The Last Equestrian Doom Patrol

by Blueshift

First published

Luna must lead Derpy, Princess Erroria, that cyclops guy and the rest of the animation error ponies when Equestria is threatened by... Nobody?

An ancient enemy has escaped their bonds and threatens to destroy the entire world in a black night of chaos and uncreation. What Equestria needs is Twilight Sparkle and the Elements of Harmony.

Unfortunately, what Equestria is getting is Princess Luna's rather dangerous-sounding 'Doom Patrol'.

Luna! Derpy! Princess Erroria! A weird-looking cyclops! They and the rest of the animation error ponies must race to save Equestria from the doom that awaits. But it's a task they can't possibly hope to achieve.

Because their enemy is... Nobody?

[NOTE: This story is very loosely inspired by Grant Morrison's 'Doom Patrol' comics from the 80s; absolutely no knowledge of it is needed to enjoy this, so don't get scared off!]

Crawling From The Wreckage

Merriweather ran.

Nobody could blame her. As a captain of the royal guards, she was supposed to emanate an aura of poise, of dignity and restraint under crisis. Instead she tore across the Equestrian countryside in a stumbling, galloping haze. Anyone in the same position would have done the same. She wasn’t even sure if she could see anymore, the sights and sounds of the previous night still echoing in her ears and creasing her brow into a permanent furrow. She just knew she had to keep moving.

Despite her training, despite her years of rigorous endurance marching, she dimly knew that it was impossible for her to have reached Canterlot from the rocky heights of the fortress prison that sat atop the Crystal Peaks. Yet in one corner of her mind, amidst the chaos that swam there, she was aware that she stumbled through the streets of Canterlot as if propelled by some unknown force. She got the feeling, halfway in a dream, that she had pushed past a group of surprised guards, and raced panting into the throne room.

She was definitely aware though, that she came to her senses – or what remained of them at least – at the hoof of Celestia herself.

Celestia sat bolt upright in confusion and concern as Merriweather ploughed into the room. As ruler of Equestria, she prided herself on knowing each and every one of her guards, at least enough to be able to maintain a cordial, polite conversation. The pony that slumped at her hooves was not the Merriweather she knew. Merriweather was calm, reserved and neat, not this tattered, panting mess.

Celestia also knew where Merriweather had been stationed.

With a swipe of a gilded hoof, she motioned the other guards out of the room, and made her way down the steps of her throne to Merriweather’s side. “Merriweather?” she asked softly. “What has happened? Are you all right?”

“S-sorry…” Merriweather raised her head woozily, looking at Celestia through a hazy cloud of blurred vision. “I-it all happened so fast. The walls turned into Marmite, he spoke with the smell of Parma Violets and t-turned Peppermint Whizz into rice pudding.” She clutched her head with a groan. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Celestia grimaced, upturning a nearby decorative urn that had been given to her by the Goatlandian ambassador as a gesture of peace and goodwill between nations, and placed it under Merriweather’s chin, holding the guard’s mane back as she threw up with great gusto. Merriweather groaned, eyes now bloodshot. She did not look much better.

“Merriweather,” Celestia spoke more firmly, a hint of steel creeping into her tone. “Pull yourself together; you are a captain of the guard. What happened, Merriweather?”

“H-he escaped.” Merriweather paused, and then gave another hearty retch into the container. “A-after he broke free, there was nothing we could do!”

“Who escaped?” Celestia barked back with a newfound urgency, the possibilities racing through her mind. The prison in the Crystal Peaks was where some of the most dangerous creatures and criminals in all Equestria were locked for all eternity. Perhaps Tirek had broken his bonds. Or Lord Malvolio. As Merriweather tried to speak, Celestia was already formulating contingency plans to bring in the escapee. The reply stopped these thoughts in their track, and a chill passed through Celestia’s heart.

“N-nobody, Princess.” Merriweather gave one final croak before passing out. “I-I’m so, so sorry. Nobody escaped.”


“An’ just where do you think you’re going, little miss?” Applejack rounded on a particularly guilty-looking Apple Bloom as she did her best to sneak out of the house. Apple Bloom froze with a start, her small head half-way out of the back door.

“Ah didn’t do it!” Apple Bloom squeaked, suspiciously quickly. “Ah said Ah’d go see Scoots and Sweetie, so uh, gotta go!”

Apple Bloom’s attempted dash for the safety of the outside was halted as her sister’s teeth gnashed down on her tail, yanking her back into the house, where she skittered to a halt on the kitchen floor. Applejack loomed above her, eyes narrowed in disapproval.

“Ah thought Ah taught you better than that, Apple Bloom!” With a buck of her back hooves, Applejack kicked open the door to the sitting room, revealing a coffee table that was smeared with a half-finished art project, paints and paper haphazardly scattered all about. “Look at that mess! Always clean up before you do a new thing! An’ look at this – potato printing!” She shook her head. “Ah never thought Ah’d see the day. You think you’re too good for apples, now?”

Apple Bloom slunk back into the main room, head hung low in dejection. “Ah didn’t make all this mess though! Ah’ll clear up mine, but not the rest!”

Applejack rolled her eyes and gazed upon her sister’s crude artwork, splashes of paint and printed blocks of colour that could vaguely be seen to resemble objects. “Ah suppose you’ve not been drawing pictures of apple trees an’ Scootaloo, an’…” She frowned, peering at one of the sheets of paper. It hurt to look at it. “…An’ a four-sided triangle?”

Apple Bloom bobbed her head up to peer at the sheet, eyes bulging in surprise. “No, Ah didn’t draw that!”

Throwing the paper down, and shaking her head to clear the fog that had suddenly descended upon it, Applejack turned on her sister. “Well, Granny Smith sure didn’t! An’ neither did Big Mac! So who do you claim made this mess, Apple Bloom? Mr Nobody?”

Her words echoed oddly around the room. Both ponies instantly moved their heads to stare into the same corner.

Nobody was there.


“Once more, Spike, there are no monsters under the bed!” Twilight shook her head in annoyance, swiping a hoof at the petrified little dragon who stood shaking, clutching his dustpan and brush in his claws. “You’re just trying to get out of cleaning my room again!”

“I’m not!” Spike shuffled behind Twilight for protection, large green eyes peeking into the gloom beneath Twilight’s bed. “Besides, there was a monster there last time!”

Twilight scrunched her face and glared at Spike. “Yes, well, that’s the exception that proves the rule! Look, give that here!” She snatched the dustpan away from Spike. “Now, if there isn’t a monster under the bed, I’ll be very angry!”

Spike started to sidle towards the door, adopting a casual pose. “Well, if you’re really set on cleaning, I’ll guess I’ll just have to…” he paused, shrugging his shoulders in an exaggerated fashion. “…I don’t know, go to the fun fair or something.”

“Or nothing!” Twilight craned her head under the bed, and started to squeeze herself into the dark gap, dustpan held out in front of her like some sort of talisman. “You’re staying right here, Spike, and if you’ve been wasting my time, you’re on the cleaning rota on your own for the next month!”

With a flurry of activity, Twilight’s hind legs pushed her under the bed. It was a tighter fit than she remembered; the air was musty and smelt of… She wrinkled her nose. Parma Violets. In the gloom, her horn sparked into life with a flash of light. “See, Spike!” she called back, towards the slit of light behind her that seemed to be oddly far away. “Nobody’s under here!”


The labyrinthine corridors of Canterlot Castle held many secrets. There were said to be rooms that were long bricked off, filled with the ghosts of a world that had never existed. Some told of a dance hall full of clockwork mice, that waltzed through the centuries as their mechanisms slowly wore down. A royal chef, whose name has long since been forgotten by history, once claimed that he stumbled across a room in which lay a wishing well. Looking into the depths, he saw a beautiful maiden carved from glass, who could only speak the number ‘six’.

It was in one such forgotten corner of the castle that Celestia stood, watching as her sister paced restlessly up and down. In past generations, this had been the war room, when such a concept as ‘war’ existed. It had long since fallen into disuse, save as the nesting ground for a charming pair of spiders. Now, though, the ancient, crinkled maps of Equestria that lined its walls were once more thrumming with a pink magical aura, the mechanism of the mighty oak table that sat in the centre of the room groaning and clanking into life, delicate brass compasses swinging this way and that across gossamer-thin sparkles of magic that outlined the shape of the world.

Celestia continued to stare at the compasses as they swung. Nothing. Still nothing. Not with all the ancient magic of Canterlot had the enemy been located. Still, she was patient. Her sister, on the other hand, was anything but.

“You know what we must do, Celestia!” Luna stopped her pacing, swinging her starry mane across her face, painting the air with streaks of light. “Not this waiting around! You know we have to move fast if we are to stop him!” Her hooves trembled with barely-restrained frustration, as if any minute she would explode out of the castle and across Equestria.

“No.” Celestia spoke softly and quietly, glancing at her sister briefly before studying the magical maps again carefully. “Trust me, sister. I have sent for Twilight Sparkle and the other bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Once we locate the escapee, they will bring him to justice.”

“Ridiculous!” Luna shook her head in a huff. She had been repeating this same outburst ever since Celestia told her of what had transpired. “You can’t expect them to –”

“They defeated Discord,” Celestia said simply.

“This is nothing like Discord!” Luna reared up and slammed one hoof against the table. The magical ley-lines that ran across the surface shimmered and broke where her hoof interrupted them. “For all his powers, Discord could be comprehended! You cannot expect normal ponies to fight… this!” Her face set itself into a gritty determination. “I will enact a royal decree. I am forming a new Doom Patrol!”

“No.” Celestia’s voice cut across Luna’s, in a tone reserved for admonishing a naughty foal. “No, Luna, I will not allow it.”

“Not allow it?” Luna’s eyes narrowed, a flash of black in her eyes as a miniature supernova exploded in her mane. “Since when did you need to allow me to do anything, Celestia? We rule together, remember?”

“Yes, together.” Celestia focussed her attention fully on her sister. “Luna, we have not had need of a Doom Patrol in Equestria in millennia. And I remember what happened last time. I would not place any more of my subjects in danger; Twilight and her friends are more than capable of the task.”

“That…” Luna’s eyes widened, her angry poise slumping slightly. “That was not my fault, Celestia! They did so much that no-one else could not! The Pentagon Horror! The Nightmare Stream! The Impossible Colour! You remember that?”

“I do. I believe once it was tamed, we called it mauve.” Celestia let a small smile break at the memory, and then reaffirmed her frown. “But no, Luna. Once more it is the Elements of Harmony that must protect Eq –”

The dusty doors to the war room flew open, and in charged a pair of guards, panting and wheezing in their tattered uniforms. The first threw himself at Celestia’s hooves, and opened his mouth to speak. “#”

Celestia frowned at the guard. “Excuse me?”

“^” the guard said.

“I’m sorry, Princess!” The second guard joined his companion, cradling him as he continued to jibber out incomprehensible noises. “W-we did as you said, we looked for Twilight Sparkle and her friends, but… but they were gone.”

“Gone?” Celestia snapped back, regretting her tone almost instantly as the guard quivered. “I’m sorry. What happened?”

“}!” said the first guard, urgently.

“They were gone, Princess.” The second guard glanced between Celestia and Luna through bloodshot eyes. “All six of them! And…” His voice lowered to a whisper. “And when we looked, we found a seesaw made of fish that whispered seven impossible names, and a house made from the colour blue.” He started to rock back and forth. “I… I can’t remember it, but when I came out, it had stolen my shadow.”

Luna cast a curious look towards the guard. Even in the light of the room, he cast no shadow. “You see!” she cried to Celestia over the guard. “It might already be too late! I must form a new Doom Patrol and meet this menace head-on!”

“Thank you.” Celestia ignored Luna for the moment, casting a benevolent smile at the guards. “Please retire to the infirmary, the chief physician will ensure you get the best care.” As the guards slowly shuffled away, she flicked her gaze back to her sister with a far less calming demeanour. “No, Luna. There is no time for training. And even if there was, I refuse to let you drag any innocent citizens into this.” She straightened up. “If he is planning what I think he is, he will need to reach the four lodestones that hold Equestria together. It is no coincidence that I have chosen this room as the base of operations.” She ran a hoof over the table. “The first is here, Luna. He will come here, and I will stop him.”

“You can’t be serious?” Luna ground her forehooves into the table until some of the delicate brass gilding buckled. “You are the princess of the day; you embody civilisation and law and order – you would be powerless against him!”

“I may surprise you yet!” Celestia flung her head back, bathing her face in the pink auras that lined the room. “This is the only way, Luna. If it pleases you, you may wait outside and give warning when he comes.”

Luna narrowed her eyes at her older sister, and slunk out of the room. All princesses were equal, it seemed, but some were more equal than others. Slamming the door, she sat and began to brood, staring down the corridor with disdain. If Celestia was right – if – then the enemy would soon be coming, and it would be she and not Celestia that took matters into her own hooves.

In the silence of the room, Celestia let her shoulders sag with a sigh. A thousand years on the moon had still not calmed down some of Luna’s more hot-headed tempers. Doubts about her course of action formed in her head but she batted them away. She would – she could – fight this foe head on and prevail. She just needed time, and for her sister to calm down.

She settled down to wait, staring at the door, waiting for the moment. The fine hairs on the back of her neck prickled.

She turned round

Nobody was in the room.


The constant ticking of the clock was starting to irritate Luna. Her earlier eagerness to face this threat head-on had now descended into a bored, restless wait as she shuffled on her haunches, trying to stay comfortable. It was, Luna decided, little more than glorified guard duty.

“All right, you win!” She stood up, stretching her hooves, the monotony of her task deflating the prior sense of urgency that had motivated her. “I was being too hasty, but let’s do this together.” She flung open the doors, and her words froze on her tongue.

The centre of the room was ripped open. It was not a mundane breakage, but the very fabric of reality itself. The table and air around it seemed to be torn at a crooked angle, colours bleeding out into tiny rectangles of magenta, cyan and yellow. Beyond that, in the middle of the hole was nothing. Not just blackness, but nothing.

“The lode…” Luna gazed upon the wound in the world with a sinking dread, feeling herself being enraptured by the very wrongness of its existence until another thought snapped her away. “Celestia!”

Her sister was there, but… not. Where there had once been the proud monarch of Equestria, Celestia stood frozen in place. Her coat had taken on a pinkish, plastic gloss, and her fabric wings shimmered with a polyester sheen.

“…Celestia?” Luna’s voice croaked and then broke at the sight of her sister. She shuffled forwards, eyes darting about the room in case of any sudden attack. There was none. Just the hole in the world and the thing that had been her sister.

A drawstring that fed into the back of Celestia’s neck slowly began to wind itself in. “Tee hee hee, comb my hair!” Celestia called in an unfamiliar flat tone. “I’m a princess, do you want to go flying with me?”

Luna stared at her sister piteously. “I will stop this Celestia, I promise. You know I was right. I hope you will forgive me.”

“I like pretty dresses!” Celestia’s eyes stared back at Luna from their frozen gaze, a slight watery tremble behind them. “Maths is hard!”

Luna took one final look at her sister, and then the gash that broiled in the middle of the room. Time was running out. “This enemy must be stopped, no matter the cost.”

“I am forming a new Doom Patrol.”

Getting The Band Back Together

“Oh. I’ve never had a Princess in here before! Is it an inspection?” Derpy looked up from her desk where she had been hard at work, to see the Princess of the Night standing before her. The bell on the Post Office door hadn’t rung to announce her arrival, but given the strangeness of the day so far this was of minor concern.

“No, Derpy, it is not an inspection!” Luna announced with dramatic relish as the finished materialising in the middle of the room, wisps of blue light curling from her hooves. “Unless you consider it an inspection of your very will and resolve in the face of impossible adversity!”

Luna stared expectantly at Derpy. Derpy stared back, blinked, and then shrugged. “Okay.” She then returned to work, diligently sorting through the pile of post that lay on her desk, shuffling the letters into neat piles and into her open satchel.

Luna cleared her throat, throwing back her head in a bold, sweeping gesture. “Equestria is in danger, Derpy! An evil force is even now moving against us, plotting the destruction of everything we know and hold dear!”

“Oh, one of those is it?” Derpy picked up a slightly dog-eared envelope, squinting at it, before holding it up to the Princess. “Look at that, see? Bless! I think Pipsqueak did that, silly little tyke!”

“Even now, Canterlot lies in crisis amidst the forces of uncreation and…” Luna trailed off as she realised Derpy was completely ignoring her. “Just what are you doing?”

Derpy held the letter up, pointing a hoof at the top right hand corner. “See, there’s supposed to be a stamp here, but I guess Pipsqueak didn’t have any or didn’t understand. So he drew a…” She peered closer. “What is that? A fish?”

Luna looked at the scrawl in confusion. There was indeed a crude drawing of a fish where the stamp should have been. “So?”

Derpy shrugged. “Well, see, technically I should send this back as undeliverable, but I like to go through all the post and make sure they’re all paid up. Just my little good deed to bring a bit of happiness into the world!” She swept open a large book of stamps, and tearing off one at random, gave it a lick before sticking it in place. She pulled a face. “Bleaugh. The glue tastes awful though. There needs to be a better way, is that why you’re here? Are you introducing self-adhesive stamps?”

“What, I… no!” Luna frowned, shaking her head. “No, Derpy, I am here because…” She trailed off, as something caught her eye. On the right hand corner of the letter, there was now a stamp proudly displaying Celestia’s beaming visage. In the book of stamps Derpy had sorted through, there seemed to be an awful lot of stamps emblazoned with her sister’s face. “Derpy. Where are the stamps with my face?”

“Oh.” Derpy paled. “I just work here, Princess! I don’t make the postal policy! There aren’t any! Those are the rules.”

“The rules?” Luna’s previous ominous announcements were quickly forgotten in a flash of annoyance. She reached for the book of stamps before Derpy could snatch it back, and was soon leafing through the pages, face fixed in consternation. “Am I not on any stamp?”

“Well uh, you know…” Derpy looked about the room, anywhere but at the princess. “It’s the rules. I don’t make them! As she is princess, Celestia is the only pony allowed on stamps.”

“But I’m a princess too!” Luna almost exploded with indignant outrage. “I rule Equestria! Why am I not on a stamp? And look!” She thumped open a page at random. “This stamp has a pot plant on it! Am I not better than a pot plant! And Trotsky! Trotsky gets a stamp! He’s not Celestia!” She pointed a stamp depicting a rather stern-faced red pony, whose face was framed by an absurdly enormous moustache.

“Objects and dead ponies are allowed,” Derpy pointed out. “But Celestia is the only living pony who can be on stamps. See, her silhouette is there.” She gestured at the corner of the stamps, each showing the silhouette of a unicorn, hair billowing out behind it.

Luna pouted. “That could be anyone. It looks a bit like me. Yes, when I return to Canterlot, we shall have a long discussion with the Postmaster General.” She shook her head, suddenly remembering the reason for being in the Post Office in the first place. “Derpy,” she announced, a new-found urgency in her voice. “Our world teeters on the brink of uncreation! Doomsday approaches!”

“Oh!” Understanding dawned on Derpy’s face. “Twilight Sparkle lives two streets down, in the library. This is the Post Office.” Feeling the issue resolved, she broke Luna’s gaze and returned to her work.”

“Twilight Sparkle is dead.” Luna grasped Derpy’s chin in a gilded hoof and lifted it so that she was staring directly into Derpy’s crooked eyes. “The Elements of Harmony have been neutralised. My sister…” Her voice broke slightly. “Princess Celestia is dead. Or gone. Or changed. The result is the same.”

“What?” Derpy’s reply was no more than a squeak as she struggled to process this deluge of information. “Then why are you here? Why aren’t you doing anything about it?”

“I am.” Luna let Derpy go, turning to look briefly out of the window. The sun still shone in the sky, though it had not moved for the past hour. If she did not move fast, this might be the final day any of them saw. “Someone has escaped from the most secure prison in Equestria, Derpy. An ancient enemy the likes of which has not been fought for many centuries. When such times occur, when all else has failed, and all others have fallen, the Princess of the Night may, by laws as old as Equestria itself, form a Doom Patrol!”

“That… that doesn’t sound very safe.” Derpy shrank back against the wall, hoping somehow that it would protect her from this sudden madness that had invaded her life. She asked the next question with a sense of dread, fearing that she knew the answer already: “B-but why are you telling me this?”

Luna stared down at Derpy with an unwavering gaze, a brief smile flickering across her lips. “Because, Derpy, you are the first recruit.”

“But – ”

Luna held up a hoof. “And when I say ‘recruit’, I mean that you do not have a choice. I am sorry. The fate of Equestria hangs in the balance.”

“Oh.” Derpy hung her head. “But I just deliver the post in Ponyville! I don’t have any magic powers or abilities! I’m not brave or smart or heroic!” She looked towards her post satchel, pleadingly. “If the world is about to end, I think I’d be more use delivering the post, just so everyone gets one last letter to bring them happiness before Equestria is destroyed. Unless it’s a bill.”

“You are special, Derpy.” Luna’s voice dropped to a softer, more soothing octave. “There is a reason I came to you first.”

“My mum said I was special.” Derpy scowled. “Of course, she also said that if I drank a glass of milk every day, I’d grow up to be pretty!” She let out a frustrated puff of air. “This is all because of my eyes, isn’t it? That’s why I’m ‘special’? I’m cross-eyed, Princess! That’s all! They don’t give me the power to see through walls or shoot lasers or hypnotise ponies, do they?”

Luna shook her head. “No.”

“Oh.” Derpy slumped. “I thought you were gonna tell me they did.”

“You have always known that you were out of place, that you were not quite right.” Luna cast a glance at the clock that ticked away in the corner of the room. “That you were in some way a mistake.”

Derpy’s bottom lip wobbled. “That’s not helping.”

“Derpy. From the moment you were born, you were touched by Error. I use that word in the strict scientific sense.” Luna paused, searching Derpy’s face for a reaction, unsure of the best words to use. “When you were born – when you were conceived – when you were just a twinkle of an idea in the language of the universe, something went wrong.”

Derpy was silent for a good while. “Oh,” she finally said again, for the third time. “I’ve had better pep talks. I suppose you’re going to say that it’s my fault that the world is ending and I need to die for it to all be fixed, or something.”

Luna hesitantly reached out a wing to enfold the smaller pony in a semi-awkward hug. To her surprise, she felt the smear of tears against her feathers, smudging off Derpy’s cheeks. “No, Derpy, sorry. I didn’t mean that. The world is broken, yes. Our enemy is hiding in the cracks. But you, because you have been touched by this Error, you will be able to see him and touch him and track him down, where gods and warriors cannot.”

Derpy rested her head against Luna’s side for a moment, feeling the slow pound of her heart as she came to a decision. “Okay,” she nodded, trotting over to her desk and slipping her enveloped-stuffed satchel around her neck. “But as long as I can deliver the mail along the way.”

Luna spread her wings, horns aglow with magical energies as a sparkling aura enveloped the two. “Very well. But be warned, that we may travel to the very heard of pandemonium itself!”

Derpy quickly flicked through the envelopes in her satchel. “Nope, none for there!”

With a wry grin, Luna flicked back her mane and let a burst of light flash from her horn. “Let us find the others then!”


It was a castle above the world.

At least, that’s what the owner liked to think. The cloud house itself was standard fare for an inhabitant of Cloudsdale. A small, detached puffy white cloud that hung in a rather nice nimbo-cumulous cluster in a pleasant suburb of the pegasi capital city. Where most pegasi tended to keep their abodes light and airy, this was a different matter.

There were no windows. The walls were instead covered by a multitude of clocks that all ran at random, completely different times, creating a constant cacophony of ticking. Where there were not clocks, there were books. Shelves upon shelves, piles upon piles of books, all written by one hoof, the same lurid, spidery scrawl.

It was the dry, musty smell of those books that hit Derpy the most, as she and Luna apparated into the middle of the dwelling. Having automatically taken a deep breath the moment they appeared, Derpy found herself coughing wildly as the dust assaulted her lungs.

“Quiet, Derpy!” Luna hissed, looking down at her companion admonishingly. Then, looking about, she trotted towards the far end of the room where a brown pegasus sat engrossed in a pile of manuscripts, pen clutched in his mouth as he feverishly scrawled away.

Derpy swallowed hard, eyes picking through the candle-lit gloom, appalled that anyone could afford to live in such a mess. Then she gave a start, realising just who it was sat across the room for them. “That’s… that’s Doctor Whooves!” she gasped in a small squeak at Luna. “But it can’t be!” She stared closer at the familiar-looking figure. It was her best friend from Ponyville, she knew him at a glance. That same brown coat. That same spiked chestnut hair. That same hourglass cutie mark. But sprouting from his back was a pair of large, brown wings. “I don’t understand!”

Luna smiled at Derpy as one would at a foolish filly. “No, Derpy, it is not Doctor Whooves. It is another one who has been touched by Error.” She cleared her throat to get the attention of the scribbling pony. “Time Flies! The hour is now! Your Princess commands your presence!”

At the sound of Luna’s voice, the pony’s head flicked up and he bounded towards the two newcomers with unbridled enthusiasm, large eyes twinkling with excitement. “Princess Luna!” he half-choked out as he stumbled into a bow. “I knew it, I knew you’d come! You need my help to save the world, don’t you? I’ve seen the signs – the red skies, the saxophones that whisper secrets from other dimensions, that fish born with the head of a cactus! They were all signs of the coming apocalypse, weren’t they?”

“They were.” Luna nodded solemnly. “By order of the Princess of the Night, and with the power invested in me as ruler of Equestria, I hereby recruit you into the Doom Patrol and – ”

“I accept!” The pony puffed out his chest. “I feel like I’ve been waiting for something like this my whole life!”

“It’s not actually something you need to accept,” Derpy piped up, to a withering glance from Luna. “I mean, it’s more a draft than anything, you don’t get to say ‘no’.”

“I wouldn’t even if I could!” The pony seemed to spot Derpy for the first time, reaching forwards and enthusiastically shaking her hoof. “Name’s Time Flies. Terrible name, I know, I had a right go at the old parents! My friends call me Timey, and this is my house. Not much, but I’d have cleaned up if I knew I had guests coming!” He moved aside to let Derpy soak in the true horror of the dismal, messy dwelling. “All the books are mine, I wrote them all myself!” he announced proudly.

Derpy gingerly picked up the nearest ‘book’: a wad of different sized sheets of papers crudely stapled together. On the cover was written ‘Times Flies and the Prisoner of Mah-jong’.

“Oh, that’s a good one!” Timey’s head loomed slightly too close to Derpy’s. “I get taken prisoner by the king of an anti-matter universe and have to overthrow him before lunchtime. And in this one –” he broke off, scrabbling through pile after pile until he triumphantly grasped a tattered red notebook. “In this one, I go to a planet full of ponies that wear ant costumes, and defeat the plate of tagliatelle that rules it.”

Derpy’s head tilted to one side quizzically. “…So you’ve done this sort of thing before?” she gingerly asked, looking towards Luna for any sort of help. The Princess remained impassive. “I mean, we’re going to try and save the world, but at least you’ve had experience?”

“Oh, no no no!” Timey shook his head emphatically. “No, I just write stories.”

“About… yourself?” Derpy scanned the covers of all the ‘books’ that lay on the floor. All of the titles seemed to start with “Time Flies and…”

“About myself, mostly, yes.” Timey shrugged. “Write what you know, that’s what they say.” He grabbed a dirty sack, and started to stuff quills and scraps of paper into it. “I always get ideas popping into my head and need to write them down, preserve them for future generations, you know. I always thought I was special, always thought I was destined for greater things!”

No, everyone gets that.” Derpy took a step back, looking up pleadingly at Luna.

Luna simply smiled at Timey. “Greater things await, Time Flies. Make your preparations, for there are more to gather, and very little time remaining.”

“Done!” Timey finished stuffing his sack full of writing materials. “Just in case I get any more inspiration striking, you know!” He flashed a smile at Derpy, clapping his forehooves together. “Let’s get started, I can’t wait to be a hero!”


“Piss off!”

Derpy winced, covering her ears at the torrent of insults that spewed from the mouth of the strange blue pony into whose room the trio had materialised. Of her companions, Time Flies was simply staring aghast at the pony, shocked that anyone could defy the call to duty. Luna meanwhile, was staying as stoic and calm as she could manage.

“You cannot refuse a direct order from the Princess of the Night! Equestria is in peril! You are needed!” Luna stressed this point most firmly.

Oh no,” the pony deadpanned with a sneer. “What’s the worst this villain is going to do if he’s not stopped? Screw up my face?”

“Donny Swineclop!” Luna snapped, the suddenness of the response sending a jolt through Derpy. “This is a serious matter, it could be the end of the world as we know it!”

“I’m crying my eye out. No, really.” The blue pony blinked a large, singular eye at Luna, and then turned his back on the princess to continue his previous task of polishing his silverware with a dirty rag.

He was, Derpy thought, the strangest pony she had ever seen. At first she hadn’t even realised he was a pony, instead believing him to be some other creature. Donny resembled a pony until you reached the head, where instead of a friendly face there rested a huge unblinking eye, set above a muzzleless, permanent scowl.

Derpy was just about to speak out in the Princess’s defence when Donny dropped his rag, swinging around and waving a hoof angrily. “…And what really gets on my nerves!” he began, “is that you three break into my house and expect me to be happy that I’m being forced to join your ‘Suicide Squad’.”

“It’s a Doom Patrol,” Luna replied flatly.

“Well,” Donny sneered. “It still sounds dangerous to me.”

“Pfft!” Timey cut across any response that Luna was about to make. “This is Princess Luna! Our safety is guaranteed with her in command, you should be overjoyed at the chance! Isn’t that right, Princess?”

He turned to Luna for acknowledgement, but Luna left the question hanging. “Donny,” she said softly. “Equestria needs you. Your special nature –”

“Hah!” Donny spat in barely suppressed contempt. “Do you want me to tell you about my ‘special nature’? About how I was bullied and ridiculed all my life because of this?” He jabbed a hoof at his huge mono-eye. “You have no idea! I bet you’re about to launch into a speech about how we’re ‘all the same’, are you? Well, sorry. You’re just some spoiled crazy evil moon princess who’s probably having another of her funny turns!”

“Hey!” Timey leapt in front of Luna, wings flapping angrily in an attempt to defend her honour. “Princess Luna was helplessly controlled by the evil Nightmare spirit! Her actions as Nightmare Moon were completely against her will!”

Donny narrowed his eye, tilting his head curiously. “Really?”

Timey pushed his face into Donny’s, eyes unblinking. “Really!”

“Ahem,” Luna coughed, scratching her neck nervously. “Well actually, no, Timey, that was all me.”

“Oh.” Timey’s face fell and he backed away. “How awkward. Well, I’m sure you won’t do it again!” He brightened up suddenly. “I did write about that though! The evil Nightmare spirit infected a basket of eggs and I had to stop it! If we pop back home I could show you!”

“Whatever!” Donny slunk away from the trio before turning to Derpy. “I bet you think you have a hard life because of your crossed eyes, don’t you? Well, boo hoo madam, I’d love something like that!”

“Well actually, I – ” Derpy attempted to explain that she had rather a nice life, thank you, but Donny wasn’t about to let her speak.

“And you! You!” Donny jabbed a hoof in Timey’s face. “Whatever in the pit is wrong with you, I’m guessing it’s mental or something!”

“I’m just a hero!” Timey retorted. “And the princess is offering you the same chance! Sure you could sit here all miserable like the world owes you a favour, but you know what? It doesn’t! It’s not that big mono-eye that’s standing in your way, it’s that rotten attitude! You’ve got a chance, Donny. One chance to make something of yourself and prove that you’re not just a mean grouch. One chance to save the world!”

Timey about-turned nearly on his hooves. “Come on ladies, obviously Donny’s single eye makes him incapable of helping others!”

He started to march out of the room, when a small mutter from Donny stopped him in his tracks.

“Alright,” Donny said, a slight tremble in his hooves. “Alright. I’m in.”

Derpy’s mouth hung open, looking at Timey with a new-found admiration. “That was great!” she gasped.

“I used nearly that exact speech on the Grand Mal of Hydrax Four,” Timey boasted with a smug grin. “Worked a charm.”

“In a story?”

“Well, yes.” Timey shrugged. “But it was a good story!”


“Ugh, the sun’s too bright!” Donny blinked his huge eye in annoyance, swinging his head round to glare at his companions. “Why has no-one invented sunglasses for giant singular eyes yet? It’s just another form of oppression!”

Derpy ignored him, trotting hurriedly after Princess Luna, who strode purposefully through the leafy serene orchard that they had found themselves in. The soft scents of nature wafted lazily through the air, which was filled with all kinds of birdsong. It was as if this part of Equestria had lost the memo that Armageddon was beckoning. “Where are we?” She craned her neck up at the trees that towered above them, squinting in puzzlement at the long strands that dangled down from the branches like strange fruit.

“Brain snakes!” Timey squeaked, staring at the strands in fear. “I met them in ‘Time Flies And The Planet Of The Brain Snakes’! They slide into your ears and wrap themselves around your brain!”

“Idiots,” Donny rolled his huge eye at the two, keeping a good distance in case someone came across them and assumed they were all friends. “We’re just outside Ponyville, don’t you know anything? This is Luigi’s Spaghetti Farm.”

“Oh, right.” With a flap of her wings, Derpy rose into the air, and sucked a strand of spaghetti from a nearby tree. She then spat it out. It was slightly crunchy, not yet fully ripened. “I used to come here all the time with my mum when I was little!”

Ahead of them, a small yellow earth pony with a shock of bright purple hair was leaping up at the tree branches, grabbing mouthfuls of spaghetti and spitting them into a wicker basket.

“That does not look hygienic!” Donny scowled. “I know what I’m never eating for dinner again!”

“Quiet!” Luna broke her stride to glare disapprovingly at her entourage, before calling out to the yellow pony in a clear, crisp booming voice: “Princess Erroria, your service is once again required!”

The yellow pony’s head shot up, mouth dropping open to spill the spaghetti that she had been tightly gripping. “I don’t… what… really?” she spluttered, large round eyes shining with excitement. She bounced up to Luna like an excited puppy, tail swishing back and forth in agitation. “I never dreamed – I mean, I hoped – but…” Her face fell, her happy expression replaced by one of agitation. “B-but I thought Celestia said that me being a princess was a mistake? That Equestria couldn’t have more princesses because there were already enough and if there was one more then the world would break. Or something.”

Luna grimaced. “Celestia is…” She stumbled over her words. “Celestia is indisposed, Erroria. There is a temporary opening for princess, if you wish to take up your mantle and help save Equestria from the most dangerous crisis in history.”

Derpy watched the conversation with growing confusion. “What’s going on?” she hissed to Timey. “I have no idea what she’s talking about?”

Timey stroked his chin. “Perhaps she’s the princess from the anti-matter universe of Space-C that I met in ‘Time Flies And The Deadly Danger’?”

“Don’t you two pay any attention?” Donny grumbled, flashing a snide look between the pair. “That’s Erroria! She got made princess for a while due to an admin error when Celestia completely messed up turning Twilight into a princess. There were too many princesses and they had to take away her powers and it all got very awkward!” He threw his head back in disgust. “But I guess that’s what you get when you have a constitutional monarchy! An elected, competent leader wouldn’t let anything like that happen!”

They watched as Luna stood away from the small yellow pony, flashing a quick smile. “Are you ready, Erroria?”

Donny shook his head. “Ugh. I could take going to my grave a lone miser. I could take going to my grave some sort of hero. But now all I can see is: ‘Here lies Donny Swineclop. He was friends with losers’.” He raised a hoof to his mouth, shouting out at Erroria. “Don’t do it! She wants you to join her ‘Death Club’ so you can get horribly murdered to bits!”

Luna shot a stern glance at Donny, but Erroria didn’t seem to take any notice. Instead, she closed her eyes, raising her head to the heavens. “Begone, begone, o form of pony,” she intoned. A sharp wind sprung up from nowhere, causing the trees to sway violently and the onlooker’s manes to whip about their faces. “And arise the princess who is no phony!”

An arc of lightning streaked from a previously serene sky to strike Erroria, and a blinding flash caused all around to shield their faces (and caused Donny to complain once more about the lack of appropriate eyewear for cyclopses). As the painful white void that was the world blinked slowly back into life, Derpy saw standing in a circle of charred grass the form of a small but unmistakable alicorn.

Princess Erroria had arrived. And she had her tiara on upside-down.

“Oh good,” Donny grumbled through gritted teeth. “We’re all going to die, aren’t we?”


“Can I teleport?”

Yes, you can teleport,” Luna replied through gritted teeth, desperately trying to recall why she thought this was ever a good idea.

“Good!” Erroria ruffled her wings in anticipation. “And can I – ”

“Yes!” Luna swung her head around at the young pony, gnashing her teeth. “Yes you can fly, yes you can cast spells, no you can’t stop time, yes you can walk on clouds, no you can’t make it rain kittens. The answers won’t change if you keep on asking me!”

Erroria shrank back quickly with a squeak, shuffling backwards clumsily into Derpy. “Sorry! But uh…” She straightened her tiara. Something shiny and expensive on it broke and pinged off. “If we’re going to go and save the world and stuff, can I go visit mum and dad first?”

“There isn’t any time.” Luna looked grimly up at the sky. It had turned red. Blood red. All over Equestria the upper atmosphere was starting to broil, like it had been mortally wounded. And perhaps it had. “This is the final crisis.”

“Okay, and we stop. Right here!” Donny thumped his rear onto the ground with determination. After a moment, he realised that he was in Manehatten, and gingerly stood up, wiping off whatever horrible thing it was he had sat in. “I’m not moving another inch until you tell us what this is all about, Princess! You’ve been teleporting us all over the place, and I still don’t know why?”

“Why? To fight a great evil!” Timey cut across Donny. “We are heroes, Donny! We are the last hope of Equestria, a final Doom Patrol formed against the coming darkness!”

“Whatever.” Donny rolled his eye. “It all sounds very vague to me.”

“Donny Swineclop.” Luna addressed the petulant pony, rising to her full regal bearing. “You are brave despite the fear you try to hide, but I shall reveal all soon. We just need the final member of our retinue. And there he is.”

Derpy looked around herself. They had been traipsing through the streets of Manehatten for what seemed like an eternity thanks to the constant chirping of Erroria, but could only have been a few moments. The streets were grimy, grey, but more importantly, deserted. “There’s no-one here!” she protested. “Are they invisible?”

“There are always the invisible on the streets.” Luna drew Derpy’s attention to a dark side-alley, full of debris and discarded boxes. “It’s all right,” she cooed softly. “You can come out.”

A damp, dog-eared box shifted, and from beneath it nervously crawled a small orange filly who quivered in front of them. A small, strangely familiar orange filly.

“Scootaloo?” Derpy frowned, between the filly and Luna. “What’s Scootaloo doing here?”

The filly stared sullenly at Derpy. “I’m not Scootaloo,” it announced in a voice that sounded strangely masculine. “I’m Terry.”

“Yeah, come on, Derpy,” Donny smirked. “That’s obviously a Terry, not a Scootaloo. Whatever.”

Luna ignored them, casting a motherly gaze over the tiny feminine-looking colt, and wrapping a wing around her. “It’s okay, Terry, we’re here to help. And we need your help in return.”

Terry craned his neck up at Luna, voice quavering. “Y-you mean it? I-I don’t have to live in my box anymore?”

“Oh great! She’s recruiting a little foal!” Donny discarded the last pretence of any restraint as he stormed towards Luna. “She’s going to get a little foal killed!”

Luna instinctively pulled Terry away from Donny, shielding him with her wing. “If we do not act with everything we have at our disposal, very soon there will be no-one left alive!”

Donny made the impression of wrinkling his non-existent nose as he eyed Terry. “So what’s your gimmick then, kid? You look a bit like Scootaloo? Hell of a thing to put in a grave stone. And what’s that?” He waved dismissively at a dirty scrap of string tied around the small pony’s forehoof, attached to what looked like a long-deflated red balloon.

“It’s my balloon!” Terry half-shouted back, cowering into Luna’s side as he did so. “Princess Celestia gave it to me when me and my best friend Rainbow Dash saved her daughter Twilight Sparkle from the evil King Zebra so she could marry her true love, Prince Blueblood!”

“Well, I know that didn’t happen!” Derpy blurted out in absolute astonishment. “Unless you want to tell me I’ve not been keeping up with the news again, Donny!”

Donny only had two words to this revelation, fixing Terry with a glare made up half of annoyance, half of sheer frustration: “Piss off.”

Luna immediately clapped her hooves to Terry’s small ears. “Donny!” she admonished. “He is but a foal! And there are more worlds than this one, worlds which have never existed apart from in the strangest dream of history. Worlds that somehow leak into our own.”

“It’s a bit like the time when I fought Celestia’s alternate-universe counterpart,” Timey whispered to Erroria. “Aitselec. Luckily she did everything backwards, so I just had to relax as she undid her evil plan all by herself!”

“Amazing!” Erroria listened to Timey with wide eyes, her previous fidgeting replaced by complete absorbed fascination. “You’re so brave! Tell me more!”

“Well…” Timey pondered, giving himself an imaginary pat on the back for being so marvellous. “’Time Flies And The Carnival of Invasions’ saw me infiltrate an intergalactic carnival held by alien warlords who were peddling their ill-gotten wares to an unsuspecting public. The planet Calufrax had been stolen and used as a target on the coconut shy, and I had to –”

“If you are finished, Time Flies?” Luna spoke up loudly, halting the brown pegasus’s spiel in its tracks. “Now we are complete!” She spread her wings, a glow of ethereal energy rising from the ground to surround the gathering. “Now our enemy will beware! Now the last Equestrian Doom Patrol shall ride out!”

With a flash, they were gone.

Leaving only a dark chuckle in the air.

And the scent of Parma Violets.


“Blargh!” Derpy let what remained of the contents of her stomach spill out onto the nicely polished wooden floor as the six ponies materialised once more. She groggily wiped her mouth while taking in her surroundings. It was a library, but unlike any library she had seen before. More like a cathedral, the room was massive, full of rack upon rack of books, stretching into the hazy distance. “Please tell me we’re going to stop teleporting about!” she moaned to the Princess, shaking her head to loosen the wool-like fuzz that enveloped her mind. “I don’t think I like it. Where are we now?”

“This,” Luna announced with a hint of pride, “is the Library of Stable. It is the repository for every book ever written in the past, present and future. Within these walls sit every work of art, every foals scrawl. It contains the truths of the universe, and the most maddening lies.”

Timey was half salivating at the thought. “Does it contain all my stuff? I could save so much time if I found all the books I was going to write!”

“Everything!” Luna replied with a wry smile. “But also every book you didn’t write, every book written to be disguised as yours.”

Eagerly snatching a nearby volume off a shelf, Timey opened it at a random page and screwed his face up into a puzzled expression. “But… but it’s nonsense!”

“Ah, at last he gets it!” Donny pouted. “Congratulations, Timey; it took you a while but you made it in the end!”

“No, he’s right!” Derpy picked up another book and leafed through it, staring at Luna quizzically as she considered the pages that were full of random, meaningless collections of letters. Then comprehension dawned. “Oh. I see. This library contains every possible book because there are an infinite number of books, so by default somewhere there must be a copy of everything. That’s…. that’s useless.”

“Well, yes,” Luna conceded. “That’s why the library doesn’t really get many visitors. It is, however, one of the lodestones that holds together Equestria.”

“Fine! Now we’re getting somewhere! Spill!” Donny slumped onto a nearby couch, his disdainful expression broken momentarily by the morose face of Terry who pressed up next to him.

“Are you my new daddy?” Terry whimpered.

“Yes, and now I’m abandoning you,” Donny swept Terry off the couch, using the extra room to rest his hindquarters. “Sorry kid, that’s the cruel world we live in.”

“If you’re finished,” Luna glowered at Donny, beckoning a wing at Terry and inviting the colt to sit by her side instead, “then I will begin! Equestria is facing the forces of chaos and uncreation, and already my sister has fallen. Our enemy seeks not only to destroy the world, but wipe it from all history and existence altogether.”

“Ridiculous!” Donny scoffed. “Nobody has that power!”

“Apart from the King Archon of Mandrake-Five!” Timey interrupted, and then frowned. “But I think I made him up.”

“Donny is correct.” All five ponies looked to Luna in bewilderment, but there was no hint of a joke cracking in the princess’s face. “That is our enemy, Donny. He walks between the cracks in the world, and is privy to the secret history of the universe. He is the antithesis of everything we hold dear, and he has finally escaped from his bonds to wreak havoc. His is the hoof that cannot be stayed by logic and reason. He is the spear never thrown, the decision always made, the path not travelled. We have all known his shade at one point in our lives. And you know his name.”

“I do?” Derpy creased her forehead in confusion, craning her neck round at her companions who all seemed as puzzled as she did. All but Erroria.

The small yellow princess was listening to Luna’s words with mounting horror. “I know!” she squeaked in a tiny, terrified voice. “It’s him, isn’t it? It’s Mr Nobody.”

The words sent chills jolting down Derpy’s spine, and the hair on the back of her neck bristled. It was ridiculous. It should have been funny. But nobody was laughing. Not even Donny.

“Yes.” Luna cast her eyes down sadly. “Once before, millennia ago, he was bound and chained for all eternity by my Doom Patrol. But now he has escaped, and plans the total destruction of the world.” She swept her wings upwards in a bold gesture. “Equestria is held together by four lodestones. He has already broken the first at Canterlot castle. We must protect the rest if it is not already too late. He can walk between the cracks in the world, but you…” a smile broke her lips. “You have been touched by the cracks in the world. You can see him and touch him, and hopefully, with the element of surprise, stop him.”

Silence descended upon the room. Then Donny sardonically raised a hoof. “’Stop him’, is that it? There’s not actually a plan? What do we do once we see him, ask him politely to stop?”

In a blaze of energy, a small crystal appeared in front of each of the ponies. “You will pair up, and each travel to the location of the remaining lodestones. When Mr Nobody arrives, you will use these crystals to contact me, and I will teleport us all there. And then…” Luna’s brow furrowed and a strange, pained expression of doubt flicked across her face. “A-and then I am sure we will think of something.”

“Wait, Donny’s right?” Derpy started up from her seated position in alarm. “There’s not a plan? What do you me – ” Her voice faded away as she vanished along with the others, leaving only Luna and Terry, alone in the library.

Terry craned his head up at Luna, who was rubbing her head with some discomfort. “Are you okay, mummy?” he squealed, looking about at the darkness that lurked amongst each shelf, darkness that seemed to be moving closer.

“I’m not your mother,” Luna bit her bottom lip hard, scrunching up her face. “S-something seems to be trying to cloud my mind. Keep an eye out while I try to fight it.”

Terry gulped. There was something itching at his vision. Something in the darkness. From the corner of his eye, something black unfolded against the black of the shadows. “P-princess?” he quivered. “F-for something like that?”


The voice sounded like the feeling of hooves on a chalkboard. Luna’s eyes shot bolt-open, and then immediately recoiled at the wrongness of what she saw. It ached in her head as the shadows that weren’t shadows moved, uncoiling like a set of carefully cut geometric shapes being laid flat upon the surface of the world. It was impossible to look at.

I had thought to stay my hoof until I could decide what sort of threat this new ‘Doom Patrol’ of yours posed. You really have scraped the barrel this time, haven’t you?

The voice came from everywhere. It echoed amongst the books and ceiling like it had always been there, the pealing of eternal bells. Luna tried to force herself to focus on the form that wrinkled against the skin of the world. Pitch-black, not like a physical object but like a hole in the universe itself. There was nothing joining it together, simply a collection of shapes in the form of a pony. It had wings. A horn. At the same time, it had neither. It was male and it was female, and it stared at her through unblinking, invisible eyes. It started to walk forwards, except that it couldn’t, because it was two-dimensional.

“What is it?” Terry pressed himself into Luna’s side, heart clutched with sheer terror. Rather disconcertingly, he could feel Luna shaking against him. He caught the unmistakable whiff of Parma Violets. “Princess?”

Oh Terry,” the creature smiled with no mouth. “You know who I am. You have always known. I am the broken vase, the mislaid bill. I am the first and the last enemy. I am the pony behind the curtain, the puppet-master of the universe. I am every lost dream, every dashed hope and every crushed aspiration.”

Non-existent wings spread out like a shadow over creation.

I am Mr Nobody.”

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