Golden Oaks Library, Ponyville
8:02am, 25th of Summer, 1001 C.R.
Spike, the dragon, had his work cut out. He scrambled all over the library, catching stray books that were practically sentient with their seemingly random parabolic trajectories which called for sporadic, serpentine inspired movements from the tiny reptile. Twilight ran through all of the books in her library at dizzying speeds, levitating them past her for a sparse glance before tossing it over her shoulders.
Behavior like this from the more-than-eccentric unicorn was hardly a surprise, Twilight Sparkle would be able to go weeks incredibly idle before jumping into a fervor; running around like a mad pony with no purpose.
This was hardly the result of her ever-changing moods, however. Catastrophe had fallen upon Ponyville. Not one in the same vein of Twilight losing her favorite quill, it was a real, legitimate concern amongst the ponies that could end in absolute disaster. Twilight had promised everypony that she would be able to produce a solution in no time, but, so far, has come up short of a solution; although she found a riveting recipe for fat-free muffins.
"No, no, no, no, no!" Like mantras she muttered to herself as dozens of books floated past her. Groaning in frustration, she threw all of the books in her possession back; Spike was lost in a mountain of literature.
"None of the books I own can explain what's being going on!" she bemoaned, "It doesn't make any sense! Spike!"
The dragon was unresponsive under the mound of books, and after a few moments, a single claw poked itself from the pile and dug out the reptilian. Spike rolled his eyes and grimaced at the massive pile of books that he would undoubtedly have to clean up before getting to his feet and dragging himself to Twilight.
"What? If you expect me to clean all of this up, you're nuts Twi. Well, nuttier than usual," he snickered at his little joke but Twilight was hardly in a joking mood.
"Are you sure there is no reference of this in the Big Medical Book of Medicine?" she asked impatiently.
"For the hundredth time, yes I'm sure! We ran through that book a billion times, I'm pretty sure I can recite the pony bone structures by heart at this point!" he answered with just as much impatience as she demonstrated.
"I'm sorry to be so short with you, Spike, but this is important! We have a crisis on our hooves!" Twilight reminded him before going back to her medically relevant books for more research.
"Why not just contact the princess then?" he asked.
"Because, she's on very important business in the Arctic North. Even if we could get a letter to her, she might be too busy to respond," she answered, throwing back The Anatomical Systems of Quadrupeds which found purchase dead-center on Spike's face.
Spike mumbled something, but with the book in his mouth, it came out was unintelligible grumbles (which it most likely was) but Twilight brightened at his unheard words. "You're a genius Spike!" she cried, suddenly levitating him toward her and embracing the tiny dragon. "Zecora might know the answer. Come on, let's see her now!"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," he started, pushing himself away from Twilight but still caught in her magical hold. "I like Zecora and all, but she lives in the Everfree Forest you know?"
"That place is creepy Twi! What if we get mixed up with something weird there?" he shook his head furiously, apparently ignorant to the fact that he was a dragon, part of the toughest species out there.
"Come on Spike, this is no time to get cold paws. This is an emergency and you know it. Zecora will definitely be able to help us!" Twilight insisted, ignoring the dragon's cries and pleads to be left behind. Without another word of argument, Twilight dragged Spike outside and made her way through Ponyville, toward the outskirts and, eventually, the Everfree Forest.
Considering the time, it wouldn't be a surprise to see nopony out and about in town, but in Ponyville things were a bit different. Everypony knew each other and the community was incredibly close-knit which typically allowed for early mornings and late nights in the rustic little village. At the crack of dawn, there were some ponies already up and walking around the town, businesses would even be open at that time.
Therefore it was a surprise to see nopony out.
The only sound in the tiny little village was that of Twilight's hooves as she half-ran, half-trotted toward the outskirts. Even Spike piped down to marvel at how absolutely tranquil and eerie everything was.
"It's like a ghost town," he remarked, glancing over Sugarcube Corner which normally would be brimming with excitement from the residential party pony but was absolutely desolate.
Twilight only nodded grimly. It had only been three days since this silence fell upon the village. The sickness fell upon a few ponies, then it had eventually, and inevitably, spread. Soon, there was virtually nopony left. There only remained a few, Rainbow Dash was sent off to Cloudsdale to find a solution at the hospital and Rarity was off to Manehattan to search for help, but that was two days ago and there hasn't been any response. It was so strange and foreign to see Ponyville in such a depressing state, but Twilight shook her head and focused at the task at hoof.
She promised a solution for everypony, and if it took months, she would find it. The only problem is she doesn't think she has days to spare, much less months.
The trip to the Everfree Forest was quicker than usual, thanks to the lack of traffic and idle gossip amongst the villagers; they got there in half the time. It gave Twilight a chance to check up on Fluttershy's cottage. Ever since the shy and demure pony was moved away, her pet animals were left to care for themselves. Being good friends with the pegasus, however, ensured that the pets would be watched over.
Though it was evident that the same amount of care that Fluttershy applied to the animals could not be replicated from Twilight, when she emerged from the cottage, her mane ruffled and face red from tiny scratches, like she got in a fight with a rosebush.
"They're fine," she relayed to the barely contained dragon. Then, they made their way into the forest.
No matter how many times she would go into the forest, she could never get used to the foreboding sense of fear that nearly froze her legs. It was only her sense of responsibility that made her cross that border every time.
Spike, however, was having a harder time coping with his fear as he shivered on Twilight's back.
"D-do we really have to go here? I mean, couldn't we just send Zecora a letter or something?" Spike asked, fear apparent in his voice.
"Get a grip Spike," Twilight lightly chided, trying to keep her own fear out of her voice. "I've been here dozens of times, and nothing bad has happened yet."
"What about that hydra?"
"Well, that was-"
"And that giant bull?"
"You can't just-"
"And the harpies and the possessed trees and the-"
"Okay!" she interjected, "So, this place is dangerous. But it's fine. It's only a short walk to Zecora's place and then we can leave, okay?"
"Fine. The less time I have to spend here, the better," Spike consoled miserably.
But, they would never make it to Zecora's place. Halfway into the dense forest with strange foliage and stranger animals, they were able to hear it; something completely out of place with unnatural ambiance of the forest. It was an almost lyrical gust of air coming from above. It was nothing an animal would make, and certainly nothing pony-made.
Twilight and Spike looked to the skies, where they saw an impossible blue box suddenly materialize into reality falling to the earth. As if things weren't crazy enough, there was a pony hanging from the edge of the box, laughing almost manically as the box suddenly dipped and crashed into the forest.
"Was that…" Spike dared not to finish his sentence, for fear he had gone mad. But Twilight nodded silently, causing the dragon to swallow back his fear nervously. It seemed that no break would be given to the downtrodden assistant, as instead of acting upon the most rudimentary logical faculties, Twilight had opted, instead, to run toward the box's direction.
Spike, not particularly keen on staying in this horrid forest, had no choice but to follow. Through the dense foliage and thick roots that sprawled outward from the unnatural trees, a clearing suddenly opened up. Mist clung to the ground like shadowy wisps, the grass was tall but dark and brown, and in the middle of it sat the impossible box. It was on its "back", if it could be called that, but Twilight was able to notice the actual doors on the top of the back that opened inward. Smoke bellowed from the box, like an ill dragon's cough, and it glowed eerily.
"T-twi, what is that?" Spike asked, gripping at Twilight's legs nervously. Twilight needed to tilt her head to look more carefully at the box. In big bold letters, "Police Public Call Box" could be read.
"Ah! Hello!" a pony popped his head from the box. A bright smile graced the stallion's face as he stared quizzically at Twilight and Spike, as if he had just engaged them in friendly conversation rather than drop out of the sky.
"Do either of you have any experience in operating a multidimensional quantum entanglement regulator?" he asked with a certain flourish in his voice, in tandem with his accent – which was possibly Hoofington – gave the impression that he was either brilliant or properly insane.
Twilight and Spike both shook their heads dumbly. The impossible stallion frowned and jumped out of the box, a large metallic device was holstered to his back with dozens of cable spilling from the end and connecting deep inside the blue box.
"That's perfectly fine, I don't know how to use it either," he admitted with a cheery smile, "But don't worry! I'll figure out how it works eventually."
"W-wait!" Twilight tried to protest as the stallion pulled off the device from his back and handed it to her. "What is this thing? Who are you-"
"No time for silly questions, no, I think I'll be free at three-thirty, you can ask silly questions then. But now, we need to work!" the stallion insisted, randomly flipping switches on the device before pointing at the large red button on top of it, "See that? Keep that pressed down, it should keep the TARDIS sustained. For some reason, she's unable to maintain her form in this place, which is why we crashed and certainly not because I forgot to engage the brakes again, astronavigation one-oh-one, the brakes are useless anyways!"
The stallion turned back to the blue box, muttering in his rapid-fire method of talking. He looked like he had been through the fight of his life! His coat and mane was ruffled, and charred black, and his outfit was absolutely tattered and ruined. The only thing that was left untouched was his cutie mark; a golden hourglass.
"The fall through the Abstract Plane was worse than I thought. The TARDIS already deleted thirty percent of the rooms! I spent ages on the labyrinth! Mind you, finding a giant mechanical bronze bull was not an easy task, especially when you've got half of the 23rd Lunar Regiment after you. Am I going to have to redo everything now?" He moved about excitingly, waving his legs irregularly to punctuate his rant.
Finally, Twilight had had enough of his nonsense, she dropped the device and trotted up to him. "Listen mister- whoever you are, what is that thing and who exactly are you?"
"No, no, why did you drop it!" The stallion ran past Twilight and picked up his strange apparatus which sparked and fumed smoke. "Not good, not good, very much the opposite of good! Why did you drop it?!"
"Oh, blast! It's malfunctioning!" He dug into his pockets and produced a large metal wand-like object. Wand firmly between his teeth, it whirred to life as he ran it across the device, "I think I can get it to work. I need to boost the signal-"
The device caught fire. Yelping, he dropped it suddenly and it exploded. Twilight leapt back to avoid the sparks and the stallion cursed as he ran toward the box, which began to disappear from existence.
"No, no, no, no!" he cried, "She can't anchor here! She's phasing!"
He jumped back, aimed his wand at the box and it activated, accelerating the box's dematerialization and within seconds it was gone. He glanced at his wand and laughed triumphantly.
"Yes! I managed to activate the emergency protocols! She'll enter in temporal stasis and repair, once she is able to, she'll hone in on my sonic screwdriver, fantastic!" His happy attitude deflated, however, once he spotted Twilight and circled her, like a vulture around dead meat.
"And you! Miss Purple-Unicorn-I-Think-I'm-So-Smart, why'd you drop my sparky box?!"
"I thought it was a multidimensional something-or-other regulator!" countered Twilight.
"Yes, it is, but that name is too long! It's a box that was very sparky, therefore: sparky box! Why'd you drop it?" he asked again.
"You're the one who suddenly dropped out of the sky in a blue box! What's a police box anyways?"
"It's a TARDIS, Time And Relative Dimension In Space. It happens to be one of the most advanced piece of technology in the universe, and another thing, why is everyone so concerned about it being a police box anyways- AGH!" he staggered back as his entire body glowed bright gold.
Twilight stepped forward but the stallion merely looked up and coughed. Gold dust, it seemed, came out, it was like dancing glitter as it flew up and dispersed in the air.
"Who… are you?"
The stallion smiled brightly as he looked down at his forelegs, which glowed briefly. "I'm the Doctor, and apparently, I'm a horse now!"
Just as quickly as his hyperactive antics started, it immediately crashed as the Doctor's eyes rolled up and he slumped over, face first into the dirt, unconscious.
Ponyville General Hospital
8:30am, Same day, 1002 C.R.
Ponyville General Hospital is, without the usage of over-generalities and redundancies, a hospital in the same way a confectionery is a military armory; though, with consideration of Pinkie Pie's recent pie-cannons, that statement may be more accurate than one would think.
With the small town's population being a dwindling few hundreds, with the occasional sudden increase due to tourism for the Running of the Leaves, the hospital hasn't had much attention or practice with how little injuries and illness can occur. There are exceptions, of course, with several bruises and cuts from the more than enthusiastic Cutie Mark Crusaders and general escapades of Rainbow Dash, the residential daredevil, but, on average, attendance at the hospital is slim, at best.
Consequently, not much funding has gone into the hospital. Mind you, the grounds are pristine and the pinnacle of modern innovation. Medical techniques and technologies have been, however, dwarfed as a result of this deficit in funding. Magnetic Resonance Imaging tests are performed by unicorn experts rather than machines, and some X-Ray machines are so old their function is more damaging than beneficial.
An epidemiologist and sociologist may observe that due to this sudden illness that has struck the grand majority of Ponyville funding would exponentially increase. They would observe it, if they weren't in the hospital themselves.
Nasty cacophonies of panicked orders from nurses and doctors alike mixed with the symphony of coughs and hacking from the attendees. Everypony wore hospital masks, which made everything eerier as faceless ponies milled about, either deathly ill or equally concerned. There were not enough rooms for everypony and those who weren't given rooms had to stay in the lobby, this was no longer a peaceful hospital who would bandage every rowdy filly and colt, this was a field hospital at the brink of absolute chaos.
Doctor Stable nearly pushed over a nurse trying to get to Exam Room 1. Muttering an apology, he made it out of the lobby but not out of the chaos as dozens more of the ill filled the hallway. He tried to appeal to everypony that begged for water or painkillers, the trained keen medical mind that he possessed was scrambling for answers. The symptoms presented by these ponies were all the same, meaning this wasn't a random occurring incident, also meaning that it was possibly an infection. It was also highly localized, there were no reports of anywhere outside of Ponyville of similar symptoms.
Coughing, fatigue, dehydration, fever, inflammation of the throat and lungs, darkening of the coat; to list a few of the symptoms. Each of those symptoms is easily treatable by themselves, but nopony thus far have been responding to treatment. Broad-spectrum antibiotics have been moot, and even if it could work, the hospital had a limited supply, certainly not enough to provide for the growing number of sick ponies.
Worry and fear gnawed at the back of Doctor Stable's mind. Would Twilight, the esteemed student of Princess Celestia and all-around know-it-all, be able to find a solution? He stepped through the door to Exam Room 1 and found the pony in question, sitting as she considered a pamphlet on adolescence pony hygiene (something she pushed heavily for the hospital to provide) with Spike half-asleep beside her and a strange stallion on the bed; unconscious.
They all donned medical masks, which looked silly on the usual goofy-looking dragon. Twilight put her pamphlet down and smiled under her mask.
"Oh, Doctor Stable, we have a… problem," she said awkwardly, looking toward the unconscious stallion.
It took all of Doctor Stable's willpower not to roll his eyes.
"If you hadn't noticed, Twilight, a problem is all we have," he replied with obvious restraint. Quickly glancing over the stallion, he hadn't recognized him.
The stallion was handsome, he supposed, his near black mane and tail were naturally curled which gave him a sort of exotic impression. But from there it was just strange! His lime-green jacket and sky-blue shirt were tattered as if he picked a fight with a disgruntled lawnmower; even his coat was ruffled and unkempt. The only thing left immaculate, however, was his bright red bowtie and cutie mark, a curious hourglass that shone proudly.
"Now, if you don't mind, I've other patients." Stable turned to open the door, stopping from Twilight's exclamation.
"No, I mean, this pony is… peculiar," she sheepishly admitted, "He hasn't presented with any of the symptoms, yet, he just collapsed."
Doctor Stable exercised years of honed restraint to not sigh and walk away. "Where did you find him?"
"In the Everfree Forest—" to which the good Doctor raised a skeptical eyebrow, "—I'm serious! He sorta… dropped out of the sky."
Spike's snickering and Twilight's quiet resignation nearly turned the good Doctor into a misanthrope. "Perhaps it is the fall that has caused his current status?"
Not one to be outdone in the art of sarcasm, Twilight rolled her eyes, "No, not like that… well, it's complicated okay? But he won't wake up and I'm worried."
"What is his name?"
Twilight suddenly found her hooves interesting.
"He called himself the Doctor."
Twilight and Stable did their best to imitate birds at flight when they jumped back, startled by the Doctor's sudden revitalization. Curiously glancing at Twilight with an innocent expression, the Doctor chuckled at their reactions. "Did someone call me?"
"I thought you were unconscious!" accused Twilight, as if the worst thing he could do was not be unconscious.
"Well, I was, but I thought, 'This is a bore, eh? I've done it all before. Regenerate, pass out, wake up with imminent danger at my doorstep, do something clever, befriend a giant dog.' Why not mix it up, don't you think?" the Doctor rambled excitingly through his medical mask. "Oh!"
The Doctor blinked at Twilight, and then slowly looked at Spike, then at Doctor Stable.
"Do you lot know that you're unicorns and a dragon!" he gleefully asked, "Unicorns! Brilliant! Love a unicorn, though my last encounter with one taught me a very important lesson: don't play leapfrog with unicorns. Lovely chap though, I'll tell you about him later if I- oh, OH!"
He laughed almost manically as he looked at his forelegs, "It wasn't a dream? I'm a horse! No, wait—", he pulled his mask down and licked his hoof, "—Pony, I'm a pony! That's new, I wonder if that would make a horsey Time Lord, or a-"
"What are you talking about?!" Twilight interrupted a potentially hazardous rant from the stallion, "Time Lord? Are you crazy or something?!"
"I'm gonna go with nuts," offered Spike, "You two would get along well."
"A talking dragon!" the Doctor squealed, "Did you know you could talk Mister Dragon?"
"It's Spike," the dragon corrected, "And of course I did-"
"Wait!" the Doctor suddenly leapt from his bed and pressed his hoof against Spike's mouth, "A hospital… which means…"
The Doctor's eyes widened as he pushed past Doctor Stable and out of the room. Everyone took chase and was quickly at his hooves as the Doctor ran through the hallways, approaching patients and quickly examining them. Examination may have been too strong of a word; however, as the Doctor merely looked at everypony's mane, hooves, and opened their mouths, he never took a pulse or even asked them questions.
"What are you doing?!" demanded Doctor Stable.
"You're a doctor, figure it out," the Doctor remarked surly. "Something is wrong with these ponies."
"Wow, wonder how you came to that conclusion," muttered Spike.
The Doctor tore off his medical mask and brandished his wand, but, like a foal, he dropped it from his hooves. Biting back a curse, the Doctor grabbed the device with his mouth and ran it over more ponies before glancing at its side.
"Don't take off your mask! It's highly contagious!" chided Twilight.
"No… it isn't, because you know what?" He clasped his device awkwardly with his hooves and gave them a brilliant smile, "This pony is thirsty."
"Of course he's thirsty, he is ill," countered Doctor Stable, "Now, then Doctor, if you don't mind, now we have to move you to quarantine as you have been exposed."
"Local water supply," the Doctor said to Twilight, ignoring Stable, "Where is it?"
"Oh, um, the town's reservoir. Why?- he-hey, let me go!"
The Doctor pulled Twilight toward the entrance, but Stable intercepted, blocking them. "You cannot go out, you'll run the risk of infecting others! You must stay here!"
"I don't do 'stay' very well, but I can roll over and speak if you'd like, perhaps later, I'm being brilliant at the moment so if you don't mind move!" His usual cheery demeanor melted as a resolute glare replaced it. Stable winced under the Doctor's glare; his eyes were so old… "Attend to your patients, doctor, do what you do best. But while you do that, I'll be outside engaging in otherwise reckless or potentially dangerous shenanigans to help you all. Doctor's orders."
With a grin and a pep in his step, the Doctor dragged Twilight outside leaving Stable and Spike behind, left to ponder about this strange pony.
Halfway across the street Twilight decided that physically struggling against this pony's unusual strength was pointless and teleported away from him, with an annoyed expression on her face.
Anypony who remotely knew of Twilight would recognize her current expression and stance as her "lecture mode", something so fearsome that she was able to subdue even the most fearsome of monsters… supposedly.
But the Doctor frowned impatiently at Twilight. "Well? Come along, er, purple unicorn miss."
"Oh, drop out of the sky, make me carry you all the way to the hospital and drag me out of it without having the courtesy of asking my name?" she snapped angrily
"Yes, that's usually how it works," he said.
Twilight rolled her eyes. "My name is Twilight Sparkle."
"Twilight Sparkle?" the Doctor mused with a small smile, "Interesting name, but you don't look like a Twilight Sparkle. You look like a Dawn or Majesty… or Debby."
"And you don't look like a doctor," she countered.
"Of course not, I'm a pony, keep up Dawn!"
The Doctor ran off relatively awkwardly. He stumbled and tripped over himself several times, it was all Twilight could do to not laugh at his clumsy walk… that is until he fell and kissed the ground lovingly.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked, trying not to laugh.
"Motor skills are off, hate when that happens," he grumbled.
"But you were walking just fine a while ago."
"I'm still in the middle of my regeneration, my body isn't working properly. One moment I'll be walking normally, another I'll spontaneously combust!" Twilight raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Don't worry, I'm sure it won't happen, there aren't any snakes around."
The Doctor rolled to his hooves and shook his head. After grumbling about not being ginger, he turned to Twilight again. "Right then, water source, where's it at?"
"The biggest one is the by the Twin Lakes," Twilight answered, "But if you're thinking it's caused by a bacteria, I've studied the water, there isn't anything wrong with it."
"Of course there isn't anything wrong with the water," the Doctor agreed quickly, "That's silly."
"Then what's the issue?"
Without answering, the Doctor ran his wand over Twilight, the small device whirring like dozens of cicadas buzzing at once.
"What is that thing anyways?" she asked.
"Sonic screwdriver," answered the Doctor flippantly, "Hm, oh that's how your horn works huh."
"Doctor. There isn't anything wrong with the water," she repeated wearily, "Why are you so interested in it?"
"Because the only way for this, whatever it is, to have gotten around so quickly it would need to be present in the water. There's no way that it can be airborne, that wouldn't make too much sense. Plus…"
Grimacing slightly, the Doctor pocketed his screwdriver and turned to Twilight with a wide smile.
"Don't worry, I'm sure we'll stumble over the answer eventually," he promised, taking notice of Twilight's worrying expression. "We should press on!" he grinned madly and left Twilight with more than enough trepidation to run back into the hospital and commit this pony into the psych ward. Her better sense of responsibility prevented her from doing so, and besides, she wanted to see what the Doctor had up his sleeves and if he could prove his brilliance.
She took him to the lakes as promised, but the walk was lengthy, at best, and dull at its worst. The Doctor became stranger and stranger the longer Twilight was acquainted with him. He was fascinated by everything around him, he went about smelling the flowers, licking the trees, and, more frequently than she would have liked, tripped over himself and face-planted. But his mood never deflated during this walk as he babbled on and on about the mundane peculiarities he observed.
"Earth-like gravity and similar atmospheric pressure! Brilliant! It's almost like a duplicate really, well, not really, this place is much cleaner with its ozone intact. I suppose ponies won't have much use over cars, that's a silly thought, ponies driving cars, well, not really, after all I managed to teach a llama how to drive. He-, actually, that didn't end well for anyone. Who knew that llamas can cause so much damage in DeLoreans!"
"Anypony," Twilight corrected, interrupting his long-winded rant.
"I- excuse me?" the Doctor frowned, properly perplexed by Twilight's insistent terminology.
"The proper word is anypony. Anyone isn't grammatically incorrect, but in context it makes more sense. It started with the unicorn nobles in the First Royal Court. They didn't like being referred on the same level as underclass ponies and developed the nobility vocabulary, where the nobles received 'advanced' terms of reference like Nobili Caballio, which then became somepony. But when the First Royal Court dissolved, those noble terms were tossed away but the insistence on words like anypony are used today because of traditional grammatical views so-"
"You talk a lot," remarked the Doctor with a certain arrogant flourish. Twilight flushed and opened her mouth to berate the hypocritical stallion, but he beat her to the punch. "I like that! Usually, I'm the one doing all of the talking, it's so nice to see peopl-, er, ponies who have something to say! Anypony huh, I'll have to remember that."
"You talk as if you aren't a pony, and you say things that don't make a lot of sense." The Doctor smiled rakishly, as if she were complimenting him. "And you called yourself a Time Lord… who are you?"
"I told you, I'm the Doctor."
"Oh, wouldn't you like to know?" he smiled as if the matter was dismissed and trekked on, leaving Twilight with less answers and more questions.
The Twin Lakes was a misnomer. There weren't two lakes, completely identical to each other; there was only one large lake with a little section blocked off by a miniature dam. The lake was pony-made and has been here since the founding of Ponyville. The dam created the reservoir which was then filtered into an underground station ran with magical apparatuses that treated the water. Work ponies would then take several tons of the treated water and bring it back to the town's Water Tower for local distribution.
Twilight naturally had tested the water as this was her first suspicion, but, as she mentioned to the Doctor, there was nothing wrong with it. It wasn't mutated and didn't carry any bacteria. But the Doctor was adamant at seeing the water himself.
They stood on the dam. The Doctor trotted up and down the bridge, scanning the structure then the water itself. He frowned when he turned back to Twilight.
"See, nothing wrong-"
"What is that over there?" he pointed behind Twilight to a dense forest. They were near the outskirts of Ponyville and relatively close to the Everfree Forest and, in fact, close to the crash-site of the Doctor's TARDIS.
"Forest," she bluntly answered, "We're close to the Everfree Forest, where you crashed."
"I think, I think, I may have forgotten something. That's the thing with regeneration, you never quite know what you're going to get and post-regeneration is always a nightmare, whew, thank goodness I didn't wake up in a military base! Jumping rope may be difficult this time around. Anyways, I missed something, something that was staring me right in the face, come along Nighttime!"
Breaking out in a full sprint, the Doctor made his way into the forest with Twilight directly behind him. "It's Twilight! And wait!" she called out, "What did you miss?"
"The Everfree Forest, it's much stranger than the vegetation in town, why is that?"
"It grows on its own, without the assistance of ponies. The clouds move on their own, animals take care of themselves, and the same goes for plant life," she answered, "It's unnatural!"
"Really?" he quipped with humor in his voice, "In my home universe, that sort of thing was a common occurrence."
Stopping right outside of the Everfree Forest, the Doctor randomly began scanning everything with his sonic screwdriver. He worked like a possessed pony, often muttering to himself and chuckling as if he made a really clever joke. An outside observer would note how well this eccentric Doctor would get along with the socially reclusive Ponyville librarian, to which she may respond with a swift kick to the head.
"The area has been disturbed recently," he muttered to himself, entering the forest with little trepidation. Twilight headed him off, this pony, as strange as he may be, hardly deserved to be mauled by whatever sinister creature laid in the forest.
"Wait, Doctor. Beyond here, there's gonna be loads of crazy monsters and weird plants!" Twilight said, recalling her encounter with the less than cordial Poison Joke plant.
"So, you're saying it'll be dangerous?" he asked innocently.
"Good!" he smiled madly, "What a good way to test run this new body. Nothing like a little danger to break her in, eh? I wonder what awaits me, horrible mutations or aliens!"
"But you could be killed!" she protested.
"Probably," he admitted, "But I could also not be killed, did you ever think of that Miss Smarty-Pants? And besides, that's little consequence to you. Go ahead, run along and leave all the danger to me, unless—" he turned around with his infuriating confident smirk and playful eyes, "—You'll help?"
Twilight considered her options. It was either tag along the crazy pony that claims he isn't a pony, or stand around the hospital being as useful as a bump on a log. The Doctor looked absolutely content jumping into dangerous situations, as if he enjoyed it, although he knows what he's talking about… and Twilight had more questions for him, she hated not knowing something.
"Sure, I'll come along," she finally answered.
"Fantastic!" he laughed, "Allons-y!"
He trotted into the Everfree as if he owned the place, with unflappable swagger and confidence brimming… until he tripped over his own hooves and face-planted.
"You okay?" she asked as the Doctor awkwardly got back on his hooves.
"Steering is still off… I'll get the hang of it eventually… hopefully. Anyways, Tally ho and what have you!"
Although Twilight lived in Ponyville for quite some time and became acquainted with the place to the best of her ability (which is considerable, mind you) it only took ten paces before she decided they were lost. The Doctor, however, disagreed and walked as if he knew where he was going, scanning the surrounding area and making off-hoof remarks.
"Lovely plant," he muttered, "Looks like a rabbit has been through here, or a rhino, can't tell…"
"Doctor, what exactly are you looking for?"
"Something out of place," he answered, still searching the area for some microscopic error, "Something that doesn't belong. Something…"
"Like that?" Twilight pointed at a pair of tall trees that were warped and bent entirely out of shape. The trees were bent outward and away from each other, so they formed a semi-circle, at the points where it was bent the bark was severely damaged and cracked; as if something tore right between the trees with tremendous force. "Something… crashed through there."
The Doctor leaped through the trees, following the trail as Twilight lagged behind. "Something big!" she continued.
"Well, you're half right," the Doctor muttered, stopping in the middle of a large ditch with an awful grimace on his face. He knelt and looked at a singular pod in the center of the ditch. Twilight flanked the Doctor, the two inquisitive ponies staring intently at the pod.
"What, that? It's empty," she remarked. The pod was open forming a perfect sphere within, but, as she noted, it was entirely empty. "But, it looks like it was opened from the inside."
The Doctor scanned the interior of the pod, glanced at his readings, and frowned. "Whatever was in here got out in a hurry," he confirmed.
"Is it some sort of space container?" Twilight asked, "Like, holding some form of alien monster inside it?" Entirely incredulous, she laughed at how ridiculous her suggestion was, but the Doctor's expression made her laughter end with a terrified squeak.
"It's a plant pod," he answered, "From space, yes. And what was in it is a nasty piece of work, let me tell you."
"You've seen these things before?"
"A few times," the Doctor admitted, "It's called a Krynoid, the weeds of the universe. It's best we find the plants as quickly as possible before it can do any serious damage."
He shivered at the thought of Krynoids being unleashed upon this tiny little village. Although he has only been here for a little while, in unexpected conditions, he wouldn't wish it upon anyone to suffer a fate by Krynoid.
"What I don't understand is, where is the other pod?" he stood and looked around the forest, as if searching for a neon sign that pointed out any hostile alien shrub hell-bent on wanton destruction. "They always travel in pairs."
"Wait, Doctor, are these… Krynoids responsible for what's happening in Ponyville?"
"Probably." He shrugged, completely reassuring the paranoid unicorn, "There's a chance the two are connected, though I can't see how. Krynoids, you see, latch on to living victims; humans. And transform them into grotesque monsters to carry on their purpose."
"To overrun the entire planet." Twilight shivered, she wasn't exactly sure which was scary: the fact that the Doctor knew so much about these plants or how swiftly Ponyville has been infested by them.
"First things first," the Doctor started, leaping out of the ditch looking around the forest, "We need to find the second pod. If we're lucky, then the pod hasn't hatched yet, but I'm not exactly known for my luck. With these lukewarm, swamp-like conditions, the second pod thawed out by now."
Rustling in the forest drew Twilight's attention. The Doctor, as weirdly attentive as he was, was ignorant to the noise. Twilight stared deep into the forest to spot movement, but whatever was moving was either too fast or too far.
"Doctor…" she called.
"Krynoids don't work like this," he muttered, "They infect whatever living thing is around them and feed off their nutrients, eventually assimilating their genetic code and possessing them entirely."
"Doctor," she tried again, more urgently.
"And they definitely don't go off by themselves, but there isn't any trace of a second pod. Did it land elsewhere?" He ran a hoof through his mane, scratching his head in utter bewilderment. "Or maybe the second one didn't survive the crash—"
The stallion tilted his head in confusion and gave Twilight a perfectly innocent expression. "Um, yes?"
"You do realize we're in a forest right?"
"And that trees happen to be living things, right?"
"I don't see what this has to do with—" his eyes widened as he turned a full three-hundred sixty degrees as if just noticing how many trees were around them. "Oh! Oh! Stupid! Look at me, so old and so stupid! Ha! Regeneration, ho," he chuckled bitterly, "You don't know what you're going to get."
The sound of leaves in motion struck through the forest. They looked around, but none of the trees were dropping any leaves.
"Which tree could it be?" asked Twilight as she frantically looked over the dense forest. The Doctor cursed under his breath and aimed his screwdriver over the forest, scanning it, but after a glance at the readings he swore once more and huddled closer to Twilight.
"Not sure, the entire forest is giving off weird readings, it can't distinguish between normal trees and the Krynoids."
"Doctor, what do we do then?"
More rustling. The sound of leaves dropping violently increased until it sounded like a hurricane was passing through the forest.
"You do not belong here." Twilight covered her ears as this new voice suddenly spoke inside her mind. The Doctor winced as the voice spoke to him as well but continued to scan despite it.
"That voice, it was in my head!" Twilight cried.
"Low level telepathy," answered the Doctor, "It's transmitting its thoughts into your mind as a way of communication. But that isn't how it works! The Krynoid takes a human host and speaks through them, not through telepathy!"
"Whatever the case is, the Krynoid is disappointing you in a lot of ways Doctor. What do we do?!"
"You do not belong here," repeated the voice that echoed in their minds like wind coursing through so many trees.
"That's me! Trespassing and dropping in uninvited, Napoleon certainly didn't appreciate it, but he always was a little short with me," the Doctor snickered as if he were sharing a private joke, "But enough about me, what have you done to this town? It's a nice place really, the unicorns are a bit rude—"
"Hey!" protested Twilight.
"—but otherwise a lovely village!"
Tree branches creaked and moaned as if under a great weight. Shadows skirted within the forest and dashed from tree to tree like an enthusiastic filly playing a game. They knew, however, that whatever was in there was certainly unfriendly.
"We fell. Fell from our world and into the Abstract Plane, until we fell here. To a world so warm, so hot and brimming with life," the voice answered chillingly.
"Listen, I'm the Doctor, I can help. You don't need to overrun this world. I can take you to another planet, one that's uninhabited and you can live there in peace, you don't have to hurt anyone."
A rhythmical noise shook through the forest, the howling of wind in tandem with the falling of leaves and breaking of bark. Twilight realized with a chill that it was laughter.
"Ignorant beast," it chided, "You have the gall to command the Krynoid?"
The Doctor shrugged and smirked toward the talking trees. "It's for your own good. Consider this your first and only warning, leave this planet and I'll forgive what you've done to this town."
Silence. Twilight shuffled closer to the Doctor as a subconscious response for a need of safety. All that answered him were the calls of the local wildlife. Something felt wrong, however. Twilight tensed and felt something moving inside the forest, it may have been nerves or fear but every muscle in her body was screaming at her to run.
As quick as thought, Twilight shoved the Doctor down just as the massive tree branch swung at him. She was successful in keeping the Doctor out of danger but failed to dodge the incoming assault and flew ten meters from the impact.
A monstrous beast broke through the forest; it looked like the thing of nightmares. It stood, bipedal, a meter or two tall. Covered in millions of leaves and wore bark over its body like armor. Its "feet" were gnarled with hundreds of roots sprawling from the base and its face was just as grotesque; fixed in a permanent scowl, its eyes were hollow sunken holes in its tree-like face and within it were not pupils but glowed green. The Doctor thought of a jack-o'-lantern when he looked at the Krynoid's grimacing expression, but thought better of it when he turned toward Twilight who groaned and cursed to his far left.
"You will die in your arrogance!" the Krynoid roared as it lunged at him. Swift on his hooves, completely betraying his previously awkward gait, the Doctor dodged the feral haymaker, rolled and expertly recovered.
"Maybe later! I've only regenerated ten minutes ago and I rather not do it again, especially not from some glorified overgrown weed!" The Krynoid lunged once more but the Doctor leapt, avoiding the strike, and turned mid-air to perform an extremely unorthodox move. With his right hindleg, he spun his body perfectly and swung his hindleg at the Krynoid's face stunning the beast and causing him to recoil.
"Whew, glad I picked up a few things during my time with the monks," the Doctor muttered before breaking out into a sprint toward Twilight.
He found her trying to dig herself out of debris and helped her to her hooves. "Twilight, are you okay?"
"No, Smarty Pants, the biology homework is due tomorrow," Twilight slurred with a dazed expression.
"Good enough, come along Twilight, here comes my favorite part." The Krynoid roared angrily and rampaged toward the ponies. "Run!"
Twilight dazedly got up but the Krynoid was advancing too fast. Aiming his screwdriver at it, the device whirled to life and buzzed incessantly, at first there was no real affect until the Krynoid came within five meters where it staggered backwards and roared in pain. Glancing at his readings, the Doctor laughed triumphantly before pushing Twilight away from the stunned beast.
"We need to head back into town!" the Doctor said, jumping over fallen logs.
"You want to lead the hideous monster into town?" Twilight screeched, weaving past a warped tree.
"The second Krynoid isn't nearby. He must be in town then!"
"And how do you figure that?"
"So, you're guessing?!"
"Oh, shut up!"
Trees exploded behind them as the Krynoid took chase, pushing aside everything as if it were a minor annoyance. Sudden the trees began to fall from the sky and land in front of the racing ponies. Yelping, the two maneuvered past by falling debris while maintaining their speed, Twilight thanked Celestia she read How to Run: A Beginner's Guide.
Ponyville General Hospital
9:00am, Same Day
Doctor Stable attended to his patients as quickly as he could. It seemed that within minutes of the Doctor's and Twilight's departure everypony got worse at the same time. Vitals were dropping like bags of bricks and all of the attendees raced to help.
The best they could muster, however, was maintaining their vitals by a hair's breadth. There weren't enough rooms to help everypony and dozens were being kept in NICU and pediatrics to make up for the lack of space.
Stable made his way to the main lobby when Nurse Nightingale, a spry blue unicorn, stopped him.
"Doctor," she called but did little to impede the Doctor's impressive gait.
"Walk and talk," the Doctor absentmindedly responded.
"Doctor, the patients—"
"Yes, I am well aware of their declining condition," he impatiently interjected. "Some good news would be nice for once."
"Well, Doctor, the patients, they're… well—"
"Out with it Nightingale! I hardly have time to waste in case you hadn't noticed."
The good Doctor turned around with an incredulous expression which morphed into an exasperated look. Shaking his head, he found it unbelievable that a well-trained and seasoned nurse was so easily subjected to stress. "It's been a stressful day, Nightingale, and we all need a little rest, but—"
"No, Doctor, I'm serious. Look!" She pointed at the patients all around them that laid on the floor coughing and groaning as they had been all day. Stable followed her hoof and took a good look at them, and for the first time in his twenty years of medical practice, he was rendered speechless.
Everypony was sickly green. Underneath their motley chromatic fur their circulatory system was literally glowing green, as if chlorophyll ran through their veins instead of blood.
"That's… impossible…" He extended his hoof to touch a young filly but her head snapped up, startling the nurse and Doctor, and she stared at them with empty eyes.
"Doctor…" the filly muttered. "We must… kill the Doctor."
Doctor Stable staggered back against the wall. "What is she—"
"Doctor…" everypony in the lobby droned in the same emotionless voice. "Crush the Doctor."
"S-Stable," stammered the frantic nurse, "Are they talking about… you?"
All at once, the patients looked at Stable and tilted their heads as if they were just recognizing his presence. "The Doctor…"
Like soldiers they all marched toward the Doctor and nurse as they cowered, too stunned to run or retaliate. They all raised a single foreleg at the Doctor, trying to grab him, and walked up to him… and continued right past him toward the exit.
None of the patients paid any mind to Stable and the nurse as they droned "Doctor, find the Doctor," like possessed cattle.
Which is good because Stable fainted and needed a Doctor to tend to his trauma.
At the same moment
The Doctor tripped and crashed right into Twilight Sparkle and both earth pony and unicorn went tumbling head over hooves before stopping suddenly with Twilight sprawled on top of him.
"Ugh, sorry, still getting used to hooves," the Doctor groaned completely oblivious to Twilight's profuse blush.
She helped the Doctor up and brushed herself off. "Doctor, what are we going to do?"
"I've got a few ideas, do you ponies have any ultrasound machines in the hospital?" he asked, taking another look at his screwdriver.
"Yes, of course we do."
"Good!" he grinned madly, "Then this should be easy, which is a shame because I expected more of a challenge, but what're you going to do right? I mean, the Krynoid are a thick lot, they're plants after all!"
Twilight took a look behind the Doctor and her eyes widened to dinner plates, "Uh, Doctor…"
"What I still don't understand is what they've done to this town," he muttered, running a hoof through his mane, obviously confused.
"Sure, get a bunch of ponies sick and then what? Rule the world with one town incapacitated? A little extreme, I mean, no offense, but I haven't seen much of a defense network here so why go through the trouble of giving everyone the sniffles?"
"Doc—" Pushing his hoof on Twilight's mouth, the Doctor gasped with a wide grin on his face.
"That's it!" he cried absolutely giddy, "They established a psychic field when they contaminated the water, and anyone that drank the water immediately became infected! Oh, that's brilliant! We've got to go to the hospital and detox them before the psychic link is activated!"
"It's a little too late for that!" Twilight chided, pushing the Doctor's hoof away and turning him around to point him at the crowd of ponies slowing marching toward them.
"Oh… why didn't you say anything Glitter?!"
Twilight rolled her eyes and refused to grace the Time Lord with a response. Brandishing his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor ran up to the crowd and scanned one of them.
"Doctor, what's wrong with them?" Twilight asked, dodging a very slow-moving hoof.
"It's the water, the Krynoid rooted themselves in the forest and got into your water system. Infecting the water supply with their spores that managed to establish a psychic link to everyone that drank it."
"Wait, then why aren't I infected? And Doctor Stable?"
The Doctor grinned before scanning Twilight's horn and showing her the readings. To her it was just a jumbled mess that made as much sense as the Doctor, but he looked as if it was the simplest thing in the world. "Unicorn horns. They have several psychic inhibitors that block powerful psychic forces, clever design really. I think the redundancies are to prevent any major feedback from your magic, but if you take a look at this—"
"Doctor! We have more important things to attend to!" Twilight pushed his screwdriver away and gestured toward the crowd.
"Right, right, sorry! In any case, these ponies are fine, they've just been possessed but here's the weird thing about it. The psychic link the Krynoids established is very weak, so, it hasn't done any real damage to their minds."
"Why not just break the link then?" Twilight's horn glowed briefly before the Doctor jumped and bowed her head.
"No! Even if the link was weak, if you tried to break it you could cause catastrophic damage to their higher brain functions, leaving them as vegetables!"
"Oh… that would be bad," she squeaked.
"The only ones that can break the link would be the Krynoid. So, let's have a little talk with them!" The Doctor turned around, toward the forest, but was grabbed from behind from a pony. "Oh, right, forgot about them."
More ponies began to mob around the Doctor as he struggled within the sea of ponies. Twilight charged up her horn but hesitated. She couldn't go around blasting these innocent ponies, it wouldn't do anypony good to hurt them.
"Doctor! Hold on!" She began to push through the crowd, wading her way toward the Doctor. But before she could reach him, a ring of rope wrapped around her waist and pulled her out of the crowd.
Before she could even react, she was hogged-tied and left on her back with such expert skill that she knew there was only one pony that could do that. Looking up, she saw Applejack looming before her, like the other ponies, she glowed green and had a lifeless expression.
She choked back a sob. "Applejack!"
"Get th' Doctah," Applejack droned as she turned right around to apprehend the Time Pony.
"Oh, no you don't!" Twilight's horn glowed and the rope unraveled instantly and snaked toward Applejack. For better or worse, Applejack's reflexes were incredibly sharp and she instinctively dodged the rope. Turning around, the workpony faced Twilight with a sneer.
"AJ, I know you can hear me—"
"Her higher brain functions are being blocked by the psychic link! Although it is like Schrödinger's cat, most likely she isn't able to perceive your voice!" The Doctor corrected in the middle of the mob.
Twilight rolled her eyes, "All right, fine. Sorry about this AJ."
A blast of magic shot out of her horn and zapped the earth pony who stiffened and fell over. Then with a crackle of light, Twilight disappeared and teleported beside the Doctor, wrapped her leg around his neck, and teleported away.
They reappeared in front of Sugarcube Corner and Twilight slumped over, tired from her overuse of spells.
"What was that? Transmat?!" cried the Doctor, a little disorientated from the spell.
"Teleport spell," she answered, "Can't your screwdriver do that?"
"Oi!" he chided, pointing the screwdriver at her, "Don't knock the sonic!"
Twilight chuckled, content with having this brief moment to catch their breath. "Doctor, the hospital is crawling with these infected ponies. We'll have no way to get inside safely, and even if we did—"
A primal, guttural roar interrupted Twilight as the two ponies looked toward the source and saw the Krynoid from earlier standing amongst the crowd of ponies.
"The Krynoid will have spotted us," the Doctor finished grimly.
"Doctor, what're we going to do?"
"Okay, okay," he paced in a circle momentarily, smacking his forehead in frustration, "Let's consider our assets. Sonic screwdriver, a powerful, yet rambunctious, unicorn, considerable wealth of knowledge—"
"Oh, why, thank you."
"I was talking about me."
"And let's consider our opponents. Giant plant monsters that have moderate psychic abilities and have control of a hundred or so ponies and we have—" He consulted his watch and grimaced, "—about ten minutes before the change is permanent."
"Wait, what? What change Doctor?"
"I forgot to mention? Right, well, considering how much control the Krynoid has over the ponies within ten minutes the damage to their minds becomes irreversible and they'll remain pawns forever." He tried for a brave smile but Twilight looked at him with an absolutely shocked expression.
"How could you have forgotten to mention that?!"
"Busy day! I've only just recently turned into a pony, I can't be bothered to keep track of all the details! Wait, wait." Placing a hoof on Twilight's mouth, the Doctor muttered madly to himself while grinning foalishly. "We have the most valuable asset with us, Twilight. And that's my sonic screwdriver!"
She pushed his hoof away and silently complained about how badly it tasted. "What's that going to do?"
"Oh, plenty! Is there a high vantage point we can get to?"
Twilight nodded and pointed toward the Golden Oaks, "My house. You can gain access to the top from the second floor."
"You live in a tree?" he asked incredulously.
"You live in a box," she countered.
"Touché." He smiled broadly which was made all the more insufferable by his care-free attitude, but it was contagious and Twilight found herself grinning idiotically as well.
"Now, then, tally-ho!" The Doctor ran out and took only three steps before realizing that the pony mob and the Krynoid were racing toward them. "Ooh, right, forgot about them."
The two race for all they were worth to the library. The Krynoid's control over the ponies had notably improved, as they were not the slow-moving cattle they were before and were instead running at full speed. Twilight figured that it was only because they had such a great head start that they were able to make it to the library without being overrun.
Magically opening her door, the Doctor ran inside with Twilight right behind him. As the door shut, Twilight's horn glowed fiercely and a giant magical barrier surrounded the entire library, stopping the mob dead-cold.
"Magical forcefield," the Doctor chuckled, "I love unicorns!"
"The barrier won't stay up forever," reminded Twilight, "Now then, what's your plan?"
"Two phase plan. Part 1: evade the zombie ponies and Krynoid and get to safety."
"Good, what's part 2?"
"Work in progress."
"Do you have any technology more advanced than bookmarks here?"
"Yes, in the basement, why?"
"AGH!" screamed Twilight and the Doctor as they brandished a magical horn and a screwdriver at the sleepy dragon that approached them.
Spike clutched his heart, as if fearing it was ready to jump out of his chest, and the two ponies relaxed. "Why are you screaming?!"
"Don't sneak up on us like that!" chided Twilight before running past him and toward the basement.
"Oh, sorry, uh, wait, what are you guys doing anyways?" Spike scratched his head as Twilight worked furiously.
"Running from giant space plants and zombie ponies while trying to save this planet from certain destruction!" The Doctor answered as he ran down in the basement before emerging back with a ton of equipment on his back, "All with a spunky unicorn, a sonic screwdriver, and a whole lot of genius!"
Spike raised a skeptical eyebrow and tried to ask Twilight for more information but the unicorn was far too busy as she and the eccentric Doctor piled on equipment. Instead, he figured a snack was in order and went to the kitchen.
The Doctor worked furiously, tinkering with all sorts of machinery, tearing it apart and combining it to form some strange contraption that was essentially a really big metal box with an abundance of loose wires poking out of it and a small dish protruding from the top of it.
He ran his sonic screwdriver over the box and its many LED lights blinked on. "Haha! Excellent!" he laughed.
"What.. is it?"
"Harmonic Frequency Circuit, designed to amplify the volume and frequency of my sonic screwdriver! Basically, it is very loud box." The Doctor placed the box on his back and ran upstairs to Twilight's room.
He opened the window and without missing a beat began to climb out. "Wait!" Twilight protested, "What're you doing?"
"The box will be able to amplify my screwdriver, but I'll need to be at an elevated point. Don't want to run the risk of the Krynoid catching me and I need to make sure the sound carries throughout the entire town!" He answered while scaling the tree. "Oh, and you might want to cover your ears when I give the signal."
"What's the signal?"
He chuckled and turned to look at Twilight before flashing an oh-I'm-being-clever smile. "You won't miss it!"
Halfway up the tree, the Doctor quickly consulted his watch: three minutes left. Time flies. Chuckling to himself, the Doctor wondered where that expression came from, after all, being a time traveler that has seen the beginning and end of the universe gives him some rights over the domain of time.
Two minutes were left by the time he reached the top and looked down at the mob below. The ponies attacked the barrier with all they had while the Krynoid roared and joined their attacks. The Doctor could see the barrier failing as it flashed in and out of existence with each hit, any time soon they'll overrun the entire library.
"Oi!" he called in his loudest voice. As expected, everyone stopped and stared at him. "You lot! What're you doing? Smashing magical barriers and disrupting the peace! Not very neighborly if you ask me."
"Doctor!" the Krynoid hissed telepathically, "Come down here and get destroyed like a pony!"
"Lovely offer, but here's a better one. Let these ponies go, surrender and this won't get messy," his cold eyes quickly replaced the care-free, silly expression he formerly wore. But the Krynoid was unimpressed as it laughed darkly.
"You and this pathetic planet will fall," it countered.
"This planet is under my protection."
"And how do you intend to protect it? With a sonic probe?"
"You really shouldn't underestimate my sonic screwdriver," he grinned, brandishing the device and pointing it at his box, "Because if there is one thing it's good at, it's making noise."
The sonic screwdriver came to life and its iconic whirring sound echoed throughout the entire town. The Krynoid howled in agony and in mere seconds began to fall apart from the stress; being reduced to debris. Fortunately, the Krynoid was defeated quickly because the feedback from the box was too intense and the sonic screwdriver sparked and exploded in the Doctor's hoof and he dropped it.
The pony mob collapsed, but from up there the Doctor noticed that their green veins disappeared. Laughing to himself, the Doctor celebrated briefly. "Defeating overgrown weeds with a sonic screwdriver, ha! Fantastic!"
Climbing back into the tree, the Doctor was tackled by Twilight who embraced him. "You did it!"
"Had I? Ah, hadn't noticed, good of you to tell me," he joked, laughing giddily. "Come along, we should make sure everyone is okay."
"Everypony," Twilight corrected with a smile.
"Don't tell me you're going to get hung up on that?"
"As long as you keep messing up, yes."
The Doctor swore never to make such a blunder again and ran outside. They checked the ponies and to their relief, they were perfectly fine. Their symptoms had disappeared and they were uninjured. "Normal brain function, no sign of the psychic field, they'll be right as a trivet in no time!"
"Good," Twilight said while attending to Applejack, "Will they remember any of it?"
The Time Pony shrugged but gave a reassuring smile, "Nah, when the psychic link was established the ponies were put in a hypnotic state. Like sleepwalking. They'll wake up and think it all a dream."
Twilight nodded, she wouldn't want Applejack to recall any of what happened. The earth mare would feel absolutely terrible about being subjected to intense mind-control and forced to hog-tie one of her best friends.
"We should get them home and—oh! Look at you," he groaned as he picked up his charred sonic screwdriver, "I liked this one! Blimey, running through sonics like they're out of style."
"Doctor, what I don't understand is where is the other Krynoid? You said they traveled in pairs, right?"
"I'm not sure. And with my sonic out of commission, it'll take a while to find it if it intends to hide," he muttered, pocketing the destroyed screwdriver in his coat, "First thing's first, these ponies."
"AHHHH!" The Doctor and Twilight hopped to their hooves and looked toward the tree as the blood-curdling cry from the residential dragon tore through the library.
Before they could make for the library, the ground rumbled and shook, causing the ponies to stay absolutely still. The Doctor pulled Twilight back as she fought against him and tried to answer Spike.
"Your house…" he said in a deadly calm voice, "Is a tree…"
The many branches of the Golden Oaks Library shook unnaturally, the entire tree slowly began to turn and wiggle at the base, as if it were trying to uproot itself. The branches suddenly pierced the ground and pushed against it, and the entire library began to glow a poisonous green.
"Doctor… the second Krynoid… it's…"
The Doctor said nothing as the tree became animated, its windows now glowing bright green and looking at the ponies like a giant regarding an ant. The door shut just in time for Spike to press up against it, silently screaming and pounding away at it.
"Die Doctor!" the Krynoid screeched, swinging a large branch at him. The Doctor pushed Twilight away and took the entire brunt of the force, flying into a nearby building and crashing through the window.
"Doctor!" Twilight screamed. She heard no response from the stallion and turned toward her former house and glared so intensely she swore that her eyes were glowing like the Krynoid's.
"You think you can come to this planet, infect an entire town with some weird spores, put everypony in danger, possess my house and attack us like that and stand there as if you did nothing wrong?" Twilight asked with venom in her voice. "You seemed to have forgotten one thing, though," she smiled coyly while charging up her horn, "The magical lightning rod."
Before the Krynoid could retaliate, Twilight shot a burst of magic at it which was instantly directed to the lightning rod and magically electrocuted the entire library, covering it with a purple aura. She heard the Krynoid wail through its telepathy and with a start prayed that the inside was magically insulated; she'd hate to fry her number one assistant.
Her magic decimated the Krynoid which, unfortunately, resulted in her home taking heavy damage from it. The Krynoid's green aura disappeared and Twilight felt its telepathic presence fade, the tree stiffened and returned to its stationary, and less hostile, position. The tree bark was smoking and charred black from the magic, thankfully nothing caught on fire, but she couldn't care less about the condition of her home as long as Spike was okay.
Twilight ran inside and found the little dragon in the lobby facedown. A chill went up her spine and dread filled her heart. Turning over Spike, Twilight was at the verge of tears until she heard snoring! Taking another look, she saw that Spike was asleep.
"He could sleep through anything…" she muttered with a smile. Then she remembered the Doctor, "Oh, no."
She ran through the building he was thrown into with the Doctor laying in the middle of the living room. Unlike Spike, the Doctor looked to be in a terrible state. His clothes was nearly torn off, scratches and bruises covered his body and face and his usual charismatic and handsome expression was replaced with one contorted in pain.
"Did I just get hit by your house?" he asked with some humor in his voice.
"Sorry about that," she chuckled sheepishly, "But don't worry, I took care of the second Krynoid. I think."
"Good, good. I knew I chose well."
The Doctor gave her a brilliant grin, "My companion, of course! I knew I was right in choosing you."
"Companion?" she repeated, "Isn't that a bit old fashioned?"
"I'm an old fashioned pony," he admitted.
Twilight couldn't argue with that. Despite how young the Doctor looked and acted, there was something about his eyes. They were so old in comparison to the rest of him, like an ancient pony inside a youthful body, Twilight only saw that look in one other pony.
The Doctor tried to sit up but Twilight stopped him, "Wait, don't you're hurt."
"This? Nah, I had a nastier fall at the end of my tenth life, this is nothing!" To demonstrate his point, he stood up fully and smiled at her.
"Still… we should go to the hospital, to make sure you're oka—" The Doctor's body glowed gold as… dust began to envelope him. It only lasted for a brief moment and when it ended all of the Doctor's wounds healed! "H-how did you?"
"Residual regeneration energy," he answered, "I'm still within the first sixteen hours of my regeneration, so, there's a lot left over."
"Okay… Anything else I should know about you? Do you have an extra head or something?"
"Nope! Extra heart, but otherwise, I'm a perfectly normal pony."
"Right, well, come on Doctor. We've got quite a bit of cleaning up to do." A buzzing sound rang from within the Doctor's coat. Pulling out his mutilated screwdriver, Twilight noticed that the little green bulb was pulsing weakly.
"Ah! The TARDIS! It's returning!" The Doctor cried happily as he sprinted out of the shop aiming his screwdriver at the sky. "Come on, I'm right here Old Girl, lock on!"
Twilight didn't have a chance to ask what he was muttering about because a familiar noise came into existence. It was somewhere between a screeching noise and a lyrical "whooshing" of the air. The Doctor pushed Twilight behind her as a blue box started to materialize in front of them.
The TARDIS stood proudly (and if Twilight didn't know any better arrogantly) before them, as if she needed to make as grand an entrance as the Doctor had.
"What have you got for me this time?" he asked under his breath. He ran up to the door, opened it quickly, and pushed his way inside. And just as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.
"Doctor?!" Twilight yelled at the vanishing box, "Doctor, what're you doing?!"
But it was no use. The TARDIS and the Doctor was gone.
Golden Oaks Library
Midnight, 26th of Summer, 1001 C.R.
Twilight put away the final book and smiled proudly. She had finally managed to clean everything up! It took ages to clean up the mess the Krynoids made and get everypony affected home before they could wake up. When they finally did wake up, they had no recollection of anything that happened. Her friends that left the town came back and Twilight had no problems convincing them that the mysterious illness was suddenly cured all at once.
They didn't question her, after all, there was no evidence supporting the contrary. Twilight scanned the water over and over again and found zero abnormalities in it. She wasn't sure if the water was uninfected but after conducting a few experiments she concluded that it was drinkable.
Surprisingly enough, even Spike, who was awake for the whole thing, was convinced that what happened with the library was just a dream. And, strangely enough, when she approached the other unicorns that were unaffected by the Krynoid's psychic powers, she found that none of them had any recollection either.
She didn't argue but found the entire thing bizarre. But what distracted her presently was the Doctor.
The strange pony that fell out of the sky, ran around doing amazing things before disappearing again! Without so much as a goodbye! Twilight couldn't help but feel miffed at him and would give him a lashing when he comes back.
Absent-mindedly dusting her shelves, Twilight frowned. What if he didn't return? It all felt like a dream, to be honest. She couldn't believe what the town was put through and felt she would have more difficulty explaining it to Princess Celestia.
Twilight slammed her duster on the table. "The least he could've done was say goodbye! That stupid, irresponsible, foalish stallion! Ugh! If he were here now, I would say—"
"What?" A familiar cheerful voice flourished with that strange accent asked behind her. When she turned around, the Doctor stood there, in front of his TARDIS that somehow materialized silently, with his brilliant arrogant smile, "What would you tell me?"
Twilight trotted up to the stallion and punched his shoulder. He yelped in pain but Twilight wasn't in a sympathetic mood. "You know how much trouble I went cleaning everything up?! Where were you?!"
"Sorry about that," he said calmly, but his smile betrayed his apology, "Took the TARDIS on a test run. I was aiming for the moon, but I ended up somewhere in pony Europe. And I went to change!"
He extended his forelegs and showed off his new outfit. He wore a gray tweed jacket, which matched his coat, with a white shirt underneath and an extravagant blue bow-tie. His mane was curly and moderately lengthy, it was so dark it looked black, and it hung over his forehead in a small fringe. His tail was just as curly and wild as his mane and right before it was his Golden Hourglass cutie mark. In his breast pocket sat a brand new sonic screwdriver, one much thicker and bigger than his previous one but the bulb and overall design hadn't changed. A band with a watch was around his right hoof.
"Much better than the raggedy, eh?" he asked with arrogance and pride.
"Maybe, except the bowtie," Twilight remarked.
"Says the purple pony with a horn sticking out of her forehead," he countered, "Besides. Bow ties are still cool."
"You must be alien to think that."
"I suppose in your universe, I am the alien in this situation. But I'll get to that later. No one was hurt, right?"
Twilight shook her head, "Nopony remembers any of it. But the ponies that were uninfected didn't remember either."
"Oh, that was me. A bit of memory scrambling to make sure that the unicorns wouldn't be asking too many questions, it's always difficult to explain to them that a transdimensional plant alien tried to rule the world."
"What about the water? Is it safe?"
He nodded as he brandished his screwdriver and glanced at the readings. "I managed to get rid of the spores, vibrated the molecules until they collided and destroyed each other. I even managed to track down the Krynoid pods, I still don't understand how they got here. They must've followed me through the Abstract Plane."
"Will there be more of them coming?" she asked.
For a moment, Twilight saw a twinge of worry and fear in the Doctor's face, but it disappeared when he put on his best smile. "Probably not, but that won't matter as long as I'm around."
"Wow, a bit arrogant aren't you?"
"I'm the Doctor, Invented arrogance," he proclaimed with that wild look in his eyes.
"So, um, what exactly are you doing here?" she asked carefully. The Doctor raised an eyebrow and Twilight raced to correct herself, "Not that I don't want you here. But—ah, no, I mean—" she shook her head and took a deep breath, "—that… TARDIS. It can travel anywhere, right? So, why stop here? You could see the world."
"That's exactly what I was thinking," he smiled madly, "Wanna come with me?"
"Who cares about the why, Twilight? When you've got the when and where to worry about?" The Doctor answered, opening the door to the TARDIS and beckoning Twilight to follow. She hesitated however, she couldn't just go off gallivanting throughout the universe with a pony she barely knows, what about her studies?
"I… can't. I've got an entire life here in Ponyville and my studies and my friends! I can't leave them." To her surprise the Doctor frowned and looked disappointed but didn't argue.
"Okay, I understand," he said, opening the TARDIS door and stepping inside. The door shut and it began to disappear as that beautiful noise filled the library.
Suddenly, it stopped, the door opened and the Doctor poked his head out with his "yes-I-am-definitely-brilliant" smile. "Oh, I always forget to mention this bit. The TARDIS is a time machine too."
Twilight Sparkle, the prestigious pupil to Princess Celestia and local librarian, broke out in a huge smile and entered the impossible box with the impossible stallion and for the umpteen time today was rendered speechless.
"Wha—that's… impossible—" she muttered looking around the room before her that was probably twice the size of her library!
"Anything to say? Any… passing remarks?" he asked with his insufferable smile.
"Is that a couch?" she asked, pointing at the large blue couch by the console.
The Doctor's face dropped slightly, "Well, that's new." Shaking his head, he gleefully hopped up the stairs and looked down at Twilight from there. "Here she is! My TARDIS, Time and Relative Dimension in Space. She can go anywhere in all of time and space, the whole universe at my beck and call," he paused to look at Twilight, his eyes were mad with glee, "And she's all mine."
The TARDIS was definitely beautiful, Twilight decided. The room was massive, the walls were a beautiful gold with large panels depressed within it and large strange symbols etched into them. The staircase in front of her led to the main console and on that obsidian black platform were four more staircases that spiraled in all sorts of directions. Surrounding the platform were large branch-like structures that were snow white and as wild and crazy as the trees of the Everfree Forest.
The console itself was a wide array of buttons and switches that all glowed and beeped cheerfully creating an almost disorientating cacophony of sight and sounds, but the Doctor danced around it as if it were music and art. Everything was adjusted for ponies, the levers and pedals were large enough for the Doctor's hooves and a large bulky box interface with dozens of keys were resized to fit him. And in the middle of it all, towering above everything, was a column with a blue bulb inside of it. It danced up and down as the Doctor worked the console.
"New universe," he said with unbridled enthusiasm, "With no way to navigate properly, let's see where she takes us!"
Twilight joined the Doctor at the console and she was overcome with fillylike glee that she hadn't felt since the day the Princess asked her to be her student. The Doctor pulled a lever, and the TARDIS shook as its song echoed everywhere. Twilight took a holding at the console as it shook, "Talley-ho! Hah!"