The Great and Corrupted Trixie
Thick clouds of dust rose from the ancient, cold stone floors with every one of Trixie’s steps, causing the unicorn’s already-irritated eyes to water. She’d long given up trying to breathe through her clogged nose, coughing miserably as she made her way through corridors so ancient they hadn’t seen a cleaning pony in at least a thousand years.
“The Great and Powe-*hack* Powerful Trixie’s revenge will not be stopped by a mere layer of dust, even if it is half a ponyheight *sneeze* thick!” Trixie half-whined, the cool blue glow of her horn lighting the ancient, unmarked walls of the maze that drilled it’s way miles deep into the mountains under Canterlot. When she found hints of great magical power buried in the depths, Trixie hadn’t expected a maze. But whichever pony designed it, he or she hadn’t planned for the accumulation of the dust of centuries, making it rather easy for Trixie to see where she’d been. Even then, one needed to be a cunning pony to find whatever was hiding at its very center.
But Trixie was nothing if not tricksy.
After hours of dusty misery, she finally found herself walking into a chamber the size of which stunned even the Great and Powerful Trixie. A great cylindrical shaft drilled down towards a depth so deep that no matter how much power Trixie willed into her horn, its light was swallowed by darkness a vertigo-inducing distance below the edge.
But what that light revealed.. thousands upon thousands of pearly white pods, each coated in a thick film of dust, crowded together along the entire length and width of the cylindrical chamber’s inner wall. Brushing the dust from the nearest, Trixie could just barely spot the still form within: A unicorn, wires clinging to his horn, tubes entering his body through almost every orifice, floating in a kind of stasis.
But that was not the most interesting part: A cluster of great spherical devices dominated the room's ceiling like a distorted bunch of grapes, gleaming metal strangely untouched by time. All the wires, the cables, they all led there, as did the perilously-unsupported walkways. It hummed softly with sheer magical power, a faint, steady warble that tickled Trixie’s ears.
“Ah-hah! Trixie has found it! The source of all great magic in Equestria! Fi- *sneeze* Finally! All Trixie has to do is assign herself a bit more than everypony else and then Trixie will truly be magnifi-*cough!*” Abandoning the rest of her little speech in a fit of coughing and sneezing, the blue pony began making her way across one of the walkways, having already spotted a promising door. The odd metal seemed to thrum under her hooves, some mysterious part of its inner workings causing the material to vibrate against the undersides of her hooves.
The door slid open smoothly to Trixie’s touch, unveiling the inside to be a complicated, yet cozy mishmash of panels, flashing lights, and metallic cables. “Hah! Trixie has found the control room already!” She eagerly shuffled her way in, exploring, testing various knobs and buttons. Trixie was no machinery guru, but even then, she eventually she found a combination that caused one of the panels to light up.
“Advanced Unicorn Magic Network Integration, yes or no? Trixie thinks that sounds promising! Yes please!” the unicorn cheerfully replied to the written text, shoving her hoof down on the button she suspected meant the positive reply. The machine’s sudden buzz almost caused the blue unicorn to jump out of her proverbial skin, even as a large metallic arm unfolded itself from the ceiling, bearing in it’s grip a metallic ring graced with a plethora of wires.
“Yes, yes! Come bring Trixie the magic power! Enhance her horn into a mighty lance!” Trixie could barely hold herself back from prancing in anticipation, eagerly maneuvering her horn into the ring to help speed things along, eyes focused on the panel that so helpfully displayed her ‘integration stage’.
“Ok, Trixie is ‘locked in’, now... wait, personality absorption?! Trixie didn’t ask for anything wi-” She gasped, a sudden realisation snapping her head around - the ponies in the pods, they all wore these rings! She wasn’t being empowered, she was joining them! “No! Trixie doesn’t want to become a magic battery!” she squealed, focusing hard on her magic even as she felt her legs starting to go limp, eyes blurring. One of the gleaming cables leading from the wall to Trixie’s horn began glowing with the unicorn’s power as she used her rope-controlling abilities on it, trying to break it, trying to stop whatever the machine was doing.
The cable came loose in a shower of sparks, a deeper buzz echoing through the chamber as warnings flashed across the screen-panel:
Personality absorption complete.
Personality cache damaged.
Enhancing cache size.
Identity tag: The Great and Powerful Trixie
Identity tag failed.
Identity t%g failed.
Identi#y tag f&aled.
Identity $ag: The Gr4(t and P*&#rf&l Tr#xie
I$en&ty ta^ fail#$.
Identity tag: [file corrupted]
Trixie’s empty eyes stared, glazed and unseeing, at the warnings flashing across the screen. She hung limply in the grip of the great robotic arm that settled her into one of the few remaining empty pods.
...and then the machine obediently uploaded the absorbed personality into itself, too much of an automaton to realize what it had just unleashed upon the countless hapless unicorns living in its virtual world...