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The Twilight Zone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Dance Dance Revolution
Ember pounded her staff on the floor, scowling at the hodgepodge of mammals packing her courtroom. "Dragon Court is now in session. Who the bloody fewmets are you, and what are you doing here?"

Twilight cleared her throat. "Well, I'm the juniormost crown princess of Equestria, and—"

"Not you, Twilight."

"OBJECTION!" A pair of blue hooves slammed into the bar as Rainbow Dash leapt from the lawyers' bench. "I move for an immediate mistrial, on the grounds that the judge cannot be objective due to her preexisting relationship with the defendant!"

The room burst into whispers. Ember raised an eyeridge. Dash smugged.

"You're saying," Ember said dubiously, "you think the fact I'm friends with Twilight compromises my ability to rule favorably for you?"

Dash nodded and crossed her forelegs.

"You know you're Twilight's lawyer, right?"

"I've got her off balance already," Dash whispered to a facehoofing Twilight. "We got this."

Ember sighed and turned to the shins of the hulking figure at Dash's side. "Overruled. Let's try this again. Who's your client, dad?"

Torch adjusted his old-lady librarian glasses as the tuxedoed minotaur at his side stood. "Iron Will. He seeks recognition of his right to the Equestrian throne, having valiantly defeated its ruler in single combat."

"No he didn't!" Twilight blurted out. "It was a friendly dance-off!"

"Whoah there! Let's keep this under control." Dash put a hoof on Twilight's shoulder and smiled. Then she turned and pounded the bar. "OBJECTION! It was a friendly dance-off!"

"What do you have to say to that?" Ember asked the plaintiffs.

"The Dragon Accords are quite clear that dragon law, including succession law, applies to all allies with mutual aid treaties, including Equestria."

Iron Will gravely nodded. "If they assert reality, stand on technicality."

"Objection overruled," Ember said. "Plaintiffs, call your first witness."

Torch wheeled a hospital bed up to the witness stand. "DJ Pon-3. You want me to swear her in for you, sweetie?"

"Thanks, dad."

"Alright. Raise your hoof. Now swear."

Vinyl coughed weakly. "Fuck."

"Thank you. What's your current medical condition?"

"Disco infernicus, aka dance-related third-degree sick burns." Vinyl coughed again, and pressed the morphine button on her IV drip.

"Were you present for the dance battle in question?"

"Hell naw fam. I was in Zebrica on, air quote, """business""", when I felt a disturbance in the force. Twilight's dancing was so bad it hospitalized me from three countries away."

"No further questions."

"Your witness," Ember said.

Dash leapt up and slammed her hooves to the bar. "OBJECTION!"

"What, really?"

"Sorry, it's a reflex." Dash coughed into a hoof, then dramatically pointed it at Vinyl. "What makes you qualified to offer medical diagnoses?"

"I flew over a hospital last week during my morning exercises."

Dash's eyes lit up. "Seriously‽ I thought I was the only one!"

"Wait, you learn by overflight too?" Vinyl leaned forward, a bright and simple joy overtaking the haggard weariness in her pain-dulled features. "Oh. My. Celestia! You have no idea how alone I've always felt!"

"Uhhh," Twilight said, "aren't you a unicorn?"

"Hush, Twilight, we're having a moment," Dash said. "No further questions."

Ember nodded. "Defense, swear in your first witness."

"Nagatha Harshwhinny," Dash said, and a purple-sweatered figure marched across the room. "Now raise your right hoof and swear."

Harshwhinny gave Dash a disdainful look. Three countries away, the shriveled remnants of the author's dignity burst into flames.

"You know what," Dash said, "that was a bad idea. We call Vice-Principal Luna from Equestria Girls."

Luna sashayed in, sat down, and raised her right hand. "F██k."

"Now, in your expert opinion as part-time school nurse," Dash said, "Twilight Sparkle is a pony, right?"

Luna crossed her long, shapely legs. "Correct."

Dash leaned forward with a smirk. "And ponies are bilaterally symmetrical?"

Luna nodded.

"I submit to the court," Dash said, "that the dance-off was not a fair competition, as rulership challenges require." A murmur swept through the crowd as she pointed dramatically at Twilight. "Twilight Sparkle literally has two left hooves!"

"A good point," Ember admitted. "Case dismissed."

A cheering crowd swept Twilight up onto their backs, mostly to keep her from dancing ever again. A single tear trickled down Torch's face. Iron Will patted his leg and whispered comfortingly, "When you can't live up to the standards of Ally McBeal, plan your appeal."

And everypony lived happily ever after, until the dance nazis' coup.
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#1 · 2
· · >>Morning Sun >>horizon
That was... random. Honestly I liked it better before I got to the last line. That felt like a little bit too much.
#2 ·
· · >>horizon
Random, witty and goofy. Good rhythm. I danced to it until my dignity was calcined along with that of the Author’s.
#3 · 2
· · >>horizon
I agree with this. Leaving it at happily ever after alone would have been good enough.

HOWEVER the true sin here is there is no DDR proper! I demand ponies dancing on squares that light up arrows in a video game!

Anyhow, cute silly shortfic, yes. Rainbow Dash is best hilariously incompetent legal counsel.
#4 · 1
· · >>horizon
It’s random and silly, but… I don’t know. It feels really disjointed and more like a mishmash of randomly cobbled up sentences and reactions, meta or not. The backbone thread is too weak to seam all those elements together to form something coherent, if only after a fashion. Too draft-ish and scattershot to be enjoyable, at least to me.
#5 ·
· · >>horizon
Not enough Ace Attorney references, boo. :P

Anyway, this was a quite nice random comedy. I chuckled at some parts ("Twilight's dancing was so bad it hospitalized me from three countries away"), though some jokes felt really forced (the aforementioned dance nazis' coup).
#6 ·
· · >>horizon
I don't know law, but alas; "Thanks, dad.." just doesn't hold up.
#7 ·
· · >>horizon
Aside from a grin at a couple of the jokes with Vinyl, the lol!random nature of the story didn't do anything for me on first read. The random meta references in the middle really didn't endear me to the story either. Then bang!--it ended.

But I warmed up to this one. The pacing is fast and even at the first read it kept me going without skipping anything, and the jokes come thick and fast: Iron Will's technicality rhyme is spot on, and Luna sashaying is a great image.

It still screeches to halt on account of the length restriction, and it doesn't end on a strong punchline. I still don't like the meta references either. But I think I misjudged this one first time round. Nice work.
#8 · 2
· · >>horizon
I love everything about that opening paragraph.

I love most things about the story as a whole. The last line is a bit weak, as is the prompt connection. Still, overall, this was a glorious pile of nonsense. Thank you for it.
#9 · 1
· · >>horizon
Okay, very funny. Completely nonsensical absurd, but funny. You tagged the characters well, especially RD. It did leave me feeling I was in a Twilight zone.
#10 ·
· · >>horizon
Okay, I absolutely adored Dash as lawyer here. It's perfect. Also, "smugged" as a verb is brilliant! The swearing in was also an awesome gag, ditto Iron Will rhyming.

However, "Hell naw fam" just sounded so out of place, it really threw me. Both because it doesn't match the more intelligent vernacular she uses after that, and because Vinyl is silent in all canon. Ditto the overflight bit, but that turned into a meta-joke about authorial mistakes that at least halfway worked, but that was where it kinda starts to spiral. Harshwinny refusing to swear, EQG Luna, for no reason, and all to set up a dad joke. Basically, the first half of the story sets a tight expectation of pacing, and the second half seems to struggle to maintain it.

And yeah, drop the last line.
#11 ·
· · >>horizon
"fewmets" I learned a new word today!

Everything absurd was beautiful. Twilight injuring Vinyl from 3 countries over, Iron Will's turns of phrase, Torch being a perfect weirdo dad-thing. Nazi comment was maybe a bit over the hill into Serious Town, but vampire dance nazis, however...
#12 · 2
· · >>horizon
I agree that the ending line just kinda put a sour note on my reading experience, but...

That's not even close to enough to hamper my enjoyment of this story. The moment I realized that not only was this set in a courtroom, but it also featured Rainbow Dash as a lawyer, you had my full attention. I actually laughed outloud at the first "raise your hoof and swear" instance. I don't know why I didn't see that coming but it was hilarious to me, and the entire rest of the story was packed with pretty good jokes as well. If that last line wasn't there, this would be my favorite of the stories I've currently read. As it stands, it's still definitely in my top five.
#13 · 1
· · >>horizon
It's not super dramatic or deep, but you know what? I don't really care. This made me laugh, and I didn't notice a single editing flub. I even laughed audibly at the 'third degree sick burns'. :P

Nice work, thanks for the giggles. :)
#14 ·
· · >>horizon

Thoughts: I burst out laughing at multiple points. Thank Celestia I'm home by myself right now; this would've been gratuitously embarrassing to try to read in public. The Vinyl thing was so pitch-perfect... granted, Vinyl is one of my weaknesses, but I can't even. The only misfires IMO were underutilizing Harshwhinny, and setting up the Vinyl joke again with her. Also the Luna thing was a little too random, but you used her shapely legs well.

Top slate. 10/10, would Lawyer Dash again.

Tier: Top Contender
#15 · 2
· · >>horizon
This is the most absurd thing I've ever read in a Writeoff. It would be second, but I didn't read Pinkamena's Wake. The premise alone is nonsensical, and the lengths to which the story goes to justify it takes it even further into the realm of nonsense (dragon law gives dragons the right to impose dragon law on foreign countries?!), and isn't that just the spirit of the whole prompt?

"Alright. Raise your hoof. Now swear."

Vinyl coughed weakly. "Fuck."

"Thank you.

How can something so simple have me laughing so hard?

Infinity Billion/10.
#16 ·
· · >>horizon
So I found this generally funnier than Coup, but it kinda runs into the same problems for me. The rapid fire joke delivery leaves very little build-up, especially since most of it is just random stuff happens. I will admit I laughed at the flyover learning (which I think had good structure and even build), but for the most part... eh? Not awful, but not my sort of comedy again.
#17 · 1
· · >>horizon
I was rockin' with this up through the Vinyl segment. Everything past that point seems a little more random, less funny, and there's no final punchline. Good jokes, good attempt, runs a little out of steam at the end. Probably places pretty high for me, but it's up against some stiff competition in comedy.
#18 · 2
· · >>horizon
I laughed. I cried. I moved this towards the top of my slate. Completely absurd, yet still hilarious. Good job!
#19 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Congratulations to our medalists TheCyanRecluse, Xepher, and Corejo! Also to my fellow finalists, and to everyone entering this round. My voting seemed a lot tougher than usual as I tried to figure how to juggle the top third of my slate.

Dance Dance Retrospective

Because I have very odd patterns of media exposure, the very first thing that came to my mind when I saw the prompt was not the old TV show, but this techno song from the first Playstation Dance Dance Revolution game. And from Dance Dance Revolution I got the idea of, well, a dance revolution. That was the intended prompt connection. >>Morning Sun has a fair point that there was no actual DDR action in this game, so to fix that lack, I give you this:

(darn it roger please support image embedding)


Also, apparently I missed that as of Season 6 DDR is officially in pony canon. That could have led to a VERY different story. Instead I guess my brain short-circuited somewhere into this:


… because the idea of a dance-off combined with my lack of sleep (>>horizon) just charged straight into the land of random comedy without even a pause for breath.

The core of this was always escalating dumb jokes via refuge in audacity, in a "there are so many things wrong with this that I don't even know where to start" sort of way. (Blame that on the zeitgeist and my crankiness over 2017 politics.) F'rinstance, Dash's objection about Ember's lack of objectivity due to knowing Twilight is followed up directly with having Torch as the other attorney, which nobody ever comments on. Dash's cross-examination of Vinyl was purely there to provide an explanation that made the least possible sense, and then lampshade it to acknowledge how stupid it was, with a gratuitous sprinkle of purple prose. I'm pretty proud of "third-degree sick burns" and the swearing-in jokes, and those were probably a big factor in why this did as well as it did.

I kind of ran out of steam after that, honestly, and several reviewers rightly called me out on it. The fourth-wall break of the Harshwhinny section was a cheap joke that only worked because everything else around it was equally dumb. Long-time Writeoff fans might remember Part-Time School Nurse Luna from Through The Fire And Flames (*writeoff version). The anticlimactic dad joke was always planned, thus offering a concrete demonstration that the act of planning something doesn't make it a good idea.

And I really choked when it came to the end (I knew that when I was submitting the story, but I had nothing better). It was as stupid as the rest, but in an unfunny way, and I just didn't have any more energy to kick a solid ending line out of the story. I think >>Rao is on to something: it's edgy enough to cross a line but not edgy enough to be humorously insane. I'll shift it into a higher gear when I post, unless I hear better suggestions for the ending.

Anyway, once I got this one out of my system I was able to calm down and write a more serious entry. I still had fun, though, and I'm glad folks mostly liked it! I'll add it to my story collection on FIMFic.

>>SPark >>GroaningGreyAgony >>Monokeras >>JudgeDeadd >>Ritsuko >>Astrarian >>FanOfMostEverything >>scifipony
>>Xepher >>shinygiratinaz >>Not_A_Hat >>CoffeeMinion >>Posh >>AndrewRogue >>Ranmilia >>TheCyanRecluse
#20 · 1
· · >>Orbiting_kettle
It's funny, I took your comment about a misunderstood ending as reinforcement of my guess that you'd written this one.

I could swear I once saw a show or a movie or something with actual dance Nazis in it, but for the life of me I can't bring it to mind. My brain keeps trying to say it was Seinfeld but that seems off.

Anyway, I'd forgotten all about that song (and old DDR tracks in general) so thank you for a major blast of nostalgia! <3
#21 · 2
History of the World Part I, and it was Hitler on Ice.