Ice Girl, Straight Ahead

Ice Girl, Straight Ahead!

It was a blustery, cold day outside, but Fredrick Wereneck didn't notice. He walked down to the flight terminal with his wife of seven years, letting the wind roll over him like it was nothing. He was actually rather hot, he noticed, and handed his jacket over to his wife, who was shivering by his side. She took it gratefully and wrapped it around herself, her long blonde hair flowing gracefully down her back. He smiled at her as he thought of how they had met. It had been in August, eight years ago…

It had been after the annual Marine-Biologists convention in Queensland, Australia. After talking about corals, sponges, and the effect oils spills were having on the oceanic environment for several hours, Frederick was happy to take a break. He and a couple of his friends had gone out to an Australian nightclub, when he saw her.

Standing across the room from him…was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Long, blonde hair, bright green eyes, and a fair complexion, she stole his heart right from the moment he set eyes on her. Fortunately, for him, she had seen something special in him as well, because she came over to talk. He laughed a bit as he thought of the first thing she had asked him.

"Is that your natural hair colour?" she asked softly, pointing to the thick mass of dark blue hair on his head. He had nodded.

"Yeah, just born that way," he had replied. "Dunno why, but there it is." She had smiled.

"It's nice," she had said. "Would you like to come dance?" Frederick had balked at first. He was always so afraid to touch people…they all said he was so cold…but after a few minutes of coaxing, he had finally agreed.

They were married three weeks later, and the two of them had made a comfortable home in Australia; both being reluctant to leave their homeland. Just recently, however, Jenny had gotten a job as a missionary, and had started to travel all around the world to third world countries, helping them to see the light of God in their lives. She was heading on one of these trips now, this time to Morocco. This would have given Frederick time to work on his newest hobby, spying…if it hadn't been for the baby.

He looked down at the sleeping infant in his arms and smiled. She was beautiful, he thought. Beautiful and worth the wait they had to have, trying time after time to have a child. But she was finally here.

She stared up at him, her bright, sky blue eyes taking in the world around her. She caught eyes with her father and smiled, kicking her feet and cooing softly, the way babies do. Frederick brushed her fine, light blue hair out off her forehead and planted a kiss there.

"How's Daddy's little girl?" he asked, using the voice all parents used when they talked to their children. She responded with a delighted squeal. Jennifer looked over at Frederick and smiled.

"She's going to be a feisty one while I'm gone," she said. "Bloody feisty…this is the first time I'm not going to be around…"

"Don't worry about it," Frederick said soothingly. "Me and the baby will be fine." He smiled down at her. "Won't we, Ambrosia?" She replied with another kick of her feet, a smile on her face. Frederick looked up at the gate looming before them. It was time for Jenny to go. He turned to her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Be safe, hon," he said. "There are diseases in Morocco—"

"I know, Fred, I know," Jenny replied, smiling. "How could I forget, you made me get every immunization known to man." She kissed him, slower, deeper this time. Even though she had been married to him for eight years, she still shivered a little bit when they kissed. He was so cold…

"I'll be fine," she said, pulling away. "It's just you and the baby I'm worried about." It was Fred's turn to grin.

"Don't worry. By the time you get home, I'm sure Amber'll have taught me all about being a good daddy." He shifted the baby to one arm and hugged her with the other.

"You better hurry up, or you'll miss your flight," he said, kissing her one last time. "Here, say goodbye to Amber and then get on." Jenny took Amber from him and held her in her arms, rocking her soothingly.

"You be a good girl for Daddy, all right?" she said as she cradled her, staring in wonder down at the little girl in her arms. She could feel the cold emitting through the blanket she was wrapped in, giving her goosebumps. Like her father, their daughter had inherited the strange coldness, but, unlike her father, her hair was a very fair, light blue, probably the combination of her blonde hair with his dark, navy blue. She leaned down and kissed her on the forehead, to the happiness of her daughter.

"Mommy will see you in a little bit," she said, handing her back to Frederick. Amber, not happy with being back with her father, held out her arms, trying to reach Jennifer as she approached the gate. Jenny smiled and blew her a kiss, and then blew one to her husband as well before turning her back and boarding the plane.

The next time they would see her would be at her funeral.

~*~

Jennifer leaned back in her seat, finally comfortable. The plane's take off had been anything but smooth, and she was relieved now that the bloody thing was finally off the ground and into the air. Maybe now she could relax, she thought, adjusting her seat so it was reclined as far as it would go. Maybe now I can finally get sometime to think—

"Would you like a drink, miss?" Jennifer looked up, startled. The voice of the pretty stewardess standing next to her with her cart of beverages broke her out of her reverie.

"Do you carry alcohol on these planes?" she asked, brushing her hair out of her eyes. The stewardess nodded.

"Sure," she replied. "We've got scotch, gin and tonic, rum, vodka—"

"I'll have some vodka, I think," she said, cutting her off in the middle of her list. The stewardess nodded and poured her a glass, handing it to her.

"Thanks," Jenny said, taking it gratefully. She took a large sip and then closed her eyes again, letting the alcohol set in. Another sip, and another…

She placed her glass in the cup holder and drifted off, the vodka having relaxed her to the point of sleep…

She was awakened sometime later by the sound of frantic crying. She snapped her eyes open and looked around, trying to find out what was going on. The aisle was dimmed; some of the lights had been blown out, making it hard to see. She looked across the aisle at the person next to her. He looked just as confused as she did.

"What's going on?" he asked, frightened. "Something is wrong here…"

"I don't know what it is," Jennifer replied. "Hopefully it will be all right though…"

The man looked like he was going to reply when a harsh voice crackled out over the plane's announcement system.

	"No one move!" the voice commanded, harsh and raspy sounding. "If you all stay where you are, then no one will get hurt!"

	Jennifer gasped and looked at the man across the hall from her. The plane was getting hijacked! Shock, fear, and then burning anger whirled through her, switching over between themselves quickly. Anger was the one that prevailed over all, however, and she stood up, yelling out boldly.

	"What are you going to do?" she cried. "Do you really think you are going to get away with something like this? Just please, stop this insane dream of yours and get on with life!"

	She kept standing, hands on her hips, angrily facing the two men who rushed through from the cockpit towards her.

	"We told you not to say anything!" one of them yelled, pointing his rifle at her. "Sit in your seat before you make me shoot!"

	"No one will stop is from our control of the Australian government!" the man next to him sneered. Jennifer stared incredulously, mouth agape. They were going to take over the Australian government...

	"NO!" she cried out, getting in their faces. "No one shall DARE treat my homeland like that! You...bloody...bastards!"

	The man to her left narrowed his eyes and raised his gun.

	"No one calls us that...NOBODY!" he said, and then fired. The man next to him gasped and then pushed the gun down, as Jennifer held her hand over her chest, feeling the warm, thick blood slide between her fingers. Her eyes widened as she slid into her seat, short of breath. Visions flashed before her eyes...her parents playing with her on the tire swing when she was younger, meeting Frederick, her wedding day, the birth of Ambrosia...

	"I didn't want to have to do it," the man who had shot her screeched furiously. "She made me, the dirty ol' bitch!"

	Jennifer could barely hear him as she closed her eyes, smiling as she thought of her daughter and her husband. They were the final thoughts she had before she slid down in her seat...and her breathing stopped.

~*~ 8 YEARS LATER ~*~

	There was nothing here but snow and ice. It stretched for miles off into the distance, it's pristine whiteness only being broken by the gray, lumpy form of the scientific research center where she and her father lived. Amber pulled herself up to the top of a snow bank, and waved to her father standing outside their home, brushing her bangs out of her eyes. To a normal person, the cold would have been unbearable, but Amber and her father were both wearing just long sleeved shirts and jeans. She lay back on the snow and closed her eyes, a smile playing over her lips. There was nothing she liked more then this, just lying here, in the snow, without a care in the world…

	"AMBER!" she heard her father shout, his voice carrying far and wide over the icy terrain. "You have to get back in here! Your teacher has been waiting online for fifteen minutes!" Amber sighed and looked up at the clouds.

	"I wish I could be free like you are," she said to them as if they could hear. "Then maybe I could work on my own schedule…"

	Pulling herself up, she trudged back to the center, avoiding a group of penguins on the way. While the creatures couldn't really hurt her, she didn't want to scare them so avoided them when possible. Her father held the door open for her as she scurried inside, immediately scowling at the heat. Her and her father were always complaining to the other people in the center about the heat, but every time they always got the same response.

	"If you like the cold so much, go outside and build an igloo."

	Amber rolled her eyes as she walked over to her desk, grabbing her ice blue laptop and taking it with her over to her bed. Her teacher was obviously irritated as she IMed her.

Roxanne418: Took you long enough, Ambrosia. Are your lessons even ready?

Ice Queen Amber: Yes Miss Richardson…I'll scan them in for you to have a look at now.

Roxanne418: That's a girl, Amber.

Ice Queen Amber: Thanks. ^_^

She smiled a bit to herself as she walked over to her scanner, hooking it up to her laptop and placed her first assignment in. Every month, since she couldn't go to a real school like the other kids did, she was sent a shipment of papers, all with dates. And every school day, her teacher would IM her and go over the work, and teach her about what they were learning about today. She had always wondered why her father had never home schooled her like most other parents would have done. She shrugged to herself as the first assignment of hers finished getting mauled by her scanner. It must have been because he wanted her to have a taste of a real education, even though she had never had any contact with kids her age in her entire life.

She sighed wistfully as she tried to make her first assignment readable on the screen. Children…she had always wanted to meet someone her own age. Someone, anyone…

"Goddammit," she muttered. "This scanner is a piece of shit." She took another look at the blurry picture on the screen and trashed it, unhooking her scanner and making her way to her father's room where he had a scanner with much more desirable results. Her teacher was growing impatient with this whole process, however.

Roxanne418: Ambrosia, what are you doing? You said you were going to be giving me the first assignment five minutes ago!

Ice Queen Amber: I'm sorry Miss Richardson, but my scanner isn't working. I have to move into my dad's room so I can get it to you in a readable condition.

Roxanne418: Oh…well, hurry it up. We don't have a lot of time today; I have other things I need to do. Not that time matters for you…you're a smart girl. Much smarter then most, actually. I wish I had you in a real class here. You'd be able to go places.

Ice Queen Amber: ::raises an eyebrow:: And I can't now? ^_~

Roxanne418: All right, smarty. Just hurry it up and get me those assignments.

Ice Queen Amber: Aye aye, Captain.

She walked into her father's room, sighing happily at the sudden rush of cool air from the air conditioner as she escaped the stifling heat of the hallway. She sat down on his bed and hooked up his scanner to her computer, feeding her first assignment into it.

"Dad ought to really invest in a fax machine," she mused aloud to herself as the picture came up on screen. Satisfied with the way it turned out, she connected with her teacher and sent the assignment over AIM. After doing the same with her other three assignments that were due today, her teacher went over them with her and explained what was going to be on the next set of work due for Monday.

Roxanne418: I decided to give you a special assignment, Ambrosia…something a little bit different then what I would give most people your age. Since you seem to understand so much…and being in Antarctica and all, I would like you to go out and do a field study on the life of penguins. Over the weekend, I want you to catalog, describe, and take notes on a family you see. Write it up and then type it, for the love of God. I can't take anymore scanned in assignments!

Amber smiled a bit to herself as she read this, feeling the excitement bubble up inside her. She was going to get some practice doing the thing she loved most…spying! Well, it's not exactly spying, she told herself as she started typing her reply. It's more like research. Another voice inside, however, was telling her about how she would get to catalog them just like she did the people who worked in the research center, and wouldn't have to sneak around. It would be a great experience!

Ice Queen Amber: Oh, that would be GREAT, Miss Richardson! I'll have the results for you Monday afternoon, I swear it!

Roxanne418: Excellent, Ambrosia. I shall be waiting for you then! Have a nice weekend!

Ice Queen Amber: Oh, you too Miss Richardson! See ya Monday!

Miss Richardson signed off then, and Amber was about to do the same when an IM popped up in her window.

JewBoy526: Hey.

Amber blinked, debating on whether or not to shut down the computer and leave this…well, whoever it was hanging. Finally, she sighed and sat down on her father's bed again, typing a message back.

Ice Queen Amber: Hi there. Do I know you at all?

JewBoy526: I don't think so, I just found your name on the AOL search. A/S/L?

She rolled her eyes. The classic "age/sex/location" question. This usually would be the clincher on whether or not the person on the other end of the computer would talk to you or not. Considering this person's screen name, and her sex, she figured that she would be quite appealing to the person on the other end, especially if he was in the mood for cyber sex. Not that she would have ever done it, of course…

Ice Queen Amber: 9/F/Antarctica. And you?

JewBoy526: 9/M/CO…wait…Antarctica?! How the hell do you live there?

Ice Queen Amber: ::smirks:: I'll tell you that as soon as you tell me where the fuck CO is.

JewBoy526: You don't know where Colorado is?! It's in the United States…

Ice Queen Amber: Oh. I've heard about there…never been there before though.

JewBoy526: You should come sometime. It's not as bad as most people let on.

Ice Queen Amber: Heh, sure.

JewBoy526: Now, tell me about how you live in Antarctica…

Ice Queen Amber: Well, it's simple really. My dad is a marine biologist, and he got offered a grant to come work in Antarctica for a while.

JewBoy526: Oh…well…why don't you live with your mom?

Amber sighed as she read this on the screen. Of course, every time she started to talk to someone interesting the inevitable came up…someone always asked about her mother. And every time, she would choke up and leave, blocking the person forever more. She felt it starting to happen now…but she tried to push it away. She was finally talking to someone her own age, and it was someone who seemed as smart as she was…

JewBoy526: Are you still there?

She took a deep breath and focused on the screen.

Ice Queen Amber: Yeah, I'm here…sorry about that. It's just that…that…::sighs::

JewBoy526: What?

Ice Queen Amber: See…I can't live with my mum…because…well…she's not here. Not here, meaning not in the living…and has been. Ever since I was one.

JewBoy526: Oh…sorry.

Ice Queen Amber: It's all right…I guess. Sometimes I just wish I knew her.

JewBoy526: Heh…you wouldn't want to know your mom if she was like my mom though.

Ice Queen Amber: Oh? What's your mum like?

JewBoy526: Well, everyone thinks she is a bitch. One of my friends even sings a song about her bitchiness. It's annoying!

Ice Queen Amber: LOL, wow!

JewBoy526: Humph. It wouldn't be funny if it was your mom, I bet. I'm Kyle, by the way. Who are you?

Ice Queen Amber: …Oh, well…I'm Amber. Nice to meet you, as well as you can meet someone over the computer.

JewBoy526: Amber? Oh…heh, I should have known that from your screen name. Duh.

Ice Queen Amber: Hey, it's okay. ^_^ Listen (or read, LOL). I gotta go for now, but I'm pretty sure I will be back online either later or tomorrow. Maybe I'll talk to you then…?

JewBoy526: Probably. See ya later, Amber.

Ice Queen Amber: Bye Kyle.

She signed off with mixed feelings, shutting her computer down as she left her father's room and re-entered the sweltering heat of the hallway. Sure, this kid seemed nice enough…but people were misleading on the internet. Not at all like watching someone in person, which is what she liked to do.

She walked back into her room and was surprised to see her father there, a grim expression on his face. She tossed her iBook on her desk and sat down next to him on her bed, concerned.

"What's wrong, Daddy?" she asked, looking up into his haggard face. Frederick sighed and looked down at his little girl.

"Ambrosia, honey…" he started, trying to find the best way to break the news to his daughter. "I really don't know how to tell you this other then just come right out and say it…so…our funding's been cut. We've got to move." Amber stared at him, flabbergasted.

"It's been cut?" she asked softly, regarding him quizzically. "How…I just overheard them talking about how they were going to get more money! They can't be cutting our funding, Dad! Where are we going to go?" Frederick sighed.

"Amber, what have I told you about listening in on our meetings?" he scolded softly, secretly repressing his pride. "They're private, not for little nine-year-old ears who have much better things to do then worry about matters like this."

"You didn't answer me on where we were going to go though, Daddy," Amber persisted, staring up at him. "Do you have any idea? And when do we have to get out of here?" Frederick smiled down at her and ruffled her hair a bit.

"You just go at it until you can get an answer, don't you?" he said fondly. "That's my Ambrosia." He paused for a minute, staring off into space, a wistful look in his eyes.

"I wanted to go back to Australia," he said finally, turning back to her. "But…I can't. Just…everything with your mother and all would just haunt me…and I don't want that. Not for me, and especially not for you." Amber nodded.

"I understand that, Daddy," she said, moving closer to him. "Mum meant a lot to you, didn't she?"

"Yeah…" Frederick sighed, getting that look in his eyes again. "Yeah, she did." He smiled down at her. "You're a lot like your mother though…head strong and smart. It's a pity you don't really look much like her. You got stuck looking like my ugly mug." Amber giggled a little bit and slapped her father playfully on the shoulder.

"Daaaad!" she cried. "You're not that terrible looking!" She looked up at him and grinned. "You still didn't answer my question, however." Frederick shook his head.

"You never let anything go, Ambrosia," he said. "You always have to know everything."

"Yup!" Amber said, grinning. "Now tell me, before I have to go through your phone and computer records to find out myself." Frederick tossed his hands in the air.

"All right, I surrender!" he said. "We're going to the United States…somewhere in Colorado. They say it's just as cold there as it is here most of the time, which is why I picked it. And you'll be able to go to a real school."

Amber thought back immediately to her conversation with Kyle she had over the internet. He had said he was from Colorado as well! It would be weird if he and I ended up going to the same school, she thought to herself. Then suddenly that thought entered her head.

"…Real school?" Amber said uncertainly. "B-but, I don't think I want to go to a real school…I like it better over the computer, with Miss Richardson…"

Frederick smiled sympathetically and patted his daughter's shoulder.

"It's nothing to worry about, Ambrosia," he said, ruffling her hair, sending little ice crystals all over the place. "Besides…I thought you always wanted to meet someone your own age?"

"Well, yeah…"Amber started, but before she could go on anymore her father cut her off.

"I thought so!" he exclaimed jumping up, his eyes alight. He turned back to his daughter and gave a mischievous grin. "Besides," he said, leaning down, meeting her eye to eye. "It'll give you a great chance to spy on kids your own age. They're a lot more gullible than adults, believe it or not."

"Really?" Amber said, cocking her head. "I guess I can believe that. Kids seem more likely to tell things to a child then an adult would, unless the adult didn't think the child understood and was just pointlessly rambling about things that were making he or she angry…"

"Exactly!" Frederick cried, leaping up to his feet. He turned to Amber and pulled her to her feet as well, putting an arm around her shoulder as he led her down the hall.

"This here is only the beginning!" he cried, his voice echoing throughout the corridor. "All you know is Antarctica, granted, but soon, a whole new world will upon up to you! The Yanks have to be some the stupidest people on this planet…you'll have hundreds upon hundreds of them to spy on and millions of things to keep in that little notebook of yours." He smiled and patted the pocket of her backpack that carried her most sacred possession.

"What notebook are you on, anyway? Six, seven?" he asked. Amber smirked.

"Twelve," she replied as her father raised an eyebrow. "I've got them all with me, if you care to take a look sometime—"

"I think I just might do that sometime," Frederick replied, ruffling his daughter's hair as he led her into the dining hall. "Now come on, we have to grab some food before the heat melts us…I swear, the people in here are crazy…" Ambrosia smiled to herself as she walked over to the cafeteria counter.

"I can agree with that," she said under her breath. "Trust me."

~*~

Amber boarded the private helicopter she would be taking to Australia with mixed feelings. From Sydney, they would flying directly to the United States, where there would be a whole new group of people. Both excited and terrified at this concept, Amber clambered into the co-pilot seat and strapped herself in, contemplating quietly. Pulling out her notebook, she started to flip to the back half, which was not her detailed cataloging on the people of the research center, but a very complete diary. She pulled one of her numerous pens out of her backpack's front pocket, and started to write.

September 8, 2001: 8:45 a.m.

Well, this is it. Dad and I are flying to Australia, and from there we're going to be heading to the US. I wish we could stay for a few days in Aus, though…so I could check out what the people are like there, but I guess that's not meant to be, is it? Still, it should be an interesting experience. Maybe I'll find someone on the plane I can talk to that's my age…man, that's the scariest part. There are going to be people my age. And I'm going to have to go to a real school…with real kids. Not just the internet anymore. I liked the internet school, with Miss Richardson…but, I guess if I am as smart as she says I am, then I should do well in a regular school…hopefully. More later, Dad's coming…

She closed her notebook and stuck it back in her bag as her father climbed into the pilot's seat, grinning at her.

"You ready, Ambrosia?" he asked, starting the engine. Amber grinned and gave him a thumbs up sign.

"Ready as ever!" she exclaimed. Frederick nodded and pulled back on the throttle, and the helicopter took off. Amber turned around in her seat as they started gaining altitude and pressed her hands against the window, getting one last look at her home of nine years. A single tear came to her eye and she wiped it away quickly before her father could look at her. She sighed a bit and turned around in her seat, facing forward again. They were now over the ocean, icebergs floating underneath. Amber looked behind her again and gasped. The land was now out of sight…and there was nothing but ocean all around. She had never been off the icy terrain before…and never knew the ocean was so…big…

"When are we going to be there, Dad?" she asked, turning back around in her seat again. Frederick shrugged.

"About ten hours or so, sweetie," he replied, looking over at her. Amber's expression was priceless.

"Ten hours?!" she exclaimed, indignant. "What are we going to do for ten bloody hours?!" Frederick chuckled at his nine-year old's outburst.

"For someone who claims to always have their emotions in check, you don't seen very happy about that," he replied. Amber sighed and tossed her hands into the air.

"I DO have emotions, you know," she replied, irritated. "I was just wondering what we were going to do for ten—"

"How about you fly the helicopter?"

Amber blinked, not sure she had really heard that.

"W-what?" she replied softly, staring at him. Frederick grinned and patted his lap.

"Come on, fly this thing. I can show you how," he said. Amber stared at him for a minute, and then smiled happily and clambered into his lap, grabbing the controls excitedly. Frederick chuckled as he directed her eager hands to where they were supposed to go.

"All right, all you have to do is hold onto the steering column," he said, placing both of her hands on it. "And keep an eye on where we're going. I'll worry about the rest, all right?"

"Sure thing!" Amber cried, jubilant that she was actually flying her father's helicopter. This is going to have to go in my diary as soon as we get to the airport, she thought as she flew with her father over the ocean, the clouds floating around, over, and in front of them. She giggled as she flew right through on, the cold mist rolling over them like waves.

"We flew right through it, Dad!" she cried. Frederick smiled and ruffled her hair.

"So we did, Ambrosia…so we did," he replied.

~*~

After flying the helicopter for several hours, and with the arrival of nightfall, Frederick had taken the controls back, letting Amber get some well-earned rest. He looked over fondly at his sleeping daughter, curled up in a ball on her seat, hugging her notebook tightly against her chest. He reached one hand over and patted her cheek, and then concentrated on the horizon ahead. Lights were in the distance; it wouldn't be too far to Sydney now. They were now over Australia itself, heading into the airport. Amber stirred next to him, her bright blue eyes fluttering open.

"…Mm…" she muttered softly, sitting up. "We almost there?" Frederick nodded.

"Almost, precious," he replied, focusing his energy on flying. "About five more minutes." She nodded and rummaged around through her backpack for a pen, wanting to write. The feeble light given off from the controls in the cockpit was good enough for her, and she continued her entry from before.

September 8, 2001: 8:30 p.m.

Almost to Australia now…Dad said about five more minutes. Man, I'm nervous…there are going to be a whole bunch of different people there. Sure, it's better for spying…but there were only 46 people besides my dad and I in the research centre…but there are going to be thousands here…maybe even millions! But, we can't all concentrate on the bad…Dad let me fly the helicopter for a while. That was pretty neat…we flew right through the clouds. It was like a knife through butter, a hooker through a bar…you know, those types of things. But at least me and Dad will be together. Even with all those people around us…it'll still be him and I, like it's always been…I hope…

"Amber, honey, you better put that away…we're landing," Frederick said, derailing her train of thought. She nodded and placed her notebook and pen back in her backpack and put it on her back, her heart racing. Frederick sensed her nervousness and smiled at her.

"There's nothing to worry about, Ambrosia," he said. "You'll do fine." She gave him a weak smile back and shrugged.

"I sure hope so…" she replied. She looked out the window at the lights of the airport, glowing bright greens and reds. She saw two men down on the runway, waving flags at them, directing them where to go. Frederick followed their commands and soon they were on the ground. Amber opened her door and cautiously got out, stepping foot on an alien turf for the first time in her life.

She wished it was light out. Looking around her, all she could see was dark shapes in the distance…nothing recognizable. Not that there would be anything she could recognize anyway…

"Come on, Amber. We have to find a place to spend the night," Frederick said. Amber looked up at him quizzically.

"I thought we were flying directly from here to America when we got here," she said, puzzled. Frederick shook his head.

"Neither one of us could survive," he said wryly. "Besides, you're tired…and I am too. We need a good night's rest." Amber shook her head adamantly.

"I'm not tired!" she cried, trying to take everything in and keep her eyes open at the same time, refusing to admit it. "I'm not tired at all!" Frederick smiled and knelt down to her.

"Oh, you're not then, are you?" he replied, grinning. "Then why are your eyes so droopy?" Amber scowled.

"My eyes aren't—" she started, but was interrupted by a large yawn. Frederick grinned.

"Come on," he said, picking her up. "We'll leave first thing in the morning."

"Kay…" Amber replied, closing her eyes. Before they had even left the airport grounds, she was asleep.

~*~

The airport was a staggering sight. It was all Amber could do not to hold her father's hand as they walked inside, people pushing by all around them. She looked around, trying to comprehend all of this. Never in her life had she seen so many people. Her eyes bugged out of her head and she grabbed her father's shirt, gasping.

"What in the bloody hell is wrong with that person?!" she cried, pointing to an African man. "He's…he's awful dirty, don't you think?" Frederick threw his head back and laughed.

"Oh Ambrosia," he chuckled, shaking his head. "That's an African person! That's the color of their skin naturally." Her mouth dropped in shock as she watched the man, curious.

"There are people like that?! Or…is he the only one?" she asked. Frederick shook his head.

"Oh, no! There are lots of people like that! In fact, there are more of them in the world then there are of us!" he exclaimed. Amber blinked a few times, still shocked.

"Then how come I've never seen one?!" she cried. Frederick shrugged.

"There were none in Antarctica, sweetie…anyway, don't worry about that right now. You'll be able to see plenty others, along with some kids, later. Right now we have to get our tickets." He led the slightly stunned Amber onward, towards the ticket table. They ended up in line behind a family of four. The little girl's eyes widened at the sight of Amber's hair and she cautiously approached her.

"Wow, your parents let you dye your hair?" she exclaimed. Amber blinked a few times, taking all this in. She was finally talking to a child.

"Umm…well, no…" she said nervously. "This…IS my hair color…" This time it was the girl's turn to blink. She backed away a few steps.

"Your hair is…BLUE?!" she cried, disgusted. "Ew! You freak!" Amber narrowed her eyes.

"Hey, I'd watch who you were calling a freak, mate," she replied icily. The girl snorted haughtily and took a step towards her.

"What're you going to do? Kill me? Pfft!" she replied snottily. "My mum's a police lady! She'd get you bad! She loves me so much she'd get you!" Amber glared furiously at her, her eyes full of tears.

"Well, if your mum loves you so much…then…you better go back to her…a-and leave me alone," she whispered, and turned her back on her. The girl, not quite through with her taunting, shoved her in the back, but let out a hiss of shock when she felt the coldness of her skin.

"Oh…oh my God! You really are a freak! ICE GIRL!" she cried. Amber sighed and ignored her, looking sadly up at her father, begging him to intervene. He looked down at his daughter and smiled sadly, and then turned around and stared down at the little girl.

"You've got a problem with my daughter?" he said. The girl stared up at him, eyes goggling.

"You've got blue hair too! You're BOTH freaks—"

"EMILY!" a voice shouted. A female pushed her way through the crowd and grabbed her by the hand. "What are you doing?! Leave these poor people alone!" The mother of the girl looked apologetically up at Frederick as she spanked her daughter firmly on the butt, causing her to wail.

"I'm dreadfully sorry about all that," she said. "Emily's young…" Frederick smiled.

"Don't worry about it, miss," he replied. "Neither one of us are too stung by that attack, are we Amber?"

He looked down at his daughter for her reply, but she was staring at the lady in total awe. She cautiously took a step forward and looked up at her.

"…You're…you're a mum?" she said softly, not taking her eyes off her. The woman smiled at her, a little confused.

"Why of course," she replied. "That girl who was bothering you is my daughter, Emily." Amber took another step forward, blinking back tears.

"…Emily doesn't know how lucky she is," she whispered. "I…" She looked up into her eyes, sadness radiating from her.

"I always wanted a mum…" she murmured, and then started to cry.

~*~

September 8, 2001: 5:30 p.m.

The time's gotten all screwy since we crossed the International Dateline…so now it's September 8th again. I don't get it…I've already lived that day. But, I guess that's the world for you. We're about ten minutes from landing in America…and already I've seen so much! I never knew that there were so many different types of people out there…and there were little tiny people, babies…those I had heard of, but never seen…I wish I hadn't been so sheltered. I don't know anything about anyone…suddenly, out of the confines of the world that I knew everyone and everything about…this all seems very big…and very scary…

Some of the people were very nice, though. Some, like the little girl that was harassing me and my father this morning, were not. I don't like being called all these names. I am not a freak. I am not "Ice Girl". I'm just Ambrosia. Ambrosia Jade…and nothing else. No one had ever been rude to me before…why is the outside world so cruel?

"Passengers, get your overhead baggage and prepare for landing," blared a voice over the loud speaker. Amber sighed and placed her notebook back in her pack, zipping it up and hugging it tightly to her so nothing would happen to it. She looked out the window at the city rapidly approaching them.

"What city is that, Dad?" she asked, pointing out the window. Frederick craned his head over and took a look.

"That's Denver," he said. "That's not where we're living though. The town we're going to is about a half hour from there." She looked at him questioningly, as the plane landed on the runway with a gently thump.

"Do we have a house there yet?" she asked. Frederick nodded.

"Sure do," he said. "Just…we don't exactly have anything to put in it yet." Amber nodded.

"I see…but…what are we going to sleep on, then? And where are we going to eat?" Frederick chuckled.

"Don't worry about it, Ambrosia, I've got it all covered," he replied, standing up. "Come on now, we have to get off and catch the bus to South Park."

"Where?" Amber said, grabbing her backpack and following her father off the plane.

"South Park," he replied, helping her down. "That's the name of the town we're moving to."

"Oh…" Amber said, understanding. She followed her father to the bus terminal, wishing she didn't have to go. Right now, there was nothing she wanted more then to be in Antarctica, with the snow, and the penguins…

"Amber?" her father's voice called, shattering her dream-like state. "Are you getting on the bus?" She blinked and looked up at him, and flashed him a smile.

"Sure, of course," she replied, getting on, the doors shutting behind her. They were off!

~*~

Amber blinked and stared around as the bus pulled away. She was standing next to a sign, along with her father, and the road was right ahead of them.

"…This is South Park?" she said questioningly, waving an arm at the expanse of the nothingness around her. Frederick nodded.

"Sure is," he said, turning towards her. "Listen…I'm going to go and find a place where we can buy a car and some furniture…why don't you get acquainted with the surroundings? I'm sure you can find something to do…" Amber nodded.

"Sure," she said. "I guess I'll check you later, then." Frederick nodded, and patted her head.

"Of course you will," he said. "I'll come back for you in about four hours, all right? Don't get into any trouble!"

"Since when do I get in trouble?" Amber replied sweetly. Frederick grinned.

"All right, goody two shoes…you head off," he said, shooing her away. Amber shouldered her bag and started to walk down the side of the road, sinking pretty deep into the snow. She sighed happily, relishing the deep, smothering cold. Right now, as she plowed on, she could be reminded of home. Of the bitter cold air whistling by, the huge icebergs towering in the distance…

"Aww…you think so?"

"Sure ah do…ah mean…you're so…beautiful…"

Amber cocked her head, suddenly attentive. Following the source of the sound, she found a large tree close to the proximity and started to climb it, tentatively. She'd never climbed a tree before, since it was too cold for them in Antarctica. Once she got high enough, she sat on a fairly sturdy branch and looked out over the town. Down below her, about 5 meters or so, was a girl with long blonde hair, sitting on a log with a fat boy in a red jacket. Leaning out as far as she could, she listened in onto what they were saying.

"…Cartman? Can I…?"

"Can you what, Lilah?"

Amber flipped to the front part of her notebook and started taking notes on the people, the first ones she had seen in the town. Lily and Cartman were their names, apparently…and apparently, they were also dating. She leaned out even farther on her branch, unaware that it was starting to bend precariously with her weight.

"…I want to…touch….well, you know…"

"Well…umm…ah guess, Lilah…"

Amber gasped excitedly and got prepared to write as she leaned out as far as humanly possible on the branch. Blackmail, already! This would be great! The blonde haired girl was right about to go for him, however, when disaster struck. The branch, unable to hold Amber's weight any longer, snapped and broke, sending her down into the snow. She let out a surprised cry, causing Lily and Cartman too jump up in terror, whirling around.

"What the fuck?" Lily cried, rushing over. "Who the fuck are you, and what are FUCK do you think you're doing?!" Amber, slightly stunned from the fall, stared up at Lily meekly, her Australian accent even more pronounced with her nervousness.

"Ummm…g'day?" she said, giving her a nervous smile. This was NOT the best way to make your entrance into a new town.