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Fanfic / Starlight Over Detrot

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Sic itur ad astra...
I've lived in the great city of Detrot all my life. Ambitions of traveling the world gave way to the cold-shower realization there weren't a lot of places out there more suited to a cop than a city full of crime.
Hard 'Hardy' Boiled

Monster attacks. Crime. Illegal hallucinogens made from electric fruit.

They say things didn't use to be like this. They say things were different, before Luna came back 60 years ago, but Detective Hard "Hardy" Boiled of the Detrot Police Department has never known any world other than that demarcated by the seedy streets of his beloved decaying metropolis; a world in which the coroners sing and dance, surveillance bugs have personality disorders, and the Chief of Police is a scarier entity than most of the eldritch things the city attracts.

The grey unicorn who turned up dead outside the posh High Step Hotel seemed like just another case, but her missing horn is the pointy tip of a very large and nasty iceberg. It's up to Hardy and his friends — a rejected monster hunter, a psychic cab driver, and an underground antiques heir — to find out what’s going on in an investigation that promises to turn Detrot upside-down and inside-out.

Especially if Hardy has anything to say about it.

The main plot can be found here, and the Side Story, "Nightmare Night" is available here.

The story is finished as of 29 March 2021.

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Swift wears her bulletproof vest everywhere, though she does take it off for showers and the like. Later on, though...
  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Scarlet, as far as Hardy is concerned. Scarlet is a very pretty stallion, but Hardy isn't gay.
    • It turns out he's bisexual instead.
    • Later, Swift gets one in the Warden.
  • Abusive Parents: Sweet Shine's father. He made her wear a heavy metal collar, beat her, and erased her memories with some regularity.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: the Detrot Tenth Librum Publicum
    "The story goes that nopony told the architect you can’t build a bigger building inside of a smaller one... so he just sort of... did."
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Magitek AI's, known as Sentient Constructs (SC's, or "essies"), exist. The creation of any new ones is strongly discouraged, because creating a working consciousness is hard. Even the most carefully designed essies wind up with huge personality disorders, or operate under Blue-and-Orange Morality. Or both.
    • The Helm of Nightmare Moon turns out to be one, whose primary directives are what drove Luna (at least partly) bugnuts. Hardy and Gale manage to convince her to take control of the former's body when he's incapacitated, and the end result is that she starts becoming a lot more ponylike.
  • All There in the Manual: The Cutie Mark Crusades are referred to in the main story, but fully explained in the sidestory "Nightmare Night".
  • Almighty Janitor: The Prince of Detrot isn't anything of the sort, at least in that he has absolutely no royal blood, bureaucratic authority, or really any holdings. He's just an old blind musician with a lot of toilets. The fact that he's also the heart and soul of Detrot, and a genuinely, completely nice guy, means that for a good chunk of the story he's practically the most powerful pony in the city.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Aunt Stella.
  • An Arm and a Leg: If you count unicorn horns as limbs.
    • Scarlet suffers these too, with the loss of his two rear legs.
    • Cosmo cuts off the horns of any unicorn who crosses him.
    • Certain forms of necromancy involve cutting off the magic channeling limb of a live victim: a leg for earth ponies, a wing for pegasi, and the horn for unicorns.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    A simple murder case had just turned into a potential gang-war.
    Blood would run in the streets.
    Death would stalk the shadows.
    I'd have to do a lot of paperwork.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged in the story frequently.
    • Before the assault on the Monte Cheval, Hardy puts on a good quality bulletproof vest. He then gets shot through the chestplate by a sniper using a bolt action rifle chambered in 7,62x51mm.
    • PACT troopers wear heavy combined materials armor of ceramic composite traumaplates and soft armor. It does justify the use of a Bulletproof Human Shield, but it doesn't stop the Talent from killing several of them.
    • Hardy picks up a magic resistant armor later on, which actually does help in several situations.
    • A few times in the story, characters will be described or note how their armor at some point took a bullet or has a new bit of damage on it.
  • Artifact Collection Agency: Don Tome and his Archivists safeguard all manner of dangerous magical items.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Helm of Nightmare Moon is regarded as one. Everyone who was suspected of using it has gone mad. Even Don Tome — who has decades of experience safeguarding dangerous artifacts—is afraid of it.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: Swift, after exposure to gryphon "fine cooking".
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: When Reginald Bari refuses to cooperate with Hardy, Limerence asks to interrogate him. Lim admits that he's never interrogated anyone before, but he's read on the topic, and he's eager to try. In mere minutes, Lim's particular approach convinces Bari to spill everything he knows.
  • Back from the Dead: Act 1 ends with Hardy shot and killed. At the start of Act 2, he wakes up a month later. He's just as surprised about it as the readers are.
    • The detective absolutely uses the hell out of this card, faking his death several times.
  • Bag of Holding: Hardy's coat has enchanted pockets that can "carry about a saddlebag worth of stuff in each and weigh about a tenth as much".
  • Bar Brawl: The fight at the Plot Hole, even if it's technically a coffee bar.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Jingle Jangle's brother's heart.
  • Berserk Button: Taxi goes crazy when you mention her (lack of) cutie mark. Swift flips out at the mere mention of Sentient Constructs, or Essies.
    • Y'know that bit about Carnivorism? Yeah, that's part of why.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: When Hardy and Taxi stumble upon a massacre, they wonder how this roomful of victims could be shot and killed (with exit wounds, even) without leaving any bullet holes in the room itself or the furniture. Literal Magic Bullets may have been involved.
  • Born Unlucky: The Scholar tells the story of Charlie Foxtrot, a pony so unlucky that "[his] name became synonymous for things going catastrophically wrong". He was the guard on-duty at the weather factory that Rainbow Dash wrecked in "Tanks for the Memories", and he was one of the guards present when the Smooze crashed the Grand Galloping Gala. During the Crusades, he helped the war effort by letting himself get captured by the dragons, so his misfortune would affect them. It worked.
  • Buried Alive: The original Tartarus is no longer in use. During the crusades, Princess Luna filled it with concrete, while the prisoners were still inside.
  • Break the Cutie: Swift got a nasty one-two punch. Hardy died, then she discovered her friend Grape Shot was the killer. She took this hard.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: Gypsy, a mare who runs a pirate radio station named Ever Free Radio that freely criticizes most of Detrot's governing officials and remount corruption and discusses things the government and police would prefer to keep under wraps.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Heterosexuality is a suggestion and few of the characters care much for it apparently.
    • Hardy starts off as self professed straight, brushing off Scarlet a few times, but eventually grows to enjoy and even rely on his company. Lily Blue also enters the picture. Scarlet may be more of a case of If It's You, It's Okay though. That and also Hardy does end up confessing to Juniper Shores in Epilogue 3.
    • Look, when "interfacing" is described as some level of Body Horror tier Tourniquet sticking cables in every orifice Swift has, consensually, in order to boost performance, and the two of them come out of a pod hugged together... Mags says it best.
    “Egg pony, I thought all adults knew this stuff? Daddy used to call it ‘humping’, and he and Miss Esmerelda spent hours when I wasn’t allowed in the—”
    • Taxi has apparently had many partners offscreen. Onscreen includes a minotaur Vivarium guard and a Changeling Queen.
  • Came Back Strong: When Cerise's ritual sacrifice gets interrupted, she comes back from the dead, wielding all the magic unleashed by the ceremony. It's just a temporary power boost, but it lasts long enough for her to telekinetically slaughter those who participated in the ceremony.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The meat that griffins eat comes from non-thinking mammals, although in Detrot, one could buy anything. Swift struggles with this after her initial exposure. While she limits herself to eating non-thinking animal meat, fried pony flesh smells delicious to her.
  • Cliffhanger: Damn near every chapter ends either with some peril threatening Hardy's life, or some new revelation complicating the investigation.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Edina (sadist) and the Tortellini brothers (masochists). They literally work both as S&M prostitutes at the Vivarium, and as enforcers to defend the Vivarium against other gangsters.
  • Companion Cube: Taxi gets really attached to her PEACE Cannon. When circumstances force her to abandon it, she kisses and prays over the cannon beforehand.
  • The Coroner: Slip Stitch. He's a little... off.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Hardy and Taxi discover an entire room full of murdered griffins, their bodies still warm. Hardy and Taxi are right in the middle of the corpse pile when more griffins rush in, weapons drawn. Cooler heads prevail, and the griffins believe Hardy's declaration of innocence.
  • Crossdresser: Despite not wearing clothes, Stella manages to pull this off, thanks to some absolutely fabulous makeup and lipstick.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Griffin culture was based on this, so badly that more griffins died during brief times of peace than during wars with foreign nations. Eventually, to prevent them from going extinct, the griffin ruler instituted a system for symbolically representing blood debts and trading these debts. By the present day, the griffins have built a complex economy on these blood debts, including at least one near disaster such as the "Subprime Revenge Collapse".
  • Dead Person Conversation: Hardy's dead partner, Juniper, keeps popping in to offer advice to Hardy. It's unclear whether he's a hallucination, some cosmic power taking A Form You Are Comfortable With, or actually Juniper's spirit.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Cosmo's family made one when he was young to save his life. The original Cosmo, that is. He was born with a weak heart and wasn't expected to live long, so they made a deal with a zebra who provided him with a changeling heart, which would keep him alive so long as it was powered by the love between his parents. What they didn't know was that it didn't just run on their love, but drained it. Cosmo died when his family fell apart, and his doting big brother Jingle Jangle took his name and became one of Detrot's most vicious crimelords.
    • Hardy reacts with chagrin upon learning that Taxi made a deal with the mobster Don Tome to arrange the organ transplant that brought Hardy back to life. Fortunately, Don Tome is the closest thing there is to a good mob boss, and his conditions for the deal wind up helping the heroes in the long run.
  • Determinator: Hardy turns out to be one. Death, deranged coroners, princesses, and burgeoning PTSD doesn't stop him. Mostly.
  • Disney Death: Astral Skylark cuts Cerise's gut open with a sword. Her death is supposed to fuel a dark magic spell. However, Hardy and his friends disrupt the spellcasting, so all the ambient magic instead feeds back into Cerise, bringing her back to life.
  • Door Stopper: The story passed the 1,000,000 word mark. One. Million. Words. Plus.
  • Dress Code: The Vivarium has one, and Hardy doesn't match up to it.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Taxi is a frighteningly aggressive driver who shows no regard for other cars or speed limits, but she is undeniably good at getting everyone to their destinations in one piece. The scary part? DPD pays her to be Hardy's personal driver, because Hardy is even more dangerous behind the wheel than Taxi.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Inverted. Swift Cuddles is perfectly fine with her first name.
  • Escalating Brawl: The fight at the Plot Hole might or might not have begun with Swift attacking Hardy, but by the time he's distracted from his opponent, everyone is fighting.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Taxi has no qualms whatsoever about hitting on gryphons, minotaurs, or the like, so long as they catch her eye.
  • Fantastic Drug: Several:
    • Ace, the drug that Cosmo built his empire on, is basically analogous to heroin.
    • Zap is basically marijuana, except with the side effect of attracting lightning if you smoke it outdoors.
    • Beam lowers inhibitions while amplifying the user's emotions and their empathy for others' emotions. Both positive emotions and negative ones.
  • Fantastic Racism: Cosmo hates unicorns, to the point of breaking off their horns if they cross him. The Cyclones are fine with all pony races... but not with zebras, griffins, or anything else.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The Arroyo Cyclones are Haitian diaspora, what with their Caribbean accents and adherence to Vodou.
    • Griffins are Scotirish, as they're organized into clans, wear kilts, and speak an Oirish brogue.
  • First Day from Hell: Poor Swift. Her second day is also bad, and her third day is even worse.
  • First-Person Smartass: Hardy.
  • Friendly Sniper: Swift is energetic and personable, and the team's designated sharpshooter, often pulling off shots Hardy didn't think were possible.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Discussed. The Warden thinks that very strong hatred can eventually become a lot like love—and she speculates that Chief Jade feels this towards Hardy. It's not clear if the Warden is right about Jade, or even if she's entirely serious.
  • Forced Transformation:
    • Apparently eating poison joke can permanently turn a pony into a giant-sized hamster, or at least if they study rodent-lifecyles. Given the nature of poison joke, the permanent transformation may actually vary.
    • One of the weapon matrixes on a Crusades-era War Scooter is capable of temporarily turning a dragon into a sheep.
  • Found the Killer, Lost the Murderer: the killer of Hardy and Cosmo, that is.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Swift Cuddles is sanguine; Hard Boiled is melancholic; Taxi is choleric, and Limerence is phlegmatic.
  • Fun with Acronyms: PACT (Perimeter Aegis Control Taskforce). Also, the Polite Enjoinder Against Criminal Enterprise (PEACE) cannon.
  • Going Native: Sykes the griffon has integrated into pony culture enough that his family (aside from his brother) has disowned him.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Cutie Mark Crusades, a war between Equestria and the dragons that took place around a generation before the events of the story. Their lingering side effects are visible in numerous points of the story and setting — bunkers for protection against dragon attacks are still present in many places, the collapse of the gem market after the dragons' defeat led to the collapse of Diamond Dog society, and numerous types of weapons developed for the Crusades are still in use — but the details of what actually caused the crusades and happened in them are left vague for most of the story until partway into Act 2.
  • Hardboiled Detective: His name is even Hard "Hardy" Boiled.
  • Healing Factor: One of the positive side effects of Hardy's resurrection.
  • Hedge Maze: The garden on the roof of High Steps Hotel is a thick, impassable jungle navigable only by a mazelike network of small and winding paths, with the trellis overlying it preventing pegasi from taking the easy way out and flying over it. Hardy, Taxi and Swift get rather badly lost in it when investigating Ruby Blue's murder.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • A three week long one, experienced by Swift when she killed somepony. Who turned out to be an old friend. Once she recovered from that, a far shorter one upon replaying that particular memory to herself.
    • Also experienced by Princess Luna in Nightmare Night, as explained in the Power High entry.
    • Chief Jade normally reacts explosively to anything that annoys her, particularly Hardy's antics. But when Hardy escapes from a tight spot by telling the press that the Detrot PD fully supports the Church of the Lunar Passage, this hits way too close to home for Jade. She locks herself in her office and cries.
    • Hardy suffers several. Most of them are later in the story, but it becomes clear that he is absolutely reaching his limit, and his coping mechanisms are either unavailable or insufficient. Breakdowns and crying result.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: The Detrot Number Three is expensive on both cash and sanity, semi-magical, and causes copious vomiting, but it will bring you back to alertness.
  • Hand Cannon: Swift is given one by her grandmother, named the Masamune; Hardy carries one everywhere, his grandfather's .45 revolver; Taxi is categorically prohibited from carrying anything of the sort, as she has no concept of collateral damage and has the aiming skills of your average Imperial Stormtrooper. It turns out that Hardy's revolver is in fact a crusader-class weapon, the firearm equivalent of an Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Practically everyone from the Vivarium.
  • Immortality Inducer: The explanation for the Warden's condition. Back in the Crusades, she absorbed all of a greater dragon's magical fire. So she won't die or age until she uses that fire — and that will take several centuries.
  • Indy Ploy: By his own admission, Hardy is much better at making up plans on the fly than he is at drafting them before the bullets start flying.
  • Initiation Ceremony: "Frosting" the rookie, which Hardy tries to prevent Swift from going through.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The DPD and PACT. It's even explained in the second chapter's Opening Monologue. About the only things so far which they've managed to agree on are certain forms of weaponry.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Limerance digs into a closet in the Supermax, looking for a haz-mat suit. An open container of Beam falls on him, coating him in the dust. Beam absorbs through skin. Limerance spends the next several chapters high as a kite.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: When getting information from criminals, Hardy and his crew often threaten to rough them up, and sometimes follow through on those threats. Probably the most memorable instance is when Limerence extracts information from Reginald Bari by stabbing a knife into Bari's desk—through Bari's ear.
  • Keystone Army: One of The Scholar's essays notes how the dragons hated to delegate responsibility. As a result, successfully killing a general would throw their underlings into disarray and lead to a swift pony victory.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: The Ladybugs, little critters based off the parasprites.
  • Little Useless Gun: Swift's "standard issue" gun, given to her because she's so small. That's quickly turned around when she's given a Hoof Cannon named "Masamune".
  • Made of Explodium: Beam, a Fantastic Drug made from the industrial byproducts of rainbow manufacture, is dangerously explosive in its concentrated form.
  • Mad Love: Scarlet, towards Hardy — or he might just be trolling, or half-sincere. Hard to tell.
  • Magitek: Through zebra runes and alchemy.
  • Mama Bear: Swift's grandmother, After Glow.
    ...getting between After Glow and Swift would have been closely akin to getting between a mother bear and its cub, if the mother bear was endowed with the power to fling a pony into the upper atmosphere.
  • Meaningful Rename: The pony formerly known as Cosmo is now called Gale.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Hardy gets this impression of Saussurea (the architect of Supermax prison, who is herself imprisoned for crimes against ponykind) when she reveals that she knows a lot more about what's going on than a little old lady who's locked up in the deepest level of Tartarus Correctional should.
    Saussurea was a player. Deposed. Trapped. Chained. Banished to a hole at the bottom of the world. Still playing.
  • Mighty Roar: what a "Griffin Good Morning" involves.
    It was a sound used to terrify prey and ward off competitors in the dangerous mesas of the the griffin homeland, but in a pinch, it's also a great adrenaline shot.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: And the scary thing is that the major plot uncovers an even bigger plot. Act 1 starts with a murdered prostitute, and ends with Hardy and his crew toppling a drug kingpin's empire. Then someone assassinates the kingpin, before he can tell Hardy who he's working for.
  • Mob War: Some unknown party is engineering these. In act 1, they try to assassinate Stella, so the Jewelers and the Cyclones can go to war over Vivarium territory. And in act 2, they succeed in killing Don Tome, and again inform the Jewelers and the Cyclones that Tome's territory is free for the taking.
  • Never Found the Body: Someone assassinated Don Tome and all his staff, which would only be possible if there were a traitor in his midst. Limerance finds a dead body, in Zifu's favorite reading spot, holding Zifu's staff—but the body's so badly burnt that it's completely unrecognizable, and the coroner thinks the skeleton looks a bit off. Awfully suspicious...
  • Never Mess with Granny: After Glow.
  • Nightmare Face: the Warden, due to most of her skin being burned off.
  • Noodle Incident: How Taxi lost her cutie mark. All we know is that it has something to do with the dangers of undercover work.
  • No-Sell: Sausseria puts Taxi in chains and fucks with her head for a bit. When it's over, Taxi calls Sausseria "Amateur." She was just pretending to be affected so she could get information from Saucy.
    "I needed a warm up, Hardy. [...] That’s all that was. I’m fine. Seriously, if one nutty quack with a bondage fetish could get under my pelt, I think it’s time to turn in my freak card."
  • No Social Skills: Limerence is cold and tactless, and greatly prefers working alone. Don Tome makes Limerence join Hardy's crew specifically in hopes that Lim will learn social skills from the experience.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hardy and Taxi's reaction when they find out one of their leads takes them into a Diamond Dog neighborhood.
    • The main cast's reaction when they discover that the city of Detrot is a massive wish-granting machine constructed by someone over centuries of planning.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Hardy and Swift, respectively.
  • Opening Monologue: Each chapter starts with an in-universe excerpt discussing some detail of worldbuilding relevant to that chapter's events, often from someone simply called "the Scholar".
  • Pintsized Powerhouse:
    • Swift, who's barely larger than a child, but packs as much of a punch as any of the other heroes.
    • Edina the griffin is about the same size as Swift, and she's a furious whirlwind of beak, claws, and whips.
  • Power High: In the sidestory "Nightmare Night", Luna relates how she got one at a bad time, causing her to exult in it for just a second and let the super-lightning she was channeling slip loose and fry most of the small army helping her defend Detrot, leading to a Heroic BSoD (massacring "civilian" dragons by entombing them underneath Detrot and letting them suffocate) that she comes to regret.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: averted; the deaths of both Cosmo and his sniper are quite messy
  • Pressure Point: Taxi's favoured form of attack.
  • Pseudo-Crisis: When you end this many chapters on cliffhangers, they can't all be winners. One that stands out is when Hardy sneaks into a history museum through a back door, and finds himself facing down a snarling griffon, pointing a weapon at him. Then the next chapter opens with Hardy realizing that it's just a wax statue of a griffin, from one of the museum exhibits.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Most of Hardy's plans. His 'meeting' with Chief Jade at the start of Act 2 especially qualifies.
  • Scary Teeth: Swift eventually grows carnivore teeth. She gets a kick out of this transformation and enjoys scaring nearly everyone she meets just by smiling at them.
  • Secret Legacy: Hardy's grandfather (also named Hard Boiled, and nicknamed Egg Head) didn't just fight in the Crusades. He was one of the twelve Crusaders, elite assassins of high-ranking dragons. And Hardy's trusty gun? That's the same gun that Egg Head used to kill the dragon king.
  • Secret Test: Don Tome sends his two sons, Limerence and Zifu, on separate missions to retrieve certain missing artifacts. Tome confides to Hardy that he chose these missions specifically to teach them something they lacked (people skills for Limerence, self-sufficiency for Zifu) — and how well they learn their lesson will determine which of them inherits Tome's position as head of the Archivists.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the sidestory "Nightmare Night", Luna tells the tale of the Crusades to children because of her personal experiences, and subconsciously wanting somepony to hold her accountable for her atrocity.
    • Hardy fills this out and gets extra credit. At one point late in the series, as the Final Battle nears, Swift notes that Hard Boiled has nearly every sign of post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A character having Fluttershy's Stare, a surveillance device whose (yep) description referrers to the maker of said device making Twilight-style checklist and a cannon having manual specifically advising against using it for parties, like Pinky does. Still, none of the mares are referred by name.
  • Shower of Angst: Hardy and his friends have to take several to deal with the horrors they encounter.
  • Spin-Offspring:
    • Gypsy, the pirate radio broadcaster, is strongly implied to be Scootaloo's granddaughter.
    • Cerberus has a pup named Fluffy.
    • Astral Skylark (born Ebon Kitty) is the daughter of Trixie. She inherits her mother's ego and showmanship, but takes it down a much darker path.
    • There is no possible way that Slip Stitch is unrelated to Pinkie Pie, and Snow Coy has inherited Fluttershy's 'Stare'.
  • STD Immunity: Discussed in an opening monologue: ponies never had many genuinely dangerous STDs in their history, so compared to other races, they have a tendency towards more promiscuous behavior.
  • Symbol Swearing: Lampshaded, with a dash of Foreign Cuss Word thrown in.
    Taxi: We’re not civilian traffic, you stupid @$&*#$!
    That’s not censorship; I’m not actually sure what that word was, but it was unflattering and in buffalo. Or maybe zebra. Or possibly draconic.
  • Talking to Plants: Budding, the owner of the High Step, when he starts to lose it. (Of course, since this is Equestria, that might be his secret to how well his plants grow.)
  • The Taxi: The Night Stalker, driven by a Checker-cab-colored pony named Taxi.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Hardy uses old jelly beans, Taxi uses meditation pebbles.
  • Truth Serums: Truth Bloom, done with a twist: if you drink it you can lie, but it will make you violently ill if you do so for a half hour afterwards. Most persons take one sip of the 'Truth Bloom Special', and that's enough; Hardy drinks the whole glass, eliciting shock from the server.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Hardy gets fired by Iris Jade, and leaves his badge dangling from her horn.
  • Tyke Bomb: Stone Shine's abuse of his daughter, Sweet, was meant to make her "stronger" and groom her for life as a professional killer. She was rescued the same day she earned her cutie mark, but even as an adult she still has the mental scars from this upbringing.
  • Un-person: Oddly enough, the character did it to herself, for reasons unknown. Princess Twilight Sparkle disappeared from public, then erased or hid as many written records about herself as she could find. Then she cast a wide-ranging spell so that anyone who did stumble across information about her, would forget about it afterwards.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: Working at the Vivarium.
  • Vomiting Cop: Swift, when she sees her first violently-killed corpse. It's also her first day on the job. In fact, Swift gets queasy with every corpse the heroes run across (and that's a lot).
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: After getting a gunshot wound that he knew to be fatal, Hardy wakes up in a very dark, cramped spot. He finds the opening and crawls out, then realizes he was in the morgue freezer.
  • We Can Rebuild Him:
    • When Hardy dies of a gunshot through the heart, Taxi pulls some strings to get Cosmo's old heart transplanted. This is enough to bring him back to life, a month later.
    • Sausseria refers to the Supermax as her child, and she isn't being metaphorical. When her daughter Tourniquet was killed by dragons, Sausseria turned her into a magitek cyborg. Tourniquet is now inextricably linked to the workings of the Supermax, and she drains magic from her prisoners as her energy source. This is precisely why Sausseria is now in prison herself.
  • Wham Episode: The last chapter of Act 1, already a Wham Episode on its own, is completely overshadowed by act 2, chapter 44. Finally, some answers are given, and many of them are just stupifying. The last lines of the chapter in particular.
    • This is then overshadowed again in Act 2, Chapter 53 with the ending line:
    “It’s...It’s gone. The storm...the mountain! Canterlot Mountain is gone! Everything...everything is gone!”
    • Act 3, Chapter 14 reveals that, after not having been seen in at least thirty years, Twilight Sparkle is still alive.
    • Act 3, Chapter 22: The Ancestors of the Aroyo gang are the original Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Wham Line: the end of Act 2, Chapter 43: "Her name ... was Twilight Sparkle."
    • Then, the final line of Act 3, Chapter 14: "I present you ... Princess Twilight Sparkle!"
  • Who Dunnit To Me: One of Hardy's goals from Act 2 on is figuring out who sent the assassin that did him in at the end of Act 1.