Marty McFly thought he had a pretty great life.
He was in a band, started year before last with some of his friends, which was quickly gaining momentum in his hometown of Hill Valley. He was dating the girl of his dreams, the enchanting Jennifer, who had just been accepted to Cal-Tech. His father was touring with his latest book, raking in thousands.
Today, however, he was feeling pretty down, even though he had every reason to be ecstatic.
One of his oldest and closest friends, Doc Emmet Brown, was visiting. Which, in and of itself, was a pretty rare thing. The Doc lived in Hill Valley, as well, but Doc tended to live in the past.
Literally. As in, he usually lived in the year 1894.
Doc’s greatest invention, (and maybe the only one that functioned properly) was time travel. Marty himself had become the first human being to travel through time*, going on an unforgettable adventure during summer of last year. A wild, crazy, unpredictable adventure, which may or may not have almost destroyed the universe once or twice.
He traveled to 1955, and encouraged his father to ask out his mother.
He traveled to 2015, and stopped his own son from being arrested.
He traveled to 1955 again, and prevented his hometown from becoming a crime hub.
He traveled to 1885, after the Doc got zapped there, to try and bring him home.
That last adventure didn’t really go as planned. Doc fell in love with Clara Clayton, a schoolteacher, and he stayed behind to live happily ever after with her, in the old west. Marty found his way back to 1985, then succinctly destroyed the time machine, at Doc’s request.
One day after coming home, however, Marty saw Doc once again. He had spent eight long years creating a time machine again, with the materials he had in 1885. In 1893 he had finished it, and took Clara and their two sons to the future, to greet Marty.
The old time machine was built into a car, Doc’s old DeLorean. The new one was built into a steam locomotive. Both machines, at one point or another, flew.
Marty chuckled to himself as he thought of the flying train. He was sitting in the cafe, now, in the year 1986. Doc was sitting across from him, dressed in his 1894 duds, gloomily sipping a banana milkshake. Doc tended to visit Marty, and they still kept on good terms. However, they both agreed that their visits correlate with their own personal timelines. The same amount of time passed for both of them, between visits.
Marty did not particularly care for this plan, as it left him very little time to see the Doc. In the year that followed their original adventure, he had only seen Doc and his family on three occasions, and usually not for more than an hour or so.
Today, however, Doc had been on the receiving end of a particularly angry argument with Clara. Instead of the proverbial sleeping on the sofa, however, Clara had dumped him here, in 1986, while she took their sons to the Renaissance.
Marty was glad to see Doc again, but the wild-eyed inventor was not in an up-beat mood.
“Come on, Doc!” Marty reached a hand over the café table, patting him on the shoulder. “It’s not the end of the world. She’ll come around, she just needs time to relax.” Doc continued to slurp his milkshake, not looking up. “It’s not like this is the first argument you’ve ever had!”
“Oh, but it might as well be!” Doc’s eyes flicked up, his voice taking an overly-dramatic tone. “We’ve had arguments before, sure, but rarely were they this aggressive. And those that were this aggressive happened all before I finished the Time Locomotive!” He clapped his hands to his face and groaned. “She’s kicked me into the forge, hell, even the barn! But now she has the very unique ability to kick me into another century when she’s mad.”
“Well, what was the argument even about?” Marty tried to bring the topic up tactfully, as though her weren’t interested.
Doc smirked. Marty was never known for his subtlety. “She got her hands on a Polaroid, and wanted to go back and photograph Jules’ and Verne’s births. I thought it was too dangerous. But,” He sighed and let his hands fall to the table. “it really kind of escalated from there. I even think she agreed with me about the pictures. We both said a lot of things we regret.”
“So no pressure!” Marty raised his hands at his sides. “You both blow off some steam, yadda yadda, everyone’s happy.”
“I suppose.” Doc downed the last of his milkshake, then looked out the window. “I don’t know what I could do to ‘blow off steam’, however.”
Marty smiled. “I got you covered, Doc. I know someone who’d love to have a chat with ya.”
Doc puzzled over this for a moment. “Who?”
“Oh! I never thought she liked science, though.”
Marty gave the scientist a flat look. “She was accepted to Cal-Tech with a scholarship for Chemical Engineering. And, she knows about the time machine! I’m sure she’d love to ask you about all the people you’ve met.”
Doc let out an old smile. “Yes, there’ve been a few interesting people I’ve met this past year, that’s for certain.”
They both rose from the table. “Alright, Marty, I’ll try to unwind. It’s not every day you can re-visit your old home town, after all.”
“That’s the spirit, Doc.” Marty said, then flicked Doc’s cowboy hat. “But I think you might wanna change your clothes, before we head out.” Doc glanced down at his 1894 cowboy ensemble.
“Ah. Of course. Thank you, Marty.”
“Don’t mention it.”
A few hours later, and Doc and Marty stood in the doorway of Doc’s old garage. “I’ll be, Marty,” Doc said. “You’ve really made yourself... comfortable.”
“Yeah, me and the guys used it as a rehearsal space, I hope you don’t mind.” Marty hurriedly swept up pile of empty papers and discarded cans. Where once a semi-organized mess of half-finished ideas and an automatic dog feeder sat, there were now guitars, amps, and patch cords, littered across the floor.
“Don’t fret, Marty. It’s not like I’m using it anymore.” Doc stumbled over a cable, strung across the ground. “Ge-ah! Just, ah, maybe you could clean up a bit more in the future.”
“I’ll try, Doc.” the short teenager gestured towards the ceiling. “Where’d you get this place, anyway?”
“You don’t recognize it? Well, I do guess the scenery has changed quite a bit...”
“What? Recognize what?”
“Come with me.”
The old inventor led Marty out onto the street, standing across from the garage. It was already dark, and no one was outside, the small industrial neighborhood keeping quiet, but for a distant bark of a dog. “Look up there,” Doc said, as he lifted a finger up and to the left of the garage, “and imagine a hill.”
“Now look back to the garage.”
“And back to the hill...”
“Doc, I don’t... woah!” Marty’s eyes lit up as realization struck him. “Your mansion! That’s the garage from the mansion!”
“Spot-on, Marty. The mansion was destroyed in a fire, in 1962. After it happened, I-”
Doc was cut off by a loud noise. Both of the time traveler’s heads swung left, back up the dark street, looking to the source of the noise. “Doc...” Marty breathed out. “Doc, that sounded just like-”
A huge flash of light illuminated the street for a mere moment, and an all-too-familiar DeLorean came hurtling down it, rapidly losing inertia and coming to a halt directly in front of the pair. Fog rose steadily from the frost-bitten car as they watched, both jaws agape.
In front of them sat a Delorean. The DeLorean, if appearances were anything to go by. A once-sleek silver car, covered in wires and vents, and a jumbled mass of machinery above the trunk. This was the DeLorean Time Machine.
Verifiably not destroyed.
Doc sputtered out a few words. “I-I can’t b-believe it... This is imp-posible...”
Marty shrugged and took a step towards the silver vehicle. “Yeah, I’ve been a bit burned out on the ‘impossible’s since last year, let me tell ya.” He slowly walked around the car to the driver’s side, reaching to open the door.
“Wait, Marty!” Doc raised his hands. “Be careful. We don’t know who’s inside.”
Marty blinked, nodded, then opened the door anyway. “Marty-!”
“Relax, Doc. It’s empty.”
The old man cocked his head. “What?!” He jumped across the street and stuck his head in the butterfly doors. Indeed, the seats were empty. “What?!”
Doc removed his head and took several steps back, looking the time machine up and down. “But the DeLorean was destroyed! It-”
He stopped speaking and slapped a palm to his face. “Look at that! The time circuits I built in 1955 are missing.”
“Yeah, I got em in here.” Marty stuck his head out of the driver’s seat and threw up an arm. “The old ones. Err, the new ones.” he waved his hand. “The Japanese ones.”
“What are you doing inside the car? N-nevermind” Doc shook his head and quickly walked over to the passenger section, getting in to the machine, himself. Resting on the dashboard were three rows of glowing clocks. “These... are the time circuits!”
“Yeah, I just said that.” Marty tapped his knuckle against them. “Looks like last time departed was... a few hours from now.” He removed his hand and subconsciously found the ignition. A wide grin plastered itself on his face. “Hey, Doc. You’ll like this.”
“Hang on, Marty, there’s something atta-”
He was cut off by the sound of the engine flaring to life again. Marty whooped and pressed his foot down on the gas pedal. Bracing himself for a lurch forward, Doc threw his hands onto the dashboard.
Instead, he tumbled to the floor of the car as it soared into the air. “Marty! What are you doing?!?”
Marty laughed again and grabbed the back of Doc’s lab coat. “Come on, Doc, close the door. We don’t want you falling out!”
Doc quickly righted himself in his chair and pulled the door shut. “Marty, we need to land immediately! We don’t know what modifications have been made to the car!”
“Modifications? Doc, this is a flying car. Let’s just cruise around for a bit.”
“As I was trying to say before I suddenly defied gravity,” Doc snapped, “There has been at least one modification made to this time machine! Look.” He pointed to the right side of the time circuits, where Marty could only see several uninsulated gold-colored wires. He took a moment to lean his head to the side, getting a full view of the new addition.
Attached to the right of the clock labeled “Destination Time”, there was what looked like a porcelain flick-switch. It protruded from the side of the time circuits, and the exposed gold wiring ran in loops, up and down the back. “Huh. That’s... weird, Doc, I’m gonna admit. But someone sent it to us, right? It’s gotta be safe.”
As an old habit, he did a quick check of the DeLorean’s interior, to make sure everything was working correctly. He glanced over his shoulder, where he saw a familiar sight, marred by another, not-so-familiar one. “I think I found another, uh, modification.”
Doc turned and followed his gaze, as Marty returned to steering the flying car. The inventor was greeted with the sight of three glowing tubes, arranged in a Y formation and gently pulsating. The Flux Capacitor.
What wasn’t so familiar was the large ruby, set into the car below it. Doc’s eyes widened. It was surrounded by more of the same gold-colored wiring, and almost as large as a fist. “Great Scott!”
“What is that thing? Some kinda crystal?”
“No, no, I worked as a jeweler for a few months, and believe you me, that is, in fact, a priceless, flawlessly-cut ruby! That thing could pay for this entire town!”
Marty turned his attention to the steering wheel again, bringing the car to a halt, several hundred feet in the air. He yanked the stick into the parking position, then turned to look Doc eye-to-eye. “Alright, Doc, what’s going on here?”
Doc’s eyes were ablaze with furious determination. “I’m not sure! But I am almost certain that this switch-” he gestured to the time circuit’s new addition “-and this ruby have something to do with each other. I believe, before we can proceed, we must find out what.”
Marty blinked, nodded, and before Doc could stop him, reached over and flicked the porcelain switch, keeping a straight face the entire time. Doc made to stop him, “Marty-!” but was too late.
Nothing happened. They both sat there for a moment, apprehensive, when suddenly one of the time circuits flickered. The month and day and hour didn’t change, but the year flicked for a moment to 1885-
-Doc rolled his eyes-
-and then settled on the year 1002.
The veteran time travelers blinked. Doc quickly turned to glance at the Flux Capacitor’s new ruby, then turned back. “Huh.”
Marty chuckled. “Heh, I guess this little guy does something different.” He gave the large gem a small flick, to emphasize his point.
In response to the flick, for a mere instant, the ruby glowed. As fast as it appeared, the glow departed from the ruby, and rapidly traveled in a shock wave, across every surface of the interior of the DeLorean.
As the crimson glow passed over them, Marty felt an intense pain run through his hands, where he was touching the surfaces of the car. “What the hell?!”
The glowing red ring seemed to lose strength, but continued. It swept across the dashboard and vanished, and the car’s engine began to loudly sputter. The headlights flicked off, and Marty felt the car’s engine die completely.
For a split second, the time machine hung in the air, then rapidly began to plummet down to the earth below it. The time travelers within began screaming their lungs out.
“THE IGNITION! TURN THE IGNITION!!!”
Marty and Doc were flailing about in the cabin of the DeLorean. Marty grabbed the wheel and pulled himself towards it, and reached a hand down to turn the ignition. Doc glanced up, and saw the bright lights of Town Square, rapidly getting closer and closer.
“THE ENGINE WON’T TURN OVER!!!”
As the brightly-illuminated ground grew closer and closer, sparks began to flicker outside the windshield, flicking this way and that as the car tumbled around. Marty was still furiously working the ignition, rubbing the dashboard and praying. Doc glanced worriedly at the halo of light and sparks that surrounded the car, still gripping to the passenger seat.
As the sparks grew too intense to look at, the ruby set below the Flux Capacitor started glowing. Brightly. It quickly went from a faint light, deep within, to a blinding red-tinged beacon, illuminating the interior of the DeLorean.
If any of the residents of Hill Valley were to stand in Town’s Square that night and look up, they would see a brightly glowing ball of red and white light, hurtling towards the ground.
The car seemingly vanished, leaving four trails of fire, hurtling towards the ground in place of the car’s tires. They hit the central fountain with a large hiss and threw up a huge cloud of steam.
After the steam cleared, not a thing was out of place in Town’s Square.
Off in the distance, a dog began barking.
*Technically, the first person was Doc, on his arrival in 1885.
Princess Celestia sat in her throne room, rubbing her temples with her hooves.
It had been a long day. She was scheduled to hold public audience today, listening to the concerns of her subjects, and doing all in her power to aid them. Today, however, did not go quite as planned.
Earlier that day, even before noon, she had been visited by two delegates, each from a fair distance away. The mayor of Manehattan and the mayor of Neigh Jersey had come to see her personally, as they believed she could settle a disagreement between them about zoning laws.
She had intended to listen to both arguments and settle them in a perfectly reasonable manner, but it quickly became apparent that they had no intention of speaking about zoning. These two ponies had come all the way across the nation, to her court, to bicker.
The Manehattan mayor began by listing an extensive list of the Neigh Jersey’s mayor’s failings, many of which did not even relate to her job as a mayor. The Neigh Jersey Mayor had rebutted with a remark about his mother. They had continued to squabble like that for the rest of the day, forcing other, less “important” ponies to wait for hours.
They had argued right up until the official end of Public Audience Day, one hour before sunset. Celestia had ushered them out, perhaps a bit too bluntly, and informed the patient ponies in line line next to the door that she would extend the day's services into tomorrow, as well. They had all thanked her endlessly, before she ushered them out as well.
The Princess sat, now, and observed her sun slowly dip below the horizon, silently thinking of her sister, who was currently making sure that the Night Sky she had designed for tonight was displayed properly.
Hmm... The ageless princess pondered the night ahead of her for a moment. I wonder if Twilight has-
Celestia snapped to attention. Where did that sound come from? She looked around the throne room. It almost sounded like-
After all these-
Celestia whipped her head upwards as a large silvery object crashed through her stained glass ceiling. Rose-colored shards scattered themselves across the marble floor, and the motorcar flipped through the air, hurtling towards the ground.
Marty howled in relief as the engine finally turned over, and the DeLorean sprang to life. The ruby’s light cleared from the car’s interior, and the two humans fell to the ground as gravity suddenly returned with a vengeance.
The hovercar righted itself almost immediately, wobbling mere inches from a white marble floor as it leveled itself out. It began to rotate in mid air lazily, keeping itself in neutral, not but two feet off the ground.
“Hey, Doc.” Marty reached over and slapped the inventor on the knee. “Y’alright?”
A loud groan was his only response. “Yeah, you’re fine.” Grunting, the teenager pulled himself back into his seat, and slowly turned off the hovercar.
The time machine’s wheels righted themselves, and gently touched down onto the ground. The engine died with a flicker, and Marty sighed a breath of relief.
Now where the hell are we?
Marty’s thoughts turned to the white ballroom they seemed to have landed in. He slowly opened the door, his ears straining at the sound of the hissing hydraulics, and looked down to find millions of shards of rose-colored glass. Oops.
Thankful for his high-tech Nikes, he stepped out of the DeLorean, squinting his eyes. Damn, that’s bright. The room seemed to be a long, large hall, with large doors at the far end, almost like a chapel. The walls were lined with colorful stained glass, similar to what (formerly) adorned the high ceiling.
“Is this... the year 1002?” Marty said aloud, mostly to himself. We gotta be in Europe or something-
“Yes,” a soft, motherly voice spoke from the other end of the room. He turned his head to see... what?
He saw a tall, white horse, with a Neapolitan-colored haircut. It was adorned with plentiful gold jewelry, and sat upon a large white... throne. That’s a throne.
It spoke again. “This is the year 1002. Did you mean to end up here?” Marty just stood there, his mouth agape. Okay, forget not being surprised anymore, he thought, this is pretty damn surprising.
The large white... That’s a horn. That’s a unicorn. He was bewildered. I must be crazy. The large white unicorn smiled, gently. Marty realized that it didn’t look exactly like a horse, really. It’s eyes were more intelligent, its face, more expressive.
Whatever it was, it continued to smile for a few moments. It spoke again, with the same motherly tone. “It is good to see you again, Marty Mc-”
Marty whipped himself around, back to face the large doors again. A small army of more horses- unicorns?! -had barged into the room, most of them wearing ornate, pointy armor. They were all much shorter than the tall Ice-Cream colored one, but were still mostly almost up to Marty’s height.
The center one, a white unicorn with a blue haircut, not wearing any armor, commanded the herd. “Guards! Seize that individual at once!”
Suddenly they were all yelling, charging towards the DeLorean. Aah!
As fast as he could, Marty jumped inside the car again, pulling the door shut. He reached over and slapped Doc upside the head, who was still struggling to correct himself in his chair. “Wake up time, Doc! We gotta motor!”
Marty turned the key, and the car roared to life without a hitch. Just as one of the unicorn stampede made it to the time machine, he pressed his foot down on the gas pedal, and they soared into the air.
Marty was left with very little room to maneuver within the grand hall, however. Panicking, he brashly flew his way through another one of the stained glass windows, and he could hear the detailed glass shatter onto the chasis. He maneuvered the car around so he could get a clear view of his attackers, now that he was safe outside their reach.
Not so. The unicorns lowered their heads, and several beams of white light began to shoot at the DeLorean, blazing past and barely skirting the undercarriage. Panicking again, Marty turned the car away and drove as fast as he could into the large verdant valley below, putting as much distance as possible between himself and the equine attackers.
A single, last, very powerful beam shot it’s way past the car, soaring over the top and shooting down into the trees. Marty felt his palms tingle in the strangest way, though whether it was in fear or bewilderment, he could not tell.
He soared down into a valley, spread out below them, impressively massive, not taking into consideration his rapid speed or haywire direction. Doc was still rubbing his eyes, trying to make sense of their situation.
The old scientist looked out the window. “Marty, when are we? This is... beautiful.”
Marty took a moment to take his concentration off of escaping, and took a look at the area they seemed to be flying over.
Mountains. Tall, icy-peaked, incredible. The area below the mountainous ridge was flushed with deep green foliage, and the sky was a clear blue, with not a single cloud in sight. Small villages and farms lined the surface of the valley, and a series of roads stretched into the distance, of what seemed to be a plain, maybe a hundred miles out of the valley. The entire area seemed to resemble the North Western United States, in an almost too-perfect way.
“You’re right, Doc.” Marty inhaled, feeling the cool, crisp air seep in through the windows. “It’s great."
"But, ah, do you know where the hell we are?”
Doc looked at his friend quizzically. “The time circuits said 1002, didn’t they? So, logically, this is 1002.”
“Well yeah,” Marty said, his disbelief obvious, “but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a whole civilization like this in 1002, at least not in California.” He laughed, a bit too loud. “And I’m almost certain there were no unicorns!”
“Well, yes, this area was largely- wait, did you say unicorns?” Doc eyed him suspiciously.
“I know, I know, it sounds crazy, Doc, but I know what I saw!” He waved his hand behind him, back towards the encounter in the mysterious ballroom. “Horses, dozens of them, with horns on their heads! And get this! They were speaking perfect English!” Marty sighed. “Doc, something really weird is going on he-”
“Marty! Watch your driving!”
“Wha-?” Marty looked up to see that they were about to collide with one of the larger farming settlements. “Shi-!”
The DeLorean spun, skirting the rooftops of the now-much-larger-and-closer buildings, and coming within inches of destroying them. Marty pulled on the wheel, bidding the car to veer upwards.
It did not comply. They continued to skirt dangerously close to the pointy rooftops of the earthy houses, occasionally taking out a potted plant or what appeared to be a radio antenna. Marty tried to slow down the car’s forward inertia, so as to return skyward, but the DeLorean continued onward at its breakneck pace.
The hovercar spun, and approached a large oak tree, planted in the middle of the town. As they approached it, however, Marty noticed some windows, poking out of the sides, and a widow’s walk. It’s a house?
At any rate, they seemed to be on a course to not crash with it, despite being taller than most of the other buildings they had skidded over. Marty finally thought he had slowed the car enough to pull up, as he raced over the top of the tree/house, and gripped the steering wheel tightly.
Marty suddenly felt a ‘bump’ on the bottom of the car, and suddenly the time machine was tumbling wildly through the air again. Both occupants once again screamed their lungs out. “Aaaah!”
Marty and Doc braced themselves as the time machine skidded along the dirt ground, upside down, on its roof. Marty winced as the crash threw him against the windshield, sending pain through his entire body. He looked again at the tree/house, and saw a wavy purple light spiderweb around the tree, forming a dome-shape. We ran into... a forcefield?
Marty’s palms tingled as he watched the purple light bounce around the tree/house, before finally fading away, leaving no trace of its existence.
He suddenly realized he was upside down. Blood was flowing rapidly into his head.
Marty struggled with the seatbelt for a moment, before it finally came undone. He slumped onto the roof of the car, and painfully dragged himself out of the (broken) door window, and onto the ground. Oh, man, more broken glass. Woo.
He lay there on the ground for a moment, catching his breath. This dirt is... really comfortable.
Groaning, Marty tried to turn himself over, to check on Doc, and see if he was okay. “D-...” he stopped to catch more of his breath, and broke into a coughing fit. “D-Doc?! Are y-you okay?”
Marty whipped his head towards the new voice, which was much closer than Doc. He immediately regretted doing so, as his neck cracked, screaming agony at him. The young time traveler groaned again.
“Are you okay?”
Marty squinted through the light. His focus returned, and he saw another one of the unicorns standing over him. It was purple, with large eyes, and very obviously a female. It looked concerned. “Um, I think you need some help.” It’s voice sounded like a young girl’s.
No, more like a young woman’s. Maybe a teenager.
Marty coughed again, and cracked out some words to the purple unicorn. “Is D-’cough’-Doc ok-kay?”
She looked up, then back down to him. “Is he the one with the white mane?”
Wheels turned in Marty’s mind. Mane = Haircut. Gotcha.
“Yes.” he breathed out.
“He’s getting up. Slowly, but he doesn’t seem to be hurt as much as you.” the purple unicorn looked at him again. “You really need some help, I think.”
“Y-yeah..” Marty sighed and gently closed his eyes. “Doc’s fine, and he’s old, you know. I-I’ll be good. I...” Marty easily and gratefully drifted into unconsciousness, his palms gently tingling.
Twilight Sparkle looked uneasily at the creature which had just passed out in front of her. Across from the strange silver flying machine, the one with the white mane was slowly pulling himself into a bipedal position, looking around with bewilderment.
Oh, dear. She thought, This is not going to be easy.
Marty woke up with a jolt. The room was dark, but he could feel that he was in a bed.
Oh, God. He thought to himself, still groggy. That was a weird dream.
He turned his head on the pillow, groaning. As he prepared to drift to sleep again, he could faintly hear someone breathing. Ma.
“Mom? Is that you?”
“There, there.” A soft, female voice came from the other side of the room. “You’ve been asleep for almost five hours, now.” It didn’t sound like his mother, but Marty reasoned that it was just his ears.
“I had the strangest dream, Ma.” Marty pulled himself tighter into the soft sheets. “I went back in time, to a strange other world! And there were talking animals.” Marty yawned. “With horns.” He steadily began to fall back to sleep.
“Well, you’re safe and sound, now.” the voice said. “Back in good ol’ Equestria.”
“Yea-” Marty shot upright, eyes now wide open. “Equestria?!?!”
The lights in the room flicked on. Marty turned towards its source, and saw the purple... unicorn, from his nightmare. She was sitting on a bench, gazing at him with concern. Once again, his jaw fell open.
“You’re a yuh-. You’re a yuh-!”
“My name’s Twilight Sparkle!” She smiled brightly as she said the name. “You’re in my library, in Ponyville.”
“You’re a unicorn!” Marty was practically yelling.
The thing that said it’s name was Twilight Sparkle furrowed its brow in confusion. “Yes, I’m a unicorn. You talk like you’ve never seen one before.”
“Yeah, that’s right!”
“What? How could you have never seen a unicorn? I’m pretty sure there are ponies everywhere in Equestria.”
The bewildered human grabbed at his hair with his hands. “But unicorns don’t exist!”
“E-excuse me?” she looked offended.
“Not, uh, that! I mean-” He shook his hands at her. “You exist, obviously. But you shouldn’t! I mean, I never thought-”
She raised a- hoof? What the fu -to silence him. “Well, it is possible that I don’t exist. I could just be a product of your imagination. Or, you could be a product of my imagination. Or, one of us is imaginary, but thinks they’re real, but it’s really just the other one talking to themselves.”
She spoke the words as they came to her head, it seemed, and seemed very proud of the clever results. “Or, one of us could be a hologram! It would take-”
Marty listened to the unicorn- Twilight, she said -talk for several more minutes. He was thankful for the time to think, as he continued to stare, slack-jawed, at her as she talked, not listening to anything she was saying. I... What?
Okay, Marty, think. Be logical. Sitting in front of you is a unicorn, who can ramble more than your sister. She seems to have put you into a bed, so she’s probably not going to kill you. You have no idea where the Doc is. Nor the DeLorean.
This is heavy.
“Uh, excuse me?” Marty said.
“...but I’m never going near parsley again. Huh?” She blinked, then looked at the ground, blushing. “Oh, sorry. I guess I got a bit carried away.”
“Oh, nah, it’s okay. Really.” The unicorn looked up again and smiled. Huh. “Um, so, first off, where did you say I was?”
“You’re in my bedroom, in the Ponyville Library.”
“Uh, okay.” Marty scratched his chin, positioning himself so he was sitting on the edge of the bed. “We are on Earth, yah?”
Twilight scrunched her nose at the peculiar question. “Yes, the library is built on dirt. No pavement in Ponyville.”
“Uh, no. The planet, Earth.”
“...The planet is made of Earth, yes.”
Marty rolled his eyes. “Okay. Am I in California?”
He clapped his hands together. “Good! No we’re getting somewhere. Am I in America?”
“Never heard of it.”
“Nope. Wait, did you say...”
Marty leaned forward, eager. “Yes?”
“Uh, no. Europe.”
“Oh. No, sorry.”
Marty sighed. “Okay, what year is it?”
Twilight looked at him quizzically. “What year? How could you not know what year it is?” Marty’s eyes grew wide and, he clamped a hand over his mouth.
She looked at him for a moment, then gasped. “You’ve been using time magic!? That’s irresponsible! And probably illegal!” The purple unicorn stood up and began pacing around the bedroom. “But hang on, you’re not a unicorn, you can’t do magic. So how did you...” She gasped again.
“That flying chariot! Does that travel through time? And how does it fly? Does it move under it’s own power? I saw something like that once, but it moved on the ground, and there were unicorns with it, you can’t possibly-”
“Ah! Uh, Twilight!” Marty threw his hands in the air. She stopped talking. “I’ll tell you about the DeLorean later, okay?” She nodded gently.
“Good. Now, where’s Doc?”
Twilight looked around nervously. “Oh, he’s fine. He, uh, was awake when you passed out.” Marty sighed, relaxing now that he knew Doc wasn’t injured. “He freaked out after looking around for a little bit. He also kept talking about somepony named Scott.”
“Scott?” Marty said. And secondly; “somepony”?
“Aren’t you... Scott?”
“What? No! I’m Marty. Erm, nice to meet you.” He held out a hand.
Twilight stared at it for a moment. “That’s a very interesting paw. Are those all opposable?”
“What?” Marty thought for a moment before bringing his palm to his face. “Oh! No, see, that’s like, a greeting. Uh, you shake it.”
The purple pony stared, then gingerly held his hand in one of her hooves- wait, how- and proceeded to shake it, quickly, like a soda.
“Aha, not quite like that, but alright.” Marty retrieved his hand from her death-grip. “So, what was this about a Scott?”
“Oh! Yes. Is Scott a deity where you come from?” She sat back down on the bench as she talked.
“Not one I know of.”
“The ‘Great Scott?’”
“The ‘Great-” Marty paused, then laughed aloud. “Hah! No, I’m pretty sure Scott’s some famous scientist. Doc says that all the time.”
Twilight suddenly seemed very interested. “A scientist?”
“Yeah, Doc’s a scientist himself, always talks about those old guys. Named his dogs after some of ‘em, too.”
“He’s a scientist? Oh, wow! I don’t think I’ve ever met a scientist of another species before! I mean, I’ve read Garcin the Gryphon’s works, but to actually talk to one!” Her eyes sparkled with an obvious enthusiasm. “Will you introduce me?”
“Heh, sure. Um, say, it’s getting a little cramped in here, why don’t you take me to the D- I mean, the flying carriage.”
“...Yes, that’s right.”
Twilight jumped from her chair and trotted yeah that’s trotting, right? Or is that a canter? to the door, opened it, and nodded her head for Marty to follow. He stood up, noticing that he was much taller than the doorframe itself, and went after her, ducking his head as he went through.
Oh, God, more bright light. Marty squinted as he entered the large room. As his vision acclimated, he began to see rows and rows of old-looking books, lined upon shelves in the wall, which curved inwards. The ceilings were appreciatively higher, though, than in the bedroom. In fact, there appeared to be several levels to the structure, with small balconies lining each one.
Another door led to what looked like a small kitchen. Twilight walked up to the door and yelled into it. “Spiiike! Help me with these books!”
A young voice could be heard from the room. “Yeah, yeah, I’m on it, Twi.” Marty watched, dazed, as a giant lizard walked out of the room on its hind legs. “Lemme guess, you need your ‘Undocumented Phenomena’ notebook.”
“Well, that too. What I really need is my autograph book.” Twilight dug through a pile of scrolls on a desk, blindly waving a hoof at Marty. “Spike, meet Marty. Marty, meet Spike. Spike’s my number one assistant.”
The two boys stared dumbly at each other. “What the hell are you?” They said in unison.
“I’m a human! What are you?”
Marty blinked dumbly. “Huh. Okay.”
“Wait, you’re not impressed?” The small purple lizard looked terribly downtrodden about this.
“Well, yes, I’m impressed. But it’s not as shocking as the valley full of talking unicorns. I mean, I’ve heard of talking dragons. You ever read Tolkien?”
“Tolkien? Do you mean J. R. R. Tolkara?”
Spike shrugged, steering towards a different topic. “What is a human?” he asked.
“Oh, well. I am.”
“You look kinda like a shaved foal.”
Twilight interrupted the conversation, trotting directly between the two of them. “Spike, those books?”
“Yeah, yeah.” The young dragon lumbered towards a bookshelf, grumbling to himself as he did so. Marty watched him go, internally reeling at the bizarre novelty of the small assistant. After but a moment, he jumped back as a brushy purple horse tail swatted his face.
“Marty? Come on, this way.” Twilight stood in front of him, waiting for the young human to follow. Taking charge. She’s certainly handling this better than I would, if our positions were switched. He wondered how she was able to hit him with her tail, and noticed for the first time that she was taller than he had anticipated, from seeing her sit down. She only seemed half a head shorter than Marty. Spike’s head came up to his waist.
“Alright, alright. Lead the way.” Twilight exited the wooden library through a two-part door, and the young time traveler had to duck his head again to walk through.
He had to squint again. Bright! Whyyy- He rubbed his eyes for a moment, then slowly pried them open.
He was in a village. Cottages and small storefronts stretch out into the distance, with pointy roofs and dirt streets. Although, aside from being (apparently) color-coordinated, nothing seemed particularly off about the whole place.
Except for the town’s inhabitants.
A multitude of unicorns, just like Twilight and the other ones from before, populated the village. They were in an abundance of colors, and came in lots of different shapes and sizes.
Some of them were looking at Marty oddly. Most of them gave him an off glance, before continuing on their way, but some stood by and watched, waiting to see what he’d do.
Why am I the oddity? Jesus, this is an entire town full of-
“Marty!” Twilight said from behind him. He turned and saw her to the right side of the building he had just exited, standing beside the still-overturned DeLorean. He shook his head in disbelief, and accompanied her by the machine.
“Sorry about crashing into your, uh” Marty waved a hand at the library. “Tree.”
“Don’t worry about it. That’s what the forcefield’s for!”
Marty rubbed his hands together, nervously. “You guys have... you know what? Nevermind.” He turned towards the up-ended car. “You said Doc’s inside?”
“Yeah, he crawled in a few moments after he got up. He’s been in there for five whole hours.”
She blinked. “It’s not supposed to go upside-down?”
She smiled brightly. “Well, I can fix that for you.” The small horse closed her eyes, and her horn began to glow.
Marty took a step back, shocked. Another, similar glow enveloped the DeLorean, and to his amazement, slowly began to rise into the air.
His palms began to tingle. He scratched at them absentmindedly as the car continued to ascend, amazed by the impossible feat.
The purple unicorn, obviously very engrossed in her work, lowered her eyebrows as she concentrated more. The time machine suddenly rose much higher, and righted itself in mid-air.
Marty cringed as the faint feeling in his palms spread, enveloping his hands entirely in the odd tingling. He shook them, trying to regain the feeling in his fingers.
Twilight gently lowered the car to the ground, releasing the magic and hanging her head in exhaustion. The tingling in the young man’s palms faded, and he was left wondering about his health. “The hell?”
“There you go,” Twilight said, quickly recovering. “Don’t worry, I made sure not to hurt your friend.”
Marty strode up to the car, still rubbing his palms. Through the empty driver-side window, he saw Doc, sitting with his hand sitting on the wheel, his eyes wide. The old inventor did not speak. Marty swung over to the other side of the DeLorean, opened the door, and gently sat down in the passenger side. Doc did not look at him, his gaze still fixed forward.
“Doc? Y’alright, Doc?”
The old man’s mouth moved, but no sound escaped.
“Didn’t quite catch that one, Doc.”
“I-I said that’s-that’s impossible.” He breathed out the words, gently, almost too quiet to hear.
Marty leaned back in the faux-leather seats. “I’ll admit, it’s certainly out there. But come on, Doc, you’ve probably had your fill of impossible by now, right?”
Doc’s head swung abruptly to the right, glaring at Marty with unparalleled intensity. “No I have not! This is utterly and completely...” he twisted his face before uttering the last word, “impossible.”
Without another word, the inventor leapt from the car and strode down the dirt path, ranting.
“Shit...” Marty said as he jumped out of the car and followed.
“Impossible?! You wanna know what’s impossible, Marty?”
Doc was blazing down the streets of Ponyville, waving his arms at the air. “THIS is impossible! We can not just travel to another world, populated entirely by miniature horses! Miniature horses that talk!”
“Doc!” Marty ran after his friend, following him into the center of the small town, where there was a larger abundance of the strange unicorns. “Come on, Doc, you gotta calm down!”
Doc turned and waved his fingers in the young man’s face. “I’ll tell you what’s impossible, Marty. Not a single thing we have experience is impossible, if one merely accounts for the continued existence of the DeLorean as a variable.” He stepped up onto an overturned crate, sweeping his arms out over the startled citizens, who looked up at him nervously. “We do not spiral into some madman’s daydream!”
“You’re scaring ‘em, Doc.”
The old man stopped talking, dumbstruck. He glanced down at the colorful beings below him, fear and apprehension written plain on their faces. “Oh, I-I’m sorry, I didn’t...” Doc mumbled an apology before slowly stepping down. That got his attention.
“Let’s get back to the tree.” Marty put a hand on his friend’s shoulder and led him through the town again, returning to the time machine. “Y’alright, Doc? You kinda flipped out there.”
“I’m... yes, I’m fine. It’s just- Marty, they do magic. All three of them!”
“Yeah, I noticed Twilight doing some crazy shit. Made my hands- wait, all three what?”
Doc waved his hands in the air. “All three equines! See, there,” he pointed towards a brown unicorn with an hourglass on it’s ass, “That’s what they call an Earth pony.”
Marty peered at the particular horse, and after a moment, noticed the obvious, that had escaped him before- it didn’t have the little horn. In fact, it didn’t have anything peculiar about it.
“And up there! I don’t know what they call themselves, but they look just like the Pegasus from Greek mythology!”
The younger time traveler looked up. Amazed, he saw that there were, in fact, several of the horses with wings, coasting lazily through the air. Looking around, he realized that, the unicorns he encountered only made up roughly one-third of the population here. “God damn. You said they all do magic?”
Doc nodded. “Yes”, he said, “apparently the ones resembling unicorns can perform spectacular feats, the pegasi can move clouds, and the Earth ponies have a natural green thumb.”
“Doc, how the hell do you know all this?” Marty asked.
“I was laying in the DeLorean for quite a while, Marty. I overheard some things. And if my initial conclusion is correct, I’m pretty sure I’ve gone mad.” They continued to walk through the town, looking for the library. “Where are we going?”
Marty looked around at the brightly-colored houses. “We’re heading to... the library, there’s this unicorn...” He stopped walking and looked down the street behind him. “Hang on, where’s the giant tree?”
“The tree we crashed into?”
“Yeah, it’s actually a library, and...” the teenager folded his arms. “I think we’re lost.”
Marty had followed Doc quite a ways into town, and the buildings in the impossible town seemed to all look exactly the same. The old inventor spoke up. “Well, besides the fact that none of this makes sense, why don’t we ask for directions?”
Marty swiveled his head around the crowd, looking for any of the... horses, that seemed to not be busy. Each of them seemed to be busy with a conversation or menial task, save for one... pink one, who merely bounced up and down with it’s eyes closed.
The time travelers shrugged at one another, and gently approached it. “Sorry to bother you,” Marty said. “Could you point us to the Library?”
The pink pony opened her eyes and stopped bouncing. “The Library?!?!” She spoke with emphasis, and from her voice, was obviously another female. “Everypony knows the library’s over thataway!” She swung a hoof towards her right. Marty peered down the road, and saw a few branches sticking up over the houses.
“Oh, thank you, Miss.” Doc spoke up hesitantly. “We’ll just head on that-”
The pink earth pony interrupted him with a long, loud gasp. “I don’t know you!”
All three stood quietly for a moment. Marty tentatively broke the silence. “You don-”
“HiI’mPinkiePieandI’venevermetyoubeforesothatmustmeanyou’refromsomewhereelsebutwhereyoucamefromIdon’tknowsomaybeyoucamefromthatthingthathitTwilight’shouseandturnedovershesaidshedraggedsomeponyfromitandoohthatwouldexplainwhyyourelookingforthelibrarysoifI’venevermetyoubeforethatmeansyourNEWINTOWN!!!”* She inhaled.
“And that means you need A PARTY!!!”
Then it exploded.
Doc and Marty stared blankly at the puff of flour that occupied the space where the small pink horse had just been.
“What the hell was that? Is that normal?”
“Nothing about that was normal. I don’t even think that was normal here.”
The two humans quickly made their way towards the library, where Twilight Sparkle was standing by the time machine, scratching her chin. Marty called out to her. “Hey, Twilight!”
The purple unicorn turned towards them. “Oh, hi Marty!” She waved, and smiled.
Very friendly, aren’t they? Marty thought. “This is Doc. Doc, this is Twilight Glitter.”
“Sparkle.” Twilight spoke defensively. “Twilight Sparkle. Marty says you’re a scientist! What field do you study?”
Doc brightened considerably at the question. “I’m a patron of all sciences, little miss. However, for a few years I taught physics.”
“Ohh, that makes sense! But from what I gather, you don’t use magic where you come from?”
The inventor adopted a weary expression, resigning himself to being completely oblivious about everything in the strange land. “Yes, that’s right. There are ancient stories about magic, but no scientific evidence to support them.”
“Fascinating! We ourselves have some fairly complex non-magical technology, but nothing on this level!” She tapped a hoof excitedly on the hood of the DeLorean. “And never in a million years did I think one could travel through time without magic.”
Doc turned white as a sheet, and turned towards Marty. “You told her it was a time machine?!?”
Marty sighed. “No, Doc, but you just did.”
“So it is a time travel device! A ‘time machine’, you called it? Nifty!” Twilight returned to inspecting the car with renewed vigor. “Are you from the far future? The past? Another planet? And how is it powered? It looks nuclear!”
Marty spoke up. “Nah, this sucker’s electrical.” He chuckled at his own joke.
Doc ignored him. “Actually, Miss Sparkle, the time machine is only designed to do just that- travel through time. But recently, some additions were added to it that were evidently designed to allow it to travel here. Never in all my life have I heard of anything like this place!”
The old man was ranting again. “And I’ve never heard of another sentient species existing! And magic! That’s impossible! And you all speak perfect English!”
Twilight Sparkle rubbed her chin again, thinking about his words. “Well, I can think of a few possibilities off the bat. Perhaps you are from the distant past? Our species could have been created, or evolved, and we were the first to discover magic.”
“Or the distant future!” The unicorn’s eyes grew wide. “We could have died off, your species was born, and you simply have yet to discover magic? Although, I find the idea of my species going extinct discouraging, to say the least, and not discovering magic is like not discovering fire.”
“Thank you,” Doc deadpanned, “for the high honor you do my species.”
Twilight chuckled. “No offense, of course. I mean, you created non-magical time travel! And from the way you speak of it, you can accomplish it repeatedly?”
The inventor waved a hand. “Of course.”
“Wow. There must be some pretty strict laws preventing the abuse of this technology.”
Marty snorted in the background as Doc visibly swelled with pride. “Actually, there are not. I invented the time machine, and currently have the only one, or, uh, two, in existence.”
Twilight’s eyes grew even wider. “You invented it? Oh, wow! How does it work?”
The old time traveler reached over and opened the side door. The unicorn stepped back for a moment as it hissed, then eagerly peered inside.
Doc pointed to the various buttons and switches throughout the inside of the vehicle. “Most of these are for nuclear and electrical management, half of which became obsolete shortly after I created it, using technology I obtained from the future. This one,” he pointed towards the time circuits, “is a readout of the dates and times you’re working with. And this,” He turned his head and gently tapped behind him, “Is the Flux Capacitor. The secret of Time Travel.”
“Hang on,” Twilight frowned and gestured a hoof at the large ruby, positioned below the Capacitor. “I thought you said you didn’t use magic. That’s clearly a Thaumatic Cell.”
“So you know what this is? This is what brought us here. When we traveled through time, it began glowing. Next thing we knew, we were here.”
“I don’t...” Twilight thought for a moment, biting her lip. “Yes, actually. That’s a Thematic Cell, a sort of magic-holder. I’m assuming these wires connect it to your Warp Capacitor.”
“Flux Capacitor. How does-”
“Wait a minute,” Marty cut off his friend. “If that thing just brought us here, why can’t we use it to get back?”
Twilight piped up. “Because it’s empty. Which is weird, actually. This looks unicorn-made, so there should be at least a little energy left inside, even if you used it all. I’m convinced the magic was drained from the ruby, somehow.” She shrugged. “I can fix it, though.”
“You can?!” Doc clapped his hands together. “Great! You fix it, then we can get home! How long-”
“A month. Two, maybe.”
Doc’s face fell. “Well, shit.”
Twilight raised her eyebrows at the profanity, but said nothing. “I’ll get this into my lab, take a look at it. I’d still like to ask you about your Capacitor, Doc.” She levitated the stone out of its resting place with her magic.
Marty winced and shook his hands, as the bizarre tingling returned. The purple unicorn narrowed her eyes as she noticed the gesture. “Why don’t you both... come inside. I should probably write to the princess about this.”
She trotted again towards the Library, and Marty made to follow. Doc put a hand on his shoulder. “Marty, I want you to be careful. This is a first-contact scenario, and there’s also the fact we don’t know anything about these small horses.”
The teenager stifled a laugh. “Alright, Doc. But come on, they’re... ponies! I don’t think this is gonna be too difficult.”
Twilight called out to them, chipper, from inside the the large building. “Oh, and I can introduce you to my friends!”
The pair glanced at each other before heading to the door.
This was only gonna get weirder.
*(For those interested: Hi-I’m-Pinkie-Pie-and-I’ve-never-met-you-before-so-that-must-mean-you’re-from-somewhere-else-but-where-you-came-from-I-don’t-know-so-maybe-you-came-from-that-thing-that-hit-Twilight’s-house-and-turned-over-she-said-she-dragged-somepony-from-it-and-ooh-that-would-explain-why-youre-looking-for-the-library-so-if-I’ve-never-met-you-before-that-means-your-NEW-IN-TOWN!!! )
“So you can breathe fire.”
“But you can also breathe, like, magic-fire.”
“Is there a difference?”
Spike scratched his chin. “Well, when I send letters, there’s a bit more ‘oomph’ in it.”
Marty nodded. “Uh-huh. So, what if you, like, burned down a house with the magic-fire?”
“Oh, actually, if it doesn’t burn all the way by the time I finish blowing, then it becomes normal fire.” Spike casually picked up a volume off of the floor. “It takes a little while to finish sending a whole book, for example.”
Marty and Spike were sitting in the Library’s basement, casually chatting. Doc and Twilight Sparkle were discussing physics, and getting along famously. (He had already autographed her book.)
Both assistants had tried to help, but it quickly became apparent that their services were not particularly required. The scientists were currently discussing heat dispersal, and they were discussing, well, life.
“And it always goes to your princess?”
“Uhh, yeah. But she can send ‘em to anyone with the spell equipped. Most ponies just use enchanted lanterns, though, but Twilight thinks it was originally designed for dragon assistants such as myself.”
“That’s pretty cool, man.”
“Not as cool as electric guitar!” Marty had brought his Walkman along, and the dragon assistant had taken to it immediately. “I still can’t believe you can make all of that sound with your fingers.”
“Well, the fingers are just a part of it. There’s lots of cables and magnets involved.”
“But it’s still just like a normal guitar, right?”
Marty nodded, then asked his own question. “Hang on, how do you know about guitars? I’m pretty sure the ponies around here can’t play it with hooves.”
“Well, other species have digits, too. And opposable thumbs.” He waggled his own thumbs, for emphasis. “Some gryphon guitarists have gained a lot of speed in Vinyl Scratch’s club.”
“Far out. Do you know where I could get one of those?”
The young human chuckled. “Naw, man, a guitar.”
“Turn of phrase.”
Spike pondered it for a moment. “There’s a music shop in town. I’m pretty sure they have at least one, for concerts and stuff.”
“Great!” Marty clapped his hands together. “I haven’t practiced since yesterday.” He furrowed his brow. “Um, sorta. Whatever, man. Time travel.”
“We had an incident with time travel a while ago, you know.”
“Yeah. There’s a time spell that you can ‘only use once’. Twilight kinda drove herself crazy fulfilling a parachute.”
Marty whistled. “Those are dangerous. Apparently you can blow up the universe with one of those. We almost had one of those, but my girlfriend was lucky enough to just faint, instead.”
“Blow up the universe?!?”
Marty leaned back, glancing back and forth. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure that can happen.”
The dragon chuckled. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a terrible liar?”
“No. Never.” Marty deadpanned. “Seriously, though, I think Doc may have exaggerated some of those claims. I think he just wanted to stop us from messing with things too much.”
“Yeah, but why are-”
Spike was abruptly cut off by a loud banging noise from upstairs. “Spike!” Twilight said, without looking at him. “Could you get the door?”
The purple dragon groaned. “Alright, Twilight.” He ascended the stairs, grumbling.
The door to the basement slammed shut, and Marty was left alone. Doc and Twilight were still discussing science. “So, uh, what are you guys up to?”
Doc abruptly turned around and wagged a finger at him. “Magic. Is. Impossible.”
“It’s not impossible!” The purple unicorn turned around as well. “It just has it’s own set of rules that can disobey physics!”
“Nothing can disobey physics!” Doc was exceptionally adamant.
“Light disobeys physics! Electrons! Radio Talk-Shows!” So was Twilight.
“That is completely different!”
It struck Marty that their conversation was less discussing science and more arguing about it. He briefly wondered how long they’d been doing that. The discussion was cut short, however, by a rainbow-colored blur, which entered the room a moment later.
“Twilight!” Twilight was being assaulted by another pony, a pegasus. It was light-blue in color, with a brightly-striped mane. Wings sprouted from its back. I’m pretty sure that’s a girl pony, Marty thought.
“You know there’s a Pinkie Party happening in two hours!?”
Twilight’s eyes shot open. “What?!?”
Yep. Almost entirely certain.
“Yeah! She’s throwing it for the two new ponies in town!”
“We’re not ponies.” Doc cut in.
There is like a ninety-nine percent chance that that is a female pegasus. It would be terrible of me to assume otherwise.
“Fine, the two new ‘whatever-the-hell-you-are’s. That’s not important! What’s important is that she keeps trying to get me to help her!”
“So, why don’t you help her?” Twilight was in no mood for games.
I am so completely sure that it’s a ‘she’ that I’m not even going to think about it anymore. Because that’s how sure I am. Probably.
“It’s four p.m., Twi! It’s the middle of my nap time!”
“Well, I can’t really come, I’m in the middle of something. Why don’t you take Spike? Or hell, even Marty?” The unicorn scientist pointed a hoof at the human teenager.
Without a doubt. Female. Totally.
“You!” The blue pegasus sped over to Marty’s face, glaring at him angrily.
“Yes, uh, Sir!”
Crap. “Uh... ma’am?”
The pegasus flipped her shit. “Oh, that’s great. Just great. Not only am I missing out on my nap, but this alien thinks I’m a colt!” She rubbed her hooves against her temples. “Auuuunnngh.”
“Ah! Sorry! I didn’t mean that.” Marty stood, raising his hands in the air. She continued to glare at him. “You just sounded, uh, tougher than I expected! And I don’t really know what you’re supposed to look like, and I didn’t want to make any assumptions, and-”
“Can it, baldy. You’re gonna set up this party, and I’m gonna finish my nap. Kapeiche?”
He nodded. “Good.” Marty suddenly found himself being shoved up the staircase. The rainbow mare called out behind him. “Thanks, Twilight!”
“No problem!” the voice called from below. “And bring Spike, he needs something to do!”
“Maaaan. Why do I have to come?”
“Because you value a good work ethic, shorty.”
Marty and Spike walked down the street, heading towards a place called ‘Sugarcube Corner’. The human continued to elicit several stares from the four-legged inhabitants, but by now he was no stranger to it.
“I think Rainbow Dash is just lazy.” the dragon huffed, crossing his arms. Marty just laughed and continued walking.
The building they approached looked like a giant gingerbread house. Lined inside the shop window were a variety of cakes and pastries. Spike continued past the windows and strode through the door, but Marty lingered. He hadn’t eaten anything since the diner.
“Hey! Human!” Spike’s yelling drew him back to reality (hang on, this isn’t reali- oh no wait all that stuff happened. Right) and he entered the pastry shop.
Inside were several tables, and another glass display case and counter at the far end. Streamers and banners hung from every wall, and balloons were tied to each table. Marty saw two slightly older-looking ponies manning the kitchen in the back room, and spied a familiar face. “Hey, you’re that pony who exploded.”
A pink earth pony, currently busy tying up another banner, turned her head. “OH! Hi! You’re the new pony that the party’s for! But you’re not really a pony! Oh, this is gonna be the best non-pony party ever!”
Marty rubbed his ears, trying to calm the ringing. Ow. “Yes, that’s right. I was-”
“OH! But it was supposed to be a surprise party! But not really I guess not a lot of them actually are surprises. I guess I should tell fewer ponies about them! But then no one would come. Isn’t that silly?”
Marty was prepared for the noise this time, and had his ears covered with his hands. “Um, yes. I was just saying, me and Spike were sent here to help you, erm, prepare, but you seem to have it all well under control.”
“Are you CRAZY?!?!” Marty’s hands weren’t enough. My poor ears...
The pink party pony continued. “We still have banners to put up! And streamers! And games! And balloons and cakes and treats and punch and music and tablecloths and trash cans...”
The confused human looked at Spike, who simply shrugged, his own claws shoved firmly against either side of his head. Marty returned to the pink one.
“...and mops and handwash and bottled water (you can’t drink punch all the time!) and seating arrangements and napkins and fun facts and HUUHHHH!!” She inhaled. “It’s gonna be so much FUN!”
“Uh, okay. I’m Marty.”
The small pink horse smiled so wide Marty was certain the top of her head would fall off. “I’m Pinkie Pie! I do parties!”
“Undoubtedly.” Marty glanced around. “Where can I start?”
“Pinkie, what type of cupcakes do you want?”
“Oh, silly Spike, I want all of the cupcakes! But that would give me a tummy ache.”
Marty was hanging yet another set of streamers from the ceiling. Once again, he called into question the motives behind this party. Not that he minded, but it didn’t seem to have anything to do with them.
The teenager had thought Doc was being irrational, when the inventor had grown frustrated at their illogical arrival. Now, though, he understood how ‘nothing making sense’ could be frustrating.
Pinkie Pie evidently held a party at least once a week, and each time, she invited the whole town. Spike had assured him that the party would have been held anyway, so there was no use objecting.
The preparations were almost done, and the party was in half-an-hour. Marty stepped down from the ceiling and Pinkie Pie jumped in his face again. “Augh!”
“Heya Marty! You know you have a really great name! Marty-Marty-Marty-Marty! That’s fun to say!”
He slowly nodded, rubbing his temples. This is why I’m never having children, he thought. Oh, wait. Dammit.
“Anyways, thanks for helping me with the party! Here ya go.” The pink pony shoved a small bag into the teenager’s hands. As he held it, he heard a distinctive metal sound from within.
Pinkie smiled brightly. “Money! You helped me a whole lot. And you haven’t practiced since yesterday-sort-of, right?!?!”
Marty pondered her words. “Yeah, that’s right.” Hang on. “Wait, how-?”
“No time for talking now! Goodbye!” She abruptly turned Marty around with her hooves and shoved him out into the street, which was already growing dark, then sent Spike through the air along with him. “Be back for the party! You can bring your guitar! OH!”
The pink pony clapped a hoof to her forehead. “I also need you to wake up Rainbow Dash! She’s probably still sleeping!”
Marty rose to his feet, brushing dirt off of his vest. “No problem, Pinkie Pie. Y’alright, Spike?”
“I’m fine.” the small dragon grumbled. “This happens a lot.”
“Do you know where that music shop is?”
Spike’s eyes grew wide. “Yeah! Let’s go!” He bounced to his feet and sped down the road.
Marty followed. “Later, Pinkie.” he waved.
“Don’t forget to be surprised!”
Marty turned and ran after the dragon, who was by now far ahead. After several minutes of running, he found Spike leaning against a storefront.
Contrary to the rest of Ponyville’s buildings, this shop was made of brick, with a dark front window that displayed nothing. He looked to Spike, who nodded. Shrugging, the human walked inside.
He had to duck again, to fit through the door. The interior of the store looked the same as the exterior, with brick walls and a high, wooden ceiling. A glass display case acted as a counter, filled with harmonicas and flutes. The wall behind the counter held many larger instruments, including an ornate, golden lyre.
Further back in the building was a bookshelf, filled with slim music books, and a small stage. Surprisingly, there were amps on either side of the small platform.
There was, however, no-one else in the shop. “Where is everybody?”
Spike mouthed the word ‘everybody’ to himself, confusion on his face. “Uh, I dunno. Usually Vinyl or Gibson are here, but...”
Marty spied a small silver service bell, on top of the display case. He reached a hand out and rung it. Almost immediately, voices could be heard, emanating from below the floor.
“Scratch! You deaf filly!” A gravelly voice shouted loudly. “Customers!”
“On it!” A much younger voice replied. A moment later, hoofsteps could be heard from behind the stage, getting closer with each step, as the pony evidently climbed some stairs.
The hoofsteps ceased, and a white unicorn strode out of the back. She had an electric-blue mane in a swept-round haircut, and wore dark purple sunglasses.
The unicorn did not look at them, instead looking straight forward as she took her place behind the counter. Only once she was directly in front of them did she turn to face her two customers.
She looked up at Marty. “Woah! You’re something new, bud. Hey, Spike.” She gave a small salute to the young dragon, who returned the gesture.
“So what can I do for you gentlemen today?”
If it hadn’t been for Spike’s quick gender-identification lesson while they worked at Sugarcube Corner, the time traveler would have immediately pegged the unicorn as a guy, albeit with a slightly high-pitched voice. More than that, though, she seemed laid-back, and easygoing. Definitely a fellow fan of music.
Spike spoke up. “He needs a guitar, Vinyl.”
“A guitar? Far out!” she smiled dumbly for a second. “That’s pretty rad, my bipedal friends. Hang on.” She ducked under the counter and rummaged around for a bit. “Here it is.”
With one hoof, she placed an acoustic guitar on top of the glass. But it was unlike any guitar Marty had ever seen before.
The head and fretboard were identical to a standard acoustic, right down to the marks along the side. The body, however, was shaped like a large talon, round on all sides, curving to the left. The hole in the center was shaped like a fleur-de-lis, and a bridge protruded gently from beneath it, keeping the strings straight, before they tied themselves to the curved surface. A thin leather strap was hooked on to it.
He picked it up in his hands, gingerly. It was perfectly balanced, so he turned and slipped the strap over his head, gently strumming. The curved portion of the talon-shaped instrument hooked up, under his arm.
A wide smile broke out on Marty’s face, and he belted out a blues riff, thankful to once again indulge in his favorite pastime.
After a few minutes of playing, he stopped and looked down at the two other beings in the shop. They both were struck with looks of awe, accompanied by huge grins.
Spike threw his arms up. “Dude! That was amazing!”
“Pretty gnarly, bro. That was some fine shit. You have any records?” The DJ pony asked.
He laughed. “Not yet, but we’re getting there. Me and the band, I mean.” Marty rubbed his fingers, aware of the strange feel of the guitar’s strings. “What is this? Twine?”
“Yeah, man. Best strings on the market. They come with the guitar.” She noticed his blank expression. “They’re enchanted so they never break or go out of tune.”
The human teenager brightened considerably at that. “No way.”
Vinyl Scratch once again smiled. “Way. So, you gonna buy that?”
“A guitar that never needs new strings?” Marty scoffed. “Hell yeah! How much?”
“Well, Gibson down there says sixty bits, but he’s a crook.” She chuckled. “How much ya got?”
He removed the bag he had obtained from Pinkie Pie from his vest, setting it on the glass. Vinyl picked it up in one hoof. “Eh, this’ll do it. I’ll throw in a big discount due to the fact that you’re the only one here who’s gonna get anything from it.” She tossed it under the counter.
“Call me Vinyl.”
“Well, thanks again, Vinyl.” Spike said goodbye, and the two assistants walked out the door.
Marty began playing again as they walked, earning more stares from the ponies on the street. These stares, however, bore more smiles than scowls.
He decided to ask the dragon a question. “Hey, what the hell can she play with hooves, anyway?”
“Oh, unicorns can play lots of things,” Spike said, “But she’s a DJ.”
Marty chuckled, and continued playing.
Spike shrugged. “What? I mean, birds do it.”
Marty shook his head. “Not where I come from. How do we get up there?”
They were standing beneath a large, white castle, that was floating in the sky.
“Well, you fly.” the dragon said.
“Oh, obviously. I guess I should be more surprised that I have to fly up to a castle made of clouds to wake up a rainbow pegasus so we can go to to a party. But really I’m not.” He turned towards Spike. “Can you fly?”
Spike looked at the ground uncomfortably. “I, uh, don’t know. Not yet, at any rate.”
“Well, that’s fine. I know what we can do.” the human grinned, turning and walking back towards the library.
The purple dragon bounced after him. “What? Maybe we can get another pegasus to fly up there?”
“No, no, trust me. This is much better.”
“Well, what is it?”
They turned a corner, and the large tree house came into view. Instead of heading inside, however, Marty continued walking past it, coming to a stop in front of the battered DeLorean, instead.
Spike grew visibly panicked. “Wait, we’re gonna use that thing?”
“Why not? It flies.” Marty opened the driver-side door and sat down inside.
“Yeah, but that’s, like, dangerous! And... weird!”
“Chill out, man. These things are all over the place, where I come from.” He turned the ignition, and the engine roared to life. “Besides, it’s not like we’re going far.”
The young dragon took a step forward. “Is it... safe?”
Marty shrugged. “Sure. The ruby’s not in here anymore, so we should be fine.”
Spike hesitated a moment more, then darted towards the other side of the car. Marty opened the door for him, and he eagerly sat on the faux-leather seat. Now over his fear, Marty noticed that the young dragon seemed very interested in flying.
With the engine already rumbling, the teenager tentatively pressed his foot on the gas. The DeLorean rose several feet in the air, humming loudly. “Close the door, Spike.”
“Huh? Oh, right.” Spike reached up for the gull-wing door, pulling it closed. Satisfied, Marty swerved the vehicle around. The dragon gripped the armrests in the chair.
“Alright, I’m gonna take it slow. Okay?”
The silver car lurched forward, then steadily began to move, slowly rising as it did so. Spike paled, but said nothing.
Marty brought the car high into the air. Turning, he could see the small cluster of buildings below, the masses of ponies living there resembling ants. Both occupants were amazed at the scenery of the valley before them.
It was no less majestic than when the teenager had looked at it before. Tall, snow-tipped mountains, filled with lush green acres. Other settlements could be seen in the distance, the closest being the ornate city atop the mountain. The young human briefly wondered what their grand entrance was thought of.
“Wow!” Spike pressed his face close to the shattered glass. “Now that’s a view!”
Marty accelerated, bringing the vehicle in a large loop above the town. After a moment, he leveled out, and brought the DeLorean closer to the ground. Marty slowly navigated towards Rainbow Dash’s cloud castle, pulling to a stop in front of it.
He turned towards Spike. “Do you know what part she’d be sleeping in?”
The dragon nodded. “Uh-huh. I think her bedroom’s supposed to be in the very top.”
Marty rolled his shoulders. “Let’s hope we don’t wake her up before we get there. Keep quiet.” He slowly pushed the car upwards, until they were level with what he assumed would be the top floor.
Ahead of him was a small hole, in the cloud wall. The sordid rumbling of the engine was the only thing to be heard. He drove the DeLoran forward a few feet, lining up Spike’s shattered window with the opening. “She asleep?”
“Yeah.” Spike giggled, sticking his head out of the window. “Now what?”
“Cover your ears.” The small dragon pressed his hands to his head.
Marty rolled his head on his shoulders, feeling very mischievous. He reached up and pressed his palm against the center of the wheel.
“BUCK!” Marty heard shouting inside of the cloud house. “What in Celestia’s name is ALL THAT BUCKING NOISE!?”
The blue pegasus appeared at the window. The human driver glanced over and waved. “Heya, Miss Dash!” he yelled.
Spike was laughing in his chair, unheard over the horn.
“Turn off that bucking noise, alien!”
“What? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the horn!”
“I SAID TURN IT OFF OR I’LL KICK YOUR FLANK TO THE DIRT!”
Marty pretended to scoff. “Why, such crude language!” Spike burst into another round of guffaws.
Rainbow’s face was twisted in rage. “Ohhh, you’re gonna get it, you shaved freak. Why the hay did you wake me up in the middle of my nap?”
The human driver shrugged. “We were sent by Pinko, there’s a party soon.”
Spike spoke up. “He means Pinkie, Dash.”
“Pinkie? why didn’t she just send Fluttershy?” The dragon shrugged. “Well, whatever. When is it?”
“As if. That’s in five minutes.”
Marty blinked, then casually flicked on the time circuits, which among other things, made for a very accurate clock. “Well, look at that. Time flies when you’re dicking around in a flying car.” He looked at the pegasus again. “Ah, well. I guess we’re gonna be late. Which isn’t exactly the most stressful-”
“Late?!? To a PINKIE PARTY!?!” Rainbow Dash and Spike spoke in unison.
“That is extremely completely utterly bad.” Dash looked around nervously. “I gotta split! If you value your sanity, you’ll book it, too.”
Without a word, she soared into the sky, leaving behind a rainbow contrail. Trippy.
Spike snapped his fingers impatiently. “Come on, Marty! We can’t be late. Ever.”
“There’s no way it’s that bad. What’s Pinkie gonna do, nonsense me to death?”
The small dragon nodded, his expression eerily somber.
Marty paled. “Right. Off we go.”
After the two assistants returned the time machine to the library, Marty slung his new guitar onto his back, and they ran quickly through the town. “We’re... not... gonna... make it!” Spike shouted between breaths.
“Oh... yes we are!” the human began sprinting with all his might, leaving the small dragon in the dust.
“Wait!” Spike shouted, “Don’t leave meeeee!”
Sugarcube Corner came into view, a small crowd of ponies visible inside the shop. Pinkie Pie was standing in the doorway, tapping her hoof.
Marty didn’t bother slowing down, slamming his shoulder into the doorway to stop. “Ooh, damn, that’s gonna hurt tomorrow.” He coughed, catching his breath. “Hey, Pinkie! Spike’s coming. I mean, he was doing something for me. We’re here. On time, Right?”
The pink pony narrowed her eyes, leaning closer into Marty’s face. He forced himself to breathe slowly, anticipation rising inside of him. She leaned in closer, her face taking on a look of...
“Yep! That was close, too!”
...happiness. Marty relaxed, releasing a breath. “Yeah, definitely close! Waking up the rainbow-colored one was a bit more difficult than I anticipated.”
Pinkie Pie nodded happily. “Don’t worry about it! Hi, Spike!” She waved in the distance, as the small dragon jogged towards the store, panting.
She returned to the human. “Didja bring your guitar?” He nodded, swinging the instrument around from behind his back. “Great! Come on it, there’s a lot of ponies who wanna meet ya!”
She turned and began to walk into the shop, but stopped and turned her head around. “Oh! And one of my bestest-best friends wants to meet you specifically! I bet you’re really gonna like her!”
Marty followed the party horse into the building. Up-beat music and light conversation filled the room. “Oh yeah? Twilight told me about some of your friends, which one-”
He was cut off as he came eye-to-eye with another female pony, fluttering in the air. In its hooves, it held a very familiar object.
Marty’s Walkman. “Hey, where’d you get that?” he asked. “I thought I left it in the library.”
The pony looked down. “Oh, um, I’m sorry.” The yellow pegasus landed on the ground, shuffling its hooves nervously. “Could you... possibly, um, make it work again? Mister Doc let me borrow it, but I couldn’t start the music over”
He looked at the tape inside of the small device. “You like this?”
The shy pony nodded, a small smile gracing her face. “Yes. Very much.”
Marty shook his head in disbelief. “Sure thing, miss.”
“I-is something wrong?” She looked like she was about to cry.
“No! Nothing’s wrong. I just wouldn’t really have pegged you as an Aerosmith fan.”
“Now what in tarnation is an Aerosmith?”
An orange earth pony trotted between Marty and the yellow pegasus. She looked determined, and protective.
“Tain’t nothin that’s gonna hurt her, is it?”
Marty shook his head. “No, no no no. Nothing like that. It’s just music.”
The orange pony turned to the yellow one, who smiled and nodded. “Alright,” she said, slowly, “But no funny business, now.”
Marty nodded. He held the Walkman up to the pegasus’ gaze. “This one re-winds the music. Hold it till it clicks, then press this one.” the human demonstrated the buttons slowly. She nodded.
He handed it to her, and she graciously took it, immediately hooking the headphones around her ears. The yellow pegasus smiled, and the orange pony visibly relaxed. “Okay then. Yer Marty, right? Oh, hay, of course you are. Come on.”
The pony grabbed him by the arm and began to drag him to the other side of the room. How the hell can she grab my arm with hooves? Marty thought. The shy pegasus followed them.
Marty saw Doc, standing awkwardly around another group of ponies, Twilight among them. Doc had removed the his lab-coat, once again revealing his Old-West ensemble. He looked extremely tired. Twilight brightened as she saw Marty being dragged towards them. “Thank you, Applejack.”
“Dun mention it.”
The purple unicorn moved the two humans in front of her group, who were joined by Applejack and the pegasus. “Girls, these are ‘humans’, Marty and Doc.” she said, gesturing with her hooves again. The time travelers waved nervously.
“Marty, Doc, these are my friends. Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity.”
The small group gave a round of greetings to the pair. The white one, Rarity, began the conversation. “Say, Mr. Doc, is it?”
Doc turned to face her. “Yes, that’s right.”
“I say, sir, by your clothes I would guess you’re from Appleloosa, or thereabouts?”
Doc looked down at himself, then back up, a curious expression on his face. Twilight chimed in. “Settler colonies, in a desert a few hundred miles west of here.”
“Oh, uh, no. But I do live somewhere similar, you see.”
The white unicorn smirked. “Well, everypony over there seems to be very attached to their hats.” Doc put a hand on his own hat, frowning.
“Hay! There ain’t nothin wrong with a good hat. Everypony needs a good hat.” Applejack cut in.
“Well, there’s no denying their value, darling, but does everypony really need to wear the exact same hat, everywhere?”
“Yes.” the earth pony and the scientist replied, simultaneously.
“Ya know,” Marty said, looking at Rarity, “I find it’s best not to question these people about their hats.” the unicorn rolled her eyes, nodding.
Twilight spoke up. “Did you two find the food okay? I don’t exactly know what your species eats.”
For the first time, Marty noticed that they were standing besides one of the food tables. “Oh, great! I haven’t eaten in ages.” He grabbed the nearest food item, a large pink cupcake, and immediately took a large bite.
Doc cringed. Marty chewed his food, glaring at him. “What?” he said, through a mouthful of food.
“Nothing, nothing. It’s just that the first food item I ate here were those little cubes.” He pointed to a tray of greenish-brown cubes, stacked in a pyramid. “Grass and Molasses.”
“Oh, that’s gross.”
Twilight cut in. “Is something wrong with the food? We can get you anything you need if you-”
“No, it’s fine, thanks Twilight.” Marty nodded at the small unicorn. “We can eat it. Although, I wouldn’t mind some refreshments.”
“Ah can help y’all with that.” Applejack stepped forward. “What do y’all want?”
Marty raised his eyebrows. “Pespi Free?”
Doc cleared his throat. “Ah, whatever you have would be lovely, miss.”
She smiled, then vanished into the throng of ponies. The orange mare returned a moment later, a pair of mugs balanced on her back. She hoofed them over to the humans. “Sweet Apple Acres Cider, the very best.” she smiled, almost seeming smug.
Doc began to bring the drink up to eye level, but Marty held his hand down. “Hang on a second. Doc can’t hold his liquor to save his life. You got anything non-alcoholic?” Doc opened his mouth to protest, but thought better of himself and closed it again.
Applejack blinked, digesting his words. Then she smiled, knowingly. “Oh, hay, this ain’t the good cider. Well, this is the good cider, but not the good-good cider. If ya know what Ah mean.”
Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie burst into fits of giggles, as Twilight rolled her eyes. “Marty,” she said, “We generally don’t serve that kind of beverage unless it’s for a special occasion. And even then, we should only drink it to be polite.” Fluttershy nodded in agreement, still listening to the Walkman.
“Oh, come now, Twilight.” Rarity trotted up to her friend. “While I hardly approve of indiscriminate chugging, a good wine. or port, is a wonderful thing.”
“Hey!” Rainbow Dash shoved in between them, “There is nothing wrong with chugging, or any other way I drink.”
They continued to argue. Doc threw back his cider in a single swing. “Marty,” he said, “with the shit I’ve seen today, I think I might take up drinking.”
He shrugged. “It would make this whole thing a bit easier to believe.” Marty shot his friend a stern look. “But if you go anywhere near alcohol here and I will tackle you.” Doc waved him off.
Applejack trotted up to the teenager. “Psst!” Marty turned his head to look at her. The rest of the small pony group were either still arguing about alcohol, or had wandered off. “If ya wanna get some ‘good good’, stop by the barn’s basement at noon. Dash’ll meet ya there.” Before he could reply, she slinked off.
Marty turned to his inventor friend. “You alright, Doc?”
“It’s a party, Marty. A party, with balloons. A party attended by lots of tiny, talking horses. In another world.” He stared vacantly forward, holding his cider mug.
They both nodded for a moment. The younger time traveler finished off his cupcake. “Well, it’ll probably make for a great study, eh?”
The old inventor smiled slightly. “Yes, it would.”
There we go. “And the best way to gather data would probably be talking to them, right?”
Doc’s face grew brilliantly large. “Right you are Marty! And I know just where to start!” He whipped around and walked up to one of the ponies, a tall, yellow stallion. “Excuse me, sir, but are you literate?”
Marty rolled his eyes. “He’ll be fine.” He turned again, and began looking for Spike.
In the back, Applejack peered curiously at a set of wooden barrels. “Hay, this is the good-good cider. Dang nabbit!”
Marty was sleeping, very soundly. He was having a very odd dream. He dreamt that his hands were glowing, very brightly. When he moved his fingers, the glow intensified, and began to creep further up his arm. The light grew so bright, it began to hurt his eyes.
He closed them. Immediately, he heard a loud tapping noise.
He opened his eyes again to be greeted by the roof of the DeLorean. He rolled off of the backseat, groaning.
“Marty! Up and at-em.”
He looked towards one of the broken windows, to be greeted by Doc. “There’s breakfast inside the library. Some kind of oatmeal. Then we’re going to have a demonstration!”
“Somebody’s in a good mood.” Marty grumbled.
“Perks of sleeping in a featherbed.”
“In a basement.”
Doc waved his hand. “Not in a car, though. Go on, eat! We have things to do, Marty!” He stomped off.
Marty shook his head as he clambered out of the car. He’s dealing with it. Doc had been quite stunned by the existence of Equestria, and Marty wasn’t sure if he was dealing with it well. I never really understood what was happening, so this isn’t new, he thought, but Doc always had a grip on the situation. Now, though...
He closed the time machine’s door, and walked towards the tree-building, yawning and stretching his arms. Inside, he found a small breakfast perched on a table. Marty shrugged, then sat down to eat.
Sunlight illuminated the dusty library, and Marty absentmindedly watched the thousand little particles drift in and out of the sunbeams. Spike walked out of the basement, three more bowls in his hands. The small dragon wore a frilly pink apron.
The human choked back a laugh. “Nice apron, dude.”
Spike grinned, oblivious. “Thanks! Everypony says that, for some reason.”
Marty snickered, but said nothing. “Are they still outside?”
“Twilight and Doc? Yeah. Twilight said you guys were doing the ‘Einstein test’?”
“Einstein test?” Marty swallowed his last bite, thinking. “I don- Oh.” He wiped his mouth and stood up. “Come on, you’ll like this.”
The two assistants headed outside. Besides the library, Twilight and Doc were bickering over a single stopwatch.
“If we’re really going to send it forward five minutes, we’ll need two stopwatches. To be specific!” Twilight snapped.
“Really? The watch will have moved a few seconds, after you’ve waited five minutes.”
“Frankly, I still don’t believe that it’s even possible to have successive time-travel events! For all I know, you may just cast an invisibility spell and stop the watch.”
Doc threw his hands in the air. “Miss Sparkle, it seems that you would like an eyewitness account. I’d be more than happy to allow you into-”
“Are you joking! There would be no way to measure anything then!”
The inventor thought for a moment. “Why don’t you put your dragon in there?”
Spike jumped. “What?!”
The purple unicorn smiled. “That’s perfect! Congratulations, Spike, you get to travel through time!”
“Marty,” Doc cut the small dragon off, “Could you go get the DeLorean started? I could never get the damn ignition to work right.”
Marty shrugged. “Sure thing.” He strode around the library and climbed into the driver’s seat of the car. Revving the engine, he pulled the time machine forward along the ground, in front of the others.
Twilight beamed. “Okay, get in, Spike.”
Marty watched, bemused, as the unicorn persuaded the small dragon into the passenger seat. Once he was inside, mumbling, she beamed. “Alright, let’s get started.”
“Hang on,” Marty said, “We can’t go like this. We’ll freeze to death.”
Twilight looked confused. “What?”
Doc walked over, still fussing over the stopwatch. “The flux dispersal field is, ah, imperfect.” He pressed a button on top of the watch, and it clicked. “The exterior of the vehicle experiences massive heat loss, resulting in solid condensation.” He tapped the broken windows. “We need replacement glass.”
The young unicorn beamed. “I can help with that.” Once again, her horn began to glow a shade of bright purple.
An intense tingling sensation shot up Marty’s arms, spreading outwards from his hands. He gasped and withdrew them from the steering wheel, wincing.
The broken glass that ringed the DeLorean’s windows began glowing, as well. The shards began to melt and grow, then spread upwards with a consistency like syrup. The glowing glass spread across the area of the windows in a thin film, getting slightly thicker where two pieces of glass met.
The tingling sensation in Marty’s arms continued to spread upwards, eclipsing his shoulders and running into his neck. When it hit his spine, small cramps began to pop up along the back of his neck. He quickly put his hands to his shoulders. To his amazement, the pain stopped, and the human felt relaxed as he felt an odd... energy, cycling through his arms.
Twilight Sparkle watched him intently as she finished the job. She continued to remain silent, but gave Doc an odd look. Marty didn’t notice.
The glass on the various windows finally sealed shut, and Twilight released the spell. The odd sensation in the teenager’s arms ceased as well, and he gratefully placed his hands back on the wheel.
The new windows in the DeLorean were crystal clear, with the occasional imperfection where it grew slightly thicker. The imperfections played the sunlight across the interior of the vehicle, creating muddled shadows.
Doc opened the driver-side gull-wing door, rapping a finger against the glass. “Marvelous! Some sort of matter reconstitution?”
“Sort of. I turned the glass into a mushroom for a moment.”
To his credit, Doc only blinked. “Well alright then.” He glanced at the gas gauge. “What! There’s less gas in here than there was when we crashed!”
Marty shrugged. “Yeah, sorry Doc. I took it for a little spin yesterday. Just a short hop up to a cloud castle.”
“Marty, don’t do that! The don’t have internal combustion engines here! We do not want to have another situation like we did in 1885.”
“What’s the problem?” Twilight stepped forward.
“We need to preserve the gas.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Gas? It runs on a gas?”
Doc shook his head. “No, ‘gas’ is an abbreviation of ‘gasoline’. We use it to power our vehicles, in our world. And we only have as much as we brought with us, until we can get back.”
“Gasoline?” the purple unicorn chuckled. “We have gasoline.”
“Yes, of course. We just don’t use it for anything. It’s a byproduct of making kerosene. We can’t use it, though, because it explodes, instead of burning steadily. There’s tons of it in the general store.”
Marty gave the inventor a flat look. “Doc, is Twilight saying we could have gotten gasoline in 1885?”
Doc didn’t say anything.
“We didn’t have to destroy the fuel injector with the liquor?”
Not a word.
“Uhh...” Doc glanced at the ground. “well, yes.”
Marty threw his hands in the air, where they hit the car’s ceiling. “Jesus, Doc? We went through all that for nothing?”
The inventor waggled a finger at the teenager. “Don’t forget! If we hadn’t stayed in 1885 for that week, I wouldn’t have met Clara! And, you wouldn’t have confronted Tannen, and still had problems with being called a coward! Then you would’ve gotten in that car crash with the Rolls!”
Marty looked down, ashamed. “Yeah, you’re right.”
Spike reached out the window and poke Twilight. “I have no idea what they’re talking about.” he whispered. She only shrugged in response.
Marty closed the gull-wing doors, and Doc handed the stopwatch to Spike. “Five minutes, Marty!” he called out. “Forward!” He and Twilight retreated from the hovercar, to a decent observation distance.
Marty turned the ignition. The engine roared to life without a hitch, and the DeLorean jumped several feet into the air. Spike sat next to him, clutching the stopwatch to his chest, his teeth chattering. “Relax, dude,” Marty said, “It’s fine. I’ve done this a million times.”
“Really?” the young dragon asked.
The teenager swept the car into the air, keeping low to the ground, but getting a good distance away from the Library. “Well...” He tallied it off in his head. “I’ve done this eight times. But that’s still a lot. And I don’t know how many times Doc has done it, but he’s been hopping to and fro constantly for more than a year. We’ll be fine.”
Once they were a sizeable distance from the large tree, Marty swerved the car to face it again, and flicked on the time circuits. The streetlight-colored dials flared to life, displaying the current time in Equestria. The ‘destination’ clock was blank, but the ‘departed’ clock still read 1986. Suddenly curious, Marty flicked the new porcelain switch again.
The destination clock flickered, then displayed a curt message, ‘Err’. Marty shrugged, and flicked the switch again. The dial returned to normal.
He plugged in the exact time, plus five minutes, then floored the gas pedal. They shot forward, the engine roaring in their ears.
The Library, distant, rapidly grew closer. Spike began yelling, his voice blending in to the noise. The speedometer quickly passed 70, then 75. Sparks began to play off of the exterior, forming themselves into a halo of light at the nose of the car.
The light grew brighter and brighter. Finally, just as they sped past the pair of grounded scientists, the sparks culminated into a brilliant flash of light.
The DeLorean vanished, leaving a pair of fiery tire-tracks soaring through the air, curving upwards. Twilight fell back, stumbling. Doc whooped and threw his hands into the air.
“Let me tell you,” he told the unicorn, “that never gets old.”
For the passengers of the Time Machine, after the large flash, nothing changed. Marty swerved upwards, bringing the hovercar to a more manageable speed. Spike slowly stopped yelling. “Is that it?”
Marty shrugged. “That’s it.” he lowered the car to the ground in front of the Library again, and cut the engine.
They collapsed onto the dirt with a thud, and Marty opened the doors. Spike jumped out, kissing the ground. “Oh thank Celestia! Sweet, sweet earth!”
Twilight trotted up and thwacked him. “Oh, stop being so dramatic. I hope you take to flying more when you’re older, for your sake.” She took the stopwatch from his hands. “Well I’ll be. Less than thirty seconds. Spike, was it instantaneous?”
The young dragon got to his feet. “Uh, yeah. We went towards the Library, there was a bang and a flash, then we landed. It really hasn’t been more than a minute.”
She beamed. “It’s been five! Oh, this is amazing!” she turned towards Doc. “and those fiery tracks! That must be temporal misalignment, as the tread begins to burn when the vehicle is forced into its proper place again! And due to retroactive physics, you don’t even get burned rubber!”
Doc walked up, nodding. “Yes, that’s right, actually. I thought of fixing the problem, but,” he shrugged, smiling, “I thought it looked cool.”
The lavender unicorn began pacing. “Non-thaumatic time travel, I can’t believe it. Without the magical aspect, you can surpass Neil Djerma Tyson’s rule of singular temporary transport!” She whipped her head around to look at Doc.
“I have to see it go back.”
The inventor nodded, then looked at Marty, leaning against the side of the vehicle. “You up for it?”
The teenager grinned. “Yeah. How far back do you want?”
Doc scratched his chin. “Hmm. We haven’t seen the back of the Library all day, right Twi?” Marty chuckled to himself at his friend’s use of the nickname.
She nodded. “That’s right.”
“So why don’t you fly off somewhere in the distance, where we wouldn’t have seen you arrive. Go back half an hour, and park the DeLorean behind the building. Stay hidden until after you see yourself depart. Then come out.”
Marty nodded, then stopped, glaring behind the inventor. There, he saw himself.
He was wearing the same clothes, and another Spike was standing beside him, wide-eyed. The other Marty held his guitar, as if about to play. He held a finger to his lips, then gestured for current-Marty to continue.
Current-Marty snapped his gaze back to Doc. Thankfully, the old inventor didn’t notice. “Can-do. Half hour? no problem.” He slid across the hood of the time machine, and quickly got in. “Come on, Spike.”
Spike was busying himself by staring, slack-jawed, at his future-self, unnoticed by Twilight. “Uh, yeah, okay.” He slowly got inside.
Marty and the young dragon rose into the air, then veered off, across the top of the small town, quickly fading into the distance.
Marty and Spike stood behind the two scientists, who were still busying themselves with staring into the sky. He looked to the dragon, who shrugged. Without a word, the teenager began a simple melody on his guitar.
The gryphon instrument twanged, and both Doc and Twilight jumped, simultaneously. The human inventor let out a high-pitched yell as he turned and saw them, still stumbling, and crashed into the dirt. Twilight just glared at them, her mouth open slightly, and her pupils the size of pinpricks.
Spike burst out laughing. Marty grinned mischievously as he played the song, a playful country melody. Doc got to his feet and brushed himself off. “Do you know how dangerous that was!?” he cried. “You could have seen yourself! Need I remind you what a paradox can cause?”
The teenager stopped playing. “Well, we did see ourselves, so yeah, actually, you do.” He frowned at his friend. “Doc, I understand why you did it, but I still don’t think it’s very much like you to lie.”
Doc raised his eyebrows at the middle of his face, betraying his folly. “What? Marty, I don’t kno-”
Marty cut him off. “Doc, come on. You can trust me. Paradoxes can’t destroy the universe, or anything else. I figured it out.”
The inventor’s face fell. “I-I’m sorry, Marty, I just had to be sure... with you and Jennifer...”
Marty put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, I get it. But you can always trust me, Doc. Don’t forget.”
Doc smiled. “Alright, Marty.” He turned to Twilight. “Did you like the show?”
She grinned. “Yes!” The three laughed.
After a moment, Spike spoke up. “How come nopony ever told me I look so chubby?”
The noonday sun was high in the sky. Twilight had told Marty that the sun was pulled by their princess. He had thought it to be fiction, until she described her, and Marty realized it was the tall pony at the castle. Whatever, man. Magic.
There was something about her, though. She had known his name.
“It is good to see you again, Marty...”
He shook his head. Whatever it is, I’ll find out. Twilight had arranged a meeting with the tall princess at the end of the week. It would have been sooner, but the Princess had asked to wait. She wouldn’t have waited, if she had met us before, he reasoned, Princess... Solaris, or whatever it is, probably just read my mind or something.
He and Spike were making their way through Ponyville, to a farm on the other side of the town. Marty was idly plucking his guitar. Doc had given him a list of questions to ask any ponies he happened to encounter, as a part of his ‘foreign culture research’.
The farm they were headed to was apparently the financial center of Ponyville. The list included several questions on economics, too. “Y’know,” Marty said, as they curved down another road, devoid of buildings. “The town where I come from is kinda like this one.”
Spike was jogging, trying to keep up with Marty’s long stride. “Yeah? How?”
“Well, it started as a gold mine, see. Just one family, one business. Then, more people came to get the gold. Those people set up shops, making the town.”
The young dragon groaned. “You sound like Twilight.”
The human chuckled. “Yeah, it sounds boring. But I actually went there, with the time machine. It was pretty exciting. You ever see a western?” Spike shook his head. “Oh. Well, there’s a whole bunch of people trying to kill each other, and other people trying to save other people, and being heroic was an everyday matter.”
They approached a long wooden fence, with a wide gate. Spike fumbled with the latch, and it swung open. “Sound fun.”
“Oh, it was. Dangerous, though.”
They strode through, and the dragon closed the gate again. “Did they have guitars back then?” Fluttershy had returned the Walkman, and Marty had it in his pocket.
“Yeah. Acoustic, though. No electric. Which didn’t make it any poorer.” They swung round a corner, and the apple trees gave way to a large red barn. “There was one song, really catchy, that I could never shake from my head.”
Spike trotted to the front of the large red building. “This is Applejack’s barn. The basement is right around here.” He went around to the left side of the simple building. “I’ve never been inside, though. I’m not even allowed on the farm this day of the week.”
Marty followed him, and found himself in front of a set of slanted basement doors, jutting from the ground. Spike reached out and rapped a knuckle on them.
Hoofsteps could be heard, approaching the door from below. They stopped, just beneath them, and then laboriously climbed upwards. The light-blue doors swung open to reveal Applejack. She saw the two of them and smiled. “Hay y’all. Thirsty?”
Marty shrugged. Spike nodded eagerly. Applejack gave him a foul look. “What’er you so excited fer? Yer gonna be drinkin apple juice.” The young dragon’s face fell slightly.
The earth pony descended the stairs. “Well, come on in. Brace yerselves, it’s chilly down here.”
Spike followed her first, jumping down each step. Marty cautiously followed him down the short ladder, and swung the basement doors shut behind him.
The light-blue doors slammed closed, leaving nothing outside but a hot sun and peeling paint.
The inside of the basement was noticeably cooler than the farm above. Applejack led them through the large underground room, past seemingly endless rows of large wooden barrels. The dark air was breached by the occasional naked lightbulb, hanging from the ceiling.
Applejack trotted in front of them, her hooves gently tapping against the wooden planks. The earth pony smiled gently as she led them through the darkness. Spike followed her, nervously, glancing down the rows of casks with apprehension. Marty brought up the rear, idly wondering what was ahead.
The continued walking for a short moment, before a light could be seen down the path. The trio arrived upon it and found two familiar faces.
Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, lounging on some old armchairs, mugs in their hooves. Another large wooden barrel was erected beside them, a temporary faucet inserted into the bottom, and a lantern, perched on top. A small oriental rug covered a portion of the floor. “Hey, AJ!” the blue pegasus choked out. “You made it!”
The apple farmer chuckled. “Darnit, Dash, I told you to hold off until Mister Marty got here.”
Pinkie Pie turned her head, then jumped onto the ceiling. “Whee! Hiya Marty-Marty-Marty-Marty-Marty! Hiya Spikey-Wikey!” She continued to bounce up and down, her pink head hitting the ceiling each time.
“Hi, Pinkie.” Marty glanced around at the bizarre sitting space. He knew exactly what this was, but he felt obliged to ask, anyway. “What is this?”
AJ fetched three more mugs from behind the cask. “Every week we come down here an drink. Tell stupid stories, that kinda thing.” She filled two of them up with the cider from the small barrel, and passed one off to the human. The orange mare then jumped on to a vacant armchair.
Spike looked at the ground. “D-don’t I get any cider?”
Marty glanced down at the mug in his hand. It was filled to the brim with a frothy amber liquid, that bore a pungent smell of red apples. He cautiously took a sip.
The time traveler was pleasantly surprised. He had been expecting something akin to apple-flavored beer, but this was an entirely different experience. The cider tasted more like wine, a sweet apple wine. It was cool, and frothy, scented with a myriad of winter spices, complementing the apple flavor without destroying it.
Marty was halfway through his mug before the alcohol caught up with him. He coughed, a fiery feeling flaring up his throat.
Rainbow Dash laughed. “Jeez, are all humans this bad with liquor?”
He shook his head. “Nah, just going too fast. This stuff is great.”
“Yessir, that is the best stuff we got. Applejack Williams, we call it. Ah can’t say Ah’m not flattered, but Ah’ve no clue where the ‘Williams’ comes in.” Applejack spoke up again.
Pinkie Pie continued to bounce in her chair. “Yeah it’s really good! But don’t give any to Fluttershy or she’ll end up like she did on Hearth’s Warming last year!”
Rainbow Dash finished her cider, then refilled her mug. “Oh, jeez, that was hilarious! Celestia, Tavi didn’t know what hit her.”
The cowpony grinned into her mug. “Just goes to show, you never know what can happen when you get them musicians into the mix.”
“Heyy!” Pinkie was still bouncing. “Marty here’s a musician! He’s got his guitar right there!”
Dash snickered. “Really? Gee, I’m not sure we can trust you anymore, Marty.” all three ponies burst into rounds of laughter.
“Hey!” Spike spoke up. “He’s got awesome music where he come from, though! It’s really cool!”
“Is that so?” Applejack drawled. “Well, let’s here some of it, then! Ah’m curious as to what Fluttershy’s been so gung-ho on listenin to recently.”
Marty laughed out loud. “That? Jeez, I’m not sure you’d like that.”
The cyan pegasus slammed a hoof on her chair. “Buck that! Let’s hear it!”
The human shrugged, then pulled the Walkman from his pocket. He inserted the Aerosmith tape, removed the earphones, and pressed play. Music escaped the small box, of a poor quality, but still enjoyable.
Or at least, enjoyable to a fan of the work. The three mares listened calmly, giving the music a try. Their static faces betrayed their lack of enthusiasm, however.
“Um, y’all got anything else? I ain’t so sure this is hittin home.”
Marty nodded. “Yeah, the boys from Boston aren’t for everyone.” He removed the tape from the Walkman, and succinctly replaced it with another one.
A mellow blues rhythm played into the space. The cowpony smiled. “Hay, this ain’t so bad. Who’s this?”
“Pappy always used to play the blues. Always makes for a good time.”
Rainbow Dash waved a hoof. “Whatever, I still don’t trust musicians. You’re cool, though, human.”
Marty leaned against a barrel, slowly plucking his guitar along with the music. “Come on, this guy couldn’t have been that bad.”
Pinkie Pie giggled. “Oh, Dashie, you’re so silly! You’re just sad because it didn’t work out. But that’s okay! He was a meanie.”
Applejack let out a harsh laugh. “You kin say that again.”
The small dragon assistant, wondering if ever was going to get any apple juice, spoke again. “I heard about this guy. Brolly, right? What was wrong with him?”
Pinkie leapt from her chair again. “He was a meanie, Spikey-Wikey!"
“Y’kin say that again-again! Good-fer-nuthin attention hog.” the cowpony growled.
The pink party pony stomped a hoof. “He only wanted one thing!”
Dash groaned, tilting her head back. “They all always want one thing.”
Marty shuffled his feet. I’m not sure I feel comfortable about this. “Erm...” he managed to grumble, “What exactly is that one thing?”
The pegasus locked eyes with him. “Oh, you know. The only. Thing. Stallions. Want.”
The human grimaced. “You mean-”
Marty blinked. “Fame?”
“Yeah, Fame! What else would they want? Nothing, I tells yah!”
The time traveler let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “Oh, okay. Uh, how would going out with you-” he gestured at the cyan pony, currently taking a swig of cider, “-make him famous?”
Rainbow Dash did a spit-take. “Are you kidding? Of course some alien wouldn’t know.” She her her mug aside, cider spilling on the ground.
Applejack scoffed. “Hay!”
Dash ignored her. “I am only the fastest flier in all of Equestria! I can do a zillion stunts! I’m a shoe-in for the Wonderbolts, aaand, I’m the only pegasus who can successfully perform a Sonic Rainboom! How’s that for famous?”
Marty pursed his eyebrows together. “Wha-, what?”
The orange cowpony interjected. “Come on now, sugarcube. Y’all know what makes ya really famous.”
Dash sighed. “Fine. I’m also one of the Elements of Harmony, and I helped save the whole world a few times. But that’s not as big a deal as my stunts!”
Puzzled, the human took another sip of his drink. “What is that?”
Applejack grinned, leaning back in her chair and tilting her hat over her eyes. “Well, I dun mean to brag, but us six are kind of a big deal. Ya see-”
Pinkie Pie cut in, rather loudly. “We have magic necklaces! We defeat bad guys!”
The cowpony gave her a sour look, but continued. “As Ah was sayin, we’re kind of a big deal. Yah see, there are these magic gems, that are magic. We all embody traits of these good things, ya see, so it’s only us that kin use ‘em.” She nodded, smugly.
“Traits?” Marty asked.
“Yessir. Ah’m the element o’ Honesty, if y’all were wonderin. Whatever Ah say is sure t’be the good an honest truth!”
“And you being... honest, gives you magic?”
She shrugged. “Sort of. Ah need the fancy jewelry, and there’s gotsta be all of us.”
The pink earth pony began bouncing around the room, doing cartwheels. “I’m the element of Laughter! I can do a million funny things, and I like nothing more than to see somepony smile!” She stopped bouncing and zipped towards Marty’s face. He flinched. “YOU don’t seem to be smiling very much...”
Marty put his hands in the air defensively. “Oh, no, I’m happy. Ish. I guess.”
She peered at him intensely. The human weakly smiled.
Pinkie burst into a much larger smile, herself. “Okey-Dokey-Lokey!” She bounded off.
Spike ventured to speak again. “S-so do I get any apple ju-”
“I, on the other hand-!” Rainbow Dash hovered in the air, yelling triumphantly, “Embody the element of Loyalty!” the human stifled back a laugh as the blue pegasus started doing poses in mid-air. “Brave! Trustworthy! And all around the best pony you’ll ever meet! Rainbow Dash is never gonna let you down!”
Pinkie appeared out of nowhere again, bouncing alongside the pegasus. “It’s true! She’s so loyal, she never lets anypony down!”
Rainbow grinned. “Yeah!”
“She always stands by you, no matter what!”
The prismatic mare’s face fell a bit. “Y-yeah!”
“And she’ll never turn her back, not in a million years!”
“And no matter what you do, she’ll never give up on you, because she sticks by her friends, through thick and thin.”
Dash was no longer having fun. “Pinkie...”
“Why, I can’t imagine what it would take for Rainbow Dash not to give you a second chance! She’s your friend forever and ever and-”
“PINKIE!” the pegasus grabbed the pink pony’s face, glaring at it. “Please, Pinks. Stop.”
Pinkie Pie smiled. “Okey-Dokey-Lokey, Dashie! You’re the best!” the earth pony bounded off again. Rainbow Dash, Marty noted, looked awful. She gloomily sat down on a chair and stared at the bottom of her mug.
AJ broke the silence. “So, enough about us. Yer an alien! What’s it like where yer from?”
Pinkie completed another lap around the cellar. “Do you have slime pods? Ooooh! Or slime beds? Or slime buckets? Or slimey-wimey sandwiches?” She made a playfully disgusted face.
Marty snorted. “Nah, we’re nothing like that. Pretty boring, actually.” He pointed at the three ponies. “You guys aren’t quite what I expected from aliens, either. Nothing like the movie.”
“What in tarnation’s a movie?”
The human didn’t know what to say to that. “Uh, nevermind. We’re pretty future-ey, though, if that helps. We’ve got like, computers and stuff. And we’ve been to space.”
The pink party pony popped in again. “Space? You mean like the moon and stuff? Cause we’ve got a princess that’s been to the moon but she didn’t really want to go there she just had to go there because she was mean and-”
She was stopped abruptly by the cowpony pulling her down by her tail. “We had a princess go to the moon n such. That counts as “space”, I reckon.” She put a hoof to her chin. “Say, is that what that flyin box of yers does? Kinda looks like somethin that would do that.”
Spike threw his hands up, exuberant. “No, it’s actually a time machi-” He was interrupted by the human clamping a hand over his mouth.
Rainbow Dash broke her prolonged silence, her ears perking up and her excited expression returning. “Did you say time machine? Like in Daring Do and the Lord of Time?”
Marty grimaced. “Uh...”
The pegasus’ eyes widened. “That’s per-... uh, that’s awesome! Can we see it? Applejack leaned forward, seemingly just as eager.
He eyed the two mares, pondering his options. “I’m not sure that we should, cause, you see-”
Pinkie Pie, who seemed to have developed a keen skill at interrupting the young human, once again cut him off. “Ooh! Yeah! Let’s do that! That sounds like lotsa fun let’s go go go go go go!” She bounded off towards the cellar door.
Marty groaned, and quickly finished the rest of his mug of cider. He began to run after the pink pony, but stopped after a few steps. Eungh... That’s... GOOD cider. He regained his composure and, stumbling, continued his pursuit.
Applejack hurriedly followed, shouting “Gosh Darnit, Pinkie Pie!”, with Rainbow Dash tailing her. The cyan pegasus smiled to herself, but said nothing.
Spike glanced around, quickly extinguished the lantern, and trotted off after them.
Doc looked up from his smoking test tubes, a pair of safety goggles obscuring his face. “Eh?”
The lavender unicorn shook her head, lowering the ball of fire from her face. “Nothing, nothing. I just got a chill.” Doc eyed her warily, but said nothing.
“Right. Back to these frogs.”
The small group of pursuers finally caught up with the pink pony, just as she arrived at the DeLorean’s current location, on a small hill beside the Library. She was bouncing up and down on the hood of the vehicle.
Marty threw up his arms. “Aw, don’t do that! There’s gonna be dents in it!”
Rainbow Dash pressed her face to the glass, her eyes widening. “Woooooah.”
AJ, meanwhile, eyed it warily. “How does a thing like that work?”
“Uh, well, I dunno.” Marty shrugged. “I mean, I know how the car works, but the time stuff is beyond me. I just know how to drive it oh would you get off of that!” He quickly swept Pinkie Pie off the hood. She giggled and bounced off of the ground.
“It can fly, right?” Dash exclaimed, her face still pressed to the time machine. “You guys used to to get up to my house.”
Applejack’s jaw dropped. “It still works? But Ah saw it crash into a million little bits n pieces!” She bit her lip, grinning. “You... might be partial to givin us a ride, maybe?”
Marty forced himself to smile. “Eh heh, see...”
The pink party pony jumped into his face again. “That’s a yes! Get in, girls!” She backflipped and bounced off of the driver’s side gull-wing door, and it slid open. Before the human could voice his objections, all three mares were tumbling around inside of the DeLorean.
The human groaned, then got into the vehicle after them. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash moved to occupy the rear seating, with Applejack occupying the front, a wide smile plastered over her face. “Alright,” Marty sighed, “Let’s get this thing-”
“W-wait!” Spike came jogging up the hill, his face red from the exertion. “Wait f-for me... Ooh...” He stopped besides the car to take a few long breaths. “Ooh... That was a big run.” the small dragon quickly clambered into the passenger seat with the orange cowpony.
Marty dared to glance behind himself. AJ was shuffling her hooves in excitement. Rainbow Dash was sitting sordidly, a determined grin on her face. Pinkie Pie... Pinkie Pie was bouncing in her seat, looking like she was about to explode from excitement. “Okay,” he began tentatively, “let’s go, I guess.” He reached for the ignition.
The engine roared to life, and the DeLorean once again jolted into the air. The two earth ponies could barely contain their excitement, Pinkie squealing with delight, and AJ grinning ear to ear. Spike was still catching his breath, but Rainbow glanced around uneasily, glaring out a window. “How fast can this thing go?”
“Nononono!” Pinkie shoved a hoof into her friend’s face. “How does it to the timey-wimey stuff? Tell mmeeeeee...” she made a zombie face at him.
Ignoring her, the human demonstrated the car’s time functions as they slowly rose to a manageable altitude. “Well, uh, here you turn on these things,” he flicked the time circuits on, “And you pick a date, I guess.”
“Can you do July of 985?!” Dash blurted. Everyone looked at her. “...Uh, please?”
Marty shrugged. “Sure.” He punched in the date. “How about... July 12th, 985. See? That’s the destination, that’s now, and that’s the last place we came from. You punch it at eighty-eight miles per hour, with these on, and bam.” He abruptly flicked the time circuits off again. “But we’re not gonna do that.”
There was a collective moan from the Equestrian occupants. “Aww...”
The cyan pegasus huffed. “Fine. How fast did you say this can go? Eighty-eight?” Marty nodded. “Pssh, that’s nothing. What can it really do?”
The teenager pondered this for a moment. “I dunno. It didn’t used to be able to fly, and back then I wouldn’t say much more than a hundred. Now, though, I dunno.”
“Well hay!” the cowpony smiled, “Let’s get this thang started! I always wanted to see what yer so bent up on with this ‘speed’ thing, Dashie.” Dash stuck her tongue out at her.
Marty rose them to a decent altitude, several hundred feet away from the rooftops of Ponyville. He gripped the steering wheel tightly. “Ready?”
All three mares nodded. Spike raised a claw. “Uh, is this really the best-?”
He was thrown backwards, sprawling into Applejack, as the car surged forward. Marty floored the gas, allowing the DeLorean to accelerate as fast as it could. Dash let out a whoop, smiling.
The distant landscape whizzed by as the vehicle shot through the air, quickly overtaking eighty-eight and still climbing. Applejack looked nauseous, struggling to hold her cider down. Pinkie and Dash were smiling, the latter sporting a determined look.
Marty glanced forward. the hovercar was nearing 160 mph, and they were rapidly headed straight for the palace-city atop the mountain. Not eager to return to the palace (or one particularly cranky white unicorn stallion with a blue mane) he began to slow down. “We’re not gonna get any faster, ladies!” he yelled over the whooshing air.
“Horseapples!” a cyan-blue hoof reached quickly into the human’s vision, straight for the time circuits.
He made to stop her, but it was too late. The colored display lit up, and the flux capacitor surged. With the speed requirement more than accounted for, the effect was almost instantaneous.
Princess Celestia hurried down the halls of the palace, on the still-dark morning of July 12th, 985. She was hurrying, in a royal and dignified manner, because she was late.
The Princess was very excited. She was about to raise the sun for the Summer Sun Celebration, held again this year in Canterlot. Another year closer, she thought to herself, until Luna comes home. It was less than a century away, now. Buck, less than two decades. She had a right to be excited.
And in her hurry, she had been late in ordering a replacement stained glass window for a certain, remote wing of the palace. She had to deal with more artisans asking her why they needed to replace the glass, at such a specific time, when the glass was still there, in pristine condition.
She resorted to putting her hoof down, and delivering a direct order. She didn’t need to explain that confounded car, or its affinity for broken glass, to anyone.
No, she was in a hurry.
At the same time, on the same date, one Shining Armor was leaning on the railing of the palace, bored with sentry duty. As a junior-initiate, he was old enough to recognize the importance of sentry duty, but still young enough to be lazy about it.
He stared out at the massive, beautiful valley below him. Equestria. It was really quite a sight. Oh, he knew that the borders extended well beyond this valley, but more than half the permanent settlements resided there! It really was the heart and jewel of the great nation. He was honored to protect it with every fiber of his being.
The loud sound woke the young guard from his reverie. He peered at the direction it seemed to come from, an area of sky situated by the Canterlot Parade Grounds. there was nothing there. He began to wonder if he had imagined it-
A large flash of light illuminated the early morning, just for an instant, and a large, metal... box, flew out of it.
Flew out of it quite fast, actually. Shining barely had time to react before the strange flying object was already deep within the city.
He shook his head, deciding if it were wise to report something that may or may not have been real.
His decision obvious, he turned and galloped down the marble halls, shouting for his sergeant.
Spike was having the worst. Day.
It had started out pretty cool, to be sure. He was hanging out with an Alien, who was actually a pretty cool dude. A nice breather from his all-female cast of friends.
Then they had gone into Applejack’s Cider Cellar. That was someplace he had never thought he would go, yet he got to climb down those steps, and see the endless rows of wooden barrels. He was still thirsty, but whatever.
That’s when things started to go downhill. Pinkie Pie had somehow managed to convince Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Marty and himself to take a joyride in the human’s time machine. They weren’t going to actually use it, just fly around! But that’s just what you need to expect from Pinkie.
He slapped a scaly palm to his face. I should know better by now! he thought.
He was in an old wing of the palace, completely deserted, seventeen years in the past. The young dragon was leaning against the DeLorean, amidst thousands of pieces of shattered glass, with two of his friends passed out on the floor before him. Thankfully, they were mostly uninjured, and the legions of guards were looking for them on the other side of the palace. So there was no rush.
He was particularly worried, however, about his two friends who weren’t passed out. After they crashed, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie had vanished, and he had no idea where they might have gone.
The baby dragon heard a groan, and looked up. Marty and Applejack were steadily getting to their feet/hooves, finally awake. The human managed to stand upright, brushing glass off of himself, and looked around. His gaze swept outside, and his jaw dropped. “Spike...” He breathed, “What is that?”
The human looked down at the city below. Not but a stone’s throw from the window, there was a large open area, filled the brim with panicking ponies and guard stallions, all with looks of terror or anger.
Spike shrugged. “That? We did that.”
Marty glanced at him. “Oh?”
“Yep. That’s what’s left of the Summer Sun Celebration.”
Marty panicked. “We did that, you said?” Spike nodded.
Shit shit shit shit shit, he thought. “Okay, so, what happened?”
“Well,” the dragon began, “Dash turned on the thingy,” he waved a claw at the time machine, “and I guess we went back in time. Again.”
The human looked at him. “And?!?!”
He rolled his eyes. “And then we flew over the festival, crashing into the stage. Everypony freaked out, and guards started to attack us. You flew us up and away, but then one of the guards fired a blast at us, and we swerved into the palace. They’d still be after us, too, but you kept the thing flying, and managed to get us into a really remote part of the building.”
Marty ran his hands through his hair. “How remote?”
“It’ll be days before anyone thinks to look here.”
Applejack finally managed to string together a sentence. “Huh? Wuzz goin on?”
“Applejack, then. You okay?”
She nodded. “Uh-huh. Just a mite nauseous, is all. Where are we?”
The human winced. “Uh...”
Spike spoke up. “985.”
The cowpony glanced around. “Where are Dash and Pinkie Pie?” Seeing the two boys’ faces, she panicked. “Are you kiddin me?!?! I dun even want t’think about what kinda mayhem they can be causin out there.”
Marty wrung his hands together. “Applejack, it is really important the neither Pinkie nor Rainbow change anything! Anything you do in the past can alter the future.”
AJ paled. “W-what happens then?”
The human said nothing, but the orange mare read his expression well enough. “Alright, really bad things. Gotcha.”
Marty nodded. “Okay. Do you know where Rainbow might have gone to?”
She shook her head. “No, Ah-” Applejack stopped, thinking for a moment. “...Actually, Ah think Ah have an idea, yeah.”
“Good. Do you think you can find her?” She nodded. “Okay. Spike and I will look for Pinkie.” He whirled around. “Spike?”
The human found the dragon on his knees, clutching his stomach. “Hey, dude, you okay?”
Spike just moaned.
Marty knelt down by his friend. “Man, you don’t look so hot. What’s-”
The baby dragon burped.
Applejack Apple watched, horrified, as the two bipedal males were engulfed in a massive ball of emerald fire.
Amidst the crowd of panicking civilians in Canterlot, a young purple filly slowly walked home, alone.
“Go to the festival, they said. You’ll love it, they said.” She grumbled as she trotted down the cobblestone road. “There was nothing there but that weird flying metal thing.”
Twilight Sparkle hung her head. “Who needs to see a princess raise the sun, anyway?” she sniffled. “I’m going to run away, and never set hoof in Canterlot again, so long as I live!”
That wasn’t quite the entrance I had expected it to be. Celestia mused to herself as she slowly made her way back to the throne room. Outside the palace walls, hundreds of startled ponies were struggling through a confused crowd.
It shouldn’t really have flown through the center of the festival, I don’t think. He would have mentioned that. The princess of the day arrived in her study, and promptly sat down in some of her favorite cushions. And I am almost certain that it flew into the wrong window. How peculiar.
She took out a quill and parchment, and began an official account of the festivals happenings. Before Celestia could become fully absorbed in her work, a strange nagging feeling filled her thoughts. That’s... odd. She recognized the nagging, but she had not felt it for centuries. We haven’t used FlameFax Lanterns since 677.
She rolled her eyes. Somepony must have broken into the library in the panic. A grin plastered itself over her face. And I know just how to teach them a polite lesson in respecting old wisdom.
After a small moment of concentration, and a tiny tongue of orange flame escaped the tip of Princess Celestia’s horn, as she overloaded the magical flame capacitor at the other end.
She waited a few moments. Eventually, another flame came swirling in through her stone fireplace. This flame was green, flecked with purple. IT swirled in front of the regal princess for a moment.
A moment longer than she expected. It swilred and swirled, getting smaller and smaller until it was almost impossible to see.
And then it exploded.
A massive ball of flame erupted from the center of the concussive blast. Celestia shook her head, clearing the ringing in her ears, and glanced at the center of her scorched study.
Two peculiar beings stood there. One, the shorter one, appeared to be a young dragon. This caused a mild alarm to the princess, as she did not know of any successful dragon hatchings in the century. The second being was taller, completely garbed in clothes, with a gryphon instrument slung across its back. And was one whom she recognized almost immediately.
Nopony in the room spoke. Celestia could find nothing to say. This is not supposed to be happening.
Luckily, she didn’t have to break the silence herself. The taller creature, a human, fell to the ground clutching his head, screaming in agony.
Applejack stood in a small, deserted wing of the palace, staring at a spot of scorched earth on the ground.
The orange mare said nothing. For a moment.
“What the Buck?!?!”
She leapt into the blackened stone, scouring the ground for any remains. Nothing. She was not particularly a pony to fret over many things, but she was definitely panicking over this.
“Okay...” she told herself, struggling to hold her voice calm. “Spike n Marty just got flamed something awful. But that’s okay!” She broke into an uneasy smile. “They’s likely just got sent off someplace, like Twi does with all those letters. So that’s great!”
The cowpony began to pace circles around the small room, leaving sooty hoofprints on the ground. “Okay, they’s probably went off to the Princess. That’s good! The Princess kin-”
...Anything you do in the past can alter the future...
“Horseapples!” She sat down in the center of the room, and began to think.
Marty’s pretty smart, she thought. And he seems t’know what he’s doin. Between him an Spike, Ah’m sure they’ll work somethin out.
Applejack gave the DeLorean an uneasy glance. It rested, undamaged, among the wrecked room. Eyeing the vehicle reminded the orange mare about her friends. Dash n Pinkie Pie!
She began to pace around the room again. Okay. So, the boys’ll probably be tied up fer a bit in gettin outta whatever fix they’re in. So, I betcha it’s up t’me to find Rainbow and Pinkie.
She gave an uneasy glance at the shattered window. AJ trotted over, glancing over the side. There was a short drop, with a large amount of soft shrubs at the bottom. She could make it easily.
Well, Ah guess Ah gotta start somewhere.
Applejack launched herself from the window. A brief moment of weightlessness, and then she landed with a thunk, and a crashing of branches. Moaning, she pulled herself from the shrubbery. Tain’t as soft as Ah reckoned it would be.
The orange mare made her way through the crowd, and began to pull over ponies, asking after her friends. How hard could it be t’find a pegasus with a rainbow mane?
The venture proved almost fruitless. Not a single pony there could recall a rainbow-maned pegasus. (She did notice, however, that Dash might not stick out so much in a crowd, with the crazy outfits all of these ponies seemed to be wearing). One pony, however- a brown earth pony, with an hourglass cutie mark- was quite loudly remarking on the rambunctious pink pony that threw a cupcake at him.
Applejack leaned in closer. Apparently, the pony (whom AJ assumed was Pinkie Pie) was ‘super-duper excited’ to be ‘way back a million years ago’. She had caught the last public sky-carriage to Ponyville before traffic was stopped.
The orange cowpony winced. She spoke up, among the ponies listening to this stallion’s story. “S’cuse me, but did this pony say anything ‘bout who she was gonna go n see?”
He nodded. “Yep. She was going to see all of her ‘wittie-bittie’ best friends.”
AJ slapped a hoof to her face.
Far in the reaches of the wilderness of Equestria, outside of the Equestrian Valley, a small blue unicorn filly rode inside a covered wagon. She was playing with a hat and cloak, purple and covered with stars. They were much too big for her.
The covered wagon, which bore the name “PRESTO & CO” on the side, suddenly lurched to a halt. The small filly was sent tumbling across the inside. She righted herself, stuck the large pointy hat on her head, and boldly stepped outside the front.
A cream-colored unicorn stallion stood there, pulling the wagon. The filly hopped on his back, causing him to give a small ‘oof’ of discomfort. “Whas wrong, Papa?”
The stallion shook his head. “I’m not sure, Trixie. You see that tree?” He raised a hoof, pointing. One tree stood out among the others. It was black, and the tip of each branch was covered in a small bundle of silver leaves.
The young Trixie used one of her hooves to raise the oversized hat from her eyes. “Mhmm. What is it?” The filly spoke with adorable innocence.
“Lune Quercus, a Moon-Tree. They’re supposed to be extinct.”
Trixie’s eyes lit up with delight. “Is it magic?”
Presto turned to face his daughter, a small smirk on his face. “Yes, it is, but I don’t want you touching it, okay?”
“But I wanna!” As the smaller unicorn stamped her hoof, the hat atop her head abruptly fell down, covering her eyes completely. Her father laughed.
“Maybe later, kiddo. Once we read up on this, we’ll come back, okay?” The young filly begrudgingly accepted the compromise, as she fumbled with the hat.
As the Great and Powerful Presto pulled his wagon away from the odd, impossible tree, he failed to notice another one, coming into existence beside it. It started as a transparent image, barely visible in the light. It grew more and more substance, before finally becoming completely solid.
After the second tree made its way into existence, another ten followed it.
Marty had never really understood why pain was associated with the color red. Sure, blood was red. But that hardly connected it to a physical sensation.
At this moment, however, the connection became apparent. The pain that wracked his entire body felt red, it was red. His vision was perfectly fine, but entirely obscured by red.
Pain was red, and red was Marty.
He writhed on the marble floor, unaware as to how he got there. He felt small hands with spikey fingers, trying to calm him down, but they did nothing. He tried placing his hands behind his neck, as he had before, but it had a very little effect.
The pain was just too much. In a small corner of his mind, the human vaguely wondered how long he could stand it, how long he could hold out. Then he wondered why he was holding out at all. Why not give in?
Marty McFly blacked out.
Applejack Apple sat in the back of a sky-carriage, mulling over her peculiar situation. The buildings of Ponyville were rapidly approaching, and in a few moments she would land.
AJ thought back to Twilight’s incident with time travel. Alright, so, Twilight met herself, an that made her get all loopy an nervous an such. She scratched her chin with her hoof. Well, durin the Summer Sun Celebration in 985, Ah was off in Manehattan with Aunt an Uncle Orange, so Ah don’t have t’worry about that.
The carriage sat down in the town center, and the orange mare stepped out.
She faced the impatient pegasus driver, bearing a sheepish grin. “Ah don’t suppose you could take thirty bits, as opposed t’ forty?” The other pony only stared.
No change. Applejack sighed, and then hoofed over the full price. The last time Ah ever take a sky-taxi, dangnabbit. Mourning her newfound lack of bits, she turned and looked around the town.
Initially, she thought the taxi driver had dropped her off at the wrong place. She was about to call after him again, when she noticed the Town Hall.
It was exactly the same as the old town hall, with all the holes in it. Except this one, instead of peeling and cracks everywhere, looked brand new, with a shiny fresh coat of paint. Gaping at this, Applejack turned to the rest of the town once again.
After a second look, she realized it was Ponyville. Only, Ponyville that was missing a third of its houses. Thankfully, most of the streets were still the same. The cowpony trotted aimlessly, her eyes wide.
A large number of the ponies were wearing the same extravagant outfits she had seen at the fair. Bright colors, zig-zags, and polka-dots. Platform shoes, as well. Almost everypony towered above her, and the variety of colors was the perfect camouflage for both of her missing friends. Sighing, Applejack slowly made her way to higher ground.
As she walked, she was dismayed to find not a single familiar face. Ah don’t know what Ah was expectin, she sighed to herself. Ah dun know that many old folks ‘asides Granny.
The orange mare continued walking up the road, until she found herself arriving at the schoolhouse. Mildly curious, she took a moment to look at the rambunctious foals, playing in the yard.
Applejack’s face broke into a smirk, which quickly evolved into a wide grin. She could recognize and name each and every one of these fillies and colts! Why, that there’s Caramel an Davenport an Carrot Top an Junebug an-
“They’re quite a sight, aren’t they?” Cheerilee’s voice came from beside her.
“Heh, you said it Cheer-” AJ started, whirling to look at the teacher. “Cheerilee!?”
The purple mare smiled. “I’m sorry, have we met before?”
The cowpony just stared. Standing before her was Cheerilee, exactly as Applejack knew her in her own time, seventeen years in the future. Granted, the teacher was wearing an… electrifying outfit, but was still the same smiling pony.
Cheerilee’s look turned to one of concern. “Say, you happen to look just like one of the students. Are you one of Applejack’s relatives? I’m sorry to say, she was withdrawn from school, just last week.” She peered at the cowpony. “Are you her mother?”
AJ paled. “N...naw, Miss Cheerilee, Ah-” Horseapples! Fiddlesticks! Shootdang! Buck! “-Ah’m little Jackie’s cousin.”
“Oh! Of course.” Cheerilee smacked a hoof to her face, smiling again. “You must be lost. Here, I can help you out.”
The purple mare started merrily trotting down the lane, a bewildered Applejack tailing her.
Marty McFly opened his eyes.
...and immediately shut them again. “Bright”, he moaned.
“My apologies, Marty McFly.” There was a pause. “Is this better?”
The human slowly forced his eyes open again. Instead of the blaring white glare, there was a softer, red glow. His eyes came into focus.
The white unicorn princess he had met from the castle stood before him. She was at eye level, perhaps one foot away from his nose. The red light emitted from the tip of her horn.
A small voice echoed from below. “Y’alright, dude?”
Marty glanced down and jumped. Metaphorically.
The teen was floating in mid-air, several feet off of the ground of the throneroom he had seen when he came to Equestria.. He was enveloped in a soft golden aura, and the marble floor was covered in the same crimson light. “What the hell!”
Spike snickered. Celestia shot the dragon a dirty look, and slowly lowered Marty to the floor. As his feet touched the ground, the glow that enveloped him vanished, causing another twinge of pain, this time in the center of the humans forehead. He put a hand to the location, rubbing disconcertedly.
The sun princess looked at him. “Your third eye hurts.”
He shrugged. “Yeah, I-” the teen blinked, looking up. “Wait what?”
“Your third eye,” the regal alicorn continued. “Primary cranial focus point of thaumatic energy, along with your two actual eyes. Every sentient being has one.”
Marty stared up at her. “What?”
Celestia ignored the question. “Tell me, have you been feeling ill, or odd pains, at odd intervals recently?”
The human looked around the massive throne room, glancing at the windows, the floor, and Spike. He returned his gaze to the princess.
Celestia’s face softened, and she spoke, again, with a calmer tone. “My apologies. I am Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria. Your friend here tells me your name is Marty.”
He nodded. “That’s... right. Uh, we’re-”
“From the year 1002.” The alicorn cut him off.
Marty turned and scowled at Spike, who shrugged apologetically. “Your highness, I don’t know what-”
“Please,” The Princess failed to hide the irritation in her voice, “just ‘Celesta’. And I am more than aware that you are from the year 1002, Marty. Your time device crashed in the far West tower.” the teenage human couldn’t help but notice that her tone did not reflect any annoyance that the DeLorean had crashed, but more where. “I am very well-tuned to perceive any temporal occurrences through magic, and do my best to regulate them. You, Marty, are quite the temporal nexus.” She leaned down to face the time-traveler directly, “You did something wrong.”
Marty paled. He was astonished to find himself quite intimidated by the large, white pony. More confusing, however, was her expression. The teen time traveler had only known any ponies for a day and a half, but in the time he could tell that their two species were remarkably similar.
Princess Celestia had gone from being angry and annoyed, (which was very stunning in and of itself) to looking lost, and sad.
But just for a moment. She hardened her features and again raised herself to her full height. “There are many things we must discuss,” she continued, “but firstly. Those pains you have been feeling. When did they start?”
“My pains?" influenced by the urgent nature with which she spoke, he wasted no time elaborating. "I've been getting them ever since we came to, uh, here. Equestria.
Celestia nodded. “And have you noticed any correlations with these pains and, say, things that are happening around you?”
Marty frowned. “Uh, not really.”
The sun alicorn arched an eyebrow. Wordlessly, she activated her horn, enveloping the unawares Spike in another golden aura, lifting him from the floor.
The human cringed, rubbing his hands together, as another wave of tingling sensations shot through them. He did not even bother looking at them, and still said nothing.
Annoyed, Celestia set to shaking the baby dragon back and forth, rapidly. “H-heey!” Spike called out, but he was ignored.
Marty once again rubbed his hands, shaking them out a few times. However, to the Princess’ dismay, he was still oblivious. Sighing, she set her horn glowing at a much brighter intensity.
There was a pop, and Spike turned into a purple pegasus. “What the hell?!”
“Aah!” Marty gasped as a fresh jolt of searing pain shot all the way up his arms. “What the...” He looked up, understanding. “Oh! It’s the magic!”
Celestia nodded vigorously. “Yes, Marty Mcfly. It’s the magic.”
The regal alicorn set the ponified Spike upon the ground, where he immediately fell over. No one paid him any mind. “You see, at some point during your journey into Equestria, you must have come into contact with an-” she put a large amount of emphasis on the word “-immensely powerful magical supply. It awoke some long-dormant magical structures in your body, making you as sensitive to magic as any unicorn would be.”
Marty shook his head in disbelief. “Are you saying that you all feel this, whenever you guys do magic? Twilight must’ve done magic, like, thirty times in the first hour I knew her!”
Celestia took on a puzzled expression at the mention of Twilight’s name, but continued. “No. You are experiencing, I believe, the equivalent of horn rot, a not unheard of ailment in unicorns. It occurs when an overload of magical energy enters the natural magical structures in the body, overloading the infected and preventing them from generating their own natural magic.”
The time traveler nodded, as he began to understand. “So, that surge of magic, it-”
“-entered your Third Eye, awakening, overpowering and congesting it. Marvelously, it did not kill you, thought I cannot say why. It is no small wonder you felt the pain you did after you were transported here.”
“Yeah!” Spike the Pegasus spoke up. Both Marty and the Princess turned to look at the young dragon.
Spike now resembled a pegasus colt, with a purple coat and a spiky green mane. “I didn’t even mean to do that! And it hurt like hell! What was it?”
The Princess of the Day chuckled. “Well, I don’t know how much things will change in the next seventeen years, but FlameFax has fallen into disuse. When I detected an unregistered conduit, I overpowered it to bring it to me. Now that I think about it, dragon assistants are also quite out of use. Who is your master?”
The baby-dragon-turned-colt looked puzzled. “Master? Well, she’s more like my ‘sister’, but her name is Tw-”
“-NOT anything you should be concerned with.” Marty spoke over his friend. “Your majesty.” He added.
Spike gave him a panicked look. “What are you doing! She’ll throw us in the dungeon or something!” he whispered.
The human whispered back. “I thought you said you knew her, and that she was actually nice?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know the her from seventeen years ago!”
Marty once again turned towards Celestia. “You’ll have to excuse me, Your maj-”
“Just Celestia, please.”
“Celestia, then. You’ll have to forgive me, but no-one should know too much about their own future. I speak from personal experience.”
She sighed. “Yes, as can I. You can unwittingly find yourself doing things you know you should not, just to save someone from a fate they can not escape.” The princess once again grew morose. The human and Spike glanced at each other.
She brightened again. “But! There is no time to waste. In arriving here you have brought disastrous changes, and you must go about righting them. Which you cannot do with Horn Rot.”
Marty nodded. “Okay, let’s do that.”
“Wait! What about me?” Spike moaned. “I don’t really feel like being a pony at the moment.”
Celestia informed the young colt (in a very motherly tone) that there were no baby dragons currently in Equestria that served ponies, and that being a pegasus would be a marvelous way to go undetected. “And as soon as you get back to the future, I’ll fix you up, good as new!” Spike grumbled, but conceded.
“Now, Marty, by some marvelous force of nature, you survived having a massive magical charge stuffed into your head and having your millenia-dormant Third Eye opened. By all rights, you should be able to cure yourself.”
The human scoffed. “Cure myself? Really?”
“Indeed. All you need to do is expel the excess energy in the form of a spell.”
“Wait,” the time traveler marveled, “are you saying that I have to do magic?!” The alicorn nodded. “Then what?”
“Well, I see no reason for your third eye to go dormant again. You should be able to perform basic spells with a certain proficiency.”
Marty nodded, rubbing his temples. “Right.”
Applejack followed Cheerilee down a winding Ponyville road, not paying attention to where she was being led. She could not stop gaping at her friend.
Cheerilee looked exactly the way she had when AJ knew her in the future. True, her clothes were different, and this Cheerilee talked in a much different way, but they were undeniably similar.
“Uh, s’cuse me, Cheerilee...”
“Well, uh...” Applejack rubbed a hoof behind her head. “Ah was just wonderin, you seem like you'd be good with kids. Are you one of the teachers?"
The purple mare laughed. “Oh, not yet. I’m just here in Ponyville for a week-long aide session. I need at least 100 hours of real-world experience to graduate.”
The cowpony nodded. “Oh, so you’re just comin outta college, then?” Cheerilee nodded. “If y’all don’t mind mah askin, how old are you?”
The teacher smiled knowingly, but obliged. “Now, Miss Apple, you should know that it’s impolite to ask a pony’s age. However, it’s no great secret that I’m twenty.”
Twenty? So, twenty, plus... AJ scratched her chin, “... seventeen years, an that makes...”
“Thirty-seven!” the orange mare said aloud.
The purple collegiate glanced at her companion. “What? No, I said-”
“Twenty, right. Ah didn mean to offend, Miss Cheerilee.” Applejack quickly covered her tracks. “Ah just meant t’ say that you’ll be lookin as well as you do now, even when yer thirty-seven. If you don’t mind my sayin.”
Cheerilee blushed. “Th-thank you, M-miss...?”
“Uh, Braeburn!” The cowpony blurted. “Miss Braeburn, that’s me.” She glanced shiftily in either direction. “Heh.”
The teacher didn’t notice her odd behaviour. “Right. Well, here we are, Miss Braeburn. I hope to see you again sometime.” She said the final sentence shakily, her blush strengthening.
Applejack looked with concern at her friend. “Miss Cheerilee? Are you ok-”
“I-it was nice meeting you!” Cheerilee turned and galloped back down the road, leaving AJ standing in the dust.
The orange mare stared after her, confused. “Huh.” She turned to look at where the teacher had led her.
Her gaze swept over a plethora of familiar sights. A red barn, a little gate, acres of trees… Applejack’s mouth fell open in horror as she realized she stood directly in front of a seventeen-years-younger Sweet Apple Acres.
Stunned, the temporally dislocated cowpony glanced down. There, working in the fields, was a small, skinny colt, with a red coat, and a yolk around his neck. The colt looked up, and turned his face to look at Applejack.
Little Macintosh’s face lit up in joy, and he began galloping towards her. As he approached, however, he squinted his eyes at his younger-now-older sister. The red colt’s face fell, and he slowed to a miserable trot, stopping directly in front of her.
Staring angrily at his hooves, Little Macintosh spoke. “Welcome t’ Sweet Apple Acres. How can Ah help you.” His young voice was laced with apathy and misery.
AJ stared at her brother, fighting as hard as he could to resist the urge to hug him. “Hey there. Ah’m here t’visit the Apples in Ponyville?” she spoke with enormous amounts of concern, her quest to find Pinkie Pie forgotten.
Little Macintosh nodded. “ ‘kay. Fraid these apples are rotten, though.”
Applejack bit her lip, her eyes glossing over. “And why’s that?”
The colt kicked a hoof at the dirt, mumbling his words. The older mare almost missed him say, “ ‘cause the best part’s missin.”
Unable to resist any longer, the future cowpony swept her tiny brother in an enormous bear hug, tears escaping her eyes. “Oh, Big Mac! You are so sweet an adorable an you should never be left alone ever an Ah-“
Little Mac struggled against this odd intruder’s strong forehooves, gasping for air as he dangled helplessly from her hug.
“-the Oranges ain’t never ever gonna be nuthin!” Applejack released him from the hug, and he stumbled about on his hooves wordlessly before falling over. The elder cowpony helped him up.
“Uuh, scuse me, Miss, but who are yah? An why did’ya call me ‘Big’ Mac?”
The orange mare opened her mouth to explain, but she caught herself. Ah can’t go around confusing him. “Ah’m cousin, uh, Braeburn, from… Neigh Jersey. Ah was droppin through town to find a friend o’ mine, an Ah couldn’t do that without stopping by t’say howdy. An Ah called you “big” Mac, cause…” she thought for a moment. “Cause you’ve jus gotten so big! Yeah, that’s it.”
Macintosh nodded, not speakin. An just how long has he been this quiet? Some things just aint gonna change. Applejack thought.
After a moment, the young colt spoke. “I’ll go tell Granny yer here.”
“Gran-?” AJ started. “No!”
Little Mac stared at her. “I mean, uh, you shouldn’t do that. If Ah remember correctly, then-” time t’ polish yer lyin skills, missy! “-Great Auntie Smith is takin her nap about now. If you could just help me find mah way back in t’town, y’kin tell her Ah said hello.”
The younger earth pony thought it over for several minutes. Finally, he nodded his head. “Eeyup.” He squeaked, and began the trek into town.
Applejack could barely contain her laughter at his tiny voice.
As they walked into town, Applejack tried to coax her older-now-younger brother into talking about, well, anything. However, every time she approached a subject, he said naught but a word or two, then fell back into silence.
The pair was not five minutes from town before the orange mare hit upon something that Macintosh was willing to talk about at excess: her.
“An then! There was that time she found a rattler out behind th’ barn, an Ah came up, still wearin my yolk an such. Almost like a uniform! Ah was like one of th’ Royal Guard, protectin a princess. Well, Ah felt mighty proud to shoo that snake back into the trees. But Ah’d never say that t’her face, it’d be too embarrasin. Oh! An then ther was that ONE time…”
Applejack listened in awe as the young colt expounded upon the many flaws and fortunes of his little sister, spewing out story after story of memorable events, almost none of which AJ had ever paid any mind. Ah wonder if he still feels this way, in th’ future…
“… with her tail! Well she was mighty brave, an Ah-“
A young, brown stallion, standing beside the café, interrupted the oddly lopsided conversation between the two Apples. He wasn’t much older than sixteen, but the earth pony already stood taller than the orange mare. “I thought I told you never to come by here again, McTosh! Stay on your little farm, crybaby!”
Applejack was stunned at the language this older colt was using on her brother. “Who th’ hay is that?”
“That’s the bully, who keeps me out of town so Ah don’t beat him at hoofwrestling, an a whole bunch a other stuff. His name’s Filthy Rich.”
At the mention of his name, the teenaged filthy Rich stomped the ground, enraged. “I told you, McTosh! Nopony EVER calls me ‘filthy’!”
He shot a dirty glare at Little Macintosh, fury written all over his face. “I told you, McTosh…”
“…you call me Fiff.”
Applejack snorted. "Fiff?"
The older colt, already enraged, grew even angrier. "Somethin wrong with my name, filly?"
"Naw, s'just Ah don't understand why you think 'Fiff' is less ridiculous than 'Filthy'."
"Ain't no-one calls me Filthy!" The young Filthy Rich lowered his head and began running, meaning to ram the pair of Apples.
Little Mac’s eyes widened, and he began to shake. The orange mare just rolled her eyes, and swiftly sidestepped, tugging Macintosh right along with her.
Oblivious, Fiff barreled past them, and straight into a passing wagon. This wagon happened to be filled with manure. The colt plowed into the pile of fertilizer, until only his legs and tail could be seen, which he began to thrash, violently.
And uselessly, as they were several feet off of the ground. Little Macintosh stifled a giggle.
AJ looked at him, also chuckling. “Did he deserve that?”
“Well, tha’ts good then, innit?” She smiled. “You wanna help me find my friend?” The young colt nodded. “Alright. She should be pretty easy t’spot. She’s pink, her hair looks like cotton candy, and she’s crazy ‘bout parties.”
“She really likes parties?”
“Naw, she’s crazy about parties.”
“Celestia, I don’t think this is working.”
“Try again, Marty. We don’t want you dropping dead now, do we?”
The teenager sighed, then turned again to focus on doing magic.
He was standing in the throne room, along with Celestia and Spike the Pegasus. Resting in front of him was a simple earthen mug, standing atop a small table. Celestia was watching keenly, and Spike was jumping in the air, trying to fly.
Furrowing his brow, Marty glared at the mug. Imagine the entire mug, then don’t. Celestia gave infuriatingly vague instructions.
A thought occurred to him. He reached out, this time with his hands, rather than his thoughts. The princess gave him a curious look, but said nothing.
First, the time traveler imagined picking up the mug, with his hands. He imagined how it felt, how heavy it was.
Then, he forgot about it, yet still held it. A not entirely unfamiliar sensation, forgetting about something he was holding. Ignoring something in his hands, seeing past it. Not unlike playing music.
The mug seemed to sparkle, and then was encased in a dark blue glow. Grinning, Marty imagined lifting it. The mug complied.
“Nice goin, dude.” Spike complemented from across the room.
“Th-thanks.” He couldn’t quite believe it himself. “It feels… weird, kinda like-“
He was interrupted by another sensation coming from the mug, aside from him holding it. It was a sudden sucking feeling, which pulled at his entire being, without moving him an inch. Marty grunted.
The earthen cup began to spin, rapidly, in mid-air. The teen fell to his knees as light began to seep out of his hands, his eyes. The light was a pale blue, and quickly evacuated itself from the teen and into the spinning inferno, which began to glow.
As quickly as it began, it stopped. Marty fell to the floor, groaning, and the mug ceased spinning, coming to a rest once again on the table. It seemed to be filled with a glowing, white-blue liquid.
Celestia approached it, then cautiously picked it up with her own magic, eyeing it. “Congratulations, Marty. This was much more magic than I expected. I once again applaud you for not dying.”
The human slowly sat up, grumbling. “Gee, thanks.”
“I’m sorry that I tricked you in such a way, but it was necessary. I enchanted this mug to draw and store excess magic, and as such I needed you to be unaware, so that you wouldn’t hold back.”
“Naw, I get it. Just… ow.” He gave the small table an angry look, then waved his hand at it.
The table encased itself in the same dark-blue glow, and then flew across the room, in time with Marty’s hand motion. Celestia looked immensely pleased. “I knew you could do it!”
The teen gave her sudden enthusiasm a quizzical look. “uh, thanks?” The alicorn blushed slightly, checking herself.
Spike slowly trotted towards them. “So, now what?”
“Well, since young Marty here isn’t on the verge of death anymore, you two can begin to go fix things.”
The dragon-pegasus started. “Fix things?”
“Yes. You two arrived… incorrectly. What should have been a stable time loop has become unstable, and the effects are already starting to kick in.”
Marty jumped at this. “Effects? What effects?”
“Well, from what I can ascertain, you stopped something from happening, As to what, you wouldn’t-“ The princess caught herself. Marty cocked an eyebrow.
Ignoring him, she continued. “As to what, I don’t know. I can only trust you to go and fix what you’ve set wrong.”
The human shook his head. “Hang on, I don’t think-“
“Wait a minute!” Spike interrupted him. “Princess, what exactly is changing?”
Celestia tittered. “There is a large amount of landscape, changing, at the fringes of Equestria. Long-extinct magical plants are springing into existence, and the world is being permeated by darkness. By last count, there are over six thousand Moon Trees near the Crystal Empire, and that number is steadily growing.”
“But how are we doing that?”
“Because, my little pony-“ Spike rolled his eyes at the cliché remark, which now applied to him, “-Whoever is doing this is reaching backwards from some point in the future, somehow. Somepony who would have been defeated, until you arrived, and changed that pony’s fate.”
Marty frowned. “Who could possibly do-?”
Once again, Spike cut his friend off, this time by turning and pushing him towards the door. “Whelp, thanks for your help, Princess! We should be going now, off to save the world! Or save the pony who saves the world, but whatever! Bye!” The young colt shoved the human out of the grand entrance, and slammed the door shut behind him.
Celestia sat, stunned. Well, to be honest, she thought to herself, I don’t really know how else I expected it to end. It was nice to see Marty again, though. I wish I hadn’t been so blunt with him.
The regal alicorn turned to leave the throneroom, humming to herself. Assuming he’s successful, I’ll see him again in a few years. AND Luna. And…
She stopped, her expression turning sad. And… Emmet. Oh, dear.
“Spike! What the hell?!”
“I know what we did wrong!”
The small Pegasus was pulling Marty through the royal hallways with alarming speed. The human stumbled along behind him, trying to keep up. “What?!”
“I know what we did! We need to go fix it, fast!”
“What did we do?”
Marty gave the Spike a quizzical look. “How did we…?”
“She’s told me the story, like, a bazillion times!” The colt rambled, frantically looking for the exit. “She went to the Summer Sun Celebration in Canterlot, this one, and saw Celestia raise the sun. That’s what inspired her to go to the school!”
“Celestia’s private school for ‘gifted unicorns’.” he inhaled deeply. “It’s because she saw Celestia that she went to the school that she became Celestia’s student that she went to Ponyville that she met her friends that she found the Elements that she saved the world!” Spike let out the entire thing in one go, gasping for air.
“The… elements?” Marty thought back. “Wait, those Elements of Symphony?
“No, the- ah, whatever. Yes!”
“Alright, so all we gotta do is go and talk to her, convince her to try and sign up for this school, and hey presto! So where is she?”
“Hopefully she’s at her parents house. But we’ve gotta get there fast!”
Applejack and Little Macintosh were having a bit of trouble, finding Pinkie Pie.
Asking the ponies around town was no use. Nopony had seen a ‘crazy pink earth pony’ anywhere, and the town was too different from the Ponyville Applejack knew for her to navigate efficiently.
Lil Mac was beyond helpful, asking every pony in sight about Pinkie. However, the pair of Apples were still being tailed by a certain, smelly brown pony. Fiff had taken to stalking them, not long after he freed himself from the manure cart. He not-so-subtly sulked in the alleys behind them, waiting from them to be alone.
Anxious, AJ had steered her brother out of harm’s way and into the throng, keeping the search to the crowded areas of Ponyville. An easy feat, considering their current tactic of asking anypony they saw. Unfortunately, that tactic wasn’t working.
The orange mare frowned. She could easily take on this stupid colt, but Macintosh couldn’t. They needed help.
Glancing up, Applejack was greeted with a familiar sight. The leafy branches of a familiar library, just a few houses down. She grinned, grabbed her little-big brother, and broke into a gallop. Fiff followed.
The cowpony glanced backwards to be greeted by the sight of an angry brown pony, a few dozen feet back. She growled. Motherbucker!
Quickly, they reached the door of the tree-library. The door was painted a peeling brown, instead of red. She tossed Macintosh inside the dark building, before quickly following and slamming it shut.
Applejack grabbed her brother and held him low. The stoic little colt didn’t speak a word, absolutely trusting of this cousin he had never met before.
Noises came from outside. The mare turned to face the only source of light in the room, a dirty window. The shadow of Fiff, peering inside, obstructed it.
After a moment, the young bully snorted and left. AJ let out a sigh.
“Wh-who’s there?” a shaky voice came from the other side of the dark room. Both Apples whipped their heads around to face it.
An elderly mare, dressed in a bathrobe, slowly descended the stairs, a flame-lantern held in her mouth. “The library’s closed, young-uns. Yyyyou’ll have to come back between five-thirty and six.”
Applejack blinked. “Paper Sheets?”
Paper Sheets was Applejack’s old librarian, before she had retired with the arrival of Twilight Sparkle in Ponyville. AJ hadn’t seen her much, but she had seen her before enough that she was recognizable
And old, even now. “Why, I do-o-o-on’t know how this much dust managed to acu-u-u-u-umulate, I must’ve forgotten to open yesterday.” The wisened pony blinked, befuddled.
The younger mare glanced around. By the light of Paper’s lantern, she could tell that the dust was coating everything. It seemed that Paper Sheets had forgotten to open the library for quite a while. “Uh, Miss Sheets, is everything okay?”
“Don’t let that Grass boy come in here, y’hear?” The wrinkly mare didn’t hear her, merely continued one half of her own private conversation. “He says he brings me food, but I know he’s here to steal it. They’re all here to steal it.”
Applejack gave a worried look down to Little Macintosh, who merely shrugged.
Paper continued with her ranting. “But oh! I ke-e-e-eep it safe, so no-one will get it. I have it here, you see.” She reached into the folds of her robe, and withdrew…
…a dented old watch, hanging from a chain. AJ noted with some amusement that it was running backwards. The trinket turned on its chain, and the cowpony could make out a faded inscription on the back, “Starswirl”.
Applejack rolled her eyes. “Miss Sheets, Ah’m sorry we interrupted you. We’ll just be leaving.”
“I-it’s safe, you know. I keep it safe.”
“Oh, Ah’m certain, Miss Sheets. You do a good job, too. We’ll be seein ya round, okay?”
The old mare nodded, and AJ turned to leave, followed closely by a very confused Macintosh. She opened the door.
And then it exploded.
Marty followed Spike through the town, growing uncomfortable being on the receiving end of several odd looks.
Canterlot was massive, far larger than the simple palace it seemed to be from the outside. The cobbled streets continued around every side of the mountain, culminating in several small suburbs that were just as prosperous as the palace region.
Spike moved quickly through these streets, navigating them coolly, easily. The small purple colt was difficult to spot, among the crowded streets. The human, on several occasions, had to call out for his small friend, after losing his view.
Eventually, they arrived at a small manor house, facing outwards onto one of the foothills. Spike pointed with his hoof, and they stood at the front door.
Marty shrugged. “Now what?”
The small pony grimaced. “I dunno. I figured we’d come up with something on the way. Any ideas?”
The time traveler thought for a moment. “I think so. How old would she be? About your age?”
Spike scoffed. “A bit younger than that!”
The purple pegasus conceded. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Alright. You just have to say you’re a friend of Twilight’s, wondering if she can play or something. Then we can talk to her, and get her interested in that school you mentioned.”
“Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns?”
“Right, that. I’ll go hide in those bushes.”
Marty ducked into a nearby hedge, pushing stray branches out of his way. Once he was seated (un)comfortably, he gave Spike a thumb’s up.
The young colt looked at him like he was crazy. The human just rolled his eyes and motioned for Spike to continue.
Clearing his throat, the young pegasus trotted up and pressed the doorbell. After a moment, a pale-blue unicorn stallion with blue hair stuck his head out of the doorway. He glanced around, then looked down at Spike. “Can I help you?”
“Uh, you’re Twilight Sparkle’s dad, right?” The not-dragon feigned ignorance, smiling broadly.
Mr. Sparkle nodded. “Yes. Are you a friend of hers?”
“Yeah, I was just wondering if she was home.”
“Sorry, son, she went to the festival this morning. She’s been talking about it for weeks, I’m surprised that any friend of hers missed it.”
“O-oh, okay.” Spike looked down, defeated.
“Actually, young stallion, maybe you could tell me something.” Spike perked up at the sound of his name. “I heard there was a commotion at the parade grounds this morning, and that the festival went insane. Twilight is more than an hour late for when she was supposed to come home.”
The younger pony’s eyes widened. His fears confirmed, Twilight’s father grew stern. “I see. If you’ll excuse me lad, I need to go find my daughter. You’re welcome to tag along.” The unicorn stepped around Spike and out the door, to begin trotting down the street.
Spike whipped his head around to Marty. The human popped out of the bush for a moment, and then urged him on. Grimacing, the small pegasus trotted after Mr. Sparkle.
Marty waited for a full minute, then crawled out of the shrub. Stretching his back, he looked down the cobbled mountain street. He sighed.
Let’s go over this, he thought. I’m seventeen years in the past, following a dragon that has turned into a pegasus who himself is following a unicorn who is looking for his daughter who is supposed to save the world, and I haven’t even had lunch yet.
Another sigh. He ran down the street.
Applejack blinked her eyes. Dazed, she blearily got to her hooves, shaking the ringing sound of the explosion from her ears. What the hay was that?
“That was me!”
A frizzy pink pony suddenly appeared in the cowpony’s vision, making her jump. “Gah! Wha…? Oh, Pinkie!” she shouted angrily. “Where the hay have you been?! Ah’ve been lookin all over hell an high water fer you!”
“I was looking for the gang! I realized that I missed out on a whole bunch of birthday parties that I never thought about, from the birthdays they had before I met them! So I figured I was here, I might as well make use of the time. Good thing I brought my Party Cannon!” Pinkie spoke at a mile a minute, finishing with a flourish and presenting the large, pink cannon behind her.
Applejack gave the infernal device a death-glare. It occupied the Library doorway, the ground beside it littered with confetti. “Pinkie, Ah don’t think y’need to give everypony all their old birthdays. Somepony else threw a party fer them all.”
The pink pony gave her a wide-eyed look. “But… but they’re not Pinkie-Pie parties. How do I know if they were super-duper special enough?”
The cowpony patted her friend on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, Pinkie. Ah’m sure they all had amazing parties, each an every one. Okay?”
Pinkie Pie looked absolutely forlorn. “…Okay.” She snapped out of her funk almost instantly. “But AJ! You should still see everypony when they were really bitty! It’s adorable!” She made a kissy-face. “A-boo-boo-boo!”
Applejack smirked. “Speaking of which… Pinkie, Ah’d like to introduce you t’mah cousin,” she nudged the pink pony, “Little Macintosh.”
Macintosh hesitantly stepped into the light, out of the shadows of the library. Pinkie’s eyes widened, and her smile got even wider. “Oh-my-goodness…” She was almost whispering. “He-is-so-adorable.”
Lil Mac gulped. “Uuh, Cousin Braeburn?”
AJ nodded, ignoring Pinkie Pie’s snickers at her new name. “What’s up, hon?”
“It’s Paper Sheets.” The young colt looked behind him. There, laying on her back, was the ancient librarian. She snored happily.
Applejack chuckled. “Come on, Pinks. We should get Miss Sheets into her bed.”
The party pony nodded, and the two mares set on getting the third one up the stairs. Macintosh waited patiently at the bottom of the steps.
While the young colt was waiting at the bottom, he thought about life, as he often did in lieu of speaking. Cousin Braeburn sure is a lot like Applejack. Maybe she’ll stick around for a while.
Ah wonder if she knows about the other Cousin Braeburn from Appleloosa. Relatives seem to use the same names a lot, but they never go and notice.
Macintosh’s attention was drawn to an object on the ground, glinting in the small amount of light. Uneasily stepping through the darkness, he reached down and retrieved it.
It was an old bronze pocketwatch, attached to a small chain. He clicked it open, examining the small, delicate hands.
It ran backwards. By the young colt’s figuring, it was still accurate twice a day, which was better than nothing. He flipped it over.
Shakily scratched onto the back, in big, fanciful letters, was the name Starswirl. Intrigued, Macintosh examined the smaller engravings, which were stamped, and not scratched.
Squinting, Lil Mac read the letters aloud. “1912… Germany? …Von Braugn?”
Hoofsteps. The two mares were rapidly descending down the staircase. Quietly, he slipped the pocketwatch into his yoke.
Applejack beamed at him. “Let’s go, coz.”
The three earth ponies exited the old library, one of them bouncing as she walked. They began to turn down the road.
Only to be stopped again by a young Filthy Rich. He stood in the center of the street, a number of other colts behind him, close to his age. “You’re gonna pay for that trick with the manure, McTosh. I swear it. I challenge you…” He inhaled deeply.
A hush fell over the crowd.
“…to a standoff!” Fiff finished, triumphantly.
The other colts cheered. Macintosh didn’t move, but his expression betrayed his fear. “Oookay.”
The older colt blinked, obviously expecting resistance. “Okay? Uh, right then. Tonight, at sundown. Me and you, one on one. If I win, you can never leave your precious little farm ever again!”
More cheering. Lil Mac nodded, his slight frame shaking. “A-and if Ah win, Fiff, you gotta g-go an never bother me again, y’hear? An... An you’ll always have to call me Sir Macintosh.
The crowd of colts behind Fiff “ooh”ed. He glared at them, grumbling. Finally, he turned back to the young Apple, his own voice shaking slightly. “F-fine. Prepare to get your flank handed to you, McTosh!”
The small crowd of colts dispersed, leaving Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Macintosh.
“Now, why’d you go an do that, Bi- Ah mean, coz?” AJ said, shaking her head.
“Ah had to, Coz. He’s annoying.”
Nopony spoke. Suddenly, Pinkie Pie jumped in the air, shouting. “Oh! Oh! I know what you need, Wittle Macintosh!”
Never, never had either Apple seen a smile so wide on this pony’s face, which was a feat in itself. “You need some of my super-duper Pinkie-Pie’s very-special Wake-Up Juice!”
Spike tailed Mr. Sparkle, and was in turn tailed by Marty McFly, making for quite the peculiar precession for anypony watching.
First, there was Twilight’s father, Mr. Sparkle. The sight of him, by itself, was not an odd thing. The fact that his horn was aglow with a locator spell was a tad peculiar, sure, but everypony had their own business.
Second, Spike. Having been a pony for not more than two hours, he was still having trouble walking correctly, occasionally tripping over his hooves, particularly on odd cobbles. That, combined with his unique coloration, made him a bit of an oddity.
Third, of course, was Marty, who elicited the slack-jawed stares of every citizen who happened to see him. He smiled and waved to a few of them, which only drew more gaping looks. That gets old real fast, he thought to himself.
Mr. Sparkle led them back through the main throng of the festival, and up into the palace again, Spike at his heels. He came to a halt at the entrance to the palace gardens.
“Hmm.” He rubbed his chin, pensively.
Spike furrowed his brow. “What’s wrong?”
“There’s a strong dispelling field around the gardens, though I have no idea why anypony would place such a strong enchantment on a garden. Still, my spell won’t work anymore. At least, we know she’s in here, so now we just have to find her.”
The older stallion looked down at the little colt. “Stick with me, kid. It’s pretty easy to get lost in this maze.” Spike nodded.
Mr. Sparkle continued into the large fields, quickly being lost in the tall hedges. However, Spike remained where he was. “Marty!” He whispered, loudly. “Hey Marty!”
“I’m right here.”
Spike jumped, whirling his head around. “Awuhwuhg!” Nopony was there. “Marty? Did you learn how to become invisible?”
Marty stepped out from behind a nearby bush. “No, I was behind this bush.”
A pause. “So, she’s somewhere in here?”
“That’s what Twilight’s dad said. This garden’s huge, though. I don’t know why she’s hiding in here, but if we split up, I think we can find her before her father does.”
The teenager shook his head. “No can do, Spike. You have to go and talk to her by yourself.”
The small pegasus was flabbergasted. “Me?! Why can’t you come?”
Marty shrugged, folding his arms together. “She saw me, remember? When we first came here. She didn’t recognize me.”
“So, why shouldn’t she recognize a strange-looking creature who helped to convince her to go to that school?”
“So why wouldn’t she recognize me?” Spike argued. Then he blinked. “…Oh, right.” Grumbling, the young dragon-turned-pony turned to head into the gardens.
He stopped. “How do you think of this stuff?”
Marty grinned, ear to ear. “Like Doc always says. You just have to think four-dimensionally.”
Spike wandered aimlessly through the gardens, encountering the occasional statue or sculpture.
Man, this place is HUGE. It’s gonna take forever to find Twilight at this rate! He thought. Continuing to grumble in this manner, he rounded another corner.
Bloody alien. I bet he’s just sitting there, playing his guitar, not a care in the world. I bet-
The sudden sound cut him off. A small, innocent sniffling sound, coming from the bush to his left. Cautiously, he trotted around it. The sound grew louder, and Spike began to hear tiny sobbing. He broke into a gallop, rounding the closest hedge.
He spotted her sitting at the foot of a large statue, crying. “Twilight!”
The small lavender filly looked up. “Who’s there?”
“Uh, hi.” Spike waved a hoof, sheepishly. “Why are you crying?”
“Why do you care.” She glared back at the ground, angry. “I’m just some dumb little filly with no friends.”
“That’s not true!”
“How do you know?”
The young colt blanched. “Well, uh, I’m your friend.”
Twilight gave him a quizzical look. “I’ve never seen you before. How are you my friend?”
Spike sat down next to the young filly, who had stopped crying. “Well, uh, I go to school with you, see.”
“Then you know that I’m just a stupid blank-flank that’s not good at anything. It’s just-“ she sniffled again, wiping an eye, “-it’s just that I was really looking forward to seein the princess, an everything, and I didn’t think of anything else for months. Then I finally get to see it, and it’s ruined.”
The small dragon-pony winced. “But, why does that make you sad?”
“Because now I don’t have anything!” she cried. “The festival’s over, and I still don’t have friends, and I still don’t have a cutie mark. It was stupid. I’m stupid.”
“You are not stupid, Twilight Sparkle!”
Twilight jumped at Spike’s tone of voice. He continued. “You are without a doubt the most brilliant pony I have ever met. You shouldn’t say those kinds of things about yourself.”
Twilight gave him a tiny smile. “Y-you mean it?”
Spike returned it. “Of course I do. In fact,” the young pegasus added, cautiously, “I bet you could get into Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns.”
The little filly’s face lit up. “No way!”
“Totally way. I wish I had talked to you earlier, Twilight Sparkle.”
Twilight blushed. “Gee, Celestia’s own school…” she gazed wistfully off into the distance. She smiled, and leaned backwards onto the statue’s base. “How come I’ve never seen you in class before?”
Spike leant back as well. “Uh, I’m pretty shy, I guess.”
“I know that feeling. You should come say hi!”
The young colt looked away, guiltily. “I will. Definitely. But you have to promise me you’ll try for that school!”
They sat under the statue, content. After a moment, a distant voice could be heard, from elsewhere in the gardens. “Twilight!”
“Oh, that’s my dad. I gotta go.”
Before the young pegasus could react, Twilight leaned over and gave him a small kiss on the cheek. Spike blushed and looked at her, dumbfounded. She giggled and galloped off, but stopped and looked back. “Seeya!” She rounded a corner and was gone.
His face still cherry-red, Spike put a hoof to the cheek, rubbing it slowly. “S-see ya.”
Dazed, the young colt got to his hooves and trotted off, leaving the base of the statue empty.
It was Discord’s statue, of course, not that anypony noticed. He probably enjoyed that little moment as much as you did.
Marty McFly plucked at the strings of his guitar, frowning. “No, that’s not right.”
He placed his fingers in another configuration on the fretboard, giving the curved instrument a light strum.
Marty was lying in the grass, by the entrance to the large gardens of Canterlot. Spike had departed into the rows of hedges not but ten minutes ago, and the human had taken to practicing on his new instrument. He noted with a frown that it was a bit banged up.
Probably due to me falling on it so much, he thought. Friggin Princess.
As Marty recalled his meeting with the princess, he remembered his new curious ability.
He concentrated on a rock, located in front of him. Reaching out his hand, he remembered the… peculiar way of moving things with magic.
The stone lit up with a sparkling dark-blue glow. Slowly, it rose into the air.
Marty grimaced. He flicked his hand to the left.
The stone shot out of the glowing aura, flying leftwards, over a row of hedges. Marty watched it fly with a bemused expression. I’m never going to get used to that.
“I’m sorry I ran off, Daddy.”
Voices, coming from the interior of the garden. They seemed to be getting closer, so Marty ducked into a nearby bush.
Two unicorns strolled towards the exit, an older stallion and a little filly. The filly Marty recognized as a young Twilight Sparkle. “I was just thinking, I didn’t realize I was gone so late.” Her voice was young, but the human could still recognize it.
“I understand, Twilight, but you’re still grounded for two weeks.” Mr. Sparkle said sternly. The little filly grumbled, but said nothing.
After they passed, Marty warily stuck his head out from the bushes. He watched the pair depart, before turning to face the garden again. Spike slowly trotted down the path, dazed. “Spike, dude, you do it?”
Spike cantered forward, stopping at Marty’s feet. He blinked. “Wha…?”
“Did you get Twilight to go to the school?”
“Oh! Uh, yeah. Wasn’t that hard, actually.”
Surprised, Marty stepped out of the bush. “That’s good. How’d you manage it?”
Spike blushed. Profusely. Marty stifled back a laugh at the sheer level of redness dominating the pegasus’ face. “It wasn’t that hard, I just, uh, talked to her.”
“Uh-huh. Talked to her.”
“Yes! I just talked to her.” Spike said defensively. “She promised me she’d go to the test.”
Marty snorted. “Is that all she promised you?”
Fuming, Spike walked angrily towards the garden exit. Marty followed, guffawing as he plucked a tune on his guitar.
In Ponyville, three earth ponies stood in the middle of the street.
Applejack looked at Pinkie Pie inquisitively. “Super-whatnow?”
Pinkie giggled. “super-duper Pinkie-Pie’s very-special Wake-Up Juice! It’s a super-special concoction that I use as a pick-me-up for party patrons who are not feeling so good.” She inexplicably whipped out a large bottle, filled with a dark amber liquid.
Lil Mac stared. “Where’d ya get that?”
“I keep alcohol stashed all over time and space, in case of an alcohol emergency!”
Applejack shook her head. “Pinkie, you are crazy. So what’s it supposed t’do?”
“Weeellll, it’s supposed to keep me up to Pinkie-standards when I’m hammered-“
Applejack raised an eyebrow. Macintosh glared intently at his hooves.
“-buuut it’ll help little Mackie here to get his ‘energy’ up!” She waved the bottle at Macintosh’s face, grinning.
Lil Mac looked worried. “H-how much would Ah need? What’s it taste like?”
“Just a shot, silly filly!”
“What’s a shot?”
Pinkie’s eyes widened. “Weeellllll…”
“Pinkie!” Applejack glared at her pink friend. “He’s a colt, remember.”
Pinkie deflated a bit. “Aww, fine. He’ll just have a few.”
“Oh come on, Applejack! Don’t you wanna help your little-wittle brother defeat that big mean nasty-pants Filthy?”
Macintosh’s eyes widened. Applejack? Brother?!?! Thankfully, neither mare noticed his stunned reaction.
“Y’can’t just go n give little colts alcohol!”
“One little sip of it isn’t gonna kill him! It’ll really really help, I swear.”
Applejack begrudgingly conceded. “Fine. But only once!”
Pinkie Pie squealed with delight then shoved the bottle into Lil Mac’s mouth. He gulped down a single portion of the liquid before she removed it again.
“Pinkie!” Applejack growled. “What did Ah just say?”
"You said one shot!"
"Exactly! Why in tarnation are ya given him one now?!"
Pinkie began smiling again. "Oh, that. We have to give him one now, or else he won't be awake for the showdown!"
Macintosh promptly keeled over onto the dirt, and began snoring loudly. Applejack started, but Pinkie just started giggling.
“Pinkie!” AJ snapped. “This ain’t funny!”
“Hee-hee! Snkt!” Pinkie Pie struggled to speak over her own laughter. “Yes it is! He’s so bucking cuuuuuute!” She rolled on her back, laughing louder.
Applejack looked at her small brother worriedly. “How long’s he gonna be out?”
“Just long enough! He’ll be fine, Applejack. Trust me.” Pinkie broke into her biggest smile.
“A-alright, Pinkie Pie. Ah trust you. An if you say this is gonna help his chances, well Ah don’t doubt ya.”
“Thanks Applejack!” Pinkie wrapped her friend in a massive hug.
Composing herself, Applejack said “Now Pinkie, we gotta find Rainbow, too. D’ya know where she might’ve gotten to?”
Pinkie Pie rubbed her chin. “Wellll, last I saw, she hopped out of Marty’s time machine and made a beeline for Cloudsdale. I dunno if that helps?”
Applejack groaned. “No, that’s great Pinkie. We just gotta find Rainbow Dash an split as fast as we can.”
The orange mare shrugged. “Ah dunno. Ah just know it’s really really really really really bad.”
“Really bad, or...” Pinkie threw her hooves into the air. “...Paradoximagical!”
AJ shook her head. “Bad, Pinkie. Come on, let’s get Mac outta the road.” Pinkie helped Applejack fit the sleeping colt onto her back, and they began walking down the street.
“Granny’s gonna kill me if she find out Ah got Macintosh drunk.”
“Silly Applejack. He’s not drunk.”
“Trust me he’s not drunk.”
“Eight days a week...”
“Shove it, Marty.”
“I looooooove you.”
“Come on, man.”
“Eight days a week...”
“Seriously, dude, that’s not funny!”
“Is not enough to show I care!”
“People are staring at you stop playing your damn guitar!”
Marty and Spike were walking the streets of Canterlot, headed back towards the palace. As they entered the palace grounds, Spike the Pegasus finally snapped his head around to the human. “This isn’t funny!”
“Come on, Spike, you gotta admit it’s a little funny!”
“I never should have told you. Please stop.”
Marty put his hands in the air, conceding. “Alright, I’ll stop. I more just wanted to finish the song than bug you.”
“People were staring at you.” Spike huffed. “Why did I have to lose my fingers, and the alien didn’t?”
Shrugging, Marty said “I don’t know. I guess dragons are taboo here or something? Anyway I feel like I dodged a bullet on that one.”
“Totally. Walking on four legs is fine, but I can’t hold anything and walk at the same time! It sucks.”
The pair finally reached the wing of the palace where they had crashed. The glass had been cleared away, and the DeLorean was positioned in front of the open window, ready for takeoff.
“Man, your princess sure does know how to do a job.” Marty complemented.
Spike shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. She was always very thorough with everyth-“ He was interrupted by a loud belch.
A twisting green flame flew from the purple pegasus’ mouth, and collapsed into a scroll, which hovered in front of Marty expectantly. He hesitantly reached out to touch it, and it fell into his hand. He unrolled it and read aloud.
I have repaired and positioned the time machine in front of the window in what I assume is the correct position based off of my observations. I have also filled the gas tank with gasoline based off of my observations and added organic matter to Mr. Fusion based off of my observations. Please reach the required speed (which I assume you need based off of my observations) outside of the Canterlot city limits where nopony can see you. I have included the optimal discreet flight plans and included them in this letter.
-Princess Celestia of Equestria
Marty frowned. “Those are... some pretty accurate observations.”
“The Princess is something like ten thousand years old,” Spike offered. “If she’s anything like Twilight, she could probably make some good guesses just by looking it over.” Spike beamed. “but more importantly, I can still breathe fire!” He let out a loose jet of orange flame, cackling.
Marty shrugged. “Yeah, I guess-“
Spike and Marty whipped their heads around towards the entrance. Standing there was a teenage unicorn, with a white coat and a blue mane. “I’m placing you under charges of foalnapping and breaking and entering!”
“You again!” Marty slapped a hand to his forehead. “You’re that guard from the future! What is it you have against me?”
“Stop your jibberish, monster!” Shining Armor growled. “Hand over the colt and step away from the device!”
“Spike, get in the car.” Marty made to move towards the DeLorean, with Spike following.
“Oh no you don’t!” Shining magically grabbed Spike, a purple glow covering his horn. Spike rose into the air.
“Woah, hey! Put me down!” He looked at Marty. “Help!”
Grimacing, Marty stepped forward and reached out his hand. The purple glow around Spike was suddenly invaded by a dark blue one, and he began to drift back towards the human.
Shining Armor’s eyes widened, but he merely ground his hoof into the floor and concentrated. The two colors around the small pegasus pushed each other back and forth, and he was pushed back and forth across the room.
Sweat began to form on both of the magic user’s faces. “Oh, fuck this!” Marty let go of Spike, and he flew across the room towards the unicorn.
“Haha!” Shining gloated, “It seems the stronger will triumphs, monster!”
The young unicorn was interrupted by a swift gryphon instrument to the head. He fell over, groaning.
Marty once again slung the guitar onto his back and grabbed Spike’s hoof, dashing towards the car. Before Shining Armor could recompose himself, They jumped into the DeLorean and, after a moment, rose into the air.
They swiftly flew out of the window and into the open air above the mountain city. Spike sat in the passenger seat, and let out a long sigh. “Whew, that was close.”
“Tell me about it. Who the hell was that guy?”
“That was Shining Armor, future Captain of the Guard.”
“You know him?”
“Yeah I do! He’s a cool guy.”
Marty gave Spike a bewildered look. Spike rolled his eyes. “He’s Twilight’s brother.”
“Yeah. His wedding was just a few weeks ago. There was a hostile invasion, it was kind of a big deal.”
Marty merely shook his head. “Well, whatever. Let’s go find the others. Do you know where they could have gone?”
Spike scratched his head with his hoof, but quickly stopped when he realized how stupid that looked. “Hmm, I dunno, but we were walking all over Canterlot all day. They’re definitely not there.”
“So, where else?”
Spike shrugged. “Ponyville?”
"I guess it's a start. Here, you read this while I'm driving." Marty passed Celestia's letter to the purple pegasus. He looked it over again.
"Snkrt!" Spike chuckled. "Nice name, Marty McFly. Jeez, that's hilarious."
"Why is my name funny?" Marty asked defensively. "That's a proud Irish name!"
"Yeah, but just imagine if you could fly instead of do magic," Spike laughed. "Oh man, that is a perfect pegasus name."
"Meh, I think-" Marty stopped, a curious look overcoming his face. “Hang on. Spike, did you not know my last name before now?”
Spike shook his head. “Nah, not really. I’ve heard it in passing, I think.”
“Yeah...” Marty agreed, “You heard Celestia say it.”
“That’s right.” Spike blinked. “Wait, what? Did you tell her your name?”
The two time travelers didn’t speak for a while, exchanging odd looks.
“Ponyville! Let’s do that.”
A tiny plot of flat dirt and sand, squished between some of the taller buildings in Ponyville. It may have been reserved for a building, but the fence had long been boarded up, and the Sandlot had been forgotten by the people of the town, it’s ownership deep in the town archives.
However, it was not entirely forgotten. For what big ponies forget, the young ponies create.
Applejack watched with amazement at the massive stampede of colts and fillies that piled into the Sandlot. They stood, calm and collected, on the fringes of the open lot, leaving a wide berth in the center.
This... This is freaky, Applejack thought. Ah don’t recall little ponies being this... tribal.
She remembered the Sandlot, of course. It was an integral part of her childhood as much as it was for the rest of the town. As she had grown, however, it had been lost to the back of her mind, and along with it, the intense world of children’s peer pressure.
Pinkie Pie was handing out cupcakes. Way to ruin the deep philosophical moment, Pinkie.
Macintosh was still out cold upon Applejack’s back. The sun was rapidly approaching the horizon, and Fiff was due any moment.
Come on, Macintosh. Applejack worried. Ah should never have messed with the past! It kin only lead to trouble.
Inexplicably, a hush fell over the large crowd of colts and fillies. The throng parted to reveal Fiff, slowly walking into the Sandlot.
“Heh heh,” Fiff laughed. “It looks like McTosh can’t miss his bedtime, hey Apple?”
“You shut it, boy.” Applejack growled. “He’ll wake up, and you kin all finish this barbaric business.”
“Ho-ho! The cousin thinks to know how we work.” Fiff smirked, slowly trotting around the circle.
“Ah-Ah was a kid, once. Ain’t nothing’s changed.” You kin say that again.
“Then deposit him on the ground. If he doesn’t wake in time, he forfeits.”
Applejack grimaced, but said nothing. She gently placed the young Macintosh upon the dirt, and Fiff took his place across from him.
The sun was rapidly approaching the horizon. AJ glanced nervously at Lil Mac, then at Pinkie Pie.
Pinkie Pie was still grinning, absolutely sure that everything would be fine. Ever the optimist, Applejack thought.
The sun dipped below the horizon. The sky took on an incredible shade of orange, illuminating the sky.
For a moment, nothing happened.
Then, Macintosh’s eyes snapped open.
He darted to his hooves and leapt towards a nearby water trough. Throwing his head in it, he swished back and forth, drinking the water.
Applejack snickered at the confused look on Fiff’s face. Macintosh pulled his head out of the trough, his face dripping wet, and turned to face the older stallion.
The young colt did something very unnerving. He broke into a massive, wicked grin.
Ah can’t right say what I’m thinking, Macintosh thought, but Ah sure do say that Ah like it.
Ah feel... different. Maybe not better, but definitely... different.
Mac sauntered towards Fiff, his expression unwavering. Different enough to do something Ah shouldn’t.
Heh... different enough to do something Ah should’ve.
Fiff took a step back. Mac’s grin grew wider, and he started galloping towards his opponent, his head tilted down.
Fiff glanced around at his fellows, nervously, then shakily pawed the ground, and began galloping as well. The two colts barreled towards each other, and collided in the center of the Sandlot.
Fiff keeled, falling backwards onto the ground. Macintosh, barely fazed, pranced around the clearing, his uncharacteristically wicked expression still gracing his face.
The older colt stumbled to his hooves, more afraid now of the challenge before him. He shook his head, as if to clear it, and barreled towards Lil Mac, raising a hoof.
Still grinning, Macintosh cocked an eyebrow. He easily sidestepped Fiff’s blow, and responded with a hook of his own. He immediately made contact with Fiff’s jaw, and he once again went sprawling into the dirt.
Applejack watched, stunned. She turned to Pinkie Pie. “What’d you say this stuff does again?”
Pinkie waved a hoof, as if it were nothing. “Oh, it just gives anypony a little shift in perspective. A Pinkie perspective! I hear it’s quite the ride.”
“So, yer telling me, that that-“ she gestured a hoof towards her insane older/younger brother, “-is just Big Mac, if he happened to be as crazy as you?”
Applejack turned towards the fight again. “Well, That’s just horrifyin.”
Macintosh and Fiff were circling each other, preparing to fight again. Fiff looked awful, a bloody lip and frazzled mane obscuring his features. Lil Mac, on the other hoof, had a single bruise on his face. He was still sporting an evil smile.
Applejack shook her head. “Horrifyin.”
Without warning, Mac stood up straight. Fiff took a single step back, on instinct.
Macintosh performed a sweeping bow, closing his eyes and keeping his head low.
After a moment’s hesitation, Fiff’s face grew cocky, as he boldly stepped forward. “Oh, what is this? the great McTosh is conceding? Perish the thought!”
Fiff did not notice, as all else did, that in his bowed face, Macintosh had opened his eyes, and his horrifying smile had never left.
The older colt stepped closer. “Looks like you’ll never be able to leave your precious. Little. Farm. Aga-“
Mac abruptly stood up again, bringing a single hoof to the underside of Filthy’s face. Fiff was knocked onto his back, and lay there, moaning horribly.
Macintosh stood before his downed opponent, watching him struggle to his hooves. “Ya know, Fiff,” he said, his voice hauntingly criminal, “Ah wasn’t the one who thought this here brawl was a good idea.”
Mac pressed a hoof to Fiff’s chest, and the older colt let out a small moan. “But you know what, Filthy?” the younger colt laced his words with venom, pride, and a terrifying calm. “I think I’m enjoying this.”
Then a rock hurled out of the crowd and hit Macintosh on the head.
Applejack’s jaw dropped as the rock struck Macintosh’s head. “Hay!” she shouted. “Who’s throwin rocks?!”
Her shouts were accompanied by a round of ‘boo’s from the crowd of young ponies. Though the light had already dimmed after the sunset, Applejack could make out the offending colt, who was pushed out of the crowd and into the opening.
It was another young stallion, an earth pony whom Applejack recognized from Fiff’s group of friends, was rushed out of the exit. All heads returned to the battle, where a previously-unbalanced scale was now tipped in a new direction.
Filthy Rich slowly got to his hooves. Across from him, Lil Mac lay on the ground, his head with his hooves. The red colt looked a lot smaller than he had a moment ago.
There was blood on his head.
Fiff cantered over him, a mixture of relief and sneer upon his face. “Not so mighty now, are ya, twerp?”
The older colt gave a swift kick between Mac’s legs. Mac groaned, and the entire audience cringed, but nopony made a move.
Fiff trotted around Macintosh. “Oh, I thought this was going to be an easy fight, McTosh. I really did.” Another kick, this time right in the rib cage. Macintosh let out another painful grunt.
Applejack leaned over to Pinkie. “Why isn’t anypony doin nothin?” she whispered.
“I dunno, AJ! But I think it would be a really really really bad idea to interfere.”
Fiff continued with his rant. “But then, you little piece of slime, then you showed up with some confidence! Some pazazz! You nearly handed my flank to me, I will admit.” This time, the kick was placed directly at the base of Mac’s spine, accompanied by a sickening crunch.
“But look who’s victorious!” Fiff boasted. “You think you can hope to match me, you’re wrong. I’m the big pony around here-”
-another kick landed with a solid thunk-
Fiff raised his hooves high into the air, preparing to bring them down on Macintosh’s head.
Applejack reached out a hoof. “No!”
Suddenly, every pony in the crowd was blinded by a bright white light, and pushed back by a massive gust of air.
Applejack squeezed her eyes shut. What in tarnation-?
She managed to squeeze her eyes open and look up. There, highlighted against the dark night sky, was the DeLorean, headlights blazing, blasting air into the pavilion.
Applejack glanced down. Lil Mac was okay, still lying on the ground. Fiff had fallen away from him, covering his eyes and whimpering.
Marty had opened the driver’s side door, sticking his head out of the flying vehicle. His hair was whipping in all directions, and he was yelling over the commotion. “Come on, get in!”
“Ah have to get Macintosh!”
Marty grimaced. “Fine! Just hurry up!”
Applejack darted to her brother and carefully slung him over her shoulders. The crowd of ponies was herding out of the Sandlot, paying little mind to her or Macintosh.
She slugged back to the hovering time machine, which had lowered to a few scant feet off of the ground. Applejack heaved Macintosh up to Marty, who grabbed his yoke and pulled him in to the alien vehicle.
Pinkie hopped in from the opposite side. Applejack reached out and was pulled inside by an unfamiliar pair of hooves. Finally out of the commotion outside, she saw it was a young purple pegasus.
Marty reached out and pulled the gull-wing door shut. “Okay, Let’s cut down this commotion.” He deposited himself behind the wheel and flicked a switch behind it, pulling on the stick in the center with his other hand.
The blaring wind outside ceased, and the lights dimmed considerably. Much more silent, Marty guided the car upwards, and flew off into the night.
Applejack deposited Macintosh in the passenger chair, and then slumped backwards in the back seat. “Th-thanks for the save, Marty.”
Macintosh passed out completely on the fabric chair, his head colliding with the fabric. As he did so, a small metal object fell out of his yoke, and landed on the car floor with a soft thud. No one noticed.
The human chuckled. “Don’t mention it. You guys looked like you needed some help. Especially the kid.” He tilted his head towards the sleeping stallion. “Who’s he?”
“Well, he’s mah older brother. Er, younger brother.” Marty glared at her. She gave him a sheepish smile. “He don’t know nothin! He thinks Ah’m his distant relative, Braeburn.”
Applejack glanced at the purple pegasus colt, sitting beside her. “Ah could ask you the same question. Who is he?”
The pegasus rolled his eyes. “I’m hurt, Applejack. You don’t recognize me?”
Applejack frowned. “Hmm... Yer voice rings a bell, but Ah can’t seem t’place ya. Sorry, kiddo.”
The colt chuckled, then blew a small ball of fire at her face.
Applejack jumped back, but the bright flame died almost as quickly as it had come. She stared in amazement as the colt laughed, clutching his sides. “O-o-oh man, AJ, you shoulda seen the look on your face. Priceless!”
Spike grinned. “The one and only.”
Spike interrupted her, waving a hoof. “Princess Celestia. She’s in on the whole time travel deal, apparently.”
Applejack nodded slowly, then smiled. “Awww, yer a cute little colt, ain’t ya Spike?” She reached out and pinched his cheeks.
“Hey, quit it!”
“But yer just so cutsey-wootsey!”
Pinkie Pie laughed and joined in on tormenting the poor dragon-pony. Spike covered his face with his hooves, sinking to the floor.
Marty chuckled. “Alright. That was one helluva pickle we found you in, girls. What even was that? It looked like a fistfight.” He scratched his chin. “Er, hooffght.”
“That’s exactly what it was!” Pinkie exclaimed. “Macintosh was fighting for his honor and liberty or something and such. And he was winning! Till some meanie threw a rock.”
“I guess it’s a good thing we came in, then. It looked like that brown kid was about to commit murder.”
Applejack growled. “That was Filthy Rich, the town bully. He’d been giving Mac here the run o’the mill for a coon’s age, an this here was the culmination.”
“Yeah, stupid Fiff!” Pinkie waned. “He deserved every bit of that!”
Marty blinked, turning towards the pink pony. “Wait, what did you say his name was?”
Shaking his head, Marty returned to the wheel. “Huh.” He shrugged. “Well, I’m pretty sure I saw him crap himself as we swooped in, so I bet he won’t want to remind people of this little encounter.”
The entire car burst into a round of laughter, Spike especially. “Hah! I’ve never heard of this ‘Fiff’ guy.”
“Silly Spikey Wikey,” Pinkie chimed in, “Fiff is Filthy Rich, diamond Tiara’s father!”
Spike frowned. “But I’ve met him! He’s a nice dude!”
Marty laughed. “Oh, trust me, a few years and a little discipline can make a saint out of satan.”
“Don’t mean Ah’m not waitin t’hear him call Mac ‘Sir Macintosh’ when Ah get home!” Applejack laughed.
Smiling, Marty gestured at the sleeping red colt. “Speaking of which, where am I supposed to drop this little guy? We better do it before he wakes up.”
Applejack gave Macintosh a concerned smile. “Ah reckon we kin drop him at Sweet Apple Acres. We kin probably set oursleves up in the barn fer the night, too.”
“Woah woah woah!” Marty exclaimed. “We gotta find Rainbow Dash and get this thing over with as fast as possible.”
Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Sugarcube, Ah don’t know about you aliens, but Ah’m plum tired, an Ah don’t get tired real easy. Pinkie Pie... Well, Ah’ve known her long enough to tell when she’s slowin down a bit, even if it seems impossible.”
She gestured a hoof at Spike. “An Spike! He shoulda been in bed hours ago, what with his changin species an all.”
Applejack gave Marty a serious look. “Now, Ah want to find Rainbow as much as you do, but believe me when Ah say, it kin wait till mornin.”
Marty hesitated a moment, then let out an exasperated sigh. “Fine. But only because none of you are in danger of fading from existence! We need to leave as soon as we can, do you understand?”
I may have put a bit too much emphasis on that one, Marty mused. Every conscious occupant of the car looked at him with wide eyes and nodded. But I can hardly say I shouldn’t have.
Marty nodded back. “Okay, we’ll stay in the barn for the night. You think you can find your farm from above?
Applejack thought about it for a moment, then nodded.
“Good. Maybe we’ll come out of this without any hitches, eh?”
There was a simultaneous agreement. The ragtag group of time travelers flew silently through the night, exhausted from their adventures.
Rainbow Dash rested atop a house in Cloudsdale, preparing to get some much-needed sleep.
She had been tracking her target for six hours, but had yet to find what she was looking for. She was nothing if not dedicated, however. How often did a pony get a chance to travel through time?
No, she would find the evidence she needed to put her conscious at ease. She had to. She would stalk this child all week, if it meant getting the truth.
Rainbow Dash quickly drifted into a dreamless sleep, blissfully unaware of a young set of eyes, watching her.
Granny Smith was startled up from her nap by a loud knocking at the front door. The old mare was about to call for Applejack to open it, before she remembered her little filly was in Manehattan. Grumbling, Granny Smith shakily got out of her rocking chair and onto her hooves, and teetered towards the front door.
Swinging the door open, she peered outside. “Eh? Who’s there?”
Two young colts stood at her doorstep, a pegasus and an earth pony. The earth pony she recognized as her own little Macintosh, who was currently unconscious in the other one’s hooves, but she had never seen the purple pegasus before.
The pegasus heaved the sleeping Mac into a semi-upright position, before asking Granny, “Is this yours?”
Granny Smith crouched down to her grandson, holding him up. “Yes it is, young man.” She felt a searing pain in her hip, but ignored it. She still had a few years before it gave out completely. “Macky, y’can’t just go wanderin off like-“
Granny started as she saw the bruises. “Macky!” She whipped her head to face the other colt. “What’d you do to my grandson?”
The pegasus put his hooves in the air. “Nothing! There was some business with a bully. I, uh, offered to take him home.”
Granny Smith cocked an eyebrow. “You carried him home all by yer lonesome?”
The pegasus shuffled his hooves nervously. “Um, yes?”
Granny eyed him for a moment. The colt gave a weak smile.
The old mare’s face broke into a wide grin. “Well, thankya sonny! You wanna come in fer some dinner?”
The pegasus’ eyes widened as the mention of food, but he quickly shook his head. “Um, no thanks. I really should be headed back home.”
“Home? But it’s almost nine o’clock.”
“Uh, yeah, I have a late dinnertime.”
Granny shrugged. “Okay sonny, but hurry back now. Don’t want yer mother worryin about ya!”
“Heh heh, yeah.” He waved a hoof, turned around, and began trotting towards the exit of the farm. Granny watched him go, curious.
As the young colt reached the farm gate, he turned around, and saw Granny still looking at him. She waved a hoof. He waved back, wearily, and began trotting down the road again.
He reached the end of the road, as far as he could go and still be able to see the farm house, and turned around again. Granny saw him again, and she waved again. The pegasus didn’t wave bak, but his head slumped down, almost like he was groaning. He turned and continued down the road, out of sight.
What and odd colt, Granny thought to herself. Ah’ll have t’ask Mac about him.
“Oh my bucking Celestia!” Spike groaned as he burst into the barn.
Marty, Applejack and Pinkie Pie all put a hoof/finger to his or her mouth. “Ssshh!”
Spike immediately lowered his voice. “Oh, sorry.” He trotted closer to the group, who was huddled in some hay besides the parked DeLorean.
Pinkie Pie scooted over, giving Spike some place to sit down in the circle. “Dude, what took you so long?” Marty asked. “The house is right there.”
“That’s what I was complaining about.” Spike responded. “I got Big Mac into the house just fine, but Granny Smith kept watching me as I walked away from the house! I had to go a ways down the road before she stopped watching me so I could come back.”
“Yeah, that’s Granny fer ya.” Applejack said. “She’s a might queer at times, but it usually don’t harm nopony.”
“Well, I feel harmed. I’ve had hooves for six hours, and they already hurt like Tartarus.”
Marty shook his head. “I’ve got some concerns about the way you guys speak here. I mean, ‘anypony’? Doesn’t that leave out Spike? And Tartarus? What the hell’s a Tartarus?”
The ponies gave him an odd look. “Y’know, Tartarus? The pit where they keep all the monsters? Guarded by a big dog?” Applejack questioned.
“That sounds... I dunno, kinda familiar. Is this a part of Greek Mythology?”
“What’s a greek?”
“What’s a... You know what? Nevermind.”
In Cloudsdale, on a certain date in 985, there were two Rainbow Dashes, who were both the same pony. The elder jumped from house to house, following her target.
It had been a long day for Rainbow. She knew that she had to, at all costs, avoid being seen by anypony. Such was the life of a mare who had a miraculously recognizable rainbow-striped mane.
She had been at this for two days now. Yet today, she couldn’t shake the odd feeling that somepony was watching her, even as she leapt from rooftop to cloudy rooftop.
Rainbow hear a small noise, as a tiny fluttering of wings. She quickly whipped her head behind her to find... nothing. Cursing, she returned to her stalking, resolving to catch her own stalker later.
As she focused on the roads again, she found that the subject of her attention was nowhere to be seen. She rose a few more feet into the air, gazing about. Oh, there she is, Dash thought to herself. How did she get under a park bench? This kid is gonna be the death of me.
Sighing, Rainbow flapped across town, once again the subject of childish antics.
“Marty,” a gentle voice whispered, “it’s time to get up now.”
Marty raised his head, groggy. “Mom?”
“GIT UP, LAZYBONES JONES!”
“Gah!” Marty flailed about, falling off of his hay bale in the barn.
“Applejack!” Pinkie, who had been crouching besides the bale, turned to her friend. “Why’d you have to go and do that? I was waking him up.”
“Pinkie, we ain’t got time fer dilly-dallyin. Granny’s gonna be awake soon, and we’ve got t’git out of here before she finds us.”
Marty slowly stood up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “She’s right, Pinkie.”
“Aww. Okay. Can I at least wake Spike up?”
Marty stole a glance to another bale. Spike the Pegasus was ling on his side, snoring loudly. His wings were splayed out in different directions, giving the impression he had just crashed from flying.
“Oh goodie!” the pink part pony rushed towards Spike, quickly stopping before she crashed into him. She gently brought her head down to Spike’s ear.
Spike grumbled, turning over.
Pinkie frowned. “SPIKE!”
In a nearly identical pattern to Marty, Spike yelped, releasing a small puff of fire and falling off of his hay bale. He stayed on the ground, however, slumped in a heap of legs and feathers. “Owww...”
“Come on, Spike, we gotta motor.” Marty fished the DeLorean’s keys out of his pocket, clambering in to the driver’s seat.
“I never knew falling on your wings would hurt so much...” Spike groaned.
Applejack grinned. “Yeah, Dash always did whine when she fell backwards. Guess it’s a pegasus thing.”
Spike slowly got to his hooves. “Yeah, well, it sucks. I’m gonna have to ask her how the hell she deals with six limbs.”
Pinkie jumped at Spike’s face. “Ooh! You can do that now, Spikey-Wikey. We’re gonna go to Cloudsdale again!”
Marty stuck his head out of the car. “Really? Where’s that?”
Applejack turned towards the human. “Cloudsdale is a pegasus city, floatin a few thousand feet in t’air, northwest o’ Canterlot. I ain’t saw any sign o Rainbow in town, an that’s the only other place she could be.”
“Right, right...” Marty fiddled with the steering wheel for a moment, before turning back to Applejack. “Now when you say floating, do you mean like Laketown?”
Applejack rolled her eyes and cantered towards the barn door, gesturing for Marty to follow. Opening the door just a crack, she stuck her head out, and Marty did the same.
She raised a hoof, and pointed at a giant far-off cloud in the sky, riddled with funny rainbow-shapes. “That’s Cloudsdale.”
Marty blinked, thinking back to the sight of pegasi moving clouds around. “Oh. That kind of floating.”
They returned to the interior of the barn. “So, ponies can touch clouds? Or do you guys just have weird clouds here?”
AJ shook her head. “Naw, only pegasi can mess around with clouds. Some kinda magic. Twilight knows a spell, lets other ponies touch em, too. But Ah don’t know if we kin find another unicorn t’do that, here an now.”
“Well, that’s okay!” Pinkie patted Spike’s green mane. “We’ve got ourselves a pegasus right here! And we’ve also got a flying machine.”
“Hey, yeah!” Marty agreed. “Will flying through the clouds mess with them very much?”
Applejack shook her head. “Naw. Them clouds are like cotton balls. They just get a little rustled up, an pegasi just push em back. We’ll be fine.”
Marty smiled. “So what’re we waiting for? If we’re lucky, we’ll just pick up Rainbow, get back to the future, and we’ll be golden.”
The three ponies and one human piled into the DeLorean, once again glazing over the fact that it now had a back seat.
The engine blazed to life, and the car lifted into the air. “Absolutely nothing can go wrong!” Pinkie exclaimed.
Little Macintosh slowly cantered out of the house, the sun just peeking over the horizon, casting long shadows and dusty beams of light through the trees of the calm orchard.
Ah don’t think Ah’ve ever had dreams as funny as that, he thought. Applejack had gotten bigger, an was pretending to be mah cousin, an there was a flying boat.
The small colt trotted down the steps, shaking his head. At least I managed to beat Fiff. That much Ah’m sure of.
Just as the thought graced his mind, the barn door flew open, and Macintosh whipped his head to face it.
The flying metal boat from his dream shot out of the barn, rising into the sky and fading into the distance. Macintosh stood, slack-jawed, and watched it go.
“M-maybe Ah’ll go ask around, see what happened. Can’t ever be too sure of nothin.”
Rainbow had followed her target into a large, open area, necessitating that she duck and hide behind pillars. Luckily, her own stalker had to do the same, and Rainbow finally saw her chance.
Rainbow Dash pretended to move ahead to the next hiding spot, but instead merely hid on the front side of the pillar. She heard the soft flapping of small wings, as the stalker timidly followed her.
She saw her chance. Readying herself, Rainbow crouched, then jumped around the pillar again, pouncing on and crashing into the mystery pony. The two of them rolled across the clouds.
“Alright, you, who are you and why are you stalking me?” Rainbow yelled, pinning her stalker on the ground.
Her stalker... whimpered. Wait what?
Rainbow realized who exactly she was looking at. Sure, she was younger, but that pink mane was unmistakable.
In a back alley of Cloudsdale, (also made of clouds, everything was made of clouds), nopony was around. It was quiet, and it was serene.
Suddenly, a large dark shape rose out of the cloudy ground, accompanied by a distinct whirring sound. The displaced clouds moved aside easily, and the large mass sat there, while its occupants had a discussion.
Marty rolled his shoulders, groaning. He had risen the DeLorean so that all but the wheels were above the cloud layer, giving the car a low-to-the-ground, mysterious look. The McFlys were nothing if not cool.
However, what was previously a simple plan was now a bit more difficult, thanks to a certain pegasus colt.
“How come I have to go out there alone? I already went and found Twilight!” Spike yelled.
Applejack was doing her best to calm him down, as Pinkie Pie opened the passenger door. “Come on now, sugarcube. We’ll be right under ya the whole time. All you have t’do is go an find Rainbow.”
“But I can’t go out there!” Spike was fully panicking, now. “How do we know if I can even touch clouds! Maybe I only look like a pegasus! I can still breathe fire, after all!”
Applejack rolled her eyes. “Pinkie, could you help me with this?” Pinkie nodded, and aided Applejack in getting Spike out the door.
“I’ve never bothered to touch clouds before! Can dragons even touch clouds?! WE JUST DON’T KNOW!”
The two earth ponies were flat-out pushing on his back, trying to shove him out into the cloud alley. Spike was bracing himself on the doorframe with his hooves.
“And what if I fall off! If I can’t touch clouds, I certainly don’t have enough magic to fly! And even if I do, I’m probably too young! Just look at Scootaloo!”
With a final heave, the duo pushed Spike out of the car, where he rapidly fell to the alley floor. “OH CELESTIA PRESERVE ME!”
Spike fell harmlessly onto the cloudy ground, with a soft and gentle bounce.
However, Spike’s panic was not to be deterred so easily, or at all.
The colt turned and attempted to leap at the open car door, bellowing. Marty quickly lowered the DeLorean again, disappearing into the mist.
Spike bounced off of Cloudsdale’s floor, falling onto his back. He shakily got to his hooves, unused to the malleable surface of clouds. The young colt began speaking aloud to himself.
“O-okay Spike, don’t panic, you just gotta find Rainbow Dash. That’s easy, right?! I just have to search a whole city, thousands of feet in the a-air, for a single pegasus, and not plummet to my d-d-death. That’s easy!” Spike spoke with a dazed look, his unkept mane falling over his face. “I’ll be fine!”
Immediately below him, the DeLorean still hovered, its door open. “Tarnation,” Applejack commented, “that boy takes after his momma, Ah tell you what.”
Pinkie giggled. “You’re right, AJ, Twilight’s totally his mom. They even have the same coat color!”
Marty chuckled, before asking “Where did Spike come from, anyhow?”
“Well, Marty,” Pinkie began, “When a mommy dragon and a daddy dragon love each other very much-“
Applejack pushed her over, and she fell back in her chair, giggling. “Twilight hatched Spike to get into magic school,” she supplemented. “Ah dun know the specifics, but because of some super-magic she did, they couldn’t put him back in his egg like they used to.”
“Oh, cool. Now why doesn’t he have wings?”
Spike pawed desperately at the cloudy surface beneath him, but to no avail. Still panicked, he glanced around the alley he was in, before darting to the edge of a building, and peering into a proper street.
It was a wide street, with various oddly-shaped buildings on either side. On one side of the street, giant cloud pillars extended into the sky, reaching up toward-
Oh, wow! Spike thought. Is that another layer of the city? How many are there? Why do they do that?
Cautiously, Spike stepped into the street, and began walking down it, doing his best to be inconspicuous. O-okay... I think I’m calming down... Everything’s fine...
Spike slowly made his way through the cloudy city, making random turns, hoping to get to a more densely-populated area. Eventually, he built up enough nerve to begin asking the other pegasi.
“Um, excuse me, I’m looking for a blue mare, about your height, with a rainbow-striped mane?” “...no, she’s not a filly.” “I dunno, maybe it’s a relative. But I’m definitely looking for an adult mare.” “No? Oh. Thanks anyway.” he continued in this pattern for almost an hour.
Spike groaned, his head drooping low as he slowly cantered down yet another city block. All the ponies here either have never seen her, or only seen her as a filly.
Then, from off in the distance, a faint yelling could be heard. Spike’s ears perked up, as he swiveled his head in the direction of the sound. Other pegasi acknowledged the sound for a moment, before returning to their lives. Spike, however, recognized that shout. He turned and galloped across the street, towards an open area with several pillars.
A young Fluttershy ‘eeped’, and hid behind her hooves, trembling.
Rainbow Dash just stared, still pinning the small yellow filly onto the ground. “Wh... Why were you stalking me?! What’s wrong with you?!”
Fluttershy let out a sudden yelp, pushing Rainbow off of her with all her might.
All of filly Fluttershy’s might was not a large thing, but the yelp startled Rainbow, you shouted in return. “Gah!”
Seeing her chance, Fluttershy got to her hooves, and tried to bolt away. Dash quickly caught her tail, holding her in place.
The filly kept digging her hooves into the clouds, trying to get away.
The yellow pegasus stopped struggling and meekly turned around, her fear apparent in her face and actions.
Rainbow rolled her eyes. “I’m not gonna hurt you, I just want to ask you some questions. Now can I let go of your tail?”
Still shaking, Fluttershy nodded. Rainbow released her grip, and she turned around to face the older mare.
“Okay,” Rainbow began, “Now, why are you stalking me?”
The filly looked at her with a pleading gaze. “Why are you stalking Gilda?”
Rainbow balked. “I asked you first!”
“Oh! Oh, well, I um, you see, I uh don’t, uh, um...” Fluttershy looked down as her speech descended into a quiet mumble.
“Didn’t quite catch that, Shy.”
“I-I was stalking Gilda, first.” Fluttershy stammered.
Dash blinked. “What? But I thought you hated Gilda.”
“Oh nonononono.” Fluttershy claimed, reaffirming with a shake of her hooves. “I’m scared of her, but I don’t hate her, not at all.”
“But why were you stalking her?”
“Oh, well, I just figured she’d be nicer if she had a friend, that’s all. I’ve been trying to work up the courage to say ‘hello’.”
Rainbow’s gaze softened. “What?! No, but she has friends. Tons of friends. She’s so cool!”
“Well, actually, she really only has one friend.” Fluttershy offered. “I mean, she hangs around you, Rainbow, and then she’s nice, because she’s happy. But when you go hang out with your other friends, like me, she just wanders around, sad. And when she’s sad, she acts mean.”
“Oh, yes. It’s really quite sad.” Fluttershy frowned.
Rainbow remained quiet, alone with her thoughts. She marveled at Fluttershy’s ability to be nice to anyone, even those who were mean to her. But... I was wrong.
“So why were you following Gilda?”
Rainbow looked up again to see the inquiring gaze of the young pegasus. “Um, that is, if you don’t mind.” she added hastily.
“Oh, yeah, not at all.” Rainbow said. “I’m actually from the future.”
Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Really?”
“Yeah. Some aliens came by with a time machine, so I used it to come here.”
“But why were you stalking Gilda?”
Rainbow sighed. “Well, she and I had a falling-out a while back. She came by to hang out, and for a while, everything was chill. But then when I tried to introduce her to my other friends, and she acted like a total bi-“ Rainbow caught herself speaking in front of the filly “-iiiead pony. Er, gryphon.”
Rainbow continued. “So, in the future, I’m supposed to represent Loyalty for this magic group thingy, right? But then I got to wondering if I’ve always been super loyal to my friends. I came back in time to see if she really was always a bad person, or if I had abandoned her.”
Fluttershy smiled. “Aww, cheer up adult-Rainbow Dash. Please? You didn’t abandon her.”
“But I did!”
The filly put a hoof on the older mare’s shoulder. “No, you didn’t. Gilda was being mean, so she went away. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Rainbow pushed off her hoof, turning away from her. “But she’s still gone. She needed me and I didn’t help her.”
“Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy asserted. Rainbow whipped around to give Fluttershy a surprised look. The filly immediately lost her confidence and shrunk down, but continued speaking. “I-i-if Gilda’s really n-n-not mean, then sh-sh-she’ll still want to be f-friends, right?”
“I-I guess so.”
“Then maybe you should just go talk to her?”
Rainbow sighed, then allowed herself a smile. “Thanks, Shy. I’ll do that.”
Fluttershy beamed. “Oh, wonderful! I just love it when I can help somepony.”
Neither pegasus spoke for a moment.
“Um, Rainbow Dash? I don’t think you were supposed to tell me you were from the future.”
“Oh, yeah. That’d make sense, wouldn’t it?”
A few blocks away, a young pegasus colt spied the two ponies conversing, and called out. “Rainbow Dash!”
Rainbow’s ears perked up. “What was that?”
Fluttershy looked over Rainbow’s shoulder. “Oh, I think it’s that colt. Did he come with you?”
Rainbow turned around, spying the mysterious purple pony. “No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before.”
Spike finally broke into a gallop, coming up beside them, and stopped, panting. “Rainbow! -huff- I’ve been looking -huff- everywhere for you!”
Rainbow shared a quick look with Fluttershy, before responding. “Uh, you’ve got the wrong mare, bud. I’m, uh, Rainbow ‘Blitz’.”
Spike furrowed his brow. “Blitz? What, no, Rainbow-“ he looked down at himself, then smiled in realization. “Oh! You don’t recognize me!”
Rainbow gave him a blank look. He rolled his eyes. “It’s me, Spike.”
Dash’s eyes widened. “Spike?!? But, why are you a pegasus?!”
“It’s a long story. But we gotta go. Did-“ Spike stopped as he glanced at Fluttershy. His eyes widened into another look of panic. “Fluttershy?! Dash, why are you talking to her?!”
Dash shuffled her hooves. “Oh, I was just, uh, talking to her.”
“About stuff, alright? It’s not a big deal.”
Spike slammed a hoof against his face. “Yes it is! We’re not supposed to talk to anyone!”
“Anyone!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed.
All three pegasi flinched, turning in the direction of Pinkie’s voice. She was in the zenith of a jump, starting to fall back to the ground.
With a faint woosh, she fell through the cloud layer they were standing on.
Nopony spoke. Slowly, Spike turned back to face Rainbow Dash. “....so yeah, Marty says that messing with the past can be really bad, and that nopony should know we were ever here.”
“Aw, dangit.” Rainbow looked at Fluttershy. “Sorry, Shy, but you gotta go.”
“Oh, okay.” Fluttershy meekly turned and began to canter off. (though, really, Fluttershy does everything meekly. This should really just be implied at this point.)
“Hang on!” Spike called.
Fluttershy stopped walking and meekly (see?! SEE?!) turned her head around.
“Uh, don’t ever speak of this to anypony. Even us. Got it?”
She nodded and smiled, meekly waving a hoof. “Um, see you in the future.”
Rainbow Dash and Spike watched her walk away. “So, now what?” Rainbow asked.
“This!” a voice called from below them.
Not even attempting to be subtle at all, Marty piloted the DeLorean straight upwards, bringing it completely above the cloud layer. Pinkie was standing on top, grinning.
Applejack stuck her head out of the gull-wong door. “Pinkie! Get back in here afore you all off!”
“Silly Applejack,” Pinkie scoffed, “I’ll just fall on the soft fluffy clouds.”
“Pinkie, you’ll fall through them clouds.”
Pinkie blinked. “Oh, right. Silly me!” She quickly jumped into the open door, a look of panic barely fleeing her face.
Marty stuck his head out, instead. “Finally, you found her. Come on, guys, we need to get going.”
“You can say that again!” Spike exclaimed. “Being a pegasus is too weird!” He eagerly bounded into the open car door.
“Come on, Rainbow.”
Rainbow Dash tilted her head, looking at the flying time machine. I have really been granted an oppurtunity, she thought, that nopony else could have. To see my own world from the outside, and to fairly judge what I see there. It is truly-
“Come on, Rainbow, we ain’t got all day!” Applejack called out. “Well, Ah mean, we do, but that’s not the point!”
Torn from her philosophical reverie, Rainbow blinked. Huh? Oh, yeah. What was I thinking about? Eh, it’s probably not important. She quickly took her place in the back seat of the DeLorean once again.
“Alright, girls and boys,” Marty said, as he piloted the time machine down through the clouds and into open air, “Let’s get going! What time did we leave?”
Pinkie Pie rattled off the date. “October fifteenth, 1002 AW, 12:33 pm.”
Marty punched the numbers into the Time Circuits, and steered into a wide open area to accelerate. “Now, let’s get the hell outta here, and forget this whole experience ever happened, hmm?” His remark was met with eager agreement from all four ponies.
“You ain’t off the hook just yet, Rainbow,” AJ whispered, by the pegasus’ side. “When all this is said an done, Ah’m gonna ask you why you brought us here. Savvy?”
Rainbow gulped, nodding. “L-let’s get home.”
Marty floored the gas pedal, and the DeLorean rocketed forward with alarming speed, hurtling through Equestria’s wide open airspace. Behind them, Cloudsdale still loomed high, but the entire Equestrian Valley, including Canterlot Mountain, was far, far below.
The time machine sped through the air, gaining speed. A small amount of sparks gathered around the front, quickly growing into a large halo of light. Stray blue sparks began to run up and down the length of the vehicle, and the glowing light quickly reached it’s culmination.
The DeLorean vanished in a brilliant flash, leaving behind a flaming tread of tire, which zipped through the air, before fading into nothing.
And all around the periphery of Equestria, a creeping change of darkness halted, not to begin again for seventeen years.
Shining Armor was a full-grown stallion now, with a loving wife and a foal on the way. He had seen many things as he had grown into a captain, but he never forgot the first excitement he had as a Royal Guard, even if he was just a Junior Initiate.
Unfortunately, the Princess had ordered the case of the alien to be dropped, using a Royal Decree. This had infuriated the future captain to no end, but his mind became occupied with other things, and he had not thought of it for many years.
Right now, he was contentedly sitting in a sky-carriage, returning to Canterlot after an extended stay in the Crystal Empire. The sky was blue, the wind was blowing, and the mountain-city was visible, and rapidly approaching.
He smiled to himself. Today is going to be a good-
Shining Armor jumped, nearly tumbling out of the chariot and into the sky. He scrambled to his hooves, glancing ahead of him, towards the direction of the sound. That... That sounded just like-
-princess damn it ALL TO BUCKING-
“Hell!” he swore aloud. In a brilliant flash of light, the notorious metal shape appeared in mid air, heading straight for the- oh shit it’s heading straight for us!
The pegasi swerved downwards, and the alien vehicle soared over their heads, barely missing Shining’s head by an inch. He steadied himself from the dive, glaring back at the offending shape with rage in his eyes.
Shining snorted. “Guards!”
The two pegasi, still shaken, snapped to attention. “Yes, sir?”
“Follow that... whatever the hell it is.” Shining traced the vehicle’s flight path with his eye, attempting to judge it’s destination.
The pegasi glanced at each other, uncertain. “Uh, sir? Shouldn’t the Princess be informed?”
“I will inform the Princess myself,” he replied curtly. “For now, follow it. It seems to be headed towards the Everfree, no doubt to hide itself.”
The guards nodded, then turned around, following the bizarre vehicle as it hurtled through the air.
Shining narrowed his eyes at it. I will get you, creature. I will protect my home from whatever evil you used to steal that purple colt.
And I will destroy your infernal machine forever.
The unfortunate band of temporal misfits congratulated each other as they soared through the air.
“We made it!” Spike exclaimed. “And we’re in one piece!”
“And I didn’t destroy Equestria!” Pinkie chimed.
Applejack wiped her forehead. “Boy howdy, that was quite an adventure, let me tell you.”
Marty stifled a laugh. “Just be glad it’s over. I think we’re almost out of gas, anyway.”
Rainbow glared at him. “You have gas? Gross.”
“No, Dash, it’s-“ Marty began to explain, but gave up. “...nevermind.”
“Whatever, just don’t fart near me.”
Marty rolled his eyes, quickly steering the DeLorean towards the ground. In no time at all, the sight of Ponyville graced the windshield, and Marty steadily and effortlessly pulled the vehicle into it’s prior place behind the library. The wheels hit the dirt with a satisfying thunk, and the gull-wing doors hissed open.
As soon as they were able, two pegasi, two earth ponies and a human piled out of the car, groaning and stretching their limbs.
“Maty, yer confangled alien contraption is just about the crampest thing Ah ever did sit in,” Applejack groaned.
Spike was in the middle of stretching his wings when a thought occurred to him. “OH! Twilight! We’re been gone for two days, she’ll be freaked out!”
“Spike. Chill.” Marty waved a hand at the colt. “We used a time machine! We came back at the exact same time that we left.”
Spike tilted his head. “Wait, really?”
“Yep. Twilight doesn’t even have to know you were gone.”
“Neat! I’m gonna go get some lunch.” Spike merrily strolled around to the front of the Library, and promptly entered.
The rest of the small group glanced at each other. For a few moments, nothing happened.
Suddenly, very loud voices could be heard from within the tree building. Marty saw a window near the top open, and Spike jumped out, panicking. He hastily floated to the ground, his new wings barely keeping him from breaking bones.
He landed with a huff, then looked to his friends with pleading eyes. “Hide me!”
Behind him, there was a brilliant flash of light, and a fully-grown Twilight Sparkle appeared, enraged. “What the BUCK is going on!?!”
Marty raised his eyebrows. “I’ll admit you’re upset and all, but let’s watch the fucking language, hm?”
Rainbow sniggered. Twilight gave her a death glare before looking up at Marty. “WHY the bloody HELL did you vanish with my Spike and three of my friends for five days? and WHY the bloody HELL is Spike now a pony?!?!”
Marty sighed. “We were- Wait, it was five days?”
“Yes it was five bucking days!!”
“But, we just-“ he turned to look at Pinkie. “Pinkie?”
Pinkie Pie shrugged. “You asked me for the date. What were you expecting?”
Marty turned back to face Twilight. “Well, we went up in the DeLorean, you see, at the insistence of someone who shall remain unnamed. That same someone turned on the time circuits, and flew off the moment we got there, forcing us to mess up the past to find her.”
Rainbow was making herself seem small as possible.
“Anyway, so somewhere in the mix, Celestia-“
“Princess Celestia,” Twilight corrected.
Marty gave Twilight a flat look. “Celestia had a talk with me and Spike, and she transformed him into a pony so that people wouldn’t freak out.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow. “But she didn’t disguise you?”
“Yeah, I know. We don’t get it, either. Also, while we were there-“
A booming voice resounded the area, as a royal sky chariot landed beside the Library. Shining Armor hopped out, striding confidently towards the small group of friends.
“Twilight, I’m gonna have to ask you to step away from the creature before it hurts you. It’s already foalnapped a colt, and it can do magic. In fact, there’s that same colt!” Shining’s eyes widened as he beheld Spike. “He must have done something to it!”
Shining Armor’s horn glowed, and Spike once again was hoisted into the air by magic, and pulled to Shining’s side.
Marty groaned. “Dude, you kinda scuffed up my guitar last time we did this. Can we sorta skip that?”
Shining sent a bolt of magic lightning at Marty’s head, who ducked just in time. “Yeah, I thought not.”
Twilight jumped over to her brother. “Shiny, stop, he’s a friend.”
“No, Twilight! This is a monster I’ve been hunting for seventeen years! He stole this colt from his family and he’s going to do it again!”
Twilight rolled her eyes. “That’s not even a colt, Shiny, that’s-“
“AARGH!” With a holler, Shining Armor charged at Marty, his horn blaring with offensive magic. He jumped at Marty’s chest just as he released the bolt of light from his horn.
Marty flinched, pressing his forearms together and raising them in front of his face. He awaited the blow, and...
...nothing happened. He lowered his arms to see a shimmering blue forcefield, blocking the way between him and the enraged unicorn (who now lay on the ground in a heap).
Marty grinned. “Hey, that’s pretty neat.” He could feel the forcefield’s energy, now that he was aware he was casting it, and the small amount of strain he was putting in to keeping it there.
Shining rose to his hooves, groaning.He glared at the forcefield, before his horn flared and struck the field with a magenta light. The field dissipated, leaving Marty with a jarring feeling in his hands.
“Fool!” the unicorn cried. “My special talent is shields! And now, I finally have you! Ahahaha!”
From the sidelines, Twilight grew more and more embarrassed at her brother’s cliché villain lines. “Spike, why is Marty doing magic?”
Spike blinked. “You know, I think that was explained at some point, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was trying to walk on hooves.”
Twilight sighed. “Okay. Can you go get Doc? He’s downstairs.”
“Oh, sure. Be right back.”
Spike trotted back into the Library, and Twilight turned back to the “battle”. It was hard to gauge who was winning, as Marty was mostly sidestepping Shining’s attacks, which were sloppy and uncoordinated from the unicorn’s anger.
Marty had even figured out how to shoot magic bolts, and while they weren’t as strong as Shining’s, the human was using them to prod at his opponent, further angering him.
Twilight trotted forward, horn flickering alight. Without warning, Shining Armor was enveloped in a small magenta force-field, similar to his own. It slowly rose into the air, and cut off any of his magic attacks.
“Y-you can’t-!” Shining stammered from within the sphere. stumbling on his hooves. “T-this is MY magic, I-I can-“ his horn flared, attempting to tear down the force field as he had done before.
Shining Armor’s special talent was “protection”, which is a fancy way of saying “defensive magic”, which is a fancy way of saying “forcefields”. If it were anypony else, he would have had the upper hand in a heartbeat.
However, Twilight Sparkle’s special talent was “magic”. “Magic” is a fancy way of saying “magic” which is a fancy way of saying “magic”. In short, she was pretty good with magic.
Shining struggled against the barrier for several moments, before giving up and pleading with Twilight. “Twiley! You have to let me go! He’s an evil monster who foalnaps foals!”
“Shining, he didn’t foalnap anypony. Honestly.”
Marty brushed the dirt off of his clothing, and walked over besides Twilight. “So, Twi, this is your brother?”
“You’re not out of this yet, mister.” Twilight snapped. “You’ve been able to use magic this whole time! Why did you hide it?”
Marty shook his head. “I haven’t been able to use magic since we got here. I only managed that when we were back in time.”
“B-but I saw you react every time magic was used! You cringed!”
“Yeah, Celestia explained that. It’s... something. Something about the ruby in the DeLorean.” Marty scratched his head. “There was a lot of exposition going on that only superficially made sense, I don’t really remember most of it. Something about ‘horn rot’?”
Twilight’s eyes widened. “Horn rot? But you don’t even have a horn!”
Marty snapped his fingers. “I remember this one.” He tilted his head to the side, shutting his eyes. “Uh... something something, third eye?”
“Oh, your third eye! Wow, that explains a lot, actually.” Twilight puzzled this over for a moment. “That must have taken a ludicrous amount of energy. Kudos on not dying.”
Marty rubbed his shoulder. “I don’t think the rot was as much danger as the natives. Sparky here beat me up on two separate occasions!” he gestured at the suspended Shining Armor.
Spike and Doc appeared from the front of the library, eyeing the situation warily. Doc jogged over to Marty. “Marty! Where’ve you been?”
“985. There were some... issues, with the DeLorean. We wrapped everything up, and nothing seems to have changed.”
Doc frowned. “Nothing at all?” Marty shook his head. “Well, I’ll say, that’s interesting.”
Shining Armor looked at Doc and freaked out, scrambling around inside his bubble. “Sweet Celestia, there’s another one!” No one payed attention.
Twilight glanced at Doc. “Why is that interesting? Everypony knows the timeline is recursive.”
Doc shook his head. “No, the timeline isn’t recursive. I can tell you that from tests and personal experience.
“And I can tell you, the timeline is recursive. I went back in time, and it was only because of what my past self saw that my future self even went back in the first place.”
“That’s impossible. That would imply the generation of information from nothing!”
“Yes, that’s right,” Twilight confirmed. “I told myself where I could find the time spells, and that’s where I found them.”
“But-! B-but!” Doc stammered. He finally turned to Marty. “Marty! Maybe you can reason with her!”
Marty put his hands in the air. “Hey, I have no idea what you’re talking about, doc.”
“Time travel! When you went back in time, everything you did changed the future, right?”
Slowly, Marty nodded. “...yeah. Even tiny things were noticed. I mean, I made my dad into a famous author, but I also changed the name of a mall.” He shrugged. “None of that was how it was when I originally left.”
Twilight stomped a hoof on the ground in frustration. “No! It doesn’t work like that!”
“Actually, Doc, I think she’s right.”
Doc whipped his head to face him. “What?!”
“Remember this morning?”
Doc furrowed his brow. “...yes? you weren’t here.”
Marty rolled his eyes. “Last morning I was here, Doc. I snuck up behind you, yeah?”
“What of it?”
Marty sighed. “I got the idea to do that from seeing myself doing it.”
Doc paled, sputtering. “But that’s-! That’s not!” He threw his hands in the air, pacing around in a circle. “That’s not possible! That can not happen! The rules can not just change!”
Marty shared a quick glance with Twilight.
“Did the laws of physics just up and take a holiday last week?!”
Marty cleared his throat. “Uh, Doc?”
“Not now, Marty!”
Marty sighed, as Doc began pulling at his hair as he paced around. Suddenly, a voice came from behind the teenager. “Please, Marty, allow me.”
Puzzled, Marty turned around, to face the source of the voice.
It was Princess Celestia.
“Hello, again, Marty McFly.”
At the sight of the solar diarch, Shining Armor began to flail around in his bubble again, trying to convey his panic at seeing the Princess so close to the monsters.
Celestia glanced at him, then trotted forward to face Doc.
The good Doc Brown was burying his face in his hands, staving off a full mental breakdown. The princess smiled. “Emmet.”
Doc looked up, then jumped back, startled by the Princesses tall stature. “Gah!”
“It was magic, Emmet. Would you like me to explain?”
Stumbling over his words, Doc accepted. “Y-yes, your majesty. Thank you.”
Celestia turned to the rest of the gathered, which now included Shining Armor’s two guards, continuing to radiate an air of easy confidence. “I have many things to explain to you all, but perhaps we should calm ourselves down, hmm? Twilight, would you please release your brother.”
The glowing bubble of magic popped, and Shining came tumbling to the ground. He immediately darted to his hooves, giving uneasy looks to Marty and Doc. “Princess, I feel the need to ask you why two monsters who are charged with assault, foalnapping, breaking AND entering are being allowed to roam free!”
Celestia gave him a stern, motherly look. “Captain, you have been obsessed with this case since you were a colt. I can understand dedication, but this is bordering on obsession. These two humans happen to be very good friends of mine.”
Doc glanced at Marty. You met her? he mouthed.
A little bit, Marty held his thumb and index finger apart by a centimeter. For this long. Not what I’d call friends, though.
“You see, Shining,” Celestia continued, “That flying device you see right there? It is in fact a Time Machine. For Marty here, that fight you had seventeen years ago happened yesterday.”
Shining looked at the DeLorean, and Marty, switching back and forth. “A Time Machine? Forgive me, highness, but that seems a little bit ludicrous.”
Celestia raised a single eyebrow. the Captain flinched, an apologetic look on his face. “Forgive me, Princess. A-as you command.”
“Wonderful. Now, I’d like you all to sit, for this exposition may take some time. Guards, you are dismissed. Not you, Captain.”
The two chariot-pullers left, as Celestia, Twilight, Spike the Pegasus, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Marty and Doc sat in a circle, behind the Library. The Princess let out a long breath, and began her story.
“Emmet, you are wondering why the timeline here does not obey the properties of the timeline in you world, correct?”
Doc nodded, puzzling over the use of his first name. Celestia smiled warmly at him, before continuing. “A very very long time ago, the timeline was not recursive. Temporal experiments wrought havoc.”
“Around that time, there was a pony, who was a very dear friend of mine. This stallion was gifted with a profound knack into the workings of time and magic, despite having no magical ability himself. He studied for years, and the achievements he created have to this day been left unsurpassed. His name was Starswirl the Bearded.”
Twilight grinned, almost stupidly. Celestia chuckled.
“Now, Starswirl wished desperately to perfect the workings of temporal magic, but knew too well from experience the dangers of the timeline. It bothered him for days, until one night, he slipped off of his sink, hitting his head on a clock. That was when he had the idea for the Flux Nexus.”
Doc raised his eyebrows. “Nexus?”
Celestia nodded, once again smiling. “Yes, Nexus. Not a capacitor. I barely understood what he was rambling about, as he threw notes together. He babbled what seemed like nonsense, locking himself up for weeks on end, just to finish a single portion of his theory.”
“Finally, one day, after an isolation stint of almost three months, he emerged, bearing his creation. A fully-funcitoning Flux Nexus, which fundamentally altered the rules of the game, all through this universe.”
“What was it?” Twilight asked, eyes wide.
Celestia tilted her head. “It was a magical engine, very complex. Sort of a mix between a lynch pin and a computer.”
Twilight blinked. “Computer?”
“A structure which can think. I can explain more about them later, Twilight, if you wish.”
Twilight eagerly nodded. Marty shared another uneasy look with Doc, before allowing the Princess to continue.
“The Nexus allowed for a recursive timeline, stabilizing temporal events and correcting physical paradoxes into informational ones. It had immense power, and as such, also had the ability to be abused. Starswirl placed it inside of a watch, and kept it on his person at all times.
“Alas, he grew old, as all ponies do. The Nexus was given to me for safekeeping, and it was hidden by several of my most trusted agents. And it remained hidden, for nearly six thousand years.”
Celestia turned to face Marty. “When you went back in time, Marty McFly, you disrupted a key event in the lives of the Elements of Harmony, creating for a brief moment an alternate timeline in which they were never rediscovered. Thankfully, you quickly righted this, but it was already too late.”
“In that alternate timeline, a notorious foe managed to find the hidden location of the Flux Nexus. She used this artifact in the most perverse way possible, spreading her dark taint backwards through time. After her timeline was destroyed, she managed to keep it alive using the Nexus’ power, and is slowly beginning to affect this timeline.”
There was a round of gasps from the gathered. Applejack tentatively raised her hoof, like a schoolfilly. “Uh, Princess? Is this big baddie who Ah think it is?”
Celestia nodded. “Indeed. The only other pony still alive who knew about the Nexus. Nightmare Moon.”
Twilight, Applejack, Pinkie and Rainbow all shivered, involuntarily. Marty raised his hand, mimicking AJ. “Hang on, who?”
“Nightmare Moon. A product of my own sister’s corruption. She is slowly affecting Equestria, and Land of Night has begun forming at its fringes. In fact, it began seventeen years ago.”
Celestia sighed. “It began the moment the DeLorean disrupted the Summer Sun Celebration in Canterlot. Nightmare could spread her evil, using the Nexus as her tool. However, once you traveled back, the Nexus vanished.”
Twilight perked up. “Wait, what?”
The Princess chuckled. “For seventeen years, the Flux Nexus simply did not exist. It popped into existence again, not but a few minutes ago, and the frozen areas of nightland began expanding once more. Have you figured it out yet?”
Twilight scrunched her face up, thinking it over. As the truth dawned on her, her face lit up. “The DeLorean! The Nexus was in the DeLorean.”
“That’s right. In fact, it’s still in there. I do not know how you found it, Marty, but I congratulate you on the service you’ve done this world.”
Marty furrowed his brow together. “Uh, no problem?”
Celestia’s horn glowed, and the passenger door of the DeLorean opened. Out of it flew a small bronze pocketwatch, surrounded by her yellow aura.
Pinkie Pie chuckled. “That’s the Nexus? It’s so tiny!”
Celestia rotated the watch in her magic for a moment. “Marty.”
Marty blinked. “Yah?”
“Catch.” The watch was sent hurtling out of Celestia’s aura at a mile a minute, straight at Marty. He instinctively threw up his arms, and the watch stopped dead on contact with a shimmering blue shield. He slowly opened his eyes, lowering the shield, and and gently floated the watch down to his hands.
Doc gaped at his friend. “M-Marty?”
“I learned a new trick, Doc. It’s no big deal.” He casually tossed it to Twilight (who immediately began to scrutinize it) before turning to face the others who went with him to 985. “How did it end up in the DeLorean?”
A collective shrug. Then, Applejack popped her head up. “Macintosh!” she gasped. “What in tarnation was he doin with an all-powerful magical thingamajigger?”
“B-but,” Doc sputtered, “I’m still interested into why Marty is performing tele-, er, psycho- ah, magic!”
“Now, now,” Celestia hushed. “We may discuss this after I finish.”
“Now that the Nexus once again exists, Nightmare Moon can spread her influence from the alternate timeline here, and once again, into the past. If we do not act soon, the changes will become widespread, and this reality will shift into hers.”
“Now hang on,” Doc began, “won’t this Nexus prevent that? I thought it created recursive events.”
“Oh, it does.” Celestia grimaced. “However, once the Nightmare manages to completely overtake this timeline, it will be the recursive event. She is surpassing it’s power.”
Shining Armor, Spike, and Marty spoke in unison. “What can we do to stop it?”
The offending individuals all glanced at each other. Shining gave Marty a look of pure venom.
Celestia once again smiled. “Ah, I think the three of you would be perfect. Ideally, the only way to ensure that the timeline can be cleansed would be to destroy the Flux Nexus. And there’s only one pony who ever lived that could do that. ...Sort of.”
Doc glanced at the Princess. “Sort of?”
“Wait, so we have to back and talk to this Star-Twist guy you were talking about? Why can’t we just send it to, like, a million years in the future?”
“An excellent question. While it seems that would be the case, as that is how it happened for the past seventeen years, it would prove ineffective for the same reason she was able to affect 985 from her year 1000-or-so. The power of the Nexus is temporal, and her effect is recursive.”
Marty nodded, slowly. “So, it needs to completely destroyed, cause she can wreck the past from the future?”
“And you said it was me, Spike, and Angry over here?”
“But why him?!” Shining whined, despondent. “I’m still not entirely sure that the alien I’ve been hunting my whole life is responsible enough to carry out this mission. Why can’t Twilight do it? I bet she’d love to meet Starswirl.”
Twilight, who had been scrutinizing the small pocketwatch intently (and was particularly giddy about the name scratched on the back), made a small noise at the mention of her name. She did not look up.
Celestia sighed. “That would be exactly a problem. Being in the past, before the creation of the Flux Nexus, you must be very careful not to say anything about the future. Twilight would be too excited to think about what she was saying.”
Twilight made another small noise, not even bothering to defend herself. Or maybe she didn’t hear the conversation.
“Plus, do you know how to pilot the DeLorean, Captain?”
Shining furrowed his brow. “DeLorean?”
Celestia rolled her eyes. “The time machine.”
“Oh.” Shining frowned, grumbling. “...no.”
“That what I thought.”
Spike raised a hoof. “But why do I have to go?”
The Princess tilted her head for a moment, thinking. “Hmm. How about you keep the other two from killing each other.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Oh, ha-hah.”
“I am completely serious.”
Spike blushed. “...oh.”
Celestia abruptly got to her hooves. “Very well. You shall leave in the morning. In the meantime, I would like to have a conversation with Emmet, Marty, and Twilight, alone.”
The Princess cantered into the Library. Doc and Marty shared a worried look.
“Oh, relax, both of you. I’ve never known the Princess to get mad about anything. She’s probably just got some questions to ask you.”
Doc scoffed. “Well, I’ve got some questions to ask her. Like why Marty here can do magic.”
“I can explain that one, Doc-“
“-but I’m very interested in one tiny detail.” Doc said. “She seemed to know several details about our world and the DeLorean. And most importantly...”
“...how did she know my name?”
Princess Celestia sat in the main hall of Ponyville Library, in a suitably large chair at the end of the room. The rows of bookshelves made a suitable environment for serious conversations.
As always, she retained an unflinching regal composure, well-practiced and well-used over her thousands of years of rule. In those millennia, her royal mask had only broken twice.
It was about to break again.
Emmet Brown silently stepped into the oaken library, glancing around. He immediately noticed the princess, (who certainly struck an imposing figure, if not a “manly” one) and removed his hat, taking a step forward.
“Hello, uh, your highness Celestial.” Doc managed a shaky bow.
Celestia pursed her lips. “It’s Celestia, actually.”
Doc’s eyebrows flew up, as he hastily covered his mistake. “I’m sorry, y-your highness, Celestia. M-my apologies, I didn’t-“
“No, no, it is fine, Emmet.” Celestia gave a soft smile. “And please, there is no need to be so formal. Just ‘Celestia’ will do.”
“Celestia, then.” He did his best to return the smile. “I understand you have some questions for me?”
The princess nodded. “Three, actually. May we begin?”
“Of course! But, ah-“ Doc wrung his hands together, still nervous. “I was wondering if I could ask you two questions, as well?”
She nodded. “Of course. Perhaps you should go first, hmm?”
Doc nodded, grateful. “Thank you. Ah-“ his face grew intrigued, “-I was wondering, how did you know my name? My first name, I mean. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it, while here.”
Celestia chuckled, soflty. “I believe I did mention the recursive nature of this timeline? I believe Marty has been wondering the same thing. You will have your answer once he returns, Emmet.”
“And what about this... energy manipulation, he now possesses? How did he come by that?”
The princess inhaled, as if to recall an old thought. “The full explanation is quite lengthy. I can deliver it to you at a later point, if you wish. However, I believe I can simplify it.
“All creatures are attuned to perform magic, even humans. This is done through the use of an extrasensory portion of the mind, known as a Third Eye, located at the center of the forehead.
“Human beings, long ago, developed the ability to actually tap into this magic. However, over the eons, it fell out of use, and the ability was lost. Despite this, the possibility was still there.
“Marty McFly is, I believe, descended from one of these more powerful magic users. Thus, when a large amount of magic surged through him, it did not kill him, but instead awakened these vestigial structures, and allowed the ability to mature.”
Doc stood there, gaping. “S-so, when he touched the ruby...”
“...he began his journey into a fully-fledged magus.” Celestia finished. “I believe he will be quite powerful when he is done maturing.”
Doc rubbed his chin for a moment. “That is astounding. Actual magic, by Marty McFly. Oh, I’ll need to do some tests, we’ll-“
The Doc’s face froze, then grew sad. “Oh, great Scott...” He faced Celestia. “What will this mean for Marty? When he returns home?”
Celestia sighed. “He can not ignore the magic. It will not go away. He will... need to learn to live with it. Needless to say, his life will be interesting.”
They both fell silent for a moment. Finally, Doc spoke up. “How do you know so much about humans?”
Celestia shot him a wry grin. “I believe that was more than two questions, Emmet.”
Doc didn’t respond. After a moment, he waved a finger at Celestia, giving a short chuckle. She chuckled back, equally as shortly. “My turn for question?”
Doc gave a mock bow. “My lady.”
Celestia looked at him for a moment, then allowed herself a hopeful smile. “...Right. I have three questions for you, Emmet.”
Doc nodded, and she continued. “The first. How fast can you fix your DeLorean?”
He thought about it for a moment. “I believe I told Twilight a few weeks, but with her help, I could probably do it in another ten days.”
Celestia smiled. “That is wonderful to hear. She is admirably curious- I take it she pestered you about internal combustion?”
“Oh, she still does. But she understood it faster than Marty did. Sharp as a razor, that one.”
“My student, you know.”
“Oh, yes. First one I’ve taken on in nearly eight hundred years.”
Doc smiled. “Well, you made a good choice, I can tell you.” He clasped his hands together. “Now, your second question?”
“...Right.” Celestia stopped smiling, her face softening. “Have you ever... been struck by lightning, while inside the DeLorean?”
Doc blinked. “Yes, as a matter of fact. One-in-a-million chance, but it happened.”
“I-I see. So, it happened, and what... happened?”
Doc thought for a moment. “Well, there was an overload. In the Flux Capacitor, or perhaps the Time Circuits.”
She nodded, and Doc continued. “Well, they sent me back in time seventy years. I was stuck there, in fact, until I thought enough to leave Marty a letter. He brought the Time Machine back, so I could...”
Doc chuckled. “Well, it’s actually pretty complicated. At any rate, Marty went back to 1985, and the DeLorean was destroyed in the process.”
Celestia was honestly surprised at that. “Destroyed?”
“Yes. At my request.” Sighing, Doc wrung his hands together. “I felt, for a time, that time travel would cause nothing but grief, for all involved. As it did. But, I eventually changed my mind, and built another one.”
The princess thought about this for a moment. “Another DeLorean, you say?”
“Oh, no, not a DeLorean. I stayed in 1885, so I had to make it out of a train.” He chuckled. “Clara has it at the moment. The DeLorean we arrived in, well, it appeared out of nowhere. Someone sent us-“
Doc blinked at the princess’s question. “Hmm?”
Celestia’s face was unreadable. “Who is Clara?”
Chuckling, Doc shrugged. “Well, she’s my wife.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, the room darkened. Celestia’s eyes glazed over, and she didn’t respond.
Doc, suddenly uncomfortable, drummed his fingers on his hat.
Celestia closed her eyes, and inhaled. “Thank you, Emmet. Please send in Marty on your way out.”
Doc tilted his head. “Didn’t you say you had three questions, Celestia?”
Oh, mother, he said my name. Celestia smiled weakly to herself. If only I could hear it again. “That will be all, Emmet. Thank you.”
Doc nodded, and left.
Celestia released a shaking breath, allowing the full front of her sadness to rise to her face. I thought I could stand this and I clearly can’t. Luna was right.
After a moment, Marty walked in the door. Celestia immediately recomposed herself, smiling warmly at him. “Hello, Marty. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”
Marty chuckled, scratching the back of his neck. “Well, it’s been a day. And a half.”
“More like seventeen years, hmm? But we of all people should know that time is relative.”
“You don’t know the half of it.”
Celestia nodded. “Yes, I heard of your adventures within your own world. With your parents?”
Grinning, Marty nodded. “My parents, and me. Let me tell you, literally walking on your own grave is not a fun thing to do.”
Celestia nodded. “I can imagine. Now, how well can you fly the DeLorean?”
Marty shrugged. “Well enough, I suppose. Although,” he rubbed his chin, thoughtfully, “if I had to, I would probably say I’m currently the best at it. Doc never drove much at all, before he had the finished time machine. Then, he didn’t really drive it that much, before it was destroyed. And he can’t work the hover conversion to save his life.” Marty snorted a bit at his own joke.
The Princess smiled in return. “Well, that’s good. Now, I need you to listen very carefully. The date you will have to go to is January 28th, 5,213 B.B., at 9:35 am. Do you understand?”
The human nodded. “One-two-eight, five-two-one-three, nine-three-five. Got it.”
“Wonderful. You should go to the center of what is now the Everfree. In that time period, there will be a royal estate, surrounded by a grove of orange trees. Land the DeLorean in the grove, then look for Starswirl.” Celestia smiled, softly, her eyes growing sad. “He’s a white stallion, with a faded red mane & beard.”
Marty committed the information to memory. “Alright, I think I can do that. But what’s the Everfree?”
Celestia pursed her lips. “The large forest, directly adjacent to Ponyville.”
“Oh! That. Okay, that’s not too hard.”
The Sun Princess tilted her head, looking at Marty curiously. “Have you met my sister, Marty McFly?”
“Your sister?” Marty shook his head. “Can’t say that I have. Is she night themed?” Marty smiled at his own joke, straightening his vest.
Marty paused. “Oh. Well then.”
Celestia shook her head. “Well, for when you encounter her, her name is Luna. I have a feeling you two will get along.”
The human digested this for a moment. “...Alright, will do.”
“Good. Now, about Shining Armor.”
Marty cringed. “Ugh, what is with that guy? He’s a nutcase.”
“On the contrary, Marty McFly. Shining Armor is the captain of my royal guard. Typically, he has a calm, level-headed demeanor. This situation, however, is unique.
“Several months ago, his wife was kidnapped and impersonated by an evil creature called a Changeling. These creatures have the ability to take on the appearance of any being they choose, and feed off of love, like a parasite. He was oblivious to the switch until Twilight Sparkle revealed her for what she was, saving his fiancée’s life. Since then, he has been extremely paranoid.”
Marty let out a harsh laugh. “Paranoid meaning hostile?”
Celestia sighed. “No, not usually. But he had already been harboring feelings against you from your earlier encounter, when he was just a colt. The small duel you had then was his first major failure as a guard. He was only a child, and it impressed upon him deeply.”
Marty nodded. “Alright, I get that. But why is it a good idea to lock me and him in a time machine together?”
“Because, Marty McFly, I know that you are not an evil person. This journey will be the only way I can be sure that Shining Armor gets over his hatred of you, a hatred which is poisoning his mind. And, I believe he will be beneficial for the trials ahead.”
Celestia blinked, then added, “or, rather, the trials behind.”
Marty nodded. “Okay. What about Spike?”
Celestia pursed her lips. “Spike is important. Very, very important. I can only hope my student forgives me for what that young dragon needs to go through.”
Marty thought on her words for a minute, looking downwards. “But, he’ll be okay, right? It’s not like he’s going to die or anything.”
“Oh, no. Spike will not die on this venture. There are very few things I can guarantee you, Marty McFly, but Spike’s survival is one of them.”
“Alright then.” Marty folded his arms, settling himself. “If there anything else?”
“Nothing more.” Celestia affirmed. “Do you still remember the date I gave you?”
“One-two-eight, five-two-one-three, nine-three-five. Easy as pie.” Marty smiled.
“Wonderful. Thank you, Marty McFly. Would you please send in my student, after you leave?”
“Sure thing, Highness.” Marty turned and exited the library, thinking ahead.
Or, behind. Man, time travel would be some much easier if people could just get the tenses straight.
Marty watched Twilight enter the Library, then turned to the rest of the gathered. “Well, this is going to be interesting.”
Applejack cantered up to the human. “Marty, we’re gonna be headin home. Pinkie, Rainbow and Ah. Should prolly let ponies know where we’ve been, that sorta thing.”
“Alright, AJ. See you guys later.” Marty, Doc, and Spike bid the group a farewell as they walked away.
Spike awkwardly sat on the ground, having difficulty managing his hooves. “Augh, this is so annoying. Let me tell you, I’ve never been so appreciative of having opposable thumbs in my life.”
Doc chuckled. “Yes, thumbs are pretty great.”
Shining Armor growled, turning towards them from where he sat. “Horns are better, you monsters.”
Marty chuckled, raising his hands in mock defense. “Woah, a bit racist there, hmm Shiny?”
Shining’s face grew slightly despondent at the comment. He huffed and turned away. Marty frowned. “Hey, Spike, what’d I say?”
Spike twiddled his hooves together. “Uh, well, calling people ‘racist’ is a pretty big deal in Equestria. Cause, there are so many different species, and then different classes of those species, being ‘racist’ is akin to being called ‘ignorant’.”
Marty’s mood fell. “Oh.” Sighing, he walked up, and sat down beside Shining Armor.
As he sat, Shining glared at him, but did not move. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah. Look, dude, I didn’t mean to call you ignorant. I was just trying to break the tension.”
Shining growled. “I do not care what insults you call me. You are a horrible monster, and I am only going inside that infernal contraption because my Princess has commanded me to.”
“You know, she told me you’re not usually like this.”
This gave Shining pause. “Who did?”
“Celestia. She told me you’re usually pretty level-headed and rational. But, she also mentioned you’re still a bit paranoid, because of the.... Shifters? Shiftlings?”
“Changelings. And perhaps I am being a bit defensive, but that’s completely normal when a time-traveling monster from your childhood kidnaps a foal.”
Marty gave the stallion an odd look. “Dude, that foal was Spike. He’s right there.” He pointed at the small pegasus, who waved.
Shining snorted. “Yeah, well, you’re still an unholy abomination. Nopony should be able to mess with time.”
“Didn’t your sister mess with time? She told me about it, when she-“
“That’s not the point!” Shining waved his hooves in the air angrily. “I just... augh. I don’t know. You’re evil.”
Marty grimaced. “That’s a pretty strong accusation, especially considering you ‘don’t know’, eh?”
Shining didn’t respond.
Shrugging, the human stood up. “Well, we’re not gonna hurt ya. So, I don’t know. Think it over.” Finished, Marty strode over to where Doc and Spike were speaking.
Seeing Marty walk up, Spike looked at him. “So, you guys all good?”
Marty shrugged. “I don’t know. He’s being a bit...”
Doc raised a hand. “Obtuse?”
“Yeah, that’s it. He just seems like an asshole, but all the little ponies tell me he’s a great guy.”
“Well, he is,” Spike countered. “I’ve actually never seen him this irrational. But you can’t really blame him, what with the-“
“-Changelings, right.” Marty shrugged. “Well, I guess we’ll just have to hope he calms down before our little sojourn into the past.”
“Yes, when are you going?” Doc asked.
Marty waved a finger. “Ah. I remember this.” He took a deep breath. “One-two-eight, five-two-one-three, nine-three-five. So, January 28th, 5,213 B.B., 9:35 AM.”
Doc blinked. “Alright. What are you supposed to do?”
“Find this Starswirl guy, give him the watch, and tell him to destroy it.”
“Well, that seems straightforward enough. I wonder what she’s talking to Twilight about?”
“No, Twilight, you may not go and meet Starswirl.”
Twilight’s puppy-dog-eyes widened, and her pout became more pronounced.
Celestia shook her head. “No! For once, your puppy-dog-face won’t work, Twilight. You may not go.”
Twilight’s face grew even sadder. “P-p-p-please?”
Marty waved a hand. “Important sciencey stuff, probably. Or magicky stuff.”
“Magicky stuff, that I may add, Marty,” Doc poked his friend in the chest, “that you can now do. As soon as we get home, I will of course be performing tests.”
Marty cringed. “How many tests?”
“All of them.”
He groaned. “Doc, that’s gonna take a month.”
“Marty, you can do magic. That’s an entire physical force, that no modern science knows about! Oh, Clara’s gonna have a fit when she hears about this.”
Half an hour later, Twilight emerged from the Library, immediately followed by Celestia. Twilight’s head was hung low.
Marty elbowed Spike. “What’s up with her?”
The pegasus colt shrugged his wings. “I dunno. I guess she was really bummed about not seeing Starswirl the Bearded.”
Suddenly, Twilight galloped towards Spike, and swept him up in a bone-crushing hug.
Spike pawed at his neck. “Gah! Air!”
Twilight loosened her grip, but wordlessly continued hugging. Spike was confused, but did not protest.
Celestia turned towards Marty and Doc. “Everything seems to be in order. If you are all ready, you can depart.”
Marty nodded. “Right.”
The DeLorean was still parked beside the Library. Marty walked over to it, reaching down to open the driver’s-side door. Shining Armor eyed him suspiciously, and Marty noticed.
He let the door hiss open. Shining flinched, and Marty waved his hands towards the opening. “After you.”
The unicorn eyed the DeLorean (and Marty) warily, then slowly put a hoof forward. Quickening to an unsteady walk, he approached the car.
He stuck his head inside the door, looking around. “How... interesting.” He gestured at the leather seats. “We sit here?”
Marty nodded. “Yep. We sit in the chairs, facing towards the window. When we move the controls, we move forward.”
Shining nodded, slowly. “Like a miniature train...” Finally, cautiously, he entered the DeLorean, and sat down on his haunches in the driver’s seat, looking pleased with himself.
Marty coughed. “Uh, Maybe move over one, boss. That’s the driver’s seat.”
“Wha-?” Shining glanced at the steering wheel in front of him, then squinted. “Oh, right.” He clambered into the passenger seat.
Marty nodded, then hopped in after him. “Come on, Spike.”
The small pegasus’s ears perked up at the mention of his name. “Be right there!”
Spike pried himself away from Twilight, then began to walk over to the time machine. Before he could take more than two steps, however, Twilight crushed him into her hug again, continuing not to speak.
“Come on, Twilight, I’ll be back before you know it.” The small pegasus pushed himself away from her, then quickly flapped outside of her reach. Giving a small wave, he finally made his way to the car, and clambered into the back seat.
With everyone inside, Marty turned the ignition. The engine flared to life, startling Shining Armor, who braced his hooves against the walls of the DeLorean.
Marty glanced at him. “Relax, dude, it’s just the engine.”
Shining nodded. “Right, right.” The stallion didn’t relax his grip.
Before Marty could close the door again, Celestia called out. “Marty! Do you remember the date?”
As an answer, Marty flicked on the time circuits. “January 28th, 5,213 B.B., 9:35 AM. We’re on it, your majesty.”
“Then good luck.” Marty pulled the gull-wing door closed, and stepped on the ignition. The DeLorean abruptly rose into the air, hovering ten feet off the ground.
“Gah!” Shining yelped, peering out the glass window. “Aauuuah!!”
Spike snickered. “Relax, dude, it’s just like flying in a chariot.”
“J-just like a ch-chariot.” Shining forced himself to calm down, taking deep breaths.
Sparing a sidelong glance to the panicking pony, Marty maneuvered the DeLorean into the air, high above Ponyville. “Alright, Sparky, now to go through time, we need to be going really fast.”
“O-okay...” Shining stammered. “How fast?”
Now, dear reader, I would like to spare you a bit of information. Eighty-eight miles per hour is not extremely fast, to you or I. However, we live in a world where personal motor vehicles are commonplace, and speed is measured in how many times over we break the sound barrier.
The only ponies to come even close to this speed are pegasi. Rainbow Dash had a perfectly wonderful time in the DeLorean, because honestly, she could probably outpace it ten times over. However, in the pony world, these speeds remained solely with pegasi, because the Friendship Express wasn’t particularly fast.
Shining Armor was not a pegasus.
Marty shrugged. “Eighty-eight miles per hour.”
“Eighty-eight! That’s that’s that’s...” Shining put a hoof to his chest. “Sweet Celestia.”
“Relax, Shiny,” Spike chimed in. “It’s cool. You can barely even tell you’re moving.”
Spike shook his head. “Nah actually you can feel it really well, it’s so fast. But it’s perfectly safe.”
Shining turned to Marty. “Really?”
Marty shook his head. “Nah. If this thing stops in mid-air, you’re probably going to die.”
The unicorn’s expression fell. “Oh.”
The human nodded, sagely. “Yeah.”
The three of them sat there for a minute, a thousand feet in the air.
After a moment, Marty spoke. “Welp, let’s get going.”
He floored the gas pedal, and the DeLorean shot forward.
“-AAAAAAAAA-” Shining Armor was screaming.
“WOOOOOO-“ Spike was whooping, his wings flared in excitement.
“AHAHAHAHA-!” Marty was laughing his ass off.
As the car rocketed forward, sparks began to flicker off the windshield. A halo of light formed at the front of the car, flickering in anticipation.
Marty glanced at the dashboard. “Eight-eight!”
There was a brilliant flash of light, and they were gone.
High above Equestria, four flaming tire tracks sped across the sky. They slowed, and eventually dissipated, leaving no trace that anyone was ever there.
Six thousand two hundred and fifteen years earlier, Equestria was a much different place.
Less than three centuries since the reign of Discord, and one more to go until the Equestrian Valley was founded. The Everfree forest extended throughout the entire country, with the occasional village.
It was a time when most ponies lived somewhere else, far to the north. Very few ponies ventured south this far, braving the Endless Everfree to seek adventure and knowledge. There were legends of a hidden palace, deep within the heart of the Endless Everfree, where, if one wished, they could seek hidden knowledge of the world.
It was thousands of feet above this old world that a young pegasus filly was flying. This little blue pegasus’ name was Twister, and she had a heart for adventure.
“It can’t be much further now,” Twister said aloud. “I bet the hidden palace is just around here somewhere.”
Twister had set out to the Endless Everfree with her parents. Her parents, however, didn’t make it. Continuing on her own, Twister sought her destiny at the Royal Palace.
“Come on, come on... Where are you you dumb old-“
Twister stumbled in mid-air, and she swiveled her head around, trying to find the source of the noise. “What the hay? Where did that come fr-“
There was a bright flash of light, and a giant metal bug appeared out of nowhere, flying through the air, faster than Twister could possibly follow.
The filly’s eyes widened, watching the giant bug-thing speed away. “Wow!”
Without a second thought, she zoomed after it, seeking the thrill of adventure.
Spike rolled his eyes. “Marty, could you do something about this?”
Marty glanced at the young pegasus. “What’dyou want me to do? Grab his mouth?”
Spike shrugged. “It could work.”
Wincing, Marty reached out a hand, and clamped it around Shining Armor’s muzzle. The panicked unicorn looked at him.
Marty chuckled half-heartedly. “Are you going to stop yelling?”
Shining nodded. “Good.”
Marty released his hand. Shining didn’t yell, but his eyes still shot about the car rapidly. “What happened?”
“Time travel. What did you expect to happen?”
“Uh...” Shining took a large breath. “Right. Time travel. Uh...”
“You alright, dude?” Spike asked. “You seem really freaked out.”
“Of course I’m freaked out, Spike,” Shining remarked, “I just TRAVELED THROUGH TIME.” The unicorn held his head in his hooves, mumbling to himself with a panicked tone.
“What’s his problem?” Spike asked.
Marty shrugged. “I think he’s just taking this hard. I mean, he’s known about all of this, and us, for the better part of twenty years, you know? And the whole time, he’s hated it. And now, here he is, a part of it?” He shook his head. “I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
“If you say so.” Spike examined Shining carefully.
Marty sighed, and turned his head. His eyes widened. “Holy shit!”
Spike jumped. “What! What?!”
Marty pointed a finger. “W-w-why is the car so huge?!?!”
The interior of the DeLorean was... massive. Rows and rows of seats extended backwards, of the same make as the front, yet larger and more comfortable. Far more seats and room than was possible to carry in the tiny car. There were at least eight new rows, with the last two wrapped around a sunken rotunda.
There was even a little coffee table in the center.
“Hey, that’s pretty cool,” Spike responded. “I didn’t notice that before.”
“B-b-but it wasn’t there before! There were just the two seats! I realize this is a moot point but that’s impossible!”
“I dunno, man.” Spike shrugged. “It makes sense.”
“How does that in any way make sense,” Marty deadpanned.
“Well, think about it. You said there are only two seats, right? Then how did we fit Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, me AND you inside?”
Marty opened his mouth, then closed it again. “Huh. That’s a really good point. I wonder if-”
A large collision came from outside the window. Shining jumped in the air. “Aah!”
Marty rolled his eyes. “Did you see what hit us?”
Spike pressed his face against the window. “Hang on, I can see it.”
“What is it?” Shining asked, frightened. “Time-monkeys? Time-Bandits? Vengeful gods? Ticket-takers?” He gasped. “Langoliers?!”
“It’s a filly,” Spike deadpanned.
Twister shook her head, recovering from the shock of ramming into the flying thing. Ow, she thought.
Up close, the flying metal “bug” looked a lot different. There were wheels on the bottom, almost like a wagon, but they were covered in a blackish tar. Planes of glass adorned the sides, as well. Twister could see indistinct shapes, moving through them.
Hesitantly, she hovered towards the flying machine, and cupped her hooves around the glass. Inside, she saw... two ponies and a third thing, sitting towards the front, near a whole bunch of tiny lights. Aside from that it was just rows of chairs, more than should have fit... Is that a coffee table?
Her reverie was interrupted by one of the ponies, the pegasus colt, who pressed up to the window opposite from her. She flinched backwards a bit, looking at him. He seemed curious, and not very threatening.
The colt’s eyes also seemed, just for a moment, to have long, slitted pupils, that sent Twister’s heart racing. But only for a moment.
She broke off of the window, and began to circle around the stationary... wagon. It’s definitely some sort of flying wagon.
Examining it closer, Twister had no idea what she was looking at. The front had two squares, almost like eyes, that shone with an intense light.
Suddenly, a portion of the mysterious flying wagon lifted off, peeling away from the side like a wing. There was an opening beneath, leading to the miraculously large space within. Hesitantly, Twister hovered towards it, and looked inside.
The unicorn, pegasus, and skinny hairless thing (it looked sort of like a dog?) sat there, looking at her expectantly. The pegasus colt waved at her. “Um, excuse me, would you like to come inside?”
Twister blinked. “Uh...”
“We’re kinda lost. Could you help us out?”
Twister thought it over for a moment. Finally, she flapped inside, sitting on one of the oddly-textured seats.
The inside of the weird flying thing was cramped, with a low ceiling and not very much moving space. The odd lights took their place below the front window, as well as a wheel-shaped thing, that jutted out at the tall dog-thing. The two ponies sat in the second row of odd seats, leaning over the top of them so that they could participate in the conversation.
The tall-skinny-hairless-dog-thing spoke first. “Hey! Could you possibly give us some directions?”
Twister looked at the thing nervously, but she new it would be rude not to answer. “...Sure. I guess. Where are you headed?”
The tall thing pursed his lips for a second. “Well, we don’t actually know.”
Twister let out a nervous laugh. “That’s not really... helpful...”
The purple pegasus colt stuck his head out from behind the chair. “Well, we’re looking for a pony, by the name of Starswirl. May or may not be Bearded. Have you heard of him?”
Twister smiled. The pegasus was much easier to talk to than the monkey-thing. “That’s much more helpful! But no, sorry.”
The pegasus rubbed his chin for a moment. “Okay, what about Princess Celestia? Where can we find her?”
“Who?” Twister had never heard of this pony.
Her surprised reaction brought the stares of the three passengers. “I thought Celestia was in charge of everything?” The hairless thing asked.
“No, not always. But to our knowledge, she was a prominent historical figure.” The white unicorn tilted his head. “...Maybe there was a point where she wasn’t completely relevant? you’re asking the wrong pony, though.”
“Well, yeah, she wasn’t always in charge,” the colt remarked. “In the Pre-Unification period, she technically wasn’t even around at all. The occasional miracle or wise goddess-figure pops up, and we usually assume its her.”
The unicorn chuckled. “I wasn’t aware you were such a history buff, Spike-o.”
“I live in a library. With Twilight! And history isn’t that boring...” ‘Spike-o’ shuffled his hooves together, sheepish and defensive.
Twister giggled. “I don’t know what you guys are talking about. but you mentioned miracles?”
The monkey thing eyed her. “Yeah. But probably not, like, levitation, more like...”
“Raising the sun and vanquishing great evils,” the pegasus cut in.
Twister smiled. “Well, I am headed for one place where there are supposed to be miracles abound!” She got on her back hooves, wings spread, gesturing with her forehooves. “Where magic and mystery combine to make the greatest center of adventure and learning within the whole wide world!”
The unicorn nodded. “That sounds like someplace we should be headed. Where is it?”
There was a collective fall of expressions. “What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I mean I don’t know. Me and my parents came into the Endless Everfree looking for it! It took us five years just to get this far. They say you can only find it if you’re worthy enough.”
The hairless thing’s expression changed, as though he just figured something out. “...Where are your parents?”
Twister got quiet. “Mom and Dad weren’t worthy enough, I guess.”
The pegasus colt cringed. “Aw, Jeez, I’m sorry. Listen, we’re-“
“But it’s okay!” Twister smiled again. “They wanted to find the hidden palace so that I could grow up there. I can’t give up on what they wanted, after they’re gone. So I have to find it!” She laughed. “I’m Twister, by the way.”
“Marty.” The hairless thing held up a hand in a wave.
“Shining Armor, you can call me Shining.” The unicorn did the same.
“Spike.” The colt grinned.
“Pfft!” Twister guffawed. “How’d you get the name ‘Spike’? Your hair isn’t even spiky.”
“Hey! I’ll have you know, that I don’t always look like this. I’m usually a big, ferocious, incredibly handsome-“
Shining Armor cut Spike off with a swift kick to to the side, knocking the young colt down. “Doofus, that’s what he is. So, uh, how were you looking for this hidden palace?” Spike groaned, but otherwise didn’t retort.
“I have a map!” Twister declared. “It was my dad’s. We were using it to go through the forest.”
“A map?” Marty asked. “May we see it?”
“Sure.” Twister pulled a small satchel off of her back, where it had been hidden by her wings. She withdrew a folded sheet of parchment, and hoofed it to Marty.
Marty opened the map, unfolding it and pressing it on the dashboard. A squiggly line ran across the map, with several points on the line being listed. He couldn’t read the symbols on the points, but it looked like writing.
The end of the map stood at the very top. An elaborate stamp of a castle, surrounded by clouds and rays of light, and several symbols, including a sun-moon symbol.
Shining pointed his hoof at the sun-moon. “That’s got to be a sigil of the princesses.”
Marty frowned. Elsewhere on the sigil, beside one of the towers of the ink palace, was another symbol. Rough and uneven, moreso from the stamping process, but distinctly recognizable.
Spike blinked. “I don’t get it.”
Marty gaped at it for a bit, before responding. “That’s... uh, that’s like Doc’s calling card. He uses his initials, he got the idea from Jules Verne.” He scratched his head. “And... I’d bet anything that’s a picture of the Flux Capacitor.” Marty indicated the glowing device with his hand, three strips of tubing that fluctuated with light.
Spike’s eyes went from the capacitor to the symbol. “Oh. Oh!”
Shining shook his head. “How did that happen?”
Marty shrugged. “I dunno...” he scratched his chin for a moment. “Maybe... Have I ever told you guys about the time I saw my own grave?”
The three ponies all stared at him. “Woah! That’s so hardcore!” Twister applauded.
The other two ponies were less than thrilled, knowing the reality of such a thing. “What?!”
Marty nodded. “Yeah. See, I had found Doc’s grave, right? So, I took a picture of it, then went back in time to save him. Only, I saved him by taking his place, in the duel that was supposed to be his death.”
He paused. “This was when the timeline changed a lot, instead of the solid stuff you guys have.”
“Anyway, so, I had this photograph, and when Doc was saved, the grave in the photo went blank, but didn’t go away. Then, when I got roped into the duel, the grave showed my name.”
“So what does this have to do with that?” Spike asked.
“Well, maybe this is like that. So things can happen here that are recursive, right? So maybe Doc, or us, or anyone, left us that clue. So we could figure out how to get there.” He put a finger to the writing at each point on the map. “Twister, can you read these?”
The filly shook her head. “No. We used the pictures to figure it out. Like, this one-“ she put a hoof to the third symbol on the line, “-was a rock, see?”
The picture was of a large shape, with a hole in one side, and stretched on the top. “We found that rock, in the forest, then we judged where the line was.”
She sighed. “My dad tried to figure out the words, because the letters are just regular Equish, but it’s a code. He said there was a...” The filly rubbed her chin. “Key something. Key... Sie-por? Ci-four?”
“Cipher,” Shining Armor stated. “A key cipher. We use them to send messages to ranks in hostile territory, in the guard.”
“Yeah. Anyway, he tried to figure it out, but he said he needed something.”
Shining nodded. “Yes. The ‘key’ of a key cipher is a short phrase or number, applied repeatedly to the text. Only the sender and recipient know the key phrase, so it can’t be intercepted.” He put a hoof on the words. “From the way this is written, I’d bet it’s a number.”
Marty rubbed his neck. “Well, if Doc had a hand in this map, the number is probably 1955. When we first met.” He looked to Twister. “Where are we now?”
“Just the last one, before the seal. There’s a pond below us, shaped like a clover, that’s the last symbol.” She cast a furtive glance at the parchment. “...You can read this?”
“I can.” Shining said. “1-9-5-5, or, A-I-E-E. You said the clover?” Twister nodded. “Well, the text there says...”
The unicorn concentrated for a moment, his eyes locked firmly on the ink. “...Walk the path...of crystal...and foes...and brave...the scar...of fog.”
Marty whistled. “That was fast.”
“I do this a lot.”
Twister frowned, her lip trembling. “W-well what does that mean? That doesn’t mean anything.”
“Hey, hey, yeah it does,” Spike consoled the stressful filly, “it’s a riddle, right?”
Shining nodded. “Right. The ‘path of crystal and foes’ means northeast.”
Marty frowned. “How does that work?”
“Well, ‘crystal’ refers to the Crystal Empire, which is also synonymous with the North. And way back now, the ‘foes’ could only mean the Gryphons, who live across the East Ocean. So, northeast.”
“But what about the ‘scar of fog’?” Marty inquired.
“I don’t know. Maybe a valley? Or a crevasse?”
“Well,” Spike interrupted, “there was that canyon that Twilight and the others found, when they were going to the old palace.”
“Old palace?” Twister asked. “And who is Twilight?”
“Wait, Spike, if there’s an ‘old’ palace nearby, it wouldn’t be very ‘old’ right now, would it? That’s probably exactly what we’re looking for.” Marty replied.
“But where is that from here?” Shining remarked. “The landscape is completely different, creature. Except, apparently, for the canyon, and maybe some of the older mountains, there would be no way to pin the two locations together!”
Spike chuckled. “Well, its a good thing we just got directions, isn’t it? Seriously, its not that hard to piece together. We’re almost sure to find it now-“
“WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT?!” Twister shouted.
Marty slapped his hands over his ears, glaring at the filly. “Jesus, kid, where’d you get that voice?”
“I just want to know what you’re talking about!” she cried. “I mean I get in this stupid flying wagon thing and you ask me my name and suddenly you’re reading my map and talking about all these things I don’t know and also you’re from the future?!”
Twister sighed. “I just want to know what’s going on.”
There was a pregnant pause.
“We’re from the future!” Spike exclaimed. “You were right. This is our time machine.”
Twister huffed. “If you didn’t want to tell me, you could have just said so.”
“Actually, he’s right,” Marty remarked. “I’m from another dimension or something, and this is my time machine.”
“No way.” Twister folded her front hooves, but she was smiling. “Prove it.”
Marty smiled. “Well, that I can-“
“No.” Shining Armor frowned. “We don’t have time to go fooling around with demonstrations. We need to find Starswirl so we can destroy the Nexus so we can go home.”
“Pfft!” Spike scoffed. “We have all the time in the world! We’re in a time machine.”
“No buts. Princess Celestia had me escort you, so we’re doing this my way. Understand?”
“Aw, don’t be so harsh, Shining,” Marty insisted. “We can give the kid a whirl in the DeLorean, just so she trusts us, hmm?”
“You can take her for a ‘whirl’ after we get to the palace.” Shining remained resolute. “The faster we get there, the faster you can show off your alien device. Now drive.”
Marty rolled his eyes. “Fine. Just point out the way.” Shining nodded, returning to the map, spread out on the dashboard.
Marty turned to the two children. “Just do what he says for a bit, eh? We’ll get to the palace soon enough.”
Slowly, they both nodded. “Okay.”
Marty smiled, reassuringly, then returned to the wheel. He revved the engine, and the DeLorean shot forward. Soon, the flying car was soaring over the Endless Everfree, headed northeast.
Spike scoffed. “No way! You have sixteen showing already.”
Twister locked eyes with the other pegasus, and smiled. “What can I say, I live life on the edge. Hit me.” She rubbed a hoof on her chin. “And how about this; all or nothing, on this one bet.”
Spike grinned. “Done!” He dealt another card. “There you go! Eighteen! Now lets see what you’ve got under there.”
Twister drummed her hoof on the coffee table for a moment, then revealed the card with a flourish.
It was a three. “Dammit!”
Twister laughed. “Ha-ha! Now gimme!”
Spike sighed, then begrudgingly pushed over his pile of paper balls. The makeshift ‘chips’ weren’t worth anything, but it was a matter of principle. He had lost to a girl!
Twister scooped the chips into a neat little pile, besides her own. “Welp, I win.”
“What? No way, we can still play!”
“And what are you gonna bet with, dummy?”
Spike paused. Maybe not so bad losing to THIS girl. “I dunno. But if I win, then I’ll have the chips to bet with!”
“So you’re going into debt?” The smile on Twister’s face pushed the boundaries of devious.
Spike remained oblivious. “Yep! It won’t be too long before I’m back into positive numbers.”
At the front of the DeLorean, oblivious to the sinister game in the back, Marty weaved between the taller trees, skimming as close to the forest canopy as he dared. The DeLorean hummed as it swept over the forest. “See anything yet?”
Shining Armor hung his head out of the gull-wing door, scanning the forest with his eyes, and his magic. “Nothing major, but my spell’s detecting something ahead. It’s in line with the map, so we should probably check it out.”
Marty nodded, continuing to drive the DeLorean with expert precision.
His eye glanced at the fuel gauge. Even with futuristic fuel efficiency, the needle was hovering just a single tick-mark above the large glowing E.
Marty was about to say something, but Shining spoke first. “Alright, stop here. This seems like the place.”
The human held back his words, and nodded. He slowed the DeLorean down, and gently maneuvered it between the sweeping branches of the forest. The car set down on an open piece of dirt.
The two pegasi clambered to the front of the car. Spike bore a sullen look on his face, while Twister was positively beaming. “What’s gotten into you?” Marty asked.
“He owes me every ice cream he ever gets for the next twenty years.” Twister beamed.
Spike looked like he was holding back tears.
Marty chuckled. “Ah, relax, Spike. We’ll be back in a jiffy, and those twenty years’ll be up.” He laughed. “Time travel, remember?”
Twister frowned. “Oh, right.”
Spike beamed, and stuck out his tongue at her.
“Hop to it, children!” Shining called. “It’s a few feet ahead!” He snapped his hooves to attention, then marched forward, unheeding of the bushes and branches in his way.
Marty and the pegasi followed, though less professionally. “Jeez, Shining, lighten up. This isn’t combat training.”
Shining huffed. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand discipline, but it’s important. This is still a mission from my princess, and I will not have it failed by a lack of protocol.”
Marty just shook his head.
Spike and Twister were trailing a few feet behind, casually arguing about ice cream. “Listen, I really think you should give me twenty years of ice cream now, because-“
A sudden crack from the forest made the filly jump in the air, knocking over Spike as she did so. Her eyes were wide. “Wh-what was that? Was that a dragon?”
Spike frowned, and looked into the forest. A few feet away, a small cloud of dust surrounded a dead tree, which seemed to have fallen over. “It’s just a tree. What on earth made you think it was a dragon?”
Twister gulped, slowly calming down. “I don’t like dragons.”
“Why not?” Spike asked. “Dragons are cool, and awesome, and really tough, and usually quite handsome-“
“Dragons aren’t cool! Dragons are big scary bullies who ruin everything!” Twister cried, pressing her face up to Spike’s, her features twisted in anger. She retreated, frowning. Slowly, she sat down.
Spike took a step closer. “Twister?”
The filly rubbed her eyes. “A dragon killed my parents.”
Spike paled. Oh, shit. Ohshitohshiohshitohshitohshit-
Twister sniffled. Spike pushed past any misgivings and put his forelegs around her, squeezing tight. She leaned into him, sobbing gently.
Further ahead, Marty turned and saw the pair. He stopped walking swatted Shining on the head, who turned, and saw also. They both remained silent.
Twister finished crying. “...Sorry bout that.”
Spike chuckled. “Heh! Don’t worry about it. You alright?”
“Yeah.” The filly got to her hooves, rolling her shoulders. “Alright, let’s keep going.” She soldered onwards, her hoofsteps resounding with determination.
The rest of the party followed. Spike trailed behind, lost in thought. Marty slowed down, falling behind with him.
They were silent for a moment. “So, what was that about?” Marty inquired.
Spike didn’t respond. Then, “She’s deathly afraid of dragons because one killed her parents.”
Marty cringed. “Ooh...”
Six thousand two hundred and fifteen years later, an Earth Pony was enjoying the sun.
Applejack walked to her farm slowly, taking in the sights as she wandered the dirt path. She had seen Rainbow Dash comfortably to her home, and was heading home herself. Dash had tried to apologize to Applejack, but the farm pony has stopped her, asking her to get some rest and do this tomorrow.
Oh, shucks. Ah can’t stay mad at Rainbow. Ah know she didn’t mean nuthin by it, neither. She sighed, hanging her head. That girl is just impossible sometimes.
As the farm came into view, Applejack smiled. Having seen how it was, she could now appreciate it for how it had changed. The trees were taller, and there were more fences. The barn was much bigger, and everything had a nice fresh coat of red paint.
She walked through the gate, and down the front path to the road. Macintosh sat on the bench on the porch, staring at the hills, thoughtfully chewing at a stalk of wheat.
“Hay Big Mac!” Applejack waved. “Sorry Ah was gone so long. Ah miss anythin important?”
Macintosh chewed his wheat for a moment more. “Nnope.”
Applejack smiled, relieved. “Well, that’s dandy. Ah’mma go tell Granny Ah’m back, an maybe take a nap.”
Big Mac nodded. “Eeyup. Sleep tight.”
Applejack smiled, and walked into the house.
“...Braeburn from Neigh Jersey.” Macintosh smiled, muttering under his breath.
A series of loud bangs from inside the house, followed by a small yelp of pain, indicated that she heard him. Macintosh chuckled. “Been waiting seventeen years to do that.”
Applejack stormed out of the house. “You recognized me?!”
“Wha... Then you figured it out later?”
Applejack just groaned. “And why the hay didn’t you say anything before now?”
Macintosh didn’t answer for a moment, his brow furrowed in concentration, as he pondered the myriad of poetic responses that could be soldered to fit his sister’s temporal inquiry of familial strife.
He used TWO words. “T’was funny.”
Applejack slapped a hoof to her face. “Macintosh, Ah swear, one of these days Ah’m gonna kick you so hard you’ll be buckin moon trees.”
Big Mac frowned. “Speakin a’ moon trees, we got somethin funny poppin up, over in the east orchard. Be mighty obliged if y’went an took a look.”
Applejack sighed, then went to go investigate the mysterious weed. Macintosh settled back down on his bench, resuming chewing his wheat.
Heck, be mighty funny if they were moon trees, he thought. Sure as hell look the part.
Another one of the odd black trees suddenly materialized before his eyes, right in front of the house. The silver leaves trembled from the sudden appearance.
Really, I do. I've been trying with the next chapter of BtE, but it's just... ehhh. I feel like I'm writing it to get it out of the way, and as a consequence, everything I'm trying to put down is bland and awful.
I have some really, I think, funny and good ideas for this fic. But they're just not getting down correctly. My mind is going elsewhere, to other things I want to do. And that's not fair to the story, or to you.
And now, this is the part where I suck.
I'm thinking of putting BtE on hiatus until I can give it the attention it deserves. The ending I have planned leaves it open for a sequel, and if I write it right, I would feel better about DOING that sequel. So, yeah. It will be picked up in the future, and hopefully done in a much better manner.
In the meantime, I meant to leave you guys with the BIG REVEAL, which is happening in the next chapter. I hate to dangle such tantalizing info in front of you for so many months and then just cut you off. Except, there's not a button for the spoilers thing on the bar, and I don't know the direct command. Is it [spoilers] this? [/spoilers]
Anyway, when I figure that out, I'll post the solution to the mystery here.
Anyone with a time machine, feel free to pop into the future and read the rest of the story whenever you like.
Until then, be sure to keep your Mr. Fusion well-fed and don't fuck with your parents.
See you in the future!
Let me tell you about Back to the Future Part Two.
There are two things needed to go back in time. This is specified, very clearly, in the first film. you need the flux capacitor going, (which requires 1.21 gigawatts (hands up if you will forever pronounce it jiggawatt)) and you need the car going at 88 mph (which requires gas/locomotion/SOMETHING). These are the plot devices surrounding the DeLorean.
Now, when Doc was struck by lightning at the end of the second film, he was fulfilling ONE of the requirements. Just one. He had the power he needed, but was not going at the right speed.
This ALWAYS bugged me. So, I decided to make it into a plot device.
The thing is, when Doc was struck by lightning, my (bullshit) science said that he was unstable, passing through timelines, and that he simultaneously existed in a thousand places in the timelines at once.
This stranded a copy of the Doc, with a damaged DeLorean, in a thousand different variations of our world. But it was in only one world, that he could figure out a way to go back.
(Avid fans may notice that this bear similarities to the plot of the video game. I assure you, I came up with this before I even knew the game existed, and the game did it in a very irritatingly convenient manner, by leaving no Doc there. Maybe he was vaporized, and was actually dust on the seat. X3)
But, this took a while. Being an eccentric scientist, of a different species, and knowledgeable in a wide range of fields, he was taken in by Celestia, at her 'palace of the gifted', which is basically a huge sanctuary for knowledge and culture and whatnot. (In case you didn't get it, Doc was stranded further back than they go at the beginning of BtE. I attributed this to the distance that the Equestrian timeline was diverged from ours, it made the time difference just as great.)
Contrary to popular beliefs in the comments, Celestia ISN'T Clara. She and Doc just fell in love. (They're actually each other, in the timelines, see.) (That's the same reason why Luna and Marty start shamelessly flirting when they meet) (Yeah I went there)
Is that everything? Uhh, there's still some plot resolution, but nothing TOO immediate... The thing with the moon-trees is later on... Hmm.
Yeah, that's it. See you when I actually publish this!
This is totally unrelated to BtE so you can stop if reading if that's all you're interested in
I have never before tried to push one of my stories with another one, but I'm making a small exception because this here's the big thing I've been working on
I would appreciate it if you took a look because I'm really excited to get this ball rolling
Thanks! BtE will resume sometime, don't worry.