Chapter 6: Welcome Aboard
Gaia, 1413 C.E.
The Doctor and Carrot Top nearly flew through the TARDIS doors. The Doctor then handed the bottle of Green Spore to Carrot Top before making his way over to the controls.
"I recommend holding onto something," said the Doctor. "This is going to be a bumpy ride." Carrot Top grabbed onto the main console as the Doctor pulled down the lever nearest to him. The two ponies held on tightly as the TARDIS shot back into the time vortex.
Gaia, 1002 C.E.
The Doctor's mane was strewn over his face as he pulled tightly on one of the controls. For five straight minutes, the Doctor tried his best to direct the mending TARDIS through the time vortex.
"Is everything all right?!" asked Carrot Top.
"Don't worry! I have everything under control! I'm just trying to land the TARDIS close to the time we left!" the Doctor replied as he spun a knob and pulled down three levers. A loud bang rang out through the TARDIS and the ship veered dangerously to the left. Carrot Top let out a surprised yelp and the Doctor tightened his grip on the controls. "Come on!" Steam began to flow from the TARDIS console and a few sparks of electricity shot down from the ceiling.
"Hold on!" There was another bang and the TARDIS came to a sudden stop. The Doctor and Carrot Top fell to the floor. Thankfully, Carrot Top managed to keep the bottle of Green Spore safe. Carrot Top coughed a bit as she stood up. The Doctor picked himself up and ran over to the doors.
"Did we make it?" asked Carrot Top as the Doctor pulled the doors open. The Doctor turned back with a grin on his face.
"I believe so," he said as he stormed through the doors. Carrot Top ran after him.
The TARDIS had parked on the edge of the clearing that held Carrot Rock as well as Carrot Top's campsite. The Doctor took note of how it was nighttime now. He hoped he wasn't too late. The light of a campfire illuminated the clearing. Two figures were huddled next to it. The Doctor quickly identified one of the figures as Bon-Bon and the other figure as Paulie the alien monkey, who was currently lying on a sleeping bag. Bon-Bon stood up as the Doctor and Carrot Top approached her.
"You're back!" gasped the mare as she ran forward to greet them.
"The Spore," said the Doctor as he turned to Carrot Top. Carrot Top handed him the bottle of Green Spore before giving Bon-Bon a quick hug.
"How long were we gone?" Carrot Top asked.
"About an hour or so. Don't worry. You're not too late," Bon-Bon replied. The Doctor made his way over to Paulie, who looked to be half asleep.
"Paulie? Paulie, can you hear me?" the Doctor asked as he knelt down next to the sleeping bag. Paulie turned to face the Doctor.
"Yes," he said in a wheezy voice. "Do...do you have the Green...Spore?" The Doctor grinned as he presented the bottle.
"Open up." Paulie smiled and opened his mouth. The Doctor uncapped the bottle and poured a fair amount of the solution into Paulie's mouth. Upon drinking the antidote, color returned to Paulie's face and a sense of comfort appeared to flow through his body. "Better?"
"Much. Thank you, Doctor. You have saved my life again."
"Again? Oh...I guess this is another one of those things that I'm going to do."
"Then I look forward to saving your life again in the future for the first time." Paulie chuckled as the Doctor turned towards Bon-Bon. "Where's Derpy and Lyra?"
"They returned to the ship to face the Jabberwocky," Bon-Bon replied.
"They did what?!" asked the Doctor and Carrot Top together.
"They didn't go unprepared! Paulie told them the Jabberwocky's weakness!"
"Which was?" asked the Doctor.
"The Song of the Jabberwocky. It'll take a bit of time to explain."
"I don't think we have a bit of time right now," said Carrot Top as she pointed towards the trees. "Look!" The Doctor looked. From the trees emerged a running Lyra with a lyre and an injured Derpy floating next to her.
"The Looking Glass is destroyed but Derpy's been shot in the wing!" Lyra cried as she ran forward.
"The Looking Glass?" asked Carrot Top.
"We can ask later! Right now, we need to get Derpy some medical attention!" said the Doctor.
"There's a hospital in town. Can you get her there with your ship?" asked Lyra.
"It'll be a bit tricky because the TARDIS is still slightly damaged, but I think I can get her there." The Doctor flung the levitating Derpy onto his back. "The three of you stay here and look after Paulie as he's still recovering. I've got Derpy."
"We'll meet you at the hospital as soon as we can!" stated Carrot Top. The Doctor nodded as he walked over towards the TARDIS. He looked back towards Derpy's face. She appeared to be slightly conscious.
"Derpy, can you hear me?" he asked. For a moment, Derpy was silent. Then she proceeded to groan a bit before uttering a single word.
"M...muffin," she sighed.
"Muffin?" asked the Doctor as he entered the TARDIS doors. Just as he began to work the controls, a voice from the past floated into his mind.
He thought back to the strange man he had encountered in the New York cemetery, who had said, "I see a fair amount of muffins in your future."
"Muffins," said the Doctor as he pulled down the lever nearest to him.
Derpy awoke to a smell that made her nose go wild. She was lying in a hospital bed. Several bandages were wrapped tightly around her right wing. The golden glow of the morning sun was shining through a window near her bed. She let out a groan before turning her head and seeing a plate of muffins sitting happily on her bedside table. Her stomach gave a loud rumbling sound. She slowly sat up and reached for the nearest muffin. It was blueberry. She sniffed it lovingly for a few seconds before scarfing in a manner similar to that of a starving wolf.
"Feeling better?" asked a familiar voice. The Doctor was standing in the doorway. Derpy smiled upon seeing him.
"You made it back," said Derpy. The Doctor nodded with a smile before entering the room. "How long was I out?"
"Not even 24 hours. Don't worry. I've talked with the nurses and they say that your wing is fine. Amazing, the workings of your world. In my world, it could take weeks to heal from a gunshot wound. Here, they just do some magic and your wing is good as new. I guess it also helps that the bullet didn't hit anything major in the wing nor was it poisoned."
"What about the others?"
"Everypony's fine. Huh. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of your world's terminology." Derpy giggled and the Doctor cleared his throat. "Anyway, everypony's fine. Carrot Top has taken Paulie back to your house and Lyra and Bon-Bon are currently and their own place. All of them, save for Paulie due to obvious reasons, have come to visit you. They're all glad that you're okay."
"I'm glad too." Derpy turned towards the muffin plate before turning back to the Doctor. "You got me the muffins, didn't you?"
"I kinda assumed that's what you wanted. You said the word muffin to me before passing out last night."
"I guess I didn't realize how hungry I was."
"Come on! You couldn't have been that hungry! Not after what we ate at Moonbase One!"
"Sometimes I have a hollow hoof."
"Don't we all?"
"Is the TARDIS all right? I remember hearing something about it being damaged."
"Yes. The Jabberwocky's ship can be thanked for that. By some act of fate or God knows what else, the TARDIS managed to collide with the Jabberwocky's ship as it traveled through the time vortex. It isn't beyond repair. As you can see, I managed to use it to get Paulie the Green Spore as well as get you to the hospital. All though...you and I took an accidental detour to the Moon in the distant future before getting back here. I better mark that year down because there's going to be a major attempted invasion that year."
"Thank you, Doctor. I knew you'd be able to save Paulie...and me."
"I think I'm doing a pretty bad job of keeping my promise to you. I say that I'm not going to let anything happen to you and yet you've already been possessed, shot, and accidentally kidnapped by yours truly." Derpy reached over and took hold of one of the Doctor's hooves.
"You're doing fine. I've come out fine through all of those situations. As long as I'm not dead or suffering from any permanent physical or mental scars then I think you can say that you've kept your promise."
"How can you stay so...upbeat after just getting shot?"
"I dunno. I guess it's the same way how you can sometimes remained amazed by things around you. It's just one of those little quirks I have." The Doctor smiled before letting out a loud sigh.
"Listen, Derpy...I've been thinking...and...I was wondering...if you wanted to come traveling with me," the Doctor said. Derpy's eyes went wide.
"Not for your entire life but...for a while, yes. I've got a whole new universe to explore and I'd like to have somepony by my side to share the adventure with."
"Adventure. That's what Carrot Top says that I need more of in my life."
"That's who I talked to about this. I was reluctant to become close friends with you at first, Derpy. I've traveled with many friends in the past and...let's just say that I'd grown tired to saying goodbye. But, I guess I see now that I probably need somebody, or somepony there. Heh. It's funny. An old friend of mine once told me that I need somebody there to stop me. Now, I suppose she was right. I do need somebody there. In this case, I need somepony. You could be that somepony, Derpy Hooves, if you want to."
"Travel with you? See the universe? Encounter the dangerous and the unknown?"
"That's pretty much the gist of things."
"I guess one thing we have in common, Doctor, is that we both have friends who were right. You need somepony there to stop you, and I need some adventure and excitement in my life."
"Should I consider that a yes?" Derpy nodded as a wide smile appeared on her face. "Then it's settled."
"When are we leaving?"
"As soon as you're out of the hospital and packed."
"Yes, packed. I'm sure you'd want some things from home in your room in the TARDIS."
"The TARDIS has a bedroom?"
"Oh, it has much more than that! What? Did you think it was just the control room and that was it? I can't wait to give you the grand tour. Just wait until you see the swimming pool!" Derpy let out a giddy laugh before reaching over for another muffin.
"Let the excitement begin then."
The Doctor had parked the TARDIS in front of Derpy and Carrot Top's house. Lyra, Bon-Bon, and Paulie were there to see them off. Derpy walked through the front door with a briefcase in hand, or in hoof as the Equestrians say.
"When do you plan to come back?" asked Carrot Top.
"Oh, you know. Whenever the wind blows us in your direction," the Doctor replied. Carrot Top laughed as she gave the Doctor a quick hug. Derpy walked over towards Lyra and Bon-Bon.
"Thank you," she said. "Without you, Lyra, it would have been much harder for us to destroy the Looking Glass and get rid of the Jabberwocky."
"It was nothing," said Lyra. Derpy stepped forward and gave Lyra a hug.
"No. It was more than nothing." Derpy then turned her attention to Bon-Bon and gave her a hug as well. "I forgive you, Bon-Bon. It's time for all of us to move on." Bon-Bon's eyes widened a bit as Derpy stepped back and smiled at her.
"T...thank you, Derpy," said Bon-Bon. The two mares exchanged a final, respectful stare.
"What about you?" the Doctor asked as he turned his attention to Paulie. "I can take you back to your time if you wish."
"Thanks but no thanks, Doctor. I was a nobody in my time and there are several things that I'm particularly glad to have left behind. Here, I can make a fresh start," said Paulie. He turned towards the forest in the distance and then back to the Doctor. "With the Jabberwocky gone, I'm sure I can get around to fixing up the ship and making in flyable."
"You can stay with me until you finish," said Carrot Top.
"Thank you, I really appreciate it." Paulie approached the Doctor and Derpy and extended one of his hands. "Until we meet again, I suppose."
"Until we meet again," said the Doctor as he shook Paulie's hand. Derpy then gave Paulie a quick hug.
"Take care," she said.
"You too, Derpy. Be careful. You're going to come across my past self and the Jabberwocky in your travels. Just be warned, things are going to get a little bit messy," Paulie said.
"Thanks for the warning," said the Doctor.
"Goodbye!" said Derpy as she waved her hoof. Carrot Top, Lyra, Bon-Bon, and Paulie waved goodbye as the Doctor and Derpy entered the TARDIS.
The Doctor closed the TARDIS doors once he and Derpy were inside.
"So, where to now?" asked Derpy.
"Everywhere, but first I think we should take care of the whole paradox timey wimey stuff that led to Carrot Top meeting us in the forest with the lyre and everything," the Doctor replied.
"Of course." The Doctor and Derpy approached the console.
"And, Derpy." Derpy looked at the Doctor.
"Welcome aboard." Derpy smiled as the Doctor pulled down a lever.
Gaia, 0 C.E.
Sir Isaac Longhair stood and stared at the doorway that the Doctor a.k.a. Dr. Smith and Derpy had passed through just moments earlier. He wondered what Derpy had meant by what she had said.
"Odd characters, those two. I do wonder if I'll ever see them again," said Isaac. Suddenly a strange sound began reverberating through the room: VVRROOMMPP! VVRROOMMPP! VVRROOMMPP! "What in the name of Celestia?!" Isaac watched as a blue, wooden box appeared before him. The doors to the box opened and Isaac's eyes widened as none other than the fair Derpy Hooves poked her head through the threshold.
"Hello again, Isaac," said Derpy. "Would you mind coming inside? The Doctor and I have something to discuss with you."
To be continued...