End of winter, beginning of spring
Hollyhock, Mercury, Arctic Wind, Merryweather, "Pinkie Bye"
Mercury flutters down to earth toward Ms. Dash. His ears are splayed flat. How naked he feels without his mailbags, but this is for the spring!
Hollyhock comes trotting out of the town hall, trailing after Dash. She has her hat pushed back on her head, her lasso bouncing against her shoulder as she comes out, "What'cha got f'r us, jefa?"
Arctic_Wind follows the group outside offering Dash the completed form, "Rarin' to go!" he tells her while tipping hi head down a bit.
Rainbow_Dash is already setting up a large meteorological chart of the surrounding area, complete with distinctly non-meteorological annotations like 'colder here!' and 'crows here, very tricky'. "OK, everypony, listen up! It's going down like this..." Flitter hoofs her one of those stiks that teachers use to, uh, teach and she starts pointing at the big red arrows she's drawn. "This year there's been a /teeny/ change to the usual pattern: we're hoofing over from Appleloosa rather than Dodge Junction, so the winds are gonna be stronger than usual. Nothing my weather team can't handle, though! And for the birds..." She shifts her pointer to the east. "There's a lot of crows this year, and you know how temperamental /they/ can be. So, remember: light breezes only around the birds! And no low-balling the high-alt stuff! Clear?"
Mercury nearly falls over when Dash commands everypony to listen up. With little puff of smoke he zips into a nearby hiding place behind a tree. "Psst..." Mercury tamps the grount. "Psst!" ... "Hollyhock." He timidly waves a hoof at the one pony he knows in the crowd.
Hollyhock is squinting at the map, an expression of ultimate confusion on her face as she tries to work out the meteorological cyphers. Nope. Still don't make no sense. She hears Mercury calling, but ignores it, or tries to. It's likely that Mercury would have to repeat himself before she glances back over her shoulder towards the sound. She squints, mildly upset at the interruption, but seeing who it is who's calling her she can't help but smile before she creeps back closer to him whispering so as not to interrupt the briefing, "Howdy!"
Arctic_Wind stands there silently looking over the maps and listening to instructions. Being an adventurer maps are not foreign to him nor or some of the symbols they might use.
Mercury shies back from Hollyhock's expression at first, until she smiles. Oh thank heavens, she's not angry. He creeps out from his hiding space, but not so far that he couldn't lunge back should the need arise. "Uh, hi Hollyhock. I don't know if you remember me... I came to deliver a letter to you in the woods. You probably don't, that's okay. I uh... is this the place where we go to help the birds?"
Hollyhock laughs quietly, "'course I remember you! Reckon I made you chocolate an' we jawed a bit 'bout this an' that." She smiles and settles down close to him, "Reckon this is the right place. They was talkin' bout crows an' such." That's part of the map she can understand, "Noisy so-and-sos."
Mercury checks to see if everypony has gotten their vests already? "Oh I like crows. They're a little noisy but that's okay, they're just talking to each other. Have you ever read Edgar Allen Poeny's 'The Raven'? I... don't know if ravens and crows are the same, but I do like that story.
Hollyhock ain't got her vest yet. Maybe some of the other ponies have. Depends on how on top of things they are, "Reckon crows ain't all bad. They'll mob hawks an' such, an' ain't afeard'a most stuff they don't like too much." She grunts, "Includin' flyin' ponies. Reckon I'll leave that t' folks what got inclinations that way." She blinks a few times at the mention of the poem though, "Reckon e'erypony's read that! Right famous."
Mercury smiles. "Oh yes it's very spooky! It's about madness and loss and pain," says the smiling mailpony. "Have you read any of his other work? Like The Telltale Heart? I uh... I like literature a lot." Poor Mercury is starting to blush. Perhaps he realizes he's babbling, and he's already changed the subject away from the winter wrap-up.
Screenplay heads over to the building with the magic wand and flask sign out front.
Hollyhock is standing off to the rear of the assembled pegasi, conversing quietly with Mercury, "M' uncle had a big ole folio'a him stories. Must'a read through that thing dozen times'r more." She smiles, "Fall'a th' House'a Trotter were m' favorite!"
Mercury says "D-do you want to trade books some time? I have a pretty big library at my house. I could bring you one the next time I bring you a delivery. I--if you want... uh... I mean... if you'd like that." He clears his throat and quickly asks. "Um are you doing the weather team then? I'm not... very good at weather."
Too late, because Rainbow comes back and starts shoving vests into ponies' faces. "Let's get suited up, everypony!" she declares, hoofing out the things like hotcakes. "Appleloosa's usualy ahead of schedule, so we gotta pick up!"
Hollyhock whispers back to Mercury, "I ain't got many books out here with me. Take up lots'a room I c'n use f'r other stuff. Reckon I could swap ya one'a them next time y'r out my way. An' yeah. Birds aint my ---" And here she's cut off by Dash as she comes and stuffs a vest in her face.
Mercury looks like he's caught in the headlights when Raibow Dash tosses a vest his way. He mumbles something unintelligable to her but she's already zipping past him to hurl a vest at some other pony.
There's a pearly white and cloud blue blur that buzzes in, dead stop an inch and three quarters from Rainbow Dash's nose. It's Merryweather, the Cloudsdale Weather Corps version of Merryweather. What? They tried finding another pony to compare her too, and all they could come up with was a hummingbird fueled on high-octane Frappuccino. "Dash! Your weather permits are permitted, and your team supplies are requisitioned, and there's this weird thing in the back of your fridge, I think it's a leftover, BUT I CAN'T GET IT TO HOLD STILL. Anyhow! All of Equestria salutes you and your brave ponies who have chosen to die for Pony... wait, this is the wrong speech. NEVERMIND."
Rainbow_Dash yelps as Merry suddenly appears, again. "Whoa! OK OK, I got it already! Yeesh." She can handle this without supervision, thank you very much! "OK, everypony, I got the teams all divvied up! The new ponies are with me, though. Any questions?" Most of the other pegasi seem to have none. One mare starts to raise her hoof, but Rainbow quickly replies with "No squalls!"
Merryweather shoos off the seagulls she was keeping over by the side of the square. You heard her.
Arctic_Wind slips into his vest listening with a nod of understanding.
Mercury wriggles into his vest and zips it up.
Hollyhock pulls her vest on too, and starts off to join Dash before she pauses, glancing back to Mercury, "You gonna be okay, hombre?"
Rainbow_Dash beckons Arctic, Hollyhock, and Mercury to follow along. "Yo, new guy! Something up?" She, too, notices Mercury's hesitation.
"O-oh!" Mercury nods rapidly at Hollyhock, trying to pretend not to be nervous. "Just as long as nopony asks me to make any wind... uh.. or rain... or um... sun. But I can help the crows!" He stops dead in his tracks when Rainbow Dash addresses him. "Uh... buh.. um... n-n-n-nope.."
Arctic_Wind goes along with Rainbow Dash, "Think of this as an adventure! Believe you are trekkin in search for something and lets wrap all this up." he tells Mercury trying to be encouraging.
Hollyhock turns and takes a few steps back towards Mercury, giving him what she hopes is a reassuring little smile, "Reckon nopony'll mind if yah does what yah c'n do th' best'ya can."
"Yah, what they said!" Rainbow Dash says, trying to be reassuring. "Relax, new guy, I'll show you how everything's done. You just gotta know basic stuff about moving wind. You...do know that stuff, right?"
Mercury mellows out a little bit at the encouraging words from Arctic and Hollyhock. Indeed, mellow enough to lie to Rainbow Dash. "Uh huh." He nods.
Hollyhock gives Mercury a hopeful grin. She opens her wings and beats them a couple times slowly, helpfully miming the moving of wind, though she stops this as soon as Mercury claims to know what's what, looking pleased.
Rainbow_Dash regards Mercury suspiciously, but doesn't seem to object to his assertions. "Okay then! We're gonna help out the wind team, first thing. Follow me!" She spreads her wings and glides towards the southwest, along the path that leads close to the Ghastly Gorge.
Mercury hovers off behind the pack, trying not to draw so much attention next time, and keep out from underhoof.
Hollyhock might know how to move wind, but when it comes to actually flying she seems more hesitant. Having been content to watch from the ground up to now she waits until everypony else is airborne, or on their way towards Ghastly Gorge before she starts after. She crushes her hat down tighter on her head, opens her wings and gets a running start. She gives her wings one, two, three flaps before she gets up into the air and flutters after the main body of fliers in the most messy, inefficient way imaginable.
Pinkie_Bye says "Ooh! Ooh, oooh! Ooh ooh ooh ooh oooh! Can I join?"
Rainbow_Dash doesn't head straight for Ghastly Gorge but off to the side, along the road leading past the Everfree's west frontier towards Appleloosa. "OK, guys, here's how it works." She directs her hoof to point way out towards specks in the far south. "See those dots? That's the Appleloosa Weather Patrol, and they're be bringing a whole bunch of warm air to us. Now, Cloudchaser and the experts are gonna take care of the first part, where there's a lot of lift because of the updraft, but we're gonna stay back and handle the afterload."
Mercury shrinks away from the rest of the group, with his ears flat. "W-what about the birds? M-maybe I should help them instead?" he says very softly, perhaps too softly to be heard.
Pinkie_Bye draws herself up just behind and besides Rainbow Dash with a giant step that drags most of her legs behind her before standing up straight. "What's an afterload?" she asks perkily.
Hollyhock is just in time to hear Dash, and she shades her eyes with a hoof, peering off in the direction indicated, hovering in places in her rather rough and ready way, bobbing slowly up and down in spite of her efforts to keep steady, "Right. Reckon we j'st hang here f'r a bit, then?" She's not too sure what an afterload is either. She'll cross that bridge when she comes to it though.
"Oh, 'afterload' is just my word for the back of the warm front. Usually we have the newbies on that part, so it shouldn't be too bad." She peers off into the distance again, watching as the speckes get bigger and bigger and more pony-shaped. "OK, they're coming in five minutes. Everypony in their places!" Cloudchaser salutes and takes the veterans higher up, but the newer Patrollers - including an impossibly muscular stallion - stick closer to the ground.
Pinkie_Bye sticks a wooden sign that says RAINBOW DASH in that pose.
Pinkie_Bye stands up tall and puts her hoof to her eyes, watching the Appleoosans approach. "What are we supposed to do with the back of the front? Are we supposed to raise it up higher? And what about the front of the back?"
Mercury flutters downward, elegantly maintaining a casual descent despite any approaching turbulence in the air.
Hollyhock glances up, then down, chewing her bottom lip, undecided for a moment. Seeing Mercury circle lower though seems to make up her mind. She opens her wings wider and glides after him.
"Whoa, Pinkie, when'd you get here?" Rainbow Dash inquires. "Uhh...why don't you leave to weather stuff to us flying ponies, how's that sound?" It might be quite futile, trying to appeal to Pinkie's reason, if you can even all it that. The minutes pass, and the speckes in the distance become distinct pegasi, the air around them shimmering with heat. Some pegasi are batting away the clouds that form as they surge closer and closer, until, finally, you can almost see their cutie marks. "Execute! Execute!" Rainbow Dash commands, and at once the top pegasi pick up the wind and move it along, then the mid-height ones, then finally. "OK, don't forgot to keep your wings at an angle to get some pull into it!" she advises, right as a gust of warm, moist air rushes right at them.
Mercury stares at Hollyhock, trying crudely to immitate her movements. Although, his wings are unusually large for a pegasus which probably comes with its own risk of overdoing it. Hopefully if he's going to screw up, he screws up by having too little effect, rather than too much.
Pinkie_Bye pulls out her giant balloon and takes a DEEP breath...
Hollyhock handles the front poorly, bobbling up and down on the hot air, her ears pinning right back as she loses control for a moment, her wings flailing desperately for what seem to her to be an eternity. Still, that moment past she seems to know what to do, even if she is blushing, glancing side to side, sure everypony's seen, even as she works to drive the front on down.
The front swirls a bit messily as the new pegasi try to make it work, but with Rainbow Dash's help it's, well, a breeze. "Right, that's it, keep it coming!" she declares. "Work it slowly, carefully now. Don't overdo it, and follow the path!" She points up ahead to Cloudchaser's team; presumably they're the point for this one.
Hollyhock grunts quietly. That seems easy enough. Just keep pushing the wind along, yeah? She seems to relax as she works along, and as she relaxes her flying does too and she settles down into an easy, almost predictable course, wings working steadily to move the front along, eyes fixed on the point ahead, even smiling a bit as she goes.
Pinkie_Bye lets the air zoom out of her giant balloon. It scatters the incoming warm air all over the place, making it zoom in wild zephyrs that, if colored by heat, would look like a Fibonacci fractal.
"Hey, stop that Pinkie!" Rainbow Dash exclaims, ziping around and trying to calm the eies before they hurt somepony. "This is delicate military science! No balloons!" As it is, though, this phase is about complete, as very quickly they're coming to the town limits, where another team of pegasi is waiting to hand off the wind. Behind them, they leave a wake of warmth: dew drips from the trees and what's left of the snow starts to collapse into lukewarm puddles.
Hollyhock is really pretty vulgar as she's caught in a little edie, and tumbled right into the upper branches of a tree, helping the remaining snow down out of the branches - and down onto some unfortunate earth pony. She's not down for long though, and pushing off a bough comes barreling right back out of the tree. And while that snow'd earth pony shakes a hoof at the sky holly's wrangling little vortices, shepherding them back into the main front. It's not pretty, but in her rough and ready way she manages to be a little help to Dash.' onto the end of her pose.
Pinkie_Bye lets her balloon go flying and turns in surprise and indignation to Rainbow Dash. "Well if you'd just *told* me what you wanted then I could have helped! You know I can do weather stuff, Rainbow! I ran Applejack's farm that one time last summer! If I can do that, I can do anything she can do! And Applejack was making Rarity's dresses at the same time, and if she can do that, she can do anything Rarity can do! SO by the transitive property of work, I can do anything Rarity can do! And she was running the weather last summer so WHY CAN'T I???!" She prostrates herself in front of Rainbow, begging with hooves outstretched.
"Because she sucked at it! And so are you!" Rainbow Dash retorts, but really, the job was successful regardless. The wind is hoofed off, Ponyville is getting a blast of heat, and there's quite a load off their backs - literally, given how the air pressure has just decreased. "Right, that's over with. How you doing, Hollyhock?"
Pinkie_Bye shouts, "I WAS DOING THE OPPOSITE OF SUCKING!!" Then the low warm front blows in, catches her by the floofy mane, and billows her off. "Whaaaaah!!"
Hollyhock has her hat pushed back on her head, and is dabbing at her brow with a spotted red bandana, maybe just a little red in the face, but she's watching the effects of front with obvious satisfaction, as she bobs slowly in place. Dash's question makes her squeak in surprise, lurching upward with an ill timed motion, getting her head stuck in a low hanging cloud that's formed in the wake of the front. It's the work of a moment to get her head out - and then to fish out her hat - but she's left blushing, ears splaying out as she stammers a reply, "R-reckon I'm alright!" Then, "Weren't too hard..."
"What did I say!" Rainbow Dash shouts as Pinkie is blown off course, of course. "Good to hear, Hollyhock! Keep this up and hopefully you'll be a great weather pony!" She reaches over and pats Holly brusquely on the withers.
Hollyhock bobbles, just a little, in place as she's patted, but can't help but grin back, reaching over and returning the gesture, "Thank'ee. Right pleasure t' hear yah say so."
Rainbow_Dash smiles. "Good to see you had a good time about it! Now, there's a bunch of ponies I'd like all you new fliers to know..." Thus, Rainbow Dash guides her new charges along to hang out with the veterans. Pegasi unite!
Hollyhock drifts along with Dash, maybe bashful at first, but soon enough she's unable to keep from smiling as she meets and mingles, relaxing, laughing, and generally enjoying herself. Hurrah pegasi!
Thursday, March 20, 2014