Water by carlsojos

Neifirst is sitting out on a beach just northeast of Shure, enjoying a brief respite from her mission. For some reason, no matter how rotten the world may be elsewhere, there's just something comforting about the sounds of the open water. She occasionally feels a twinge of fear when she dives under the surface while bathing, but the warm sand and the gentle roar of waves pushing towards the shore have proven a perfect bed and lullaby for the young woman on many nights.

The sound of a beeping terminal pulls the Numan out of her trance, and she opens it to see Mother Brain on the screen. "Neifirst, it is almost time to exact revenge against the scientists who tried to kill you. You will need to leave most of your equipment where you're at, but keep a weapon. In a few minutes, an automated transport will go past your location, and you will need to board it before it descends below the surface of the ocean."

"Where are you sending me?"

"There is a facility called Climatrol on the ocean bed that is in control of Mota's climate. Global terraforming requires a lot of power, and you are to subvert it so that you may take control of the Bio Plant. If you succeed, you will be able to unleash your full anger on those who have considered you a worthless pawn in a game of violating nature. I will give you further instructions once you have cleared Climatrol of personnel and security."

The sound of a large machine begins to echo in the distance as Neifirst puts down the mobile terminal and grabs a bladeless hilt from her bag. A gentle squeeze of the handgrip, and light blasts forth from the Laser Sword. As a massive vehicle bursts onto the sandy beach, the young woman quickly charges after it, and jumps into a small cove on the front, where a door lies.

After trying to force the door open, the Numan realizes that it happens to be locked. As the steel behemoth continues to barrel towards the water, she flicks out her sword and burns a hole through the latch, climbing inside just before the bow kisses the sea, sending a spray of saltwater after her as she pulls the door back shut.

As she looks around the windowless vessel, the only light coming from her sword, it becomes apparent that her ride is delivering equipment and supplies to Climatrol. She pries open one of the biggest crates, and as she digs through the electronic components inside, she begins throwing the bits onto the floor behind her.

A splash? Neifirst had thrown one computer board across the room, and it landed with a definite splash. She swings her weapon towards the door, and finds water pouring in the hole she had made to breach the lock. In a panic, she charges the door, but the water pressure just outside is much stronger than her, resulting in a loud pop and immense pain when her shoulder smashes against the unmoving steel.

The young woman falls to the floor, and her sword automatically shuts off to avoid shorting out as it splashes into the water, leaving her in almost complete darkness. After fighting off the fear as the water proves deeper than she thought, the Numan pulls herself back upright and climbs into the crate she emptied, pulling the lid closed over herself, in hopes that it will float well enough to protect her from drowning as the transport finishes its journey to the bottom of the sea. Neifirst prays that her desire for vengeance won't be the cause of her demise as her hand palpates what feels to be a clearly dislocated shoulder.

"How you holding up, Science Guy?" The old man looks up from his terminal at the young maintenance technician who decided to heckle him, and gives a scowl worthy of only the meanest old fogy in the entire facility. "Hey, relax, man! I was sent down to tell ya that the big cheese said you can go ahead and do your little sciencey thing here. Said to remind you that you have to do your job, first."

"It seems rather unusual for our supervisor to turn so cordial so suddenly. Is there something you're not telling me?"

"Naw, it came from higher up 'n that- the Momma Brain. Shit, you must be in bed with her to get that kind of treatment; it's taken six months for a shipment of light bulbs to be sent here! Well, rock on, Janitor Dude."

The former professor turns back to his terminal to resume planning an experiment on the metabolism of bacteria he found growing in the cafeteria, when the intercom over his head suddenly crackles to life, "Cleanup at the shipping airlocks. Bring a wet vac- the big one." With an aggravated sigh, he attaches an industrial vacuum to an empty oil drum, straps it to a dolly, and proceeds towards the airlocks, unhappy over how far he's fallen since being fired from the Bio Plant.

A couple general laborers look at the transport that had landed five minutes earlier, still unsure what to do with the vessel. It had automatically opened its door after docking like normal, but waist-high water immediately rushed out into the airlock before they could begin to unload the vessel. The bigger one scratches his head, "How d'you think this happened?"

"I don't have a clue, but my Mega Drive is supposed to be in this shipment. I've been waiting all year for that to get here!"

"Well, it won't help much to sit here and look at it. We can set the airlock to drain, right?"

The two look at the airlock. There is a switch that can drain the water out, but it's only accessible from inside the airlock- it would take an hour with a phone call to Mother Brain to remotely activate the draining pumps. "I don't think we can drain it without making a mess."

"Who cares? Just call that janitor guy. I'm gonna go ahead and open the door." The worker opens the airlock and steps aside as the water flows across the room. After the depth drops below the soles of his shoes, he walks into the transport to inspect the damage.

After a quick reach, he manages to turn on the vessel's internal lights, and gets a good view of the damage inside. "Holy shit, you outta check this out, man! Get in here!"

His partner stumbles in and beholds the scene: everything from the waist down is soaked to the bone in seawater, and a quick inspection reveals that not only is a hole in the door the culprit, but that over 50,000 meseta in electronic equipment is scattered across the floor, already visibly corroded from the moisture. "Hey, that's my new console!" The younger one points at a black box on the top shelf, and as he reaches at it, the older one picks up a sword.

After a quick shake to remove the water, he manages to activate the laser emitter. "Hey! Somebody spent some major bucks for this! Check it out!" He lightly swings the weapon a couple times, but puts it onto his tool belt before he causes any trouble. The two carry a large crate out onto the dock, but the younger one notices a slight scratch in the paint on the lid.

After a quick thought, "You know, it kinda looks like somebody broke into the transport, and this crate looks like its seal was broken...."

"And you're worried they might pin the blame on us? Alright, let's take a look." The older one pulls the massive lid back so the other can inspect the items inside, but is surprised to hear the sound of his partner be cut off mid-sentence before falling to the floor. "Hey, man. You al-" The crate lid suddenly smashes into his face and knocks him over.

Neifirst turns back to the first laborer as he stumbles to his feet, and grabs his hair to run him through the airlock back into the vessel she came on. As the man struggles to comprehend what's happening, she grabs a multitool from his belt and proceeds to bludgeon him senseless with the instrument, before opening one of its built-in knives and finally plunging it into his abdomen. Satisfied with the promise of a slow death for the still-groaning worker, Neifirst grabs a piece of a wooden crate broken during the struggle, and strides back into the airlock.

With a thud, the door leading out of the airlock suddenly slams closed, and she watches as a bloodied man turns a wheel to seal the door. Unfazed, she grabs the wheel on her side of the door with her good arm, and using the clear wall of the airlock to provide leverage, slowly turns the wheel as her enemy tries to resist.

A light bulb goes off in the older worker's head, and he decides to let go, watching as the woman-beast comically smashes her face into a wall with the sudden loss of resistance. Instead of stopping to laugh, he reaches at the sword he found, and after fumbling with it to turn on the laser emitters, he turns to face the girl, already covered in the blood of his friend.

Neifirst knows the danger of facing a laser sword despite the inept hands holding it, having used it to hunt animals when she occasionally found herself too far away from civilization to steal food from a shop. She fakes a charge, and the scared worker swipes at her, just grazing her chest. It's too dangerous to simply attack on even terms.... "So you think you can stop me? I bet you've never even seen death before now!" The man doesn't respond, but his hands quiver with fear, the sword shaking like a rattle. "Go on, kill me! Vanquish the evil bitch and be the hero!" The laborer actually takes a step backwards, and the numan sneers at his cowardice. On a whim, she wipes some of the blood off her chest with her fingers and flicks the crimson droplets at the coward, who reacts as if she had thrown acid.

Before the worker could recover, she throws the plank at him, and as he bats the projectile away, the woman charges him. She grabs his sword-arm, but with a dislocated shoulder, she can't force herself to twist his hand into letting go. Unfazed, her right elbow suddenly smashes into his already broken nose, and as the laborer stumbles backward, she presses her advantage by driving a heeled boot into his groin as hard as she can. As the man falls backwards, she twists the laser weapon out of his hand and smashes the polycarbonate pommel across his face. One quick stab through his ribcage and he ceases to struggle. Out of curiosity, she dips her fingers into the resulting wound, then presses them onto her tongue. She decides that the coppery taste of blood is interesting, but not worth a second taste.

While imagining all the ways he could maim the people who always called for cleanup during his experiments, the former professor turns the corner leading into the offloading docks to find a purple-haired woman already acting out some of his fantasies right before his eyes. As he ducks behind a crate, he watches as the woman forces her way out of the airlock, clearly deadset on the sole dockworker present. As she emerges from the airlock, he nearly panics as her facial features spring forth unpleasant memories of his former boss's venomous claims of him mishandling the Numan now standing before his very eyes.

As she begins to taunt her victim, a piece of Palm wood in her hand, he notices that her left shoulder seems to be out of place. Sensing an opportunity, he slinks behind the girl. When she stands up after doing something to the fresh corpse, he grabs her left arm, and pulls her straight to the ground, face down.

"You liking your little rampage, Neifirst?" Pulling at the dislocated arm, he can feel the Numan wince with pain, so he forces the arm up and back, causing a pop and a yelp as the joint returns to its normal configuration. "I should've killed you a long time ago." Grabbing her other wrist, he again forces her arms upward, standing to gain enough leverage to force both shoulders back out of their sockets....

Neifirst, recognizing the former professor's inclinations, hooks one foot behind his calf and with a swift pull causes her menace to fall to the ground, giving her a chance to quickly gain the upper hand. She looks at the old man, looking so different in a janitor's jumpsuit instead of the collared shirts and lab coats she remembers him wearing. Yet, the malice in his eyes is still unmistakable. Seemingly possessed by the power she has over the situation, Neifirst suddenly finds herself atop the old scientist, punching him repeatedly. Long after his face had contorted into a horrific mocking of a human being, she finally stops long enough to make sure he's still alive.

A slap fails to cause the man to stir, but two fingers on the neck betray a carotid pulse. She turns her laser sword back on, and with a single slash removes both legs. Using a rope, she quickly makes tourniquets for the resulting injuries, and satisfied that her plaything isn't going anywhere, she walks off to take care of whoever else might be cowering in her new domain.

Pain and a blurry view of the floor are the first things that flood into his mind as the former professor finds himself returning from the dream world to discover more dire straits than he could have imagined possible. After failing to stand up, he looks down and finds a grotesque mess from where Neifirst had disabled him... two blood-soaked stumps ending where his knees should be, and a pair of legs a couple feet away wearing his favorite pair of shoes.

The sight makes the professor feel sick to his stomach, but he forces himself to roll onto his belly, and begins to crawl towards the airlock. "I hope that vessel can get me out of here...." He drags his body into the transport, and realizes that the backup controls are too high for him to reach.

Cursing his luck, he looks around for something he can tap against the touchscreen, but the sound of someone returning makes him pause. Uncertain of whether the person in the dock seeks to help or hurt him, he crawls into a corner and listens.

He hears the footsteps wander the docks for a minute, then the steps hit the metal grating of the floor. The professor looks at the floor and realizes that he left a trail of blood leading right to him. As a long-eared woman steps inside the transport with a strange smile on her face, he realizes that he has no escape. As Neifirst drags him back into the airlock by the collar of his jumpsuit, he decides to say one more thing to his killer, "If you destroy me, then you are no better than me. I want you to think about that before you end my life."

Neifirst closes both airlock doors, and puts a foot on his chest. "Don't worry, Professor, this is just a little experiment I always wanted to try." She presses the switch to begin filling the airlock with water, and laughs a little. "Your task is simply to hold your breath for as long as possible."

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