• Published 22nd Dec 2016
  • 2,931 Views, 72 Comments

Altered - Graglithan The Greater



Following the discovery of a strange sphere, Twilight is forced into a unique situation. Christopher isn't happy about it either.

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Chapter 1

Pillows pressed over her ears with every ounce of strength she could muster. Maybe this would finally work. Now perhaps, if she managed to lock her muscles in place for just long enough, sleep would become one with her. She only wanted an hour at the very least. It would be more than she had gotten in the past week. She wished that for once, she’d listened to Spike about taking a left instead of a right to get back home faster. But no, she and the others just had to take the scenic route. They just had to make their trip to Baltimare as memorable as possible, and head through the entire market district, and the park, and pretty much everywhere else. In her defense though, they did make sure Spike got to pick some of the locations. She never expected that there would be a comic book store that size, or have such an expansive range of topics and genres. It almost made her want to reconsider her opinion of comics in general.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Groaning and pulling the pillows from atop her head, Twilight Sparkle glared with heavily bagged eyes through her bedroom floor in the general direction of the most recent discovery she and her friends had made. The sound hadn’t been that annoying at first, just a quiet beep every now and again when it was in her saddlebags. But no, it just kept getting longer and louder with each passing hour. Getting up from the bed which yet again failed to provide any sleep, Twilight was seriously beginning to consider taking Rarity up on her offer to spend the night as Spike had. That, or let Rainbow have the Tartarus bound thing like she initially wanted.

On second thought, no. That wouldn’t be something she would wish on her worst enemy, let alone a friend. The princess of friendship couldn’t do that and rightfully keep her title, could she? Still, something needed to be done, whether it meant studying the strange finding until she found a way to turn it off, or just flat out destroying it. Admittedly, Twilight didn’t want to go with the latter. It could be something that would help all of ponykind. It might be something that would propel all of Equestrian technology and magic into a new era! Nothing like this anomaly had ever been found before in history!

The noise got louder as she walked down the halls and came to the source of her annoyance, and what little remaining reluctance to destroy it was rapidly dwindling.

Marching through the door to her lab, the lavender princess made her way straight to the source of the noise. It was barely larger than a golfball and shared its spherical shape. Whatever metal it was made of, Twilight was still trying to figure out. The only other discernible feature the rainbow orb held was a single blinking red light. A red light that screeched every time it lit up removed any magic she placed on the object, like say, a soundproofing spell, or a muting spell, or even when she attempted to levitate it, and would not turn off.

If Twilight’s irritation could melt steel beams, she would have bored several holes through the metal ball with surgical precision.

She and her friends had already made their guesses as to what it could be. Rainbow thought it was some form of an alien probe. Rarity had thought it might have been some science experiment from the local university. Fluttershy initially guessed an egg, but quickly took her answer back when it beeped. Applejack just shrugged, and Pinkie said some ridiculous idea that it was a machine meant to transform somepony from one species to another after gathering a sample. Not wanting to risk the strange orb causing harm to anyone nearby regardless, Twilight decided to take it back to her lab and study it. When her magic failed to pick up the object, had become even more determined to find its origin, resulting in it being contained in a specially designed glass case, and sitting on the main work table of her lab.

After an entire week of sleepless nights, however, the twitch of Twilight’s eyes was the only warning anyone would have gotten if she wasn’t alone. With a cry of frustration, Twilight front hooves slammed into the table the orb rested on, making the glass case jump slightly. “WHY WON’T YOU TURN OFF!?"

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

A rather unprincess like growl escaped the lavender mare as she started to the side of the room towards the supply drawers. “You know what? Buck it! I don’t care anymore what this stupid thing could bring to Equestria. I don’t care what ponies will think about how I’m behaving right now.” Levitating an excavation set out of the drawer, one she got from Rarity for her birthday, she pulled out the small hammer and moved back to the orb.

“I.”

The glass case was lifted into the air, and the orb rolled out onto the table.

“Want.”

She raised the hammer to her face, and quickly placed a hardening spell on the head. The hammer moved well above her as she fired pure fury from her eyes to the small orb.

“SLEEP!”

Hammer collided with metal with a resounding clang. Twilight waited and listened, growing more and more thankful as silence filled the air for the first time in days. It looked like her brother’s joke was right after all. If it needs fixed, get a hammer. Tears of relief and joy were beginning to form at the corners of her eyes when the orb suddenly came back to life, and flashed several different colors, and spoke in a language she didn’t recognize. The light was slowly getting brighter and brighter as she backed away and covered her eyes with a wing.

As the light was getting brighter by the second, Twilight began to regret resorting to using a hammer.


In another place/time/dimension/etc., Christopher C. Cohen was having what could only be described as the worst day of his life. He sat there, staring at the small screen before him as the cold December air sucked at the warmth of his body, even as his blue parka tried to keep him warm. Utter disbelief lanced its way through his very being as he stood in the snow-laced pathway. “Just.... how?”

The ATM before him read out a balance of $0.00 in his savings account. It had done the same to his checking account as well. That alone should have been impossible, as his paycheck was set to direct deposit, and he was paid yesterday. He had made sure about that with his boss, and they had agreed on the matter, having him get his pay early so he could surprise them with extra gifts last minute. There should have been so much more in there, to begin with anyways. Months of saving to make sure he had enough to afford the oncoming fortress grade assault upon his wallet. An onslaught that was known to all by one name and one name only, and was reaching the apex of its power over the minds of humanity.

Christmas Shopping.

And now he was broke down to the bone.

His head thumped against the cold plastic as his sigh puffed past him. “Great.... Might as well just show everyone my hoover flags at this point.” Pulling himself up and headed to the bank’s front door, he shook his head. “Kim’s gonna be mighty sore if this isn’t just some card error. I still owe her for last Christma-”

It was that moment, he cried out in pain as something impacted the back of his head. Muttering silent curses to himself and the world, Christopher looked around and glared, trying to spot anyone who could have thrown something.

Instead, he found a small metal ball.

With no flourish or finesse, he picked it up and looked it over, noting how the metal had been treated to have that rainbow finish, faintly recalling that there was a small business that specialized in weapon making, of all things, and they had some knives and throwing stars with the same treatment.

“Great... wannabe ninjas, throwing shit at me now.” Looking out at the street, he flipped the unseen assailant the bird before he continued to head for the bank’s front door.

Beep

Christopher stopped in his tracks and pulled the metal ball out of his pocket, noting the red light and rapidly increasing beeps that made him think of one word.

Bomb.

“Oh Sh-!”

In a blinding flash, Christopher found himself entirely engulfed by a wave of static. When the light vanished, the only thing remaining in front of the bank was a trail of footprints in the snow and a large patch of snowless ground.


When the light faded, Christopher was stumbling as he rubbed his eyes, only to fall back and land on his behind in a pile of snow. “Gah! What the heck was that-” He blinked his eyes open and immediately was flooded with confusion. Gone were the bank, sidewalk, traffic, sky, and ATM. In their places, was a science lab made of crystal, and a purple horse with wings, a horn, and exceptionally abnormally sized eyes that were as tired as he was throughout his college years. A purple-wing-horn-horse that was staring at him with said eyes in both shock and curiosity.

His heart was beating faster than it had in any moment of his life prior, and some distant part of his mind wished he hadn’t skipped gym as often as he had. “What in heaven and hell’s names is going on?”

The metal ball in his hand took that moment to vibrate. “Systems online. Beginning Protocol: CC 0026.”

“Wha-?” Small holes across the surface of the metal ball in his hand and tendrils began to extend. Christopher watched in fascinated horror as shaking his hand to throw the ball away did nothing, and the tendrils held firm to his skin. “H-hey! Let go of me!”

A second orb on the table suddenly came to life as well, and a tendril quickly shot out of it and impacted the horse on the neck, making her yelp as it sent a tendril into it. The horse was freaking out just as much as he was, but unlike the one attacking him, the orb that had struck the horse let go moments later after a soft ding was heard. “DNA sample obtained. Begin Phase One.”

That was when the pain started for Christopher. The tendrils that had previously only clung to his arm began to burrow into his flesh, tearing their way through his jacket and shirt. Howling in pain, Christopher tried to pry off the strange machine, only to receive jolts of electricity in return every time he grabbed the orb. He only managed to rip away what remained of his jacket’s sleeves. The metal tendrils could be seen burrowing under his skin, bulging obscenely as they wove their way through muscle and sinew. He lost control of his arm when the tendrils, seemingly endless, reached past his shoulder and began to work into his torso. The second orb had pulled its way over to him and already burrowed into his thigh.

Through it all, he screamed.

The purple horse, from what little he could see of her after the tendrils made it past his tearing eyes, looked utterly horrified. Through all of his body, he could feel the metal snake this way and that, wrapping around his organs and violating him in places he didn’t even know he had. The orb in his hand had followed the tendrils down into his palm, and he could feel where it had come to rest inside his forearm.

“Subject secured. Begin Phase Two.”

Then to his amazement and horror, the pain became worse. The tendrils, now throughout his body, somehow felt infinitely sharper, and began to thrash. His screams died before he could even start, as his inner workings were reduced to nothing. Somehow, he was still alive. Still awake. His brain was the one place the tendrils refused to move, holding it in place, even as his skull was destroyed, and forcing him to remain conscious. His clothes had been completely torn away by what few tendrils had remained outside of his body, stitching his skin to keep it from being destroyed.

“Subject prepared for the procedure. Begin Phase Three.”

He could feel the tendrils forcing the remains of his body to morph like putty into an unfamiliar shape. His skin was stretched taught here and there, being forced to hold an alien form. All the while, he cried and screamed silently from within his mind. What was more, the strange and vile machines seemed to deem it necessary for him to hear his surroundings, which only gave him the knowledge that someone was watching, and retching at the sight of his form being wholly refabricated.

“Injecting DNA.”

The pain returned ten fold. The paste his body had become internally reacted rapidly and violently as the tendrils sent something into him. He could feel as bone and sinew reformed anew, and organs became present once more. With his heart back, he could feel it hammering through the ultra-sensitive ribcage, each beat sending more pain, and in turn, making his heart race faster. His body refused to listen to him at the moment, and even if it could have, he wouldn’t have been able to fight through the pain long enough to stand.

As his lungs returned, a garbled scream tried to escape. His skull and face were longer than they should have been, and something was growing from the center of his head. What hair he had before had rapidly fallen from his head, and disintegrated into nothing, only to be replaced moments later as new hair quickly grew. His spine was longer as well, extending past his hips. His skin was burning as it pulled taut across his body, thinning here and there, and hair rapidly grew across the surface. His fingers and toes were no more. Instead, semi hardened growths remained, with a supporting bone structure to match. When the shifting of his form was finally finished, Christopher’s body collapsed onto the snow covered floor as he panted in agony.

“Procedure complete. Protocol CC 0026, Successful. Disengaging from the subject.”

Christopher gagged as he felt something crawling within his stomach, or what he hoped was his stomach, and move further up his chest and throat. As he desperately pawed with his useless limbs at his throat, four tendrils crept from his lips and forced his mouth open as the two intruders pulled themselves from his body. They rolled along the floor for a moment before the tendrils retracted and the spheres stopped beeping.

The world finally chose to have mercy on Christopher that day and allowed him to pass out.


Twilight pulled her head away from the garbage bin when she heard the sound of metal clinking along the ground. Hesitation hindered her ability to turn and look, but when she did, there was no longer the sight of nightmares. Instead, the strange object and its duplicate rested upon the floor of her lab. The glass case nearly hit the floor and shattered as Twilight scooped up the two orbs and sealed them within the glass. It wasn’t enough in her opinion, but it was all she really had at the moment.

She briefly put a hoof to her neck and felt the warm touch of blood. The wound had healed alarmingly fast after the orb had attacked her, but it took some of her blood with it. Not enough to do any real harm, but her head was woozy from the lack of blood she now had.

With a soft thump, her focus was drawn back to what remained of the human-like creature the second orb had brought with it. Whatever it had been before, it was no longer. Its clothes, or what remained of them, were scattered around it amongst small piles of snow it had brought with it from wherever it had once been. Instead, Twilight stared at a near perfect copy of herself back when she had been a unicorn, had she never trimmed her mane or fetlocks. Shivers ran up her spine as she remembered the sound of its alien cries, desperately shouting and pleading in words she couldn’t understand the meaning of, but could fully know the intent. The princess had to force herself from retching again as she rushed over to one of the desks, pulling out paper and quill. She had no time to waste.

Hopefully, Celestia or Luna would know what to do.

Author's Note:

Seeing as my creativity has been fluctuating like a madman on a cruise ship's experimental rollercoaster, I thought I'd try to write something to get my head and hand going.

Let's look at it like an early Christmas Gift to everybody who reads my writing, even though I haven't written anything here, or at all, in quite some time.