• Published 16th Oct 2012
  • 8,012 Views, 304 Comments

Alarm Clock - Meta Four



Ditzy Doo sees things nopony else can see: higher-dimensional spatial anomalies, fae creatures, and eldritch abominations. She solves problems that other ponies don’t even know exist. But now, she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

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Dr. Hooves, or, How I Learned to Start Worrying and Fear the Green (Morning Two)

The problem didn’t just go away.

“She wanted advice,
I told her I can’t help, I’m bu-u-sy.
It’s just an average daaaa—”


Ditzy trotted towards Alternating Current’s repair shop, her misbehaving alarm clock balanced on her back. She rounded a corner and was suddenly blinded by a purple light.

Cringing, she bit back a cry of pain. Then she said, her voice as neutral as she could manage, “Morning, Twilight Sparkle. You’re up earlier than usual.”

“Hiiiiiiiii, Ditzy Doo!” Twilight answered. Ditzy couldn’t see her face, as usual, but she could guess that Twilight was wearing some manner of deranged smile. “Technically I’m up much later than usual, haha! Got a new textbook on magilectronics, couldn’t stop at just one chapter, one thing led to another, and suddenly the sun was rising and I need more coffee! You know how it goes!”

“Can’t say I do, actually.” Ditzy’s sight was returning, so she looked intently at her hooves.

From the sound of hoofsteps and the direction of the light, Ditzy could tell that Twilight was circling her. “You’ve never pulled an all-night study session? You ... you’re derived! … Wait, did I just say ... Wow, I really do need more coffee. Why do you have a clock on your back?”

“What? Oh, this is just my alarm clock. It’s been acting funny lately, so I’m taking it to Alternating Current to get it repaired.”

“Ha! That’s great news!” The speed of Twilight’s hoofsteps intensified, but she didn’t move—she was prancing in place. “No, wait, that’s not what I mean! I mean that dovetails perfectly with my current field of study. I could fix this for you!”

“No, that’s okay—”

“I can use the practice, Ditzy!”

The purple light grew brighter. Even though she was looking down, Ditzy had to close her eyes to avoid being blinded again. The slight weight on her back disappeared as Twilight telekinetically picked up the alarm clock.

“I’ll fix it for free!” Twilight continued. Her hoofsteps and voice grew louder as she sidled up next to Ditzy. “And if I make it worse somehow, I’ll buy you a new one! Whaddaya say to that?!”

“Sounds ... like ... an offer I can’t refuse?”

“That’s the spirit, Ditzy, haha! Oh, speaking of magilectricity ...”

Ditzy started as Twilight threw a foreleg over her shoulder, then pulled her close enough for a conspiratorial whisper. Well, Twilight’s words weren’t quite a whisper, but they were an admirable attempt nonetheless: “Ditzy Doooo, I think you’ve got an admirer!”

“What?”

“Don’t turn, but Dr. Hooves is on the far side of the street, and he’s looking your way! He’s pretty interested, if you ask me!”

“Doctor ... Wait, is he the earth pony with the, um, stare that could cut glass?”

“Haha, sounds like you’ve already met him!” Twilight’s foreleg was no longer over Ditzy’s shoulder. It was instead nudging her in the ribs. “And you know what they say about doctors, right, Ditzy?!”

“No, I have no idea. What do they say about doctors?”

“Ummmm, I don’t know either. I was kind of hoping you knew.”

“Twilight ... this conversation is getting kind of weird.”

“Haha, yeah.” Ditzy heard the rustling of a mane—it sounded as though Twilight was shaking her head. “I think I should go and get some more coffee.” Receding hoofsteps heralded her departure. “See you later!”


Morning Two: Dr. Hooves
or
How I Learned to Start Worrying and Fear the Green


As soon as the purple light had faded to a tolerable level, Ditzy opened her eyes and turned to look behind her. Sure enough, the hourglass pony from the previous morning was staring at her intently from across the street. One of her eyes briefly met his gaze, and Dr. Hooves immediately turned and trotted down the street, whistling to himself. It wasn’t the worst attempt at feigned nonchalance Ditzy had ever seen, but it was a strong contender.

Ditzy followed him.

Dr. Hooves glanced back and broke into a full gallop.

“Hey!” Ditzy called, lifting off to pursue the doctor. She wasn’t the fastest flier, but she was clearly quicker on the wing than he was on hoof. She gained on him rapidly.

She was only a dozen feet behind him when he swerved left and ducked into an alley. Ditzy, taken completely by surprise, overshot it. She made a quick and graceless about-face and darted into the alley herself.

It was completely empty. There was no sign of Dr. Hooves, nor anything large enough to hide him. Ditzy flew to the end of the alley as quickly as she could and scanned around both corners. Still, she saw neither hide nor hair of the fleeing stallion.

“Oh, come on,” Ditzy muttered to herself. She flew higher, above the rooftops, hoping to catch some sign of Dr. Hooves from the air. The doctor continued to elude her. However, something else caught her eye, something close to Ponyville Town Hall. She scanned one last time for Dr. Hooves, in vain, then snorted and turned towards Town Hall.

As she landed, Ditzy saw her initial impression was wrong. The unusual sight wasn’t near Town Hall. It was Town Hall: one of the pillars framing the Hall’s rear entrance glowed green. To be specific, it was a sickly green with a jaundiced afterimage, hints of magenta, and an unmistakable undercurrent of saltiness—but “green” was close enough. However, the pillar’s wrongness was something more than this new color and luminescence, though Ditzy couldn’t quite put her hoof on how. Then she noticed how strangely the shadow of the adjacent pillar fell on this one.

“Ah, depth perception,” she said, “my one weakness.”

The green pillar had become inverted. The edge which should have been closest to Ditzy was now farthest away—the pillar now appeared concave rather than convex—without a single atom of the pillar being disturbed from its place.

A spatial anomaly, and green at that, Ditzy thought, and sighed. Why did it have to be green? That means tachyon radiation, and that means the cause has yet to hap—

“By the goddess, she’s right,” a voice said from behind Ditzy. “Time Turner, you really dropped the ball on this one.”

Ditzy turned and found Dr. Hooves standing behind her. His attention was focused on a boxy, metal device strapped to the barrel of his right foreleg, pointed directly at the glowing pillar.

“What?” Ditzy said. “Where did you … How did you get ...”

She noticed that his appearance had changed drastically since she last saw him. He was covered in scratches, particularly on his face. One of his eyes was black and nearly swollen shut. His mane had pieces of gravel in it, and looked as though the doctor had disheveled it, then hastily combed it back into place.

“Did you fall out of a tree and hit every branch on the way down?”

Dr. Hooves finally looked at Ditzy and smiled. “Oh, if you think I look bad, you should see the other pony.”

“You got into a fight? In the … two minutes since I last saw you?”

“Ditzy, dearest, there is a very good explanation for all of this. And all the money in the world couldn’t tempt me to deprive you of your personal journey towards that explanation.”

Ditzy glared. “Are you saying you won’t tell me … or that you don’t know yourself?”

“See, you’re already figuring it out!”

Ditzy shook her head and stepped forward. “How did you get here from that alley without me seeing you?”

“Ah ah ah.” Dr. Hooves stood firm and continued smiling. “That would be telling!”

Ditzy took a few more steps towards the doctor. “What are you doing? Why are you following me?” she asked.

“That would also be telling.”

Ditzy stepped closer. “What’s going on? What do you know about ...” She waved a hoof at the spatial anomaly on Town Hall. “... that?

That would be running a punchline into the ground.”

Ditzy stepped even closer, leveling her harshest glare at the doctor. They were now close enough that either pony could reach out and touch the other’s face with a forehoof—and Dr. Hooves did.

He pressed his hoof into Ditzy’s nose and proclaimed, “Boop!” with a giddy laugh. “That makes us even!” He then turned and galloped towards the edge of the town square, away from Town Hall and away from Ditzy. “Ta-ta!”

Stunned into inaction, Ditzy watched him for a few seconds before setting off in pursuit, again. This gave Dr. Hooves just enough of a lead to round the corner onto Stirrup Street a few seconds before Ditzy—and to completely disappear, again, in those few seconds.

Oh come on!” Ditzy shouted into the sky, before landing and bucking the air.

“Are you alright, love?” This new, cheerful voice emanated from a wall of white, brown, and blue: a massive earth pony stallion in a police uniform.

“Yes, Constable Peeler, I’m fine,” Ditzy said. “Did you see Dr. Hooves come this way?”

“No, can’t say I’ve laid eyes on the chap this fine morning. Might I inquire why you’re looking for him?”

“Oh ... I just need to ask him some questions.”

“Well, I’ll be certain keep my eyes peeled and pass your concern along to the good doctor if I run across him.” Peeler turned to leave, then froze. “What,” he said, his voice taking a tone of horror, “is that?

Ditzy followed his gaze and saw a piece of crumpled paper at the edge of town square. “Um, it looks like litter?”

“And not three feet away from a dustbin!” He picked up the litter and threw it into the trash can in question. “Shameful. Just shameful.”

“I won’t argue with that.”

“It always starts with the little rules. Littering. Leash regulations. Curfews. But it never ends there, Ditzy. If we let those hooligans get away with this, what will we ultimately get?”

“Anarchy,” Ditzy answered, her voice flat.

Anar— Yes, precisely!” Peeler beamed with satisfaction. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be off to organize a cleanup. Town Hall and its vicinity will need to be in tip-top shape for the celebration tomorrow. Good day!”

Peeler trotted into town square. Ditzy furrowed her brows in thought. A celebration tomorrow? Interesting...


“Alright, Derpy,” Cloudchaser said, looking up from the schedule before her. “Next gust is coming up.”

Ditzy pulled a mid-sized bag from the pile at her side. Holding it in place with her forehooves, she untied its drawstrings with her mouth. “Ready! Tell me when!”

“Ehhh.” Cloudchaser gave a cursory glance at her watch. “Whenevs.”

Grabbing the bag in her mouth, Ditzy emptied its contents over the side of the cloud. Cloudchaser propelled them down with a single hard flap of her wings. Below, the leaves of every tree rustled as the just-freed winds blew toward Ponyville.

Ditzy could understand why so many of her fellow pegasi considered wind seeding the most boring duty in the entire weather patrol, but she personally didn’t mind. When assigned to do the job by herself, she appreciated the time alone with her own thoughts. And when assigned to work with a partner, as was the case today, it was a good opportunity to gather information.

“Oh, yeah, Cloudchaser,” Ditzy said, “I heard about some sort of celebration tomorrow. Do you know if we’re getting time off for that?”

“Pfft. I wish. Only pony who’s getting time off is Rainbow Dash, and that’s because she insisted on decorating Town Hall herself.”

“Really? Why’d she do that?”

“Well, Sassaflash tells me the whole shindig is for Dash’s girlfriend, what’s her name ...”

“Fluttershy?”

“What?” Cloudchaser’s tone of voice, and the incredulous look she shot at Ditzy, said Are you crazy? far more clearly than words ever could. “No. Did Rainbow Dash compete against Fluttershy in that Iron Pony competition? Were Dash and Fluttershy constantly slipping away from the other racers during last year’s Running Of The Leaves? When Dash was blowing hot air about writing an autobiography, was Fluttershy the one she offered to be ‘immortalized as her friend’?”

Ditzy cocked her head to the side. “I don’t follow.”

“I’m saying that Dash is totally going out with ... with ... that cowpony from the apple farm. Applejuice or Appletini or whatever her name is.”

“Oooooh. So she’s the one this ceremony tomorrow is about?”

“That’s what I’m told. Which is weird, because miss applebucker already had a ‘This pony’s so awesome, everypony kiss her flank!’ party last year. I don’t even know what’s up with that.” Cloudchaser glanced down at her watch and immediately perked up. “Hey, look at the time! Just one more gust, and then we’ve got lunch break.”

“Ready! Tell me when!”

“It doesn’t matter, Derpy,” Cloudchaser said with a sigh. “Rocket surgery, this isn’t.”

Author's Note:

I heavily edited this chapter since originally publishing it. The edited version went live on 2 February 2015.

For historical purposes, I've preserved the original version on Gdocs, here.