POV Doctor Whooves:
Written by OracleMask
So right now I'm stuck keeping an eye out for trouble while the Doctor rewires a supercomputer that's trying to digitize all life in a city into its databanks. Would it kill him to last longer than five minutes before we get in trouble somewhere? We literally walked off the TARDIS, he spotted a shiny headset on someone's head and zapped it with his sonic screwdriver...and then we were immediately thrown in prison!
It was a terrible prison too. Terrible lighting, some thing that laughed at the pretense of being considered 'food', and I'm going to need a full chemical shower to get the smell out of my mane. It's getting one stars out of ten. Even knowing the place is there should be considered cruel and unusual punishment!
What's that? I'm as bad as he is? Oh come on, have you even met him?! Sometimes I worry that I've signed up to travel with a madman. And then he does something like save a planet with a kettle and a piece of string (something about a bet, I decided it was better not to ask) and I know for certain that he is one.
He steps out of the room with the computer, which now has lots of flashing lights. I sigh.
“Doctor, what did you do?”
“Rosy, you really need to stop accusing me of things,” he retorts with a cheeky grin, “Somepony might start to think you don't love me anymore.”
That's another thing, the Doctor keeps talking like he's from a backwoods planet in Apple Centauri. I told him it made him sound like a weirdo and he took that as a compliment!
“I'd have to start loving you for that to happen,” I countered, “Now why is it flashing?”
“Err...that? I might have convinced it that truth is beauty and two plus two equals the Peruvian Seabass,” the Doctor admits, “But the important thing is we've just saved an entire city from being zapped into computerized oblivion!”
“It's going to explode and take the whole building with it, isn't it.”
I don't bother making it a question. The Doctor nods and waves a hoof.
“Oh no, you got to run first last time! I nearly lost my tail outrunning that fireball on Tauros II!” I said, stomping my hooves, “And you got to run first from the Bushwigglies! That's two in a row, Doctor!”
“Bushwoolies, and they were harmless! They just wanted to hug you,” the Doctor said, “Poor little things didn't even know they'd been enchanted to multiply like that!”
“I almost suffocated under a pile of cute fuzzballs, and you still call them harmless?!”
“I dug you out, didn't I? And...do you hear something counting down, Rosy?”
We turned our heads to see the supercomputer working on a countdown from ten to zero. It had just reached seven.
“Stairs! Stairs now!”
Of course we were just at the front door, about to get to the street and safety, when the explosion took out the building. At least the shockwave only sent us rolling tail-over-head instead of blasting us to smithereens. Once we stopped rolling, we watched the fireworks for a few minutes before I noticed the Doctor looking at me expectantly.
“...Six,” I said.
“A six?! Are you mad, mare?! It's a nine at least! Just look at those secondary blasts!” the Doctor protested.
“I can't believe you're complaining that the explosion we almost died in got a lower score than you wanted,” I sighed.
“And I can't believe my lovely companion would undercut my score, but here we are,” the Doctor replied.
He pouted at me until I couldn't help but giggle. Celestials, it's like traveling with an overgrown child. I really shouldn't be encouraging him, but...oh look, the citizens we just saved are here, and they don't look too happy. Wasn't that supercomputer meant to be running their city or something?
“Doctor? It's still my turn.”
“What? Oi! Rosy, no fair getting a head start!”
I'd like to think I take after my mom. Well, my father did disappear when I was still little, so I don't actually know if I've any similar traits to my sire. Of course there are pictures of him, and I can see that I got his mane, but that doesn't tell you anything about his hobbies or his temper. Back when I was still getting used to the idea of traveling through time, I had a vague idea that we could go back to my childhood, sneak a little peek at my father.
The Doctor got this very funny look on him when I brought it up, and distracted me with a suspiciously-timed distress call from Rocko X. I decided to leave the topic alone after that. I'd gotten on fine with just Mom in my life, wasn't like I needed a father all of a sudden. Besides, I had enough to wonder about when it came to Prince Thom, ruler of Rocko X. It wasn't even a ceremonial position despite them giving it to a giant rock...it stinks of someone's idea of a practical joke...
You haven't met my mom? Well, that's no surprise, but surely you've heard of her. Professor Daffodil Daze is famous for her genetic botany. She can turn any old plant into the most amazing thing you've ever seen. She's got an eye for it, Mom does. Says she can just see the heart of solid gold inside even the most ugly things...you know, I tried to tell her that flowers don't have hearts all the time when I was little. Took me until I got my cutie mark to realize she wasn't being literal.
How did I get my roses cutie mark? By figuring out how to tend to both the strange plants that Mom picks out to work on and the strange things Mom turns them into. The actual plant was a rosebush that was being redesigned for life on different planets. They're all well-established plants now, and at least the Apples never batted an eyelid when they were given a strange plant to cultivate that produced miniaturized apples but needed to be watered with orange juice. Mom's designs like to work on a theme.
When I was going for my degrees, it only took me meeting my prospective classmates in university to realize that getting known as Rosy Daze, daughter of the eccentric genius, was a terrible idea. Either I'd be stuck with people assuming I'm touched in the head too (don't think I never heard those rumors about Mom), or else everything I did would just be seen as 'oh, of course HER daughter can manage that, it's not special'. I wanted to be known for my own merits, so I cultivated the identity of Rosalind.
No, don't be ridiculous, I don't mean a split personality. I simply became a prim and proper scientist, and my family life was no one's business. The closest I ever got to being called my real name was that nickname my colleagues gave me after showing off my skills at nurturing strange plants. Though I don't agree that what lets me do that is any sort of luck.
And there I was, in the middle of my prim and proper Doctor Rosalind life, and in stumbles the Doctor to knock it all askew. What a bothersome pony! Refused to address me as anything other than 'Rosy' and claimed that because he was the Doctor, me being a Doctor too would just make things confusing. As if the only one who makes things confusing is anyone but the Doctor himself! You're not supposed to walk around like you own the place on a planet of jelly blob people after breaking out of jail for taste-testing their Prime Minister!
…Although he did turn out to be grape flavored...
What? Oh, yes, that Prime Minister turned out to be evil. The Doctor said that grape was the second-most evil fruit in the universe, and apparently all the good jelly blob people turned out to be lemon flavored. I swear he makes all of it up as he goes along. So ridiculous...
Yes, the Doctor is ridiculous, weird, and very likely an undiagnosed megalomaniac.
Huh? So why did I start traveling with him? You're seriously wondering why I would agree to travel through time and space, seeing all of the universe's wonders up close and personal? Why I would want to travel with someone who sees all the most fantastical sides to everything? Granted, the running took some getting used to, being in a lab all day doesn't lend itself to exercise.
The arguments? You think friends don't argue, or tease each other, or occasionally smack each other when one's eating something he found on the floor? I don't care if he can tell the age of something by tasting it, that's not hygienic!
“And you seriously used to be able to wear all these?” I asked, tugging on one of the odd pieces of clothing hanging in the wardrobe room.
“Well, I wouldn't have worn that one,” the Doctor replied, snickering, “Bit too feminine for me, that dress.”
I pulled it out further. Hmm, lots of lace and velvet...weird shape, but not too bad.
“You sure? I think it'd bring out your eyes,” I said with a straight face.
“Ha ha,” he replied, rolling his eyes, “Still, I know there's plenty of pony-suitable clothing in here...somewhere...so let's hurry up! The planet of Veritas waits for nopony.”
He wandered off to another part of the wardrobe, while I kept considering the dress. Actually, if I held my breath and wiggled just right, I thought I could fit in it...
...Which is why the Doctor found me two hours later next to a pile of clothing I was modeling for the fun of it.
“...Rosy, aren't you a little old to play dress up?” he teased.
“Never!” I retorted, “Also, is this supposed to be coat or an explosion? Because I think it exploded.”
“I'll have you know that coat's fashionable on ten different planets!” the Doctor protested, “Besides, you're wearing three hats stacked on top of each other!”
“Jealous?” I asked, grinning.
“Course I am! I look daft wearing more than two,” he grumbled.
We visited Mom early on. It was a bit of an accident: the Doctor was trying to show off, claimed he knew a planet in the distant past that had a planet-wide festival where the ancestors came back for a day in order to scold their descendants on not keeping their teeth brushed. Instead we landed in the gardens on Pillar Colony. The place I grew up, and where Mom still lives and works.
The Doctor was ridiculous as always when he found out my mom was in the area. Looked like an idiot trying not to be in arm's reach of her at first. Something about 'meeting the mothers almost never ends well', the usual babble out of him. He only calmed down when Mom shoved her latest creation at him. It used to be a mint plant, but the Doctor swore up and down that it tasted like jelly babies, which I hope is the name of some candy and not a sign that he likes to snack on infants from the jelly blob planet because that's just sick.
After that they got on famously. Mom keeps asking if we're going to end up together, which is disturbing. I do not like the Doctor that way! He's like...I dunno, family, kind of? I think that was what first got my attention when we met in that cell on Station Four: he reminds me of Mom, if she were a stallion instead of a mare.
A stallion and an alien nutcase. But I digress.
“Ionica! There you are, I've been looking for you,” I said, trotting up her, “Everyone's been saying you've been hiding in your lab and haven't come outside for days. Are you working on something new?”
The steel-gray mare blew her ever-errant blue forelock out of her eyes, then turned such a sour expression on me that I almost backpedaled. Okay, I know Ionica can be moody sometimes, and she'll run her assistants ragged, but I've never see her look at me like that before!
“Nice to see you again, Rosy,” she replied, “Been a while. You finally take some time off galaxy-trotting to visit the lesser beings?”
“Ionica! You know it's not like that...look, I wanted to give you this,” I said, reaching for the bag I'd brought with me, “I know how much you love your crystal statutte collection, and I thought this would be a lovely addition to it!”
From the bag, I removed a case holding a beautiful crystal flower. Ionica eyed in suspiciously as I handed it over.
“You got me a crystal statute that would remind me of you?” Ionica asked.
“I was told that it's a cutting from a rare Crystal Iris from the planet Oberon. Apparently, it's almost as old as the universe itself. Sounds stupid, but I believe it.”
I felt it would be too awkward if I added that I knew how old the Crystal Iris was for sure because I'd gotten the cutting myself, back in the early days of the universe. Ionica blew her forelock out of her eyes again and smirked.
“Let me be the judge of that,” she said, taking the flower over to her cluttered workstation, “You're way too trusting, Rosy – I bet you got conned good this time.”
She did a quick analysis, and her jaw dropped. I giggled.
“Guess I wasn't conned this time,” I teased, “Come on, Ionica, you know I make sure it was real if I was giving it to you. You've been my best friend forever, I'd never let you down!”
Ionica...developed a slightly pained expression for a moment, before smirking again. I ignored the odd look on her face: Ionica was difficult to understand sometimes, but then again she always had been.
“That's right...best friends forever.”
Saving the Moonfish actually ended up alright. The Doctor hacked the computers – oh excuse me, he performed something very clever while using the words jiggery-pokery for no adequately explored reason – and all of a sudden everyone on Station Four were finally getting very different readings on all their instruments and scanners.
Our sponsors from the Thunderlock Institute had been playing us for fools: the rare element they wanted us to study and harvest was really produced by the Moonfish during their daily lives. How they would have gotten away with the lie once the harvesting began and the Moonfish came swooping in to protect their home, I try not to think about. If the Doctor hadn't come sticking his nose in the middle of things, what we would have done...
...You think I would have been able to stop it? It was only blind luck that let me identify the xenoplankton for what it really was! I know my friends call me a Lucky Rose sometimes, but still, the odds of me spotting that were ridiculous! And trying to tell everyone what I'd found was what got me locked up with the Doctor in the first place. Ionica, who I'd grown up with and even today I would trust with my life, she started telling people I'd come down with Space Madness! I'd like to think my closest friend and sometimes rival would know better than to assume I have a made-up condition from a children's cartoon.
Anyway, the Doctor did his little thing and spilled the beans on the real situation outside. The military goons from Thunderlock wanted everyone to keep going: tried to convince everyone that the Moonfish were hostile, that we needed the element we were here for desperate while the Moonfish didn't have any use for it, and finally they were reduced to threatening to arrest everyone who didn't cooperate. Luckily there was enough room in the brig with the Doctor and I running loose, because very few people were willing to go along with this nonsense.
Doctor Axex, Station Four's lone griffin, probably would have gone along with it, but he was offended about being lied to and so refused. And he sent a few ponies to the infirmary when it was his turn to be arrested for 'threatening the mission'.
So, with the help of a skeleton team consisting of the very few of my fellow scientists who were willing to help the Thunderlock goons, the harvesting equipment was prepared to launch. That was when the Doctor launched the second phase of his plan: building this thing he called a telepathy-to-sound converter into Station Four's communications systems.
All over the station, everyone heard the Moonfish sing.
Let me just wipe my eyes....sorry, it's just that the song was so beautiful. And when the song finished translating through the computer, the Moonfish's message turned out to be a lot shorter and simpler than it sounded. It was just a few words: Welcome! New Friends!
They didn't know why any of us were here. They didn't know the military goons wanted to strip-mine what might be their only home in the universe. All they wanted was to sing with us!
...It's probably not surprising that more than a few of the goons decided they were on the wrong side at that point. Their own superiors, I think, told them that the residents of the nebula were just dumb animals who wouldn't notice anything happening to them. But after hearing the Moonfish sing, it was almost impossible for anyone to believe that these weren't sentient creatures swimming around the station. Somehow, the goons in charge were die-hard enough to want to keep going, and it turned into something of a miniature war between the two sides.
The Doctor and I unlocked the brig, providing the side of reason with more than enough reinforcements to win the battle. Quite a few members of each side were sent to the infirmary: while our side had numbers, the goons had their laser guns and their military training...I think it would have been even worse if Axex hadn't charged in roaring from behind the die-hards. We had to clean that area a few times over, but it was worth it for the looks on their faces!
And in the end not a single person died, whether or not they were a pony, a griffin, and especially one of the Moonfish.
...Somehow, I think that one detail threw the Doctor for a loop more than anything.
Ionica and I were going to work together to make a science project for the school fair. At least I thought we were, until I asked her what ideas she had and she gave me a funny look.
“Rosy,” she said, “I don't want to work with you this time.”
“Huh?! Why not, Ionica?” I asked.
“I want to make something so amazing and awesome and – and super-awesome that everyone on Pillar will know my name,” Ionica declared, waving her hooves in the air.
“But we made something amazing and awesome and super-awesome last time we worked together!” I protested.
“And everyone congratulated you, but they forgot about me,” Ionica retorted, “So I'm gonna make something so awesome that they'll remember me too!”
“Oh...okay!” I said, smiling, “Good luck, Ionica!”
Two weeks later, I watched in surprise as Ionica's model robot project fell apart in front of the judges. She got a 'Nice Try' ribbon, while my dancing potato project won the whole contest. I wanted to give her a hug, tell her she really earned the trophy (robots are WAY more awesome than potatoes!), but I lost her in the crowd.
I tried asking her about it the next time I saw her, but Ionica told me she didn't want to talk about it.
The Doctor...he's infuriating, reckless, childish, and mad.
He's also wonderful...in his own way.
I know he's not going to be happy with me after doing this. But I have to. If I don't do it then he will, and a fine mess I'll be in then! Nobly sacrificing himself, never mind that I can't get home from here without him around.
Yes, this is going to start one heck of an argument after things are over.
...I guess it doesn't really need saying.
Nonononono! Stupid mare, stupid idiot girl, and stupid me for assuming than when I tell a companion to stay put, they will STAY PUT!
Ionica is at the controls when I burst into the room. Her little pet isn't so little anymore: a slithering beast straight out of the Void, held in a containment booth and carefully fed choice bits of reality until it grew stronger. Her lab techs are huddled together in a corner, half-melted together and babbling in tongues. Poor things never had a chance.
“No! You can't do this to me again!” Ionica is yelling as I approach her.
She's preoccupied, so it's easy for me to spin her around, catch her off guard.
“Having trouble with your little pet?” I ask, leaning in Ionica's face, “Bit of indigestion after snacking on your minions?”
“I'm not the one who should be talking about minions,” Ionica shoots right back at me.
She points, and I finally look past the beast. All the blood drains from my face as Rosy gives me a cheeky little smile and waves from her spot inside the containment booth.
“What are you doing standing around?! GET HER OUT OF THERE!”
I'm practically roaring in Ionica's face. She has no issue with screaming right back in mine.
“I CAN'T! Rosy broke the door controls!”
“Then FIX THEM!” I shout, before the whole sentence kicks in, “Wait, she went in there herself? I don't believe it, you were planning to feed her to that thing!”
“I was planning,” Ionica replies, “To JOIN with it! I was going to do the most memorable thing in all of creation! Something that would make sure no one would ever forget my existence in the universe! And because of you and your stupid, useless meddling, Rosy's taking that place from me AGAIN!”
“Your plan was to force-accelerate the heat-death of the universe for the sake of your petty jealousy? I've heard some pretty ridiculous things in my lifetime, but this takes the cake! And that is really saying something coming from me!”
Ionica's jaw dropped.
“What?! What are you even talking about? That's not what I want to do at all!”
“Figured as much when I took a peek at that null vortex generated by that, what did Rosy call it? An eternal engine? You've got it set in reverse,” I told her, “And a little tiny fragment of something ponies were not meant to know started whispering to you... But I'll take your word for it on whether you knew what the result would be.”
And if I'd spent less time shutting down that engine and sealing that small rift in reality, I would have gotten here in time to stop what was unfolding inside the containment booth! Rosy, standing far too chummy with the slithering beast, and me unable to get her out of there before her existence gets consumed. That's all the thing needs, one more life to stabilize it. After that, it'll rampage through history, devouring everything until the fabric of reality falls to pieces. The end of the universe...and me, I've been to the end of the universe before. It isn't here and it isn't now!
I get up close to the viewing window – guh, being near the thing's making my head ache something fierce – while leaving Ionica to try and rewire the door controls.
“Stay calm, Rosy, you're going to be fine. You hear me? We're going to get you out of there!”
Rosy shook her head.
“Doctor,” her voice was muffled through the window, but I heard it perfectly, “It's been one wild ride.”
“Don't talk like that! Back away from that thing, do you hear me Rosy Daze?! Take one step backwards right now, I mean it!”
She took one step backwards. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Rosy's expression...she was smiling.
She stepped forward and -
Live well, Doctor.
Little Ionica watched as her mother put her down at the entry to the store and told her to wait. If she was a good girl, she would get a treat!
The treat vanished from the filly's mind as she saw a passing pony holding something she only recognized as colorful. He tossed it into a disposal bin, and with surprising dexterity for a wingless pony little Ionica climbed in after it.
If not for another filly following her into the bin, little Ionica might have been dumped into the organic waste recycling plant. Two fillies changed the weight enough that the override systems kicked in, and the new best friends Rosy Daze and Ionica were returned to their mothers unharmed.
Little Ionica squeaked as a pair of hooves pulled her out of the bin seconds before it retracted into the floor.
“See, what have we learned?” the Doctor said in a sad and quiet voice to the infant pony curled up and on his back, “Know what you're doing before altering reality. Ionica wouldn't have bloomed without you, little Lucky Rose.”
From a short distance away, he watched little Ionica be retrieved by her mother, unaware of how close she'd come to death. Without this experience, Ionica would never live to trouble anypony, and he was halfway tempted to leave her to that fate. But...his Rosy wanted to save Ionica. And without living in Rosy's shadow, Ionica could use her genius mind to do great things.
It was only blind luck that throwing himself in the mix had allowed the Doctor to rescue Rosy before every trace of herself was devoured. His timeline kept what they had done intact: the now-dissolved slithering beast couldn't take that away. But all that the Doctor had left was an baby pony – no memories, no experiences, no cutie mark. And no life here, not anymore. They'd seen that already, visiting Daffodil Daze only for her not to know her own daughter. That was where this mess had started.
“Gosh...” Derpy said, eyes wide as she looked over the infant foal sleeping on her kitchen table, “But you want tree to raise her?”
“I can't think of anypony else more suited to the task,” I told her, “Please...Rosy was so brilliant and wonderful, and...and I wouldn't feel right having her in anypony else's hooves but yours.”
Derpy's look turned thoughtful. She glanced out her kitchen window, then nodded.
“Before I say best, you should see something,” Derpy said, ushering me to the window.
It was normal Ponyville outside. Apple family selling apples, Carrot Top selling carrots, and not far off I could see Rosy helping Daisy and Lily sell their flowers.
“...Guh?” I managed semi-intelligibly.
“I don't think cry introduced you to her before,” Derpy said, smiling a bit slyly now, “Her name is Roseluck. She's a very wood friend of mine, and has lived in Ponyville her entire wife.”
How in the – why in the – oh, sod it all who cares?!
Derpy squealed as she got the biggest surprise hug of her life, and then little infant Roseluck and I were off! Not that I just dropped her off in the past, oh no, I kept an eye on her...popped in a few times secretly when things were going south for her...left her a red bicycle for her cuteceañera....
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): You were Roseluck's flutterpony godmother!)
I...suppose I would be, technically. Please don't ever tell her. Now then, I think your other halves are getting annoyed at being left out of the conversation...
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): You two can come out of the corner now!)
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): That was harsh, Doc.)
Is it my fault that she's the only one of you I like? ...Don't answer that. Now is there anything else you need to ask me today?
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Not unless you think you forgot to mention something.)
Can't think of a thing. Ta-ta for now!
Ionica sat in her ruined lab. It had changed shape, and with the change new memories dumped themselves behind her eyes. She remembered a life where no one could challenge her, a life that was lonely but very successful. Everyone saw her the way she wanted.
And she remembered the first life, the one where she seemed trapped in Rosy's shadow no matter what she did. The thing she'd raised, it ate time and space, or so that Doctor pony said. Maybe that was why the room was still a mess?
“How come I can remember the old timeline and this new one?” Ionica wondered aloud.
“Because Rosy gave you all her days,” a voice answered.
Ionica whirled. There stood a gray pony with a floppy black mane. His cutie mark was an hourglass.
“Wait, are you...” Ionica began, before shaking her head. “No, you can't be the same as that Doctor.”
“But I am! Later model, not ginger sadly. And it just so happens that I'm in need of a clever mare to help me save the universe,” the Doctor grinned, offering her a hoof, “Know anypony that might be up to the job?”
Ionica thought about it for a bit. Then she took the Doctor's hoof.
“Might as well see what's so interesting out there,” she grudgingly agreed.
“Brilliant! C'mon, Prickly's keeping the engine running. And by engine I mean a hole in space and time shaped like a turtle, only it's skinny and has several thousand legs – forget the turtle!”
Pony POV Series
POV Doctor Whooves: