• 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 3.3 - When Ohana Means Family

The last time Rainbow Dash had been this anxious, she had been studying for her Wonderbolts Entry Exam.

Marching feverishly, she muttered to herself, still somewhat angry at how difficult they had made this for her. It was such a simple thing she asked for in return for her service, and they wouldn’t even allow it! She was going to be completely safe in the hands of AIM whileshe was out on the front lines with a regiment of her own, what’s not to get?

Her thoughts now officially turned to Firefly, she sighed. She shook her head and looked up into the waning sunlit sky. It did make sense though. They didn’t want her in any danger. Why would they? She’s a filly! Who would be crazy enough to let a filly into a barracks filled with countless weapons of death?

Well, after making a very convincing statement involving Firefly’s father, and Rainbow’s threat of abandoning the war effort along with any publicity she might have garnered, they conceded to allow Firefly to reside at the bases of operation in complete safety while Rainbow was out doing her duty to Equestria.

Rainbow’s ears suddenly flicked and she promptly turned around in circles, searching the skies and horizons for a carriage of some sort. Seeing a sleek plane, Rainbow smirked in approval. She would have to thank Belle later for Firefly’s First Class trip. Though she still had to wait quite a bit for the plane to get there. Sometimes, her ears were just a little too good.

As soon as the plane touched down, Rainbow rushed over to it, standing at a respectable distance away. She knew that although they would both be happy to see each other, Firefly would more than likely hit Rainbow for not having contacted her sooner. Still, Rainbow almost couldn’t wait. It felt like so long since she last saw Scootaloo-

Rainbow froze in place, her mind suddenly reeling from the feedback of vivid memories. Gritting her teeth, Rainbow growled a little, clenching her eyes tight as she plead for the torrent of images to retreat. Her mind began clouding over just as one last memory of Scootaloo came to her forefront, one from where she had been scrapbooking for her personal hero project and brought Rainbow to talk to her parents for the first time in ages.

Feeling a tap on her hoof, Rainbow opened her eyes only to realise her vision was blurry. Hastily wiping the tears away, she bilnked and took in her surroundings. Standing in front of her with worried expressions on their faces were Ter, Firefly and… Skylark? What was she doing here?

“Rainbow Dash?” Firefly asked, tapping Rainbow’s hoof. “Are you okay?”

Rainbow shook her head as the thought of Scootaloo was mind-numbingly shoved to the back. “Y-yeah, squirt, never better! See? I’ve got my costume and uh, everything, and I was, I was waiting for you here too.”

“It’s so cool to see you in that costume, Rainbow!” Skylark said, smiling widely. “Everypony at home is all over you, buying comics and stuff!”

“C-comics? Me?” Rainbow said, hesitating, surprised. “Why would they make comics of me?”

“Because everyone thinks you’re awesome, duh,” Firefly snarked. “But having hanged out with you, we both know you’re nothing but an egghead.”

Rainbow sucked her teeth in and cocked her head. “Phew,” Rainbow began with a grin, “I dunno if I can let that one slide, small fry.”

“It’s good to see you’re well, Miss Dash,” Ter said to Rainbow as Firefly began chatting with Skylark excitedly. “Firefly had been worrying about you for a while until you came to visit Manehatten on one of your tours. Then she couldn’t stop telling everypony she came across that she knew you.”

“Yeah, about that,” Rainbow whispered. “Why is Skylark here? I was told that only Firefly could come, along with a trusted guardian.”

Ter nodded, understanding her worry. “I was hesitant as well when Firefly insisted Skylark come with her to reside at your bases of operation, but I couldn’t leave Skylark all alone at her apartment complex either.”

“What do you mean?” Rainbow inquired quietly. “Skylark lives alone?

“Yes,” Ter replied. “Her parents are working hard to support the war working in places such as textile and munitions factories, mostly overseeing all the other workers. Very important jobs. Very time consuming.”

“And did you get their permission? Did you get my superior’s permission?” Rainbow asked.

“But of course, Captain,” Ter smiled. “It’s why we took longer than we thought it would to come here.”

“Why didn’t they tell me Skylark would be coming too?” Rainbow asked once more as they began to walk towards the base.

“Probably the same reason you haven’t told Firefly the real reason she’s here specifically,” Ter said. “A surprise.”

Rainbow raised her eyebrows before sighing and walking alongside Firefly. Smiling at her antics with Skylark, Rainbow smirked and faced forward. All of a sudden, she felt a sharp punch on her hoof, once she was sure would have hurt a lot more before her enhancement but now felt more like a pinch.

“Ow!” Rainbow cried, playing along. “What’d you do that for?”

“For not checking up on me when you came to Manehatten, stupid!” Firefly said, rearing a hoof back again before Skylark shoved her playfully. They then started shoving each other and laughing before pushing off one another and Firefly turned her attention back to Rainbow.

“Seriously though,” Firefly said, “I waited like a whole month before I just heard that we would be flying in to see you. That’s crazy! Come on, you could’ve sent mail while you were at the camp and on tour!”

“I’m sorry, okay?” Rainbow cracked, laughing a little, “I was really busy and they didn’t give me a lot of free time to actually do that kind of thing.”

“Oh yeah?” Firefly said.

“Yeah,” Rainbow replied.

“Stop bothering her, Fly,” Skylark said, “She’s trying to show us where we need to go.”

“I’ll bother her all I want, Sky!” Firefly giggled, pushing her.

“No, you won’t!” Skylark said before tickling Firefly under the wing. Firefly gasped sharply as she recoiled, bemused.

“Hey!” Firefly cried, “No fair!”

“All’s fair in love and war!” Sky shouted back and they began to wrestle on the ground, mere metres away from the main encampment. Ter sighed heavily.

“I’m sorry, Rainbow,” she apologised, “They’ve been like this since they got on the plane.”

“It’s alright, really,” Rainbow smiled, laughing at the sight of Firefly getting the upper on hoof on Skylark before being slammed to the ground again. “They’ll definitely be paying attention after this. Or, at least Firefly will.”

Walking away from the tussling duo, Rainbow led Ter to step into a tent with a certain male pegasus sitting and playing cards with another soldier. Ter brightened immensely at the sight of her brother. As Ember Wing realised Ter was standing there, he shared the same reaction.

“Terra!” Ember cried, dropping his hoof of cards and rushing to hug her. As they embraced, Rainbow stepped back a little, giving them some space.

“You don’t know how good it is to see you, little brother,” Ter said, hugging him tightly.

“After being on the front lines and fearing for my life, I’m pretty sure I have a good idea,” Ember chuckled and they both shared a laugh before stepping away.

“How’s the medical practice?” Ember said, relaxing more than he had in the past couple weeks.

“Still pretty good, I must say,” Ter replied, “Though taking care of Firefly and Skylark has taken up a lot more of my time than I would care to admit. I still check in every now and then, and I’m still payed quite a bit, especially for my contributions to the medical field, but I feel my skills are being wasted behind a suburban door.”

“I’m… so sorry about that,” Ember began, rubbing his hoof with the other. “Silver and I just didn’t know anypony else we could trust to be able to take care of my little girl. I’m sure you know by now just how much of a hooffull she is.”

Ter giggled, wiping her eye as she had begun to cry. “Yeah, yeah I do. I just… I had the worst feeling, Ember. I really hope you take better care of yourself if what I’ve been hearing is correct.”

“At least I would’ve died knowing I didn’t give in,” Ember smiled. At that, Rainbow’s ears flicked as she began hearing a higher pitched conversation just outside of the tent.

“No no, I’m pretty sure they went this way,” Firefly could be heard saying.

“Really? Cause I remember seeing them go this way!” Skylark argued, and Rainbow could imagine her point her hoof in a completely different direction from Firefly. Shaking her head with a smile, she patted Ter and nodded to Ember before stepping out.

“Skylark! Firefly!” Rainbow called. Waving a hoof, the two fillies quickly spotted Rainbow.

“Ha, see?” Firefly smirked, “I was right!”

“No, you were almost right!” Skylark harrumphed. “You pointed at the other tent!”

“Did not!”

“Did too.”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Girls!” Rainbow ordered, and they stopped bickering immediately after shoving each other one last time. “...Okay, good, you calmed down. Well, Firefly, you having fun yet?”

“Oh yeah!” Firefly practically shook in place. “Me and Sky were just, uh, having fun comparing tents!”

“Mmhm!” Skylark nodded, completely dedicated to look innocent. Rainbow rolled her eyes with a grin and settled on Firefly.

“Well, small fry, somepony is here to see you. Somepony special. It’s why you came today.”

“Really?” Firefly asked, cocking her head. “Who is… it…?” she had begun to ask but slowed to a crawl as the pony in question stepped out of the tent.

“Hey there, sunshine,” Ember Wing whispered.

Firefly blinked, staring at her father with increasingly widening eyes. Skylark, quickly understanding that this was quite an important moment, stepped away. Firefly remained stuck in place, her breath suddenly becoming more and more ragged as her eyes began sparkling with joy and longing.

“P-Papa?” Firefly rasped, taking a hesitant step forward. “I heard Aunt Ter talking about something happening, h-h-happening to you with the ponies in s-suits… I, I thought…”

Ember smiled softly and shook his head, his own eyes misting over. He sat on his haunches and stretched his hooves out wide. Firefly glanced at both hooves before settling on her dad’s face before breaking into a sob and running forward with a wet smile. There was a soft rustle of feathers and a fwump as Firefly glomped Ember, and they hugged each other as if their lives depended on it.

Rainbow couldn’t help but smile brightly at the reunion. She felt happy for them. Her ears then flicked as first, one set of hooves began thundering before another joined and another until it was a thunderous applause of hooves and cheers. Ember merely looked at every soldier he knew with a roll of his eyes and went back to hugging Firefly and whispering how much he loved her.

Yet through all the noise and the other soldiers’ joy of seeing one of their comrades reunite with their family, Rainbow’s smile faltered. With a broken smile, Rainbow felt herself begin crying silently as she began to recall every single face that she had unwillingly left behind, possibly forever.

Mom. Dad. Fluttershy. Applejack. Rarity. Pinkie. Twilight.


Rainbow breathed in heavily, wiping her eyes and nose on her uniform before shaking her head. As her breath continued to hitch, she moaned softly at her own loss and turned away. She would give Firefly and Ember their space for the moment. She didn’t want to ruin it.

Trotting away for that reason, though being able to hide her weakness was an added bonus, somepone came running up to her with a rushed look plastered all over their face. Enough panic that they didn’t notice Rainbow’s red puffy eyes and quivering lips.

“Captain!” the pony said, “Captain Rainbow Dash!”

“T-the Wonderbolt or Cap is fine,” Rainbow said, scolding herself internally for not holding it together… though it seemed there were much more pressing matters at the moment.

“Colonel Bellum,” the pony began, “He says you’re needed in Zebrica ASAP!”

That shocked Rainbow into rebooting. “Wait. What. Zebrica? Why?”

The pony merely pointed to the colonel’s tent with wide eyes. “The Crystal Empire… they’re attacking them, they’re attacking Zebrica on the Northwestern Front, and we’re the closest encampment with enough troops to even consider fighting them off!”

Rainbow blinked. She blinked again. Finally, her gaze hardened and she sniffled once. Glancing back at Ember and Firefly who were still clinging to one another even though it wasn’t a hug, she sighed, her gaze resting on the colonel’s tent.

“Tell Colonel Bellum I’ll be there in a few seconds.”

The pony nodded sharply before rushing back. As Rainbow turned her gaze to the horizon, her eyebrows slanting downward, she muttered something to herself.

“I have a feeling he’ll want me on the front lines.”