did alright for herself. :twilightsmile:

6258113
Not really my best, but I hope you still found something to appreciate. :twilightsheepish:

6260453
I smiled at a couple of moments, and there were good idea. I was just being facetious.

6260453
I smiled at a couple of moments, and there were good idea. I was just being facetious.

Wow... Where do I begin? I don't mean that to sound bad. Because, I really think this had a lot of creativity and a lot of imagination. This was so very unique and so very interesting. And I'm kind of sad we didn't have more.

One of the things I did like was the characters in the Cutie Mark Chronicles reactions to everything and how it differed from what we've seen and how it changed their entire lives. That took a lot of thought and I really like what you did... particularly with Rarity and Pinkie Pie. That was pretty unique. The stuff with Sunset Shimmer was also really interesting and I loved how you tied it in with Twilight's test, even if she didn't show up.

The one thing I do question is, why is Spike there? And is Scootaloo now a unicorn?

Kind of weird, but alternate universe. I'll let it slide.

I liked the Sonic Rainboom thing... but not as much as I liked the first bit. It started out really funny and kind of clever with the "Shh" competition. Which is really brilliant. But then, I don't know it feels like it lost track of itself. Like it wanted to be two episodes and try to split the focus instead of just focusing on one particular thing and see how that affects it. I think if this story had either focused on the Sonic Rainboom without delving into the Cutie Mark Chronicles, or just focusing on the Cutie Mark Chronicles, I think that would have been much tighter. However, the ending of chapter 2 was rather heartwarming and it fit in with everything rather well.

The last chapter... I question why it's there. I know it's to explain that all possibilities are possible, but ... Is it really needed? It's already an alternate universe story. I feel like there really isn't a point to it except to pad it.

Anyway, an enjoyable read. I'm glad I read it. Thank you for letting me review it and I hope to hear more from you in the future. Until then. Take care. :pinkiehappy:

6267668
Thanks for the reactions, and glad you liked it!

To answer your last question, the point of chapter 3 was the stinger line at the end — implying that Sunset being there instead of Twilight meant that nopony recognized Chrysalis until it was too late. The discussion of alternate realities was just a wind-up to that, especially Scootaloo's ironic line about any Equestria whose history wasn't "correct" ending up a smoking ruin.

6268123 Hm... Very interesting... I think that could have made a great story by itself. :pinkiehappy:

Interesting take on things, as usual. Really loved the "unboom" concept! However, I think the set up in the last chapter, while warm and feel good in what it said, was... well, Spike just outright asking about other timelines just felt a bit lazy. I like where it went, but that level of meta just kinda breaks the immersion. Still a great read overall, but what's a comment if I can't point to at least one thing to be improved, eh? :twilightsheepish:

6272596
There was a point to it; see spoilered comment above. Still, thanks for reading, and glad you enjoyed! :twilightsmile:

This should have a sequel. Like, seriously. It needs one.

6326079
First of all, thank you for reading! I'm glad the story left such an impact. :twilightsmile:

Unfortunately, I've got so much else on my plate that — as much fun as it was to play around with the ideas here — I honestly can't see myself returning to this. If you've got vivid ideas of what else would happen in this continuity, please feel free to carry it on yourself … I'd love to see what comes of it!

6329350 That's too bad. And though I'd love to take you up on the offer, I have six unsubmitted stories and a YouTube channel to keep up, so I can't. Not in the immediate future, anyway.

The miseries of the Mane 6 shown in this chapter are really striking, but Pinkie's in particular. Party of One shows how easy it is for her to get depressed and how nuts she gets when that occurs, so no Sonic Rainboom would really affect her the most. Given her line at the end, I can see her becoming some sort of wandering hermit. Perhaps she would eventually settle down into a role like Trixie does, but with more sleight of hand rather than Trixie's unicorn magic.

I'm a bit iffy on actually naming Spike, as he is operating more on instinct than actual rational thought. Calling him Spike suggests that he thinks of himself as this even before hatching, which doesn't quite segue in with the fact he doesn't really have a personal identity yet. A neat way to sidestep would be for him to identify himself with a concept rather than a name so he doesn't need to understand actual language yet, the concept being his head spikes of course.

At least one pony does come out for the better, in the case of Sunset, though knowing what she does now would be an interesting fic deviation all on its own.

I was caught a bit off-guard by Applejack and Sunset's voices going blank though, since for some reason Fimfiction's formatting gets a bit weird sometimes and just completely blanks out formatted text, requiring me to change text size settings to read it. Looking at the page source though, there really is nothing between the quotation marks.

I'm a big fan of Scoots, so I suppose I'm somewhat upset that even after she was about to perform a Sonic Rainboom, she got cheated out of it.

That said, I'm rather tickled by the mere concept of a Sonic Unboom, and it fits in seamlessly with a lot of Equestria's nonsense physics. While I would hope the next chapter explains how this Mane 6 and Spike got together (and since it's less than 1000 words, I doubt it), you do a pretty good rehash of the Sonic Rainboom episode revolving around the Shhh championships.

6268123 I'll ignore this and have my headcanon being that Scootaloo or Spike saves the day at the wedding, though the real question is who Cadance's groom would be, assuming Shiny only met her post-Sonic Rainboom as she was fillysitting Twilight.

Spike being Loyalty makes a wicked amount of sense, and I can see him being the pivotal point to defeating Discord using the Cutie Mark logic.

The one thing that I do note as being an oddity is the implication Sunset brought Scootaloo along with her to Ponyville. I know Scootaorphan is pretty common, but the way you have it set up she would have come from Canterlot, instead of living in Ponyville to begin with. A rather neat Cutie Mark for her, though.

6341907
Thank you for the commentary, and kudos to you for your comment policy!

As to Scootaloo: is there any canon indication that she's a Ponyville native? I don't think the show has ever said one way or the other. Though that's one of the elements that I really handwaved in order to tell the story I wanted to tell; her life was going to be fairly heavily affected by Dash's absence, so on a meta level, her central role was chosen somewhat arbitrarily.

I'll ignore this and have my headcanon being that Scootaloo or Spike saves the day at the wedding ...

There's a credible argument to be made that your position is supported by the text. After all, the irony here comes from Scootaloo's statement that Equestria would be in ruins if the Elements weren't who they were meant to be. However, she then goes on to cite several problems that their Elements solved more easily than the "actual" Elements ... in other words, her argument relies on the idea that six ponies fighting Discord would necessarily have lost.

That established, who's to say that six strangers fighting Chrysalis are doomed?

At any rate, glad you enjoyed it! :twilightsmile:

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