• Published 12th Aug 2014
  • 24,978 Views, 1,149 Comments

A Nightmare Come To Life - Alcatraz



After getting stabbed, Joseph wakes up to a new life in the body of one of Equestria's most infamous villains.

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15| Joseph: King of Dreams

Once more, Joseph found himself dreaming. This time he was freely roaming around the subconsciousness he and Nightmare shared. Like before, he was thankfully his human self. Normally it was the endless black abyss in which they normally conversed, but this time he stood in the middle of a seemingly endless corridor of doors.

"How did I get here? What is this place?" With his curiosity piqued, he tried to open one of the doors. It freely swung open, and what lay within made his gut drop and heart skip a beat.

These doors were his memories.

This particular memory was of his bedridden parents, lying in the sealed-off and sterilised ICU ward after their encounter with the... unusual sea life.

Joseph could see his younger self pressed up against the glass across the room, heartbroken, tears freely flowing from his eyes. He looked from his smaller self to his parents on their respective beds, and the doctors wearing hazmat suits trying to figure out what was going on; what had caused this mysterious disease.

As he looked at his parent's faces, he couldn't remember their names to save his life. He knew them, he recognised their faces, and it pained him to no end that Nightmare had made him forget their names.

Wiping a stray tear from his eye, he closed the door, slumping against it. He struggled trying not to completely break down. With several, ragged deep breaths and two twin rivers of tears, he regained his composure, wiped the salty residue from his face, and went to the next door.

There was something strange about this door, he noticed.

He went to reach for the handle, but it didn't have one. It was a simple, flat piece of wood. He looked up and down, seeing various doors with and without handles. 'Is this one of the memories Nightmare made me forget?' He went up to this door, placing his hands up against it and running them down, trying to discern if there was something invisible on the door. Alas, there wasn't. No invisible raised bumps or anything like that. Joseph could always try kicking the door down, couldn't he?

He took a few steps back, rearing his right leg to try and kick the door down. With all the force he could muster, Joseph drove his foot at the spot where the handle would have been. It connected, sending out an excruciatingly painful jarr shooting up his leg. The pain kept on travelling, finding its way into his head. Trying to kick down a door to one of his memories translated into an ungodly headache, one that he'd be sure to feel when he woke.

"Ugh, maybe I didn't hit it hard enough..." Getting back up and dusting himself off, he tried conjuring something that'd help him break it down. "Lets try this... Rock gauntlet!" he declared. In that instant, a stony red glove appeared on his right hand. He flexed the two fingers of the gauntlet, each with two fingers inside, save the thumb.

"God I hope this works..." He took a few steps back, cocking his arm, readying a fist. He thought that with the extra momentum in conjunction with the punch, it'd be enough to break down the door. His blow connected, yet he got the same result as before. A bolt of pain radiated from his hand, finding its way up to his head, and the stone fist crumbled to the ground where it simply dissolved into nothingness. All Joseph could do is clutch his head and wait for the pain to subside.

"Note to self: don't punch doors to memories… Or kick them for that matter..."

He waited for the pain to go away before he got up, where he rubbed his temples to try and quell the rest of the headache.

From his position, he saw that all down one half of the corridor, there were doors that had missing handles, and ones that had their handles. He turned to look up the opposite end, seeing that those doors were seemingly untouched. 'This must be the middle, then; where Nightmare got up to. So what did Chrysalis do to me and her?'

Joseph began to walk down the half of the corridor that had missing handles. The further down he went, the more doors he saw with missing handles, some that were tinted green, and as he continued, he noted that nasty-looking globules of green stuff had begun to show up.

’I’ve heard of a dirty mind before but this is just ridiculous.’ Some of it was on the handles of the doors, some was along the top or hanging from corners, splattering to the ground.

'If Nightmare sealed the doors to my memories, what'd Chrysalis do?' Further down, he spied a completely blank space where a door should have been, no doubt the missing memory that Chrysalis stole. He gave a snarl at this before continuing. The further he went, the green tinted doors and gelatinous substance became more abundant.

Whatever Chrysalis did, he was nearing the source of it.

He picked up the pace, breaking into a run. The awesome thing about dreaming, Joseph found, was that he didn't get tired while running, yet for some weird reason trying to kick in a door translated to real pain. It took Joseph longer to figure out than it should've that he could manipulate his own dreams and create whatever he wanted. With a thought, Joseph stopped in place, threw his hands forward to grab at the air, intent on 'pulling' the end of the corridor into view.

'Please let this work...' The doors rushed by at an incredible speed, and he was left with one door, completely encased in the green goo. This one was the worst of them all, and that left Joseph thinking this is where Chrysalis put her spell. The rest of the doors were worse off than the ones he'd passed, but this particular door took the cake.

He reached out for the handle, although not before willing a thick glove on his hand. 'Too bad I can't think that green crap away...' he thought with disdain.

The door refused to budge, but he felt it give a little if he put more force into it. While he did feel a small modicum of pain from trying to force it open, he was sure this one would open if coaxed enough. He threw his shoulder at the door to try and open it, but in doing so realised that doing that entirely negated the point of having summoned the glove. "Goddamnit..." he said, brushing off the green goo with a grumble. Fortunately it wouldn't carry over into the real world when he woke up, though this didn’t make it any more pleasant for the time being.

Every time he slammed into the door, the Flubber-esque goo encasing it would pull it back, almost like a viscous, rubbery glue.

"Chainsaw!" he declared. One popped into existence at his feet, and he picked up the tool with a wider-than-necessary grin. "Door-stop too, perhaps?" The rubber wedge poofed into existence at the base of the door.

He pushed the door open as much as he could, jamming the rubber stopper in the gap of the door and the floor, giving him enough room to cut away at the green substance.

Joseph's grin spread like a wildfire across his face as he revved the chainsaw, testing the blade with the trigger. Finding it to be in perfect working order—'Oh, of course; it’s a dream, silly me.'—he set about cutting away the ‘glue’.

It was like cutting through foam rubber; pieces of goo flew everywhere and got all over the front of his pants and shirt.

Eventually, the seal on the door was cut through, and he managed enough strength to open the door.

The door opened with some difficulty, globules of green dripping onto the floor at his feet. Once open, he stepped through, greeted by the sight of a diseased ball of green energy, and Nightmare sitting before it. From her horn shot a beam of some kind. It hit the ball of energy, reflected off, and hit the floor next to her. Nightmare gave a short hiss at this, thankful she wasn't struck by her own spell.

As she turned to glance at the floor where the beam struck, she looked up to Joseph standing in the doorway.

"I see you had no trouble finding me," she stated. "Although how you got through the door is beyond me.”

"Well, instead of following the yellow brick road, I followed the slime-covered doors," he quipped. "Also, I can will chainsaws into existence. How cool is that? Anyway, what've we got here?" he asked, gesturing to the glowing orb.

"Chrysalis' spell you imbecile," Nightmare retorted. "What else do you think it could be?"

"Uhm... St Elmo's Fire? Never mind. Anyway, now that I'm here, what've you been doing to it?"

"Observe." Nightmare proceeded to fire another beam at it, and instead of bouncing back off, it connected, and the two energies gave off sparks and smoke. She dissipated the beam, turning back to Joseph.

"Her spell is... How do I explain it to a mortal... It's self-repairing. Every time I try to find a point to get in and unravel it, it 'learns' what I'm doing and forces me out of it. My last attempt rebounded off because I tried brute strength instead of a more calculated approach as I demonstrated."

"I'll pretend I know what you're talking about for the time being. How do we, uuhhh, destroy it?" he ventured.

"Given I can't find a weakness in the spell I can exploit..." She paused to consider her next sentence. "Since it's self repairing, we'd need to destroy it completely. Unfortunately, since you pilot my body–and in turn my magic, I'm limited in my capabilities within here."

Joseph smiled a wide grin, willing a slingshot and some steel, ball-bearing ammo in his hand.

"A slingshot?" Nightmare asked with incredulity. "You're going to take down a spell matrix created by a being that's easily a millennium old with a slingshot!?"

"Oh, by no means do I expect to, I just want to see what happens," he replied with a grin of his inner child. He took aim, letting the twenty-millimetre ball bearing sail down range where it hit the orb of magic. It pinged off, whizzing past his head.

"Alas, you have solved the problem!" Nightmare said sarcastically, giving Joseph a flat, bemused look. "Do you really think you can destroy that with a foal's toy? You'd need something more substantiated than rubber and steel balls."

"Steel, you say?" Closing his eyes, he imagined a certain suit of armour. When his eyes opened, he found a gargantuan, seven-foot tall, steel-armoured suit standing before him.

"And what might this be?" Nightmare asked with a raise of her eyebrow.

Joseph's grin grew exponentially. He walked up to the rear of the suit, gave the wheel mounted on its back a sharp turn to the right, and it opened up before him. He got inside as it sealed itself around him with a hiss and a clank. He turned back to Nightmare, looking through the visor and saying; "Power Armour."

Nightmare's horn glowed, enveloping the suit in an aura. "This construct has no magic." The glow dissipated from the suit. "How could it be considered 'power' armour without the use of enchantments? My soldiers—back in the day—wore enchanted helmets and peytrals that enhanced their capabilities. That would be the 'power' aspect of it."

"It's called 'power armour', because if you have a problem, put a guy in one of these point him at it and consider it gone."

Nightmare sat on her haunches to watch Joseph with a rather amused expression. He slowly walked up to the green mass with each thunderous step, reaching his right hand forward to grab at it.

His hand got violently rejected, causing him to stagger back a couple steps in the heavy suit.

"Humans," Nightmare mused. "Are they always this stupid and entertaining?"

To which Joseph replied; "Yeah, pretty much. You would've had fun on the internet." He turned his focus back to the spell, balling a steel-clad fist. With the extra force behind his punch thanks to the armour, he struck with substantially more impact than when he tried kicking the door to his memory.

The spell gave off a radiating pulse of energy with enough force to throw him well away from it. He landed and skidded to a stop at Nightmare's side, smoking with green energies.

"Ooouuucch..." he replied through a strained voice.

Nightmare simply grinned at his misfortune. "Let me help you," she said, levitating both Joseph and the suit so they're vertical.

"Ugh, why are you helping me?" It was rather peculiar that Nightmare is trying to undermine Joseph's mentality on varying levels, yet here she was helping him upright.

"Am I not allowed to?" she asked.

"Well let’s see. You made Luna evil, got her banished for a thousand years–and by extension yourself too, and somehow I of all people ended up in your body through a spell you created-slash-cast. I'm entitled to know your motivations, least I think of more butts," he countered. Not caring for a rebuttal, Joseph began making his way back to the floating spell.

"I'm trying to help you get rid of Chrysalis' spell. She affected your memory, but not mine. I saw everything that happened; I remember it but you don't. I can't help you if I'm stuck here."

“She erased, what? A twelve hour block of my memory or something like that? What does that matter compared to what you've been doing?" Ignoring any further comments from Nightmare, Joseph struck at the spell again but was thrown back in an arc, green smoke billowing off of him. Once more, Nightmare righted him.

"You're insane for trying the same thing twice," she said amusedly.

"On the contrary, I'd go so far as to say insanity is trying time and time again with the knowledge nothing will change. So no, I'm not insane. You, on the other hand, strike me as insane. And what was that last thing you said?

"I'm trying to help you get rid of Chrysalis' spell?"

"After that."

"You're insane?"

"In the middle."

"I'm stuck here?"

"There we go." Joseph turned to regard Nightmare, folding his arms in contemplation. He made the helmet of the armour disappear so he could converse with her directly. "So this spell is keeping you confined to this portion of my head?"

"What does that have to do wi—"

"—Just answer the question."

"Yes, I suppose it is." I don't like where this is going, she thought.

"How is it negatively affecting me? Aside from having a memory forcibly extracted, that is."

Nightmare heaved an annoyed sigh before replying as calmly as she could through growing nervousness at this train of thought. "She has a front row seat to your ocular devices like I do, as well as the ability to peruse your memories on a whim. That said, she has to consciously activate her end of the spell to gain access to our head to be able to do anything, though."

"Then explain why I should help you get rid of that," Joseph stated, pointing to the spell over his shoulder with his thumb. "With you where I can keep tabs on you, then you A, don't have to worry about being tortured through bombardments of gluteus maximus mental imagery; B, can't fuck up my memories or head anymore. If you want my help, you're not doing a very good job of convincing me to help you when you've done nothing but bone me over this entire time."

He sat down on a chair that materialised out of thin air, folding his arms and legs with anticipated victory as he awaited Nightmare's response.

Joseph could tell through Nightmare's despondent look that she was caught between a rock and a hard place. Having no convincing rebuttal to make him release her from this portion of their shared mind, or rather the mind that Joseph dominated with her piggybacking, she let out a defeated grumble and her shoulders slumped as she let out a nasally sigh.

Joseph's gave a victorious smirk at this before speaking. "Are you familiar with something called a Faraday Cage?"

"I am unaware of what they are myself. Enlighten me," Nightmare said with exasperation.

"It's a fine mesh, earthed cage often made from brass designed to block electrostatic and electromagnetic influences."

"From your description, I'd compare this 'cage' to a magical inhibitor ring that are designed to nullify a unicorn's magic. Does that help?"

Joseph stood up and the chair disappeared. "Sure, why not, that works too. I'm taking a shot in the dark here with this, but..." He stood next to Nightmare and closed his eyes with concentration, trying to form the cage around the spell. If his hunch was right, a horn would be a conduit through which magic would be cast by thought. Since that's how he used magic, maybe casting it used electrical impulses within the brain?

A wire-meshed ball supported by a metal rod grounded in the ‘ground’ appeared around the ball of energy, with Nightmare turning to look at the goop-encrusted door through which Joseph entered. To her amazement, a solid portion of the goo dissipated as the spell weakened, but not all of it. Turning back to the energy ball, tendrils snaked from the corporeal mass as they tried to push their way out of the cage. When the tendrils made contact with the sphere, only a tiny bit of Chrysalis' magic got through and dripped off.

"I must say, I never expected a human to outsmart someone like me or Chrysalis. Credit where credit is due," Nightmare admitted somewhat bitterly. She cast a beam of magic which hit the cage, but she didn't do anything to destroy it. Instead, she scanned the imaginary construct while humming with thought.

"It's... effective," she replied uneasily.

"I sense a 'but' coming," Joseph said.

"It won't hold forever. You've dampened her spell, but Chrysalis will sense what you've done when she tries invading our mind again. It's only a matter of time before she gets through. I give it about three-to-five days if she has no immediate plans to come in, two-to-three if she finds out tomorrow."

He shrugged at this. "Eh, then I can just do it again. Delay her another two-to-three days."

"Even then, I don't know if she'll strengthen the spell to where your little cage can't contain it, and that's what I'm betting on."

Joseph’s eyes narrowed to glaring pinpricks and turned to look down at Nightmare Moon with malintent, who was sitting on her haunches to his left. Her expression became confused at this action. " Oh yeah, I forgot something," he said.

"Oh? What might that be?" she said with a curious raise of her eyebrow.

With that, the right hand of the suit of armour curled up into a fist as Joseph turned to face Nightmare, and in that same motion threw the fist into the bottom of her jaw. It connected, sending her flying in the same manner as touching Chrysalis' spell did to him.

She landed with a thud a distance away, and immediately her eyes darted to the human advancing on her with the thunderous steps of the armour as she scrambled to her hooves, standing her ground and firing a beam of energy at him. It connected, hitting Joseph in the chest and staggering him, yet the weight of the suit helped him stand his ground. He extended the same hand he used to throttle the evil mare, catching the beam in his palm so he didn’t have it holding him back as much.

He began to walk forward to her, Nightmare putting more power into her spell. Even through what she could muster with her limited magical abilities, it only held off Joseph long enough so she could erect a forcefield around her by the time the metal-clad human accosted the ebony mare.

He pounded on the shield with his fists, every anger-fueled blow connecting with the dome of energy. Nightmare could only pour enough of her magic into her spell before it began to wane as cracks started to appear.

Joseph took a step back as he cocked his arm. He swung the combined weight of the suit and his body into the uppercut, and it shattered the dome like glass. He grabbed at Nightmare's throat on the upswing, lifting her high as the shards of magic dissipated around her.

"You ever, ever, fuck with my memories like you have been again," Joseph sneered, squeezing tighter, "every time I come say hi to you, you'll wish it was only ass I will be thinking of!" His words dripped with all deserved viciousness as he choked Nightmare, looking into her eyes to emphasize his seriousness.

"And to make sure you don't do anything more, a little insurance." A flash of white around Nightmare's neck took her by surprise, but she couldn't see nor feel what it was with the vice-like grip cutting off her airway.

Joseph dropped her on the ground unceremoniously. Nightmare’s hoof found its way to her throat as she rubbed it in an attempt to quell the pain, and to coax air through. She gave raspy coughs, her eyes partially bloodshot from the lack of oxygen. It was then the hoof massaging feeling back into her neck nudged the construct Joseph created.

"W-what is this?” she said through a strained voice. It was a solid ring of shiny steel Joseph willed around her neck. She coughed more as she tried to discern what it was exactly.

"A collar," he simply replied, making the suit of armour disappear. “You know, to keep you in check.”

"You put a collar on me!?" she choked out. "ME!?"

"Unless you want me to think of an engraved word to put on it, I'd suggest you replace the memories you locked me out of."

Nightmare Moon glared daggers at Joseph. Angry wouldn't suffice to describe her situation, no, she was absolutely livid! "Why do you want me to do that?" she demanded.

"Strike one," Joseph taunted. "I'll take it off when you do what I want, or I drop the cage and keep you here to deal with the spell; where I know you won't be of any trouble."

"What happens when I 'strike out'?" Nightmare asked tentatively.

"You're on the right road to find out," he threatened with an icy tone. “You sure you want to know?”

"Then you're not going to like what I have to say next: I can't."

"You fucking what?" Joseph replied aghast, eyes widening with horror at Nightmare's statement.

"When I lock out a memory, that's the door that gives direct access. It's like creating a cypher and encrypting the key to the cypher. Without the key, it's impossible to open. I saw no reason to create one, either."

"So let me get this straight; not only have you shut me out of my memories of things near and dear to my previous life, you've gone and essentially thrown the key away?"

Nightmare shuffled nervously, pawing at the collar. "If you want to look at it that way, then yes."

"You just struck out," Joseph said flatly. More for show than practicality, he snapped his fingers and another pulse of white light emanated from the collar and Faraday Cage.

In that instance, a heavy chain appeared that tied Nightmare and the collar to the cage. "What did you do?!" Nightmare demanded. Her anger toward Joseph was made worse through his smug grin.

“You’ve given me every reason not to trust you. While I don’t want two drama queens poking through my head, I’m going to try and keep you both under wraps for as long as I can. This way you can’t do any more damage and will be forced to stay here. Now,” he said, changing the topic, “I don't know if it's been five minutes or five hours, and quite frankly I don't care, but I'm going to wake up. Try not to go anywhere, mmkay?"

With that, Joseph disappeared with a pop, leaving the once proud and evil mare humiliated by being bound with a chain and collar.

Fortunately for her, nobody else would be around to see it.

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