The D.C. Wastelands: Blamco Mac & Cheese
"If anyone does want to come with me, then we should do this now."
Lucy acknowledged William's plan-of-action, she respected his abilities and there was no doubt that he was the right man for the job. However, that bomb collar of his had her extremely worried. Who had done such a terrible thing to him and why was he in the Vault in a power suit no less?
"I think I'll stay here with Syl-...!" Lucy was stopped mid-motion as she intended to lend her plasma pistol to William.
"OH BIG SISSY PSYCHO LUCY CABOOOOOOSY!!!" Sylphee's sugary sweet voice rang through the air.
Interrupting Lucy's previous conversation with Alice and William. Lucy thoroughly diverted her attention to the safety of Sylph at hand. Or more accurately, Sylphee, in this case.
Between the two sides, Lucy was surprisingly taking a liking to the Serious side of Sylph. Personal preferences aside, Sylphee was unpredictable at best and given their circumstances, that had greatly concerned her.
"Alice, I'm joining them. Where Sylph goes, I go...as for what I said earlier, mull it over." Lucy broke out into a sprint and pointed back at Alice. "I'm trusting you!"
Following the sound of the continuous sniper fire, Lucy had to wonder just how much ammunition this potential enemy was carrying. Weaving through the broken ruins and avoiding alleyways, Lucy primed her Gauss Rifle with another round.
Sylph's voice was last recalled coming from this direction, which unfortunately seemed to be the same area where the sniper fire seemed to originate from. Her first point of order was to locate Sylphee and aid William if possible.
Lucy's home-schooled education did not extend to medical studies, but Sylph looked like she needed to rest regardless of the amount of healing medication being pumped into her system.
"--- so we don't need to go in all guns blazing... or all swords."
Relieved to hear William's voice, Lucy ran into an alleyway and peeked around the corner. She was glad that he hadn't gotten lost or run straight into the enemy
Sure enough, she had discovered William taking cover nearby. It seems like the sniper was making no attempt to hide his/her position as the gunfire had masked their approach. Ugh, they were in the open.
Looking around, Lucy picked up a nearby rock and threw it near William and waved to indicate that she was here. Keeping low and moving up to William's position, she made a lighthearted quip to ease the tension. "So how can I help? I am not about to leave you alone while you fight the bad guys."
Rummaging for her plasma pistol, Lucy extended the weapon to William with an earnest nod. "Here - You keep running away before I can lend you this! If the Blamco hits the fan, then you have 16 plasma bolts with a magnetic accelerator to compensate for projectile lag."
Peeking over the cover, "Have you seen Syl-...!"
There she was, merrily skipping down the road without a care in the world. Lucy threw another rock at her feet to get her attention. "Sylphee! Over here! Hurry!"
Washington, District of Columbia - Museum Of Technology
Talion watched as smoking pieces of scrap fell to the floor around him. He reloaded and checked on Laura who was following him inside. There was enough space for her and well she wasn't exactly safe outside in the urban hellhole DC had become. She made a tinny neigh as he pulled a piece of shrapnel from one of her armour plates, bastard exploding machines. He had zero clue as to why the exhibits were walking around as hostile androids, but it wouldn't exactly shock him if the feds had rigged them up as a security system before the bombs dropped. Okay time to stop thinking about the machines, there were paladins... They had to be paladins right... Anyway they were inside, probably fighting the bots, if he helped them and they vouched for him he'd be welcomed back to service soon enough. FOCUS!
He heard a mechanical clicking noise as a group of machines rounded a corner and looked at him. Their eyes red and glowing, one raised a hand and pointed towards him before releasing a mechanical roar. Talion opened fire onto the machines before crashing himself through a thin wall, Laura soon following him.
He looked at Laura and said "Wait" before charging into the hallway and unloading onto the bots, blowing away their inhibitors and optical sensors before they began firing at eachother and exploding.
He was relieved that the shooting stopped, though from the sound of the clicking in the distance, in every direction, more were coming.
"Thanks Lucy, I will take good care of this." The plasma pistol would pack much more of a punch than his 10mm, especially against armoured opponents. Before anything else could happen Sylph skipped off down be street. Lucy tried to get her to come back but to no avail. Fortunately, William had an idea, something that might help shepherd Sylph in the right direction now and then.
William darted out of cover and ran over to Sylph, still skipping down the street. "Ok Sylph you left without us and you shouldn't do that. We need to go back to Lucy for a minute," then William delivered the offer-you-can't-refuse, "Do you want a piggyback?"
Come on, everyone loves a piggyback, regardless of time or place.
"Did he just say that The Brotherhood of Steel is in this town? Do you know where? Oh man I have to talk to them, I did not expect to find them here! This is the greatest thing I've heard all day! Please please please, you have to take me to them! I'll do anything!"
Larry groaned a bit, he put down his latest piece of work and said "Yup I knew they were here. Even talked to them, though..." Larry pondered for a bit about whether he should say this next bit "The last conversation I had with them involved me holding a grenade threatening to blow them up.' Larry was quick to add this next bit "But they did push my buttons, accused me of being enclave." Larry then looked off into the distance and started thinking of the previous times people mistook him for something he was not. Most of them didn't end well for at least one of the parties involved.
The DeeCee Wastey Wastedlands!:
Mister World was indeed the mostest wonderfulest place ever, The Red Menace thought to herself as she skipped down the road , stopping on occasion to poke Mister Spatter Headed Raider with Mister Anti-Materiel Rifle and check their pockets to see if they had any interesting treasure to be found in their pockets. So far The Merry Blue Haired Psychopath had found a few shiny hairpins that she thought that Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy would like, a bottle of Missy Tennesee Whiskey that Mommy Meryl Barrel would like, Mister antiquee watch on a chain that Daddy Johnny Shakes Might like, a scarf for Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar and a book called One Leg is Better than No Legs for Missy One Legged Alice. The Hippity Hoppity Crimson Dressed Smiley Face was in the process of checking another Mister Splatter Headed Raider when Lil Ole Mister Pebble landed nearby.
"Hey! Hey! Hey! Who did that?" Sylphee asked as she looked for whomever tossed Lil Ole Mister Pebble at her which was soon followed by Lil Ole Mister Pebble's brother.
"Hiiii Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy!!!!" Sylphee said with a gigantor wave as she let go of Mister Anti-Materiel Rifle to pick up Lil Ole Mister Pebble and tossing it back at Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy. Catch was a fun game!
But there was something even funner that playing Catch with Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy.
"Do you want a piggyback?" Asked Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar.
"I can has Piggy Back Ride?!" The Child at Heart Blue Eyed Space Cadet almost squee'd, hopping onto Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar's back before she could finish her question.
"HEY!!!! You have a necklace like mine! Can I see it? Does it come off? Who'd you get it from? It looks kinda heavy! Is it heavy? Can I have it? I'll trade you this scarf for it! It doesn't look like it wants to come off! How come it's so big? Did your mommy give it to you? Did your mommy's mommy give it to her? Did you like your mommy? I don't remember my mommy. My old Daddy said that I sprouted out of thin air! Were you sprouted out of thin air? Is there such thing as fat air?" Sylphee machine gunned as she examined Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar's collar.
"Hiiiiiiiiiiiii Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy. I thought that was you shooting at the Flying Mister Raiders. If you aren't shooting at them then who is? Is it a new friend? Can we go make a new friend? Our new friend must be a new friend if they're keeping Mister Splatter Headed Raiders from landing on ut!!" Sylphee stated, pointing out the fact that whoever the Sniper was, they were shooting bullets and keeping Mister Splatter Headed Raiders from landing on TEAM BIG SISSY PSYCHO LUCY CABOOSY!
Deep inside the Enclave Super Vault, Constance's Mother, Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411, looked at the latest reports regarding her daughter as relayed by Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209... or Enclave Dominator #209 as he enjoyed being addressed. According to the EyeBot Reconnaissance Drones that #209 had assigned to observe #411's daughter, Constance had just been released from Rivet City's brig with the assistance of a member of the Enclave Asset program.
Currently, the Cat Eared Scout was making her way out of Rivet City with the American Enclave Scouts of America's Short Bus being the presumed destination. An interesting proposition since the traitorous Enclave Asset Lucy Black was located between Constance and her vehicle.
#411 had reviewed her daughter's American Enclave Scouts of America file and felt extremely disappointed at Constance's progress. In the years that she had been a member, Constance had only earned a total of three merit badges. With Constance being away from her troop, it was unlikely that she would be earning more anytime soon... unless...
"E.D... deploy... an... Eye-Valuation... Bot. Target... Constance... Sorrowfeld." #411 muttered as she typed the brief message to Enclave Dominator #209, " The... flowers... you... sent... died... already... but... they... were... nice."
Sending the message to Encalve Heavy Weapons Specialist #209, #411 leaned back in her chair and briefly wondered if leading #209 on was the right thing to do. He was not Fallout Jack after all.
Between the time that Constance Sorrowfeld had left the Rivet City brig to Walking off of the bridge that represented the Rivet City Proper the American Enclave Scout of America had already formulated a rough strategy as to how she would exact her revenge against Rivet City for the indignity of being tossed into the brig while simultaneously destabilizing the Brotherhood of Swine power base in the D.C. Wasteland. It was quite simple. She would infiltrate the Citadel using the catapult system in her vehicle and turn some of the Citadel's weapon systems, most likely the Security Robots, on Rivet City. News of the Brotherhood of Swine's attack on a civilian population would spread quickly and anyone foolish enough to have already aligned with those Brotherhood Miscreants would be forced to reconsider.
"It's almost too simple!" The Cat Eared Scout smirked to herself as she reviewed her position and the position of her the American Enclave Scouts of America Transport.
If she followed the surface streets, Constance would more than likely run into any number of Super Mutant Hunting parties with little room to maneuver. If she took the subterranean tunnels, it was guaranteed that she would be attacked and dismembered by the wandering groups of Feral Ghouls. Of the two routes, neither route appealed to the Scout and her sense of self preservation.
Rolling up her map, American Enclave Scout of America Sorrowfeld was hit by another bout of rogue radio transmissions.
"B.A.R.N. to Enclave Air Control. Deploying - wizzzit - Dog (howls), and you're listening to Galaxy News Radio. Bringing you the truth, no mat - whiiiirr - peat. Deploying Eye-Valuation Bot. Target Constance - Shhhhhhhhrrrzzt -"
It took a moment for the Cat Eared Sorrowfeld Scout to recover as she shook her head. As useful as it was to be able to pick up Enclave Radio transmissions, it was akin to being a schizophrenic clairvoyant. Shaking the last bits of the garbled transmissions from her head, Constance realized what was said.
"An Eye-Valuation Bot?" The Scout muttered, realizing that someone in the Enclave was critiquing her performance... which also meant Merit Badges. The realization and the deployment of the Eye-Valuation Bot caused the teenage girl to smile as an idea of a third route to her Vehicle came into fruition.
Her ears locked onto another radio transmission as Constance stepped onto the concrete roof of a delapidated building that overlooked the Former District of Columbia. With a cool breeze whipping through her hair from the Potomac River, the young girl scanned her rooftop route that would take her back towards her vehicle and planned accordingly as she tightened the straps on her Death Claw gloves.
Taking a deep breath, Constance launched into a run, her boots echoing off the rooftops and sending small pieces of loose debris skittering over building's edge. It did not matter how much noise Constance was making not when the noise would serve her purpose.
"HUP!!" The Scout grunted before leaping across the first rooftop chasm, her ears making sure that her landing point would support her weight without crumbling. The second roof was not as barren as the first as ancient air conditioning units still littered the once filled commercial building. The Scout did not go around them, opting instead to leap over them or roll over them in order to maintain her forward momentum.
The Scout's second leap was almost as successful as her first, the girl landing within a few inches of the building's edge. From that point forward it would only get harder.
Pulling out her shotgun during her dash, Constance rammed an anchor down the firearm's barrel and fired at the third building's edge, the sharpened edges of the anchor easily sinking into the concrete as Constance pumped the fore-grip of the shotgun and rammed a second anchor, this one attached to the first by a steel cable, and fired once again, this time aiming at the side of the fourth building.
Sensing slack on the cable, the anchors reeled in the excess line and held the line taut while Constance crossed the thin bridge that kept her from tumbling down to the unforgiving concrete.
[SUPER BALANCED!]As she crossed the line, the Cat Tailed teenager pumped her shotgun once again and unloaded a shell filled with rubber pellets at a group of Super Mutants congregating below her, the grunts and cries of surprise was music to Constance's regular ears as they started chasing her on the street below.
There were still two more tricks up her sleeve as the Felinesque Scout jumped the gap between the fourth and fifth building only...
"SHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIII..." Constance cursed as the concrete under the boots gave way and sent the girl tumbling towards the earth below. Instinctively, Scout Sorrowfeld grabbed for the fifth building's wall and to her relief, felt the claws of her Death Claw gloves sink into the building's walls and slow her descent. Though she was safe from a falling death, it did not mean she was safe from danger as the chasing Super Mutant fired on her position with their weapons causing the girl to skitter up the wall as quickly as she could before hauling herself up on the safer rooftop.
As she crossed the edge of the fifth building, Constance fired another shell full of rubberized pellets at an idle group of Super Mutants who soon joined the chase.
And now, Constance was down to her last trick as she pumped her shotgun for the last time before jumping to the sixth rooftop, pausing to throw a taunt at the chasing Super Mutants to ensure that they were still giving chase. Striding to the opposite edge of the rooftop, Constance aimed her weapon and pulled the trigger. This time she did not fire rubber bullets. This time she fired an extremely bright flare at the side of the wall next to a passing Brotherhood of Swine patrol, smiling as she was rewarded with yelps of surprise as the Brotherhood Patrol had little time to adjust to the blindingly bright beacon that had bloomed next to them. They had very little time to also adjust to the mob of Super Mutants that suddenly found their patrol.
Crossing over a sky bridge to the waiting Eye-Valuation Bot, Constance listened to the sudden firefight that came to life far below, before reading her evaluation.
Challenge Passed: Dispensing Merit Badges. The Eye-Valuation Bot droned before floating off. Looking at the badges, Constance was not surprised to see that she had earned her Acrobatics Merit Badge but was surprised by the second.
"There's a HERDING merit badge?!" Constance exclaimed before continuing on towards where her Short Bus was parked. There was however a surprise that awaited her as she descended to the ground.
The sight of an adult male giving a young woman with double pigtailed hair a piggy back ride would have been a surprise to anymore.
"Yup I knew they were here. Even talked to them, though... The last conversation I had with them involved me holding a grenade threatening to blow them up. But they did push my buttons, accused me of being enclave."
This was not the response Charlie was expecting to hear. The Brotherhood didn't go around threatening civilians, they fought to protect the good people of the wasteland didn't they? Protecting them from bandits, raiders, feral ghouls and anyone else who sought to prey on those weaker than themselves.
Cannon Family Ranch - Somewhere west of Vault 106 - Nine years ago:
"Tell us another story Pa! Please, please, please pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaase!"
Alexander Cannon chuckled as his five children clustered around him, the younger ones pulling on his trouser legs and looking up at him with pleading eyes.
"Alright, alright, settle down you lot. Have I told you about the time I was a caravan guard and got rescued by the Brotherhood of Steel?"
(He had, but they weren't going to tell him that).
"Okay then. About twenty or so years ago I'd been hired as a caravan guard and we were travelling between Megaton and Tenpenny Tower. The merchants had hired about ten of us for the job, so they must have been carrying some expensive cargo if they were that worried about it. Or maybe they were just paranoid, I dunno."
"Anyway, we were heading through some old ruins and I noticed one of the other guards seemed a bit nervous, he kept looking around as if trying to spot something. I was about to ask him what was wrong, but then out of nowhere, a bullet took him right through the brain! In a second dozens of bandits popped out of the buildings surrounding us, with lead and shrapnel flying in every direction."
"I dove behind a nearby vehicle wreck and watched in horror as my comrades were all torn apart before me. Clutching my rifle with both hands, I was certain that I was about to die. If I was gonna go though, I was gonna go down fighting, Alexander Cannon ain't no chicken! Taking some quick, deep breaths to steady myself, I was about to jump out and start shooting... but then I saw them."
"Jogging towards me from the direction we had come, 6 soldiers, fully clad in silver power armor and wielding some crazy looking weaponry. They didn't hesitate, once they were in firing range they raised their guns and unleashed a veritable storm of lasers and plasma. Two of the soldiers ran past me, bullets bouncing harmlessly off their armor, and engaged the enemy in close quarters with their power fists. I saw several bandits heads explode and splatter everywhere, such was the power of those fists."
"ALEX! The children don't need to hear gory details like that! Anyway, dinner's ready."
Alex's wife Sarah waved the knife she had been using to prepare the food at him, although she had a smile on her face as she did so.
"Alrighty kids, lets eat. You know how it ends, the Brotherhood destroyed the bandits, expressed their sympathies for my fallen comrades and let me take as much as I could carry from the caravan. They are some real life heroes, always looking out for the little man and fighting the bad guys. If there's any hope for a civilized society some day, they'll be the people who made it happen, not those Enclave folks. Mark my words.
Remembering the stories Pa had loved to tell about the Brotherhood, Charlie knew that the Brotherhood was a noble and brave organization. He would admit that his father was prone to over-exaggerating a bit, but he'd never said a bad word about the Brotherhood. He truly believed in them and Charlie had inherited that belief wholeheartedly.
Noticing Larry had also spaced out a little, Charlie tried to grab his attention again.
"Hey, uh, Mister Hatchet? I'm sure that was just a misunderstanding you had with the Brotherhood soldiers, and nothing bad came of it right? Anyway, if you don't want to talk to them again I understand, but could you at least point me in their general direction? I absolutely have to talk to them, it would make me the happiest fella in the whole damn wasteland if I could!"
Alice was just about respond to Lucy's first comment when Lucy turned away distracted. Following her gaze Alice noticed that Sylph was happily skipping off in the direction of the gunfire.
"Alice, I'm joining them. Where Sylph goes, I go...as for what I said earlier, mull it over." Lucy broke out into a sprint and pointed back at Alice. "I'm trusting you!"
Alice sighed wearily. Having just gotten out of a close quarter battle and finding herself a little nest to spot from, not forgetting the recent aircraft crash, she had no intention of getting up and sprinting after them. Her muscles ached from the explosion and the adrenaline was only just starting to wear off.
With William, Lucy and Slyph wandering towards the sound of the rifle, Alice took the time to have another scan around the area. The sniper aside, there was nobody in the immediate vicinity, not in range of the others at least. Wherever the sniper was, the angle they had seemed to be perfect for hitting the falling men, but not able to get much lower.
That's got to mean they are lower than me, possibly on one of those hills I saw before the crash. I'd reached the tallest one to have a good look around, but there were plenty of others nearby, most had buildings too, so they must be on one of them.
Realising that she wasn't going to be able spot the sniper herself, Alice was considering getting up after all when she noticed a strange silhouette out of the corner of her eye through her scope. A small figure nearby, certainly a teenage girl... but with what appeared to be cat ears and a tail.
"Okay, now I have seen everything," Alice muttered to herself.
The D.C. Wastelands: A Different Perspective
The Wastelands around D.C. seemed to be getting stranger and stranger and stranger. Between human precipitation, giant Nukalurks, Super Behemoth Super Mutants, a modern day Baba Yaga's hut, a cat-like girl that belonged to a redundantly named organization, Sylph, The Editor, the disappeared people, Lucy Black's Blamco obsession, Naked Frank vs. Naked FalloutBob, --- um --- you get the drift. Yes, the D.C. Wasteland was indeed getting to be a stranger and stranger place.
Take for instance the scene that we have before us, we have a large adult male giving a blue haired young woman a piggy back ride through the ruins of Downtown D.C where it's currently raining Raiders and Scavengers. No, we're not talking about William and Sylph. The large man in question isn't large in stature, but more large around the waist. Portly is what you might call him. Morbidly portly. He has a name, I just can't remember it off the top of my head. For now, we'll call him Otaku-San.
"Oh - my - Goooooood!" Otaku-San wheezed for what was likely the 50th time that day since leaving Paradise Falls with his prize and that's just the conservative estimate. What was his prize, you might be wondering?
"Oh - my - Goooooood! I can't believe I found someone that looks just like Anarchy Stocking!!" The Morbidly Portly Otaku-San exclaimed between wheezes.
"Mmmmmffff!!" The Anarchy look-a-like exclaimed through her gag.
"Don't - you - worry - my - little - plaything. We'll - get - you - home - soon - enough." Otaku-San said, trying to calm down his panicking prize right before his legs gave out on him, "OH GOD I GOTTA SIT DOWN!!!"
While Otaku-San sat down to rest his short stubby legs, he spotted a sight most peculiar.
"Hey man! Hey! You coming from Paradise Falls also?" Otaku-San asked William from where he sat watching the man give Sylph a Piggy Back ride, "Man they must've found these two at a hair dye plant or something. Boy, your's sure is pretty. She almost looks like Re-HEY!!!"
While Otaku-San had been busy admiring Sylph, or William's catch, the Anarchy look-a-like started running.
"COME BACK HERE! I PAID GOOD CAPS FOR YOU! " The Morbidly Portly man yelled as he struggled to get up,"I've got a house waiting for us in the Best Town in the United States, at least that's what they said! COME BA-OH HOLY CRAP!!"
What was the "Oh Holy Crap!!" for? Well, remember it was raining men and unlike water droplets, human bodies falling at terminal velocity don't just splatter on your head and leave you a little wet.
*SPLORCH!!!!* Went Anarchy Stocking as a Raider fell from the sky and landed on her.
"N-N-N-NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Screamed the Fat-Ass Otaku-San as he shook his first at the skies - well - he would have if another Raider hadn't fallen on him.
Sylphee had watched all of this happen from Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar's back in amazement as Mister Fatter Splatter went splattity splat.
"That was strange, don't you think Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar? I never ever seen anything like that before, have you? What's Paradise Falls? Is it nice? Have you been there? Did you like it when you were there? Did you get any souvenirs? What'd you get? Hey shouldn't we go find our new friend?" The Red Menace asked as she wiped a bit of Mister Fatter Splatter off of her sleeve, "Oh look there's Missy One Legged Alice. HI MISSY ONE LEGGED ALICE!!!! HI! IT'S ME SYLPH AND MISTER WILLY BILLY BOMB COLLAR!!!"
"Hey Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar. Do you know where Daddy Johnny Shakes is? I haven't seen him for a while have you? I miss him. Do you think he misses us? Do you think he found our new friend yet? Is Mister Sniper our new friend? We should get going shouldn't we? Can we go now Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar?"
"That was... strange Sylph. But I feel like strange is becoming the norm. Come on, let's get going." Said William, still carrying Sylph, truth be told he was enjoying giving the piggyback, Sylph didn't weigh much and her enthusiasm was contagious at close distances. They still had not approached the sniper, but they were about to. William started carrying Sylph towards the sniper, as he wasn't planning to attack right now the sight of a piggyback might keep the sniper calm. After all, who ever heard of being killed by someone involved in a piggyback?
William also took the opportunity to answer some of Sylphs questions, "Johnny is around, we've all just been rushing about so quickly he might not have had time to keep up. He'll be back soon. As for your Mr Sniper, we don't know if they're our friend yet so we're going to talk to them and try to make friends." As for some of Sylphs other questions, William considered his answer more carefully, "Paradise Falls is not a nice place, don't ever try and go there. There are bad people there who don't want to be your friend and are lying if they say they do. I've been there, so I know."
I hope you never end up there Sylph, the things I saw when I was there. Much of what I did there wasn't part of my job but I had to do it. William remembered the time Morgan Bloom had tasked him with rescuing one of his business associates, currently enslaved at Paradise Falls. William had broken in at night by getting through a weak spot in the fence. Nobody bothered him inside since he looked like a mercenary and the slavers dressed like mercenaries. It had been simple enough to locate Blooms associate, she was in the slave pens with the others. Dozens of people, all collared and all packed into a tiny area like a herd of Brahmin.
William had broken her out of the pen easily enough, and Bloom had provided a tech savvy assistant to deal with the collar. But as they reached the gap in the wall William had paused, there were so many slaves in there and if he could get one out, he could get others out too. His assistant had refused to go back into Paradise Falls, but agreed to wait at the gap in the wall and disarm the collars of anyone William brought out.
Things had gone well at first, William got another three out and to the wall, then he got caught helping someone else escape and the slavers simply detonated the collar in front of William, he was covered in blood and meat as he ran back to the gap in the wall under gunfire. William, the tech assistant (William never asked the name) and four rescued slaves made a run for it. Unfortunately, Paradise Falls had a sniper that picked off two of the other freed slaves and caught William in the arm. The sniper hadn't been very good as he fired many shots, most that had missed. Firing in the dark probably didn't help either.
All in all, William had succeeded in his mission and was well paid. However he wasn't quite done with the slavers, coming across a slaver and his captive two months after the Paradise Falls mission sent Willliam into a cold rage. He didn't shoot the man, nor stab him. William simply tackled the man to the ground and beat him to death. The slave girl cried in terror when he tried to approach her. She instead took something from the slavers body and used it to remove her collar before running away.
Back to the present and William and Sylph had got close enough to the sniper, "Hello, we heard all the noise you're making and thought we'd drop in for a bit. Nice to meet you."
Nicole slowly stood, rifle raised cautiously as she tried to figure out just what on earth the Gary's were doing. She cautiously moved towards the crowd of Gary's, trying to edge around them towards to Super Duper Mart. This was getting unnerving, she had always tried to just stay away from the Gary's, but here they were, bowing to her, hailing her as... Something.
She lowered her rifle for a second to take a deep swig from her hip flask, hoping the booze would steady her nerves for a moment. Drawing herself to her full height, she pointed to the door of the Super Duper Market and cautiously spoke, "Gary?"
Megaton Guard Tower: 1 year and 6 months ago
Abigail gently knocked on the steel railing with her binoculars and cleared her throat with a sly, "Ahem!"
Walker, one of Megaton's snipers was on duty today. The man in his forties yelped loudly and quickly clutched his heart dramatically in an attempt to play off his surprise as a joke. "Abby! How the hell did you get up here?"
Abigail merely laughed, gave Walker a peck on the cheek and laid her packed lunch on a nearby chair. "You sound more and more like Stockholm each day." Nodding towards the horizon and readying her binoculars, Abigail queried, "Anything interesting today?"
Walker always enjoyed his wife's little surprise visits, they truly brightened his day. But getting back on topic, "That Lucy girl..."
"Lucy West?" Abigail asked with a hint of confusion.
"No no, the Springvale Survivor. Lucy Black...she's out hunting radscorpions, molerats and fireants again." Walker replied, clearly distracted while watching Lucy hunt the local wildlife through the scope of his sniper rifle.
"Oh! So you look at younger girls all day while you're up here, hmm?" Abigail teased. Using her own pair of binoculars. She located the eponymous Lucy Black leaping from rock to rock, firing two laser pistols while a gang of radscorpions were trying to attack her.
"You know I only have eyes for you...but I tell you, that girl has been the best thing to happen to this town in a long time." Walker smiled at his wife's jab.
"I know, especially in the last 4 months. The amount of trade routes she's cleared by thinning out the local wildlife and scaring off any bandits is astounding. Now traders that can't afford an armed guard even visit here now." Abigail remarked on Lucy's influence with appraisal.
"...not only that. That girl works around town from the minute she wakes up. Cleaning, fixing those damn leaky pipes, repairing a few smaller weapons. All for a bed at Moira's?" Walker was taken aback by how little Lucy had asked for in return for the amount of work she willingly does here.
Abigail was watching how Lucy had dispatched of the radscorpions by turning their tails to ash. It looked liked a self-imposed challenge when she could just shoot the body. Meanwhile Lucy had the weight of a very large and a very iconic rifle on her back.
Abigail sighed worryingly. "She never takes that thing off, does she?"
Walker immediately knew what she was referring to. "That Gauss Rifle? Never. Some guy drops her here half-dead, few days later she walks home and comes back in leather armour, backpack and that massive beast in her hands."
Abigail sighed again, her voice dipped sympathetically. "I tried asking her about that gun. Poor thing shut down completely, wouldn't say a word to anyone for the next 2 days. Springvale Survivor? Poor thing..."
"Yeah...but she's got a temper though! One of the Stahl boys tried touching that gun. She turned right around with anger that I have never seen before and punched the man square in the throat." Walker grinned at the recent incident.
Alice winced. "Oof! Why the throat and why does she strap it all over the place and not use it?"
"She's a short girl with a short fuse and a big gun to make up for all of it. That Lucy girl can shoot and I mean shoot! We offered her a job as a town sniper, but the little thing refused and told us that she had to train even more with that gun."
Alice brought her hand to her chin. "Hmm...there's more to it than that."
"What do you mean?" Walker asked.
"Have you seen the way she looks at everything? That girl may be 20-something, but her eyes tell you that she has seen hell."
Walker could only nod in agreement. "I think you're right. That girl just wants to talk and talk, but whenever you ask about that gun or home...shit, she lost everything and she has no friends here."
Abigail perked up. "Moira has taken a liking to her, offered her a bed and everything. Still, that girl works and fights till she drops every single day."
"OH SHIT!" Walker exclaimed as he peered through his scope at the disastrous scene,
A large tough-looking gray radscorpion had appeared from behind a boulder. Lucy pointed the pistols at the approaching threat, but nothing was coming out. Throwing the weapons aside, she quickly drew the rifle from her back and blasted the radscorpion into a complete mess just as it lunged at her.
It was Abigail's turn to yelp and clutch her heart. "Oh thank god! I don't know how she wields that thing."
Walker was immensely impressed. "She trains every day, straps that thing to her legs, back, carries it..."
Abigail lowered her binoculars and hugged Walker around his waist. "Tough girl, huh? I'm gonna go meet her at the gate, maybe we can invite the poor thing to have dinner with us tonight? What do you think she'll like? She barely eats, y'know?"
Walker pondered for a moment. Although the answer was clear as day. "That girl lights up at the mention of Blamco Mac & Cheese. Hell, she's earned her keep, might as well show some appreciation."
"...and that is why I married you! You have a kind heart." Abigail kissed her husband's cheek and sauntered away. Before leaving entirely, one more shout could be heard. "Now stop staring at younger girls and come home early!"
Walker smiled to himself wearily and shook his head at his wife's antics.
The D.C. Wastelands: Aggressive gentlemen, not reckless.
"Hiiii Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy!!!!" Sylphee shouted while making an ungodly waving motion. The Anti-Materiel Rifle clattered to the floor as the rock Lucy had used to get Sylph's attention earlier was now being flung in her direction. The rock found it's unaware target and landed a critical hit on her head.
Stunned and surprised, Lucy collapsed to rub her aching skull. (Serious Note to self: Steal Sylph's backpack.)
Since Lucy was tending to her own injury, she did not bear witness to the nearby shouting and soon-to-be lack of shouting.
Emerging from her cover later, Lucy's foul mood lightened up somewhat at the sight of William giving Sylphee a piggyback ride. Funny, she wanted to do the same for Sylphee. Lucy followed them from a distance, not wishing to disturb their conversation or get another rock flung her way. She wondered whether William was an only child, he seemed to handle Sylphee's more childlike personality better than others. Maybe he had kids of his own, or he would make a good Father at least....
Shaking her head rapidly, Lucy focussed on the nearby building. The roof of the building was overlooking the hill that William/Sylphee were ascending. Taking a page from Alice's book, Lucy made her way inside, up the crumbling stairs, to the roof and got onto her stomach.
Prone and steadying her rifle, Lucy pulled the pink cat face reticle over the torso of the trigger-happy stranger with a sniper rifle.
If William's diplomacy had failed...
"Anyway, you know, fifties logic. Like how radiation gives you superpowers, rather than deadly cancer that declares war on the lung cancer you get from smoking so many cigars."
"Right", said Evan who was starting to understand what was being said, "All this stuff sounds like it's from comic books. But that radiation thing you were talking about? In certain cases that can cause mutations to provide almost superhuman abilities. I've heard of one case where being highly irradiated, but not having a lethal dose of course, causes broken bones to heal."
Evan was about to start a debate he'd been wanting to have for a long time, this guy who appeared out of nowhere and had a voice from all over the place was the perfect candidate, "So, you seem like a well read man." Evan started, "If you could have any one superpower, just one no combination or mega deal, what would it be?"
You see, most members of the Brotherhood don't have time to read comics or even have a supply of comics. But Scribe Evan Ramsey did. Being quick with his work helped, as did having a knack for finding mostly intact comic books in the unlikeliest of places. Finally, at long last Evan might have somebody who loved comics too.
Meanwhile, Dudley had finished his little meal and had gone back to find Evan. He wasn't quite ready to call it quits just yet and Evan was the most obvious way back into the action. Hayes was stuck in a hospital bed for the time being and might not have any further part to play in this story, but Dudley was sure that he and Evan would be back in that wacky wild wasteland very soon. Whoever filled the position of "Third Musketeer" this time might want to take out life insurance of some kind. And not have black hair and green eyes because that hadn't gone well for the two previous "Third Musketeers".
In the past day and change since she had accepted her assignment to locate Frank, the deep cover covert operative placed within the Brotherhood of Swine, life for American Enclave Scout of America Constance Sorrowfeld had only become more and more bizarre. The latest example was the appearance of two couples, each consisting of a male giving a female a piggy back ride. Shaking her head, Constance's mind tried to comprehend the scene that was unfolding before her.
"(Have the Wastelands outside of the Enclave fold degenerated so much that men are now forced to give women piggy back rides?)" The Scout wondered briefly as she moved in on the two couples' positions, close enough to hear the conversation that took place.
Clearly things outside of Enclave and Brotherhood of Swine controlled territories was getting worse as the Scout found that one of the women was a slave just purchased from Paradise Falls and the other was obviously mentally challenged. The American Enclave Scout of America was just about to assault the two men when the telltale crack of a sniper rifle echoed off the ruined buildings and caused Constance to hunker down a bit lower as she heard one of the women and one of the men die in a loud and ridiculous manner.
It was obvious that only one of the two couples perished as the childish woman continued to speak. Constance confirmed this by briefly peeking from her hiding spot and "seeing" the remaining couple.
"That was strange, don't you think Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar? I never ever seen anything like that before, have you? What's Paradise Falls? Is it nice? Have you been there? Did you like it when you were there? Did you get any souvenirs? What'd you get? Hey shouldn't we go find our new friend?" Said the Handicapped Woman, Sylph, to her compatriot, the strangely named Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar.
What was said next sent a chill down Constance's spine as the woman turned and waved at an unknown party.
Oh look there's Missy One Legged Alice. HI MISSY ONE LEGGED ALICE!!!! HI! IT'S ME SYLPH AND MISTER WILLY BILLY BOMB COLLAR!!!"
Looking in the direction that Sylph had waved, Constance saw a sniper aiming at a number of men falling from the sky. Panicking at the possibility of being shot, the Feline Scout bolted through a window frame and out into the streets, putting as much cover between her and the sniper as possible.
"*Huff huff huff huff*" Scout Sorrowfeld grunted as she settled inside of a shell of a building. Looking around her, she noticed the body of the woman that had been killed, not by a sniper shot but by a falling body. That was not the strange thing however, as Constance could tell right away that the woman looked identical to the other woman. As perplexing as the sight was, she was unable to contemplate the meaning of identical women for long as another Sniper shot rang out, this one followed by a meaty squish, causing the Scout to run to additional cover.
"(Bodies falling from the sky? My Transport! Someone trying to take my transport!)" Constance realized as she bolted through a doorway, up a couple flights of stairs and through the ruins of a cubicle farm, "(And why the hell did those two women look identical?)"
Constance did not have that long to ponder the answers to her questions however as she found herself in the open once again, face to face with Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar, Sylph and the sniper.
Included at Generic NPC 22's Request:
Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy:
Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy. Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"D-don't let them put me in that bus man. Don't let them put me in that bus!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"Sylphy Sylphy!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"I'd rather be put on that bus than have to hear about how we got beat by a bunch of blue haired retards for the rest of my life." Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!!!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"N-No! Please No! NOT THE BUS! NOT THE BUS! LET ME GO! NOOOOOO!!!!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy
"Nooo please stop! I'm begging you! Let me go you lunatics! NOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy
"Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy!" Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy.
"I don't read many comics, and personally, if I had a superpower, it'd be unstoppable Endurance, like Vagabond." he said, his mind flowing twords the direction of his past, before stopping.
"You probably never heard of him, have you?" he said, idly pulling out a rock and playing with it in his hand. "Either way, yeah, being able to walk for years on end non-stop would be the best thing in the world. Just picking a direction, having an adventure along the way..."
He looked at him.
"Don't become a Vagabond." he said quite bluntly.
(Everyone near the sniper, and Rainboq.)
It seemed an odd coincidence, but the traveling sniper appeared to be dressed similarly to the way Alice did, though not totally. And it was, also noted, indeed a female who stood there looking around. Black reinforced leather clothing, a nice wide-brim hat, Clint Eastwood style poncho, and good travel boots. Also, as the stranger turned, they would see one-piece shaded goggles on her. The sniper also had a piece of paper on the wall nearby with names crossed out. Some of them were th names of flying raiders, in fact. You might now get the idea from all this: A bounty hunter. She responded to William.
"Nice of you to join me, but as you can see, I've got work."
She had a curious Texan accent, which was both pronounced and yet not TOO country. Just then, there was another distant launching sound, and she turned to fire on raider in question, scoring a hit on central mass, so that his scream was cut off with an "UUURGH!!". There, she crossed off the name 'Raz The Taz' from her list. Sylph would notice that 'Undertaker Henry' was on the list.
"I have to get some in now, 'cause I heard Talon Company's mobilizing on a target and I need some commission before they end up taking mine. You might wanna get yourself out of here, being a runaway from Paradise Falls."
Well, she seemed alright, not after them. Just a wastelander with a gun and a need for caps. The sniper noticed all of them, including the curious one with the cat-ears that'd been all over the place. What the hell was that all about, then?
Nicole appeared to have caused something of an inter-Gary-stir with murmurings of "Gary" here and there, where finally they all decided to pile into and onto the store, fortifying it like a bunker with whatever materials were on hand. Somehow, they all had army helmets on now. One of them shouted at her to come in as well, probably because they'd elected her leader.
"Gary? Gary! Gary-Gary!"
Washington, District of Columbia - Museum Of Technology
Machines, Machines were swarming from everywhere onto Talion. He kept on firing and they kept on firing, but reloading at an arms length from them was hard, so he started smashing. Ripping their arms and heads off, beating them with their own limbs. After a minute of this, it stopped as suddenly as it began. Heaps of electronic scrap, brass shells, and discarded guns. He took what he could use from their mags and started moving again, motioning for Laura to follow him.
Museums weren't for horses, but it was more dangerous for her to be alone in the urban hellhole that was outside, still safer than Denver or LA though.
He heard gunfire again, this time from the distance, hopefully it was where the Paladins he was looking for were.
Rifle in his right hand, pistol in his left he followed the gunfire to its source, walking through the remains of wrecked androids and their partially melted casing.
He was close now, pushing open the door to where he assumed the source was.
The sight on the other side was of Androids and Paladins skirmishing.
The Paladins were shooting and yelling to eachother, The Androids running and shooting and dogpiling on the Paladins.
Talion quickly holstered his pistol and opened fire, as he began to wade into the mess infront of him.
While Alice was watching the girl with the cat ears, she saw something spook her and causing her to rush for cover before quickly moving out of sight. Aware that while the girl didn't look like a threat, she had the potential to be danger to William, Sylph and Lucy, Alice wearily got to her feet and began her descent to ground level.
She brushed herself off with one of her hands, feeling stickiness as she did so. Raising her hand up to eye level she grimaced as she remembered it was the blood of the raider from before. It had saturated her coat to the level where she considered taking it off. Not wanting to have to head back afterwards, she decided to just deal with it and headed off in the direction of the others.
As Alice got closer she saw a brief movement to her left. Looking closely it seemed Lucy had a decent vantage point, as she was lying on her stomach looking intently through her scope. With her finger on the trigger Alice assumed that Lucy must be able to see more than she could earlier.
Making her way up to Lucy's level, Alice crawled down into a similar stance and shuffled alongside her, bringing her own rifle into position.
"What do you see?" she whispered quietly.
"Talon Company, they're always bad news." Said William, peering at the list of names the sniper was crossing off, "I suppose we all have to make our living some way or another." William turned back to the rest of the group and beckoned for them to approach. The sniper wasn't firing at them and wasn't hostile either, so as long as they didn't put her off sniping there shouldn't be a problem. Indeed, with Talon Company approaching it would provide motivation to get moving.
William was eager to head South, Rivet City lay that way. As did a proper meal, a proper shave and someone with the technological know how to remove his bomb collar without it going off. If he could do that then he could deliver the information he had gathered on the Enclave to the Brotherhood. After that, William hadn't decided yet but the current team got up to all sorts of adventures and he was enjoying their company. Perhaps it was time to take a break from mercenary work.
William craned his neck to look at Sylph, still having the time of her life with the piggyback. I wouldn't think somebody had shot you a few minutes ago, the way you rise above it all is extraordinary. It is better to give you these moments of brevity, for you appreciate them most, and your joy is infectious and necessary in dark times. William did occasionally envy the childlike innocence of Sylph, she saw everything through different eyes and seemed to have a fine time regardless of the situation, unless she took her choker off.
For the record, Lucy had been wondering several things about William, he was not an only child, born to parents that fled their native country and made a new life elsewhere, another son and daughter had followed William once his parents had settled. In addition, he did not have children of his own, or any family for that matter. When his hometown had been destroyed by raiders, William's family had been amongst the dead. His parents had died in their home, one of the first buildings to fall when the town wall had been breached. The raiders knocked down most homes with the occupants still inside. William's sister and her husband were killed trying to hold the raiders at the breach in the wall, their deaths were quick. Finally, William's brother was part of another group that made it out of town but got run down by a raiding party two miles into their escape. William doesn't know how they died, though he went back years later and tried to find something, he didn't recognise the bodies of his family, nor did he remember which pile of scrap had been his family home.
The DeeCee Wasted Wastelands!
Sylphee was having the time of her life while getting a piggy back ride from Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar and meeting not just one peoples but two peoples. The first one looked a lot like Missy One Legged Alice while the other one looked like a -
"KITTY!!" Sylphee blurted out when she saw Missy Kitty Cat Head, the temptation to run after and pet the kitty girl was pretty high on Sylphee's list but not nearly as much as continuing with the Piggy Back ride from Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar. Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar looked like he was having fun giving Sylphee a Piggy Back ride also and she didn't want to be rude.
Watching Missy One Legged Alice the Second shoot another Mister Soon to be Splatter Headed Raider and cross a name off her list, Sylphee did notice the name Undertaker Henry.
"I had a Daddy named Henry and he called himself an Undertaker. Do you think they knew each other Missy One Legged Alice the Second? That would be weird if they knew each other - wait - do you know Missy One Legged Alice, Missy One Legged Alice the Second? Are you twins? You sure look like twins!" The Red Menace machine gunned while Missy One Legged Alice the Second was telling them about the Misters and Missus' in Talon Company.
"Talon Company, they're always bad news." Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar said as before waving to Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Missy One Legged Alice.
"Who's Talon Company? Is that who Missy One Legged Alice the Second is shooting? Did they do something wrong to become bad news?" Sylphee asked eyed the tail on Missy Kitty Cat Head. She wished she had a tail.
Marlon nodded as Danielle laid out the schedule. It'd be a hike but after having been stuck at the Citadel for a while, he was looking forward to getting out and about.
Clients to meet, Enclave to try and stay a step ahead of, Franks to avoid, weasels to settle scores with. Maybe even find out whose side Lucy was on somewhere along the way. The idea she might have been a spy was still playing at the back of his mind and he hadn't shaken it yet. Have to wait and see on that one.
The Van Graff smirked and tore off a salute, following Danielle and the rest of her squad out of the gates, pausing only briefly to pass an eye across the wounded being brought back in.
No time for that now though. It looked as though fearless leader was getting them a ride..
The D.C. Wastelands: Alice and Lucy's Rooftop Teatime Club
"What do you see?" Alice whispered quietly as she had settled down next to her.
Quite an apt time to pose that kind of question. Peering through her scope intently, she found William waving back at her. From Lucy's point of view, she had watched William approach an armed stranger with a Sylphee on his back. Then single-handedly disarm a potentially dangerous situation. William truly was an impressive man...
"Another false-alarm." Lucy whispered distantly, almost as if she was talking to herself. "Another mistake..."
Dropping her guard entirely, Lucy rolled onto her back so that she could turn and talk to Alice. The strain of the combat earlier had made it's presence known throughout her body.
"We're safe for now at least." Lucy muttered distantly. Slowly, she turned to face Alice and regarded her bloodied clothing. Her voice dipped sadly. "I didn't mean to drag you into my mess." Lucy's eye widened slightly as she remembered Alice's inquiries into the group's immediate nature before the attack. "I never quite answered your questions, did I?"
With a heavy sigh, Lucy tried her best to recall and simplify recent events for Alice. "I'm Lucy Black. My Father was Enclave. I infiltrated the Enclave Vault to learn why he was killed. I was...completely out of my depth...I had to make sacrifices, learn harsh truths and let go of everything I had worked for."
Lucy turned to look up at the late afternoon sky, a small smile started to form. "Then I met this group. They were captured by the Enclave and would probably never have left that place alive. So I made sure that my infiltration did not go in vain. I pulled every string and put myself on the line to get them out of the Vault."
Lucy frowned heavily. "My cover and any hope of getting out quietly was destroyed when Sylph gunned down that Vertibird." Lucy raised her injured hand up to the sky. "I was tired of being stuck under their thumb anyway. So I made that fact abundantly clear with the pilot."
Lucy sat up facing Alice and chose to rest her rifle on her lap.
"That means that my time with this group is at an end. I have to leave and...well, I have a few more ideas." Lucy concluded with a sigh of relief and a much more cheerful disposition. "Feels good to get that off my chest. Thanks."
First Vicky, then Shifty and nearly losing Sylph?
Needless to say, Lucy couldn't bear the thought of risking anymore lives for her agenda. She would continue fighting on her own terms...
After giving Alice a few moments to ask any follow up questions, Lucy was comfortable resting here for the moment. "Anything else, Alice?"
Alice listened intently as Lucy explained the situation and her past, finding herself somewhat surprised at what the young woman had gone through.
She's certainly brave, considering how ruthless the Enclave could be. Although to be able to deceive the Enclave to that extent, she must be a pretty capable liar too...
Alice sighed inwardly at the route her thoughts inevitably took. Annoyed with her inability to trust somebody, even after they'd helped rescue her. She looked over at Lucy, who was currently lying on her back looking at the sky.
Alice knew it was in her best interests to say nothing. If she did and Lucy told the others about leaving, they couldn't find a strong argument for letting her, a complete stranger walk away either. Despite that selfish thought, she found herself opening her mouth to speak. "The Enclave will want the others just as much as you," Alice said quietly. "Plus I doubt your friends will just let you walk off, when none of you would let me. They have much more reason to care about your safety."
Mentally cursing herself for letting her conscience get in the way of the smart decision, she decided to see what was going on with the others with her own eyes. Alice looked through her own scope to where William, Sylph and the stranger were standing. The walls of the building obstructed a lot of the view, but she could see enough to get a decent idea of who, or rather what, the stranger was.
What she saw made her blood run cold. A list was pinned up on the wall behind the stranger with names on it. Many of them crossed out.
Oh hell. She's either a mercenary, a Regulator or a bounty hunter of some kind. I can't see my name on there, but she's blocking half of it.
Alice formed her expression into a mask and turned to Lucy. "If you head over there, I can keep watch from here," she said. She wasn't bothered about the others noticing the list, but the stranger might have been briefed on her appearance, so she couldn't risk being seen in detail. She just hoped Lucy wasn't going to choose this moment to be stubborn.
One of the jeeps broke off from the convoy and stopped in front of Danielle.
A Fat-Cat rolled down the window.
[Perception]He was a young man. Maybe 20-25. A bit on the small side. Most likely a dedicated driver judging from the fact that he wore relatively normal clothes with the exception of the overweight orange cartoon cat stitched into the left breast of his jacket, whereas combat personnel wore combat armor with a dollar-bill green color scheme in addition to the overweight orange cartoon tabby.
[Black Widow]Danielle instinctively stuck out her chest, not that it would help what with the armor, which made her look fairly asexual and put on a slightly more flirty tone, not that it would help with the helmet's speakers. Her armor took away all her femininity.
"I don't suppose you're going to Rivet City big boy?"
"We are. We're to repair the bridge, and deliver a new limo to Bloom."
[Intelligence]If they were delivering a new limo, and had a construction crew, it meant that the Behemoth situation had been dealt with. That made Danielle's life a lot easier.
The truck's trailer was probably full of Bloom construction workers in Construction Power Armor. (See WW post 1039 for an explanation of Construction Power Armor true believers!)
"I don't suppose we can hitch a ride?"
"Depends, are you expecting any trouble?"
"We're not, it's just faster than walking."
"Well then you're welcome to hitch a ride. We could use the extra firepower if any mutant stragglers decide to attack."
The man signaled to the truck, which drove over. The gate of the trailer was opened revealing construction materials, and Bloom workers in their obnoxiously bulky Construction gear. The massive hydraulic servos always looked a bit goofy to Danielle, but it apparently worked.
Danielle and the B-Thorns climbed in.
And with that, they were off to the races.
"Marlon, I'm not sure how you feel about Ghouls, but if you plan to do business in the Capitol wastes, you're going to want to get on the good side of Mr. Bloom. Luckily, it looks like we're going to get to meet him ahead of schedule."
Finding herself on the face to face with the very sniper that she was trying to avoid and face to face with the odd couple consisting of the oddly named Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar and the oddly acting Sylph, Constance tried to react in a manner that she thought the Great Miss Natsuki Manriki would have reacted. She attempted to act as if she was not intimidated by the fact that were this meeting to revert into a fight, she would most likely end up on the losing end of three versus one odds.
Puffing out her chest and pulling her shoulders back, she assumed a look that said that she had the biggest pair of bollox on the playground and she would not take crap from any of these unknown entities. She was, however, thankful that she was not immediately addressed as she felt awkward in social situations. Everything seemed to be going her way until...
"KITTY!!!" Said the ever strangely acting Sylph in a way that caused Constance to deflate as she looked over at the girl receiving the piggy back ride compliments of Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar. Something about the manner in which the strange girl looked at Constance was reminiscent of someone trying to determine if they should run after the American Enclave Scout of America and pet her or run after her and tie cans to her tail.
Scout Sorrowfeld was quite thankful that the flighty Sylph's attention was drawn away from the increasingly nervous scout, which suited her fine since there was the emmenant arrival of Talon Company to consider.
"What would Miss Natsuki do?" The American Enclave Scout of America muttered to herself as she looked over the terrain, ideas for various ambushes and traps that could whittle down whatever was coming to a more management half dozen members.
"I had a Daddy named Henry and he called himself an Undertaker. Do you think they knew each other Missy One Legged Alice the Second? That would be weird if they knew each other - wait - do you know Missy One Legged Alice, Missy One Legged Alice the Second? Are you twins? You sure look like twins!" Came a barrage of noises that could be approximated to words were they not mashed together like a verbal traffic jam, causing the Feline-like Constance to lose her concentration and plans.
"Is she always like this?" Scout Sorrowfeld asked Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar (She was neither used to so many syllables for just one name nor used to someone having such a ridiculous name).
"Who's Talon Company? Is that who Missy One Legged Alice the Second is shooting? Did they do something wrong to become bad news?"
"She must be." Constance responded to her own question as she hid her tail from sight.
"Now, if Miss... uh hem... One Legged Alice the Second was it? Thank you for your Miss One Legged Alice the Second but I have some property that I have to retrieve since it appears that someone's trying to steal it." Scout Sorrowfeld continued as she pointed towards another man being flung high into the air.
"Besides, if the Great Miss Natsuki Manriki wasn't intimidated when she faced Lobo the Time Traveling, Planet Consuming Death Claw, the I won't let a bunch of hotheaded bullies like Talon Company intimidate me. Now, if you don't mind, I have to find out who's trying to steal my bus." Constance said as she prepared to depart, making sure that her weapon was loaded. In her haste to depart however, her tail started waving lazily in the air once again.
Roof of Some Random Hospital, DC Proper, Capitol Wasteland.
Scanned the broken skyscrapers around them, trying to picture they might have been before The War. 200 feet tall? Five? A mile tall? He had no clue. Right now though, they seemed to be on one of the taller, and obviously, less damaged ones. Which struck Johnny as odd. Even if you assumed that the nukes China sent this way were about as reliable and lethal as Chinese small arms were, there really, really shouldn't even be this much rubble. And in all of the stories, and all of the rumors he'd heard surrounding the DC area, Johnny had never heard anything approaching an explanation for how the hell any part of the city was still intact. Quite unlike Johnny's native New Vegas, where at least you had Mr. House to thank/blame for the city's continued existence. Don't ask Mr. Truant how he knows that.
Sadly, had Johnny not been musing on this, he might have kept up with the group. If he had kept up with the group, he might not have tripped on... something spongy and oozing a dark fluid out of every pore, and fallen down a dark pit. In any case, he was down there now, and could do nothing but press on as the hole he'd fallen in from had somehow sealed itself behind him. What little light there was in this new... room (for lack of a more disturbingly accurate word) had cold, dark blue sheen to it. It was as though the light itself had glare all over it.
"Or perhaps that which dwells in the dead light is glaring outward," Johnny found himself saying for no apparent reason. He chuckled to himself as he examined one of the red, glowing, bulbous masses that chaotically "lined" the ogranic-feeling walls. "Next I'll be saying crap like 'that is not dead which can eternal lie, yet with stranger eons, even death may die."
Johnny managed to get half of a laugh out before it was choked right back down at the sudden, but not entirely unexpected appearance of him.
"Oh, its you." "Oh, its you." Both characters said in unison upon spying the other. One with genuine annoyance, the other mocking.
"The hell do you want this time?" Johnny asked, letting his head drag down for a moment. He remained silent. Only now did Johnny realize that he hadn't had a chance to get a good look at his face before. And then Johnny wished he hadn't. Just after he processed... whatever it was he saw, The Editor reached up to his face and removed it, revealing a perfect copy of Johnny's face underneath. Again, shortly after Johnny was just barely able to process that, The Editor ripped the false-face off to a new one... or rather, the complete lack of one. Then the Editor seemed to grow in stature until he was well over twice Truant's comparatively paltry height. As The Editor's head ascended, Johnny found he couldn't help but stare into that blank visage, until it seemed to encompass all of his vision. Eventually, Mr. Truant managed to tear his gaze away from the featureless terror that stood before him, but when he looked back, he found that he was alone in the middle of the darkness.
Or rather, that he was all alone with the darkness, which seemed to roil and twist around him as he studied it. Johnny struggled to find a way out, or even the way he had come, but direction had become completely meaningless in this absolute, sliding pitch darkness. It did not have a beginning, and as far as Johnny could tell, it had no end. He could no longer see his own hands, or any part of himself. He could not feel the tremor of something moving near him. He could not feel even something as simple as the rustling of the wind, for there was none to be found here.
All that could be heard was the infinitesimally distant noise of a flute carrying a shrill tune - which could be more accurately described as the scream of a dying god... at least at first. Eventually, the flute stopped. And in that instant, the surrounding abyss... uncoiled itself, revealing a blazing centre filled with blind malevolence. The roiling dark melted away, revealing the strange stars beyond it, and for a moment, Johnny could see the vast beauty of distant galaxies... and then it all burned away in the face of the inferno picking up next to him until all that was, is, and would ever be was consumed in fire. Then the music started again, and the dark beat the light back into the pit to which it belonged... and as it did, Johnny saw and heard the cacophonous chaos of a new universe going through its first rattling birth-pangs.
Then the music died again, and the whole process repeated itself again and again, time after time... and Johnny witnessed the birth and death of a thousand universes, all nearly indistinguishable from each other in their impossibly brief waxing and waning cycles. And so it went on and on, in unending repetition, and Johnny's mind fractured further and further... and he found himself begging for any release from this horror.
Eventually, it came. A gloved hand appeared out of nowhere and offered to save him from his doom. Without thinking, Johnny grabbed hold of the hand, and it dragged him out of the endless vision of destruction and creation. He found himself in a much more mundane room. He was back in the hospital. Except, it was no longer abandoned. Doctors dashed back and forth through the immaculately-kept hallway. Nurses pushed wheelchair-bound patients from room to room. Relatives waited on benches that were evenly spaced between doorways filled with blinding light. All were dressed in Pre-War clothing, all still in pristine condition. Johnny looked down to find that his usual garb had been replaced with a depressingly cheery blue sweat-vest over a sunny-disposition polo shirt, both complimented with crisp khaki slacks that fit him perfectly. As he looked at his arms though, Johnny noticed that all of the various scars, burn-marks, and needle pin-pricks he'd accumulated over the years were all gone.
Scanning the crowd, Johnny noticed something extremely out of place... even more so than usual. Or rather, someone. A blue-haired young woman in an almost form-fitting red dress adorned with roses (complete with thorns). Walking towards her, Johnny noticed her nametag, which simply announced that her name was "Narla". Not... "Sylph", despite all of the obvious similarities. Regardless, Johnny pursued the strange woman, even for the simulacrum of something familiar to grasp onto. As he did so, she turned away, and the blinding light in the doorways filled the hallway. Just before the hallway, and everyone in it, vanished in a cloud of ashes formed from the flesh and bone that had vaporized before anyone even had a chance to scream.
Then... the same hallway, except this time, it had clearly been abandoned for some time. Johnny checked himself, his former injuries and scars were still gone... and he was still decked out in his cheery Pre-War outfit, which was still in good condition. Emanating from a source he couldn't pinpoint at the moment, was a bright blueish light that ebbed throughout the hallway, casting unnerving shadows on the walls at odd or even impossible angles.
Then, in a voice filled with honey, someone behind Johnny coughed to get his attention. He turned, and saw Lucy, still wearing her eyepatch. She didn't say anything, opting to simply smile sweetly at him, her eyes seeming to beckon him forward. Johnny did not even think to resist what would seem an obvious trap to someone in a more rational mode. Sadly, Mr. Truant was just so happy to see a familiar face that he immediately rushed towards Lucy and kissed her full on the lips.
Or rather, what he thought was Lucy. It turned out to be... something else entirely. Johnny tasted relief for a very short moment before he tasted blood and iron, and then nothing at all as his tongue melted into his teeth... and his clothing and hair dissolving as "Lucy" drew him closer with a tight hug. His skin quickly followed his clothing, burning away into nothing, the pain threatening to devour what little was left of Johnny's sanity by this point.
Just before not-Lucy managed to burn his bones and brain away, he woke up to find himself screaming in the middle of a rubble-filled landscape. He had never been happier to see the almost-complete desolation around him. And of course, never happier to hear the sound of nearby gunfire. Sure, it meant someone was probably going to die, but hell, it meant that for the time being, SOMEONE was still alive aside from himself.
Joyful tears scattered down his cheek as he fired his trusty rifle, which at this moment, Johnny loved more than life itself, blindly into the fray and kept firing until he realized he was the only one still shooting.
Then he saw... them. Two beings that strongly resembled Sylph and Lucy. The imitation was much better this time. If Johnny didn't know any better, he'd swear he was looking at the genuine articles again. But he wasn't going to fall for that trick again.
"G-get back!" he shouted at the obvious imposters, "Stay back! GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!"
He aimed his rifle in their general direction.
"Not again!" he yelled, firing at the air above them, "I'm not letting you trick me again!"
The DeeCee Wasted Wasterlands KITTTY!!!!!!!
"Besides, if the Great Miss Natsuki Manriki blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" Said Missy Kitty Head though Sylphee wasn't really paying attention to what Missy Kitty Head was saying which could've been considered rude but one couldn't fault Sylphee when a tail was involved. While Missy Kitty Head spoke, Sylphee quietly sneaked off of Mister Willy Billy Bomb Collar's back and waited for Missy Kitty Head to start grabbing her thingies.
"I got your tail! I got your tail!" Sylphee chanted as she latched onto Missy Kitty Head's tail which in hindsight, not that Sylphee had any mind you, might not have been a good idea.
"Let go! Let go!" Yelled Missy Kitty Head as Missy Kitty Head tried to spin around and whack Sylphee in the head with Mister Death Claw Gloves, missing Sylphee a few times while Sylphee examined Missy Kitty Head's tail with keen interest.
"How'd you get this? Can I have one too? Where'd you get it? How do you make it move like that?" The Red Menace machinegunned while she kept to Missy Kitty Head's backside.
One of Missy Kitty Head's boots connected with Sylphee'd face before Missy Kitty Head started to run off.
"Ow! Ow! Ow!" Sylphee exclaimed before the chase got started.
In and out of building, over walls, under desks, through windows, Missy Kitty Head ran and ran and ran and ran with Sylphee close on Missy Kitty Head's tail.
"Hey! Come back!" Sylphee yelled as she skipped behind Missy Kitty Head during their game of follow the leader. Through what was once a Mister Water Fountain, jumping a few trashcans, Missy Kitty Head didn't look like she knew where she was going until she finally stopped when she saw Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy and Missy One Legged Alice.
"Hi Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy! I found a friend!" The Red Menance called out a pointed at Missy Kitty Head.
"Don't you people have normal names?!" Missy Kitty Head yelled in a rather mean and angry tone. Sylphee would have explained that Big Sissy Lucy Caboosy was a normal name were it not for Daddy Johnny Shakes.
Not again!" Daddy Johnny Shakes yelled, firing at the air above them, "I'm not letting you trick me again!"
"Hey! Hey! Hey! Daddy Johnny Shakes that's dangerous!!" Sylphee yelled before a large piece of Mister Wall came down on her head, making her go night-night.
The D.C. Wastelands: Alice and Lucy's Rooftop Teatime Club
"The Enclave will want the others just as much as you," Alice said quietly. "Plus I doubt your friends will just let you walk off, when none of you would let me. They have much more reason to care about your safety."
Regarding the Enclave, Alice had a very good point, something which she hadn't quite considered yet.
"You're probably right, but for their sake, I hope you're wrong." Lucy absentmindedly replied while she processed Alice's train of thought.
"As for walking away..." Lucy got to her feet and positioned her rifle in a manner reminiscent of the 'podium' formation she had made before speeches. Lucy was developing a rather strange habit. "I can be persuasive if I want to be." Her tired smile had betrayed her declaration somewhat.
Lucy noticed that Alice had gone quiet on her, it was easy enough to understand that perhaps the sniper by William required a more cautious evaluation than the one she had given.
Alice had confirmed her thoughts when the silence was broken. "If you head over there, I can keep watch from here."
In the process of positioning her rifle across her back, Lucy stepped over Alice and walked over to the foot of the stairs. "Probably for the best, I have to say my goodbye's anyway." Stopping for a moment, "And Alice? Thanks for saving my butt earlier."
"Hi Big Sissy Psycho Lucy Caboosy! I found a friend!" The Red Doofus called out and pointed at a...a cat?..(AWWWW!)...girl? Was there a convention nearby?
"Don't you people have normal names?!" The Catgirl responded aggressively.
Lucy quickly made her way outside, intent on heading towards Sylph and petting the kitty. Her kitty cat scope only reinforced this desire even more.
"- not letting you trick me again!" Was that Johnny? When did he get here?
A thunderous crash could be heard nearby, followed only by indiscriminate gunfire. Having made it into the alleyway, Lucy sprinted into the open street with her rifle drawn, only to discover Sylphee trapped under some rubble with the Catgirl nearby.
Seeing Sylph hurt again had thrown her emotional reasoning out of the window once more.
Lucy's briefly glared and shouted at the nearby Catgirl. "What the hell happened?!"
Imposingly taking steps towards the Catgirl. Lucy visibly hesitated, opting to holster her rifle and decided against taking Beast Mode out on this girl.
Instead, Lucy rushed to clear the debris off of Sylph's body. It took some time, but once clear, Lucy proceeded to rest Sylph's head on her lap. In doing so, she had discovered the blood that had stained her hands and Sylphee's hair.
No no no no...
The recipient of the shout turned as he heard Lucy yell at the top of her lungs. William could see that she was on the ground, cradling a limp figure of blue and red. Sylph, I let her out of my sight for a moment, just a moment. He sprinted across to Lucy, who had pulled parts of a wall off Sylph's head and chest, which was now stained and matted with blood.
Standing in shock, William saw Johnny Truant, rifle in his hand and firing wildly. In anger William's mind put together that Johnny had hurt Sylph. William left Lucy's side and charged at Johnny, grabbing his lapels with both hands and knocking him over. William punched Johnny in the face, "WHAT DID YOU DO?!" He roared, William punched Johnny in the face again and threw him a short distance, with a wild look in his eye William grabbed Johnny's lapel with his right hand and snarled at Johnny before drawing Lucy's plasma pistol with his left and roaring once more, "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO?!"
Johnny made a grab for the plasma pistol being pointed at his jaw, tried to push it closer before forcing William's fingers to pull the trigger.
William took his right hand off Johnny's lapel and wrenched the plasma pistol away from Mr Truant's chin. He took two steps back.
"What the bloody hell are you doing? Do you want me to kill you?" Said William, surprised at Johnny's action. He holstered the plasma pistol to keep it out of the fight.
Johnny answered William's question by pulling out his super-heated cosmic knife and attempting to stab himself in the heart, lungs, stomach, and brain. Each time he brought the blade to bear against himself, Johnny found that a subtle tremble threw his aim off just enough to either push the blazing knife into the air next to him, or to just barely graze (and consequently, sear) his skin. After several attempts, Johnny slammed the knife blade-first into the ground, where it stayed in place like a kitchenware Excalibur.
"GOD DAMN IT!" he screamed, pounding his fists onto his head, "You bastard, just let me die damn it! I've had enough!"
The Other One was oddly silent on this point. But Johnny was hardly out of ideas; he lunged at William, his left hand managing to get a hold of the man's throat, while the other covered his eyes.
"Yes! Kill me damn it! I need to die... I've hurt too many that I care about... I can't let it go on!"
Then, for the briefest of moments, Johnny's eyes flashed pitch black, and the hand clamped above William's eyes pushed forward a bit...
and thus Johnny unwittingly shared glimmers from his troubling "vision" that he'd gone through a moment ago.
Johnny didn't wait for William to regain his composure, and threw himself off the man, waiting for what he hoped was the inevitable.
With just a taste of what was going through Johnny's head, William resolved to knock Johnny out and hit some sort of reset button, Johnny was a danger to himself right now and whatever was in control of him was fighting the survival instinct.
William delivered a sharp kick to the ribs followed up by a punch to the face. He then grabbed Johnny's shirt and headbutted the man before throwing him again. William was going for the head, anything to out Johnny out for a bit, anything short of killing him.
Before Johnny passed out, he managed to mutter, "No... you idiot..."
And with that, Mr. Truant sputtered, and then his face fell flat onto the ground. Several moments passed uneventfully. Then Johnny's body shot four feet straight up into the air, turning upright in the process, arms spread wide, eyes turned completely black. Lips coiled into a twisted parody of a smile.
"Good work, detective" The Other Thing said in a mocking tone, "You've put your sharp mind to the task, and as you often do, arrive at precisely the wrong conclusion. I'm not the one that wishes Mr. Truant dead. So far, only he wishes that on himself. Granted, he does make a compelling case for why..." Johnny's hands gestured towards the prone body of Sylph, "But he's simply far too entertaining to let die so easily."
Johnny's body settled itself back on the ground.
"Your concerns are... not misplaced however." The Editor said, drawing closer to William, "This isn't the first time Mr. Truant has harmed someone he professed to care about." The Editor refused to elaborate, and instead chuckled, as if at some private joke.
Regaining consciousness, Johnny's eyes returned to normal, and he sank to his knees.
"Please be all right Sylph... please be okay... damn it. I'm so sorry, sweetheart."
As Johnny fell to his knees and appeared to have regained control over himself William backed off. He could feel himself calming down, the red mist that had descended when he had seen Sylph bloody and unmoving was clearing.
Sylph William ran back to Lucy and Sylph, though didn't get too near, becoming aware this may not have been the best time for a punch up.
Johnny wanted to run to Sylph's side as well, but was paralyzed at the thought that his continued presence would only bring her more pain... and not really knowing what to do about it at this point.
The Wastelands of D.C.
Silence. Or rather the absence of a sound or tone that you've heard for so long that you forget that it's there, until it isn't. Were her ears tuned to the right frequency, Constance Sorrowfeld would have "seen" a sonic pulse being emitted from Sylph's choker and yet, though the blue haired psychopath of the Wild Wastelands was wearing said fashion accessory, the sonic pulse was absent and with it, absent was Sylphee. A pair of Stormy Blue eyes opened, tinged with confusion, as Sylph first felt the achiness in her bones and the pressure of the debris pressing down on her chest. The pressure was eventually relieved and Sylph found herself looking up at Sister Lucy Black's face as she called out for William Knight.
"WILLIAM!" Sister Lucy Black yelled out as Sylph looked up at the brown hued skies, her eyes fixed forward as she tried to decipher the strange feeling that seemed to haunt her.
The sound of boots crushing debris only slightly registered as she heard the arrival of William Knight, his anger apparent as he assaulted Master(?) Johnny Truant.
"WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO?!" Roared William Knight as continued he continued his onslaught against Master(?) Johnny Truant causing Sylph to try to get up in his defense, her wrist twisting as to extend the blade hidden under her long sleeves. Only the blade was even more broken than its master, the blade's trigger was jammed. Too weak to come to Master(?) Johnny Truant's aid, Sylph could only whisper.
Blinking some sort of moisture from her eyes, Sylph managed to turn in time to see Master(?) Johnny Truant's figure lift itself into the sky and speak to William Knight, though he was too far away from Sylph for her to hear what was said.
It came eventually, the moment when the pain subsided and Sylph was able to lift herself up into a sitting position, looking forward, her fingers playing with the choker at her neck. Were she able to express herself in that manner, she would have looked troubled but the mask of calm annoyance was locked in place.
"I'm alright." Came Sylph's cold words to Sister Lucy Black as she finally stood up and turned to look at Master(?) Johnny Shakes before repeating the words louder for him to hear, "I'm alright."
Letting her fingers fall from the choker around her neck, Master Johnny Shakes, Sister Lucy Black, William Knight, Alice and the unknown young girl could see that the large red gem that was set in its center was chipped.
The Enclave Vault: Storage Room
The void of eternity had been his companion for some time now and yet the man trapped in a slab of carbonite hadn't gone insane yet, at least he didn't think he'd gone insane quite yet. Undertaker Thomas "Shifty" McGee didn't quite know how long he'd been robbed of his sense of sight, touch, taste or smell, all he knew was that he had a lot of time on his hands to think and to remember the events that had brought him up to this point.
"(Huh. I should've probably refunded Lucy's burial fees before I got stuck in this crate.)" The Friendly Neighborhood Undertaker thought to himself as he remembered the bone coffin that he had built for the Bookish Young Woman during the Super Mutant assault on the Citadel, "(I mean given present circumstances, I'll won't be able to fulfill my end of our bargain any time soon, Walt help me. To think that I kept her money, it's unconscionable. We Undertakers are a noble breed, you know.)"
Were he able to snort, Shifty surely would have at his commentary on the Undertakers being a noble breed of Assassins. They had, after all, ordered him to kill his own brother in cold blood.
"(Maybe you'll think of me when you are all alone. Maybe the one who is waiting for you. Will prove untrue, then what will you do?)" The Undertaker started mentally humming to himself as he tried to rid himself of the self deprecating thought which brought on another problem. He had that song stuck in his head for quite some time, not that he minded it, mind you, it was the last time he found himself enjoying his time in the Wastelands prior to this point.
"(Hey Mister McGee! What're you humming?)" Came a thought into the Tall and Pale and Frozen in Carbonite Undertaker's mind, the thought signalling that he was not alone anymore.
"(You've never heard that song before?)" The Undertaker countered incredulously to his companion, "(How old did you say you were again?)"
"(Five!)" The young female "voice" answered back quickly and in a tone that indicated that she was showing the Undertaker just how old she was on her fingers.
"(And your parents don't let you listen to the Radio?)" Thomas "Shifty" McGee asked.
"(Well yes but all we have are the old President Eden recordings. Mama won't let me listen to Galaxy News Radio but sometimes my Grampa Jack does.)" Reponded the girl that Undertaker McGee knew to be named Lilith.
"(Were he not part of the Enclave, I would consider you 'Grampa' Jack a reasonable man. Then again, judge not a book by his cover or the color of Power Armor he dons in the morning. I'm sure Lord Disney would have said that were he born in the time where Power Armor had been invented. They had just barely mastered fission when he walked the Earth you know.)" The Undertaker said reverently in reference to the Lord of the Matterhorn.
"(You talk weird Mister McGee)"
"(So I've been told. That's why my mother gave me the nickname Shifty, because I could never keep on one topic for too long.)" Shifty said as he suddenly had the impression that he was being moved around, "(Are you moving me somewhere, Lilith?)"
"(It's show and tell day in class today and Miss #1212 told me it was my turn. Sometimes she also told me that the stuff I bring in for show and tell is inappropriate, even though my Grampa Jack gave it to me.)"
"(So you're bringing ME to show and tell?)" The Undertaker asked, his "voice" dripping with disbelief. "(I'm alive you know, you're supposed to bring things that are important to you to show and tell, things like your pet rock, a holo-vid you really like, your pets or even show off your talent, not another human being.)"
"(Well Mister McGee, the last time I showed off my talent, one of my classmates got eaten.)" Lilith responded not getting into the story about the time when she brought a new born Death Claw into class.
"(I wish my friend could see me now, I'm sure she'd have a laugh.)" The Undertaker said wryly as he sensed through Lilith's senses that he was being placed in a little red wagon by a pair of burly Enclave Guards.
"(You have a friend? What's her name?)" The Young Genetically Modified Death Claw Matriarch asked curiously.
"(Lucy Black. I'm sure you've never heard - )"
"(Oh! Grampa Jack and Mister One were talking about her and her friends about how they left the Vault. It sounded like they were going out to do something important.)" Lilith responded as she started pulling the wagon towards the Enclave Vault's educational department.
"(They - they got out? Are they safe? She didn't get hurt did she? Do you know anything else about her? Lilith? Lilith? Can you hear me?)" Shifty asked desperately seeking more information.
"(Shhhhh, Mister McGee. We're about to do the Pledge of Allegiance.)"
"...I'm sure that was just a misunderstanding you had with the Brotherhood soldiers, and nothing bad came of it right? Anyway, if you don't want to talk to them again I understand, but could you at least point me in their general direction? I absolutely have to talk to them, it would make me the happiest fella in the whole damn wasteland if I could!"
Larry didn't know how much he had missed but it would be safe to say if it was anything important that Charlie would mention it again, he groaned.
"Meeting them won't make you the happiest fella in the wasteland, though that is a low bar to jump over, it is going to disappoint you. Like anyone else the Brotherhood make mistakes and questionable decisions, and its not always them who pay when they fuck up. Though if you are dead set on going to see them they are in there."
Larry pointed at the house were he had his encounter with the Brotherhood and then started working on his next design.
This was clearly not the day that Constance should have selected to leave the safety and security of the American Enclave Scouts of America camp unless the strangeness that the Scout had experienced over the last day was normal. Were that the case, Constance would have more than likely stayed in the safety of her Enclave issued tent working on her sewing merit badge. But there she was, stuck in the middle of a bipolar mess of a human being, a floating drug addict with a voice that could freeze fire, a man dumb enough or brave enough to deck said floating man and wore a bomb collar like a haute couture necklace, a mercenary with a penchant for skeet shooting, an over emotional sniper and a two legged sniper with named One Legged Alice. It was enough to frazzle anyone, especially a greenhorn like Constance.
"Aren't there any NORMAL people out here?!" The Scout asked in a manner suggestive of throwing one's hands up in the air, "or did I just happen to run into the cast of a traveling circus' freak sideshow?!"
It was obvious that Constance was unnerved by the situation, as any sixteen year old girl would be, but she was an American Enclave Scout of America and such behavior was unbecoming of one of its members. It took a moment but the girl eventually calmed down.
"I should've just stuck with Frank." The girl muttered, remembering that assisting her Deep Cover Contact was still her mission and failure would not be tolerated, least of all by her. Settling down on a piece of debris, Constance began unpacking her gear. Night would be upon them soon and she did not want to expose herself to the elements or the elements of Talon Company that were converging on their position. Given their reputation, Talon Company would not be in the area until morning since they were more than likely torturing small animals along their route to this location.
As she set up her camp, she watched the strange group, noticing the fact that the Choker that Sylph wore was now emitting a different frequency than it was when Constance had first observed her. It was a given since the gem set in the middle of the choker was chipped, altering whatever harmonic frequency it was vibrating at previously.
With the majority of her preparations completed, the Scout looked at the firepit that she had made near her tent and looked up at the strange group, a look of embarrassment crossing her face.
"Um... excuse me... do any of you know how to make a fire?" The Girl who failed her Fire Merit badge asked.
Alice didn't know who the newly arrived man was, but she did recognise him from the Vertibird landing. This was largely the reason for her lack of interference in the fight that was taking place in front of her. As an outsider to the group, any confrontation on her part could be taken as hostility.
Looking over at the others she saw that Lucy was busy with tending to Sylph and the cat girl seemed to be in a similar situation to herself. Their lack of intervention, suggested to her that it was probably smarter to see how things turned out before risking escalating it further.
It turned out that this was the wise choice as the newcomer seemed to snap out of it. Soon afterwards Sylph begun to stir before finally standing up and telling Lucy "I'm alright," with a slightly dazed look upon her face. With all attention turned towards Slyph, Alice considered this as a moment to walk away. She couldn't put off leaving for much longer, not with the possibility of that sniper knowing who she was.
Deciding that at the very least she should check to see that Slyph wasn't seriously harmed, Alice approached her and asked "Do you think you are going to be okay?"
"I'm not sure. I think so," came the short reply.
Giving Sylph a quickly glance over, Alice came to the conclusion that it did look like she'd be fine, as long as she hadn't suffered a concussion. Although with her limited medical knowledge, it wasn't like she'd be of any help if this wasn't the case.
"Good," Alice responded. Slinging her rifle back over her shoulder she faced the others. She was just about to take her leave when she heard a small voice to the right of her. "Um... excuse me... do any of you know how to make a fire?" The girl with cat ears asked.
Feeling sympathy for the girl, mostly due to the dejected look on her face, Alice decided to help her before heading off. The building they were in had some broken furniture in it, along with a lot of old books. Having had to build fires on countless occasions during her survival training and on missions, it wasn't too much effort to get one going. Although the materials weren't enough to make one that'd last throughout the night. "You are going to want some larger wood to keep that going," she told the girl.
Standing up straight and facing the group once more, she told them "I have to go. Take care of yourselves." She'd been distracted from her own goal for too long, and although she knew they wouldn't like it, she had a reason for being in DC and they had their own problems to deal with. With the Enclave after them, and the NCR as well as others after her, it was safer for all of them to depart from each others company.
Slowly spinning on her heel Alice wandered off in the approximate direction Lucy had earlier pointed to as being the way towards the river. With night being on it's way soon, she knew she wasn't going to make it before dark, but she'd have enough time to find somewhere decent enough to sleep.
Wandering alone quietly among the ruined streets with her rifle now in hand, Alice was casually glancing from side to side with every couple of steps. Keeping an eye out for any danger, but also searching for a suitable location to rest for the night. It wasn't long before she found what she needed. A petrol station with the windows boarded up would suffice.
Opening the door slowly, she quickly scanned the inside. Empty of almost everything except some furniture and empty shelves, and with a small hole in the roof, this would be perfect.
Closing the door behind her she wedged a chair under the door handle. It wouldn't do anything to prevent an intruder intent on entering, but it'd provide her with enough warning. Grateful that the shelving inside was wooden, she begun breaking it into smaller pieces. By the time that she was satisfied that she had enough it was well and truly dark. She took out a tinderbox from her backpack and got the fire going, carefully positioned below the gap in the rooftop.
Happy with the chance to finally take off her bloodstained coat, she slung it over one of the remaining shelves and sat down against the wall, with her hat pulled low over most of her face. She didn't expect to get to sleep in such a position but the day had taken it's toll on her. So it wasn't long before her eyelids closed and she drifted off to sleep, her rifle across her lap.
"Meeting them won't make you the happiest fella in the wasteland, though that is a low bar to jump over, it is going to disappoint you. Like anyone else the Brotherhood make mistakes and questionable decisions, and its not always them who pay when they fuck up. Though if you are dead set on going to see them they are in there."
Charlie looked at the house Larry pointed to, trembling with barely contained excitement. It was a rather mundane looking dwelling... hardly a place worthy of mighty paladins. Still, it didn't seem like there was anywhere better in this town they could be, so it was logical enough that they would be in there. At that moment however, a thought popped into his head that threatened to damper his enthusiasm.
"Mr Hatchet doesn't seem to be too fond of the Brotherhood... surely there must be a reason right? I mean he seems like a reasonable guy...
No, he must be mistaken, he is quick to anger remember. He probably just misinterpreted them... yea that's gotta be it."
Squashing the troublesome thought, Charlie turned to Larry and grinned.
"Thank you sooooo much Mr Hatchet! It was a pleasure meeting you and watching you work, even if first impressions left something to be desired. I hope we meet again!"
With that said, the exuberant youth turned away and strode towards the house. As he got closer however, he felt his step faltering, and eventually came to a stop just outside the door.
"Oh geez, what if they don't like me? What if I say something stupid and they laugh me out? Surely they wouldn't, they have to listen to me don't they? I'm confident I can be useful, I would be the most dedicated, hard-working trainee ever! They just need to give me a chance to show what I can do!
Taking a few deep breaths to calm himself, Charlie hesitantly knocked on the door. It swung inwards slightly on contact, and encouraged by this he stuck his head around and into the room.