... And I was having such a nice day

by Preda


“… Hold on! I can whistle!” the Doctor realized, thinking out loud. This newfound truth improved his mood quite a bit, as he continued across the empty purple-grassed plains towards his destination. The double-sun morning of Padrivole 9 gave the whole scene the strangest air of eerie serenity.

Trotting back towards the TARDIS landing site beyond the borders of the Padrivole Regency capital, the Time-Lord-turned-equine had been considering digging up the old ship’s instruction manual. After all, the whole design was meant specifically for a species that had fingers. As recent events had shown, his lack of them was becoming a significant problem.

So how would he reformat the console? Bigger, hoof-sized buttons? Mouth levers? Pedals, perhaps! Pedalling through space and time! That sounded very him.

From there, a train of thought concerning the vocal differences between ponies and humanoids was inevitable. He whistled the rest of the way to the landing site in the empty field. He pushed open the TARDIS door, holding the key between his teeth (and God knows he’ll swallow the thing one day at this rate).

The console room was empty; the Doctor had left Ditzy in the capital, meaning to let her explore for a few hours. She found the city amazing, probably because it was built for a species that could fly. For plain, silly old land-bound him, it wasn’t all that impressive. Flying is for birds, he thought. And Pegasi.

“Hi, honey, I’m home!” he said sarcastically.

Welcome, welcome!” came the response.

Wait… What?

How was your day? Break anything interesting?” the voice asked, in a mocking tone.

“… huh?” he managed, still stunned. His head was already turning wildly, trying to locate the source of the voice.

Oh, come now,” the voice continued, already with a hint of boredom, “it’s not that hard!

The Doctor was now entirely chasing his tail. This was the sort of thing that distressed him: not the impending ruination of a perfectly peaceful day, but the intrusion of a wisecracking presence inside his ship. This is what the blessed key is for, he thought.

I’m right… here!”

A… head appeared right in front of him as he turned. He staggered back in surprise. Tracing the neck, it looked as though this… goat had been behind him all along. But he’d looked! There was nothing there! Fancy that! Altered geometry.

“You’re certainly not as sharp a butter knife as I remember. Bad day, I reckon?”

Upon closer inspection, “goat” was not at all the proper term. Yes, the head was grey and goat-like enough, beard and everything. But then… there was an antler on top. And an… antelope horn next to it?

“Who are you? How did you get inside my ship?!” the Doctor asked. “Answer me!”

“Oh don’t be like that,” the figure said, turning away. “It takes one to know one, and since you’re always trespassing, why can’t I?”

Taking this opportunity, the Doctor studied the interloper in detail. What he was seeing was nothing familiar - a sort of mix-and-match chimera, with a goat head, different horns, brown feathers all over, a lion paw and eagle claw, and wings, among other things. They weren’t moving, yet the creature was floating around the console with ease. Quite amazing, really. The motions reminded him of a flying serpent he’d once met in Mongolia. Back on Earth…

“I’m The Doctor,” he said, trying a less hostile approach. “You’re in my ship, and though I appreciate your skills of… infiltration, I’d really like to know who you are. And what you want. Now!”

“Oh, you young ponies, always in a hurry like that,” the creature said. “I’ll never understand what you do with all your time.” The Doctor scowled. Young?

“Fine,” the chimera continued. “You can have this one for free. I’m Discord! Happy now? This whole conversation has lost all color!”

“Happy? No, I’m not! How did you get in here? The door was deadlock-sealed!”

“Oh, deadlock-shedlock! You put too much faith in machines, Doctor. No room for the… personal touch,” Discord said, slithering around the console. “Still, as machines go, this one’s… fascinating. What do these do?” he asked, as he started flipping switches at random.

“Stop that! You’ve no idea what you’re doing!”

“… and that’s exactly the way to go, 'innit?” The creature turned with a grin that showed little in the way of intelligence. “The day you know what you’re doing, there won’t be any surprises left,” he said as he floated around, playing with the controls.

The Doctor prepared to throw himself at the beast, tackle him, anything to stop him from blowing up the TARDIS in his idiocy. As he did, a cage dropped down around him out of nowhere; impact with the bars had been inevitable.

“What did you do? This isn’t funny; let me go! You’ll kill us both if you don’t stop!”

“You bet this isn’t funny! None of these do anything! I’ll bet they’re broken.” The dragon snapped its claws, and a large brown bag appeared behind him with a white flash. “You shouldn’t be keeping this junk. It ruins the room’s aura,” he said as he started popping off bits of the console and shoving them into the bag.

“Enough!” the Doctor shouted. With a twist of his head, he pulled his sonic screwdriver out of his coat pocket and pointed it at the cage doors, unlocking them. He burst out, jumping the small distance to the TARDIS console to inspect the damage. It was minimal. The dragon had been removing spare parts and buttons with no apparent function.

He turned to look for this mischievous intruder, and saw him at the back of the control room, going through a box of old items, childishly throwing them over his shoulder if he didn’t shove them into his bag first.

“This is your last warning, Discord! Get out now!”

His warning went unheard, however. Discord had come across an old copy of the TARDIS manual, and was looking through it with distaste.

“Fat lot of good this one did you,” he said, tossing the old book into his floating bag and throwing the bag over his shoulder. “Well, you’re certainly nothing like I expected! I thought the last of the Time Lords would have a little more spunk to him in his old age, but I’ve seen sprightlier ponyfolk at the retirement home! I’m leaving!”

The dragon opened the ship’s door and threw his bag of junk out of it before the Doctor used the console controls to shut it in front of him. He would have some answers first.

“On second thought, I think I’ll have you stay a second longer. How exactly did you board my ship? And how do you know about the Time Lords? Who are you, really?”

“Don’t be like that, old colt! I can go lots of places, and know plenty of things. Not all of them, mind you, but then that wouldn’t be fair, would it?” the creature said. This time his smile did nothing to hide the cunning malevolence in his eyes.

“That’s not an answer! Nobody can get into my ship without my say-so!”

Discord floated back to the console, seemingly intrigued by a transparent ball found among its many controls. He began toying with it as he continued. “You know better than that, Doc. I did. By your… logic, I’m either nopony or not really here! Maybe this is all a figment of your imagination.” The toying continued, and the Doctor resorted to biting Discord’s paw to keep him away from the console. The creature seemed genuinely surprised by that.

“Ow! Biting? Really? Now I know I’ll catch something from you,” he said with a pout. “And here I was about to share my great secrets with you.”

The Doctor was at the end of his patience; this idiot seemed to have no other purpose in life than to annoy others with his pointless magical trickery. “I think I’ve had enough of this conversation as it is!” He opened the door. “Get out, before I drop you into a black hole!”

“Oh, you wound me, Time Lord! You’re a positively dreadful host, you know,” Discord scoffed. “Fine, I know when I’m not welcome! I’ll leave you to your sad little existence! Au revoir!” The dragon floated out the door and into the dark, rainy hillside beyond.

The Doctor shut the door behind him and double-dealocked it for good measure, then set about examining the damage to the console. As it turned out, most pieces were replaceable or without function to begin with. It took a few minutes to get everything back in order again and clean up the spare parts that Discord had scattered everywhere.

“Now to find out where he came from.”

He turned towards the computer screen, and searched the ship’s database for “Discord,” as well as a visual match. The only result was an old statue in the Canterlot sculpture garden. That didn’t make much sense. Why did that guy have statue all the way out-

…wait! Hillside? Rainy hillside? It was a beautiful cloudless morning on Padrivole 9. And they were in a field!

He called up a view of the TARDIS exterior with great urgency. Surely enough, it showed he was on a hill outside the village of Ponyville, Equestria. And it was pouring outside, a peculiar sort of brown-colored rain.

“We’ve moved!” he whispered to himself, startled. “Can’t have moved! There was no sound! No… wild rocking about!”

He checked the controls again, more thoroughly this time. To his surprise, some details had escaped his gaze the first time. First of all, the brakes were disengaged. That explains the silent landing. Aditionally, a series of blue switches were lit up around the time rotor. Stabilizers… aaand that’s why there was no rocking.

The Doctor’s disposition worsened every second as a terrible thought began to creep into his mind. No way this could be a coincidence. He never used the brakes, or the blue stabilizers. Didn’t even know they were there until a while ago. This… “Discord” must have, against all odds, actually known what he was doing. But how?! There were a grand total of three people that could fly the TARDIS, and none were in this Universe.

This was the absolute definition of bad. A troublemaker that could bypass the deadlocked TARDIS door and hijack the ship was the sort of stuff that nightmares were made of. The Doctor called up the flight log and checked the latest entries:

[ - Cloudsdale Atrium]
[- Padrivole 9, fields outside Regency capital]
[- …redacted… DATA EXPUNGED]
[- Ponyville environs, Equestria]

No way! He’d edited the flight log as well, hiding a destination…

Who is this guy?

Name: Discord… Haven't I heard that one before?
Fact the first: He can fly the TARDIS…
Fact the second: dragonlike appearance, but chimeric and apparently in control of quite a bit of power. Does mutation exist in this Universe, an experiment gone wrong, perhaps?... No, that’s rubbish, BUT:
Addendum: He seemed to know me, so I might well be set to meet him again in the future. I need to stop meeting people like this.

That being said, questions were of secondary importance now. A big blue box coming out of nowhere in a crowded area would not go unnoticed, perception filter or not. The landing itself could have changed all of pony history, maybe more! And then there was that bag the dragon had thrown out the door. The Doctor had seen what had gone in it, it was nothing but spare junk. But then, even Time Lord junk could alter the course of entire civilizations. I have to know where we’ve been!

Fortunately, the TARDIS had some secrets that were better kept than others: race track, three-story wardrobe, a juice bar and, more importantly, a secondary log buffer for the last hundred destinations or so. It couldn’t be directly accessed on-screen, but he could take the ship right back to its last destination.

Breaks on, stabilizers off. The Doctor manned the wind-up capacitor, turned the “hot” faucet all the way to maximum, keyed the password (easier said than done with hooves), and off we go!

The rocking was back, along with the whirring sound, both of them very strong, perhaps to compensate for their brief absence. The Doctor bit down the safety rails for dear life as the room turned upside-down, shuddering violently as if it were the end times. Which it might well be, for all I know!

When the movement stopped, the Time Lord wasted to time in scrambling for the door, to emerge into… Canterlot palace?


He raced back to the monitor. It showed that this was indeed not the TARDIS's last landing site. He tried to re-initialize the ship and take himself to the intended destination, only for the whole system to bluescreen itself into a general error. Of all the worst times that could possibly-

[System restart in: T -50 minutes]

A sudden, terrifying shriek came from beyond the wooden doors, breaking the Doctor’s internal rant. Somepony was in trouble…