Planes began to drop out of the frigid, cloud choked skies like stones. The brilliant red beam that had surged forth from the icy antarctic interior swept through the formation of jets like a scythe through a field of wheat. The planes that didn't immediately explode from their fuel reaching combustion temperatures either were cut in twain by the beam itself or torn apart by the resulting shock wave.
The few planes left intact were left so only in the most tentative of senses. Wings and entire lengths of fuselage peeled off them as they plummeted downwards, flames and smoke pouring from their engines. Passengers and equipment alike were sucked out into the deathly cold air as cabins depressurized
The planes that were lucky hit the water, crashing into and quickly sinking beneath the crashing icy waves not far from the 'beach'.
Most however struck land. Slamming nose first into the rock hard ice and exploding in screaming balls of fire and steel. Even the successful crash lands broke the planes apart, leaving trails of fire, aluminum, and bodies strewn behind them before they eventually came to a stop.
Brown watched, wind whipping past her face, as the frozen white and blue land below was lit up by flashes of orange and red fire.
She had been, like so many others, sucked out of the plane she had been riding in. Unlike so many others free falling towards the Earth however Brown was excited
at her predicament.
The plane ride had been agonizingly boring. So much so Brown had taken a seat near the emergency exit, the large red sign and large warnings all over it tempting her to make a quick exit from the plane at the nearest opportunity.
The doctor, Jonas, however had noticed this. Brown had been saddled with a parachute long before any danger to the planes was apparent.
Anyone else would have considered the parachute a blessing, but Brown barely registered the life saving pack strapped to her back she she shot head forward towards the ground.
Ever since the fight in Rio, Brown had been left to stew. Though she had helped to defeat the giant machine that attacked the stadium...that's all she did. Helped.
Her ultimate technique had failed the first time and only reason she could try again was because of another Nomad's pity.
That fact had not left her mind since.
away at her, filling her with a greater sense of weakness and self-hatred then she had felt in years.
Brown had been left with that feeling since Rio, left to stew and ruminate as she healed and traveled with Jonas and the others.
She only boarded the plane because she sensed that she was heading somewhere where she could face a challenge. To once again throw herself into the fray and prove to not only herself, but everyone else, that she was anything but weak.
So as Brown fell, the cold uncaring Earth racing up to crush her, she basked in the thrill of it all.
Because she did not see the scene before her as something to survive.
Brown saw it as a challenge
And she was done losing challenges.
Grinning Brown closed her eyes and concentrated. Even as the freezing wind bit at her face and swept through her ragged clothes, Brown focused on her heart rate and 'reached' within side herself. She focused on the mental image of a kettle on a stove. A brilliant heat was beneath the kettle, growing larger and more fierce the longer she concentrated. "Giga...TUMMO!"
Brown's eyes snapped open, her nostrils flaring as a rush of steam gushed outwards.
Her internal body temperature skyrocketed to the point her skin was giving off steam in the below-zero antarctic "With my body temperature high enough I should be able to melt clean through the ice on contact. I can hit the ground, melt through, and gradually slow down. I don't need to rely on a parachute. I don't need to rely on anyone. I am powerful! I am capable I am a NOMAD!"
Trailing steam as she dropped Brown spread out her arms, angling herself feet first towards ground.
Brown's heart raced as the ground came closer and closer. Already she could envision her impact, ice liquefying at her touch, her body plunging deep into the ice sheet, her strong arms and legs reaching out to slow her descent...
As she fantasized however Brown began to notice the more subtle color differences of the ground beneath the the closer she got. It wasn't just whites, it was grey, light blues, and blacks. A surprising amount of black colors in fact. Long wide sheets of black carefully hidden beneath the snow. If she didn't know any better those were rocks. "Rocks?"
Brown asked herself the gears in her head turning as realized she was not staring down at an ice sheet...but rather a cliff of solid rock merely covered in ice. "ROCKS!"
Eyes wide with horror Brown quickly reached up and pulled the cord on here parachute. A long strip of sleek fabric was ripped from the big, wired connected to the backpack pulling taught as the parachute caught the wind. Brown felt herself jerked backwards as the wind resistance began to slow her rapid fall, but the ground was already racing to greet her.
Mere feet from the ground Brown did the only thing she could do and leaned forward. As soon as her feet touched the ice laden stone Brown threw herself forward into a roll. However her shoulder struck the ground first and a distinct inwardscrunch
shook through her body.
Bouncing across the ground, the parachute tangling around her body, Brown rolled forward twenty solid feet before coming to a stop.
Several moments passed and Brown remained still on the ground.
Water began to pool around her body as her increased body temperature melted the ice, causing her to sink an entire inch until she was lying on solid stone.
Slowly Brown stirred, pushing herself to her feet and pulling the tangled parachute off her body.
Her right arm hung limply at her side her shoulder sunk downwards at a clearly unnatural height. Despite the grievous injury however there was no expression of pain on Brown's face. Her expression was blank, her eyes as cold as the antarctic ice around her, and her breathing was heavy.
Looking out at the icy wasteland as the others began to land Brown took a single, deep breath. "ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"
Brown threw her head back and screamed.
Pulling her left arm back she smashed a fist into her right shoulder which popped back into place with another disgusting crunch. Wincing as her dislocated shoulder was set back into place, Brown rolled her shoulder experimentally before using both hands to rip the parachute off of her.
Balling up the parachute Brown ran to the edge where the ice dropped off into the see and threw the parachute angrily towards the depths.
Seeing the chute tumble downwards only to be caught in the wind and whisked away did nothing to ease the torrent of emotions inside Brown.
Standing on the edge of the cliff, literally steaming, Brown looked over her shoulder and into the distance where the strange tower stood.
With gritted teeth and clenched fists Brown began to move forward towards the tower. As she did so she glanced around and noticed something odd. "Didn't someone on the plane say something about MAVERICK reinforcements? There were a bunch in the planes but didn't some come by boat? I thought they were supposed to be here before us..."
"Move, move, move!"
The motors of the bright orange inflatable lifeboats died a few feet from the shore, their momentum pushing them through the ice laden water enough for them to reach the frozen beach. As soon as the soft orange tips of the boats touched solid land the MAVERICK agents piled inside began to throw themselves out. At least twenty armed men arrived at the beach, quickly pulling their boats ashore and unloading the supplies they had brought.
Off in the distance a large naval vessel stood, its forward in the air pointed towards the cloud choked sky as it was slowly pulled beneath the waves. A few of the MAVERICK agents and the accompanying soldiers looked over their shoulders, both desperate to forget and curious about just what had split their ship in half with such horrifying ease. "We don't have time to dick around, finish unloading the supplies and get ready to move! You all saw what just happened to the planes. We could be the only survivors! We're going to move and attack that damned tower in 5 minutes. So move your asses!"
One particular MAVERICK agent, a veteran covered head to toe in thick riot gear, towered over his supposed comrades and barked orders. He stared out from behind the visor of his helmet, hands coiled around his rifle as he looked out into the distance where the metal tower could be seen. None of the other MAVERICK troops were willing to complain with the Veteran looming over them, a large Bowie knife strapped to his shoulder.
One particular MAVERICK agent, farthest from the rest, struggled with a large plastic crate which he quickly dropped into the snow. He groaned, his breath visible like steam in the Antarctic air. Already he couldn't feel his face. Slowly he began to undo the tabs of the supply create, muttering to himself as he did so. "Ugh, god. I'm almost glad to be outside even if it is cold. The inside of that ship was so cramped!" "Yeah, its even more cramped in this crate. It's so great to be outside!~"
The soldier lifted the lid just as the voice reached him. Staring down into the crate the MAVERICK agent saw a pink haired girl with rabbit ears. She was sat in the crate where 250 MREs should have been, her knees pulled to her chest and curled up to fit inside.
The girl simply stared up at the soldier from inside the create. Her smile was wide and she actually gave a small wave at the man who had released her. Yet something about her piercing red eyes churned the man's stomach. "What the actual fuck-"
As soon as the words left his mouth the rabbit girl's eyes seemed to dilate.
He opened his mouth to shout, to announce what he had found to the others, but try as he might no sound would leave his lips.
Blood poured from his throat and down his chest as the girl ripped the knife she had driven into his jugular out.
It had happened so fast the man's body required a moment to feel the pain of the injury. The man stumbled back, hands going to his throat, gurgling and struggling in vain to breath before collapsing onto his back in the snow.
By the time the other MAVERICK agents on the beach noticed one of their own on the ground, the rabbit girl had already climbed out of the box.
She stretched her long arms over her head, arching her back and getting a few soft pops as her body as she did so. Dropping her arms she opened her arms and stared down at the beach at the twenty or so armed men turning to face her. "Oh boy, this is going to be so much fun! Its feels like forever since I got to play with you."
The Rabbit exclaimed, drawing a pair of knifes from her rear. "CONTACT, CONTA-"
Bending her legs Parsnip kicked off the ground, shooting down the beach as if launched out of the cannon.
Arms outstretched Parsnip swung at the MAVERICK agents she passed, who had begun to fire on her previous position.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
Her blades swept through the men, meeting no resistance as they effortlessly glided through flesh, bone, and fat.
The Rabbit's momentum slowed and she slid to a stop along the icy ground. The men she had passed erupted in showers of blood, severed arms dropping into the snow and torsos splitting open releasing clouds of steam from their exposed organs.
The MAVERICK agents who had hesitated at the sight of her began to fire in full auto, throwing accuracy away for volume of fire.
The rabbit girl swept her blades through the air as she ran forward. A light blue aura engulfed her blades as she swept them through the air, bullets meant for her sent shooting off to the sides as she swatted them out of the air.
She closed in on a group of the MAVERICK agents, having grouped up and taken cover behind a number of the crates he they were unloading. Continuing to dodge and deflect gunfire she kicked off the ground, flying into the air and arching over the position. As she dropped she sheathed her knives and landed, hands outstretched directly onto one of the more heavily armored MAVERICK agents.
Her landing toppled the man, driving him back first into the snow with a painful grunt.
He opened his eyes, staring through the visor at the almost glowing red eyes of the girl sitting on his chest. The rabbit girl looked at him, then looked down at his chest a massive smile on his face as she grabbed something and leapt backwards.
The man expected the worst, but as the murderous rabbit leapt away from the position he found his life had not been taken.
Just as he leaned up to get to his feet however he heard the clinking of metal against snow and looked down.
His eyes went wide and his heart began to race wildly as he realized the pins on his grenades were missing. "No, No WAIT-"
The MAVERICK soldier's screams were quickly swallowed as the grenades on his chest exploded. Those beside him were torn apart in the resulting blast and those nearby where hit with a wave of shrapnel as the rocket launcher and ammunition strapped to his body immediately cooked off.
A wave of heat and smoke expanded over the beach and in an instant the MAVERICK agents numbers had been reduced to 2/3rds of what they had been originally. "Form up on me! Break out your explosives!"
The MAVERICK Veteran shouted as he snapped open his own underslung grenade launcher.
Charging out of the smoke the rabbit girl was forced to begin hopping from place to place as grenades detonated all along the beach. Pushing forward proved difficult as the explosions began to cause her sensitive ears to ring and hurt.
However only three MAVERICK agents remained and their output of explosive rounds and grenades wasn't high enough to saturate the entire area in front of them.
Barreling threw the smoke Parsnip closed as much distance as she could before drawing out three small knives from a pouch on her thigh. With a flick of her wrist she threw the short, glinting blades at one of the shoulders.
Seeing her threw the blades the more heavily armored of the three soldiers slid in front of her target, throwing up their thick kevlar padded arms to try and block the knives.
The three throwing knives slipped through their arms, into their torso, and out their their back, gliding through with little to no resisting and cutting clean channels through the man.
All three blades flew out the man's back, burying themselves into the torso of the man he had stepped in front of to protect.
The rabbit girl watched on with real joy on her face as the men collapsed dead to the ground. As she looked over to the last remaining MAVERICK soldier however a loud, bright blast and deafening sound washed over her.
For several moment she couldn't see or hear anything. Just as her vision and hearing began to come back however Parsnip saw the butt stock of a rifle swinging towards her.
Unable to dodge in time the butt of the rifle smashed into her face with full force, throwing her off her feet and onto her back. "Goddamn rabbit! I didn't think that Oh-One would employ biological monsters in its fucked up little plans!"
The MAVERICK Veteran quickly leveled his rifle at the fallen rabbit girl, finger squeezing the trigger when a combat knife was thrown at him. Throwing up his rifle to guard his face the blade pierced the receiver of his rifle, barely stopped even as it skewered his gun.
Quickly throwing his rifle to the ground the MAVERICK agent drew his pistol, dropped to his knees, and buried his pistol into the forehead of the pink-haired girl. "And here I thought Oh-One was an abomination, Bio-Weapons like you are the real fucking monsters!"
The man's angry voice boomed into the rabbit girl's face as her vision came back into focus and her ears picked up what he was saying. "Bio...?" Suddenly the girl was no longer on the beach. She was standing somewhere familiar. Houses burned around her. Smoke and screams filled the air. She couldn't breath. She couldn't see. Loud noises rang out as armored figures shouted out. Through the smoke she saw a group of men approach, weapons in their hands. As they looked at her a single phrase left their mouth. "Bio-weapon sighted."
With the sound of a trigger being squeezed she was suddenly on the beach again, the MAVERICK Veteran staring into her eyes. "You--I REMEMBER YOU!!"
Parsnip screamed, her face contorting in anger.
The man pulled the trigger but Parsnip's leg slammed into his groin at the last moment. Pain raced through his body and his arm involuntarily spasmed, firing the bullet into the air.
Pulling a butter knife out of the front of her overalls the girl drove the blade into the man's wrist like a scalpel, opening a vein and severing the muscles the allowed him to grip his pistol.
As soon as the gun left his hands the girl began to strike him.
Her punches didn't seem to phase the heavily armored man but her kicks had more then enough power to hurt him, bruising muscle and breaking bones beneath the layer of protective kevlar.
The Veteran tried to fight back, throwing punches and trying to block her blows. However Parsnip's attacks came too quickly for him to anticipate or counter. She had abandoned any use of blades and continued beat the man, screaming as she pounded into his flesh, savoring ever crack and pained cry from the man until he was forced to his knees at the edge of the water. "Please, stop- I'm sorry! I recognize you now!"
Parsnip threw up her knee and smashed in the man's visor, grabbing the sides of the man's helmet and forcing him to look at her. "Oh? Its so nice of you to remember little Parsnip Rabbit!"
Parsnip's voice turned sweet and saccharine even as he expression remained twisted with fury.
Pulling the bowie knife from the man's shoulder sheath Parsnip took a moment to examine the blade. "Why are you doing this? I was just doing my job!" "Your. Job. Was. Killing. My. Friends!?!"
Parsnip shouted, each word punctuated by a separate stab into the man's shoulder blade.
Teeth clenched Parsnip drove the bowie knife into the man's throat and wrenched it downward. With virtually no effort she parted the man's torso, rib cage and all, and sent his insides spilling into into the icy water. "Treat others how you want to be treated."
Parsnip spat, her voice growing cold and bitter as the man splashed into the shallow water. "You didn't give me or my friends any mercy, so none of you are going to get any."
Parsnip watched as bubbles came up from the submerged head of the gutted MAVERICK veteran, the clean sea water gradually discoloring with blood.
The bubbles soon stopped however.
Outside of the sound of the small fires burning up and down along the beach, it was silent. And outside of the freshly made corpses with her...Parsnip was alone.
Parsnip took a deep breath, the frigid painfully cold air entering her lungs as she took in the smell of blood, smoke, and gunpowder.
She closed her eyes as she exhaled, slipping the bowie knife she had taken from the man into her backpack.
Looking up and down the beach Parsnip squatted down and sat on the dead MAVERICK Veteran's back.
His corpse acted as a warm seat as she simply sat and took a moment to rest.
The excitement, joy, and relief Parsnip felt as she gazed up and down along the beach was immense.
Yet it was only momentary.
Good feelings rapidly began to fade, replaced with an all too familiar gnawing. Her smile was gone as her eyes began to itch, Parsnip could feel them becoming wet as old memories began to filter into her thoughts.
Looking over her shoulder Parsnip unzipped the dead man's backpack and rooted around inside. Sniffling she pulled out an MRE. Cutting the top off she upturned its contents onto the ice.
Rooting around through the pile of shiny brown plastic, Parsnip eventually found something that returned a small smile to her face.
Tearing the tip of a square packet Parsnip pulled a large, crumbly oatmeal cookie into the frigid air.
Immediately she began taking large bits of the big, slightly chemically tasting but still sweet, cookie.
The snack helped to distract Parsnip from the feeling as she looked out into the distance...and stopped the tower. "Oooh, what's that?"
Parsnip asked herself with a mouth full of cookie.
Forcing the rest into her mouth Parsnip wiped her hands on the dead man's back before standing to her feet. "Maybe I can find more MAVERICK agents there? Or maybe I can find some new friends?"
Both ideas made the good feelings return and Parsnip began to skip off, away from the scene of carnage on the beach and into the frozen interior...