The highest echelons of Shinra Electric Power Company were gathered in the highest office of the Shinra Tower, surveying an array of information.
"My intelligence reports that most of the populace believes we simply experienced a minor earthquake. The change in the sky has been a little harder to explain for the plate dwellers, but..." The man speaking shrugged. "We can spin it as simply an effort to reduce the pollution from the Mako Reactors."
"Hmm. And...we have no information whatsoever as to what happened?"
"We've been working on intercepting broadcasts from the outside. It's taking a little time to decode some of the more complex signals, but the radio waves we've been picking up are easy enough, it's just a matter of frequency tuning."
"Well..." A thin man fidgeted. "The thing is..." He glanced nervously around the room, his eyes falling on a younger man in a white suit.
This man sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "It seems the entire city has been transplanted to another world," he said. "I know that sounds insane, but the broadcasts we're picking up speak of cities and countries that simply don't exist."
"Well, whatever happened, it hasn't interrupted Mako production, so...at least there's that?"
"We need information," a long-haired man dressed all in black said quietly, thoughtfully. "Sooner or later, the people in the city are going to realize something's wrong, and if we're not careful, we'll end up with a panic on our hands. I'd prefer not to focus all our resources on martial law, and that's exactly what's going to happen."
Everyone turned from him to an older, short, broad-framed man in a finely tailored suit. He took a long, thoughtful drag from the cigar clenched in his teeth, blew a cloud of smoke, then nodded. "I agree," he said. "Above all else, we need to ascertain any long-term impacts on our research projects. If..." He frowned. "If, somehow, this city has been transplanted to another world, we need to survey it thoroughly." He paused, then added, "And we need to establish our presence in this world. Presence is everything in business. If we're going to survive, we need to be...aggressive."
"We need to be cautious," the thin man warned. "Until we know exactly what it is we're dealing with here, we can't afford to behave recklessly."
"I agree," the long-haired man said. "This requires precision."
The short man frowned around his cigar. "Very well, then. What do you suggest?"
The long-haired man stood up. "I will go," he decided. "Call the garage and have my motorcycle readied and waiting." Without waiting for acknowledgement, he swept from the room, the tails of his long black coat fluttering around his boots.
Some minutes later, as he arrived at the garage level, a man dressed in a black uniform fell into step beside him. This man had short, spiky black hair and an enormous, broad-bladed sword strapped to his back. "So what do you think we're gonna find out there?" he asked.
The long-haired man glanced aside at him, not breaking stride. "I won't even ask how you know what's going on," he said, "but I'm handling this myself."
"Like hell you are," the other man replied. "This is kinda big. Even your legendary self needs a second set of eyes on the ground this time."
The long-haired man smirked. "Hn. Fine, do as you wish."
Five minutes later, the two men tore across unfamiliar countryside on large, loud motorcycles, leaving the steel colossus of Midgar behind them.
* * * * *
After everything that had happened recently, Sunset Shimmer thought nothing could surprise her anymore.
Naturally, the universe set out to prove her wrong.
Her phone had been blowing up ever since Canterlot High School had transformed into a giant castle. The rest of the group was flicking back and forth between news channels, watching in stunned silence as reports came in of all sorts of strange buildings and even an entire city appearing out of thin air.
"Well, my friends are all safe," Sunset said with a relieved sigh. "Although Rainbow Dash said something really confusing about Principal Celestia turning into a bird..."
A falcon soared through the window—the closed window—and transformed into an oddly-dressed Celestia. "Sunset Shimmer, you must come at once," she said in a rush. "Bring every capable warrior you have collected around you, the castle must be defended!"
"This world's fashions grow stranger by the minute," Elsa said.
"That's...not a normal outfit, by any definition," Octavia said, tilting her head. "Principal Celestia, are you...are you quite well, ma'am?"
"Principal Celestia? What's going on?" Sunset asked, frowning. "You are Celestia, right?"
"Yes, I am Celestia, but I am also the Sorceress of Grayskull," Celestia said insistently. "We have merged into a single being since the arrival of Castle Grayskull in your reality. Listen to me: the castle which appeared in the same place as Canterlot High School harbors a powerful, dangerous magic that must be protected at all costs! We know not what evils have come to this world, but if any with ill intent should seize the Power of Grayskull..."
"I get it, I get it," Sunset said. She sighed. "Alright, fine. We need a bigger place to stick everybody anyway. Let's...let's go check out this castle, see what's going on." She looked around the room. "Everybody with me?"
The others all nodded.
"Make haste," Celestia said. With that, she transformed back into a falcon and flew away in a streak of light, screeching into the heavens.
"Uhh...wow," Flash said. "That was random."
"Well, you heard her," Sunset said. "Let's all head over to the school."
The entire group filed out, talking idly amongst themselves about the latest crazy happening. Once Octavia shut off the lights and locked the door, the only sound remaining in the house was the ticking grandfather clock in the living room.
The living room television turned itself on, displaying faint, old-school static. Slowly, an image appeared in the static. It was blurry and indistinct at first, but gradually gained clarity and definition, glaring balefully out into the dark living room.
* * * * *
Ryan Walker winced, leaning against the table he and his friends sat at. With creative use of his powers, he'd managed to reconfigure their phones to work with the local networks, as well as "borrowing" a substantial sum of money from an ATM for them to get by on. After the craziness of the giant chicken swarm from earlier, they'd regrouped at a small burger joint for a meal and a quick rest.
"Hey. You okay, bro?" Mark asked.
Ryan shook his head. "I felt...something just now," he said. He grimaced. "It's not important. We need to deal with this mess, find a way home."
"I've been working on that," Harris said. "It's taking way too long to make sense of everything going on here, but I think I've figured out who we need to meet." He laid his phone on the table; it displayed a picture of a purple-skinned girl with violet hair and glasses.
"Wow, she's pretty cute," Spyder said. "I mean, aside from being purple. And a nerd."
"Something tells me she's still way out of your league," Mark said with a smirk.
"Guys? Focus?" Harris said. "This Twilight Sparkle—" He paused for a snicker. "Okay, that name, seriously..." He coughed. "Anyway—"
"Wait, wait," Spyder said. "Her name is Twilight Sparkle?!"
The Walker brothers looked at each other, then dropped their heads toward the table, snickering.
Harris groaned. "Look, people here have weird names, okay? Anyway, she's like...pretty much the me of here, so she's the one we need to go to for help."
"And...and where do we find this Sparkle girl?" Mark asked, struggling not to laugh again.
"That's the thing," Harris said. "Looks like the best shot we'd have of running into her would be at Canterlot High School, but according to the news, it just got eaten by this big evil-looking castle." He tapped his phone a few times, showing a new photo.
"Whoa. Spooky place," Spyder said.
"A castle...ate a high school?" Ryan asked.
Harris shrugged. "That's what it sounds like," he said.
"Okay, so...we go check out this castle, find out what's up, maybe we run into this Sparkle girl and get her to help," Mark said. "I mean, it's not like we've got anything better to do, right?"
"Actually, I could eat like, three more of these bacon explosions," Spyder said. The others groaned. "What?" Spyder protested. "I'm hungry!"
"Wish we could replace you with a hot purple nerd girl," Harris muttered under his breath, sighing and swiping a fry through ketchup.
"Now there's a thought," Mark said. "A girl on the team would be a lot less gross than Spyder."
Spyder gave him an offended look. "Dude," he said. "Bros before hos."
Mark and Ryan both threw burger wrappers at him.
* * * * *
"Maa na," Enzan said as he leaned back in Rodimus' passenger seat, closing his eyes. "Things certainly seem to be getting worse around here."
"It might be time for us to join one of the larger groups of offworlders," Blues suggested. "I believe continuing to sneak around the outskirts of the city and focusing on survival and surveillance is no longer a productive endeavor."
"I agree," Rodimus said. "We need to make contact with that group of heroes we've been hearing about. Also, I'm picking up some very strange energy readings from that castle that appeared at the high school. It's something we need to investigate."
Enzan sighed. "You're probably right," he said. "Alright, let's get over there, then. How's the Energon holding out?"
"Full tank and ready to roll," Rodimus said as he revved his engine and pulled onto the highway leading into the city proper.
* * * * *
"So let me get this straight," Rainbow Dash said, eyeing Starco critically. "You're a girl...and a boy...fused together in the same body?"
"Yeah, that's...that's about the size of it," Starco said.
"Huh." Rainbow thought about that for a minute, then tilted her head. "So...you got a dick?"
"RAINBOW DASH!" Fluttershy chided, face flaming.
Starco coughed, even as Pony Head snickered. "Umm...can we not talk about that? Like..like at all? Ever?"
"Oh girl, it is all messed up down there," Pony Head said mischievously.
"Gaah," Rarity muttered.
X's voiced sounded from the castle gates. "Tenten, Kim, and Shego are here," he said. "They've brought two unfamiliars."
"I'll bring 'em here," Pinkie Pie announced, jumping up and rushing to the gates. She returned a minute later with five people, two of which were new to the group: a lanky youth with short dark hair and intense eyes, and a younger girl in a red dress and shorts with dark hair and eyes, glasses, and ninja gear.
"Wow, love what you did with the place while we were out," Shego said in an impressed tone.
"Pull up a seat," Rainbow said. "Things are gettin' a little weird and wild in here."
"So they're not from around here either?" Starco asked. "They're from another dimension?"
"Yeah," Rainbow said. In a cheeky tone, she added, "They're from the dimension where girls don't fuse with their boyfriends and turn into magic dickgirls."
"Ooooh, SNAP!" Pony Head crowed, chortling. "Up top, Rainbow!"
"Don't make me Narwhal Blast you," Starco muttered, giving Rainbow a flat stare.
Kim blinked. "Uhh...moving past that," she said, "this is Terry, and this is Sarada. Apparently Sarada's from the same ninja village as Tenten."
"Except she's from some point in my world's future," Tenten said. She frowned, then glanced at Sarada. "Hey! I just realized, you didn't recognize me at all! Don't tell I'm..." She went pale. "Did I...do I die?"
Sarada shrugged. "I wouldn't know," she said. "Just because I don't recognize you doesn't mean you're dead in my time. I mean, Konoha's a big place. I don't know every single person there by sight."
"Oh yeah," Tenten said, blinking. "Huh."
Miles swung into the Great Hall and High School Cafeteria of Grayskull, taking off his mask and stowing it. "Guys, there's like, a lot of people headed this way," he said. "A few different groups, at least. I saw Sunset Shimmer, she's leading a huge bunch that just got off a bus a block away, and there's four dudes headed this way too." He paused. "Then there's this like...hot rod camper truck thing? It's on the news, as far as I can tell, it's headed right for us. Oh, and all the Power Rangers are coming."
"Well, Celestia wanted an army to guard the castle, she's getting an army to guard the castle," Rainbow said.
Outside, X and Brook readied their weapons as four teenage boys strolled up to the gates. "Dang, son," one of them said, looking the castle over.
"State your business," X said.
"We're here to meet Twilight Sparkle," the apparent leader said. "We're trying to find out what's going on and she seems to be the best bet for answers and help to get us home."
X narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "And how do you know that?" he asked.
The lead boy's eyes lit up blue. "Technopath," he said. "I can access any technology anywhere, any information I want, and my buddy Harris here is a computer genius. Between the two of us, there's nothing we can't find out."
"Except where the heck the door back to our world is," the lightest-skinned of the four boys said.
"Technopath?" Brook asked.
"Oh dude, talking skeleton, that is sick," the tallest boy said, laughing. "Please tell me I get to kick this thing's butt."
"I don't have a butt," Brook said. "Also, you don't want to try it. Really."
"We're not looking for a fight," the leader said. "We're just looking for help. For real."
X frowned, but powered down his weapon. "Inside," he said. "You're welcome to rest and eat in the Great Hall. Everyone else is there. Don't try anything, don't wander off into the castle."
"Got it," the leader said with a relieved grin. "Thanks, robot dude."
X blinked. "How'd you—"
"Technopath," the leader said, his eyes lighting up again. X's eyes lit up briefly, his face slack. A moment later, he grunted.
"I see," he said. He looked at the four teens in turn. "Ryan, Mark, Harris, Spyder." He frowned at Ryan. "Please don't do that again."
"You got it," Ryan said as he walked past X and Brook, the others following. By the time they were safely inside, Sunset Shimmer was approaching with her rather large group. She tilted her head.
"Stuck on guard duty?" she asked.
"We're the only ones who don't need to eat or sleep, so it made the most sense," X said. "Everyone else is inside. We've gotten a lot of new...uh...'recruits' since I saw you last."
"I don't doubt it," Sunset said. "Same here." She gestured to her expanded group. "We picked up an extra Ladybug and Chat Noir, a queen with ice powers, a princess, my ex-boyfriend and his loli harem, and a couple girls from school who got tangled up in all this by coincidence." She gestured to the group. "Go on inside, everyone. I'll be in in a sec. Just need to catch up."
* * * * *
In the Sector 5 slums of Midgar, three young people sat around a burning trash barrel, grazing on a meager ration of dried meat, hard cheese, and crusty bread.
"Man, I don't trust these Shinra punks for nothin'." Biggs cut off a chunk of cheese and mashed it into an end of bread, taking a big bite.
"Dude, it was an earthquake. I'm telling you, that's all it was." Wedge crammed an entire stick of jerky into his mouth and followed it up with a fist-sized bite of bread.
"Earthquake my ass. You walking downstairs for breakfast in the morning is an earthquake. Shinra did something, you just watch." Biggs sat back, looking up at the cold, imposing metal plate overhead. "Man, I'm sick of livin' like this."
The only girl in their little circle of friends snorted as she sipped water from a metal flask. "So what, you wanna leave Midgar, go out into the wastes? It's not like you can get away from Shinra, no matter where you go."
Biggs sighed. "I know that, Jessie!" He shook his head, running his hand through his hair. "I just..." He went quiet suddenly, eyes sharp and alert, staring at something past Wedge's shoulder.
"You just what, Biggs?" Wedge asked.
"Guys, careful," Biggs warned, craning his neck up. Jessie gasped as a shadow fell over the three of them.
A tall, gaunt man had silently approached and was staring down at them, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses which reflected the firelight. He was dressed all in black: black shoes, black trousers, a black suit, a black trenchcoat, a short black cape, black leather gloves, and a broad-brimmed black hat. The only white in his attire was the white dress shirt he wore. His face was pale, and he held a glossy black cane in one hand.
"I'm searching for information," he said in a cold, raspy voice that raised the hairs on the back of Biggs' neck. "I would very much appreciate your...cooperation."
Wedge swallowed. "Get lost, spook," he said. "We don't got nothin' to say to some weirdo, right Jessie?"
"Is that so," the man said. "A pity."
In a flash, he unsheathed a long, sharp, gleaming sword from his cane, grabbed Wedge's head, pulled it back, and laid the blade of his sword against his throat.
Biggs and Jessie stood up, letting out cries of alarm. The man looked up at them, his unnaturally white teeth gleaming as he smiled at them.
"Your friend here is most uncooperative," he said conversationally. "Perhaps one of you would be more willing? All I want are answers to a few questions. If you indulge me, your friend will live to grow ever fatter. If not, well..." His smile turned to a cruel smirk. "I'm sure there's a slaughterhouse in need of a nice fat pig."
"Bastard!" Biggs snarled. Jessie laid a hand on his arm.
"We'll do whatever you want," she said. "Just...there's no need for violence."
The man smiled more genuinely, but it was a cold smile, one that sent chills up Biggs' spine. "A voice of reason," he said. "Good. Now, I would like to know everything about this miserable, festering boil of a city in which I find myself, and I do mean everything."
* * * * *
An hour had passed since the large group of Power Rangers arrived, sans robots, at Castle Grayskull. Rodimus Prime pulled up to the curb; Enzan and Blues got out. "I'll stay here while you make our introductions," Rodimus said. "Something tells me I'd be a bit of a tight fit on the inside."
Enzan chuckled. "You're probably right. Okay, Blues, let's go."
"Hai, Enza—" Blues jerked violently to a halt, purple lightning arcing up and down his body. "Gk—!"
"Blues?!" Enzan cried.
"E-Enzan-sama..." Blues grit his teeth. "A virus! It's...it's attempting to..." He let out a scream, throwing his head back.
Electricity snapped over Blues' body, which flickered and distorted with an odd twisted, blurry effect. His armor turned black and dark, bloody red. His mouth set into a grim line. A black symbol, concentric circles forming a strange, creepy eye, appeared in the center of his forehead. His right arm morphed into a blood red electrosword.
Powerful... this body...powerful...
Not enough...not...strong enough...need more...power...
Blues charged forward, his sword flashing. Enzan staggered back, a surprised scream dying on his lips as the crackling sword slashed at his face.