GRINEER EARTH INDUSTRIAL – DAY
Camera pans over a scrubby forest canopy, zooms in through clouds of noxious smoke billowing from a cluster of smokestacks. The sky is a sickly dark yellow, filled with smog that stains and dulls the light. Whatever leaves have managed to grow are pale and coated with black dust. The ground is dry and cracked, parched from chemical salts and lack of rain. The forest is enormous and all-consuming, but it is dying.
BALLAS: I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses and with eglantine…
Through a doorway, a toxin mixer is shown churning in the background. Its contents are leaking from a weak seal, dripping onto the floor. The metal plates smoke and bubble from the strength of the chemical. Everything in the room is corroded, rusty, and barely functional. Mildew and scum float on standing puddles of water.
BALLAS: Now gone, consumed, and poisoned by our enemy.
A full Grineer platoon walks by: six lancers, a heavy gunner, a bombard, and a shield lancer. Camera rises up to show a small crowd of Grineer preparing fresh toxin injectors, ready for the grinding centrifuge.
The only noises are the garbled grunts of Grineer speech and the grating of the crude machinery.
BALLAS: And this same progeny of evils comes from our debate, from our dissension. But we will not stir from this place, no matter what they may do… They shall hear that we are not afraid.
From behind the crowd, a sparkling beacon of blue light rises up and drifts over the scene. It is the only bright, beautiful thing in the entire sky.
A Lancer sees it first. He puts his hand to his forehead, peering through the smog and murk, focusing on the light. One by one, his entire platoon succumbs to its temptation. They begin following the light’s path. Their weapons fall to their sides.
They walk into a small crevice in the stone, into darkness. Suddenly, the light extinguishes. Quick, muffled death sounds are heard- a blade carving flesh and bone, short groans of pain.
No one else sees or hears. They carry on preparing the toxin as usual.
A glorious blue and golden butterfly drifts over the remaining Grineer, dancing through the foul air. Lacy, scalloped wings, a pure white body with black antennae and shiny, faceted purple eyes.
BALLAS: I have set forth their death on gentle wings.
A Bombard watches its path, eagerly turning his misshapen head to and fro as the butterfly darts back and forth. It sparkles invitingly, hovering inches from his face but not landing.
A ragged chuckle rises from the Grineer’s throat- a soft sound of simple, childlike joy. Slowly, gently, he reaches his free hand towards it.
Then he sees it. The metallic edges of its wings are not markings. They are blades.
His smile fades. The butterfly LUNGES. A flash of gold.
The Bombard’s head falls to the ground in a spray of black blood. His body and his Ogris fall a moment later.
The rest of his platoon turns- too late! They raise their guns to fire wildly, shooting each other, shooting the trees around them. More butterflies pour from the trees in a glowing blue flood.
When the cloud dissipates, only a heap of shredded bodies remains.
The rest of the crowd is alerted! Grineer screams of alarm echo through the building. They run back and forth, trying to save the toxin canisters. There is general panic.
High above, a white and purple winged silhouette watches the chaos, wreathed in her glittering butterflies. She folds her wings against her legs and lets herself free-fall.
BALLAS: The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what he has seen before him.
Chaos is escalating. Platoons assemble into battle formations, shield lancers to the front. Heavy gunners rev Gorgons. But they have no target! They shift back and forth, nervous, too well-trained to panic, but confused.
EXPLOSION OF GUNFIRE. Bullets tear through squad after squad. Screams and conflicting orders ring out. Where is the shooter?
Cut to a Ballista’s Vulkar crosshairs. All she can see is a shining flicker of wings darting back and forth. Brilliant purple flashes of gunfire and a twirling blade are barely visible.
She shoots and misses- once, twice, desperately trying to adjust her aim to her enemy’s darting flight. The rifle clicks empty. She lowers it to reload.
A miniature Titania is seated, cross-legged and ladylike, on the barrel of the Vulkar.
The broadsword on her back drips crimson with Grineer blood. A sparkling violet pistol, no bigger than a single bullet, is pointed right at the ballista’s eye.
A moment later, the ballista’s headless body slumps to the ground, neck stump charred and smoking.
More gunfire. Butterflies are diving left and right, slashing and hacking fragile Grineer flesh, flitting away before they can be caught. Blood soaks the parched ground, turning dust to mud.
Titania leaps elegantly from the ballista’s vantage point and emerges in normal size. Surviving Grineer take one single look before crawling for their lives on their bleeding limb stumps.
She is still a Warframe- faceless, hulking, terrible. But her aesthetic, her aura is not one of destruction. She steps towards a trembling heavy gunner- a dainty, delicate empress of the forest in high-heeled boots, a white tiara, and a lacy gown whose train resembles the wings of her butterflies. She loads a sleek gold and black shotgun.
BALLAS: They’ll think no more of this night’s accidents, but as the fierce vexation of a dream…
The gunner’s bloody hand reaches for her fallen Gorgon. A gold blade flashes twice, too quickly to be seen. Hand and head roll in the mud, cut cleanly away.
A Grineer missing both legs and an eye manages to drag himself to a nearby turret. He revs the guns, gritting his teeth in pain and rage…
…and Titania does not even care to turn around. She aims the Corinth behind her, laying the barrel over her shoulder, and fires a single shot.
The turret explodes. Molten metal and blood spray everywhere.
Titania approaches the toxin mixer. She studies it for a moment, then turns on a heel and stalks out of the crumbling building, radiating contempt.
The roots of the great forest begin to grow. Earth shifts and heaves. The trees dig into the metal foundations, tearing it apart, sending Grineer arrogance back to the soil from which it came.
BALLAS: She is a most rare vision- a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was.
The ground settles. No trace of the toxin mixer, of the building, or of Grineer.
Only Titania, standing alone in a silent, beautiful forest with new green limbs reaching for blue sky and clear sunlight.
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