[The following is a nonprofit, fan-based parody.
The Protectors of the Plot Continuum concept was created by Jay and Acacia.
Monster Musume (Kala’s home continuum) belongs to Okayado.
Pokémon (Zeb’s home continuum) is owned by Game Freak, Nintendo and Satoshi Tajiri.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was created by Hasbro and Lauren Faust. All pony songs belong to Hasbro.
Doctor Who (the origin of Time Lords) is owned by the BBC.
The song “What was I Thinkin’?”, which Valon sings multiple times during this mission, was originally performed by Dierks Bentley.
Valon and Kala were created by Voyd… as was the fic, sadly.
Rina and Zeb are Iximaz’s creations. The lyrics Rina sings at the beginning belong to ScytheRider.
Betas: Scapegrace, Tira, SkarmorySilver
From the Potterhead and the shut-in, we hope you enjoy!]
Valon opened his eyes slowly. What exactly had happened the day before…?
The memory came back when he realized that Kala was leaning on his shoulder, fast asleep.
“Reboot, huh? You mean like this?”
Valon started muttering to himself. “I still cannot believe that happened… What does she see in me?”
[ZEEN! ZEEN! ZEEN! ZEEN!]
Unfortunately, Kala was rather heavy, and Valon was unable to move her. “Ah, man… Er, Kouroki? Could you get that?”
The mini-Mokocchi clambered onto the console and sat on the acknowledge button. “Motero!”
It was the mini’s call that finally woke Kala. “Mmrrbb… morning…” As she sat up to rub the sleep out of her eyes, Valon slipped off and ran toward the console.
Once Kala finished shaking off sleep, she noticed her partner had frozen stock-still, with Kouroki waving her hand in front of his face. She looked curiously at Kala. “Mo? Mote mo motero?”
The girtablilu scuttled over to the console. “Valon? Is it another MPreg or psycho or–”
“Nope. Even worse.” Valon took a deep breath. “It’s mine.”
If Kala hadn’t been awake before, that certainly did the trick. “Yours!?”
“I was a brony a few years back, and I wrote a blatant self-insert fic. I abandoned it after losing interest, and I’m not even a brony anymore. I barely remember anything about the series.”
Kala sighed and draped her arms over Valon. “Help wanted?”
The human agent started tapping keys. “Help wanted.”
(Meanwhile, in RC 3-Apple-14…)
Rina was actually singing again, something Zeb didn’t think he’d heard her do in… well, ever, actually. But if she was in a good mood, who was he to argue with her?
“What a great big world, a sight to behold, what a perfect place to be…”
...Even if her voice was a bit thin. And he was trying to sleep. Nope, he wasn’t going to complain. If she was happy, he was happy. Besides, the tune was that of the Treasure Town theme, so it could be worse, right?
“What a great big world for life to unfold and it’s filled with mystery!”
Arceus, she was restarting the song. This wouldn’t do. He sat up, blanket falling off his head, and opened his mouth—
Rina paused mid-verse, eyeballing the console. “I got it,” she said, and went to answer the message.
From: RC 211
So, I need help with an MLP badfic I wrote years ago. Reason being, I’ve forgotten the canon. So, uh… calling all canon experts!
-Valon Vance, DF
“That sounds serious,” Zeb said, yawning when Rina finished reading it aloud to him. “Suppose we should volunteer? Those guys did help with the Rose Potter aftermath.”
“Already on it,” Rina said, her fingers flying over the keyboard as she sent a response. “Weapons have to stay behind this time, so we might as well get going.”
Zeb groaned and rolled out of bed, all but falling on the floor as he hurried to keep up with her long stride.
Valon was already waiting at the door when Rina knocked. “Welcome, welcome, don’t mind the decor and don’t let the minis get ya.” Valon showed the redheaded agent and her partner into the RC of Terror.
...where Zeb was promptly greeted by Kouroki and Sumisu latching onto his legs. “Motero, mote mo mote motero!”
“Aw, hey there,” Zeb said, lowering his head and nosing the mini-Suu. He grinned when she gurgled happily at him. “You’re so much sweeter than Mcgonagoll.”
Valon knelt down in front of him. “Mini-Suus are really affectionate. We found a bunch in our first two missions, if you’d care to have one. They’ll eat just about anything organic, so feeding them’s not hard.”
“We have a wated who eats paper,” Rina said, bending down and running a finger over Kouroki’s head. “Have to make sure he’s got enough to eat, or he goes after my books.”
Valon was about to say something in response when Kala coughed. “Er, right, we’ve got work to do. Basically, I wrote a My Little Pony badfic about five years back. However, I’m not a brony anymore, and I’ve forgotten most of what I used to know about ponies. All I can say for certain is that I wrote it while Season 2 was on the air. The Stu was a self-insert, by the by, with me trying the whole way not to make him a Stu.”
Rina nodded. “Yeah, I know what you mean. My old Sue was one of my earliest kills.”
“I’m not sure this is early for me, I’ve been on seven missions with Kala. Oh, by the way, Kala, we’re not gonna be humans. Hopefully you can figure out being a quadruped.”
The girtablilu groaned. “Oh, no… it’s bad enough when I lose one pair of arms. What can I do with just legs?”
“Well, you can buck stuff,” Rina said. “If you go with a unicorn or pegasus disguise, you could also have access to magic or flight. And you can do a lot more with hooves than you’d realize.”
Kala shrugged. “If you say so…”
Valon started operating the disguise generator. “Actually, I’ll be going as a unicorn. Kala, you’ll be an earth pony. You’re kinda the muscle here, so keeping your physical strength in at least some capacity could be useful.” The tall agent laughed nervously. “Now, here’s hoping I can figure out the magicky doodad that’ll be growing out of my forehead.”
“Don’t look at me, Randa was the unicorn last time I got a pony mission,” Rina said, shrugging. “I’ll be a pegasus like last time. Zeb?”
“Pegasus for me, too, I suppose,” he said.
Valon shuddered. “I don’t envy you one bit. Severe acrophobe over here. Alright then!” With a few more pushed buttons, the portal opened. “Let’s get a move on!”
Before he stepped through the portal, Zeb glanced back at Rina. "You know, these two smell like you and the Librarian together."
"Kindly stop talking, thanks."
Four ponies appeared just outside of Ponyville: a tan pegasus with a red mane, goggles perched on her head, and tan saddlebags covering an hourglass cutie mark, a sky-blue pegasus with a dark gray mane and a lightning bolt cutie mark, a black earth pony with a blue mane, and a tall, all-green unicorn in a black vest.
Rina stretched her wings and gave them a few flaps so she was hovering a couple of feet off the ground. “Man, it feels good to be back in the air.”
“Easy for you to say.” When Rina turned to Valon, she was mildly surprised to see that he wasn’t having much difficulty with quadrupedal movement, unlike his partner, who was struggling just to take a single step.
“Now that’s just not fair,” she muttered.
Clearly, Valon had heard her. “I’ve been dreaming of running on all fours for about fifteen years now. I’m used to it, mentally anyway.”
“Wha-OOF!” Kala had failed to take a step, and had landed flat on her face. “How…? Ergh, I hate losing eight limbs in disguises, I don’t know which legs I’m moving with what thoughts!”
“It’s not that difficult,” Zeb said, trotting over and offering her a hoof up. “Here, it looks like we have some time before the fic starts, I can help you if you’d like.”
Kala mumbled something that might have been “Fine…”
“And we’re just gonna ignore the unicorn in the room? Yes? Alright, experimentation time.” Valon tried to focus on the new extremity sprouting from his forehead…
“Sweet Celestia, what are you doing?” Rina yelled over the noise.
The deafened unicorn cut off his magic. “I WAS JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW I MAKE MAGIC HAPPEN.”
Zeb slashed a hoof through the air. “Be quiet, you’re gonna give us away!”
He caught a hefty head-clearing hoof to the brain box. Unfortunately, Kala didn’t know how to keep her balance after bucking. “Oof! Okay, hopefully he can hear things now.”
“WHAT?” He was promptly cut off by Rina shoving her hoof over his mouth.
“Or not. Great Gilgamesh…” Kala facehoofed as the fic started.
“Alright, just break it to me. How lost am I?”
“You are so lost that your Equestrian Positioning System has no idea how you could have possibly traveled that distance in such a short time.”
“Friggin' figures.” A lone, tired-looking unicorn pulled a ramshackle cart along behind him. The cart was in a horrid state of disrepair, to the point that it was impossible to tell what it may have originally looked like. It was painted in bold colors, although they were so mismatch and random as to cause discomfort to look at. Two of its wheels were cracked, and the other two were simple rocks jammed onto the axles.
Kala looked between the Stunicorn and her downed partner. “Um, why do they look the same? Valon looks a bit older, but otherwise…”
“Self-inserts have a tendency to do that,” Rina said sheepishly. “I had to go in disguise when Randa and I killed my old Sue, since we were practically identical.”
The disguised girtablilu examined her partner a bit more closely. “Well, Valon has a mustache. I think that should make it rather easy to tell which is the Stu and which is him.”
“Now approaching Ponyville. Population 50. A quiet little village in the Equestrian countryside.” The unicorn's ears perked up. “A town? Excellent, towns have food, water and places to sleep. Not a pile of dulled splinters like this piece of crap.” He looked down a hill at the small village.
By this point, Valon’s hearing had recovered, and he shook Rina’s hoof away from his mouth. “Pfleh! That did not taste very good. Anyway, language, young man! Stallion. Pony vocab. Is that a charge?”
“Language?” Zeb shrugged. “Depends, I suppose. Is this supposed to be a darker and edgier type of story, or what?”
Valon grinned. “Neigh, it is not. It’s supposed to be a comedOW!”
Kala pulled her front hoof away from Valon’s head. “That was awful, Valon.”
“But… but horse puns…”
“I got enough of those from talking to centaurs back home.”
The unicorn sighed. “Well, if nothing else, I can finally smash this cart and try to rebuild it from the ground up.” He started down the hill. The moment he felt gravity take hold, he jumped onto the cart. “Alright, folks. Nobody lives forever. LEEEEROOOOOOOOOY–”
The agents were floored when the scene shifted. First, the words Midnight Green, Author: Voyd211 appeared out of thin air. Then the scene shifted again, and suddenly they were all in Ponyville.
Valon hurried to his feet. “Alright, I suppose we charge for the random World of Warcraft reference. Don’t even like that game… anyway, here’s the point where I can’t help. You’re the canon expert here, Rina.”
Zeb snorted. “What am I, chopped Pokéblock?”
“Er… didn’t know you were a brony?” The much taller unicorn smiled sheepishly.
Zeb grinned at him. “Living with Rina, you don’t have much choice. Twilight Sparkle is best pony.”
“You still can’t pronounce Rainbow Dash,” Rina muttered.
Valon looked thoughtful. “I thought it was pronounced Pinkie Pie?” When this got odd looks, he got defensive. “What? I did say that I used to be a brony!”
“Alright, that's good!” Twilight Sparkle surveyed her handiwork. Princess Celestia had decided that this year, the Grand Galloping Gala would be here in Ponyville. Sure, the upper-class mares and stallions would gripe about it, but what did that matter? Judging from the last Gala, most of them were insufferable.
Valon grinned and made a grand, sweeping gesture with one of his front legs. “Madam and monsieur, I bow before your canon knowledge.”
“Well, where to start?” Rina looked distinctly irritated.
“Stop complaining,” Zeb said. “The only canon breach I see is the Grand Galloping Gala being held in Ponyville. It’s always in Canterlot.” He frowned. “And Twilight acting snooty. That doesn’t seem like her.”
Valon took a few steps back. “You guys might want to brace for impact.” Kala, knowing her partner, followed suit as best as she could.
Rina flew up, squinting at the horizon; Zeb, after a few clumsy flaps of his wings, managed to get airborne. Off in the distance, he could see a rapidly-approaching cloud of dust. “Incoming!” he yelled.
Still, they were nice to have aro-
“–JEEEENKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINS!!!!!” Her thoughts were interupted yet again, although this interruption was much worse. What seemed to be a giant, half-smashed crate on wheels careened wildly into Ponyville.
Twilight's heart skipped a beat. “Everypony, stop that cart!” She was a moment too late; the cart came to a stop against the tree Applejack and Rarity had just been arguing about, fragmenting and throwing pieces of plywood everywhere. As the dust cleared, it was apparent that, amazingly, the tree had been totally unharmed, while the cart was completely destroyed.
Valon looked up at Rina. “So. Anything need charging in that little bit of chaos?”
Rina alighted on the ground next to him, frowning when Twilight came stomping over to confront the Stu. “No, but Twilight getting that angry over an accident is very out of character. She’d want to make sure everypony was alright first.”
Zeb landed next to his partner with a sigh. “Anyone got a CAD on them?”
Valon jostled his vest, and his C-CAD fell out. “Using it is your problem. I don’t know how to use hooves or telekinesis. Also I feel like our main character would be more concerned with the well-being of her friends and neighbors than some stranger who came barreling into town in an alleged cart. Considering that our OC kinda put ponies in danger, I could understand her being angry.”
Zeb shook his head. “Nope, she’d be worried about everyone— er, everypony. Twilight’s like that.”
Rina, meanwhile, was working on manipulating Valon’s C-CAD.
[Twilight Sparkle. Unicorn female. Canon. 10% OOC and rising. It passed legal. There, I said it.]
“Not bad, but it could be better,” Rina said, tossing the C-CAD back at Valon and wincing when she hit him in the head. “Sorry! I forgot you weren’t used to this.”
“S’fine, I hit my head on things all the time. Usually Kala’s hand, when I’m freaking out about something.” He pointed the device at the newcomer and poked the controls with his horn.
[Midnight Green. Unicorn male. Non-canon. 14% Stu.]
Valon looked very confused. “Er… Rina? What do you make of this?”
Rina came over to take a look. She shrugged. “He’s not a total Stu. Yet,” she added, looking up to watch as Twilight began shouting at the Stu.
“They tend to get worse over time,” Zeb said helpfully.
Valon’s eyes suddenly went wide. “Oh… I just remembered. I kinda transplanted my family here, including my mom and both of my siblings. This is gonna be hell, isn’t it?”
Rina paused. “Well, if they don’t show up too much, we can probably let them assimilate into canon,” she said. “At least, it worked when I— what even just happened?”
The Stu, trapped under the wreckage of his cart, was trying to explain himself to a progressively-angrier Twilight when, out of nowhere, he suddenly fell asleep.
Zeb blinked, shook his head, and looked at Valon. “Um, what?”
“The less-cadaverous Valon of the past was an idiot. Expect quite a bit of ‘what in the wide, wide world of Equestria’ in this fic.”
Twilight was having none of the Stu’s nonsense and kicked him in the head to wake him up.
Zeb’s face twisted. “Twilight would never—!” he began loudly, before shutting his mouth and scowling.
Valon started humming, and Kala looked curiously at him. “Uh, what song is that?”
“What Was I Thinkin’, Dierks Bentley. Seemed appropriate.”
The disguised girtablilu shuffled closer to her partner. “It’s alright, we all screw up sometimes.”
Pinkie Pie came bouncing into the scene, cheerfully noting that the Stu had a cart on him. The Stu barely had time to acknowledge this before Twilight abruptly shoved her face into his. “Can't you, I don't know, move it with magic?”
Valon looked around nervously. “Okay, confession time. Midnight here has a crush on Pinkie Pie. However, even back then, I couldn’t bring myself to give my characters things that I lacked. A love life, for instance. So nothing ever comes of it, and he doesn’t ever enter a relationship with her. Charge-worthy or no?”
“Why the hell would we charge for something that doesn’t happen?” Rina looked bewildered.
Valon shrugged. “I guess I thought that an OC even being interested in a canon character was kind of a bad thing.”
“It depends, it always depends.” Rina facehoofed. “Not all OCs are bad, for instance, and not all uncanon ships are bad. What makes them bad is how they’re written.”
Midnight proceeded to hurt himself trying to levitate the wreck of his cart away from him. Valon sighed. “See, things like that were how I convinced myself he wasn’t a Stu. Telekinesis should be basic magic, so he kinda sucks if he can’t even do that.”
“In that case, he’s what we call an anti-Stu,” Zeb said. “You know, someone who’s trying so hard to make a character not a Sue they end up becoming just as bad?”
Valon sighed again. “I seem to be huffing and puffing a lot… anyway, originally I thought that Sues were based on their power. Again, that Dierks Bentley song comes to mind.”
Kala sidled up to Valon. “Well, he’s our target, anyway. Kind of a combo breaker for us, though. All our other targets have been character replacements.”
“You haven’t been here long, have you?” Zeb asked curiously.
“Neither have you,” Rina pointed out.
Twilight gave up after Midnight’s pathetic display and lifted the wreck herself. The Stu sprang up and immediately switched attitudes. More excessive snark from Twilight ensued.
Rina tilted her head when the Stu mentioned he’d gotten his (uncanon) GPS equivalent for forty bits. “That… seems like it would be grossly underpriced, considering a single cherry went for two bits.”
“Nitpick, much?” Zeb said lightly.
Valon looked thoughtful for a moment. “Actually, considering that the thing really, really doesn’t work, in all likelihood he got ripped off. I’m hesitant to charge for that.”
Chapter 2 started rather uneventfully, with Midnight proving a Sueish lack of common sense regarding his belongings, which even the fic called out as having seemed to mostly be useless and impractical for a traveler.
This got Kala going. “Okay, traveling dude? Why are you carrying so much crap? Back where I come from, you owned what you could keep on you! I don’t care if you have a cart, you still should only carry the essentials! Food, water, trade goods, that kind of thing! One or two personal possessions, if you’re really sentimental!” The disguised girtablilu calmed down a bit. “Sorry, I was part of a tribe of nomads before the Interspecies Cultural Exchange Program started. I think I know a thing or two about traveling.”
After Midnight’s absolutely atrocious attempts at DIY, the fic turned Big Macintosh into some sort of construction wizard, who somehow managed to rebuild the wrecked cart as an actual shack.
Valon started singing under his breath. “Becky was a beauty from south Alabama, her daddy had a heart like a nine-pound hammer, think he even did a little time in the slammer, what was I thinkin’?”
Rina flew over, staring down at Valon. “That,” she began, throwing her hooves in the air, “was the perfect opportunity to sing “Raise This Barn” and you let it go right by!”
The tall unicorn cowered. “Hey, gimme a break, I never finished Season 2, I don’t know that song!” He started muttering under his breath. “That, and you couldn’t make me sing pony songs at gunpoint.”
Rina shook her head and began singing. “Raise this barn, raise this barn, one, two, three, four, together we can raise this barn, one, two, three, four!” Her voice was decent, if a bit high and thin.
Kala noticed that her partner started tapping a hoof in time with the beat. “Uh, Valon?”
“Music going on, I can’t help it.”
“Up, up, up go the beams, hammer those joints, work in teams! Turn ‘em round quick by the right elbow, grab a new partner, here we go!” Rina looked at Valon. “Seriously? Never heard it?”
“As I mentioned, I never finished Season 2. The only Season 2 song I know is This Day Aria, actually, and that’s because one of my favorite video makers does MLP reviews and he said he liked the song and…”
Kala nudged her partner. “I don’t think we need the entire story. Besides, don’t we have a fic to spork?”
The scene with Big Macintosh had passed them by. Unfortunately, Kala got their attention right before a scene break, and the agents were sent tumbling.
“... Valon? I know we’re a thing now, but now is not the time.”
The unicorn untangled his limbs from Kala’s. “Er, sorry. Also, great god Pterry it’s so shiny.” Valon was completely spellbound by an ice sculpture of Celestia and Luna.
The spell was broken when Zeb grabbed him by the tail and pulled him behind some conveniently-placed bushes. “The Stu’s coming,” he said apologetically, spitting hair out of his mouth as Rina and Kala jumped behind the bushes to join them. The agents poked their heads out to watch the proceedings.
Rarity looked proudly at the beautiful work of art. “My, isn't it just darling? It's so beautiful, especially with the sun shining through it.” Twilight couldn't help but agree with her, with sunlight dancing through the perfectly made sculpture.
“Meh, it'd be prettier by moonlight.” Rarity whirled around, stung by the comment. Midnight was standing there, with a roll of parchment on his back. “But I didn't come here to insult anyone. Where's the big red earth pony?”
“I know what I was feelin’... but WHAT was I thinkin’?~”
Kala gave her partner a solid cuff. “Shut up, Valon! Rina, Zeb, you guys are the canon experts, what do you make of this?”
Rina and Zeb exchanged looks. “Well, I have no idea why Rarity and Twilight are making ice sculptures; Rarity would be busy with her dresses and if Twilight was doing anything for the Gala, she’d be in charge of organization,” Zeb said.
“Charge,” Rina said unnecessarily, reaching into her saddlebags and grabbing a pencil in her mouth to write it down.
“And Midnight is being condescending,” Valon added. “Oif… Why did the Valon of the past feel the need to write this? I haven’t written any fanfic since then, and I hadn’t written anything before it either.”
They watched as the Stu asked about Big Macintosh’s location before running off in the wrong direction, which gave Twilight and Rarity the opportunity to mock him behind his back.
“Lovely,” Rina snorted. “I see exorcisms in our future.”
Valon looked somewhat nervous. “Er… this is the start of a running gag. Midnight Green has no sense of direction. He could get lost in a walk-in closet.”
“Well, that makes execution easy enough,” Zeb said, grinning. “Just point him off a cliff and tell him Pinkie Pie’s waiting for him.”
“He’d probably get lost on the way there. He can’t even find his way across the street.”
Kala looked surprised. “That… is pretty bad. How even…”
“I was inspired by Ryouga Hibiki from Ranma ½. Sue. Me.”
The chapter abruptly ended, hurling the agents into the next, skipping an undefined number of days in the process. Or possibly they were just dumped later in the day; it was hard to be sure.
“Oh Celestia, my head,” Rina moaned, rubbing her forehead.
Valon vaulted upright. “Okay, I’m pretty sure this is the chapter where everything goes wrong. See, Midnight’s magical talent is audiovisual illusions, and he uses that to troll the main cast as this dapper rogue alter-ego, the Zebra Mask. This is where most of his Stu-ness shows up, I think.”
Kala looked between Valon and the assassins. “How are we gonna take him down? This is a super-kid-friendly world, I don’t think that most means of execution would be applicable here. It’s not even a darkfic, so we don’t have that excuse.”
“That doesn’t matter. Kick his head in and leave him for Timberwolves or something, I dunno,” Rina said, rolling her head and putting a hoof to her temple. “Oww, time sense. This is why properly-defined time skips are important.”
Valon shrunk back a bit. “Sorry… past me was an idiot. A colossal one.”
“Wait a second,” Zeb said slowly, patting Valon with one of his wings while looking curiously at Rina, “you’re a pony, not a Time Lord. Why do you—?”
“I modified the disguise a bit, alright?” she snapped. “I know I was complaining about it at first, but it’s even more disorienting not having it now. Like— like being blind, you know?”
Twilight turned to look at the ice sculpture. Midnight had a point, the cool light of the moon complemented ice much better than the warm sunlight.... not that she'd ever tell him that. She didn't want to hurt Rarity's feelings, and she still felt slightly bitter about how snippy he was.
On a sudden impulse, Kala looked up, and sighed in relief.
Rina turned at the sound. “Something wrong?”
"No, thank Gilgamesh," replied the earth pony. "See, liminals lose their inhibitions under the full moon, and I don't think you want me lusting all over Valon. Luckily, the Words decided to define it as a crescent."
Further discussion was forestalled by the entrance of Zebra Mask.
Part of the smoke cleared, and a black-and-white figure stood framed by the clouds. It was a pony of indeterminate type and gender, garbed in an outfit that alternated black and wihte with each article of clothing. A fedora crowned its head, a cape with a high collar covered its body, and its face... the pony wore a mask. The left side was white, with a black grin. The right half was black, with a white frown.
The figure deigned to speak; the voice was deep, powerful, and clearly male. “Bonne Nuit, ma belle-dames. You may call me Zebra Mask.”
“I smell Google Translate,” Rina muttered.
Valon shrugged. “That, or I just didn’t know French as well as I thought I did. I’d kinda like to take the mask when we leave, though...”
Kala shoved him a bit. “Valon, minis are souvenirs enough. We don’t need to keep Suvian things.”
“Why not?” Zeb asked. “Rina’s got a collection of Speshul wands.”
“Thinking about it…” Valon raised a hoof to his chin. “That mask is kinda the symbol of the Zebra Mask character; hell, it’s where his name comes from. Kala might have a point, a Suvian power-focus doesn’t seem like the safest thing to keep in our RC. Anyway, let’s not follow Twilight and her friends around. The Zebra Mask leads them on a wild-goose chase all over Ponyville, using his illusions and stage trickery to mess with them.”
The agents instead occupied themselves with a game: One agent would name a Pokémon, and the next would come up with one that started with the previous suggestion’s last letter.
“You said Staryu, right, Zeb? Er…” Valon thought for a moment. “Umbreon. Kala?”
Kala wasn’t too familiar with Pokémon breeds. “Natu? No, you said that one already… Nnnnnninetales? That’s a Pokémon, right? If it is, it’s Rina’s turn.”
“Serperior,” Rina said, though she seemed more occupied with flying in figure-eights overhead than playing.
“Rapidash,” Zeb said immediately.
Valon started muttering. “How do you two come up with them so quickly? I mean, Zeb, you’re a Pokémon yourself, but Rina’s barely even paying attention… Oh, hey, the main cast is back.”
“Mane Six,” Rina corrected.
They met up in front of the library, ascertaining that none of them could find him. Twilight was frustrated that somepony had outwitted her, and judging by the looks on her friends' faces she wasn't the only one.
“Err… Rina?” Kala looked up at the pegasus. “Are all of them the sort to get irritated like this? I mean, I would be, but I’m not normally a pony.”
“Twilight’s so OOC she couldn’t touch canon with a ten-foot pole,” Rina said, executing a barrel roll. “Either of you performed an exorcism before? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re looking at by now.”
Valon raised a hoof. “I beat Harry Potter over the head with a copy of Sorcerer’s Stone after he’d been forced into badly-spelled slash with his dad. You have no idea how much I wish I was kidding.”
“Good enough,” Zeb said, nodding.
“Until tomorrow night...” He moved forward; he lifted Pinkie Pie's hoof and pressed it to the mouthhole. “...adieu.” They had just enough time to register that the real, corporeal Zebra Mask had just been there before he vanished again into the darkness.
“Anyway…” Valon started fiddling with his vest again. “... nothing really important happens until the next Zebra Mask scene. We meet Midnight’s family, but they contribute very little to the story and could probably assimilate into canon.” He knocked his RA loose. “Time to fast-forward three chapters, what do you say?”
Kala nodded. “Sounds like a plan to me. Rina? Zeb? You wanna weigh in on this?”
“One moment.” Rina held up a hoof, scanning through the Words. A second later, she said, “Okay, gotcha. Chapter seven it is.” She paused, opened up her saddlebags, and dug out the D.O.R.K.S. “You two are going to need this.”
Kala looked confused, but Valon visibly paled, even through his fur. “Oh… Mighty Mana Tree, don’t tell me… You might want to cover your ears in the third Midnight cut.”
The chapter started with Midnight at Zecora’s hut, and his clearly-malfunctioning magical GPS.
Kala took a moment to realize that she felt significantly weaker and lighter than previously. She looked at her back in surprise. “Uh… why am I a pegasus?”
“Because we’ll be standing on clouds later in this chapter.” Valon looked as though he’d seen about thirty thousand ghosts at once. He’d exchanged his horn for a pair of wings, though they were tightly closed.
The tall green pegasus felt something nuzzling at his leg. He cheered immensely even before he looked down. “Well, hi there, MLP mini! We’ve got mini-Discords, apparently. Ain’t you just the cutest little force of chaos there ever was? What’s your name, anyway?”
The mini-Discord yawned and coiled in the air as Rina said, “Looks like it’s Evertree Forest. You, uh, misspelled Everfree.”
“I thought Evertree was the right spelling for the longest time. That’s what I heard the first few times I watched the show.”
A moment after the mini was sent to RC 211, the agents were bowled over by a scene change back to Ponyville. Valon groaned, “Brace yourselves, this is gonna happen a lot this chapter.”
Zeb burped, steadied Rina (who was moaning about more time jumps), and looked around. He barely had time to take note of Twilight searching for the Stu before the agents were yanked away to a completely barren landscape of rocks; the Stu was mercifully preoccupied and didn’t notice the agents, standing frozen out in the open.
After complaining a bit more about his GPS, the agents were scene-shifted into Rarity’s boutique, where Pinkie Pie was showing off the Zebra Mask costume she’d managed to get her hooves on. Valon was delayed in getting up by fascination. “So… many… shinies…”
“Val-on, we’ve got work to do.” Kala helped her entranced partner to his feet and pulled him behind a rack of dresses. “How’d the pink pony get the costume, anyway?”
Zeb suppressed the urge to throw up and pointed at Pinkie Pie just as she began speaking. “Well, after Zebra Mask left last night, and you went off to... how was it worded? Vent your frustration? … I went over to where he'd been standing, and I found the costume there. So, since you're soooo good with clothes and such, I thought you could help me figure out who it might belong to!”
“... oh. Detective work, apparently.”
Rarity made absolutely no headway on the mystery, however, and the agents were suddenly dumped in Cloudsdale.
Zeb stuck his head through the clouds and finally vomited. “Why are there so many scene jumps?”
“Okay,” Rina said, climbing to her feet, scowling and rubbing her temples, “that is it. I’m going to charge that time-warping motherbucker and push him off this logic-defying cloud—”
She was interrupted by a high-pitched shriek. When she turned, Valon was shock-white, clinging desperately to Kala, and screaming at the top of his lungs.
Kala herself was incredibly worried. “Valon! Valon, snap out of it! What’s wrong!?”
The shrieking stopped, but Valon was still absolutely terrified. “Where’s the ground where’s the ground don’t wanna fall don’t wanna fall solid ground where where ground ground ground ground…”
Kala wrapped one of her forelegs around Valon, and looked at Rina. “I’m sorry, but we can’t end this now, I didn’t know this would happen!” She held her panicking partner more tightly. “We’ll be fine, Valon, you’ll be all right…”
The next jump all but threw the agents into the last scene of the chapter. Zeb retrieved a bottle of Bleeprin from his bag and stumbled over to Valon. “Here, this’ll help.”
Valon was too terrified to do anything, so Kala took the bottle and popped one of the tablets into her partner’s mouth. After a few seconds, the unfortunate agent stopped shivering and hyperventilating. “So… what now?”
Kala shrugged. “Guess we have to isolate the Stu and take him down as soon as possible.”
“He shows up at the end of the next chapter,” Rina said. “I say we tackle him before he disappears again. I’m sick of these time skips.”
Valon nodded. “But first, how about resetting disguises? Kala’s supposed to be the strongest here. Being an earth pony will help tremendously in the whole ‘taking down Midnight’ endeavor.”
In response, Zeb pulled out the D.O.R.K.S., and, after some fiddling, managed to transform Valon and Kala back to their earlier disguises. “You guys ready for this?”
Valon’s trademark grin translated very easily to pony anatomy. “Let’s dance.”
Chapter 7 ended with Rainbow Dash going through Midnight’s shack, and finding a portrait of Zebra Mask in the back. The next chapter opened with all six of the main characters, fitting with room to spare in the supposedly-small shack. They had just made the interesting discovery that the Stu had been painting uncannily-good portraits of them; somehow, these portraits also fit inside the shack.
“It’s bigger on the inside!” Rina nearly yelled. “Valon, you didn’t mention your Stu had a pseudo-TARDIS!”
“Uuhh… I didn’t realize it? This was before I even really knew about Doctor Who. Still, can we keep it? The minis are kinda infesting the RC of Terror, it’d be nice to give them their own space.”
“We can help you move it,” Zeb promised, flying up to press his ear against the roof. “Now shh; they’re talking.”
Twilight made an observation. “I'm noticing a pattern here. There seem to be different numbers of pictures for each of us. Who has the least?”
Applejack spoke up. “Erm... it seems that'd be me. I could only find ONE of those goldarned portraits that had me on it.”
Valon shuddered. “Why, oh why in the infinite multiverse of the Great Beyond did I think this chapter was in any fashion a good idea to write? This is just creepy!”
Kala sidled up to him again. “Hey, you’re better than this now! This was years ago; you’ve had plenty of time to grow out of it.”
“I guess so… I mean, I’m dating you now.” He snuggled closer to the shorter agent. “That’s more than I ever expected to happen back then.”
Rina shushed them, straining to listen.
There seemed to be portraits of practically every resident of Ponyville, and a few ponies besides. Midnight was obviously well-traveled, although most of it was likely caused by being lost. Twilight and her friends had the most portraits: all drawn from memory, all perfect likenesses, all thrown rather haphazardly around the shack.
Fluttershy began to feel uneasy. “Um, I think we should leave... what if he comes back?”
Rarity reassured her. “We'll just say we wanted to have a look around, that's all.”
“If you say so...”
“That’s a horrible excuse, you’d have to be stupid or drunk to believe that,” Rina hissed. “And Valon, your Stu is creeping me out.”
“I did say that I regret this chapter more than anything else in this fic.”
“Fair enough. I had more than enough of those in my old fic.”
Valon nudged Kala. “We might wanna head off to the library now. I don’t care if it’s just an illusion, ZM still seems to be able to see through his puppets. Rina, you’re the one with dexterity here; you can handle the RA.”
“On it.” Rina nosed the remote out of her bag and had a portal open after a few seconds. “Everyone in.”
The agents emerged in front of Twilight’s library. Valon clapped his front hooves together. “Okay, the main cast will be here soon enough, so let’s set up what we need for exorcism. Let’s see… now where are my candles…” The tall unicorn started shoving things out of his vest. The first thing that fell out was a megaphone. “... as much as I’d like to scream canon songs at Midnight, this ain’t the time.”
Rina wriggled out of her saddlebags and dumped them on the floor, nosing through the contents. “Which season is this fic set in?” she asked when she finally unearthed her My Little Pony discs.
“Two. It wasn’t even over yet.”
“Gotcha.” Rina grabbed the DVD case in her mouth. “One o’ you guys’re gon’ haf to yell,” she mumbled around the case.
Kala immediately pointed to her partner. “You should have heard him exorcising Harry. He’d do well in a death metal band.” Valon looked mildly flattered by this comment.
“So that means Kala and I get to hold down Twilight. Awesome,” Zeb said, looking less than thrilled by the prospect.
The disguised girtablilu grinned wildly. “Awesome, I’ve been itching to throw my weight around.”
A few minutes later, a certain purple unicorn charged onto the scene, screeching to a halt when she noticed a unicorn and a pegasus waiting for her. “Wait, who the heck are you?” The only answer she got was being tackled by Kala and Zeb. The much heavier earth pony had Twilight completely pinned, while Zeb kept her from flailing around too much.
Rina jumped forward and whacked Twilight on the head with the DVD as Valon screamed out in his best black-metal voice. “In the name of Lauren Faust and Hasbro, I cast thee out! Begone, fell demon of disturbing stalking! Avaunt, vile spirit of needless hostility! Leave this vessel, and DO NOT RETURN!”
A sparkling green mist swirled out of Twilight’s mouth. Instead of solidifying, though, the mist flew off into the night.
“That’s that,” Rina said, spitting the case out of her mouth and beginning to shove her things back in her bags. “Just the Stu to take care of.”
Valon grinned even more savagely than Kala. “I have an idea. I want some bloody revenge on my past mistakes. I need the RA.”
The agents neuralyzed Twilight and sent her inside. Once that was taken care of, the agents prepared for ambush again.
Much later, Twilight's friends arrived ragged, tired, wet and otherwise ill-favored, with the exception of Pinkie Pie yet again. Zebra Mask materialized out of the darkness. “Well, it seems that you have...” A pause. “Wait.... one's missing. Where's...”
Instead of the purple unicorn he’d been expecting, the Stu was tackled by a burly black earth pony, and instead of simply being knocked away, Kala pinned him down. “Valon, whatever this idea of yours is, I hope it’s a good one!”
“Oh, it’s the best.” Valon opened a portal behind the struggling stallion. “Rina, Zeb! Get him!”
The pegasi flew in, each grabbing one of the Stu’s front legs. They dragged him through the portal, kicking and screaming all the way. Rina and Zeb stopped, hovering in the sky over Cloudsdale, holding the Stu out over the void.
Valon walked up to the portal. “Zebra Mask, AKA Midnight Green! You are hereby charged with the following by the Protectors of the Plot Continuum! Being a Gary Stu–” Midnight stopped struggling at these words. “–with being creepy and stalkerish, with sending the main cast so OOC that they couldn’t reach their original selves with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole–”
“Mane cast!” interjected Rina.
“–with humiliating an agent of the PPC by being his creation, with creating the mini-Discord Evertree Forest, with moving the Grand Galloping Gala to Ponyville, with being a shameless self-insert, with half a dozen other things I’m probably forgetting, and with failing in the task I gave you: don’t be a Gary Stu. You are sentenced to die. Any last words?”
Midnight’s Zebra Mask costume changed to solid black, the face turning into a full tragedy mask. “You’re… my author? I failed you? … I suppose I wasn’t good enough for you.”
“Typical anti-Sue whining,” Rina said, and she and Zeb let go. They flew back through the portal and Valon shut it behind them.
Valon turned to Twilight’s friends. “I guess you’re all wondering what happened here.” He knocked the neuralyzer loose from his vest. “This will answer all your questions.” He screwed his eyes shut as the device went off.
When the agents returned to the RC of Terror, pushing Midnight’s bigger-on-the-inside shack through a portal, Evertree Forest was desperately trying to shake off Sumisu. Dislodging the affectionate mini-Suu was proving more difficult than it seemed.
Valon knelt in front of Sumisu and started massaging her antenna. “Glad to see all you guys again. Just… let go of Evertree Forest, a’right?” The gurgling slime loosened its grip just enough for the mini-Discord to squeak loose.
Kala smiled at the two assassins. “Thank you so much for your help. I don’t know how well we could have handled that on our own.”
“I’m sure you would have been fine,” Zeb said, giving the shack a final push so it was sitting in the center of the RC.
“I dunno,” Rina said, standing up from all fours and snapping her goggles back into their proper place. “CADs can only tell you so much, after all…”
Zeb shrugged and turned back to Valon and Kala. “Well, either way, I’m glad we could help.”
Valon stood up, joined the other agents and put an arm around Kala. “And I’m glad that we had friends along for the ride. You noticed more mistakes in a few hours than I did in the years since I wrote it. Anyway… Minis of the RC of Terror! Front and center please!”
It was strange how the minis seemed to simply materialize from every possible hiding place in the Response Center. Even Gojirra, who was the size of a small dog, had managed to disappear in the furniture.
Valon gave his trademark grin as he gestured toward Midnight Green’s shack. “Welcome to your new playhouse, now free of Suvian detritus!”
The agents were almost bowled over by the minis. Once the stampede ended, Kala turned to Rina and Zeb. “By the way… you notice how Valon was getting more into it as we went on?”
Rina grinned. “Well, yeah. You can’t fight the ponies for long.”
Valon started waving his hands wildly and rambling. “No, that’s not what was happening, I’m no longer a brony I swear, I’m not going to watch pony reviews on YouTube, I haven’t been listening to This Day Aria–”
Kala grinned mischievously. “Hey, Rina, wanna know how to turn off Valon’s brain? Makes it easy to change his mind.”
Valon didn’t get a chance to process what was happening before Kala kissed him full on the mouth. The much heavier girtablilu pulled her partner to the ground.
“Get a room, you guys,” Zeb said, looking away.
The girtablilu pulled her lips away from her stunned partner and grinned. “This is the room. Our RC.”
“In that case, we’ll let you guys have some, ah, privacy,” Rina said, backing away.
Kala laughed a bit. “Ah, we’re not gonna sleep together, if that’s what you’re worried about. Valon doesn’t think he’s ready for that.” With that said, she returned her face to Valon’s with gusto.
As Rina and Zeb left the RC, Zeb glanced up at his partner. “Seriously, they smell just like—” He caught Rina’s eye and looked away, grinning. “Never mind.”
[Voyd’s notes: Yes, I wrote this fic. It’s the only one I ever wrote for anything, actually.
Anyway, I tried a) to show off more about my agents, and b) showcase their new relationship in such a way that wasn’t obtrusive. I also tried to give Zeb and Rina some time in the sun; after all, this is their mission, too.
Hm? The megaphone? That was a development gag. See, the original plan was to intercept the Zebra Mask at the Gala itself, and to interrupt his own musical performance with a canonical song. However, we decided not to do that, since two other PPCers already did the whole “bursting into song in an MLP mission” thing.
And this mission got What Was I Thinkin’ stuck in my head. Greeeaaaaat.
Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this collaborative effort between me and Iximaz!]
[Iximaz’s notes: Well, it wasn’t nearly as bad as my old shame (yes, the one Rina kept referencing). So there’s that. Plus, ponies! Ponies are always fun. This mission was an enjoyable one to write. Nice change from the “OH AUTHORS WHERE IS THE BLEEPRIN” inducing fics I seem to be sporking as of late.
...And that’s it, actually. Voyd said everything else. Thanks for reading!]