• 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 2.9 - A New Dawn [Edited]

The journey back into the city of Manehatten was silent as Rainbow Dash sat in the back with Agent Russet. Rainbow watched the scenery, watching once more as trees suddenly grew scarce before buildings began to appear. She watched as some roads began to be more and more familiar before they disappeared all the same.

“You’ve certainly proved yourself in more ways than one this week, Rainbow Dash.”

Rainbow stopped staring out the window and looked at Agent Russet with a tired look.

“Yeah. And my breathing sure does agree with you.”

“You mustn’t believe you’re terrible because you’re not fit,” Russet said.

“Fit for what? Duty? Soldiers and stuff? The whole shebang?” Rainbow asked in retaliation before sighing and staring at her hooves. “I know I’m better than this. I… I know there’s more to me than just… me, but…”

“But nothing,” Russet said. “Your are strong enough without brawns. Just think how strong you’ll be with it.”

Rainbow wiggled her jaw, her eyes misting against her will as she thought back to her time with her friends. “Heh… if only you had seen me in my… in my prime before all of this.”

“And yet, here you are,” Russet said.

“Look, I know what you’re trying to do, but… I think some space is required right now. Just please… I… don’t think I’ll be getting any more of it any time soon.”

“Still, you can’t just ignore the fact that you need some uplifting.”

Rainbow fidgeted, and finally looked at Russet. Thinking of Fluttershy and all her kindness, she bit her lip. “Thanks, then.” She turned away once more. “Just… memories. Old memories…”

“I’ll leave you be,” Russet nodded before looking straight ahead again. “Just remember to never lose sight of what you need.”

With one last glance at the Agent, Rainbow’s gaze softened before sighing once more and nodding. “Thanks.”

Finally, the car came to stop at an old antiques store, which Rainbow eyed warily. As they both stepped out, Rainbow fitted the drabby hat of her plain uniform onto her head. The only bearable thought about wearing the uniform was the fact that Rarity would’ve fainted on the spot if she saw Rainbow. With a smirk, she shook it off and returned to frowning. “What are we doing here?” Rainbow asked, glancing up at the sign and several bystanders before Russet motioned with her head to follow her in.

Doing just that, they walked into a musty, dusty shop, which Rainbow instantly scrunched her muzzle at. Just as she was about to say something, however, an old mare walked in from the back of the shop.

“Wonderful weather, we’re having, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Agent Russet began, “But I always look both ways for crossing pegasi.”

Nodding, the old mare smiled and moved over behind the counter while Russet led Rainbow deeper into the store. As they stood in front of a bookcase, Rainbow nearly asked why, until she saw for herself.

The bookcase fissured open, opening the sudden additional rooms and hallways before her. With her jaw slightly agape, Russet set it back for her before continuing forward. Blinking, Rainbow followed closely, and they went straight down the hallway into a set of doors… into an even larger room.

The room was massive, able to accommodate over 30 ponies, easy. Scientists hustled and bustled but, at the motion of the doors and Agent Russet and Rainbow stopping at the railing, everything slowed to a standstill. Even Goldheart stared up at Rainbow expectantly, with a small smile. Motioning for her to come, Rainbow nodded and gulped, already seeing the big cords looping everywhere from the pony-shaped sarcophagus in the center of the room.

As she walked down the ramp, she continued to notice just how new, and yet, old everything felt. Shiny, but retro. Huge tapes filled some walls. Knobs and levers filled others. Panels and controls and meters and valves and wheels scattered the machinery. And through it all, Rainbow walked towards Goldheart, gulping.

Goldheart smiled warmly, trying to ease her mind. “Morning!” he greeted.

A flash of light caused Rainbow’s nervous smile to turn into a confused one as she went cross-eyed and blinked the flash away.

“Seriously?” Goldheart asked, “Please, not now.” And the photographer shamelessly smiled before slinking away again.

Rainbow glanced at the contraption she assumed would contain her. “Heh! Hehehe…”

“Are you ready?” asked Goldheart.

Rainbow nodded, silently, eyes wide.

“Take off your uniform. You won’t need it.”

Glancing at Goldheart, she nodded before stripping of it completely. In her opinion, it was a new-found freedom after one week. For others…

Some were suddenly blushing.

Nodding, Goldheart turned around to attend to more of his pre-check checks.

As Rainbow stepped up to lay back in the chamber, she found it was nice and padded, and there was extra comfort stuff especially for her wings. Smiling at that, she let her wings lay limp, just as they had been for the past who-knows-how-long since her run in with the battlefield and she closed her eyes, pushing the memory away. She then noticed all the many wired devices in on the side itself, and the insides lined with bright orange lights.

“Comfortable?” inquired Goldheart as he approached the side, checking and double checking the machine.

Rainbow glanced down as she saw just how small she seemed to be compared to the chamber parameters and raised her eyebrows for a second. “A little big, Doc. Looks like it’s meant for, uh, ponies bigger than me.”

Goldheart smiled.

“Please tell me you saved me some cider,” Rainbow implored, and Goldheart broke into a chuckle.

“Heh… uh, not as much as I should have,” Goldheart admitted. “Sorry. Maybe next time”

With a cardboard smile, Rainbow looked ahead, unblinking as streams poured comically from her eyes. “I-it’s alright. Heehee! Hee…”

Stepping away slightly, Goldheart turned to the side. “Miss Belle! How are your levels?”

A goggled mare stepped into view as Rainbow suddenly widened her eyes in recognition, fear, and shock. “Power levels at one-hundred percent!” she announced, smiling at Rainbow. “We may dim half the lights in Manehatten, but we are ready!” Putting up her goggles, she winced as she looked Rainbow’s form up and down. “...as we’ll ever be.” Putting her goggles back down, she rushed over to one specific panel and began to push buttons, knobs and levers.

Already, Rainbow was shocked by the differences between Luster Belle and Rarity’s composures. Rarity tried to maintain a lady-like air and loved to design. Luster Belle was an engineer who wasn’t afraid to get dirty… yet she could also see the similarities. The same elegance in their craft. The same dedication and smile. The same creativity.

But she still didn’t understand… just how Rarity could have had an ancestor (or something) like this and nopony know about it.

With those thoughts going through her mind, somepony had been buckling her in with plenty of leeway, and she finally flicked her ears to hear Goldheart asking Russet to go to the viewing booth.

As she walked away, she paused and looked behind her. Russet, smiling, nodding reassuredly, walked up the ramp and disappeared.

Feeling a little better remembering her words from the car ride, Rainbow shook her head.. With a sigh, Rainbow closed her eyes… and found herself staring at the circular ceiling. She only listened now to what was going on around her. Hearing shuffling, she heard a large static shriek pierce everything, making everypony wince with discomfort. After passing, Goldheart began to talk.

“Ladies and gentlemen, today we take not another step towards annihilation, but the first step on the path to peace.” Rainbow found her vision dropping from the ceiling to a cylinder that was being wheeled in. "With what we have discovered, what we are about to achieve, may change the world forever. Magic has helped us in times past, and it will save us now."

“We begin with a series of microinjections into the subjects major muscle groups. The mana-serum infusion will cause immediate cellular rejuvenation.” She watched as several masked ponies began to put six consecutive vials of blue liquid into place in slots in the machine. With a gulp, she cast her eyes to Goldheart, who had moved to stand beside Rainbow.

“And then to stimulate growth the latent potential of the serum as it is introduced, the subject will be saturated with vita-life rays.”

Rainbow squirmed in her seatbelt as she saw a needle coming her way. Casting a panicked gaze at Goldheart, he merely nodded, and mouthed ‘stay calm’. Rainbow began to pace her breathing again, but her heart still pounded. Suddenly, she could feel the sting of a needle piercing her left foreleg, and she bit her lip almost to the point of bleeding. As soon as the feeling ended, she breathed a little easier, though a stinging sensation rang ever present.

“Did I say I hate needles?” Rainbow shivered, before breathing easier. “I-I guess that wasn’t so bad.”

“That was a painkiller,” Goldheart muttered.

“Huh!?” Rainbow’s voice cracked, and Goldheart lightly shrugged. Rainbow could only lie back down and stare at the ceiling a little more panicked as more ponies helped pull down chest apparatuses that settled against her blue, fuzzy beating chest.

“Serum infusion, beginning in Five…” Goldheart had begun to count down.

“Four…” Two more mechanical arms placed themselves snugly against Rainbow’s arms.

“Three…” Several ponies had begun to step away.

“Two…” Goldheart gripped Rainbow’s right arm and squeezed reassuringly.

“One.”

All of a sudden, Rainbow could feel a million new pinpricks all across her body as the blue liquid in the vials diminished. Clenching her eyes tight from all the pain, they shot open all on their lonesome and she looked on in surprise and shock. With eyes wide open, she cast them over at Goldheart with worry and helplessness. Goldheart bowed his head, and Rainbow gritted her teeth, sound emitting from her throat uncontrollably.

“Now, Miss Belle.”

Belle slapped her goggles before nodding and slowly pulled a lever down.

With it, a large whirring sound.

Everybody, pony or not, watched with awe as the machine slowly came together and sealed tight around Rainbow Dash, now obstructing everyone’s view of the rainbow-maned pegasus. Rainbow faced the closing with a brave face, and closed her eyes as they finally did come together.

As a pony carefully levitated a tube into the top port of the chamber, Goldheart approached the coffin and knocked on it.

“Rainbow?” asked Goldheart, “Can you hear me?”

“It’s probably too late to go for a quick nap, right?”

Goldheart grinned with mirth and nodded, turning around. “We will proceed!”

Luster Belle saluted as she leaned on the consoles and shifted a few to the right. Now twisting a knob, he quickly moved to a wheel and slowly began to turn it. Turning it, a glow began to emanate from the chamber. Beginning to blind in it’s intensity to those who saw it, Luster Belle smiled.

“That’s ten percent… twenty percent, thirty percent… that’s forty percent!” A deep bass whirring had begun to fill the room and shake the very core of everypony present. It’s high pitched whines and low pitched hums coalesced into a cacophony of sound.

“Vital signs are stable!” A scientist called out.

“That’s fifty percent… sixty… seventy…!”

GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!

An ear-piercing shriek was muffled, emitting straight from the core of the chamber. As Goldheart had been shielding his eye from the intensity, he needed only glance in fear at the chamber before darting his eyes panically shooting to Luster Belle’s. “Rainbow!” He rushed up to the chamber and began to knock on it frantically. “Rainbow!

For Rainbow, she felt like she was burning alive. Her eyes were clenched shut yet all she could see was white. She shouted in pain as the light tore her apart and put her back together, or so it felt, and she release one more scream before shutting up and sucking it up, knowing it wouldn’t do her any good. Struggling against her restraints, she nevertheless endured the barrage of pure mana and vita rays towards her serum-laced blood.

All the while, Agent Russet watched in horror before rushing out of the glass view box and onto the railing. “Shut it down! I said shut it down!”

Shaking his head with no other options, Goldheart nodded and turned around, jumping off the pedestal. “Kill the reactors! Miss Belle, kill the reactors!”

As Luster began to move over to the next console for the emergency shutdown, a voice screamed at them, and they froze.

NO! I’M RAINBOW DASH! AWESOME! I… I CAN HANDLE THIS! ARGH! KEEP GOING! GO!

It was the only order Belle needed and she returned to the panel with the wheel, still turning it. As everybody watched the chamber with bated breath, Belle included, she continually glanced at the meter.

“Eighty… ninety… that’s one hundo! A hundred percent!”

Smoke had begun to rise from the consoles… all the consoles, and sparks appeared on everything, surprising many and causing Belle to jerk away from fear of electrocution. She may’ve been an expert, but she was not an idiot.

Soon, sparks arced all the way to the chamber before, finally, after several seconds of full-powered blasts of vita rays… the light from within shut off. A powering down whine could be heard, and soon, it was just the previous buzz of machinery. Yet considering the events that had occurred… it was just as well dead as a graveyard.

Glancing over his shoulder with a sweat-drop on his forehead, he said “Miss Belle!” In an instant, Belle nodded, and gently pushed the same lever she had pulled down… back up.

Silence.

The quiet echoed through everyone’s ringing ears, their breaths shallow and expectant.

Then…

FWISHHHHHH…

The chamber opened up…

Rainbow Dash was breathing heavily, sweat drenching her fur. Her eyes were shut tight as she hyperventilated, clutching the sides of the machine with dear life. As she felt cool wind bless her from the outside of the chamber, she blinked several times. Several, bright, vibrant, vivid, tireless times.

She didn’t feel tired. She didn’t feel fatigued at all.

Seeing she was dazed, Goldheart rushed to her side, sparking everybody to begin moving again. Ponies, griffons, zebras and dragons all patted each other on the back, relishing their accomplishment. All the while, Belle bounded over the consoles to help Goldheart help Rainbow down.

The changes most noticeable were her fur, hair, and skin. Her fur was bright sky blue once more. Her vibrant mane shone more vibrant than ever and she seemed as healthy as can be, her muscles tightly defined underneath her fur.

“We did it…” Belle murmured.

“Yep, yep!”

“We actually did it,” Belle repeated, raising her goggles.

“We did it,” Goldheart smiled. He hugged Rainbow and nodded. “How do you feel?”

Rainbow blinked several more times before letting go of Goldheart supportively, feeling the metal grating with all four hooves. “T-taller,” Rainbow stammered, unused to being as tall as a stallion like Goldheart. “W-whoa, it’s like I just flew ten marathons but really didn’t!”

“I’m sure it does,” Goldheart smiled warmly, and he watched as Russet came to join them.

“Are you okay?” Russet asked, and Rainbow nodded lightly.

“Yeah, I’m fine, just, uh…” Rainbow shook her head. “Out of sorts.” She began to tip to one side and squawked. “Argh! That’s -unghh- so frustratingly weird!”

“Yep, looks like you’re fine,” Russet sighed and smiled. “I told you it wouldn’t be so bad.”

“Yeah, well, why don’t you try being burned on the outside from your insides, then we’ll talk.”

And with that, Rainbow tried to get her bearings, nearly collapsing from her strange new form, at least to her. She just found it all so… sudden. She could feel the strength that had returned to her. The power. The feeling of being alive. She could even feel herself feel so much better… not just in body, but in mind.

“Doc?” Rainbow asked, stumbling, “Ya think I’m cured or whatever?”

Putting a reassuring hoof on her after having shaken some hooves, he smiled. “Positive.”

Rainbow nodded, frowning as she blinked and felt another wave of disorientation fly through her.

Nodding and patting her gently, Goldheart found his attention turning to one pony in particular. Frowning at his appearance, recognising something was off, he widened his eyes as he saw a silver shard of crystal being pulled from his jacket, and his furry coat flickered between that and a dark glossy sheen.

“EVERYBODY DOWN!” Goldheart shouted, just before the pony crushed the silver crystal and the glass view box exploded.

As smoke and debris filled the air, Goldheart shakily got to his hooves and stared at the pony in shock, his guise falling away to reveal a darkened coat of a crystal pony “Stop him!”

Before he could continue, Goldheart saw the crystal pony had pulled another item from his coat and he felt two thudding impacts in his chest. Looking down, he found mana burns on his lab coat and fur, which quickly began to bleed.

With shocked and confused eyes, he fell to the ground.

In escape, Russet quickly pulled a mana charge from her own coat and shot a chunk off of the shadow crystal pony before beginning to chase after him.

All the while, Rainbow had just witnessed her first death… the death of a friend

Rushing to his side and skidding as she had overstepped herself, she fell to her haunches, surprised and sudden but welcome and unnoticed tears beginning to form. As her eyes misted of their own accord, she shook Goldheart’s limp form.

“Doc?” Rainbow asked. “Doctor Goldheart!?”

Shaking him from his pale oblivion, Goldheart showed tears streaming down his own face before placing a hoof on Rainbow’s chest, pointing at her heart. Poking it, he struggled for words.

“...your… heart, Rainbow… stay… true…”

His body went limp in Rainbow’s grip, his hoof slowly falling away.

And she sat there, her brows furrowing and unfurrowing in confusion. Her eyes misted. Her gaping mouth grew rigid… and with a growl, she swung her head up to the platform above her...

For Rainbow Dash now had someone to avenge.

Author's Note:

Edit: Some minor changes for better plot/continuity. Many thanks to the commentors who suggested a different and more sensible reason for Goldhearts experiments.

Fixed grammar and missing words thanks to Void Runner.