Explanations and Negotiations
“Ok, how long was I out for that time?” The Doctor galloped along next to Rainbow Dash as she hurried through the streets. She had to slow herself down to make sure he could keep up, but he was surprisingly fast.
“Two minutes. Two minutes of me trying to wake you up.” She glared over at him. “You know, you’d think you might be a little, I dunno, more concerned about the attack on Ponyville? Who passes out during an invasion?”
The turned a corner. By now it was clear where the center of the mayhem was located. Straight ahead, ponies were still fleeing the area around the boutique. “Like I said, Miss Dash,” The Doctor began in response.
“And stop with the Miss Dash stuff! Just call me Dash, or Rainbow Dash. Or RD. Or The Fastest Filly in Equestria. Or just Awesome. Whatever does it for you.” She grinned a little.
“Well, I don’t see what the big deal with Miss Dash is, I think it sounds rather cool.”
“Whatever you say, Doc.”
“...Very well, Dash it is, then.” He sighed. “Now as I was saying, I still have a lot of regeneration energy pent up inside of me. Based on the fact that the Autons are ponies now, it’s probably because I got this new body when I crossed into this universe, rather than when I regenerated. The energy doesn’t know what to do, so it changed a couple of things and now it’s just sitting there. My body’s trying to get rid of it the best way it can, so every once in a while it shuts down and focuses on expelling the energy. That’s why I pass out. I woke up presumably because my face is sore and I’m soaked. Wonder why that is.” He quirked an eyebrow over towards his flying alarm clock.
“You wouldn’t wake up! What was I supposed to do, sing you a lullaby?” She blushed a little. A few hard slaps and a bucket of water were only a couple of the tools she’d used to revitalize him.
“You could’ve asked nicely.”
“Right. I’m sure that would’ve worked perfectly.” She rolled her eyes and slowed down, her hooves clopping on the pavement. They were still quite a distance, but The Doctor had stopped. She turned and went back to him. “Why are you stopping? You’re not asleep again, are you?”
“No, I just think you should know what we’re up against. They won’t kill anypony. They’re trying to make as big of a mess as they can.” He glared down the street at the chaos that was taking place a hundred yards ahead of them.
“Why, though? What are they trying to do?” Dash queried, glancing over her shoulder towards the boutique.
“They’re trying to draw me out. They won’t start trying to actually kill ponies until they think it’ll help them. They need sentient beings around. Or, rather, their controller does. These things are just puppets. Little pieces of the Nestene Consciousness. It knew I’d interfered with it before, so it stole a Time Machine with some of its Autons from who knows where and started following me. Its biggest problem has been moving itself, so it’s after my TARDIS. My ship. I’ll explain later. Basically, it needs a bigger ship. They think they’re unstoppable right now, but I know something they don’t know that I know they don’t know I know.”
“What in Equestria are you talking about? Time machines? TARDIS? Nestene what? You know none of these things mean a thing to me, right?” Dash kept eagerly looking over her shoulder. The plastic ponies were getting closer. “Doesn’t matter right now, what’ve you got on ‘em?”
“Well, the Nestene Consciousness controls these things by transmitting a part of itself into them. This makes them very coordinated and very dangerous. Normally it uses radio signals, but we’re talking time travel here. It needs a relay. So we need to find the relay device and disable it. That’ll shut down all the Autons and effectively throw the Nestene off my trail. That’s what I was trying to do when I disguised myself, but they must’ve found a way to track me anyway. Good thing you happened along, eh?” He shot her a big grin and craned his neck. “Oops, looks like they’ve seen us, now I suggest we take a tactical approach and attempt a flanking maneuver. If we can get around behind them, we can-” He turned and began walking towards one of the side streets, only to be stopped in his tracks.
Three of the Autons stood, blocking the side road. More emerged from the alleys and buildings, and soon enough they were surrounded by a dozen of them.. Dash immediately lifted herself up in the air, but at the sound of 12 clicks, she slowly lowered herself back to the ground. “Anyone ever tell you you talk too much, Doctor?” She flicked her eyes across their captors, trying to find a weak spot to break through.
“All the time, Dash. All the time.” He cleared his throat and levelled his eyes at the mannequins in front of him. “Alright, you lot. You won’t kill me, and you won’t kill my friend. And I’ll tell you why.” Secondary clicks issued from the entire group. He gulped and took a deep breath. “Because if you kill either of us, you won’t know how to open my TARDIS. Even if you have the key, if you use it wrong you’ll break the lock, and you’ll never get in. You hear me? You need me alive, and you definitely need her alive.” He widened his stance and glared at them. “So, why don’t you just take me back to your ship, and we’ll talk negotiations.”
There was silence. No more threatening clicks, no more movements whatsoever. Finally, most of the group closed their mouths. Three of them, the three that had been blocking the way they had just come, kept theirs open. The one in the middle stepped forward. It emitted a kind of loud, scratching, growling noise. The Doctor paid it rapt attention. “Yes, I understand.”
Dash’s leg was twitching, her wings were stretched out. She was ready to bolt at a moment’s notice, but a look from the Doctor stopped her. “Wait, what did it say?”
“It says you’re not to fly. If you try to fly away, they’ll shoot you. And, well, me. But most importantly you.” He levelled a serious look at her. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anything bad happen, alright? Trust me.” He waited for her wings to fold back against her body, then the entire group of Autons shifted position, giving them what looked a lot like an escort down the street. Of course, it was an escort with flamethrowers and who knows what else pointed at their backs.
They wound up in the Everfree Forest. Off the beaten track they went, the Autons in front of them stomping through the undergrowth without a care for spines or thorns. Rainbow Dash walked quietly along, though the entire time she was stewing in her anger. She wanted to punt their plastic heads off, but something told her she’d only got three or four before they found a way to stop her. Besides, the Doctor seemed quite calm and cool about all of this. And although all he’d done since she’d seen him become “The Doctor” was irritate her and get her captured, she resolved to trust him. At least until things went really bad. Then she’d...oh, who was she kidding. She was going to see this through. And if she was going to go down, so were these Auton things.
It was about 5 minutes of walking before they came upon the craft. Until this point, the pegasus had been skeptical on the whole time travel and alternate universe thing. Now, she was starting to believe it. The ship was about the size of a shed, made of polished steel that looked like it’d been drug through a furnace. It was charred and scuffed, dented and bruised. Still, it was one of the most amazing things Dash had ever seen. “Woah.” She commented, looking up at it in awe.
“No time to be impressed, I’ll show you a better one later.” The doctor mumbled to her under his breath, probably trying to make sure the Autons didn’t hear. She blinked and looked around at their escort.
They had been circled again. The deadened eyes were even creepier en masse as they were stared down. One of them stepped forward again. The same one as before. It opened its mouth and again the loud crackling sound came from it. This time, however, words accompanied the sound. “We. Know. What. You. Are. Thinking.”
The Doctor didn’t move, though Dash was taken aback. It continued, getting a little better at speech as it went along. “The. Relay. You wish. To destroy it.” Still, the Doctor didn’t respond. “But, you don’t know. The truth. Behind this world.”
Still no sign from the Doctor. Dash was beginning to get restless. If they didn’t do something soon, she began to fear that the creature controlling these things would get offended. However, it seemed to carry on unperturbed.
“There are. Powerful forces. At work. You. Cannot leave. Without a. Link to the. Dimension. You wish to go to. We have. Such a link. Your ship. Can follow it.”
If, and that was a big if, Dash believed all of this extra dimensional babble that these things were spouting, it meant that the only way that the Doctor could go home was with the thing they were trying to destroy. The fact that he was standing stone silent told her that he was taking their offer seriously. But this thing, what would it do if it ever got its hands on his ship, if it was so powerful? Would he really just give it to them.
“Doctor.” She looked at him. “Doctor, hey. Come on, you can’t be taking these guys seriously. They’re pretty bad dudes. Doctor?” She blinked and looked closer.
“Snrk, aaaah...” The Doctor said. Only now did she realize his eyes were closed.
“You have. Ten seconds. To respond. Before we take. Your ship by force. Ten.”
“Oh, Hay. Doctor, come on. Wake up! This is no time for a catnap!”
“Nine. Eight. Seven.”
“Doctor, Come on! Oooh, where’s that bucket of water. It worked last time...” She looked around. The other Autons were opening their mouths, and the dangerous clicks issued from them all.