The RoboBrain saw Joe motion to his gun. It twitched and its arms flailed wildly. Before becoming stock still for a few moments. "If your going to shoot you better not miss, friend. Fought far more threating than you in the French and Indian." He extended his "hand" and chuckled. "Better use that hand for something more worth while than shooting someone you just met soldier. Name's George."
Despite their human brains these creatures are programmed and the mind is forced to follow such programming whether they like it or not. This particular cyborg was meant to educate children about the presidents of Mount Rushmore in an interactive fashion. Responding dynamically to questions. The historical accuracy was rather dubious, a bullet points version of events put into its mind as if they were memories. A few more years of fine tuning and this would be a much more impressive creature, but the whole world went up in smoke so we got to take what we can get, you know?
Night had fallen as Kaiden continued to follow the human caravan. They stopped a few times out of what seemed to be confusion, but Kaiden remained patient. The last few miles however Kaiden had noticed the faint, unmistakable smell of burning. Burning corpses, burning vehicles and the musky smell of centuries old burning wood. It was all quite familiar, spending most of his mutant life burning down villages under the master's influence, or having his settlements burnt down by 'Abomination Hunters.'
It was only when the group began pointing in the direction of an amber haze in the distance that Kaiden realised where it was coming from. It appeared to be a small settlement, one Kaiden didn't know about, but he was new to the area so why would he?
A group of armed men, and some others began to approach the town, seemingly to investigate and offer aid. This was where Kaiden felt conflicted, he could stay with the caravan to avoid being spotted and stay out of harm's way, he could go the opposite direction of the town and get back home, or he could investigate himself, following the group.
He opted for the latter, deciding that if he could assist, he would possibly gain yet more allies and that if there was a threat in the area that could endanger his people, he needed to resolve the matter before it got out of hand.
He circled around the caravan with a wide berth and began to follow the group, hoping the light from the blaze wouldn't reveal him.
Dry Springs Bar
"If your going to shoot you better not miss, friend. Fought far more threating than you in the French and Indian." He extended his "hand" and chuckled. "Better use that hand for something more worth while than shooting someone you just met soldier. Name's George."
Joe was taken aback.
Not only had the robot noticed what he was planning, it wasn't dangerous, and was actually quite polite.
Joe shook the robot's pincer.
"I'm Ranger Joseph Medina, nice to meet you George."
While Joe was not fond of robots, this one seemed different. Maybe it was the organic brain, but the robot didn't seem to be simulating emotions. (You can tell from the inflections)
"It was nice meeting you George, now if you'll excuse me, I have to go see Elder Tempson."
[Still translated from southwestern tribal dialect]
<"I'm going to need one of you to come with me and pick out your friend from the brothel, and pick out the men that took her. You can also help watch my back.">
<"I'll go with you.">
The rational, cowardly parts of Surly Gecko's mind were telling him to let someone else do it, but he didn't care. His friend needed help, and something about this man made Joe trust him.
They began to head back east to Nipton.
<"Well then, let's get a move on. You have a name?">
<"If you're planning on joining the NCR, you'll probably want something a bit more normal. How do you feel about Joseph? It was my dad's name.">
<"That's a nice name.">[/Flashback]
Outskirts of Cheyton: A certain Rabbit stumbles upon an opportunity
Annoyed with her half-sister's silence, Tessa walked briskly in order to keep up with Vera. She imagined the swishing of her cloak had created a rather dramatic effect, completely intentional, since Tessa did have a flair for style in her everyday life. She couldn't believe she was apologising for her own lifestyle. Mercy was the pampered one!
Vera seemed oddly enthusiastic over the prospect of breakfast as she sped along, chirping gleefully, she wondered what value an Eyebot could gleam from food. Clearly crossing the outskirts of Cheyton, her questions were somewhat answered.
Not too far away from the trio was a relatively small pack of young brahmin. "Uhhh, Vera...they kinda have be dead first before we eat th- wait a minute!" coming to a sudden revelation, she envisioned a wonderful opportunity for the day ahead of her. "Vera, what do you have in the way in of brahmin sounds? Something that says follow me and stay together."
A mischievous grin set upon Tessa's face in that moment, the same grin she always had when devising a plan. "We're guiding them to the edge of the marketplace. Mercy and I will follow from the rear while you lead. When we reach the edge of the market, make a terrifying noise, I dunno, make it sound sound like a Deathclaw laying a thousand eggs at once. Move away from us, parade through town making every single noise you want, draw attention to yourself and not me. Once we cross the other side, we'll meet up there." she paused to address her sister, "If you want to back out, then I'll see you at home." she muttered coldly. "Otherwise, I need a shield while I work. Stay close, and use your body to shield my hands while I move, so nobody can see." her stare did not waver, while her face lost all emotion. "I hope you choose the latter. This is how a Rabbit survives."
Yep, she was channeling the old days. Old habits die hard.
The Rabbit Run: A favored technique of Tessa's. While setting up multiple distractions, in this case a bunch of stampeding brahmin and an Eyebot that looks like it's going haywire, Tessa would walk through the chaos, relying on the diverted attention of those around her as she stole multiple items with speed. Over time, she perfected the use of inconspicuous movements and her now-you-see-me now-you-don't cloak on items of interest as she swept over them. Slipping in and out of crowds, she showed no deliberation and only focused on her plotted course.
Giving all of her caps, combat knife and remaining med-x to Mercy, Tessa freed up the necessary space in her bag. She needed to be completely silent and unburdened during her movement. Looking up at Vera with the calculating look she always developed just before a job, her voice had even dropped to a cold whisper. "Let's go, Vera...remember the plan."
Outskirts of Cheyton.
Vera was initially disturbed at Tessa's sudden cold tone as she explained the plan. The plan itself took Vera completely by surprise. She'd expected to lead the small herd to a butcher or a rancher and getting a finder's fee... or a cut of the meat for her friends. But... this? It was... ingenious. Vera gave a worried beep, followed by an excited one. If she had hands, she'd be rubbing them together as she took her place at the head of the herd.
She beeped a few times to get their attention, and then searched her records for any bhramin sounds. She found a few. She tried the first one: the bhramin grunted back but didn't move. She tried the second one: a female approached Vera and presented her rump. Vera would have raised a confused eyebrow if she could. She tried a third one: a male came in and tried to hump the female in front of Vera. The little eyebot shot a laser at his feet before it went too far. She tried a fourth one: that did the trick. They were all clustering close together and following Vera around. Vera chirped happily a few times before starting to play the same record in a loop as she slowly led the herd back to the Cheyton marketplace.
Near I-25, Ruins of Fair Wanderings
As Jose's group neared, it became clear that the town had been decimated. Most of the tents were ablaze, some of them, on the outskirts, had already been reduced to piles of ash and broken metal supports. Jacob, tucked away safely in the center of the ranger formation, squinted to look past the flame, and gasped aloud. "There are crucifixes in there."
Sure enough, as they reached the town proper, Jose broke the squad down into small pairs and had them scour the ruins. He choose to stay close to Jacob, who inspected one of the crosses, a man tied to it. "He's already dead." Jacob spoke bluntly as he could see Jose taking interest. "It's the Last Legion, no other group would bother wasting time to make these and have people die and rot on them."
Jose grunted, moving down one of the central "roads" leading further into town. Jacob followed, leaving the man on the cross with the intent to bring him down later after checking for survivors. A crack of Jose's radio startled the doctor for the moment, which Jose luckily didn't see. "This is Michael, assigned perimeter is clear." The radio cracked again soon after. "This is Laura, mine's clear too." This message came from several sources before Jose nodded and sent his own message. "Jose to Caravan, the town is clear. Bring everyone in and have them start putting out the fires..." The gruff man paused, bearing a deep frown. "...give the kid a warning, things don't look good here." After a confirmation replied, Jose looked to Jacob. "Let's not waste time having you run all over the town taking people off these and treating them on the spot. Setup an infirmary, I'll have the men search for survivors and bring those strong enough to you."
Jacob sighed and nodded as he walked over to a tent, which the fire had relatively spared. "Bring the Brahmin carrying my stuff too, I don't have what these people need with me."
Cheyton: Entering the Market. The Rabbit wins this race.
"Vera, once you're on the other end. Stay quiet, make sure you aren't followed and make your way home."
Truth be told, Tessa never heard the noise Vera had made, nor had she followed her direction either, she just knew that the panicked stampede of brahmin scattering towards the many stalls was her signal to move.
With ease, Tessa slipped into the crowds moving back and forth, moving amongst them while lifting an (1) exposed purse of caps. Small, yet it couldn't contain more than 40 caps at most.
One of the brahmin had sent a nearby owner collapsing into her own stall, extending an arm to help the woman up, she had bent down to pocket an (2) egg timer and a (3) whet stone into her backpack. She had moved on before the woman could thank her or even get a proper glance at her savior.
Approaching the weapon's modification stall which she had approached yesterday, she quickly examined the items on display from afar. She was looking for a block with a barrel and a reinforced circular thingy. Because they were of the same category apparently, they were sitting side by side. Fortunately a laser, presumably fired by Vera had forced the owner of the stall to duck behind cover. Tessa raised her cloak to sweep over the table, when it sufficiently covered the (4)(5) two targets, her hand inconspicuously swept both items into her back with one movement.
Hopefully Mercy had been deadly accurate about her descriptions in the past, because this was the information she was working off of.
Walking towards one of the many weapons stalls, she purposefully bumped into a man holding a bottle of nuka-cola, spilling the drink over the table, NCR dollar notes and guns. While the owner and unfortunate scapegoat got into a shouting match which devolved into physical intimidation. Tessa had spotted a replacement (6) switchblade, she pocketed both it and the beautiful set of (7) throwing-knives that had fallen to floor while she purposefully dropped a bottlecap.
Enveloping herself in the crowd, she deftly cut the bulging exposed (8) cap-purse on a burly suspect. Not without some force, because as she moved ahead of her previous target, the target felt the absence of his caps and punched the man directly behind him. While a brawl broke out behind her, a nearby miscellaneous stall owner rushed in to break up the commotion.
Seeing an opportunity, Tessa walked into the stall, filled her bag with (9) scrap electronics which would no doubt be useful to Mercy and Vera. Slipping her newly acquired switchblade into the cash register, she simply dislodged the money tray. This had unfortunately broken the switchblade, which was in poor condition. The cash register was filled with 200 caps and three $100 NCR, she simply emptied the (10) contents into her bag and shut her bulging bag shut.
Tessa unclipped her riding hood, folded it neatly and tucked it under her arm. She entered a nearby second-hand clothing stall. Hastily picking out a few items of clothing. Paying with the NCR dollars, she changed in the makeshift dressing room.
Tessa removed her armor and draped it over her now full bag. Putting on the blue summer dress, she found that it had fitted her quite nicely, which means Mercy should enjoy her dresses. Altering her appearance by tying her hair into ridiculous secondary pigtails and donning the white bonnet, she emerged looking like a completely different girl.
Making her final stop, she wrapped a (11) nearby toaster in her riding hood while the stall owners back was turned.
Finally making her exit, Tessa bought a few items to eat and drink in celebration as she made her way home. She had actually made it before Vera, so she climbed on the roof, helped her sister up and barely squeezed through the hole in the ceiling.
The Rabbit den
She got home faster than expected, although today was an eventful day and time had passed rather quickly.
"Okay, now just wait up there till I say so, alright Mercy?!"
She had unpacked Vera and Mercy's gifts for the day into separate piles.
Mercy gifts included: Plasma pistol magazine accelerator (reinforced circular thingy) & Plasma pistol hi-energy ionizer (block with a barrel)...Not that she knew the names of these things. Two fitting summer dresses, green and red. Toaster. Egg timer.
Vera: Scrap electronics for repairs. A white bonnet.
Tessa: Whet stone. A set of 3 throwing knives. 309 caps in total for today.
Finally, she set down three large juicy brahmin steaks on a plate. A bottle of Vodka and two bottles of Nuka-cola.
Two minutes later: "Alright! Have a look!"
Vera played a nuclear silo warning siren from her databanks to scatter the brahmin, then she started blasting her laser in random, but carefully away from any people or brahmin, directions. After about five minutes of this, Vera decided she'd provided enough of a distraction for Tessa and started to head for home. Then she saw Tessa emerge from one of the clothing shops. If Vera could draw air, her breath would have caught in her nonexistent throat.
Wow.Vera thought, chiming a bit like like a cartoon construction worker that was 'watching' a woman in a red dress walk away from them, She's beautiful. How didn't I notice that before? Must've been all of that dirty armor. She looks... amazing without it on. If robots could blush, Vera'd be doing it right now. She zoomed away from Tessa in case she'd heard the robot catcalling her.
Vera eventually found herself back at the...
And... YES! The bunny ears were still there! Now... to figure out how to take them with her without one of the Rabbit sisters to help her. Hmm...
Vera started trying to loop the set of bunny ears around her multitool. This worked out about as well as any heavily-rigged-against-the-player carnival-style claw game. After about 30 minutes of work though, Vera managed to get the little bugger hanging from her multitool. Satisfied that it would stay in place until she got back to her new home.
Tessa and Mercy's house
It took her until the sun was directly overhead, but Vera finally made it back home. As she approached, she just barely noticed Mercy sleeping on the roof, like a pre-war cartoon dog. How long has she been up there? Poor dear.
Vera shook the bunny ears off of her multiool, then proceeded to de-magnitize the door, and then gliding up to the roof to greet Mercy and offer her a ride back down to the ground.
Vera hovered just above the lip of the roof, and beeped a few times to Mercy, as if to say 'ahem.'
Cheyton Slums (Before the Stampede)
The youngest of the Rabbit sisters, Vera included, wasn't trying to be rude or standoffish or nor was she being judgmental about the lifestyle that her oldest sister, Tessa, was leading. She understood, objectively speaking though morally she was still a bit questionable about the whole liberation of items deal, the need to survive and that surviving didn't always mesh along with morality. No, what was bothering Mercy was the conditions in which some of the people of Cheyton were living in.
According to what Bookish Bunny remembered of what she had read about Cheyton, it was supposed to be the second capitol of Wyoming and a trading hub. The majority of the population made its money based on trade alone. However, where there were success stories, there were people who didn't make it.
Wandering through the slums on the outskirts of Cheyton was a sobering reminder of this. Still the girl pushed forward along with her Sisters.
The Rabbit Burrow:
Vera hovered just above the lip of the roof, and beeped a few times to Mercy, as if to say 'ahem.'
"Wh-wha?" The Small Framed Rabbit asked as she rubbed a thin film of sleep gunk from her eyes and noticed that Vera was hovering just above her.
"Vera? Is everything okay?" The Sleepy Rabbit asked as she looked at the mechanical, floating eyeball of CUUUUTE with a small smile.
"BEEP! CHIRP!" Vera said as she pointed at Mercy with her multitool and pointed down to the ground and then pointed towards herself.
"Oh! Yes! Please!" The Plasma Rabbit said to the Robo-Rabbit, as she found a couple of strong weld points and grasped them, hoping that she wouldn't break anything.
Whether it was luck, or the fact that Vera had been built very well, they made it to the ground without anything breaking off of Vera's frame.
"Thank you, Vera." The Youngest Bunny said as she spotted the bunny ears next to the front door and instantly concluded that they hadn't been there previously. Looking at the eyebot and wondering just why Vera would bring them there... unless...
"Let me help you with those." The Eyebot's adoptive sister said as she picked up the ears and mounted them to the Eyebot's dura-frame.
"Wow. That looks AWESOME!"
Tessa and Mercy's house
Vera surprised herself when she found how easy it was to take the small girl back to the ground without taking any damage. According to the schematics in her databanks, this shouldn't be possible.
I guess dad made more modifications to my hardware as well... huh.
"Thank you, Vera." said the Youngest bunny.
Vera chimed in a way that she thought approximated 'nonchalantly.'
"Let me help you with those."
Vera struggled to contain her excitement as Mercy attached the bunny ears to her frame.
"Wow. That looks AWESOME!"
Vera chirped loudly while hopping and spinning in the air. It was official, she was a Rabbit sister now. Watch out world, Vera Rabbit had her bunny ears, and now there'd be no stopping her!
Kaiden shifted from hiding spot to hiding spot, dodging the patrolling pairs to get a closer inspection. As he rounded a corner if a building he caught sight of a row of crucifixes, all with men and women on. He also spotted a patrol heading his way. Kaiden ran back around the corner and entered the nearest tent, currently not on fire.
'Oh God!' Called a cowering voice above the crackling of the flames. Kaiden turned to see a young man, barely out of his teens sat in a chair, his legs visibly broken. 'You're not going to...' Before he could finish his sentence Kaiden ran over and placed his huge hand over his mouth, silencing him.
"I am not here to hurt you, but if you scream, you will leave me with no choice, understood?" He asked, the young man nodded his head quickly, a tear rolled down his cheek and he shook violently, a clear sign of his pain and fear. He was clutching a small piece of paper. Kaiden removed his hand and the kid whispered 'They made us play the lottery'
"Who did this?"
Kaiden was taken aback, as far as he knew The Legion had been defeated, but then Super Mutants didn't often get much reliable information about current affairs.
'Can you help me?' Asked the youngster.
Kaiden thought long and hard, it would be best if he slipped out unnoticed and warned his people, but this was an innocent man. His mind was quickly made up however when the tent finally caught fire, the heat quickly increased as the fire ate through the material like a swarm of locusts devouring a corn field. He grabbed the youth and carried him out of the tent, towards the group he had followed, shaking his hood off his head to reveal his face. "This boy needs help!" He yelled to the leader of the group. He felt the stares of everyone in the area as they turned their weapons towards him, probably out of reflex. Maybe not the best of plans Kaiden thought to himself.
Cheyton: Home to the trio of Rabbits
The Scheming Rabbit seemed to be rather conflicted over the way in which she had treated her sister earlier. Tessa knew that look of surprise, except in Freeside that look quickly devolved into disgust when someone of a higher social standing learned of her less-than-savory activities. Frustratingly, she never stuck around to watch Mercy's full reaction.
You couldn't blame Tessa for jumping to that conclusion when she's had people show nothing but disdain for her, only finding common ground with the like-minded street rats she grew up with.
At that moment, she was simultaneously offended that her sister may have thought less of her. Meanwhile, she was scolding herself for letting her guard down so much in the past few days. Tessa finally concluded her feelings on the matter, there was no point in taking it out on her sister, if they were going to be living together, then they had to communicate.
Reflecting sadly, she wished her sister would talk more. Either way, they should have a heart-to-heart...hence the Vodka if that's what was needed.
Her mind fluttered down to her new blue dress and she almost laughed at her appearance in the mirror. She looked...decent for once. Despite her youth spent on the streets, her teens were spent indoors or under the cover of the night. While oddly pale, she admired her loose secondary pigtails, twirling around, a person could still see the end and beginnings of numerous scars on her exposed back. Annoying, but it didn't ruin the overall presentation.
Nevertheless, she pranced around barefoot, swishing her dress around with a lovely sense of freedom -...
...wasn't Mercy still waiting on the roof?
Thankfully, the door opened and Tess stood in next to the house's only table, adorned with gifts, food and Tessa's loot. While Vera hovered and Mercy stepped in, she timed a perfect greeting. "Tada!"
The Happy Thief presented her best jazz-hands and a large grin.
In a hole in a ground, there lived a trio of Rabbits. Not a nasty, wet hole, nor a dry and sandy hole. It was a Rabbit hole, and that means... comfort.
Vera was too eager to show off her new bunny ears to Tessa to notice the goodies on the table. She quickly lowered herself so that her faceplate was at Tessa's eye-level, and then Vera inclined her 'head' to give the master thief a better look at the ears. Meanwhile, Vera got a great look at Tessa's beautiful new dress.
Suits her perfectly. Vera quietly whirred to herself, as she both admired Tessa in her new dress, and... remembered her... human self wearing them.
Afraid that Tessa would somehow notice the eyebot blushing (at least metaphorically), after she was sure Tessa got a good look at the ears, Vera flew over to the table to examine the loot that the older Rabbit sister had brought in.
Hmm... counting all of the times this... platform has been active... I'm easily well over 200 years old. Huh. Only had a personality twice though. How do I know that?
The Rabid Rabbits' Rustic Retreat of Relaxation and Restoration (aka The Rabbit Hole of Solitude aka Tessa's Found Flat)
While Vera hovered and Mercy stepped in, she timed a perfect greeting. "Tada!"
The Happy Thief presented her best jazz-hands and a large grin.
The sight of the gifts, food, drink, her sister, her sister's smile and especially her sister's jazz hands banished whatever commotion had been running through the youngest sister's mind and brought out the smile that seemed to have been absent for the majority of that morning.
"Wow, Tess! You really went all out didn't you?" The Book Bunny asked as she looked at all the items that her sister had brought home from the market. She had even brought home and served with a bit of Scrambled Deathclaw Egg and Slices and pan fried Cram with a side of Blamco.
And then it clicked.
"Tess. Thank you. Thank you so much for - for - everything really. I know that I probably haven't been too mindful of your feelings, talking about our dad and all, but I want you to know that no matter what, you're my sister and I want us to be family." The youngest Rabbit said, with eyes twinkling from the tears that rested in their corners.
"I'm happy that we get the chance to know each other - " She continued as she wiped the tears away with an I-can't-believe-I'm-such-a-crybaby-I'm-so-embarrassed smile.
"You too Vera. Even though you came barging into our lives like a spherical battering ram, I think that you're a great sister too." the youngest girl concluded, before hiding her flushed cheeks by lifting the collar of her shirt up to the bridge of her nose, her glasses fogging up from the condensation.
Noticing the throwing knives that the elder sister had brought home, the inventor bunny thought that it was time to give Tessa a gift, as she grabbed the knives, two pieces of scrap, some BBs and a sensor module.
A few moments later, Mercy presented her gift, a wrist mounted throwing knives holder and dispenser.
The Rabbit Hole.
Vera examined the heaps of electronic guts and energy cells. Vera absorbed the energy from the power cells with her multitool, then she started analyzing the electro-scrap to see what useful components could be salvaged from it.
Then Vera heard the youngest Rabbit:
"You too Vera. Even though you came barging into our lives like a spherical battering ram, I think that you're a great sister too."
Upon hearing that, Vera came rushing back to the Bookish Rabbit's side, and started dancing in the air in front of her, chirping happily.
The home of Mercy and Vera
"Wow, Tess! You really went all out didn't you?"
"I have a flair for the dramatic, you'll get used to it." She said so with a smirk on her face and overly-dramatic curtsy to further illustrate her point.
Now a meal, gifts and maybe a few drinks seemed like a standard affair amongst friends. As far as family goes, that was a whole new level of meaning. As far as Mercy's outburst of gratitude went...
Needless to say, Tessa was taken aback by Mercy's sudden display of openness. While it was far from unpleasant, just the opposite actually, it had crippled Tessa's ability to properly enunciate her words to some extent.
"Well -...I just. You see, I was worried - I really..." with an exasperated sigh and tears of her own welling up, she proceeded to pull her sister in for an extended hug and kiss on the cheek. "Thank you for...for staying, for becoming my -...real family!" With a whisper in her ear. "I love you."
Never having been confronted with issues related to her family, gratitude and understanding were overwhelming emotions. She never realized she had become such a crybaby. "Ahh, I think some of that Blamco got in my eye, that's all." Yeah, nobody was buying that. "I may have stabbed you, but you literally know how to make one hell of an entrance. Personally, I'm glad it was our door you bashed down, Vera." She chuckled at the sight of Vera's bunny ears. "I think you're a certified part of the Rabbit family now." she said so endearingly while giving the metallic sphere a hug.
Inspecting her wrist-mounting throwing knives, she may have just found her new signature weapon. The sparkling in Tessa's eyes had confirmed that fact. "Thank you! It's beautiful!"
Tessa was interrupted by a knock on the door, answering it, a large burly man with bowler hat spoke up and walked away. "Terribly sorry, Miss. Must have the wrong address."
Alarm bells started ringing in her head. She peered through the keyhole and watched the large man nod in three directions, making a hand-signal and slowly walking away.
"You guys start eating without me, I'll be out for a few minutes, just catching some fresh air."
That's what she may have said, but her expression said otherwise as she packed all their caps, just a little over a thousand in total, threw the throwing-knives and a bowie knife into her bag and attached a note on the bag. Which read: ("If gone. This = Yours. Anyone asks = inheritance from dad.")
She left her schoolbag on the bed, concealing her actions the entire time. She proceeded to silently make her way out of the house.
One Rabbit gets caught.
Stepping outside with her second bowie knife concealed behind her back, she shut the door behind her. Slipping out while her sisters were preoccupied. She started following the burly man. Her house was completely out of the way from other establishments. You had to have a pretty deliberate reason for arriving on her doorstep. "Hey! Mind explaining what you're doing around my hou-"
She collapsed to the floor, her blade clamoring to the ground as the man surprised her with a punch to the gut. Two figures had approached from the side, one filled her mouth with a dirty rag to muffle any sounds she made while the other figure fastened her hands behind her back with rope and pressed a gun to her temple. Completely surrounding her, they lead her around several twists and turns as the streets grew more dilapidated.
Struggling, she tried to force herself away from her kidnappers when her own bowie knife was buried into her thigh and she hit the ground face first. A heavily tattooed bruiser leaned over Tessa's writhing body.
"I like this blade. This is a nice fucking blade." Tessa screamed in agony, despite the rag in her mouth, the tears had welled up in her eyes as she started squirming.
"Do you see...DO YOU SEE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE!? shouted the tattooed man with her bloodied knife. "Now I don't like to shout, it's impolite...BUT SHUT THE FUCK UP!" The man had started to laugh as Tessa whimpered in fear. "But how rude am I, do you know why you're here? Of course not...because if you did, you wouldn't be stealing from us!"
The man wrapped his greasy hand around Tessa's chin, wrenching her head upwards. Slowly he brought her blade to her eye and ran the edge along her cheek, cutting into her skin with ease. "We saw your little show today. Quite impressive. Now we don't care what you took. THIS IS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE!" he brought the edge of the blade to her eye once more. "You see...an example has to be made or people will get ideas." he chuckled. "...if you fuck with us, you fuck with the Knuckleheads."
"Take her to the safehouse, I want to see what this bitch knows!" An unexpected punch to the face had rendered Tessa unconscious. "Let's have some fun, woo!"
Martin watched the conversation between Joe and the Robobrain... George.
Joe began to leave for the town hall and Martin figured he wouldn't be wanted there right now.
"Come back here to pick me up, when you're ready to leave town."
Martin looked back at George, his eyes lingering on the flamer for a moment.
"So, you're from Dakota?"
The Rabbit Hole
Vera was poking through the electro-scrap when she heard the knock on the door. She saw Tessa answer it, and decided to keep an eye on her, just in case. As Tessa followed the strangers out of the house and towards the slums, Vera followed. But before leaving the house, Vera did the only thing she could do to make sure Mercy was safe: she magnetically sealed the door behind her as she quietly followed Tessa and the group of thugs 'escorting' her across town.
Somewhere in the scummy part of town in this wretched hive of... you know.
Vera continued to follow the group, quietly and deftly darting from cover to cover, using molerat noises to disguise her passing. Then, the thugs pushed Tessa into a small hideout. Vera didn't need to know what was being said in there. She knew it couldn't be good. She activated her Ultra Sonic Emitter. In response, every dog, both domestic and feral, within a 5 mile radius of her howled in unison, and came rushing to her position. Several were nearby, but most took several minutes to get there.
Several minutes later, just outside the Knuckleheads' hideout
Once Vera was sure all the dogs that could come had (which was somewhere in the four dozen area), she played a pre-war record that got them charging the small hideout with her:
"FLY MY PRETTIES FLY!"
They WILL NOT have her! No-no-no-no-no! I'm not letting it happen again! NO! I will destroy all of them before they can even touch her!
"Hold your fire!" A shout echoed across the area as Jose stepped into sight. He could see the Super Mutant was protecting the boy, so he had his men lower their weapons. Walking over to Kaiden, the caravan leader soon saw that the boy's legs were in tatters. With a grunt, Jose looked up at the Super Mutant. "Follow me, I can take you to our doctor."
The next few minutes involved quite a change of scenery, as the rest of Jose's caravan entered the burning ruins of the town. Surprisingly orderly, they split up into groups and dispersed across the town. Some beat out the fires, to conserve water, while others worked to search for survivors and pull people from the crucifixes.
By the time Jose and Kaiden reached Jacob's makeshift infirmary, the fire was smoldering, and what was left of the town was safe. However, one could not speak for the inhabitants, as so few trickled into the tent to receive care. "In here." Jose gestured for Kaiden to head into the tent with the boy, following him in afterward.
Inside, the appearance of the Super Mutant caused everything to freeze, the men Jacob had doing the grunt work gripped what they had tightly, intending to use them as weapons. "Lives are on the line people!" Everyone's heads snapped to the doctor, working on a burn victim in the corner. "There isn't going to be any fighting in here, especially with my supplies!" Some of the men growled with weariness before they returned to their work.
After finishing whatever he was doing with his current patient, Jacob moved to Kaiden and the boy in his arms. "Let's see what we have here." The doctor moved to see the legs, signing aloud. "This depraved lottery..."
The boy sounded scared at what didn't sound like a promising prognosis. "Am I going to die?!"
Jacob put a hand over the boys head and managed a smile. "No, you'll be fine." Jacob looked up at Kaiden and pointed to one of the few empty beds. "Put him there please." Once the boy was on the boy, he gave a screech of pain with the pressure on his legs. Jacob quickly reacted with a shot to the boy's neck, which caused his body to go limp. "He isn't going to want to be awake when I reset the bones." Jacob spoke to himself aloud as he leaned over the boy to better see his injuries. "Actually, Jose, doesn't he look familiar?"
Jose spoke up from behind Jacob, squinting at the boy's face. "Huh, I think I see it, but I don't know from where."
"Jak!" A shout came from the tent entrance, drawing everyone's attention. It was the nomad who brought the caravan here, he apparently recognized the lad. Now with the two together, Jacob could see they resembled each other, they had to be related. "What happened to him?!" The nomad rushed to Jak's bedside, only to be disappointed to see he was unconscious.
"Your brother was 'fortune' enough to be one of the Legion's lottery winners. They broke his legs and left him here. I can set the bones and help them heal, but time is of the essence." Jacob gently moved the young man aside as he began his work, getting a strange device that poured out steam as it helped Jacob get a good grip on each fragment of bone as he pushed them back into place.
As the doctor worked, Jose looked over to Jak's brother, or at least, that was he first guess at the relation. "Quint, you have this big guy here to thank for saving your brother. His tent was on fire before we found him, would've burned alive if it wasn't for his help."
The nomad, Quint, upon realizing that his brother's savior was before him, flung him onto the hulking figure, actually hugging him. "Thank you, sir! Thank you so much!"
"Come back here to pick me up, when you're ready to leave town."
Joe left the bar and headed out.
The fresh air felt good. The wind however, made whistling noises as it blew through the holes in his new tattered cowboy hat. It would need replacing if he was to look presentable for going to speak on diplomatic matter.
"Excuse me ma'm, do you know where I might obtain a replacement for my hat?"
"I'd check Goodman Brothers' supplies. It's straight that way, by the lake."
Joe tipped his hat.
Joe walked off in the direction the woman pointed.
Other than the punks who attacked him back at the bar, the people of Dry Springs seemed quite nice. Had Joe not been on a mission, he probably would have spent some time drawing immature things on their unconscious faces. Another time perhaps.
They would probably be waking up around now to find themselves in a pile in the back of the bar. Joe did not envy them. Shotgun beanbags to the head hurt something nasty, and tend to leave the recipients with awful headaches that last quite a while.
Joe arrived at a building with a sign that read "Goodman Bros. supplies". He went in.
[Perception] Joe was met with a small room. Ahead of him was a counter, behind which was a pudgy bespectacled man in a jumpsuit. To the left of the entrance was a dour looking muscular man in leather armor holding a large revolver. [Guns 85/25] Joe was pretty sure it was a .44 Magnum revolver. With a heavy frame modification from the look of it.
"Welcome! Good to see a new face. How can I help you?"
Joe placed his hat on the counter.
"I need to replace this, what would you recommend?"
The pudgy bespectacled man looked him over.
"You're going for the wasteland cowboy look I take it?"
The shopkeeper flipped through a ledger briefly.
"Aaron! Bring me item H-43!"
A squeaky voice came from the back room.
"Just a second Lenny!"
A tall lanky man came out of the back room carrying a black cowboy hat with a large brim, curved to the sides, and a thin white band at the base. The man placed it on the counter, and went back into the backroom.
[Barter 75/30] What if I traded in my old hat? Even if you can't sell it, you can use it for spare fabric to repair other hats.
Joe placed 7 caps on the table (Caps remaining: 493) and put on his new hat.
"Now is there anything else you needed?"
La Trou des Lapins
Mercy was alone and she didn't like it, not one bit. Tessa was gone, Vera was gone and this left the Plasma Bunny all by her lonesome.
"WHAT?!" She exclaimed as she tried the door and found it locked. She was a prisoner. A prisoner in her own home and whether it was because the others had decided to abandon her or something even more sinister than that, she wasn't sure but still she.didn't.like.it.
Grabbing a fission battery from her bag, a length of insulated copper wiring and a stick, she began wrapping the wiring around the stick, looking angrily at the magnetically sealed door as she did.
"You're not gonna keep me away from my sisters." She scolded the door as she finished wrapping the wiring around the stick and placing on end of the wire against the negative terminal of the battery and the other end against the positive terminal, causing the door to audibly creak as the magnetic seal increased in strength.
"Ooops." The bunny muttered as she reversed the order of the terminals.
At first it seemed as if nothing happened until the Bookish Rabbit gave the door a gentle push.
"CREEEEEEEEAAAAAK" Said the door as it opened slowly to reveal with world outside and a dog that was running at top speed towards some unknown location, followed by another.
"(Vera! It's gotta be!)" Mercy thought to herself as she grabbed her plasma pistol with the mods freshly installed before running after the two dogs, but not before locking the door behind her once again.
Outside Asshole Central:
There she was! Vera that is, surrounded by what looked like a few dozen dogs, all vying for her attention with barks and wagging tails.
Before Mercy could call out:
"FLY MY PRETTIES FLY!" The prewar recording sounded as the Eyebot and her canine companions "dashed" towards what appeared to be a Poseidon Energy Garage.
"CRASH!" Squealed the breached door, as Vera did what she seemed to do best, break through doors. The noise was immediately followed by the sound of dogs yelping in pain as the assholes brought down the hammer on Vera's
flying monkeys Pack of Pain!
A man, or simian of some sort, came out of a hovel from across the street, a Brush Rifle cradled in his arms as he started moving purposefully towards the Garage where the dog yelps were followed by human yelps. It already sounded bad enough in the garage but adding the gorilla with the Brush Rifle wouldn't help the situation.
"Hey you!" Mercy yelled at the top of her lungs, as she started sprinting towards the goomba with the gun, closing the gap between them just as the man brought the rifle up to his shoulder to take aim at the closing Plasma Bunny. As her adrenaline kicked into overdrive, time seemed to slow down for Mercy.
- Sweeping Strike - Brush Rifle Barrel (95%)
- Side Kick - Knee (95%)
- Plasma Burst - Torso (95%)
Let me give you a piece of advice kids. If you're about to die, whatever you do, don't make the dumb face the moron with the brush rifle made as he witnessed the girl run beyond the mouth of the Brush Rifle's Barrel and gave the gun a strike with her left hand, sending the man's aim towards the empty street to the left of the quick little bunny.
CRACK! Went the ape's kneecap as the girl transferred the forward momentum of her sprint into a low side kick that served two purposes. The first was to disable the great big ape using the pain of a shattered knee cap. The second purpose was to reduce the girl's forward momentum enough so that she could accurately bring the Plasma Pistol in her right hand to bear as she placed the glowing green barrel against the man's gut.
When all was said and done, Mercy continued her run towards the Poseidon Energy garage and left the glowing green remains of the burly simian/man collapsing into a puddle.
"VERA!!" Mercy yelled as she reached the breached doorway, listening for any hint as to why the Eyebot had gone berserk.
"Well... now what?"
Ollie froze for a half second. Did, did that Deathclaw just talk? The gravelly voice sent a shiver down his spine. It shouldn't be able to do that. They didn't have lips for one thing. Maybe it was like a bird, and it was just mimicking sounds it had heard. Ollie's aim started to tremble, as the Deathclaw took a threatening step forward. Beside him, Anna was completely petrified by the abomination.
Ollie glanced down to the rest of the group. All of them were staring, dumbfounded at the event taking place against the backdrop of a burning horizon. The Deathclaw took another step towards them. It looked quizzical, or as quizzical as a ferocious mutant Chameleon with eyes the color of death itself could look. It raised a scaly eyebrow, flashing some of its horrifically long fangs.
Still reeling, Ollie dropped his carbine, it had been useless. He pulled his lucky revolver out, the Governator, as he called it, named after its model. He held the gun to the Deathclaw. Then he did something he was certain he was going to regret, but needed to do. "Can, can you talk? What the hell are you?"
Tessa slowly regained consciousness only for her body to remind her of the amount of pain that she was in. She was in a precarious situation, to put it lightly, since she was suspended from the ceiling by chains binding and subsequently cutting into her wrists. To prevent any sort of counter-attack on her part, she quickly discovered that her ankles were bound in a similar chained manner. The more she struggled, the more blood loss she suffered from the wound in her thigh, not to mention how her shoulders felt were about to dislocate.
She was only a few centimetres aways from her captor's face, he was smelling her whilst humming to himself. The humming grew louder and his eyes flew open. "Do you know why you've been brought here? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU'VE JEOPARDIZED!?"
Her breathing was ragged and her body ached in more ways than one, her heart was racing and she attempted to steady her breathing in between speaking. "...N-No."
Grabbing her chin, Tessa was forced to face the tattooed man. He appeared to be studying her. "You don't know how things work here, do you? The Knuckleheads OWN Cheyton. Today was our...MY...ticket into their ranks!" With a swift punch to the stomach, his hand clenched down around her throat. "But you and your little flying toy just had to pull a stunt like that and ruin our plan."
Coughing, Tessa managed to choke out a few words. "I...I didn't know it was your turf!"
"No! This is Knucklehead turf, we run their supplies and you..." he pointed with conviction. "Well, you just pissed off some big-hitters in a game that you aren't ready to play. I hope you like looking over your shoulder...you know what, let me save you the trouble and remove that head of yours from your shoulders."
It was at that point that she felt the edge of her blade press against her throat. Tessa may not have been an honorable person, she'd be the first to admit that. She lived her life by strict rules and flexible justifications. She was not one of the good guy's. But she did.not.deserve.to.die.in.a.fucking.cesspool. "Do your worst, you're a child compared to what I've seen." If she was going to die, then she was going to do so while standing her ground.
"NO! You're meant to resist and complain, you make me so mad! But I like that about you, but I hate you for being so stubborn." dropping the blade to the floor, the man picked up a nearby shotgun and obliterated her knife. "Your leg is next. But not before -" he grabbed what was crudely left of her blade and buried it into her leg, pushing it deeper. "THIS!"
Screaming in agony, Tessa's vision grew dark as the pain obliterated any grip she had on staying conscious. It seemed that our Rabbit has a very low pain tolerance.
The next part she was not conscious for, the men had heard an overwhelming amount of barks and growls from the outside. Given orders to investigate the disturbance, the three men readied their weapons and bust open the door to the outside.
I'm sure the following events could be better explained from a different perspective.
The words of Malkos were an approximation of speech reproduced via mouth, tongue, and heavy larynx use where there would be no lips. It WAS a bit like parrotting, but he made an effort to get it right, having heard people before and tried to reproduce their sounds. The process took a considerable amount of work for him and his kind. Some were better than others, but he had to be among the best because of his heritage. It was a command, AND a tradition, that he go forth and perfect the art of speech.
And this one act had most definitely confused the humans, which was part of the point, aside from being impressive as hell in the means to get beyond their fire wall. If a Deathclaw could grin anymore than their wicked teeth would allow, he would. They were shocked - Shocked! - that speech was going on in this creature. One of them decided to point a rather impressive - he assumed - weapon out and pointed it straight at him. Yeah, that was going to work. It's not like he could duck behind the fire right now. But then...
"Can, can you talk? What the hell are you?"
It tilted its head at Ollie for a moment. Was the human attempting to reason with him? The Deathclaw held out it claws hands in what could possibly be recognized as a dramatic gesture...and spoke again.
"I...am Malkos, a scholar of the Goris Clan. I am the creature you fear, with a mind...and a voice! I accept my place in the world, though. So again...I ask, now what?"
Three more thugs ran out from the little armpit of a hut. The dogs swarmed all of the thugs, biting at their arms and legs. Not doing any real damage through the thugs' leather, and in some cases, metal armor... but it was enough of a distraction for Vera to start deleting names and vaporizing ass.
Vera fired her laser at a nearby thug in leather armor, he burst into flames and started rolling on the ground, screaming.
Vera fired her laser at the next thug, his unarmored head turned to ash in an instant before what remained of it blew away in the wind, leaving a cauterized neck-stump behind.
Vera fired her laser at a third thug, again in leather armor, this one clearly didn't die, but he wasn't stupid, he just crumpled to the ground and only moved to fend off dogs trying to tear out his throat. Vera ignored him.
Vera fired her laser at a fourth thug, this one in metal armor. It took several blasts from her laser to do it, but eventually, the thug's armor started burning through his clothing and then, cooked him alive. He died, slowly.
Vera fired her laser at the last thug, a guy in flashy metal armor. The leader probably. Him... Vera got right on the nose, blasting it out of existence, some of the ash blew away in the wind, some went down his throat. Vera fired at the same spot, sending the laser all the way through to the back of his head. He fell to the ground, dead.
It was then that the little eyebot heard a kind of pained gurgling from the hut. Vera turned off her emitter and rushed into the building. Then... she saw what those bastards had done to her new sister.
If robots could cry, Vera would be doing it now. Instead, she let out a series of panicked beeps, chimes, and loud chirps... as much to signal for help as to express her panic.
Vera searched her databanks for a manual on her mutlitool, searching for some possible application of it or the precision laser to stop the blood pouring out of Tessa's throat.
Vera found none.
Kaiden had kept quiet as he was ushered towards the makeshift infirmary, and set the boy onto the bed for the doctor to examine. He watched as he had expertly gone from patient to patient, prioritizing worst cases first. He was visibly experienced. As the young boys brother, Quint, walked in, Kaiden feared he would be angry and take it out on him, but instead upon finding out what had happened he actually hugged him.
The last time Kaiden had been hugged was by a young man pleading with him to release him. Kaiden had been dragging him to the vats, ready for dipping. Under the Master's influence Kaiden simply picked him up and threw him in. Unfortunately the dipping was not a success, and the result was a severely out of control Super Mutant that Kaiden subsequently had to destroy with a flamer. It was then that he decided that once he had the chance he would escape the Master and never harm a person again where possible.
"You are a good man doctor" He said, snapping out of his flashback. "My people could use a man of your talents... Speaking of which, I must be going soon, I must warn them of these attackers. I had thought the Legion destroyed but it appears they are as strong as ever" He would have left then and there, however he also felt compelled to ask. "Before I leave, can I aid you any further?"
The two arrived at the checkpoint, leading to their destination. Several armed men sat playing cards and passing the time, a few attentive guards bothered pointing rifles at Paul, but not Markus. Perhaps they had noticed the dried blood stains on Paul's duster and glove. The two wanderers approached carefully, hands in the air, as more sprang up, a few jogging over to frisk the two.
"Where the hell did this guy get power armor? And fucking energy weapons?!"
"Devil's Tower." Markus said, before returning to silence as the guard returned to looking through the backpacks.
"We came here to sell most this stuff, we sure as hell can't use it." he shrugged, and got his weapons back, the pick returned to his back while his sword went to his side after a moment of close inspection. Markus got his rifle back, though showed less affection than Paul, still a bit annoyed it had jammed earlier. He made a mental note of finding someone who could repair the blasted thing.
The city looked... Well, about like any other city the two had seen. Small, rusty, barely constrained aggression leaking from it's every inhabitant. So, a home for now. Markus went to the vendors with all the loot they didn't want from Devil's Tower, and Paul took off to the nearest bar. He opened the door, quietly as he could and almost ran towards the barkeep. He ordered Vodka and a nuka cola, a combination only he liked, and looked around the place, keeping his hand on his sword.
Anna hissed at Ollie. "What the fuck are you doing!? That thing is a fucking killer, and you want to talk to it?"
Not taking his eyes off of Malkos, Ollie responded through gritted teeth. "If it can talk, chances are it can reason too. Work with me on this."
The flames were still billowing up the hill, pushing the Nightmares further and further away from the Deathclaw. They would burn out in time, but the flames also had the unfortunate side effect of pushing Malkos towards the two Khans as well. Ollie gripped the Governator even more tightly, trying to keep his arms from shaking. He was putting on a brave face, but beneath the visage, he was terrified. Predators could smell fear, and this put him at a major disadvantage to Malkos. But if a Deathclaw could reason, perhaps it could also have a sense of honour.
"If you can talk, and you know your place in the world," said Ollie, testing the waters slightly. "then why not be on your way and we stop putting holes through you? You've already got your Tauros I smell (I was wondering what that scent was last night), so you don't need more food. This isn't any 'Claw territory that I know of. How does that sound to you?"
Below, the rest of the Khans couldn't quite believe what they were seeing. The two Rattlers, still shackled together, were beginning to creep down towards the riverbank. This might be their only chance to get away while the suicidal man spoke with a mutie. Once they were in the water, it would be smooth sailing.
You wouldn't think that a Deathclaw could narrow its eyes at you, but it could...and Malkos did, at Ollie. Then, for a moment, it adopted a...thoughtful position: Hand to its chin with two clawed fingers resting against the side of its face while the other arm cradled the first one at the elbow. The low growl that the Deathclaw emitted could be perceived as "Hmmmm..." as he gave this soe thought. True, the Tauros herd he'd frightened north was his and to be preyed upon by Deathclaws young and old. However, the hunt is a never-ending process. It keeps the skills sharp and the prey all the ore satisfying to sink your teeth into. Besides, who knows when that herd would escape? These Nightmares could be his, if only he kept running them North. However, there was a more problematic issue right here...
While his speaking had shocked them all into complacency - as he knew it would - he had made an error in judgement: Identifying himself as a member of a clan. He had referred to himsself as a scholar, in a manner which could be...uhhh...what was the word? Construed! It would be construed that he was one thinking Deathclaw among many, which was in fact true. This could endanger the clan. He should have thought of that, but he wanted to shock them more. The truth is that the Goris Clan was not always as bold as other Deathclaws. Knowledge of one's own mortality made them more deadly, but it halted them from suicide charges that many of their kind make even against a heavily-armed foe. He could not allow them kill his clan out of truly-understandable fear. But then, what was a Deathclaw to do? He let his arms drop after a minute.
"There are many ways to stop holes from going through me, and your mounts still run. What guarantee will you give that a hunt for my kind will not happen later?"
Then, because he noticed the two Rattlers moving, he turned to the and the staring crowd and said...
"Your meat is leaving."
...because he naturally assumed they were a sort of pack lunch for the people down there.
"There are many ways to stop holes from going through me, and your mounts still run. What guarantee will you give that a hunt for my kind will not happen later?"
"What kind of an idiot goes looking for Deathclaws?" asked Ollie, still amazed that this conversation was even happening. "Seriously, you're the first one we've seen in these parts ever. As far as we knew, the nests were over in the Rockies. What are you doing out this far east?"
"Your meat is leaving." growled Malkos, glancing down at the others. Ollie's head turned to where Malkos had pointed. Their two captives were scuttling away, still tied together.
"Harland, stop them!" he shouted. Harland spun around, gun already lining up on the Rattlers. BANG. BANG. The double barrel shotgun blasted one of the bandit's in the back, splattering his compatriot with blood. The other guy wouldn't be going anywhere now, bogged down with his partner's deadweight and no way to get loose from the corpse. Kill one to stop the other. Quick, simple, and ammo conservative.
Ollie was impressed. "Meat, huh?" he asked rhetorically. A lightbulb flashed in his mind. "No, we're not like that... Malkos, was it? No, we weren't going to eat them. We need them alive. Well, one of them, anyways. Listen, we don't need a corpse, but we do need our rides. If you want the dead one and the horses you dropped, will you let us pass out of here in peace? I can't think of anyone who would want to tangle with a 'Claw, so you wouldn't get anymore trouble from us."
"What kind of an idiot goes looking for Deathclaws?"
Oh, you'd be surprised, though one answer would be those who had the power to, a story carried down through the ages from the first members of the clan, straight from Old Goris himself. It was a tale of the black-armored men who used the green stuff to give Deathclaws a mind and a voice, of how the first colony escaped to create a brood and was massacred by the metal mutant. Only the remnants of that clan and those rescued from the oil island remained from then on, the bitter reminder of hellish masters fresh in their minds, determined to never be taken unawares again. Even still, Malkos let the young man continue speaking.
"Seriously, you're the first one we've seen in these parts ever. As far as we knew, the nests were over in the Rockies. What are you doing out this far east?"
"The Migration was before my time. It is NOT your concern..."
Though, anyone who lived around here knew that it got a bit cold in these here parts. And he being of the apparent lizard persuasion preferred the heat over cold. Fortunately, the Goris Clan had an important advantage over all natural Deathclaws: The use of fire. Now anyway, the human he'd thrown a rock at blasted one of the [s]meats[/i] prisoners, leaving the other one too encumbered to really get out of here. What followed was Ollie proposing a plan that would seem mutually beneficial to them.
"...I can't think of anyone who would want to tangle with a 'Claw, so you wouldn't get anymore trouble from us."
"I have heard tales, but..."
He scanned the area for the other Nightmare carcassses, noting the smell of the one consumed by flame. He snorted.
Well, this was a weird day. They had discovered that there are Deathclaws in the area and that they uhhh...talk. More than that, apparently they can be reasoned with. Or...at least Malkos' nature could be appealed to. Little were they aware that he had been hatching plans to destroy them if this hadn't come up. How well that would have worked, it would be hard to say, but he alone could have driven their mounts from them, and then terrorized the whole group, night and day, in a series of cutthroat attacks. As it stood, though, the Deathclaw was curious enough to entertain this idea of Ollie's and- Huh?! What are you doing with those- Okay... The Deathclaw was now rapidly lashing its claws into the ground to heft chunks of dirt at the fire. That was...most uncanny of his species.
Jacob looked past Kaiden for a moment to see if Jose had an answer, but the man merely shook his head. "No, I do believe the rest of the caravan should be able to handle the situation now. Saving this one was enough." A loud popping sound signaled that another bone had been put back in place.
"If you need a doctor..." Jacob continued, his eyes focused on his task. "...I do travel from time to time, in fact that's why I'm here. You could show me where your people are, and I can help when I can. Otherwise, while I can't speak for the people of Cheyton, my hospital there doesn't discriminate."
"Now is there anything else you needed?"
Joe placed his shotgun on the counter.
"Can you fix it?"
A trapdoor opened behind the counter, and a short, stocky, bearded man in a jumpsuit came out.
The new man examined the shotgun briefly.
"Too steep for my blood.
Joe picked his shotgun back up.
"Got any beanbags for it?"
Jesse went back down the trapdoor, and Lenny took out his ledger.
"We have 7. They're not that big a seller, so we don't bother stocking many. How does five caps per sound?
[Barter 75/40]"You just said they don't sell well, who knows when your next opportunity to sell them might come along. 3 caps per, and I'll take all of them."
Joe placed 21 caps on the table. (Caps remaining 472)
"Aaron, bring me item SG-31!"
Aaron came out of the backroom and placed a bag containing the beanbag shells on the table, and went back into the backroom.
Joe looked through the bag to make sure every shell was accounted for, then took the bag. (Current beanbags: 24)
"Pleasure doing business with you. Do you know how to get to the town hall from here?"
"We don't have one. If you're looking for old man Tempson, you can probably find him fishing at the north-eastern part of the lake."
Joe tipped his new hat. (It fit rather comfortably)
"Thank you, have a nice day."
"Come back again soon."
And with that, Joe headed out.
Draggers' Heads' Hideout
"VERA!" Mercy continued yelling at the top of her lungs as she heard a series of laser blasts which were then followed by beeps and chirps coming from inside the building. If nothing else, there were no longer any other voices coming from inside the building, a sign that the EyeBunny had gotten rid of any of the other Knuckleheads that might be roaming the warehouse.
Hazarding a peek into the building's interior brought clarity as to why the EyeBunny was beeping so frantically as she zoomed back and forth looking for a way to staunch the crimson flow from deep laceration in their Elder Sister's thigh.
"T-T-T-Tessa?!?!" The Littlest Little Rabbit that could screamed in disbelief as she sprinted towards her sisters, both of which were in the air, but only one of which was supposed to be in the air.
"OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!" Mercy yelled as she looked at the sight that was her bloody sister.
"(W-W-W-We have to fix this! I can't let her die! Please, please, please God! Don't let her die! She's the only family I've got left! Please, please, please I can't lose the last person I have left in the world!!)" The Girl prayed as she looked for a way to bring Tessa down without further damaging her already mangled body.
Looking about the warehouse, Mercy could see a few medical items stashed away in a corner in what could have only been described as the worlds least sterile infirmary known to man, not that an infection would have mattered at that point in time with the way Tessa was bleeding.
"Vera! Start cutting at those bindings would you but don't let her fall until I come back!" Mercy said as she started running towards the "infirmary" and started looking around for items of use. No Stimpaks. No Doctor's Bags. No Blood Bags. Nothing that she could immediately identify as useful except for a gurney and a lone body bag that rested on top of the gurney.
"(No! There's got to be something that I can use around here!)" Mercy thought to herself as she started tossing some of the items about and noticed 3 syringes of Med-X but only one was full of the addictive medication. She also found a dirty bit of surgical tubing, a tin can, a bottle of dirty water, a spool of thread, a sewing needle, a bag of RadAway and a roll of duct tape . Last but not least was a battered D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine.
"(That's it?!)" She thought to herself as she brought collected the items and wheeled them over to where Vera was ready to cut Tessa down. Gently, the two sisters lowered the wounded one onto the gurney.
Looking at the wound, Mercy could tell her sister was lucky that the Knucklehead had missed the femoral artery but there was still a great deal of blood and blood loss. But still it would require a series of tiny stitches to close the wound and fine hands and great eyes to be able to see what was going on in order to give Tessa the best chance at surviving.
Given that Mercy's body was so amped up on adrenaline and her glasses were scratched up that only left-
"Vera! I need your help. I need you to close up the wounds Tessa's body using this needle and thread. I can't see through all the blood to do it but the module that I installed on you should let you see through the blood." Mercy said as she started gathering some rocks and throwing them into a pile.
"Vera! While I get everything ready, read this as quick as you can!" The Plasma Bunny said, indicating the D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine, as she poured the dirty water into the tin can and added the RadAway. Pulling her Plasma Pistol from her belt, she fired a couple of glowing green bolts at the pile of rocks, heating them as she placed the tin in the center of the pile, causing the water and RadAway mix to boil.
Satisfied, she pulled the plungers of the empty syringes and placed them in the boiling water as well as the surgical tubing and the sewing needle as she examined Vera's Multitool as the EyeBunny speed read through the magazine.
"Vera. Listen to me. I'm going to give Tessa my blood and while I'm doing that, I need you to close up the wounds as quickly as you can using the sewing needle, the thread and your multitool." The Littlest Bunny said as she pulled out the still hot Syringes and surgical tubing. The tubing's ends were a bit too small to create an airtight seal with the syringes but a bit of duct tape resolved that issue easily enough.
The final bit was making sure that both Rabbits didn't lose too much blood while Vera was operating. That's where the Med-X came in. The Opiate would slow down both the Tessa's heart rate and decrease the blood pressure so that the blood loss would be reduced. The risk would be causing Tessa's blood pressure to decrease so much that her brain wouldn't get enough blood. Looking at the needle of Med-X, Mercy administered half the syringe before she turned to Vera.
"Ready?" The Youngest Rabbit asked Vera as she inserted one end of the needled surgical tubing into her arm and the other end into Tessa's, watched as her blood flowed into Tessa's arm before ripping out the remains of her older sister's Bowie Knife from her older sister's bloody thigh.
Fuckers' Heads' Hideout
Not really... Vera felt she needed a lifetime of experience at this... and different equipment installed on her frame to do this properly. She wasn't a medical eyebot. But Vera had no choice. She had to try. She chirped in an agreeable sort of way, then started carefully, but quickly sewing Tessa's thigh shut. After a few moments it was done, and Vera held the extraneous string for Dr. Plasma Rabbit to cut.
Vera let out one last burst with her sonic emitter to send the dogs away, then shut it off. Vera started pacing back and forth through the room, trying to figure out what else she could do to help.
Only thing she could think of was to play music. Well... something like that anyway.