• 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.

  • ...
3
 102
 2,379

I Think I'm a Clone Now

"Ughh..." Rainbow groaned as she drifted down towards Prism Plateau in a wobbly glide. That Rainboom had done a number on her, the second shock wave had sent her tumbling out of control. She caught herself easily, because she was a professional flyer and didn't need to stop and think about the spin-recovery technique she had practiced dozens of times on the Dizzitron, but the blast and subsequent roller-coaster-ride had left her feeling ragged. The whole event was a blur in her memory. She remembered the blast of her Rainboom, and she... thought there might've been a second one? It was so hazy. She remembered whirling around, seeing a miasma of bright colors and... clocks? Running backwards? That didn't make a whole lot of sense. At the moment, however, her strange awesomeness-induced hallucinations weren't her first priority. She needed to patch herself up and get back out there. Maybe enlist the rest of the team's help to scour the fields south of Ponyville for what was left of their second-in-command. It couldn't hurt to catch a nap in there somewhere either, her wings were really sore from riding out that shock wave.

Rainbow touched down unsteadily outside the entrance to the barracks. She stopped briefly to dust herself off and rearrange a few bent primaries, then trotted up to the door of the stunt team's quarters.

As she hoofed the door open, she heard a familiar voice. "C'mon, let's go try this out, I can't wait to do a Rainboom! ...It'll be a Double Rainboom!"

Oh good, Soarin made it back. Rainbow thought as she heard the flight leader yammer on about something. She felt relieved at the realization that he wasn't injured, and that she could cross 'Corpse Retrieval' off her to-do list. (She only had a to-do list in the first place because she took her Twilight Sparkle impressions very seriously. She was a method actor.)

"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?"

Rainbow's ears twitched. Who was that? The voice was harsh and raspy, definitely a stallion's. But which stallion? It definitely wasn't Lightning Streak, and there weren't exactly a lot of colts in the demonstration squadron. "Sorry about the Rainboom, LT!" Rainbow called out as she trotted through the barracks's common room back towards the bunks. "Totally wasn't ready for it. I think maaaaybe acting like my friend doesn't automatically make me as book-smart as she is."

More voices from the back. "Um, did you just say something?" Soarin asked of somepony.

"Me? That didn't sound anything like me! More like a dragon with strep throat or something."

"Hey, Soarin?" Rainbow called as she approached the doorway to the bunkroom. "We're cool, right? Cause I'm thinking that, if we don't tell Cap, everypony will just think it was thunder from that storm the weather crews are worki--" Rainbow stopped dead as she reached the doorway, staring wide-eyed into the Wonderbolts' sleeping quarters at the pony talking to Soarin. The sky-blue pegasus with a brilliant prismatic mane staring back at her with an identical expression of shock on her face.

Soarin looked back and forth between the two mirrored pegasi. This was the kind of out-of-left-field situation that called for leadership, for calm heads who could adapt and think outside the box to prevent any escalation. This was the kind of situation that called for a Wonderbolt officer.

His reply was clear, concise and to the point. "Bwuh?"

"CHANGELING!" Both Dashes snapped out of it at the same time, lunging at each other. They rolled around, each swinging at the other with hooves and wings. One Rainbow managed to pin the other, gaining the upper hoof for only a moment before she was launched across the room by her foe's hindhooves. Soarin dove out of the way as a prismatic projectile hurtled through the space he was just standing in and crashed into the blackboard. The launched Rainbow came barrelling back into the fight, tackling her double across several bunks before crashing into a heap on top of Misty Fly's footlocker.

*WHACK* "Thought you could replace me, huh? Bet you didn't count on this!" *SMACK*

"Hey, you're the spy here!" *WHAM*

"Yeah right! What are you doing, infiltrating the awesomest flyers in Equestria so you can sabotage them for your evil queen!?" *OVERHEAD TOSS!*

"Nuh uh! What're you trying to pull, gonna feed on the love that my teammates have for each other?" *HOOFPUNCH!*

"Hey! Wait a minute..." Soarin protested, still completely clueless as to what he should be doing. Maybe try to stop them? Damn, they're REALLY going at it... I should let them work this out themselves...

*CHOKEHOLD!* "Change back already! You're not getting anywhere near my friends!"

"Gahhhhh..." One Rainbow desperately tried to pull the other's foreleg off of her neck. "I'm--gak--not a changeling, YOU are! Soarin--urk--a little help here?" She pried herself free, leaping clear of her doppelganger and taking a defensive stance.

"She's lying, Soarin! I'm the real one, we were just talking about our plans to do the Rainboom, remember!"

"That was me! We had that conversation this morning!" Both ponies stopped snarling at each other, looking at Soarin expectantly.

Soarin involuntarily backed up a step. "Well, um, see the thing is... ehh..." He gasped and pointed dramatically behind the two with a hoof. "Hey look! It's the Wonderbolts!"

"WHERE!?" Twin cyan heads snapped around in excitement, searching for their foalhood heroes.

There was nothing behind them except overturned bunks and the contents of several scattered footlockers. "Hey! There's nopony else here Soarin, what are you--oh..."

Soarin had vanished. Rainbow Dash glanced at Rainbow Dash sheepishly, rubbing a hoof up and down her foreleg. "Did we seriously just fall for that?"

"I think so. This is pretty embarrassing."

"Yeah..." Rainbow pawed at the barracks's scuffed linoleum floor. "You maybe want to take a break from fighting? I'm pretty beat up."

"Sure! You've got a mean right hoof for a changeling. I don't remember any of your buddies at the wedding punching that hard."

"Thanks! Seriously though, I'm not the changeling."

"Well I know I'm not, so you kinda have to be! I mean, how else could there be two of me? Besides the mirror pool that Pinkie found or when Twilight met herself from the future or like a disguise spell okay there's actually a lot of reasonable explanations for this now that I say them out loud."

"...We did not think this through, did we?"

"No," Rainbow chuckled at her double's remark. "No we didn't."

"..."

"..."

"Battleclouds?"

"Battleclouds."

* * * * *

Soarin galloped as fast as he could away from the barracks. Wonderbolts, cadets, and support ponies all watched him as he stumbled down Prism Plateau's center boulevard towards the runway, running from pony to pony and raving like a loon. The experienced pegasi paid him little mind other than to steer clear of his path; while the sight was unusual, scenes like this were not unheard of at Wonderbolts HQ. From Soarin's frenzied rants about clones, most ponies just assumed he had wandered in front of a mirror and been caught by surprise.

"You have to believe me!" Soarin cried to a nervous-looking group of Academy cadets he'd cornered near a hangar. The poor trainees backed away from the wild-eyed officer until their flanks were pressed against the corrugated cloudluminum wall. "Somepony's cloning Wonderbolts! You've gotta help me stop them from killing each other!"

"Uhh, we'd like to, sir," one brave mare spoke up as her fellow cadets courageously pushed her to the front of the group. "But... but... but Sergeant Fly said if we're not at formation at fourteen-hundred for drill practice, she'd geld us! Even the fillies! Which doesn't sound physically possible..."

"Oh, it is," another cadet piped up. "My mom's an ER nurse, she's seen some nasty stuff."

"Eeeeeeewwwww."

"I know, right?"

"Listen!" Soarin half-shouted, half-pleaded. "This could be a real emergency, somepony's trying to replace us with clones! Are you really that afraid of Misty Fly that you'd rather practice marching than help stop an evil villian!?"

"Hell yes," the mare stated matter-of-factly. The others nodded in agreement. "Hooves down, sir. It's not even a contest."

"Oh..." Soarin remarked, disappointed. He could've used their help, but they did have a point. Misty Fly was a very effective drill sergeant. "Okay, carry on then, I suppose. Thanks anyway." The mare leading the cadet group gave him a crisp salute, which he returned halfheartedly before they scurried off. Soarin looked around the base for any other ponies that might be able to help. He needed to find his teammates soon and get back to the barracks, who knows what kind of damage the two Rainbow Dashes were doing while he was running all over the plateau?

* * * * *

"A-6."

"Miss. So, I don't think you're a mirror pool clone. You're not jumping around yelling 'Awesome!' over and over. D-4."

"Hit. True. Maybe you're from world inside Twilight's portal? The one where Sunset Shimmer lives? F-7."

"Miss. Nah, I'm from Equestria. Are you? E-4."

"Hit, dammit. Nope, why would I ask if you were from there if I was from there? Wait, what happened to you today?"

"Well, I showed Soarin the Rainboom stunt, like you were when I found you."

"Uh-huh."

"Then we went and did it--"

"Hehehe, did it."

"C'mon, really?"

"..."

"Okay, that was pretty funny. So you tried out the Rainboom, then what?"

"The blast was a lot bigger this time. I kinda blacked out for a second. After I came to I couldn't find Soarin, so I came back here and ran into you, and then we fought for a while, and now we're playing a board game."

"Huh. And you said you had the same conversation with Soarin earlier? The one that we were having when you found us? What time did you guys do the Rainboom?"

"Like, noon-ish?"

"It's only eight. Er, zero-eight-hundred."

"So, what, did I go back in time then?" Future-Rainbow scratched her mane. "Is this the past?"

"I think it's the present," Past-Rainbow replied, poring over the board. She'd already lost her cirrus AND her lenticular, and the outlook didn't look good. "Cause you're from the future, that'd make this the present. H-9."

"Miss. But what if where I'm from is the present? Wouldn't that make this the past then? C-4?"

"Agh, hit. But if you're from the present, then when's the future? B-11."

"Miss. I dunno. Maybe its further than when I'm from. Like dinnertime or something. F-4."

"Hit, you busted my cumulonimbus! This doesn't make any sense, we should have all the same moves! How are you so good at this!?"

"Duh, I'm from the future, remember?"

"Oh, right!"

Author's Note:

Soarin panics while Rainbow plays with herself shows remarkable restraint considering her character, but hey, its not like she hasn't been in this exact situation before.

I chopped this chapter in half as the word count was ballooning quickly, apologies if it's a little 'off' as a result. The next one should be out in another day or two (featuring... *gasp* OTHER CHARACTERS!!!!) then hopefully Spitfire's chapter soon after, which will be the less-than-thrilling finale for this paticular arc. 'Clone Saga' was taken so I'm thinking either 'Soarin and Rainbow's Excellent Adventure' or 'The Life and Times of Supreme-Lord-Commander Fleetfoot and Her Loser Coworkers'.