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It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Daring Do and the Fearful Physical
A. K. never liked getting a physical. Few doctors would examine patients who wore identity-concealing cloaks, the ear exam meant the cloche hat was out too, and doing it as Daring wasn't an option. Fictional characters didn't come for checkups, no matter how much they needed them to stay in top adventuring form. Right now, the only things keeping her secret identity safe were a pair of glasses, doctor-patient confidentiality, and too few backup plans for her taste. And given all of the different ways her enemies could bribe, coerce, or magically dominate the stallion, she—

"Ms. Yearling?"

A. K. blinked. The clinic room came back into focus, with all of its informational posters and faint antispetic smell. "Sorry, Dr. Prognosis. I was thinking about work." She settled herself on the examination bench and gave a smile with the right blend of politeness and sheepishness for her current body-shy introvert character. "I hope everything is in order?"

Prognosis looked at her like she'd just risen from the waxen sarcophagus of Queen Bumble before turning back to the clipboard held in his magic. "In all honesty, Ms. Yearling, I might call you a medical miracle, but I think the better description would be 'medical horror story.'"


"Your wings alone show unbelievable signs of abuse. There's barely an inch of skin without some sign of lacerations, burns, broken bones..." Prognosis shuddered. "I think you've broken your alar bones more often than any three other pegasus patients at this clinic put together."

A. K. kept her eye roll internal. Everypony always said she overused broken wings as a plot device. It wasn't her fault they were an obvious weak point. "I'm still able to get airborne, doctor."

"That's the horrifying part. From a medical standpoint, they're barely even wings any more. You're flapping two hunks of scar tissue." Prognosis pulled an X-ray out of the stack of forms on the clipboard and backlit it with his horn. A. K. had to admit that the bones looked more blobby than the ones on one of the posters.

"Is there anything else?"

"Anything else? Try everything else!" cried the doctor, his eyes nearly rolling in their sockets. He began to pace about the room. "More broken bones, more poorly healed lacerations, the worst hooves I've seen on any pegasus, the worst rope burn scars I've seen at all, signs of stress in virtually all of your vital organs, and according to the atmic scan, your soul has been torn out of your body at least three times."

"Yeah, that was a pretty wild weekend." A. K. realized she said that aloud when Prognosis's eye began to twitch. "Uh, I mean—"

He held up a hoof. "Save it. I don't know if you're in an abusive relationship, if you're in some subcommunity I'm better off not knowing about, or if your special talent is just finding new ways to hurt yourself. All I can say is if you keep this up, you may not live to see forty."

She frowned. "I'm thirty-six."

Prognosis more than matched her expression, his scowl as furious as a storm cloud. "I know what I said."

"I see." A. K. got off the bench and walked to her cloak.

"Please sit down, Ms. Yearling. I have more concerns here and seeing you move at all is slightly terrifying."

"Just a moment, doctor," said A. K., waving him off with a wing.

She heard Prognosis sigh. "Alright, but we still need to discuss long-term physical rehabilitation. Moons if not years of it. I can recommend..." He went silent and still.

A. K. watched as the Memory Stone she'd taken with her pulled in the ribbon of thoughts. "Helpful little thing, aren't you? A shame I could never find your sister." She slipped it back into her cloak as Prognosis broke out of his stupor. "Thank you, doctor. Glad to know I've got a clean bill of health."

"Wha?" He blinked a few times, shook his head, and looked around the room. "Where? Oh, yes. Clean bill of health." He nodded, signed a few forms without really seeing them, said, "Have a nice day," and managed to walk out of the room on his second try.

"Well," A. K. said to herself as she got dressed, "at least this time I didn't have to break out of physical restraints 'for my own good.'"
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#1 · 3
Much like Daring’s bones, it seems cohesive, but looking closer reveals the cracks. Her needing the physical means her actions at the end don’t make much sense. I do like the multilayered response to the prompt—the physical could’ve gone better because of physical relics of all the times Daring’s missions could’ve gone better—but that contradiction will definitely have me dock some points. That said, I do like Daring’s rather detached thought process. The problem with turning your life into fiction means you forget which bits are actually happening.

Oh, yeah, and the implication that she’s mind wiping folks left and right. That’s kind of messed up, dude.
#2 · 4
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>FanOfMostEverything
There's a great setup here--I love the soul-sucking bit in particular--which is followed up by a merely okay conclusion. The problem is that it doesn't flow neatly from the setup: the setup's all about building up what a disaster her body is, while the conclusion's about... fulfilling her insurance requirements, maybe? I don't even know why her having a clean bill of health is important, which is kind of a problem when that's what you're leaving us with by way of resolution.

If I were you, when this is over I'd delete the last few paragraphs and re-approach the ending with a keener eye towards what your setup actually set up. Maybe make the punchline center around how horrifically close to (literally) falling apart she is. Or you could tie it back into the whole "protect my identity" thing, which is kinda there right now, but feels like an afterthought when we don't even know what the point of her medical visit was in the first place. Something to wrap it back to the core ideas you spend most of your verbiage on.

But that's just another way of saying "I really enjoyed reading nine-tenths of your story," so you're closer than I'm probably making it sound.
#3 ·
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
I can tell this has a couple of problems, but I still like it. It's a new angle on the AK-Daring dynamic, Prognosis is amusingly weirded out by all this medically alarming physical abuse, and there's a neat reality check where he points out she's only got a few years to live if she carries on like this. Those concepts are great, fresh, and a fine way of bringing the action hero shenanigans under a more rational spotlight. Which is always fun. >:D

That said, the ending drops dead. As does AK-Daring's character to a degree. This sort of thing could be played for cruel comedy (and kinda is for poor Prognosis, which I like), and there's a no-nonsense dramatic angle here (you bring up his interpretations, and damn if that's not what I'd be thinking in that position). Of course, Daring has to do something to protect her identity, and the mind-wipe is passable as a plot device. But then... she acts like there's no big news, and it just doesn't work. If she doesn't care about the results, why would she bother?

That's the point; funny as it is, dramatic as it is, it's also cruel and no-nonsense up until the ending. There's some serious stuff in here, and it feels like you dropped the ball when it came time to capturing it for the grand finale. I mean, she's been told she's a mass of scar tissue years away from death. You're just gonna gloss over that for a "restraints" joke? It felt bathic, and for entirely the wrong reasons, like you promised me a rich pizza and then served up a crouton.

But, until that point, I was mostly enjoying it, so I'll call this one a strong contender, or at least in the upper quarter. We'll have to see how the competition fares. Put me in the >>Chris category of "nine-tenths good" but "change the ending".
#4 · 1
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
This is a case where the ending can sour one's opinion of the rest of the story.

Don't get me wrong, I like this entry quite a bit, but something really rubbed me the wrong way about Daring Do doing what she did to the doctor and herself by proxy. It says something about her character, but the narrative just stops dead in its tracks before what is being said has any room to breathe.

Not only that, but the joke at the very end, which I'm assuming the author put in as a way of distracting the reader from the very dark implications of what had just happened, only made the story's sudden death that much more anticlimactic.

It's a shame because otherwise I think this is very well-written, with even a few jokes that made me chuckle like the soul-sucked-out part, and I think the author captured Daring's voice remarkably well.

Unfortunately he/she also fumbled when it came time to make the touchdown.

Made all the worse by how well things were going up until that point.

I'm feeling a strong 7 to a light 8 on this.
#5 · 1
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
This is cute, though I'm left more than a little concerned for Daring's physical health. If I were writing this I'd dial it back a notch. Her character isn't supposed to be on-the-edge-of-death feeble.
#6 · 2
· · >>Haze >>FanOfMostEverything
The body-horror-humor is definitely on point. I managed to chuckle and cringe at the blobby bones bit, and as FOME said, the soul-loss bit was excellent as well. As a whole though, I have to agree with the others that the ending didn't sit well with me, but I think I had different reasons. Basically, since neither character seems to grow or learn anything from this experience, it makes the rest of the story feel like it didn't matter. While the whole memory stone thing is a neat call-back to Daring's initial doubts regarding safety/security, I personally think it ends up detracting from the experience as a whole.
#7 · 2
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
“Look, I didn’t even know that it was possible for a soul to have third degree burns! And don’t get me started on the fact that you are on fire, right now in my office!”

If you publish, your cover art should be a picture of Evil Knievel’s most recent x-ray.
#8 ·
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
This reminded me of an old SNL skit, where James Bond visits a doctor. It's short, but it takes a funny concept and leads it to the resulting consequences, upping the ante. and then the irony at the end where Bond still hasn't learned his lesson. it sort of has an arc.

I think I agree with >>Bachiavellian the most here. None of the news really mattered: not to Daring who already knew all this, not to the doctor who'll never remember any of it. It's functioning as just an info-dump to the reader, that's all. Even though it's still a very funny headcanon.

Musing: surely the physical exams leave a paper trail? He does have a clipboard here. Missed opportunity to use the clinic as a temple of doom, where she has to steal her own medical records and escape from the traps... that's just the first obvious idea that came to me, there's probably dozens more. (oh yeah, MLP already did this with Rainbow stealing the book)
#9 ·
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
Genre: Insurance Fraud

Thoughts: I can only assume that Daring has to get a physical as part of her health insurance provider's annual requirements or something. I mean, she's probably filing claims out the wazoo all year long... can't blame them for wanting to figure out what the fudge is goin' on there.

Actually that's a neat little bit of headcanon, if I do say so myself.

Trouble is, it's me saying it, not the story. I can see how it's implied, but it's never really stated. So yes, I'll dogpile with the others who are jumping on the end here and feeling like it doesn't fully tie things together with a solid explanation of why Daring has to go through all this.

Here's the thing, though: the rest of the execution here is really, really good. The concept feels good and like it should work. The prose is crisp, if not sparkling. Overall it's otherwise Top Contender material that, regrettably, just happens to faceplant its way across the finish line, and in doing so, gets itself tangled in the unraveling braid of its own internal logic.

But oh boy is this gonna clean up well.

Tier: Almost There
#10 · 2
· · >>Moosetasm >>FanOfMostEverything
All I can think about right now is A.K. Yearling and Bruce Wayne sitting in the latter's foyer, sipping on glasses of Apple Family Cider and sharing stories of past doctor's visits and other cover story topics.

Someone needs to write that, like, yesterday.
#11 · 5
They had been trading war stories for a few hours now, and had gotten well into the old battle wounds phase of the conversation.

“This scar is from a ninja—“ said Daring.
“This scar is from a ninja—“ said Batman.

They had spoken simultaneously...

Batman and Daring Doo both slowly placed their ciders on the ridiculously long Wayne family dining room table. This was it. A challenge that neither could decline. This would require all of their skill, all of their speed and reflexes. And there could be only one winner—

#12 · 4
· · >>BlueChameleonVI
Daring Do and the Fearful Physical

As the title from another story in this round warns us, nothing good comes after 2 AM.

I started writing this one somewhere around 6.

I'm sure that, if given more time, I could've stuck the landing on this one rather than end up worse off than Daring. Sadly, I didn't give myself that time, and thus we have what we have. Fortunately, I've used the time since to devise better, less unsavory ways to draw the story to a close. Special thanks go to >>CoffeeMinion for getting me to declare Suicide of the Author: I like your version so much better than mine, I'm replacing the latter with the former.

>>Chris >>BlueChameleonVI >>No_Raisin >>Trick_Question >>Bachiavellian >>Moosetasm >>Haze >>PaulAsaran
#13 ·

You releasing it as a FIMFic? Because I wanna be first in line when that happens.