Exactly how it had happened was anyone's guess. But in a place where carp could spontaneously change gender and guys could have unexpected breasts without the cost of plastic surgery, it was probably a wonder Las Vegas wasn't invaded every other weekend by hordes of giant mutant creatures.
Of course it was entirely possible that they did and nobody actually noticed.
On this particular night, however, a ravening mass of giant mutant rabbits were about to descend upon Vegas, lured by the bright lights and the fact they had stripped the surrounding desert of anything remotely edible. In the darkness they came, their enormous feet thumping the ground like jungle drums, devouring anything or anyone in their path as they bore down on a city filled with travelers from all over the world...
"So, what do you think?" Greg asked looking at the DB sprawled out in front of him on the verge, having bled out all over the dust. "Animal attack?"
Grissom was taking a photo of a conspicuous track mark. "Either that or someone wearing clown boots," he answered as he examined the long thin impressions in the dirt in great detail.
Greg took a few photos of the body, the bright light illuminating the area briefly. "Multiple lacerations on the legs and defensive wounds on the wrists. Could be a slasher attack."
"Aside from the fact that it looks like something was trying to hump our victim to death," Grissom said shining the torch down, and glancing up and raising an eyebrow as the other CSI. Greg hated when he did that because it made him feel like he had to explain the statement.
"Maybe a sexual assault with a twist?" he suggested.
"The twist being that it was done by a giant Lepus californicus," Grissom said standing up slowly.
"A giant...uh..." Greg had to dredge his mind for details, "..Jack Rabbit?"
"Very good, Greg," Grissom nodded approval and Greg grinned basking in the faint praise.
"Okay, that is a heck of a twist even for Vegas. There's kink and then there's downright squick," Greg announced. "How on earth did you identify that one, Griss?"
"Well, there are certain indicators in the footprints, and the angle of the incision is consistent with rabbit bites." He paused a moment. "That and the fact that it's been standing on the rise behind you watching us for the past ten minutes."
Greg glance around and there it was, a giant rabbit the size of a small pony sitting there watching then and twitching its nose in a faintly disturbing way. "Holy ...shit!"
The jack rabbit thumped the ground with its hind foot and more gleaming eyes appeared in the darkness. Greg could imagine their noses twitching, even as they poised to spring. Two could play at that game. Well, without the twitching noses.
"We should probably run now, Greg."
"Way ahead of you, Grissom!"
From the outskirts of Vegas they came in their hundreds, their thousands, pouring into the Vegas Strip causing chaos as they invaded hotels, casinos and disrupted conferences and vacations alike. There were very few places unaffected by the invasion, people falling beneath the stampede of terrifying fluffy bodies.
"This is the last time I let you persuade me to go anywhere with you, House!"
"Stop whining, and give me a leg up. Or a leg over," House replied trying to get to the ventilation duct. "You're always at my beck and call, Jimmy boy."
"Maybe later when we're not being eaten alive," Wilson replied with a smirk. "And why are we going into the ventilation duct? "
"James, James, you surprise me. With your grounding in the classics such as Die Hard, Die Harder, and Fucking Die Already!, you should know that the first thing that you do when stuck in a hotel or multistory building under hostile attack is to get into the air ducts!" House looked at him with shocked blue eyes and Wilson rolled his eyes.
"So this decision is based on TV?"
"I'll have you know that TV has taught me some of the fundamentals of life. For example, I know that if there's a bloodcurdling scream that I should run away from it, not towards it. That and to shoot any enemies immediately. Wait, that might be my Evil overlord list," House mused, pausing a moment.
Wilson paused, looking out of the window at the chaos and mayhem in the street. "You know, we don't know exactly what the problem is.. It's entirely possibly that whatever it is, it's IN the ventilation system, House."
"Must I constantly be the one supplying the answers?" House poked at Wilson with his cane. "Differential diagnosis. Symptoms, large creatures savaging people to death, digging holes in the main street and trying to sexually assault them in some way as well."
Wilson peered, squinting down at the furry shapes.
"You know, it could be Lepus?"
House glared at him. "It's never Lepus."
"No seriously, giant mutant rabbits," Wilson said watching one bounce in the air over a car. "Its either that or you slipped me drugs again."
"Are any of them pink?" House asked curiously peering out beside him. "Hmm."
"That one is suspiciously like the one our next door neighbor had when I was ten," Wilson pointed out the offending creature. "It bit me."
"Well obviously it's been pumping up on steroids, training for years of thwarted revenge and is coming after you," House declared. "And brought its friends along as well."
"Ha! You admit it! It is Lepus!" Wilson crowed taking his words as a tacit admission.
"No one like a gloater, Wilson."
"That explains a lot," Wilson replied dryly. "You know...I think they might be coming in..."
"Grab my bag will you? I've got a tazer in there." House said even as Wilson gave him a suspicious glance.
"Do I even want to know what you were going to do with that?"
"Well, you did say you wanted me to surprise you this weekend," House answered getting set up to move.
"Random electric shocks were not what I had in mind, House," Wilson protested and then paused as House gave him a look that was nothing short of lascivious. "Oh. Well. Um...okay."
There was a thumping sound outside the room and cut off their banter.
"Definitely air ducts."
"Is that a chalkboard? Did you actually bring a chalkboard on vacation?"
Charlie ignored his father, his face set into a frown of concentration as he scribbled equations on the board.
At the window, Don alternated between keeping one eye on the rabbits and one eye on his little brother. "Charlie." It had taken a lot of practice to get a tone that would make Charlie look up from his numbers. "Charlie, this is one time we don't have time for your numbers. We have to go now, Charlie."
"Just a minute." Charlie shook his head, one hand absently mussing dark curls. "Say we started off with two of those... giant rabbit things. Rabbits have around seven babies per litter, and are ready to breed again in about, uh..."
"Thirty seconds?" his father offered, glancing anxiously out the window. "I think we need to listen to your brother on this one, Charlie."
"Needs more data," Charlie said, half to himself, still making frantic notes. "Say it's around five times a year, starting around six months. Take into account predators..."
"I don't think anyone's going to prey on those." They seemed to be trying to jump up at the window now. That they were even getting close was worrying when they were in a room on the third story. Drawing his pistol, Don shot at a particularly springy one. "I think these are strictly the type that prey on other people."
"One brings a chalkboard, the other brings his gun," their father noted. "Did anyone but me get the memo that this was a vacation?"
Charlie finally looked up from his calculations, his face pale. "If there were even one single pair released a year ago, you could already be looking at over a thousand rabbits."
"Shit," Don said succinctly. He looked down again at the furry mass that seemed to fill the street down below. "What if there was only one to start with?" he asked hopefully.
"That would mean they could breed with normal rabbits, so no, not a good thing."
"I think they'd at least try to breed with normal rabbits." Their father too was watching the animals outside. "There's one out there trying to mate with an SUV. I really don't think they're all that picky."
That was enough to pull even Charlie from his work. "With a -- how?"
"Let's just say it involves the exhaust pipe."
There was a thud, and Don swore, pulling his father away from the window as a rabbit struck the wall just below their window. The bastards were jumping higher.
Somehow, FBI training had never included a plan for dealing with killer bunnies.
"Charlie, do you have any numbers on that board of yours right now that explain the best way to get away from possibly over a thousand man-eating rabbits?"
"No," Charlie admitted reluctantly.
"Then we follow mine. Run!" Don ordered, shooing both father and brother ahead of him out of the room. "No -- I meant without the damn chalkboard."
"No, no, no, honestly if you are really that stupid, then you deserve to die!"
"McKay! That's not helping!" John moved to try and restrain Rodney who was in full flail to the point he was convinced he would have someone's eye out.
"Neither is the survival strategy of herding everyone to safety in a basement when the hideous mutant creatures currently salivating after our flesh are rabbits, and you know something about rabbits, Colonel?"
"I know a few things," John answered calmly. "I watched Watership Down as a kid."
"Oh god, I bet you did. That black rabbit was almost as bad as Moby Dick. What type of people call that a children's movie? There should be warnings. There was that whole scene with blood pouring from the sky and you know, you really remind me of Bigwig, he had the same sort of..." Rodney waved towards his hair in an aimless gesture.
"You had a point in there somewhere, McKay?" John asked trying to keep track of his train of thought.
"Yes, yes, I do. Rabbits dig. They are renowned for it. What type of idiot says, hey there are mutant monsters that are spectacularly good at digging -- lets go wait for help underground!" Rodney was tugging him against the tide of humanity up the stairs.
"Someone going for a Darwin award?" John replied following on checking behind them.
"Going for? Oh no, no, no, I think he's earned it. Of course, one of the factors is that you have to be dead, but I give him twenty minutes," Rodney snapped out sharply, pulling hard on John. That was one thing Rodney did well -- he ran away from danger.
"I'm hoping you've got a plan here?" John asked, because he was the first to admit that most of his usually involved something on the Darwin award scale. At least that was what Rodney consistently told him.
Between the two of them they managed to pull off an unbelievable number of last minute saves. "You'll see when we get there." There had to be somewhere up on the upper floors. John was pretty sure he didn't have a hang glider.
"You know, maybe Giant Rabbits are like Daleks and they are... thwarted by stairs," John pointed out as they sure enough started to run up flights of stairs.
"Because with their great hopping power, the idea of ledges placed slightly more than eight inches apart will surely thwart them." Rodney exhaled hard and started up the next flight. "No, but rich stupid people who hide in basements have helicopters. Worst case scenario, we can bolster the door we get up there by, and pick them off one by one because I know you're a walking armament."
"Hey, you're the one that gets kidnapped all the time," John replied. "I might've decided that since this was a vacation, I didn't need to bring anything."
He had of course. Anywhere with McKay had a potential for disaster, even if he just sat in a locked room.
There were two ways John expected things to go wrong: Someone would try to kidnap McKay to harness his amazing brainpower (which would probably leave Rodney flattered and angry), or McKay would say the wrong thing to the wrong person and John would need to save them both. Either way, it called for weapons. "Liar."
"Yeah, well... okay," John confessed. "No P-90's, which would be really useful right about now.."
Because he could hear something thumping up the stairwell behind them. "Faster, Rodney!"
"Shit, shit!" Rodney stumbled, and John got up behind him too close, but the two of them could trip up the stairs faster than any measured pacing.
It was as much a miracle and a relief when they reached the top of the building and got out to the roof, where to John's amazement there was actually a helicopter on a rather ostentatious helipad. "Good call, Rodney...always wanted to go joy riding in Vegas."
""How about joy riding in a direction that gets us out of here?" Rodney suggested, running towards the copilot side of the helicopter. "This is so much better than shooting rabbits on the rooftop!"
John had to agree with that, even as he practically flung himself into the pilot's seat and had to demonstrate he did know how to effectively hotwire a helicopter, even as the engine wound up.
"Well there's good news and bad news," he said as the rotors wound up.
"Bad news first." Rodney said it demandingly, settling into the seat. The helmet went on his head hysterically fast.
"Well the good news is I can fly this thing," John said ignoring the request even as they took off in the nick of time as a giant rabbit made it to the roof. "The bad news is... we've only got enough fuel to fly a few miles."
Rodney didn't panic, which was admirable. He looked at John, and then out the window as John started to work on gaining altitude. "Want to set it down in a used car lot that has Hummers?"
"Actually..." John said as he orientated the helicopter and saw the chaos down below and then caught sight of some runway lights. "I think I have a plan..."
Meanwhile, in Arizona...
She was walking along a hotel corridor and there was this bizarre sound, some strange rhythmic noise that sounded all the world like jungle drums from a tacky Tarzan remake. She was half ready this time for a murder, maybe voodoo, something like that...
But she opened the door, and the glittering lights that spelled out the name of the place, the Rampart, glittered and shook because below her the gaming floors were filled with a seething mass of giant rabbits.
Even as she frowned and then stepped back, she felt a vibration in the ground behind her and there it was, teeth six inches long lunging at her, ripping and tearing...
Allison shot awake with a gasp, clutching at her throat.
"Surprise me," Joe said sleepily beside her. "Say it wasn't a nightmare." Being regularly woken in the early hours tended to increase your leanings towards sarcasm.
"I am once again amazed by how supportive my husband is," Allison said lying down a little trying to get comfortable. "I'd love to tell you it wasn't a nightmare but..."
"What this time?" Despite his words, Joe shifted to pull her closer, opening one eye to check she was all right. "Giant chickens?"
"Ha Ha.. No. Still the Giant Rabbits. In Vegas. At the Rampart apparently," Allison answered. "And no, I didn't have any cheese before I came to bed. Or the left over pizza."
"Giant chickens would provide more variety." Joe noted. "Also eggs. And really big omelets." He yawned, opening both eyes this time. "Please tell me you're not going to wake Scanlon up to tell him about giant rabbits."
She paused in reaching for the phone. "But what if it isn't a dream?" she asked. It was her instinctive reaction now to a nightmare.
"Allison!" And now Joe sat up, turning to look at his wife properly. "Giant rabbits, Allison. Did they have big pointy teeth, too?"
"Very pointy teeth," Allison said and then realized that Joe was faintly mocking her. "Oh I see. Monty Python references. Look, what I meant was that maybe it was symbolic of something... I mean, obviously giant rabbits in Vegas... um... they could be symbolic of.."
It got a quiet laugh from Joe. "Only one thing I know of rabbits being famous for," he said, raising his eyebrows a little.
That made her smile. "Oh yes?" She turned towards him raising her eyebrows a little. "And what is your professional opinion, Mr. Dubois?"
He pretended to think about it, faking a solemn frown for a moment. "My professional opinion... well, I'd say that it's..." he glanced at the alarm clock, "...roughly three in the morning, we have three peacefully sleeping children, and as this is a rather rare state of affairs, I would say the rabbits are telling you to take advantage of the situation."
"Giant rabbits," Allison said sliding closer. "You think that's symbolic as well?"
"Has to be, I would say," Joe agreed seriously. "Uh -- how giant exactly?"
"Why don't we just see if we can find that out between us?" Allison murmured with a mischievous smile.
Giant Rabbits in Vegas were not such a nightmare after all.
"Dean! Dean where the hell are you?" Sam hunted around at the point where he had last left his brother only to find he was up already with his jacket on. "Great, I was just going to suggest we leave."
Dean looked abruptly horrified. "Leave? We can't leave Sammy. This is Vegas!"
"Giant mutant Rabbits, Dean," Sam insisted.
"Killer giant mutant rabbits, Dean," Sam tried again.
Dean got that stubborn look to his face. "I am not leaving Las Vegas. This is the land of free buffet and high stakes poker. I was born to come to Vegas, Sam." He grinned a moment. "Leaving Las Vegas...hah, yeah."
"C'mon, Dean, you know what you should do when there are giant mutant Rabbits terrorizing Las Vegas," Sam remonstrated.
"Yeah, hit the blackjack tables," Dean replied with a very serious expression.
"There won't be anyone to play, Dean," Sam pointed out, looking out of the window.
"There'll always be a game in Vegas. In fact, the amateurs will be scared off," Dean replied with smug satisfaction "Don't wait up Sammy."
"What... I told you, I'm not changing my mind."
Wordlessly, Sam pointed out of the motel window to where a particularly large giant rabbit was humping the Impala hard enough to make the suspension creak so loudly it could be heard from inside their room.
Dean's face drained of color. "You... it's raping my baby, Sam!"
"I tried to warn you, Dean," Sam said with very little in the way of apology for his 'told you so' tone. "Maybe it thinks she's a Netherland Dwarf."
"Give me my fucking shotgun. I'm not going to leave any of these menaces alive!" He growled reaching for his ammo.
Now that was more like it. Sam had to really bite his tongue a little over the whole thing, but the way Dean went out of the door, shooting the hell out of anything and everything, the giant rabbits should've known better than to put the moves on a Winchester's car.
"You have to Floo off to America for what?" Ron stared at his wife, not quite sure he had heard her right the first time.
"Giant rabbits," Hermione repeated it without looking up, too busy packing enough clothes to last a couple of nights.
"And why exactly does the American Wizengamot think you should help with this?"
"I told you. They want our department's specialist skills." She grinned, reaching for another pair of socks. "Apparently, years of dealing with Hagrid has left the British Care of Magical Creatures Department one of the strongest in the world. I suggested I take him with me, but they seem to be worried he might want one for a pet."
Ron groaned at the thought. "Don't even think about it. We really don't need another Fluffy."
"I'll resist bringing back gifts -- at least live ones," Hermione promised, snapping the case shut. "You know, you could always come with me. Aren't the Aurors interested in an invasion of vicious giant rabbits?"
"Why? You don't think it's something to do with Voldemort, do you?" Ron asked, a little anxiously.
Hermione sighed. "No, Ron, even if Voldemort weren't dead I doubt his next plan would be to take on Deatheaters named Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail."
"Sounds more like Luna's type of thing," Ron commented.
"It is -- she already firecalled me. She's there already, reporting for the Quibbler." Hermione grinned, remembering the conversation. "Apparently they're reporting that they think the issue might be rabbits crossbreeding with nargles."
That sounded familiar, and so much Luna that Ron couldn't help laughing out loud. "So what do your guys think the problem is?"
"People being stupid. It usually is." Hermione lifted the case off the bed, testing the weight and nodding to herself with some satisfaction. "You remember those ducks they still talk about at the Ministry? And those hamsters last year?"
Ron's face fell. "You don't mean..."
"I'm afraid so." Hermione paused only to give her husband a quick goodbye kiss, moving briskly towards the fire. "It seems the Americans go by the same rule we do..."
They chorused it ruefully, a phrase too often repeated while hunting down the cause of crop circles, strange magical creatures and reports of aliens. "When things go wrong, blame Experimental Charms!"
"The idea of finding a plane to hijack was so we could, oh I know...get the hell out of here," Rodney hissed at John who was running preflight on their hastily acquired passenger plane. "Are you sure you can fly one of these?"
"I'll let you know when I try the loop the loop," John said flippantly. "Look, the place is swarming. If these people are bright enough to make it to an airport, I'll take who I can."
"Be still my bleeding heart," Rodney said acidly.
"Yeah, well, we've got those two guys shooting the hell out of anything on the runway, and I'm not leaving without them," John said firmly.
"Fine, fine...of course it doesn't occur to you how disturbing it is that they carry around more weaponry than you do." Rodney said.
"Rodney, look, we've got that Fed on board, a whole load of law enforcement from Vegas, a couple of doctors, the math guy... and our two helpful shotgun wielding psychos. We'll be fine."
"Famous last words, Sheppard," Rodney said darkly. "Famous last words."
"I swear to god, Fargo, if I find out that this is your fault..." Jack said as they managed to scramble aboard a passenger plane that was one of the only ones even attempting to leave Vegas.
"Me? Why does everyone assume it's me?" Fargo answered in an aggrieved tone.
"How can I count the ways?" Jack answered. "How about... oh, hey, the personal shield where we nearly had to drop you down a bottomless hole and explode a nuclear bomb on your head, huh? Or... oo, I don't know, the fact we had to chase you to Vegas to stop you using the probability analyzer to break the games here."
"It doesn't rig the games. There's nothing illegal about it..." Fargo protested.
"Like the casinos are going to care about that," Jack said with a sigh.
"Relax, Carter," Stark said from beside him. "He's not smart enough to have pulled this off."
"See?...hey!" Fargo protested, belatedly realizing the insult.
"Taggart on the other hand. I could see this being from something he's done," Nathan mused.
"You know, I don't care," Jack said decisively. "I want to get back to Eureka, where you, Fargo, will owe me because I've had to leave Zoe alone with hair boy, and Jo with Zane. And God alone knows if the town will still be there when we get back."
It was a sad state of affairs when neither of his fellow travelers even argued with him.
Maybe he should take his chances with the rabbits.
"So you think he's military?" Greg asked as they settled down.
"Air Force, gotta be," Nick replied. "He's got the hair for that."
"The marines would eat him alive," Catherine added from behind him. "Especially since he's obviously here with his partner."
Greg had to agree, she had to be right about that. He'd never seen two people having sex without touching quite so obviously before.
"The fact he can fly a plane would suggest that Air Force was most likely," Grissom replied. "Or more precisely that he says he can. We don't have evidence to the contrary."
"That's not your most cheery thought, Gil," Catherine said, checking on Lindsay.
"In that case, try on the size of the overtime you'll pull in after this one," Grissom replied and gave a half smile.
"We should offer our services.." Wilson said in a low voice looking around the plane as they waited for take off.
"As what? Prostitutes?" House replied.
"House!" Wilson said and then added thoughtfully. "I prefer to think of myself as a high class escort."
"With benefits by arrangement?" House asked raising an eyebrow.
"Hey, you've even got the cane for being a pimp," Wilson replied with a smile "Even if you moved pretty damn fast for a cripple."
"God I love your political correctness, it's such a turn on," House said with a smirk at Wilson.
"House, you'd find a stick a turn on," he pointed out, feeling he was justified in the opinion from personal experience.
"You think I carry this thing around for helping me walk?" House said as he waved his cane around slightly. "Every time I grip it I'm thinking of you, Jimmy..."
Wilson looked at the grip of House's hand on the handle of the cane and groaned. "Congratulations, I've now forgotten everything about the life and death situation we're in and if we get out of this, I'm not going to be able to see you walk around at the hospital without thinking of this."
House just smirked. "That was the general idea."
Finally it seemed that the plane was packed full, the runway clear enough to attempt a take off.
"Are you sure she'll be okay in that container?" Dean asked for about the millionth time.
"Dean, it's a solid steel container, the car will be safer than we will," Sam reassured even as the irritable quick talking scientist guy came out and turned on the intercom
"Apparently we're finally taking off, which you should know if I had my way would've happened about thirty minutes ago when we weren't surrounded by giant rabbits ravening for our blood." Rodney said. "So, imagine that we're not in mortal peril and your pilot isn't an insane risk taker with no sense of personal preservation and buckle up, and if you're smoking, put it the hell out, what are you? Determined to die one way or another? And if you don't know where the emergency exits are, you don't deserve to be on this plane."
"Man, he's the shittiest air stewardess ever," Dean commented, still looking pale and shaking.
Sam had no idea how the hell Dean could face giant killer rabbits without turning a hair, but put him on a plane and he got jittery and shaky.
"Ladies and gentlemen," came a drawling voice over the intercom. "We are about to take off and probably run over some giant rabbits in the mean time. Thank you for flying Sheppard Air, and hopefully it will be a short trip."
"Great, as long as he doesn't mean a short flight followed by a crash," Dean muttered.
The plane took off with a few mysterious bumps and thuds and then everyone relaxed.
Of course that proved to be just a fraction too soon, because even as they leveled off, a door from the cargo hold gave way and a last minute giant rabbit stowaway rampaged into the passenger cabin.
There was complete chaos. It was trapped, and people were yelling not to shoot, and others were screaming to shoot the fucking thing right now, or hiding or generally taking advantage of the near death situation for nearly accidental groping.
In the end it was Dean who snapped, reloaded his shot gun and shouted. "I'VE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING RABBITS ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!" and ignoring the warnings of the others not to fire, shot the giant lepus right in the head.
There was a moment of stunned silence as the dust and rabbits brains settled and Sam cleared his throat. "Uh, sorry. He's a bit of a nervous flyer."
"Well holy crap, there's an understatement," Rodney said looking shaken. "Still, we didn't depressurize and explode, which I generally count as plus points in a day."
"That would only happen if I missed," Dean said as he returned to his seat with a smirk that Sam knew mean, 'yeah right, like that's gonna happen'.
"Great just what I needed, another gun happy maniac." Rodney moaned. "Anyway, last minute drama aside, we've got about an hour's trip ahead of us so we might as well raid the alcohol and make the most of it as we're likely to spend the rest of the night in custody for stealing a plane. Personally, I recommend telling them that it was all Sheppard's idea."
There was a click from the intercom. "I heard that, Rodney. Say goodbye to Vegas everyone... next time we see it, it should be giant rabbit free."
At least, they hoped so.