• Published 1st Oct 2018
  • 989 Views, 48 Comments

Mac to the Future - Maran

Thanks to Dr. Discord's time machine, Big Mac becomes stranded in the year 1993.

  • ...


It was still dark when Big Mac's alarm awakened him. He groggily switched on his bedside lamp and dragged himself out of bed. As he went through his ordinary routine, part of him wondered if he had dreamed the conversation with his mom. However, when he descended the stairs, he heard more voices than usual.

“And then – get this – he said he felt like he'd never eaten a pear before. Can you believe it?”

“He wasn't drunk, was he?”

“No! Trust me, I would've known.”

Big Mac stepped into the kitchen, eyes wide, and observed the people within. His ma leaned with her back against the counter, holding a glass of apple juice, while his pa buttered a slice of toast and added it to a pile of food on a platter. Applejack and Apple Bloom sat at the kitchen table with plates of bacon, eggs, and toast. AJ's head was noticeably bare, since she'd started wearing a hat like her father to honor him after he had died.

“There you are!” His mother set down her glass and picked up her phone. “I checked your location from last night. You were at the mall.”

His father crossed his arms. “What were you doin' at the mall at two in the mornin', son?”

Three thoughts battled for Big Mac's attention. The first was how to answer his pa, who had craftily asked a question that didn't allow for a simple yes or no answer. The second was that the chat with his ma had not been a fabrication of his subconscious mind. The third was that not only did he have two parents, but he had two parents who understood modern technology.

Big Mac rubbed his eyes, stalling for time. “Need coffee first.”

Apple Bloom stared up at him. “When did you start drinkin' coffee?”

“Last year.”

His mother and father shared a look.

“Did you know that?” he asked her.

“Nope,” she answered.

Big Mac noticed that Granny Smith was not only absent, but a place had not been set for her at the table. “Where's Granny Smith?” he asked as he poured a mug of coffee.

“She's probably at her house gettin' ready work,” said Apple Bloom, furrowing her brow. “Why do you ask?”

“This might be a dumb question, but isn't this her house?” Big Mac pointed down for emphasis.

“Not anymore,” said Applejack.

“You know Granny and Grandpa live in the retirement community.” Their mother put her hand on Big Mac's shoulder. “You feelin' okay, Big Mac?”

Big Mac's eyes virtually bulged out of his head. “Granny . . . and Grandpa?”

“Maybe Big Mac is under some kind of mind control or memory wipe. It happened before, it can happen again,” said AJ, chewing on a strip of bacon.

Big Mac stared around the room without really perceiving anything. “Grandpa Core is alive,” he whispered. “He had a heart attack.”

His father's frown deepened. “He had a heart attack a long time ago, but he survived.”

Big Mac thought for a moment. “He must've gotten to the hospital in time.”

“Dr. Discord drove him to the hospital, Junior. You've heard the story,” said his ma, scrutinizing his face.

“But does he remember it?” AJ asked pointedly.

Big Mac took a sip of coffee, his mind spinning. He owed Dr. Discord more than he had realized.

“Eyup,” he said. “Guess my brain's still fuzzy from not gettin' enough sleep.”

“Well, you got your coffee.” His mother put her hands on her hips. “Why were you at the mall, Big McIntosh?”

Uh oh, she was calling him by his full name. He was in for it if he didn't give her a satisfying answer.

“Dr. Discord asked me to meet him there,” he said truthfully.

“Why?” asked his mother.

“He's . . . he's usin' the tour bus for an experiment, and he figured that it would be a good place to test it.”

Applejack clenched her fists. “Dang it, Big Mac! Y'all better not have messed up the paint job.”

“Never mind the paint job, AJ,” said their dad. “What did Doc do to the bus, son?”

“Uh, I don't think he wants me to tell no one.” Big Mac took a drink from his mug.

“Big McIntosh, don't make me go through your phone, 'cause I will,” his ma said sternly.

“Y'all are gonna ground him, right?” asked Bloom with a hopeful expression.

“Yes, Bloom, now finish your breakfast,” their father said patiently.

The youngest Apple grinned, clearly happy that her brother was getting punished instead of her.

“Why don't you just call Dr. Discord and ask him what he was doin'?” suggested Applejack.

“I’ve got an even better idea,” said their mom. “Big Mac, you call Dr. Discord and put him on speaker.”

Big Mac sighed. “Eyup.”

“Yo!” said Dr. Discord after Big Mac called his number.

“Hey, Doc,” Big Mac said reluctantly.

“It's funny you should call me, Big Mac. I'm on my way to your house right this moment with the tour bus!”

“Oh, good,” said AJ with a relieved smile.

“Am I on speaker phone? Good morning, Applejack! Yes, I'm returning your bus with a few improvements.”

“Hold on, Doc.” Their mother waved her hands. “If you're drivin', you shouldn't be talkin' on the phone.”

“Don't worry, Pear Butter, I'm talking hands-free,” said Dr. Discord. “I'm not that irresponsible.”

“What were you and Big Mac doin' with the bus, Doc?” asked Big Mac's dad.

“I used the tour bus as a vehicle for my temporal displacement device,” said Dr. Discord, “and I invited Big Mac to come and watch.”

“Time travel?” Apple Bloom asked at once. “Seriously?”

“I rarely do anything seriously, but yes, Apple Bloom, I built a time travel vehicle,” answered the physics teacher. “I just returned from the year 2049, in fact.”

Big Mac raised his eyebrows before putting on his best poker face (or, to be more accurate, his best game master face) and gauging his family's reactions. His youngest sister tilted her head, looking incredulous, while his middle sister smiled in amusement. His pa frowned in disapproval, and his ma rubbed her forehead as if she were developing a headache.

“You went to 2049?” Applejack’s grin grew broader as she nudged her sister. “Is Apple Bloom right about Gillion takin' over the world?”

“Ah, I don't want to spoil the future too much for anyone, but let's just say that a certain company wouldn't let me return to this time without a tracking device on my person,” answered Dr. Discord.

“Doc, stop pullin' our chains and tell us what really happened last night,” said Big Mac's father.

“I'm not pulling your chain, Bright!” replied Dr. Discord. “We certainly weren't taking this sweet 1949 bus for a joyride, I can tell you that.”

Ah, his friend was telling the truth in a way that sounded like a lie. How very like him.

His mother lowered her eyebrows. “Well, Big Mac is grounded, and I have half a mind to tell your nieces what y'all did.”

“And what does the other half say, Pear?” asked the physics teacher.

Big Mac's mom shared a meaningful stare with his dad, who nodded slightly and pointed to a card stuck to the fridge. She turned her head to peer at the card, which featured blue and yellow balloons, and she nodded back to him.

“You're doing that fake-telepathy with Bright, aren't you.” It wasn't a question.

“Eyup,” she replied.

“You know, when I said the other half, I meant the other half of your mind, not your husband.”

For the first time all morning, Big Mac's mom cracked a smile. “I know.”

“We've decided to let you off the hook if you Pinkie Promise never to do it again,” said his father.

“Eyup,” said his ma, her orange curls bouncing as she nodded.

“Pinkie Promise, hm?” said Dr. Discord. “I suppose you'll tell Pinkie if I break the promise. Oh, very well. I promise not to go on another joyride with Big Mac. Cross my heart, hope to cry, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

Suddenly, Winona began to bark from the living room.

“Hey!” yelled Big Mac's pa. “Brandy, hush!”

Big Mac arched an eyebrow. The bark certainly sounded like Winona's bark. If Big Mac's memory served him, the family dog had been named Brandy for a day before AJ had decided she looked more like a Winona. Evidently the family had agreed that she looked like a Brandy in the revised timeline.

Turning to walk into the living room, Big Mac spotted the same brown Sheltie that had been the family dog for nine years, her little white paws on the front window sill.

Shushing her, Big Mac petted her head and gazed out the window. Something shiny and blue cruised up the long gravel road to the house.

“Dr. Discord's here,” he announced.

“That's right! Incidentally, I'll need to ride with you to school,” added the teacher.

Big Mac's mom, dad, and sister headed into the living room and joined him and Winona – Brandy – making the space feel crowded.

Apple Bloom stayed in her seat with a “whatever.”

“Eyup. We'll meet you outside, Doc,” said Big Mac before ending the call.

The family, sans Apple Bloom, filed out the door to the side of the driveway, where the tour bus rolled to a stop in all of its glitter-finish glory.

Dr. Discord opened the door and stepped out. “Ta-da! The tour bus is tuned up and ready to go.” He held out his arm toward the vehicle. “I installed a new engine and defrosting system, and I added a rear view camera. Why don't you have a look?”

Brandy ran in circles around Dr. Discord, wagging her tail. He reached down, and she paused long enough for him to rub her head.

Big Mac's father tipped his hat. “Mind if I check under the hood, Doc?”

“Be my guest.” Dr. Discord waved his arm.

“I wanna go inside and take a gander at that camera,” said AJ.

“I'm comin' too,” said their mother, and the two of them stepped into the bus, AJ sitting down in the driver's seat.

Dr. Discord leaned toward Big Mac's ear and whispered, “I removed the Flux capacitor. That way your family won't accidentally travel through time.”

“Good idea,” said Big Mac. Apple Bloom was pretending not to care, but Big Mac was positive that his youngest sister would come poking around after everyone had left.

“I know. By the way, I was telling the truth about visiting the year 2049. I thought it would be nice to see the bus's centennial birthday.”

“And you didn't invite me?” Big Mac raised his eyebrows.

“Well, you know, I figured the universe couldn't handle two Big Macs at the same time,” answered his friend with a smirk.

Big Mac smiled and shook his head. “I walked right into that one.”

“You certainly did.”

“Did you really go thirty-one years into the future?”

“Of course!” Dr. Discord put his hand to his chest. “Why would I make that up?”

“I'm almost afraid to ask what's gonna happen,” said Big Mac.

“Oh, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.” His friend held up his index finger. “Except for one teensy little thing. If you ever accidentally eavesdrop on your future wife and she says she needs to part ways, don't jump to the conclusion that she's leaving you. She's just talking about quitting her job and starting her own bakery.” He shook his head. “I'm sure she means well, but she's terrible with phrasing.”

“I'll keep that in mind.” Then Big Mac hesitated. He hated to sound shallow, but he was still a typical teenage boy in some ways.

“Is she pretty?” he asked.

“See for yourself.” Dr. Discord raised his wrist, where a smooth stud was embedded into his gray skin. “Okay, Gillion, show my holos.”

Big Mac's eyes opened wide. “You let yourself get microchipped?”

“Oh, everyone's microchipped in the future. I wasn't kidding about the company wanting me to have a device on my person.” A cluster of three-dimensional images projected above his wrist. “It's not a big deal. See?” He dug his fingernail at the stud, and the holograms disappeared. Then he pulled off the stud like a scab.

Big Mac cringed.

“I can take it off and deactivated it any time I want.” Dr. Discord prodded the stud back into place in his skin. The images reappeared, and he poked a hologram of a violet-haired, pink-skinned woman. The other holograms disappeared as the woman's image grew larger. She wasn’t unattractive for a woman in her late forties. For some reason, she was holding an upside-down wedding cake. A moment later, the cake disappeared, and an older version of Big Mac phased in, his arm around the woman.

“Care to explain, Doc?” asked Big Mac.

“Again, I don't want to spoil your future for you, but if you really want to know, the upside-down wedding cake is your wife's clever idea for a divorce cake. But now it looks like you're back together. Crisis averted. You're welcome.” He chuckled. “For a moment I thought about taking you to the future so you could talk some sense into yourself. But it looks like all I had to do was warn you about the problem, the way you warned me about the wildfire.” He rubbed his chin. “Although, if I did bring you to the future, you could get a Gillion chip. That way we could facetime in 3-d.” He grinned. “What do you say, friend?”

Big Mac considered the proposal for a moment. It could be quite an adventure to travel to the future, but on the other hand, he'd just gone on an adventure. He wanted to spend a week or so in his own time before jumping to a different one. Besides, if Dr. Discord was correct about Big Mac's memories being preserved by the Flux bubble, Big Mac wanted to write down his life story before it was replaced by the alternate version.

“Nope,” he answered. “Maybe some other time.”

After all, like his friend had said, he had all the time in the world.

Author's Note:

I know Applejack says that her father gave her the hat in “Best Gift Ever,” but I started writing this epilogue before that special aired. Besides, the human characters aren't exactly the same as the pony characters, in more ways than just their species.

No matter what world they're in, Discord is a little afraid of the Pink One.

Big Mac is lucky his name isn't Big Apple or McBiggen.

I wanted to add a little brother whom Pear Butter and Bright Mac would've had if they had survived the fire, but I couldn't foreshadow and resolve this plot twist within the word limit – not without cutting other scenes that I liked, at any rate.

Comments ( 13 )

An interesting end. I would have thought Granny Smith would live with her family, given how family orientated the Apples are, maybe even Grand Pear and Winona would have kept her name.
However, it's nice that Discord gave Big Mac some advice with Sugar Belle.

I see your point. I had thought it might be awkward for two adult couples to live in the same house long-term, but if anyone could make it work, it's the Apples.

Grand Pear is still involved in their lives, but I couldn't figure out a way to work it into the conversation organically.

And yeah, Human Discord is actually giving good advice with Sugar Belle, unlike draconequus Discord. Of course, Human Discord has the advantage of knowing the future, now.

Actually three generations of a family living in the same house is historically as normal as a couple living on their own, if not more common, with the son of the elder couple/father of the youngest generation being the main provider for the family.

I concede that maybe there was no organic way of including Grand Pear as you wrote it, unless you considered Bright Mac's old man dying,

"All information will be indexed. All information that cannot be indexed will be destroyed."
—Gillion Extension 17428

In any case, lovely epilogue. Good to know Marty's kids Mac's marriage doesn't need any desperate intervention from his past self. Thank you for one heck of a ride.

This was fantastic! Okay, it helps that I'm a huge fan of the Back to the Future trilogy. Discord makes a fantastic Emmett Brown, and Big Mac is of course very different to Marty McFly, which makes for a great contrast.

I love how the Enchantment Under the Sea dance becomes the Fall Formal! I love how they don't stop at getting Pear Butter and Bright Mac back together but make plans to fix the feud between the Apples and the Pears! I love that the converse of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee is in force: we saw too much of the planned argument for it to happen the way Pear Butter planned it, and it's great how Big Mac decided to improvise a tweak on the plan (in classic Marty McFly fashion) which ended up working out better.

And then when they arrived back home and Discord asked "how many parents do you have", my heart shot into my mouth. Were you going to do a... different classic time-travel movie where the protagonist saves his dad from dying in a fire 30 years earlier? And then you really did it, and did it well: proper BttF style massively-improved future. Lovely work.

Many fun references strewn throughout as well. I remember the fun allusion to the Breakup Breakdown right at the end, but I'm sure there were plenty more throughout the fic.

Superb work, sir or madam! Thank you for writing this delightful story!

Glad you liked the ending. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in healthcare and in relationships.

Thank you! I'm pleased that you picked up on the way I played with the Unspoken Plan Guarantee trope. I had thought about just doing a straight Unspoken Plan Guarantee, but then I wouldn't have been able to show the characters establishing a rapport. Then I started writing a version of the scene in which Big Mac tries to stick to Pear Butter's plan but accidentally messes it up. However, the conflict got so into the weeds that I couldn't figure out how to give it a happy ending (which would better fit the tone of both EG and BTTF). Finally, I scrapped that scene and wrote a version where Big Mac improvises at the last minute, and it still works out smoothly. I'm glad you liked the result!

Yay! Finally! Someone writes a story where they live!^_^

It's good Big Mac won't have to live with the pain of a dead parent. I know all too well what that's like. Too well.

And lots of other people's lives turned out better too in the future. Yaaay! You did good.^_^^_^^_^^_^^_^

I'm glad you liked the ending! And my condolences for your loss.

I'm glad I finally got around to reading this one.

Just found thr story and it was a great read. Not that many back to the future stories on hefts

This was entertaining from start to end. It changes up what happen in some scenes in the original Back to the Future making it more original and unique but also follows enough of the original plotlines to feel unchanged entertaining and have some great references and callbacks. Nicely done. Would love to see a sequel.

Thank you! I'm glad I was able to blend the two series in a way that felt familiar but not too stale. I deliberately closed off the sequel hook because I didn't want the contest entry to end on a cliffhanger like the original BTTF did. But maybe after I finish the story I'm currently working on, I could start thinking about how I could write "Mac to the Future II."


Great story. Two thumbs way up. 👍👍

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