"The one day I decide to go completely no-tech," the tall blond grumbled to herself as she searched through the lockers in the staff room.
In what could only be described as a stroke of exceptionally bad luck, the door she had kicked down led to an evening club, which was closed for business and empty of people at the moment. That was good, because it meant nobody else was going to see her parading around in her underwear, but it was bad for another reason entirely:
Locker after locker turned up nothing but skimpy bunny-eared hostess costumes, designed entirely for the sexual gratification of the male clientele. "Ugh, this is almost as embarrassing as being in my underwear," she muttered as she examined one of the scanty costumes.
It was also a moot point, because they were all too small for her.
She sighed as she opened the last locker...then grimaced as her luck took a perverse turn for the "better".
As it just so happened, there was apparently one girl working in this pervert lounge who had the exact same measurements.
"Wonderful," she said sourly. Sighing, she gathered up the costume, shed her own underwear, and left it and her stiletto sandals in the locker. It took a few minutes to get dressed; once she'd covered herself and gotten "tucked in", she wandered through the club proper, looking for anything she could use as a weapon.
Several frustrating minutes later, she discovered something curious: leaning on its side in one of the booths was a large, round metal shield. Judging by the carbon scoring on its red, white, and blue paint job, the shield had seen some pretty intense action, and yet as she thoroughly examined its surface, there wasn't a nick, scratch, or dent on it. She tested its weight and balance, and nodded in approval.
"It'll have to do," she decided.
And thus, equipped with a navy blue Playboy bunny outfit and a sturdy round shield painted in red, white, and blue stripes with a white star at the center, Samus Aran stepped out into an urban war zone.
A raucous laugh from her right drew her attention. She turned to see her shopping 'date' for the day standing there, wearing the loose capris, wedge-heeled sandals, and strappy top she'd been wearing all day long, her short, forward-swept reddish-brown hair hanging over her face, the two braids of beads tied in the back of her hair clicking and clacking as she doubled over laughing. "Are—are you kidding me?" the shorter woman asked.
Samus huffed. "Look, it was all I could find, alright? It was this or my underwear!"
"But..." The other girl pointed a trembling hand at Samus' head. "Th-the ears too?!"
Samus stamped a dark blue pump clad foot in irritation. "Listen, I'm a professional, dammit! If I HAVE to wear this ridiculous thing, then I'm going to wear ALL of this ridiculous thing!"
"I-I'm sorry," the other girl said, fighting to suppress her giggles. "I mean, it...it looks good on you! It really does! It's just..."
Samus rolled her eyes and sighed. "I'll find something less stupid to wear later. Right now, we've got more important things to worry about. Are you armed at all?"
"Of course not," the shorter girl said with a sigh. "Wasn't that the whole point of today? To just be normal women doing normal girl things?"
"The universe couldn't even give us that, it seems," Samus said in a resigned tone. "Well, I guess we'll have to make do."
The other girl blinked. "You—you're serious? You're gonna fight in that?"
"Given the choice between fighting in this and fighting naked? Yes."
The shorter girl shrugged. "Alright. These guys look weak enough, I can probably..." She grimaced, then kicked off her wedges, settling into a loose, ready fighting stance. "Yikes, hot asphalt," she complained.
"Suck it up, Iria!" Samus snapped sharply. "You killed Zeiram, you can handle a little hotfoot!"
* * * * *
Ranma, Hikaru, Edward, and Sakura sat in a modest-sized mom and pop diner on the highway. Ranma was scarfing down a huge meal from three serving platters; Hikaru was pacing herself as she ate a greasy hamburger, Sakura was halfway through one hamburger and had a second on her plate, and Ed was munching on fries and sipping a strawberry milkshake.
"Man, I'm glad that three-eyed freak didn't get our money," Ranma said. "It's bad enough he got our bus tickets and my phone."
"Yeah, but we need to be careful," Hikaru said. "If we spend too much we'll have to stop somewhere and find work again, and then who knows how long it'll take to get back on the road?"
Sakura eyed two people who stood at the counter, arguing with the cashier. One was a stout, muscular man with tanned skin, long, curly dirty blond hair, and weathered features, wearing an open suede vest and an assortment of leather and suede. The other was a young woman with fair skin and red hair, wearing simple homespun garments dyed with brilliant earthen dyes; her midriff was exposed, and a long, thick staff was propped against the counter next to her.
"I'm telling you," the man was saying heatedly, "all we have are dinars, not...whatever a 'credit card' is! Come on, can't you give us a break?"
"Sorry," the thin-faced, middle-aged man drawled. "Credit or legal tender only, an' 'dee-narrs' ain't legal tender."
"Well—" the man huffed. "What about, what about...a trade, huh? Or work? Well there's gotta be something we can do around here for a meal!"
Sakura turned away from the man's negotiations, back to her new friends. "So you guys are headed north?" she asked. "Are you chasing that crazy spaceship?"
"Not intentionally," Hikaru said. "We're actually headed to Canterlot, since it seems to be the eye of the storm."
"Canterlot, huh," Sakura mused. "Mind if I tag along? I gotta be honest, I have no idea where the heck I am, and I'm kinda tired of just wandering around by myself."
"Of course!" Ranma said. "The more the merrier. Besides, you're pretty good! You've got some moves I wouldn't mind pickin' up."
"Plus, we could run into those thieves again," Hikaru said. "Or that sorceror we fought on the beach. Or who-knows-what else. This world is dangerous."
"Yeah, it's pretty rough with all this other weird crap showin' up," Ranma agreed. He glanced over at the counter, then stood and walked over, peeling a few bills out of his wallet. "Yo, old man," he said, "hit these two up with whatever this much'll get 'em, okay?"
"Oh, we couldn't—" the blond man began.
"Nah, it's cool," Ranma said. "We're all kind of in th' same boat right now, huh? Hope you two can find some work or somethin', but nobody should hafta work on an empty stomach." He returned to his table.
"That was very sweet of you, Ranma-kun," Hikaru said as she finished her hamburger.
"Yeah, well, I've been where those two are enough times myself t' know it sucks," Ranma said. "An' it ain't much for a quick lunch." He wiped his hands on some napkins, then stood and gathered his things. "Let's hurry, we've gotta catch that next bus."
* * * * *
Broken Kraang droids littered the street. Iria had quickly armed herself with two Kraang blasters and was mowing the aliens down with precision. As for Samus, she'd also liberated a blaster from a Kraang, and had discovered that the shield she'd picked up was not only blaster-proof, it could go right through the droids' necks if it had enough momentum. Within five minutes of engaging the army of robots in battle, she'd become a nimble diva of death, loosing blaster fire from one hand while throwing and catching her deadly disc with the other.
"Eliminate the human sex worker!" one of the Kraang ordered.
"I am NOT a sex worker!" Samus yelled as she blasted the speaking Kraang. "I'm a BOUNTY HUNTER!"
"Eliminate the human sex hunter!" another Kraang instructed.
Iria let out a loud bark of laughter. Samus gritted her teeth in irritation and swung the rifle like a club at the Kraang, driving it to the ground. She knelt down and ripped the brain creature from the robot's torso, snarling in its face before throwing it straight into the air and vaporizing it.
"Alert! Alert! The female humans are threat level maximum! Eliminate the female humans with extreme prejudice!"
"The female human identified as the sex hunter carries a weapon unknown to Kraang. Capture the weapon for study!"
"Here, study it nice and close," Samus suggested as she used the shield to bash a Kraang droid into the ground. It sparked, sputtered, and let out an electronic death screech.
"Kraang forces reduced to ten percent! Kraang cannot reach Kraang to request backup!"
"Kraang must retreat! Engage withdrawal protocol alpha!"
The remaining Kraang turned and ran, firing blindly behind themselves to cover their escape. Samus and Iria chased them for half a block before giving up; with a sigh, Iria hop-skipped back to where they'd started the fight and put her shoes back on. "Ugh, my feet hurt," she complained.
"How do you think I feel?" Samus demanded. "I've been running around in these damn heels!" She sighed and examined her weapons. "I'm keeping the gun," she decided. "The shield too. Especially the shield."
"Yeah, that's...no ordinary shield, is it?" Iria observed. She frowned. "So where the heck are we, and how did we get here?"
"I have no idea," Samus said, frowning. "That was no transmat beam that took us out of the mall. And how could anyone have locked onto us in the dressing rooms, anyway? I mean, if it was just me, I could understand, with my DNA being...unique...but you?"
"Yeah, and I don't think that robot army had anything to do with it either," Iria said, nodding. "I've never seen these...Kraang before, have you?"
"Uh-uh." Samus walked over to a nearby storefront and examined a newspaper dispenser out front. "Cloudsdale Gazette," she read aloud. "I guess this city is called Cloudsdale?" Glancing around, she spotted a short, pimply-faced man standing on the sidewalk across the street, watching the two hunters intently through the lens of some device. "YOU!" she barked.
The man gulped and turned to run. Iria sprinted after him, outpacing him and cutting off his escape as Samus stalked up behind him.
"D-don't kill me!" the man whimpered in a nasally voice.
Samus pinched the bridge of her nose. "I was just going to ask you some questions about this place," she said. "We have no idea where we are."
"O-oh," the man said, swallowing. "S-sure," he said. "Whatever you need."
"Can we maybe get off the street first, though?" Iria asked. "After everything that just happened, I could use a place to sit and a cold drink."
"S-sure," the man said. "Umm...there's a Los Tacos Hermanos just down the block."
"Lead the way," Iria said. "Come on, sex hunter," she added teasingly to Samus.
"I am NOT a sex hunter!" Samus said indignantly. "I have never hunted sex in my LIFE!"
"I can believe it with that body."
* * * * *
Pinkie Pie stepped through the front door of her house, taking a deep breath and inhaling the familiar scent of rocks and minerals. As she wandered through the house, checking on her sisters, she began shedding layers of clothing. By the time she arrived at her bedroom, she was barefoot and down to her underwear.
Pushing open the door, she expertly tossed her dirty clothes into the hamper and prepared herself to flop down on her bed and make duvet angels.
That's what would have happened, had she not espied the pink-skinned, pink-haired girl rummaging through her closet. A girl who, like Pinkie Pie herself, was also in her underwear.
"Hi Pinkie!" Pinkie Pie said. "Wasn't expecting you here!"
The other pink girl turned around, and blinked. "Oh. Um...hi?"
Pinkie Pie blinked her bright blue eyes comically.
The other pink-skinned, pink-haired girl blinked eyes that were not blue. Rather, they were golden. With black sclera.