The REALLY Wild Wasteland. (The Fallout RP!)

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Another morning. Marlon pulled himself up and made himself something vaguely resembling breakfast.

There hadn't been that many good leads in this area. A few supples, a couple of promising candidates for a future workforce and/or customers in the form of a couple of local raider tribes that weren't drugged halfway crazy. And of course the locals too, cos when the raiders beef up their firepower, you need to beef up your protection. Conflicts are good for business.

That said, there wasn't much more to keep him here. Loading his supplies back into the car, Marlon raised the roller door and set off. Pausing only to stock up on basic supplies at the trading post and swerving off course just a tad to crush a radroach for amusement, the grey car headed east, towards where all the action was supposed to be.

"Time to hit the road." Marlon lit a cigerette as he went. "One of these days I gotta get me a radio for this thing.."

The thudding of multiple heavy footsteps above Lucy woke her up. It took a few moments to orient herself as to where exactly the sounds were coming from.

"All clear sir, should we sweep the area?"

Soldiers, Lucy concluded, they were very close judging by their voices.

"Negative, our orders were to patrol along the perimeter and proceed over the bridge. Move out"

Who were these guys? Lucy waited for a few good minutes before gathering up her things,climbed up the slope and poked her head out over the top of the bridge.

Black Armour? What looked like a patrol of heavily armoured soldiers with plasma weapons were walking in the distance. Something about them seemed wrong, they reminded Lucy of the Brotherhood of Steel, but she never remember them having black armour.

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"NO! DADDY! PLEASE WAKE UP!!!"
"I'll KILL YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID TO MY DADDY!"

"Do as you see fit with any survivors, soldier. Critical Objectives have already been completed"

-----------------------------------------------------

Struggling to catch her breath, Lucy chased the memories from her mind. There can't possibly be a link...

Lucy figured that going over the bridge would be out of the question since she didn't want to tangle with those guys.

Might as well walk and eat. Anything to keep her mind from wondering. Deciding against the traders wishes she met before, she decided to go ask him if he knew anything about the soldiers in black. Not exactly in the mood to play games, she wouldn't mind taking a limb off with her rifle if he didn't co-operate.

"I need to calm down" she thought out loud

Wasn't long before she arrived at Wilhelm's Wharf, only to discover the corpse of the trader she met only a few hours ago, melted from the waist down into green goop. The stench was awful, but the sight was even worse. Lucy toughened up and walked over to take a closer look at what happened. Looks like plasma damage, Lucy recalled watching a radscorpion melt before her eyes a few years ago.

His injuries were only a minor concern of hers at this point, because on the man's chest lay a poster with the words "The Enclave Wants You" written on it...

Rex watched Brandon break up the chairs quizzically, but realized what he was doing when the fire began. As Brandon nursed the fire into a good blaze, Rex looked around the recently abandoned trailer for "useful things". Old Master had hammered the four "Useful Things" into him over the last four years, Guns, Bottles of Water, Bullets, and Meds. Rex found many of them under the mattress. After pulling the mattress onto the floor, he surveyed the goods. He could just get Brandon's attention, but Rex wanted to show his new master what a good help he could be. He remembered a trick that Old Master taught him, and searched for a small box.

There was one under the bed. Rex pulled it onto the bloodstained mattress beside the bed.

Bloodstained? It looked like the owner of the bed had spontaneously bled from every pore in his body. As if he had melted.

Rex quickly decided that there was no sense whatsoever in what he saw, so he decided to ignore it. People don't melt in their sleep!

Whimpering with the effort of coordination, Rex slowly yanked the contents of the bed into the box. There were two Guns, six boxes of Bullets, and two bottles of Meds. Rex hated the things - he had swallowed some as a pup and they made him sick. They seemed to do other things to humans, though.

There was a crinkling as the items fell into the box. Curious, Rex looked in to see what made the sound.

A faded poster was partly folded into the corner of the box. There was a metal hand on a metal background under those odd symbols he'd seen Old Master write.

"WANTS YOU"

Rex ignored it and pulled the rest of the items into the box, and dragged it out of the trailer to where Brandon was sitting.

The sun had rose. It was time to get moving.
The lights gave him something to think about while pulling the last strap on his bulging over shoulder duffel bag. Finally ready to move he started his descent taking one last look up the consuming mountain, glad that he had decided to set up camps lower along the slope this expedition.
As time passed and he started to gain some momentum through the boggy groves of dead trees and decided it was time to think about how to tackle DC. Pulling out a small post card adorned with a merchant's hurried scrawling. Beneath those, of course, was an old picture of DC from over head with the text 'Don't you wish you were here' printed beneath. Looking at the map he realized (if the lights were any indication) that the Northern and Western parts of greater DC were much less populated. Wary from experience, he wondered if it wasn't a much better idea to make contact with one of these straggler settlements first, just for saftey's sake.
As he began the final gentle slope that would take him to ground level his eyes caught something. Two small grey-black machines were making their way across the sky.
"I wonder if those are vertibirds, like Tom had mentioned" he mumbled remembering the over talkative NCR scout from many years ago.
Intrigued he went on, maybe these people weren't as tribal they looked, working pre-war tech is a pretty impressive feat, or it could be... what it didn't mean was that he was going to walk non chalantly into any settlement let alone the city. He couldn't remember the Brotherhood using air craft before but he wasn't going to risk dying in a puddle of radioactive ash because someone thought he was packing pre-war tech.

After a very long day's march he found himself looking a small run down compound. It was surrounded by a tall, flimsy but maintained wire fence. From beneath the shadows of the clouds that claimed the evening sky he could see two small children and a woman moving around between the shed's they seemed to live in. Hesitant to approach Sully took a final look at the post card in his hand staring at the small black letters naming this area 'Idiots house'.

Cassie approached the run down building with an ire of caution about her. The target would most certainly be alone, but he would have time to have his defences up. Cassie creaked open the door to the building's only entrance and looked around from the outide. There a a staircase leading to the second and third floors, both of which had balconies that could observe anyone coming in. This wasn't going to be easy.

She stepped in slowly with a magnum in her left hand, surveying every doorway. She was in the center of the room before a sniper bullet graced past her leather shoe.

"He's here. Get ready boys!"

Cassie ducked behind the front desk and scanned the second story balcony.

Likes like Macavoy got him some protection. This outta be fun.

In a flash, Cassie vaulted out of cover and put a slug in the sniper's shoulder blade. She took the few moments where the poor sap was nursing his wound to line up a shoot right into his chest and blew him back.

I'm coming for ya Mac...

Toms blue hair blew in the wind as Bucky, the mole rat who served as his mount and companion, trotted down a shattered and dusty highway. The barren wasteland stretched out in every direction, like a sea of irradiated dirt. As dangerous as it was now, that wasteland would become a whole lot worse at night, and with the sun slowly creeping under the horizon, Tom didn't think he would make it to any town before dark. He would have to find a spot to make camp.

Distracted by these thoughts, Tom didn't notice the man standing in the middle of the road at first. He stood next to a motorcycle by a ruined car, and he looked like he was going through a bag of some kind. Bringing Bucky to a halt, Tom dismounted and waved to the man. "Hey!" he said, trying to project his voice as best he could. He kept a hand on his pistol, but tried to have the rest of his body communicate that he wasn't a threat.

Brandon had seen that Rex had walked into the trailer followed by a few sounds. He had been waiting for Rex to return interested in what he was doing. The fire was going nicely and the food was beginning to look good. Still it wasn't done yet, He spotted a few hungry looking coyote walking a few meters away. He smiled at them as he threw a small piece of meat over to them. They grabbed it and ran away as fast as possible. Brandon might be good with animals but he wasn't about to risk getting attacked if he could avoid it like this.

He then heard an dragging noise coming out of the trailer. Brandon looked up to see that Rex was dragging a box, Brandon was surprised but also interested what was inside the box. He stood up and walked over to Rex, Rex had been dragging quite fast so he only needed to take 2 steps to reach the box. He looked inside to find an 9 mm pistol and a hunting revolver. Along with 4 boxes 9mm ammo and 2 boxes of 45-70 Gov't, and with 2 stinpacks. Brandon was dumbstruck he looked inside the box again and he then looked at Rex. Who was waiting for an reaction, Brandon smiled brightly as he petted Rex head and said. "Rex you are a good dog, a very good dog." Brandon said with an very happy sounding voice. He grabbed the items from inside the box and put then into his own bag, except for the 9 mm he put that inside Rex bag taking some of the food out the keep his bag the same weight.

If they were to disarm them Rex might be able to surprise them by giving him a gun when they were distracted. Still they could be anyone really he hadn't chosen an side, and since he was wearing reinforced combat armor most people saw him as dangerous and stayed away. He petted Rex once again taking him over to the fire where he grabbed 2 plates out of his bag. He had grabbed some silverware and a few plates and such things when he had been inside the rotten villa earlier. He placed Rex meal on one and his own on 1 too. He placed the plate before Rex he pointed at it. "That is your plate." He pointed at Rex and his plate. He then grabbed a spoon and took the first bite of his beans. They were surprisingly tasty, he looked at Rex to see if he was enjoying his meal of meat.

"I had made it."

Crawvers' stomach was tearing itself apart now, having thrown up all the muck he'd eating in a vain attempt to feed himself. He had traveled all night, shielding his eyes from the morning glare. He felt weak and dizzy, but the buildings of a town were now only a couple of hundred meters away. Just needed to find some food.

As he approached the town, a robot trundled forwards towards him. It scanned him for a few seconds, before declaring "Trader. Threat level minimal. Welcome to Canterbury Commons." A robot eh? Must be a pretty well off settlement if they could afford those sorts of luxuries, and it wouldn't be raiders. Something to be grateful for.

As he rode into town, people stopped and stared at him. This he was used to, he couldn't remember the last time people didn't stare, but he still made sure not to make any sudden movements in-case he caused any trouble. A little bit down the road he saw a diner. Perfect. He guided Udders towards it, Coming to a stop just before the door.

Sliding off the Brahmin, he waddled into the store and met the eyes of what looked like the owner. He began to speak as slowly and carefully as he could, just hoping he could be understood.

"Good day sir. I am in desperate need of food for myself and my brahmin. What do you sell?"

The owner just stared at him. Even with his best attempts, it was clear that the shopkeep hadn't understood. At least he hadn't pulled out a gun or anything.

"I have no idea what you are, or what you want, but I only sell food. Go bother someone else." Time to speak the universal language, as they say.

The Doctor pulled out a few caps and tossed them onto the counter. He pointed at them and nodded.

"Yes. Food. Please." This time the trader seemed to understand. After making a few nervous sounds, he pulled out a few items onto the counter, ranging from the mundane common foodstuff, to more esoteric items that he must've cooked himself. Crawver pointed at a few of them. He spoke even slower this time.

"How much?" This time the shop owner seemed to understand.

"What? Oh, erm...52 caps..." Crawver scooped up the caps he had on the counter, counting them. He then fished into his pockets, clawing out the appropriate number to make 52. Handing them to the owner, he raked his purchased goods towards himself. He instantly threw the box of sugarbombs into his mouth, cardboard and all. He needed the energy. He waddled outside to Udders, placing some of his food underneath her. She began snacking away at it. Crawver then climbed back up onto her, sitting comfortably upon her.

"Well, about time something went my way."

Right at the bottom of the raiders pack there was a crumpled poster. Unfurling it, William saw the threatening helmet of an Enclave soldier staring back at him and the poster read: THE ENCLAVE WANTS YOU. 'I am very sure the Enclave wants me. But whatever it wants me for is probably going to be unpleasant.'

William remembered the stories of Project Purity, word gets around when Power Armoured soldiers arrive at major settlements with crates of water. Yet after the initial surprise, the darker rumours of Project Purity had surfaced. Some said the water was poisoned, others that there was some secret Brotherhood mind control plan that involved Aqua Pura. Then came the rumours of the Enclave, how they had been involved with the project before they had fled the Wasteland. Most sources agreed that Project Purity had not belonged to the Enclave, despite the broadcasts that had claimed otherwise on their radio station. Some said that the original owners of Project Purity had been killed because the Enclave wanted them gone.

"HEY!" The shout snapped William out of his musings. There was a man standing on the road shouting and waving his arms at William. 'No raiders or slavers introduce themselves, he looks alone, except for that mole rat, but they can be domesticated. Armed, armoured, not attacking. Most likely a wanderer or mercenary.' William's mind was going a mile a minute taking in every detail he could see in the waving man.

William set the pack down, and walked towards the man, trying to look like his hand was only casually holding his sheathed sword.

William said, "I've never met a raider that introduced himself before, so who might you be?"

Vikki picked her way through the wastes, humming a non existent tune to herself as the bike chugged away unhappily. It had never worked fully but it ran and didn't break down very much so it was good for Vikki.

After a few hours of driving around in circles a thought finally popped up in Vikki's head, she had seen this place before, the ruined bridge. She was lost1

"Crap, crap, crap, I need to find someone!" she whines to herself as the bike chugs along, deciding it would be in her best interest to stick to the river in the off chance some of her cousins are still alive or some humans that didn't want to kill her first.

After a further few hours flying past a small shack rose into view. A young woman with black hair stood in front of the shack, leather armour covering her body and a strange looking rifle in her hands. She was standing over half a corpse, I should be careful, Vikki thought to herself, killing the engine and leaning the bike against a low wall, I don't want to scare her, but I need help.

Debating with herself for a few minutes, she decided to announce herself now and offer to leave the woman alone if she was aggressive.

"Hello! Can you help me?!" she shouts down to the woman, raising both her hands to show she wasn't armed.

-EDITOR'S JOURNAL-

Two and a half days out from the truckstop, we've finally broken off from I-95, Abe seems to be following tracks; I certainly haven't noticed any, it hasn't rained for weeks, there are no tracks, but I can't find any useful consequence in attempting to dishearten him.

One thing to note: the Wasteland is empty. Quiet. Tranquil. This can't be right.

Full report to follow.

Later: Abe is talking in snatches about 'the Catfish n' the Steer' again, is that what we're following?

"This can't be right..." Lucy muttered under her breath.

The trader here was kind of an ass, but can you blame him? He was just looking out for himself, just like everyone else in the wasteland.
He didn't deserve to die like this...

Lucy spotted those two caravan lunches he still had. And the door to his shack is closed. Doesn't seem to have been looted.

Giving the man a moment's silence, hoping he didn't die slowly. Lucy may get aggressive sometimes, but she hates watching people get hurt when they doesn't deserve it.

"Hello! Can you help me?!"

Startled, Lucy jumped slightly...Someone was behind her and not too far off, judging by the voice. Whoever it was must have seen her startled movement "how embarrassing" she thought momentarily.

Though this was no time for games, spinning around and lowering herself into a crouched position, instinctively aiming her Gauss Rifle towards the probable source of the voice.

Lucy's aim faltered slightly at the sight she saw. A yellow...ghoul? No, the skin wasn't mottled enough and the voice wasn't exactly raspy. Black eyes and perched against a wall behind the figure was a bike. She looked like a smaller yellow version of a super mutant.

"You don't look like a raider! And most raiders don't shout for help!"

Lucy wondered what she should do for a moment, this yellow...person wasn't threatening her, she even had her hands up to show the universal sign of "I'm not going to hurt you".

Lucy lowered her rifle, stood up and raised one hand up to show she wasn't hostile. Beckoning the figure to come closer.

"I'm not going to hurt you! Are you injured or hungry?"

Lucy silently hoped she hadn't fallen into a trap.
Though on the positive side, company may be nice...

Vikki flinches slightly as the woman raised her gun, waiting for the inevitable blast from the rifle. But the pain never came, instead she shouted back to her.

I'm not going to hurt you! Are you injured or hungry? came the voice.

'I'm safe!' Vikki thinks to herself, dropping her hands and climbing down from the rubble she was on top of previously.

"No, I'm...I'm lost" she mumbles, embarrassed that she could get lost so easily on the roads, "I'm Vikki, what's your name?" she asks the female, "how long have you been out here?"

'She seems nice," Vikki thinks to herself, looking at the woman, thinking of how she is the first proper human to regard her fairly and not immediately shoot at the sight of yellow skin.

Resisting the urge to turn back and find some other place to stay, I mean how bad can a spot marked 'deadly raider stronghold' be anyway, he strode out into the light pouring from the compound making his way toward the safely locked
gate.
'Hey! Who are you!' came a light voice.
Looking closer he noticed a young girl, perhaps five or six years old, distancing herself cautiously beyond the arms reach of the fence. Not waiting for a response she started hollering 'President Daddy!' in a voice that first seemed like fear to Sully but was oddly restrained, routine perhaps? It occurred to him that a place ran by someone named 'President Daddy' sounded exactly like kind of place you would expect to find weird rules and traditions for outsiders. The thought reminding him of his own caution as he stepped back making sure to note whether anyone tried to approach around the side of the compound unexpectedly.
After a time you see a small group of people emerged from the cluster of sheds. A bored looking man stood at the fore of the group, apparently neither happy nor surprised to see him.
Sully stood silently, left arm resting on the duffel that he had now pulled over to rest at his hip, waiting to be addressed.
'Hello outsider... I am Dave' he made particularly sure to let the air of wonder and intelligence seep through his voice, inciting not adoration but resignation in Sully. This was not going to be an early night.
After the very formal and polite introductions with the group Dave was kind enough to let Sully ask the ruler of the republic any questions he liked. Lacking any Sully sat silently as Dave, unconcerned, went on about politics and the affairs of the great republic.
While Dave droned on Sully's eye lids that had been struggling desperately for the past few hours to scramble back up his face finally succumbed and sat in exhausted purple bags above his cheeks while he fought the sensation that his brain had been replaced with the innards of an egg which seemed to have seeped in through his scalp. Just as sleep was finally taking over Dave finished his conceited speech and escorted him to the 'guest rooms'. Turning on the small light generator on the shelf Dave left Sully rustling through his duffel after his roll out mattress. The roll had never quite been long enough and far too thin for a comfortable bed but on the flat floor of what seemed, if the desk and board were any indication, to be some sort of school house it didn't seem to matter. Drifting off now he hardly questioned the strange displays of Brahmin skulls and carriages littered on the other side of the room

The stranger descended from the pile of rubble she was perched upon.

"No, I'm...I'm lost" came the reply of her newly found yellow acquaintance. Barely audible, but Lucy could tell she was sheepishly embarrassed. Makes two of us, Lucy thought, nearly scared me to death.

"I'm Vikki, what's your name?" she inquires
"How long have you been out here?"

Lucy heaves a big sigh, feeling relieved and cracks a small smile.

"I'm Lucy. Lucy Black...", Lucy pauses and notes her own black hair grown long but tied into ludicrous twintails and notes Vikki's eye colour.

"That wasn't a pun or anything, don't get me wrong" Lucy uttered quickly, kicking herself mentally, but can't help but give a small chuckle.

"I've been in this area since yesterday, camped out under the bridge to DC Ruins when it hit nightfall, of course a few hours ago, this guy was still alive." gesturing towards the traders corpse.

"Maybe if I had shown up later and left him to the bandit, he wouldn't have died this horribly" an audible sadness present in Lucy's voice.

Lucy decided to perk up a little "It's a welcome change to come across someone friendly for once, so it's a pleasure to meet you Vikki."

"You're lost and I need someplace to go, seems we're in the same boat, where were you planning on heading?"

Even though she's unusual in appearance, it's nothing too out of the ordinary, this is the wasteland after all...deathclaws, ghouls, boatfly's, etc.

Besides, I don't want to inquire about it since it could be a sensitive topic. She seems friendly and nice, and in the wasteland, that's worth more caps than 3 nuka-cola factories combined.

Michael had decided to try and find his way to the ghoul city Underworld now the Enclave was moving more openly, they hated anything not human and ghouls were on the top of their list - even if they were the non feral ones. He was so worried about the mass slaughter that might happen, that instead of making his usual inquiries about the Brotherhood when he reached the next small town, he asked for the directions towards Underworld and quickly left.

The journey had been a hard one, Underworld was located inside the D.C ruins in the Natural History Museum. To get there he had to go through a number of derelict subway tunnels, it was apparent that they weren't made for brahmin to travel in, getting Brahmin down the steps had been tricky to say the least. The place was also infested with a number of feral ghouls, luckily he didn't have to fight any Reavers.

He excited the subway having some trouble getting Brahmin up the steps. On his way to the subway he would have t go through, he saw a thin pale man waving at him. He didn't look like a raider and his gun was pointing downwards. If he did fire from this distance he would probably miss his head and his combat armour would give him some protection.

He approached him smiling and said "Hello there, is this the right way to Underworld? Oh, and any chance do you know where I can find the Brotherhood of steel?"

"Rex, you... good dog. ...good dog."

Rex barked happily. He had pleased Brandon!

Brandon placed a plate of roasted meat in front of him. Rex smelled it deeply. The smell was heavenly. He devoured it greedily. He then sat, smelling the air. It smelled of meat, beans, oil... oil? It seemed to be coming from Brandon. Using deduction, Rex decided that oil-smell was different from normal human smells, and armor was different from normal human clothing, so oil was directly connected to armor. Rex didn't care much for the smell, but he'd live with it.

Smells of dust, smells of ever-present fire... smells of blood...

STRONG smells of blood.

There was always a blood smell in the wastes, and there was a stronger one near the trailer, probably because of the blood soaked mattress. But the smell was stronger... it was coming from the box.

Rex stood up and trotted over to the box. He whimpered as he pawed it, confused. As he did so, the folded "WANTS YOU" poster slid out and unfolded.

The top half had a helmet, symbols in the formation of "THE ENCLAVE", and lots of blood. Ludicrous amounts, even. As if the man who melted in bed had dripped onto it.

Rex barked. Brandon got up and came over, picking up the poster and looking at it.

As he did, Rex ran into the trailer and sat by the mattress, trying to understand. After a minute, he gave up and barked, hoping Brandon could figure out what happened.

Whilst Lucy spoke, Vikki examined the half melted corpse of the trader. Shaking her head as the thoughts of her cousins appeared again, piles of goo in a corner, dumped unceremoniously.

Upon Lucy perking up, Vikki turned to her new friend, "it's a pleasure to meet you to Lucy!" she beamed. "Where am I heading?" she ponders a moment, the name of the place slipping her mind since she set out for it.

"Ooh! The underworld? That place where ghouls live?" she smiles sadly, "I hope some of my cousins are there, but ghouls don't like us too much, they think we're all evil," she sighs before looking up again.

"They should like us though! We're both nice!" she grins again before a realisation crosses her mind, "do you know where it is? And how to get to it?" she asks sheepishly.

-EDITOR'S REPORT-

Evening on the third day : Following his 'tracks', Abe and I have finally encountered a safe settlement; the rustle of human - people's - activity puts me at ease, even the echoing footstep of a lone sentry among husks of garages and offices leaves less to the cynic's imagination than silence, ever the silence. Even if we had been caught and strung up by raiders, something ugly in the back of my mind suggests that the intrusion of humans - people, sadists and criminals or not - would have caused excitement and joy to spring from the deepest springs of my mind, at least for a fleeting moment. It is miraculous that we have been left alone, Abe doesn't outwardly seem to offer much, but the extent of those who take in the Wasteland; I suppose that'd be everyone left, it makes no sense to give; doesn't encompass only possessions.

Later - Bad news. We haven't managed to procure treatment or painkillers for Abe; we traded three of the moonshine bottles for a decent portion of squirrel stew, it seems a steep price, but Abe seems to prefer bartering to a monetary exchange, maybe that's how he always went about his business.

Abe refuses to eat, "ol' Abe's gotta wait for his sweetheart, she's be pow'rful sore if he starts without her heh heh heh"; I manage to slip some down his throat while he sleeps; can't stand to watch an old man starve for want of his mind.

Although his frames of reference, his terms of phrase, simply everything is so...extravagantly distant from even the post-war norms, he manages to barter successfully, even well. As long as he can keep the traders' attention until he pulls out the 'shine, their eyes just light up and you'd think it was pieces of the true cross. If a man like Abe can cross nowhere to Canterbury Commons, from nowhere, then word has no restrictions, and travels with the wind. Or maybe people tire of the pre-war tipples quickly.

Presently, we have found a place to bed down without charge, as for our next journey, I'll leave that to Abe,"Th' big catfish was here, an' now we're here, an' the catfish ain't here, but ah can smell, cuz daddy shown me how t'track, n' I'll catch 'im yet; ah reckon he swum up north, to the crick, that's what them fishies like."

"The Underworld? Isn't that place some kind of safe haven for ghouls?" Lucy muttered, thinking out loud.

"Oh! It's in the Museum of History, my Dad is goi- he was going to take me there one day" Lucy's voice dropped with sadness and her eyes glazed over with a brief sense of tranquil fury.

Lucy forces herself to perk up again "Now I don't believe in the whole fate/karma thing, but I had originally intended on going there in the first place."

"Not only that, but you're in luck! I remember the route my dad told me, unfortunately it's one hell of a root on foot and it's the only one I know" Lucy frowned as she tried to put together all the logistics involved for such a journey.

"Alright, first we make our way to Anchorage Memorial, we cross over to the other side of the water. We can hop the stones in order to avoid the water. We then make our way all along the coast until we reach Rivet City. Next to it is Anacostia Crossing. We make our way through the subway, come out the exit and the Museum of History is right there" Lucy beamed with joy over remembering all that.

"I hope we find some of your cousins there and don't worry. My dad is- was a well-known trader at the Underworld. I'm sure a lot of people there would accept us easier, knowing that the daughter of Isaac Black is there."

"And if reputation fails us, we always have charm...and a Gauss Rifle" Lucy smiled mischievously.

Lucy looked hopefully at her new found friend "It's not a journey one can take alone"

Lucy hasn't trusted anyone since her dad was murdered, closing her eyes, she bit her lip and thought to herself "You can't keep everyone at arms length...Vikki may just help you change all that"

Lucy straightened her emotions and looked at Vikki directly "I get the feeling we could both use a friend, wherever our journey takes us" Lucy gave a small smile once more.

"Oh son of a bitch!"

Dudley had just gotten to the top of the metro ramp on the edge of Rivet City, only for the Microfusion Cell that he had powering his bike to run out. The Marketplace was closed for one reason or another, and there was no way in hell he was abandoning his bike. So he sat there, either waiting for the Market to open or by luck to see Lucky Harrith or one of the other traveling merchants go by.

"...Wish I had my guitar..." He thought aloud, boredom setting in. After a bit, he began singing under his breath, leaning on the seat of his vehicle and staring at the sky.

Brandon was happy to see that Rex enjoyed the meat, the beans weren't bad either. Brandon finished his beans as Rex began to whimper, while he was unfolding an poster. Brandon walked over to Rex he grabbed up the poster and looked at it. Typical Enclave things to make such an poster. While Brandon hadn't sided with either one of the sides, he still preferred if the brotherhood would win. The only time he had ever met an Enclave soldier was when he started firing at him for no good reason. Their armor was good though, shame it broke so easily he would have preferred to be still wearing that. But on the other hand the the amount of raider attacks was an good reason not to wear it.

Looking at the poster again it seemed very bloody, like someone had been shot while holding this poster. Was that what made Rex so on the edge? Brandon heard barking and he walked into the trailer. The bloody mattress said enough he had to get out of here now. Brandon looked worried as he crouched and softly grabbed Rex's head looking him into his eyes. "We have to go now. Follow me." Brandon stood up grabbing his new hunting revolver. He walked outside and then began to walk away from the trailer. He began to walk quite fast as he put more and more distance between himself and the trailer. While blood and murder where everywhere in this world he didn't want to be a part of it. And the bloody mattress told the story of what had happened there.

After walking for about 15 minutes Brandon found an cave. After an quick inspection it seemed to be uninhabited. Brandon looked relieved as he walked inside and he took place against the wall of the cave, he looked up to look how Rex was doing.

Tom saw the man put his hand on his sword. Smart of him. Tom thought No one survives out here long without a little caution. "The name's Tom Nevets, and this is my faithful stead, Bucky the mole rat." he said, indicating the animal beside him. "You got a name?" Tom then noticed the poster in the others hand. "And whatcha got their?"

"We... go now. Follow me."

Brandon seemed to know what happened, and it wasn't good. Rex immediately stood and followed Brandon out of the trailer. Brandon equipped himself with the pistol and began walking... fast.

Rex trotted along just behind, feeling anxious and on edge. They arrived at a cave, and Brandon went inside. Rex followed, still anxious.

Brandon quickly looked inside, walked around it, then relaxed. Rex relaxed as well, and started sniffing.

He smelled mold, and... yao guai? No, ROTTED yao guai. The yao guai must have died violently, and then been dragged out of the cave, leaving the blood to rot and weather away. There were only two things that could do this, a human and a deathclaw.

There were no smells of either. They must have abandoned the cave.

Feeling tired, Rex lay down as the sun set. He'd sleep lightly, though. Missing yao guais aren't anything to ignore.

"You got a name?"

"William Knight ......... friend. Wait, what was that about the mole rat?" This Tom Nevets had a curious way of getting around, 'Not as curious as a walrus riding a brahmin, though the trader who had told him was a jet addict and hadn't gotten close.' Then William remembered the Enclave poster in the raiders pack.

The Enclave were bad news, years ago, they had been a harmless curiosity. Enclave radio station played jolly, if over patriotic songs but it had been President Eden's speeches that had interested William. When he was starting his job as Anver's ambassador, holotapes of Eden's speeches helped William sound the part. The lines about working to improve peoples lives were easy to copy and make relevant for each settlement leader he spoke with.

Then the broadcasts began to change, Eden wasn't speaking about lofty goals and recapturing America, he became much more specific, describing the Enclave's actions. Then came the military slant, Eden warned his listeners to leave Enclave troops alone and let them work, Enclave officers were speaking on the radio station, a man named Colonel Autumn appeared to be the Enclave's military commander. William could tell from the change in broadcasts, the Enclave was getting aggressive and expanding. More than once a Vertibird had been seen flying over the wastes, Anver scouts had found traces of heavy duty equipment used. The Enclave had changed and they meant trouble.

Then the Enclave had stopped broadcasting and nobody had seen much of them since then. But now they were back, that meant trouble.

"Now then Tom, what do you know about the Enclave?" William said, hoping this traveller knew something about their recent activity.

Cassie marched slowly up the stairs, pointing her revolver at every corner a merc could pop out of. A spray of buckshot flew past her the second she tried to pass by a door, and she dropped to the ground to lay three shots into the offender.

Another merc charged toward her, firing off a 10 mil. Cass lifted off the ground and place a slug between his eyes before ducking into a room to take cover. She slid the chamber open. Each shell hitting the ground sounded like the stroke of a piano key. She swiftly chambered 6 more rounds and ran out the room, making her way to the stairs for the final floor.

"Get out there! What do I even pay you people for?!"

Cassie was met with a hail of bullets, leaving her only enough time to get a single shot off before taking one to the arm and having to duck down again.

"I'm taking the repairs to my suit out of your ass Macavoy!"

Cassie reached into her schatchel and pulled out a grenade. She pulled the pin and tossed it up to where the shot were being fired. There was only a single scream before the exsplosion. Cassie vaulted up immediately to end the poor sap trying to limp away.

"You boys are so damn sloppy," She said as she fired into his skull. The only guy left was A man in leather armor, cowering in front of a large window.

"Now come on man. We can discuss this."

Cass fired a shot into the glass behind him, smiling sweetly.

"I dont see what's there to talk about.I got hired to do something, so I'm going to collect"

"B-b-but. I have caps. I can pay you whatever you want"

She fired another 3 shoots at the glass as she edged closer to the man.

"Dead men don't need caps anyway"

She pressed the gun into his neck and twisted it around as she looked over his apparel. Her eyes locked on the emerald ring on his finger.

"This."

"What? You w-want the ring? It's yours. Take it"

Cassie gave him a devilish smirk and put the gun on his hand.

"Thank you kindly" When she pulled the trigger, the finger blew off from the rest of the hand, and Cassie slammed her elbow into Mac's chest, forcing him through the window. She watched as he plumeted down to the bottom, still holding the finger. "Nice doing business with you Mac."

She put the proof of the kill in her pocket and sat down to remove the bullets from her arm.

"Now then Tom, what do you know about the Enclave?"
Then Tom wasn't the only one who was curious about their recent activity. "I know something's goin' down." he said. "In the past months I've been hiking around northern Kentucky, and they're starting to show their teeth a whole lot more. I've heard reports of their troops targeting mutant villages and armored cars bearing their symbol patrolling the highways. Hell, when I was in Lexington, there were squads of them just walking down the streets. They're not afraid to show them self's any more." Tom took a swig of water before continuing. "Some people think their mobilizing, but against what is anybodies guess." Finished, Tom realized he hadn't let William speak. "What do think of it all?"

'Kentucky? Lexington? Attacking mutant villages sounds like them though.' Thought William, pondering this new information.

"I think the Enclave back and here to stay, they're casting their net wider, but sticking to the same principles. I think they have had a chance to recover and replenish their strength to be able to do all of this. I think that because they are able to patrol the wastes with confidence, they know exactly what they're doing. I think the Enclave are going to strike again, somewhere more important this time. A military target." William considered what it might be. Then spoke up again.

"GNR was a military target of sorts, last time I saw it the place was a Brotherhood of Steel fortress. GNR is vital to their DC operations, without a permanent base in the northern DC ruins, the Brotherhood risks losing half of DC, or half its fighting force trying to hold it. GNR was also one of the Brotherhoods biggest allies, if it looks like they can't protect their closest friend, what will others do? The Brotherhood has had a string of victories against the Enclave and some in the Capital Wasteland see them as invincible guardians. That image is important too, if you can't protect yourself, you sit next to someone who can protect you. The Brotherhood are seen as a safe option, but if they look weak everyone will find another guardian, their name will no longer command respect, those that once fled when they saw so much as a scrap of power armour will resurface and challenge the Brotherhoods dominance." William realised how much he was saying, he decided to stop talking so much and made a mental note to be more reserved.

"That's just what I think but here is the truth of the wasteland: If you look strong you are a predator, if you look weak you are prey, given the choice, who would you stand with? Predator or prey?"

Brandon was happy to see that Rex seemed relaxed. He petted the dog as he grabbed an sleeping bag from his backpack. He was unsure of how Rex wanted to sleep. so he grabbed an blanket from his bag and offered it to Rex. After sorting out how Rex wanted to sleep, Brandon laid down trying to fall asleep. Sleep came easy to the exhausted Brandon. His nightmares made sure he was never fully recovered when he woke up.

He woke up inside an white room he was lying on a table, he felt strange he was drugged. He couldn't move his head and when he tried to move his limbs there was no response. Suddenly footsteps could be heard slowly drawing closer. The shoes sounded like the fancy old world type of shoes Brandon was unsure how he knew that. Then the face of an old man appeared his cloches and crazy look, made Brandon suspect he was some kind of insane doctor. He tried to scream but the doctor quickly blocked his mouth. He then grabbed some crazy device with an giant drill, he brought it closer to his left eye. The drill went into his eye and blood spew from the wound, Brandon screamed even though his mouth was being kept shut.

Brandon woke up and sat up straight covered in sweat, he brought his hand to his forehead he was breathing heavily. Another cursed dream... He looked to his new companion to see if he had awoken him, with his screaming and sudden movement.

David Markus traveled down the road at about twenty miles per hour in an attempt to conserve energy cells. His motor home was the only reason he has been able to live so well in the last six and half months. He didn't have to kill anybody or get too roughed up since he got it. Then as he went from a side street to the main road a man covered in red sprinted out in front of him. He slammed his foot on the break but he was too late. He slammed into the poor guy. "Crap! Im not killing anyone. Especially not like this," he said frustrated. He stepped down out of the Motor Home. "What the heck is he wearing? Eh, screw it. Come on buddy," he continued as he dragged him up into the home. The blade on the man's arm catches his eye. David pulls it of and lays it in the passenger seat. "Guess you are coming with me to D.C. Hope you are ready for a road trip, my strange friend." He speeds up now that hes on a main road. He had conserved enough. If he had moved a little bit faster he would have made it without any trouble. After about two hours the man woke up. "Where am I?" Barry said looking at himself. He was cover in cuts and bruises, plus he was pretty darn sure his ribs were broken. "You ran infront of my Motor Home, buddy. Im driving to D.C. I'll let you off there," David said with his eyes never leaving the road.
"Good, I was heading up North anyway," Barry replied.
"Really? If you don't mind me asking, why?"
"Im trying to find the tryouts for a new superhero team."
David burst out laughing, "Wait, are you serious?"
"Yes I am," Barry replied obliviously.
"Man, I must have screwed this guy up more than i thought," he thought to himself. "Um..What is your name, son?"
"I can't disclose that, but you can call me THE FLASH!"
David noticed that he was now in the D.C area. He quickly grabbed "The Flash's" blade and tossed it outside the car. "You can go now buddy,"
"Thank you citizen," The Flash said as he stepped out of the vehicle. The moment both feet touched concrete the vehical rushed away. Flash gave it a small wave before looking around and clutching his ribs.

Tom listened to Williams musing with interest. He certainly wasn't a stupid man, that much was clear. "The predator, of course. And if the Brotherhood and Enclave are going to be fighting over that title, then perhaps it would be wise to steer clear of DC for the time being." Tom had no intention of being caught in a cross fire. "As for us, the literal predators will be coming out soon, and I for one don't feel like spending my evening getting devoured by a deathclaw. I say we make camp, but away from that body." he said, pointing to the mangled corpse behind William.

"GNAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Rex was on his feet before he even opened his eyes. He was standing over Brandon before he comprehended where he was and why, or who the figure in front of him was.

"AAAAAAAAAAGH!"

The shriek made Rex leap backwards, fur standing up and terror welling up throughout his whole body. Adrenaline sloshed through his blood, ready to kill whatever was tormenting his new master.

"GAH!"

Brandon shot straight up. He was breathing as if he'd been shot, now he was gingerly touching his eye. Rex was still completely on edge, not understanding what had happened. Old Master had never done anything like this. Maybe Brandon had swallowed a spider. Maybe he had been bitten by something. Maybe he had dreamed of something bad, like that yao guai who's cave they were in. Even if it had been a bad dream, most people were comparatively calm when they woke from such dreams.

Rex very slowly plodded over to Brandon, looking to see if there were any animals he needed to kill. Nothing. Rex sat down and leaned against Brandon, who seemed to be calming down a bit. The adrenaline began to rinse from his system, and Rex felt a bit dozy again.

Rex slowly walked over to Brandon and then he leaned against him. Rex seemed to calm down Brandon had scared the poor dog. He began to pet him, he was very happy that he had found an companion. Brandon stood up and flexed his muscles looking around the empty cave, he decided that they might as well have breakfast while they were traveling. Brandon began to pack up his things petting Rex in the process, he gave him his food raw meat. Brandon grabbed some food out of his bag he grabbed some corn. Brandon began to eat it as he grabbed the hunting revolver. He remembered that he had seen an hunter kill an death claw with this once. It only took him one shot too, he wondered if he would be able to do that one day. his left eye hurted a little bit.

Brandon decided that he wanted to know how much robot tech as inside him. He had heard an ghoul talk about something called an MIR machine once. That would be his best change if he didn't want to have someone cut him open. He looked at Rex he crouched and said. "Rex do you want to go to DC? The the underworld?" That was as far as Brandon knew, the best place to look for an ghoul.

Frank wandered towards Wilhelm's Wharf, the spurs he had attached to the feet of his power armor clanking as he did.
Always good trade in DC, maybe he'd find something juicy.
At that moment he saw a familiar rifle being held by a young woman talking to what looked like a yellowish ghoul.
He knew she wasn't Enclave or Brotherhood, (No power armor)but a wastelander wouldn't normally have access to that level of tech, and it warranted investigation.
With his Gauss Pistol in one hand, and his Displacer Fist on the other he ran into close enough range that the rifle would be a poor choice if the woman decided to attack him.
"Where did you get that?!"

The Mechanist gazed around the ruined cityscape, collapsed buildings and other rubble blocking his way in all directions but the one he came from. In front of him, his only option: the perilous subways that tunnelled beneath the capitol's surface. It seems he had little choice, there was but one way forward.

Reaching up to his helmet he turned on the in-built flash-light, illuminating the way ahead. With his loyal Mister Gutsy guarding his back the Mechanist entered the darkness. There was no telling where these twisted passageways might lead him, numerous cave-ins meant the old maps had long ago been made useless.

But the safety of the wasteland could not wait. Luckily it's saviour had no time for fear in his heart and his suit's in-built plumbing ensured there would be no signs to the contrary. The Mechanist gripped his laser pistol tighter as the entrance behind him disappeared from view, leaving only the lighting of his helmet and the glowing eyes of his Mister Gutsy.

Ahead of him the tunnel he was in intersected with another and the Mechanist's keen awareness ensured he did not miss the sounds of various creatures rummaging around. Turning off his helmet's light he slowly moved ahead, as stealthily as a Nightkin but without the stealth boy. Knocking over a minimum of cans and only stubbing his toes twice the Mechanist arrived, naturally completely undetected, at the intersection.

Peeking his head around the corner he made quick use of his extensive training to identify any possible dangers. Feral ghouls! Devoid of sanity and a grave danger to the innocents that lived above ground, it would be his sworn duty to rid the world of these evil creatures! Three of them would be no match for the Mechanist! Pausing only to briefly cou... Four of them would be no match for the Mechanist!

Levelling his laser pistol he took careful aim at the closest ghoul. Slowly releasing his breath he squeezed the trigger, landing a perfect shot on a nearby bottle. It would, naturally, not be heroic for him shoot an enemy, even one as vile as these, in the back. Once again the Mechanist took aim, preparing to make ghoul bits litter the metro tunnels. Seeing the monstrous creatures rapidly approaching he closed his eyes, purely to avoid sudden blindness due to the bright lasers, and repeatedly pulled his trigger. Flashes of red light lit up the darkness and feral screams echoed.

Opening his eyes again the Mechanist surveyed the carnage. Two of the ghouls were still closing in fast, seeming unharmed, with a third pulling itself along the ground as it's scorched legs dragging behind. The Mechanist quickly pulled out another energy cell for his pistol, struggling to reload before the ghouls were on top of him. He almost had it, just a second more, when the foul stench of the creatures reached his nostrils. One of the creatures jumped for him, it's claws outstretched, as his suit made a whirring noise that seemed to come from somewhere around the crotch.

Suddenly the tunnels lit up, nearly bright as day, when a massive flame enveloped the ghouls. Several green bolts followed as two burning bodies and a puddle of goo fell to the floor. The Mechanist reacted immediately, taking only a few seconds, to scan his surroundings but found only his companion, the Mister Gutsy, a clear testament to the awesomeness of robots.

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