• Published 26th Jan 2017
  • 11,549 Views, 763 Comments

No Longer Displaced - NoLongerSober

Sass, science, and surviving basic! That seems like the perfect formula for a pegasus professor out of her element, a gruff captain 1,000 years from home, and a clever princess who has probably read too many romance novels. There are pancakes, too!

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Chapter 3 - Mid-week Montage!

Sheets rustled in the predawn hours before Tail rolled from her bed. She had struggled with the early rise at first, but as the days turned into weeks, her body became more accustomed to the ritual that insane ponies called morning. A smile spread on her muzzle and her wings perked after a simple stretch.

“Today’s finally the day,” she whispered, briefly rummaging around her cluttered space to find the light as well as one of her notebooks. She floated to her desk and stared at the charcoal-covered tome while a wandering hoof ventured forth to turn to the first page. Though her hoofwriting was a scribbling mess, Tail clung to the sentiment that dripped from her words while strolling through the recollections.

Day 3 — Hi, future me! Remember when you decided to buy this thing to use as a journal for your training journey? I do! Because it just happened. :P In case you forgot, we picked this one out because it looked eerily similar to Captain Barrier’s coat.

Speaking of Captain Barrier — his armor is pretty terrifying, and I kind of want to ask Princess Luna about it because the look is just fascinating.

On the class front, I’m honestly trying not to get too down on myself. My squadmates are just in completely different leagues. Indar seems like a nice guy, but he might as well be a statue. He just has that demeanor about him that makes an approach attempt awkward. Super composed all the time.

Bonecrusher, on-the-other-hoof, is just impossible! IMPOSSIBLE! Look at that, I wrote in all caps so you know I’m super serious about it. If it were my classroom, I would have punted her straight to the dean on Day 1. I figured a few guards would be aggressive when it came to my participation, but she takes it to the extreme and nothing gets done about it. She just always seems to be there to remind me.

“You’re too damn slow!” the earth pony roared as she charged by Tail. She went out of her way to deliver a hip check to the armored pegasus.

At least Tail was ready this time. She planted her outside foreleg, flapped her wings, and stumbled back into her stride without toppling to the ground. Pressing pants clung to whatever air nature would lend, and the mare fought for every step. “Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, four thousand!” Tail resumed her count cadence as she came out of the curve and entered the straightaway.

“You’re stealing the air from the rest of us, Ms. Tail! I want to see you gallop, not hear your math.” Barrier snapped his head to Bonecrusher. “Pacing is important, Private! Flash is even more useless on the field than it was in that Girls movie! If you go down with a cramp, I’ll ride your flank all the way back to the lockers—”

Tail giggled at the quote as her hoof delicately brushed the ink-filled parchment. There was something unusual about her captain that she just couldn’t pin down. Or rather, there was something unusual with how she felt about his methods.

Day 9 — Captain drilled us into the ground today. If I ever have to move again, it’ll be far too soon. Shut up, future me. I realize I’m still writing. I know you thought it!

I’m still getting used to Sally. That’s the name of my armor, by the way. She needed something cute, and the irony just kind of stuck out. Sally sallied forth.

Things got pretty intense in the afternoon. Wing-ups, push-ups, crunches, sprints, squats. A week ago, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the day. The workouts are definitely paying off, and I’m starting to get a little more confident when it comes to my fitness. It’s weird. Whenever I tried to exercise before, I couldn’t get this far. Maybe it’s because I have something to fight for? Though, it may have a lot more to do with the way Captain Barrier…

“Finally, I see some real fucking wing-ups out of you, Cadet! I was starting to think that all that physics knowledge neglected to cover proper form. Are you enjoying this yet?” He peered down at the pegasus and watched as she gritted her teeth and carried about her business. “I asked you a question, Rookie, and I want an answer.”

Tail huffed as she completed her set of one hundred. Her wings were twitching uncontrollably as the dull ache oozed into her withers. “No offense, Captain, but it really sucks.” She rocked back onto her haunches and gazed up at the mischievous smirk that was waiting to greet her.

“Did you hear that? Ms. Tail thinks this round really sucks. Well, thank you, Professor, for thinking about my feelings. Why don’t we do this one again so each of you can gain an appreciation for the time I put into crafting this lesson—”

Tail’s ears fell when the groans of Indar and Bonecrusher reached her position. She quickly realized that Barrier hadn’t really ended his shouting with any intonation that resembled a question. She inhaled sharply and briefly prepared. The others were noticeably—and rightfully—frustrated by the latest order, but there was something about that stupid smirk—or the metre of his delivery—that snatched her respect.

“Yes, sir,” the pegasus answered while dropping back to the dirt. She felt the burning rush that ensnared her frame and the sparks of inspiration that flickered about her countenance.

Day 16 — Indar and Bonecrusher started poking around about my purpose for being there. I feel guilty for not being able to tell them. Well, guilty for not telling Barrier and Indar anyway. Captain probably deserves to know. He’s such a hardass, but it feels really genuine to me — way more endearing than those windbags I normally get to deal with. I think Indar at least tries to look out for me too, but Bonecrusher? She can just go stand right by my particle beam dump…

The colors of sunset painted the skies above the training grounds. The captain had already dismissed his trio of cadets for the night and left them to do whatever it was that fillies and colts did these days.

“Why are you still here?” Crusher berated the pegasus as soon as Barrier was out of earshot. “Don’t start thinking that you’re one of us just because you can run and flap your wings like a physically capable pony.”

Indar planted a hoof against his own muzzle and muffled the escaping sigh. “Ugh, I think what Bonecrusher is trying to say, Ms. Tail, is that we’re curious as to why a physicist would put herself through this type of training.”

Tail flinched as Bonecrusher let out a cry that—as far as the pegasus could guess—was probably the closest thing to embarrassed that the earth pony could muster. Her wings reflexively fanned, and the left side of her lip tucked upward as uncertainty settled upon her voice. “I… I’m sorry, Indar, but I’m not in a position where I can tell you that.”

Lime-colored hooves slammed into the grass, Bonecrusher’s brow severely furrowed, and her amethyst glare threw daggers into Tail. “Why the fuck not? He’s a veteran! I’ve done my fair share of time too. Why the fuck are you so damned important?”

The lavender mare took a few seconds to absorb the scorn that had been hurled in her face. Picking a fight with the anger-prone Crusher was a terrible idea, and while she believed she could get help if it came to that, the fact that Indar was curious put her in a tight spot. “I’m sorry,” she answered, putting the calmest mask upon her mien that she could shape. “It’s classified.” Official.

“The buck did you say to me—” Bonecrusher shuddered and took a step towards Tail. She was only stopped by the intrusive reach of Indar, who cut the earth pony off well in advance.

“Sorry to trouble you,” he spoke, albeit with an unusual touch of sorrow in his tone. “Come on, Private. We shouldn’t keep Ms. Tail. We have guard duties that need our attention.”

Day 24 — I did it! I did it! Celestial crap! I finally did it!!! After three weeks of working on it, the power and rhythm are aligned. I hit Captain Barrier with his patented Barrier Pegasus Dash — No, it isn’t the real name! I’m being dramatic! Hush your future face. — Okay, so… the rush of hitting the right sequence of dash-downstroke-cycle after going through all that training is something that is really hard to describe. Remember when Dad insisted on using the levitation spell? Mom said he worked for ages to get to the point that he could take his little girl on her first drop. He got us up into the clouds and pushed us off like he was a natural.

The wind took our mane, and our tail was flapping around in the breeze. After falling a bit, we finally let our wings spread and the lift held us there until Dad popped down and scooped us into a hug. He had that proud grin on his face as though we had made his dreams come true. That’s how I felt today, and, well, I’m not really sure, but I think Barrier gave me that smile too.

The pegasus set her gaze upon those words for quite a while before finally venturing into the shower. The water drenched her mane, and the pitter-patters accompanied a quiet tune that eventually grew into a louder roar. “Alright, Captain,” she spoke to the echoey walls, “I am ready to learn how to combat.”

Author's Note:

Surprise! Chapter 3, and it's not even a Thursday. Wing here, delivering more thanks to Iry Snuggface Smoochums and Word Worthy for pounding through this on the editing front. Of course, I have to say thank you to those who are sticking with this story! Hearts and stuff. On a personal note, that sequence about Tail's dad is particularly touching for me, in retrospect. My father passed away at the end of November, and the whole imagined sequence was based off when I told him to take my training wheels off the bike.

Here, we have a 7-squee chapter under the NHPA Index. Sober and I still haven't killed Neon, but one day... One day... Interesting fact on this one! This chapter didn't exist at first. When Sober and I got to Chapter 8 or so, we looked back and said that we were missing something, and this journal sequence felt like the right way to do it. Hope you all enjoy. Chapter 4 will be up on Thursday! Yay for shorter gap?