• Published 28th Aug 2012
  • 3,561 Views, 55 Comments

Timelords and Terror - H3ph3stus

The Doctor and Mane Six vs a Cosmic Horror

  • ...

Timelords and Terror Chapter 3

It was still dark out, likely still at some ungodly hour, not that she’d been keeping track of time. Red, angry burns criss-crossed her body, making every movement a stinging reminder of what now lurked in her forest. It had only been four hours since Zecora approached the source of a terrific explosion in her woods. A crater maybe thirty meters deep and at least a hundred across, inside it a great metal hulk smoldered and sparked, its original shape lost between crash damage and damage that appeared to be nothing less than erasure, as though large portions of it had merely ceased to exist. And from that crater a nightmare emerged. She had caught its attention with a careless step and it lunged at her. Any other pony would have been torn to shreds or worse, used. A few quick movements on her part and the cunning use of manticore-deterrent powder and she had escaped the monster.

That should have been the end of it; she should have just stayed in bed once she got home, but an hour later she heard, no, felt a voice in her mind. It was ancient and powerful, behind it a will that was beyond her ability to resist. It had been succinct almost to the point of being terse in its instructions, ‘Go here. Stop. Supplies are needed. This will do. Go. Hurry. It begins.’ She had found herself galloping through the woods at top speed, bamboo pole and bindle mutely thumping against her flank. She could feel that voice in her mind telling her where to go, assuring her that what she was going to do was right. She could feel that it believed that with all its ancient heart, that the creatures in the crater were doing something that was not only terrible, but also incredibly foolish. It was the kind of anxious worry one feels when watching two colts running through the Everfree Forest at night. Wait. The sight of the two young ones terrified her, not in and of themselves, but for the cold dread they instilled in the ancient creature in her mind. ‘The harvest begins.’ They laughed and chattered to each other, apparently excited about something. She approached the clearing with the kind of stealth and grace that only a zebra of her upbringing could muster. An attractive mare greeted the two colts, and after a brief period of conversation and posturing the mare led one of the colts off into the forest, leaving the other one with the two mares that had literally just appeared. A fleeting moment of curiosity had swept over her, just what were these mares doing out here, and with colts so young? And then the skinny mare grabbed the colt with an arm that couldn’t possibly have been attached to a pony, muffling his terrified squeal as he was hoisted into the air by a monstrous apparition. Every fiber of her being wanted to jump out and help the young one, but that ancient voice in her head had told her to wait, that the true target had not yet returned. For a moment she wholly believed that if the creature in her mind had told her heart to stop, it would, such was the fact of its authority. The colt levitated into the air, an expression of abject terror frozen on his paralyzed face, and the creatures began to use him. There was no other word for it, they didn’t kill or maim or even eat him, what they were doing was far more perverse in its nature and far more hideous in its cruelty. Swirls of glowing orange energy began to pour from the colt’s mouth and eyes, funneling into the open maws of the beasts. She had squeezed her eyes shut to spare herself the horror but could still see the writhing tendrils of life as they were wrenched from his body. She realized whatever that energy was she didn’t see it so much as she wholly perceived it. That crucial life-force was present in all her senses, she could smell it, taste it, hear it, see it; its presence broadcast right into the very center of her brain. They were pulling out his soul. The ghastly beings cackled gleefully as they absorbed the essence of a youthful pony, his previously gangly teenaged body shriveling and draining of color, his terrified eyes sinking into black pits in his skull, the expression of terror constricting into a horrid rictus of undeath. A scream tore her away from the grotesque feeding and the younger colt from before came bursting into the clearing, words of warning dying in his throat. In an act of immeasurable cruelty the stockier of the monsters batted the living corpse of the older colt at the younger one, a hideous bout of mocking laughter ensued. After a moment of allowing the foal to contemplate his dearest friend’s fate, the largest of the three monsters batted him into the clearing like a small pebble. The rage inside Zecora had built and built, and there was an unmistakable wave of jubilation when she heard the voice say ‘Attack.’ She had tossed the bindle into the air and kicked it towards the gathering of monsters. A huge plume of bold magenta smoke billowed from it as the glass jars filled with chemicals shattered and catalyzed inside the bindle. She leapt forward, hearty battle cry bellowing from her throat. She could see their evil glowing eyes through the smoke, sardonically thanking them for supplying her with such wonderful targets! The first two jabs found their marks, a cacophony of unearthly howls rang through the night, the two smaller monsters stumbling backwards clutching at their eyes. She barely dodged a wild swing from the stout one with a graceful sideways roll, coming to a stop near the battered colt. A small jab of her homemade remedy for a cockatrice encounter (never leave home without it) and the colt exploded out of the clearing and into safety. There was a voice like a thunderclap; the elder monster raised her arms, chanting aloud in a tongue that was torturous to hear. The smoke began to dissipate and lightning swirled and arced around the creature, her eyes now small suns of malevolent crimson fury. Ochre bolts of deadly lightning arced and blasted at Zecora as she fled, each near miss scalding a red line of pain on her body and blasting a glowing molten hole into the earth. The monster roared in frustration and called upon presumably stronger magic before a buzzing whoosh swept over Zecora’s head. A green blot of energy severed the monsters arm at the joint; a thick black ichor pulsed out of the wound, evaporating into a poisonous looking cloud of green-black smoke. Seemingly unfazed by the dismemberment the monster pointed into the forest and a dark red arc of energy flashed from her finger. Zecora felt the ancient voice in her head scream in pain and disappear, its absence in her mind quickly filled with abject terror. She had run faster and harder than she ever had before, only vaguely aware of the angry red burns that crisscrossed her body. She had run, hoping to Celestia that those things would not find her.

Now that she was back in her home, Zecora went about dropping various herbs and agents into a small boiling pot, cooking up an analgesic for her burns. After applying several salve-soaked bandages to her wounds, Zecora trotted over to her window, she didn’t know what was going on, but she knew that she had to tell someone; the pretty young unicorn in Ponyville perhaps? Maybe, she had Celestia’s ear after all. But all that could wait until later; she doubted that she would even make the short trek to Ponyville. She curled up on her bed, and instantly fell asleep.

Outside, something stirred.

(Dah-da-da-da/ /dah-da-da-da/ /dah-da-da-da/ /dah-da-da-da etc)


Episode 1

Time Lords and Terror: Part 3

Twilight opened up a duffle bag and began to stuff it with spell books and equipment. She had returned to her library to gather all necessary gear and inform Princess Celestia of the threat to Equestria. Spike had been less than thrilled to discover that he was once again being left behind. There was a crash from the foyer, followed by several apologies and the odd expletive from Spike.

“So I don’t get to come because it’ll be dangerous, but you’re bringing Pinkie Pie and this guy? Explain to me again how you’re coming back from this alive!” Spike said, gathering shards of something that sounded ceramic.

“I can fix this! I just need some glue…and a modular molecular re-sequencer!” The Doctor called up from the foyer.

She had given Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash two hours to pack up their necessary supplies before they regrouped at the TARDIS. The Doctor insisted that he stay behind and work on the strange little box but Twilight was leery about taking her eyes off of the eccentric stallion. He had been somewhat unenthused when Twilight literally dragged him away from the TARDIS, but any resentment disappeared when he was shown the library. As she had suspected The Doctor was first and foremost an explorer, always ecstatic to learn and discover new things. She had left The Doctor to wait in the foyer, instructing him to read a few books if he got bored while she packed. So he read them. All off them. In a matter of minutes. In a bizarre turn of events she found herself being buffeted by a battery of rapid-fire questions. She had set out this morning eager for answers and had returned with even more questions, but none of that mattered now. They were on a mission. The Doctor had somewhat returned to form since declaring his intention to hunt down the Carrionites, but even his warm smiles and jokes had an edge of ice to them now.

The Doctor peered into her room, an embarrassed smile on his face. “Sorry about the vase…and the statue, resonance frequencies and all that. Also, did you need a little book called, uh, Passions of a Troubled Clydesdale?”

Twilight jumped and stopped packing. “Wha-what?! Why did-how did you-it’s not even mine-it…*sigh*…where did you even find that?” Twilight sputtered.

“Hmmm? Oh, it was just laying around, really…inside a box…with a lock…in a closet…also with a lock-it wasn’t important, was it?” The Doctor said, hints of an apologetic smile tugging at the sides of his mouth.

Twilight sighed, a blush forming in her cheeks. “No…it wasn’t important, it was just…anyway, why do you ask?”

“Well…” he said, drawing the word out in his characteristic way. “…You see, Spike’s got that teleportation breath, which is fantastic by the way, and I was curious as to how it worked.” He entered the room and began to scratch lightly at the floor. “Good news is I may have increase his effective range by an order of magnitude!”

Twilight’s ears fluttered, she did not like where this was going. “And the bad news?”

“I may or may not have teleported your book into the heart of the, uh…sun.” He said as he put on his most charming smile. “Spike had a bit of a hiccup.”

Twilight torturously fought the urge to kick the grinning stallion until he stopped moving and she went back to packing. “Alright. Okay. That’s fine. All good-Heart of the sun?!-you should go now.”

“Yeah…I should.” He said as he backed out of the room, careful not to take his eyes off the seething mare, before adding. “By the way, I thought your essay on the connection between life and magic was brilliant! Ambient PKE fields are so much fun to work with! You’ve got an interesting study year ahead of you!”

The door telekinetically slammed shut in his face. Spike stood leaning against the wall, a nervous smile on his face. “That went…well.”

The Doctor blinked. “It did?”

“You’re not on fire.”

“I see your point.”

The door opened suddenly and Twilight stuck her head out. “Ambient PKE fields?”

Pinkie Pie bounced along the trail to Fluttershy’s cottage to say goodbye, just in case. A multitude of happy animals flew and scurried about in the area near Equestria’s kindest being. Pinkie skipped and jumped happily, even though under normal circumstances she would be saddened and even a little scared. There were monsters in the Everfree Forest. Sure, there had always been creatures in the Everfree, but these were monsters, grotesque in body and in spirit. What they had done to poor Orange Pekoe, who had always been such a nice little colt, they had hurt him body and mind, and Cherry Swirl was said to have been missing too. There was a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach that whatever deed had broken Orange Pekoe’s mind had been inflicted in full on Cherry Swirl. But none of that mattered! These monsters could be the most scariest, most powerfullest, most meanest monsters to ever eat a kitten and it wouldn’t have phased her one bit! Because in all the worlds around all the stars in all the moments of time there was one thing meaner, one thing more powerful, and one thing far and away more terrifying than they could ever hope to be; that funny stallion in his little blue box. She had sensed that Twilight had detected this in The Doctor but had yet to realize it, but Pinkie had known the second he began speaking to them. She could tell when people were telling the truth, even when they were crazy and believed every word they said she could tell that they were lying, it was like her Pinkie sense only without the niggley feelings. The Doctor had fallen straight out of the sky in a box that she suspected to be bigger on the inside and began to talk about dimensions and portals and strange sounding weapons. What’s more, he meant every word and every word of it was true. She sensed in him great anger and fury, danger, the fires of the stars and the ice of the ages; he was impossible, unstoppable, beyond imagining and yet remarkably simple. He was good, not nice or pleasant or even benign, but good nonetheless. She had sensed the fury of an angry god within him outside the hospital, a fury that could end the world if he let it. He needed them. He needed beings that by all rights should be as insects to him, but weren’t. He needed someone to care about, someone that would stop him, challenge him, love him. He needed friends, and what better than Pinkie Pie to keep an ageless alien from madness? Pinkie Pie and her friends, of course! Applejack had taken a liking to The Doctor, calling him by a pet name already, and he to her. Rainbow Dash less so, but that was more out of ego than anything; The Doctor had been almost dismissive of her at times, a slap in the face to a pony like Rainbow Dash. Twilight Sparkle was doubtlessly drawn to The Doctor; she could never stand to let a question go unanswered. How frustrating he must be for her, everything about The Doctor raised more questions, every little thing revealed, every riddle unraveled, only resulted in more questions, more mysteries, more nonsense. And underneath all that, Pinkie sensed, there was knowledge, limitless unending knowledge. That was what would ensnare Twilight, the moment she realized just what The Doctor was beneath all his nonsense she would never let him go. That worried Pinkie because, despite all his power and ability, The Doctor was running scared. There had been some event in his life, some catastrophe, that wasn’t chasing him but was also something he would never escape. Twilight would never willingly let him go, and he would never stop running.

As she made her way up the trail she heard something resembling a commotion. Around Fluttershy’s place a commotion was nothing short of extraordinary. Pinkie Pie made concerted effort to muffle her bounces, so not to alert the offending…offender. Standing in the front lawn was Fluttershy and some strange mare, she was somewhat short and stocky, and she was also sporting a painful-looking black eye. The mare appeared to be pleading with Fluttershy about something, more alarmingly Fluttershy appeared to be obstinately refusing. Fluttershy.

“C’mon! There’s a bunch of hurt little animals who need your help!” The mare pleaded.

“I-I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel right going with you. I would like for you to leave now.” Fluttershy said, her voice almost breaking the feather-soft tone she always used.

The mare took a defiant step forward, causing Fluttershy to recoil. “You listen here! I-”

“You what?” Pinkie Pie said, appearing from under a small rock beside the offending mare.

The mare leapt back, a look of dumb surprise plastered on her face. “How did you-where did…?…uuh, I was just asking Ms. Fluttershy to help me take care of some poor little animals I found in the Everfree Forest!”

Fluttershy huddled up to Pinkie, almost shaking with fear. “Pinkie she’s lying…I don’t know how I know but-”

Pinkie smiled and nodded. “You hold that thought.” She turned back to the mystery mare. “What’s your name?”

She looked taken aback, sweat beginning to form on her brow. “Uuuh! I…um…curses! Noun-verb, noun-verb…I’m Re-Ruby, uh, Shine! Yes! Ruby Shine, that’s me!”

“Mhh-hmm!” Pinkie said sweetly. “Are you sure it’s not ‘Carrionite’?”

A paroxysm of terror and shock shook the mare violently. She screamed aloud and was suddenly consumed from the outside-in by glowing orange light.

“Hmmm! Not quite what I was expecting.” She said as she turned to a flabbergasted Fluttershy. “There’s someone I think you should meet. Bring your Element of Harmony!”

Draggle streaked to and fro, arranging all the elements needed for the summoning. She nervously looked over to the cave Matron Hydia had been hiding in. The attack by the hated Hervoken and his fast-hoofed stripy friend had taken a terrible toll on Hydia; her arm had been completely severed by a Phasic-Obliterator Rune and she had been forced to use some of the life essence of the juvenile they drained to keep herself from dying. Though healed she was terribly weakened and had sent Reeka out to find more ponies to power the summoning, luckily the life essence of these creatures proved to be extremely potent, the single colt would have almost been enough to summon with had Hydia not been injured. Now Draggle swooped back and forth, stock-piling the necessary molds, fungi, and clover needed to make the medium that would give their ally form. Draggle hadn’t told Reeka, but she was beginning to doubt their plan. It seemed obvious to her that The S’Müz wasn’t interested in the Carrionite Empire, from what she’d heard from eavesdropping on her mother’s exchanges with it, it was barely even aware of them as allies. Hydia only saw its power and Reeka only saw gaining her mother’s approval, leaving Draggle to fret for the fate of the multiverse should this thing be permitted to enter it.

There was a low hissing crack and Reeka came flying from a portal, she tumbled and skidded across the ground before coming to a stop, shrill bellowing gasps emanating from her, blasting dust away from her face as she lay face-down on the ground.

“Reeka! Oh sister! What happened to you?!”

The fallen monster weakly began to levitate off the ground, winded by the sudden dematerialization. “Puh-pony…knew-knew of us. Our name!”

“What?!” Draggle exclaimed, things were going from bad to worse.

Reeka gasped, huffing for air in between sentences. “I was trying to lure a winged pony into the forest…her aura was pure and radiant, more than enough essence for mama…but one pink pony…appeared! Named our species! She knew! She knew of our kind! What else?! What could that Hervoken monster have told them?! What’s going to happen to us, sister?!”

Draggle trilled a calming spell to settle her sister’s frantic mind. “Hush now. Don’t worry. Mama’s talking with The S’Müz; soon it will be here and we will be remembered by all as the founders of the greatest empire in all of creation! I’ve collected enough ingredients for the medium, let’s go get some sentient life-force for mama!”

Reeka shrugged. “But where? The pure one I found was living on the edge of the forest, and the other ponies rarely come in here!”

“There’s still one nearby, and I’d say that we owe her a slow death!” Draggle smiled a loathsome smile, gesturing at her swollen bruised eye.

Reeka and Draggle giggled, a horrid shrill sound that cut through the forest like a knife, heard and felt by all creatures nearby. Frightened birds exploded from the treetops before falling from the sky, dead from a hundred tiny hemorrhages in their brains, their tiny life-force captured and funneled into the cave and consumed. The sisters took flight.

The Doctor followed Twilight Sparkle into the library basement. Her sudden change in attitude still confounding him somewhat. Her excitement seemed perfectly genuine, though.

“Ambient PKE fields! Ah! Why didn’t I think of it before? It makes so much sense!” She said excitedly, pulling The Doctor down the stairs. “Come on! There’s some scans I want you to take a look at!”

“So, you’re not mad?” He said carefully.

“About that trashy little book? No! It was just for a little bit of, er, entertainment. Cheap as free in any book store!” She said turning back to him. “However, it’s the thought that counts, so yes, I am still angry.”

“But it was just a silly little book! I read it! Nothing stimulating in there! Well, nothing intellectually stimulating anyway.” The Doctor said before adding. “…Actually I was quite surprised you had something like that.”

“Enough!” Twilight said, beginning to get angry again. “The point is you teleported something of mine into the center of a star without asking permission. I do not appreciate the fact that you value my opinion less than my possessions!” She said, before muttering. “And a little garbage now and then never hurt anyone…”

The Doctor smiled. “Quite right! I apologize if you got the impression that I don’t value your opinion, it’s just that when I get thinking too hard…”

“…You don’t quite think things through?” Twilight finished, looking back at him.

“Yeah, my curiosity gets away from me and…I…oh, wow.” He said, looking upon all her equipment. “Are those computers? In a magical universe?”

Before Twilight could answer he had run past her, excitedly appraising the equipment. “This is a molecularly re-sequenced crystal display…and are those runic tablets attached to the keys? What’s this?”

Twilight watched as the energetic pony darted back and forth between her computers, muttering excited exclamations to him self. “Uh, Doctor? There’s some data I would like for you to look at and…and you seem to know a lot about…things…and stuff...what are you doing?”

In front of her The Doctor was bending over next to her newest computer, fishing about in the pocket of the huge alien jacket he had tied around his neck, before producing his ‘sonic screwdriver’ in between his teeth. “Ah-HAH! Here we go…”

Twilight leapt forward, realizing he was unfastening the panel from her computer. “H-hey!”

He pulled the panel away to reveal the inner working of her computer. “Ooh! Look at you! Magnificent! Not magic instead of technology, it’s magic used as technology! Re-sequenced gemstones used to channel PKE in a way that mimics spells, reproducing the effects on a smaller scale! *gasp* Look here! You’re using a single manipulator spell to form the baseline for your computer’s entire sorting algorithm, the manipulator spell is funneled through a more specific spell subroutine to get a desired result rather than having each spell subroutine have it’s own manipulator complex! I’m loving this-oh! Hold on here…” He shot to his feet and turned around to face her. “Something’s not quite right here. This computer’s been gutted. It used to have multiple enclose spell subroutines, but now it just channels them all from one baseline manipulator spell…a homemade manipulator spell.”

Twilight’s eyes shifted around the room nervously. “Uhh, yeah. The old set up wasn’t fast enough for me. So I wrote my own base line manipulator spell and etched it into a media-crystal and re-routed all the spell subroutines into it.”

“Yeah, and you used the space saved from that to patch in more subroutines into the system; more usable data in better quality and in less time. Illegal I imagine.” The Doctor said, slowly walking closer to her.

She instinctively took a step back, The Doctor looked straight into her eyes, the eyes of a god peering into hers. “Twilight Sparkle…You enhanced your computer by yourself, replaced at least a hundred separate professionally made baseline codes with a single code of your own creation, all from your basement. You’re versed in mysticism, all the ritual and ceremonies of magic, but you’re more than adept in the fields of practical application and technology. Twilight Sparkle…you’re brilliant!”

She felt an unexpected rush of hot blood to her face; he was very close to her now, noses almost touching. “Whatever you’ve got down here…confounds you. And whatever confounds you…” he brushed past her to the display. “…Must be a doozy!”

She let out a quiet exhalation of breath as he began to examine the display; heart thundering in her chest, The Doctor clumsily tapped the keyboard. “Blasted hooves!”

Twilight stood beside him and activated the display with a telekinetic tap of the keys. It lit up, the Canterlot Computational Science Incorporated logo appeared with a jaunty theme tune. A few clicks and button presses and she recovered the data of yesterday’s storm. ‘Yesterday? Can’t believe it’s only been a day since this whole mess started!’ Twilight thought as she showed all the various graphs and gradients to The Doctor.

“Alright, so you’ve got some pretty detailed data here. What’s the problem?”

“Watch. I’m activating the storm simulation…keep your eyes on the graphs.”

The Doctor watched intently as the simulation ran its course. She watched him, gauging his reaction, waiting for him to explode in excitement or shout…or something.

“This isn’t good.” He said, his eyes conveying something remarkably close to confusion. “That’s impossible.”

Twilight beamed a smile; she was getting more and more excited to have someone around who understood all this stuff. “I know! How in Celestia’s mane did it undergo a complete mass subtraction? And that electromagnetic stuff? Impossible!”

“Oh that?” He said, casting a sideways glance and a sideways smile at her “Rudimentary. Any moderately advanced civilization worth its planet can pull that old rabbit out of the hat!”

Twilight stopped, mouth ajar. “What? That’s possible?”

The Doctor scoffed, like this was something everyone but her knew about. “Mass Carver and a non-baryonic field? Sure thing. Easy-peazy-lemon-squeezy.”

“Then what ‘isn’t good’? What’s ‘impossible’?”

The Doctor pointed at the PKE meter. “That. That shouldn’t be. See, the mass subtraction and electromagnetic deletion is all characteristic of The Void.”

Twilight looked at the display. “The Void?”

“The space between spaces…” The Doctor said, looking off into the mid-distance. “Hell, basically. The immaterial space between dimensions, hot as a star, cold as the end of time, empty yet stifling, a crushing mass of nothing.” He saw her dumbfounded face and continued. “Basically where all the nonsense and paradoxes and contradictions of the universe originate and end up. Where time and space have no meaning because time and space don’t exist. You didn’t get any mass readings or electromagnetic signatures because The Nonsense Dimension kept opening up and baffling your sensors.”

Twilight blinked and looked at the readings. “…But what about the PKE? That can only be generated by living beings. Why is there such a huge reading of psychokinetic energy in your Nothing Dimension?”

The Doctor smiled, but it was a worried kind of smile. “That’s the question isn’t it? The one worth all the marbles! Why, oh, why is there even a hint of PKE in The Void, let alone half a planet’s worth?”

Twilight tapped her chin with her hoof. “…Was it you guys? You and the Carrionites?”

The Doctor smiled and put a leg over her shoulders. “I’m flattered, really I am. No, as clever as I am I wouldn’t equal a thousandth of that reading, and the Carrionites are just adept at manipulation of the ambient fields, no real source in and of themselves.”

She nodded. “Yeah. And it was for only an instant. You and the Carrionites were drifting towards the planet for at least three hours…”

The Doctor took his arm off her back. “Is it getting warmer in here? Hmm? Anyway, we should probably get back to the TARDIS, are you done packing?”

Twilight was snapped out of thought for a moment. “Hmm? Oh! All this talk of PKE…I should get my Element of Harmony.”

“Your Element of what?”

Applejack approached the blue box, heavy saddlebags resting comfortably on her flank. This had been a strange day to say the least; she’d heard the commotion last night but didn’t bother to check it out, business preparation and all. But then this morning Pinkie Pie shows up talking about some blue-box pony, a blue-box pony that literally derailed her entire day in the span of half an hour. She didn’t regret her decision to help the Professor, she could feel in him a good heart troubled by an act of unimaginable evil, and she definitely wouldn’t stand for any more repetitions of this morning’s ordeal. Seeing what they had done to that poor colt, his parents, his friends, it made her blood boil. The Professor was fixing to make those Carrionites pay for what they did, and she was with him one-hundred-percent! It was part of what endeared him to her; she had detected an adventurous and fun-loving pony in him when she helped him to get his impossible blue box out of the ground, but when he went storming out of that hospital declaring to bring Pekoe’s assailants to justice she could not help but brand him as a friend in her mind. He’d been in Ponyville for less than a day and witnessing the injury of one of its citizens was treated like an act of war. She liked that in a pony, willing to help all who ask, and willing to right any wrongs they discover. Heroes. Ponies like that were called heroes.

“Geez! When’s Twilight bringing that weirdo back?” Rainbow Dash said, restlessly flitting back and forth in the air. “I’m good and ready to bash some monsters!”

Applejack smiled and looked over at the box. “Well, she’s probably showing him all her toys and gadgets! You said she was pulling her mane out over something yesterday, right?”

Rainbow Dash nodded, crossing her arms. “Yeah, she said that storm cloud violated a bunch of physical laws or something, techy stuff. Heh! The Doctor’s probably blithering on about some stupid sciency thing and she’s probably just eating it up with a spoon!”

Applejack laughed and nodded. “That would explain why they’re so late!” she turned her head to the sound of clattering hooves and flapping wings. “Who’s that?”

Rainbow Dash swung around and said. “Oh! It’s Pinkie Pie…and Fluttershy?”

Applejack shot to her hooves, a serious look on her face. “What?! What’s Pinkie Pie doing dragging Fluttershy into this?”

Pinkie Pie galloped towards them, a big smile on her face. “Hey guys! Guess what! Guesswhatguesswhatguesswhatguesswhat!”

“What?” Rainbow Dash and Applejack said in unison.

“One of those Carrionite thingies tried to eat Fluttershy!” Pinkie said, hopping up and down.

Rainbow Dash streaked over to Fluttershy, quickly looking up and down her. “Pinkie! That’s not funny! Oh horse apples! Are you hurt? Did that thing attack you?”

Fluttershy shook her head meekly, a scared look spreading across her features as she recalled the event. “No. This mare came calling for me to come and help some wounded animal out in the Everfree Forest. I came running out to help but when I saw her, her face, her eyes, her…everything, I just stopped. She was wrong. I can’t explain it but it was like there were…seams in her face and body, like in a dress. I could only really see them when she made an expression, or moved too quickly, it was like I could suddenly see where the parts were mended together. She started to demand that I come and help, but I couldn’t move, I was so scared. Pinkie Pie showed up just when she started to get angry. Probably saved my life.”

Applejack looked over at Pinkie Pie, who nodded enthusiastically. “All I did was say their name! Carrionite! And poof, no more monster!”

Rainbow Dash laughed and led Fluttershy to the ground. “Ha! Is that all we hafta do? Why’d The Doctor even need our help if these things are a name away from poofing?”

Pinkie Pie sat down with a thump. “Oh, it didn’t kill her! Just moved her. Probably won’t work again, she seemed so surprised when I said it.”

“How do you even-?” Rainbow Dash said before being cut off by an enthusiastic “Pinkie Sense!” from Pinkie Pie.

“…And just what do you have in this bag? Bricks?” came a voice from down the road.

Twilight and The Doctor were coming down the road, The Doctor loaded down with two bulging saddlebags. Twilight gave him a dismissive flick of her mane and said. “Books actually, spellbooks specifically. Offensive spells, healing spells, you name it, it’s in there.”

“Books…” muttered The Doctor. “Feels more like lead! Why do I have to carry your luggage?”

“Heart of the sun.” She said pithily.

“Oi! I thought you forgave me for that!”

She smiled and said. “Nooo…I said the book wasn’t important, but the fact that you didn’t ask was. Ergo, still mad at you, you carry my bags, quod erat demonstrandum.”

Applejack laughed and kicked at the air. “Hey Twilight! You tamed that stallion already? I think I may have to ask you for some pointers!”

“Hoh-hee-hoh.” The Doctor said flatly before turning to Fluttershy. “I see we have a new addition!” He said as he trotted up to her, grinning as always. “Hello! I’m The Doctor, and who might you be?”

Fluttershy turned away and muttered. “Um…I’m Fluttershy…”

He took a step forward. “Hmm…excuse me?”

She recoiled and began to shrink away. “…I’m Fluttershy…”

The Doctor craned his neck towards her. “One more time dear!”

“…Please stop shouting at me…”

Twilight rolled her eyes and said. “Doctor-Fluttershy, Fluttershy-Doctor. She’s a little…withdrawn.”

The Doctor looked at the Pegasus huddled on the ground. “Just a bit.”

The Doctor felt an impatient hoof tap his shoulder and he looked up into the face of Rainbow Dash. “Oh, hello Ms. Dash!”

“Don’t you ‘hello Ms. Dash’ me! While you two were fiddling around with each other Fluttershy here almost got eaten by one of your Carry-O-thingies! It was only because Pinkie Pie was there that she survived!”

“What? How did Pinkie Pie-?” He said before realizing what she said and spun around to Fluttershy, who once again recoiled. “My god! Are you alright? Did they take anything from you? Some hair? A personal belonging? Anything?”

“Um…no…” She said, partially hiding behind Applejack. “She wanted me to come with her into the…um, forest. But she was…um…”

“Wrong?” The Doctor said. “Like she…”

“…Had seams in her face.” They said in unison, The Doctor smiled and stood back. “Ms. Fluttershy, you’re amazing! High-power perception filter built around a psychic matrix. A crude image is projected into the mind of a living being, the brain fills in the gaps and the perception filter makes you ignore the ‘seams’. But Ms. Fluttershy here is highly perceptive, prone to see things others might miss, body language, facial expressions, the mask of a witch, you know, things like that. No wonder you’re so shy, all that information your brain picks up…must be overwhelming. I can hazard a guess that you’re good with animals and people seem to adore you immediately, correct?”

A slight blush settled in her cheeks. “Well, the first part definitely, but I don’t know about the other thing-”

“Yep!” said Rainbow Dash.

“Darn tootin’!” said Applejack

“’Cept for meaniehead Griffins!” said Pinkie Pie.

“The Doctor’s right about that!” said Twilight, giving Fluttershy a comforting smile.

“Welcome to the team, Fluttershy!” The Doctor said and cleared his throat before walking towards the TARDIS. “Alright everyone, let’s go.”

Applejack looked up and down the blue box and shot The Doctor a playful look. “Well golly Professor, it’s sure gonna be a tight fit but I think we can manage!”

Twilight bolted to the front of the pack, a look of almost torturous excitement on her face. “This I have to see, is it really…?”

The Doctor kicked open the door and a dim golden light poured out. “See for yourself!”

It was beautiful. Huge organic-looking pillars reached up at least four meters above their heads, the grated floor clicked and clanked as they walked on it. In the middle of the room was a large circular console from which a large clear tube protruded. Inside the tube were a series of clear pipes and discs, the pipes extruding from the console seemingly designed to interlock with the pipes descending from the ceiling. All around them were doors and lumps on the walls and all sorts of things that just couldn’t be inside such a tiny little box.

“I-I-I-I” Twilight stammered. “But it-there’s no way…bigger…”

“Well said Ms. Sparkle.” The Doctor said passing her by. “Find a seat, stake your claim. Gawp like spellbound chickens…Gibble-gobble-wimbly-wombly-ibble-bibble-ibble…” He turned to see Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Twilight Sparkle staring aghast at the lunacy that they were seeing. “...And don’t hear a word…”

There was a splash from somewhere inside the TARDIS followed by. “You have a pool?! See if I ever leave this place!”

“I have a pool?” The Doctor said, quietly contemplating the possible ramifications of allowing a being such as Pinkie Pie into the TARDIS. “I may have just doomed us all…oh well!”

Applejack took a few tentative steps towards the center stage of the TARDIS. “Pruh-Professor, ah mean, ah knew there was somethin’ fishy about this box but…but this is just ridiculous!”

“Yeah…” He said leaning towards her, a mischievous smile on her face. “Well that’s just me all over, isn’t it?”

Twilight followed her friend deeper into the ship, circling around the center console. “How is this even possible? This room inside that little box…”

A soaking wet Pinkie Pie came bursting from one of the doors in the wall, quickly shaking all the water off her body. “There are other rooms! One has a pool and a library!”

As Rainbow Dash dragged Fluttershy into the center stage The Doctor addressed them all. “Alright mares! This is my ship! It is called the TARDIS! That stands for-”

“Time And Relative Dimensions In Space!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Funny that you lot include conjunctions and prepositions in your acronyms, but I guess ‘TRDS’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!” The Doctor and the rest of her friends stood in dumbfounded silence. Pinkie smiled and waved at them. “Hi!”

“…Anyway…” said The Doctor. “…The reason it’s bigger on the inside is-”

“-Is that by utilizing a fourth dimensional quantum pinch the TARDIS is able to cause a time-space inversion bubble of indefinite size, proximity to the Time Vortex makes this possible as the unstable space-time fringes of the inversion bubble are constantly destroyed and recycled, causing a self sustaining pocket dimension.” said Pinkie Pie, again greeted by stunned silence and stares. “What? Do I have something in my teeth?”

“No, seriously, how do you know that Pinkie?” The Doctor said, the seriousness in his voice surprising everyone.

“I just read the manual.” Pinkie said casually.

The Doctor’s jaw dropped. “Where did you find that?!”

Pinkie smiled and pointed at the door she had emerged from earlier. “In the library, section MAN-602-7814, deep-end of the pool. Twilight, why don’t you have a pool section in your library? It makes sooo much sense!”

“MAN-602-7814…pool…have to remember that…” The Doctor said before turning back to the congregation. “Anyway. Let’s recap! There are Carrionites in the woods, they are attacking people, and they may or may not be planning to conquer the universe. We all knew that?” a round of nods and he continued “Right, enough idle fact, let’s get into cold hard speculation! When I mind-linked with Orange Pekoe I managed to glimpse his memories. The Carrionites were doing something strange, extracting some kind of energy from his friend. Now, I’m not sure but it may have been some form of psychokinetic energy. Carrionites can consume this ‘life-force’ but it’s a direct contact extraction…no glowy bits…” He paced back and forth in front of them.

“Didn’t Orange Pekoe say they were ‘storing’ Cherry Swirl?” said Rainbow Dash. “Sounds like they weren’t absorbing it, just taking it out.”

The Doctor nodded. “That’s good. Hmmm…yes that’s very good! Thank you Rainbow Dash!” Rainbow Dash smiled furtively and the Doctor went back to thinking. “Alright, so they’re storing it. For what? PKE isn’t particularly powerful, it’s useful, but there are energy sources their spells can access that can affect stars! So why? Why lure two foals into the woods and pull their souls out through their eyes?”

Applejack tapped a hoof on the floor before raising it to her chin. “Maybe it ain’t raw power they’re after? Like on the farm, splittin’ apple wood is darn near impossible with an axe, but a saw’ll sort it out in short-order!”

He smiled and snapped his hoof out before looking at it dumbly. “Oh right, no thumbs to snap…anyway, ah-HAH! You’re onto something there! There are things that PKE can do that other forms of energy can’t, so many things! That’s why it’s the go-to stuff for magic, I guess. What could they be using it for?”

Fluttershy raised a hoof. “Um, where are these creatures from exactly? Why are there only a few of them?”

“Ahh…” The Doctor said “They’re originally from another dimension, but their war with another race, the Hervoken, threatened all of reality…so the Eternals locked them away forever in a pocket dimension called the Deep Darkness, or Deep Dark to those familiar. They tried to get out once before…used Shakespeare to do it…but are they trying that here? Couldn’t be, they’d have to build a huge resonance chamber to focus the PKE into a useable stream, have to get a building permit, consult the unions…I doubt they’re trying that one again, after what happened.”

“Why? What happened?” Pinkie said her head tilted to one side.

The Doctor smiled mischievously. “Me. Well…me and William Shakespeare…J.K. Rowling helped too, I guess. They’d need a word-smith, someone who can put the right words together in the right order, put them in a big enough psychic amplifier and they can tear a hole in the universe. So they aren’t trying that, too many missing variables. What could they be using the siphoned PKE for?”

“Harmonization…” Twilight said, eyes growing wide with horror. “Doctor! PKE, what it does best, it harmonizes with other PKE fields! That’s how we use it; we harmonize our own field to draw power from the source! We always thought the source was an internal well of energy, but in reality we harmonize with the ambient PKE fields you were telling me about, pulling power straight from the surrounding life!”

He smashed his hoof against his forehead. “Of course! It was so simple I didn’t even consider it! Even the most basic psychokinetic energy manipulation requires harmonizing! But what are they harmonizing with?”

Twilight walked up to him, looking him square in the eye, terror clear on her face. “…In The Void.”

The Doctor stepped back, aghast. “No…they can’t be. Half a planet’s worth of PKE, just dumped onto Equestria.”

The two ponies stood in horrified silence and Rainbow Dash stepped forward nervously. “Hey, uh, you ponies gonna fill us in?”

Twilight sighed and turned to her friends. “Rainbow Dash, remember that PKE spike I showed you in my lab? That was from a place called The Void. If they’re planning to harmonize The Void’s PKE with Equestria’s PKE it’ll flood through and they’ll have half a planet’s worth of very flexible, very potent magical energy at their disposal.”

“But…” The Doctor continued. “…If they plan on harmonizing the life-force they gathered with The Void PKE, the process would give an alternate PKE field access to Equestria’s field. The alien PKE field is half the magnitude of Equestria’s, but if harnessed and controlled as they no doubt hope to do, it could convert and absorb all of Equestria’s PKE into itself. Quite literally sucking the life out of the planet.”

A collective gasp rose from the ponies, Applejack shot to her hooves. “So what do we do Professor?”

“First…” The Doctor said, making his way over to the center console. “We need to pay a stripy friend a visit, or rather, pay her friend a visit.”

Zecora’s eyes fluttered open. It was light out, late morning judging by the soft quality of the light. She groaned and began to stretch, stopped suddenly by the dozen different streaks of pain that lined her body. She looked over her body, her even symmetrical stripes broken up by crisscrossing strips of bandages.

“It seems that not all of last night was a dream…” she said, sighing. “…Once again things are not as they seem.”

She groaned softly as she rose to her hooves, the several burns pinching and pulling as their bandages shifted. The sleepy zebra made her way over to her pantry, stomach growling. Suddenly, something out of the side of her eye moved, something outside the window. She snapped her head around, quietly cursing as one of the burns on her neck screamed in protest. It had been there for just an instant, something thin, dark, and unnatural. She grabbed her bamboo staff and loaded its tip with something significantly more toxic than manticore-deterrent powder.

“Show yourself, demon scum!” She said, bursting out of the hut. “If I were you, I would run!”

Nothing. There was nothing outside save the birds, the insects, the flowers and trees, and one slightly embarrassed zebra. Zecora shook her head and began to walk back indoors. There was a strange noise. A whining whirling sound that caused a chill to race up her spine. A breeze began to kick up, impossible as the trees around her showed no signs of wind, the breeze seemingly coming from a point in front of her and radiating out. The air was warm, electric; energy ran through it and gave it an unearthly flavor. Suddenly a bright light began to flash, hang in the air it flashed and pulsed steadily with the rise and recession of the wonderful whirling sound. Around the light a box began to form, first only a transparent outline, then it began to take substance, color, losing the transparency. Before her was a blue box, approximately twice as tall as her, made of what seemed to be wood with the words ‘police call box’ written on all the sides on an extruding crest near the top. The door opened and out stepped a tall, slender brown stallion with a wild brown mane and what appeared to be an enormous jacket tied around his neck and shoulders.

“Even with hooves I can park this thing inside a teacup!” The stallion said, a laugh in his voice. “Oh, hello! You must be…noun-verb noun-verb…Pinstripe, er, Mohawk?”

“Zecora.” She said, internally impressed with how calm she sounded. “And you?”

He stepped out of the box, revealing an impossibly large space inside. “I’m The Doctor, and I’d like to ask you if you’ve seen anything out of the ordinary in the past few hours.”

‘Out of the ordinary, he says!’ Zecora thought to herself, contemplating the impossibility of what she was seeing.

Twilight Sparkle came walking out of the box, followed by Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy. Twilight walked up to Zecora, the stain of worry on her face. “Zecora! Thank goodness you’re safe! The Doctor seems to think that you know something about the colts that were attacked late last night! Oh! By Celestia’s mane! What happened to you, how did you get all those bandages?”

“The colt!” Zecora quickly turned to Twilight, a hopeful look on her face. “He made it back?”

The Doctor nodded and signaled her over to him. “Yes, he made it out and is in the Ponyville hospital. However, I saw a few things in his mind, you for one.”

Zecora sighed in relief. “I am just glad he made it out. To be honest, I had my doubts.”

“Indeed, you hit him with a pretty sharp stimulant; only thing that would get him running at that point really, very quick thinking on your part.” The Doctor said quickly casting an eye over her bandaged body. “Quick moving too. Those are burns from near misses, lightning correct?”

“Indeed they are from lightning’s kisses, though they do not feel much like misses.” Zecora said, emphasizing a flinch as she raised a bandaged leg.

“Do you always do that?” The Doctor muttered.

“Do what?”

“Rhyme, rhyme your sentences?”

Twilight drew The Doctor’s attention with a stomp from her hoof. “Not really important, Doctor! End of the world, remember?”

“Right, right…” He turned to the rest of the ponies and pointed at Zecora. “From what I’ve been able to glean from Orange Pekoe’s memory of the event, Zecora here fought three Carrionites to a standstill with a bit of wood and a smoke bomb.”

A wave of congratulations rose from the crowd, Twilight stepping forward. “Wow Zecora! That’s amazing!”

“Impossible, actually.” The Doctor said glibly. “What I saw in his memories was two novices and a coven matron, the latter of which is millions of years old. She should have killed you ten different ways from Sunday before the smoke bomb even landed! You had help.”

Zecora nodded, realization dawning on her face. “Yes, yes! This is true! The ancient one helped me too!”

“Ancient one?” He said, raising an eyebrow.

“There was a voice from beyond time, it spoke of worlds far from mine. It showed me where the monsters were, and attacked one badly wounding her!” Zecora said, a hint of a smile on her face.

“This ‘Ancient One’ you heard was using you as a distraction, casting a high powered confusion spell around you, so when you attacked the Carrionites could barely hit the broad side of a barn!” The Doctor said. “What happened after you attacked?”

Zecora paused for a moment; this was the worrisome part. “The elder monster was attacking me, rage in her eyes I could clearly see. But before I could come to harm, the Ancient One severed her arm!” She sighed and kicked at the ground. “The elder monster was far from dead, and then there was a scream inside my head.”

“Hmm…the attack didn’t go quite as well as hoped.” The Doctor spun around, turning to face the forest. “Did it?”

“The fault is yours, Time Lord,” said a booming ancient voice “You interfered.”

“Fillies…” The Doctor said carefully. “Meet Mr. Ancient. A Hervoken warrior.”

From the forest came a creature unlike anything they’d ever seen. It was at least three meters tall and impossibly thin, its body a long cylinder 20 centimeters wide with long thin arms and legs extruding from it. Atop the thin stick-like body was an enormous head over half a meter wide. It was a pale flesh color, with wrinkles and creases that made it look very much like a rotted pumpkin. Its eyes were sunken in pits of black flesh, a single tiny surface inside glistening wetly, they could see this wet area move and wiggle about as the creature looked back and forth between the ponies. Its wide, gaping mouth curled up at the edges, giving it a cruel grin-like expression that was exacerbated by the rows upon rows of triangular shark-like teeth.

“You were in the ship that fired on my TARDIS!” The Doctor exclaimed indignantly. “Mussed up the paint job something fierce!”

The creature gesticulated with one hand as its mouth moved, a voice emanating from the display. “Time Lord appeared at worst time. Damaged my ship. Saved theirs.”

The Doctor frowned and stepped forward. “Hold on then! You were firing fractional-c accelerated Z-Neutrino filaments inside an inter-dimensional threshold! If you had destroyed that ship, the resulting explosion would have collapsed the entire Deep Darkness! Both your races would have been destroyed!”

“Necessary.” he said as a deep gurgle was heard emanating from his mouth, causing him to double over in pain.

The Doctor’s expression suddenly became very serious. “Now what could make a soldier deem the destruction of his sovereign nation, his very race, necessary?”

The Hervoken had a single massive hand clutched around the upper section of his body, a dark green ichor leaking through his fingers. He had the other hand pointed at The Doctor, his hands and fingers together nearly a meter long. “Time Lord. You interfered. Would have destroyed them if not for you. You will stop them. You will stop The S’Müz.”

Rainbow Dash leapt forward, a fierce expression on her face. “What are you talking about beanpole?! What’s the ‘Smooze’?”

The large head swiveled and looked at Rainbow Dash, who stood her ground, garnering a curious head tilt from the Hervoken. “Time Lord ship psychic circuits insufficient for translation. Cannot explain. Time Lord will take charm. Will discover for him self. Now leave.”

The Hervoken produced a small beige cube with runic symbols inscribed on the sides and levitated it to The Doctor; The Doctor put the charm into his pocket and shook his head. “We won’t leave you. You’re injured.”

“Dying.” He said tersely. “Leave now, they come.”

From down the road came a horrible cackling, birds exploded from the treetops in fright and animals were sent running. They could see them now, flying low over the road were two Carrionites. Their arms spread wide open and their tooth filled maws voraciously opening and shutting. They were unbelievably fast, closing the distance between them and the congregation in a matter of seconds.

“Look what we have here, Reeka! A whole herd of ponies!” The skinny Carrionite crowed.

The stout Carrionite chuckled, a low horrid sound. “And look Draggle! Our Hervoken friend! How lovely, we get to bring mama his head!”

The Hervoken roared and sent a weakly glowing blob of green energy streaking towards the Carrionites, the strain of which forced him to his knees. The stout one cackled and swatted the attack, causing it to disperse and evanesce. “Looks like mama’s attack hit its mark! I think I’ll just squeeze the life out of you for all the trouble you’ve caused!”

She floated down to the kneeling warrior until Rainbow Dash flashed in front of her. “Carrionite!” she bellowed.

Reeka laughed and swatted the blue Pegasus out of her way. “Idiotic sub-creatures! That only works once!”

“Okay then!” Rainbow Dash said as she tumbled through the air. “How about this?!” She spun in the air and exploded into the sky at top speed, dropping down an instant later onto the Carrionite at near sonic speeds, planting both hind hooves squarely on the back of the Carrionite’s neck, sending the monster plummeting to the ground. “That works every time!”

Rainbow Dash dodged a swipe from Draggle and planted a solid hoof under her pointed chin, causing her head to snap back violently. Rainbow Dash streaked away as the two Carrionites floated dazedly in the air, groaning.

Applejack produced two lassos and called out to Rainbow Dash. “Dash! Double doggy corral!”

Rainbow Dash nodded and swooped by, snatching a lasso from Applejack. Applejack used her expertise to deftly set a lasso around Reeka’s neck, while Rainbow Dash hooked Draggle. Both ponies then sped a distance away, rope in their mouths and then streaked back towards the monsters at their fastest possible speeds. Applejack leapt, powerful workhorse legs propelling her high into the air. As she and Rainbow Dash passed each other in midair, they switched ropes, smashing Reeka and Draggle’s heads together with a sharp *CRACK*. The two fillies then ran in opposite directions around the dazed Carrionites, coiling the ropes around them tighter and tighter.

“Ha!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash, clopping hooves with Applejack. “Some threat you turned out to be! You’re just a bunch of ugly bird-brains!”

Reeka screamed and tore through the ropes, rage radiating from her glowing crimson eyes. “Ugly?! Coming from a filthy little quadruped?! RAAAAAAAAGGGHHH!!!”

Reeka raised her hands and began to chant aloud in a tongue torturous to hear. Lightning swirled about her and arced towards the group of ponies. The deadly bolt was deflected and was sent swirling into the forest, obliterating a tree. Twilight Sparkle stepped forward, her horn glowing. The enraged witch continued to blast the barrier, the opaque purple bubble becoming more and more clear with each hit.

“Quick! Everyone get into the TARDIS!” Twilight shouted. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up!”

Reeka bellowed with fury and raised her arms into the air; above her a ball began to form. It was of the purest black shade, almost like it was eating the light around it.

Draggle reached out to her sister. “Reeka! Stop! You’ve never done this one before!”

Reeka growled in effort and the ball of absolute darkness grew, a blood red glow outlining it. “Piss off Draggle! I’m going to kill these pesky little ponies once and for all! After they’re gone, we’ll just raid the town and get all the life force we want!”

Just as the Carrionite was about to throw the ball of black energy onto Twilight’s failing shield the Hervoken bolted to his feet. At the tip of one of his long, ghoulish fingers floated a glowing runic symbol written in his own dark green blood. He let out one last roar and the symbol lanced towards Reeka, impacting her energy ball dead in the center. The ball began to collapse in on itself, becoming ragged and unstable around the edges. Reeka screamed in terror as all light within a hundred meters imploded in on her. Twilight screamed as the world bled away, all light was being pulled into the unstable singularity. The last thing she could see was a massive hand swinging towards her, as darkness surrounded her she felt her self get picked up by the midsection and thrown with massive force. She bounced painfully off of a grated metal surface and was caught by a mass of bodies and hooves. Suddenly she could see again, the dim golden light inside the TARDIS illuminating the faces of her friends.

“Huh? What happened?”

“The Hervoken threw you inside and closed the door.” said Fluttershy, a saddened look on her face.

Outside the TARDIS there was a muffled explosion and the slightest of tremors. Twilight rushed towards the door, only to have The Doctor stop her. “Hold on Twilight! Just let me land the TARDIS farther away.”

There was the familiar *clunk* of the TARDIS landing and Twilight rushed out of the door. Huge clouds of dust hung in the air, swirling about on the violent winds kicked up by the explosion. Towering above the Everfree Forest was a massive mushroom cloud, billowing smoke from the myriad fires joining the larger cloud as it climbed into the air.

“That broke a few windows in Ponyville!” The Doctor exclaimed as her exited the TARDIS and stood beside Twilight. “He saved you, didn’t have to but he did. That’s very unusual for a Hervoken, for them to give a toss. Usually they’d just do as they do, regardless of who gets hurt along the way, not evil or cruel, just…callous.”

Zecora exited the TARDIS, a look of horror on her face. “By the ancient gods of my tribe! Is there a chance that he is still alive?”

“Very lazy rhyme…” muttered The Doctor. “…And no, he took them with him. An unstable singularity spell, that’s deadly in the hands of an expert and just plain dangerous in the hands of a novice. Everything that was within thirty meters of that witch is now either smashed, on fire, or both…sorry about your house, Zecora.”

She shook her head, a look of sadness spreading across her features. “The noble Hervoken knew just what to do, I can only pray for the same from you.” She tapped the pocket holding the charm cube. “There is more to it than you assume, the Hervoken deemed it certain doom. If we are to complete his task, we must act now and we must act fast.”

“You’re gonna be an absolute joy to have around, Zecora!” The Doctor said, a broad smile on his face. “Right! Into the TARDIS, we’ve got work to do!”

Twilight sighed as she tore her gaze away from the devastation. “What are we going to do?”

The Doctor produced the charm cube and handed it to Zecora. “Just a little black magic. This is a summoning charm, all we need to know is right here.”

Inside the TARDIS The Doctor tapped his hoof impatiently. “C’mon! We don’t have all millennium!”

Pinkie Pie appeared, a large metal pot in her mouth. “I got the cauldron!”

Applejack unstrapped her saddlebag and spilled out various different mushrooms. “Ah got yer fungus! I thought we was summonin’ a monster, not makin’ a salad!”

Rainbow Dash flew down from the attic. “I got the mortar and pestle, as well as the salt.”

Zecora set down a bowlful of leaves and herbs. “The herbs you requested for your spell, more or less, er, just as well.”

The Doctor shot her a look. “What couldn’t you find?”

“The clover. I don’t know why I could not find some, where clover grew there now is none!”

Twilight went around collecting a small lock of hair from everyone and Fluttershy returned from outside with a small bucket of powdered clay.

The Doctor clopped his hooves together. “Alright, lets begin! Pinkie Pie, you heat up the water. Applejack, you and Rainbow Dash make the conference medium with the fungus and salt. Twilight and Fluttershy, you grind up the hair in the mortar and pestle and mix it in with the clay for the sigil paste. Zecora, you grind up the herbs and put them in the cauldron when the water is steaming but not boiling. You all got that?” They nodded. “Good, now get to it!”

The Doctor sat an contemplated the charm, the side he was reading was titled ‘conference’, the ingredients and ritual directions all listed in glib, frank detail. “This thing reads like stereo instructions…or a cook book…” He muttered as he turned around, seeing that all the ponies had completed their tasks. “Okay! Gather ‘round the cauldron everybody-er-pony! Zecora will be passing each of you a small square of paper, when the charm projects the sigil into the air you set the paper on the sigil and trace it with the sigil paste. Okay, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, pour the conference medium into the pot if you would.”

The two ponies quickly and quietly emptied the mashed mushrooms and salt into the pot, the murky herb filled water taking on a pregnant, almost muddy quality. They stood back as The Doctor picked up the charm in his mouth and spat it into the thickened water. There was a brief pause before a brilliant golden glow began to emanate from the water. There was a low humming as the glow intensified, getting closer and closer to the surface. The charm cube broke the surface, a the brilliant golden yellow glow now replaced with a darker harvest moon orange, it flashed and several lines of text appeared in front of The Doctor.

“Ooh…” he muttered “Uh-oh.”

Twilight shot The Doctor a worried look. “What’s giving us ‘uh-oh’?”

“Ancient Hervoken spell chant, words and cadence congregate to harmonize and focus PKE. I don’t think I’ll be able to hit some of these notes though, not with these vocal chords.” He said, looking up at his companions. “Which one of you has the best singing voice?”

They all looked at Fluttershy, who looked over her shoulder before realizing who they meant. “Who me?”

“You have a beautiful voice Fluttershy.” Twilight said, an encouraging smile on her face. “And right now we need you to sing.”

The Doctor walked over and smiled broadly at her. “There are some notes in this incantation that require some very high pitches, it’s important that we hit them or all or…um…our faces might melt.”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened in panic, she began to stammer. “O-oh I don’t know…I can’t read those notes! What if I mess up? What if I can’t reach the notes?”

The Doctor made a ‘hushing’ noise with his hoof, a calming expression on his handsome face. “Fluttershy…sing, high as you please.”

She looked around at all her friend’s supportive faces; Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Zecora, and The Doctor, all of them were counting on her. She began a brief cadence of lower notes before ascending into the higher ones. The Doctor put his hooves on her shoulders, causing her to falter.

He smiled and patted her shoulder. “Fluttershy, I need you to keep singing no matter what happens.”

“D-Doctor I-” She began before he cut her off.

“Do you trust me?”

She looked into his eyes, his ancient weathered eyes. She’d only known this stallion for a little over an hour, how could she possibly trust him? And yet, looking into his eyes she felt that trusting in him wasn’t like trusting other ponies, but rather it was like trusting in the natural constants. You could trust the stars to sparkle, the tide to ebb and flow, the sun to shine, and you could trust The Doctor to do…whatever.

She nodded. “I trust you Doctor.”

She picked up where she had left off, middle of the scale, just now getting into what she knew deep down set her apart from other ponies; the notes that could add a whole other dimension to a musical piece, not notes to be dwelled on or sung outright, they were far too subtle and delicate for that, but notes to briefly touch upon to give depth to the listeners experience. She noticed that The Doctor was slowly getting closer, moving his mouth closer to hers, and opening it to match hers. As she entered the rare and wonderful musical notes their lips touched, he held his mouth against hers, gentle and delicate but firm and strong, it was a kiss borne of experience, centuries of experience. As he had instructed she continued singing, his mouth over hers as he inhaled her music. Upon hitting the highest note he broke the kiss, stepping back with his eyes closed, as though concentrating on something. Fluttershy sat down with a sigh, a dizzy buzz in her head and a hot rush in her cheeks that could have been caused by singing for an extended period.

“That-” The Doctor said before stopping and clearing his throat, Fluttershy’s voice coming out of his mouth the next time he spoke. “That was just perfect, thank you Ms. Fluttershy…ooh! I sound so pretty!”

The other ponies stared at him, Twilight looking at least a little angry, he answered in his normal voice. “What? I needed direct soundwave contact with my vocal chords to re-modulate them to the appropriate pitches. No harm done, right Ms. Fluttershy?”

“…Huh? No…n-none at all.” She said, a red flush still in her cheeks.

“See? Everypony’s happy!” He said, the smile on his face spreading to all but one of the ponies, a unicorn.

“Happy!” Fluttershy said, a giggle in her voice.

They all sat around the cauldron. The Doctor looked at the notes and runic symbols and began the chant. As he chanted the charm cube began to glow brighter and rise above the surface of the muddy liquid. He continued, hitting the necessary pitches and pronouncing the right words, the stream of magical incantations rolled off his tongue in a bizarre amalgam of his and Fluttershy’s voices. The charm cube became extremely bright, and yet no matter how brilliant it got it wasn’t hard to see, the light around it being only present in their minds. There was a sharp crackling noise and a series of ancient and complex sigils of manifested light appeared in the air in front of each pony.

“Paper, everyone!” The Doctor said. “Just touch it to the sigil lightly, and don’t get too close!”

Each pony put their small patch of paper over each sigil, the slightest touch and the paper was sucked onto the glowing glyph, shining through the paper.

“Sigil paste!” The Doctor commanded.

They dipped their wide set paintbrushes into the liquid hair-clay paste and, taking a brush in their mouths, began to trace the sigils. “Get it on thick! Until you can’t see the sigil light anymore!”

After a minute of pasting each pony stood back. The sigils burst into flame, the paper reduced to ash and smoke, until only the now hardened paste remained. The sigils glowed brightly and began to descend, setting down on the surface of the water inside the cauldron. There was a hiss and a crackle as the apparently hot clay set down on the water, an ominous low-pitched whirring sound started. It was deafening while being barely audible, the sigils and the charm cube began to spin. The water in the cauldron began to spin along with it, but rather than spinning and forming a whirlpool, the water began to climb out of the cauldron in a spinning column. As the spinning intensified so too did the humming, wind now whipping away from the cauldron. The water column reached up and touched the spinning charm cube, wrapping around it and forming a ball. Soon, all the grey-green water had levitated up from the now empty cauldron and had formed a large spinning ball. The glowing sigils that were now spinning in the bottom of the cauldron began to arise, they themselves no longer recognizable as individual symbols, but were now a humming ring of swirling golden light. They rose up until they were equatorial with the grey-green orb floating in the air; the humming reached a fever pitch until.


Followed by.

You are not hydia.

The ponies screamed in abject horror and froze. Every fiber of their beings responded with revulsion to the offending sound. Deep, booming, dissonant. It was a billion different voices in a billion different tones, a low flanging and echo present in its ominous timbre. There was so much within and yet there was nothing. It was empty and cold. To hear it was to feel ones mind begin to fray and freeze, shatter and burn. It was an absurdity in every meaning of the word. It was contrary. It was other. It was the voice of The Void.

Tiny points of light. You fumble in the haze of your world, ignorant, uncomprehending. You gaze upon our brilliance, and are silenced.

The Doctor cleared his throat; a terrified Fluttershy huddled about his feet. “Hello. I’m The Doctor. You must be The S’Müz.”

A designation. Given to us to honor a thief, unworthy of our majesty.

“I see…” The Doctor said. “As I recall… S’Müz was a great Carrionite empress and military leader, not a thief.”

All Small ones are thieves. The Light that allows your atomic constructs to function is stolen from us. Your worlds are tenebrous with unused light, an ambient fog that continuously convalesces as other small ones. You created a cycle that prevents its return. You are thieves.

“You…you’re talking about PKE, aren’t you?”

You sully it enough with your existence, your petty labels are utterly incapable of expressing the luminescent essence of The Light. There can be no other recourse, The Light must be liberated, The Light must return to the True Plane.

“Liberated? Return to the True Plane? You intend to remove all the P-er, The Light from this dimension and return it to The Void?” The Doctor said with increasing horror.

The Void? An apt title; it is unpolluted by matter and force fields. The Light must return. Its magnificence is tainted by your crude utilization; you pervert it and misuse it. It must be liberated from all planes of existence.

“And the Carrionites are actually helping you to do this?”

I am the liberator, the Carrionites hear that which they wish to hear.

The Doctor sighed. “Liberator. Yes I can see how that could be misleading.” He stroked a catatonic Fluttershy’s mane. “Funny thing though, and I’m afraid it’s less ‘Dalek and an Ice Warrior walk into a bar, ha-ha!’ funny and more ‘it’s never going to happen, you stupid cosmic horror you’ funny! Because for all your scary, flanging, Voice Of Legion posturing, the PKE-oh, excuse me- The Light of this universe, and all other universes for that matter, is staying right. Where. It. Is.”


“Well you see, I’m The Doctor and these-” he said gesturing to the ponies around him “-Are my friends. And we’re going to stop you. Understood?”

This exchange is over.

The water anticlimactically dropped out of the air and splashed all of the ponies with warm, putrid water. All of them bolted upright, gasping.

“It hung up on me.” The Doctor said indignantly. “How rude.”