• Member Since 10th Jun, 2014
  • offline last seen 9 minutes ago

HapHazred


Thinking Horse Noises

T

It's a tough time to be a Wonderbolt, Rainbow Dash especially.

After Twilight left to rule Equestria, all her friends minus Applejack have left Ponyville, and now she's lonely and tired of flying. Only Applejack, still based in Ponyville, remains, but how much emotional support can one pony give?

Meanwhile, stormclouds gather on the horizon. A new machine, piloted by a pony desperate to win, threatens to undo the Wonderbolts themselves. With her best flyer wracked with self-doubt, can Spitfire play the situation to her advantage?


Invaluable editing help provided by Winter Solstice

Chapters (6)
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Comments ( 24 )

I like the way you write Spitfire. The way you write her mental process is really interesting in particular. I look forward to the rest of the story.

10101649 Thanks, Spitfire was kind of a surprise joy to write, actually, or at least, this interpretation of her is. Hope you keep enjoying yourself! : )

Such an amazing feeling to click the upvote button and the numbers 10-0 appear on screen.

Good start, I'll see where this goes! :twilightsmile:

10101989 Hopefully it won't disappoint! Good luck!

“You’re shiverin’ there,” Applejack said. “You cold? I thought pegasi didn’t get cold at high temperatures.”

Did you mean high altitudes?

10104991 Quite right, cheers for the heads up!

Shouldn't Mach Maximum get an OC tag?

10106641 There are a few reasons why I didn't, the biggest of which being that I wanted to advertise the story as being squarely carried by Rainbow, Spitfire, and Applejack (which I'd argue is true). I think that if people were going to look for this story, it'd be because of any one of those three characters...

The second reason was that, as far as antagonists go, Mach is only really one of three (four) to appear in the story (these being Mach, Vector, Clip, and the jet itself, which presents itself as an antagonistic force), their roles naturally reduced in order to share time amongst one another. Therefore I didn't want to falsely advertise in effect by giving the impression that I had an OC as a main character, which is what character tagging usually implies.

There's an argument to be made that the OC tag indicates an OC cast, which is accurate, though... It may have been a wrong decision, but it was the one I went with.

As horrible as it sounds, I hope Spitfires cocky attitude about the Wonderbolts skill becomes their undoing. But Vector is right, Jets are around the corner, they will get better, faster, more available, never mind allowing the country to call apon a greater segment of their population for aerial combat. While the Wonderbolts for all their physical skill will plateau. I do hope they can survive even just as a sort of state sponsored symbolic group for Equestria. Even if they beat the jet now, all they are doing is postponing the inevitable. As they will come back eventually with an improved version will less easily exploited weaknesses. Not unlike the first trains, first they were asthmatic and weak, but over time they overcame methods of transport that had been the standard for 1000s of years.

10107878 It's something I did want to touch upon. Hopefully you'll enjoy how it turns out! No matter her flaws and attitude, Spitfire does have a plan...

10108039
I hope so, because if her plan is to just continually beat the jet, or down play it’s speed she might be in trouble. Public support of something only goes so far at the end of the day. In the next trial they are unlikely to let her use the exploit she did this time around to keep pace. During this race the pilot was focused on winning and flying. But if he were to dedicate some of his focus on keeping her off his tail... well she would be left in the dust looking like the end of an era. It also doesn’t help the brass might see that a pilot in a jet has a better chance of survival should it be shot down, then say a pegasus. In one case you might be able to eject, with the aircraft taking the blunt of the damage. In the other case your a red mist and falling bloody chunks.

Excellent. This was a fun ride.

I do like the idea of combining pegasus magic with the new jet technology.

I envisage a miniaturised version of the jet engine, possibly combined with unicorn space expansion charms to create a set of rear hoof boots, that when in flight expand out into twin jet turbines, Strike Witch style, allowing a pegasus to go far faster than they can on their own wings. The excess thaumic power for the jet power plant is fed into the pegasus's own thaumic field, allowing them to shape and amplify their weather manipulation abilities to form windshields for hypersonic flight, or an air pocket at high altitude where there's no longer enough air to breathe.

The ultimate goal would be to add some sort of dimensionally expanded propellant tank, and a mode where the jet becomes a pure rocket. Or directly use the inertial and gravity control aspect of pegaus magic directly to create some sort of reactionless thruster. The goal to allow pegasi to fly into space (seriously, Rainbow Dash once took a right angle turn at super-sonic speed, there's inertial control involved) .

10108285 Obviously one of the major complications is that the jet has to find a way to exist in a world with magic. The reason Vector was trying to get it to fly faster than the Wonderbolts was to make a big splash, but as far as transport and military goes, I would argue that a jet engine as it exists in our world actually isn't all that effective... It needs a runway, lots of fuel, a highly trained (and rare!) pilot, it's larger, more maintenance heavy, requires massive amounts of infrastructure, and in many ways would limit what a pegasus can do in the air (such as weather manipulation and tight manoeuvrability, which is displayed here). A fighter jet (I modelled this jet after one of the more advanced versions we have on Earth, which is capable of flying three times the speed of sound... many jets cannot do this) may simply not be able to compete practically with pegasi, who are far more versatile, require way less infrastructure and maintenance, have the potential to perform extraordinary magical feats (such as Rainbow Dash; she may be a one-in-a-million but she is an example of extraordinary pegasus ability that, because of how magic is represented in MLP, can in many instances transcend conventional technology) and most importantly, are way cheaper. The argument of which is more useful militarily will likely also be context dependant, as I'd argue that a team of pegasi being able to throw a tornado at an enemy position is outrageously potent (especially considering they can do that with basically no prep, ammunition, or whatever) compared to a jet, but in a dogfight, it seems clear (to me) that the average pegasus is going to be outmatched by a fighter plane.

This doesn't negate the advantages a jet might post in some situations, particularly when it is applied in a manner sensible in-universe (which as a racing tool I'd argue it is not), but in my opinion it's a far more nuanced prospect than simply tech > pegasi or vice versa, which is why in the end Spitfire does what we do in real life with new tech that competes with existing methods (as opposed to a complete paradigm shift): incorporate new advances into existing systems. How we don't yet know; that will very much be up to Spitfire and Vector.

It's a bit of a complicated topic and frankly, there may not be a straightforward answer that doesn't involve embracing ambiguity, but I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of it, and I hope that it might encourage people to form their own opinions on the matter! One thing I wanted to see was whether people would take the jet's side, or the pegasi's... or both!

10110839 I think Equestria has a very interesting technological future to it; it's anachronistic at the best of times, but there are many weird examples of the universe that lend itself to fascinating technological advances that would be impossible in our universe. It'd be nice to see more examples of folks writing about tech and magic in Equestria in a way that's still compliant with what the universe offers, whilst introducing new elements! : )

10111815 Apart from the combination idea, I have another scenario where jet technology would complement the existing pegasi abilities.

Tilt-engine jets or turbo-fans deribed from the jet technology, possibly combined with whatever levitation magic they use to make carts fly (and there must be some, even if it's just extending the pegasus's own magic into the cart, or they'd hang straight down) would make for a capable VTOL cargo transport. Something that could carry far heavier loads than a pegasus chariot or cart over longer distances, far faster than an airship, and with a smaller and less vulnerable footprint.

The warfighting applications are obvious. The Wonderbolts might not have the logistical tail a modern mechanised cavalry batallion needs, but they still neeed to eat and forage isn't always available. A single jet transport could replace several flying carts with food and other necessities and not slow the Wonderbolts down. Or in EUP combined operations, you no longer have to detail some of your pegasus strength to tow flying chariots for your earth pony infantry and unicorn mage support.

Peaceful applications include disaster relief and search and rescue. A pegasus might be able to swoop down and pluck an earth pony or unicorn from a sinking ship or a collapsing building in an Earthquake, but where are they going to put them afterwards? It's not like they can stand on a cloud without expensive magical horse shoes. And once again, and airship is too slow to act as a first response vehicle. A VTOL jet transport could also deliver rescue pegasi to the disaster area, allowing them to save their energy for the actual rescue operations.

That's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are other potential applications. A mobile command centre or a field hospital spring to mind.

8000 words of Dash Kicking ass! I was so far on the edge of my seat I fell off my chair.

You did a damn good job writing this. I genuinely think you deserve to win this contest, and would seriously be surprised if you didn’t. I cannot stress this enough, Proper good job.

10117780 Cheers boi! Very glad you enjoyed the story. We can only hope the judges agree with you!

Okay. I saw your blog. And after reading the story I’ve decided to give my thoughts on it. I have to mention that this is the opinion of just a reader and not a ‘experienced’ writer. So my thoughts don’t have all that much “weight” and can just be ignored. I also like reading your stuff. Also also SPOILERS.

First off, I really liked the idea of Dash competing against an airship. I think it’s one of the two most original ideas on this contest. And personally I don’t recall reading something similar in an Appledash story before. So bonus points for that.

Epic moments are epic. The way you write the ‘action’ parts and even before that, the build-up the two parties have before the race made me enjoy the ‘off-action’ scenes a lot more. There’s something about your writing that makes this kind of scenes very vivid and thrilling.

On another topic, while I like how you write, there are some parts I think would be better if they didn’t rely too much on description. Sometimes a character would have a thought/reaction and you would explain why he/she feels or reacts like that. Especially while they are talking to another character. It would give more fluidity to the story if they expressed what they felt or thought through dialogue. (Excluding the ones that are purposedly kept for themselves).

Speaking of characters, the way you write Spitfire matches the way I would see her as the Wonderbolts’ chief. Her vision of the world and the way she thinks and calculates every move she does. Like a game of strategy. The way she speaks too. Her interactions with Vector were really enjoyable.

I like how you added more to Vector’s character and not just have her as the ”story’s villain”. Because, from where I see it, there’s no villain in this story. Every character has their interests and reasons that motivates them to make their actions in the story and none of them are “wrong”. Well, except for Clip, but I don’t exaclty think he would fall into the villain category.

As for AJ and Rainbow Dash, there were some parts I had to reassure to myself that they were already a couple in this story. Some of their interactions seem very distant. Like they have just recently become a couple. Normally I wouldn’t mind about this, and just assume that “that’s just how the author sees their relationship”. But seeing that this is an entry for the contest, I was hoping to see more displays of affection and closeness from their part throughout the story.

Finally, I feel like the way you ended Rainbow’s race against the airship was very brief. I think you could add more to it especially now that you have been given more time. Like adding more dialogue, different reactions from the audince, her friends and adversaries, and Rainbow’s celebration afterwards.

I think this covers everything I had in mind for now. I hope your story wins in the contest. I have much fun reading your long words. And like I said before, I’m just a reader, my thoughts can be easily dismissed and in no way I would like to make you feel wrong about your work.


Cheers!

10120998 Cheers, that's pretty helpful!

A lot of what you're saying was to a degree touched upon by my editor, and whilst I did try to address things after their comments, I'm not inclined to disbelieve that these were things that may have sprung up to a reader. In particular, if you have any examples of where I've gone overboard in description, I'd be very happy to take a look (though would understand if trudging through 37K words is perhaps not anyone's idea of fun). I generally quite enjoy my rather verbose prose (I'm a wordy bugger in real life as well), but if it's standing out in a negative way, I'd be interested in double-checking how necessary it is.

I’m just a reader, my thoughts can be easily dismissed and in no way I would like to make you feel wrong about your work.

Nobody is 'just' a reader, and if my work doesn't get through to people the right way, then it's work that needs improving. You guys may say some weird shit sometimes, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't be listening. : )

10121022
I can certainly post a comment with examples of the parts I’m referring to in the upcoming days. I’ve no problem in reading this story again. Until then!

So sorry for the delay. I couldn’t find time to read the story on time, oh well.

I took my time re-reading the parts that I had some doubts with, and I noticed that I missed a few paragraphs and dialogues the first time I read them, this may have caused my doubts then, because this time it doesn’t feel like there’s too much description. It also may had something to do with me reading the whole story in one day. Oops.

I also noticed you added a few more moments of AJ and RD. Well, at least I don’t remember reading them the first time. Did you do it? If so that’s neat!

Man, I can’t get enough of that race. It’s just so well written. I wonder if you did some research on jets before writing this. Anyways, good luck on the contest! I hope you win.

10134312 I actually did add some AJ and RD stuff! Or at least, I tried to layer on some stuff on some pre-existing elements to try and move it closer to the forefront of people's attention. I also did tweak some of the description, but not a lot. The story is pretty meaty though, with a lot of chonky chapters, so it wouldn't surprise me if there's info that gets a bit lost on the first read through (which is a problem, but not one I'm sure I can easily fix...)

Believe it or not, but back when I was still an undergrad, I was very close to actually specialising in aerospace engineering, and took a whole bunch of aerodynamics and aerospace modules. In my final years I changed my mind and specialised in biomedical (which is what I do now) instead, though... I'm no expert on jets or flying in general, but I do have a passing knowledge of the science and stuff. It goes without saying that a lot of what is depicted in this story isn't exactly 100% accurate (especially the pegasus stuff, but I'd argue that they're magic, so they count a lot less), but I've tried to keep it at least credible. For instance, three times the speed of sound is the speed that fighter planes frequently fly at, and neither the jets nor pegasi perform 'double sonic booms'. Potential and kinetic energy also works roughly as I've described it. It's more qualitative than quantitative, though, for the most part. I didn't estimate specific drag or acceleration numbers for this story.

10134317
Dude, I’m not gonna lie to you. That’s awesome. And I get it, putting all that theoric stuff into this story would require a lot. I think it’s good as it is.

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