• Published 20th Aug 2016
  • 2,379 Views, 102 Comments

The Wrong Stuff - DashEight

The Wonderbolts are the greatest precision flying team in Equestria, admired by ponies worldwide and heroes to every colt and filly in Cloudsdale. They are also terrible, terrible ponies.

  • ...

Back Off Man, I'm a Scientist

Soarin touched down next to the barracks entrance and trotted inside the common room. Rainbow Dash stood inside, muttering to herself, pacing in front of a blackboard covered with scribbles and diagrams. "No, that's not right..." She wiped a portion clean with an eraser clenched in her wing, then picked up a piece of chalk in her mouth and started correcting the perceived mistake. Soarin paused, unsure what to make of the scene. Most of the diagrams depicted an aerial stunt routine like the Bolts often used in their briefings, but there was quite a lot of... was that math? Not just the easy, exactly-how-much-can-I-blow-in-Las-Pegasus-and-still-make-rent kind of math; Soarin saw variables, he saw tangents. By Celestia, he saw exponents.

The next thing Soarin noticed was her mane. Her straight-neatly combed mane and tail, styled to accentuate her bangs. One of five manestyles she had worn during her epic Initiation Day freakout.

His blood ran cold. "Heeeey Dash, what's going on here?"

Rainbow looked up. "Hey, Soarin! Er, Clipper! LT!"

"'Soarin' is fine, Rainbow," he smiled uneasily. "The callsigns are kinda informal. We usually use them for, y'know, joking around, friendly BSing and stuff." He looked at the diagrams and equations on the blackboard, then back at Rainbow. "You're... okay right? That whole 'Crash' thing, it was supposed to all be in good fun. We had no idea about your bad vibes at flight camp."

Dash cocked an eyebrow at Soarin. "Uhh, yeah, why wouldn't I be?"

Soarin hesitantly pointed to her mane. "Well, you still got the um... y'know, the thing with the..."

"Oh, right! The Twi-do!" Dash smiled sheepishly, her mane and tail instantly reverting back to their usual windswept look. "Sorry, I totally forgot about that! I've been working on this stunt that I was hoping we could fit into the summer routine, but it uh, involves some pretty serious aerodynamic stuff."

"Okaay, so what does this have to do with you acting like your friend Rarity?"

"Dude, I know you only met my friends a few times, but c'mon, Twilight's a Princess. There's only four of them in all of Equestria!" She paused. "Wait. Five. I think. "

"Rarity wasn't the alicorn? I remember her competing at the Best Young Flyers competition a while back. That day's all kinda hazy though, ponies tell me I got kicked in the head at some point."

"Yeah, that was... something else entirely. Something that I promised Rarity I wouldn't talk about cause its really embarrassing for her... so I'll tell you later, it's a great story!"

"Right on," Soarin nodded, doing his best impression of a pony who understood what was going on. "Wait, that still doesn't explain what's up with the mane."

"Well, I'm more of a doer than a planner, but this stunt needs to be, like super precise so I was all like, 'who's the best at planning out everything to the tiniest detail?' Twilight's really good at that stuff so I figured I should think like her, y'know, put myself in her shoes. Or her mane, whatever. And it works too, watch!" Wild locks fwumped instantly back to straight. "The linear coefficient of the numeration is equal to the logarithm of the denominasaurus." Back to Rainbowmane. "See! Totally works!"

"That... is..." Soarin replied after a moment's consideration, "such a great idea!! Why didn't you say so before!? Okay, let's see what you've got so far!"

"Here, take a look," Rainbow backed out of the way of the chalkboard so Soarin could inspect it. "Here, it's mostly the same routine we're training for, but I've been working on a way to add the Rainboom into it."

"But nopony else on the team can do a Sonic Rainboom. Captain'll never go for it, we don't do solo acts here."

"Nopony else can do a Sonic Rainboom yet." Dash grinned.

"Wuzza wha?"

"Everypony's seen me do the Rainboom already, it's old news. but if the squad does a formation Rainboom, all of Equestria will be like, whoaa, we thought the Wonderbolts were cool before, but now they're way cooler! Like, a statistically significant amount cooler. And I bet that super-awesome new pony Rainbow Dash taught them all how to do it!" Dash smirked, proving that a pony can be both altruistic and egotistical at the same time.

"...I'm listening..." Soarin replied.

"Here, take a look," Rainbow pointed a hoof to a diagram of a pegasus wing showing areas of local airflow and seperation in the transonic range. Basic Junior Speedsters stuff, really. "The problem most ponies run into when trying for a Rainboom is the pressure buildup, right? As you start to get close, air piles up on your wings in a bow wave. Drags you down, moves the center of pressure so you lose your balance, all of that. You either don't have the wingpower to punch through it or you get shaken up and lose control."

"Right," Soarin nodded. Every speedster in Cloudsdale had tried doing a Sonic Rainboom at some point. It almost a rite of passage, like graduating from flight school or that first time you noticed an attractive mare and you suddenly couldn't fold your wings down. "So how do you do it, then?"

"I can't really explain it, I just angle my wings back a bit and power through the buffets. Sometimes I do something with my hooves to make it look cooler. Twilight says I have a weirdly high amount of flight magic that lets me keep control through the barrier."

"Huh, that makes sense. Wait, by Twilight do you mean the actual Princess or--"

"Yeah, the real Twilight. she, uh, liked to do experiments back in the day. Big time egghead. She said even the fastest pegasuses always spin out right before they hit the Rainboom cause they don't know how to stay in control through it, and I either have a ton of magic or I'm submersibly using it in some way that lets me do what nopony else can."

"Okay, cool, cool, but if you don't know what you're doing then how do you teach the rest of the team?"

"I don't think I need to! Here," Rainbow quickly sketched a Sonic Rainboom blast on what little empty space remained. "Big rainbow shockwaves are always have, like, a ton of magic in them, Right? Like the Elements of Harmony or that thingy that cleaned up Tirek's mess. And a Rainboom is basically the same thing as one of those, right? So if I do a Rainboom as part of a stunt, anypony else in the formation should get a magic boost that could give them the edge to do their own Rainboom!"

"You want me to try and surf a supersonic magic shockwave? While we're in formation??" Rainbow nodded excitedly. "Rainbow," Soarin trotted around Rainbow so he was facing her, "I've been with the Bolts for a while now. I've heard a lot of really bad ideas, and I have to say," he placed a hoof on her shoulder, "that this is totally not one of those at all! C'mon, let's go try this out, I can't wait to do a Rainboom!" He thought for a second, then gasped. "It'll be a Double Rainboom!"

"It'll be even cooler than that once the rest of the team gets it! Like, a... what's the word for double, but with six instead of two?"

Soarin shrugged.

"Ah, who cares? C'mon, we've got records to break!"

Author's Note:

I may have cringed throughout all of Rainbow's impression scenes in 'Newbie Dash', but I have to admit, filly's got some range as an actress. Unfortunately, just because she do a dead-on Twilight Sparkle impression doesn't automatically give her an aeronautical-engineering background. The Bolts would have some background in physics and aerodynamics, but not necessarily the more advanced math behind it. (A pilot needs to know how their aircraft works, but not how to build one from the ground up.)