• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,975 Views, 412 Comments

One Mare's Worth - Equestria Buck Yeah

When Rainbow Dash's speed during a new trick turns out to be too much for her own good, she comes to realize how important she really is when she finds herself in a war-torn version of her old home.

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Chapter 10

Rainbow held the strange device in her hoof and examined it closely. There didn't seem to be anything terribly significant about it. The only thing that seemed to move at all was a small button that made the light at the tip glow blue and emit a faint buzz when pressed. Aside from the unimpressive light show, the object didn't seem to actually do anything.

"What is this thing?"

Derpy smiled softly upon seeing the object for the first time in many years. "It's a tool the Doctor used a long time ago. It helped us get out of.. one or two sticky situations. It's called a Sonic Screwdriver."

"This doesn't look like any screwdriver I've ever seen."

"Eh, it's just a name the Doctor had for it," Derpy clarified.

"What does it do?"

"A lot of things. It can disable electronics and weapons, operate them, do medical scans, activate something that accidentally messes up your vision when you play with it like a toy," Derpy said, mumbling the last part and looking away embarrassed.


"Nothing. However, the most important thing that the Doctor wanted you to use this for is to open a very specific door."

Rainbow glared at the googly-eyed pegasus. Surely she had to be joking. She wanted her to use this to open a door? If what Derpy said was true, why didn't she just give this thing to one of her field commanders or whoever and have them take it onto the field with them and do whatever it was that it did?

"Uh, why couldn't he open this door?" Rainbow asked.

"Because the TARDIS is in Canterlot under lock and key."

"TARD.. " she grunted in frustration and facehooved, "does anypony speak Equestrian anymore?"

Derpy pointed at the note in Rainbow's hoof, "Read that. It'll explain a lot of things. The Doctor told me specifically to make sure you got that if we were still fighting by the time you returned to us."

Rainbow set the Screwdriver on the bed and turned her attention to the aging papers in front of her, unfolding them carefully so as not to risk them crumbling in her hooves. She read the letter aloud.

Rainbow Dash,

If you're reading this, a few things have occurred since this was written. One, the war has gone on longer than expected. Two, I've met an unfortunate end at some point after writing this and Derpy is still hopefully alive. Three, our enemy is still alive. Lastly, you arrived at the time my TARDIS specified so many years ago and have, one way or another, found the rebellion, and are in overall good health.

The blue pegasus looked at her wings mournfully upon reading the words 'good health'. The things that made her who she was, a born flier, were malformed and useless, and she still had no idea what went wrong.

"What is up with your wings?" Derpy asked. "They're.. huge. Unnaturally so."

"I don't know what happened to them. I can't move them and when I try to, it hurts a lot."

"We can have them looked at in a bit. I'll go with you to the medical area. Anyway, go ahead and continue."

I'm sure you have numerous questions about what's going on and I will clear up as much as I can. As you're likely aware by now, we are indeed at war. Our enemy is Princess Celestia and her army.

Rainbow froze up, her jaw hitting the floor as she reread the last sentence. "What?! You're at war with the Princess?! Why?!"

"Just continue reading."

She blinked and returned to the letter.

This probably comes as a bit of a shock to you since I know you and the other Elements of Harmony were very close to the Princess at one time. I was not present when she descended into madness, but the other Elements were. If you run into one, perhaps you could speak to them about the details. It may be easier for you to hear about what happened from one of them in person rather than a from a piece of paper, provided that any of them are still alive when you read this.

As far as why she went to war, let's just say the pressures of being a ruler got to her. She began to believe that anypony who made things difficult for her in the slightest was a threat to the 'peace and security' of her kingdom. Ironic that we've been at war for years because of this. Again, your friends can give you more detail than this letter allows as they bore witness to her losing control.

I obviously cannot know what you've experienced upon arriving in the future in regards to the technology we use today. You'll find a lot of things that will likely seem rather otherworldly to you. Every piece of high-tech equipment we have is thanks to my vehicle, the TARDIS. If it has not been explained to you yet, the TARDIS is a machine in the shape of a large, blue, metal box that says 'Police Box' near the top. It is a sentient machine that can travel through space and time, and is currently sitting in Canterlot castle, likely under heavy guard.

"Wait a second," Rainbow said suspiciously, "according to this, Celestia went nuts and has access to a time machine? And what does he mean when he says it's sentient? You'll understand if I find this all a little ridiculous."

"I'm not surprised you're skeptical about all this. As far as being sentient goes, the TARDIS is about as alive as a blue metal box can be. It thinks, understands, is aware.. you get the idea. As far as Celestia goes, I know Applejack is in the compound, probably working the gardens, so you can ask her later. She is the Element of Honesty after all. She's probably the only one you'd be able to talk to about such a thing."

"Why's that?"

"Well, Twilight's been in a coma for a few years now, Pinkie Pie is away on a mission though she'll probably be back any day now, Rarity is AWOL, and Fluttershy.. well," Derpy looked at the ground sadly, "we never found her."

Rainbow's eyes widened in shock. "What do you mean?"

"Your friends had to disappear after she went off the deep end. According to what Twilight told me, when they were ready to go, Fluttershy wasn't there. They ran over to her cottage and she had gotten so scared, she barricaded herself inside her home. Obviously, she wasn't thinking clearly after everything that happened that day.

"Several years after the fighting started, we took Ponyville back and set up a base there. We found Fluttershy's cottage ransacked. There was some long-dried blood on the floor. Traces of pink hair here and there. Not much of a struggle from what we could figure. We have no idea what they did to her, but we never saw her again. Most assume she's dead."

The blue mare's heart felt as if it was going to burst. Her head slowly fell as she thought of Fluttershy's sweet smile and soulful eyes and began to weep.

Derpy closed her eyes and sighed quietly. She personally knew how hard it was to know that one of your closest friends was suddenly torn away from you and there was nothing you could do about it. After a moment, the Commander walked up to the sobbing mare and laid a hoof on her shoulder, mourning her loss.

She nodded at the letter, "There's still some more, Rainbow. Take your time, though."

"I'm sorry," she said with a sniffle.

"Don't be. It's alright."

As she waited for Rainbow to calm down, she walked to her desk and went over some of the papers she had laid out. The cyan pegasus finally wiped her eyes as clean as she could a few minutes later and continued reading.

Besides being able to travel through space and time, it's also capable of storing information. Information about things from the other worlds I've visited in my travels, like weapons for example. Before she officially declared war, she captured me and the TARDIS and teleported us away to Canterlot. Derpy and myself are the only ones capable of accessing the information, as per the TARDIS' design. Celestia used her magic and forced me into pulling up as much as she could that would help make her victory quick and decisive before Derpy and her party were able to break me and the other prisoners the Princess had taken out.

"Why didn't Celestia just use it to travel through time if she forced your friend to work the thing?" Rainbow asked.

The Commander glanced at the floor sadly as memories of Celestia's treatment of the Doctor came back to her. "Celestia came looking for your friends later that day when she lost it. I played dumb when she came up to me. I was always pretty good at playing dumb. I did have to keep the Doctor's time traveling thing a secret, after all.

"Not that much later, she went around town looking for the Doctor. It looked like she brought every last guard she had. When she asked me if I knew where he was, I told her in my typical stupid way that there were doctors at the hospital. She took the bait and went on a wild goose chase.

"I found the Doctor before she did and warned him. We didn't know exactly what she wanted, but we had our suspicions. She was an all-powerful, immortal Princess. It'd make sense if she was a little aware of what her subjects could do, like time travel. The Doctor told me to disappear and pretend I didn't know him so she couldn't hurt me if she captured him.

"I watched from behind some buildings as she dragged him to the TARDIS and made him try and use it. I wasn't aware of what he did at the time, but she flipped out and almost killed him. A couple minutes later, she teleported herself, the Doctor and the TARDIS away. I figured she brought them all to the castle. Where else would she go, right? I left Ponyville later that day and started searching for your friends. I knew they probably wanted to do something about the Princess too.

"The reason Celestia didn't use the TARDIS to jump around through time was because the first thing the Doctor did when she showed up was tell it to delete all information about time travel. She almost beat him to within an inch of his life because of it," Derpy explained, her face contorting in anger as she thought of the Princess.

She continued, "The Doctor told me about it after we broke him out some time later. He said the TARDIS spoke up and told the Princess that it'd do whatever she wanted as long as she didn't hurt him. Finding out that the TARDIS had more information stored in its system than a hundred of her libraries was just a bonus for her."

"Wait, the TARDIS spoke up?" Rainbow asked, her eyes clean again. "This is getting to be a bit much for me."

Derpy nodded, "Yes. It can talk too. It's an incredibly remarkable machine." The grey pegasus let out a chuckle. "Your friend Twilight would have simply died if she ever had the chance to meet it during peaceful times. Anyway, there's still a bit more, so go ahead."

We were able to get our hooves on a copy of what she made me write down for her and used it to make our own weaponry and set up our own bases. We also took some loot off the bodies of our fallen enemies when we could. You do what you have to, right? Despite the disadvantages we had, we were able to fight back fairly well over all these years. I hope, if the war drags on, that we continue to do so.

Unfortunately, as long as Celestia has her hooves on my TARDIS, this war can only end badly. I was about to use the self-destruct mechanism on board during Derpy's rescue mission, but your friend Twilight Sparkle whisked us away as Celestia was bearing down on us. If I had activated it, there would be no possibility that the Princess may eventually get around my security measures with her powerful magic and access whatever information she wanted to without me. While she may have been able to do this in the first place, it would have taken her far longer to figure out everything on her own. We've been forced to constantly be on the attack so as to distract her from this idea.

This is where you come in. Inside this envelope, you will find one of my most prized possessions: the Sonic Screwdriver. It's an incredibly useful tool that I'm giving to you. While it can do many, many things that you may or may not have been told about, I give it to you for one reason and one reason only. Just before Twilight Sparkle teleported us away, I locked the TARDIS using the Sonic Screwdriver. I used it to pick locks and open and close doors more than just about anything else.

If you decide to get involved in the war and our army is pushing Canterlot, provided you are there, I'm entrusting you with the task of finding the TARDIS in the castle and using the Sonic Screwdriver to get inside and tell it to activate the self-destruct mechanism. All you would need to do is push the button on the Screwdriver and wave it in front of the door and it should unlock.

When you do ask it to self-destruct, it will understand why you have my little tool. It knows that I tend not to part with it if I can help it, and nopony in Celestia's army would even know about the sequence. If you're in a bit of trouble when you get inside, the TARDIS will assist you in getting safe before starting the self-destruct sequence.

I had thought about asking it to self-destruct when I was being rescued, but I knew if I had been caught trying to do so, the Princess would have immediately made me halt it and then delete it from the system's memory banks. There's not much in existence that can destroy the TARDIS, even some of the most powerful magics.

I am asking you of all ponies to destroy the TARDIS is because I believe you are the only one who can, for several reasons. I can't have Derpy do this task because if I'm captured or killed and she is still alive, she will take over as commander of the rebel army. She will be far too busy coordinating attacks and overseeing everything, even though she knows how to work the TARDIS better than anypony else.

I can't ask Twilight, Rarity or Spike to do it since it would be a tactical disaster to break that group up for any reason. They're one of the most powerful forces on the battlefield when they're together. If I could make a dozen copies of them, this war would have been over as fast as it began.

I can't rely on Pinkie Pie because her little group is extremely good at what they do as well, mainly because of her skills in infiltration. Plus, Pinkie has a large chip on her shoulder over the Princess and would likely get distracted.

I can't have Shining Armor do it because, even though he knows the castle exceptionally well and he would be able to fight through the enemy with his powerful shield spell, he is stationed in Fillydelphia at the moment. However, if he were to return here for whatever reason, he is still one of my generals and has a lot on his plate as well.

You are a wild card in this war. If what Derpy has told me about you is true, you have the speed needed to get past the opposition quickly, the agility to avoid their attacks, you're quite strong, you've faced down powerful enemies before, and you know the castle fairly well, as you have visited there many times as an Element of Harmony. While many of the stallions and mares in our army have some of these traits, you are the complete package.

Rainbow smirked softly at the written compliment and puffed her chest out slightly. "He knows how to flatter a girl, it seems."

"The Doctor always was quite the charmer," Derpy said with a coy grin.

Rainbow continued.

While neither I nor Derpy nor anypony else can force you into fighting, I humbly beg you to help our cause. We've made some headway in the last few years and I honestly hope this letter never needs to be addressed. But if it does, that also means there's still hope. It means the resistance is still alive and Celestia can still be beaten. While I admit that asking you to destroy the TARDIS is a long shot, it's one of the best shots we've got towards putting this war to bed. Where you find the TARDIS, you'll find the Princess.

I also ask that you destroy this letter after you finish reading it. You can share what I've said to you with anypony you wish, but if the enemy were to somehow get its hooves on it, it could put the entire rebellion in jeopardy.

Equestria needs your help now more than ever, Rainbow Dash. Please help us.

The Doctor

Rainbow slowly lowered her hoof to the ground with the letter still in it. An impossibly heavy weight was suddenly on her shoulders. How does you respond to something like this? She had disappeared years ago, according to everypony she met who recognized her, only to reappear in a ravaged, twisted reflection of the world she left and almost immediately asked to jump in head first to save it. Granted, she was always ready to help her friends and Equestria. But it was different this time. Not only would she be facing weird technology that can kill a pony in an instant but also the Princess, who she loved and trusted for years.

A million things raced through Rainbow's mind as she stared vacantly, pondering the insane situation. Derpy put her hoof on her shoulder gently, barely grabbing the mare's attention. The Commander didn't need to say anything. Despite having to be strong in the face of war, she still knew how to be sympathetic, even if all that was needed was a simple, caring glance. It did little to ease the tension in the air.

Rainbow looked at the Screwdriver and the envelope sitting on Derpy's bed. She almost found herself in a trance as she gazed at her own name and the two dates, written so many years ago. Everything else in the room went black in Rainbow's eyes, save for the envelope.

"I know this is a lot to take in, Rainbow Dash. Take whatever time you need, alright?"

Her soothing voice pierced the deafening silence in the room. She had asked Rarity and Spike without any results. Though the letter didn't specifically say, she could finally find out the answer to the question that haunted her since she heard those words: 'We haven't seen you in over forty years'.

"How.. how did you know? What happened to me?"

Derpy took a deep breath. She needed to be as gentle as possible.

"On that first date on the envelope there, the TARDIS' computer screen lit up. Those two dates popped up. It told us there was a sudden temporal anomaly in the time stream, and that it would correct itself on the second date."

"Temporal.. ?"

"Basically, something went through time that either wasn't supposed to, or shouldn't have been able to," Derpy clarified. "We had muddled for a while over what could have made this happen, but nothing seemed to give us any answers. We wrote down the dates and kept them in plain sight for reference.

"One day, I happened to notice that I hadn't seen you in a while. I stopped by Sugarcube Corner for some muffins and asked Pinkie if she knew where you were. I knew she was a friend of yours, so I figured she would know. She told me how she hadn't seen you since you did some crazy trick your friends called the Rainbow Ring." Derpy shrugged, "I had never heard of it. I asked her what it was, and she told me how you were going to fly around the world so fast that you would reach your own rainbow trail, make it a gift for the whole world.

"I thought it sounded pretty cool, but couldn't fathom how you could do it. I knew your Sonic Rainboom was awesome and fast, but I didn't think you had that much speed. She told me Twilight put a couple spells on you and eventually you were able to complete it, but they hadn't seen you since. I asked her how long ago it had been, and it was a couple weeks. Right in range of that earlier date on the envelope. She mentioned that one spell was a shield of some type and the other was used to numb your.. wings.. " Derpy trailed off and blinked, a realization creeping into her mind.

"What is it?"

The gray mare slowly leaned down and looked over the injured appendages closely. "You must have been working these tremendously hard to move that fast."

"Probably. Why?"

"Working them so hard in such a short amount of time.. they must have just exploded in size. Like if you lifted weights over a long period of time, they'd get bigger. This was probably just an extreme version of that idea."

Rainbow couldn't believe what she was hearing, but it made too much sense. Was she really responsible for this? It never even occurred to her when she was drawing up the idea in her head all those years ago. She just wanted pure speed. She knew that the pain was her body's way of saying 'no more', but she didn't care. Now she could barely move her wings without wanting to scream. What kind of damage did she do to herself? Her stomach and head sank as she realized her pride and arrogance had gotten the best of her in the worst possible way.

Derpy watched as her friend fell deeper into a pit of depression and felt her own spirits sink. However, she hadn't quite finished telling her how they figured out Rainbow was the anomaly and needed to continue.

She cleared her throat. "A-Anyway, as I went back to the TARDIS, I tried to play out in my mind how in Equestria you could have caught up with your own rainbow. It would take an unfathomable amount of speed. Nothing that I knew of, at least. I told the Doctor what Pinkie said to me and asked him what he thought. He told me of a theory that basically says the faster you get to light speed, time slows down. If you really did reach light speed, I'm willing to bet that.. it looked like everything stopped for you?"

Her eyes blew open. Rainbow opened her mouth to say something, but her voice betrayed her. She could only nod at the grey mare.

"The reason everything froze in place was because the light flying through the air that lets you see everything couldn't catch you, so what you saw was the last thing that appeared to be moving before you hit light speed. While it appeared to you that the world stopped, it.. just kind of.. went on without you.

"I obviously have no idea how long you were flying that fast, but when you slowed down, you came back to us." Derpy looked at the later date on the envelope and pointed at it with Rainbow's eyes following. "That date was almost three days ago. I'll bet you ran into Spike and Rarity.. almost three days ago," she said barely over a whisper.

Rainbow stared vacantly at the floor again, taking in everything Derpy told her. She had explained it all simply enough for her to understand, despite making it sound like something Twilight would say. Spike wasn't kidding when he suggested Derpy was a lot smarter than anypony realized. She could have given the lavender unicorn a run for her bits.

"After everything Pinkie told me, the Doctor and I just.. put two and two together and realized you were what set the TARDIS off."

The words echoed in her head. She was the anomaly. The thing that shouldn't have happened. The accident. The freak. Even her wings screamed 'freak' in plain sight for all to see.

It had been many years since a fragile young mare leaned into her chest and cried.

Rainbow hung her hooves on Derpy's shoulders. The Commander wrapped her legs around the heartbroken mare's neck and caressed her mane, trying to assure her that everything was going to be OK. She couldn't help but tear up a little herself.

The distraught pegasus looked up at the sympathetic soldier when she ran out of tears to shed. The ache was still written all over her face. Derpy smiled as sweetly as her aged lips could.

"Walk with me. There's somepony I think you'd like to see."

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