• Published 21st Jan 2017
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The First Wonderbolt - Essay Jay



When an unnatural phenomenon sends Rainbow Dash back in time, she must adapt to an Equestria at war while all the while looking for a way to get back home.

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Issue 2.4 - A Personal Study

The next morning, they returned just as Ter had promised them. Knowing she would’ve been moved to a different medical wing, Ter asked the Paper Weight where they needed to go, and they made haste. Out of ear-shot, Paper Weight related to Ter that Rainbow had recovered and was responding but hadn’t said a word since they had left. Nodding, Ter, glanced over to the anxious fillies.

“Floor 3, Room 319,” Paper Weight supplied. “The staff is hoping that you will be able to cheer her up. She seems incredibly depressed.”

“I’ve seen that,” Ter replied. “We’ll make sure to do our best.”

Smiling, Paper Weight got back to work and Ter smiled at the fillies. “Alright, let’s go see Rainbow Dash.”

Down some hallways, up a couple flight of stairs, some more hallways, passing several doctors and nurses, and finally, a room. Emblazoned in gold letters on the door was the number 319, and Ter opened it gently. As the door creaked open, they saw Rainbow Dash silently gazing out the window into the skyline of Manehatten.

Rainbow had heard them coming from a mile away. Her ear’s had twitched when she heard the fast clip-clop of hooves and the hushed conversation of two fillies. But she didn’t move an inch. Only when she sensed they had sidled up beside her bed did she turn her head to face them.

To Firefly’s surprise, it was Sky who asked the first question. “You feeling better, Rainbow?”

Rainbow lethargically swung her head to meet the gaze of Sky. “Loads!” Rainbow croaked. Going into a coughing fit, Rainbow cursed herself mentally. “Ack! Gah! Huff… but could be better, yup.”

“Aunt Ter-” Firefly turned her head to look up at Ter “-How long until Rainbow gets out?” she asked.

“Not for a while, my dear,” Terra said. “She needs to undergo a few more examinations and physiotherapy.”

“But -hack- That’s boring!” Rainbow protested, and went into another short bout of coughs. “You’re a doctor, aren’t you? Can’t you pull some strings and bust me -urk- out of here?”

Ter sighed. “It’s not that simple, Miss Rainbow Dash. You’ve been severely injured.” Terra paused, thinking of what else to say. “Not only that… but you’ve been assigned a ‘Class M’ injury. That is supposed to be impossible.”

Rainbow Dash grinned devilishly as she winced. “Heh, that must look good on a resumé.”

“Quite,” Ter murmured.

“Miss Weight explained that to us,” Sky said. “But what exactly does that mean?

Ter raised at an eyebrow at Sky. Turning to look at Firefly, she could see her nodding her head with an eager smile. “Oh, alright,” Ter said. “‘Class M’ is the highest tier -that’s level- of injury anypony can get. It means a pony has been more than magically affected. The very cells and ley lines within a pony have been altered, or changed. Something has happened on such a small catastrophic, dangerous scale that nothing we know of could cure or heal it.”

Rainbow has been listening intently and could only feel a cold shiver go through her as she heard the words come out of the horse’s mouth. The thoughts she were forming made her gulp and bring tears to her eyes. Uncurable? Rainbow thought. But… I’m sure Twilight could’ve figured something out…

The last thought made her almost break down again until she saw the scrunched up muzzles of Firefly and Sky in confusion. They feel just like them, Rainbow suddenly thought. They feel just like Scootaloo…

As if a wave of refreshing water had splashed over her, Rainbow’s mind went aflame in a new idea that she, for some reason, couldn’t shake. Her sadness was replaced with longing and attachment. Her depression was replaced with the faces of three determined little fillies, before she saw them in the two faces she saw before her. Sky and Firefly. Who would take care of them if she… if she disappeared? With her resolve beginning to ground itself, Rainbow had started climbing out of the hole that she had dug for herself.

“Hey, squirts,” Rainbow smiled. “Don’t worry about not understanding that crud. It’s advanced stuff.” As their faces lit up with mirth and understanding, Rainbow couldn’t help but feel a strong warmth in her bosom. One she had once hated, but it now brought her renewed purpose. It made her… belong...

With a smirk, Ter narrowed her eyes.“I’d have you know that it’s more than just ‘crud’,” Ter argued, but nopony could deny hearing the obvious tone of banter in her voice.

“Hey, if it ain’t broke...” Rainbow shrugged, smiling.

At that moment, a mare had walked in with a clipboard only to observe three unwanted visitors. “Oh dear…” the nurse murmured, “I’m done for…”

Ter’s ears flicked at the comments and turned to the nurse. “Sorry, Nurse…?”

“Greywall,” the nurse replied quickly, “Nurse Greywall.”

“It would appear we came at a most inopportune time, yes?” Ter asked.

“Erm, yes,” Greywall whispered. “I’m to take care of Rainbow Dash and was given instruction not to let any visitors except family come in.”

Everypony, Rainbow Dash included, glanced at each other with uncertain eyes. In that instance, Firefly spoke up. “Oh, sorry Nurse Greywall!” she cried, “This is my bigger sister Rainbow Dash! She’s only the most bestest awesomest friend I could’ve ever dreamed of meeting two days ago and-”

Sky stuffed a hoof over her friend’s mouth and Firefly’s muffled voice continued to run a mile a minute. “What she meant to say was…” Skylark began, “I’m her older sister, Rainbow is even older than me, and Aunt Ter is our relative on our mom’s side.”

Rainbow gulped, feeling more tears well up before she nodded with a large grin. “Y-yup! That’s me, big sis!...” And at that moment, Rainbow could only think of a certain purple-maned orange filly pegasus that she had come to know as a little sister to her, and her throat began to well up but she blinked several times and breathed, allowing her a space of calm.

Unfortunately for her, Nurse Greywall almost went cross-eyed from the sudden onset of ramblings she had just received. Widening her eyes a little as she blinked, she nodded all the same. “Okay, so, uh, I think you’re able to stay for a bit longer but I really must be getting to my caretaking duties again.”

Ter smiled softly. “Don’t worry, we won’t take long.” With that, they all turned back to Rainbow Dash, who was now eyeing Firefly and Sky, though the former more than the latter, with melancholic wistfulness. The threesome could see Rainbow’s eyes take on a misty sheen as her breath began to increase steadily in shaky rapidity.

“Rainbow?” Firefly asked, putting a hoof on Rainbow’s.

“H-huh?” Rainbow murmured, before blinking and seemingly realizing where they were for the first time. “S-sorry, I was just… remembering something…”

“It is alright, Rainbow Dash,” Ter said, covering for the sudden shift in mood that she knew Firefly and Sky would question lest she do something about it. “Hearing one is uncurable can put anypony a bit off.”

“Y-yeah, that…” Rainbow whispered, before smiling softly. “Promise you’ll visit, small fry?”

“Yes!” Firefly exclaimed. “Of course.”

“And watch after the runt, eh?” Rainbow asked Sky.

Hey!” Firefly whined. “Sky is only a year older than me!”

“Heehee!” Sky giggled, “Your friend put me in charge!”

“You take that back!” Firefly growled, punching Sky in the fetlock.

“Yowch!” Sky cried before punching Firefly in her own leg and immediately dashing out of the room.

Come back here!” Firefly shouted as she darted after her.

From the room, the remaining three occupants could hear Sky shout “You’ll have to catch me first!

Rainbow could only stare on at the empty doorway with a doleful smile. She only barely acknowledged Ter returning her gaze to Rainbow’s form, and Rainbow continued to stare at the door space. Just like them, she thought. Just like the Crusaders. I can… I should be there for them. For Firefly.

“Goddess-speed, Miss Dash,” Ter said, and Rainbow finally acknowledged Ter once again.

Rainbow scrunched her muzzle in an effort to understand the words Ter had just said.“Huh?”

Ter could only smile. “I’ve tried my best to be Firefly’s aunt,” she began, heading towards the doorway. “But it seems it’s high time for her to spread her wings and fly.” With that, Rainbow watched as Ter left to go after the two fillies, leaving Rainbow to her thoughts. Slowly sinking into her sheets, Rainbow stared at the ceiling, trying to process Ter’s parting words.

“Would you like some breakfast now, Miss Rainbow Dash?” Nurse Greywall suddenly appeared beside Rainbow, holding a tray.

“Gyah!” Rainbow cried, jolting in bed before a coughing fit overtook her body.

Wincing, Nurse Greywall retreated. “Eek!” she said. “I’m sorry, Miss Dash! If I had known that you would be-”

Rainbow held a hoof up to stop her as she coughed into her left foreleg before casting a weary wary gaze at the nurse. “Y’know what? You’re fine. Just don’t go… randomly appearing beside unsuspecting ponies, alright?”

“Yes, Miss Dash,” Nurse Greywall murmured.

“And, uh, Greywall?”

“Yes?”

“Pass me the food. I’m starved.”

“...Okay...”

Shuffling. The food tray was passed, and utensils were forgotten in favour of direct munching.

Silence.

“Are you new?”

“...Erm…”

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

“...Okay...”


“Easy does it… No, not that quick! Eek!... O-h, you’re okay… that’s good. Now, just steady on your- woah!

Since Rainbow’s confinement to her hospital bed, it had only been a couple days before the hospital had begun to mobilize her healing process.

The physician that was tasked with aiding in Rainbow’s physical therapy gasped as he caught Rainbow’s shaky form. Rainbow attempted to swat him away, but she could only fall into his steady grasp more and sighed in vexation. As she knew there had to be some physical activity for physiotherapy, Radial Art had to get Rainbow off of her bed, with the help of Nurse Greywall. And even though Radial had told Rainbow to go down slowly, she had practically flown herself off.

“Grr! Let go of me!” Rainbow complained, straining under their grasp.

“Miss Rainbow Dash!” Nurse Greywall attempted to reason, “We need you to be cooperative so we can help you heal faster!”

“I can heal on my own just fine,” Rainbow growled, grinding her teeth. “You just need to let me-”

“I can’t allow that, Miss Dash,” Radial said as he continued to struggle containing Rainbow Dash. “As your physician, I must advise in you ceasing your struggling as it could possibly be doing more damage than good, and that means a longer healing process!” At that, Rainbow strained one last time before falling limp and grumbling. After the trio took a small breather, Rainbow grunted one word.

“Fine.”

Oh, praise the sun, Radial thought before helping Rainbow back to four hooves and motioning for Greywall to help support Rainbow between them. “Now that we’ve -ahem- settled down, I would like you to do one thing for now and one thing only.”

“Oh yeah?” Rainbow snorted. “What is it.”

“Merely to stand.”

Silence.

“Pffffft! Hahaha!” Rainbow laughed, her whole body trembling between the two ponies she was squished between. “You want me to stand? I’m doing that right now, bub! What’s next, you want me to blink? Haha!”

Radial cast a forlorn face at Nurse Greywall and she only shook her head. “Miss Dash,” Radial said, “Perhaps it would be better if we showed you.” With that, Radial motioned his head away from Rainbow and they both nodded at the same time.

“Hey,” Rainbow said as she saw them conspiring. “What are you…”

They both stepped away from Rainbow’s sides.

In that instance, Rainbow’s legs began to shake as she wobbled under her own weight. “W-wait!” Rainbow cried, grimacing in effort. “W-why can’t I stand p-properly!?”

Radial’s expressions darkened at the sight but couldn’t help admire Rainbow’s resilience. He would’ve thought anypony else would’ve buckled by that point, but Rainbow was miraculously holding her own.

Grunting, Rainbow spread her weight before her legs stopped shaking, and she growled. Just then, she felt the need to stretch her wings and fly so she flapped, but didn’t feel the air. She plummeted almost straight down,. Ready to feel the oncoming floor, Rainbow closed her eyes in anticipation. She never got the satisfaction. Having suddenly felt the weight of two ponies beside her once more, Rainbow cracked her eyes open to see Radial Art and Nurse Greywall supporting her back up.

“As you can see Miss Dash,” Radial whispered gently, glancing at Nurse Greywall, “You need us. At least, for the foreseeable future.”

Rainbow said nothing, shakily bringing her own hoof up to examine it and bringing it to her chest with an inscrutable expression. Breathing a bit shakily, she steadied herself before looking forward with renewed vigor and a hard gaze..

“...Then let’s get started.”


“One step at a time…” Radial Art murmured. “Come on, that’s it…”

Rainbow breathed deeply as she grounded herself and took step after step, each one getting stronger than the last. Her balance was still questionable, but she could stand on her own now. Rainbow hated this. All of this. It was too technical for her. What she wouldn’t give just to be able to unfurl her wings and…

A steadying foreleg was put up against her, and she realized she had begun to fall forwards. Following the leg, she saw Nurse Greywall looking at her with all the concern a nurse could give. “Miss Dash, you’ve been improving so very well, but I must insist that you follow Mr. Art’s instructions and start with walking first.”

“Well put, Nurse Greywall,” Radial nodded. “A foal does not begin running the moment it comes out of the womb. The foal must take their first steps before they can finally start running.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Rainbow asked with an edge.

“Your wings have unfurled.”

Rainbow looked behind her to see her limp feathered appendages unfurling and furling back, as if in anticipation of imminent flight. “So what?”

“So you start flying, yes?” Radial said. “And you need to land. What then? Will you be as you are right now, barely able to keep it together much less walk the length of the room?”

Rainbow went silent.

“We’re here to help you, Miss Dash. It would only be beneficial towards you and a relief to us if you would co-operate more.”

As Rainbow continued to study the ground, Greywall looked at her ward worriedly. “Please, Miss Dash,” the nurse said. “After you learn to walk, then we can definitely talk about running and flying.”

Sighing heavily, Rainbow nodded. “...alright…”

Smiling softly, Radial nodded in approval at Greywall. “Now, Rainbow,” Radial said, “I want you to begin to take steps with us by your side. We will support you as you get a good grip on your hooves.”

With a jerky nod, Rainbow lifted a hoof… before placing it in front of her. She lifted the opposing back hoof and moved it forwards. Then came the other foreleg and other hind leg. At this point, they had moved a foot from the bed.

“Good, Rainbow,” Radial said. “Nice and steady. That’s how it should be from now on, until you are confident in your abilities.”

Step, shuffle. Step shuffle. Step shuffle, step shuffle. It went on like this for the majority of the hour, until Rainbow could feel herself grow tired just from the simple motions. Gritting her teeth, she urged her overseers to continue pushing her, and she kept going. On and on. On and on, until she finally nearly collapsed between the two.

“Gah!” Rainbow cried, nearly slipping between the Radial Art and Nurse Greywall.

“Miss Rainbow Dash!” Nurse Greywall squeaked, brushing up closer beside her and Rainbow was prevented from falling by the two ponies beside her.

“I think it is finally time for you to rest for today, Miss Dash,” Radial ordered. “Regardless of your feelings in continuing, you are overworked as it is. You’ve barely just been healed, and of a Class M injury no less; to see you this far already is a feat even I think is amazing. But that will not last if you are to damage what has already been made irreparable by unknown means.”

Rainbow, knowing exactly what he was getting at, sighed in defeat. “Alright, melon fudge. I’ll hit the hay.”

Radial and Greywall helped her onto her bed before Radial smiled. “Tomorrow will visiting day. Seeing your progress today, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be able to walk on your own soon.”

Rainbow grunted as she reclined into a position where she could stare at the ceiling and mope. “Anything else, sunshine?”

“You’ll be out of here in no time, Miss Dash,” Radial smiled. “Just you watch.”

Rainbow said nothing.


“Miss Dash!” Nurse Greywall called, running into the room with a smile. “Miss Dash, you’re family has come to visit!”

Rainbow’s ears twitched, and she turned her head to look at her. “Come again?”

Nurse Greywall’s smile faltered a bit in confusion. “Your, er, family? Doctor Cell and her nieces?”

“Oh, yeah,” Rainbow whispered. “Awesome.”

“I’ll get them for you,” the nurse smiled before leaving the room to Rainbow’s thoughts.

She looked out the window and observed the ponies milling about, selling wares and goods. Ponies making their way to work, making their way to wherever else ponies went. Ponies meeting up and chatting. She looked up and saw birds flying. Pegasi casually flapping away. Rainbow took a glance at her own wings and saw them go limp at her side, knowing she wouldn’t be able to fly for a good long while. Finally, she looked out the window once more.

This time, her eyes focused on the reflection of herself in the window.

Rainbow Dash looked haggard. Her fur was pale. Her complexion was a shadow of what her vibrant colours once were. Her uniform was nowhere to be found and her wings looked almost pathetic beside her. Looking into her own eyes, she found her irises had dulled, their magenta sheen having lost its shining glimmer. It was the first time in a week since she had truly looked at herself. The first time since she had begun trying to walk.

And she could barely feel the static that came with the weather. The way her fur would shift, her wings and feathers would tremble at the slightest change. She almost couldn’t feel it.

“What kind of pegasus am I?” Rainbow muttered, her voice cracking with despair. “What… what am I worth without my wings?”

As she watched her reflection in the mirror, she could swear she saw the colours return and her reflection look back at her with righteous anger.

Are you kidding?” her reflection seemed to say, “You’re Rainbow Dash, the most awesome pony around!

Rainbow could only look at her shrivelled form. “Am I awesome like this? A… mess of feathers and fur that can barely walk… much less fly?”

Her reflection glared angrily at her. “Would your friends think any less of you?” it implied. “Would Scootaloo think any less of you?

Rainbow felt hot tears welling up, and she shook her head. “N-no, but-”

Then what? Are you going to sit around and sulk? Or make use of the life you have left?” her reflection said. “Be the pony you’re friends knew you to be! Loyal! Unwavering! Stalwart and unmoving! Awesome!

Rainbow tried to meet her own gaze. “And what if I f-fail? What if I…”

Her reflection’s gaze softened. “We’re Rainbow Dash. We make do. We can be honest, like Applejack. Be kind, like Fluttershy. Bring laughter, like Pinkie. Be generous, like Rarity. And be like the eggheaded Twilight Sparkle and bring magic everywhere you go, because you and me, we are Rainbow Dash.

As Rainbow found herself finally looking at her own reflection once more, she heard herself echo one last thoughts, the vestiges of an epiphany fading away into her mind.

Be the pony you always were…

At that moment, Rainbow could hear the telltale signs of hooves clip-clopping their way to her room. With haste, Rainbow wiped her face clean of tears and mucous, grabbing a paper towel and wiping it all off before crumpling it up and hiding it. Just as she blinked her eyes of their moisture, all five ponies entered the room with bright smiles.

Rainbow blinked.

Five Terra, Firefly, Sky, Nurse Greywall… and Radial Art. Rainbow mentally shrugged. It really didn’t matter if he was here, but she knew he was here for a reason.

“Hey everypony,” Rainbow Dash grinned, before her gaze landed softly on Firefly.

“Rainbow!” Firefly grinned. “Mister doctor said you’ve been healing up!”

“Sound like you’re getting better by the day!” Sky exclaimed beside her. “We heard you can walk now!”

“Eh heh heh…” Rainbow laughed nervously, flashing her eyes at Radial with suspicion. He only shrugged.

“And it’s nice to see you looking more alive and well, Rainbow,” Ter greeted. “You truly are getting better by the day.”

“Yeah…” Rainbow whispered. Looking down at the two fillies by her bedside, her eyes landing solely on Firefly.

Be the pony you needed when you were younger…

Thoughts of her parents welled up in Rainbow’s mind. How they had always cheered her on. Supported her, through thick and thin. Through failure and hard-won success. How she had reconnected with them just… just a few weeks ago by her time. But when Rainbow thought back, she had always wanted somepony to look up to, aside from herself. Somepony just as awesome yet amazing, knowing everything there was to know about flying. She thought all this in the span of a second as she smiled at Firefly.

“So, how you doin’, small fry?” Rainbow said. “Been holding up just fine?”

“Yeah!” Sky answered with Firefly. She then pointed between Firefly and herself. “We’ve been racing around Manehatten, and Firefly still hasn’t beat me!”

Sky received a punch in the arm, eliciting a shout of surprise and pain. “It’s only because you’ve had more time to practice,” Firefly grumbled.

“Doesn’t make it any less true.”

“Girls, girls!” Rainbow said, shushing them. “Just calm down, okay?”

Tapping her on the shoulder, Rainbow Dash leaned in to whisper something to Firefly. Firefly was confused at first, but as Rainbow spoke, Firefly’s eyes widened.

“When I get out of here,” Rainbow whispered, “I’ll teach you all my moves, capiche?”

“R-really!?” Firefly cried. “You’re such an amazing flyer! You went all boom! and kapow! on those bad guys! Will you teach me that too?”

“Wait, you’re going to what now?!” questioned Sky. “No fair!”

“Everything’s fair when you’re trying to get better,” Rainbow sagely said.

“That…” Sky whispered, taking it in before squinting, “...makes no sense at all! It’s still not fair!”

Firefly blew a raspberry at her.

Sky blew one back.

They both began to blow raspberries and Rainbow had to shield herself of stray spit.

Ter pulled them apart, and everypony rested easier.

Be the pony for Firefly that Scootaloo made you out to be…

“Rainbow,” addressed Ter. “Doctor Art here said that you wanted to show us just how far you’ve gotten in healing as of late.

“He w-what?” Rainbow hissed, glaring at Radial. “I didn’t agree to this!”

“Miss Dash,” Radial smirked, walking up to her side, “I think we both know that you’re perfectly ready to show off just how well you can walk now.”

Through gritted teeth, Rainbow pulled the tie around his neck down and growled in his ear. “And what if I fall?” she said, “Fall, and disappoint those kiddos over there who are for no reason whatsoever, looking up to me?.

Radial only smiled. “I also think we both know that that is not going to happen.”

Rainbow sighed, and glanced at all those watching. Firefly glanced back, shifting her eyes between Rainbow and Radial to try and determine what they were discussing. With a nod, Radial called Nurse Greywall over, and they began to help Rainbow down, albeit mostly unsuccessfully and Rainbow still didn’t like being helped a lot.

As Rainbow was propped up between the two, Radial cleared his throat. “We’ve been helping Rainbow regain the strength to walk over the past couple days, and we are confident she has healed enough to show you just how good she is again.”

“Jee, thanks,” Rainbow muttered, “You’re making it sound like I wasn’t able to walk before.”

“I said ‘again’, didn’t I?” Radial smiled before nodding at both her and the nurse.

Rainbow steeled her hooves and the two medical ponies stepped away.

Rainbow wobbled a bit, and she could hear the collective holding of a breath as to see what would happen. With a growl, Rainbow stomped a foreleg into the ground, in turn causing it to nearly cause Rainbow to buckle at the surprising amount of pain, but helped her concentrate. The wobbling stopped, and she grinned.

“Feast your eyes,” Rainbow smiled before taking a slow step forward.

Step, clip, step, clop.

Step, clip, step, clop.

Her motions began slowly, still shaking from the effort at first, until her pace began to grow and Rainbow started doing circles in the room.

“Go Rainbow!” Firefly shouted, hollering through a cupped muzzle. “Woo!”

“Yeah Rainbow!” Sky called, “You can do it!”

And finally, Rainbow’s trot evened out and she could feel a might sense of pride and accomplishment well up in her breasts. “Oh yeah!” Rainbow pumped a hoof in the air. “I’m awesome!”

Grinning at Radial and the Nurse, they smiled back. She found her eyes resting on Ter’s own smiling figure and the doctor of a mare nodded in approval.

“Well, kid,” Rainbow began, propping herself up on her bed, “Looks like I’ll be coming… coming home sooner than ya think.”

Firefly beamed, and Rainbow couldn’t help but see a scooter-rolling filly in her place. With a sigh, Rainbow felt one last thought go through her mind before everypony began to bombard her with more tales of daily life and the woes of being a kid in Manehatten.

Be you.

Author's Note:

This chapter is just so you can see a glimpse of Rainbow's healing process, which I thought necessary to add. After this, she will be getting out of the hospital and we will proceed on with the story, and let me tell ya, it's gonna be a whopper!

Also, now that this story has caught up in Issues with "It's All A Little Strange to Me", I will be getting that updated to Issue 3, and we will then commence with updating this fic.

Additional Note: Some of you were wondering exactly why Firefly is getting a lot of attention in this story. Well, search up Chekhov's Gun, I say. There's a TV Tropes page for it, and it will explain to you what exactly I mean by that. Needless to say, she's fairly important in the long run.