Return of the Doctor's Daughter

By Skye Silverwing

Chapter 2: The Toll

Rarity gave an undignified groan as consciousness began to creep its way into the numb void of the death she had expected. Most of the last few hours, she could not recall as more than a blur, but one thing she could recall for sure was flinging herself and her magic around her sister as the roof came down, in a desperate bid to save her from crushing death, even at the cost of her own life.

Now, though, it seemed that in spite of her attempt to sacrifice it, her life was still very much in her possession. Death had no pain like this.

Forcing her eyes open, the Unicorn groaned again, but stoically refused to let the stabbing pain in her head stop her from looking around the room.

The first thing she saw was herself. Her hind legs were wrapped in heavy plaster casts and she had bandages wrapped around her body. It seemed that as badly as she had been injured, she had been treated well enough that, given time, she would recover fully.

Next her eyes turned to the bed next to hers, where she saw with no small amount of relief her sister was resting comfortably, looking considerably less injured than Rarity herself.

Rarity turned her head slightly, noticing Sweetie Belle's friend, Scootaloo, sleeping in the chair in the room. She had to admit that she was hurt to see none of her own friends showing the same level of concern over herself. She attempted to call forth her magic to bring the call button to her, but a spike of pain in her horn caused her to cry out in pain.

On the other side of the room, Scootaloo's eyes popped open. "Oh!" the filly cried, "You're awake! You had everypony worried for a while there. Oh, you shouldn't use your magic! Doctor Roan says your horn got hurt, so you should avoid using it for a few days. I'll go get Doctor Roan." She trotted quickly out of the room.

Rarity smiled a little at how grown up the Pegasus Filly was acting, but then it occurred to her that she didn't really know what was going on. Her heart sank as a thought occurred to her. What had happened to cause such a change in the young Filly?

A few moments later, Doctor Maretha Roan came in, followed by Scootaloo and a very haggard looking Twilight Sparkle.

Twilight smiled when she saw her friend's blue eyes staring back at her. "I am so glad to see you awake, Rarity." She said, "Things have been chaos since the blast."

Rarity looked at Twilight in concern. "When you say, 'blast', you mean that explosion that knocked down my home, right?" she asked, "Did it damage other parts of Ponyville as well?"

Twilight looked at her friend. "Rarity…" she said with a sigh. There was no Sugarcoating this. "That blast was probably the worst catastrophe Equestria has ever known." She used her magic to open the curtains covering the window.

Outside, the view of Ponyville was one of devastation. Many Ponies' homes lay in ruins, and there were still fires burning in the outskirts; their smoke clearly visible in the early morning Sun.

Twilight looked at her friend, stress showing clearly on her face. "The Fire Ponies are overwhelmed, the EMPs are overworked, the ERPs are being run ragged, and nopony able to help with anything has even thought about sleep in the past fourteen hours." She said. "We are working ourselves almost to death just trying to save those we can, but the death toll is terrible."

Rarity stared at her. "And you are organizing everything?" she asked, concern for her friend coloring her voice, "Surely, there is someone else… the Mayor..."

Twilight's jaw clenched slightly. "The Mayor was in City Hall." She said, looking out at the rubble where City Hall used to stand. "The ERPs managed to get her out… but… she died on the operating table last night. As of eight o'clock this morning, by order of Princess Celestia, I was made acting Mayor of Ponyville until such time as a new Mayor is chosen."

Rarity gasped. "Are…are our friends alright?" she asked.

Twilight knew who she was talking about; their friends, the other Four Bearers of the Elements of Harmony.

Twilight sighed. "It depends on what you mean by alright." She said. "Rainbow Dash is unconscious. She fell from her home when the blast struck the clouds from the sky. AJ had to be restrained and sedated. Her Granny Smith died in a fire at the farm, and she did not take it well. Fluttershy was a real trooper. Angel, her rabbit, saved her from being crushed by the tree outside her home, but died himself. She is asleep in Rainbow's hospital room. Pinkie Pie is… Well, she is Pinkie Pie, but Mr. and Mrs. Cake have not come back from their delivery to Canterlot yet, so she is taking care of the Twins."

Rarity listened with concern. "And what of aide from other parts of Equestria?" she asked.

Twilight sighed again. "Well, thanks to the quick actions of Shining Armor, Canterlot was spared damage," she said, "But their attention has to go to the hardest hit communities first."

Rarity's eyes widened. "What communities could be harder hit than Ponyville?" her eyes went back to the devastation out the window.

Twilight hung her head. "Reports are still coming in, but CloudsDale is gone." She said, drawing a gasp from the other Unicorn. "The blast wiped it from the sky. The Royal Guard are desperately searching for survivors, but they believe that we lost over ninety percent of CloudsDale's population. Hoofington is also reporting major damages, and Manehatten was hit pretty hard, too."

Rarity shook her head slightly. "That…" she said in a low, horrified voice, "That is awful. What can we do?"

Doctor Roan, who had stayed silent until now, stepped forward. "You are going to stay in bed and heal." She said simply. "The rest of us will go on tending the wounded, and then we will bury the dead. After that, we will go on. Ponies always do."

.o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o.

Zecora's mood brightened slightly when she saw that the signs of Pony civilization ahead. The Zebra had been walking all night, her progress hampered dramatically by the debris of the destruction of the forest as well as the weight of the mysterious filly she carried.

The Zebra had not really had a lot of time to ponder why the child's flesh could feel so cold, though she would have thought her dead if not for the steady rise and fall of breath in her chest.

Zecora saw the train tracks ahead and cursed the destruction for wiping out her landmarks. She must have circled north of Ponyville and was now between the Town and Canterlot. Sure enough, when she reached the clearing near the tracks, the Mountain city came into view to the North. The Pink bubble of a defensive shield clearly showed that what had happened in the forest had not been limited to it. A small concern gripped the Zebra as she turned toward Ponyville.

Hurrying along the track, Zecora made better time, quickly rounding the high bend that lead straight into Ponyville. What she saw there did not improve her concerns. It was clear that Ponyville had been hit nearly as badly as the forest, if the large piles of rubble that used to be Ponies' homes were any indication. She carried the Filly through the town, seeing that all of the Town's Emergency Workers were clearly embroiled with trying to save those that were still trapped, and determined that it would likely be best to take the child straight to the Hospital. When she reached it, she saw Twilight Sparkle talking with one of the Doctors.

Zecora approached the pair and gave an exhausted smile. "It seems good fortune that I have arrived," she rhymed, "For this filly here is yet alive."

The Doctor and Twilight both turned and rushed to see to the pair, Twilight lending support to Zecora, who was exhausted after her journey, and Maretha took the Filly from her. "Who is she?" the Doctor asked. "I have never seen her before."

Zecora gave the Mare a slight nod. "I found her on the forest floor, but of her I know nothing more." She replied, "She lives, but seems in death's own jaws. I could not even guess the cause."

Maretha looked the Filly over, shifting her body and checking her vitals. Then, a wispy golden mist began to issue from the Filly's mouth, drawing an intake of breath from the medically trained Mare in response.

Twilight gasped. "What was that?" she asked, "I have never seen anything like it."

Maretha pulled out her stethoscope and checked the pony's heart beat, then pondered for a moment. "I have." She said, "This might require a special kind of Doctor."

"What kind of Doctor?" Twilight asked.

She turned and pulled out a cellular phone, ignoring the Pony's question. "Hello, Derpy? It's Maretha Roan." She said, "Is he there?" There was a pause. "Yes, you often are when you are traveling with him." Another pause. "Well, what could possibly be that important?" her eyes widened slightly. "That many?" Another pause. "Alright, but as soon as you are done, it is important that the Doctor get here now." She then spouted off a series of numbers, checking the hospital clock as she said the last several Digits. "Let him know it has to do with him personally." Another pause. "Okay. I have to go, bye." She hung up and immediately picked up the filly and took her outside.

Twilight Sparkle started to follow her, supporting Zecora. "What was that all about?" she wanted to know, "Why did you call Derpy?"

Maretha looked at the Lavender Pony. "Twilight, you should get Zecora to the library." She said in her best "Doctor's Orders" kind of voice. "She looks like she could use the rest."

Twilight stared at her for a moment then sighed and gave a nod. "Just keep me informed, alright?" she asked, "I don't want any more trouble."

.o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o.

Inside the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), the Doctor chuckled as he spun a few dials threw a couple switches, and hit an apparatus that looked an awful lot like a tetherball. "So, where to now, Derpy?" he asked, a large grin on his face.

Derpy smiled broadly. The Parasprites had been a little difficult to deal with, especially when they tried to eat the TARDIS, but ultimately they had succeeded in their task of relocating the more dangerous version of them to a planet where they could no longer hurt anypony. She was about to suggest trying the Randomizer again when she remembered that Maretha Roan had called her in the middle of their adventure with some urgent matter for the Doctor.

The Derpy-eyed Pegasus Pony looked at the Doctor and smiled. "I just remembered." She said, "Maretha called. She said there was something important to do with you." She proceeded to rattle off the coordinates Maretha had given her, from memory. "She said it had to do with you personally."

The Doctor looked at Derpy and grinned. "Good old Maretha." He said happily. "Always good for an Adventure or two."

He imputed the Coordinates via a device that looked like a pinball machine, grabbed the big lever and pulled it, triggering the Vworping sound of the TARDIS's transport sequence. A moment later a deep thud told them that they had landed.

Stepping quickly to the Door, the Doctor smiled. "Come along, Derpy," he said with a flourish. "we mustn't keep dear Martha waiting."

He opened the door and stepped out into the light of day and the smile vanished from his face. Destruction and mayhem clearly were running rampant in Ponyville, and the Doctor did not like it one bit. He pulled out his Sonic Screwdriver and waved around before checking the readings. "Well, now that can't be right." He said, "This should be the second year of the Sisters, the early part of the Pony Golden Age, during the Element Protectorate. There should not be a disaster like this in this time. It makes no sense."

Spying his former companion sitting on a nearby bench with an unknown filly unconscious beside her, the Doctor hurried over. "Maretha!" He called, "What happened here?"

Maretha looked at the Doctor and shrugged. "No one knows for sure." She said, frowning. "There was a huge explosion in the sky and chaos followed. Twilight said she thought it was a meteor, and that Princess Luna is looking into it."

The Doctor checked the readings on his screwdriver once again. "It says there are Heuon Particles. Heuon particles are not supposed to exist anymore. That is just peculiar." He said, developing a massive grin. "And brilliant! Come on, Derpy, let's go investigate!"

Maretha sighed. "Doctor." She said. "As much as I know the explosion interests you, it is not the reason I called you here."

The Doctor, who had begun to wander off, turned on his heal and looked at Maretha again. "Then what is it?" he asked, clearly slightly put off by being prevented from going to investigate the strange goings on, "Come on then, don't have all day, Maretha, if you did not bring me to help with the death and destruction, why am I here?"

As if on cue, the Filly on Maretha's lap turned slightly in her sleep, expelling a small amount of golden mist.

Intrigued, the Doctor frowned and produced his stethoscope, leaning in as he listened to the blond maned brown furred filly's heartbeat. A moment later, he stepped back looking very surprised indeed. "Oh my." He said, appearing to be both excited and worried at the same time.

Maretha looked up at him. "So I'm right, then?" she asked.

The Doctor looked at the Mare and danced nervously on his toes. "Only if your hypothesis was that this filly is somehow a Time Lord." He said.

Derpy's eyes widened. "But Doctor, didn't you say that you are the last of the Time Lords?" she asked.

The Doctor pondered and danced on his toes. "Well... yes." He replied. "I… am certain all of the other Time Lords are trapped in the Time Lock, back in my home Universe, however, it stands to reason that in this Universe there could be a race of Time Ponies, which might have originated in much the same manner as the Time Lords, but differently."

The Filly began to stir, and gave a low groan. The three Ponies present turned to regard her.

Derpy smiled. "Looks like we can just ask her." She said happily.

The Doctor smiled at his assistant. "Indeed, Derpy, very astute as usual." He praised her.

The Filly groaned again and opened her eyes. Then gave a quick glance around, eyebrows rising as she realized that she was surrounded by unusual creatures. "Oh… Brilliant." She muttered.

Maretha's instincts as a doctor were first to kick in as she spoke. "How are you feeling, little one?" she asked.

The Filly's eyes widened. "Talking… Equines?" she said, "That's new."

Well there went the Doctor's theory about Time Ponies.

Derpy, of course, immediately moved to confirm. "How can talking Ponies be new?" she asked, "You are a pony the same as us, just younger."

The Filly Blinked. She held up her hoof and looked at it. "Huh." She said. "So I am. I did not know that regeneration could work like that. I was a biped before… to be fair, though, this is only the second time I needed to regenerate... I figured I would at least stay humanoid…"

Doctor Roan looked at The Doctor. The Doctor's eyes widened significantly.

Stepping closer, The Doctor looking into the Filly's eyes. "What is your name?" he asked, bringing his eyes within an inch of hers.

She looked back calmly. "I'm Jenny." She said simply.

The Doctor's eyes widened even further. "No… That is impossible." He said, "I saw you die on Messaline."

Jenny pulled back a few inches. "How could you have possibly…" she started, trailing off as she tried to figure it out.

The Medical Doctor looked carefully at The Doctor. "Who is she?" she asked.

The Doctor looked from Maretha to Derpy and back again. "She is my Daughter."

.o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o.

Rainbow Dash fluttered her eyes open, slowly stirring against the pull of several straps fastened to hold her in place. She winced as a bold of pain lanced down her wing. Slowly, she recalled waking in freefall, buffeted by winds more wild than she had ever experienced before.

She winced again when she saw the wing holding her wing in proper position for healing and bandages wrapped around her chest, but in truth she had expected far worse. Flying in those conditions would have been impossible – such forces being likely to tear a Pegasus's wings off – so she had had to close her wings and drop like a stone, flaring them only at the very last second to bleed off enough speed before she hit the ground. She had been certain of failure when her left wing had been ripped from its socket and her controlled ditch became an uncontrolled barrel roll into the ground.

Glancing around the room, she saw a sleeping Fluttershy in one of the chairs. She was glad to see her oldest friend here, but the slight look of distress on the sleeping Pony's face made her wonder if whatever had left her plunging toward her doom had caused trouble for more ponies than just her.

Glancing at her own injuries, and Fluttershy's sleeping face, she decided that the answers could wait. A little while at least.

Settling herself as comfortably as she could, given her injuries, Rainbow settled down to sleep, and wondered what other tragedies had occurred this day.

.o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o.

Twilight Sparkle studied the report that had just arrived from Canterlot. Tears welled in her eyes as she re-read the words. "Spike." She said sadly, "I need you to go get Pinkie Pie for me."

Spike nodded, and ran off. Twilight stepped to the edge of the loft and looked down at the ponies who had all at once found themselves homeless, jobless, or worse, taking refuge in her library. The numbers were staggering, and all of those who could help were doing so with everything they had to help each other.

In these bleak times, though, Twilight could not help but wonder if the strength of their friendship would be strong enough to overcome, even as the true tragedy of these events came crashing home.

It only took a few moments for Pinkie Pie to arrive. The Pink Pony carried both of the Cakes' Foals with her, their confused expressions causing Twilight to blink tears from her eyes again.

Pinkie looked at Twilight. "You needed me?" She asked.

Twilight looked out over the ponies below. "Pinkie… I…" she hesitated, "I just received word…" There was no sugar coating this. "The train Derailed on its way between Canterlot and Ponyville and went off a cliff. All those onboard were lost… Including Mr. and Mrs. Cake."

Pinkie Pie paled. "Oh, no…" she whispered, grief straining her voice. "This… This is terrible…" She scooped up the Foals and held them in a comforting hug before looking back at Twilight. "What about them?" She asked, holding up Pound and Pumpkin Cake. "Who will take care of them, feed them, bathe them, change their clothes and do all the other things their parents used to do."

Twilight looked at her friend. "Actually, after the Discord Incident, Mr. and Mrs. Cake came to me." She said. "They were concerned that if something happened to them, their Foals would not have anyone to care for them, so they asked my assistance in writing a Will. The Will names you as Pound's and Pumpkin's legal Guardian, as well as partial beneficiary of their Estate."

Pinkie Pie nuzzled the foals sadly. "I… I don't know if I can handle it…" she said, "It's such a big responsibility…"

Twilight smiled reassuringly. "Don't you worry, Pinkie Pie." She said, "I will help you all I can, and I am sure the others, and everyone else in Ponyville, will do the same. Those babies will have the whole town to care for them, not just you."

Pinkie looked reassured. "Okay…" she said softly, looking down at the Foals, "I will do my best."

Twilight smiled. "I know you will, Pinkie." She said, "Hopefully, we will be able to rebuild and move on with our lives, and give those little ones a safe home to grow up in."

.o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o.

Deep in the Everfree Forrest, the Ancient ruins of old Canterlot stood for thousands of years before Princesses Celestia had abandoned it for her new home high on the mountain. The crumbled stones, eroded by time and wind and water, as well as the life growing in the Everfree had long stood as the marker for the great power held within.

Below the surface, though, in vaults long untouched by the hand of time, and longer still passed beyond the reach of memory, a number of great cracks, deep crevasses in the stone, had appeared. From deep within, a cold green light showed, and a soft green miasma crept, rising slowly, as the air of the outside world slipped in, and deep below, something stirred.

.o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o. .o0o.

A.N. And now the toll of the cataclysm comes to bare, and the Ponies can begin to rebuild and grieve. But of course, something Darker is on the horizon, and the Doctor and Jenny will be needed to help stop it. As always, I love constructive criticism and ideas on what should be happening. If you have a comment, I want to hear it.