• Published 17th Jan 2013
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The Adventures of Doctor Whooves: Series 1 - Time Pony Victorious



The Doctor, fresh off his regeneration, sets off in this strange world with ponies and mythical creatures with his TARDIS onwards and upwards to see the universe.

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Jenny, the Time Lady

The Changeling Hive

Time Unknown

The Doctor and Applejack strode into the changeling Hive, which was filled with renewed energy as dozens upon hundreds of changelings milled about, staring at the pony strangers but not daring to get any closer. These changelings literally appeared from nowhere, as if they were a part of the architecture itself, which wouldn’t be too hard to believe. The deeper they ventured into this Hive, the older and more… organic the corridors became.

The walls resembled aged moss that slithered and crawled. There was even a peculiar scent, oddly enough it didn’t coincide with how gross everything else seemed, the scent was more like a bountiful bouquet of flowers, a strange smell to find on the moon. The Doctor looked around, like in the first room there were pods filled with dozens of Changelings hanging from the ceiling. A shudder rolled down his back, the image of the upside down Changelings disturbingly resembled the Silent.

There were a few things the Doctor noticed as they walked down these halls. The Changelings weren’t nearly as aggressive as Applejack had suggested from her last encounter with them. They were lankly, thinner than even the Doctor. Their faces were sunken in and their buggy eyes protruded more than usual. They didn’t look like a race that was accustomed to war.

From Applejack’s description, these lot were supposed to be a “take-no-prisoners” type of creatures. If someone threatened an entire kingdom, concocting a convoluted plan that involved tricking and seducing a guard pony that more than earned the right to be called dangerous and cunning. But these Changelings were quick to accept the Doctor and Applejack rather than kill or even assimilate them.

According to Twilight, the Changeling’s shapeshifting capabilities were beyond unicorn magic. They could shapeshift after touching somepony, a powerful Changeling, like Queen Chrysalis, could shapeshift after a single glance. It would’ve been easy for a shapeshifting race to infiltrate the pony’s ranks and destroy them from the inside out.

So why hadn’t they?

The Doctor glanced at Applejack. Despite how uneasy she was at the prospect of diplomacy with the Changelings, she seemed quite comfortable. She walked with confidence, unafraid to look the Changelings in the eyes. But a perceptive pony could notice the slight tremor of her lips, the subtle hesitation in her step, how she uneasily shifted her gaze.

She was nervous and she had a perfect right to be.

Patting her on the back, the Doctor offered her a small smile.

“Brave heart, Applejack,” he said.

Applejack frowned, tilting her head. “What does he 'ave ta do with any of this?”

The Doctor shook his head, stifling a smile. “Never mind. Quite a lovely place, don’t you think?”

He gestured around the corridor. It was no longer metallic and ponymade, it turned green and purple as they walked in. The floor was soft and wet, like trudging through a swamp, the walls pulsated with a sickly greenish light. They weren’t in the moonbase anymore, that’s for sure.

Applejack looked around, stifling a shudder and a disgusted frown. “Yeah, if ya like creepy, Ah s’pose.”

The Doctor kept his comments to himself as they advanced down the path. It was getting progressively darker as they continued, the only source of light was the dim natural light produced by the organic material they were walking on. He wondered how Changelings could adapt to an environment like this, but as he looked at their bug-like eyes he reasoned that their vision was highly advanced.

Finally, they entered a large dome shaped room. Dome was perhaps the wrong word for it, as the Doctor looked around he was reminded of being inside of an egg. The room was slightly indented in the middle so it sloped downward and led up to what appeared to be a throne. The throne was made of the same stuff the room was and was shaped like a chair that a tiny pony could fit. As the Doctor looked closer, he saw that all of this organic stuff was coming from the chair.

It crawled at a snail’s pace away from the throne and into the walls and floor as if adding layers upon it. The throne itself created all of this, which probably meant they were standing on a sentient membrane. Great, that didn’t make things any less creepy. But the Doctor was fascinated by the very concept of it, a great big smile spread across his face as he neared the throne, brandishing his sonic and brainy specs.

“This is brilliant!” he grinned, scanning the throne. “How does this work exactly? Nanomachines? Psychic cells? Ooh, perhaps a neurokinetic bioreceptor, haven’t seen that in years!”

He glanced at the readings, they were frustratingly jumbled and incomplete. “Ah, magic,” he muttered with disdain. “Always difficult to get a clear read on, like Twilight, really. Well, she’s always difficult to read, blimey. Doesn’t matter what universe you’re in, women are still a mystery.”

“Doctor…” Applejack said.

“Fine, fine. The men are quite mysterious as well. Honestly, it’s ponies in general, I could never truly understand you lot.”

“Doctor…”

“Now, Martha would call me a rubbish human, which I was for quite a time. Clara would agree in a heartbeat.”

“Doctor!” Applejack yelled.

The Doctor looked back at his ornery companion and noticed their Changeling guide looked sickly. He nearly collapsed if it wasn’t for Applejack singlehoofedly supporting him. The Doctor ran to help but the farm pony had already moved him away from the throne room.

As soon as they were a few steps away from the room, the Changeling managed to step on his, er, claw-hooves. He shook his head and blinked several times in confusion.

“You alright, mate?” the Doctor asked, scanning the Changeling. “How many hooves am I holding up?”

“Ah’m not sure that’s a sound diag’nostic test, Doctor,” Applejack remarked.

The Doctor blinked, staring at Applejack with a blank expression. “Of course it is, Applejack. Don’t be ridiculous!”

“I-I’m fine,” the Changeling answered. “The throne has that effect on us.”

“Why?” the Doctor asked. “Isn’t it a part of you?”

The Doctor flicked his sonic and glanced back at the readings. “You’re giving off the same biological signature as the throne. So, why does it make you ill?”

“Because of our Queen.”

“Speakin’ of which, where is she? Ya’ll got a fancy throne and a comfy place but no Queen,” Applejack remarked.

“That is because she’s dead. She died over 5 years ago…”

Lunar Base One: Command Center

Jenny glared at the commander as she sat on her haunches with Pinkie beside her. She knew that Pinkie was having a lot of trouble staying still, her hooves jittery tapping the floor while her excited blue eyes looked everywhere as if she wanted to absorb the entire room into her eyes.

The military compound wasn’t very impressive, to be honest. It was the command hub for the entire moonbase. There were dozens upon dozens of ponies milling about the controls, nearly all of them were armed which didn’t make Jenny feel very welcome. In the middle of the room sat a console with a holographic projection of Equis, perhaps in case they got homesick?

The leader of this group was a red-haired mare, her coat was the color of milk and she was wearing a formal military officer uniform with dozens of medals pinned on her chest. Her cutie mark was obscured but Jenny wasn’t looking at her flank but at the gun that was pointed at her face.

The plasma pistol floated in her magical grip and was fixed right between Jenny’s eyes. This wasn’t a very good situation to be in, especially with Pinkie Pie barely able to contain herself.

“Woww,” Pinkie gasped as she looked at the projection of Equis. “That looks so pretty! Except you got the details wrong. Equis isn’t perfectly round, it’s more like an egg, like my head!”

To demonstrate, Pinkie placed her hooves on either side of her temple and gently squeezed, morphing her head to resemble an egg. “See!” she grinned as her head returned to normal.

The soldiers looked uncomfortable at Pinkie’s blatant disregard to her anatomy but the leader didn’t bat an eye.

“Who are you?” she asked again. “Runaways? From the pacifist lot?”

“Jenny,” she answered with a smirk. “You already know Pinkie.”

She gestured at her friend but Pinkie wasn’t there anymore. She was standing on top of an apparatus that looked like a communications array, she stood on top of the antenna on one hoof, balanced precariously like a dancer. Jenny wasn’t sure how Pinkie could support herself on the antenna, it was charred and damaged it seems beyond repair.

“Hey!” she called, pointing at the large screen to Jenny’s right that displayed a real-time image of Equis. “I can see my house from here!”

The soldiers ran off to apprehend her but Jenny didn’t seem worried.

“Now then, what’s your name?” Jenny asked.

“Commander Slipspace,” she answered. “First pony to go into space, well, aside from the princess.”

Pinkie was being carried by the soldiers but she wasn’t complaining, even as they roughly put her on the floor next to Jenny. “You guys are really strong!” she giggled.

“You wanna explain why you’re moving in on Changeling territory? Declaring war with them?” Jenny demanded, maintaining her cool glare.

Slipspace scoffed and pocketed her pistol. “You must be from the pacifist group.”

“I won’t be if you don’t answer me.”

Slipspace raised an eyebrow, impressed by Jenny’s sass and took a seat. “We didn’t declare anything,” she answered. “The Changelings attacked first.”

Jenny blinked in confusion. “What? This is their home, why would—“

“Why would they defend their home so aggressively? Gee, I don’t know.”

Jenny glared harder at Slipspace but the commander didn’t seem bothered. “We didn’t want to fight them, we didn’t even know they were here! We tried to come to a diplomatic solution, but the Changelings became aggressive and the Queen attacked us first. She took down our communications array and we were forced…”

“Forced to do what?” Jenny asked.

“We had to kill her, otherwise she would’ve killed every pony here.”

Pinkie gasped, staring at Slipspace with a mortified expression. “But you can’t do that!”

“She’s a Changeling!” Slipspace argued. “She can shapeshift, if we hadn’t, she would’ve laid waste to everypony here. There aren’t just soldiers here, there are scientists and engineers, and they didn’t deserve to die at her hoof.”

Jenny’s face blanched which didn’t damper her glare. “Go on.”

~==~

“I am Ki,” the Changeling answered. The Doctor, Ki and Applejack were huddled around in a circle as he began to explain what had happened. Applejack was grateful for the Doctor’s proximity but still felt uncomfortable in this place. It felt like she was walking inside an artery.

“And this is the Hive,” he said, gesturing at the corridor. “Thousands of years ago when Princess Luna was banished here, it had a violent impact on the moon. She crashed on the surface, her magic exploding and spreading throughout the moon as Princess Celestia’s spell bound and trapped her under the surface.”

Applejack tried to imagine Princess Luna crashing here, writhing in pain and tied and chained up by powerful magic underground. The thought was hardly comforting.

“Her magic, or should I say, Nightmare Moon’s magic disrupted this place. And from there the first Changeling was born, it was a thing of anger and magic but hardly a corporeal form. Thousands of years had to pass until the Changeling evolved into our Queen. In that time, all of the pain and agony went away and she focused on being better. She created her throne which became the center for the Hive and from the Hive the Changelings were born.”

“Wait, ya’ mean those pod thingy-a-bids are fresh Changelin’s being born?” Applejack asked.

Ki nodded. “Yes. Our Hive is connected psychically, so every new Changeling is taught the history of their kind before they even wake up.”

The Doctor nodded as if it made sense to him and didn’t gross him out. “A Hive mind, like the Ood.”

“Th’ what?”

“I’ll explain later.”

The Doctor motioned Ki to continue.

“Years had passed and our kind grew and prospered here. We were happy, peaceful. Then the ponies arrived… They came here with tidings of peace and kindness, and at first we received them well. But then…” Ki frowned.

“What happened?” the Doctor asked.

“The Queen offered her help, in an attempt to reach out diplomatically. The ponies were here for scientific research and had no interest in us, supposedly. She was led into their base when…”

“What?”

Ki shook his head, his expression became dazed. “That’s funny, I can not remember exactly… I remember explosions, the ponies began firing at us and we were forced to retreat. I ran right through the ponies to get the Queen and then I saw her by some sort of machinery.

“They had called a communications array. The ponies were firing at her and with the last of her magic, she destroyed the machine but died in the fiery blast.”

~==~

“She did it to herself,” Slipspace explained. “We were setting it up to establish a connection to our base on Equis and she went nuts! Attacking us and eventually blowing it up! It’s taken us four years to repair it.”

“Why hasn’t there been any help?” Pinkie asked, tilting her head. “I mean, there at least should’ve been a ‘yay-you’re-on-the-moon’ party from them.”

“As far as they know on Equis, it’s perfectly safe up here,” she answered. “There is an automated signal being emitted from this base, letting them know we’re fine and it can’t be disabled. Without our communications array we have no way of warning anypony.”

“So you’re calling for help?” Jenny asked.

Slipspace nodded.

“Then why continue this war on the Changelings?”

“We aren’t! We only explore the tunnels for supplies that can be salvaged, each time we try we get attacked by them. We’re only defending ourselves!”

“You could just talk to them,” Pinkie suggested. “Or I could throw a party and sing for you to stop this fighting!”

“They’re ruthless, uncaring, and monstrous,” Slipspace insisted. She took her hoof and pulled her collar down slightly, revealing a horrible green scar on her neck going down to her chest. “They don’t want to talk.”

~==~

“They disturb our living arrangements and drive us away with their weapons,” Ki explained. “We are forced to retreat closer and closer to the throne, which is causing us to get sicker.”

“But why?” the Doctor asked. “You’d think the birthplace of your species wouldn’t be poisonous to you lot.”

“The magic that is radiated here is far too dangerous for our skin,” he answered. “It causes us to grow ill, even die if we stay close for too long.”

“Whoa, magic radiation?” Applejack echoed. “Doc’ Ah don’t know ‘bout you, but Ah ain’t interested in being irr’adated. What if Ah grow a second head?”

“The radiation is harmless to ponies,” Ki said, backtracking and blanching at his mistake. “If the Queen were here, she could insulate the place making it safe for us.”

“Yep, that’s a problem,” the Doctor muttered. “Your species are at risk of being extinct by both the ponies and your own home! Certainly new for me.”

“Sympathy, Doctor. Yer s’pposed to feel bad,” Applejack muttered.

“Ah, sorry,” the Doctor said sheepishly. “But ah, what about your shapeshifting?”

“Shapeshifting?” Ki repeated.

“Applejack explained that the Changelings on Equis could shapeshift to perfectly resemble another pony from the inside out,” he said. “Since you predate them, you could very easily shapeshift, correct?”

Ki shook his head. “I have never been able to shapeshift, Doctor. None of us can.”

“Stranger and stranger,” the Doctor muttered.

“What do ya think?” Applejack asked.

“Probably something relevant, probably important, but I’ll get to it later. Right then, that just means we have to find the ponies, explain the situation and get it all sorted out.”

The Doctor stood, ready to storm into action but Applejack blocked his way. “Wait a minute, Doctor. Ah trust ya judgment an’ all, but what makes ya think we can trust Ki? Or even believe ‘im!”

“Oh come on, Applejack,” the Doctor said with a smile. “You’re the Element of Honesty. Can you honestly say that he wasn’t being honest?”

Applejack looked at Ki. The little Changeling looked so exhausted, so weary, so ready to end this stupid conflict. From a glance, she could just instinctively tell that he was being sincere with his story.

“Well, no, but—“

“That settles it!” he laughed. “Let’s go then. Time to meet up with Jenny and Pinkie.”

“Ah hope they’re safe…”

~==~

Jenny had to pull Pinkie’s hoof to keep her running. Gunfire exploded behind them, rounds whizzing past Jenny and barely missing Pinkie. The mares poured on the speed as more and more soldiers burst from the rubble of the compound and charged for them.

Pinkie waved goodbye to the soldiers even as they continued to fire and Jenny, once again, pulled Pinkie closer and sprinted as fast as she could.

Man, that was a stupid idea.