The Solar Court, Canterlot
7:01am, 27th of Summer, 1002 C.R.
Sunrise was an hour ago, but it didn't excuse Sunny Side being late. As the Lead General Manager for Princess Celestia, his duties were simple and concise that even the youngest and most naïve foal could follow. He was to arrange for the Princess's breakfast, usher in the Head Assistant to provide her with a list of today's duties and expectations, get the maids and servants to begin cleanup, convene the Noble Court, and gather the data from the Logistics Department for further interpretation and extrapolation.
Perhaps they weren't as simple as one would assume, but they were something Sunny Side completed with dignity each and every day. However, he was late this time. Forty-two minutes and thirty seconds late. It was that mess in Ponyville that caused a backlog in Logistics. Apparently a deathly illness had fell upon the entire town and it was not reported to the Province Office, before the Royal Guard could be deployed, however, they received word that everything had gotten better!
Sunny Side grimaced. It must have been some form of a prank; he could hazard a guess on who would be behind such an elaborate ploy. Suddenly, Ponyville is under literal quarantine, and then all of a sudden everything is better without outside intervention? Much too convenient and absurdly contrived to be taken seriously and with everything going on in Ponyville, things came to a grinding halt in Canterlot.
Sunny Side needed to make numerous calls to Manehattan, Fillydelphia, Trottingham, just to reassure everypony that everything was okay. When national emergencies occur and get cleared up fairly fast there is a lot of cleaning up that needs to be done. It isn't as simple as dismissing the issue, paperwork needs to be done for every occurrence that the Royal Guard are deployed! Even if it is just to the coffee place down the street!
And considering it was a potential threat to the State involving an unknown disease, the provinces under Canterlot were panicking out of fear that this disease would spread. Sunny Side worked his tail off to make sure everypony was calm and rational, he even needed to send a few gift baskets to quell their fears.
Right now, Sunny Side needed to head over to Princess Celestia's room and profusely apologize for his tardiness and offer his life as penance. Princess Luna would be heading to bed at this time which was a good thing because she was scary, scarier than her sister because at least she was subtly terrifying; the moon princess would much prefer to be straightforward about her disappointments and had no qualms about using the Royal Canterlot voice when voicing them.
Halfway up the Sol Tower, Sunny Side glanced out of the many windows that lit up the corridor. The entire city of Canterlot was in view here, he could see his house from here! It was beautiful and Princess Celestia, as always, produced an amazing sunrise.
Sunny Side lingered for a little bit and that's when he noticed something odd…
On the west side of the castle he saw something flying. It was much too big to be an animal or a pegasus and it was… blue.
Sunny Side practically pressed his face against the window, squinting to identify the UFO.
No, it couldn't be.
It was a blue box!
TARDIS, in Transit
Nothing was going right.
Even though the adjustment the Doctor made to the TARDIS was working perfectly on takeoff, everything was going horribly wrong when she entered the Time Vortex. The Time Lord ran around the console, pulling levers, pressing buttons and spinning regulators to maintain the TARDIS.
Sparks exploded in front of him and the TARDIS tilted causing the Doctor to fall off his hooves and rolled around the platform and down the stairs.
"Oh, come on!" he yelled, hanging on to the railing as the TARDIS became entirely inverted, "Microgravity on!"
The TARDIS whined and rumbled as it failed to follow the Doctor's request. The Time Lord was never one to give up, however, and he began to climb the railing to attempt to get back to the console.
"I don't understand, you have plenty of power and fuel!" he complained as he brandished his trusty sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the console, causing the device to whirr to life. He glanced at the readings and frowned, "That's odd, there's something pulling you here, but what—ah!"
It shifted once more and the Doctor slipped and fell toward the door. Quickly thinking, he grabbed onto the railing once more and violently stopped his descent. He felt his luck turn against him, however, as the TARDIS doors somehow opened in spite of the gravity against it.
Glancing down the open doors, he noticed he was now floating above what appeared to be a giant castle.
"No, no, this isn't good," he muttered, "Very not good. Come on, close!" He aimed his sonic screwdriver at the console again to access the door controls, but the TARDIS exploded once more and he dropped the screwdriver in surprise.
"Going from not good to increasingly horrible," he remarked as he noticed the screwdriver fall through an open window.
"I wonder if this world has any airway defense networks. Hah, that would be very bad to be shot down, the shield integrity dropped along with the orbital regulator, so, I'll be entirely vulnerable… I should really stop talking to myself."
As if responding, the TARDIS whined once more before the Doctor's grip around the rail loosened. "Well, I did want to drop by the ruling sovereign, but not literally. Haha! Talley-ho!"
Deliberately, the Doctor released his grip and dove head-first toward the castle.
The Sol Tower, Canterlot
"No, no, that's the…" Sunny Side's face blanched as he realized where the pony fell into. No, it wouldn't matter anyways, there was nopony there! Princess Luna would be in bed and Princess Celestia would be in her room!
He shook his head and thought of the terrible implications if he were somehow wrong.
Sunny Side ran toward the Royal Bath.
The Royal Bath, Canterlot
Ten seconds earlier
Princess Luna took a deep breath of relief as she felt the warm water cascade down her back, relieving the tension in her wings and back. Last night was particularly stressful for the Night Overseer, first off, her Hoofservant Nighttime was inexcusably late in waking her up, so the moon was risen a good five minutes late, then her requested meal was served to her cold, cold! Was that supposed to be some sort of joke?
The Royal Tongue would never be violated by a cold meal! It was inexcusable and quite frankly very stressful. Ponies don't recognize the difficulty in exerting oneself to produce the Royal Canterlot voice. It may seem all fun and games to them, but speaking in such high volumes could do wonders to one's voice, Luna would never be able to live down that time she went to karaoke with Celestia.
Thankfully, however, Sunny Side was quite diligent to wake up Celestia on time for the sunrise as scheduled, so Luna had plenty of time to relax before heading off to bed.
Princess Luna exhaled once more, closing her eyes and enjoying the soothing sensation of the hot water immersing her body. The Bath was far too big for the princesses, it looked like it was designed for six ponies in mind. And it was far too extravagant for Luna's taste.
The floors and walls were gold-plated with a multitude of stone dragon heads mounted on the walls, spewing out water that poured into a canal that lead into the main bath. Even more ridiculous was the alicorn statues scattered throughout the circumference of the bath, all posed elegantly and wielding bows and arrows, like the Cherubs of Old.
A simple bathtub would have done fine for Luna, although she would never voice her complaints to the crafters. Princess Luna learned that architects designed everything in such an extravagant and superfluous manner to appease their princesses and that anything simple and rudimentary would be "unworthy for Royalty!" as one pony put it when Luna questioned the size of her bed.
Luna and Celestia opted to keep everypony happy by feigning joy when the billionth artisan produced another statue of the princesses' likeness for the Royal Garden.
So, she sat back and enjoyed the bath.
Her magical mane and tail were plain and dowdy as its usual translucent quality was lost and replaced with a purple thick color that didn't flow like unstill water. To the average pony, however, they would still be awe-struck by how naturally beautiful her mane was as it produced the quality of silk when running down her back.
In fact, the average pony may have been struck dead by Princess Luna's appearance even now in her most private moment.
Princess Luna's eyes opened suddenly when a strange noise echoed through the bath.
It was like air being pumped through a mechanical device except it had a lyrical cadence to it. It was beautiful and alluring to listen to, like a Siren's song.
Plop. Curiously, Luna leaned forward and looked at what had landed in the water. A large metallic tube with a bright green bulb surfaced.
The water before her exploded, splashing the Moon Princess and temporarily submerging her under the water. When she resurfaced, she saw a curious stallion with a wild expression, a goofy smile, and a ridiculous bowtie.
"Wow!" he cried in his eccentric, slightly sophisticated, accent. "Hell of a fall! Good thing this pool got in the way, I would not make a pretty puddle had I impacted asphalt, but seriously, how many times will I end up wet today? Getting this suit dry is no easy feat I'll tell you that—oh! Hello there, I'm the—"
A burst of magic detonated within the bath and the entire structure exploded.
Golden Oaks Library, Ponyville
12 noon, 27th of Summer, 1002 C.R.
Twilight Sparkle emerged from basement absolutely soaked. Her mane was matted down and covering her forehead, it barely contained the expression of absolute shock and undefined anger she wore.
"That. Was. Horrible," she said, punctuating her sentence with a rough stomp.
The Doctor joined her from the basement and, like her, he was completely wet. His clothes hung on his body slovenly and his mane was matted down his neck and forehead. Unlike the unicorn, however, he was grinning madly from ear to ear.
"Really? I thought that was brilliant!" he remarked joyfully.
"You crashed in the middle of the Ponytail Ocean!"
"I think 'crashed' is a bit too harsh of a word."
"I'm not sure it's harsh enough! The TARDIS literally smashed right into the ocean! We nearly drowned!"
"But we didn't Twilight!" the Doctor informed casually, "And I already explained to you that this new universe is a bit different from mine. I was aiming for the future but the coordinates must've inputted improperly."
Twilight trotted across the room and grabbed several towels, one of which she threw at the Doctor. The unicorn began drying her mane and coat and grimaced at the Doctor's explanation. "You have a machine that's bigger on the inside that can travel through the infinite expanses of time and space and you can't drive it?"
"Oi! I can drive the TARDIS just fine!" he corrected indignantly, "Sure, I may have failed the piloting exam several times and the TARDIS technically requires six pilots, I can pilot it just fine, thank you very much!"
"Let's recap. You fell out of your universe and into ours somehow and crashed in the middle of the Everfree Forest, then shortly after, you got lost on your way to my house and then you crash us into the ocean!"
The Doctor wiped his face with his towel, quickly snatched it off and glared at Twilight. Obviously the Time Lord wasn't very used to getting teased about his piloting skills, at least from ponies.
"New universe, new rules! It'll take me a while to get my bearings here, because everything is so different! What's today's date, for instance?"
"The Twenty-seventh of Summer, year 1002 C.R.," she answered automatically.
"C.R.? What does that signify anyways? Centennial Revolution? Circa Relative? Carmel Riveting? Cave Rogers? Cccc," he drew out the letter uncertainly, "Coping… Rolls?"
"Finished?" asked Twilight.
The Doctor cleared his throat awkwardly and nodded.
"C.R. stands for Celestia's Rule and the years denote how long she's been in power," she explained eloquently, "We started measuring the years like that after the Chasers invaded the Griffin Settlement in the Precursor Era."
"I'll have to recalibrate everything," he muttered, "Then after that, everything should be fine. the TARDIS has traveled in enough points in this universe to get a general map going. Then boom! Bob's your Uncle and we can go anywhere!"
"Right…" Twilight mumbled, taking a brush and untangling her mane, "Well, while you're doing that, I have some work that needs to be done."
"No, no, what? Why?" he protested passionately, jumping in front of Twilight with a devastated expression, "Come on! It'll only take a little while! Don't you want to take a ride in the TARDIS?"
"Doctor, it's only for a little while," she promised, "We'll have all day to go anywhere, so, relax."
Twilight walked past him and toward the library and began to remove some books. The Doctor frowned and ran a hoof through his curly mane. "Fine, fine," he muttered, "I guess I should get to work."
"Mhm," responded Twilight.
The Doctor went down to the basement and approached the TARDIS. The proud blue box that stood before him that stood the test of time, literally. His most reliable and oldest companion, the Doctor was unable to contain his goofy smile. "Look at you Old Girl, still holding on after all this time. Let's see what this universe has in store for us."
As always, he ignored the TARDIS's basic instructions and pushed the doors open, strutting inside and up to the console.
"Still, though, I can't believe you modified the template again," he said as his hooves danced on the console, "I was liking the last one. Well it did blow up… twice. You must like this place, huh?"
He looked around the TARDIS to note the nature theme she had picked out. The controls were modified to compensate for the Doctor's lacking of fingers and even the smells were different. A simple spring breeze danced throughout the TARDIS, gracing the Time Lord with scents of trees and flowers.
"And don't worry, dear, I'll get the navigation done after a little bit." He pulled a lever and the TARDIS hummed. A psychic wave of concern and trepidation washed over the stallion's mind and he frowned, "To be fair, this new universe works strangely! It isn't my fault."
A coy and doubtful psychic response, the physical equivalent of an eye roll, graced the Doctor which made him laugh quietly. "All right, I'll take forty percent of the blame. You never take me where I want to go anyways."
The Doctor looked up from the console with a slightly concerned expression, "Oh dear, talking to myself again. Should really stop that… starting now."
He trotted over to the scanner and consulted the readings. "That can't be right…" he tapped the scanner a few times to make sure it was registering correctly, the readings remained unchanged, "You're losing power? But isn't there enough artron energy? Unless…"
The Doctor entered a fit of uncontrollable passion as he ran down the stairs and rummaged through the crawl space underneath the console platform. In a few moments of grumbling and tossing away a few trinkets, he pulled out a large chest, opened it and began throwing objects over his shoulder.
"Where is it… I haven't used it in a while, but it should be right…" The Doctor tossed a rubber ducky out, "Ah! Here we go."
Producing a large metallic device that resembled a small hose crossed with a television that he held awkwardly in his hooves. It was designed for nimbler phalanges instead of awkward stumpy hooves, but the Doctor managed to turn the machine on and it grumbled as the motor ran.
"Right, I should be able to check the energy readings with this and see what the actual problem is. I really should stop explaining this aloud with no one around, I'll work on it. Talley-ho!" Running out of the TARDIS, the Doctor made his way upstairs and into the library.
Twilight jumped when the Doctor emerged from the basement wielding his strange device. He scanned everything and frowned at the readings, "That's not good."
"Doctor, do I want to know what you're doing?" Twilight asked with an incredulous look.
"The TARDIS is running low on power, which is strange because she can just recharge by herself. I'm just checking why she can't and take a look at this Twilight!" he turned the device toward her, pointing at the tiny screen attached to the side of it. The readings didn't make sense to the unicorn, but the Doctor looked at it as if it were written in plain Equestrian, "There's plenty of artron energy around here, but it's incompatible!"
"Is that why the TARDIS has been acting weird?" asked Twilight.
"Among other reasons, yes," he answered quickly.
"How are you going to fix it?"
The Doctor turned to Twilight and grinned wildly, "I've got a few tricks up my sleeves."
Twenty minutes later, Twilight Sparkle grew increasingly worried about the Doctor. He had locked himself in the basement for all that time and all she heard from there were loud mutterings and small explosions.
She wanted to go down to check on him, but wasn't sure if she should. Shaking her head, Twilight collected her thoughts. Why was she so eager to jump on board with the Doctor? She'd seen how dangerous he could be, with a few pieces of scrap metal and a sonic screwdriver he killed an alien plant! Every logical bone in her body screamed at her to report him to Princess Celestia, she'd know how to deal with him and besides being around the Doctor was unnerving.
Whenever he'd smile arrogantly and talk in his machine-gun manner, anypony would think he was just an eccentric pony. But there was something hidden underneath that smile and that arrogance, a type of sadness and seclusion that Twilight couldn't identify.
It made her nervous because she felt that the Doctor could just as easily do terrible things. He was on the brink, the very edge that divided his heroic nature and all of the dark acts he could easily commit. If he could take down an alien monster with bits of scrap metal, what could he do with more?
Another explosion from the basement shook the floor slightly and Twilight rolled her eyes as she heard the Doctor swear. It was a good thing she had sent Spike away before he had a chance to see the Doctor again, she wasn't sure the little dragon could handle the strange pony.
The Doctor swore more and yelped in pain. Twilight put her book away and went downstairs.
He completely remodeled everything, in the middle of the room, right next to the TARDIS, was a large metallic spire that was attached to the ceiling and parts of the wall as huge pipes branched out of the device going everywhere. The Doctor was at the base of the spire working on some wiring, he wore thick black glasses and squinted at the open panel that held dozens of little flashing buttons.
"Wh—you've. What is this?!" Twilight screamed, startling the Time Lord slightly.
The Doctor looked at Twilight and smiled, "I've redecorated! You like it?"
"No! What have you done to my basement?!"
"I need to recalibrate this, Twilight, go around and you'll see an open panel with more flashy buttons, tell me the color of the buttons," he ordered, completely ignoring the unicorn's protests.
"Now! Otherwise this thing will blow and you'll have to reconsider living somewhere else, maybe a giant pumpkin?"
Twilight obeyed and ran around the spire to the panel in question. As he mentioned there were dozens of buttons that flashed an impatient red.
"They're all red," Twilight relayed.
"What does red mean?"
"Uh, that the system is overloading with artron energy the feedback is beginning to tear into the whole of space."
"Hold on, hold on!" The Doctor pulled out a data pad and fiddled with the buttons. Satisfied, he pointed the pad at the spire and after a few moments the buttons began flashing green. "Haha! There we go!" He pointed the pad at the TARDIS and the light at the top began flashing.
"What's that? What's it done?" she asked impatiently.
The Doctor removed his glasses and grinned at Twilight. "This is an Artron Energy Converter, it uses your entire house as a transmitter, absorbs all of the artron energy around us and transmit it back to the TARDIS converting it into useable energy! Brilliant if you ask me! It uses that magical lightning rod of yours as a great big magnet, ha! Magical trees, love a good magical tree."
"So, the TARDIS will be fine then?"
He tilted his head and frowned slightly, "Well! Yes, and no. She can recharge from this transmitter but won't be able to stay too far from it. I still can't figure out why she can't recharge on her own and because of that…"
"What?" she asked, unnerved slightly by the Doctor's sudden pause.
"Well, because of that I'm pretty much anchored here. I'll have to keep coming back here every trip and it also means I'm stuck here." His smile faded and frowned, Twilight swore he could pass for a pony twenty years older than he looks with that frown, "I won't be able to make it back to my own universe, the TARDIS simply can't use that make power to make the trip, she barely survived landing here the first time. I'm stuck here for good."
Although he mentioned before that he was from another universe entirely, Twilight had difficulty believing that until she heard how ragged he sounded. He sounded completely devastated that he was stuck here, his voice so anguished and his eyes so old. Twilight wanted to console him but the lump in her throat left her mute.
"Well! It's not all that bad, look at me!" He grinned cheerfully holding up his hooves, "I'm a pony! Never been a pony before, love a pony! I may be stuck here but that just means a whole new universe to explore, new worlds and a brand new history as well. I'll have to read up on your history then, good thing I'm living in a library then huh?"
"W-wait, what?" She stopped his excited monologue and the Doctor visibly deflated, "You're… living here?"
He ran a hoof over his curly mane and shrugged, "No choice, really. Like I said, the TARDIS is anchored here from now on, I can't afford to stay anywhere else."
The ponies remained silent for a bit, the Doctor awkwardly shuffling his hooves and Twilight gripping that idea in her mind. The Time Lord cleared his throat and showed Twilight his sonic screwdriver, "I'm a hell of a handyman, or, rather handypony. I've never had to live in a… house before, but it'll be fun!"
Twilight imagined the Doctor wearing a proper toolbelt and grinning madly as he tried to put up new bookshelves. The idea was so silly and absurd that she broke out in laughter. The Doctor's smile faded and he burrowed his eyebrows. "What's so funny?"
His quizzical expression was hilarious and left Twilight in absolute stitches. She tried to explain why she was laughing in between breaths but it came out as awkward stutters that progressed into more giggles.
The Doctor, an impossible Time Lord with a time machine that looks like a blue box, living in a house?
"O-okay—" Twilight stuttered, trying to catch her breath, "—You saved this town and me, you staying here is the least I can do to repay you."
The Doctor broke out in a smile that could rival Pinkie Pie's and hugged Twilight. "Fantastic! Oh, it'll be fun Twilight."
"Do you need a room?" Twilight asked.
"Nah, the TARDIS is enough for me. You don't happen to have mortgages, right?" He pulled back from the hug with an absolutely serious expression. Twilight shook her head and the stallion, satisfied with her answer, stepped back and bounded for the TARDIS.
"Now then! A little test run, huh?" He ran around the console throwing switches and pressing buttons as the TARDIS hummed to life, "Let's try for the moon. It'll be a beautiful sight, plus I hardly ever go to the moon without being chased down by a bunch of rhino aliens. Come along Twilight!"
Twilight Sparkle, however, stood by the door and smiled weakly at the Doctor. "I've got a bunch of work to do," she admitted.
"It's a time machine," reminded the Doctor, "One trip to the moon and back and I can drop you off five minutes after you left."
"I'll sit this one out, besides, you're a lousy pilot," she quipped coyly.
The Time Pony frowned uncertainly, fiddling with his controls like a chided colt. Twilight was quick to reassure him, "I'll be here when you get back, all right? Just don't crash into any more oceans, okay?"
With that, the stallion's enthusiasm returned with a perfect smile as he threw another lever. "I can't make any promises," he replied excitingly, "Come on then Old Girl, let's not miss this time."
Twilight smirked at the sight of the goofy stallion with his box, walked out and closed the door behind her in time to see the TARDIS disappear before her. That beautiful sound echoing in the basement as the box disappeared completely.