The Doctor had traveled far and wide, witnessing all of time and space. He had seen a Dalek without the will to fight, his arch nemesis come back from the dead, even a man who would never die. But in all his travels, he never had encountered anything like this. “So, let me get this straight. You are agreeing to keep the protest peaceful?”
“Yes. In the end, we are not the ones trying to wipe out an entire world. We have the moral high ground, and we will not lower ourselves to their level,” the bald man replied.
Not even half an hour before, the Doctor had approached the HLF-encampment a ways away from the bureau, waving a white flag (made from an old broom and a few stapled-together sheets of paper), hoping to negotiate a truce, despite his experience with such negotiations in the past. “Surprising. That has to be the first time anyone agrees to take the peaceful option...”
The bald man grinned for a second, before turning serious once again. “However, I do need to know one thing. This group of ambassadors you mentioned, would they happen to have any Unicorns amongst their ranks?”
“Yes. Two of them are Unicorns. Why?”
Apparently, the local HLF-leader did not like the news, because his face grew grim at that news. “In that case, on top of our earlier agreement, I want you to allow my men to at least exercise their right to bear arms. The other ponies are harmless enough, but those damn needleheads are walking time bombs. You know what magic does to you, right?”
The Doctor tensed a little, knowing the conversation could go either way now. “I know that the human anatomy isn’t exactly attuned to magic, but the Mane Six are-”
“Hold on,” the man interrupted, “What is this about the Mane Six? Are they the Diplomats you were talking about?”
The Doctor cringed. Well, no denying it now. “Yes, they are.”
“In that case, I’d like to reestablish our agreement. My men will be given a spot to protest, right in front of your doors. They will be allowed to keep their weapons with them, and use them if they are in any way threatened. Also, I’d like a word with the leader of the Mane Six, Vampire Sprinkle was it?”
“Twilight Sparkle actually. And while it is the good right of you and your men to keep your weapons on you, we will retaliate if need be. Also, if you want to talk to Twilight, you’ll only do so with at least one armed guard in the room.”
The bald man smirked. “Actually, I was thinking more among the lines of some public debate. I heard she has some influence on those pretty prancing Princesses.”
The Doctor relaxed slightly. “Acceptable. Still, I want some security. Can you guarantee that your men won’t attack unprovoked?”
“I’ll tell them not to shoot but in the end, they are free men. Besides, you got your sniper, and most of my men aren’t exactly sharpshooters if you catch my drift. Still, we got a deal?”
The Doctor smiled warmly, glad to have (hopefully) avoided a bloodbath for once. “We have a deal,” he said as he shook the HLF-man’s hand.
“By the way, I am the Doctor.”
“Nice meeting you, I’m Dave.”
6/2 calm before the storm
A few hours later, the grounds in front of the Bureau’s main entrance were prepared for the arrival of their VIPs. The staff of the bureau had rolled out a few vending machines, had set up a small number of grills and fire pits, and even the Cakes had set up shop with a stall selling genuine Equestrian treats, making a neat profit from all the people who hoped to see the Mane Six in person (one of them enjoying the food so much, he signed up for conversion right afterwards.)
The entire operation could have been mistaken for a fair, if it weren’t for the rather prominent presence of the HLF. In accordance with their agreement, they had been allowed to place a number of vehicles around the grounds while securing their spot in front of the doors. Some of the visitors found it a bit strange that the HLF of all people had demanded front row seats, but no-one spoke up because, well, guns.
The Doctor walked around the grounds, making a final inspection. Aside from Terence on the roof and the HLF in front of the doors, he hadn’t found anyone with any obvious weaponry on them, generally a good sign. Despite the tension, things looked like this would go down in history as the first (somewhat) peaceful encounter between the HLF and Equestria. Besides, whatever the outcome, his temporal twin had implied that the Mane six would survive this encounter. Maybe things would work out for a change.
The doctor stood by the cakes Stall and watched the highway for the black truck that would bring the Mane Six. Everyone was nervous and waiting for something, anything to happen.
"What if they missed the train? Or fell off the road? Or exploded? Or missed the train, falling off the road and causing the train they missed to explode!?" Surprise rambled as she bounced on top of one of the nonfunctional fluorescent signs.
"Surprise, please close that hole in your muzzle. Nothing like that has happened," Octavia said while looking in the same direction as everyone else.
"Is that them?" Dave asked, pointing at a truck pulling a pastel colored trailer that had just come around the last corner to the Bureau.
"Let’s see... yes, that is their ride. Remember, stay in your area and this will be a first on both sides," the Doctor said.
Dave nodded. "I appreciate you asking Twilight to talk with us. I just want her and the others to know that not all of us are violent beasts."
The doctor nodded and shook hands once more with Dave. "To a brighter future."
"A brighter one indeed," Dave said as the truck pulled up.
The HLF-members near the gates picked their Traditional Demonstration Signs up, and got ready as the Doctor walked up to the truck, knocking at the driver’s door before having a short conversation.
"Hello, don’t worry it is just me... The Doctor... Just "the Doctor"... It’s not a funny name at all... Well, I think it is better than Hawk. Yes, I know that’s your name... Read the memo. Why is everyone surprised that I read memos?... Yes they are, but they are here peaceful grounds. I talked to them and as you can see, none of them have their weapons ready... Okay, I know signs can be used as weapons but you know what I meant. Yes, I swear they will all be safe. Yes. Thank you, agent Hawk."
The three other doors clicked open, and out hopped the six mares.
"Wow, first time we ever got a reception like this," Rainbow said as she stretched her wings to get rid of the stiffness the long journey had caused.
"I am just glad to be out of that stuffy truck," Rarity said while levitating a small mirror to inspect her mane.
Pinkie Pie however wasted no time whatsoever, instead opting to tackle-glomp her sister, accompanied by a warcry of "INKIE!"
Surprise chuckled at the scene. "Pinkie, you don’t need to kill your sister when you just reunited with her, right Soarin?... Soarin?" peering around quizzically.
She found him next to the trailer, glomping Rainbow Dash.
Twilight hopped out next, removing her reading glasses before addressing the Doctor. "Hello, I was told to contact the Doctor first upon arrival. Would you happen to know where he is?"
The doctor smiled, and offered the lavender mare a hand. "I am the Doctor, nice to meet you."
Twilight raised an eyebrow, before softly giggling. “No offense, but I meant Doctor Whooves. He is a tan Earth pony stallion, with a Hourglass cutiemark. Do you know anyone like that?”
“That would technically still be me.”
"That doesn’t make any sense. Or did the HLF figure out some de-conversion procedure?"
“Not as far as I know. However, are you by any chance familiar with nonlinear temporal artifacts?”
Twilight’s forehead scrunched up in thought for a moment. “Nonlinear- You mean you are him, before conversion? I never knew he was a Newfoal. Picked the date for your conversion yet then?”
The Doctor gave a short laugh. “No, and with the way things work out for me usually... Besides, Spoilers,” he said with a quick wink. “Need any help unpacking?”
Twilight nodded. "That would be great.”
The Doctor made a quick gesture to a few ponies of the Bureau’s staff, after which they ran over to the trailer to help out. "One more thing,“ the Doctor said, ”once you are settled down, the local HLF leader would like to have a heart to heart with you. Part of the agreement that keeps them from attacking us."
"That will be fine. In fact, I think I would enjoy it," Twilight said with a reassuring smile.
In the meantime, Pinkie had helped her sister get back up, before she headed over to the trailer as one of the ponies helping unpack. Pinkie then focused her attention on the somewhat odd human who had introduced himself as the Doctor. "Are you the Doctor? Nice! I’ll be throwing a Pinkie Party later, but first I have something for you. A special delivery For Your Eyes Only.” Pinkie leapt into the trailer, and soon re-appeared with a large box, quickly hoofing it over to the Doctor.
The Doctor smiled. "Why, thank you. What is the occasion?"
Applejack laughed. "We don' rightly know ourselves. It was made by my and Rarity’s lil sis' and their friend. They call themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders, cus' they are always doing things to get their cutiemarks."
The Doctor took the box from Pinkie’s back. “To be young, right? Well, let’s see what they sent,” he said before opening the box and taking a look inside. For a moment he stood there, a look of confusion on his face, before a grin spread across his lips. “Excuse me Miss Applejack, you said your sister and her friends were trying to get their cutiemarks, right?”
The Earth pony farmer raised an eyebrow at the comment. “Jus’ call me Applejack, please. And yeah, they spend all their free time trying all sorts o’ stuff to get their marks. Did they send you some letter askin’ to make their cutiemarks appear?”
"Not exactly. *hehe*," the Doctor started giggling, "second, would some of the things they do perhaps include stowing away for an adventure?"
"Uh, I would guess so. Why?" Applejack and Rarity looked at each other, then at the Doctor who was still holding the open box.
“All in due time. Third question! Do you know where your sisters and their friend are right now?”
“They are still in Ponyville. They send us letters every few days. Why are you smiling like that, did they send something strange?” Rarity asked, her confusion climbing as the Doctor gently set the box down on the ground.
"Just one more question. Would these, um, fillies happen to be a yellow Earth pony, a white Unicorn and an orange Pegasus?"
“Yes. How did you know that?”
"Well, take a look in the box," the Doctor said, beckoning the mares over to him. Applejack was the first to get a look at the three little fillies sleeping peacefully inside the box.
Guess what? Last Thursday (June 14th) was my 22nd birthday! So here is my somewhat belated gift to you all. See you soon!
(Kryxel: happy birthday ray! and many more to come!
with this chapter i wanted to invoke that even though there is a set "standard" for groups. they all still have the fringe crazies.)