Beach Daze

Apr 12th, 2016
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  1. Beach Daze
  2. By IceMan
  4. >The planet Earth is covered in approximately 72% water.
  5. >Where that water reaches the shores of continents, the continually pounding of waves upon solid stone grinds the rock to a coarse powder of small silicate granules that simply loved to infest every portion of anything it could grab hold to, like mussels on an undisturbed patch of quartzite outcropping.
  6. >For some reason that you could never understand, the vast majority of human beings loved to spend ludicrous amounts of time upon this rough surface, where saline water meets rough sand.
  7. >As your new friends had invited you to come with them on a day trip to the seaside, you were obligated to be one of those humans today.
  8. >So, you trekked down the steep gravelly trail in your flip-flops and sunglasses, your body coated in a thin layer of oily sunscreen, a towel over your shoulder and a book under your arm.
  9. >The rushing surf increases in volume as you descend closer to the shoreline.
  10. >As you reach the sand, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie quickly rush over with their volleyball to the net and begin a game.
  11. >Fluttershy heads off towards the tide pools to look for invertebrates within the crevices.
  12. >While Sunset Shimmer jabs the umbrella into the sand and unfurls the fabric canopy, you lay out your towel in the shade and check a small widget on your phone.
  13. >Since the Friendship Games, magical portals have been opening all over the world, remnants of magic gone haywire.
  14. >You’ve been trying to predict when the next one will open, based on news reports.
  15. >As far as you could tell, portals could open anywhere on the globe, but were particularly concentrated around your city.
  16. >Usually, they didn’t cause any harm, just some odd lights and a bit of higher background radiation.
  17. >However, one event in central Russia led to the utter destruction of an aluminum plant with at least 10 people injured.
  18. >You had hoped getting to the beach would help keep your mind off the destruction whose ultimate causation was one of your greatest failures as both a scientist and a person, so, with a frown, you flip open your book (Quantum Electrodynamics: A Primer) to where you left off.
  19. >“Oh, come on, Twilight. You can’t just sit there and read a book all day,” Sunset says.
  20. “But that’s what I always do when I go to the beach. It’s what I do to relax.”
  21. >Sunset throws her shirt and shorts into the sand.
  22. >“C’mon. I’ll race you to the water.”
  23. “No thanks.”
  24. >Turning the page of your book, you gaze over the edge of the paper as Sunset dashes across the sand and plunges into the water.
  25. >“C-c’mon, T-twilight. The w-water’s grrreat!” Sunset shouts to you, holding her arms around her chest and shivering.
  26. >You turn another page.
  27. >From the distance, you hear some loud splashing.
  28. >Sunset grabs a towel by your side and races over to the girls playing volleyball.
  29. >In your peripheral vision, you can faintly make out the five of them huddling up, plotting something.
  30. >Paying it no mind, you continue reading, until two pairs of arms firmly imprison you within their grasp.
  31. “What are you doing?” you shriek.
  32. >“Making you have fun whether you like it or not,” Sunset says. “Now, we can either do this the easy way or the hard way. Get your clothes off -”
  33. >Pinkie Pie snickers.
  34. >“Oh, don’t be immature,” Applejack says.
  35. >“- or we’ll throw you in as you are.”
  36. “You wouldn’t dare.”
  37. >“Try me,” Sunset says.
  38. >Sighing, you close up your book and strip to your bikini.
  39. >You follow Sunset across the hot sand towards the rushing water.
  40. >The waves tickle at your ankles with icy tendrils as you step into the surf.
  41. >As you trudge into the sea, the sandy bottom sinks beneath you, the water soon reaching up to your waist, then your stomach, and finally up to your chest, leaving you floating in the frigid brine.
  42. >“S-see. It’s not s-so bad,” Sunset says, once again hugging herself.
  43. “I-I g-guess. If y-you’re a p-p-polar bear,” you reply, teeth chattering. “B-better than burning in the ultraviolet r-radiation.”
  44. >Sunset chuckles in response, then dives underwater and comes up behind you.
  45. >“It feels better once you get your head under the water.”
  46. “I’ll b-be f-fine. I’ll adjust s-s-soon enough.”
  47. >Out of the corner of your eye you spot a prism of dark blue, capped with white, blocking out the sky.
  48. >A large wave bears down upon you.
  49. >Before you can react, you’re swept up into the racing water and spit out behind the wave, completely soaked.
  50. >You spit out a good quantity of salt water you accidentally nearly swallowed.
  51. >Spinning around, you find Sunset doing the same.
  52. “Well, at least I’m not so cold anymore.”
  53. >Again, your comment makes Sunset laugh a bit.
  54. “Now what? You’ve nearly drowned me. What do you want to do next?”
  55. >“I didn’t really have a plan for the next part.”
  56. “Of course.”
  57. >Sunset rubs her chin.
  58. >“We could race to see how far out into the ocean we can get. That’s always fun.”
  59. “You’d win. I’m a terrible swimmer,” you say.
  60. >“It’s not about winning. It’s about fun. So, okay, not a race then. We’ll just... see how far we can get,” Sunset says.
  61. >You gaze towards the shoreline.
  62. “We’re already pretty far out.”
  63. >“So? There’s a lifeguard. If anything bad happens, he’ll save us.”
  64. “Alright, fine. Let’s go.”
  65. >“Great.”
  66. >Sunset gracefully breaststrokes perpendicular from the shore, you gently following behind.
  67. >The umbrellas on the beach slowly minimize to tiny, striped circles, the people to little sticks.
  68. >You’re at least 50 meters out from shore, and the surf is getting a bit rougher, the wave crests higher, the troughs lower, the sea foaming with translucent white bubbles.
  69. “Hey, Sunset -”
  70. >“We’re not turning back just yet, Twilight. Just a little farther.”
  71. >If you were back at your car, you would have noted that one of your detectors was getting readings off the charts of magical radiation.
  72. >The last time it had done that was the Friendship Games.
  73. >But, you weren’t at your car.
  74. >You were currently approximately 75 meters out from the shore, putting you about 300 meters from your car.
  75. >The sea only gets rougher.
  76. “We really need to turn back,” you tell Sunset.
  77. >She turns to face you.
  78. >“Ugh, you’re right,” she says. “C’mon, let’s get back.”
  79. >A large crest forms up behind you.
  80. >Beneath the water, you can faintly spot a dark shadow, ringed with a purplish-pink glowing aura.
  81. “Sunset, we need to -”
  82. >The wave slams into you and throws you and Sunset a few dozen meters forward.
  83. >A black tentacle rises from the depths, shortly followed by several more.
  84. “What the heck is that?” you ask Sunset, racing towards the shoreline.
  85. >“Why are you asking me?”
  86. “It’s got that magical aura around it’s tentacles! I think it’s some kind of Equestrian creature.”
  87. >“A kraken.... Then how did it get here?”
  88. >You reach a depth where you can stand and clamber out of the water onto dry land.
  89. “There have been portals opening up all over the world since....”
  90. >“Alright, yeah. Any ideas on how we can stop it?”
  91. “I don’t know! I left all my magical gear in the car.”
  92. >The beachgoers have noticed the looming black mass of tentacles approaching the shore, and are rapidly packing up their picnic lunches, towels, and umbrellas and racing out, nearly forming a bottleneck at the trailhead.
  93. >Rainbow Dash sprints over with the others.
  94. >“What’s going on? What is that big black thing out there?” she asks.
  95. “Kraken. Came through a portal. Gonna go get my magic stuff -”
  96. >“No, Twilight, there’s no time for that,” Sunset says. “We have to act quickly, or that thing's going to wreck the whole beach.”
  97. “Then what are we going to do?”
  98. >“I don’t know! Uh, try to access our magic?”
  99. “Okay, you do that. I’ll try and come up with a better plan.”
  100. >“Better plan?” Sunset says, as you sprint across the sand.
  101. >Gotta think quick, think fast.
  102. >You look left and right across the beach.
  103. >There’s driftwood; towels; a few umbrellas; some large, heavy rocks; a long length of sturdy nylon rope.
  104. >Catapult.
  105. “Catapult!” you shout.
  106. >You whip around to find your friends currently dealing with eight colossal onyx tentacles, and an air balloon-like head with a massive beak.
  107. >Rainbow Dash and Applejack have taken it upon themselves to beat the appendages into submission with sheer force.
  108. >Pinkie Pie is lobbing balls of sand and firing shots of confetti from a blue cannon, pulled from who-knows-where.
  109. >Rarity runs around screaming about how she hopes her new swimsuit isn’t ruined.
  110. >Fluttershy cowers behind an umbrella.
  111. >Sunset is rapidly scribbling into an unmarked book.
  112. >Startled by your voice, she looks up from her rapid writing, saying, “What was that?”
  113. “Catapult! We could build a catapult! Uh.... Get everyone over here. Use the umbrellas for cover.”
  114. >As if on cue, the kraken bashes its three assailants with a tree-trunk thick protuberance, scattering them into the sand near you.
  115. >Sunset grabs Rarity by the scruff of her shirt, halting her fashion crisis however briefly.
  116. >The seven of you huddle under a shield of umbrellas, some upright, some turned into the sand for frontal defense, while you lay out the plan.
  117. “There’s this big piece of driftwood,” you explain. “We take that, along with some smaller pieces, lash them together to make a triangular bucket.”
  118. >You draw your design in Sunset’s book, a long arm with a bucket at the end, attached to a triangular frame with two parallel legs.
  119. “Then, we take some more driftwood, or the umbrella poles, and lash those to the arm, perpendicular. Then we just need to build the frame and the tension rod, which we can do with whatever more poles, wood, and rope we can find.”
  120. >The kraken lets out an unearthly shriek, a mixture of breaking glass with the squelching of a wet sponge and the roar of a lion.
  121. “And we’d better do it fast, or else that creature is going to make us into a tasty cephalopod snack. So go!”
  122. >Dash and Applejack quickly sprint off to do the heavy lifting, hauling over a gigantic piece of driftwood.
  123. >The beast launches a barrage of ink from its beak, raining the beach in black droplets.
  124. >“Ugh, my clothes will be completely stained,” Rarity complains as she returns with the rope.
  125. “That doesn’t matter, just help me tie this,” you reply, lashing the driftwood and umbrella poles together and laying a towel on top of it.
  126. >Two more pieces of umbrella arrive; you quickly lash them together with Sunset’s assistance to form the frame.
  127. >A large rock, lashed to one end of the arm, acts as a counter weight to give the arm even more torque than from just the twisted rope cabling.
  128. >Bit by bit, under a hail of liquid night, the catapult comes together, protected by its umbrella shield.
  129. >You double check the lashes to make sure everything is secure.
  130. >“Is it ready to fire?” Sunset asks.
  131. “I think so. Alright, lower the umbrellas.”
  132. >The seven of you move the umbrellas aside.
  133. >Snapping to your position, the kraken’s lone eye spots its hapless prey.
  134. >“We’re only going to have one shot,” Sunset says.
  135. “All we’re going to need, hopefully.”
  136. >You load the catapult with rocks and crank it back.
  137. >A quick mental calculation provides the trajectory.
  138. “Let’s make some calamari out of this disgusting cephalopod.”
  139. >You release the catapult.
  140. >With a shimmering purple aura, the stones tear into the kraken’s soft eye flesh.
  141. >With a whimpering screech, it begins to fall, only to be sucked back into a portal with a flash.
  142. “Now, that was interesting.”
  143. >“That was amazing!” Dash says, giving a knock on the arm.
  144. “Why did that attack have a magical effect?” you wonder out loud.
  145. >“Great job, sugarcube,” Applejack says.
  146. >“Yes, truly excellent,” Rarity says.
  147. “Are you guys not paying any attention? That attack was magical. That’s how we sent the kraken back through the portal and -”
  148. >“C’mon, Twilight, don’t be so serious all the time,” Pinkie says.
  149. “No, don’t you see, there’s more important matters to be dealt with. We have to figure out why that happened.”
  150. >Sunset puts a hand on your shoulder.
  151. >“I think that’s a mystery for another time, Twilight,” she says, looking you in the eye. “And, it’s getting late. Anyone up for a burger up at the surf shack up the road? Defeating evil monsters always leaves me hungry like a wolf.”
  152. >A chorus of affirmative responses follows.
  153. >The sun descends into the azure sea, now calm, as seven friends march up the barren path towards the parking lot, a relaxing beachside day turned into something a bit more than that.
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