Discorded Ponies: Doctor Whooves
"The Doctor is Out"
Written by OracleMask
Hello! Have we met before? You've got that sort of look on your face...oh no, don't be coy about it. It's not the first time I've met somepony out of order. Though if you'd rather not talk about it, I understand. I've somewhere to be anyway, so if you'll excuse me...
Interview? I suppose it's alright, you lot don't get interplanetary communication for another few thousand years...should be fine. Let's have at it!
Starting with the basics...well then, I'm the Doctor. No, not Doctor 'Who'. Just the Doctor. Ponies here in Equestria have a habit of calling me Doctor Whooves, but still... What's that? The written records of Equestria say my name is actually Time Turner? Well of course they do: it's deliberate. I'm trying to keep a low profile, and putting down 'the Doctor' on a form anypony in the universe could read later is like putting up a big sign on the moon saying 'Invaders Come Here, We've Got A Time Lord!' And my old pseudonym is anything but pony-like. Have you ever heard of a pony named 'John Smith'? That's right, you haven't.
Don't give me that look, I really am trying to remain below the radar here. You see how happy and peaceful Ponyville is, don't you? Now can you imagine a fleet of Cyberponies or Saunterans wreaking havoc through here? That's right, you can't. And as long as I draw breath, you'll never have to.
What? Oh, Saunterans are this clone race of short, fat, brownish alien ponies from the planet Saunter – nowhere near here, so don't worry about them stopping by for tea. They fancy themselves to be the ultimate soldiers and look like pony-shaped potatoes. If you're attacked by one, hit them on the back of the neck to knock them out and run. Next question?
Yes, like I said, I am in fact a Time Lord. Not a Time Pony, a pony time-traveler, or a Time anything-in-between. Just because this universe runs on an equine template doesn't make me anything less than a Time Lord. The only genuine ponies sitting at the table right now are you three. Actually, it's a wonder this universe gets along as well as it does when most of the intelligent life lacks hands. Somehow you end up with galaxy-spanning civilizations, but the doorknobs still get turned by mouth if you're not a unicorn! Fantastic how it all manages.
If I'm not a pony, how did I get to this universe? Well, the story starts with a sword fight, the middle part has a biological metacrisis, and the ending is a dimensional rupture that I sealed on the opposite side I started from. And let me tell you, adjusting to hooves was no picnic. I had to rebuild my console for a form without hands...while not having hands! How backwards is that? And so many other things I took for granted are gone...
Oh, don't be a silly pony. I don't hate having a pony body! It's brilliant for running, and the mane is quite stylish. Pity it's not ginger, but I could've easily come out looking much worse. Besides, this universe comes with the benefit of pony companions! I love having pony companions! They're great runners, they ask even sillier questions than humans do, and if I didn't know better I'd say they were all made of solid steel! Now now, don't blush – you ponies are shockingly resilient! You've probably seen one of my traveling companions here in Ponyville, this delightful mare named Ditzy Doo - though some ponies call her Derpy Hooves. Quite a few ponies go for this dual naming thing: I find it rather whimsical!
Ah, yes, that's right! The delightful Miss Hooves has the honor of being the very first pony companion I've ever had. She also showed me the ropes of pony-ness, which was a big help. Did spending time with Derpy color my expectations for what ponies are like? I don't think it did...although that might explain a few reactions I've gotten since. Still, I was confident enough to go it alone when Derpy wanted a short break from traveling with me - said she missed her daughters and was worried about them, despite only being away for a few hours from their perspective - and it didn't turn out too bad! Well, I suppose there were a few hiccups. Still, my second pony companion thought I was 'oddly charming', so there's that. Ah, a brilliant mare...I miss her.
...What happened to her? Oh no, don't worry, she's fine! Just fine! No, really, she's alive and happy and...she lives in Equestria now! Yes, she's perfectly fine...just with no memories of ever traveling with me...or of her original life...and especially no memories of nearly giving up her very existence to prevent time and space from imploding into a messy chemical soup and – what? Ah, no, you wouldn't have heard about it. It hasn't happened yet.
You think I get bored here in Equestria? Not that much. Just because I don't have any monsters following me here when I come for a rest doesn't mean there's nopony here that needs my help! And if things manage to be too peaceful, I can always stop by Canterlot for a cup of tea with Equestria's resident solar deity.
Ah, you look surprised! Celestia and I meet up fairly regularly. It's been so long since I've gotten to chat with anyone older than I am, and she's always willing to talk shop and trade stories. I also get the heads-up on any upcoming events that might get me involved. The very first time we had tea, Celestia informed me of how she was planning to restore her insane younger sister. Asked very nicely if I would let all her plans and back-up plans fizzle on their own before I got involved, too. Said she preferred to use the method she'd been preparing all these centuries first, before switching to some unknown method that might have Rassilon-knows what effects on poor Luna.
Hadn't I already seen the end result of her plans? Exactly right! You three are very well informed. There just wasn't any reason to share that fact with Celestia: if she found out about the cult dedicated to her sister's insanity, what do you think she'd do about it?
Yes of course she'd break them up, and then the trans-dimensional monsters would crawl out of the temporal woodwork and sterilize the planet because of the paradox that would result. So instead of doing that, I agreed to stay clear of the whole thing and then went in with the TARDIS to monitor the situation anyway. Not the first time I've been someplace more than once.
Oh, don't give me that look. It really doesn't matter whether I was there or not - Celestia's plans worked, my earlier self behaved just as magnificently as I remembered, and everypony lived including Princess Luna!
That's a ridiculous question. Of course I wasn't offended that Celestia wanted me to stay out of it. She'd spent a thousand years trying to find the best method to bring her closest living family member back out of violent, screaming madness – that's highly commendable! Really, you can't fault that.
No, I haven't mentioned my whereabouts at the time to Celestia yet, and to be honest I don't intend to – you ponies get so touchy when you don't get to have your little escapades the way you like. For example, there was this time I was traveling through Equestria's past and came across a mare in the middle of a viciously difficult quest to retrieve some highly magical artifacts. Did she appreciate my saving time, bother, and nasty pain for her by slipping in and retrieving the artifacts that had been stolen from her? NO!
So you see, I'd rather not deal with a grumpy, ungrateful Celestia when I can spend time with the Celestia who's happy to have gotten her sister back instead. What's so wrong with that?
...You're making that face again.
Today's gotten off to a bit of a funny start...hey, what's that flying around? Pink clouds? They don't look normal...and this rain isn't normal either, it's brown. And milk. There are pink clouds raining chocolate milk on Ponyville.
Derpy's off somewhere, working her mailmare rounds. And the weatherponies I see flying overhead are too caught up in trying to wrangle the clouds to notice little old me down here on the ground. That rules out getting an easy sample of those clouds...I'll just have to use the equipment in the TARDIS. Celestia didn't mention anything like this going on the last time we talked, so for once I have free reign on how to handle the situation!
...Not that I don't trust her to protect her own lands and ponies. It's just...nice, not needing to run all my plans past somepony else ahead of time. I work better on the hoof in any case!
Enough about that, I can see the TARDIS up ahead. A few of those clouds are raining milk on her, but her shields are the best in any universe! It'll take loads more than some chocolate milk to inconvenience – WHOA!
One of those pink clouds convulses like a cat with a hairball. But the only thing that comes out is paper. A huge pile of papers – a veritable mountain, even! And now my TARDIS is buried square underneath it! It's not until I get close that I see exactly what sort of papers these are: they're parking tickets. They're all parking tickets. Parking tickets for places in Equestria are just the start of it, I can see ones from planet Saunter, Florana, Midnight, Earth – a hundred million times over, Earth – and these are only the ones on the surface. I can only assume that there's a parking ticket for every single place I've ever landed during my travels...and maybe some for places I haven't been to yet, which is the really alarming bit. Who or what has the power to know where I'm going to land in the future? Even I never know where I'm going to land most of the time!
...Look, here's one for Gallifrey...wait, no! No time for nostalgia, Doctor! There's something seriously wrong here! I still need to get into the TARDIS, even if she's buried under this mountain of parking tickets. Maybe the sonic screwdriver...no, paper is still a kind of wood. Really need to work on that wood setting. For now, I'll dig my way through!
I'm making good headway, parking tickets flying in every direction, when my hooves reach something a little more solid. It's not the flat wood of my TARDIS, but at least it's not more parking tickets...a bit more digging uncovers it properly. It's an hourglass! A very large and very shiny hourglass. Looks a bit familiar...oh, that's right, it looks identical to my hourglass cutie mark.
I think I can see a face in the glass for a moment...but I lose track of it, and it's gone. A closer look only gives me a better view of the sand inside the hourglass, which is...pouring up. Wait, what? That doesn't make sense.
“You want to know what really doesn't make sense around here? You,” pipes up a voice.
Where did that come from? Turns out to be the hourglass. More specifically, that face reflected in the glass that I thought I saw earlier. It's clearly visible now, and rather visually striking with those mismatched horns. It strikes me that this is a life form I've never met before, and normally that thought fills me with glee: meeting new creatures is always a chance to learn things I didn't already know! So why does the face in the hourglass fill me with a sudden sense of...dread?
“I mean it! A pony with all your power, and you're wasting it! And here I thought I was the nonsensical one.”
“C'mon, think about it!”
All of a sudden, the hourglass transforms into a large dragon-ish-thing. Wait, haven't I seen something that looked like this before? Yes, I remember a rather outlandish statue in the Canterlot Gardens that looked remarkably similar to this fellow.
“You're the one with the time machine – love the whole bigger-on-the-inside schtick, by the way – but you're using it for field trips when you could be doing so much more. I definitely have few ideas...”
Hmph...this sounds more familiar. I get these little 'talks' all the time: 'you should join us' blah blah 'together we'll rule the galaxy' blah blah infinite rice pudding BLAH! I'm already tuning it out: I still need to finish digging out the TARDIS, and this parking ticket mountain is proving to be much bigger than I anticipated -
“Hey! At least hear me out!” And the dragon-thing is quite suddenly LOOMING right in my face!
“Listen to me, will you? It's obvious you're a pony with all the smarts, all the power, and all the best intentions in the universe! So instead of watching ponies suffering on your little tours through time and space, why don't you do more to help them out?"
...Help them out...that is a bit more my style...annnd it's with great effort that I shake my suddenly heavy head and take a step back. Besides, I already do plenty of things to help ponies out! Within reason. There are just some things I can't do.
“I'm sure all those ponies who were upgraded by the Cyberponies love that excuse,” the dragon -thing retorts, “All-knowing Time Lord can't be bothered to go back and save them. Oh! And don't forget those Daleks! How many planets have they exterminated by now? I lost count after it hit seven digits.”
I – but – but I didn't – but, but I couldn't –
“And let's not forget the ponies living here!” the dragon-thing waves his arms at our surroundings, “Peaceful, unsuspecting...and totally unprepared for a little bit of chaos. If only somepony was willing to go back in time and get them ready for today!”
What?! How...how didn't I see this?! All around me, the peaceful town of Ponyville is going stark raving mad! Houses are flying away with their occupants! Animals and plants are twisting into bizarre new shapes! And the ponies are...the ponies are...
“Of course, this little mess would be easy for those Time Lords to fix. Wasn't it their job to keep the universe safe from this kind of thing? Makes you wonder where they've all gotten to these days.”
Shut up! Shut up shut up!
“That's right! I remember now: it's because somepony got RID of the rest of them! Gotta say, destroying the rest of your own species? That's mighty impressive! You managed to snuff out each and every last one!”
NO! It – It wasn't like that! It – there was – I was - they wouldn't listen, I had no choice – I...
“Maybe they would've listened if you'd been calling the shots,” the dragon-thing offers, almost sounding reassuring.
Y-Yes, that's true...if I'd still been Lord President, they would have listened – they'd have no choice but to listen – I should never have thrown the title away! What was I thinking back then? How could I have been so selfish?! I could have saved them! I should have saved them!
“A pity it's too late for the Time Lords, but there's good news! You've got a fresh new start with these ponies! All you have to do is take charge,” the dragon-thing declares, leaning in close again.
His eyes have changed, they're...swirling? Spinning? Ugh...my head...what...are...
...Heh...eh-heh heh heh ha ha ha! I've had the most brilliant idea. One of my finest! Just look at this place, isn't it a mess? It needs a serious change of leadership! And there's nopony on this planet as clever as I am, so it's only natural that I take CHARGE of the situation!
Just - Just look, right now the whole town is going to Pony Hell in a handbasket! It'll take some work to get it running smoothly...but I'm more than up for the challenge!
Ooh, but that princess...she's never listened to my advice before! Arrogant horse, I'll have to find a way to neutralize her. Can't risk her interfering...
...I've got it! She's a princess! Princesses are outranked by queens! I'll declare myself the Queen and even that know-it-all Celestia won't be able to question me! And look, there's a little shop with dresses in it right here. Dresses fit for a Time Queen!
Utilizing my royal authority, I appropriate what I need from inside. Namely the gown, some royal jewels, and few other things. I take a moment before the mirror to make sure my queenly appearance is perfect before I go out amongst my new subjects.
...Something feels strange.
...Err...we - well of course it doesn't look right! I clearly need a royal scepter to complete my royal appearance! A Queen without a scepter is like a screwdriver without any sonic: dull as dirt and in serious need of upgrading! There we go, so much better! I look ready to hit the town and command my subjects! Ha ha, this feeling is the best! And so am I!
I wish I'd tried this a hundred years ago. I feel so gloriously free.