Manehattan was a large city—far larger, to Trunks' consternation, than West City had been in its heyday, and West City was the second largest city on Chikyuu. Fortunately, he kept a fair supply of food, drinks, and snacks on hand in his capsule kit, as well as a capsule shelter and a capsule motorcycle. By day, he drove around the city on his capsule bike, searching for any sign of the other Sunset Shimmer and taking notes on anyone and anything that obviously didn't belong in this world. By night, he would take to the rooftops, setting up his capsule shelter atop one of the many skyscrapers in the city.
As he cruised the streets at close to noon local time on his third day in the city, Trunks found himself staring at what had to be a walking nightmare: A tall, thin man with coal black skin, bright red hair, and shaggy orange muttonchops, with square-framed glasses, wearing a neon purple and black checkered flannel shirt, pinstriped yellow and green slacks, a sparkly gold scarf, and big yellow rubber galoshes. He was orating in the general direction of a harassed-looking young woman with seafoam green hair in a cute bob and a round, cherubic face who wore what looked like a purple-and-white school uniform. She had a listless, defeated, zoned-out expression on her face; beside her on the sidewalk was a wagon which had been painted a horrid neon orange, inside which sat what looked like an attempt at fashioning a tote bag out of aluminum foil and duct tape, from which all manner of junk and sundries spilled out into the wagon.
Out of sheer morbid curiosity and a strange desire to help the cute, helpless-looking young woman, Trunks pulled his bike to the curb and killed the engine, unfurling his map of Manehattan and pretending to check it while he eavesdropped.
"—will be all the rage, I'm telling you!" the strange man was ranting. "I don't expect you to fully appreciate it with your plebian tastes, of course, but my refined, sophisticted, avant garde sense of the new, the now, the bold, the forward-thinking—"
The poor young woman's eyes held the look of a cow that knew it was being led to the slaughterhouse and was helpless to save itself.
"—and I know, I can feel it in my bones, that As The Worm Turns will be the trendiest restaurant in Manehattan!"
The young woman recoiled, a shudder of horror rippling through her body. "Umm, Mr. Douche, sir? I just...I don't really see people lining up to eat live earthworms and maggots—"
"In wraps and gyros, with garden salsa, with feta cheese! In salads, with cabbage and sharp onions and croutons! Why, it's no different than eating chicken—"
"Chicken doesn't wriggle around and try to eat the same food you're eating," the young woman tried to point out.
"And that's why chicken is passe, boring, dull!" Mr. Douche said expansively. "Worm cuisine is new, now, happening, hip! Just trust me, you'll see—"
Trunks had heard enough. He hopped off his bike and slid up beside the young woman, calling up every memory he had of watching boys his age interact with girls and tempering it with his sudden, vile dislike of the obnoxious man before him. "Hey babe," he said smoothly, "ready for lunch?"
The young woman blinked. "Eh?"
"You know, we had a lunch date today?" Trunks prompted, flicking his eyes meaningfully from the girl to Mr. Douche.
"O-oh...oh!" The girl nodded rapidly. "Yes, of course! How silly of me, it slipped my mind!"
Mr. Douche's lips pressed thin. "And who might this be?" he asked disdainfully.
"Oh, right," the girl said. "Umm..."
"My name is Trunks," Trunks supplied helpfully.
"Yes, Trunks. We're...dating. Trunks, this is my boss, Hipsterdouche."
Trunks held out a hand for Hipsterdouche to shake, but was ignored. Hipsterdouche eyed him up and down disdainfully. "Well, I can't say much for your style," he said. "Coco, Coco, poor, naive Coco...ruffians such as this simply won't help you raise your social standing in Manehattan society..."
"I, um, I think I'll take that risk, Mr. Douche," Coco said. "So...where are having lunch?"
"I was thinking yakiniku," Trunks said.
"Ooh, I adore yakiniku!" Coco said eagerly.
Hipsterdouche snorted. "Pfeh. So common, so blase, so pedestrian. Now if you want a true avant garde lunch experience—"
"You go right ahead and enjoy your worm buffet," Trunks grunted. "Us plebes like meat." He took Coco's hand and gently but insistently led her away from Hipsterdouche.
"Coco! Don't forget to take my bag!" Hipsterdouche called, pointing at the wagon.
"Oh, the bag. Yeah...about that...why don't you hold onto it for a bit?" Coco shot back as Trunks handed her a helmet. She put it on and climbed onto the bike behind him, jumping when the engine roared. The bike shot down the street and rounded a corner.
After putting two blocks between them and Hipsterdouche, Trunks stopped the bike and turned, flashing Coco a smile. "Sorry to butt in like that," he said. "You seemed to be in trouble, I couldn't just stand by and watch."
"Oh, it's fine," Coco said. "Umm...I'm Coco Pommel, by the way."
Trunks nodded. "Pleasure to meet you. So...what was all that back there?"
Coco rolled her eyes. "My boss is insane and has terrible taste in everything," she said. "He writes magazine articles and blogs for people who have even worse taste in everything and tells them what they should be eating and wearing and watching."
Trunks frowned. "That man shouldn't be telling a clown what to wear," he said.
"I know, right?" Coco said, giggling. After an awkward pause, she added, "Umm..." She blushed. "Thank you for getting me out of that mess. Umm...I'll just be on my way now..."
Trunks frowned. "Actually, I was serious about the yakiniku," he said. "In fact, I was hoping you knew a place. I'm from out of town and I'm searching for somebody, but as big as this city is..."
Coco tilted her head. "You're just running around searching on a motorbike? You're not using social media or the police or a detective or anything?"
Trunks grimaced. "It's...difficult to explain."
"Oh." Coco pulled out her phone and ran a search. "Well, there's a yakiniku place with a good rating about three blocks from here," she said. Biting her lip, she added, "Umm...so where are you from?"
Trunks paused to consider. "For the moment? Canterlot."
As Coco adjusted her grip on his waist, she said, "Canterlot...do you mind if I go back with you when you find who you're looking for?" At Trunks' questioning look, she added, "I've had about all of this city I can stand. I need to get out of here."
Trunks smirked. "Wakatta. Soon as I take care of business here." And with that, he gunned the bike into motion again, destination: yakiniku.
* * * * *
Appletini was not having an especially great week.
The Manefair Hotel could not simply shut down, despite the...unpleasantness earlier in the week. However, losing a significant portion of the service staff, to say nothing of the disappearance of Mango Chutney, left the entire hotel staff in a bind, with many forced to work double shifts. With her daughter Babs acting out in school recently and desperately needing attention, the last thing Appletini needed was to work twice as hard and go home too exhausted to even talk to Babs, but the bills had to be paid and this was the best job she could get.
A tall man dressed in black robes walked up to the desk. Appletini looked him over. "May I help you?" she asked.
The man looked her straight in the eyes and raised his right hand. "I lost my room key," he said.
Appletini frowned. Of course...this man was an important guest, right? And he'd lost his room key.
"I need the key to the executive suite," the man said.
Of course...he needed the key to the executive suite. Hands moving of their own accord, Appletini swiftly activated a keycard and passed it across the desk. "Here you are, sir," she said. "Anything else?"
"I'm not to be disturbed," he said.
Appletini nodded. Of course, it was obvious that the gentleman was not to be disturbed. Who would be so inconsiderate as to disturb this fine gentleman? "You're not to be disturbed," she affirmed.
The man smiled and walked away, his robes sweeping behind him as he approached the elevators. Appletini smiled pleasantly at his back.
* * * * *
Grandma had always said this:
To walk the path of Heaven, one must be diligent in all things.
Every day, Sunset Shimmer diligently trained her mind by reading for three hours, devoting half an hour to each subject she read about. She diligently trained her body with two hours in the gym and two hours of martial arts practice. She diligently watched her diet, having long since mastered the art of balancing nutrition with enjoyment and knowing exactly how many luxury foods she could indulge in each day. She diligently kept abreast of world events, watching the news while she worked out. She diligently cleaned her body vigorously each day, keeping her skin hydrated and her legs and other areas neatly shaven.
She even diligently scolded her brother for his slovenly habits, though she had long since abandoned any hope of him actually changing. He was who he was, and she loved him diligently.
Once she had been blessed with a power that set her above mere mortals, the Kabuto Zecter, she diligently trained with her new powers and diligently watched the city for signs of trouble.
And now she sat in an upscale cafe, diligently rejecting suitors who were after her body, her money, or both.
Sunset Shimmer truly walked the path of Heaven, and she did so with diligence.
* * * * *
The limp body of the former occupant of the executive suite of the Manefair Hotel sailed across the Manehattan skyline, propelled by the Force. Vader slid the glass door to the veranda closed and strolled across the room, idly fingering the wallet and phone he had lifted from the dead man.
As luck would have it, the man whose room he'd just usurped had a similar build to himself. Vader set the wallet and phone on the table in the sitting room of the suite and headed for the bedroom, where he casually examined the man's clothing. It largely consisted of rather confining-looking suits in an unfamiliar style.
Vader removed his robes and tried on one of the suits, admiring the cut and the way it fit his powerful body. These clothes would be impossible to fight in, but perhaps useful to him in another capacity.
And, frankly, looked damned good on him.
Shaking his head, Vader returned to the main room of the suite and examined the primitive but useful communications technology. There was a two-dimensional video display unit that appeared to convey a variety of news and entertainment, a portable computer which had access to this world's computer network, and the phone he had taken from the dead man, which seemed to serve mostly the same functions as the computer.
Sitting back in the comfortable leather sofa and letting the sound of the television wash over him, Vader went to work gathering information.
* * * * *
Being the brains of the outfit wasn't her strong suit, but she wasn't as dumb as she liked to pretend to be either.
After all, she did have a Ph.D. in psychology.
It wasn't even the first time she'd planned a crime spree...or at least, been a major contributor to the planning. Her days painting Gotham City red with...well...Red...were some of her fondest memories that didn't revolve around him.
*Focus, girl. Puddin ain't here. It's your show. Time to make a splash!*
"So, uhh...are we gonna do anything, or just stand around all night?"
Harley fought the urge to hit the girl on her left with her exploding boxing glove mallet. "Just a sec, I'm thinkin'," she said. "We dunno if we're gonna have ta deal with any capes here. We need ta be stealthy-like."
The girl rolled her eyes and snorted. "We have a seven foot tall guy in a rhino suit," she said. "How exactly is that stealth?"
"HEY!" Rhino objected. "I can be stealthy!" He stomped a foot. A car alarm went off ten yards away.
The group turned to face him. He blinked, then ducked his head sheepishly...as best as his full-body rhino costume would allow, anyway...and scratched his head.
"Putz," Harley muttered, shaking her head and pinching the bridge of her nose. "Okay gang, new plan. SMASH AN' GRAB!"
"Not tonight, clown," a young voice with a hard, steely edge said. A trio of metallic projectiles whizzed through the air, forcing Harley to cartwheel back as they bit into the pavement. Nearby, an actual rhinoceros charged into view, slamming into Rhino and staggering him.
"THE COLONY IS UNDER ATTACK! PROTECT THE QUEEN!" a giant fire ant roared. It transformed into a gleaming red insectoid robot with a menacing face and burning red eyes, brandishing a massive flamethrower. It fired a searing jet of flames...which was intercepted and extinguished by a glowing blue pulse blast. An array of blue lights set in gleaming steel illuminated the origin of the blast: a large, bulky figure mostly made of metal, with one glowing red eye.
"Play with fire, get burned," he said, before rushing forward and slamming a fist into the robot's jaw.
"So this is the kind of interference you were worried about?" the girl with the long purple coat and long silver-white hair asked as she began unloading small objects from the large pouch at her hip. She threw a handful of irregular purple rocks to the ground; they expanded into large, misshapen golems that skittered about like oversized spiders.
"Yeah, pretty much," Harley said. Her eyes scanned the new arrivals; she bit her lip. "Could be worse," she decided. "At least it ain't the Bat."
A steel-soled boot slammed into her chest, knocking her back.
"I don't need Batman for you."
Harley wheezed, clutching her chest. "HEY! Ain't your momma never taught ya not ta hit a lady?" She smirked, narrowing her eyes. "Oh, that's right. Ya don't got a momma, do ya, Birdie Boy?" She pulled an air cannon out of somewhere and fired a number of small exploding capsules that spewed metal chattering teeth in every direction, forcing her assailant back as several of them clamped onto his arms and legs.
"He doesn't look so tough," the silver-haired girl said. She extended her hand, and a brace of glowing purple knives shot out, each one aimed at a vital organ.
A quiet voice muttered an incantation nearby. The glowing blades were enveloped in a black aura; after a moment's struggle, they fell to the ground, inert. A garbage can lid wrapped in the same black aura slammed into the back of the girl's head.
Above, the fifth member of Harley's hastily-assembled team snorted derisively. "This is a farce," he said, extending his hands to his sides. Bright, glowing balls of ki formed in both hands. "I will end this bad comedy in one move!"
"No you will NOT!" a girl's voice said with determination. Two green energy blasts slammed into his torso, staggering him; a second later, a slim but powerful fist caught his jaw, sending him higher into the air.
Harley watched as each of her team was engaged by an evenly matched superhero. She took a nervous step back. "Okay, this ain't a problem..." She eyed her own opponent warily. "I ain't afraid'a no Bat-brat..."
Eyes narrowed behind a black domino mask. "You'd better be," Robin said.