It was a lazy summer's day. The sky was a bright, blazing blue, a sweet breeze drifted across the fields, and butterflies were frolicking amidst the beautiful wispy clouds.
Unfortunately for Cloudgazer, he was trapped. The noise of the classroom blocked out the sweet sounds of nature, replacing them with the excited chatter of a dozen foals let loose with chemistry play sets.
This was not to say that he hadn't been paying attention. The little purple pony (and he WAS purple rather than pink, he made this very clear to anyone he met) was a great believer in the educational system and had already figured out the entire experiment before Miss Copybook had finished explaining it to the class. It wasn't his fault that his equipment had obviously been sabotaged with lead weights somehow hidden in it. He grunted, gripping an empty beaker in his mouth, and slowly lifting it with all his strength, wishing he could be a little bit stronger and a little less pink.
Still, it could be worse. He glanced over to the filly sitting next to him, a grey, yellow maned Pegasus, who was staring with a mixture of panic and confusion at the concoction she had mixed up.
Derpy's been thinking about her mum's muffins rather than paying attention again. Hah!
Cloudgazer frowned and concentrated, trying to ignore the thought. Ever since he banged his head on a low-hanging cloud, he'd been getting strange thoughts in his head. Not voices, more... words. He had wondered if it was just another part of growing up that he hadn't been told about, but hadn't yet gathered up the courage to ask.
Next to him, little Derpy was casting glances at her classmates to see what they were doing. Miss Copybook had sneaked out of the classroom for a break (generally a code word for smoking some dandelion leaves) and so she was alone without anyone in authority to ask for help. She hesitantly reached for a pipette, grasped it in her mouth, and squeezed off a few drops into the beaker.
Buckle up kiddo, this is where it's all going to change!
Cloudgazer winced again as he tried to keep his concentration. He stared out the window again as time seemed to slow down; from the corner of his eye he saw the drop from Derpy's pipette slowly falling, hitting and breaking the surface of the liquid, creating ripple upon ripple upon ripple rushing out from the centre.
An explosion echoed out from the horizon and Cloudgazer wasn't sure if it was from Derpy's beaker or outside, as a bright wave of rainbow light suddenly echoed the rippling beaker as it poured down across the hills and across the fields, a torrent of light and fury. At that same instant he was flung from his stool as Derpy's beaker exploded in a plume of smoke, the schoolroom in a panic as the little colts and fillies in the class dropped their projects in confusion at the noise from both outside and inside.
All Cloudgazer could see was the ceiling as he lay on the floor, and the only sounds he could hear were the squealing of poor Derpy as she writhed around clutching her face, and the roar of the explosion still rumbling through the school building.
It's not the explosion. Get up you little foal, get up!
Cloudgazer blinked and jerked upwards. The boom from the explosion had indeed faded, but it had segued seamlessly into a wheezing, groaning noise that seemed to rent the very ether apart. The air dried out, his hide tingling with static as his eyes became glued to an empty corner of the room. He was vaguely aware that Derpy had begun to cry in panic, and his classmates were racing up and down the room with no teacher to tell them to calm down. But he didn't care. Something was coming. Something special.
With a resounding thump, the noise stopped, and all eyes now turned towards the corner of the room. Where there had been nothing, there was now a battered, rectangular blue box, a light flashing on the top. It stood there unassumingly, as if it had always been there from before the school had been built. From the far side of the room, Derpy started crying again, rubbing her eyes. Cloudgazer broke his gaze from the box for a moment to glance at Derpy, an uncharacteristic frown crossing his face as he noticed something wrong with her eyes.
This is your chance!
Cloudgazer straightened up in confusion. Chance for what? There was no teacher in the room, no-one to take charge. Perhaps he could save Derpy and be a hero for once. The little pink pony started to trot over to Derpy in concern. "Derpy?" he ventured, recoiling slightly as he saw that her eyes had lost their focus from the explosion, pupils rolling about on their own accord. "I'll... I'll get an adult!"
You foal! This is your moment! Don't blow it!
Cloudgazer frowned in annoyance, and looked about for an adult which he could abdicate responsibility to. As he turned his head, he paused in shock, as had his other classmates.
The door to the box was opening, and a blinding light poured forth. Out strode a pony, tall and blazingly confident, marching towards Derpy with a look of determination sketched across his face. He was an adult colt, light brown with a spiky, chocolate coloured mane, an hourglass mark on his rear, and a rather strange ill-fitting jacket worn over his front hooves.
"So, you thought you could escape me!" the stranger uttered as he approached Derpy, who sat trembling in confusion. "But there's not one rock I wouldn't overturn, not one mountain I wouldn't climb, to stop you! For I am..."
At this point, Cloudgazer thought he heard orchestral music swell up around the newcomer in a frenzy of strings and percussion. The stranger then looked annoyed, and threw a battered tape recorder out of a pocket. The music stopped. He coughed and continued, puffing up his chest.
"I am... DOCTOR WHOOVES!"
Dr Whooves paused for a moment, and then slowly looked around the schoolroom, taking in the confused little ponies, the remains of the class experiments, and finally the sniffling little Derpy that sat in front of him, looking up with wide, googly eyes. He leaned into Derpy, one brow raised.
"Wait a minute! This isn't Metebelis Three! You're not the Rani! I need a drink!" Dr Whooves lunged forwards and grabbed the flask that Derpy had been experimenting on, downing it in one gulp. He then sat down heavily with a sigh.
Derpy just stared in horror at the Doctor (as much as she could stare at any one thing). She gave a whimper and backed away into the corner. "I-it exploded!" she finally squeaked, pointing at the empty flask. "A-and now I'm seeing two of everything!" Tears began to well up in her skewed eyes.
Dr Whooves ruffled Derpy's mane with a smile. "Don't worry, your day just got TWICE as amazing then!" He paused to look at the empty flask, sniffing it. "Very impressive! That was strawberry juice, quite delicious but not known for exploding. Wait a moment!" From his pockets, he snatched up a metal cylinder with a glowing end, pointing the light at Derpy, a look of utter concentration on his face.
Cloudgazer slowly trotted up to Dr Whooves, more curious about him than concerned about Derpy, at least for the moment. "What are you doing?" he whispered.
Dr Whooves turned with alarm as if noticing that there were other ponies in the room for the first time. He popped the device out of his mouth to speak. "Don't panic little pink filly, I'm a doctor! I think your friend's got a screw loose, but my screwdriver isn't working! Wait here!" With that, the stranger leapt to his hooves and ran out of the room.
Cloudgazer stood awkwardly next to the still sobbing Derpy. "I-I'm not a filly, I'm a colt. And I'm PURPLE!" he whined to no-one in particular.
From outside, there was a sound of flushing, and Dr Whooves ran back into the room with a big happy sigh. "Now, where were we?"
As Dr Whooves took care of Derpy, Cloudgazer's attention was drawn back to the strange box that the new arrival had come from. The door was open a crack, and the light poured out of it invitingly. Slowly he trotted towards the box, hoping that no-one would notice him.
Now Cloudgazer, get in the box! It is you're destiny!
Cloudgazer stopped, frowning. "Your" he whispered to himself.
No, not mine! Yours! It is you're destiny!
Cloudgazer shoot his head. "No, 'your'!" he stressed. "You're is a contraction of 'you are'" He wasn't sure how, but he was sure that the words in his head had got it wrong. He didn't mind being a bit crazy, but he did mind being crazy with grammar problems.
Don't quibble! Were a team! Now, hurry, while Whooves is distracted!
"'WE'RE'!" Cloudgazer suddenly shouted out in annoyance. "IT IS 'WE ARE'! NOT 'WERE'!"
At this, Dr Whooves's head snapped up and swivelled round, eyes widening in shock to see Cloudgazer near the open doors of his box. He waved a hoof in alarm and shouted over to the little pink pony. "Hey, no, I wouldn't if I were you! There's an army of Voord in there! But don't worry!" From his pockets he fished out a fountain pen with a grin. "The pen is mightier than the Voord!"
Cloudgazer hung his head and slowly slinked back to Dr Whooves and Derpy with the look of someone who'd been caught out. The rest of the class were still staring in alarm at the on-going events, but he was determined not to miss out, even at the risk of more terrible puns. He glared at Whooves. "Really? You couldn't do better than that?"
As Whooves twitched and attempted to formulate a witty response, Derpy had slowly begun to regain her composure. The little grey filly kept rubbing her eyes with her hooves, trying to make the double vision go away. As she did this, she directed a barrage of questions at her 'saviour'.
"Who are you? Where did you come from? Did I mess up? Did I do all this? Am I going to fail? How angry will mom be?"
Dr Whooves straightened his back and swept a hard glance across the classroom, taking in Derpy, Cloudgazer and the rest of the class. The room fell instantly silent, the atmosphere electric. "I'm Doctor Whooves!" he announced. "I'm a Thyme Lord. I'm of indeterminate age, and I'm going to save you and every pony here on Equestria. You got a problem with that?" He paused. "No actually I'm not, I'm supposed to be on Metebelis Three, but that was too good to waste!"
Cloudgazer wasn't going to let the Thyme Lord get away with such a vague fake-sounding explanation. All his life he had thought there was something more to the universe, and here was someone who he was sure had all the answers stranding right in front of him!
"So... what does the box do?" Cloudgazer ventured. "It just appeared in the room with a strange noise like this!" Cloudgazer did his best to replicate the strange wheezing groaning noise of before.
Whooves just stared at Cloudgazer in horror. "Is he... he is having a seizure?" he whispered to Derpy in concern.
Derpy simply returned a shrug. Her eyes were slowly improving, but it still looked as if there were two Cloudgazers dancing about in her vision. The sheer absurdity of the situation had calmed her nerves somewhat, though there was still the horrid thought that something had gone permanently wrong with her.
Cloudgazer realised that everyone was staring at him, so stopped making the strange noise, and instead began to rattle off a list of insane sounding questions about the blue box standing in the corner of the room. "Is it magic?" "What does it do?" "How much does one cost?" "How would I go about making one?"
Dr Whooves waved a hoof at Cloudgazer. "In no particular order, Yes, no, apple, magic, using a teaspoon."
Cloudgazer stared back suspiciously at Whooves. "How would a teaspoon help me?"
Dr Whooves tutted loudly at Cloudgazer, as if faced by a particularly ill-mannered and stupid foal who had asked a ridiculously simple question. "Fetch one and I'll show you." He then turned to Derpy, his face melting into concern as he carefully brushed one hoof over her face, staring at her askew eyes. "Yes, you might have a problem there; I'll see what I can do. Fetch me some hot water and a beaker." He then clapped his hooves together impatiently at the two. "Hurry hurry, time is of the essence!"
Derpy was surprised at the suddenness of the orders. She stared blankly for a couple of seconds before nodding, confused but determined. In a grey blur she sped about the room, dislodging desks and confused classmates in her search for what the Doctor had ordered.
Cloudgazer meanwhile had sat sullenly; sure he was being given a foals errand. He made a half-hearted attempt to gaze over at some nearby desks for a spoon, and conveniently found one stuck with chewing gum to the underside of one of the desks. It appeared to have been there for some time. He made a move to grab it with his mouth, before noticing a fine layer of mould coating the entirety of the spoon.
Dr Whooves shot a glare over at Cloudgazer. "Hurry up, the fate of the entire universe depends on this!"
His head bobbing back and forth over the manky spoon in indecision, Cloudgazer took in the Doctor's words and turned in annoyance, shouting back: "How can a SPOON affect the universe?"
Dr Whooves started to get quite animated, and using the full force of his lungs, yelled across at Cloudgazer "TRUST ME, I'M A DOCTOR!" He paused. "SORT OF!"
Cloudgazer recoiled; Whooves was only a few metres away. He gingerly knocked the spoon off with a hoof, before nudging it to the Doctor. There was already a beaker full of steaming water in front of the Thyme Lord, Derpy standing before it looking smug. Cloudgazer scowled at her.
Dr Whooves waved his hooves over the beaker, and from his voluminous pockets plucked a little bag of tea and a sachet of milk. He poured it into the beaker, giving it a good stir with the worryingly-nasty spoon, before sniffing it, and taking a sip. "Aaaah!" he sighed, visibly relaxing.
Derpy stared quizzically at the Doctor, awaiting a diagnosis for her newfound vision problem that would likely never come.
Whooves bashfully put the tea down and passed the remains to Derpy. "Drink this!" he commanded. "It won't help, but it might make you feel better!" He then started to trot about the schoolroom, spinning a nearby globe curiously, and eyeing some of the other youngsters, who had got bored of this performance, and started to slink off in the hope of being able to leave school early. Some of the slower foals tried to climb out of the window to make their escape even faster, before realising they were on the second floor.
"Something's wrong here!" Dr Whooves announced to no-one in particular. "I sense it! Some dirty work! Are your classmates ponies or lemmings? Are they being mind controlled?" He started to wheel about the classroom, looking for any indication of a suspicious mind-control device.
Derpy, even more confused than before, slowly complied with the Doctor, carefully sipping the beaker of hot tea, before recoiling from the flavour. "It's too bitter!" she cried, mind racing to find a solution to this new conundrum. "It needs sugar! Like muffins!"
Dr Whooves shook his head at Derpy as he continued to ransack the room, opening cupboards and instantly leaping back as if monsters were about to launch themselves from the darkness out at him. "No, you can't put muffins in tea!" he called back casually.
Her eyes in a spin as she thought about this, Derpy slowly retorted "have you ever tried it? You can put muffins with anything!"
Feeling further side-lined by this bizarre series of events, Cloudgazer folded his front hooves and scowled at Derpy in exasperation. "No you can't you foal, Muffins are for eating, Biscuits are what you dip in tea!"
Yes, bide you're time Cloudgazer! Soon the secrets of Dr Whooves will be you'res!
Cloudgazer started to pound himself in the head.
Dr Whooves waved desperately to get their attention. Or anyone's attention really. "Now now!" he loudly proclaimed, staring suspiciously at the blackboard upon which some maths homework had been scrawled. "I sense some evil at work; I might have to blow up the school." He patted down his pockets, and retrieved a paperclip, a stick of butter, a lighter and a worryingly large stick of TNT.
As Whooves started to play with the dynamite, Cloudgazer felt the need to flee screaming welling up in his mind. Unfortunately before the pink foal could completely shed any pretence of malehood, Derpy's head popped up next to him.
"Nuh-huh!" Derpy exclaimed to Cloudgazer angrily. "My mom makes the best muffins ever! They're a million times better than any gross old biscuit!"
Cloudgazer recoiled in panic before he realised what Derpy was actually talking about. The Doctor's ears had immediately pricked up however.
"A million times more potent?" Whooves had turned from attaching the dynamite to the wall to stare at Derpy. "Do you happen to have one of these muffins?" He licked his lips.
Derpy's eyes lit up as the Doctor took an interest in her favourite subject. She started to bounce up and down, her wings buzzing in joy. "Yeah! A million times better! My mom makes the best muffins! Today she gave me blueberry and tomorrow she's gonna make chocolate chip! They're super sweet and fluffy and I can eat a whole dozen and still want more..." Her little face crumpled. "I already ate the ones my mom gave me today, but we have more at my house!"
Dr Whooves shook his head grimly. "There's no time. What else is in your lunchbox?"
Derpy's head fell and she nosed about her school satchel, passing Whooves the remnants of her lunchbox. "There's some celery and carrots but I don't like those much!" She offered. "But there is a cupcake, will that help save the day, Doctor?"
Dr Whooves took Derpy's cupcake and slowly bit into it, chewing thoughtfully. "Umm nummm" he replied.
It can be said that there have been numerous low points in the life of Doctor Whooves. This was a major one.
The valiant Thyme Lord, hero to millions and stealer of little foals' cupcakes then turned, fixing the dynamite securely to the wall and lighting the fuse with a flick of the lighter. As the fuse started to fizz into life, he calmly sat on the nearest stool. "Now then!" he announced in the direction of Cloudgazer. "What's in your lunchbox?"
Cloudgazer found his attention flicking between Whooves and the fizzing stick on the wall. He stammered slightly, confused. "I... I..."
Run you foal, run! He'll kill us all! You should have been faster, you could of had it all!
With a rather confusing cry of "COULD HAVE!" Cloudgazer suddenly snapped, racing with all his might to the door. His remaining classmates decided to join him, a crowd of little ponies, some screaming, some laughing, all stampeding towards the exit.
And straight into the teacher, who had just returned from a suspiciously long break.
In a panic, Cloudgazer found himself flying through the air in a tangle of limbs as he met Miss Copybook head-on. Worse than his impending explosion, he could feel his future grades plummeting as his teacher lay sprawled on the floor, getting more and more trampled by his less considerate friends.
As her classmates continued to panic, Derpy looked up at the Doctor for instructions. The Doctor looked down at her. "We're running now!" he announced, preparing to gallop for his life.
Derpy frowned and nosed Miss Copybook. She seemed to be out cold. "But if we run what about teacher?" she gasped. "Is she gonna be okay Mr Doctor?"
Dr Whooves trotted smugly over to the teacher, and poked her with his hoof. "I think you'll find that your 'teacher' is actually a vile Slitheen!" he smirked, searching through her mane. "Somewhere here there's bound to be a zip!"
With a groan, Miss Copybook slowly got to her feet, a rather embarrassed Derpy watching on as Whooves continued to try to root through her hair. Her eyes flitted nervously between the Doctor and the hissing stick of dynamite.
Whooves had no such worries. "Excuse me miss!" he exclaimed. "Did you know that you have a zip in your head?"
To Derpy and Cloudgazer's astonished horror, Dr Whooves gave a hard yank on their teacher's head. There was a sudden tearing noise sounding like the pulling of a large and unwieldy zip, and Miss Copybook seemed to split in half, her body falling away like a suit to reveal a blobby green alien mass, black eyes blinking, its misshapen head hissing as it took them in.
"So, Doc-TOR!" the creature hissed. "How unexpected!"
Cloudgazer screamed. It was an awful girly scream.
Dr Whooves flinched at the noise, and then raised an eyebrow at the alien. "Yes, I wasn't expecting to see me either!"
In response, the alien gave a loud, long farting noise.
Whooves wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Ugh. You know, I used to fight some really great villains. Quarks! Zarbi! Giant invisible spiders! But now it seems to be rather awful farting aliens. It's embarrassing more than anything! It isn't big, and it isn't clever!"
The Slitheen farted again and gurgled.
With a shake of the head, Whooves shrugged his shoulders. "You win Slitheen!" he glowered. "Actually I should call you a Raxacoricofallapatorian, assuming you are a Slitheen is pretty racist of me. But you win; me and all these fillies will leave you now, to the school that you have conquered!"
Eyeing the dynamite on the wall which was starting to burn very low, he started to shoo the remaining foals towards the door. "Come on; let's leave the nice alien to his victory!"
The Slitheen simply stood in the same spot, grinning. "Victory is mine today, Doc-TOR!" it hissed, waving its arms about in triumph.
Dr Whooves, Cloudgazer and Derpy slowly and gingerly trotted around the disgusting creature and out of the door, Derpy giving a little "Thank you" as she left. As soon as they were out of sight, they galloped in a frenzy as fast as their legs could carry them.
Racing down the corridor now, Cloudgazer could feel events spiralling out of control. The Doctor was hitting every fire alarm in the building, creating an exponential wave of panic as the entire school started to flee.
"Where are we going? The exit is this way!" Cloudgazer skidded to a halt in front of an exit sign, as Whooves bounded in the opposite way.
"No, it's obviously a Slitheen trap!" Whooves cried out. "Follow me!" With that, he leapt headlong through the nearest window. Cloudgazer and Derpy poked their heads out after him.
"That's a long way down!" Derpy whispered.
Cloudgazer nodded. "Yes, let's uh... let's take the exit."
As he ran, he tried to ignore the voice that was telling him to run faster because he was 'nearly their'.
The explosion of the school building could be heard from miles away. As the various teachers and foals picked themselves up from the ground, a few brave souls decided to explore the wreckage.
All that was left was a large smoking crater. At the bottom of the crater was a battered blue box, seemingly unharmed from the explosion.
And next to the blue box was a brown pony, who would smugly tell anyone who came near that he "knew what was going on the whole time of course!"
Later, reports would marvel at how every pony escaped the explosion, save a popular teacher by the name of Miss Copybook. These same reports would talk of a mysterious Doctor, who had vanished without explanation before the authorities had arrived at the scene. School was out forever, and both the Doctor and his blue box had gone.
And it stayed that way for nearly seven years.
The courtroom sat in silence for a while, the image of the smoking crater staying on the large display screen. Slowly the lights came back on, and all eyes turned towards the defendant's booth.
"What?" Dr Whooves threw up his hooves innocently. "I saved the day didn't I?" Somehow despite being under armed guard, he had managed to decimate the court's vending machine, and his booth was now covered in half eaten chocolate bars and crisp packets.
In contrast, the booth in which the prosecutor sat was sparkling clean. The prosecutor stood to address the court, his sharp suit complementing perfectly his jet black body and silver mane. "Fillies and gentlecolts of the High Council of Thyme Lords!" he announced grimly. "In this first piece of evidence, you have seen the terrible disregard with which Dr Whooves holds all sentient life! He is a menace not only to himself but to others!"
At this, Whooves slumped smugly in his chair. "Hah! Is that the best evidence you can dredge up? I've done far worse! I mean you could have brought up Excellon, or Varga, or..." He trailed off. "Hey, are you writing this down?"
"No!" lied the prosecutor, as he hastily scribbled on a notepad, before handing his notes to an orderly. He straightened his tie, and once more addressed the court.
"Before this day is out, the prosecution will have proved beyond doubt that Doctor Whooves is an incorrigible meddler! That he is a threat to the universe, and that this court should mete out the harshest punishment possible, I shall prove that..."
The prosecution paused in confusion. The defendant's booth was empty.
Somewhere in the courthouse, the judge's lunchbox was in terrible danger.