Growing up in clan ridden wasteland isn’t easy for anyone, least of all children. They are at the bottom of what’s left of society, used for labor, scavenging, and even sold by the parents. One such child, Emmily, had a story not unlike most children. She grew up without a family, and her only friend was her pet rabbit Ein, whom she stole from a meat monger a few years prior. She named him after Einstein since he was a rex rabbit. She didn’t have much, but as long as Ein was with her, she was fine.
She scraped by using her genius to do jobs for clans looking to screw over people who were lower on the intelligence scale. In most cases it was a rival clan looking to score big on a cutthroat deal. She only needed to advise them after gathering information on the targets. Once the credits were in hand, she would get paid. But not all deals were this cut and dry. The day she messed with the Dragon Clan, would be the last day anyone seen or heard from Emmily again.
Running through the wet puddle filled alleyways, with her arms hugging her gut tightly, Emmily dashes through and open gate, over a wall, through a crawlspace to the right, through a hole, and then she drops into an opening. She squeezes into a small space in a wall nobody knew about, slides a rock, crawls in slides it back into place, panting quickly and waiting; listening. She was finally home.
“Looks like I wasn’t followed. That was a little harder than I thought it would be.” Emmily stands with her arms still wrapped around her.
“Check it Ein! I think we finally have enough to make a run for it.” She opens her arms, and stacks of gold credits fall out of her hoodie. Ein hops over to sniff them and looks up at her while wiggling his nose. With a hue smile on her face, she excitedly says, “We’re moving tonight.”
With her bag stuffed full of credits, and Ein tucked under her arm, Emmily snuck past ever Dragon in town that was looking for her, and out into the unknown world. It was a very difficult experience. She was only 13, so nobody trusted her. She would often hear people speak of a young girl who stole from the Dragons, and then she and Ein would move on to the next town.
Its been months since her and Ein left home and moved from town to decrepit town in search of a better life. It seemed like she would never escape the Dragons. They were everywhere, rumored to follow you until they find you, and then they take you. But all the running and hiding is starting to take its tole on the two.
“Even with all these credits, I just don’t know how much longer we can do this Ein. Ein?” Looking down at Ein, Emmily noticed he wasn’t doing to good. With a shaky and exhausted voice, she tried to console her friend. “Yeah, I’m tired too. We better look for a place to stay for the night.” There were high winds blowing sand everywhere, but through her clouded goggles, Emmily spotted a cave. A terribly small, dank, jagged and rocky cave.
“Hmmm.” She looked in the cave, then outside at the sandstorm. With a deep sigh that echoed through the cave, “Looks like we’re camping here Ein.” She took off her coat and made a small bed for Ein. He was breathing fast, and neither of them had anything to eat since they left town this morning. She pulled out her pot and a battery powered hotplate, poured some water from her canteen in, and thew in some carrots and potatoes. After the food was soft, she took the batteries out of the hotplate and packed them up, poured the remaining water in a separate emergency bottle, and prepared to eat what little food she had left.
“I know it’s not much, but eat up.” Ein didn’t move.
“Come on you need to build your strength.” Again nothing. Emmily sat for a moment and thought. She knew what happened, she just didn’t want to acknowledge it at the moment. She turned and continued to eat, but slowly a lump gathered in her throat. As she swallowed her food, her eyes began to water, and tears began to fall. She gathered all of her strength to finish her food. She tossed herself down next to Ein, and held him close to her, wrapping him and herself in her large coat. She cried more than she has ever cried in her life. The tears wouldn’t stop, as she cried herself to sleep.
In the middle of the night Emmily jumped awake gasping from a nightmare. She felt hopeless. The Dragons were after her, Ein was gone, nowhere was safe. Everything was falling apart.
“Why bother anymore? What’s the point? I’m just going to give up. Let them come for me, I don’t care anymore.” She had given up all hope of leaving that cave alive, and decided to wait for the Dragons to come for her, or with a little luck, die before they found her. She curled up next to Ein and didn’t move.
After two days of laying in that cave, the sandstorm finally died down. Not too long after, The sound of footsteps trekking through the sand outside the cave startled Emmily. They finally found her. She was prepared for the worst, but stayed laying on the ground with Ein, not moving a muscle.
“Anyone there?” A man called into the cave.
“I know someone’s there, because it smells damn awful in here.” He noticed a sand covered bag, and some kind of lump on the ground.
“That sandstorm lasted for 2 days, and there’s no sign of movement under all this sand? Must be dead.” As he continued to mutter to himself, he lifted his bat across his shoulders, it hit the wall of the rigid cave, and a sudden loud clang rang out. It was so sudden, it made Emmily jump. Seeing the lump move, and the sand fall from it, he approached it slowly. Emmily could hear every crackle of his boots against the rocky floor, and he stepped closer, and closer. He nudged the lump with the business end of his bat.
“What do we have here?”
Steeling herself, she shouted, “Do what you want! I’m ready to die!”
“You must be if you’re all the way out in B.B. Clan territory.”
B.B. territory? Either this guy was crazy, or this clan was a group of misfit nobody’s. “Were you sent by Droog?”
“Droog? Where have I heard that name before? Wait! Woah, woah, woah! The leader of the Dragons is looking for you!? You’re the one with bounty on her head aren’t you? The one who stole all of his credits?”
Emmily sat quietly for a while, and then she responded, “So what if I am? They used my intelligence to get all those credits! Mine! They were going to sell me off if I didn’t help them. So I went along with their stupid plan, and when I saw my chance to outwit those bastards, I took it.”
The man began to smile, then chuckle, then he starts to laugh like he’s gone mad. So much so that he falls straight on his ass practically in tears. “I heard rumors, but I didn’t know if it was true!” He continues to giggle, but Emmily has reached her point of frustration. She stands up and throws the sand covered coat towards the man. He chokes on the sand, and as the dust clears, he sees a young girl, proudly standing with her dead friend in one arm, looking down at him spitefully.
“What’s with the rabbit mask? You got something to hide?” He raises his finger, as if to make a point, but before he can she snaps at him. “Don’t say anything, I don’t care.”
She walks over to her bag and lifts it with some considerable effort, carries it to the man, and drops it down right between his legs.
“If you think it’s so funny, take them. I won’t need them anymore anyway.” He opens the bag to see hundreds of gold credits.
With his mouth gaped open, he had to clarify, “Holy shit! You really did steal from him.” He begins digging through the bag. “It’s like you didn’t use any of this.”
“I find that a little hard to believe.”
“How could I? I was being chased down, and nobody trusted me. If I wanted to stay alive, I had to find a place where someone hadn’t heard of me. Looks like even out here everyone knows. I was so stupid for thinking I could get away with this. Now because of me, I’m stranded out here, running for my life, and Ein…” She stopped just for a moment and looked down at Ein. As she pet his fur she solemnly stated, “…My best friend would still be alive if it wasn’t for my hubris.”
They shared a brief silence. The man pursed his lips, and inhaled heavily through his nose, exhaled and asked, “So that’s why you wanna die in this cave? That’s the reason you have to forfeit your life? Because you feel sorry for yourself? Do you have an idea how many people would love to be you right now?”
For once, Emmily didn’t know how to answer a question. So she quietly starred at the man behind the mask, and wondered why he would ask a question like that. Why would anyone want to be in my situation?
“There’s only one thing left to do then!” He looks up at her with a great big grin, “Join us.”
She shakes her head in disbelief at what she just heard.
“I’m sorry, you want me, the girl with a Dragon Clan bounty on her head, to join your clan? Why?”
”Because I can help you.”
“How can you help me? Why would you help me? You don’t owe me anything, and I sure as hell don’t wanna owe you anything!”
“I’m not doing it for just myself or you. I think you are just the type person we need. You’d fit right in.”
She takes a moment to think about all she’s been through; never belonging anywhere, always being used, the running and the sadness. She was tired of running.
“How do I know I can trust you? What if you’re just trying to use me like everyone else?”
“I thought you were ready to die? What would you have to lose by coming with me?”
After some thought on the matter, she decides, “Eh, why not? It’s not like I wouldn’t be able to get away from you if I wanted to.”
“One more thing. If you want to do this, I’m going to need all those credits.”
“I knew it! You really do just want all the credits!”
“Woah slow down there. I need them to get the Dragons off of you. You don’t expect me to take in a girl with a Dragon Clan bounty on her head, do you?” She rolls her eyes at him and gives him a very sarcastic look. “Just trust me okay?” She really didn’t trust him, but to her, it was the best offer she’s ever received.
“Fine, take em’.”
“And I’ll need him.” He points to Ein.
“NO! I don’t care what you need him for. He’s my best friend and I’m not giving him to you.”
“I need to prove to Droog that you won’t be a problem anymore.”
“There are more convincing ways to do it that using my best friends body!”
After a moment of careful deliberation the decision was made. She grabbed a knife from her belt.
“What are you doing!?” He jumped up to grab it from her, “HEY!” But it was too late. Down to the ground, dropped a clump of hair. “Oh, you scared me. For a second there, I thought you were going to do something crazy.”
“Crazy? What did you think I would do?” She hands him her ponytail, coat and goggles. “You should be able to use these, if you tell him I was picked clean by buzzards. Make sure not to mention Ein. Nobody knew about him, and I want to keep it that way.”
“So you’ll join then?”
“What do I have to lose?”
“Man, it’s gonna be great to have a planner in our clan.”
“Yeah, someone smarter than the rest of us. You can plan things out so there’s more of us left at that end of the day. That’s not all though. We took in some kids not too long ago close to your age. I’m sure you’ll all get along.”
Emmily smiles, “So what does this clan of yours do?”
“Oh the Battered Bunnies?” She giggles at the name. “What, you think the name is funny too? I really thought it fit the ideals of the clan though.”
“You sound like you get your asses kicked a lot.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say that. We’re a rag-tag clan full of people just like you. We were all just looking for somewhere to belong. After you’ve been beaten and cast aside, what choices do you have? We do have rules though, just like any family would.”
“For starters, to be in our clan, you need a bunny mask. It’s sort of our signature thing, and it helps us keep our identity. We almost never take it off.”
“Doesn’t it start to smell?”
“That’s when you take it off.” He smiles and moves on. “We like to move around during late hours. A lot of shady things go down at night, and we need to be there to capitalize on it.”
“Sounds like any other clan.”
“Maybe. You can judge that for yourself after initiation.”
“Yep. It really feels like you’re a part of something after passing an initiation. What better way to prove you belong to the Battered Bunnies, than running a timed obstacle course? We are all about being fast. That, and we like to make a point of using baseball bats.”
“Why bats? There are other weapons that would be more efficient.”
“They are simple, easy to modify, and make you look like a badass. What’s not to love?”
“Sounds a lot more fun than dying in a cave.”
“Which brings me to my next dilemma. You’re going to need a new look, and a new name.”
“Well I cut my hair, that’s a start.” Looking around, Emmily pondered what her new name would be. She didn’t want to think of her old life anymore. How could she escape it? She looked at Ein and had an idea. “You know, when I was little I used to dig through the old books my parents left behind. In one of those books I learned about rabbits. Not about eatting and skinning them, but about taming them as pets. I thought how nice it would be to have a pet rabbit. One day I passed by the meat monger’s shop, and wouldn’t you know it, he had the cutest rabbit. When I asked if I could buy it alive, he acted like I went crazy, and turned me away. I couldn’t just let him die. I waited for my chance, swept in and stole that rabbit. He never knew I did it, and I had a pet of my own. It was a great feeling to free him. When I got home, I found out about him in that book. He was a Rex rabbit, which are very smart, so I named him Einstein, or Ein for short.”
“That’s a nice story and all, but how does that give you a name?”
“Call me REX. A fitting name since I’ll be a Battered Bunny.”
“Nice. Well, let’s head to your new home kiddo. We have a lot of planning ahead of us.”
“Wait! You never told me your name.”
He turned with his baseball bat across his shoulders, smiled at her and replied, “The name’s Jack.”
5 Years Later
At the age of 18, REX has become an irreplaceable member of the Battered Bunnies Clan. Helping them build a more efficient community, and ruining the plans of any big shots who flaunt their credits. Everyone joined for their own reasons, and now you know hers.
After getting the dragons off her back, REX has had a lot of time to think. In that time, Jack has been letting her explore her potential and do what she feels she needs to. With all the new found freedom, she’s grown fond of the Battered Bunnies and vowed to do whatever she can to protect them.
She shuts herself away to research and read any scrap of paper or books she can find. Experiment after experiment has led her on her own journey to self realization… she’s a genius. Not because others needed her to be, and not because she had to be, but because she loved it. Every push forward she would be able to protect everyone. One more bat modification, one more bomb or grenade, more movable armor, more, MORE!!! If she doesn’t, who will? She could lose everything.
After losing Ein, the idea of losing anything else drove her crazy. This new clan, the CaNines, have caused trouble for them time and time again. She wouldn’t let them have their way. She has made a name for herself with her outrageous tactics, and weaponry. She always travels alone in pursuit of knowledge, and to test her methods. She can’t risk anyone else getting injured. She must protect them! This lonely, insane road she chose to travel, to protect everything she cares for, has given her the nickname, “REX The Deranged” to cycle through multiple clans, including her own.
When she faces an enemy, all the thoughts of what could happen if anyone in her clan is captured, or killed surface. Then she relives all she endured when she was younger. The struggle, abuse, slavery, FEAR!! She snaps. She has trained her mind and body day in and day out for years. Nobody can touch her one-on-one. She knows she’s better than the average thug. One day that attitude may put her in the grave, but not today.
“YOU! What business do you have in my territory?” REX stands in front of a stocky gunman and gives him a cold, blank, stare.
“You’re territory! You must be insane. Do you know who you’re dealing with?”
REX looks up with her bat aimed at the gunman. “Move.”
The gunman aims, but she’s too fast. She’s scouted this area countless times. She knows their patrol routes. REX drops through a trap hole she created days prior. The gunman is baffled. Of course he is. He’s not very smart. REX pops up from behind him, and with one swing to the back of his neck, he’s down.
REX jumps up to a higher platform and points at a distant outpost. The gunman laughs at her from the ground, “What the hell do you think yer doin? There’s hundreds of people there waiting to kill you. You don’t stand a chance.”
In the blink of an eye, she hits a button and the bottom of her bat shoots to her other hand, aims her bat, flips a switch and the top opens and a scope guides her eye.
“Hundreds you say…good!”
She takes aim, and fires. In the distance a bright light fills the sky, and then there was nothing. Everything was gone.
“Wha-what are you? If you think you can stop us…”
She jumps down looking into the gunman’s eyes, “Who said anything about thinking?” She smiles at him. “Can you hold this?” She shoves a bag in his hands and disappears.
The man looks in the bag and laughs. An explosion goes off and sends a couple all-clear flares up.
“That’s what happens when you ‘think’ about something, right Ein?” She looks down at his rabbit’s foot smiles and laughs. “Lets go get a new bag.”