"Lucy, I won't let your mother take you, but I won't kill you either." Said William, determined not to lose Lucy.
MEANWHILE, AT THE BROTHERHOOD OF STEEL!!!!!
"I'm not suggesting any of that David and Goliath stuff, but I really want a look at that Robot." Said Evan, his eyes gleaming with delight at the possibilities in store if he could get close to that giant robot. Of course he would need help, "This sounds like a job for The Three Musketeers!" Cried Evan, "Come on Aramis number 3, let's get Porthos and catch ourselves a robot."
Maybe it could be their D'Artagnan and he could train it, or reprogram it.
A flash of inspiration hit Evan as he looked at Ferdinand, "But we won't be going as ourselves, my friend and I happen to be Enclave Asset 18 and 19." Evan decided some further clarification was needed, "I'm number 19 but it doesn't mean he can pull rank on me." Said Evan, wagging his finger in Ferdinand's face in what he hoped was an authoritative voice.
The journey to the edge of the ruins had proven uneventful. Charlie had donned the sunglasses labelled 'lucky' in the hope that they really did increase his good fortune. Hopefully that would help him avoid anymore murderous, musical mutants. The stimpack had worked wonders, his hip was pain free and his body felt pretty fantastic in general.
"Man, I gotta hang onto these. They're miracle workers!"
Stopping just outside, Charlie gazed into the ruins laid out in front of him, slightly awed by the scale of destruction. What would they have looked like before the war? Charlie couldn't even imagine. He was willing to bet it would have been a safer area to take a stroll through however.
Stepping forward tentatively, Charlie walked into the ruins, scanning the surroundings closely. The area appeared deserted, but the Thorns back in Megaton had indicated that the area was dangerous. Charlie didn't really feel like getting into another battle to the death quite so soon after that last one.
Time passed and the ruins remained quiet. Charlie had his map out, although his path was somewhat directed by the layout of the streets. With the lack of any obvious threat, he allowed himself to relax somewhat and enjoy the walk.
"Maybe those guys had some out of date information. These ruins seem pretty safe to me..."
The second that thought passed through his head, Charlie heard voices up ahead. Crouching down and slipping into a nearby building, he listened intently. The voices seemed to be heading in his direction and from the sounds of it they were... singing? Confused, he snuck a peek around the doorway.
Marching down the street was a horde of blue haired girls all singing in time. Strangely, the song seemed to consist of only one word.
Sylphy! Sylphy, Sylphy, Sylphy! Sylphy!
Charlie watched with an expression that could only be described as 'poleaxed'. Luckily for him, the strange group walked right past his hiding spot and back the way he had approached from. Feeling rather bemused, Charlie waited a few minutes to make sure they weren't coming back before resuming his trek towards the Citadel.
The former hub of the U.S. Military machine still stood. It might have a few more holes than its previous or current occupants might like, and it certainly needed much more reinforcement than the Brotherhood could make, but it endured and remained a... serviceable fortress.
Walking along the shores of the purified Potomac, a lone figure approached the Citadel, returning from a long "scouting and negotiation" mission. Instead of the usual Brotherhood recon garb, it wore a simple brown robe with the hood pulled over its head, and some light leather armor underneath. Behind the hood, the mysterious figure's face looked normal enough... it didn't have anything especially interesting about it, looked pretty average... no facial hair, nose of an average, unassuming size, eyes evenly spaced out...
and that's when you start to notice there's something off about the skin. Its just a little too pale, and a little too smooth... like factory smooth... as if a mad scientist had invented a printing press for fake skin, and the lone figure approaching the Citadel was the result.
It had no real name, just as much as nothing about it was really human upon closer inspection... except for the eyes, those were eerily human features on an otherwise completely inhumanly average face. This machine carried no weapons, because it couldn't control its strength accurately enough to fire a gun or swing a sword without breaking the damn thing. But then again, when one has the strength to break through a concrete wall in a few seconds, and some metallic ones if given enough time... well, you seldom need weapons. Especially when most people in the Wasteland have gotten good at avoiding lone figures that are about six feet tall and at least have the appearance of musculature.
The mission had gone well, from a certain point of view. The drone reported to the Citadel's Elder to debrief him. The drone had to wait for some time to get an audience, but once allowed in, it gave a simple response:
"Statement: Master, I found the group you wished to have dealings with. Regretfully, it did not go as well as you would have hoped, and when negotiations failed, this unit was forced to terminate hostilities. Rest assured though, this unit was efficient and left no survivors."
Except for one, who now knew exactly who had sent the droid. It didn't have name, its only designation when it was found in the ruins of a secret lab underneath a previously undiscovered vault was "TK-1K". In the last couple of weeks, the boys at the Citadel had taken to calling it "Tik Tok."
Elsewhere in the D.C. Ruins
Johnny Truant had been... lying dormant for some time. Between the hellish visions that he had seen (though are they merely visions if you take souvenirs back with you?), and well... if that wasn't killing Sylphee, it sure seemed like it was damn close...
well... what did Mr. Truant have to say about any of that? He had always been on the tipping edge of insanity... now he was hanging on the ledge by his metaphorical fingers. And after all the damage he had done... was there any coming back from that? Ever something he could do to make up for it?
No. He decided... but he could still try anyway.
At any rate, he woke up from his BSOD to find himself lying down, staring at the stars, tucked into a sleeping bag. Sylph... only she'd still have any reason to give a damn... even if it was an artificial one. Worming his way out of the sleeping bag, he accidentally turned his portable radio on in the process...
"Is anyone getting this? Brotherhood, Enclave, fucking bandits with a heroic streak, I don't care! Just somebody, please tell me you're getting this signal and tell me you're sending help to Rivet City! A goddamned Behemoth decided to take over and use the place as a meat locker! We're all trapped inside... he eats at least one of us every day. Someone please for the love of..." In the background, several people screamed in terror as a metal door creaked open, and someone was dragged kicking and screaming out of the room before the door slammed shut again, "JUST SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE US!"
Without even really giving the matter much thought, Johnny checked his gear, checked his ammo, got up, made sure he had everything he needed to head out, and ran up to the top of a nearby hill to get his bearings. Once he figured out where the river was, he started cutting a path that ran parallel to it, heading for Rivet City... the last place on this wasted Earth that he'd ever want to go back to... well... second to last... he wanted to stay the HELL away from South Park, Colorado if he could help it. THAT place was fucked up.
He turned the radio off in case the distress call or worse, music started playing and woke everyone up... or at least alerted those tied up in... intense conversations that he was leaving. As far as he could tell, it'd be a lot better for everyone if no one even noticed his absence until long after it was too late.
The Wild Wastelands: Camp Lucy
Nothing ever goes according to plan, at least not when there's a Sylphy nearby. So Johnny's plan of leaving camp undetected was out the door even before he had finished formulating it. In Sylphy's defense, it was totally Johnny's fault for having Jet in the first place.
Sylphy - Doppel-Sylphy was in the middle of her 528th Jet induced lap around her 5 foot in diameter track when she heard Johnny running up the hill and became curious as to why Johnny would leave in the first place. He was pretty tired after shooting that pile of onto the Meanie Sister Sylphy and been punched a few times by the Meanie Sister Sylphy's friend. The fact that he seemed like a nice enough person was partially the reason why Sylphy decided to follow him into the darkness. The other reason was the fact that he had those wonderful inhalers that Sylphy liked.
Running up the hill that the man had run up, Sylphy watched as he made his was in the direction of The Boat and started to follow. Sylphy waited quietly until he got to the bottom of the overlook before she moved after him as quietly as a Sylphy could.
*CRUMBLE* "SYLPHY!" *CRUNCH!* "SYLPHY!" *BOOM!* "SLFY!" *THUD* "SYYYYYLLLLLLPHYYYY!!!" *CRACK* "SYLPHY!" *CRASH*
Yes, as quietly and stealthily as a Sylphy could after she loses her footing, rolls down the hill and lands on top of the man that she was following.
"Ssss-sylphy!" Sylphy cursed as she laid on top of the man, dazed and confused.
The Wild Wastelands: Team Melodrama
It took a while for the One Eyed Gauss girl to find her center and remove herself from the brink of the panic that she felt earlier when William had informed her that her Mother, Amy Kane, was watching them. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Lucy found it strangely comforting that neither William nor Sylph would allow her to be taken by her mother, though dying on the tip of the Red Menace's blade was not how the once Bookish Girl had envisioned her end. The young woman spent a few minutes observing her Blue Haired sister as she fixed the wrist blade that had pierced through the flesh of many, MANY unfortunate people, some more deserving of it than others.
Thinking back on what Sylph had revealed to Lucy, Lucy couldn't help but draw a parallel between Sylph's "Father" and Lucy's very own mother. As much as Lucy and Sylph seemed to be cut from the same cloth childhood wise, so too did Henry McGee and Amy Kane.
While Sister Lucy Black sat in pensive silence, Sylph was busy preparing herself to look for the Enclave Underground. Knowing that Sister Lucy Black's mother was located within the very same walls as the Enclave Underground made the ground's mission seem all the more important. The apprehension and self doubt that Sylph had felt earlier had evaporated in the wake of something familiar to the young blue haired girl. She had been given a target by Sister Lucy Black and this was a familiar, if not comforting, territory for her.
As Sylph finished her preparations in the darkness, a sound in the distance made her pause.
*CRUMBLE* "SYLPHY!" *CRUNCH!* "SYLPHY!" *BOOM!* "SLFY!" *THUD* "SYYYYYLLLLLLPHYYYY!!!" *CRACK* "SYLPHY!" *CRASH*
While the sound of the Doppel-Sylph falling off the face of Reality wouldn't have given Sylph cause for concern, the sound of her crashing headlong into Master(?) Johnny Truant did.
Dropping her pack, Sylph and Lucy quickly ran towards the noise and discovered the Clone Sylphy laying atop Master(?) Johnny Truant.
"What happened?" Lucy asked as she slid down the hill toward the pile of Johnny and Sylphy, helping Sylphy up to her feet and off of Johnny. Sylph, on the other hand was still on top of the hill, looking down towards Master(?) Johnny Shakes and his bag that was packed for travel.
Seeing that Master(?) Johnny Truant was about to abandon her and take the Doppel-Sylphy with him, the Red Menace shot her Master(?) a look with her icy, stormy blue eyes before turning around back towards the camp.
The Wild Wastelands: Team Stim
After being helped up by the friendly lady, who didn't look like a Sister Sylphy, the Doppel-Sylphy brushed the dirt and dust off of her clothes and watched as her clone, Sylph, laid a guilt trip on the man with the stimulating inhalers. Sylphy wouldn't have cared much were it not for the fact that the man 1) Had the Jet and 2) Seemed pretty friendly even though he was trying to sneak away in the middle of the night.
Seeing as how the others were distracted, Sylphy thought it would be a good time as any to see what else the friendly man who she would later learn was named Johnny had in his pack. Rooting through his items without a care in the world, not that the phrase "personal possessions" meant anything to Sylphy, the blue haired clone found a few syringes filled with something called Med-X.
She'd seen syringes used in the cloning vats when new Sister Sylphy embryos were being injected with DNA, so she did understand a syringes use, as was demonstrated by her ability to jab the needle in her arm and push down on the plunger.
"Ssss - sssss - ssssylphy." Sylphy stammered as the world became pleasant to look at with its multicolored hues and enough lens flares to make 10 J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies.
"Sssssssyyyyylphyyyyyy!" The Clone blurted as she waved her hands in front of her face before wandering off towards what looked like a group of friendly black combat armor wearing clowns in the distance.
There goes one part of one plan. Danielle was hoping to recruit the Chinese Ghouls to fight the Enclave. Their grievance was with the United States government after all. It would have proven problematic though, as the only Mandarin Danielle knew (Not counting food. Anyone else want a bao?) was "Nihao" for hello, "Mao" for cat (Which was extinct anyways, making that knowledge useless.) and "Xie Xie" for Thank you. Charades would have proven problematic.
Didn't matter now Though. Danielle doubted the ghouls could swim for the miles needed to reach shore, and she was pretty sure that ghouls needed to breathe.
Marlon shared a look with Danielle as the report came in. Not that he could see her face behind the helmet, but she had a notable frown.
"We were told you were planning to see Mr. Bloom on some sort of business. He's on the bridge right now. Follow us when you've settled affairs here."
Bloom suits. Unscrupulous vultures. They give you a big toothy smile while they pick your pocket. (Metaphorically)
Marlon smiled. "Mister Bloom likes to stay informed huh? Good. I like that. Expected it, sure, since you don't stay ahead in business unless you are, but good. Glad to hear he's on top of the game. We'll be sure to head up there soon. I'm lookin' forward to meeting him."
"I'll see him when I'm ready."
"You wanna go chat business first? We can always get the supplies afterwards. You're the boss."
"You go first, I need to handle something real quick."
Danielle found the nearest merchant stall.
"I need a pencil and paper."
Danielle put five caps on the counter. High price for what she was getting, but she didn't want to waste time haggling.
Danielle found a discreet corner and wrote something, and folded it.
Danielle was now ready for her meeting with Bloom.
The rest of Charlie's journey through the DC ruins was rather unremarkable. He picked up some bits and pieces on his way, a couple of bottles of nuka-cola, a packet of BlamCo Mac & Cheese and various other junk. He didn't understand how there were still items to scavenge after all this time, yet he wasn't complaining. He did love that sweet cola taste after all.
The occasional explosion or gunshot could be heard from somewhere within the ruins although, apart from a near miss with a pack of super mutants, Charlie didn't run into another soul. Luckily for him those mutants spotted more of those strange blue-haired girls and chased after them, leaving his path unobstructed. In what felt like no time at all, Charlie came to a large pre-war building.
Assuming I've followed this map correctly, this should be the place... Heck yes! They've got to accept me now, I made it through their test in one piece after all!"
Feeling exceptionally pleased with himself, Charlie wandered up to the entrance, in plain view for anyone watching the building's surroundings. There were people rushing all over the place, it seemed some serious business was going down within the compound.
The Thorns were milling about their new Megaton base when suddenly...
Jake: "Hey, I just realized I didn't give Chuck a note or anything to indicate we sent him."
Moe: "I got into the Brotherhood without a referral, I'm sure he'll be fine."
Sam: "We probably also should have given him some Rad-Away.:
John: "I suppose there's nothing we can do about it now.
Washington, District of Columbia - Museum Of Technology
"Identify your bionic butt and don't spare me the details!"
Though he wasn't quite sure how the man could see his bionics, he wasn't going to question the man infront of him.
"Spc. Talion of California. Ex-Paladin of the Brotherhood of Steel. Exiled for radiation induced mutations resulting in status as ghoul. Seeking Reenlistment to combat Enclave menace."
He noticed one of the androids on the ground starting to move on the ground again so he quickly unloaded a couple of round into it before it could cause any more trouble.
"I heard rumours that the chapter here was accepting those afflicted with mutations and also of a re-emergence of the Enclave in its proximity." He paused "Based on what I've seen here, I'm guessing the museum's not normally like this. If you need assistance with your objective here I'm ready and willing."
The Thorns in unison: ...Early in the morning!
Sam: "so what do you do with a drunken sailor?"
John: "That's like asking "Who got the funk?" or "How much is that doggie in the window?" The answer isn't the point."
Moe: "I wonder what Dan's up to."
Jake: "No clue. No use wondering though. 'Goodbye my Coney Island Baby' on three?
Moe: "A one, two three..."
John: "Bum bum bum..."
Unison: "Goodbye my Coney Island baby..."
The Wild Wastelands: Divided
Amy Kane's unexpected and ominous contact was weighing heavily on the young Gauss Girl. Despite the reassurances from both William and Sylph, this was something that would change their dynamic forever.
The fact that Amy Kane was watching and most likely preparing to track her daughter down again had made her reconsider her immediate plans. Plans that heartwrenchingly did not include William, Sylph or Johnny.
Lucy had shown an incredible desire to seek out the answers to her past. The answers themselves had tested and changed her character. She would never be the same. There was no going back to normal. Lucy had repeatedly snatched these answers from the jaws of death and each time a small part of herself was sacrificed after each attempt.
Lucy had made enemies, betrayed entire organisations and waged war against the Enclave itself.
Lucy had also made friends, forged unique relationships and created memories that would live on in her heart.
Lucy had not lost the capacity to care, sometimes unreasonably, for those that chose to stay by her side. It was because of these bonds that Lucy had to pull away.
Lucy was bound to an existence of waging war against her Father's enemies and her inner demons. A fate she had once fought against, but now it was something that she had actively embraced.
Lucy had destroyed raiders, behemoths, crippled a giant mirelurk, stared down the people behind her Father's murder...now she was starting her rampage on the Enclave itself.
With the entrance of Amy Kane, Lucy couldn't live with putting her friends in danger anymore.
This was her fight.
Lucy regarded Johnny for a moment. Usually she would feel compelled to scold him for leaving, despite their strained relationship. However, she couldn't fault him when she was just about to do the same.
Taking a moment to secure her eyepatch over her left eye, Lucy stepped forward and laid a hand on Johnny's shoulder. Her hand lingered for a moment before snaking around his neck and pulling him closer. There was a sense of finality within her movements.
Breaking off, Lucy walked up the hill to find William. Without hesitation, the eyepatched female walked right up to William, stood on her toes and kissed him. Despite the rush of butterflies, Lucy could take no joy from that moment.
"Keep my plasma pistol, William. Remember me."
Finally, and this was the part that had torn Lucy's heart to shreds...she walked over to Sylph and pulled her into a tight embrace. Softly, Lucy had wept on the Crimson-Clad shoulder.
"I have to go for good. At least for a little while. Maybe you'll find me at Megaton...it's the only place I can go to anymore." Pulling away, Lucy rested her hand on Sylph's cheek. "I am putting everyone here at risk...my mother, Amy Kane, is my demon to face...and I can't let anything happen to you because of my past. I refuse to pull you into that."
Lucy pulled at the key resting around her neck, Shifty Mcgee's final gift to her should anything happen to him. Lucy pushed this key into Sylph's hand.
"That was Shifty's, The Undertaker. He promised it to me should anything happen to him. There's a footlocker at The Citadel...there might be more answers for you there. I think this actually belongs with you."
Lucy got up slowly and fixed her eye on Sylph. Knowing that this was clearly their goodbye, she couldn't hide the sadness in her voice.
"My father said that putting someone else's needs before your own can be considered a form of love. I know what he meant by that now..."
Lucy half-turned, biting back anymore tears.
"I love you, Sylphy. You were the closest thing I've had to family in years."
Finally, Lucy Black turned and walked away from the only people that cared for her. She hoped that one day they would understand why she had walked away.
Not knowing where she was or where she was heading. The eyepatched female armed with a Gauss Rifle walked in an unknown direction. She walked for the singular purpose of fighting to her death...however that fate might choose to present itself.
And just like that, Lucy was gone. Disappeared into the night and leaving William with a kiss and a Plasma pistol. Once again the question: "What now?" hung over the group like the mirelurk in the room. They had been Lucy's crew, all joined together through her and with the centrepiece gone, the rest of the group could soon follow.
William decided it was time for honesty, now that they seemed to lack a particular mission. He walked back to the centre of the camp and spoke to Johnny and Sylph, "Ok, all cards on the table now, this might be it. We might all go our separate ways, but that doesn't have to be the case. I need to go to the Citadel for several reasons. If either of you are heading in that direction you're welcome to join me." Said William, reminded of how similar this was to his previous experience with the Anver residents. Though this was less angry.
"Even if you've not got a reason to be heading that way, you might come anyway just because..." William let that sentence out with a shrug, "But whatever comes, it has been one hell of a time with you."
The Wild Wastelands: Camp
The Red Menace was too stunned to act or say anything as Sister Lucy Black said her goodbyes. Apart of the Blue Haired Homicidal Maniac wanted to latch onto 1EGG's leg and never leg go, forcing Sister Lucy Black to drag Sylph across the Wastes of D.C. while fighting the forces of evil. Another part of Sylph wanted to drug the bitch and drag HER around the Wastes of D.C. as a warning to those who might someday abandon the Red Menace. In the end, Sylph watched her dear sister leave the group, one hand fingering the key that she had been given and the other one rubbing the freshly kissed cheek, protecting them from the storm of tears that threatened to wash away Sylph's only remembrance of the brief few moments that she had a sister.
While the threat of Master(?) Johnny Truant leaving had knocked the Stormy Eyed Young woman for a loop, the actual departure of Sister Lucy Black had been a punch to Sylph's face and left the already vulnerable girl feeling a bit desperate to cling onto those around her.
"Ok, all cards on the table now, this might be it. We might all go our separate ways, but that doesn't have to be the case. I need to go to the Citadel for several reasons. If either of you are heading in that direction you're welcome to join me."
The Red Uniformed girl looked over to William Knight and simply nodded a nod of thanks. She would join William Knight on his trip to the Citadel, at least as far as Master(?) Johnny Truant would go.
"If Master(?) Johnny Truant is going to travel with you then so am I." Sylph responded with a small smile the signaled her relief that she wouldn't be left alone for at least another short while.
"Even if you've not got a reason to be heading that way, you might come anyway just because..."
Did Sylph even have a purpose anymore? Father was out there and he was more than likely watching them right now. She could've gone back to him were it not for Master(?) Johnny Truant's and Mistress(?) Beryl Craw's hold on her but there was a large part of her that had found that life outside of Father's watch was more desirable.
There was also the fact that given Father's past actions, Master(?) Johnny Truant, Mistress(?) Beryl Craw and William Knight would be safer if Sylph were with them than without.
Not the Wild Wastelands:
Alex: We'd like to take a moment to welcome our audience back from commercial and get Double Jeopardy! under way. Currently we have Generic NPC 22 in the lead with two hundred dollars and is in control of the board.
Generic NPC 22: I'd like 'WTF!' for One Thousand Alex!
Alex: Alright and here's the clue: Because she's high as an f-ing kite, like, if she was any higher, she'd be a moon orbiting Pictoris b.
Generic NPC 22: Why does Doppel-Sylphy think that the Talon Company scout in front of her is a clown holding a bubble gun?
Alex: Right you are for a Thousand! I'd like to take another commercial break to go fist my producers in the collective brown eye for making me read this crap...
Back to the Wild Wastelands:
The Doppel-Sylphy was laughing and clapping her hands at the image in front of her. Contrary to what was really in front of her, Sylphy didn't see a rather large Talon Company Scout pointing a 10mm Pistol at her head, she saw a rather large clown holding a bubble gun that fired bubbles that chimed musical notes when she popped them.
This, of course, was not real reality but rather a Med-X induced reality that Sylphy experienced. In real reality, the Talon Company Scout was getting rather frustrated that his Pistol appeared to be jammed and would not fire on the annoying little runt in front of him. In Sylph's Med-X reality, the clown started bending his bubble gun into a balloon mole-rat. Which just wasn't the case in real reality where the Talon Company scout was checking the pistol to ensure that there was nothing wrong with the firing mechanism. This was contracted by Sylphy's Med-X reality were the clown popped the balloon mole-rat and turned it back into his bubble gun. Back in real reality, the Talon Company Scout made a rather unfortunate mistake by looking in the barrel of his 10mm pistol which took the opportunity to discharge and splatter his head across the Wasteland. Of coursem in Sylphy's reality, the clown's head exploded into a cloud of glitter and rainbows.
"Sylphy sylphy sylphy!!" Sylphy said clapping her hands loudly before the clown disappeared. Bored now, Sylphy looked around and spotted the group with the mean Sylphy and the two men in the distance.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy!!!!" Sylphy Sylphy'd as she ran back towards them excited to tell them about the clown that she just met and his awesome performance.
The Citadel Gate:
At the entrance to the Citadel's courtyard a power-armoured man intercepted Charlie, halting him with an upraised hand. He carried a laser rifle, currently resting on his shoulder.
"Halt boy. What business do you have here?"
"Hi there, uh, sir. I came to sign up with The Brotherhood. I ran into some paladins called the Thorns in Megaton and they said that if I made it here in one piece that I would be Brotherhood material... and well, here I am."
"The Thorns huh? I think that's Danielle's squad, unfortunately she left for Rivet City recently. I'm sure she would have liked to hear from them. Anyway, did they give you any proof of identification to bring with you? I can't just let you in on your word you see. For all I know you could be an Enclave spy who overheard that name somewhere.
Charlie cursed his ignorance at that comment. Why hadn't he asked for proof? Idiot!
"Well no... but they did give me pretty much all of my gear. Oh, I can describe them! There's four of them, Sam, John, Moe and Jake. I didn't talk to the others all that much, but John knew a hell of a lot about explosives. Also some pretty crass jokes, nearly had me in stitches he did. Also... uh sir?"
Charlie trailed off as he realized the man wasn't paying attention anymore. Following his gaze over his shoulder, Charlie turned around to quite a sight...
Deep in the DC Ruins:
Steve jumped over some rubble and grabbed the one of the blue haired girls in his giant, green fist. The super mutant roared in triumph, these little menaces had proven surprisingly difficult to catch. The girl squirmed in his grip but he held on tight, not letting it wiggle free.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylph! Syyylllphyyyyyyyyyyy!"
"Shut it twerp! Hey Barry, I caught one of the little shits!" Steve called out to his comrade, a grin plastered across his ugly face.
"Nicely done shitface! Slippery little minxes this lot," came the reply, as a second mutant wandered up, breathing hard. "Say... do you hear that?
"Hear what?" Steve said, as he struggled to stuff the girl into a sack. Succeeding, he turned around and looked down the road Barry was staring at. The rest of their crew were sprinting towards them, looking terrified!
"Run you fools! RUN!"
As the other mutants bolted past them, Steve and Barry looked to back down the road, searching for what they were meant to be running from.
"Holy shit... let's get the fuck outta here!"
Back at The Citadel Gate:
Coming down the road Charlie had just traveled was a pack of super mutants! That wasn't the terrifying site however, what was chasing them was...
"SYLPHY! SYLPHY SYLPHY SYLPHY! SYLPHY!
The group of musical girls Charlie had seen earlier appeared to have grown. There were dozens of them, marching double time down the street and singing their lungs out! One had even grabbed a metal rod from somewhere and was wielding it like a baton, conducting the terrifying stampede!
A laser rifle shot fired from behind Charlie shook him out of his shock as it hit one of the mutants in the face, dropping him to the ground. The guard stepped up beside him and continued shooting, taking down another of the giant greenskins.
"Hey kid, help me deal with this lot and then we'll talk about signing you up!"
"R-roger that sir!" Charlie stammered, fumbling a grenade out of his pocket. Pulling the pin, he threw it towards what remained of the mutant pack.
Washington, District of Columbia - Museum Of Technology
After a short discussion with the Paladins, he left them to guard Laura while Edwards and another backed him up in the hunt for the Lunar Lander, which was apparently not only here but robotic, armed, and carrying a dish for a local radio station.
Walking through the corridors with his thermal lance out and readied, he heard a sort of hovering noise. The two paladins backing him up signaled to him that it was there, so he told them to take positions with their rifles. He turned a corner, saw it in its full glory and as it opened fire on him he charged.
The lance burned through its metal hide and it started to electrocute him. His suit started to lock up from the charge but he grabbed the prod, ripped it off and tossed it away. He screamed for the Paladins assistance and they opened fire upon it as they ran out from their cover. He jammed his lance into it's propulsion unit and as it hit the ground he started tearing its weapons off it.
After a few minutes of dismantling history beside Brotherhood Paladins, Talion was able to present Edwards his radio dish.
The Citadel Gate:
Boom! The grenade Charlie had tossed detonated, the shrapnel ripping into the remaining super mutants. Those that didn't go down stumbled and were swept up in the tide of Sylphies, vanishing from site. Undeterred, the flood of blue-haired girls marched onward, singing their lungs out. Most had picked up various bits and pieces of junk and rubble and were wielding them threateningly. As they got close to the gate they picked up speed, surging forward in a flood of red dresses.
Fighting down feelings of panic and bewilderment, Charlie pulled out several of his homemade dynamite sticks and his Zippo lighter. The girls weren't armored so these would be just as effective as their military grade counterparts. Lighting several at once, Charlie launched them into the crowd, taking down multiple girls with each. Beside him the guard blasted away with his rifle, red laser shots dropping several members of the horde.
"To arms! We're under attack!"
Other members of the Brotherhood had noticed the commotion and ran over, tearing into the crowd with their deadly energy weapons. There were too many to stop before they spilled into the courtyard however, hacking and battering at the defenders and everything else they could get within range of. Luckily their attacks weren't strong enough to penetrate the suits of power armor most of the Brotherhood were wearing. Unluckily for Charlie and several others in the courtyard, they weren't wearing power armor. Several fell screaming as they were torn apart by the savage little menaces.
Hastily stashing his lighter, Charlie drew his machete and desperately fended off a girl wielding a metal pole. She was incredibly fast, it was all he could do to block her attacks. Trying to put some distance between them he backpedaled quckly, only to trip over a fallen body. He looked up in horror as the girl raised the pole and swung it directly at his face...
Out of nowhere a power fist wielding paladin appeared and smashed the girl in the face, sending her flying! Offering Charlie a hand, he hauled the young man to his feet. The pair of them readied themselves for another attack, but found there was no need. The last of the girls had broken and were fleeing out the gate. They had been no match for the heavily armoured paladins and their vastly superior weaponry.
Exhaling a sigh of relief, Charlie stowed his machete and turned to his savior.
"Thanks for saving me Si- uh... Ma'am," Charlie said, realizing at the last instant that he had been saved by a woman. It was difficult to distinguish genders when they were armored up. The woman just stared at him for a moment before speaking.
"So... who are you exactly? I don't think I've seen you before."
Before Charlie could answer, the guard from the gate walked over to them.
"There you are kid, glad you're okay." He turned to the other paladin. "This kid just arrived, he wants to sign up. I'll take care of him"
"Whatever, he's your problem now," she replied, walking away. Looking around the courtyard the guard sighed.
"What a mess. Anyway kid, good job on staying alive. Come with me and we can talk while the rest of this lot clean up. What was your name anyway?"
Mentally exhausted as he was from the ordeal, Charlie still perked up upon hearing those words.
"Charlie Sir, Charlie Cannon."
On the road to the Citadel
A lonely path led from their camp on the edge of the DC Ruins back into the urban sprawl with the Citadel as their destination. William, Sylph and Johnny trudged down an empty street in the dead of night. As they walked, William silently admired their surroundings.
The DC Ruins were both beautiful and ugly in the dark of the night. Some buildings had power and the lights were on. Other late night lights came from sporadic explosions that briefly lit up the area while bursts of gunfire provided background noise. Twisted metal jutted out from every ruin and broken concrete littered the ground. Each bombed out building was warzone unto itself and reminders of the battles that raged every day were present. Bullet holes scarred walls, laser blasts left their scorch marks and bones, blood and bodies were strewn in tragic poses of their last moments.
Some battles could be traced by the wreckage they left behind, the body of a dead wastelander lay in a heap on some rubble, a spar of metal protruded from her torso and her face was a bloody mess. A single bent nail jutted out from the woman's cheek, a .32 pistol lay on the ground a few feet away from her right hand. Upon closer inspection the pistol was broken, a powerful foot had stamped it to pieces. The woman was wearing makeshift armour comprised of rusted metal plates. She was obviously not an experienced survivor or she wouldn't have been in the DC ruins with such poor equipment. Instead, she had probably heard DC was safer now and blundered in. Of course all it took was one Super Mutant with a nail board to throw her around and bludgeon her to death.
The Brotherhood of Steel had expanded their operations to cover most of the city, but they couldn't be everywhere at once. Unfortunately this had led to ambitious but stupid scavengers venturing into parts of DC once considered suicidal to enter, the Brotherhood couldn't always get there in time. This was coupled with the Enclave's efforts to destabilise the Brotherhood's grip on DC, meaning Raiders, Super Mutants and assorted ruffians crept back in at every opportunity.
A little further along the road, a small group of shell casings trickled off into a line. Someone had been firing an assault rifle while moving. The trail ended abruptly as dried blood splattered the ground and a wastelander clad in more practical metal armour, a man this time, lay flat on his back covered in bullet holes with a Chinese Assault Rifle clenched in his dead hands. Not far from him were the bodies of three raiders, also full of holes. They must have ambushed him, though he had put up a good fight and judging by the shell casings and blood splatters he had charged his enemies while injured. If you're going to go, might as well go down fighting. Thought William, noticing there were more blood spots away from the other bodies, William guessed that there must have been another one, maybe two attackers who got away. Not before the man had punished them for their troubles though. They must have been injured badly enough that they couldn't stay to loot the bodies. Still, these battles they had seen were long over, no Raiders or Mutants were on the road this time.
There are fights like these going on every day and night in DC, it can't be stopped because anybody can get into the city. No matter how many times the Brotherhood drives them out they creep back in through the sewers and subways. They make it back to their old camps and bases and it's like they were never gone. But nobody has the manpower to hold DC, not even the Brotherhood. William mused.
"How are we doing people? Able to keep going?" Asked William, it would take them the better part of tomorrow to get to the Citadel unless there was some delay but they'd need to eat at some point and could probably do with getting some sleep.
"...must be a mighty keen radio ta still be fizzlin', you got parts? Cuz ah knows, see? Ah may not look like much, but a man like me...well..."
"Yes...it really has been through the wars, hasn't it? Rather like us, wouldn't you say?"
"Lost for words? That's not like you."
"...don't you forget who caught who, Fishy."
"Sisters, Brothers, and all true Shoals of the Wet One. Consider this my inaugural address as his conduit. I hesitate to announce myself a prophet or any nature of leader, for an ego has no place in His Shoal. Indeed, even He does not come before you as a kindly father, a just ruler, or as a stern and callous godhead. A Shoal has no need of a godhead, for a Shoal is one body, to which many contribute to become one. The most powerful, perfect and fluid organism ever devised by the blind hand of nature."
"Crawver is my name. I was a doctor."
"There are souls in this dusk-bound world that would seek to prevent His plan. Our plan. For this, we offer no malice, malice has no use. And I cannot apportion blame to those who dwelt for so long, perhaps since their own inaugurations, on this cracked earth in the age of fire, steel and soil. However, adversaries they remain; for they pluck our lives from the earth in their desperation."
"This sermon finds this shoal...depleted by one such adversary."
"Four of our number fell victim to the creature's howls as we prayed. My trusted first companion, Abraham St. John, ensured that they were spared suffering. It pains my old heart that a true burial was impossible, for death will claim us all before we would have reached the ocean. It pains me. Abraham."
"I was a doctor once, you know. Doctors...they deal with death, so that others are spared such a taxing duty. Why, the world has to function, and we all fulfil our roles. Well...uh...aturally, we have to carry this burden so that others' may be made bearable. And so we...we deal with these things, in our own ways. Perhaps I had grown calloused as my tough old gut. But...I think I may be losing my shell, Abe. And it doesn't bode well."
"...aww, you jist need a drink! See these? Ah just needs my special herbs an' shiny things, an' Abe's gon' solve all our ails!"
"An'...uh...'tween jist you an' me, Fish, ah think we'd best hurry. You jus' follow me, now. Y'know how it is, yank n' slack."
"We have been granted some relief from doom, somehow. At our most desperate moment, I committed the sin of rationality and scepticism. I prayed. I prayed and commanded others to do so. But I am alive. And Abraham is alive. And this Shoal, while aching from the emptiness of those taken, still persists. It's...it's all got to mean something."
"My brother! What dooms do you bring upon my brow?"
"Father, I do not mean..."
"Just...don't worry. I see you have no need for wit here."
"Oh, nevermind. I'm sorry."
"Your predictions were most insightful, Father Crawver. There is naught but dust and scrub around for miles. The land lies flat and the sun climbs to a punishing peak. Please...how long shall it be before we can be quenched?"
"...it'll be a fair while, my brother. It is not within my mind to fail you. But the cracked earth may see to that before long."
"Pray tell us, what does His plan entail?"
"You misunderstand the nature of his plan, young fellow..."
"Please. I am aware of this new burden placed upon me; I am doing what I can! I am doing...what I can."
"And my burden shall not be eased. Not anymore."
"...please don't be angry, Father."
"...well here's something of a plan. We must gather the Shoal. We stand out here in a radiation desert with such good news, what is the use of that! The young journalist. That poor, wretched sod. He was conducting recordings for a reason, for broadcast! There must be some way of broadcasting my sermon, and His message, and His teachings...Somewhere out here."
"But Father, we have no map!"
"Do you know what I'm going to say? Call it the madness of privations, but...what else to do but choose a direction, and follow it? No desert is endless, though it may seem it."
"But our supplies, Father Crawver! I see nothing on either horizon, and my eyes are keen, despite my visage! They will be depleted before we see three nights! And the cow shall not last as long."
"Oh for god's...what is it now, Abe?"
"Think ah might just have some good news! heh heh heh."
"...go on, humour me. It'll pass the time. You old twit."
"...some dried up root is your good news? Oh! Pray tell! Is there more?"
"Now, now, Fish, ah could jus' as easy throw you back. So you listen to Abe, if'n y'know what'll keep you alive long enough to put what's on your radio on th' big radio."
"Don'tcha see? Now I found there here tubes, well, maybe you oughtn't tah know 'til it's done...but everythin' 'round here. It's all ah need!"
"...You know, it would be rude of me to disregard you in such a hopeless time. You...you go on ahead."
"Nuh, uh, you're gon' have to help me. Mah eyes ent what they used to be."
"What did they used to be?"
"They used to be mah ears! HAAARGH HARGH HARGH!"
Frank's head was spinning.
Main optics: Bust. Frank switched to the secondary optics. (The little dealy on top of the helmet.)
Auditory systems: Functioning.
There was a substantial burn on Frank's left love-handle.
Left knee-blade had snapped off.
Air filter: Unobstructed, but not filtering.
[???]Something in the unfiltered wasteland air made Frank feel invigorated. He felt like a million caps for some reason.
[Perception]The asshole was walking away.
Frank got up.
[Super Slam]Left hand on power pack, right hand on helmet, spurs assisting in the lean part of the push...
"How much do you weigh?"
Helmet speakers: Functional.
"Five-hoondrid keeligrohms with me ahmoh loddie."
So we just stall him till it happens?
Frank had very little experience with bad accents, so Scott's accent was magnified tenfold in his mind.
A large hammer came down towards Frank, only to be sidestepped and riposted with a punch to the right-elbow-pit.
Float like a bloatfly, sting like a radscorpion!
[Striking points: Armor]"You're slowing down. I wonder why that could be? Perhaps it has something to do with my punching a hole in your hydraulic shoulder servo."
Frank's wit was met with a less witty, but very potent left backhand that sent him away aways.
"You fight like a gorilla; all brawn, no technique!"
"I'll shoo ye technique loddie!"
"You can pronounce "Technique" but not "You"? Speaking of gorillas..."
"MONKEY STYLE!"(Yes I know Gorillas are apes, not monkeys. Frank doesn't.)
Chimpanzee throws its shit
All that Rad-away Frank took earlier had an interesting effect. His "Leavings" were notably softer, making them substantially harder to scrape off entirely.
"Ye deerty leettle..."
A toy car with a bomb attached came out of Scott's armor and began making its way towards Frank.
Frank displacer-jumped into the air towards the now shitfaced Scott as a the car exploded at his previous location.
A metal pole with a blade attached to the end, it also has the trigger to a paint sprayer attached, with a hose running along the shaft and the spray at the tip of the spear. The container of the paint sprayer is attached to the other end of the spear. Inside the container is rad scorpion venom. This allows the weapon to spray venom a short distance, best used to blind foe and aimed at open wounds. it can also be sprayed once the spear is penetrated into someone for a incredibly high dose of venom which should allow you to bring down large targets quickly e.g. deathclaw (though one would have to get within spear stabbing distance of a deathclaw to do so). Another option is to spray and then swing the blade through the venom cloud to coat it in a thin layer of venom.
Larry proceeded to make as many of each of his contraptions as he could. Sleeping in the middle of his make ship workshop at night. Once finished he explained each of his contraptions to Simms as well as leaving plans behind so Simms could make more of each whenever he wanted. Larry grabbed a set of metal armour, pair of tesla gloves, a tesla cut which he sheath on his left hand side, a tesla shank which he sheath on his right hand side and a scalpel shot.
He then left megaton and headed into the wasteland.
When we last left Frank, he was unable to fully-comprehend a Scottish accent. This wouldn't be so bad if FalloutScott were incomprehensible to everyone, but the fact is that...mostly...everyone else could. Yeah, life was strange like that. Speaking of life, Frank WAS right about his arm. The damage had reached the machinery in that arm and it WAS slower as a result. The reason it wasn't a heavy load on his arm was down to the redundant hydraulics Scott had in his suit, it still functioned, it seems. Frank came leaping in at Scott, Scott switched his grip on the Uber-Sledge, and Frank was a line drive to second base!
FalloutScott: I've got a wee confession ta' make. I am not left-handed. I'm not right-handed either, truth be told.
Dammit, he was ambidextrous, the cunning bastard! Wait, you can't improvise that. Have to be...born that way, yeah. Still, it was starting to look like we need a damn samurai in here for this guy. Sledging the ground, he caused alot of dirt and dust to fly up and provide a temporary smokescreen. From there, Frank would be able to hear the the buzzing of little car engines again - which was bad - and then everything cleared to reveal Scott holding a Rock-It Launcher. Those things weaponize wasteland junk to the point of decapitating mutants with teddy bears!
FalloutScott: Have a taste of this, ya wily sausage!
Exploding toy race cars numbered in the half-dozen, their detonation yields being rather nasty for how compact they were. Some seemed to be waiting for Frank to make a move, Programmed to intercept? Maybe... Anyway, Scott loaded an ashtray and fired it off!
Ferdinand was talking about craziness, and Evan had to agree. You DON'T need drugs to be crazy. This man was indeed his own kind of crazy. But he was so crazy, that he just might work! ...or something. Anyway, he seemed to be well-inclined to handle the Enclave guy. And as one of his fellow Scribes shouted "My clipboard!" as Ferd's horse ate it, Evan had a plan. Not just a crazy plan, but a GOOD plan.
Evan: We won't need to fight an army. I don't think the bulk of the Enclave is even IN the Capital Wastelands. We're going to take advantage of the Enclave's Human Asset plan. And before you ask, they registered me as one, thinking I was just a Vault Dweller.
Asset 19, in fact. Forcing Asset 18 (Dudley) to get his ass moving, he asked Ferd to saddle up and head outside where he left his motorcycle. Evan appeared to be trying to get someone on the radio as they got moving.
Evan: Citadel to Frank, Citadel to Frank. Do you read me? Frank, are you out there fighting an Enclave bigshot, by chance?
Captain Edwards had seen all the subtle signs of a man altered by machine before. The body language, for one, told such a story. Identifying himself as a former Paladin, the soldier became more at-ease, as did his squad. It sounded about right. In fact, it sounded about as bad as it could for a man. He'd been ghouled, and that wasn't good, but he was still a man and a man could fight.
"I heard rumours that the chapter here was accepting those afflicted with mutations and also of a re-emergence of the Enclave in its proximity. Based on what I've seen here, I'm guessing the museum's not normally like this. If you need assistance with your objective here I'm ready and willing."
Edwards: You're damn right on all counts. Believe it or not, one guy did all this, a hotshot from the Enclave that stole a transmitting dish for GNR. Asshole put it in the Lunar Lander, souped it up with weapons an' shit, and now it's flyin' it's ass all over the place. Giving us a hand wit' that will go a long way to putting you in a good light with Elder Lyons.
That seemed to settle it, then. Tallion was given about all the information they knew about the lander-bot, especially that the dish was inside and they didn't want it broken. Fortunately, the three that went after it were victorious and soon...they had the dish. Fighting their way back outside wasn't as much a problem as it would've been, considering Tallion had cleared out a load of those robots on the way in. There might be some left, but they wouldn't leave the place, probably. Very soon, a Vertibird with Brotherhood markings would land to get them, the dish, Tallion and Laura, and especially the injured man back to the Cidadel. They would arrive just as Evan and Ferd were leaving. Said vertibird was soon bound for the Washington Memorial to re-install it. Tallion would be escorted to Sara Lyons next.
Sara: I'm going to assume you were successful.
Edwards: We had help. BIG help. Tallion here's from a southern chapter. They put 'im out simply 'cause he got an attack of the ghoulies.
Sara: *Sigh* Those other chapters are getting more and more like the Enclave they hate...
Edwards: Yeah, and mah boy, Three Dog hears back west some old 'Clavers are actually heroes or some shit.
Sara: Strange days ahead of us, for sure. Alright Paladin. My name is Sara Lyons, Elder of this chapter in the Brotherhood of Steel. I think you need to be updated on the situation if you want to join my command. Get anything you need, info-wise, from the scribes and then rig for battle. I've got a giant robot AND a giant mutant on the loose, there's radioactive plant monsters roaming the wasteland, people have been imploding, the weather's bad, and get this... We have a clone war.
It was Vorn's will. Because the traitors and dissenters had not been killed by the Walrex - because they killed it - Vorn simply did not rain in that area, and lo they were without water. Crawver, Abe, and their followers had, however, located rudimentary food supplement, such as it was. They would live, for now, but where were they? Well, the answer was...no longer in the Capital Wastelands. They were south, in Virginia. There was a distant sound, coming from a distant hill, even further south, if they wanted to try that. There was also a group of rad-vultures circling above a spot to the east, and a smell... They could go in any direction that they liked, really. They might find all kinds of misfortune, or misfortune find them instead!
Having finished his work, Larry was at last ready to head out back into the wasteland. He paid his respects to the sheriff, and set out. Ah, but in which direction? Where was his planning to go? Well, about the time he was leaving, a guard up at the wal, watching things, was taking a drink from his canteen...when he noticed something shocking enough to nearly choke. He coughed, beat his chest, and attempted to shout out what he'd seen. Unfortunately, you know what it's like to choke on fluids. You can't talk for a moment because of the state of your throat. So, he rang the warning bell and banged his rifle against the wall to warn Larry before fixing his rifle to aim at it. At what? Well...Larry would hear the thump of heavyset footprints from his left, and...
"Yo. Human. Going my way?"
At full height, it would make him seem like a dwarf in comparison, but it naturally took that hunched posture that they do. The skin was dark and gray, not the usual tones that their kind they were seen in, but there have been cases. The horns, the eyes, the dense muscular body, the tail, and that toothy grimace all said it in one gulp: Deathclaw... The SIZE and the STYLING of the horns said further: Alpha... The weird part, though, was what IT said, TO HIM. A talking Deathclaw?
And now, an interlude between Natsuki, Constance, and a bus full of Sylphys.
Natsuki was in the back of the bus, basically chilling with her arms behind her back during this time. She was making plans with this Sylphy lot, and she was smirking from the song. She almost cracked up at the transcribed tale that Constance was getting out of them. It was when questions came of a decision-making quality to her that she spoke up.
Natsuki: The Enclave's been monitering the Gary Stampedes for a while now. We were getting kinda' worried that they would breed or something. Seeing as how they've become natural enemies of the Sylphys here, I think we should help handle the situation. Getting these gals on our side could be damn useful for what's coming.
American Enclave Scout of America Sorrowfeld responded to her idol's comments with a thoughtful, though not too enthusiastic, nod. With the assistance of the Sylphys, the Enclave would have the ability to bolster their ranks with a clone army. All the setbacks that the Enclave had suffered over the years would be swept away. Constance would have been honored to be part of this watershed moment were it not totally contingent on the utterly unpredictable Sylphys.
That was a destination further down the road and dealing with the Gary Stampedes was a more immediate situation. Regardless of how thoughts of a contingent heavily armed Sylphy clones terrified Scout Sorrowfeld, she would follow Miss Lieutenant Natsuki Manriki to the four corners of the world.
"I'm with you Lieutenant Natsuki, ma'am" Constance said as she continued to focus on navigating the pothole filled road that lay before the American Enclave Scouts of America Short Bus transport.
"Sylphy! Sylphy! Sylphy!" Exclaimed the Sylphy directly behind Constance as she covered the driver's eyes. Were it not for the fact that Constance was already blind and detected the world in front of her via her ears, the vehicle and its occupants would have more than likely met a fiery ending at the bottom of a ravine.
"Are you kidding me?!" Scout Sorrorfeld exclaimed as she reacted according to her training and shot a backhanded strike at the Sylphy behind her.
No one else might have noticed the strange sound that Constance's fist made when it came in contact with the Sylphy's face but the Blind Scout did hear the strange sound, not that it mattered since where once sat a single Sylphy, two now sat, sharing an identical stunned reaction at having been struck by Constance. Natsuki stood bolt upright from where she had been sitting, her eyes wide and her mouth open from surprise and wonder. Did they...did they just see how these clones were keeping their numbers in a vast, hostile world? Why they weren't dwindling? Them OR the Garys? Natsuki thought this over for a moment, then said...
Natsuki: Ask them if they're absolutely certain that the Garys have been staying dead when they kill them. 'Cause if both sides do this, we have a problem...
Namely, they could be at war forever as long as enough divisions happened. That was just creepy...
"That's just plain creepy..." Constance muttered from her position in the driver's seat, her utterance echoing Lieutenant Natsuki's thought.
"Sylphy Sylphy!" The two Sylphys sitting behind Scout Sorrowfeld said in stereo.
If the rolling of her eyes would have made the intended emotional impact that Constance had desired, she would have done so. Instead, her annoyance was displayed by her Cat Ears being tucked backwards briefly. The world, as it turned out, was even more bipolar than the American Enclave Scout of America had thought when she had just met the group known as Team Lucy. With the discovery of self replicating clones, the world appeared psychitzophrenic.
If both the Sylphys and the Garys were able to replicate in this manner, the consequences were dire. The two populations had the posibility of replicating exponentially and consuming all the food resources the Wasteland surrounding the former District of Columbia until there nothing was left.
Remembering her orders from Lieutenant Natsuki, Constance addressed the two Sylphys behind her.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy?" The Cat Eared Scout asked.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy?" The stereoscopic Sylphys responded.
"They said that they're sure that the Garys don't do ... um... that whole splitting thing." She translated, "But how are they even able to do that in the first place?"
Compliments of Generic
The Wild Wastelands: The Grisly Diner
Enclave Intelligence Offier #411 stretched out in one of the Diner's many empty and dilapidated booths. She'd been jockeying a desk for the last few years and relished any amount time she got to spend in the field, even if it meant meeting some of the Wastes' more unsavory inhabitants.
"Ma'am - Your guest is coming in from the North. ETA: 5 minutes" Came the voice of her Vertibird pilot through #411's radio.
Minutes passed before #411's contact entered through the Diner's front door, pausing to look at the Plamsa scorched Raider corpses that #411 had left piled up on one side of the room.
"We have an issue," Henry McGee stated as he sat down across from #411, "it seems that a little experiment of mine has gotten a little out of hand."
"We'll get to your issue, but what's the status of Lucy Black?"
"She's gone. She abandoned her group."
"And you didn't bother to follow her?" #411 asked with a voice dripping with annoyance.
"No. Like I said there was something more important."
"Like the fact that there are more of these 'Sylphys' than could have been created in the clone vats?"
"And just how did that happen?"
"I introduced a piece of Vault Technology that I discovered into the cloning machinery of Vault 108. It's an unstable molecule that duplicates itself when it is introduced a certain amount of kinetic energy. Vault Tech tried to use it to create ever replicating food stuffs. Unfortunately, as the residents of that Vault discovered, chewing caused the food to replicate itself. When I opened the vault, I found the entire population of the Vault dead of severe head trauma due to the replicating food stuffs or starvation." Undertaker McGee stated.
"Clearly you didn't think this through." #411 stated the obvious.
"I did - but I thought that it would behoove me to inform you of the issues that you will be facing."
"No. You didn't think it through at all." #411 repeated as she forwarded her intelligence to the Enclave Intelligence Offices.
Oh, thank goodness. They only had to worry about one side of these things being capable of this. True, this meant that they still had to deal with that fact here with the Sylphys, but at least the lot of them would be manageable, overall... Natsuki scratched her head over the question, looking over the clones for a moment. Clearly, something in the cloning process itself did this, because it was far from natural. Natsuki did not know actually WHAT did it, but she could hazard an area of hypothesis.
Natsuki: Something unstable on their bodies, their very physical structure, I guess. This'd be more a question for mom, really.
Mom, as in Second Mom, Doctor-18, of the Enclave. Not as in the Diclonius from another world, Lucy. Still, given all the bumps on the road, Natsuki hoped that when they reached their destination that the bus wasn't overcrowded... The Super Duper Mart wasn't far, was it?
Well, we dunno what exactly Danielle's up to, but it seemed as though she and Marlon had taken care of their business. Once again, they bugged Morgon Bloom's mercenary bodyguard to get going. Where to? The bridge. Only a short time had passed since the nuke had gone off, and the command crew of Rivet City were busy working with the machinery up there. The two of them came up just in time to see the ghoul in the stylish business suit and cane talking with the captain. Their escort held a hand back to Danielle and Marlon, indicating that he did not want his paycheck's conversation interrupted.
Captain: Well, you were right. The prints have come back and it was indeed a Chinese warship. It was populated with Glowing Ones and we could see three Vertibirds fleeing the scene before the explosion.
Bloom: It's not the sort of thing I like to be right about, but there we are. China survived the war, after all. Were they all ghouls?
Captain: It seemed that way on the tapes and enlargements. There was...something else.
Bloom: What did you find?
He showed Morgan one of their enlarged prints and he immediately let out "The hell is this?" when he saw it. Big walking squid thing...
Captain: We believe it to be roaming sea mutation. The water is irradiated as much as the land, as you know. Who knows what could be in that water?
Bloom: Find me proof, one way or the other, but do not cancel preparations. They made it here from China, so we can at least get along the coast.
So saying, the captain nodded and Bloom was free to talk to Marlon and Danielle.
Bloom: Welcome to the bridge of Rivet City, you two. I understand you have some rather important business to conduct with me on behalf of the Brotherhood of Steel.
Wasn't it kind of weird that there were green mutants here on the east coast? Those were California badasses. Of course, that's was still nothing like those Sylphy weirdoes. After the battle was over, a number of the Sylphy clones ran off, though strangely...did it seem like there were more than there should of been when you consider the amount of bodies on the ground along with the mutants? Well, no time for that. A short time after Evan had left with his charges, Charlie Cannon was admitted inside the Citadel of the Brotherhood, where he could rest up a little. This...is when William, Johnny, and...SYLPH - Oh shit - soon came into view.
Soldier: Aw shit, it's another one! This one's with... Hey, that's William Knight! He's not dead!
The problem was, they hadn't seen that until a damn sniper had sighted them up to take a shot at Sylph. But since the shot had never been taken, they were safe...ish. The problem was that for all their apparent safety, they were greatly diminished. Lucy Black was gone, and there was no way of knowing when she would be back. Hopefully, it would be soon...
The Wild Wastelands: The Citadel
Sylph's eyes wandered along the parapets of the imposing fortress that loomed in front of the traveling group and took note of the sniper that had his or her sniper's rifle pointed directly at her. Whether it was a tactical decision or a personal one, the Red Menace placed her hands on the shoulders of the babbling Sylphy and moved the Sylphy in front of her, using her as both a human shield and assurance that if the sniper did fire, the Doppel-Sylphy's voice would be the last thing Sylph heard.
The trip through the City's ruins had been a quiet one, if one were to discount the Doppel-Sylphy's near constant jabbering about whatever it was that Sylphys talked about while traveling. Sylph didn't understand one thing that her clone was talking about, for all Sylph knew, Sylphy was talking about how efficiently optimize a Pip-Boy's operating system's mapping subroutines or she could have been lecturing about the human condition and how it was responsible for the current state of the world or she could have been observing how the increase in Feral Ghoul population was directly related to the increase in "cranial copulation." Whatever it was, Sylph hoped that if that Sniper was going to fire, he or she would do it soon.
The shot never did come, however as the guards at the Citadel's main gate welcomed their prodigal brother in arms back into the fold.
"Aw shit, it's another one! This one's with... Hey, that's William Knight! He's not dead!" Exclaimed the soldier before returning his attention to Sylph and the Doppel-Sylphy and slapping handcuffs on the both of them, an action that caused Sylph to almost go ballistic if she didn't have Master Johnny Truant's safety to consider.
Apparently, after that little encounter between the Super Mutants and the Sylphy hordes the Brotherhood brass had become a bit curious about how it was that the Sylphys appeared to maintain their superior numbers despite their inferior combat skills.
Danielle came to the bridge to see a worrisome image: A squid-faced humanoid.
Many members of the Capitol Brotherhood had spent some downtime reading through the Pentagon's secret government files.
"Well fuck me in the ass with a rusty chainsaw."
Morgan Bloom's monocle popped off at this sudden display of graphic profanity.
"I beg your pardon?"
"That thing may be seriously bad news for anyone who is fond of existing."
"Aw shit, it's another one! This one's with... Hey, that's William Knight! He's not dead!"
"Back from the dead, sorry old boy!" Said William with a grin, throwing his arms open in a flourish as he finished his sentence. Then one of the Brotherhood soldier slapped handcuffs on Sylph and the ...um clone Sylph.
"Wait hang on, she's with me. Well, not the one in front that's a long story that I'm not entirely certain I've got right. But long story short, you don't need to handcuff her." William knew keeping a lid on Sylph's temper was important, as was avoiding any big problems, most of which would be caused by Sylph's temper. The Brotherhood Paladin didn't look impressed, if ever power armour could look distinctly unimpressed this Paladin had pulled it off. While that would come in handy at the next Brotherhood talent show (you haven't experienced Grognak the Barbarian properly until you've seen the all power armoured production put on by the Brotherhood, thursday at 8:30pm tickets are 5 caps in advance, 7 on the door) it wasn't helping them now.
"Look mate, we need to get in here and her being handcuffed helps nobody so we can stop with all that." William adopted his 'Terrifying Presence' stance and got right in the face of the Paladin, "Or do you like handcuffing little girls you creep? Do you want to know what I do to people like that?" William hadn't actually thought if there was a consistent thing he did to people like that, obviously he killed them but the manner of death could be anything at the time. Damn, William had better start working on a signature move.
Charlie splashed water onto his face, trying to calm his thoughts. The guard from the gate (who had introduced himself as Julian Graves) had escorted him to a bathroom within the Citadel to clean up. The crazy events at the gate, combined with the hard journey from Megaton had left the young man weary. Despite this he was nervously excited, he'd finally done it! He'd reached the Citadel with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises and they hadn't turned him away!
Finishing up Charlie left the bathroom to find Graves conversing with two others. He recognized the blond woman who had saved him before, but the man she was with was unfamiliar. He was massively tall, fair skinned with a short black mohawk. His face was lined and harsh, with dark blue eyes staring intensely at Graves who was speaking very quickly. Noticing Charlie's arrival the man shifted his gaze, stepping away from Graves mid-sentence to approach him.
"Is this the one Paladin Armstrong?"
"Very well. Come with me son, we have some questions for you."
Before Charlie had the chance to respond the female Paladin (apparently named Armstrong) grabbed his wrists and handcuffed them behind his back.
"Hey, what's going on?" Charlie cried, twisting to look at the woman with a shocked expression on his face.
"Move it kid, we'll explain when we get to the interrogation room."
"I-Interrogation!?! Why are we going there?"
"I said move it!" Armstrong growled, shoving Charlie forward.
"Alright, alright, I'm moving!" Charlie said, following the mohawked man. It seemed like this guy was one of the senior staff, the way he talked and moved gave the impression of a man who expected to be obeyed. He barked an order as they walked.
"You're coming too Graves!"
"Sir!" Graves replied, saluting and falling into step beside Charlie. When the youth looked at him he averted his gaze, looking uncomfortable.
The Citadel - Interrogation Room:
Knight Captain Buchanan rubbed his eyes and sighed. He was seated across the table from Charlie (who was still handcuffed).
"So let me get this straight. You were travelling through the ruins, alone, on your way here to try and join us. And the minute you arrive, that horde of crazed maniacs shows up and attacks the compound. Doesn't that seem a little bit too convenient to you? I find it hard to believe that a kid like you could make your way here without any help."
"But it's the truth, I swear Sir!" Charlie cried. I have no idea where those girls came from and I sure as heck didn't intend to lead them here! Please, can you contact the Thorns in Megaton? They can vouch for me, they're the ones who gave me most of my equipment!"
"Is that so?" Buchanan replied, looking unconvinced. "Very well, wait here for now. I will try and contact them, and I need to speak with Knight Graves as well."
He stood up and left the room, leaving Charlie to sit alone for the time being. As he closed the door he began speaking.
"Scribe, radio Megaton. See if this kid's story checks out. Armstrong, go in there and watch him. Graves, I need a word."
Buchanan and Graves walked away from the rest of the staff scurrying about their work.
"Now Knight. What do you think of this? You were the one who stopped him at the gate right?"
"Yes Sir. Frankly I'm inclined to believe his tale, he seems like an innocent kid. Besides, he took down dozens of the little menaces, and they certainly didn't avoid attacking him. He would have a pipe shaped dent in his skull if Paladin Armstrong hadn't saved his hide."
"Hmm... I guess we'll have to see what the report from Megaton says. If they confirm his story, he'll probably be in the clear.
At that moment another Knight ran up to Buchanan, slightly out of breath.
"Knight Captain Sir! Two more of the attackers have appeared, although they appear non-hostile for the moment. What's more they're in the company of two men. I thought you'd wish to know Sir.
"Very good Knight. Return to your duties, you as well Graves."
When Buchanan got to the gate there seemed to be something of an argument underway. Buchanan had grabbed and equipped his weapon on the way, he was an intimidating sight as he marched over to them.
"...do you like handcuffing little girls you creep? Do you want to know what I do to people like that?"
"Enough! Who are you and why are you in the company of these girls? Do you have any information on them or where they came from?"
EDIT: Below added at Jack's request
The sniper on-duty who spotted them spoke up.
"Hold on, Buchanan. You weren't in when this happened, but that's William Knight. He's working for us, had a mission for Elder Lyons. He's carrying vital information about the Enclave."
"I see. Very well then, my question about the girls stands though. I can escort you to Elder Lyons after."
Countless eyebots were flying out of a home in Megaton and blasting classical music.
Sam: "FLY MY PRETTIES!"
John: "Technically they don't fly, they hover."
Sam: "Don't ruin this for me."
Moe: "So what did that amount to?"
Sam: [Robotics Expert] "They'll serve as a series of small comm hubs throughout the wastes. We'll have decent communications even if GNR or any other major hub is down, and their Enclave protocols will allow us to listen in on any 'Clave chatter should we need."
Moe: "Sounds useful."
Sam: "As an added touch, they'll alter any coordinates they're used to transmit for the Enclave. Artillery strikes and troop drops will prove problematic."
Jake: "We're already getting some use out of them. Just got a transmission from home. Chuck's made it and needs us to vouch for him."
Moe handed John 20 caps.
Moe: "Looks like your faith was well-placed. I'll win our next bet though."
Jake sent a message back.
Jake: "This is acting Thorns commander Paladin Jacob Gilford. Charles Cannon has my approval. Verification code 004625853476."
The Wild Wastelands: The Citadel Gates
SYLPHY! SYLPHY! SYLPHY! SYLPHY! The Doppel-Sylphy sylphy'd while bouncing around in a circle around the group gathered at the gates, as she had been during the trek to the Brotherhood of Steel's homebase, as she had been ever since she had gotten into Master(?) Johnny Truant's stash. If it weren't for the simple fact that stabbing the annoying twat in the face would've likely caused more than a few hyper-sonic projectiles to impact into Sylph's face, she would have gladly done so. At the very least Sylph believed that she would have enjoyed watching the Doppel-Sylphy attempt to skip circles with both legs lopped off were it not for the fact that doing so would have also resulted in more than a few hyper-sonic projectiles shredding Sylph's face into a bloody mess.
Back to reality: William Knight was in the midst of intimidating the gate guards when another of William Knight's supposed brethren, a person that Sylph supposed was male given the power armor's lack of mammary gland (booby) modifications on its chest plate. While the man would have been imposing to most, Sylph took an interest in the man's heavily modified powerfist x ripper - Ripperfist(?). It looked as if it could slice through a thicket of armor.
"I see. Very well then, my question about the girls stands though. I can escort you to Elder Lyons after." The man said with his best authoritative voice. Given the lull in the conversation, Sylph thought it best that she speak up for herself lest Master(?) Johnny Truant, William Knight or - *annoyed sigh* The Sylphy Clone be harmed over a misunderstanding.
"We have no information about these - aberrations." The Red Menace said succinctly.
"Did - did she just speak?" One of the original gate guards who had bore witness to the Sylphy/Super Mutant brawl asked in a voice dripping with confusion.
"Yes. I did just speak. We have no information about these girls or their origins." Sylph responded, wishing that the jeweled choker that was on her neck wasn't damaged and that Sylphee was the one handling that conversation with the gate guards. That being said, Sylph pulled her Lucy Gifted Katana with its sheathe and presented it to the guard.
"I will remand myself to your custody." The Red Menace said as the guards took the sword and placed the handcuffs tightly around her wrists, "However, if any harm comes to Master(?) Johnny Truant or William Knight, we will be revisiting this moment and you will not enjoy the outcome despite how much I may."
Under his helmet, the guard chortled at the more that likely empty threat that the little girl presented him. He'd seen how well those little girls fought and he wasn't afraid of this one.
"What about that one?" The guard asked the new comer with the Powerfist x Ripper, gesturing at the still bouncy bouncy Doppel Sylphy.
Were she in a better mood, Constance Sorrowfeld might have made a joke or quip about the American Enclave Scouts of America's transport finally arriving at the Super Duper Mart, located not too far from Megaton, one of the Wasteland's larger hives of Scum and Villainy. Were she in the correct mood, Constance might have said something to the effect of "Last stop, Super Duper Mart! Food! Medicine! Gadgetry! Homicidal Maniacs named Gary! E'vry one off the bus!"
Instead she turned and looked at each and every one of the Sylphys, even the two new ones that somehow appeared in the middle of the bus ride (She had told them to keep their hands to themselves or heaven help her she would pull the bus over). It was strange that Scout Sorrowfeld did not feel any nervousness that this was the last time that she would see some of these Sylphys alive. She had a feeling that there would be far more of these Sylphys leaving the Super Duper Mart than had arrived given the Garys' penchant for blunt force trauma. The only nervousness that Scout Sorrowfeld felt was in regards to her own life, especially now that Lieutenant Natsuki Manriki, ma'am, had been dropped off at a nearby bridge, a bridge whose height would allow the Most Precious Heroine of the Enclave to scout the Super Duper Mart and provide sniper support if needed.
"LET'S GO!" Constance yelled to the fidgety and flighty group of Sylphys seated behind her before moving to collect her own gear and weapons, waiting until all of the cloned, blue haired "soldiers" exited the transport before she followed suit.
*Click... click... click... click... click...*
That was strange. Standing at the door to the transport, the Cat-Eared Scout looked at the assembled group of Sylphys, all standing in a line with various weapons they had scavenged (Pipes, chains, sharp pieces of metal). That was not the strange part, however, the fact that they were snapping their fingers as they waited for the Garys to come out was the strange thing.
"Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy Sylphy" The Sylphy Army sang as they continued snapping. Listening closely over the stacatto of fingers snappy, Constance was barely able to hear what the Sylphys were singing...
"When you're a Sylphy, You're a Sylphy all the way. From your first cigarette, to your last dyin' day."
"What's next? I'm going to have to knife fight someone while our hands are tied together?" The Cat-Eared Sorrowfeld muttered while rolling her eyes. Seeing that all of the Sylphys were ready, the American Enclave Scout of America called out to whomever was in the Super Duper Mart.
"Alright you Garys! Come out!"
The Citadel - Interrogation Room
The small, bleak room was deathly quiet, nothing from the outside could penetrate the soundproofed walls. Armstrong stood guard in front of the door while Charlie sat at the table, still handcuffed and feeling miserable. Eventually the quiet was broken when the young man sneezed violently.
"Keep it down!" Armstrong snapped. "I have a headache from one of those little shits giving my helmet a good rattling."
"Sorry," Charlie muttered, before immediately sneezing again afterwards. Letting out a heavy sigh, Armstrong walked over and offered him a... handkerchief?
"Don't worry, it's clean" she said when he didn't take it immediately. Hesitantly he took it, almost as if he feared it would bite him.
"Thanks," he said, blowing his nose. "Um... where exactly were you keeping this?" To the best of his knowledge, power armour didn't have pockets for such trivial items.
"Never ask a woman where she keeps her private belongings!" she snapped, pivoting and walking back to the door in a huff.
"Uh, s-sorry Ma'am!" Charlie replied, feeling more than a little bewildered. At that moment the intercom crackled to life.
"Paladin Armstrong, we just received word from Megaton. The boy's story checks out, no discrepancies."
"Very well, send a message to the Knight-Captain immediately." Armstrong replied, holding down the talk button on the wall. "Ask him how we should proceed."
The Wild Wastelands: A Citadel Holding Cell
"SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY! The Doppel-Sylphy Sylphy'd while clanging a metal cup against the metal bars of the Holding Cell that the the Brotherhood of Steel had placed her in, one that was too close to Sylph's own holding cell or else all the noise the Cloned Crimson ... erm ... Clone was making might have been deemed tolerable by the Original Red Menace.
"Roger Maxson's Beard! Can't you get that twit to shut the hell up?!" The Guard asked loudly, wishing that the noise cancellation features in his helmet could cancel out all the noise that the Sylphy was making.
"Can you?" The Stormy Eyed Girl asked from the rock hard cot that she was laying on.
The answer was quite obviously a resounding "No" as the guard continued to hold his hands to his "ears." If it wasn't for all the noise, Sylph thought she heard the guard singing "LAH! LAH! LAH! LAH! LAH! LAH!" to himself. It would have been quite the humorous scene if Sylph had a sense of humor and it might have continued if the main door to the holding cells didn't open up to allow entrance to another one of the Silver Power Armored Brotherhood of Steel members.
"Hey. They want ... uh ... that one up in one of the labs." The newcomer said, pointing to the still Sylphying Sylphy.
"OH THANK GOD!" The Holding Cell guard said in relief, especially since he had been pondering eating a Plasma Bolt from his Plasma pistol if someone didn't make it stop. Grabbing the key from his belt, the Holding Cell Guard moved to open the door before he was stopped by the newcomer.
"Uh... you know you're taking her right?"
"GOD DAMMIT!" The Holding Cell guard cursed, wondering if he could somehow lure the Cloned Crimson C**T onto the roof before tossing her off, "Why can't YOU take her?"
"Because I've got another prisoner that to be held."
Intently listening to the conversation, Sylph had not realized that there was a man dressed in a lab coat standing in the doorway, his thick glasses and mostly bald head shining in the gloom.
The Wild Wastelands: A Citadel Holding Cell (Part Deux)
Looking through the gloomy darkness, Sylph became aware that the man in the lab coat was staring intently at her, as if he was expecting her to do some sort of dog-like trick. Unwilling to perform for the man, the Red Menace laid back down on the holding cell's rock hard mattress and closed her eyes, ignoring that the man was still staring at her through his inch thick glasses.
*C-Cough* Sylph's fellow holding cell visitor coughed, before muttering something in a high nasal and annoying voice.
"What?" The Stormy Eyed Wanna-Be Scientist Skinner asked, not getting up nor opening her eyes.
"W-well I said you must be the original" The man repeated in the same nasally and annoying voice, the increased volume serving to make the man's vocal properties increase ten fold, "I mean clearly you're the original since you're neither duplicating yourself nor are you speaking that single annoying word, 'Sylphy!'"
The man had very little room to speak in the realm of annoyance.
"This clearly means that your body hasn't been bonded with the Dopp-article."
"The what?" Sylphy asked, this time sitting up and looking at the man through the iron bars.
"The Dopp-article, at least that's the name that I've submitted to the Big Book of Science." Sylph's fellow prisoner said proudly.
"Again, the what?" Sylph repeated, resisting the urge to pull on the man's lab coat lapel and repeatedly bang his skull against iron bars of the holding cell.
"Oh! Well I guess not many people have heard of the Dopp-article since it was only recently removed from its Home Vault... which I happen to be from I should mention." The Scientist stated, trying not to think of the many skeletal bodies that he was required to crawl over when exiting the Vault, "It's a polymorphic molecule that exists in a nearly constant high energy state with the added properties of duplicating whatever materials it happens to have bonded with when a energetic threshold is exceeded..."
The Wild Wastelands: A Citadel Laboratory
"What?" Asked Apprentice Scribe Leto in response to the Senior Scribe's observations of the Sylphy cells under the microscope.
"Sylphy!Sylphy!Sylphy!Sylphy!Sylphy!Sylphy!" The Doppel-Sylphy Sylphy'd, explaining that the molecules that had been bound to her cells had the ability to replicate and take the form of the surrounding cells once a certain amount of energy was introduced into the system.
"Will you shut up?" Apprentice Scribe Leto hissed at the tied-down Sylphy before returning his attention to the Senior Scribe, who was explaining exactly what Sylphy had attempted to explain.
"But doesn't that break the Law of Conservation of Mass? The molecules can't endlessly replicate without introducing additional mass into the Universe can it?" Apprentice Scribe Leto asked, brushing aside his blonde hair.
The Wild Wastelands: A Citadel Holding Cell
"The beauty of the Dopp-article is that it doesn't break any laws regarding the conservation of mass or energy." The Scientist, whose name was Professor Flink as Sylph found out sometime during the hour long lecture, continued, completely oblivious to the fact that Sylph was trying to block out the sound of his voice by wrapping the mattress completely around her head, "When it reaches that energetic threshold, it opens a molecular wormhole and pulls in an additional Dopp-article. It's really quite fascinating when you think about all the uses you could have for a Dopp-article. Vault Tech was waaaaaaaay off, however, when it tried to create an endless food source without the Anti-Dopp-article."
The Wild Wastelands: A Citadel Laboratory
"A what?" Asked Apprentice Scribe Leto.
"SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY! The Crimson Clone Sylphy'd, explaining that it was a particle that would cancel out the duplication molecule, causing the replications to stop.
"Can't you say anything else besides 'SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!SYLPHY!'" Apprentice Scribe Leto asked angrily at the Doppel-Sylphy.
"So Senior Scriber, sir, what's on the other side of these molecular wormholes?" Apprentice Scribe Leto asked, poking at a blood sample taken from the Test Sylphy and watching it double in size.
Planet M'Na M'na:
A large figure stood in the darkened crystalline room, its facial tentacles writhing slowly as it looked into the bowl of clear water with its four sets of eyes. To any human that would have seen this creature, it would appear that it was on the verge of biting their face of but to the inhabitants of Planet M'Na M'Na, it was a look of extreme curiosity and worry. Placing what passed for hands on either side of the bowl, the creature drew itself closer to the bluish water, inspecting its murky depths before letting out a roar.
"Manamana! Gra thak itck f'rooth ith sak!!" The creature called out in its language.
"Morth thak sak, kansth?" Came a response from down the crystal hallway
"Kansth tihs horst kruv cant osusb sak, manamana!"
The Wild Wastelands: A Citadel Holding Cell
"Ahem! As I was saying, Vault Tech didn't really consider all the other uses that the Dopp-article could be used for. For instance, if I were to extract some Dopp-articles from one of those Crimson Clones of yours, I could fix that gem around your neck, an impossible feat were it not for the Dopp-articles." Professor Flink said, displaying a beaverish smile when he saw Sylph suddenly sit up.
"Show me?" Sylph said flatly, staring at the Professor and thinking of how many ways she could kill him if he was lying to her.
"Well. We're sort of stuck in here, aren't we?"
"Not for long." Sylph countered as she pulled a hairpin from her hair and started working on the Holding Cell Door's lock.
The Citadel Gates:
Buchanan raised an eyebrow as one of the strange girls started speaking something other than 'Sylphy'. Thankfully she relinquished her weapons and allowed herself to be handcuffed without any incident.
"What about that one?" one of the guards asked, gesturing at the girl busy knocking on Buchanan's armoured leg with a rock.
"Lock it up with the other one for now. I'm sure the scientists will want to study them," Buchanan replied, gently pushing the girl away with his weapon - which the girl promptly clung to.
Suppressing a flash of annoyance, Buchanan shook the girl off and dumped her into the arms of the bemused guard. As the little devil was handcuffed, Buchanan addressed William again.
"No complaints or you can deliver your message to Elder Lyons from the same cell. Let's go."
As the Knight Captain turned towards the building, a messenger ran up.
"Knight Captain Sir, we made contact with Megaton. The kid's story checked out, Armstrong asked for instruction on what to do with him."
"Good to hear. I give my clearance for him to be released, tell Armstrong to see him fed and assigned a temporary bed. Keep a guard on him though, I'll check in with them later."
The Citadel - Interrogation Room
"Do I seriously have to look after this brat?" Armstrong asked the intercom, sighing heavily. "Fine... open the door."
The door opening behind her, Armstrong indicated for Charlie to rise and she unlocked his handcuffs.
"So you were telling the truth after all huh? Shame, I would have loved to execute you personally. Follow me, you can use a bed in the barracks for the time being."
Charlie meekly followed the woman, not entirely sure if she was joking. After eating a surprisingly tasty meal from the mess hall, Armstrong showed him to the barracks. Too tired to even think after the events of the last few days, he immediately collapsed onto the bed and passed out asleep.
Lucy's perspective: A few more steps...
Lucy had been walking for what seemed like hours, repeatedly fighting the urge to run back to the comfort of Sylph, William and Johnny. Her particular group, forced together under extreme circumstances, was the product of her fear and inability to act once she was finally inside the Enclave Vault.
"I failed.", Lucy concluded, giving in to her self-loathing, by muttering bitterly to herself.
Trudging up a particularly large pile of collapsed rubble from a nearby building, she took this moment to look out for any particular landmarks or threats. Scanning the horizon had revealed the familiar outline of the Citadel in the distance.
With a heavy heart, Lucy turned her back and started walking in the opposite direction.
"I can't go back.", fighting the urge to run to comfort once more.
After a few minutes of listening to the rhythmic crunching of the dirt beneath her boots, a new sound had come to her attention. Lucy's head shot up, her eye scanning the distance to locate the source while she instinctively readied her rifle.
"Caravan. Armed escort. Expensive." Narrating her thoughts under her breath, she continued to watch the display through her scope. To the best of her knowledge, only the most expensive caravan's travel with such heavy protection.
Lucy took cover behind a nearby rock. The last thing she needed was to be confused with a raider, it was best to let the caravan pass. She wondered what kind of cargo would warrant an escort of 10 exposed bodyguards. Luckily, it wasn't long before the occasional barking of orders and jovial laughter had died down and grown distant. The caravan must have left, so Lucy stood up to dust herself off.
An authoritative, yet jovial voice had alerted her to a nearby presence.
"You there! Sandworm!"
Lucy hadn't anticipated any passengers getting dropped off. The newcomer was merrily waving at her, clearly happy to see someone new. Lucy approached the newcomer with her weapon drawn.
"What did you call me?" A slight growl layered her reply.
"A sandworm. You emerged from the dirt, did you not?" Unfazed and still-friendly, the smiling stranger pointed at her dusty armor.
"No. I was just - ... sitting behind that rock, waiting for the caravan to pass."
"You don't seem to be wearing the face-concealing steel helmets of absolute shame! Then why are you ashamed!? Look at your breasts!", the crazy lady seemed shocked and cupped her own breasts with enthusiasm.
"Why - ..." Lucy could barely get a word out before she was interrupted.
"Your breasts contain milk. Nutrients for babies. Dairy for future generations! Delicious milky meals for the warriors of tomorrow! These are the natural-born gifts from the Creamy-One's! We are the brahmin that speak!"
The newcomer spread her arms theatrically...
"HOW DARE YOU FEEL A SHRED OF SHAME WHILE YOUR NIPPLES STILL REMAIN PERKY!"
...and concluded by pointing an accusing finger at her face. Her stare did not waver, she was waiting for a reply.
"Look, I - I'm just going to leave now... - "
"HMPH! Do you partake in the feasting of dairy?"
What the hell did she walk into? Lucy intended to abruptly walk away, but getting a better look at the woman had made her reconsider that notion. Perhaps it had something to do with the elegant silver-dyed leather armor reinforced with steel plating OR it was the massive bumper sword sitting effortlessly on her back. Either way, she answered with the first thing she could think of: BlamCo's Mac & Cheese.
"BlamCo's Mac & Cheese? It's my favorite." Lucy shrugged, hoping not to anger the newcomer. Why was this woman so imposing?
"Ahh! A fellow sister!" The newcomer started to pull a checkered-cloth from her bag, proceeding to fuss over making a picnic and pulling out a box-like device and two sachets. "Please, take a seat. You can apologise for ever feeling ashamed by sharing a meal with me. My name is Kristin...and I shall be preparing the celebratory cream that will grow sticky and bind our souls."
Craziness aside (And she had seen plenty.), Lucy was indeed hungry and the thought of a warm meal had compelled her to stay. Kristin seemed overly enthusiastic about dairy products, but her cheerful sincerity was both unnerving and infectious.
Settling down opposite Kristin, "Lucy Black, thanks for the meal. I'm starv - Already!? How?"
The chime of an egg-timer, the sprinkling of a few choice spices and her steaming mac & cheese was presented on a plate in a matter of seconds.
"Instant BlamCo: Just Add Love and Water." Kristin puffed out her chest in pride, "My latest creation! Although..." Kristin dropped a yellow cube into a bowl, added water from a flask and shoved the tiny bowl into her mini-microwave. "...this might be our last meal until I can reach a settlement for trading."
Lucy was hungrier than she had thought and she was practically shoving spoonfuls into her mouth. "Myouur creeayshun?" Swallowing, "Last meal? Who are you exactly?"
Kristin clapped happily at Lucy's piggish display and cheerfully tucked into her own meal. "My Limited Edition BlamCo Mini-Microwave runs on energy cells. I have none left. I already told you who I am, it's Kristin...are you losing your memory? I could have sworn that the current version, version 14, of this recipe avoided that particular hiccup..."
Kristin proceeded to ramble on about ingredients while reading the warning labels on various spice bottles, occasionally stopping to take a bite of her own meal. Lucy on the other hand had finished and dug into her backpack for a handful of energy cells for the plasma pistol that she had left with William. "Will these do?"
"- ...Cotton candy. Cheese candy. I might have a new idea." Kristin thoughts came to a halt when she noticed Lucy's outstretched hand. "An offering for the cause?! May the Milky One's shower you with grated cheese whilst you sleep, dear sister. Now I believe that you are worthy enough to help me on my quest!"
What had Lucy gotten herself into?
Talon Company: Target in sight.
"Sir! One eyepatched female carrying a gauss rifle in sight. Permission to fire?"
The Talon Company had sent a group of six mercenaries to take care of this 'Lucy Black' bounty. With a 10k cap down payment and two dead guards. The Talon Company's Elite Six were eager to complete this assignment.
"Not quite." Replied the commander from behind his binoculars. "Where's the rest of her group? I see only one more in the immediate area. Regardless, we'll be taking our time with this one. Engage on my order and keep her suppressed. For our fallen comrades, I will be taking her life personally!"
Back to Lucy: BlamCo!?
"So let me get this straight." Lucy uttered in disbelief. "Apparently, you're THE Kristin Blamco. You believe in 'Dairy Gods'. You live your life according to the teachings of 'Blamcoism'. You travelled from the West Coast and you want ME to be your guide to every major settlement?"
Kristin had finished packing up and decided to confide in Lucy during their walk through the streets of some nearby ruins.
"Yes, yes, yes and yes! Your love of the family's cheese is admirable. A single meal of mine and you were a few steps away from giving me all your worldly possessions - ..."
"I wouldn't go that far."
"Hush! Have you not questioned your flawless complexion and..." Kristin quickly ruffled her hair. "...smooth hair? BlamCo, my dear! It is all thanks to the products we so lovingly produce to please the God's that gave them to us in the first place!"
"I think that's more up to genetics than anything else."
"Hush! Tell me more about your daily dairy dung droppings. Have they not been effortless and explosive like a mound of cheese overheating in a microwave?"
Lucy turned to face Kristin in disgust and before she could reply, a loud gunshot accompanied the sight of a nearby wall sending out a cloud of dust and debris.
"LUCY BLACK! THE TALON COMPANY IS HERE TO COLLECT THE BOUNTY ON YOUR HEAD! YOUR LIFE IS NOW FORFEIT!"
Lucy immediately pushed Kristin down a nearby alleyway, just how many of them were there? A hail of gunfire from various sources pelted her previous position in reply.
Lucy growled and braced herself, "Invert controls..."
"Friends of yours?", Kristin asked cheerfully while she reached for the handle of her sword, "Or..." The tip of the large bumper sword crashed into the ground, causing cracks to form where it landed, after being effortlessly lifted with one hand. "...are they lactose intolerant?"
Lucy had her own weapon drawn, but the smile on Kristin's face had grown wider and her voice had lost none of its charm. It was downright creepy. "Just cover this entrance and don't take any risks! No doubt they're trying to pin us down and flank us."
Who the hell would put a bounty on her head!?
Kristin crouched behind a nearby dumpster, impatiently tapping the bumper sword against the ground for anyone unlucky enough to walk down the alleyway. Meanwhile, Lucy had her gauss rifle pointed at the opposite entrance of the alleyway. She might only get one shot at this...might as well give it her all.
Lucy's rifle seemed to agree by venting a burst of steam while it rumbled in Beast Mode.
Talion sat silently in the hole he had been placed in. Hole wasn't right though, the word was troop compartment. He sat silently in the troop compartment of a vertibird the brotherhood could apparently afford to use for troop transit. He couldn't help but stare.
A Vertibird... It had been... What year was it again? The last time he had even touched one of the damn things was a week before the war. That was... it felt like an august in 2077. That was between around 100 and 300 years ago. The inside wasn't quite what he remembered but he assumed that was the result of scavenged components. They weren't built to last, none of this country was. China on the other hand probably survived comfortably, almost everything from there was built to survive. Rifles, ammunition, alcohol, electronics, the plague... In another time even the thought that we'd lose to them was blasphemy, then again perhaps we won no matter how pyrrhic a victory it was.
He looked at the men around him, some were probably women though. He could tell through the filtering that atleast one of them was. It was odd working with a military again. He kept expecting one of them to shoot him. It was for the best that he hadn't mentioned The Master, The Unity, Gammorin... what he had almost done to the old brotherhood for him back in the day. It was for the best he hadn't told them yet. Perhaps some day when he felt it was time to be judged for his crimes.
He decided to shut off his eyes and relax. This was a rare day.
The name of the local Elder was Sarah Lyons. The information that she had relayed to him before returning to her duties was that there was a Giant Mutant wandering the wastes, a Giant Robot wandering the wastes, mutated plants spreading, some kind of anomaly in the space time continuum killing people, bizarre weather, and hordes of clones fighting.
What the hell had he walked into. Clearly the reason they were so eager to trust a complete stranger was their situation. He had offered help though, and they had accepted. With little in the way of direction in where to proceed with their problems, he asked their scribes for details on their situation out here.
First he got a history lesson. A Vault Dweller that they were reluctant to name beyond "The Lone Wanderer," became a messianic figure out here by activating some kind of water purification device using some variant of a GECK. The water wasn't news to him, stories always travelled, it was just odd to hear this one being true. He then apparently fought beside the Brotherhood and dealt a second lethal blow to the Enclave. After they were unclear as to how long, he wandered off to parts unknown disappearing from their world.
Eventually the enclave returned and hell broke loose. Bizarre stories that at times he could barely comprehend were told. After awhile he took a break from that and started asking about the things he had been tasked to deal with, atleast that's what he assumed she had meant for him.
After... time felt weird out here and his pipboy wasn't tracking right, he wasn't even going to guess this time. He decided that it would likely be in his best interest to deal with the mutants first. He placed "behemoth" as he had been told they were called, on his pipboy as his first objective. The second objective he had determined were the plants. The third was the weather, the cult he saw in underworld made him suspect they knew something. The robot and the clones he placed as secondary priorities. If he saw the robot he'd deal with it. As for the clones, The "Gary" situation was minor according to those he had talked to and data in regards to the "Sylphy" situation was limited beyond the subjects in the labs, and they were under guard... a guard that decided they didn't want him in there. The Anomaly was given first priority but he had no data in regards to its origin, so he relegated investigation into that to when he was done with the rest or information brought itself forward.
After restocking himself in the armoury he decided to nick some supplies. Fresh drugs, two mini-nukes, a fuel canister, motion sensors, twenty microfusion cells, and a belt of pulse grenade. From what he had seen they wouldn't miss any of it.
He then mounted Laura and headed out. Only stopping at the gate to tell them where he was headed, the last known location of the "Duper-Behemoth."
"No complaints or you can deliver your message to Elder Lyons from the same cell. Let's go."
"Very well, lead on." Said William 'No need to be a dick about it though. He thought as Buchanan led him into the Citadel. At long last he would be able to deliver this information to the Brotherhood and hopefully transmit it to Morgan Bloom too. It had been just scant days since he had last been in the Citadel but it felt like months or even a year. So much had happened and William sensed this wouldn't be the end of the matter. This information was just the beginning of a counter attack against the Enclave.
Halls of echoing steel and corridors filled with clanking Paladins stretched deep underground as Buchanan led William closer to Elder Lyons. The Pip-Boy felt heavier on his arm as William became ever more conscious that he would soon part with the rugged vault dwellers gadget. Despite it's various uses it wasn't really his sort of thing, it was heavy and distracting and worst of all whenever he tried to fold his arms and look cross while wearing it the damn thing always got in the way and ruined the moment.
Now then, they appeared to be getting into the main command centre, it was just as impressive as the last time William had been here. There was a feel of the pre war in this place. It had been safe from the bombs and war so was relatively intact. This place gave off an aura of being eternal. This place would never fall , it was unthinkable. It was unthinkable that something like Raven Rock wouldn't still be standing. But that went in an instant. Perhaps it would be best not to think of any place as impervious to destruction.
William had been part of a team that had decided to try and make it into the ruins of Raven Rock. Stories were abound after the Enclave lost the Purifier of a super fortress that was ripe for the taking. That wasn't quite the case, it had required a LOT of explosives and some drilling equipment to even get past the rocks and into a gaping hole in the fortress. The expedition slowed down as radiation suits were required to get very far in and progress was slow. A twisting maze of metal and rock was hard to navigate and more than one member of their team disappeared down a passage and was never seen again. Despite all their efforts if came to naught. There was nothing worth taking and most of the place was damaged beyond repair of retrieval. No personal items could be recovered as the bodies were either charred skeletons or trapped in husks of power armour that were worth nothing. After two weeks of searching for something of value the morale amongst the scavengers plummeted and after six deaths the whole thing was called off. The supplies were sold off but everyone involved made a loss on that expedition.
Enough of the flashbacks. Here was Elder Lyons, time to deliver the information.