The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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The Wild Wastelands | The Enclave Vault | Interrogation Room # 23
Impressions from #411

Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 Charlotte Sorrowfeld looked at Enclave Intelligence Specialist #667, her eyes blackened and swollen from the repeated beatings that her former subordinate had administered throughout the interrogation session. It was visible from his expression that he was enjoying this time with his former superior. The room was like all the other rooms that she'd entered and she like all the other prisoners that had been brought to her for questioning since her entry into the Enclave Armed Forces, save in one respect. Unlike the others that she had questioned, she did not scream at the torture that Enclave Intelligence Specialist #667 administered, she did not beg for mercy or for the pain to cease. Unlike Charlotte, #667 did not have the courage to do what needed to be done in order to break a prisoner. He stopped cutting on her skin before she had time to fully appreciate the pain. He stopped pulling the skin away from the wound before she had time to register the sound of skin separating from muscle.

"It's all in my report Enclave Intelligence Specialist #667. A pair of visitors were observed..."

~BASH!~
~CRUNCH!~
~CRASH!~

The Former Enclave Intelligence Specialist's head rang as it impacted against the concrete floor after having been punched in the face, kneed in the gut and pulled forward to hit the ground.

"Well your report is under suspicion, prisoner. Tell us again."

Thus began Former Enclave Asset #411 third iteration of the story that she had already told Enclave Intelligence Specialist #667.

"A pair of visitors were observed entering the vicinity of Former Enclave Asset Lucy Black's residence. The first one was identified as the BlamCo Heiress, Kristin Blamco. There is a lengthy file in regards to her combat assessment and recruitment possibilities as you well know."

~BASH!~ Charlotte merely smiled at the Enclave Intelligence Specialist after the impact of his punch. She wanted to call him a panty waist but she'd simply be wasting what time she had left involved in bantering with someone who thought his station was in line with her's.

"The second visitor has yet to be identified due to a high classification lock on his file. Given patterns within the Enclave Databases and the fact that the file came from the Personnel Database, one could only assume that this was an Enclave deserter. Additionally due to the classified lock on his file I could only assume that the male subject was either a former Enclave Deep Ops Agent or involved with Research and Development. Given his appearance, I can only assume that he's the latter."

"As you've stated. But you deliberately broke the orders to leave Former Enclave Asset unmolested by your machinations. You could have easily captured and interrogated the unknown subject after his visit with Miss Black."

"But I don't have the leverage to do so. If there was one thing that you should have learned from me, and it appears that you have learned very little under my command, it should have been that when faced with two subjects for interrogation, you aim for the one you have the most leverage against, even if there are orders against doing so. If they are a threat to the Enclave then they should be dealt with before they become a major threat. Our mission in Enclave Intelligence is to not only ensure the flow of information into our data banks but to ensure that all issues are dealt before a full military strike becomes necessary."

"No. We simply report to our superiors and tell them what they need to know." #667 stated simply before looking back towards a one way window and a green light. If the light turned red, it would be time to stop the questioning and execute the observer's verdict.

"What happened next?"


The Wild Wastelands | 324 West Black Lane (The Black Residence)
#411 is impressed

Enclave Intelligence Specialist had heard screams similar to the ones that came rushing out of the Former Enclave Asset's mouth, she'd even been the cause of quite a few of those screams. These were the screams that comforted #411 that she was doing the Enclave's will and the will of FalloutJack.

There was one real difference between this one and the others however, this one might have spelled the end of #411's career with the Enclave. This one might have been the trumpet that sounded the end of Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411's life and yet, she didn't mind so long as the enemies of the Enclave were vanquished. She could die happily knowing that.

The screaming had stopped and Lucy Black had stopped moving as well. The pain induced shock had caused the woman to pass out, her eye hanging loosely out of the socket like some deflated sport's ball. It was quite the familiar scene... for some reason. #411 unconsciously reached up and touched the scar that marred her once perfect face and remembered that it had been a member of the Enclave that had saved her from this bleeding out.

As FalloutJack had once done for Charlotte Sorrowfeld, Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 now did for Lucy Black. Pushing a panel located on her thigh, #411 revealed the built in first aid kit and removed a roll of bandages that had been treated to increase the clotting of an open wound, a scalpel, disinfecting anesthetic and a very large syringe of Med-X.

The application of the Med-X was very liberal. As much as Lucy was in pain at the moment, she would be in more pain in the moments to come. The scalpel cut the damaged artificial eye from the last of its moorings before being discarded. Free of the pressure caused by the eyeball, blood began to flow from Lucy's now empty eye socket, blood whose flow was soon staunched by the application of the bandages coated in Quik-Clot.

Minutes after pressure had been applied to the socket, the bleeding had stopped. Lucy, though she had no eye, was no longer in danger of bleeding out. Application of the disinfecting anesthetic soon came to cure the cuts that had been caused by the blade slipping against Lucy's skin. They would allow the skin to heal without scarification, unlike #411's own wound.

Looking down at Former Enclave Asset Lucy Black, Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 waited until her eye opened before asking Lucy one last time.

"Please, tell me. Are you a threat to the Enclave and FalloutJack? I... I need to know."

Vault Tech HQ

Robin was almost splattered, she felt stupid for how badly she'd read the movements of the cattle. The bottle she'd tried to use as peace offering was shattered spilling its fluids out over the earth, at least until that earth was blasted dry by bovines.

That the flimsy pile of stone or and metal she'd hid behind actually held up somehow, after she adjusted to the silence after all the exploding she picked out the voices and did her best to figure out the words.

"HEY! #210! WHO'S THE BITCH NOW?!"

It hadn't been worth it.

Peeking out and back before she could be seen she saw Enclave. NCR or Knickers which would it be worse for these strangers to see her in? Looking to her Pipboy she saw a few minutes of cloak left, enough to at least get her ass out of their line of fire if she reacted fast enough. She decided not to strip off after weighing her options.

The enclave looked to be getting into position and cover for a fight, in a hushed voice she whispered to her wrist "Open radio channel 'cute red head', hello this is Robin again. Is anyone there?" She hoped the radio still worked and that the caravan was still standing. From her hiding spot, uncomfortably close to people wearing weapons heavier than most people Robin knew, she could at least be a good scout.

The Wild Wastelands | Vault-Tec Headquarters
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 meets people

There are fewer and fewer certainties in this world than ever before but the ones that you are aware of make you think believe that normalcy is possible. One of these certainties is that the sun will rise in the East and set in the West. Another is that a Death Claw will always, ALWAYS attempt to eat you before you die. Then there are those certainties that make you scratch your head.

The certainty that I speak of is Enclave Heavy Weapon Specialist #209's ability to act without thought in regards to consequence. The Enclave Royale? Where he had taken a number of Enclave Personnel recently assigned to his outfit and pit them in a death match? No he didn't think about the fact that Enclave Human Resources would be rather pissed about having to write so many death payouts. The killing of everything in Plasma range of the Enclave B.A.R.N? He didn't think about the fact that he was solely responsible for a dramatic price increase for Brahmin milk. Fortunately, the Enclave was aware of this certainty and they had prepared for each of Enclave Heavy Weapons Special #209's actions.

This might not have been one of those cases where plans had been proofed against E.D. #209. Would it work out to the caravan's advantage? Who knows? I don't.

Enclave Dominator #209 was laughing at the sight that unfolded before his eyes. It seemed that the Bots that had previously been ignoring the Booming Bessies, allowing them to infiltrate their ranks and positions, had realized what the sort of threat the Bomb Laden Brahmin truly posed. The result was a sort of chaos that brought tears to #209's eyes.

MOO!
BOOM!!
MOO!
BOOM!!

Someone located within Vault-Tec HQ, a member of the faux Enclave Dominators most likely, had panicked when they realized that the danger that the roaming herd of Brahmin-ite posed and ordered the Sentry Bots and Gutsies to fire on the Kabooming Cattle. It would have been a good move if the Bots weren't destroying other Bots while killing those damn cows.

You know... with all this excitement and all these explosions and all this laughing, Enclave Dominator #209 was developing a mighty mighty thirst, a thirst that his standard Enclave Water Ration wouldn't quench. Where might he get a drink 'round these parts? Beer? Beer sounded good.

"HEY YOU!" Enclave Dominator #209 yelled towards the caravan, his voice booming due to the boost output of the unauthorized upgrade to his Enclave Power Armor's voice amplification module. They seemed to be avoiding him, however. Something about the Bots being a bunch of assholes. Walking towards the Caravaners, E.D. #209's Heavy Plasma Vulcan's barrels started spinning until they got to the proper speed, spitting out a stream of green at the Bots that were harassing his potential source for a drink.

"WHICH ONE OF YOU HAS SOME BEER ON THEM?" #209 tried again as he closed the position between himself and the Caravaners, trying to use his best, I'm not going to kill you right this second voice. Not super effective I'm sure.

Arizona

Road to Dunwich | Ruined Skyscraper Camp

When Thomas opened his eyes when she bent down to examine him, Arizona's first thought was: Oh good. The idiot is just fine. Then he abruptly reached up and grabbed her in a surprisingly strong hug for such a skinny little drunk.

"OLD ONE! YOU'RE ALIVE! YOU'RE SAFE! YOUR HEAD IS STILL ... erm... ATTACHED!"

The whole display caught her entirely off-guard, so she didn't know whether to hug back, slug him, or do nothing. So she went with instinct and tried to pull away, muttering something along the lines of, "Didn't I tell you not to call me that?".

It didn't last very long though, much to her relief, so once he released her she sat back and leveled a cautious sidelong glance at him. He took the time to sit up, wobbling slightly as he gave her a rather sheepish look.

"S... sorry. I'm glad to see that I haven't failed my duties in keeping you from a slow an agonizing death caused by spending an eternity in a Mire Lurk's innards. Though I will admit that for a guide, I haven't been performing up to par."

She grunted quietly, saying "Being piss-faced-drunk up till now probably has something to do with it."

"I apologize for manhandling you, Old One. I know that despite your blessed longevity, there are those of you cursed with a certain frailty. If I hurt you or offended you, I'm sorry but I was very happy to see you still in the realm of the not yet departed."

"Arizona," she said after a moment, closing her eye and reaching up to pinch where the bridge of her nose used to be "It's Arizona, not 'Old One', and I'm tougher than I look. Have to be to have survived this long."

As he reached for his pack, presumably for a bottle of his hooch, she shook her head and reached into her own duffel, pulling out one of her personal bottles of Scotch. She pulled out the cork with her teeth, spat it out, took a swig, then offered it to him.

"Here. From the fuss you were makin' while you were out, I get the feeling you'll need a drink. Kept mentioning names in your sleep: Marlon, Sylph, Frank. I think I may have heard a 'Lucy' in there somewhere, but I'm not sure. Care to share?" she asked.

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp
Thomas' Admissions

It might have surprised the Old One... Arizona... to know that Thomas up until recently was only a social drinker. That knowledge might have saved Thomas the sheer embarrassment of not being able to tell the difference between the Mushroom Moonshine that he had purchased from Rivet City and the Scotch that Arizona offered him. Still, he accepted the offered bottle and took a short but polite swig, careful not to lose a drop of the liquid. As far as he was concerned, the Scotch may have been as old as his traveling companion and worth far more than Thomas.

There had been mention that Thomas had spoken while he was unconscious, something that he was embarrassingly aware of doing since he was a child, back before his mother had given him the nick name Shifty.

"Care to share?" Arizona prodded, poked, picked at.

The Former Undertaker of the East thought about it for a moment and nodded. If the Old One was trusting Thomas with her life, she deserved to know what she was in for should his past crop up again, as pasts inevitably do. The question was where to start.

"Prior to ending up... the way I am now... I was in the family business of burying the recently departed. Though you might not think of it this way, Undertaking is an honest an noble profession. Who else would care for a person's remains lest they become food for the common scavenger or worse, end up as adornment on some Raider's urinal?" Thomas said, remembering his long unused skill of herding words, "As a group, the Undertaker's union travels the Wastes, seeking the remains of those who have hired us... them... for their post mortem care. As you can imagine, the organization's means of employment tends to impact its members socially. No one likes to be reminded of their mortality. This suits the Union just fine however in that its main profession, the one that it does not advertise openly, is that of assassins for hire. As a semi-quasi-religious group dedicated to the dead, no one questions the reasons an Undertaker is around. They only think it best to avoid requiring an Undertaker's services in the near future."

There was a pause while drinks were drank.

"Marlon... Frank... Lucy. Until recently they were traveling companions of mine, all involved with the Brotherhood of Steel out of the Citadel. It was Frank that I met first, hawking my services upon him in the middle of a battle with a rather large Behemoth. Then Lucy and then Marlon. Of the three that I mentioned, it was Lucy that I think I grew closest to. She didn't judge me based upon how I made my living but rather how I lived. I think I... liked her." There was a slight pause, emotional pain, trauma and that whole lot had wormed its way into the man's voice, like maggots eating their way through a carcass, "She admitted to being forced into the service of the Enclave and during an Enclave assault, she sought to infiltrate their base of operations. I being myself, hitched a ride with her, passing myself as wanting to contract my work out to the Enclave. It seemed like a good cover story in light of what happened at Raven Rock and the Enclave's ill fated charge on the Citadel. But ultimately it was a failure."

Pause, sip, cough, thousand yard stare.

"I was captured and interrogated by the Enclave. As you might expect, their hospitality towards would be spies and infiltrators is slightly lower than a Super Mutant's hospitality towards... well... anything. My capture put my friend, Lucy, at risk. You would think that having witnessed so many others die, another on the pile would be easy. That just wasn't the case in regards to the young Miss Black. Ultimately, I acted in the same manner any other would be smitten fool would act. I covered for her and she was forced to execute me, or so we thought. It turns out, I was simply kept in a state of suspended animation, a fate worse than death since you are not dead but neither are you truly alive." Thomas wrapped a blanket around his shoulders as he remembered the intense cold that seeped into his body when he was frozen into a block of Carbonite, "I was freed only a few days ago and informed of Lucy's death by the people that I used to work for. The Undertaker's Union does not take kindly to those who know their secrets nor will it be merciful when they find me."

"As for Frank... I think he's dead as well. He lived life in a manner that wasn't conducive to living a long life. And Marlon... I'm sure he's still hawking his own wares to the Brotherhood, though I didn't think to look him up after my release from Enclave custody. I doubt he would look upon me too kindly when he learns that I was responsible for the death of Lucy nor would he take kindly to my thoughts on Frank's fate." This left the last blue haired homicidal elephant in the room, "Sylph."

Thomas thought about what he remembered about the situation with Sylph and something didn't quite sit right with him. The memories that he had, the sensation of pulling the trigger and sending a bullet through his own brother's head while Sylph watched was cloudy, hazy, foggy, unclear. It was very unlike the memories of the other lives that he had taken.

"She was my brother's slave." He said simply, "At least she was until I put a bullet in his skull."

That's all he would say in regards to Sylph. There had been another memory about that incident, one that didn't fit in with what he remembered. Thomas had passed it off as the effects of the alcohol that he had been choking down.

"So... with now that you know what you know about me, wudya think... worth saving my ass in Rivet City?"

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp

Whatever response the old Ghoul was expecting from Thomas, what she got wasn't it. She figured that he would be evasive, say it was nothing, or even be defensive and say it wasn't any of her business. Instead, he told her his life story, one filled with quite a lot of death.

As he told her about what life as an Undertaker entailed, and his companions with the Brotherhood of Steel, she'd occasionally take the bottle from him to take another drink, then handed it back without much expression. Instead, she just listened as he told her about meeting Frank in the middle of a battle with a Super Mutant Behemoth, of becoming friends with Lucy, an unfortunate woman forced to work for the Enclave. Of their plan to infiltrate the Enclave, and then subsequent failure.

He went on to tell her how he was captured, and to keep his friend Lucy out of trouble, sacrificed himself for her, or at least tried to, and that when he was released was told that she had been killed. Her face stayed blank throughout, save a few indecipherable flashes in her eye that could've possibly been disgust, or confusion, or maybe even sympathy. He finished by telling her that Frank was likely dead, Marlon was probably with the Brotherhood, and explained that Sylph used to be a slave to his brother, before he had killed him.

"So... with now that you know what you know about me, wudya think... worth saving my ass in Rivet City?"

With that, she closed her eye and sighed, before reaching over for the bottle and taking a slow drink. When she pushed it back into his hand, she leaned back and gave him a level stare. He decided to share some personal details about himself, so she may as well return the favor. The question was where to start? After a moment of licking her lips, she decided to just jump right in.

"Before all of this, more than... Shit, has it been that long? More than two hundred years ago, before the bombs fell, I used to be a soldier. Well, armorer, actually. I maintained guns, armor, used to be in the Army. U.S. Army, before everything went to hell." she started, her eye starting to glaze over as she reminisced, "Was something of a troublemaker, got on the wrong side of the law, and the choice was basically prison or the military. I chose the Army."

She reached underneath the neckline of her tank top and pulled out a pair of beat-up dog-tags, mouth twisted into a lopsided grimace. Then she tucked them back in and continued.

"I liked it. Liked using guns, working with my hands. Didn't really care about the war much, till I heard about those damn Commie's launching the first nukes. Or maybe we launched 'em first, can't really remember. At that point, I was pissed and the first thing I thought to do was grab some gear and get the hell outta dodge. So I stole some supplies, my machine gun, some meds, and I ran, abandoning all of my teammates and friends to nuclear fire. Managed to get out of the blast radius too." she said, and at this point she reached over for the Scotch again.

"All I thought about was survivin'," she said after lowering the bottle, "Not much else. Not long after, I got sick, started turning into the gorgeous gal you see before you, and I figured that all bets were off. It was either me, or everyone else, and I was damn sure I'd still be alive in the end. So, I joined one of the first raider bands I could that didn't make me want to wipe em out. I killed people for some of the most petty things you could imagine, stole what I could, salvaged, survived. Then I left and just... Drifted. Been part of a few gangs, was a sheriff for this one little nowhere town, been a courier. Now I'm a freelancer, essentially a raider-for-hire." she finished with a sigh.

Leaning forward, she offered the last of the Scotch with a small smirk.

"So, in regards to whether or not I think you were worth saving? Sure. If my life is worth spit in these wastes, yours has to be worth a hell of a lot more. But I can't say one way or t'other, since I'm hardly one to judge." Arizona told him with a shrug.

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp
Thomas' Question

Thomas "Shifty" McGee smirked. Don't go getting any ideas here, this was the simple smirk of someone who just learned why Scotch seemed to be an infinitely better drink than Mushroom Moonshine. For one, it didn't make you want to simultaneously vomit, urinate and dedicate after the first couple of swigs. It was either than or the buzzing noise inside his head... also caused by the Scotch.

Like the Friendly Former Undertaker, she'd been dealt a bad hand of cards and like the Friendly Former Undertaker, she'd done what she did to survive. But that was everyone's story after the Bombs fell. While Thomas' father had been lucky enough to have found his calling burying his dead neighbors, Arizona appeared to still be looking for hers. As a Raider for Hire... Freelancer... Merc... she had her choice of vocations.

"We're all the same in the Lord Walt's eyes." Thomas muttered quietly as he took a drink from the bottle, "Given that I've killed my fair share and played Scar to my brother's Mufasa, I doubt that I'm in a particularly judge-like position either. I think that the world being the way it is has made us do things that we're not particularly proud of, but it has also made us do things that might have once been thought of as heroic. Oh I'm blabbing. I should apologize for this but once my words start flowing, I find it difficult to make them stop."

Pause for breathe, drink and thought. Thomas thought about going on about their lot in life and continue the wallowing session that they both seemed to be embarked upon. Instead, the Undertaker decided to ask a question.

"I have a question for you... given my former profession, I very rarely ran into a woman that would give me the time of day without ensuring that I had did not have ulterior motives that involved putting her in a hole... hmm... that sounded better in my mind... and given my recent recitation of my misadventures with Lucy, it left me wondering something. How do you know when a woman likes you... I mean... how do you know when she has romantic feelings for you?"

... what new level of hell have we reached? Romance advice from a Ghoul? Something tells me that this was a bad batch of Scotch...

Valut Tech HQ

Quest received: 'WT..'
Objectives: F?

Robin was just as surprised as her pipboy, but would have to settle that later. Right now a not very friendly looking fellow was moving towards people who were at least friendly enough not to have killed her in her sleep.

Unfortunately in the cacophony of this firefight threeway she doubted she could get the attention of #209 with her voice. She'd been thirsty before as well and was far from the most sensible she could be at the time. So knowing the guy with more military tech than brain cells wanted a drink as well was bad news.

Power armour wasn't something she was used to getting into; she'd not inherited that skill from dad. Not that she wanted to hurt him...
more than necessary.

Was she a net pacifist or a gross one? This was the sort of question she could have debated back and forth with a calculator until it ran out of batteries. But time was something she'd never had enough of.

Luckily the same noise that kept her from getting his attention also made sneaking up on 209 super easy even when she was visible. Clutching her wrench in both hands and saying soft sorrys under her breath as she swung at the back of his legs. He wasn't the sort she usually tried to sweep off his feet but it was as peaceful as the situation allowed.
Before the metal connected she closed her eyes and after what felt like ages spoke despite not knowing what to say.

"MANNERS!"

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp

When she finished, Thomas seemed to regard her with a smirk, but he took the last of the Scotch without much comment except for a murmur that she couldn't quite make out, but she would've sworn that she could pick out the name of that 'Lord Walt' character. Whoever that was.

"Given that I've killed my fair share and played Scar to my brother's Mufasa, I doubt that I'm in a particularly judge-like position either. I think that the world being the way it is has made us do things that we're not particularly proud of, but it has also made us do things that might have once been thought of as heroic. Oh I'm blabbing. I should apologize for this but once my words start flowing, I find it difficult to make them stop."

At the very mention of her having done anything that could've been considered heroic, either before or after the end of the world, she couldn't help but break out in laughter. But it wasn't the kind of laugh when someone found something genuinely funny: It was harsh and steeped in irony.

"Me? Do something 'heroic'? Funny." she murmured, her laughter dying down into a brutal chuckle.

But she looked back up at him when he decided to ask one of the strangest questions anyone had ever asked her.

"I have a question for you... given my former profession, I very rarely ran into a woman that would give me the time of day without ensuring that I had did not have ulterior motives that involved putting her in a hole... hmm... that sounded better in my mind... and given my recent recitation of my misadventures with Lucy, it left me wondering something. How do you know when a woman likes you... I mean... how do you know when she has romantic feelings for you?"

It caught her completely off-guard, and she looked at him with a blank stare as she tried to wrap her head around it. Was he seriously asking her for romantic advice? Why? It was a few moments before she recovered, and she decided to fall back on her ages-old snark.

"How should I know? I'm a Ghoul. Why, are you hittin' on me, Thomas?" she asked with a small smirk of her own before she shrugged, saying, "If you're looking for advice from me, on women, you've come to me more than two hundred years too late."

She got up then, striding over to the ruined couch behind him and lounging back before she continued, "And if you're looking to start something with me, remember: I'm old enough to be your grandmother's grandmother, and like I said, I'm a Ghoul besides. Most men aren't into that, and those that are, I'm not usually interested in."

The Wild Wastelands | Vault-Tec Headquarters
Enclave Dominator #209 makes a friend

What happens when an unstoppable force meets one an immovable object? It beats the bloody daylights outta me and the question is more than slightly irrelevant in the context of what was occurring around the Headquarters of Vault-Tec. The more pertinent question would be what happens when a pacifist meets a violence-monger? Typically the violence-monger would be gloating over the smoldering corpse of the pacifist. It's not really a story worth paying attention to typically, but we'll see how this plays out.

CLANG-ANG-ANG-ANG!! The sound of an wrench impacting against the knee joint of Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209's power armor reverberated loud enough to have been picked up by the Enclave voice amplification module.

"MANNERS!!!" said a voice from behind E.D. #209, one that sounded parched from the elements or perhaps the effort it took to sneak behind the usually impeccable observational skills of the Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist.

A whirring noise was emitted from the Enclave Heavy Weapons Platform Class Power Armor as gyroscopes attempted to compensate for the impact of the wrench on the knee joint, allowing for the man in the Power Armor to land on the attacked knee rather than fall over on his back. The still firing Plasma Vulcan stopped firing, but not before stitching a line neon green line of death along the windows of Vault-Tec Headquarters, flat lining a couple members of Bravo Company.

Meanwhile, from within the Power Armor, its occupant raged not only at the hypocritical nature of his attacker's statement but at the fact that he'd just killed a few Enclave soldiers due to his attacker's actions. He'd been planning on killing them in a slower more interesting fashion.

Without getting up on both feet, Enclave Dominator #209 planted his hand on the ground to turn to see who it was that had attacked him and give them a piece of his mind. It turned out that his attacker was a woman with mousy brown hair and a bright red ribbon tying her hair back. Enclave Dominator #209 HATED red ribbons, especially after that blue haired, crimson ribbon wearing bimbo had made him look like an idiot back at the Enclave Vault. Despite the fact that she had attacked him, the sensor display on his HUD informed E.D. #209 that there were no other weapons of note on her and it wouldn't have been fun to kill her outright at that very moment. It would be best to give her the opportunity to think that she had a chance to live before her hope was dashed by the sound of 8 barrels of plasma spewing Enclave fury spinning up.

"Speaking of manner, where are your's. Attacking a man while his back is turned isn't what I would consider the height of etiquette either," Enclave Dominator #209 said as he reached to his side and pulled out what looked like a combination combat knife and drill and threw it in Robin's direction, the weapon missing her by inches before striking its intended target. The sound of the drill bit spinning up was followed by the sound of armor being drilled through and then followed by someone screaming bloody murder. The Bravo Company flunky attempting to sneak up on the sneaky sneak fell over onto his face and stopped moving.

"Isn't that right, asshole?" E.D. #209 asked the dead man.


The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp
Wh...what?!

The open and honest conversation, an exercise in trust and understanding between the traveling companions, had suddenly taken a turn for the strange and appalling. There were many things, all fairly rude in nature, that Thomas had wanted to say when it came to the concept of courting Arizona. For starters, Arizona looked the way many of Thomas' clients ended up when they were in need of his services. While there were whispers of some of the Undertakers taking advantage of their clients in that state, Thomas McGee was not one of the practitioners of Dead-Loving.

"Huh? I... what I mean is... I..." The young man, a child in comparison to Arizona's two-hundred years walking the Wastes, stammered as his unusually pale cheeks changed into an unusually pale shade of pink, "NO!"

Settle down there, big boy, you got some 'splainin' to do. It took a moment and a chug from the Mushroom Moonshine to properly settle the Frazzled but still Friendly Former Undertaker.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be obtuse and I'm sure that you were quite the looker in your... younger years... not that you aren't now... I mean... I... ummm... what I meant was more along the lines of getting your input on Lucy, not that it matters now that she's passed... but ... I... ummm... was confused ... or rather... interested in knowing... if ... well... you know..." Deep cleansing breathes and spit it out, "It's-just-that-I've-never-been-with-a-woman-that-I-didn't-have-to-pay-for-so-I-was-wondering-if-you-thought-that-she-I-mean-Lucy-was-interested!"

That wasn't so hard was it? Thomas calmed down after the machine gun staccato of syllables that sort of sounded like words.

"But seeing as how you're uncomfortable with the topic, why don't you think that you've done anything heroic? You do remember the circumstances under which you hired me, right? I'd be dead if it wasn't for your actions, dead by the hands of one of Rivet City's upstanding citizens."

The Intro of Rufio.

"Let me go you hooligan!" Rufio demanded. Of course, his order only came out as "woof". Rufio had just been enjoying his evening walk when out of nowhere he was abducted by a young deviant. All he could see was blackness and all he could hear was the sound of jingle bells.

"I say again, you thug! Let go of me this instant!" As if somehow hearing his plea, the low-life picked up the sack Rufio had been contained and opened the top. Rufio caught a glimpse of the ugliest monster he had ever seen. Of course the smell was even worse. The monster gave Rufio a terrifying smile before he turned the bag upside down. Before Rufio knew what was happening, he was above open air and falling quite rapidly.

Fear filled Rufio's mind. A gentleman was to die in a state of honor, not falling to his death. A tear fled from his eye as he fell faster and faster. Before he knew it, Rufio had landed on something. Something he had hit hard.

The Tale of Blind girl and her Dog.

The young lady started rubbing Rufio's head in thanks of his fine service. "Anything for a young-lady." Rufio said with a bow. "Dass a gud boi. Yes it iz!" The lady stated with glee as she pet his head. Rufio may be a man of fine things, but he could never turn down a good petting.

This touching moment was soon broken as a man started groaning very loudly. Rufio turned around to see a man laying on his back, with several bones broken. Putting the pieces together, Rufio realized he had landed on this poor gent. "Terribly sorry about that, 'ole chap." Rufio apoligized. Before Rufio could say anything else, the young lady he had just saved started bashing the chap's head in. Rufio quickly ran up to her and gently bit her jacket, trying to tug her away from the poor man. "This is not how a lady should be acting!" Rufio shouted. Rufio then heard a loud bang and could smell the steaming barrel of gun. This young lady had just murdered an injured man.

Rufio, now worried for his own well-being, let go of the lady's jacket and started backing away slowly. The girl turned around and faced him and gave him a warm smile. "It's okay, Doggy. He was a bad man!" She said that without any remorse. She bent down on her knees and stuck her hand out. "Truth is, boy. I have a tough time seeing and could really use some help getting around. Would you be my puppy and go on adventures with me?

Rufio was struck with indecisiveness. This young lady was blind, but she had shown she has a darker side. But as she bludgeoned him with her shotgun she had said he hit her. Rufio could not stand for such a thing. Rufio had made his decision. Rufio walked forward and put the top of his head on the lady's hand. She immediately started petting his head again. "What's you name, doggy?"

"Well young lady... my name is... RUFF. IH. OHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

"HEY YOU! WHICH ONE OF YOU HAS SOME BEER ON THEM?

The last minute or so had been somewhat of a blur... Heavy sentry guns, robots, disappearing lady, that chick hurling pulse mines like one of them Olympic sportsmen, stampeding cattle of the exploding variety... however, all of this snapped the old man out of his confused state at the sound of a voice. A voice requesting... merchandise!

In a surprising display of agility not often akin to ghoul-folk, Chester leapt to his feet, almost knocking down the young lady that had been taking cover beside him behind his mobile store. His cocked and ready rifle now slung back on his shoulder, his hand automatically reached back to his rucksack, fingers twiddling with the tiny switches and dials.

As the radio sparked back to life, happy tunes once again drifting through the air, Chester cleared his throat with a hacking cough, before facing his prospective customer with a wide toothy smile.

"Do my ears deceive me? A young gentleman in need of some refreshment on this? A glorious and warm summer's day in our beloved wasteland that is the United States of America?"

The fact he was addressing someone decked to the balls in powerarmour didn't seem to faze the ghoul whatsoever, instead throwing an arm out, gesturing for him to come closer.

"Something to quench a thirst would be in order, as well as perhaps, if I may be so bold, a little something extra? If the gentleman would care to browse my wares..."

In what must certainly be a well rehearsed movement, Chester whipped the lid off on his mobile store, unfolded the tattered beach umbrella strapped to the side, and unbuttoning his heavy merchant's jacket. His pockets on the outside my have looked pretty full, but as he opened his coat the inside had been lined with extra pockets, straps, pouches, baggies, nets, and many more slap-dash methods of carrying as much as possible.

"Step this way! Step this way, don't be shy! Chester's Wares is open for business! A refreshment may be in stock, but something to while away those long lonely hours at your post might just be in order? Or maybe the gentleman has a lovely young lady back home? in which case I have many a-ware that she would land a thousand-and-one kisses upon your cheek to see you march over the threshold! Only at Chester's Wares will you find bargains such as these!"

Black Residence: It Just Keeps Tumbling Down

This bitch had played them, and played them well. Jonathan stood shocked as he heard her admit that she knew he was ex-enclave, and even more shocked to listen to her twist how events played out.

They had won. They had won and somehow this bitch had turned it all around. What she said meant there probably wasn't going to be much peace in Lucy's life for the foreseeable future and to top it all off, she linked her life to McGee's. The anxiety caused by the situation they were forced in caused cold sweat to run down Jonathan's cheek. though saying nothing, Jonathan was trying to think of ways to deal with all this.

Before he could, though, Lucy grabbed a knife and, after a few anguish-fuelled words, went for her eye.

As Lucy tore her eye out, in Jonathan's eyes, everything went still for what seemed to be an eternity.

He was shocked and terrified at the sight, never having expect Lucy to attempt suicide in such a way. As he stared at the young girl bleeding out in front of him, his mind completely bereft of thought from the shock, a certain feeling of dread and the sense of deja vu filled him.

Again.

Again. He had been in this situation before. Not this particular one, but a similar one. But he couldn't... he couldn't remember when, or who it was, but he felt his entire body tense up as though it had experienced this before.

To the left, standing in front of the kitchen window, stood a figure. A figure with a female shape, whose features and body we all obscured by some kind of shadow, as though swallowing whatever light was coming from the sun. Even so,Jonathan felt that this figure was grinning at him. It didn't do anything; it didn't move, instead prefering to lie there with its back against the window, nor did make any notion, being stiller that the dead.

And then, it shrugged.

And as she did, Jonathan's head exploded in pain. If not for the counter in front of him, he would have fallen on the floor face down, his minded assaulted by pain and frantically shifting images.

bandits get in get in quick shoot fire fire fire careful youll get hit theyre oh no no no theyre getting in be careful fall back quick quick quick running out of ammo shit shit shit they're getting close blood blood bloodbloodbloodbloodbloodblood

With the colour of blood stuck in his eyes, everything went black and Jonathan fain-

No.

From the void that had engulfed his mind a stranger emerged.

Now is not the time for naps and chit-chat. You are not welcome in my room. Wake up.

As the darkness resumed to swallow everything, the stranger removed his and sunglasses and hat, revealing his face and shocking Jonathan.

Wake. Up.

Waking up in a state of almost-freefall, Jonathan regained his balance, and, taking frantic but deep breaths, remembered where he was and what was happening. #411 was standing over Lucy, with visible concern in her face.

"Please, tell me. Are you a threat to the Enclave and FalloutJack? I... I need to know."

Upon hearing those words, Jonathan went berserk, jumping over the counter with unprecedented dexterity, rushing the agent with a powerful swing, hitting her with the bottom of his pistol's grip in the face. The agent, being caught off guard by Jonathan's assault, fell on the ground.

Jonathan, not waiting for his opponent to recuperate, stomped on her stomach and pointed his gun at her face.

"Lucy Black is no threat... BUT I AM!" he yelled, hatred in his voice and murder in his eyes.

"All the Enclave's ever done... is take away. We've taken away countless lives, property, hope... Kristin has lost her sisters to us... My weapons have claimed the lives hundreds of people, and nearly the entire Capital Wasteland... Lucy... Lucy had her father and her way of life taken away from her... tortured, made to betray a friend and the one time we almost gave something back, the one time we took responsibility for our actions, here you are to take away what little measure of peace Lucy had!" He could barely hold back from shooting her, and we would have if not for her DMS.

"And for what reason do we do all this? For what reason do we deliver suffering to innocent people who just want to live their lives? For our delusions of grandeur, that's why. Chasing a dream long dead in a country long collapsed in a land that is little more than a rotting carcass of what it once were. America is dead. Whatever claim we may have had to the land has long been neutered when we decided that genocide is a better alternative to helping our people get back on their feet. And don't start with all that "protecting our way of life from those that threaten it" bullshit. We had it all coming." Forming a fist on his other hand he showcased it and started counting with his fingers.

"The oil rig? We had it coming." One. "Raven Rock? We had it coming." Two. "Adams Air Force Base? We. Had it. Coming." Three.

Noticing that the cheese on the holster of her pistol had started cracking, Jonathan grabbed it with his free hand and examined it. "Cool gun. My design."

That wasn't necessarily a lie. Jonathan had worked on improving plasma weaponry, but that didn't necessarily make this particular pistol his design, and would need to properly examine it first. Nevertheless, what he said he said in a rare attempt at intimidation.

Pointing both the guns at her, he continued: "Yes... All we've ever done is take away. Think it's time we gave something back. My name is Jonathan Aristotle McKenna." he approached her further, now being over her face, "And this is a formal declaration of war." and proceeded to stomp it.

Holstering both guns on his back, Jonathan was done with the agent. He turned to Lucy and run to her, dropping on his knees and lightly raising her head. Though the bleeding had somehow stopped, she still was in quite the bad shape.

"Oh Lucy, why?" His disposition had changed from a wrothing berseker to a sorrowful old man who was watching someone that could well have been his daughter gravely injured. Tears fell down his eyes in torrents, and he had a hard time to find words to say.

"Why do this? Why, why, why? We came back for you... W-we, we would have figured something out, why..." he was now loudly sobbing as he attempted to talk. He turned to face Kristin and begged "Please... please tell me there is something we can do. Please!"

Lucy Black - ?

"Please, tell me. Are you a threat to the Enclave and FalloutJack? I... I need to know."

Lucy Black, now a truly one-eyed woman, was asked a question in which she was in no physical or mental state to answer. Her thoughts were muddled, her vision was terrible, her skull felt like it was lit on fire and she could barely form sounds that didn't involve groans and pained panting while she started panicking. This tremendous shock to the system had sent the former Enclave Asset in and out of consciousness, the last thing she could remember was #411 leaning over her, before passing out once more.

Although there was a faint smell, the harsh aroma stung her nostrils and she realised that something must have been burning nearby. Looking around, Lucy walked - wait...where was she? Oh that's right, she was in the basement with her dad, hunched over a workbench and and soldering parts together, another repair no less.

"D-dad?"

Isaac Black jumped for a moment, turning to face his daughter, his neat hair was slicked back as if he had gotten home from a business trip. "Lucy...what are you doing up so late? Go back to bed, sweetie."

Indeed, Lucy was tired but she hadn't seen her father in quite awhile, so she would rather take a seat next to him and fall asleep to the rhythmic noise of repair work. When she leaned against him, her father nearly stumbled over from her new size.

"Lucy, when did you get so big?"

Lucy blinked, not sure whether to pout at her own father taking a jab at her weight, or due to the fact that he seemed out of sorts.

"Also, what happened to your eye?"

Lucy blinked once more, opening her eyes to that of Thomas Shifty Mcgee hunched over the workbench instead.

"You're bleeding, Miss Loooosey Goosey!"

Sylphee declared gleefully.

"What are you doing here?"

Vikki stared at her.

"...dispatched so easily."

Jonathan McKenna held his head in shame.

"Pick yourself up, Paladin of BlamCo!"

Kristin BlamCo declared and pointed a sword at her.

"Missy Pew-Pews Cyclops Loosey Goosey! You're wasting time!"

Sylphee pouted, crossing her arms.

"As much I hate to agree with the little bitch, you aren't quite finished yet, Lucy Black."

Sylph twisted her wrist to extend a hidden blade and started to charge her position.
Lucy instinctually pulled at her Gauss rifle and initiated Beast Mode, the two sisters pulled back their fists in unison and landed the most devastating of punches on one another. Grabbing each other's faces, Sylph took the initiative to bite into Lucy's wrist only for Lucy to respond with a furious headbutt.

The two sisters took a few steps back from one another, Sylph smirked as she retracted the hidden blade and chose to threateningly draw the gifted katana from it's sheath. Lucy wiped the blood from her lip and responded by drawing her plasma pistol in her free hand during the Gauss Rifle's activation phase. The two sisters charged at one another, Lucy took quick but blind shots to force Sylph into dodging. Unfortunately, Sylph was focused on dodging, but once she had closed the distance, her attacks grew increasingly telegraphed as the scene had become a spectacle of plasma fire and the flurry of a blade.

Something had to break this stalemate and it wasn't long before Sylph had suffered too many plasma burns to the arm to carry the blade, let alone hold it, yet Lucy had lost her hand to one final malicious swing. Plasma pistol and katana clattered to the floor. They deathly-duo knew that this was coming to an end.

Sylph twisted her wrist and charged at Lucy while she had raised the Gauss Rifle. Blindly, Sylph drove the blade into Lucy's stomach, twisting and stabbing repeatedly in the process. Lucy swung the Gauss Rifle as a club to bash Sylph aside, merely putting some distance between the girls. Enough distance for Lucy to hastily raise the rifle and pull the trigger, blasting off Sylph's right leg completely. The two sisters fell to the floor, blood pooling at an alarming rate from both sources. Moments later, a hand clawed it's way onto her chest and Sylph appeared face-to-face with Lucy.

"Get up and live that life that you keep talking about."

The Crimson Menace collapsed on top of the Gauss Girl, the 'sisters' settled to hold one another during their final moments together...


Lucy Black - Springvale
"Back to your regularly scheduled melodrama!"

Waking up was easy, being aware of her surroundings was challenging but forming words were out of the question as Lucy stirred awake. Blood had stained the floor, then again, there was blood everywhere from Lucy's position. She had caught snippets of shouting nearby, a male voice - ... Jonathan?

"- time we gave something back. My name is Jonathan Aristotle McKenna... -"

Idiot.

Wait, that was Lucy's first thought? Give her a moment, she'll explain.

Lucy, in a last-ditch effort, had attempted to frame #411 by using the Enclave weapon on herself. And not just anywhere, but on an artificial eye, one that had been given to her by the Enclave. Call it symbolism, call it desperation, call it what you wish...but an organisation that valued order would not stand for someone, Enclave or not, to abuse their position while Lucy still held her current 'untouchable' status.

Worst-case scenario, Lucy dies, losing to #411's manipulation. Yet still saving Shifty and retaining Jonathan's cover identity as 'Bob'.
Best-case scenario, #411 withdraws and suffers for her insubordination, losing to the Enclave and Lucy's risky sacrifice. Lucy gets to dance with a certain Undertaker once more.

Scratch that - ...New worst-case scenario: Lucy meaninglessly loses an eye, puts herself in peril, #411 wins and Jonathan loses his cover identity in the heat of the moment. Leaving Shifty's fate to the whims of #411.

It seemed like things weren't going well at all. Another massive understatement, coming from the one-eyed girl. And while Lucy clawed at the ground, grabbing ahold of her fallen eyepatch and trying desperately to get up, Jonathan rushed to her side, raising her head in the process and she fell forward into his shoulder.

"Oh Lucy, why?"

"- ...knife, eye, frame her...keep identity...safe." Lucy whispered to Jonathan, she didn't have the power to chastise him, but hopefully she could make some of her ruined plan known. For whatever it was worth.

Kristin's armored movement could be felt from the floor and Lucy watched as the BlamCo Heiress stood between #411 and her. Obscuring her view, but ensuring a moment of privacy. It seemed that Kristin was watching her intently, picking up on signals that Jonathan had seemingly missed.

"Miss Black, have you something to say to The Unknown Third?"

Kristin took the initiative and pulled Lucy from the grip of Jonathan, now cradling the one-eyed girl in her arms. Now being steered to the recovering #411, Lucy took several moments to answer, trying to gather what little conviction she could muster in her current state. "N-no...n...no!", Lucy briefly made eye contact with #411, hopefully it would further her sincerity. "Just want - ...home. Not threat...swear..."

And Lucy trailed off as her head rolled over to face Kristin, speaking loud enough for Jonathan to hear especially. "Megaton...now. Church. Docto - Doc...stay there. R-recover...- Don't trust, eye..."

Lucy passed out once more, now overwhelmed by whatever drugs were in her system.

It's your hands now.

...

Jonathan & Kristin.

Even with the exploding brahime taking out most of the bots, there were still a few attacking the caravan, it was difficult keeping them off, until suddenly a voice came from the horizon. In the midst Trixie couldn't hear quite what he said, but when he started cutting down the bots with his gatling lazer, a short relief came over her.

"WHICH ONE OF YOU HAS SOME BEER ON THEM?"
Suddenly Trixie was knocked down out of the way by the ghoul who owned the bike she had taken cover behind. He seemed to be swindling the large man heavily clad in Enclave power armor. Despite her lack in trust of the Enclave, he did just save their asses, and that was worth at least something in her mind. Many of the other traders were too afraid to approach however.

"Thanks for the assist." She said in an attempt to get his attention, then grabbing one of the few bottles of beer from her now dead brahmin and throwing it to him past the ghoul. There was no point trying to get a sale out of this guy for her, she sold weapons and various armors, something he clearly didn't need, unless a swanky hat was something he was missing.

She kept her weapon in her hands, yet pointing toward the ground, when it comes to these Enclave guys you can never be sure of their motives, or their sanity.

Even in this short journey she'd grown tired of such relentless salesmanship, long passed when she'd run out of anything more to pay for all the goods for sale. But as she was rapidly approaching the precipice of her plan even a face that looked like Chester's did was a pretty site.

"I don't like people opening fire on my friends." She spoke matter-of-factly managing to calm down enough to speak clearly to #209. She held out a hand to him "But we can be reasonable and I'm sorry for trying to knock you on your ass. Care to give me the chance to drink you under a table instead once we've dealt with the bots, preferably with the civilians behind us."

She was doing her best to ignore the metallic squelch of power armour and bone being bored into, providing she didn't turn around and look she'd keep her stomach content down. She noticed the gatling mechanism took a while to wind up, with luck even longer thanks to her temporal talents.

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp

It was fascinating to watch as Thomas's pale face started to flush, turning a very intriguing shade of pink as he realized just what he stepped in with what he asked earlier. Arizona was already struggling against a snicker before he finally replied.

"Huh? I... what I mean is... I... NO!"

She couldn't help but sputter before falling back onto the couch and shaking with hysterical laughter. Regardless of implications, his reaction was simply too good, too priceless for her to be offended. By the time she sat back up and her laughter was dying down into a chuckle, Thomas was already trying to come up with a better response.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be obtuse and I'm sure that you were quite the looker in your... younger years... not that you aren't now... I mean... I... ummm... what I meant was more along the lines of getting your input on Lucy, not that it matters now that she's passed... but ... I... ummm... was confused ... or rather... interested in knowing... if ... well... you know..."

"Know what? Come on, Tommy-boy, spit it out." she said, still smiling as she wiped a tear from her eye.

"It's-just-that-I've-never-been-with-a-woman-that-I-didn't-have-to-pay-for-so-I-was-wondering-if-you-thought-that-she-I-mean-Lucy-was-interested!"

She blinked at that, and her mouth slowly formed a small grimace of sympathy. For the past two centuries, she had pretty much the same problem, only she wasn't willing to pay for that particular luxury, so she knew that pain.

"Oh." she murmured softly.

The young Undertaker took a breath after that fast sentence to presumably gather his dignity and composure before he went on.

"But seeing as how you're uncomfortable with the topic, why don't you think that you've done anything heroic? You do remember the circumstances under which you hired me, right? I'd be dead if it wasn't for your actions, dead by the hands of one of Rivet City's upstanding citizens."

She shook her head and jabbed a finger at him, saying, "Oh no, you're not changing the subject that easily. You can't seriously be telling me that not a single girl has been interested in you. Maybe it's just me, but working with dead bodies for a living is hardly the worst job you can do in the Wastes, and the reasons you told me for it are borderline noble!" she pointed out, before gesturing at him with a hand wave.

"Hell, especially by Wasteland standards, you're pretty handsome. You have all your parts from what I can see, and even for a drunk you're relatively clean. What, do women not go for the 'tall, dark and mysterious' type anymore?" she asked with a small smirk, before continuing with a soft sigh, "Anyway, I can't say. I don't know this Lucy, so how would I know?"

Citadel Outskirts - Abandoned(?) Shack

The sight of Sylphee spinning round and round would have been amusing to Charlie if he wasn't so concerned for the girl's wellbeing. Grabbing her by the shoulders firmly he stopped her in place, which thankfully led to her finally noticing the bloodstains on her dress.

"Oh... that?! It's nothing Mister Chucky Camden. It's not even mine, honest!..."

"If you say so..." Charlie said, not entirely satisfied with that answer. Sylphee didn't seem hurt true, but Charlie suspected that she was the type to just brush off or not even notice her injuries until they were life-threatening. His little sister Claire had been like that, she'd keep running around all day even with a rusty nail stuck in her leg. THAT particular incident had resulted in Charlie getting a stern scolding from his parents, Hell hath no fury like a housewife overly protective of her children.

Watching Sylphee rummage through her things, having easily escaped his grasp, Charlie couldn't help but think of his younger siblings. The two twins Claire and Thomas were adorable little devils, never sitting still for a moment and constantly playing pranks on Charlie and their other two siblings, Andrew and Florence.

It had been a while since Charlie had thought of his family back on the ranch. He wondered how things were going there now, hopefully less crazily than they were for him right now. He still felt a little guilt for sneaking away during the night, but he knew it was the only way he would have ever gotten away from that place.

'I'm sure they're fine, Andrew and Florence are old enough now to help Pa with the herd. Ma will keep them in line.' he thought as Sylph turned back to him with something in hand.

"No close your eyes and no peeking."

Charlie obliged, extending his hands out in front of him. When something hard yet slightly wet was pressed into them he opened his eyes to inspect his new Christmas gift. It looked some kind of shank... wait was this bone? And what was this "leather" wrapped around the hilt? Pointedly deciding NOT to think about where that had come from, Charlie looked the weapon over, smiling at the crude smiley face carved into the handle.

"Thanks Sylphee, it's great," Charlie said as he tucked the gift away into his pack. "Sorry but I don't have anything to give you... I'll pick you up something the next time we get the chance."

Despite his squeamishness, Charlie was rather touched by the gift. It was nice to have met someone out in the Wastes who not only wasn't trying to violently murder him, but also actually appeared to like him. Feeling oddly happy he looked back to Sylphee, only to notice the weeping scars on her back.

"Hey Sylphee! I knew it, you really are hurt! Hang on, let me get that medkit out." he said as he searched his pack in a panic. Grabbing it out, he turned back to the injured girl and crouched down to look her in the eye.

"Listen Sylphee, I'm gonna need you to sit still for a moment for me okay? I want to take a look at your back, it looks like you're bleeding pretty bad. Can you please do this for me?" he asked. He wasn't going to let this girl die from her own foolishness.

The Wild Wastelands | Enclave Vault | Interrogation Room # 23
#411's Demands

Enclave Intelligence Specialist #667 looked towards up from where he sat. He'd been watching a graph of Charlotte's Emotional Status during the fifth iteration of the story. As it had been through out the other reports that Charlotte had given, the graph was a cacophony of lines indicating a steady stream of anger seething from every pore/orifice on the woman's body. The Enclave Intelligence Specialist had given up on the torture during the last iteration of the story, his hand was now almost as bruised as Charlotte Sorrowfeld's face.

"Alright, Charlotte. I know you. I've worked under you for 5 years. I know that your hunches are seldom wrong and now you're reporting that this Bob fellow is of no threat? This doesn't add up. Repeat your report." Enclave Intelligence Specialist #667 reported, the amusement at now outranking his former superior was now lost somewhere in the repeated retellings of the sequence of events.

"No." The bruised and battered woman stated simply, looking at her former subordinate in undisguised rage.

"What?" #667 blurted out, genuinely surprised at the response that he was now being given. She'd so readily acquiesced to his orders that he didn't know what to do.

"I'm invoking Enclave Regulation #547.24.164." Former Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 stated, getting a blank look in response, "All Enclave Personnel have the right to interrogation by a ranking member of the Enclave of their choosing, Number One excluded."

"But... you're no longer a member of the Enclave... or..."

"Enclave Regulation # 124.8.546: All Terminations of Employment by the Enclave will be given to the former employee in writing. As I haven't received my termination notice yet, I'm still a member of the Enclave." Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 stated to her subordinate, "I request to be interviewed by FalloutJack."

"But prisoners are not allowed any mail or packages..."

"Your problem, not mine. FalloutJack... now... that's an order." #411 ordered as she leaned back on her chair while #667 made inquires both into the validity of #411's request and the availability of FalloutJack.


The Wild Wasteland | 324 West Black Street (Black Residence)
#411 Sees Stars

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411's position that she found herself in, having her head stomped in by yet another another man who'd been in the Wastelands for too long, was a familiar one. With each and every kick to her head, the Enclave Specialist saw stars and the world went wobbly. She knew that if this continued, both she and The Former Enclave Asset's friend would be dead. Part of her didn't care. She'd simply seen too much to care and just wanted to lay down and rest her eyes for an eternity or two.

~THUD~

"You stupid bitch. You're mine now and if you think I'm going to listen to you say 'No! No! Please! No!' over and over again..." The Raider Leader screamed, spit dripping into her face as his boot came down once more.

~THUD~

"The oil rig? We had it coming. Raven Rock? We had it coming. Adams Air Force Base? We. Had it. Coming." Bob the Postman/Jonathan Aristotle McKenna's words reverberated in her head even as his boot came down on her face.

~THUD~

"You think anyone's going to save you? You think the NCR or the Brotherhood care about trashy bitches like you? You're a fucking dime a dozen. You'll never be worth saving you stupid little c..."

~THUD~

"All the Enclave's ever done... is take away. We've taken away countless lives, property, hope... Kristin has lost her sisters to us... My weapons have claimed the lives hundreds of people, and nearly the entire Capital Wasteland... Lucy... Lucy had her father and her way of life taken away from her... tortured, made to betray a friend..." More words... more boot.

~THUD~

"You stupid fucking cow. All you'll ever be is this, my little toy, my doll, my plaything. This is your new life..."

~THUD~

"...this is a formal declaration of war."

Those were the words that Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 needed to hear. That was all the evidence that she needed that Jonathan McKenna was a danger to the Enclave. But given her current position, she wouldn't have been able to act on the new information had she wanted to. She closed her eyes and waited for the boot to come down a final time and yet... it never came. Opening her eyes, she saw the BlamCo Heiress hovering over her. Looking at her intently before picking up the wounded Lucy Black.

"N-no...n...no!", Lucy briefly made eye contact with #411, hopefully it would further her sincerity. "Just want - ...home. Not threat...swear..."

Enclave Intelligence Officer #411 nodded ever so slightly. The Traitor would be left alone for now but there would be a time where Former Enclave Asset Lucy Black would have to repay FalloutJack for his kindness to her, the training that the Enclave had provided her and the temporary use of the Gauss Rifle Plus. But that day wasn't here yet.

Standing up slowly, #411 walked over to Lucy and checked her vitals. She would survive the self inflicted wound, not that this bothered the Enclave Intelligence Specialist. What did bother her was the wasted eye that the Enclave had bestowed upon the woman and how by cutting out that eye, Lucy Black had just cut her way out of #411's plans.

Just what were Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411's plans? Why did she bother monitoring Lucy Black, someone who had every reason to hate the Enclave and why was she gladdened with Jonathan McKenna had declared war upon her and the Enclave? #411 went to the table and sat down.

"You're right. The Enclave isn't what is should be." Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 admitted, though it pained her to so, "We impose our will upon others when we should be saving them. We kill those who do not believe what we believe when we should be assisting them by propagating our stored knowledge and sending them aid. And you look at me, someone who was born in the Wastelands and are probably wondering, if I believe this, how can I be apart of this machine that has killed so many? FalloutJack. He's the one who saved me from the Wastelands and I believe that he's the one that can save the Wasteland itself. He just needs to be pushed in the right direction."

She allowed the words to sink in. What was she proposing?

"Jonathan. What would you do to the Enclave if you had an army of Self Replicating Clones at your disposal?" #411 asked, a smile on her lips. #411 had been building an army, an army that needed weapons, "What would you do to the people that murdered Isaac Black? What would you do to save the Wastelands from the Enclave the way it is now. Would you save the Enclave and see it assume its rightful role as savior, bringers of light and hope? You have your beliefs... what would you do for them?"

Thus the whole of Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411's plan and her machinations were brought to light. She'd been planning this little coup ever so quietly. A little paperwork was all it took to assign some of Number One's staunchest supporters to Enclave Heavy Weapon's Specialist #209's B.A.R.N. They were then taken care of in Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209's own special way, not that he was aware that he was doing #411's dirty work. The news that #210 had taken up the moniker of Enclave Dominator? #411 had let that little rumor fly in the mess halls. The Sylphys had been created by Henry McGee on #411's behalf and each of them had been subliminally suggested to take Constance Sorrowfeld as their leader. All they needed was weapons. This was where Jonathan fit in.

"So Jonathan," Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 asked, "Do you want to save the Wastelands?"


The Wild Wastelands | Vault Tec HQ
E.D. #209 Makes More Friends!

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!" Enclave Heavy Weapons Special #209 laughed a laugh that was both as head jarring as it was loud, "The day a woman can drink me under the table is the day I eat a Brahmin Shit Pie! That mean's NEVER!!!"

While if could have been the truth, E.D. #209 didn't look like the type that was above shooting a drinking opponent in the throat if it looked like he was losing, or Chutes and Ladders for that matter since he'd already done that. Still he did take up the woman on her offer.

"Alright, alright. I'll keep you guys outta my beef with these name stealing pussies! But after that, we drink! Unless you die. Then I'll drink!" Enclave Dominator #209 said as the bulk of the Brahmin finally reached the front door of Vault Tec HQ, "Hey! #210! BAIIIIII!!!"

~Click!~

~BEEP BEEEP BEEEP~

A plasma grenade was tossed towards the Vault Tec HQ front doors and a reenactment of what it must have looked like the day the bombs fell took place right in front of Vault Tec HQ took place as one Boombastic Brahmin after another exploded, wiping out the Faux-Enclave Dominators right off the map. With that little mess taken care of, it seemed like it was...

"DRINK TIME!!! C'MON BOYS!!!" Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 yelled to his other compatriots, #556, #762 and #309. The others gave a half-hearted yell of approval as they tried to remove the Brahmin Entrails from their armor.

"Thanks for the assist." Another voice said from the direction of the Caravan before a beer bottle smashed against #209's helmet, wasting perfectly good beer, not that #209 would have minded since this was the second woman that he'd met in the last few months since being assigned to the B.A.R.N.

"You're quite welcome, Miss... whomever you are. It is Miss right?" #209 said thinking that he'd have to talk to the ghoul later and talk to him about his wares that would land him One Thousand and One kisses. Of course there was still the matter of the beer drinking.

"You'll be joining me and your associate for a beer, right?" #209 asked, gesturing towards the woman who had hit him with a wrench.


The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp
Huh?

Dignity? Shredded. Clothing? Shredded. Composure? Shredded. Ability to talk? Almost non-existent. Still Thomas had been through much worse than what he was going through and his dignity could use a bit more abuse before being sent back into that dark hole that it had called home since he'd found out that he was still alive. He was a bit taken aback by Arizona's compliment however since not very many people had bothered to give him one save one or two people.

"Yeah. About that, it seems that it doesn't matter what you look like or the reason for your work, noble or ignoble, working with corpses is still working with corpses. If it's one thing that technological advancement hasn't brought, it's the banishment of superstition. Most people think that I'm a sign that they're about to meet their bitter end, that death is immanent. It's very hard to share an intimate moment with someone you care about when you're a reminder of someone's mortality." Shifty stated rather in a rather solemn-bordering-on-depression sort of tone.

She did have a point, however, without knowledge of Lucy, Arizona could hardly make a well judged statement as to Lucy's feelings. There was the fact of the point being rendered moot by Lucy's passing.

"Of course, you're right, Arizona. Without knowing her, you're hardly in a position to judge her mental or emotion state. Which brings us to the closure of this topic. Of course, that doesn't mean that one of your status doesn't hold a few stories of her own. For one, we could start with the reason that we're traveling to Dunwich. As far as I know it's home to your... less polite kin. I'm not sure if you and they get along but I know that they and I have not had the pleasure of sitting down for a drink and telling stories surrounding ourselves nor have I had the pleasure of asking for their advice on personal matters. I believe that they have a problem with solicitors." Meaning either Thomas truly had no idea why Feral Ghouls tried to kill him or he was drunk and forgot why the Feral Ghouls had tried to kill him.


The Wild Wastelands | The Battle for Super Duper Mart
Constance has Technical Issues

Well this was a mighty awesome surprise for the American Enclave Scout of America. It seemed that her new traveling companion was able to speak something other than "Woof" or "Sylphy" which made for better conversation. After her initial shock at not only meeting a bonafide talking, gun toting augmented Husky, the young girl smiled a rather large smile, one that could have been seen from space.

The smile didn't last long however as she realized that something was wrong. It seemed that Gary King had damaged one of Constance's cat like ears, the ones that gave her the ability to see via echolocation. In short, she was actually blind and this was an actual problem.

This meant that Constance couldn't actually continue to fight in the Battle for Super Duper Mart, not that she was needed anymore since it looked like the Sylphys had the battle well in hand, the last wave of reinforcements combined with the loss of Gary King was the nail in the coffin so far as the Garys were concerned.

"Ummm... Mister Rufio? It looks like you'll have to escort me away from here since I can't see anything anymore." Constance said as she fumbled through her sack and pulled out a small device and pushed the rather large button on it.

"Locating nearest repair capable Enclave Unit. Unit Located. Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 located in Springvale" The beacon stated.

"Springvale? That's not too far from here. Do you think you could take me there Mister Rufio?"


The Wildestest Wastedlands | Abandoned Shack
Sylphee's Scars

"Nu-nooo! No touchy! No touchy! No touchy! No touchy!" Sylphee yelled as Mister Chucky Camden tried grabbed the Wounded Warrior of the Wastelands and placed her on her chest, determined to treat the wounds on the young woman's back, "I'm not hurt, Mister Chucky Camden! No! Stop it! No touchy!!!!"

The struggling continued for a time until Sylphee passed out from either exhaustion or blood loss, neither being fatal in the case of the Wasteland's most lovable psychopath. As Mister Chucky Camden pulled up the back of Sylphee's uniform, he might have been horrified by what he saw.

There was a patchwork of scars that crisscrossed Sylphee's back. While some looked like simple scrapes, others looked like burns, cuts. The huge majority of the scars, however, appeared to have been made by a whip of some sort. It was a relatively fresh looking shrapnel wound that had been the source of the bleeding.

"Father told me that discipline was good for me." A voice said from somewhere around Sylph's head, it seemed that Sylph had come back as her choker lay next to her neck, the clasp having popped open due to Sylphee's struggling.

Abandoned Shack

Charlie ignored Sylphee's yells and thrashing as he held her down, using his greater weight to keep her face down on the floor. The sight of her mutilated back caused him to hiss through his teeth, what kind of torture had this poor girl been through? Anger and sadness battled within him as he took a soft cloth from the medkit and gently wiped the blood away from the fresh wound. Charlie had seen enough of these to know it was a shrapnel wound, thankfully only minor debris was lodged in there. That would be easy enough to remove, the more pressing concern was to stop the bleeding.

"Father told me that discipline was good for me."

Now that the girl had stopped struggling it was much easier to tend to her. Charlie glanced at her head and noted the choker lying on the ground next to her. Continuing to clean her back he spoke in a voice trembling slightly in rage.

"I take it I'm speaking to Sylph now?" he asked as he put the cloth down and grabbed some tweezers, gauze, antiseptic and surgical tape. "Now this will hurt a little," he continued "but I'm going to get these little bits of shrapnel out of your back and treat it with antiseptic. Please try and stay still."

As delicately as he could, Charlie plucked the little pieces of metal out of the wound with the tweezers. Setting them aside he wiped the area down with the antiseptic before placing the gauze over the wound as more blood oozed out of it, taping it down securely.

"There we go, that should be alright for now. We'll need to change the dressing eventually though." He gently pulled Sylph's clothes up to cover her scars before turning around and fishing a stimpack out.

"Would you like one of these? Normally I wouldn't hesitate but your... other half... didn't seem to fond of 'Mister Prickly Needle'. Is that because... because of those other scars on your back?" he asked hesitantly.

The Wild Wastelands | Abandoned Shack
Sylph

Sylph nodded in response Charlie Cannon's request for her identity and lay still while he treated her back. While he worked on the wounds that had caused the Crimson Menace to bleed all over her uniform, Sylph lay still, not moving, unphased by the pain that the tweezers caused while he extricated the minute chunks of metal from her skin. She'd clearly been through this sort of thing a number of times.

Taking the offered Stimpack from her companion, Sylph nodded slightly, though her face flashed her trademark look of annoyance when her other half was mentioned. Time, it seemed, would never allow Sylph to get used to the antics of her other half, knowing that sooner or later Sylph would have to clean up the messes the Sylphee left in her wake.

"I'll save it for later." Sylph muttered, anticipating how Sylphee would react when she woke to find a Stimpack jutting out of her arm, "Th-thank you."

The "thank you" seemed awkward and forced, it was a word to her, one that she'd been forced to utter many a time and never meant, until now. Looking around the shack, Sylph noted a set of clothing that would have swallowed her and grabbed them before leaving the confines of the shack, changing into the tent in the darkness outside of the lone structure in the middle at the bottom of the steep incline. Upon entering the shack, the girl set to work, cooking some of the BlamCo from the food cache and mending the torn uniform, silently cursing her idiot "sister."

If Charlie was wondering why on earth Sylph continually maintained the article of clothing that she wore day in and day out, Sylph took a moment to explain.

"Father once told me that cleanliness is next to godliness. Clothing needed to be tended to in the same fashion as wounds. Failure to tend to either would make things difficult for me later. I didn't know what he meant until he set me on someone who owed him a debt." The Little Red Murder Hood said as she stirred the pot of BlamCo noodles, "There was some blood on my dress that I hadn't cleaned and she noticed it and started running before I could close in on her. She screamed her head off, calling for help from whomever would help her. The local Sheriff was nearby and when the dust settled, not only did I kill Father's designee but the Sheriff as well. Father was furious. He told me that we'd have to move again. I didn't eat for 3 days after that."

The pot started boiling over causing the fire to hiss as the overflow turned to steam.

"Sorry!" Sylph exclaimed, cringing and wincing as she pulled the pot off the fire with her bare hands. Clearly someone needed professional help or needed to have her Father dealt with.

The noodles were drained and the cheese mixture added. Dinner was ready. As they ate, Sylph thought to herself, not knowing why she had told her story to Charlie Cannon. She'd never felt the need to previously, not since she found herself in the Citadel with most of her recent memory wiped clean. She needed a change of topic.

"Why explosives?" Sylph asked.

Trixie's hand slammed across her face as the bottle shattered on the heavily clad enclave.
"You're a bit slow aint ya, but at least you're one of the few things in this wasteland that isn't tryin'a kill me..." Her words slightly muffled by her hand.
Slowly she drooped her hand down her face back to it's original position in realisation that she should watch her mouth around this much armament, quickly changing the subject.

"I mean yeah, a drink sounds better than hanging around this crowd. Talking about that.." She drifted her words as she noticed the other traders had already started to pilfer the scrap from the downed robots. "HEY! I KILLED 'EM, THOSE FISSION BATTERIES ARE MINE!" She rushed toward the downed bots that weren't vaporized by the gatling lazer or blown to smithereens by the brahmine.

Realising her sudden change of attitude in the middle of the conversation, she shortly turned back. "Yeah I guess you can call a wasteland loner like me 'Miss'... But don't make it a name, and stop looking at me like that." She turned her attention back to the bots. "I'll join you as soon as I've collected what I need." She stated, waving her hand as gesture that she was acknowledging them.

She continued at it, pushing other scavenging traders out of the way. "You want that part? Or would you rather keep your hand?"

The Wild Wastelands | Abandoned Shack

Glad that Sylph had taken the Stimpack, Charlie packed up the medical supplies and washed his hands with some water from his canteen. He couldn't help but chuckle when the girl came back in wearing clothes ridiculously too big for her. As she sat down and began simultaneously cooking and mending he tended to the fire, making sure it didn't go out before their meal was ready. When Sylph began to talk he didn't say much, just taking it in and listening carefully. Hearing what her childhood had been like, what her father had done to her, made his blood run cold. The son of a Brahmin farmer fully realised for the first time just how lucky he'd been with his childhood.

When the dinner was done he ate slowly, savouring the delicious BlamCo taste. The hour was late but he wasn't feeling sleepy, his mind had a lot to process from the last couple of hours.

"Why explosives?"

The question shook Charlie out of his contemplation. Setting down his plate he pulled out his battered Zippo lighter, flicking it open a couple of times and testing the flame. He hadn't been using it much recently thanks to his newly acquired grenades, but it remained on of his most treasured possessions.

"There's no real earth-shaking story behind that, I've used them for a long, long time. I picked this lighter and some old dynamite up off a raider who tried to make off with our Brahmin one day, and secretly played around with them when I got away from my parents. Of course they eventually found out and were furious, but that didn't stop me. I'd scavenge and buy the materials whenever I could and tinker with them. I'm a terrible shot with a gun as I'm sure you noticed earlier, but I wanted to do what I could to protect my family... and my parents eventually saw their use when I drove off some feral ghouls who'd wandered by."

Sitting back and pocketing the lighter, Charlie grinned across at Sylph. "Plus, they're just fun you know? Exploding the crap out of something never gets old, no matter how many times I do it."

Feeling emboldened by this talk, Charlie decided now was probably the best time to get Sylph to open up a little. He suspected it would be easier than getting answers out of Sylphee.

"So uh... what's with the choker?" he asked. "I can't say that I've seen it's like before."

The Wild Wastelands | Abandoned Shack in the Middle of No Where
Sylph's Story

Sylph listened to Charlie's story politely, asking no question nor making no comment until he completed it. Only then did she nod, neither admonishing him for his use of weapons that could as easily blast his friends as his enemies nor did she compliment him on his use of a weapon that could literally demolish a small town should the need arise. Since it seemed they were exchanging information about each other, it only made sense that he asked the question that he did.

"So uh... what's with the choker?" he asked. "I can't say that I've seen it's like before."

Looking at the choker that had been adorned with the large red gem she shrugged her shoulders. She'd left the item on the floor, knowing that she'd eventually have to carry it once again. Until that time came, she'd not touch it.

"Father called it my leash." Sylph stated simply, "It's a device that he created to bring out the... other... personality. He said that I did not fit the model image that he saw his daughter as having."

Of course this was not her actual father that she was referring to but someone who had purchased her with the purpose of having a personal bodyguard that could be introduced as his daughter.

"Before that, I... don't remember much." She lied. She did in fact remember quite a bit from her childhood.

"Is Cannon your real family last name?"

"Nothing like a good drink" But since this was the capital wasteland a mundane one would have to do. Though it would taste better this time thanks to how little she'd been killed today. Turning to #209 with a wry look her eyes asked want to see something funny? Casually she walked behind Trixie and picked up a piece of robot refuse seemingly at random. She explored her find with her hands in a pocket as she strolled up to the main pile.

"Ten pi caps says you missed the best find Trix. Cause I got..." Drum roll please, she'd not actually looked yet so she was as in suspense as you are right now and equally unappreciative of how much it was being drawn out.

Then she pulled out a small black cube with wires soldered to a few smaller outer panels. "One of them there brain amagigs." Her accent had been made fun of plenty already and she made no effort to hide her opposite coast origins, finding it valuable to be looked down on ever so slightly. "Now the odds of one of these being intact sure must be astronomical and finding one which still has blinking lights now that's a treasure. Let me just give it a check." She threw and caught it with her other hand so she could give it a quick once over with her pipboy. "Well what do you know, according to this there's data still retrievable. I might just go ahead and download it when I take it back to my tent tonight less someone were to make me a better offer."

Black Residence: You Can (Not) Escape

"- ...knife, eye, frame her...keep identity...safe."

The words the heavily wounded Lucy let out came off like a nuke in Jonathan's head, leaving him swirling with a range of emotions, most prevalent of which were horror, anger and sadness. To think that Lucy would stab her eye out to-

Hehehehehehehe

A woman's demented laughter vibrated through Jonathan's brain, its source coming from...

A feminine figure engulfed in shadow was to the left of Jonathan with its back turned, its long braided hair going all the way down its back. Simply staring at the figure filled Jonathan with a sense of dread and made him feel extremely uncomfortable.

I'm sorry, Johnny boy, but this whole rescue attempt has been so darn ENTERTAINING. the figure said while turning, prompting Jonathan to quickly avert his gaze as it did. I come all the way out here and you won't even look at me? Rude, Jon, rude rude RUDE!

Ah well, I suppose it doesn't matter as long as you listen to me. Still rude though... Anyway, what a hilariously disastrous rescue attempt this has been thus far. What have you accomplished this far in? To get her critically wounded as she's trying to cover your identity while you're going all macho and alpha male blowing it all up! Poor Lucy Black, sacrificing an eye to cover you, and you dun fucked up.

Kristin had, at that point, picked up Lucy, sparring Jonathan from having to stare at her wound any longer. Still, the figure's words stung a lot, and Jonathan was doing his best from not letting the anger and sorrow overtaking, gritting his teeth and clasping his hards so hard they were close to bleeding, despite the fact that-

Oh? What's that you're thinking? It wouldn't have mattered anyway?

It was true. A name would have helped, but the moment Jonathan was identified as an Enclave operative his cover had blown up. Sure, it would have taken the Enclave a bit longer to find him, but his face had been seen, and his face was all that was needed. If he killed #411 he could maybe keep his identity a secret, but that would mean...

Ok, so let me get this straight. This girl just took her eye out trying to protect you, and that wouldn't have mattered anyway? Oh, this is RICH! Poor Lucy Black, dispatched so meaninglessly. So, quick recap: You get in here to rescue Lucy, doing a good job dispatching the guards, yet this hero-worshipping whore played you so well that Lucy tore her eye out trying to save your ass, only for you to spectacularly smash that plan into pieces, except it wouldn't have mattered anyway. 10/10 best rescue of our lifetime. Please try to save more people in the future.

The figure's words hit Jonathan in all the right places, driving further into depression. All the events of the day catching up to him didn't help either, and Jonathan was depressed to the point of being borderline numb now.

"Megaton...now. Church. Docto - Doc...stay there. R-recover...- Don't trust, eye..."

Lucy's words sent Jonathan crying, though it was the locked-in-silent-desperation kind of crying, not the hey-everybody-look-at-me-I'm-crying kind of crying. One would hardly notice if they weren't staring right at his face.

Allow me to voice what you're thinking right now with that little extra bit of biting sarcasm. Ooooooh Lucy, how can you entrust me with anything? I'm soooooo worthless, I can't do aaaaaanything. Boo fucking hoo. You are right, of course. You're pretty darn incompetent, hell, I doubt you could save anyone from a molerat. You're not a borne hero, Johnny Boy, and despite your daddy's efforts, you'll never be. You'll never save anyone.

"You're right. The Enclave isn't what is should be."

And just as the figure was seemingly starting one of its derogatory speeches, the Enclave agent started talking again.

Sheesh, this one doesn't know when to quit.

"We impose our will upon others when we should be saving them. We kill those who do not believe what we believe when we should be assisting them by propagating our stored knowledge and sending them aid"

Here's what we should be doing. Let's do the opposite! Sounds like a great fucking idea!

" And you look at me.."

Nope, no one's looking at ya. Kinda stupid, if you think she's a trained killer. Shouldn't you be making sure she's not getting ready to murder you with a spoon or something?

"someone who was born in the Wastelands and are probably wondering, if I believe this, how can I be apart of this machine that has killed so many?"

You know, it feels wierd that she's acting like she's opposed to murdering folks considering she has thus far shown an apathy of sociopathic levels when it comes to killing people to advance her goals. Boy, do I love a good hypocrite.

"FalloutJack. He's the one who saved me from the Wastelands and I believe that he's the one that can save the Wasteland itself. He just needs to be pushed in the right direction."

Ah, hero worship. On a scale from one to ten on the "obsessing over the guy that saved me" scale, she's a hard 10. It'd be romantic if it wasn't both sad and puke-inducing at the same time. Wish she'd get to the point already instead of gushing like a schoolgirl with a crush.

"Jonathan. What would you do to the Enclave if you had an army of Self Replicating Clones at your disposal?"

Things are finally getting interesting.

"What would you do to the people that murdered Isaac Black? What would you do to save the Wastelands from the Enclave the way it is now. Would you save the Enclave and see it assume its rightful role as savior, bringers of light and hope? You have your beliefs... what would you do for them?"

Wait, I thought that FalloutJack guy was going to "save the wasteland"? What happened...

Jonathan did his best to ignore the figure and focus instead on what was being said. The bitch was patronising him so obviously he felt insulted. What the hell was she after? First she came here looking to blackmail and kill Lucy, and now she was making alliance proposals? Wiping the tears off his face, he got up on his feet and, making sure to avoid staring at the figure, threw a sideways glance at the agent.

"So Jonathan," Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 asked, "Do you want to save the Wastelands?"

Ignoring the rather loud and obnoxious laughter of the figure, Jonathan took a deep breath to calm his mind, and gave the matter the thought it required.

The agent clearly had her own plans that were going against the general will of the Enclave. A sign that it wasn't as unified as the one of old, perhaps? Whatever the case, Jonathan was presented with a deal that sounded way too good to be true; a deal with the devil.

He took a glance at Kristin and Lucy. Kristin stared at him rather intently, though he wasn't sure whether or not her stare was also one of shock at what had just transpired. Lucy was...

...

*sigh*

Better the devil you know...

With a deep breath, Jonathan turned to face the operative, putting on the most vindicative face he could muster. He had given it all a good thought, and knew exactly what to say.

"First of all, you've made it evidently clear that all you care about is getting FalloutJack into the leading position, so drop the pretence about caring for the good of the wasteland. I know your type. I've seen it enough times."

He let his irritation be shown, a clear sign that he didn't like being patronised and that he wouldn't so easily be manipulated.

"As for your offer, I must admit, it sounds very good. Very good indeed. And, given that you currently hold the trump card that is my identity, I would naturally be inclined to agree right here and now."

"However!", he said as sharply pointed upwards, "Your proposal betrays the situation you're in. The fact that you are even bothering to suggest anything to an Enclave deserter like me in a situation like this, means that you want something from me, and that something is not something you can easily get, and thus can't dispose of me without it costing you. So, given that both parties stand to gain something out of this and neither has the upper hand, let us discuss terms."

He threw a glance at a Kristin before staring back at the agent, and continued, "And when I say "us" I mean both me and Kristin. You see, I am pledged to a lifetime of service to her, and I am a man of my word. As such, no decision may be taken unless my princess agrees to it."

A mischievous "got you" grin formed on his face as he finished, "Well, what do you say? Let us hear the full extent of your plans and my role in them, and we shall give you our terms."

Sorry, Lucy, but if this means that I can get you out of all this, then please wait a little longer before we get you to the doctor.

"Brain Amigig?"
By the time Trixie had turned around, Robin was scanning the device, claiming it to be an important piece of machinery.
She knew Robin knew a lot about bots and the like, and the capabilities of the pip boy.
"Don't throw that thing around! It must be delicate!"
She was slightly spectacle, but her curiosity overwhelmed her common sense.

"Let me take a look at that."
Trixie held out her hand but to no avail, there was no way she was going to observe this part without making some sort of deal.
She looked back at her pack Brahmine, a large hole through it's head from one of the first bots firing, she had been with her so long, but it didn't phase her past the point of losing coin.
"How about this" she pointed to her Brahmine "If I join your little drink, and beat you, you'll give me that there... Brain Amigagola did you call it? If you win you can have a share of the meat from Jesse.
She thought for a moment again
"I'd rather have that thing on your wrist though"

The Wild Wastelands | 324 West Black Road (The Black Shack)
#411's Plans

Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 felt the briefest pangs of pity when she looked upon the wounded woman who had foolishly squandered the gift the Enclave had graciously given her. These feelings were soon overwhelmed once again by the anger and disdain she felt towards to the Former Enclave Asset. It was nothing personal towards Lucy, Jonathan or the BlamCo Nitwit but if there was one thing that #411 had learned during her time with Enclave Intelligence, it was that masking all her feelings under a blanket of anger and hatred made it hard for people to discern her intentions.

Another skill set that she had developed during her time with Enclave Intelligence was an uncanny ability to read her subjects. It made her job of interrogating the various prisoners that were subject to her hospitality even easier to question, especially when she knew what their motivations were.

When observing the former Enclave Member, Jonathan Aristotle McKenna, and how he looked at Lucy, his motivations were clear. Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 quickly decided how to best use Lucy Black's self mutilation towards getting Jonathan to agree to #411's plans.

"Well, what do you say? Let us hear the full extent of your plans and my role in them, and we shall give you our terms." The Former Enclave Tinkerer demanded.

"Let's get her to Megaton first." #411 stated, gesturing for the BlamCo nitwit to pickup the unconscious One Eyed Gauss Girl before depressing a button on her own Enclave Issued Power Armor. There was a slight whirring and humming that was emitted from the armor as the seemingly light absorbent black paint job that made the Enclave so feared was replaced by the silver of the Enclave's chief rivals in the Wastes, the Brotherhood of Steel.

"Before I tell you anything, just know that even a whisper of what I say coming from your mouths is as good as putting a pistol to your head and pulling the trigger. I won't have any problems submitting the report stating that you are a danger to the Enclave and its goals." She stated, threatened, crossed a finger across her throat.

"I have an army that needs weapons and training." Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 stated simply, "I inferred from the lock on your personnel file that you were either someone that could create the weapons that I need or train the army itself."

Looking at the Former Weaponsmith and the BlamCo Berserker, ideas formed in #411's head, plans were plotted and conclusions made.

"Since it looks like you two are a package deal, I could either eliminate the baggage," She said in reference to the woman carrying Lucy Black, "or I could include her. I will need you to design and create weapons for the soldiers that I've gathered. Your... compatriot... can train them, seeing as she managed to eliminate two Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialists with nothing but a sword. Once they're outfitted and trained, your work is done. Unless you'd like to take part in the changes to come, help remake the Enclave be the beacon of hope that it should be."

That was it. That was what she needed from Jonathan. As for the BlamCo Fanatic, it was the perfect opportunity to gather more converts.


The Wild Wastelands | The Vault Tec Headquarters Crater
#209's POV

If there was one thing that one thing that Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 hated, it was haggling with a merchant. If there was one thing that he hated even more, it was watching two merchants haggle with each other. Now normally, he would have settled the matter in his typical manner, he would have tossed them in a river before shooting them full of holes. Fortunately for Wrench girl and her friend, he was working on delaying his gratification. Instead...

"Huh... huh... huh..." Enclave Dominator #209 chuckled to himself as he imagined the two fighting each other with pillows.

There was a small alarm triggered when his armor detected a buildup of liquids in #209's armor. Apparently, he'd been drooling.

Arizona

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp

The old Ghoul couldn't think of anything to say when Thomas pointed out that time, particularly after the end of the world, hardly made people less superstitious. If anything, it had made it much, much worse. The fact that he said it with such a forlorn tone threatened to tug on the few heartstrings that Arizona still had.

"Of course, you're right, Arizona. Without knowing her, you're hardly in a position to judge her mental or emotion state. Which brings us to the closure of this topic. Of course, that doesn't mean that one of your status doesn't hold a few stories of her own. For one, we could start with the reason that we're traveling to Dunwich."

Once he mentioned the job she had taken, she grunted softly and her face returned to it's default expression of mild grumpiness as she reached into one of her fatigue's pockets for her pack of cigarettes and her Zippo. She was overdue for a smoke.

"As far as I know it's home to your... less polite kin. I'm not sure if you and they get along but I know that they and I have not had the pleasure of sitting down for a drink and telling stories surrounding ourselves nor have I had the pleasure of asking for their advice on personal matters. I believe that they have a problem with solicitors."

"Fulla Ferals, eh?" she asked, glancing up with a wry smirk as she placed a crooked cigarette between her teeth and struggled to light it.

"Yea, Ferals don't tend to like 'Smoothskins' like you, pardon the term." she said with a chuckle, before she glared at her lighter as she tried to flick it on a few more times to no avail.

After a few moments, she sighed, pulled the cigarette from her mouth and waved it dismissively, "Well, about five minutes before I picked you up, I was given a job. Something's happening in that building, and it's affecting Ghouls, sane and Feral alike. Messing with their minds and making them act all screwy, something to do with a cult. I'm supposed to go in, figure out what's going on and find a way to stop it. Damn you, stupid fucking thing, work!" she told him before going straight back to struggling with her lighter.

When she finally got it lit, she smiled a little to herself and took a long drag before glancing over at him and holding out the cigarette.

"Oh, I almost forgot. You smoke?" she offered.

The Wild Wastelands | Ruined Skyscraper Camp
Cigarettes and Booze

Thomas considered confirming his status as a non-smoker but stopped. He'd been doing quite a few things that had life shortening consequences between drinking his liver into submission and taking on the task of guide to a Ghoul enroute to a church meeting so why should he have stopped there. Taking the cigarette, the Former Undertaker took a long drag... and started hacking his lungs out.

~COUGH! CHOKE! WHEEZE! CHOKE! COUGH COUGH COUGH!~

Perhaps smoking was one of the few vices that she should have considered not picking up. Still the sensation of the nicotine in burning his lungs wasn't unpleasant nor was the rush that entered his brain soon after.

"Sounds like a rather dangerous job. I'll try not to get in your way, Arizona." Thomas said as he laid back in his sleeping bag and looked up at the cracked ceiling. The thought of cults and religion had got him to thinking about his own beliefs, "Back home, we used to visit this old temple. It preached peace and harmony. It was massive and there were always images of people being happy. They say it was built before the bombs fell so given your ... experience on this world, have you ever been there? Have you been to Disneyland?"

"My condolences about your brahman. The pipboy is non-negotiable but its content might be; besides it's not a fan of other people trying to wear it. Now don't you worry this'll be safe, I'll be careful." She was going to be but made sure her voice gave the opposite impression. "But I don't see the need for a contest; we both have something the other wants so we could just trade couldn't we?Not that you can't lower my prices with a drink or two."

She turned it over in her hands a few times before checking her pipboy again. Doing her best to maintain poker face she read the initial scans. Data yes, but a small file size so chances are it wasn't much, not that she could tell until she'd hacked into it, she made a mental note to ask 209 and if he knew what Q.D. was. Just not in public in case he needed extra persuasion.

Chester flipped the lid of his storage box back down with a dull thump, before sitting ontop of it, sighing.

Ah well, one born every minute... he thought, looking around the merchants, mechanics, guards, and the newfound Enclave grunts who now milled around one another, talking, arguing, or scrambling for salvage among the fallen combat machines. In the case of the armed lady who was previously taking cover with the crusty ol' ghoul, she looked to be conversing with that grease monkey from before.

Back now the danger has passed? Hrmm... suppose I can't criticize survival instinct can I?

He looked back into his still open jacket, rummaging through the dozen or so pockets lining the inside. Two empty bottles and a flattened juice carton later he guessed he was out of any drink after all, and seeing that kid necking some of that sweet Sunset Sarsaparilla he found himself developing a thirst too.

Don't be the outcast, Ches'; mingle with the others! That's no sign of gent.

Locking the shop-box back up and refastening his coat he heaved his backpack on more comfortably and made his way over to the others standing nearby the old Vault Tech place, or so it said in those big chunky letters above.

"Howdy, ladies," he croaked, casually rubbing his hairless scalp as he came to a stop beside Trixie and Robin.

"Don't think we've bin' properly introduced, have we? Name's Chester...oh, well I guess you may have guessed that from my sales pitch jus' now. Sorry bout that, force o' habit when you've been on the road for as long as this crusty bag o' bones has. Especially when a fresh opportunity like the armoured fella crops up." He jerked his head to #209 nearby, before noticing he'd interrupted the two women discussing something about...

"Say, ain't that one of them fancy-pants Pipboys I keep hearing about?" He asked, not giving the women time to even answer his introduction. "Never seen one up in the flesh like this, let alone on the arm of a young thing like you." He gave what he thought was a charming smile followed by a wink, but the fact several of his teeth were missing and his eye twitched horribly likely didn't give the impression he hoped.

"Condolences?" Trixie stood over the Brahmine she had traveled with for years
"Yes, well. It's worth a lot less to me dead."
Scanning over the rest of the robots and the satchel she had filled she was finally happy with what she had salvaged. Turning back to #209.
"Hopefully that alarm doesn't mean you've wet yourself, and you've already had your freebee beer." She pointed to the shattered bottle on the ground beside him.
"But if you want any more..."
Trixie held her arms to her sides with her palms in the air, to gesture that simply stated 'how do you think you're going to get more', she didn't have the funds now to be giving things away.

Not long after, Chester approached them, but before she had a chance to respond to his introduction, he was already well underway asking questions about the pipboy. Trixie crossed her arms in a pout, everyone around here was the same, a fake smile to try to get straight to the point. Then again, how was she any different?

The Wild Wastelands | The Vault Tec Headquarters Crater
#209 Attempts to Barter

Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 was in the middle of a rather enjoyable fantasy when he was rudely interrupted by one of the subjects of said fantasy, namely the one who was interested in a piece of scrap Bot Memory, most likely the storing what #209 assumed was instructions on how to give a killer Hot Oil Massage (HEY! Bots had oil and lots of arms! So why not?!) Honestly, she didn't look like the type that enjoyed hot oil massages but #209 was a rather poor judge of character. I mean his best friends were a pack of Enclave soldiers that shot first and asked questions later... and that was during their down time.

"Hopefully that alarm doesn't mean you've wet yourself, and you've already had your freebee beer." The Woman whom the others called Trixie said as she held out her hand in the universal motion of "GIMME GIMME GIMME!"

"Shoot. I'm rather fresh outta caps at the moment but I got some Enclave Bucks if you'll accept that." #209 said, though it was a hopeless proposition since the only place that you could spend an Enclave Buck was in the Enclave Vault and the only people that were allowed entrance into the Enclave Vault were Enclave personnel.

This was apparently wide spread knowledge since most of the traders looked rather dubiously at the prospect of learning that the potential clients were fresh outta caps. Of course, he could have made each of the traders so a fine impersonation of Swiss Cheese but there was still the issue of two of the traders being the first ladies that #209 had seen in a rather long time.

"Crap. I guess I've got some weapons I can barter with." #209 muttered as he went over to his jeep and pulled out an assortment of rather heavy looking weapons that would be a pain in the ass to carry without something to transport them with, not to mention the fact that you needed to have an Enclave encoding chip to fire the weapons.

Oh! Bright Idea!

"Hey #309! You got any caps on you?"

"Yeah why?"

"I need them!"

"Still, why?"

"I need them to get laid... I mean... to buy a drink for these fine ladies and their pal Chester over here!" The Smooth Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist said. Smooooooooth.

"FINE!"

The Wild Wastelands | Shack of Reminiscence

The more Charlie heard about Sylph's father the more he loathed the man. Beating and whipping his child, forcing her to adopt a more "suitable" personality based on his ideal image of a daughter, Charlie didn't think he knew of anyone more unsuited for fatherhood. Wherever the bastard was he hoped it was far, far away from the pair of them.

"Is Cannon your real family last name?"

It seemed that Sylph wasn't very comfortable with the topic of conversation, changing it rather bluntly. Charlie still had more questions, but he held his tongue for now.

"Yes it is." he stated simply. "My family runs the Cannon Brahmin Ranch out west. Why do you ask?"

It should be noted that Charlie is not especially adept at the concept of irony.

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