Trixie had noted Robin have a quick swipe of her drinking supply, she would bring it up, just not at this moment.
Besides, Robin and Chester had already made their way down to the crater, they seemed to be fiddling around with something.
"Thanks for the lesson on exploding cows there chief." She commented to #209 half sarcastically.
Hearing Robin go on about blowing up something to get in to somewhere, Trixie became slightly more interested in what the two were doing.
Walking to the edge of the crater, she noticed Robin talking to a vault door claiming to have Chester as a prisoner.
A red tinge marked Trixie's forehead as she forced her hand into it. "What are they bloody doing?" she asked herself in a quiet voice, proceeding to seat herself at the edge of the crater overlooking them.
Embrace The Evil.
The group that was outside of the Vault-Tec Headquarters - until it had so-recently exploded - had located a Vault Door inside the crater that had been formed. How strange... Did the people at Vault Tec have their own personal Vault built right under their own building to save their own skins? If so, what kind of place was this now? There was no number on the door. It was...an unlisted number! Just then, the Vault Door cracked itself open and...thirty-two guards in black combat armor and helmets surrounded them from all around the crater, popping out of cunning hiding places and spots where they'd been under dirty-covered sheets!
There HAD been forty fo them lying in wait, but...well...the brahmin stampede...
"Hands up! Drop your weapons! Any sudden moves and we'll open fire!"
All of these men were armed with Laser RCWs. Even the Enclave soldiers in their armor could be considered at risk. More guards came out of the door itself. At the first hint of trouble, this whole area would light up with laser-fire. For now, they all had no choice. The caravan people and the Enclave soldiers were taken prisoner. As they were escorted into the Vault, they would see a symbol upon the wall.
Thaaat can't be good. It would take some time for them to reach the main chambers of the man in charge of this place. Who was he? He was...
...With All Rights Reserved To Those Deserve It...
...And Because It's Funny
WILD WASTELAND: FIFTH TIME AROUND!
They arrived in a large and expansive sort of evil villain headquarters, a main room where evil plans are hatchet and perhaps carried out. Seated in a machine-controlled rotating chair was none other than the mastermind of this operation himself, a man in gray clothing with no hair and a scar running down his face. He was flanked by a man with an eyepatch and a VERY German-looking woman. Henchmen are everywhere, doing possibly important technical things, guarding everything, and maybe even slacking off. Dr. Evil spoke.
Dr. Evil: Welcome to my secret underground lair. We were just getting down to business when the building upstairs was fricking blown. Fortunately, the guards had been out on training exercises and that's how you find yourselves HERE. So, tell me, who sent you?
Uhhh, this could be very bad. Looks like the lot of you interrupted him in the middle of - according to the big viewscreen nearby - the fine-tuning for his giant space "Laser", a weapon situated on the moon that makes the Archimedes II look like a flashlight. Have fun!
But enough about that, let's move on to the area we last left Constance Sorrowfield!
(Collab'd between Generic and Myself)
So, after the battle was finally over and Natsuki was taking a drink of refreshing Nuka-Cola, she noticed that Constance...was talking to a dog. The dog had on a hat and machine guns. It- Wait... Hey, she remembered those! They tried out guard dogs with mounted guns for better security! Well, the young Diclonius headed on over...
Of course this might have been a good time for Natsuki to have been informed about Constance's... issue with being able to see. Had she known that Natsuki was behind her, she might not have swung the shotgun towards the sound of someone coming in from behind her and she might not have pulled the trigger. It was, however, lucky that Constance was quite the poor shot without her eyesight as the shotgun slug whizzed quite a distance from the Diclonius' head.
"Freeze you... you... you... GARY!" Constance yelled as she waved the shotgun in her idol's general direction.
The sudden realization that Constance had fired upon Lieutenant Natsuki Manriki, forced the blind girl to suddenly drop her shotgun... not good since it had been modified with a hair trigger. This actually shocked Natsuki for a moment (and made her wince as another shot went off nearby). Was this girl no good at picking people out by their voices alone?
"Constance, it's ME. Your superior officer? The one with the horns and the vectors? Are you alright?"
Constance seemed not to be looking at Natsuki, or rather she seemed not to be pointing the cat ear shaped millimeter radar dishes on top of her head towards Natsuki but instead seemed to be relying on her all to human ears to listen to Natsuki, as indicated by the fact that she had her head cocked towards the young Diclonius, her ears pointed directly at Natsuki's face.
"I... I'm so sorry Miss Lieutenant Manriki... I mean... Lieutenant Natsuki... I mean... I... I can't see anything." Constance said with a tinge of panic in her voice. It had been years since Constance's world had been constantly shrouded in darkness and with its sudden reappearance, the young American Enclave Scout of America was rather freaked out. Her hands was out in front of her, groping as if someone would immediately jump in front of her and push her over by surprise. She cocked her head this way and that at the slightest of sounds. Not a lot about Constance's past had been revealed in her American Enclave Scouts of America member file but this overly cautious version of Constance was an indication of something.
"I think that Gary King broke my ears," Constance said, listening to the Sylphys' victory chant in the parking lot of the Super Duper Mart, only she had no understanding of what they were saying.
"Gary fucking King. Don't worry, we'll get this fixed. You're basically a hero to Sylphy-kind, or something. Where'd the pup come from? He's armed and...stylish."
The young Natsuk-o-phile didn't think that her idol would believe her if the truth was known or worse, Natsuki would think that Constance was crazy bordering on insane if an once of the truth was known. However, this was Natsuki Manriki. She had performed actions that Constance would have thought impossible were it not for the fact that it was Natsuki was the one who had performed these near miracles. In the end, Constance decided the truth was the better of the options.
"His name's Rufio and he... um... fell from the sky... or should I say... he was air dropped from a rocket powered sled."
The Diclonius' eyes widened.
"The Santa-Kirk Phenomenon..."
She calmed down, a little. After all, this was an Enclave dog.
"Okay, he'll be fine. We'll have to send for transport back to base to get you repaired, though. Means we're out of the field for a bit."
Constance's face appeared to display her hesitation to go. After all, the repair notice had stated that Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 was close by and could do the repairs. Her own mother. After all these years of not seeing her, of getting only tersely worded letters, she would be able to see her own mother again.
"I... well... my mom is in Springvale. She can do the repairs and we can stay out in the field."
"She is? Well, that makes this easier."
She turns to the Sylphys.
"Oi, Sylphys! Your commanding officer needs an armed escort! Shake a leg!"
To which all the Sylphys started shaking their legs.
"They're shaking their legs aren't they? They're way too literal. They should be fine here... unless they get any new ideas like launching the Gary corpses into the air using the American Enclave Scouts of America Troop transport's ejection security system again." Constance said uncharacteristically rolling her eyes, which didn't appear like much since her eyes were a milky blue color.
"Oh... and thank you for saving my butt out there." Constance said far more quietly than she normally spoke, waiting for Rufio to show her the way to Springvale. As she waited, the MeritBot made its appearance.
Miss Constance Sorrowfeld. You have failed to earn your Strategy Merit Badge, Your Marksmanship Merit Badge and your Weapons Safety Merit Badge. You have earned you Punching Bag Merit Badge." The Bot stated rather ceremoniously before shooting a badge into Constance's face.
"...those people can be awfully cruel. Alright, let's go, then."
On the part of Arizona, Charlie, Sylph, und Thomas...well...the raiders were certainly distracted and occupied enough. Really isn't much to say there. However, climbing up the ladder in secret to try and sneak up on Arizona was a raider in a Richard Nixon mask: ManFace!
As for #411, Jonathan, Kristin, and Lucy... The lot of them were spotted approaching Megaton, by wall-patrol and robots. The Deputies and Wadsworth inspect them for a moment. Wadsworth, as you recall, is heavily-upgraded and sounds like Tim Curry, thanks to the Lone Wanderer.
Wadsworth: Mmm, greetings. Entry for four? So good to have you with us again, Miss Black. However, we may require a private booth for your black-armored friend. Oh, unconscious? I beg your pardon... Access granted!
The Sheriff and a bunch of other people escort Kristin, Jonathan, and Lucy into town to get her help and such. The robots and the wall patrol have #411 at gunpoint. Wadsworth looked especially dangerous with all his extra arms, guns, and a chainsaw.
Wadsworth: I believe your people and this town have a...history?
Finally! Talion had reached the vital organs to do damage, and not a moment too soon! This bad boy was doing some serious work-out or something. Upon doing damage, though, the good mutated Uber-Mutant doctor dramatically fell off of a building, hit the ground, and the force made the cyborg burst out of his chest! David Davidson got a good look from above as Vertibirds headed off.
FalloutDavid: It's a boy...! I think.
He grappled his way down and uhhh...addressed the guy. He didn't have any armor or identifying markers on him as Enclave at the moment.
FalloutDavid: So...how do you feel? Are you okay?
Back at the evil plan to send the giant robot away, FalloutScott considered and then...shrugged. May as well take care of that pesky mutant. The MGB stepped out of the rubble, sat on its tank treads, and began to roll away towards Old Onley. Man, those Deathclaws could NOT catch a break! Now, Scotty stretched and accidentally whipped his Uber-Sledge around, causing the men around him to have to duck.
FalloutScott: Well, lads! I've had a good day! What's say we go find a nice pub so's I can get a wee drink an' swear in yer Mr. Ferd, eh?
Still looked conspicuous to William Knight, in all probability, but at least the robot was getting out of dodge.
Well, with all that going on, there was just one more loose end to tie up: The ghoul parade with the body. Well...apparently, they wanted Frank's body to shove into a coffin to try and enact a weird nuclear resurrection on the man. Buuut...the Brotherhood of Steel hadn't...actually pulled the old switcharoo. Well, they DID, but they hadn't done the one that was agreed upon. Even Sara Lyons had to laugh back at the Citadel. They'd found a much-better applicant and put a super-convincing Mission Impossible Frank Rose mask on it. So, when the body was put into the nuclear coffin...
Very few survived the huge blast that followed, but one who did looked upon the man - man, not ghoul - that was standing there, glowing green for a moment, and gawked as the mask fell off of him.
"You're not Frank Rose!"
"No, I'm not."
The ghoul pointed a gun at him, but it was too late. The man swiftly closed the distance between them and clocked him out, taking his laser pistol. This was awkward. Looks like he'd have to take at least some of their clothes or walk around naked. Sighing, he got to his task. Who is this strange man, with such skill and talent? Who was it that the Brotherhood of Steel had kept the dead body of just in case of such a happenstance? Suddenly, the man looked at the camera.
"Oh, me? I'm Isaac."
"Isn't having a laser weapon on the moon a terrible idea? For one over that distance even a couple arc seconds of spread is going to reduce the intensity of your shot considerably, not to mention the problem that you're limited in where and when you can get a good angle.
Even at light speed there's a second or so delay not even counting for the time it takes to charge each shot, unless you plan to keep it warm permanently which will waste a lot of power. An unsustainable amount without a solar farm on the moon in fact, and the temperature change every couple of weeks is going to play hell with any easily expandable or contactable metals, it's a few hundred kelvin if i remember correctly.
Then you've got to worry about firing through the atmosphere which will refract your beam in, and with weather conditions, in very unpredictable ways especially for a higher energy light. I've seen files from Helios 1 and they were far more sensible using a geo synchronous orbit even if the power was lower reliability was significantly improved and you don't want a weapon like that that you can't rely on.
I could do the calculations if someone here has a pen on them, it will be fun to use relativity again."
It wasn't that she was unaware they'd been captured, she knew that the last thing on anyone else's mind was pedantry but that was no excuse to let her standards slip.
"You're really dumb for someone so smart, you know that?" came from the hushed voice of Trixie.
The strange vault seemed to be some sort of secret 'evil' agency, seeming a bit cartoon-ish, but nothing out of the ordinary for these wasteland nuttjobs.
"These aren't your friends I assume then..." She probed at #209
"bah, I'm going to die in here aren't I? But what will it be? Strapped to a chair with a laser slowly ascending my body? Or maybe the floor slowly dissipates with only lava beneath?" she thought out loud.
A moments thought to what happened earlier came to mind. "But... we came to bring you this ghoul..." Her tone was confused, clearly not a great liar, a fake smile across her face as she gestured toward Chester.
Talion - Old Olney
Red blood pulsed to an unfamiliar heart as Talion crawled through the organs of the creature. His sight kept turning to static as his eyes tried and retried to adapt to the conditions of it. The pull of the creature ever trying to eat away at his mind. Talion kept shaking off the thoughts that he was likely the same underneath his armour, worse.
Eventually he saw it. Or rather thought he saw it. It sounded like the heart. The pounding extremely loud as whatever was happening outside continued. He repositioned his arm through the meat and aimed his pistol at it and pulled the trigger thrice. The first bored its way through the meat and to the outside illuminating the rest enough to see what he was looking at. The second exploded the creatures heart, cauterizing the arteries attached to it as a fire began to spread. The third blew another hole in its chest, with the fires burning causing enough damage to give him a gap to start crawling out of.
With freedom from the creature in sight he started to move, but as he did so he started to feel something. The body was moving again. Falling. After, what was the point in counting it. The body hit the ground. The holes were covered up and Talion realised he was trapped. Meat trying to cling to life moved around him but it was accomplishing little.
He took aim at three more places. Where he thought the lungs were and the brain. With the heart no longer beating and the blood beginning to pool it sounded like a cannon was going off as he fired. The rounds burned their way to their targets before exploding them loudly. It'd slow the creature if it was still as alive as Talion thought.
With his left hand Talion reached down to his scabbard and drew his sword. Finally able to focus on the task at hand he started swinging. Quickly and violently. Up, down, side to side. It took him a few moments but he finally found a way out.
The filters of his eyes began cycling back to their proper light frequencies as he crawled out of the creature and into the light. But what he saw caught him off guard. A painted vertibird. The colours and the images looked familiar to him, he wasn't why or from what. It was just and odd image.
"It's a boy...! I think." One of the men yelled.
As Talion started getting his bearing again from the meat. One of the men rappeled down to him and spoke "So...how do you feel? Are you okay?"
"Fine. I think I'm fine. That thing..." Focus his mind snapped to attention "Do you have a flamer on your transport?" Talion asked "Things like this. I've heard of things like it fixing themselves unless they're burned."
The Wild Wastelands | The Enclave Vault | Interrogation Room #23Conversations between a traitor and Fallout Jack (Except #3) - Co-produced by FalloutJack
"Simple. To keep you guys looking sexy in that snazzy Power Armor." Charlotte laughed. It felt good to laugh so freely and openly. She'd almost forgotten what it was like. Feeling the sensation was like tying balloons around her shoulders and letting them carry her off. Placing a finger to her chin to looked up into the air thoughtfully, "Or was it to keep Bob busy and away from every female recruit? Or was it to keep Scott from building something world ending?"
The woman hiccuped... literally hiccuped in her chair and caused it to hop with her.
"No... I know this one! To keep the things that we don't know about from killing us." Charlotte answered.
Jack smiled with amusement and answered each in turn.
FalloutJack: The armor's just a privilege, Bob still bothers the females recruits, and Scotty still made the MGB, which is pretty fucking lethal.
He then made his point.
FalloutJack: Number One created them all to be experts above and beyond in their fields, all in order to have the right people to question his actions. This is unheard of in a normal military setting, but we're not normal. He created his own foil, on purpose.
"I knew that." Charlotte snapped. For one of the Enclave's best and brightest, he still didn't know that one should never correct a lady, especially if she'd been tortured for he last 12 hours. It makes her snappy. The smile returned.
"Whatever the cause for the Fallout Sector, the Enclave is lucky to have you." Charlotte said though her use of the word "Enclave" could have easily been replaced with the word "I'm."
Pouring herself another cup, Charlotte stood up out of the chair, again, swaying a bit before steadying herself but this time it was due to the scotch. For the first time Jack could see the extent of #411's wounds. There were cuts up and down her arms where skin had been peeled back. There were angry blue and black bruises where she'd been punched or kicked. Despite it all, the woman seemed unphased by the pain that they must have been causing her.
"I swear that #667 needs lessons on enhanced interrogation techniques." #411 commented before returning to the topic at hand, "You know that I think that the Enclave is the Wasteland's best hope for a future but even as we're trying to educate the masses and bring them into the fold, they're still resentful of us. We ignore the ever growing Raider population. We let places like Paradise Falls exist. We even let people starve. Don't you think that despite all of Number One's best intentions, he's still going about it the wrong way? What're so important about these dots and he can connect?"
She may or may not have noticed the wince on his face. Still, Jack knew where Charlotte was coming from, literally and figuratively.
FalloutJack: We don't have an excess in food, you know. The Vault produces serious amounts of weapons technology. We also haven't ignored the raiders. There's just so many of them that it's hard to see any difference. I'll hire Talon Company for the Capital Wastelands and that should keep them both busy. Paradise Falls is a more willful problem. Some years back, one guy cleaned 'em out, finished. Yet here they are again. He was a hero to the Brotherhood, so why don't Paladins show up to clean house? I wonder about that sometimes. But Number One, though...
He pulls out pictures of Red Ghoul China from orbit, glowing with activity. He adds to that his own aerial photos of the warship, and Vorn.
FalloutJack: He knows everything about the war, our technology, and a bunch of other things. He's concerned that our country will go rad-hot again and the China ghouls will just walk in. This is why micro-fusion is being phased out and plasma power generation is in. No rads, no Fallout, even from a missle. We had to nuke that...whatever-it-was, but we're replacing the missles on the MGB's back. I understand how you feel. It's just that we have big fish on our plate and they're still live. We're still doing our jobs. The Behemoths were even our fault and we killed them all. So then, Miss Top-Of-The-Line Intelligence Specialist, what should we do about you?
Charlotte's face was set in a neutral expression as she looked at the photos that were well above her clearance level. There was a lot going on in the world that even she didn't know about depite being as well informed as she was. Between the Commi-Ghouls and the Vorn, there was a lot coming their way. It begged consideration as to the best use of the Sylphy army that she'd slowly been amassing. Would it be better for them to be used against an impending invasion or would it be better for them to proceed as planned. Would it be better for the Enclave to keep Number One for the time being or would it be better for them to throw the Enclave into a state of chaos and pray that the dust settled before any of the hammers came down on their heads. There were too many variables to make a decision at the moment, one of them would be her own fate, whether she lived or died.
Charlotte shrugged in a manner that stated that she didn't really have a say in her own fate, which according to Enclave regs, she didn't. She didn't want what could potentially be her last words to FalloutJack, the man that had saved her life and given her purpose to be a simple shrug.
"Well, that depends, Mister Snazzy Pants. If I had a say, and I'm pretty sure I don't, it would be one month spent cleaning up the Fallout Sector barracks. From what I've heard, it's pretty messy what with Scott's parts, Bob... you know... things. But that might be a sign of favoritism." #411 said with a slight smirk on her face, "But you and I both know that I disobeyed orders and so I'll accept my fate. If I'm to be executed, just know that I'll be requesting you as my executioner. You brought me into the Enclave... you should be the one to take me out."
FalloutJack: What, and have Constance come after me? Fat chance. Nobody's executing you. I have a better idea...
The Wild Wastelands | Megaton
How did #411 Get here? This is (not) a good idea
Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 had absolutely no idea why she had traveled with the Blamco Bimbo,
Charles Johnathan and the Former Enclave Asset Lucy Black to the town of Megaton for exactly the same reason why #411 would have absolutely no idea why she would wander into the middle of Paradise Falls and strip out of her armor. Megaton did not exactly kindle any sort of fondness for the Enclave and the recent Enclave Eyebot invasion had done much to improve matters. Of course, it probably wouldn't help much on the Megaton-Enclave diplomatic front if #411 were lynched by the townsfolk or the imminently arriving Enclave Extraction team stormed the gates and turned everyone into dust bunnies. Whatever her perspective on the situation, #411 knew that it was in everyone's best interest that she disappear from that particular area.
"I believe your people and this town have a...history?" The Robotic Sheriff asked rhetorically, an action that made #411's eyebrow raise in annoyance. Given the fact that, unless the Sheriff had been recently commissioned, it should have been quite aware of the Enclave's recent actions against the town the question was superfluous. Superfluous questions were rhetorical questions and rhetorical questions were sarcasm's questioning cousin.
"Whatever do you mean, dear Sheriff? The Enclave and Megaton have always been the best of friends, haven't we?" #411 quipped in a manner equally sarcastic to the Sheriff's rhetorical question.
Apparently whoever had programmed the Robo-Sheriff had not forgotten to include a police brutality subroutine. The flat of the chainsaw arm knocked #411 upside the head, causing her to see stars. If it hadn't been for the BlamCo Brute's angered destruction of #411's helmet, the Sheriff's love tap might not have been so bad.
"I guess not." #411 muttered, feeling a bit of blood traveling down her neck and into her armor. Knowing that she would get no where fast with the Sheriff and it's posse, #411 decided it was time to end this rather useless conversation.
"Just take me to this private booth of yours. I'm sure the Enclave Extraction Team will be along shortly to clear things up." The Enclave Intelligence Specialist said casually, causing the posse to shift uneasily. If she was telling the truth, there was a squad of Enclave Commandos on their way to the woman's location with the very specific orders to kill everything in sight. If they were smart, they'd either let her go or let her go quickly.
"Why don't we just make her wait at the front gates?" One of the posse asked, clearly the smartest of the bunch.
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
Sylph Says Stop!
Even as Thomas McGee and Charlie Cannon went through the motion of playing distraction to FishFace and Friends, Sylph and Arizona were making short work of the Friends, at least Arizona was. The Crimson Caped Crusader was running through the dilapidated hallways of a once vibrant and lively apartment complex. Now that FishFace had taken control of that piece of prime real estate, the apartments weren't so lively but they were quite vibrant, overly vibrant, blindingly vibrant. It seemed that the Raider had not only found an abandoned blow up doll factory, he'd managed to find a paint store that stocked nothing but neon paint. Between the Hot Pink and Neon Green, Sylph couldn't tell if she was in the middle of a living room or a discotheque.
The diabolical and unfashionable paint job was not just for show as Blue Haired Butched soon found out. The horrible paint scheme had been designed to offend the senses to much that its victim would become disoriented and much either to disable and kill. So it came as no surprise to FishFace when he was able to clock Sylph over the head as she passed through the doorway onto his balcony, her reaction time slowed down by her desire to gouge her own eyes out.
And down went the Crimson Commando before she was hauled up to the side of the balcony.
"HEY FUCKFACES! I GOT YOUR FRIEND! SHE SURE IS A PURDY ONE! MAYBE I'LL KEEP HER!" FishFace called out as he groped the unconscious woman.
The Wild Wastelands | The Vault-Tec Crater
#209 has no friends
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 had no friends other than the Soldiers that were under his command, The Enclave Dominators. These guys were definitely not Enclave and therefore no friends of his. Every fiber of every muscle of his being wanted to fill these mooks full of holes or crush their heads against the walls of the vault's hallways but his brain interjected.
"You may want to reconsider doing that since you'll just end up getting yourself killed" Enclave Dominator's brain said.
"Shut up brain." #209 muttered as he was escorted down the hallway before bring shown into the nerve center of the lair and being presented before a very weak and scrawny looking man. Like every weak and scrawny looking man, this one asked questions and before #209 could recite his name, rank and serial number, the Carava-NERD!! named Robin spoke up before the Caravaner named Trixie spoke up.
"Isn't having a laser weapon on the moon a terrible idea? For one over that distance even a couple arc seconds of spread is going to reduce the intensity of your shot considerably, not to mention the problem that you're limited in where and when you can get a good angle."
"Even at light speed there's a second or so delay not even counting for the time it takes to charge each shot, unless you plan to keep it warm permanently which will waste a lot of power. An unsustainable amount without a solar farm on the moon in fact, and the temperature change every couple of weeks is going to play hell with any easily expandable or contactable metals, it's a few hundred kelvin if i remember correctly."
"Then you've got to worry about firing through the atmosphere which will refract your beam in, and with weather conditions, in very unpredictable ways especially for a higher energy light. I've seen files from Helios 1 and they were far more sensible using a geo synchronous orbit even if the power was lower reliability was significantly improved and you don't want a weapon like that that you can't rely on."
"I could do the calculations if someone here has a pen on them, it will be fun to use relativity again."
All that? All that HURT #209's brain something fierce. Granted it was about a weapon that was large enough to bring Mini #209 to attention but still... all of the awesomeness that was the giant laser was ruined by her words. He had this strange desire to duct tape Robin's mouth shut. He might have if Trixie didn't open her mouth as well.
"But... we came to bring you this ghoul..."
"Eh. Why'd we bring him Chester? I mean... look at him. He's not exactly a prime candidate for being a gift is he?" #209 whispered to Trixie, "I mean, he doesn't even have skin."
Which was to say that #209 had his own ideas of what to say.
"We're here to take that moon laser from you on behalf of the Enclave and it's leader Number One!" Enclave Heavy Specialist #209 said loudly, clearly never having heard the phrase "keep your cards close to your chest."
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
With age came experience, and with experience comes a certain cunning. If Arizona was more fanciful, or had read far-too-many-comics like La Fantoma, she would probably have called that cunning "Survivalist Sense". It was cliché, but that Survivalist Sense started to tingle something fierce when she heard the barest sounds of footsteps on the ladder behind her. When she looked back, she saw a figure just start to lever himself up over the edge of the roof.
Her reaction was quick, and she moved with the reflexes of a jungle cat, reaching for her Bowie Knife and throwing it at the bastard's head. It arced through the air and promptly knocked the man on the forehead with the pommel instead of burying the blade there.
It was the worst throw. Ever. Of all time.
There was a split-second as he reeled back and clutched at his head that Arizona sighed softly behind the blow-up doll mask. She was going to blame that on the mask later, she knew. Then she bolted forward and tackled him, bringing her arm around his neck and fighting for a good hold.
"HEY FUCKFACES! I GOT YOUR FRIEND! SHE SURE IS A PURDY ONE! MAYBE I'LL KEEP HER!"
She spared a glance back as she grappled with the stronger man, but a well-placed knee made him crumple just low enough for her to finally grab onto his head and lethally twist it, snapping the neck. With a sharp exhale, she moved back to the Sniper Rifle again and got on her belly before she lined it up.
The bastard had a hold of the blue-haired girl, and he was groping her. Cocky little shithead. The crosshairs lined up with his head, before Arizona decided to put them a little high on his forehead, just in case wind and distance made it land a little low. She didn't want to hit the girl. Then, she exhaled and squeezed the trigger.
He collapsed within a second, dropping Sylph and falling back as a gaping hole opened right where one of his eyes would've been. Arizona smiled grimly behind the mask before pulling it off and standing.
"Alright you stupid fucking shitbirds! Listen up! You want to end up like your boss, I'd take the stick-mans offer and shell out those caps for a coffin, otherwise you better fuck off quick!" she shouted to no-where in particular, hefting the Sniper Rifle.
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
Load Bearing Columns?
Thomas "Shifty" McGee winced slightly when he saw the Raider Leader's head explode into a fine mist of blood that lingered in the air for several moments before being dispersed by a light breeze. The strange thing about the sudden and instantaneous loss of a brain is its effect on the human body. In one incident, a soccer player suffering from an internal decapitation and proceeded to perform repeated flips backwards before his body realized that it was no longer communicating with a brain. In FishFace's case, his body continued to grope the young blue haired woman before slumping to the ground.
"Creepy." Thomas muttered. Though he had seen very many a thing involved in death, there were somethings that definitely never stopped being disturbing. He'd be seeing that scene replay in his dreams for many nights to come.
As for Sylph, she glanced over at the ghoul with the sniper's rifle, her way of saying thank you in her angsty stand offish sort of manner. More to the point, she knew that the ghoul was just wasting her words. There was no way in hell that these Raiders would surrender and even if they did, the Crimson Menace had no intention of letting them survive the encounter. Having been groped by a corpse tended to put one in quite the bad mood and in Sylph's case, a bad mood was always resolved with a murder here or a murder there.
As Arizona spoke, a multitude of rifle barrels started poking out the windows of the building where the now deceased FishFace used to reside. As if to emphasize their point, Arizona was lit up like a Christmas tree by a symphony of laser sights. I mean let's get real here. Most of the time Raiders would bolt at the sight of their leader getting gunned down in front of them, especially by a ghoul with a Sniper's Rifle and Machine Gun but that would've made FishFace and Friends a big fat misnomer. They were pretty pissed that their pal had been killed.
This might've been the end of the road for Arizona and Co if the Blue Hair Boom-o-phile hadn't dropped a few "borrowed" explosive charges at the building's central load bearing column. So the Boom that Arizona heard wasn't the end of her life, it was actually a building's worth of Raiders getting squished by debris.
And Sylph? What was the little Blue Haired Butcher doing? She had jumped from the second floor balcony to the ground.
Watching the whole entire drama play out from the safety of the ground, Thomas glanced over at Sylph's companion and asked him a simple question.
"Is she always like this?" The Faux Father asked.
I don't recall drinking anything that strong today... Chester thought, being shepherded along the corridors, glancing around at the new development. Robots, Enclave, Vaults, exploding brahmin... Dr Evil? What? Moon lasers?
"Maybe eating that old pre-war Salisbury steak this morning wasn't a good idea, can do things to the mind I hear," he said to himself, before talking out loud. "I think all you kids must a been reading too many of them comic books of yours, all this talk of space lasers and what have you." He rolled his eyes, folding his arms, before Trixie's and #209's conversation reached his ear.
"But... we came to bring you this ghoul..."
"Eh. Why'd we bring him Chester? I mean... look at him. He's not exactly a prime candidate for being a gift is he?"
"Ehh... I may not be as handsome as I once was, but I can still turn on the ol' Chester-charm. I'll have you know I can be quite irresistible! Well, I was... certainly back in the day." He trailed off, once again talking more to himself than to his accomplices, not really twigging onto Trixie selling him out.
"We're here to take that moon laser from you on behalf of the Enclave and it's leader Number One!"
"Mhmm... sure, kid, sure....wait, what?!" He croaked, turning and staring at the Enclave soldier, his head tilted quizzically on the one side. "Erm, hate to be the one to say this, buddy, but I don't think any of us are in much of a position to give much in the way of orders here." He said, sliding away from #209 as he spoke, sidling nearer to Robin and the others and further from #209's crazy talk.
Evan, Dudley, and Ferdinand: The plan goes out of the window, goes splat on the pavement, and gets trampled by a Super Mutant.
Holy shit, the plan looked like it was working. Just like that, FalloutScott sent the robot rolling off to Old Olney without so much as a question. Now would be a perfect time to jab him with the baton...
...except just as Evan slipped into position FalloutScott swung around with his Super Sledge trailing after him. Evan, Dudley, and Ferdinand had to hit the deck to avoid it and the chance was gone. Seemingly unaware of just how close he came to being taken down by the three musketeers, FalloutScott continued,
"Well, lads! I've had a good day! What's say we go find a nice pub so's I can get a wee drink an' swear in yer Mr. Ferd, eh?"
"Huh, yeah? Oh, yeah that sounds great!" Said Evan, coughing out a mouthful of dust, he shot a look of panic at Dudley, to indicate they had missed this chance to disable FalloutScott's Power Armour. Evan had basically collapsed like a jelly to avoid the Super Sledge, getting a face full of dirt for his troubles and dropping the Powersuit Destabilizer. Fortunately for him, Dudley thought quickly for once and took charge of the situation.
"Find a pub, that sounds like a marvellous idea. Pick yourself up and follow close behind Asset 19, I'm dying fer a drink." Putting on this official voice was harder than it sounded for Dudley, but he mostly managed to do it. He just hoped that Evan had picked up on the revision to his plan, they still had a chance to get FalloutScott.
Way to be unsubtle with your audible cues Dudley. Evan just hoped that FalloutScott would fall for it, if they were rumbled now it could be all over. Scott had his Super Sledge out and ready, while The Three Musketeers were in no such state. Still, it seemed to be working as Scott was facing away, allowing Evan to scoop up the PD. Dudley started walking down the road with FalloutScott, Evan FOLLOWED CLOSE BEHIND with the PD in his hand, hoping that it hadn't been damaged at all by the fall. This thing was fairly new and Evan was unsure just how durable the little gizmo could be.
Evan quickened his step just a little so he was going faster than FalloutScott, counting down in his head ready to lunge.
By this time, Mr Knight had managed to make it very close, pausing to remain motionless as the massive robot headed north. Evan and Dudley had mentioned Old Olney, the Enclave trooper mentioned Deathclaws. What was going on? Were the Enclave rounding up more of their favoured choice of pets, or were they wiping them out at the source?
The group turned to go, or rather the Enclave trooper turned in such a wide arc that everyone else dropped to the ground to avoid the hammer resting upon his shoulder. They were leaving now, but William couldn't let them get away. Only the trooper had his weapon out, Evan was holding something but William couldn't see what it was. He had the drop on them and with Lucy's plasma pistol in his hand, even a Power Armoured Enclave trooper would be in trouble.
William edged ever closer, standing up now, aiming his pistol at the trooper. The man Evan and Dudley had with them, the man he didn't know, heard the footstep and began to turn around.
"HOLD IT RIGHT-"
Evan jabbed FalloutScott in the back with the Powersuit Destabilizer, whether it would disable his armour properly or just stun him for a bit was unknown. However, the second he jabbed Scott a familiar voice shouted from behind him, turning towards the voice Evan saw...
"THE...re?" Said William, tailing off suddenly as Evan jabbed the Enclave trooper in the back with some sort of baton. It was clear that they hadn't really joined the Enclave at all, the pieces fell into place as William realised that they had intended to capture the trooper and send the big robot away so it couldn't help.
There was a really awkward silence.
"Kinda' thought y'all was dead William." Said Dudley, who had also turned in the direction of the voice. Dudley, Evan, Ferdinand, and William just stood there looking at each other. Evan's arm was still holding the PD into FalloutScott's back.
There was another really awkward silence.
"We're here to take that moon laser from you on behalf of the Enclave and it's leader Number One!"
The sound of #209's booming voice perked at Trixie's ears, causing her to generate some distance from 'him'.
"I would just like to say on behalf of... myself. That I have never met this enclave meathead in my life." Trixie announced, gesturing in confusion to #209.
"Just a traveling trader, with a whole recently cooked pet brahmin. So if ya'll are hungry..." another fake smile plastered along her face in a sad attempt to coerce them into freeing her.
Kristin Blamco - Megaton
The journey to Megaton was dreadfully uneventful and simultaneously frustrating. Kristin, still feeling wary of Jonathan's motivations, had expected (and hoped) to be travelling alone with him. The BlamCo Princess, unknown for holding her tongue had wished to settle matters as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Agent of Soya had decided to join their little party and in doing so, had shut down Kristin's desire to speak lest her own words lead to being berated by Jonathan or twisted by #411. The only person stopping her from attacking #411 was cradled in her arms and in no state to talk; Lucy Black.
I promised that I would help you.
Was this - the faintest hint of resentment?
Almost immediately, Kristin silently squashed those thoughts, feeling disgusted over feeling something like that in the first place.
The usually chipper and bubbly Cheese Princess was unhappy with the immediate company. Although that was only partially true, she was mostly unhappy with herself. How could the Heiress to the BlamCo family fortune be deceived and toyed with by two of the very few people that she had met on the East Coast? Was manipulation and elaborate word-play commonplace on this side of the world? Did honor and trust mean nothing to these people?
Was Jonathan no better than those business executives back home? The very individuals that chastised her beliefs and plucked the BlamCo family business from her hands?
Time will tell. Fortunately, the crestfallen Kristin had something in the way of a distraction. A big something. A something with robots, buildings and people! Was this it? Was this the fabled Megaton?!
It looked like a ton of shambled together crap!
She loved it.
Greeted by a Butler Bot, of which the BlamCo family owned 16 on the BlamCo Estate as personal servants and entertainment. Funnily enough the Butler Bot had addressed Lucy by name and a group of armed individuals rushed to surround #411. Briefly breaking their defensive line, Kristin and Jonathan were ushered through the Megaton gates. Kristin turned to shoot a glare at #411 but was greeted with the sight of the Soya Agent getting her face beaten by the Butler Bot. The sight made her smile and she walked through to the other side of the crowd.
"Oi! You with the Brotherhood or sumthin?", Kristin's eyes darted to the male voice nearby, he approached with a woman following closely. "Because that's Lucy Black you got there."
The confusion was normal, her silver-dyed armor and steel reinforcements had lead her to be confused with a lightly-armored Brotherhood member in the past. Kristin scoffed at the notion and corrected the man, elegantly sending her long silver hair cascading over shoulder with a practiced flick of the head.
"I am both Blamco and with BlamCo.", the man appeared to be confused. "My name is Kristin Blamco, Daughter, Heiress and Princess to the BlamCo Family Fortune!", She exclaimed enthusiastically, her chin raised with pride and her smiled widened as recognition spread across the couple's faces. "And whom might you be? I would shake your hand, but our dearest Lucy is in need of a - ... a Church Doctor?"
"I'm Walker and this is my wife Abigail." The man hurriedly gestured to his wife and she curtsied politely, the moment was short-lived due to their clear concern over Lucy. "I think you mean Doc Church, follow us, we'll show you the way. Again, what happened? Has it got something to do with that Enclave scum outside the gates?"
With their backs turned and keeping a steady pace, Kristin received a full view of the sniper rifle draped across Walker's back. Lucy seemed to attract individuals with large weapons.
"It's a long story, but - ", Kristin shot a worried glance at Jonathan about mentioning the Enclave, frustratingly, she could not see his reactions due the masked nature of his attire. " - Yes, that was the very woman that drove a knife into Miss Black's eye."
"Bastards.", the insult was uttered by the wife named Abigail.
"I couldn't agree more." Kristin replied bitterly, thinking of #411's use of an army of untrained females. She might come to regrets those words in 3...2...1...
"I'll see you at the doctor, there are a few things I need to take care of."
Jonathan, for the first time since leaving Springvale had piped up. He hadn't looked at her, not that she could tell with his face-concealing attire. Kristin, unlike Jonathan, wore her heart on her sleeve and was unable to not look hurt at being abandoned so quickly. Combined with that, her response was an apologetic one. "I'll see you soon, I hope?". Wordlessly, her only conscious companion had left her alone. She hoped that he hadn't been offended by the negative Enclave talk, still, he did leave them after all.
As they descended down a long slope marked by misaligned steps, the pit-like construction of Megaton had become more apparent. Streetside vendors, Brahmin, catwalks and glowing signs that served as indication for shops dotted the view of the elaborate settlement. People looked down upon high, leaning over the rails and peered curiously at the newcomers.
"Come forth and drink the waters of the Glow, for this ancient weapon of war is our salvation, it is the very symbol of Atom's glory!"
Kristin stopped dead in her tracks as she listened to the ridiculous preaching of an elderly man, standing in what appeared to be a pool of irradiated water surrounding a very large bomb. A BOMB!?
Noticing the twitch in Kristin's eye as she stared with her mouth agape, Walker hurriedly held a palm to his face and pulled Kristin along. "Ugh, don't pay any attention to those Atom-worshipping nutjobs. That's Confessor Cromwell, he worships the unexploded bomb. He's harmless - ..."
Walker was comically interrupted when an aging man burst through the front of the Clinic, only to shout obscenities at the preacher and inadvertently complete Walker's sentence in the process.
"- and he is a pain in my ass! All of them are! SHUT THE HELL UP, I'M TRYING TO WORK HERE!"
Kristin chuckled to herself and steadied herself before she almost dropped Lucy.
"...and that's Doc Church. I'll leave you here. Oh - and - welcome to Megaton, erm..BlamCo Heiress!"
Kristin nodded and smiled graciously, "Oh you flatter me, Princess is fine with me. I'll be sure to cook you two a meal as thanks for welcoming me here. Please do not hesitate to sample some of my exclusive recipes when I find one of the town's cooks. In the meantime, thank you once more.", The BlamCo Princess unleashed a dazzling smile and made her way into the clinic after Doc Church had absent-mindedly waved at her to come inside.
As Kristin walked inside, the wife could be heard excitedly gushing to her husband. "The Silver-Haired BlamCo Heiress? She's from New Vegas, the Big City! She's on the back of one of the boxes we got from our latest trade..."
Perhaps she might like it here.
Kristin Blamco - Megaton
Health & Heathens
Lucy's eyepatch was immediately stripped off and dropped into a bowl of disinfectant.
"Alright, so what do we have here - Oh hell! What happened to her eye?! Who the hell are you?"
Kristin was lead to the center of the room where she allowed Lucy to rest on a bed. With overhanging lights and surrounded by medical equipment, Kristin took a step back to allow the doctor to inspect Lucy's condition before she answered.
"Kristin BlamCo." Kristin puffed out her chest, but the doctor wasn't looking at her. "She was stabbed with a knife. Her attacker, who is outside the gates - "
"Who patched up the wound? This is fine work. Still, I want to take a look for myself. I'm also going to need to keep her overnight and see to her recovery after she wakes up."
"Her attacker also sought to her care.", the sentence was odd for Kristin to utter, and it had caused the doctor to glare at her in disbelief.
"Riiiight. Well, this isn't going to come cheap and Lucy here used her final favor when she was last here. So I'm going to need about eight hundr - !", Doc Church's eyes suddenly widened when an annoying droning could be heard from outside. He promptly bolted outside to shout at someone once more. Presumably the preacher. "SHUT THE HELL UP!
Upon re-entering, Kristin had her Bumper Sword draped across her shoulder, a wry smile spread across her face. "Noise complaints? I can help with that."
Exasperated, Doc Church poured himself a glass of whiskey, looked at Lucy and promptly put the glass down. "Son of a...Y'know what? Get that damn preacher to shut up. Hell, get that entire church of Atom to shut up and I'll look after Lucy here for free!"
Oh yes, Kristin had plans for those that chose ignorance over the Gods of Dairy. False idols like a bomb? Don't be silly!
"Then we have a deal, Doctor! Fret not, they shall not physically be harmed. Spiritually however, that's a different story. Just tell me more of this - Atom thing?"
The Doctor imparted a wealth of information behind the apparent teachings of Atom. There were several aspects that Kristin had taken great personal issue with. Finally, he cautiously eyed the monstrosity that was Kristin's Bumper Sword, "No bloodshed."
Kristin had absolutely no intention of harming anyone.
And she had just the recipe for the job: a failed experimental recipe.
EDIT: Portion of the post removed
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
When she finished shouting, the response she got from the raiders wasn't what she expected. After all, in her travels, most raider gangs tended to fall apart and run whenever the leader was killed in such a brutal and... Disturbing fashion. There really wasn't another word for it since his corpse actually groped the poor girl. She felt a twinge of sympathy at that. Even though she jumped Thomas, that wasn't something she'd wish on all but her worst enemies.
But, it seemed this particular group of assholes were one of the few that actually became friends with one another, or even considered themselves a twisted little family, because after her posturing and bluster, they answered with laser-sights and rifle barrels from the windows of the building across from her. Her eye widened and she gaped.
"Well, great going you dumb bitch. You had to open your big mouth, and now you're going to pay for it. Two-hundred-plus years of surviving straight down the shitter. Any last words?" a small voice in the back of her head seemed to sneer.
She started to think, How about 'This fucking bites'? when she heard an loud boom and bolted for the nearest piece of cover. It was the rumble that made her slowly uncurl from behind the broken down A/C unit and make sure she didn't have any holes in her. She still had her remaining eye, all eight fingers. Satisfied, she stood up and turned to look at the building full of snipers.
Instead, all that was left was a pile of rubble and dust, with the blue-haired woman striding back to the two boys.
Arizona pursed her lips. On the one, three-fingered hand, all of those dead raiders couldn't be looted for valuables since they were buried under all that debris, and that was wasted caps. She hated wasted caps. On the other, fully-intact hand however, that stunt was not only damn impressive, but most likely just saved her skin from being turned into moldy Swiss cheese. That was much more important.
So she brushed herself off, tucked the Sniper Rifle under one arm and made her way back to the ladder down, making sure to pick up her Bowie Knife along the way. When she rejoined the others, she nodded to the three of em and gave Miss Blue Hair a wry smirk.
"Good job with those explosives, and for saving my sorry ass after I got cocky. Should've known this was probably one of those 'family-friendly' raider gangs." she said, rolling her eye.
Seriously, 'WTF?' was the expression on the Evil mastermind's face right now. The one girl was trying to debunk his fricking "Laser", the other girl was calling out the first girl and offering him the ghoul like some kind of neato prize, the dumbass in the armor was threatening him, and the ghoul was both calling out the idiot and propositioning himself. Dr. Evil may be kind of weird, but that was all just bizarre!
Dr. Evil: Okay, that's enough. Take the slaver-girl and her ghoul companion to a cell, and don't forget to put in some baking soda first. As for the idiot, put him in the steam torture chamber and sweat out some information.
Obviously, he was going to keep Robin entertained, Dr. Evil style. He was already smiling to himself with a pinky up to his mouth as the others were being escorted out by the guards. After they were gone, he turned to her.
Dr. Evil: You doubt the abilities of my "Laser", when I've already used it to threaten, extort, and backstab the former US Government.
Good thing he had ED-209 removed. Poor guy would've gone berserk.
Dr. Evil: Care to see my "Laser" in action, Miss...?
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
Sweat trickled down Charlie's back as the act he and his temporary partner put on prompted no reaction from their attackers. Then moments later came the shout.
"HEY FUCKFACES! I GOT YOUR FRIEND! SHE SURE IS A PURDY ONE! MAYBE I'LL KEEP HER!"
A groan escaped Charlie as he saw the raider holding the unconscious Sylph. He ground his teeth and stared angrily up at them as the asshole molested the young girl, his anger magnified by his sense of powerlessness. There was nothing he could do to help from down here without taking several sniper rounds to the fac-
Apparently he had no need to worry as the raider's head exploded in a red puff. Disgustingly the dead body continued to grope Sylph for several seconds before toppling backwards. From there everything snowballed quickly; the ghoul lady had a quick sniper standoff with the rest of the gang before the building they were in literally collapsed, triggered by an explosion Charlie would have been proud to rig and set off himself. Fortunately Sylph had woken up and escaped in time to avoid being crushed under ten tonnes of rubble. She was covered in raider blood, but didn't seem to have picked up any new injuries.
"Is she always like this?"
The innocuous question prompted a glare from Charlie. "Shouldn't you know better than anyone?" he retorted in a voice dripping with venom, a tone very rarely heard from the young man. Not trusting himself to not punch the man in the face he turned away, waiting for the two women to reach them.
He loathed the silence.
He also loathed the company.
Why was she following them? Was it part of her plan? Was it to further examine her new-found "associates"? Was she trying to rub it all in?
Oh ho ho ho! Something wrong. Johnny boy?
And fuck her too.
Aww, don't be like that! You're hurting my feelings, here! Seriously, though, what's up with the slowly rising anger? And is that a hint of self-loathing and resentment I spy? It's like someone lit up a fuse to a nuke here. Good thing it's a long one, because *boy* are we in for an explosion. Johnny boy, Johnny boy. Didn't your daddy teach you that anger issues are bad? You might lash out and, *gasp*, somebody could get hurt! He, he, he... Speaking of lashing outs, how's the dodo-head holding up?
He didn't know. He hadn't turned to look at them once during this treck. Nor did he have any desire to do so.
Oh, don't tell me you're still beating yourself up over the way she looked at you.
The memory came back.
The grip on his stick tightened.
Johnny boy, Johnny boy, Johnny boy. How many times must I repeat myself before you figure it out? You tried to help her and she payed you back with hatred.What did you expect? Acceptance? A thank you? Those things don't happen in real life. People don't appreciate it when you butt into their problems, even if you want to help. You are forever uninvited.
He could feel tears rushing down his cheeks.
And why would anyone invite you of all people? Take a good, hard look at yourself. You can't even deal with your problems, how do you expect to help others with theirs? And when you did reach out to others, what was the result of those grand expeditions? You fucked up. You fucked up badly. More bodies litter the Wasteland when you decide to "help" than when you don't.
No, not until I am finished. As I was saying, you only make things worse. And that's to be expected, isn't it? All your life you've been manipulating people's lives to make yours better. Your creations have reaped more souls than you can count. That's what you're good at. That's all you've ever been good at. And what better proof than what happened? You played Agent Hero-Worshipping Cock-Sucker real well, but when you tried to help Princess Dodo-head? Oh, wasn't that quite the fuck up?
You don't get to TELL *ME* to shut up, you godsdamned worthless piece of GARBAGE! You're a FUCK-UP! You've ALWAYS been a fuck-up! You will always BE a fuck-up! Wanna help people? Get the FUCK away from them. You've never belonged anywhere and you never will. And all you'll ever do is hurt. Hurt others, hurt yourself, hurt, hurt, hurt, HURT! So stop fucking trying. All that's lead to is a vicious cycle of you fucking up, me telling you to get over it and you telling me to shut the fuck up. Well, you know what, you ungrateful FUCK-UP? I'll shut up. Because I know you will royally fuck up again, and that when you do, you'll come crawling back to me like the sad little fuck-up you are.
The mask had begun cracking.
"I believe your people and this town have a...history?"
Even here. The Enclave had caused pain even here.
He wondered how'd they act if they knew who he was. Same treatment, he wagered.
He deserved that.
"...I think you mean Doc Church, follow us, we'll show you the way. Again, what happened? Has it got something to do with that Enclave scum outside the gates?"
Scum. He supposed it was rather accurate.
He noticed the Princess throwing a glance at him. Taking a look at the scum she was stuck with, perhaps?
" - Yes, that was the very woman that drove a knife into Miss Black's eye."
"You'll never save anyone."
"I couldn't agree more."
The truth was out, then. Kristin Blamco, in a single sentence, had scattered what little was left of his crumbling mask. Jonathan had tried his best to shelter her from being tricked, from being thrown into a situation that she couldn't come out the winner from.
And still all you see is the bastard in me.
In the end of the day, Jonathan was Enclave. It didn't matter if he didn't choose it in the first place, it didn't matter that he hated every single day of his life he spent in it, it didn't matter that he jumped ship the first second he was given the chance. If he didn't hide his identity, he would have been treated the same way #411 had been.
He had accepted that fact. He had come to expect it from regular folk. The Enclave had caused more than enough harm to gather enmity, and old hatreds die hard. But not from Kristin. Not after what they had gone through to save Lucy.
"You never belonged anywhere, and you never will."
"I'll see you at the doctor, there are a few things I need to take care of." he said bluntly as he turned away and walked away. He didn't expect a reply, and of all replies he never expected, this one was the least expected of them.
"I'll see you soon, I hope?"
Jonathan stopped in his tracks for a moment, standing dazed in disbelief, before bitterly marching on on an even quicker pace.
He couldn't understand her. On one moment she was cursing him and in the next she acted all hurt that he left? How much more polarizing could she get? More so than the feelings of betrayal he was feeling, this constant emotional back-and-forth made him feel he was suffocating.
He was barely holding himself back as he walked away from the streets and into a dark dead-end, away from prying eyes. And there, he let loose, breathing heavily, violently removing his scarf and throwing his hat down in exasperated notions. But that wasn't nearly enough to calm the monsoon of emotion he was experiencing and, as emotions peaked and things came to a head, Jonathan roared and threw a full-strength left-handed punch at the wall.
Newton's Third Law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The amount of force used to strike the wall was thus propelled back into the arm, and sharp pain burst out of his hand. With his back against the wall and tightly gripping his wrist, Jonathan slid down to a sitting position and tried to assess the damage. He could move his fingers, albeit with pain involved, but every attempt to turn his hand into a fist was met with excruciating pain. The sudden pain brought about sudden change, and anger turned into pity and loathing.
He sit there for a few minutes, staring blankly at nowhere in particular.
The shop was looking better than last time he had visited, at least from what he remembered of it. It looked tidier, cleaner and had this air of... growth rather than decay one would come to expect out of most shops built out of ruins and scraps. Still, all the familiar sights were there: The merc with the bored-but-vigilant-"I'm-watching-you-scum" stare, the vault suit at the back of the counter, books lying around in the back...
"Enclave, you say, Sherrif? What could someone from the Enclave be doing outside of Megaton?"
"I don't know, Moira. First there's rumours of the bomb being re-armed and now-"
The sounds of conversation drowned out as Jonathan entered the store. He immediately felt three sets of eyes staring at him wearingly, and if he were in a different mood than the one he was in now he'd feel awkward. But as he were, he didn't really care.
"Hell-oooow..." he said, as he raised his left hand and tried to do a waving motion, force of habit making him forget he had possibly broken it a few minutes ago.
"Ah, you must be the one of the new arrivals. Welcome to Megaton, stranger. I trust I won't have to expect trouble out of you." said the Megaton Sheriff, Simms, as Jonathan started walking towards the counter.
"Sheriff." spoke out Jonathan in acknowledgement, tipping his hat. "Moira." he continued, as he turned to Craterside Supplies proprietor, "...You." and finally, awkwardly, as he faced the merc.
"Must say, you do look familiar... Ah, I remember now. You're... Bob."
"Hah!" let out Jonathan, genuinely surprised, "I'm rather flattered, sheriff. Didn't expect you to remember after all those years."
"I'm the sheriff, it makes my job easier. Besides, you did offer a good deal of help last time. You remember Bob, Moira? He dealt with the power shortages we were having a few years ago."
"Ooooh, right. I remember now. Good to see you're doing well!
"Now, now, sheriff, you're overselling me... I didn't singehandedly deal with everything... And thanks, Moira. Your book helped me immensely."
"I'm glad to hear! But, I imagine you didn't come all the way here just to say hello. Anything you need?"
"A few things, actually." he replied as he searched his pockets to find a note, "I'll need everything written down on this list." he finished as he handed it over.
"Hmm..." said Moira as she took a curious look, "these are all Pip-boy parts. Lemme see what I have in stock." and disappeared into the back of the store.
A brief, awkward silence followed, as the two men standing next to the counter waited. Small talk was never something Jonathan was good at, even less so in the mood he was at now.
"How's the hand?" suddenly inquired Simms, surprising Jon a bit with his gruff voice and direct tone.
"Oh, this?" Jonathan replied, raising his arm to highlight his bandaged hand, "It's nothing serious. Should be ok again in a couple of days."
"Good to hear. Say, Bob, care to tell me what a member of the Enclave was doing keeping you company as you approached the town?"
"She wasn't company." retorted Jon immediately, annoyed for even being associated with the likes of her. "And... well, I ain't no good at explaining those things, sheriff. You should ask miss Kristin, she should be at the doctor's place now. She's better at explaining these things than I am."
"The doc, eh? I was told that the woman that came to town was seen carrying someone. Very well, I think I will pay Doc Church a visit."
"Don't lemme keep ye."
"There's another thing... How much to do you know about bombs?"
"Bombs? Well... I am no expert, but..." he gave off a "I know a few things" kind of shrug.
"You see, there have been rumours recently that someone has been tampering with the bomb, trying to re-arm it or something like that. Rumours being rumours, I would normally take it with a grain of salt, but..."
"But given these are rumours about the bomb, you'd rather have check them out. And in order to keep people from panicking, you would have someone that isn't well known around these parts check it out. Right. I can do that. Can't promise anything, of course, but I can do it."
"It's... good to see I don't need to do any more explaining, then. Do this for me, and I'll pay for the parts you need."
"Actually, Sheriff... The girl that miss Kristin was carrying with her is the daughter of an old friend of mine. I would much rather you payed for her medical bills and see to it that she has her needs provided to."
"Hmm, very well. You got yourself a deal." said Simms with a smile, extending his hand to Jon to shake hands.
"I have good news and bad news" said Moira as she reappeared from the back, "Bad news is, I don't have everything you need right now. Good news is, I am expecting supplies to arrive sometime tomorrow morning, so with a little luck you will get what you need, provided you aren't in a hurry."
"Oh, no hurry, no hurry at all. It would appear that I will be staying here for a day or two, anyway. I'll come back tomorrow, then." and turning to the Sheriff, "I'll see to it that I check things out as soon as I am able. Goodnight."
Night was starting to fall as Jonathan made went on his way, to where, he wasn't quite certain. He had rather conflicted feelings about how he would approach the situation, uncertain as to how he would deal with the Blamco Heiress and Lucy Black. Too many things had happened in too little time today, and he felt that he needed some time to wind down, to fully digest and accept what had transpired. And if he was with Kristin...
He could see the doctor's place well enough now. The bomb aswell. He was faced with a predicament: He could go ahead and examine the bomb now, but he said that he would go to the doctor soon enough, and he felt guilty to go back on his word.
He stared at clinic. He thought of facing Kristin again. He remember the pain reflected in her eyes as she gave him that stare. The hatred in her voice as she made her hatred of the Enclave and him clear to the guard and his wife.
He had dragged her into something that by all rights she shouldn't have been dragged into. And in doing so he had caused her pain, along with the promise of more pain to come.
"Wanna help people? Get the FUCK away from them!"
The clinic would have to wait. Jonathan had a bomb to examine. But first, first he would have to deal with the mob of worshippers surrounding it.
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
Father - Daughter Dance
"Shouldn't you know better than anyone?" That was the response that Thomas had received to his question as to whether or nor Sylph was always like this. Unless the Friendly Former Neighborhood Undertaker didn't know better, he sensed a fair amount of unwarranted anger directed towards him by the Blue Haired Psychopath's traveling companion. How much did Sylph tell this young man that looked at Thomas in a manner that said "I want to pluck your eyes out with a rusty spoon?" Was this ruse a psychological gambit to torture him until the inevitable knife came to strike him down?
"No. I shouldn't." Thomas said simply, not playing into whatever mind games that Sylph had placed upon the young man. Any attempt to try to explain the situation at this point might have made him seem like an asshole than he already appeared in this young man's head. Of course, had he not over analysed the situation with a alcohol drowned brain and determined a response made from faulty assumptions, he might not have looked like such a colossal dick for the response that did give.
Waiting for Arizona and Sylph to rejoin the group, the Former Undertaker, formerly known as Shifty, couldn't help but note the expression on the Blue Haired Assassin's face. It spoke of expectation, apprehension and something else... something that Thomas had ever only experienced when looking at his own parents.
This... was... insane.
Having arrived at the spot where her "Father" and Charlie Cannon waited for Sylph and "Father's" companion, Sylph stood and waited, looking at the man who had raised her, trained her and taught her discipline. Despite the headache that she had incurred from the strike that FishFace had leveled upon her, the Red Menace stood at attention, waiting... looking... expecting.
"What? Why are you looking at me like that?" "Father" asked, a look of discomfort on his face. Had he been wounded? Sylph saw no obvious wounds, or at least ones that bled. Had he been struck in the head by a random piece of debris from the fallen building?
"I... um... I'm waiting for your critique, father." Sylph hesitantly responded. Turning around, Sylph lifted up the back of her top to exposed her back to "Father." Squinching her eyes shut, Sylph waited for the inevitable lashings to come for having been struck by FishFace.
"Wh... what?" "Father" asked in a rather incredulous tone.
This... was... insane. This was absolutely insane. This was insanity with a dash of insanity added to the top of it for garnish. This was insanity with a dash of insanity added to the of it for garnish with a liberal slathering of CRAZINESS added to the top of that, like some sort of BlamCo dish that someone had added parsley to and then decided to drown in gravy.
"Father, I understand that I broke your first tenet: Never be seen and your second tene: Never get caught. I await my punishment." The crazy girl said with her scarred back turned towards the Friendly and Confused Former Undertaker.
"Um. Well, I'd love to stay but Arizona and I are in a hurry. It was nice seeing you again. Bye." Thomas said, walking on the route towards Tenpenny Towar. A clattering of rocks behind him informed him that he was being followed, hopefully by Arizona. Turning his head back, he realized it was Sylph.
"What are you doing?" The Biggest Jerk in the World asked, his patience slowly wearing thin. Desperate for assistance, the recipient of "Father" of the Year looked to Arizona or Sylph's companion for help.
The Wild Wastelands | Megaton
#411 is (not) amused
The robot swiveled in place and dipped its eye-stalks while thinking, then, after a time the machine addressed Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411.
Sit down very quietly and do not speak. Otherwise, we will open fire. If and when a team comes, we will let you go to them. If not, you will continue to sit there until you die of malnutrition or go insane and force us to kill you." The machine stated neutrally as if it was simply stating fact.
So basically, since her power armor kept her body stocked with calories and vitamins while in the field and she was already insane, at least according to an Enclave Behavioral Health Specialist who suffered sever yet inexplicable head wound moments after the diagnosis, #411 was going to be kept in a cage for close to eternity, depending on how long it took for the Enclave's bureaucratic wing to approve the extraction mission.
#411 didn't speak. She stared at the Robo-Butler and wondered if she could hack it but seeing as how she was literally surrounded by these Gun toting, red necked Megatonians.
Bored from being stuck in her little cage, #411 watched as the Enclave Deserter and the BlamCo Bimbo wandered aimlessly around the town. At this rate, the 6 month period would expire before these two nitwits made it out of Megaton.
"Idiots." the Enclave Intelligence Specialist muttered, her voice loud enough for Wadsworth to register and gift her with another cuff on the side of the head with his chainsaw. Though the strike was hard, it wasn't the worst that #411 had experienced.
The Wild Wastelands | Doctor Evil's Evil Vault | The Sauna
It's like a Sow-nah
Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209 leaned back against a wall and exhaled in contentment. It had been quite some time since he'd been inside a sauna and he could feel the heat and the steam sweating the toxins out of his body through his pores. Perhaps they'd treat him to more torture with a mud bath or a facial exfoliating treatment next.
"Hey! What the hell is the deal? Turn it up!" #209 yelled through the door at the guards that were obviously posted on the other side, "This is barely working up a sweat and I'd like to look sharp when I present this Vault to Number One. Maybe then he'll make me commander of the Omega Squad after that."
"Shut up in there you stupid piece of... " The guard yelled through the door before being interrupted by a blast of steam.
"Thanks!" #209 yelled in response as the wave of heat hit him, causing his skin to scream for water, despite the fact that Enclave Dominator #209 was literally swimming in steam.
"Uh. That's a little high... guys? Hello? Guys?" #209 yelled through the door as he held onto the door handle, adding with a bit of desperation in his voice, "Hello? You know I can't tell you Enclave Secrets if I'm dead!"
He felt someone pull on the door, but because he was holding it closed, they couldn't open it.
"Hey. The door's stuck." #209 heard through the door, "Someone get maintenance... stat!"
"Hey! What the FUCK is going on? What sort of dayspa are you running here? I swear to got that I'm going to report you to the Better Business Bureau when I get out of here." He said waiting for the next good tug on the door before letting the handle go.
"Whoa!" The guard on the other side of the door exclaimed as he fell backwards, looking up just in time to see a ham sized fist closing in on his face.
There was another guard on the phone with maintenance, one who found himself choked out by the phone cord. With the two guards knocked out, Enclave Dominator #209 grabbed their guns and looked around the room to see if they had stashed his power armor there.
Nope. No such luck. He guessed he'd have to fight with what he had on until he found his trusty armor, namely his birthday suit, since the guard's uniforms were 4 sizes too small for him.
Kristin Blamco - Megaton
Kristin's stomach growled, she had missed lunch and she couldn't quite remember if she had a proper breakfast. Regardless, The BlamCo Princess was on a mission from the Gods to silence the voices that dared to sway the misinformed with lies. The moon is made of cheese! That is irrefutable proof that our earthly vessels ascend to the yellow dairy ball to add to it's mass.
Confessor Cromwell, now kneeling in the irradiated waters, was bellowing more nonsensical garbage that spat in face of Blamcoism. Kristin dug through her bag and pulled out four golden eggs.
To be more precise, newly-laid deathclaw eggs were carefully cracked open and the unborn deathclaw was transferred into an egg-shaped cheese mold that hardened over time. This was considered a delicacy for two weeks before alleged incidents of baby deathclaws bursting through the stomachs of customers had occured. Upon further research, further radiation from decade-old ingredients had caused severe mutations to take place within the egg itself. It was theorised that the Deathclaw's primal urge to consume was the only directive behind the organism's behaviour. Curiously, the addition of purified water had caused the egg to wither and die, leading the BlamCo R & D to believe that the 'CheeseClaw' could only sustain itself on irradiated material alone. They were now considered collector's items.
Kristin approached Confessor Cromwell and stood at the edge of the radiation pool, hesitant to step foot within the unholy filth.
"Give your body to Atom, my friend.", The preacher gestured to Kristin and held his arms out, extending what appeared to be a donation bowl. "Release yourself to his power, feel his Glow and be Divided."
The BlamCo Princess snorted indignantly, puffed out her chest and laid her hands on her hips. "Be divided? The Dairy Gods do not wish for sacrifice, nay, they ask for unity. Only through wholeness are we able to find peace in this world!"
"Your suffering shall exist no longer; it shall be washed away in Atom's Glow, burned from you in the fire of his brilliance.", the preacher gestured even more with the donation bowl. The sound of a sizeable amount of coin clinked as the metallic bowl was rustled at her feet.
Kristin laughed and withdrew the eggs from her courier bag, two in each hand. "Brilliance? Before mine eyes, I see a man kneeling in filth, his mind addled by the radiation of a long-forgotten relic of the past. Is this your God?"
"This is Atom, we are Atom, Atom is everywhere -"
"Speak plainly, Priest!", Kristin roared, her boot ground the dirt beneath her foot and she nodded towards the bomb. "If what you say is true, then I seek an audience with your God."
The Priest laid a hand upon the bomb and outstretched his other in a motion that told her to stop.
"So this is him after all? I was led to believe that he was 'everywhere'.", Kristin chided, flicking her long silver hair over her shoulder once more. "You will soon begin to learn that I have no love for convention."
A crowd had started to form, the exchange between the Eccentric Priest and the BlamCo Priestess had grown quite loud and some were even murmuring to themselves. Kristin raised her voice to accommodate for the growing crowd of onlookers, and boldly, she took a step onto the bomb itself. Gaining a foothold, Kristin calmly climbed to the top and stood imposingly above the crowd and the preacher in the water.
~"Get down from there!"
~"What the hell is she doing?"
~"Who the fuck is she?"
~"Somebody shoot her!"
~"Oh my god, we're all going to die!"
~"Save us, Atom!"
~"Oh Atom, allow this sinner to repent for her sins!"
Kristin's silver hair billowed in the wind, standing to attention with her arms crossed, she looked down upon the preacher and his crowd. Kristin's expression was that of unwavering determination and her conviction was adamant in her every word.
"HOLD YOUR TONGUES AND WATCH!"
"I stand atop your God and I have yet to be burned nor divided. The only punishment that exists is that of your inane prattle and the fear mongering over this relic of a war long past! I see that you accept money for your cause, but to what end? How have you given back to your community, how has your beliefs benefitted those around you?"
This elicited a few murmurs of disbelief, some even shot glares at the preacher himself.
"I - I - I wouldn't expect someone that worships a snack to understand. "
"BlamCo! Has your God fed hundreds upon thousands? Has your God brought joy to those in need? Has your God saved lives?!"
"I thought not! The trouble with your God is that it is merely passive, my Gods bestow gifts for us to use and enrich the lives of others. Whether it be through Dairy, Brahmin...", Dramatically on cue, Kristin spread her arms and simply dropped the Deathclaw-infused dairy eggs into the irradiated water and clutched her breasts. "...or Breasts!" (This was followed by cheering and whistling from a few males in the crowd.)
"Wh-wh-what is happening to Atom's Glow, what have you done!?"
Kristin looked down at the bubbling water and simply smiled serenely. Her sword was then drawn and placed before her as a podium and the BlamCo Priestess stood atop the atom bomb, using it as her own elaborate stage.
"ASK NOT THE HEATHEN HOW BLAMCO GROWS!"
Due to the intense radiation exposure to the BlamCo concoction, several rapid changes had started to occur as the BlamCo Priestess stood atop the atom bomb: The irradiated water was being rapidly absorbed into the broken contents of the smashed eggs. The eggs themselves no longer resembled eggs as they had grown in size proportionate to the water being soaked up. The cheese abomination started to shift and mold itself around the atom bomb itself, encasing it in hardened cheese. Upon closer inspection, literal claw-like mutations had grown and stopped developing.
Taking a seat on the tail of the BlamCo Bomb, Kristin BlamCo sat upon the clawed and cheese-covered throne.
"That was but a mere four eggs, Dairy-less Heathen! Your God was conquered by a mere recipe.", Kristin looked upon the fearful crowd, many of them were rightfully scared and angry at her. "I did this not to hurt the people of Megaton, but I will not be kind to those that simply take from others."
Pulling out several bottles of purified water, Kristin readied to pour the contents onto the Atom Bomb.
"I can restore your God's physical form, Dairy-less Heathen! But from this point forward, you will swear fealty to the teachings of Blamcoism. You will give back the hard-earned money that you have hoarded for a false apocalypse! And...you will cook. You have seen what 4 eggs can do, imagine what you can provide if stocked with the right ingredients. What say you!?"
"Goddammit, I swear! I'll give the money back! Just leave me the hell alone!"
The BlamCo Priestess poured bottle upon bottles of purified water onto the atom bomb. And much like irradiated water had fed the BlamCo concoction, purified water had all but eliminated it, simply turning it into shrivelled up cubes that Kristin had collected.
Kristin hopped off the now-clean Atom Bomb and holstered her blade, some of the crowd still eyed her warily, but even some of them had started clapping at the priest displaying his true colours.
It wasn't perfect, she was sure that she had caused a mixed reception, but if the BlamCo Princess could uproot corruption in her wake, then she would consider this to be a great success.
"I welcome those, of BlamCo faith, or simply those that wish to hear...", Kristin took a seat outside the clinic with her mini-microwave and set the cheesemaker to automatic. Popping out an instant BlamCo Cheese Cupcake theatrically, Kristin took a bite to show that it was safe to eat. "...to enjoy the wonders of our Dairy Gods."
The BlamCo Princess unleashed a dazzling smile as a few people had started to approach her, curious about her creations. She was overjoyed to hear Megaton's first compliment.
"This is - this is a-amazing! Hey everybody, this lady is the real deal!", the elderly man exclaimed and waved over enthusiastically at the remnants of the crowd.
Moments like these washed away all her worries...
"I wasn't doubting your ability to frighten idiots with big words and machines but you can hold someone hostage with an empty gun as much as a real one. But if you're in the mood to show me your toys then I expect you can tell me exactly what it will do before hand, after all a weapon aint any good if it only aims retroactively. Course we could always make this interesting, I'd bet my pipboy that it won't work if you'll put up my companions on your end."
For all the guns she had pointed at her this was oddly fun, it was hard to be threatened by someone who responded to legitimate science with dick waving so she'd actually managed to calm down a fair bit since being captured, that and focusing on his idiocy helped her confidence a lot. "You know maybe I give you some help and the next girl smart enough to appreciate your genius will be compelled to jump you at your first invitation."
It then occurred to her exactly what one of her plan was she'd actually been so excited to see a laser go off for herself she'd almost forgotten how good a distraction it would make for a certain someone to sneak away.
"I'm not one of those scum slavers!" Was the last thing heard out of Trixie's mouth before her and Chester were dragged to the holding cell.
A box. With a door, and some baking soda.
After a good 5 minutes of banging on the door shouting out propositions for her freedom, it was pretty clear she wasn't going anywhere for a while. *It could be worse* she thought to herself *That steamer sounded pretty unpleasant.*
Finally she came to a seat by the baking soda, brooding over any possible plans to escape. "Agh!" She slammed her fist to the ground, knocking over the box, causing some of the baking soda to fall to the floor.
She turned to face Chester, his happy-go-lucky attitude bothered her, she was hoping he wasn't going to start claiming they would be 'fine' or 'free in no time'.
"So..." She began.
"Looks like we're stuck in here... How about you tell me how you came into this..." She scratched her head, clearly thinking of a polite way to ask. "State?" She gestured at his Ghoul condition with a wave of her hands.
While it was certainly a relief to no longer be carrying almost an entire person's weight in junk, Chester felt oddly naked without his trademark rucksack, satchels, and other such bags. The guards had been decent enough not to remove his jacket, which in itself contained perhaps his smaller and more pricey merchandise, he did however manage to wiggle free his small portable radio from his rucksack (Hate to miss Herbert "Daring" Dashwood) as it was being confiscated along with his rifle (he had left his fire axe at his bicycle).
"Hey, would one of you fellas check on my bike? I hate for some young punk to take her for a joyride!" He called out as he and Trixie were pushed into their cell. "I got four years invested in the ol' girl, only just had her repainted!" the door locking behind them.
His requests were drowned out by Trixie, pushing him aside to bang on the cell door. He sighed, sitting on the floor his back to the wall, removing the radio from his pocket, giving it a few tweaks while Trixie was still hammering away.
Hrmmm... no signal. Must be pretty deep underground, doubt I'll hear GNR down here... hrmmmm... or maybe... He was struck by a thought, reaching into a pocket and removing a couple of tiny screwdrivers, wire cutters, and one or two other tiny tools. Trixie had seeingly given up for now, sitting herself down on the bench, knocking the baking soda over. Chester had began unscrewing the radio, gently dismantling it and lining the pieces up on the floor in front of him.
"Looks like we're stuck in here... How about you tell me how you came into this... state?
"Hmmm? Oh just wandered by, y'know..." He said, absent mindedly, only half paying attention. "I guess everyone wants to visit the capital state sometime..." He continued, missing Trixie's point. He reached into an inside pocket, removing a few strands of wiring...
Aha, there it is... and a still functional sensor module.
What was she doing here?
Standing tall next to Cromwell, with an air of superiority and a condescending attitude to match, Kristin Blamco was laying on the preacher, chastising him for his beliefs and for spreading them, despite doing the same herself. He bet that she heard the man talk and, since he was sprouting beliefs and ideals different from hers, and she, like the religious zealot that she was, had forsaken the reason they had come here in the first place to kickstart a crusade.
This has always been the case, Jonathan noted as he watched her exaggerated display from the back of the crowd. Not just with religions, either. When ideals clash, it's never done in a rational way. Man has always had the tendency to communicate with sword rather than pen, and the price of letting the hot-headed rule has always been plains littered with the dead. The Great War was proof enough of that. To have expected anything more out of her, after all her previous displays, would have been foolish.
You must be treading in pretty dark places for your misanthropy to have manifested in such a way.
Jonathan would have normally jumped back in surprise at the sight of the stranger suddenly manifesting next to him. But his disconnect had reached such levels that whatever surprise was a dull one.
"I had hoped I was done hallucinating. A vain hope, I guess." sighed Jonathan as he faced the stranger, knowing that no one would listen to a fool mumbling at himself when they could be paying attention to the display Her Royal Majesty was making.
I am only here because you want me to.
"I don't want any of you here." he retorted as he turned to face Kristin again, his face growing darker as he did. At this point she had climbed on the bomb. If he was lucky, the rumours about it being re-armed were true and she'd do something stupid and detonated it. "...I just want to be left alone."
Is that truly what you want?
Jonathan didn't reply immediately, staring at the Blamco Heiress instead. It was clear from her expression that it was for moments like these that she lived for. She looked... lively. Happy, even. The complete opposite of how she looked like when...
"Yes, it is." he finally said, bitterly.
Is it truly, though?
"It is what's best."
How do you know?
"Look at her," Jonathan said as he waved his hand towards Kristin, "Look how happy she feels. In the end, I'd wager there's nothing in the world that she'd rather do. By involving her, I am taking it away. If all I do is hurt people, is it not best that I stay away from them?"
Sounds to me more like you are afraid of being hurt yourself.
"Too late for that, I'm afraid."
Even so, when interacting with people it's only natural that you might find some bumps along the road-
"Bumps? Hah! Looks much more like pitfalls from where I'm standing."
Talk to her!
The crowd cheered.
"Talk? Talk?! Did you see how she looked at me? Her tone when she talked about me? She hates me!"
He raised his hands in bitter resentment.
"And I tried to help her! I tried to shelter her from that bitches' game! And what was the result? I got her stuck with me, like a butterfly on spiderwebs. I bet that if I hadn't involved her, if the deal was just with me, she wouldn't travel with me.
Would you have wanted her to?
"W-wha..." he stuttered, his face filled with shock as he was caught off guard by the question, "...what are you even talking about?"
If she wasn't... stuck with you as you claim, would you have wanted her to travel with you.
"...Doesn't matter. She wouldn't want to travel with someone like me."
How do you know?
"How many more times must I tell you? She loathes me."
Because of a misunderstanding? So, is that it? You'll give up without trying to explain?
"It's not... just that. The Enclave killed her sisters and gravely wounded the only friend she had made in the Capital Wasteland."
And what does that have to do with you? It wasn't you that killed them, you haven't even been part of it for the past ten years!
"Was... Is... Makes no difference."
To her, or to you?
The question felt like it hit Jonathan's head with the same ferocity of a dwarf being fired out of a cannon and hitting a wall. Try as he might, he was shocked to such an extend that he couldn't come up with a retort.
You need to stop blaming yourself for thing you haven't done-
"Yes, well, then I would be the only one. That's the problem, you see. Maybe I wouldn't take everything to heart if everyone didn't lump me together with them. Do you think that the guards outside would have let me pass if they knew who I truly am? Don't bother telling me 'You don't know', we both know the answer to that. And her..." it felt really difficult to continue that sentence, "...she treats me as Enclave aswell. After what we went through to save Lucy. I'm the same as them to her."
Did she say so?
Then you don't know that.
"I do know! I saw the way she talked!"
Stop being so stub-
"Enough! Just... please... enough." Jonathan said in a somber tone, rubbing his forehead, "This has been one hell of a day, ok? I'm tired and I feel like shit. Cut me some slack, eh? Lemme take a break! There's only so much one can take in short succession before reaching his boiling point, and I am so, so close to just straight up imploding that you cannot possibly begin to imagine! So, I wanna do something relaxing for a change, like find out if a nuclear bomb is about to blow up on my face."
He put on his mask again.
"So stop talking as though she'd look past who I was. Things like acceptance don't happen in real life. Not when you're Enclave."
And started making his way through the crowd.
The crowd was cheering for her. Her display must have been amazing, enough to sway hearts. As he made his way past the crowd, he saw her from up close. Her eyes closed in satisfaction, Kristin gave off a warm, caring smile, opening her arms as though ready to lovingly embrace each and every one of the people that had gathered to see her.
...Why did that make him feel so bad?
He was past the crowd now, and from what side-glances he threw, Kristin had noticed him walking towards her general direction. Steeling himself and putting his hardest effort towards not turning to see her, Jonathan swallowed a couple Rad-X pills and walked onwards.
"I am here to examine the bomb" he said as emotionlessly as he could whilst passing her by, not even stopping for a second or throwing a glance, "Don't worry, I won't be disturbing you or your followers for long."
Kristin BlamCo - Megaton
The day had taken a very pleasant turn after her display. She was momentarily visited by Doctor Church, who she had confirmed had nothing to do with a church at all, and most importantly her deeds had ensured that Lucy's medical expenses would be attended to. Upon seeing the Doctor and Kristin in brief contact, people were less wary about approaching her. So she had begun to entertain the townsfolk with complimentary snacks!
Kristin's Limited Edition BlamCo Mini-Microwave was popping out cheesy cupcakes at regular intervals and it had been awhile since the little machine had to work so hard. A trio of children had even started playing a game of who could catch the newly-baked cupcake, some adults even teasingly used their height to their advantage to catch it from the air first.
The BlamCo Heiress laughed at the display and turned her head back to the three women that sat before her. Each of them had a clipboard in hand, scrawling notes. "My apologies, what was the question again?"
"What was the second tenet of Blamcoism again?"
Kristin held up a finger and recited the line from heart, "Respect the cheesy properties that hold this world together."
"And...how exactly does cheese and the world necessarily fit together?"
The Priestess smiled, "Glad you asked! Ask yourself, what is responsible for the changes in our ocean's tide? The moon! What is the moon made of? Cheese!", flicking her hair over her shoulder, she continued, "Yes, it's true!"
And so the questions and joviality continued. One woman in her late teens had remained, eager to learn as much as possible, she had also expressed the wish to make posters to put around town. The Mini-Micro's cupcake output had slowed dramatically, at the rate it was going, it was burning through her latest energy cell. Kristin frowned, not at the lack of cupcakes, but more so at the familiar figure that walked passed her.
"I am here to examine the bomb", Jonathan muffled greeting was coldly announced, "Don't worry, I won't be disturbing you or your followers for long."
Everything about his approach, disposition and reply had stung Kristin's pride. Even the mere mention of 'followers' had sounded like an insult. What had she done to deserve such contempt from him? Was he playing with her beliefs once more? Would she be coldly berated for her personal business at all turns? Surely he couldn't be upset from her earlier comment about the Enclave, he no longer belonged to them, could he not tell that her own contempt was largely levelled at #411?
"Who's that? Are you okay? The -- uhh -- cupcake machine stopped."
Kristin snapped back to reality when the younger female had bombarded her with questions.
Good question. What was he to Kristin? The answer was simple, although she feared to acknowledge it and make herself vulnerable. Everytime she had spoken those words in the past, the mere title had seemingly cursed that very person. Sadly, she allowed that title once more. This time she hoped for the best, although she would cling to the past day of memories if this was the end.
"...my friend. I hope."
Kristin rose to her feet, dusting off her armor. Gesturing for the clipboard, Kristin started writing a list of items she would need before the shops had closed today. Most of it was it to replenish her stocks, the rest was for a meal she had made a mental promise to make. Giving the girl a sizeable pouch of caps, half of what she owned in fact, the girl bolted off to find what Kristin needed.
In the meantime, "Thank you all so very much for sampling my goods! I would give you more, but I have to eat and make a living too y'know?", this elicited a chuckle from those that still stood idly around her mini-micro in hopes of more. The poor thing's energy cell was dead. "So for now, I hope you have a lovely evening! And be sure to tell your family and friends!"
After a few goodbyes, Kristin was finally left alone to pack up her things. She was steeling herself to face Jonathan, approaching him wasn't the issue, it was the fact that she had something special planned...something that could irreparably break their unique relationship or create the very foundation. Either way, it exposed her vulnerability about discussing her past or personal life.
It made her more than uneasy, but she would try her best to conceal it, as much as it went against her nature to lie in the first place.
Kristin walked towards Jonathan, a few paces behind him, she coughed awkwardly to announce her presence. He didn't respond. So she piped up anyway.
"You might be happy to know that Miss Black's medical care and recovery has been covered!", Kristin continued to chirp cheerfully. "That's what all this was about, silencing the preacher and uprooting his suspected extortion."
No response. This will not do at all.
Fortunately, the girl from earlier was rushing over with a grocery bag of culinary supplies, two fancy wine-glasses and a bottle of red wine. The girl was overjoyed when she was told that the remaining caps was hers for finding everything that the Princess needed.
Alone once more, Kristin plunged her Bumper Sword point-first into the ground.
"Jonathan.", Kristin announced seriously.
The BlamCo Heiress started to unclip the steel plating armor reinforcements from her body. Stripped down to a simple silver-dyed leather armor, her form was noticeably smaller and less imposing, especially when she sat down and used her sword as a backrest. Patting the ground behind her, opposite the sword, Jonathan would notice the two wine glasses, a batch of the best cupcakes that she had been keeping over the day and a wine bottle was laid out for them.
"There's a little tradition I had with my sisters.", Kristin started, her voice trembled for a moment. "Whenever we needed to sort out our differences, we would sit back-to-back, drink, talk, listen, eat and hold hands..."
Turning to look up at Jonathan, her hair concealed one green eye and the other displayed an uncharacteristic amount of vulnerability. The BlamCo Princess, the very one that stood atop an atomic bomb to give a speech was now...nervous and openly hesitant.
These never went too well. It always felt like she was saying goodbye during these talks.
"Indulge me...please?", Kristin blinked and her green eye stared deeper, putting one hand behind her as if to demonstrate.
One detail will strike Jonathan's eye first. One which was quite the norm whenever Kristin had to eat something irradiated during trial days of earlier BlamCo products. And since Kristin was exposed to an irradiated bomb...
Her long hair, now swaying gently back-and-forth in the breeze, was now a complete golden blonde...
Jonathan had left most of his possessions a few meters away from the pool of radioactive water. That also, unfortunately, included all the components compromising his mask. Not that there was much of a choice; radiation is not something one should trifle with if they didn't want warts appearing, slowly turning into small people and ultimately strangling their hosts to death. Exposing as few of your things to it was a necessary precaution, even if Jonathan loathed having be in such close proximity to her without his mask on. If he was lucky, she would ignore him as he did her, he'd see what he could find out about the bomb and get away from her as soon as possible. It was rather funny in a sad way that he was afraid not of being exposed to radiation for extensive amounts of time, but her.
Before him stood the undetonated Vault-Tec Industries C-23 Megaton, a relic of the Great War and a painful reminder that mankind has a thing for destroying itself with as much of a bang as possible. He remembered reading about this particular bomb model; though not the most powerful of nuclear explosives man has produced, had it exploded it would have leveled the ciy and the surrounding landscape with relative ease.
Yet, it had not. It came as no surprise to Jonathan; from what he knew about the various nuclear weapon models manifactured in the pre-Great War era (and he knew a lot), the C-23 was never known to have been the most reliable of the vast lines of explosives that Vault-Tec had produced. Indeed, though its design was good on paper, the bomb itself had a plagued production; a whooping 35% of its line had been found defective in some form in subsequent checks, and Gods knew how many more had flaws that had not shown. One, for certain.
Jonathan's left cheek twitched. Why had this model not detonated, he wondered. He decided that he should first examine the exterior to see if the problem was that the bomb's landing impact had somehow not been powerful enough to set up the fuse.
"You might be happy to know that Miss Black's medical care and recovery has been covered! That's what all this was about, silencing the preacher and uprooting his suspected extortion."
Quite. He walked into the irradiated water and gave closer inspection to the point of impact. From what he could see, it was plausible that the force of impact was powerful enough to have detonated the bomb. The problem is internal, then.
Jonathan went back to his backpack and took out a flashlight. As he did, he noticed a girl running towards her, carrying a grocery bag. So she had errant girls already, then.
Ignoring that, Jonathan walked onwards back to the bomb. Lucky for him, the ladder and the hatch containing the bomb's electronics were located near the ground, making his job easier. Still, due to his left hand having been put out of commision, climbing would have to be a bit of a chore, making him have to bite the flashlight with his mouth in order to use his other hand to climb the ladder steps. Making it to the top step, he used his left arm to grapple himself on it and opened the hatch, taking the flashlight from his mouth with his right hand and using it to assess the damage.
Jonathan let out a tired sigh. The electronics sure were a mess. Broken screens, teared off buttons, a chaos of wires pussed outwards from within the bomb. Still, from what he could see, the battery was still somewhat intact, though someone had cut it from giving power to the detonator.
The bomb wasn't re-armed. Far from it, someone had done quite the good job at disarming it. However, anyone with enough knowledge on pre-Great War Vault-Tec-manufactured bombs, like say, him, for instance, could potentially tamper on enough to rig it again. So, Jonathan took it upon himself to put the atomic behemoth out of its misery, for good this time. But to do that, he needed some tools from his backpack.
"There's a little tradition I had with my sisters. Whenever we needed to sort out our differences, we would sit back-to-back, drink, talk, listen, eat and hold hands..."
Jonathan winced. What was it he was looking for, again? Ah, yes. A screwdriver and a pair of diagonal cutters. He knew they were somewhere in his backpack. It was times like this he wished he was tidier with it. Having eventually found what he was looking for and barely holding them with his mouth, Jonathan returned to the stairs.
He just about held himself back from turning to look at her. Having gone up the stairs once again, Jonathan started tinkering with the electronics. A few cut wires here, a few screws removed there, and before long, he had removed the part of the detonator that helped start the chemical reaction. He examined the part removed like a hunter does with his trophy; such a small thing, small enough to fit within the palm of his hand, yet it had the power to bring about destruction of untold magnitude.
He felt satisfied as he went down the ladder. Like, he had done a bit of good for a change. But the most difficult challenge lay before him. Kristin Blamco had decided that she wanted to talk, and from the way she sounded Jonathan knew that trying to avoid her now would be extremely bad.
"Very well," he said somberly as he got down the ladder. "I shall in...dul... huh?"
Maybe it was the way the artificial light on the streets reflected on her. Maybe he had been exposed to radiation long enough that his eyesight was acting up, but Kristin Blamco's hair had turned from silver to gold, being swayed around back and forth. She was no longer wearing armour, and her femininity showed much better from it. Her expression was one of genuine unease, as though she was showing the part of herself that she hid behind her stubborn pride.
She was beautiful.
Had Jonathan control over his wits and faculties, he would have wished he was wearing his mask, for as he was now he was staring at Kristin dumbstruck in surprise, blushing like a virgin receiving their first kiss. This went on for about a minute, until he finally shook himself back to his senses.
"Shatter this in as tiny pieces as you can" he said awkwardly as he walked closer to her, throwing the bomb part next to her. He stared low, unwanting to look at her directly.
"If you wish to... talk, then I will indulge you. But first, we both need a change of clothes." He barely held back looking like a doofus again, "I-I mean, we were both exposed to radiation. O-our c-current clothes need to be washed for the... heavy metals to be removed... before we can safely wear them again."
The (original) Three Musketeers: Reunited
The awkward silence came to an end as Evan's stare turned into an emphatic gesture and two words were spoken.
"You're alive?!", Evan said, accidentally hitting the back of FalloutScott's suit and showing that the Power Armour had gone as stiff as a board, Scott fell over on his face rather heavily. The Powersuit Destabiliser had worked! How long it worked for was an unknown quantity. The group had to make the most of this window of opportunity. It was at that moment that FalloutScott chirped up, the suit wasn't moving but he could still be heard from inside it.
"Oi, lads? Could ya do me a wee favor and roll me to the nearest pub? I need ta' figure this one out, after what that bastard Frank did." Scott appeared to have no idea that his suit had been sabotaged. Thinking quickly, Evan nodded his head in the direction of two motorbikes parked up nearby.
"Lets get him onto one of those, everybody grab a limb and lift."
1...2...3...lift! *phew* Turns out FalloutScott was quite heavy and uncooperative in the process, mostly because his Power Armour was stiff as a board and hard to move. They loaded him onto the back of Evan's bike and quickly noticed a problem.
"Hang on a minute, we don't got enough spaces for everyone ta ride." Said Dudley, secretly glad that Scott wasn't on the back of his bike.
"Yes we do Dudley," Said William, "Two riders, two passengers, and whoever's riding with Evan hangs onto that guy as we go." He continued, indicating the rigid form of FalloutScott, balanced somewhat precariously on the back.
"That's true, and look after him if he starts moving again." Said Evan.
"I call not me!" Shouted William, who'd had enough of the Enclave over the last week that he didn't want to spend the short ride to the Citadel making sure one of them was as close as possible.
"I call not m- shit..." Said Ferdinand, wishing he had his horse with him. That would have solved this problem, but the Brotherhood had led his horse away to a room while they tried to figure out what straw was and get some.
So the four Musketeers set off for another journey, with Evan quietly telling Ferdinand that he was now D'Artagnan, since the original Aramis had returned. He also handed him the PD, with instructions to jab FalloutScott again if he started moving or got wise to their destination, Scott was facing down on the bike, so wouldn't have much opportunity to spot landmarks. He'd probably figure it out by the direction though, and the last thing Evan wanted was a mobile and angry member of the Fallout Sector on the loose. Dudley had taken Scott's Super Sledge for safekeeping, they'd decided to keep Scott and his weapon apart at all times and Evan had wanted to present it to the Brotherhood as a trophy. He quite liked the idea of the Brotherhood collecting a trinket from each defeated member of the Fallout Sector, maybe they could make a museum out of it.
As the group rode away, there was one question gnawing away at the back of Evan's mind, one that Scott could answer under Brotherhood interrogation: What had happened to Frank Rose?
"No, I mean." Trixie pinched the top of her nose in frustration.
"Nevermind... What are you doing over there?"
Before he could answer Trixie was already looking over at the sensor module he was holding.
"How did you get that in here?"
"Well they frisked me once, but considering it'd probably take them several hours to remove this stuff I guess they figured it wasn't worth their time. I mean what would an underground evil lair have against chewed up wiring, or a half-dead fission battery, or in this case one of these beauties," he checked the module for a moment before laying it on the ground with the radio.
Next he began setting things out, singing under his breath, before eventually explaining.
"Now, our young friend, Robin, she ain't with us. By the looks of things the girl is right there with that crazy bald fella, Professor Evil or Dr Insano or whatever he called himself. I know he was busy prattling on about space moons and lasers and all that fruity comic book trash, but I'm a little concerned for our friend's well-being." Chester began to wire the parts back together, adding the module to the mix, along with one or two other little pieces from his pocked he pulled out.
"If you recall, young Robin had one of them fancy pants Pipboys. Never worked with one, nor even used one, but I still know a thing or two. A classic inclusion is always a radio, you'd be a fool not to have one included in something that useful. If it does, that means the thing will be picking up all kinds of signals, not like this beat up thing," he prodded the main board of his own radio, which now resembled a hideous Frankenstein project; all wires and extras tangled everywhere.
"However... Robin was always talkin to the thing, and it talked back, like it was understandin her words. Y'know what that means? A microphone has gotta be on there. I never saw her hitting no button, she just spoke straight into it, which means that mic is always switched on. I got a hunch, if I were to boost the power of this baby we can tap in to the signal her Pipboy is letting off and we can hear whatever the mic on her wrist is picking up. No one ever remembers radio tapping these days, and I doubt our young friend will have bothered to add such precautions."
He found a roll of duct tape, and within a few moments the radio casing was back on, with several feet of tape keeping it held together. It was certainty a slapdash job, what was once a portable wireless now had a sensor module sticking out one side, extra capacitors and cables hanging down. Chester gave one of the dials a tweak, fuzzy static coming out.
"And even if this don't work I can hopefully listen to the Daring Dashwood show instead."
Arizona & Charlie
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
It wasn't long after Arizona reached them and gave the blue-haired girl her thanks that she saw the strangest sight in recent memory, topping even the green-and-red Christmas-themed Mirelurks. The girl had stared at Thomas before pulling up her shirt and turning her back to him. But that wasn't nearly as bad as the sight of all the scars marring her back, causing even the jaded Ghoul to flinch back with a hissed, "Jesus..."
The young man standing next to her clenched his fists at the sight, he seemed to be struggling to contain himself.
"Father, I understand that I broke your first tenet: Never be seen and your second tenet: Never get caught. I await my punishment."
Whoa, punishment? After a moment, she shook her head and remembered something the kid said earlier, when he was slapping her to her senses. He called her Sylph. One of Thomas' old companions was named Sylph, and she remembered that he had told her that she was his brothers slave. If he was telling the truth, that would explain the scars, but why...
"Um. Well, I'd love to stay but Arizona and I are in a hurry. It was nice seeing you again. Bye."
At that, she shook her head and crossed her arms with a wry smirk on her face.
"Oh no, Tommy-boy. If you think you're getting out of this without an explanation of some kind, you've got another thing coming. I'm not giving up this kind of entertainment for anything, but first," she started before turning to the kid, "Who are you, and who exactly is this?" she asked, jabbing a thumb at who she suspected was the Sylph Thomas had mentioned before.
Before Thomas could answer her questions, his head snapped back as a leather clad fist connected with his jaw. This was followed up by a boot to the stomach and a knee to the face, sending blood spurting from his nose and his body crashing down on his back.
"YOU WOULD TRY AND WALK AWAY FROM YOUR DAUGHTER? AFTER ALL YOU THE PAIN AND SUFFERING YOU'VE CAUSED HER?" Charlie roared, giving him another kick to the side. Unfortunately it did little to appease his anger, he still trembled with fury over the groaning man. Reaching down he grabbed Thomas around the neck and pulled his fist back.
"I saw the scars, I heard the stories. I know what you did to Sylph and all about Sylphee." he said with a hiss.
When the boy started to beat Thomas to more of a pulp than even the girl did, Arizona promptly rushed forward with blood in her eye. As he pulled his fist back to punch him again, she came up from behind him and quickly put him in a headlock and lashed out with a boot to his calf to get him down. Despite her age, she was still strong enough to grapple with most. Though, she had no idea just how much of a fight this one would put up.
"Hey! HEY! Give the man a chance to explain first! And excuse me if I don't take kindly to some brat I don't know beating up someone I do, who happens to be my current partner! Now listen up." she growled in his ear, even as she tightened her grip for emphasis, "You're going to introduce yourself, and your girlfriend. Then, Thomas is going to explain what's going on. If you don't like that, then tough."
After a few moments, she slowly released him, but she made sure to push him away from Thomas and put herself between them. Glaring at the boy, she turned to Thomas and pulled him up by one arm before giving the boy a sardonic salute.
"To start introductions, I'm Arizona, freelancing Ghoul. This is Thomas McGee, an Undertaker. And you two youngin's are?" she asked, jerking up her chin as if to dare them to not answer.
Rubbing his sore knuckles, Charlie glared at the woman who'd pulled him away. "Charlie." he said flatly. "Nice to meet you."
The Wild Wastelands | Megaton
Idiocy of Megatonian Proportions!
For the sake of the structural integrity of her cranium as well as the sake of continuity, it was probably best that Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 did not bear witness to the launching of the HBS (Her Blam-Jesty's Ship) Sharp Cheddar. For one the idea of sitting back to back, holding hands and confessing one's issues to the Bishop of BlamCo was as appealing as sticking a rabid molerat whose claws had not been trimmed for two years up her no-no hole. For another, the idea of two idiots walking down the road of inevitable procreation was appalling. Romance should have been about the passing of words between two inebriated dance partners, not the awkward nose bleed gawking of the typical male head case when the one dimensional tom-boyish girl takes off her glasses and reveals herself to be attractive!
That did not mean that the Enclave Intelligence Specialist's skull was safe from self bludgeoning against the concrete walls of her cell. She did still have to contend against Wadsworth and his Megatonian cronies. It was a wonder that the woman known out of uniform as Charlotte had not conceived of so devious a method of torture. Nothing was more painful than being surrounded by a posse of idiots.
"Shoot man, I tell you what, why ain't she shot her yet?" A Wadsworth lackey asked pointed his shotgun in Charlotte's general direction. This was the third of fourth time that the dummy had assaulted #411's sense's with that particular query. The answer was always the same.
"If the prisoner is telling the truth, it would not be in the best interest of the townsfolk of Megaton to defend against yet another Enclave assault." Both Wadsworth and #411 responded in unison. The main difference between how #411 responded and how Wadsworth responded wasn't just that the Enclave Intelligence Operative's voice carried a severely mocking tone with it, it was that the Robo-Bastard followed the response with another crack against #411's head with the flat of his chainsaw.
Clearly the Robo-tard had not considered the fact that returning an Intelligence Specialist with a case of severe brain trauma was as good as returning a corpse.
"If you follow that line of logic, Wadsworth, you clearly can't keep me here until I die from malnutrition, a botched escape attempt or suicide due to your friends' atrocious grammar. If I die, they'll not only send an extraction squad, they'll send an sweeper team and leave nothing standing. In fact they'll be a crater inside this crater. The best thing to do would let me walk back to Springvale like I've been requesting." #411 said.
BAM! Chainsaw, meet #411's head. #411's head, meet chainsaw.
"Request denied!" The Robo-Asshat barked.
This was going to be a long day for Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411. She hoped that the Marquise of Macaroni and her former Enclave associate had gotten Lucy to the doctor's in time. She didn't need the Isaac's daughter pulling anything out of a malformed sense of revenge.
Speaking of daughters. #411 looked at her chronometer to check the time. Constance should have already been over half way to Springvale from her previous location, her pace slowed by the fact that her radar ears needed repairs. But if Constance had assistance, she would probably be there now, looking for her mother. But... she did have assistance. She had that horde of Blue Haired Airheads that would follow her commands. Which meant that she was probably on her way to Megaton... with a horde of Blue Haired Airheads in tow.
The train of thought was interrupted by a Wadsworth Lackey opening his fat gob once again.
"Shoot man, I tell you what, why ain't she shot her yet?" A Wadsworth lackey asked pointed his shotgun in Charlotte's general direction. It was this time that Charlotte noticed that the shotgun's safety was in the off position.
As if plagiarizing her thoughts, the shotgun went off, sending buckshot bouncing all around the concrete cell.
The Wild Wastelands | Doctor's Evil's Vault of Evil
~Fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap~
No, no, no! Stop right there! That sound is not what you think it is, you dirty monkeys! That was the sound of Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialist #209's bare feet fapping against the cold metal floors of Doctor Evil's Vault of Evil. Doctor Evil and the Enclave must have shared the same interior designer because like the Enclave Vault, Doctor Evil's Vault went for the clinical look which meant plenty of cold shiny metal. This also meant that the Vault itself was rather cold and with cold environments came shrinkage! At least that was the excuse that #209 told himself as he ran down the cold clinical hallway with his twig and berries in hand.
As he moved towards an intersection in the hallway, the Enclave Dominator peered around the corner and saw a couple of guards walking towards the intersection, their rather tiny weapons dangling off their shoulders, swaying proudly to and fro as their owners strode down the hall like they owned the place. This was good, it meant that the guard that had been in charge of guarding #209 hadn't warned anyone yet. He probably wouldn't for a while since the Heavy Weapons Specialist had administered his patented three star choke hold on the guy.
There was still the fact that there were two of those guys and only one of him and no matter how tiny their pistolettes, they could still shoot #209 in the face and chest.
Another little known fact about the Enclave Vault and Doctor Evil's vault, the fact that they had gone for the sparse open floor plan clinical look, there were very little areas to hide... except.
"Aha!" #209 exclaimed as he grabbed a box and put it over himself, smiling at how clever he was.
The sound of footsteps got louder and louder as they got closer and closer before stopping in front of where #209 was hidden.
"Ahem." One of the guards cleared his throat before stating, "You know we can see you."
Clearly Doctor Evil's guards were more clever than #209 had thought since they had seen right through #209's disguise.
"Erm... no you can't." #209 said from his fortress of cardboard.
"Um, yes we can. That box is only covering your head." The guard stated, chuckling as he got a good look at the man with his head in a box. Removing the box from his head, the guards seemed a bit confused when they got a look at #209's face.
"I thought we were supposed to bring a men's prisoner uniform." One of the guards said to the other.
"Yeah. What about it?"
"Well are you sure it was for this ... one?" The guard said still sounding confused, unsure which gender pronoun to use, "I mean look at ... um... the prisoner's..."
The guard never got to finish his sentence as #209 clocked the two guards' heads together.
"Assholes. It's called SHRINKAGE!!!" #209 yelled at the unconscious guards before grabbing the tiny, minuscule weapons.
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths
The Terribly Strange Tale of Thomas and Sylph
When it rains, it pours. It seems that the old adage never involved anything nice. It never rained Bottle Caps on Thomas McGee nor did it rain booze nor did it rain happiness. Today seemed to be all about raining high caliber sniper rounds and fists and strangeness onto the Friendly Former Neighborhood Undertaker. The most recent was the flurry of angry fists thrown towards the usually gregarious and friendly man thrown by an angrier young man. Had his senses and reflexes been dulled by weeks of self pity washed down with whatever liquor killed his brain cells the quickest, he might have been able to fend off the attack. Instead, he used his face to block the incoming fists until the less than timely, but still wondrous, intervention by Arizona.
Laying on the ground, the Snappily Dressed Shifty looked up at the sky, wondering what in Walt's name would happen next.
"To start introductions, I'm Arizona, freelancing Ghoul. This is Thomas McGee, an Undertaker. And you two youngin's are?"
"Charlie." he said flatly. "Nice to meet you."
"And that's obviously Sylph." Thomas said as he imagined a flock of vultures circling over his head... attempting to will it into reality. Seeing as how the many blows to his head hadn't imbued him with the power to alter reality, the Bloodied Burier of Bodies sat up slowly to ensure that he didn't pass out and hit his head against the ground.
Both Charlie and Arizona looked at him for answers, well more Arizona was the one who was looking for answers while Charlie looked like he wanted to go for round 2 of the Wasteland Light Weight Championship.
"If you want me to explain, we might as well set up camp... again." Thomas muttered as he started unpacking his gear, telling his story as he worked.
"I have a bit of a correction to make on my partner's behalf," The man in the funerary outfit started off, "I was an Undertaker, formerly of the Undertaker's Union from out West as was my now deceased brother, Henry McGee. It's because of Sylph and what she is that my brother is dead and he was the one who previous held the title of her Father, not me."
Finding the work of setting up camp a tad too strenuous for his bruised cranium, Thomas opted to sit for a spell and spin his tale, but not before unpacking a bottle of Rivet City's Finest ShroomShine.
"Sylph was Henry's prized project, a subject that had the personality to disarm even the most paranoid and cautious of people," Thomas stated before pointed behind the listening duo towards the scene that unfolded behind them. Sylph was walking through the rubble of the building that she's demolished, looking for survivors to do Walt knew what with, "and a subject that was bloodthirsty enough to kill whomever, where ever and however her 'Father' chose."
"When my superiors learned about his little project, they had me take a detour from my route from the NCR to DC with the orders to take care of my brother. I did but I didn't take care of her." The Pale Giant of a Former Undertaker stated as he took a long pull from the bottle, "She should be trying to kill me but now she's got this notion that I'm her Father for Walt knows why."
Still watching Sylph, Thomas lowered his voice as she approached and opened the Plush Deathclaw Backpack, taking out its contents to ensure that she had enough space for the supplies that she had collected from the dead.
"She nearly got me the first time, so I'm wondering why she's not trying to finish the job." Thomas stated as he noted a familiar key that Sylph had pulled out of her pack, one that he had given to Lucy before he was taken away by the Enclave.
Kristin Blamco - Megaton
Holding her breath in anticipation, waiting for Jonathan to answer her request, the BlamCo Princess was anything but prepared for Jonathan's wordless reply. At first he stared, a look that was finally not born from contempt, but something different. Something she couldn't quite put her finger on. When she caught sight of Jonathan's flushed cheeks, she wondered what could elicit such a reaction. Surely he had not had anything to drink, they had yet to even start drinking!
Running a hand through her hair, Kristin looked at the scene before her and froze in place as the realisation hit.
Wine glasses: Check.
Under the cover of darkness: Check.
Stripped of armor for comfort: Check.
"Thi- thi - this isn't - !", stammered the Blushing Blamco Heiress, waving her arms back and forth whilst frantically shaking her head.
This was most certainly not a romantic date!
"Shatter this in as many tiny pieces as you can", Jonathan presented her with a gift, not just a mere trinket, but the man had dismantled an atomic bomb just for her to demonstrate her combat prowess once more.
Was the way to her heart truly with a swing of a blade?
Did he enjoy watching her fight?
"I am doing this because I want to!", Kristin bolted upright, uprooting her bumper sword and cleaving the electronic component into several unidentifiable pieces with far too much enthusiasm.
Be still my beating heart! Take this as a compliment! It's only natural that - Oh my BlamCo.
This explains everything.
He was in love with the Princess of BlamCo.
"If you wish to... talk, then I will indulge you. But first, we both need a change of clothes."
This was going too fast!
"I-I mean, we were both exposed to radiation. O-our c-current clothes need to be washed for the... heavy metals to be removed... before we can safely wear them again."
He was shy as well! This only serves as further confirmation!
After all, much like the boys on the playground, they were mean to the girls that they liked. And Jonathan was nothing but mean to her all day!!
"We should find a place to stay for the evening, do you - erm - have any suggestions on where to find a change of clothes or - umm -- where we can get ours cleaned?"
Yes yes! Play it cool, let him take the lead, after all he has probably planning this for the entire day. It would be rude to interrupt.
"Radiation, huh?", Kristin remarked stiffly, painfully making idle conversation, "Does that explain why I have never worn the same dress twice after an experimental recipe?"
No no no, you cannot bring up your family's wealth during a time like this! In the short time that Kristin had known Jonathan, she had never known someone to cry, shout, complain about near-death experiences and sleep so much. He was an emotional lamb of a man and like his mushy heart, he needed to be handled with care.
"I would rather not my current battle armor be destroyed." Kristin declared, trying desperately to appear normal. "But where shall we get clothes during this time? Do you wish to go nude!?"
Kristin had very few issues with her bodily appearance, such was the blessing of a BlamCo diet, an active colon and regular exercise. After all, one of the Gods was Nipples itself and as a female she was bestowed with real breasts and opposed to Jonathan's fake nipples.
So if she were to bare her breasts in the name of BlamCo, it would most certainly not be the first time. How joyous it was to create a nude calendar with her battle sisters two years ago. The mere strategic placement of melted cheese on their bodies and sales had skyrocketed for that year.
While reminiscing about hot melted cheese being poured between the smooth -- "Moriarty's Saloon!", Kristin exclaimed while scanning the buildings for any sign that indicated a place to rest for the evening. "Lets go there! Surely they will have rooms for..."
Kristin hastily opened her bag and counted her remaining amount of caps: 125.
"...umm, how about we make that a single room instead?", the BlamCo Princess smiled weakly.
Nevertheless, a burning passion to avoid further radiation exposure, talking things out and getting a good night's sleep for the first time in two days had arisen.
She was doing this for BlamCo. Forgive me Jonathan, you sweet and innocent lamb, but please do not get the wrong idea.
With her back turned to Jonathan, the BlamCo Princess summoned her courage, she had a mission: Secure a room and find a temporary change of clothes.
In Kristin fashion, she pulled at her collar to slip her shoulder out from under the skintight leather armor. With a shoulder free and a flick of her golden hair over her shoulder to stop it from getting caught, she pulled the top-half down to her waist. With her back exposed and her milky skin looking angelically pale under the artificial light from the street lamps, Kristin proceeded to bend over and wriggle out of the bottom half of her armor, giving Jonathan a vastly clearer-than-intended view of her polkadotted underwear being swayed back and forth while she struggled with the ankles. After having finally conquered the act of undressing to her gold polkadotted black underwear, the Prideful Princess stubbornly gathered her things and hastily stuffed everything into her courier bag. Her armor would have to be carried.
Turning around with her hands firmly planted on her bare hips, Kristin fiercely pointed at Jonathan's face, "Well, what are we waiting for? Lead the way!"
A girl and her dog! (Sorry this took so long)
The young lass keeled as she gave Rufio his goal... nay his quest. A quest to aid a damsel in distress. Rufio knew what had to be done.
"My fair lass... I shall take you to this place known as Springvale!" Rufio declared loudly. This of course came out was various barks instead of what he wanted to say. "Blast this dog tongue!" Rufio cursed. "Maybe when we reach this place I can inquire about some kind of vocal device.
"That's a good, Rufio." Constance laughed. She grabbed hold of Rufio's neck hair and clenched. "You do know the way right?"
"Woof" Rufio answered with a sharp bark. Rufio had no idea... he had no idea how to even get out of this building. But he had to help his new friend. Rufio put his ground to nose and started sniffing. Maybe he could pick up the scent of the outside and begin the girl and his's journey. Too bad every smell around him was of death. He had landed in a battlefield. Going on instinct alone Rufio started trotting in a direction that the terrifying laughter and cries of death where not coming from. Together with his companion, the strange duo walked through the destroyed building looking for the exit.
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths | Temporary Campsite
As Thomas sat up, battered and bloody from his second beating of the day, he motioned at the girl and confirmed that it was definitely the Sylph he had mentioned earlier. As he pushed himself up, Arizona pulled off the bandana from around her bicep and offered it for his face with a small, bland smile.
"If you want me to explain, we might as well set up camp... again."
At that, Arizona heaved a sigh and dropped her duffel unceremoniously across from where Thomas started to unpack his own things. As he started to explain just what was going on, he pulled out a bottle of what had to be some kind of hooch. Or at least, that what she figured, given the fact that he seemed to be a full-blown alcoholic, and he presumably got it from the Rivet City tavern. The way it looked though made her grimace.
As a rule, she wasn't particularly picky about what she ate or drank considering that she was both a Ghoul, and happened to live in the radioactive wasteland that was left of the United States. She couldn't afford to be picky. But whatever was in the bottle Thomas had pulled out was enough to be an exception to that rule. He could have the whole thing if he was set on drinking that swill.
Thomas went on to clarify that he wasn't an Undertaker any longer, and though his brother, Henry was an Undertaker at some point, being dead tended to turn a person into an ex-everything. His brother had taken in Sylph as a pet project, essentially a personal assassin to kill whoever he wanted, in any place and fashion he wanted. But, it turned out that the Undertaker's Union didn't take kindly to that, and sent the man's own brother to kill him. But he didn't kill Sylph, so he somehow took his brother's place as he "Father".
The whole explanation made her sit back and regard him with a weary expression.
"Well, I remember you mentioning her being your brother's slave, but I wasn't expecting... That." she murmured after a moment.
"Here's what I want to know: First, why you? Why did the Union send you, the man's brother, to kill him? Was it a lack of trust? Because shit like that tends to break trust sooner than it fosters it from what I've seen." she started, counting the first question on one finger before starting on another, "Second, why is this Sylph girl convinced that you're her 'Father' now? Were you and Henry twins or something, or was there a really close resemblance?"
When Sylph started to empty out a plush Deathclaw backpack, Arizona huffed out a short chuckle.
"I suppose I won't argue if she wants to follow around, since she did save my skin back there. But you," she said, gesturing to the boy with a jerk of her chin, "Are another story entirely. I'm guessing you're probably going to follow your girlfriend if she tags along? Because I can't afford to have you beat Thomas into a pulp again. He's in bad enough shape as it is, and I need him to get me to the Dunwich Building at the very least."
She paused, considering for a second before shrugging as she added, "Besides, I'm starting to like him."
"Great, now we can listen to her tell them how to improve their doomsday weapon!" Trixie sighed at Chester.
"Listening to Dashwood would probably give us a better chance of escape..." She said in a sarcastic tone, resting her chin on her fist.
"Not seriously though." She quickly corrected herself, unsure if the happy-go-lucky ghoul even knew what sarcasm was.
I cannot stand that blabble...
"Hold on!" She stated, pointing her finger into the air.
"Those other parts you've scattered there, maybe it can be fashioned into something!"
Trixie began to rummage through the odds and ends Chester had left on the floor.
"You can do whatever you please with that radio-maggigy, just let me know if someone's coming, we can't let them know we have anything in here." She whispered at him.
She began to mumble to herself, putting all odds and ends in various different positions, practically ignoring Chesters expressions.
"Duct tape on the screw... Old fission battery for torque support... Tangle the wire here... No, no, that won't work, ugh... Where's a hairpin when you need one..."
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths | Temporary Campsite
We're taking who along?!
Thomas McGee's ghoulish partner in crime, Arizona, was in rare form today. Despite the fact that she'd saved his ass from a number of potentially dismembering situations, he might have gotten on her bad side with his latest escapades of involving her in his own personal weirdness. Why else would she invite the Blue Haired Butcher and her Punch Drunk Partner along to Dunwich. Let's forget the fact that Sylph was a bonefide psychopath with dual personalities, neither of which was particularly appealing, there was still the fact that Charlie looked like the type of person that would literally shit in Thomas' breakfast.
Opening his mouth to object to the proposed inclusion of the Punch-o-matic Partners, the Less Friendly than he Normally Was Former Undertaker thought the better of opening his trap lest the Devilish Duo perform some other form of Martial Arts machinations on the Soon to be Less that Sober, Somberly Dressed Slug of a man. Taking a tug from the bottle of ShroomShine, Thomas instantly regretted his desire to get drunk.
It was probably a good thing that there was no one other than Thomas close to the camp fire since ShroomShine happened to be highly flammable as well as perishable. One day out in the Wastes had rendered the formerly exquisite flavor of the locally grown mushrooms and fungi, fermented in the purest waters from the Potomac river into something that must have tasted like Brahmin urine. Thomas was half way towards staking the Powder Keg Pugilist with an accusatory stare when he thought the better of it. The last thing Thomas wanted was another incident that would further devolve the situation into one that could possible harm Arizona.
"Why did the Union send me after him?" Thomas echoed, remembering the questions that had been posed towards him by the Machine Gunning Ghoul, "Simple. It's a test of loyalties. If you can murder your own kin, you certainly have proven loyal enough to the group that you can be trusted with other tasks."
Never mind the fact that Thomas's Great Great Great Great grandfather was the founder. Never mind the fact that what Henry did to Sylph was a stain on the familial honor. Never mind the fact that had Thomas not been assigned the task, he more than likely would have taken it up anyways.
"And as for why she's taken to calling me Father, I'm... not... really that sure." Meaning he had some idea but he didn't like what the idea meant, "Henry and I were as far away from twins as you and Charlie could be considered twins. I believe any brotherly resemblance to Henry that I had was removed when I shot him in the face."
Glancing over at Sylph, he could see that she had been listening to his story, her expression remained unchanged every time she looked at him. Respectful, fearful adoration? Was that even a possible expression? If it was, that was the expression that Sylph had plastered on her face every time she looked at Thomas. It was... unnerving.
However, the expression on Sylph's face wasn't the primary reason that he'd looked over at Sylph. It had been to get another glimpse of the key that she had taken out of her pack. It was. It was around her neck, attached by a chain that Sylph had acquired from the corpse of one of the FishFace and Friends.
"Where'd you get that?!" The suddenly Frenzied Funerary Founder queried when he realized who the key belonged.
Sylph looked stunned as her "Father" addressed her for the first time since setting up camp... stunned and a bit on the afraid side. She cringed visible as Thomas "Shifty" McGee closed in on her and hoisted her up by her arms to get a better view of the key around her neck. It was her's... not Sylph's but her's.
Frozen by the sudden violence by her "Father" Red Menace didn't answer. She didn't even move.
"Where is she? What'd you do to her?" He asked loudly, his voice dripping with anger as he tossed her to the ground and walked over to put a foot on her neck. "TELL ME WHERE LUCY IS!!"
The Wild Wastelands | A Girl and Her Dog | Enroute to Springvale
Violence was the Way of the Wastelands. If one were to leave one scene of violence in the growing cloud of dust of where one had been, one would inevitably find another scene of violence closing in on you. This was the case of the Adventurous Blind CatGirl and Doggy Escort and Friend (ABCDEF). As they left the Battle of SuperDuper Mart, both Constance and Rufio could smell the lingering smell of blood and battle that had been smothering the town of SpringVale since the arrival of Enclave Intelligence Specialist #411 and her escorts. The only comfort that either could take was the fact there were no sounds, giving evidence that whatever violence had taken place here was long gone.
The beacon locator that Constance had pulled out of her pack "bwooped" as they closed in on where #411 was supposed to have been located.
"Miss Natsuki? Is everything okay out here?" Constance asked the only person with working eyes and the ability to converse.
Everything was definitely not okay out there. Between the charred remnants of a Vertibird and the freshly buried Enclave Heavy Weapons Specialists, it appeared that nothing was okay. What was least okay was the fact that located within the home of Lucy Black was a crushed Enclave Power Armor Helmet.
"Miss Natsuki? Rufio?" The Barely Legal Blind CatGirl pressed for information.
The Helmet had the number "411" engraved on it and it was lying in a large pool of blood (compliments of Lucy Black). Nothing appeared to be okay.
"Mom? Are you here? MOOOOM?!"
The Wild Wastelands | Intersecting Paths | Temporary Campsite
The Undertaker's story was hard to believe, but Charlie had to admit it was plausible. It didn't contradict anything that Sylph had told him last night and it even filled in some details she'd left out. Despite this Charlie remained standing while Thomas and Arizona sat down, keeping one eye on the drinking man and another on Sylph as she wandered around looting the dead bodies. He didn't even look to the Ghoul as she addressed him.
"...I'm guessing you're probably going to follow your girlfriend if she tags along? Because I can't afford to have you beat Thomas into a pulp again. He's in bad enough shape as it is, and I need him to get me to the Dunwich Building at the very least."
"Firstly, stop calling her my girlfriend. Secondly, I'm not leaving Sylph alone with you two. If she wants to follow you I'm coming too." he replied. "I don't know you and there are plenty of folks out here who would take advantage of a girl like her if given the chance."
The sudden explosion caused Charlie to jump back, narrowly avoiding the cloud of fire. He glared at Thomas as the man continued talking, seemingly nonplussed. That was until Sylph returned to the group and he launched at her, pinning her to the ground.
"Where is she? What'd you do to her? TELL ME WHERE LUCY IS!!"
"OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE!"
Something snapped in Charlie at that moment. Charging forward he crashed into Thomas, the two men sprawling to the ground in a flurry of limbs. With the element of surprise on his side Charlie managed to pin the man down, his forearm held against his throat.
"Don't even move ghoul!" Charlie snarled, using his other hand to point his laser pistol at Arizona. With his face inches away from Thomas' Charlie glared into the other man's eyes.
"Now listen here you piece of trash. If you ever touch Sylph again or do something like that. I will force feed you a grenade and explode you into a million tiny pieces. This is your last warning. IS. THAT. CLEAR?"