I do not own anything related to Freezing, its characters or topics related to the Manga or Anime. All credit goes to Lim Dall-Young for inspiring me to write in this dynamic universe. This is just my imagination of what the future of the series could be like. All OC are of my own creation
Content- MATURE - For violence and coarse language throughout.
Writing style is geared for young adult readers.
Your opinion matters to me, so it would be greatly appreciated if you would take a moment and leave a review.
Half Moon Bay, California, United States
Gripping Silverstarr in a two handed defensive stance, 3rd Field Major Amelia Ellsworth, stood in front of her squad of Pandora as the towering Type-S approached. The ocean breeze whipped her straight auburn hair to the side as she stood steadfast and stoic; a slight smile on her face as she took a deep breath. As the weather turned, the waves increased their violent assault along the coastline. Slowly, the alien drifted closer.
CHAPTER 1 - A BRANCH, AN ACORN, A LEAF AND A CADET
Seattle, Washington, United States
"Amy, what's going to happen to you when you go away to Basics School?" Jonathon asked, still leaning against the trunk of the closest pine tree that lined the edge of the community park. Still sitting on the picnic blanket, shaded by the tall coniferous trees, Amy quietly stared off in another direction.
"I don't know," she replied, still caught up in the moment of watching a robin land on a tree branch nearby. As the bird hopped from one side of the branch to the other, Amy tried to smile. She was always fond of nature; volunteering at the conservation center and helping out with the wildlife veterinary clinics. Her passion, unfortunately, was cut short when her father manipulated her future. "I really don't want to go, but I don't really have much of a choice."
Jonathon shrugged and angrily kicked at the ground. "I don't understand why you agreed to go."
"Jon, there's something inside me that makes my body compatible with Stigmata. Dad believes that it's my duty to serve."
"But there are plenty of other girls who are wanting to enlist!" Jonathon clenched his fists as he circled, failing to control his anger and frustration. "I don't want my little sister to go away!" Amy looked over at him and smiled, her older brother had turned seventeen last week, and for that entire day, his only birthday wish was for his father to retract Amy's application to Basics School.
The two siblings had become close as their parents grew apart. Their mother, Allison had filed papers for divorce as a final answer to her husband's constant vexing of civic duty and what was right for their daughter - which was serving in the Pandora Program. Their routine arguments, sometimes lasting into the late hours of the night always kept the children awake. Unlike her husband Connor, Allison never believed in the Pandora Initiative. Contrary to her husband's beliefs, she was a vocal supporter of the Free Choice Movement, the non-profit organization based in Seattle, opposed to the drafting of young girls into the military. The FCM would hold weekly rallies to demonstrate to the public their disapproval of the Pandora Program.
Before Allison had a chance to move the children out of their house, Amy declared to her father an ultimatum - if she were to freely enlist and become a Pandora, her sole request in return was for her father to put into writing that her mother be granted full custody of her brother Jonathon. After hearing his daughter's change of heart, he ironically pulled a sealed envelope from his jacket pocket which already had his signature; agreeing to having Allison get full custody of both his children when Amy joined the ranks of the Pandora.
A single tear formed under her eye, "I won't be gone for too long Jon." He knew she was sincere, but didn't believe in her false sense of confidence. He knew the risks involved in becoming a Pandora were extremely high. Lately, NOVA engagements had been steadily increasing on an average of every three months, and with each clash, brought about higher than usual casualties with additional property destruction spread out across the Allied Nations of the world.
"I'm scared for you little sis. My only wish was for you to stay home with us."
"I know, but making this decision allows us to stay with Mom instead of Dad. Once my tour is over, I will come home and stay with you."
The two teens then looked back toward the covered shelter. Sitting alone, with her handset in both hands, their mother seemed lost in her colored PCAP screen. Every so often, she would brush her dark blonde hair behind her ear as she would swipe away at the local news articles, then switch to the local weather app that displayed the weekly forecast as mini tiles on the screen. Since their parents' separation and divorce, Allison never recovered emotionally. Often, their mother would fall into a daydream and suffer from brief catatonic episodes. Most of her self-made ailments were due to her only daughter's choice of becoming a Pandora.
"Do you think Mom will be okay when I leave tomorrow?"
Jonathon sighed as he sat down on the blanket. "I think she'll find an excuse not to watch you go."
"Really, you think so? I hope she'll be okay. I don't want to worry about her and I'm nervous that I won't get a chance to say goodbye."
Seattle, Washington, United States
Despite Amy's continued begging and pleading, her mother couldn't muster the nerve to get out of the car. The only thing separating the two was the passenger's side window. Jonathon stood by his sister as she pounded one last time on the glass. Allison just stared down, her eyes looking empty as she sat motionless; the effort of saying goodbye was just too much for the troubled mother.
Filling with emotion, "C'mon little sis, I'll…walk you to the gate." Jonathon slowly pulled Amy away from the car and held her hand as they walked up to the entrance.
"I want to hate her..."
"I know, but don't worry about it. The doctor said this new medication will help ease her anxiety. I'll take good care of her."
"Jon, I'm scared."
"Please don't be, you're strong. A lot stronger than your big brother, you'll be fine."
"Liar..." Amy let his hand go and turned back to the car. Frowning, she raised her hand one last time to try to get her mother's attention. When she didn't get a response, she shook her head. Jonathon waited until Amy felt she was ready to continue. "Promise me…that you'll take care of her?"
"Of course, we'll be waiting for you. In five years, you'll be discharged and be eligible to come home."
"Five years…I don't want to forget you Jon."
Her older brother smiled as he jabbed her in the arm. "Don't make me cry you little punk! You just be brave and do your best. I believe in you."
"Okay, I will..."
"Oh, Amy Leah?"
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Just stay alive…please?"
Seattle, Washington, United States
Week 4, Basics School, 2064
"Stephanie, it's go time!" Amy shouted as they ran with heads lowered toward the Black Hawk helicopter. All the girls ducked under the rotating blades as the aircraft's engine throttled up. They were airborne in seconds and the backdrop of the mountainous range came into full view. Amy was nervous, this was her first field training mission. Her drill instructor had prepared them for this day, but as the helicopter shook and vibrated, her anxiety level increased. Looking to her friend and teammate, Amy nodded. "We got this Steph!"
"R…right! We…got this!" Stephanie Bates replied nervously as an air pocket buffeted the aircraft.
Across the seat, she watched them, her deep hazel eyes burning an image into her mind.
"Amateurs, they don't deserve to be here! Typical American trash…"
Eva Magda Dalca was a transfer cadet from Eastern Europe. Originally born in Romania, her family moved to Salerno, Italy after her 3rd birthday to escape the growing civil unrest in the region. Entering Basics School located outside of Rome, Eva quickly earned high ranking marks for battle strategy, endurance and strength. Overachieving in every category, Eva was immediately selected to join three other recruits in a trial program which transferred promising Pandora hopefuls to the west coast of the United States for the joint-sharing cadet program. Eva took to her new surroundings very quickly and in the short time she had joined this training group, she had made enemies with Amy Ellsworth.
"What's wrong Amy Leah? Ride's too bumpy for your friend?" Amy shot Eva a nasty stare as another unstable air pocket disturbed the attitude of the Black Hawk. The craft bucked and surged through the sky as they made their way to the rally point. "Once we arrive, you and your partner should stay aboard, I would hate to see your friend puke all over the ground when we land." Stephanie grimaced as her stomached turned. The ride had been rather rough on her. Since take-off, she had gripped the metal brace near her seat, and struggled to stay calm.
"Don't listen to her Steph, she's just a temporary bitch from the Transfer Program." Amy encouraged, giving Eva one last stare.
"Yeah…I guess…" Stephanie exhaled as she concentrated on not coughing up her morning liquid breakfast.
The helicopter hovered inches from the ground as each recruit disembarked. One by one they jumped, landing on the soft grass and running uphill toward the pre-determined coordinates. As expected, Eva Dalca broke out into a full sprint once her boots hit the earth; passing the fastest runners by and staying in the lead for the entire length of the journey. As for Stephanie Bates, she ran the first mile without too much incident, but once the third clicked by, she started to feel queasy. With Amy, she was keeping a steady pace with the middle of the group until she noticed Stephanie lagging behind. Slowing herself, she tried to encourage her friend and teammate to keep up.
"Come on…Steph! You can…do it! You have to! You don't want to attract the attention of the drill instructors!"
Already out of breath, Stephanie tried to smile. "I…know…I'm…just…a little…" Tripping up, Stephanie fell over her own feet and crashed face down into the mud.
Shocked, Amy slid to a stop. "Oh my God! Are you okay?" Quickly extending a friendly hand.
As soon as Stephanie rolled over and sat up, she reached for Amy's arm. What she got, was a boot smashing into her chest knocking the tired girl backward onto the ground. "Worthless piece of shit!" Eva shouted, watching Stephanie lay on her back panting.
"What the hell is your problem?" Amy demanded, red with anger.
"Are you standing up to me, trash?" Eva teased.
Standing an inch shorter than the transfer cadet, Amy ignored the girl's intimidation and stood her ground. Ever since Eva's assignment to their battalion, the bully had singled out several girls and harassed them daily on their lack of skills and determination.
"Just leave Stephanie alone!"
"Or what? Are you going to fight me or something?"
Still in Eva's face, "What's your problem with us? You've been a bitch since you became a member of our battalion. Get the hell out of here so I can help my friend."
Eva licked her upper lip, "Friend? This is Basics School, there aren't any friends here. This Pandora Program doesn't have room for weak incompetent pieces of trash like you two. Hurry and form up, the rest of the group is waiting."
Watching Eva return to the rest of the battalion, Amy reached out and offered Stephanie a shaky hand. "Are you okay?"
Stephanie grunted as she stood. "I should be fine, th…thanks for sticking up for me."
"A Pandora is loyal and protects her comrades in battle."
"Stop quoting the Basics Protocol Handbook."
"Why? Haven't you read it?"
"Amy, nobody reads that old thing…"
"Wait…how come you knew that it was from the book in the first place?"
The drill instructors gathered all the recruits into four lines and explained the rules of the exercise. The expectations of this scavenger hunt were simple: in teams of two, locate the items on the list and deliver them to the extraction point before the time limit expires. Cadets were encouraged to obtain the items by any means necessary; medical staff were on standby for anyone who may get severely injured. Stephanie and Amy nodded to each other as the instructors continued, but shuddered at the last piece of the information. "Be warned, all teams will share these common items, so you may have to fight one another if you want to obtain everything on your list." The two girls looked at each before the instructors sounded the tone to begin the exercise. Swiping her PAD, Stephanie highlighted her team's list, opened the file and shared it with her partner. Surprised, she read the list of items:
BASICS SCHOOL APTITUDE FIELD TEST: BSAFT72.112
1. A Deciduous broadleaf
2. An Acorn
3. A Tree branch
4. A small rock
5. A cadet's uniform name patch
6. A cadet's field weapon
"Shit, this list is complete bogus!" Stephanie responded sarcastically, "they purposely want us to fight each other." Amy agreed as the electronic tone abruptly sounded. In a mad rush, all recruits ran in different directions, frantically collecting their items.
"Not you two!" One of the instructors shouted. Surprised, Amy and Stephanie stopped as one of the drill instructors stood in their way. "Since you and your lazy, incompetent pig-of-a-teammate made us wait, you get a sixty-second handicap. There won't be a next time if you girls make us wait again!"
Stephanie looked at the ground after hearing the consequence for her mistake. "I'm sorry Amy…"
After the minute had elapsed, Stephanie and Amy sprinted due east. As they followed a trail through the thicket and rocky terrain, they found a clearing near the tree line. Out of breath, Amy snapped a tree branch and gestured for Stephanie to pick up a small rock that was on the ground nearby. "Two down…now, time to find the leaf and acorn." The girls pushed on, deeper into the forest they went, searching for the next items on the list. Gripping a broadleaf, Stephanie added it to her satchel as Amy tossed a handful of acorns into her bag.
"Hey, why so many?"
Amy shrugged, "I don't know, just to have some extras…you know, just in case?"
As Amy shut the flap on her bag, the two girls heard rustling coming from behind them. Emerging from the brush, were two familiar recruits: Deanne Tanner and Sarah Gant.
"Amy Leah…" Deanne acknowledged.
"Hello Deanne, how's your search going?"
"Fine. We have just about everything on our list."
"Yeah, us too."
"What are you and Stephanie missing?"
Amy cautiously moved next to her friend, "We still need the two cadet items."
Sarah smirked as she made eye contact with Deanne. "Oh, that's what we need as well!"
"Amy?" Stephanie asked nervously.
"Hold on Steph." Amy replied as she quickly stepped between her teammate and the other pair of recruits. Carefully, she slipped a hand inside her field satchel. "Listen, I know both of our teams need each others' items. How about we just do an honest trade and get back to the extraction point; you know, avoid any unnecessary confrontation?"
"Sarah, what do you think?" Deanne asked.
"I think Stephanie is making Amy soft."
"Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing…"
Amy knew immediately that diplomacy wasn't going to work here. What Sarah and Deanne didn't know, was Amy had placed herself in an offensive position close to the two girls. As soon as the pair revealed their true intentions, Amy sprang into action.
With the handful of acorns she had retrieved earlier, she threw them in Sarah's face as she lunged toward Deanne. Stephanie, staring in shock, watched as Amy put Deanne in an arm-bar, then used her opponent's weight to drive the young girl backwards as she spun around connecting a reverse spin kick to Sarah. Deanne had no choice but to fall sideways as Amy's heel connected with Sarah's cheek and nose. As both girls went down, Amy was already twirling in the air - coming down with a devastating knee into Deanne's abdomen. Sarah, still recovering from the blow, had rolled over and scrambled back to her feet to re-engage, but Stephanie was already there, grabbing her in a choke-hold and wrestling her to the ground.
"Serves you right!" Stephanie called out as she continued to constrict Sarah's windpipe.
As the defeated girls writhed in pain, Amy spun her field knife in her right hand and deftly cut along the stitch-line of the name patch on Deanne's uniform. Then, reaching down, she pulled Deanne's knife from its sheath and tossed it to Stephanie. "We have the final two items, start heading to the extraction point."
"What are you doing?" Stephanie asked as Amy wrapped an arm around Deanne's neck and shoulders.
"What do you think I'm doing? I'm helping a fallen soldier return to the extraction point."
"Are you crazy? You'll be reprimanded!"
Amy sighed as she hoisted up Deanne. "I don't care."
When Sarah sat up, Stephanie had already disappeared through the tree line. Watching Amy struggle to support Deanne, she grumbled. "You're stupid Amy for helping."
"A Pandora is loyal and never leaves her wounded companions behind." Feeling guilt, Sarah nodded as she supported Deanne's other side.
"Wait…" Deanne whispered, "…we tried to ambush you and you still?" Taking a slow breath, "…this is Basics School, survival of the fittest…right?"
Amy just smiled as she helped walk Deanne back to the extraction point. With every step, she felt stronger and more alive then she'd ever been before.
Seattle, Washington, United States
Week 6, Basics School, 2064
Final Field Mission Assessment
Each cadet was blind-folded and shoved into the back of the cargo plane. As the Boeing Globemaster was safely airborne, the drill instructors ordered the removal of the recruits' face coverings. Then, one at a time, each Pandora hopeful received a snorkel and goggles. "Put these on now pigs! Feet wet in twelve minutes."
In the commotion, Amy and Stephanie were separated when they were forcibly herded onto the plane. As she looked for her friend, Sarah Gant tapped Amy on the shoulder and pointed to the far end of the cargo hold. There, pressed up against the bulkhead was Stephanie, looking weak and airsick. Getting Deanne Tanner's attention, Amy and Sarah motioned her to go and stay with Stephanie until the flight was over.
For the last two weeks, Sarah and Deanne had grown in friendship with Amy. After their defeat in the mountains, Amy had assisted the girls on their journey back to the extraction point. Despite earning a stiff penalty for not crossing the finish line with her partner, Amy received a commendation for rescuing injured comrades.
"Where do you think they're taking us?" Sarah asked.
Amy pondered the question, "I think they are taking us somewhere where all of us will have to participate as a whole. From what I've read, the Final Assessment will really test our abilities in strenuous situations.
When the interior lights went from green to red, Deanne double-checked Stephanie's wetsuit and parachute before they formed two lines at the back gangway door. The setting sun cast a red and purple glow into the pressurized cabin as the large cargo door lowered.
"Move it you filthy pigs! Jump, jump jump!"
Performing a forward flip, Eva was the first to leap from the plane, followed by everyone else. When Sarah and Amy got closer, Deanne brought Stephanie over and the four of them jumped in tandem.
13,000ft didn't seem like a high altitude until Eva actually experienced the acceleration of falling through the sky. The tremendous wind noise buffeted her body, making it difficult to hear anything around her. On the surface of the water were several LED lights, blinking in random patterns. From the girls' current altitude, the lights formed a pentagon which pinpointed the exact perimeter for their landing zone. After deploying their Recovery Initiators, each hopeful gently glided down the remaining distance to the water.
Floating on the choppy waves were several small Zodiac inflatable boats. Once the recruits were all aboard, the six boats motored to a small floating platform a kilometer away. The rig itself was shallow, the main deck suspended ten feet above the surface by eight large pontoons. As each inflatable raft came up next to the docking area, the occupants quickly disembarked and climbed the rusty stairs to the main deck.
Hastily standing at attention, each young girl stood silent – their drenched bodies getting chilled by the sea breeze. "Listen up you incompetent pigs!" The head drill instructor shouted, "This is your final assessment!"
As Amy watched the drill instructor move aside, a taller woman stepped forward and addressed the line. "Hello recruits! I am First Lieutenant Marcia Gray, this assessment will be especially dangerous! From what your drill instructors have told me, each of you have earned high marks and are up to the tasks at hand!"
Stephanie still felt her motion sickness as the platform rolled along the waves, "Amy? What are they going to have us do? This doesn't seem right, we are out in the middle of the ocean somewhere."
Sarah and Deanne stood single file behind Amy as Stephanie kept her balance in front of them. Leaning forward, Amy whispered in her ear. "Steph, we are all in this together. Don't worry, we'll get through this." As the drill instructors separated each line into teams of four, Amy, Sarah, Deanne and Stephanie were ordered to the far side of the platform to join a four-person team already on stand-by. As they got closer, the four friends became disheartened; of all the recruits in their platoon, standing before them in perfect formation were Eva Dalca, Lara Tesario, Antonia Accardi and Noella Bosco.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story! Your opinion matters to me, so it would be greatly appreciated if you would take a moment and leave a review.