61w, 5dUK Bronies
The silence of space, they say, is one of the most mind-bogglingly terrifying things about the universe to any creature that can sense audio. Even to creatures that can't sense audio and can only see, the vast, black emptiness of space is utterly horrifying. In space, you feel nothing except two things: Fear, and the cold, the unending cold (physicists may correct me on that one but I honestly don't care).
And yet, it's an incredibly amazing thing for most to fathom that, completely by accident, life has arisen in this blisteringly awful, chaotic place. The fact is taken for granted far too often that life has even got as far as civilisation. Of course, some races are more primitive than others. The especially primitive ones consider themselves to be incredibly formidable and technologically-advanced, going so far as to think that the mobile telephone is still a pretty neat idea.
But once civilisation reaches its pinnacle on most planets, be it its absolute zenith or the point at which everyone says, "Meh, yeah, whatever," there is a point where civilisations go whizzing about to find new places to colonise, only to find when they get there that some galactic federation has got there first, and it's their turn to sign up.
One thing essential to all these races is this: the ability to cross enormous distances in very short spaces of time. Which was why, now, in an enormous cloud of dust, rock, and organic molecules, a massive ship appeared. Enormous, sleek as a brick wall being dragged by a rhino, like a morbidly-obese thief in the night, it came into existence and slowly drifted.
The massive machine eventually came to a complete stand-still, several million miles from the star, same as it had for the last few billion years. Space was silent, but a soundtrack taken from Vangelis's Albedo 0.39 or perhaps an excerpt from Pink Floyd's composition "Echoes" on the album Meddle would have worked if this were a film, which it isn't.
Everything was quiet. Absolutely nothing happened for a few moments. Even the dust and asteroids in the cloud seemed to stop moving, and then, suddenly, four large probes shot out of its surface and went spinning through the black void, and then four more followed, flying a good few thousand miles' distance before once again coming to a halt.
The gulf of space stood before the peculiar arrangement, unobserved, quietly hidden within the cloud, slowly orbiting the small sun. It did not seem alive. It seemed abandoned, in a way. However, deep within the belly of the craft, something was stirring, plotting, scanning. Humming within, the still, silent ship prepared to act on its purpose.
The rain pattered down on the roof. Even after weeks, the rain had been unceasing. One had to wonder how the grass and weeds outside the shack thrived in such a muddy, torrential environment. Water from a burst gutter trickled down the single window the shack possessed. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed, and the world outside just looked grey. Fluttershy wasn't sure if she'd ever seen something so devoid of colour. Even the darkest places in Equestria were rich in colour. Her pale yellow coat and pink mane seemed almost obscene in a world like this.
Pinkie Pie grunted and rolled around in bed. She'd finally decided there was no point in attempting to end it all any more, and instead decided to wait it out in a shallow puddle of self-loathing. As such, Fluttershy had taken away the straps. Pinkie Pie mumbled something about how much she hated life, and then appeared to fall back to sleep. Either way, it didn't matter.
The Ruler of the Universe had got into a staring contest with a magazine, and hadn't spoken in six days. Fluttershy couldn't get a response out of him. She was, effectively, alone. So here she was staring out of the one window the shack possessed, waiting for tiredness to set in so she could go to sleep, ignore this place, and imagine she was back in Equestria with Elizabeth, Hummingway, Angel, and all her other animal friends, the only ones, she felt sometimes, that had truly understood her. She wanted to back to way things were, to the way everything was in her past. Her parents loved her, Rainbow Dash had been a great friend in her youth, going so far as to win a race to prove a point about her, and yet none of them had ever understood her, why she feared things. Come to think of it, neither did she. Perhaps she was just born that way. She just didn't know. She was the kindest pony in all Equestria, and yet, it seemed that even being the epitome of niceness, the Element of Kindness herself, people still never understood her ways with animals. She was merely a pet-sitter to them. Nothing more. And now she was all alone. It occurred to Fluttershy that she hadn't cried in a long time, unusually for her. Perhaps that was about to change. She felt the tears welling and anticipated them running down her cheeks once more.
As she tried to sniff back the tears beginning to brim at her eyelids, she heard a sound. Faint at first, but definitely there. It heaved in a clear, thrusting noise. Up and down, up and down. She couldn't see where it was coming from outside the window. She looked around. The sound seemed to be coming from...
There was a creaking sound from the roof. There was a great groan, as if the roof were in some kind of pain, and then the roof came crashing down. Pinkie Pie sat bolt upright, and Fluttershy stared across the room at the hole in the roof through which the rain was pouring in, and the object that had caused it.
It was a large blue box, sort of like a small stable. It had fallen on to its side. Fluttershy studied the sign attached to it. It read "ROYAL GUARD CALL BOX" in large, sans-serif letters.
"What the hay is that?" Pinkie Pie asked. "Can't they see I'm trying to be depressed here?"
Water trickled down and on to the box.
All of a sudden, there was a clunk sound, and the front of the box fell inwards.
"Watch out!" a voice shouted, as a grappling hook suddenly came launching through the hole. "Ready?" the voice said. "One, two, three, heave!"
There was a sound of grunting from within.
"Okay...okay...we're...we're about...a tenth of the way there. One, two, three, heave!"
More grunting came out, louder and more painful than before.
"And we're about...two tenths the way there. Ready to go agai-"
"Oh for the love of Celestia, really? Really?"
"Well, you come up with a better plan."
There was a pause.
"I'M A FREAKING PEGASUS."
There was another pause.
Then there was a bang, and a cyan pony with a rainbow mane came flying out of the hole. She looked around. "Fluttershy!" she said. "Thank Celestia you're still alive!"
"I'm glad to see you, too, Rainbow Dash," Fluttershy replied, hugging her affectionately.
"Um, this is very touching and all," a regal voice said, from within the box, "But would you be so kind as to consider GETTING US OUT OF HERE?"
"Sure thing," Rainbow Dash replied, pulling at the rope. She glanced over at Pinkie Pie.
"We got Pinkie 2 up here, too, guys."
"Pinkie 2?" a happy voice asked. "Can you say 'Hi' to me, for me? No, wait, I'll do it myself. Hi, me!" Pinkie Pie was taken aback. "Who is that?"
"That's you," Dash grunted, pulling on the rope. "Darn it...why couldn't I have spent time exercising my limbs...instead...of...flying..."
There was a loud crash.
"My topiary garden!"
"This is no time fer worryin' about yer silly trees, Doctor!"
"They're shrubs, I'll have you know, and very nice ones, at that."
"How much further?" Dash called down.
"Just a little bit further," a voice said. "Come on, guys."
"Says the baby dragon at the back."
"Hey, shut up, muffin-eater."
There was a pause.
"I just appreciate you didn't call me 'google-eyes'."
"Well, I'm not that mean."
"How many ponies are in that box?" the depressed Pinkie Pie interrupted.
Dash gave a last enormous heave, to the point the veins in her legs and head popped out.
"Princess Luna!" she shouted, taking the princess's name in vain. "Pardon my Fancy."
"Okay, one last pull, and we should be out," a voice shouted.
"All right," Rainbow Dash said, inhaling and exhaling. She inhaled again and then gave another enormous pull, and a brown pony with an hour-glass cutie mark hopped out of the box, followed by a grey pony with bubbles on her flank, an orange pony wearing a Stetson, a white pony with a curled purple mane, a pink pony with a frizzy pink mane, and finally, a small purple dragon.
Rainbow Dash fell over backwards, then stood up and cracked her back. "Ah, that's a relief."
The shack was now brimming with ponies.
In the other room, the Ruler of the Universe finally lost focus and looked away from the magazine.
"Bah! You win!" he exclaimed, throwing the magazine away and standing up.
He came in to the other room, and was rather startled by the other ponies.
"I don't seem to remember all these ponies being here," he said. "Do you all exist?"
"As far as we're aware," The Doctor said.
"Right," the Ruler of the Universe said, noticing the hole in the roof.
"Oh, sorry about that, there, partner," Applejack said. "Have any tools around? Ah'm not that good with tools, but ah'm sure ah could fix that roof up in a jiff."
"Well, let's get the TARDIS back up, first, shall we?" the Doctor cut in, as the seven that had just come out of the blue box got behind it and heaved it up. It was surprisingly light for something with a pocket Universe inside it.
"Well, I'm afraid they never brought any tools," the Ruler of the Universe replied.
"I've got a set of tools in the TARDIS," the Doctor offered. "If you'd like, I'll – "
"Doctor, are you forgetting exactly why we're here?" Derpy Hooves interrupted.
Pinkie Pie and Pinkie Pie met face-to-face for the first time.
It was a curious sight. They both appeared to have simultaneously never met each other while also feeling extremely familiar with each other.
"Hi, I'm Pinkie Pie!" said the happy Pinkie, or as she was now known, Pinkie 1/2.
"So am I," responded the depressed Pinkie, or as she was now known, Pinkie 2/2.
"Well, hi, me, how am I doing?"
"Terribly. Worse since I met you."
"Oh, don't be like that. Let's turn that frown upside down!"
"So this one time, I was making cupcakes at Sugarcube Corner - "
"Me, I know this one, I am you, I've been there."
"But it's so much funnier telling it to myself in pony! Anyway, there I was – "
Pinkie 2/2 tried to find a distraction and couldn't find one.
It was really quite a fascinating sight. Pinkie 1/2 was so annoying, she had managed to irritate herself.
"And then I said, 'Oatmeal, are you crazy?!' Anyway, what was that you said, I am you, as you are me, as we are she, and we are all together? That sounds like it'd be a great song! Don't you love singing? I love singing! Here's a good song! When I was a little filly and – "
"Doctor, make her stop!" Derpy shouted, plugging her ears.
"I...can't!" The Doctor said. "How are we supposed to merge these two together if she won't just sit down and be quiet?!"
"...I'd hide under my pillow, from what I thought I saw..."
"Celestia!" Spike cried. "I mean, at least the regular Pinkie Pie's songs sort of make sense to the situation!"
The Ruler of the Universe stared, dumbfounded. He literally had no idea whether or not he was hallucinating all this by this point.
Applejack dashed out of the room as the others tried desperately to drown out the singing. She returned moments later with pages of a magazine stuffed in her ears, then quickly ran into the TARDIS.
She vanished for a few moments.
"What's she up to?" Rainbow Dash asked.
Then, suddenly, she returned with a plastic box gripped in her teeth. She approached the two Pinkies and spat it out in front of them. Pinkie 1/2 fell silent instantly.
There before them was a small box with the words "Pinkie Pie" adorning it, alongside a logo reading "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic".
"What's this?" Pinkie 2/2 asked.
"Why, it's a model of you two as you are when you're together," Applejack said. "Where ah got it from, they say it's a toy of some kind."
"A...toy?" Pinkie 1/2 said. "I love toys! Don't you love - "
"NO!" shouted the others.
"But, you see," Applejack cut in. "Isn't it nice how there aren't two toys in there? A happy one and a sad one? Notice how there's one." She read out the description on the back for them, all about how Pinkie Pie loved to make her friends laugh, and throw parties. She chuckled. "That's the Pinkie Pie ah know. But instead, look what ah got. One of ya has no idea how to be happy or silly at all, and the other is just so happy it's annoyin'. You two ain't the Pinkie Pie ah know."
The two Pinkies looked at Applejack, and then back to each other.
"You're both just copies of somepony I used to know." she turned her back to them and trotted away, sadly.
The two Pinkies continued to look at each other.
Pinkie 2/2 sighed. "Hmph. Well, if it'll make you all happy."
Pinkie 1/2 sighed, as well. "I love making my friends happy! Right, me!"
Pinkie 2/2 shook her head. "I wouldn't know. That's your job."
And Pinkie 1/2 grinned. "Well, then why don't we help you figure it out?"
"What? No – "
Pinkie 1/2 did something that, to her more serious, cold side, would have in other times been an extremely annoying gesture. She gave her a big, warm hug. But Pinkie 2/2 felt something strange come over her. Her front legs were moving. She tried to resist, but she couldn't...and suddenly, she found herself hugging herself back.
The two hugged for a few moments.
"Get down," the Doctor mumbled.
"What was that, Doc – " Dash began.
There was a flash of pink light, and the room's temperature went up by one degree. The bed in which the two ponies sat caught fire for a second. A pink pony leapt from the flames.
"Arghhh!" she screamed. "My tail! My tail is on fire! Yaaarghhhh!"
The Ruler of the Universe politely opened the door for her to go out in the rain, despite his inability to tell if the outside really existed or not.
There was a sound of hissing, then a sigh of relief. When she came back in, the pony was met with an embrace from Fluttershy. "I'm so glad you're back," she said.
"I never left!" she replied. "Well, my mean side did, but she's only there to stop me becoming annoying. I bet I was annoying, wasn't I? Wait, why am I asking you? I - " The Doctor clapped a hoof to her mouth. "Enough of that," he said. "Please."
"Well, that oughta hold," Applejack said, spitting out the TARDIS' trusty mallet as she nailed the last part of the roof shut.
"Thank you again!" the Ruler of the Universe said. "I tell you, I've had more fun with you all than I've had with anyone in the last million years!"
"Well, you know us ponies," Pinkie Pie said. "We're a barrelful of laughs."
"Ain't that the truth," Applejack chortled. "These past few days have been the weirdest I've ever known."
"Yeah," Rainbow Dash said. "I wonder what happened to those hoof-cover things I left behind in that café? Think someone stole 'em?"
"I wouldn't worry yourself with that," the Doctor said, seriously.
An uncomfortable silence fell on the room.
"So...where do we go now?" Rarity asked, with melancholy in her voice. "Our planet is gone...my boutique is gone...Sweetie Belle and Opalescence are gone..."
Spike, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, the Doctor and Derpy Hooves all looked at the ground.
"No," Spike said. "Wait. This isn't right. We can't grieve now. Not yet. Twilight still needs saving."
The Doctor shook his head, gravely. "She could be anywhere in the Universe by now, Spike."
"Really?" Spike wondered. "Then how exactly is it that nopony in this group travelled far enough that they were impossible to find?"
The Doctor's eyebrows lowered. "What are you saying, Spike?"
"I'm saying that we're all connected. That TARDIS knows what it's doing. It took itself to me, Rarity and Pinkie, and I think it'll do the same for Twilight."
The Doctor sighed. "A TARDIS doesn't work like that, Spike."
"Don't say that!" Spike replied, indignantly, with growing anger in his voice. "We have to try. Surely a smart guy like you knows that science isn't sticking to what we know – it's experimenting on what we already know and what we don't know, to find out more. Come on, Doctor. We have to try."
The Doctor put his hoof to his forehead. "Fine," he said. "We'll try a random timeflight transfer. But if it doesn't work, I'm sorry. Twilight Sparkle is lost for good."
"Let's go, then!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed, eagerly.
"Yes, let's!" Rarity affirmed.
They group of eight made their way for the TARDIS
"Goodbye, then," the Ruler of the Universe said, sadly. "I'll see you again sometime?"
"Maybe," Fluttershy said.
"No," the Doctor replied, coldly. "This place is closed in a fixed unprobability field. Nasty thing. Only someone with a key can get in. It's a wonder we got in, it's only because of Pinkie Pie's random molecular structure we got this far."
"So I suppose this is goodbye forever?" the Ruler of the Universe asked. His eyes looked a bit wet and red. One forgot for a moment he was hundreds of years old. He was like a grandfather who had lost an old friend, or a spouse, to the ravages of age.
Fluttershy ran across the room to where the burned bed was. She grabbed something in her mouth and took it to the man. It was a plastic box, blackened, but still visible.
A small Pinkie Pie toy.
The Ruler of the Universe managed a smile, and then rubbed Fluttershy's mane.
"Thank you," he said. "And good luck."
The last two ponies returned to the TARDIS, and after a few moments, it dematerialised. As the Ruler of the Universe sat down, The Lord came in to the room. It meowed and preened its fur. "Ah, hello!" the Ruler of the Universe mewed. "Look what I've got!" He opened the box with some difficulty and got out the small model.
For the first time in a long time, the cat purred and curled up on the Ruler of the Universe's lap. He smiled. "I'm not even sure if I care whether this exists or not," he said to himself, and proceeded to engage in a very long conversation about tables with the model, and lived more or less happily ever after, except for the time the delivery boy came again and stole his sudoku puzzles.
"Slight imbalance in Sector B7, firing retro-rockets...confirmed stable."
"Probe alignment confirmed, system stable."
"Very well. Commence the first test of the MSF immediately. Let's see what this machine can do..."