The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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Frank received a refund from the creepy fellow who robbed him. He was now removed from Frank's mental kill list, and placed on Frank's mental list of weirdoes.
"Dead or not, he's one of your own. You can't possibly be that emotionally disconnected."
"It's not about emotional disconnection. Without your mind working, you're not a person anymore. You're a thing that resembles the person you used to be. He's an ex-person."
"Gut out the broken...bits...got it."
"I know it's quite spectacular, but I'm up here."
Lucy also began to undress.
Saying "Bow-Chicka-Bow-Wow" would be a little too on the nose.
"Step four: Gut take the parts we gutted from my armor out of the spare armor."
Frank began to work on Paladin Carlson's armor.
Lucy then gave her big confession about the Enclave.
"How did you report back to them? Did you just inform a nearby Eyebot of your findings?"
She's Enclave. Can't be trusted. Kill her.
"Shut up dad!"
"I suppose since we're doing confessions, it's my turn."
Frank paused to scratch himself. It had been too long since he had been able to scratch himself. It felt good.
"Before I start, you got any Brahmin jerky left? I want to be able to taste some solid food before I seal myself back up."
Back in my day, there was this jerky vendor out west in Junktown. He made the best Brahmin jerky. He could always haggle for the best price.

Lucy almost grew teary-eyed over the fact that someone had understood her predicament and had accepted it so easily. She lived in fear of exposure and intimacy since she did not want to endanger anymore loved ones. So to hear Shifty's reasonable and rational acceptance, this had thrown her into hugging him, disrupting his needlework in the process.

"Thank you, Mr Mcgee. I-just...You have no reason to-...You know it's something special when you make me equally speechless." she realized how she must look at the moment and she sheepishly returned to the armor work, she whispered to him. "Don't, for a moment, think I did not notice the trembling hands..." adding a mischievous smile. "I propose that we get some drinks after this, I know I could use a few."

The tone had changed when addressing Frank.

Lucy was surprised she didn't have a gun pointed to her head or being restrained by Frank after everything she had just confessed to. Although the imagery of a naked Frank pinning Lucy to the ground would look rather awkward, to say the least.

"I know it's quite spectacular, but I'm up here."

"It's a spectacular display of shrubbery! And my eyes are up here too, you know. You need a good waxing or at least a large dose of radiation to sort out...all of you." she teased Frank by pointing in all directions of his hairy frame.

"How did you report back to them? Did you just inform a nearby Eyebot of your findings?"

"I had to report directly to an Enclave patrol, which meant finding them, a move which would get you killed 9 times out of 10." she paused, remembering details "I had to surrender my weapons, declare my title, they would search me, I would report my findings in 4 minutes or they pull the trigger on one of my legs. Then came the beating and the cheery goodbye."

"I'm still in the dark about all this. My Father had some kind of debt with the Enclave, but he had ties to the Brotherhood. My Mother has not, conveniently, visited me since the attack. She's clearly Enclave." she then proceeded to tell them about the "Plasma Factory" and her planned "recruitment".

"The thing is, I can interact with them, without getting killed...If I can be used, somehow, to the Brotherhood's advantage. They still think I'm an asset, I'll be doing something good, unlike my family." she pleaded.

Lucy had finished with the chest-plate and shoulder-pad repairs. She also moved all the broken circuitry into one arranged section and had salvaged any working components, grabbing a cloth to clean them off. She decided to work on the back-piece in the meantime.

"I suppose since we're doing confessions, it's my turn."

All eyes were on Frank as she absentmindedly tried pulling out some rather stubborn broken circuitry.

"Before I start, you got any Brahmin jerky left? I want to be able to taste some solid food before I seal myself back up."

She dug around in her backpack, pulling open one of the inner zips, a large chunk of Brahmin Jerky was still there. She handed it to Frank.

An Undertaker's Art to Keeping his Cool

So there it was, all the cards on the table as Lucy just about read everything that the The Only Member of the Undertaker's Union was thinking by just looking at his body language. It was sort of embarrassing that someone who was charged with composing the decomposing bodies of the dead could even compose himself in the face of a simple smile.

Then of course there was that hug... the closeness of two bodies separated by only what seemed like atoms worth of cloth. By the end of hug the normally pale undertaker looked as if he someone had turned up the heat in the room, his skin being noticeably more flushed than anyone had seen.

"Don't, for a moment, think I did not notice the trembling hands..." adding a mischievous smile. "I
propose that we get some drinks after this, I know I could use a few."

*Gulp*

There was the slightest of nods given as Lucy turned her attention to Frank.

"Thank the Lord." Shifty thought to himself as he looked looked down towards the completely repaired leather armor, looking it up and down before he had an idea.

Looking in his bag, The Handy-With-Needle Undertaker pulled out a spool of golden silk and started working on the inside of the armor whilst he listened to Lucy's story.

"I'm still in the dark about all this. My Father had some kind of debt with the Enclave, but he had ties to the Brotherhood. My Mother has not, conveniently, visited me since the attack. She's clearly Enclave." she then proceeded to tell them about the "Plasma Factory" and her planned "recruitment".

"Strange that she remembered all of this while she was in the coffin. Didn't Father used to say that a coffin was the best place to remember things?Something about sensory deplivation..." The Tall man thought to himself as he wondered if this piece of information would help Ms. Black in the future.

"The thing is, I can interact with them, without getting killed...If I can be used, somehow, to the Brotherhood's advantage. They still think I'm an asset, I'll be doing something good, unlike my family."

"There's a definite advantage about being able to deal with both the Enclave like Ms. Black and I can, but I can see that the term 'doing something good' is very dependant on perspective. What she might see as horrid my be seen as necessary to her mother... I guess I'll keep that opinion to myself though..." He continued in his head.

What bothered the Undertaker however was that he was thinking of getting involved in the scenario... something that was bad for business in the long run.

"For what? A pretty smile? An intelligent and fully functional brain? A... No... NoNoNo ... noooo .. I can't be. That smitten already?"

The thought came like the final nail in the coffin and as Frank started gnawing on the Brahmin jerky, Shifty looked at the embroidery that he have completed on the inside of Lucy's Leather Armor.

Help this child of the wastes
Keep her safe from harm
Help her find her way

Folding the armor, he politely listened to what Mister Frank had to say.

The sun was beaming hot, hotter than he had ever noticed before, sweat was running down his face, a single stream of blood trickling from a small cut on his head, nothing too serious. He was looking down at the sand he was sat on, exhausted and in extreme pain. He would have carried on crying if it weren't for the dehydration taking over. He took a deep breath, placed his hands on the floor at each side of him and shoved himself backward. Looking up he could see the trail he had left, a line in he sand stained with blood. Blood? Where was it from? Confusion was setting in. The last thing he remembered was being charged at by them. Where were they? He scanned the horizon and saw a Deathclaw, stood atop a rock face, he must have been out of its territory for it not to chase him down.

He was safe, from the Deathclaws. Not the world. The dehydration would get him soon, if the bleeding didn't get him first. The bleeding. He focused and remembered. It was his leg, everything below the knee was loose. Not connected.

'Fuck it' he finally said. His first words since the adrenaline had worn off and had found himself crawling away from the quarry, leaving the bodies of his friends and family, his father, behind. He had decided it was futile, there was no hope. He lay back and waited for death to come.

He closed his eyes, and prayed for it o be quick, when the sun suddenly became dim. 'Need some help friend?' Came a voice. He looked up to see Stan.

Stan? Wayne snapped out of his nightmarish reliving of that horrendous day to see Stan standing over him. His mouth moving. What was he saying?

I couldn't have done it, that's for damn sure. Some kind of complement?

"Don't mention it" Wayne croaked. "C'mon, we gotta get inside before more of these things show up" he said as he hauled himself onto his Robobrain, tapping at his Pip-boy to make it go back to the door of the Nuka cola factory. "I ain't got all day!"

Frank took the jerky and began to chow down. It was pretty good. He had forgotten how much he enjoyed solid food.
"Step five: Take the replacement parts, and put them in the armor."
Frank got to work on the armor, cutting his finger on a sharp piece of metal.
"The sooner I stop being fleshy, the better."
Why haven't you killed her yet?
"Shut up dad!"
Frank continued working on his armor.
"So I omitted a detail when I was telling you why I'm me."
Frank took a heavy sigh.
"The reason I started wearing my armor non-stop, is because since I killed my dad, when I don't, I hear the voices of my dead father-figures. I'm a pretty sane person, sane people should not hear voices."
Being sane is overrated. If you were sane, you would have settled down somewhere, gotten a boring job, and slowly had your soul crushed by tedium.
"So, you know how to track down Enclave patrols? We'll have to kill a few later."
The repairs on the armor were finished. Good as new.
That's some mighty swanky armor.
Frank walked towards the door, still quite naked.
"I'm heading back to my room to take a shower and a dump before I seal myself back up. You're welcome to join me for the shower Mattie."

Lucy had listened to Frank with concern, she noted him actively shouting to himself, yet she felt compelled not to interject. She knew enough about Frank at this point, to know that he isn't a man of many words, so when he does open up, the information is always valuable.

"Have you considered talking to one of the Brotherhood doctor's? Surely there's a Brotherhood psychologist around here that could help some-..."

She realized the silly approach she was taking, of course Frank would consider professional help, or at the very least, it would be mandatory.

"So, you know how to track down Enclave patrols? We'll have to kill a few later."

"I can possibly approach an Eyebot, request the Enclave's attention with new information on the Brotherhood. I could lead them into a trap, we could ambush them..." at this point, her mind fluttered to FalloutBob and her heart grew cold. "Take hostages, torture them, extract information. This list goes on."

WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?

She noticed her neatly folded armor out of the corner of her eye, she took it in her hands, stretching it out, it looked practically new. She decided to start slipping into the armor, always a tight fit, her hands closed around the studded fingerless gloves. "Thank you, Shifty. Beautiful work, not something I could ever do. Even with just needle and thread, you weave with a sense of grace that goes unparalleled." She replied despondently, the sentiment was there, yet her voice seemed off...disconnected. "After this, I want to find FalloutBob...or you choose a method to distract me, whether that includes those drinks I mentioned or otherwise...You choose my immediate future, before I make a somewhat rash decision." Her voice was monotone, her eyes were dull.

Lucy felt something wrong with her thought process, she couldn't emote properly. It was almost as if her emotions had developed their own restricted tunnel-vision. So this was her aggression trigger, she mused. Her mind raced back to the screaming and manic version of herself not too long ago, driven by murderous rage. A shell of her former self. She at least grew frightened at the thought of that side of her erupting again.

STOP ME!

This was why she was requesting help.

"Although there is something I want to do first, come with me to visit a friend in the medical wing, if she's still alive. She has something of mine..."

Rage was slowly building under the surface.

With her back turned to Frank. "Before you leave, do you know where they're keeping FalloutBob, and finally, why haven't you killed me?"

WHY DO YOU WISH FOR DEATH?

An Undertaker's Guide to Psychoanalysis
(A Room Somewhere Inside the Citadel)

"Thank you, Shifty. Beautiful work, not something I could ever do. Even with just needle and thread, you weave with a sense of grace that goes unparalleled." She (Lucy) replied despondently, the sentiment was there, yet her voice seemed off...disconnected.

"Strange" That's the word that came up in his mind when The Undertaker listened to the intonation of Lucy's voice, the Rhythm of her words and watched as her movements seemed to lack the grace and fluidity that he had been witness to earlier. No... there was something going on within the mind of Ms. Lucy Black that Shifty had only caught a glimpse of when she fired upon him when he was mounted on the Behemoth Cavalier's mount.

"After this, I want to find FalloutBob...or you choose a method to distract me, whether that includes those drinks I mentioned or otherwise...You choose my immediate future, before I make a somewhat rash decision."

Shifty McGee started moving, not because he understood what was going on in the mind of Miss Black, but rather because he felt that it was what was needed. He moved because he had an understanding that there was something lurking beneath the placid surface of her mind that was about to rear its ugly head. And while it would have been good to follow his movements with a few kind words of encouragement, he thought it best that he allow her a moment to sort through her mental processes on her own before he intrude.

"Helpless... helpless is how I feel at the moment. Helpless because I know that there's something going on within the neural pathways of Ms. Lucy's mind. Something that I can't see, touch or extricate physically. Perhaps the best thing I can do to help her is to do nothing... perhaps the best thing I can do is to ... "

He recognized the feeling that he had, it was the same day his father left him and his mother... forever. All those bodies had been too much for the old man. All those bodies...

"Snap out of it, Shifty!" His mind scolded him as he finally reached out to take Lucy's hand and lead her out of the room.

"Although there is something I want to do first, come with me to visit a friend in the medical wing, if she's still alive. She has something of mine..."

"Whatever you wish, Miss Black. I aim to please." The Undertaker's thought bubbled to the surface as he continued leading her out of the room.

"Before you leave, do you know where they're keeping FalloutBob, and finally, why haven't you killed me?"

It was at this point that Shifty finally verbalized a coherent string of words for the first time in what had seemed like a while.

"Pardon me, Mister Frank. I'll just take our friend Lucy here to visit her friend. I'm sure that you understand that under the circumstances, I would call it a personal favor it you just forgot the question Ms. Black just asked you, if at all possible that it. My feeling is that perhaps we might revisit this particular topic in... let's say... a few years once things have sufficiently settled down... don't you think? If you do me this one favor, I would consider it an honor to bury you with the full rights owed to a man of your particular... talents." The words came quickly... too quickly so that it seemed as if there was little or no pause between sentences and words.

"Miss Black... if you would find it in your heart to assist me, I would love to see this medical wing where your friend is located. I would love to know a little more about you and what better way than to find out through one of your acquaintances?" Clearly all this tension in the air was getting to our typically happy-go-lucky Undertaker friend because when he spoke, there was an air of nervousness in his voice.

"Good day to you Mister Frank. Perhaps we will see each other again soon and we can begin this whole 'starting over' thing then."

With that, Mr. McGee lead Lucy out into a hallway.

"Perhaps we should speak about what happened back there over a few rounds. I find that the Spirits in spirits can be most helpful when speaking upon matters of the mind... don't you think?"

Lucy had only realized that she was standing in the hallway with her hand gripped firmly in that of the Illustrious Undertaker, Shifty Mcgee's own pale hand. She broke off the physical contact slowly, still rather disconnected from her surroundings, she put her hand to her forehead and leaned against the wall. Taking a deep breath, she took the tip of Shifty's fingers within her hand, guiding him momentarily before falling into step, side-by-side.

Making their way to the Medical Wing, Lucy finally spoke up, the dull tone was still very much apparent, like she was reading from a shopping list. "Her name is Vikki, a semi-mutant. We bumped into each other not too long ago, kindest soul I've ever met, first friend I trusted in years. We also met Frank that day." She then proceeded to tell him about their attack on the raiders and their first encounter with a Duper-mutant. "Skipping some details that I'll tell you about later, we got into a fight with our first Behemoth. Vikki and I were both injured quite badly. Vikki, well, she's stuck here, as far as I know."

Entering the Medical Wing, she discovered it to be empty except for one bed, filled by her yellow-skinned friend. "Lucy! You're alive, what's happening, I'm hearing screaming and I heard explosions and -" Vikki looked visibly frightened, but she was awake and alert. She had put her hand up in order to stop her, but no smile had crossed Lucy's face.

"Three behemoth's, they all had mini-nukes. I ended up taking one down in a rather spectacular fashion. Frank is fine and I made it out in one piece" She motioned towards the Undertaker behind her. "Shifty Mcgee, Undertaker of the Wasteland. Don't worry, you aren't dying." She couldn't even muster a smile with that.

Vikki had smiled nervously and spoke politely "A pleasure to meet you, Mr Undertaker man." Her attention was turned to Lucy though. "Are you okay? Something's wrong. I can see it."

Lucy responded by reaching to the bedside to reclaim her combat knife, hovering above her momentarily, she wished Bob was laying down right here. Now this must look rather disturbing from an outside perspective, Lucy gripping a blade pointed downwards towards her friend for a short period of time that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

She shakily holstered the weapon and laid Vikki's SMG back in its place. "Thank you for your assistance." she nodded towards the SMG. "Goodbye Vikki." she attempted a hug, yet her speech and movement was far too formal and distant for it to feel even remotely affectionate.

Leaving the Medical Wing rather quickly, she spoke more to herself. "At least someone didn't die around me again."

She walked briskly, trying to find a pattern to the crowds that were forming, separating shouts of pain and the bark of orders from those of jovial cheering from the crowds. She had discovered a Brotherhood bar of some sort.

She entered without a moment's hesitation, took a seat at the bar and spoke directly to what she believed to be the apparent Bartender "Vodka. I want the bottle. I blew up one of those Behemoth's from a Vertibird, my friend here assisted me. I think that warrants a few free drinks before we have to start paying."

Receiving two glasses and bottle of Vodka that was roughly slammed on table, she filled half her glass and quickly downed it, feeling her throat burn and her stomach complain as she hadn't eaten beforehand.

"I do apologize for the sudden shift in tone and demeanor, Mr Mcgee." She was starting to feel somewhat better. "My mood was a product of feeling overburdened and overwhelmed by all this combat, commotion and emotional turmoil." She felt somewhat pleased that she could stretch her vocabularies metaphorical leg's at this point. "I can handle a few energy weapons rather well, I'm charismatically inclined and I can do a few odd repair jobs. I am not built for warfare, it seems."

Apparently alcohol had an effect on her charismatic abilities.

Her tone had dropped and she addressed Shifty with a more direct gaze "I am simply emotionally drained and somewhat despondent. Yet listen to me ramble about my negativity...tell me more about yourself."

She paused and added "I'm intrigued." with the smallest of a smile forming.

An Undertaker Walks Into a Bar...
(Local Brotherhood Bar)

Lucy wasn't the only one who was going through some stuff as she lead Shifty through the vaunted halls of the Citadel. While it might not have been apparent to his tour guide, The Tall Man in the suit did take note of the many stares that he received, the whispered curses that followed in his wake like a train and the bubble that seemed to form as he passed through the rank and file of the Brotherhood of Steel. While it was a fairly common and understandable reaction, Shifty, who was friendly by nature, had never gotten used to it.

Lucy's comment said it all when she went to visit Vikki in the medical wing.

"Don't worry, you aren't dying."

The rest of the mini-romp through BoS territory was pretty much the same. Stares, curses and bubbles. At least until they got to the Bar, when Lucy's voice brought Shifty out of his self imposed stupor...

"I can handle a few energy weapons rather well, I'm charismatically inclined and I can do a few odd repair jobs. I am not built for warfare, it seems."

"No one's really built for battle, despite all appearances to the contrary... but we sure are built for dying..." The Friendly Neighborhood Undertaker thought to himself as he brought the glass of vodka to his face hesitating before he downed it, feeling its warmth spread itself his body as it made its way down.

A little aside before we move on to the conversational portion of this little romp through Shifty-Land. Our pale compadre does not mind drinking... after a few drinks that is. That's because it takes a few glasses to make this man forget how much alcohol smells like the bottles of antique embalming fluid that sat on the antique wooden shelves located in his Grandfather's mortuary.

By now Shifty... determined to raise his lot in life to Shit-faced... poured himself and his companion a second glass of what was reputed to be "the good stuff."

"...tell me more about yourself." She paused and added "I'm intrigued." with the smallest of a smile forming.

"Ahh... But not as much as I am by you Miss Lucy. But I will succumb to your charismatic wiles and tell you of the life of Young Thomas "Shifty" McGee... bet you didn't take me for a Tom did you, Miss Black? When I was a child, I used to be one of those Hyperactive children that could never focus on one particular topic at a time. My mother, Walt rest her soul, would tell me time and time again, that my speaking habits reminded her of the shifting sands of the Mojave... meaning... if you were to stop paying attention to me for even a moment, you would lose your place in our conversation and while that little habit was lost, the nickname she bestowed upon me wasn't." Hesitate... Sniff... Pause... Drink.

Shifty poured himself and Miss Black another of seemingly better tasting bottle of Vodka.

"It was never my desire to be an Undertaker though... it just sort of fell on my lap since my Father was one, and his Father was one, and his Father so on and so forth. Smitty was his name, not my father but his Father's Father's Father, and he used to be a metal worker by trade. But when the shit went down and we got the world the way it is now, he had thoughtfully built himself and his family their very own mini-vault and wheb it was finally time to see what they could see, they found the world a place filled with the dead... the dead being my Father's Father's Father's former neighbors and friends. Sniff sniff... Drink... Clink

Once again Shifty refilled Miss Black's and his glasses with the rather delightful drink.

"He just couldn't stand the sight of so many of them out in the open like that... and so he started building coffins and digging holes for his beloved neighbors. Of course, he didn't stop there, he expanded and expanded until he finally buried the last one in his home town... and then he saw the carrion birds. Seems a traveler had been stopped by a rowdy pack of bandits... and left to dry in the barrens. Smitty burries the traveler and then buried the bandits when a pack of mercs went through... it became his obsession, then his son's obsession and then his son's son's obsession. So here we are now... me... taking over the family business on the East Coast... my dad handling the West Coast and my sister, Cristy, handling everything between." Sniff... Drink...

Number four of this triumph of human fermentation ingenuity? Shifty didn't mind if he did and he was sure Lucy wouldn't mind either.

"As for myself... I've always enjoyed the company of people... and I find it painful that they avoid me due to my family's profession, a profession that was thrust unto me by my Father. I've always thought that there was more to helping people out than taking out their dead. Sure I respect the people who have passed and sure I think they've gone on to a much MUCH better place, but I think, helping them out when they were still alive would have been nice... Getting to find out what kind of people they were would have been good to." no sniff... Just drink.

Hey.... This bottle looks empty! How about another garçon?! Better...

"But I will... I will tell you what... Miss Black I have to admit this because if I don't I think that my brains just might explode out of my ears... ONE... you are the most delightful person I have ever met and believe me I have met all kinds of people in my travels... TWO... I think that I would do whatever was in my power to help you with you problem with your father... THREE... I'm personally going to bury FalloutBob before he passes on if he doesn't speak."

No glass... Just drinks from the bottle...

"Sooo... how about we talk about you?" The Friendly Undertaker asked leaning forward attentively with a grin on his face... did I mention that this guy doesn't mind drinking... He drinks like he has a hollow leg after the first few.

"Thomas!?" she laughed softly to herself, quickly composing herself afterwards...somewhat. "I had you pegged for a Sam, maybe a Samuel." she listened to Shifty's story intently, regarding his name. "Your Mother..." following Shifty's example "Walt rest her soul, she seemed to have a very poetic view of the world, with regards to your name." she smiled as she thought about the shifting sands of the Mojave.

She took another drink and proceeded to push her hair over one shoulder, revealing most of her neck, facing Shifty.

After three drinks, she had her head cradled in her hands, listening intently. "Well, I think..." she held her glass up to the Honorable Undertaker "...that your Father's Father's Father- I'm confused. The one who started it all, the entire lineage actually, is admirable. The origin is heartbreaking admittedly, but I would consider it to be very honorable, the work that you do." she paused "Springvale could have used you, you may not see it, but if there are loved one's remaining...There is nothing they would appreciate more than a proper burial for those who have passed."

"This may be a morbid thought, although isn't morbid apart of your job description? Anyway, you wish to help someone out before they passed on, I would say that you're off to a good start with me." She smiled reassuringly "You were protecting me when I was at my most vulnerable, you know I'm in rather complicated situation, you stopped me from taking that knife and finding Bob and you're even sharing a drink with me." she tilted her head and her eyes closed slightly as if she were analysing the smallest of details on his clothing, except her eyes were directed towards his in a piercing manner. She relaxed and smiled "You could have walked away at any point, putting profession aside, as a person you could have distanced yourself. Yet here you are, comforting me, staying by my side...Thank you, from the bottom of my heart" she even laid both her hands to her chest as a sweet gesture.

"You are the most delightful person I have ever met and believe me I have met all kinds of people in my travels."

"Well, I-...erm, you're far too sweet." she had chosen to hide behind her hair since she was turning a shade of pink. "The same could be said about you my dear Undertaker. Do you know how liberating it feels to use my big-girl-words for once?"

"I think that I would do whatever was in my power to help you with your problem with your father."

This line had stunned Lucy, momentarily removing the embarrassment from before, nobody had offered to personally help her.
Her reaction was that of being caught off guard, the Undertaker would notice, this had also hit her on a deeper level.

She draped her arms around the noble Undertaker "You have no idea what that means to me, Thomas. I've honestly been alone for so long with nobody to support me. Not on a personal level anyways."

"I'm personally going to bury FalloutBob before he passes on if he doesn't speak."

It took this final line in order to bring back her spirit, to cheer her up and to lift the weight off her shoulders. Sheepishly, she replied with a barely concealed smile. "I'm right there with you."

"Did anyone ever tell you that flattery will probably get you everywhere? Because you're doing an excellent job so far."

She paused as she waited for the new bottle, even though they had polished off just one bottle, it had been awhile since Lucy had done this sort of thing, she was fine yet the alcohol did have a kick. The good kind of kick.

"Sooo you want to hear about Mini-Lucy? Well, I've always been quite the bookworm, I would read anything from repair manuals to my favorite's like, Lying Congressional Style, Nikola Tesla and you. I tried reading computer...stuff...I don't get it. Also, unarmed fighting? I tried punching a radroach that got into the house once...The floor won. Ironically, I killed it with the book, I think that's a melee weapon though..."

She generously poured a glass full for both of them.

"When I wasn't killing radroaches with books, I would run around with repaired laser pistols, brought back by my Dad and we would go out hunting mole-rats. They were, like, huge when you're in your early teens. So don't judge me." she mockingly scolded him.

She took a large gulp and changed to more recent topics "For the past few years, I lived in Megaton, with Moira at the Craterside Supply. I would do odd little repair jobs around town, tend the store when Moira had a crazy experiment to carry out and I would hunt the mole-rats and radscorpions in the area. There was one condition, wear that damned black and white polka-dot dress...all the time...and I was made to eat certain foods developed by Moira. Emphasis on the word developed over there." she started to use exaggerated finger quotes. "My hair turned green at some point...apparently her solution was a couple of magnets, some brahmin milk and a couple of happy thoughts...it didn't work out."

"Which reminds me, Megaton!" she proceeded to tell the story of Frank, Vikki, Marlon and her launching an assault on a Behemoth. How reckless she was, her singing and Frank's crazy idea's revolving around stealing and breaking modes of transport for the sake of combat. "That's what happened there, Frank makes life...interesting, to say the least. He's honorable, if you look past the stunted social skills, but you can't exactly blame the guy. I'll always be loyal to him, if I can."

She was happy just to sit there and talk about anything, helped take her mind off things. "I'm still, reeeally, sorry about shooting at you. But you gotta give me credit, that's a hell of a way to make an introduction, right?"

"OH! Any weapons that you're skilled with? A Gauss Rifle, maybe?" she put her finger to her mouth, "ooooh! This one was important, we should check up or find out about Barry, later though. We aren't in the...best...condition to be dealing with serious matters."

She smiled with greater ease as she cradled her head in one hand, "So what's our plan? Frank and I have to take down this Mad Doctor guy. He did, whatever it was that you saw, to Vikki. He made her that way...Will you be coming with, or do we have to resort to sad goodbye's, last-minute regrets, a quest to find one another and then dramatically save the other one at the last moment?"

The alcohol was definitely making her feel very casual and unreserved. Yet she felt safe and happy in the Vodka's Shifty's company.

An Unde... Shifty...

People passed on, oceans dried, worlds stopped turning and even stars burnt out as the Upstanding Undertaker listened to the words that spoken to him by Ms. Black. At least, the way the world seemed to stop existing, it seemed like all that must have occurred. In any case, whatever the reality of the situation was, Shifty found himself very much content listening to the summarized version of Lucy's childhood... and for a while... he even smiled as well.

Unlikely drinking companions under now historical circumstances, one of them being the bookworm type with gumption and the other being a verbose giant with a penchant body measurements and playing in the sand; they found themselves three quarters of the way through the second of the Brotherhood's most vile vodka and vile, in this case, being good when it came towards achieving epic levels of drunkenness.

"Sooo you want to hear about Mini-Lucy?"

"There isn't a more interesting topic that I could think of in the world at the moment, save for perhaps where you got those lovely streaks of green in your hair." Thomas "Shifty" McGee thought to himself as he listened to the stories of Mini-Lucy, scourge of the Radroach Cartel and clean floors everywhere.

Cheers... down the hatch!

She seemed happy when she talked about her father... more so than most other people would in this day and age and as Ms. Black told her stories of Molerat hunting trips, he began to understand just how it was that she seemed so adept with her Gauss Rifle (under the right circumstances).

"They were, like, huge when you're in your early teens. So don't judge me." She said referencing her early teenage height against the height of the average Molerat.

"I would never assume myself in a position to judge you, Ms. Black. However... if I might impose my opinion that everything must seem tiny compared to the Behemoth you chopped down today. So I believe those hunting trips prepared you for today." He retorted while forcing her to remember that even the largest creatures in the world were not immune to Ms. Black's expert marksmanship.

"My hair turned green at some point...apparently her solution was a couple of magnets, some brahmin milk and a couple of happy thoughts...it didn't work out."

"I was going to ask you about those..." The bookworm's drinking companion commented as he reached out and tousled a bit of her hair, pseudo-mesmerized by the contrast of her dark hair against his light skin.

Clink... Clink... DRINK!

"Frank makes life...interesting, to say the least. He's honorable, if you look past the stunted social skills, but you can't exactly blame the guy. I'll always be loyal to him, if I can."

And this is the point where Shifty's smile faded a bit as the memories of how the Power-Suited hellion treated the body of his deceased comrade reared their ugly heads. If Lucy saw this, however, she would have had to have had a keen eye because our Undertaker's 75% smile was soon covered by yet another glass of the triple distilled miracle vodka.

"He certainly is a pragmatic fellow, this Mister Frank. I can see why you would choose to follow him when there's a job to be done, that's for sure."

"I'm still, reeeally, sorry about shooting at you. But you gotta give me credit, that's a hell of a way to make an introduction, right?

"I will have to admit... it has earned you quite the endearing position in my heart, Ms. Lucy... I dare to say it has been the most memorable way that I have made an acquaintanceship yet! If there's anytime that I should be glad that your aiming was off, I dare that that it was at that particular moment. I do accept your apology however as long as you accept mine. I do confess that I rather enjoyed the fitting I gave you prior to your nap and while you have every right to be offended at that notion, I believe that if we're to start off right we should start off with a clean conscious... whatever this is we're starting off."

"OH! Any weapons that you're skilled with? A Gauss Rifle, maybe?"

Now that was a question wasn't it? What exactly did an Undertaker use to protect himself from the Dangers that lurked in the wastes. A Gauss Rifle? A Laser Rifle? An Assault Rifle? A chainsaw?

"Unfortunately, nothing so fine a weapon as yours is, Missy. I've just got this ole peashooter my father gifted me before I left to come out East. Maggy he called her... a .357 Magnum to be sure but that's never really been the way us Undertakers stay out of danger. It's been our metaphysical reputation as the harbingers of death that's kept of clear of our untimely demises." It was at this point that Shifty leans forward over the table, looking directly into Lucy's eyes as he spoke, his deep brown eyes meeting her piercing blues and as he spoke, he closed in on her... as if he were about to snatch her right out of her chair.

"There was this backwater town in California whose people were starting to get a little rowdy with their neighbors, one of those neighbors being my home town. And so... one day my father gets on his bicycle and rides off into the Styx where this town is located and sits down out in the middle of their town... speaking to no one. The people of this town start talking to one another, wondering why there would be an Undertaker visiting their little hellhole... he must have been there for one of them, right? There's no other reason for one of the carrion birds to sit in the middle of town... talk gives way to fear and the fear gives birth to panic. Pause... blink... damned vodka bottle was empty... on to the third.

"In the end... they killed each other in the hopes that my father wasn't there for them." Shifty said as he resumed his normal seating position, a smile on his face... and began laughing.

"Of course... none of that is true. It's just a story that my father used to ask his customers to spread around rather than charge them to bury their loved ones. It's kept him, my sister and myself fairly safe over the years."

"So what's our plan? Frank and I have to take down this Mad Doctor guy. He did, whatever it was that you saw, to Vikki. He made her that way...Will you be coming with, or do we have to resort to sad goodbye's, last-minute regrets, a quest to find one another and then dramatically save the other one at the last moment?"

"Miss Black... it would be my pleasure to accompany you to whatever castle of despair you deem necessary. If there is one lesson that I have always kept to heart since I was a child, it has been to avoid living with regret. Also... this undertaker would nothing more to ensure that he doesn't have to use the coffin he built you for quite some time." Undertaker McGee said as he pours Lucy and himself their first glass of Vodka from the third bottle... and as he does, someone turns on the radio.

There was a bit of a smile that came from the inebriated Undertaker in the Ole Timey suit as he stood up.

"However... there are exceptions to regret rule... I might regret asking you for this dance." He said offering his hand to Lucy.

"Crawver's log."

"Another day of fruitless endeavour, seemingly no one around for miles; I know it's suspicious, but I'm not fool enough to question fortune. What am I saying? I'm a doctor, damn it, not some twopenny mystic. Curses."

"Abraham and I have decided to seek shelter for tonight, it seems a storm is coming in; well, so he seems to think, ear to the ground, fingers in the air, trick knee, trick elbow, all of his bones are trick, he is a blasted trick. Of course I can barely look up, let alone forecast the weather. It's becoming increasingly apparent that I am heavily depending on him for survival. Ugh...this...this troubles me greatly."

"Blast, the rain's coming."

"Are we still going for a tour, or have we been taken hostage?" Evan whispered to Dudley. They were following Fallout Jack into the Enclave base, soldiers in resplendent power armour marched back and forth in patrols, or stood guard like fearsome statues carrying state of the art weaponry. Fallout Jack was the scariest of them all. He had just marched right up to them and in a few minutes had persuaded them to follow him into the fort. It seemed the plan had been taken out of their hands for now.

"I think we might be in for both, get me? I don't like this Jack fella, it ain't right the way he eats. Never trust a man who eats weird." Replied Dudley, aware that his massively powerful weaponry wouldn't be much use here. He might take a few down with him but this was Enclave central. Mow down five of them and a hundred would show up.

"Never trust a man who eats weird? YOU eat like a radroach! I didn't think it was possible for a human to eat like a radroach but you manage it." Shot back Evan, the situation was making him nervous, if they knew or discovered who he was the implications were not good. They were following Fallout Jack towards the fort and getting some suspicious looks from the soldiers. None of them said a word but the message was clear: 'You are strangers in this place. You don't belong here.'

They were coming up to the fort entrance. No turning back now, the doors opened for Fallout Jack and they were ushered inside. The doors slammed shut behind Evan and Dudley with a worrying clang. Trapped?

Frank was displeased. Instead of taking up his offer to shower with him, Lucy had a mild mental break.
Frank ducked out of the room.
Nice work Casanova.
"Shut up Dad."
Frank walked off to his room, still quite naked, and drawing a few uncomfortable glances.
Frank sat down on the toilet to do his business.
It felt weird to sit down, and actively try to do something that should just happen naturally. Frank did not care for it.
It's worse when you're a ghoul. I'm not going to go into it.
Frank moved to the bed to try and take a nap.
We should be planning for taking down the person behind the Behemoths.
Sleep proved impossible in Frank's current state.
Frank was agitated. He'd shower later.
Frank grabbed a dirty Scribe robe from the wall, put it on, and headed to the lounge.

"I walked around Megaton for about two month's before the green started to grow out. As you can see, some of it won't leave -..."

"Maybe you'll think of me when you are all alone."

"However... there are exceptions to regret rule... I might regret asking you for this dance." The Undertaker stood there with his hand extended towards her.

The palm of Lucy's hand had collided with her face automatically, she wasn't making fun of the Undertaker but she was extremely embarrassed by the whole situation. Her sudden bout of acute shyness was clearly showing on her face by the way of rosy cheeks. Whether this was actually due to the shyness, the alcohol or a combination of both, well, she was in no state to know that.

She took the Undertaker's hand and was lead out of the way of many passing patrons, "I see no reason for any sort of regret. Although, you'll have to...um...lead?" She was unfamiliar with dancing, except for what most would consider her dancing to be seizures when she thought nobody was looking.

She wondered how this looked from an outsider's perspective, she was rather short, so she only reached his chest at best, her mind was not all too clear to be looking at such details. So while she rested her head against what she thought was a lower chest, she spoke, "Apology accepted, by the way, that's why I made you repair my armour."

"Maybe you'll sit and sigh, wishing that I were near."

"We're quite similar in one aspect, despite our drastically different lifestyles, we're still rather...lonely at heart." Yet she felt that was going to change, especially considering what her life has been like lately. "I'd love nothing more than the company of the recently-met-yet-still-considered-illustrious Undertaker, Shifty Mcgee."

The song was nearing the halfway mark at this point.

She was comfortable for once and blindly happy, so she had a silly grin on her face. She looked up at the Undertaker, "You know, not too long ago, I was offering to go with you...Now, you seem to be volunteering to go with me...or is this a case of us, erm..." She grew slightly flustered at having being lost for words, "...Going together?"

She changed the subject rapidly. This was heading towards a dangerous territory where her better judgement told her to steer clear of such talk, before it subsequently passed out and fell asleep.

"Oh!" she said, patting his chest "Teach me how to use normal guns properly and I'll teach you how to use my Gauss Rifle. I'm notoriously bad with the former..." she meant that, she thought it would be fun, but her far-from-sober mind compelled her to get on her tippy-toes, don Shifty's top-hat and walk away.

She felt momentarily guilty, however, she had completed her quest in retrieving a bar-stool. Climbing up onto her knees on the chair, she was at head-height with Shifty for once and while rocking a top-hat, she promptly kissed the Undertaker of the Wasteland on the cheek. "This is the point where actions speak louder than words."

She smiled at the Undertaker, prodding his chest with a finger, she attempted a stern scolding but she ended up breaking into laughter. "Okay okay, Blamco-serious time now..." she half-composed herself, "If we're going to be around one another, we have to take care of each other. You're a little...floaty with your thoughts. Like Blamco Mac and Cheese in water...but I like Mac and Cheese...anyway, I'm stupidly reckless and emotional sometimes...so let's keep each other in check, okay?"

She attempted to stare him down to drive her point home but the amount of Vodka had made her far too joyous for anything remotely serious. So she resorted to a simple female tactic: bribery, emotional or otherwise. "If you agree, you get another kiss."

She didn't wait for an answer, she did it anyway and with that, the song had reached it's final note.

So much for impulse-control...

After the battle, Marlon had made a few notes and plans, seen to his weapons and taken care of similar minor matters of business. Once taken care of, he'd made his way to the bar, having missed a good dose of vice in the past day or so.

It looked like Lucy was having fun, dancing away with...who was that exactly? Not Frank. At least he didn't think so. He was sure he'd find out soon enough though. For now he took the time to take a drag on his cigerette and wash it down with a mouthful of whisky.

He'd made some small talk with some of the brotherhood, but agreement with Lyons or no, most of them were keeping their distance. Couldn't blame 'em. He was pretty certain he'd have done the same in their position.

He occupied himself instead with watching Lucy and her friend. Probably the most relaxing thing he'd seen in the past little while, full of explosions and destruction of property and mutants and Frank. He grinned and cheered a little when they concluded their dance.

The Van Graff hung back for a few moments to finish his cigerette and give Lucy and her new pal a bit of time to themselves before he wandered over.

Once he did though, he grinned. "Nice to see you having a bit of fun. Who's your new buddy? And where's tall, tin and cranky anyhow. I ain't seen him since the end of that shit earlier. Not that I'm complaining though. It's much more relaxing."

*Incoherent Mumblings of an Undertaker*
(Brotherhood of Steel Lounge)

Maybe this was all just a dream... maybe Shifty McGee had died and this was the afterlife... maybe this was his idea of heaven. If it was, he hoped that no one was trying very hard to bring him back from the dead at the moment. He could definitely stand being dead, regardless if his body remained unburied for the many creatures that roamed the wastes

"We're quite similar in one aspect, despite our drastically different lifestyles, we're still rather...lonely at heart."

What The Undertaker's dance partner was thinking at that very exact moment, was what the Undertaker was thinking. It wasn't as if he chose the lifestyle of a lone Grave Digger, doomed to roam the Wastelands for eternity, BUT it was just... well... never mind... another thought process for another time and for another bottle of Vodka. For now, let him just rejoice in the warming feeling of a new closeness to someone else. A smile stealthy smile sneaked its way onto Shifty's face as Lucy's happiness became low grade radiactive; seeping into our Undertaker friend on a cellular level.

"I'd love nothing more than the company of the recently-met-yet-still-considered-illustrious Undertaker, Shifty Mcgee."

Shifty was left dumbstruck for once and even his mind was awash in sensation... emotion... feelings... warm and fuzzies... a welcome replacement to the constant string of words that eventually went rampaging through his nervous system and out his word hole. Happiness? Was this what it felt like?

The remainder of the short song was spent in comfortable silence between the two companions as they gently swayed to the music. Try as he might, Shifty couldn't help but smile as Lucy's warm breath against seeped through the fabric of his clothing and, not to sound especially sappy, warmed the heart of our normally lonely digger of graves.

"You know, not too long ago, I was offering to go with you...Now, you seem to be volunteering to go with me...or is this a case of us, erm..." She grew slightly flustered at having being lost for words, "...Going together?"

Of course... the double meaning of the words that she ended the her statement with were not lost on our Friendly Neighborhood Undertaker. Her words had dynamited the dam that held back the torrent of words that had been kept in check for the last few minutes and at this very point, they overwhelmed him. He could have said something poignant about even death not being a sufficient barrier in keeping him from her side, or he could have said something that reflected his raging tornado of hormones, such as "Miss Lucy, speaking of going places together... I hear there's some rather comfortable accomodations here in thr Citadel.". Instead, hesitation became the enemy of the opportity; the moment to see if lady luck was on his side was lost, dashed, tossed overboard ocean crossing seaship. It was probably for the best... as The Notable Mister McGee aimed for the long haul.

"Teach me how to use normal guns properly and I'll teach you how to use my Gauss Rifle. I'm notoriously bad with the former..."

Now, for some odd reason, Shifty's vodka soaked brain thought that it would be a rather splendid idea to do so at that very moment, taking Miss Lucy out to the weapon's range and teaching her a thing or two about using Maggy. Sure she lacked the punch of Lucy's Gauss rifle and she might have been overly loud when fired but she was still reliable. Plus, in keeping with his desire to keep Miss Black alive, he thought it best that she learn a thing or two about conventional weaponry. Always be prepared they used to say. Thankfully, his companion in dance and weapon's training was a bit more sensible in the matter and was probably aware that firearms training and Vodka do not mix.

"It's a ... It's a... It is a date Miss Black. I would be more than happy to show you a thing or two about firearms. I think that helping you learn more abo..."

*SNATCH!!!*

Now this was a sight... Here we had the Undertaker of the East, Last in the Wild Wastes, standing with his mouth agape, as if waiting for a bloatfly to land inside, watching as the lovely Miss Lucy walked away while wearing a top hat that looked remarkably familiar. He also noticed a couple of Brotherhood Neophytes looking in his direction curiously and that there was more light, besides the brightness coming from Miss Lucy, that seemed to be reaching his eye holes.

*BING!*

The realization that his dance partner and soon to be partner in crime had stolen his hat finally wormed its way to the forefront of his thought process. His logic centers processed this new bit of data for a moment and took a moment from their busy schedule of pickling in the imbibed alcoholic beverage to inform him that his mohawk was now on display.

Now far be it for the rather tall gentleman to complain but the Mohawk that had been involuntarily placed on display was a rather sore topic, one that involves therapy and medication. Needless to say, it was Shifty's turn to be embarrassed as his little rebellious streak was suddenly thrust out into the world... It wasn't until he was once again rescued by the kind and beautiful Miss Black that the panic subsided. How was he saved you might ask?

*Smooch*

The sensation of a set of warm and wet lips pressed against his cheek brought him to his senses as the bookworm favored the Tall One with a kiss, even it it was just on the cheek.

"Okay okay, Blamco-serious time now... " she half-composed herself, "If we're going to be around one another, we have to take care of each other. You're a little...floaty with your thoughts. Like Blamco Mac and Cheese in
water...but I like Mac and Cheese...anyway, I'm stupidly reckless and emotional sometimes...so let's keep each other in
check, okay?"

"If you agree, you get another kiss."

He had anticipated that one when he saw her leaning in and as her lips neared his cheek once again, he did a quick head turn and pulled off the ole switcheroo. The feeling of her lips touching his was worth it, whatever the results of his mischief was.

*SMOOCH*

"Deal." He said after a moment, thinking that now was an opportunity to show Miss Lucy that he would take her words into consideration and like his cohort, he took a moment; looking into her eyes to show that he was serious... and failing to display such self control as her mirth went full viral and infected him with a case of the laughs.

Looking at the top hat wearing, gause rifle toting, black with green streak haired woman that had gone through the effort to look him in the eyes on his level, he decided that she was lacking a certain something. Doffing his jacket, he brushed the dust off its shoulders and draped it upon the shoulders of the woman in front of him, transforming into a much much better looking version of the Undertaker.

While it would have been nice to say that the world stopped once again, it did not. Instead it came in, knocked on the door politely and let itself inside.

"Nice to see you having a bit of fun. Who's your new buddy? And where's tall, tin and cranky anyhow. I ain't seen him since the end of that shit earlier. Not that I'm complaining though. It's much more relaxing."

A newcomer... stranger... someone who was friendly. The Undertaker turned to the soon-to-be new acquaintance and offered a friendly but firm handshake; father always said that a firm handshake was a sign of character.

"Shifty McGee, Undertaker. How do you do?" The tall man said rather formally or it would have been formal if it wasn't for the hiccup that threw itself in there at the end of his introduction.

Seeing that alone time was over, Shifty grabbed the bottle of Vodka from the nearby table and poured the his companion, his companion's friend and himself a drink.

"Marlon Van Graff. Arms Dealer. Had better days." He took the undertaker's hand and gave a handshake of a similar nature. Deals were built on such handshakes. The Van Graff wouldn't dare offer anything less.

"I had planned to set up shop 'round these parts. But events have kind of gotten away from me a bit. So that's on hold right now."

He took the glass of vodka. "Cheers, buddy."

He gave Lucy a sideways glance. "I think I like Mr. McGee more than Frankenstein." And then he grinned. "But that ain't saying much."

Bad move Undertaker.

Lucy generally shows her appreciation through affection, she would use her words, but she finds touch to be a greater indication of true emotional intent.

As her Mother taught her, anyone can lie, if you can detect it then use that to your advantage. If you aren't there to hurt the person, use your charms and wit to gain the emotional reactions you desire.

It turns out that Lucy was comfortable with affection when it was on her own terms, yet she lost control when someone else took the initiative and that was not a feeling she enjoyed. It seems the undertaker misunderstood what she meant when she said "...Going together?". It also seems that her kiss to the cheek, a gesture frequently shared by her parents was also misinterpreted by the Undertaker.

She handed the top hat and jacket back and her smile had faded into a somewhat more grim expression. The alcohol had lowered her inhibitions, especially to a point where she had become too flirtatious. "I think you have the wrong idea about me, Mr Mcgee." she had reverted to formalities, "Earlier, when I said going together, I realized how...that could carry a double-meaning, hence the hesitation."

She felt excessively silly in that moment, yet terribly guilty, she enjoyed what company she had of the Undertaker. Shifty was respected, honourable, eloquent and fun to be around. Yet he felt too much like her Father, he even dressed like Isaac, a painful reminder of someone she's still in the process of discovering.

She felt comfortable, yes. Attraction, however, would be a hurdle. Unfortunately, it was one hurdle she did not wish to approach.

"The kiss to the cheek, that's just...that's just how I was taught to show appreciation. I hug and I hold those I'm comfortable with. It..." This was difficult, yet she chose to be honest, "It...doesn't necessarily mean anything deeper than that. Combine that with Vodka...I was just happy to forget and be happy for once..." her voice trailed off.

Forget? Yes, forget the issue with her parent's, the truth behind the past, having one parent forcibly ripped from your life and another abandoning you without any sign of coming back. She just wanted peace.

The floodgates of guilt had opened and it was very much apparent on her face. "This is my fault, and I'm sorry for the way I acted. Whether it's the delirious feeling of exhaustion, the friendless after making a new friend, the emotional-numbing following a battle or the blind pleasure-seeking behaviour of too much alcohol...I didn't mean to give you wrong impression. Like I said, I'm stupidly reckless and emotional..."

At this point, God had arrived, or more appropriately, Marlon showed up. Relief was given to her in spades in that moment.

"Nice to see you having a bit of fun. Who's your new buddy? And where's tall, tin and cranky anyhow. I ain't seen him since the end of that shit earlier. Not that I'm complaining though. It's much more relaxing."

Since the "fun" part had made her cringe, she intended to rush to introductions, yet the Undertaker had beaten her to the punch. Addressing Marlon directly, "Frank? I think he's taking a dump" she said the last part with Vikki-trademarked finger quotes. "Speak of the devil and he doth appear...or something like that."

"Either way, it's good to see you made it out without a damn scratch. I should hang around you more, Frank puts me in these crazy situations, although I do volunteer for it I suppose...What did you think of, well, everything that happened out there?"

Lucy had refused the alcohol and pushed the drink towards Marlon, indicating that she had had enough. She ordered a giant glass of water, hoping to sober up, while waiting for the inevitable wave of tension from the Undertaker she did not wish to hurt.

You'll never let yourself be happy, will you? You are allowed to let go, you do know that, right?

She ignored her thoughts. In her brief experience, people who got close to her tended to get injured or die.

Frank had not slept in some time. It was starting to wear on him.
However, he couldn't sleep in his current state.
This proved problematic.
The problem is that you're fighting us. Just embrace us, and this will go smoother.
Frank was not in a good mood. When he didn't sleep, he got quite surly.
Frank trudged into the lounge, where many a Brotherhood member was celebrating.
Frank walked up to the counter.
"Water."
Frank gulped it down in one go.
"Another. Some mirelurk cakes too if you've got them."
Frank scarfed down his mirelurk cakes. He always liked the taste of mirelurk. During his stay at Rivet City after leaving the Brotherhood, he often went to Garry's Galley to have mirelurk cakes.
Fighting mirelurks was how I developed the [Piercing Strike] technique. Mean bastards, but they sure are delicious.
Frank walked over to a pretty looking scribe.
"You got a name?"
"Back off- Wait, you're Frank? You kicked ass out there! I'm Scribe Catherine Gomez. You saved a lot of lives today. Thank you.
"If you want to show your appreciation, be in my quarters in five minutes."
"Sure thing!"
Flirting in the Brotherhood was always more direct than elsewhere. When you have such a high mortality rate, you don't have time for silly games. When Frank was young, he tried to woo many a girl in Rivet City. It was way too much work.
Frank walked over to Marlon, while sipping his water. He was quite irate."
"Brando, I just wanted to tell you; when this is all over, I'm going to make funny balloon-animal shapes out of your limbs."
[Bonecrusher]"Do you have a preference? I can do dogs, mirelurks, radscorpions, yao gauis, radroaches, and deathclaws."
Why do you hesitate? The Van Graff must die!
Frank took a sip of his water, then walked over to Shifty.
"You are an unpleasant, untrustworthy person, and even by the standards of people who work with corpses, you're ugly."
Frank finally turned his attention to Lucy.
"You're short, and you manipulate people."
Frank gulped down the rest of his water, and barged out of the lounge.

Barry began to grasp the gravity of what he had done in his drug addled trance. He ended a life. One of someone he never even knew. Someone who had never wronged him or to the best of his knowledge harmed anyone. While he appeared to be fine on the outside he was dead. As dead as a man can be. Every aspect of who he was had been taken away because he couldn't handle losing his dad. All of this because he couldn't take losing his old man. He couldn't muster a scream. He was completely numb. He knew he couldn't go back now. He knew that no matter how hard he tried he would use again. His survival would be the downfall of someone else and he just couldn't allow that. Grabbing a beyond lethal dosage of Psycho he wandered forward into the destroyed town before stumbling into the most intact building. Not a bad place to go all things considered. It was very dimly lit. His eyes adjusted. He was in a comic book shop. He couldn't help but pick one up. Soon he had fingered through dozens and dozens. While faint he did feel a fraction of what he felt when he would lay down in bed resting his head on his dad's chest having them read to him. His favorite always being The Flash. Barry realised he couldn't put it off any more. He was a monster and needed to be put down. He injected himself with every last one. But the universe couldn't let its favorite chew toy go out this easy. He awoke. But he couldn't remember a thing about himself. All he could remember was the adventures of a very particular character and decided that they had to be memories. "Where am I and why aren't I in costume?" Present Barry wasn't quite as fortunate. He didn't wake up at this point. His memories restarted going back to right before his father's death. He experienced the last few painful days of his old life again...and again...and again hundreds and hundreds of times in a mere day or so. He began to think he was in hell. Maybe he was. Then finally sleep released him. He awoke screaming in the infirmary tears streaming down his face. As he tried to reconcile all that he saw...something fractured...all the memories and emotions took over a part of him. A part of him now consumed by pain and hate. A part of him just waiting for its moment to let all hell break loose...

An Undertaker's Reality
(Brotherhood of Steel Lounge]

Boundaries... everyone has them, an intricate line that we all draw in the sand and declare "do not pass!", "verbotten", or "leave me alone!". Whether it was the alcohol, the music or the excitement of making a new acquaintance, it had obliterated the senses of the Undertaker, making him a ripe target for misunderstanding and missteps. It's these very factors that helped perpetuate the situation that our Friendly ... Friendless... Undertaker found himself in.

However, while it might have been expected for most people to ramp up the tension and throw some sort of fit, it seemed that the Gentlemanly Mister McGee was content to continue with friendly relations despite him crossing the lines with Miss Black and making her seem rather uncomfortable.

"Nice to meet you Mister van Graff, glad to be in such esteemed company. Any friend of Miss Lucy's is a friend of mine, though I will take your comment regarding my likeability versus Mister Frank's as a compliment. He does seem to have a rather large following in the Brotherhood." Shifty said amiably as he sat back in the seat and watched as his now more placid companion pass on the the Vodka, which our dearest Undertaker friend intercepted, knocking the drink back, determined to bury the unscene emotional forces under another layer of distilled bliss.

Had Shifty been in a more sober state of mind, perhaps he would have given what Miss Lucy had said a bit more thought and been more understanding towards her plight. Afterall, losing a parent in a rather brutal fashion, having a parent dosappear without a trace and having your friend in the medical ward of this very bastion of Brotherhood presence would screw up many a person's interpersonal relationship abilities. No rather than having tbose thought float to the surface like a bloated corpse, his father's words paraded through his mind loke a marquee.

"Never show them any sign of weakness, son. It's a dangerous world out there filled with jackals ready to cull the weakest lamb from the flock."

No, dear friends, unless you were an observant person who spent many an hour with our dearest Undertaker, you would have hard pressed to notice the signs that anything was wrong. The amiable smile was still plastered all over his face, though the emotional reflection of the smile was absent from his eyes.

Waiting, politely for Mister Marlon and Miss Lucy's conversation regarding Mister Frank to end, the Undertaker dropped the false guise of joviality for a moment as he turned to the woman who had been the first person to show him true kindness since his arrival in the Wastes and nodded to her, opting to show her respect by keeping his distance.

"I understand and I'm sorry." He said, opting to keep faniciful words and his flightiness out of the apology. A moment later, the smile was back, an attempt to reassure the lady that he would still accompany her and lend his assistance any way he could.

All should have been peaceful if no one noticed his masquerade and all should have been alright if Shifty maintained control over himself and all of that might have mattered if it wasn't for the untimely arrival of Mister Frank.

"You are an unpleasant, untrustworthy person, and even by the standards of people who work with corpses, you're ugly."

Frank finally turned his attention to Lucy.

"You're short, and you manipulate people."

Now Shifty had been called worse in his life... I can guarantee that... and I can truthfully say that he did feel that some of what that asshole Mister Frank said might have had a grain of truth in there, though we'll leave it a mystery for the time being. Regardless of what was correct and what was falacy, our dour Grave Digger spent a fairly silence few moments, moments spent imagining the life burial of the man who had come into the louge with the seemingly express purpose of insulting Miss Lucy, Mister Marlon and himself.

Composure... it would come... eventually... however Undertaker of the Eastern Seaboard, Thomas "Shifty" McGee, found himself in dire need of some air.

"Pardon me, friends." He said through unmoving lips, "it seems that drink and excitement has gotten the best of me. If you'll excuse me... I'll see myself to some much needed air." He lied as he picked himself up, donning hat and jacket and grabbing the bottle of Vodka as he left for the training area/courtyard of the Citadel.


It took a few moments to get to his destination but he was satisfied to find that there was no one at the shooting range.

The amygdala is a wonderful neural structure in your brain that helps control traumatic memories. The problem with it is that it does not recognize temporal passage so when it's stimulated, it triggers a flood of traumatic memories that flood into the consciousness at once. In Shifty's case, Miss Lucy's rejection and Mister Frank's insults had brought back memories of a rather fucktastic childhood. Pulling Maggy out of her holster with his right hand and leaving the half empty bottle of Vodka in his left, Shifty took aim towards a set of targets, bottle to his lips.

"Hey Shifty! Why don't you just bury yourself with those corpses? That's the closest you'll ever get to having a friend!"

*BLAAAAAM!*

*PWING!*

*Chug chug chug*

"Shitty Shifty, shitty Shifty, shitty Shifty!"

*BLAAAAAM!*

*PWING!*

*Chug chug chug*

"Shifty... I'm sorry, I don't date with people who smell like rotten meat."

*BLAAAAAM!*

*PWING!*

*Chug chug chug*

"You are an unpleasant, untrustworthy person, and even by the standards of people who work with corpses, you're ugly."

*BLAAAAAM!*

*PWING!*

*Chug chug chug*

"This is my fault, and I'm sorry for the way I acted. Whether it's the delirious feeling of exhaustion, the friendless after making a new friend, the emotional-numbing following a battle or the blind pleasure-seeking behaviour of too much alcohol...I didn't mean to give you wrong impression. Like I said, I'm stupidly reckless and emotional..."

*BLAAAAAM!*

*PWING!*

*Chug chug chug*

Wayne burst through the door to the factory, with the aid of his Robobrain. 'Jesus Christ what went on out there?' Said Mick, backed up by the entire security team who had obviously been a little slow to respond to the gunfire.

"Some kind of Nukalurk, different to anythin' I ever seen" replied an aggravated Wayne. "And something tells me that ain't the last of 'em"

'How can we help?' Came a female voice, Wayne looked up. The girl from when he landed, stood with her ghoul friend and the fatso, who was nervously necking a bottle of Nuka-Cola.

"These son's of bitches are tough, we need explosives and some good marksmen, you gotta get 'em right in the joints. I suggest you get a team on the roof ASAP, and make sure you watch he ground, these bastards come outta the ground." He looked up to watch everybody begin scrambling around to positions, with Mick and some other guy barking out orders to let them remember who was in charge.

Wayne controlled his Robobrain to a nearby desk and shuffled onto a chair. He opened up its chest cavity and fished out some ammo and a gun cleaning kit. Hurriedly he began cleaning his rifle and pistol, removing and dirt or dust that may have clogged them up before fully loading them up and filling his pockets up with ammo and the last 2 sticks of dynamite that were left.

"Best get to a trader some time soon" he found himself saying to his Robobrain. Something felt off though... Shouldn't somebody else have heard that too. He took a breath and looked around... "Where the hell is Stan?" He yelled.

Huh... Well, Jackson COULD probably get around these chumps without incident, but he chose to follow the Badass quality of his name and make homemade napalm in some glass containers. Lighting up and throwing them, the ghoul soldier then started to drive off after the telltale FWOOPH!! of burning gel. Naturally, all three of the big boys were first like "AAAAAAGGGHHH!!!" and then like "UUUUURRRRGGGHHH!!!" as they noticed his jeep taking off for parts unknown. Well...YOU know how mutants are. They picked up whatever weapons they could find - tree-club, a pair of rocks, and those pluckers - and took off after him! Well, go on, Mad Max. Show 'em what for, if you can.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The situation at the Nuka-Cola Factory had taken a bad turn. First of all, when Stan had broken from his meeting with Mr. Estabahn, the businessman naturally had to have a look at why. He did so from the roof and caught the tail-end of the fight that ensued, making him quite surprised...and then concerned. Yes, that was a Nukalurk, but it wasn't the usual evolved-version of the species. It'd been more of a mutation...much as the NukaLurks were Nuka-Cola mutations. They still had these things here, and...they were getting worse. This day wouldn't end well...

Downstairs, they had gained the attention of several employees, including Niko and Mick, and also including the three new people. Wayne explained the situation and...that worried the lot of the. More NukaLurks... Yes, some of them were getting into defensible positions, defending windows and such. Niko said he was going to the roof. He had his jaw set in a rather determined manner, so he looked pretty darn serious. Scar had also gone to set up a position to fight with her laser rifle. However, with Ben and Twig... Well, Twig suddenly felt sick.

Twig: Oh god, that's my stomach...

Ben: Can't miss it.

Twig: Where's the bathroom?

Someone directed him and he ran off. Ben sighed and decided to check up on him and heard the telltale sounds of Twig being sick.

Ben: Told ya you were having too much.

Twig: It's blue...

Ben: I didn't need to hear that.

Twig: It's moving!

Ben: I didn't need to hear that either.

Then, there was a loud couple of gunshots and a panicked cry from inside the bathroom.

Ben: ...the fuck are you doing in there, smoothskin?

The fat Vault Dweller ran out of the bathroom, gun in hand, and pointed at the toilet.

Twig: Crabs! Crabs! CRABS!!!

Ben: That's what she said?

Twig: They were in the Cola! I drink 'em in the Cola and they came up and I COULD'VE DIED IF THEY TORE ME UP FROM INSIDE!!

Ben: Ohhh... So?

Goddamit, Ben... So, Wayne wondered where Stan went, and Stan had - keeping on top of things - headed to the roof the find Mr. Estabahn once more...all while feeling a very low-level tremor as he spotted him. He...was watching the quite-disturbing scene of a few SupaLurks pulling themselves from the ground. There were only a few at first, but...well...you could tell that this was only the trickle before the storm.

Emerson: I swear, I have no idea why this is happening or what's wrong with the plant. We cleared out the Nukalurks that had been still around, salvaged much of the drink and materials that were down there, repaired machines, refurbished the plant... It wasn't suppose to be like this. And why now? We've been here months! Why NOW of all times?

Niko: 'Scuse me, guys, but we're at war now.

Niko Renzo was up on the roof now. He slammed down his sniper rifle and took aim at the crabbies, methodically shooting each one, first in the central mass to see how tough they were. The answer was that there was damage, but those shells were resisting even sniper-fire to a point. He'd managed to plug one properly after a particularly-nasty hit in around the sae place. Hmmm... He could make openings for the others to take shots at. Good. The plant had these reinforced windows to shoot out of with bars. Several guards - not to mention Mick and Scar on the second floor - were already doing this. The bars might not stand up well to the SupaLurk claws, but it was something.

Niko: Anybody know what the hell that shaking is?

Good question.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It wasn't a center-break, and it wasn't exactly a different base. It was a disused and sealed-off section of the same base. But hey, for William's needs, this was unimportant. What WAS important was that he wasn't where he should be at the time he wanted to, doing the job he'd been asked to do. So now, he was tellling a...reasonable amount of what his mission actually was, and Alice was neither flinching nor frowning at his details or lack of details. She would keep him guessing as to the degree of her reactions until she actually did so. Interrogation was sometimes a two-way street. Once he was done...

Alice: So, your organization wants to gauge the Enclave - an act which could be easily be the BoS, the Legion, NCR, or any other significant group - and you just happened to find our base with outdated information. Well, congratulations, Mr. Spy. I actually believe that. Because you don't have the air of a doofus, a wanderer without a clue, so unfortunately I must take that information to heart.

Unfortunately? Crap. She was deciding now how much of a threat he was and what to do with him now. Her deductions led her to the possibility that he wanted the information so that someone in power could organize a movement against the Enclave, and any group that could would be a danger to her own group. That's not good. Her eyes narrowed on William.

Alice: My problem, you see, is twofold. I have the Enclave disagreeing with myself and the others, wanting to snuff out the 'bad element'. And then, I have any group that wants to destroy the Enclave, because I want an organization to come back to if we can topple Number One. This is a delicate matter, and most of the people I can think of against us are NOT the delicate type. Even if they don't stand a chance, I can't afford to have them find US because we're a limited group here, not much to spare.

Now, she stood up and - in a fluid motion - drew her plasma pistol to aim it at William's head at point blank range, those other guards still present just in case. She looked down at him not with malice or fear or anger. She was appraising, figuring him out.

Alice: So then, Mr. Spy, my options are to shoot you and keep this place safe, or - by some miracle - trust that you will use discretion and not mention us to anyone. Do you have anything to say that might convince me that you are anything but threat to our well-being? Speak now, or there may be death.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This leads us to the main gate of Fort Knox, walking into the perimeter with FalloutJack escorting these two gentlemen around to the tour.

FalloutJack: You see these men here? All these guys roaming around above the ground? Well, with the exception of trainers and other exceptions, they're all Enclave recruits. We gave them extra equipment, taught them how to operate the basic stuff, and they're almost self-learning. Soon, they'll be good enough to come down under, maybe pilot, maybe even get good enough to enter the Omegas or the Fallout Sector.

No explanation given on either of those, but presumably FalloutJack belongs to the latter, which meant he was good at stuff and so was the rest of their lot. It all technically wasn't anything special. It was a bunch of armored guys that have moved into a reinforced ilitary establishent with all their equipment. It was very much like the Cidadel, except it appeared they had more vertibirds and even hovercraft on standby. There was also a heavily-armed powersuit with blue highlights heading over to a very evil-looking machine that was a deadly chopper with jet engines, ram-spikes, and a mechanical arm-tail with a vulcan at the end of it. He opened the cockpit and Jack came over to him.

FalloutJack: What's up, Johnny-boy?

FalloutJohn: They took Bob. He didn't get the coordinates for Bastion's place, so I'm going on recon.


These men were the only kinds of men with names. All the rest were numbers... While Jack was distracted, Evan muttered over to Dudley.

Evan: There's a chance we can make it through this if they consider us 'good stock'. Otherwise, I don't know.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yyyup, it's so raining. It happened rather quickly too, and thus Crawver and Abraham would have to find cover or get really wet. That much might not be so bad, though, considering that the water was - oddly enough - pure. However, the darkness of the clouds and the rain had made something over a shallow hill more obvious. There was a red glow out there - possibly THAT red glow - and...was that a brahmin?! Wait, what was that OTHER figure? It seemed like the red glowing thing was talking to a figure in a wet cloak that obscured its whole body... That was certainly interesting, and certainly in relevance to Dr. Crawver, yes?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sara: Is it recording?

"Yes, ma'am."

Sara: Good, then let's begin. Please state your name, rank, and serial number for the record.

Bob: My name is Roberto Malcontente' The Third, but you may call me BOB.

Sara: Rank and serial number.

Bob: Fallout Sector, and Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs.

Sara: Serial number, NOT favorite cereal.

Bob: Don't have one.

Sara: Fine. What was your mission, Bob?

Bob: Isn't it obvious? Find the location of the 'Doc' and his Behemoth-ridden hideout.

Sara: Why?

Bob: To lay waste his numbers in burnination...

"Is that even a word?"

Sara: Shush. Now, why don't YOU know it, Bob? Your group'd the one with the fancy surveilance equipment.

Bob: What, the Eyebots? You think those little guys can stand up to a Behemoth?

Sara: Point. Now, why can't we get your powersuit to work?

Bob: You tried to operate my suit? How'd THAT work out for you?

"Jerry looks a bit like a ghoul now."

Bob: We're the Enclave. We built the things. Don't you think we'd put in failsafes? Even if you de-programmed it, de-bugged it, made it safe, and then put it on it STILL wouldn't do you any good. That's a custom job. It's built for men with the proper training who add up to the height and weight of one sexy Spaniard.

Sara: I'm sure we'll find someone. Don't let it concern you.

Bob: By the way, can I have some pants now? These chains are awfully cold.

Sara: We're not letting you so much as move a finger. We KNOW you can kill with your fingers, so no pants for you.

Bob: And was it really necessary to suspend me from the ceiling too?

Sara: Hey, who's running this interrogation? So far, you haven't even told me anything useful. I could've guessed that the Enclave want to destroy the Behemoths. They hate mutants. And I do not like the stonewalling either. I could just brick you up in this room and tell the Lucy girl that I decided to suffocate you.

Bob: Oh, for the love of god, Montressor... So dramatic.

Sara: Tell me about Isaac Black.

Bob: Oh no, you don't. I talk to the girl, alone and unrecorded, or you can have fun mixing cement and SEE where it gets ya.

Sara: Why bother? I'll get the information from her anyway.

Bob: Doesn't matter to ME. I just don't want to piss off Number One. His instructions were quite explicit on the matter.

Sara: Who is Number One? And I don't mean just leader. I want identity.

Bob: Hell if I know. I'm one of the only guys WITH an identity. I'm free with it 'cause I earned the right, but you won't find any pleasure talking to me.

Sara: I could pump you for information about numbers, technology, secrets - anything.

Bob: You won't get it!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sara sighed irritably at the conclusion of the interrogation. He was instigating, fearless, stubborn, and taking several refuges in audacity. No, they wouldn't get any information to take down the Enclave from him, and his powersuit might never yield anything of value without killing everyone around it first. But he had specific orders regarding contact with Lucy Black, and he didn't even care if she told anyone else about it. Was it a bluff or did he think it didn't matter? Either way, Sara wanted to know at least that much... She sent a soldier to go find her, when another one came back to inform her that Frank was going around, insulting people. Sara facepalmed.

Sara: Goddammit, Frank...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Which just leaves us with Barry. Flash here decided to wake up screaming after a long time tending to his wounds and injuries, leaving him in a bandaged state and probably still in pain despite the Med-X in his system. No sooner had he started screaming than somebody out of his line of sight went "Oh, for the love of..." and then put duct tape over his mouth. There, he saw a doctor - white coat, gloves, mask, etc. - lean over him and say...

"Yes, I know you're in alot of pain. That's my rapid-heal concoction, Gene-Os, getting you into order. Mend you well and mend you fast, but I've noted that they do cause the patients distress. Your name is...Barry, correct? Someone mentioned."

Frank returned to his room, and got to his shower with Scribe Gomez.
Back in my day, you took a girl to the shooting range and got her a laser pistol before you could have shower time with her.
She's pretty hot. Good work.
Frank felt incredibly uncomfortable, as anyone would if their dead father-figures were watching, and commenting on fun shower time.
"I'm sorry, this isn't going to work. You should go."
Scribe Gomez slapped Frank, put on her robe, and left.
Frank stood in the shower, motionless for a bit while the water poured down on him.
After a while, Frank got out of the shower, dried off, and re-robed.
Frank set off for his workshop in order to claim his armor so he could finally get some sleep.

Stan strolled on up to the roof, keeping his feet planted as well as he could. The shaking was annoying, and he wasn't very comfortable being so high up on a building while it was shaking.

Some man Stan couldn't remember having met was talking. Christ, how many people are in this place? I'll never get them all straight.
"...We cleared out the Nukalurks that had been still around, salvaged much of the drink and materials that were down there, repaired machines, refurbished the plant... It wasn't suppose to be like this. And why now? We've been here months! Why NOW of all times?"
Stan approached, rolling his eyes. "For some strange reason, I think you didn't get all of them. And now Wayne and I are left to fix it up."
Speaking of which... Stan looked around for his newfound pal. He realized that the copycat probably hadn't seen him come up.
Stan sighed.
"Oi, fancy-pants. Something bad's going down. Keep an eye out. Just letting you know." he called to Estabahn, then turned on his heel to go look for Wayne.
God knows I'm not going to be able to fight one of those big cunts myself. I'll need every bit of the help I can get...

"Piss off Frankenstein. Come back when you can do a Cazadore and I'll be impressed." Marlon muttered with disdain in response to Frank's latest barbs.

Frank's treatment of Shifty was somewhat expected. So far he'd only noticed Frank either approving of someone or distinctly not approving of them, so that wasn't surprising. What was interesting though was seeing him turn on Lucy.

"Bloody hell, what'd you do? I thought Grumbleguts was all for you." He shrugged. "Welcome to the club. No jackets though, cos the list of people Frank hates is probably too long to make it affordable."

He tipped back his drink and finished it off, putting down the empty glass. "Dunno about you, but since Franky kinda killed the mood in here, I think I'll go get some fresh air. If you wanna tag along you might even get to hear a story or two from out west without the walking killjoy interjecting with fresh insults every couple of seconds."

Marlon stood up and lit a cigerette, walking towards the exit at a steady pace, allowing Lucy more than enough time to catch up if she so desired.

In extreme pain, covered in bandages, and unable to speak due to a covered mouth. How the heck could this happen to the same guy twice in one week? Well this kind of thing had become a usual for Barry due to his incredible level of poor luck. But all he could think of was being held down by those eels and burning as the pain overwhelmed him. Then being abandoned by a man he trusted. This triggered other thoughts of another event that involved burning and loss. A loss Barry was absolutely incapable of comprehending. He began to shake wildly and his eyes clenched. But before the doctor was able to speak it stopped.
When his eyes reopened there was something different about them. The eyes are after all the gateway to the soul. Barry's soulfulness was gone. There was something off about his eyes now. Like a candle that had been blown out. His hand reached to the tape that covered his mouth. He tore it off. The same hand was soon wrapped around the throat of the doctor. Barry spoke in an unusually deep and monotone voice saying, "Don't you ever cover my mouth again. If I wish to speak I will speak. Now i will have you know that even in my current state no matter how much pain it would cause me, I could snap your spine like a twig. Now if you know what is good for you, you will get me a wheelchair. I want a drink. Nod if you understand." The doctor attempted to protest but Barry tightened his clutch. The doctor nodded fearfully. "Good." The doctor grabbed a wheelchair and brought it to Barry.
"I can't recommend drinking while you are on all these medications," the doctor said nervously.
"You will only speak to me when I wish you to doctor. Also for future reference, though I severely doubt I will be crossing your path any time soon, my name is Eobard Thawn. Or, if you wish, you can call me Professor Zoom." Eobard climbed into his wheel chair. An ungodly pain shot up his spine. He realised walking would be out of the question for a while. He rolled out of the infirmary and into the hall and to the bar. Seeing both a recent acquaintance and a complete stranger heading toward the exit.

There wasn't much time to prepare before Wayne's prediction
of more Nukalurks came true. He stood himself up and hobbled
over to the wall, using it to prop himself up. Shuffling down
a hallway he called out 'Stan!' Before losing his balance due
to a tremor. The very thought of what could have caused it
made Wayne cold with fear, something he didn't feel too
often.

 As he neared the end if the hallway he heard a couple
if gun shots, followed by the ghoul and the fatty nearly
knocking him over as they ran passed him. 

Ben: You better move smoothskin!

There was a horrible sound of a pained scream as a guard fell
to the floor from the end of the hallway, covered in small
blue crabs. They were quick and ruthless as they began to
devour him while he squirmed on the floor writhing in pain.
Wayne turned and followed the pair as fast as he could,
ignoring the pain and instead opting to make limping look
like an Olympic event. The most callous of thoughts ran
through his mind as he thanked whatever being was watching
over him that the guard had been the one to be eaten so he
could get away.

Running by the door that had contained the original Nukalurks
he heard much louder, more aggressive knocking from the other
side. It then dawned on him. All this was his own fault, if
he hadn't thrown that dynamite, or even fired a single shot
then maybe these creatures would never have come.

Reaching a flight of stairs he threw himself up, the
screaming behind him had stopped so he didn't have much time.
Ad he reached the top there were guards and technicians
frantically throwing furniture in a heap to create some form
of barricade. 'Cover the stairs!' Shouted Wayne, knowing it
would take all the firepower available to stop the creatures
advancing. 

Mick: Oh shit how many of these things are there?

'Listen, we can do this' called Wayne as Mick ran to cover
the barricade while positioning himself near a window to
cover the outside area too. 'I've gotta find Stan, I owe him
that much' he said as he made his way toward the roof, hoping
Stan had made it there.

... gotta find Stan, I owe him that much." Stan heard Wayne saying from down below, in the stairwell. Stan smiled. Things would work out with the two of them there, he decided. No worries.

With Stan running down, and Wayne coming down, Stan nearly ran straight into him, but quickly turned it into a bear hug.
"Don't wander off like that!" Stan admonished with a wink, then let go and took a step back.

"We've got a teensy problem." Stan said simply, as the building shook slightly once again. "Okay, I lied. It's a pretty big problem. Do you have a plan? I doubt they listen to reason so well."
They continued back down the stairs together, to where the building's occupants were attempting to barricade themselves.

Frank entered his workshop.
His armor sat on the table, waiting for him.
"I missed you buddy."
Don't ignore us!
Frank began to armor up.
You can't just avoid your problems like this!
Frank finished putting on the body-piece.
We'll be waiting.
Frank put on the helmet.
"Ah, the beautiful sound of silence."
Frank went back to his room and got in bed.
Time for some much needed rest.
Frank drifted off to sleep.
His snoring was quite loud.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Scene transition!

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Danielle was sitting in Moriarty's, nursing a bottle of whiskey.
What's that, you don't remember who Danielle is, or need more specific details? Here you are!


Danielle had been in Megaton since coming to deal with the Van Graff situation.
Frank complicated the situation by absconding with the Van Graff's car, and the Van Graff with it.
Now she was stuck in Megaton, guarding against any Outcast attacks that might come in an attempt to take the stock of the now gone Van Graff.
It was a waiting game. All she could do was drink, wait, and listen to the radio.
Be sure to tune in next time, for another exciting adventure of me; Herbert "Daring" Dashwood, and my stalwart ghoul manservant: Argyle!
Hello children! It's me; Three Dog, coming to you taped from my fortified bunker in the middle of the D.C. hellhole!
News time children.
The Citadel, home of the Brotherhood has been attacked.
This attack wasn't some drunken raiders who were instantly vaporized though, this was a team of Behemoths, armed with mini-nukes.
The attack was thankfully repelled, thanks to a crazy plan involving a Vertibird, some sharpshooting, an airdrop, a railgun, and a years supply of Yum-yum deviled eggs.
But it doesn't end there, an Enclave big-wig also showed up, and after an intense battle, was captured, and is most likely being interrogated as we speak.

They had to use the railgun? The force of firing tears it apart, and it would take them a week of crunch-time to rebuild.
The Citadel no longer had a defensive trump-card, and many Paladins were probably injured in the battle.
She had to go home.
She also would like to have a crack at interrogating the Enclave capture.
Danielle stood up, threw 12 caps on the bar for the whiskey, put her helmet on, and headed out the door.

He was nearing the roof when Stan came out of nowhere and bear hugged him to hell. Wayne was very much taken aback of the show of affection in such a hostile situation.

'Yeah I missed you too buddy' he snorted, trying not to sound too invested. 'Listen, we need to find some way of calling for help, go find your boss man and find out if he has a radio or some way of contacting help, and pray he says yes... because if not, somebodies going for a run...'

Wayne turned away and headed to the window that the girl from earlier was shooting from and looked out at the number of 'lurks outside. There were probably more than they could handle, and given the ability of some of the guards they wouldn't last too long. Looking through the scope of his rifle he saw openings being fired into the shells of the Nukalurks... somebody on the roof had a powerful weapon. He followed up the latest shot with one of his own and managed to take one down. Suddenly he was filled with hope of a fighting chance. 'You, you and you!' He shouted, motioning to Mick, Ben and Scar, the ones with the more powerful weapons, 'Watch out for the openings being fired into these bastards and try to fire into them.' He ordered. As they took up positions Wayne called to the rest of the guards, technicians and the fat man, armed with random weaponry or melee weapons. 'Cover the stairs, if any of those things get through, fall back to the roof... and make sure you warn us too, we don't wanna be stuck between a wall and a set of hard crabs!'

At that he turned back to one of the windows and began to open fire on the Nukalurks, ever aware of the tremors that were shaking the building getting larger. Hopefully he had enough ammo on his person, his Robobrain was stuck to wait mode downstairs, hopefully being ignored by anything down their to keep his equipment safe. He began wishing with all his being for reinforcements to come soon.

"You're short, and you manipulate people."

Yeah, she was short, she got that a lot.

A manipulator? Now that had stung on many different levels. She wasn't raised and trained in the Brotherhood's armoured bunker of safety and loose morals. When you're a female in your early 20's with nothing but leather armour, backpack and rifle strapped to your body, you realize that you have limitations.

If using the lesson's you learned makes you a "manipulator" in the eyes of Frank, then so be it. Lucy made no apologies for how she chose to fix herself over the past few years. Did she go out her way to hurt others? No. Did she flirt for her amusement? Sure, but she know's there's always boundaries. Does she use her way with words in order to get a reaction from others? Depends if she's bored.

Frank had effectively soured her mood, but on a brighter scale, sobered her up somewhat. She was still going to heroically nurse her large glass of water.

"Bloody hell, what'd you do? I thought Grumbleguts was all for you." He shrugged. "Welcome to the club. No jackets though, cos the list of people Frank hates is probably too long to make it affordable."

She could crack a smile at this and raised her glass to Marlon.

"I have an idea why he's acting this way." she thought back to what he said earlier regarding his armour, a pang of guilt hit her as she felt she could've been a bit more accommodating to Frank, instead of running off for her own interests.

"Or maybe the jackass needs to sleep it off." her thoughts had rushed back to his recent insult, she understood that he was more blunt than a blamco mac & cheese signed sledgehammer, but that was unnecessary.

Turns out some time had passed, she finished about 3 glasses of water, rushed to the bathroom for her tiny bladder and ordered some blamco mac & cheese on a plate. She was feeling a hell of a lot better, physically that is.

Emotionally, well how do most people feel after blowing up a behemoth from a vertibird, put in a coffin, danced with an undertaker, unintentionally hurt said undertaker and insulted by the only person she was starting to deeply trust?

"If you wanna tag along you might even get to hear a story or two from out west without the walking killjoy interjecting with fresh insults every couple of seconds."

"You know, I'd really like that, but it's blamco-time..." she said this with a deliriously chirpy smile, she was sincere. She always enjoyed a conversation and Marlon was pretty nice in keeping her company, talking about idle topics, making her feel comfortable, normal for once. It was nice, but she was serious about the mac & cheese, she had one nearly everyday as a kid. Apparently she got really passive-aggressive when she didn't get some blamco into her system. "...maybe another time, okay? Thanks for staying with me, I know I wasn't the best of company but I really appreciate it." she added in a sincere smile for extra effect.

She was a little worried about Shifty, although she decided it best not to disturb him. She couldn't stand to see Vikki at this point, she kept thinking about how if she had never gone with Frank in the first place, she wouldn't be here in this state. They were going to Underworld, that was the original plan...she stopped her negativity there. She was happy that she met Frank, she still trusted him and she wasn't going to run his name through the mud just because things could have possibly been different.

At this point, her mouth was stuffed with cheese when she noticed and exclaimed in cheery surprise as she saw Barry wheeling towards her "Mmmmrash!" she choked down the last bite and cleared her throat, "Sorry...Flash! I'm really glad you made it back safe and sound, I must've missed you coming into the med-wing. I was there not too long ago. Anyway,you look great...last time I saw you, I had given you all my stimpacks, the last one was over your broken body. I thought you were-"

"Miss Black? Elder Lyons has requested to speak to you. Urgently. It's a private matter that I cannot publicly disclose."

A Brotherhood soldier, clearly not here to join in on the celebrations had come out of nowhere moments later. He sidestepped and motioned towards the door.

"Sure, no problem. Just need a moment." she cleaned her mouth, gulped down the last bit of water and said her goodbye's to Barry. "We'll talk soon okay, Flash...Barry? We really have to pick one, we'd make a good team, remember?"

And with that, she left with the Brotherhood escort. She couldn't help but feel nervous, was the Elder pissed about her outburst earlier, was this about her dad, did she accidentally bust their water-purifier at the bar and she had to go find a new one before they all ran out of water?

Danielle walked over to Megaton's gate where a man in power armor was waiting.
"Jake, somethings going down back at the Citadel, I'm going to go back. You're in charge here."
"Yes ma'm."
Danielle slapped Paladin Jake on the ass, and walked out the gate.
[Tactics 90/20][Success!]She decided she would take the path directly south, past the Nuka Cola factory, turn east to Arlington, then go north to the Citadel. This path involved the least underground travel, which was probably for the best as it enabled her to snipe, and she didn't have her squad.
Danielle set off, looping around Megaton's exterior, and heading off to the south.
Danielle walked for a bit, things were quiet.
[Perception]Three humanoid figures, far off in the distance.
Danielle dropped to one knee, flipped a switch on her rifle's handle, and turned on the scope/eyepiece link.
Talon Company. One with an R91 assault rifle, one with a combat shotgun, one with a Chinese assault rifle. The one with the Chinese assault rifle was in the center, he seemed to be in charge.
[Energy Weapons 100/60][Success!]Danielle lined up a clean headshot on the leader.
"Don't be silly Dan, why just kill him, when you can kill him and humiliate him?"
[Energy Weapons 100/80][Success!]Danielle lined up a shot on the leader's crotch, and opened fire.
A distinct yellow laser fired across a large stretch of wastes into the mercenary's crotch, turning him into a pile of ash.
[Entrench]Danielle ducked behind a piece of rubble while the Talons were caught off guard.
The mercenaries began firing in Danielle's general direction, the few shots that didn't miss entirely were blocked by the rubble.
[Energy Weapons 100/60][Success!]Danielle poked her gun out from the rubble as if she were going to blind fire, except she saw everything perfectly thanks to her scope/eyepiece. She lined up a shot on the head of the merc with the R91 rifle, and fired a somewhat orange laser. As the second merc turned to ash, she unleashed a flurry of the regular red lasers on the last merc, killing him, but without the disintegration this time.
"Amateurs."
[Perception]All clear.
Danielle switched off the scope, reloaded, got up, and resumed walking south.

Marlon had made the most of his agreeement with Lyons. Once the fighting had been done, he'd lost no time in getting his mitts on a map marked with the location of known enemy strongholds. All the scum you could shake a stick at. Raiders, Slavers...Outcasts.

Lucy was set on making the most of the opportunity to indulge in her Blamco and the undertaker seemed like he oughta be left alone for a while to cool his jets.

A good time to make some plans then, because best of all, Frank wasn't around to stickybeak. Once he had these drawn up, he'd run them by Lyons. Rose could find out what he had in mind when and if it was necessary. He didn't need the headache. He found a quiet spot on the battlements near some watchlights and sat down, pulling his notebook and the map from his pack.

It shouldn't be too hard he thought, looking over the map while the steady sound of Shifty's target practice echoed up from below. Raiders were easy. Play them off against each other while selling arms to both. Difference being that these weapons would be booby trapped. Offer each of the raider groups involved a bonus of some better stuff or cash if they dispose of another raider group that stole merchandise. Of course, said "thieves" would have bought their weapons and had the same story fed to the by the Van Graff. And once the fighting started, it wouldn't take long, not if he rigged up faulty power cell converters to short out after a certain amount of shots. At which point, with both raider groups in the same place, the brotherhood could swoop in and mop all the suckers up.

Slavers would be even easier. Even accounting for freeing the slaves...and future potential employees, out of harms way. Buy up as many slaves as possible by trading them (again, sabotaged) energy weapons for slaves. And if they only wanted so much, that's fine, giving the slavers some cash for the release of the rest woul only be a temporary measure to begin with. Same plan. Slavers equipped with weapons that short out after a certain amount of shots would be a definate disadvantage with a followup raid and no slaves to use as human shields.

The outcasts though. They'd take some more thinking. More information was required. But that'd come. Besides. He hated them and he was more than ready to wait a little longe to help engineer their demise. A nice building they were holed up in too by the looks of it. Roomy. A guy could set up a decent factory in a joint like that. Maybe he could work something out with Lyons if things all went well...

The Van Graff grinned as he folded the map and tucked it inside his notebook. He'd chat to Lyons later, get her thoughts on the campaign of deceit and extermination he'd jotted out.

For now, he could relax a bit, so he lit another cigerette and smoked it whilst watching the undertaker blast some targets.

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