Chapter Three - Breaking New Ground
Rainbow House, Cloudsdale, Equestria
Firefly hated working with deadlines. When she had first started writing she did it for her own enjoyment and because she had a story to tell. Ten years later, and she was still writing for the love of it, but her publisher constantly checked up on her to make sure she kept her schedule. It was one of the most frustrating things that she had to deal with.
With a sigh, she continued her pacing in her office, stretching her wings one at a time. She glanced outside the window at Cloudsdale beyond, admiring the beautiful sight. She had built this room with Prism specifically for the view and it had gotten her through more than her fair share of writers block through the years. Seeing the rain factory hanging above Equestria far below was always a sight that moved her.
Cloudsdale was built to be beautiful, one of the perks of working with a building material that cost next to nothing to produce. A thousand years had gone into making it the crown jewel of Equestria, and even the factories were a sight to behold. It was during sunsets though that the rain factory truly shone. The last light of the sun would glint off the maturing rainbows and spread beautiful dancing light through the air. It always took Firefly's breath away.
With a sigh, she shook her head, focussing her thoughts. Her computer waited patiently for her to begin dictating again, ready to faithfully record everything that she said. She couldn't even imagine writing by hoof or wing anymore like writers used to before first contact. It was so much easier to just dictate to a computer or omni-tool.
"The smell of decay and danger hit Daring Do as she peered into the dimly lit entrance of the ancient temple." Firefly had long ago learned that the best way to dictate was to just speak without thinking too hard and let what would come, come. It often turned out better than if she tried to craft each sentence perfectly.
There was always editing of course.
Firefly thought about the sentence for a moment before nodding, pleased. She opened her mouth to continue, but the computer chirped, breaking her train of thought.
"Incoming call from Rainbow Prism," the computer said in its calm voice.
Firefly looked at the computer, startled. Looking over at her calendar, she checked that she hadn't forgotten the date. It had happened before, but it didn't look that was the case this time. Something was up. "Answer it."
"Answering," the computer acknowledged.
A screen appeared before her, taking up a a large portion of the wall opposite the computer. Rainbow Prism appeared in the center, larger than life. He waved at Firefly, a tired smile on his face.
"Firefly, it's great to see you." His voice sounded as tired as he looked. He sagged slightly, taking a deep breath.
"Prism!" Firefly instantly noticed his bandaged wing and gasped in concern. "Your wing! What happened?"
"There was an... A... Uh..." Prism grimaced, rotating his working wing as he looked back at the bandages and cast.
"Prism, are you alright?" She wanted to reach through the screen and wrap him up in a hug. Her husband was injured and she couldn't be there for him! "What happened? Did you crash during your show?"
"We never..."Gathering himself together, Prism nodded. "We never actually got to preform."
"What?" Firefly felt confused. Why didn't he preform? Maybe Star Glow had pushed him too far during one of their training exercises. "Why not? How did you get hurt then? Star wasn't egging you on again, was she?"
:No... No..." Prism gulped, looking around nervously. "Firefly..."
"What is it, Prism?" Firefly leaned forward, concerned, her wings shuffling in agitation. "Talk to me, please. You're scaring me."
"There was an attack on a human colony," Prism said, pushing through his discomfort. No matter how nervous he was, Firefly was his wife and he shared everything with her. "The Commander diverted us before we ever reached Thessia. We provided air support to the humans and I was..."
"You were what?" Firefly shouted, her eyes going wide as terror shot through her heart. "What the hell happened, Prism? Talk to me!"
"I was shot down," Prism said, his voice cracking. He struggled to meet Firefly's gaze. "The doctors think I'll fly again, but... they are saying I won't be able to do much more than fly in a straight line."
"Oh Celestia!" Firefly's hooves flew to her mouth as she gasped, her eyes going wide in horror. Her husbands dream had been crushed, and she was half a galaxy away, unable to hold him and comfort him. "Prism, are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Prism waved a hoof at the screen, pushing away her concern. There was nothing she could about it from Equestria after all. "We did a lot of good, saved a lot of lives... If there was any other way to let it all go... I guess this is as good of a way as any."
"When are you coming home?" She asked, feeling more useless than she had in a long while.
"I don't know, Firefly." Prism shrugged, unsure. "It sounds like the Alliance is awarding all of us medals, and..."
Firely narrowed her eyes. She knew her husband and she always knew when he didn't want to tell her something. It was his eyes. He would always look at everything but her.
"And what, Prism?" She asked carefully.
"There's a girl, Firefly." Prism sighed, ducking his head for just a moment before locking eyes with his wife.
"Prism..." Firefly said carefully.
"She was one of the colonists, and I couldn't save her family, but her mother..." Prism shook his head, as if trying to ward away dark thoughts. "Her mother asked to keep her safe."
The front door opened and Firefly's ear flicked towards it though she didn't tear her gaze from the screen.
"Mom! I'm home!" Her daughter's voice echoed through the home. Rainbow Dash only knew loud and louder, and it seemed that the six year old was stuck on louder at the moment.
"Was that Rainbow?" Prism asked, perking up.
Firefly nodded as Rainbow Dash darted into the room, bouncing up and down, bursting with energy. Her eyes lit up in delight when she saw her father on the screen. Her little blue wings buzzed in excitement as she rushed up to the screen.
"Daddy!" She shouted happily, waving a hoof wildly at him.
"How's my little Dashie?" Prism smiled, laughing and waving as his daughter hopped around happily, her wings buzzing like a bee. "Did you just get home from school? How was your day?"
"Yeah!" Dash nodded, her rainbow mane bouncing up and down as she turned to nuzzle up against her mother. "It was great! We watched a movie about Ms. Hall!"
"Really?" Prism asked, his daughter's beating away his worries. "That sounds like a lot of fun."
"It was great!" Rainbow nodded enthusiastically, punching at the air with a hoof. "Her ship crashed on the circle-"
"Sphere, Rainbow." Firefly corrected, not that Rainbow was actually listening.
"Whatever!" Rainbow stuck out her tongue before continuing with her story. "And she woke everyone up, and then Princess Celestia smashed a hole through the wall! BOOM! SMASH! CRASH!"
Rainbow rolled around the room, laughing ferociously as she punched and bounced, a little firecracker in filly form.
"That sounds wonderful darling," Firefly said as she caught Rainbow out of the air, pulling her into a hug. She set the little blue filly back on the ground. "Why don't you go get a snack. I'm just about done talking to your father, then you can tell me all about it."
"Okay, mom!" Rainbow shouted happily. She dashed out of the room towards the kitchen to find a tasty treat. Maybe there were cookies. Maybe there were juice boxes. Maybe there were both!
As soon as she was gone, Firefly turned back to Prism.
"What are you suggesting, Prism?" Firefly asked carefully. "Don't dance around the issue. Just tell me what you're thinking."
"I want to adopt her." Prism gulped, putting it all out there. "She has no one else to go to. I checked."
Firefly dropped her head, resigned. Prism didn't say anything else, letting his wife think it over.
"This is too big a decision to make right now." Firefly finally spoke, looking back up at her husband. "We don't even know if the Alliance would let us do that. There's a lot too consider. Give me some time."
"Alright." Prism nodded, grateful that it wasn't an outright no. "I love you."
"I love you too," Firefly said warmly, despite his wild request just moments before. "Call again soon, Prism."
"As soon as I can," Prism promised, waving goodbye.
The phone call ended and Firefly just staid sitting where she was for a few moments, mulling over what Prism had just told her. He wanted to adopt a girl, a human from the sounds of it. A human who had just undergone horrific trauma and watched her entire family perish before her.
Taking a deep breath, Firefly stood and left her office.
Walking into the kitchen, Firefly found Rainbow Dash sitting at the table with a large smile on her face as she drank down a box of apple juice. She waved at her mother.
"Hey mom!" She said around the straw.
"Hello, darling." Firefly sat down and watched Rainbow finish her apple-juice. She couldn't get her mind off of Prism's call. Adopting a human. It was crazy!
"Hey, Rainbow..." Firefly asked after a second.
"Yeah?" Rainbow looked up at her mother expectantly.
"How would you feel..." she trailed off, biting her lip. Shaking her head, Firefly focussed. "How would you feel about a new sister?"
Rainbow's eyes widened and she gasped at the thought, sitting back in her seat in shock. Firefly didn't know what to make of her daughter's expression.
"Is that..." Firefly asked, watching her worriedly.
"That would be..." Rainbow trailed off, stroking her chin with a hoof. "So. Awesome!"
Rainbow darted forward, eying her mother's belly suspiciously before crawling up to look her mother in the eye. "Are you preganant?"
"Pregnant, dear," Firefly said with a giggle. "And no. I'm not."
Rainbow sat back, unsure of what was going on.
"You're not pregnant?" She asked, confusion overtaking her. "Then how could I have a new sister?"
"You don't have a new sister yet, Dashie," Firefly said, calming her confusion. "I was just wondering what you think of the idea."
"Oh..." Rainbow said, scrunching her face up in confusion. "I guess I would like one... What's going on?"
"Don't worry about it, Rainbow." Firefly pulled Rainbow in for a quick wing hug, nuzzling up against her, making the little filly giggle. "You can go and play with your friends if you want."
Jumping up, Rainbow gasped in excitement. She buzzed out of the room and out of the house nearly before Firefly had even finished speaking. She could play with Fluttershy, or maybe Gilda was in town! That would be awesome!
Firefly stepped back into her office, sitting down in front of her computer. She saved her work and clicked out of her writing program.
"Computer," she said, her mind whirling. "What are the ticket prices to Mindoir?"
"Calculating," the computer said, searching the extranet.
Firefly waited for the computer to display the information, looking incredibly conflicted. The computer projected all of the available tickets to Mindoir. This wasn't something that she could decide from Equestria, and Prism needed her either way. She started looking over the prices for two tickets, one-way.
Riley woke up in a hard bed. She was disoriented for just a moment, but the reality of what had happened to her quickly rushed back. She just stared up at the ceiling, unsure of what she was supposed to do now that her life was ruined.
Hearing a small squeak, Riley looked over to find a pony sitting on a chair in the corner, reading something on a glowing omni-tool. He had wings, a pegasus, Riley realized.
Catching the movement from the corner of his eyes, the pony looked up. He is slightly surprised to find her awake, but is quick to give her a warm smile.
"You're awake!" He said happily, getting up out of his chair. "Good morning."
"Hey..." Riley stared at him for a moment before giving him a slow nod in greeting.
The pegasus looked curious about her lack of response before understanding dawned on him.
"Oh!" He said, smacking a hoof against his forehead. "I'm sorry. You have no idea who I am do you?"
Riley shook her head. She had no idea who he was.
"Please, forgive me." With a laugh, Prism held out a hoof for her to shake. "My name is Rainbow Prism, Wonderbolt."
"Wonder what?" Riley asked, cocking her head in confusion.
"Wonderbolt." Prism proudly stated. "We're part of Equestria's premiere guard. We were on our way to preform on Thessia when we got the distress call."
"Oh..." Riley bit her lip, looking away from Prism.
"Sorry." Prism grimaced, glancing away in embarrassment. He cleared his throat and turned back.
"It's fine," Riley mumbled, staring down at her bedsheets. "Thanks... Thanks for saving me."
"It's alright." With a small smile, Prism shook his head. He rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. "I'm just sorry that I couldn't save your mother as well."
That killed the conversation. Prism grumbled to himself, angry at how nervous he was acting and the stupid things it was making him say.
"I'm sorry," he said after several long seconds. "I'm not usually so blunt and stupid sounding."
Riley giggled softly, and it brought a smile to Prism's face. He hadn't pushed her away.
"You're kind of funny, in a dorky sort of way," Riley mumbled, giving him a small smile.
"I'm glad I amuse you." Prism bowed to her, holding out a hoof. "I'll be here all week. Make sure to catch my nightly shows!"
Riley giggled again at his stupid joke. He was just happy that he is able to make her smile even after everything horrible that had happened to her. She was a kind girl and he could already see her being happy living in his family.