“Listen to me Rarity.” The strange, fleshy creature was on stood in front of her, holding a pocket watch in his fleshy hand. “When I do this, everything that I am now is in this watch. Have me open it when the time comes, okay? And not a moment sooner.”
“Why, of course. But what are you...” Rarity was confused.
“I’m counting on you to take care of me when I’m like you.” The creature smiled.
“But... We just met. Why do you trust me?”
“Because I know an honest person... Or... Equine when I see one. Trust me, I’m a Doctor.”
“I... I won’t let you down, sir.” Rarity returned the smile, as the creature placed the strange device he’d called the Chameleon Arch over his head.
Chapter 1: The Regal Fireplace
Princess Luna stood on her balcony, admiring the beautiful night sky. She was quite proud of her creation, even if nopony else was. Her chamber was pitch black, aside from the light illuminating from her lit fireplace.
She smiled at the night sky, and then turned around, heading into her chamber. She sat down in front of her fireplace and looked into it. She stared deeply into the burning cinders, watching the flames rise and fade away. The fire burnt strongly, filling the room with a small ammount of heat.
“Hello?” Luna said, as though to herself. “Are you there? Can you hear me?” She waited for a few moments in silence, still staring deeply in the fire. After several moments, she frowned and turned away. Speaking never seemed to work. Only writing worked.
She used her magic to grab a quill and some paper. On the paper she wrote “How did it go?” She tossed the note into the fire and watched it burn away to ashes. She was admittedly a little nervous. Her one good friend in the world, and she couldn’t help him at all. Even a Princess can only reach so far. Her one good friend in the world, and she’d never even seen him in person. Nor did she understand how she was able to communicate with him only through such... Unusual means.
The fire crackled suddenly and violently, and out flew a rather charred looking piece of paper. Luna hurried over and picked it up. All that was written on it was the words “No luck.” She frowned again. She turned the paper over and wrote “I’m sorry...” on the back. She tossed the note into the fireplace and headed back out to her balcony.
Luna found great comfort staring into the night sky. Wherever he was, whoever he was, she had hoped that Riley felt the same comfort. To think, she only knew him through some sort of unexplained gateway within her fireplace, that came out who knows where? She hoped she would find out one day... Somehow...
His name was Riley. It was such an odd name, unlike any she’d ever heard. He was a struggling musician in some far off land. She longed to meet him, but knew that the odds of that ever happening were actually rather slim.
The fireplace burned and crackled majestically in front of Princess Luna’s eyes. She swore that if she stared into it long enough, she could see images, bizarre images, unlike anything she’d ever seen. Finally, the fire popped violently and a charred piece of paper came flying out. “I feel kind of insane...” Luna read out loud. “Pretty much my only friend is someone I’ve never even met in person... Heh...” Luna could totally relate.
“I know the feeling. Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone in the world... At least we have each other.” She wrote and threw the paper back in. The fire quickly consumed the paper, reducing it to ash. Luna watched as the smoke rose from the fire and up into the chimney.
Luna knew that she probably couldn’t figure out this phenomenon by herself... So she decided to seek assistance. Off of the top of her head, she couldn’t think of anypony who may better understand what’s going on... That’s when it occurred to she was a Princess, and she has many followers, there had to be at least ONE of them who could be of use.
Then she remembered him. A pony who had helped her before in her time of need. She knew that he was her last chance... And getting a hold of him was anything but easy. Luckily for her, she had plenty of useful resources.
Rarity and a brown pony with a darker brown mane walked together down the streets of Ponyville. “I really appreciate your help, Doc.” Rarity beamed at the handsome stallion.
“Oh, it’s my pleasure. Anything for an old friend.” The stallion smiled. Rarity shared the smile, secretly hoping the stallion would stay around longer this time. He was a traveller, never really stayed in one spot for very long.
“I’m not TOO busy today, won’t you stay for tea at the very least?”
“Well, I guess it couldn’t...” Doc stopped. He turned to see a bulletin board beside him, On it was a relatively large bulletin, that read “Experts of the supernatural and the paranormal needed at the Canterlot Castle.” It was a simple, vague request. But Doc knew that he certainly was an expert on all things Supernatural and Paranormal. Rarity noticed his interest.
“I’ll take that as a no then...”
“A request from Canterlot castle... It must be something big.”
“You... Can come along if you’d like. It would be just like old times.”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot. I have work to do.”
“Oh.. Well, I’ll see you around then.”
“Farewell, Doctor.” And with that, the stallion turned and trotted off. Rarity was left alone in the streets. Now who was going to help her re-arrange the shop? She was sure she could find more help.
Chapter 2: The Doctor is in.
“Any luck yet?” Luna asked the guard in her chamber.
“Not yes, Miss Luna.” He shook his head. “Hundreds of applicants, but none of them seem good. We’re interviewing them rigorously, just like you instructed.”
“Good, good... As you were.”
“Yes your majesty.” The guard bowed his head and exited the chamber. Luna turned her head to the crackling fireplace once more. The mystery that fireplace held wasn’t one she could figure out on her own. In fact, she was convinced that there was only one stallion in existence who could help her, and he’s long gone by now.
Princess Luna sighed in resignation and stepped out on the balcony again. The beautiful night sky was her last source of true comfort in the world. Something about it seemed to make all her cares just melt away.
The blissful silence was soon interrupted by a low, roaring sound, coming from inside her chamber. She looked in and smiled, as she saw a blue Pony Call Box fade into existese into the middle of her chamber. The door opened and a brown stallion with a darker brown mane stepped out.
“Couldn’t get passed security?” Luna chuckled.
“Those guys are tough, and their interview makes no sense... Almost impossible to pass.”
“Of course, the interview IS impossible. I knew you would be able to find another way. You and only you.”
“You could have just requested me specifically.”
“Oh yeah, request a Doctor, every physician in Equestria would show up at my doorstep.”
“Very good point. Well then, Miss Luna, what is it you need assistance with?”
“Sit down, Doctor, we have much to discuss.”
The Doctor sat down on Luna’s couch in front of the fireplace. She sat down beside him, her gaze fixed on the fireplace. She sighed heavily and began to tell the story.
It was about two months before the present day. Princess Luna was sitting in front of her fireplace, considering sleeping. It had been a long night, and the next night promised to be even longer. She had a lot of work to make up after being gone for a thousand years.
The fireplace started behaving oddly. The flames would grow and shrink randomly, and there were occassional, unnatural bursts of sparks. This was unsettling, so Luna stood up and walked over to the fireplace to see what was the matter. That was when a piece of burnt paper shot out, saying “I hate my life.” Luna was obviously quite shocked by this. After the initial shock wore off, she decided to respond. What could it hurt?
She turned the paper over and, on the back, wrote “Why is that?” She then tossed the paper back into the fire. Not long later, another note returned. “Can’t get a job, I have no money... Really sucks. But hey, life goes on right?”
Unable to find more room to write, Luna grabbed another paper and wrote “Oh, that must be horrible. I kind of know the feeling... I worked really hard on something once, and my reward was being banished to the moon for a thousand years.” And she tossed the paper in.
“You’re a very strange burn barrel.” The next paper from the fireplace read.
“I’m not a barrel, I’m an alicorn. My name is Luna.” She replied.
“Ah. Interesting. My name’s Riley. You seem to be living inside of a barrel.”
“Well, you’re living inside a fireplace.”
“And that’s basically how it’s been going for two months. I’ve gathered that he’s some sort of musician...” Luna finished explaining.
“So... You seem to have uncovered some sort of crack in space and time or something.”
“... You don’t sound so sure.”
“I’ve never actually seen anything like it. Well, I have, but I’m still not entirely sure what it is. Basically, whatever is on the other side of that fireplace could be a land far away, could even be from a different time period. There’s no telling what’s beyond it.”
“I don’t think Riley’s a pony...”
“Make’s sense, he probably isn’t. Riley’s not much of a pony name... Sounds almost...
Hm... I’m not entirely sure.”
“Is there anyway I can... See him? Or talk to him... Like, in person?”
“Oh, of course there is, there always is.” He paused. “However, I’m not entirely sure how. And I know it won’t be easy.”
“Well, figure it out. That’s what I summoned you here for.”
“Alright then.” The Doctor trotted over to his blue box. “Give me ten minutes. I’ll be right back.”
“You’d better.” And with that, The Doctor stepped into his little blue box, and he was off. Luna sat down in front of the fireplace, and waited. She was hopeful.
The Doctor returned to Luna exactly 11 minutes after he left. “My apologies, took longer than I expected.” He apologized, as he exited the TARDIS, carrying a heavy looking computer on his back. He placed it in front of the fireplace. “Now, let’s begin.” He sat down in front of it and started pressing buttons.
“What’s that thing?” Luna, asked, intrigued.
“This, is a device that will tell us everything we ever wanted to know. About this fireplace, and this Riley fellow at least.” Eventually, something popped up on the computer’s small screen. “According to this… This fireplace has some sort of dimensional rift that leads to a planet called… Earth. Ah Earth, I’ve been there once or twice. Strange place. The ponies there are so… Unintelligent. You’re probably dealing with a human here. They’re the only species there intelligent enough to write. Amazing how they speak the same language as us.
“Yeah, they’re sorta like us, only they stand on two legs, and they have these magnificent opposable thumbs. But they can’t fly or use magic, so I guess they have their downsides. Good creatures though, a lot like ponies in personality. I can see why you didn’t notice the difference.”
“Yes. Oh, I should have known, Riley is a very human name.”
“So… Is there anyway… I could see him?”
“Well, there’s some sort of magical anomaly that sends the letters… At this point, you could always jump into the fire and burn to death, and your mutilated corpse would come out on the other side, so at least he’d know what you look like. OR I could try to find a way to open the gateway further and you can just walk through.”
“I pick that one…”
“I figured you would.” The Doctor smiled and his gaze returned to the small computer, as he worked out a plan in his mind. He wasn’t sure if it would work at all, but, really, there was only one way to be sure...
The Doctor turned and trotted back to the TARDIS, and stepped inside, leaving the door open. A few moments later, he re-emerged, with his customary Sonic Screwdriver in his mouth.
The Doctor ran his Sonic Screwdriver around the fireplace, then dropped it on the ground to speak. “Well...” The Doctor rubbed his chin with his hoof thoughtfully, then picked up the Screwdriver and carried it over to the TARDIS.
“What is it, Doctor?” Luna asked, almost impatiently.
“Well, a gateway through time and space inside a fireplace. Oddly enough, I’ve actually worked with something similar to this before...” The Doctor said, after spitting the Screwdriver into the TARDIS. He headed back over the the fireplace, and looked around the edges of it, where he’d waved the Screwdriver. “Before all I had to do was kind of... Push the wall like so...” He pushed against the wall, as though expecting something, but nothing happened. “... Well then.”
“What is it?”
“Well... Didn’t work as planned... Hold on, I’ll try something else.” The Doctor turned and scurried into his TARDIS.
Luna laid down in front of the fireplace, staring into it yet again. She sighed deeply, waiting for The Doctor to come back. She was disheartened when she heard that familiar roaring sound. She turned around and saw the TARDIS fade away. “Doctor!” She shouted out, but she knew he couldn’t hear her.
Luna gloomily flopped down on her couch, feeling abandoned and alone. She couldn’t even feel Riley’s presence anymore like she thought she had before. For the first time in a long time, she felt truly alone.
Then, she felt a strange, unexplained gust coming from the direction of the fireplace. She heard a sound, familiar, but different. A very faint roaring sound. Her eyes lit up and she watched as a blue Police Call Box faded into existence between her and the fireplace. Something about it seemed... Different. She couldn’t quite place her finger on it, but the TARDIS had changed.
The TARDIS opened, and a bright light shown from inside. Out of it stepped... A creature, definitely not a pony. It stood on two legs, and had... Claws, or talons, only they weren’t sharp. It wore clothes too, and didn’t have a tail. It had long black pants, held up by suspenders. He wore a tan suit, with a white shirt with vertical red stripes underneath. To top it all off was a little red bowtie around his neck. His mane was black, and seemed to be all pushed to one side... Yet strangely, it went over the entire top of his head, all the way down to the ears on the side of his head.
“You’re a...” Luna stood, bewildered. “A human?”
“No. Not quite.” The creature before her said in a quiet, pleasant voice. He had a strange accent, similar to that of the exceptionally regal ponies... Though it sounded much less forced. “Miss Luna!” His voice got louder, and slightly higher pitched. “This is where things get complicated.
Chapter 3: A Crack in Time
“Okay, where to begin? Hello, I’m The Doctor!” The fleshy creature started. “There’s this... Thing in your fireplace...”
“Doctor? You’re not The Doctor... The Doctor’s... Not like you...”
“Wait what? You know me?”
“Well... Sort of...”
“Oh dear... You may know me at a later point in my timeline... Ah, don’t tell me anything, don’t want any spoilers.”
“Okay then... But... What are you doing here?”
“Oh, right! Well, this may be hard to believe, but there’s a crack in your wall that leads to another universe!”
“Yeah, I know, The Doctor... Er, you told me.”
“Oh, okay. That makes things simple then.” The Doctor stopped out of the TARDIS and walked over to the Fireplace. He took out his sonic screwdriver and ran it around the edges. “Oh that is beautiful!” He smiled. “This is so much better than that burn barrel on the other side.”
“It seems like this fireplace was the origin. Whatever made this crack made it from here... That or it’s the other way around, there’s really no way to be sure.”
“What could make a crack like this?”
“I don’t actually know yet...” The Doctor continued sonicking the fireplace, when there was another familiar roaring sound from behind the couch. Luna turned to see a more familiar blue box fade into existence. The door opened, and The Pony Doctor, or Doctor Whooves stepped out.
“Well, the other side was unimpressive, just a lousey barrel...” Doctor Whooves noticed The Doctor. “Who’s this? A human?”
“No, I’m... No way... Are you... Me in the future? No way! I’m a... A pony? That’s cool, ponies are cool.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh, you don’t remember? That’s odd... Very odd... No time for that now! Quick, you have a sonic?” Doctor Whooves grabbed his Sonic Screwdriver from the TARDIS and headed over to the fireplace. “Good good!” The Doctor smiled, though his mind was occupied wondering why he didn’t remember himself.
Rarity frowned when she arrived back at the Carousal Boutique, alone. She gazed at the pocket watch that was laying on her mantle, collecting dust. She was going to give it to him today, but she’d missed her chance, once again.
She sighed. She knew how rare it was to encounter him, and she knew it would likely be a long time before she could get that watch to him. All he remembers is what she told him. That he was The Doctor, that he travelled through time in Equestria saving ponies and what not. He had vague memories from long ago, but not much at all.
She’d opened the watch before, once or twice. Every time she looked into it, her mind was flooded with The Doctor’s memories. She felt she knew more about both universes than she ever wanted to know, and it was painful. Painful like you couldn’t believe.
“Alright then, I think I know just what to do. I’ll head over to the other side, Doctor, you know what to do.” The Doctor nodded at Doctor Whooves. Doctor Whooves stepped into his TARDIS and headed back to the other world.
“What are you doing?” Luna asked.
“Closing the gap. The other Doctor needs to be on the other side to create a negative counter balance to make the crack close easier...”
“It’s just a bunch of sciencey mumbo jumbo, don’t worry about it.” The Doctor aimed his sonic at the fireplace.
“Wait! What about Riley? Will I ever meet him?”
The Doctor turned to Luna, his face turned rather solemn. “Um.. Luna, Riley’s... Well, he’s dead...”
“Time’s consistent on this side, since it’s the origin side... But over there, YEARS passed between each of your letters. He would be 130 years old by now if he was alive.”
“What? But... He never said anything... He sounded the same each time...”
“Maybe he just didn’t want to worry you.” The Doctor tightened his grip on his sonic, and seemed to count down in his head, before finally pressing down on the button. The entire fireplace glew a bright green as the sonic energy hit it. If one looked closely they could see a bright blue from the other Doctor’s sonic screwdriver on the other side.
Finally, The Doctor lowered his sonic. “There. Closed forever.” He looked down at Luna, who was trying to hide tears. “Listen, he lived a good long life. He seems to have died around 82. That’s good for a human.” Luna looked up at him, and smiled faintly, slightly comforted by The Doctor’s words.
With a roar Doctor Whooves’s TARDIS appeared back behind the couch and he stepped out, smiling at The Doctor. “Brilliant work! Oh, that could have gotten bad if we left it alone.”
“Yes, good thing.” The Doctor agreed, still curious about this future him. “Well, I suppose I should be getting back now then...” The Doctor headed for his TARDIS, waving goodbye to the others. He disappeared inside and was off.
The Doctor that was still in the room sat down beside Luna. She looked up at him, her eyes still misty with tears. The Doctor smiled, and Luna struggled to smile back. The Doctor pulled a small piece of paper from what seemed like no where and handed it to Luna. Luna gave a confused look then grabbed it with magic and began to read it. As she read it, a smile came to her face.
The Doctor stood at the TARDIS controls. He wasn’t ready to leave Equestria. Closing the time crack had been incredibly easy, and he felt there was still work to be done here. He wasn’t sure where to go, so he set the TARDIS to random coordinates, since that always seemed to work well in the past.
He waited for the TARDIS to stop and stepped out. He was in what seemed to be a desert. In the distance he saw what looked like a little white unicorn with a curly purple mane. He slid back into the TARDIS. “The dominant species of this planet is the Equuss Caballus? And no humans or humanoids? Well I’m gonna stand out pretty badly here then...” The Doctor stopped, as he thought over the words that had just come out of his mouth. “Equuess. Equestria. Ha, must be a universe that’s big on puns...”
The shock passing, he stepped out of the TARDIS and surveyed his surroundings. “Something’s not right in Equestria.” He noted. “But what could it be?” The Doctor took out his sonic and ran it along a nearby cactus, just out of curiosity. He proceeded to do the same to a nearby rock, when an unseen force pulled the sonic from his hand.
“Well, this is certainly NOT a gemstone.” Complained the white unicorn who had gotten much closer while The Doctor wasn’t looking.
“No, it’s not, it’s mine, thank you.”
“EEK! What, what are you!” The unicorn jumped, dropping the sonic. The Doctor bent down and picked it up.
“I’m a Timelord. Listen, your world is in grave danger.” The Doctor warned, shining the sonic at the unicorn, more for effect than anything else.
“A Timelord? What in Equestria is a “Timelord?” Rarity questioned The Doctor, who pocketed his Sonic.
“A Time Lord. A lord of time. A time traveller. I’m from another universe.”
“Another universe? That’s absurd.”
“Yes, so absurd it just has to be true, right?” The Doctor looked at Rarity, who returned an unpleased glare. “No? Well, I guess I’ll just have to prove it to you then.” The Doctor stepped back to his TARDIS and opened it. “Step inside” he motioned Rarity in.
“Why should I trust you?”
“Because you’re curious?”
“... Right then.” Rarity poked her head inside the box and gasped. “It’s... It’s bigger on the inside! That doesn’t make any sense!”
“About as much sense as a Timelord from another universe, right?”
“Rarity withdrew from the TARDIS and glared at The Doctor. Her general unamused face sank into an expression of submission.
“Fine, I’ll trust you. What was that you said about my world being in grave danger?”
“Oh! Right, that. Well, basically, your world is in grave danger.”
“Yes, I gathered that.” She frowned, in an annoyed fashion.
“Yes, I’ll bet you’re expecting an explanation.” Rarity nodded. “Of course, that’s a perfectly rational response given the situation. Alright, I’ll get you up to speed. I don’t know what’s going on at all. You are now up to speed.”
“Oh, well THAT was enlightening.”
“Yes. Moving right along, I’ll need help, I need to blend in for a while.”
“Oh yes, you’re going to fit in MARVELOUSLY.”
“Okay, Ponies know sarcasm, good to know.” Rarity huffed and turned her head. “Well, there is a way I could blend in... But I’m hoping to save that for a last resort.”
“You’re a peculiar sort of... Timelord was it?”
“Yes, Timelord, lord of time, Chronarch if you prefer. I don’t hear that term a lot, Chronarch. I kinda like it. Gender-neutral too!”
“For Equestria being in grave danger, you’re awfully peppy.”
“Well, you get used to the whole ‘impending doom’ thing after a while.”
“So this is normal for you?”
“Oh yes, of course. Now... I’ve seen a lot of cracks in time lately, but not quite like this. This wasn’t as much of a crack as a well made incision...”
“What are you rambling about?”
“A crack... Or incision in space and time. Something wanted to get through to the other world... Or something wanted to get into this world, hard to tell really?”
“Why would anything want to do either of those things?”
“Hard to tell really. Probably something big, something powerful, something... Brilliant...”
“What, anything in mind?”
“No... Well, sort of. It’s complicated. A gap like that wasn’t really... Accessible.”
“What ever do you mean?”
“If something wanted to get out of this universe... Or, into it, they would need a more accessible crack, one a living creature could actually travel through.”
“Then what’s the point of a crack like that?”
“... To attract attention.” The Doctor turned and hurried into his TARDIS, pulling the door behind him.
“Oh no you don’t!” Rarity stopped the door with her hoof. “You’re not leaving me behind. I am FAR too involved now to just walk away.”
“Yes... And far too curious. Fine then, you can come.” The Doctor submitted rather easily, in need of a companion who knew the land anyway.
“This... Thing, is simply marvelous. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen!”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.” The Doctor walked a circle around the control panel before turning back to Rarity. “So why cut a perfect little gash in space and time if nothing can go through it aside from some magical fire? You wouldn’t do it to travel of course. You would do it to get someone’s attention.”
“Something like that in Princess Luna’s chamber, of course she’ll notice it eventually. But what’s the point? Why would they want Luna’s attention?”
“Well, she IS a Goddess and all.”
“Yes, she is. But she clearly isn’t useful in a field like this, otherwise she wouldn’t have contacted... OH! Of course! Put a neat little incision in Luna’s fireplace, she’ll want answers. To get those answers she calls upon the greatest minds in Equestria, looking specifically for one!”
“And who might that be?”
“ME! Oh I get it now, she’d already met me, a different me, not this me, I change from time to time. So odds are whatever opened that incision is looking for me.”
“Oh, so you have enemies then?”
“One or two, you know how it is, travelling through time and space, saving the universe again and again, after a while you do get noticed.”
“So all of Equestria is in danger because something is looking for you?”
“No, both universes are in incredible danger because something’s after me. Believe me, it’ll get even worse if they find me.”
“Well, you have some sort of plan, right?”
“Oh, of course not. I never have a plan. Do I look like a man with a plan?” The Doctor still circled the control panel.
“I really don’t know actually. I don’t know what a... Man with a plan looks like. I thought you were a Timelord?”
“I am, man is just a... A figure of speech or something. Alright, bottom line, whatever’s looking for me can’t find me, or a very bad thing will happen. Possibly several bad things. Not sure what things would happen, but they would be bad.” The Doctor pressed a couple of buttons and twisted a valve on the TARDIS control panels.
“So you need to hide then?”
“I do. But whatever it is, I’m sure they can track down a Timelord. Probably not hard at all.
“Didn’t you say earlier that you had something you could do as a last resort. If you don’t have a plan, this is probably a good time for a last resort.”
The Doctor stopped circling the controls. His expression on his face changed, the usual peppiness flushed from his eyes, and his natural smile fading into a frown. “Yes... You’re probably right.” His voice was much quieter.
“Is something wrong?”
“My last resort... It’s called a Chameleon Arch. It can completely change my genetic structure, everything about me would change. I could turn myself into an equine like you, but at the expense of everything that makes me... Well, me.”
Rarity got quiet. Something about this creature perplexed her, enough so that she dreaded losing him, even though they’d only just met. When Rarity didn’t speak up, The Doctor continued. “I won’t remember any of this. I’ll remember some of it, but it will be like remembering a dream, and that’s exactly what I’ll think it is.”
“But... We need you...”
““You’ll be fine for now. Listen to me Rarity.” The strange, fleshy creature was on stood in front of her, holding a pocket watch in his fleshy hand. “When I do this, everything that I am now is in this watch. Have me open it when the time comes, okay? And not a moment sooner.”
“How will I know when the time comes, though?”
“Something strange will happen, something... Dangerous, potentially catastrophic, something that could potentially shatter reality. Basically, when the universe needs its Doctor. Can you do that for me?”
“Why, of course. But what are you...” Rarity was confused.
“I’m counting on you to take care of me when I’m like you.” The creature smiled.
“But... We just met. Why do you trust me?”
“Because I know an honest person... Or... Equine when I see one. Trust me, I’m the Doctor.”
“I... I won’t let you down, sir.” Rarity returned the smile, as the creature placed the strange device he’d called the Chameleon Arch over his head.
Rarity stood in aw as the Doctor shrieked in pain as electric pulses surged through his body. She watched as his body morphed into that of a brown earth pony. His mane was strikingly similar to his hair as a Timelord, combed down over one side of his face. His tail was a standard, dark brown, spikey tail, and all his clothes had fallen off, all except his bow tie.
“Doctor?” She asked coyly.
“Whoah.” The Doctor scurried to his hooves. “What happened?”
“Oh, this is going to be difficult.” Rarity whispered under her breath.
“Wh... Where am I? I don’t remember...”
“You’re a... Friend of mine, your name is Doctor... Um... Doctor Whooves.” Rarity was ashamed of the pathetic attempt of a name. It was also at this moment that Rarity noticed his cutie mark, or the lack thereof. He was a blank flank.
“Doctor Whooves? What?”
Rarity proceeded to tell Doctor Whooves his own story. How he was an assistant at her Boutique, how she met him when he was just a little colt, when his parents had abandoned him, and her family took him in. She told him the story that she crafted on the spot. She went with him out of the TARDIS, lucky that he was too dazed to notice that the box was bigger on the inside.
She got him back to the boutique, all the while explaining his new life to him. She explained that he would help around the boutique, doing simple jobs, carrying fabric, running errands, the type of stuff she would have Sweetie Belle do if she were more competent.
That night, after Whooves had gone to bed, she lay awake in her bed, holding the mysterious fob watch The Doctor had left behind above her head with her magic. Common sense told her to put it away and wait until the time was right... Though she had no idea when that time would be. However, sheer curiosity told her to open it, to take just a quick peak. She tried to fight it, but how could anypony resist something so mysterious?
The magical aura holding the fob watch pressed down on the button on top, causing it to snap open. As she stare into it, a sudden surge of energy bolted from it, shooting into her eyes. Within seconds her mind was filled with images of strange cylindrical creatures with egg whisk lazers and plungers for arms, images of shadows that moved and devoured everything in their wake. She snapped the watch shut, her head hurting from one glimpse into the mind of a Timelord. She suddenly wondered how The Doctor could stand to live with all of that, how any Timelord could stand to see the world the way a Timelord does.
“I... I’ve been having these dreams.” Doctor Whooves told Rarity. They were sitting together in the Boutique at night after closing shop for the day. “I’m always this... Strange biped. And I go around in this little blue box, saving worlds and stuff like that.”
“Oh? How interesting.” Rarity responded, wondering if he was starting to regain his memory, or if he had regained some of it when she had opened the fob watch.
“They always seem so... Vivid. As though they’re real events, real adventures...”
“Oh don’t be silly. Dreams are dreams, you simply CAN’T pay them too much mind.”
“I guess you’re right.” Doctor Whooves sighed. “I think I’m gonna head to bed early. It’s been along day. Goodnight Rarity.”
“Sweet dreams.” Rarity smiled at Doctor Whooves as he stood up and headed out of the boutique to the small cottage Rarity had procured for him. She stayed at the boutique for a while, once again thinking about the Fob watch. She picked it up from the small shelf she’d laid it on and examined it.
She stared at the watch for a good ten minutes, once again debating opening it and looking inside. It had been a horrifying experience the first time... But something about the watch drew her to it, tempting her to open it again. She stared intently at the watch that floated in front of her, until her attention was broken by a song.
It was coming from outside. It was a beautiful song, it sounded like a string instrument. Rarity couldn’t tell which one it was specifically, but she thought it was a cello. She took a peek out the window, and found out she was right. Across the street was a gray furred, down on her luck looking mare, playing a beautiful song on her cello.
Rarity’s natural generosity kicked in. She grabbed a few bits from a nearby table and headed out into the night to help the poor mare.
As she got closer, she was surprised to find that she recognized the musician. She was the cellist who performed at the Grand Galloping Gala that her and her friends had sort of... Completely ruined... And then she felt bad, thinking that perhaps it was their fault she was out of a job.
“Hello dear.” Rarity tried to cover her guilt as best as she could.
The gray mare stopped and looked up at Rarity, and recognized her. “Aren’t you that unicorn who flung cake all over Prince Blueblood at the gala?” She asked.
“Why... Yes, that was me...”
The mare was quiet for a few moments, and then she smiled. “He deserved it.”
Rarity was shocked, yet also relieved. She smiled back and laid the bits down at the mare’s feet. “Might I ask why you’re performing on the streets? Surely the Gala wasn’t THAT detrimental to your career...”
“Oh, no, not the Gala, not at all...” Her face morphed into a much more solemn expression. "My career fell through after... Well... There was an incident..."
"Oh, how terrible. Might I ask what happened?"
"Didn't you hear? I thought everypony knew by now. I was performing a solo at a small little theater in Manehattan, when, it sounds absurd, I know, but the shadows, MY shadow, it... Came to life. It tried to attack the ponies watching the performance. They all ran, and I sat there alone, my entire career ruined because they thought I was some sort of evil enchantress.”
“Oh, that’s terrible!” Rarity paused, thinking about what had just been said. Shadows attacking ponies wasn’t something that happened everyday, “I happen to have a friend who... May be able to help you. A living shadow you say? That COULD be just strange enough for him...”
“What are you talking about?”
“Hold on, I’ll be right back, don’t move!”
Rarity rushed into the Boutique and grabbed the fob watch. She wasn’t sure if this was truly the right time, but she didn’t have time to question herself. She bolted back out of the door and down the street to the Doctor’s small cottage. She pounded her hoof on the door yelling “DOCTOR! DOCTOR!”
The half asleep Doctor Whooves opened the door and gave Rarity a confused look. “Rarity? What is it?”
“Here, look at this.” She held the fob watch in front of his face and pressed her hoof against the button. The watch opened and the familiar yellow energy surged into The Doctor. After a few seconds, it stopped, and The Doctor looked up at Rarity.
“... Why didn’t I change?” The Doctor asked after a short pause. “When the watch was opened I was supposed to turn back into myself, why am I still an equine?” The Doctor turned around back into his cottage before Rarity could respond. He slid in front of a mirror and examined himself. “I’m a pony now then. Alright, that’s okay, ponies are cool. At least I still have the bowtie.”
“So you’re stuck like this then?”
“Seems like it. Wait a minute...” The Doctor noticed something strikingly peculiar. “What’s this thing on my flank?”
“Oh, that’s your cutie mark of course.” That’s when it hit her. “Wait, weren’t you a blank flank before?”
“No idea what that means, but whatever you said, yes. This, hourglass shaped, tattoo type thing on my flank seems to imply that I DID change to some extent just then. What is the purpose of these cutie marks?”
“Oh, well they appear whenever a pony discovers their secret talent in life.”
“Perfect, hourglasses represent time, my special talent is time, I’m a timelord again, even though I look like a pony, isn’t that fantastic!?” The Doctor smiled.
“Yes, that is pretty... Fantastic.”
“... No, not fantastic, the other thing. Impossible. I should be back to normal right now...”
“Oh... Well I don’t know what...”
“Wait! Rarity, why exactly did you bring me back so soon?”
“Oh. Well, I believe I’ve found what you were looking for...”
[This is the proper part 3. The other “part 3” was incorrect. This was a mistake by the author, not Sethisto.]
The Doctor sat down in front of Rarity as she told him all about her conversation with Octavia. The Doctor gave a worried frown then proceed with the brain-thinking.
“Living shadows? Oh, that’s not too bad. WELL, that’s sort of bad. WELL, not good. Very not good.”
“Well what ever does it mean? Have you worked with this before?”
“Once or twice. There was this library, and these people. Most of them managed to survive.”
“Oh, well how did you save them?”
“Well, I used my head to formulate a brilliant plan.”
“And what was that?”
“We ran away.” The Doctor stood up and walked to the door. “The Vashta Nerada. Swarms of microscopic carnivorous organisms flying around in the shadows. Basically, very bad things.”
“And they’re clinging to Octavia?”
“Yes, see, that’s the part that doesn’t make sense. If they’re clinging to Octavia, she should be pretty dead by now. Pretty really dead.”
“Well, you have to help her then!”
“Yes, of course. I have a plan. The Vashta Nerada are just shadows right? Basically, yes. So all I really have to do is flood the shadows with light. That should work. It’s like when you see something scary in the dark so you shine a flashlight at it and it goes away. Actually, exactly like that, since the scary thing in the dark is usually the Vashta Nerada.”
“You know, I can hardly understand half of the stuff you’re saying.”
“That’s okay, I like it that way. After all, you’re only human... Er... Equine.”
Octavia stared down at her empty cup, her cello laying at her side, as she began to give up hope. Just then, at the darkest of moments, a few bits fell down into her cup. She looked up to see an unusual looking stallion with a bowtie. “Allo” he said.
“Hello there. Thank you very much.” Octavia smiled.
“Ah, don’t mention it. So, I heard that you’re some sort of... Ahem, evil enchantress?”
Octavia sighed. “If that’s what you want to believe, then yes.”
“Well, good thing I don’t want to believe that. Now, tell me, what ACTUALLY happened?”
Octavia’s eyes brightened slightly as she realized this stallion wasn’t like the rest. She smiled slightly as she told him the same story she told Rarity. The Doctor nodded as she spoke, and then knelt down beside her cello.
“So, this is the magical device?” He asked, reaching for his sonic before remembering that he didn’t have fingers anymore to grab the sonic with, or even clothes to hold it on. He frowned and turned back to Octavia.
“Yeah, I was just playing this song, Shadow of Your Smile. It was a strange song, like none I’d ever heard, and I just loved it.”
The Doctor’s eyes seemed to widen slightly at the name of the song. “Really now? Well
that’s not right.”
“What do you mean?”
“I know that song. It was written by a human, Johnny Mandel, on Earth.”
“Human? Earth? I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“Exactly! You SHOULDN’T understand, you SHOULDN’T know what humans and Earth are, and you CERTAINLY shouldn’t know this song. And yet you do... Was this performance your first time performing it?
“Yes, it was the first time this song had ever been performed in Equestria.”
“Would you mind playing it for me? Right here? I might be able to help.”
“Oh, well, of course.” Octavia nervously picked up her cello and began to play the Shadow of your Smile. The Doctor grew both uneasy and intrigued as he confirmed that the song she was playing WAS the 1960’s Earth hit he was so fond of. His eyes widened yet again though as he noticed something very unsettling.
“Octavia, you can stop now.” She obeyed, and laid the cello back down.
“All right then, what did you find out?”
“Oh, nothing BAD persay. Just something very, very, VERY not good.”
“Wh... What’s that then?”
“You have two shadows.” Octavia turned and looked behind her. She has one shadow that casted in the direction it logically should, and another one casted at a 90 degree angle from the other. “Octavia, hold still. They haven’t killed you yet, so you SHOULD be fine. I’ll be RIGHT back.”
Rarity looked out her window to see The Doctor running by, back out to the desert. Concerned, she followed after him. “Doctor!” She shouted at him.
“Rarity, what are you doing?” He shouted back, still running.
“Can’t I help you somehow?”
He was quiet for a few moments, then remembered that, as a unicorn, Rarity’s magic would be helpful. “Yes, yes you can!”
The Doctor slowed to a stop in front of the TARDIS, and gave the exhausted, panting Rarity a chance to catch up. When she was beside him, he opened the door and stepped in. He ran up a flight of stairs, out of sight, while Rarity caught her breath. After a few moments, several large floodlights rolled down the stairs.
“Can you use your magic to hang these on the walls around the room?”
“Well, I may.” Rarity tested to see if she could lift one. It was heavy, but liftable. “Yes, yes I can.”
“Good, good. All right.” The Doctor hurried to the control panel. “Let’s do this!” The Doctor rammed his hoof against the controls, hitting multiple buttons. He’d completely forgotten about the whole hooves thing yet again. He reached to grab another lever, but just hit more buttons. “Well, this is gonna be difficult.”
Octavia stood perfectly still. In the corned of her eye, she could see her second shadow moving, growing. She started to panic, wishing The Doctor would hurry up.
Just then, off in the distance, she could see a strange little blue thing in the sky, jerking back and forth uncontrollably. As it got closer, she could see that it was a strange blue box with a little light on top. As it got closer, she also became aware that it was heading straight towards her. Her first instinct was to get out of the way, but she remembered The Doctor’s stern warning, and didn’t move.
The box hit the ground a few yards in front of her and skidded across the ground, stopping a few inches in front of her. The doors flung open, and The Doctor and Rarity pulled her in.
“Hey, it’s you again!” Octavia recognized Rarity as they positioned her in the center of the floodlights.
“Indeed it is.” Rarity noticed the double shadows. She then understood the floodlights. “Doctor, are you sure this will work?”
The Doctor grabbed his sonic in his mouth and aimed it at each one of the floodlights, super-charging them. “‘Ope!” The Doctor said with the sonic still in his mouth, before activating the floodlights.
The TARDIS was filled with a sudden, blinding light. The Doctor put on sunglasses and watched Octavia. Her natural shadow was gone, but the secondary shadow remained. It twisted into an almost humanoid shape, then twisted around violently, as though in terrible pain, before finally evaporating.
The Doctor killed the floodlights, an incredibly confused look on his face. He stepped down to where Octavia was, and Rarity followed.
“What happened? Is it gone?” Octavia asked.
“Yes. It is. And you know what that means?” The Doctor answered, and Octavia and Rarity gave him confused looks. “That means something either really good, or incredibly terrible.”
“What do you mean?” Octavia asked.
“I mean I was wrong. You see, if we really WERE dealing with the Vashta Nerada, that shouldn’t have worked. You can’t kill the Vashta Nerada that easily. That means we’re dealing with something completely different. Possibly something better. Likely something much worse. There’s no telling really, it’s just usually best to assume and prepare for the worst.”
Octavia turned to Rarity. “What in Equestria is he on about?”
“I have no idea. It’s best to just not ask questions.” She answered. Octavia smiled.
“So then, what... Wait a minute...” The Doctor stopped suddenly. “Oh, that’s not right...”
“What is it?” Rarity asked.
“Think about it, this whole situation, there’s something that doesn’t add up. Something from the very beginning. Wait, never mind, you weren’t there. But it’s not right, not right at all.”
“What do you mean?”
“... Why didn’t I remember me?”
“I don’t understand.”
“I thought it was the Chameleon Arch... How did I not notice this before? I’m not even the same, not at all. I shouldn’t look like this, and more importantly, I shouldn’t remember. All that said, the only reason I wouldn’t remember myself then would be.... That wasn’t me...”
The Doctor returned to Luna after his voyage to the other universe. He comforted her since she was still feeling down because of Riley. When he was done, he stepped into his TARDIS and headed off. Something still confused him though.
The strange looking biped creature who claimed to be The Doctor, was that supposed to be him in the past? He didn’t understand why he didn’t remember something like that. Something just wasn’t right.
He set the TARDIS to a random location and let it land. When he stepped out, he was in the middle of a small clearing in the Everfree Forest. Then, to his complete surprise, he heard another roaring sound, as another TARDIS materialized right next to his.
“Wait here.” The Doctor told Rarity as he stepped out of the TARDIS. He looked to his left and saw The Doctor from Luna’s Chamber standing right beside him, in front of his own TARDIS.
“Ah, glad I found you.” The Doctor on the left said.
“Yes, me too.” The other Doctor replied. “I want to check something.” He grabbed his sonic screwdriver in his mouth and held it out to the other Doctor. The other Doctor did the same, and they touched their screwdrives together. Nothing happened.
“Would you look at that?” The left Doctor said after spitting out his screwdriver. “The same screwdriver at two different points in its own time stream would probably make a little spark. Well, a pretty big spark. Well, could POSSIBLY put a big ol’ crack in the universe. That means they’re different screwdrivers, which must mean...”
“We’re different Doctors.” The right Doctor spit his sonic out as well. “That makes sense. You’re me in another universe.”
“Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? Of course Timelords exist in other universes too. The only question is, why were you a biped? Or better, why are you no longer a biped?”
“Oh, I’m a pony now. Something went wrong with the Chameleon Arch and I didn’t change back... Are all Timelords equines in this universe?”
“Yep! Well, they were. They’re gone now. It’s just me.”
“Makes sense, I’m the last in my universe too.”
“Yeah, I’m guessing it was pretty much the same situation in every universe.”
“Probably. I always just kind of thought the Timelords were exempt from the multi-verse.”
“I always thought that too. Guess we’re both living proof that we were both wrong!”
“That’s probably ironic. Anyway, your universe appears to be under attack by some sort of bipedal shadow creatures. Do you know of any bipedal races here?”
“Nothing comes to mind. There’s rabbits and things sometimes, but most creatures walk on four legs. Most the creatures I’ve met anyway. I’m sure there are plenty out there that I don’t know.”
“Hold on, I don’t understand.” Rarity butted in. “Which one of you is actually The Doctor?”
“We both are.” The Doctor who had brought Rarity here answered. He turned back to the other Doctor. “You look sort of like an equine version of my previous self. Which incarnation are you on?”
“Tenth, this is my tenth incarnation. And you?”
“Eleventh. Odd, you seem to have taken a little better care of yourself than I did. So, I thought these shadow creatures were the Vashta Nerada. I was wrong. Pretty sure I was wrong anyway.”
“The Vashta Nerada? They aren’t humanoids, they’re microscopic.”
“Well, they form together sometimes, and in my experience they took the shape of whatever they attached too.. I really don’t think Octavia’s a humanoid.”
“Octavia? I’ve heard of her. The musician right? The one who was disgraced as an evil enchantress?”
“Yes, her. The shadow creature latched to her, and became active when she played a song from MY universe. One no one here’s ever heard of. No idea what the creature is, could be anything really.”
“There’s still one other question. What broke the universe? Something had to have made the crack in the first place. Seems like the crack was made from your side. You weren’t able to go back?”
“Nope. Must be a one way crack.”
“Then how come I could go through?”
“Hm. I’m not sure. Maybe because you’re not me?”
“That could be it. Anyway, what do we do?”
“Yes Doctor?” Rarity responded.
“You need to go with the other Doctor. Tenny. I like that, that sounds good. Tenny, because you’re the tenth.”
“Hm, sounds good. What about you?”
“How about Ellie? Like eleven?” Rarity suggested.
“Ah, that’s good, I like it.” Ellie liked it. “Okay then, Tenny will take Rarity, and I’ll go with Octavia.”
“Alright then, Allons-y!” Tenny agreed.
“Sounds good. But what are you planning to do?” Rarity asked.
“Improvise.” Both Doctors said simultaneously.
The Doctor stepped back into the TARDIS and sauntered over to Octavia. “Where’s Rarity?” She asked him.
“She’s going with a friend of mine... There is a very important question I haven’t asked yet, and it surprises me that I haven’t asked it.”
“And that is...?”
“The Shadow of your Smile. Where did you learn that song?”
“Oh I... Well... I’m actually not entirely sure.”
The Doctor stopped at the controls, and turned and faced Octavia. He gave a small, almost devious smile. “I just love hearing that. So I’m guessing it came to you in a dream then? Or just randomly popped into your head?”
“The dream one. It was just playing in my dream, there was a cello, playing itself. Playing so beautifully. I just HAD to learn to play it for the concert.”
“That’s unusual. So whatever put that song in your head must have been from my universe. That or... It WAS my universe. Information from my universe seeping into your head, using you as a link to my universe. Everytime you play that song, you open the link enough for something to get through...”
“Then that shadow thing came from your universe?”
“Yes, but it’s not the Vashta Nerada... If it’s a weak enough link, then that means it could basically be anything. I’ve seen it before once or twice, a weak link with a universe while still crossing through makes these ghostish, shadow-like things.”
“Then what do you think it is?”
“Well, some sort of humanoid probably. But why you? What’s so important about you?”
“Well... I’m a pretty renound musician. At least I WAS before this whole ordeal.”
“No, no, no, I mean what’s IMPORTANT about you. Maybe you were just there? Maybe a coincidence? No, never ignore a coincidence. Unless of course you’re busy, in which case...” The Doctor paused. “No, pretty sure I already used that line. Anyway, yes, a coincidence. Maybe, probably not. Never! Never a coincidence!”
“You certainly are a very strange pony.”
“I’m not exactly a pony. As in, not at all. I’m a Timelord. I’m from the planet Gallefrey, from a different universe. This is just a disguise... That didn’t want to come off.”
“So you’re like... An alien?”
“Yes, exactly. I’m an alien disguised to look like one of you equines. See, logically, I SHOULD be back to my normal form by now. It’s like something is holding me here. But what... What could it possibly be...”
Meanwhile in Ponyville, Tenny followed Rarity back to the Boutique. “So um... Tenny, was it? What exactly are you Doctors planning to do?”
“Well, my job’s simple enough. Wait. Hideout with you for a while. About a year actually, possibly longer, until the time comes. Can’t risk taking the TARDIS into that time area, it’ll blow my cover.”
“... So your brilliant plan is to just wait around for a while?”
“Oh yes! Until then, I’ll have to act like a normal pony. Probably best if I stay with you for a while. If anyone asks, I’m your...” Rarity’s eyes widened and she blushed ever so slightly. “... Cousin, that’ll do.” She was disappointed. “Maybe I’ll help around the shop or something. Whatever it is normal ponies do.”
“Well... This will certainly be interesting.”
The Doctor landed the TARDIS and stepped out, Octavia followed. He now dawned a jacket he found in his wardrobe remarkably similar to the one he wore in his Timelord body, that happened to fit him as an equine. A remarkable coincidence. They were in a huge clearing in an unfamiliar forest. “Alright, this should do the trick. Octavia, did we pull your cello in with you back on the street corner?”
“You did, it’s back in the TARDIS.”
“Go get it.”
“Okay then...” She returned to the TARDIS to fetch the cello.
“Why am I still here...” The Doctor pondered out loud. “Why am I still like this? That’s NOT how Chameleon Arches work. Something’s attracting me to this world, and not letting me go. What could be that powerful? Not the Vashta Nerada, definitely not, they’re swarms, nothing else. The Daleks? No, no.... The... Time Lords?”
“Okay, I got it.” Octavia interrupted The Doctor’s brain-thinking.
“OH! Good, good. Alright then, let’s do this shall we?”
“Alright! … What exactly are we doing?”
“Shadow of your Smile, play it, would you?”
“I like that song. Just play it.”
Octavia nodded and obliged. As she began to play, The Doctor ran into the TARDIS and dragged out some complex computer-like machinery. He laid it on the ground and began to type on it. “Alright then.” He said out loud. “What are you?”
As Octavia played, the machinery made some loud beeping sounds and static noise. The Doctor made notes of the shadows casted by the trees around the clearing. “Octavia.” He turned to the mare playing the cello in the middle of an eerie forest. “Close your eyes.” She opened her mouth to question him but he cut her off. “Just do it. Trust me, it could save your life someday.”
Octavia closed her eyes and continued playing. The Doctor started running back and forth from one side of the clearing to another, examining the shadows. “Why should I trust you?” She finally asked. “As far as I know, you’re just some madman with a box.”
A flood of memories crashed into the Doctor, stopping him in place. He was silent for a few moments before finally responding. “Madman with a box or not, I’m still the best chance you have of getting rid of whatever’s haunting you.” He continued examining the shadows. Octavia continued to play.
Finally a reaction. One shadow, a single shadow of a single tree, stretched out of the forest, towards Octavia. The Doctor scurried over to the shadow and knelt in front of it, between the shadow and Octavia. “Okay then, what are you?”
The shadow stopped. It disconnected itself from the tree, and slowly rose up and formed into a sillouette of a humanoid creature. It looked rather human. Or Time Lord. Or Kaled even.
“That’s good. Now, identify yourself, would you? And maybe you could tell me everything about yourself while you’re at it?”
The silhouette was silent. It stood there, facing The Doctor. Absolutely silent. Finally, the shadow started to morph into a more detailed figure. The slacks, the tan jacket, the bowtie, the suspenders, they all became very clear. “Oh no.” The Doctor stepped back.
Octavia opened her eyes and stopped playing. She turned to The Doctor and the figure and yelped. “What is that thing!?” She exclaimed.
“I’m not entirely sure. I mean, I know what it looks like, but that can’t be right.”
“What is it? It’s hideous.”
The Doctor shot Octavia a wicked glare. “That’s ME. That’s what I look like normally. And I never thought I was hideous. Most people say I’m gorgeous. I say that too. It’s mostly the bow tie. Bow ties are cool.” He turned back to the imposter. “And you’re wearing a bow tie, so you can’t be THAT bad. Allo, I’m The Doctor? What’s your name?”
The creature was silent for a moment, then spoke. “I am The Doctor.”
“No, no you’re not, I’ve already met one other me in this universe, you can’t be me too. Anyway, you came from my universe, I’m the only Doctor there, so do us all a favour and chose a new name.”
“I am The Doctor.” The figure insisted. His voice was The Doctor’s, though it was a dull monotone, not at all like The Doctor. “I am The Doctor, and you are an imposter.”
“No, no, see, I know The Doctor better than anyone. Because he’s me. And you’re not me, or else you’d be over here where I am. Also you would be me. And you’re not. So you’re clearly not The Doctor.”
“Well.” Octavia stepped up beside The Doctor. “I haven’t known The Doctor for very long, but I DO know him enough to know that you’re nothing like him. For one, what you say makes too much sense. Two, you...”
“Octavia...” The Doctor interrupted. “You stopped playing?”
“Yes, I did. So?”
“Then the crack should be closed... So how...”
“Transfer is completed.” The false Doctor announced. “This universe is now my home. The Doctor is in.”
“Okay, THAT sounded like something you would say.” Octavia commented.
“Am I REALLY that corny?” The Doctor asked, slightly offended.
“I am The Doctor. Exterminate. Exterminaaaate.” The Imposter pulled out a Sonic-Screwdriver-like device and aimed it at The Doctor.
“Octavia...” The Doctor whispered.
“Hm?” She replied.
“RUN!” The Doctor turned and bolted for the TARDIS, right as the Imposter fired a bolt of lazer energy from his screwdriver. The Doctor and Octavia made it safely into the TARDIS and instinctively huddled together against the door.
“What do we do?!” Octavia asked frantically.
“I don’t know, I don’t even know what we’re dealing with yet, I couldn’t possibly...” The two were silent for a moment as they realized they had wound up awkwardly close to each other. They quickly, and simultaneously scooted apart. “Right... So um. It thinks it’s me. “Exterminate” sounds awfully Dalek... But why would the Dalek’s want to imitate me?”
“What is a Dalek?”
“Oh, sort of my arch-nemesis you could say. Physical embodiment of everything I’ve ever hated pretty much.”
“Yes, and they hate me just as much. And they would be WAY to proud to imitate me...”
“Open the door or be deleted.” The Imposter’s voice was heard from outside. “The fake Doctor will vacate the Time Lord residence, or the TIme Lord residence will be incinerated.”
“... Incineration is NOT something I want to experience Doctor!”
“Time Lord residence? That’s absurd, Time Lords don’t live in these things. Well, I do, but... Oh no..” The Doctor jumped to his feet and hurried to the control panel. “We need to go, right now... No, but we can’t, we can’t let that thing go free... But... GAH, I can’t think under pressure. Well, I can, but it’s hard to keep all the ideas seperated.”
“What are we going to do?”
“That thing, whatever it is, it created itself around me. My appearance, my memories, everything.”
“Open the door, Sweetie.” The Imposter shouted from outside. It now sounded a lot more like The Doctor.
“... No, that’s too far. Only ONE person’s allowed to call me SWEETIE. And she’s DEAD. So you’ve just crossed the line.” The Doctor pulled a lever on the TARDIS. The door opened and the Imposter was standing outside, holding his screwdriver. His posture was almost identical to The Doctor’s now. “You’re nothing like me. I would never use a weapon, not a gun, not a laser-screwdriver, not anything. There is ONE weapon I have though. One more powerful than any gun you’ll ever see. You wanna know what that is?” The Doctor placed his hoof on another lever. “1000 years of knowledge. 1000 years of pain, of suffering, 1000 years of loneliness. All that gets to you eventually. After 1000 years, all I am... As a madman with a box!” He pushed the lever with his hoof, and the TARDIS lunged forward, knocking the Imposter inside.
Octavia ran over and pulled the doors shut. The Doctor jumped down beside the Imposter and looked him in the eyes. “You’ve been me for about 10 minutes. I’ve been me for 1000 years.” He stood up and raised his hooves. “Whoda Doctor!?” Octavia gave him an indignant look, and, oddly, so did the Imposter. “... I told myself I wouldn’t say that anymore. I guess I thought it would work better here. I guess not. Well then...” The Doctor pulled his sonic out of his jacket and aimed it in the Imposter’s eyes. The Imposter twitched around violently as it morphed back into a silhouette.
“So that’s what was coming through?” Octavia asked, after a long pause.
“Yes. Still not entirely sure what it is though...” He looked and saw Octavia was sitting right beside him. She had an almost sympathetic look on her face. The Doctor forced a smile.
“I’m sorry.” She said.
“Oh... Her... Well... She’s not really dead persay. She’s just... Kind of... gone.”
“What do you mean?”
“She gave her life to save 4023 people. I managed to save her... Sort of. I downloaded her consciousness into this computer thing, to live a quiet, peaceful life with a few of her fallen comrades.”
“Oh... That’s... Sad, but good, right?”
“Yes. The sad part is, I didn’t even know her at the time. Time Travel, everything always happens for me in the wrong order... It was about 3 years ago, in my timeline, when she left for the last time. Left to meet a Doctor who hadn’t met her yet. Again, time travel, complicated.”
“I see. I’m sorry...”
“It’s hard sometimes. Time Lords, we live a very long time. She was a human, they don’t live as long. Melody Pond, or River Song was her name... I guess we have our fair share of puns in my universe too.” He smiled and looked back at Octavia. She smiled back. And they were silent.
“Why do they call you The Doctor?” Octavia finally broke the silence.
“Well. I guess it’s because I help people. I don’t know. I chose the title a long long time ago.”
“But, what about your real name? Do you have one?”
“Yes. I do.”
“Then why do you keep it a secret?”
“... What’s in a name anyway? I have a lot of names. The Doctor, John Smith, The Oncoming Storm, the Destroyer of Worlds... Spartacus. Ellie, that one’s pretty new. You can basically call me whatever you want.”
“I like Doctor.”
“I do too. It’s a nice name.” The Doctor looked back at the shadow lying unconscious on the TARDIS floor. “Oh right, that. My guess is some sort of Multiform. Not like one I’ve seen though. Completely different. And how did it come through the universes... And how is it holding me here?” He stood up and walked over to it. Octavia followed.
“Is travelling through universes a common thing?”
“No, not at all. It’s impossible really. Well, mostly.... Wait a minute... Luna was communicating with Riley, but Riley could communicate with her too. It went both ways, and it wasn’t just when you were playing. Unless you always played at just the right time. Unlikely, sounded like Luna’s ordeal was going on long before all of this... OH! Of course! It’s a two way link! It was opened in two directions! That means... It was opened from the void! That’s what you are!” He pointed at the shadow. “You’re a creature from the void!”
“Um... What is the void?”
“The void, it’s the area between the dimmensions. A creature, a human or Time Lord, or Kaled, or anything that resembles a human, or anything really, could have fallen into the void somehow. I don’t know exactly how the Void works, but it could have completely stripped them of EVERYTHING, turned them into a lifeless shadow. And the first thing a lifeless shadow would want is, well, life. YES! That’s why the first one clung to you, it wanted to BECOME you.”
“Become me? How in Equestria would it do that? There could only be one me, people would notice.”
“Exactly. And there would have only been one you. One of you would be disposed of.” He glanced at Octavia, who gulped as she understood what he meant. I wound up meeting the me of this world, Tenny, by total coincidence. Then I wound up in the desert by complete coincidence, then I met Rarity, then you, then we were here.” He stopped. “And you never ignore a coincidence.”
Rarity and Tenny laid snuggled together in front of her fireplace. The “cousins” act didn’t work out so well, since they looked and acted nothing alike, and were clearly of different species. Eventually they went to a new act. It had been three years, a lot longer than expected. Over the years, the act had become more than an act.
“It’s almost time Rarity...” Tenny spoke up.
“But, you CAN’T go, please don’t!”
“I’ll be back, don’t worry.” He pulled away. “I just need to move the TARDIS away. Far away. So it won’t be detected. Then I’ll have to travel back to Ponyville by train or something, like a normal pony. I’ll be gone a week, tops.” He stood up and headed for the door.”
“One week?” Rarity followed.
“Well, anywhere between a week and a few hundred years, the TARDIS can be unpredictable sometimes. But I WILL be back, I’ll aim for a week.”
“Trust me Rarity. Have I EVER let you down?” She shook her head. “One week.” She nodded. He turned and walked off to fetch his abandoned TARDIS.
“COINCIDENCE! You never ignore one!” The Doctor repeated as he stepped out of the TARDIS into the desert. He noticed Tenny’s TARDIS de-materialize right next to his. “See, another coincidence. But what does it all mean?”
“Why are you asking me?”
“There are still a few questions. One, why are there void creatures here? Two, why are you the link? Three, why am I trapped in this state? I was thinking about that earlier. Where was I? Oh right! Time Lords! The Time Lords are supposedly all dead in both universes, but we know of two that are alive, Tenny and myself. I know one other who WAS alive in my universe, and could still be here. But why would that keep me here? … Oh, I think I get it. I think I know EXACTLY who’s keeping me here.”
“Who? Octavia followed close behind him as he power-walked through the desert. He stopped and let her catch up, and stared at her for a moment or two, then continued walking.
“No time to worry about that now. There could easily be more void creatures that got through. Thinking.... Okay, they want to become me, that explains why I was brought here originally. The crack WAS to bring me here, but it was also for them to escape. Okay, who isn’t safe right now? Anyone I’ve come into contact I’m not currently with.. Tenny’s with Rarity, I’m with you... Then... LUNA!” The Doctor stopped and turned around, and galloped back to the TARDIS. Octavia hurried behind.
“Why did we come to the desert!” She shouted to him.
“Inspiration!” He shouted back. opened the TARDIS doors and hurried to the controls. “Octavia, where exactly were you when you had that dream, with that song?”
“Fillydelphia, I was staying at an Inn.”
“Alright, we’re gonna have to check out that Inn.”
“Wait, what about Luna?”
“That’s Tenny’s job. As far as we know, Luna’s chamber holds the original crack. If I go anywhere near there, they’ll detect the time energy all over me. That’s where Tenny comes in. He’s waiting for the perfect time, letting the background energy wash off with time. How was that for a pun?”
“Leave puns to the professional universe, would you? Let’s get to that Inn and find out what was getting in my head!”
The Doctor stopped and turned back to Octavia. He smiled then turned back to the controls, and headed to Fillydelphia.
Tenny arrives back at Ponyville almost a year later. Rarity is displeased, but excited he’s back. He continues to help her around the shop until the time comes for him to go to Luna’s. He has his run in with Ellie. He acts like he doesn’t know Ellie, because he remembers that he wasn’t supposed to. After departing from Luna’s chamber, Tenny finally notices the horrible flaw in what had just happened.
“No, no no no, that’s impossible. That already happened, it happened right before I met Ellie in the forest... That doesn’t make sense at all. Why didn’t it occur to me until just now?” The Doctor looked around at the TARDIS he was in. Then he noticed the next incosistency. “I... Went to Luna’s in the TARDIS... That’s impossible... I left the TARDIS far away...” The Doctor pulled a lever and headed back to Luna’s chamber. When he got there, he found himself going through the same process as the first two times. He didn’t realize this until he once again left Luna’s chamber. “Well. That’s certainly interesting.”
The Doctor materialized his TARDIS in an alley-way across from the Inn in Fillydelphia. This time, Octavia came out first, and he followed her. She led him into the Inn. They snuck upstairs to the room she was in, and he soniced it open. They both stepped in.
A few minutes later, they were outside, walking back to the stairs. The Doctor suddenly stopped. “Wait, what just happened?”
Octavia stopped as well, and looked at him, confused and shocked. “I... I don’t know.”
“Wait here...” The Doctor headed back to the room. Octavia obeyed and didn’t follow. A few moments later, The Doctor ran out, screaming “Octavia, we..” He stopped... “We what? I don’t know. What happened?” He looked back into the room, but didn’t step in. “That’s not right. Why can’t I remember anything from that room?”
“What do you mean?”
“Theory: For some reason, when you leave that room, you forget everything that happened while you were in the room. Sounds absurd, but I once knew some creatures that you only remembered while you saw them.”
“Then... What do we do about them?”
“Always moving towards a solution, I like that in you.” The Doctor smiled. Now we wait for Tenny to same the same frightening realization.”
The Doctor and Octavia headed back to the TARDIS, when another TARDIS materialized right next to their’s. “I’ve had a frightening realization!” Tenny stated as he exitted the TARDIS.
“I know him too well” The Doctor whispered to Octavia, who chuckled. “Let me guess, a room that you only remember while you’re in it?”
“No. Well, sort of. See, I went to Luna’s chamber, and the same thing happened, with you showing up and we close the gap and fly off. It happened everytime I went in there. I just went along with it, I never realized it was wrong until I left.”
“Hm. That’s unusual. So then what happened at Luna’s Chamber...”
“Never actually happened.” Octavia chimed in. “It was an illusion place in both your minds by whatever’s doing this to make you think everything’s alright.” Octavia examined both Doctors’ astonished faces. “Hey, you’re not the only ones who can figure things out.”
“I like you.” The Doctor said. He turned to Tenny. “I like her.” He repeated.
“Oh yes!” Tenny agreed. “Though, yeah, she’s probably right. Since it was all an illusion, we’d never actually met the first time, that’s why I didn’t remember you. We weren’t meant to ever go back. They just assumed we would forget about it when we thought everything was fine... So now what do we do? We can’t go in there... Neither can Rarity. She’s part of the loop, it’s not just Luna’s chamber, it’s that whole little bit of time.”
“Then we need someone who’s clever but isn’t us to go in and investigate...” He turned to Octavia. “I think I know who.” He smiled.
“Perfect!” Tenny agreed. Octavia wasn’t fully sure what they meant you. “Technically, we’ve never truly been to that time area, so we can go there whenever we please. We have all the time in the world to prepare her.” And that’s when Octavia realized what was going on.
Luna sat in front of her fireplace, an almost smug grin on her face. Her assistant, Sundance, came in and offered her some tea. “I’m so sorry.” she responded, accepting a cup.
“I... Why are you sorry?”
“I missed you so much.”
“Um... I wasn’t gone...”
“... The circle must be broken.”
“... Um... Okay... I’m just gonna... Go now...” Sundance backed away and slid out the door. Luna stared into her fireplace.
Her concentration was broken by an unusual roaring sound. She turned to face the box. “Impossible...” She whispered. She stood up and walked over to the box. “HOW ARE YOU HERE!” She shouted at the box. “That man is dead! You’re dead. He is returning. It is returning.”
The door to the TARDIS slowly opened and a pony stepped out dramatically.
“... They are returning?” Luna asked.
“You’re spouting a lot of non-sense for a Princess. Tell me, what did you do to Ms. Luna.”
“I am Ms. Luna. I am The Doctor.”
“... Oh, I get it. You DID manage to scan some of The Doctor. You picked up his memories and what not... But not his appearance. You had to get that from the Princess.”
“You are clever, for an Earth Pony. I wonder, why do they call you Earth Ponies, if you are not from Earth.”
“... That’s a good question. Equestria’s a lot like Earth though. Like Earth in another dimmension... Wait, how do I know what Earth is?”
“We are in your mind. You share out memories, our thoughts.”
“... You mean The Doctor’s memories?”
“We are The Doctor.”
“No, no, no you’re not. But what are you? For real? What are you?”
“We are here to help you. We are the Doctor.”
“Join us. Become the Doctor. Set yourself free.”
“Hm... Well, it seems you’re already in my head. Why not just get rid of me already? Why keep me around... Which brings up another question. Why are you keeping the Doctor here.”
“We are the Doctor.”
“No, no, the other Doctor.”
“We are not keeping him here.”
“... Thought not... But why not get rid of me?”
“You are not complete.”
“You are not complete.”
“Hm, alright then. I’ll be going then. But before I go. I’ll be taking Luna with me.” Octavia slammed her hoof into a small button pertruding from the fireplace. The fireplace spun around, revealing Princess Luna on the other side, bound by some sort of magic. Octavia slid the sonic screwdriver from her bow tie and aimed it at the magic binds. The binds seperated, and Luna jumped to her feet and followed Octavia into the TARDIS.